Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The great ideas from kids

One fabulous thing about being a parent is all the SUPER DOOPER ideas your kids have. I mean, just the other day I walked into my living room and there it was...the perfect ornament on my tree!
A PAPER AIRPLANE.....now why do I even spend money on decorations when I could just let my kids sit around and throw planes into my tree. They are going to do it anyway!

And while I am on the subject....why didn't I think of this great task when I asked my son to add "buying ice-melt" to my to do list

I mean really, giving $500 to my son sounds like an item that should be moved to the TIPPITY TOP of my priority list.

And for anyone who knows me well, you know what a struggle the LAUNDRY has always been. It just doesn't matter what I tell myself, keeping up with this task is a deed that haunts me. My sister over at Little White Attic gave me a handy list that tells the kids what you will be washing the next day, and then they just throw it in a basket and you start it in the morning. It is posted several places in our home:

However, since I have been slacking a little lately, well, not just a little, but a lot,I did it GREAT for a months or two, and now I am hit and miss (sorry, Lynnae! I am trying!), but not without a reminder of what a great idea it is.......

and yes, that is one of my son's GREAT reminder to me...."We need to start doing this again"...
really ....

Aren't kids great? I would have NEVER thought of that!

Monday, December 14, 2009

RamSam's Favorite things ~ 2009 Edition

Here it is, wait no more. The official list of my favorite completely random things, for your pondering and envy. There is still time to add at least one of these things to your list.

The Clavinova. From "Heart and Soul" with the kids to holiday songs with the family, we have only owned this baby a few months and it has brought me intense amounts of joy. Weird, because it wakes me up early and bothers my husband while he watches TV, but that is what the VOLUME CONTROL is for. If you love piano music and don't have a piano put it off no longer. Sheer, utter musical joy awaits you. Save your dollars and become a musical home.

Disclaimer- that is not me.
But I LOVE my ROXY flap pocket jeans. I have avoided ever putting any extra baggage on my toosh, as it has plenty of it's own, but these jeans sit in just the right place (wear a LONG shirt with them) and the pockets are like magic for my behind. I got a darker wash, and I love the way they look. Great for tucking in your winter boots or with a pair of converse and a t-shirt. Trust me on these!

Don't you love it when your hair smells delicious and clean all day long? (Or 2 days) This AVON shampoo has never failed me. After running out of my expensive stuff I bought this again, remembering I once loved it. One washing reminded me why. It is the BEST. I love the way my hair styles and love the way it smells. I hide it in the cupboard when I am done so my kids can't use it all up. It's the greatest stuff you will get for the price. Call your AVON rep today.

My Kenmore Progressive vacuum of 10 years finally died. My husband insisted on getting a GOOD one to replace it, and this is what we ended up with, A Dyson Animal. Although I don't believe in housecleaning items as gifts, this is like a Christmas treat for me. This thing gets it ALL up, and having just vacuumed before getting this and bringing it home I was kind of grossed out by what it still picked up. The clear tank is fascinating to watch fill, raising competitions over whose room has the most dust bunnies. Pricey, but already amazing and entertaining my family way more than a vacuum should.

Here is my nod to 7 Gypsies scrapbook supplies. (This photo from the letteredcottage.blogspot.com). I used to spend hours scrapping, eager to record my life. That has slowed down a lot, but now is more enjoyable. The creation phase is just as important as the production phase, and I love working on scrapbooks again. The cool ephemera and books and stickers...there is too much to mention. Plus, if you find a store cool enough to carry 7 Gypsies chances are they will have a lot of other cool stuff, too.

Lastly is the longest book I have ever read. (Wait, how many pages are in Anna Karenina?)
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Now, I read 25 books this year (kept a list and checked it twice) but convinced my book club to tackle this book as a group, and loved it more than the first time I read it. A great story with lots of political statements that will leave you thinking, discussing, and asking all sorts of questions. I was politically dead before the first time I read this. Now there is no turning back. I recommend it to everyone, and yes...I know it's long. Quit whining. Read 100 pages a month and you will be done by next year at this time.

There you go- pick an expensive thing or a cheap thing from my list and get going. It took me all year to find these excellent finds for you!

Can't wait to see what we discover next year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Peek inside my Holiday

I have a special guest that will meet you at my front door- as I have moved the wreath this year to make Frosty the official holiday greeter.

Here is where we'll gather to sing, or just sit and work our way through a Christmas song or two.......

Grab a book for a story, a hat for festivity, and a quilt...let's cuddle on the couch....

My tree topper is less flashy and more simple, and that is how I like her she pays tribute to my angel covered tree

Santa is visiting every room...beneath the tree and on the shelf
And finally, this little family found it's way to my home last year for Christmas, and I have had people come to my door asking where I found it (Walmart) because they love it so much. I must put it out first, just as my statement..... we believe.

There are more homes to see and more holiday spirit to be found. Just click on the Virtual Home for the Holidays Tour picture on my sidebar.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

City Cutbacks in Hard Times

I know we have it rough in some cities. I get it.

But really, does that explain the need to cause panic and slam on your brakes when you see this
only to find it was for nothing?

I know you don't want a ticket, and I don't either. So take a closer look.....

Yes, that is right, that is NOT a real cop, but a beautiful mannequin.
What city needs mannequins to be their cops? (I won't tell you, but we passed 3 of them, in separate cities, on our last little road trip) And further more, why would you choose a CHICK mannequin fully made up?

And lest you think this gives you free reign to drive like an Andretti boy, think again.
Speckled throughout Arizona state are photo opportunities just waiting for you to speed, which we did. (Or, my husband did) and we were caught.....

I am so sad they blurred out my face, I bet I looked hot that day.

My husband always thinks he can safely drive over the speed limit just a bit and be safe, but this camera proved us wrong. $180 later I think our fees are paid, but my advice to you is SLOW DOWN (because I also got a ticket this year, but mine was from a good old fashioned REAL man-cop, apparently a rare find nowadays.)

The nice thing about the mannequins is that they never once gave us a ticket.

However I can say this: whatever form it comes in, paying for speeding just kind of bites.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

November Fun

Fighting a head cold (way too much running around and late nights have caught up with me) has kept me away from my regular computer time.....here are a few highlights of the month.

I have this kind of a family

We really do gather around and sing holiday songs and hymns whenever we can. I was thrilled to see my brother enjoy my Clavinova and have my teenager join in on his guitar. This one of my favorite times with my family.

My kids enjoyed helping with these for the little ones to enjoy at Thanksgiving dinner

I really did run off at midnight to see New Moon with my niece and sisters

This is the only way to see a Twilight movie, with screaming and swooning ladies of all ages who aren't afraid to make some noise, sigh over Jacob's muscles, and even giggle at the cheesy dialogue. I loved it, however I fully blame that 12:30 viewing and waiting in the cold for the beginning of my sickness.

If New Moon didn't satisfy your craving for an interesting film experience then I highly recommend renting this
aside from the fact that Luke Wilson is so painfully adorable that you want to climb in the screen and give him a hug, this movie is funny and heartbreaking and artsy in a touching way. For me, right up there with Lars and the Real Girl and Dan in Real Life...which is saying a lot, unless you hate those movies. It has been added to my Christmas list since I saw it with Netflix.

Lastly, I actually broke out of my shell and e-mailed fellow art blogger Becky at Whimsical Musings for a little tag exchange. Her beautiful tags arrived and made my sickly day on the couch much better.....

I was a little intimidated by this task, but already learned a few things and picked up some ideas from her gorgeous art work, so this bit of discomfort was good for me. I highly recommend you click on her blog if you like this amazing work, she has collage freebies and ideas galore plus links to her Etsy pages you can purchase for download anytime.

I wish I could have this tree by my beside, with a plate of cupcakes beside it.....
It was the Marie Antoinette tree at Mystical Paper in Mesa Arizona. My hubby was sweet enough to rest on the soft chair in the doorway (smart idea, shop owners) and let me gasp and sigh over the amazing contents of this little artsy store. It was heaven. I left with a full bag and spent every last bit of my 'blow' money.

Usually I am knee deep in wrapped gifts, baked goods, and Christmas decorations by the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but this year my sickness has slowed me down and my fall decor isn't even put away yet. Cross your fingers for me and wish me luck as I vow to begin the holidays today after church. I can use all the positive vibes I can get right now!
I hope your holidays are off with a bang and life is full for you, too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Easy Redistribution

Yes, folks , it's true.....

Now you, too can enjoy the the wealth of others in your own home. It's all possible with the is easy game, "I Call Obama".

Here's how it works. Simply pay attention to the last of the best in your house. You know, the last brownie in the pan, the last Coke in the fridge, or piece of garlic toast, the last cup of milk for cereal....
as someone goes to take it, simply announce "I call Obama!".

The person MUST share with you, and anyone else who wanted a bit of the best.

Does it matter that Dad was still hungry for Lasagna? Nope! Does it matter that mom was saving that Coke to drink while she worked on the primary program? No WAY! What about that Easter Basket full of chocolate your best friend dropped off? Call Obama!
You want it, you take it!

In fact, calling Obama scored me some delicious Twix and Resses Peanut Butter cups on Halloween from my totally greedy children (who spent hours trick or treating) so, you get the idea. It is SO FUN you will be playing all day!

Nothing like family redistribution.

(In all fairness, my friend Heidi taught me this game. I'd link you to her blog, but she doesn't have one. She is a hilarious girl with an equally awesome hilarious family, that I try to pretend I belong to sometimes. They call "Obama" too.)

I call Obama on comments!
Now you HAVE to leave me one, even if your time is short, so get typing, Americans!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Show and Tell Friday

I am playing along with Cindy at My Romantic Home this Friday, and excited for Show and Tell.

I have an old table that Santa brought me for my first Christmas as a wife.....I loved it back then, but boy, has it seen 16 years of abuse and torment. I painted it a few years back, and really need to paint it again, but just haven't got around to it.
Imagine my thrill when shopping the other day and walking past a new line of "Country Living" products at K-Mart (hold your snickering mockery, please). They had a table cloth almost exactly like the one I had been wanting in the Ballard Design catalog- but for a fraction of the cost. It adds just a bit of vintage romance to my room.

Yes.....I know my bookshelf is over used and crammed to the rim. That's the way I like it.

Back to show and tell. When unpacking my fall decorations I pulled out this "Give Thanks" sign that I must have purchased at the end of the season last year, because I don't remember it, but really love it. It was kind of a fun surprise ( maybe we should all do this more often- buy on sale and pack it away for ourselves next year!) and I had just bought this rusty hand at a nearby store that props it up perfectly.

I can't help but love putting away the Halloween things because Thanksgiving and Christmas just roll together seamlessly for me, a celebration of beautiful, tasty food, time with family, aprons and presents, laughter and decorating, and all the things that give me excuses to spoil the people I love that are around me.
And yes......
I am already listening to Christmas music (and plucking some out on the piano).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Haul

Back when I was a kid we actually had to work for our candy. You walked past the empty fields of our small town to the 2 houses on the next block, and then repeated this action, not missing a single porch or opportunity. The one old couple in the neighborhood that gave a full size candy bar was high on the list, and you worked your way out from there, often coming home with frozen hands and a runny nose well after lights were out. That was how you got the good stuff.
Those days are gone. From a warm walk around the church parking lot for trunk or treat, then off to NaNa's house for a full sized grab bag ( every year she starts them off right) they just have the treats rolling in.

Then it was on the quest (driven by mom and dad, might I add) to find the donut house.
Yes....those are Krispy Kremes. A dozen. Each child.

After that stop at the rich generous dude's place (the line to his porch was impressive), it was off to the 'Beanie Baby' house for the yearly find: which was my trick or treating stomping grounds as a child as well.

At this point we hook up with cousins and hit the 'scary houses' where it is more spook alley then treats for the attraction, and I always wish my house were more like that. Then (after much coaxing) the kids hang out and get their candy the old fashioned way..... door to door, piece by piece.

Over all between my 3 kids they had well over 16 pounds of goods to trade and barter with. It is always fun for me to see them on the floor sorting and spying each others goods like I remember doing.

I am shaking my head this morning realizing Christmas is 53 days away and Santa has not even thought about what he is putting in that sleigh yet. For some reason Halloween, primary, and other matters have seem to have gotten in the way.......oh well.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Emotional eating ROCKS!!!

Some days, it does. Take this little calorie laden emotional satisfaction, for instance......
If you are lucky, the filling will even be piped in buttercream frosting, instead of whip cream, but that is a rare occurrence.

I believe my devotion to the alligator jaw craving started in my tween years. Crumpled dollars and carefully saved quarters added up to enough for the purchase of this never failing bakery miracle. The 'cool' kids left the middle school and walked to Roe's Bakery for this, or perhaps a Maple Bar, and a milk to share. What a lunch. It was rare I had the cash to go along, but I did once in a while.

I have been known to drive to the next town when my local bakery at the market is out of these. Sometimes, this baby doesn't even make it home because I have finished it the car. Some nights, like tonight, I am disciplined enough to save a bit for later, maybe after one more show or a few more chapters.

Call me crazy, call me a binger, call me whatever...I am not sure what this qualifies me as emotionally, but I know there are just some of those days when nothing else will do. Today was one of them.

I salute you, Alligator Jaw. You are a true friend.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Where the wild things are

I have wild things. They know how to have a wild rumpus.
They have roared terrible roars and howled terrible howls.......

They would snuggle by my side as we cracked this book often, which I also enjoyed as young wild thing..... there was always the laughter at the wildness and the pointing out of all that was happening in the pictures. So this story reminds me of being young. being wild, believing in monsters and a good rumpus and children saying "no!"

which would probably explain why seeing this with my wild things made me cry.

Now let me warn you....this movie is strange.
The wild things are weird with problems, they fight and bicker, and it made my kids sad (Mastey G said..."Mom...I thought it would be all funny, then it got sad, so I was like....what the heck!?!")
because it was almost uncomfortable, but overall the sweetness and wildness of little Max, the haunting music filled with kids crazy voices, the scenery and the imagination.....
it just made me sob.

Because my little wild things aren't so little anymore....

Truth be told, I will probably go see the movie again all by myself with a box of tissues and NOBODY else looking at me and saying...
"Why are you crying?"

Because only a mom of wild things understands how fast wild things disappear

Friday, October 9, 2009

Don't bother me.....I'm Playing

Well, the flu hit me full fledged on Sunday and I was down for 2 days puking and feeling sorry myself. After that little trip down pathetic lane was over, I hopped up and got online to continue my search for a used piano.

My kids have taking been piano lessons ever since Santa brought a little Casio Keyboard to the house, and I'll be danged if they haven't stuck with it and gotten pretty good. We had already decided on a digital model, for moving around and less tuning reasons, plus the extras that my boys think they need for future 'band' songs.

Anyway, we ended up finding a used Clavinova that happens to have a self-teaching option.
I turned it on yesterday thinking I would just check it out.......and viola'...the little lights tell my fingers where to go and it actually sounds like...a SONG! I did take piano for a couple of years, but never got past anything too tricky.....so this was like, magic....

Now I am stuck here on the bench, totally addicted. My fingers hurt (oww....just typing this) and I am determined to learn this song ("Bring Him Home") if it kills me. It is so cool....I just have to say...

Go away kids. You don't need to practice!
Ummmm- what primary program?
What baptism tomorrow?

I am playing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Much more than Marching

So yes, if you haven't read my experience about the 9-12 March on Washington scroll down and take a minute. It was so surreal.

If you have then move on with me to just a few other (non-political) highlights from my trip.

Me jamming out to All American Rejects, at the NASCAR night race. I am not even sure if I really like them ,(my kids love them) but I have to admit, when they sang "Gives You Hell" I surprisingly sang at the top of my lungs like a teenage idiot. Someone from the racetrack with a KODAK jacket on came over and was taking pictures of me. Sweet. I am tween again.

The Mount Vernon dollhouse. This is a close up, just so you can see the details (Are you getting this, Lynnae?) Mount Vernon was spectacular, no doubt, but as I stood at this doll house I was suddenly 10 years old again holding a Dawn Doll in my hand with nothing but an Evil Kenivel male doll to be her date. Oh, the courting ( and motorcycle stunts) that could have gone in this house! It was to die for.

A little shot of a shop in Alexandria. We had just eaten at a delicious French Bakery (quiche, Lemon Scones, and Torte, thank you!) and finding this shop sent me into an excited panic attack. It continued as I walked out of the shop EMPTY HANDED. Thank goodness I snuck a few pictures to bring home with me. What I am sad I left behind... I vintage crown bamboo floor mat and artistic goddess bust statue. But really...how am I going to pack that stuff home?

At "The Trellis" restaurant in Williamsburg. This is the "Death by Chocolate" dessert and just take my word for it...it was FAB-U-LOUS! The topping, the layers, the fudge sauce it sat on (which I ate with spoon after I declared myself 'full')...it was all divine. If you ever go to Williamsburg, don't miss this. Cake like this doesn't come along every day....

and to think, I left some of it on the plate! Even my hubby and I couldn't finish it.

A decision that could ALMOST haunt a girl like me!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I marched

This will be a feeble attempt to just capture a flicker of the experience I had last weekend. We decided to fly out to DC and join the Taxpayers Protest. This was no 'one person movement', and people were there for many different reasons.
Why was I there?
I think just to remind myself what freedom is all about, to raise awareness of the growing size of government, to be an example of involvement for my children,to speak out for the rights of the individual, and also to see who else would be there and connect with their energy.
My peace loving husband insisted NO SIGNS on the Metro. He didn't want to draw attention to ourselves.

Ummm, yeah. No worries there. We were like lame-o boring protesters on the Metro. (This is at 7:00 am, as they gates for the metro opened. This is 3 hours before the march. )

As we gather, cops and patriots alike were there surveying the scene. Before I knew it some guy offered us free t-shirts, which we willingly obliged. (okay, I grabbed an extra too and stuck it in my bag for someone back home. Is that horrible?)
BTW-you can get your own mob like t-shirt at Bureau Crash dot com
We start to mull around and snap pictures of clever signs and people there.
There was a group dressed in Colonial gear that brought drums to the rally and tapped beats as we marched. It set a tone to the march, and gave me goosebumps. (I'm a sap, I know!)
And possibly my favorite poster.......
Honestly, the atmosphere felt like a big social event. There was laughing and joking and hugging and I did not hear one cuss word (but a few posters quoted the famous line "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!") After the blessed event of finding an available porta potty, we joined the crowd and the bodies started moving.
We were marching on Pennsylvania Avenue, and two other neighboring streets filtered their crowds in as well.

My heart was pounding, even though I wasn't scared at all. I realized I was getting emotional. I stepped out of the flow of bodies to snap this picture. Many people were stopping to capture the words on the building.

One man next to me said "I drive past this every day! I never even thought about it! LOOK AT THIS!!!"

....that was all it took for me. The tears started.

Yeah, look at this. And think about how many centuries of people COULD NOT do this.

Think about all the things we can do daily, and the original revolution that set it all in motion.

And while there were various chants and shouts of "No More Lies" or "USA", the vocal expression of choice was the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner". That, too, touched me. At moments I couldn't squeak out the notes through my choked up throat, and I felt silly for being so overwhelmed with emotion, but the feeling of the crowd was both enthusiastic and peaceful.

It was the most comforting and intense feeling, and it came at the most unexpected time.

I know there have been debates on how many people were really there (You Tube time lapsed videos and various uploads give a better feel for the crowd), but here's the thing. It doesn't even matter.
For a day we united and raised our voices.
For a moment I felt a taste of what I believe our Founding Fathers wanted us to feel.
Maybe someone at home saw the photos or the video and thought, "I should take a stand next time".
Even if it infused ONLY MYSELF with the strength to not be afraid and develop a greater respect for this country, then isn't that enough?

I don't know what you have heard, what you have read, and whether or not you agree with the ideals of that day, but know this. For those of us that were there it was nothing but great.

I love this country, I believe it is good, and I pray that my children will grow up with the same freedoms I have enjoyed in my life.

Maybe even more.

I leave you with the words of Edward Abbey for your pondering enjoyment.......

"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government."

Are you ready?