Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Current Projects in Motion

With birthdays and our massive annual Halloween party on the horizon, followed then by the holiday season.. I had an ACK moment about just how little time we have to do some of the things we've been "meaning to get around to".

1. New TV unit for the media room that incorporates more storage. We know what we want, how much it costs, and how much it will hold. It's just a question of getting out to IKEA and then assembling it and putting it into place. The storage will let us unload some of the overflow from DemonPrincess' room regarding toys that she only plays with out in that room, something desperately needed.

2. Moving the existing unit to our bedroom, which involves mass moving of furniture. Like every piece of furniture in this room. >.< We need the storage to make this room more functional - and we'll have to give up our dresser to make room for it.  That part is okay - what we need is shelf storage (which we'll gain), not so much drawer storage for clothing. Of course, since we'll be moving everything anyway..

3. Painting our bedroom, which is still the manila-paper color it was when we moved in 6 years ago. It has not aged well. We've decided on a lovely medium cool gray.

Doesn't seem insurmountable, but there's only so many days in the week that DH has off to do any of it (I can organize, but I can't do any of the heavy lifting or other things).

But the list doesn't stop there. That's just the top 3 I hope to get done before the party.

Also of note:

Fixing the drywall bonks, holes, and scrapes as well as repainting our master bathroom (since the shower rebuild last year that I'm still gripe-y about. I can't believe they don't fix those things as part of the job if they did the damage).

Getting a new master bathroom flooring laid (issues caused by what called for shower replacement in the first place). Getting a new vanity that DOES have drawers because we have zilch for functional storage in this area.

Ripping out the kids' vanity and putting in a smaller one so anyone larger than a gnome can use their toilet.

We still need a big couch downstairs for gathering and entertaining, or just that will hold my 6 foot + DemonSpawn and DemonHusband, plus one dog. We know that expense is going to be massive, so I envision that being put off for quite awhile.

Finishing the library conversion by adding a drybar to the wall that previously housed my desk. Necessary for many reasons, but the top one being that I need easier access to the supply of rum and other things. Especially since it won't be far from the coffee machine as well.

And then? Then there's refinishing the kitchen table that needs to happen, and other "smaller" projects.

What's on YOUR list? How do you decide which get priority? We decided on our top 3 for minimal expense and maximum return.  Those will cost about $300ish to do both rooms and greatly increase function; everything else on the list is going to cost much more and while functionality needs improvement in the other areas, is not as of as much of a bother on a daily basis.

So Much Augh

Every minute I think we'll get a little break, it's back to the blur (coin termed afaik by the wonderful ladies at RantsFromMommyland).

Admittedly, July was fairly quiet. I'll hold on to that thought. August was somewhat crazy with re-organization and cleaning and the usual yearly back to school shopping and planning, as well as re-enrollment and new enrollment for 3 different demonchildren in 3 different schools. That's enough crazy for a good dose of rum.

September has arrived and things still aren't settled down. Now, I won't blog much about this, because I have this resistance to posting anything that sounds "pity me". I have a lot of health problems and mobility issues, and will leave it at that without going into detail. The only reason I've chosen to share this is to explain the logistics of some of the decisions below.

We have requested to add bussing service to home from school at the end of the day for DemonPrincess in her IEP. We may only live 3 blocks from the school, but I can't be a reliably transporter. Her disability means she cannot walk alone; I have not found anyone else to walk with her. DemonSpawn had this duty, until his seizure meds were changed..

We're also going to have to ask about bus service for DS under his 504. The new meds he is taking can inhibit his ability to feel thirst and to sweat - a deadly combination in the 100 degree Texas heat. No walking or bike riding for the foreseeable future.

Have I mentioned neither one of them have ever ridden the bus? That while I think DemonPrincess will be really excited at the idea, I worry about stigmatization with DemonSpawn since it'll be the special education bus and he's in high school? High school kids can be such assholes about such things.

We have an ARD continuance for DemonPrincess tomorrow, except she's sick and I have no sitter. This may not be the last continuance either and I can see it taking over half of September. Just the records request I did has topped 800 pages with no relief in sight. And wow am I getting pissed sorting through those. Some of these people should never have been allowed contact with children.

September 21st will be her birthday. Again we debate - do we try a class-invited party and worry if people will show up/understand her at the party? Do we stick to a family party at home with a couple of friends invited outside of school that do understand her? We can't keep her in a bubble and usually don't, but I'm always so leery about doing something for her birthday that might only cause upset and ruin a nice day for her.

I wish this kid stuff was easier. Don't we all?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Link up Monday and A Brief Update

Hopefully now I'll be updating daily again.

The kids all started back to school today. They all had great days! Our basic schedule is (and should stay) me getting up at 5:45, I get a little me time to shower and drink coffee till 6 or 6:15 depending on the needs of the day, then wake everyone else (trying to get DS to wake up to his alarm, he did today, but I'm still the backup waker-upper for now). He walks DD1 to school at 7, back here at 730 and then bikes to his school by 8. She loves the quiet time walk with her big brother, and he needs the additional daily exercise (I hate you Depakote for your side effects, but thank you for controlling his seizures knock on wood).

I have a busy day tomorrow with errands, but should have a fairly relaxed morning. I've been debating what to make for dinner using my trusty crockpot and decided to hit the pantry for inspiration. Then I realized I haven't made something particular in a long time and decided what the heck, so it's the crockpot right now!

EASY OVERNIGHT CROCKPOT OATMEAL

2 cups rolled steel cut oats or other hulled grains (rice gets pretty mushy this way, but it CAN be used for a GF version)
2 cups milk
Huge dash of cinnamon
Huge dash of brown sugar (it melts in soooo lovely)
any dried fruits, if using

Cook on WARM, not low, overnight if your "overnight" is longer than 4-5 hours. Otherwise you can use LOW. I do WARM since it's going to be in there for a minimum of 8 hours and scorching is bad, which it can do on the bottom as it thickens.

In the morning it smells delicious. Add fresh fruits if you like, top with more meltly brown sugar yumminess, or maple syrup, or whatever you like really. I add some soymilk for my youngest, and heavy cream for the those of us who can have milk (I cook mine with water and not milk if youngest will be eating it.) I've also used rice and other milks fine, it's very adaptable. Just make sure you use at LEAST a 1:1 ratio on the grains and fluid.

Bonus: Use a crockpot bag and in the morning when done eating, remove bag and PRESTO clean, prewarmed crockpot to throw dinner into immediately. It doesn't get easier than this. For extra special easyness, follow with the pork tenderloin I posted!

For those of you with kids starting school, I hope they all had awesome days and really nice teachers and interesting subjects! Now, go have a drink and relax because it starts all over tomorrow!

I'll be posting reviews shortly of BeautyBox5, BuluBox, Ipsy, LootCrate, PopSugar, and GoodiesCo (both kid and regular boxes) all of which came last week when I was too busy to post about them (whoops!)



Monday, August 19, 2013

Link up Monday





Linking up to OrgJunkie's Menu Monday.

Today's recipe is the EASIEST THING TO MAKE IN A CROCKPOT, EVER.

Line the bottom of the crock with small gold or red potatoes (whichever you prefer). You can add carrots, onions, or other stew veggies as you like (fresh, not frozen). I don't, because chopping that shit up takes time and this one is all about the quick before dashing off to something on short notice.

Lay a pork tenderloin on top. I love the applewood bbq flavor for reasons I'll describe later. This doesn't taste bad on the potatoes. If unflavored, toss in some rosemary (fresh or dried). The tenderloin CAN BE FROZEN SOLID. IT'S FINE.

Pour in enough water to cover the potatoes entirely, but don't come up much on the meat. That's why you want the potatoes down as evenly as possible.

Set to high for 6-8 hours if frozen, low for 6-8 hours if completely thawed pork.

I like to do 2 of the skinny tenderloins (overpacking the crock slightly) for RollOverLeftOvers. This makes the meat so tender that it falls apart when you fork it.

We save the remains (of which there is a lot, this is 2 portions for a family of 5) and our RollOver the next night is pulled pork sandwiches.

This will become a staple for one of my early morning raid days!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Thoughts on WoW

First of all, here's Panser with the weekly WoW vid. I'm sorry this post is so late.



This has been part of what's going on, and why I haven't been posting much.

I switched servers. Again. It's still Oceanic (which I've found a few drawbacks to, but not many). I have to play Oceanic right now because believe me, I have tried, and outside of heroic progression raiding groups, there are no US groups I have found that raid in the early morning hours of Central Standard Time. I really miss the people from both previous guilds that I spent months in. I hated, in each case, the circumstances that caused me to switch servers and leave. Really awesome players both in Epic Phail and Shadowhaven - the former isn't responsible for the server dying; the latter isn't responsible for my IRL raid time needs. The loss of running raids with Krenyn still stings. I love that chica far more than she knows and have mad respect for her.

Which brings me to my last and most recent switch.

Whether or not he intended it that way, one of the raid leads contacted me following our attempt on Lei Shen (12/12 tier boss) last Monday. He suggested that I speak with one of the other warlock players to get my DPS up.

On the surface, this is a routine suggestion, if anything. It's good advice. Where it didn't make sense is that person plays affliction (I play destruction, a totally different spec); and that this was the first time I've ever done Lei Shen on normal, compared to it being I don't know, maybe even the 50th time that person was doing it. The other warlock close in range to me on the dps chart also plays affliction, and their DPS was only 1k over mine - that's not a gamechanger.


I let the raid lead in question know that they were a different spec than me, but that I WOULD contact them (really, there's no excuse not to take an opportunity to see if there IS something you don't know. This happens and it's part of the gaming experience.) At this point, he told me to play the spec with the highest DPS.

And that is where I decided it was time to leave and I was not a good fit with that guild. I know that many people switch specs without issue, don't mind it, or even like that they are able to do that. I know that really good players make sure they have the ability to because some fights do need it.

I am not THAT good of a player. I've been on WoW for exactly one year. I have always played a destruction warlock. In that time, Destro saw 1 complete makeover (going from Cata to MoP) and many other patch or balance changes. I can and should put in the time on learning the other specs, but with the changes coming in 5.4, I don't really want to use my free time to do that right now. The drop of 5.4 will present a good time for me to indeed explore this, however.

The guild (and server) I have joined now straight up do not mind me sticking to destro - but this time I knew to ask specifically that and was brutally honest about my deficits so I wouldn't waste their time or my money (it's $25 to change servers. Ouch.)

They have pushed me in ways I needed pushing and didn't know. I kicked turtles on Tortos and while I actually suck at kicking the turtles (seriously), the process of learning that taught me the raid better. When I was taken off of turtles, I had developed a better awareness of what was going on. I appreciate that in ways I haven't been able to explain to them.

I did screw up the time zone conversion - they raid from 7am-10am my time *wince*. Even though I'm brand new, I appreciate that they are willing to bump it to 7:20 when school starts so that my peeps are out the door before I need to push with them. I did express my appreciation and that it was totally my fault and if the 20 minutes did become a concern to just let me know. It has had me quickly getting used to getting up at the butt crack of dawn well in advance of school, though! That's a good thing by the way hehe.

More to come later, but this post is totally too long already. Keep Calm and WoW On.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cleaning Caddy and Laundry Room

The Evolution continues!

My blue plastic spray bottles came in and are a little smaller than I figured. I got 2oz ones, but am going to get 4oz ones later (I'll find another use for these, don't worry!).


Bottles are filled with Pledge; Rinse Free Floor Cleaner; Wood Cleaner; Concentrated Cleaner; Rubbing Alcohol; Wood Oil; Vinegar; and Glass Cleaner. All of the essentials! Those are some of the new Avery labels that I mentioned; aren't they perfect? And my OCD made me use a matching Sharpie color to label them.

Those went into the caddy, which holds some microfiber cleaning cloths, a tiny dustpan and sweeper set, scrubber, toothbrush for nooks and crannies, Febreeze, Bleach Pen, and reusable rubber gloves.




It gets a home of its own in the laundry cabinet (EXPEDIT) in the laundry room.


I'm going to use the little labels I used on the bottles to label those blue trinket bins shown above as well. DH also hung the "thingie" on the wall for me that holds the brooms and stuff.


Love!

Then I got to work. Man, the velcro dots I used for my previous labeling attempt are a real bitch to remove, so you don't get a complete pic yet. But here's the new Avery labels that have replaced them.


Sorry for the glare; I really need to do something to diffuse the overhead lighting in this room. I guess I'll add that to the list! 

The last thing I have left to do is get the bins from the Container Store for over the washing machines, and I'll be using the fabric labels on those as well. I can't actually label all of the hard plastic bins above, yet, until I do that and re-sort them. I am throwing out some old things, and possibly moving some other supplies from around the house down here to free up those areas better (under the bathroom sinks like extra shampoo, shower gels, etc). 

 I got so much accomplished this weekend and am so happy about that. It really is coming together.

Link UP Late

Linking up to OrgJunkie's Menu Mondays.

This week, I am all about the "Roll Over Leftovers". What that means is you cook something, take one or two leftover components, use them on a different dish the next night; rinse and repeat.

Monday night we made homemade guacamole. I am utterly in debt to my friend Jennifer P. for teaching me how to make this two years ago. I thought I hated guacamole, but I actually love it when made this way.

Homemade Guacamole
4-5 large avacados (if you haven't bought them before, gently squeeze. You want some give to know they are ripe, but not mush. Hard isn't ripe yet. Color may vary, *usually* a very dark green to black is what I'm looking at.)
3-4 limes
1 fresh bunch of cilantro
1 red onion
garlic powder
salt
(tomatoes if you like them; I do not)

Cut the avacadoes in half by running a butterknife the long way around to meet up (cutting around the pit). Twist off the top half and set aside. Jab the butter knife into the pit and it should pull out (usually) easily. Use a spoon to scoop out the good stuff into a large bowl. Repeat for all the avacadoes, making sure none are brown-spotted or rotten (that's why I usually buy an extra, inevitably one will be yuck).

Dice about half the onion finely. Mince and chop the cilantro to release the flavor. Add all ingredients to the bowl and use a potato masher to reduce the mixture to a lumpy goodness. (The more you mash the smoother it will be. The riper your avacado was will contribute to this as well). We like a LOT of lime; add the lime and garlic to suit your tastes, then salt at the end to taste. Serve with pretty much anything; makes 2-3 cups.

That was last night. Guac does not keep long once made, so if you're going to roll it, it MUST be the next day. Mine was a little browned on top so I scraped that off tonight. We made burritos with cilantro lime rice, black beans, ground turkey, cheese, lime, and sour cream. (Pic was taken while DD was slicing the limes for me).



I made extra rice so tomorrow will be Dijon Tarragon Chicken. After that, I will start a new round of Leftover Rolling; doing a spaghetti with meat sauce on Thursday, and a crockpot chili on Friday.

It keeps things rotating out of the fridge so they don't go bad, which works well; but I don't need to plan more than two meals at a time to take the advantage of a little extra prep for the following meal to fall into place. It also helps because we are a family of 5, so we're sort of in between needing to make doubles of most meal amounts and typically either have to deal with leftovers, or supplement with a large salad so everyone eats well and balanced (most things are portioned for either 4, or 8).

We rarely do the same meat two nights in a row, and try to have at least one meal per week be meatless. The following roll will probably be crockpot pork tenderloin and potatoes on Saturday, finishing out the week with pulled pork sandwiches on Sunday - and an empty fridge just in time for grocery shopping.

This was nom, but I could only eat one - I saran wrapped the other in hopes that it can be tomorrow's lunch (I hate wasting food!)


It's Tuesday, I'm the Twat

I went on hiatus without intending to. Just too much going on!

First of all, Demon Daughter is going to be able to return to the junior high she was last year (theatre magnet school that is out of town). We thought she would have to attend out (relatively crappy) local middle school since family in that town were not able to host her this year. Her Special Ed teacher stepped up with an offer for her to stay with her, and with much discussion and huge elation from DD, she is going back! We are all very excited for her to follow her dreams (and of course, get a good education). Mind you, this news came barely two weeks before the school year starts..

I entered the zone that I call ZOMG CLEAN ALL THE THINGS. We had to go through her entire closet, try everything on, make a list of what she would need, pack it, and shop for whatever she lacked. This past weekend was Tax Free School Shopping, so we hit the mall.

Fuck me, don't ever let me do that again. Augh.

We hit up Hot Topic since I had some returns to do, and I must say, she did shop very well. A pair of shorts for $7.50 was the best deal, I think. It's hard finding shorts that meet dress codes (ie not cut off or camel toe height). She got things that I know suit her personality and tastes while not being immodest or anything. Works for me.

Then it was on to school supplies. I couldn't tell if we lacked anything without first re-organizing the Supply Closet. (This used to be our hall closet, but it's only about 14" deep - did not accomodate coats or anything else well. So my Dear Husband put shelves in there and I put cubby bins in. It works amazingly and holds a ton of crap). I was really excited to try out these new labels from Staples (Martha Stewart/Avery collaboration) that are "Flexible" and stick to fabric - the things I have tried to label those bins have all been fail, fail, fail! They worked like a charm!

So we got all three kids sorted on supplies and ready for school. We have been picking up all the 1cent, 25cent, etc deals at Staples, Office Depot, and OfficeMax for weeks, and thanks to some leftovers I also had from last year's deals, we were fully stocked to meet the supplies lists of each. All we lacked were the teen locker organizing doodads for the older two that Staples thankfully offered in bundles for $12 (locker shelf, magnetic bin, dry erase board and marker, magnetic mirror, and 2 magnets. Just the shelf would have been $8, so, worked for me.)


While we were at Staples, we found some adorable chairs for the desks in the master bedroom, and I got some other labels that I will show you in my next post about the laundry room. I also finally got lid labels for the plastic jars I keep the art supplies in. I am really loving these Martha Stewart labels. I could care less about her name, and only have one complaint - most of the bigger items I could really use for my desk do not come in BLACK. ("Wall Pocket", I am looking at you!) Avery has done a really good job with these labels. I love the colors, styles, price is not horrible, and fixatives are good. I really recommend these if you're in need.

I'm sorry for not updating sooner, and coming back and posting a Huge Wall of Text; I'll try to keep up better but until school starts it may not always turn out that way!





Friday, August 9, 2013

So, How Many of These Damn Boxes Do We Need, Anyway?

For those curious, I started off with a full assault on subscription boxes, ending up with TWENTY of them our first month, at a cost of about $150 (remember a lot of first boxes were discounted, some of them deeply so. Full price would have been closer to $300).

I looked at it as an investment. I had a $200 budget (I blew past this when you figure in the Drugstore deals and the Allure boxes), and the goal was to try as many different boxes as possible to get a feel for what was out there. Then, we would decide as a family which ones to keep. I don't actually consider myself to be a "subscription box maven" or addict or anything else - we just wanted to try some new stuff and get out of our comfort zones. For us, it is about not only the products, but the *experience*. Unboxing is a cool 15 minutes or so where we are all gathered as a family opening a surprise gift, and everyone is excited. We're interacting; we're talking; we discuss all sorts of things related (mom, what's "acai"?). It's wonderful.

For Month Two, we are down to TEN boxes, and a cost of $100. That's still pretty expensive for a monthly outlay, but it costs that much for our family of 5 to go see *one* movie, or have 1.5 dinners out. Now we get Ten Experiences, which sounds like a better deal to me (and I've made adjustments to cook more at home, etc, to make room in the budget for this).

If you're considering subscribing to any, here are my Top Recommendations to date, balancing quality and value:

Beauty - Birchbox, hands down. $10/mo flat. Their review points system ensures that you can get at least every 3rd box free, or earn money in their store for full size or limited edition boxes (many of which have at least 1 full size product in them, to boot.) The vast majority of their products have been complete successes with me, as well.

Natural, Eco Friendly - ConsciousBox, $20/mo. They also offer 100% Vegan and 100% Gluten Free boxes for those that need something like that. (I know how expensive GF can be, so the opportunity to try new things on the cheap deeply appeals).

Gamer or dude box - LootCrate, $20/mo. Value has been good, humor is high, communication with CS has been stellar. I got an email about taking 12% off a subscription, and when I emailed to sign up for this (can't do it on the site automatically, sadly) CS was wonderful. Even though the code would have expired by WEEKS, they let me know that I had a referral credit applied to the now-shipping August box, but would apply the coupon code to a six month sub *after* that. They were really nice, and these days that means a LOT.

DollarShaveClub - $6/mo nets you a handle, 4 blades, shipping to you, and our first one came with a sample of their shave butter. They have even cheaper twin blades I'm going to look into for my legs ($1!!) . This is much cheaper than I can do even at the drugstore on cheap blades. It's just kind of a no brainer to me at this point.

I'll let you know if recommendations change, whether it's due to price increase, CS problems, or a new sub being a better one. 

The Best of the Best, Part I

I am overflowing in both Vega bags now of stuff I'm hoarding to giveaway to some lucky people! There were some concerns about using Rafflecopter on the last contest, so I'm looking for another widget to try instead.

I have really gotten my money's worth, so I'm very happy with all the things I've gotten. There's always going to be a few things from each sample box or subscription box that we won't use, though, for various reasons. I've kept one re-usable bag downstairs to collect supplements and food; upstairs in my bathroom is another bag for beauty and skincare. I have gotten a LOT of boxes in the past 30 days though, which means things are piling up.

The winning *products* I want to mention are as follows (things we sampled, then bought full sizes of):
  • 1. FOE hair ties - Birchbox (I went with Etsy for about 30c each). There is a monthly sub box for these as well, but I'd rather support a WAHM. These things are awesome. I don't know if they'll stand the test of time, but they really do a good job of being grippy enough to stay in the hair, but smooth enough to come out easily without pulling a single hair. I've never seen another hair holder manage that. I'm really amazed.
  • 2. SmartyPants Gummy Vitamins (for adults) - Drugstore.com Vega bag. DH and I both got a month's worth. Damn things really do taste like very juicy, super yummy, gumdrops. I got a good deal and I'm seeing them pop up on special several places lately, including LivingSocial. This is the first time in forever that I'm willingly taking a daily multivitamin.
  • 3. Flavorz - KLUTCH Club, Conscious Box. My only complaint with these is that I would like some packaging similar to Mio etc. I like the product much better though and the taste is really good.
  • 4. KIND bars - Drugstore.com Vega bag. We are officially addicted. Even on sale, they are pretty expensive, but neither DH nor I are good about having any sort of breakfast. That has now changed. It's small enough that I can manage to eat it in the morning (I have issues), packed with protein, low in sugar, so many wonderful things. It also tastes fantastic. I love the Ginger Cashew, it's got a spicy bite to it without being overwhelming.
  • 5. Cocomels - Hello Flo. I have not actually bought more of these, but Santa is getting a request for a big package of these instead of Godiva this year. They were just that good. I had the Sea Salt ones and just love that, it keeps it from being too sweet. You can really taste the coconut flavor.
  •  6. Dollar Shave Club's $6 sub. The blades really are just as good as the Fusion DH was using, and so much cheaper. I do wish they offered some other monthly options though, like 6 or 8 blades per month; DH has VERY thick, dark facial hair and while he changes blades weekly, I really think he should more often. They *have to be* dulled after 3-4 shaves with his facial hair type and expanse. What can I say, I married Sasquatch.
  • 7. Funky Monkey freeze dried fruit - Drugstore.com Vega Bag. I was not a fan of their apples (the sample we received), preferring the Brothers All Natural we've been buying for years. However, I bought a couple bags of the Banana Acai (Purple Funk, iirc), and those were really good. I am always looking for less perishable foods higher in potassium (I take blood pressure meds) and am glad to have found these. They are a bit pricey however and it's a bit much to eat an entire bag in one serving (they don't keep well once opened, becoming chewy rather than crisp).
  • 8. 100% Pure Coconut Body Cream - Birchbox. I love that it's a more natural product, but what I love more is how well it works. I'm loving it. The scent is coconut while managing to NOT smell like sunblock, somehow. Very good.
  • 9. Scent -  Grapefruit, by Fresh. - various boxes, I ended up with 4 samples. I think most came from Beauty.com sample bag w/purchases. My body chemistry turns any scent that uses any sort of "musk" note into straight "baby powder smell". Doesn't matter what else it was supposed to smell like, all you can smell on me is baby powder. This limits me often to either florals or sweet notes; and I don't really like either most of the time. This one delivered. It's not "Teen Sweet", it has a hint of spice and just has this wonderfully clean and delicious, crisp scent to it. I'm not sure if I'll feel the same way in winter, but this is my new go-to summer perfume.
  • 10. Revlon's Just Bitten lip balm stain - Birchbox. I tend to go more high end on my beauty products, but am  switching to this lip stain. It doesn't have the same staying power, unfortunately, as my beloved Josie Maran, but I'll tell you what it does have - BUILT IN limp plumper. I could feel the tingle immediately. A 3 in 1 product for 1/6th the price of the ones I was using??? Sign me up, yo! So it plumps, it stains, AND it has a built in moisturizing top coat. It's like the perfect lip product. Which means of course that it will probably be discontinued soon.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thursday's Box of Awesome

Several boxes to cover! Brobox and Allure.

First up, we got our new Brobox in.

They send the "take a survey, get $X" cards every month, it looks like, nailing this right at $11/mo if you do the surveys. Also, you have to order each box (and you can view what's in it ahead of time); it does NOT automatically ship.

Here's the quandary - for me, most of the actual value comes from the "surprise" item. The first box was the credit-card sized multi-tool. DH really liked that. This month, it was one of those hand flex exercisers (which is actually really helpful for DemonDaughter since she has poor hand strength and fine motor skills issues).

The rest of the products were not bad - but they were not stellar, either. I think the theme this month was "wipes". Fresh Balls ..ball wipes. Yes, those balls. More Dude Wipes. Deoderant Wipes. A couple packs of edibles (admittedly, very yummy sounding ones). Some energy drink/immune support singles. The last item was a $25 value card for Train.com.

I'm not a bro, though, so I have to rely on DemonSpawn and DamnHusband to let me know if they like this box. So far they think it's worth $11 a month to try some new shit. Works for me. That means they don't bitch so much about my beauty boxes, which brings me to the next item..

The Allure 2013 Fall Beauty box! I've always missed them in past years, and decided to pop for two (it's a limit of 2) so that DemonDaughter and I could each have one. At $50 including shipping for *each*, these were spendy. You tell me if you think it was worth it.


What you see IS what you get (with a couple exceptions I will mention below):


Continue on for the review..

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

WoW Wednesday

First, the usual Panser vid, because I totally love her and #TradeChat.



So, remember when I was all nerd-raged over the Legendary Quest DPS Challenge for the cloak? I decided I had plateau'd and that was ok.

Except I didn't.

First, I signed in last week the day after I posted, and I immediately went to pound on that cloak quest. Thanks to some reading and understanding more about how to drop aggro, I did it in 2 attempts and no deaths! BOO YAH! I'm not sure who was more suprised, my guild or me.

Almost a month ago, I started looking into moving to an Oceanic realm because I want to be offline in the evenings when the demons need me the most, not on a computer having to be left alone because "Mommy's raiding". Oceanic realms are Australia, Singapore, etc; late night raiding for them is early morning for me.

Sunday, I got a trial acceptance from an Oceanic guild who had the time slot available that I needed - 830am-1130am. I am going from raiding about 5-6 hours a week total to 9+ hours total though as they raid 3 days a week, not 2. (I don't see this as a bad thing at all as long as it's not *in the evening*).

Less than 18 hours later I had said my goodbyes, packed up my stuff, transferred over, and was raiding with the new group for the first time. Bosses I've never even attempted on normal before; 25 man instead of 10 man.

It was epic.

I had a BLAST. They move so fast and are pretty good at identifying what went wrong. For the most part if there is a wipe, the second everyone has eaten again the pull comes. This momentum was amazing. I didn't even realize 3 hours had gone by. It was stressful not knowing the fights very well, being worried about them thinking I sucked.. but on the other hand, I wasn't actually horrible, and I survived 90% of the time (unless the group wiped).

We took down Primordius and Animus and made several attempts and progressed on Iron Qon but didn't down him. Today after the reset, we blew through Jinrok, Horridon, Council, Tortos, and Jikun. Tomorrow we'll be starting on Durumu - I am worried about this one because I fail at the maze. I have offline things to do but need to run it on LFR for maze practice when I can today.

I'm not sure how good a fit the guild is personality wise, and outside of the raid time - I don't think I'm on when most of them are, and vice versa. Culturally it's a bit different as well (which I actually like, but is taking some getting used to as well).

Perhaps this will be the next step that propels me off the plateau and I will continue to improve (that's what I'm hoping). The fights that I did know, I was pulling good DPS and mostly staying out of the things I needed to be and hitting the correct targets. The fights I did not know, I was around 10-15th on DPS or messed up mechanically; hopefully with more runs those later fights will smooth out the way the first ones did.

As luck would have it, the loot drops I actually need are off the *last three bosses*. (Fark you, Blizz). I have not yet seen those (since we didn't drop Iron Qon) but am hoping to as well.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Plans Are Coming Together, Pinky

I promised a project update, so here it is. I'm not redoing the laundry room (collective sigh of relief), but after 2 years, it needed to evolve a bit. I also found some cool products that matched my color scheme (aqua, royal blue, and white). So it is getting a reorganization.

This is kind of what the laundry room looks like right now:


(ANTONIUS shelving system and a "hacked" EXPEDIT tv unit with LEKMAN and TROFAST boxes from IKEA. Wow that is a lot of capital letters. Anyway. It works great and is functional, but the little blue baskets above the machines are too far back and out of my reach; and it just looks messy up there. I also hated the plain stick on labels on the bins and a different attempt using velcro and bigger labels I could re-do easily, wasn't so easy.)

So, I'm planning to get 6 of these (2 will fit per shelf above the machines, 3 shelves, and they are big enough to fill the whole depth so that I can reach them).


Is that not totally the perfect colors, or what?! Since we're coming to the end of summer, they will hold the swimsuits, swim towels, extra linens, and the dog supplies and rags all neat and pretty. I'm opting not to do them along the top since the toilet paper won't exactly fit inside them. The top shelf is just full of TP (because I am cheap and buy it really cheap on sale because it's the only brand I like. Deal with it. OCD, I haz it.)

And then I found these awesome labels from the Martha Stewart and Avery collection at Staples to go on my dark blue bins:




I hate this picture, because that's jusr a horrid combination to me. But the labels are just light aqua with a white border - perfect! I'll write on them in dark blue and I think they will look snazzy and cool.

Finally, I updated my cleaning tools thanks to something stellar I happened across on Zulily. I couldn't resist, because hey - my color scheme!

Yes, this is a totally a chick thing. Everybody else can wait for tomorrow for a BIG WoW update.







Of course, that meant I needed (ok, wanted!) a new cleaning caddy. The kids hate lugging the big one with full size products around (and so do I) for jobs that really don't require an entire 18oz bottle of something for cleaning. 

So I found these awesome plastic blue spray bottles, and a little mesh tote to carry them, a microfiber rag (yep... blue.. how did ya guess?), and a Mr Clean Eraser in. 



I'll post again when it's all put together (and things have arrived and been purchased like the Como bins). Excited!

It's Twatwaffle Tuesday

I don't really have anything twatwaffley to report except that DemonSpawn *accidentally* let DemonPrincess overhear this gem:



Which I didn't know about until we sat down for dinner last night.

DemonPrincess yelled "SURPRISE BUTTSEX!" 

I think DearHusband choked on his pizza. I know I snorted Ramune out of my nose. And it just didn't stop.

Next thing you know, she gives us a demonstration. Which involved banging the butts of two gummy vitamin bears together. I'm totally losing it at this point.

Then she was really hyper and bouncy and she just started sing-songing "BUTTSEX". I died.

Thus ensued a long discussion about what not to say at school, and the kinds of phone calls Mommy and Daddy do not wish to get from the school. We also informed DemonSpawn that if his uber expensive muffling headphones are turned up so high that she can hear a song over them, they are TOO DAMN LOUD.

So, later on that evening, DemonPrincess is looking through the new Wishcraft catalog from Chasing Fireflies that came in the mail. Now, this is some uber-expensive costume shit. We've never ordered, and I don't know how we got on the mailing list - but the kids look forward to getting it and maybe getting some costume *ideas*, which is cool with me (and my wallet).

Until she finds page 22. Background - as you know, DemonPrincess has autism. This comes along with some obsessions, and collections. One of the things she collects is crystals and jewels (basically she's a little magpie). So, she spies this:



Yes, this is an 11" long, neon green, phallic shaped piece of...Kryptonite. She did correctly identify it (pats on the back all around for nerd parenting win). And she begs for it, oh my gods does she beg for us to buy this. We HAVE to, it's a CRYSTAL!

At which point, DemonDaughter looks over and dies laughing. So I look over. Simple statement: NO.

Princess cries, throws a tantrum, and generally is a very loud annoyance and will not calm the fark down. She gets more upset the more DD and then I, and then DH are laughing, thinking we are laughing at her. So I had to explain why I said no, and why we were not laughing at her.

I ask her repeatedly.. ok.. Princess.. what ELSE do you maybe think that looks like? She finally, after about 10 different answers, says "a penis".

Demonspawn tells me I'm going to hell.

My response: "Is it better for me to get her to understand that and NOT buy it, or order it so she quits begging and then watch her run around the house with an 11" long neon green dildo?"

DemonDaughter then decides to chime in. "Suprise buttsex?"

And then they all got sent to bed and Mommy had a drink. There is not enough brain bleach in the world, folks, which is why I am sharing my pain with you. 

We can all go to hell together.





Monday, August 5, 2013

Link Up Monday!

It's that time of the week, and this time I have pictures to share with you wonderful people! As you know, I hook up with my OrgJunkie diva for Menu Mondays. I really suck and don't plan whole weeks at a time yet, but I enjoy seeing what others post and contributing what I can.

Today I'm covering Dijon Tarragon Chicken, which I'll be making again tonight!

Ingredients:
1 lb Chicken (I use white meat, pan seared, then fork-seperated a bit)
3/4 cup Dijon or Honey Dijon mustard
Tarragon
Heavy Cream (I have successfully done with with coconut milk, it's the heavier fat content you need for it to come together well)
Rice (we like Jasmine or Bismati)

First, grill your chicken, then liberally add tarragon and the mustard. Reduce to a low, medium heat - you need some rendering to happen but don't want it to scorch. Add the cream, about 1/2 cup (you can add more later if needed) and continue to simmer on low. The sauce should start turning a darker brown like a roux. (I added too much cream this time in ours, or not enough mustard). Serve over rice! Serves 6.

(I haven't yet experimented with veggies in this, if you know some good ones to suggest with the flavor, please let me know!)






Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

Won't be blogging much this weekend; too busy! DemonSpawn is out with a friend to the Nasher Sculpture Center, and then possibly to see "Pacific Rim"; DemonDaughter is off at my stepdad's for the weekend; DemonPrincess is all alone at home with me and keeping me on my toes!

I have several things I'll try to give a quick update on.

The Lawn Idiots - have not emailed me back since I found multiple other mistakes they had made and insisted they correct all of them before I would even consider paying;

School Registration - the great hunt for all the documents I need to make sure all 3 kids are taken care of with school continues;

First World Problems - just fired our biweekly maid service for not showing up at all yesterday, but interviewing someone tomorrow to come for a couple hours a day, 4 days a week (about the same cost as the service was charging me)

Reviews - Lengthy article about Drugstore.com and my adventures with them

Projects - I'm procrastinating doing my laundry room, because I ordered bins and thought they'd be here, but they are not yet.

See you on Monday, I've got an excellent recipe to share (with pictures!)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

2 weeks - almost 1100 views!

I just want to say thank you for everyone who's listening to me blab! It can seem lonely out here in the internets.

I got our Skoshbox subscription in today - Japanese treats! The packaging was very zen and totally cool. I'll get a review up tomorrow, DH and I will be tasting tonight! Heh. The kids are in the doghouse for not doing their chores. Sucks to be them, huh? Missing Skoshbox *shakes head sadly*.

Tomorrow I will be posting the Organization Challenge and featuring either a past or current project of my own -stay tuned!


Box of Awesome

This is why HelloFlo is awesome (the awesome candy is worth mentioning, but so is the cute fabric bin they send)




Looking for something a little more Manly? DollarShaveClub's got humor for you, too. (and a damn good product at a cheap ass price)


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blizz store Winner Chosen!

I've contacted the winner of the contest via the email they provided with their entry.

Congrats to K and enjoy your vanity item, pet, or time card! Thanks for entering and please spread the word!

The next planned giveaway will take place in mid- August. Stay tuned!

WoW Wednesday

Yeah, I was running a day behind with the previous post, sorry about that!

Here's Panser's TradeChat channel video for WoW this week.




Last night in raid we again successfully downed the first 3 bosses of ToT and moved on to Tortos. Tortos whoops our ass. There is just so much rockfall going on!

I dont understand this. I've even watched videos of it being done on heroic, and there totally looks like a lot less rockfall going on than we're seeing. I counted 5 different circles around me at one point, all overlapping. They look more isolated in videos. Not sure what's going on there.

In other news, trying to Legendary questline continuance for the ilvl 600 legendary cloak. The DPS challenge (the only one I can do; warlocks can't heal others or sustained tank) is extremely hard. After 7 wipes with no progress made at all (pretty much instant death when the adds came out) I nerd raged.

This is frustrating me as much as the warlock green fire quest.

I feel like I've just finally hit the ceiling of my playing ability. Until (and if) I can cross the next threshold of ability (improved reaction, movement, awareness of mechanics) I am on a plateau.

You know what?


I didn't pick up WoW to be an elite hardcore raider. I played it for fun. I got involved in raiding, and things sort of took off over several months leading to where I'm at now - I went too fast, I have been carried in some ways, and I constantly worry about holding back my team.

I don't think I've even seen T13 heroic - why am I doing T15 progression? There are still T14 normal kills that I have not seen. Sure I have gotten to see the content in LFR but it's incredibly not the same thing.

What I love about raiding is being with a group of people that get my humor and that are having fun doing the raid. I don't want it faceroll easy - I enjoy positioning, strategy, how our different roles work together and how to support each other. I like putting on my headphones and signing into Ventrilo and hearing all these voices chatter while we play. If we mess up, we'll wipe - and we'll get back up and try again. 

To a point.

I don't find wiping on the same boss 20-30 times over a period of weeks to be any fun at all. I am under incredible stress of as-instant-as-I-can reaction to *everything* so that I don't stand in shit, don't endanger someone else, or don't pull the numbers being counted on me to do to such an extent that if I screw up say 2 things out of *90*, it will contribute to us wiping. 

I do not enjoy that. I think auto-death abilities of bosses or add damage that is so freaking huge that it can kill you in 2-3 hits (especially since I play a class that cannot kite well) is effing ridiculous, and I've thought that since the first time I encountered it. Yes, if you stand in the purple puddle of death, you should expect to die within a range of time that is somewhere between "instant" and "a full thirty seconds". It should hit you hard enough that you CAN'T ignore it and steamroll through it. It should not hit you so hard that if your reaction time is slightly off, you're dead (I'm looking at you, quicksand PLUS rooted TO the quicksand of death. Really?!)

But I do understand that some people do enjoy these things, or that they are so much better players than me they need that additional challenge to make the content a challenge for them. And that's ok.

So if you're in an Oceanic realm and do late night raiding of anything previous to ToT, hit me up please. I'd like to learn Dragonsoul and Firelands and get the achievements and do the challenge of them on Heroic. I'd like to be part of an Empress kill. I'd like to take on Mogushan Vaults and learn the Heroic mechanics of it.

"Slow down" was the message of Pandaria. Why is no one listening?

Twatwaffle Tuesday - Lawncare edition

So this is a thing now.

Back in mid-July (around the 12th or so?) we had a business card left our front door. I normally toss all of this kind of stuff, but we happened to actually be in need of some of the services listed on it.


DH and I discussed it and decided to put in a request for an estimate - we weren't sure we could do what was needed right at the moment, but to even get it done before winter we would obviously need to know the level of expense we were facing. We planned to get estimates from 3 different companies to compare (and not just money, but their communication style, eye for detail.. that sort of thing. Much rather find someone we liked and could stay with long term).

What we needed done was to have all the weeds from the flower beds yanked, the ground tilled, a weed barrier put down, and mulch put down for low maintenance. We're on level 2 mandatory water restrictions in my city at this point. We also asked about the price of having the existing shrubs and bushes trimmed.

Here is where things went screwy.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Do Not.. Eat.. The Cucumber

At least not that way?

NSFW, click read more after the jump to see the pics.

DemonDaughter was chowing down on a cucumber. I looked over and totally and completely lost my shit. Then DamnHusband did. DemonSpawn fell to the floor spasming in laughter he was trying to suppress and making strange donkey like noises.

And this.. this is what we saw.

Link Up Monday!




OrgJunkie's Menu Monday. My contribution... uh. Hmm. I haven't even had breakfast yet, it's hard to think about dinner already. And I'm tired. That always means... THE CROCKPOT! Honestly if you ever see a recipe from me on a Monday that does not involve my beautiful, stainless steel, CrockPot - the body snatchers have gotten to me. Send help.

Recipe for Success:

2/3 box of mini farfalle or penne pasta (it's the mini that's important for the 4 hour timing. If you use bigger or thicker noodles, you may need a little more water and 6 hours).
2 jars Vodka Sauce
(add just enough hot water to each jar to get the rest of the yummy sauce out. Not too much, about 1/2 inch or so)
1/2 bag frozen Italian style meatballs
Cook on low for 4 hours (if you go longer with this one it gets mushy, so kick it down to "warm" if you need to leave it in longer).
Serves 8

Enjoy... we all do!


LifeHacks from Buzzfeed

I normally HATE Buzzfeed, but I actually found some usable ideas here, like a magnet strip for bobby pins; we already have coat hooks in the kids bath but idiot me never thought about a shelf over it and I actually have one we can use; and StickOnPods may just become my new crack habit.

I really love the look of the two shower curtains parted in the middle, but I could not reconcile this idea with it being functional in a bathroom shared by two teenagers and a very messy DemonPrincess. But my brain wouldn't let go of the idea. I think I figured out how to make this work, so I'm actually going to try it.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday's Funny Shite

We had friends over for dinner (STEAKS! and sweet potatoes! and spinach! NOM NOM NOM) and to hang out and play Munchkin. Much hilarity ensued.

First, we needed to keep DemonPrincess entertained so we could actually play, so DamnHusband gave her his bag of dice. This kept her busy for all of about 4 nanoseconds, then she dissappeared with them. We found dice in her bed, hidden under the pillow. The best part though was that she decided she needed a dice bag as well - so she took off her socks and shoes and made one.


Yep. A sock. Works in a pinch. Doesn't make dice smell too good though. And the dog kept trying to eat it.

Oh yes. Our dog has a shoe fetish. I don't mean the typical "goes after discarded shoes to chew on them" behavior. If he sees a shoe, he FREAKS THE FUCK OUT. If it's on your feet, he chases it and tries to bite it. In a box? Bark bark bark growl. Sitting down? Um, sorry about the hump job, dear visitor. And the dog hair.

And the funny comments from yesterday which I am not including the context of so that they sound even more wrong than they were (but actually they were all really almost THAT wrong.)

"Get your hand out of your butt"

"+1 Slimy Armor. FOREVER ALONE!" "Yeah, the slimy part has a lot to do with that, probably".

"NO! You cannot touch my boobs! NO! ..... I feel violated".

"Congrats, you're a unicorn"
"No, he's extra horny."
"He's a QUADRICORN!"

"Thank you so much for that slap in the face".

See ya tomorrow!

Quick Deal of the Day at Plumdistrict

This deal has expired.


Plumdistrict is offering 30% their deals today with code PARENTSDAY30.

Of particular note, they have a 1 year subscription to Bulubox for $55. After the coupon it is $38.50 - making your sub $3.20 per box! I thought that was pretty darn awesome. (They also offer a 6 month sub for $21 after the coupon, or $3.50 per box.) Bulubox is normally $10 a month.

Bulubox offers both a weight loss option and a healthy lifestyle option for boxes, you can choose which one you prefer.

Steps:

Go to Plumdistrict and add the voucher to your cart. Use code PARENTSDAY30 to get the 30% off. Click on My Account and view the voucher # (copy it).

Then go to BuluBox and click on "Box". Select the option you chose (6 month or 12 month, and which of the box choices you want). Add to cart and go to checkout.

At checkout is a box for COUPON. Enter your voucher code there. Enter shipping infomation. Payment section should state "No payment information needed" - this also means they won't bill you after the year's sub ;) Click done!

Hope you found this deal as awesome as I did!

ETA: When I signed in to Bulubox, I found I was awarded 120 points for getting an annual subscription. 100 points = $10 (very similar to Birchbox). That right there makes this deal worth THIRTEEN months! Or you can choose to spend the points in their store if you sample a product you'd really like to get more of.


Disclaimer: I received nothing extra for free or compensation for posting this. Links included are affiliate links that do give me credit should you choose to you use them (and which allow me to continue reviewing new products and deals for you). If you do not wish to use the affiliate links, simply type in the website names into your address bar - there is no affiliation attached to the codes or steps offered.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

So Much for Not Blogging on Saturday

Just have so much going on in my head today. I finished some chores in less time than I thought I would, so now I'm sitting down and taking a break before jumping back in (and waking up demon princess).

I've had some questions from those who know me elsewhere about my newly discovered love of subscription boxes. See, we tend to live a more minimalist, simple lifestyle. It was not always this way; we lived simply in some ways, but I did a lot of coupon shopping and hoarded usable things in large stockpiles. There *is* a time and a place for that (I'll go into that later), but the time I was spending both buying it up and maintaining it (organizing, dusting, whatever) became a hassle.

"How in the world," they ask, "can you justify getting all of this, well, crap when you said you want to live more simply?"

That was a really good question. I thought about it before replying. As the boxes have actually come in, I've thought about it every time I've opened one, as well.

Was I doing the wrong thing? Was I getting sucked into materialistic consumerism at a time when we'd decided that our experiences were worth way more than any "Stuff" we'd surround ourselves with? Where was all of this going to go if we didn't use it?

I've learned some good answers - at least on a few of the boxes.

Drugstore.com Go Home, You're Drunk

I just had to share, this was an order I had a couple orders ago for just some shampoo deals and whatnot.

Someone in the shipping department was totally ready to go home. This is exactly how the box came with no cushioning (I think they usually use those filled-bags-of-air), and we apparently gained an industrial grade box sealer. Yes, the box did not fair well and is collapsed/kicked in on one side. Fotunately all my products themselves arrived fine.

This was so funny, I didn't even bother complaining (my stuff was fine). It's good for the LOLz though. I hope this worker had a nice Friday night out.


 photo IMG_0187_zps23f101b1.jpg

Friday Challenge (Yes, we're a day late.)

The Continuing Adventures in Lawn Care really threw me for a loop. We have big plans this weekend - I need to go to the grocery store, Demonspawn is spending the night with a friend in another suburb and needs transport; then tomorrow DearDemon returns from my stepdad's just in time for friends to come over for dinner.

Did I mention that the house needs a good cleaning as well? Eek. Or that DamnHusband works till Saturday evening? And I raid tonight!

So let's talk about the challenge of when you suddenly realize Company Is Coming. What do you do? What are your priorities?

Here's what I try to make sure gets done:

  1. Send one demonchild around with some sort of box to collect The Things Which Do Not Belong. Said box can be stashed away to be dealt with later, or they can actually Put Things Where They Go if time allows (or if I just need to give them something to do to keep them out of my hair).
  2. Have demonchildren start sweeping and vacuuming up the copious amounts of dog hair that seem to explode out of nowhere. We have one, very short haired dog - and yet we have the appearance of dog hair from an entire kennel's worth of differently haired dogs. When gathered up, the resulting hair ball looks to be bigger than my dog. How does this happen? Are there late night Dog Hair Parties that I am missing?
  3. Demonchidren then make sure the guest bath trash and kitchen trash have been emptied.
  4. Demonchildren are responsible for cleaning the playroom (which these days is pretty empty, but the table still collects crayons and papers and such) and generally making sure anything the dog chewed up has been trashed, or given to DemonPrincess2 so she can cry about it for the next three hours because it was her Favorite Piece of Random Crap Ever That Can Never Be Fixed and I tell her too bad, so sad, don't leave it out where the dog can get it. (Yes, I am that mean.)

Lest you think that I force my minions to do all of the work, I am actually busy doing the things I don't yet trust them to do to my standards of cleaning. If they miss a dog hair, no big deal. On other things, cleanliness rules (for me).

  1. I blitz the kitchen. Sink cleaned out and deoderized. Counters disinfected from gods know what (including scraping off wax, crayon, or any other disgusting crusty substances that may have at one point in time been peanut butter.) I am thankful once again for the granite which will never show black sharpie marks and congratulate myself on picking it out.
  2.  Run around and put a new cube of Scentsy in each warmer that's out. I don't actually care how full it is, as long as it doesn't overflow, it gets the perk-up. Win! The kids would totally turn this into SplashMountain of Wax, so they don't get to do it.
  3.  Give the kitchen table as best of a scrub down as I can, like the counters. No one wants to set their drink down in the middle of conversation only to have a look of horror come over their face as they stare into the abyss of I Swear That's Strawberry Jelly and Maybe Crisps.
  4. The Guest Bathroom. My floors may look like a horror show, but I promise the Porcelain Throne shall have the appearance of cleanliness with the lid up OR down. And that place where you wash your hands will actually be a clean place to do so, with soap, and a clean towel (pardon the bleach stains).
  5. Gathering up any large random items like projects, ironing, or the like and shoving them into the laundry room as the doorbell rings.
Time: Approximately 15 minutes. If we had an entire half hour, the chances are greatly increased that the dog hair is actually mostly gone, and I am not facing piles in the laundry room of Things to Put Away Later. Longer than that and I may even have been able to scrub the peanut butter and yogurt off of the fridge handles and use the Stainless Steel Polish so that it doesn't look like Gozer's children haunt my house and live in the appliances.

What's your plan?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Organizing Kids' Art Supplies


 

This project was originally done in our playroom some time ago. While the containers themselves have since been re-homed in a cabinet, the organization itself remains the same and is as functional today as it was when I first did it 3 years ago.

I am posting it again because Oriental Trading finally carries the Large Plastic Jars again (for over 18 months, they didn't, and I had many disappointed readers trying desperately to find them.)

Are you tired of using cups, pails, mugs, or boxes that contain your supplies but can be knocked over (or dropped and spilled)?

Do you do a lot of crafting that uses small items, like beads?

Would you really enjoy a *pretty* organizing method for these supplies that is 100% functional, adaptable, and can be used almost anywhere and customized to any decor?

Okay maybe you don't care as much about that part as I do, and I'm no Billie Mays. But I did find a really awesome way of neatly organizing all of our art and craft supplies. The containers are plastic and child safe (but they are not food safe).

First, you will need these:

Tall Jars, $7 per dozen
Short Jars, $7.25 per dozen



The great thing about these jars is the that they fit everywhere I have tried them - kitchen cabinet shelves, standard bookshelves, the tall ones even fit 4 per Closetmaid Cubicle if you want them further organized in some manner.

The Short Jars:

  • Hold all manner of crayons from standard to the My First triangular type, to Crayon Rocks. (Note that brand new "Jumbo Size" Crayola crayons do NOT fit as they are 1/2" too tall; however they can be placed once they've been colored with a bit, if you use these).
  • Are great for separating out mid to larger size beads, including children's large wooden counting bead.
  • Hold all manner of small office supples such as pushpins, paper clips, mini binder clips and yes even LARGE 3" binder clips.
  • Hold an entire set of standard 1" magnetic plastic letters.

The Tall Jars:

  • Hold paintbrushes, including larger children's brushes such as Melissa & Doug. 
  • Hold pens, highlighters, Sharpies, Gel Pens, Mechanical Pencils, unsharpened pencils, and all manner of writing implements. I've even gotten full size extended calligraphy pens with nibs and kanji brushes in them safely.
  • Hold full size trays of children's watercolors (such as Crayola, Rose Art, etc)
I chose not to decorate mine, but you can go all out on these with beautiful trim to match your decor or interests, or use Chalkboard Labels or other Vinyl labels.

The first place I used them was for our art supplies on a shabby chic bookcase my kids loved.


I don't have pictures to share, but I have continued using these in many other places and purposes.

In the bathroom they hold hair clips, ponytail holders, those disposable flossing sticks, skincare supplies for each of my teens, samples and travel sizes of items (like single packets of sunblock), even bandaids.

In the kitchen I've used them to organize bento items in a drawer (the short jars only) and holiday cookie cutters and such in a deep drawer.

My husband uses them in the garage for nails, screws, extra knobs (short jars); and cable ties, drill bits, screwdrivers (tall jars).

They are the perfect versatile organizing solution! I hope this helps you as much as it did me!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tiny Note About Birchbox

Because I am dumb and just figured this out.

You can review each of your 5 products each month, for 10 points each (50 points total). 100 points = $10 to spend on the site.

$10 = a free Birchbox every 3rd month, or spend it on a specialty box.

Very cool on top of everything else they are offering. I liked this box so much that I went ahead and signed up for an annual subscription for $110. Using code join110annual gave me 220 additional points for upgrading. In combination with my 1 purchase and reviews from ONE Birchbox, I have $30 credit (and got a free box with the annual rate, as well). That means the next specialty boxes they offer, I can already order for free, or if there's a must have in one of my boxes, I've already got $30 to spend on it.

Best reward program options I've seen so far that are not driven purely by "refer a friend". I did all of this on my own and feel like I really got a deal on something I'm really enjoying. Birchbox has also been around for awhile with tons and tons of reviews, so I feel like this was a solid purchase.

Thursday Box of Awesome: Drugstore.com Vega

This definitely qualifies as a Bag of Awesome!

Imagine my surprise when this box came this morning, shipped super quickly. Inside was this:


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It took a good ten minutes to lay everything out to try to get a decent picture. There was SO MUCH awesomeness in this bag of awesome! Over 50 samples, deluxe samples, and even several full size freebies! We already ate the "SmartyPants Gummy vitamins For Adults" - and I am so ordering these. They're freaking candy! Really good tasting candy, even. I'd have no clue they were vitamins at all if someone didn't tell me. I'm going to get some, for sure. I can't wait to try some of the other awesome in here.

It's still available on the site, so I highly recommend getting it!

*edit - I didn't lay anything out to help with sense of scale, but that's a *full size* bag of granola and 3 serving size bag of Funny Monkey. The bag is a good 18" by 18" reusable bag. Even the stuff that looks tiny, like the little green tube, is actually about 4" tall. These are not itty bitty samples at all.
 


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Additionally, I've updated the site with reviews of BeautyBox5, Birchbox, and ConsciousBox. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WoW Wednesday - 7/25 Edition

Welcome to WoW Wednesday! Today's cool Panser video is about the WoW TCG (with a higher chance of getting a loot card); a trailer for the WoW movie shown at SDCC; vanity helms in the virtual store, and other items of note.



I didn't have time today (doctor's appointment and an absolutely lousy Adventure in Lawn Care that I'll go into next Tuesday...) to actually write much of a post about WoW this week. We did take down the first 2 Throne of Thunder bosses (again) last night, but stalled again on Council. I can't wait to see those suckers go down, let me tell ya.

So in lieu of a post with a lot of discussion, let's have our first Geek Giveaway! Enter here for a chance to win your choice of a time card, pet, or one of the new vanity items! Maximum value $15.

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Tuesday, July 23, 2013

TwatWaffle Tuesday - School Enrollment Edition

Much WTFery about today.

A little back story. DemonSpawn went to a charter school for the first two grading periods of 8th grade. Due to some massive douchebags in administration there, we withdrew all of the children  right after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The first WTF we ran into is that our local public schools do some kind of "accelerated instruction" where they take 4 classes per semester, and cover a year's (full 1.0 credit) material within that time. This meant that if he transferred in, he would receive no credit, including the six weeks he attended and was graded for in the remainder of that semester at that school. *feels brain cells die just thinking about it again* Even as an adult, all I could think was "Well, why the hell bother then?"

So, we home schooled. We all hated it. I know some people love it and succeed at it and have amazing kids that do great with it. DemonSpawn does not.

Then, in January, he suffered a large seizure, and over the next few months of panic and neurologist visits and testing, we found out that he has Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME). By the time all of that was sorted out, it was already May.

So here we are. We used a Virtual School for curriculum, and they agreed to let us withdraw him with "incompletes" instead of any grading/failure because of the medical issue. We all knew he'd need to repeat 9th grade this coming year.

But I'm pissed off. The local campus won't give him *any* credit for work he did complete a year's worth of unless the virtual school graded it *or* he can do credit by exam. CBE is fine with us, but they don't offer it for French or some of the other subjects he should absolutely have credits for (they only do it for English, Math, Science, Social Studies courses). We were counting on these so he would have more electives this year to ease him back into things without too much pressure from too many subjects, especially since he's never done this "accelerated learning" thing.

I'm not even getting into the 504 plan and bussing issues I talked to the registrar about.

Bah, humbug. I know what to do and will win this little bullshit battle, but I cannot for the life of my understand how the state of education here got to be so absolutely, positively, fucked up regarding transfer students.

Decent deal for the Eco Friendlies

Drugstore.com is running a large Vega sample bag with the purchase of $75 or more from the Green store section of the site (such as "Eco Home"). The GE LED lightbulbs qualify for this.

I ordered 4 since I've been wanting to try them and do a review on the light quality, plus some Method dishwashing soap refills (I love this soap, in the Clementine scent) and granite polish. There are some coupons available if you like or use Bee Soap (B3G1F at 1.59), Chicken Poop Lip Balm (B2G1F), and some Tom's toothpastes if you want to maximize savings. I didn't worry about it since I had drugstore dollars I needed to use in the next week. My total was $62 shipped.

Simply visit Drugstore.com (non affiliate link) and click on the banner that looks like this:


Monday, July 22, 2013

Lots of Posts Today!

I'm going to give a little rundown of what to expect from this blog. Plus, I totally suck at planning out what to write, so a little structure is good.

Monday Link A Thon because my brain is fried on Monday and so is yours:
  • A link up to OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday
  • Links to posts I liked from blogs that I enjoy, such as RantsFromMommyLand
  • Links to deals I've collected from the past week to share with you
TwatWaffle Tuesday because what else am I going to do while WoW does weekly maintenance?
  • Negative stuff that's going on, in your world or mine. We all need a place to vent. Given our Adventures In Disabilties, this is likely to be about dealing with schools since it's about to be August.
    Wednesday WoW Roundup because I raid on Tuesdays, yo. 
    • Embedding one of Panser's WoW youtube vids, or some other cool WoW video
    • Discussing aspects of the game or funny things that have happened during the past week
    • If viewership rises to the point that I can afford to do it, the First Wednesday of the month, I will give away either a 30 day PlayTime card for WoW, or a virtual item from the Blizz store for WoW content
    Thursday Box of Awesome every day in my house has awesome boxes. Empty boxes can be awesome, just ask my kids.
    • Reviewing at least one item I seriously couldn't live without, and don't think you should, either
    • Linking up to the reviews of subscription boxes that have come in the past week
    Friday Challenge because it's not quite the weekend yet
    • Asking you to join me in a project - virtual or real 
    • Showcasing a previous organization that I have done, filling in back content to bring the blog up to date, then proceeding with current projects from then on
    Saturdays don't get blogged because that's the day I'm taking off. However, follow us on twitter because my phone can go to the park, grocery store, and other places my computer can't.

    Hangover Sunday because I raid Saturday nights, yo. Dungeons and Drinking, Arrr!
    • Sharing the weirdest crap our kids have said or we have found ourselves saying to them this week. 



    We're Looking!

    First of all, I'm committed to keeping this blog limited to ads that I have personally added to the site - whether it's a subscription box, graphics service, WAHM business, or products I personally use from Amazon.

    I will NOT be enabling AdSense or any other 3rd party ad targeting. We all get enough of that from Facebook, right?!

    There are things that I would like to do to make the blog somewhat self supportive, though. Thanks to Blogger, there are minimal operating costs (domain registration yearly, graphics, etc). If there's anything that pays out "real money" - such as Amazon - I am committed to using those proceeds for additional product reviews, or even giveaways on the blog.

    What can you do to help?

    1. Please use my referral links if you decide to sign up with a service or product I've reviewed or promoted. This may enable me to continue a subscription I might otherwise have needed to rotate out to review others (since my goal is to review as much for you as I possible can, but I do not have a Tree of Infinite Wealth).

    2. Send me a gifted box from a service you'd like to see me review. If I've signed up with one, you will see them on the Reviews page without a hyperlink. If I've received it and reviewed it already, a hyperlink to the review post will be included. If you gift me a box, I will include YOUR referral link within the review!

    3. Send me products that you'd like me to try, review, and promote. If you own the business (or are an independent consultant), I'll give you free ad space in return (this may either be in post format, or sidebar rotation).

    4. Make suggestions of things you'd like to see, and participate in the discussions. I am casting a wide net currently, that will eventually narrow based on responses (and whether or not we as a family personally use or enjoy certain ones).

    Please send all submissions to donotmilkthedog@gmail.com