Saturday, October 28, 2017

Save 60% at Michaels - Today Only!

Ok, I try not to do this too often, but guys! Here's another big deal at Michael's now! You can save 60% on any one regular priced item at Michael's Craft Store today only!! Make sure you use promo code: 60MAKE102817

Zazzle Sale!

Hey! If you've been looking to purchase one of our designs at our Zazzle shop, Dumbledean, now is the time! You can save up to 40% off on most items using Promo Code: ZGIFTSDEAL40
The sale is good through October 29th. I'm going to be purchasing a few shirts for myself!

Browse other gifts from Zazzle.,

Monday, October 16, 2017

Troll and the Oliver and Troll Cupcakes!

Last week, while browsing the stacks at our local library, I picked up this cute book by Adam Stower, Troll and the Oliver. It is a darling little story about a troll who is trying to catch (and eat!) the Oliver. I personally love how the author refers to Oliver as the Oliver, as though Troll thinks that's what he is rather than the little boy's name. Finally Oliver does end up getting a taste of Oliver, but to his disappointment, Olivers taste disgusting. Luckily, the two discover Trolls do like cake.

This book was an absolute delight and my children had me read it several times each day while it was in our possession.

As a bonus, this book includes a cupcake recipe to make your own troll cupcakes! Which, I can tell you my children were all about.

So we gathered up our materials and even found some cute cake decorating eyes. (Like these, Wilton Candy Eyeballs,0.88 Ounce,Count of 50) and got to work.

Now sadly, and I hope they fixed this in future printings, the cake recipe is incomplete. It is missing baking powder (or any rising agent) which would be needed to make a proper cake. But with a bit of google-foo, I found a small batch cupcake recipe online and things were back on track.

Here is my sample cupcake for the children. I made a simple buttercream recipe (from the storybook) and roughed it up with a fork to make fur. We used a candy corn assortment, Candy eyeballs, mini marshmallows, and these Twizzlers Twist Pullnpeel Fruit Punch Candy, 12 Oz Bag, (Pack of 2), Grape, Cherry, Orange Flavors, since I couldn't find regular red licorice strings.

The children were thrilled! They each got to decorate four cupcakes and even their papa got to join in with two of his. (I'd add a photo of their faces, but well, um. Ok my desk is behind them and it has lately become the family's dumping place since I've been busy with my store.)

Here is a shot of all their hard work! Hooray! Troll cupcakes for everyone and much tastier than nasty Olivers.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Clear your drain, the natural way

You never really think about things until they are broken.
That's definitely how I am.
Lately I've been suffering a slow drain. We have a septic system, so I can't really throw a bunch of death poisons down the drain without some major backlash in the backyard.

While researching what to do, I've discovered an awesomely inexpensive way to have clear drains.

Tada! What are these things you ask? Well they're drain snakes! (Technically called: Vastar 3 Pack 23.6 Inch Drain Snake Hair Drain Clog Remover Cleaning Tool) See those little thorns on the edges? They capture all the gross hair and gunk that gets stuck in the drain.

Ready to follow me with cleaning a bathtub drain? Here we go!

Step 1: Work your snake down the drain. You may have to wiggle jiggle it down. Then pull it out and try not to smack yourself with the gross when you pull it out. (Yeah, I totally did that the first time I tried it out and nearly gagged.)

Step 2: Pour regular table salt down the drain. I'm not sure if this is really helpful, but I've heard it helps to rough up anything in the pipe.

Step 3: Pour boiling water down the drain.

In my experience, your drain should be happy and draining properly. Hooray! No poisons! Just a little elbow grease.

Friday, October 6, 2017

We're learning

Last week I took the children for a drive along the Blue Ridge Trail. It was fun, but we were woefully unprepared. This time I had plans! We packed a picnic lunch and less science materials. We also made a point of stopping at the visitor center to pick up free publications, which will help in our future adventures.

It feels like there is so much pressure to make everything EDUCATIONAL, but I'm slowly beginning to learn my children seem to learn more when I let go and let them find their interests. That doesn't mean to say they don't learn their letters and math, but when it comes to science and social studies, letting them go on their own is best. 

Bear found this awesome caterpillar! We gathered a few nuts, which had fallen from a tree at the visitor center and brought them home to figure out what tree they are from. The children climbed all over rocks. Both fell down. They didn't break. When other tourists would say hello, they politely replied. When I asked they draw one thing from today's trip in their journal. They happily did it.

Who's children are these? haha! I really needed this day and if the weather proves good next week, we're headed back up the mountain. I'm beginning to also see the value of field trips and I'm thinking more are definitely in order.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Product Review: Asking for Trouble

I've been a fan of Asking for Trouble for a while now. The designs aesthetic sings to my soul. Simple and cute.  So when Marceline announced she was offering 10 year anniversary blind boxes, I couldn't say no.

I'd been dragging my feet about spending money and missed out on her super cute Fuji-san enamel pins, so I couldn't pass this chance up. (Argh! Hopefully she will remake them.) But I was so happy when I got my box. Look at this cuteness! She drew a unique character on each box making the  number 10. Inside was a Fried Egg enamel pin, a Little Ghost fabric patch, a Planet paper cut, a Bunny & Panda craft paper, 2 Happy Stars, a Happy Cloud badge, an Asking for Trouble pencil, two 10 year anniversary stickers, a 10 year anniversary postcard, and a mini zine.

What a box! So much great stuff and as a mega-woah bonus! I won a golden ticket! Which means I got to pick a free mug from the Marceline Smith Redbubble shop! Of course I had to go with Fuji-san! Here he is brewing up some tea while I get the children's lesson plans in order.

I feel so lucky and yeah, I'm going to be buying more things from Asking for Trouble in the future. 

What's even more lovely is Marceline is a huge supporter of all things cute and has runs her own blog about all things cute, Super Cute Kawaii. You should definitely be following all of her blogs. So much cute!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What do you do?

Ok, so  today I fell into a tricky trap and I don't know what you other mama's do in this situation.

We had to go to the Walmart and while waiting in the check out line, Bun saw a tiny Elsa doll. It was cute and reasonably priced. It would be perfect for a Christmas stocking stuffer.

Except I was caught putting it on the conveyor belt. Then Bear saw his sister was getting something and he wanted something too.

Well fair, is fair, right. So I bought him something too. And then I felt I couldn't not give them their toys right away, since they'd caught me.

Augh! Even though I had no plans to get them more toys and now I'm beating myself up for spoiling them and wasting money I should be saving.

The guilt.

Seriously, what do you do in this situation. Should I have left Elsa and come back to the dreaded Walmart later on the rare chance I will be without children? Should I have lied and said the doll was for someone else? What would you do?

Help? I'm a terrible mother.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tips When Visiting an Apple Orchard

Did I say I love Autumn, because I do!!!

This Sunday, our family made a drive over the mountain to a local apple orchard. Having observed others and experience from my last trip, I thought I'd write up a quick tip list for when you visit an apple orchard.

Tip 1: Dress for a farm.
I know you want to look your best and maybe take that autumn family photo in the orchard, but you're on a working farm. You will likely have a long walk. There is dirt. There are bees. Please don't wear heels and a short dress.

Tip 2: Bring reusable shopping bags.
The orchard will often give you something to put your fruit in, but I find those reusable shopping bags, which are handed out for free at supermarkets, are perfect for picking apples. They are strong and best of all you can put them over your shoulder to easily carry your produce back to the weighing station. They also hardly weigh a thing, so you're paying for more apples and less bag.

Tip 3: Know your purpose.
Why are you picking apples? Is it the experience? Are you making pies? If you know what you're planning to do with your apples, you will be sure not to over pick. (This is the hardest for me, because I always want to pick all the fruit. It's so fun, but then I always end up with a huge bill in the end.)

Tip 4: Only pick what you want.
Look at the fruit carefully before picking it. Sometimes a bug will have nibbled an apple, so be sure to turn it and look it over before you remove it from the tree. It's never nice to throw bad fruit on the ground. It attracts bees and that can be a dangerous combo for the wrong person.

Tip 5: Show up early.
Maybe this is just for me, but I like to get their early and beat the crowd. We went in the afternoon once and were swarmed with elementary school students. 

Tip 6: Check in.
Make sure you ask where to pick before you head out to the orchard. Not all fruit is ripe at the same time. You can even call ahead to ask what fruit is available so you can be sure to get the fruit you want. I'm a sucker for Fuji apples. I've never had a bad one.

I hope this comes in handy for your own apple picking adventures. Really if you aren't sure, check it out and find those local pick your own farms. It's fun! It's a memory! Enjoy those fleeting days, even if you're tired and flailing with the housework.