Aug 25, 2013

Bring On Christmas.....

 If you don't normally read my blog or do not know my on facebook, you may not know how I have struggled with Christmas
during the last decade or so.

Not this year.

I don't know what has come over me lately, but I'm calling it The Christmas Elf Fairy phase of my life.

This year I am not going to have to buy many presents.

The last two weekends I have been possessed by the Christmas Elf Fairy and that lady really like to get stuff done.

Behold, the Vodka Cherries.  10 pints of Vodka Cherries, to be exact, which, after having set for the next four months, will be beautifully preserved and highly alcoholic, served in their own sweet syrup.  The City Boy says it will taste more like the cherries than vodka.  I personally hope this turns out to be the case.
We can't disturb them 'till Christmas!!
This is hands down the easiest gift I have ever made, and one of the cheapest, due to being able to buy the cheapest vodka I could find.  The alcohol aisle is a vast and varied wonderland these days.  It is enough to wear me out.  Thank God I don't have to make such hard decisions every day.  I almost got lost in there.

Also, I have scrubs ready to be gifts! 3 pints of Epsom Salts, Vanilla and Cinnamon, 3 pints of Lemon-Orange Salt Scrub, and 3 pints of Brown Sugar, Almond and Raspberry.
I had SO MUCH fun doing these!  I used coconut oil for the first batch, ran out and so used Grapeseed oil for the the others.
They all smell very wonderful, as does my kitchen right now, and we are definitely going to do some more of these together.
So easy even a child could do it!
 I used the trick of freezing lemons and grating up the whole things and it worked very well.  I also used some fresh lemon juice and orange juice and zest. The zest added pretty colors and it made such a good "wake-up" smell.

Now I am down to button art and from there I should be just about done except for special things the kids may ask for.
I am actually looking forward to Christmas this year.
I have run the entire gauntlet (or stages of grief?) from wanting to not even have Christmas, to just putting up a small little tree one year, to dragging EVERYTHING out (again, for old times sake) and being able to enjoy it again.
Welcome back, Christmas.
God Bless Us, Everyone.

Aug 17, 2013

Thinking Ahead to Christmas

I have recently gotten hooked on Pinterest, and if you haven't looked into it yet, you should!  So crazy did I make my daughter on Facebook that she told me years ago I should get on Pinterest, because I would "like it better".  I acted just like her child and thought "She doesn't even know me.  I don't need to spend any more time on the computer than I do now!" THEN I started looking for ideas or recipes that I knew I had "shared", but couldn't remember when.  Looking back and trying to find them drove me INSANE.  How those people at FB manage to keep tabs on all of us is beyond me. I would not want that job, let me tell you.  But that's another story, and one I am in no mood for today.

Today I feel fall in the air and it's my favorite time of year.  It was Laura Ingalls Wilder's favorite time too.  Her daughter wrote that "it was a time of summing up, of taking stock, and being prepared for winter". I can't put it any better than that. I am going to have my beloved  Abigail Lea for a few days and she loves nothing more than donning an apron and helping.   Plus, Christmas is right around the corner and I have a problem with shopping.  Well, not shopping, but going into malls. I can't breathe in there and, well, the drive there and the parking lot is usually enough to make me want to crawl under a table and cry.  Or just sit in my car and while while I send the kids in with a list. hahaha. That's not really a joke. It's absolutely true.  This little Chromebook has been my best friend because I can "shop" at home.  This is my favorite part of the 21st century so far.  If you can't afford an actual laptop, I highly recommend the Chromebook for less than $200.  I got mine on sale for $100.  It simply surfs the net with the Chrome browser, which blows Explorer away.

Pinterest is a file sharing website that lets you "pin" ideas and directions to various cyber "bulletin boards" so that you can quickly and easily find them again.

Last year I decided to make handmade gifts and they went over so well that this year I decided to get an early start.

Today I went and got stuff to make several things for gifts that I think will go over very well.

Here is a list of ideas I got the supplies for today.

I figure this will be good in a basket for younger people who still drink, occasionally, but are stuck at home on New Years.  Even people who don't drink might break these out with family in for holidays or, say, an ice storm or blizzard.  What better way to spend the time playing cards until the wee hours and nipping on some Vodka Cherries? Plus, they are so pretty I just really couldn't resist.  And for people who do still drink this is a classy no-brainer, my favorite of all gifts.  This link will take you right to the guy's blog, which looks really good.  I can always find it again by going to Pinterest and clicking on the picture of my Recipe board, which will take me directly to his site. Cool, huh?

AND, if you are surfing the web and, say, price matching, you get a little Pinterest icon so that you can click on it and save whatever you are looking at to any board you create yourself. So it's a great time saver when you don't have time to fully explore the site at the moment.

Initials  I can't get a picture to load and this is actually an Etsy website, so you can 
just buy them, but they would be easy to make yourself.  I personally love and collect buttons. Some of my favorite memories as a small child are of going through my mother or grandmother's "button boxes".  These will be good for anyone who likes buttons, or just their initials, and you can match them to any decor.  So if you know a person who is lamenting over finding anything to hang on their walls in a color they can't find, this would work well.  Pinterest (and my boards) have lots of great ideas for buttons and you can buy them in variegated shades of the same color now, which is very good because I think saving buttons has fallen out of our collective memory. Which is a shame, in my book.

This is an anti-cellulite remedy and several more are involved if you hit the link and scroll down.  This one will be for my friends who have been with me longest, through good times, bad times, cellulite, and the whole enchilada, so to speak. They know who they are and I am finding more all the time.  Blogging is a great way to get to know people. I highly recommend it.

I can't get the pictures to load but if you hit the links you will see lots of good ideas and I believe you will want to go to Pinterest and get started immediately.  It is a little addicting but every body's got something, and this is a benign addiction since it provides free advertising for any one's idea's or blog.  Once you get your boards set up, you can practically go to sleep just pinning stuff.  It's a boon to those of us who have big plans but small attention spans and bad memories and hectic schedules.  I am describing myself here, so take no offense but if the shoe fits, wear it proudly.  Pinterest will be able to simplify your life.

Last, but not least, check out these babies!

These are nothing more than empty spaghetti sauce or jelly jars cleaned up and made all fancy.  You can keep stuff in them or paint them, or even decorate with beading that you can find at Walmart in the crafts section for little to nothing.  One of these painted prettily plus a small string of lights or a battery powered candle and you have a great gift for very little actual money.   If a bracelet breaks, save all the beads!  This one has been a little uncomfortable for me, as I am now saving all my empty jars and running out of room....but it will be worth it! For the storage jars all you would really have to add would be a pretty knob at the top.   Fill it with a scrub and you are good to go: two gifts in one.

 I just pretend like Nana and Big Grandma are beside me, proudly glowing that I finally learned not to throw stuff away.  Something tells me I should have learned this long ago, but I'm still glad I don't have a whole drawer full of rubber bands saved from the paper and pieces of tinfoil that I have carefully cleaned, folded, and "saved".  In everything, moderation:  this is my motto. ;)

I miss the days when they would lecture me about this and then tell me what it was like to wear the same dress, made from a flour sack, every day for a year because it was all they had.  We would have had so much fun doing this together.  There is nothing I can do about that now, but I am going to try to entice my kids home for a few "down days" around Thanksgiving with the promise that we can make gifts together and even eat some Vodka Cherries while we work.  That, to the best of my knowledge, is how memories are made. If worse comes to worse, I will just breakout the Vodka Cherries, get them looped, insist that they can't drive, and pull out the empty jars, Epsom salts and essential oils and we will go from there.  Not that I advocate manipulation as a rule, but every mother knows that it does work.   We do what we have to do, and we are your MOTHER so suck it up and have another cherry, kid.  We are going to make you a sugar scrub for $3.00 that you will love, in a pretty, reusable jar!  Life does not really get better than this, I hate to be the one to tell you, and I know you won't believe me for another 25 years, but it's true.  Trust your mama!

Here's to making memories, homemade gifts, and be prepared for Christmas.  And Pinterest, naturally.

Aug 6, 2013

Denial of the Swimsuit Variety....

Do you hate trying on swimsuits as much as I do?  I would say I doubt it, but this is an area where I think all women agree, regardless of body type or age.  That makes it a rare subject indeed.

I recently lost my favorite swimsuit of at least 8 years.  Maybe 10, even, but since my babies are now 16 I have lost the handy trick of remembering things by whether they were born yet or not.  It was an old suit, at any rate, but a GOOD one.

It was a tankini, two pieces but the top came clear down to the top of the bottoms.  One pieces either are 1)too short in length for me, and nobody likes a wedgie or 2)give me a lot of extra room in the bottoms for a derriere that I have never had and mostly flop around loosely, exposing me to all and sundry.  I have to move to a different state after something like that, so you see how important a good swimsuit is to me.

So those are usually out. ;)

And bikini's have been out for me since about age 23, from modesty and body image nightmares.  Those nightmares were nothing compared to what they would become after carrying twins and gaining over 100 lbs.  How much over, you might ask?  I don't know!!  I never did want to know!!   The best Dr. in the world, Dr. Green, came in and apologized to me for cutting me up and down on my C section instead of across.  I literally laughed out loud and told him not to worry one second about that. No one had seen my naked stomach for years unless they were intimately involved with me and had signed a non-disclosure agreement ( I kid, I kid).  I let that go, actually cut it loose and let it sink in the river of life.  It was a long time ago and I haven't looked back.  Score one for me!

 Besides that, once I was a mother I just never could do that again.  Being a "sexy mom" was a concept that struck me as just plain WRONG at the time, and I've never changed my mind. Thank God for that!  Mother's derive their beauty from dignity, make no mistake. Please, for the sake of your children remember this.  No child goes to sleep at night and cries for a more "sexy" mother. Not a one of 'em.  Ever.  None.

*cue small rant*
One of the most painful things I've ever witnessed is women who get caught up in that whole crazy thing and then end up humiliated and alone when their child lovers leave them.  Then they act all sad and confused and angry. Exactly like they haven't raised kids and should already know all that!!  What mother does not know that kids can't make up their minds?  What mother counts a 25 year old as an adult, unless that 25 year old is another mother????  I don't care how good looking he is--it doesn't even matter. He is still a child!!  Dangdest thing I have ever seen!  But I am wandering again. Demi, I don't want to single you out but you are just the first one who came into my head, gather up your friends and if you have an opening for a life coach, I am all yours. Call me, maybe?  How could I possibly do any worse???  Life can be great without a 25 year old boyfriend, woman. Most of us have known this since the ripe old age of about, um, 25.  Just sayin.
*rant over*

Where was I?  Oh, yes, swimsuits and the agony they represent to us.  Tankini's, in case you do not know, can be bought in separate sizes, so you can actually get a top and a bottom that fits, which is quite wonderful.  Don't get too excited, because they still show all the cellulite on your legs, but still......the tankini is my first choice these days.

So I finally got to get a little sun while I was "lost", and I spent some time floating in a pond in my dearly beloved old suit.  I made myself, at one point, swim all the way across the pond to retrieve an errant paddle boat, not just because my boys had not tied it up properly but because I really needed the exercise.  This was possible only doing a side stroke because of my bad knee, but I did it and felt very good about it.

Because of this, when I got home and discovered a black, tarry substance stuck to my skin, I assumed that I must have swum through something in the pond.  Denial is our first form of self-defense, always.

After I got out of the shower I found the black, tarry substance was stuck to my skin.  REALLY stuck good.  I rubbed it with a towel but all I did was make my skin red.  I thought I must have swum through some water in which some tires had decomposed.  Why did I think that?  Probably because it was the only excuse readily available that would allow me to not worry about buying a new swimsuit.  It was summer and I was giving myself a break.  So I promptly forgot about it and I threw my favorite old swimsuit right in the washer.  This one had taken all the abuse I could hurl at it for years. It was  a great suit.

A couple of days later I found another bunch of the black, tarry substance around the back of my waist and the thought crossed my mind again that I should stay out of that pond, but there was a niggling little voice in my head that was already arguing this point.  It didn't make good sense, but I sank back into the sands that run by the river of Denial and didn't sweat it.

A couple of weeks later I was in the same swim suit at the same pond again, but this time I didn't get in.  I sat in the warm sun for a couple of hours before I noticed a very uncomfortable, sticky feeling right around my waist.  It felt like the rubber strip around the waist was melting on my skin.  It hurt a little bit.

"AH HA!!" I thought!  And I looked down and adjusted the waist of my suit.  When I did this I actually saw a big chunk of the black rubber line that is there to keep your waist band from straying come off the suit because it was MELDED to my skin. The river was receding and I was all alone in the sand with my best suit sticking to my body for what would be about a week.  Reality had found me.

Sadly, I realized that 1) my old standby was deteriorating and would need a decent burial and 2) I was going to have buy another suit.  NO!!!!  ANYTHING BUT THAT!!!!

I was very sad about both of these things, but my course was clearly set out for me.  It had been such a good summer up until this point.....

And that is how stupid I was during the month of July this year.

The good news is that rubbing alcohol will take off rubber that has melded to your skin.  Soap and baby oil will not.  I used the soap and baby oil in vain for several days while in denial, one of my favorite states that I don't get to spend much time in anymore.  I miss it, they were some of the happiest days of my life.

The bad news is that I have to buy another swimsuit.  I don't even know when I will find the courage to do this, and as it is August, I'm not going to worry about it this year. Next year I may lure my daughter into a bar first and then make her go with me. Then when I break down in tears we can blame the alcohol.

Maybe I should just go ahead and pitch an idea for rubber suits with skirts, for modest older ladies who dread wearing swimsuits more than speaking in public.  I think there's a market for it.  Don't you?

Aug 2, 2013

Checking In....Still Checked Out....

I am still alive.  Haven't posted in a while but well, I've been........lost.  In the summer. ;)

The boys have been gone and I have been cleaning.  YIKES.  That's all I'm going to say about that.

School is getting ready to start. DOUBLE YIKES.  That is just straight up scary these days.  If you haven't been following the war over Common Core I think you might want to check that out.  Don't blame the teachers because 1) These last several crops have been trained to do what they are told and 2) it is their jobs.  I will say, however, if they are in favor of CC, that will tell you all you need to know.  Ahem.  You can keep up here

This little gem I just have to share: My cousin who lives in Oklahoma called last night and said that her daughter and grandson were very excited because Saturday he has a football game and Rhee Drummond had a film crew in town and she would be COOKING for the boys after their game.  My cousin, who does not keep up with blogs, not even mine I don't think, had to be told that this was the ultimate and amazing Pioneer Woman herself.  Her grandson's exact words, because he has been watching her cooking show with his mother, were "Nanny, you should see some of the things that Pioneer Woman cooks up.  They look GOOD!"

You can't buy publicity like that.  Savvy decision to cook for those boys, PW!!  A whole new generation of fans!!

Have a great weekend.  I'm going to!!