Thursday, April 30, 2009

Creature Feature

I'm all about monsters these days. With the launch of my new Aack Attack monster repellent, can you blame me? I introduced the stuff earlier this week on the blog. I even decided to run a little give-away -- a 4 oz. bottle of Aack Attack in exchange for a scary monster story. Can you believe it? Not ONE story! Hrumph...!

Well, I didn't have any stories to read, so I went Etsy browsing instead...for monsters, of course! Oooo, and I found plenty of them. I decided to put together a little feature of undiscovered/almost-undiscovered creatures. Problem is, I'm a total virgin when it comes to all this html stuff. I figured I'd throw together a cute picture table with some links and be on my merry way. HA! 3 hours later, my 'creature feature' isn't what I wanted it to be, but I gotta draw the line somewhere. Seriously. Kids are crying, cats are starving, the house is bursting at the seams with laundry and dishes...! You get the picture. Or at least, I hope you can see the pictures.

So, stop by the shops and say hi to these little fellows. And if they scare you...well, I know where you can get some great monster repellent;) BTW, my give-away is still going on. Leave a monster comment for me and I'll enter you in the drawing.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sleeping Easy...?!

The Boogeyman. Who hasn't heard of him? He's a problem. Just check out the wikipedia entry. Apparently, he's a problem everywhere.

We don't have a problem with boogeymen, monsters and the likes in our family. Everyone in this clan knows Mommy's the only thing to be truly scared of around here. And Mommy on no sleep -- well, let's not go there! Only an idiot monster would think about causing bedtime troubles in our house -- and who's afraid of an idiot monster?

So, monsters aren't our problem, but winding down at bedtime certainly is. Ugh! I hate it! What a horrible way to end the day. Let's face it. It doesn't matter how much fun you had during the day, if the last 45 minutes is an all out war...well, the day gets recorded as a loss. That was happening every day for us. It was breaking my heart. Then it occurred to me! I just needed to do what I'm always doing. I just needed to start mixing things up!

Out came my box of little brown bottles. A drop of neroli, a drop of lavender, a few other safe base ingredients, a spray bottle and VOILA! My own special sleepy time room spray! The kids love it. But they don't get to spray it themselves if they're giving me grief about bedtime. That's my deal.

I told a few friends about our little bottle of bedtime bliss. That's when the stories started coming out of the woodwork...and out of the closets...and out from under the beds. I'd never realized just how many kiddos had fears and anxieties that kept them up at night -- not to mention how many sleep-deprived parents were at their wit's ends about it. So, with my 4YO's help, we got a few more bottles, gave our spray a name, designed a label and handed them out to our friends. Our circle of friends is sleeping a little easier these days.

So check it out. Aack Attack! is available in the Etsy Shop. You can read all the technical information about it there. Share your monster stories with me here and I'll enter you in a drawing for a free 4 oz. bottle. I'll pull one entry out of the hat next Sunday night and announce the winner here on the blog Monday.

Sweet dreams, everybody:)

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm a Bug Magnet

We're a family that likes to play outside -- even in the god-awful Texas summer. Most evenings you can find us in the 'sport court' (aka, our driveway). Playing soccer, basketball, t-ball, diggin' in the dirt to make monster truck courses, you name it, we're out there. As far as Texas front yards go, we're pretty lucky. Ours faces east and our swing-entry garage is on the south side, which means the driveway's not baking in the sun all day. The down side is mosquitoes. And I'm talkin' TEXAS-size mosquitoes ('cuz EVERYthing's bigger here in the Lone Star State, ya know.) And don't get me started on West Nile...the friend of a friend of the 5th cousin thrice removed of my next-door-neighbor's brother-in-law's cousin had a co-worker's daughter's friend get the picture. I can spin you a Texas-sized tale about what a threat mosquitoes are!

Anyway...back to bugs. The problem with playing outside in the evening is bugs, of course. Everybody knows that. And bugs love ME. Nobody ever worries about getting bitten up when I'm around, because every bug in the neighborhood is chomping on me. But last summer, I found the perfect insect repellent, my daughter, Delila. Poor little girl. A little over 1-year-old, tottering around in the drive way...within 5 minutes she'd be covered with dime-sized welts. Breaks my heart just to think about it. She was so little, I really hated the idea of spraying chemicals all over her -- and I couldn't force her to stay inside. What was a mom to do?

Well, I started looking into it and found that there are plenty of natural things that ward off biting insects. For example, there are several plants that discourage mosquitoes:

  • Citronella Grass -- the origin of the oil used in all those patio candles. Well, that wasn't going to work for me since it needs plenty of sun and grows to be 6' tall. The HOA would just love that. NEXT!

  • Catnip -- yep, mosquitoes are happy to 'just say NO' to the kitty drugs. However, my indoor-only cats really frowned upon the idea of opening an outdoor drug den for all the neighborhood felines. NEXT!

  • Rosemary -- NOW we're talking. Who doesn't love rosemary? It smells great, you can cook with it AND it'll send the mosquitoes packing? Unfortunately, rosemary needs a little more sun that my front yard has to offer. NEXT!

  • Marigolds -- can you believe it? Apparently, marigolds have a smell that many insects find objectionable. Too bad a lot of humans find the smell objectionable as well. Not exactly what I want at my front door. NEXT!

I wasn't having any luck in the gardening department, so I started looking at essential oils. I already had a growing collection of ingredients. Surely there was something there I could use. Sure enough!

There are plenty of aromatic oils that are effective at warding off biting bugs: eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, lavender, geranium, patchouli. The list is actually quite long. So, into my 'lab' I went. I started mixing things up and using my daughter as a guinea pig. In the end, I came up with my Bzzz Off! formulation. I was amazed at how well it worked! Bug season's almost here and you know what I'll be saying to all those pesky mosquitoes.... Bzzz Off!! Oh, and did I mention that it's maternity and baby-safe?!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Teddy Started It!

It all started with that itty bitty Teddy Graham I saw swimmin’ around on the ultrasound screen. There was no denying it. I was pregnant! Yippy skippy!! Now what?! I’d already quit my job – the grueling fertility schedule had seen to that. So I was not just pregnant, I was pregnant with a LOT of time on my hands. And since I couldn’t spend that time sipping cosmos at a sunny sidewalk café anymore, I had to find something else to do. Fortunately, I had several friends who were also pregnant and unemployed – I had plenty of company. There we were. Former career gals with plenty of time for chatting about the joys of pregnancy! Morning sickness…YEAH! Tender boobs…FANTASTIC! Expanding derrières…just WHY are these babies growing in our BUTTS and not our bellies?! STRETCHMARKS!!

Now I like to fool around in the kitchen. I like to shake things, bake things and mix things up. It was pretty obvious to me that I need to mix a little something up for me and my friends. I made a trip to WholeFoods. I bought all kinds of great stuff to nourish and sooths our growing parts. I bought containers to put the final product in. I even sketched a picture and printed labels. The next time we got together I presented the final product…Expectant Muddah Buddah. It was a big hit. AND it seemed to keep the stretchmarks at bay. HOORAY!!

We used it for our 1st pregnancies, and then our 2nd pregnancies. Friends of friends were told about it, and before you know it, it happened. Someone said, “You know, you should SELL this stuff!” Sure! Why not? So, here I am, with a pantry full of ingredients, cosmetic containers, spatulas, labels, etc. I’ve jumped in with both feet, but I’m not sure I know how to swim! YIKES!!