So Here's My Life

The things we make,
the food we eat and
the shenanigans in between.

A blog about making things by

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

5 Inexpensive Activities to do with Your Family On Thanksgiving Day

give thanks and happy thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! In honor of the Great Day of Thanks, I have 5 ideas to do with your family while you enjoy your time together:


1. Netflix - If don't have a subscription to Netflix, this is the perfect time to sign up. Here's the best part - when you sign up for Netflix, you get a FREE 30 day subscription. So, even if you don't want to commit to paying for another service, you can totally take advantage of the trial period and watch a bunch of cool movies during the Holidays (and the trial will even last you until after Christmas).

Here's a couple of family holiday movie suggestions:

- Miracle on 34th Street
- White Christmas
- Peanuts cartoons - The Mayflower Voyagers & I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown
- A Christmas Carol
- The Polar Express

wii hula hoop

2. Wii Hula hoop Tournament - We did this at my in-laws house several years ago. Best. Time. Ever. And hysterical. And it's an activity suitable and enjoyable for just about every age. The Xbox Kinect also has a Hula hoop game, if you don't have a Wii.

family photos

3. Impromptu Family Photos - who says family pictures need to be a planned event? Find a nearby park or scenic area and click away. It doesn't have to be a serious session. Be different and fun. Try things and poses you normally wouldn't do. My favorite photos are always the unplanned ones.

thanksgiving banner
4. Create a Thankful Banner - What a perfect way to honor the purpose of this holiday, right? This banner is pretty to display and also provides a free printable.

pumpkin pie

5. Hold a "Leftover Dessert Creations Contest" - Now that you've had your fill of Thanksgiving food and dessert, you're stuck with the leftovers...not that this is a problem. I mean, who doesn't enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers??? Here's a way to keep things entertaining - Hold a contest to see who can come up with the most creative (and tasty) dessert with the dessert leftovers. (Hint - pumpkin pie milkshakes are SO overdone). Votes are cast for each entry and the winner gets to choose the movie for the family to watch.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to Make Glitter Heels - A DIY Tutorial

I cannot tell you how much I enjoy GLITTER. It's so sparkly, I just find it irresistible. Anybody else feel the same way? I know you do. Just admit it. Glitter is perfect for adding a little flare and it's an easy way to create a jewel-toned effect. Jewel tones are terrific for Holiday style, but also work well year-round, as long as you choose colors other than red or green. So, I upcycled a pair of lonely stilettos from my closet and I used glitter. I had so much fun, I could hardly contain my excitement as I waited for them to dry.

Glitter heels tutorial

These black stilettos have been sitting in my closet. Although I love them, I never wear them - mainly because I wear sandals for warm weather and boots for cooler weather. So, as cute as they are by themselves, I like to upcycle my clothing and accessories into more useful items. Basically what I am saying is that I have to bribe myself into wearing some items by making them more exciting. My first idea was to cover them with fabric, but after a test run I decided it was a little too 1980's-matronly. Then, I considered doing a paper collage over them, but then realized that it wasn't the look I was going for. So, I finally decided on glitter - and just to let you know, I am SO pleased with how they turned out. I cannot wait to wear these!

Supplies needed:
- a pair of heels
- masking tape
- glitter
- Mod Podge
- sponge brush

use masking tape to create a border

tape the soles

Start out by taping the edges of the heels to create a border - specifically the parts that you do not want decorated. (The soles, and the main part of the shoes)

cover toes with mod podge

Using a sponge brush, cover toes and heels with Mod Podge.

cover thoroughly with glitter

add glitter to heels and toes

heels covered with glitter

Cover thoroughly with glitter and allow to dry for several hours.

cover glitter with mod podge

Once dry, apply a second coat of Mod Podge over the glitter. Gently peel tape off of shoes once the Mod Podge is set (not drippy), but not completely dry. (I waited until the second coat of Mod Podge was completely dry before I peeled off the tape. Because of this, it was difficult to peel the tape off the shoes without pulling off the rest of the Mod Podge. I ended up using an X-acto knife to separate the glue from the tape). Be very careful to not touch the glitter. Allow to finish drying overnight.

glitter heels diy

heels with glitter on toes

glitter covered heels

Wear them and amaze all your peers with your crafty talent.
What is your glitter color preference?

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

DIY Glitter and Glue Christmas Ornament Banner

Banners are so much fun, don't you agree? This banner was beyond fun to make. Why? Because it uses glitter and glue! This is the perfect opportunity to unleash your creativity and fuel your glitter obsession. I mean, how often do you get to do a project where you can doodle with an excessive amount of glue AND glitter at the same time? That's right. Not that often. The beauty of this project is that it can be as easy or as involved as you would like it to be. Either way though, the most time consuming part of this project is they drying time. And if you're not so fond of the banner idea, you can always skip the twine step and use the glitter-glue ornaments on your tree. By the way, I made the chalkboard talk bubble that you see pictured below. You can find the tutorial here.

Supplies needed:
- glitter
- school glue (I used the clear kind, but the white kind works just as well)
- twine
- wax paper
- acrylic spray
- toothpick
- ornament hooks or paper clips

Start by laying out a sheet of wax paper.

glue in a star-shape

Using the glue, draw various shapes onto the wax paper. Squeeze the glue bottle firmly and pour slowly to create thick lines of glue. (Avoid bubbles in the glue as much as possible).

avoid breaks in glue
Avoid separations in the glue (like the one pictured)

use toothpick to shape glue
Use toothpick to connect separated sections of glue

Make sure that each glue shape connects from beginning to end of shape. If the glue separates into sections, use a toothpick to connect the separated sections or add more glue to those areas.

cover glue with glitter

Cover thoroughly with glitter. Allow to dry on a flat and level surface, preferably overnight. Once glitter and glue shapes have dried, spray with a coat acrylic spray. (This significantly reduces the glitter mess when handling shapes)

allow to dry

glue needs to dry thoroughly

Gently peel the dried shapes off the wax paper. (Make sure glue is completely dry before peeling off the wax paper, otherwise the shapes tend to curl)

glue and glitter ornament banner on piano
Originally I hung this on our piano. 

Hang (tape, tie, whatever way you choose) the twine in the desired spot to display the banner.

Using the ornament hooks (or paperclips) hook each glitter-glue shape and hang on various parts of the twine. If you have trouble with the ornaments staying in place, try hooking through the twine threads.

Easy, right?

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes Recipe

Have you had your fill of pumpkin yet? No? Guess what? You're in luck! I have an awesome recipe to share with you guys today. Pumpkin Oat Pancakes. Wait - what? Pumpkin flavored pancakes? That's a thing? Yes! Yes it is. Pumpkin. I adore this flavor. In fact, I keep a can of pumpkin and bottle of pumpkin spice in my cupboard all year round. I always look forward to the Fall season because of the pumpkin recipes that surface. I highly recommend serving these pancakes for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning.

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes with Bananas on the side

I came across this recipe at Shrinking On A Budget. I've found a decent variety of pancake recipes on this site over the past couple of months. Apparently I have a thing for pancakes. A while back, I shared a recipe for Blueberry Protein Pancakes. I found that recipe on SOAB, too. Good stuff, people, good stuff.

pumpkin oat pancakes close-up

Here's how to make them:

1 cup regular old fashioned oats
8 egg whites
1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese
1/2 cup pure canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
3 tsp sugar

Combine oats, egg whites, cottage cheese, pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and sugar in a blender and pulse until somewhat smooth (about 10 pulses). 

Spray a non-stick pan with non-stick spray and heat to medium-low. Pour into pan using 1/3 cup
of batter per pancake. Cook on first side until edges look done and a few air bubbles stay at the surface. Flip and cook until the desired color is reached. Top each serving with one sliced banana just before serving.

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes. AH-mazing. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mom Humor: 18 Ways to Spot a Mom of Little Ones

Being a mom to little ones is amazing. I LOVE these little guys, but it's not always easy, right? Sometimes, it's just downright stressful and exhausting. On those days, I've found it's best to find the humor in the situation. So, here are several ways to identify someone else who may be in your shoes. I've compiled a list of situations from personal experience that will make you feel better. ;)

Motherhood is exhausting
My mom thinks I'm morbid for making this picture

You know you're a mom of little ones when:

1. You are at a doctor's appointment, and start to roll up your the leg of your pants only to find tiny little Cheetos fingerprints around the knee area. You and the doctor have seen them, and then you have to explain, "I'm a mom."

2. You have at least 3 toys in your purse or diaper bag at all times.

3. You always carry snacks in your purse or diaper bag.

not a happy eater

4. When everyone actually likes dinner and eats it promptly without complaining, you consider it a major victory. 

5. You LOVE being able to run errands by yourself and insist on only carrying your keys, a small wallet, and your cell phone instead the giant mom purse or diaper bag that you normally have.

Hand prints on the Jeep

6. You find small chalk hand prints on one of your cars. 

7. Eating by yourself and taking an uninterrupted shower is a luxury. 

8. If you keep a small potty in the car, because you never know when your toddler might announce the need to use the bathroom and pulling over for a potty break is so much better than washing the car seat cover.

9. You put on a sweater that you thought was clean only to find a small sections of dried food on the sleeve left by your toddler. Instead of taking it off, you say, "Oh well. I'm a mom. This is expected. I'll look like this by the end of the day anyway." And then you wear it.

Spilled Scentsy wax
The time he tried to change the Scentsy warmer in the bathroom. Not blood, just wax. No burns. Just a big mess to clean up. A big mess that he was required to clean up.
10. Regardless of how often you clean out your car, it never seems to stay clean. There will always be a collection of cracker crumbs, empty juice boxes, random toy parts, and fingerprints on the windows.

11. Making dinner without any interruptions or meltdowns from your children is a major victory. 

12. When you get home at the end of the day only to realize that you have been sporting a collection of stickers on your shirt, placed by your toddler when you weren't paying attention.

13. When you find your cell phone in the toy box, but not because you put it there.

Baby and the Kleenex mess
While I was busy, Cheese found a way to entertain himself
14. You look forward to the days that you get to stay home because you don't have to look presentable to go out in public. Yoga pants, no make-up and wet hair.

15. "Sleeping in" is when you don't have to get up until 7 AM.

16. When your kids' toys always seem to end up in your own bedroom instead of theirs, regardless of how often you make them put them away.

17. If at least one of your kids has dropped your cell phone into the sink, tub, or toilet full of water.

18. You have a mountain of clean and unfolded laundry piled somewhere inside your house, that rarely disappears. AND your family is so accustomed to sifting through the pile for their clothes that when you actually manage to fold ALL the laundry and put it away, replace it with a pile of dirty clothes to be washed, and your kids STILL go to the pile for clothes instead of checking their drawers. 

Baby in a pile of laundry

Can you relate? Please, feel free to add to the list! 

By the way, I pulled all of these photos from my Instagram account. Check it out for a regular dose the mom humor and shenanigans. ;)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Guest Post by Megan Robinson

Hello So Here's My Life readers!! My name is Megan Robinson and I write over at {And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson}. I love to have a place where I can go to express my thoughts, share my stories, and hopefully inspire and uplift other women. I like to talk about womanhood, motherhood, marriage and everything in between! 

I'm grateful to Michelle for letting me guest post today while she is recovering from surgery and I wish her a speedy recovery. I met Michelle through a fun blogging exchange over a year ago and we have been great friends ever since. I am forever grateful to this blogging community for friendships like Michelle's and how much it has changed my life. :)

Today, I wanted share something that I have realized is already starting to become a roadblock in just four years of marriage {and a 3-year-old and graduating from college and my husband getting his Master's, and going to dental school and working part-time... all contributors}. I hope that maybe it will help you in your marriages and relationships as well!

In one of my college classes, we were shown a news segment of couples who were struggling in their relationship after they had children. They blamed their kids for their marital dissatisfaction, saying the kids made them too busy to spend time alone as a couple and made their relationship lack the excitement it once had. Later in the segment, a marriage counselor came to the families and gave them two pieces of advice:
  1. Go on a date once a week.
  2. Go to bed at the same time even if you are not tired. This will lead to some good, thoughtful conversation and maybe some much-needed (and deserved!) intimacy.
    As I thought about this advice, the question that kept coming to mind was: “How did they let it get this far?”

    These couples didn’t always have kids or busy careers or stressful schedules. At one point, they were newlyweds who probably couldn’t keep their hands off each other and could talk to each other for hours on end. How did they lose that spark?

    The answer of course isn’t simple. People can argue that life’s responsibilities made it too hard to focus on their relationship, but I don’t always buy that.

    Though I don’t know these couples personally, I can still guess that the source of their problems probably started with things becoming too “routine” in their relationship. They came to accept the daily grind and may have forgotten to make time for their relationship.

    There were no dinner reservations, no movie nights, no dancing, no midnight pajama parties, no sharing of the last piece of chocolate cake while you get caught up in the drama between McDreamy and Meredith in “Grey’s Anatomy” (No? Is that just us?)

    Too many have stopped trying to nurture their relationship, it seems.

    And therein lies the problem. Life gets stressful, kids come along, jobs take over, and your relationship can be lost in the dust. You suddenly find yourself in your 60s, retired and empty nesters when you finally notice each other and say, “Who are you?”

    Let’s be clear on one thing: life will get busy whether or not you have kids. Research has shown that on average, over the same period of time, couples with kids and couples without kids showed a decrease in marital quality. For some it was a big decrease and with others it was small, but there was still a sense of strain on the relationship as their lives got busier.

    Whether you are married, engaged or just dating, it is important to start to get into good habits now. Schedule a weekly date night, eat meals together, set aside time each day to have meaningful conversations and go to bed at the same time. Because once life starts moving faster, you will need your partner’s love, comfort, and support more than any other. You will need to know that you are there for each other no matter what life throws at you.

    And, besides, who can say no to midnight pajama parties??

    Thank you so much again, Michelle, for letting me share your blog space!
    It is an honor to be able to write for you! :)

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    Printable Roads for Kids' Toy Cars

    Hey friends. I'm on a small break because I had surgery yesterday. So today my husband, Joel, has a fun activity to share with you guys. Didn't know he was so crafty, right? Yeah, he is. He's pretty cool like that. Well...maybe not crafty...more like...resourceful. (I don't think guys like to be considered crafty.) So check out his post below:

    Finished printable road maps

    Boys love cars.  I still like playing with Hot Wheels.  I'm not sure if that makes me wierd, but if it does, I'm cool with it.  Both Mac and Cheese like to play with cars.  It really does start young.

    Those cool car playsets make it even more fun by giving the play context and allowing for more imaginative interaction.  I love those things, but they are so expensive and they get old quickly.

    Another (slightly wierd and nerdy) thing that I'm into is "print-and-play games".  These are board/card/miniature games that you just download in PDF form, print it, cut it and start playing!

    So, I decided to merge these ideas to make a fun, flexible and inexpensive (^_^) way to get your car on, do a fun craft with your kiddos and save some $$$!

    Printable road map corners

    - our custom PDF: Printable car town
    - cardstock to print it on (regular paper works, but not as well)
    - scissors (an Exacto knife and a cutting board are handy, too)
    - some sort of glue (glue sticks or spray glue work best)
    - medium to large cardboard box

    Once you have the PDF printed out on cardstock, cut the road pieces out.  Don't leave any white around the edges.

    Cutting printable road pieces

    Cutting printable road pieces upclose

    Then, cut the buildings out.  Cut along the black lines.  Don't cut on the gray dotted lines.

    Mac cutting a printable building

    With the buildings cut out, fold along those gray dotted lines.  Lightly dragging an Exacto knife along the dotted line to score it will help your folds be easier and straighter, but it's not required.

    Folding the printable building

    Apply a light amount of glue to each of the 4 smaller blank panels, then fold the building together.  Each should take less than a minute to dry and be pretty solid.

    Finished printable building

    Next, we need to make panels out of the cardboard box to glue our roads to.  It's not necessary to cut every panel of your box off.  What I did is separate each side of my box, then cut the top panel off of each side, leaving the bottom one.  This allows you to have some larger panels for bigger pieces and smaller panels for interconnecting pieces.

    Take your road pieces and arrange them on one of the big panels.  Try to make a fun looking arrangement that has road pieces ending along the edges so that you can connect various panels together to make a larger city map.  You can trim down the straight road pieces as needed to make them fit well.  I recommend only cutting straight roads that end along the edges.  If you keep to this, it will help your panels to line up a little better.

    Arranged printable road maps

    Once you have planned your arrangement, it's time to glue the pieces on-by-one.  Make sure that the glue on the bottom of each piece goes all the way to the edges so that they won't peel up and get dog-eared.  Be careful to place each road piece so that there aren't gaps between them and line up the white lines just to keep things tidy and lined up.  Repeat with each of the large and small panels.

    Glued road map panels

    The best thing about this project is that you don't have to have everything put together before your kiddos start playing.  If you're careful to not use too much glue when gluing roads and buildings, you're ready to play in less than 2 minutes after assembling a piece.  In fact, you can assemble a few panels, let the kids play, then do a couple more some other day.  Also, feel free to print as many additional pages of road pieces or buildings as you need to create the layout you have in mind.

    Rearranged glued road maps

    You could also add a set of plastic road signs & various city props.  We picked up a small set of these from a dollar store near our house.  This adds to the immersive experience.  With the town all set up, this should keep your kiddo entertained for quite a while.  Show them how to rearrange the panels and change the layout, also.

    Finished printable road maps

    With a modular playset like this, it's easy to pick up quickly and doesn't take up much room when stored.  Now that I have this all set up, though, I'm going to go play with it for a while before Mac gets back from hanging out with his grandpa.  :)

    One more link for the Printable Road Maps, in case you missed it earlier.
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