Saturday, April 17, 2010

Days of Play--Shaving Cream Letters

I worked at a day care to put myself through college and this was hands-down one of the favorite activities for little kids.  Actually, now that I think of it, I did this with my middle schoolers too and they loved it.

This tactile experience can be used to practice letter writing, spelling words, vocab words (which is why I used it in my middle school classroom), shape drawing, etc.

All you need is a cover up shirt, flat surface and a can of shaving cream.

When I do this I use my whole kitchen table.  If you aren't quite as adventurous you can use a cookie sheet.

  • Put on a cover up. (Really, don't skip this step).
  • Put a dollop of shaving cream on the table.
  • Allow your little on to spread it around.
  • Now make letters (or shapes, or words, etc).  A, B, C ... 
To be honest, cleaning this up takes a few minutes but really isn't that bad.  And shaving cream *really* cleans your table!

For younger kids:
Do this same activity with chocolate pudding.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Frugal Fashion Friday

Welcome to the first installment of Frugal Fashion Friday (look for similar posts 1-2 times a month)!  Here I hope to share some bargain outfit ideas from stores that aren't bank breakers (Old Navy v. Saks 5th Avenue).

Can't buy the stuff new?  Look in your closet and see if you can duplicate ideas with what you already have OR hit second hand stores like Plato's Closet or Goodwill.

Before we get into this I had to share one of my outfits.  Remember when I talked about wearing colors (if not you can read it here) and I said you could wear primary colors?  Well here's an example!

Gap yellow striped henley-$9.99
Levi Jeans--$30.00
Royal blue bangle--$.25 at Goodwill
Blue charm necklace--$0 (a gift from Uruguay)
Red Mary Janes--$14.99 from TJ Maxx (but free to me because they were a gift from my mom).

I should mention that these jeans are 8 years old and when I bought them, they didn't have that "destroyed denim" look.  Years of wearing them gives them the destroyed flair!

I should also mention that the shoes are my "signature" wardrobe piece.  I wear them as often and with as many outfits as possible!

Okay, now for some outfit inspiration for you!

When I look in magazine at Spring gear I'm always reminded that the clothes are meant for places that have 70 degree spring weather (as opposed to WY's 50 degree spring weather).  That in mind, I created some outfits that have great layers OR use some awesome spring sweaters.

The first idea combines a spring sweater, cargo capris, and gladiator sandals for a look that chic enough to wear to lunch with friends but causal enough to chase kids around in.

This look throws together layers--a great classic T and a trendy cardi paired with your favorite jeans and rain boots looks pulled together and practical.

A classic look for church and brunch afterwards. I know what you're thinking--"white pants?? I have kids!" If you can't commit to white, this will work with trouser jeans or even khaki pants. Is anyone else thrilled that gladiator sandals and gold jewelry are making a comeback?

Hope these outfits inspire you as you create your new spring wardrobe!

Do you have a "look" you'd like me to create for you?  Let me know.

(P.S.  I did two posts today so if you need a date idea, scroll down.  Body paint anyone?).

Date night In--Body Paint

When my sister and I were little girls we shared a bedroom (until we nearly killed one another and my parents decided they'd rather have two kids than one).  Sometimes at night we'd take turns drawing/tickling on each other's back and guess what was drawn.  This date is a new twist on an old game.

For this date, you'll make homemade edible body paint (in advance) and then take turns painting pictures/words on each other's backs.  When you are done "painting" lick off your artwork and switch.

You can make this a wager and see who gets the most pictures correctly.  You can also write action words (as suggestive as you want) and if your lover gets the word right, you have to do it! (For example, you could write kiss or hug or dance).


  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding mix (you do need it white so you can add color but if you don't care about color then get any flavor you want!)
  • 2 c. cold milk
  • food coloring
  • essential flavors (optional: coconut, almond, cherry, etc,)

  1. Mix pudding with two cups of milk.
  2. Put dollops of pudding into small bowls or glasses.
  3. Add food coloring and flavoring as desired (think red/cherry, brown/coconut, yellow/lemon).
  4. Refridgerate until ready to use.

P.S.  If you don't want to do this as a date you could make the paint with your kids :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Things I Love--A Good Laugh and Deep Thoughts

Dear American Youth,

 When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up--what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... Uphill... BOTH ways ... in the snow... Yadda, yadda, yadda 

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to lay a bunch of junk like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!    

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.  You've got it so easy!  I mean, compared to my childhood, they live in a Utopia!    

And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it! 
  • When I was a kid we didn't have the Internet.  If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalogue.  Do you even know what the Dewey Decimal system is?   
  • There was no email!  We had to actually write somebody a letter with a pen and paper.   Then we had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there!  
  • Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us.  As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to spank me! Nowhere was safe! 
  • There were no MP3's or Napsters!  If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself.  And if you wanted to buy just one song, too bad.  No ITunes.  We had to buy whole albums just for one song. 
  • Or we had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up!  There were no CD players!  We had tape decks in our car.  We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished.  Sometimes the tape would come undone.
  • We didn't have Call Waiting.  If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal.  No kidding. And we didn't have Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was.  It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know.  You had to pick it up and take your chances.
  • There weren't any cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends!"  Think of the horror.  Instead of texting, we passed notes.
  • We didn't have Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics.  We had the Atari 2600 with games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'.  Our guy was a little square.  We actually had to use our imaginations!  And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... FOREVER!  And you could never win.  The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died!  Just like LIFE! 
  • You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on. Channel surfing?  Forget it.  Every time we wanted to change the channel we had to get out of our seats.  Really.  There were NO remotes. 
  • There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning.  Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons!
That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled.  You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes prior to 1980.
The Over 30 Crowd  
Okay, that's good for a laugh but then I got to thinking about all the ways I had it BETTER than kids do today.
  • Cell phones mean that parents can keep dibs on their kids all the time.  And talk about a carrot and stick approach to parenting (if you don't shape up I'll take away your phone!).  My folks had to be a lot more creative!
  • Sexual predators had to do a lot more than contact me on a social networking site.
  • My parents never had to worry that I'd see full-frontal nudity or hear cuss words on regular TV programming.
  • The United States had never been attacked on our homeland in my teen lifetime.
So while it is true kids might have some things easier--do they have more trials than we do?

What's your vote?  Who has/had it easier--them (under 30) or us (over 30s)?  Specific examples encouraged!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What I think about--Chick Flicks as Emotional Porn

A few weeks ago I organized my DVD collection (you can read about it here) and noticed how extensive my Rom-Com selection was.  I’m pretty sure I own every movie inspired by an Austen novel or with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in it.  Don’t even get me started on Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock.

Luckily for me, I married a man who loves chick-flicks as much as I do.  (To be fair I should mention my absolute love of sports shows, war movies and action shows.  I practically forced Matt to take me to Gladiator 3 times, I’ve seen the Italian Job so many times that I consider myself an expert Mini-Cooper driver despite never having been in one, and I still get goose bumps from Rudy, Invincible, Hoosiers, Remember the Titans …).  We’re movie compatible—for the most part.

Matt and I parted movie ways when Twilight came out.  And this is when I started to notice a slightly unhealthy obsession with women (not tweens—grown, married women). 

I’ve already shared my thoughts on Edward but as I think more critically, I wonder if there is something wrong with the female consumption of chick-flicks. 

Are chick flicks emotional porn?

When I started looking into this topic, I ran across the article “You’ve Got Lies” by Beth Spraul.  In her article, Spraul asserts that as pornography appeals to men’s visual instincts and creates a false ideal of the female body and interest in sex, chick flicks create a false emotional ideal of the role of men in romance and marriage. Through chick-flicks, Spraul contends that women learn to believe these lies:
  • Men and women view emotional and relational intimacy in the same way.
  • Marrying the right man will make everything perfect in my life.
  • I’ll know he’s the “right” man by the feelings I have when I’m around him.

By accepting these lies as truth, many women compare men to fictional heartthrobs and disregard important qualities like faith, character, and humility because of physical attraction or “chemistry.” (P.S.  I hated chemistry).

I’ll admit that I’ve bought the “lies” in the past.  I’ve been swept up in “feelings” that weren’t ok and have placed super unhealthy expectations on males in relationships.  But now, I think I’m healthy enough to know that life with Matt isn’t perfect. He’s going to make me mad and offend me and not defend me when I need him to.  Only God is my all in all.  And trust me, after being around Matt for nearly 11 years, I’ve pretty much caught on to the fact that we view romance and intimacy in vastly different ways (and I didn’t even need to read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus).

Are women are being subtly attacked?  Are the emotional lies told in chick-flicks less harmful than the lies portrayed in pornography?  Spraul states, “Like pornography, chick-flicks take a good gift from God (romance, relational intimacy) that women are created to desire, and distort it by presenting as “normal” an unbiblical and unrealistic picture of men, love and marriage. And just like men who buy into the lies of pornography, women who believe that their husbands and marriages should always be like what they see on the screen will be sinfully dissatisfied with God’s good gift to them of a “normal” husband and marriage.”

Um, WOW.

I have to admit I struggle with this because I believe pornography actually IS sinful whereas I think chick-flicks can be viewed without sin.   

Suffice it to say, I don’t know what I think about Chick Flicks though research has encouraged me to be a more conscious consumer for the sake of my marriage and Mr. Darcy Matt.

I’d love to know your thoughts (since mine are so scattered)!  Are chick flicks emotional porn?  

The comment line is open!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Days of Play--Shake to Make Ice Cream

I'd probably fall apart without the love and support of my mom's play date group!  At one recent event, Sarah from Frontier Kitchen had a gaggle of us over to make ice cream using:
half and half
rock salt

This takes no time at all and was super fun for all involved!  I highly recommend you go here and get directions to make ice cream with your kiddos!  This is a great way to get past the Monday Blahs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What's Cooking 4/12-4/18

I did a bit OAMC session so here's what we are having!

Monday--Spicy Honey Chicken and grilled asparagus
Tuesday--Lemony-Dill Salmon and wilted spinach salad
Wednesday--Chicken manicotti and salad
Thursday--Italian marinaded steaks and steamed red potatoes
Friday--Honey pepper pork loin with harvest stuffing
Saturday--Quiche, salad and crusty bread
Sunday--Autumn pot roast with sweet potatoes