August 15, 2014

Biggest Mistake I Ever Made - Learn From Me, People!

Our school offers this amazing program where you simply write a check for your children's school supplies and then a magic fairy delivers them to the school all organized and wrapped in a pretty bow. Sure it might be a little more expensive but the extra money goes to the PTA for enrichment programs for the school.  It is a win win!

It's possible the magic fairy part isn't true - I can't say for sure as I haven't seen her but after my experience of buying supplies on my own I am almost 100% positive that must be how it happens.

Last year when the order form came out for this school year I thought: "hmmm. I'm no longer working therefore I can totally take the time to purchase school supplies on my own.  The kids will get to feel the excitement of picking out their own colors for folders and such. It will be a great memory for us all and I will save money and it will be blissful and it will probably solve world peace too!"

And it was a lot like that, but exactly the opposite.  I should have known it was going to be a horrifying experience when on the first trip out it took 33 minutes - no lie - for my daughter to pick out her wide ruled notebook.  If I had to tell her one more time when she found the perfect one! "Sorry honey it's college ruled. Keep looking" I was going to unwrap the spiral binding and use it to poke my eyes out. Alas, we did find one she could tolerate.  We walked out of Walgreens feeling somewhat successful (until I realized later we bought blunt tip scissors and not sharp tip.  D'oh!)

After that trip I never again walked out of a store feeling like I had accomplished anything positive. With each passing journey I questioned my parenting skills and sanity more and more.  But 5 separate trips to 5 separate school supply selling hell holes and about $8,366 later we did have everything on the list - well kind of...

Part of my genius plan was to save money. Let me tell you that does NOT happen if you take a 2 year old with you.  Who has time to compare prices of 463 Elmer glue sticks s vs. 463 Target brand glue sticks when you are chasing a toddler who apparently has an allergic reaction to being strapped into a shopping cart?  Somehow having managed to get a box of yogurt from the refrigerated section and sneaking it to the school supply section he was happily pulling every stapler off the shelf so he could stick the yogurt behind them.  Guess what? I don't care if the Elmer's Glue sticks are eleventy million dollars more than the others - just grab them so we can get out of here!

Other things that might or might not have been happened:

Kid: "Mom, is this $20 Trapper Keeper good?"  Me: "Um, sure yeah, looks great. ALEX! Stop eating erasers and put those sunglasses back - wait where did you find sunglasses?  They are nowhere near this section!  Oh God, did you steal someone's sunglasses?"  (Come to find out later, we got the wrong Trapper Keeper.  Oh and I never figured out where those sunglasses came from.  If you were at Target on Ward Parkway and a short little blond fellow stole your sunglasses, they are in the office supply section by the dry erase markers.  Sorry!)

I might have spent $70 at Walmart and not have found 1 single school supply that was left on our list.

I might have had more than 1 discussion on what color folder is more grown up and acceptable in 4th grade but also not too grown up because after all she is still a kid and has lots of years to buy folders in grown up colors.  Huh?

I might have taken a flask with me.

I might have tried to save money on pencils for my son's list by not buying the Ticonderoga brand and realized they were not pre-sharpened when we got home and then paid him $3 to sharpen them and ended up spending way more than I would have if I had just bought the freaking Ticonderoga ones.

I might have gone into the bathroom to "change a diaper" three times in one trip. Note: "change a diaper" = cry.

I might have accidentally purchased 2 boxes of gallon sized zip lock bags instead 1 box of gallon and 1 box of some other stupid size and when I realized my mistake not cared in the slightest.  I'm sorry teachers - you guys do an amazing job and I know I'm a jerk for not caring but at that point I wouldn't have cared if my hair was on fire.

Our last supply run was my favorite. (I still never found the correctly tipped dry erase board pen.  Let me tell you the amount of sleep I'm losing over that one.) As we were walking through Office Max, I turned to my kids and made them promise that next year when I think it is a good idea to shun the school supply fairy they will kick me in the head.

That request elicited giggles from the aisle over as our former PTA president, who is also my friend, walked out from behind an end cap of 717 colors of post it notes and said, "I am so glad I was here to hear that!"  I'm glad she was too.  She is taller than my kids and might actually be able to reach my head.

July 24, 2014

The Hills magazine

Check out my most recent article in the Hills magazine!

The Hills - Helen Jon Article

Starts on page 21

I love writing these articles!  How lucky am I to get to meet super cool people and see their beautiful homes?  Most recently I had the honor of interviewing Henry Bloch, the "H" in H&R Block.  It was awesome! Stay tuned for that article.

July 11, 2014

Nom Nom

My husband's company, Liquid9, has been rocking it this week!  First they had Ad Age's Ad of the day and now today their most recent commercial is the leading story on!

I guess all the traveling he has been doing this summer is for good reason.  All's forgiven!

Here is the most recent video:

Boyz II Men Wendy's spot

July 6, 2014

The salon experience

Before two 9 year olds painted my nails


Honestly I thought there would be WAY more paint on my fingers.  Not too shabby.

June 30, 2014

Wendy's commercial

Check out the latest commercial my husband directed.


Pretzel Love Songs

June 18, 2014

Pancake perfection

Have you ever made a pancake in your rice cooker?  Before this morning I would have likened that question with someone asking if I steam broccoli in my toilet. However, I tried this (not going to try the broccoli thing) and it rocks. The way I make pancakes has forever been changed. 

I saw a Facebook post about this cooking method. Usually when I see an idea like that I think, "Wow that looks like fun. I should do that sometime!" - then I'm distracted by something shiny and the idea dies there. I actually followed through with this one and did it within like a half an hour too.  Freaking miracle, I tell ya!

I combined my pancake mix with it's necessary ingredients, dumped it all in my rice cooker, pressed "cook" and left it.  A few minutes later Mr. rice cooker beeped to let me know my perfect pancake was ready for consumption. Note, I am not a food photographer or stylist. Clearly...

The kids thought it was fun, it tasted great and it was kind of pretty!  Apparently there are all sorts of crazy things you can do with your rice cooker. I might have found a new hobby.

June 12, 2014

Idle time

We had an appraiser come by this morning as we are planning to do some remodeling and therefore are seeking a home equity line of credit.  Blah, blah boring.  Anyway, because she was coming by, my house is in serious tip top shape.  That, coupled with the baby sleeping, the big sister at a friend's house and middle child contentedly reading a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book - I found myself with NOTHING to do.  It was weird.

So I decided to make a 4th of July "wreath" for our front door.  This took about 10 minutes to complete and let's be honest, it looks like it took about 10 minutes to complete.  But it makes my door look less lonely and took up some brain power for a few minutes.

Please ignore those things that look like bullet holes in our door.  They aren't that - well at least I don't think so...

May 30, 2014

Loving on groceries

Man, it's been a busy few weeks!  Why are the last weeks of school so darn crazy?  Also, how is it that school has been out for 1 week today but it already seems like it has been an entire month?

But having nothing to do with that, my almost 20 month old has the weirdest habit!  Most of the weird things he does I think, "Oh yeah, been there done that.  One of the other kids did that too" - but with this one, I'm not sure any other kid on the planet has done.  If they have let me know and maybe we can start a support group.

Baby crazy pants throws an absolute fit if he cannot hug every single item I put into the grocery cart. 

As you can imagine this proves quite challenging for some items I purchase:

1) Bread, buns and things of that sort.  Why does he hug these much harder than anything else I purchase?  Probably because they are squishy and "hug" back? I have many many bags of crumbled hot dog buns currently residing in my pantry.  The geese at the park are going to LOVE us!

2) Chicken, meat, etc - plain and simple I am not going to give my kid salmonella just so he won't scream.  I apologize to all other shoppers within ear shot.

3) Frozen items - they are cold and then he screams, I don't give them to him and he screams.      Lose, lose situation there.  

4) Glass bottled items - he has a penchant for throwing the item on the ground after he has loved it within an inch of it's life.  Fortunately I figured that out before we sent some poor unsuspecting shopper to the hospital.

This week he upped his game to wanting to kiss the items. 

Where does this go next???

Good thing he is cute.

May 9, 2014

My 9 year old daughter is a hoarder

Our daughter's room isn't huge and so she had the great idea of getting a loft bed so as to make more space for herself.  We had the genius idea to listen to her.

I just went up there to change her sheets - which by the way is the biggest pain on the planet.

OH MY LORD. Here is an inventory of what I found:

Note - I am known for exaggeration.  i.e. "I had a million things go do today!" or "Literally I wet my pants because I was laughing so hard" - neither of those statements would be true.  This list below sadly is the honest to God's truth.

27 stuffed animals (granted they were varying sizes, some tiny, but still that is insane)
5 socks
a trash can (clean fortunately but wtf???) filled with 13 books
8 other books strewn about
1 body pillow
1 regular pillow
a sleeping bag case -not the sleeping bag, just the case it goes in
7 water bottles. SEVEN!  Photographic evidence below

3 sleep masks
1 flashlight

Where is there actually room for her in this bed?

Mark my words, this child will be on a future episode of Hoarders and will have dead cats buried under 11 years of newspapers. This is a problem.

May 7, 2014

Resposibility and riding a bike

My daughter learned to ride a bike about a year ago. I haven't seen her since - anyone know where she is???  Not really, but she LOVES hopping on and riding to her freedom and I think it is wonderful.  However, we have learned that with the privilege of riding a bike comes some responsibility on the part of the parent and the child.

1) Look at your child before they leave

My kids know they are to always wear their helmets.  It is never an argument, it is not uncool to wear one.  It just isn't anything.  However sometimes (often/all the time/constantly) kids forget things.  A few weeks ago my daughter was 1/2 way down the driveway when I saw that she didn't have on her helmet. I pointed that out, she put it on and was on her way. The oversight was a complete accident on her part. Not 10 minutes later she had a major wreck by running into a trash can.  She was pretty scraped up and even cracked her helmet.  Thank goodness I had caught a glimpse of her riding off without her helmet.  Who knows how injured she could have been if she had not been wearing it.

Also check to ensure they are wearing proper shoes for riding and proper clothes - nothing super loose and flowy that could get caught up in the spokes.

2) Map out their routes

Hop on a bike and ride the routes with them.  Riding it yourself is the only way you will know what kind of road/riding conditions they may encounter. Pick specific points they they are allowed to venture to.

3) Watch your time

A few days ago  I told my daughter not to be gone long.  What does that mean to a 9 year old?  Apparently 2 hours.  I was in such a panic by the time she got home (and after I drove the neighborhood for a 1/2 hour looking for her) that I cannot even tell you. She had been having fun at her friend's house and just didn't realize that much time had passed.

Now, before she leaves, she puts on a watch and I show her specifically when she is expected home. Bonus - she is getting much better at reading a watch!

4) Text me!

The scary situation a few days ago could have been avoided if the adult at the house where she was playing had texted me and let me know she was there. So simple.  A quick text when she gets there and a quick text when she leaves.

Super easy things to do and now we can all just relax and enjoy the freedom she has gained from riding a bike. Happy Summer!