Migraines

I feel I need to offer an explanation when I miss a post. That’s kind of weird for me! I’ve had a nasty headache since last night. Normally I just ignore headaches and they go away. Occasionally I take excedrin, but this one is tough. I’ve taken 4 rounds of meds since the onset and…… nothing!
I’ve also decided to take another break from blogging to try something. I’ve wanted to be a writer almost as long as I can remember. I’ve had story lines and characters dancing in my head and they want to be on paper (or on a computer). I’ve dedicated myself to my blog since March, and I started thinking, if I can focus that much on a blog, I should be able to give the same to my characters.
So I will be taking an undetermined time off to focus instead on writing my book. I’m not expecting it to be Twilight or anything written by the wonderful Nora Roberts, but I think I have a good story plotted. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have something else for you guys to read soon…..

Duct Tape Flower

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How freaking cool is this? I’ve seen these in a couple of places and figured, if you can’t find the directions on Pinterest, where else can I find them? Well, find them I did! It was another one of those link off a link and so on, but oh, did I find them!
You start with a pencil or a pen that you want to flower-ize. Pick your duct tape and prepare to be busy for awhile.

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You take a small piece of a duct tape and tape the end of your writing utensil.

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You start making your petals with 2 1/2″ pieces of duct tape. Easiest way to do this is going to be find a particular finger length that is closest to that length. For me, that was the length of my thumb to the bottom of my knuckle.
You take your piece and fold the end into a triangle. You attach the squared off bottom to your pencil, wrapping the edges around it so the triangle side is sticking up. You can choose a random pattern, as I did, or continue around your pencil in a circle. I’ve seen them where people have alternated colors for a specific pattern, but I didn’t want to get super fancy on my first attempt.

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This was a few layers in, and don’t worry, it will fill itself out the more layers you add. It’s easiest to do this if you put on a movie to keep your mind occupied. Once you find your groove, it’s easy to keep going! I was dealing with an impatient three year old, so mine wasn’t super full.

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Once you get to the desired fullness of your flower, you can add a leaf if you’d like. I had some Minnie Mouse duct tape in the house, so while my leaf looks a little silly, it has an entire Minnie. For your leaf, you cut a piece slightly longer than your petal pieces, then fold it almost completely in half. Make sure you keep enough of the sticky side exposed to wrap around the pencil! Then you cut out a leaf shape from the doubled up part of tape and attach it the same way you did your petals.

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Chiara was enthralled with her flower for quite a while and I see myself making some more very soon. Memo to self: pick up more duct tape!
To check out the site I got my directions from, go to http://www.wittyliving.com/kids-crafts/flower-crafts/2076-duct-tape-flower.html
Follow me on Pinterest: Stephanie DeSantis for other fun things I want to try!

Pity Party

I have a few things on tap for activities I’ve already accomplished. However I’m engaged in a pity party tonight so I can’t quite work up my normal enthusiasm tonight.
Have you seen the commercial of the balding father and son eating pudding? The father is explaining how work and life are so stressful and he needs the pudding. That’s how I feel right now, only I have no pudding.
Life isn’t exactly where I wanted to be as I’m approaching 30, but I’m pretty happy with myself. I may not have the position I want at work, but I have a job that pays the bills and experience that gets a little more varied every day. The real highlight of my life right now is my personal life.
I have a husband who is the love of my life, and I was lucky enough to meet him early in life. I’ve known him since I was 13 and I’ve been with him since I was 18 years old. We have 2 amazing children who just amaze me a little more each day, even when they frustrate me.
Today is one of those days that I am so thankful for my family. I was denied the opportunity to even interview for a position that I have been working for for the last 10 years. It sounds whiny, but I have never interviewed for a position that I didn’t get. Now I’m being denied the opportunity to interview because of the way something was phrased.
I feel like I’ve almost reached the top of the rope and someone just doused it with oil, and down I slide.
Sorry about the downer, but I needed to voice some frustrations, and the internet is such an easy listener!

Candy Corn Wine Bottles

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How freaking cute are these?? Adorable! I’ve been saving up wine bottles since I saw this and a few other pins. Tony has started giving me the fish-eye over them, so I figured I needed to start using them.
Halloween is my favorite decorating holiday. You can do scary, cute or funny. We add a little more to our decor each year, and we’re slowly branching out into fall decorations.
I like candy corn. Not to the extent my mom does, but I do enjoy it. I thought this would be cute for the table, so I bought myself some spray paint. It occurred to me during this process that I have never used spray paint.
First mistake I made was not letting the paint dry completely between colors, so I had to repaint.

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You start with a full coat of white paint. I am still working on my skills with spray paint so there was some dripping. Tony picked on me about it, but oh well, live and learn. Again, be sure to let it dry 100%. Half an hour on a hot day, or an hour if you’re doing this early evening.

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Once your white has dried, spray on your orange from a couple of inces below the neck to the bottom of the bottle. Again, let this dry completely!
Final step is the yellow. You want to hit the bottom two or three inches and try to keep your lines even when you’re doing your layers. If it’s not perfect that’s ok. Candy corn lines aren’t always straight either!
The original photo, found at http://www.seven12magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/100838479127407506_ygvrG0eM_c.jpg has an orange ribbon tied around the neck, and I may or may not add some later. For now though, it’s a cute addition to my table!
Try it out and let me know how they turn out!

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit

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This exhibit runs from June 1, 2013 to January 5, 2014 and I knew I had to see it. I’ve been fascinated by historical tragedies for as long as I can remember. Not so much for the morbidity of it, but because of the knowledge that comes out of them.
I’ve been wanting a family day for a few weeks and decided today was the day and we were going to go to the Great Lakes Science Center. There is a whole bunch of stuff for the kids to enjoy and of course, the Titanic Exhibit!
We started by parking in the attached parking garage and walking right into the Great Lakes Science Center. We purchased our membership, knowing we would want to come back, it just made the most sense. Titanic was $10 over the regular admittance, but I really wanted to see it.
We circled around to the regular exhibits and the steamship museum first, then circled back to Titanic.

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This was a cool light coming in through the parking garage and they had lights moving around so you felt as if you were on the water. The kids loved it!

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The entrance to the exhibit has a green screen setup so you can have your ‘king of the world’ moment. Me and my sweetie aren’t exactly Jack & Rose, but it was fun.

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Of course we had to get a family one, even though our clothes weren’t quite fancy enough for first class!
You have the option to purchase them in the gift shop at the end of the tour.

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I was bummed when they took our whole ticket, because I love my scrapbooking, but then they gave us a replica boarding pass! How cool is this?

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On the opposite side, there was a short bio on one of the actual passengers. It tells you their name, where they were going and some amusing factoids about them. Then at the end of the tour, you can check the names against the list of survivors. Chiara and I made it, but sadly Tony and Arthur perished.
The exhibit was pretty amazing. You could see all of these artifacts recovered from the ship. I think the most amazing for me was a postcard that you could still read and perfume bottles that still retained the smell of some essential oils. The letters and such that survived had been preserved because they had been contained in a leather satchel. Leather apparently was quite the protection against the ocean!

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The kids really enjoyed this one! They had a miniature iceberg that was cold to the touch and everything! Giant ice cube towards the end of the exhibit was pretry darn cool. Pun intended!

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Of course we had to hit the gift shop afterwards. We don’t have family days out very often, so when we do, we go big! I had to pick up one of the exhibit books because they don’t want you taking pictures of the exhibit. Normally, I say screw rules like that, but I have enough respect for the fact that these items survived to listen to the rule. Chiara wanted this cute little Captain Bear and Arthur insisted on the small pewter replica of the ship. The pewter replica is heavy and Arthur keeps playing with it. At least he won’t break it!
If you will be in Cleveland before the end of the exhibit run, I strongly recommend checking it out. It’s right next to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, so how can you lose?
Original pin and for more details about the exhibit, check out http://www.glsc.org/titanic/index.php

Vinegar Socks

It sounds ridiculous, right? I’ve heard for years that vinegar will bring down a fever if you soak your feet in it. I’ve never had much call for this one though because if I get sick, it’s generally just the sniffles.
Being practical about it, it’s hard to get a three year old to leave her feet in a bowl of vinegar, so I’ve never tried it on the kids either. Chiara had a low grade fever yesterday and ended up passing out a little before bedtime. No big deal, I just laid her down early. Well, it became a big deal when she woke up at 11pm and her fever had spiked to 101.3.

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Poor baby wasn’t feeling well at all!
As she was snuggled up, I went cruising Pinterest for some different options. I stumbled upon this site, http://phonereviewsblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/when-you-have-baby-or-small-child-who.html?m=1
And she was saying that you soak some of your kids socks in vinegar, put them on their feet, wrap a towel around them and let them dry.

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If the fever doesn’t dissipate completely the first time, do it a second time.
It worked! It was amazing, albeit stinky, but it brought her temp down to a reasonable level by the time her socks had dried off.
After we took her socks off, we wiped her feet down with a baby wipe to get rid of the smell.
Aside from home remedies, remember to push fluids with a feverish child. In our case, we gave her a popsicle to assist with bringing her fever down. If you have any doubts, call your pediatrician. Never go against your parental instinct when it comes to your babies!

Caprese Garlic Bread

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I saw this picture on Pinterest and thought,  oh wow, yummy! We love garlic bread in our house, sometimes to the point that Chiara would rather eat bread than pasta!
The original pinner said to start with a loaf of ciabatta bread and slice it length wise in half. I used French bread because it’s what Walmart had in stock. I ended up slicing a couple of pieces out of my two halves, just to make it easier to prepare.
Take four tablespoons of butter and stir in three cloves of minced garlic. I used two tablespoons of garlic powder because my mincing skills are not that great. Stir until it’s well combined then spread on your bread. (Haha for rhyming) Take some block mozzarella cheese slices, whether you cut your own from a block like I did or buy pre-sliced, and place on top of the bread. Make sure the top of your bread is covered with the cheese. Place your bread in your preheated 400* oven for 12-15 minutes. While the bread is in the oven you should begin your basalmic vinegar reduction. I didn’t complete this step and it turned out fine. Maybe next time I’ll try this. You start with 1/2 cup basalmic vinegar in a saucepan, bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer until the vinegar is reduced by about half.
When your cheese is melted on your bread, slice some tomatoes and place them on the bread.
The recipe called for fresh basil, which my kitchen doesn’t quite run to. I used basil out of my spice rack and drizzle with your basalmic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. We didn’t use any s&p and it still tasted amazing!

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Arthur ate all of his. At first he wasn’t too keen on the idea, but I told him to think of it as a little pizza and he devoured it.

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Chiara devoured the cheese, she is a cheese hog, picked the tomato off and nibbled the bread until it was gone. She is such a goober.
Tony had two slices and I made a pig of myself and ate three slices. I was so full afterwards, but I can’t even feel bad about it because it was so tasty! Must try!
Happy dining!
Original pin came from http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/caprese-garlic-bread/
Be sure to check it out. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, under Stephanie DeSantis, and maybe suggest what pin I should try next…..

Duct Tape Placemats

This was something found by default. A link from a link off a pin. Fun, right? Tony and I picked up some fun duct tape for the kids a few weeks ago. Avengers for Arthur and Minnie Mouse for Chiara. We had some crazy ideas on how to use it, but we never did anything with them. Today I was picking up some duct tape for a separate project. It was decidedly girly, so Chiara has claimed it. Looking through assorted links, I stumbled on this.

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You start by getting 2 types of duct tape that work well together. I had the Avengers stuff and the industrial gray stuff. The original directions say to use 2″ duct tape, mine was only 1 1/2″ so I adjusted accordingly. Feel free to check the original site for those directions, I’m just going to post what I did.
For the strips that will run length wise, cut strips 40″ long. Once it’s cut, fold it in half, so there is no sticky-ness exposed. Easier said than done.

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After some trial and error, and destroyed strips, the easiest way I found to do this was taking the far right end in your left hand, hold the center with your right hand and fold over while matching the ends. Whatever you do, do not try holding the ends together in the air and press together! It doesn’t work!

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You’re going to make 6 of the length wise strips that are the 40″, folded in half, so you have 20″ strips. You’re going to make 9 strips that are 28″, then fold them in half so you end up with 14″ strips.
The original directions say to tape your length wise pieces to your work surface to hold everything in place. I prefer a challenge, so I just started doing my basket weave.

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You’re going to keep weaving until you end up with a mat, rough around the edges, yes, but we’ll fix that!
Make sure you tighten everything up, possibly using a little clear tape, so you don’t leave any gaps for food to leak through. Once you have everything tightly woven together, take more of your duct tape, or a contrasting tape, and lay a strip long enough to cover the entire length of the mat. Lay it so it is sticky side up, and lay your rough mat edges over the tape. Cut another piece the same length and lay it over the edges, sticky side down. There you are, edges concealed!

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Here is the other finished product. I was really happy with how these turned out. Arthur was really excited about his new placemat and Chiara was almost too wound up to sleep when I told her I was making her one. The best thing about all of it? With all the fun duct tape choices there are now, there is an infinite number of possibilities!
Happy weaving!
Original directions came from http://m.voices.yahoo.com/contemporary-placemat-craft-project-duct-tape-place-214780.html

Stop a Sneeze? Not Really!

This was something that, while not particularly blog-worthy, was hilarious when I tried this today. I love those little pins that list a bunch of little life-hacks. Just for the record, this is a term I have never heard before I discovered Pinterest and it’s hilarious reading them.
I have my own way to make other people stop before sneezing, one that works about 90% of the time. When I see someone building up to sneeze, I very loudly and quickly say, “Think of lettuce, leafy green and sometimes red!” It sounds stupid, but I’m telling you, it works! Usually, because it’s said so fast, they stop sneezing and say “What?”
Sadly, this only works on other people, not on myself. The pinner of life hacks says that if you feel a sneeze coming on, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth and it will stop the sneeze.
Tried and failed. I looked ridiculous too! I would never tell someone not to try something, but this was a fail from my perspective.
I will however stamd behind lettuce thing. Remember: loud and fast. It confuses people and distracts them from their sneeze!
Original pin and many other life hacks can be found at http://themetapicture.com/amazing-life-hacks/

Bottlecap Magnets

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I’ve actually done something similar to this shortly after I began blogging. We started, inadvertently, collecting bottlecaps awhile ago when we hung up the bottle opener Marlboro sent me as a birthday present. I hung a basket under it so Tony didn’t have to keep catching them to throw them away. It’s been working great!

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I have always loved repurposing things, and I’ve discovered many new ways to do so through Pinterest.
I also have a great love of putting pictures up around the house! You start by finding some pictures that have a small focal point, like a face or an animal that is 1″ or less in size. The original pinner said to use a 1″ punch-out, but my supplies don’t run to such things, so I just used scissors. If it’s not a perfect circle, that’s fine! Once your picture is small enough to fit in your bottlecap, pour a small amount of mod podge into the cap and press your picture down. Make sure the picture is fully covered.

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Don’t worry, your picture will be invisible until it dries. It’s supposed to be like that! The original pinner says to use glue to adhere the picture to the bottlecap, then cover with a glaze. I used mod podge on my previous bottlecap project and that turned out great. Check out those results at https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/cute-little-doo-dad/
Once you have your picture under your layer of mod podge, you’ll have to let it sit, at least overnight, to dry. Once it’s fully dried, so you can see your picture again, cut your magnets to fit the back of your bottlecap. I know the next time I do this, I’m going to buy the heavy duty round magnets so I can use these to hold up assorted items on the fridge.
For now, I can’t wait to see the kids reaction to these magnets in the morning!
Original pin came from http://doitdarling.com/2013/03/02/fridge-magnets-out-of-bottle-caps/