HJ, like most kids, loves to learn.  Lately, we have been playing games, singing the abc’s and counting everything in sight.  We have also gone on local field trips to learn about all sorts of things.

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The other day, I decided to teach him about emergencies and what to do.  I let him know that if I was ever unable to help him, he could use my phone to call 9-1-1.  I had him repeat the number and showed him the phone.  He seemed to be getting it and was repeating “9-1-1”.

I told him to ONLY call that number in an emergency.  (I distinctly remember getting in trouble for calling that number as a kid.  I was shocked that they called my house back and asked for my mom, eeks!)

I asked HJ if he knew what an emergency was.  He said, “Like when I am trying to watch a movie and you start vacuuming.”

Crap.  We have a little work to do.


It was one of those times where I discover I may not be the best teacher and there may come a point in his life where I need a little assistance.  When the time comes, I can turn to a service like Varsity Tutors to help find local tutors.

How do you help your child get ahead?

Guess what?  It’s pinterest challenge time again!  I know, I know, I frikkin talk about pinterest all the time…but I made something.  And it’s cool.  So stay with me.

Once again, Young House Love and Bower Power are having their Pinterest Challenge and I am playing along.

A while back, I pinned a really cute Lego Table from Meet the Dubiens.

I had purchased the supplies a while back…and then let them sit in my closet for a while.  Like a year.  How’s that for procrastination?

Here are the supplies I used:

  1. IKEA side table in black
  2. Lego Duplo Base Plate
  3. Set of Lego Duplo Gas Station
  4. Super glue
  5. White contact paper

I quickly put the table together and glued the base plate to the middle.  Then, I cut the contact paper into “lanes” for the road (I didn’t worry too much on measuring these, as they will peel off easily when cleaning.  I just plan on replacing them as needed).  Once the lane was in place for the road, it was time to play!

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This only took about a half hour to complete and it was a great birthday gift for HJ!

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Here it is after a bit of wear and tear….


In our house, most lego built things become crash scenes (see the dragon in the background?  He attacks things).


Anyone else take part in the pinterest challenge?

You know what baffles me?  Technology.  There are some things I just don’t get.  Yesterday, I was trying to do a little photo editing for a project and started looking at websites for different tools to use.  Apparently,  instagram just doesn’t cut it.

While checking out one web-site, I came across an ad for a cyberlink 3D player.  I feel like watching something on 3D, other than in the theater, is something that should be so far in the future.  But, apparently not.

How cool is at that my son might always know watching a program in 3D.  It amazes me to think of how different the world will be in his eyes compared to when I was a child.  He will think I am so old when I say things like, “I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 19…hardly anyone did!” and “the first cell your papa had was in a bag that you carried around and it was connected with a phone cord!”

I also had to walk to school.  Uphill.  Both ways.


I have been putting off writing this post for a while because I knew looking at the image would cause nightmares.  I hate spiders that much.

Over Christmas break, my friend and I took our boys to a local children’s museum.  The boys had fun playing and making crafts and the mom’s had fun chatting about Christmas.

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Afterwards, we were walking around the gift shop checking out all the goodies, when I came across this sitting on a shelf…


In a plastic container, with no lid.  Sitting in the gift shop.  Where people buy things to play with.  I asked the worker if it was real…while holding the container.

She explained that tarantulas shed their skin and this was in the tarantulas cage this morning.   She never flinched at the fact I was holding the container. The boys thought it was pretty cool, so I suggested I could hold it so the boys can get a closer look.   (mind you, this terrifies me, but I will do it for the boys!).  I start tipping the container towards my open palm when I hear the gift shop attendant say, “the skin of the tarantula still contains the poison, so don’t touch it.”


I quickly toss the container back onto the shelf.  “why do you have a skin of a spider,  that is poisonous sitting on a shelf where children can get it?”  I say in a tone I hope isn’t too condescending.

“I am guessing the cleaning crew just left it there this morning during their rounds.” she says.  Like it’s no big deal.

Right.  Let me get this straight.  There is a spider skin just sitting in a gift store, where there are all sorts of things for kids to touch and hold.  Where they are ENCOURAGED to touch and hold things.  “And the cleaning crew accidentally leaves something poisonous just sitting out?  That seems safe.”

She must not have liked my tone, and said, “Well, it wouldn’t have killed you, you probably would have just had a rash.”

From a poisonous tarantula.



I can see HJ trying to peer beyond my shoulder as I tuck him in to bed.  I have purposely placed myself so he couldn’t see the fish bowl.  “MOM!” he says in an urgent tone, “What’s wrong with Binky?”

Earlier in the night, I went into HJ’s room to feed the fish.  That’s when I discovered that Binky the Shark had passed away.  We were in a hurry to get out the door, so I didn’t “take care of it”.  The fish was laying on the rocks on the bottom of the bowl.  And HJ has not paid much attention to Binky for the past few months.  So, I figured I would leave it as is, and take care of it once HJ was asleep.  Maybe that way I could get out of telling him about death.

But now, HJ was urgently asking what happened.  I told him, “Oh, Binky must be sleeping.  Just like you should be.”

“On the rocks?  He sleeps on the rocks?”

Dang smart kid.

“Now go to bed honey bear, see you in the morning.”

The next morning, I woke up a few minutes early and ran to grab the fish bowl.  I had just finished cleaning the bowl and setting it on the counter when HJ came stomping into the kitchen.  He looked at the bowl and his eyes started searching the kitchen.

“Where’s Binky?”

Alright, time to come clean.

“Well, Binky passed away.  He is no longer with us.”  I said.

HJ pondered this for a second.  Then asked, “Where did he go?”

BAM!  I know this one!  “Heaven!”

Then came a question I was unprepared for.  “Who took him there?”

Having to quickly think on my feet, I responded with “the fishy angels.”

Apparently HJ knows a little more about death then I gave him credit for.  His face turned into a frown and he looked at me with sad puppy dog eyes.  “I miss Binky!”

“I know hun, but it will be okay.  Binky is in heaven now.”

Not much else was said about it.  He has brought it up to people, but luckily they have responded with the same answers I did.  He has asked for a new one, but I am leaning towards “ew, I absolutely hate cleaning out fish bowls.”

I am lucky this is his first experience with something he loves dying, it seemed like an easy way to introduce the concept.


Time to announce the Hammer & Me giveaway winner! (I had no good transition for dying fish to free necklaces)

I absolutely love the necklace she has offered to one of my readers!

And the winner is…


I will be sending you an email, congrats!


Happy Monday my loves!  I spent the weekend out of town, and will have to tell you about it.  In the mean time, I need to announce the giveaway winner from A Few of My favorite Things, TAKE 1.  The prize is a Childrens Custom Name Hook from Blue Yodey You can also see more items on the Blue Yodey facebook page.  The “random number generator” says the winner is:

#5, Tania


Now onto the regular post…

I love reading.  I remember getting in trouble when I was younger for reading too much (I would try to sneak in extra chapters under my covers).  I actually don’t let myself go to the library too often, because when I start a book, I procrastinate in other areas of my life to read.  And then I finish books in a matter of days.

But due to the weather, HJ and I have been going to the library to play (since it is too cold to be outside), and I check out some books.  I figured I can give you reviews of the books I read this year, and it will help me monitor by book-usage :).

Before I left on vacation, I checked out 2 books on Saturday morning.  By Sunday afternoon, I was done with Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner.  I have read a number of her books, so I knew it would be a quick and easy read.  Overall, I thought it was good!  The book is about 2 girls who grew up as neighbors, but after an incident in high school, stopped being BFF’s.  Until, duh duh duh, one girl gets into a little trouble and asks the other one to help.  While I might not recommend this for a super fun book club discussion, it was a decent book!

My next book of the year was Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me.  I absolutely have loved Chelsea’s books in the past.  Are you There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea had me cracking up.  So I was expecting the same silly writing.  The only thing is, Chelsea didn’t write this one.  People she lied to did.  The people she lied to are not nearly as hilarious as she is.  This book actually took me a week to get through.  That is because I forced myself to skim the chapters before going to bed.  Does “skimming” mean I actually didn’t read it?  While I will completely read other books Chelsea writes, I do not think I will read a book just because her name is on it.

My 3rd and final book for the month of January was Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess.  And this one made me laugh.  There was one point where I was laughing so hard, I woke up HJ.  However, if you don’t like crude behavior, antics and/or jokes, you will probably dislike this book.

While at the library, HJ decided he wanted a book on Turkey Hunting.  After randomly opening to one page and discovering the book did indeed talk about how to kill and get the turkey ready for eating, I declined checking that book out and opted for a cute one on tug boats.

Any good book recommendations for me to add to my must read list for 2013?

Like I said on Monday, if I am in need of a fun, unique gift, my first stop is Etsy.  They have an endless supply of perfect gifts and I have had a great time working with the different sellers.

I have spent time adding items and shops to my favorites, and wanted to share them with all of you.  But…before I did that, I contacted the stores and was able to score some fantastic discounts for my readers!

I first came across the shop Hammer and Me while looking for a mother’s necklace for a friend.  I loved all the styles that were carried, and she packaged it beautifully and sent it off for me.


The store also has cute bracelets and custom-made items.


And guess what?  See this necklace...


One of you lovely readers can win this!  Awesome, huh?  Continue reading to see how you can win it!

It was love at first sight with this scarf.


How flippin’ fantastic is this scarf?  I contacted the etsy store, One for One Creations, and they responded back telling me about an even more fantastic website, Grace’s Boutique.

There I fell in love with a few other items like this dress.  I know, I have a chevron problem.


And this beautiful necklace


swoon.I have a feeling I will be checking out their website often.  And you know what is great?  They have offered you lovely readers 10% off in both their etsy store and website.  Just enter in the coupon code SINGLEMAMA.  Go treat yourself!

My (current) favorite color combo is coral and turquoise.  When I saw this, I gasped in delight.


I think this beautiful hand painted wine bottle from Lucent Jane would look perfect on my windowsill.  The store also has adorable mason jar solar lights and lanterns.  Look at this cute one, perfect for Valentine’s Day:


And Melissa, with Lucent Jane, is giving all of you 10% off your purchase with the coupon code singlemamalife.  Go check out her store!

Check out these cool mason jar glasses from Two Coins.


That would be awesome for sipping a nice, cold one on the deck this summer.  And, the shop also has cute prints like this:


And, the prints come with the awesome frames!  Jeff, from Two Coins, is offering you all 25% off your purchase with the code SingleMama.  25%!!

Treat yourself to a little Valentine’s gift and check out these stores!

And back to the giveaway.  Who wants to win it?!?  To win the necklace, you must be a follower and leave a comment.  Let me know who the necklace would be for and what you might get engraved on it.  Don’t worry, I won’t hold you to it.  I will select a random winner on Wednesday, February 20th.  Good luck!

Whenever I am in need of a fun, unique gift, my first stop is Etsy.  They have an endless supply of perfect gifts and I have had a great time working with the different sellers.

I have spent time adding items and shops to my favorites, and wanted to share them with all of you.  But…before I did that, I contacted the stores and was able to score some fantastic discounts for my readers…and even a couple giveaways!

The first shop is Retropops, fun & funky stuff for your home!  I fell in love with her store when I laid eyes on a bright yellow rhino.


Her shop is full of brightly painted animals (my new favorite is the green duck!) as well as vases, frames and other home decor.


Can’t you see these candle stick holders completely changing the look of a plain and boring shelf?  And guess what?  Mary Beth from Retropops is offering all of you 10% off items in her store with the coupon code SINGLEMAMALIFE.  Start shopping.

One of the first things I bought for my new house were the cute “EAT” letters for my kitchen, remember them?   I love them.  And Katie’s shop, A Fresh Coat of Paint, is stocked full of adorable letters to help decorate your house.Here is what mine look like:


But she also has pretty, glittery ones


And some covered in maps


Can’t you just picture these in your house?  Katie from A Fresh Coat of Paint has offered to give you 20% off your purchase.  You just have to message her that you saw this post, and BAM! 20% off.

HJ loves to be able to do things himself.  The less he has to ask mommy for help, the better.  That is why I got him this cute coat hook from Blue Yodey.


It is his hook.  And don’t you dare try hanging your coat on it :).  And Lindsay also has things like this:


If that isn’t the cutest thing!  HJ would look perfect in that tie!  She also has a  facebook page with lots of other cute items, you should “like” her!  Lindsay has also agreed to give you all a 10% discount on your purchases with the coupon code SINGLEMAMA .  The code will be active until February 17th.  Not only that, but she has offered to give one of my lovely readers one of the Single Children’s Coat Hooks.  How wonderful is she?!?

To win the coat hook, you must follow my blog and leave a comment on this post.  The winner will be picked on Monday, February 18th.  Good luck, and have fun shopping!

For HJ’s birthday, I ordered an “interview book”.  I came up with my own questions, and found a book on etsy by The Paper Lion that I liked.  This is what the cover looks like:


Then, every year, there is a page to put a picture and a page with the interview questions.

I plan on giving him a “birthday interview” every year.  It is a cute way to look back and see the little one’s imagination.

This year, HJ and I filled it out over a few days (his attention span isn’t quite there yet!).  Here is what he had to tell me…

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What is your favorite color? Blue, it’s my color
*At daycare, they all are assigned a color, HJ’s is blue
What is your favorite toy? My Castle
*His Imaginext castle that he won from Fisher Price
What is your favorite book? Cranky Bear and the Tickle Monster
*Here is the Cranky Bear and the Tickle Monster
What is your favorite fruit? watermelon
*he inhales the stuff!
What is your favorite TV show or movie? Marley and Me Puppy Ears
* It is actually Marley and Me the Puppy Years but he thought I said puppy ears when I first told him the title…and it makes me smile.
What is your favorite game? Hungry, Hungry Hippo
What is your favorite outfit? PJ’s
*He loves PJ’s. When we get home at night, he runs in his room and puts them on.
What is your favorite snack? hot dog
What is your favorite animal? Happy giraffe
What is your favorite song? jingle bells
Who is your best friend? Kaitlyn
*This is his cousin
What are you scared of? dark
What do you love about yourself? *whenever I ask this, he laughs
What do you like to take to bed with you at night? flashlight
*It keeps monsters away, in case you didn’t know.
What is your favorite holiday? Christmas Lights
What is your favorite thing to do outside? play cars
*also, this is his favorite inside activity
What is your favorite drink? lemonade
* HJ loves lemonade, and whenever he takes a sip, he walks around the house yelling “ME LIKE   IT!”
Where is your favorite place to go? Nana’s house
If you could go anywhere, where would it be? Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
*Dream big, huh?
What do you want for your birthday? A horsey-ride
*no idea where this originated, but I failed.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Like Ty-Ty
*Yes, that is our dog.  My son wants to be a dog when he grows up.

Do any of you have birthday interviews?  I think this will be a fun tradition!


I have never been one of those girls that wears lots of make-up. I think part of it is that my mom and older sister never did. I never learned how to wear eye-shadow until my college roommate (who had a love affair with eye-liner) taught me to put it on. And I did eventually teach my sister and mom how to use some products…

When Vicki with Domestic Mama mentioned she was going to start the Make Me Pretty Experiment, I jumped on board. The first weekend of the month, we are going to post a make-up tutorial, and show you the results.

So here is the 5-MInute Face:


Click here to watch the tutorial

Here are the products I used:


Most stuff can be found at a drugstore.  I use Physician’s Formula powder (great for sensitive skin).  The multi-colored one(or lighter one) helps to reduce redness and hide dark spots/circles.  For a concealer, I use erase paste (found at Ulta).

Here I am with no make-up, ready to learn how to do the 5-Minute Face:


I started by applying the concealer with my finger under my eyes and blending with a  concealer brush.  Then, I put the concealer around my nose and mouth.  I did this by putting the concealer directly on the brush.  I also applied concealer down the center of my nose.

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Next, I applied the lighter powder around my eyes, hairline and jaw line.  I am not really sure why, but the video told me to 🙂


And I put the darker powder on the rest of my face with a large brush.

Next up was the bronzer.  I usually only use bronzer when I have a bit of a tan…the mid-west paleness I currently have going on makes me feel a little orange-ish is I wear bronzer.  But I still put it on, just blended well.

Then, I filled in my lips with a lip liner and smoothed out with a finger.  The lip liner is Cover Girl in seduce, I think it matches my normal lip-color a little too much and didn’t do much.


Then it was time to throw on some blush!

Next up, eye-liner.  I lined the outer corner of both my upper and lower lashes by dotting it on with the pencil and blended it out towards the out-side of my eye.  I have never used liquid eyeliner, but I am thinking this may have made it go on a bit smoother!

Then, I lined my waterline with the same eye-liner (black).  I have no idea what a “waterline” on my eye is, so I guessed and lined the part between my eyelashes and eye…which is scary to do with a pencil.


Finally, I curled my eye-lashes, and threw on my mascara,

The final step was to apply a hint of lipstick.  I used Rimmel London in paradise.

And here I am with my make-up all on!


And since I felt so strange not smiling in pictures and think it makes me look grumpy…


Overall, it was an easy tutorial!  The eye make up is heavier than I am use to, but I think it would be fun for a night out.

Want to join in the Make Me Pretty Experiment?  Link-Up at Domestic Mama!