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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Resolutions

The year is almost over and I have a tendency to look ahead with grandiose plans of organization and goals that I would need 2 or 3 years of 32 hour days to accomplish. I suppose that the fact that I continue to look ahead with such enthusiasm says something about my optimistic nature, or, my husband might say, my tendency to have unrealistic expectations, either way it is always fun for me to sit down and think about what might be. I haven’t quite decided on anything yet. I always feel that once I’ve put it on paper, there is this (self-imposed) pressure to not fail.

Some people find January gloomy, the holidays are over and winter stretches out before us, the days are short and cold. I see it as a clean slate, a chance to get ready for the busy spring and summer. The rest of the year seems to pass so quickly, and I am grateful for the winter months and a chance to recharge for a bit.

Of course, before I can do any of that, I need to pack up the tree and the lights, the stockings, ugh, all of it, then watch Christmas Vacation one last time for the year, while polishing off the case of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider we have accumulated through the generosity of our friends and neighbors.

Wish me luck finding time to do any of it!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Midol take me away--PLEASE!!

I detest PMS.

I can’t stand feeling out of control for 2 or 3 days, then it finally dawning on me that I am not in fact crazy, just hormonal ( is there a difference?). I hate that I do not even have a uterus, just ONE (apparently fully functioning) ovary. So, technically is it really P-M-S? It’s not “pre” anything, I am not menstruating, and syndrome makes it sound like a birth defect. Because I have just one ovary, my pms is completely unpredictable. It’s not every 28 days or even every 56 days, no, it’s completely random. I hate it. Crying over everything, eating every sweet, salty, and sour thing in a 100 mile radius, crying, eating, crying…..

Tomorrow I will probably wake up feeling fine. The last 4 days will seem like a bad dream. The only evidence will be the empty potato chip bags and the wary look in my husband’s eyes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Seasons Greetings!

One of the best things about December is the mail.


Here are some things I’ve learned about our loved ones this year.-


1. Everyone loves their job.
2. All of their children are growing.
3. Most little sisters boss people around.
4. 3 families got new cars (maybe more of you did, but you must have forgotten to mention it)
5. One lucky new husband got to go on a “Family Honeymoon” to Disneyland with his new in-laws!
6. A few families are expecting babies next year, and a couple are expecting puppies.
7. They all feel very blessed to have us in their lives, and we them, so I guess that makes us even.
8. Teeth were lost and many recitals were attended.
9. Some traveled extensively and we feel as though we did too, after reading about all the fun they had on their vacations.


I love getting holiday letters every year. I look forward to catching up a little with all of our family and friends that we don’t see often enough. Each letter is truly representative of the family who sends it (or at least of the person who wrote it), and it’s not too hard to read between the lines of even the most boasty letters to get a true picture of the year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Please accept my heartfelt apology

I apologize –

To everyone on my gift list who lives out of state, your gifts are going to be late, I ran out of time.

To my sons who are tired of listening to Christmas music.

To anyone for whose child I have purchased a WEBKINZ this year, yes, I know I have consistently waxed on (and on) about the evils of the stuffed animal. What can I say; at least it’s not playdoh.

To everyone who unfortunately witnessed my outfit and yesterdays hair at Costco this morning, I hope you can recover before Christmas.

To my neighbors who will probably not be receiving home made treats from my kitchen this year. Like I said, “Out of time.”

To anyone who’s Christmas card got returned to me because I forgot you moved and the lame mailman brought it back to me instead of taking it on to you. I still hope you have a Merry Christmas, and your card is at my house if you want to pick it up.

To the family of the woman I sat behind at Annie Jr. last night, my mom wears mini skirts too, I feel for ya. Someone should stop them, but it probably ain’t gonna be me.

To everyone coming to my house for Christmas Eve, my house is a wreck, at least you didn’t have to have it at your house, and it’s the thought that counts, right?

To my family because every year I turn into Clark Griswold on crack, I have grand visions of family togetherness and perfect holidays. You know (and I know) that I have ideals so lofty that no family could ever achieve them and you love me anyway and play along every year. Thanks!! That is the true spirit of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mothering for dummies(that would be me)

This morning I was in my sons’ room (I wasn’t snooping) and I found a note from a girl (okay, maybe I was snooping a little). She wrote, (of course I read it, I’m a bad non-privacy respecting mother) anyway, she was talking about another friend of theirs whose family is being evicted from their “****** apartment” and her family was going to have to stay in a shelter and how upset she was. It was just a short note, but she expressed her feelings very well, and I was sad for both girls and my son, because he is a sensitive kid and I’m sure he was upset by it. He’s never said anything to us about it, but he does say that he has a lot on his mind, or there are things I don’t understand. Of course, because I am so wise, I assume he means that his brothers and sister bug him and he doesn’t have anything left in his i-tunes account. I think he’s a kid and I don’t take him seriously.

This morning it (finally) occurred to me that when I am hounding my kids about chores and homework and blah, blah, blah and they look at me like I don’t get it, maybe I don’t. Obviously I don’t. They are out there living the real world from 8am to 3pm everyday. Their friends have problems, big adult like problems. Problems that no kid should have to deal with, and when I am saying “if you don’t pass Geometry you’ll end up in community college” (not that there’s anything wrong with that), they must be thinking “You’ve got to be kidding me?!?” This girl is homeless and I am talking about making sure the towels are folded the “right” way.

I feel like such and idiot.

Words of wisdom anyone?

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

One of our Christmas traditions is Secret Pals. At the beginning of December we draw names, just our immediate family, and you are supposed to do nice things for your secret pal all month then make a gift for them for Christmas. We’ve been doing it forever.

This morning, while my person was in the shower, I snuck into his room and made his bed and tidied up his stuff. I was pleased with myself, I usually forget to do things for whoever I have and then end up overcompensating with a gift that takes a couple of sleepless nights to make.

A little while later, a not so nice voice, calls down “Hey, who ever made my bed, next time, don’t take off my blanket!” Ahh, it warms my heart. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in our home.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Tour of Homes



I, not being a member of the Junior League, have never been invited to participate in a tour of homes before. You'll understand why when you get a load of my pictures. It's not much of a tour, but it seemed only fair to participate, I feel like such a voyeur checking out everyone else's homes.





This is the rule year 'round, I probably ought to just leave this up all the time!





I have been collecting santas for about 17 years, I can't wait to get them out every year.





These are antique ornaments. Another one of my favorite things!!

They were a bargain at a yard sale several years ago.




This is an iron candle holder, it's not much to look at but I when I was a little girl I loved the way the flame lit up the "stained glass". It makes me remember how much I enjoyed Christmas as a child. It's one of the few survivors of my nomadic childhood and I feel so lucky to have it.



My very favorite Christmas treat--


My great-grandmother's sugar cookies

2c sugar

2c shortening (not butter, crisco)

4 eggs

2T cold water

2t baking powder

1c flour -to begin about 8-10 total

1t vanilla

1/2t salt


Cream sugar and shortening until smooth. Add eggs, water, and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Continue adding flour until dough is stiff, it will be nearly impossible to stir. Roll dough to about 1/2 inch on a floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters, bake @350 for about 10 minuets. Frost, of course, with your favorite frosting.








Friday, December 14, 2007

Wow.

Last night the mother of our son’s good friend called me (at 10p.m, way past the hour I am accustomed to making polite small talk). She heard from her son that our son was getting a video game system for Christmas. Our son told her son (the grapevine is long and especially tangled when 14 year old boys are involved) that we (his parents) would only pay for ½ of said gaming system and that our son(the poor lad) was going to have to –try not to faint—EARN the money for the rest.

The conversation went like this

Other mother-“When my son told me you were making your son earn the money I thought maybe you were trying to trick him so he would be surprised when he got one for Christmas.”

Me-“Nope. We have explained to our children that we will not pay for anymore video game systems. The only reason we have been conned into paying half is that we are drunk with Christmas cheer.”

Other mom-“So, why is it you don’t want to buy any more video games?”

I am almost speechless, (not really, I am never, almost or any other kind of speechless).

Me-“Well, I think they are a waste of time and money, they turn your brains to mush (that is a scientifically proven fact), and I can’t stand all of the arguing over whose turn it is. ”

Silence……….

Other mom “Really?”

Me-“Yep”

She then began to tell me how much fun she personally thinks video games are and that she has purchased a few for herself this Christmas, including ROCK STAR, which is going to be such a BLAST!!! –That’s a quote; she actually used the word BLAST.

Other mom-“I mean, like, how will your kids be able to defend themselves against the virtual evils they will meet in their virtual lives?”

Not really, I made that part up.

The rest is all true. Sad, huh?

To which I could only say “Wow.” Not an enthusiastic wow, more like its 10:00 and I am missing the best of Leno (writers strike, you know), for this, wow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I love you all, really, I do.

This is an open letter to all of the people who think that their time is more valuable than mine.-

You are not the center of my universe. The 6 people who are the center of my universe keep me fully occupied. Day and Night. If you have stopped by my house and found me in my pajamas at noon it is not because I am bored or depressed, I do not need to get up and get out, no, I do not need to breathe fresh air, and even if I did- taking care of your children, fulfilling your church calling, and listening for HOURS about your crappy marriage would not be the things I need to lift me from my funk. NO, if you have found me in my jammies it is because my own life has kept me too busy to take the 30 seconds it would take to put real clothes on.


Here’s the deal, the low down if you will.

I actually enjoy serving my fellow man and when a true crisis occurs I rise to the occasion—ask anyone who has been the beneficiary of my generous nature. But, you not waking up on time, forgetting to tell anyone you are going out of town, and not being able to stand up for yourself for the last 15 years are not my emergencies. And when your fake drama makes me late to pick up my kids I want to scream. I wish I could say this is my declaration of independence, but alas, I love most of you losers who are taking me for granted, so I will probably continue to be at your beck and call. But at least now I have expressed my frustration to the universe.

Or the 3 people who read my blog anyway.

Made by me #3

This is a charm I made for my niece .
it has her name on one side

and the ladybug on the back.

These are fun to make, hopefully I will have time to make a few more before Christmas.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I wonder what she got me


We have our own little Aunt Bethany. My daughter has been going around the house wrapping up things that already belong to her. Lucky for the cat she hasn’t found just the right box yet. But she’s looking. I can’t decide if she has an overwhelming urge to share the spirit of the season or if this is a creative way to clean her room. Either way it’s very generous, but she sure is using a lot of tape.

I am excited to (finally) get our Christmas pictures done and in the mail next week, but
this post made me think that I could maybe take next year off.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cheeseburger Soup


This is my soup recipe for the soup exchange on BooMama . Reading any recipe doesn't really get me excited, I need pictures. You will have to trust me that this soup is so yummy that once you make it you will want to make it often.

1/2 lb ground beef, browned and drained
3/4 c chopped onion
3/4 c shredded carrots
3/4 c diced celery
1t basil
1t parsley flakes
4T butter
3c chicken broth
4c peeled diced potatoes
8oz pkg velveeta
1 1/2 c milk
1/4 c flour
3/4 t salt
1/4-1/2 t pepper
1/4 c sour cream

Saute onion, carrots, celery, basil, and parsley in 1T butter until vegetables are tender (about 10 min). Add broth, potatoes, and ground beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10-12 min. or until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, in a small skillet melt remaining butter. Add flour, cook and stir 3-5 min or until slightly brown and bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir briefly, then reduce heat to low. Add velveeta, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir until velveeta melts, remove from heat and add sour cream.

This soup always seems like alot of work and like it is taking forever to make, but it is soo worth it.

made by me #2






I decided to make these POOL NOODLE SWORDS after my sister-in-law told me what a fun time my (grown, soon to be a father of twins) brother had with the set he (recently) made for himself. I did a search, thinking I would find a couple of pictures to use here. HA!!

Little did I know.



The technical name for the pool noodle sword is a Boffer. (I will be sticking with the old fall back-pool noodle sword. Boffer is just not sitting well with me.) Having found the proper name I expanded my search and found that there are MANY, grown men with too much time on their hands, I mean, informative sites out there where you too can learn the art of Boffer construction, as well as how to make endless other “weapons” from PVC and foam, (the neighborhood mothers will be happy to hear, I draw the line at swords, so your children are still (mostly) safe here). A few sites even remind us that safety is first and foremost when dueling.

Not only are the instructions available, but there are organized Boffing leagues—I am not even kidding (oh, how I wish I were). Teams to join, waivers to sign, you can also make your own homemade chainmail for added protection—I didn’t click there, it’s already WAY more than I ever wanted to know.





Merry Christmas Boys!!

It's much too spicy!!

Sporty, Scary, Ginger, Skinny, and girl whose spice I never knew (fennel?),
How do I hate thee, let me count the ways, or NOT. You were a joke then and you are a joke now. Get off my TV, my internet, and for the love of all that’s good, give the tabloids back to Britny!


RIP Ladies.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

made by me #1

Yep! Aprons.

I almost always wear one when I am messing around in the kitchen. At first it was every once in a while on Sundays to keep my "good" clothes from getting wrecked. Now it is almost a habit. It's so handy, you don't get all dirty while cooking, you always have a safe place to wipe your hands and if you are really lucky you have a pocket or two.



Another great thing about wearing an apron is that if someone drops by unannounced they are likely to think you are so domestic AND usually an apron is a sign of a work in progress. Which equals =short visit. I don't know about you, but I am not usually in the market for long drop ins.



So, if you are on my good list and you get an apron, pretend you love it. If you don't, you should.

Love it, I mean.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

made with love



I love this.
I love making my gifts.
Starting tommorrow I will post some of the fabulous items I intend to make for my loved ones.

I am going to try to make or purchase handmade at least 50% of my gifts this year. I am also going to use recycled gift wrap, my mother in law has been doing this for YEARS!!

She's so hip.

 
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