October 29, 2014

Kidecals Chalkboard Labels- A Gorgeous Way To Get Organized

This is s sponsored post- I was given Kidecals to try for free. All opinions are my own.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to be offered an opportunity to review a product I'm totally crazy about.

They're called Kidecals.

Kidecals makes a huge array of products, but what I assumed they made most of were wall decals. At first, I was hesitant to try them out- I've tried wall decals before, and almost always been disappointed. Particularly in the kids' room, where the walls have this gross texture that makes it impossible to get a decal to stick properly.

But after checking out the Kidecals website, I saw how many additional products they make. Still decals, yes, but not for walls only. They have these really cool decals for computer keyboards, to personalize your computer in a unique way. (Seriously, I may get the wood grain decals for Grandmommy and Poppa for Channukah.)

They have sheets of personalized labels for kids' school stuff. And seriously, labeling all the backpacks, lunchboxes, water bottles, shoes, sweaters, and EVERYTHING for a set of twins is a pain in butt- this is a MUCH better solution.

But what really excited me the most were the home organization decals.

I have a small kitchen. Really, it's crazy small. But I've made do with a little creative furniture repurposing and some general decorating choices.

Enter, Kidecals.


As I don't really have cabinets, I need to store my dry goods in plain sight, which means finding a way to make them both attractive and functional. When I first established this system, I bought a small package of chalkboard labels and a bit of chalkboard paint. I only labeled the things that weren't immediately obvious (All Purpose Flour next to Bread Flour, Basmati Rice next to Jasmine Rice, things like that). But it was inconsistent and I was never too crazy about the resulting look. Plus, the chalkboard paint flaked off, and the chalkboard labels didn't hold to the chalk. It was disorganized and confusing, and on many occasions a well intentioned houseguest dumped powdered sugar into my cake flour. But I couldn't get the labels off! I was stuck with them.

My old labels
So I decided to try out the Kidecals chalkboard labels, which came in a variety of attractive shapes.

Let's do a quick side by side comparison:


That's a Kidecals label on the left, a World Market label on the right.

Okay, so it obviously LOOKS better off the bat, but what about when I grab the jar I'm looking for? What happens when I touch the label? With the old labels, even the most casual, glancing brush with a stray finger, and the chalk is gone. I decided to try intentionally swiping my finger, roughly, across my old labels and a Kidecals label,


Yup. It smudged, but only just a bit.

And the Kidecals labels are CRAZY affordable! For what I spent on two packages of six blackboard labels previously, I got two sets of two sheets of Kidecals labels.

Another cool thing about the Kidecals labels? The plaque and cloud shaped came on what looked like a sticker sheet- meaning there was EXTRA LABEL MATERIAL! I of course used it to make teeny tiny labels for my salt cellars. Yes, writing legibly with chalk at that scale can be tricky, but it's also so much fun!


I got so many labels for my $30 worth, not only did I label all the beans, flours, sugars, salts, oils, and vinegars, I even went to town in the fridge. I like to re-use mason jars for things like jam (when you buy a Costco size vat of strawberry preserves, you don't always want to have to lug a four pound glass jar back and forth to the table each time your kids want a sandwich).

Now my fridge matches my counter, with minced garlic, strawberry jam, nutritional yeast, and baking yeast all clearly and attractively labeled.

These labels are not going anywhere. They are on there for good, so far withstanding hand washing of the jars and bottles without peeling or curling.

I love that people can come into my kitchen and find exactly what they're looking for. I love that I can find exactly what I'm looking for. And I love the way the whole thing looks put together.

I definitely recommend Kidecals. And lucky you, you can get your own and save!

Kidecals is a big supporter of parents, particularly parents of multiples. They understand how much more difficult the task of labeling things for kids gets when there are more children involved, and they want to help. They're offering you a discount on a sliding scale, depending on the number of kids in the house.

2 children: doubles2014 = 15% off $25 or more
3 children: threes2014 = 20% off $50 or more
4 children: fours2014 = 25% off $75 or more
5 children: fives2014 = 30% off $100 or more
6 children: sixes2014 = 35% off $125 or more
7 children: sevens2014 = 40% off $150 or more

Go forth and get yourself some Kidecals! Get organized! And get your house a little more gorgeous.


Because, seriously.

That's a kitchen I can be proud of.

October 21, 2014

My Two Biggest Favorite Miniature People

My birthday girls
I can't believe it, but my twins have been five years old for a whole twenty one days.

And because I'm a mother, and this blog is not only a place for me to talk about sex positive parenting or cancer or feminism or crafting or holidays... I'm going to tell you about the children who made me a mother, and the incredible people they've become since the five years and twenty one days ago, when they made me into the woman I am now.

DD blowing out her candles
DD is maybe the sweetest, kindest child I've ever known. She's so intensely loving and helpful with her little sister, and she's so ridiculously obedient. A dozen times a day, I find myself barking quick orders, like, "Wash your hands," or "Put on your shoes," or "Please put your dishes in the sink."

She answers quietly, without pause and without bitterness or frustrations. "Yes, mommy." And every time it makes me feel guilty. Like I've somehow cowed her and intimidated her, because as an adult I would never accept authority like that. But she is so eager to please. She is so determined to earn praise. She seems to ascribe to the philosophy, "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar," and oozes honey with every gorgeous smile.

At five years old, her favorite color is Fuchsia, like Fancy Nancy. Her favorite princess is Rapunzel. Her favorite movie is Despicable Me. And her favorite pony is Rainbow Dash. She loves to dance, and wants to play the guitar.

During the year she was four, she drew me a picture every day at school. It was usually of her, sometimes of me, and sometimes of both of us together. On every picture she wrote, "I love you mommy, love DD." This year she and SI are in separate classrooms, and while once in a great while I get a picture, most days she puts tremendous effort into making cards to give SI at the end of the day.

I wonder about taking her to a modeling agency. She is so profoundly beautiful, and so photogenic, and adores being dressed up for pictures. She would be a wonderful model, and I ask myself why I don't just go for it. But I also fear what that sort of appearance based attention might do, in the long run, and how it would feel for her and her twin to excel so strongly at such different things in such a noticeable way. And as much as I want her to have fun and find success, I want even more for her to grow up without resentment and regret in her relationship with her sisters.

DD has the patience of a saint. Yes, she's still five, so she does get cranky and impatient. But 99% of the time... she has the most patience of anyone in the house. When the children spent five hours working on a single project, it was DD who rallied the troops, kept herself and her sisters focused, and completed her box without help. During nap time, for three hours every day, she lays in nearly perfect quiet in her bed. RH sleeps, usually SI sleeps... but DD quietly plays in her bed, having silent conversations with her dolls and her ponies, flipping through picture books and listening to the quiet of the house, until SI or RH wake up and she rises with them.

She has exponentially more patience than me, and she is quicker to forgive. She reminds me so much of M in these ways that I feel beneath the task of raising her.

She is thoughtful, and remarkable, and I adore her.

SI blowing out her candles
SI is so smart it scares me. Truly. I was a smart kid, and I come from a long line of very smart people. I know smart when I see it. I know genius when I see it. And I don't know that I've ever seen anything quite like SI.

My father was a child prodigy, and it made much of his childhood miserable. So he made a point when his children were born NOT to push us into academia. Not to push us into intellectual freakishness. Part of me resents him for that, what might I have accomplished if I'd been pushed to my potential? The part of me that fears for SI understands so deeply- I don't want to hurt her by causing a rift between her and her peers, and especially her twin sister.

SI came up to me on Sunday night with a nonfiction book about bats. It's a third grade educational book, filled with photographs but also dry information.

She stood in the hallway and read it to me. I watched her, at first amazed at her ability to collect sight reading words so quickly, at the vast number of words she knows not phonetically, but on sight. Only then I saw her stumble and sound them out. She was really reading. And the only word she truly struggled with (mind you, reading aloud at a conversational pace), was "weight."

I gave her the word and she paused, confused. I saw in her eyes she thought I said "wait," and the word made no sense. But she reread the sentence, and understood. Not "wait," "weight." Then she read me the rest of the book.

Before she ran down the hall, I called out to her. "How many kinds of bats are there in the United States?"
"About thirty four!"
"And where is the United States?"
"Silly mommy! We're IN the United States!"

And then she got into her pajamas and used three quarters of a tube of toothpaste to brush her teeth.

She is so funny. She loves bad jokes. She laughs from her belly so hard it makes the walls shake. She gives the gentlest, softest, most confident hugs I've ever had. While DD wraps her arms around you as though she would squeeze the love right out, SI places her arms until they're just resting against you, and lets them lie, breathing softly and smiling her special little smile.

I worry about her. I worry what will happen when she's in real school. When the teachers are trying to get students to learn words like "cat," "farm," and "bunny." SI stumbles over words like "neighborhood" and "mischievous." But only once. She only ever seems to stumble once.

She is manipulative, sneaky, and strong willed. She won't accept no for an answer, and will go behind my back if she knows it's the answer she'll get. She panics over little things like her shoe's velcro being too loose. Her favorite color is gold, and she doesn't really have a favorite princess. But her favorite pony is Rarity.

She's five years old, and she's incredible.



Now- prepare for the birthday party photo spam.

The girls chose a Butterfly theme for their party.

The children got to make their own butterfly wings to take home. This did not go EXACTLY according to plan.

Grandma and I made butterfly cookies. This was my first experiment with Royal Icing, and I think it went well!

RH thought she was sneaky, eating all the cookies she wanted.

We served hot "butterfly noodles" (farfalle) with either cheese sauce, marinara, or pesto. So everyone got a warm lunch.

Instead of a cake, we made three kinds of mini cupcakes and arranged them into a butterfly. They're chocolate, strawberry
(with vanilla flavored orange icing), and a gluten free vanilla. So all the kids could hopefully have some cake.

Last of all, the piƱata. SI went first.

DD followed. There was much thwacking. The pull strings didn't work, so we had to beat the butterfly to death.
You know, birthday party stuff!


As much fun as all the children had, the most fun was of course had by DD, SI, and RH. Who are continuing to enjoy their birthday nearly a month past its end.


I can't believe I've been a mommy for more than five years.

It's been an amazing half a decade. It's been an amazing life. I'm so happy and stunned and proud- I feel lucky every day, no matter how difficult it may be, that I get to be their mommy.


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