Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where's your MAMA-guilt?

I want to start doing a weekly Mom-conversation. Will post some of your responses next week. Pass this on to your readers, it will be fun!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

TEAM LARSON ...

PRAY like there is no tomorrow.
PRAY until your heart breaks.
PRAY until your tears are dry.
Coleman, Caden, Peggy and Scott need you NOW more than ever!
Go to carepeages.com/ColemanScott
PASS THIS ON!
THIS FAMILY NEEDS A MIRACLE and what better time of year than Christmas!

You are scary....

OK PEOPLE..... You have taken it one step too far! It's called SARCASM! The Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas in my last post WERE A JOKE!!!!! Not in my wildest dreams did I think you would put THAT much trust in me to think those were ACTUALLY real gift ideas! Holy Hannah! I guess I needed a disclaimer at the bottom of that post: "NO, these are NOT real craft ideas...DOOFUS!" LMAO! I am just glad I didn't post my sarcastic Quick Christmas Dinner Recipe Ideas! Saved you all some 9-1-1 calls! Note to self: D-I-S-C-L-A-I-M-E-R!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last minute gifts...

So, it's December 23rd and you have had your fill of grumpy shoppers at the mall. Your credit card has spontaneously combusted because of all the online shopping. Now what? You're not done. You have a couple more people who will be anxiously awaiting their gift at the family/company/neighborhood Christmas party.
This is the resource that will have you singing, "JOY TO THE WORLD!" These gifts that you can practically pull out of mid air. No lie. Keep reading!
The lint-ball sculpture.
We all have enough lint in our dryer trap to make a couple of these and if you start saving at Halloween, you could make a stuffed animal the size of your niece or nephew. Use the darker lint for facial features and body detail and string for hair or fur.
Heck, these weird stuffed guys sell for $40 in a major catalog... Trendy Jeans Head out to your hubby's workbench and grab the grimiest torn jeans you can find. Fill the bathtub with some stanky cologne and soak until Christmas morning. Don't rinse. Throw them in the dryer when he heads for the coffee pot. Apparently jeans are all the rage and without even leaving your house, you can give these...
without paying the $150 ticket price you'll pay in the store!
Fine Art
As an artist, I love making things to beautify someone's home. Something that is one-of-a-kind is always a no-brainer. However REAL art is quite expensive so I have a quick little trick that any mom can do...creative or not!
Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Head to your craft cabinet or art supply bucket and fish out all the crayons...set enough aside to have one ROYGBV set. Place crayons in a large plastic bag and crush. Head the the garage and grab the least cheese-crusted pizza box. Spread the crayons in the bottom of the box. Place in oven and watch the artwork start and finish right before your eyes in mere minutes.
It's either that or you could buy this for $8000.
Is Aunt Ethel really going to live long enough to appreciate an $8000 gift?
Pancake Press
We've all seen the cookie mix in a jar kits that you can buy in specialty catalogs. Some people go way way overboard making them to give them out to teachers and hard-to-buy-for family members.
They are cute but way too pricey to buy too many of and way too time consuming to make!
So, here is the answer...Grab all the old empty CD jewel case around the house and throw them in the dishwasher. Tape one to a ziploc bag of filled with flour and cinnamon...VOILA you have yourself a pancake press.
I hope these gift ideas will ease your Holiday stress! If you have any links to wacky Christmas gifts leave them below. If nothing else, we can all get a good giggle while we are procrastinating and NOT wrapping gifts!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

3 kids + 2 weeks of Christmas Break =

Today is officially the first day of Christmas break. We rallied in the day with 11 VERY SLEEPY SLEEPOVER GIRLS! Some of them stayed up until 6 am! Most of them are gone, some are staying until tomorrow. I know I am crazy. But they are good girls. In honor of the upcoming 14 days of "I'm BORED!" and "What can I do??!!" I have prepared a video of what I will probably be dealing with at any given moment between now and when the bus comes to get them in 2009! Pray for me! LOL! I love my kids but I also know them all too well... This is my Ode to my impending INSANITY...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Take a deeeeeep breath...

*some fun news @ the end of this post!* 'Tis the Season, right? Isn't that a shame? I am very disappointed in myself for allowing the WORLD to get in the way of my staying focused on what this season is truly about. I KNOW what it is about, I know WHY we celebrate Christmas and it has NOTHING to do with Santa!
But my poor scheduling has gotten in the way. The first week of December is when I was supposed to have my daughter's 10th birthday invitations out. Problem being I was making props for a Christmas Program and totally lost track of that window of opportunity. So, what's the harm in putting it off another week, right?
Her birthday is December 21st so I always try to do something first thing in December so her guests are not thinking about anything other than THEIR FAMILY'S celebrations right around the holidays. But, because I was up to my armpits in foam core and glitter glue the first week of December, we postponed the invitation project for a week.
What I didn't do was check my calendar. Had I consulted my schedule I would have seen that my Homeroom Mom responsibilities would be called upon on the same day I would need to be preparing my house for a 9-little-girl sleepover! 2 of the 3 boys in our house RUN FOR THE HILLS when there is a girlie party so I also have to pack for them and wrap gifts for those family members they will be visiting while my house fills with ESTROGEN. Do little girls have estrogen? I think they do, right? Well, you know what I mean!
So, I can blame no one but myself for my recent chaos and hanging-from-a-thread panic! And I want to thank you, my readers, for taking the time to advise me in the comments from yesterday! Thanks to you, I have ordered take-out for every night for the remainder of 2008 and said "no" to 47 people who asked me to do something in the last 24 hours! I have also forwarded your email addresses to those people and told them YOU were the reason I said, "no!"
I have some GREAT news:
I had a wonderful email surprise this week! I am completely humbled!
As most of you know I am an inspirational/humor columnist on the side (I say on the side because it is completely a PRO-BONO gig..no pay). I love writing for our local paper! I get so much feedback from the community for my Friday columns. I have received gifts, phone calls and emails from complete strangers. I made an appointment at the vet yesterday and couldn't get off the phone because the receptionist went on and on and on about how she practically RUNS to the mailbox on Fridays to see what I wrote. I have even had strangers recognize me from the goofy photo that accompanies the title of my column, The Gift of Gab. One woman saw my puzzled look as I wondered HOW she knew my name as she giggled and said, "Sorry. You are hanging on my fridge, I read you every week. I feel like I know you!"
It's really an amazing feeling touch the lives of strangers just by using a God-given gift! It's fun to blabber on and on and get a quick giggle here and there! Now that's a "job" I can do forever!
Anyway, this week I was getting my email and of course, as a writer with submissions in a plethora of editor and agent inboxes, I am always looking for a WE WANT YOUR BOOK in the subject line. Those words weren't there but the words, "Your Column" were.
The Children's Ministry Director of a HUGE local church was wondering if I did any local speaking engagements (I have, but not recently) and if I could come speak at a Mom's event in January! Um, YES!!!!! She went on to say that she has used my "material" from my column in their Mom's Bible Study. Woah! Now there is a compliment, right?!
God is really showing me a THEME and I am thrilled to put my children's book manuscripts on hold and glorify Him by following His lead. My platform for over two years has been Moms through my blog and my column. I have has tens of thousands of readers and a file folder full of "fan" mail. I have been brought to tears by the letters people have written and that is why I do what I do.
So, I will be saying "no" to anything that does not fit into the WRITING for MOMS category (except for re-writing our church website (Courtney) b/c I have had the promise out there for like a million weeks and haven't started it yet!). And because writing is my passion, I have a couple MOM BOOKS floating around in my head...now i just need to pump up my readership because agents and editors are looking for LARGE readership to build a fan base on.
What would you like to see in a SEMBLANCE of SANITY book?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Discombobulated...

Man, this month has been a blur. I have three kids in three different age brackets (pre-school, elementary school & middle school) so we have more holiday events this year than EVER! 4 of the 5 of us were in our Church Christmas Program, we have had two band/chorus concerts, I am homeroom mom for my daughter so our holiday party is Friday and I have a ton of preparations for that. Friday is also her 10th BIRTHDAY SLEEPOVER. Saturday morning the girls go home (all 8 of them) and we head out to a neighborhood Holiday breakfast. Sunday is my daughter's actual birthday so after church I am taking her and two BFFs to the mall for the afternoon. Back at 4 for another neighborhood get-to-gether. I was up until 3:30 am getting the last of the Christmas NAMESAKES done. No worries. I'd nap while the kids were in school. Should have probably looked out the window - SNOW AND FREEZING RAIN! 2 hour delay and no pre-school. NO NAP! I still haven't showered, the dog needs to go out (hobble out), the baby is screaming to get up from his nap and the big kids have HIP HOP right after school. I haven't even thought about dinner! OH YEAH...AND I GOT MY PERIOD TODAY! YEEHAW! HAPPYSTINKIN'HOLIDAYS!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Not just for muffins anymore...

Maybe it's all the Christmas cookie conversations...maybe I am just a freak that I think about these things... MUFFIN PAN MANIA! You won’t find this information at any Home or Kitchen Store. You won’t find this information in the pages of the latest Woman’s magazine but I will let you in on a little secret. Your muffin pans are for more than just muffins these days…especially in my house. I am a multi-tasking mother of three and these days my mottos are: Less Mess =Happy Mama!, Busy Kids = Thrilled Mama!, Easy Dinner = Ecstatic Mama! I bet you never guessed that muffin pans could bring you such joy. Here are some great ideas for muffin pans that don’t include a Betty Crocker box mix but will save you the hassle, mess and keep your little ones occupied for hours (well, minutes). Sorting activities. Get out a piggy bank, mismatched craft supplies or jumbled jewelry and set your children loose at the table. Give them some direction and let them sort. It gets you organized, gives them a purpose and works their brain while they are having fun. This is a great activity for learning the different coins or for teaching color identification. Make sure you have a reward waiting for when they complete their assigned task. Mini meatloafs. This is just a different twist on a tried and true recipe. Meatloaf is easy and by adding some creative toppings or layers, you can turn it into a new entrĂ©e so you don’t hear, “Awww man, meatloaf again?” Simply mix up your favorite meatloaf recipe and fill your muffin pans accordingly. Use cheese as a middle layer or top with some wild rice and “Voila!” you have a new family favorite. Sundae toppings organizer. Grab your nearest muffin pan and fill each cavity with a different sundae topping. Use graham cracker crumbs, nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles, cherries, and any other favorite add-ins and let the crowd loose with their individual bowls of ice cream. Look at it this way, you only have one pan to clean as opposed to many bowls. Taco Night ingredients. See above but replace ice cream toppings with taco toppings. Shredded lettuce, peppers, cheese, salsa, sour cream and even some olives are only a few favorites in our house. The beauty of this is that if you have a large family or are having a party you can use multiple pans to set up different stations around the kitchen and keep the traffic flowing. Pattern Stamper. Kids love to make their own wrapping paper. Lay out some large plain paper (the back of existing wrapping paper works, too) in a spot that can handle some stray paint. Choose one or more paint colors and paint the circles on the bottom of the muffin pan. Stamp design onto paper and let dry. Wrap gift in its one-of-a-kind designer paper. Crayon Melter. How often have you had a toddler throw the crayon bin on the floor and you saw a sea of broken crayons? Don’t throw them away. Keep your little one busy with peeling the paper from them and placing the unwrapped crayon butts in your muffin pans. Spray with non-stick spray first. Place your pan in a preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees until the crayons are almost fully melted. Take out and let cool. This fun activity will clear out your broken crayons, create fun new coloring tools with mixed colors and they make great favors for birthday parties, too! See, told you so! Muffin pans aren’t just for muffins anymore!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why I hate the Wii...

...it makes a fool out of Mii! This is my first attempt @ playing Mario Cart. Embarrassed. But yet I show you!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Want some tickets to MY Island...

There is an island out in the middle of the Atlantic (not the Pacific b/c that is just a little too far away for my comfort - you remember, I rode a train for 35 hours to get to Chicago last spring instead of flying b/c flying freaks me out...Atlantic, not Pacific!) with my name on it.
The Island of Misfit Toys got me thinkin'...as I snuggled under a warm cozy blanket with my kids, their little heads nestled into my bosom (eww, hate that word!) I started to drift; not to sleep, my mind started to wander...what would MY island be called (certainly NOT The Island of Misfit Toys, have you SEEN those things... they are just a little disturbing!) and what about that island would make it MINE?!
(insert dreamy music here!)
It's The Island of Do Nothing!
It's a pretty place that is only inhabited by moms, you know, people who "get" you! People who can finish your sentence, not finish reading the mail WHILE YOU ARE SAYING LOTS OF SENTENCES!!! Oh yeah, and there would be cabana boys - lots of cabana boys! No, not for THAT...sheesh! The cabana boys would simply be the "Could I get you a drink? Some nachos? More sun lotion? A magazine?" kind of guys! Man oh man you need to wipe those minds of yours clean! (Steph!)
It's The Island of No Toys Between My Toes!
There would be no matchbox cars or Polly Pocket heads crunching under my feet. Just the warm palm fronds that I was laying my sun kissed body on all the live-long day! Exactly how long is a live-long day? Because if it is longer than 24 hours I am booking the first flight to ANY ocean! What the heck can you actually get accomplished in 24 hours if you sleep? Not very much. The laundry just keeps multiplying!
It's The Island of Eat Anything You Want and Look Like Heidi Klum!
NO CALORIES ALLOWED ON MY ISLAND! All food served by cabana boys as me and my fronds enjoy the large doses of Vitamin D from the fiery God above will be delicious but void of all fat and calories. The most succulent fruits and vegetables (wait for it...), whole grains and legumes (wait for it...), protein and CHOCOLATE (there it is!), CHEESECAKE, NACHOS, FRENCH FRIES (do the dance!) and ICE CREAM! (Now, my brain that has been bruised by and eating disorder finds the words "body like Heidi Klum" and "cheesecake" like the opposite ends of a magnet. We all know that anywhere other than MY ISLAND you could only eat one chickpea and a sip of water to look like her.) Sigh. But that's why we have my island to escape to.
It's The Island of NO LAUNDRY !
Let's face it gals, if we look like Heidi Klum are we going to cover it all up with clothes? Um, nope!
It's The Island of Sleep Whenever and Don't Feel Guilty About It!
So many nights I sit in front of my computer and klink away on the keys. My heavy eyelids fall. My head jerks and sways as I start typing the stream of consciousness in my brain instead of the subject I am being paid to write. Usually I get my second wind about 3am and that's when I think..."3 more hours and it will be light. I could get all of this done. A couple cups of coffee will get the kids on the bus and then I can crawl into bed." But then my YOU CAN'T DO THAT alarm goes off. There is something about being responsible and being a housewife that makes us think we need to be all apron-y and chipper throughout the day whether we are fully rested or have just given birth. Why is that? My island is looking better every live-long second!
(insert coming-out-of-dream music here!)
"NO! NO! NO! It's not over!!!!"
"Mommy, quiet! You are going to wake the baby!"
"But the fronds...they were so warm!"
"?"
"Time for bed. Mommy needs to sleep."
Praying for fronds! Warm, warm fronds!
Oh yeah.... AND IT'S FREE!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

After the stress is gone...

So, the majority of my stress is waning! YAY!
Our dog is looking better, walking, wanting to go outside, less messes to clean up, etc.
Our church Christmas play is over which had me more than stressed as I had to memorize lines, make the props for my group and plan/pull-off a Birthday Party for Jesus after the production. It turned out wonderful and then I felt like a DOUBLE DORK for getting so worked up about it.
I guess stress is good for my creativity, though. Being creative relaxes me. I know most of you think that is ridiculous. Most people do. But, it's just the way I am wired which worked out to my daughter's benefit this weekend.
She is turning 10. The big double digits and wants a SHOPPING SLEEPOVER PARTY! We will play games and the girls will win play money. I will be turning my dining room into a Jewelry Store and after the games, the girls can spend their "money" on the glitzy baubles in the jewelry store. The glitz will, of course, be beads, wire, charms, etc and we will then be MAKING our jewelry.
So, here are her invitations. Yes, we MADE them! A dozen of them! It was SO MUCH FUN! I was IMing Dawn while I was making them and she said, "You are making EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY?! WHY? Just photo copy them!" Now, you see why I laughed at you, friend! LOL!
These are 12" purses made out of scrapbooking paper and Martha Stewart circle and flower stickers and some ribbon.

Inside is a paper wallet that holds the details of the party and a faux $50. Each wallet has the invitee's initial in gold on the bottom corner and faux gold stitching around the edges.

This is the inside of the wallet.

YAY!

Anyone want some custom birthday invitations?

-----------------------------

The winner of my contest is "Teletubby giving the finger!" Just too frippin' funny! One of my friends was actually talking about THAT comment today, so YOU WIN! Email me your mailing address and I will mail you your illustration! CONGRATULATIONS!

Friday, December 5, 2008

What dwarf am I?

GRUMPY! ...and only by default because Disney didn't have an I-CAN'T-FREAKING-TAKE-IT-ANYMORE Dwarf! But, on the upside...I am looking for people to help me with an idea...to jump on board... Thinking about doing a regular BLOGVIDEO almost like a TV talk Show... I need themes for episodes (controversial, fun, how to, etc) and people willing to be on video as guests... Give me your ideas... Maybe I will do it. Maybe it is just my own selfish way of taking my mind off how much I wish it was TOMORROW and today was OVER!!! Ya hear me? OVER!!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's...it's...it's...

My daughter in a CRAZY mood! My son's best friend was pointing in the picture. So, other than HALEY who KNEW who it was (stinker!) who do YOU believe is the closest? Go back and read the comments.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Guess!

OK...I was in the mood for a contest! Guess what the culprit of this shadow is and win AN ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATION by Moi!
(Dina, you can't guess! LOL!)

Monday, December 1, 2008

You have GOT to be kidding ...

Our traditional Thanksgiving consists of a 3 1/2 hour drive to the top of a mountain in upstate New York. We typically load the car after my husband gets home from work on Wednesday and we head back to PA on Saturday or Sunday. We stay at my in-laws' which is a wonderful treat as my father-in-law is a little like Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor and my mother-in-law could give Martha Stewart a run for her money anyday...seriously! The kids love being with Grandma and Grandpa, my husband gets to maliciously kill fluffy woodland animals that were probably Bambi's friends hunt with his dad and I don't have to cook or clean! This year was different due to our dog's unfortunate run-in with a Ford F350! Morgan is doing much better (thank you for all your prayers) but was in no shape to make the trip and was still uneasy about what was going on so we didn't feel comfortable taking her back to the vet to leave her for the weekend. We just stayed in PA. This, of course, meant NO potty stops, backseat whining, leaky diapers, drive-thrus or any of the things I DETEST about making that trip. But, it meant something else. Something I thought I could pull off... THANKSGIVING DINNER! How hard could it be, though? Ya get a turkey, make some stuffing, some veggies, make some mashed potatoes and a WOWEE dessert. Easy. Now, please keep in mind that my newly injured 85 lb dog needs round-the-clock care as she cannot stand. You can't pee and poop very neatly while lying down. Darned dog won't use the bedpan! Don't blame her, I never could either!! (Don't email me! I SWEAR I DIDN'T try to get her onto a bedpan!) She also can't eat laying down unless we hold her bowls for her. This means that about 5-7 times a day I have to convince her to drag herself to a new comforter on a new piece of indoor/outdoor carpet when she makes a mess. I have to throw the comforter in the washer and take the dirty indoor/outdoor carpet outside into the driveway and hose it down then hang it to dry. FIVE TO SEVEN TIMES A DAY... So, making a Thanksgiving feast shouldn't be an issue at all! What was I thinking? I went and got all my loot at WalMart Wednesday night...turkey, stove-top, potatoes, frozen corn, pumpkin pie, banana cream pie, port win cheese ball and dates. So, no, I didn't make anything from scratch except the mashed potatoes. I was busy talking to my mom when I added the milk so they were more like potato soup than the mashed variety. Great. The only thing I COULD mess up, I did! Or so I thought... Then as we sat down to eat, my husband uttered something about the turkey that made me want to SPIT! I was so proud of that turkey. An amazing little thing it was. I found it with all the other turkeys in the meat section. It was in a bag that was ready for the roasting pan! In big letters on the side it said, "NO NECK, NO GIBLETS! JUST PLACE IN PAN AND COOK!" JACKPOT! I have a strong aversion to touching raw meat! Deep down, I have a strong aversion to EATING MEAT but I do it so my diet doesn't consist of peanut butter and cheese. So, this bird that I didn't have to touch was like a bra that makes my boobs look like Halle Berry's, like concealer that covers my PMS weight gain that seems to only happen in the bags under my eyes, like a body suit that takes my "fluffy" body and turns me into the likes of Lauren Conrad from The Hills! It was sheer perfection....until my husband uttered those words...forkful of juicy meat stuffed into his mouth. He chews...eyebrows twist...chew...twist... Him: "THIS IS CHICKEN!" Me: "Shut up!" (snort!) Him: "No, it is. Taste it!" Me: "I am not that stupid! It's a turkey. I bought it! It was laying there with all its other headless turkey friends!" Him: "TASTE IT!" Chew...twist...chew... Me: "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!" We dug the bag out of the trash to settle it...NO WHERE ON THE BAG did it say WHAT KIND of BIRD was IN the bag!!! Seriously! No where! Not even in the ingredients! But it was most definitely, a FREAKING CHICKEN!! Here I was, thinking "giblets" were specific to turkeys...had NO idea that chickens had them, too! Maybe it was all worth it though...no one will TRUST me to make the Thanksgiving Turkey again! *grins* Not as dumb as they think, huh?!!!