Rainy Day Projects

After a beautiful start to the week, the rain has finally set in. It was one of those days where you just want to curl up in a blanket and fall asleep to the rhythm of the rain. Maybe one day I'll be able to do things like that! But for now, I will have a long to-do list to tackle! It was just too much of a mess outside to be out in it yesterday. Contrary to popular belief, I will not melt if I go outside in the rain, but there are just too many things to do at home!

I really only have a limited amount of time during the day for me time (twins nap time!). So for my nap time projects yesterday, I made split pea soup (who doesn't love a nice steamy cup of soup on rainy days!?!) and I made the girls shirts to wear with their poodle skirts. (ok this one extended past naptime and was a bedtime project too- i picked a pattern that was a bit too difficult for my limited sewing experience)

These are the first shirts I have ever made! This sewing stuff is neat, I think I may do more of it. Maybe I will start a naptime projects tab for the blog, and y'all can get some project inspiration!


Battle of the Bobbin- Poodle Skirts

So I worked on these poodle skirts last week, and had some more trouble with my sewing machine. Turns out it was not operator error! My mom felt sorry for me and couldn't stand to see me dismantle the Singer so she rescued it and gave me this awesome new Kenmore machine. It made me smile! It is so easy to use and the bobbin threads properly! It totally made my day to be able to finish these skirts for the banquet tomorrow.
They are definitely not perfect, but for my first skirts, they are not too bad!


*I was Confused*

I became confused when I heard the word * " Service " * used with these agencies:

Internal Revenue * ' Service ' *
U.S. Postal * ' Service ' *
Telephone * ' Service '*
Cable TV * ' Service ' *
Civil * ' Service ' *
State, City, County & Public * ' Service ' *
Customer * ' Service '*

This is not what I thought Service “meant”... But today, I overheard two farmers talking, and one of them said he had hired a bull to * "service" * all his cows.

*BAM*!!! It all came into focus. Now I understand what all those agencies are doing to us.

You are now as enlightened as I am.

Hope y'all got a good chuckle out of this like I did!

Spring Cleaning?

Are you one of those spring cleaning fanatical people I am seeing everywhere this week? You know the ones whose cart is full of cleaning supplies and Rubbermaid storage containers?

Well I am happy to say that this year, I am not one of those people. I have a stockpile of cleaning supplies that will get me through the next several years of spring cleaning, and most of our closets are already organized with the clear totes (the girls toys however are on my list of things to get squared away in the next couple months). What is it about spring that inspires so many to "get organized"? Here is the history from Wikipedia:
It has been suggested that the origins of spring cleaning date back to the Iranian Norouz, the Persian new year, which falls on the first day of spring[citation needed]. Iranians continue the practice of "khooneh tekouni" which literally means "shaking the house" just before the new year. Everything in the house is thoroughly cleaned, from the drapes to the furniture. A similar tradition is the Scottish "New Year's cleaning" on Hogmanay (December 31), a practice now also widespread in Ireland, New Zealand, and to some extent North America.

Another possibility of the origin of spring cleaning can be traced to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of the spring-time holiday of Passover. In remembrance of the Jews' hasty flight from Egypt following their captivity there, during the eight-day holiday there is a strict prohibition against eating anything which may have been leavened. Jews are not only supposed to refrain from leavened foodstuffs (known in Hebrew as chametz), they are expressly commanded to rid their homes of even small remnants of chametz for the length of the holiday (Exodus 12:15). Therefore, for the past 3,500 years, observant Jews have conducted a thorough "spring cleaning" of the house, followed by a traditional hunt for chametz crumbs by candlelight  on the evening before the holiday begins.

In North America and northern Europe, the custom found an especial practical value due to those regions' continental and wet climates. During the 19th century in America, prior to the advent of the vacuum cleaner, March was often the best time for dusting because it was getting warm enough to open windows and doors (but not warm enough for insects to be a problem), and the high winds could carry the dust out of the house. For the same reason, modern rural households often use the month of March for cleaning projects involving the use of chemical products which generate fumes.

In Greece, and other Orthodox nations, it is traditional to clean the house thoroughly either right before or during the first week of Great Lent, which is referred to as Clean Week. This also often corresponds with the Julian New Year, or April 1.

So there you have it. It seems regardless of your heritage, Spring Cleaning has been instilled in each of us for centuries. I too am doing a bit of "spring cleaning," but not in the traditional sense. I have a rigid cleaning schedule that I stick to year round. You can find it here. Maybe it will help you avoid the spring cleaning fiasco next year. So instead of deep cleaning my house, I am cleaning other areas, like the garden!
I spent some time today getting all the dead leaves and debris from my strawberry patch, which is looking good! I am excited for them to start producing in a couple months. I have some great new recipes to try, and my kids will only eat strawberry jam so I will be making a ton of that! (They turn up their noses at the blackberry I made so that has become my guilty pleasure of late). I am also on the lookout for the recipe to that awesome Amish canned strawberry dessert that you can buy at their vegetable stands in the spring so if any of you have it, please pass it my way!

I also started some seeds a couple weeks ago:

These are some of the tomatoes. I also started some pepper plants, and garlic bulbs that are starting to sprout too.
So there you have it, my unconventional spring cleaning. What things are you doing to get ready for spring?


To Roo or Not to Roo?

So the 2011 Bonnaroo lineup is out!! And what a lineup it is! This is a great 10-years of Roo celebration!
Eminem Arcade Fire Widespread Panic The Black Keys Buffalo Springfield feat Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Rick Rosas, Joe Vitale My Morning Jacket Lil Wayne String Cheese Incident Robert Plant & Band of Joy Mumford & Sons The Strokes The Decemberists Ray Lamontagne Bassnectar Iron & Wine Girl Talk Primus Dr. John and The Original Meters performing Desitively Bonnaroo Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas Pretty Lights Florence + the Machine Superjam ft. Dan Auerbach and Dr. John Explosions in the Sky STS9 Gogol Bordello Beirut Big Boi Scissor Sisters Gregg Allman Ratatat Global Gypsy Punk Revue curated by Eugene Hütz Robyn Warren Haynes Band Deerhunter Opeth Atmosphere Old Crow Medicine Show Bootsy Collins & the Funk University Wiz Khalifa Matt & Kim Grace Potter & the Nocturnals The Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band Mavis Staples Béla Fleck & the Flecktones Chiddy Bang Jovanotti Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers Loretta Lynn Cold War Kids The Walkmen Devotchka Wanda Jackson Neon Trees Portugal. The Man Sleigh Bells Amos Lee Best Coast Dãm-Funk & Master Blazter The Sword The Drums The Black Angels School of Seven Bells J. Cole Nicole Atkins & the Black Sea Wavves !!! Junip Freelance Whales Justin Townes Earle Ryan Bingham Deer Tick Band of Skulls Sharon Van Etten Abigail Washburn Omar Souleyman Twin Shadow Kylesa Man Man The Low Anthem Alberta Cross Railroad Earth Jessica Lea Mayfield Smith Westerns The Head and the Heart Karen Elson Beats Antique 22-20s Phosphorescent Clare MaGuire Hayes Carll

What is Bonnaroo you ask? It is a 4-day music festival in Manchester TN June 9-12. Some call it the Wood Stock of the South. It is held on a 700 acre farm, where you pitch a tent and enjoy the music for 4 blissfull (showerless) days. Thank God for the Broo'ers Festival tent with 20 different breweries offering up their best ale to help keep festival goers properly inebriated to be able to stand the stench of their neighbor. It really is quite the experience. I had the privilege of attending a few years ago when my brother graduated from high school- convincing my parents that we needed to go and providing all provisions was my graduation gift to him, and now it is time for my youngest brother to be christened to the Roo world after he graduates this year. So here's my dilemma: To Roo or Not to Roo? Is seeing Old Crow Medicine Show, the Black Keys, Allison Krauss, The Decemberists, Robert Plant, Widespread Panic, Lil Wayne, and Bela Fleck in 1 weekend too much to handle? Would I be missing the opportunity of a lifetime by not attending Eminem and Loretta Lynn's show? What do y'all think? Should I subject my mother to 4 days of torture by her grandkids while I search for enlightenment among thousands of immoral showerless festival goers?


The Good Wife

My Valentine's Day gift to all you ladies! This article was given to me by one of my husband's friends just before we got married. He told me this was the key to a happy and successful marriage! (Thanks Brett!)  It was an article printed in the May 13, 1955 issue of Housekeeping. I have to say some of this is actually pretty good stuff! (Don't get your panties in a wad ladies-read all the way through my comments are in red.)

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed. I typically have dinner ready within 15 minutes of my husband getting home from work (this gives him time to take a shower before joining us for a family dinner which is very important to me).

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. I am guilty of running to the bathroom just before he is supposed to be home (or when I hear his car pull up) to give my hair a quick brush and make sure I look presentable-Don't judge me! (he doesn't know this...and again this is more for me than for him. If I feel good about the way that I look it makes me happy. I want to always feel attractive and sexy, especially when he is around.)

Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it. I am pretty boring too, but I usually have a story about something the kids did, or neighborhood gossip we can both laugh at.

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables. I am guilty of doing a quick run through the house before dinner to pick up anything that needs it- this is more for me. If these things are done before dinner, then I feel less guilty about sitting down on the couch after the kitchen is cleaned up. I feel that since my hubby works his ass off for 12-14 hours a day that it is my responsibility to take care of things in the house. I rarely ask him to help with household things, but he does voluntarily do dishes, laundry, vacuum, etc on a regular basis.

During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction. We don't have a fireplace, but if we did, it would most likely be lit because I love fires. They are soothing, relaxing, and smell good too.

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet. Yeah right- that never happens. We have 3 kids and 2 of those are twin toddlers- Our house is NEVER quiet unless the kids are sleeping! 

Be happy to see him. I am always happy to see him. He is, after all, my other half.

Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. There is usually a smile because I am happy to see him, and I do sincerely want to be pleasing as a wife, but in order for me to please him, I first have to be pleased with myself. In other words, if mama's not happy no one's happy.

Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours. See next item.

Don't greet him with complaints and problems. I usually give him undisturbed time as often as possible to wind down after his day- It makes for much better conversation and allows him to adjust from soldier to husband/father. I also try to save any bad news or complaints until after dinner if at all possible. I also try and take care of all problems before he gets home if possible. After all the crap he has to deal with everyday, if I can take care of some things on my own, it makes things easier on everybody, and allows us to spend our time together doing things we enjoy instead of solving the day's problems.

Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work. It is often that he has to work late, and that's just the way it is. If he needs to stop somewhere after work, he always calls, and if he wanted to go hang out with the guys all night, that's ok by me, and sometimes encouraged! We all need our own time and sometimes that means going out with friends without the spouses.

Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. There are nights that I will pour him a glass of wine with dinner when I am pouring my own. It's just common courtesy, and he does the same for me. And if either of us are  making a drink after dinner, we do the same thing.

Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice. Sorry, he is on his own for pillow fluffing and removal of the boots!

Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him. I have every right to question him and I ALWAYS express my opinion (even when it is not requested) and he respects me more for it.

A good wife always knows her place. yeah, yeah, right in front of the stove or sink lol



Battle of the Bobbin Continued

I kicked that bobbins ass! A few weeks ago I posted about my sewing adventure. It was horrible, but after using my lifeline (my mom), the problem was quickly corrected, and the sewing continued. I managed to complete my first sewing project which resulted in this cute purse

It is even lined and has a pocket on the inside! Don't look too close or you will see all of my mistakes, but I must say, it's not too shabby for a first-time project.

This is going to shock some of you that know me well, but I am now convinced that everyone especially females  should learn to sew. Maybe this is a revelation that comes with age, but you never know when you may need to repair a garment, mend a seam, or alter clothing. I used to think that sewing was for old bitties with nothing else to do.
You know the ones you see in old movies that are still head over heels for their spouse after so many years and who in their spare time sew and knit, cook and clean, and bitch about tending the kids and caring for the house (but love doing it and wouldn't trade their life for any other in the world). The ones that get offended if you tell them that their jam is second rate to your grandmother's but whose cobbler is to die for.

Sewing is for women like that the June Cleaver's of the world
with fresh baked goods waiting for their kids when they get home from school, and whose children have never eaten store-bought biscuits nor do they know what Kraft mac and cheese is. These are the iconic women who every other woman in the neighborhood gossips about over coffee at the bus stop, but each of these gossipers secretly longs to be just like the old bitties. The truth is the bitties are actually the happiest women around who wear the most smiles and who truly live each day to the fullest. These are the real women, the ones who don't try to hide from their domesticity, but who embrace it along with their feminism and zeal for life.

I want to be just like those old bitties too. I have been working on it, but to really get started, I need an apron.


Mrs. Jones?

We all hate phone solicitations aka "courtesy calls." It never fails; those people call at the worst time ever! Today, for example, I was in a hurry to get the kids to their doc appointment, and because I had let them sleep a little longer than normal at nap time, I was running late (imagine that!). So here I am, in the middle of changing a shitty diaper (It's inevitable, when it is time to walk out the door, somebody always poops!), and my cell phone starts ringing at the same time as the house phone, meanwhile the dog is barking at her shadow I think (maybe she is working on her audition to be the next official groundhog- obviously the current title holders are blind and can't see their shadows anyway, giving everyone false hopes of a speedy spring and here we are snowed in!). So I answered the cell and it was someone wanting to give me an insurance quote that will only take one moment ma'am one moment please- um no thank you please take me off your call list, click. And my son answers the house phone! He thinks every call is for him and has yet to master the art of call screening via caller ID. He quickly hands me the phone when he realizes it is not for him. Here's the conversation:

me: Hello!?!
caller: um yes Mrs. Nora Jones?
me: no I'm sorry this is the ____ residence. You must have the wrong number.
caller: Oh no, this is _______(#) right?
me: yes it is, but this is not the Jones' residence.
caller: Well then you must know her?
me: Nope, never met her, but I have been getting calls for her for the past year and a half that I have had this number. What do I need to do to have my number removed from your call list?
caller: Year and a half? Well, Mrs. Jones, this is blah blah blah collections and we are contracted by _____ company to collect the debt you owe them.
me: Once again, you are mistaken, I do not owe them, Mrs. Jones does not live here. I do not know Mrs. Jones. My name is not Mrs. Jones, and no Nora is not my porn name!
caller: um...uh...Have a good day ma'am.


She's Breathing My Air

Have you ever wondered what you kids are thinking before they are able to speak? I always imagine mine to have a snooty British accent similar to Stewy on Family Guy, and with some of the  looks they give me, I am sure some of these thoughts cross their mind...  
And then there are weeks like this one where the girls are constantly fighting, pushing each other down, pulling hair, and screaming at each other. Yes they are only 17 months, but sibling rivalry sucks and they fight over everything. Here is a glimpse into our future:
It is inevitable that one will always want the toy the other one is playing with. Books are even worse. She took the fun toys and left me with this damn teddy bear!
Then, when it is story time, they fight over my lap space, which I am glad to say is not big enough for both girls to sit on without at least one of their body parts touching, and this drives them crazy so the pushing and shoving begins to see who can push the other off my lap first.
When they are playing nicely together, it is usually in an evil plot to destroy the house or get revenge for me not allowing them to play in the houseplants or bathroom cabinets.
They even convince our dog to join them on their plot to sneak cookies from the kitchen, or to get a boost so they can reach things on the counter.
Some of our favorite moments are spent in the kitchen. They love to play with my mixing bowls and spoons and try all the yummy things I make. This is delectable. I can't believe you kept me waiting so long.
Every now and then, I will serve something they don't like (green beans, lima beans, etc) and my kitchen ends up looking like this after they have swapped and traded (and stole) the good food from the neighboring high chair.
The more the girls express themselves, the more it is evident how really different they are. We have a drama queen and a sneak among us, and lately all they have been doing is fighting. I don't have a sister, and my brothers are a lot younger than me so I always found them annoying and a bother until we all got older, but we never really had knock down drag out fights like I have heard many siblings do. If the present pushing, shoving, smacking, hair pulling, kicking, etc. is any indication of the fun future the future brings, we are in trouble. I should start selling the tickets now because it will definitely be better than WWE. I just can't wait for the day when I hear, "Mom, She's Breathing My Air!"


A Doctor's Visit I Couldn't Avoid

I detest going to the doctor. It is an experience that I normally avoid at all costs, unless I feel that I am potentially knocking on death's door. Typically, I just drink a little whiskey, altering the mixture for the symptoms. I have rarely been let down by its effectiveness. As some of you know, a couple days after Christmas, I spent a few hours in the emergency room to find out I had a ruptured ovarian cyst. They told me there was really nothing they could do for me except give me Lortabs and send me home (I don't take medicine unless absolutely necessary so these never got taken). I followed up with a new OB/GYN a week later and was told that I probably have endometriosis and I would need to have surgery (an exploratory laparoscopy) to confirm the diagnosis and to see how bad the cyst was, but my pain was considered not severe enough to send me directly to surgery that day (because I hadn't taken any pain pills), but they offered me some more pain pills, which I obviously refused. So I was referred to an abdominal pain specialist that I had to wait a month to see (and was told to just take a pain pill and deal with the pain- a lot of whiskey was consumed in the month-long waiting time to ease the pain). Yesterday, after a month of impatiently waiting, I finally got to see the surgeon/abdominal pain specialist. I was so nervous about the visit that I did everything but finalize my will beforehand. After lots of questions and a thorough exam, it was determined that I did have a cyst. It ruptured and that is the end of the cyst story. I probably do have endometriosis, but not a severe enough case to warrant surgery at this point (again determined by the amount of pain and lack of pain pills consumed), and also that the majority of my pain is being caused by muscle spasms of my pelvic floor muscles (who knew?!). For this, it was recommended that I take frequent hot baths (nothing like some prescribed me time!) and I am also being sent to physical therapy...If any of  you have experience in this type of physical therapy, please share those experiences with me. The doc described it as both learning a series of exercises so that I would be able to combat the spasm when it occurred and also an internal massage which frankly creeps me out.

I Hate Tuesdays!

I've been pretty silent this week, and it is not by choice, but life happens sometimes. So here is my week so far: Monday- yeah it was a Monday and the whole day I could just see the gray cloud hanging over my head like in the Garfield comic strips when Monday totally kicks his ass
 Yep I can definitely relate, but Monday was great in comparison to Tuesday...I managed to get up, get the kids ready and leave the house before 8 o'clock, which is a huge feat for anybody with 3 kids I think (especially since the girls usually sleep until 8 or 8:30), but we had an appointment so off we went. We sat in that damn office for 2 1/2 hours until finally we had completed all requirements and were able to leave to the next part of our day which should have been being in line by 10 to get Ron White tickets. This did not happen, I am sad to say that we didn't get in line until 11:15 ish,  (Ron is filming a tribute for the soldiers at the Ryman and all soldiers and spouses were supposed to be able to register for tickets by showing their military ID) and by the time it was our turn to sign up for the tickets, the rules for obtaining them had changed drastically (apparently they posted the instructions on facebook after the offer had been distributed - not really sure how that is acceptable since facebook is labeled as a cautionary website for all military). Not only did you need to provide your military ID, but if the active duty service member was currently stateside, they had to be present, and if they were deployed, the spouse had to present a copy of their orders (I was told this requirement had been dictated by Ron White himself!). That one was a little tough for me. So when I explained that my husband's orders are classified and that I can't have a copy of them, they expected me to contact his commanding officer and have them write an official letter stating exactly that. They refused to speak with anyone over the phone at his office for verification and said obtaining that letter was my only option. Well, I was not about to interrupt the commanding officer's day because some bitch hadn't been provided with her daily dose of chocolate and midol (especially since she also told me that the tickets were going to be all gone by the time I returned and that I would just be put on the cancellation list). So, after wasting the better part of the day (and running out of time to go to the commissary for fear of not being home when my son got off he bus), I headed home to email Mr. Tater Salad directly about my experience.
When I got home, I picked up my son and headed to perform the grocery store parade. In 2 1/2 hours, the kids and I covered my list at Kroger, Target, GFS, and Sam's (See what I got here), returning home in time to put away groceries,  have the world's fastest dinner, and be ready for when the missionaries arrived (The missionaries from our church visit often for a lesson.). Apparently, all 3 of them walked through my muddy yard without realizing that there was mud, and tracked it into my house onto my very light colored carpet. No worries, the carpet needs cleaned anyway, but in the meantime, the red dirt stains are clashing with my couch...Following in the footsteps of the horrible, no good, very bad day I was having, my children decided they were going to be an example of how not to act; fighting, screaming, and digging in my potted plants, so I put them in their room for the last 20 minutes of our lesson. Big mistake. HUGE! The little darling proceeded to shit themselves, as babies often do, but the poop squeezed out the legs of the diaper, fell down the pants leg and onto the very light carpet in their bedroom...(Note to self, even when there is a diaper emergency and your diapers don't arrive on schedule from Amazon, never, I repeat, NEVER buy Kroger brand diapers- I am certain that the poop would have been properly placed in the diaper had they been wearing Huggies as normal). Just when you were starting to feel sorry for me and have thoughts that things would get better, I continue the story.....The girls have a very large collection of Little People. The damn things are everywhere (no I did not buy 1 of them, they have all been gifts- all 100 of them- not exaggerating) and they also have several different play sets. I swear every single one of the Little People went "mudding" on the farmer's tractor and were covered head to toe in poop. I call this event The Fecal Follies of Popcorn Peggy and Charlie Poopsalot (the carnies were preparing their next sideshow act -gotta find some humor in all this or I would go nuts!). It's amazing what kids can do in a matter of minutes. There was poop on every board book, toy, wall, and door (yes the baseboards too) in their room, but surprisingly, the girls didn't have any on their face, or hands, just their shoes, legs, and of course bottoms. It was amazing. I really should have taken pictures. I am sure there is some sicko art collector out there that would have loved the new medium of art they were working with. So after the mess was cleaned and the kids were all tucked in, I ended the day with a much needed glass of wine.
I think I need to begin an I Hate Tuesdays campaign. Why can't everyday be Friday?