Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christmas Photo Cards

This post might just offend many people I know and decrease the number of Christmas "cards" I get, and I am OK with that.

Dear everyone,
I love sending Christmas cards.  I also love receiving them.  I take pride in selecting the perfect card every year.  My cards are generally glitter bomb Thomas Kinkade cards from Hallmark.  Those who know me well know to open my cards outside.  What can I say? I love glitter and Thomas Kinkade.  Each year, I carefully select my cards, go through my address book, and carefully write out a message in each one.  As a handwriting perfectionist, I have to use just the right pen, with just the right style of handwriting, and when writing out the address I go through far more envelopes than I should.  If I make a mistake, it must be re-written.
You see, all of these years, I have been mesmerized by Christmas cards.  When I was a child I loved looking over them all, reading the messages from people who we had lost touch with and admiring the glitter of it all.  I also admire the time it takes for people to sit down, write out cards, and include a heartfelt holiday sentiment to those who they are sending the cards to.

Enter the photo card.  Or, as I call it, the death of the Christmas card.  Let me tell you something.  Snapping cute pictures of your kids is fine, but there are basic rules of decency that should be followed.  These rules seem to have been lost in the photo card land of lazy people.

1. If you send out a photo card, take the time to sign the back.  Sorry not sorry, but shoving a photo card into an envelope does not equate "sending out a Christmas card".  Really?  Is it that hard to write a note?  Are you so popular that you have to send out 200 Christmas cards and just don't have the time?  If that is the case, maybe you should re-think the purpose of Christmas cards.

2.  Yes, your kids sure are cute!  But when you send a photo card that contains pictures of your children exclusively, with no adults or names listed, chances are I have no idea who the heck those kids belong to.

3.  The same thing goes for dogs.  I love seeing pictures of your dogs, but I need to know who sent the card.  "Milo and Otis say Merry Christmas" doesn't cut it.

4.  This is number 4 , and quite possibly the worst.  The photo card with no note, accompanied by a 1996 inkjet printer address label.  Really?  Is it that much of a hassle to address a card?

The holidays are supposed to be a time of reflection, reconnection, family, and love.  Shoving a photo card into an envelope is not exactly indicative of the season.  Please at least take the time to sign the back.  I love seeing pictures of your family, although it does become a bit awkward when I throw them away on January 1st.

P.S.  You know those photos that you just spent $700.00 on for the "perfect" Christmas card?  The ones that you spend hours going over and editing for the perfect layout?  The ones that you put so much time and effort into, yet once they were delivered, couldn't be bothered to sign your name on the back?  Yeah, those either go into the trash in a fit of guilt about throwing away pictures of kids, or into a box that belongs to a hoarder who can't throw anything away.  Hope it was worth it.  As for me, I will take a traditional card with a heartfelt message over a photo card that is as impersonal as a convenience store any day.

Friday, October 11, 2013

You've Been Booed!

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting it up with the little neighbor girl who lives across the street.  "Have you ever booed anyone?" she asked.  My reply? "Well, yes, I boo Kyle Busch and the occasional baseball player but it is not really polite."  She seemed confused, but we left it at that.

Fast forward to last week, when we arrived home from school to find a gift bag by our front door.  It was a bag of treats!  I was so excited, as I am just getting used to living in a neighborhood full of lawns, trees, kids playing, and all of that fun stuff.  Who had left it?  What was in it?  What glorious person dropped off this bag of treats at our door?  Turns out we had been "Booed".  For those of you unfamiliar with this term, it does not, as it turns out, have any relation to Kyle Bush during driver introductions at a NASCAR race.  It does have to do with leaving treats for your neighbors and then passing on the magic.  (You can imagine my thoughts when I put 2+2 together and understood the confused look on the neighbor girl's face).

This letter accompanied the gift bag, which was filled with Halloween brownie mix, a candy apple kit, a glow stick, and other assorted goodies.
You can download this for free here, thanks to Happinessishomemade

So I set out to make my own Boo Bags to give away.  I found everything at Target, and I had so much fun picking things out.  Mine are pretty simple, but now that I know of this tradition, I am already plotting my Boo Bags for next year.  Pinterest here I come!

I gathered some cute, Halloween inspired baking supplies, along with a cookie for good measure.  The claw bottle opener on the bottom right is spooky and kind of goes along with the rest of the goodies that follow.

A bottle of wine - get it?  Ravenswood, with it's creepy Raven on the label? 

 I can't take credit for remembering the creepy Raven on the label of Ravenswood.  Target had all of the wine with creepy labels/names on one shelf.

Along with the claw ("The Clawww" - sorry, I am a mom and I keep picturing Toy Story 3 when I write that) bottle opener, I picked up these skull and crossbone wine stoppers and tied them to the bottles.

Then, because I didn't feel it was creepy enough, I stuck on a fake bug to get my point across.
Creepy yet cute
I then shoved everything into a gift bag and tied it up with some orange organza ribbon I had lying around.  Next year I intend to do something really cute like little bushel type baskets or something.  I normally take more pride in my packaging skills, as gift wrapping is one of my favorite things to do, but I am going to let myself slide since "booing" people was new to me.
Don't judge me, my gifts are usually impeccably wrapped.
All that was left to do was sneak around and drop our treasures off to two neighbors who had not yet been booed.  Once you have been booed, you take the paper that I linked to above and make two copies of it.  Take the original and cut in in half, then hang the side that says "We've been Booed" on your door so that you don't get booed twice.  Place a copy of the full sheet in each of your boo bags.  Our neighborhood is pretty much fully booed, and I think that is so neat.
Go Boo someone!  (besides Kyle Busch).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fun Fajitas And A Sinful, Easy Dessert

When I plan out my meals, I have a category for each day - Tuesdays are for tacos, but to me that really means any Mexican dish.  Last night, I made fajitas, and I must share this recipe with you because it is,  by far, the greatest fajita recipe in all the land.  Seriously.  I have made it about a million times and it has never let me down.  It is also super easy, since basically all you have to do it throw everything in a blender, marinate the meat with the blender contents, and grill it off.
Here it is, it is from Tyler Florence (the fact that he is super cute has nothing to do with my love of this recipe).

If you look at the ratings, you will see that I am not the only one who thinks this recipe is to die for.
The recipe works for chicken as well as beef, and the only thing you have left to do is chop up some onions and peppers to saute (I only do onions because nothing makes me gag quite like a green pepper does), put some cheese in a bowl, and warm up some tortillas.  Seriously, this marinade is the best thing ever.

The other thing I made was a dessert.  I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so I rarely make desserts.  My husband, however, has  a huge sweet tooth.  Therefore, I have been working on making some sweet treats for him.  Over the weekend I was watching a Pioneer Woman episode on the Food Network, and she made an incredibly simple ice cream pie.  Now that I am living in Texas and have easy access to Blue Bell ice cream, I knew that I had to make it.  Here is the recipe for it.  It is so easy, you can make it in advance, and the caramel sauce that goes along with it is now my go to caramel sauce.

So there you have it!  An easy weeknight meal complete with dessert.  I must admit, I am feeling quite proud of myself.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Cannot Be Trusted With Electronic Devices.

It's been a rough week for me on the phone/camera/anything else I can break front.  I will start from the beginning.  I have an Iphone 5, my husband got it for me and I don't really understand it, as I've always been a Blackberry kind of gal.  Nevertheless, I use it for what I need - which is really just phone calls, texts, and pictures.  I don't have much use for all of the crazy apps and stuff.  When my dear husband bought it, he was also smart enough to get me a lifeproof case, since I have a tendency to
(A) Dunk my phones in coffee as if they were donuts
(B) Hurl my phones into walls during fights (the wall got a hole, the phone was fine)
(C) Drop my phone at least 3 times a day.

Let me tell you, those lifeproof cases are amazing.  They are waterproof, idiot proof, Meredith proof.  This is, until you remove the phone from said case to plug it into a speaker so that you can dance while you do the dishes and promptly drop it, shattering the screen into a million little pieces.  At least, that is what I did.

$180.00 later, I had a shiny new screen and I vowed that never again would I remove my phone from it's case.  All was right in the world!!  That is until Apple, in its infinite bid to improve things, came out with a new operating system.  My husband immediately updated his, but I didn't really see the point in updating mine since I didn't even understand the old one - why confuse myself further?  Nevertheless, that little red "update" thingy was on my phone so I pressed it. I forgot about it, and after a while came back to my phone and asked my husband why there was a weird USB pointing to Itunes on my screen. "Did your phone do that?"  I asked.  "no, but I'm sure it just needs to be restarted" he replied.  Oh, if only it were that simple.  The update killed my phone.  Killed it, I say!

I spent an entire day (ok not an entire day but about 5 hours) on the phone with various Apple employees who were befuddled as well.  Let me say this - I have always been a "PC" person, not and Apple person. "I am a PC" -get it? Like the commercials?  But I must say that the helpful people at Apple are changing my mind.  Not only are they located in the US but they are nice and you never have to spend hours on hold.

So, after realizing there was no hope for my phone, I got the good news that it is under warranty so they will just send me a new one for free.  After about an hour on the phone with the tech support man who I now considered a friend, it occurred to me that I should mention the screen replacement in case it was an issue regarding the warranty.  BOOM! no free phone.  I voided the warranty 2 days before my phone fried through no fault of my own.  How's that for luck?

The point of this story is that I had high hopes for showing you pictures of my office today, but I can't.  The backup Iphone I am using doesn't take the best pictures, which normally wouldn't be a problem because I usually use my camera.  The camera I just dropped that no longer works.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The End.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Drowning in school paperwork

Our new house doesn't have a good spot for a landing/launch pad that can handle the hoards of paperwork that get sent home everyday from school.  Every morning when I send the little one off to school, I get that sickening feeling that I forgot to sign something, send in something, write a check for something, etc.
In our old house I converted a cabinet into a work station, but I do not have the space to do that here.  The paperwork and homework were just getting tossed onto any available open space, so I needed to fix it.  This is what I came up with and I am quite pleased with it. 
I started looking for vertical poly files, and since they are usually in bright colors, I hung it in the pantry so it is out of sight since it doesn't exactly match my kitchen.  My son's homework is usually sent home on Monday but is not due until Friday, so I have a pocket for uncompleted assignments and completed.  The pocket for sign/return is great for picture orders and other things that need attention but do not need to be sent in the next day.  When such items are ready, I put them in the "send in" file so that in the morning I can put them all in his folder.  The other folders are pretty self explanatory - his cub scout memos and my room mom memos.  Gone are the days of piles of paperwork and anxiety sitting on my counter!

Here is the best part, and I have to brag about Staples for a minute.  Note: Staples has no idea who I am and this is not a sponsored post.
I couldn't find a vertical file I liked at Office Depot/Max, which are the two office supply stores here in town. I am an office supply hoarder, always have been, and I am very particular.  I love Staples, even though I don't think I have ever set foot in one of their brick and mortar stores.  This is surprising, due to my hoarding of Martha Stewart office supplies.  I found this vertical file at Staples for $5.90!  I also needed a couple more of these beautiful Martha Stewart binders, and that qualified me for free shipping.  I love these binders, and my entire office is pretty much made up of the Martha line from staples.  Since we don't have a Staples here, I had to order online but this is the crazy part:  The closest Staples is (I think) in Houston - roughly 3 hours away.  They sent my files by courier to my house yesterday, for free, less than 24 hours after I ordered.  CRAZY.  They sent the binders via UPS and they should be here today - less than 48 hours after ordering.  That is service.  Why would I go to the office supply store when I can just sit at my computer, tap in an order, and have it delivered by an actual person the next day? I guarantee they lost money on the deal, after all, it was a $6.00 item that probably cost more in fuel than the item's worth.  But they gained a huge fan, and that is a good business model.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Monday Rant: NASCAR

Feel free to flip to a different post now.  I don't know if any of my readers are NASCAR fans, and I briefly considered starting a new blog for my rants because they are usually way off topic from housewife things, but this is my blog and I don't really care if it is scattered in every direction.  That being said, I don't mind if you don't want to read about NASCAR.  It won't hurt my feelings, we all have different interests and that's just fine.

That being said, for those of you who do follow NASCAR, I am sure you are all too aware of the controversy surrounding the Saturday night race at Richmond and Clint Bowyer's  untimely (or timely for those who are Truex Jr. or Logano fans) spin.  The fans have spoken and the reaction is not good.  There is outrage and disappointment,  with some threatening to never watch again if Bowyer is not punished by anything less than having his head on a stick paraded through the infield during driver introductions. 
Had this been one of the ubiquitous Busch brothers or, for that matter Tony Stewart back in his evil driver hey day, there probably would not be as much as a backlash.  After all, you expect that kind of behavior from them.  But this was Clint Bowyer, the "Aw, Shucks", beer drinking everyman of the sport.  The kind of driver who always seemed to be exactly what he appeared to be: no pretense, not fake, just an honest, take it or leave it personality.  The same goes for  Michael Waltrip - the goofy idiot savant who owns the team that includes Bowyer, Truex Jr, and Vickers. 

We all know by now that the spin was most likely intentional, and that Vickers was told to pit under green, thus altering the outcome of the race to allow Truex Jr to make the chase.  NASCAR fans are fiercely loyal, and we spend a lot of money following the sport, so we are, understandably, less than pleased when we feel as if we have been duped.  Clint Bowyer duped us. He made us believe that he was the "everyman" driver, when in reality he is just a pawn for the big machine that racing has become.  Last year at a hospitality breakfast in Kansas, Bowyer was the driver who made an appearance and I remember thinking how refreshingly simple he was - he seemed like a guy you would want to be friends with, made my son laugh, and just seemed like a good person.  Unfortunately, when the time came for him to be honest and let things play out as they should, or take the cheap shot, he took the cheap shot.  He let us down.

The race evolved, not into an actual chase for the cup, but into a veritable racing version of helicopter parenting by the Michael Waltrip team:  Truex can't race in on his own?  We will make it happen by cheating so that he can get in.  After all, every kid needs a trophy, right?  Even if they didn't earn it?  Newman was winning, and that's not fair (or in the words of Bowyer, "that sucks").  We will fix it so that he doesn't win because our little kids need to be there, even if they didn't earn it.  Now Martin Truex is in the chase, not because he raced his way in, but because his team owner decided to play helicopter parent. 

So, NASCAR is "reviewing things".  Short of docking points, it really doesn't seem like there is much that they can do, since the race is over and they cannot go back and run those last 9 laps.  Bowyer will run with a target on his back, and rightfully so.  Truex, even if he wins the championship, will have to live with the fact that he did not earn the right to be there in the first place.  At the end of the day, I think Martin Truex is the loser, because he seems to be the only innocent party in any of this, yet criticism will fall his way due to the actions of the team.  As for Logano, who shouldn't be there either, well nobody cares because he has always presented himself as a snippy little idiot, so nobody is surprised when he acts like one.  But Bowyer?  You let us down.  We thought you were better than that, taking a cheap shot for the big machine.
That's why we are angry and disappointed.  Although, to those threatening to never watch a race again, I think we can all agree that we will be watching next week, if for nothing else than to see what happens when Ryan Newman gets any where near Bowyer.  And that, my friends, will be worth watching.  Let's let it play out on the track, since I think we can all agree that NASCAR has no way of actually making the situation right.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My First Pair Of Boots For The Garden

One of the things that I was really excited about when we moved was the fact that I had a lawn.  A lawn with real grass!  You see, where I come from yards generally involve rocks and desert landscaping.  I haven't had a real yard since I was a child.  When I told my son that there would be grass, his answer was "REAL grass?!"  Yes, son.  Real grass.
Of course, like so many things that the previous tenants neglected, the yard is pretty sad.  On a street filled with perfectly manicured lawns, mine sticks out like a sore thumb of patchy, sad, uncared for grass.  There was also a sad, overgrown palm tree and a mesquite tree that I swear was trying to take over the neighborhood it was so huge.  Last week the tree people came and fixed them, and the neighbors said that if I water the lawn all the time it will grow in beautifully.
Well, we are in a drought.  Technically we are only allowed to water one day a week, but the loophole is that if you water by hand you can do it as much as you want.  Last week was my first attempt at watering - standing out there watering the yard like a fool with a leaky hand sprayer.  I was covered in mud by the end of it and irritated because I then tracked the mud into the house like an even bigger fool.  So I ordered these super cool gardening boots from Anthropologie. They were on sale so I feel like I got a deal, and I love the print on them.  I usually hate prints but these are cute.  Add a floppy gardening hat cute gardening gloves and you are ready to go!  I have a feeling my lawn will fit in with the neighborhood in no time.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

We've a house of horrors.

After several long years of living in a different state than my husband, we are reunited (and it feels so good) haha I just couldn't resist throwing that in there.  He had been working in Odessa, Tx, which, no offense to the good people of West Texas, is not a place that I found to be liveable.  Finally, he had the opportunity to transfer, and we settled on Corpus Christi.  I'm always happy when I am near a beach. 
We opted to rent, so that we have time to get to know the area and save (well, not really save since rent out here is WAY higher than a mortgage) but had to do it sight unseen.
Long story short, I found a great house in a perfect neighborhood and off we went on a three day drive cross country.  We had most of our stuff stored in a POD for the past 6 months, which was great because PODS moved it for us and it was waiting in the driveway when we got here. 
And the house was a mess.  A mess!  It had been cleaned, but not the way I would expect, and it was clear that whoever lived here before did not take care of it.  This was confirmed when I spoke to the neighbors.

I was going to list all of the things that were wrong, but I will spare you the details.  Let's just put it this way: it is a nice house but it needs a ton of love.  And work.  And money.  Lots of money.  The one blessing is that our leasing agent and the owner of the house have been amazing, I couldn't ask for more, and they are letting me make the call on what new faucets and fixtures I want.  Some of which I will pay for, some of which they will.  The house is filled with 90's builder standard brass and I hate that.  While it may seem like a waste to put money into a house I don't own, I am living here and I want it to be nice and pretty.
It also has a pretty great office with built in cabinets that will be my craft room. I can't wait to show you all of my feeble attempts at DIY projects for the house!

P.S.  Don't get me started on the carpet.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Las Vegas Review Journal: Worst Sales Force In The Nation

It's Monday!  That means that it is time for a rant.  We've moved, more on that later, but I have to get to the rant first.  Having a newspaper is essential in order for my mornings to run smoothly.  I know it is a dying art, that of having the newspaper delivered, but I for one love it.  You would be surprised, that despite the declining subscriptions to newspapers that the editors are usually jackholes when you call to complain, and some of them, like the one from Las Vegas continually publish commentaries that are written at a fourth grade reading level.  Nevertheless, I love the paper. 
When I moved, I had my subscription tacked on to a family members account rather than cancelling.  Since then, I have been basically harassed nonstop - up to four phone calls a day asking me to renew my subscription.  No matter how many times I tell them that I have moved, they keep calling.  I am done. They keep telling me that they will put me on the Do not call list (funny, my number is on the real do not call list, so I am taking this matter up with the FCC).  Nothing ever happens!  Today I wrote a letter to the editor that, while not being my finest work, gets the point across.  I thought I would share it to inspire some of you to stand up for fighting unwanted phone calls!  By the way, for this post I changed my last name, it is not my real one.

To whom it may concern,
If I were to put my letter in article form, the headline would read "Former subscriber harassed by newspaper in violation of FCC regulations."  I shall start from the beginning. A few weeks ago I relocated from Las Vegas to Corpus Christi, TX.  Rather than cancelling my subscription and getting a refund, I added the remaining delivery days to a family member's account.  Roughly a week later, I got a call from the sales office at the RJ offering me a deal to get me to sign up again.  I politely informed the agent that I had relocated, so a subscription was not feasible.  I also asked why it wasn't showing up in the computer that I had tacked on the remainder of my subscription to a family member.  After all, it was made clear that I had taken care of matters prior to my move.  The sales agent apologized and said there would be a notation made.  In a moment of naivety I thought that would be the end of it. 
Until the phone calls began again.  Up to four a day.  I thought to myself, what is this number calling all of the time?  It was the RJ.  When I would miss a call, the number would show up again, and again, and again.  Each time I would answer, I would get the same request to renew; and again, I would explain that I no longer live in Las Vegas.  On Friday, after being called twice and finally answering on the third attempt, I informed the agent once again that I do not live in Las Vegas.  She assured me that she would remove me from the list.  At this point I had had it.  I posted on the RJ's Facebook and Twitter pages (with no response of course) that unless a paperboy on a bike was going to hand deliver my paper to Texas, I had no use for their services.  Well, it is Monday and guess who just called?!  The RJ!  This time, I lost it.  I let the agent on the phone know that I had moved, at which point he told me that he needed another phone number to cancel for the main person on the account.  I am not only the "main" person, I am the only person on the account.  This nitwit then told me he needed to get "Jones'  number"  Ummm, my name is Meredith Jones.  There is no "Jones" to call.  You see my whole life I have known that people have a first name and a last name.  The last time I checked, having a first name and a last name does not indicate that there are two different people confined within the name.  Maybe it's just me, but I grew up assuming (apparently in error) that when a person has a first and last name it is the same person.  I called back to speak to someone else, and the lady on the phone said she would put me on the "do not call list".  Note that this is about the 5th time I have been told this line.  I informed her that not only should I be put on the RJ's do not call, but I am on the national Do Not Call list, and these calls are in violation of that agreement.  She then had the audacity to ask me if I wanted my phone number removed.  Really?  Gee, why do you think I am calling?  She zeroed it out because apparently that is the only way to stop the constant phone calls.
I am filing a complaint with the FCC, and I hope that my phone number has, indeed, been removed.  If not, the next unwitting sales person who calls me is going to get an earful.
Thank you,
Meredith Jones

P.S.  I am providing a phone number since it is required, but you can bet your ass it is not the real one since I just went through all of that trouble to get my phone number deleted.

Friday, May 10, 2013

High Five For Friday!

 photo H54Fbutton-triangle_zps678b65ba.jpgSo, this is my first time joining in on the fun that is "high five for friday" over at Lauren Elizabeth's blog.  I have been hesitant, since I want to make the post look nice, with pictures and everything.  Today I'm throwing that out of the window and I'm just going to write a quick list.  I might toss a picture in if I can find a relevant one, but if I don't, who cares?  Posts don't have to be perfect, now do they?
So, here are the 5 highlights of my week:

1.  Today was my first ever "muffins with  moms" at my son's school - he is in kindergarten.  We danced, he served me (so cute watching the little ones serve the moms, they were so proud of themselves), and just had a blast.

2.  I made a new friend!  It is a mom at school that I have chatted with before, but I had never spent much time with her other than seeing her at school pick up.  After drop off the other morning, we went for coffee, which turned into lunch.  We totally hit it off!  Hooray for cool new friends.

3.  I got to enjoy a great end of vacation breakfast in Laguna Beach on Sunday at Cafe Heidelberg, a place that used to be featured frequently on the show Laguna Beach - yes I am a dork.  It was just a block or so from our hotel and the food was perfect.

4.  I got to see my husband for 9 days last week!  It was great, and I still feel like I am floating on air.

5.  Sunday is Mother's Day - hello mimosas!
My boys on the beach

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cute new necklace

I saw this necklace on pinterest a while back and fell in love.  Last week I ordered it, and I just had to share because it is so cute.  It is the perfect length for layering with other necklaces, while it also looks great on it's own.  It sits right in that hole on your neck.  (Do you know what I mean?  I'm sure there is a medical term for the space between your collar bones but I don't know what it is)  Even on my big neck.  For a thin girl, my neck is unusually large.  That's probably too much information.
Either way, the necklace is from Beau and Stella, a designer in New Orleans.  I did a little happy dance when I saw the postmark, since that is the one city I have always wanted to visit yet never have.
Check out the website for more pics
It is the curved anchor necklace in rose gold.  I love it.  It is dainty and adorable, but the best part is the customer service.  I love buying things from smaller companies that allow you to interact with the actual person who designed the piece.  Marcie, who is the designer, is super sweet and commented right away when I followed her on Twitter.  When the package arrived, I could tell that it had been packaged with pride, in a personal way that you don't often see from larger stores.  The care in packaging is enough to make me order more - I know, I am a dork but I love pretty packages.
She even enclosed a hand written card!  It felt like getting a gift from a friend.
I can't wait to order more items.  It is so nice to buy things from people who actually take care in the work they do and take care of their customers. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Don't Follow The Bus

"Don't follow the bus." Don't follow the bus."  This is what I keep repeating to myself today.  My son has his first field trip, which means it will be his first time riding on a bus.  No seatbelt, no carseat, nothing.  This is coming from a woman who gets nervous when her own husband drives her son around.  I know, I have issues.  I have been dreading this day for months, although I would like to point out that I am not crazy enough to make him miss the field trip.  Score for me!  I also am not crazy enough to follow the bus, although it is taking every ounce of will power left in my neurosis racked body not to run back to the school and do exactly that.  That's part of why I am writing this, to give me something to do so that I don't hyperventilate.

I'm kidding.  Sort of.  Ok, not at all.  Either way, as worried as I was leading up to today, I knew everything would be fine.  Then the hurricane hit.  That is what I am calling it, at least, and for all I know our weather today would probably meet hurricane standards.  It started last night, with the wind picking up.  If you have ever experienced Vegas wind, you know it can be pretty fierce.  Everything was a mess this morning, complete with some downed light poles.  The only thing flashing through my mind brighter than a neon sign on the strip was "high profile vehicle"  Now of course, all week long it has been in the 80's, clear skies, beautiful.  Of course today, it is a hurricane.

I could have dealt with the wind, but on the way home from dropping him off at school it started to rain.  Not a sprinkle, not a light shower, I'm talking about torrential rain that made it difficult to see even with the windshield wipers going so fast I thought they might fly right off in a show of protest.  Which was super fun as I maintained a death grip on my steering wheel every time a gust of 55MPH wind tried to knock me out of my lane.  If there is one universally accepted fact, it is that people in Las Vegas do not know how to drive in the rain.  Drivers here are awful, and when it rains it is as though the already bad drivers think that treating the roads like water slides would be fun.  The last time it rained, the police department recorded over 150 wrecks from 6am to 4pm.  Our roads are also not meant for rain, so about 30 seconds after it starts raining they are flooded.

If I do not develop an ulcer today, it will be a miracle.  I just keep repeating to myself "Do not follow the bus".  And I am trying to avoid the warnings being put out to high profile vehicles, since I am all too aware that in an hour my son will be on such a vehicle, no seatbelt, with crazy drivers and flooded streets.

P.S.  I also just happen to be awaiting a phone call from the principal of the school that we are trying to get him into in Texas.  It is a "get to know you" call before we apply.  I tend to blurt out inappropriate things when I am anxious.  So with the field trip, the hurricane, and the phone call, this is going to be quite a day.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dear moms, go to the doctor.

We are moms, therefore we don't have time for ourselves.  When we do get time, we try to do something nice for ourselves - read a book, get a pedicure, or go shopping.  Nothing wrong with that, I love a pedicure as much as anyone, but maybe the next time you get some free time it should be spent at the doctor's office.  As mothers, we are used to taking care of everyone else; we make sure that our kids go to the pediatrician for well checks and at the slightest hint of an ear infection, make their dentist appointments and generally take better care of our family members health than our own.  It needs to stop.  In case you didn't get the memo, we are not invincible, we are not immortal, and we need to wake up and pay attention.

A few months ago, my husband got a phone call from his best friend.  He and his wife were having a date night when things went horribly wrong.  His wife started feeling strange, her lips went numb, and he called 911.  She was having a stroke.  She was 36.  She has two girls who are 2 and 5.  Her husband is now a widower.  This could be any one of us. 
The next month, another friend passed away from cancer. She was 32.  Her daughter is 3.  Again, it could be any one of us.

It's so easy to get caught up in life and put our needs and our health last, and it is easy to forget that we are not invincible.  There are so many other things to do that we often push ourselves to the back of the line, resulting in sometimes deadly consequences.  There are some deaths that are not preventable, but there are also ones that are preventable.  Say you go to the doctor and he recommends a medication, but you never find time to go to the pharmacy to fill it.  Or, you don't go to the doctor at all.  I know women who delivered their babies and decided that that would be a good time to stop going to their annual appointments with their OB/GYN.  Not a smart move.  The time it takes to go to the doctor is worth the time that you will be alive for your children.  They need you.  They need you alive, and it is time to start taking care of yourself.  Your children will thank you.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cute idea for a teacher's birthday

My son's kindergarten teacher has a birthday this weekend, so a few of us moms decided to do something special for her.  Using stolen borrowed ideas from other moms and Pinterest, we came up with a plan of action.
One of the moms had a great idea that she had seen someone else do.  At morning drop-off, we waited for all of the kids, and gave each child a flower.  As each kiddo arrived at the classroom he/she presented the teacher with the flower and a "Happy Birthday!".  Such a cute idea!  She is left with a full bouquet.
When informed of this brilliant plan, I instantly went to Pinterest to find ideas for a cute vase to make.  I loved the pencil vases, so I decided to make one.  It would be mean not to share, so here you go, instructions on making a pencil vase.

First, gather the materials.  I decided to use colored pencils.  I was trying to find a plastic vase to glue them on to, but the vessel needs to be straight up and down for the pencils to line up correctly.  I didn't want to use a tin can, but your certainly could.  Glass was a concern because I thought that if a child had to carry the vase in it might break.  Alas, one of the moms made a deal with another teacher to deliver the vase, so I went ahead with using a wide mouthed mason jar.
Look!  It says right on the box "preferred by teachers" haha
I bought two boxes of pencils to be on the safe side, and I am glad I did, since I needed more than one box.  To begin, I put a rubber band around the jar so that I could plan the color order and know how many pencils I would need:
Next, I removed all of the pencils and laid them out so that I could glue them on in the exact order that I had so painstakingly shoved in the rubber band.
Now it's time to bust out the glue gun.  It is very important that the first pencil is perfectly straight, so I took a ruler and made a line up and down where the first pencil should go.  It seems like it would be time consuming to glue all of these pencils to a mason jar, but it really only took about 15 minutes.
This is what it will look like when you are done gluing all of the pencils on.  The hot glue will hold, but not perfectly, so when I was done I put a rubber band around the whole thing for insurance and then covered it with a cute ribbon for the finished product.
So this morning, about four of us gathered at an ungodly hour so that we could deliver the vase to the teacher that was going to give it to our teacher (does that make sense?) .  One mom bought the flowers, tulips that were beautiful, and we waited at the gate to intercept all of the little ones who are in the class.  This was no easy task.  The gates are open from 7:30 until 7:42, and in the midst of all of the children going in we had to spot each child in the class and give them a flower.  It culminated with the last child, who was late, so the other mom with the flowers had to run along side him explaining and giving him the flower.  It was hilarious, she looked like one of those people giving cups of water to marathon runners.  We all had a good laugh at that one.  I wish we could have been inside the classroom to see if the teacher liked it, as the children were so excited to give her flowers and wish her happy birthday.  One of the moms commented that her daughter didn't want to get out of bed this morning until she told her "It's Ms. O's birthday today!"  Then she jumped out of bed, ready to go! Ahh, kindergartners, they are so eager to please.
In addition to the flowers, we all chipped in and got her a gift card to go along with a hand made card.  One of the moms cut out circles from cardstock and had each child sign his/her name, and then she made a balloon bouquet on a card out of all of the circles-it was so cute!

I hope she liked it, I think the flower idea is just the cutest thing ever.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Disturbing Trend in Mommy Blogs: Trying to make hating your children sound funny.

**Edited to add the link to where you can buy the book.  I was told "thanks for the publicity" by a mean woman, which I think is hilarious, since so few people read my little blog.  Either way, if you do happen to read this please know that I should have linked to it in the first place, and for that I apologize.**

For some reason, I love to rant on Mondays.  I have noticed this pattern, so instead of fighting it I am just going to go with it.  If you do not enjoy reading my rants, that is fine.  By tomorrow I will have a happy post for you and I promise I won't be offended if you skip my posts that are rants.

Lately, I have noticed a disturbing trend in the wonderful world of mommy blogs.  This would be the trend of bashing your family and children and trying to disguise it under the title of being "funny and honest".  For instance, a new book just came out entitled "I Just Want To Pee Alone", a compilation of blogger essays from women who like to complain about their kids.  One of them actually uses the tagline "Making my kids hate me one post at a time".  It seems that many mommy bloggers feel that they have to berate their children, swear, and try to be funny at the expense of their families in order to stay relevant.  And it is sad.  I am not sure when it became cool and popular to gain followers by repeatedly stating how annoying/messy/obnoxious your kids and husband are, but I think it is a sad reflection of mothers in this country.  Although to their credit, most of these bloggers do throw in the occasional heartfelt blog post in order to make themselves feel like a good mom once in a while.

I get it, parenting is hard.  It is often a messy, poopy, vomit filled world where you feel like you will never get a break.  It is often an amusing experiment in ineptitude, be it on your part or the part of your family.  I get it that when we get sick, we still have to do our job.  I know what it feels like to have a child vomit on your lap and still hug him to make him feel better before you can clean yourself up.  I get it.  IT'S CALLED BEING A MOTHER, AND NO, YOU DO NOT GET AN AWARD.  This is your job.  Get it?  I often say that children will suck the life out of you and leave you for dead, but in an oddly fulfilling way.  That is the truth.

Instead of dedicating so much energy to finding the bad things that happened in your day and whining about them in a blog post, look for the happy.  I wonder if these women actually seek out the disasters just so they have something that they consider funny to write about.  After all, if you base your blog on writing about the crazy things that happen in life while raising children with a mean slant, I can only assume that you are actively seeking content. 

My main issue with this is how the children of these women feel.  I know most of them would respond with something along the lines of how much they love their children and that they are great moms who just try to find the humor in everyday life.  We all relate to those sticky situations, so why not write about it?  But there is a fine line between being witty and telling funny stories and being cruel.
How are your children going to feel if they grow up and read non-stop stories of how annoying they are and how tired you are of taking care of them?  How would you feel if your mother had written such things about you?  How does it make your husband feel that you bash him on a public forum?

And lastly, how would you feel if your child passed away and when you looked back at your blog, instead of being a treasured journal of the (sometimes sticky) memories of your children, it was filled with your rants about how annoying they are and what an inconvenience they are to you?  I'm willing to bet you would wish that you had gone back and inserted a few more posts of the fun times.

That's my rant for today, thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox Cleanse FAIL

A couple of weeks ago I got a wild hair and started looking up cleanses.  I am not a "cleanse" fan.  There is no way I am going to live on lemon water with cayenne pepper for two weeks.  I just don't think it is healthy to do that to your body.  If you eat clean, and take care of yourself, there is really no need to do crazy stuff like that.  That being said, the Dr. Oz 3 day detox caught my eye.  After all, this is Dr. Oz!  He can't be wrong, and it is only for 3 days.  I wasn't doing it to lose weight, I just wanted a fresh start, something to boost my energy and refresh my system.

First, I took my happy, detoxing to be healthy self to Whole Foods to stock up on the neccessary supplies.  The website provides this handy shopping list for those who want to try the cleanse.
Dr. Oz's 3-Day Detox Cleanse One-Sheet

For the almond butter, which was about $16.00 a jar at Whole paycheck Foods, I instead bought a little sample pack of it for about $2.00.  After all, I only needed 3 tablespoons of it.

The next day, I washed and prepped all of the fruits and veggies.   This was, by far, the most time consuming part, but it made things so much easier the next day.
Note: I do not normally buy organic bananas since it is pointless, but I didn't want to make another stop at a different store

I bought all organic produce since I was doing a cleanse and wanted to put the best products in my smoothies; however, I do want to take a moment to point out that organic does not mean pesticide free. Allow me to step onto my soapbox for a moment: ORGANIC VEGETABLES DO HAVE PESTICIDES ON THEM.  And some of them are dangerous.  People think that organic fruits and veggies are pesticide free, and that is just not true.  While they are organic pesticides, they are still pesticides.
Thank you, stepping off of my soapbox now.
Some of my ingredients, washed and ready to go

So back to the cleanse.  You begin your morning with a cup of green tea with lemon, which is yummy. 
After that, you make a breakfast smoothie that is delicious.  Seriously, I could drink it every day and be happy.  I have diverticulosis, so I can't have seeds, so I strained the raspberry seeds out and took a flax pill instead of using flaxseed.  The only problem I had is that the smoothies are huge.  I was so full I thought I would burst.  The best thing about this cleanse is that you will never feel hungry.

On to the lunch smoothie, which is celery and cucumber based.  And gross.  I don't like cucumbers, and this shake was not flavorful at all.  I was feeling so great after the breakfast one, sailing through my day, I had energy and wanted to yell out "Look at me!  I'm cleansed!!"  No.  I am not cleansed, now I have to suck down 2 cups of cucumber and try not to vomit.

Either way, I got it down and felt great.  I was full, so I skipped the snack drink.  Everything was sailing right along.  "I can do this" I thought.  That is until I went for a golf lesson and it all went to hell in a handbasket.  It was cold at golf, and the last thing you want after spending time outside in the cold is a smoothie for dinner.  I wanted Chicken! And Gravy! And Biscuits!
So that is where the cleanse ended.  I went home and made an actual dinner.

I will tell you this, the cleanse is a great idea.  It is just better suited to summer time, when one might actually look forward to a refreshing smoothie at dinner.  I felt great for the 5 hours I did it, so I think I will indeed give this another shot during the warmer months.  It is worth a try.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Work Widow

I am a work widow.  I'm not sure where the name came from, and I am by no means comparing my life to that of an actual widow, which would be terrible.  The term refers to those of us whose husbands work insane hours, far away, out of state, etc.  I'm not talking 40 hours a week with weekends off (I have no idea what that would be like), I'm talking about a group of wives and moms who are basically on their own most of the time.  In my situation, my husband works in Texas.  I live in Las Vegas.  We see him a few times a year.  It works for us for now, but I can't wait for it to be over when I move back to Texas in July.  There is no substitute for not having daddy around. 

I am blessed in the fact that I have family around.  Before I came back to Las Vegas I was a work widow with no family nearby, no friends, in a dump town with nothing to do but go stir crazy with a toddler.  My husband would go to work before dawn and come home long after our son had gone to bed.  Basically, even when we lived in the same house  I never saw him. 

I have quite a few friends who are work widows as well, and we share the same concerns, such as the re-entry process when our husbands come home, finding time to yourself, and trying not to lose it when your husband does come home and thinks he can take over when you are used to doing it all yourself.  I guess that is kind of why I am writing this post, and, if anyone actually ever reads my posts, let me know if you are a work widow and what works for you and what doesn't.

On a side note, I am so glad that I started the 40 day self makeover thing last week, since I just found out that I get to see my husband in three weeks!  The upside to being apart is that I can surprise him by looking better than I did a few months ago, and that is great motivation.  Trust me, when you take the time to take care of yourself, your husband will notice.  Remember when you started dating your husband?  If you were like me or pretty much any other girl out there, you tried to look cute and impress him.  Why stop after you get married?  I know that when I see him, I want him to be impressed, so I am going to kick this 40 day project into high gear.  More on that later, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Skin Care Update

My 40 day project for my face is going well!  For once, I am actually sticking to the plan.  I haven't seen huge improvements yet, as it has only been a week, but there have been small improvements that motivate me to keep going.  Instead of showing one product at a time, I thought I would share them all in one post.

So here goes:

#1  The most important part in any skin care regime is to exfoliate and get your skin ready to take on the products you are going to use.  The best product I have found is old faithful, the Microdelivery Peel from Philosophy.
#2  I wash my face with a Clarisonic.  It truly lives up to the hype, just as Sonicare toothbrushes do (they are made by the same people).  It gets your skin super clean without stripping it.  I use the Deep pore cleansing head, (#3 in the picture) since my skin is not sensitive and I love how these clean a bit deeper than the regular or sensitive head.  Of course I use the Clarisonic with #4, my Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash - see my post about that here.

Each morning and night, after washing my face, I follow up with #5 the Clinique Dark Spot Corrector.  I have terrible hyper pigmentation and scars on my face, and this stuff works.  I have tried just about every brand of spot remover, but I keep coming back to this one.  Every few months I switch it up since my skin seems to get too used to it, and then I go back to it a few months later.  Does that make any sense at all?

Finally, at night, I follow up with a dose of Argan oil (#6) on my face.  I have used argan oil for some time on my hands, and honestly never thought about using it on my face.  After all, I am prone to breakouts and acne, so the thought of putting oil on my face was not exactly appealing.  I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that it would not make me breakout, and it is better than any other night cream I have ever tried.  Just make sure you get 100% PURE argan oil, not some synthetic, mixed with chemicals bottle of junk.  A little bit goes a long way, so the bottle lasts forever.  I get mine at Whole Foods.  I have probably had this 2oz bottle for about 6 months.
In the daytime, I use a basic Olay sensitive skin moisturizer with SPF.  I no longer allow my face to leave the house without sunscreen, but I have a sensitivity to Avobenzone, a common ingredient in facial moisturizers.  The Olay cream does not contain it, so it works for me.

So that's the routine!  It seems like a lot of work, but I only use the Micro Delivery once or twice a week, and the rest is daily.  It seriously takes me 5 minutes to do all of this. 

Remember, we deserve to feel our best, and I feel so much better now that I am taking better care of myself.  When you feel proud of how you look, it gives you a little boost of happiness that carries over into all aspects of your life.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shirt Labels for Disneyland

I am a paranoid mom.  Very Paranoid.  I have an innate ability to see the death/kidnapping/bad side to any and every situation.  I have not (yet) lost my son, but it is something I always worry about.  When we are out, we might as well be strapped together with velcro, since I am scared to death that someone is going to try to take him.

Enter, Disneyland.  We are getting ready to take another trip there, and it is a prime situation in which to lose your child.  The good thing is that the folks at Disney are experts at dealing with lost children.  Look around the next time you go.  A child will be crying, with that bewildered look in his/her eyes, and within seconds several cast members appear out of thin air.  It is like magic.  When they rescue said child, they take them to a Lost Child center where coloring books, crayons, and other fun things await them until their frantic mother arrives to collect them. 

I remember being at Disneyland last year.  All week it was slow, not crowded, and I kept my son tightly in my grip.  Then came Friday night, and it was packed.  Travel lanes were restricted due to Fantasmic, and there were swarms of people EVERYWHERE.  If my son's hand had slipped my grasp for a second, I honestly don't think I could have found him one second later.  It was that crazy.  He probably still has marks in his hand from my nails digging in to him.

So this is what I do to ease my mind.  I print labels with his name and my phone number, and stick them to his shirt underneath his sleeve (kind of the armpit area).  This is a cheaper option than the rubber wristbands that you can order, and easier in my opinion.  You simply print out a sheet of labels before you go - I used the Avery Clear Labels #18660

Each day you are in the park, just slap one of those labels on your child's shirt.
The sticker goes on the outside of the shirt just under the armpit

  I also made sure my son understood that it was there, so if he did get lost he could tell the cast member that found him.  I have also heard that Disney cast members know to look for the label, but I am not sure if that is true or not.  Knowing Disney, it probably is true. 

A side note to the person who will inevitably comment that if you lose your child you shouldn't be a parent:  I used to think that way as well, and no, I have never lost my child.  But it is not outside the realm of possibility, and you can never be too careful.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Product #1

Since I am trying to make myself feel/look better in a span of 40 days, I thought I would share a few products with you, and this is my first choice.  This is quite possibly the greatest face wash ever created.  I stumbled upon it one day while buying another product at Nordstrom.  When I heard the cost, I said "no way am I buying that!".  Then they gave me a sample.  The sample container was about the size of 3 quarters stacked on top of each other.  It couldn't have been more than 1/2oz.  Basically, it was the size of one pump of normal face wash.
It lasted a week.  A WEEK!!  That's when I realized that it was worth every penny, and, in my frugal mind, about the same price per dose as the cheap washes.
Here it is:
I present to you, the Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash.    Also known as face changer in a bottle.  It really does work to resurface your skin.  Here's how it works:
Get your face barely wet (just enough so the wash can move smoothly around your face)
Use one pump, and massage it on to your face
Relax for a few minutes.
  Here's the creepy/great part.  As it is on your skin, you may feel some tingling, and after a few minutes you may actually smell the gross stuff coming out of your pores.
 I follow up with my Clarisonic, but I have a feeling it will work almost as well if you rinse it off like normal.

I am so happy I stumbled on this, before that fateful day I had never even heard of Elemis.  The bad news is this face wash is $50.00 a bottle.  It is certainly a splurge.  If you want to try it, I suggest going to Nordstrom and asking for a sample.  They are great with the samples.  After that, you will be sold.

As for me, I am trying to make sure I wash my face every night before bed.  There are two types of people in this world: those who make sure all of the dishes are done and all of their makeup removed before bed; and the rest of us. One of my 40 day goals is to be the former, rather than the latter.

It's Ash Wednesday!

Which means that I walked around all day with ashes on my forehead.  More importantly, it is a time of reflection, and a time to give up something that is tough to give up.  For instance, my 6 year old decided to give up being mean to mommy.  We'll see how that goes.
I will give something up, but I haven't quite decided what it will be.  I have so many vices, it is difficult to choose just one.

Either way, I have decided to take better care of myself for the next 40 days.  Not in a religious sense, just a personal challenge.  I have let myself go, I could say that I am just too busy, but the truth is I am just too lazy.  40 days seems like an attainable goal (we shall see), and I kind of want to see if I can make an actual difference during that time.   I need to get back in the gym, fix my face, as it is pretty much as bad as you can get at 34, and work on looking presentable every day.

The other day I saw a post on Clinique's facebook page, selling kits.  Pick which one you need! They said, with options of acne, dark spots, or anti aging.  "ummm," I thought to myself, "how about all three?"  My skin is in sad shape.  So I am going to try to fix it, and we will see how far I get in 40 days.  I would post a picture, but let's be honest here, I am not quite ready to do that.  Now, if I get to a point where I see a visible difference, I may be brave enough to post a before picture.  That day is not today.

Along the way,  I will post products I love, and I will try to use them faithfully every day.  Let's see what will happen over the course of 40 days.  If you want to join me, let me know!  It doesn't have to be your skin or working out, it just needs to be something you want to improve on, using the 40 day goal as a benchmark.

Monday, February 4, 2013

An open letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Dear Commissioner Goodell,
I am writing this letter as a concerned parent.  I am not sure when or why the NFL decided to make the Superbowl an adults only program, but I, like many other parents out there, am outraged.  It has become increasingly difficult over the years to watch it with my son, who is 6.  You see, children should be able to watch a football game without being subjected to half naked women (and men) shaking their "booties" and making inappropriate gestures.  After the Janet Jackson fiasco, the NFL made excuses and apologized, yet we all knew what you were thinking, and that was "ratings gold".  Nevertheless, you tucked your tail between your legs at the mercy of the FCC and had some relatively mild halftime performances for a few years.  Then came last year, and as I watched Nicki Minaj, a singer I had never even heard of, spread her legs and stick up her middle finger.  I hoped I could quickly usher my son out of the room.  This year, we were treated to Beyonce dancing in an outfit that could only be described as a stripper's castoff, licking her lips and finger and spreading her legs (her child must be so proud).
To be frank, I am not a prude, nor am I part of some extreme religious cult.   I just think that I should be able to allow my son to watch a football game without having to shield his eyes, or explain why that lady on stage is acting that way.  Nor should I have to explain why his favorite NASCAR driver, Danica Patrick, is in that weird, gross commercial, or why that man is in his underwear on TV.

"Sex sells" you will inevitably reply.  That would be cute if it were accurate.  The truth is that women account for 85% of the spending power in the United States, and many of us are mothers.  Don't think for a second that we don't take these things into consideration when buying, oh say, NFL tickets.  Look at the commercials that have garnered the most attention from last night: Budweiser's Clydesdales ad and Chrysler's God Made Farmers.  That alone should tell you what sells, and it is certainly not the atrocious slurping sounds of a model making out with a "nerd".

Take a look at record sales.  George Strait has sold over 68 million albums.  Beyonce has sold just 13 million.  For those of you who may say that he has been around longer, he has sold 14.5 million just in the time since she went solo.  If that alone doesn't prove that mainstream Americans appreciate talent even when it isn't wrapped up in spandex and fishnets, nothing will.

You see, commissioner, you can try to suck up to parents all you want with your "play60" and children's programs, but we see right through you.  You can't advocate for children, while at the same time making it impossible for them to watch the biggest game of the year.  If the NFL had followed the TV Parental guidelines, the game would have been rated TV14, for intense sexual situations.  But you don't care.  Funny that you don't , since those of us with the actual purchasing power in this country will keep that in mind.  Hope those teenagers you impressed with your halftime show pay the bills.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Valentine's Day Pinwheels

Pinwheel from Oriental Trading
It's almost Valentine's day!  For me, that means helping my son get Valentines ready for his kindergarten class.  Of course, thanks to Pinterest, I was looking for something cute to do.   Fortunately for me, a few weeks ago I got the latest Oriental Trading Company catalog and saw these super cute pinwheels.  36 of them for $10.50?  Sign me up!  I had seen some really cute candy ideas; however, this year, Valentine's day falls after the start of Lent, so my son's teacher sent out a friendly reminder that a lot of kids give up candy for Lent.  (she's on top of it!)  Pinwheels seemed like the perfect alternative.  I dressed them up with a tag, and here is how I did it.

I bought this Martha Stewart punch around the page,  it is super cute.  I really wanted the dancing hearts one, but Michael's didn't have it so I had to let that dream go.
I got home, and started punching.  I have used paper punches before, but not a punch around the page one.  There is a learning curve, and the dimensions of your paper need to be perfect in order for all of the punches to line up correctly.  I did a 3.25" square, which worked out quite nicely, since after I did the corner punches I only had to punch one time on each side with the bigger punch.  Convenient, since I have to punch out 25 of these things and I would like to retain the use of my hands by the end of it.

The pinwheels are red and silver, and I really wanted the background paper to be red, yet somehow, despite my stacks of card stock, I don't have any true red card stock.  I have every other shade of red, but not red red.  Crazy.  I debated going back to Michael's, but quickly came to my senses and found a sparkly silver glitter paper that has been lingering in my stash for years.

I punched the 3.25" square of silver cardstock:
Look at the pretty little hearts left behind!  I am saving those for a future project.

Next, I cut out a 2.25" square of white card stock.  I inked the edges using a Martha Stewart petal ink pad.  I like the smaller ones for inking the edges of paper, you just lightly swipe it along the cut edges to add dimension.  Then I stamped it with a "Happy Valentine's Day" stamp that I also picked up at Michael's today for a dollar.  I had tried embossing it in silver ink, but it looked terrible. 

Next, I used some pop dots to stick the stamped square onto the silver punched square, tied it on to the pinwheel with some ribbon, and I was done!  Only 24 more to go!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

An entire post on hangers.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I am going to write about hangers.  Let me tell you something, while the rest of my house may be a bit cluttered, my closet is always organized within an inch of its life.  I don't know why, I can't explain it, but that is just how I operate.  My biggest concern is that every hanger is exactly the same.  Having all of the same hangers makes the closet look so tidy.  There is nothing I despise more than a closet full of mismatched wire and plastic tube hangers.  It drives me crazy.  I also sort my clothes by color and subsequently sleeve length.  That way, it is much easier to find the exact piece you are looking for.

Let's start at the beginning.  About ten years ago I settled on my hanger design.  They were clear plastic, available everywhere, and the ones with clips for pants matched perfectly (I hang my pants with clips, I hate folded over ones because they take up too much space).  It takes  a while to transfer all of your clothes to new hangers, and it inevitably requires more hangers than you think.  Finally, every item of clothing was transferred, and I was pleased.  I have used these hangers ever since.

When I first got married, my husband, knowing my love of hangers, started buying wood hangers so we could transition.  Unfortunately, while wood hangers look pretty, they take up too much space and annoyed me, so I only used them on his side of the closet.  In the meantime, I would occasionally catch a presentation of Joy Mangano's Huggable Hangers on the Home Shopping Network.  I would watch, somewhat enthralled, but the task of changing everything over was daunting.  Also, I worried about creases in the shoulders, lint from the flocking, and the clips for pants that I would have to buy separately.

Here's where the change came:  A few months ago, my mom bought a generic version of huggable hangers.  She didn't like them, since it is harder to get the clothes on the hangers.  So she brought over some so that I could try.  I liked them!  I wanted all beige, (I think the beige makes the closet look lighter and larger), but she had black and I figured that would work for now, until I transitioned all of the clothes.  But here's the real turning point:  I have always had large closets.  Space was NEVER an issue, so that contributed to the fact that I wasn't really ready to make the transition, since it was unnecessary.  Fast forward a couple of months, and I was getting ready to temporarily move into my parent's casita.  With a small closet.  My husband knows me well, so he went and bought me more of the generic huggable hangers.  They went from "oh, maybe" to an absolute necessity.

The moral of the story is that if you are short on space in your closet, invest in huggable hangers!  They even have them at Target.  The good thing is that they maximize your space.  They hold on to the tiniest straps on your camisoles, and you can buy clips for your pants.  The downside is that yes, it is slightly more difficult to get your clothes on them, but it is only a difference of a couple of seconds.  My only major complaint is that on the generic ones, the hook is clean and simple, while on the authentic Joy Mangano ones, the side is imprinted with Made In China, which makes the hangers look sloppy and annoying (at least to an anal closet organizer).  Seriously?  You couldn't have put the engraving on the side that faces the closet wall?  This irritates me to no end.

Either way, I am happy to triple my closet space with something as simple as hangers.  The flocked hangers, whether generic or original, are a great buy.