Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Okay, minions, here's what I want:

A stack of old, vintage-y (I say vintage-y and not vintage because I can afford vintage-y and not vintage) suitcases.

Empty frames.  Not even vintage-y, but full on broken and therefore cheap  free.  Maybe.

Now somebody come over and make these things happen!

While we're wistfully daydreaming of decorating here are a few more inspirations:

What think you, minions?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I am not a decorating genius.  I admit it.  I know what I like and I'm great at picking things out at stores (and not buying them), clipping out photos from Country Living (and losing them), and organizing my Pinterest wall (without implementing them), but I am terrible at knowing what will work in my space.

I have friends who are great at decorating.  My friend, Tawni, does nutty things like paints her fireplace mantle purple and while we all titter behind her back at her insane ideas, she ends up with the coolest looking living room ever.

My friend, Mariah, spray paints everything black.  It works.

But they refuse to come over and help me, so I need your help.

Two areas:

Area #1:  plant shelf.  Who invented these dumb things anyway and what am I supposed to do with it?
I don't do plants.
Also, I am not 13 feet tall.

Area #2:  weird little cubby niche thing.  What am I to do with this?

Please help me.  Consider it charity.

Monday, December 26, 2011

post christmas

So how was it, my little elves?  How was your Christmas (Christmases? Christmasis? Christmas'? Whatever.  I'm going on my fourth week of eating nothing but sugar, fat, sugary fats, fatty sugars, and the occasional slab of meat.  Don't judge.  Also, in my quest to have cute bohemian type hair (drat you, pinterest) I've been wearing a purple plaid headband all day to go with my disheveled ponytail and I'm pretty sure I've cut off the blood flow to my brain.  We have blood in our brains, right? I mean, ideally we do, right?  Again, whatever.)  Where was I before my addiction to parenthesis took over?


It came.  And now it's gone.  And I'm left with that terrible let down feeling that only comes once a year and can only be relieved by a steady diet of pie.  It starts earlier every year.  The let down feeling, not the pie.  Well, sometimes the pie.  This year my sadness at Christmas being over began the second I woke up on Christmas Day. Which seems a little premature.  

It was a lovely day, but it's always the anticipation of the lovely day that is the loveliest for me.  The Jolly Old Elf, as usual, bit me in the tush.  Gianni was determined to receive a particular Lego brand fire truck with dalmation.  He wanted this more than life itself, more than a cup of sugar, more than a day in his underpants, more than world domination.  I tried to talk him out of it but that always makes me feel like the scene in Miracle on 34th Street when Kris is so appalled at the thought of gently urging children to request certain toys that he clangs Mr Nail Biter Mustache Guy on the head with his cane.  Well, he had other reasons, but that was certainly one of them.  Anyhoo, I planted many a sub-conscience thought in my Pooky's head that maybe he'd like something better, something less expensive, something more practical, something like play dough or a glow stick, but no dice.  The Pooky is very one-track-minded, which is evidenced by the squillion rounds of Monopoly Deal he forces me to play each and every day.  He wouldn't be talked out of it and so I haunted several toy aisles in several stores looking for the magical dalmation/fire truck Lego set and finally found it at Toys R Us.  Me being me, of course, I left without buying it, thinking cheerfully to myself that I would drop by in a day or two if I hadn't talked him into play dough and buy it then.  Of course when I dropped back by two days later (a scant one and one half day before Christmas) they were sold out of Over Priced Lego Dalmation Fire Trucks.  Naturally.  My honey bunny being the dear that he is, managed to buy it on the Site-to-Store Walmart thingamabob.  All I had to do was go pick it up.  One and one half days before Christmas.  I don't like Walmart one and one half days before St Patrick's Day, much less that close to Christmas, but I figured my procrastination served me right and I fully deserved to be pepper sprayed, trampled, and maced by people in their pajamas and sports bras.  

Oddly enough, none of that happened and the purchase was a success.

Christmas morning arrived and Pooky eyed the gift with a ponderous look on his face.

That's the wrong one, says Pooky.

He was quite enthralled and delighted with the bag of Cheetos in his stocking though.  

Oh, I haven't shared a recipe with you recently, so here's a good one I just discovered.

1 cup scalded milk, cooled to bath temp 
1 stick butter 
sprinkle with yeast
add: 3/4 honey, a tablespoon salt, 2 eggs
Add 4-5 cups flour

Let rise.  Shape into beautiful rolls.  Let rise.  Drizzle with butter.  Turn on oven 375.

Leave house to go see a movie.

Come home to Homemade Coal for your stockings.  They'll be black and hard as rocks.

This may seem like a lot of work and expense for lumps of coal, but nothing says Christmas like homemade.

Maybe it's the headband.  Maybe it's the toy shopping.  Maybe it's the sugary fats.  But I seem to lose brain cells this time of year.  You?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beelzebub crafts and so do I

The only time of year I do crafty type things is December, zero hour, right before Christmas.  

And by crafty I mean hot glue, glitter, needles and thread kind of crafty, not rub my crone hands together and stir my cauldron kind of crafty.  I don't even own a cauldron.  

So here's what Miss Anna and I have been working on lately:

The lotions are a fun recipe that should have been a piece of cake but actually involved me searching for three weeks for a food processor, finding said food processor on craigslist, picking it up, searching high and low for beeswax, discovering it costs four jillion smillion dollars, frantically texting my crafty queen, Genesis, for alternate ideas, promising to kiss her feet when she told me to go to a health food store and buy a beeswax candle ($4, not four jillion smillion dollars), go to said health food store, learn to work food processor (which I love almost as much as I love Genesis), and then making five times as many batches as I thought I would have to because the amount was very small.


We call it Vanilla Pudding Lotion because it looks like vanilla pudding.  There isn't any vanilla in it though.  I should have called it Honey Pudding Lotion but I didn't think of it until now and I used a sharpie to make my tags.

Cause sharpies are where it's at.  Booyah.

These are batches of my favorite facial wash.  I've been using this and nothing else for three years now and I love, love, love it.  You will love it too if you jump feet first into the Oil Cleanse Method, promise.  All it is is extra virgin olive oil (I use 3/4 of the bottle) and castor oil (1/4) and a couple drops of tea tree oil.  It takes off make up like a dream and leaves your skin softer than a baby's bum.  Plus, it's cheap.  And it doesn't sting your eyes when you accidentally buy water proof mascara.  So, anyway, you just massage it in and take it off with a very hot cloth.  Voila!  Dewy skin that is free of chemicals and animal byproducts and questionable things.

More lotions.  I hope my little sister, niece, and mom in law aren't reading this.  If you are, girls, please practice your surprised/delighted faces when you open these.


These are headbands I made for my wittle bunheads at the ballet studio.

All thirty something of them.

I may or may not have hot glued my fingers together at some point.   Hey, look!  I do have crone's hands.  

And of course, there are the obligatory batches of homemade deliciousness.  My favorite is the toffee in the christmas tree jar.  That's for my soon-to-be brother in law.  

Please ignore the crumbs and sequins in the crevices of my table.  Thanks for averting your eyes.

Oh, and I also made a scrapbook!!!!  That's a four exclamation point sentence right there.  I hate scrapbooking.  It's from the devil.  My personal hell will be a never ending scrapbooking party, complete with frightening paper cutting devices and endless stickers, with Lucifer barking orders at me about crooked borders and embellishments.  But I do love Anna and I do love how much she loved Nutcracker and how many photos she took, so I whipped em all up at Walgreens, scotch taped em all onto fancy paper, stuck em in an album, and wrapped it up under the tree.

The things I do for love.

Merry Christmas and may all your crafting be pain free, sparkly, and merry!

Friday, December 16, 2011

All I need is this thermos. And this chicken. And Linda.

If I had a chicken I wouldn't have to go to the store this morning and buy eggs.  I could just send my little ranch hand out to gather the eggs and then I'd have something with which to make breakfast sandwiches which everyone residing in my house has a craving for.  Also, to make cookies which is the logical thing to do when you have two giant bags full of cookies on your counter.  It's the holidays.  We make cookies until we toss 'em. If our collection gets under 200 or so, we start to panic. 

Will someone mail me a hen, please?  A little red one, one that preferably will grind wheat and make me homemade bread when she's not popping out eggs.  That'd be great, guys, thanks for taking care of me.

I discovered another Murphy's Law of Parenting:

#4876:  sweeping your entire house will ensure that a small being will have a jonesing for burnt toast.  Burnt toast that they will cart all over the just swept house, leaving behind a trail of breadcrumbs for their mother to find.  No wonder Hansel and Gretel's mom had had enough.  At the end of every mother's rope, you find a trail of telltale crumbs.  I sympathize with Hansel and Gretel's mother - we'll call her Linda.  Linda and I would be pals.  We'd sip margaritas in the back yard while our children wander off in the woods to eat the neighbor's houses.  

I love the word telltale.  We don't use it enough.  I smiled when typing it.

I don't actually have a theme to blog about today (or is it a meme? Is that the term?  I don't know.  I'm not a real blogger, I just play one on  I just need to keep my fingers from falling asleep because I woke up at 2 a.m. with a sore throat and a bout of frenzied brain activity and decided to glug half a bottle of Nyquil.  So when Moose was soft shoeing on my face at 8 a.m. I was forced to get up.  And discover the lack of eggs and fresh cookies.  Which was depressing.  But only mildly, because Nyquil has antidepressant powers.  I think.  Or maybe it just dulls your mind so much you don't realize how depressed you are or how your throat still hurts or your feet have grown another Hobbit size or how you haven't done any Christmas shopping yet.  It's like Forget Juice mixed with some Relax Nectar and followed by a shot of Sleepy Water.

In spite of that and the fact that I probably should not be operating machinery like a minivan, I really need to make myself presentable and go buy eggs.  And gifts for upteen people.  If this post confuses you it's due to the haze of Nyquil fumes I am currently under, and it's okay if you don't get me.  Linda is the only one who really gets me anyway.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


No Shave November turned into No Shave December around our house, and not just because the razor likes to fall off the shower wall at night and scare the living daylights out of me, but because I like my guy scruffy and he knows it.  But tonight he couldn't take the Sasquatch attacking his face any longer so I bring stages...the evolution of man.

Grizzly Adams.

Bob Cratchitt.

Rob Reiner/Meathead.

Ummm....1970s man in a questionably morally wrong line of work?  (hey, this is a family blog!)

Well, we all know why this look went out of style.  Speaking of which, Will Farrell singing Springtime for Hitler is just something we should all see at least once.

Bare as a baby's bottom.

He knows I like the mountain man look so if he knows what's good for his love life, he'll grow it back pronto.


Gianni refuses to call him Dad any longer and now refers to him as Uncle Mike who lives in New York.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If Cousin Eddie Built Gingerbread Houses

When it comes to bread...
...Christmas trees
...dishwasher detergent
...dark chocolate
...trash bags
...feminine hygiene products
...paper towels
the motto 'round these parts is no substitutions, spare no expense, from scratch or name brand.

When it comes to gingerbread houses
...DIY projects
...laundry soap
...make up food (sorry, Milo, that horse may have turned)
...did I mention DIY projects?
the motto 'round these parts is easy, cheap, fast.  Which sounds more questionable and awkward than it actually is.

So, while our fudge may be homemade (see last year's post ) our gingerbread houses are graham cracker/tub o' frosting el ghetto wonders.  

After I built the walls for him, Gianni asked,
'Do I get to kick it over now?'
Because, of course, the only logical to do with something constructed is to demolish it.

During the Extreme Make-over; Gingerbread House Edition we watched Christmas Vacation.

Which we really need to get a family friendly rated version of one of these daze.  But oh my, it's funny. And the source of year around quoting.  Speaking of which, can you name the movies these Christmas movie quotes are from?

'Tis a ponderous chain.

If I woke up tomorrow with my head stapled to the floor, I wouldn't be more surprised.

I can't put my arms down!

We elves like to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.

Well, here's your hat, what's your hurry.  Alright, Mother, old Building and Loan pal, I think I'll go out and find a girl and do a little passionate necking.'

We ate a bowl of sugar, field dressed a cat, played with shot guns, drank some brown liquor, looked for women...

The insolence! The audacity! The unmitigated gall!

I want you to get married.  I want you to have nine children.  And if you only spend five minutes a day with each one, that's forty-five minutes and I'd at least have time to go out and get a massage or something.

Well, you really can't spell families without lies.

First correct answer gets a homemade gingerbread house and a batch of fudge a warm, fuzzy feeling.  And also a Christmas card.

Friday, December 9, 2011

attendant has been notified to commit me

Attendant has been notified to assist you...

... but I don't need any assistance.  I just need to pay for my milk and scan my swiss chard.

Please remove the last item from the bagging station..., I didn't put anything in the bagging station yet.  Are you talking about that gnat that flew by?

Attendant has been notified to assist you...

...I don't need assistance!  Ok, fine.  Whatever.  Where is said attendant?  Hello?

Item not found.

You can't find bananas?  They're a pretty common item.  


Umm, looks like nine. 9.  Noooo!  Wait, not nine bunches of bananas - nine total bananas!  Nine bananas!  I'm not running a school for monkeys!

Please remove the last item from the bagging area.

Ok, ok, it's all gone!  I put everything back in my cart!  Stop yelling at me!

Please put the last item back in the bagging area.


Why do I do this to myself every time? I like customer service just fine.  I'm not avoiding the friendly checkers.  Why do I think I can do their job faster?  I can't.  They're better.  I can admit it.  They can scan, I can tour jete, they can tally, I can pirouette.  They don't come to the ballet studio and expect to teach their bunheads themselves.  That would be silly.  

And trying to feed crumpled one dollar bills (earnings from your yard sale) into the machine is almost as embarrassing as - well, insert your most embarrassing scenarios here.  Especially if you mention to the skeptical checker-who's-not-a-checker-but-is-just-a-bored-employee-who-carries-a-magic-box-that-can-erase-your-mistakes, that you're a dancer.      

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

new blog launch

Hello, my peeps.  I began a new blog, this one dedicated to children's books.

Will you pop over and say hi?

If you have a children's book for me to review (or just gush over), let me know.

I think this could be fun.  You?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Sometimes you have to drill your four year old like a potential oil field about the True Meaning of Christmas.  Because when you are a Santa lovin' family, but also Christian, you have to groom your children to not embarrass you in front of church friends by staring blankly when they talk about Jesus' birth.  So you have to plant that holy thought in their playdough moldable brains every opportunity you get by randomly barking out,

'Why do we celebrate Christmas?'  

This way when someone from church asks he can stare mutely at them and whisper,


but when a total stranger tells him he's cute, he'll respond with a passionate shout of,


that sends them scurrying the other direction in a flustered state of mild panic.

Are we the only ones with this particular problem?  It's a pickle.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Glad you're comfy, Buckaroo.

Go ahead and spread out.


You and The Other Woman (hubby's body pillow.  She's a redhead.  Sometimes I call her Ariel) just take all the space you need.

Catch up on all that sleep that eluded you half the night due to hurt fingers, scary noises, tooting, crying, the blanket not being tucked in correctly, a threat to spank which made you exclaim "after my spanking, will you tuck in my corners the right way?", a million glasses of water, the looming certainty of death by starvation since your parents wouldn't let you snack at ten p.m., and many other reasons.

You go on and take the bed, sparky.  You had a rough night.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Promised Christmas Tree Post

Every year I regale you lucky ducks with near death experiences of our annual Christmas Tree Hunt.  You can check out old ones here and here.  Every year is different, seeing as how we're gypsy wannabes who can't stay put or go to the same mountain every year, but one thing remains the same:

Something will go hideously wrong.

Chopping down our own tree is a family tradition that began, I suppose, when I was but a wee babe, tucked in my Papa's flannel jacket while Mama sprinted ahead "just around that one last corner."  The menfolk in my family tend not to enjoy this particular tradition for some reason (something to do with missing football and lugging back a tree the size of Mt Kilimanjaro) and they will more than likely morph into the dad from A Christmas Story when he looses his cool over the furnace and weaves a tapestry of profanity that still hangs over Lake Michigan to this day.  But tradition is tradition is tradition and if they don't want gravy in their stocking to go with their coal, the menfolk will oblige the womenfolk and the childrenfolk.

Having lived both in Wyoming and Michigan, places where it gets rather cold and snowy to say the least, we were pleasantly surprised to trek through the dirt this year instead of the snowbanks up to our armpits.  We're used to losing Anna, who is vertically challenged, and only seeing the tips of her pigtails sticking out of the snow.  We've lost dogs altogether and possibly one grandpa.

So, this was fast!  It was not cold!  There was no whining!  The car didn't get stuck!  We didn't get lost!  We remembered snacks!  We only had to drive a mere thirty minutes!  We were back in under two hours!

I had even asked for time off from Nutcracker rehearsals so I could dedicate the day to our tree hunting.  My boss looked at me and asked if there was a death in the family to warrant such an absence twenty days before Nutcracker.  There might be, I replied, there's always that risk.

So, the problems didn't rear their ugly heads until we got home.  Then we came to understand a nugget of truth:

Some trees look smaller when they're on a mountainside then they do when you try to fit them in the living room.

Also, we're hoping forest service officials won't dust the stump for fingerprints because we may have lopped off more than the designated amount.  Whatever.  Let's not split hairs.

Let's just say there was pruning going on.

Eventually, we got the tree whittled down to Redwood size and set up.  The lights went on!  The gold beads went on!  All the ornaments (all 2134897.5497) of them went on!  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care!  I in my kerchief and Dad in his cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap (or a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond).

Then it happened.  I walked by our Christmas tree.  We'll never know if my pajama hem brushed the branches or if I breathed too heavily or if a cold north wind was blowing through a window, but suddenly -

         * crrrrrrreeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaak *

I found myself being leaned upon like Lucy by Joe Junior in While You Were Sleeping.

The tree fell into my arms.  Or to be more precise, my hair.
Luckily, I broke its fall with my 5'3" body.  I'm sacrificial like that.  Also, I have a kid who faints so I'm accustomed to holding out my arms at a moments notice and catching things.

I yell for my handsome prince and he comes running.  We push the tree back up.  We try nailing fishing line to the wall - an old trick used by cave men and their Christmas trees - but we only have the world's smallest and most ineffective nails and the line slips right off.  Plus, the weight of our tree snaps the line anyway.  Then we realize our tree stand is busted.  This explains some things.  Like why the tree tried to kill me.  So in order to go to the store and buy a replacement stand we had to do something so dreadful I don't even want to talk about it here...
we had to undecorate the tree in the same day we decorated it.
Then we went and bought a new stand.  We splurged for the $19.97 one and not the crummy, deadly $7.97 one.
Then we came home and started over.
Two years later, we had our Christmas tree.

It was worth it.  Even if I had to take three separate photos to show you the full tree due to its size.

Tree and Elf.

This is the same expression I had on my face when the tree tried to murder me.

Our angel topper is dwarfed by the behemoth branches.  She also may or may not have a terrified expression on her face.  She doesn't get out much.