Wednesday, December 31, 2008
If you don't drink, be a designated driver for someone who does.
Have a safe and happy New Year!
Monday, December 29, 2008
It all begins with the fact that not all of our children were home Christmas Eve/Christmas morning, so we didn't open gifts. In fact, we STILL haven't opened gifts, because we're waiting for Nans to come back from her mom's. Puckey keeps asking when we are going to let her open her Christmas "presidents". Poor kid. I have given her a couple of small things (although we don't have much for the kids to begin with, so I've had to be careful about that).
I started my period Christmas Eve. (Merry Christmas to me)
Christmas Day was spent wrapping presents for the family Christmas party and cleaning the house. It didn't even feel like Christmas. The only thing I liked was that we didn't have to rush off anywhere in the morning. We did go to Ande's parents later in the evening for a little while, but we just hung out a little and then went home.
My mom's family usually celebrates on Christmas Eve, but this year they changed the party to accommodate an out of town cousin who was coming in on the 26th. I was thrilled, because that meant I wouldn't have to rush around Christmas Eve. (I was even MORE thrilled when the weather took a turn for the worse Christmas Eve and we didn't have to go anywhere.)
The only thing that wasn't good about that was that Ande and his brother were going to play in their high school alumni hockey game the same day (the 26th), but it was prior to the family party, so I could squeeze it in. Then my mom decided that we should all (minus Ande because he had to work until right before the hockey game) should come to her house on Friday afternoon to open gifts. So that makes three things I didn't want to miss ALL on the same day, with overlapping time schedules. UGH.
Well, turns out I didn't need to worry about any of that, because I awoke (at 2:30am) on the 26th to the sounds of Puckey crying in her room. You know the one. The "I just threw up on myself and everything around me" cry. I got her cleaned up and went back to bed. In the morning, I continued to prepare for the day's festivities on the off chance that Puckey's mid-night vomit was a fluke. It wasn't. Around 11:00am she threw up again. This time on the couch.
It was at that point I had to call my mom and tell her we weren't going to be coming to her house, or the family party. She volunteered to have my stepdad come get Bubber and Bug so that they, at least, could see the rest of the family, so I sent them packing over to my mom's for the night.
Ande played in his hockey game, but I had to miss that because I couldn't exactly take my pukey Puckey out anywhere (even though she kept telling me "I feel better, Momma! I'm not sick anymore). Poor kid.
My brother in law and his family got into town on Friday, but we didn't get to see them until Saturday night (I kept Puckey in quarantine for about 24 hours after her last vomiting to try to prevent passing the sickness around).
Yesterday after church, Ande and his brother took the 3 year olds (Puckey and her cousin) ice skating. After skating, they went to Starbucks and then Puckey threw up again. I am HOPING that it was the hot chocolate and M&M cookie she drank/ate, and that she wasn't still contagious. She seems fine this morning. (YEAH)
But, see, the title says "The Worst Christmas Ever (Almost)" for a reason. Because although we haven't actually exchanged gifts, I did get a sweet (sort of) surprise from Ande.
On Christmas Eve morning, I dropped Nans, Puckey, and The Jib off at Ande's mom's house and drove to Waterford to pick up a visor/cage for Ande's hockey helmet. We don't have dental OR vision insurance, so I really don't want him to risk losing any teeth or damaging his eyes in any way. The visor was also to be part of Ande's Christmas present. It wasn't quite as fun to get it, because he knew I was getting it, but whatever. So where I was wasn't too far from where Ande was working that day, and he was getting out a little early because of the holiday, so we decided to meet for lunch.
We met at the Outback Steakhouse, which was a treat because we rarely go out to eat by ourselves and could never afford the Outback if we had the kids with us!! So after we ordered, Ande says, "Well, I want to do something for you for Christmas, but I hit a few snags."
Now, before I go any further, I have to tell you that my blog friend Devin and I have joked about visiting each other for months now, and I'm always telling Ande, "On Devin's blog she said..." and "I wish Devin lived closer, I think we'd be such good friends in real life" and things of that nature. Well, a week or so ago, I got on the computer and noticed that someone had visited the Amtrak website. I joked to Devin that I thought Ande might be planning a trip to Chicago so we could meet.
So, back to our lunch conversation....I asked Ande what kind of snags he had hit, and he said, "Well, I wanted to take you to Chicago, but I don't know if we should drive, fly, or take the train. To take the train or fly would cost about the same, but driving would be cheaper." I said, "With the price of gas so low right now, it would make more sense to drive, because not only would it be cheaper, but we'd have a car to drive around. Besides, Chicago isn't really that far to drive." Then I asked what the other "snag" was....
This is what Ande said, "I know you really want to meet Devin, so I was thinking we could have them meet us in Chicago....I wanted it to be a surprise, but I don't know how to get ahold of her to plan it."
My sweet husband was trying to plan a surprise trip to Chicago so I could meet one of my sweetest friends in person!!!!! How awesome is that? Now I just have to figure out how we're going to pay for it.
So, Dev - looks like we have some brainstorming to do!!! Chicago, here we come....
I'm so excited!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Ande: "I thought that by drinking two smoothies last night, I'd be in perfect health today"
Julie: "Um, it's a smoothie, not a TIME MACHINE."
Ande: "Hey, that was pretty good."
Julie: "I'm SO blogging that later."
(Ande played in an alumni hockey game on Friday, and since it had been 13 years or so since he'd played hockey, he is a little sore...)
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Presents sit waiting to be wrapped
While I'm clicking my mouse...
Well, that's all I've got. I was trying to think of a great little poem for you, but I just don't have it in me tonight. Might be the fact that I got 5 hours of sleep last night and am ready to crash!!
I just wanted to wish my readers and their families a Merry Christmas...with all the excitement over gifts and get-togethers, let's not forget the reason we celebrate.
You wouldn't celebrate a stranger's birthday, right? Then make sure Jesus isn't a stranger in your home and your heart.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
On to today's tip:
When making a pie crust from scratch,
- refrigerate all ingredients and utensils for at least 30 minutes before starting (or use your redneck refrigerator if you don't have room...)
- use ice water
- flatten dough slightly before chilling
- roll out between sheets of waxed paper
- use whole wheat flour (it just doesn't work well in a crust)
- use the wrong beater attachment on your mixer (okay, maybe that's just my mistake)
- handle the dough any more than necessary (it makes for a tough crust)
- attempt to roll out between sheets of plastic wrap (way too sticky)
Since I missed last week, I'll give you a two/the price of one:
When making Christmas gifts for your children, make them as you get the fabric (WEEKS AGO) instead of waiting until 3 days before Christmas to START your projects. Because if you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet and you have to spend HOURS cooped up in your room working on the aforementioned projects, you are most likely going to end up having to go shopping on Christmas Eve. And Christmas Eve is when you also need to WRAP all of the homemade and store-bought gifts. Because you totally procrastinate in just about everything you do.
I'm SO in trouble.
Note to self: email a link to this blog post to myself to be delivered in October 2009. Which I probably won't read until at least January 2010. Oh well, maybe by December 2010 I'll have my act together.
But probably not.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Good thing I went to the grocery store yesterday.
On the bright side - at least we should have a "white Christmas"...unlike the brown one we could have had because all of our snow had melted last week. But then again, this IS Michigan. So it could be sunny and 60 degrees tomorrow. (Those of you who live in MI know what I mean!)
Puckey is eating snow off of my coat as I type. She is an odd little duck.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I mean, not that I would EVER have anything sitting in my fridge for OVER a year. That's preposterous!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
So I started thinking about our blended family and our childrens' siblings....now, while our family isn't quite as large as Shelly's husband's, we do have an interesting mix.
- 1 sister (Bug)
- 1 step sister (Nans)
- 1 half brother (on his dad's side)
- 2 half sisters (Puckey & The Jib)
- 1 brother (Bubber)
- 1 step sister (Nans)
- 1 half brother (on her dad's side)
- 2 half sisters (Puckey & The Jib)
- 1 step brother (Bubber)
- 1 step sister (Bug)
- 3 half sisters (one on her mom's side, plus Puckey & The Jib)
- 1 sister (The Jib)
- 2 half sisters (Bug & Nans)
- 1 half brother (Bubber)
The Jib, 1 yr 10 mos
- 1 sister (Puckey)
- 2 half sisters (Bug & Nans)
- 1 half brother (Bubber)
Kinda interesting! I didn't even get into thinking about all the cousins and what-not. I myself have 2 step sisters, who have 5 children between them, plus my sister, who has two kids, plus Ande's brother, and his little ones....it gives me a headache just thinking about thinking about it!
When I told Puckey that she could not have a piece of candy corn, she fell (in slow motion so as not to actually hurt herself) to the floor, and cried, "I will run for my life, mama!" I would have taken a picture, but I figured it best to not encourage the situation.
Wow, if she'll run for her life over not getting a piece of candy corn, what on earth will she do when something that's a bigger deal than that happens?
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
And for those people who are "seat savers" - don't you just feel like a jerk watching a huge crowd of people looking to squeeze in anywhere they can, while you sit there holding 6 spots open by laying your stuff all over the place and telling people "these seats are saved". Um, if people can't make it to the show on time, then make THEM stand. Let's not penalize those who show up 30 minutes (or more) early just because you apparently have nothing better to do than sit there hogging all the seats.
Okay, sorry about that - I just get annoyed about that kind of inconsiderate stuff. Especially when our family got dressed up to see the show and had to sit on the floor of the gym because Captain Sweatpants and his League of Ordinary Slobs managed to make it there before we did. Don't even get me started on how I did not see ONE SINGLE SOLITARY CHILD give up their seat for an adult.
Anyway...so we went to the show, and afterward we decided to go get something to eat (Thanks to Ande's dad, who gave us some money to get dinner!! Ande is so spoiled...). We went to Applebee's (1/2 off appetizers after 8:00pm - WHOO HOO!!) When we were getting ready to leave, Puckey wanted to "ride the horses" (this particular Applebees has two carousel horses as part of their decorations). I told her that she couldn't ride them, but that this summer when it was warm, maybe we could go to a fair and she could ride one.
We walked outside into the
HA HA HA! She's so funny!
Oh, and unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the band concert, because of where we were seated. We waited to see Bug after the show so I could at least get a picture of her, but she went out a different door and was whisked off by her dad before I knew it. Nice, I know.
Creators Syndicate – We are now in the middle of the most stressful period of the year for your average American husband. It's the month when men are forced to wander the malls aimlessly, looking for something, anything, they can put under the tree on Christmas morning that will meet their spouse's expectations.
You see them clumping around, eyes glazed, like zombies with credit cards. In their daily lives, they might be engineers, lawyers, police officers, firefighters or even brain surgeons, but when it comes to Christmas shopping for wives, they're like deer facing an oncoming Mack truck. It would be as if you approached a normal everyday person and told them they had to compose a symphony or translate a passage of ancient hieroglyphics: The whole operation is too complicated to even begin thinking about.
Young guys can get away with gifts that show sincere thought and dedication but cost nothing. Years ago, when we were moving, we'd put all of our available cash down on our house right before the holidays. That year, I gave my wife a meticulously constructed little model I'd made of our new home. (I got her a house for Christmas, get it? Get it?) She loved it, and understood that we had no money for anything else that year, but we both understood it was a one-shot deal. Had I come to the tree the next year with another cardboard model of a house, she would have crushed it with one foot, like Godzilla going after a Japanese apartment complex.
Sure, there are some men out there, really rich older guys, who can be incredibly extravagant at Christmas. They're the ones they aim those luxury car ads at, the ads where the wife wakes up Christmas morning, pulls back the drapes and finds her husband has parked a brand-new silvery sedan, complete with a huge red bow, in the driveway. For 98 percent of American families, the kind who cringe when they open the bills, the joy would last for about 9.5 seconds, until the wife noticed the payment book under the tree and realized the kids weren't getting braces anytime soon and they'd both have to bag lunch at work for the next 48-54 months.
For those of us husbands who do our Christmas shopping at the mall instead of the car dealership, life is more mind-numbingly difficult. For husbands, getting a Christmas present says: "Hey, buddy, here's something free!" For wives, a Christmas present says: "This item symbolizes what I think of you!"
With pressure like that, nothing seems right. Clothes are a nice idea, but no husband in his right mind will actually pick out clothes for his wife. Select something far too small, and you've gotten a gift she can't wear. A size too big, and you'll get that evil stare that means "and just how &*(%)$ big do you think I am, mister?" Pick the exact right size, and you're in just as much trouble, as no woman on earth wants you to know her right size. The only way to win would be picking exactly one size (no more) too small. It's like trying to knock over a stuffed clown on the midway. You can't win, so don't try.
Handbags might seem like a good idea, until you go into the handbag department and find out there are hundreds of choices, each in a different size, style and label. With handbags, however, each designer means something, too. The bag has to look expensive, more expensive than you'd normally think a woman could afford, but not so expensive friends would assume it was a fake. Just trying to figure it out makes me feel dizzy.
Most years, I end up folding under the pressure and going to my old standbys: Bubble bath, slippers and bathrobes. My wife now has enough of these items that she wouldn't run out unless she decided to run a day spa out of our home.
So I'll be out there, with all the other guys with just enough money so they can't get away with thoughtful free gifts, but not enough available cash to park a luxury sedan in the driveway. You can find us all standing in line at the bed and bath store, arms filled with slippers, bathrobes and, of course, bubble bath, confused and frightened looks on our zombie-like faces.
To find out more about Peter McKay, please visit www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
I find this especially amusing, because a couple of years ago, Ande's mom asked him what he thought she could get me for Christmas. His idea? Towels. Lots and lots of towels. My guess is that he wanted us to get some new towels, but didn't want to waste HIS gift on household items. The next year, when Ande's mom asked what she should get HIM, I said, "Towels". I love that my mother in law has a good sense of humor!
All four of the girls - Jib again with the not sticking her head completely into the cut-out.
Afterwards, we stopped at Starbucks for a little treat. I have the feeling that the patrons in that particular Starbucks were NOT thrilled with the fact that there were four little girls in there giggling and being silly. Oh well.
I'm hoping to get the kids up to Bronner's sometime before Christmas, just because they haven't seen it before. If you live in Mid-Michigan, chances are you've at least HEARD of Bronner's. If you aren't from here, but come for a visit, you might want to check it out. It's GINORMOUS!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This is something that just about anyone can make, and you can really get creative with it if you want. Thanks to my friend Linda, who gave me one of these a few years ago and thus inspired this simple homemade gift.
First, you need a few things - a square potholder with a loop for hanging. Make sure the loop is on the side, not on a corner - that kind won't work for this project. You can use a rectangular potholder, if the loop is on one of the short sides. A coordinating kitchen towel. A button that will fit through the loop on your potholder. Needle and thread. A sewing machine is useful, but not completely necessary.
Take the kitchen towel, and find the center (easiest by folding it in half, short side to short side). Sew two rows of loose stitches side by side, then pull bottom threads gently to gather. You'll want the gathered area to be approximately the same width or slightly smaller as your potholder. (You can also just make small pleats by folding, if your towel doesn't have a picture on it) To keep the gathering from getting messed up, I then tie the threads off and trim them neatly.
Place the gathered towel with the gathered part centered over the center of the potholder. Make sure the gathered section runs parallel with the loop at the top of the potholder. Sew through all layers. (I usually sew it twice, for strength) I also use clear thread, so I don't have to match the thread color to the towel and potholder - it also helps camouflage it if you make a sewing mistake. You know, not that I've ever done that or anything....
Next, sew the button on. I like to use a neutral colored button, but the possibilities are pretty much endless here. I also try to match the color of the potholder with the thread I sew the button on with, although that's not necessary.
The towel can now hang on your cabinet or oven door. I like to buy an extra towel (the potholders often come in pairs), and then give them as a set. This is a gift you can make for EASILY under $5, although you can buy more expensive towels and potholders if you choose. (I got mine at Wal-Mart and spent $3, and I already had the button & thread.)
This doesn't have to be just a Christmas gift, either. You can make these in colors to match someones kitchen, or for other seasons/holidays. I have the stuff to make some for Fall/Thanksgiving, and these days you see kitchen towels in just about any theme you can imagine!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Don't be intimidated to try doing something you've never done before. This was a panel I bought at Wal-Mart a while back. Until I did the Ark the other day, I'd never sewn anything like that. This was pretty straightforward, but I did learn a few things in the process (like how to use piping). Here's the finished project:
Inside cover & 1st page
Pages 2 & 3
Pages 4 & 5
Pages 6 & 7
Page 8 & Rear inside cover
I think it turned out pretty well. I saw a pattern at JoAnn's the other day that I thought about picking up (why I didn't just go ahead and get it when I could have gotten it for $1.99 is beyond me). Now that gotten a taste for how simple it is to make a book like this, I might just have to get that pattern. The next time they are on sale.
Monday, December 8, 2008
(Reuters) – Merrill Lynch & Co Chief Executive John Thain has suggested to directors that he get a 2008 bonus of as much as $10 million, but the battered company's compensation committee is resisting his request, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.
The compensation committee has not reached a decision, but is leaning toward denying Thain and other senior executives bonuses for this year, the people told the paper.
Merrill could not be immediately reached for comment.
Shareholders on Friday approved Bank of America Corp's takeover of Merrill, a deal fraught with risk but one that would create a banking giant with a leading position in almost every major area of the financial system.
Merrill was arguably saved from extinction when it agreed to merge on September 15, an hour before Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc filed for bankruptcy. The fear was that Merrill could be next if shareholders and trading partners fled, as many did at Lehman and the former Bear Stearns Cos.
Thain has said he deserves a bonus because he helped avert what could have been a much larger crisis at the firm, people familiar with his thinking told the WSJ.
Members of Merrill's compensation committee agree with Thain that the takeover is in shareholders' best interest, but believe it would be foolish to ignore strong public sentiment against large compensation packages, the paper said, citing people familiar with their thinking.
Committee members are also weighing the fact that other Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, which did better than Merrill this year, are not giving out bonuses to top executives, the paper said.
Thain, who became Merrill's chief executive after losses in mortgage-related investments led to the October 2007 ouster of Stanley O'Neal, has also run NYSE Euronext, after a long career at Goldman.
After the Bank of America-Merrill deal is completed, he will run the merged company's global banking, securities and wealth management businesses. Thain will not be joining Bank of America's board.
(Reporting by Pratish Narayanan in Bangalore; Editing by Kazunori Takada)
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Seriously, I don't know how this guy can even put a pair of pants on in the morning with the size of the "pair" he is carrying around with him.
Okay, I'm done ranting now.
Christmas is almost here - do you have your shopping done? Maybe you have an outdoors man that needs some new gear this year. Or perhaps you want to equip your home with some new heavy-duty flashlights to light your way when the power goes out? Could it be that you have a man-boy who outgrows shoes faster than you can buy them, and he needs new boots for winter? You might even just want to buy a new set of long-underwear or a pair of sunglasses.
LA Police Gear might specialize in military gear, but you can find many items that are useful in civilian life too! You'll find items available from many well-known brands, such at Woolrich, Converse, Under Armor, and MORE! Hats, t-shirts, pants, boots, backpacks, flashlights....the list goes on. Many of these items are at great prices, and the special offers available on the website can help you to save time and money. See what LA Police Gear has to offer by clicking here: Surefire Flashlights
There is something here for just about anyone left on your Christmas shopping list. They even have a women's section. Check it out, and take advantage of some of the special offers, such as special pricing, free shipping (restrictions apply), and free gifts with purchase.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
If you know a little girl (3T-5T), go enter the contest for a chance to win this dress!
Dinner Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
"Here's how to waterproof your shoes and lengthen their life: Melt together a dressing of two parts of beeswax to one part of mutton fat. Apply it at night and, in the morning, wipe it well with a piece of flannel. You now have waterproof shoes, at practically no cost to you."
No cost to me. I like that idea....except that I'd have to BUY beeswax and mutton fat. Can you even buy mutton fat? (Additional bit of info - mutton is code for LAMB. They just try to "church it up" so people won't think they're eating Bo Peep's sheep.) Could I just use chapstick and butter? That's what I have on hand. Adapt and overcome, ladies! That's my motto! LOL
Have a great Tuesday.
Oh, and I haven't forgotten about posting the pics of our new Christmas tree - I just want to make sure that the photo really accentuates the tree.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Hope you're having a great day....even if you didn't get a snow day today! Oh, and later I might be posting some pictures of our NEW Christmas tree!