Friday, October 29, 2010


Today has been one of those days. Those days where I was (am) simply mired in it. The sink was full of last night's dishes, the laundry seemed to multiply exponentially overnight and my bedroom has been mistaken for a rubbish pile.

Last night, before I went to bed, I hoped and hoped and hoped and hoped that the cleaning fairies would come and set everything right. But these elusive fairies are my Great Pumpkin -- they never arrived.

So today I tackled the mess on my own. I will be working at the clinic the entire weekend, as well as, most of next week (with the exception of Monday). As such this is my only day to get the house in order.

To be perfectly honest there are about a bazillion other things I'd rather be doing; knitting, sewing, photographing, cooking, baking, reading ... you get the gist. But no. I'm cleaning. Because, truthfully, a messy house messes with my mind. It depresses me mentally and physically. This is not to say I want to be the one to set it straight but, hey, someones got to do it.

Hopefully it's not all for naught (are you listening children? I will have your heads!) My fantasy, my dream, is that I'll come out of the other end of this week with not only several days off but also a clean(ish) house. Then I can do all those things I want to do.

In the meantime I have posted the above photograph (Dream) in my Etsy shop. I wrote a bit about dreams there too.

I hope your day is everything you dreamed it would be.

Monday, October 25, 2010

DIY Shrinky Dinks, Halloween Decor and a Witch Craft Giveaway!

This year Halloween is all about DIY. We are not just creating holiday decor -- we are creating memories. And what better way to celebrate the season?

Already this year we made our skull and bone display. I also fashioned an eyeball in a beaker*, you know, just for fun. And I'm marching around in my skull knit hat. The final piece of the puzzle is our Shrinky Dink Beetlejuice Jar inspired by my Halloween Snow Globe project from Witch Craft.

Shrinky Dinks are a really simple DIY project that is fun for the whole family.

Salad containers or other #6 plastic
Permanent markers
Aluminum foil
A clear glass jar
Food coloring
Ribbon (optional)

  1. The first thing you need to do is gather up #6 plastic. This is the type of plastic used at most salad bars -- the clear plastic containers. I've also found most of my store bought fresh herbs come packaged in #6 plastic. Just look for the number printed on the container (often on the bottom inside the recycle symbol). If you ask nicely your grocer may give a few of these salad containers on the house. If you are using used containers make sure they are clean and dry before starting your project.
  2. Gather up a set of Sharpies. You will need to use permanent markers as others will not survive the baking process.
  3. Cut your plastic so that you have a flat surface to work on (in other words cut off and discard all the bumpy sides).
  4. Find an image you would like to trace (I got mine from The Graphics Fairy). If you are particularly artistic you can draw your own image. Keep in mind we will be shrinking these quite a bit so plan your drawing accordingly. My original image was about 4 inches x 3 inches.
  5. Trace your image and color in as desired.
  6. Cut out your image
  7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  8. Make a little baking sheet out of aluminum foil by rolling up the edges
  9. Place your images on the foil sheet and place the sheet in the oven
  10. Turn on the oven light and watch the show -- within a minute or two your images will shrink before your eyes. Initially they will curl up. Be bold. Be brave. Leave them in a minute longer and they will usually flatten out again.
  11. Remove your items from the oven. In the first couple of seconds they are still pliable so you can flatten them a touch more if desired -- be quick!
  12. Place your designs in a jar, add food coloring and decorate with a ribbon and tag. Voila! Beetlejuice for the holidays!
Now of course this project is not limited to Halloween -- it would be great for any time of the year. Happy shrinking!

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Now as promised -- a giveaway! To two lucky readers I am giving away a copy of Witch Craft. This is an amazing and fun book chock full of craft projects and halloween inspired recipes. This is a book you will want to refer to year after year (and I'd say that even if I wasn't one of the contributers). Seriously -- there is so much inside. My girls went gaga when it arrived!

And now, without further adieu, all you need to do to win is leave a comment on this post. Be sure I have a way to contact you should you win. I will pick two winners after 9:00 am on Wednesday the 27th. The books will be mailed asap with the hopes that they might even arrive before halloween.

For a second chance at winning send out a tweet and leave a second comment.

Happy Crafting!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dear Women in my Book Club

Dear Women in my Book Club,

I am very excited to have you over tomorrow night. I want to let you know that my house will be cleanish. Emphasis on the "ish". I will do my best to ensure there is toilet paper on the holder in the bathroom. I also hope to have soap *and* a guest towel present. It is highly likely these items will be confiscated and/or dumped on the floor by the little people who live here. If this occurs I apologize. I have threatened bodily harm. Clearly my bark has no bite.

My carpets have been vacuumed. I can tell the difference. You? Not so much. The upside is that if you spill an entire glass of red wine on the floor --no problem. The dog will lick it up. And the stain? It'll go nicely with the others.

Feel free to wear fancy shoes with spiky heels. You are more than welcome to walk across my wood floor in said shoes and add to the surface's "rustic appeal". You may elect not to wear shoes. This is also fine. However I can not be held responsible for the yellow fur that will gravitate towards you like a magnet seeking it's mate. Along those same lines -- black is not the best color choice for your evening ensemble. Beige is always good. I can send you a fur sample in advance if you'd like to coordinate.

If you are offended by dogs, cats, cockatiels, poultry or fish you may not want to attend. I will do my best to keep the pets at bay. They are only dangerous in their excessive exuberance. Actually I lied. Do not stick your fingers in the cichlid tank. That would not be wise.

If you have allergies you may want to take a benadryl (or two) before arrival. I hear it mixes nicely with alcohol. I'm happy to drive you home but you must be willing to ignore the condition of my car. Smashed up goldfish crackers are the height of vehicular fashion. No. Really.

Before your arrival I will light a few candles. I'll also have a cobbler in the oven and coffee brewing. This, hopefully, will mask any untoward smells that might, perhaps, linger in this house.

There is a strong chance you will find fingerprints on the walls and paint on the floor. You might notice our coat closet door has been *ahem* bashed in. Twice. Once by a fist and once by a skateboard. Someday we might fix this. Then again we might not.

I do not recall the last time my windows have been washed. It may have been years. Fortunately it will be dark outside eliminating the necessity to look outward. Plus one can always open the door if need be.

Just for you I am clearing the kitchen table. We will have a place to sit and to chat. I must also tell you that once upon a time we had a full set of wine glasses. This is no longer the case. I now own a motley crew of glassware and you may find yourself drinking from a jelly jar. Trust me -- the beverage tastes the same.

As you will see we are not fancy folk. Rather we strive to live in an environment that is welcoming and comfortable. We want you to put your feet up. To lounge and to sprawl. To giggle and to make a little mess. We want you to feel at home.

See you tomorrow!



Friday, October 15, 2010

The Nectar of the Gods

If you were not already aware I am a person who is chronically sleep deprived. Yes, yes mother. I know this is not good for my long-term health. But I am doing what it takes to, you know, be responsible and pay our bills.

Ahem. Sorry there. At any rate coffee is my best friend. Each and every morning I make a pot -- a full pot. Now on mornings when Mr. Peculiar is home we'll drain that pretty quickly. But on mornings he's not here there are always left overs. And, yes, I can come home from work, drink a cup of joe and then drift contentedly off to sleep. I may have built up a bit of a tolerance for caffeine. Just a touch.

Another thing you may not know about me is that I am fairly peculiar about my coffee. I typically drink a cafe au lait (1/3 heated milk and 2/3 coffee). This must be hot. Very hot. As in near scalding. Once my coffee begins to cool I can no longer drink it. Seriously. It makes me gag. Therefore I am forever reheating my coffee to make it drinkable again.

More than once I have lamented the lack of a vehicular microwave -- you know just a little something in lieu of a glovebox to keep my beverage at an appropriate temperature. Never mind my ovaries smack in front of that radiation box -- at least my coffee would be hot.

But I digress. I also like my coffee cold. Ice cold. As such I've taken to using the remains of the morning pot as an afternoon pick-me-up. Ice, milk and coffee. This is particularly lovely on afternoons such as this given I have to work tonight and have been up all day.

Plus it's frugal, the coffee doesn't go to waste and that's one more dollar in the retirement pile. So I can, you know, retire and restore my health. Smart thinking, 'eh?

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Now if you don't think you'll drink the leftovers that day then freeze them. They can also be used to make mochachinos. Yet another frugal tip.

Tell me -- what are you doing for frugality today?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our Ladybird

Today was a GORGEOUS fall day; seventy-five and sunny. Not a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day to drive around with the windows down and simply take it all in.

This afternoon the girls and I were in the car enjoying the weather when Little let out a sudden yelp and hollered "It's a lady bug! It's a lady bug!".

And indeed it was. The larvae we "adopted" had turned into a cocoon and now a ladybug. Why, you might wonder, did we discover this in the car?

Simple! This larvae (and cocoon) have been everywhere with us. I mean everywhere. Last weekend he (she?) even traveled over the hills and through the woods -- to grandmother's house of course!

We are serious about our entomology. Quite serious. As it turns out this gal (guy?) is an Asian Ladybird Beetle (aka an Asian ladybug). Often they have spots but sometimes they do not. She has an orange hue which seems abundantly fitting for the season.

We really enjoyed watching her metamorphosis -- miraculous is a fitting word. We love this beetle, we really do. But she has a job to do and food to find. So this afternoon we set her free. Little was especially sad. I felt bad but hey -- another learning opportunity. You know -- if you love something ...

Shortly after the ladybug release Little came charging into the house. "Mama! Mama! You gotta come outside and see!!!"

What? What in the world was so exciting?

She found another larvae. We placed it gently in our mason jar and will "hatch" her out as well.

My daughters have proclaimed October ladybug season. And indeed it is.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dagnamit Cold!

Well it seems I have a cold. A knock down drag out cold. My eyes are puffy and swollen. My nose is simultaneously stuffed up and running. I'm sneezing near constantly and (this may qualify as too much information) every time I sneeze I pee my pants a little. Yes folks. I am a sight to behold.

I'm trying to be brave. To power through. To continue to do the dishes and laundry and pick up the house. But I'm having a rough time of it. And I find myself mumbling to no one in particular about how I seriously dislike meth addicts. Because, you see, I can not go to the store and pick up the medicine I need to feel better. No. It requires a prescription. Lest I might go and use the stuff to manufacture drugs. And I refuse to run to the doctor every time I get the sniffles. As such I am sitting here. Miserable.

In an effort to make myself feel better I thought I'd write a list of all that is good and beautiful about today.

Here goes:
  • I don't have to work tonight and have a couple days yet to recover
  • The pot roast in the crock pot smells delicious (or so I've been told)
  • My husband brought home a super cool polariod camera today
  • He also brought home a "Sue Sylvester" outfit for me for halloween
  • I found my missing library book which I can now begin to read
  • The birds are flitting about the feeder out front
  • My laptop is nice and warm on my lap
  • This cold is temporary (aka thank goodness I don't have a long-term illness)
  • I have a fun halloween decor project to do if I can find wood, glue and glitter
  • My daughters' room is *mostly* clean thanks to my efforts yesterday
  • It appears to be a lovely fall day outside -- crisp, cool and sunny
  • My new baby chickens are expected to arrive this week (yes, yes you can call me crazy chicken lady)
And, um, yeah. That's all I can come up with for now. Soon I promise I'll be back to do more than grouse.

I hope you are having a WONDERFUL day!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Proper Care and Feeding of Me

Last night we had a frost warning. I decided to bring my porch plants inside with hopes of overwintering them indoors and putting them out again next spring. This has worked well for me in the past and can definitely be a money saver if they are brought in in time.

These poor plants, however, have not had the best of care. They were planted with the best of intentions -- to bloom and blossom on our porch while butterflies, birds and bees flitted about. But I sort-of forgot to water them regularly. Somehow they've survived despite me. They are alive but not thriving.

I've got two potted plants out back that I attached to our watering system. These plants are HUGE and vibrant and ALIVE. It's amazing with a little proper care and feeding can accomplish.

Only here's the thing; I too am alive but not thriving. I've been exhausted and fatigued and shuffling about my days. Why? Because I haven't been watered. I haven't been eating properly. I haven't been exercising and I haven't been taking my vitamins.

Why I've not been caring for myself I really could not say. But things are about to change. Quite frankly I'm tired of being tired.

This morning I gave myself a little TLC -- a honey facial mask and brown sugar scrub. Then I took a shower. I even shaved my legs (lucky Mr. Peculiar). Then I made a pumpkin banana smoothie. I'm going to take my vitamins. I'm going to clean my house (part of it at least) and I am going to walk down the hill to pick up my children from school.

So there you have it. Hopefully I'll find my mojo soon and return to this space vigorous and re-energized. I can't wait!

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Pumpkin Smoothie

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1 ripe banana
A sprinkle of cinnamon
A sprinkle of nutmeg
A splash of maple syrup
1 cup milk
Ice to taste

Blend together and enjoy.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Rainy Day Suitcase

Well it is officially fall though right now it strangely feels more like summer with temperatures in the mid-eighties. However the weather is rumored to turn tomorrow. Which means we'll be spending more time indoors. And I'm told staying inside is B O R I N G. My children are not quite adept at self entertainment.

This past summer I made them a list. A list of things they could do should they find themselves bored. But I've decided to take things a step further.

Presenting the Rainy Day Suitcase. It is a vintage child's case with a sweet umbrella graphic mod-podged on the front (I'm all about mod-podge these days). Inside are handmade coloring books, colored pencils, vintage "Make and Do" crafting books, yarn, knitting needles, a crochet hook, a set of cards and little bag of jacks.

Hopefully this will provide the kids with the much needed impetus to entertain themselves -- at least for a brief periods of time. And, being a portable suitcase this is perfect for trips, car-rides and those not so interesting sporting events we occasionally drag them to (i.e. day long water polo tournaments).

I'm looking forward to trying it out this next weekend as there is another tournament on the books. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for popping in! I hope you are having a weekend chock full of pleasantries.

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