Monday, October 13, 2014

You might be a Mommy-crite

I decided over this last week of Fall break that I am the biggest hypocrite around.  Probably in several ways, but mostly in mommy ways.  So I changed the name to mommy-crite.  I am a mommy-crite.

You might be one, too.
You might be a mommy-crite if:

1.  You tell your kids no snacks before dinner while stuffing chocolate chips in your mouth as soon as they stomp out of the kitchen.  But really, it takes strength to cook dinner, so we do what we gotta do.  Plus if you're really sneaky and they don't see you inhaling the chocolate, then you don't even have to feel guilty at all.

2.  You tell the kids they've had enough screen time and it's time for them to turn it off, as you're browsing through your phone.  

3.  You tell your six year old that nobody likes a cheater, but then deliberately help the four year old cheat so he can win one lousy game of slap jack. Because he's trying so hard and has lost the last three.  And even though no one likes a cheater, this mommy would rather lower her standards of slap jack ethic than listen to the four year old yet again throw himself on the floor and scream because he never wins anything ever in his whole whole life. (which is kind of so not true because when he plays with just me he never LOSES)

4.  You rant to your children about how cleanliness is important and how they are not going to do anything fun until they clean their room.  Then when bedtime comes for them, you flop onto your bed in your own pigsty of a room and turn on the TV.  Mommies don't have to clean their room before they have fun, right??

5.  You force your kids to eat breakfast because it's the most important meal of the day.  Then lunchtime rolls around and you wonder why you feel like you want to kill everything, when you remember you haven't eaten anything yet today.  

6. You make your kids do their homework as soon as they come home from school.  Meanwhile that thing you said you would do for church or work or PTA gets pushed to the last minute.

7.  You tell the kids soda isn't good for them as you down your second Diet Coke of the day.

8. You tell the kids they're not leaving the house without a jacket, but then leave without your own jacket because for the love, I just got everyone packed and ready and I forgot it and I'm not going back into the house now to get it. 

9. You switch the music in the car because a song is not appropriate for the kids, but then make a mental note to download it later and listen to it when you're alone.  And you will probably turn it up really loud and sing along, too. 

10.  You gripe and complain to your child when he cries about losing his toy AGAIN.  Why can't he just put it in the same place?  Why is he so irresponsible?  You are not in charge of his toys.   Then when you lose your keys, you demand everyone drop what they're doing to help you find them.  And any comments of placing blame on you for losing them are silenced with the scariest mommy look you can make.  Losing toys and losing keys, it's a completely different thing. . .

I'm guilty of all of these mommy-crite offenses.  And probably a whole lot more.  I have thrown some major fits over lost keys and the snacking before dinner--well I think it might be physically impossible for me to make dinner without snacking.  I'm a procrastinator and my room is a mess.  I don't eat healthy and sometimes I don't clean up after myself right away.  But I expect and demand better from my children.  

My name is Leilani, and I'm a mommy-crite.

But I'm working on it. Kind of.  Sort of.  Sometimes.  Well not really.  But I will.  Tomorrow. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Halloween Print

I made this Halloween print.  So yup.  Also tomorrow over at Krafts and Kiddos I'm guest posting about some tips for making your own Halloween print with PicMonkey.  They have a ton of cute Halloween features over there.

My little guys both want to be Power Rangers this year.  Even though they were Power Rangers two years ago.

Right now they are wrestling behind me on my bed.  They sound like they are both dying.  I'm kind of dying.  This fall break is killing me.  One minute at a time.  The Spam randomly has pneumonia, even though you would never guess it with the way he's acting right now.  

Also he is on his first day of steroids and is already a bit crazy.  JJ is kind of dumb to be picking a wrestling fight with him.  I think I'll just let it play out till someone cries. . . 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

If you can dodge a wrench

So I didn't like throw a wrench at my son.  But the other day, JJ kept saying to me over and over again, "I want you to help me dodge stuff."

And of course I was just kind of half listening to him as I went about my business of house stuff.  You know--cleaning, laundry, whatever.  He trailed after me saying, "Mom, MOM.  I want you to help me dodge stuff."

"Okay," I said over and over again. 

Finally he had had enough.  He planted himself in front of me and said very forcefully.  "Mom.  I want you to help me DODGE stuff."

I put down the basket of laundry I was holding, a little exasperated.  "What are even talking about?  You want me to THROW stuff at you?

"Yes," he said very matter of factly. 

And so I did.

Apparently JJ is training to be a real life Power Ranger.  Not just one for Halloween.  But one for real life.  I have not had the heart to tell him that there are actually not real life Power Rangers in the world.  I'm just waiting for him to figure it out on his own.

Anyway, I sat on the couch and he brought me a big pile of stuff to throw at him.  It was a mother's dream come true.  

"Now, just throw it right at my face, Mom."   

Um, it's possible I was grinning from ear to ear.

I threw stuff at him (liked stuffed animals, plastic balls, and a Thomas train--yes, yes, I deliberately missed with this one.  I'm not a monster) for about ten minutes.  He has quite a bit of dodging practice to do.  Sometimes he would swerve INTO the thing I was throwing.  I had to keep trying really hard not to laugh.

Then he got out him nunchucks.  "Now help me train with these," he said.

"How do I do that?"  I asked him.

"Just move your hands around, and I'll follow your movements."  Well that seemed easy enough.  I moved my hands back and forth.  Then around in circles.  And then I popped my wrists back and forth right in front of my face.  He did, too.  Aaaaaand he popped himself right in the face with the nunchucks.  I got away with doing that three or four times before he realized what I was up to.

Fine.  Maybe I am a monster.

So I guess you should wish the kids good luck while they're stuck with their mom, the monster.  We're on day 2 of Fall break.  The Spam is having an asthma flare up and it's wet and rainy outside.  I think things might get a lot worse before they get any better.  So, if you'll excuse me, I kind of want to see if JJ wants to practice "dodging" some more. :) 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Halloween craft idea: melted crayon pumpkins

Today we are thrilled to have Heather guest posting for us!  She is amazing at everything crafty.  Seriously.  She blows my mind with all the fun stuff she does with her kids.  We are so glad she is here with us!

Hi there, I'm Heather from Krafts and Kiddos and I'm thrilled to be here at Just a Touch of Crazy sharing a guest post for some friends of mine, Emily and Leilani. They are absolutely amazing for letting me stop by today and hang out with you. Today I'm sharing a Melted Crayon Pumpkin craft.

Today I'm sharing a creative way to enjoy your pumpkin this Halloween. I'm going to show how to create a Melted Crayon Pumpkin. I was originally inspired by The Swell Designer, to try this super unique way to decorate a pumpkin. Who doesn't love some Halloween decor, and DIY at that...

melted crayon pumpkins by krafts and kiddos

So you ready, let's get started.....

crayon melted pumpkins by krafts and kiddos
You can use a real or fake pumpkin. We chose a faux pumpkin for this craft, partly because I just love real pumpkins so much, I have a hard time painting them or doing anything besides making a pumpkin into a true jack-o-lantern. I found these plastic pumpkins (6 1/2 inch size by Celebrate It) at our local craft store for under $5. I also had Tacky Glue on hand, but you can also purchase this at your craft store for under $4.  Add a few crayons, + a hair dryer you're ready to go.

A warning in advance: This can get quite messy! Use an old sheet or cardboard as your base, that you don't mind getting dirty. The crayons do tend to splatter around during the making of our crafty pumpkins.

Place your crayons into a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Pull the crayons out of the water and watch how easily the label peels right off.

Next crack your crayons in half. A little crayon will go a LONG way for this DIY pumpkin craft.

melted crayon pumpkin by krafts and kiddos

Before you get started, lay your pumpkin and supplies onto an old sheet or whatever surface is okay to get messy. This project will make a little mess.

Begin applying your Tacky glue around the stem. Apply a lot of tacky glue, probably enough to cover half of your crayon or even the  complete bottom of each crayon. The more tacky glue under each crayon helps them stay in place.

melted crayon pumpkins by krafts and kiddos

Are you still with me, if so let's start adding our crayons. Place the crayons evenly around the stem with a small space in between each color. Be creative, add different colors and patterns. There are no rules, you can add whatever crayon colors your family likes best (I won't tell).

melted crayon pumpkins by krafts and kiddos

We are not so fancy for this project...yes indeed we are using an old fashioned hair dryer to complete our awesome DIY pumpkin decor.

Plug in your hairdryer and begin heating your crayons. Adjust the heat from medium to high if needed. I switched between the two settings to get just the right drip of crayon. Start at the top of the pumpkin and melt your crayon downward. Continue this on each crayon. It looks really, really cool to see the colors drip down the pumpkin and make patterns.

Heating your crayons doesn't take long, it probably takes 5 minutes total (depending on what size pumpkin). Ours was a smaller pumpkin.

melted crayon pumpkins by krafts and kiddos

I'm honestly so happy with how simple these melted crayon pumpkins are to create. I know your family will love the ones you create too! You'll thank me later. Who knew, by using a few products you have at home, plus a pumpkin, and glue - you're set to create one of the coolest pumpkins in the neighborhood!

melted crayon pumpkins by krafts and kiddos

Enjoy creating your pumpkins. It's a great DIY craft that can be as colorful as you want. With Halloween right around the corner, these pumpkins are perfect to add to your front porch. Let us know how your pumpkins turn out, we'd love to see pictures too.

melted crayon pumpkins by krafts and kiddos

I hope you enjoyed following me today here at Just a Touch of Crazy. Thanks so much to Emily and Leilani for having me today, it sure was a blast! If you enjoyed today's craft, stop by Krafts and Kiddos and drop me a line to say hello. You can also find me sharing on Pinterest and Facebook with so many cool crafts for kids, moms, and recipes too!

Monday, October 6, 2014

8 tips for better iPhone pictures of your kids

So recently I have been using my iPhone a lot for picture taking.  I mean, I LOVE my DSLR and I still pull that out quite frequently, but there's no doubt about the iPhone being easier to hold, easier to pack around, and way less stressful. 

And I recently discovered Chatbooks.  Oh my gosh I am in love with them.  They are the cutest little books ever.  Go check out their website if you've never heard of them, and if you are an Instagram-er, you will be in love, too.  I've been using Instagram a lot more lately because of Chatbooks.  It's the perfect opportunity to document every day life with a picture book that you don't even have to put together.

So that being said, since I'm taking more pictures with my iPhone to put on Instagram, I've been working harder to take BETTER pictures with my iPhone.  And here are some things I've been trying to do.

1.  Make sure the camera lens isn't covered by protective plastic.  This might not apply to every one but it was HUGE for me.  I have small children who are always trying to steal my phone, and also I drop things.  Like a lot.  So I've been using a Lifeproof case for my phone.  I figured that would be the safest bet.  My phone can now be dropped and submersed in water and still stay alive.  Woohoo!

However, my pictures were awful.   They always looked smeary and smudgy and no matter how many times I tried to clean off the part of the case over the camera lens, the pictures still looked like they were being taken through a window (you know how you take a picture through a window and it doesn't look good?)  Anyway, I was fiddling around with the case and discovered I could pop the little piece of plastic that was over the camera lens part right out.  So I did.

And the result was MAGIC.  My pictures are so much more clear.  Granted, my phone is no longer water proof, but I'm too skeptical to actually think it really would be water proof anyway.   

2.  Hold the phone steady.  I've found that holding the phone steady is something that I have to consciously think about before each picture.  I say to myself, "Steady, steady, " and I do a much better job of not shaking or jerking or moving.  And with a phone camera, it seems like the slightest shake from you causes blur.  So try that.  THINK about holding the camera steady and you'll do a much better job of it.  It would also be nice if your subjects would stay steady, but with kids we know that's hit or miss.  Sometimes I'll yell "FREEZE" really loud before I snap a picture of my kids and they're so thrown off by the randomness of that that they actually do freeze.  Muahaha. 

(with this picture I distinctly remember telling myself to stop shaking like an old lady before I took it)

3.  Look for the light. Just like with any camera, this is a big deal.  Unlike with a fancier camera, you can't really adjust the setting of your camera phone to let in more light.  So you have to find the light yourself. If you're in your house, there are most likely window in all the rooms.  Before you take a picture, open up all the blinds.  Then, position yourself so that you're taking a picture of the kids with the light behind you (but don't block the light).  This way, the light from the window will be shining ON the kids.  Or have the light hitting them from the side.  The more light there is, the better your picture will be. Use the light to your advantage.  And try to use window light when you're inside as much as you can instead of over head light.  Be creative.  I used the soft glow of an iPad to illuminate this pumpkin that Little Miss has decided she loves and has to sleep with. 

(before I took this I opened the window blinds so the light would be brighter in the room.  It's coming at them from the side.  Also I hate the coloring of our living room so I changed it to black and white.  I like that better, and the picture is aimed to please me, so black and white it is)

When you're outside, try to avoid the harsh glare of the sun.  Have the sun behind you, the picture taker, instead of behind the kids.  But again, sometimes the harsh light can be turned into dramatic lighting with editing apps.  

(with this picture the light was behind me)

(this is Little Miss sitting in the same spot, but me on the other side.  In the original picture she was so shadowy.  Soooo, I just changed it to black and white and increased the highlights and shadows to get this dramatic light pic)

4. Capture the little things. Most of us take pictures to remember the moments of every day life.  What types of things do you want to remember?  Think about that when you're reaching for your iPhone.  

(I love how the Spam and Little Miss wait every day by the door for JJ to come home.)

(and I want to remember her crazy crazy hair)

5. Use unique perspectives.  Get on your knees, get above, get below, switch things up.  It takes practice to remember to do this.  But your pictures will be so much more interesting if you do it.   Nothing is quite as boring as a picture snapped of your kids while they're standing looking up at you. 

(I could have taken the picture standing.  Instead, I sat down and got on their level.  I can see the whole memory and not just the top of their heads)

(Nothing quite like little feet and hands looking for shells)

(and doesn't this picture tell the memory so much better than one taken with me standing above looking down?  With this angle, I feel like I'm back there again on the beach as JJ throws the sand.)

6.  Use the focusing ability of the phone.  With the iPhone, you can tap the part of the screen you want to focus on.  And if you tap and hold down, the focus will lock until you tap it again.  I usually end up tapping the focus several different times before I tap the shutter button, but I'm getting better at being really quick with tapping for focus and then tapping the shutter.  Practice practice, I tell ya. 

(I tapped on his feet to focus there just before he jumped.  Also I was sitting in the water so the phone could be at his feet level)

(I tapped on the sand castle so it would be in focus)

7. Take advantage of editing apps. I edit EVERY picture I take.  Because why not?  I don't feel like a faker.  Editing is an art itself and I LOVE it.  It can make a great picture AWESOME.  Don't be afraid to edit.  My favorite iPhone app for editing my pictures is PicTapGo.   I think it's costs like two dollars or something?  But it's so worth it.  It has so many filters and the ability to adjust the strength of each filter, plus apply more than one filter.  Filter strength almost always needs to be adjusted, especially if you like the more natural look. 

(this looks pretty natural.  But I used like three filters.  It's so fun.  To me.  I can do it for HOURS.)

(and this photo--obviously edited.  But I LOVE it.  One of my favorites from our beach trip.  Remember, these photos that you're taking are for YOU.  So if you love them, who cares what anybody else thinks)

AND you can upload to Instagram straight from the PicTapGo app.  You can also choose Instagram Full, so that you don't have to crop your picture to a square. 

(the overall look of this picture is so much better as a 4x6 rather than a square.  PicTapGo has a lot of crop options.  And actually the crop option I used is 2x3 which is the same as 4x6)

8.  Understand Instagram.  Did you know that you can do more than just pick a filter with Instagram?  You can adjust the highlights, the shadows, the constrast, the warmth. . . it's come a long way.  I explained how to make black and white photos pop on PicMonkey (click here for that post) and you can do the same thing in Instagram with black and white photos.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

25 ways to get your child's attention

"Mom, which sticker do you want me to use for your picture?
Which sticker now, Momma?
Which sticker do you want me to put on your picture now?
Mom, choose another sticker for your picture?
Mommy, what color should I use to draw your name?
Mom, what color should I use to draw a cat?"

"Mom, do you want to see how this guy can jump on a roof?
Mom, come look at my green motorcycle?
Momma, this motorcycle is going to blow up, come see. It's turning red.
Mom, do you know how I change people?
Mom, did you know this is my favorite game?"

The questions and statements kept coming and coming.  My name was attached at the beginning or end of every question or statement.  EVEN THOUGH I just spent an hour doing homework, playing a game and giving my kids my undivided attention when they didn't want to answer any questions I asked them or tell me what picture they were drawing. Homework time was actually a hot mess. There was crying and screaming and begging to be set free from the misery.

So how did I all of a sudden get both of my kids to want my attention at the exact same time?

It's pretty hard to do.
You ready for it…

I sat down to the computer to edit some pictures and blog them.

So, are you feeling lonely, Mama?  Are your little ones neglecting you and not giving you the time of day?  Never fear!  If you need your kids' attention, throw away the old ways of calling their name and try one of these:

25 Ways to Get Your Child's Attention 

1. Talk to an old friend on the phone.
2. Talk to anybody on the phone.
3. Go into the bathroom and sit on the toilet.
4. Actually you can even just take a step towards the direction of the bathroom. 
5. Sit down at the computer.
6. Pull out your phone to check Facebook.
7. Start texting someone.
8. Try to watch a funny Youtube video.
9. Try to watch anything.
10. Try to take a picture of them with your phone.
11. Check your email on your phone.
12. Touch your phone at all.  In any way.  They will come.
13. Try to exercise.
14. Open a book for yourself.
15. Start a craft.
16. Give attention to one of the other kids.
17. Lay your head softly on your pillow.
18. Even just think to yourself, maybe I can lie down for fifteen minutes.
19. Sit on the couch and look happy.
20. Sit in the kitchen and look happy.
21. Sit in your room and look happy.
22. Sit anywhere while looking happy. They will come.
23. Go in any room and shut the door.
24. Start making dinner.
25. Do anything you even kind of enjoy.


One thing that doctors fail to tell us when we bring our babies home from the hospital is that children are born with a built in "Mommy is happy" sensor.  And when that sensor starts going off. . . well they will do anything to be a part of it.  And by be a part of it, I mean destroy it.

But it will all even out in the long run.  Because I'm hoping that as soon as my kids reach the teenage years, we moms will become equipped with a "they're up to something" sensor.  So payback will be delightful.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sibling love (or something like that)

So at age what can you stop using the excuse, "She just doesn't know any better. . ."

The Spam, who is 4, just came barging into the room bawling.  Big crocodile tears running down his cheeks, holding his head as if it were about to fall off.

"She hiiiiiiiit me!"  he sobbed.  Apparently his sister hit him with a  magic wand (a wooden Harry Potter magic wand, hand carved by a very cool uncle).

I doled out the appropriate amount of condolences and we headed off to find little sis, who was sitting on the floor of the living room waving around the wand and jabbering to herself.

She did not look remorseful.  In fact, she was mumbling and scrunching her face up like she does when she's yelling jibber jabber angrily at her brothers, while swinging the wand back and forth like a menace.

"We do not hit!" I told her and took the wand away.  "Tell Coggy (that's what she calls him) that you're sorry."

Well, that 21 month old spit fire looked at me and said, with her face still scrunched up, "NO!"

I gasped.  You know like a pretend gasp that I'm outraged and appalled, even though I was really trying hard not to laugh.  "You tell him you're sorry!" I said again.

"Sowee, Coggy," she then said very sweetly. Then came running into my arms and gave me a big bear hug, looking oh so proud of herself.

Coggy wasn't so sure she was sorry.  "SHE'S MEAN!"  he kept yelling.

So then I used the phrase, "Honey, she just doesn't know any better."

BUT, looking at that little manipulator who was sweetly sucking her thumb in my lap, I wasn't so sure.  I think she knows exactly what she's doing.

I don't feel too bad, however.  Because it was less than ten minutes later when I heard a loud thud, the sound of Little Miss beginning to cry, and a very panicked 4 year old whispering, "SHHHHHHHHH!  It's okay!  SHHHHHHHHH!"

I'm pretty sure my Little Miss can hold her own this those big boys, and that when she does actually get a good whack in every now and then, it's all just fair game. 

Plus also I can distinctly remember myself using that panicked "Shhhhhhh!" when I once tied my younger brother up with rope, picked him up from his feet and caused him to fall forward and smash his chin open on the kitchen floor.  I hissed "SHHHHH" over and over again as blood started gushing out, as if that somehow would take me back in time so I could decide not to tie him up.  Or at least to leave his arms free so that he could catch himself :) 

Oh life with siblings.  It's pretty much just what we need to figure out how to handle the real world, isn't it?