LAFF: Crafting With Lulabelle Holiday Edition: Marshmallow Snowmen…..

So I originally wanted to share this before Christmas so you could do this with your kids or grand kids or nieces or nephews or neighbor kids, but life happened and here we are.

Every year I do a craft or activity with my nieces and nephews at Christmas. We’ve made snowmen from a box, made fish pictures with our hands and last year we discovered density with layered soda drinks.

This year we made snowmen out of marshmallows.

You will only need 3 ingredients for this craft:

1. Marshmallows (We used the JUMBO marshmallows–I didn’t even know they came in JUMBO but Chad found them. And since we only see the Littles once a year, we aim for maximum wow factor. This particular wow factor however proved to make our snowmen so heavy they fell over. I did solve this problem however with a few extra, carefully placed pretzels.
2. Skinny Pretzel Sticks (I am NOT discriminating against fat pretzel sticks. The skinnier ones just look more proportional. If you want to use the fatter ones, that’s perfectly fine. You do you, boo. 😉 )
3. Food-Grade Markers
Yes, these exist and are amazing. You can find them in the baking section of the grocery store.

Step 1: Pick three marshmallows from the bag and decide which marshmallow will be your snowman’s head.
When you’ve decided which marshmallow will be the head, pick a food-grade marker and draw a face on your snowman.

I recommend putting the head aside (that was a weird phrase) after drawing the face so that when you go to attach it to the body, you won’t get smudges that look like blood if you used a red marker to draw your face. (Not that this happened to me. Nope. I did it right. –Yeah. I’m lying and had the stains on my hands to prove it– ;-). I also don’t know how long to set it aside to dry. Use your best judgment.)

Step 2: After allowing the face to dry (second-weirdest phrase ever used on this blog), take a few pretzel sticks and stick them through the middle of the middle marshmallow to anchor the head to the middle of the snowman. I also tried smearing frosting in between each marshmallow, but realized I needed something more to add a bit of weight on the snowman to balance out its overall girth so it would stand up and not fall over.

Step 3:  Take a few pretzel sticks and break them in half to use as arms. Carefully stick them on either side of the middle marshmallow, at an angle, for best results.

And that’s it. Now, here are a few tips and things to keep in mind:

1. This is going to be messier than you anticipate. I’d lay down waxed paper on your work surface to keep it from getting errant marker stains on it. You may also want to throw old clothes on small children that take part in this activity.

2. Pretzel sticks work better than frosting at holding the marshmallows together. Just jab a couple into the middle section of marshmallow to secure the top and bottom.

3. Go easy on the markers. One thing I didn’t anticipate is the markers bleed a little bit when drawn on the marshmallows. So that eyeball you’ve just drawn suddenly looks like a tiny version of The Scream and just like that you’ve taken a nice, happy snowman and transformed him into a frozen Freddy Krueger.

Sleep tight, kids. 😛

Have fun with this craft and let me know if you recreate it or improve on it in any way.

Cheers!

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Merry Christmas!!……Grab a Seat!!

Christmas Eve. A time for laughter, family gatherings and the perfect time for last-minute major household fixture breakages.

OK, maybe not, but in my family, this is how it goes. Murphy’s Law adores us, apparently.

So on Christmas Eve my family was sitting around just enjoying each other’s company when Chad heard the “call of nature.” He went upstairs to use the bathroom because the downstairs bathroom was where my dad had been quarantined with a stomach virus. (It may have also been food poisoning. Thankfully he was good to go on Christmas Day.)

A minute or so later we all heard a loud crash and immediately started a headcount of all the Littles (my nieces and nephews). A moment later Chad called out, “Uh, the toilet seat fell off the toilet and broke when I lifted up the lid.” (Sidenote: I had noticed the wobbliness of said toilet seat earlier in the day but for some reason forgot to mention it to my parents. Oops! At the same time I was kinda impressed that Chad only had to lift the lid of the toilet for it to decide, “Nope, I’m out. Peace bro.” )

This we had to see. The oldest Little managed to beat us all upstairs and grabbed both pieces of the broken toilet seat (one in each hand), and gleefully announced to the gathering crowd, “And here are the two pieces!”

Now the funniest part of this whole scene was the oldest Little standing there holding up both broken parts of the toilet seat. He had a gap in his teeth where he had just lost his first tooth, his jeans were ripped and, most alarming, was the scrape on his head from sledding into a tree the day before.

It was like looking at a modern-day version of a Norman Rockwell painting. Right down to the missing tooth and scraped face.

Ironically enough having one toilet down, 9 times out of 10 makes a person suddenly have to go, but they can’t make it to the other one in time. Yeah, I have the world’s most ironic bladder. 😛

The next order of business was repairing the toilet (as this also conveniently occurred 48 hours before the biggest family gathering of the year….which my parents were hosting….in their *house…….where a toilet seat just broke). So it was decided a new toilet seat was going to have to be shopped for and installed tut de suite (right away). After several hours, the shopping party returned victorious with a bright and shiny new toilet seat.

Now, before the toilet seat debacle, I had planned to make gingerbread houses with the Littles that same afternoon for our annual Christmas Project. They were therefore given a choice, either they could decorate gingerbread houses with Auntie, or they could troop upstairs to watch (and possibly assist) in a toilet seat installation.

Can you guess what they all chose??

Yep. All of the biggest Littles got to take a turn at turning the wrench, taking off the old seat, and putting on the new. The 2-year-old was so excited he exclaimed, “I fix the potty!!” Fun was had by all.

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This makes me realize that maybe next year I need to think outside the box when planning my annual project with the Littles. So next year our project will entail learning how to change the oil in a car and replacing flat tires.

Stay tuned. 😀

*I stand corrected. Since the rough draft of this blog was written, I was reminded that, due to the increasing size of our extended family, the gathering this year would take place at a local church.

Where all the toilets were in working order.

**KA-POW!**

The following story was originally going to be included in my upcoming book, but I’m not sure where it would fit, so I thought I’d share it here.

Glasses. They are not something that all kids want. Especially a kid like me who constantly sat on them where they had to be replaced. With my allowance (Maybe. That part is a bit fuzzy 😉 ).

But on this particular night, I was SO thankful that the Lord gave me crappy eyesight in need of glasses.

The year was sometime between 2007 and 2010. I was living in a small apartment in Louisville KY. When I say small, I mean small. My stove and oven unit was the size of a postage stamp. Ok, that was a slight exaggeration, but not too far off.

Anyway, my kitchen counter/sink/stove area was so small I only had one sink to wash and rinse dishes, which didn’t leave much room when dishes piled up……

And washing dishes is not my favorite activity, so they tend to pile up.

The only way I was able to do dishes when I let them pile up, was to put the extra dirty dishes on the stove as I washed them by hand.

One night I needed to use the stove top, so I moved some dishes to the back burner and turned on the front burner to boil water.

Except that the burner I turned on was in the back and under a pile of dishes. I realized this after smelling something weird and realizing what I had done. Without thinking, I began to furiously take each plate off the pile and put it in the sink.

With each plate taken off the burner, the next plate grew progressively hotter, so I started grabbing them at fast as I could.

Big mistake. Big, HUGE mistake.

As I grabbed the last plate to put it in the sink it SHATTERED into my hand, into my face (narrowly missing my eyeballs–Thanks horrible eyesight for shielding my eyes from flying glass with thick a** glasses (Also, thank you dad for my eyesight 😉 ) and all over my kitchen floor. (Seriously, I was picking up glass shards in my kitchen for DAYS after “the incident.”)

So kids, if you fail that eye exam and are forced to get glasses, be grateful.

For you will be able to be reckless with plates. Apparently.

Go you!  😀

LAFF: We Should Have Named Him Clifford…….

At the time we adopted Riley he was 2 lbs. That was in May.

Fast forward to his last vet appointment in August and he had doubled in size.

It is now December and although I don’t have his exact weight, I can feel he’s gained even more weight.

At this rate I’m afraid he’s going to be WAY bigger than Clifford by the time he’s a year old (which will be in April. APRIL. Yeah. We’re not there yet. 😛 ).

Seriously, check this out:

Here is our boy sitting next to an actual regular sized house. Obviously this is an aerial view.

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Happy Weekend! 😀

Lulabelle’s Gift Guide To Things You Can’t Believe Are a Thing But Might Be Tempted to Buy Anyway….

One week to go before Christmas and if you are a parent, grandparent/guardian of a child or children who are driving you crazy, there is still hope for their behavior to turn around. If they still believe in Santa, you can now put his phone number in your phone and threaten to call him and give him a bad report. Now back in the day all you had to do was put Santa Clause in your contacts and show your kid the entry. It didn’t matter that the actual number went to a random “**bong bong bong!** We’re sorry, your call cannot be completed as dialed…” nonsense. It would work like a charm.

Today’s kids are a bit more suspicious. This is why this time around when you dial this specific number, you actually get a message from Santa where you can leave your wishlist. Here are the digits: 951-262-3062.

The other night Chad and I attempted to finish our Christmas Gift List with a quick trip to the store. We weren’t successful in completing our list, but we did run across a few products that had us scratching our heads and wondering if we were getting Punk’d.

I’m still not sure. Here is the list of items………

Make Your Own Gross Poop!!: I saw this with my own eyeballs, but didn’t get a picture (I was apparently too much in shock), but you can find it here. This is essentially a kit where you can make fake poop as a prank. For some reason the kit includes fake corn kernels and tiny plastic flies.

Really when I saw this I thought to myself, why not just cut out the middle man and……Never mind! :-O

Movin’ on…….

Tom’s of Maine Deodorant 24 Hour Odor Protection-Apricot: Ok, this one I found (and actually used) a few months ago. Now, I’m not one to say that you can’t give toiletries as stocking stuffers. I will accept deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, Ex-Lax…..I mean, why not? You get it for Christmas then you don’t have to buy it.

Score!

So I purchased this deodorant several months ago when I ran out of my regular Arm and Hammer deodorant. I found out years ago that I’m allergic to antiperspirant, which is found in most women’s deodorant options. So I have to use men’s deodorant that doesn’t make me smell like a guy.

That severely limits what I can use.

I couldn’t find my regular deodorant one day so I picked up Tom’s of Main 24-Hour Odor Protection in Apricot. It smelled WONDERFUL, but there was one large drawback.

That 24 Hour Odor Protection claim?? Complete malarkey! It lasted at most an hour or two. Now I do admit that it may be my specific body chemistry that made this product fail, but we’ll never know because I used the entire tube and am not going to repurchase it.

That’ll show ’em. 😛

This last item I saw on YouTube a few months ago. And it’s probably the weirdest on the list:

Super Catnip Crazy Pants: I feel like I just translated into English some obscure item from Sanskrit or something. These are a pair of pants made out of crinkly material that your cat can crawl through. You can also wear them. No I’m not kidding.

All of these sentences are true. See for yourself : (Review starts at the 5:33 mark).

Of course you probably have a couple questions. Let me address them:

1. Why is there a cat toy in the shape of PANTS you can WEAR?? Yeah, I’m stumped.

Ok, you may have only had one question.

So that’s it! I hope this helps you whittle down your christmas lists.

Ho, ho, ho!!

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And this, boys and girls, is why we don’t have Super Catnip Crazy Pants! 😛

The One Where Lulabelle Tells You Actual Things She Said Today…….

Before we get into the topic of the day, let me do one item of housekeeping. I got this question the other day on Facebook and I wanted to address it here.

Question: “Do you know that it appears to be snowing on your blog??”
Answers: “Yes. Yes I do. It’s a feature that was rolled out last year that you could enable. It makes snow appear on your blog through the entire month of December.

I have no idea how to turn it off. 😀

So that clears that up. On to today’s blog…..Please note that some of these things were said in the middle of writing this blog for the sole purpose of writing them here and not making me out to be a liar (It’s close to Christmas and I wanna stay on the nice list 😉 ), but are still within the realm of likely to happen. 😛

So our life got exponentially more entertaining in May when we adopted Riley Bean the kitten into our family. He’s cute, cuddly and we learn new things he can do every day. One of which is annoying our other cat, his sister. Basically being an annoying little brother.

Here is just a sampling of what went down today:

1. “Stop eating that!” (To be fair, I say this every day. Every. Freakin’. Day. 😛 )

2. “Well of course she body slammed you, bro. You woke her up when you used her as a ladder to get to the top of the couch.” As I was saying this I simultaneously swelled with pride that Phoebe got in a couple good smacks to Riley’s head.

3. “I understand you found a bug on the wall next to mommy’s side of the bed, but climbing onto my face to get a better view while I’m trying to take a nap is not something I appreciated. Especially the part where you squished my eyeball with your foot.”

4. “What did you JUST do??” (This was after I heard a noise from the kitchen and when I went to investigate, I found the upper cabinet open above the stove. I don’t remember opening it. 😛 )

5. “You know, you really CAN go at least one day without humping my leg!” #HeThinksHesADog

Cheers! 😀

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This happens on a regular basis. I guess he’s honing his parroting skills. Oh, and the stain on the carpet behind him is the result of an unfortunate laundry detergent incident that I may chronicle in another blog or my upcoming book. It happened because it’s us. 😀