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Entries from December 2012

Sunday Stealing: The Deleted Meme

Link up here if you wanna be a thief today, too!
Sunday Stealing: The Deleted Meme  

1. Who is your favorite artist (any field)?

Britto art
Definitely Romero Britto. We have a couple two-three of his pieces, both fine art and functional art. I ♥ him excessively. Have you hard of him before this?
2. Describe yourself.
If that picture doesn't sum it up, which I think it does quite well: warped, wacky, wild, and wonderful.

3. How do you feel today?
I had a few rough days toward the end of last week, but right now, right this very minute, I'm doing quite okay. I'm grateful for that.

4. Describe the area where you currently live.
I don't want to say it's the ghetto, but... it's the ghetto. Our old 'hood was much, uh, less so. Wah. Hopefully wherever we end up in San Diego will be a step back in the right direction for us, especially as far as safety is concerned. Bah.

5. If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Is "everywhere" an option? Then that's my answer. (If not, then my first stop would be the Great Barrier Reef. Ohh.... one day.)

6. What is your favorite form of transportation?
Of all the modes of transportation I love, I would have to say walking is my favourite. Given the number of people I know who can't do it, or do it with extreme difficulty, including myself before I lost my weight, I consider myself very fortunate to have this ability. Now, running, pah! Well, I might take it up in 2013, but we'll see. I said that a year ago or so, too...

7. Your best friend is:
Rob and me
Hubs is my very, very besty-best friend. I'm so blessed.

8. You and your best friends are:

... in other words, kindred spirits. I have a lot of pals, chums, buds, whatever, but my very bestest-best friends are few and fantastic.
9. What's the weather like?
At least, that's what it is in my imagination at the mo'. Truthfully, it's almost 0330, probably pretty frosty outside, and I have no idea what daytime will bring. Are we in San Diego yet?!

10. What's your favorite time of day?
Even when he's in a seriously grumpy mood from work, it's that moment when Hubs walks in the door.

11. If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?
But, it's been done. Ah, well.

12. What is life to you?
The biologist in me is laughing at this question, but the "human" me has a harder time answering. Making people. Making good people. Making happy good people. You get the point.

13. Your relationship:
Was there something you wanted to ask me?

14. Your fear:
Been there, definitely do not want to go there again... and please don't say anything about Connecticut. I can NOT handle it. Sorry. Weak, I know.

15. What is the best advice you have to give?
That sounds pretty good. I'll go with that one.
16. Thought for the Day:
Ah, remember those? Anyway, my position is generally, "As long as it's funny, it's okay." However, I do not tolerate racism and most -isms, so there are exceptions. That's not really a "thought for the day" type of answer, is it? Ah, fuck it, I really don't care right now. LOL!

17. How would you categorize your soul's present condition:
My soul is good, thanks for asking.
Have an abfab week, peeps!

Saturday 9: Christmas Carols

I'm late again, what else is new?! Link up here if you want to be late like me, too!
1) What's the first holiday song that comes to mind? 

The First Noel - it was my mother's favourite song and, maybe largely because of that, it is mine, too.
2) Are you sending cards (either by postal service or email) this year? If so, have they gone out yet?

Ugh. Yes, I'm sending out cards. Usually I'm among the first to get them out, but this is an extremely busy December for me this year, and no, they haven't gone out yet. I have about 30 stamped and ready to go, but lots more to do. (Do YOU want one? I have lots and LOVE to send out cards; comment if you'd like one. :D )
3) Can you see any holiday decorations from where you're answering these questions?
Yep. We're not putting up a tree this year, but we've made one out of cardboard as part of our many Advent crafting activities, so there's that, the wrapping paper-wrapped door of the room I'm in, the actual Advent craft/calendar, and some more "stuff" for more Advent crafts. Advent, Advent, Advent. Just thought I'd say it a few more times!
4) Do you wrap gifts in paper or take the gift bag route?

I'm all about the environment, so I have about 50,000 (give or take, like, one) used and reused gift bags that we recycle every year. However, I'd like to take it a step further this year and wrap our gifts, as much as possible, in useable fabric, like t-shirts, bandannas, material for sewing projects, or what-have-you. I love the idea, have done it before, and plan to do it again! Try it!
5) The holidays are an important fundraising time for charities. Here's an opportunity to do a shameless plug for your favorite. What organization or cause do you wish got more support at the holidays, and all year around?

I think Heifer International is a fantastic charity, and I like to support them when we can, by gifting animals to impoverished villages instead of random plastic crap from China, for instance, to ... whomever. 
6) Andy Williams was famous for his family holiday specials. What TV family would you most like to spend Christmas with?
I think the Huxtables would be good people to spend it with, because... Because.
7) The holidays are a big time for travel. Where did you go on your first airplane flight?
... To/from Syracuse, NY. Exciting, right? Actually, it was; my grandparents were in NJ, and I loooooved being with them. That actually wasn't my first flight, I'm sure, but I've been flying for longer than I can remember, so that's the earliest memory I have.
8)  Does the weather have an impact on your mood?

Yes. My psychopharmacologist was just asking me how I was doing with this Saturday morning, actually. It's better this year than most, but it has been a relatively mild Autumn / almost Winter so far, so there ya go.
9) Snack time! You're about to make yourself your favorite sandwich. What ingredients do you need?

I love a pita full of hummus, cheese of some sort, and that's usually good enough for me. However, the very best (and I'm not even lying to insert a shameless plug; this is the God's honest truth) hummus and pita sammich I ever had came from my BIL Mike Odette's restaurant in Columbia, MO, Sycamore. There were sprouts and cucumbers on it, and probably some stuff I don't remember anymore, but it was So. Freaking. Good. I crave it all the time, but alas, Missouri is not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump from Virginia!
(If you're ever in Columbia, GO to Sycamore. Ask for Chef Mike. Tell him I sent you. You'll not regret it!)
On to Sunday Stealing, come right back now, y'hear?

Advent-ures 2012, Days 7-12 (Yeah, I Know...)

First, let me say that our wrapping paper roll candlestick craft has still not been completed, because the glue took forever and a day to dry, and then when I brought it out tonight to finish, guess what? Jack decided to pour more glue on it! Aghhhh!!! So, it's drying some more. Awesome. Let us move beyond that little incident, though, shall we?


On the 7th day of our Advent activity, the paper strip read: "7. Visit Coleman’s Nursery Winter Wonderland @ Monumental UMC, corner of Queen & Dinwiddie Sts. Free. Open ‘til 8 PM." 

Rob took the girls to this activity, while I stayed home with Jack, who was napping fiercely. I mean, homeboy was knocked OUT. And I was 'meh' about it, so that decided things.


Apparently there were a bunch of these things, which I kind of hate, but the kids love, so here are two more:




I just don't have much to say about these things.  In this case, for me, the picture says about three words: Bo-ring-a! ;)


I'm not sure what they are looking at here, but this reminds me: Don't buy poinsettias if you have cats & dogs; they're toxic to your animals. I saw some when we went down to the Outer Banks last weekend, or was it two weekends ago? Anyway, I wanted to grab a couple, until I remembered we house six felines who might, ya'know, die and stuff. And several of them are known to nibble on non-food items, so there you go. No poinsettias for us. Ahem. Back to Advent.


I have yet to determine - and Rob wasn't sure either - whether that Father Christmas was a real person dressed up, or some kind of dummy. It creeps me out a little bit. Can I say I'm glad I didn't go? Rob sent me a picture of a scary clown, too - and I am decidedly NOT afraid of clowns at all - so, yeah, it was a weird scene. Just... weird.


Sophia did find some penguins to pose with, which made her happy, as she is the world's foremost lover of all things penguin!


Now this picture, even though I wasn't there, speaks to me. Lots of words could be said, but I'll just let it stand as it is.


You can't see it too well on the lady-babies, but on the ground, you can spot the "snow" that was being made there. The girls had fun playing in that for a few moments in time.


My beautiful Chloë with snowy hair

And then, just like that, it was over, and home they came, before I accomplished a thing, I think. Like I said, I'm glad I didn't go! But I appreciate that the girls had fun, as you can tell by their smiles, so I suppose it was somewhat worthwhile.


Oh, and just to throw a little Jackiness in here, the reason he was so tired was because I woke him up much earlier than he's used to lately, for his dental surgery pre-op check-up (which we have to repeat, because ugh, that's a story for another day), and there was all kinds of running all over the hospital. He needed to have labs drawn, but he cried buckets, so I have put that off for another day. Maybe when Daddy can take him. Ha. I kid. Anyway.

On the 8th day of Advent, our activity was supposed to be: "8. Olde Town Holiday Music Festival along 1stSeven Blocks of High St, 12-6 PM & TowneBank Circle of Smiles on High St, w/ free crafts, hot choc, Santa pix, At 5:30 PM, be at Court & High Sts to watch Santa’s arrival parade!"

We were supposed to meet mi amiga Stephanie and her sons, Luke & Vinnie, for the festival, but ah, we did not go. We did none of that. We were all just so damn tired and lazy, so our activity for the day turned out to be: "excessive napping." Lame. Oh well. Can't win 'em all.


Our 9th day of Advent paper read: "9. Children’s Christmas Shoppe, where only kids can shop, @ Trinity Episcopal Church, 12:30-4 PM (500 Court St) – Shop for presents in Robby’s memory to donate!" however, the fundage wasn't there for said shopping, so we put that off for a later date and decided to tag along with Stephanie and Sons, heading up to Hampton to go to the Bass Pro Shops Christmas-related activities up there. Eh, whatever, why not?


We didn't get to visit Santa for our free "studio-quality photo," because they have this, um, lame (can I say that twice in a post? Too bad; I just did) policy of giving out a limited number of tickets to pose with Ol' St. Nick, and we missed it by about a quarter of a second. Whatever. My kids know the real deal, and Steph's kids had already 'done' Santa a handful of times, so it was really no big deal to miss it. We headed for the carousel instead. 


At first, I took Steph's son Vinnie onboard the ride, because she gets nauseous on them or even watching them, but he was Not. Having. It. and we had to stop the ride. No big whoop. Instead, I handed her the baby and took blurry pictures of my own cadre of offspring.


After the ride, there were a few more activities set up, such as this duck-shooting game with rubber darts and a bow. Rubber arrows, whatever. Chloë had a hard time shooting them, so I let another little girl help her to leave me free to Instagram this photo for the world to see. I'm a great mom like that.


Jack was all about driving the electric train, until it died. Then he moved on to the remote-controlled cars, until they died. He scurried over to another RC set-up, and those whatever-vehicles-I-forget were dying, too. Wow. Can I say "lame" ONE MORE TIME?!!!


My girls are not too girly to drive the RC cars, too. Sophie had a turn, and then Chloë did:


... but you can tell by the look on her face that they were pretty much dead by that time. Fun stuff, right? And no one was around to help. Where were the elves with all the AA batteries?!


There wasn't much else to do - the craft station was closing, so we picked up our crafts-to-go for later - except pose in this giant cupcake scene. Sophia hopped right up there without help and had her 'sweet' moment, if I may be so silly.


Chloë, ever the delicate little pixie, needed mucho help getting up into the cupcake. Sophie to the rescue! She pushed that tush up there, and all was golden. ::snap, snap::


Jack wasn't too interested in this business, so once again, you're privy to the "take the damn picture and let me out of here" smile that I love so much. Not.


It wasn't until I uploaded this picture of a bear, who beheaded one camper before being shot to death by his tentmates, that I saw the unfortunate positioning of Chloë's hand... Ha.


There are Stephanie's boys - Luke, on the left, is the spitting image of his father - with my girls peering out of a "tree" that was in the middle of the store. Not sure where Jack went this time, but I think he was off looking at things with Rob!


After that, we decided we'd had enough of the store and were going to head off toward home. First, a picture of the five kids. Hm, sour pusses from Sophia and Jack. If memory serves, they still wanted to explore inside and weren't thrilled to be leaving. However, they shortly cheered when we let them scamper all over the quads and 4x4s, etc.


There were about eleventeen ATVs and whatnot outside, and they each climbed behind the wheel of every one of them before we finally parted ways and headed home for the night. After all, it was a pretty decent activity for the kids, so I'm checking that one off in the WIN category.

No Photo Available

Ha. I use the above notation in my mystery shopping on occasion. We were supposed to go see the lights at the Botanical Gardens on the 10th day of our Advent calendar, but again, no funds, so we postponed yet another thing and... did nothing. I can't remember exactly why, but I seem to remember crashing early that night...


Our 11th day of Advent activity read: "11. Backwards day: Have breakfast for dinner!" but I decided to mix it up a little bit more than even that. I have a lot of Jewish friends, including my three cousins, so I decided that we'd go totally "backwards" and celebrate Hannukah for one night, instead! Plus, I really had a craving for latkes, which I've had but never made before, so that was a bit of the impetus for the change. Sophia helped me grate some of the potatoes... but not much. She was afraid to catch her fingers!


I kind of made up my own recipe for the latkes, drawing upon several sources for inspiration. I threw in a half a 5-lb bag of grated Russets, some baby carrots I shredded, a couple large diced onions (and was glad I'd chosen to put my glasses on instead of contacts that morning, because these were a couple of real tear-jerkers!), some crushed garlic cloves, half a dozen eggs, a dump of flour (I didn't measure much; just played it by feel), and some spices I chose sort of willy-nilly, including salt (not enough, it turned out in my book) and pepper. 


My very first homemade latkes, frying up in some nice EVOO! I was very excited. About ¼ of the remainder of my family felt the same way, and that would be Chloë. The Littles were sort of nonplussed about the whole Hannukah-immersion-night I had planned, whilst Rob was, to my utmost surprise, rather incensed at the whole thing. I don't know; maybe he'd had a bad day at work, but when I told him about it after he came home from work to latkes frying on the stovetop and a whole mini-unit worked out, well, agitated and irritated are the words that come to mind. I don't understand the closed-mindedness he exhibited and would rather not dwell on it here and now, so we'll move along quickly...


Here we are having a good old-fashioned Hannukah fry-up, as one of my Jewish friends corrected me when I thought we were having a Seder. Hee! We had a bowl of (canned) tropical fruit salad to replace the apple(sauce), and rather than honey, applesauce and/or sour cream to top our latkes, I put out what I had: salt (necessary), strawberry preserves, and Ranch dressing. No one chose the Ranch, which I agree would have been ickypoo, but both Rob and Chloë (and, the following day for lunch, moi) enjoyed theirs with the preserves. I just had extra salt on mine, and it was okay...for a first effort. There are definitely things I'd change, but I think they turned out well for my first time, especially since I made up my concoction. Kind of bland, but one can always fix that. Jack didn't like his at all, but choked down about half a one in order to get more fruit salad, whilst Sophia was caught shoving bits of hers onto the floor under the table when she was telling us she had eaten it! Stinker. 

{Pepper, our kitten, liked what he was being fed, though. Talking of him, he's doing so much better, and is quite the li'l stinker himself these days!}


On Wednesday, because Tuesday, after all, I fell asleep right after dinner and didn't finish our immersion anyway, we started working on our Hannukah lapbook. Sophia's writing on one of the "petals" of our first mini-book for the lapbook here. You know what? I admit, my kids' writing is pretty atrocious. They're all bad. We're going to spend some time doing copywork until their hand-printing improves. I'm not so concerned about cursive, honestly, but I want their printing to be, well, nice. And... it's not. Their father's is chicken scratch, while I have very nice writing, if I do say so myself, and I'd rather them emulate my skillz in that regard! But anyway, I digress.


The lapbook was slow-going at first, because each one did some cutting, some research, and some writing, while the others pretty much had to sit around and wait. When each of the first few mini-books was done, I'd have them read back what was written there, so they really got to understand the meaning of the menorah, the oil, the story of the Maccabees, and so forth. I learned quite a lot, myself, that I'd never known before. I found it fascinating. Chloë was really into it, while I kept having to tap-tap-tap The Littles to keep their attention going.


I love the look of concentration here on Jack's face... After the first two or three mini-books were complete, I was able to spread out the tasks pretty rapidly amongst the three of them - and me, too - to get more of them done quickly. We haven't even finished yet and have built up quite a pile of them! We'll work on it more tomorrow, I hope. I'm having fun and can't wait to see the finished product - and show it off to y'all and my Jewish friends!


At this point, things were getting busier, with each of the kids working on separate mini-books, including Chloë looking up recipes for a traditional Hannukah feast for a pocket mini-book full of recipe cards. What fun! I love lapbooking and wish we used it more often. From now on, I think we will. It's more hands-on than the way they've been learning this year, which is proving less effective than last year. Blah for that!


After several hours, they needed a break and were clamoring for something else. The 12th Advent activity was: "12. Make Cardboard Box Christmas Tree & Ornament craft!" We were just starting on that when Daddy came home, so we enlisted his help with the tough job of cutting a tree out of a cardboard box. He snatched one of the Wüsthof knives out of the drawer, shocking me, and made quick work of the project. Argh! I buy him those as gifts and hate it when he treats them like utilitarian pocket knives... hee. But they're his knives after all, so so be it.

Shipping-Box Tree - Image Collection

This is where I got the idea for this craft. Haven't decided yet whether or how we'll do the garland...


Sophia got straight to work, decorating her pile of ornaments after cutting them out with her non-lefty scissors. ;)


Jack's ornies turned out looking like potatoes, I thought, and I probably told him so, because I have no filter. I think he didn't mind. It didn't matter, anyway, since each ornament should be unique.


Chloë, a Virgo perfectionist much like me, worked hard to make her ornaments just so.


Sophia, looking rather shaggy now that she's decided to grow out her bangs, was so happy to break out the glitter and glue for this project. Chloë, too. The girls LOVE arts and crafts. Jack is more "meh" on the subject, but even he really got into this one.


A final look at the kids decorating the ornaments for their cardboard Christmas tree, many parts of which are now drying all over the kitchen, such as it is, for finishing up tomorrow. I'll show you that, too, when it is complete. 

Ahhh.... this post took forever. Hopefully it was an interesting-ish read! ;)

Thanks for visiting.


Sunday Stealing: The Meme Of Today

Since I mis-named yesterday's Saturday 9 (DER!!!), I'll do that to today's as well. I like things in even numbers, see. Anyway, link up here, yadda yadda.
1. What is your favorite possession?
Um, assuming I'm not allowed to possess my peoples, uh... I am going to shock all of you by NOT saying yarn and saying, instead, my rings of the engagement and wedding varieties.

 2. Do you like to read? If so, which books do you love best? 
Do I like to read? What kind of stupid question is that?! Don't you know me?! Oh, right. You may not. Anyway, I've been reading since the age of three, and I do not believe I have stopped, since. I even read in my sleep. I prefer fiction to nonfiction, and I prefer there to be no sci-fi in my choices, although I do like Michael Crichton's works, so hmm.

3. Do you have any pets?
Currently, six cats reside with us. Two singletons, who fight for status, two twins who are known as "the tweens," and two twin kittens who are the first male felines I've known well. Ask me again when we reside in San Diego a few months down the road...

4. What was your favorite food as a child? Is it the same now?
Probably pizza, and yes, though the toppings have changed from the more crittery variety to piña and feta.

5. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
For the most part, I don't have to filter my thoughts, and I can just get OUT the things that I mightn't be able to say elsewhere. And if I DO filter them, I can just not publish the post, though I've done that exactly nonce.

6. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I don't know. I haven't been everywhere yet. I was going to say "Heaven," but since I'm sort of extremely bipolar, I didn't want my constantly-on-suicide-watch friends to be concerned.

7. What is your favorite number?
It's been 64 for as long as I've known about the concept of numbers.

8. Which of these things would you find hardest to give up for a year? Chocolate, reading, coffee or smoking?
I don't smoke and abhor the practice, so that's a non-issue. Coffee would be the easiest. Hm. I guess I would have to say ... eeeee this is a hard choice, but chocolate. Never stop learning, that's my policy, after all!

9. If you could make your life into a movie, what would you name it, and who would you want to play you?
I would want Parker Posey to capture my essence, because she would, and I would name it, um, Fuck, that was hard. And if you can find more than one way to read into that title, then you probably get it.

10. If you had £20,000  for a shopping spree, what would you buy?
After a few souvies, since I don't live where the currency is poundage, there would be yarn of the local sort, foods (read: chocolate) of the local sort, and something ridiculously weird of the local sort. I'd know it when I saw it.

11. If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?
Barack Obama, and if his wife walked in to join us, it would be icing on a very delicious cake!
Commence commenting. I love that part. (Except you, spammers. You can rot.)

In Which I Love Being A Nerd

Intro to Nerd Humor

Funny Venn Diagram

Funny Punnett Square

Funny Syllogism

Funny Evolution of Dinosaurs Picture

Funny Evolution Shizzy

Funny Chemistry

Funny Physics

Funny Calculus

Funny Geology

Funny Psychiatry

Funny Sociology

Funny Engineering

Funny Fugue Shizzy

Laws Of Genetics !!!

Funny Genetics Shizzy

Um. Awesome clock I totally NEEDZ to make myself!!

Funny Ecology. Hee.

Funny Grammar Shizzy

Not-so-funny-but-true Marine Biology "Humor"

funny, live long and prosper, sheldon, sheldon cooper, the big bang theory

Funny Sheldon Cooper shizzy

I Heart NERDS Mousepad


Saturday 9: White Christmas

Link up here if you want to play along today!
1) Do you ever suffer the blues during the holidays? 

To an extent, yes. I lost my beloved grandmother on the 23rd of the month, and of course it's always a time for some people to remember the loved ones who aren't there to share the holidays with us. I don't dwell too much on that during the Christmas season, though.

2) More than 18 million visitors have toured Elvis' home, Graceland. Have you ever been there? 
No, but I plan to take my dad sometime, since he is probably the biggest. fan. ever.
3) Elvis dyed his naturally light brown locks black. Do you dye your hair?
Colorful hair.
For the first time since April, 1995, my hair is its natural colour, and only because I buzzed it all off. My husband wants me to let it grow out naturally to see if I have any grays (I insist that I don't, yet), while others are daring me to dye it platinum blonde or shocking pink. I'm most intent on proving Hubs wrong, though!
4) He also insisted his young girlfriend, Priscilla, dye her hair jet black. If your lover asked you to change your hair, would you?
I would take it under consideration, but I would have retain final veto power, natch.

5) Elvis served his country at an Army base in Friedberg, Germany. Have you ever been to Germany?
No, but I am 2/3 German/Pennsylvania Dutch. I'll get there one day. 

6) Elvis famously had an affair with Ann-Margret during the filming of Viva Las Vegas. Have you ever indulged in a dalliance with a coworker?
I have more than a few things in common with Elvis.
7) Thinking of his movies ... Elvis was, by and large, unhappy with his film career and once said, "The only thing worse than watching a bad movie is being in one." Are you happy with the way your career is going/has gone?
Once upon a time, I was on the fast-track to becoming a prominent marine biologist. Now I'm one of the two most important people in three wonderful peoples' lives. It's not exactly what I had in mind when I was 20, but I wouldn't change it for a minute. And who knows what I'll end up being when all is said and done... though I do plan on being a family court judge one day.
8) Elvis lost "the battle of the bulge" toward end of his life. Are you happy with your weight?
Before Gastric Bypass:
After Gastric Bypass:
You be the judge!

9) As a teenager, Elvis worked as an usher at a movie theater. What was your first job?
This was my life from 12-17, essentially. Almost comically similar. Almost.

Advent-ures 2012, Days 4-6


I took a few "mental health days" through the middle of this week thanks to a deep depressive downswing in my lovely bipolar cycling, but I hit the upswing again last night, so we played catch-up for the past few days of our Advent activities. On the 4th day, the Advent activity read: "4. Decorate all the doors in the house with wrapping paper!" The kids couldn't WAIT to do that. Here's Chloë helping wrap her door...


... and standing front of her finished door. (As an aside, I cannot wait until her hair grows back in more!!)


We worked on Jack's door next. They each got to choose their own paper from Mom's stash, and this is what he liked best.


They each were allowed to pick their own ribbons from my stash as well, and as you can see, he was quite enthralled with the results of his door!


Southpaw Sophie's door was last. (We may do the rest of the doors in the house... or we may not. I haven't decided. Time's flying this month, so we'll see!) See those purple-handled scissors of mine in her hand? She's FOREVER stealing them from me, because they're the only ones that work well for Her Lefty-ness. I really ought to buy a nice pair of lefty scissors for the poor girl...


It was no surprise to me when she picked the Hello Kitty holiday paper. My girls LOVE HK, but lately Sophia is all about it. They absolutely loved their doors, so that activity was a win!

The 5th day's Advent activity read: "5. Make glittery snowflakes to hang around the house!"


I got this craft from the Daily Spoonful (formerly Disney's Family Fun website), specifically here. I chose that instead of the glittery ones I'd originally planned on doing, because, I'll be honest, I didn't feel like dealing with glitter all over the house, and I thought these would be fast, fun, and easy. Surprisingly, though, the younger the child, the more difficulty they had making these. It's definitely a parental-help project, with more input from me than I expected. You never know!


In the end, the four of us only ended up making eight snowflakes (two per), before the kids decided they'd rather move on to the next craft and maybe make some more snowflakes at a later date. Fine by moi. (P.S. Fiskars cheapy shaped scissors don't work so well with these snowflakes; we broke two pairs, dangit!)


The kids LOVED the effect of their hung snowflakes and declared it a "winter wonderland!"


I love the look on Jack's face in both pictures, and the girls' in the latter, which is why I'm including both! You can't quite get the feel for the final effect, but you get the idea. So fun. Another WIN for this project!

(By the by, please don't look at the background in any of my indoor photos. We have never fully moved into this house, and we have unpacked boxes and general disarray all over the place. It's driving me cray-cray, which albeit is a short trip, but I'm counting down the weeks now until our move outta here! Back to Advent...)

Cardboard Candles

The 6th day's Advent activity reads: "6. Make Toilet Paper roll candlesticks craft!" which I got from the Daily Spoonful site here. (Their photo is above. Parents and grandparents: I highly recommend this site for kid-friendly crafts, recipes, and s'more good stuff, if you haven't had a chance to peruse it yet.)

Anyway, our glue is still drying on our tubes, which, rather than being toilet paper and paper towel tubes, ended up being one long cut up wrapping paper tube. Someone got rid of my stash of tubes that I'd been saving for this stash, and when I went to get it last night, 'tweren't there. Hello, chagrin, thy name is Smellyann. So I unrolled the emptiest wrapping paper tube and chopped that up into different lengths. Whatever works, right? I will show you that finished project on the next Advent-ure update, since we haven't been able to finish it yet.


To add to the Christmas decoratin' that's happening 'round these parts, I broke out the cats' new embroidered stockings (picked up on the super-cheap from Vistaprint) and hung - okay, more tape - them on a clear wall. The kids wanted to know, what about our stockings? Umm... yeah, they're still at the old house. Hopefully we'll get them out before Christmas Eve, because I have things to put in them, and opening them is a tradition for that night!

Stay tuned for more Advent-ures, 2012! We've got big fun planned for this weekend!


Advent-ures 2012, Days 1-3

Hoffler Creek

So three days of our Advent 2012 calendar in, and it's kind of a half-fail. December 1st, the activity on the calendar was "1. Nautical Holidays – make your own nautical-themed ornaments @ Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum 10 AM – 5 PM AND/OR Games, Arts & Crafts, etc. @ VA Sports Hall of Fame 11 AM – 3 PM AND/OR Make Holiday Crafts @ Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve 2-4 PM."

So. Chloë had her piccolo lesson at noon that day:


(and yes, she technically was supposed to be taking flute lessons, but she's a wee pixie, and the flute was too big for her, so for now, it's the piccolo).

After her lesson, I ran a few much-needed errands, so by the time we got home, it was after 1400. I offered up the activities on the list to the kids, and they chose to just go to the Hoffler Creek Preserve to make crafts. Okay, fine.

Rob took them to the preserve sans moi, because I was exhaaaaaausted and needed a "nap," (which turned out to be a marathon catch-up sleep session), and there turned out to be nary a craft at the preserve. They were all, "What crafts?" and had nothing. Um, that's cool, so whatever. Rob and the kiddos went for a hike out on a trail in the woods intead, but do you think he took any pictures for me? Of course he didn't. Boo.

They had a great time anyway, crafts or no, and saw some ducks. I don't know what, if anything, else they saw, but I did hear tell that apparently three kids in the woods are generally too loud to see much else, because they scare away the aminals? Yeah, mine don't shush well. So. That was Day One.


On the 2nd day of our 2012 Advent calendar, the activity was: "2. Learn to knit, do origami, and/or do fun Christmas print-out activities!" However, I had to do some, uh, shops of the mystery variety down the upper stretch of the Outer Banks, so we rented a bunch of movies from the Redbox, put the kids in the car, and went, figuring on doing the activity(ies) upon our return to the homestead.


Here's my man getting gas. We needed some. I took a picture. There's that story.


And if you look hard, you can see him in the 7-Eleven there, getting me a Diet Coke refill. We did that a bunch during our annual OBX pilgrimage, too. I found it interesting, and commented many times during the drive, that SO MANY NEW THINGS have sprung up down in that place. I thought it was cool to see all the new things, but on the other hand, a little sad that Big Box has taken over the "mom-and-pop kitschy-beachy" feel of the Outer Banks quite a bit. Progress? You decide.


The kids watched Arthur Christmas and 12 Dogs of Christmas during the drive; as you can see Sophia was locked onto the screen during their little viewing party. I rented four movies, but we haven't gotten to the two others yet, and I haven't returned them to the Redbox. Yay, late fees. Arthur sounded like a really fun flick, from my driver's seat hearing position, and even Rob enjoyed it, so I recommend that if you have and your kiddos haven't seen it yet! Hubs and I talked to each other a lot during the other movie, so I can't really comment on that, but there was a lot of "awww"-ing from the back of the van, if that helps.


When we got back here, it was decided that we would go do our big grocery shopping trip together, so the Advent activities were pushed back even further. Note that the girls both wanted to learn to knit, but Jack absolutely did not, no matter what we tried to convince him; no one wanted to do origami; and, everyone wanted to do fun Christmas printables.

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Knitting took a pause for a later date, as it was lay-hay-ate by the time we got home from the shopping, but I did allow the kids to do the printables. There were mazes, dot-to-dots, word searches, bookmarks with jokes, and so on, which I searched for all over the Interwebs, so no linkage, sorreh. They're easy to find, however. Remember to use Swagbucks for your searching, to rack up those rewards! Anyhoo, the kids really enjoyed that and kept asking for more, so I guess that part wasn't a fail. (Eek about all the paper and ink I used, but nevermind that.)


On the 3rd day, the Advent activity was: "3. Holiday Lights at the Beach – Military Mondays 20% off!"

The plan was to go after Jack's Cub Scout meeting, but, uh, while the boy and his father were gone, I fell asleep and didn't wake until a few hours ago; 0230 to be precise. The kids were a bit disappointed, but I'll bump that to later in the month, so we won't entirely miss out on that, an annual tradition for us.

I did accomplish something, though. Normally, Rob does all the dinner cooking, especially in this house, since I hate the kitchen, half our crap is still at the old house, and did I mention I hate the kitchen?? However, I got a bug up my arse to actually accomplish some housewifery yesterday, and I washed the humongous pile of dishes that were taking over the sink and half the nation, so I could give The Bob the night off from cooking and make a delicious dinner that would be ready for him when he got home, exhausted from work. (The kids helped: they dried and put away the dishes and did some other various and sundry tidying-up chores while I prepared the sup.)

Dinner was a pork loin, cooked on the stovetop in a pot with the usual roast veggies: potatoes, onions, and carrots, along with a bunch of garlic thrown in for good measure, salt-and-peppered to who-knows-who's taste, since, natch, I don't eat pork (mammal-free since 1995, give or take a few lapses I won't mention now) and wasn't about to sample my own cooking. 

I decided to make dessert, too, and opted for baked apples, which I'd never done before but had long wanted to try. I used this recipe as a starting point, with the addition of oats to the hollowed-out Granny Smiths, and a cooking time of 30 minutes rather than 15.

The chiquiniños watched me make dinner and dessert, and they thought the addition of butter to the apples was disgusting!! They were vehemently opposed to trying the apples on the before side, but when I served the baked cinnamony goodness alongside their roasted pork an' veggies, they decided the after was quite edible, indeed. Jack didn't eat too much, having filled up on pork (he's my meat kid; Sophie's my fruit kid, and Chloë is my picky, depends-on-the-moment kid), so I ate some of his (in addition to my hummus dinner), and it was delicious!


I don't normally eat with the family anymore, since my gastric bypass surgery (nearly four years ago, wow!), because I'm finished eating in approximately 13½ seconds when Oscar-the-pouch is full, and it's incredibly agitating to me to watch everyone eating for another ten, twenty, thirty... you get the drift...  minutes, when I have so much else I could be (and would rather be) doing. It's kind of sucky on my part, which I realized in full when the kids were so ecstatic over my joining them for the recent Thanksgiving repast.

So I sat with them today, to watch them enjoy the meal I'd made, because I do love so when I cook and it turns out well, and the eaters of such like it and compliment the food and so on and so forth. I normally am quite horrible at accepting compliments, but because of my stepmother's excessive criticism about cooking-related everything during my formative years, I live for cooking-related accolades! And all four of them loved the meal (though the girls kept thinking the pork was chicken, not that I cared, as long as they ate it), so I was well-pleased. Well-pleased was I, yes.

And then, while I was washing up the dinner dishes, the boys readied themselves for their den meeting, and Sophia did Sophia things, Chloë, who was helping dry and put away said dishes, said to me, "I hope tomorrow is just like today."

Of course, I asked the inevitable, "What do you mean?"

And do you know what that child said to me? She replied, "I mean, I hope you cook a yummy dinner again, that's ready when Daddy gets home from work, and sit down with us for dinner. I really liked that."

You could have knocked me over with a feather, when she said the part about dinner being ready for Daddy when he got home from work. Seriously? It was a revelation for me. It was a total 1950s moment, kinda, but I mean that in a good way. I envisioned what tonight looked like from the kids' perspectives, compared to my usual snubbing of dinner, and wow. It meant so much to them, that I cooked, and joined them, and all, and I felt great about having done so. (I'd had my meds, so I was able to turn off the "I feel like crap about every other day" thoughts that tried to push in.)

So yeah. We didn't do the lights on the beach, but that happened, and it was pretty awesome, so I'm calling Day Three a mostly-win. Okay with you?

And yes, I'm going to cook dinner tonight, and probably the next, and yes, the week's menu plan was already in my head eleven seconds after Chloë said that. And I'm feeling a weird feeling I don't often get, and I think it's what they call "happy."

Stay tuned for more Advent-ures!


Sunday Stealing: The Not-So-Manly Meme

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Sunday Stealing: The Not So Manly Meme 

1. Boxers? Briefs? Boxer briefs? Thongs? Bikinis? Commando?

I hate thongs, but I have a few. I just don't like that permanent-wedge feeling. Really... why??

2. What’s your fussiest personal care routine?

My entire skin care routine is 'fussy.' I'm very metrosexual that way. Oh, wait, I'm not a man, so it's cool, right? I use, like, oodles of JAFRA products to get through my routine. Good stuff, there.
3. Do you have a favorite tool? Power or manual?
Yes: Hubs. Power or manual depends largely on his sleep deficit-to-caffeine intake ratio.
4. Can you change your own oil? Do you?
I learnt once, in my old '81 Honda Civic wagon, but I couldn't do it now in the Odyssey. I get it done.
5. What’s the “manliest / 'womenliest” thing you do on a regular basis?
I take lots of long soaks in the tub and use oodles of the afore-mentioned JAFRA products to get nice and smelly-good, soft, and purdy for my day.
6. What’s something “manly” that you never learned how to do?
Grow a big set of cajones.
7. Do you ever cry? If so, what’s your trigger?
I cry all the time. My trigger appears to be being excessively female.
8. Do you have a chivalrous streak? How does it manifest itself?
Well, such as it applies to me being female, yes, I hold open doors for anyone and everyone, and step aside to let others go first. Always.
9. Do you have a chauvinistic streak? How does it manifest itself?
I have a vagina. I'm not sure the question applies.
10. What’s your favorite movie?
I'll tell you what it's not: Anything with "Ernest Goes to..." in the title!
11. What’s the dumbest, testosterone-inspired thing you’ve ever seen?
Jackass. The show, not the movie.
12. What quality do you think makes a good man good? Do you have that quality?
Knowing how to treat all people respectfully. And once again, I possess female ladybits but yes, I believe I do!
13. Toilet seat up or down?
Down. No one wants to see the inside of a toilet. Really.
14. If your significant other is away, do you cook for yourself or eat out of cans and boxes (or rely on local drive-throughs and delivery)?
Hahaha... I can cook fairly decently, although Hubs does the cooking in the family, especially here in our "halfway house," so I rarely do any cooking if he's late or absent. If we had all of our stuff over from the other house, and a decent kitchen, it would be a different story. Maybe.
15. What societal expectation of being a woman do you most resent?
Woman = the weaker sex. Not hardly; especially not mentally! ;)
16. What’s the best part - societal-wise - about being a woman?
Being a mom to three smalls, when people let us walk ahead of them instead of driving through us in parking lots. It doesn't always happen, but often. (Guam is an exception; those mofos do not care.)
17. Will you stop to ask for directions?
If my iPhone isn't picking up a signal, then yes, of course. I absolutely hate getting lost!
18. What’s one thing about your significant other that you just cannot understand, no matter how hard you try?
How he got here from Mars.
19. What do you need to have in the shower?
Shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, razor, body oil... and a pouf. At the mimimum.
20. Do you burp/fart/scratch? Do you do anything stereotypically male?

I burp and fart in front of Hubs. Women who don't make me laaaaaugh.

Have a great week, y'all!