Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It Has Begun

I know I said I was done showing you glittery things. I lied. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Electric Bethlehem!!!

Friends, that isn't even the half of it because I am standing in my cul-de-sac taking the picture so you are missing the five houses there. My house with its candle lights in the windows and the two bushes by the front door with white lights looks like a showgirl from Peoria. You get the analogy, right? Peoria doesn't have showgirls. I had to explain this to my children. I don't know. Maybe it's not such a great example. Whatever. You get the idea. When you drive through our cul-de-sac--which by the way is the only one in our neighborhood that looks like this--we look like non-participants by comparison.

Anyway. If you want to stop by and visit, you'll recognize my house right away. Just put on your sunglasses before you turn into the neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm Thankful

I'm thankful for many things. But these faces are right at the top of the list.

Happy Thanksgiving! Count your blessings. What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'll Drink To That!

You know me. Give me an excuse and I'll drink to something. New job? Cheers! It's a holiday? Bottoms up! Getting married? Here's to you! It's sunny? Slainte! I'm wearing real clothes instead of sweats? Salut!

And what better way to toast to something than in these beauties?

I found these on Pinterest, but they originated here. I would love to say that they were really complicated and involved, but if you have read here for any length of time, you would know that that was a big, fat lie. I don't do complicated and involved because I have the attention span of a hamster with A.D.D. Oh look! Something shiny!

Basically, you just sponge the glitter paint on the glass, wait an hour, do some more, wait another hour, and do some more and so on and so on, until you are satisfied with the end results. Easypeasylemonsqueezy!

The best part is that once these paints cure for 21 days, they are safe for the dishwasher. Nope. I'm not even kidding you! How awesome is that? You get to drink yummy stuff from a pretty, glittery glass and then you can just throw that baby in the dishwasher and sleep it off not worry about it.

I think these would make great wedding or anniversary gifts and even hostess gifts for those people that you know would enjoy a beverage in a glittery glass. And who wouldn't enjoy that? Elliot Ness, maybe. But everyone else would love them!

Now if you will excuse me, I have a few more crafty things to do around here and then I'm going to enjoy a glass of something of which Elliot Ness would disapprove. And I'll probably do it in a sparkly glass.

Here's mud in your eye!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Little Birdies--Take Two

Remember the glitter birds? As fun as it was to have glitter in unmentionable places, sometimes I just don't feel like rockin' the glitter. So I wondered what might happen if I used a different clay and a different finish.

I had intended to use Crayola Model Magic to make these:

I found them on Pinterest, but they originated here. Model Magic is super lightweight and very easy to work with. So easy that my youngest made her own ornaments using some of my left-overs. I used a Wilton cookie cutter to cut out these snowflakes after I rolled out the Model Magic. After letting them dry (they air dry, so no oven needed) I used some of the glitter paints in Martha Stewart's new line of paints to glam up a few. These paints are really easy to use and come in a wide range of colors and finishes.

I used a stencil sponge to sponge the glitter paint on one side, let it dry, and did the other. Others I didn't do a thing to except hang them with some ribbon. And when I was finished, there wasn't glitter anywhere except on the ornament and the stencil sponge. And God was in His heaven and all was right with the world. Yahoo!

Voila! Easy, inexpensive, and pretty.

Now--back to those birdies.

I used the Model Magic to make the birds the same way I made them last time. But this time, instead of putting them in the oven, I simply sat them aside on some parchment paper to air dry for at least 24 hours. (By the way, I had an ingenious idea to form the hangers on the little birdies' backs--I snipped the curved ends off paper clips and inserted them before leaving them to dry. Much less frustrating than twisting wire.) Then, I used wood stain--I chose walnut stain--and stained the birds, wiping off the excess. I gave them at least two coats of stain. Then after the stain was dry, I brushed on a little polyurethane. Easy. And I think they sort of look like they were carved from wood. I like them and think they go in the complete opposite direction of their glam and glittery cousins.

Back tomorrow with yet another glitter project that involves glassware. Stay tuned!

Because Apparently 5 Straight Days Of Posting Has Rendered Me Boring And Stupid

I remember way back when when I first started blogging and I wrote every day--and sometimes even on the weekend. That hasn't happened for a very long time. Mostly because I don't have all kinds of stories to tell. Mainly because the dumb dog has seemed to find her equilibrium and doesn't leave me with a whole lot of blog fodder. And even though some of you have been kind enough to say that you would read my grocery list, I'm not brave enough to actually find out if that is true. Trust me, I'm not nearly as entertaining on my grocery list. Mostly because grocery shopping makes me want to punch someone in the throat.

I have some more Christmas related things to show you, but because November is trying to slowly kill me with its gray days, I haven't shown you. And not just because the lack of sunlight makes me want to crawl in a hole, curl up in a fetal position, and hum myself to sleep like some inmate in The Snake Pit. Mostly it's because the lack of sunlight makes taking good pictures really hard. I mean, I suppose I could take some inside, but that would mean an excruciating photo session, because have I mentioned that the previous owners of this house had four fluorescent light boxes installed for the kitchen lighting? No? Well, they did. Instead of opting for can lights or pendants or even some butt-ugly chandelier like they installed in the dining room, they had the genius idea of putting fluorescent boxes all framed out with crown moulding. The are the nicest framed fluorescent lights you ever did see. Too bad they suck. Especially when you are trying to take decent pictures. Oh, and just so you can see the special brand of crazy that happened when they built this house, there are two can lights over the planning desk where I am typing this. What the....? I just don't get it. Don't even get me started on the Circus Tent bathroom.

Ahem. Sorry. Tangent and rant over. Somehow I started writing about Christmas projects and my lack of blog fodder and wound up telling you the tale of our kitchen lighting. Scintillating!

I guess I would have been better off making the post that pops up here the one with the cute but dumb dog. Anyway. Barring more clouds (Please, Lord, part them like the Red Sea! This girl needs some sunlight!) and children coming down with strep (Please, Lord, may that particular scourge pass over us this home!) I should be back tomorrow with a variation on the glitter birds that I posted last week. And maybe some other stuff. Rest assured I will not give you a detailed description of the lighting plan in the rest of the house.

Unless I really can't think of something to write about.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Dumb Dog, Some Peanut Butter, And A Camera

"May I please have some peanut butter? Pretty please with kibble on top?"

"C'mon! You know I really love it! Pleasepleasepleasepleasepuuuhhllleeeezzzz! I'll be good! I'll come when you call me! I won't drop Spitty Ball on your lap for like, a week!"

"Gee, thanks. Now what do I do?"

"Oh, yeah! I've got a tongue! I can lick it off!"

"Oh my--...Holy--...Oh this is so good! Nom nom nom!"

"Hey! Wanna see how my tongue works? EXTREME CLOSE UP!! Gotcha! Bwahahahaha!"

"Did I mention that this tastes, like, reeeeallly good?"

"Oh, didn't you get any peanut butter? Gee, I'm sorry! NOT!!! Tbhtbthbhthbhthtttt!!"

"Why is everyone looking at me?"

"I have made a fool of myself all in the name of peanut butter. I am so ashamed."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Letting Them Fall

Anyone who says parenting is easy is a liar. A big, fat, lying liar who wears big, fat, lying liar pants. And those pants? They are on fire. They are ablaze, such is the magnitude of the lying! Parenting is hard. Harder than math, even. It's the hardest job you'll ever love. Or love to hate. Or hate so much that you'll want to consume vast quantities of alcohol so that you can forget that you hate it. Or something.

My point is, that parenting, while awesome and worthwhile and amazing, is sometimes a damned if you do, damned if you don't proposition.

This week has given me a couple of parenting dilemmas that leave me feeling anxious and angry and guilty and inept. (Wow! Would you like some coffee with that angst?) On the one hand, I want what's best for my children. I want to hand them all that is good on a velvety pillow stuffed with the fluff of a thousand blessings. I want them to have more than I did. And while I didn't grow up with everything, I had plenty--less than some, more than others, just right for me. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

On the other hand, I want them to understand that if I really did hand them all that good stuff on the fluffy stuffed pillow, life wouldn't really be all that great. Sometimes the sweat and toil and tears from the battering that life gives make you more appreciative of the final result. So, yes, I guess what I'm saying is that I want my kids--on occasion, and please God, not in big, horrifying, hard to handle ways--to fail.

But sweet cracker sandwiches! Letting them take that fall is hard. Watching them stroll toward the edge of the cliff is tough. Warning them that the edge of the cliff is there and having them disregard your warnings is anxiety producing. Seeing them teeter on the edge brings panic. You want to throw out your arms to catch them. You want to throw out every safety net in your personal arsenal of Parental Safety Gear. And seeing them finally plunge over the side, makes you want to take a running leap over the side as well so that you will gain enough velocity to hit the ground first so that they might find you waiting at the bottom, giving them a softer landing.

Unfortunately, as parents, we can't always do this. There are times when letting them take the fall is the better, but agonizingly harder, option. Harder than going through 1,000 hours of labor with no drugs, harder. Harder than receiving millions of paper cuts all over one's body and then being forced to do 100 laps in an Olympic sized pool filled with lemon juice harder. Harder than having to listen to Kenny G while getting one's teeth drilled with no Novocaine, harder. It's the kind of hard that makes you wish you could trade places with them and take on whatever is coming to them.

It hurts. Watching your child endure pain is difficult. Watching them endure pain that they could have avoided is really difficult.

But sometimes, you have to let them take that fall. You have to let them teeter on that edge and make their own decisions. You have to watch them plunge over the edge and wait for the sickening thud. And you pray. You pray, and you pray, and you pray. And you know that the recovery will be tough. You know that your child's anguish at their decision will be grueling for you both. But you also hope that in the end, the fall will be a lesson. You hope that in allowing your child to make the decision, that in letting them stagger, flailing over the edge, they will find those places in their lives that need extra caution. You hope that they will discover those paths that they don't really want to proceed down again. You hope that they will get up, dust themselves off, and that the injuries will be minor enough to leave only small scars that prompt them to choose the right course the next time.

Parenting is a hard. I'm told that even when your children are grown, sometimes it's still tough. And even though I sometimes dream of living on a tropical island where my only problem would be deciding which cocktail to choose, I would never, ever willingly give up this job. And that's the truth.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Bird In The Hand Is Worth One On The Tree

That title doesn't even make sense. But I don't really care, because I want to show you this:

I knew after seeing it here, after first seeing it on Pinterest, that I wanted to give it a try. It was not hard. Even if some of my birds do look a little like sea lions. I don't care--glitter makes everything better! Even flying sea lions.

I used Sculpey and followed the instructions on the package for baking. I stamped some of them, and some I didn't. Then I painted the little birds and glittered them while they were wet.

I may experiment with some others that are made with a different clay (Crayola Model Magic) that air dries and is a little easier to work. I've already used it on a different project--which I'll be showing you tomorrow.

If you decide to make these sweet little bird ornaments, let me know if you have any questions. Also I'd love to see them. But if yours are cuter than mine and don't look like flying sea lions, then we can't be friends anymore.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You Could Have A Double Letter Triple Word Score Hanging On Your Tree

I promised that I'd be back with something much better than the last post. I hope this counts as better. Well, it involves Christmas, making stuff, and it's inexpensive, so I guess that's lots better than yesterday's post.

While sucked into the black hole that is Pinterest, I began searching for Christmas related things and found something that made me squee with delight. I repinned it but I think it originated with Martha Stewart.

Anyway! You know that I am a sucker for words and letters and typeface--well, maybe you didn't, but if you didn't, now you do. Perhaps you remember this little dealio that I made with Scrabble tiles? The idea I saw pinned was for Christmas ornaments using Scrabble tiles. The original post had Christmas-y words like "snow" and "joy", but I decided to do it with last names. See?

Don't tell, but this will be going in the teacher gift for my youngest two children. I mean, come on! Who doesn't like their own last name? Okay, maybe somebody with the last name of Butz or Pigg or Hogg. But then again, maybe they do. Family pride is a strong thing, you know.

It was easy enough. I just hot glued the tiles together and then hot glued the ribbon on the back. And I didn't even burn myself! Shazam! I happened to have LOTS of tiles, because when I was doing our family Scrabble tile craft, I shopped Goodwill and bought a couple of games just for the tiles. I think I paid about $4.oo for both games. I made about 10 of these last night in under an hour. And some of that time was picking hot glue boogers off of the tiles. So, it's quick, is what I'm sayin'.

That's my kind of craft: simple, cheap, and quick but looks great when you're done.

Stay tuned tomorrow as I'll have another ornament I want to show you. Hint: it involves glitter. Who doesn't love glitter? A cotton headed ninny muggins, that's who! (Name that movie!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Oh. My. Bob!*

Boy am I ever glad it's a new week! Last week was one of the longest weeks ever in the history of like, ever.

Something has been going around Mary's classroom and we discovered on Halloween night after all the candy was sorted, much to our horror and chagrin, that Mary caught it.

What was it? It was--*shudder*--lice

Sorry if you were eating breakfast. I know how squicked out you may be. Trust me. I reached a level of squickitude that I didn't know was possible. This is a problem our family has never had to deal with, but one, which after to speaking to people and doing some research, I've discovered is unbelievably common. Still, there is a stigma and a stereotype associated with lice that makes people (me too!) uncomfortable. But let me assure you, as much as I talk about our house being demolition worthy and dirty and as much as I lament doing laundry, we are not living in squalor or hoarding conditions. The health department would not have issues with the cleanliness here. My children shower daily (or very near--those with dry skin in the winter go every other day--just in case you were madly interested in our personal hygiene) and despite their issues with locating the laundry basket, they wear clean clothes. What I'm saying is, we ain't dirty, folks.

Lice happens. And this time it happened to us.

So I spent Halloween night administering Lice MD to Mary's hair and going over it with a nit comb. Then, I stripped her bedding and washed everything in hot and dried it on the highest heat setting. Then I bagged up her stuffed animals and any pillows that couldn't be laundered. And because she had "slept over" in Sean's room over fall break, I did the same to his room.

The next day, much to Sean's amusement and Mary's chagrin, I slathered their heads with mayonnaise and covered their heads with shower caps. And, because I am often in head-to-head contact through snuggles and such with Mary, I did it to myself too, just in case. Again, me so sexy! We left that mess on all day.

Then I washed more bedding, vacuumed floors and mattresses, and basically tried to wear out my washer and dryer.

After a day of having a head that smelled like turkey sandwich gone rogue, it was off to the tub to wash the mayo out of the kids' hair and give a rinse with vinegar. Mmm! Smells like pickles! With the added benefit of being sting-y! Delightful! (Particularly fun with my youngest, who is more sensitive in the sensory areas than the rest of us.) And then I got to go through every one's hair again. Good times.

Lather, rinse, repeat the nit-picking for the rest of the week. Hence, the rather busy life with no time for blogging.

So far, (and believe me, I am knocking on every piece of wood in range, throwing salt over my shoulder, crossing my fingers, and anything else that may spare us a repeat performance) Mary's head has been clear and the rest of us have remained louse-free. (Oh my Bob, I never thought I'd be saying those words!) It was a lot of work and I don't feel free and clear just yet. We are going to do one last treatment tonight or tomorrow just in case I missed anything. Good times.

I guess my point in this post is two-fold: 1. I wanted to share our story so that in some small way, on some little corner of the innerwebs, someone else who has a child with an itchy head might find this post and he or she won't feel like the world's worst parent. And 2: This should explain my absence to anybody that was keeping track. (What am I? In junior high? Do I have to explain my absences? I am a huge dork!)

So there you go.

Stay tuned because later this week I will have some lice-free posts. God willing and the creek don't rise, every post for the rest of my life will be lice-free!! In fact, those posts may or may not have something to do with a holiday that is less than 2 months away.

Okay. They totally have something to do with that holiday. Believe me, I won't be rushing through Thanksgiving, as it's one of my very favorite holidays, but I'm sharing, in case you, like me like to steal copy ideas (while of course giving credit to the originator) and have plenty of time to implement them before the crush of December busyness is upon us.

Here's to the rest of the week! (Oh please, Lord, may it be lice free!)

* That's the phrase we've adopted around here so that we don't use God's name offhandedly.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

If The Witch Hat Fits...

It suits her personality right now more than I can tell you. The upside is, she gave me a mini Milky Way, so I guess my Monday morning ranting was forgiven and/or forgotten.

Seriously, though. Watch out. She's kinda scary.

P.S. She is not cyanotic. We had no green face paint, so we went with some of Maggie's blue eyeshadow on her face. She could've gone back as Smurfette and bagged a whole bunch more treats.
P.P.S. She'd make one damn scary Smurfette.