Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bugs Be Gone!

For some unknown reason, I have been learning how to make stuff MYSELF - instead of just buying it.

Not that there is anything wrong with buying various items...I think I just have to challenge myself with strange and obscure projects because it keeps different parts of my brain alive.

Case in point:  Citronella Candles

Yes, you read that right - I decided to make my own citronella candles. And why not? If somebody else can make it, then certainly I can too!

This is where the internet is a blessing/curse. Because you can find step-by-step tutorials and YouTube videos to walk you through mostly anything. 

And then you feel like you can/should do mostly anything.

Side note - why do the tutorials/video people feel the need to say "just" so much? Especially when it completely does not apply....i.e:
"First, you just feed you 50 silkworms 7 times a day, for just 2.5 years. Then, you take the silk they've spun and you just weave it in a dainty pattern that was designed by a neurophysicist. And there you go, a marvelous scarf in just 2 easy steps!"


Thankfully, my tutorial  (and video step-by-step) was better than that.

And it actually was pretty easy to make the candles! (Albeit rather time-consuming....primarily because I have a shortage of pots in my home, so I didn't have the right size.)

Here's how I kept my "melting container" from getting wet....a cookie cutter!

Fill the pot with as much water as you can - without having it touch your melting container.

Place shaved wax (definitely makes it melt faster!) and coloring agent (crayon) in a container with a candle thermometer. 

**Side note - 
Crayons work great as a coloring agent for CITRONELLA candles. But not other candles. 
Because they make the candle smoke more when it burns.****

Turn on the heat, and wait.

Be sure to wait for the wax to hit 140 degrees....or the consistency of olive oil. 
You can stir it with a paint stick or a spoon - but don't plan on using it EVER again for anything but candle making.

While waiting, (and waiting, and waiting) prep your jars! I saved money by using old glass jars that I would have recycled anyway - an olive jar, a gifted jam jar, and a salsa jar.

Place a dab of hot glue on the bottom of the wick and push it down in the middle of the bottom of the jar.

I kept the wick steady (and in the middle) while pouring, by pinching it with a clothes pin. Not very fancy - but it worked!

It was extra fun because the Beans helped out as well - always an entertaining time. They took turns picking the color for the wax....and then deciding where their color should go. So we ended up with 4 very colorful citronella candles!

All 4 were ORIGINALLY in jars - the one sitting in a bowl had an unfortunate altercation with the Boy Bean (see his determined face above) and lost its leftover-salsa-jar-casing. 
Oh well. The shattered jar only left 3 children in tears, one with a thumb slice, and one with glass in her foot.  Thankfully, no harm came to the candle.

Not a single bite...and I'm pretty sweet.  :)

 Copyright 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pin Test

So, I  recently joined (the vortex known as) Pinterest.   (Find me at whitpoitevint)
And I am officially sucked in.

The beautiful styles!
The amazing crafts!
The phenomenal home decor tips!

The wonderful finds are overwhelming.


But I have been happily pinning away - things I like, things I want to do, things that look delicious, brilliant ideas, cheap fixes, creative gifts....yadayadayada

Inspired by Delia who blogs at Delia Creates (which, you need to check out. This woman is a genius.) I thought I would challenge myself with a weekly "pin test." Where I actually do the cool things I've pinned and report on my success/failure. :)

My first Pin Test?  Smooth Leg Treatment.

My husband is away and I wanted to pamper myself. I try to schedule in one evening every 2 weeks where I just do something for myself, at home.  Things like paint my nails, learn how to do a new hairstyle, watch a movie, sew, whatever I want. This pin seemed to fit that bill. :)

The directions were quite straightforward:

Take 1 1/4 cups sugar.....

1/2 cup olive oil.....

3 Tablespoons citrus juice (I used Lime)....


and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

The official directions say to soak in a tub for 5 minutes and then shave your legs.
Well, I had mowed the yard - so I needed a shower. Shaving of legs happened then.  :)

This is where the directions get the most challenging -
Coat your legs in the mix and rub in. (I also did my feet)
Shave again.
Coat your legs a 2nd time.
Get out of tub - and moisturize. :)

Not too hard, right?

I followed the directions - did exactly as I was supposed to - and my legs are smooth as can be. This, my friends, is a WINNER.

Not ONLY do you get super smooth legs - but it forces you to clean your bathtub. 
(Most hated chore ever) 
The spa treatment was like the veritable carrot on the end of the clean-your-tub stick. 

I'm thinking I will keep this little beauty treatment in my routine - it just might mean cleaner bathrooms....  

Happy Pinning!

~Whitney Copyright 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Well, it's that time again.

Time to write all schedules in pencil.

Time to plan on My Love not being around.

Time to be thankful for the seconds spent together, because over the next year - that is what our time will as a family of 6 will feel like.

Seconds. Moments. Brief ones.
My Love is almost done with a 6 week school - 5 weeks down.

Which really isn't that long in the grand scheme of things - except when I realize how few weeks he'll be home over the next year (or so). As a grown up, I have a better grasp on the time - I can see the end, even when it feels (or is) extremely far away.

My Beans don't have that perspective.

So today - this morning, my Jumping Bean missed Daddy.


She was happily obeying and making her bed to finish her "start the day" chores...when I complimented her:

"Good job big girl! You are working so hard and doing such an excellent job!"

She responded with a smile,
"Yep, I'm like Daddy. 
I work hard and do my best. 
Just like him."

Then she sat on the bed and said,
"I wish he was home. It is just so much better with him here. I miss him."
My sweet Jumping Bean then climbed in my lap, wrapped her arms around my neck, and sobbed.

She sobbed because she misses her Daddy. 
The one who wrestles, 
who snuggles, 
who hugs, 
who comforts, 
who challenges, 
who adventures with, 
who laughs with, 
who corrects, 
and who teaches her like no one else. 
As my shoulder was soaked and my heart broke, she choked out,
 "I just like him home better."

And this Mama cried right along. 
Because I do too.

I have the perspective - I see what's coming.  And I know it will be a hard year for all of us. It will not be the end of the world. It is not the worst thing ever - but at times, it will feel like it.

So over these next few months, I intend to treasure each second we have together. Hopefully, it will get me in the habit of doing that with all the people I love.

Because you rarely know what the next moment holds.

 Copyright 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cocoa Bean Moment.....

Well. It happened.

I knew this day would come, so I was ready.

Ready to laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and finish with a photo shoot.

My Jumping Bean - my ball of constant movement - my girl who hates stuff that gets in her way...

found scissors.

She came downstairs one Sunday morning...interestingly, the very morning AFTER my first attempt at cutting Boy Bean's hair....and said she had a magic trick.

"Look Mom! I can make my BANGS DISAPPEAR!"

 When I looked at her, I saw her hands clasped in anticipation of my joy, her hopeful and excited eyes, and her cherubic face...perfectly framed by Dumb and Dumber bangs.

 After I pulled myself off the floor and dried my laughing eyes, I asked her one word: "WHY?"

"Because they got in my way," my logical girl replied.

It didn't matter that we ended up being 20 minutes late for church - or that there were beautiful blond waves (In process of being GROWN OUT!!) on the bathroom floor - because that moment was sweet.

~Whitney Copyright 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hawkeye Ball

Well, we are Navy.

No Chair Force here

And My Love, is a Naval Aviator.

His aircraft is the E2 Hawkeye - which is pertinent today, because this weekend was the annual Hawkeye Ball.

(This is a picture from the weekend My Love was winged - 2 1/2 years ago. 
We didn't have Boy Bean, and Bitty Bean was only 6 months old.
 But this is the only picture I have of his aircraft.)

Unfortunately, My Love is away at school - 4 weeks down, 2 to go - so I went solo.

Fortunately, the people in his squadron are FUN - so I had a blast anyway.

The Hawkeye Ball is not as loaded with rules as the Dining out, but it is still a formal affair.

Translation: I got to dress up!

A friend came over and did my hair.....

A couple pictures of the "in progress"....

Here is the finished product: 

We did a little photo shoot.... and I felt pretty dumb standing there posing. 
I don't think I could EVER model.
(Not like I've had offers. Aside from being 5' 5" and smooshy. )
 It is just strange to be standing there having someone snap away!

Then off to the ball I went, in my wonderful Carriage, er, Toyota Sienna Swagger Wagon. 

The ball is always well attended. The military dress is for Choker whites or mess dress...which translates to a cocktail dress or formal/floor length in civilian terms. :) Basically, the clothing runs the gamut from floor length with a small train, to what I'm wearing! 

That is one of the fun parts for me - people watching.  There are prom dresses, and gloves, and updo's, and short dresses, and heels, and uniforms, and just all sorts of fashion commentary fodder. 

After the cocktail hour, we are all summoned to the banquet hall by "The Original Puff-Daddy"

While I'm not a huge fan of the bagpipe...
I mean playing a bagpipe is kinda of like throwing a Javelin blindfolded. You don't have to be very good to get everyone's attention....
this piper was enjoyable. 

In the banquet hall, each squadron was responsible for decorating their own tables....and I think our ladies did a wonderful job!

In the beginning of dinner, after the presenting of colors and the National Anthem; our attention is turned to the POW/MIA table. This is the table honoring and remember those who can't be with us - or who have missed these occasions in the past. This table set for one, with every item on it representing some aspect of their separation, how it effects the person away and all of us as a military community; is a sobering and respectful moment.  This tradition keeps us linked together through our military history - when one person is gone, we are all affected. As it says in the script:
Remember... all of you who served with them and called them comrades, who depended on their might and aid, and relied on them... for surely... they have not forsaken you.

Regarding the actual meal part of dinner....my food was good! 

If ever you go to a large gathering like this, please ignore the siren song of the ribeye. It will be undercooked and bleeding all over your side dishes.

Also, don't get the chicken. It will be dry as can be and tough.

People - listen to me: Get the fish. Always. You have the highest chance of it being cooked properly because the fewest number of people will have ordered it. AND it is typically the smallest entree, so if it is gross, your side dishes are not ruined. 

You can thank me later.

Overall, it was a great night.  Good memories made by all. 

~Whitney Copyright 2012