Recent Posts

Grow Peanuts at Home

Grow Peanuts at Home

This spring strange circumstances have allowed my husband to be home instead of traveling as usual. We -mostly he- have taken advantage of the time to build several raised bed garden boxes and are in the process of getting them all planted. One morning a…

DIY “Thieves” Foaming Hand Soap

DIY “Thieves” Foaming Hand Soap

Foaming Thieves hand soap smells wonderful, cleans your hands well, and helps kill germs (okay, any soap will do that but Thieves SMELLS so good!). It is also kind of spendy! Even the refills make me cringe so I thought making a DIY version was…

College Dorm Move-In Tips

College Dorm Move-In Tips

So it’s time to move your kid into the college dorm.  We’ve done it five times now and I have a few tips that might make it just a skosh easier.
First of all, plan what they need to take. There are hundreds of “must-have” dorm room lists all over the internet so I am not going to reinvent the wheel here.  Check your college’s Residential Life program and they will have a good list.
I think boys are easier than girls.  They aren’t usually worried about having a “cute” dorm room, know what I mean?
Next, make sure you know what they CAN’T take.  My son’s school forbids coffee makers, including Keurigs, hot plates, candles, and popcorn poppers.  Anything that gets hot or makes steam is a no-no because of fire risk and the steam can set off the smoke alarms
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Think hard about the size of their dorm room.  They are usually pretty small and space is at a premium.  Things they do have need to be somewhat organized so they can actually find it when they need it.   Less is more in this case. You can get things later if they are really needed.
***If your kid wears glasses, pack up some spares and a repair kit!!!***
They probably don’t need their entire wardrobe with them unless they are minimalist and have a capsule wardrobe.  (I have never seen a minimalist college student).  Plan a reasonable amount of appropriate clothing that is enough for at least two weeks of wear at a time.  As seasons change, add warmer things as needed.
Consider the practical aspects of transporting these items to the room.
If you can consolidate small and medium-sized things into larger manageable containers they are much easier to move.  If you have a good furniture dolly or a sturdy wagon (bonus points if it’s one of those foldable ones) you might want to bring it if you have space. Many dorms have carts you can borrow on move-in day.  My older son’s dorm did not, so we learned to bring our own dolly.
The three of us (mom, dad, and boy) got our younger boy moved in with 2 dolly loads and a hand-carry load.  The first load was fridge and microwave, the second was a big plastic tote and two small moving boxes. His clothes were in a large rolling suitcase, and things like pillows, the mattress pad, and such we carried.
Bring along a little cooler with water and Powerade, and have some snacks on hand for when you are tired and hangry.
Practically speaking, this is not the day to dress super cute.   Practical clothes and comfortable shoes are what you need to wear.
If you *ahem* perspire freely like me, consider a change of clothing if you need to be somewhere after move in.  For instance, this time we had a group lunch followed by an orientation meeting since our son was in a special early move-in Bridge Program. I did not actually change (this was our easiest move so far!) but it was nice to have the option.
Try to mark the bedding box and get all that stuff up first thing, along with cleaning supplies.  Give the room a quick cleanup and hit the mattress with some Lysol (for your own peace of mind) before making the bed up.  Now you can lay stuff on the made bed as you unpack.
Move-in day is usually hot. If it’s not hot outside it will be hot inside. You may have to park a fair distance from the door. And you will be carrying stuff, going up and down stairs.  You will be stressed. Your spouse will be stressed. Your kid will be stressed. All this means you will be sweaty and probably cranky by the time move-in is complete. Expect it and plan for it.  If it turns out to be super easy, congratulations!
Your baby is leaving home and you are most likely rather sad about that.  This day is not about you, however!  For the sake of your child try to keep any crying out of their vicinity.  They don’t need to feel guilty about growing up and moving away.  You can cry on the way home.  😉
Be prepared to make a speedy getaway after they are settled.  This is the biggest transition of their lives so far and it may be hard to handle.  They are ready to get going with their new experience, so be ready and willing to hit the road quickly.  Of course, not all kids will be so eager for you to go; ours were fine with us hanging around long enough to get lunch and say goodbye. We made sure to discuss this before we left home and let them make the decision on how long we were staying.
I hope these tips make your child’s college move-in just a bit easier!
Crazy Life Recap

Crazy Life Recap

Wow, I haven’t posted a thing since November.  Crazy life has been going on, though, so here’s what we’ve been up to…no blogging because I was honestly too freaked out to even make the effort.  And below I will explain why! Last September we moved…

Acrylic Pumpkin Canvas Painting Tutorial

Acrylic Pumpkin Canvas Painting Tutorial

  Here’s a fairly simple pumpkin painting tutorial.  Last year I had a few friends over and we had a little painting party using this method.  When I searched the internet for a pumpkin painting tutorial I ran across this from youtube. Thank you, Wild…

Coop Home Goods Pillow Review

Coop Home Goods Pillow Review

Pillows.

Everybody needs one for a good night’s sleep…and a neck that isn’t stiff and sore in the morning.

It was time to get a new pillow for my husband.   We considered a My Pillow (you know, you’ve seen those ads on TV) and I was just about to order one on Amazon…but while I was looking another pillow came up as an alternative and it has 15,284 reviews with an average of 4.3 stars.  That’s rather impressive.

Coop Home Goods Pillow

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something from these links, we will receive a small commission, at no cost to you.  For more information see my Disclosure page.

The pillow in question is the Coop Home Goods – PREMIUM Adjustable Loft – Shredded Hypoallergenic Certipur Memory Foam Pillow with washable removable cover – 20 x 30 – Queen size.   It’s $59.99 and has a 100-day money back guarantee.   So we thought why not give it a whirl?  I ordered it and it arrived at my door two days later.  Thank you Amazon Prime!

This pillow is made in the USA with brand new memory foam.  The pillowcase is breathable to help keep you cool.  In addition to the 100 day trial period, it has a five-year warranty.

Some of the reviews did mention a chemical smell from the memory foam when the pillow is brand new, and yes, there is a smell.  Don’t go sleeping on it without running it through the dryer with a dryer sheet a couple of times to help the smell dissipate (as mentioned in the instructions that come with the pillow).

You can also adjust the fullness of the pillow by adding foam (they include a bag to add if you want) or removing foam if you want it softer/flatter.  The pillow cover is very nice.  It is a thick, quilted cover with a zipper.  And it’s luxuriously soft, made of bamboo-derived rayon.  This outer cover is washable, and there is an inner stretch liner to hold the shredded foam.  There is a nice little video on Amazon that shows you how to customize your pillow to your specific needs.  How cool is that?

So how does my husband like his new pillow?  After running it through the dryer on two 20-minute cycles on low heat with dryer sheets he tried the pillow out.  And slept like a LOG.  Except for when our Ring doorbell’s motion alert went off at 2:00 am that night…bugs set it off.

Every night since then he has gone to sleep quickly and slept all night long.  Last night some bugs set off the Ring again and I woke up, but he never budged.  So that’s how I know this is an amazing pillow and I am so glad we got it for him.

Our son at college has been having trouble sleeping as well and we got him a pillow to try.  I will update this to let you know what his experience is.  I am considering one for myself too.  Nifty pillows for everyone!!!  And oh my, I just noticed they have a knee pillow too…this might be my new favorite company.

Here are some pictures of what you will see when you get a Coop Pillow delivered to you.

Coop Home Goods pillow box

It comes in a box that certainly doesn’t look like a pillow would fit inside…

Coop Home Goods Pillow foam

When you open it you see a bag of shredded foam.

Coop Home Goods foam

Then you find the actual pillow tightly compressed in a plastic bag.

Coop Home Goods Pillow in bag

Coop Pillow in bag

Carefully open the plastic…

Coop Home Goods pillow inflating

And the pillow starts to inflate.

Coop Home Goods pillow in dryer

The directions tell you to put it in the dryer for 10 minutes with 2 dryer sheets to help it inflate and dissipate the smell.  I did twenty minutes on low heat.

Coop Home Goods pillow in dryer

Then you can stuff it into your favorite pillowcase—this may be a challenge because it puffs up a LOT.

Coop Home Goods Pillow

Adjust as needed over the next few days to make it your perfect pillow.

Disclaimer:  this post reflects our personal experience with this product and does not guarantee you will be as happy as we are… however, the company that sells these pillows offers a 100-day return.

 

Clean a Baseball Cap

Clean a Baseball Cap

My older son has this hat he got in Boston several years ago.  It got pretty grungy/stinky so he asked me to see if I could clean it.  You don’t want to put hats in the washing machine or the dishwasher, they can be damaged. …

Migrating Monarch Butterflies

Migrating Monarch Butterflies

It’s fall, and the monarch migration has been ongoing for several weeks.  The butterflies that cruise through my area of Oklahoma are headed to Mexico.  These butterflies are probably the fourth generation removed from butterflies that went north last spring, yet they know exactly where to…

Butterfly and Moth Identification

Butterfly and Moth Identification

Black Witch moth from HouseofIngrams.com

One morning I was cruising through our strange little “breakfast nook” area and saw something out of the corner of my eye…I thought there was a good-sized bat hanging outside our window!  On closer inspection, it proved to be a really big moth.  Really big, like seven inches across, and it was sideways so it really did look like a bat at first glance.  Well of course first thing I do is start snapping pictures of it, thinking I could identify it.

Moth silhouette from HouseofIngrams.com
Seriously, out of the corner of your eye, this thing looks like a bat. Both my boys thought the same thing.

There are 6,935 species of moths and butterflies documented in North America.  Uh huh.  There are 5726 verified species of moths in the United States.  Hmmm.   Well…

As it happens, moth and butterfly identification can be quite difficult sometimes, so after a fruitless search of several websites, I happened across Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA).  Lucky me, they have a huge database.  Best part, you can submit your sighting and if you send them a picture they have a regional expert who will identify your mystery Lepidoptera and email you back!  So I registered for free, sent in my picture with the location and time, and within 30 minutes I had an ID for our moth.  It is an Ascalapha odorata… the common name is Black Witch!  Of course, if you read about it on the species page they make sure to tell you that it is “easily identified by its large size and pointed forewing”…ok so in future I will be able to identify one!

BAMONA screenshot from HouseofIngrams.com

The screenshot above is the bottom of the species page, and my photo is on the far left.

BAMONA sighting map
All the reported sightings of this species, mapped!

I am truly a major nerd, but this just tickles me to death.  Anyone with a decent picture of a moth, butterfly, caterpillar, egg, or pupa can submit it and get it identified, plus it helps BAMONA track species all over the continent.

BAMONA get involved

Citizen science is a method of data collection using crowdsourcing- regular people make observations and report to scientists who compile and analyze it.  This method is a great way to get a lot more data than trained scientists could ever get working alone.

This would be a great nature lesson for any student and is an excellent resource for insect study; well, moths and butterflies at least.

Other citizen science projects that are very easy and fun to participate in are the Great Backyard Bird Count, Project Feederwatch, and WeatherUnderground (you can connect your personal weather station to their network to monitor the weather).  There are a bunch of ongoing projects listed on this Wikipedia page.

I hope this is helpful and encourages you to send in your butterfly and moth pictures to BAMONA!

Identifying Butterflies and Moths using BAMONA website from HouseofIngrams.com

 

Riverfront Murals of Cape Girardeau

Riverfront Murals of Cape Girardeau

Cape Girardeau is a town on the Mississipi River in southeast Missouri.  It has a colorful history and has preserved it in a unique way, by painting huge detailed murals depicting scenes from the area’s past on the floodwall built to keep the town from…