The Kids' Remote

kids remote control

Would you like 30 minutes of extra sleep on Saturday morning?  This is how: Our sleepy heads call it "The Kids' Remote" and I'm happy it's in their hands!  My friend Katie pinned this 3 months ago, I ordered it and have been loving it ever since.  For some reason it's been discontinued and it's going, going, almost gone!  So hurry and order Sony's Remote for Children, tell it to your neighbor!!!

kids remote

Kids love being in control and independent.  I like having control of the TV when we're away and the kids are with a sitter.  There are 7 programmable channels so I was even able to program the Food Network and HGTV for whoever is watching the kiddos.  Sometimes our sitters have trouble with the regular remote.  I've felt bad coming home with the TV stuck on Nick Jr. and the kids have been asleep for hours.  Yes, this has happened.

We did have a phase of arguing over this great thing, but now they've figured out how to negotiate channels in the early morning. :)

parental control of the tv

The Kids' Remote was missing for a week and that's when I realized it was a necessity.  I almost want two of them so it doesn't happen again.

The #1 reason to get The Kids' Remote:  Our kids like to turn OFF the TV all by themselves!  And when I have to ask they are happier to do so!


Split Second Elf Ideas

Everybody could use a few more Elf on the Shelf ideas, right? ;)  I took these pictures last year (pre-blog so please excuse the grainy photos) of our elf, his name is Tiny.  These ideas were split second, spur of the moment, because most of time we remembered to move our elf after we were already falling asleep.  Meet Tiny, this was his first appearance last year, starting with the reason for the season:

Elf on the Shelf ideas, fast elf on the shelf ideas

Tiny prefers to fly to the North Pole on the wings of an angel:

My personal favorite, Tiny is looking out the window at our car, his evidence is on the table:

Hot chocolate ready to go:

Doing his best to get comfortable for a rest:

Missing the North Pole:

Up all night doing last minute online shopping, toysrus.com:

quick elf on the shelf ideas

Tiny likes to color for the kiddos (don't forget to change your handwriting):

Up all night dancing:

Tiny didn't want us to forget to send Santa a Christmas card, he had a snack too:

Getting fancy:

He made cookies and left them for everyone in the microwave:

Tiny just wanted to feel close to his owners so he snuggled with their spare loveys:

Tiny brought a few small gifts as we got closer to Christmas, here he's gone fishing in the new wooden groceries:

Tiny loves music:

The day before Christmas Tiny had a sign that said Santa's Coming and brought some booties to keep the toes cozy and prepared for Santa's arrival:

Tiny has been in my sock drawer since last year, ha!  I didn't know where to put his magic self so our kids wouldn't see him in a box.  He ended up in my drawer in a last minute hide move.  I see him almost every day, funny!  Can't wait to bring our Elf on the Shelf back out, let the fun begin!


Give Sleep

There's a heartbreaking scene in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness that has stuck with me.  Do you remember when the little boy, Christopher, dropped his Captain America toy?  He dropped it in the middle of the street while running to catch the bus with his Dad.  They were trying to make it to the homeless shelter in time to have a place to sleep and they had to leave the toy behind.  Here's the scene:
(*update- the original clip is no longer on youtube but part of the scene is in this trailer*)

This hit me hard because I was seeing it at a time when my Daughter's "lovey" meant the world to her and provided her with such security when her surroundings were different or scary to her.  What if her surroundings were a homeless shelter and, as in the movie, her Mommy was suddenly missing from the picture?

Around the same time as the movie and the lovey I got an email from Daily Candy talking about Project Night Night, an organization that provides night night packages to homeless children.  Each of these packages/tote bags contains a security blanket, a stuffed animal and book to help a kiddo with sweet dreams and security, tell it to your neighbor!!!  I imagine it helps the parents as well with a very helpless and stressful situation.

The email suggested an idea of hosting a party for your friends, have them bring items for the Night Night Packages and everybody could stuff the totes.  This idea sounded great, I thought maybe I could do it for my birthday or for a holiday.  As I waited and waited for the right time and available resources, 2 years passed and with a baby and a toddler, the right time didn't seem to be any time soon.

Finally I realized I don't have to go big or go home, I can go small and go to the store!  And because my daughter and I share our birthday month, we could do this for our birthdays every year and get excited about giving over getting.

Project Night Night's Adopt a Night Night Package Program is pretty simple, self driven and a concept and cause our 4 year old could grasp.  If this organization strikes a cord with you, here's how to get involved with this program:

1. Order totes from Project Night Night.  The minimum order is 10 bags at $3.50 each plus shipping.

2. Collect new items.  We decided to have a few totes for babies, a few for toddlers, a few for pre-shool age and then a couple for elementary age.  Ideas of places to go:

3. Sort the items by age group.

4. Stuff the bags and label the age group.

5. Take the Project Night Night Package to a participating shelter near you!

Please tell your neighbor about this organization.  Give a better night's sleep to a kiddo without a home!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Christmas Tree Intervention

Do you see our Christmas tree from last year in the picture above?  We got a brand new tree and I never decorated it.  You'd think I would have been excited to make it pretty.  Well, I procrastinate on our tree like you might when packing your house for a move.  I LOVE decorating for Christmas with my family but the tree is another story.   Below is a picture of our tree from the year before (2010).  I'm a perfectionist about it, it takes me hours, I make sure it's all balanced and coordinated.  YUCK!  The worst part is my daughter barely gets to participate because I'm busy balancing it.  ICKY!  I do not want to be that person.  I remember what is was like to be that daughter.  It's time for a CHRISTMAS TREE INTERVENTION, tell it to your neighbor!!!

Please don't get me wrong, I think a coordinated tree is beautiful, but it takes me too long and I am done.  Here's the new plan:  I saw this amazing tree (see below) at Kuhl-Linscomb with jumbo poinsettias bursting through the limbs.  It was so simple.  Their tree looked so easy with such big style.   I loved it!

The idea is for the giant poinsettias to balance the tree with high style and my family (not just me) can add our special/collected/home made ornaments all around them.  Sounds like fun and I won't procrastinate!  K-L's poinsettias were more than I could afford (I think around $70 each).  So I went to google after I didn't make it to the store for a possible post-holiday clearance.  Only one website had what I was looking for and I'd never heard of them, Great Rooms Decor.  Her Large Faux Poinsettias were $22 each with a quantity discount of 10% when you buy six or more.  So I took a chance on the unfamiliar and ordered.

Great Rooms Decor
The chance payed off and I was so impressed when I opened this box!  Top quality!

The flowers are 22" in diameter and they are amazing!

At the Nutcracker Market my sister and I picked up this mercury glass owl tree topper from a new booth, The Antique Cottage.  I think it's going to be so cute!

And for the base of the tree I just found these basket tree skirts from Terrain.

I might try to find a basket and cut out the bottom.  Such a good looking update to the tree skirt.

I'm looking forward to relaxing about our tree and saying good-bye to my crazy ways.  If you like this idea, the poinsettias will ship in 1-2 days and you can get them in time to decorate!  I'll post my finished tree here but in the meantime visualize from the ground up: basket skirt, bursting jumbo poinsettias throughout surrounded by our ornaments full of memories topped with a cute sparkling owl.  

I can't wait to tell my daughter she can put the ornaments where ever she wants!!!


Snowman Wreath, Dip Baby Dip

snowman wreath, grapevine snowman wreath, white snowman wreath, pinterest snowman

Every year there's a fund raiser wreath auction at our Pre-school, each class makes a wreath to be bid on leading up to the book fair.  My friend Elizabeth and I are room moms together for our daughters' class and we decided to make a snowman wreath like the ones we'd seen and loved on pinterest:

Source: pinterest.com via Erica on Pinterest

We both have black doors, a snowman is white, we couldn't find white grapevine wreaths and I was looking for a project to Dip Baby Dip. :)  These projects  have been inspiring me and so it was time to test the waters and take a dip!  Ha!  Also, have you ever tried to spray paint wicker?  Difficult, time consuming and 3 months later you'll find spots that were missed!  I also thought spray paint would get soaked up by a grapevine wreath and end up looking gray.

Martha Stewart said to use water based latex paint.  The knowledgeable gal at Home Depot helped me find a white paint with the least amount of blue drops, Behr: Decorator White, PWN-10.  Martha's instructions also said to stir so the nice gal sent me home with extra sticks.

Next, I needed a tub deep and wide for dipping wreaths.  David, another knowledgeable person at Home Depot, took me straight to the concrete mixing trays.  Perfect and just $5!

Pour the whole gallon in the tub.  It would have been easier if I had 2 gallons but that would have been pricey.

Have a plastic cup ready to pour paint over the thicker wreaths.

Now, dip baby dip, come on let's turn baby turn.

And tilt baby tilt, let it drip baby drip.

Don't let these pictures fool you.  I had white paint in my hair, on my face, covering my hands completely and I am very surprised I didn't drop my phone into the tub of paint.  There's also a spill for memories on the floor of the carport.  It was soooo fun and much better than spray paint!  Let it drip dry, back side down on plastic.

Now to assemble the parts to make a snowman.  We found the scarf at Target:

This blog suggested cable ties to attach the wreaths together and I had white ties on hand!

This worked out great weaving them through the grapevines.

The felt Top Hat from Party City easily cut in half with my super Gingher (TITYN!) scissors.  Then I hot glued it to the top wreath.

I wanted to use all the bells so I grouped them together with twine.

And hung them with cord.

I fiddled around with the placement of everything until a centered top hat and scarf looked best.  But something was not quite right with Mr. Snowman.  This is when I went to sleep and hoped a fresh set of eyes would come up with something in the morning.

And they did, the wreath knot was weak and needed stuffing.

So I stuffed it with tissue and added a few dabs of hot glue for security.

And done, it looks great against the black door!

The stuffing at the neck made scarf look nice and full.

And somewhere along the way I was taught that craftsmanship of the back side is just as important as the front side, especially if your door has glass.

Hopefully this Snowman Wreath will go for a bunch in the auction and raise a lot of money for the best Day School on the planet.

Now I really want to dip a huge set of antlers!  Maybe two thirds white and the rest natural.  I think these wreaths would look awesome partially dipped too, please send me pics if you do it!