Apr 30, 2012

The Planning Desk

In our kitchen we have an area we refer to as the planning desk.  Basically it's an area with a small counter top, a middle drawer, and 3 small drawers along the side.  Above the desk is a double cabinet. 

We keep cook books, coloring books, play-doh, and messy projects in the cabinet.  The drawers held a mess of junk that we weren't sure what to do with. 

I have been meaning to 'fix' it up for awhile, but just haven't gotten around to it until shortly after Christmas when I was home on maternity leave.  If I had been smart I would have taken before and after pictures.  Oops, Sorry!

Here are the after pictures:

The left side of the cabinet.                                 The right side of the cabinet.

Close up of the cabinet.

It seems as if my kids are given some sort of coloring/activity book for almost EVERY holiday!  I used baby wipe containers with the lids taken off of them to help sort the books.  I put a label on the outside of the box.

On the other side I used old containers with lids to sort crayons, markers, colored pencils, pencils, card games, and erasers.  Again, I labeled the containers so that we would know what is inside each of them.

Brent likes to keep his keys in this cabinet.  I put Command hooks on the inside of the door so that we can easily find keys.  Can you guess which set is mine?

In the center drawer I used some small baskets to contain items so that they are not sliding all over the place.  I also put some rubber non-slip grip stuff under the baskets so that they stay in place when the drawer is opened and closed.

This is the top drawer along the side.  I put small baskets that link together in it.  We keep our phone chargers in it along with MP3 players and GPS.  I guess it's kind of like our mini-media drawer.

Next we have the homework drawer.  Now B is only in Kindergarten, but he does have some 'homework'.  G is in preschool he doesn't have homework, but he likes to do his 'work' when B is doing homework. 

The items in this drawer can only be used for homework.  This way B and G know where the items are and they are in good condition. 

I have 'assigned' my kids a desiginated color.  I started this for the scrapbooks that I make for them.  I use the desiginated color in other ways as well.  For example, B's color is blue.  When I write events for him on the calendar I use a blue marker.  This way when we see blue we know it's for him.  G's color is green and Baby M's color is magenta.

In the drawer B has a blue kit with the things he needs to complete his homework.  He can easily grab his box, go to the table, and complete his work.  I did purchase the same boxes for G and Baby M just so they would all match and fit in the drawer. 

B's homework box.

G's homework box contents.

The bottom drawer has an address book and some note cards.

So there you have it the organized planning desk!  How do you keep things organized?

Check out these other areas that I have organized:

Liebster Blog Award Nominations

I would like to take a moment to personally thank Billy and Kimberly at Upscale Treasures for the Liebster Blog Award nomination! The Liebster Blog Award is given to smaller blogs with less than 200 followers that deserve recognition. 

Be sure to head on over to  blog their blog Upscale Treasures  and check it out and give her some comment love <3

The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their blog.
2. Copy & paste the award to your blog.
3. Nominate 5 further blogs and let them know by leaving a comment.

I would like to nominate the following 5 blogs:

1.  Bonn Bonn Botique
2.  The Mommy Mess
3.  Little Millerisms
4.  Super Busy at Home
5.  Toddlerisms

Apr 28, 2012

AWWW they love each other, they really do!

Last night B and G had yet another explosive argument over nothing other than 'the spot'.  Now you may be asking yourself, What is this spot she is referring to

Let me answer this for you.  'The spot' is the sink in the bathroom that both boys like to use to brush their teeth.  I would like to share with you that there are not only 1, but 2 sinks in the bathroom, but they both like the same sink!  Seriously, sometimes I don't even know why we bother!

Anyway during the argument they managed to wake Brent up, who had dozed off while trying to calm Baby M during her fussy time of the night. 
     *I just realize that this post is beginning to portray my children in a rather crabby light, oops!

So after waking the beast Daddy, B was sent to bed because get this  . . . G nicely (meaning used manners and didn't whine) asked him to help put toothpaste on his toothbrush.  Well B replied I'll only do it if you let me have the spot!  (Nice, I know, right?!  Such a proud Mommy moment for me.  On a positive note I do like the thinking process he was using.)

G came downstairs to tattle report the situation to me.  Well it sounded to me as if Brent had taken care of everything.  I finished what I was doing downstairs and headed upstairs to go to bed for the evening.  I made a stop in B's room to kiss him goodnight.  As I closed the door I was greeted with a slightly angry G who informed me (with his hands on his hips, tapping his foot at me and all) that HE wanted to kiss B goodnight too.

Please notice the gun and knife magazine that he loves is on his headboard!

So there you have it . . . despite the fact that argue, call each other Bubbas (which I'm sure is code for jackass), and tell each other "I'm not your brother", at the end of the day they still love each other.   I have to admit it makes my heart melt . . . just a little.

Apr 26, 2012

4 year old Hippo Birthday

You may recall that G recently turned 4.  For his 4th birthday he chose to have a Hippo themed party.  He was set on this theme and I was not going to change his mind regardless of how many different tactic I tried!  For the record, I only tried to change his mind because I thought it would be rather challenging trying to find items for a Hippo party.  I was, however, WRONG . . . there I admitted it.

Invitations and Thank you notes:

The outside

The inside

I put a wallet size picture of G from the party on the outside of the thank you note.  The note was written on the back.

Email me at uniquelyerinnicole@gmail.com if you are interested in purchasing invitations or thank you notes.

Utensil holders:
I removed wrappers from cans of fruit and washed them out.  I then wrapped covers around the cans that had hippos stamped on them along with the hippos I made for the invitations.  The covers can be removed and the cans can be recovered for another party.



First we made binoculars to use on a hippo hunt.  We glued 2 toilet paper tubes together and wrapped card stock around the outside of them.  2 holes were punched to attach yarn.  The kids decorated them with stickers.

Hippo Hunt Song:

After making the binoculars we put them on and sat down for a song.  I googled 'We're going on a Bear Hunt' and found a YouTube video with song.  We sang the song and did the movement with the song.  We said hippo hunt rather than bear hunt in the appropriate places.

The Hippo Hunt:

We followed clues in search of a hippo.  The clues lead us to several different areas both inside and outside.  The hippo was hiding in some grass!

Showing the hippo some love

Hippo Toss Game:

I used a poster board to create this hippo.  My husband used wood to make the stand to attach the poster board to.  It can be removed so we can create a new poster to use with future parties.


I was so surprised when I was able to find these hippo plates and napkins!

Party Favor Bags:

I stamped 'Thanks' on the outside of a white paper bag along with a stamp of a hippo.  I took G to the dollar store to pick out some goodies for his friends.

Apr 24, 2012

DIY Baby Wipes

When I was in college I worked at a daycare that was within walking distance of my dorm.  I learned more lessons about life, myself, and parenting than I could have ever anticipated through this position.  Like any job, it had it's ups and it's downs, but I met so many lovely people who have forever touched my life.  To this day I have remained friends with several of them.

Because the daycare was so close to the college campus there were several college students who worked there in between classes.  Work schedules were flexible and were easily manipulated around a new batch of classes each semester.

I had the pleasure of working with many different age groups of children.  One summer I was disappointed when I was assigned to the infant room.  My favorite age group was the 4 year olds.  I had been moved out of that room because of my class schedule for the previous semester.  I loved that I could have a 2 sided conversation with a 4 year old.  I enjoyed coloring and playing dress up.  We even had beauty shop days where I painted nails and created fancy hair styles.  I couldn't do any of these things with infants.  Heck most of them barley had any hair to speak of!

While I wasn't thrilled with the infant room, I decided that I would make the most of the situation.  I enjoyed working with the main caregiver in the room and she tolerated and even grew to enjoy me as well.  Looking back on the situation I think there were deeper reasons, rather than simply availability, for placing me in this room.

The main caregiver had worked in the infant room for many years and she ran the show.  To put it nicely she liked things her way and if you followed her directions, picked up after yourself, and stayed out of her way, it would be a good day.  Frankly, I was slightly intimidated by her at the beginning.

I soon learned that underneath this 'tough' exterior was a kind hearted, hard working grandma.  She simply had been pushed around too much and put walls up to protect herself.  Personal life experiences, that I was/am thankful to have never known,  also added bricks to her walls. 

She loved those babies.  She knew each of their quirks and the meaning of their different cries.  She taught me how to bounce two crying babies while feeding a third.  I learned to invent personalized songs about the babies to calm them when they were fussy and I learned that sometimes a baby just needs to cry.  She taught me that babies cannot be rushed and to be patient.

On the rare occasion that all six babies were taking a nap at the same time (I know the Mommies out there who have more than one baby are getting a good chuckle right now) we talked and I got to know the personal side of her.  She enjoyed taking creative holiday pictures of the babies and making presents of footprints and hand prints for the parents.  She also made these fabulous baby wipes.

I recently made the wipes to use with Baby M.  To be honest I'm not sure why I have waited until baby #3 to make these, but I did.  That is a mystery that may never be solved!

Wipe Recipe:

What to use:

2 cups water
2 tablespoons baby wash
2 tablespoons baby oil
1 roll of paper towel (cut in half)

The Process:

In a bowl stir the water, baby wash, and baby oil together.  Cut the paper towel roll in half.  Put the roll in an air tight container and pour the solution over it.  Let it sit for 30 minutes.  Pull the center tube out.  Turn the container over and let the solution sit for 30 minutes.  Pull the wipes out from the center and they are ready to use.

*When I purchased my container I had forgotten that the paper towels needed to be cut in half.  I purchased a container that I thought would be tall enough for an entire roll of paper towels.  It's really made for a loaf of bread.  I just doubled the recipe when I made the solution because I used a whole roll rather than a half.

My Opinion:

The wipes were very easy to make.  They have worked very well to clean up a baby bottom.  They smell really good!  I have heard, but I have not experienced, that after awhile some of the wipes sour.  I will post an update if this occurs. 

If you try these wipes please let me know what you think. 

What hidden lessons have you learned from previous or current jobs?

***Update 6/5/12***

Price Break Down:

28 oz. of baby wash costs $4.97 (at Walmart)
      I used 2 tablespoons (1 liquid oz. = .5 tablespoon) of baby wash. This would equal $0.71.

20 oz. of baby oil costs $2.47 (at Walmart)
      I used 2 table spoons (1 liquid oz. = .5 tablespoon) of baby oil.  This would equal $.0.25.

6 rolls of paper towel costs $8.47 (1 roll = $1.42) (at Walmart)
      I used ½ of a roll.  This would equal $0.71.

1 batch of the DIY wipes made 176 wipes and costs me $1.67.  This means I am spending $0.01 per wipe.

According to Walmart.com 1 package of 64 Huggies wipes costs $2.37. This breaks down to $0.04 per wipe.

Apr 22, 2012

I went on a date with this guy I know

He took me to The Melting Pot.

He bought me a drink.

I didn't have to clean his drink up because he didn't spill it.

He held my hand.

We had a whole conversation . . . without any interruptions.

We ate hot food and I didn't have to take anyone to the potty as soon as it came.

He cut up his own food.

I didn't have to remind him to use his manners.

Ok, I know right know you're thinking:

 OOOO this girl is scandalous!

I'm no hussy!

Grandma and Grandpa are in town so I was able to go out on the town with my hubby!

We had such a nice night.

He didn't mind that I fell asleep when he brought me home.

Apr 20, 2012

It's a GOOD day

Today was jeans day at work! 

Of course I had to pay a dollar. 

Very rarely do we get a 'free' jeans day, but the money went to our Relay for Life team. 

I have no problem donating for cancer research!

Not only was it jeans day, but  . . .

wait for it  . . .

I was totally able to fit into my pre-baby, non-maternity, Express jeans . . . comfortably!

Oh my gosh I am so totally excited!

Now I still have a bit to go to until I have MY body back, but this was such a nice surprise to start  my day with.

Apr 17, 2012

New Tricks

Baby M learned a new trick this weekend.

She starts out sitting up like this.

Next she does a backbend.

She lifts her legs up.

Then she swings them over.

She's almost done.


Looks like she's going to be moving a little sooner than we thought!

Apr 11, 2012

The email

I received an email from my son's teacher today.  In the subject line read "B at Lunch".

Oh fantastic, I thought.  What happened at lunch?!

Earlier in the school year he brought home a note from the cafeteria stating that he licked the table! 
Words cannot begin to describe all of the thoughts of disgust that crept into my head as that image went through my mind. 

So now here we go again in the cafeteria . . .

There are teacher's assistants who monitor the lunch room at his school.  Apparently each day this week, when his teacher has picked the class up, the lunch teacher has mentioned that B has had trouble listening during lunch.

Not only has he had trouble at lunch, but yesterday in art, he and another child were breaking the crayons . . . on purpose!  When his teacher asked him why he did it, do you know what he told her?!
He said, "We were trying to make more crayons."

Oh my goodness B!  You were trying to make more?!  You, the child who throws a fit the instant your brother breaks a crayon when we are at a restaurant?  Really?!

Oh wait there's even more!  When Brent went to pick him up from after school care he was sitting in timeout!  Evidently he and another child thought it would be a great idea to throw toys at each other and run around.

Not the best plan you've ever had kiddo!

So, Brent and I began our evening with some detective work.  As we calmly discussed the days/weeks events we came to the conclusion that B needed to write apology letters to: his lunch teacher, art teacher, after school teacher, and classroom teacher.  He also said he thought he should get the art teacher some new crayons when we go shopping this weekend.

While I'm not thrilled about his choices I'm glad that he was able to come up with appropriate ways to rectify the situation.

I am still concerned.  B has always been a bit of a follower.  He has had this 'friend' whom he met at school this year.  This friend doesn't seem to make the best choices. 

I am not trying to be one of those: My child doesn't do anything wrong kind of parents.  Oh believe me he's a stinker.  I'll be the first one to admit that, but he's an age appropriate stinker and typically after we discuss things with him and he has consequences for his actions the undesirable behavior is extinguished.

All of the sudden this year (Kindergarten) he's coming home with new behaviors, vocabulary, etc.  Each time we ask him where he got these undesirable acts from his response is the new friend.  Unfortunately I'm coming to the conclusion that these behaviors are a result of this other child's influence.  What is the best way to handle this situation?

We've discussed making good choices even when others don't.
We've suggested playing with others. 
We have even named others for him to play with.
He knows to tell the child to stop and to get an adult if the child doesn't listen.
I don't know what else can be added to this list.

Apr 10, 2012

Spring Break Review

I managed to survive the first day back from Spring Break.  I have to be honest though, images from the time with my family were re-playing in my head and helped me through the day.

Here are some of the fun activities we did:

We went to baseball practice.  Read more details about what happened He got a Hit and I Missed it.

The weather was beautiful so we enjoyed playing outside with chalk!  B made this picture of the two of us.  He defiantly captured my good side.  Isn't it beautiful?!

We took a trip to the beach.

We even went to the moon.

Some eggs were colored.

I made a cake for a friend's birthday party.  Brent and I got to attend a a party without children.  Yay for adult time!

Eggs were hunted.

Finally, we celebrated Easter.

We didn't go anywhere fancy for spring break, but we did have a lot of fun!

Apr 7, 2012

DIY Counter Top Spray

In an effort to meet my personal goal, to save a little money, I am gradually making my own cleaning products. I used the remainder of my name brand counter top cleaner (Clorox Hard Surface cleaner), so it was time to make my own.

What you need:
2 teaspoons Borax
4 Tablespoons Vinegar
½ cup Dish Soap*
20 – 25 drops Essential Oil
Hot Water
32 oz. Spray Bottle

The Process:
Again, I used my trusty 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup. I put 1 of a cup of hot water in the measuring cup and added the Borax. The water must be hot in order for the Borax to dissolve. Once the Borax was dissolved I added the vinegar and dish soap. I stirred it all together. I poured the mixture into the spray bottle and filled the remainder of the bottle with hot water.

***Side note: The recipe actually called for Dr. Bronner’s Soap. After searching 3 stores (Target, Meijer, and Walmart) I was not able to find it. Any suggestions about where to find it are WELCOME! I didn’t want to order it off line without knowing what it actually smelled like (there are several scents to choose from). From what I have read, the basic difference between Dr. Bronner’s Soap and dish soap is that the Dr. Bronner’s is made with vegetable oil and is organic. I chose to use the dish soap because, well, I was just too impatient to search for the Dr. Bronner’s any longer.

***Side Note #2: Please refer to my glass cleaner side note regarding the ‘essential oil’ I used for the glass cleaner. I used the same home fragrance oil for this recipe as well.

My Opinion:
Making the cleaner was very simple. I was concerned that soap suds would be left on the counter tops, but pleasantly surprised when none were left. It cleaned the counters nicely and didn’t leave a residue. The true test came after we colored Easter eggs.  Some of the egg dye made marks on my white counter tops (Not my choice, they came with the house) and the cleaner easily cleaned the dye up.
*** 4/29/12 Update - I was able to find Dr. Bronner's soap at a local organic market and purchased it.  I bought a small bottle of it because I wasn't sure if I would like it or not.  I chose the Honey Almond scent.  I made a new batch of the counter top spray using Dr. Bronner's soap.  It seems to work the same as the spray with the dish soap. 

I also noticed that Target advertised it on sale in their ad last week.  I went to Target and was unable to find it at the store.  I talked with someone at the store and they said they do not carry a lot of it, but they do have it