Party Prep – Cleaning House & Operation: Marker Rescue

I’ve decided that I’m going to either sweep up messes as soon as they’re made, or just not sweep again until Saturday morning because I’ve discovered J2’s special talent, he can make crumbs out of anything.

He’s eating cookies, I expect crumbs; he’s eating a sandwich, again I expect crumbs. He’s eating tomatoes, hotdogs, grapes, I don’t expect crumbs, and yet somehow there they are!

The constant crumb trail means that I’m going to leave the Swiffering until Saturday morning, so that’s one thing off my plate for the rest of the week. 

Job #2 for today was to clean up J2’s coloring area and sort his markers. 

After throwing out the trashy paper.

I ordered some nappies from amazon a few months ago and I expected them to come just as they were, but with an address label on. Instead they turned up together in this huge box, that I had to pick up from the main office of our apartment complex and transport home, and it was the solution to a problem I’d had for a few weeks. 

I needed a place that J2 could color where I wouldn’t be too concerned about our deposit.

I used a box cutter to take off the flaps, then carved a rounded entryway to make it look slightly more than just a box with a hole cut in the side. 

As you can see from the photos above, there is crayon and marker all over that box, but none on the walls around it!

So, I used the tried and tested method of scribbling on a piece of paper to check the markers, and I found five that were drying up. 

One of them is a Color Wonder marker, so I needed the special paper to test it out. 

When I was younger we would lick the marker to get it work for a few seconds, bleurgh, goodness knows what they were made of back then. 

Not wanting to do that, I checked out Pinterest, my ‘go-to’ for ‘How-Tos’, which told me that rubbing alcohol was the answer.

I needed to dip the markers in rubbing alcohol until just a bit of ink seeped out, then leave them for an hour with the cap on. So, I gathered my supplies and I was ready to go. 

After soaking them, I ended up leaving the markers with their caps on for a lot longer than necessary, the end of nap time coincided with the last cap being replaced.
Sadly, I was disappointed when I eventually got around to seeing the results. 

Although there is a definite improvement in the regular markers, they faded quickly and needed a ‘rest’ before coloring again. 

It is hard to see, but the Color Wonder marker actually got worse, to the point where I threw it away. It didn’t color anymore and even started taking the black ink off of the page. Obviously the special ink they use wasn’t compatible with the rubbing alcohol. 

In conclusion, if you’re using a particular marker for a project and it dries up, this method is good for a quick fix, until you can replace it. Or, it’s fine to make your kids markers last a little bit longer.

Have you tried a different method for rescuing dried up markers?

Until next time,

Laura x

D&D – How to Build a Character. 

*This post contains affiliate links.

We love Dungeons & Dragons, if we weren’t so busy, and each session didn’t run around four hours long, we would play way more often. As it is, we’ve only played twice in the past three months!

During the first few sessions the things that take up the most time are character building and explaining to the players how the world works, and their characters place in it.

I love this part.

My love for character creation is what led to Josh running a campaign for just me, but I was playing four characters. They were all female, were different races, classes and came from different backgrounds, but had all come together to form The Happy Huntress Guild. They were the only all-female hunting guild and were just starting out; the bigger, older guilds didn’t like the new competition and were constantly trying to thwart our missions.

This story came about because I wanted to try playing as a different class to my usual Bard, but I didn’t want to commit to just one, if I’m experimenting then why not go all out?


So, there are a few ways start to thinking about a character:

  • You know what race you want them to be, or,
  • You know what class you want them to be, or,
  • You know what they’re like, generally, as a person, or,
  • Any combination of the above.

Each race has it’s positives and negatives, Dwarves are resistant to poison and can see in the dark, but they are also slower than other races.
Dragonborn have bonuses to their strength and charisma, but due to their appearance and heritage they are more likely to be met with caution and distrust.
Humans, on the other hand, don’t have any outstanding positive traits, but neither do they have negative ones.
There a new playable races being trialed and published all of the time, but in the Player’s Handbook*, published in 2014, there are nine detailed races to choose from.

As I said earlier, I usually pick the Bard class, owing to my love for music, and getting inspiration from Sam Riegel and Critical Role.
Josh leans towards the Cleric and a couple of friends of ours always pick the Ranger and Rogue.
These choices, I feel, are more personal. I love music, Josh likes helping people, our friends love to go hunting, using bows, and being stealthy while doing it.
As with the races, there are new playable classes being trialed and published all of the time, but in the Player’s Handbook*, there are 12 classes to choose from, and there’s always the option of multiclassing!

As far as the moral character of my character goes, I like to play chaotic good, meaning that I might not always do the lawful thing, but I do it for the right reasons

  • chaotic evil – most monsters
  • chaotic neutral – wild animals
  • chaotic good
  • lawful evil
  • lawful neutral –
  • lawful good – Clerics, Paladins, Priests etc.

All of the different combinations of the above choices come to 648! That makes for a lot of variety, which can be even more varied when you create your characters backstory.

You could be a lawful good, elven, paladin who is an orphan and was raised in a temple to fight the good fight, or a lawful good, elven, paladin from a rich family who only became a paladin because it’s a family tradition.

Honestly, that’s what I love most about D&D, every game is different, even if almost everything is the same.

D&D for life, yo.

Until next time,
Laura x

Christmas Decorations on a Budget

One day, when we have all the money in the world, and it will happen, I will decorate our dream house from top to bottom, family and friends will feel like they’ve accidentally ended up at the North Pole!
Sadly, that day is not here, not even close actually, but that’s not going to stop me from decorating the way I want to.

Here’s a bit of backstory:
In December 2014 my parents and my Nanna came to Texas to visit us for the first time; we were both working, I was pregnant with J2, and neither of us were feeling very Christmas-sy. We had a few ornaments for the tree, and a small village, but, like Mother Hubbard’s cupboards, our apartment was bare. That was when my mother decided to use some of the wrapping paper she had bought to make a paper chain for our little tree.


Admittedly, at the time, I thought it was a waste of paper… sorry Mum.

Jump ahead two years and it’s time to decorate the new apartment. Everyone’s sick, there’s a surprising amount to unpack and, again, I’m not feeling Christmas-sy.

I hastily put up the tree, threw the lights on and then stared at the box of random ornaments. We have knitted ornaments from my Nan Betty, sequined ornaments made by my sister, strings of beads, and one piece of silver tinsel. Then I opened another tin and found the little paper chain, I draped it on the tree and realized that when it’s not surrounded by clutter it actually looks quite charming.

Fortunately my mother bought the biggest rolls of wrapping paper available, so even after using them for two years we still have enough for a few ornaments and probably another two years!

I took the lights off the tree, and disassembled it to make it easier to distribute the lights evenly.

I had a couple of adorable little helpers.

dscn2822 dscn2847 dscn2839 dscn2900

Then, once naptime rolled around, I spent 30 minutes making the paper chain longer so it would cover the tree. It still didn’t look very festive, I needed a few ornaments and a topper, Pinterest to the rescue!

img_9610I remembered that a few years back I found a tutorial to make 3D snowflakes and decided to use that as the topper, I made a basic cone to place over the top of the tree, cut a slit in the top and used some super glue to keep the ‘star’ in place.


This one was very simple, just three strips of paper with the ends glued together to make a ball.

dscn2865-2I concetina’ed a square of paper then folded it in the middle and glued the edges together.

img_9764This one came about through braiding three strips of paper together, it naturally curled around into a spiral, so I just looped it on a piece of string, et voila!

I made two of each and, all in all, it took me little over 2 hours, and would’ve been quicker if the boys had stayed asleep.



The end result, a simple, yet charming little tree.

I had lots of fun thinking of ways to decorate, and next year I should have some more to share!

Until next time,