This morning, while driving my little one to daycare, a news reporter came on and told of the memorials planned today to honor those who died in the Twin Towers.  It has been years since that tragedy transformed our nation, but it still gives me goosebumps to see and hear the news clips.

It's like I'm back in middle school.  In French class.  And we're trying to explain to our teacher that it wasn't a replay of the first tower.  The second tower had fallen.

Even as I type this, I get a little choked up and tears start to come to my eyes.  For two year after college I served as a volunteer firefighter & EMT.  I can't even begin to image the horror of coming on-scene to find your fallen brothers and sisters.

But that's not really what I wanted to talk about.  Because I also remember that the Sunday after, our church was full.  We were bringing in folding chairs.  And as you drove down the street, every house was flying the Red, White, and Blue.  And as our troops sought out terrorist in the Middle East, there were yellow ribbons around every tree.

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My daughter loves laundry day.  She has a little washing machine set up in our laundry room so she can do laundry for her dolls, while I do laundry for our family.  Then, while I sit in the living room and fold clothes, she likes to climb up on the mountain of laundry and take a nap.  But her favorite part is pulling her clothes out of the dresser as I put them in. 

Searching through piles of laundry to find a matching outfit just doesn't fit into my family's crazy schedule.  So now, as I folder her laundry I slip a rubber band around each outfit.  So after my daughter has tired of terrorizing her dresser I can throw all the outfits back in without having to re-sort or re-fold anything!

Keep Outfits Together With Rubber Bands!

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You've probably seen the various images I've posted to my Facebook page of different yard art creations.  This past week I got to spend some time with Deborah Abernathy (my mom!) of the Hypertufa Chicks learning how their craft is made.

We started by collecting all the things we would be using as molds.  The items we would be using included plastic cups, gelatin molds, a snack tray, a cake pan, leaves, a plastic bowl, bubble wrap, and a special mold created by combining a plastic container and a plastic face mold.

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Polly Plastic Footprint Flower | Higdon's Happy Home

Disclaimer:  I received the Polly Plastics Moldable Plastic & Chef Remi Digital Thermometer in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.  All other products used for this project were purchased with my own money--or my husbands.  :)

When my Polly Plastics Moldable Plastic Pellets arrived on my doorstep, I had what I thought was a cute, but simple project in mind.  I wanted to use imprints of my daughter's hands to make a sunflower.  I heated up a pan of water on the stove and monitored the temperature using a digital thermometer.  Once the temperature was above 140 degrees (F) I dumped the plastic pellets in and watched them melt.

That's when I heard a knock at the door.  One of our good friends was standing there with parts he had brought over for our motorcycle.  I tried to be a part of the conversation while working on my masterpiece, but I don't think I did very well at either because I ended up with something that looked like this:

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To celebrate the end of our Youth Vacation Bible School, my husband and I sat down to watch a little TV and sip Iced Carmel Mocha Coffees.  This is one of my husband's specialties.  Even though making them isn't that complicated (or precise), they always taste great!

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 Lost socks are an ongoing problem at our house.  Baby socks washed in a front-loading washer have only compounded the problem.  My husband and I started putting all our miss-matched socks in a shoe box in the laundry room.  The problem was, we never thought to look there when were folding clothes, so what started out as a holding spot for stray socks was starting to overflow, but had never really reunited anythings.  So to keep the socks in place where they were easily visible I hung some twine along the wall above our washer and drier and used clothes pins to display the socks.  A simple solution to a frustrating problem!

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Here's a project to entertain you toddler without spending a dime--a toddler scrapbox. It's so simple!

  1. Take an empty baby wipes container.
  2. Pop off the lid and fill it with your scrap ribbon and fabric.
  3. Put the lid back on.
  4. Give to your toddler!

This is a good opportunity for your child to explore different textures, and for you to make use of scraps that were probably going to be thrown away. Be creative!

Inside my box I put a piece of burlap ribbon from a wedding, several ribbons from bows that came on different things I have bought, the hem from a pair of jeans (leftover from my bandana blanket), a hem from a dry-fit shirt (leftover from my toddler cheer outfit), as well as other odds and ends from different projects. I even found a few pom-poms to toss in!

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Dear New Mother,

Dear New Mother,

I know you have been searching Pinterest for weeks searching for that perfect DIY Father's Day gift, but can't seem to find anything for you. Or maybe you did, but it turned out to be a disaster. Stop stressing.

Our first Father's Day I decided to stamp my daughter's handprint inside a card (after all, she was too little to sign her name). What I actually ended up giving my husband was a card with an orange blob of paint. He wasn't even sure what it was supposed to be, but he graciously accepted the card like it was a work of art. I was stressed about getting the card just right, and then embarrassed that it turned out so bad. What I had meant to be a thoughtful gift actually got in the way of me appreciating my husband for all the things he does for my daughter and me.

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Sometimes I have some great ideas that turn out to be not so great. Like creating a rainbow mane for my daughter's pony cake. How hard can it be? I'll mix up the colors I want, throw them in a bag together, and away I'll go!

Fortunately, I received some guidance from my mom before I started my project. Apparently, when the colors are squeezed out the tip they get mixed together and create a very unappealing mess. So how did I get that rainbow mane? A technique called striping.

This is actually less work than what I had planned to do. Before you add the frosting to your bag, take a toothpick or paintbrush and paint a line of food coloring from the bottom of the bag up to the top. Do this all the way around the inside of the bag. Once you have the colors, add white frosting. The white frosting acts almost as a buffer between the colors so they don't get mixed together and give you that ugly goose poop color. That's it! Now you're ready to start decorating!

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Probably one of the sturdiest toys I ever had growing up was my Little Tikes Kitchen. It lived inside, outside, and in a Kindergarten classroom before finally being given away (still in pretty decent condition). So I was really excited to find the same kitchen set at a garage sale for my daughter! She liked the little chairs that were just her size, and I knew the thing was nearly indestructible, so my husband loaded it up in the mini-van and we took it home.

That's when we noticed the smell.

When we got home I took a Magic Eraser to it to get off the dirt and pencil drawings. That didn't do anything for the smell. After picking up the chairs we realized that there was water trapped inside. I will spare you the details of what came out when we pulled the plug. We'll just say it was gross.

Next came a good scrub-down with Greenwald's Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner (Disclaimer: I received this product free in exchange for a review). The smell? Much better!

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