Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Saving laminating pouches…and your sanity!

I LOVE laminating! I don't know what it is about it but holding that sheet of plastic covered paper, still hot off the presses brings me so much joy! It's like that piece of paper just got a whole new life and there are endless ways it can be used now. Stupid I know… But I also know I'm not alone. I joined a homeschooling group on Facebook and just about all of the moms on it love laminating too.

*This post contains affiliate links.*  

My laminator is pretty new. I purchased it over the Summer to laminate worksheets and wall decorations for the kids' learning area. It's the Scotch Thermal Laminator and I LOVE it! One thing I found out right away though, was that "static cling" in the pouches don't really CLING very well when there are a bunch of smaller papers in it. Heck, even just yesterday I was trying to fit four squares of card stock (one sheet cut in fourths) into a pouch and if I didn't hold it just right, some of them would move as they were being fed through the laminator. Thankfully they were big pieces and thankfully my laminator feeds pretty slowly so I had a moment to fix it before it was too late.

This morning I was faced with a bit of a dilemma. I had printed a few pages for an activity I was setting up for the kids but printed on plain paper instead of card stock. To not waste paper and ink, I thought I'd laminate the cut out pieces and send them with Jo to his daddy's house today, so that he can practice his learning over there too. Well, what I hadn't really thought through was that I would have 18 tiny strips of paper, 18 small squares and 3 larger strips that all needed to be laminated. I arranged them on a sheet so I could figure out how they would fit but how the heck was I going to be able to laminate so many tiny bits of paper if my static cling decided not to cling today??

And then it hit me… GLUE! But not just any glue… This glue.

*NOTE: I am in no way being compensated by Darice or anyone else for this blog post. These opinions are my own.*  

I came across this re-postionable glue tape one day in JoAnn, and because it was on clearance that day, couldn't resist picking up a few of them. I especially love how it works like the white out tape I used to love when I was in school. 

After arranging my pieces of paper exactly how I wanted them on top of a closed laminating pouch, I slid them off one page at a time and ran a very small amount of glue on the backs of the papers. Then I opened the pouch and stuck each piece back inside, exactly as I had arranged them beforehand. The fact that I was able to use the glue meant that each and every piece stayed exactly where I wanted it to and if a piece was TOO crooked ( I was not going for perfection here) then I could very easily lift it up and fix it.

The REAL test came when it was time to laminate. Look at the bottom sheet in that picture. Can you just imagine the kind of craziness that would have unfolded once I lifted the page to feed it into the laminator? The second row of strips and all of the big ones would have sank straight to the bottom messing everything up, transforming me into some sort of crazy Momzilla I'm sure. Let me also mention that I was doing all of this an hour before I had to leave for work because I am crazy like that. BUT once I lifted up the pouch, nothing moved! I even gave it a nice little shake and the pieces stayed put. It was a miracle! Into the laminator they went and they came out perfectly, AND because the glue is transparent, there are no marks on the other side either!

Seriously you guys, this discovery today has me feeling like some kind of genius! I haven't even searched Google or Pinterest for anything like this yet simply because I still want to believe that only I could have produced such a brilliant idea! Using the glue tape saved me time (I would have made myself late for work trying to fight the static cling), saved laminating pouches (I was able to use every single inch of those things), and definitely kept me sane! I hope you will try it out and let me know how it works for you too!

You're Welcome :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Clearing my mind

Hello! Once again, it's been a while hasn't it? Ah, life. Life keeps me so so busy, but most of the busy-ness is me trying to just organize everything around me. Oh man I can't tell you the different cleaning projects I have picked up around the house and all of the purging that has went on lately.

I took a moment to really look inside myself and figure myself out a bit and what I've discovered is that all of these seemingly endless tasks I've taken on, all of the organizing and cleaning that never ever ends when there are toddlers in the house and adults who all have their own style of living, it's all me just trying to gain a sense of control over things I have no control over. It's like, if I can organize the house, then I can organize the jumbled mess of thoughts and ideas in my mind. It reminds me of the  "nesting" stage in pregnancy. I can't get anything to be clean or organized enough but every single day I'm working on something, somewhere just trying to make a dent, trying to get ready for something. But what exactly am I getting ready for? I have no idea. A part of me feels like if I can purge all of the junk and find places for all of the "stuff" and just make everything nice and neat (you know, like a Pinterest home) that everything will somehow be better. How does that make sense? I can't even tell you. I still won't have a car or place of my own. My paycheck will still be itty bitty. I still won't have even the slightest bit of "me" time. The kids will still drive me crazy at least once a day. And there won't be a husband coming home to me who I can rest my head on and open my heart to. No, a clean house won't solve any of those things. And a clean house, with two toddlers won't stay clean long at all. So I'll just keep busy doing what I'm doing, trying to grasp onto some sense of control. And maybe one day things get better. And if they don't, well then I'll just have to keep reminding myself of how blessed I am to even have such a beautiful home and wonderful family at all.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Out attempt at Fork Painting

The other day while scrolling through Facebook, something caught my eye. Shaunna over at Fantastic Fun and Learning, shared a really neat project that she did with her children. They used FORKS to paint really sweet designs onto paper and then cut fish shapes from the finished paintings. It was beautiful!

While reading her blog, I was inspired to give this a try with the kids but instead of fish, I wanted to try zebras and tigers since we had just seen some at Disney's Animal Kingdom days before.

I set out a few colors of paint and several different disposable forks that we had in the "junk drawer."

Josiah gave the fork a few tries before giving up right away. It was a little difficult to get consistent lines with the forks, instead, he used his to make dots. I sat down with him and tried painting with all of the different forks. I found that the plain white (cheap) forks gave me the best results. Eventually, Josiah did what he always does; he put his hands in the paint and smeared it across the paper.

I, on the other hand, managed to get a few decent lines on my paper and then cut out a "basic" zebra shape (if you can even call the shape of a zebra "basic"). The background is Josiah's finished painting. I never got around to trying a tiger.

I really like the way my zebra came out and definitely plan on trying fork painting again with the kids!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Hello! It's been what, another month or so since I've blogged? Boy, let me tell you that it's been much harder than I ever expected to keep up a regular (2-3 posts/week) schedule on here. Seriously, hats off to the bloggers who are kicking butt in this nice right now AND keeping your home in working order. This isn't a goodbye post or anything like that, but it is an admission that I probably won't be able to update AS regularly as I originally intended. BUT I will keep writing, I started this thing and refuse to give up!

Here is what's new with us.. 

I am still working at my job and according to my manager and co-workers, I'm doing very well. I really like my job and although part of me wishes there was a way for me to work another day or two, I also really love that I get to spend most of my week with Josiah. Being a mom is the greatest job there is!

Josiah is amazing and is basically a genius now. 

Warning: Lots of mommy-type bragging and gushing to follow!
My little smarty pants has been speaking in sentences for months. He knows all of the basic colors, including black, white, and brown, we're working on gray still. Letter and number recognition are areas that I try to focus on with him these days. He knows his alphabet only because he knows the song. Actually, he knows a TON of songs! Music is most definitely his "thing" and I can't wait to see how that grows with him throughout his life. Josiah has started counting and is grasping the concept of counting more than one thing but he's not quite there yet. The other day, he counted to seven (incorrectly) and told me that Mickey Mouse had 7 feet. Nice try sweetie pie <3. He also memorized the rhythm to "Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?" and "reads" it often. For a two year old, he is simply amazing. He's very well behaved and doesn't have many meltdowns. He's definitely a BOY though and likes to bump into everything and fall all over the place. Scrapped knees are for mommy to kiss are very common, but other than that, he's such a joy to be around! And I know I am saying that because I'm his mommy and I can, but I've heard it from friends, family and strangers as well, so thank you Jesus we are doing something right with little child of His. 

My family and I have been spending lots of time at Walt Disney World lately and the kids (and grownups) absolutely LOVE it! This weekend we took them to Animal Kingdom and had a blast seeing the animals. It isn't a Zoo but it's the closest to one that we have access to at the moment and the fact that we already have annual passes helps my wallet as well. Win!

For Mother's Day we didn't do anything particularly special. In my family, we aren't too big on giving extravagant gifts on small holidays like that. I did want SOMETHING though and hinted to Josiah's daddy that Josiah should make something special for me. It wasn't a big surprise when that didn't happen though. After all, I was usually the creative one in the relationship. So, to get my wish and also make something special for my mom and grandmother from the kids, we had some fun with paint. 

As you may already know, I absolutely LOVE art that involves little hand and footprints. I had seen footprint butterflies on Pinterest many times in the past and thought it would be the perfect activity to do with the kids. They loved getting their feet painted and that they got to use their hand as well to be the sun in their pictures. They turned out adorable and all of the lovely mothers in my house loved their gifts! 

Here is a pic of Josiah's art taken off of my Instagram account.

Besides that, my mind has been one big, messy, never ending to-do list. I'm desperately trying to purge and organize a LOT at home. I live with 7 other people so we have a lot of stuff and have accumulated plenty of junk in the 10 years we have lived here. My big mission these past few weeks was to tackle the garage. The garage was a place for storing everything and anything. It's a two car garage and it was so full that we had a hard time getting in and out of it. As a matter of fact, we had a fire scare in there last month and it was hard for the fire department to get in there and find the source, but I'll save that for another post. Slowly but surely the floor has been making it's appearance in there though. My goal is to be able to fit one or both cars in there in the event of an emergency (such as a hurricane) and to have a big empty space for the kids to play in when being inside is boring but being outside isn't an option (gotta love FL thunderstorms). 

Other things that crowd my brain right now are: Finishing School (I am SO CLOSE), Starting "school" for Josiah and Lily, Organizing and finding a spot to call a school area for the kids, curriculum planning, eating healthier, exercising regularly, building my savings account, reading my Bible and reading/teaching it to Josiah, being a better mom/aunt, being more attentive, blogging more, getting back into photography, refreshing my photoshop/illustrator skills, finding time just for myself, doctors appointments and a potentially new journey for Josiah….. Gosh the list goes on and on and I am exhausted just trying to write it out. Those are all things I am trying to do on a daily basis, most of which I never get around to though. Most days we are lucky to have picked up the toys at the end of the night. Still, as exhausting as it might be, and even though sometimes I REALLY wish things were different (better), I can't ignore the fact that all of it is very humbling not only for myself but for Josiah as well. Had we been in a different situation, we definitely wouldn't be the people we are now and would not have had to lean on God as much as we do. It's a beautiful thing, really.

So that's what's been going on in my life, I pray you've all been well also! 'Til next time!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Josiah!

Wow! I've been gone for a bit. MY apologies. I WAS waiting for more pictures to share on this particular post and then life took over (and I never did get those other pictures).

Josiah is TWO!

This year for his birthday we went with a Minion theme since he really loves Minions. We also decided that the best place for our budget and all of our family and friends would be to do his party at the same park we did his party last year. I searched Pinterest for "Minion Party Ideas" and came across a ton of fun ideas including Gru's party rules, and Minion favor bags. One thing I needed though were baskets. We had planned on an easter egg hunt and I certainly did not want to spend more money on baskets for about 10-15 little ones SO I learned how to cut my minion bags and turn them into baskets. Genius! They now served as goodie bags AND baskets for the egg hunt!

Another goodie we came up with were the "Freeze Rays." I had found 3 packs of adorable little water guns in Target's dollar section and picked up a few, not really knowing what to do with them. When Josiah's daddy, his fiancé, and I huddled together to plan this thing and I mentioned the water guns, she said "Freeze Rays!" They were probably the biggest hit of all with the kids (and adults too!). Josiah had a little bit of trouble shooting his water gun, the only way he was able to make it work was by using his thumb, which meant he was always squirting himself in the face. It was the funniest thing watching the toddlers chase/squirt one another and Josiah running after them, shooting himself!

The egg hunt was pretty simple. I filled about 70 eggs with candies and had my brothers hide them throughout the park. I switched the tops and bottoms of the yellows and blues to make minions, added googly eyes and sharpies the rest of the details. There were also purple (evil) minions hiding around the park as well. 

*Note to anyone having an egg hunt in the park: use pre-packaged candies and stay away from chocolates! This was my first egg hunt ever and so I bought some chocolates and jelly beans to fill some eggs. The chocolate was melted and the jelly bean eggs were full of ants! Whoops! Good thing most of the eggs had packaged gummies inside.

After hours of play time at the play ground, it was finally time to wind down with some cake. It was an adorable Minion cake that Josiah still talks about. For a few days after the party he would NOT let me sing happy birthday to him because I didn't have a Minion cake. 

All in all it was a big success. My only regret is that I should have taken more pictures of Josiah. But he would NOT stay still and I don't blame him at all!

On his actual birthday, Josiah and I went to Disney World to say hello to Mickey Mouse. His reaction was priceless!

I can't believe my baby boy is TWO now. As sad as it is that my baby is growing up so fast, I am looking forward to all of the fun and excitement these toddler years will bring us!