Banana Peel

It’s what’s inside that matters…

Tip Jar Tuesday January 6, 2009

Filed under: Tip Jar Tuesday — Jess @ 12:16 pm
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Now that the holiday’s are over hopefully I can be more faithful with these!

Tip #12

Helping your toddler stay organized.

The Blue-Eyed Boy got a lot of new toys for Christmas. He has way to many in the first place, and I could never get him to keep them organized. So, The Hunk and I decided that a good use for some of his Christmas money would be to get him some organizing things. And because I have a crazy little boy who has inherited some of my neat-freakishness– he was super excited about it. We got him this big drawer cart, and two a-little-bit-larger-than-a- shoe-box-size totes. He also has a three drawer cart already, and a toy box. Plenty of room for everything now!

The problem was, I could spend all the time putting things in the containers and making sure to have a place for everything only to have it be a huge mess again the next day.  The first problem was The Hunk, as much as I love him, he never remembers where things go no matter how may times I tell or show him. That problem would be easy to solve–I’d label everything. The second problem was The Blue-Eyed Boy himself. He also never remember where things are supposed to go (he’s three-short term memory and all that, you know) and he can’t read yet. So, I decided to make picture labels.

I drew a picture of what was to go in there, like blocks, and then I wrote the word underneath. We have been working on learning some words here so I’m hoping this will help The Blue-Eyed Boy to begin to put some words together. I wrote everything in all capital letters so it’s easier for him to recognize the letters.

Here’s some pictures:





The new cart he bought

The new cart he bought

The 3-drawer cart

3-drawer cart

Toy Box

Toy Box

He is so proud of his newly organized toy area!

He is so proud of his newly organized toy area!

[begin side note: I am not the greatest artist in the world, nor do I claim to be, and I was kind of doing this quickly. So, please forgive my bad drawings! I plan to spend some time over the next couple of weeks and either take pictures and make signs from that, or draw better ones, I’m also going to laminate them or something. Especially the ones on the toy box because when he sits there his legs rub on the paper and almost tear them (I taped all around them after I took the picture). end side note]

It has worked wonderfully. We all know where everything goes. And we didn’t end up using the two a-little-bit-larger-than-a- shoe-box-size totes because they weren’t needed!! I did end up using them for The Red-Haired Girls toys, so she’s all organized too!

So, I guess a condensed version of the Tip for today would be: use pictures to label things to help your toddler stay organized.

Try it out!


Our Advent Celebration December 9, 2008

Filed under: Our Advent Celebration,Pictures,Tip Jar Tuesday — Jess @ 8:05 pm

This year we decided to celebrate Advent as a family. We have never done this before so I was really unsure of what to do, how to do it, etc. So, I did some searches on the Internet and found different things we could do as a family to prepare for Christmas. I didn’t really like any of them all that much. I mean I would like a part of this one, or that one, but not one as a whole. So, I took what I liked from them and sort of made my own. My plan was to share this with you, but then last week happened and I didn’t have time to make my advent wreath or type anything up to share with you. We also didn’t do the first week because we were shuttling two kids back and forth from the hospital. If there was ever a time where we definitely should have taken the time to focus on the birth of Christ, last week would have been perfect. But alas, life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to.

So, to make up for it, we are going to do week one and two tonight and then we will be back on track. I thought I’d share with you what we are doing any way. Maybe next year it will help someone else out who wants to celebrate the Advent season but is unsure of how. Okay? So here we go.

The first thing you will need is to make your advent wreath. You can do a quick Google search for “advent wreath” and find several that you can buy, or you can make your own very easily. All you need are 3 purple (or blue) candles, one pink and one white candle. I used a plate from our old microwave and cut some leaf shapes out of some brown felt I had leftover from Halloween costumes, and walaa! The advent wreath doesn’t have to be all fancy. I’m a simple person, and I think simple is better!

Here’s ours:

The next thing you need to decide is if you want to do something daily, or weekly. We are going the weekly route. So, we decided that Tuesday nights would be the best day of the week for us to celebrate. (The traditional day to celebrate is Sunday, but we just would not be able to make that work)

Here is my outlines of what we will be doing for Advent Week One and Two:

Advent Week One
Lighting of 1st Candle-(purple) “CANDLE OF HOPE”
We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises he made to us. Our hope comes from God. (Romans15: 12-13)

Alternate meaning: “PROPHECY CANDLE”
The color purple is a sign of penance and also represents the longing we have waiting for the birth of baby Jesus.

Scripture readings: Isaiah7:14, Isaiah40:1-5, Isaiah 52:7-10, Isaiah 40:9-11, Deuteronomy 18:15-19, and Psalm 89:1-4

Song: O Come, O Come Emmanuel


Advent Week Two
2nd Candle-(purple) “CANDLE OF PREPARATION”
Preparation means to ‘get ready’. “Help us to be ready to welcome you, O God!” (Luke 3:4-6)

Alternate meaning: “CANDLE OF BETHLEHEM”

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10, Zechariah 6:12-13, Micah 5:1-5, Malachi 3:1-6, John 1:1-6. John 1:9-18, Mark 1:1-3

Songs: Away in a Manger and O Little Town Of Bethlehem


It helps that I have a guitar playing hunk who lives here, but even if your family is not musical, you can just sing the songs together. If anyone would like the words to either of these songs I would be happy to share them with you, just shoot me an email.

Another thing we’ve done is the Blue-Eyed Boy and I made a prayer chain. It’s just like your basic paper chain we all made in elementary school, only on the one side I wrote the Christmas countdown and on the other side we wrote the name of someone we wanted to pray for. When I taped the strips into a chain the name is on the inside while the number is on the outside. So, every day we can pull one off and pray for the person that is on that paper for the day. The Blue-Eyed Boy had fun making this.

So, there you have it. That is what we will be doing tonight (we’re going to wait til it’s dark so the candles can really shine).

I’ll post what we will do next week later in the week.

Oh and here’s a Tip Jar Tuesday for ya:

Tip #11

Crawl under a blanket with someone you love. Life is short folks– don’t get hung up in the stuff that doesn’t matter and forget about the stuff that really does.


Tip Jar Tuesday November 25, 2008

Filed under: Tip Jar Tuesday — Jess @ 6:56 pm

So, I just realized that it’s Tuesday. I missed last weeks Tip Jar Tuesday. So I am going to make up for it with TWO tips today. These tips have to do with taking pictures, since that is what I’ve been doing a lot of these days, specifically infant and toddler pictures.

Tip #9

Utilize the burst feature.

If your camera has a burst feature (where it will take a rapid succession–typically 3–of pictures with one push of the button) use it! I have found that it helps a lot to have those quick pictures one right after another. Especially if you can anticipate an infants smile or when your toddler is going to look at you. It also gives you three of a very similar photo so chances are that at least one of them will have turned out well.

The downside is that it uses up your camera memory faster, and you have to sort through dozens and dozens of triple take pictures. But I think the benefits far outweigh this inconvenience.

Tip #10

Use sheets and blankets to disguise everyday items.

Our bedroom gets the best natural lighting during the day (it’s on the east side of the house and has one central window). Its a very small room however so no matter where I put the kids on the bed there was something distracting behind them. To solve this problem I strung sheets (you want either a pastel or a super dark color depending on the look you’re trying to accomplish–mine were pastel blue) across where I wanted to take the pictures. I then put white blankets on the bed (these are Christmas picture, I wanted a snowy look, but I could’ve used green for a grass look, etc.).

In the picture you see on the sidebar the Red-Haired Girl is sitting in her Bumbo seat. I just put a white blanket over it before I sat her in it and WALAA she looks like she is sitting in snow. I also had some batting laying around left-over from some sewing projects, so we spread that around for “snow”. The kids really loved that. I wish I had had a better faster camera so I could have taken pictures of the Blue-Eyed Boy throwing it up in the air and stuff, I tried but my camera is too slow so they were blurry.

Also putting some pillows under a sheet can prop up your infant just enough to get a better picture. I used pillows to put under the Blue-Eyed Boy so he was taller than the Red-Haired Girl when she was sitting in the Bumbo.

Make it fun, your kids will have fun and you’ll get some really great pictures!

And keep it natural. The more you force the pictures the worse they turn out. But when you are just having fun and laughing and talking and stuff you will be surprised with the neat pictures you can get.

Here’s a few more of our good “rejects”. (I promise once I actually send out the absolutely perfect Christmas cards, I will share the photos here!!)

Your turn–try it out!


Tip Jar Tuesday November 11, 2008

Filed under: Tip Jar Tuesday — Jess @ 5:50 am

Tip #8 Homemade carpet cleaner.

This is the best carpet cleaner I have ever used. My hunk was surprised how well it works…and that’s saying something because he worked as a carpet cleaner for a couple years.

Warning: I must note that this carpet cleaner uses ammonia so keep it out of the reach of your children and pets.

Here’s the recipe:

1 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. ammonia
3 TBL dish soap
3/4 c. water.

Mix together and put into a foaming container (I use an old hand soap one). Vacuum surface to be cleaned. Spray foam onto rug, carpet, or upholstery and rub with a soft bristle brush (an old tooth brush works well–The Hunk said I should mention that you shouldn’t brush your teeth with this toothbrush after you are done—*rolls eyes*). Don’t let the foam sit for very long or it doesn’t work as well, I’ve found it works best if you squirt it on and then start rubbing immediately–so work a small area at a time.

Now for some fun I decided to ruin–er experiment on my own rug so that I could document with photos how this stuff works. So, I took my rug put it on the kitchen floor and opened the fridge. With my Hunk wondering why his wife was going wacky and the Blue-Eyed Boy asking every 30 seconds–“Momma what you dooooing?” I poured juice (not exactly sure what kind it is….grape and something else–apple I think), hot cocoa, and grape jelly on my rug. I also poured soy milk, but it didn’t really show up in the pictures—but I can report that it came out. I only had a moments pause before embarking on this mission just for you my dear readers. The one I was really nervous about was the grape jelly. For this rug is the one by the door, the one everyone sees when they come into our house. I even let everything sit for 10 minutes so that it set in really good before I cleaned it off. I really trust this stuff!

Here are my before and after pictures (click to enlarge):

My rug isn’t ruined, and it’s cleaner in some places–ha! I now need to clean the whole thing.

Now it’s your turn–try it out! And let me know how it worked for you!

Read all Tips.


Tip Jar Tuesday November 4, 2008

Filed under: Tip Jar Tuesday — Jess @ 1:47 pm

It’s Tip Jar Tuesday today at the Peel! Today’s tip is for those of you with toddlers. Hope it helps you! It’s revolutionized bedtime and nap-time for us!

Tip #7

The 5-minute trick.

Does your toddler fight you when it’s time for bed? The Blue-Eyed boy sure would for us. He would eventually go with us to do our bedtime routine, but there was a lot of complaining and “I don’t want to’s” along with it. It was an annoying and frustrating way to end our day. Then I learned the 5-minute trick. This has completely changed how our boy goes to bed. Here’s what you do:

About 5 minutes before it is time for your toddler to get ready for bed. Ask him or her “Would you like to go to bed now, or in 5 minutes?”. They will inevitably pick the 5 minutes. But they are picking when they go to bed (at least as far as they can tell). Then when the 5 minutes are up you tell them it’s time for bed.

What happens next is magic: a willing and happy toddler who runs off to their bedroom to pick books. Peace–it’s a beautiful thing.

Try it out! And let me know how it works for you!


Tip Jar Tuesday October 28, 2008

Filed under: Tip Jar Tuesday — Jess @ 5:38 pm

It’s that time again, folks. Here’s my tip for this week. Short and sweet.

Tip #6

Reducing laundry costs.

Tear your dryer sheets in half. They work just as well, and you get twice as many out of a box.

Try it out!


Tip Jar Tuesday October 21, 2008

Filed under: Tip Jar Tuesday — Jess @ 12:22 pm

So, I’ve been slacking on these. I usually get to Thursday or Friday and realize, oops I forgot about Tip Jar Tuesday!! But today, and today only folks (no promises for next week!), I remembered!

Tip #5

Removing scratches from DVDs and CDs

In this post I mentioned that I had read how to do this with a banana peel. Well, the Hunk (who seriously questioned my sanity) and I tried it and to our surprise it actually worked!! Our Cars movie DVD was really scratched (it’s the Blue-Eyed Boys’ favorite movie…or “moobie” as he says). It was to the point where we couldn’t watch the first five minutes because it wouldn’t play that part, there were just too many scratches. But now we can watch it. I must say that there is a little teensy skip left, so we are going to do it again and see if that works. But now we can at least watch the WHOLE movie.

So, here’s what you do:

1. Rub your DVD or CD from center to outside with the inside of a banana peel. DO NOT GO AROUND IN CIRCLES. For 5 minutes.

2. Wash with soap and water. Rinse really really well. I had to rinse ours twice because it wouldn’t work–there was still soap residue.

3. Repeat if necessary.

Try it out! And leave a comment on how it worked!

Read all Tips here.