Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mish-Mash Monday



(Only today, it's on Tuesday because I can totally roll with the fact that I screwed up the scheduling of my posts. Yay me.)

 Here is the Mish-Mash!

Today, I tried this water "recipe" which I found on Pinterest.  My kids and husband HATE it.  I love it.  Yay!  More for me!  It's from shewearsmanyhats.com.  It may look like ordinary lemon/lime water, but it's not.  Nnnn-nnnn.  She adds cucumber slices too.  Um wow.  Love it.  I have gotten in ALL my water today -- and then some.  It's unsweetened too -- bonus!

***

I totally scored this birthday:  My mom sent me a gift card to Hobby Lobby.  AND I used a 40% off coupon.   {What did you think I meant by scored?}  This is part of my new stash.


Hello Granny Ripple Blanket!  Here I come!  Well, after I finish a totally cute baby blanket for a dear friend.  At least the picture in my head is totally cute.  I'll keep you posted.


***

I get to go out twice for my birthday!  My husband's aunt and uncle gave us a gift card for Christmas to our favorite steak joint.  Can you tell there is a story behind this?


Well . . . we dropped the chickadees off at our aunt and uncle's house and made our way, via GPS on my cell phone.  Evidently, I had a brain lapse when I decided to use the cell GPS because we have ended up in some odd places we never meant to to when using it.  I swear the thing is out to get us.  I know somewhere, someone is laughing hysterically at the gullible owners of a white Toyota Camry.


At any rate, we blindly put our trust in the maniacal GPS and ended up next to a wooded field near Houston.  I won't tell you how many times I asked The Calm One to stop and ask for directions.  I stopped counting after 15.  He stopped counting long before that, but not before his eyebrows permanently lodged in his hairline.  

A-hem.

About 30 miles and two attempts at different restaurant sites later, we gave up and went to a completely different steak joint altogether.  But didn't have a gift certificate for.  

All was not lost because we still were able to throw peanut shells on the floor, we got seated almost right away (on a Saturday night no less) and for the very first time I ordered one of these:



This peach margarita had my name written all over it.  And it was good!  I am not a drinker by any stretch of the imagination, but I've been known to order a strawberry daiquiri or a fuzzy navel on an occasion or two.  

The waiter laughed at me  (I sense a trend here).  He evidently thought it was funny that I had no idea if I wanted salt or sugar to line the rim of the margarita glass.  That's how much of a non-drinker I am.  BTW, I got sugar.  Not that it mattered because I used the straw he stuck in the drink.  

He probably laughed at that too.  Whatevs.


Since we didn't use the gift certificate on that night, we are going this Saturday.  Again, without the kids.  Maybe I'll order a real drink this time.


***


Since this is Mish Mash Monday on a Tuesday, I am going to throw caution to the wind and let you in on a little secret.  I am a slob when it comes to house cleaning.


There.  I said it.


*insert sigh of relief*


In fact, I don't have pictorial proof, but I can tell you that tonight we couldn't eat at the kitchen table because it currently holds:


*two laptops - I have no idea why they aren't on laps
*an unopened bottle of water
* two used cereal bowls with spoons
* two Valentine's Day gift bags that won't go to Whirling Dervish's and The Affectionate One's teachers for another week or so 
* a lego - from the Star Wars collection
* a measuring cup (1/2 cup if you were wondering)
* an envelope containing two of each of WD's spelling words so we can play the matching game when he gets home from school tomorrow.
* and a pile of papers, nearly all of which are tax related in some way


Did I actually admit to the fact that I am housekeeping challenged?  I did?  Oh, okay.  Are you sure?  You are?  Oh.

What kind of fruity drink can I order that has whiskey in it?


Counting it all Mish-Mash Monday joy,

Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm Gonna Take Two and Call You In the Morning. Assuming I Survive.

they may or may not look like these guys -- only a younger version

I am sitting in a room with five males playing Xbox. They are so loud and . . . and testosterone-y. They are taking turns singing "Staying Alive" yelling "Hoo-Ah!" and laughing at/slamming/scorning their opponents. Their feet smell, their pits are sweaty and they have annihilated the junk food stash.

They have been here a total of 11 minutes.  It feels like 11 hours.

Is this normal? Do I need to be worried? Is there a 12 step program for mothers of boys?  I may need to attend a meeting, if for no other reason than to get out of the house.

My eyelid is twitching. My hands won't stop shaking and I am praying for my medication to kick in.

Now that my oldest is nearly a tween and so are his school and church friends, I can see that there will be a lot more of Xbox and Nerf Wars than I originally thought in my immediate future.  Oops.  There goes the other eyelid . . . Good thing I love these guys.

But, I may need to buy earplugs and up the medication.

I'm just sayin'.



Counting it all youthful joy,

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Free Family Fun -- Part Deux

Last time we started our list for free family fun. Today, I have come up with a few more ideas to add.


* Tell a Silly Story Ever since my kids realized that "Mommy is writing a book," they have been interested in writing a book of their own. I let them get on the laptop and click away on the keys. But they get stuck and often. Also like mommy. A-hem.


I have found that if we "write" a story together, then it becomes much easier for them to be creative. We pick out a couple of characters and a minimal storyline.

Two worms look for something to eat.


A old, old tree with a tire swing drops it's leaves one by one.


A child thinks a kangaroo is in his closet.


You get the idea.  We try to stay away from scary scenarios, but if a scary scenario can turn into a silly one, then it turns into fun.


It sparks the imagination and yet gives a guide for where the story might go.  Each family member can only contribute one sentence at a time.  It keeps everyone involved and no one has the chance to get bored since their turn is coming up.


* Terrific Taffy Pulling Party  It may sound terribly old fashioned, but one of the best Christmases I remember as a kid is when my dad let all six of us kids (including cousins) pull taffy.  We still talk about it.  It was a bit of a mess for my parents, but it was great fun for us.  I haven't been adventurous enough to try this with my own kids yet, but I plan to.  And I have all the ingredients in my pantry already.  You probably do too.  You can find the recipe for the sticky, stretchy stuff here.  Don't forget to take pictures!


* Bubble Station  Even my tween is into bubbles if they can come out of a plastic gun or a big hoop.  Usually my two youngest like to run around and pop the bubbles even more than making their own, so it works out well for everyone.  In the past, we have even put on music to see how many bubbles they can pop before the music ends. 


The only downer is when the bubble run out.
Well, THIS is the solution to that little dilemma!  And here is the recipe to go with it:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup Dawn dishwashing liquid
Put water and corn syrup in a bowl and microwave for 3-4 minutes.  Stir to combine.  Gently mix in dishwashing liquid.  Put in a nifty dispenser like this -- and viola!


Hope these ideas add to your free family fun list.  What ideas have worked for you in the past?  Please share in the comments!

Counting it all joy,

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Free Family Fun -- Part One

We are broke. There, I said it. No mincing words. Nothing left to the imagination.

Done.

So what's a mama to do when her chickadees need to be entertained? Here are a few ideas that I have gleaned from the WWW and from my own imagination.

Hold onto your pony tails. It's gonna be a bumpy fun ride . . .

* Seeking Silly Stuff. Now, I could have gone all conventional and said a "Scavenger Hunt," but usually this brings to mind a lot of preparation, so it often geets nixed right away. Or is that just me? At any rate, I take the easy way out. We go to a park we haven't visited for awhile and I make up clues as we go along.

"Find me something bumpy." They scamper off and look for a bumpy object.


"Bring me something that crawls."  My son once asked a mom if he could "borrow" her baby for the game.  Her reaction and mine for that matter are for another post . . .

"Look for an object that has at least three colors on it."

It's funny some of the things they come up with and how they justify some of their finds (i.e. stranger's baby). My ten year old is too old for this game *sigh* But he joins in anyway and he is the funniest when he tries to justify the silliest of objects to satisfy the quest.


* Doodle Painting  I originally saw this idea on Pinterest.  It then lead me to  Delaware County Moms.  And I love it.  Even my ten year old gets into this kind of thing.  And all of the ingredients, you probably have at home already.  Bonus -- and also the point of this post!


German Spotlight.  I have mentioned this a time or two, I know.  Probably because it brings back such memories from my childhood.  Wait 'til dusk.  Break out the flashlights with fresh batteries (trust me, stopping in the middle of the game to fiddle with batteries = no fun).  Establish your boundaries and "home base" for safety and play hide-n-seek.  Yes, in the dark.  You get hit by a light, you are out.

This is a great game to play in fall or spring when it gets dark sooner, but it's still not too cold to deter the fun.


* Family Photo Phun Fun  Throw up (that may be a poor choice of words) an old sheet to use as a background or find a great tree for a twist on locale and let the kids take silly pictures.  Yes, let THEM use the camera.  Dress up in silly clothes or make mustaches out of construction paper and snap away.  Don't forget, parents have to participate too!  Have fun looking through the photos on the LCD screen or on the tv after the shoot is over.

Which naturally leads us to the next activity that can be done the same day or saved for another day . . .

* Attack of the Archivers  Preserve those memories and silly pictures -- don't let them just sit on your SD card!  Slide those printed out photo shoot pictures into a small photo brag book.  But only after you dress them up a little.  Mount them on colored paper, add a sticker or two and write a silly caption that makes you laugh.  Slide in the little album or post on the fridge.  For those of you who loathe scrap booking, STOP HYPERVENTILATING:  THIS IS NOT SCRAP BOOKING.  Just keep telling yourself that and it will go much easier.  No need to get fancy. Just do it.  For the kids.


* Dinner Danger  Okay, okay this really isn't a dangerous activity, but your kids will enjoy the sense of danger or intrigue the name implies.  Unwrap the labels from a few (preselected) cans before you get the kids involved.  Gather around the table with said cans and a can opener.  Each child gets to pick a can to open and "serve" for dinner.  The family members who are not serving must wear blindfolds and let the server feed them a bite or two of whatever is in the can.  Once they have sampled the mystery food, let them take off the blindfold to enjoy the reactions of the others. 

You can choose to heat and eat or just dig right into the can.  Depending on how adventurous you are.  If you don't eat what's in the can, you don't get to serve.  Simple as that.  Or you can make up your own rules to fit your family.

Whatev's have fun with it!

Hope these few ideas sparks your imagination and fun in your family.  I'll be back later with more fun free family activities.  Enjoy!

Counting it all joy,

Friday, January 27, 2012

Freedom Friday

When someone mentions the word freedom, many things may come to the listener's mind.

Freedom with regard to our patriotism.

Freedom from debt.

Freedom from slavery.

Freedom from fear.

Today, I am taking the opportunity to address the freedom from fear.  Mainly because I have issues with fear.  My brother posted this quote on FaceBook this morning and I had to share it.  Mostly because I need to remember it.

I hope it helps you too.



Counting it all joyful freedom,


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Editing and Then More Editing and Then . . .


I have finished the editing that my novel needed so desperately. I wasn't aware, at first that it needed so much attention. I felt good about my writing. And then, I let it sit and marinate, so to speak.

Maybe I marinated.

At any rate, I did some blog hopping and found out a couple of ways that I could make my writing even stronger. Back to the drawing board computer screen.  It felt like drudgery at first.  I was disappointed that my first, second third draft was so, so, sucky.

I hate that word.  It's abominable.  I do not let my children use any form of that word.  But there really isn't another word that describes it better.  Truly.  It stank.  See?  Just not the same effect.

And then, as I trudged through, I began to get excited about my story again.

Because of the changes, the pace of the story picked up and the action felt more immediate, dynamic, more alive.  I was more alive.  And it felt gooooood!

I know there is a lot of work yet to be done.  I need an editor who will work for free cheap.  And I need an agent who will guide me through the next steps.  Even if those next steps are more editing.  I already know there will be more editing and writing involved.  And I am up for it.  Because I've fallen in love with my story all over again.

But it's there.  Ready for eyes other than my own (and the eyes of the sweetest, most self-sacrificing aunt anyone could ever have -- Thank you, Aunt Mary!).

And now I have posted the "it's ready" post.  And that fact makes it all so much more concrete than anything else I've done in the last seven months.

Eek!  Maybe I should go through it one more time.  Just in case . . .

Counting it all nervous and jittery joy,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Would Someone Make Up My Mind For Me Already?

I am so joyful (and relieved) to know that God has enough grace and mercy to cover my mistakes. Even when I don't know I've made them.

Being a mom is tough.  This is not news, I do recognize that fact.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. I say that because it has been making me wonder quite a bit lately if I stack up.  Comparison is not such a wonderful thing.  And yet, it happens.

Often.

I visit Pinterest and find so many healthy recipes that I'd like to try some day.  I have tried several, but there are so many out there, that it makes me shudder when Mac & Cheese sits on our dinner table yet again.

I glance over Face Book and see all the things my friends and their families are doing.  Maybe we should take up letter boxing.  I should be gearing up for another 5K.  And oh, I forgot to send out that condolence card.

I read a blog or two and find out that soy is bad for you.  Not that I was ever tempted to try tofu, but do you know soy is in just about everything?  And under the guise of many, many different names?  More labels to read and more multi syllabic chemicals to avoid.

Am I a bad mother, I wonder, since I refuse to pay 3Xs as much for Nutella than for regular old peanut butter?  Especially since my chickadees eat an entire jar in half the time a jar of peanut butter would sit in the pantry?  Should I be giving my children probiotics instead of vitamins?  And now, juice is said to have arsenic in it.  Did I unwittingly flirt with Autism when I had my children vaccinated?

I guess this is why we pray over our food and plead with The Almighty during bedtime prayers to protect our children.  And here I thought it was a matter of showing reverence and gratitude.  Even our prayers seem so much more complicated these days.

I am so glad that not only does His blood cover all our sins, but his grace and mercy covers my mistakes, my ignorance and my lack of energy.   It's a big job covering all of that.

And I thought being a mom was hard.

Counting it all joy,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - The Coney Dog Edition

We stopped in at a coney dog shop after church last Sunday.  I just realized that not one of us ordered coney dogs . . . 

Huh . . .
Here's my girl, The Affectionate One.  She just finished up mini corn dogs and was giving her "Please?!" face because she wanted ice cream.  She got it.  With a face like that, how could we refuse?




This is Whirling Dervish.  He's the baby of the family.  But don't call him that, or he'll karate chop you!  He was pulling away from Mommy because he didn't want his picture taken. *sigh*


And this is The Cruise Director.  He wasn't too thrilled about having his picture taken either, but didn't complain because he wanted to snag a refill and take it in the car.  We have stuck to our "no eating and drinking in the new-to-us-car" rule for the most part.  Funny how we have to clean out the car so much less now.

{Happy Wordless Wednesday to you!  I am linking up to 5 Minutes for Mom.}

Counting it all coney dog joy,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wallerin' But Tryin Not To -- But Failing Miserably

Oh, Geesh.


Here I am sitting, having a really good pity party with a nice helping of bitterness for hors d' oeuvres when I get hit with pearls of wisdom (from Twitter of all places) that basically tells me to knock it off.

Do all you can to maintain loving, peaceful, and healthy relationships. We cannot be right with God and wrong with man.


Let every detail in your lives - words, actions-be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God every step of the way. Col3.17.MSG


I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed.  And alone.  I want to lash out, stomp my feet and possibly even kick someone or something.  I want to dig in my heels and refuse to do what I know must be done.  And then, when I finally do it, I know what will happen:  I will want to gloat and feel all self-righteous about it.


I hate this about myself.


I hate that I am not stronger.  

I hate that I just cannot see what needs to be done and do it without a wound licking and tears first.  

I hate that I cannot change people to do things my way or to be, what I think, are better people.


Log?  What log?  I can't seem to see very well at the moment. I must have something in my eye.  Maybe I need contacts.

You may wonder what has set off this tirade. It was a simple thing really: I wanted help. I was refused that help and then I felt like that gave me permission to go mental on a rampage.


I still want to indulge in a nice, long, deep anger strike.  My farmer friends would make some kind of reference here to wallerin' like a pig.  The image would fit all too well, I am afraid.

I can feel that my blood pressure is still way too high.  I keep telling myself to uncurl my toes and fingers.  And though I know I need to pray, I am resisting.  Because that means I will have to change, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the person and circumstances that has brought me to this point will change.  

And it's not fair.  This is where, if I were four, I'd be sticking out my tongue.  Oh who am I kidding?!  The bottom lip has fallen far, far from the place God put it.  And it feels good.


And so not good.


Trying desperately to find the joy,

Top Ten {Tuesday} Styles I'd Never Be Caught Dead With

I was browsing the 'net and came across some unusual styles for 2012. These are the Top Ten {Tues} styles you will NOT catch me wearing or carrying. Ever.



This may be Dior, but you won't catch me with this on my arm.  I'd be too afraid some kind of flying creature would want to nest in it.  And then have babies.







This grey cowl looks more like a straight jacket for one's neck than an accessory to keep warm.  Just looking at it makes me short of breath.
Breathe . . . breathe . . . breathe . . .









I love a good piano boot like the next gal -- no, no, I don't.   I can't even get through that whole sentence without snickering.  And what is up with the toes sticking out but no leg?  Yikes.








Sleepover anyone?
This Louis Vuitton is probably too pricey for me anyway, but looks like  those sleeping bags for kids that have the pillow attached. 





Um, how can that even be one person's hair?  Knowing that it must be from six or fourteen different people who had to give up their hair for this style to work is enough to gross me out.  Not to mention that IT LOOKS ABSOLUTELY HORRENDOUS. You don't even notice the girl herself because she has too much hair going on.







This jacket couldn't look more like a shower curtain if it were hanging in my bathroom.  And I'd never do that, BTW.  And paired with blue socks really makes me shake my head.











What is the first thing you think of when you see this picture?  My first thought was "Ack!  Spider Woman!"  And then, "What the heck is that thing on her chest?"











When I started having babies, I looked high and low for a diaper bag that didn't look like a diaper bag.  Why would someone carry a purse that looks just like a diaper?













I am sure these are super fashionable in, you know, FASHIONABLE circles.  It makes me ask, if I'm gonna pay big bucks for those shoes, I want the rest of the shoe to go with it.  And fewer colors, please.






Oh, heck no.  I don't know if this is supposed to be a deer, a cow or something in between.  All I know is that I don't need something that makes anyone think "heifer" on the top of my head.  Or anywhere near me, for that matter!




If you had to choose, which of these "fashions" would you adopt for 2012?

(I am linking this up to Oh Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday linky party.)

Counting it all strange and wacky joy,

Monday, January 9, 2012

Words That Have Become Words, But Shouldn't Have

The Pioneer Woman asked today, 

Here's what I think: "Orientate" is not a word. Correct? Or is it one of those words that isn't a word but became a word?



She is sooooo-ohhhh-ooohhhh correct. Orientate is not a word, but a group of letters that someone put together because they thought it sounded like a word.  And then, more people picked up on it.  And then more and more, and MORE!  Acccckkkkkkk!


If you are curious, here is my emphatic response to her Twitter outcry.


Commentate is another popular "word" that is often used.  And out in public!  Gulp!  The correct word to use is comment. I realize that there is a large incorrect group of people who believe that commentators commentate, but sadly, they do not. They comment.  And while we are on the subject:  it is my belief that sports commentators comment way too much.  Waaaaay too much.  But, that's could just be bitter me.


Instantaneous and Instantaneously.  You can find these in the dictionary.  And they are not strictly incorrect.  However, I seem to have fallen into a pet peeve mode, so I am going with it.


(I am actually in a very good mood.  I have no idea why this has come up today of all days.  But I am committed now.)


Instant and Instantly are correct.  Instantaneous and Instantaneously are, I believe, made up words to try to convey a greater sense of urgency than the words Instant and Instantly.  Ridiculous.  Nothing can be faster than instant, right?!  Right?!

And then we have those who like to use "more instantaneous."  ugh.  It's enough to put this English major in an early grave.



Next on the list is my biggest pet peeve.  It is also not strictly an incorrect word, but two words that when used together, is incorrect.  "But yet."  Saying that phrase is like saying "but, but"  Redundant.  And completely annoying.  It is correct to say "and yet."  Let's all make Jubilee a promise, okay?  Try really, really hard to not say this phrase EVER again, m'kay?  Thankyouverymuch!




Well, there are more letters that people use together because they think they are words, but I'll stop.  Besides, I am afraid I lost most of you at my "But yet" rampage.  *sigh*


What words do people use that give you the heebie jeebies?


Counting it all wordy joy,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Tale of Christmas Trees Past

Okay, okay . . . I know that Christmas was a long time ago . . . but I also know that my dear readers will not mind if I post a Christmas related post. It's still timely because some of us you are just now taking down our your Christmas trees.


{I once helped a friend take down her roommate's tree in March. Her roommate wrapped lights (six or seven times) around every other branch on each tree limb. I wish I were kidding. It took three hours to take the tree down.


I soon loathed the very mention of that roommate's name. Then I got to know her and The Calm One and I ended up being in her wedding. Funny how life works . . .}


At any rate. I am swiping taking a cue from Holly from June Cleaver Nirvana and posting the evolution of our usually artificial Christmas trees over the years. Enjoy!




The Tale of the Tree
 
Oh, how newlywed wife loved decorating the tree when she and The Calm One were first married.  Coordinating bulbs and decorations, white lights.  It was a joy.  They even put up the tree TOGETHER.

 After nearly four years of marriage, mommy began birthing chickadees.  And they soon embarked on the toddler phase of decorating the tree.  Notice how very few decorations are at the bottom of the tree?



Then came the "Mommy, I help?" phase.  How can a mommy say "no" to such emphatic pleadings from her very own offspring?  The tree suffered a bit of humiliation, however.  Mommy smiled and smiled.  Daddy smiled and smiled.  Even though both of them dearly wanted to do some rearranging for aesthetic purposes.



Enter the kittens.  The kittens wanted to help too.  Their kind of help drove mommy and daddy nutty.  It made the chickadees laugh and laugh.  More humiliation for the poor, poor Christmas tree . . .



Soon the chickadees grew and argued over the colored bulbs and where they should go.  From his place on the recliner, Daddy suggested throwing everything at the tree and see where they landed and be done with it.  Mommy considered his option with interest and then agreed.  The youngest insisted on hanging the star at "the top" of the tree.  Even the tree breathed happily.
If mommy would have allowed, this is how the tree would have looked this past Christmas.  Though there was great eagerness in the Jubilant land at first,  no one was interested in finishing the tree.



Only mommy wonders how the tree will look next year.  Everyone else is too busy playing Lego Star Wars III to care.


The End


Counting it all joy,


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Better Late Than Christmassy Never

I am just gettin around to catching up with some of my favorite craft blogs. Seems I've missed some great Christmas stuff. I will be finling these ideas away for next year. Which, at this moment means I will be pinning them to Pinterest so as to not lose the ideas in the rather clumsily categorized bookmark/favorites on my laptop's toolbar!




 I adore this red burlap wreath.  Little Birdie Secrets has so many neat ideas. I love many kinds of wreaths to be perfectly honest.  And if it is red, it's a bonus.  Don't know where I can find red burlap, but something tells me that if I wait until closer to Christmas 2012, then I will have more success.






And then there is this gem.  This is also by Little Birdie Secrets.  It's a simple thrift store frame, painted white.  Add some sheet music and a berry wreath.  You can pin your Christmas cards to it or leave it as it is.  Lovely.





I am also planning on trying my hand at making these peppermint marshmallow straws from Mad in Crafts.  My chickadees enjoy marshmallows more than just about anything else (Unless it's M&Ms).  These would be quick and easy and you can do a bunch in a short amount of time.











All these great ideas make me wish for Christmas all over again.  Not sure how that is even possible since this Christmas practically wore me out.  And if you remember, I was all about skipping the stress of Christmas .  Or at least as close as I could get to a stress-free Christmas!

Counting it all late Christmassy joy,

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - The Park Edition

We visited a nearby park this past weekend.  Whirling Dervish decided to do his George Washington impression.  The kid cracks me up.  At least I know he's been listening in class!










The Affectionate One wanted to pose too.  She has the "I'm so sweet, aren't I?" pose down all too well!






Next week, I hope to share pictures of our new dog at the park with us!  Stay tuned . . . Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little corner of the world here at the Jubilant household.  

(I am linking this post up to 5 Minutes for Mom Wordless Wednesday link up!)

Verse of the Day