Saturday, June 29, 2013

Art By The Little Ones

Recently, Kirsten and I got together with our respective little ones and dared to have a messy art project.  I wanted to do something beyond crayons (although I am learning I have not outgrown my crayon fetish) and as a keepsake for years to come.

And, as my typical Pinterest inspiration, saw many canvas toddler art projects.  This is our version of the activity.

Cheap canvas from AC Moore.
Crayola finger paint (it's washable!!)
Paint brushes
Plastic egg packaging

Optional stuff:
Tape, paper
Fabric glue

So ahead of the play date, I printed out the letters to their names and glued them to the canvas. Notice I don't mention glue in the supplies?  Ya, the reason for that is because even simple Elmer's glue stuck way too well to the canvas.  So I suggest some simple scotch tape.  Several pins floating around on Pinterest use regular painters tape but I didn't think this would give the letters enough character. 

  Here we are painting, or as Vera refers to it: self painting. Also, note the capes.  They also performed painting as a super power.  This was Ollie's idea.

I had to include this picture, because it is one of my favorite pictures of Ollie.  Such a handsome boy.

 The Crayola washable finger paint took several hours to completely dry on the canvas.  Kirsten and I pulled off the glued on paper (here we each clearly had to get creative to save the piece).  Kirsten colored in some bold block letters, and I outlined the letters with a purple Sharpie.  I also added a bow in a matching satin purple so that I could hang it from Vera's bedroom door.

This activity didn't turn out as messy as I anticipated, mainly because they both loved doing "real" art - the artist canvas really gives it a grown up feel-
AND it was personalized.
This would also make a great birthday party activity if indoors, and a nice take away for the guests.

Pinterest Testing: Manicure with Vinegar

I originally posted this test on Tumblr.  You can see it here.

I love Pinterest and do actually collect pins to either do what it says, do something like it, or find it inspirational in some way.  Or is it proper to say "Pinspirational"?

So one pin I'd seen floating around quite often was using white vinegar as a base on clean unpolished nails to help extend the life of the polish.


So the morning after doing my nails with the white vinegar base, I had bumps that had formed within the polish. 

By day 5, the polish had chipped enough that the manicure was officially done.  I had got about 1 extra day out of the polish with the vinegar.

Remember, you can get the full details of this Pin Test here.

Now, I have a little more to add to the test, which is that I did not do another manicure after I removed this polish.  I just trimmed my nails and left them alone.  A few things I noticed was that my nails were mildly discolored.  Nothing major, but noticeable to me.  And as my nails grew, several of the nails started to feather chip.  Like the layers of the nail tip started to peel.  So I wonder if the white vinegar weakens the structure of the nail.

Initially, I thought this was a pin-worthy trick, but now I'm not so sure.  I guess what I will need to do is a manicure without the white vinegar and take note on whether I get the bumps, discoloration, and nail tip feathering.


I have an update on this Pin Test here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

...So, this fat lady walks into the bar....

This actually all started as a joke.

My daughter's birthday party was mostly adults, and the subject of the recaptured childhood pictures now as adults came up.  We all find them funny, and so the picture of me as an infant in the tub passed into the conversation.  This was a picture that killed me when I was younger as all I could see was the chubby leg rings and baby pot belly.  I nicknamed the picture "Sumo Sid". Of course, I had little to no exposure to infants and had no idea that this was normal, and now as a mother I know that these are actually quite loved infant traits.  I can now understand why my own mother liked the picture.

Now enter the joke.  What if I redid that picture??  Ya know, now that I have fat rolls and a belly, and bald to boot!  We all had a good laugh, and having recently decided to do things that take a little bit of guts, I thought, "Why not??"  I can get into the tub, have my husband take the shot, edit it so not too explicit, and shoot it out to the world wide web.  It would certainly be a laugh.

But then I thought, no.  I am not going to give the fat haters fodder. I am the first to have a good laugh at myself, but why should I allow strangers slam an obese lady?  People saying how I should cover up, never have shown such a pic of myself....and saying it with disgust?  Ya, I don't think so.

Instead, I post this picture (with the original Sumo Sid pic that inspired this) with pride in who I am.  I can't say I am happy to be fat.  But I accept it.  It is who I am.  I wasn't always like this, so I've been on both sides of the scale as an adult.  If given the option to be thin and wear fashionable clothing found right off the rack, or how things are now in my life, I'd chose what I already have.  I am no different than 60% of adult women in the US.  So why the hell are we shaming this?

So let me get the obvious out of the way.  Yup, I know I barely fit in an average size tub.  The only pixelating I needed to do was of my nipples, which hang pointing down from my pendulous breasts.  My gut hides any genital area that would need pixelating on a thin woman.  My legs are full of cellulite.  Ironically, my butt isn't, but I do have what I have affectionately named "my buffalo humps" just atop the back of my hips.  Oh, and to top it off, I am bald!  Yes, I shaved my head.  For charity, but let me tell you, having a buzz cut is so freeing!

I am sure fat shamers will find way more negative about this than I just outlined.  Go ahead. Because it says way more about you to start judging the way I look than about me.

What this pic doesn't show is that I am worth way more than the flesh and fluff that society judges me by.  I am an awesome mother.  I am a great wife, but not easy to be married to because I rarely let things slide.  I am creative, well educated, intelligent, and loyal.  If you are my family or my good friend, I will always be on your side (as long as it's the right side, haha!).  I have an extremely sarcastic sense of humor.  I enjoy intellectual political debate.  I try to be giving, as much as I can.  I enjoy being social, but love alone time as well.  I am happy and proud of what I have become as an adult.

Yes, of course I wish I didn't need to wear a plus size, or at least be a plus size that didn't start with a "2".  But, I have a lot of good things that make me me.  So, I say screw it.  I am who I am, and I am not ashamed.

Please share with those who want to help spread the word that fat does not mean you are worthless! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Famous Homemade Laundry Soap, Even for HE Machines!

If you are on Pinterest, as I am sure you all are, you've run across numerous posts about making your own laundry soap.  This one sucked me in, as I HATE forking over so much money for a plastic bottle full of water and a little bit of surfactant and fragrance.  It costs next to nothing for these companies to make laundry detergent, but because it's a necessity they can charge a good amount.  This is not the era of loads of free time, and people typically view making your own soap (of any kind) as quaint, old fashioned, and time consuming.  Not to mention it wouldn't clean as well as that almost $20 bottle of Tide?


I thoroughly researched how to do this.  Was it better for liquid or dry?  What soap base should I use?  Was it really safe for HE machines?

I read blog after blog.  I read hundreds of comments, which mostly contained peoples' problems with the finished product.  I learned a lot from all of this.  And I am going to share it here.  Hopefully this will be helpful, and if you are researching this yourself, find that this will be your final stop!

The following was adapted by this blog post, which I found to be the most straight forward of them all. 

You need:
-At least a 1 gallon plastic or glass jug with a wide top/cover.  My container was a 1.5 gallon plastic Rubbermaid food storage container (made for cereal).  It made it super easy to pour with a top that came off completely, and if you wanted to keep the top on, the flip lid was wide enough to sit a funnel and pour that way.
-1 bar of soap.  I preferred, after all the research, a traditional laundry bar soap (Fels-Naptha).  Plus the smell was perfect for a laundry soap. The reason I went with the Fels-Naptha was because it is real soap (the "soap" you buy for the shower is actually a detergent.  Take a look at the packaging...they often label them as "beauty bars" because they are not chemically real soap, and FDA labeling prohibits them to be labeled as such.).  When people were using brands like Dove or Lever they were having a sudsing problem.  Others didn't, but I stuck with real laundry soap.
-Arm & Hammer's Washing Soda.  Not baking soda.  There is a difference.  This can be found in most large supermarkets, but I've also seen it in Walmart and Home Depot.
-Borax.  You know, the 20 Mule Team stuff.  I also have an awesome ant bait recipe using Borax.  It's my new favorite household item!!
-A pot to piss in.  No, just kidding. A pot to heat this on the stove, and mixing spoon.  Some of the blogs said to use separate pots and utensils than what you eat with, but when you think about it, it is just soap.  So clean it twice.  I did, however, get a large stock pot at Goodwill for this, but in hindsight, I could use a plain old cooking pot I already owned.
-Cheese grater. To grate your bar of soap.
-About 20 minutes of time.

Here is what I did:
-Grate the soap into the pot.

But be careful.  I obviously have no grating skills, because I also grated a bit of my thumb.

Add 6 cups of water into pot with grated soap, and heat.  Stir it every so often, and once the soap is melted add 1/2 cup of the Borax and 1/2 cup of the washing soda.  MIX WELL.  Take off heat.

This mixture will form a liquidy goop.  Pour it carefully into your container.  Add a gallon of hot water.  Mix it super well.

And that's it.

Yup, pretty anti-climactic, wasn't it? 

I was not surprised when I checked on my soap the next morning that it was a Jello like consistency.  This is totally normal.  The more water you add, the less gelatin like it will get, but you end up using more per load.  I prefer a concentrated version as it's easier to store, and I only use about a 1/4 cup per large load.

And here is the obligatory final pic...all ready to be stored and used.

Now you are wondering, so how did it clean?  Did you like it? Was it really safe for your HE machine?

Yes, yes, and yes!

I did a medium size load of towels and a bath mat that was VERY dirty, and it came out perfect.  I still need to test it out on my husband's work clothes (he's a tradesman, crawling around in all sorts of dirty situations) but I suspect that it will be just fine.

As far as the HE machine "issue", just toss the soap into the drum of the machine, just the same as you would with one of those laundry detergent packs/pods.  ALSO, keep in mind that there are no suds with this mixture.  Even my commercial HE detergents suds a little, but it seriously is in there to satisfy our need to see suds to feel like the stuff is cleaning.  Just say it to yourself if you find that you are doubting it's cleaning ability: "Suds do no equate clean".  Say it 61 times if you need to.

I estimated that each 1.5 gallons made costs around $2.00.  I am keeping track how many loads of laundry I get out of this batch to calculate cost per load.  But I can tell you right now, it's much better than what the commercial cost is.  Currently, at $20 per commercial detergent container with an advertised "96 loads", that is about 20cents per load.  And I would imagine that I do not get 96 loads out of it.

So what is your experiences with this stuff?  Like it?  Do you do something different? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Real Review, Mom Bloggers?

My beautiful superhero daughter
I think I must be naïve, because I really thought that the reviews I saw of products on Mom Blogs out there were legit.  Then I tried to gain some reviews from Mom Bloggers around the web, and only 1 actually was willing to review a product without being paid. 

Is it really passé to do a good old fashioned style review?  Or is it now standard that not only does the Mom Blogger doing the review get free product PLUS a monetary "gift" in exchange for the review?  To me, this would appear to skew the review, and I think sponsored posts may help to even that out by at least letting the reader know that the company whose product is being reviewed had paid the reviewer for the post.

Or perhaps I have no idea what I am talking about, in which I would highly appreciate someone filling me in (nicely, please!) on how I have no idea on what I am talking about and what the real deal is.

And on that note, I would LOVE to review mom and toddler related stuff.  I will do it without taking any money, but rather just an honest review for exchange of the product.  And if it's something I really don't like, I would NOT slam it online AT ALL.  Instead, if it's not something that is going to get at least a 3 out 5 star type review, I just won't review it online and send you back the product.  This is just the most honest way I can think of doing this without hurting anyone's feelings and/or reputation.  BUT, on that note, I typically like things. 

What type of things?  I love books of all kinds for me and my daughter, anti-GMO, organic, handcrafted, knit, sewn, Made in the USA, and anything that might make my life easier.

If you are interested in this type of old fashioned type of Mom Blog Reviews, you can contact me at
JAMIE at BOURGEOISBABY dot COM.  Or if you want to just say hi, or whatever.

Hi, Everyone! I'm Here!

Like you all were waiting for me, right?

Boy, this is more of a test post as this blogger format is all new since the last time I ever stepped foot on blogger.  So just going to test some stuff and see how it looks.

I'm guessing that this format is a WYSIWYG, but back when I first started with a  blogger blog you had to understand some basic HTML.  Which, for me, was all new and had to learn on the fly. Oh, wait! I just noticed that you can type these posts in HTML format. 

Below is the last family pic taken of myself, husband, and daughter.

And here is my test link to my business blog.

Now I am playing with font.

Ok, easy enough, peeps.  I think I'm good.