Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Project That Could Change Your Life

Around these parts we exchange neighbor gifts for Christmas.
It is usually an inexpensive item, with some sort of inspirational/seasonal, poem/quote/story attached to said item.
It can almost be intimidating.
To come up with an idea that hasn't yet been passed around *your* neighborhood, and then to actually be able to purchase the item at the Dollar Tree before they are completely wiped out by other people handing out the same thing.
I usually make a list of people I want to give to, and then just about double it.
You always have those folks who show up with a gift, that you inadvertently forgot about...

This year I received my favorite neighbor gift ever.
A dishrag.
A dishrag.

I love it so much that when I have to wash it I am sad, and camp out in front of the washing machine anxiously awaiting its return.

I am not a huge sewing buff.
To say the least.
I think it stems back from Junior High Home Ec.
We sewed hideous Bermuda shorts that year.

After I painstakingly measured, cut and stitched the pants together, I tried them on.
They were jacked.
I could not figure out what was going on.
After the teacher looked at them, she said I sewed the back to the front and the front to the back or something. The memories are fuzzy.
I had to un-stitch the whole #@$! thing.
Stitch by stitch.
With a seam ripper.
Truth be told, through tears, I bribed my Grandma to sew them for me.
I think I got a good grade.
But more importantly my love for purchasing clothing items already made! at a store! was born.
Each and every attempted sewing project since that time conjures up memories of cursing and tears.

Anyway, back to the dishrags.
I sewed myself up some more.
Yes, I did.
It was really, really easy, and I am going to show you how.
Do yourself a favor and make some of these, mmmkay?

Here is what you will need:
Some Scotch Brite Heavy Duty Scour Pads.(Not the kind with sponges attached. Just the plain green ones. I found mine oddly enough at my local grocery store. They were $2.50 for a package of 3.)
A package of dishcloths, whatever kind you prefer.
I found these at Walmart for about $2.00 a package.
Then you will need some pins, and your sewing machine.
First, you cut the scouring pads in half:
And then in half again:
Then pin that sucker in place, in a corner of the dishcloth, and zig-zag stitch it on. I hope your sewing skills are way better than mine. You can clearly see I am not going to be winning any domestic awards any time in the near future.
Sorry Grandma.
What you have now, is a completed dishrag!
Repeat for as many dishcloths as you have.
The beauty of these things is that you will save your fingernails.
You know what I am talking about!
When you are wiping off the breakfast mess, and Cocoa Pebbles are shellacked to the counter top, you try to scrape them off with your fingernails...right?
Not anymore.
Find your scrubby part of your dishrag, and Pebbles Be Gone!!
Trust me.
You will love these.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Waxing Philosophical

Lately I have been thinking about goals.
The gym is starting to thin out.
Folks who made unrealistic New Year's fitness Resolutions are giving up already, and staying home.
I have been thinking about what makes me successful at certain goals, and fail miserably at others.
Then, I found this quote:
The difference is in how much I want the end result.
For instance, we have been doing really well as a family with our goal of reading the Book of Mormon.
I want to finish it.
My kids want to finish it.
And although some nights we have been really tired, or fighting a lot, and not really wanting to sit next to each other on the couch, we have still done it.
I am not going to say that miracles have occurred, angels have sung, or that we are smiles and rainbows over here because we are reading the scriptures.
Haven't really noticed a big difference, yet.
But we are united in our desire to get this goal knocked out.

Three years ago, I lost almost 50 pounds on Weight Watchers.
You can read more about that HERE.
(There are even gratuitous before and after pictures for your viewing/scoffing pleasure.)
People ask me all the time how I lost the weight.
Eating better and exercising.
It's not what anyone wants to hear...that is takes effort.
I believe anything can work: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, your own plan at home, whatever!(although I am partial to WW) but you have to WANT IT bad enough.
You have to want it more than cake, or an extra helping of mashed potatoes, or even cookies.
You have to want it more than sitting on the couch because running sounds miserable at the moment.

I know I am slow to most things.
And at pushin' 40, it has taken me too long to realize this.

That you will find a way to achieve a goal if you want it bad enough, and if you are making excuses for yourself *not* achieving it, then it is only a wish.
Not a goal.

Big difference.

This is why I am writing this down.
To impart this nugget of wisdom upon my posterity.
Sometimes my brain actually works albeit in short spurts.

My kids can thank me later, with a nicer nursing home.
Preferably one with a Tempur-Pedic bed.

Now, on the other hand, I am still up seven pounds from the stupid holidays.
I wish I would do something about it.
But I still have Almond Roca, and thankfully, sweats that still fit.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pushin' 40 and still pretty hot.

Sam and I graduated high school the same year.
He is way older than I am.
He just had his 39th birthday yesterday.
I won't have mine for seven whole months!
I will always be a younger, trophy wife. Yes?

We are such party animals over here.
We spent his birthday watching the kids bowl at their junior league.
Sam caught up on reports for work.
Family came over, we sang "Happy Birthday" and gave him a meager collection of gifts.
Then after the kids went to bed, we rented a movie from Redbox.
I gave it a thumbs side-ways.
Not up, or down.
Just meh.
Pretty rockin' huh?

I did manage to make him his favorite dinner, and dessert.
(And yes, it was an actual food dessert, not a "birthday dessert wink, wink.")
We have gotten too old for that sort of nonsense.

All you need for Sam's birthday meal is a vat of cream cheese.
I am documenting his favorite recipes, in case I die, and wife #2 needs some pointers. Or, in case I get Alzheimer's.
You can click on them to see them better.
They are both really fantastic. With that amount of cream cheese, can you expect anything less?
Behold, Chicken Pillows:
And Birthday Pie:
In case you are wondering about the recipes being a photo, I dabble in digital a bit, and one weekend, I went through all my favorite recipes and turned them into 4x6 prints. I printed them at Costco, then I slid all the prints into a photo album. Now I don't have to thumb through 237 recipe books to find what I need.
Suck on that, Martha!

Anyway, back to the cream cheese.
I used SIX eight ounce bricks of it yesterday.
Sam kept asking me if it was fattening.
Not if it is your birthday.

So a little about the almost 40 year old hottie:
He picked up Hockey again.

I like Hockey.
Except for the smell.
Anyone been around Hockey?
You know what I mean...
He plays well.
That is the only thing I did better than him when we dated. I could ice skate the crap out of him. He was like Bambi learning to walk.
My triumph was short-lived.
Now? He rocks.
Of course.
Like all sport related stuff, he is a natural.

He coaches our kids when his work schedule allows:
People think he "is a God" (<--his words, not mine)on Jeep trails.
I guess he is good at driving jeeps.
I don't really know.
I hate that stuff, and opt to stay home.
I don't find joy in riding close to the edge and *almost* rolling down a cliff, but pulling it out just in time cause you have skeelz.
It's one of those married people "you have your hobby, I have mine" kinda things.
With all those testosterone driven hobbies, he also manages to stay in touch with his feminine side.
He faithfully watches "America's Next Top Model."
As you can clearly see, it is paying off, as he has learned how to "Smeyes."
(Smile with your eyes. For the non-ANTM watchers.)
What I love best about Sam are the little things:

How some mornings he turns off my alarm, takes care of getting the kids off to school, and lets me sleep in extra.
When he brings me Chick-fil-a, for no reason.
How he rubs out my knotted, tight shoulder muscles without me asking.
When he senses one of the kids needs extra attention, and he acts on it.
He fixes broken things, and somehow has the skills to know how to do it.
"I am going downstairs, do you need anything?"
"I have to grab some stuff at Wal-Mart on the way home, anything on your list?"
How he covers me with an extra blanket, if he can see that I am sleeping curled up into myself in the fetal position.
He appreciates and acknowledges when I do stuff around the house.
He tells me he is still attracted to me.
Whether that is a lie, or he needs a new contact prescription, I don't really care.
Contrary to the state of our women's-lib world, Chivalry is not dead.
He still opens doors for me.
Yep, I kinda like this old geezer.
Happy 39th babe!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Braving the Scale.

I finally stepped onto the scale today, after full-on ignoring it during and after the holidays.
Let me preface this by saying that during the holidays, I didn't eat any actual "food."
I ate garbage.
Delicious, delicious crap.
And I liked it!

However, so did my thighs. And my enlarged hind-end. I have noticed extra jiggle in my triceptual area as well.

The verdict: I am up seven pounds.
At 3,500 calories per pound, and seven pounds, that means I ate, uh...too much.
Math is not my strong point.

Apparently neither is restraint.

Friday, January 07, 2011

I Have a Coupon For That.

I think giving coupon books as gifts is a big fat cop-out.

I remember giving them to my Mom and Dad as a present for Mother's Day/Father's Day/Every Other Holiday in Existence.

I remember truly stressing over what I was willing to commit to.
"This coupon good for one________________"
One what? (THINK!!!)
One...uh, dishwasher unload.
Yes! That will be fairly easy!
And now there are only...NINE COUPONS to go?
NINE? This could take me allllll day.
One day, I noticed a real coupon in a mailer.
It had an expiration date.
"Coupon cannot be combined with any other coupon..."
You can do that?
So from that point on my coupons had limitations.
"This coupon good for one cleaning up after dinner." (Fine print: unless I have lots of homework (loophole), and not valid on nights when Dad makes fried chicken, (cause HAZMAT can't even take that on.) Coupon expires in One Day.)

Never once did my Mom or Dad cash any of those suckers in.
Does anyone?
Has anyone in the history of EVER cashed in homemade coupons?

Now I am on the receiving end of the coupons.
They have the kids make coupon booklets in school.
I totally get it, it is cheap, and the kids can practice writing, blah, blah.
I have a box full of good intentions given to me by my children.

One year, Shianne filled out all of her coupons.
Apparently the teacher asked them to commit to service that can be done in 20 minute increments.
"This coupon good for 20 minutes of You Going to the Mall Without Us Kids"
"This coupon good for 20 minutes of Me Practicing the Piano"
Hold on.
What was that last one?
The piano?
We don't have a piano, and you don't know how to play one.
"Well," she said, "that is what Amy wrote."

I don't even get personal good intentions.
I get copied good intentions.

Are kids getting smarter?
Mikayla has really aced the whole coupon/commitment dilemma.

I got a coupon book from her for Christmas this year.
She is in the second grade.
Originally the book had several coupons.
She tore out all but three, and painstakingly filled them in.

Coupon number one read "This coupon good for: ONE SMILE."
Coupon number two "This coupon good for 20 minutes of: ME COLORING FOR YOU."
Number three:"This coupon good for: ME EATING YOUR COOKIES."

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

About New Years' Resolutions

I have this love/hate relationship with making goals for the new year.

It generally sets me up for failure.
I usually make unrealistic goals. Most of them revolve around food.
No More Chocolate!
No More Sugar!
Nothing Carbonated!
More Spinach!
And then Spring rolls around, bringing with it Cadbury mini-eggs, and I lose my head.
Kinda like all the newbies at the gym that clog it up until mid-February.
We mean well...
Despite the risk of failure, I like the thought of starting fresh on habits that need to be implemented, or need to die.

This year I have made just two goals.
The first one is to read The Book of Mormon.
Many of you who read the blog already know that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Book of Mormon is the foundation of our religion, along with the Bible.
It is 531 pages long.
I have read it all the way through once in my whole life.
Yep. Once.
I have read all of the Harry Potter series. Twice.
Allegedly I read Twilight in one sitting. (498 pages)
I am giving myself 360 more days to get The Book of Mormon read.
I am dragging my kids with me.
Anyone want to join us?

"Regular reading of and talking about the Book of Mormon invite the power to resist temptation and to produce feelings of love within our families. And discussions about the doctrines and principles in the Book of Mormon provide opportunities for parents to observe their children, to listen to them, to learn from them, and to teach them."
David A. Bednar

If you would like your own free copy of The Book of Mormon, you can get one HERE.
Any of you who want to join me by reading The Bible, that counts too.
You can get a free copy HERE.

Although, I gotta warn you...The Bible has like 1,274 pages.

My second resolution for 2011?
To eat cookies.
Failure proof.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

So long, 2010.

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves." ~Bill Vaughan

I am very much in the later category.
Not a great year...but 2011 has started out well!
We all got a little tipsy on Sparkling Cider, and slept in 'til 11.
Yeah. 11.
It felt pretty great.
And think of all the calories I saved by sleeping right through breakfast!

Here are some other great things (already) about 2011:
My church meeting time switched from 9am to 11am. (Can I get an "amen!")
School is back in session on Monday!
I don't have anything I need to return or exchange.
Mikayla gets a new cast tomorrow**, hopefully a waterproof one. This taping her up in a plastic bag and sponge bathing her thing is not working out.
The Christmas crap is put away. And by crap, I mean decor, and I use the term decor very loosely.
I have seen decor, and it ain't in my house.
My "crap" is an eclectic, outdated hod-podge of hand-crafted or discount store purchased items that have all been broken at least once.
While other blogs boast artistic photo montages of cozy, sunbeam illuminated themed decor, here you get...well, here is how I wrap presents:
Enough said.
And it is all boxed up and shoved back into the crawl space for next year.
(**a story for another day)

Things that are (already) not so great:
I fell off the healthy eating wagon, or maybe I ate it. I ate everything else around here.
First day back to the gym is going to include tears and vulgarities.
It is bitterly cold here in the frozen tundra of Utah. Smiling outside makes my teeth hurt, and feel like fragile glass. And inhaling outside makes my nose sides stick together.
I don't go outside.
Not even for the mail. It's just bills anyhow.

All-in-all, I am pretty optimistic about the new year!
We survived 2010, yes?
2011? Bring it.