Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Art I Glad my Kids Got Talent!

Recently, the latest catalog from Pottery Barn hurled itself into my mailbox. So, like any normal busy mom, I plopped my little assiduous-self down and leisurely flipped through the pages, oooo-ing and ahhh-ing at all the prettiness that Pottery Barn has to tease me with, while sipping my afternoon coffee. Drooling over page after page, my mind began to wander off, and I dreamed of all the creative and enviable projects I could do, and all the Pottery Barn decor I could accumulate, if I had the time and money, just like Trump, except I don't want anything gold-plated, mmmkay? But of course, a kid quarrel managed to body-slam me back to reality, and I did a total pendulum swing, thinking about the dude who lives in a house the size of my kitchen. My kitchen is small. His house has no frills, or even room for a Pottery Barn magazine, I would imagine.

There is of course a happy medium.

So during this season of our life, we are living in an apartment, and forgoing all the frills and all the accouterments Pottery Barn provides, but, staring at white walls is much like eating dirt, or falling down the stairs. I don't like it.

Enter the local artist.

It probably all started during my mind-numbing daily routine of dish cleaning and laundry folding and vacuum wielding, that my daughter, unable to get my full attention, found the tape and began adhering her drawings to our cheaply painted apartment walls. She used copious amounts of tape, enough to cause me to kiss our deposit goodbye, because removing the tape she used means severe drywall exposure. Before I knew it, nearly every inch of my walls (up to about 3 feet high) was covered in her art, and enough tape to patch up the Titanic. The kitchen, living room, even the stairway was covered in art...and tape...mostly tape. Here's one wall:

So once I finally sat down from my endless cleaning to allow my fatigued body to recover, I realized, my house was decorated.

I have to admit, I wasn't thinking (I blame those smelly dryer sheets) when I started removing the pictures from the walls. Audge looked at me, like I was single-handedly destroying the Brazilian Rain Forest, and she said as tears welled in her big, brown eyes, "you don't like my drawings?"

In case you were expecting the "Worst Mommy in the World" trophy in the mail well, sorry, I already won it.

I mean, how could I? Here I was, lamenting the whiteness of my walls everyday, and how boring they were, and how I yearned to be able to afford color, dimension and utter JOY to be displayed on every vertical surface to help get me through the winters and confides of tiny living spaces!

And that is when genius sprung from my mound of guilt.

Admittedly this is a work in progress, but, I painstakingly peeled allllll the tape from the walls and her drawings, matted them on fancy stuff called construction paper, and started hanging them up in my living room. I think it's beautiful. Here is my favorite:

This is of our family on top of a mountain we climbed back in Alaska. It was a hard day, full of steep stairs, falling rocks, intestinal issues and Audge constantly screaming, "we are gonna diiiiiiiiie!" But, this is how she remembers it. Totally warms my heart.

Soon the whole wall will be covered in some of the rarest and most priceless art in the world, made just for me. I am richer than I know.

PS My son managed to draw a picture for me to display, even though he would rather fall down the stairs than draw...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

You Reap What you Throw...

I think I am being forced to endure a severe punishment...

I mean...

I do believe that you "reap what you sow" in most instances, and I think the reaping happens most in parenting. At least, for me it does...

My poor mom. I am pretty sure I drove her to temporary insanity. See, there was a time in my teen years where my ability to clean my room was akin to my ability to build a high-tech laser, or pole vault, or something like that. My room was the perfect storm to be tackled by Kim and Aggie...

Now, I know you just read about my bleach fetish and desire to have everything clean and germ-free, but now, I'm coming clean about my dirty, dirrrrrrrrty past...

I was a funky, messy, nasty teen-aged slob. Oh, the horror.

I had a liked to eat rotten bananas, and it pooped. A lot. It never cleaned its cage...I rarely did rarely I mean maybe, MAYBE once a month...

I had newts. They like to shed their skin, and poop. And, they loved to hurl themselves from their bowl and into my shoes. They were desperate to escape their dead skin.

I loved salsa. So I would bring the jars into my room and eat the salsa. The jars would stay. Homework, dead flowers, gym socks, make up, popcorn bags, soda cans, VHS tapes, gum wrappers, clothing tags, magazines and shopping bags...all on top of salsa jars.

My mom is the kind of mom who likes to vacuum the walls; she hated being driven up them by her only child who was a sloppy, sickly mess! My dad told her to just let me be, that I would come around, and eventually clean my room.

Anyone want to hug my mom right now and slap me silly?

So, she learned to live with me by simply keeping my door closed and looking at my baby pictures through her tears, to help her remember how cute and wonderful I once was, compared to the slovenly slob I had become. I managed, though, to not get kicked out of the house by daily vacuuming the living room and dining room floors and taking two hours to empty the dishwasher. Hey, I never broke a dish or cup, they were completely dry by the time they reached the cabinets, and for the most part it kept me out of trouble.

And, to her utter relief, my dad was right, I did eventually come around, and I gave the tortoise and newts away, learned to eat my salsa and soda at the breakfast bar, and do some laundry now and then. And now I am a mom of two, who prefers to have a neat and tidy home, sprayed diligently with bleach. How things have come full circle.

I can barely keep up with my own housework, so, do I have the right to bang my head against a wall when I tell my kids clean their room, only for it to look like this A DAY LATER?? Do I have the right to withhold games, pool time and even treats if this mess isn't cleaned up IMMEDIATELY! I mean, I don't even vacuum my walls! How can I of all people, allow this mess to overwhelm me and make me want to pull my eyelashes out?

Well, it does, and there aren't even any salsa jars...

Sorry mom. I hope my perpetual agony makes you feel better!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Kill Bugs, Not your Brain Cells, With This Natural Bug Killer...Review and Giveaway Courtesy of EcoSMART!


Recently I was contacted by a lovely company called EcoSMART, and they kindly sent me their products to review AND offered a giveaway for all you lovely readers...isn't that...lovely? Why yes, it is, and it is lovely because...



So, let's talk about it shall we? Then I will offer you many chances to win these products and try them yourself mmmkay? Yay!

I received the Safe Picnic Value Bundle to review for organic home pest control. This included a 24oz home pest control spray, two 6 oz insect repellents, and a 14 oz can of flying insect spray.

I had read the long list of positive testimonials on their website, and about their commitment to safety and using natural, organic pesticides, so I was eager to try the the sprays out in the summer, and as soon as the mosquitoes started ganging up and mercilessly attacking my son, I knew it was time!

The insect repellent had, to me, a rather strong alcohol smell at first, but that quickly evaporated and what was left was a mild lemongrass scent that beats the smell of DEET any day! It is not greasy or overpowering, which is important, and it is especially nice that I am not spraying my kids with chemicals! You do have to use quite a bit of it; I found that a general spray around the body still allowed those skeeters to do some damage. However, a full spray on all parts of skin exposed seemed to do the trick. I would give this product an 9/10 and would recommend it for days when you're at a picnic or BBQ.

The home pest control did not fare so well for me, and that would mostly be due to the scent. The testimonials on their website were full of positive comments regarding the scent, but, for me, it was way too strong. The oil that I didn't care for is listed as peppermint, but smells more like a wintergreen scent to my nose. Because of this, I couldn't even spray it inside my house and instead used it outside. I sprayed this around some ants that were invading my patio, and while it deterred them for a while, they soon walked right over the barrier. Then I sprayed it right onto the ants. This seemed to irritate them more than anything, and did not kill them. In fact, they seemed to clean themselves off and went on their merry way! I was a little shocked by this, since many testimonials said this product worked great for them. Needless to say I am now scared of the ants on my patio, and I sleep with one eye open. It could very well be I needed to spray more but, again, the scent was too strong for me, and I didn't care for it lingering, even outside. I would give this product a 6/10, based on my aversion to the scent and the ants not being affected by it, as far as I could tell. (They could have wandered off and died, but, I didn't stay outside to verify that.)

The flying insect killer faired better, and I found that it kills flying creatures, of all kinds, on contact; the spray killed the huge nasty houseflies that are nearly impossible to swat or catch or spray, which is nice because then I am not screaming my head off as a huge fly zooms from one end of the house to another, trying to take me down along the way. I also had a strange bug infestation in a plant outside, so I sprayed the snot out of the plant and bugs. While it killed the bugs I saw, they kept coming back the next day, but the daily spraying didn't seem to affect my plant too much, so I at least felt like I was keeping tabs on the crazy critters. I also sprayed it on a wall of gnat-like pests impeding on my kids' play area. This got rid of them, but of course being outside they just showed up again once the spray dissipated. But again, the scent, which is key to it's power, was not my thing. I am more of an autumn, warm, apple-cinnamon type girl, so this scent is pretty much the opposite of what I enjoy, and so I couldn't even bring myself to use it in my house. If you love wintergreen scents you will like this I am sure. I would give this a 7/10, since I am pretty convinced this product will kill smaller, soft-bodied flying insects easily.

Overall: I am impressed that EcoSMART uses natural oils to repel and kill bugs, which is a great alternative to the dangerous chemicals out there, affecting the health and safety of our young children and pets. I like the thorough explanations of the products on their website and the history of the company, and it seems to be that they are on to a very good thing! I would use the insect repellent again, because I feel it did the job, it had a pleasant scent that didn't linger or leave a residue, and it is much safer than the chemical products out on the market. Thank you to EcoSMART for this opportunity and for their concern for our young ones and healthier living for all!

And now, it's your turn!

You get a chance to try these same products from the Safe Picnic Value Bundle yourself! Here's what to do:

1. Visit EcoSMART and then come back here to comment on what you like about the company and which product interests you most.

2. You may tweet this giveaway, ONE PER DAY, through the length of the giveaway (equaling 10 entries) say, "visit @insanitykim and win this giveaway and kill bugs naturally with EcoSMART " with a link to this post. Come back here with the tweet link for each day you tweet it.

3. Blog about this giveaway, with a link to EcoSMART and to this post. Come back here with the link to your post and receive 5 entries. You may blog about this once.

4. Please leave me a safe way to contact you in your comment.

NOTE: This giveaway is open to the continental US only...but hey, I lived in Alaska, so I know there's nothing there to scream about and kill, and Hawaii, sorry y'all...

Otherwise, wooohooo!

This giveaway begins TODAY, Wednesday, July 7, 2010 and ends Saturday, July 17th, 2010 at 12pm EST. At that time I will use the trusty ol' Random Number Generator (RGN) to choose a winner. The winner will have 3 days to contact me, and if they do not, I will use the RGN to choose a new winner.

So get to it y'all! I SO hope you win! Yeah, you, reading this, right now... I hope you win!

I provide reviews and giveaways as a packaged deal, I do not provide review only or giveaway only posts. This blog requires compensation, and all shipping costs paid, for review/giveaway packages in the form of receiving the review product for me and/or my family, not to be returned. I give exception to any independent business owners of handmade items, as found on Etsy, and I will host giveaways for such business owners without the need for review and/or compensation.

I am not monetarily compensated to provide my opinion on products I review and/or giveaway. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. If I claim or appear to be well-informed and versed on a certain topic or product or service area, I will do so only endorsing products or services that I believe, based on my expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

I will always be honest and forthcoming with my readers and the businesses I work with, providing the best review/giveaway posts that I can.

And lastly, I reserve the right to change or amend any part of this disclosure as needed on a case-by-case basis.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Sometimes Feels like a Mosquito Bite you Just Can't Scratch!

We moan and groan, waiting for the glorious summer break to begin, ya know, sunshine, sleeping in, vacations and BBQ's...but...

about a week in, we suddenly start going out of our summer-loving minds, because the kids are already BORED and all they want to do is eat Starburst candies melted on Saltines and play videogames while you bang your head against the wall...

Or, you're the perpetually tired mom, driving your kids from summer camp to summer camp, you know, those week-long camps that pop up every other week? Yeah, you thought you would be relaxing the day away...who knew you would spend your summer in the car, gassing it up and repeatedly filling the tires with air, not to mention drowning in summer camp projects overtaking your passenger seat and dining room table?

Or, you're the family who planned that fantastic vacation, it's already OVER, and you missed all the summer camps, and you forgot to have a plan for the 45 free days you have left, days of either perpetual rain, 90+ degree weather, or angry hornets head-butting your windows...

Well...let's stop writhing on the floor and eating carpet fibers and help each other out!

I have been visiting one of my favorite blogs, Smashed Peas and Carrots, and I love her blog and totally stalk her, and well, she inspired me.

See my FB page over there ---------->?? Well, over to the right. Just look. Look up. Upper. To the the'll see it...see it? Good.

What is it you ask? Well, I am trying to put together simple and inexpensive science projects and what-not for my kids to do over the summer. But, I can't do all this alone peeps, I want your HELP! LIKE SERIOUSLY NOW!

OK I'll stop screaming. Maybe.

Go to the FB page, click like and check it out...but then, I want you to add YOUR experiments, or recipes, or links to cool blogs or websites because I DON'T WANT TO GO OUT OF MY SUMMER-LOVING MIND ALL ALONE PEOPLE!!!! ^@*~!&!%&@! <---- means blarging cripes.

Yikes, I'm screaming again...

So far we have made super miracle bubbles, quicksand, and plastic milk...I have already added pix AND video AND links!! So please please PLEASE! go HERE and let's make this page so popular, by ADDING YOUR RECIPES, EXPERIMENTS, IDEAS, LINKS AND PICTURES AND VIDEOS, that FB takes it over so I can do things like spontaneously fall asleep while pretending to play Pokemon Rumble with my kids after cleaning vinegar-laced cheese curds off the floor...

Thanks y'all! I'm depending on you to help me have a fun and creative summer and to somehow STOP SCREAMING! Love and fuzzies!!!

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