Friday, December 28, 2012

Q4 2012 Post Season Wrap-Up

Trying turkey neck for the first time.  Gag
Never trust the words, "You've never had them?  They're DELICIOUS."
Getting a family member to cry at the Thanksgiving table.  Sorry Mom!
Really?  I made someone cry AGAIN?
Going salt-free (a fate worse than death).
Low Sodium chicken broth?  Might as well be drinking water.
Rum cakes and polvorones.
World's worst baker, right here.
Family Time.
Crazy runs in the family.

Mental note:  Stop taking pictures with my 20 year old cousins.


This would've been great if it weren't blurry.
Gift Exchanges.
Is anyone ever really happy with gift exchanges?
Discovering just how bad of a dancer I am.
Holiday eating.
BH and my three blessings.

I have no idea when M learned how to eat with chop sticks.
Now that's my kind of holiday spread.

I'm classically conditioned to salivate at the sight of Reynolds Foil.

Hope your holiday season was happy and filled with warm times.

Monday, December 10, 2012

An Unconventional Holiday Gift Giving Guide

Gift giving season is upon us, and with that comes the dreaded holiday gift exchange.  Every year, I do my best to bow out of this annual ritual, but they cornered me this year.  So I'm Secret Santa to some poor shmoe, and some poorer shmoe is Secret Santa to me.  

The problem I have with office gifts is that they're usually so generic and impersonal that they hold no appeal to me.  Wine, Liquor, Coffee, gift cards.  That pretty much covers it.  I like to buck the system and gift gifts that I think are pretty cool.  Like one year I gave this glass head to a coworker.

I thought it was fun and could be used a myriad of ways.

It was returned within the week.  And now I'm known as the tacky gift giver.

I thought last year's gift idea was great too, but it didn't take off as I had assumed it would.  I guess my tastes are eclectic.  So for those of you who happen to think glass heads and bulletproof clipboards are fantastic gifts, here are some more from you, straight from my personal wish list that's posted for my Secret Santa at work.

Vinyl Place mats
Star Wars Car Decals
2013 Hamster Sports Calendar
Rainbow Brite Snuggie
Mythbusters Mug Set
Beard Beanie
Star Trek Door Chime
Wampa Snow Scraper

Happy Shopping!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Allergic Shiners

Scene from an allergist's office:

Doctor (to the nurse, is taking notes):  "Lungs, clear.  Nose, pale boggy.  Eyes, mild shiners."

Me (to the doctor):  "He has shiners?  I never noticed them on him."

Doctor and Assistant (together):  "Oh yeah, he's got them.  See there and there?"

P (aka "the patient"):  "What are shiners?"

Me: "They're kind of like faded bruises around the bottom of your eyes, from allergies that affect your sinuses."

P (lightbulb going on):  "Ohhhh, those are shiners?  Mom, you have big ones, right there and there."

Me:  "Uh, no, those are just dark circles."

Later, while typing up this post... 

L (noticing my photo-editing):  "What are you doing"?

Me:  "Trying to give myself dark circles."

L:  "Why?  You already have them."

It's either laugh or cry in this family.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Teaching Art, Part 4: Monster Drawings

Last weekend, L checked out this book from the library:

He is ALWAYS checking out "How to Draw" books, and truthfully, I'm not a big fans of them.  They take all the fun out of winging it, with all those circles and squares, connected by lines and such.

But this book was different.  Instead of the typical routine, this book gave examples of different facial elements and body parts for the reader to piece together his own creation, in this case, a monster.  So when M saw the book on Saturday night and asked if I would draw with him, I said "Sure."

Have I told you before how happy I am to have all sons?  I don't know what I would've done if I had birthed a daughter.  Probably would've made a wreck out of her.

After a good 15 minutes of looking through the book, deciding on which nose to use and which eyes to make, we got to drawing.  This project had already gone 10 minutes too long, so I finished up fairly quickly.

M would have nothing to do with such marginal participation.

"What's it called?  You have to add more details.  And write some words about pumpkin pie."

So I named it and added more detail.  And wrote something about pumpkin pie.

M's masterpiece, while not a conventional monster, has a dark intensity that I like.

Mine is a little more by the book, which means, minimal creativity.  But the coloring is quite nice.

When L found out that we were having a grande old time drawing monsters with HIS book, he insisted that I go another round, this time with him.

Now any great artiste will tell you that a work of art (no matter how bad) takes a great deal of energy to create.  Fortunately, I am no great artiste, so I was game for Monster Drawing, Round 2.

So began another 15 minutes of perusing and planning for the perfect monster.  I played along, patiently.  And when I put my pen to paper, something odd happened.  It was as if my hand had developed a mind of it's own; inexplicably, it was now guided by a supernatural monster-drawing presence.  As if I was suddenly channeling the ghost of Picasso himself.  

What became an exercise in patience, turned into an exercise in fear, for this is what I scrawled.

Alright, so it's not Picasso quality, nor is it even all that scary.  But is was creepy enough to make me wonder what is going on my subconscious.

L's work of art was just that:  a work of art.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fun With Pets

Sometimes, it doesn't take much to make me laugh.  This is one of those times.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What's To Be Thankful For? A Lot.

In honor of this day of thanks,  I'm going to brainstorm on all the things I am thankful for.

My kids.  As much as they drive me crazy, they fulfill me a thousand times more.

My husband, especially this morning.  I walked downstairs to find the house completely picked up.  Every room.

My health and the health of my loved ones. 

My mind.  I may lose it occasionally, but somehow I manage to find it every time.

The smell of crayola crayons.




The Internet.

Pain Reliever.

Hot Socks.

Sun Screen.

Windy Days.

Washing Machines.

My Job.



Beta Blockers.


Toilet Paper.





My Minivan.


Digital Cameras.

Health Insurance.


I'm sure I missed some obvious ones.  What's on your list?

Monday, November 19, 2012

L'Occitane is French for "Love This Stuff"

I've mentioned before that I work for a large company.  Because that company is so large, and I am located in a highly traveled-to office, we have a pretty sweet deal set up with the nearby Four Seasons Hotel.  A little thing commonly referred to as a Corporate Rate.  Anyone who travels to my part of the world AND who books through our internal agency gets to stay there and enjoy the lifestyle of the rich and famous for a few days.

But if you're like me and happen to live in town, you only get to hear about how great the hotel is.  Corporate rates only apply to out of towners.  

One of the perks of staying at the Four Seasons is that they stock the bathroom with L'Occitane bath and body products.  If you're not familiar with L'Occitane, just think Bath and Body Works for the elite.  Normally, I'm pretty critical (read cheap) about expensive stuff, but in this case, you really do get what you pay for.  

This stuff is amazing. If I were wealthy, my bathroom would be decked out in L'Occitane, head to toe (or ceiling to floor).  But I'm not even close to wealthy, so I have to resort to other tactics. 

Like begging my visiting co-workers to smuggle out a bar of soap for me when they're in town.

Six years of asking for soap and griping about never seeing the inside of the Four Seasons finally paid off.  A very generous associate beqeathed these gifts to me on her last visit.


Can I tell you how happy this package makes me?  Mostly because of it's contents, but also because it was a token of appreciation in a time of late nights and work-filled weekends.

So let's break down the contents.

By the way, I should spell it out that in no way am I affiliated with L'Occitane.  A quick glance at my 13 followers should confirm to you that I am hardly anyone's target blogger for some easy advertising.  This post is all me.

So, back to the loot.  I can break down the goodies into two categories:  lotions and cleansers.  Here are the lotions.

Now, I ask, does anyone really need five different kinds of lotion?  YES, they do.  Hand, foot, body, extra dry skin, AND firming concentrate; they're all vital.  Particularly the firmer.  I know exactly where I'm going to be using this one...on that kangaroo pouch of a stomach that three pregnancies have left me with.  I have high hopes for this firming creme.

When it comes to the cleansers, all I can say is yum.

This company is not just about pretty packaging.  Their soaps are luxurious, and that Shower Oil...I need to pause to remember the first time I discovered the Shower Oil.  It was just yesterday, but just like the day Man first walked on the moon, I already know I'll remember exactly what I was doing when I first discovered this product.  This stuff looks like oil in the bottle but lathers up and transforms into magic.  I could not believe how GOOD it smelled and how soft it left my skin.  I honestly thought to myself, "I could totally bathe in this," and then realized that I actually was bathing in it.  It's that good.

I should probably tell you that the scents are not uniform across the different products, and some are a bit perfumey.  But I drool over the skin firmer and shower oil scents. 

I don't even want to know how much these items costs individually...I assume this will be the one and only time I ever bask in the glow of a fully L'Occitane-stocked bathroom.  And so, the children have been warned to keep their hands off Momma's new soaps and lotions. I'll be watching the level of my Shower Oil closer than George Jefferson watched the level of his liquor.

Have you been using my Shower Oil?
After spending a good half hour staring at my windfall, I gathered everything up and returned back to reality.  As I was lifting the bag that the gift came in, another package fell out.  A bonus gift!!!  

I know.  I kind of hate me too right now.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cupcake Wars, 8th Grade Style

Me (at pick up, after school, to P):  "Hi Sweetie, how was school today?"

P (with his typical lack of enthusiasm):  "It was ok."

Me (still trying):  "Nothing interesting happened?"

P:  "Well, we did have cupcake wars today in cooking, and I'm going to get an F, because Clare used half a cup of vinegar instead of oil."

Me:  "Oh no...did she do it on purpose?"

P:  "No, and when she realized what she did, we told Miss Phelps, but she wouldn't let us do it over.  She said she didn't have enough flour."

Me: "So you had to serve it like that?  Did the judges eat it?"

P (gaining enthusiasm):  "Yeah.  Mrs. Young has a nut allergy, so she couldn't try it, but Mr. White had to eat it all."

Side note:  Mr. White is his English teacher from last year.  Tough, but really fun teacher.

Me:  "What did he do when he ate it?  Did he gag?"

P:  "It was so funny.  He almost spit it out and yelled, 'It's vinegar!'  All the kids were laughing."

Me (chuckling at the thought of sticking it to the Man):  "Did he know it was your team that made the cupcake?"

P:  "Not at first.  But when we left class, I walked by him and said, 'Don't ever give me a B again.'"

That's my boy. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

PSA: Removing Water Stains From Wood Furniture

This post provides the answer to one of life's age-old mysteries:

How do you get water stains out of wood furniture?

The solution is unbelievably simple:  you iron them out.

I've read about this before and never bothered to give it any credence.  But last week, after I put another stain in our coffee table, I knew it was time to do something about it.

So I gave it a shot. And guess what?  It worked!

Here's what you need:
  1. An iron, set to Cotton
  2. A thin, white cloth (100% cotton)
Once the iron is nice and hot, place the cloth on the stain and iron away for about 20 seconds.

(I made sure to lift the iron periodically so that it wouldn't auto-shut off...also because I wasn't sure how long the wood could absorb the heat before burning.)

Note:  do not push the steam button.  This is counter-productive to the whole "removing the water stain" goal.

In my case, some spots needed more work than others.  The fresher stains (1 week old) came clear in two rounds of ironing (about 40 seconds total), but the older ones took 3-4 rounds.

And here you go:  before and after. 

Lots of stains.

Hardly any stains.  See book on top left corner to prove it's the same spot.

Word of warning:  if this particular piece of furniture is heirloom quality or holds a high amount of sentimental value, please, please, please iron at your own risk.  I would hate to be the one who gave you the idea that resulted in irreparable damage to your precious item.

But if you're like me, and only spent a few Benjamins on it (that's me trying to be hip with the lingo), go for it.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Freudian Slip

I called my mom today, just to say hi, and instead, accidentally dialed my kids' pediatrician.

Let's examine the psychology of that little Freudian slip.

I looooove my pediatrician.
I looooove my mom too.

My pediatrician is old.  Older than my Dad.
My mom is also old.  And also older than my Dad.

My pediatrician is really good with my boys.
My mom is really good with my boys.

My pediatrician finished our last visit with a warm hug.
My mom usually finishes our visits with a warm hug.

My pediatrician gives advice like, "give him1 tsp of amoxicillin 3 times a day for his ear infection."
My mom gives advice like, "go in the backyard and pull some mint from my plant to put in his ear."

I guess that's where the similarities end.

My head is shaped like a gourd.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Only Comes But Once A Year

My favorite holiday of the year has come and gone, and today I'm feeling a bit of a Halloween hangover.  Not from too much drinking or too much candy, but from too much excitement.  This over-sized kid got overstimulated and had to go to bed early; but not without first enjoying the holiday to it's fullest.  

And by fullest I mean, wearing multiple costumes, entering contests in cities that I don't even live near, and convincing all coworkers in my vicinity to dress up like the bunch of middle-aged fools that we are.

It was a great month holiday.  And now I'm tired.

Grandma stole every idea Pinterest had to dish out.

That's me trying to channel my inner Kia Hamster.

A few belts and a bed to jump off of are all a boy needs to feel like a ninja.

At our house, it's not a party unless donuts are involved.  And dog crates.

Guess who won the toilet paper mummy contest?

Coolest recipe ever for Halloween punch.

But if you lose the recipe and wing it, you may end up with a volcano-like eruption on your hands.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the costume contest, but my sister took some great ones and posted them on her blog here and here.  She made the best thrift store costumes this have to see them

Back to the slide show.

That's me, trying to channel my inner Meadowlark Lemon.

Coolest costume of the season.

I sit behind this guy at work.  I guess that makes me the horse's ass.

Samuel L. Jackson Nick Fury stopped by for some coffee.

As you can see, I am clearly the life of the party.

I'll leave you with this short video, taken yesterday.  I should've been working...this is our busiest time of the year.  But the hours have been long lately, and we're all getting a little punchy.  Which probably explains why we thought this video was the funniest thing since Dave Coulier.