Flipping Out

I don’t watch a lot of television, and don’t have any shows that I watch religiously, or regularly. Recently, I found a show, though, that’s starting to hook me. I was mindlessly flipping through the stations one night and paused on what looked like a reality-television/news short. I couldn’t really discern, though after a few minutes swayed to the side of “reality” show. There was a clean cut man, surrounded by assistants, a Hispanic maid, who loved his animals, and was… trying to sell a house. I watched up to the commercial, and through to the next commercial, and then all the way to the end. Momma’s getting into this show.

A few days later I caught it again, this time getting the title: Flipping Out. The show airs on Bravo, Tuesdays, but somehow I caught it only on a separate news channel (which was why I was confused as to what exactly it was at first). It’s basically about a guy who flips muliti-million dollar homes, while overseeing a small staff and getting botox somewhere along the way. His name is Jeff. You can find out about those lips here. The show is reality, but it a little more benign than other reality shows. You don’t feel like you’ve been assaulted after watching it and the people, despite the name of the show, don’t wig out to the point of needing the cops called, like some other shows (I Love New York).

. . .

Today the boys went sledding while the girls stayed home and watched a movie. We don’t have enough snowpants and boots to outfit the whole family, apparently, either. Frank and I have shared a pair for a couple years. Franny, being the smallest, wears all hand-me-downs, Carlito got a new pair this year. But Sophia and I have none. I also have no jacket. It ripped two years ago. Last year I limped through using my leather jacket when I really needed one, and a sweatshirt when I felt I could do without.

I’m going to hop online and see if I can find a jacket that will do. I also am going to do some shopping for football jerseys (two of the boys have jerseys down on their list for this year). I have basically none of my shopping done and am doing the minimal possible (due to financial and personal reasons). Frank and I don’t usually exchange gifts, but sometimes take some money out from the early Christmas checks my grandparents send and buy something for each other. Frank’s all about not giving gifts (he says it isn’t what the season is about and if it were up to him the kids might not get anything at all, doesn’t like all the consumerism of Christmas time).

Onto the meme swiped from Amy:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. Every now and then we have a gift bag given to us by someone else that I might re-use if it’s not too beaten up, but I don’t buy them myself. It wouldn’t feel right lifting gifts out of bags and not tearing wrapping paper off of them. My conscience is eased a bit on the waste issue because we recycle all of the paper we use.
2. Real tree or artificial? Real. Well, both. I have a very inexpensive artificial tree in the dining room that’s decorated with all my gingerbread-themed ornaments, but our main tree in the living room is (and will always be, as long as we’re physically able to haul one home and stand it up) a real tree. I once heard someone say, “You wouldn’t give your wife artificial roses, why would you buy an artificial tree?” I totally get that perspective.

3. When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually by New Years Day, sometimes sooner if it starts to drop needles.

5. Do you like eggnog? Shyuh. With brandy, please.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I loved my Cabbage Patch Kids, one year I think I got 1 of those and 2 homemade ones. Wasn’t as fond of the homemade ones, but I was still happy to get friends for my Cabbage Patch Kids.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No. We did have one but don’t know where it went.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Probably my dad.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Frank’s pretty easy, if we’re buying for each other.

11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Snail mail.

Favorite Christmas movie? National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually not until after the first week of December. Sometimes I’ll see something on sale, or something just perfect months ahead and will buy it, hide it. Occasionally I forget I bought the darn thing, too. That’s what I get for trying to shop early, I guess.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Most likely, yes.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I can’t narrow it down to one specific thing. I like the sweets, the appetizers… it’s all good.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? We’ve got both. The clear ones flicker and the colored ones are steady.

7. Favorite Christmas song? I like all kinds, but enjoy more of the old hymns and traditional songs.

18. Travel for Christmas or stay at home? Home.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Sho’ can.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? It is a star, from ShopKo I think.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Depends. Frank sometimes works on Christmas Day, so we kind of go with the flow. Sometimes we open gifts from others on Christmas Eve and from each other on Christmas Day. Just depends.


Happy Thanksgiving.

Ours went well, not without a hitch but hey — I never expected things to go smoothly. Earlier this week I couldn’t find sweet potatoes. Finally found some yesterday (at Wal-mart). I put them in the oven to bake, telling the two oldest that when the buzzer goes off to turn the oven off, and went to a friend’s house. Naturally, they forgot (D said, “Oh turn the oven off? I thought you meant turn the buzzer off.”) and my potatoes turned into hollow shells reminiscent of a sweet potato. I placed them cool outside overnight hoping that some of them could be salvaged. Today Franny and I were able to scrape out only a few cups worth of potatoes, so Frank had to make a trip back to Wal-mart (naturally open on Thanksgiving, of coarse).

Power blew out in the kitchen. Mini crisis/heart attack for that ordeal.

But it all worked out. Food was cooked, company came, we ate and were merry. I was hoping to play some board games, but everyone is just tuckered out.

Snagged this from Robyn:

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Negative Nothing

My finances are a hot mess. I’ll admit it. With some family crisis going on as of recent, all I could think about was getting through the day. I never thought about balancing the checkbook. And now I’m definitely paying for it.

As much as it sucks to be so low on funds that you have to cash in your little piggy jar stash to pay for your fat cat’s urinary track testing and medicine, it sure was nice to have that jar available. With the $80 that was in it, we were able to get some gas, have a lunch date (I’ll admit, a bit frivolous, but husband and I needed that), pay for the meds and have a couple bucks leftover. But literally, when those dollars were gone, we had NADA. Nothing.

That’s not a good feeling. And as I pondered how we literally had nothing, I thought more about how much we owed. Credit cards, student loans (who I’ve been fighting off for years),  home equity loan… I realized that we had less than nothing. Negative nothing, if that’s possible. I had to own up to it a bit. Suck it up, eat some crow. Stop burying my head in the sand. Stop making excuses, be more responsible.

I’ve been flirting with being financially responsible. Hopping on that wagon. Reading. Dipping my big toe in there, but not committing. But I need to. I’m groused out by the fact that I’m thirty-fricken’-four and I’m no better off than I was at twenty-four. A wee bit more responsible, but not credit card free (I was for a few months there), and not with savings on hand (had it for a bit).

This week I’m looking at my Overspending Triggers (feel free to hop in on that thread and list your own), seeing as it is Thanksgiving week and I’m hosting and I KNOW I tend to overspend when hosting. But I’m not going to worry about that right now. Today I need to cash my check. I need to think about where and how I’m going to spend it. I’ll report back.

Gifts In A Jar

I’m always on the lookout for simple ideas the kid’s can make for Christmas gifts. A gift in a jar has become pretty popular. Just get your recipe(s), grab a case of 1-quart canning jars, your ingredients and voila. You can find free recipes all over the internet. Here’s one that looks tasty:

1 C. chocolate chips
1 1/2 C. miniature marshmallows
1 sleeve of graham cracker (ground into crumbs)
1/3 C. brown sugar (packed)

Pour SMORE BAR mix in large bowl. Melt 1/2 cup butter, pour over mix. Add 1 tsp. vanilla; mix. Place in greased 9×9 baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350.

Here’s a good list of some great free resources:
geocities.com/giftsinajar – tons of recipes and wonderful tips.
recipezaar.com – Butterfinger cookie mix (yum!!)

I have to admit, though, when I get a gift in a jar I rarely eat them. OK, I don’t eat them.. anymore. See, a couple times I’ve opened it up and the stuff tasted like crap. The way the ingrediants are packed in like sardines kind of grouses me out. When you attempt to empty the jar, each layer resembles a hockey puck, clanking against the rim, screaming for Sharon Stone and her ice pick. Turned me off of eating them. So if anyone has some recipes that are actually GOOD to make and consume, I’m all ears. Maybe you can convince me.

If YOU get a gift in a jar, do you actually consume it or do you toss it?