Pioneer Momma

Trading the city life for the simple life.

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Pioneer Momma
Pioneer Momma

Man Cave Makeover

**Disclosure:  I received no reimbursement for this post.  I was invited to create a collage for the Man Cave Makeover Campaign by Man Crates, and all opinions are 100% my own.  And Hubby’s :-) **

Hubby’s birthday was yesterday, and we celebrated with a quiet dinner at home.  It got me thinking, how when we get to our forever house, I am so super excited to help him work on his own special space.  Being the wonderfully manly man that he is, his man cave won’t be in the house….he wants to park a caboose on the property!  Hey, it sounds like a fun project!  So…if any of y’all are selling a caboose anytime soon….ya know where to find me :-)

I was recently asked by Alexandra over at Man Crates to be a part of their Man Cave Makeover Campaign.  The first thing I thought was how awesome would it be to involve Hubby in creating his dream man cave collage, and getting a peek into what he’d like for future surprises!  He’s a hard guy to surprise, and this totally gave me a way.

Man Crates is a really great manly site with great manly gifts for great manly men.  Seriously, check out this Outdoor Survival Crate!  And you know you need some supplies for that upcoming Zombie Apocalypse…Like Bacon?  Yup, they’ve got that, too.  Virtually everything you could think of giving the hubs, they’ve got packed in a wooden crate, ready to ship.  You heard me right, wooden crate.  The kind you open with a crowbar (which comes attached!).  How much more manly can you get?

Hubby was more than excited to get started planning his room.  The main points were dogs, trains, and it has to be in a caboose.  Okay…here’s what we came up with:

Man Cave Makeover by PioneerMomma.com

Hubby’s Man Cave! To see more about each item on the Polyvore collage, click the pic!

Nice, right?  I know!  The color scheme he chose was charcoal gray, ivory, and a rusty red color.  There are some heavy locomotive influences throughout the room, including the red iron wall hooks, the rusty gears, that super manly numbered iron dresser, and a few other items.  Then, of course, we needed the dogs.  Man’s best friend, right?  Definitely Hubby’s.  We have this totally crazy dog picture that is sitting in our closet right now because I can’t bring myself to put it up.  Maybe it can go in his man cave…

The first thing you need in a room is seating.  He chose this sturdy grey sofa (ironically designed by Cindy Crawford!) and a white Manhattan Upholstered Recliner.  More cushion is necessary in every aspect of life, so we added some handsome little Scottish Terrier pillows.  Aren’t they cute?  To top off the cushiony sensory experience, we have a Chevron patterned rug, by Surya.  It matches the sofa pillows!  I’ll get my touch in there somehow :-)

While he is enjoying lounging around in his caboose, he can sort through his music and games, all neatly tucked away in this a-MAZ-ing iron cabinet.  I am so obsessed with those painted numbers!  It’s almost like the numbers of box cars as the train goes by.

After he gets tired of looking through his games, he can dim the lights from the industrial chandelier and iron candle holder.  What smell is the candle?  Why, apple pie, of course!

Overall, I highly doubt I’d see him come out of this man cave for quite some time.  He loves it!  Although he doesn’t have it quite yet, I loved to work with him creating the room he’s always wanted.  A big thanks to Man Crates for inviting us to be a part of the Man Cave Makeover Campaign; it was a blast!

What would your man cave have?  Would you try to sneak as many of these items into the house as I would?  LOOK at that iron!!

Dairy Free Pumpkin Spice “Ice Cream”

Dairy Free Pumpkin Spice "Ice Cream" by PioneerMomma.comWith the still-warm temperatures of Southern California this early in fall, some of us are still enjoying a bite or two of frozen goodness.  What better than to add the comfort of pumpkin spice?  I’m lactose intolerant, and I like to try to get the family eating as natural as possible.  With that said, one of the best alternatives I have found to the dairy in conventional ice cream are frozen bananas.  Got an immersion blender and a frozen banana?  You’ve got your own dairy free frozen treat!  The banana blends into the same creamy texture you’d normally enjoy with the store bought desserts.  The best part is that you can add virtually anything, and it takes almost no time at all.

For this treat, I wanted to imitate a pumpkin pie flavoring.  I used frozen bananas and the roasted pumpkin puree I had stored in the freezer.  These two ingredients provide a multitude of healthy vitamins and nutrients, and there is no guilt in feeding it to your loved ones!  Bubba absolutely loves it and ate the whole one pictured.  Hubby doesn’t even like pumpkin, but he said this was delicious.  It really does taste like frozen pumpkin pie!  But healthy!

Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

1 frozen banana

1 Cup frozen pumpkin puree (see how I make mine here)

1 1/2 tsp coconut oil

1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions

1.  Place all ingredients in medium sized bowl and blend with immersion blender until smooth.  Makes 2 servings.  If you’re fancy, add some toppings!  I chopped up some chocolate to garnish the top.  Yum!

What are you making with pumpkin this year?  Have you tried making ice cream from frozen bananas?  What is your favorite add-in?  Remember, if you enjoyed the recipe, please share!

 

**BOOK CLUB QUESTION:  We’ve finally reached the end of the story, and whew! Was that a ride, or not?!  Did it end how you expected?  If you were present on the balcony at the time of the accident, what would you have said to the police?  Were you as happy as I was when Jane and Tom got together?  What do you foresee in Celeste’s boys’ future?  As always, email your answer to me here to be included in Friday’s post!

 

What’d You Do This Weekend? #51 (and printable!)

A big welcome back to What’d You Do This Weekend!  I love this time of the week, and can’t wait to see what everyone has come up with to share.

As of right now, I’m fully expecting my computer to be doing cartwheels and somersaults, after the hours of updating it did today!  Unfortunately that made for no weekly worksheet post, so I am including the printable right here :-)  Click here or on the picture below to print yours out and plan your week!

Weekly Worksheet: 2014 Week 44 (free printable) by PioneerMomma.com

Click to print!

Hubby’s birthday is tomorrow and I’m going to try to get in the kitchen for a while during all the plumbing chaos and bake him some brownies.  Think I can do it without him noticing?  We’ll see :-)  He tends to know what I’m doing even before I do sometimes…

Bubba has finally decided on a zombie as his Halloween costume for this Friday, which he was a few years ago, but absolutely loved.  He made me take him out for a walk mid-day in costume and “zombie-walked” the whole way.  He totally got a kick out of crawling up to people on the sidewalk.  They were all such good sports and he had a blast.  I have a feeling we may be recreating that again this year…To be honest, it was the easiest costume ever.  I tore up some of his old clothes and we used my makeup for zombie markings.  Super simple!  I was a bit uneasy about the whole walking dead thing for him at first, but it doesn’t bother him whatsoever, which is awesome.  Here’s to hoping y’all have a great Halloween, too!

I’d also love if y’all checked out my post from earlier in the week: 7 Coping Skills for Kids.  It’s got great tips on keeping the little ones calm in times of increased anxiety or frustration.

7 Coping Skills for Kids by PioneerMomma.com

Great for Autism/special needs kiddos

On to the features!  As always, I love to see what everyone’s been doing, and Stumbled, pinned, and shared many of your posts.  Be sure to check out Tumbleweed Contessa for her favorites of the week.  Here are mine:

MOST VIEWED: FALL SCENTED SPICE CANDLES BY LITTLE HOUSE LIVING!

Spiced Candles for Fall - Little House Living

Fall Scented Spice Candles by Little House Living

FEATURES

Watermelon Kale Smoothie by Upstate Ramblings

Watermelon Kale Smoothie by Upstate Ramblings

Feeling Overwhelmed by Letters From Sunnybrook

Feeling Overwhelmed by Letters From Sunnybrook

 

Apple Coffee Cake by Lemons and Laughs

Apple Coffee Cake by Lemons and Laughs

The winner of September’s ad spot winner for both Pioneer Momma and Tumbleweed Contessa is Just Short Of Crazy!  Everyone be sure to stop by and show some bloggy love  :-)

Now, let’s get on with this week’s linkup!  To old, new, and future bloggy friends, welcome to the party!  I can’t wait to see what y’all bring to the table.  Link up as much as you want, and those ideas will be shared on BOTH blogs.  Be sure to say hello!  So share, mingle, create, and have fun!  Feel free to grab a button at the bottom of the post.

By linking up, you agree to let Pioneer Momma use the picture linked by you, in the case of a feature.  If I am unable to grab the pic from your page, you will get an email from me in the couple days ahead of the linkup requesting a pic file to use.  Each feature pic includes a link back to your original post.  The features are pinned and shared on various social media, each linking directly back to your original post.  Thanks for linking up with us!

 

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Pioneer Momma
Pioneer Momma

Friday Book Club: October #3

Big Little Lies by Liane MoriartyI was literally on the edge of my seat for this quarter of the book.  I stopped at the four hour mark (audiobook), but it was incredibly hard to do so!  There are a few major points to this portion of the book I’d like to discuss:  Harper’s petition to suspend Ziggy and the resulting group intimidation and attempt to get them to leave the school, or area, altogether…Abigail’s new website: her intentions vs. execution and how Nathan and Madeline feel about it…Celeste’s new apartment and her denial of how intense the abuse is, right up until Perry slams her head in the wall and says he’d kill her if she “embarrassed him like that again”…and finding out that Max is the one hurting Amabella.

First off:  Harper’s petition.  Frankly, I think this is where the real helicopter parenting shows itself.  The school is attempting to deal with the problem, but some people can’t let that be.  The situation is intensified by someone unrelated to the problem (Harper) trying to get an “us against you” kind of deal going.  She even got signatures from parents in other grades, and they don’t even know what happened!  It seems as if Harper likes to glorify her friendship with Renata, almost like bragging about it.  If I were in her situation, knowing only what they know, I would stand by my friend as support, not try to encourage the rest of the school to push out another child.  What would you do in that situation?  What effect do you feel the petition had on the kinder dynamic?

Second:  Abigail’s website.  While we saw that she was starting to become more influenced by Bonnie as the story went on, I had no idea it would go in that direction!  Maybe Madeline was right, and she was too sensitive to learn about child marriage and sex workers at 14.  I believe her intentions were good, but she went about it a very wrong way.  Her main point was to bring about more attention to the problem, as she was reading up on the Amnesty International site.  But she should have done it in a more safe and appropriate manner.  Auctioning off herself is making her an object, not a voice.  And I definitely feel that she should have been supervised a lot more at Bonnie and Nathan’s.  Madeline can sometimes be overbearing, but I have a hard time thinking that would happen were she still living with her.  Opinions?  What would you have done if you were in Madeline’s place?  How would you help to redirect Abigail’s intentions to a more appropriate method?

Third:  We learn that Celeste has leased an apartment and furnished it, for six months.  The first question I wondered was if she really had intentions of using it, or if it was just a guise, and she was going through the motions with Suzy?  When she speaks about the mushroom lamp and the quilts on the boys’ beds, we see that she actually has glimmers of excitement or hope that she could live there.  That she could make it.  But she falls back into how much she would miss, and the guilt she has going behind Perry’s back.  The last we know is Perry is helping her with ice and having Madeline pick up the boys after school.  I think the last sentence I stopped at was Celeste realizing there is something very wrong with Perry’s actions and how she is wondering if he actually believes she just “fell ill,” as he told Madeline on the phone.  However, we do find out that Celeste now believes Perry will kill her if she leaves, and eventually kill her if she stays.  Which is a big development, considering she has been pretty consistent with Suzy about how their relationship is “different” from the statistics and history.  Do you think she will move into the apartment and finally leave Perry?  What would you do in her situation?  What would you say if you were her friend?

Lastly:  During Jane and Ziggy’s breakfast in Blue Blue’s, Ziggy agreed to write the name of the kid causing harm to Amabella.  I was totally shocked when he named Max.  We know the boys can be rowdy and cause trouble here and there, but for one of them to continuously harm a little girl?  And for Ziggy to reference him as the “bad twin”?  I was very surprised.  I was convinced it was the nanny, or maybe an older child.  But with Amabella fearing being “killed dead”, it is definitely pretty serious.  Which brings up an interesting point, when Jane was worried about Saxon Banks leaving a violent genetic or hereditary imprint on Ziggy.  It’s also interesting that we now learned that Saxon is most likely Perry’s cousin (from twin sister mothers), and Perry is abusive, and now his son.  What is your take?

This week I asked a generalized question, to see what y’all though of the book so far.  Here’s what some of you said:

I think this book shows a great example of helicopter parenting, and how we should just stay out of business that isn’t always ours.  There are times where we should trust our children and those caring for them (the school) and let them grow as they are meant to.  I’d like to think the book will end with some of the more bothersome parents realizing this, but I’m not so sure that’ll happen.  — Lauren

It broke my heart when Ziggy cried about having no playmates at school.  I mean, how would you feel if everyone’s parents told them they weren’t allowed to play with you, and you didn’t even do anything in the first place?!?  I’m interested in seeing how Jane handles the situation after Ziggy naming Max as the culprit, with him being her friend’s son and all.  The whole situation is heartbreaking.  —  Linda

Holy crap.  If I were in Celeste’s position, I would be in that apartment so fast.  No question about it, if someone was harming myself or my kids, we’d be gone.  Also, I imagine it will be very hard on her to hear her son is the one hurting the little girl.  Brings some light on the vicious cycle of violence thing.  I really want to see how she handles it.  Hopefully everything ends up alright.  —  Anonymous

What about you?  What do you think so far?  Any answers to the questions above?  I’d love to hear!

 

7 Coping Skills for Kids

7 Coping Skills for Kids by PioneerMomma.comWe all use coping skills at one point or another in our lives.  Whether they are productive or not, there is always that one thing we do to calm ourselves down.  In a kid with special needs (autism, mental illness, etc.), they may not be so apt to use them as quickly.  Or even know what they are.

Bubba had a meltdown yesterday, and we had another opportunity to work with him on his coping skills.  He can now recite them and tell you about each one, but that’s only when he’s calm.  Mid-meltdown, he needs some help.

Through the last few years we have learned quite a few coping skills that work for him, and may work for other children, as well.  I’d like to share some of these coping skills for kids so that maybe you can find one or two not tried yet.  Who knows, maybe it is the “magic” one!  For Bubba, deep breaths is the current effective coping skill.  But he does still need one of us there to guide his breathing.  Other than that, the ones that previously worked for him don’t as much anymore.

The great thing about coping skills is that there are so many to choose from.  When we started out learning his specific coping skills, I went down a list.  Mid-meltdown:  try this.  Didn’t work?  Okay, try this.  Still didn’t work?  How about this one.  That is really how we figured out what would work best with him.  As he is growing up, they have evolved or changed a bit, but that is okay.  The whole purpose is to get the child to be able to calm themselves, or with little outside help.  By getting them to realize that they have the power to reduce or tolerate the stressors around them, it gives them more control over their behavior and the situation.

Here are a few coping skills for kids we have tried over the years, and some we haven’t yet.  Hopefully you find one that helps!

1.  Deep breaths:  This one is Bubba’s go-to right now.  He does need help getting the breaths started, but it really does start working after about four or five.  He focuses more on the breathing, rather than what caused the meltdown in the first place.

2.  Counting down:  This one helps in the same manner, giving the child something else to focus on, rather than the stressful event at hand.

3.  Visualization:  We used this one in the very beginning, and it helped a lot.  Bubba wasn’t really able to express what he was feeling at that point, so the visualization helped redirect his focus on something peaceful.  Then we would ask feelings questions, or use a chart like this one.  To use visualization, speak in a low and calm manner, describing a relaxing activity or place the child enjoys.  Ours was on a cloud.   It’d go something like this:  “You’re on a cloud, high up in the sky.  It’s so quiet, and you can feel the cool breeze brushing through your hair.  The sun is nice and warm, and you are laying on the cloud like a giant pillow-y bed.”  Then I’d introduce a bird, or something to get him talking about the scene as well.  Usually by that point (sometimes having to repeat the sequence a few times) he’d be much calmer.

4.  Art:  This one is more of an activity than an immediate remedy, but it helps for the escalation period.  Find an activity your child enjoys and have it readily available, and let them know that it is a therapy activity.  By reminding Bubba that his arts and crafts and LEGO bins were good sensory and therapy, he now can go to them on his own, recognizing when he is getting upset.

5.  Weighted Blanket:  This one will work on some kids, and not on others.  The equal pressure provided by the blanket eases the stress that the child is feeling at the time.  You can even make your own at home.

6.  Stress Ball:  We were recommended to have a pillow for Bubba to punch at one point.  I don’t really like that idea, since it is still violent, so we make sure he has stress balls on hand.  He has a few he takes around with him in his bag, and he has a squeezer that he uses occasionally.

7.  Essential Oils or Scents:  This one is done by the adult.  Sometimes I will secretly scent a room in Lavender, or another calming smell, to ease tension.  Using this in combination with the more immediate coping skills (or even one such as art or building with LEGOs) will help to create a calming atmosphere.

Those are a few of the coping skills for kids we’ve come across in the last few years.  Hopefully one will work for you!  Does your child have a different coping skill?  Is there anything that has worked well or really not worked well at all?  I’d love to hear!

**Gotta put the disclaimer….Remember, I’m not giving medical or psychological advice, just our opinions and what has worked for us.  If you choose to use these, you do so of your own accord.  You should ask your family doctor or psychologist for what would work best in your situation.**

THIS WEEK’S BOOK CLUB QUESTION:  I’d love to hear your overall reaction to the story thus far.  Likes and dislikes?  How do you think the story will end?  How would you like it to end?  Email your answers here to be included in Friday’s post!

 

What’d You Do This Weekend? #50

Y’all, it’s the fiftieth What’d You Do This Weekend I’ve co-hosted with Tumbleweed Contessa!  It remains one of my favorite times of the week and I am still super grateful for being a part of it.  Thank you all so much for making our party as fun and interesting as it is, every week! :-)

Last week had awesome temps for us.  They are getting a little higher this coming week, but still way better than about a month ago!  The last tomatoes are ripening on the vines and we have new pumpkins coming in.  The plumbing in our place is getting redone, Hubby is expecting his surgery approval any day now, and Bubba is completely done with needles for the rest of the year.  Yay!  Good times.

This week I shared a DIY Witch’s Brew Halloween Sign, the second Friday Book Club post for October, and this week’s Weekly Worksheet.

     DIY Witch's Brew Halloween Sign by PioneerMomma.com   Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty    2014 Weekly Worksheet: Week 43 (free printable) by PioneerMomma.com

On to the features!  As always, I love to see what everyone’s been doing, and Stumbled, pinned, and shared many of your posts.  Be sure to check out Tumbleweed Contessa for her favorites of the week.  Here are mine:

MOST VIEWED:  DEHYDRATED SALSA IN A JAR BY TAYLOR-MADE RANCH!

Dehydrated Salsa in a Jar by Taylor-Made Ranch

Dehydrated Salsa in a Jar by Taylor-Made Ranch

FEATURES

Pumpkin Pecan Dump Cake by Cookin and Craftin

Pumpkin Pecan Dump Cake by Cookin and Craftin

Market Tote Bag - Little House Living

Reusable Market Tote Bag by Little House Living

What I've Learned as a New Blogger + Resources to Help You Get Started by Finding Morgan

What I’ve Learned as a New Blogger + Resources to Help You Get Started by Finding Morgan

The winner of September’s ad spot winner for both Pioneer Momma and Tumbleweed Contessa is Just Short Of Crazy!  Everyone be sure to stop by and show some bloggy love  :-)

 Now, let’s get on with this week’s linkup!  To old, new, and future bloggy friends, welcome to the party!  I can’t wait to see what y’all bring to the table.  Link up as much as you want, and those ideas will be shared on BOTH blogs.  Be sure to say hello!  So share, mingle, create, and have fun!  Feel free to grab a button at the bottom of the post.

 By linking up, you agree to let Pioneer Momma use the picture linked by you, in the case of a feature.  If I am unable to grab the pic from your page, you will get an email from me in the couple days ahead of the linkup requesting a pic file to use.  Each feature pic includes a link back to your original post.  The features are pinned and shared on various social media, each linking directly back to your original post.  Thanks for linking up with us!

 

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Pioneer Momma
Pioneer Momma

2014 Weekly Worksheet: Week 43 (free printable)

It’s time to plan our week!  Ours is still going to be a bit wonky, since the piping work isn’t completely done yet.  However, we will try to stick to as much of our schedule as we can.  Bubba is REALLY counting on that meatloaf this week!

2014 Weekly Worksheet: Week 43 (free printable) by PioneerMomma.com

Garlands and cats this week!

Here’s how our week will look…

What’s for dinner?

(it’s a week full of simple meals for us, as we’ve still got construction going on!)

Sunday – TBD

Monday – Tacos

TuesdayBroccoli and Cheese Soup

Wednesday – Sandwich bar

Thursday – Salad bar

Friday – Meatloaf

Saturday – Boys’ Night

***

This week’s goals

Home – Standby to move anything that is in the way of the plumbers and dry-wallers, and do clean up.

Personal – Go to the library at least once this week.

Blog – Make wreath and post tutorial

Tackle – Sort through filing cabinet and shred what isn’t needed anymore.

***

Focus Word

Patience

I chose this word because I really feel like I’m running out.  I woke up to our landlord inside the house earlier this week and that was not very comforting!  Especially because we were home.  Apparently they were within their rights to enter, although the pipe work time frame is a three week window.  I understand that the work needs to be done, but really wish they would give a 24 notice of entry!  Apparently the prior notice was enough, and they can enter any time until next month.  Ugh.  I need a lot of patience right now.

Ready to plan your week?  Click here or on the picture above to print out your worksheet.  Have a great week!

Friday Book Club: October #2

Big Little Lies by Liane MoriartyAs we reach the end of the first half of Big Little Lies, I have to say my opinion has definitely changed, when it comes to some of the characters.  Since it is written in more than one perspective, we get a more in depth version of each woman’s life and how they perceive others’ lives.

One of the biggest things I have noticed is that the title of the book is beginning to have much more meaning.  All of us, at one point or another, have had to tell a little lie.  Whether it was a “white lie” to prevent someone else from getting hurt, or a more serious one, that hides the violent nature of a relationship so others won’t judge.  As we start to dive deeper into Madeline, Jane, and Celeste’s stories, the little lies they tell come to the surface.

I feel so bad for Celeste, as it seems she is justifying being in an abusive relationship.  Although nobody knows it, because to the outside world, they create a “Facebook perfect” scene, she really is suffering.  I was happy when she ended up searching a domestic violence center, but saddened again when she thought the good times were worth getting hit again.  I can understand where she comes from, and how she thinks a lot of the abuse is caused by her, but I wish she had more self confidence to go back to the girl she used to be.

Which brings me to my next topic.  I almost cried hearing about Jane and her experience with Saxon Banks.  Up to this point in the story, she had led on that it was nothing but a one night stand, and that there wasn’t much more than that.  However, we knew something was wrong, since she kept running with Ziggy.  What was she running from?  When she shared her story with Madeline and finally opened up about it, the reader really wants to give her a hug and tell her exactly what Madeline said, that it wasn’t her fault.  In Jane’s case, her little lie was covering up a traumatic experience.

Madeline, to me, has turned into a much more likable character.  In the beginning, I thought she was a little self righteous and snooty.  Now, we see that she really does care about her friends and family and genuinely wants to help them.  It was wonderful when she came to Jane’s aid, not only bringing the cardboard for Ziggy’s project, but helping through the entire thing.  She knew Jane was stressed and helped.

Last week I asked this:

It has already been said that Madeline loves conflict.  Do you think she was looking for a fight when Ziggy wasn’t invited to Amabella’s birthday party?  Why or why not?  What do you think about the statements by the various characters for the investigation?  How do you feel they contribute to the story?

Here’s what some of you said…

I don’t necessarily believe Madeline likes conflict… She speaks her mind…she is a do something kind of a person when others do nothing…she doesnt sit idly by and let something bad happen to a good person…she is an advocate..a voice for for those who don’t have a voice or choose not to have a voice is any given situation…you could say the same about Renata…in a bullying sense…big mouth but with malice…snotty woman using her position to push people around…because she thinks she can or thinks because she is who she is that she can get away with it…she is an educated bully with position..in my opinion… 
At first I wasn’t sure about the authors use of the way the interrogation conversation was written…but I actually like it…and EVERYONE has an opinion and some of it gossip…I liked all the different interpretations of how each persons view was different from the actual truth… how neighborhood gossip is so ridiculous…and so prevalent in every neighborhood… –Jude

 

I don’t think she was looking for a fight, more protecting someone else.  Aside from her already being in a bad mood, she recognized that Jane and Ziggy were being treated unfairly. –Linda

For my answer, I really think that Madeline sees a bit of herself in Jane.  She wants to take her under her wing, but also realizes that people shouldn’t treat others with blatant disrespect.  I did feel that handing out the invitations the first day and excluding Ziggy was wrong.  Whether he hurt Amabella or not remains to be seen, but two wrongs also don’t make a right.  On a side note, I also like what she said in regards to the petitions, most recently being about the cupcakes.  She mentioned that people may go overboard with petitions at the school, when maybe all that is needed is a suggestion.

As far as the character statements, I really enjoy them and their placement in the story.  I think that certain opinions given (or gossip) can reinforce whatever was going on in that chapter.  It helps to give multiple perspectives on, essentially, one topic: drama, or supposed drama, leading up to the parent death at Trivia Night.  I hope they continue through the rest of the story.

What about you?  Do you feel differently?  How do you like the book so far?  I’d love to hear!

DIY Witch’s Brew Halloween Sign

DIY Witch's Brew Halloween Sign by PioneerMomma.com

I love hanging things on my walls.  And doors, and dressers (there’s a pink feather boa there at the moment), and anything else I can stick a pin into.  Cross that with a voracious love of painting and crafting, and you get this DIY Witch’s Brew Halloween Sign.  It could technically be called upcycled, as I used a really awesome pre-made base with a not so awesome quote as my inspiration for this project.  The beer mug on the side was just screaming to be made into a bubbly green potion!

This sign is super simple to make.  All you need are some acryclic crafting paints (orange, green, yellow, purple, and black), a piece of wood to turn into the sign (if you can find one like mine, it would be that much easier.  I snagged this one on sale at Ross), and a few paint brushes.

DIY Witch's Brew Halloween Sign by PioneerMomma.com

The first thing I did was painted a starting coat of black over the whole sign, except for the bubbly part of the beer.  Since that would be a lighter green, I figured it would be best to keep it the white color underneath.  Let the first coat dry (about 15 minutes), and add 1-2 more, until you get a solid black.

DIY Witch's Brew Halloween Sign by PioneerMomma.com

When the final coat of black is completely dry, start on the mug.  I took the green paint and added a tiny bit of black to make it a shade darker, and didn’t mix it completely.  Swirl a flat square paintbrush around to make “bubbles”.  You will need a few coats of this as well, but you can easily do that by swirling more bubbles on top of the dry layer.  By not mixing the green paint completely, you get a nice variation of colors and shades in the brew bubbles.  They are supposed to be “toxic”, right?

DIY Witch's Brew Halloween Sign by PioneerMomma.com

After the green has dried, you can paint the mug.  I added a bit of black to the purple, to make a darker shade.  Then I painted 2 layers of the darker purple onto the mug and handle, letting it dry between each coat.  Take the regular purple and paint some mug lines.  This part was really easy, as I could still see a slight elevation from the original paint job.  I cheated and copied those :-)

Once the mug is dry, add some extra green bubbles so it looks as if the potion is popping and fizzing.  Take a bit of yellow paint to add in some highlights to the bubbles.  Imagine a light source from one direction of the sign and that will be a good guideline on where to place the highlights.

DIY Witch's Brew Halloween Sign by PioneerMomma.com

The phrase I chose for this sign is “Witch’s Brew sold here, only 3 eyes of newt!”.  Using a pencil, draw out the basic lines for your wording.  The graphite in the pencil will easily show up, so be sure to write lightly, but to where you can still see it.  That way it is a lot easier to erase any stray lines.  Using the orange paint, paint your lettering over the pencil marks.  For the bottom two lines (“sold here” and “only 3 eyes of newt”) I added some yellow highlight to the letters.  Again, just imagine a light source in one direction of the sign to figure out where to put your highlights.  Go over the orange one more time to make cleaner lines.  For “Witch’s Brew” I added medium sized orange dots to the ends of the line parts of the lettering.  I then added small yellow dots inside the lines to make it pop more.

DIY Witch's Brew Halloween Sign by PioneerMomma.com

In the upper right corner, I painted a colorful little skull and crossbones.  I wanted to bring the vibrant colors from the mug over to the other side of the sign.  First, paint some green crossbones.  After they dry, add a purple skull over the top.  The skull shape is really simple, just paint a circle shape and add a small rectangle to the bottom.  You can draw it out with pencil first if you like.  I then added a little orange eye patch (Hubby’s idea!) and some detail to the remaining eye and mouth area.  Then, of course, it needed more pizazz, so some tiny yellow dots were added to the crossbones.

DIY Witch's Brew Halloween Sign by PioneerMomma.com       DIY Witch's Brew Halloween Sign by PioneerMomma.com

Once your sign dries, you can add any touch-ups needed, like where I accidentally overflowed the purple paint onto the black… :-)  Let it dry completely, and hang!

DIY Witch's Brew Halloween Sign by PioneerMomma.com

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial as much as I enjoyed making it!  Our sign is now hanging up on our Holiday Wall.  What Halloween projects have you been making?  Have anything you’d now like to up-cycle into a spooky decoration?  I’d love to hear!

 

**THIS WEEK’S BOOK CLUB QUESTION:  It has already been said that Madeline loves conflict.  Do you think she was looking for a fight when Ziggy wasn’t invited to Amabella’s birthday party?  Why or why not?  What do you think about the statements by the various characters for the investigation?  How do you feel they contribute to the story?  Send your answers here to be included in Friday’s post!

What’d You Do This Weekend? #49

Welcome back to another fun week of sharing and discovery!  What’d You Do This Weekend is our little weekly party where we can connect with new bloggy friends and share what creative ideas we’ve had.

The plumbing in our apartments is getting redone this month, so we got to explore what was under our sinks….oh boy, I don’t even know why I had so many cleaning products!  Hubby used some of them to clean up and the fumes are so strange in comparison to using the ones we use now.  Glad we made the switch!  Still can’t wait until we move to our forever house. :-)

Bubba has really picked up an interest in Hubby’s comic book collection.  If he isn’t making “LEGO creations”, he is nestled in a blanket on the couch reading about the X-Men and Avengers, one covered book at a time.  He’s now reached the point where I have no idea which characters he is referring to, which makes for great conversation between he and Hubby.

This week I shared my Breakfast Power Smoothie recipe, the intro to my Garden Fresh Salsa contributing post recipe for Eyes on the Source, our first Book Club Friday post for this month, and this week’s Weekly Worksheet.

On to the features!  As always, I love to see what everyone’s been doing, and Stumbled, pinned, and shared many of your posts.  Be sure to check out Tumbleweed Contessa for her favorites of the week.  Here are mine:

MOST VIEWED: Homestead Company Supper or How Old-Timers Cooked Chicken by Granny Fabulosa!

Homestead Company Supper or How Old-Timers Cooked Chicken by Granny Fabulosa

Homestead Company Supper or How Old-Timers Cooked Chicken by Granny Fabulosa

FEATURES

DIY Glow in the Dark Window Clings by Scrugg Bug Corner

DIY Glow in the Dark Window Clings by Scrugg Bug Corner

Banana Chip Muffins by Jay Tried and True

Banana Chip Muffins by Jay Tried and True

Dumante Baklava Muffins by Seduction In The Kitchen

Dumante Baklava Muffins by Seduction In The Kitchen

 

The winner of September’s ad spot winner for both Pioneer Momma and Tumbleweed Contessa is Just Short Of Crazy!  Everyone be sure to stop by and show some bloggy love  :-)

Now, let’s get on with this week’s linkup!  To old, new, and future bloggy friends, welcome to the party!  I can’t wait to see what y’all bring to the table.  Link up as much as you want, and those ideas will be shared on BOTH blogs.  Be sure to say hello!  So share, mingle, create, and have fun!  Feel free to grab a button at the bottom of the post.

By linking up, you agree to let Pioneer Momma use the picture linked by you, in the case of a feature.  If I am unable to grab the pic from your page, you will get an email from me in the couple days ahead of the linkup requesting a pic file to use.  Each feature pic includes a link back to your original post.  The features are pinned and shared on various social media, each linking directly back to your original post.  Thanks for linking up with us!

 

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