Kid Approved, Tutorials

Staying in Colorado Springs at the Base of Pikes Peak with Air B&B

In July 2014 we took our girls to Colorado for vacation.  Our first stop was Colorado Springs, CO.  I wanted to stay somewhere besides a hotel.  I researched several cabins, but the prices were a little higher than I wanted to pay for 2 nights.

About Air B&B

I discovered Air B&B.  One of the great things about Air B&B are the reviews on each apartment, home, and room.  We were looking for an entire home, and you can filter your search to find only entire homes in a certain area.  There are several other filters, such as price range, bedrooms, bathrooms, hot tub, pool, elevator, pets allowed, etc.  I scoured through several houses, finally filtering it down to 3.  I actually played this searching and deciding game for several days before I made my final decision.  We ended up renting a garage apartment at the base of Pikes Peak, Mountain Retreat in Cascade, CO.  Every single review was fabulous.

About Our Stay

We loved staying there, and our hosts were very friendly.  Everything we needed was provided in our little apartment.  There was a security gate with a keypad to enter.  They even provided a bottle of wine and fruit.  The peaches were our favorite!  Juicy and sweet, we devoured them.  The first evening we sat on their lovely deck, visited and sipped ice cold local beer with our hosts, Ingrid and Robert.  They had a shared hot tub and a towel warmer for heated towels when you got out of the hot tub. My oldest and I enjoyed the hot tub both evenings we were there.  The evenings were so cool and beautiful.  All the fresh mountain air and no wind or mosquitos.   I wish we had stayed longer!  We had meant to relax on our 2nd day in the evening after our daytime venture out to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Helen Hunt Falls and The Garden of the Gods, but we just packed too much into that day so there was not much time for relaxing when we made it back.  Of course, my oldest and I managed to spend some time in the hot tub, to relax our achy muscles from walking all day.

After our stay at the retreat, we visited The North Pole, then headed to Meade, CO to spend the rest of the trip with friends.  Luckily they have a big house with extra rooms, and we stayed with them for 3 nights.

I would stay here again and recommend it to anyone with a small family or to couples!  It was a beautiful place to stay!

Where’s your favorite place to stay in the Colorado Springs area?

Kid Approved, Tutorials

Crafty Clothes Pin Clips

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I use clothes pin clips for a lot of things in my home, but not for my clothes!  I would say I mostly use them in my kitchen.  The second most common place I use them is for my garden supplies.  These clips are great for closing your bags (like chip clips, but a lot cheaper).  I use them on chips, cereal, beans, sugar, salads, vegetables, bags of dirt, and the list goes on.  I decided it would be fun to decorate my clips with some of the art supplies I already had on hand.  This would also be a great craft for kids also.  Here’s what you will need:

  • Wooden clothespins, you can get a small package of them for a dollar at Dollar General
  • Glitter glue
  • Duct tape
  • Bling (optional)

With the glitter glue, I just make several thick stripes down the clothespins, making sure the stripes are touching, and you can not see the wood of the pin.  Then I lay them aside to dry overnight.  The next day, I do the other side, or you can just leave it plain.

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With the duct tape, I pull the duct tape from the roll, lay the clothespins on the sticky side of the tape, and cut around it so it will fit the clothes pin.  I do both sides.

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After that, if you want to add bling, I just hot glue that on.  You will have to wait until the next day to do the glitter pins, but you can do the duct tape pins immediately.

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This is a super cute and easy craft.  I hope you enjoy it.  I think I may make a few more this weekend.   What do you use your clothes pins for?

Kid Approved, Kid Struggles, Money Saver, Sew Karla, Tutorials

Potty Training Panties

 Potty Training!

Who knew it would be so complicated?  Not me, a first-time mom at 40.  I was ready to start potty training my daughter not long after she turned two years old.  Assuming that was the perfect age to start, but as we all learn soon enough, not all children are the same.  She flat-out refused to use the potty seat we bought her. We even had a cute little foot stool for her to step up to the toilet on.  I tried giving her m&ms as a treat for using the potty, even just to sit on it.  Nothing was working.  After talking to friends, I came to the conclusion she was not ready to be potty trained.  We waited a few months and decided to try buying a toddler potty chair.  We let her pick it out at Walmart, and talked to her about learning to use the potty chair.  She seemed excited.  But, when it came to sitting on the chair and trying to pee, she was not doing it.  Finally, she turned three years old.  I was ready and I knew she had the skills to use the potty.  She understands what it is, she can pull her pants up and down, all the little things that potty training requires.  So, I did some hard research on it.  There is a lot of stuff out there!  Potty training in one day, I wish!  I read up on everything.  I discovered one of the main things a toddler needs is visual stimulation.  I liked the idea of using a baby doll and baby potty chair to show her how it works, but I did not have either of those things.  And, living in the boonies, I can’t just run to town and buy one.

Potty Charts

The next best thing was charts, stickers, and YouTube.  I went searching for potty charts online.  There are lots out there that are free to print.  I got some great ideas and created my own potty charts.  When you open these documents on your computer, you can edit the name on them, or even the images.

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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Potty Chart

Frozen Potty Chart

Blaze and the Moster Machines Potty Chart

Doc McStuffins Potty Chart

Paw Patrol Potty Chart

PJ Masks Potty Chart

I used images from her favorite shows, like “Paw Patrol” and “Frozen”.  Then I bought stickers I knew she would like, “Cars’, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, etc.  We had a big discussion about it on Thursday after I picked her up from daycare.  I explained that we were not buying diapers anymore and that she was going to start wearing big girl panties from now on.  (I had read to just get rid of diapers completely, don’t go back for any reason, like long trips, night time, etc).  I had one package of toddler panties and bought another package.  I decided I wanted to do training panties, instead of just panties because I knew there would be lots of accidents and I did not want puddles on my carpet and furniture.  Well, once again, no training panties to be found in our small town.  So, I decided to make my own.  I had several cloth diaper inserts, so I decided I would use them to make training panties.  And guess what, there are instructions all over the internet on how to make your own training panties.  I decided I would create my own little tutorial.

Scroll down to the bottom of this post for my personal tips on our potty training experience.

My supplies were toddler panties and slightly used diaper inserts.  Of course, you will also need your sewing machine, scissors, and thread.

First, I took one pair of panties out and placed the diaper inserts inside to measure how much to cut off.  You are going to lay it in the panties like you would place a maxi pad in your own panties.  I then took a marker and lined out the excess I need to cut out.

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FullSizeRender(6)Next, simply cut out your excess padding.  I then did a zig zag stitch around the edges I cut out, to prevent fraying in the wash.

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Next, I lined the diaper insert back to the inside of the panties, pinned it, then sewed it together with a regular straight stitch.

 They will look like this when finished. This pair has been washed several times, so they’ve held up well.

 Our potty training experience has gone really well with peeing in the potty, but we have had major issues with pooping on the potty!  I plan on posting about our trials and errors in that area, as soon as we get things resolved.  In my research, it may take months!

Here are a few things we did, that has made potty training (peeing) pretty successful.

  1. For the first few days, I set a timer on my phone for every 20 minutes.  When the timer went off, we would sit on the potty and try to pee or poop.  If she peed, she would get 1 sticker to put on her chart.  If she pooped, she got 2 stickers (this did not happen much at all!).  She did great at peeing though!!
  2. A few times she did not want to go pee, so I told her we would race to the bathroom, that helped a lot.
  3. I did a happy dance and praised her lots when she peed in the potty.
  4. Her daddy found potty training videos on YouTube, and they watched them together.
  5. If she had an accident, that was ok, because accidents happen.  The potty training panties made clean up much easier.  She rarely got urine on anything besides her panties and the pants she was wearing.  She did not have many accidents.  She picked it up pretty quickly!
  6. After we quit using the timer, we asked her several times a day if she needed to potty.  She was usually quick at volunteering that she needed to potty.
  7. When the potty chart was full, she got to get in her “treasure chest”:  Her treasure chest was just a cardboard box with a few little items in it.  Like small puzzles, stickers, books, and bubbles, mostly things you could get at the dollar store.

What are your experiences with potty training?  Do you have any great tips?

**Update**  We are currently potty trained!  We only use the training panties at night, just in case she has an accident.

Dogs, Tutorials

Collar Flower Bling

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My sweet Chihuahua, Rosalea
This fun little craft is from my pre baby days.  Since I went a long time without children, my dogs were my kids.  I spent a lot of time making sweaters, bling, and other things for them. I’ve always been crafty, and my dogs got a lot of that attention!  I know a lot of people thought I was nuts; my friends and coworkers.  But when you don’t have children, you find other things to occupy your time.  My poor dogs don’t get as many accessories anymore, but they still have my loving attention.

Tools:

  • Ribbon (any width would do, best would be 7/8″ to 1 1/2″, I’ve even used smaller)
  • About 3-4″ of 3/8″ width ribbon
  • Quarter, Half Dollar or Dollar coin
  • Wood Burning Tool
  • Glass working surface (I used the glass from an old picture frame, and wrapped the edges with duct tape)
  • Needle & Thread
  • Hot glue or E-6000
  • Plastic hair band (I use clear plastic bands. The tiny ones from Walmart)

This is my work surface, ignore the stains and old glue.

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Plug in your wood burning tool.  This is great on the ribbon, because it seals the edges, so they don’t fray.  I got mine at walmart for around $10.00.  Lay your quarter on your ribbon (this is the 7/8″ ribbon) and carefully burn around the quarter to make your petal.  You will make 5 petals in all.

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The white zebra petals were made with a Dollar Wood coin, the pink with a quarter.  You can use a quarter on all of the ribbon.  Just use what is handy.

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Next take your needle and thread (with a knot at the end of the thread) and stitch at the bottom of your petal, as shown above.  You will follow the same pattern with each petal, adding to the same strand of thread.

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Now you have all petals on your thread..

Pull the thread together, scrunching up your petals into a flower.  Pull it as tight as you can, and tie the two ends together, making a couple of knots in the back of the flower.  Cut off your loose ends.

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Here’s the first flower.  I like to bling mine up.

I have these cheap little Acrylic Jewels from Walmart, and Bedazzle beads.  You can get a variety pack of those at Walmart too.  You don’t need the actual Bedazzler.  I live in the boonies, so I rely on Dollar General & Walmart for a lot of my craft needs.  When I get near a Hobby Lobby or Michaels, I have to really stock up!!

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You can use your hot glue gun or E-6000 glue.  E-6000 takes longer to dry, but works great.  Hot glue is faster, and safer, but not as sturdy.  Think about safety when making these.  Do you have other dogs who may chew on the flowers?  If so, your best bet would be to remove the flower, when you are not present.  For some reason, my dogs do not chew on their, or each other’s flowers.

I used E-6000 on this, and a bedazzle bead.  There are prongs on the back, you may need to bend them in. If you have several layers of flowers, you really don’t have to worry about it.

Now I take my 3/8″ ribbon and hair band, tie the ribbon around the band in a tight knot.  Use a lighter to sear the edges of your ribbon, so it will not fray.

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Next, layer and glue.  If you want to make more than one flower layer you can.

2 layers of flowers.  This is the 1 1/2″ and 7/8″ width ribbonIMG_0383

Now, just add them to your dogs collar, or hair!

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This is my sister’s dog Jinx.
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