A Little Wall Art and Some Corn Muffin Mix

Hey there! Been a while since I’ve talked with you lately.

Here’s just one little reason why:

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Beautiful Wall Art

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And it even wraps around and flows down onto the crib slats!

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We can’t forget those closet doors and adjacent walls, right?!

These beautiful blue designs were created during nap time. Well, the girls were supposed to be napping. I heard some movement and laughter about 15 minutes after I put them in their bedroom. Hmmm… When I peaked in and saw the scribbles, I immediately asked who did it. Madelynn was quick to confess, especially since Chloe and Annabelle simultaneously yelled, “Madi did it! Madi did it!” Hysterical! They all jumped right back under their covers and tried to be as quiet and still as possible as I cleaned it all up!

At least this lovely masterpiece was created using washable crayon, evidenced by one tiny remnant left on the floor. I am so glad that daddy and I chose to pay the extra dollar a box to get the washable ones for their stockings! Worth. every. penny.

The girls have really been living up to their Five Messy Babies name recently, especially the 3 three-year-olds. Let me tell you about one day in particular.

The morning started out jerky. You know, those days that are just not smooth sailing out of the gate? Everyone was arguing over breakfast, leading to a large spill of cereal all over the kitchen floor. Chloe got a tiny spot of milk on her shirt in the process, so of course, she had to change clothes. She’s going through a major dress-up phase right now, so I see her in a minimum of a dozen outfits a day. Yes, you heard me correctly. Doesn’t seem to matter how close I keep her by my side, she can sneak away and change clothes in the blink of an eye!

On this particular day, I had a little mommy talk with her about keeping the same clothes on for the whole morning. She nodded and agreed and promised not to change clothes again. So while I was feeding baby Lydia, guess what Chloe did? Yep, she changed clothes. But not just that. She emptied every single dresser drawer onto the bedroom floor looking for that perfect outfit, flinging those clothes over her entire room! One large dresser houses all of the triplets’ clothes that don’t need to be hung. That’s A LOT of clothes! The floor was covered.

So, I brought Lydia into the triplets’ room with me while I put the clothes away. She loved rolling in the piles! Meanwhile, the triplets asked if they could jump on my bed. Our bedrooms share a wall, so I agreed since I was close by. (Yes, I just admitted to you that I let my children jump on my bed sometimes! It’s cold outside, and they have to get their energy out somehow, right?! And I did put pillows on the floor around the bed, attempting to make it safer.) They were jumping around, laughing and squealing with joy, having a grand old time while I was folding and putting away all those clothes for what had to take at least 15 to 20 minutes.

When I finished, I walked next door into my bedroom and gasped in horror.

Yellow powder covered every inch of my bedroom.

Every surface. Every ledge. Every shelf. Every sheet. Every blanket. Every pillow. Every nook, cranny, and crack. Even in Matt’s shoes, inside our tower fan, and smashed into a few pieces of clothing that had been on our cedar chest at the foot out bed. And ground into the carpet.

The triplets immediately stopped jumping and laughing. They slunk off the bed and quietly tried to sneak out of the room. Oh no! I stopped them and asked who did it. Again, Madi did it!

In the middle of the piles of yellow dust on my bed, my eyes were drawn to pieces of torn up cardboard. I picked up several pieces, enough to decipher that it had been a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix. When I asked Madi why she’d opened it, she said, “I wanted to eat it, Mommy,” and then she stuck out her lower lip, looked down, and sniffled. She was hungry. She must have snuck out using the other door to my bedroom, gone to the pantry, and picked up the box with pictures of “cupcakes” on it. Then she brought it back to share with her sisters, ripped open the box, and discovered that yellow powder is much more fun than cupcakes! No wonder they were squealing and laughing!

It’s really sweet and funny when you think about it, but my, oh my. What a mess! Amazing how one small box in the hands of one mischievous toddler caused such damage! I locked the doors to all the bedrooms, put a movie on in the living room for the triplets, put Lydia down for a nap and headed to my bedroom for an overhaul cleaning. After 45 minutes of vacuuming, moving furniture, vacuuming more, dusting, vacuuming more (plus four loads of laundry that day), my room was clean again.

Meanwhile, Madi was up to it again. She must have been needing an extra amount of attention that day. While I was running the vacuum (therefore couldn’t hear her), she had to potty, then she must have decided she’d like to find out what was behind the cabinet doors under the sink. I don’t keep any cleaners there, and the girls have never bothered it, so there are no child safety locks on those cabinets. What was I thinking?

Somewhere in the depths of the cabinet, she found an old bottle of manly body wash. And she opened it. And she dumped it out. All over the bottom of the cabinet. On the bathroom floor. In the toilet. In the sink. All over.

Am I sensing some deja-vu? Yeah. At least it wasn’t carpet, I suppose.

But the bubbles. Oh, the bubbles. They filled my sink and toilet for hours! And the masculine scent. It was so strong that it burned my nose! Took me another 15 minutes to clean up that mess, plus another load of laundry.

I could tell you about the rest of the day which follows the same pattern, or about the girls getting into Nesquik strawberry powder a few days later (very reminiscent of corn muffin mix, but pink, and in the living room), or about…

But instead, I’ll stop here. You see why I haven’t written a post in a month?!

Insanely Messy + Insanely Busy = Insane Mommy (with lots of funny stories to tell)

🙂 Hope you’ve had a great holiday season and you’re getting back to normal, whatever your normal may be! A little less messy than mine.

I’ll be back tomorrow to show you what I’ve been up to lately with soap, including my newest Soap Challenge Club creation!

A Soap Massacre

In honor of Halloween, I bring you a soap massacre for your viewing displeasure.

Warning: The following content may cause you to cringe.

Massacred Soaps

Several Pumpkin Soaps and one sad White Tea & Ginger Soap met their match when the triplets found them!

Slashed White Tea & Ginger Soap

Slashed White Tea & Ginger Soap

The triplets struck again! Sometimes I forget that I can’t leave ANYTHING within their reach that I don’t want destroyed! I really blame myself.

Soap Massacre

Pumpkin Soap cut in half after a few practice slices.

You see, I’d cut five loaves of soap at about midnight when I was completely exhausted. Rather than haul them all out to the garage to cure, I left them on my kitchen counter where I’d cut them (it was too cold to cut them in the garage). I planned to take them out first thing in the morning.

But the triplets had other plans. They found the soap the next morning while I was changing the baby’s diaper! After climbing on the stools at our breakfast bar, they found the soap cutter. Thankfully it’s not sharp at all; at least I remembered to put away the large knife I used the night before! Within three minutes, they’d cut through two bars completely and managed to partially slash several others. And boy, were they having fun! Shavings all over the floor. Chunks of beautiful soap strewn about.

Soap Massacre

At least I got to see another view of the cool swirls in the soaps!

I heard the giggling coming from the kitchen and knew something was up. When I walked in, the girls just looked up at me and got very quiet. They knew! It amazes me how that filter develops. They immediately started to pick up the chunks of soaps and hand them to me. “Look, mommy! We cut the soap! We’re picking up now! We’ll help you!”

Needless to say, I immediately hauled all of the soap out to the garage!

Oh well. Worse has happened. Much, much worse. Now I just have several pieces of bars that I’ll get to use! Or, I can turn them into samples I suppose. Another lesson learned!

Stovetop Yogurt

My recent ventures into making soap with yogurt led me to make yogurt from scratch. Crock pot yogurt turned out ok, but me and my girls weren’t crazy about its texture and consistency. It was really runny, which was great for the soap I made, but not very appetizing.

So, of course, I had to try again. I like to do things at least until I do them well. Can’t help it. Perfectionist, anyone?

This time, I decided to go with the tried and true method of making yogurt on the stovetop, then incubating in the oven.

I started by heating half a gallon of milk in a heavy stainless steel pot. Once it hit 180 degrees, I put the whole pot in an ice bath in the sink until it came down to 120 degrees. That only took a couple of minutes. At that point, I whisked in 3 tablespoons of yogurt containing live active cultures. I also added in about a tablespoon of vanilla extract and about a third of a cup of sugar. (My girls also weren’t crazy about the plain yogurt I’d made in the crock pot; we all like it sweet.)

Next, I poured everything into glass jars, making a nice mess in the process. Typical of me.

Stovetop Yogurt Mess

How did I manage to make such a mess?!

Ready for the oven

Here’s the heated milk ready to be transformed into yogurt in the oven.

I preheated the oven to 200 degrees, turned it off, then placed the glass jars inside on a sturdy cookie sheet. I left the light on inside the oven to help maintain the warm environment, giving those little yogurt guys the perfect place to make themselves comfy and multiply. After 8 hours in there, I pulled out the jars. What a difference from the crock pot yogurt!

The whey had separated quite a bit throughout each of the jars.

Yogurt fresh from the oven

See how the whey was already separated, forming what looks like bubbles around the inside of the jars?

Pouring off the whey

Pouring off the whey

I could easily pour off the whey, leaving a thicker, creamier yogurt. I decided to strain half the batch just to see what difference it would make. I let it sit in a mesh strainer lined with coffee filters for just over half an hour, then I plopped it into the mixing bowl and whisked until it was smooth. The strained yogurt (aka Greek yogurt) is much thicker with a more concentrated tangy flavor. I can turn the jar upside down without spilling a drop! The unstrained yogurt is more fluid, but it’s definitely thicker than the crock pot yogurt (yay).

Yogurt success!

Yogurt success! Thick and creamy and delicious. Doesn’t this look like soap batter at trace?!

The triplets are loving this stovetop yogurt! They can’t get enough of it. And the baby drools when she sees us eating it! She’ll have her turn soon enough.

The triplets eating yogurt

Here are the triplets getting their first taste of the new yogurt. They love it! Notice that Chloe (on the left) has already spilled it on her pants? We’ll blame this one on mommy for letting them sit on the kitchen floor. We were all just so excited to try it! Who needs tables?

Homemade granola and yogurt

And I even made some homemade granola to go along with our homemade yogurt. YUM!

I’ll probably be making yogurt like this from now on. It really wasn’t that much harder than the crock pot method, and my whole family prefers the second result. But I won’t be making any soap with this stuff! It’s all gonna be gobbled up before I have the chance!

Yogurt, Soap and Candy Apple Red

As promised, I’ve just completed my first yogurt soap! And as always, I got more than I bargained for in the process. Here’s a first look at Enchanted Apple Soap.

Enchanted Apple Soap

Enchanted Apple Soap made with yogurt

Silvia of SoapJam has been raving about how wonderful yogurt soap is, and her soaps look divine! When I saw her posts, I started looking around the web for more information about making yogurt at home and then using it in soap. Apparently I’ve been missing out on yogurt awesomeness for years by paying for it in stores! I had no idea it was so easy to make. Why would I do this, you ask? Well, first of all, it’s much cheaper to make it than to buy it. One of our local discount stores has milk on sale for $1.49/gallon! That’s less than 5 cents per serving compared to the typical 50 cents or more per serving for store-bought yogurt. Second, I have the pleasure of making something myself. That’s one of the main reasons I make soap. I find sheer joy and satisfaction in creating things. Plus, yogurt is quite useful; I can eat it and make soap with it! Yummy and healthy, inside the body and out. Last but not least, it’s really easy! So why not try making it at least once? No harm.

There are recipes all over the internet on how to make yogurt. Some ways look a bit complicated, but I chose the seriously simple crock pot method:

  1. Put 8 cups (a half gallon) of milk in the crock pot set on low for 2 hours 45 minutes.
  2. Turn off the pot and let it cool for 3 hours with the lid on.
  3. Stir in half a cup of yogurt that contains live and active cultures. I tempered it first, then whisked it gently into the milk in the crock pot.
  4. Put the lid back on, wrap it in a towel (this is so much like insulating a soap mold 🙂 ), and let it sit overnight.
  5. The next morning, transfer the crock into the fridge.

A few hours later, voila! Homemade yogurt. Pretty cool, huh?

To make soap with yogurt, I followed Silvia’s (and many other soapers’) advice and made a 50% lye solution with water, added yogurt to the oils, then added the cooled lye solution to the yogurt and oils. I was going to do another two-color Holly swirl of red and white into plain base, then finish it off with white on top. Unfortunately, my fragrance sped up the process dramatically! I poured the main uncolored soap into the mold then worked quickly to get the other colors swirled. To match the Enchanted Apple scent, I wanted a bright red pop of color, but it was muted when I swirled it with the white soap. In the short time it took me to mix the red and white, the soap was already completely set in the mold. Once again, I got layers more than swirls, but it actually looks kind of pretty.

Enchanted Apple Soap

Each bar is so different than the next!

Enchanted Apple Soap

There are a few little air pockets, but for the most part (to my great surprise) it turned out smooth.

Since the colors didn’t mix quite as I’d hoped, I thought I’d try to add some pizzazz to the top of the soap with some peaks and gold mica sprinkles. In my typical klutzy fashion, I spilled the gold mica right on top of one end of the loaf. A few bars will just be extra sparkly! My girls will love it, I’m sure.

Loaf of Enchanted Apple Soap

See that sparkly spill of gold mica? It’s not as noticeable now that it’s cut into bars.

Now, here’s the extra kicker that I wasn’t expecting. As I was cleaning up my soaping mess, the triplets woke up from their nap. And I was home alone with them. I had already put away the lye, the oils, and anything that I thought might be even slightly dangerous to leave out and about. But apparently I missed one little sample jar: the candy apple red dye powder. BIG. MISTAKE. While I had my back turned, Chloe must have sneaked in and stolen that little jar of horror. She also must have thought that it was some form of food, because she ate it! In a matter of seconds, she’d eaten some of the colorant, then tried to spit it out, wiping her tongue off with both hands, and spilling the remainder of the powder on my living room carpet. She came running into the kitchen with what looked like blood spilling out of her mouth! I panicked, ran water in her mouth and over her whole face. It was obviously not blood, but was staining everything red. So I ran into the living room looking for what might have caused this, saw the spill on the carpet and immediately knew what she’d done. I was so thankful that it wasn’t blood, but I was also so mad that I’d accidentally left that jar within her reach!

This was a monster of a mess. I put Chloe in the bath tub and scrubbed her down. After a long soak, the red stain finally disappeared. Then I had the task of attempting to clean my carpet. That’s still a work in progress. Candy Apple Red dye powder is as fine as dust, easily spreadable, and darkens upon contact with liquid. Oh my! Believe it or not, it’s only a very faint pink now! That Bissell carpet cleaner is the best tax refund money I’ve ever spent.

Candy Apple Red water from my carpet

After cleaning my carpet for the third time, this is what the water still looked like coming out of the cleaner! If I hadn’t been so mad, I might have thought to take a picture of the carpet before I started cleaning it!

It’s amazing what soaping has brought into my life. I now know how to make yogurt and how to clean red dye out of carpet! (#thingsineverthoughti’ddo) I’m hoping this yogurt soap will be as wonderful as everyone says, making this mess worth it!

Bathroom Disasters

It is Friday, the 13th. That typically means absolutely nothing to me. Nothing. But, today, somehow it means…another bathroom disaster. These happen very frequently at my house. You see, it’s rather difficult to keep track of what every one of my kids is doing at any one moment, especially the three two-year-olds. And like most children, they are absolutely enthralled with the bathroom. The toilet. The sink. The bathtub. The soap. It’s like an amusement park in there! Here’s what happened at Bathroom Adventure Land today.

While I was feeding the baby this morning, I heard intermittent laughter coming from the kitchen. I knew that couldn’t be good! They were up to something. I put the baby down and ran into the kitchen to find all three girls sitting on top of my kitchen counter with a beautiful floral arrangement dismantled all around them, all over the floor, and on the bar stools they’d used to climb onto the counter. You see, hubby dearest sent me a gorgeous red vase filled with perfect red roses, daisies, and gigantic white lilies earlier this week (completely out of the blue, gasp! He’s so sweet!). My girls, in their love for all things pretty, apparently decided to smell the flowers and then to play sword fight with them! Ugh.

I got them all off the counter, put them in time-out for climbing up there, and proceeded to clean up flower petals. When their time-out was over, I put them in the living room with a pile of toys and got them started playing. I returned to the mess and attempted to think like a florist as I rearranged the flowers they’d nearly destroyed. I hid the half-headed daisy swords as best as I could.

So, how long did that take? A matter of minutes, right? Not that long, right? I glanced in at the baby who was happily playing away in her exersaucer. All good there. Then, I went to check on the triplets. Uh oh. One was missing.

And then I heard it. The sound of water. Lots of water.

I ran down the hallway to the bathroom, opened the door, and there stood Chloe on the step stool, in front of the sink, faucet running, surrounded by water, wearing one of her older sister’s swimsuits. I guess she wanted to go swimming. The floor was covered in at least 2 inches of water. The vanity was flooded as well, and there were waterfalls spilling over the edges, into the crevices of each cabinet door and drawer. Ugh again.

How did she even do that?!

The large rug in front of the bathtub was completely saturated, so I threw it in the tub. Then I methodically began to clean up the flood. We’ve had so many messes in the bathroom that I am an expert at cleaning it top to bottom. (I know what you’re thinking. No, I will not come to your house and clean yours. Just because I’m good at it doesn’t mean I like it! 😉 ) I checked on the kids frequently as I cleaned up the water, trying really hard to bite my tongue and not mutter anything I’d regret! Even the floor of the linen closet was flooded. You know, the place where we keep the extra toilet paper? I had to remove every bottle from under the sink to mop up the cabinet. An entire bag of cotton balls that I just bought was saturated. Somehow every bow, hair tie, and headband was sopping wet. I used several giant towels in the process of mopping up all that water. I even ripped the tip of a fingernail off while I was handling one of the heavy soaked towels.

But the worst part: the soap dish was full of water, too. I had several lovely soaps in that dish, including a couple of soap balls from Great Cakes Soapworks and the last bar of a favorite batch that I made. Alas, all was not destroyed. I drained the soap dish and aired out the soaps. They are still usable, albeit smaller and a bit misshapen now. And on the bright side, my bathroom is sparkling clean right at this moment.

And to be very honest, I realize completely that a wet bathroom certainly doesn’t qualify as a disaster! There are many worse things. Like that time they flooded the bathroom when they tried to flush down an entire roll of toilet paper. Haha! I’ll tell you about that one some other time!

Just another day in the house of Five Messy Babies.

The Messes Before Noon

Here’s what just half a day in my life looks like right now.

6:45am: Triplets up and into the bathroom. Messy pull-ups off and big girl undies on. Emily up and getting dressed for school.

7:00am: “Mommy, mommy, MOMMY! Will you get my breakfast?!” Lots of hanging on my legs and asking for various assortments of foods (which always includes chips for some reason). Everyone at the table. Massive cereal bowl spill. Mushy apple jacks everywhere along with milk splatters up the legs of the table and chairs and covering at least a four-foot radius of the dining room floor.

7:30am: Still getting big sis ready for school. Trying to do hair in the bathroom leads to much whining and crying. Brush thrown on the floor shatters to pieces. Much more crying ensues. Baby awakened by crying. Big sis calmed down, hair done (in a simple headband for the sake of sanity), and off to school. Feed baby.

7:45 -10:00am: Many, many more messes occur. Large glass of water is spilled in the kitchen. New crayon artwork mysteriously appears on white wall. While that’s getting cleaned up, another masterpiece is being created on the white closet door in big sis’ room, this time with markers. While changing baby’s poopy diaper, a triplet misses the toilet just after pulling down her pants. (Yes, little girls can’t hit the toilet either!) Lots of running, laughing, jumping, playing, squealing. Feed baby again, during which time triplets conspire, steal chips from kitchen counter and eat them in “secret” hiding place behind living room chair. Crumbs everywhere. More potty breaks, squealing, running, playing. Sippy cup malfunction on living room carpet. Game of picnic leads to throwing of Melissa and Doug cuttable wooden foods all over the sunroom, someone hit in the forehead, much crying…

10:00am: Let’s go outside! Slather kids with bug repellent. Lots of playing in the sandbox, garden, water table. Kids covered from head to toe in sand, sidewalk chalk and dirt, matted and caked on their skin and scalp thanks to the combination of sweat and bug repellent. Several trips inside with various girls who need to potty or poo, only to discover that once we’ve wiped off enough sand to come inside, they don’t really need to go after all. Better to go outside anyway! One potty accident followed by chasing of naked girl around the yard.

11:15am: MUST take a BATH! All girls hauled inside, wiped off at the threshold so as not to track sand through the entire house. Sand still tracked through the house and promptly deposited all over the bathroom floor as they undress. Enough sand washed out of their hair to build a sand castle in the bathtub! Girls out of tub and fresh undies put on. Forget the clothes. They’ll just get dirty. Clean the bathtub as quickly as possible before the girls make any new messes.

Noon: Lunch. Why, oh why, did I give them applesauce???

Is it time for a nap yet???

Another day to be thankful for soap!

Warning reader: This post is not about making soap, but about using it!  And you’ll need to have an iron stomach to read it.  If you’ve just eaten, you might want to come back later!  Continue reading at your own risk…

It was an eventful morning at my house!  Madelynn, one of my triplets, was acting kind of strange when she woke up.  She didn’t really act like she wanted her bottle of milk, but she drank about half of it as I was changing her diaper.  She pushed the rest of her bottle away, and I got her dressed for the day.

Just as I was standing her up to finish pulling up her pants, she started gagging and throwing up.  Not just a little bit either; she heaved 4 times.  She hurled chunks in my hair.  All through my very long hair.  Down her front, between her toes, down my front, into my shirt and pooled in my bra, all over the changing table and the floor.  And it was gross curdled milk from the night before, plus the new milk she just drank.  Absolutely disgusting.

Thankfully, my oldest daughter was already gone to preschool.  But the other 2 triplets were already up and running.  And the hubs was already at work.  Mind you, I have a really strong stomach.  Three of my 4 kids were avid spitter-uppers, and I use cloth diapers.  I clean up grossness all the time!  But these chunks in my hair were simply too much to handle!  The stench so near my nose was overwhelming.  And I couldn’t just jump in the shower with no one else around to watch the babes.  So I felt like I had no choice but to get us all clean.  I stripped Madelynn and myself down to our skivvies and headed for the bathroom.  Chloe and Annabelle followed us right in and we all took a bath/shower!  That’s a first!  Three slippery babies and one mommy in the tub.

When my husband does something cool or funny, he always tells me that he reeks of awesomeness.  I’ve decided that I reek of bravery. Or maybe stupidity… I reek at any rate.  We were all 4 in the tub for over half an hour.  Of course, my hair was the first thing to get cleaned!  Then I held each one up into the stream of the shower.  They were totally shocked and kind of scared of it.  They all wanted to be in my arms, so they each cried while I held another.  I ended up just filling the tub and sitting in there with them, trying to wash them all.  Madi tried to eat the Monkey Farts bar of soap twice, and they all had fun chasing the soap around under the water.  It was actually kind of fun, and we had lots of laughs.  I had to refill the tub once because it got so cold.  And I had to scramble to get myself clean, but no more chunks in my hair is worth it!  Now, getting us all out and dry…that’s another story for another day.  Never a dull moment around here!

Quite an interesting start to the day I’d say!  Boy, am I thankful for soap!?!  And I’m thankful that I can laugh when things like this happen.  All in all, I must say that I wouldn’t miss this for anything in the world!