Friday, April 20, 2012

Confessions of a Pinterest Mom

Ah Pinterest... how you fascinate  depress motivate inspire me!

It's not as though I need another thing to do, another "social media" that I can't keep up with. I tweet only when I remember that I might should do that, which is rarely.  I haven't been to Google+ in ages - too long to remember. I'm on facebook much less than I used to be, and let's not even start with how behind I am in blogging. Outside of my Word program, my computer is highly underutilized.

But when I finally gave in to the buzz of Pinterest and accepted an invitation from my cousin to join, just so I could find out what it was, I was ... overwhelmed impressed enthused confused excited.

If you don't know what Pinterest is, it is basically a virtual bulletin board that acts much the same as your bookmark tool does on your computer... only better.

At first I thought, "this is so much better than bookmarking pages, because now I can categorize them and find them easily with pictures!"

Then I realized that as I did that, others could see what I was bookmarking... and that I could see what they were bookmarking! (I'm a bit slow in the figuring things out department, but when I signed up, I really did have absolutely no idea what it was!).

And people out there... they are bookmarking incredible stuff!  Recipes that look divine! Crafts for kids! Home decor! New ways to do hair! Holiday decorations! Cleaning tips! Technology advice! Books! Quotes! Photography of amazing places!!

And since it's done with photographs... it's all so pretty!!

So pretty!!

So... perfect.

Then I spiralled into what I can only imagine is the typical Pinterest stage 2 - depression. Because how in the world does everyone else's life look so beautiful? So perfect? How are people so creative and chipper when doing such messy projects with kids? Who in the world can fit into the size 0 clothes everyone seems to put together in fashion collections?

Seriously - the clean and model-looking houses, the perfectly coiffed children, the fashion sense and dedication to food preparation I could only dream of doing if I had all day to cook and a bottomless wallet to grocery shop. And on closer inspection, most of the amazing fashion collections are not much more than jeans and t-shirts with cool scarves and nail polish that match. Who wouldn't look good in anything in a size 0?

I started thinking... are these people real? Do people actually doing all this, living like this?

And to top it all off, they are photographing it all - and not just with your point and shoot camera in bad lighting. Professionally. Like magazine quality photography.

I was depressed, because my life does not resemble any of this. Half the time, I'm lucky to get my hair in a ponytail before waking the kids, packing lunches, pouring cereal, and shoving everyone out the door to school. Laundry sits in my dryer until the next load needs the space, and then it sits in the hamper until it is so wrinkled I have to put it back in the dryer. There are piles of stuff around the house because I don't know where to put it, and there isn't time to clean out closets and get rid of some stuff to make room for others. I wear jeans and t-shirts, but they never look fashionable. And I've been known to occasionally set the kids in front of the Wii so I can get more writing done.

I consoled myself by thinking no one did ALL of this stuff. I bet the people with the fantastic delicious dinners have  gross bathrooms and unruly kids. And the mom doing all those amazing crafts with her kids probably does not match her nail polish with her high heels. 

Seriously, one can not be ALL put together, right?  So maybe I could find just one thing...

Apple nachos.

My kids need snack, right? And this looked super easy, and fun. Slice up some apples, melt a little peanut butter and drizzle over them, throw a handful of coconut, chocolate chips and nuts on them and WALA!! Gourmet snack!!

I did this for them on a Friday and it took less than five minutes and I was hero, I tell you. HERO!! They gobbled them up, I felt pretty good about them eating apples and peanut butter (and this is SO MUCH EASIER than trying to spread peanut butter on apples!!), and the next day they begged for them again. And then I realized they could make them themselves, and now they do. WIN!!

Then someone posted a sure-fire way to get out stains from clothes. I was highly skeptical. But I have this yellow Eddie Bauer sweatshirt I practically live in in the winter that I love love love. And it has this big stain down the front I nearly cry over. I think it's coffee. It's been so long I don't remember. But I do know I have washed and dried this thing to death.

But I tried the solution: baking soda, peroxide, and Dawn dishwashing liquid. Just a little of each, rubbed it in and let it set and...

OH MY GOSH IT CAME OUT!!! The stain was gone, and the old ratty sweatshirt looks like new!!

I tried it on underarm stains on my husband's t-shirts (that was actually what it was suppose to help with in the first place) and it worked! White t-shirts again!

I've done searches on Pinterest for things I could just as well have Googled, but more often than not, I find things I didn't even know I was looking for. Ways to make scarves (super fast!) out of old t-shirts, DIY glow-in-the-dark slime for the kids, how to store Christmas lights without tangling, dozens of creative uses for mason jars (including outdoor lighting and pre-made salads with dressings you can store in the fridge for the week ahead), cheap, homemade weed spray, window cleaner that is pennies and works better than any windex or other cleaner I've ever used, holiday and party ideas. The list goes on and on.

You can go nuts. I know. It gets crazy looking at everything out there. I've vowed to only pin the things I actually can do (except pretty home spaces... I just like looking at those). I check recipes to make sure they are doable before pinning them on my own boards. I pin only those crafts I think the kids and I could do reasonably without killing each other.

I spend only a few minutes each day on Pinterest, breezing through the latest pins. I could care less how many people follow me, or how many I follow, or how many repin my pin. I am not into the competition it could turn into. This is just for me. And my family.

And my kids will tell you over and over that Pinterest has made our lives better. They love it. And I think I'm getting out behind my computer a little more to do things with them.

Over spring break, we did these together:

Bunny cookies. We used prepackaged sugar cookie mix and cut out them out with egg-shaped cutters I had from when the kids were little. We also (finally!!) (on Pinterest!) found the recipe and instructions for how to make icing that "flows" and then hardens. Powered sugar, milk, corn syrup, lemon juice. That's it. These took us about an hour between mixing the dough, cutting, cooking, and decorating.

And a wreath. Cardboard, ribbon, and plastic eggs. It didn't cost us a dime, because we had so many eggs from previous years. My daughter cut out the cardboard "wreath" and the kids all hot-glued the eggs onto it, sticking a little extra "grass" for texture.  I love it!!! Less than half and hour to do.

Colored eggs with Kool Aid. Hmmm... we're always looking for new ways to decorate. No way is perfect, fun, and gorgeous, but the kids loved this. The best hint I got, though, was to boil the water with baking soda so the eggs peel more easily. And also, don't peel them. Cut the egg in half and then scoop the egg out of the shell with a spoon! Miracle tip!!

My youngest saw these cupcakes on Pinterest and wanted them for her birthday. Easiest birthday decorating ever! Chocolate cupcakes, green icing piped on with a grass tip (which I already had) and a bag of Cadbury eggs. She put the eggs on. :)

One week we had a new dinner every night. Great food. Some simple - like crispy oven fried chicken and Chick-fil-A knock offs, and others incredibly decadent (but also easy, because I don't have time to be cooking all day!). One tasted like something you'd get at Carrabas, and since I've never been good at Italian, I was stoked! We've incorporated almost all of those into our regular menu, which is a breath of fresh air for all of us.

I can easily get depressed looking through all the pins, thinking how less-than-magazine-perfect my life is. There are still piles around my house, dust layers on pictures. I still miss appointments occasionally and run late almost everywhere I go. I will never look like a model in my jeans and t-shirt.

But I now have a purse and nail polish that match. And sometimes, that is enough to make me smile.


  1. I love love that quote.

    I totally know what you mean about Pinterest. Everyone is so well put together and every time I see a braid pin, I moan my lack of thick long hair.

    But I like getting some simple ideas. Mostly it's all about the receipes which means I'll never fit into those size 0 clothing.

    I saw that apple taco thing and now I'll have to try it.

  2. I love Pinterest, too, and can get lost on there. I find all the body images depressing as everyone posts pictures of work-outs and rock slid behinds and the like as "motivation." They don't motivate me. They depress me!

    BUT, the recipes! Oh, I have found and already made a lot of recipes from Pinterest. It's a fun site, for sure!

  3. I haven't ventured over to Pinterest, fearing it would become too much of a time-suck, but it has been enlightening to hear both the pros and the cons.

    BTW, I've tagged you for the "Lucky Seven" meme over at my blog. Hope you'll try it.

  4. All right. Now you've done it!

    I've been avoiding Pinterest for a while now. I checked it out when I first heard about it, but thought, "I cannot, CANNOT add anything else to my 'social media' calendar. I'm lame enough as it is."

    But those Kool-Aid eggs! The stain removers! And recipes that are a breath of fresh air!! I NEED these in my life!! NEED them I tell you!

  5. UGH! Now I want an invite to pinterest. I was so avoiding it, but I want all those ideas too...

  6. Your creations are beautiful Heidi. I need to get better at what I have already started (fallen off the wheel lately) and simplify, but it was fun reading all that you have done and learned with Pinterest!