Friday, October 31, 2008

Products We Love and Hate: Baby/Kid Stuff

Okay, so this is a tough one. With all the baby gizmos and gadgets out there... how am I to narrow it down to THREE? Hmm I think I have to go for 5 on the must-haves. But I promise not to be as longwinded!

3 Must Haves For Moms And Moms To Be:

1) Disposable Diaper Bags - Thanks to the Dollar Store for this little find... 100 bags for a buck? Can't beat that. Has tie close handles and neutralizes the odor. No more saving up grocery bags... these are the perfect size and are easy to throw in the diaper bag.

2) Steam Sterilizer - just fill the dispenser with a little water, plug in, and wait a few minutes and you'll have fully sterilized bottles, pacifiers... even pump accessories. Okay, so I used this a bit more with my first born (isn't that typically how it goes?) but love it all the same.

3) Bumbo - How come I didn't come up with this? Perfect for feedings when you don't want to pull out the highchair or when you're on the go. I would put the baby in this when I was cleaning the kitchen or taking a shower and she was totally content. I was a little worried about my daughter's chubby little legs, but overall she fit just fine. Of course, don't put your baby on the counter when they're 9 months old then leave the room for your baby to tumble to the floor - but that's just common sense right?

4) Portable DVD Player - So did this just take me down ten notches in the super mom category?? I'm definitely not one to advocate for tons of tv time... but this thing saved my life during our 11 hour car ride with a 2 1/2 year old and 6 month old with little stops along the way! We bought the Phillips which did have a little trouble playing a couple of our DVDs, but we love the fact that we can hook one screen to the back of my seat (so it's directly in front of her) and still control it in the front seat.

5) Target Brand Baby Stuff
See, I told you I'm all for generics that work well! I love their detangler (only $1), bath bath/shampoo... and especially the Target brand diapers and pull-ups. You can get a huge box of about 100 diapers for only $13... half the price of Huggies! Now that my baby is a little older, I do use the Huggies Overnights for nighttime... but don't think I'll ever go back for regular use diapers. (Only bad note... they don't put sizes on them... which can be a little tricky if you have two little ones in diapers!)


Okay, so I had my list all planned out for this, but then I came across this site from an Internet search and realized that theirs were so much better. Seriously, you have to check it out. And join me in saying "Whaaattt???

Have a product that you can't help but rave about? Get a baby shower gift that you still can figure out the use for? Leave a comment and let us know!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Products We Love and Hate: Cleaning/Household

I still remember the first time Josh and I went to the grocery store together after we were married. I remember it because we had to stock the house with groceries, cleaning supplies etc and could not seem to agree on a brand for anything. Both of us seemed to think whatever we grew up with (in other words... whatever our moms used) was the best. I'm pretty sure we spent about 10 minutes in the bread aisle arguing over smooth or chunky peanut butter... and even longer deciding which worked better - Windex or Glass Plus (laughing the entire time mind you... we were newlyweds after all.)
Well since then, I'm pretty sure I've tried just about every cleaning and household product imaginable. I'm a little obsessed with all things cleaning... though my two very active little children (and their even more active curiosity) make it difficult to tell. My laundry room cabinets are stuffed full of a ridiculous variety of soap scum removers, bleach pens, magic scrubbers... yes, I am one of those people who actually respond to those commercials who claim nothing short of a miracle! I mean, if it works that well (and saves me time of course,) I've gotta have it, right? Anyway, it was a bit difficult to narrow my list down, but here it goes...
3 Little Ditties That I Can't Live Without:
1) Shaklee (Basic H2 and Scour Off)
Okay, so when my friend Crystal told me that she used this stuff that was totally eco-friendly and safe for kids I had one thought - "that's all great and everything... but I need something that WORKS." Well, after lots of convincing, I couldn't help but try it out. And the verdict?? It's da B-O-M-B! Seriously. The Basic H comes in a little 16oz concentrated bottle that makes 48 GALLONS worth of cleaner. For windows and mirrors, you only need two drops of the stuff to make a 16oz bottle and no kidding - it works far better than Windex! For all purpose cleaner, you use 1/4 teaspoon and can use it for your kitchens, bathrooms, dusting... anything! The only thing I (slightly) miss is that it doesn't really have much of a scent, but I'll live without my house smelling like a lemon tree if it means I'm not bathing my kids in a buildup of harmful chemicals AND get a clean house in the process.
Even better is the Scour Off - took all the black marks off my white kitchen sink (I thought we needed a new one!), made my faucets sparkle, even worked wonders on my stovetop... I've used it on just about everything. It's like a little miracle in a tub ladies!
2) The Dyson Animal
The day I brought home my new Dyson was a wake up call for me... I suddenly realized that my family had been living in filth with our old vacuum. In fact, since I vacuumed right before I tested out my new machine and the Dyson filled up its canister the first time, I'm pretty sure it was putting more into the carpets than it was taking out! Yes, it's far from cheap... but so, so worth it. No messy bags to handle and it cleans like a dream. It is a little more tricky to use the attachments, but I wouldn't think of trading it.
3) Scunci Steamer
Did I mention I happen to have a totally irrational fear of germs? I probably wash my hands more by 10am than most people do the entire day. And I'm not saying that's a good thing! Well, this little machine was meant for me. We actually found it at Albertsons on clearance for $14.99 (regularly like $60) and figured it couldn't hurt to try. And oh my... not only does it sanitize just about everything (hello... you so do not want to know just how many germs those sweet little stuffed animals are harboring), it also works great for cleaning, and even steaming your clothes (I don't iron people.) Only bad news? Mine finally broke on me. It was a sad, sad day. I plugged it in to steam my clothes before family pictures and the light came on, but didn't heat up. Now who can find me another one for my super sweet deal of $14.99?? Didn't think so. :-(

3 Things That Are Currently Collecting Dust....

1) Bissell Spot Bot
Okay, so I should preface this by saying, I'm not implying that it doesn't work. It's just one of those things I thought would be great, then never used. We bought it (and a Hoover shampooer) when some red acrylic paint was somehow tracked into our living room. It didn't work on the spot (though neither did the shampooer) but seemed to do okay on a couple other spots we tried. What bothered me is that even when it did get rid of a stain, there was a noticeable round circle the size of the spot bot brushes in its place. Plus, it just never seemed practical for me. I'd rather pull out my shampooer once a month and get the whole room clean. I used the Spot Bot twice in two years and sold it on Craigslist. Sorry Bissell.
2) Shark Euro-Pro Cordless Handheld Vaccuum
Okay, so I guess I shouldn't really expect much from a handheld vacuum... but really. I bought the thing because I thought it would be nice for the car or picking up little messes without pulling out the real vacuum. Umm yeah. This thing doesn't pick up much. Might as well used the kids' toy vacuum. I'm pretty sure it would have picked up the same. Or maybe it's just mine?
3) Generics
This may be a time when my frugal nature did not serve me well. There are actually quite a few non-brand name things that I LOVE and think work as well as the more spendy stuff, but these were so not worth the few dimes I saved: Cuddle Soft Fabric Sheets, "Decorator" Paper Towels from Walmart, Glass Plus Window Cleaner, the cheapo imitation of Pledge... can't remember the name. Though I still stand by pretty much all the Target brand stuff. But, who doesn't love Target?
YOUR TURN! Leave a comment with your favorite and least favorite cleaning or household products! And by the way, you CAN leave a comment even if you don't have a blogger account!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Topic #2: Product Hall of Fame/Shame

Hey ladies! Well, since we had a tie on the poll for this weeks topic, I'm going to split them up between the next two weeks. So our next poll will be for November12th. You'll have until November 11th to vote... I think we have some fun ones coming up!

This week's topic: Products We Love and Hate!
This topic doesn't really require guest bloggers, so we'll do it a little different. Each day I'll add a new category of products and you can add a comment describing your 3 favorites and 3 least favorites.
Here's what's coming:
Thursday: Cleaning/Household Products
Friday: Baby/Kids Stuff
Saturday: All Things Edible
Sunday: Beauty/Personal Care
Monday: Crafting
Tuesday: Health/Fitness
P.S. If you've just finished up your costumes... it's not too late! Just email them to me and I'll add them to yesterday's post. Thank you! :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

DIY Costumes: Daisy Duck & Minnie Mouse

My new favorite thing about Halloween since Jadyn was born? Coordinating sister costumes!
Kaylee loves watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so I thought it would be fun to make them Daisy Duck And Minnie Mouse. (I'm a big fan of all the "old school" cartoons from back in our day... so glad a few have survived long enough for my kids to enjoy them!)
These costumes were actually really simple to make - though it did take a while to figure out exactly how I wanted to make them and find just the right materials (note to self... dying fabric is much easier than trying to find a lavender leotard and yellow tights in September!)


*White tutu (I bought this one at Claires for $7.50 but I've heard they're super easy to make!)
*White feather boa
*Lavender colored leotard
*Daisy duck applique (this was custom made off eBay)
*Yellow tights (I dyed white ones that she already had)
*Pink shoes
*Pink Hair bow
*White undershirt *Yellow visor
*Attach applique to leotard (this one was not self-adhesive so I used Fabri Tac)
*Attach boa to elastic band of tutu. (Keep in mind that this will reduce the elasticity of the tutu so you may want to pin the boa on while your child is wearing it.) I then bunched the ends and secured with a clear elastic band to make it look like a duck tail.
*Make hair bow and add jewelry/embellishments

*Red tutu (I had this one custom made from someone on eBay for $9.99. It was cut into strips and tied to an elastic band)
*White felt
*Red onesie
*Ribbon (I used black with white polka dot)
*Minnie ears
*Black tights/shoes
*Minnie applique
*White long sleeved onesie
*Attach black polka dot ribbon to each side seam on front of onesie (gluing all the way around will reduce the elasticity)
*Attach applique to onesie. (Again, I ordered this applique off eBay, but this one was self adhesive.)
*Cut white felt into dots and apply to tutu. (You could also use large pom poms from a craft store.)
*For Minnie ears, I bought a used costume from a consignment store (used the costume part as fabric for her treat bucket) but could be easily made. Just cut black felt into circles and attach to black headband. Then add ribbon for bow.
(Note... Minnie will not have whiskers on actual Halloween... just a black nose - my hubby said it made her look like a cat!) :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"See" You Monday!

So I decided to take my hubby on a little surprise getaway this weekend for his 30th birthday. We're leaving tonight and will be back on Monday. I'll be adding some more posts when I get back (feel free to email me if you have a costume to add!) Oh, and don't forget to vote for our next topic if you haven't already - right now it's a tie between Favorite Products and Creative Playdates!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baskin Robbins Giveaway! (Ends November 15th)

Okay, first... I know I said I'd post the girls' costumes today, but I have a couple small details to finish up. So I'll be posting them tomorrow. Slacker, slacker... I know.
On another note, I've decided to do our first giveaway - a $10 gift certificate to Baskin Robins (or Starbucks if you prefer). Hopefully in the future I'll have even cooler prizes. Guess you'll just have to stay tuned and see!
Here's what you have to do:
1) Spread the word! Post an entry on your blog, send out an email, post a bulletin on your myspace... whatever! The more moms we have the more ideas you'll see on the site.
2) Leave a comment on any of the blog posts. (Or better yet, be a guest blogger!) Hmm... do you think guest bloggers deserve TWO entries??
3) Send me an email to with your name and the best way to get a hold of you if you win!
That's it! One name will be randomly drawn on NOVEMBER 15th - so you have until the 14th to enter. And seriously, who DOESN'T love ice cream?
Oh, and BTW, don't forget to sign up as a follower on the sidebar so you can keep up-to-date on the latest posts!

DIY Costumes: Kitty Costume (From

This is one of my favorites from - a cute, simple, and warm kitty costume! It was from a submission for an article on "Costumes Made By Real Moms."

Here's a link to the article:

Supplies: Black turtleneck, black pants, black shoes, black boa, black hat, black felt, fabric glue

Instructions: Cut the boa into five lengths: two to go around the ankles of the pants, two around the wrists, and one more to go around the neck of the turtleneck. Glue the boa pieces in place with fabric glue. Cut out ear shapes from the felt. Glue them to the hat and add a few feathers inside each ear, keeping them in place with glue. Glue felt tail to the back of the pants.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

DIY Costumes: "Too Cute" Puppies!


This year for Halloween I ventured into making costumes for my boys. It was a ton of fun, they turned out way cuter than the store bought variety, and they will be the hit of the costume parade!
Each costume is a different design, mainly because I had a hard time finding a white sweatshirt/pants set for my 2 year old. So my oldest is wearing a two piece set, sweatpants and a zip sweatshirt. My youngest costume is a one piece outfit that was made from a women's hooded shirt.
To make a dog costume from a sweatshirt/pants set. You will need:
1 hooded sweatshirt or zip hoodie
matching sweat pants
Fleece (or cheap cotton material)for ears and tail matching sweatshirt color
8x12 blocks of felt (pre-cut from craft section): 3-4 for spots, yellow for dog tag
1 sheet black sticky-back felt (or just regular felt and glue) for name letters on tag
Red Ribbon for collar
Big rings from bead section to attach collar
Sew or Sticky velcro pieces
There are a few ways to construct this costume, sewing or gluing:
Start by constructing the ears & tail. Draw ears onto cotton fabric and sew, with right sides together, along edges leaving the bottom open. Turn right-side out and stuff lightly with fiber fill, just to give a little shape, not stiff. Fold bottom edges in so the raw edges are hidden and stitch across to close. Do the same for the tail, making a longer, narrow tube with a slight taper to a point at the end. Have child put on hoodie and place the ears, on top of the head, slightly forward. Pin in place and machine or hand stitch with a zigzag or a whip stitch to hold in place. Add tail the same way, centering it in the middle of the sweatshirt, just above the bottom cuff/band.
Next are the spots- draw spots onto felt and cut out, making them all different. Remember that felt won't fray, so no need to tuck the edges. Hand stitch, using a blanket stitch all over the hoodie and pants. These can also be sewn on with your machine, but I has having difficulty with the pants, so hand sewing made them all the same.
Using the fleece, cut two ears. Have child put on the hoodie to place the ears, on the top of the head, slightly forward. Mark or pin in place. Use a glue gun or fabric glue to put them in place. For support you could also pin them in place using a safety pin from the inside.
Shape a tail in the same way, buy cutting it from fleece, long, tapering to a point. If you want to get fancy, you can shape it into a tube, and glue the seam down the side. Attach the same as ears, centering it on the back, just above the bottom cuff/band.
Spots: Cut the spots from the felt, making them different. You can glue these on or fuse them using you fusible webbing (turning them into an iron-on patch). Place them randomly on the sweatshirt and pants.
Dog tag bone: Using a dog bone cookie cutter, or free form, cut out a bone from yellow felt.
Name: I took pre-cut scrapbooking letters and traced them onto the sticky-back felt, and stuck them onto the bone. Other options are: iron on letters, pre-cut felt or foam sticky letters (Michael's) or drawing on with a marker/fabric paint.
Punch a small whole through the top of the bone, keeping away from the edge. Insert a small ring to attach to a bigger ring to attach to the collar. Another thing that worked for me was using bendable, coated wire, used for beading.
Have child put on the hoodie and measure around the neck for the length of the collar. Cut ribbon to length, adding about 1/2 inch on either end to roll under for a clean edge. Attached one side of the ribbon to the center of the hoodie, just below the hood, by gluing or sewing it in place. For the other end, attach velcro pieces, one to the end of the ribbon, and the other to the back of the hoodie. Remember to fold the ribbon edges under because they will fray. Thread the big ring of the dog bone onto the collar and attach the collar with the velcro.
You're now finished. It did take me a few days to finish this, working in the evenings. But it was worth the time! If you are doing the non-sewing method it will be an easy afternoon project. For more easy sweatshirt costumes, check out and search no-sew costume. Super cute stuff!

Thanks for having me!


Over the last few years, I've fallen in love with Halloween. No, it's not the extra stash of Butterfingers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups calling to me from the treat bucket (though that's not a bad perk...) but mostly, because I have full reign to dress my kids up however I want!

For me, picking out the girls' costumes is quite the process. I typically start thinking about what I want them to be in August (don't gag!) and tend to go through at least 1o options before I settle on an idea. Last year, I surprisingly fell in love with a couple pre-made costumes (bumble bee and ladybug) but am happy to say I went back to making them myself this year! (So much more rewarding... and you don't risk the chance of seeing 10 kids in the exact same costume!)
So... I want your ideas on some fabulous (and affordable) mom-made Halloween costumes. They don't have to be anything elaborate (I love simple ideas made from things around the house!) Don't forget to include some pictures and detailed instructions.
I'll be unveiling this year's costumes on Thursday. Just a hint: expect tutus and some major cuteness!

DIY Costumes: Little Scarecrow

Okay, so one thing you should know about me, is that while I tend to have grand ideas for costumes, I'm limited by one important detail: I don't own a sewing machine. And really, I'm not so sure I'd remember how to use it, even if I DID have one. The good news? My costumes can be created with limited crafting ability!
I made this scarecrow costume for my daughter when she was 16 months old. It was fairly simple and she received tons of compliments on it! This costume can be made for a boy or girl and can be easily changed to fit your tastes!
*Denim overalls (I found this Baby Gap pair for $4 at a consignment store. They were lined which was great for keeping warm but did make the hand stitching more difficult!)
*Plaid shirt (again, check the consignment stores!)
*Straw Hat (this one was purchased from Michaels)
*Raffia for hands and feet (I cut down a Hula skirt.. which definitely saved time!)
*Blue felt
*Various fabrics for patches
*Fabric glue (Fabri-Tac is my favorite!)
*Thick black thread
Optional: scarecrow fabric appliques (I found mine on eBay), silk flowers/leaves, black crow for hat, ribbon
1) Cut fabric into squares and glue onto overalls.
2) Use your thick black thread to add stitching around the edges of the patches. (This is really only for looks since you already glued them on.) Remember, you're going for a ragged look!
3) Add your appliques (optional)
4) Cut your blue felt into strips (they will be lining the ends of the shirt and overalls so that the raffia doesn't scratch their skin) and cut down to fit.
5) Add your raffia to the strips and glue (raffia side down) to the inside of the sleeves and pant legs for hands/feet.
6) Add flowers/leaves, if using.
7) Add embellishments to hat.

THAT'S IT! You now have a one-of-a-kind, made-with-love, super adorable costume for your little one to show off!

(I'll take some more closeups of the costume and post later!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

How It Works


Every other week (starting on Wednesdays) I will post a topic that relates to our lives as moms. It can be anything from DIY Halloween costumes to birthday party ideas. On the first day, I will include a few thoughts of my own... then look to all of you for more ideas (I'm already assuming they will be much more creative than mine!)

If you have an idea you'd like to submit (pretty please!), please email it to and include the following:
1) Your first name and last initial
2) A short description (with simple instructions if needed)
3) At least one picture
On the sidebar, I will include the next topic coming up so that you can start thinking of ideas!
Oh, and if you got your idea from somewhere else, please make sure to give credit to the source!

An Introduction

Thank you so much for visiting this blog! My name is Malissa and I am the proud mom of two beautiful little girls! If there is one thing I love, it's staying active with my girls. I love taking them on playdates, planning outings, making crafts, and most of all... throwing them over-the-top parties that they are really too young to appreciate anyway. I also love finding new ideas... and thankfully I have incredibly creative friends who continue to inspire me (I guess being friends with so many supermoms should really give me a complex!)

I created this blog because I thought it would be a great way to share my ideas with other moms and hopefully get lots of new ideas in return! I plan on bribing all my wonderful friends to serve as guest bloggers and I hope you'll join in the fun!