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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Year In Review-The Mama Cat is Typing

The Prompt: This year in blog posts…choose a favorite post from each month of 2012 and share. 

That is the challenge! So now I must decide. . . some months I was lazy and it will be easy. Others I went crazy and . . . omgosh, how to choose? It's like the end of the day cup of tea choice. So hard. 

January:
Of course the big event in January was Claire's birth, but since that didn't happen until the last few days of the month and I was generally overwhelmed, I didn't actually have a blog post devoted to that until March. (February totally missed out, but it is a short month) 

So January's post is the delightful Bath Salt Jar Craft tutorial, my first post to really take off on pinterest (it was pinned a dozen or so times which felt, at the time, epic). 

omgosh, so many containers. . .

As I mentioned I didn't actually blog in February, but because of the patented new baby excuse, I'm cheating and using my March post when I actually told Claire's lengthy and insane birth story, because everyone loves a good birth story, right?

so precious

Because of that I can fit in this Hastily Written Love Poem as my March post. I used to write a lot of sappy love poetry, but then I actually captured the object of my affection, and he was much more fun to play with than write about (Rawr, tiger noise).

He is so hot. . .

April involved a cross country move that was the end of a cross world move, but it was also the month I started to get the idea that I could actually get non-relatives to read my blog and I began to get excited about it. Here I catch up with everything after the move and discuss our First House.

We're in Florida now!

In May I posted my first crochet tutorials, but the post that truly has my heart is My Geeky Marriage, because it is so much of what I love about my relationship with Matt. I share this story any time the TV show Grimm comes up and I had an excuse to use an Set Phasers to Lol picture!




Ah, June. More crochet patterns, another Geeky tv marriage moment, and some tutorials, but the best post, in my humble opinion (hey, it's my dang blog) was Carlton Eating Chips. After all, what beats a funny cat video? Nothing! Nothing at all! (except maybe a funny cat video AND dessert. . .or tea)

Carlton was new to the family in June. 



The post that beat out a lot of my favorite crochet patterns (including the mermaid pattern that has been very popular and was shared on the Happy Housewife) is Action Hero Training Camp! This post (and included video) is me boasting about my creative daughter and my own brilliant idea to take advantage of one her favorite tv moments and turn it into an active indoor game.

Caen wants to join in.



In August we had fun with these Tinted Glass Bottles from a pinterest pin. These are still sitting in my kitchen window and I love how they look when the light hits them.

Aren't the pretty?
In September I started doing my Tolkien fan readings, posted a few more crochet patterns, and revealed my recently discovered love for Doctor Who. Still my best memories are of Decorating the Baby.

Claire says, you'll be hearing from my lawyer
For October I'm finally going to give in and feature a crochet pattern post: Baby Penguin! My crochet patterns have gotten me more traffic than my other posts combined, which is nice and I'm grateful for it, especially when that traffic seeps over to my Etsy account. (where you can buy your own penguin family, hint, hint, hint.)
tiny penguin
In November I dove head first into the craziness that is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and actually managed to write a novel! Probably not a publishable novel, but I had a lot of fun writing it, and because of that the post where I share and excerpt of Dragon Curse is my favorite post of that month.

Look at me kill a dragon with FIRE!

So here we are, no the last day of December, the last month of 2012, and it has been my most "posty" month of the year (passing the previous leader, June, by 2 posts, counting this one). My favorite of all these posts? Definitely Things that Make Me Happy: Christmas Edition. I just love Christmas!



So many things make me happy and I love to share with whomever will listen, be it about Doctor Who or the Lord of the Rings  or my faith or my family or crocheting or writing or cats cats cat!!! . . . or tea! Can't forget tea! I can't wait to share another year with everyone out there who stumbles onto the typing of this frantically typative Mama Cat!



Covered in Grace



Influenster VoxBox #1-Video Reveal!

This video is just me, in my own silly way, revealing what I got in my Influenster Vox Box. I had fun making this and can't wait to review the products in depth later when I've had a chance to thoroughly use them, examine them, and rate them. 



Happy New Year and God Bless,
Heidi!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cocktail Glass Exchange: Should've Done This Ages Ago!!!!

I tried to enlist Coryn's help holding Claire's flailing legs still during a particularly awful diaper change and she started moaning and making disgusted faces. So I said, "Are you going to have babies someday?" and she said yes. I continued, "And aren't they going to poo?" Coryn said, in an exasperated voice, "No. I'm a Time-Lord!" I now know two things I didn't know: that my daughter is a Time Lord (that's what Matt and I get for honeymooning on a TARDIS. . . Oh, wait, that wasn't us . . .) and that Time Lords apparently don't poo, at least while babies.

I'm leading off with that to explain why I am only now making this post. It isn't that I'm doing it late. It's that . . .

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff. 

See? So I'm not late. I just got my time lines crossed.

A bit ago I signed up for a cocktail glass exchange and my partner was Vanessa at Here Comes the Human.


Everyone loves getting mail! Because of the nature of this exchange this package was packed with extra care. 

And a nice note. . . 

And an extra special treat! (didn't last long)

I mentioned the extra care. The packing material took a while to dig through but everything arrived in one piece. 

Coryn loves my glass. If it is dirty and I try to use another wineglass she wants to know where the pretty one is. 



So cool!

Check out the other ladies who participated here in the Cheers post

Baby Socks: Crochet Pattern

Ah, baby socks, you annoying little, adorable monsters. I really prefer footy pajamas for non-walkers, but a lot of Claire's newest pajamas sets are footless and with the colder weather we've had lately her poor little toes have been a little chilly. . .and she had outgrown all the socks she had gotten as a baby. Me being me, I didn't want to go buy some socks at this point, so I took a couple of hours and made a pair.

This pattern draws heavily off of the Christmas stocking pattern that I have used before with a few obvious differences in size and style. They don't take very much yarn. I used a G hook, but other sizes will work. Remember that yarn stretches a little so they may not need to be as big as you would think they should be. 

Here are the finished socks. I made them for my one-year-old. The size can easily be adjusted just by making changing the amount of rows on the ankle and foot portions or using a finer yarn and smaller hook. 

I chose to give the ankle part of the sock a ribbed look by working through the back loops only similar to what I did for my sun hat patterns. With your choice of yarn, chain 20 then single crochet into the first chain loop so you have a loose ring. You will be working around and around. I find if I'm going to mess up the project it will be here in the very beginning. I'll twist my chain when working around it and end up making some sort of bizarre moebius strip. If this happens to you, it is fine. Just unravel and start again. You should catch it before you've finished the first row. I haven't found a good trick for avoiding this error and I do it from time to time even though I know to watch for it. Sometimes chains just like to twist. 

So anyway, sc around. You do not need to chain at the end of each row. Just keep working around, back loops only. Do this for four rows. Then it is time to make the heel. 
After seeing the socks on the baby my husband suggested that the cuff/ankle part needs to be a little bit higher so that they aren't so easy for the baby to slip out of. So far Claire has not removed hers, but I did just finish them, so I might take this into account the next time I make a pair. If you have a child who likes to remove socks, making them cuff longer by several rows would possible be an improvement on this pattern for you as well. 

At the end of the fourth row, ch 1 and turn. Sc 8 times (working both front and back loops from now on), ch 1 and turn; sc 4 times, ch1 and turn; sc 2 times, ch 1 and turn. 
Sc in the two scs of the previous row and in one sc of 4 sc row, ch 1 and turn. 
Sc in the 3 sc of the previous row and also in the first sc beneath the heel. Ch 1 and turn. Continue doing this until the heel has been created. For a more detailed tutorial on this method, check out the stocking pattern I linked above. When all of the sc of the 8 sc row have been "devoured" by the advancing heel, you are ready to work on the foot portion of the sock. 

To join the heel to the cuff, on your last heel row put your crochet hook  through the side portion of the heel, draw one loop through, then sc into the first sc of the heel row as shown below. 

Sc around the cuff row to the other side of the heel and repeat the scd (which is basically what I described just now) on this side and continue around in sc. 

Continue single crocheting around for 10 rows or until the foot is large enough for your baby. Then, to make the toe, hold the piece flat so that there is a distinct top and bottom. You want to scd twice, once on each side of the top and then again once on each side of the bottom, so four decreases per round. After two rounds of this the toe should be formed enough that you can slip stitch up the hole at the end, finish off, and weave under your loose yarn. All done!





 

Shared on The Peaceful Mom

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Re Cap

Claire, compared to Coryn who was a sleep through the night by three months sort of baby, is a difficult sleeper. She fights it. She screams. She needs her pacifier and her nurse down or she won't nap. Today, though, she wasn't napping but I didn't particularly want to nurse her to sleep (she had just eaten), so I went in, made her lie back down, gave her her pacifier, wrapped her up in a blanket, and had each of her stuffed animals kiss her good night. She smiled every time they kissed her and I stood over her and whispered to her and stroked her face for a minute and she stared up at me with drowsy eyes and didn't get back up when I left. I wish it always worked that way. I feel like a baby whisperer.

I need little victories like that right now because lately I've been a sleep deprived mess. A lot of this is my fault. I don't like to go to bed early. I especially don't like to go to bed before Matt does. However, my 11pm bedtime wouldn't be a big deal if Claire was sleeping through the night, which she isn't. She is  almost 1 and she is still up three or four times each night. I thought that when I introduced solids she would stop wanting to nurse mid-night, but somehow it feels as if she is waking up more rather than less than she was on a breast milk only diet. She is a very light sleeper, for one thing, and for another she seems to need nursing to comfort her when she wakes up in the middle of the night. I have tried just replacing the pacifier and patting her back, but it doesn't seem to do the trick. We didn't need tricks with Coryn. Her sleeping through the night sort of just happened. 

In spite of the lack of sleep the night before, Christmas was awesome. The details are small. I'm actually really proud of how we didn't go overboard. They only got a couple of toys, a book, and a dvd a piece, not counting small stocking stuffers from the dollar bins and candy. Of course, there were presents from aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, and the like, but I personally kept the Christmas gifts relatively inexpensive and just went for getting the toys with the best play value. 

Matt was saying eventually they are going to start wanting expensive stuff (if it counts, Coryn is already asking about a bike), tech toys and the like, but I have a hard time picturing that. I guess growing up with minimal to no peer pressure has me skeptical of how much kids really "need" the latest and greatest of anything. I never got anything like that for Christmas and I was growing up in the 90's. I knew about video game systems but I didn't particularly want one. We got a family computer at some point and had a few games for it. I remember playing Sim Ant until I literally dreamed about it (weird game to dream about). My first real tech toy gift was the clunky desktop computer I got for graduation. I enjoyed playing Myst and it's sequels on that (Riven and Exile are tied for top spot in my mind. Riven was more intuitive. Exile more exciting.) and talking about Tolkien on message boards.  After that all my tech stuff were personal purchases.  This is kind of a tangent, I guess, but I like to think I can keep my kids away from wanting a new i-whatever every year or whatnot. 

Not that Coryn is tech deprived. She actually inherited a used laptop when my husband (who is a serious PC gamer and needs a certain amount of equipment to keep up) upgraded. She loves computer games. Most of them are free online, however, or she is piggy backing on my husband's World of Warcraft account. Yeah, my four-year-old plays WoW. She can't read the chat yet, so I'm okay with that.

Claire of course was in baby heaven. I helped her unwrap a bead maze and the moment she got through the paper and could see the toy inside she started saying, "Ahhhh! Ahhhh!" and reaching for it until I detangled it from its packaging. She then bit it several times which is apparently how she proves her love for something.

It makes me so happy to see them happy. Such precious girls. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Our 6th Anniversary


Our anniversary is December 23rd, so we've officially been married six years now. Finding a sitter the weekend before Christmas has never been easy, so we didn't really do much. We exchanged presents and enjoyed being together, but there was no real date involved. I got Matt a boxed set of Sherlock Holmes books and Matt got me some Tintin comics. That's actually spot on for me, at least. Tintin was one of my favorite childhood heroes. For dinner Matt used the smoker he purchased the week of Thanksgiving to smoke a whole chicken and it was awesome. Caen, the German Shepherd, couldn't take his eyes off it. He got all the skin. None of the humans in the house like chicken skin.

Florida actually managed cold this weekend. It had been cool once or twice, but this was the first time I think it really merited "cold" at least by my Oregonian standards. Because of that I spent a lot of time curled up in my Marine Corp sweat shirt. Most Marine wives, or other military branch wives, will have at least one of these, but personally I've always felt kind of weird wearing mine. After all, I'm not in the Marines. Like many girls I got my sweatshirt while we were still dating, along with a spare pair of dog tags, both of which I wore while he was in Iraq, the dog tags every day, the sweat shirt more occasionally. In Oregon it actually got commented upon once or twice, compliments from older men who were probably former Marines themselves, just a casual exchange of, "I like your shirt" and my blushing, "it's my boyfriend's." When we married and moved to San Diego and I was suddenly surrounded by other Marines and Marine Corp wives, that is when I started to develop my self-consciousness. After all, a lot of the young women there were actually Marines or sailors, not just wives, and I guess I felt they'd earned the shirts and I hadn't. I've loosened up over that since then. You can't go anywhere in Pensacola without bumping into dozens of ladies wearing shirts with military emblems, and while a percentage are probably service members, a lot of them are wives and girlfriends. It used to wear the shirt as a way of bragging about the man I'd captured, a man I was proud of but whose choice of careers intimidated me just a little bit.

Now it's just a shirt.

I'm still proud of him but not intimidated any more. He's still the high school crush I couldn't get over, the friend I couldn't be happier sharing geeky obsessions with, and the beloved I always wanted. He's simply the best. Thanks for the last six years, Matt. Let's go for another sixty. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Second Liebster Award

I have been fortunate enough to be nominated for the Liebster Award before and this week I was nominated again by Karina at Mom in the USA. She was kind enough to simplify the rules so here they are as she posted them:

Rules for the nominees:
Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
Tell 5 things about yourself.
Answer 11 questions posed by the nominating blogger.
Nominate 5 new up and coming bloggers.
Ask those bloggers 5 questions that they will answer.

Pretty easy, eh?
So, thank you, Karina! I hope everyone who checks out this post also checks out her blog!

So five things,

1. I'm wearing  a very uncomfortable plastic ring that my daughter got in a "paint your own jewelry" kit and decided I should wear tonight. It is making it very hard for me to use my left hand for typing. I really should take it off, but I always feel that when she gives me these rings, even on a temporary basis, it is an honor and I should wear it for at least an hour.
2. I miss Oregon and its Cowboy Hipsters a lot. I miss the weather. I miss the scenery. I miss the mountains. I miss my family. I'm sure Florida has its perks (the only one that comes to mind is the beaches), but Oregon is home.
3. I've been crocheting for over fifteen years. I started sometime in middle school. Whenever someone comments on how good I am at it and how they aren't any good at it, I have to point out that when I was a beginner I wasn't very good either, but fifteen years of doing anything turns one into an amateur expert (yeah, I know that's an oxymoron).
4. I'm a lousy driver. I hate driving. I wish I could just teleport everywhere. If I had a superpower it would probably be teleportation. That or retractable claws. I really want retractable claws.
5. I love my computer games. I still get sentimental thinking about the Myst series, especially Riven. That was an awesome game.

So now for the 11 questions from the nominator:
What is the cheesiest thing that makes you laugh? Charlie the Unicorn; we're on a bridge, Charlie!
If you were coming to my house for Sunday dinner, what's an item you'd want on the menu? Dessert. That's an item, right? Something with cheese and cheese like cheese stuffed pasta with cheese on top.
What is your favorite beauty product? Hard to say. I have this leave in conditioner spray that smells nice and I really like any cleanser that smells like green tea (I've used various ones), but the one I don't feel completely dressed without just my basic Covergirl tinted moisturizer.
Are you a saver or a spender? Consciously, I'm a saver. Large purchases make me anxious. Subconsciously I'm a spender and generally most of my expenses are small "fritter away" impulse buys.
Name something you recently purchased that was made in the USA. Pretty much all of my recent purchases have been presents for other people so I don't have them to check where they were made. Saying a food item feels like a cop out. I did have some products from Winkflash made recently. I believe those are done in the states.
Age gracefully or refuse to age (nip/tuck)? These are the only two options? I have a feeling my immaturity will keep me young.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse and if so what? Not really a favorite as in one that I have embroidered on things. Psalms 37:4 has always seemed relevant to me, though.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
What are you looking forward to most this holiday season? Claire-Bear, our younger daughter, will be 11 months for Christmas and she just noticed the presents under the tree for the first time tonight. She approached them curiously and tried to pull one out from under the tree to examine. I'm really looking forward to showing her how to rip apart the paper.
What is/are your New Year's resolutions? I don't have anything that I have enough will power to accomplish at this point or that isn't too vague like being generally less lazy. I should probably give myself a goal to complete the sequel to my NaNoWriMo novel. Yeah, I will do that.
What sort of music do you listen to? I'm weird in that I do not consciously desire music. I have songs I like and sometimes one will get stuck in my head and I'll play it to get it out, but I have to make an effort to remember to put on Christmas music so other than the car radio being tuned to a Christian music station, I don't really listen to music at all.
Do you have a favorite charity? If so what is it or who/what does it serve? I'm torn between World Vision and Show Hope. World Vision is a child sponsorship program which most people will have heard of. Show Hope is devoted to orphan care and helps families with fees and other adoption expenses.

So now for nominations!

I would like to nominate
Vanessa @ Here Comes the Human; she just posted a bunch of adorable Christmas baby photos.
Stephanie @ A Geek In Glasses for her creative crafts.
Dixie and Dottie @ Dixie and Dottie for their exciting and festive Christmas link ups.
Liz @ Howling at the Moon because her posts often make me long to take up sewing.
and
Natalie at A Happy Hobbit Home for having the best blog name ever!

So now I get to pose 5 questions for you ladies! (Omgosh, I don't think I'm following a single male blogger. . . that is so. . .sexist of me. . . anyone have any good recommendations?). I'm not going to answer my own questions so you can just copy and paste the text and be lazy like I like to be. If anyone is curious about my answer to any particular question, just ask away and I'll answer in the comments because comments are cool.

1. Comments are cool. Fezzes are cool. Bow ties are really cool. What do you consider to be cool?

2. Favorite flavor? (Of what?) Everything!

3. Cat person, dog person, or are you a sole-less individual who doesn't like pets at all like my sister? (She isn't soul-less because she has a soul. She is sole-less because I just devised an evil plot to punish her for not liking pets that involves her shoe collection. . .don't tell her!)

4. I love my pets but not the pet hair. The German Shedder (they say he's a shepherd but I don't see any sheep here. I do see a lot of hair.) is especially bad. In order for the baby not to look like a fur covered swiffer sweeper pad after every crawl session I have to sweep up a ton of dog hair . . . and she still gathers hair like a lint roller. What chores do you put up with for the sake of something or someone you love?

5. What are you thankful for now, in this moment? I will answer this one.

At this moment I am thankful most of all for my husband. Sometimes I hit a hard wall of realization about exactly how hard I am for him to put up with and I am so grateful with what a good husband he is in spite of the fact that my complete lack of standards clashes so terribly with his perfectionist nature. He has to hold so much together because I'm off in my own world and often I don't even realize how much work he is doing to make up for things I just don't think to do.

Anyway, thanks again, Karina, for the nomination and I hope all of you get a chance to check out the blogs I have linked tonight and that those bloggers get a chance to respond!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Old Navy Sample Review: Active Wear

Once again I qualified for an Old Navy sample and share event on Crowdtap! Say Yay! (Yay!)

I get so excited when I'm up for one of these events. Who doesn't love free stuff? This time I was super stoked to see that the sample and share was for active wear. I have blogged about hating exercise before (here and here), but as much as I hate exercise, I adore yoga pants. I hate sweat pants. I see all these posts about how women just want to wear sweat pants, but I don't get that. Sweat pants make me feel like I am physically ill. It's like wearing your pajamas all day, and that always makes me feel sick, mostly because I only do it when I am sick. I'm much more comfortable in jeans, but I generally sleep in yoga pants. I like how they look on me. I wouldn't wear them in public but I like to put them on and dance around my husband.

So, yeah, yoga pants = good.
Exercise = tolerated for the sake of looking better in yoga pants.

The voucher I received from Crowdtap was for one active wear top and one bottom. I already knew I wanted yoga pants, and being practical I had figured the top would be another compression bra. There is this episode of Doctor Who where Cassandra, the last human who has had so much plastic surgery she is literally flat, manages to transport herself into the body of the Doctor's companion Rose and her reaction to being 3D again is something like, "Oooh, curves, it's like living in a bouncy castle." Any woman more than a B Cup knows what I mean when I say that any cardio exercise without a good sports bra can be a little bit ridiculous. Since I had my first daughter I've been consistently a C Cup or above, depending on my weight and current lactation state, and I need a full out compression bra if I don't want to feel ridiculous while I'm doing jumping jacks. I had purchased two compression bras at Old Navy several months ago and I would highly recommend them. They are streamlined looking as well and since they are both high cut and made of a very sturdy fabric, I don't feel weird if they poke out through the sleeves of my exercise tanks or even above the collar. You aren't going to spill out of these.

However, when I got there I found out my coupon actually qualified me for these awesome running jackets. They had them in purple too. I felt like Rose when I put them on (the above mentioned companion of the Doctor who has a very cool but casual style). I don't know why. I just did. They also cover your hands with a thumb slot to stick your thumb through so you have free fingers for running in cold weather (not a big deal here in Florida, but it will be nice if I get to go back home to Oregon any time soon). Sweet!

The yoga pants were a simpler matter. I took a little bit of time deciding between full length and knee length and went full length mainly because they had the purple waste band (hidden under the jacket and the top of my tank in this photo). All in all it was a ridiculously quick but good shopping experience. I even grabbed a wrap dress on my way out. I had tried one on during my last sample and share and loved the style and fit but not necessarily any of the colors they had on hand. Since then, however, they had gotten a few different colors in stock and I found one that was a solid plum color that I quite liked and since it had moved to the clearance rack, I snatched it up on my way out.

All in all another great experience. I've worn the pants to bed and for a little bit of indoor cardio and sat around in the jacket feeling cool (Fezzes are cool. Stetsons are cool. Bow-ties are cool, but my new jacket is super cool.) a bit. Can't wait to workout in them some more (just wish I could do it in my sleep). 

Hand Print Art

A quick tour around Pinterest will reveal endless options for "hand print" or "foot print" art. A lot of it is holiday themed, and I always pin to try for later and forget . . . isn't that the way with 90% of pins? Today, however, was art project day and we actually did two pieces of handprint art. You can see several versions of different Christmas hand print art here on my Christmas themed Pinterest board.


First we made these adorable reindeer. I did mine so that Coryn would see how. By the way, if you have a paint set that doesn't include brown, I found out you can mix red and green to get the color I used above, which isn't the prettiest brown but it is sufficient.



We also made this Christmas Tree. I loved this design which the original pinner had done on a canvas and made some very nice heirloom art. I didn't have a canvas but I did have a sheet of brown, thick paper that was inside of a roll of wrapping paper I had recently finished (what happened to those brown cardboard tubes they used to be wrapped around? We used to use them as swords and beat the heck out of each other until the "swords" unraveled like a biscuit dough package. Good times.).

One scary thing came out of this, though: I realized that Coryn's hands are already almost as large as mine. I mean, look at those deer. Can you tell that one is an adult's hand print and the other is an (almost) five-year-old? I know I have small hands (I'm 5'4'' but even for my height I have small hands. My sister is the same height as me and I used to think it was hilarious to hold my hands up to hers because her fingers continued for another half inch or so after mine ended . . . my husband is 6'5'' and one of his hands makes up three or four of mine), but this is ridiculous. Stop growing, child! I mean it!

Linked on
The Peaceful Mom

Monday, December 17, 2012

Apparently Carlton Wants Presents

So  . . . to start with a few days ago I caught Coryn with a partially unwrapped Christmas present and didn't really believe her "the cat did it" explanation. Thankfully, I didn't punish her for it (it was only a little tear) because apparently the dang cat did do it. I've caught him shredding wrapping paper multiple times since then. I guess he likes the sound it makes, but it is a pain and tonight I basically had to re-wrap everything. It could be worse, I supposed; when I was younger I had a cat named Pepper who liked to climb the Christmas tree which sometimes resulted in a horizontal tree.

I got a free sample of rooibos tee from Twinings this week. It is a calming tea, an herbal rather than a true tea so caffeine free (I actually have a decent tolerance for caffeine and don't consider it a danger to my health. I mean, it occurs naturally in so many things that have health benefits that I have to believe we were meant to consume a little bit of it from time to time. . . or a lot all of the time. . .or something). It is also called Red Tea and I believe it is the tea they are referring to when they talk about "bush tea" in the Number One Ladies Detective Agency. Twinings isn't my go to tea company (that's Stash, mainly because they are based in Oregon and I just like seeing that on the label) but I did enjoy the tea bag they sent. I know Stash sells a rooibos blend or two but it is hard to find that particular brand for sale where I am currently living, though I might add it to my next online order.

In other news today at the store Coryn was insisting that she was twenty, so I told her she would have to move out and get a job and some random middle age dude approaches me and asked if I wanted to mentor his son. . . I think he was joking. I hope.

Amanda’s Books and More

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Marvelous Monster Hats!

This is a design I recently came up with: Marvelous Monster Hats!

Aren't I monstrous?
Buy one today! Critters for Coryn on Etsy
Shared on The Peaceful Mom.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Often Don't Know If I Should Be Offended, . .

I don't get angry easily. I don't get offended easily. I am very likely not to notice people being snide. If someone comments on my parenting (ie, should your baby be putting that in her mouth? Your daughter is climbing up the down slide. . .) I don't usually get upset but I generally say something like, "Yeah, that's okay, I see it. It won't kill her." I try to assume that people aren't thinking or talking about me because why would they be? I'm not thinking or talking about them.

That said, the other day someone made a somewhat passive aggressive Facebook complaint that my brain thought could've been directed at me and it has been bugging me all week whether or not I should be offended by it.



I will preface the rest of this post by saying, I am good at Scrabble/Words with Friends. Scary good. My Scrabble Ap ELO Rating is 1572 which is over a hundred points higher than my next highest friend. I am not the best player by any means (I am being beaten handily by at least two players the random opponent system paired me with recently), but I win more than I loose and I consider any move worth less than 20 points a weak play.

Recently I started playing someone I know in real life and I was beating them pretty good .  . .pretty good as in I won by about 200 points. A little later that day I noticed they had a status update that said something like they hated it when people cheated in Words With Friends is it really possible to always score about 40 points on every word?

My first thought was they were talking about me. After all, I was beating them. Hey! I don't cheat. I should say something.
My second thought was, no, I'm good but I don't score that high every hand.
My third thought was, I score pretty dang close to that though.
My fourth thought was, no, I'm sure they play lots and lots of people. They couldn't be talking about me. I'm a nice person. Everyone knows I'm a nice person. I should say something commiserating with them about how people cheat just so they know I'm a nice person who doesn't approve of cheating.
My fifth thought, yeah, but what if you do and they say something like, "I was talking about you, jerk!" No, they wouldn't do that. . . would they? Would we fight? Would I lose a friend? Have I already lost a friend because of perceived cheating? Should I stop playing quite so well?


I didn't really have a sixth thought. I just kind of soothed myself down and told myself I was being an egomaniac for assuming they were referring to me.

See, people, this is the problem with vague status updates! Anyone want to play Scrabble with me?


A Product Recommendation and a Helpful Hint


The other day I was at Walmart purchasing construction paper and I ran into a product called "Mead Writing Fundamentals: 4-in-1 Learn to Letter." I purchased them on a whim. They are definitely more expensive than a plain lined writing pad or letter tracing worksheets you can print up from online, but they have one major advantage: indented letters. The actual lines of the letter are stamped into the paper which makes it exceptionally easy for learning writers to write along. Coryn loves her work sheets. This one has sections for the capital alphabet, the lower case alphabet, and then a blank section with just raised ruling and no letters. Definitely one of my top discoveries of the month.

I also decided yesterday to give apple cider vinegar hair rinsing a go. I can't remember where I stumbled onto this tip. I don't think it was Pinterest because I remember after I read the article I tried to pin it and there weren't any good pin-able images, but I filed it away in my head even if I can't provide a link to it right now. The article basically said that rinsing your hair in apple cider vinegar will restore/balance/something like that the Ph and leave it soft and shiny, so I rinsed my hair with apple cider vinegar and at first the smell was a little off putting but after a few water rinses, it was fine but not noticeably anything great. This morning however, I noticed that my hair did feel a little softer and brushed out a bit easier. I might have to try it once or twice more before I swear to this rinsing stuff, but I normally shampoo every day and I didn't shampoo yesterday and my hair felt awesome for the majority of the day today (I'm just now getting to the point where I feel I really need to was it again. My hair tends towards the oily). 

Wordless Wednesday: Tree Time!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Crochet Nativity Set

I finally finished my crochet nativity set, based on the tutorial found here on Es Un Mundo Amigurumi. Yes, this tutorial is in Spanish, but most browsers will offer you a translation option (I muscled through using my high school level Spanish and my knowledge of crochet terms). Here are some of the results:









If you have any questions you'd like to ask about how I put it together or are having a hard time with the original tutorial (those online translators aren't usually perfect), let me know in the comments and I'll see if I can help you out.




Shared on the Peaceful Mom







Dixie n Dottie