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Well, Hello Sugar!

11 Jan

Oh boy am I in trouble.

English: Double Stuf Oreos, by Nabisco.

They only LOOK innocent!

Most of you know I’m the proud Mommy of two. When Baby #2 announced his imminent arrival, I made up my mind that I would lose all the baby weight by his first birthday. Around 45 pounds give or take. I stuck to that goal. I worked hard at eating well, getting plenty of water and exercising almost daily. Nothing too extreme mind, but consistent.

When Thanksgiving and his birthday rolled around, I had made my goal and was feeling pretty good about myself. I still have a few extra pounds hanging around from Baby #1 aka Miss Sassy Pants, but that’s another matter.

Then came December. I’m huge on handcrafting Christmas, which translates to a lot of goodies to eat. Of course, as everyone knows, if you are giving the gift of food, it has to be good and you have to TASTE it as you go. Quality Control at its’ yummiest!

I CAN’T turn off the SUGAR!

I know it’s bad for me, but I swear those extra Oreos are yelling my name every time I walk by the pantry. The tub of chocolate icing leftover from my birthday cupcakes did the same every time I opened the door to the fridge. Come on, just a little taste. What’s the harm….

I’m entering a plea here. How do I kick this sugar habit back to the curb where it belongs??

If any of you know any Jedi-mind-tricks I can pull on myself, let me know!

Because I’m in TROUBLE.

To add to the temptation, Miss Sassy Pants is a Daisy Scout, which means: GIRL SCOUT COOKIES will very shortly be invading my home!

I’m trying, I really am. Wish me luck!

Twelve Tips of Christmas:5 Fake Out Fudge

17 Dec

Shhhhh. I’m about to tell you a secret. I feel like I should be looking over my shoulder even as I type this.

Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Again, just add chocolate

Years ago, I was taught an easy way to make fudge with just two ingredients and a microwave.

So in the spirit of any wait-to-the-last-minute-chocolotate-fanatic-procrastinators out there, like me…

You will need:

1 tub of chocolate frosting

1 bag of chocolate chips 12 oz,

or so

Directions:

Line a brownie pan with wax paper up and over the sides

Scoop out the frosting into a microwave bowl

Microwave for about a minute or until frosting is melted

Stir in chocolate chips until they too are melted

Pour into waiting brownie pan, and refrigerate to set

That’s it. Even the kiddos can help, if you want them to know about it that is.

How Do You Do Santa?

13 Dec

This question was posed to me a few weeks ago by a very good friend of mine, and for a second it took me off guard.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

How do I do Santa? Ummmmm.

I know lots of folks do Santa in a lot of different ways. For some Santa brings the BIG gifts, for others Santa fills the stockings and yet others Santa comes to Grandma and Grandpa’s with his bag of toys.

For me…

It’s Santa to the Rescue! Just short of a cape he is almost a super-hero of sorts around here.

See, I start planning, scheming and shopping for Christmas well in advance, we’re talking as early as June or July if the whim strikes me.

Now, I can’t ask her to start making out her list in June, the thing would be miles long if I did that. So, I’ll pick up a little something here and a little something there as the budget allows. You’d be surprised what winds up on a clearance shelf to make room for Pool Supplies and School Supplies and even the Hot New Toys for Christmas respectively.

No matter how much I plan and scheme, inevitably sometime in those last few weeks leading up to Christmas, someone will ask my darling girl what she wants for Christmas, and she will come up with something so off the mark that I’m left dumbfounded and scrambling. It’s been three years running that she’s done this to me, and thankfully I’ve wisened up. So Santa for me is the extra $$$ I set aside for the last-minute bombshell that she drops and sticks to as what she absolutely, wholeheartedly wants for Christmas.

For example: last year about three weeks to Christmas someone asked her if she’d written her letter to Santa. “Yes” she replied. “Huh?” said I in my head. “I want a train set for Christmas”. “WHAT?’ This was news to me, she’d never shown more than a passing interest in trains before… Then a few days before Christmas it’s 6:00 am on a Saturday morning and I’m in Walmart scrambling for diapers, and as I cruise by the toy section there is a lonely wooden train set all by itself on the shelf, box a little battered, but still a train set. I stop, ponder for a minute and take it to the nearest price checking thingy. $20, the machine tells me, sold! Santa to the rescue. When she unwrapped it, she squealed and kissed the box. Weird, I know.

My husband and  I have had a few discussions on this topic. Here’s my stance, I want her to revel in the magic of the season as much as possible, I don’t want her to reach her deal breaker just yet and stop believing. If you stop and breathe deep, there’s magic in the air this time of year.

So how do you do Santa?

One resource I’ve been turned on to these last couple of years is the Portable North Pole. If you’ve never been there check it out. It’s totally free, and with a few minutes of your time to answer a couple of questions about your child (is: if they’ve been naughty or nice etc, they will send you a personalized video clip to your email for your child). The email is free, there are other options that have a small cost attached, but I always stick with the free option and it suits us just fine. Check it out here.

However you do Santa. Have a happy holiday season!

Twelve Tips for Christmas: 1 Easy DIY Cardi

13 Dec

I’ve decided to share a few tips and tricks of mine this holiday season. I hope you enjoy.

Years ago I had a T-Shirt weight cardigan I loved. Since its demise, I’ve missed it dearly and searched fruitlessly for a replacement. Then in a moment of inspiration the lightbulb flicked on.

I delved into my closet, grabbed an old long-sleeved T-shirt,folded it in half to find roughly the middle of the bottom hem…

SNIP! Went my scissors.

RIP! Went the fabric as I pulled it apart with my hands.

Another quick snip at the neckline and VOILA! An easy- peasy, casual cardi to wear around the house or wherever.

Give it a shot, everyone has a shirt that has seen better days, you might be surprised to find yourself a new favorite.

Holiday Panic

14 Nov

I love to plan for the holidays. I love the decorating, the baking, the music, the movies, the whole she-bang! Always have. Back to the year my sister and I “helped” our mom out by decorating the tree ourselves when we got home from school. We literally threw the ornaments at the tree and left them where they landed. Shatterproof ornaments: not just for toddlers. Mom was less than impressed, but the story lives on.

In recent years, I have been making and baking gifts for the holidays. I spend months trying out recipes to decide which will make the cut; sending the test samples with my husband to work to see which get the best reviews. Then I start on my crafting agenda…

Then came this year, the year that Pinterest entered my life. Oh, the hours that I have spent (wasted) searching and dreaming of the holidays. I made boards, lists and plans to my heart’s content.

Along came the internationally known party poopers destined to dash any grandiose plans that I could dream up: Time and Money.

I could dream of making fantasmic holiday wreaths and gift baskets galore to gift to all and sundry…. If only in my dreams.

Like a lot of things in life, my holiday plans get scaled back to something more feasible. It’s okay, I’m excited about what’s made the final cut. I can’t give too much away, since most of my readers are family and I would like to save some surprises for Christmas!

Until, I look at the calendar.  As of today, I have exactly a month to get everything done, wrapped, packaged and mailed to meet with the USPS deadline for Christmas. I use the Parcel Post deadline, because it seems a little silly to spend over $30 to mail a box of Christmas cookies. Since the majority of our family is out of state, it really adds up. If you have to mail gifts this year, check out the USPS holiday deadlines here.

So, here I sit on a Wednesday afternoon panicking that once again, I’ve overstretched myself, that I can’t do it all,  and the laundry, with my kitchen trashed, my carpets needing to be cleaned, and just knowing that once I bust out the sewing machine it will become the center-piece of my dining room table for at least the next month. Whew.  What am I doing to rectify this situation? I’m sitting here, still in my pajamas, telling all of you about it , while Mr Crabby Pants is emptying the storage box with office supplies in it at my feet. Time to find a box with a locking lid, but that will have to be another day.

By the way, if anyone has any tips on how to put up a Christmas tree that this baby won’t tip over or try to scale like a monkey, please let me know. I’m seriously considering a (gasp) fake tree and nailing it upside down to the ceiling!

Has anyone else entered into a holiday panic yet??? Please, tell me I’m not alone.

Love is a Raspberry

22 Aug
CDC raspberry

 

In younger days, I thought love was all fireworks and adrenalin.

A little older and I realize that love comes in many forms.

With my Mom: Love is a phone call. While she might be over 1000 miles away, we talk every morning between 7:30 & 8:00. Sometimes we don’t have a lot to say, but my morning doesn’t feel right without checking in with Mom.

With my Besties: Love is quickies- texts that is. Busy with work and babies, a quick text often brings smiles and continuing camaraderie from here in the trenches.

With my Baby: Love is a Raspberry– he loves to give me raspberries on my shoulders and cheeks and I just love to let him.

With my Daughter: Love is Creative and ABBA– she loves to dance while we clean and is quick to put on her apron to help in the kitchen.

With my Hubby: Love is Footsie and Friends– we watch TV on DVD while trying to get the little man to sleep. Since quiet is of the essence, we will nudge each other with our feet if there is a funny part rather than actually laugh out loud and risk waking up the baby. I love that we can still connect through silliness!

With Everyone: Love is FOOD! I love to cook and bake and share with family and friends. Stemming from high school and chocolate chip cookie dough in a tube, I still think chocolate can soothe all of life’s woes.

I think I’ll go find a raspberry!

A Little Yarn, A Lot of Love

18 Aug

It’s a fact: Someone you know loves someone with cancer.

When my grandma was sick with “female cancer” as my mom called it, I remember towards the end her saying that she woke up to find some beautiful silver yarn on her pillow and she didn’t know how it got there. It was her hair of course, but she was very sick by this point. A few days later she was telling my mom how hard it was to go to sleep because her head was so cold.

I was sitting frantically knitting a soft and fuzzy hat last nigh,t for someone I love, and I got to thinking.

If everyone who had a pair of knitting needles or a crochet hook set aside their current project to make a hat for a cancer patient….

HOW MANY COLD HEADS COULD WE WARM UP???

Think about it. Really, think hard.

We are quick to run 5ks, participate in fundraisers for cancer research, and wear pink ribbons.

What about that lovely lady, lonely gent or little child who is right now hooked up to machines in a cold hospital. Scared.

I want to do something for them now.

I ask you: Please, go raid your yarn stash, if you have one, and pick something soft and cozy.  It takes a few hours and a few dollars to show someone a little love.

Pin this. Share it with everyone you know.

There are even colors assigned to other forms of cancer than just pink. For example, teal is the color of ovarian cancer. If you are interested in a specific cancer there is a pdf chart here that will help you out.

Here is a very basic pattern to follow for knitters.

Take the end of your yarn wrap it around your head then take that measure and add two more lengths. So if you are looking for a 20 inch circumference your tail will be 60 inches.

Then cast on until you run out of a tail.

Do 4 rows of a Knit 3 Purl 2 rib

Transfer to a 16 in circular needle and join in a round. Place marker at join.

Knit away until you have 7 inches of fabric. (5 inches if you are making for a child)

Start your decreases:

K2together, k12 and repeat.

Next round knit

K2together, k 11 and repeat

Next round knit

K2together, k 10 and repeat

Next round knit

When you find you are running out of room on your circular, switch to double-pointed needles and continue as above until you have only 5-7 stitches left. Thread your tail through these to the inside of the hat, pull tight and tie off.

Voila! A hat has been born!

Of course, this is a very basic hat. and I am by no means a mathematician, so if you are…. there are hat patterns galore to be found in books, magazines, and online. Just google: free hat  patterns, or check on Ravelry if you are a member. However you get there, just pick something you like and get started!!! If you’re a little overwhelmed try Knitting Pattern Central

Just think of how many cold heads we can cover.

If you don’t have a specific person to give  your hat to, talk to your pastor or stop in at your local hospital.

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