Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bullying.. and not always physical, but still hurts!



This is a long post, and probably an all-over-the-place-post. This “happened” and by happened, I mean what we did, a couple months back, and I wanted to let this rest for a bit before I posted.

Our neighborhood (not the neighbors on each side of us as they are fabulous) has gotten uncomfortable. I have thought about this post often, and have not written as I really do not know what to type. We asked two girls from two different families (would have been three girls but two are sisters so only two families, but only two were there this day) to not come over again: to not play in our yard. We are a VERY relax family (forgiving), love kids and know nothing is perfect, but it gets to a point where you have to do something. Our house and yard should be a comfortable, happy place.The un-relax part of our personality comes when someone in our family is hurt.

For years, my daughter (Aw, my kid is the nerdy-3rd grader-that-reads-on-a-6th-grade-reading-level-takes-genius-classes-in-school-piano-playing-minecraft-lover-archery-not-good-at-other-sports-but-running-8-year-old) has been playing with three girls in the neighborhood. I state all that other stuff cause she is different than some girls, and we know that, but it doesn’t excuse all of this. These girls are not the friendliest kids, but she enjoyed playing with them when they were in GOOD moods. She would come in when it was a BAD day, and play when they were in a friendly mood. (Crazy situation, but she wanted to play with them, and at the time, it was more … the kids just run wild and stay out all day (some days, mom would come by talk to kid and I would find out she left and didn’t tell me no one was home… and didn’t ask me if I would be here all day)… and probably have never been told no in their lives) When they were younger, I could walk outside and state, “Hey, girls, can we please be kind to each other?” or something to that fact. Usually, that fixed it and the three girls would be nice to my daughter again, and they would have a lot of fun. At the time, we thought it was just immaturity problems even though things said, made us wonder other things… can you help us find our dog.. where are your parents… they don’t like to get dressed and up on the weekend… etc, etc.

Well, off and on for a year, the nicest way to state this is they are just mean! I hate to refer to any kid as mean, but I really do not have another word for it. For a while, if my husband or I sat outside or walked outside, they would be kind, but that stopped a few months back. It didn’t matter who was watching. The two youngest are in the same class at school and started playing with each other more, which is the only thing beside just getting older that I can see that changed. The two youngest girls would come home, ask my daughter to come outside and then as soon as I came back in start yelling how much they hated her and how ugly she was, laugh and run off leaving my kid standing there in tears. (Now, here is the kicker, they would do this RIGHT in front of my kitchen window, right where I just walked past. Thin walls around. I could hear it ALL!) I would bring her in crying, “Why, are they treating me like this?” I really had no answer for her as they had not had a fight. This went on and on. They would ask her out and do it again and again. For days, we would say she was busy, but she still wanted to talk to them. Later, I would talk to them, nicely, and ask them why they are doing it. I would receive, the- “We didn’t do that.” -Answer. Then it was, come outside to my daughter, and then they would say, we will be right back, then they would run somewhere to play and laugh at her and point and not come back, sometimes sticking their tongue out at her. One day it was, “hey, we got invited to a party.” My daughter, “Oh, that’s neat. I hope you have fun.” Them, “Well, you weren’t invited cause no one likes you.” Followed by laughter. (Again, in front of my window) We talked and talked to our daughter about how these girls are not her friends. That true friends do not treat others like this. She has sweet boys next door that play with her well. Yet, she wants friends that are girls. It finally took these incidents happening over and over again for her to realize that this wasn’t a relationship that she wanted and that girls at school were not treating her like this.

I started making playdates with friends with girls so she could see that this is how it is suppose to be…. You play with girls and you are treated well. So she stopped wanting to play with them, but when they all live and play in the same neighborhood, and attend the same school, you see each other. It got where my daughter would run into the house as soon as she saw them with me telling them she could not play. Or my daughter hiding behind TREES!! That really got us, she is hiding from them outside because she cannot handle it anymore. This is when we decided it was time to tell the girls that they cannot play with our daughter anymore and that they were not welcome in our yard.

Now let me back up a bit. I keep stating three girls, but refer to really only two. The older girl, one of the sisters, was bullying my daughter really bad a while back. Yelling at our daughter, in her face, grabbing her shirt and yelling. Then yelling at me when I told her to stop. Bad stuff. This started when she found out my daughter was not able to ride a bike and was afraid too. This girl used to sit with me outside and my youngest child and we would watch my daughter and her sister play. She was always very quiet and quite nice. We were scared that something was going on in her life that needed help. I asked the youngest girl to have her mom call me and I talked to the mom and it did get some better, and her mom said she was being like that with everyone and they were worried. The situation did not become perfect, but it got better and she behaved, but we also saw how the mom treated the other daughter, totally different. We actually felt sorry for the eldest daughter. It was obvious that she is treated differently. The youngest could do no wrong. Well, when we told the girls they could no longer play in our yard and with our daughter, that is when things got really interesting!

Okay, so the day everything went crazy in the neighborhood… my daughter was trying to get in the house not being seen by the two younger girls by hiding behind trees, but they saw her so she runs in a panic. I asked her if this is the day she wanted me to tell them she is not going to play with them anymore, and she stated yes. (We had talked to her that this is what me and her dad wanted to do and she didn’t want to talk to them anymore). I told her she could go inside and I could do it alone or she could stay. She decided to stay. The girls ran up and I stated, very nicely, that she would not be playing with them anymore and that they could not play in our yard anymore. And I told them what I had been hearing them saying and I bought up a few incidents. They nodded their head and walked away. I really thought it was easy and over.

First, we got a visit from the dad across the street, he was rational, and we can still talk to him, and we understand each other for the most part. It is uncomfortable, but okay. Now, we didn’t agree on everything, as he wanted the kids to be immediate friends again, cause in his words… this is how girls play. Um, sorry, but yes, girls do play different than boys, but doesn’t mean they can and should play like this. I do not see this as playing. We as parents, teach our kids how to behave, whether girls or boys. Then we got a visit from the girls’ mom. WOW!! I mean, WOW! Now, I have talked to her many times in the past, school, my house, etc, so this was something. We were not friends as there has always been some coldness there (no idea why, but we thought just personality), but I still thought, okay, she took care, for the most part, of her other daughter that time, and come on, why would we do this unless there is a problem? My husband was in shock about the mom’s behavior. He really, really believes if he had not been there she would have jumped me. She was in my face! First off, she was ANGRY that her daughter woke her up crying. She was taking a nap and did not like being woke up. (Funny, saw her daughter an hour before her mom came over and she was outside playing happily, no crying) She said her daughter is the sweetest kid in the world, ask anyone. I said quietly, “Not in my yard she isn’t” She then stated that her other daughter will not play with mine either and my kid will have to just deal with it when her kids are playing next door. Of course we knew, we cannot control the neighborhood. (funny, boys aren’t fond playing with them as they aren’t too nice to them either) It was a crazy, one-sided conversation with her just yelling at me. She walked off and my husband said, “Well, now I know where the girls get their personalities from.” 

I wish this was the end… sigh.. the girls started hanging out just outside our yard and just STARE at our house. We must be interesting. Cause they did it for DAYS!  Anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. One leans against a tree and the other rides her bike in a circle. After a few days of this, my daughter went outside cause one of the boys came over. They played and the girls watched. They yelled a few times, but unknown what they yelled. A couple of times my daughter and the boy started to walk next door, then the girls came running into that yard, so my daughter and the boy came back into our yard. A few more days later, my daughter was playing with the boys next door in their yard, the girls came over and started walking within an inch of my daughter not saying anything, but just walking really close every time she moved. Really crazy. My daughter and the boys went inside the boys house (girls aren’t allowed inside, girls’ family’s rule). So this is pretty much how it is now. The girls followed my daughter around, she either comes back home with the boys following or goes into their house. You would think they would get bored. One day, they stood in front of my driveway (in the street) when I was trying to leave like they were not going to move out of my way. They didn’t know my husband was home, I texted him stating they are doing something and positioning themselves in front of the driveway, so he walked outside. They took a look at him and took off running. No idea what is was about, but happy he works really early in the morning so he is home in the afternoon. 

School hasn't been too bad as they are in different grades than my daughter. My daughter does see them much, but she doesn't look at them when they do if anyway possible. So far only thing that has happened has been really ugly looks and one of the girls telling another kid at school to not look at my kid (dressed up on Halloween) cause my kid is mean. That shocked my kid. I told her that she has to justify something to herself or it might even be what her mom told her. Don't worry about it. 

Not sure what the law is about all of this stuff. I know if my daughter is physically hurt, we can do something, but we really do not want anything like that happening for more than one reason, biggest, I do not want my kid hurt, and two, I hate this kind of stuff. I would just love to have a happy neighborhood, where people control their kids. We didn’t go directly to the parents due to how the kids just run the neighborhood, things that come out of their mouths and conversations in the past, more with the family with the two girls. We might have walked over to the dad we talked to, but we didn’t notice he was home, and do not really know his wife well. He works a lot, and again, we have never had a problem with him, personally, we were just trying to stop things that day. We just really didn’t see why us telling two kids to not play in our yard would turn into this. It's our yard.

We hope the kids just get bored and move on. It has been really, really cold weather wise so everyone has been staying in a lot. Or my daughter plays inside with the boys. Thankfully, she is really busy with after-school activities now. She is not home right after school anymore so that really doesn’t leave too many days open to play. We will figure out the summer when it gets here.

Really, I have so much more to type, but I really don’t want to. It brings so many emotions up. I would be so upset if someone told me my kid was behaving like this, but upset on the level of.. okay, kid, you are going to behave, not, how dare you tell me my kid acts like this, or how dare you tell me my kid cannot play with your kid or in your yard. Because she was not physically touched, they did not see it as bullying. Also, I told both parents, “I am not telling you what my daughter is saying is happening, but what I AM seeing and HEARING.” That meant nothing to them. I really had thought it would have. I really have been shocked by all of this. My husband is too. I could have video taped it, but then probably would have been yelled at for video taping someone’s kid!! I really thought me telling what I saw, and what my husband saw, was good enough! Sigh… I will never learn, people continue to surprise me!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November is National Adoption Month

In honor of National Adoption Month, I have reduced my Kindle version of December Babies to .99 cents for the whole month of November. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

20% baby sale. Here is the coupon for Amazon!

Amazon has a great coupon on baby gear going on right now. Expires September 30, 2014.  Baby item has to be SOLD and shipped by Amazon. Head there now to save on strollers, car seats, etc. Use coupon code:   WHATADEAL to save 20%

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pear Pie with Gruyere crust



Pear Pie with Gruyere crust



Filling:

6 Bartlett pears, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoon melted butter

3 tablespoon white sugar

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

Crust

½ cup ice water

2 sticks of butter, softened

½ teaspoon brown sugar

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

½ teaspoon salt



Filling: Melt butter in pan, add sliced pears, vanilla, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cook for 5 minutes. Add cornstarch and turn heat off and let cool. My husband likes a crunch to his pie this is why I do not cook the filling for long. If you prefer a softer pie filling, then cook for at least 30 minutes until pears are softer.

Crust: Cut up 2 sticks of butter, and put in mixing bowl. Add brown sugar, flour, salt, and cheese. Then slowly add ice water as needed while mixing. Kneed and roll out two balls on a flour surface. Use extra flour as needed.  One ball is for the bottom crust, and one is for the top crust.



Add the bottom crust to the pie pan, then add filling. Add the top pie crust, use a fork around the sides to seam the pie up. Then cut slits on top. Cook 350 until brown, usually 35 minutes. I put a pizza pan or cookie sheet under my pie in case some of the filling pours out.

My husband loves this topped with vanilla ice cream. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Help with school lunches?

School is in full swing. What do you do when you have a picky eater? I sure would love some suggestions on what you pack for your child for lunch. Leave some comments, and I will update this post with your suggestions. Maybe we can all help each other out? 

Right now these are the items that she likes and would like to take to school (not all at once): cubed cheese, fruit slices, flour tortilla with cheese (she is not a big meat eater), crackers with cream cheese, jelly sandwich (she does not like peanut butter), boiled egg (rarely but sometimes she will eat a boiled egg), pistachios or cashews, loves Lima beans and mac n cheese (items to keep a thermos warm by lunch time?), candied carrots, yogurt, sometimes will eat chicken nuggets (again, how to keep warm?), sometimes chips, and a bagel with cream cheese.

So any ideas on food, and help to keep her thermos nice and warm by lunch?

 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Beef Vegetable soup. Crockpot or Stove.

Our favorite and an easy beef vegetable soup that you can cook in crock pot or on stove. 

1 pack frozen soup vegetables with tomatoes
1 pack of cubed beef (uncooked) (Really use as much as you like. I buy a small package)
1/2 cup sliced Pepperoncini (these are not hot, but have a great taste)
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups beef broth (you can use 1 beef bouillon for 2 cups water. Knorr does not have egg if you have an allergy like me)
2 packs of Italian salad dressing seasoning mix (1 to add while cooking, and one before you serve)
4 cups water (you may need more depending on how much meat you added)
1 teaspoon Cajan seasonings (you can use seasoned salt if you do not like Cajan)

Add everything BUT one package of Italian seasoning mix. Cook in crock pot on high for 5 hours or more depending on how much meat you added. We also like to put this on low and cook all night. It is sooooooooo tender. If you are cooking on the stove, cook until meat is cooked. About 2 hours for it to be tender. 30 minutes before you serve, add the last Italian seasoning mix.

Serve with crackers or a yummy sandwich.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Epiphanie Lyric Camera Bag that I won (review)

I see giveaways online all the time for camera bags, and I started entering. Imagine my surprise when I won the giveaway by Sew Many Savings. I really had my eye on an Epiphanie Camera Bag for a long time.

I picked the Lyric in brown. I wanted brown since it would match more clothes and Fall is here. First off, I am a short gal. I am 4' 11". The last thing I need is a big bag weighing me down. Currently, I only have one lens for my DSLR, but I still carry many things with me, and I am working on saving money for more lenses. One of the reasons I picked the Lyric is because it is a slim bag at 4 inches wide, but the bag can still hold many things. Most camera bags are twice that. The exact measurements for the whole camera bag are: 13"L x 4"W x 15"H (This is from Epiphanie's website). I also still have a preschooler so I do carry around wipes and a change of clothes. (I did not factor that in when I was taking pictures, but I still have room in this bag to carry both)

Okay, now let's get to my new bag. What a wonderful surprise when the mailman brought this to my door! I was expecting another package so I did let out a thrill of joy knowing my camera bag had arrived. It really did feel like Christmas!

I opened the box and was met with this cute sticker:
Once I took the plastic off, I was met with this sturdy dustcover:
Here is what you are waiting for:
I love the feel and look of this bag.

The cutest charm EVER:
The shoulder strap is adorable as well, not to mention very soft. I did take the pad off the extra long strap that came with the bag and put it on the braided strap (I found a small tiny tear on the shoulder pad when I was putting it on, but it is not noticeable. I will watch it as I use it and see what happens. I am sure I can buy a replacement pad later if I need to either from the company or ebay)
Here is the back of the bag. My kindle fit easily with plenty of room to space. Would easily hold an ipad.
A few stickers that were in the bag waiting for me:
The inside of the bag: (These later pictures were taken with my iphone)
In these pictures you can see my Nikon with lens attached, wallet, kindle (in pink case), battery charger, two black cases that have my lens filters, lipstick, hand sanitizer and pink/white case that holds my camera accessories such as lens pen, memory card, etc. Plenty of room for more items. The bag comes with four inserts that you can move around anyway you want. I took one out as I only need three right now. The back zipper held my kindle. I used the zipper compartments on the front to hold my battery charger, lipstick and hand sanitizer. I did not even use the one inside the bag. I do not always carry such a big wallet so when I carry my smaller one, I will have even more room, and I will most likely put that in the inside zipper. I usually do not carry both filter cases. I just wanted to show how much room you have. Also, love this..... I could easily put a small jacket inside on top of all of this and zip it up!

The bag feels soft next to my body with everything in it, and it did not feel too heavy. I did carry the shoulder strap over my body, but I could have put on my shoulder and not felt too short. 

I hope this review helps. I plan on reviewing this on video soon as I could not find any online. I will post a video link once I have used this bag more.
 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sick... Check the date! Learn from my mistake!

Do you use the TimeHop app? Well, today, I was looking at it, and it reminded me what happened three years ago. We (kids and husband) were shopping after a day of fun at the beach and eating out. We had just started shopping when my skin was starting to hurt, and I felt extremely nauseated. I am extremely fair skinned, and I ALWAYS wear a high number of sunscreen. We also sit under either a tent or umbrellas especially since we have kids. I have an allergy to egg whites and wondered if I was having an allergic reaction. All I knew is I was getting extremely sick and very fast. I was tired, my head was killing me, and I needed to sit down, and I knew, very soon, I was going to throw up. We left and headed home, after a big dose of Benadryl, and trying to figure out what I had eaten that had caused this. 

As soon as we got home, I started throwing up. I took a shower to try and feel better. This is when my skin started to get really red, and even redder. The pain was unbearable, unlike any sunburn I have ever experienced. What in the world was going on? I used sunscreen. I used it more than once. Why was I so burnt? I still was throwing up. I took more Benadryl and finally got some sleep. 

The next morning I woke up the true red color of a crayon. My back felt worse than anything. I was still extremely nauseated. I could not keep anything down, and my head was still hurting. Benadryl was my best friend.

Before the day was over, my upper back was hurting even worse. My husband looked and discovered blisters all over my back. Later, they had covered my shoulders and back.

Since this was three years ago, I do not remember the days so much. I cannot remember if we arrived back Saturday night or on a Sunday, but knowing us, it was Saturday night as we do not like to miss church. I do know I missed church that Sunday due to being so sick. Anyhow, at this time, I was working at a hospital so I called in sick that Monday. I cannot remember if I called the doctor Monday or Tuesday, but it was one of those days. They easily said I had sun poison and told me to take vinegar baths, put aloe on it, and prescribed me pain killers until it got better, steroids and phenergan for the nausea. I was out of work for only a couple of days since I did not have many days to take off (all our day off were together: holidays, sick days and personal days (haha, try and take a personal day) and we only had so many we could have before we were threatened to lose our jobs or insurance). I ended up going back way before I was ready and had to wear really big tanks under bigger t-shirts since I could not wear a normal bra due to the pain in my back and shoulders. The blisters took a really long time to heal as did my skin. 

So how did I get sun poison if I used sunscreen? Expired sunscreen! Yes, seriously, expired sunscreen. I had bought new sunscreen, but did not know I had grabbed an old bottle that I probably didn't even know we had. Now, we buy new, EVERY year. One expense that we are not frugal about and I only buy Banana Boat, after talking to a dermatologist, since it stays on really well. Thankfully, the kids were okay. My eldest had a really good tan that day. I do not like my kids to tan as we know that is not good for their skin, but at least she was not in any pain. She will make decisions to tan or not tan as she gets older. My youngest had a small blister on her nose. It broke my heart to see it, but thankfully, she did not seem to be in any pain, and we kept Vaseline on it, and she did not scar.


If you get anything from this post, it is PLEASE, check your sunscreen expiration date!!!! I felt worse than any flu I have ever, ever had or anything since.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Those Sweet Moments..

I think my favorite moments of the day are when my three-year-old wakes me up. This morning, she sweetly leaned into my face and softly asked if I wanted to keep sleeping or go downstairs. We continued to snuggle for a while. I will miss these moments when she gets older and does not want to cuddle anymore.

Now there have been a few mornings, when she slaps me awake, haha, but still, she will grow up and not "need" me anymore. Kinda makes you sad, ya know? I see this more and more with my eight-year-old. She is becoming so independent.

So what are your favorite moments of the day with your kids?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Open Adoption Book


I have not written anything about my open adoption book in a long time, and really not much about it. So if you are not interested in adoption or do not know anyone that is wanting to adopt then this post may not be for you. If you are curious about adopting in the USA, domestically, that is from an agency or attorney, please check out my book, and the rest of this post.



When we were searching for more information about adopting, we read everything we could get our hands on. Unfortunately, the books had TOO much information. Yeah, seriously, the authors did not get into what someone went through to adopt step-by-step, and the expenses they occurred, which is what we wanted to know. We wanted real answers, real people. That is where my book is different. I left out all the fluff and jumped right in. I start the book off with a bedtime story that I tell to my eldest child and now to my youngest, and then get into how we started to adopt and end the book with some URLS to help you with your quest to find your child.



So how did this book start: Well, it had many starts… friends, and family asking questions either in our immediate circle or at church and work. The actual writing happened due to watching what was going on with my husband at work. He works for an extremely large company and was approached continuously about adoption. The funny thing is, sometimes people talking to him did not even know he had adopted, they just wanted to talk to someone and vent on how they wanted to be parents but could not biologically. He would give them what info he could quickly about adoption, but there was not enough time to give them more information. He would pass them my email, and we would email, or talk on the phone. After a while, I realized that I had written this book many times, and I decided to really write it. We printed it out and my husband kept it with him and when asked questions, he would pass it to someone. This happened more and more. The input received back was amazing. Each person that read the rough draft went into the process of adopting. After being invited to people’s house to eat dinner and talk about adoption on more than one occasion, before he was being approached, and then after, and now all the people that wanted his help at work, we decided it was time to publish. I must say, er, type, it is easier when I run into someone at the mall now and they want to talk about adoption in front of the kids, and I can pass the name of the book along.



We keep the book inexpensive at $1.99 for the kindle version (you can download an app and read anywhere even on your computer) and the print version is $5.00.



I hope this post helps with the questions.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Blueberry Banana Bread




This is my favorite banana bread changed up for blueberry banana bread. I prefer using fresh blueberries, but frozen will work nicely as I have used fresh (frozen) blueberries before and this recipe still turned out wonderful! This was my traditional banana bread, but my parents were nice enough to share some fresh blueberries with us and a star recipe was born!


4 RIPE bananas, mashed (I usually keep ripe bananas (still in their skins) frozen in the refrigerator)

½ cup blueberries

1 cup white sugar

¼ cup canola oil (whatever oil you prefer)

¼ cup, which is 4 tablespoons) melted butter (I love to use real butter, also not unsalted)

1 ½  teaspoon pure vanilla

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups all purpose flour (I prefer unbleached)

Mix vanilla, butter, sugar and oil. Add bananas and blueberries. After mixing all together add salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour. Mix well. Add to greased bread pan but first spray with oil and add a little sugar to coat the pan as this makes sure the bread comes out easily. You can see a picture below on what this looks like afterwards.


Bake for 50 minutes (start checking at 40 minutes since each person’s oven is different, and since I normally use cold bananas, mine probably takes longer to cook) on 350. Let sit for 25 minutes before removing from bread pan. (I place a plate on top and flip and then put the plate that I want the bread on under and reflip)



Top with powdered sugar or make a simple icing of milk, powdered sugar and vanilla or use lemon juice instead of vanilla for a yummy lemon topping that tastes really good on this bread.



If you prefer just banana bread, omit the blueberries, add ½ cup nuts (I prefer walnuts or pecans) and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. 

Please let me know what you think. Here is the pin for Pinterest if you want to repin

A few blog changes.

Okay, so I made a few changes to my blog. Added some tabs to the top, some pictures, etc. I hope it is loading well, and working well for you. I'm trying to be a little more simple with backgrounds, etc. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I am a winner.......



Wow, I just do not believe this!!! I won a giveaway from SewMany Savings. What did I win…. Wow….um, AMAZING…… an Epiphanie camera bag. Yeah, baby, you read this correctly. An EPIPHANIE CAMERA BAG. I am beyond thrilled. I cannot wait to blog about my new bag when I received it. Stay tune…. In the meantime, check out Sew Many Savings blog.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hyperventilating 3 1/2 year old?

Does anyone have any advice about a 3 1/2 year old that hyperventilates? When she gets really upset, usually angry, she hyperventilates. It is very upsetting, in a frightening way, to watch. Right now, all I know to do is hold her and rub her back and walk around with her until she can breathe correctly. Just wondering if anyone has experienced this? 

When we ask her to catch her breathe, she screams, while hyperventilating, "I can't" and the tears come. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

DIY Lens Cap pocket camera strap with links

I just LOVE my new camera, but I am tired of palming my lens cap or remembering to put it back in my camera bag (I rarely wear anything with pockets especially during the summer). Why do not companies ship a solution to this since cameras cost so much? I also wanted to girl up my camera more so what is a girl to do but to look on pinterest for suggestions (though I did look on amazon at a lens cap bucket. I did not like the leash solution as it looked like it would get in the way). I originally was thinking about just making a pocket to slip over my strap, but then I remembered seeing someone wearing a brightly fabric covered strap somewhere before.



So here is my solution after looking on pinterest. I am pleased. I will most likely make another one later in other colors and a tad bit smaller in width, but this one serves my purpose, and it was very easy to make. The best part is I had everything I needed at home. You could easily piece fabric together and make something gorgeous. Here is my pin to this post.

I just resewed the sides to make it slimmer on my camera strap and I am much happier with it. Sorry, I did not take a picture of the updated strap. 



Here are a few pins I looked for ideas. I did not use anyone’s measurements. I just used my strap as a ruler and left some room on the sides and ends. And instead of sewing on the button, I used my hot glue gun. I also use one of the ideas in these pins to use fleece since I had plenty for the inside. So if you are a measurement girl or guy, check out these pins for help..... there are so many, and they are gorgeous. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Personalize Linen notecards from Belle Announcements

Received another happy today from the contest I won!! Belle Announcements sent me 25 beautiful personalize folded notecards with envelopes. I love pink and green, and they were delivered in a sturdy box to store them. I know I will keep the box long after I use all the cards.



These notecards have a fantastic feel and look to them, and I cannot wait to use them! You can feel the high quality when you hold them in your hand. It’s time to write and send photos to family and friends.


Check out Belle Announcements on her website:


I have been following Belle Announcements for a while as she not only creates beautiful works of stationary, invites (birthdays, wedding, etc) and baby shower announcements, but much more. Please follow the links above. She is also the one that hosted the contest so if I had not been following her, I would not have won all these wonderful goodies. I still have two more prizes coming that I cannot wait to blog about.

Frugal Camera Bag DIY


A couple of weeks ago, I got a new camera. Instead of the normal point and shoot I have always had, this time I got a Nikon DSLR camera. I also got a great camera backpack to carry all my camera stuff including my tripod on the side. It is sturdy, never feels heavy, and I do not regret owing it. I really like that it does not look like a camera bag. This comfortable backpack is great for vacations and hiking. My only problem? It carries too much and it not very handy on a quick photo shoot or day trip. Say, I want to take the kids to the park…well, I really do not need my tripod and everything else in the bag. I only will be there a couple of hours with the heat. Also, what if I want to meet friends and I know we will be taking pictures…. Well, I do not want to carry around the backpack. I will save the backpack for hiking or walking around the zoo or an amusement park.

So I started looking into camera bags, then camera bag purses, which was more of what I was looking for. I could not believe the price tags on these bags! Yes, most of them are gorgeous, and I would love to have one, and yes, I would use it a lot, but we are a one income family right now. I just do not feel comfortable justifying the purchase to myself much less to my husband. Now, could I see it in the future as a Christmas gift, sure, but not right now, and right now is what I am thinking about.



The kids and I were at Target yesterday. Time for popcorn and drinks, their favorite little mall treat. I see a rugged bag on sale for $14.99. It is deep and has quite a few pockets, and I love the color. The wheels start spinning in my head. I have a sewing machine (not a great sewer, and that is why I do not have dimensions and such in this post. Everyone’s purse size is going to be different anyhow). I have so much pretty fabric, in fact, some fabric I had was coming to mind that I got on sale at Hobby Lobby in the sale bin, and I didn’t use it yet, because I was going to have to piece it with something else to make something anyhow. The fabric would be beautiful in this bag!


Our next stop was Joann’s Fabric store for sew on Velcro and foam for the bottom of the bag (I wanted something really thick and tough like for a cushion), and I then wanted the easy green flexible foam to use everywhere else in the purse. Both of these were on sale already cut. I spent under $10 probably for my whole purchase at Joann’s.



Last night, I started sewing. I used cardboard from the ToyRus box from Little Bug’s school backpack and cut to fit the inside of my bag. I left a little room on one side so it didn’t not totally fill it up. Once I had the cardboard the correct size, I started cutting up both foams. The cushion foam was a little tough to cut, but it still did. I was only using this for the bottom anyhow, and I will find another use for it.

I sewed fabric on the bottom piece. Then sewed two strips of Velcro on the long sides before I sewed the fabric on (these were the only side pieces I used Velcro). Then I sewed fabric on smaller pieces of green foam to box in my camera and accessories. Next, I sewed one thinner, but used longer green foam with Velcro on both end pieces. This one is to protect my camera. I had a little material left so I covered a smaller green foam with no Velcro on the ends (I would have if it was a little longer) to put on the other side to have it as a divider. It worked out great so I do not think I am going to miss the Velcro. I also sewed two straps with Velcro on the end pieces to cover the top of my camera and anything else I am carrying. (what if I leave my bag open and someone knocks it over... the straps will help keep my camera in the bag) Then I made one drawstring bag (pink polka dot bag) to hold odds and ends that I carry with my camera (Lens cleaner, memory card, etc). Right now, I do not have another lens, but I have plenty of room to carry it in this bag and for it to be well protected. The main reason I did not sew all the pieces together, is to make it easy to put in another purse. This is my go-to-bag around town, but if I am going to a wedding, etc, I would probably carry another bag depending on the theme of the wedding. This would still be great for a beach or western theme wedding.

So there you have it…… A frugal camera purse that I love, and this one has two ways to carry it, shoulder straps or a longer strap like a messenger bag. Next, I am looking for a cute charm to hang from it to girl it up some more. I love all the zippers and pockets to hold my stuff. I can still easily get to the pockets and zippers inside the bag too since I did not create the foam to totally fit the bag. I even have my point and shoot camera in there as it is so quick and easy to use for video.

This bag closes easily, and the best part, no one knows I have a camera in there until I take it out. And no one has MY camera bag. And my total price as of yesterday: Around $24.99, probably a little less. I know the fabric I had was under $5.00. So total price: About $30 bucks! The bags I was looking at were wayyyyyyy over a $100.

Anytime I am out and about and there are purses, I am going to keep my eye open for a really nice looking deep purse that will work for a wedding.  Now, I can use the money that I would have spent on an expensive camera bag toward a new lens.

Update: Took this out when I ran some errands, and also took a few pictures. Wow, it sure was nice that no one knew I had an expensive camera in my bag. It was also so easy to take my camera out and anything else that I was needed. I still would like to have a nicer looking bag, and waterproof. It is getting time to sell some things we do not need anyhow. I sell on local Facebook selling sites. This is my mad money.... I can do anything I want with it. So I might still get one of those expensive camera bags, but I like knowing if I do see a cute bag somewhere, I have the foam inserts already sewed and ready for usage to protect my camera.  



Monday, July 7, 2014

Beautiful prints from Ann-Margaret



Happy dance… I received my second prize from the contest I won. Today, I received, not one, but two prints from Ann-Margaret..Artist-Designer-Photographer.



Here is the adorable postcard I received: 

Here is a pretty card with a handwritten note from Ann-Margaret on the back.

Check out these super sweet prints!

Isn’t Cooper adorable?
 
Look at the whimsical mermaid! (She was my surprise) 

Please check out Ann-Margaret’s website


You can also find her on Facebook
What beautiful gifts!! 



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Potty Training.... Funny stuff

Potty training in underwear has been really successful. Monkey walked right into church, threw up her dress and showed off her new Doc McStuffins underwear this morning for the man that opened the door, and anyone that would look, haha. What was REALLY funny was his response... "No, No, No, don't do that... put your dress down." He was very nice about it, but he was not expecting Monkey's underwear excitement. She did not have any "mistakes" in her underwear at church or the last three days. She did have one not long after we got home, but I was still so proud of her. It is going great!! She has been going on errands with me, and having no problems. She is so proud of herself, and we are of her. 

Anyone got anything "funny" to share on your kids or friend's/family's kids potty training?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Handmade journal from The Nib and Quill


I received my gorgeous homemade journal from The Nib and Quill today that I won in a contest. Check out the detail just in the wrapping! The little book that arrived is one that my daughter is going to use as a bible for Barbies.


The journal has a wonderful feel to it and feels very durable. I could not be more pleased with this beautiful journal. Imagine my surprise when it arrived with cute cameras on it, and I LOVE photography! Check out her shop on Etsy and her blog. This journal would be an incredible gift for someone that is normally hard to shop for say a teenager or adult who loves to write, draw or enjoys a small scrapbook.