Surprisingly Romantic Gift for Him

My husband is so, so, so hard to buy for.

He works so very hard, and doesn’t have time for hobbies, doesn’t drink often, and dresses casually for work.  There is literally nothing left to buy him!  If you search for gift ideas for men, you come up with ties, tie clips, cufflinks, golf/fishing/hunting gifts, and beer or liquor paraphernalia.  Those things help me… not at all.

So with our 15th wedding anniversary coming up, I tried and tried to think of a nice gift for him.  I failed, miserably.  I often try to get him a “traditional” gift, by the year, but this year was crystal.  I mean… crystal?

Then it came to me!  A t-shirt that looks cool, but with a romantic undertone!  I looked up the lyrics to “our song”, spiralized them, and added them to a nice t-shirt.


It turned out awesome!  He loved it!  He was really excited when he saw it was the lyrics to our first dance as man and wife (Little Trip to Heaven by Tom Waits for those wondering)!

What are some things you’ve gotten the men in your lives?

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That Time I Quit My Job…

Hola and hello!

This is my first week of early (and most likely somewhat temporary) retirement!  It is the oddest feeling in the world to not have a job to go to, and/or to not be frantically looking for another job.  I was once unemployed for around a year and a half, when the economy tanked a decade ago, but I was desperately looking for ANY job at that point.  This is… different.

How it came about is that my little girl started kindergarten.


I know, I know… the typical SAHM mom goes BACK to work when her little starts school, but I’ve never really followed the crowd.  What it came down to is that we would have had to find a new daycare (her daycare didn’t bus to her school district, or we may not have made this decision), then shuttle her to and from home/daycare/school/daycare/home.  In the end, it was too much for OUR family.  Harlow has never been great with change, and that would have been A LOT of change all at once.  We are lucky enough that we can make it on one income (even though we now have to pay for our own insurance and that is FAR more expensive per month than I even made working!), at least temporarily, and the timing was just… well, I won’t say the timing was “right”, but it was “okay”.

Here’s the weird thing…  I don’t want to be a SAHM.  I need the rigid schedule of a work day.  I do really poorly without anything concrete to do.  The good thing is, things at home have piled up for, oh, about 5.5 years, so there is a lot for me to do RIGHT NOW.  Like go through and start to organize 5 years of artwork.


Next is the toy room, the closets, the pantry, the storage room in the basement… I’m hyperventilating just thinking about it.  Today I had to clean out the cupboard under the sink where apparently ALL the mice like to hang out.  I detest mice.  It was the most disgusting thing ever.  I put out a bunch of traps, but I hope they get the hint and move out on their own.  I don’t like the idea of killing anything… even disgusting, dog food stealing, pooping, spatula eating little vermin.  (I’ll spare you that photo… gross.)

gray mice in the middle of walls

Photo by David Bartus on


One thing I’m excited about, though, is having more time to focus on crafting, maybe starting a business, and posting on here!  I am hoping to get back to photography (you know… that thing listed on my college diploma?).  I plan on getting back into running and yoga, and eventually pursuing my dream of being a yoga instructor!  There are a lot of exciting things that CAN happen, if I can just keep working toward my goals!  In the meantime, I have more paper piles around my  house that need to be gone through than a paper plant… or something.

I hope you all have had a great week, and that you’ll continue to follow my adventure, wherever it leads.

Change requires change.

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Abbey Update 2

I’m so happy to be able to share that ABBEY IS FINE!  We just got her liver levels re-checked on Monday, and I got a call this morning that everything is within normal range!  They had said the abscessed tooth might have been causing the wonky levels, and it now appears that was the case!  You have NO idea how relieved I am.  We can stop thinking about and researching puppy hepatitis!  Woohoo!


Have a great weekend!

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Abbey Update 1

It just occurred to me that I haven’t provided an update on Abbey!  It was a long couple of months.


When I last mentioned her, she had just had an adventure,  and she was in the middle of taking her meds for her liver infection.  We ended up having to give her the meds for an additional two weeks, because when we went in to have her re-checked after the first round, they  realized that the pharmacy had given us the wrong dosage, and we’d been giving her far too little of the medication.  So another two weeks of meds, and another recheck, and… nothing.  Her levels hadn’t budged.  Apparently sometimes bad teeth can cause liver issues, so the vet decided to move forward with her teeth cleaning (which is what started this long journey).  They had to adjust the anesthesia to protect her liver, and ended up extracting a tooth that was abscessed, and two or three sections of her gums.  Poor baby.  She was on pain meds for a week, and wet dog food for three weeks!

She came home so drugged.  It was both hilarious and terrifying.  They had gotten a late start on her, due to another surgery before hers that had taken far longer than anticipated.  She was staggering around like a drunk doggo.  I had to carry her up and down even the two stairs from our back porch to the yard to potty, and even then, she kept falling over.  I was so relieved when she was perked up the following morning!


So… next steps.  In about one more month, we have to have her blood checked again to see if her liver is doing better with that abscessed tooth gone.  If the levels are back to normal, GREAT!  If not… I have no idea what the next steps are.  She’s never acted sick.  She’s always eaten and played and behaved the same.  I’m hoping her tooth was just messing with her system and all is well.  I’ll give an update on her after her next checkup!

Enjoy your Saturday, everyone!  It’s gonna be another scorcher here!


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Parrot Costume DIY


My company throws an over-the-top event each summer, including carnival rides and games, pony rides, a petting zoo, generous give-aways (including an all-expense paid trip to Disney for a family of 4!), and tons more!  The event is always themed, with a large number of employees & employee family members in costume.  This year, the theme was Neverland (Pirates).  So I went out and purchased a pirate costume for myself, and a coordinating pirate costume for Harlow.  She took one look at it, as I was excitedly showing her, and said, “I want to be a parrot”.  Cue crestfallen mama.  Se la vi.

After I stopped crying pitiful, rejected tears, I took to Amazon to look for a parrot costume in size Betrayal/5T.  I’m starting to think that I’ve got unreasonable shopping expectations, because I can NEVER find what I want online.  They are either too small, too un-cute, or too, too expensive!  As I’m sure you know where this is going, given most of my posts of late, I decided to make my own.


What I used:

  • Dollar store Fairy Wings (these make another appearance!  You may recall.)
  • Feathers (bought at JoAnn Fabric, and Michaels), blue, yellow, red, green
  • Felt – red, yellow
  • Hot Glue
  • Elastic cord

What I did:

For the wings:

I took some wire clippers, and cut off the bottom section of the wings, making sure the metal ends were not going to stick out far enough to scratch or poke, and flipped them upside down.

Then, I covered the part facing the child’s back with felt, hot gluing it into place, cutting off the excess.

After that, I just started hot gluing feathers!  It took far fewer feathers to cover the wings than I expected.  I bought two packages of red, and one package each of green, blue, and yellow.  I have enough feathers left over to do at least one more set of wings and a mask.

Note the elastic around her waist.  It is securing a tail feather, made from one of the smaller, cut-off wing segments.  I would not bother with this next time.  You couldn’t see it, because the wings were long enough to cover most of it, and the elastic cord took away from the overall look.  Plus, she couldn’t sit down with it on.  Live and learn…

For the mask:

The mask was only slightly trickier.  I got a stiffer felt for the red face part.  (You know how some felt is super floppy and some has a bit of heft to it?  Go for the heft for this part.)  Then I took one of her old masks for sizing (but you could also just print out a free one online – there are tons of printable options out there!), traced around it, and cut it out.  Then out of floppy felt, I cut out a yellow diamond shape.  I cut the top of the diamond in the middle, so it would curve a bit as a beak.


I hot glued the cut part to the back of the mask, curving it a bit as I placed it.  Finally, I hot glued some feathers to the top for a bit of flair!  I had left a little excess felt on the top of the mask for this purpose.  Finish it off by adding a bit of elastic chord, and you’re done.

We used a red dress she’s owned forever, and ta-da! she’s a parrot!  (She met a fellow parrot at the event!)


Hopefully this was helpful, and I’d love to hear if any of you try it out!  Have a fabulous weekend!


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Potty Training Tips – 2 years later…

I just read a blog I like, Peanut Butter Fingers, which mentioned potty training.  It occurred to me that I was in my “off season” during our potty training time frame.  It was a surprisingly easy period for us, actually.  Everything that I’ve dreaded and held off on longer than necessary has been… weaning from nursing, weaning from bottles, potty training, taking away her final after-lunch nap.   I really just need to relax and go with things more.  (I say as I’m letting her continue sucking her fingers…)

Anyway…  Harlow started asking to go on the potty when she was quite young.  Around 18 months.  And then she was pretty much over it.  Which was FINE with me, because I wasn’t ready.  Diapers are just so darn easy!  Especially on our long trips to my family’s house or out running errands.

During her three year checkup, Harlow’s doctor asked about potty training.  I gave a noncommittal answer, and he looked at Harlow and said, “You are three now!  NO more diapers!  Got that?” and she nodded.  I was thinking, “okay, sure… easy as that”, but something clicked for her!  She had one day of pee accidents and a few days of poo, and that was that.  She’s only even wet the bed 2 or 3 times in the last two years.  While our story is far easier than most I’ve heard, I still have some tips to make it even easier!


  • Wait.  I know people who have pushed and shoved their kids to potty train as early as a year old…and have had a HORRIBLE time of it.  Harlow was old enough to fully understand the concept at three, and it just was a super smooth process.


  • Tiny Toilet.  If you have an extra bathroom in your house, turn it into a toddler bathroom.  This has been an AMAZING helper.  My husband found a used toddler toilet on Craigslist and installed it.  She never needed help getting on and off it, and never fell off (or in) the toilet like she did on some grown up toilets.

Don’t mind her messy bathroom!

  • Potty On The Go.  To this day I keep a potty chair in  my car.  More than once, we’ve been at playdates at parks with no available bathrooms.  Several friends’ children have used my car potty.  I use this potty, with these inserts.  I have used it… constantly.  On the side of the road during trips up north to my parents’ house, playdates, even at the beach (in our tent)!  Any time a potty is unavailable, I’m saved by this!

Fisher-Price Ladybug Potty$478$



  • Thick “Training” Underpants – especially for overnight.  We STILL use these at bedtime.  They are “cozy” (her words) and absorbent.  We have the Gerber brand.  My only complaint is they only come in sizes up to 3T.  Luckily, Harlow is really tiny, and the 3t’s still fit her, but on most kids, they’d size out pretty young.


  • No Pull-ups!   We tried Pull Ups for a while.  And hated them.  First, the Pull Up brand is sooo scratchy inside.  Harlow would wake up with raw skin on her bottom.  Plus, even the MUCH better option, Pampers’ Easy Ups (which are MUCH softer inside and an all around better option) gave Harlow a choice.  Her teacher told me one day that Harlow’d had a poop accident, but told her teacher it was okay because she was wearing her “Pull Ups”.  That was the end of that.


  • Double Layer Bedding.  We haven’t actually had to use this very often, but the few times we have, it has been awesome.  We layer a waterproof sheet, a fitted sheet, a waterproof sheet, and a fitted sheet.  I have even added another layer using puppy pads and another fitted sheet once when she was sick and vomiting.  It makes it SO easy to peel off a layer of dirty bedding and get her back into bed.  No scrounging around in the middle of the night finding sheets and remaking the bed. Just a quick costume change, a new blanket, and back to dreamland.


  • Monkey Surprise.  In the beginning, pooping on the potty was not super popular.  Before we “officially” started potty training, she would often pee on the potty, but would never, ever poop.  One day while shopping, we found a small “sock monkey” stuffed Christmas ornament that Harlow REALLY wanted.  I told her it would be her Poop Surprise.  (We call it Monkey Surprise now.)  When she was ready to poop on the potty, she could have him, but only when she pooped.  In the meantime, the monkey lived on the shelf above the toilet.  I’ve never seen someone so excited for their first potty poop.  Harlow would get SO excited each time she pooped so she could hold Monkey Surprise and play with him for a while until it was time for him to return to the shelf.  That worked for a solid year.  Now she won’t poop unless she’s playing a game on my phone, but… ya know.  Compromises.


  • Potty Bag.  When we were out and about, I always carried, (and still keep it in the car), a “go bag” for the potty.  In it was a complete change of clothes, including socks and shoes, a fold up toilet seat, hand sanitizer, a roll of plastic bags for wet clothes in case of an accident, and flushable wet wipes to help clean up accidents.  Always be prepared and you won’t be caught in an awkward situation.

Disney® Minnie Folding Travel Potty Seat with Storage Bag


I think that’s everything!  Well, as I always have said when making these lists – each child is wildly different.  What worked for us may not work at all for you!  But if I help one person with this list, I’m completely thrilled.  Good luck!

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Branching Out

I love me some coffee.  Not sure I’ve ever mentioned that before…

So I have started making coffee cups!  I was getting a little bored with bags.  (Okay, that’s not true – I just wanted to branch out!)


I gave this cup to my sister as an early birthday gift.  Her favorite animal is the giraffe.  Since then, I’ve made a few more.  I really like how they turn out, and I’ve been using dishwasher-safe ModPodge on them so you can just toss them in the dishwasher!  Stay tuned, because I’m breaking out of my shell!  I can’t wait to share more!


Have a great day!

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