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Life In Texas

Life In Texas: December 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas is...

     Christmas is in full swing at my house! We have our tree up and there are even presents under it! Better than that, after I order my step-moms gift, I will be completely done Christmas shopping.

     It wasn't easy deciding on what to get everyone. I'm not going to give away too much here, but there are some big boxes under my tree! And they aren't gifts that are going to live at my house.

     My girls got a trampoline for Christmas (in October). But there was only one other thing that Thing 2 was asking for. The only other thing that she wanted was to get her ears pierced. So, after Scout and I discussed it (read: After I convinced Scout that it would be ok), we took her to get her ears pierced.

     Walking through the mall, Thing 2 was sing-songing "I'm gettin' my ears pierced! I'm gettin' my ears pierced!" We walk into Claire's and she says "I don't want my ears pierced!!!" So I, being the mean wonderful mommy that I am, told the employee, "I want to try anyway because I think she's just anxious. If she starts freaking out too much, then we can reconsider." The lady said that it was fine and that we could even hold her down if she needed to. Yikes! I assured her that we wouldn't go that far. Then, we filled out and signed out all the waivers and Thing 2 picked out the earrings that she wanted. She selected beautiful, 14K gold, pink flowers.

     When it was time to actually pierce them, I held Thing 2 in my lap. They pierced both ears at the same time (at my request). She did great! She jumped a little after the earrings were through her ears, but she didn't cry at all. She did want to touch them, but we stopped her and handed her a mirror so that she could see. She was (and still is) so proud! She kept telling Thing 1 (who is terrified to get her ears pierced) that, "It was just a little pinch!" Before we left, they gave Thing 2 a lollipop and a sticker. She also got to carry "her" shopping bag.

     She won't sit still long enough for me to get a picture of her earrings, but here is a picture of her proud smile. She keeps asking everyone "Do you like my pretty earrings?"

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Car Seat Safety

Thing 2 in her car seat
     This evening, I took my children out in the 50 degree weather. But, being an educated mother, I know how to safely transport my children in cold weather.

     When we arrived at our destination, a stranger noticed that neither of my kids were wearing coats as the exited their car seats. I opened one of the van's sliding doors just enough for me to reach my children, unbuckled them and proceeded to put their coats on them. Apparently, this was not acceptable to this stranger and she said as much. She said my kids mush have been "freezing" and that was an "awful thing to do to those babies" (keep in mind, they're 4 and 2.5, they could tell me if they were unhappy), as she removed her less than 2 year old from his forward facing seat in a thick winter coat. I took this as an opportunity to politely educate this woman on why my babies were safer without coats on.

     As it gets colder, I see more and more children buckled in with their coats on. It makes me scared for them (especially since some people down here forget how to drive when it's cold and/or raining, thus causing more accidents). I thought that I would take this opportunity to remind everyone of why we do NOT put out children in their car seats in their coats. Also, I'll offer a few safe alternatives.

     The reason that it is not safe to put a child into a harnessed car seat in a winter coat is that then the straps don't fit properly. The harness straps need to remain tight against your child. Regardless of what clothes your child is wearing, you should be able to slip no more than 2 fingers underneath the strap at your child's shoulder bone.

     Often, the next question people ask is "how can I keep my child comfortable if they can't wear their coat?" There are many simple (and safe) solutions to this problem.

  1.      If it is legal to do so in your state, start the car and turn on the heater a few minutes before taking your children out. This will give the car time to warm up.
  2.     Use warm garments that are safe to use in car seats. Long underwear and fleece jackets can be safely worn in a harnessed car seat.
  3.      Wrap the child in a blanket to get them to the car, then once they're buckled in, lay the blanket over their chest and legs.
  4.      Have your child wear their jacket to the car. Once you get there, get in the car and remove the child's jacket. Once the child is properly buckled, put the jacket on backwards.

     There are a few things you can do if you are unsure if your child's coat or jacket is safe for their car seat. Take the seat inside. Place the coat or jacket on the child and buckle them into the seat. Adjust the straps as needed so that your child fits in the seat. Take the child out of the seat without loosening the straps. Remove the coat. Put the child back in the seat but do not tighten the straps. If you can fit more than 2 fingers under the strap at your child's shoulder bone, then that coat or jacket is NOT safe.

     I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season. But most importantly, I hope that everyone keep their entire family safe.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Foil Baking Cup Crayons

    If your kids are anything like mine, you end up with more broken crayons than whole ones. I have been saying that I was going to buy a Crayola Crayon Maker for a year, but I still haven't. So today, I had a little inspiration and decided to melt the broken crayons in my oven.

     First, you need to remove the paper from the crayon bits. I found that it was easier to cut a line down the entire paper using a knife than it was to try and pull it back with my fingernails.

     Second, place foil baking cups on cookie sheet (I used an old cookie sheet so that I would't ruin a good one if I burned crayon onto it) or use them to line your muffin pan (any size!).

     Now, you're ready to put your crayon pieces in the baking cups! I made 2 different kinds. I made some in mini-muffin papers and some in jumbo muffin papers . For the jumbos, I mixed a bunch of different colors together. I filled the cups about 3/4 full with crayon pieces. For the minis, I used various shades of the same color, also filled 3/4.

Colors in jumbo baking cup

The tray of jumbos.

     They're finally ready for the oven! I set my oven at 250 degrees F. At that temp, my jumbo cups had to bake for about 15 minutes. The minis only took 10 minutes. Part of the bake time is the size of the crayon bits. Smaller bits are going to melt more quickly.

     When all of the crayon bits are melted, it's time to remove them from the oven. Be sure to disturb them as little as possible while moving them.

Jumbos fresh out of the oven

     Allow the crayons to cool completely before removing them from the foil baking cups.

     Your new crayons are now ready to use!

     Below are some picture of the final product! I'm going to add a Merry Christmas tag and a Christmas-y bow and give them to Thing 1's and Thing 2's friends.

Cooled and bagged jumbos

Minis - one set in bag, the rest cooled in pan


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