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


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:


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


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