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Paper Mache Plates: Not As Messy As You Think

We came across this art project in a library book and thought we would give it a shot. We had all the materials on hand, and although I was nervous about what kind of mess we would end up with doing paper mâché, it really wasn't bad at all.

First we wrapped our mold (we decided to make a plate but you also could use a bowl) in plastic wrap. We used the bottom of the plate since it had a raised pedestal that we wanted to show on the surface of our paper plate.
Normally paper mâché is made of recycled newsprint, however we didn't have any newspapers lying around so instead we used old office paper. We used about 20 sheets cut into small strips and squares.We then mixed 1 part water with 2-3 parts school glue. ThePrincess was NOT happy about getting her fingers dirty so she used a paintbrush to brush the glue mixture onto the strips while I dipped them by hand. You need to get them pretty wet, so the paintbrush alone would not have been effective.
We layered the strips onto the mold until they were 5-8 layers thick making sure we allowed plenty of overlap on the edges. We placed the plate on a coffee mug and allowed it to dry. This took 48 hours. I think it would have been faster if we had used newsprint, but the office paper took quite a while to dry.
After drying the plastic wrap made it simple to remove the plate from the mold.
We then trimmed the excess paper from the edges to make the plate perfectly round.
ThePrincess decided she wanted a pink plate (of course) so using tempura paints we painted both sides completely
and allowed that to dry overnight.The final step was to decoupage the top of the plate with tissue paper. We used solid pink and floral which is what we had on hand. Multiple colors of tissue would give you a fantastic stained glass effect but we didn't have any other colors. We just placed the tissue paper squares on the plate and painted over it with undiltued school glue.

We completely covered the top of the plate and left the bottom plain pink. This took (yet another) night to dry.
So finally 4 days later we eneded up with our final product. A paper mâché decoupaged plate:
All things considered it was a relatively easy project, and not too messy. It did take a lot of time, but that worked out pretty well since a four year old's attention span couldn't handle doing all the steps back-to-back.

We are now looking forward to making a bowl. Who knows? At this rate we end up with an entire service for 12.

It wasn't meant to be

So, based on the title of this post, you can clearly tell we didn't get the house.
We were in the top 3 offers (we were quite a bit over asking), but the next two were $30,000 (yes, $30,000) higher than ours.

I'm okay. There were things about the house that weren't "perfect" but it was the best we had seen so far. Hopefully something even better will be coming down the pipeline.

Already lined up to see 5 more open houses this weekend (numbers 75-80). At least we can keep renting if we have to. We won't be homeless.

House Hunt Update: We are jumping in!

Looks like we are going to put an offer on a house. I don't think we have a decent shot at it. It has been on the market 2 days and they are entertaining offers tomorrow (day 3.) No open houses, no nothing.

Right now it looks like they will have at least TEN, yes TEN offers. Not great odds for us. We scheduled a viewing with our realtor and there were at least a dozen other buyers there in our mere 30 minute window. I can only imagine how many people have looked at it in the past 48 hours.

And, to make it more depressing, my realtor told me her client lost out on a house last week even though they offered more than 15% over asking price. That doesn't bode well with us, since the list price is already close to the top of our budget.

Just keeping my fingers crossed. Maybe they will like my handwriting on the offer to purchase and choose us.

Love, Loss and Happily Ever After: A Lovey Adventure

What is true love?
What a complicated question to answer. There are so many ways of looking at it, so many ways of defining it.

Well, unless you are four, then it is easy:

True love is having someone who is by your side day or night, who is always willing to sit at your tea parties, accompany you to the playground and listen to you read Goodnight Moon 10,000 times. True love is patient, doesn't judge, and doesn't mind if you don't feel like sharing today.

True love allows you to tolerate the dirt, grime and stench from going unwashed for weeks at a time, and true love looks past the fact you are falling apart at the seams and have seen better days.

True love only sees the inner beauty, the comfort and joy of an old friend.

To the rest of the world, true love may be unrecognizable.. but when you are four true love is obvious:
True love is your lovey.

For E, true love has taken the form of "TigerKitty", an orange bean bag tabby cat that she has loved for as long as I can remember. My mother-in-law gave it to her when she was an infant and for whatever reason, she has bonded with it like no other toy. They are inseperable.

In fact TigerKitty is such a big part of our lives that I even had E professionally photographed holding it, since one day when she is all grown up I want to look back on those pictures of her and remember her exactly how she was.. and of course that includes TigerKitty clutched in her little arms.

Believe it or not, that ratty creature used to look like this:

So why am I writing about TigerKitty you ask? Well, because tonight a near tragedy struck our household. We almost lost TigerKitty.

After attending a house showing an hour and a half away from our apartment we decided to grab some dinner before heading home. We were all tired and cranky from the long ride up in rush hour traffic, the house showing and tracking down a place we all could agree on. Eventually we made it though and after our bellies were full with spareribs, steak and mac & cheese (I'll let you venture a guess on who ordered what) we hopped into the mini-van and headed home.

By the time we got home it was time to head to bed, so PJs went on, teeth were brushed and we settled into the bedtime story routine. It was only at this point when we realized that somethign was terribly wrong. TigerKitty was NOWHERE to be seen.

Hubs recalled seeing the little guy in E's arms at the house, but after that recollection was fuzzy. ThePrincess reassured us that she had brought TigerKitty back to the car but she was nowhere to be found. This only left us with a few possibilities: She was somewhere at the property or she was at the restaurant.

A frantic phone call, a plethora of tears, lots of prolonged silence, and then finally the good news: TigerKitty was safe. She had fallen down behind the booth which is where the lovely hostess at Applebees found her.


This did mean another 3 hour car ride back up though the city and home again for me, but in the end it was all worth it.

I was willing to do it in the name of true love and (hopefully) happily ever after:

My life as a Full-Time Work Ouside the Home Mom: A retrospective

Life as I know it has evolved. There aren't many more 180 degree turns you can make in life like the one I just chose. Full-time, outside of the home, kids in daycare, 9-5 Monday to Friday working mom to 24-7, car-pool driving, playdate attending, mini-van sporting Stay-at-home mom.

There are so many misconceptions and generalizations about both of these roles, and now that I have experienced them both, I have never been more secure in my choices. I am right where I need to be right now and (all things considered) I am pretty happy.

Giving it all up has really made me take a long hard look at what kind of mother, wife, employee, friend, and woman I had been. It is reassuring actually, looking back.

Often, as a full-time working mom, you are find yourself questioning if you are doing a good job.

"Am I a good mom?"
"Am I a good employee?"
"Am I sacrificing too much?"
"Am I not sacrificing enough?"

I often found myself wondering what it would be like if you weren't working.

"Would things be easier?"
"Would my kids be happier?"
"Would I be happier?"

And now I can say:

"I know for sure."

I have seen both sides of the coin and I don't need to wonder. I was a GREAT mom. My kids were happy and well-adjusted. They had a great life with people who loved them, they had balance, routine and support. They thrived.

I was a GOOD employee. Maybe not great, but I did a damn good job. My boss was happy, my co-workers were (at least mostly) happy, my work got done and I supported my family.


Was I always happy? No. Did I sometimes question what I was doing it for? Sure. But that was mostly my insecurity talking.

If I knew then what I know now (like the tears and leg-clinging when I dropped off my 2 year old wouldn't scar her for life, or that the numerous sick days you accumulate with a germ-attracting toddler would not affect your work productively that much) maybe my happiness wouldn't have been a problem either.

So, how am I adjusting to my new found role of Stay-at-home-mom?

All things considered, great really. I am getting to do things I haven't been able to do before, like taking my kids to the local storytime at the library, spending all day in my pajamas, surprising daddy with a picnic lunch, or playing dress-up for hours on end. My weekends are no longer jammed full of family time on top of errands and chores. The pace of life has definitely slowed down. And that is okay with me.

Do I miss my life as a working mom? Sure. There are parts that I definitely miss. But am I unhappy as a Stay-at-home mom? No. Am I happier? Not really. It is different not necessarily better or worse.

But now that I have stepped away from it I realize that when and/or if I return to being a working mom, I can give myself a break. I am a good mom no matter what career path I choose. And this just happens to be the right path for me right now. I would let go of the guilt and ignore other people's judgment (both real and self-perceived.)

It is easy to condemn working moms for 'choosing their career at the expense of their family', when in fact they can have both without losing out on much of anything. It really is true that you can give 100% to both. It is possible.

And it is easy to dismiss stay-at-home moms as taking the 'easy way out' when in reality they are far from spending their days lounging around. Being at home all day can be isolating and lonely. Being with your kids 24-7 can be a draining experience that nobody should readily dismiss as having time 'to yourself.' Nothing is much further from the truth. Those kind of assumptions are a disservice to the profession of motherhood.

It is ironic that as mothers some of our toughest critics are often other mothers and even ourselves. Some of the nastiest, most judgmental comments I have heard about the choices I have made have come from my fellow mothers. (Frequently from those who have chosen one path and have never veered from it.) It is hard to not take those sentiments to heart, when in reality they are untrue and usually born from their own insecurity and self-doubt. I now believe it is easy to lose perspective when you haven't seen the other side.

So I will defend every mother's right to choose which path is right for her family. Working or staying at home. As long as you are making the choice out of love for your family, it will be the right one. Neither choice is wrong or right.

I should know, I've made both.
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