Our own traditions

It’s November, so it’s that time of year again. The time where I get a bit manic trying to do everything I want before the commencement of holidays in December.

When we lived back East every Thanksgiving and Christmas we would travel around to visit and dine with family. When my girls were about 1 and 2, we had a Thanksgiving that made us rethink how we did things. It was an evening event, we went, bringing two young sweethearts who were more ready for bed than an evening out. First – there are candles all over, the ones that smell nice in small batches but when there are about 5 or 10 of them going, not so much. Second – there’s nothing I can eat. I followed a strict vegan diet back in those days (I was a pretty hard core vegan for 20 years, until about a year ago) and I had been instructed not to eat since there would be plenty that I could eat. However, there was not. We had an enjoyable time anyhow, spending time with family, enjoying the giant stone fireplace and warmth emanating from the merry flames.

We drove home around 9 or 10, driving through the heavy, wet snow that had started while we were visiting. The girls were crying, past ready to be nursed and sleeping. When we got home, I got into bed with the babies and tried to calm and soothe. They were so over-tired by then that neither of them were able to fall asleep until after 11 pm. After they were asleep I had a quick bite in the kitchen with my husband and we talked. I suggested that we might consider staying home during the holidays, at least while the girls were so young, and that we just relax and enjoy our little family. My husband was overjoyed by this suggestion and, much to the dismay of our families, we stayed home during Christmas. I look back on that Christmas with such fondness and remember the sweetness of the day, I missed our families, but was thrilled to be able to focus on the happiness of my children as we all played with new toys together without feeling pressure to get dressed and ready to drive a distance to be somewhere by a specific time.

Our Thanksgiving is simple – no one really likes turkey all that much, so I make a giant batch of pizza dough and we take out a jar of our summer-canned tomato sauce and make pizza. It’s easy and fun for everyone.

Christmas can sometimes be a little more formal, with perhaps an actual sit-down meal of pot roast and mashed potatoes, honey glazed ginger carrots and a close-to-bedtime mug of cocoa in front of the fireplace.

I love our holiday traditions, they work for us beautifully.

 

But back to my pre-holiday mania – I do a lot of baking, we make presents to send to far-off family, and I try to make a few gifts each year for my girls and husband. The gift-making is often very time consuming and I’ve been giving thought to taking it a little easier and making less.

 

 

 

 

How do you celebrate holidays? What are some favorite holiday meals? Do you make gifts? If so, when do you get started on those?

Best. Night. Ever (Okay, not really, but it did include carbs and Hugh Jackman)

(This post was written on the evening of September 28, 2013) 

 

Have you ever sat back and wondered what I could do to have the best night ever? Well, I did just that tonight. After my children fell asleep by 9:00 pm! 9 pm!!!! I took a shower and decided to write for a bit on my fixed Macbook. So, my night was already looking good. I pontificated briefly on this very idea and decided to 1) indulge my cravings for carbs by baking these very yummy 40-Minute Buns (I’m linking to the recipe so you can hate me after you’ve gained four pounds like I have) and thought about what else would make this evening’s perfection complete. It came to me suddenly, like so many good ideas do.

 

Hugh Jackman. I was going to spend this evening with Hugh Jackman. I would bake, eat a couple of warm and delicious rolls, write, and let’s not forget the bit with Hugh Jackman. I decided to watch “The Fountain”. Now, I know I probably won’t be perceived as truthful here, but I’m not attracted to Hugh Jackman. For me, what I like most about him – besides his acting talent, is that he’s a family man. He seems devoted to his wife and children and I find that wonderful and highly admirable. He seems like a truly nice guy, as well with good character, and there’s a whole lot to be said for that, in my book.

 

The rolls came out perfectly, by the way. And they were delicious. (I have tweaked the recipe a bit to work for our particular tastes, i.e.; the recipe calls for a set amount of sugar, I find that amount to be far too much and use less.)

crafty inspiration and the waiting horror in the girls clothing department

Oh, this book, 101 Days of Christmas by Mandi Ehman looks like fun. I love craft inspiration and I read about this one on Simple Homeschool and it’s free on Amazon for Kindle today.

The temperature high here today was about 75 degrees (Fahrenheit) and it actually felt cool. Moving from New York to the Pacific Northwest – it took us more than a year to acclimate to the cool (okay, cold to me) summers. Moving here at the very end of May, where temperatures soared high into the hundreds – I kept well hydrated, keeping our numerous Klean Kanteen bottles full of chilled water every time we went out. Add sunglasses and sunblock and we were ready to go. We managed to do a lot, as well as numerous visits to the pool. The entire time, I was more comfortable in this weather than I had been during our years in Washington and during the oppressively humid summers back East. I really love this climate.

And now, here it is, 71 degrees currently at the end of September and it feels cold. Suddenly, yes, it is autumn. I have pulled out my craft box, gone through the numerous skeins of wool yarn, pulled out my many crochet hooks, looked longingly over the Knifty Knitter that I was so certain I would take to like a fish takes to water. It seemed so fun, so simple. Once I got it and read how to do it, I put it away until a free moment, and haven’t looked at it again until just the other day.

I haven’t made clothing since I sewed a really ugly blouse in Home Ec. Now I  have to go through my supplies and figure out what super easy clothes I can make. I found  patterns I had bought at a thrift shop and put away for “someday”. Someday is here.

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We did some online clothes shopping for the girls the other day. I went into ebates  (just letting you know, if you click on that link and sign up for ebates, I will receive $10. for each opened account) and then checked retailmenot and armed myself with coupon codes and with dreams of savings, I went head on into clothing sites. I should have paused and recalled each and every year of clothes shopping. Needless to say, nothing was purchased. I know that I’ve brought this up before, but I don’t want my younger children to wear some of the clothes they sell. Low rise jeans, shirts with glittery messages, midriff baring anything. For the past few years, we’ve gotten off easily, buying yoga pants, and boys shorts (which are longer) and plain color t-shirts. But my youngest is very very into fashion and wants to dress differently. My eldest is not really into clothes, but is beginning to care more about appearance. They both want more input into what they wear. I understand this and I also respect it. I want to encourage it. But I don’t want them dressing, let’s call it like it is and say slutty umm, precociously, as many children their age do (I assume that most parents are more than accepting of this forced early sexualization since they continue to buy the clothes the industry churns out year after year.)  I want something different.

 

 

Do you make any clothing for your children? How did you improve your sewing skills? Do you find it practical given the cost of fabric/necessities as opposed to clothes? Or, if you do purchase clothes for your children, where do you find inexpensive, yet quality basics?

Here’s the part where I come back after being gone for months.

And here’s a recap of what this is all about. 

This blog is all about how I clean my house, exercise six days a week, homeschool, and make perfect crafty gifts for holidays and birthdays, as well as putting a gourmet meal on the table for dinner every night. Oh, and let’s not forget about the fact that I make all my housecleaning products by hand. All, while being a perfectly appreciative wife and doing what I can to further martyr myself. 

 

No. That’s not me.  At all. That will never be me, unless I’m lobotomized for some reason, and even then, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Okay – I do homeschool, and I love to make crafts (except when they turn out horribly and they so often seem to do just that), and I do make my own cleaning products but only because I have really sensitive skin and chemical smells give me an almost instant headache. I do appreciate my husband, but I love that his hours are such that I usually get a nice hunk of time to myself each night – a couple hours of me-time. Peacefully sleeping children, a new library book to read, or a stupid adventure movie on netflix. 

 

I don’t wake up each day with a smile on my face, or with one in my heart. I’m angry about certain things, and I’m scared. Of a lot. I used to think that when I was an adult I wouldn’t have to be frightened of anything. What a laugh that turned out to be; I had no idea that the time for true stress was coming up. Not to come across as a drama queen, but just basic adult/parent worries. 

 

I rarely cook gourmet meals – I adore eating them however.  But prepping, cooking, and washing up is so not my idea of a good time.  Only the eating is. But that never lasts as long as the following cleaning up does. I’m trying to grow out a super short haircut and it’s currently in a terribly awkward stage.

 

A lot of things I’ve tried haven’t worked (i.e.; moving to a small island in the PNW and trying our hand at country living with chickens) which I will delve further into in future posts. But I keep coming back to try more, and you know why? Because when it does work, it’s the most wonderfully fantastic feeling in the world. 

 

I’ve been very busy these past few months – we moved (it went well with DC’s allergies, thankfully), I finally finished my final edit of the manuscript I’d been working on and released a novel (YAY!!!!),  and I’ve been working daily since then – homeschooling, acclimating to our new city, and writing. If you’ve stuck around all this time, or are only just finding me, I appreciate it immensely and look forward to blogging a bit more frequently than I’ve done these months. 

 

 

 

Fear, almost 600 miles away

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

The last few weeks have been a flurry of packing and packing. Hot showers to soothe aching back muscles from loading up boxes and piling them in an extra bedroom. More packing, and the act of going through our life here. Deciding what to keep and what to discard.

I am also petrified. I am terrified because of my youngest child’s food allergies. We will be driving 19 hours to our new home, the children and I in the family vehicle, my husband in the rental truck. This 19 hour trip will be punctuated by an overnight hotel visit. A fact of life is that hotels and motels are often located in the close vicinity of fast food restaurants. Another fact is that I am sure there are a lot of people who pick up fast food and eat in their hotel rooms. As I am also sure that the cleaning staff, good as they may be, are often rushed, and may miss something.

Two years ago my husband dropped his stick of deodorant on the bathroom counter, wiped up the bit that broke off, and went on his way. Later that day, my child touched that spot, touched her face and developed a reaction. Hives where she touched, accompanied by a tightness of her throat. We did not need her Epi-Pen Jr. that day, thankfully. The antihistamine was sufficient. We are going to do a wipe down of all hard surfaces, I am going to cover the bed with a flat sheet of ours, use our own pillows and one of our blankets. And I am still so frightened that it won’t be enough, that she will have a reaction, that it will be bad.

 

I’m trying to be calm and focus on the fact that we will be doing everything we can to keep her safe.