Thursday, May 28, 2009

Win Art for your Walls

Have you heard about vinyl wall art? They're easy to apply and easy to remove and they look like they were hand-painted on your walls. It seems like everywhere I go I see it - I've even bought a few vinyl quotes that I plan on putting on some of our walls. Well, there's a stay-at-home mom who has made a business out of vinyl wall art. Brittany Hughes, owner of Lewa's Designs, has lots of cute designs and her prices seem very reasonable.

She has a great giveaway going on until June for anyone who has a blog. All you have to do is blog about Lewa's Designs then e-mail her a link and you will recieve your choice of 3 wall decals (a medium caterpillar, a baby swirly bird or a baseball) in your choice of color . It's that easy! Everyone wins! How great is that?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spring has Sprung (Part 2)

I know the saying goes "April showers bring May flowers" but around here it's been May SHOWERS, not flowers! Of course Lexie doesn't mind. She just grabs her rain boots, coat and umbrella and makes the most of it.

This is Lexie's first year of T-ball and she's loving it. She's gotten to play first base,

catcher-her favorite (the only day I didn't bring my camera!) but most of the time the girls stand (or squat) near the pitcher's mound and try to beat each other to the ball. :)

One of Lexie's favorite parts is getting to bat.

I love watching her run around the bases - she has gotten pretty fast!
But her favorite part of all is getting to spend time with her best friend from Kindergarten (to the left of Lexie). They go to different schools now so they don't get to see each other as often as they'd like. Once T-ball is done I'm sure they're going to want to keep seeing each other 2 times a week!

Lexie's school participated in the Young Inventors' program a couple weeks ago. Lexie's invention was called the "Sleepy Head Solution." (Click on the picture to see a close-up of her board.) It's an alarm clock that doesn't turn off until you physically get out of bed. First we duct taped the clock to the nightstand. Then, Lexie tied/taped one end of the string to the on/off switch and then I tied the other end loosely around her hand. When the alarm clock goes off in the morning, Lexie gets out of bed which pulls the string which turns the switch to the radio. Lexie had a lot of fun working on her invention and Dave and I were proud of her creativity. This a picture from the Young Inventors' Night at her school.

Every year for Mother's Day Dave and Lexie make me "breakfast in bed." This is my favorite part of the day. This year I stayed in bed and finished a wonderful book I'd been reading. (It's called Sarah's Key - I would HIGHLY recommend it.) Dave made his specialty - egg sandwich on a bagel (I LOVE this!) and Lexie helped Dave make a smoothie for me. All of this was brought up on a tray. (Of course Lexie had her Daddy bring up a tray of food for her too.) As you can see, I had no problem finishing my breakfast!
After I ate they gave me my cards and the presents Dave had bought me - a couple of movies and CDs (my favorite was the Sound of Music DVD - love that movie).

Lexie had given me her homemade gifts earlier in the week - a trivet she colored herself and a flower planted in one of her old shoes.
She also gave me a homemade card with a poem she wrote inside - "Your Favorite color is red My eyes are blue And a happy mothers Day to you."

In the afternoon my sister had us over to her house for a Mother's Day BBQ. Here's a picture of my mom, my sister and I. (I DID wear a nice shirt that day but it was so cold I ended up putting on my sweatshirt - I wish I'd taken it off before the picture!) We had a great time - Dave's mom even came!
But as we sat there watching baseball AND golf AND hockey I made a decision, next year I'm going to have Dave take Lexie somewhere and I'm going to spend the day at home by myself. (It IS a day about me, right?) I'll treat my mom to dinner another day.

Probably the best thing that we've done in May was last weekend. Lexie and I went with her class to Toledo where we spent the night AT the Toledo Zoo.
We drove down late Thursday and arrived around 6:30pm. We spent the next SIX hours having fun at the zoo - we got to touch 6 different animals including a snake (our favorites were the hedgehog and the opossum)
and the kids did enrichment activities which were given to the animals the next day.
Finally after midnight we were finally led to the aquarium where we spent the night on cots. This is the only picture I got of Lexie - keep in mind that it was probably 12:30 by then, it was dark and all I wanted to do was sleep - that's why I didn't notice that Lexie was LAUGHING in the picture! :) (It took another 1/2 hour before she finally fell asleep!!!)

The next day our day started before 7am! We ate breakfast then got to see the animals enjoying the items the kids had made.

Eventually we got to split up and go look at whatever we wanted. Lexie had a great time hanging out with her 2 best friends.
We left the zoo around 12:30 and drove to the botanical gardens where we spent 2 hours then finally drove home. Needless to say, we were all exhausted but the trip was so much fun! I'm so glad I got to share this incredible experience with Lexie!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spring has Sprung (Part 1)

It's been such a LONG time since I posted any pictures, that I decided to make this post all about pictures. Here's just a little bit of what we've been up to this Spring.

Lexie was student of the week in March and that Friday we took Sandy to school to meet Lexie's class. (It happened to be a special reading day where the kids dressed like cowboys/cowgirls so I dressed Sandy up too.)

Another special reading day was favorite book character day. Anyone know who Lexie's supposed to be????

That's right...Fancy Nancy!

How cute is her teacher's costume? I just had to take a picture of her because "Where the Wild Things Are" is Dave's favorite kids book.
I kept busy in February and March painting. I painted the kitchen, great room, stairway, upstairs hallway and the area by the back door. As you can see (left of fireplace), we always have to try out a bunch of samples before we pick the perfect color.
I know it looks the same but it IS different. The old color was very gold/yellow and the new color is tan/khaki. (The stairs and hallway is a lighter shade of khaki and the kitchen is an olive green.) My next painting project is our entryway which is two stories tall. I definately need to buy a taller ladder first!

Lexie was in a school play at the end of March. She played a weed - with attitude. It was really cute - the weeds song was a rap..."We're the weeds, we're cool, we're the weeds, WEEDS RULE!!!

A cute little flower (AKA Madalyn, my neice) came to watch the play along with my sister and my mom and dad. Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE living close to my family?

Easter was a little crazy for us because we were gone for Spring Break in the Bahamas the week before. (I'll have to do a seperate post for that.) So it was after 8pm on Easter Eve when we finally got around to coloring the Easter eggs!!! We still managed to have fun - look how proud each of us is of our 4 eggs...

(Did you notice, Lexie got her hair cut right before our trip - probably about 6 inches. I wanted her to grow it out more so she could donate her hair to "Locks of Love" again but she REALLY wanted it cut.)

We had my parents and my sister and her family over for Easter dinner.

Doesn't everyone look nice...

...except for Dave who decided to take the day off from dressing up. (Just kidding hunny.) And me who was so busy I never had time to put on makeup!!! Yikes!

Shortly after Easter Dave and I went to a wedding reception. The best part was spending time with Dave's mom and with his brothers who we don't get to see enough of.

Finally, at the end of April Lexie's school had a 50's dance/sock hop. All three of us went and we even dressed up!

Check out this cute couple!

I'll have to do a "Part 2" of this post so I can include pictures from May. Until then, Happy Spring!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

What happens to your trash?

I just got done watching Oprah's Earth Day show (just a couple weeks late). It was a real eye-opener. The show started with a video talking about how the biggest garbage dump is actually in the Pacific Ocean. It's 2 times the size of Texas and spans from the coast of California all the way to Japan!!! You MUST watch this video!!! I will never be able to pass by liter again without picking it up!

As if that wasn't bad enough, look at what happens at our landfills! A few things really struck me in this video:

1. That is a HUGE amount of garbage being sent to our landfills every day - 8,500 tons (6 days a week) at just this one particular landfill in California! Think about how much garbage is being collected every day over the entire world!!!

2. Lots of things are being thrown away that could've been recycled like paper and plastic bottles. I was shocked to learn that PAPER is the largest thing that's found in the landfill!!! It's so easy to recycle - why aren't people doing it???? Even if your trash/recycling company doesn't take paper, look for other locations that will take it. Lots of our schools and the library in our town have recycling dumpsters in the parking lot for paper products. The best part is that the organization is getting paid for every piece of paper you donate. We have a special basket in our home for paper - every time it's full I just take it to work with me and throw it in the special dumpster. Click here to find a dumpster near you.

3. Like I mentioned in my post the other day, people are throwing away things that others would love to have! The thing that really got to me in the video was when I saw the piano being tossed onto the ground! Our family would LOVE to have a piano! Even if it was broken we could pay less than the cost of a new one to get it fixed. I wish people would stop throwing things away that someone else could use!!!

4. Each day the huge "garbage cells" at the landfill are covered over with dirt. When I heard that I began to wonder: What happens to the soil once all that trash decomposes? What chemicals are being released into the soil and eventually our water systems?

Another shocking thing I learned from this show is that each person on Earth uses 300 plastic bags a year! Think about it - garbage bags, Ziploc bags, bags your fruits and veggies come in, grocery bags, shopping bags. I've already changed my usage of plastic bags: for the last 2 days, I've packed my lunch items in reusable containers and when I got take-out today (non-styrofoam container) I gave the plastic bag back. What can you do to reduce your use of plastic bags? (Also, be sure to recycle the bags you do have at places like Walmart.)

I know the last few posts I've really been "standing on my soapbox" so to speak. But that's because I really feel strongly that each one of use should be doing our part, everything we can, to help the planet and future generations. I want to end on a postive note, check out TerraCycle, this amazing company who sell items made from waste. They started out selling fertilizer (aka worm poop) packaged in old water and pop bottles! They also make lunch bags and other bags out of juice pouches. What a great idea - turning trash into something we can actually use! I love it!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What are you throwing away?

Since I'm on the "going green" topic thought I'd share something I read in a recent Dear Abby column that my mom gave me. It's a list of how long it takes common trash items to decompose in our landfills (or anywhere):

Paper...2 to 5 months
Orange peels...6 months
Milk cartons...5 years
Filter-tip cigarettes...10 to 12 years
Plastic bags...10 to 20 years
Leather shoes...24 to 40 years
Plastic containers...50 to 80 years
Disposable diapers...75 years
Tin cans...100 years
Aluminum cans...200 to 500 years

While reading thru this list I see a lot of items that can be recycled like paper, plastic bags, plastic containers and cans. If you're not already recycling I hope this list inspires you to start now. We've been recycling for years, but we still had about 2 or 3 bags of trash each week. However, since we've started recycling cardboard and paper in addition to the plastic, glass and cans, our trash is down to ONE bag a week!

When I read the list I was suprised by the leather shoes. It seems like items like that should be donated, NOT thrown away. I can't tell you how many items I see in the trash in my neighborhood every week that should've been donated instead of thrown away! As I drive by I think to myself "I'll bet someone else could use...that tricycle...that bike...that baby gate..." (The worst was when my neighbor told me she had thrown away a bunch of baby clothes!!!) Why don't people donate these items instead of filling up our landfills???

The item that really got to me on this list was styrofoam. I didn't realize it NEVER decomposes - that was shocking! Everytime we get carryout or a "doggy bag" I worry about the styrofoam containers they come in. (A lot of places have plastic ones which isn't perfect but it's better than styrofoam.) Next time you're thinking of getting a "doggy bag" please think twice, I know I will.

So the next time you go to throw something in the trash, think about this list and ask yourself these questions: Can I donate it to someone else? Did I really need to have this item in the first place? Can the item be recycled? In other words, "Reuse, Reduce and Recycle!"

Friday, May 1, 2009

Don't Buy Bottled Water!

I just watched the trailer for Tapped, a new documentary about the water bottle industry. WOW!!! Please go over and watch it! Remember how the 2004 documentary, Super Size Me, changed the way you thought about fast food? Well, I'll bet this movie will change how you think about bottled water! The trailer already did it to me!

Our family doesn't buy bottled water, instead we have a filter on our fridge that probably makes our tap water healthier than most bottled water out there. Dave, Lexie and I all have our own reusable water bottles that we take to work and school every day. If you are a family who usually buys bottled water, please consider making a change. Use reusable bottles, buy a filter for your sink, and/or use filtered water from your fridge. Not only will you be helping the planet but you'll also save money in the long run!

Check out these other easy tips for Going Green at home!

Let's Play Ball!

Lexie started T-ball last Thursday. She's never played on a team before. On the way to practice it was so cute, she asked me, "Mommy, will I be a batter or a thrower?" I let her know she'd get to do BOTH! She was happy about that! After practice I asked her what her favorite part was and she said hitting the ball off the T. She actually did pretty good with everything but I did see her crouched down looking for rocks at one point. :) I think keeping the girls' attention on the ball is going to be the hardest part.

Monday will be her first "game" - it's timed (no more than an hour). They don't keep score, don't keep track of outs and everyone gets to bat each "inning." The bad thing is they've only had one out of 4 scheduled practices because of the rain we've had here the last 2 weeks. Hopefully Monday will be nice so the girls can actually learn how to play! I can't wait to see it!