The Easiest Halloween Party Food for Kids EVER

When I was prepping for my middle man’s Halloween Birthday bash I searched a lot of Halloween party ideas on Pinterest and Google. If you do the same, you’ll find that there are several different types of Halloween party. One of those is the nasty/gross type. My son loves Halloween, but Halloween to him is about fun ghosts and pumpkins – not gross gory weird stuff! Maybe that’s why I have not really ever been into Halloween.  I haaaaate the gross stuff. Like a lot. But helping him celebrate the holiday 365 has reminded me that it does not have to be disgusting or even scary (though we do like stuff to be a little bit “spooky”).  There is a lot about Halloween that is just fun and silly.  So these Halloween food ideas are a small sample of the fun and silly side of Halloween, all approved by the 3 year old man of the hour for his Halloween birthday party.

Some of the foods here are special treats that require preparation ahead of time. Others are literally foods you dump out and set a label on. My kids love coming up with silly names for regular foods for their parties – and I’m not complaining because that’s one less thing I have to make. I like to have fun foods for any party, but I hate when I’m in the kitchen after everything has started still trying to get everything ready. We’ll get started with the ones that require a bit of prep ahead of time – and then finish up with the dump and go! I’ll share my food labels too at the end of the post, so if you want to print those off for use at your party feel free!

Before Party Day:

We were able to knock out several of the food items before party day. Which was super helpful because I had to clean my house (ish) on party day and make big boy’s cake the day before, so I did not have time to be making a bunch of stuff.

Eyeball Bites –

AKA Cake mix cookies with eyeball sprinkles. These bad boys were a party hit with the kids. I had one or two left, and my children argued over who would get the last eyeball. (They split it, and I got another sprinkle from the cabinet. Because I had them, and why not.) I made them the afternoon before the party and stored them in a plastic container overnight. I had never made cake mix cookies before, but they are like crazy easy, and if you are needing colored cookies, I would definitely recommend these over sitting there squeezing in dye to your mix. I used this mix:

And I must admit it was a little weird when the “Vibrant Green” cake mix came out blue. Where is the yellow?! We need green! Anyway the most popular cake mix cookie recipe on the Internet (no stats to back this up, it’s the first one when you search Google) calls for 2 eggs and 1/2 cup oil. So I dumped in 1/2 cup of oil. Then I had the thought… “That was not a lot of cake mix…” Turns out these tiny packages are NOT 18.25 oz standard cake mixes. More like 9. Soooo I now had double the oil in my mix. I did not have another mix, had already poured in 1/2 cup, so I figured it was worth 1 egg to try and salvage this stuff. So I carefully spooned out 1/4 cup of now green oil and just tried my best to not get too many cake mix bits out too. In went the egg, and I mixed ’em up, scooped ’em out, and baked at 350 for about 5-7 minutes. I did some with the “eyeball” before baking, some I stuck it on after – because there’s no info out there about when to add the eyeball to your cookie, and I didn’t know. Turns out I liked the “add the eyeball before” cookies better. The boys loved them.

 

Monster Spit

AKA Water. My 5 year old was super excited about his “Wartortle Water” at his Pokemon party, and really wanted to name the water for his brother’s party. We came up with Monster Spit (though later my husband said he thought Monster Slobber was better… but it was too late.) I had the labels printed off on cardstock, cut them into strips, then my awesome husband put them on the water bottles with clear packing tape. We didn’t even bother to remove the original bottle labels beforehand, because it honestly seemed pointless. I want my kids’ parties to be great, but I’m not trying to spend 3 hours replacing labels on water bottles. We have not tried this method with bottles in a cooler, so I don’t know if the ink would bleed from the melting ice or not. They hold up really well in the fridge though! Scroll to the bottom of the post for the printable water label if you like!

 

Spooky Ghosts

AKA String Cheese. My son loves string cheese, so when I came across this idea I knew we had to have it. These were so easy. I used a sharpie, and drew on some circle ghost faces. Hardest part of these was just tearing apart the cheese sticks and praying that the tear wouldn’t go crazy and accidentally open them!

 

Jack-O-Lanterns

AKA Mandarin Oranges. Do y’all love these as much as we do? I get frustrated when I accidentally pick up a bag that are not the easy peel ones, and even the easy peel ones I have to peel for my kids, but when these are good, they’re good. This one was also a simple draw-on. I used a food writer instead of a sharpie because I wasn’t sure how permeable an orange peel was. These stumped a dad at the party for a minute! He said he had to do a double take to figure out what I was serving!

Worm Food

AKA Pudding with Oreos and Gummy worms. This was just a classic dirt-and-worms dessert scooped into cups! One of my all time favorite desserts. Mix chocolate pudding (according to package) and incorporate with a package of cream cheese that has been beaten with 1/2 cup of sugar. Fold in a container of Cool Whip, and the pudding is done! The ‘dirt’ is just Oreos that have gone through the chopper. I did wait until party day to top the pudding with the dirt and worms.

On Party Day

These are the things I did on the day of the party. Nearly all of them were “dump and go.”

Mummies

AKA Hotdogs wrapped in crescent rolls! I opened a can of crescents, pressed the perforated edges closed, then cut little strips with a pizza cutter. After that I took the strips, wrapped one per hotdog, and baked according to the crescent roll package. These were more of a hit than I could have imagined at the party. The kids loved this one!!

Creepy Carrots

AKA Carrots, Cauliflower, and Broccoli. This one was for the non-junk eaters (yes we have those!) It was super easy to do, and I used olives for the jack-o-lantern features. Done in a flash. We almost always have a veggie tray anyway, so it was crazy easy to just dump them in a pumpkin shape.

Zombie Eyes

AKA Grapes. That’s right. I just poured some grapes on a plate. The sign did the work.

And last but not least,

Pumpkin Skins

AKA Nacho Cheese Doritos. My 5 year old came up with this one and was so proud. I loved it. Another dump and go item with a clever name.

 

The food for your party does not have to be 100% homebaked and difficult. Planning a party is hard work, especially if it’s at your house that you’re trying to clean too! Feel free to use my food labels for personal use only! Hopefully they can make your party planning a little bit easier!

thumbnail of Halloween Food Labels 1 thumbnail of Halloween Food Labels 2 thumbnail of Monster Spit print

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One Week Down, 467 To Go

My big boy started Kindergarten last week. And thus begins the next 13 years of school. Waking up early, staying up late, making friends, and doing homework.  I had a mild breakdown after his meet the teacher night, but so far everything else has been pretty smooth. Except for him vomiting the morning that school started. That wasn’t exactly ‘smooth.’

Here are a few things we’ve learned about in our first week.

  1. The Temptation of Free Breakfast. Our school district offers a free breakfast for any student who wants to eat it. Pretty awesome right? Except – there’s only 15 minutes between the school door opening and teachers picking up in the cafeteria. My super hungry growing boy wanted to do a pattern. “Eat at home, eat at school, eat at home, eat at school, and continue the pattern,” he said. But then it turned into eat at home and again at school, eat at home, eat at home and again at school, eat at school. Free Cinnamon Toast Crunch was just too much for his little body to resist. This would’ve been fine with me, until 3 days in he tells me that he walks himself to class. Which should be false since the teachers pick the students up in the morning. After some questioning, he is insistent that his teacher does not walk him to class, he just knows where his room is. Ugh. I emailed his teacher, and she confirmed that he’d been rollin’ on to class at about 7:55 (10 minutes after everyone else). We have since discontinued the “eat at school” parts of the pattern, and now it’s eat at home and get to class on time, eat at home and get to class on time.
  2. Pete the Cat, the Optimist. Pete the Cat is pretty entertaining. And after Day 1, I was being taught a song about a happy cat who steps in all kinds of crud, seemingly ruining his shoes, but just takes it all in stride. It went something like this. “Pete stepped in a big pile of strawberries. Did he cry? Goodness no! He just sang his song, “I love my red shoes, I love my red shoes…” I feel for poor Pete’s mama. She went out and bought some brand new white shoes, and Pete can’t help but step in every pile of everything he sees. She now has to decide whether to be mad about some shoes or be happy that her kid is so darn easy going. A true conundrum. I’m a little bit like Pete’s mom. As a back to school gift from my mom, we were gifted a brand new pair of Puma shoes. He loooooves them. On the first day, he got them caked in mud putting his bike on the bike rack. But did he cry? Goodness no… he just sang “I love my brown shoes, I love my brown shoes…”
  3. No Amount of Tired Will Make My Kid Nap. It’s true. Both of my older boys stopped napping between 18 months and 2 years. Which is kind of the pits. I hear about 3 and 4 year olds who still take a 1-2 hour snooze every day, and I can’t help but wonder what is up with those kids. Are they running laps every morning? Staying up until midnight? I know it’s likely they’re just nappers, but I can’t help but think I should start some kind of training regimen to wear my boys out each morning (kidding.) In any case, my oldest has never been as tired as he is right now in his first week ever of starting at 6:45 am and going all day every day. I saw some first day pictures of kids passed out in the car on the 5 minute drive from school to home, and I thought maybe he would be so tired he’d need a nap one day. Nope. Not here! But it’s just as well, because lately I’ve been feeling like I am missing out on so much time with him that I’d actually be a little bummed if he came straight home and went to bed.
  4. If I want to know what happens at school, I will need to go there. It’s official. I have an, “I don’t remember,” kid. The kind that you know has never forgotten anything in his life, but suddenly you want to know what went down in P.E. and all he can muster is, “Something with handshakes.” Um, what? I’ll never know what the first day of P.E. activity that was his absolute favorite part of the whole day was. I just have visions of kids running around shaking hands willy nilly. It has gotten better, another day I got that they threw a scarf in the air and had to clap twice before they caught it. And still another day I learned that when on the track one whistle means walk and two means run. But then there’s been conversations like this oneKP: Me and Emma were the 1st ones to move up on the (behavior) chart!
    M: Oh buddy that’s awesome! What did you do to move up?
    KP: I answered the question!
    M: What question?
    KP: Who was it?
    M: Who was what?
    KP: Me!
    M: No, why did she ask who was it?
    KP: Because she couldn’t remember who it was!
    M: Who it was that did what?
    (More confusion and “Who was it?” talk)
    KP: She couldn’t remember who answered the question, and it was me, so I raised my hand!
    M: What question did you answer?
    KP: huh? I told her it was me!
    M: No, what did you know that she couldn’t remember that you knew?
    KP: Oh. I don’t know what I knew.

  5. School Is HARD. On everyone. Mom, dad, brothers… nobody is immune. I kept telling my son this summer how much his life was about to change forever. I knew he’d have a big adjustment coming – getting up early, being away from the house all day for the first time, homework, and being on his best behavior and alert all day. I did not think about the adjustments we’d all be enduring. My 3 and 5 year olds share a room, and this has meant that my 3 year old now wakes up at 6:45 or shortly after on most days. He’s also a no-napper, so he’s been a little (okay a lot) on the grumpy/needy/whiny side this week. He’s also lost his best playmate, which changes up my day considerably! The baby does still nap, but I will rejoice when I can figure out how not to have to wake him up each day for pickup. We’ve had a few days of 15 minute naps before it’s time to head out to get big brother.

Overall we’ve had a good first week, and are starting to see just how busy we’ll be this year between school, homework, soccer, and life. There’ve been a few emotional breakdowns (from a mix of kids and parents!) but we are getting it figured out. There haven’t been any notes home, and we are pretty sure our boy is telling the truth about winning a ‘super student’ award for his class this week! (I’ll know for sure when I see it in the newsletter.) It’s a relief to send a kid off to school and at least know they’re behaving like a respectable human while they’re there. How is your crew holding up after the first week?

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Halloween Pumpkin Cake

We recently threw a Halloween (birthday) party for my three year old. His birthday is in August, but he’s batty for Halloween (see what I did there?) – so we went with it. You can read about the party as a whole here, but I wanted to give a few more details about the good stuff – the food – so we’ll start with the cake!

I decorate cakes sometimes as a side hobby/job, which may sound at first like it’s a great thing when it comes to planning my kids’ birthday parties. It’s a double edged sword though. On one hand, I don’t have to pick a cake from the book at Wal-Mart, and I’m able to give my kids a custom cake that doesn’t break the bank. Because my budget is definitely going to land my kids a Wal-Mart cake if I’m not doing it myself. (I feel like I should say that I actually love the Wal-Mart whipped icing. Like I sometimes actually crave it. But I don’t want to make my kids pick a sheet cake when they know good and well I can make them something else!) I don’t have to worry about a cake surviving a drive. I hate cake driving! And I’m pretty sure everyone else on the road hates cake driving too. I know my husband especially hates cake driving when he’s the one doing it because I can’t control my gasps and need to grip the door handles on every turn. Next time someone is driving like crazy slow in front of you, take a deep breath and convince yourself they’re delivering some kid the birthday cake of their dreams. It’ll help calm you down. Maybe. I also don’t have to worry about somebody spelling my child’s name wrong or sending us a cake wreck. Not all of my cakes have turned out perfectly, but I don’t recall any TOTAL disasters. Okay, maybe one. These points are all great reminders of why it’s nice to be able to bake my own cakes. However, I always tell my children to take their expectations down a notch for their cakes, because I’m not just making their cake, I’m having to do decorations and other food and clean my house too! So it makes for a bit more work on top of regular birthday planning. Therefore, I need the cake to be easy and fast when it’s for us.

Super Easy Pumpkin Cake

I asked my son what he wanted for his Halloween birthday cake, and his only requests were “sprinkles and pumpkins.” So I went literal, and gave that boy a sprinkle explosion topped with a pumpkin. He loved it. To me it kind of looked more like a sprinkle disaster, but kids do. not. care. I don’t know what it is about sprinkles, but they want them on donuts, cakes, and anywhere else they’ll stick.I cannot tell you how easy this pumpkin cake was. The pumpkin part alone would be plenty for a small party, I just needed a place for the requested sprinkles so I did two tiers! The bottom cake tier was assembled from two 9″ round cakes. I leveled my layers with a cake leveler (a serrated knife would work fine too!), placed one on a 12″ cake board, then iced them with buttercream.  I put the iced bottom cake in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes to let the buttercream get somewhat set so that as I tried to press sprinkles into the cake I didn’t wind up with a palm full of icing. I could not find Halloween sprinkles anywhere (because remember – this was an August party!!) so I went with a bright blue/green/white round sprinkle mixture along with orange and black nonpareils. In hindsight, I definitely should have just picked one of those color schemes, because I did not love them all mixed together. And not to mention, the different sizes of sprinkles didn’t adhere to the cake uniformly, so keep that in mind too if you’re mixing several types of sprinkles! Again though, the man of the hour was thrilled with the sprinkle situation, so I am happy.

*Note – if you are making a tiered cake as pictured, and are not familiar with how to stack cakes read the tips at the bottom of this post!

Once the bottom cake was sprinkled, I began work on the pumpkin. For this element I baked two bundt cakes, leveled them, and built the pumpkin cut-sides together – with a healthy heap of buttercream in between, of course. There was a gaping hole in the middle of my pumpkin, so I filled it with scraps from the leveling. (I did not serve the scraps in the middle! They were just in there so I could have a surface built up to ice as the middle of the pumpkin & to set my stem on!) I dyed my icing orange using gel food coloring. I would highly recommend buying gel coloring if you are coloring buttercream, as liquid coloring will cause your icing texture to change and possibly separate. To get the icing on the pumpkin smooth, I iced the cake first not caring what it looked like – just getting icing for coverage. I then took my small angled spatula, and starting at the bottom of the pumpkin ran it up and over the top smoothing toward the center. I went all the way around the pumpkin doing this, making sure each stroke slightly overlapped the one before. This ended up leaving small vertical ridges of icing where the strokes were, but I actually liked that since pumpkins don’t have a smooth surface anyhow!

The facial features were cut from black fondant (you can get it cheap at a craft store with a 40% or 50% off coupon if this is all you need it for!) I was stumped on what to do for the stem, and did not want to just put a huge ball of brown fondant in the middle as that seemed wasteful. I ended up using a little bit more of those cake scraps from the leveling mixed with some extra icing to form a cakeball stem, coated with chocolate candy melts that I had left over from the time I bought the stuff for but then forgot to make a treat to take over to our new neighbors. Oops. Perhaps I should take them a belated welcome treat? Maybe one cakeball stem? The birthday boy loved his cake, and it was not so time consuming that I couldn’t get anything else done! That’s my kind of cake.

 

*For stacking cakes, you’ll want to make sure that the top tier has a cardboard cake circle underneath it approximately the same size as the bottom of the pumpkin. The bottom tier will need some sort of supports added so that the weight of the top tier does not crush the bottom one over time. You can either cut 4-6 wooden dowel rods or straws to the height of the bottom cake, and evenly space them so that the top cake will rest on them. The dowel rods will be a stronger choice than straws if the cake will be sitting for a long time.

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Happy Halloween Birthday Party!

I love my kids’ birthdays. I love giving them gifts, I love taking them out for birthday donuts, I love seeing how fun it is for them to have a special day, and I love throwing them a birthday party they love. There’s lots of stuff out there about “Pinterest culture,” and how being a mom is hard today because we hold ourselves to some super high standard because we have access to everyone’s absolute best ideas. I like to think that although I do frequent Pinterest, I have a realistic idea of what my kids actually need from me & realistic ideas about what I can and should be expected to do as a parent. I don’t give my kids cutesy lunches, and when it’s our turn for snacks at playgroup we bring oranges and Oreos. However, as I mentioned before I love a good birthday party. I don’t plan games and themed food because I feel like I have to or need to compete with anyone, I just genuinely like doing it. And I don’t have any judgement on somebody who rents out the jumping place because they just don’t want to think about it. I get it – it’s a lot of work to do a themed party, and it’s not work that everyone enjoys. I think kids love their birthday parties whether they are extravagant affairs, middle of the road planned (this is usually my line!), or thrown together at the last minute, so as parents I don’t feel like it’s necessary to stress about something you can’t/don’t want to do.

My 3 year old is all about Halloween – all year long. We read “Splat the Cat: What Was That?” and “Little Blue Truck’s Halloween” at least once a week, with other Halloween books mixed in (with a healthy sprinkling of truck books). I really don’t even know what sparked this love of Halloween. Neither my husband nor I are super Halloween fans – though I do decorate, and he was incredibly excited about our giant spider web and fake spider that covered the mantle last year. He likes to talk about “ghostes” and pumpkins, but he is not into anything scary or suspenseful (in fact both of the books I mentioned have pages that at least at some point he has asked us to skip!) This year, he wanted to celebrate his birthday with a Halloween party. It was fitting for him, and I was excited because I knew we’d be able to figure out some fun things to do and make.

The invitation was made in Photoshop using some free patterns for personal use. My kids love to have their picture on their invites – I guess it’s one of those things that you do it once, and it becomes a ‘thing.’ He really likes the word “spooky” so I had to throw that in there!Halloween party invite

I asked him what he’d like to do at his party, and he said, “Play with my toys?” So I figured I was on my own there. I know that nobody has high expectations for a 3rd birthday party, but I at least wanted to have something to offer so that it wouldn’t be like we were surprised everyone showed up! After all, a birthday party is a special day, so I like to have a little bit of out-of-the-norm fun. I started by thinking about bean bag games or something that would be easy to make out of a large piece of cardboard. I figured I could cut some holes pretty easily and paint some pumpkins and ghosts & call it a day (we already have beanbags for other games). But then I had a genius idea (if I do say so myself!) The church where I take the boys for a weekly play group puts on a huge Halloween carnival, so since it’s off season I thought it was at least worth a shot to see if they would let us borrow a couple of games for the party! And I was ecstatic when they agreed – one more thing off of my list!

My older son is Pokemon obsessed, and at his party we had a “pin the Pokeball on the Pokemon” felt board game. It was a big hit with the kids, so I really wanted to incorporate a felt board game at this party too. I don’t mind putting in work for things like this, because my boys can play with the felt board year round. For felt board games the fun is putting on and taking off, so what’s a better Halloween felt activity than mix-and-match Jack-O-Lantern faces? Nothin’, that’s what! It turned out that this one was not AS big of a draw as the Pokemon felt board, but it definitely kept a few kids busy, and again – mine will use it again, so I’m calling it a win.

Finally, what is Halloween without Trick-or-Treating? There was no way we were going to have a Halloween party for kids without taking a loop around the block begging for candy. I did give my neighbors a heads up, and everyone I asked (that was going to be home) agreed and loved the idea. I offered to bring candy to each of them – because I didn’t want this to be a burden to anyone else – but it turned out that most of them were so excited about it that they bought their own candy. We have great neighbors who love seeing happy kids. We had the kids wear costumes, though most of them were surprised about the Trick-or-Treating. My in-laws live in the country and holiday fun almost always includes a hay ride. We threw it out there as an idea for the Trick-or-Treating, and my father-in-law was all in. He loaded up the trailer and puttered around the block. We thought about asking if it was legal beforehand, but we figured it was the kind of thing that might be better to ask forgiveness! And hey – if my 3 year old got his first ticket for a birthday party hayride, I figure that’s a pretty good story for the future, right? It was truly awesome, and a little bit of rain made it bearable to be outside in the Texas summer heat. I know that not everyone would have access to a city hayride, but don’t let that deter you from a Halloween themed birthday party! The kids won’t even know they’re missing it, because candy.

Hands down, my favorite part of planning a party is the food. My family has a lot of fun coming up with silly names for all of the items we serve. A few of the things we ate this time were mummies, zombie eyes, and worm food. I’ll be posting more about the food soon! I decorate cakes as a sometimes paying hobby, and this year when I asked what kind of cake I should plan on, he said “Sprinkles and pumpkins.” Ask and ye shall receive, child. He got sprinkles, and a pumpkin. You can read more about the cake here! I was a little bit bummed because we wouldn’t be able to find cute Halloween plates and stuff, but alas, JoAnn Fabrics seemed to know what was up, and put their Halloween swag out about 3 months early. Normally I’d be with everyone else saying slooow on down JoJo, but this time I was like yesssss. So we got some cute on-theme plates. But black and orange would’ve done fine had JoAnn not come through in the clutch.

I was really excited about how everything turned out, and I think all of the kids had a great time. (And the games just might have gotten more play by some of the parents than the kids!) I think our 86 year old neighbor said it best, “I never heard of this, but I like it!” Halloween in the summer was awesome, and if you don’t know your neighbors, well – what are you waiting for? Go out and meet them, because you may want to ask them something crazy soon, and they need to know up front what type of nut you are! We lucked into a wonderful neighborhood, and I was so happy that everyone was on board to make the day special for our big 3 year old boy.

DIY Toddler Pumpkin Costume
The cutest Jack-O-Lantern around!

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Bullet Journal for Beginners

Bullet Journal for BeginnersIf you’re on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen pins pop up every now and then about bullet journaling. If you’re not on Pinterest, or only look at food on Pinterest, then you probably don’t know why I’ve put these two words together! Whether you’ve heard of it or not, I firmly believe that after having used one for just under one year, everyone can benefit in some way from starting one.

If you talk to my college roommate or my husband, they would probably tell you that I’m… a bit of a mess. I don’t do well at the whole “a place for everything…” rule, and I generally have about 5-6 unfinished projects going at any given time. Whether it’s stopping in the middle of paying bills, cutting fabric to be sewn (later, of course!), or getting distracted while making a snack, I’ve probably got a little something in every room at any given time. I’m also not that great at keeping things organized, and used to have about 100 “super important” random pieces of paper with notes on them (that my tidy husband sometimes threw away). I’ll get great ideas for organization and go all in, but I usually slip back into old habits in a short time. (I’m not making myself sound too great right now, but I do have redeeming qualities!) That’s why to my husband it is completely shocking that I’ve stuck with this for a year now. My bullet journal has changed over time, but it is one of my most handy tools. And I have a feeling it is about to get to a whole new level of helpful now that my big boy is starting school. Cue the tears.

What Is A Bullet Journal?

A bullet journal is a journal that you use as a calendar, organizer, to-do list keeper, doodle pad, or whatever else you would maybe be doing on post-it notes or in several other organizers. I use mine for my weekly menu, grocery list, calendar/to-do lists, and a host of other lists and functions including a “restaurants to visit” page and a page with current orders and their necessary materials. It is a minimalist system that allows for ultimate customization and creativity (if you’re into that – but if you’re not, that’s fine too!). You literally buy an empty journal, and fill the pages how you see fit – with some guidance to get started! How many times have you bought the “it” planner and spent like $50 to find out that you don’t actually want to record about half of the things on the pre-designed pages? I’ve only done it once – because I’m no fool. If you do end up searching Pinterest for bullet journal uses, you’ll see some pretty intricate page designs that most of us cannot replicate. But it’s important to note that the creator of the bullet journaling system uses a very simplistic system of lists and notes – no fancy doodles, drawings, and colors. So no matter your skill level in the doodle zone, you’ll be great at bullet journaling. There are no rules about how fancy you have to look. I’ve played around with different styles and levels of prettying up, and I feel like my journal is a reflection of my style. My husband just started one too, and his is a reflection of his style – straight to the point without any fluff.

Where To Start

Step 1: Pick your journal. I searched through many posts about what the best choice would be, and I landed on this one. It’s the Moleskine large dotted soft cover notebook.

I was not sure about how I would do with dots instead of lines, but it turns out this was a good call. There are times that I do want to sketch something (like when we were working in our kitchen and needed to constantly reference how many cabinets/drawers we had – a super simple sketch on my “home improvements” page was added). I would not want lines going all through my (not so) beautiful drawing! And I also think it just kind of makes the pages look neater to have your writing straight because of the dot guides, but the areas without writing more or less looking blank. You can also use them to make boxes and vertical lines, which I do often, and that would be harder with traditional lines. But that’s personal preference! I like that it’s a soft cover because it makes looking through it comfortable. The size is perfect – fits in my purse, big enough to write what I need. And they come in a few cute colors. I’m about to finish journal #1 and start on #2, and it’ll be a nice but weird change to switch colors! (And now that there are two of us keeping them we know whose is whose!)

Step 2: Pick some pens. You’ll want some that have little to no bleed through. I chose these. I love these pens. I have bought different packs to get more colors (a pack without purple was no pack for me!), so this 10 pack is actually a mix of two. These pens are wonderful. The best. Ask anybody. They’re great pens.

Step 3: Get going! You can go to the official bullet journal website for the suggested guidelines straight from the creator, but I’d suggest starting by setting aside a few pages for an index – yes, it’s really necessary.

See, my pages are NOT super pretty! Just an attempt at a header, and a list!

You don’t want to flip through hundreds of pages to find your restaurant list! This does require you to number your pages, but it is really truly easy to get into that habit. And if you forget, then it’s very easy to go back and add them in!

Step 4: You might have a great list you’re excited about having in your journal. Maybe it’s a reading list because people are always suggesting books to you and your mind goes blank at Half Price Books. Maybe you hate the tea at one restaurant and the ranch dressing at another and can never remember that until your cup is full and you have gross dressing all over your salad, and you want a place to write that stuff. Whatever your awesome idea is, take a minute first to add a few pages. My husband didn’t put any of these in his bullet journal because he “does all that on the phone.” But I find it very helpful to be able to see a clear overview of my year/month/week and throw in to-do lists too!

  • A “future log”/yearly overview. Here’s mine:This is handy especially when I’m looking for something that I’m not sure what month/week it falls on and I don’t want to have to be searching through my phone to find it. One quick glance, and it’s there. I use this for future events – I only write something on this page if it is further out than the current month.
  • A monthly overview.
    This was a particularly slow month – just the way I like it!

    I transfer dates from my yearly view at the start of each month, then only add to this page if something is happening further out than the current week. For the record, ‘Finish painting the kitchen’ wasn’t scratched off until much, much later.

  • You guessed it… a weekly spread!I used to take time each morning to write down what I needed to do that day. I’m not that disciplined right now, but I still keep up with my weekly events here. My weekly spread is much more time consuming than the one on the bullet journal website, so if this looks intimidating, don’t sweat it. You do not have to draw boxes every week. I just like doing it. My favorite part of my weekly spread is my menu. This menu was clearly before I was eating Whole 30ish, but the spirit of the spread is there! I write my grocery list as I make my menu, and that green box is for things that come up during the week that I’ll need to put on next week’s list – that I haven’t drawn yet!

Some people take it even further and put in a daily spread, but you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Because it’s your custom journal! I have enough room in my weekly spread for anything I need on the daily level.

What about the bullets?

I love the “bullet” part of the bullet journal. The whole idea is that you are quick logging everything – as this is meant to be a tool, not a time consumer. The bullets for lists follow a simple system. You write tasks with a traditional bullet, and then use the following on top of those initial bullets:

  • X: Task complete
  • >: Task “migrated” or moved to another time

There are other symbols suggested on the website, but these are the ones I use most frequently and consistently.

Habit Trackers

One of the things that I was most excited about when I started my bullet journal were my daily/weekly/monthly habit trackers.

Oops! Guess I took a week off!!

With a habit tracker, you can add in tasks that you either want to improve upon (like making sure you do your daily chores!) or things you want to track – like how often you are eating out. I now just keep a yearly tracker (the headings are the months of the year) where I store things like ‘clean the fans,’ ‘change toothbrushes,’ and ‘back up pictures on phone.’ That way I can see when it was I last did all of the things that are sporadic and easy to let go.

Ideas for Other Pages

I have mentioned quite a few of my pages that I utilize, but here’s a recap and roundup of some of my favorites.

  • Calendars and future planning
  • Daily to-do lists
  • Habit trackers
  • Wish lists – seriously how often does someone ask you what you want for a Christmas gift and your mind is vacant?!
  • Books to read
  • Restaurants to try
  • Instructions you have to look up all the time – for me one of these is an Instant Pot cheat sheet!
  • Home improvement wish list
  • Cleaning Schedule
  • Lawn & plant care record/planner – I keep a chart of when I’m supposed to fertilize, apply weed killer, and trim various plants
  • Meal ideas
  • Places to visit

Go for it!

If you have any questions about bullet journaling, please feel free to ask! I’m not an authority by any means (are there bullet journal authorities?) but I have been at it a while and have picked up some tips along the way! Don’t get swept up in the beauty and intimidation of the Pinterest journals. Yours can be whatever you want it to be, and it will evolve over time as you see what works (and doesn’t) for you. Are you going to start a journal? Let me know what kind of page you’re most excited to add, or if you’ve got an idea for a different page!

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Mermaid Cake Math

I think that most people who know me are aware that I teach math. Few are probably aware of what an actual math nerd I am. As a point of reference, do you know how helpful it is to describe to someone where an itch on your back is by having them picture a coordinate grid on your back and giving them the coordinates of the itch? No? Well, put that in your bag of tricks, and get those itches scratched. Do you play the “make an alien” game in the car with your kids, where you use mathematically correct terminology to describe some crazy alien? Ex: My alien has a purple pyramid head with three square eyes, a rotini noodle for a nose, no mouth, a red cylindrical body, and 5 sticks for arms. Try it – my 5 year old loves it, and he’s learning all kinds of geometry terminology (while having fun!) Because he can’t picture this alien until he asks me, “What does a cylinder look like again?” What’s incredibly rewarding is when he describes his alien, and uses some words that I’ve been tossing around.

In any case, the point of those examples was to give you a little glimpse into how the brain of a math geek works. We like to do other things besides solve math problems because we are also living, breathing, functioning human beings (most of us!), but math seems to creep its way in to everyday tasks – like driving. Sometimes I will calculate in my head how much time I will actually save by going 5 mph over the speed limit on a drive. Spoiler alert – it’s not worth it on most drives! Drive safely y’all! I am not always thinking about math, but I would definitely say I am often thinking about math.

One of my hobbies is cake decorating. I like making things with my hands – crochet, cake decorating, painting, etc. I’ve always said I am not at all creative, just patient. I’ll be the first to say that my best work is usually not done when I have to create the design totally from scratch. These tasks all take a lot of patience. This weekend I had a cake order for a cute little mermaid cake for a 6 year old’s birthday party. I made this cake, sent it on its way, and then met up with it later after it was the victim of a cake-tastrophe on the car ride home. It turned out pretty well, especially considering what it looked like post car ride!

Mermaid Cake
Mermaid cake – Mr. Turquoise Shell is out of place, exposing his icing glob glue! Shame!

Check out all of those circles! The coloring of the fondant, rolling and cutting circles, and placing circles all took quite a bit of time. However, it’s not work that requires a lot of thought, so my mind wandered as I colored, rolled, cut, and placed. And you guessed it – my mind was wandering to all of the ways I could use this cake as a prompt for various math problems. I even drafted a few and used them in the process. I used equations to calculate how much turquoise and white fondant to mix together to create each shade for the hombre effect. I initially intended to go from a 75% saturation to 50%, 25%, then pure white (and do 2 rows of each color). It turned out that I did not want the dark 75% color going up very high on the cake, so I actually went with a 75%, 50%, 30%, 16%, and 8% before switching to white! I weighed my balls of fondant on a food scale for accuracy. I finished each row (bottom up) with more than enough left over, so I just calculated how much white to add to the mix to end up with my desired saturation. I thought about the diameter of the circles compared to the circumference of the cake to see how many circles of each color I would need. I used the diameter of the circles compared to the height of the cake to figure out an estimate of how many rows I would have (estimate because I did not know exactly what the overlap situation would be until I was actually in it!) This is thrilling, no?

Was math necessary to complete this cake? Ummmm no. The hombre effect I did could have been done by just adding turquoise/white fondant gradually until the color variations looked good. In fact, I’ve done it this trial and error way before with great results, I was just feeling extra mathy on this day. All of this got me thinking though, “Would this application of mixture problems be more engaging than the ones I’m currently using in my class?”

As a math instructor, I’m often met with resistance.  My husband and I both teach college level courses, but I often joke that we have two completely different jobs. He teaches Criminal Justice courses, which is a field that people choose to sign up for. I ask him all the time what it’s like to have a class full of students that are, at least on some level, interested in the subject matter. In a math course, I’m feeling like a champ if like 10% of the class would say they ‘enjoy’ or ‘like’ or ‘are interested in’ the subject on the first day. Sometimes I too get bogged down with the feeling that if my students are bakers, they probably are going to wing it rather than work a mixture problem to figure out how much of each material to use. That maybe the complainers have a point – a lot of what we do in a college level math course is just not necessary for a large portion of the population. But I have a job to do, and if talking about cake decorating makes mixture problems a little less blah for someone out there, then by golly I’m going to give it a go.

Teacher Talk

I decided that I would create a few lessons based on this cake, and I’ll be posting them here. Some of my favorite lessons that I’ve done with kids have been when I give them about 3-5 sentences describing a scenario and turn them loose. So, that’s how these lessons have been derived. If actually used with students, you should note that there are many ways to skin the math cat. (Is that an actual saying?) Your students may not use the “desired” method of solving the problems without prompting. I’d encourage you to be okay with that, and leave the “desired” method of solving for the discussion after everyone has presented their findings.  I promise, kids love it when “their way” hasn’t been talked about yet – even if they got the same answer as the presenter before!

I’ve drafted an activity that, from my experience, I believe students in grades 4-6 (and up) have the reasoning skills to take on. They may not know how to multiply with decimals or two digit numbers, but I have experienced in multiple classrooms that when students are given a chance to reason, they will take it and run.  They may not “set up a proportion” to solve as you might, but it is important to note that that is 100% okay. If your goal is to create problem solvers, then with some coaching as necessary, your students will succeed. In my classroom, I would have available any materials that I had – whether I found them helpful or not – and put the students in groups of 3-4.  Oftentimes, we create graphic organizers, give students “the” manipulative, and let them “problem solve” – our way. In fact, I almost included a table to record fondant amounts in, and thought better of it! My most rewarding experiences as a math teacher have come when I allow the students to attack a problem and make their own decisions.

Your students will likely have questions about this problem due to lack of experiences and vocabulary.  It is important to read through the problem as a group and get all of those questions answered prior to turning them loose. You do not want to be explaining what “50% saturation” means and what fondant is 6 different times before anyone can begin! If your students have absolutely NO idea how to calculate the amount of each color needed for the various shades, I’d encourage them to start by figuring out the 50% saturation first, and see if they can reason from there. And it’s okay if some students just. don’t. get it. The struggle makes the explanations that much more rewarding.

This lesson may seem like it will take too much time if you just let them go without guidance, and it will take time. I would allow 30-40 minutes for exploration, and 15-20 minutes for presentation – depending on your allotted class time. I have been in the panic mindset where any deviation from the set plan seems like it will be impossible to make up. The strains of standardized tests and countless learning objectives can send us into a frenzy. But I’d encourage you to take time for this type of lesson at least once per 6-weeks period. Your students will thank you, and you may find that you enjoy it and they gain more than you anticipated. Give it a shot! If you do, please let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear it!

I’ve included two handouts, and a link to a widely circulated page that discusses serving amounts for different sizes of cakes. You will need all three pieces for this activity! Enjoy!!

thumbnail of Proportional Reasoning Mermaid Cake Problem 3-5thumbnail of Proportional Reasoning Mermaid Cake Student Recording Sheet (3-5)

Earlene’s Cake Serving Chart

 

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Why We’ve Accepted the Whole 30 Challenge

Why Choose the Whole 30

I’m a mom of three sweet, happy, healthy, sometimes grumpy & picky boys. Three boys who sent my body through the wonderful and sometimes unpleasant miracle of pregnancy and C-Sections to get here. Are C-Sections considered a miracle? It depends on if you’re asking one month before or after it happens or almost one year later. It’s been almost a year, so yes. I think so! With boys #1 & 2, I – much like Big Sean – bounced back.  It didn’t take long before I was wearing all my old clothes, and thanks to a couple milk protein allergies and a crazy elimination diet while breastfeeding for their first years of life, I actually had to buy new smaller clothes. Boy #3 was a different story. I don’t know if it was my 30+ body getting tired of bouncing back, the fact that I didn’t breastfeed him (a week in the NICU and yes – another milk protein allergy played a big role in this decision!), or my less than stellar diet, but when he was about 6 months old I finally relented and bought new bigger pants.  Bigger as in bigger than the bigger size I already keep on hand for when I put on just a little extra. So I knew I had to do something.

Baby in Highchair
This guy’s not picky!

Maybe There’s a Problem

I’ve always had a sweet tooth. My favorite food is probably ice cream, and I’ve also always had a super need for a snack.  I have long felt like I needed to find a way to have that sweet tooth extracted – but I don’t think dentists actually do that. And remember those 3 beautiful babies with milk protein allergies? When I took in #3, their pediatrician had the “maybe it’s you” talk with me. And I think he may be right. Maybe my body has been trying to tell me for a long time that what I’m eating is just down right harmful for my body.  Enter: The Whole 30.

Why Choose the Whole 30

Just Eat Real Food

I started by borrowing this book from a friend. In it, the Hartwigs (Whole 30 creators) explain the reasons why they designed the diet the way they did, and the various benefits that have been reported by the thousands of people who have taken the challenge. (And believe me – it is a challenge!) For 30 days, you eat nothing but real food. No added sugars, dairy, legumes, grains, or highly processed stuff. (Yes, legumes and grains are “real food,” but they can be hard on a digestive system, so for the purposes of this program you cut them out!) The idea here is that this drastic change in the way you eat for 30 days will reset your body and mind, making long term change more attainable. It also gives those of us who have often wondered if there might be some food sensitivities lurking a way to put that suspicion to rest.

No Means No

I have tried before to “snack better” or “not have as much sugar,” but without a clear set of guidelines I was sure to fall back into my same old habits sooner than later. The Hartwigs discuss in their book how a drastic change seems like it may, in some ways, actually be easier to follow than a gradual one because it’s a clear yes/no on every food. And it also cuts out the inevitable negotiations that’d go on. You know… “Okay. If I have salad instead of a burger, then it won’t be as big of a deal when I eat the Blizzard.” With the Whole 30, it’ll just be a no.

Bigger Than My Waistline

As I mentioned earlier, the jump start to making a change was definitely my growing (or rather, stagnant) waistline. But my reasons for doing a Whole 30 are bigger than that. Some of the benefits that Whole 30ers have experienced include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Raised energy levels/loss of Chronic Fatigue
  • Reduction/elimination of unexplained aches and pains
  • Elimination of seasonal and other allergies
  • Clear skin
  • Fertility issues rectified
  • Elimination of symptoms of IBS
  • Loss/reduction of symptoms of auto-immune disorders
  • Improvements in sleep
  • Elimination of chronic acid reflux
  • Elimination of anxiety/depression
  • Improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol

All of these things and many more have been cited time and time again by people who have taken the 30 day challenge.  I’d encourage you to check their website for a more comprehensive list if you have other symptoms you’re curious about! I do not suffer from all of these ailments, but I have problems with enough things that 30 days seems totally worth it for a shot at relief. Heck – if I can just kick my Zyrtec habit it’ll be worth it! And, I’ll be able to put my mind at ease after I re-introduce dairy into my diet. I’ll know for sure if dairy is just something I should avoid altogether, limit, or eat without worry.

So Far, So Good

When I decided to make the change, we jumped in immediately….ish. We are not planning to do a full strict Whole 30 until September. (I did not want to be worrying about every single thing I ate during the summer – too many birthday parties, family gatherings, and invitations to dine out!) We did, however, throw away the candy stash and other junk in the pantry, put an end to purchasing chips and junk food, and have essentially begun following the Whole 30 guidelines for all at home meals. I have still allowed myself Italian dressing on my salads (alternating with compliant dressing – recipe to come soon!) and we are enjoying Dr. Pepper until September. We’ve cut out nearly all other added sugars – except sneaky sugar in sausage & bacon – and are giving ourselves some freedom when we are out with family at a restaurant or someone’s home. It has been pretty difficult at times, but I keep telling myself this – We used to eat the same stuff over and over before, it was just junky. Now, I’m eating the same stuff, but it’s great food. If I get in a rut, I remind myself it’s not the type of food I’m eating that’s the problem, just that I’ve gotten a bit lazy in planning.

best green sauce ingredients
These simple ingredients combine for THE BEST SAUCE EVER.

What We’re Eating

The general guideline for a Whole 30 meal (whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner) is to give yourself 1 serving of protein, fill the rest of your plate with vegetables, and round out the meal with a serving of healthy fat (avocado, olives, coconut, almonds, etc.) Mix in a couple servings of fruit per day, and you’ve got it! My breakfast used to be a granola bar and/or cereal. Now I’m eating eggs, bacon, or sausage with a huge variety of veggies every morning. I did not think I’d be able to *do* broccoli in the morning – but it turns out I eat it lots of times for breakfast, and love it! My husband has been making sausage/potato hash often, with things like bell peppers or greens mixed in. We’ve quit buying things like spaghetti sauce that have unnecessary added sugars (keep your eyes out for a post on sneaky sugar soon!) and started making our own. My oldest son (who’s got a reputation as a picky pants) has discovered he loves raw mushrooms and whole carrots – though we must give partial credit to Bugs Bunny on the carrot thing. I am not restricting my kids’ diets like I am mine, but many of the changes have been for the entire family – and they haven’t seemed to mind.

A Boy and His Carrot
Ehhhh. What’s up Doc?

Results So Far

I have high hopes for when we actually do our 30 day challenge, because I’ve already started seeing/feeling results with our Whole 30-ish diet. So far, the things I’ve noticed:

  • Looser fitting clothes. I still have a ways to go, but I definitely feel and see change happening already.
  • Loss of the need to snack. That’s right. Completely. I do not feel a need to snack at all because I am giving my body exactly what it needs for all three meals.
  • Clearer skin. Again, nobody is going to be asking me my regimen just yet, but my skin is clearer than I can remember it being in a looooong time.
  • Aches and pains gone. I can’t remember the last time I complained to my husband about my arm/foot/back/leg just hurting for no reason.
  • Reduced IBS symptoms. They come and go, but I definitely can tell a big difference when I’ve been eating right for several days and then have bread/beans/cheese.
  • Losing the sweet tooth. Sometimes at the grocery store I see something and think, “Maaaan that sounds nice.” But I don’t sit around the house wishing I could head out for an evening shake or go grab a quick piece of candy or ice cream from the kitchen.
  • I stopped at one s’more. This one was big for me. We recently had a campfire on the river, and I ate a s’more and it was so satisfying I didn’t need another.  I’d usually have at LEAST two, and still be wishing for more. But when I’m not filling myself with junk and sugar all day, then one s’more truly felt like a big time treat.

Take the Challenge

If you have thought even ONE time while reading this that maaaaybe you could benefit from this, then I’d encourage you to join us in September.  I’ve heard it’s easier with support, and I’ll be posting here about how we’re doing and what we’re eating, and would love to have the feedback of friends and family (or strangers!) that are following along. I am looking forward to seeing even more improvements when I truly commit to the Whole 30 challenge. Let me know if you’ll be along for the ride!

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6 Texas Bathroom Bill Improvements – What I’d Like in My Bathroom Bill

I’m from Texas. Texans can agree on a lot of things, like that we have some pretty spectacular Bar-B-Q, rivers, sports, and people here. But if you so much as whisper the words “bathroom bill” in Texas, you’re bound to be met with some strong feelings one way or another.  My husband recently tweeted that his bathroom bill would start with a ban on trough urinals.  I don’t know much about trough urinals except that I want to stay far, far away from them, so I decided to draft a bathroom bill of my own.
6 Things Moms want in a bathroom bill

      1. Mandatory soundproofing of stalls.

        We’ve all been there. You’re in the bathroom with your 2 yr old, chatting away, and it’s finally your turn to pee. You sit down, and he yells, “Mom! Where your penis!?” You remind him (for the millionth time) that you don’t have one, and the conversation is over.  Until he squats down in front of you and yells, “Oh! There you penis!” Wait, what? “No! No penis down there!” And now you’re just hoping the bathroom bill doesn’t pass because you don’t need to be questioned by the bathroom police on account of a loudmouth toddler. What’s that you say? You’ve never been in this position? Okay, well then I ask the same thing I asked a 4th grader who didn’t understand why teachers had their own rest room. “Do you want me hearing your bathroom noises?”

      2. At least one sink should either be lowered or have the option of a pull out step stool.
        Washing Toddler Hands
        It’s super hard to get a photo of this process!

        I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the looks of utter discomfort as I’ve hoisted a kid up to a sink and smashed his body to the counter so he won’t fall so that I can wash his hands that have been touching everything. Kids don’t do a stellar scrubbing job, so I feel like I have to at least help a little! This doesn’t happen at Chick-Fil-A, because they have step stools. And so should everyone.

      3. Purse hooks must be in working order at all times.

        There’s nothing like sitting down for dinner and gazing around the kitchen only to catch a glimpse of your purse on the counter. Cue the flashbacks of your purse on the Joann bathroom floor earlier when you had to choose between wiping and holding your purse because the stall was too tiny to possibly do both at the same time, and there was no freaking purse hook. Just those 2 sad holes where there USED to be a purse hook. Tragic. Because then, instead of enjoying your dinner, you must immediately get up and wipe down the counter so you can stop being tormented by what’s schlepping off of your purse.

      4. Changing tables must be installed in order to pass code inspection.

        Because if you don’t have a changing table, that means I’m going to be changing my kid’s poopy diaper on your floor, booth, counter, or wherever else I can find a flat surface large enough to contain his wiggly behind. And also it hurts my body to have to get down and change that baby. Barry O knew what was up. Put these suckers in the men’s room too, because it is a) sexist to assume that mom must change all diapers and b) ridiculous to assume that dads never take their baby out sans-mom. It DOES happen. Maybe people think we need a bathroom bill to keep dads from sneakin’ into our zone to borrow the changing tables. Problem solved.

      5. Financial support for research and development of a bathroom robot vacuum/mop.

        I feel like this one is self-explanatory. But when I walk in a bathroom with gross floors, I can just hear Phoebe singing, “Sticky Shoes.” Except these sticky shoes are not making me smile. A bathroom robot vacuum would be ideal if it could pick up stray TP and also soak up a mess – that way I don’t have to spend my whole trip convincing the little ones that they are not in charge of that job. I have seen each of my older boys lay down on a bathroom floor. It’d make it easier for me to want to hug them later if there was a bathroom robot vacuum mop hangin’ out too.

      6. Produce literature getting the word out about these awesome chairs!
        Baby bathroom seat
        Just strap your baby in, and take care of business hassle free.

        I’ve only actually gotten to use this one time. It is at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, and it was awesome.  I’ve also had to use the bathroom with a baby strapped to my chest in his carrier. This has happened on more than one occasion, but the most notable and also annoying was at a children’s museum. The logistics of this are as hard as they sound. I don’t know how the wildlife preserve took needs of moms into account better than a children’s museum, but I’d like to do my part to spread the word of this baby chair awesomeness.

 

Okay, in the interest of limited government I’m not actually suggesting these things be discussed by our senators – except maybe #4. That one’s a no-brainer to me. But business owners, I’m lookin’ at you! And if you have strong feelings about the actual Texas Bathroom Bill, feel free to share them with your representative. Nobody here can help you, so it’s best if you talk to someone who can. However, I would love to hear what you’d include in your own bathroom bill!

 

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A Little Wild & A Little Strange

A little wild and a little strange… There’s a lot rolled into this little tag line. The first layer of the meaning of this tag line is the face value. We are actually sometimes a LOT wild and a LOT strange (the 5 year old is learning Swedish with his daddy for no real reason in particular, the *almost* 3 year old runs around screaming HA-LE-LU-YAH, the baby is just wild, and there’s too much to type about Dad and Me… but check out @OscarsHead on Instagram for a glimpse into my husband’s hobby) Three boys in the house makes for a little bit of lots of things, but we have no shortage of “wild” and “strange” around here.

A favorite of @OscarsHead

If you sang that tag line, then you probably get me. We are 90’s kids. Nickelodeon kids. Hey Dude kids. “Older” millennials. I recently did a training on strategies for teaching millennials in a college classroom. I don’t think that the creators of the training intended for actual millennials to take the course. It was very meta. I learned a lot about my learning style and study habits. I’ve thrown that word around a lot already (3 times in this paragraph – easy to count, because apparently “millennials” isn’t in the official dictionary of typing on the internet so it’s underlined for me) but what does it even mean? To people older than us, it sometimes means “entitled and no attention span.” To me, it means “not afraid to click that button even though I’m not sure what it does.” In any case, my love of Hey Dude represents that I grew up when the internet was juuuuust starting to get into every home, and my first phone did not take pictures or send unlimited texts. I love me some technology, but still appreciate a good old bike ride.

Big Boy enjoying a bike ride. He says he invented that trick.

I sang that tag line.  I get that from my dad.  We sang a LOT in my house growing up, but not really like sitting around singing whole songs.  More the kind of singing where if somebody says, “Man, it’s really hot in here!” then naturally, there’s only one response.  But we’ll leave that to Nelly. My husband on the other hand always has a song to sing – the whole song kind. I usually don’t mind this and actually kind of enjoy it, except when we’re going on day 27 of the same song.

My mind is like a wild ride. I am one of those “scatterbrained” individuals that rarely finishes project A before heading over to project C for a minute (I had to skip project B because I forgot a few of the things I needed at the store!) I generally finish things when it’s necessary (read: at the last minute) which drives my husband nuts because he generally finishes things when he finds out they need to be done (read: way before they’re on my radar). This blog will almost certainly reflect that. I’ll finish one blog post before I start another, but be prepared to read a new fav Whole 30 recipe one day, and see a DIY project the next!

I hope you’ll join me as I pour out some of the “wild and strange” from our family into this blog. We have enough to go around.

 

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