Thursday, December 30, 2010

After this one, I’m going to start counting down

cake My birthday is tomorrow.  I am turning THIRTY FIVE.  I spelled it out because just looking at those numbers together scares me a little.  That is a hard number to swallow.  I think that somewhere, long ago, I thought I would be Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl” by thirty five.  Minus the scary makeup.  And the shoulder pads.  But honestly, I couldn’t tell you what gets merged and what gets acquired if you put a gun to my head.  I can type like a mother though. 

And since it’s my birthday AND New Year’s Eve, I just had to break out the year end introspection and make some resolutions.  And here they are *in no particular order*:

1)  I’m fat.  Not really news to anyone, me included.  I had planned on making some drastic change like going raw or slow food.  But honestly, we are too poor to afford it.  And I am too intolerant of the BS that comes with most people involved in farmer’s markets.  Seriously.  I am sure that your heirloom, organic tomatoes kick some BLT booty but I am not paying $5 for 4 of them.  Oh you don’t eat bacon because of the salt and nitrates?  Well, now I really wouldn’t buy your tomatoes, because you are communist.  So I guess I will just have to do this weight reduction the old fashioned way, deprivation and self humiliation.  I might even try to squeeze in some lessons about portion control and loving myself.  We’ll see.

2)  I could be a better mom.  This one has really peeved me.  I mean, I thought I was doing everything I could, only to find out there is room for improvement.  Geez, what do these kids want?  I mean I did grow them from scratch.  I’m not Annie Sullivan here.  I suppose I could cut down on the yelling and amp up the snuggling a bit more.  They deserve it.  I hope they know it.  Hang on, I’m going to go tell them right now.  Plus I need a tissue.  Thinking of how sweet they are and what a tyrant I am, has started the water works…stupid self awareness.

Ok, I’m back…

3) Ignoring things really does make them go away.  Sometimes.  I have my husband to thank for this little nugget.  While he tries to apply this philosophy to things like the trash or ME asking for his help rearranging the bedroom, I have learned to apply it to things like grudges, petty differences and sometimes even people that annoy me.  It doesn’t work on big things or bills but surely by 2012, I will have figured those out too.  I can honestly say I have had a lot less fights with my husband because of it.  And I am looking forward to more things to ignore in 2011. 

4) Enough is as good as a feast.  Josh and I have lived on a financial rollercoaster for years now.  Some of it by choice but lots of it by circumstance.  And that has caused a lot of conflict for me.  I really let what I didn’t have bog me down in the past.  This year things have leveled out almost completely.  And the peace of having “enough” has made me grateful.

5) Is it wrong that I cannot think of a #5?  I feel certain I should have a long list of do’s and don’ts for 2011.  But since 2010 was more or less a stellar year for me, I sorta think I am coming out ahead of the game.  I mean, I did not wreck a car, have surgery, or lose anything of value.  Honestly, aside from moving, I haven’t had any kind of big event this year.  And that is a good thing. 

So tomorrow night when you ring in the new year, think of me.  Wish me an uneventful year of filled with a shrinking waistline, more bedtime stories, ignoring what doesn’t matter, and enough. 

Have a safe and happy new year.  I’m going to the store to buy cupcakes and champagne.  That healthier me doesn’t start until Saturday y’all (but I will start on the rest of it right now).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

PS She finally stopped crying

This very moment I am listening to my daughter cry herself to sleep.  It is late.  It is the night after Christmas morning.  It is the end of a week filled with chaos, too much sugar, letdowns and surprises.  So needless to say we are all a little weary.  And if she doesn't stop soon, I am going to cry myself to sleep.

Thursday night, I made the kids a big bed in front of the TV and they fell asleep watching a Christmas movie about a dog and Santa.  It was all very cute and the house was a warm, fuzzy picture of togetherness.  Upon waking the next morning, I expected the same cozy feeling.  But instead, I was greeted by a chilly bite to the air. Josh was awake on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, wearing a toboggan.  (side note here: a toboggan in Alabama is a knitted cap, not a sled)  Anyway, I noticed that the heaters were off.  Then my stomach dropped to my knees.  I suddenly realized we were out of propane.

(Have any of y'all ever had to heat your home with propane?  It is a pain right in the ole derriere.  It's expensive and a little scary--rectangles of fire mounted to your wall, just waiting for a kid to get burned.  But when you live in a rented house, you deal with what you have.)

I had asked my husband several times to check the gauge outside.  Alas, those requests had fallen on selectively deaf ears.  And while I claim to know some things about some things, understanding the crusty meter on our creepy propane tank way off in the yard, is not one of the things I have mastered.  Whatever.  The deed was done.

For the next 2 hours, we tried to reach someone on the "emergency" line at our propane provider.  It was to no avail.  I guess SOME people think Christmas Eve is a holiday or something.  Psssh.  The nerve.  So we came up with plan B.  Which was to see which of my family members felt like putting us up for the weekend.  Oh and did I mention that it was supposed to snow in Alabama?  A white Christmas, woohoo

My dad let us stay with him.  And while it put a kink in our Christmas morning Santa plans for the kids, it has been a really a fun weekend.  But it's all been a little too much for this girl to handle.  I am going to say the thing I never thought I'd say and that is, I am glad Christmas is over.  I cannot wait to get home and pack up all the decorations and put this whole week behind me.

After all the drama of this week, I've realized I have more important things to worry about anyway...like turning 35 in six days.  The terrifying downhill run to 40 is almost here.  Yippee!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's not a party until someone gets hurt.

This past Tuesday marks an event in my life I will never forget.  

Our family was gathered together at my mother's house.  We had all eaten and the presents had been passed out to everyone.  I was sitting at the dining room table with my brother, chatting.  Actually he may have been eating.  I cannot remember.  Some of the details before the life changing event are a little fuzzy now.  One of the younger cousins needed help loading his Nerf gun.  It was one of these wheel gun meets shotgun numbers.  Maybe you've seen it? 
Alden already owns one of these things, so I asked him to help the cousin in the loading.  Alden was glad to help (my dutiful, wonderful son) and then tragedy struck.

I heard the THWACK and hum of the gun being shot.  And I screamed (it was a mini horror movie type scream) as the bullet hit my brother RIGHT IN THE EYE!!!!  If it hurt as badly as it sounded, then I am going straight to hell.  Because my first reaction was to laugh hysterically.  That is my reaction no matter who is hurt or how badly...total knee jerk reaction (plus it's usually pretty funny).  Anyway, for those of you that don't know my brother I'll break it down like this:

Richard BEFORE

Richard AFTER

Except in that AFTER picture, he was holding his eye and wondering if he still had sight in it.  Alden was immensely sorry and asked if my brother was OK.  That is a cardinal sin in my family...wait until the carnage can be surveyed before asking stupid questions like "Are you OK?" or "Can I do anything?"  

Thankfully, he was OK.  He accepted Alden's apology and did not disown me for my involuntary laughter.  And little did I know that this incident was just the beginning of my Christmas week.  

PS  I hope all of y'all are having a Merry Christmas!  If I drank eggnog, I'd drink a toast to you!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Passengers, beware!

Did you know that having the luck of the Irish is a bad thing?  I only found out myself a few months ago.  What do I know?  I’m not Irish.  Though I am considering coining my own “luck of the German” phrase because I have notoriously bad luck.  My mother had uttered the words, “Only you.” more times than I can count.

My bad luck spans all categories of life but especially cars.  ESPECIALLY.  I don’t know if God is trying to persuade me to become Amish or what.  I have had someone in a stolen car plow into me, someone actually run me down in a parking lot, a deer hit me (that happened TWICE) and then last year I flipped a car.  I have walked away from all of these incidents with only bumps, bruises and minor cuts.  But my cars…they have suffered dearly.

So needless to say, I drive a used car.  It is a good car. It was cheap and drives well.  And until about 3 weeks ago, it had never given me a problem.  But if you have the luck of the German, like I do…when it rains it pours. 

First, the van overheated.  It was freezing cold and my mother in law was with me.  My dad helped me decide it was the thermostat and not the radiator.  Whew!  Then the power steering went out.  Have you ever tried driving a car with no power steering?  I think I pulled my trapezius.  My husband dutifully went out to put on the thermostat and see about the power steering only to find the serpentine belt was missing.  Do you know what the serpentine belt is?  I did.  And it’s a freakin miracle that my car did not die before making it home.  Ok, so anyway.  Everything gets replaced and I am certain that my car troubles are over for a while.  Right?!?

Wrong!  On this antique van that I drive, there are second row windows that pop open.  The one on the driver’s side had a broken latch.  No biggie.  Or at least I thought so.  On Monday, I pulled over on the side of the road to check our mail.  I have done this a million times.  This time an 18 wheeler went by and RIPPED THE WINDOW OFF MY VAN!  I heard a big whoosh and looked up to see the window fly past my window.  For half a second I thought about catching it…as if I could have…why does your brain think crazy thoughts in a crisis?  Of course, the thing shattered into a million pieces when it hit the ground.

Now I have a black garbage bag for a window.  It’s very festive.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seize the…chocolate

So the other day I posted on Facebook about my white chocolate seizing.  I looked online to see what to do and discovered that white chocolate is very fussy about temperature (another reason I really don’t like white chocolate).  I already knew that a little vegetable oil or shortening melted with it could possibly save it and I tried that.  Well it did not melt back to a silky smooth pourable consistency but it did become spreadable and I was able to save my Oreo bark.  It was pretty and tasty.  Having triumphed, I moved on to other chocolate melting projects.

I had approximately 6 bags of various chips on hand.  Why?  That seems like an awful lot of chips even for a sugar hound like me.  Blame Publix.  They had buy one, get one free Tollhouse chips so I bought ALOT.

Up first was some peppermint patty type candy.  This seemed simple enough.  It only had 4 ingredients…cream cheese, powdered sugar, peppermint extract and dark chocolate for dipping.  Well, lemme tell you something…any kind of cream cheese concoction will begin to melt the minute the temperature goes down 1 degree.  I rolled the cream cheese “dough” into balls and started dipping them.  They started disintegrating the minute they hit the warm chocolate.  So there I am in my kitchen, flinging chocolate everywhere, trying to get these little balls of goo onto the sheet tray before they slide off the skewer.  I even resorted to taking the balls out of the freezer, dipping them in the chocolate and immediately putting them back in the freezer.  It was a sight and I was cussing up a blue streak.  Needless to say, I still have leftover dough and only made about 24 candies.  They were absolutely delicious but there is no way in Hades I am ever doing that again.  I guess on the upside, the chocolate did not seize at any point….

cakematesugarsYesterday, I made some chocolate dipped pretzel rods.  I melted milk chocolate for this one.  I found some peppermint flavored sprinkles that I used on half.  They looked so festive!  I even drizzled some white chocolate over others and didn’t seize the chocolate one time.  I was on a roll and decided to move onto some butterscotch dipped pretzels and sprinkled with nut topping.  And blam-O!  The butterscotch died.  It never even really melted.  It went from chip state to an unstirrable mess.  I think Tollhouse may just be conspiring against me.  I decided to make due and turn the butterscotch concrete into bark. 

112120045_200x200 I spread it out, sprinkled on the nuts and added crunched up pretzels.  Considering how irritated I was and how much I hate pretzels, this was the highlight of the project.  I took sheer delight in crushing those pretzels.  By the way, this nut topping is a little salty which was a good contrast to the richness of the butterscotch.  And it’s a lot cheaper than buying nuts and chopping them yourself.  I put the pan in the freezer and waited about 15 minutes.  It had hardened wonderfully and I broke off a little piece to taste.   It was at that point that I realized I AM A GENIUS!  This was some of the best candy I had ever tasted (not to mention made).  Plus the butterscotch was a welcome change from all the chocolate I had been making.

I wish I would have taken pictures of all my goodies.  I wrapped them up in little cellophane bags and packed them into all the cute containers I had been saving.  But I could not take pictures because I found my memory card for my camera outside in the mud…which is such another story.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Sound of Music

*All the links in this post go to a song/video that I love.  So turn the speakers down if you are at work ;)

Music is the fabric of my life.  Not cotton.  Cotton is for punks. (whatever, everything I own is cotton).  But music is what thrills my soul.  I think only my husband is truly aware of how dearly I love music.  He knows that I cry at songs, get down and boogie (yes I do) and belt out the lyrics to the songs that truly inspire me. 

And I love LOVE LOOOOVEEEEE all kinds of music.  Funk…check.  Man, a good bass line is the thing.  Pop…check.  And I don’t mean Justin Bieber.  God have mercy on that poor child.  Bluegrass…check.  There is a song that I am mad about and I cannot find it on the interwebs anywhere.  (Detour Bluegrass is the band and Sixteen Tons is the song just in case you want to help me with my search.)  Hip hop, musicals, folk, hymns and of course, Christmas music.  I add mental soundtracks to things I’m doing.  My kids have actually asked me to stop singing them awake in the morning.  My son said that my singing wasn’t bad it was just an annoying way to wake up.  God love that little rascal.

I even let music suck me into crappy TV shows.  I would have never watched Dawson’s Creek or Grey’s Anatomy if it weren’t for deliciously irresistible songs playing in the background.  And now, I have wonderful people like Ingrid Michaelson in my life because of it.  Have you heard “Winter Song” by her and Sara Bareilles?  Heavenly.  And although I do not own anything Mac (shutty, I’m a PC), I now have a soft, feathery voice floating in my head that belongs to Feist.  Likewise, I own not a single Hyundai but now (quite literally right now) am rocking out to some sweet Pomplamoose.  Their YouTube videos are highly entertaining.

But the song that really struck a chord with me is the one below.  Thankfully, it is a flash mob video which makes it EVEN BETTER.  Dancing like an idiot in public while the song I love is playing?  Sounds like Nirvana.  As silly as it is, this video actually brought me to tears.  That is how deeply ingrained in my soul music has become.  I can only imagine the state I will be in when I arrive in heaven and hear the heavenly host of angels giving God all their musical glory! 

 

PS  My husband and both cried like babies when the Von Trapp Singers appeared on Oprah Winfrey.  We’re pathetic….

Monday, December 6, 2010

Forecast: Stormy, with a chance of cold shoulder

I got a phone call the other night.  Someone I love dearly called me and said right out of the gate that they needed to vent.  This is the kind of relationship I have with this person.  I call them for social reasons or random chit chat and they never, ever answer the phone or call me back.  But they call me up whenever they have a crisis or a bad day.  And 99% of the time I listen to them sympathetically and with all the devotion a good friend can have. 

It sounds so one sided, doesn’t it?  I have had several of these friendships.  I call them “stormy weather friends”.  Which completely blows for me.  I would give anything to have a “fair weather friend” that only called when they were having a good day.  (For the record, I have a handful of “all weather friends”.  Those are my favorite people on the planet.)

Anyhoo, this person started in on their rant and I did something unheard of.  I did not agree with them.  I told them calmly that what they had done was wrong and the consequences they were suffering were their own fault.  It was a moment of tough love.  I felt triumphant.  They on the other hand, hung up on me. 

Which brings me to this question:  Should I have kept my mouth shut and just let them vent?  Or did I do the right thing by speaking up?  I know that if the tables were turned, I would have been upset if I could not have just gotten things off my chest.  But then again, sometimes we need to hear the awful truth.  RIght? 

What do you think?  I have already left them a message apologizing for upsetting them.  And I am sure the next time they have a horrible day, all will be forgotten and they will call me up to cry on my shoulder.  It’s ok.  That is what friends are for.  Though, maybe I should ask them for an umbrella and rain boots for Christmas.  That way I can weather the next storm a little better.

What was that?!?

When I lived in Idaho for a very brief summer, we didn’t have central air conditioner.  It’s a weird thing they do out there.  An unholy thing.  Anyway, that meant lots of nights sleeping with the windows open.  One particular night, I was lying in bed by myself.  Josh had fallen asleep in the kids’ room and since he is of the “let sleeping dogs lie” variety, I went to bed alone.  Our bedroom window faced a rather busy street and it wasn’t uncommon to hear lots of cars go by in the night. 

However, this night, it wasn’t a car I heard. It was a screaming woman.  I was immediately panic stricken.  I edged up to the window sill to look out and saw a woman running from a man.  The man was standing beside a car and the woman was screaming, “HELP!”  I called out to her, “Do you need help?”  Dumb I know, but it was what came out.  She screamed back, “YES!”  So I yelled that I was calling the police.  It didn’t dawn on me immediately that the man could not only hear me but also could see where I was.  I called 911 and watched as the woman ran out of sight and the man got in his car.  I ran to get Josh and prayed that the man wasn’t coming to my house. 

I found out some time later that the woman was being attacked by the man but that she got away safely and was never bothered by him again.  And he never darkened my door step either.  I left Idaho behind but have always remembered how scary the whole thing was. 

So the other night, I am lying in bed alone again.  Josh, bless his heart, falls asleep where ever he is, at approximately 10pm every night.  That night he was on the couch.  And as I settled in for sleep, I heard a muffled scream outside.  I sat up like I had been shot out of a cannon.  I held my breath and waited.  There it was again!  I ran to Josh and said, “I heard someone scream outside.”   He sat up and listened.  Nothing.  I said, “We need to look outside.”  So we crept to the door and opened it.  There.  Yes, there was the scream.  It was…

A rooster crowing.

In the middle of the night, a rooster nearby was crowing it’s muffled, strangled crow.  I felt like such an idiot and apologized to Josh for waking him.  My heart rate returned to normal and I peacefully went to sleep.

We had fried chicken the next night for dinner. (well not really but it would have been a fitting end to the story, don’t you think?)  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

She means business

Yesterday, I had one of those moments where I felt it necessary to talk to my children about the world we live in.  The day before I had been followed out of Wal-Mart by a totally creepy guy and well, I just wanted to make sure my kids knew what to do if approached by someone unsavory.

I went through all the “I hope this never ever happens but” and “I’m just making sure you know what to do in case” speeches.  And I began. 

Me:  You know someone could come up to you and try to kidnap you.  If they do--

Alden (interrupting me):  I’ll find a weapon and I’ll shoot them.

Me:  Well, you might not be able to do that.  So you should scream really loud for help and try to--

Alden (interrupting again):  I’ll run to the car and lock all the doors.  Or I’ll hit them and run away.

Me:  Good.  You should do whatever you can to get away.

*It was at this point I realized that Avery hadn’t said much.  I was afraid I was scaring her or she wasn’t even listening.  She does that.  Already at 6, she tunes me out like a pro. 

Me:  Avery, did you hear what I said?

Avery:  Yes.

Me:  Well, if someone tries to kidnap you--

Avery (interrupting me):  I’ll kick him in the nuts.

I guess I should worry less about teaching them how to thwart a kidnapper and concentrate on teaching them not to interrupt.  Kids 1 Mom 0.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Painful Consequences

I think I broke my foot yesterday.  Or at least my big toe.  Maybe it’s not broken but it’s definitely a terrible sprain.  Just sitting here typing, I can feel it throbbing.  Seriously.  Oh what happened to it?  How nice of you to ask.

I was being an ass.  That’s what happened.  I was pitching a terrible two’s type of hissy fit and slammed the front door of my house.  Only I didn’t realize my foot was still halfway in the door.  And I guess I got what I deserved.  Only it really, really hurts!

I hate living with consequences.  That by far, is one of the worst things being grown up means.  Having to face what is coming.  And knowing that it is coming because of a choice I made?  Downright unbearable.

So while I contemplate a trip to the doctor and how pain is only in the mind, I will also try to act my age.  I will realize that sometimes I don’t get my way, things get completely screwed up and as a Southern lady, I shouldn’t let any of it get under my skin.  And I will also remember to check for limbs in the doorway the next time I make a dramatic exit.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Maybe it’s something in the air

cart 1 I just read a blog entry about what the mother referred to as “The Publix Incident”.  For those of you not blessed with these great stores, Publix is a grocery store chain.  Anyway, this mom had the same problem that we all have at some point…maybe even every time we go to the store.  Her little girl acted up in the check out line.  This poor mom was sitting there, cart full of groceries, and her daughter is pitching a holy fit over some candy.  The mom finally had to spank her child to get her to end the screaming and crying.  She said she felt like everyone in the store was staring and judging.  What an awful place to be in.

publixI, too, have a Publix incident.  (Is this a common occurrence?)  My kids and I walked into the store.  I put them into the cart and around that time, the fit began.  I cannot even remember what it was over.  I just know that they were feeding off of each other to the point of mass hysteria.  I walked a few steps into the store, attempting to diffuse the situation.  But their shenanigans were beginning to draw attention.  So I said “FORGET IT” and swung that cart around so hard, it almost went up on two wheels.  I wheeled my kids to the car and started to put them in.  Then the waterworks started…theirs not mine.  They begged me to give them one more chance.  So I laid down the law and extracted promises of good  behavior. 

They dried up the tears, we got back into the cart and re-entered the store.  I was met with the most surprising thing.  Two women that worked in the floral department started clapping for me.  They said, “Way to go!  You did the right thing.”  I kid you not.  It was a very triumphant moment for me and the fact that I remember it in slow motion with the “Chariots of Fire” theme playing might be a slight embellishment.  I stood firm as a parent and did not give in to the misbehavior of my kids.  And someone actually congratulated me on it?  Glorious!

So to the parents that carry on being a parent despite judging eyes, I give you a round of applause.  Heck, I think you should take a victory lap around the produce department!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Well, I won't let anyone punch me in the face.

I live by my own variation of the golden rule.  And it goes like this, "If you are getting on my nerves this much, then I must really be getting on your nerves."  I never know if it's factual though because most people are not biting at the bit to tell you how much you annoy them.  

But with Christmas around the corner, it seems necessary to think up a game plan.  Because not only will I be bombarded in traffic, the grocery store and McDonald's by loads of people that don't know their good manners from their elbow, it will also happen in the fold of my family and friends too.  Not intentionally of course.  This time of year and all the planning that goes into it just seem to put people on edge and nerves get frayed to the point of breaking.  

So basically, I plan to smile more, say "please" and "thank you" in the sweetest tone I can muster and forgive, forgive, forgive.  When I see someone cut in line in front of me or push me out of the way for something at the store, I will say "Go right ahead".  I might be cursing them internally but it is part of my nature to grumble.  A fault, I know.  But to their face, they will see my best attempt at a humble attitude.  (I'm hoping I might fake it, til I make...)  Because I've realized recently that I am suffering over my limited tolerance to being annoyed.  And frankly, my family suffers because of it too.  

How many times have I been harried, hassled or in a huff and snapped at my kids?  Too many.  How many times have I felt that way and had a stranger give me an encouraging smile?  Not enough.  But those times it did happen, it felt like a soothing balm to my flustered skin.  

Of course, my inherent negativity is telling me that none of those strangers will even take note of my demeanor.  That they will just carry on in their rudeness and "it's all about me" attitude.  But hopefully, it will make me a better example for my kids and show them how to be in the world and not of it.  Cheesy or not, it's what I wish for them.

So here's to smiling til my teeth hurt (because I might be gritting them) and shopping on Black Friday!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Can’t keep a crafter down.

As most of you know I have been sick for the last week.  And you would know this by my copious amounts of whining on my Facebook status.  And so during a marginal improvement in my condition, I went to Michael’s.  (It was right across the street from the doctor’s office)  And I found something that I could not live without.  It was not only gorgeous, but also on sale and the cashier gave me a 20% off coupon.  It was serendipity.  

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This is the K & Company Yuletide Paper Ornaments pack.  It contains 152 pieces of the most old timey, warm your heart paper ornaments I have ever seen. 

 

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There are four or five ornaments per page.  And the cardstock is double sided!  All the folds are scored and each ornament is perforated for easy removal.

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The pages even include a picture of the finished product so you can get an idea of what you should end up with.  I also got some finishing ideas from these pictures.

 

 

 

 

So I took my coughing, sneezing self home, camped in the recliner and proceeded to make some ornaments of my own.  Here are a few that I came up with.  It’s amazing what you can do with a glue stick and scrap ribbon.

1 cone

Did you know that paper cones are the new old-thing-is-cool-again”?  Apparently, they are.  And I plan to fill the ones I made with some candies and give them to people.  Homemade candy*. 

*That I have never made before, so the real gift might just be the dang paper cone it came in*

2 cone

 

 

 

 

I really like these two on the right.  You can close the lid completely.  So none of that good candy falls out.  And you could use the pointed end to fend off anyone trying to steal said candy.  Seriously, don’t let your kids play with these.  They will put their eye out.

little boxes

 

These boxes I plan to pack with little presents for family.  The are miniscule.  I wish I would have put something in the picture for reference.  My relatives will think they have turned into giants when they see these.  Or wonder what I could have gotten them that is so tiny (and wonder if it’s worth having).

 

And here are the two ornaments I put together.  The tucked box was hard to keep together so I had to use real glue instead of the glue stick.  The same goes for the stacked boxes.  ornament2present ornament All in all not bad for a weekend where I could barely breathe or make coherent sentences.  I did have ribbon and little paper pieces strewn all over everywhere but the hub didn’t complain.  As long as I wasn’t begging him for more lemonade, I could do whatever I wanted.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I need to take a breath and buy a printer

I am overwhelming myself with all the holiday gobbledy gook.  And I don’t mean all the over priced, commercialized crap either.  I mean all the cute homemade stuff I am seeing online.  Which brings me to my other dilemma.  I don’t own a printer.  And I need one stat. 

So for my first problem.  I need to find my top five faves and stop there.  Five crafts/homemade gifts will be manageable.  Right?  I already know that I will be making some treats for the teachers.  cookieexchangeandgiftcardenvelope001Think, oreo bark and chocolate dipped pretzels.  And I have a few containers on hand (thanks Michael’s clearance section).  But I found these adorable “Paper Clips” to put around the cello bags.   They are just paper, staples and ribbon.  So does that count as 1 or 2?

I bought stampable wrapping paper and already have the kids painting, stamping and doodling to their hearts’ content.  That was the best $4.99 I ever spent.

And how about some homemade bath salts?  I found a recipe for some that involve a plastic globe mold.  Like this ornament from Michael’s.  It definitely needs to be a two part mold.ornament But all you do is mix 1 cup of Epsom salt, 1 Tablespoon (or so) of water (the directions say to have a wet sand consistency), add a few drops of essential oil and mold.  Once you’ve packed the salt into the mold let it sit a minute, then transfer to a baking sheet (parchment lining would be a plus here) and bake at 200 degrees F for a few hours.  Or they can air dry for a few days.  How easy!  And a very thoughtful gift.  You could even wrap it up in a cello bag and a paper clip.  Dang I’m clever.

That’s only 3 or 4 things.  What is NUMBER 5 going to be?  I saw an Advent envelope garland that was gorgeous and would take me til next Christmas to make.  Maybe I should just put that in the “dreamy idea” file and move on.

I need to stop talking about crafts *deep breath* and move on to my more pressing problem.  I am unable to print out all my wonderful free printables I have downloaded AND I cannot partake in amazing coupon deals because I do not have a printer.  This is tragic!  I attempted to borrow a printer but my tiny mini notebook is contrary and would not allow the printer drivers to download.  I swear to Pete.  So for Christmas I have asked my dear husband for a cheap but compatible printer.  Then I will need some major $$ for all the printer ink I will need.  (For said darling printables, check out TomKat Studios or Parties by Hardie and search for “free printable”)

So I hope that I have not added to your crafty holiday stress.  I hope that I have given you a couple of ideas to downsize the chaos.  And if you want a bath bomb from me, send me your address.  I’d love to send you one!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankfully these are easy…

Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks away.  And that may seem like a long time to some people but to me it might as well be tomorrow.  I have to plan things out ahead of time and buy ingredients along the way because I cannot afford to buy everything at once.  I’d have to carry it all home on my back because I couldn’t afford any gas for my car. 

So I am already planning on what I will make.  And what are the holidays about if not sharing with friends and family?  Here are a few recipes that are relatively easy, definitely delicious and will be a big hit with everyone:

1) This pie is fudgy.  It has pecans.  You will probably have to make 2 because you will eat the first one the night before!

Gina's Memphis Mud Pie - Recipe courtesy The Neelys

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, plus shaved chocolate, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, plus finely chopped pecans, for garnish
  • 1 deep-dish, store-bought, chocolate cookie wafer crust
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the chocolate and the butter in a double boiler. Stir continuously until combined and smooth.

Using a stand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, corn syrup and salt on medium-high speed until it lightens and doubles in volume, about 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the melted chocolate mixture and fold in the pecans. Pour into the chocolate wafer crust and bake until the filling is just set, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool. The pie will fall slightly. Once cool refrigerate until well chilled, roughly 1 1/2 hours.

In a medium bowl add the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract and beat until soft peaks form. Top the chilled pie with the whipped cream, makng a nice mound on top of the pie. Garnish the top with shaved chocolate and finely chopped pecans. Serve immediately.

2) This one is a great idea for leftover turkey or a great casserole to take for a party. 

Hot turkey salad with sage biscuits

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Original Bisquick
  • 2 cups cut-up cooked turkey
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium celery ribs, sliced
  • 2 medium green onions, sliced
  • 2 ¼ cups Original Bisquick
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage leaves

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix mayonnaise and two tablespoons Bisquick in medium bowl until well-blended. Stir in turkey, cheese, celery and onions. Set aside.

Mix remaining ingredients just until soft dough forms. Place on surface sprinkled with Bisquick; roll in Bisquick to coat. Shape into a ball; knead 10 times. Roll dough one-half inch thick. Cut with 1 ½-inch round cutter dipped in Bisquick. Place close together around edge of ungreased two-quart casserole.

Spoon turkey mixture into mound in center of biscuits. Bake uncovered for 18 to 20 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown and turkey mixture is hot.

3)  To me, this is a good ole Southern side dish.  Paula Deen makes everything better. 

Cheesy Squash Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 medium yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 sleeve crackers, crushed medium to fine (recommended: Ritz)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the squash, onion, and butter until soft. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan, Cheddar, and sour cream. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Place in the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the cracker crumbs evenly over the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly.

 

I hope that you all enjoy these dishes.  I also hope that you will share with me some of your tried and true holiday favorites.  I’m always open for new recipes and well, eating! 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Copy cat

Recently, I went to a bridal shower.  My mom, my sister and I bought kitchen stuff and put it into a huge beverage tub from Target.  I ran home to make a card for it.  I decided to copy the artwork on the bucket and it was a huge hit.  Everyone asked where we had found a bucket with matching card.  I failed to take a picture of it (boo me) but have since tried my hand at making other cards to compliment some gift containers I bought.

Here’s what I did:

DSC00638I got this container at Michael’s for $0.89!  They have a ribbon handle and the lid has a cut out so you can see what goodies are inside.

The branch and flowers are flocked.  The bird and wing are cut out from some paper I had on hand.  Granted this card is almost as big as the container but that just leaves more room for a sweet note.

 

 

 

DSC00642 Again, this container was a steal and has the same cut out lid. 

It took forever to cut out the blue swirly part but I think it was well worth it.  This card is also big compared to the container but any smaller and I wouldn’t have been able to stamp the words on it.

 

 

 

 

 

DSC00643 This container was on sale for $1.50.  The front of it is a clear panel for goodie viewing but I took a picture of the side to see where I got my idea for the card.

I lightly stamped the cherries on the white background.  Then I glued the little cherries appliqué on it.  The red of the card is slightly washed out but in person looks nearly identical to the container.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Things that scare me

I once loved a good scary movie or haunted house but not any more.  I am not sure when I decided I didn’t like a little scary thrill but I am a scaredy cat nowadays.  And here are a few things that get my heart thumping:

1) Driving with my windows down at night.  I think this is a pretty straight forward, scary thing.  If my windows are down, someone will grab me.  Hello!

2) Reaching under the bed.  Or looking under the bed for that matter.  When things end up under there, they are as good as gone.  You’d think that this fear comes from one too many scary movies but no.  It comes from an evil cat we had when I was little who would hide under everything and wait for the chance to claw out your eyeballs.

3) Other people in Wal-Mart late at night.  They are probably there for the same reason I am.  They forgot something, they’re bored or just like it when there is no crowd.  But I swear my mind sees them all as serial killers hunting for prey.  I practically have a panic attack when I run like hell to my car.  (Then I peel out of the parking lot with my windows rolled up tight)

4) Sleeping next to my husband.  Basically, he has crazy dreams and moans, not screams, MOANS in his sleep.  It is hands down the most terrifying sound I have ever heard a person make.  It’s awful and makes me mad every time he does it but it’s not like he can control it.  Oh well.  Being ripped from my sleep by zombie like moaning is just a fact of life.

5) Creepers or sidlers.  People that just appear next to you or behind you so quietly that when you realize they are there it makes you jump.  It infuriates me.  I once had a male coworker come up behind me and poke me in the side.  It startled me so much that I actually gave him a karate elbow to the gut.  He was guffawing his face off until I made contact and then he doubled over in surprise and a little pain.  I felt bad but it was reflex.

So this Halloween be careful, have fun and watch your back! 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just a bite.

Eat. Pray. Love….Julie and Julia…Chocolat.  Movies about the magical, life transforming power of food.  I myself, am fat.  And I feel guilty for it.  I feel like every bite I put into my mouth says something about my insufficient childhood or how desperate I am to be a better person.  That I could not possibly enjoy food for both its form and function.  That I indulge in sweet delights because I am horribly depressed.  It’s horrible to feel guilty about what food means to me.

I link certain foods to memories.  Just a taste of butterbeans and I am taken back to a sunny weekend at my grandparent’s house.  I can see the McCoy bowls, my grandfather at the stove and all the safety and happiness I felt with him is restored to me.  Birthday cake never fails to make me think of my sister.  French press coffee takes me back to one of the first dates I had with my husband.  These are things that nourish my heart. 

So in a country where we are too fat, too stressed and feed ourselves on doubt and self loathing more often than fresh vegetables and good wine, where does that leave me? 

For now, I guess it leaves me a fatter than I know I should be and…happy.  Fat and happy.  That surely became a saying for a reason.  And I am also thankful.  Thankful that it only took (almost) 35 years to learn this lesson.  Maybe I never will know what real French beef bourguignon tastes like or drink Italian wine in Italy.  But I will always know what happiness tastes like right in my own kitchen.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ladies Night

I recently got together with the girls.  There were five of us together.  And it was a blast.  After the initial introductions and ice breaking, the hilarity ensued.  I think I might have ruptured a blood vessel laughing so hard.  We all spoke rather freely of things considered taboo in polite society and it was a much needed refreshment.  It also made me wonder why women have such a hard time building relationships with other women.  Or more specifically, why I have a hard time building relationships with other women.   

I have tried to figure it out. I think that I am an acquired taste.  Like olives or red wine.  Try me out once and I might seem bitter, salty or have a harsh aftertaste.  But overlook that initial reaction and give me another try.  You might find that I am complex and deeply satisfying.  Then again, I might not be what you like at all.  I mean, for Pete’s sake, my husband had to meet me twice before he even wanted to talk to me.  But you know what?  After that second meeting, he was hooked. 

I wish that I could go back to one of those past friends and ask them why they dropped out of our friendship.  Most women aren’t going to tell you why they don’t like you/don’t want to be your friend anymore.  And that’s a hard thing to accept.  I would rather know what went wrong and fix it or apologize.  No one likes being rejected.  Right?

But after all my inspection of those previous relationships, what I have come to decide is this…I can’t help but be me.  I am bawdy, cynical, impatient and a Christian.  It’s an odd combination but I have flaws and that is just that.    I actually heard a woman on the radio (she might have been a doctor or therapist of some sort) say that friendships were like dating relationships.  That you were supposed to hide your ugly side, fix your hair and make shallow small talk for the first few weeks.  Honestly, I don’t have time for that kind of effort.  You look past my flaws and I’ll look past yours.  That and a good laugh are about all I have to offer in the effort department.

Women, especially other moms, are going to see me at my worst, more times than not.  You are going to see me yelling at my kids, with blood, sweat and tears (not all mine) on my shirt and you are going to hear me complain about my life at some point.  If all of that is too much information for a fledgling friendship, then oh well.  I think that the women who have stuck it out with me have earned the title friend.  They are worthy of it and I am lucky to have them.  I hope they know that.  I hope they know that I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep them around and if they ever feel I have done anything wrong, they can tell me.  Because just like that red wine, a good friend is often worth the price.

Flocking: It’s not just for sheep

Martha Stewart.  Who would have thought I would admire the prowess of a convicted felon?  The crafty prowess that is.  And not me.  But I do admire her, in general.  Specifically, her line of DIY crafting products. 

I have learned more about treat bags, card making and scrapbooking stickers from this lady than I thought I would ever want to know.  Since my latest addiction is card making, I had to check out flocking.  I had no idea what it meant and had to do a little research to understand it.  It’s basically like heat embossing but rather than stamp the image with ink, you use glue.  And you don’t have to use the heat gun to melt anything.  You just sprinkle the fuzzy flocking powder onto the stamped image and wait for the glue to set.  This turned out to make flocking a little more forgiving.  There wasn’t any stray powder melted onto areas of my card.  And while the end effect is fuzzy rather than shiny, it’s still pretty and dramatic. 

Michael’s had a 4 pack of flocking powders for, get this, $1.  One jar of Martha’s powder is around $4.  Granted it’s a much bigger bottle but this way I got to try out this technique without breaking the bank.  I also bought a non Martha brand of glue pad.  I was so disappointed with the clear stamp pad in the embossing kit that I decided to try another brand.  Plus if I didn’t like flocking, I could use the glue pad for stamping with glitter. 

I bought the Martha Stewart flocking starter kit.  It has individual images printed out on double sided thumb2.php adhesive paper.  This way you can cut out the image you like, rub on the project you are doing and ta da! flock away.  The little bambi deer image was so cute I about died.  And the flocking is on sheets that you rub onto the sticky image.  This was less messy but just didn’t provide the results I got with the powder.  And I don’t know where to buy the image or flocking sheets once I run out.  The kit was also pricey ($14.99) for only 6 sheets of images and flocking.

I guess I really love the idea of Martha more than the actual woman.  Her prices are a little exorbitant for me.  Her packaging looks nice and streamlined but is too fussy for my tastes.  However, I would love for her graphic designers to come be my neighbors.  Those people can make some boring old grass look cute and inviting. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sister

Tomorrow is my sister’s birthday.  She lived a long decade on this earth   before I came along and rounded out our trio (our brother is the middle child).  I always felt like, because of our huge Sister Topage difference, that she was some very exotic person who happened to live in our house.  She had friends she laughed at inside jokes with, wore makeup and stole our mother’s cigarettes.  She drove a VW bug, she had a job and moved away to college much too soon for me. 

I can remember calling her one night, upset.  I was 8 or so.  Both our parents worked overnight and our grandfather was staying with us but I was scared and lonely.  It was only around 11pm, but I thought it was the middle of the night and the fact that she answered the phone for me was so reassuring.  After she realized there was no actual emergency, she talked to me like it was dinner on Tuesday and not the “middle” of the night.  I knew, just then, that she would always be my sister and always be there for me.

Lots of things have separated us over the years.  Our age, our families, distance.  But she has always kept that unspoken promise to me.  She has been there.  And I love her dearly for it. 

Happy Birthday Michelle!

Our roots say we're sisters, our hearts say we're friends.  ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yuck! It’s what’s for dinner.

Dinner has become my least favorite meal of the day.  And those who know me well, know that is a sad thing for me.  It has become such an awful occasion because my kids hate my cooking.  Again, so sad.  Like a knife to the heart, really.  I have somehow turned my children into such picky eaters that I think they might never know how delicious different foods can be.

You see, I am a lover of food.  I peruse cookbooks when I go to the library and I watch endless hours of cooking shows.  I try out new recipes and different techniques all the time at our house.  And my kids are apt to wander into the kitchen saying, “Something smells good. What is it?”  Then they see what I’m cooking, turn up their noses and give a resound-ing, “YUCK!” 

I have tried every trick I know as a mother and amateur chef to entice their palates.  But they really stick to what they know.  My poor daughter doesn’t eat meat, outside an occasional chicken nugget or slice of bacon.  My son, won’t try any new vegetables, sighting one of two reasons 1) he tried that when he was a baby and doesn’t like it OR 2) since your taste buds fall off every seven years when he turns 8 he’ll be game to try some new stuff.  I can’t wait for birthday #8.  We are so having Quiche Lorraine. 

I have thought about not buying any of their favorites and just making them eat the yucky stuff I cook but, is it really worth it?  I mean, I still get to cook all the wonderful food my husband and I love.  My kids really are getting what their bodies need despite their lack of adventure.  I think I will just wait patiently and dish myself up another helping.  And turn dinner back into what I love best…time with my family.

Oh and btw, if you are looking for a lavish dish for your family tonight, I have one.  This recipe is not low on calories, but WOW!  The flavor is out of sight.  Add a salad and dinner is served.  You might even have enough leftover for lunch the next day (add some store bought roasted/grilled chicken and it is sooo good.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Caught ya red handed

My husband is a sweet and generous person.  I love him dearly for all the things he does.  Mainly because they are the things I am loathe to do.  Like loading the dishwasher.  Seriously, he does this for me.  Or killing bugs.  Or putting the cat out late at night, because I’m scared to.  But for all the sweet things he does, he has a very sneaky side.  One he claims does not exist.  He will cover up this sneakiness with things like “Oh I forgot” or “I didn’t notice that” and so on.

So occasionally, I will be sneaky myself and set a trap.  This sounds way sinister than it actually is.  It’s really just something that I, the bored housewife, think up from time to time to entertain myself.  Just so I can say, “Aha! I caught you red handed you, sneaky man, you!”

This time, the trap was in the dishwasher.  I had gotten a plate out and noticed a mixing bowl was still crusted with brownie batter.  Which brings up two peeves of mine 1) My husband will jam the dang dishwasher so full nothing gets clean and 2) My dishwasher is brand new and it doesn’t do a great job even when it’s not jammed full.  Anyway, I digress. 

So I know that my husband will ignore this dirty bowl and put it away like that OR leave it in the dishwasher indefinitely, washing it over and over again.  As far as the putting it away dirty thing goes.  We’ve had major rows over this issue before, but he always, ALWAYS claims to have not noticed.  And as far as the washing it over and over again thing goes…well, I hate to say it but he’s a man.  He thinks if he ignores anything long enough, it will just go away.

I left the bowl there and waited for him to unload the dishwasher.  I watched him take that bowl and put it up.  I asked him, “What’s that in that bowl?”  He says, “What bowl?”  I swear to pete.  He has the memory of a goldfish.  I say, “The bowl you just put up.”  He says, “Nothing. I just got it out of the dishwasher.”  Now, if he had looked and said nothing then I would have believed he didn’t know.  I say, “There is too something in there.”  So he grabs it down (a little huffily I might add) and without saying a word, puts it back in the dishwasher.

I didn’t feel it right to gloat, so I kept my mouth shut.  But boy, did I smile.  I guess now my secret is out about the traps I set.  I will have to come up with a new way to entertain myself but maybe I will also stop finding dirty bowls in my cabinet.

Then again, maybe my husband is subscribing to the Shel Silverstein school of dish washing.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Creeptastic Crafts

I have recently been inducted into a Drink of the Month Club.  It’s fabulous, so far.  I say so far because we have only had one meeting and the next one is tonight.  You see, there are THEMES involved.  And I love a good themed event.  This month is, of course, a spooky Halloween theme.  I am dressing up as a Shriner.  I don’t think they are particularly scary and I am really in favor of Shriners in general and what they do.  I basically just wanted to wear a fez, which I decorated with glitter.  Fez = party, in my book.

So back to the point of the blog.  I had to get crafty beyond my fez decorating skills and come up with some spooky treats.  I called dibs on dessert and came up with some goodies that are too spooky to eat.  Oh and by the way Google, when my sister searches for creepy halloween food and I’m on the phone with her, please post less deviled egg eyeballs and more cutesy stuff, so I don’t have to lose my lunch in Wal-Mart.

Anyway…I took these ingredients:

green cupcakes fudge stripe  kisses icing

And came up with these:

witches hat

I also took these ingredients:

brownies milanos candy

And came up with this:

graveyard

And let’s not forget my new favorite obsession: CARD MAKING.  This has become a full on addiction.  A craft I decided to do because I loathe the idea of spending $4 on a card that someone will probably throw out after I leave, is now what I spend several hours a week doing. 

I bought our hostess for tonight a little gift (check out what Emily Post says about this little etiquette rule) and thought I should make a card as well.  I think it turned out rather darling.  What do you think?

halloween card

By the way, cutting out bats that tiny is hard and I will never do it again!

Ninjas vs. Zombies

Last year, being the ever vigilant clearance shopper that I am, I bought my son a Halloween costume for this year.  For the bargain basement price of $2, I got the ghouliest zombie costume.  It even has a voice activated, light up heart.  I asked my son if he would wear it and got a resounding yes.  Now normally we stay away from scary costumes.  It's just not really our style.  But our kids are starting to get a thrill from things that are a little scary and well, the dang thing was $2.  

So fast forward to this fall and I drag out the zombie costume and have my son try it on for fit and in case I needed to fix anything on it.  And?  Was it the exciting scary costume he wanted?  So creepy that it would scare his sister?

Dramatic Pause.

He flipped out.  I think it was the beating heart thingie that did it.  He got all panicky all of the sudden and begged me to take it off and put it away.  It was truly a mother of the year moment...realizing I had terrified my sweet boy.  In good southern tradition, I should have him lie down on the fainting couch, but we don't have one so I made him sit in a kitchen chair.  While he was calming his nerves, my precious girly girl daughter asked to try on the zombie costume.  It was a huge hit with her.  She asked me if she could wear it trick or treating.  Not wanting my $2 to go to waste, I said yes.

I ended up buying my son a ninja costume.  He loves it.  And like every good mom, I let them have a battle.  My daughter, who even dressed as the undead has a kind spirit, didn’t mind letting her brother vanquish the creepy zombie he was scared of.  So now, zombies beware!  There is a ninja on the loose!

 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Templates...My blog wardrobe

I wonder if people will think they've landed on the wrong site when they see the new template.  I hope not.  I decided today after seeing some very cute seasonal templates that I will simply change the window dressing for each season.  I will try not be fickle and change it too often. But I just couldn't stand the thought of having it exactly the same all the time.  Plus some of them are too cute to pass up.

Side effects may include ringing ears

Avery has been sick the last few days.  It started Thursday morning.  Now, as I have pointed out in previous posts, Avery is not a morning person.  I woke up with a massive headache that day and was in no mood for any funny business.  I literally felt like I had a coconut for a head and every time I turned it or bent down, all the juice was sloshing around in there.  So when Avery started in about not feeling good and having a headache, I turned a deaf ear.  I channeled my own mother for a moment and decided if she was not bleeding out of her eyeballs, she was going to school.  Though I did tell her if she felt bad later, to have the nurse call me and I would come running.

Well, I spent the majority of that day at the school for a project and left, apparently, at the same time the nurse was trying to get in touch with me.  For the next 30 minutes after leaving, my cell phone decided not to accept any one's phone calls. I finally got wind that the school was trying to reach me and drove back.  By this time, my husband had already left work to get her.  It was kind of a mess. 

Fast forward through a LONG doctor's visit, which included a strep test and a finger prick and poor Avery was beside herself.  She had a fever, a nasty cough and was worn out.  I had to get some medicine and popsicles at the store so we stopped by Publix.  Can I ask why Motrin makes children's tablets (for ages 6-11) and they are not chewable AND you aren't supposed to dissolve them?  Do any of your 6 year olds swallow pills yet?  Much less when they have a sore throat?  Anyway, after paying $5 and change for some blue raspberry Advil that Avery swore she would gladly take, we went home.

Can I just say that when my daughter says she will take medicine without a fuss, I should just go ahead and slap myself.  I believe her EVERY TIME.  I should know better by now.  I am actually surprised our neighbors didn't call the police after the show she put on over taking 1.5 teaspoons of that Advil.  My ears were ringing by the time we were done.  And we repeated this every 6 hours or so for the next 24 hours.  

I will say two things though.  One, she wasn't puking and I am very thankful for that small miracle.  And two, she was in a pretty good mood for the most part.  Other than insisting I alone have anything to do with her, she was not whiny.  

Then about 2am Friday night, I was startled awake by blood curdling screams.  Her head hurt.  It hurt so badly that it woke her up.  After giving her medicine, juice and a cool cloth, I was out of things to do.  She was still screaming though.  Begging me to make it stop.  Have you ever been there?  Completely helpless to do anything?  For your own child?  It was terrible, it always is.  So I rocked her.  And sang to her.  And finally she went back to sleep.

Thankfully, she is on the mend now.  She ran a fever all day Saturday but not since.  Her cough sounds horrific but she is breathing easy.  The whole thing just makes me take a step back and think.  The kids' little bouts with sickness always do.  I can give them every thing I know that will make them WELL but the only thing that ever makes them feel BETTER is being comforted.  I hope that I will always be able to know how to do that for them.  It's the one job as a mom that I hope I never fail at.  I don't always feed them great things.  Avery thinks saltines are a food group.  I don't always give them my undivided attention when I should.  Alden thinks the answer to every question is "Hang on".  But where ever I make missteps in my journey, I hope that they always know my arms are open.  And that they are literally part of me and I could never turn them away.  By comforting them, they comfort me.


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."  2 Corinthians 1:3-4



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I saw this Facebook status update today.  "This week we remember all babies born sleeping ,or those we have held but could not take home or the ones that came home but didn't stay. Make this your profile status if you or someone you know has suffered the loss of a baby."  I couldn't bear to make it my own status update because it hit a little too close to home, this week especially.  This is the week, nine years ago, I lost our first son, Wilder.  And every year, starting September 25th, I get depressed.  Just sitting here, typing this (in the library of all places) I am sweating in an effort to not cry.  My throat hurts and I want to lie down.

When I tell people the story of our loss, I tend to gloss over a lot.  I just give the facts.  We found out about a month before he died, that he had Trisomy 13 and probably would not survive to term.  I didn't feel him kick on the evening of September 25th so we went to the doctor the next day.  He was stillborn the day after that, the 27th.  What I don't tell people is that I had believed so genuinely that God would never let me suffer through something so awful that when it actually did happen, I was lost.  Completely and totally convinced that God was punishing me for getting pregnant before I had actually gotten married.  That I was not worthy of being anyone's mother and God was showing me in the most awful way possible.

The week of pure hell did not end until we buried Wilder on October 1st, 2001.  So you see, I am still in the throes of my week of feeling melancholy and sad.  I will say this though.  I have gotten over my feelings of being punished by God.  We live in a broken world and it is filled with sorrow.  Filled to the brim.  It took me a long time to come to a place of acceptance and I am glad I have finally gotten to it but I still miss him.  There are some people I know that wonder why I still grieve the death of my child after all these years.  But they never knew him up close like I did.  He did live in me for 7 months after all. 

I know now that God is good and loving and just.  Exactly like we were taught in Sunday school.  He knows the grief of losing a child, to the cross, to the sin of the world.  And though I'm sure that some could argue that God could have stopped it, healed Wilder down to his DNA, I think that it doesn't matter anymore.  He's gone from me now and I have let go of what might have been.  "If" is such a terrible word. 

This year was the first year we, as a family, celebrated Wilder's birthday.  The kids understand that he is in heaven, waiting for us to join him.  When I mentioned that it was his birthday on Monday, Avery said, so excited, "Let's celebrate it!".  How could I refuse?  So we got cupcakes and a "9" candle and sang for all we were worth.  Alden asked me what age we got be in heaven.  That child loves to ask the stumper questions.  I didn't have an answer except to guess that maybe we can pick what age we love best. 

I personally think it doesn't matter what age I get to be as long as I finally have all my children with me, at last.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Craft Bric a Brac: Part Deux

cookie cutter

 

I would like to thank McDonald’s for putting a semi-useful toy in their Happy Meal this go round.  We got a Strawberry Shortcake doll that smells delicious along with a strawberry cookie cutter.  

So, using some break and bake Pillsbury cookies (that were 2 for $5, plus a $1 off coupon at Publix), my daughter and I tried to make some strawberry cookies.  This was not an easy task.  The dough was too sticky.  So I said forget it.  I baked the cookies as they were, straight out of the package.  When I took them out, I “stamped” them with the cookie cutter.  And, um, beware of the hot lava cookie dough burning the palm of your hand while doing this.  They looked so cute (though I forgot to take a picture)!  But Avery thought they needed jazzing up so we tinted a little bit of canned frosting red and green.  This is what we ended up with:

strawberry cookie2

We added jimmies to some of them for seeds.  We didn’t have chocolate ones though, so they didn’t look like I wanted them to.  I think these could also pass as tomatoes, but that sounds gross for a cookie lol.

I also got started on my heat embossing for Christmas presents.  After some experimenting with pigment ink pads and a better heat gun (take that Martha Stewart), I finally had some successful results. 

I bought some scrapbooking cardstock paper at the Hobby Lobby on sale (72 pages for $4.50).  The paper itself was really pretty and several patterns had glitter on it already.  I was also able to find some nice alphabet stamps at Michaels for about $3 on clearance.  Here is a sampling of the cards I have done:

cards1

bird card

 

I used a corner punch that also embosses part of the design to dress up some of the paper.  This stamp is so intricate and beautiful.  I was surprised the powder didn’t bleed together more.

 

 

 

 

 

k card

 

I had a few different letter stamps, but I really like this typewriter-style.  I also really like the black embossing powder.  It looks like patent leather.

 

 

 

m card

 

 

I figured out that the glittery powders are temperamental and do not melt evenly.  There is also a lot of static cling and it made specks on my finished product, even though I tried to brush the excess away.

 

I plan to make several sets of these cards and give them away as presents to teachers, friends and family.  And while it has been quite an investment (money and time wise), I have really enjoyed making these cards.  And since it involves no cutting or drawing circles or straight lines, then I can do it almost to perfection!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cotton candy and livestock, you say?

Yes it's time for the fair again.  I literally cannot wait to go.  We attempted to go to the state fair this year but since we have bad credit, we could not take out a loan to pay for the armbands.  It was ridiculous that they were charging to get in the gate and then $20 for a ride-all-you-want armband.  I mean, I know my kids could wear down the axle on a carousel but there was no way we could afford $100 plus for a trip to the fair.

So we have opted for the cheaper albeit smaller county version.  We go every year and though not much has changed over the past few years, it never fails to delight all of us and fill us up on trans fat, sugar and dizziness enough to last until next fall.  The only complaint I will have this year (and it was the same for last year) is the heat.  Who in the hell turned up the thermostat on September?  I remember not so many years ago breaking out the jeans and cardigans for this time of year.  Luckily, the fair isn't even open during the day so we will have a little bit of coolness and get to enjoy all the lights.

And as much as I enjoy the fair, the food, the people, I will say that growing older has really taken away my love for riding the rides.  For those of you who haven't heard the story of me, a Cook's Pest Control truck and the hysterically screaming driver, several years ago I was mowed down in a parking lot by said driver in said truck and suffered minimal injury but sustained a massive case of vertigo and pelvic discomfort.  So now, riding rides makes me so dizzy I wanna puke.  I actually turn several shades of green.  It's not a pretty picture.  Especially when you take into account that I've probably had a funnel cake and maybe a corndog.  I will ride a ride or two and get a thrill but even the merry go round will make me see double for a minute.  So I leave the riding to my kids and husband.

Maybe this year I will just resign to taking pictures and admiring the quilts and canned items of the good people of the county where I live.  Though when it's all said and done, I know that I will be melancholy for another fair and September that have gone all too quickly.

 "Oh holy prairie night. The music of the carousel and buzz of the electric lights:
Your benediction for a fading summer." --Kristie Woll
 

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