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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Crafts That You Can Do While Drinking Wine

Pinterest I am not. There is also no way that I could even come close to cleaning Martha's floor the right way. I am somewhat craft dysfunctional. Actually, I am somewhat "finishing a project" dysfunctional. But I want to be creative damn it! So what's a wanna be crafter that is short on time and heavy on children supposed to do?

I finally found the perfect solution: drink more wine. Doing crafts while drinking wine is truly a win-win. If your project turns out amazing, you will be beyond ecstatic at how well you work under the influence. If it turns out not so good, just blame the wine. What do people expect, you were drinking while holding a glue gun for goodness sake. It is fantastic news that no one got seriously burned.

Best case scenario: You made something yourself that kicks ass.
Worst case scenario: You got a great buzz.


Now onto the crafts that pair perfect with your favorite red or white:

1. "Look Mom, I Baked."

So easy and so fun. Grab some sharpies and some plain mugs and/or plates (I got these at TJ Maxx but you can find them all over- Michaels, Ikea, the Dollar Store, etc.). Decorate them in any way that makes you happy or get those kids to work (mine just made some for their grandfather's birthday and we put on there why they loved him in their own words- priceless I tell you, priceless).

This is them before they got baked. Hee hee.

Who doesn't adore a compliment?

Your oven's not just for frozen pizzas anymore.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Turn the oven off and just let them hang out in there until they cool down a bit (I usually let them rest for an hour or when I go to preheat the oven for something else and discover them there). 
And viola... you can just go ahead and call yourself Martha. 


Wrap it in ribbon with a note to hand wash it
(bummer I know but it is a gift with soul so it's a small price to pay).
And you are done baby...
Your friends are going to adore you even more than they already do, as if that is even possible. 

Now for the next wine-friendly craft.

2. Could You Please Pass Some Chalk with that Cheese?

I was throwing a wine party and realized I desperately wanted for people to know which delectable cheese was which (not that my dear friends care about such details but I wanted to seem like I had my life together, at least in the form of cheese). So I grabbed up a wood chopping board (this one's from Ikea but you could use what you have on hand or again from TJ Maxx or Homegoods). I just taped the sides (note to self: next time use painter's tape, it works better than masking. And pour another drink please so you care less about perfection). Let it dry and add one more coat.

You are about to get fancy.

Oopsy daisy. Straight lines are overrated.

Hello new BFF.

Cans for drying? Why have I never had this brilliant idea before?
Thank you Merlot for guiding me straight.
 Your wine and cheese is about to get real. What?! That hostess has two types of brie! That's right. I care that much. People can't resist wine and cheese; it is a dream combo. I've even had requests for this board as a present for the holidays. Score! This does wonders for my self esteem. 

And last but not least...

3. Will Work for Burlap.

I love burlap. It is so dreamy and natural and reminds me of coffee shops. I've drunkenly made curtains with it that I'll share for another wine friendly post. When one of our stools got a chip in it, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I grabbed a coffee bean bag (sorry locals, I can't reveal my source of secret stashes of burlap bags!) but you should be able to find some at your local favorite beanery (just throw a little extra in their tip jar and you should get a hook up; not that kind, well, maybe I guess if you are in the department for a little something extra with your macchiato). 

Anyway, take your stool in need of some love:

Throw on some pillow fluff (I just grabbed some from a pillow that wouldn't miss it).

Oooohh, like a cloud.
Cut your burlap so that it will overlap the sides by a few inches all around.

This really makes me want to take a trip to Brazil.
Fire up that glue gun and remember that gloves are your friends while drinking and glue gunning.

Stand back children.
Glue and hold the burlap, section by section. I glued the sides and the underside of the stool and just worked my way around it. Crafts are more fun if you just make them up as you go along. Remember we are not going for perfect here, just happy. And here they are- a bit of a hot mess underneath but who is really looking under there anyway?! Are those really your friends? If so, disinvite them to your wine and cheese party.

A little cafe feel in the kitchen. Now just to master the almond milk latte... then we can throw a coffee party. Who are we kidding? Make that a mimosa party and I'll just turn on the Keurig.

That is it for this installment of What Katie Loves... hope you will join me next time lovelies...


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Naked Momma on a Budget

Budget. I am trying to teach myself that it is not a dirty word. It makes me cringe. And feel weak. And slightly nauseous. It is however a necessary evil to keep my baby daddy.

It has come up frequently in our ten year marriage but somehow I've managed to "charm" (clothing optional) my way out of the discussion. To celebrate, we buy something.

I like to shop. Let me rephrase: I LOVE to shop. I get a high from the feeling of buying the perfect gift for someone. I love pillaging for an amazing bargain. I'm obsessed with buying good food for my crew. And I won't even start on my affair with shoes glorious shoes. And paper. And anything sparkly... speaking of... where was I? Oh yes. Budget (bborrriiinnngggg). Yawn. Snore. Boo.

My name is Katie and I am addicted to my credit card.

The first part is admitting the problem right? Progress. Check. Let's buy something to celebrate. Shit.

So it seems like the fall is a great time to start a big or small beautiful change. To me it feels like an unofficial start of the new year and come January we can reflect on our accomplishments for the better and have a second chance at anything left undone. My husband also recently started a new job after 15 years at the previous one which is crazy exciting but has also kick started the need for our budget reform. September's plan:

He said, "Let's only buy necessities."
I said, "Okay."

Apparently, we have a difference of opinion on what an actual necessity is. October's plan:

He said, "Let's switch to a cash system. I'll give you enough cash to last for the entire month."
I asked, "For everything?"
He replies, "Yes. For everything."
I said, "I'm in."

And this is the first month we've tried it and I have to admit- so far so good. Though it would be a whole lot cooler if tomorrow was the 31st. BLAST- IS IT ONLY THE 17TH???? Hope these kids are looking forward to eating Ramen for the next 13 days.

Let's just hope that the tooth fairy doesn't need to make an appearance over the next two weeks.

Even though it is a challenge, I highly recommend it. No more pulling out the plastic to spend $1.07 on something. And if I didn't bring cash with me, I can't buy anything; simple but effective. Have you ever tried to buy groceries in cash? It stings. Instant pain. But you are guaranteed to buy less. Fewer impulse buys. Fewer splurge items (like tissues; use toilet paper you spoiled kids!). Fewer lattes (just kidding on that one. Save cash for that. You deserve it.)

I'm also going to start doing a segment called "What Katie Loves" and I promise to feature cost savvy but still stylish finds to report to you beautiful readers. After all, friends don't let friends go through budget reform alone. Here is my new mantra that I bought in the form of a fabulous necklace (prior to the cash only system) at my favorite shop, Twisted Sisters:

We so can do this. 


Monday, October 7, 2013

The Top 3 Things You Should Say to a Mother

I am constantly shocked amazed by the questions and comments that come out of the mouths of complete strangers. Sometimes I wonder when I am out in public with my four children if there is a sign on me that reads "Please ask me anything at all. I have all the time in the world. The more personal the better. Please share how perfect your children were. I would love your advice."

I'm sure that it is with all good intentions, but sometimes there seems like there might not be a lot of filtering that happens when people speak to mothers. I'm sure the same is true for fathers but I'm also positive that if my husband was out solo with the four kids that people wouldn't be asking him "natural or in vitro?" or "c-section or vaginal?" so I'm aiming this for the ones with the uterus. I want to help you well meaning strangers who want to chat with our child-bearing selves. There are definitely wonderfully gracious things you can do and say to a mother that won't insult her but could possibly even make her day. And if you can't say something nice, please just walk away. Ignoring is always better than making a mother feel either ungrateful or that she's failing at this whole life.

So when you pass a mother who is out in the world with a child having a full body tantrum in the cereal aisle, here are three things that would be lovely for you to say to her (feel to word them in your own personal way; kindness is the key):

  • You look great. See how that sounds different from "you look tired." Mommas are not often complimented on their appearance, especially when they are out with their children. You saying that could quite possibly be the highlight of her day. Trust me.

  • Your children are beautiful. Sometimes we need to remember that all children are miracles. And they are beautiful. This compliment will not only keep that in perspective for your benefit but help that overworked mom remember "Oh yeah. They really are beautiful." It makes all the crazy seem more manageable when we are reminded of the pure miracle of it all.

  • Can I help you with that? Here is the scene: she has one kid hanging on the side of her cart, one sitting inside of it making Cheerios fly and one baby crying in her bjorn and she's trying to heave a 52 count case of water anywhere it will fit in her overflowing cart so it won't crush the Cheerio thrower and you are inches away, eyes transfixed at the scene. If you have a moment (please don't offer if you don't, that would just be mean) take a deep breath and ask her if you can help her with that. She most likely is going to say "No thanks. I've got it." She secretly wants to be superwoman which is why she needs to buy so much water to stay hydrated. But she might just say yes and want to hug you for your generous offer. The point is that you offered. There is nothing slight about that.

I once had this angel of a woman approach me with absolute patience and asked me if she could follow me through the store and push one of my carts. (Yes- two carts. One to cart the children, one to cart the food = a walking ad for birth control). She said she had no where she needed to be and she was happy to offer a hand. Even though this was one of the most sincere and beautiful offers of help that I have ever received, I didn't take her up on it. I just couldn't put her through the four inevitable trips to the bathroom that were about to occur. But I don't forget that she offered. And that she saw past the crazy of it all and sensed that I could use a hand instead of judgement. Opening doors and offering assistance to strangers is a small way of showing the very large and happy idea that we have one another's back in this wild world. I hope that one day when I'm shopping alone that I, too, will channel my inner angel and help a sister out. 
And maybe even give her a Starbucks gift card. That would really be the ultimate stranger gesture.

Let's pay it forward lovelies...