Thursday, December 20, 2012

Backlog. Very Back Back.

(* I am purposefully not speaking about the tragedy that took place last week. While it is absolutely heart-wrenching, and all of my thoughts and love and light are being sent east, I feel that at this point, what I need is to process  privately and not in public. This is such a profound event, that nothing I post really, truly matters in comparison, so please excuse my rambling... *)

It's been a while.
It's me, not you.
Why is it always so busy!?!?  (You know this is the bane of my existence right? Busy.)
Can I just tell you something? For....oh....only like 7,000 years now, I've been wanting to find enough time to regularly post.  (Any free time after dark does not count. By then, I'm either exhausted, or I'm exhausted and my brain isn't working well enough to compose a posts. That or I'm sleeping.)

I knew summer was going to be busy for me. What, with the young lad being home and all. Then there was fall, which was not busy. It was cray-cray. CRAZY!  I think I told you people, but did you know that 1,300 people came through our house for the fundraising house tour? 1,300! I also had some other large volunteer obligations, Halloween, a wedding that the boys were in, Jon's birthday, Noah's birthday, hosting Thanksgiving, Chanukah.  (By the way, tomorrow, Friday, is the first day of winter. So, Christmas can not count as making fall busy. ) But, I did have Christmas prep! (25 people on my list, plus 8 day of Chanukah.) Which, I do have to say, since I am living off a diet of pure stress-y frazzled-ness at this time, my motor has been in 5th gear, and I had all of my holiday shopping done, and everything wrapped by the the beginning of the second week of December.  I am like a MACHINE! YES!

The point is, is that there always seems to be so much to packed into each and every month. I came to the realization, that IF I want to write here regularly and to have an Internet presence, or perhaps something like that, in conjunction with creating things and selling things, or whatever it maybe become......
IF I am now ready to have something in my life beyond parenting and running a household,
I NEED TO START THE NEW YEAR WITH A SET OF BOUNDARIES AND EXPECTATIONS!!!

Like, new and radical, life-changing boundaries on my time. I need to be able to take a chunk of time during the day, and to tell the world: "Look, thank you for the invite to do X, for asking me to volunteer for Y, for your phone call/email/text message, but I am WORKING between the hours of blank and blank. THAT is essentially my problem, that I have never OWNED my time.

Also though, my household is pretty much run like a well-oiled machine. I enjoy taking care of it, but I feel like I might need to let go a bit, in order to suss out more time for additional endeavors.

At any rate, one of my top "To Do's" right now, is to make a work plan for 2013. It'll include expectations for my full-time job duties, like parenting, cooking, keeping the house stocked and clean, but will also lay out a plan for the development of my "side job".

How about YOU!? Are any of you stay-at-home mothers who are looking for a little something more? Are you interested in creative, new ways to exist is this vast place called the Internets? I'd love to hear from you!

Ok, I'm done. Here's some backlog. Which, not interestingly enough, I started this post over a week ago, and now the backlog is the back backlog. I fear that I might never catch up!

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Hey! Do you ever get hungry? Are you into eating food? Then here are some good recipes that I have tried and recommend to you!

Feta, Carrot & Black Olive Salad
This "salad" is delicious! It's a take on a traditional Moroccan salad. The salty feta and olives mix with lemon juice. It's great. I actually peeled the outer carrot skin and then peel the rest into ribbons for the salad. Our friend Bill made this for a potluck. It would be a wonderful salad to bring to any party- easy to make, affordable, looks beautiful and tastes great! (Also gluten-free and healthy)

This was delicious! To save time and money, I just used  1.5lbs of canned, whole tomatoes. I like Muir Glen brand because they are organic, and now their cans are BPA free. I'd prefer tomatoes in glass when I can find them though.......If you follow that sort of thing. :)
Some Parmesan on top was the best!

This is a very good dish too, and easy! I've been looking for ways to get more beans in. The lemon, plus salty capers is perfect, and they literally flavor the beans. The beans are small flavor packets!


Ok, sometimes I find updating with pictures a bit quicker, so here goes! 

Well, I made this paper banner that says "Thankful" for Thanksgiving. You can find so many fun and easy craft ideas on Pinterest! (This is the tutorial that I used.) I need a better photo.
 It was made with a few sheets of glittery, polk-a-dot and plaid scrapbook paper, a bit or ribbon and some chipboard letters. Now I'll have a Thanksgiving decorations for years to come, and it was really a good time making it- except for slicing the entire end of my finger off. It grew back.

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Next, here is a quick snap from Thanksgiving. We squeezed, I mean really smooshed 12 people into our table. This is pre-smoosh. Jon made an incredible dinner, and all of our guests brought delicious additional dishes to pass around and share. I made a gluten-free pumpkin bread cake, and was on house cleaning and decorating duty. It was so much fun. After a HUGE meal, we took a walk around town to see all of the lights that had recently gone up. Our city has been in the paper and on national news for purchasing a 30 foot artificial tree this year. There was a lot of controversy. I was laughing because my little brother called from L.A. and said: "So.....I heard "our little city's name" just bought a fake Christmas tree". He heard it on the Today Show. Omg.  It's too long to go into right now. Maybe sometime.......

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Oh! Did I tell you that Noah got to meet the author of the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series, Jeff Kinney!? It was a dream come true for Noah. He has read through the 8-book series over five times now! He can't stop!  Mr. Kinney was very very nice. We went with Noah's school librarian and some of his school-mates. There was also a great tour bus that was wrapped in ten-foot high Diary of a Wimpy Kid cartoon characters. We will definitely never forget this, AND, I got to ride on the school bus!!!! I love the school bus!!!

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We had a tiny bit of snow, and it was so gorgeous! There were a lot of migrating birds that day too. I saw Mourning Doves, Cardinals, Blue Jays and even woodpeckers!  I feel a little sad because we haven't had many other birds come by in recent weeks. Just a random cat. Maybe that's why the birds are staying away....? :(
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Here is a quick picture that I snapped of Willow, our newest kitty. She was a stray, found living under our friend's deck. She's gaining weight and her fur is starting to grow back in! I think it looks like she is wear stirrup pants from the 80's or something like that. :)
Jon used to always joke about wanting to buy a "Mink Tracksuit" if he ever won the lotto. It would look like this I'm sure.
I really wanted to call her "Alice", but I didn't want to change her name once again. She's so smart and seemed to already respond to "Willow" when our friends would called her. I think Alice is fitting though. I don't know why.

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One day we went to see Santa in the park. Noah was very excited, but very nervous. Just like in the movie "A Christmas Story", Noah was nervous and blanked on what he really wanted to ask Santa for. (A Nintendo 3DS.)  Instead, he blurted out: "A dome hockey table"! I wish you could have seen my face. I have NEVER heard him talk about "dome hockey"! What is that even!? ;)  LOL.
 (By the way...he is actually getting dome hockey, a floor version, for Christmas now. I have to do whatever it takes to keep the magic of Santa alive!) 
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I decided to make some of my holiday decorations out of paper this year because I was trying to imagine what they might have used 100 years ago. My paper decorations are a modern-take on things, but lots of fun to make!
I absolutely love Paper Source's craft kits and loosely based my decorations on some of their ideas.





























This is how they looked when finished in the window........you can't tell how glittery they are, but they do sparkle when it's sunny.

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Speaking of decorations, I couldn't stop decorating for Chanukah/Christmas.................






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That's "Christmas Fall Over Bear", Jon named him a few years ago, when he'd fall over in the wind every single night while living on our front porch. This year I had the genius idea to bring the poor guy in for the season. He hasn't fallen over one time yet!
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Oh! And we went to a Holiday Market called the "Winter Markt" in the park in the middle of our town. It's kind of a German themed holiday market, with shopping stalls, live music, hot food and hot beverages. Like....um....gluhwein........! Yeah, the hot, spiced, mulled red wine was not my favorite.
Noah is wearing a gingerbread cookie/ornament. And the hat. The hat that he has worn every.single.day since Thanksgiving. He won't take it off. Even in gym class. I can't believe it's still in one piece after all of the washes.

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This was so much fun, I ordered online, a letter from Santa to Noah. You fill in a form with three good things that your child has done in the past year, and three gifts that he or she would like. There was also a space about a friend that Santa could mention in the letter, you know, just for added authenticity.  Santa brought up all of these things accomplishments, toys and his cousin. Noah was SO excited to receive the letter. He was amazed! I have a cute video of him reading the letter. The look on his face and the sound of his voice, THAT was the magic of Santa that I remember was oh so wonderful. 

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I started making Noah's two teachers a holiday thank-you gift.  I found a wonderful tutorial on Pinterest front the site "come Together Kids" and personalized the bags. For $3/each, I bought plain tote bags and then used a red and blue fine-tip sharpie and a ruler, to make the totes look like lined paper! Then Noah wrote his teacher's names and drew their pictures in pencil, and I traced them in black sharpie. I think they came out pretty cute and it was a lot of fun!

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Inside I put a new, great looking gluten-free cookbook for one teacher, and for our other teacher, a fun game called "Find-It" to play with her family over break! I also slipped in a nice vanilla candle in a jar.

For more HOMEMADE GIFT IDEAS.....check out my Pinterest board. There are ideas for quick and easy homemade gifts for everybody on your list!

Oh! Just one more...... I have been working on a crocheted mini-backpack purse. I swear it doesn't look like just a blob of yarn in real life. Now I am in the process of making lots of flowers to cover most of the bag. Get back to me in 10 years. ;)
It's pretty silly, but fun.
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So that's the back backlog!
There's much more since then. Come back and visit me again some time soon for more!
xo
Lauren 

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