Hippo Who Loves Delicious Letters!

By January 30, 2018 Crafty Us!
Jessica Hippo looks like she'd like a word or two.

I love hungry hippos, and who can help but love them  when my bug is learning some new words and letters with them! 

It began with a Hippo and a corn dog box

I realize some days I am very much a zombie. My little T-Rex has decided sleep is for the birds. I deserve to not sleep, but sit up, cuddle him, and re-assure him.I remind him he is indeed my favorite three year old on the planet. I am tired. It is in these moments, genius hits! Mine happened while making yummy corn dogs for my goober. He ran in to the kitchen and I chased him with the empty corn dog box.

Its those weird moments when you have an epiphany. I was giddy, I examined that box like I was looking for the cure for  polio. I moved the lid slowly and gauged where I was going to tape for securing, and started planning it out right away. My dear hippo was coming into view.

I absconded with my hubby’s shipping tape and took to the box. I taped both the inside and the outside of the corners for a bit more durability. She was going to be chomping a bit. After I secured everything, I meandered out to the garage and found my trusty paint box, my can of chalkboard paint, and plopped down the framework. after about 3 coats of chalkboard paint, I felt pretty good about the coverage.

The Black Box comes to life.

Now I had a great big black box I could write on, I had to figure out the next step. I  grab the always handy box of yarn and decided to make some cute pom pom eyes. Hippo has to see what he is eating! Fortunately, my hubby has a great tool for this. I tease him, but I love this tool. You can whip up a nice pom pom in no time. I used to make my own like the one located here. After getting them completed, I attached a pair of googly eyes to them. Now he’s looking good…see what I did there.

I believe my hippo is starting to look , well like a hippo. He needed ears. Here, I used some card stock here to give my hippo a sense of hearing. Now he was looking like a hippo. I realized, in my excited dance moment, I also needed teeth. Its a hippo after all and those giant tusks kinda make the picture come together. Card stock came back out and ta da!

Feed that Hippo!

Now here is where you can get super creative. I did a mix of the following ideas. taking some 3×5 cards, I created the alphabet in upper and lower case. Then I could toss them around the floors and have the hunt begin. I also found things around the house that began with a certain letter we would be working on. I made a toy pile and then they had to find which toy began with the letter.

The great thing about the chalkboard paint on this hippo, is you can really work on anything. I chose to start with letters, but numbers and finding their name is another fun idea. You can work up to words, and anything else you put your mind to!


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That Stinking TV and Why I am so Mad at it!

By December 30, 2017 Family Life
My Son's future. Thanks Mortal-Mirror

Most people love that stinking TV, but I have a deep love/hate relationship with this electronic monster. 


TV is usually something a person looks so forward to having in their possession. It is a warm embrace at the end of the day as you can plop down and watch whatever you like to numb the mind from the day’s grievances. I, however, have a complex emotion towards the TV. I enjoy a few shows here and there, don’t get me wrong. Its the absolute mind numbing shows they have for kids that just is infuriating to me.

I have a rule with our toddler. He is to get no more than an hour a day of TV.  Now if you are anything like my mother, the protests are already flying!

” I let you watch Mr. Rodgers, Sesame Street, Square one, Where in the world is Carmen San Diego….” The end of that was that I turned out just fine. Which I like to think I did. I then have to show her that studies show kids should not just sit and watch TV as it can do more harm . Especially when the show is something like Sponge Bob. I shudder at that show. Again, this is just my own personal opinion. I am not telling you to not let your kiddo watch more TV. You can bet there are days where mine definitely has. I was so sick, the flu is fun, and to have him be calm I watch a barrage of Disney movies that I can only tell you made him love TV more than anything.

Which is why my hate part of the relationship is now the predominate side of how I feel about TV. I think it mostly stems from the absolute melt downs that come from being told he cannot sit and watch yet another super hero show as it is bedtime. The tears, begging, negotiating, defiance, and then the dreaded, ” I don’t like you, you’re a bed mom.” OH BUDDY! that just gets my goat!

Shows teach them rotten things

That is what gets me so flustered. When he was only watching about an hour, we had less fits. We were less likely to throw ourselves or toys to the ground and like a 16 year old huff at me and tell me what a lousy parent I am. Serious! I started really watching what my son watches. It is no wonder. Most kids shows have the parents as these dingy inattentive people who provide you food and a home, but will let you get away with murder because they are too busy or dumb. I was so upset. Most parents aren’t that way. At least I hope they aren’t.

Telling our kids they can be super heroes is great, telling them they can be because mom is too dumb to figure out that you are gone all night and will take no notice of the costume you wear that smells like foot after running, jumping and karate fighting. I can guarantee I would notice my sleep deprived kid moving like a slug in the morning and smelling like foot. Also, I think there would be weird things going on around my house that would cause me to take note, like installation of secret lair equipment. We live in a two story house, not an alpine mountain castle.  I digress.

I personally have a beef with a certain sea life creature in brown angular pants. I was never a fan, and then they did a study and showed that it was doing exactly like I felt it was. It was making kids focus less, and test lower. Kids are sponges just eager to soak up knowledge. Some of what is geared for our kids is doing the opposite of that!

These are not zombie fueling shows!

A few friendly faces to educate and relate to.

PBS is my Friend

I have no beef with Sesame Street. Aside from Elmo being slightly annoying, the letters, and counting are all still educational and fun and they incorporate music. It has my smile of approval. Also, I love dinosaur train( big surprise right!) because they teach the actual names of the dinosaurs and the eras they live in. Shows that are imparting something to my kiddo are shows I can get behind. I sit and watch these as well as shows like Super Why so that I can further elaborate on the concept he is learning later. If he watches a show that teaches him about rhyming ab words and sings a song, you better believe I am trying to remember the song. Its a hoot to watch when one gets stuck in your head.

TV can be your pal and babysitter, and it can be used for further educational concepts. Just be sure you are involved with your kiddo and let him know that no amount of sneaking around is going to get past you, and the giant robot on the lawn is going to be explained! What are your thoughts on TV and screen times? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!




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Bye Bye Pain

By October 25, 2017 What I love this week!
Pain ease and at times removal!

When you suffer a daily pain, any relief is welcome. When the relief makes it almost disappear, you do a happy dance!!

You know you’re old when you get out of bed, and you hurt. You greet your spouse with, ” I slept ok,  just hurt like crazy.” I have woke up so many mornings saying that sentence. By no means do I believe I am old. I feel like a teenager most days. First thing in the morning, I am in pain. I have plantar fasciitis.  It causes foot pain. Getting out of bed is like watching an eighty year old run a race. It’s so awful. Once I get moving and put on my shoes with my oh so young inserts for support on, I feel better.

I have been dealing with this for over a year. It is awful that I can’t chase my T-Rex like I want to. However, the other day I was at a craft fair. I was there as a vendor, selling my art work at craft fairs, and two stalls down from me was the cutest little girl. She made the whole weekend worth every moment. I made my way down to the booth her mother ran, and made introductions. She was just as sweet as her daughter. I began to inquire about what it was she did, and I am so glad I did!!

A nurse by trade she had decided to start a new venture when she had her daughter. She had this amazing line of health and beauty products she made in her home. Now, I love natural things.  Her while line was natural products. She had things for anti-aging, muscle rub, facial treatment, lips treatment, etc. I loved it. It all smelled amazing. I decided since I had issues with my feet and migraines, I would try her muscle rub.

I am in love with it! It is helping the pain in my feet tremendously. I rub a bit on in the morning and a bit in the evening. It has allowed me to pop up out of bed, and to run around barefoot for a while during the day. I was so giddy and have used it faithfully. The best part, it is so affordable! You feel great, with amazing health benefits, and for an amazing price. I love to pamper myself. You can see that from my reviews of Posh products here.

I hope you give her a try. She has so many amazing products. I truly hope you will check out her store on Etsy.


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My Child Needs Me, So Does Yours

By September 21, 2017 Family Life

With school starting back up, your child needs you to be their rock. They need us to be their protector and their advocate. 

Usually I am happy to write blog posts on my child doing something ridiculous. He is notorious for doing so. However, I have run into a similar conversation over the last couple weeks that has really struck a cord in me. I may sound like I am ranting, but honestly, I am trying to champion.

We wait nine months for this amazing little bundle of awesome to arrive. Fawning and swearing that we will do anything for this child, we take them to the doctor, and do check ups. However, somewhere in there some us become selfish. We may notice something seems amiss with our baby. Maybe their breathing is causing issues, maybe they are delayed in milestone achievements. I have trouble here. People I have talked to become more concerned with how they feel about the situation.

Instead of becoming an advocate for their child, they enter denial. Brushing off comments, and concerns of friends and family as unfounded. My darling dino following, please read this next sentence twice if you need to. Your child’s health is more important than your ego. You did not choose to give your child whatever they may have. My son has a growth hormone deficiency. I didn’t plot for it to happen. It happened. I refused to bury my head. I stepped up and made the calls, hounded doctors, and tried to move heaven and earth to get the testing done and the meds started. He is now growing and healthy and I couldn’t be happier.

No one wants to hear that their child is being diagnosed with something. Its scary, and it is much easier to want to ignore its happening. When you hear the diagnosis, your world feels like it may stop for a minute, but it doesn’t stop. Your child is still the wonderful bundle of awesome you brought into this world. The only difference to your world now is that you have to step up in ways you maybe didn’t think of before.

I feel like I am ranting, but truly, having your child diagnosed with a condition does not discredit your ability to be a parent, it also doesn’t mean your child will never reach the potential you hoped. People who have disabilities break barriers all the time. The first thing they usually say is that it was the support of their family and their never ending cheerleading that got them there. Overall, I just want to reassure you, there are many very helpful doctors, nurses, therapists and techs who can open so many doors for you and a child who may have a disability. Please, take those opportunities.


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Hot Dogs with a Sweet Side

By August 16, 2017 Let's Feed the Beasts

Hot dogs are always a crowd favorite, but when the T-Rex went through the picky phase, we had to kick these up a notch! 

Hot dogs are such a standard for most kids. All you parents are nodding your heads and thinking, ” and fires, and chicken nuggets, and pizza.” It gets to the point when you think you may want to just lie and say they no longer make them any longer. The stores have run out, or that McDonalds burned to the ground. Yes, I have said the last one. It saved me some time in the play area filled with screaming kiddos while I had a migraine!

I had to make my son believe he could eat hot dogs again. I didn’t want his minimal food list to shrink any more. Since I am a sweet toothed kinda gal, I decided to raid the baking shelf. Brown sugar jumped out at me. Now, judge if you will, but I didn’t use a ton, just enough to make it amazing. I believe I used about a quarter cup for like a family of 5 servings. After I have the dogs cooking for a bit, I sprinkle the brown sugar over it and let it melt around them. A warm delicious syrup develops and you turn the hot dogs over and over and coat them evenly. The results, the kid devoured them!

Now, hot dogs are lovely, in moderation. We decided after trying hot dogs this way a few times, we were going to be sneaky. We made brats. I was giddy when T-Rex ate every last bite. Pushing our luck, and crossing our fingers, I made polish sausage. Again, he ate every bite. It was like a dream come true!! I was giddy on two levels, I could eat something more than hot dogs, and our mighty man was eating! Toddler feedings are a rough thing right! Now he also loves getting to have his breakfast sausage made with a bit of brown sugar.

We decided to even expand our boundaries and have tried this on chicken strips, and we had some success! Sometimes, just thinking a wee bit out of the box is just the way to get those little people eating again. Do you have a secret to get your kids eating again? I would love to hear from you on what you try to get them to gobble up dinner again! I am always on the hunt for little tips and tricks. They change their minds so fast it helps to have a pocket full of go to’s!


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Sugar For My Love

By August 7, 2017 Family Life

This little sugar bowl has sat on my counter for four years. Its the sweetest reason why. 

My husband loves sugar in his coffee. The fact that he drinks coffee is comical , because four years ago he didn’t. However, four years ago, we wed. I then corrupted him and got him drinking coffee with sugar in it. Over the last couple years, I have tried to upgrade this little jar, but he just will not have it.

You see, my husband, he hates change. On top of that he is sentimental. A quality I love about him. We met in first grade, and I think somehow I am a memento from childhood. When he decides that something has value, he won’t come right out and say it. I found this out the hard way with our sugar jar.

This little jar came from the very first ever gift basket he got as a married man from his boss. It contained huckleberry jelly. Now as we know, I love huckleberry, so he beaming gave me this from his basket. Being a grateful and dutiful wife, I devoured that jelly. Also being a crazy hording crafter, I cleaned the jar and held on to it just in case.

Soon, I corrupted him into getting up and having a cozy cup of coffee with a wee bit of sweetener for him. He had to be difficult ( insert a wicked grin here.) and have a particular kind of sweetener. So of course I had to have somewhere to put it. Enter adorable jelly jar. I fill this little sugar jar up every few days, and I have for several years. I sell Tupperware, and when I have tried to swap out old jelly jar to new Tupperware, I get grumbles and complaints about the convenience of the jar vs the new whatever.

It took me a while, but then it dawned on me. He had assigned this amazing sweet memory to this little jar. We were newly married, we had little money, and I kept this little jar full for him so we could enjoy a cup of coffee together each morning. It was simple, it was a time when it was just us.

I decided that the jar will not be replaced. I will refill the sugar every few days, and I will get up each morning and make his coffee for him so we can have a cup amongst the craziness of our day. Its a small thing, but its such a sweet one.

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A Shark Holiday for the month

By August 7, 2017 Crafty Us!, Family Life

July , oh the beauty of July. Its hot, and sunny, and its time once again for the week I wait all year for. Shark Week!!  

I absolutely love the ocean as you may have read in an earlier post. I love everything about it, the smell, the sight, the creatures within. As terrifying as they are portrayed, I adore sharks. They are fascinating to me. They are so sleek and mysterious. That’s why Discovery Channel was kind enough to create a holiday that is a week long just for me. At least that’s what I tell myself about Shark Week.

The problem with Shark Week, is its only a week long. My sister and I decided all of July should be a celebration of the salty deep and we plan a month of crazy that revolves around the ocean and sharks. We decorate the house, line up crafts, and come up with crazy treats.

One of my favorite ideas for us to make this year is the Shark I-spy bottle. My little T-Rex is in a program called Parents as Teachers. It is an amazing program that allows kids to get a leg up and be prepared for kindergarten by focusing on emotional, social, and educational development. A couple weeks ago, we made I-spy bottles with bugs. I decided this would be cool for shark week as well.

When you are making a I-spy bottle, make sure you choose a good bottle. I personally love Gatorade bottles. They are strong, and have a nice wide mouth so you can slide fun items in. Plus they are big enough that little hands are able to grasp them while shaking and moving it to find the treasures within.

When you are filling up an I-spy bottle you need to consider the actual filling material. I prefer to use rice. I shifts easy and the objects move easily through it. It can be done with beans, lentils, popcorn kernels, its really up to you. I used rice, and in this case, I am dying the rice blue with food coloring. To do this, decide what it is that you want to put in the bottles. I am doing a little sea creature variety pack that I bought from the local party store. I am also using little pony beads, gems, and a few other small little fun things to find. Since my items vary from bg to small, I use the rice,

To dye the rice, I put a few cupfuls in a gallon Ziplock bag and then I add a few drops of blue. Zip up the bag ans shake like your life depends on it. The kids love this part. I sing songs and we dance all while shaking the bag. A few favorites of mine, Mack the knife, Jaws theme, Slippery Fish, and well, Twist and shout ( I love the Beatles.) Once you have the shade of blue you desire, open the bag and let it dry for just a bit. You don;t want your octopus having blue smears on his face.

When you are ready to start the bottle, I always put in a good handful of rice for the base. Then layer a variety of things, add a few beads and a shark, then rice, a gem and a diver, then rice, etc. Do not fill the bottle the entire way, You want room to move and shake and see what the little one can bring to the surface, I’d leave half the bottle to at least 2 inches from the top. T-Rex likes half the bottle because he has success shaking and seeing things come to he surface much faster.

I love this activity, it helps shark week carry on from just our official last week in July. If you want to catch the fever, you can head over to Discovery Channel and check out a preview for shark week, and the other cool sneak peeks. If it doesn’t get you excited for my favorite shark holiday, I don’t know what will!



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A Sign Everywhere.

By July 24, 2017 Crafty Us!, Family Life
My light switch sign

As a former teacher, literacy is super important to me. That’s why my house is covered in signs labeling everything.

It sometimes looks like you’ve walked into a classroom. Who labels their door with a sign that says door unless they are right? I do! I have a bunch of label all over my house. At first, my poor hubby was less than thrilled over the labels. Our home began to look lovely to me, lavender cards appearing all over. When people would ask me why they were out, I stated simply my poor hubby had no idea what things were in the house.

Honestly, the signs are for the T-Rex ( and when the hubby gets lost in the house.) When children are young they learn through so many senses. They shove everything in their mouth to see the texture, temperature, shape, etc. To show them that you are the person named mommy or daddy, you point to yourself. Its a visual cue. Hence, where the signs come in. If I wanted little T to see that I was talking about the door, not only did I point to the door, but the word. and I would say it several times. Repetition is the key!

So, now my house is getting covered slowly by more and more signs. Every time I think, ” Oh! He should know what that looks like!”, a new label goes up. Each door, appliance and piece of furniture almost, has its proper sign. Its so easy to do. Run to the dollar and grab some sharpies, and a package of index cards. You can pick up so double sided tape, or use like I do the painters tape and after you write up your sign stick on there!!

In case you were                     unaware…Stairs. —>

Now, it is not just awesome to have the signs up and available for seeing when having normal conversations, but we play games with ours, too. I sit in the middle of the floor and say, ” Can you find me the word for wall?” then he runs around trying to figure out the word for wall. Now he realizes that the words are on purple cards. Hence he is going to find one of those, but he then remembers I said wall, so he looks for signs there. It is a fun way to engage him and also make him learn! I love listening to him giggle and say, ” I found it mommy, I found wall.” It’s just all around fun to do, and just so simple to help them increase their learning and understanding of the world around them!

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My top 5 things to do in Newport Oregon

By July 13, 2017 Family Life

I love Newport Oregon. It is my favorite spot to vacation by far. I thought I’d share my favorite places to go with you in case you make the trek to see this gorgeous little town. 

This weekend my cousin is getting married. She is exchanging vows on the beautiful coast of Oregon. While she is closer to the California border, I love a different part of Oregon. I love Newport! I saw the ocean for the first time there, and where I honey mooned. Oh my soul is tethered to the ocean there.

Newport is a great town nestled against the coast. It has an amazing historic boardwalk which houses some of my favorite things to do. I thought I’d share my top 5 things I love to do in Newport with you.

  1. The Sea Lion Pier– When walking through the historic boardwalk, you will hear this lovely bellowing sound. It gets louder the closer to to this wonderful restaurant that allows you to sit out and actually watch these crazy sea lions as they bask below. You can also walk down to the pier and watch them as they swim and argue and bask at any point during the day. I love it, my nephew loved it. I am hoping when I finally get to take my son, he will love it!
  2. The Newport Candy Company- This tiny little candy shop is amazing. I will swear that they have the best salt water taffy in Newport. I happen to be a Salt Water taffy junkie, but I love them above all others.. They have sea foam candy and chocolates too, and a host of other fun things, but the bins and bins of taffy. Oh my sugar levels are rising thinking of it!
  3. Yaquina Head Lighthouse-This is awesome. Nestled on the coast line, you actually leave Newport and venture through Depot Bay. You can buy a sweet day pass and it gets you 3 days of fun here. Now, I am easily entertained. They have tide pools, and wildlife viewing. My favorite is going up to the top of the lighthouse. It is a gorgeous view and a great workout, given you aren’t afraid of heights. Its  one of the tallest lighthouses on the coast.
  4.  The Newport Aquarium- I don’t care how many times I have been here, I love it. The sea life you get to encounter, the passages of the deep tunnel, I absolutely love it. They have changing exhibits and exhibits that are permanently there. It is not the most giant of aquariums, but I have never spent under 3 hours there. I get lost in watching otters frolic, or caressing a sea anemone in the tide pools, I adore this place.

      5. Sea Lion Caves- Ok, this one is not actually in Newport, but it is about 40 miles away, the drive is                                   AWESOME! You go through Waldport , Yachats , and a pretty mountain road. It is amazing. I love not only the             drive there, but the caves themselves are amazing. You have the opportunity to view the sea lions out on the                   shores below and playing in the water, and if you are keen eyed you can spot whales playing out in the waves.               You make your way to the elevator and go down 240 ft. An immense sea cave is filled with sea lions and                            information galore. You walk up the stair case inside and get a breath taking view of the Heceta Head                              Lighthouse. Highly recommend!  You can check out their webcam here.

I adore the coast, and I am so jealous of my cousin, but I will make it there soon enough. The waves are beckoning!! Do you have a place you just love and calls to you?

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Coffee oh sweet sweet coffee

By June 26, 2017 What I love this week!
Can't be blue when coffee is this good!

It seems no matter where you look today there is someone with this sweet nectar of life waiting to be sold. I’m from Idaho, so one of my major favorites happens to be Dutch Bros. I love their Nutty Irishman coffee and my darling little coffee addict in training loves their not so hot cocoa for kids with a shot of blue raspberry. Now before you cringe at that, it is delicious I stole a sip and I love it too.
I love my drive through coffee, however, I can’t always stop. Maybe its not budgeted, maybe it’s not time allotted, on days like that, that’s when I love my coffee I brew at home. Now we do brew just plain ol’ coffee some days, sadly most days, but when the Apatosaurus is away well Heather gets to play! I have a wonderful coffee from Long Valley Coffee,LLC. My favorite is Huckleberry. I am a huge fan of huckleberry anything really. I love the jellies, jams, tea, pies, syrups. Ok I got off on a tangent there, but I love this flavor.
I actually live really close to the company, they are in a beautiful section of the Idaho mountains. The owners are very down to earth and fun. I met them at a kid’s expo. My son, and my 4 niece and nephews were  in tow. Woman on the edge had to have been the look I was sporting. He smiled and offered me coffee. Now he also was funny and had a great personality to be a salesman of coffee, but the important thing here was he offered me coffee. Ha! Seriously , though, he was a wealthy of info on the ways to prep the coffee for different flavors. My favorite way to make my coffee is with a bit of cocoa, it makes the berry flavor burst in each sip. I’ve also added in Vanilla syrup from DaVinci as well and its a tasty treat.
I love the huckleberry , but it is not the only flavor, nor the only type of coffee they have. While the huckleberry is a dark roast, they have seven varieties of coffees. I stood at that man’s booth and gave each a fair shake, I did mention I had 5 kids with me right? They are all delicious. You are welcome to give them a try if you go to their website
The other thing I love about this company, is it is all family owned and operated. When I stopped at their table, it was the family there all together answering questions, laughing, and interacting with the people stopping by. It never felt like you were being sold to, just stopping by and seeing what the family was up to, and getting to try it out too. Seeing as it was a kid’s expo, I can tell you the parents were all excited for a booth that was not a spinning wheel of crap to bring home and step on. It was for us! A wonderful cup of dark steamy love. Wow, that last line may have come across very Danielle Steele, but in the moment it was very much a love affair.

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