Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Day in the Life

This is the vision I opened up my eyes to this morning:

"Are you up yet!? Are you up yet!?"

So I hope you'll indulge me in another dog-heavy post. Blue and I had an exciting day today. I got him a new toy - one of those beehive looking toys that you put treats in. Blue has been going crazy for it.

Another exciting thing was that it snowed again last night, which meant shoveling. Blue "helped" me. Here are some pictures from our day:

"This is helpful, right?"
Can you find Blue?

Blue prints (see what I did there?)

Snowy paws

Tuckered out

New toy! New toy!!
Playing "capture Blue in a blanket"

"Never take a shower without me again."
Blue barked to go in the bathroom with me while I took my shower but I insisted on that private time. When I was done and opened the door, he rushed in and laid down on the mat, securing his spot before I kicked him out again.

And now it's bed time and Blue is lying on the floor next to my bed, snoring away. Life with this dog is anything but boring.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dog Language

For the last two days, and the next three days, I'm staying with a huge, playful, spirited, and fluffy goldendoodle named Blue. He's my cousin's dog, and he's one year old and a complete goofball. Last night he woke me up in the middle of the night by sitting on the tv remote and turning the tv on. It scared me to death! He just looked at me like, "I have no idea how that happened."

In the last couple days, I've learned to interpret his many faces and poses. If you find yourself in the position where you need to use my expertise in dog language, here is a basic guide: 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Aunt Date

Every now and then I like to take my nieces and nephews out for aunt dates. On Christmas I reminded my nephew that our aunt date was this week! He excitedly said, "I know what we can do for our aunt date! We can go to the mall and you can buy me stuff!" This was on Christmas by the way, after we'd opened presents. I think he still had the taste of new toys in his mouth and wanted more.

Suffice it to say, I did the aunt thing and scoffed at his idea, and instead, took him to a museum. Which, by the way, he loved. We went to the Henry Ford museum, which is my favorite. There is so much cool stuff there, including the bus Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of, the Wienermobile, the chair Lincoln was assassinated in, and I was about to say the car Kennedy was assassinated in, but was afraid that would make the whole museum seem too macabre. But yeah, they have that too.

They also have a temporary display of Lego structures, which is what I took my nephew to see. It was also the room we spent the least amount of time in. Once he heard about the Wienermobile, that was all he wanted to see!


Without meaning to, we dressed alike too. We're not cheese-balls. It was an accident, I promise.

He refuses to look normal for pictures, which is one of my favorite things about him.

I told my nephew about Rosa Parks at lunch. He was shocked to hear about the discrimination of the time. When we walked by a KKK uniform in a display case later and he said, "look, a ninja costume!" I didn't have the heart to tell him what it actually was. Here he is with and on the bus. They have a light shining on the seat where Rosa Parks sat.

After that, we walked through a display on women's rights. Part of the display is a jail cell (since that is where some women fighting for rights were sent). I didn't get into this history with him either, so he thought the jail cell was pretty fun to pose in.

Even though we didn't go to the mall and buy things, I'd say the aunt date went pretty well. Especially since it ended with sledding:


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wednesday Thoughts

I almost forgot it was Wednesday today! That's the nice thing about being on vacation. Today I thought I'd share with you a fun and easy tutorial. This year I'm carrying on a tradition I started last year of reading fortunes at midnight on New Year's Eve. The fortune cookies are made of felt, and the fortunes are written by me (and friends).

Last year's fortunes included things like, "You will pet 30 dogs this year" (I got that one and it more than came true), "You will get even better looking this year," and " you will change your hairstyle this year." This year's fortunes will be even better.

To make the fortune cookies, you need:

1. Felt
2. Scissors
3. A cup or other circle shape to trace
4. Glue gun/glue sticks
5. Pipe cleaners

To start, you trace a circle shape of your choosing. Mine are 3.5 inches across.

Next you hot glue a two inch line and glue a two inch piece of pipe cleaner down, half way across the circle.

Let the glue dry, then fold the circle in half, then in half again. Check it out!! You have a fortune cookie!

Then you can write your own fortunes and delight your friends on New Year's Eve! Or terrify them, whichever you choose.

Happy Wednesday!


Well, we did it, guys. We made it through another Christmas. I love the Christmas season more than anything, but Christmas day can be a bit trying. A few years back, a well meaning - but clueless - family member told me that I'll never truly understand the joy of Christmas until I see my own children open their gifts on Christmas morning. I handled it with grace and only kicked her in the shins three times. Hard.

I think she was both right and wrong - I do manage to feel the joy of Christmas without kids, but would it be better with kids? I believe it would. Luckily, I get to borrow some of that joy from my nieces and nephews, and that's good enough for now.

After opening gifts yesterday morning, we drove to my aunt and uncle's house for more presents and Christmas dinner. The kids wanted to ride in my car, because my car (an '05 Chevy Malibu Max) is seriously AWESOME (to the under 10 crowd).

On the short ride to my aunt and uncle's house, I asked the kids what their favorite thing about Christmas is. My six year old nephew exclaimed, "THE TOYS!" Then, remembering lessons his parents and church leaders have taught him, he caught himself and said, "No.... wait. The caring. About each other."

Here are a few pictures from Christmas:

Christmas Eve walk 
Car ride
Katherine's gag gift favorite gift from me. And me and the kids.

My cozy socks!
How we all felt by the end of the day!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Kids Explain Santa

I saw this on the nightly news last night and thought it was really cute. I hope it gives you some Christmas cheer this evening!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Movies - the best and worst

People have strong opinions about Christmas movies. I know one person who told me he was thinking of breaking up with his girlfriend when he found out she didn't like the movie, "A Christmas Story." They broke up not too much later. He never told me if that was why, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a factor.

Part of the reason we feel so close to these movies, I suppose, is because they're attached to Christmas memories and traditions. We watch them every year with our families and friends, and start to develop the attitude of, "if you don't like that movie, you won't fit in with my family or our Christmas traditions. So get out! Am-scray!!"

Things took a surprisingly bad turn there. Maybe some of that is just thought, not said. (I hope.)

So without further ado, these are my favorite Christmas movies. If you don't like all of them, that's fine. I won't break up with you or kick you to the curb. Ok, that's not totally true. You have to like 5 out of 10 at least. Exceptions will be made for non-Christians and cute guys.

Best Christmas Movies (in order):

1. Lampoons Christmas Vacation
2. Elf
3. A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott version)
4. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey version)
5. A Christmas Carol (Mickey Mouse version)
6. The Holiday
7. A Christmas Story
8. White Christmas
9. Charlie Brown's Christmas special
10. It's a Wonderful Life

Christmas movies I do not like:

*ANY that are done with claymation. I abhor claymation.
*Miracle on 34th street - I know things work out in the end, but it's too sad throughout. It's just... I can't. I just can't. It hurts my heart to see Santa so mistreated.

What are your favorites? What are your least favorites? Why?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Little Update

I know I was supposed to blog yesterday about the "End of the World" but I got busy and it didn't happen. But here are my thoughts on what happened yesterday:

In other updates, I've had a fun weekend so far. I taught my friend, Sarah, how to make brownie truffles:

She was a natural!

Then later in the day, at my dad's family birthday party, I taught my nieces and nephew how to build with Lincoln Logs:

I also made some more crayons, using the slave labor of my sister, Heather, and her kids, to peal the labels:

And lastly, I've been making treats for a family gathering tomorrow:

And all of these things are the reason this post is mostly pictures! But I'll be back tomorrow to talk about the BEST Christmas movies! Hope to see you then.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Yet To Come

The ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is the scariest one of all. As a "shadow of what may be," it seems to take the form of a shadow itself. A really freaky shadow:

I don't like it. Like, at all. It's almost as scary as Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas music. If I saw this guy and heard the Trans-Siberian Orchestra playing, I would know I was in Hell. Those are both more well suited for Halloween, let's be honest.

But I digress.

The things this shadow showed me are the things that will happen unless I get my act together. Namely:

Yep. Crazy cat lady. I'm not really that into cats, but I am on a scary path towards spinsterhood unless I get my act together.

And this:

...if I don't stop eating Christmas candy. Why the Ghost of Christmas yet to come would show me Honey Boo Boo as a warning, I don't know. Because let's be honest, Honey Boo Boo has it better than most of us. What with the red neck games and 'sketti and all. And on top of that, Honey Boo Boo and her "kin" have more self esteem that I'll ever have.

All in all, my visit with this ghost was my least favorite. Yet I cling to this quote:

“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change."

What do you think the Ghost of Christmas yet to Come would warn you about?

I'll start worrying about it after tomorrow if the world doesn't end.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday Thoughts

Yesterday I stumbled across a project that looked like fun, and would make a unique little gift for my youngest niece and nephew. The project basically consists of melting a bunch of crayons into a tin pan, resulting in a fun multi-colored crayon. Today I thought I'd give you a little tutorial. It's very simple. (Here's a link to the original post. Mine is better.)

To start, you have to peal the wrappers off the crayons. This is BY FAR THE WORST PART. If there is someone in your life who has offended you greatly, and has been begging to do something - anything - to get back in your good graces, now is the time to cash in on that favor!!

I really do.

Once you've pealed the wrappers off the crayons, and you're completely fed up, now comes the time to get out your frustration by chopping them into pea-sized pieces with a butter knife. This part only takes a couple minutes. After that, you arrange them in your mini cake pan in whatever shapes you have! I have a snowflake tin, so that's what I used.

Next, you bake them at 150 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until melted. My oven won't go down to 150, so I baked them at 170, the lowest it would go. I still ended up baking them for closer to a half hour, but it just depends on how hot your oven is. If you're not sure, just peek in every now and then.

When they're melted, remove them from the oven, and let them set until they harden.

Once they've set, you can remove them from the pan. If they don't come out of the pan easily, pop the pan in the freezer for little bit and they'll fall right out. And finally, this is what you end up with!

The whole process takes less than an hour - depending on how many you do and how many helping hands you have.

Give a couple of these to a kid with a pad of paper, and they'll love you forever. Or until they get bored 10 minutes later. But still. They'll be pretty happy for those 10 minutes. And if you involve a child in making them, you can give them the task of pealing the paper off the crayons! Mwahahahaha!!! I'm going to be a great mom.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Present

The duty of the ghost of Christmas Present is to show a person something going on in their life that they are neglecting, but that could be better if they would tend to it. In the case of Scrooge, he was shown children who were hungry and cold. He was also shown the family of Bob Cratchit, his underpaid employee with an ill son. He saw that his selfishness caused others to suffer, and he was saddened by it.

What I was shown shook me to the core. If I had had any idea that I had been neglecting this person, I would have happily tended to him and shown him love. 

What the ghost showed me was a man who loves me deeply and has, through some popular movies, tried to make himself known to me, but so far I have been blind to his pleas. On that dark night, as I floated hither and yon with the ghost, this is the sad, sad sight I was pained to see. 

Yes, Ryan Gosling, I know you exist! Luckily for me, the spirits show you what might have been, not what will be. I'll buy Ryan the biggest turkey in the window! Yes, the one as big as me! This story will surely have a happy ending. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Past

Unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, I have never been visited by ghosts throughout the night, who show me my past, present, and future. I have been visited by ghosts who showed me other things, but that's more of a President's Day Story. Today I'm going to have to be my own ghost of Christmas past and walk you through my Christmas history.

Let us begin. Oh, and just so you know, "These are but shadows of things that have been. They have no consciousness of us."

Here is a young picture of me and my brother on Santa's lap. I wonder what I asked for that year? It looks like I'm still listing things, but Santa has turned his attention to my brother.

Sadly, I was unable to get my hands on a working scanner tonight, so I had to take pictures of the pictures, which ends up being like a double negative (it doesn't work):

That was the year all we could afford was a tinsel string. In this picture we were pretending it was a snake and we were the Swiss Family Robinson. (I'm kidding - I guess we were decorating?)

In the above picture you can see me (bottom left) playing with my NEW CABBAGE PATCH DOLL! That was the one thing I was hoping to get that year and I was soooo happy I got it! In the picture below, I guess I was probably 8 or 9 and I had a new Cabbage Patch Doll - a premie. I loved it so much it appears I brought it to church with me:

As you can see, I had a pretty rough childhood, what with getting the desires of my heart and having fun siblings to play with. And that's why I turned into the adult I am - unable to love. No wait, that was Scrooge. I'm able to love pretty well. The Cabbage Patches taught me how to love. Oh, and my family.