Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Homemade Soap Scum Remover that really works!

I have been searching for a great cleaner to get rid of all the soap scum on my shower doors and I have finally found one that works!

And best of all, it's cheap and you make it from just two normal things you probably have around your house. 

The original recipe that I found came from here.

Homemade Soap Scum Remover


12 ounces of Dawn dish washing detergent
12 ounces of distilled vinegar

-Heat the vinegar in the microwave until hot.
-Add the Dawn and swirl around until the two are incorporated.
-Pour into a squirt bottle.

My shower doors were pretty grimy so I sprayed it on and left it for about 30 minutes.  Then I wiped it off with my trust Magic Eraser and rinsed it with water and taaaaa daaaaah!  My shower doors haven't been that clean in years.

Next up, I used my new cleaner on my pot lids.  No matter how hard I scrub those things I can't get them clean.  I sprayed this on them, left it for about 5 minutes, scrubbed with my Magic Eraser, rinsed and those grimy lids looked as good as new. 

I have also used it to clean my stove top and the bathroom sinks.

Go ahead, mix up a batch and get to cleaning.  You will not be disappointed!

And head on over to Kristen's place for more Works For Me Wednesday tips and tricks.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mother Daughter Luau

On Sunday afternoon, Sarah and I headed back to church for the annual Mother Daughter Social.  (Which we have attended for the past three previous years as the Mother Daughter Tea.)

I guess the Columbiettes wanted to change things up this year so they called it a social and we had a luau.

I was more in tea mode and put Sarah in a cute little tea dress.  The other girls were dressed more Hawaiiany.  Didn't matter though because Sarah loved her dress and since that girl has loads of self-esteem (oh, to have but a teaspoonful of hers), she didn't notice or care.

Here she is before we left:

Before our main entertainment arrived, one of the Columbiettes got up to teach the girls some Hawaiian dance moves.  However, one of the girl's grandmothers also got up and proved she really knew what she was doing.  She was very serious about her hula dancing.  And eventually the girls stopped following the Columbiette and started following the grandmother.

And then we got a show from a professional.

And here is a nice shot of us together after we bonded Hawaiian style!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Constance Hopkins

Sarah did a great job on her presentation on Friday afternoon.  She read her speech loudly and clearly and didn't stumble over any of the words.  (Which is good because her teacher was taking points off for that.)

I am so proud of her and so glad that she is being exposed to public speaking at an early age.  The first time I remember speaking in public was in the 7th grade.  (I think it was 7th, Jeff, correct me if I'm wrong.)  I dressed up like Madam Chiang Kai-shek and gave a speech on her life.  It was horrible. It was supposed to be an extemporaneous speech, but I was so afraid I was going to forget what to say, that I memorized the whole thing.  I know it sounded canned but I did the best I could.

At the beginning of the speech, I looked down, took a breath and began with , "I AM MADAM CHIANG KAI-SHEK!"  I was so loud I think I scared the class.  And that's scared not scarred, although, I probably scarred them as well because my old friend Jeff, after reading that Sarah was dressing up for her speech, immediately facebooked me to ask me if I remembered my infamous speech. 

30 years later and he remembers that speech - how's that for making an impression?

Peter gives his speech on Colin Powell today.  Unfortunately, parents aren't invited so no cute pictures of him dressed up in his dad's old Army coat. 

Doesn't she make a cute pilgrim?

Friday, February 24, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

1.  Sarah's presentation is this afternoon at school.  Her teacher is letting parents watch if they want to come so that's where I will be.  (Along with Grandma of course because loves to watch her grandchildren.) I am very interested to see what the other kids will be doing.  Their presentations may be more creative but none will be as cute as Sarah dressed in this costume:

2.  Dan wears his hair very short now and has decided that he wants me to try to cut it to save some money. I will be heading to YouTube soon to watch some tutorials on how to cut a high and tight. If things don't go well, he could be sporting a shaved head for a couple of weeks!

3. Have you noticed that everyone uses the word "so" now when they mean "really"?  For instance, "I so want to go see that new movie," or "I so want to go to the mall."  When did this happen?  How did this happen?

I so want to know.

4. It's Lent know which means no meat on Fridays.  We do a lot of pasta (with pesto sauce, with tomato sauce, with cream sauce, etc.) during Lent because my husband doesn't like fish.  I also make a good black bean soup which we may be having toward the end of Lent when we are all tired of meatless spaghetti.

We had cheese pizza on Ash Wednesday but it was missing something.  I think it was the bacon, pepperoni, and sausage that we normally have on our Wednesday pizza.  We love us some meat up in here!

5.  Track practice starts on Tuesday.  We won't get home from school on Tuesdays now until after 5:00.  Peter is already lamenting the fact that by the time he gets done with all of his homework he won't have any time to play.  I am such a mean mother!

6.  I have volunteered to help the track coach which is ridiculous since it's been almost a month since I've done any running at all.  I think I will finally go for a short run on Monday.  I think I said that last week, but I really want to make sure my knee is better and I finally think it is. I hope.  I really miss running.  HA!  I honestly can't believe I just typed that last sentence.  Who am I? What have they done with the real me?

7.  Sarah and I will be attending a Mother/Daughter luau on Sunday afternoon.  We have attending this function before but in the past it has been a tea.  I guess they wanted to change things up a little bit.  I'm all for it.  The change in theme leaves me wondering if we will have roast pig and poi instead of tea sandwiches and tiny cakes? 

For more 7 Quick Takes, please visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

No more yellow packs and lady bug spots. What a morning!

I had an errand to run this morning that took me right by the Sheetz.  I decided to swing in and get myself a cup of coffee.

I haven't been inside the Sheetz for a cup of coffee in a while.  When I worked at the preschool, I stopped in every morning to get a large Mocha to steel myself for the classroom full of loud and energetic preschoolers.  And even though I figured I was spending more in my Mocha habit than I was actually making, it was worth it if I could just get through that year.

This morning, I wasn't going to order a fancy coffee drink, I was just going to get a plain cup of serve it yourself joe.  When I headed over to the self serve bar, I was pleasantly surprised!  The burners with glass pots of coffee had been removed and in it's place were tall machines that resembled soda fountain machines at McDonald's or wherever you eat your fast food.

Very cool, I thought, as I put my cup under the dispenser and hot coffee gushed forth.  As I turned around to get my cream and Splenda, I was in for an even more pleasant surprise.

The little packs of cream had been replaced with machines that dispense cream, milk and all sorts of flavorings directly into your coffee - no annoying pack to open AND! there were also sugar machines!  I pressed a button and Splenda was dispensed directly into my cup.

I can non tell you how happy I was not to have to open a bunch of tiny yellow packets.

And no - this is not a paid advertisement for Sheetz - I was just really, really excited by these new machines.  Perhaps I should get out and away from my little Keurig more often.  The world  is a big, exciting place apparently.

And to add to my wonder and amazement at Sheetz this morning, as I was giddily skipping back to my car this morning, I noticed a Kia Soul that was parked right beside me.

This car was painted red and was covered in large black dots - yes, think lady bug spots.  The tires were red rimmed continuing with the theme and the best part of all?

There were large eye lashes on top of the head lights!  Eye lashes! These eye lashes were custom made because they fit the car and the head lights perfectly. 

I wish I could have stayed longer because I would love to know who was driving that car.  I half expected a clown with a shiny red nose and large red shoes to come bopping out of the Sheetz with her hot coffee, squeaky horn and over-sized purse.   

Like I said, the world is a big and exciting place.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How To Repair Broken Powder or Eye Shadow

Don't you hate it when you drop your powder or your eye shadow and it cracks?  I do.

I usually throw the broken pieces away while cursing my clumsy fingers.

Well, hang on to your make-up bags ladies because I have discovered a simple and cheap repair trick! 

The next time your powder looks like this:

 Take some rubbing alcohol,

Pour a little alcohol into the powder and stir.  Start with a few drops and gradually add a few more until it becomes stir-able.  You will know when to add more and when to stop - you don't want it soupy but you do need to be able to mix it up.

 When it looks like this leave it alone for several hours or overnight:

And then - Ta da! You have this:

Your powder is magically put back together and can all be used again. The alcohol has disappeared and left your makeup intact.

For more wonderful Works For Me Wednesday tips, please head over to Kristin's place at We Are THAT Family.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Not our typical Sunday night.

It snowed last night.  You know, those big wet fluffy flakes that you love as a kid because they are so big and you can see them coming down and they take up the whole sky and you have visions of being out of school for days and days.  But as an adult you love them because you know those big wet fluffy flakes won't stick to the street and won't last too long and you are thankful because in the south you know that the tiniest bit of snow on the roads really will shut everything down for days and days. 

The kids were excited until I reminded them that they were already out of school today for President's Day.  But then they got excited again when my husband said they could go sledding down the big hill in the dark with the neighbor kids. 

They came in around 9:00 PM wet and cold.  I offered them hot chocolate but Peter asked for a slushie and Sarah asked for a milkshake and because I'm the world's greatest mom, I said yes.   (Because really, what's the difference between hot sugar and cold sugar at 9:00 PM?)

And then we all sat around the fireplace and watched an episode of Winter Wipeout that we had stored on the DVR.  It was a repeat which was even better because we hadn't seen it yet and Jill Wagoner was the host.  We love her and miss her and while Vanessa Lachey may be cute she just isn't snarky enough to replace Jill.

It may not have been our typical Sunday night, but it was a very, very good one.

I would love to show you cute pictures of my kids sledding in the snowy dark night, but I don't have any because I was snuggled up nice and warm and dry by the fire place with my sweet husband.

Like I said, it was a good one.

Friday, February 17, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - The Who The Heck Is He Edition

1.  I've been excited since the kids started at their new school for them to run track.  I got the practice schedule yesterday and of course they practice at the exact time Sarah is supposed to have piano practice.  UGH.  I will be calling her teacher today to find out if we can change her practice time.

2. I never thought I would be one of those parents who over schedules their children but with Boy and Girl Scouts, piano for Sarah, guitar for Peter, basketball for Sarah, swim team in the summer for both, and now track for both, it seems that is exactly who I have become.  sigh

3. A few more chapters in Revelation and I am done with reading the Bible all the way through a second time. Whew!  It took me more than a year again but I did it.  Now instead of reading it all the way through again, I would like to choose a few chapters and study them in depth.  I don't want a DVD-based study though because I do my reading/studying in the morning when everyone else is asleep.  I need suggestions on a good study that is book-based.  If you have any, please leave them in the comments.

4. My father-in-law has gone back to his home for a visit this weekend.  The smile on his face as he waved goodbye last night was priceless.

5.  The kids both have projects this month that involve researching someone from history and writing a report about the person and then delivering the information in a creative way.  Since I am not creative, the kids will be dressing up as their characters and telling about them.  I am certain other kids will come in with videos, song and dance routines, soliloquies, etc.  Not my kids though...unfortunately they were cursed with a mom who is completely uncreative.  Sorry guys!

6.  Peter's report is for black history month so he has chosen Colin Powell.  Well, chosen is probably not the best word - Dan suggested it to Peter and Peter is going along with it.  Dan meet Colin Powell when he was in the army serving in Panama. 

7.  Sarah is doing Stephen Hopkins.  Who the heck is who you might be wondering?  He was one of the pilgrims who come over on the Mayflower.  Dan and thus Peter and Sarah can trace their ancestry back to him.  When we asked Sarah who she wanted to do for her report (hers isn't for black history month, obviously) she chose him.  I tried to dissuade her because there isn't a vast wealth of info on him but thanks to Google and the Wiki there is enough for a 2nd grade report.  She will be dressing up as one of his daughters.  She's supposed to include a  picture.  Think this one will do?  I hope so.  Perhaps I can substitute a picture of Miles Standish or William Brewster - you know - the famous pilgrims!
For more 7 Quick Takes, head over here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Andes Mint Cookies

I tried a new cookie recipe that I found on Pinterest.  The original recipe was found at Six Sisters' Stuff.

I love chocolate and I love Andes Mints and the recipe only has four ingredients so I figured I would make them as a Valentine's treat for our family.

Andes Mint Cookies

1 Devil's Food Cake Mix
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 package of Andes Mints

Mix cake mix, oil, and eggs together.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet. (I used my Pampered Chef scoop and it worked perfectly for this consistency of dough.)
Bake at 350 degrees for 6-9 minutes. Be careful not to overback them.
Take sheet out of oven and while the cookies are still very hot, place an Andes Mint on top of each cookie.
Wait 5 minutes until the mint has melted. Take a spoon and smooth out each mint like frosting.
My batch made 22 cookies.

The verdict from out family: 
My father-in-law and son loved them. 
Sarah and I did not care for them at all.  I guess we just like our mints and our cookies separate.
My husband does not like mints and wouldn't even try them.

These are super easy to make and with only four ingredients, you should give them a shot!  Someone in your house will thank you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Here's to Monday!

I haven't run in two and a half weeks.  And I've gained 2 and 1/2 pounds. 

I mentioned this to my dearly beloved husband and his kind and supportive response?

"Geez at that rate you'll gain over 50 pounds by the end of the year."

Thank you, honey.

My knee is feeling much better, my new running shoes have arrived and I plan on going for a short run on Monday.  I thought I would give the old knees a few extra days of rest just to be on the safe side. 

Meanwhile, I'm trying not to eat all the Valentine's candy that has made it's way into my house.  But those Lindor truffles keep calling my  name. And I have never been able to resist a truffle.

Monday will be here soon enough and I'm sure the truffles will be gone by then. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

And now they are mine.

I rip into the red envelope that is waiting for me at the breakfast table.

I slowly pull out the card.  I open it and begin to savor the sweet words.

Tears form in the corners of my eyes like they always do, every time I read the words he has chosen for me.

I read it several times throughout the day.

He's at work but the words are right there speaking to me as I fold  laundry, whispering to me as I wash breakfast dishes, singing to me as I make dinner.

The words are simple, not flowery.  They are heartfelt, not insincere.  They are true, not counterfeit.

They are powerful. And now they are mine.

I write the date on the back of the card, slowly return it to it's envelope and carefully place it in the large box with all of the others.

Monday, February 13, 2012

It was a good one.

Aunt Cathy arrived on Friday evening to surprise the kids.  In addition to some Mad Libs and a Clue game, she must have tucked a whole bunch of good luck into her overnight bag.

Sarah, who has not scored a basket (other than free throw shots) during the game since last season when Aunt Cathy visited, took a shot during the game and scored!

Sarah is the one with the long pony tail and the white short sleeves underneath her jersey and that's HER shot coming out of the basket!  Way to go Sarah!

And then, if that wasn't enough excitement for one weekend, Peter competed in his pack's Pinewood Derby and not only did he win 1st place in his den, he won 1st place in the whole thing!  He had the fastest car in the whole pack!  Way to go Peter!

Aunt Cathy, you're coming back next weekend, right? 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Highlights from the dance.

Sarah and  Daddy had a wonderful time at the Father Daughter dance on Friday night.

When they arrived at the dance they picked up their corsage and boutonniere and then had their picture taken.
So sweet.

Then their night of dancing began!  They did the Chicken Dance, the Hokey Pokey, the Macarena, the YMCA and the Cha Cha Slide.  Below is photographic evidence that he actually did the Hokey Pokey.

You put your left elbow in.  You put your left elbow out.
At one point in the evening, they had everyone form two lines facing each other and had the dads come dancing down the center doing their best dance and then all the little girls voted on who was the best dancer. Dan did not win this award but according to him Sarah didn't even vote for him.  Her defense "well the other daddy was really, really good!".

Oh how I would have loved to have seen my sweet husband dancing down the center of these two lines.  Sarah - if you ever in your life doubt that your daddy loves you, I will have to remind you of that moment.

Here they are in the line watching the dads do their best dancing.  They are holding hands.  So sweet.

They also had lots of opportunities to "boogie" as Sarah likes to call it.
Here they are getting their groove on.

Sarah and her friend Mia danced a lot of dances together.
Sarah and her friend Mia.

More Sarah and Mia

And it wouldn't be a Father-Daughter dance without at least one slow dance. 

Sarah has already announced that they will definitely be going back again next year! That gives Dan a whole year to practice his moves so he can win the Best Daddy Dancer award!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Betcha you didn't know....

...that if you type "pirate treasure hunt clues" into Google, my blog will be the first result that comes up.  Pretty impressive, huh?  I thought so too.

A little less impressive? I'm #4 if you type in "strange perversions".

**Don't forget - You have until Wednesday at 9:00 pm to leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a copy of  I Just Can't Take It Anymore.  (And just so you know, you don't have to have your own blog.  Just make sure you leave a way for me to get in touch with you if you are the winner.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

I Just Can't Take It Anymore! Giveaway.

And the winner of the book giveaway was Snarky McGee!  Congratulations, Snarky!

Relax, Mom!  Everything's okay over here.

I Just Can't Take It Anymore! is the title of Anthony DeStafano's latest book.  And what a little gem this thing is!

"By pairing a thoughtful story line with amusing full-color photographs of children, bestselling author Anthony DeStefano succeeds in delivering a lighthearted look at the age-old question, “why me?”
Through photos, especially chosen to bring out a smile, and carefully crafted sentiment, Anthony shares his delightful sense of humor, lifts the reader’s spirit, and plants a firm message of hope and encouragement.
Fun for all, this is one book that can be given—or received!—on any occasion."

Anthony sent me a copy to review and it is absolutely the sweetest book I have seen.  The pictures in it will bring a smile to your face and the words will lift your spirit.

Take a look at a few sample pages:

This book would be a wonderful gift for a friend who needs to have their day brightened or who just needs to be reminded that Jesus cares.

It would make a great book to keep on your own book shelf to read when you are having one of those days.  And we all have those every now and then.

Anthony has kindly offered to let one of you have a copy.  All you have to do is to leave a comment on this post.  Comments will be left open until Wednesday at 9:00 PM EST.  I will randomly choose the winner after that.  This contest is open to US residents only.  If you haven't enabled email response on your comments, then leave a way for me to get in touch with you in your comment.

Good luck everyone!

I was provided a copy of this book to review but my opinions of this book are mine and mine alone. If I didn't like this book, you would not be reading this post!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Don't they make a cute couple?

Here they are before leaving for the Father-Daughter dance at school. I can't wait to hear all about it!

7 Quick Takes

1.  Sarah and Dan will be attending a Father-Daughter Dance tonight.  Sarah is thrilled.  Dan is,um, a little less than thrilled.  He keeps asking me what they are going to do for two whole hours.  I told him he and Sarah will probably dance for about 5 minutes, eat some refreshments, have their picture taken and then she will run off giggling with her friends for the next hour and forty-five minutes.  And then he will have to get to talk to the other uncomfortable dads until time to come home.  I think that's what he's afraid of.

2.  Dan and Peter have been working on Peter's Pinewood Derby car for next weekend's race.  Lowe's Home Improvement is going to have a track set up tomorrow for any Boy Scout to come by and test their car.  The boys are going to do that tomorrow to make sure it runs okay and doesn't jump the track.  I think at this point though it would be too late for them to make any improvements to the car although someone from Lowe's will be available to make suggestions.  It would be nice if one year we had a fast car.

3.  We are excited about the Super Bowl this weekend.  Go Patriots!  I will be making a big batch of my Jalapeno Popper Dip.  I would invite you guys over but when the Patriots are in the Super Bowl, my husband won't allow for any distractions - no parties, no people, no conversation - just nervous watching, occasional pacing and frantic phone calls to his brother to discuss how the game is going.

4. Saw this on  Pinterest this week.  Love it!

5.  I have been having problems with my knees lately so I have stopped running for a while until they feel better.  I've done some research and I think my problem is my form.  I am a heel striker and I should be striking midfoot. Striking with your heel causes knee pain among various other physical issues. I have ordered some shoes that should help me correct my form.  I hope they work because I miss my runs! 

6. I took my father-in-law to McDonald's for breakfast this morning.  He loves McDonald's.  If you asked him to name his favorite restaurant he would tell you McDonald's.   You know what I love about McDonald's?  Their medium hot mochas with skim milk.  McCafe is the best thing going when you have to go to McDonald's.

7.  Saw a groundhog sitting at the edge of a field this morning.  Does it mean anything special when they see their shadows the day after Groundhog's Day?

For more Quick Takes, head over here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Student Appreciation Day is supposed to be about the kids but I somehow make it all about ME!

Yesterday morning when I woke the kids up all I could get out of my mouth was, "Rise and Shine!  It's Student Appre-" and they were up, breakfast eaten, beds made, teeth brushed, hair combed and ready to go. 

They had a great day.  And I even enjoyed myself.  I am not going to lie.  I was not looking forward to it at all.

When I signed up to help there were three options left from which to choose.  The first option was Wipeout.  While I love to watch Wipeout on TV with the kids, I knew that playing it outdoors rain or shine, 60 degrees or 30 degrees was not an option for me.  So I passed on volunteering at the Wipeout station.  (And might I add, the man that set up the course did a great job.  He even had a sweeper arm and kids stationed around the course to fire Nerf bullets at the kids going through the obstacles.  And he designed and printed tee shirts.  I think I am officially the most slacker parent at this school.)

My next option was helping with the cooking station.!  Now that I could handle.  Not so much the cooking but I am always available for eating. 

However, I finally chose the Relay Race station because the mom in charge of that station is Peter's friend Chris' mom and my only real mom friend at the school so far.  So, I knew I had to help her.

But relay races?  Ugh.  So not my style.  Anyway, I went knowing that it was only from 9-12 and I could do anything for 3 hours, right? 

But what do you know. I actually had fun.  I actually enjoyed myself.  Yikes!  Who am I becoming?

And all of the kids that came through our station seemed to enjoy themselves as well.  Nothing like running, and screaming and relaying and racing for 30 minutes to really get the kids fired up!

But alas, I must be getting old.  I was in the gym on my feet from 8:00 am until 12:00 pm.  I finally got home around 1:00 and was exhausted.  Tuckered out as we like to say in the south.  Tuckered plum out from being on my feet for only 4 hours.  What a wimp!

But alls well that ends well. I have recovered today.  My kids have recovered from the gummy worms AND gummy bears that put on their top-your-own sundaes yesterday.  (ick!)  And I knew life was back to normal when I had to drag them out of bed.   They weren't falling for my sing-songy version of "Rise and Shine!  It's Student Appreciation Day" today.

And let me leave you with this picture of me hard at work at the Relay Race station:

This fine photography work was done by one of the many kids that took photography as one of their sessions yesterday.  After a brief lesson, they were set loose on the school to take pictures of all the kids.  546 pictures later and this is the best one of me.  Oh, well! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

S.A.D is definitely not sad!

It's Catholic Schools Week and today, my children's school is having Student Appreciation Day.

A couple of weeks ago, all the kids got to go through a list of 25 activities and rank them according to which they wanted to do most to which they wanted to do least.

This list included things like gymnastics, Lego building, cheerleading, basketball, cooking demonstration, WipeOut, photography, Bingo, tye-die shirt making, geocaching, jewelry making, woodworking and the list goes on.

The kids will rotate through 6 of these stations this morning and all of these stations will be manned by parents.  I am helping out with the Relay Race station.  I am really rethinking my decision.  I found out yesterday that the kids get to sample everything they make in the cooking demonstration. 

Samples of food and I chose to do relays!  Bad choice on my part.

After the morning of activities, the kids will have a pizza lunch and then watch a juggler perform.  The juggler will also teach them how to juggle.  After that, it's ice cream sundaes.

My kids have been looking forward to this day for two weeks now and are really keeping their fingers crossed that they won't have any homework tonight either.

By the time you read this, I will be knee deep in balloons, eggs, pennies and spoons.  If I can make it to lunch time though, I hear that I will get pizza.