Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Women's History Wednesday

We've been wondering where many of you have been lately, I hear it has been nice weather across the country so maybe you've been playing outside and enjoying the sunshine, but since today brings cold and rain hopefully you'll be back to posting and engaging with one another about today's topic.

As each of you know we've dedicated Wednesdays during the month of March to sharing our creative inspirations. I was lucky enough to grow up with the most creative woman I've ever met. My Mom. That might sound corny but it is so true.

Have you ever met those people you feel were just made to have children or work with children? My Mom is definitely that person. She was the local teenage babysitter in high school, had 7 children of her own, has been the child care for my older sister's four children, housed many a resident floating friend, and now watches a sweet little toddler named Jacob. I for one can't picture my Mom without a child in her arms, in her lap, or at least in her home. Raising 7 children meant that my Mom was always having to think of creative ways to do everything, stretch the budget, get us out the door on time, and most importantly keep 7 children entertained. At this my Mom is masterful.

Here are some of her go to ideas that I think you will all appreciate:
  • At Christmas my Mom would go to the remnant fabric bucket at walmart and get scraps of Christmas fabric for 10 and 20 cents. Then she'd get some 4" styrofoam balls and set us to work making our Christmas ornaments which would become our Christmas gifts for teachers. Using small pieces of fabric, we'd push the edges down into the styrofoam with a butter knife. Then we'd pick another fabric design and push it into the ball. At the end we'd add a loop of ribbon and we had a beautiful patchwork ball perfect for anyone's tree and we had spent the afternoon getting in the Christmas spirit as a family.

  • When it comes to potty training my Mom takes the cake. Believe it or not she asserts that each of us was potty trained before the next child came along. That is most amazing because many of us are a mere 15 or 16 months apart. So of course as mother of a toddler I've been picking her brain for ideas and here are her creative fun tricks for all you Moms out there...for boys she always floated cheerios in the water for them to sink or put a few drops of blue food coloring in the potty so that when they successfully used it the water turned green. She insists that the way to go is to use the thick fabric training pants with the plastic covers, evidently it makes it uncomfortable for them and they want to get trained faster. Finally she isn't afraid to act like a fool, doing the potty dance, singing a song, or showing the toddler just how much fun it is to go potty.

  • A final fun idea I've been remembering lately is that when my Mom struggled with us writing on the walls (one of my personal struggles right now with Lily), instead of getting upset and saying no more crayons, markers, etc... she turned to the handy dandy brown bag and took action. She opened up four brown bags and layed them flat on the wall surrounding each with masking tape, then she set us loose with chalk. This let us feel the excitement of writing on the walls and the freedom to go out of the lines a little bit (chalkwipes right off of most semi-gloss paints) but still gave us boundaries that we could appreciate. What has me excited now is that fact that we don't even have to turn to brown paper bags to make my Mom's fun idea come to life. Target is currently selling peel and stick dots (17" in diameter) that are chalk board material for only $14.99 and online you can get them from Wallies in every size and shape most as low as $9.99. So, peel and stick a few of them in your little one's room and let them know that they can write on the walls to their hearts content. Or if you don't have little ones how about using a peel and stick chalkboard as your memo board, to-do list, or calendar? I can think of a million uses....what might you use them for?


Cookbook: Tera hasn't had many submissions turned in yet for the first ever HLA cookbook. Don't forget to send her all your creative (or just scrumptious!) recipes by 3/18 so she can get it pulled together for Mother's Day. Email them to

Surprise Surprise!: Our first Surprise Surprise! stunt is just around the corner. Don't forget to create your rainbow that says "Follow "your name's" rainbow to highlowaha!" and drop it in the mail to Julie Schnepp (16630 N. Reems Rd. #1064 Surprise, AZ 85374) no later than 3/13 so that she receives it before St. Patrick's Day. Remember that if your rainbow is followed you will be entered to win a fabulous prize and everyone who participates will get a rainbow patch for their "Patchwork Denim".

Women who Take the Cake: Don't forget about this easy way to honor a woman in your life. Send nominations by 5pm on March 18th to remember it is 200 words or less and the woman we choose will be presented a cake on your behalf.


Anonymous said...

As the mother of 8, I'm appreciative of all ideas and these are some good ones! Though I always worry about allowing kids to write on the wall, even with boundaries. Perhaps that's just my problem. ;-) Please continue the large family tips, I'm from a small family, as is DH, and we're winging it.

cassie p said...

I colored on the COUCH instead of the walls when I was little...bahaha. I was an evil child! I think my parents were able to get the crayon out, though I am not for sure. OH, one of my little brothers got a hold of a sharpie marker and colored all over the kitchen wall. That's when our kitchen turned from tan to deep red! (lol, thats my creative solution- just paint over it!) haha

Bean Counter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bean Counter said...

Good morning!

Another tip for the parents who have kids that like to write on the walls: Mr Clean makes a magic eraser that will take most things right off the wall or floor. We used it constantly at the daycare that I worked at!

I might have to make a run to target and get some of those chalkboard dots for the RA office in my building. I think my staff would love it!

Peggy said...

Just my 2 cents... although not perfect... my kids never wrote on the walls... I guess I never gave them the opportunity! When they were wee ones, all crayons and markers were in closable bins... we would have coloring time at the table, when we were done, crayons as well as scissors went back in the bin, out of reach. If friends were over, I was right there coloring with them and didn't leave them the opportunity to sneak a grafitti moment.

I agree with the cloth training pants. Both kids were trained within a week, but it's also diligence! Sometimes it's training the parents, not the kids!

eknoxuk said...

I'd love to see a picture of the ornament if you have one! It sounds like a great easy project, but I can't quite imagine the final result.

Just Ducky! said...

Erica...I don't have a picture, though I'm sure my Mom does but here is a link to a similar ornament, the major difference is that ours had smaller divets in between fabric since we used a butter knife.:

Katie...check out the wallies has such cool chalkboard peel and sticks that you can cut to be any shape, or already in fun shapes.

Devil Dog said...

Kudos to your mother, Heather, who is host to many a creative idea. It seems she could have hosted her own March Madness Team.

Robin... you are on to something. Maybe we need to dedicate an upcoming date to creative ideas for large families. Or, better yet, maybe we could host a virtual party for mothers of large families. I know a handful.

Nice to see some or our regulars back and posting. Our site gets better with every additional comment made by one of you.

maureen said...

My son Michael was trained and fully accident free by 22 months old. Cloth diapers with a plastic cover is the ONLY way to do it. Pull ups are too much like diapers. Also you need to dedicate a week to it and stay in as much as possible. Dont throw a diaper on your kid to go to sleep or to a store for YOUR convenience it is confusing to a child. Your mom is a smart lady!

If you have kids that like to draw on walls there is a paint called blackboard paint. I have a friend that took her play room and painted it half way down with this paint and put up a boarder and chair rail to make it look nice. The kids loved being able to draw all they wanted and mom could wash it. I didn't allow my kids to use any kind of paint, marker, crayon etc outside of my kitchen (I was a mean mom). I didn't have a playroom that I could let them be free with. Krysten is an artist and would have been in her glory but the kitchen table was just fine.

Be careful with the magic eraser it can burn skin if kids get their hands on it.. My husband actually was one of its victims LOL he used it to get ink off his hand and it burned him really bad. Otherwise when used properly they are the greatest thing...

Have a great day HLA!

eknoxuk said...

Thanks Heather! I'm totally going to make those next Christmas!
So potty training experts:) My son has been in underwear for almost 2 months-since his 3rd bday, dry every day, but poops in his pants every day! We've gotten special candy for when he goes and started punishing him after a few weeks, but nothing seems to matter! It tends to happen during nap time, so every day before nap we go over the treats he could get and the punishment. New ideas would be great!
Oh, I'm also hoping there is going to be a crafty St Patty's day post:) I'm sure there is!

Kat said...

I love all of today's fun tips! I am thinking about starting the potty training thing, but just haven't worked up the nerve yet. This may just be the little push that I need!

Chaotic said...

creative inspirations? I am inspired by oddball pieces, to see what something that once was something else can become. Scraps of paper become inchies. Junk mail becomes postcards. Clear packaging becomes windows in altered books or bases for see thru cards. I hate to discard things just because I used the main part... why should the scraps be tossed when they, once upon a time, were needed?

Cruise Director said...

Good morning all. It's a busy morning here at the office. Heather, your mom sounds great.

Lots of potty training talk going on here. Thank you day care- they did it for me.

Mean mom alert... my boys have never drawn on the wall either 9yet). I must be perfect! HAHA! Just kidding. They just never seemed interested in that. Lucky me.

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Cruise Director said...

Hi. Dont mind me.

Just Ducky! said...

Don't get me wrong...Lily hasn't drawn on the wall yet either...only on her grandparents new couch and on our ottoman...that's it.

Ooohhh...Robin a whole post about family tips...I think I could definitely come up with one...that will have to be my challenge for the next month.

Devil Dog said...

A mid day check in....

Lots of parenting talk today. It seems appropriate, as Heather's mother is a model for us all. I'm with Cheryl on the potty training thing... day care did it for me. There's a certain amount of "power" in kids seeing other kids go potty, as opposed to the power struggle that can occur between child and parent.

Erica... Heather did a fun post last week on some St. Patrick's Day treat ideas. I think it was March 3. Check that out and then we'll get some dialogue going on Friday about other fun ideas.

MT- Kelly said...

Hello- more jsut want to chewck in as I have been absent for a while. Was happy to hear I was not the only one getting the posts in my email a day later.

I'm very thankful for daycare to be potty training right now- my 20 month old is about 99.9% trained-
I know I was trained at 18 months when I knew my little brother was arriving soon- so maybe my daughter has her mother's instincts as well.

I'm not looking forward to the writing on the wall days- but good to know some of these tricks now!

Cruise Director said...

Subscribers... I know! And, I can't find anything helpful in the help section!!!

Ray sent you an email to try to keep you updated. Ladies, please add to our agenda for tomorrow night. Thanks.

Cruise Director said...

Subscribers, I think we may have worked the kink out. You should have just received today's post! You should receive tomorrow's post between 11am and 1pm. I think we might have gotten off with Katie posting from EST. Hopefully we are back on track!