Trash to Treasure: How to Make Decorative Farmhouse Bottles

The new year has been treating me well so far. New goals and ambitions aplenty. I’ve been trying to make my resolutions small but attainable goals. I’m planning on reevaluating my goals after a few months to see if I need to lower them, or if I’ve been doing them no problem and make them more challenging. One of my goals is doing one thing a week to beautify my house. Week one was redoing some caulking (which in and of itself I need to fix ’cause I did a pretty poor job, haha). This week my goal is a much smaller one, making some cute decorations to match my aesthetic. Now, any of you that follow me on Pinterest might notice I have a board called “Aesthetic”, it’s full of beautiful rustic/farmhouse rooms. One thing that many of those rooms have in common, is that they re-purpose old stuff to make it new. What a great way to reuse things! So this week I’m going to tell you about how I’ve been made decorative glass bottles.

how to decorate bottles, decorative bottles, stylish bottles, barnhouse decor, farmhouse decor, industrial decor

This project is great because it’s so simple. It doesn’t take much time at all! It’s tasteful, elegant and could be used in any room in your house. You could decorate a nursery with it, or even give it as a gift.

I am a big fan of white and gold. Those two colours seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. I am especially keen on matte/flat white. Something about the lack of sheen is just so appealing to me. Plus, pairing it with a metallic makes the metallic pop even more! In this project, I’m using spray paint, but you could just as easily use chalk paint or a different canned paint of your choice.

Supplies:

Your choice of paint
Empty glass bottle (Wine bottles are great for this)
(optional) Pencil
(optional) Paper
(optional) Scissors
(optional) Stencil
(optional) Metallic Pen
(optional) Small Paint Brush for designs

First things first, you need an area to paint in that won’t mess up your house or yard. If it’s a windy day and you’re using spray paint, you might be in for a bad time. You could paint your bottles inside of a large cardboard box, or over top of newspapers or a drop cloth, to keep things from getting too messy.

how to decorate bottles, decorative bottles, stylish bottles, barnhouse decor, farmhouse decor, industrial decor

If you have a dowel or something else you can have the bottle(s) upside down on, it makes it easier. If not, you’ll just have to take another pass once it’s dry and flip it over to cover the bottle completely. And honestly, once it’s dry you can call it a day. Or if you’re like me, you can do a little bit more to add more character.

Ways to Add Character:

– wrap rope around it
– wrap burlap around the centre
– write words on it
– draw images on it
– leave a portion transparent in a shape (could even put a photo or other image in the bottle that can be seen through the transparency)
– distress it

For mine, I added a white heart to the gold bottle and wrote ‘Love’ in gold on the white bottle. This way my bottles compliment each other. If you choose to go the same route as me, you should sketch out your lettering on paper before committing to it. After you’ve decided on lettering that you like, sketch it out on the bottle and trace over it with your marker or paintbrush. And just like that, the typographic decorative bottle is done.

how to decorate bottles, decorative bottles, stylish bottles, barnhouse decor, farmhouse decor, industrial decor

For the one with an image (in my case the heart), you could either freehand it or make a stencil (or use a stencil you’ve found, ain’t no shame in it!). I used paper for my stencil, but wax or parchment paper might be better. Once you’ve got the stencil in place, paint in the desired area and allow the paint to dry a bit but not all the way before removing the stencil.

how to decorate bottles, decorative bottles, stylish bottles, barnhouse decor, farmhouse decor, industrial decor

I could go into more detail for the other ways to do this, but hey, I think I might be able to make another few posts out of this one if I don’t. Hahaha!

Do you guys plan on making this or have you made something else similar? Do you have other ideas on ways to reuse glass bottles? Or if you have anything you’d like me to attempt a tutorial at, please let me know

Things My Husband Has Said During Paw Patrol

Do you ever have it where you are actually intently watching what your kid is? Because we’ve seen all the episodes of Paw Patrol on Netflix at least three times, some episodes more. It’s actually a pretty cute show with great lessons, it has pretty decent models and animation, too. It handles topics like fire safety, environmentalism, and animal safety. For a show that is a clear toy push, it makes a great effort to be genuinely entertaining for children without resorting to fart jokes.

Dad Jokes, Husband, Skye, Zuma, Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Rocky, paw patrol

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you buy something, I get a commission at no additional cost to you.

With Christmas coming around the corner, if any of you parents want to buy some paw patrol gifts for your kids there are tons out there. I got Cog a couple of Paw Patrol TY plushies and some Paw Patrol Undies (I’m hoping it will get her excited to potty train). They have some really big play sets, some little tiny toys, and DVDs too. No shortage of Paw Patrol love from the toy stores.

Last year we were walking around and I knew of Paw Patrol, but we’d never watched it. My husband and I had a pretty amusing conversation while walking past some Christmas displays.

Me: Gee, that paw patrol sure is getting popular
Gear: Papa Troll?
Me: *gesturing to a giant inflated Chase* yeah, Paw Patrol.
Gear: Oh, that’s papa troll?
Me: Yeah, it’s a pretty popular kids cartoon, I think it’s on Netflix.
Gear: Ooooh, PAW Patrol, I thought you were saying “Papa Troll”.
Me: ???? I was saying Paw Patrol!
Gear: No, Papa Troll, like, a troll that’s a dad.
Me: WHO’S ON FIRST?
Gear: Precisely!

With season four of Paw Patrol just arriving on Canadian Netflix, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some of the silly things that my sweetie Gear has said while watching.

Things My Husband Has Said While Watching Paw Patrol

  • Is the Paw Patrol Government funded?
  • Do People in this town not have jobs? Shouldn’t there be someone whose job it is to fix a broken windmill?
  • Why Zuma, why are you even there?
  • Why isn’t Skye pissed off that everyone is able to fly now?
  • The mayor is kind of awful.
  • Why don’t all the other dogs just wait until Marshall is in the elevator?
  • Do they not have stairs in the Lookout?
  • How come the dogs can talk but the cats can’t?
  • It kind of makes me uncomfortable when the dogs are getting pet by the people.
  • [While walking through a toy store] WHAT? They all have boats now? Zuma is even more useless.
  • It’s weird that these dogs that are basically people are forced to sleep outside.
  • Why are they always excited about camping? they sleep outside all the time anyways!
  • I feel like the mayor has a thing for Ryder.
  • How come Marshall and Zuma aren’t girls? they need more girl dogs. Everest hardly counts. She’s not even part of the main crew.
  • Why do they even eat dog food? They eat human food so much.
  • Kind of funny that some are genuine rescue animals when others are just general labour.
  • Does Ryder not have parents?
  • Ryder looks like such a tool.
  • Is Mayor Humdinger the only resident of Foggy Bottom?
  • (Me: Why don’t they arrest Mayor Humdinger?) Because there are no police in Adventure Bay. (Me: What about Chase?) He’s a freaking DOG.

Do you watch Paw Patrol? Have any silly quips? Tell me about them in the comments! I’d love to read what you all have to say.

DIY: How to Make a Wooden Ring

Last month my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary which, for those of you who don’t know, is the wood anniversary. So a month or so ahead of time I came up with my plan. I mentioned to my dad that I wanted to make a ring. My dad works in construction so his garage has a plethora of tools. He chopped up an old dowel and gave me a few disks which he drill pressed into for me, and lent me his dremel. This was the start of my beautiful creation.

Wood Anniversary, wedding ring, gift, wooden ring

Supplies

Wood
Sandpaper rough and fine grit
Dremel with Sanding Mandrel
Drill Press or a Drill with a Hole Saw
Stain*
Waterproofing*
Wood Glue**

*I mean, you could go without but it’ll totally be better with.
**Just in case it cracks after all your hard work

How to make a wooden ring

Starting Off Your Ring

So, I used a dowel, and in a dowel the grain is vertical. You could use a dowel like I did, because it was pretty easy to start off with, but I feel the ring could be sturdier if the grain was horizontal. That being said, I don’t do woodwork that often, so who knows.

Anyhow, first off, cut a hole into your dowel (or other wood. You do you, bra). Don’t cut to the exact ring size that you need because you will need to do a lot of sanding and fine tuning. One of the things about using wood to make rings too, is that you can’t make them too thin. If they become too thin, they become brittle and liable to crack.

I unfortunately had to get my husbands to try the ring on a bunch to make sure it would fit, so the surprise was spoiled. But I’ve since learned a clever trick. You can use the outside of a socket to gauge ring size fairly well. They come in so many sizes, that if you have a set of them there’s sure to be one in the size you need. So if you aren’t making a surprise for anyone you can just slide a ring overtop to see which socket to use. If it is a surprise try and ask someone the ring size, or sneak it away from them and use measuring tape to gauge it.

Sanding

This is honestly the biggest part of this project. I sanded forEVER working on this thing. I used the dremel with the sanding mandrel attachment. It’s a great tool to use because you can adjust the speed. I used it on a lower setting because I was a little bit afraid of sanding my fingers in a bad way, plus it’s a tad noisy and I could only work on it during Cog’s nap-time.

Gear and I have pretty different ring sizes, but I found it very helpful to keep trying it on as I went to see how the width and thickness looked on a finger. After all the sanding and beveling, the width of the band was approximately 1cm and the thickness of the band was about 2mm.

How to make a wooden wedding ring

Stain

The stain that I used was quite a dark wash. The instructions on it said to do two coats, but I only used one. After one coat and allowing it to dry fully (<-Important), it stained exactly where I wanted it to. Lighter stains would probably be best with two coats though. Different stains have different directions though, so follow yours and make sure to do so in a ventilated area.

Waterproofing

Now, I tried to do this on the cheap with clear nail polish. You know what doesn’t work well at all? Nail polish. I’ve found a blog post written by someone who makes wooden jewelry for a living. You really should check the link out as the writer gives a few different recommendations based on different needs. I don’t feel confident giving a recommendation as my way of waterproofing didn’t work out. Do your research and find what works for the type of wood that you’ve chosen; be sure to pick something that is safe to be on skin, or is food grade.

 

If you think you’d rather make a wooden ring a different way I’ve found a guy on youtube that has a very different technique from mine. It really depends on what you want out of your ring.

Let me know if there is anything else you’d like my amateur self make. And super let me know if you’ve tried this out, and how it turned out for you!

Halloween Party Food to Satisfy Any Ghoul

Since I was… I don’t know 15? I’ve always thrown Halloween parties for my friends. Minus last year (because I had a really small baby and was just not up to the task), and one year where someone else threw a party. So at present that’s at least 10 years of Halloween parties. Now, I’m not a bash thrower. My guest list has never had more than 12 people, because beyond that it’s too hard to control. Everyone’s favourite part of any Halloween Party is usually the party food. Generally, I stick to potlucks because no one really sticks around for clean up, and it’s always been BYOB.

treats, candy, baking, food, snacks, party food.

A little insight to my Halloweens: My parties always have a certain structure. It might seem predictable, but it’s what keeps my friends looking forward to it every year. A little predictability makes people more at ease, because they know what to expect. We always have some video games set up so some guests play while others mingle. There is always a Classic Horror or a ‘B’ horror flick. ‘Spooky Scary Skeletons’ somehow always ends up being played. And finally, there is always a mountain of food. I used to mostly have frozen pizzas because it’s easier to appease 12 different people with different tastes when just about everyone likes pizza. But as my parties have shrunk, I’ve been cooking a bit more.

This year will be the first Halloween Party I throw with Cog! So, I’ve found party food recipes for everyone! I’ve also found easy treats that aren’t too unhealthy for Cog to munch on too.

Snacks: Because Life Ain’t All About the Sugar!

Pumpkin Seeds

If you’ve never had pumpkin seeds, where have you BEEN, man? Pumpkin seeds are where it’s at and are probably one of my favourite Halloween snacks. If you have yet to gut your pumpkin, you know what to do now. Waste not want not, people!

Pumpkin Shaped Cheese Ball

I made this delicious treat last year to bring to my neighbors party! It tastes perfect on crackers and chips. It’s got the perfect amount of kick to it, making it a snack to taste over and over. Be sure to keep a spread knife nearby as this thick cheese ball goes on heavy!

Tangerine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

These cute little numbers are easy as pie to make. No screwing up this recipe! I’ve heard of the banana ghosts being called “Boo-Nanas” before and somehow I think that makes these little goodies even more adorable. What I love about cute little ideas like this is that you know exactly what you are getting. Simple and sweet.

Orange Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups

This idea is absolutely adorable. A really nice way to dress up fruit for a party. At Halloween parties, I always find, at some point your mouth has had enough of the candy, and is ready for something good and healthy and these festive little guys are the perfect way to enjoy it.

Treats: Because What’s Halloween Without Sugar?

Candy Corn Fudge

I made this goodie on Thursday and it is gives you an awesome sugar rush! Perfect for people with a big sweet-tooth. The instructions didn’t really say the best way to cut this, but if you cut half inch strips out of the fudge, you can then cut the triangles for the perfect candy corn shape out of that.

Tip: When cutting, do so on wax or parchment paper. It stuck like crazy to my cutting board.

Vampire Hot Chocolate

So I made this tasty beverage, and my mouth was so happy. My husband clutched his hand to his chest and went “OHHH!” about six times. Gear is a bit of a chocoholic, so he nearly flipped for this yummy drink. I skipped out on the sugary blood drippings because I honestly don’t have any cups that it would look cool on so I thought “Why bother”, haha. This drink is a really cute way to ramp up the Halloween spirit.

Oreo Witches Hats

Ok, so these treats are just about the cutest little things. Oreo’s and strawberries to make witch hats? Who would have thought! My store didn’t have black melting wafers that the recipe called for, so I used dark chocolate and it turned out pretty ok. They tasted soooo yummy!

Dinner: Because Snack Food Isn’t a Meal

Toxic Waste Mac and Cheese

This recipe is actually very similar to the one we use on a regular basis for our homemade mac-n-cheese. There are just with a few extra spices! And, I mean, ours is usually less green. HA. I used Broccoli instead of cauliflower, and it added a brighter pop. but if you want a more consistent colour, go with the cauliflower. You could use an old coffee tin, or a cauldron for display, The blogger who made this used an empty paint tin.

 

Check out my other Halloween Posts:
How to Keep Your Kids Safe This Halloween
Is My Halloween Costume Racist?
The Absolute Best Things to Do in October

 

Let me know if you guys try any of these recipes!

The Absolute Best Things to do in October

This season is so beautiful with all the leaves turning, and the air becoming crisp. Not to mention being able to bundle up in cute sweaters and the aroma of pumpkin spice wafting through the air. Is there anything not to love about October?

fall, halloween, october, pumpkin, apple, haunted, spooky

October is one of my favourite months of the year, so much so that I even got married in it. This year my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary! He got me a bonsai tree, and I made him a wooden ring. We’ve been rechecking our budget and saving up for Christmas so we didn’t do anything crazy. We went bowling, had sushi, and bought some tins from David’s Tea (They have my favourite, ‘Stormy Night’ in stock right now).

Anyways, I’ll get to the part y’all came here for. The fun things to do!

Check Out Local Haunted Houses

Some people in your neighbourhood might set them up. I’ve seen Scouts set up haunted houses before. Here in Vancouver our theme park (Playland) does Fright Nights where they open up various haunted houses and rides. Basically, other than ones set up by your neighbours, you might be able to check out the newspaper or online for ones in your area. If not, I’d bet you could find an escape room with a haunted theme.

Find the Best PSL

Joke all you will, but Pumpkin Spice Lattes are where it’s at. Don’t harsh a flavour. Finding the best Pumpkin Spice Latte is honestly miraculous. Once you find your dream one, you can skip anything less than perfect. I don’t have any independent cafe’s (total bummer) in my suburb so I haven’t had the chance to try any small coffee shop PSL’s. But as far as chain shops here’s my rating: Tim Hortons PSL is god-awful. McDonald’s is pretty alright. Starbucks has the best of the three. Knowing is half the battle.

Seasonal Photos

Fall is one of the best seasons to take photos. The colours are so vibrant! It’s perfect for scenery shots, or a family photo shoot. I took a super cute picture of my little Cog playing in the fallen leaves, it is absolutely adorable! The next two suggestions I have are also perfect places to take photos.

Apple Picking in an Orchard

I’ve not actually done this myself yet but I plan to go this year! My neighbours went last year and made delicious apple-y goodies. They made pie, apple butter, applesauce, apple cider. It all tasted so good! And the picturesque scenery of an orchard would be perfect to capture some beautiful memories in photos.

Pumpkin Patch

I know buying a pumpkin from the store is just so much more convenient, but nothing beats going to a pumpkin patch. If you buy from the store you miss out on hay bale rides, barn animals, the awesome photo ops. It makes finding a pumpkin more of an adventure when you have to run around a field to find the perfect one. Also, when you go to a store, your options are so limited. If you’ve got a super cool idea of what to carve, and you need just the right shape, your best bet is a pumpkin patch.

Bake Pumpkin Seeds

What better thing to do after gutting your pumpkin than to enjoy the proverbial fruits of your labour? Get all your (washed) seeds in a bowl, drizzle a little oil over-top, add some salt, and toss it in the oven. Easy-peasy and a nice snack.

Leaf Crunching

It’s really all about the simple pleasures in life. To me, one of the best things in autumn is leaf crunching. Going for a walk through a trail, breathing in the crisp air and leaves crunching underfoot. Is there anything quite so satisfying? My little one is big enough to join her dad and I on our annual leaf crunching adventures and it is honestly the best. I feel like October is the best month for this. It might be because here in Vancouver it’s pretty much guaranteed to be soggy past October.

Find the Best-Decorated House

Now, I know people don’t quite go all out for Halloween like they do at Christmas time, but you can find some pretty neat houses! There’s one house in California that decks out their house every year, you can always find videos of it on youtube. But there are sure to be plenty you can find just by driving around your neighbourhood. If there are some really nice ones they might even highlight them in your local newspaper.

Inktober

Doesn’t matter if you are a little late to the game, Inktober is about stretching your artistic muscles. The goal is to have a picture done in ink for every day of October, but no one is going to scold you if you skip a few days. There is an official website that has prompts if you have a hard time coming up with ideas of your own. If you have kids you can get them in on it too! I’ve seen someone post prompts suggesting easier things like pumpkins, leaves and ghosts for smaller kids. Honestly, you can even take the “ink” part with a grain of salt. Some people just use pencil, others use watercolour, others paint. Take what you want from it and make it yours. Inktober is all about fun!

 

Anything you love doing this season? Let us know in the comments!!

Recipe Round-up: 6 Cheesy Recipes to Sneak in Veggies

hidden vegetables, hidden veggies, sneaky veggies, cheese, cheesy, recipes

Lately, I’ve been having a little bit of a problem. A veggie problem. Or to be more specific a little-monkey-that-refuses-to-eat-her-veggies problem. It drives me absolutely bonkers when I try to cook a well-balanced meal and she tosses it all on the floor. If she so much as sees a vegetable in her meal, she won’t even give it a test bite. It’s already black-listed as far as she’s concerned. Sometimes if Cog doesn’t notice the vegetable right away, and it does actually manage to make it in her mouth, she separates whatever else is in her mouth and spits out only the vegetable.

That being said, this problem is not with my daughter alone. Both Gear and I also need to sneak veggies in for ourselves from time to time. Usually, we just toss some kale or spinach into a smoothie. But as far as meals go, we are big lovers of comfort food. Big hearty meals loaded with flavour, and well, not that many vegetables to be quite honest. I’m a big fan of meals where you hardly notice that there are any vegetables at all. If we can’t taste them, it’s so much easier to eat them. And, if I’m being perfectly frank, it’s nice to have the veggies in a meal rather than having green smoothies all the time.

You can only blend cauliflower into mashed potatoes so many times before it gets boring, so here’s a few recipes that I’ve found leave you wanting more.

Creamy Avocado Spinach Pasta – Jo Cooks

I’m a big pasta-head, I can hardly get enough of it. This recipe takes things to the next level. It’s is so smooth and creamy. And the parmesan in the sauce? MUAH! beautiful! The recipe calls for spaghetti or fettuccini, but I think that if you wanted to make it a veg loaded recipe, you could even make zucchini noodles for it!

Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet – Primavera Kitchen

Every time I make this I’m so happy with how easy and tasty it is! I especially love that it only uses one pan. My husband loves it, I love it, and most importantly my picky toddler gobbles it all up. Now, the veggies might not be super concealed in this recipe, but when it’s all mixed up and stuck together with ooey-gooey mozzarella, who could say no?

Cheezy Zucchini Tots – Lil’ Luna

These tiny tots positively BURST with flavour. My mom had cooked these a little while back, and I begged her to send me the recipe. I’ve got to say, these are the tastiest dang tots I’ve ever eaten in my life (yes, that includes ‘tater tots). You can have these as a delightful little snack, or a great side to have with breakfast, brunch or brinner.

Cauliflower Cheddar Fritters – Gimme Delicious

 This is yummy with a capital Y-U-M. Gear took one bite, looked at me and said “You have to make these again!”. When I made these I didn’t properly get all the water out of the cauliflower so they fell apart a little bit, but they still tasted just as awesome. Be sure to blot the oil off of them after to keep it light!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese – Little Miss Kate

This recipe comes from a fellow Canadian (and mom) blogger! So first off, mac n’ cheese? Yum. Butternut Squash? Double yum. Put ’em together and you’ve got a tasty dream come true that your little one won’t think twice about.

Crockpot Creamy Taco Chicken Chili – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Tacos are pretty much the best thing ever, but when you make taco chili? I’m pretty sure that’s the best thing ever. This recipe is loaded with good-for-you ingredients but doesn’t taste like it. No kid will question it.

 

Have any favourite hidden veggie recipes? share it with us in the comments!

15 Awesome and Unusual Date Ideas

relationships, dating, date ideas

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It’s been awhile since Gear and I have had the chance to get out and go on a date. I feel like we’ve been stuck in an “I don’t know what do you want to do”, or “Let’s just go to a movie” rut. The kidlet takes up a lot of our energy so that’s usually how we default. We’ve just been plum out of ideas or gusto to do anything. Dates are so important to maintaining a relationship though. Just taking time to focus on each other, and do something fun or silly together is positively peachy. So I’ve been working on some ideas to put in our date night queue.

A date can create a moment that you’ll cherish in your memory, and strengthen your bond. The thing is, it doesn’t even have to be with a romantic partner. Friend dates are important too. So if you are dating/married/single/whatever any one of these dates are a great time.

Pillow/Blanket fort

Drape up blankets or spare curtains, hang them on any high surface you can! You aren’t limited to throwing a blanket over top of chairs like you were when you were a kid! Got a floor lamp? Bookshelf? Toss a blanket over it! If you’ve got a hook in your ceiling you’ve pretty much got it made. Clothes pins will be your best friend for this. Set up some fairy lights to set the whimsical mood. Heap quilts and pillows on the floor to make a comfy nest. What do you do when your fort is all done? Set up a flick and cozy up together with some popcorn. Ramp it up by making it an indoor camping event. Roast marshmallows over the stove, make some s’mores cones, or use flashlights and tell scary stories! It’s honestly sooooo fun!

Safety Tip: Don’t use candles in the blanket fort, if a blanket comes loose you really don’t want a fire.

Shoot Pool

Ok, so this might not seem that unusual, but it’s definitely a good time! I feel like people don’t really think of pool when they think of a date. But it’s excellent because you get to be playfully competitive, and able to have a conversation. There’s also something to be said about the atmosphere around pubs and pool halls. Not to mention there’s usually some good food to be had. The bonus is that if you shoot pool on a first date, it’s in a good public space that you’ll be able to bail from pretty easily if things go south.

Go to the Playground

Let out your inner kid! I mean, if you’ve got kids this might just be a bad idea cause you probably hit the park all the time, but if you don’t, it’s so fun. Pushing each other on the swings, sliding down slides, attempting the monkey bars with your weak grown-up arms that don’t have nearly the strength that you had when you were eight… It’s such a good time! Top it off with a slushie and some Dunk-a-roos to really feel like a kid again.

Dress Up Fancy and Hit the town

I don’t even mean going to fancy places or anything. Just walk around town and take a bazillion photos. Go to the least formal places you can think of, just for fun. Go to like, Chuck-E-Cheese in your fancy clothes. Stand in a ball-pit, in a semi-formal dress or suit. You’ll look like weirdos but You’ll be laughing too hard to care.

Themed Restaurant

I once went to a restaurant in Vancouver called The Dark Room. The gimmick is that all the light is blocked out, you can’t even see what you are eating. It was such an interesting experience and trying to share food was hilarious, and it added a whole layer of fun having to feel around the table. There are themed restaurants all over the world from rude cafes to restaurants where you use sign language to order. Eating out at a place like this ups your dinner date to an experience, rather than just a dinner.

Bake-Off

See who can bake the best of a certain treat. Y’all have to make… I don’t know, pineapple upside-down cake or something. Then judge whose turned out better. If you are competitive and can’t admit defeat, find someone else to judge. Loser has to deal with the fact that they are the inferior baker (and wash the dishes).

Pick Outfits

Either raid each other’s closets or go to the mall. Pick out clothes that you think they’d look good in, or really bad in (just for funsies). Take pics of the worst offenders for the scrapbook, and for the best ones, you wear them to the next date.

Paint Night At A Bar

Another one that isn’t all that unusual, I know. But it’s still not your standard date. Paint nights have been increasing in popularity the past few years. Not only do you get to have a great time, and let your creative juices flow, but you also gain a memento to remember the evening by.

Come Up With the Next Blockbuster

Some of the times I enjoy most with my husband is when we talk about universes and characters that we are making up for comic books that we are working on. There are so many awesome ideas to be had, and coming up with them together and creating a world together is pretty amazing,

Read Craigslist Personal Ads Together

Ok, so, have you ever read the personals or Missed Connections? Some of them are a flipping riot. It’s even better when you do the voices when you read them out. Brings that extra level of sass to the table that makes it an A+ time.

Black-Tie Bowling

This is something one of my sisters did with her friends yeeeaaars ago. They all wore their prom dresses and tuxes to the bowling alley. This was some time after they all had graduated, and it wasn’t anywhere near prom season, so they seemed totally out of place. Added an extra level of difficulty for those in the gowns.

Tell Bad Jokes or Puns While Trying to Befriend Crows

I’ve gotta put one outlandish thing in here, right?? So, I have this thing with crows. I think they are so fascinating. There’ve been so many studies on them that show their extra level of cool (Cracked has a pretty neat post on some crow facts). But befriending birds takes patience, so you might as well tell bad jokes while you’re at it. The worse the better. In fact, you should just murder the jokes (get it?).

Debate Team

Sometimes arguing can be fun, and it’s good to get it out in a controlled way, where nobody is attacking anyone. There’s a game called Superfight which is honestly such a fun game. When I worked at a hobby shop I recommended this one to people all the time. Of course, you don’t have to buy a game to debate, you can pick topics and go wild.

Netflix & Doodle

Not diddle, DOODLE! Although, who am I to tell you not to diddle if you want to. In any case, toss a show or movie up on Netflix and draw together. One thing that’s always fun (to me at least), is drawing different body parts. Split up the drawing into segments and don’t let each other see what you are doing, but give guidelines to know where they are supposed to pick up.

Go Thrifting

Check out thrift shops, garage sales, estate sales or, if you are broke, dumpster dive. I know dumpster diving probably doesn’t scream “good time”, but I knew someone once who went behind a fancy furniture store turns out the store was getting rid of a two-hundred dollar mirror because there was a scuff on it. Some stores toss out display models for old products as well.

Have any fun, weird ideas to share? Let us know in the comments!

Stretch Marks Look Great, Stop Telling Me Otherwise

Stretch Marks, Body Image, Self Confidence

One thing that bothers me to no end (Even more than people who ask when you are going to have kids), is people who offer you solutions to ‘problems’ that you have never shown to have a problem with. Especially in regards to one’s own appearance. I have had several people tell me things that I can do to get rid of my stretch marks. Or that I should reduce the appearance of them (more like “I’d like to reduce the appearance of you, jerk”). But never have I asked anyone for these ‘helpful’ suggestions. In fact, I don’t mind my stretch marks at all, I am proud of them!

When I was pregnant, Gear did a fantastic job of making me confident in my skin. He would tell me that my stretch marks made me look powerful; I looked like I had so much energy within that it was like my body could no longer contain it. He made sure that I knew my marks were a thing of beauty, a mark of my accomplishment. I brought a human into this world, and my stretch marks are my badge of honour.

If someone is fine with their appearance, telling them what to do to improve it is super duper rude. More importantly than that, it can make someone who has been totally fine with themselves lose confidence. Even if someone is mentioning that they hate how their tiger stripes look. the best thing to do is to comment on how awesome they look. If you really must give someone tips to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, first tell them there is no shame in stretch marks, but if it really bothers them, you’ve heard that [blank] works.

If someone is proudly rocking their stretch marks, you should give them a big grin, and tell them that they look great today.

Mom Life is Having Infinity Laundry But Nothing to Wear

#Momic – Closet 51

Momic, #Momic, bay 51, indiana jones parody, parenting, baby clothes, mom life

Back when Cog was only a few months old, she was like taking care of a very cute, very needy potato. When she would nap or have tummy time, I would doodle. And when I doodle I tend to draw myself a lot.

What can I say? I’m a little vain.

I began making little comics about my experience as a mom. Though, I didn’t end up making a whole lot of them in the first year, only a few, probably because my kid didn’t really sleep. I suspect I might have some better content for jokes in the toddler years though.

Anyhow, some context for this comic:

The thing about having a new baby is, you have no clothes that fit. All the stuff you wore pre-pregnancy doesn’t fit. Bouncing back to pre-baby weight is really hard (and people put way too much value on getting your old body back). All your maternity clothes are now too loose, which is fine for shirts, whatever if it’s baggy. But now those pants are falling off. On the other side though, from the gifts received and those outfits you just had to buy, your baby now has a seemingly endless supply of baby clothes.

Love means wearing the same pair of jeans for 3 weeks and using baby wipes to clean off the spit-up.

Can anyone guess the reference in the bottom panel? A hint is in the comic title!

11 Hip Songs to Dance to With Your Toddler

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Last Saturday morning was a morning just like any other. Gear groggily brewed the coffee and vacuumed, while I nursed Cog and played with her until the floor was clean. Then we drank our java as she played. Everything was business as usual until Cog decided that she wanted to climb up onto daddy’s lap. Not for snuggles. No, she was on a mission. She wanted, nay, needed to grab the game remotes (We stash our controllers on top of the couch). We have our Wii-U controller set up to be our TV Remote. She grabbed it with gusto and somehow managed to turn on the TV. She decided she was bored with that remote then decided to play with the PlayStation remote, she turned on the PS4, navigated to Spotify, and turned on some tunes.

A few moments after setting up the jams, she seemed really irritated and squirmy. She needed to get down. So Gear set her down and the second her feet hit the floor she started dancing. Cog just loves music, the second she hears something resembling a beat or rhythm she’s gotta move! We walked past a doll playing very quiet music in Walmart the other day, I could hardly even hear it. But when she swayed back and forth, I knew that music must’ve been coming from somewhere.

I can’t help but toe tap to tunes too, so it’s no question where she gets the need to groove. The only downside to our mutual love of dancing is that it can be a bit tricky to find songs that a parent and toddler can jam to and both enjoy. I mean, you can only listen to ‘Old MacDonald’ so many times before you go nuts. And as far as more ‘grown-up’ songs, there are too many tunes that are deemed radio appropriate with language or content that doesn’t feel right for a little one to hear.

So I’ve collected a few tunes that have clean lyrics, are fun to dance to and aren’t meant for dinosaurs.

rad, cool, jam, dance, groove, toddler-approved, toddler approved, dance, dancing

Mother Mother – Bright Idea

iTunes | Amazon

Imagine dragons – I’m on Top of the World

iTunes | Amazon

Metric – Sick Muse

iTunes | Amazon

Modest Mouse – Dashboard

iTunes | Amazon

Said the Whale – I love you

iTunes | Amazon

Cage the Elephant – Trouble

iTunes | Amazon

Walk the Moon – Shut Up and Dance

iTunes | Amazon

Capital Cities – Safe and Sound

iTunes | Amazon

Fitz and the Tantrums – The Walker

iTunes | Amazon

Passion Pit – Carried Away

iTunes | Amazon

Justice – D.A.N.C.E

iTunes | Amazon

As a precaution I suppose I should mention that these aren’t all squeaky clean bands, these are just singles that don’t blatantly mention sex, drugs or swear words. So, you know, maybe don’t leave a youtube playlist of a good chunk of these guys running.

Every time I blast these jams in the house, Cog dances her little heart out. I hope You all enjoy these songs as much as we do, and if you can think of anything else to add to the list, please feel free to share it in the comments!