Thursday, July 13, 2017

DIY with mama saigh: Pool noodles.

They're a buck at the dollar store, and they're more than just a pool floatie. A pool noodle can be turned into so many different things, and I was asked to show some of these clever ideas on The Jason Show this week. Check out the video from my segment for even more simple ideas!



POOL CHAIR FLOATIE


Our adorable neighbor, Kate, floating in the DIY pool noodle chair.
You'll need two pool noodles for this project, as well as 7+ zip-ties and a mesh laundry bag (all found at the Dollar Tree).
Start by cutting one pool noodle in half , leaving you with two equal parts. Then, make a half circle with the full pool noodle, and use zip-ties to secure one of the half noodles to the full noodle, on both ends. With two more zip-ties, secure the other half-noodle on top of the ends of the full pool noodle. This is the base for your pool noodle chair.

Next, remove the string from your mesh laundry bag, and fold the bag in half (length wise). Drape the bag over the lower, shorter pool noodle, and then secure the ends of the bag to the curved side of the full pool noodle, using zip-ties.

Cut the excess plastic off the tip-ties, and VOILA! A pool-chair floatie for $4.

PONY PARTY FAVORS

This is an easy, practical, and adorable party favor to send your guests home with. All you need is a pool noodle (for each pony), ribbon/rope, ribbon for pony's mane (curled with scissors), googly eyes (or eyes you can print off Google images), and some party hats. You can make these party favors look like unicorns, or ranch horses. Just use your creativity! For our daughter's 6th birthday party in August, we're sending each kiddo home with one of these gems!

CAR/MARBLE RACES

Marble/Car Races.

KID'S PLAYING-CARD HOLDER

Cut a 3/4 to 1-inch piece off a pool noodle, to form an "O". Using a sharp knife, slice a length-wise slit at the top of the piece. This will be where you insert the cards. This is a great way for little hands to be able to hold a hand of playing cards!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Review: Nucleus

We were so excited when we were asked to review the brand new Nucleus system: A home intercom system that works on wifi, and connects families all over the globe using a mobile smart-phone app. We have a 5.5-year old (going on 15) who is consistently asking for her own cell phone, and while that isn't an option, we thought that the Nucleus system could be a "happy-medium".

So, what exactly is the Nucleus system?



Nucleus is a video monitor that you set up in any rooms in your home. They can be used as video security when you're not at home, a home intercom-system, baby monitor, and a way for you and your family to connect face-to-face at your convenience. You give access to anyone you'd like, and set the security level at your discretion.

We received three monitors and set them up in our 5.5-year-old's bedroom, the family/rec room, and main floor of our house. Setting these devices up was super simple, and our kids were excited to get involved too. I just followed the step-by-step instructions on the monitor, typed in some codes, hopped on our wifi connection, and TA-DAH! I then sent our access code and Nucleus app link to our kids' grandparents, aunts, and uncles, so they could download the Nucleus app on their smart phones, and have access to our Nucleus systems. Basically, our daughter could video-call these family members from the Nucleus device in her room, whenever she'd like (although we are able to set the security and privacy for the monitor), and these family members can video-call her Nucleus monitor in her room whenever they'd like. We are able to set the monitor on "private" at night, or whenever we didn't want her using it. Each contact/person has their photo next to his/her name, and connection is made with the press of a button. As parents, we have complete control of the security and privacy of these monitors.

Linna and Jimmy making a Nucleus video-call.

I loved having these systems in our home when I was working full-time for six weeks outside the home. During this time, we had some amazing in-home childcare, and our Nucleus systems allowed me to connect with my home and kids at my convenience/discretion. As an "admin", I would set the systems to ring before they automatically connected, or enable the person at home to answer the device before it connected. Our kids could video-call me as well while I was at work, which they did often (and I loved seeing their little faces). We did, however, run into a "mishap" one day, when my daughter decided to video-call me on her Nucleus, after our nanny had told her that she was supposed to be in her room having a "quiet time". As a result, we ended up taking the Nucleus out of Linna's bedroom until she could earn it back... Which she has.

Overall, I love having the convenience of monitoring our kids when they're in another room (especially the toddler, as he's into EVERYTHING), and monitoring our home when we're away. Our family members like having the ability to video-call the kids, without having to call my phone first. It gives our oldest a little slice of independence, while I'm able to monitor it all. I know that kids these days are getting cell phones at younger ages, but there is not a chance that our soon-to-be 6-year-old is anywhere near ready for one. Every once in awhile, we'll get really crappy video clarity on both ends, but this is due to us living in the boonies, where we have a very slow wifi speed. We're working to get a better one.

Our Nucleus on our main floor.

We haven't done this yet, but Nucleus can connect with Alexa (Amazon's cloud-based voice service) to give you news/weather updates, play music, and control other smart devices in your home. I need to get on that one, STAT! While the cost of a Nucleus system isn't "cheap" ($149+), you can try it for up to 60 days with easy returns. There's no "monthly fees/costs" involved once you've purchased your devices, as they just run off your home's wifi. It's totally worth giving it a try, because you really don't have anything to lose!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Jimmy says "no way".

At 19 months old, this kid is surprising us every day with new words and phrases. Here's Jimmy's latest...


Friday, June 16, 2017

DIY with mama saigh: Dollar-store hacks.

Man, this blog sure has been neglected with me working full-time over at The Jason Show. Between "mom-ing", working, and trying to keep my sh*t together, I haven't gotten to take much time for myself.

But today, I'm back on-air with a fun segment featuring dollar-store hacks!


My family and I got to spend some time together this past week, prepping for this segment. While you can find everything from party supplies to pregnancy tests at your local dollar store, I've put together some easy DIY projects that can help organize your home, and keep the kiddos entertained.


Yep, this was our food pantry BEFORE I found these little plastic gems at the
Dollar Tree. Open food boxes and packages in complete disarray, annoys be beyond belief.
But now, the little snackers in our family can see their options before they more things
around, and turn our food pantry into total chaos.
After many failed Pinterest projects over the years, these little animal book-ends are
a Pinterest win! I found a couple plastic giraffe toys at the Dollar Tree, and super-glued them
onto a small piece of wood that my husband cut for me (from spare wood we had in the garage).
Then, I spray-painted everything white, let it dry for a day, and gave it one more coat. TaDa!
These book-ends look so sweet in a nursery, or a child's bedroom. Total cost: A little over $1!

This is my friend's baby girl, Emeryson, wearing a pair
of Dollar Store leggings that I made in 10 seconds. I found these retro-looking
tube socks at the Dollar Tree, and just cut the foot off of them to create baby leg-warmers.

For two years now, my jewelry has been a tangled mess, inside one box on my closet shelf.
So, I picked up a couple white plates and a candle-holder at the Dollar Tree, spray-painted the candle holder white, super-glued everything together, to create a sleek-looking jewelry tray for my bedroom dresser. You can also use the
clear-glass plates from the Dollar Tree, along with the clear-glass candle holder, to create
an antique-looking, tiered party-tray for your next get-together!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Favorite things: Convenient, on-the-go snacks for kids.

We are seriously never home. With two kids and busy schedules, our kiddos are regularly eating in the car, or on-the-go. Since it's difficult to get my kids to stop and refuel, I'm always looking for energy-packed, dense snacks that are packed with healthy-calories, and easy to take on the road. Here are a few of my favorites for our toddler and kindergartner...

1. Bananas: Cheap, dense/filling, healthy, and no packaging or ice-packs necessary.

Make bananas FUN by dressing them up, or writing
a message on them for your kiddos!


2. Smoothies in The Original Squeeze: We are loving Chef Marshall O'Brien's Mood Boosting Smoothie, and Blueberry Smoothie with Flax Seed. I put the ingredients in our Magic Bullet, blend in the morning, and take them on-the-go in our Original Squeeze Pouches. While these snacks/meals need to be chilled if not consumed right away, they pack healthy calories/energy, and keep my kiddos fueled. I give our toddler smoothies in the Spill-Proof Spout, while our kindergartner stays mess-free with the Original Squeeze Pouch's Free-Flow Spout.

We love putting smoothies in our Original Squeeze Pouches!


3. CLIF Kid Zbar: My kids think these are a treat, as they come in a brownie, chocolate chip, and oatmeal icing flavors. These bars are made with whole grains, and are loaded with carbohydrates, making them a dense and filling snack. We buy these bars in bulk at Costco, which keeps them affordable.

4. Mini Babybel Cheese + Pistachio Nuts: Again, we buy these items in bulk at Costco, to keep them affordable.

Our toddler LOVES these calcium-packed cheese snacks!


5. Disposable Food Pouches: When it comes to a quick and convenient snack, our kindergartner is completely happy with the inexpensive/generic, organic applesauce pouches from Costco (Kirkland brand). But when I want to pack as much nutrition, healthy calories, and energy as possible in these convenient little pouches, the Plum Organics Grow Well DHA, Muscle, and Tummy pouches (90-100 calories per pouch), and the Beech Nut Breakfast-On-The-Go, and Banana, Blueberry, and Avocado pouches (80-90 calories per pouch) are my go-tos.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mama saigh is going back to work.

I've been keeping my "big" news under wraps for a few weeks, but now, the cat is FINALLY outta the bag! Starting May 22nd, I'll be joining The Jason Show over at FOX 9, during their national test throughout the month of June. For six weeks, I'll be a full-time working mama, returning to my TV roots.



Am I excited?! Oh, HELLS yes!

After the birth of our first kiddo, I left my job at Twin Cities Live (KSTP) to be a stay-at-home mom. I worked at TCL ever since the show first went on the air in 2007, and it was the best job I've ever had. Leaving my family at TCL was one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make. However (at the time), it was the right decision for me, and (most importantly) my mental health (I suffered from postpartum depression after our first baby was born). Since then, I've always had a strong desire to return to my career in television.

Me, E-Ries, and Em, back in my TCL days. These two are still shining stars on the show!

For the last five-and-a-half years, I've been the stay-at-home mom for our two kiddos (Linna and Jameson). While it's been the most exhausting, challenging, and stressful job of my life, my decision to become a stay-at-home mom allowed for the opportunity to move our family to Singapore for three years (2012-2015)... And what an incredible experience that was for me, Papa Saigh, and Linna!

Me and Linna in Asia.

But now, five-and-a-half years, and two babies later, I am SO excited to have the opportunity to go back to the grown-up world that I've so desperately missed. And, for six weeks (this isn't forever... or is it...?!).

I seriously feel like I'm going on a six-week "vacation" (FYI, stay-at-home-mamas, you know it's time to go back to work, when you start to view work as a "vacation"). For YEARS, I've never been able to understand why some women are able (and WANT) to dive back into their careers, post-baby, while leaving their baby/kids in childcare.

Trust me when I say that "I GET IT" now.

A). Stay-at-home-mom life is a luxury (for those who want it), but it's NOT for everyone.
B). Kids are as*holes, exhausting, and COMPLETELY unreasonable.
C). Money is nice.
D). A job/career is an "escape" from the real-life known as children/family.

All of the above have me leaping toward this opportunity at The Jason Show.

My work-hours at FOX allow me to pick up our kindergartner every day after school, and spend my afternoons with both kiddos. While I'll have to be up and at the studio before the birds even start chirping, it's the perfect "trade-off" for me and my family. This opportunity couldn't have presented itself at a better time, and I am SO ready to dive right in.

Am I going to miss my kids?

Honestly?! No. (LOL - Don't judge me!).

While I'm sure part of me will miss my little monsters when I'm at work, you will find me skipping (proudly) out the door at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, May 22nd. I have been incredibly lucky to be a stay-at-home mom for the last five-and-a-half years, but there comes a time in every mom's life when she has to do what is right for her. My passion for telling stories and producing TV segments, has been calling out to me for a while now.

And this time, I'm answering.

This is going to be a HUGE transition and learning-opportunity for our family. While we have amazing care-givers for our kiddos while mama and papa are working, I'm sure both Papa Saigh and I are in for many major challenges.

We have NEVER experienced life as two, full-time working parents. While this is how the majority of households in America run, it's a brand new world for our family.

We're going to tackle it together.

I am so thankful to be a part of the incredibly talented team at The Jason Show (thanks, Jeff & Carl!), and even more thankful to my husband for supporting me in this adventure.

Stay tuned, because WHO KNOWS where this opportunity might lead...


Monday, May 8, 2017

Ticket giveaway: A year with frog and toad.


We're giving away 2 tickets to the Children's Theatre Company's performance of A Year with Frog and Toad! This show runs through June 18th, 2017. Here's how to enter for your chance to win...

1. Share our giveaway post on our Facebook page.
2. Comment on this blog post (below) with your first and last name, and city you currently reside in.
3. Comment on our giveaway post on our Instagram (@melissasaigh) page, tagging three friends who you think would like to see the show.

Complete all three to better your odds of winning! One person will be randomly selected to win two tickets to a performance of A Year with Frog and Toad at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis. The tickets can be redeemed for any performance with available seating. Entries must be received/completed by 8 p.m. CST on May 9th, 2017. The winner will be announced on our Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as on this blog post. Good luck!