My Life of What Ifs

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All...

Pam’s Clipart Images

 I hope you all have a wonderful and joyous holiday.  Peace be with you.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I may not be the "ornament lady" but my kids think I'm super cool! #gluenglitter #elmersholiday

I was given a challenge.  I was up for the challenge.  And dang nabbit I was going to succeed at the challenge.

Remember the ornaments I was talking about?  The ornaments that all the children in my life can decorate their first tree with when they move out on their own?  Well, 'twas a week before Christmas and I was feeling the pressure.

So I went to to Walmart and checked out the Elmer's Memory Keeping aisle and after much back and forth between plain Christmas tree bulbs that I could jazz up, and foam creations I could make three dimensional I came up with something that make my youngest say, "Mom, that is super cool!"  So, it has to be.  Right?

I found that the Elmer's and X-ACTO section at Walmart has some mighty fine tools to use to make my holiday ornaments "super cool." I also discovered that X-ACTO has come a long way since I was in high school and was given a plain silver weapon to cut out and place format when we laid out the school newspaper.
I perused items I don't need this time, but ones that I definitely will have in the future including these templates.

And this Spot Stamper!  Wow!  Santa are you listening!  If I am to finish scrapbooking the eight trillion gazillion photos I have this would certainly help!

In the end, these were the items I decided on to make my 3-D Snowflake ornament. No, you don't need special glasses to watch, but here is a list of what you will need. 

 Supplies Needed:

 My pack of 35 foam snowflakes contained white and light blue snowflakes.  I had to experiment to see which configuration looked best.  In the end I went with whatever struck me.

 I used the X-ACTO Designers Series #1 Craft Knife to make a notch in the two snowflakes for adding the ribbon hanger when I am done decorating.

The ornaments I give have to be personalized and dated.  It's a must.  I used the Elmer's Sparkle Glue to do just that.  I did find that my letters should have used less Sparkle Glue.  Keep your designs thin as it states on the package.  I had to let mine dry overnight.

 I had SO much fun adding dots and squiggles.  My eight-year-old thought it was so cool and wanted to join in.  It was her bed time but I will definitely let her help with the other 15 or so I have to make this week.

I bought ribbon in white and dark blue and cut the strips about 8 inches long to hang the ornaments.

After an overnight drying period I used the Elmer's CraftBond™ Foam Mounting Tape to adhere the two snowflakes together.  This is where the 3-D look came into play.  The two flakes were not flat against each other.  Then I tied each with a ribbon to hang it by.  Voila!

 This was a very simple project, but the kids love it.  Added bonus it was very inexpensive.  If you can't find your "ornament lady" then getting creative and DIYing it is the next best thing.

You can follow Elmer's on Facebook and Twitter and X-ACTO on Facebook for more awesome Do-It-Yourself ideas.

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #ElmersHoliday #gluenglitter #collectivebias #CBias.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cars 2, Oral-B, and Crest Pro Health for Me, umm... them

I was so excited to be picked by MomSelect to host a MommyParties Crest and Oral-B Pro Health for me Party featuring many awesome Crest and Oral-B Stages products and the new Disney movie Cars 2.

Teeth brushing and oral hygiene has always been a challenge in my house.  But it's something I am relentless about.  My girls have always loved the Oral-B Stages toothbrushes and toothpaste, especially the Disney Princess designs.  But, they are getting older and I was finding that plain toothbrushes weren't cutting it for my oldest who is now 11.  So, I was extremely happy when Oral-B introduced their Pro Health for Me line.  They are more grown up than Cinderella, but they still have more pizzazz than a plain toothbrush.  The brushes, paste, flossers and rinse have been a huge hit in my house.

We shared our bounty, courtesy of MomSelect, MommyParties, Crest and Oral B, with four of our favorite families.  With a zillion kids between us ranging in age from two to twelve, we had something for everyone.  Including coupons and information.  Moms crave coupons and information.

We were able to host a viewing party for Cars 2 complete with popcorn, pop (for some) and lots and lots of goodies.  Their was even a learning activity where the kids could vote for which items made a mouth yucky versus healthy.  And balloons! We had balloons.  My dogs LOVED the balloons.


Organizing the goody bags is always a fun for me.  I can't explain it, but putting a few of each item in every bag it something I truly enjoy, and for this party things were no different.  Look at what I had to share with my peeps!


Of course the movie Cars 2 was a huge hit.  My girls are big fans of Mater.  Take a look at his teeth! 

With all of the information I had to read and distribute courtesy of Crest and Oral-B, I learned a lot.  Such as...

Oral B Stages, dentists' #1 recommended toothbrush brand for children, not only has kid appeal but is specially designed to address children's dentition, dexterity and development as they grow.  Oral-B also offers kid-friendly Stages toothpaste to complement their brushing routine. 

In a 2001 practice-based study involving 22 pediatric dental offices in the U.S., Europe and Australia, and nearly 800 children, revealed:
  • 69% of parents reported that, compared to other brushes used, their child was motivated to brush longer with the Stages brush.
  • 91% of dental professionals surveyed felt that the Stages brushes address the specific dentition and dexterity needs of children.
I can vouch for the longer brushing.  My girls have ALWAYS brushed better with these toothbrushes.  That's probably why my dentist gives this brand and style out at our twice-a-year visits.

Crest and Oral-B Pro-Health FOR ME is the first and only complete line of oral care products for tweens (kids 8+) created to protect all the areas dentists check in kids including fighting cavities, strengthening teeth enamel and freshening their breath. And it has cool and unique packaging that tweens love.  At least mine does.

Some fun Tips and Trivia for Healthier Teeth
  • Children should start flossing as soon as two teeth touch each other.
  • Brushing alone can miss up to 30% of the tooth surface.  A plastic handled flosser can make it easier for kids to floss.
  • How much is the Tooth Fairy paying these days per tooth?  About $2 according to Securian Dental Plans, an insurance provider.  (Note to self...)
  • Kids with braces should use a two step system- brushing from the top down, and then the bottom up.  This will help dislodge any breakfast that may be stuck in the brackets.
  • After a professional dental cleaning it only takes a few hours for plaque to re-form on your teeth, so make sure you brush, floss and rinse every day between visits.
  • Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different. (How great is this little NCIS-worthy fact?)
We had a great time, learned a lot, and have many great products to help our kids keep up some great oral hygiene habits.  Thanks to Crest and Oral-B for helping us with another Mommy Challenge.

Don't forget to visit and for more valuable information.  You can also follow @OralB and @Crest on Twitter and become friends of Oral-B and Crest on Facebook.

Disclosure: I was supplied with all of the products shown by MommyParties in order to host this event. All opinions, photos and comments expressed are my own. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

It was a great idea at the time

Twelve years ago I had a brilliant idea.  It was my last one.

Twelve years ago I decided that I would start a tradition of providing my nieces, nephews, children of friends, and eventually my own children, with yearly Christmas ornaments.  For some, this yearly sentimental act was in lieu of a gift.  No more dolls, books, or stuff their Mom's didn't want, just a nice ornament signed and dated by yours truly.

That was 1999.  I had one niece.  My close friends had three daughters among them.  I could swing the whole endeavor for less than 20 bucks.  That was 1999.

It is now 2011.  I have three nieces, four nephews, and my closest, dearest friends now have 18 kids between them.  I have developed friendships with new families too and could easily add in about eight more kids.  That would total 33 ornaments.  And once there was four.

Back in the day I had a great "Ornament Lady", which is what I really called her.  I could find her at a variety of craft shows in Jackson or Ann Arbor. 

She is responsible for this...

And this and this...

And then she fell off the Earth.  Leaving me and my ornaments...hanging... with no idea where to turn to continue the tradition.

I tried to continue the craft show tradition for a bit, but everything that met my "standards" which were based on the "Ornament Lady" cost an arm and a leg, and my siblings and friends kept reproducing.

One year I found these lovely gems...

Not cheap and I had to pay to have them shipped because when I gave the crafter my list of names she passed out on the floor.

Another year I got these for girls, and heaven only knows what everyone else got...

And as the numbers grew, and my money shrank- not in size, just in volume, I tried my luck at boxed ornaments that I could personalize myself.  Thanks to Target and my love of Snowmen/SnowSantas I had a couple of more great years...

and my favorite...

So now here we are in 2011 and Christmas is 15 days away and I have yet to find this year's ornament that I need a gazillion of.  OK, not a gazillion, but even if I only bought for my girls, nieces and nephews I would need 9.  But of course I will buy more than that.  I will probably even buy them for my dogs.  And yes, the ornament has to "speak" to me, and when I see it I will just know that it's the one.  I will drive my husband crazy with my process, but I will be proud of the outcome.  When I deliver them to their recipients some of whom have 12 from me already they will love what I choose.  And for awhile it will seem like a great idea all over again.  Until next December anyway.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tales from an Overextended Mom

I am overextended.  Not necessarily in the financial sense, although I'm far from flush with cash, but in the time sense.  As in, I have none.  Less than some.  No extra.  Zip.

I must learn to say no.  I must learn to say yes to tasks that make me money, and no to a few things that make others money.  In the last few weeks I have been running a book fair, helping wee ones pick out bling for their mom's at the holiday shop, crafting ornaments with girl scouts, and handling recycling for the elementary school.
In the next few weeks I am going to help at another book fair, suggest a coffee mug for dad at another holiday shop, help with math games, craft ornaments at another workshop, and deliver collected toys and crafts to two local organizations.

Oh yeah and I have a severely past due deadline to contend with, and a few other employment opportunities to move to the top of my priority list.

All bitching aside I do love volunteering.  I love being involved at my daughter's schools and I love helping out where I can whether it's at school, church, or elsewhere.  The problem is that these endeavors are wearing me out and when it comes time to complete tasks that pay me money I have nothing left.  These endeavors also cut into my "me" time, which for the last 10 weeks has involved time at the gym.  I'm on the fast track to 40 and I am making significant changes in my physical health before it gets here.  But if I'm worn out mentally, the feelings overpower my physical strength and not only do I not complete work I get paid for I don't do the work I want to do on me either.

I'm not sure there is a solution to my over extension.  My several jobs, two kids, two dogs, hubby and a house all add to my stress, but I have to cut back for so many reasons the most obvious of which is my sanity!  There are only so many mental health trips to Target-with-a-Starbucks that I can squeeze in to my already negative time balance.  So, what do I do?  What do you do?  I have such a hard time with repetition in my schedule that to live by the hour seems horrific.  But is it the only way?  Must I schedule "me" time so that I don't fill those hours with "them" time?

I'm clueless.  And I'm open to suggestions.  What can I do to find a healthy balance?  What is the proper work-me-them balance?   I'm too tired to think.  Share your wisdom, or your lack of.  I'm all ears.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows but me

I think that if you looked back at the month of November for every year I have been blogging you will find some sort of Seasonal Affective Disorder post.  Here is the 2011 installment.

I hate this time of year.  I hate that it's dark at 4:45.  I hate that every ounce of energy I have is zapped from my body.  I hate that I can't sleep when I am oh so tired.  I'm in a funk and even though- for the first time in my life- I am working out three times a week or more, it's not helping.

The simplest of tasks take everything to complete.  And everything is just so... blue.

Depression has many frustrating aspects.  It's amplification during the winter months is just one of them.  But the one I find most frustrating is that people usually don't consider that there is anything wrong with you- except that you are a disrespectful, ungrateful, cold-hearted, bitch.  They don't consider the extreme anxiety you feel in certain situations, or the effort it takes to leave the house.  No they don't, because some depressed folks do a pretty good job of hiding what they feel.  Until they're back home.  And the sun goes down.

I am not the type of person who deliberately hurts people, and yet my actions, or lack thereof, seem to do just that.  I don't mean to hurt anyone, and I don't want to feel this way, but I have and I do, and sometimes we all just have to learn to accept it.

I'm sad.  I have a therapist.  I work out.  I take medication.  This too shall pass.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My girls #sendcheer and make plans to send more

Isn't it funny how sometimes we just figure our kids have no idea about certain things and then one day while shopping at Walmart they blow you away by sharing the secret of life, and their knowledge of, well, the military?

My 11-year-old daughter Ryann is constantly surprising me, and honestly I guess I don't give either of my girls enough credit.

I posted on Friday about the partnership between General Mills and the USO to sendCheer to military families this holiday season.  With specially marked boxes of Cheerios (pictured below) families all over can participate in the Cheerios sendCheer campaign and help raise money for the USO to continue their fantastic programs for military families.


Ryann and I went to Walmart where we found these specially marked boxes on the shelf and we bought 10.  The Walmart cashier asked if I was "coupon shopping" so I told her all about the program and how my girls and I plan to deliver the extra boxes to our awesome neighbors so that they too, can send cheer.


While we were shopping for a few other items Ryann told me how she and her leadership club at school had written letters to soldiers at their meeting this week.  She asked if we would be writing letters with our Cheerios boxes so I explained that there was a post card inside all ready for us to add our own message and drop in the mail.


As you can see 10 boxes takes up a lot of room in the cart, in the trunk and on the counter.  But once we were home the girls were ready.  Jayden mentioned that she hopes her uncle receives her message, but since I could not guarantee that, we made plans to make a treat with our Cheerios to send to my brother, sister-in-law and my two nephews for Christmas.


There isn't much to sending our cheerful notes of thanks.  General Mills has it all ready to go inside the box. All you have to do is cut it out...


Write your message...


Add a stamp... and yes much to Ryann's chagrin I am fresh out of United States flag stamps.  Disney Pixar will have to do :)


I am proud of my girls and what they wrote on their cards, both the fronts and the backs.  They understood the action and the message completely with no help from me, which made me proud.  And now that school is out for the Thanksgiving holiday we plan to make some treats, give thanks and send cheer.

This post has been compensated as part of a sponsored charitable opportunity for Collective Bias.  All opinions expressed are my own.