Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Barbie's bad hair day...



Not perfect, but much better. The secret? Dryer sheets and those soft white bristle baby brushes. Doll hair isn't human hair and hates shampoo and conditioners. But smoothes out nicely with fabric softener. If you have to wash a Barbie's hair then mild dish soap is better than shampoo and then use liquid fabric softener as a conditioner. I didn't wash this hair, just rubbed it with the fabric softener sheet and used a stiff bristled brush for some of the knots. I didn't pull yank hard or pull it all the way through to try to spare the hair, but gently separated the hair with the regular brush. Then I let my girl go to town brushing it with the soft baby brush.

This method takes out curls, so if the dolls hair is styled you might want to work around curls that are still nice. Sometimes the Barbie's hair sort of remembers curls too, so all it takes is wrapping it around a straw or something small and it will curl nicely. If you really want to change a look you can give your dolls a perm with hot or boiling water (depending on the type of hair). I've done this before and it was fun, but it was ten years ago and that doll looks sort of like a horror movie victim now so I won't be sharing any pictures.

Why do I bother to do this? Because I learned through my practice daughter (my niece) that kids grow up almost instantly. Saying 'later' is really the same as saying 'never', no matter how good intentions are. The few times that I spent playing dolls with my niece are some of my favorite memories. At the time it felt silly and I wasn't great at living in the moment always antsy to get back to 'important' things. Ha! Nothing like seeing that child turn into an adult to make me realize how unimportant dishes or laundry or whatever is compared to capturing a few moments of childhood.

Now that my daughter is the same age, I am trying hard not use the word 'later' too often. Sure, I still do but I recognize this tiny moment in time when she delights in me sharing her world.

So today I showed her the fabric softener sheet trick and we fixed the hair on endless Barbies. Yes, the dishes are still in the sink, but not bothering anyone one bit. In exchange for a bit of homestead negligence, I became something like a hero, warrior, goddess in my daughter's eyes for awhile. And that rocked.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I know it is August... but it was our first official beach day!

It has been a cold summer! Today it was finally warm enough to make a dip in the inland lake seem tolerable. First we hiked a favorite trail in the local state park. We actually got to try out our swim/play clothes that I splurged on this year. We tend to like to combo hike/swim, so quick drying swim 'clothing' seemed perfect for our needs. I have to admit they worked really well.

She is always really good about wearing a sun hat. The boy usually can't be bothered.

This photo feels a little bit "Where the Wild Things Are" ish to me. Maybe it is just because I know the boy in the picture and know he'd make a perfect king of all wild things.

Is there anything sexier than a man on a swing set? I sometimes complain about my husband being my fourth child, but it is also one of the things I love most about him. Marriage is a study of conflicting emotions. Wow, that sounds almost deep. I'm not actually a counselor, I just play one on my blog.

Look at those sweet, sandy, little webbed toes. Ready for the water!

It was still pretty cold. I only waded myself, the kids did swim around for quite awhile.

This one was less sure of the whole situation. But it didn't take long to join in the splashing and running and the throwing of the sand. Why do kids always throw sand? There were only about ten kids at the beach today and they were all throwing sand. My kids included. It was about that time I put the camera away. I am not much of a beach person to be honest. I just play one on my blog.

These are about as big as the shells get around here. My girl was excited to find them as she loves gathering nature. We typically have to limit her nature finds to just a few whenever we walk. Lately, we've been kicking around the idea of creating a family nature blog. The kids have wanted to start a blog all summer and we already take tons of nature photos whenever we are out. This way we can post the photos and identify what we find - a computer girl's version of a nature journal. If we get our act together then I will put a link to the blog on my side bar.

Time to go home with the promise to return several times a week for the rest of the summer. (Shhh... don't tell them that summer is almost over!) It might not be so bad. We've had fall days that were often warmer than the summer ones, so we might have a longish beach season yet. Maybe next time we'll brave Lake Michigan and some waves!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Playing around with the blog...

I was browsing around for things to fancy up my blog the other day. There are a lot of places to grab free backgrounds and graphics for your blog out there. Some of them I found were The Cutest Blog On the Block, Simply Chic Blog, Blogaroozer, Hot Bliggity Blog, and The Background Fairy. Such fun, gorgeous graphics and how awesome is it that so many people offer their stuff for free? I love the internet. There is such an inspiring community of artists and gloriously cool folk out there. Gives me hope for the world, you know?

I spent some fun hours playing dress-up with my blog using all those free graphics, but that lead to me wanting to learn how to make my own backgrounds. (I am used to my curiosity getting in the way of a full night of sleep.) I found a tutorial on how to make my own scrolling background, here at The Garden Gnome at Home blog. It was the first time in a long while that I fired up Photoshop for a fun thing instead of something workish. Yay! I used a photo of a little postcard painting I did awhile back. I liked the colors for the edges and thought it worked with my banner.

So, a thank you to all the bloggers out there that take their time to create things for others to use, and that share their knowledge with html challenged folks like me. Prettying up the blog is like the equivalent of changing my virtual room around, inspiring and enjoyable. I think I might have a hard time not changing it all the time actually, now that I know how simple it is.

Wow, I am exhausted. I actually spent today changing my real rooms around. I am obviously in some sort of phase, but it is a good one. I am pleased with our days work today even as I am achey from it. Time to curl up in bed and fall asleep to an audiobook. Goodnight! Wishing everyone happy dreams filled with gorgeous backgrounds and clean organized rooms.