MONAT

Quench Your Thirst

Has this summer heat got your locks feeling lackluster? Maybe the salty beach trip did you some good, but not quite the story for your hair.

Well don’t stress, as usual we are ahead of the game and have just the thing in the nick of time.

Today Monat announced TWO new products that will hydrate the heck out of your tresses. And to kick them off we have an amazing sale going as well. For more info on these items visit my site to view the details, or get your order in.

For the Foodie

Crispy Kale Chips

I love kale!

I love it in salads, steamed, especially in smoothies and most recently, during my low-carb/Keto diet, I have become fond of it as the perfect substitute for chips or popcorn, or any other salty or savory snack.

I snacked on a handful of these rather than popcorn during our Harry Potter marathon this weekend and imagined how good they would taste as “croutons” on a salad or alongside and sandwich even (lettuce wrap in my case).

I used an entire full 1 lb bag of organic kale, which produced roughly 8 servings of this salty, low carb (6 net carbs per serving) treat. If you are on a low carb or keto diet, not only does the carb count benefit you, but so does that salt for your electrolytes. Plus, sometimes I just want that crunchy snack and other than Wisps, you won’t find much of that on the low carb diet. Win, win and win!

So on we go with the recipe! Please note, this will make your kitchen odorous. I honestly did not mind the smell but my husband was NOT impressed!

Also, one addition I would add to this recipe (but did not this time around) would be shredded or grated parmesan, I can imagine that gives an even more savory taste! I would suggest grated over shredded and I would add it in during the oil process, I will note it below to be clear.

What you will need:

  • 1 lb bag of organic kale
  • 4 tablespoons of organic unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • Himalayan pink salt (roughly 1 tsp)
  • Black ground pepper (roughly 1 tsp)
  • Garlic powder (roughly 1 tsp)

What you will need to do:

Set the oven to 350 F and grease the baking tray. As I refuse to use cooking sprays (did you know they can get rust off your bike chain or bugs off your windshield? Many contain additives and GMOs – yuck!) I made sure to smear a bit of coconut oil across the pan.

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Be sure the kale is washed and dried. I am able to get my kale pre-shredded, but if you do not you will need to remove the center rib and stems from each leaf and discard. Cut or tear them into bite-size pieces. These will significantly shrink during the baking process so you can make them a little larger.

Place the kale into a large bowl (with the 1 lb bag, I had to do this in a couple of batches) and drizzle the melted oil over it and then massage or toss the kale around to get evenly covered. Now is when I would add in the grated parmesan next time as well. You can go ahead and toss all of the seasonings on now as well or do as I did below.

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Once coated, lay the kale out onto the baking tray in a single layer and top with pepper, salt and garlic powder.

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Bake the kale until crisp and the edges are slightly browned, roughly 12-15 minutes. Toss into a large bag or bowl and enjoy!

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Book Club

Behind Closed Doors – B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris is a twisted psychological thriller about a couple that is seemingly perfect. Living a life of luxury and filled with love and admiration for one another, Jack and Grace seem to have it all. But not every couple, or person for that matter, is perfect.

Jack is an extremely handsome, successful and wealthy prosecutor that fights against one of the worst types of criminals, abusive men. He has the manners of royalty to boot. It is no wonder that when Grace meets him she is extremely taken by him. He sweeps her off her feet and caters to her, surprising her with trips and houses. He is wealthy enough that Grace no longer needs to work, even though she’d like to stay busy. But he insists on taking over all of the breadwinning.

To their friends eyes, Grace has it so easy and has the most attentive husband. But is he too attentive, too controlling? Grace soon finds that the man she married is not the man she thought he was. And in reality, the work he does has a twisted meaning to him.

Grace has a disabled younger sister that will soon be coming to live with them and Jack could not be more happy. The plans he has are much less than loving.

Will Grace be able to save herself and her sister? Will she get away? Or is she as crazy as he makes her out to be, and imagining it all?

This book will make you second guess those “perfect” relationships you see in others. Everyone has their own secrets and issues behind their doors.

For the Foodie

Sweet Treat Flag

Fourth of July is fast approaching and I am sure, as I do, you have plenty of parties to attend. I really wish that this year we were back in the hills of Tennessee, like we were last year. There is truly nothing better than celebrating the holiday in Gatlinburg, TN. What a fantastic time we had!

Since we had all the kiddos in the cabin, I came up with the perfect (and easy) dessert treat to make with them all one of our evenings. It turned out adorable, and the kids had such a fun time making this. It will surely be a beautiful and patriotic addition to any of your family gatherings!

 

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Ingredients you will need:

  • Large puffy marshmallows (roughly 30)
  • Toothpicks (or tiny fingers will do)
  • Red & Blue sugar sprinkles (white too if you want to be perfect)
  • scissors (or a knife)
  • butter or Crisco
  • Baking dish (9×13 or 7×11 will do)
  • Hershey Bars (chocolate chips could be substituted)
  • Graham Crackers

Here is what you’ll do:

First you will want to grease the baking dish with butter or Crisco and set the oven at 450 degrees F.

Then I poured the sugar crystals into separate bowls, set out a bowl of water as well and cut all of the big marshmallows into halves.

While I completed those tasks I let the kids break up the Hershey bars and lay them down to complete the first layer of our delicious dish.

I then let the kids each take turns getting their marshmallow halves dumped into water and then into the sugar colors we needed for our second layer. Little fingers or toothpicks can be used for that step.

Let these dry on wax paper before placing them onto the chocolate bars, should be about 20 minutes. Once dry, you will place these, cut side down, onto the chocolate bar layer, making sure to get your flag in the right order. The kids had lots of fun making a pattern with these!

Top off the dish with the extra sugar crystals on any lacking areas and place the dish into the oven to bake for 7 to 9 minutes, just until the tops of the marshmallows start to brown. We let the kiddos eat the leftover crystalized marshmallows while they waited!

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Take out and let cool a little. Serve with graham crackers or pretzels and enjoy this sweet and salty treat! The sugar sprinkles form a perfect crystallized topping to the dip so you get the most divine combination of chocolate, cream marshmallow and sweet crunch. Best served warm and with a glass of milk!

Your kids will feel extra special being able to create this masterpiece on their own too!

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Need another great (but healthier) treat for Memorial Day or 4th of July parties? Check out this patriotic fruit “cake”. Yum!

Book Club

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

 

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is a dramatic book about a family with a Chinese background that tries to fit in to a predominantly white American community. The father in the family is of full Chinese heritage and the mother is fully Caucasian. The story will tap into the struggle of a mixed race marriage as well as that of growing up biracial.

This book tells the story of a young girl, Lydia, who is faced with a lot of pressure from both her father and her mother. This young girl has a lot of struggles being of a biracial minority within her school, trying to fit in and also trying to live up to her father and mothers completely different expectations.
She is not an only child and while each child within the family has completely different roles, hers holds the most pressure.

When Lydia goes missing and is found no longer alive there are many questions: did the young boy down the street with a troubled upbringing, who has she had been hanging out with every day for the past several months, do something? There’s no way she could have done this to herself, right? She was the perfect daughter, well liked, social, smart, or was that all a facade?

The family struggles to discover what happened while secrets come out. In the end they will be stronger than they were before, even if they never do find out why exactly this tragedy happened.

Fun With The Fam

School’s OUT For Summer!

Summer is officially here! School has ended and the chill has finally left us. But even though I love spring and fall, I am super excited that our hot summer has arrived because I get to share with you all of our favorite watering holes! The one thing I love about living in Ohio is that I get to see a glimpse of all four seasons, not so much the case in the south where I am from. But I would definitely be ok if Fall lasted six months of the year 😉

Since Summer is finally here I figured I would share some of our favorite watering hole spots! Some are free and some are not. Do your best to hit up each spot during the next several weeks. Let me know which one is your favorite in the comments!

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Zoombezi Bay Waterpark is probably our most favorite place to go, and also the most expensive! Even if you are a Zoo member. But boy oh boy is it fun for all ages! They have a young kiddie pool area with many attractions, a older kiddie area with a pirate ship, four and a half story treehouse, slides, a big water bucket that topples over every so often, and a large area to swim. They also have a huge lazy river (one for families and one for just adults – beverages allowed!). There is also a tidal wave pool and many big slides to have fun on! Several concession stands and food options to choose from. During the summer they host several “Dive-In Movie” nights. I haven’t been to one yet but it sounds like a lot of fun! You will spend a pretty penny but its always a fun day here!

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Heath City Water Park is another fun location. As a much smaller and cheaper version of Zoombezi Bay, they have a baby pool, kids pool with slides and swings, and larger pools with big slides. There is also a nice covered area on the lawn in case you dont want direct sunlight all afternoon, which was anperfect spot for Leighton’s nap and feeding sessions. If your kids are still quite small (5 and under) you will save time traveling and money for them to have just as much fun here

Dillon State Park has a small wading pool area with a geyser-like sprinkler, as well as many other attractions (campgrounds, swimming beach, tennis and volleyball courts, seven picnics shelters, several miles of trails, disc golf, hunting, fishing….you name it). But for just a fun afternoon with your tykes, the wading pool at Dillon and a packed lunch in the picnic shelter followed by some time on the playground next to it while drying off makes for a fun, free afternoon!

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Scioto Mile Splash Pad has been a big hit for my family the past few summers. It is perfect for a hot afternoon of fun. There is plenty of trails to walk on along the riverside (but far enough away that your child cannot run into the water), and big lawns to play or pop down and have a picnic. The Bicentennial Park Splash Pad on Scioto Mile is the largest in Columbus. It’s 15,000 square feet and has water features that spray as high as 75 feet in the air. There is also plenty of seating for the onlookers, shaded and not shaded. And at night the fountain experience is enhanced by unique lighting and fog effects. Super cool, and free!

Last year was the first time we didn’t go to the beach on vacation. We were all bummed, but with the kids being so little we didn’t feel ready to go to the ocean quite yet. We do have a beach trip planned for this summer and the kids are so excited! From the pictures you can see they, especially my daughter, will be just as much a sun-bathing beach bum as her momma! However, even without a beach trip last year, we had many fun days in the cool water visiting the places I mentioned. If you haven’t already, go check them out!

I have also found this great article about other local splash pad areas around Columbus and can’t wait to try them out this summer before we take off to the beach! Don’t they look like fun?!

Let me know what you thought of these locations or if you have more that you know of in the Central Ohio area that I need to check out!

Fun With The Fam

Velvet Ice Cream

Velvet Ice Cream allows visitors to it’s Ye Olde Mill anytime April through November. There is plenty for the family to do to take up a nice afternoon. Velvet Ice Cream has been around for over 100 years and is very family oriented.

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This long holiday weekend is the annual Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival with musical entertainment, plenty of fun for kids, magic shows, vendors, shopping with over 90 local artisans, delicious food from several food trucks, of course yummy Velvet ice cream and more! There is fun for the whole family including contests for kids, ice cream eating contests, pony rides and over 400 classic cars to view. You will NOT want to miss out! For more information visit Utica Sertoma’s Festival page.

Check their calendar out to see what other entertainment events they have coming up.

Any other time throughout the year my kids and I love to go play on their playgrounds, feed the ducks, play in the creek on the backside of the property and definitely take time to have lunch in the Wheel Room Restaurant followed with a sweet snack from the Ice Cream Parlor. My favorite is Raspberry Fudge Cordial, DELICIOUS! Shop their products here.

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You are also able to take a free public tour of the Historic Ye Olde Mill and even go to the Viewing Gallery to learn the seven steps it takes to make their delicious dessert. Tours are only offered during the week and begin at the top of each hour. No reservation is needed unless you have a large group of 20 or more.

Have you ever been to Velvet’s Ye Olde Mill? Which flavor is your favorite? If you have never been, it is definitely work a quick little day trip any time of their season! Maybe I’ll see you there this weekend during the festival!

Fabulous Finds

Cobblestone Road Hand Lettering

Jenn is the founder of Cobblestone Road Hand Lettering, a small business creating hand lettered goods. She lives with her husband and three kids in Newark, Ohio and is a believer in strong coffee. She wants to leave Christmas lights up all year, and could eat pizza for every meal. When Jenn isn’t chasing after their toddler- she loves date nights and laughing with friends. She is pumped seeing where God is leading Cobblestone Road Hand Lettering and the opportunities He’s providing in the future.

I came to know of Jenn because I work with her husband Corey in our local ER nine years ago – before he left for Cincinnati – and again for the past several years. Corey went to the same private school my son currently attends, which is extremely close-knit. Some of his friends are friends of my husband as well. He is the biggest supporter of his wife and gushes about her all the time. You can really tell when you talk to Corey that he could not be more proud of Jenn and her work.

I had run into Jenn at Real Deals in Granville,OH during one of their women’s nights out events and fell in love with her style and overall energy. There is something about a faith-driven, woman entrepreneur and mother that is wonderful at what she does that inspires the mother and woman inside of me. I love to multi-task and take on new art projects and to see someone be so successful at both, all while being a wonderful wife and mother, is so motivational.

The look and feel behind Jenn’s work is all the rave right now. It’s that vintage, customized, repurposed look and, most important, it is that item that you will give or receive that gives ALL the feels. The items she creates are gifts for literally anyone or any occasion. From graduation gifts to nursery rooms, Jenn can create you a one-of-a-kind piece for any special moment.

Enjoy the interview below and please visit her social media pages listed at the bottom. As a token to you readers, Jenn has created a coupon code that is $5 off any web purchase! (Use Code: mrsaugie)

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  1. When did you begin Cobblestone Road Lettering and how did you come up with the name?

Cobblestone Road started three years ago this July. I came up with the name because the house we lived in was set on the cutest little cobblestone street and I loved the idea that amidst all the asphalt and blacktop there was a remnant from the past with all it’s stories breaking through.  That’s a reflection of what we do here at Cobblestone Road- we look for places to help commemorate your story!

  1. What did you do prior to Cobblestone and what made you decide to take the jump and begin this business?

Since the birth of our oldest son, my primary job has been mama. I homeschooled the kids for a while, and then we had some hard circumstances happen that made it necessary for me to go back to work.  Having been out of the world of working outside the home for so long- I didn’t know what I would do.  I started substitute teaching in the same school district with the kids and would sneak lunches with them and drive them to and from school.  After being told enough times I should go for starting a small business doing lettering, Corey gave me one final encouragement to go for it!  Owning our own business has given us the same schedule flexibility along with doing something I’m so passionate about.

  1. What types of items do you currently offer and which are your top three most favorite you have done?

Many of our products are unique because they are created on repurposed and vintage items. I love taking items like vintage piano scrolls and old maps and books and finding fresh ways to use them to create pieces that have new purpose for people’s homes.  All of our items are also lettered by hand- never using vinyl or stencils- which makes it much more personal and easy to get a unique custom item for your home. The other pieces we create come from portions of my own story that other people resonate with- mugs, shirts, and paper prints that have phrases that are significant to me or have been meaningful in my own story- which other people also see value in.

One of my all-time favorite custom orders was for a woman who had recently battled cancer. She had brought a vintage wood piece and asked me to letter it with a Bible verse that carried her through her treatments.  When she saw the finished piece she got tears in her eyes, and so did I!  It meant so much that she trusted me with it.  We get to hear stories like this all the time and they are the most meaningful.  Stories of love, overcoming, sickness, comfort, and joy- we get to hear them and be trusted to create the reminders of them!

  1. You have been spotted at the Country Living Fair in Columbus and Real Deals in Granville. What else is on the schedule for you? Where can we see you? Do you have a shop or currently work out of the home?

All of our work is currently done out of our home- and boy is it crowded! We are scheduled to do several markets this summer, including Charm at the Farm and TWO Country Living Fairs this summer, along with the Vintage and Made Market in Lancaster.  We will definitely be back at Real Deals and have a really big announcement in the works as well (sorry, it’s top secret!)

  1. What has been one of your biggest challenges within your business?

Aside from the normal challenges of juggling three kids and a home-based business- anything that requires the left side of my brain is a challenge. This would include math, taxes, paperwork, measuring, spreadsheets…stuff like that.

  1. What has been your greatest achievement thus far?

Being the featured artisan by Joann Fabrics at the Country Living Fair last year was a pretty exciting thing for us, as well as traveling to Texas, Colorado, and Florida to teach workshops in the last year. Honestly though- getting the privilege of meeting the other business owners and customers we get to interact with is the most rewarding part. We have had the chance to work with the best people and most supportive community on the planet- and that’s something we don’t take lightly.

  1. Customization – you can literally, BEAUTIFULLY, write whatever we would like onto almost any type of surface, what has been the hardest item thus far?

Last summer I had to letter a quote on the bottom inside of a wooden crate. It was a really hard angle to get to, as the box was about 18 inches deep and I couldn’t brace my wrist on anything so it was really challenging.

  1. How has the Bible inspired you to not only take this leap but also in the items you create?

God’s word is amazing because it’s the only book you ever read where the author is present with you while you read it! It’s also unique because you can read the same verse years apart and learn something different every time, so it’s really an honor to get to share those words with the products we create.  We have constantly seen the Lord’s provision to guide this little business where He wants it to go, and that’s the most motivating factor there is!

  1. You have begun holding workshops, tell us what these entail and where we can sign up for the next one.

We do all sorts of fun workshops! We teach hand lettering, have make and take workshops and just started doing wedding workshops for bridal parties!  The best way to stay in touch about when we’re hosting them is to follow us on social media- and to grab your spots quickly because they sell fast.

  1. Tell us about your World Changer Campaign, what prompted this?

Our World Changer campaign is a way for kids to learn they can be world changers and fundraise for causes they’re passionate about. We love the chance to give kids a platform to do big things- and we have not been disappointed.  Being able to use our business and social media platform to empower young people to believe they can be used in big ways is one of my favorite things we’ve done.

  1. You certainly are an inspiration to other small business owners or women who may be wanting to begin their business. Who was your inspiration or muse?

There are so many times I feel inadequate and overwhelmed and it’s easy to get dragged down and discouraged when I begin comparing myself to others, or feel like I don’t measure up. My husband is not only my best friend but the most level head and encourager when I’m feeling down.  He really believes in this business every step of the way, and is a steady source of encouragement, support, and redirection to what is true when I forget.

Here are some of my favorite creations by Jenn:

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And here is one special design Jenn created with her children for an awesome purpose, check it out below:

“With all the heartbreak that happens in our schools these days it’s easy to get down about them. But there is also so much good that happens in them every day. Kids that show kindness to others, brave leaders, teachers who are invested, compassionate and brilliant, laughter, friendships, music, art and pizza day in the cafeteria (obviously)

For our kiddos last day of school I recruited my two favorite artists (my kids) to help me come up with an epic mural!

Three hours (and some awkward tan lines) later the school is all ready to welcome all those sweet little faces tomorrow.”

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Visit Jenn on her site Cobblestone Road Hand Lettering or stay connected on social media with her:

Book Club

Not That I Could Tell – Jessica Strawser

 

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser is a mystery regarding a missing woman and her children. Where did they go? What happened? Are they alive? These are all questions that her friends and neighbors asked internally and to one another.

She was last seen at a quaint backyard get together with her friends and neighbors. This small neighborhood, located in small town Yellow Springs, Ohio, is full of a handful of strong, close women and mothers. But in this small town, how is it that her friends could know so little about her?

One of her neighbors gets a little too close for comfort while another has been too close to a situation like this before. Even the children of this small little cul-de-sac are affected, one digging around for her self-created “neighborhood newspaper” that will create issues for more than a couple people on the street.

Place yourself within this small community to help figure out what happened and why. Strawser did a great job of telling this story and connecting dots between several relationships and characters.

 

Side Note: Yellow Springs, Ohio has recently come up on my radar, prior to reading this book, and I intend to take a day trip here to document it for the blog under my Fun With The Fam category. It is a small “hippie town” in which the comedian Dave Chappelle lives. It is home to lots of natural springs and hiking, as well as some awesome small owned shops and cafes. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was based out of that small little town. Look for my blog post on this small town soon!

DIY Crafts at Home

DIY Hair Color For Kids

Want to live like the “kool” kids? At least for 2-4 weeks?

Ever since watching the Disney Descendants series my kids have both been begging me to let them dye their hair. My daughter wants her hair like Uma (a mixture of black white and blue) and my son wants his hair like Carlos (white and black).

Now, they are only 5 and 9 so clearly I am not going to ruin their hair with a permanent dye. However, I am all about allowing children to express themselves and as long as I can assist them in a non-permanent, non-damaging way, then I will allow it.

Unfortunately my son attends a pretty strict private school so he was unable to take part in this. But I did tell him that this summer we could do his hair. But my daughter won’t start school until this Fall so she was able to be my happy-as-can-be guinea pig for this at home DIY.

Her hair is a dark blonde these days so I didn’t want to put any black in it. Instead we settled on pink, purple and blue. I will show you how we did her hair and then I will tell you what I would have done differently to get more dramatic results.

Now you can find two different ways to dye your hair with Kool-Aid on You-Tube:

  • The first way we found was by boiling water, stirring in the packet of color and then dipping the ends of the pieces you’d like colored into a bowl of the mixture for about an hour. This didn’t sound like the best option for a 5 year old, plus we didn’t want to dip-dye, we wanted to color pieces or sections.
  • The second way we found was to use conditioner and a Kool-Aid/hot water mixture. This was best used for all over coloring or streaks of color. Plus you don’t have to physically sit over a bowl for an hour.

We went with the second option as we wanted streaks of colors and it would be easiest for my 5 year old to let it set in. First we went to the store and picked out our colors and a white conditioner. Once home, we got her into old clothing.

We boiled the water and placed the packets of color into separate containers. If you are doing an all over color, 3 packets is plenty to use. But since we wanted multiple colors, we used 2 packets of each color in the containers.

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While the water was boiling I sectioned off my daughters hair so we knew exactly what the game plan would be. I definitely didn’t want all-over color and I also didn’t want hardly any color on the top layer of her hair. So I sectioned her hair into 4 layers and we worked on the 2nd and bottom (4th) layers. This way it was more of a peek-a-boo affect.

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Once the water had boiled I added just enough to each container so that the packet of coloring would dissolve, but not too much. You don’t want it to be runny. (I made this mistake with the purple)

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Then you can add conditioner to each container, mixing it very well. Again, you don’t want any runny liquid left over. This will create a paste like mixture and you are ready to apply.

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I used a new toothbrush to help me since I didn’t want to use my fingers as this will dye your hands very easily. (Gloves would have been perfect to have had on hand). I also pre cut pieces of foil to help me keep the dyed pieces separate from the rest of her hair, this way there would be no leakage or uneven sections of color.

Since we were using multiple colors I took the bottom section and made 5 pieces with it. We went in a Purple, Pink, Blue, Pink, Purple pattern. For the second layer we had about 5-6 pieces and took the pattern Pink, Purple, Blue, Purple, Pink. that way the colors would be nice and mixed.

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After she let the foil sit on her head for an hour, I decided to do just one small section on the top layer of her head for each color. I put this on about halfway into the hour, so it would hopefully be very muted. (She was also super frustrated with the foil so I went ahead and took them out in hopes the pieces we had covered wouldn’t leak much onto the other strands.)

After an hour, we washed her hair – be very careful not to use shampoo at this point. You won’t want to shampoo until a full day after. But really rinse out the conditioner mixture very well so there is no grainy residue. Then we blow dried to see how the color looked.

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Results

The purple we can’t see at all. I believe that is because I accidentally put too much water into that container from the beginning. The pink isn’t as vibrant as expected. And the blue is also very muted, but the most noticeable. These pictures really don’t do the color justice. But it is just a barely there hint of color.

For a 5 year old, this is perfect. I think that we should have put plastic wrap on and slept in the mixture overnight for the best results. I have also heard that red comes out very well, so maybe our choice of pink wasn’t the best. But I wanted a sweet light look, nothing too vibrant.

It was a great trial run however until school gets out next month. And then we will likely redo it on both my oldest, overnight. But for now, my sweet 5 year old feels like a big girl and the barely there blue streaks are adorable in a sweet punk-rockish way.