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PVC Stand for 4’9″ Doll for Child Passenger Safety

20 Feb

I actually made this a few months ago, but am just now getting around to sharing it!

After completing a few PVC pipe projects, I am always looking for other creative ways to use it. We have a 4’9″ demonstration doll for our Child Passenger Safety Technician classes, and I like to take it to check events and informational booths we set up to have a visual idea of what 4’9″ really is. This poor guy has been bungie-strapped to many poles, posts, easy-up sides, and usually slumps down pretty early on in our events.

So, I came up with the idea of making a stand for the doll using PVC pipe. At first, I just had a straight stand, but then decided to add the bar off to the side to make it like the height requirement bars for rides at amusement parks. The bottom of the bar is 4’9″, so kids can walk up to it and see if they are as tall as the bar.

Of course, being 8 years old or 4’9″ isn’t the magic age or height to stop using a booster seat, so I also included the 5 Step Test from Safety Belt Safe USA.

So, here is what the sign says:

Your child must be at least
to use just the seat belt.
Or, they need to pass the 5-Step Test.
The 5-Step Test
Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
If not, use a booster seat to give them a boost!

He still slumps down a little bit, but it holds him up better than a bungie-strap!

All PVC is 3/4″ diameter. Need 14.5 feet of PVC pipe, 3 caps, 5 tees, and 5 elbows to complete.
Base: 2 10″ pieces, 4 3-1/2″ pieces, 2 tee fittings, 4 elbows
Then, 2 43″ pieces into 2 tee fittings
Arm props: 2 6″ pieces with caps on the end
Then, 2 11″ pieces, one goes into elbow, one goes into tee fitting
10″ piece across top, 10″ piece out the side with a cap on the end

Stand for 4'9" Doll

All the dolls at a seat check event

Our 2013 Recipe Book!

15 Feb

I finally found the time to sit down and share this! This photo book was our gift to family and to teachers this year. I used to do a photo book of pictures throughout the year, but it became too much to put together. Last year, we made a mug, which did turn out really cute. This year, I wanted to do something a little more and different. Since I love to cook, and both of my girls love to cook with me, we decided to put together a book with some of their favorite recipes, and photos of them helping get ingredients and cooking in the kitchen. It turned out great, and we’re already thinking of what we want to put in next year’s book!

recipe book

You can view the entire book here:

My Current Favorite Apps for Organization

29 Dec

I have to confess, I’m getting rather forgetful.  I think it’s a combination of getting older and having a lot going on with 2 kids, their school, and all their activities.  Plus, I have some daily medications to take that I was taking at random times or not at all.  So, this year I found 2 apps for my smart phone that have really helped me, and thought I would share.

Cozi Family Calendar

On my previous phone, I used to keep all my appointments and places to be on the basic calendar app on my phone.  In March, I upgraded to a new phone, and I didn’t like the calendar on it as much.  Plus, my husband was always asking what was going on and couldn’t remember what I had told him.  So, I came across the Cozi Family Calendar & Lists app.  You set up your account with the name for your calendar and a shared family password.  This allows family members access to the calendar from the web sign-in or by downloading the app on their smart phone.  Next, you set up family members and assign each family member a color.  You can also enter their e-mail address (if applicable) so they can receive reminders by e-mail if they don’t have the smart phone app.  Then, you add events to the calendar.  For each event, you can put what the event is, where it is located, select which family members need to attend, select if it’s a repeating event, add a start and end time, and then set a reminder.  If the family member has the app on their phone, the reminder will be a notification sent to their phone.  If they do not have the app, the reminder will be an e-mail.  Finally, you can add notes.  For example, if your event is a potluck, you can add a note to remind you to bring the dish you need.

The shared calendar is really all I use it for now.  You can also create to-do lists and grocery lists, but I haven’t tried that yet.  There is now also an option to import information from Google Calendars.  Additionally, you can upgrade to Cozi Gold to gain more functionality for $29.99/year.  At this point, I’m just using the free version and really happy with what I can do with it now.

MediSafe Meds & Pill Reminder

I first found this app earlier this year when my younger daughter had to take a dose of antibiotics.  You know, the kind that is 3 times a day for 10 days.  I lose track of time, forget what time each does is supposed to be, so I wanted to find an app to help remind me of all that.  This app can do that, plus I found out that it was great to set up a reminder for my daily medications, plus more.

First, you set up yourself as a user, and anyone else you want to track meds for.  In my case, I made a profile for myself and for each of my 2 daughters.  You can set up the other users as Med-Friends with their phone number, so they are notified for your meds or you are notified for their meds, or as an internal profile, if they don’t have a smart phone to use the app.

Then, you can set up the medications.  First, you can decide if it’s scheduled med or an as needed med.  I have daily medications, so those are scheduled meds.  For my daughter’s antibiotic, I set that up as a scheduled med as well for the number of days she needed to take it.  For the scheduled meds, you also set what time of day it needs to be taken, and it will create a notification on your phone.  When it is time, there is a notification the pops up and you can select Snooze (if you can’t get to the medication right away), Take (if you are taking it right then), or Skip (if you decide you don’t need it that day).  If you do nothing, it will continue to remind you every half hour until you Take or Skip it.  It records this, and if you want you can also export this data to Microsoft Excel to give a record to a medical provider or for your own reference.

For as needed medications, I add things like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, inhalers.  You set it up with the dosage that is needed, which is nice for the kids so I’m not squinting at the bottle trying to decide how much to give them.  Then, when you need to take it, you can tap on the Med Cabinet button on the main screen so the time is recorded.  This is great because I usually forget the time I take a dose and then don’t know when it’s ok to take the next dose.

Another nice feature is that when you set up a med, you can set it to help show what the medication looks like.  There are different shapes and colors for pills.  Also, there is a drop shape for liquid meds, syringe for injectable meds, and an inhaler shape for inhalers.  Colors can be chosen for those as well, i.e. a blue inhaler or purple liquid.

This has really been nice to have the reminders, annoying as they are at times, but I know that I’m taking my meds more reliably now.  Plus, I can better record what and when I give meds to my kids, which is nice.  I’ve tried writing it down to track, but then I lose track of the paper.  I almost always have my phone with me, so it’s just as easy to have it all on the phone right now.


So, these are my 2 favorite apps to help with my organization right now.  What are your favorite apps to help you with organization or daily life?


Disclaimer:  I did not receive any compensation or benefit for writing my review and thoughts on these apps.  This is based solely on my opinion and usage.  I wanted to share how they have benefited me and hope they may help someone else as well.

Time to Change Your Batteries!

3 Nov

It’s time again for the reminder!  With Daylight Savings Time being this weekend, it’s not only time to change the time on your clocks, it’s also the time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and make sure they are all in working order.  Well, unless you live in Arizona like me.  We don’t change the clocks, but I still check and change batteries in the smoke alarms.

Here is a message from Safe Kids Worldwide:


It’s that time of year again. On Sunday, November 3, the clocks go back, the days get shorter and families get an extra precious hour of sleep.

But what you may not know is that Daylight Savings is also a great time to check your smoke alarms to make sure the batteries are fresh.

Did you know that having a working smoke alarm doubles your chances of surviving a fire?

For the best protection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside every sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Smoke alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings and tested monthly.

Check Your Batteries Once a Year

It’s important to replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, even if alarms are wired directly into your home’s electrical system. You may also want to consider installing a smoke alarm that has a 10-year battery for more peace of mind.

Reminder: Smoke alarms don’t last forever. They typically expire after 8-10 years. So if your alarm is more than 10 years old, it’s time to install a new one.

Want more fire safety tips? We’ve got you covered.

– See more at:

Fruit Butterfly Snack

11 Mar

My older daughter just got her new Highlights magazine in the mail.  Ah, the memories of Highlights magazines from when I was a kid.  I loved the picture search puzzles the most!  Anyway, the You’re the Chef! section of the April 2013 magazine had Butterfly snacks.  They had a few variations with vegetables (lettuce, carrots, grape tomatoes), cheese (sticks and slices), and bread, but we chose to do the fruit one, using a banana, apple slices, yogurt, and raisins.  Here is how it turned out:

Fruit Butterfly Snack


It’s easy!  Place a banana in the middle of your plate, then cut an apple into slices to make the wings.  Spread some yogurt on the apple slices, then put raisins on top of the yogurt.  You could also use some pretzel sticks for the antennae, but we didn’t have pretzel sticks, so we skipped it.  You could use a variety of fruits here, first that comes to mind is orange slices in place of the apple slices.  You could use mint leaves for the antennae as well.

Time to Change Your Batteries!

11 Mar



I’m a day late on getting this posted, but the weekend got away from me!  Hopefully, you all changed your clocks yesterday, unless you live in AZ like me.  I hope that you also changed your smoke alarm batteries as well.

Here is a message from Safe Kids Worldwide:

When it’s time to “spring forward” and change the clocks on Sunday, March 10, make sure to change the batteries in all of your smoke alarms. If batteries were recently changed, it’s still very important to conduct your monthly test of your smoke alarms. It could save a life!

Did you know that having a working smoke alarm reduces a person’s chance of dying in a fire by half?

For the best protection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside every sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Smoke alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings and tested monthly.

It’s important to replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, unless they’re 10-year lithium batteries. Even if your smoke alarms are hardwired, replace the batteries in case of a chirping sound or a power outage.

Reminder: Smoke alarms do not last forever. The maximum life span is 8-10 years. After that time, the entire unit should be replaced. If the unit does not respond properly when tested, it should be replaced immediately.

Here is a link to more Fire Safety Resources:

Now that my kids are older and do regular fire drills at school, we plan to start doing them at home as well.  We will designate a meeting spot outside the house and talk about different ways to get out of the house.

Fun Lunch Containers

24 Feb

Just before the start of the school year this fall, I came across a deal for Bright Bins on Mamabargains for $8 each.  Since the school that my children attend does not have hot lunch and I have to make a lunch everyday for my older daughter, I thought it would be nice to have a reusable container to use for their lunches.  Here is one of her first lunches that I made in the Bright Bin:

Bottom part of Bright Bin packed with baby carrots, grapes, and honeydew

Bottom part of Bright Bin packed with baby carrots, grapes, and honeydew

Top half of Bright Bin packed with a cookie and turkey and bread "sushi"

Top half of Bright Bin packed with a cookie and turkey and bread “sushi”

Bright Bin packed in insulated lunch box with Thermos FUNtainer of water

Bright Bin packed in insulated lunch box with Thermos FUNtainer of water

I occasionally used the silicone muffin cups shown to help divide things up more.  The Bright Bin lasted about half the year, when the top latch broke.  It’s still usable if you use a rubber band around the whole bin to keep it together.  I started using the second one I purchased instead.  However, the top part is pretty shallow, so if my daughter wants something besides a sandwich for her lunch, it’s not ideal.

So, a friend of mine had gotten some other lunch containers, and I was admiring them at the park one day when we had a playdate and picnic.  She had sistema Lunch Cube To Go for her girls to pack lunches in.  I looked them up online a few times, but didn’t ever get around to ordering.  Then, I noticed that the Safeway in town had a few of the containers, and decided to try a Salad To Go container.  It was exactly what I was looking for so that my daughter could take leftovers for her lunch (she doesn’t mind cold tortellini or lasagna!).  The Salad To Go containers have a tray that fits inside, making a lower section and upper, divided section, along with a fork and knife, plus a small round container.  They are BPA free, microwave safe, freezer safe, and top rack dishwasher safe.

Salad To Go container pieces

Salad To Go container pieces

But, I don’t pack salads in it for her, I pack a full lunch like this:

Salad To Go container packed with cheese tortellini in the lower portion, tangerine and pita chips in the upper portion, and hummus in the small round conatiner

Salad To Go container packed with cheese tortellini in the lower portion, tangerine and pita chips in the upper portion, and hummus in the small round container

Container put back together

Container put back together

Salad To Go in lunch box with Thermos FUNtainer and ice pack

Salad To Go in insulated lunch box with Thermos FUNtainer and ice pack.  I kept the fork and knife out so they wouldn’t get messy inside with the tortellini

So far, it has gone really well with this one.  Both my 6-year-old and 4-year-old can undo and redo the latches, and it has held up well going back and forth to school.

I was just at Safeway again, and they had a whole display of sistema To Go containers, Soup Mug To Go ($6.99), Salad To Go ($7.99), Breakfast To Go ($6.99), and Lunch Cube To Go ($5.99)!

sistema Display at SafewaySo, of course, I had to expand our collection:

sistema Containers

I now have a Salad To Go for each family member, Lunch Cube To Go and Breakfast To Go for each of my girls. My oldest loves pink, so her latches are all pink, my youngest loves blue, so her latches are blue.  My favorite color is purple, so mine is the purple one, and I got a blue one for my husband.

I got the Lunch Cube To Go to have another option for lunches.  It has a large section on top and a divided section on bottom, with a latched cover in between the two sections:

How the Lunch Cube To Go looks opened

How the Lunch Cube To Go looks opened

The Breakfast To Go containers I got for the days that we are running late and have to have breakfast in the car or when we need to pack a breakfast to take along somewhere.  It is similar to the Salad To Go; it has a larger container with a top part that fits in and has a spoon that clips into that top part.  Here is a picture of all the pieces:

Breakfast To Go taken apart to show different sections and the spoon

Breakfast To Go taken apart to show different sections and the spoon

The kids love the new containers, and hopefully we’ll get a lot of good use out of them.



Disclaimer: I did not receive any product from Bright Bins or sistema, I purchased all of these myself and wanted to provide information on how I use them and how they work for us.

A Kitchen-y Christmas: Kid Version

3 Feb

My daughters both love to cook with me.  Any time in the kitchen, they want to help any way they can.  Naturally, because of her love for cooking, my older daughter wanted an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas.  I had an Easy Bake Oven when I was a kid and I thought it was really cool.  Until I realized it’s just a light bulb in a plastic oven, and it makes the tiniest, almost tasteless desserts.  So, we talked it over, and we decided that it might be more fun to ask for her own set of baking supplies.  I figure, I would have to supervise her using the Easy Bake Oven anyway, and if we are putting the time and effort in, we might as well make a real dessert so she can learn her way around the kitchen.

So, I headed out to our local Target store and came up with all this:

A Kitchen-y Christmas: Kid Version

Our Target has this cool line of bright-colored, collapsible prep items called squish.  They are reasonably priced, and great for minimal storage since they collapse.  She loves the colors!  I got the 5 quart mixing bowl, the measuring cup set, and the measuring spoon set.  We may expend to some of the other size mixing bowls and the colanders at some point.

The Caterpillar Spatula and Giraffe Wisk are both made by NordicWare.  They also make an alligator rolling pin, but I decided to skip the rolling pin for now.  They are the perfect size for little hands, and love that they are cute with the animal shaped handles.

Then, I got a Wilton 24 cup mini muffin pan and a Kitchen Essentials from Calphalon Bar Pan.  This was to keep with the Easy Bake Oven theme, making things on a smaller scale and individualized.  And, of course, since she was getting a bar pan, I got her a red OXO Good Grips Brownie Sptaula.

A friend of mine is working on an apron for her as well.

She loves all of it!  We made mini blueberry muffins last month, and hopefully, making some brownies today to try out the bar pan and spatula.  In the end, it did cost me a little more for all this than an Easy Bake Oven would have cost, but these items we will be able to use for a lot longer than an Easy Bake Oven, or so I hope!  Hoping to get lots of baking done with these items over the years while she grows up!

Scholastic Book Fair: Story Laboratory

1 Feb

My last 2 weeks have been consumed with planning and running a Scholastic Book Fair at my children’s school.  I was co-chair with another mom at the school, so we had to come up with a plan for the room, do some decorating, and run the book fair with some help from more parent volunteers at the school.

I love book fairs, I have for a long time.  But, I never realized how much work goes into them!  Scholastic has a great system.  They deliver cases full of books that you open and push up cardboard displays from behind.  Then, they send more books in boxes for you to display on tables, as well as an assortment of pencils, pens, erasers, bookmarks, posters, and other items.  This was the part that took the longest, putting out all the extra items.  It took about 4 hours for the 2 of us to get it all set up, plus the 2 hours I spent in the morning decorating the window and door.

Here are some pictures of it all!

First, the entrance to the book fair.  The spring theme was Story Laboratory, so we wanted to create a science lab feel for the room.  I used aluminum foil to cover the door.  I didn’t quite use a box of 75 sq ft, which cost me $2.88.  Then, I had yellow caution tape from car seat check events that I do, so I put that on both the door and the window.  Next, I got 2 neon green poster boards for $.77 each, $1.54 total, to create the green slime.  The sign on the door I created in PowerPoint (I couldn’t access our chairperson’s toolkit yet to get to the signs Scholastic has to download and print) and says “CAUTION: READING AHEAD”.  Add a roll of packing tape for $2.50 to tape it all up, and decorations cost me $7 total!

Entrance to the book fair

Photo courtesy of Sister Carol, school principal

Next, pictures from as you walk in the door and around the room to see all the cases and tables of books and other goodies.  There was a lot!  Oh, and the board with Teacher Wish Lists I have a separate picture of since we didn’t have it out on the table yet, it was on the table with the posters on the floor in front of it.

Teacher Wish List Board

Posters and school supplies Special Value and Preschool books Cases and lots of tables of books 775679_10151206200171437_1946415148_o

Scholastic also sends cash registers for the event, and we could accept cash, check, or credit/debit cards.  Here I am in a lab coat and goggles ringing up a customer on our first day during a school open house.  The lab coats I bought were 3M disposable lab coats in size 2X that were $4.07 each on Amazon, and the goggles were Hot Max safety goggles, which at the time were $2.90 each on Amazon, but it looks like the price has gone up.

Me helping a customer at the register

Photo courtesy of Sister Carol, school principal

The register also tracks all sales, so you can run a report each day of sales and merchandise sold, so you can make sure your drawer is correct and order more items that are selling well.  At the end, you can run a cumulative report to tell you total sales, and also breakdown cash, check, and credit sales.  This makes it really easy to submit the final reports and payment to Scholastic!

So, at the end of the 2 weeks, I’m exhausted from all the work, but the kids’ faces as they came through the book was definitely worth it! I worked the book fair almost all week before and after school, and as I walked in each day, I heard from about every kid I passed, “Are you opening the book fair now?  I have something I want to get!”.  ANYTHING to encourage reading!  Although, being there every day, we did more than our part to monetarily support the book fair!  I think I bought something every day.  I’m already looking forward to next year, and now that I know what to expect, I’m hoping we can make it even better!

Edited on February 3 to add a picture of the Teacher Wish List board.

National Child Passenger Safety Week 2012 Wrap Up

22 Sep

In case you missed it, this week I posted information about car seat safety for children. Here are links to all of the information I posted.

National Child Passenger Safety Week 2012

The Right Seat: Rear-Facing

The Right Seat: Forward-Facing

The Right Seat:  Booster Seats

The Right Seat: Seat Belts

Vehicle crashes continue to be leading cause of death for children ages 1 – 12 in the U.S. Please take the time today to make sure the children in your life have an appropriate car seat for their age, height, and weight, have a car seat that is installed properly and have a car seat that is used properly every time they are in the car. If you aren’t sure, please feel free to ask me any questions you may have or find out if there is a Car Seat Inspection location near you to make an appointment with a certified technician.  If you aren’t able to make it to  a technician, here is a checklist that Safe Kids put together for you to use when checking your child’s car seat.  Another great resource is the forums at  There are many knowledgeable people there, as well as reviews and measurements of various car seats.  Also, please feel free to pass this information along to anyone that would benefit from reading it.

Thank you for reading!

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