Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Removing Sticky Gunk

Today I had enough of the little baby bumper that was on our end table. Since part of the wood sides had metal on them we covered them up to protect our rambunctious little ones.

Well, at this point they are old enough to handle themselves.

When the bumper was taken off it left a sticky residue on the wood. Thankfully, it was easy enough to get off with a bit of natural cleaner and some elbow grease (and fingernail skill).

It isn't always THAT easy! I'm sure some of you can relate: stickers on the door, tape on the table, fingerprints on the walls from little ones eating suckers, etc.

So I decided to compile a list of ways to remove sticky residue off items... mostly wood or painted surfaces.
  • Goo Gone - a small bottle (now also in spray form) that after setting a short time on the reside, wipes clean. Then you use soap and water to remove any left over. Also great for greasy messes.
  • Baking Soda - with it's abrasive manner, take baking soda in your hand and gently rub onto sticky area. It should rub right off whatever surface taking the stickiness with it. Vacuum up excess. Use household cleaner to clean surface.
  • Peanut Butter - who knew?! Works great on labels you may want to remove from bottles. Spread the peanut butter over the surface and allow to sit awhile. The oil in the peanut butter should loosen the glue to easily scrape off. Apparently mayonnaise works similarly.
  • Steel wool & hot water - only use if you aren't worried about damaging the surface since it is likely to scrape off finishing as well... but it works. And also is a great way to make wood furniture looked distressed.
  • Fingernail Polish Remover - use a cotton ball and scrub, scrub, scrub!
  • Dawn Dishwashing Liquid Soap - add water, use a rag or paper towel and work those arms in your rubbing. Clean up soapy residue with a damp cloth followed by a dry cloth. (Dawn is just awesome anyway. My dad is a mechanic and he swears that Dawn is the best product to get the grease and oil off his hands from working on cars. Oh, and Dawn helps save animals in oils spills, too.)
  • Men's Aftershave - I haven't tried this but I know some people who swear by it. Don't use the cheap stuff though. Spritz on a little over the area and almost immediately it wipes clean.
  • Murphy's Oil Soap - Just discovered this stuff. Awesome! And if you have wood floors you can get the squirt & mop version. It is safe on all wood surfaces, just dilute with water. For more sticky situations use less water.
  • Pledge - the furniture polish/cleaner. I admit that although I love their products for general cleaning, especially dusting, I don't always get the best result for sticky stuff on my wood furniture or counters. Some people swear that it works wonders though.
  • Baby oil - put on a cotton ball and rub. Make sure you clean up the baby oil afterwards since it will seem greasy and slick.
  • WD-40 - not something I have used for something sticky, but others do. Spray it on the surface and wipe off. It is suggested that you first spray on an unseen area first to be sure it won't damage the finish of your furniture. (I usually use WD-40 for taking care of squeaky hinges)
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser - I'm in love with these things! They are wonderful not just for sticky residues left behind, but I most often use them for fingerprints on doors and walls, accidental crayon wall art (that only happened once), and now they have one for bathtubs that does wonders for our bathroom! Wet the sponge, squeeze out any excess water, scrub and watch the mess disappear.

I hope this may help some of you dealing with sticky stuff on your furniture or around your home. If you know other options please share!

NOTE: none of these companies know who I am nor are they compensating me in any way. Though if they'd like to I'd be happy to accept!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Going Space-A

My last few posts have been on family life so I decided to change things up a bit.

There is a page on Facebook for those who live on our base. Mostly we share information and lost dog posts and what not. Sometimes there is just WAAAAY too much drama and complaining so I don't get all that into it.

But other times we have some great resources! There's usually questions and suggestions about who to see for a PCM, dental care, where to get glasses, finding a good OB office, where are good places to shop... that sort of stuff. Recently somebody was asking about taking Space-A* travel.

I've flown Space-A a number of times, mostly to and from Japan. Here's the main rule: if you are stationed OCONUS** you can fly anywhere OCONUS without your sponsor or to the first stop in CONUS***, but if you are CONUS or flying within CONUS (even if you are stationed overseas) you must fly with your Active Duty sponsor at all times.

The poor woman thought she could fly anywhere without her spouse even if she was stationed stateside as long as she had a military ID. Many of us tried to straighten out her confusion, even providing a link to THIS SITE. I'm not sure she believed us (hand smacks forehead). I hope she realizes this before she makes plans...

The thing is, our base practically has NOTHING available for flying Space-A. Most of the time planes come here for training then head back to their base.

I'd love to be stationed somewhere that we had more opportunities for Space-A Travel. Then again, I discovered the other day that when we move to Ohio we're about 8 hours away from Washington D.C. and about 10 hours drive from New York City.... oh, and there's a lot more around (Pittsburgh, Louisville, Lexington, Roanoke). Ryan and I have never been over there --- except when Ryan went to Niagara Falls and that general area with the girlfriend he had before he met me.

Anyway, very excited to take on these new places!

* Space-A = Space Available: flying on U.S. military aircraft on a scheduled flight when there is space open and the mission allows passengers aboard. Also known as "catching a hop."
** OCONUS = Outside the Continental United States
*** CONUS = Continental United States


Monday, February 20, 2012

Potty Training Take 2

Potty training my little girl has been a drastically different experience than potty training my son.

She WANTS to go potty --- All. The. Time.

In fact, she is so incredibly desirous to sit on her little throne that she strips completely naked and tells me "go pee pee!"

Alanna is actually doing very well. She will stay dry in her big girl panties (if she keeps them on long enough) and if I leave the bathroom door open she happily takes herself after telling me she's gatta go.

Will was never the nudist so taking on the battle of making my daughter keep her clothes on has been interesting. The things I find myself saying have made me crack up. Most recently:

"We wear panties in this house! Good girls keep their panties on!"

I think that saying can have more than one meaning.

When I leave her with somebody I have to give the warning about her tendencies to become an exhibitionist. It is humorous mostly, but I'm doing well in curbing the behavior.

For now, we stick with onsies at nap time and, from now on, pajamas with the snaps over the zipper so she cannot escape her clothing. This morning Ryan had the unfortunate surprise of a pull-up with #2 she had removed. Probably not very pleasant.

Being a parent is full of strange things.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Deciphering His Language

That look of disappointment and frustration breaks my heart every time. Especially coming from one who is so adamant to be understood. When he speaks to me he expects me to repeat back what it is he is saying so that he knows I understand him.

It's hard.

At this point William is putting short (usually incomplete) sentences together.

"Daddy ah sool?"
"Yes, daddy is at school."

"Daddy i pone pa ka."
"You have daddy's iPhone in your pocket?"

"Daddy pee uh, uh daddy car ah sool?"
"Yes, daddy is going to pick you up from school in his car."

(While reading the end of Love You Forever when the son is rocking his newborn baby)
"No mommy?"
"That's right, the mommy went to bed already."
"yeah, mommy go nigh nigh. Bye bye mommy."

Those are some of the frequent, short conversations we have... and I understand those. But sometimes he gets excited or has discovered something new and I just can't figure out what he's trying to tell me. I become disheartened because I can see in his body language how much he wants me to understand and his disappointment that I can't follow through.

But in these almost 2 years of therapies he has made amazing progress. I'm so proud of how hard he has worked. And honestly, those situations where I can't figure out what he's telling or asking me have become less and less. He is still GREAT using his non-verbal cues to assist others in deciphering his language, but I'm finding that I know his words. I can usually translate what he's saying pretty well.

My son is beginning to truly share the world of his mind with me because he can communicate it! I feel very special to be included. Of course, he thinks the world of his daddy! And like most almost-4-year-olds he is annoyed with his little sister... but he does care for her. On the weekends he is the one who opens the door for her to get out of her room -- and out they saunter together with sly smiles. He teaches her how to do things, scolds her, tries to negotiate trades with her, and holds her hand when we go places. They are teaching each other how to talk.

So take that Apraxia! My little boy can beat you!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

who does my husband look like?

Today I took the kids with me to Target. Apparently "Breaking Dawn" was just released on DVD and BlueRay so all the special displays were out.

I'm wandering through the store with Lana in the front of the cart and Will walking beside it. As we approach the area with the giant Twilight pictures, Lana points to Robert Pattinson and LOUDLY exclaims, "DADDY!"

I could hear all the people snickering around us. I told her that is not daddy, but she insisted it was.

When we walked by later the same thing happened.

I told Ryan about this when I came home and he just chuckled. He remarked that it would have been awesome if she was pointing at the totally ripped Jacob character.

This whole thing reminded me of the time Ryan and I were climbing Mt. Fuji (this was before kids, a couple days after my 21st birthday). We had passed station 6 and were still trudging the switchbacks when these two Japanese guys stopped us and were certain Ryan was Tom Cruise. When we told them he wasn't they kept touching their faces and pointing at Ryan and I could decipher they were saying that he then looked a lot like Tom Cruise.

I don't see it.

I think my husband is one nice-looking guy... but he does not resemble Robert Pattinson nor does he look like Tom Cruise's twin.

Oh well. I guess I shouldn't read too far into Alanna's claim that Edward from Twilight looks like Daddy -- when we were coloring our pictures of Adam and Eve yesterday she said Eve was a princess and Adam was Daddy. Go figure.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day Craft

Before we get too much closer to the day, I will share my Valentine's Day craft/gift. It's great for kids of all ages. My mom had us make these growing up and we'd give them to our teachers and friends at school. Since this was the first year Will has to give out Valentine's at school I figured I should break out the old craft and let him enjoy it.

This is a simple weaved heart which can hold a little something for your Valentine. When I made them as a younger person, we would use felt. For this demonstration I used cardstock. Foam paper will also work. And if you want to use construction paper or fabric, be my guest!

  • Paper/fabric/felt/foam in different colors of your choice (I usually stick with reds, whites, pinks, purples, greys, and black)
  • scissors
  • something hard or stiff for your template (cardstock, cardboard)
  • stickers, glitter, sequins, lace, fake flowers and other items to decorate with
  • stapler, glue or hot glue gun
  • ribbon
  • candy
I started out by creating a template on my computer. A straightened oval with rounded ends (what the heck is this shape really called?!). In the center are three lines equally spaced. You can make them larger or smaller, but I find fitting 2 to a standard size 8.5x11 paper works best. Then I printed this template out on cardstock.

Cut out your template. If you're using a type of paper you can just repeatedly print out your template to cut out. Otherwise cut our your template then trace onto your paper, felt, etc. and choose which colors you are going to pair together.

I went with a purple and very pale pink
Fold your material (paper) in half and cut along the three lines. Repeat with second piece.

Since I don't like my ink or print to show, I fold my material so that those markings face in.

Now... for the weaving. Sadly, my photo was not very clear in explaining:

You take one strip and place it IN the other color strip. On the next weave, do the opposite. So my purple is INSIDE the first pink strip and then the second pink strip is INSDIE the purple strip. Repeat this, alternating the pattern. With paper and cardstock be careful not to rip your pieces. Felt is much more flexible and forgiving. There really is no special trick to making this easier. Try different ways and find what works best for you.

When you are finished weaving your heart should resemble this:
the outside

the inside

And here is where the fun part comes in. DECORATE! Since I was doing this with my son we did not go overboard. I kept it simple with stickers, glitter glue, and sequins. I used to make mine with lace around the edges, fake flowers to adorn, sequins, buttons, beads. Nothing is off limits. Be creative! And if you want to make them REALLY special, you can sew on some of your items.

Using ribbon of your choice, cut a 4-5 inch piece. I just guesstimate this part. Loop it together as shown in the picture below.

Staple, glue or somehow secure this ribbon to the inside back of your heart to make a simple handle.

Now for more fun: Fill with candy of your choice!

Once that is finished close up and secure your heart however you want. Since I was doing this for pre-schoolers I just used staples. You can glue if you want... or be more fancy using velcro or sewing closures. It is ready to give to your Valentine!

Here is a selection of color variations. I usually use the black, grey, or white with a color to give to boys. Somethimes they are a bit squeamish about getting something pink. I also realized, this would be a cute gift for wedding receptions. Use their wedding colors and you can even get the bride & groom names's written or printed on the top part of the heart and have the date in the squares. Cute, huh? Then guests can fill the heart with candy of their choice.

With the decorating feel free to be creative. The hearts closest in this photo are the ones my son decorated. My work is further up. His only job in this craft was the decorating... and for a 3 year old I think he did a pretty darn good job!

This is a quick example of undecorated felt hearts.

I hope you guys enjoy this craft and help create a fun Valentine's Day tradition!


Book Review: Just a Minute by Wess Stafford

Any interaction can influence the life of a child either negatively or positively. You never really know when something you've said or done will imprint on the memory of a child and possibly dictate what path they take the rest of their life.

This is the basic premise of Wess Stafford's book "Just a Minute". In it he shares 68 true stories of people who can recall that one moment that changed their life. Often it seems to be something small; being honest though nobody saw you, encouraging and treasuring the artwork or writings of a child, just showing kindness. You never know when one of these moments will truly sink in. Unfortunately, not all stories share a positive experience.

While reading I would, shockingly, find myself with simple, silent tears running down my cheeks. Some of these stories are so incredibly touching that emotions will flow... and I'm not one to start crying while reading. It made me look more closely at my own interactions with my children. How will my reaction influence them? Would I want my child to grow up and do what I'm doing? What kind of example am I setting? Am I being loving, kind, and encouraging?

I'm so thankful to have read this book. Through Stafford's writing I have become more aware of the moments I have with the children in my life, whether they are mine or somebody else's. Already I have been telling friends about this wonderful book, especially those with small children. When I spoke about "Just A Minute" a friend of mine shared an off-hand comment her mother made that impacted her life negatively for years, even as an adult. Another friend told me how a teacher's actions made her also want to be a teacher and help kids when she grew up. We all have these types of stories and Stafford wants us to think back on them, reflect, and create "moments" with those children we come in contact with.

For those who are not aware, Wess Stafford is the president and CEO of Compassion International. This is a company that reaches out to countries all over the world to break the cycle of poverty in children. My husband and I personally sponsor a child in India through Compassion and I hope to sponsor more in the future. If you are interested in more information on Compassion International and sponsoring a child I have a link on my right side bar (it's been there since I started sponsoring our child). I encourage you to take a look at the children waiting for sponsors, take at look at yourself and see if you could spare the $38 a month to help change the life of a child or even $20 a month to help support mothers and babies. There are a number of ways to help and it will only take just a minute.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Who will be blamed?

I truly enjoy staying home with my kids. Despite frustrations that come with having small children with you all day, everyday there is a lot to be entertained by.

Alanna is in a stage where she is obsessed with princesses. Rapunzel from "Tangled" to be exact. We watch the movie AT LEAST twice a day... I've decided she will either be Rapunzel for Halloween or have a Tangled theme birthday party ----- or both.

Something else Alanna seems to be obsessed with is books. She takes after her mommy in that. I'll go into her room after naptime and there are books EVERYWHERE. She has them all over the floor by her bed, on her bed, under her pillow... even behind the door. During the day she will bring me books off and on. A lot of the time I will randomly find her sitting in the hallway or in the middle of the floor flipping through a book and "reading" to herself out-loud. I hope she keeps her love of books and reading as she gets older.

One of Alanna's new "skills" is unclothing herself, often. I will walk in on her during or after naptime and find that she has completely stripped down and is completely nekked. Shocking! Other times she will have random clothes on incorrectly. I'm not sure what it is she's trying to do. She's like the Houdini of clothing escape.

We have started the potty training with Alanna. I'll be honest, I'm not gong hardcore right now. But yesterday she demanded to wear her big girl panties (thick training pants) and kept them dry! Twice that day she came and told me she had to go "pee pee" then lead me to the bathroom where she quickly de-pants herself and sat down on her little potty to go. And she went!

I'm not sure when I will make the switch to her wearing underwear all day instead of pull-ups... but I'm not in a hurry yet. She is doing well with her potty training as it is.

And not to be left out -- Will is doing new things as well. I am now making him dress himself in the morning for school. I'll lay out his clothes and get him started with his underwear and he does the rest. Today he did it nearly perfectly, only with his shirt on backwards. He's been able to do this for sometime, but I never really let him.

Will's also learning to place blame. Incorrectly. If something happens or is lost or anything along those lines Will immediately claims, "Lana did it!" Doesn't matter if she did or not. Doesn't matter if I saw him do it. He will tell me that his little sister did it.

He accidentally pooped his pants and told me, "Lana did it." I didn't believe him.

I explained to him that he has to take responsibility for what he has done. Stop blaming other people. When you say something that isn't true that is lying and Jesus doesn't like lying. I'm not sure he understood that because he now expanded his blame circle.

He hurt his finger when I saw that he hit it on a wall while running by. He then told me, "Daddy did it." He took off his shirt and when I asked him what happened he told me, "Puppy did it."
I overheard him telling Ryan that "Mommy did it" though I'm not sure what I was being blamed for.

I hope he doesn't actually hurt himself by bonking his head on the wall and getting a black eye 'cause I'm a bit afraid that he'll go to school and when asked he will tell the teacher, "Daddy did it!" and then we'll have an issue on our hands.

Ug. Can you imagine?!

So that's some of the things going on here. We have Will's EFMP meeting in the morning. Wish us luck!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Things to blog about

Just over a year ago we began going through our "Month of Hell"... and I'm so glad THAT'S behind us. We look back on it and are able to laugh... sort of.

What happened you ask?? Well, February started with a major freeze. Then, our pipes froze. And even worse... the pipes burst and we had the second worst damage on the base. It was awful. For the next month we lived in Temporary Lodging while repairs were made to our house. To add injury to the insult (see what I did there?) Ryan and I got severe food poisoning requiring a trip to the hospital and having friends watch our kids all day and overnight. Oh, and our van was having issues at the time as well. And to top it all off, a high school friend committed suicide.

I've never been so happy to leave a month behind!

This year's February is already turning out to be way better.

Anyway, since last year we were recovering from the worst "double barrel" experience we'd ever had, we did not do anything for Valentine's Day. I told Ryan that we MUST do something this time around. So... we now have reservations for a special lunch at Tucanos. Yes, I'm smiling as I write. I love that place. Ryan has class that evening so we might end up having a date night later on in the week.

Oh! We had to enroll in the Exception Family Member Program (EFMP) and now all of our paperwork has been completed. We're supposed to have an interview later this week. After everything has been completed and reviewed by our base it will be sent off to Wright-Patt for them to review. At that point we will know if Ryan actually can go to AFIT and our orders will be cut! And then we can actually begin our move. Yes... we are supposed to be moving in just over 3 months. Don't worry, that's still plenty of time to get things done.

In other news, I'm making plenty of progress in my Bookmark Break Challenge. As of right now I'm at 12 books completed since the first of the year. I've kind of been on a non-fiction kick lately and loving the stories I've read. Unfortunately, much of what I've been reading has to do with wars and military... so to counteract I'm trying to find emotional, uplifting, and womanly books and novels to balance things out.

Did you catch the Superbowl?? It was on at my house but, as usual, I couldn't care less about it. The only time I was actually interested in a Superbowl game was several years ago when the Seahawks were playing -- and they were robbed of their win by the ref! Not that I'm bitter or anything. Of course this year I did watch some of the commercials, pieces of the game, and the half-time show. Meh... I wasn't impressed by any of it.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Who's the Winner?!

Oops! I totally forgot until this afternoon that I was supposed to select 2 winners for my giveaway that ended last night.

So thank you to those of you who entered to win! I went and checked out the random number generator.

First winner: 8

True Random Number Generator  8Powered by RANDOM.ORG

This was a bit frustrating because somebody posted a reply as their entry (*ahemTeganahem*) so if I do not count that the first winner is HEATHER.

The reason I don't feel bad about that problem is that the second winner was: 6

True Random Number Generator  6Powered by RANDOM.ORG

TEGAN! Congrats! You've finally won!

Ladies, please e-mail me your address: heartspeaks (at) hotmail (dot) com
I will then inform the publishers of your win and they will be shipping the book directly to you.

Congrats. "American Sniper" was an amazing book and I hope you will enjoy it.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Failing my special gifts

I've had an awful day. Apparently, according to my friends' status updates on Facebook and some other blogger posts, I'm not the only one.

I'm not sure exactly what it is (well, I sort of do) but everything was driving me up the wall. I was irritable. I was angry. I felt like crap. Whatever happened during the day just made it worse.

I was yelling at my kids. There were repeated time-outs. Toys were taken away (and still not returned). Spankings happened. Tantrums and meltdowns occurred.

And I was frustrated.

I could NOT WAIT until bedtime.

Since I wasn't feeling well, I wasn't as motivated to stay on top of housework AND deal with the kids. Ryan was at school or locked in the closet/office doing homework all day. I had to drive to Edgewood with Will for hippotherapy. Thankfully, Lana stayed home and napped while Ryan did homework.

I made a later dinner for the kids. Even in preparing macaroni and cheese I thought I would pull my hair out.

Then I put on the Contemporary Christian station on Pandora... and you know what came on? "Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman. I could have reached right in the TV and slapped that man.

Thankfully, the kids ate decently so I didn't completely lose my mind. Then bedtime... and Ryan came home.

I dearly love my kids and it is so beautiful to look in on them once they're asleep and touch their little heads and whisper prayers and blessings over them. They are so peaceful. They are my special gifts.

In all the ways I fail, I hope that they know how much I love them... even if today I don't think I showed it very well.

(There's still time to enter my giveaway! Go HERE.)


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stucco bird

Don't forget to enter my giveaway HERE.

Today I kept telling myself, "don't forget to blog about such-and-such since that would be something good to write about."

And you know what?? I'm pretty sure I forgot all of it.


I will share that some strange bird is hanging out on the side of my house, literally the side of my house, by my porch light next to my front door. The thing scared the freak out of me several days ago when I walked out the door to get the mail and it took off *loudly* above my head.

Yes, I screamed.

I didn't think much about the occurrence other than there was bird poop below the light. Tonight when I headed out to get the mail the bird poop seemed "more" and so I looked up and there was that bird, cuddled up into itself, hanging onto the stucco. Of course, I took some pics with my phone just to prove the oddity of it.

What is it doing there? There's a tree not 10 feet away it could make its home in!

Anybody else have this issue?