The Perkmaker

I realize it would only be customary to have one of those sappy, look here he is as a baby and here he is now entries for Dants, as he turns 14 today. But… I haven’t the energy. I’ll save that for a cheery disposition, and cake-cutting skills later. He already has his gift (a new snowboard — my goodness those things are pricey), so I’ve nothing else to do but be kind and try not to look as exhausted as I feel. He doesn’t like parties or big fusses over him (another inherited gene from his dad) on his birthday, but he won’t object to gifts, of coarse!!

. . .

Well, I done shot all my high expectations of daily posts all to heck, didn’t I? With Christmas and birthday and work and some personal crap that I’m too tired to discuss — I skipped some entries.

The world stopped, but only for a second. Did you notice?

Shooot. Hardly.

. . .

Work is very busy, being newsletter week plus bulletins for Christmas, Christmas Eve and the regular service. I was on the receiving end of some delicious yummies (bars and breads), and… yeah. It hit the spot and perked the day up. The little things, I tell ya. Another perky-perkmaker is my Sigg.

I chose the SIGG “Maharadsha Turquoise” one after numerous visits to the display rack located inside Whole Foods. For many months I’ve eyed up the bottles, fondled them, fantasized about them (would I like it, would I not… would they be hard to drink from, do I get the flip top or the ringed top… what cooooolor should/would I get if I got one… would it fit in my cupholder in the van… would it fit in my purse… would the kids like it… is the inside coating poisonous — just the regular questions, you know), and then walking right on past them to the olive bar. Finally, yesterday, I did it. I bought one.I take a bottle of water to work each day. Normally I’d take my water jug, but it broke months ago. Probably about the time I started fantasizing about the SIGGS. I have spent well over the $20 investment cost of a new SIGG. What was I waiting for? It was either buy the bottle, or pick up yet another case bottled water.

Hooray for me. I like my shiny new bottle. I took it to wrestling practice last night (the boy’s practice, not me wrestling, you silly thing) and the boys all drank out of it, refilling it twice. That’s about $5 in water bottles right there. Took it to work today. Another buck or so. I’d like to get another bottle or two and maybe some extra caps (probably a sport top). They have all kinds of stuff you can get, different styles, bags, doohickies.

. . .

A few more days until Christmas. Am I done shopping? Not really. But I’m ready for Christmas. Family, having off work. Reflecting. A longer Thanksgiving with more meaning, that’s what Christmas is for me. It is really hard not to get sucked in to the stress and expectations of this time of year, regardless if you celebrate. Be well, don’t stress it, don’t be unhappy. I say this to you and to myself, heh. I stress easy, I worry even easier and I often stress out over (imaginary, perceived) expectations. Sigh.

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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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: – tons of recipes and wonderful tips. – 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?