Sunday, December 30, 2012

DIY Chore Charts

When my husband and I started discussing chores for Little J- I knew I would want a chore chart. It's just in my nature- I like clear goals and measurable success. I figured Little J would enjoy the visual aspect of the chore chart- and hopefully feel a sense of accomplishment. I don't often log onto Pinterest thinking that I can conquer a DIY project. But after doing a little research, I wanted to share how easy this project can be!

These bad boys are 98 cents each at Home Depot, in the roofing department near the rain gutters. They are 8 by 12 inches.


Next, you'll need Mod Podge. I got an 8 oz jar at Michael's for $6.50, and a foam tip brush for $0.50.


Then, the frames. I picked 8 by 12 inch frames, so I wouldn't have to cut the magnetic backing. I know it can be done, but I wasn't up for it! Those were $10 each at Michael's.

I got alphabet stickers, which added $2 to the project but removed the stress of trying to write in a straight line and added some color. The background of the chart is $0.30 per sheet of scrapbook paper, and I purchased two sheets.


You will need clear glass pebbles, about 1 inch diameter. Those set me back $2.80 at Michael's. Those are for the chore magnets.


Also, you'll need button magnets. These were $6.99, but I used a coupon to get them at $4.19. (40% off one item)


Here's what I started with...


HOW TO: This was super simple!

1. Print out chore chart icons/clip art, keeping in mind that you will want them to be approximately one inch in diameter.

2. Take a glass pebble and trace a circle around your icon. Cut out the circle you traced.

3. Put a thin layer of Mod Podge on the flat part of the glass pebble and place one of the cut outs on the pebble.

4. Using a hot glue gun, glue a button magnet onto the back of the glass pebble with the paper cut out on it.

5. While those are drying, frame your magnetic backing and scrapbook sheet in the picture frame. Decorate with your child's name and stickers.

I hope that covers it. It was so quick and easy! Here is a picture of how mine came out- I spent $38 for two chore charts.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

December Bluum Box - Snow Angel

This month, Bluum themed their box Snow Angel. The box was great- once again! I also got a note about Bluum Toddler- which will be a bigger box, have new features, and is for babies 13 months and up (AKA Baby Mayhem). Apparently, I will be entered automatically. I can't wait to see what it includes! I hope that they maintain the 'mama and baby' aspect of the subscription- which is what drew me to this box in the first place.


Angel Dear Ring Rattle- We got the duck rattle, and it's so soft! Baby Mayhem picked this up out of the box and loved it!


Child's Play Publishing's Pocket Pals- We got the Panda book, and we are learning facts about this interesting animal. This is a very cute item to keep in the diaper bag, and read to them when we have a quiet moment.


Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil- I love that this is cocoa butter in an oil format. It has a pump dispenser too. I swear by Palmer's Cocoa Butter, and I am excited to try this product.


Bonne Maman Preserves and Jellies- Made with 100% natural ingredients, tastes delicious! This little jar is pure sweetness, and the kids love it!


Emergen-C Orange- Our family has been sick for what feels like 2 months straight, so I am very familiar with this product! This packet includes a blend of vitamin C, nutrients and antioxidants to help you feel your best when chasing a toddler!


Montagne Jeunesse, 7th Heaven Mud Mask- This was supposed to be in the November box, but Hurricane Sandy had other plans. I'll have to try this when I put the boys to bed!


Let me know if you got anything different in your December Bluum box!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ten White Elephant Gift Ideas - Under $25

white elephant gift ideas under 25 office holiday part gift exchange

'Tis the season of the office Christmas party, or the family gift exchange. Either way, it's likely that you'll be involved in some kind of White Elephant Gift exchange this year. The gift should be gender neutral and inexpensive. I've compiled a list of ideas, to help you select a gift!

[caption id="attachment_1037" align="alignleft" width="173"]The Corksicle The Corksicle [/caption]

1. Wine-Related Gifts. There are many items at Target, but if you still have time some- the Corksicle is super cute! It keeps the wine chilled to the 'correct' temperature, and doubles as a bottle stopper. You could also do decorative bottle stoppers, a nice electric bottle opener, a pretty pair of wine glasses, or an aerator.

2. Gift Card. This is a super-easy, last minute gift that actually would make me very happy to walk away with! I'd recommend Starbucks or Trader Joe's.

3. Edibles. No, not underwear. Chocolate, cookies or any other holiday goodies! I'd recommend 'buying local'- for extra points. I know that a pound of See's candy would make just about anyone in my office happy! Or try a local bakery, and support small businesses.

4. Popcorn and Movie Tickets. Last year, someone brought a gift card for two movie tickets and chocolate drizzled popcorn - and it was a hit. It is essentially a free date night!

[caption id="attachment_1029" align="alignleft" width="252"] Unzipped Glass Zipper Bag [/caption]

5. Candy dish. Another item from uncommon goods, this clever candy dish caught my eye a while back- and this would be a perfect occasion for it!

6. Stationary. This is primarily a female gift, but Thank you cards or nice note cards are always handy to have. I love Papyrus for this type of gift.

7. Gag gifts. I'm terrible at these, and they give me anxiety. But if you are the type of person who could pull it off- this blog has a great list!

8. Board game. Who doesn't love board games?! You can get these for under $20 at Target or Walmart.

9. Chia Pet. I've always wanted to bring one to a gift exchange. I think this would be an awesome gift to take home! There is quite a variety available on

[caption id="attachment_1033" align="alignleft" width="148"] christmas tree LED USB-Powered Christmas Tree[/caption]

10. USB Plug In Desktop Items. This seems to be a new trend. Our Executive Assistant has this one, from Target. Just Google it, there are so many options!

And lastly, you can always go with a bottle of alcohol (or wine). It's not very creative, but that always works. I hope I've given you some decent ideas. Are you going to a gift exchange this year?


What's your favorite item that you've received at one of these events?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Just Another Morning...

In Pre-K, J made a lovely...thing... with playdough. Apparently, it was made with flour, water, salt and other 'edible' items. Mollie decided to try that out, after we went to bed last night.


When I saw the empty plate, I thought, "Why would you want to eat that?" I mean, this THING had pipe cleaners, buttons, and other random things sticking out of it!


Then I found it on the carpet, so I figured we were OK. No x-rays to determine how many pipe-cleaners needed to be removed. As I was figuring that we were in the clear... I saw this...


I know. You're welcome. Who doesn't enjoy seeing someone else's dog vomit? I spared you from the other photos, there was so much more! So I spent my morning cleaning the dog bed, the kitchen floor, and finding random pieces of play dough on my living room floor. How was YOUR morning?!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bundle Up - November 2012 Bluum

When I saw the theme for this box, I was hoping for an adorable knit hat, mittens or a scarf. But then again, my children are a little 'old' for the baby box, and there is no way any of that stuff would fit them! I enjoyed the Babybug Magazine the best of all these items, but I also loved the stain remover samples. I'll get right into the contents.

mOmma Teether: We got Jack, and adorable seal. I've decided to put him in the freezer for Mayhem- who appears to be getting a molar. In case you didn't see her, my dachshund HATES Jack- and is in the background of this photo trying to get him.


Babybug Magazine: This 'magazine' reads like a book, and it is perfectly sized for Mayhem's stocking- and his chubby, little hands. Vibrant illustrations, and an adorable story.


Numi Organic Teas: This high quality line of teas are made only with organic, fair trade herbs, fruits, flower, and spices. And you've got to love the coupons also!


Madhava Organic Agave Nectar: This is a healthy alternative to processed sugar and artificial sweeteners, and can be used in so many different ways. Agave nectar can be used in your coffee, your oatmeal, and so much more! This also included a sample of coconut sugar- just delicious.


Caldrea Sweet Pea Stain Remover: I'd like to say that I haven't had a chance to use this- and I won't get into details. But let me just say, it works!


A side note, as a result of Hurricane Sandy- the mud mask meant to be included will be included in the December box. Can't wait! Thanks, Bluum- for another great box!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Thanksgiving That (Almost) Never Was...

Most of my friends are posting beautiful family photos of their happy family memories made over this past week. Not me. My week got off to a rough start, with yet another trip with Mayhem to the Emergency Room.

Tuesday: I get a phone call at work from our nanny. She says, "I don't want to worry you... but the baby just threw up. A lot." So, after going through some questions with her, I called the pediatrician. I told them that I was worried, because he had been roughhousing with his older brother the evening before- and banged his head. That was it, we were off to the ER...

During our 3 hours of waiting time (with an active toddler!), we got to see first-hand how bad the flu season is this year. At least there were lots of sirens from firetrucks and ambulances to catch his attention! When we finally got to see the doctor, we were all exhausted. After a quick visit, we were VERY happy to hear that Mayhem was fine- and we could go home!

Wednesday: Follow up visit to the pediatrician, and I had an unexpected 'family care/sick day' from work on the day before Thanksgiving. Gee, does that look suspicious?! What am I gonna do...

Thursday: Thanksgiving with my in-laws. They flew in from Seattle, just in time to receive the stomach bug which we soon learned was the real reason that Mayhem had vomited on Tuesday morning. I also spent the evening in the bathroom (I'll spare you the graphic details). I later learn that my father has suffered the same fate.

Friday: After being up all night, I wake up to find that my husband now has the stomach bug. No one wants to hang out with us today!

Saturday: My sister and brother have flown out from NYC to spend the week with us. Today is the day we're supposed to have our big turkey dinner. My mother is in bed, can't get up. No one wants to eat. My sister and I cook the turkey anyways, and spent a very depressing meal staring at each other. We basically made it so there would be leftovers!

[caption id="attachment_1006" align="aligncenter" width="600"] I stole my sister's pictures, since I didn't take any![/caption]

Saturday evening, Little J came down around 9:30 pm crying that his ear was 'hurting so bad, and it's NEVER going to feel better!' After calling the after-hours hotline for his pediatrician, I had to track down a 24-hour pharmacy and go get his antibiotics. All of us got back to sleep around 11:30 pm.

Sunday: Finally, most of us were feeling better. But now my sister is down, and she and my brother had a red-eye to catch. Not an ideal situation.

So all in all, I barely got to spend any time with my siblings, and a stomach bug knocked each of out- One by one. And I have zero photos from the week- mom fail. At least we all lost weight this week, instead of gaining??

How was YOUR Thanksgiving? I hope it went better than ours!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

WARNING: Food to NOT Feed Your Dog

After my experience with my basset hound, and today's hospital visit for my mother's dog- I thought that I needed to clearly lay out what foods you should NOT feed your dog. Having a toddler makes this task harder than it sounds. Believe me. I wanted to share what I have found since I didn't know many of these were bad for dogs when I started looking. We all know to avoid chocolate (right?!), but here is a list of other items to steer clear from.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="281"]Image Source:[/caption]

1. Onions and garlic: In all forms -- powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated -- can destroy a dog's red blood cells, which leads to anemia. An occasional small dose is probably OK, but eating a large amount once or eating smaller servings regularly can cause poisoning. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, little interest in food, dullness, and breathlessness. 

2. Caffeine: In large enough quantities, caffeine can be fatal for a dog. And, there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, fits, and bleeding. In addition to tea and coffee, caffeine can be found in cocoa, chocolate, sodas, and energy drinks such as Red Bull. It's also in some cold medicines and pain killers.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="220"]Image Source:[/caption]

3. Grapes AND Raisins: Although it isn't clear why, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. And just a small amount can make a dog ill. Repeated vomiting is an early sign. Within a day, the dog will become lethargic and depressed. The best prevention is to keep grapes and raisins off counters and other places your dog can reach.

4. Milk products: On a hot day, it may be tempting to share your ice cream cone with your dog. But if your dog could, it would thank you for not doing so. Milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhea and other digestive upset as well as set up food allergies (which often manifest as itchiness).

5. Macadamia Nuts: Dogs should not eat macadamia nuts or foods containing macadamia nuts because they can be fatal. As few as six raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog ill. Symptoms of poisoning include muscle tremors, weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters, vomiting, elevated body temperature, and rapid heart rate. Eating chocolate with the nuts will make symptoms worse, possibly leading to death.

Other items to avoid: 

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="290"]Image Source:[/caption]


  • Candy and gum
  • Bones (I know! But they are a choking hazard)
  • Raw eggs
  • Raw meat and fish
  • Alcohol
  • Your medicine
  • Avocados
  • Persimmons, peaches and plums
Good treats for dogs:
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Apples
  • Bananas

Thanks to for some great information! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

How To Make a Child-Size Table

Love this post from A Detailed House, with so many child-size table ideas! I need to make a Lego table...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

October Bluum Box - Magical Moments

This month's box had some great Mama items in it! Bluum has done it again. Great products, full size samples, and a way to try out important items in your life before committing to them!

The first item I noticed was the Disney Cuddly Bodysuit. It's so soft! And whoever thought of the three rows of snaps to allow for growth is a genius! Alas, my son is wearing 24 months, so the 6-9 month size will not fit.


Burt's Bees Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash: This is what I already use for Baby Mayhem- and I love it! It's 'no tears' for us, and it makes great bubble baths. I also feel great about using an all natural product on his sensitive skin. It's natural and gentle. And of course, it smells good too!

Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Night Cream: I have been happy with all Burt's Bees products that I have tried, and this is no exception. My very dry skin was so happy! I need to get me a full-sized portion of this cream! Thanks for the coupon!

Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer: This product is great, because it provides color while moisturizing my extremely dry lips. It's also affordable lip color for a busy mama- only $5! I live in VERY DRY Southern California, the nourishment is much appreciated! Good timing, Bluum!

Happy Baby and Happy Tot pouches: I love this for an 'on the go' snack for Baby Mayhem. It's nutritious, and relatively mess-free. We spend too much time in the car together, and this is by no means an entire meal for him anymore- but it helps tide him over until we get home to have lunch. Prevents crankiness, which must be why they call it 'Happy Tot'!


The new packaging works just fine. It's not as gorgeous as the previous box, but it's much more practical. And how many boxes can I keep stacked up in my townhouse anyways...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Three Adorable (and No-Sew) Toddler Halloween Costumes

I am not very crafty. I'll pause and wait while my sister and mother stop laughing...still waiting...still waiting...OK, now if you are still trying to figure out what to dress up your toddler as for Halloween, I have scavenged the internet and found some cute ideas. I will warn you that I have been looking for little boy Halloween costumes, but a couple of these would work for boy or girl. Enjoy!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Baby Frankenstein[/caption]

1. Baby Frankenstein - Instructions for this adorable Frankenstein can be found at  Super easy! 

2. Pumpkin - This mom posted a sweet video of her son, with instructions on how to make this simple, no-sew pumpkin costume.

3. “Up Costume” - This is the most adorable costume I found. Very simple, you can make it at home. Everyone would know what this is- which is important for a costume, in my opinion! 

And for those of you who are more crafty than I am (believe me, that will be most of you)- here is a cute idea that works for boys or girls. It does involve a bit of sewing, but not very much! Our office did this concept last year for Halloween, and I tried it on Baby Mayhem just for kicks. Pretty cute!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="227"] Garden Gnome costume[/caption]

BONUS COSTUME: Garden Gnome - This costume is pretty easy, you just have to make the hat. You can decorate it however you'd like- jeans and a plaid shirt work well for the outfit. Very inexpensive, and adorable!


Are you dressing up your toddler? Show me pictures! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

3 Office Appropriate Halloween Costume Ideas

It's Halloween season and I've enlisted my fashionable sister at I Have A Degree In This! to share some office appropriate costume ideas. Every year, our office goes all out for this holiday. If you don't wear a costume, you definitely stand out. It is a struggle nowadays to find 'work appropriate' costumes- especially for women!

Some general guidelines:

- Avoid controversial topics.
- Keep it classy.
- No alcohol references.
- Avoid weapons, masks, or armor. You don't want to sit in your office with that on all day.

Work Appropriate Halloween Costume

Where to buy this costume idea:

Idea #1: 1950s retro. Get inspired by Sandy from Grease with poodle skirts and ice cream dates. This is a good decade to find demure style inspiration. Where an off the shoulder sweater for a more covered up version of Olivia Newton John's look. Red converse give you comfort but also still fit the retro look. Lastly, tie a bandana in your hair for the finish touch!

Katniss Halloween Costume

Idea #2: TV/Movie Character. Go as your favorite TV/movie character because dressing up as a character is what Halloween is all about. You can seem up-to-date on pop culture references without getting too controversial.

Work Appropriate Halloween Costume Idea #3

Where to buy this costume:

Charlotte russe boots

Straw cowboy hat

Idea #3: Classic costumes. Witch, super hero, Wizard of Oz character, construction worker, etc. Sure they may be boring but classics work. Most likely you'll be able to find many of the pieces in your wardrobe so you'll save money as well.

What costume do you plan on wearing to your office's Halloween party?