It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

No. Not Christmas. (Although that’s wonderful too.)

It’s Craftober!!

Shhhh…It’s a real season. Don’t believe me? I dare you to drive to a Joann’s, Michaels or Hobby Lobby parking lot and find a close parking space. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

See?!

(in Oprah voice) CRAFT-OBER!

This Crafty Gal likes to get down during Craftober. I own more colors of felt than crayons in a box. Embroidery thread? Got hundreds of strands. Fabric and hoops and glitter, oh my! Looking for a crafting book in my city library? Sorry, I checked them all out and they won’t be back on the shelf for weeks.

Because it’s CRAFTOBER!

Made a trip to my local Joann’s this past Sunday for a few more things. Right now, I’m in the dreaming stage — dog-earing pages in my books, making patterns, culling my stockpile, deciding what to make, getting the stuff I need. This year’s crafting budget is very slim. Luckily my favorite supplies are sold in the 4/$1 range.

In a few weeks, I hope to turn all of this:

And this:

I’ve had these giant bottlecaps for years. I’m making something with them this year!

Into stuff like this:

Owl iPod pouch. Made this last night while watching a movie. Multitasking. I haz it.

Happy Craftober to you all!

 

Advertisements

I love the 80s…but only when it’s PG

We ditched cable over a year ago.

It wasn’t without complaint; believe me, it wasn’t easy getting these junkies off their daily fix of Spongebob and Wizards of Waverly Place. It was touch-and-go at first, but we survived.

We DO have basic cable: All the local channels plus some additional ones like eleventybillion shopping channels (really?? I don’t have fancy cable so I really don’t have money to shop all hours of the night), all the extra PBS channels and a couple of movie channels. OK, so they are more like B movie channels, but whatever. There is one – Movieplex – that plays some decent movies from time-to-time.

This weekend, we caught a trifecta of classic 80s movies:

 

My oldest daughter (12 years old) had never seen any of these classic movies. Being the hip and cool mom I am, I let her stay up an watch.

Wow…I did not remember some of the inappropriate parts to those movies, mostly Teen Wolf.

Did you remember this?

Yeah, me neither.

There were other parts that I forgot about, but overall it was OK for her to see.

Then there was the sequel.

1. I think Jason Bateman made a deal with the devil. That dude has not aged in almost 30 years!

Proof:

80s JB…

2012 JB:

OK…he’s got a few smile lines, but come on!

2. That movie is BAAAAD. Really, really bad. I almost didn’t watch it all.

3. It’s totally PG and appropriate for younger audiences (Yay!!).

Then…One Crazy Summer. I LOVE that movie.

This is probably my favorite part (among many):

The whole movie is a quotable, mad-cap, cheese-tastic film. And I love it. Best thing, my daughter loved it too.

With a few exceptions, 80s movie night was a success. But it made me pine for this:

I need to take a trip to the local used bookstore and see if they have a copy.

This is where I try to be a food blogger and fail miserably

Pictures. Photos. Illustrations. I ain’t got none.

Don’t let that double negative fool you. Seriously, I have no photos in this blog.

How the heck can you have a food blog post and not insert photos? Ah, see, that’s where the “failed miserably” part comes in. Truth? I have one photo and I swear you will thank me for it later.

But back to the food blogging. I have this brownie recipe that is the bomb dot com. I cut it out from the side of a King Arthur Flour bag a couple of years ago. If you like fudgy brownies (cake brownies, pffft…if you want cake, then make a cake!) this is the recipe for you. If you don’t like brownies, then…*blinks*…Why are we friends again?

OK. Fudgy. Brownies. From. Heaven. This is the best recipe and don’t go clicking over at KAF for this recipe. The online version is different. Trust me on this. Trust.

With no brown sugar for chocolate chip cookies, the kids and I decided to make brownies. As I was rummaging through grabbing ingredients, a can of dulce de leche in the pantry called out to me (in Spanish, of course). That’s when I had my Joey moment – Dulce de Leche Brownies!!

I prepared the recipe as instructed and for the last step I dolloped teaspoonfuls of DdL on the top of the brownies (about every 2 inches or so), then swirled it in with a knife.

Oh. My. Dad. Prepare yourself for the world’s most awesome brownie.

As promised. The world’s most divine brownie recipe. It definitely lives up to its name. Oh and if you like molten lava cake, then scoop these out when they are still hot and eat with ice cream.

Your welcome.

What’s all this junk?

Before there were digital cameras or Wiis or even DVDs, there was junk. And it was good. And Lo, the Lord spake that it should be contained in its own receptacle…

Sorry for getting all Biblical about my junk. Today had me really thinking about my blog and most importantly, the meaning of its name.

Twelve years ago, I lost my best friend. She was the north star to my Columbian voyage, the troop leader to my Brownie Scout, the peanut butter to my jelly.

My Mom.

One of my best memories was a few months after I was married. My husband’s birthday was right before the holidays and my mom was a little flustered (I’m guessing) that she didn’t remember his birthday.

When we came over sometime around his birthday, my mom gave him a white shirt box. In mom’s typical fashion, it wasn’t wrapped (our gifts were always wrapped in the shopping bag they came home in) or even taped together. When he opened it…

Oh the cornucopia of junk that flowed out of that thing: Salt packets, rubber bands, dice, twist ties, plastic forks and many, many random items.

Noticing his expression she said, “Surprise! Now you have your own junk drawer starter kit.”

Now, my husband being the awesome guy he is countered in a way only he could.

He presented my mother with a wreath adorned with all that junk as a Christmas present.

She proudly hung it on the door for months.

 

I really miss her.

I’d hold that, but my hands are full.

We’re loud. We’re silly. We’re busy. We’re messy (sorry!) Someone is ALWAYS talking.

My big family: Four kids, two adults and one soft and furry rabbit.

Child number four is only 3 months old but in that short time I’ve gotten used to the sympathetic smiles and the ubiquitous, “Looks like you have your hands full.”

Wait. No I haven’t. So here’s my open letter to those who feel the need to say something when I’m out and about.

++++++++++++++

Dear Captain Obvious,

You know what, I do have my hands full. Thanks for pointing that out. Without you I wouldn’t realize that A. I have two hands and B. they have eight. And since I’m not an octopus or a spider or a millipede, I will always have my hands full.

If your sly remark is meant to shame me in to feeling embarrassed about my brood, think again.

  • This restaurant has high chairs and kids menus, so no, we’re not in the wrong place.
  • My kids have four different minds and four different personalities, of course everyone wants to do something different. It’s my place to teach them how to compromise.
  • What’s your vice? Now imagine being trapped in a place with that thing and not being able to touch, taste or feel it. Kinda sucks, right? Kids hate that too, that’s why God invented the dollar section at Target.
  • You should probably circle the parking lot for a different space. I’m not moving for at least another seven minutes.
  • As long as they are clean, dressed and fed don’t worry about me. That’s enough to make me happy.

So Captain, next time you see a “big” family, smile and give Mom or Dad the thumbs up because we need all the encouragement we can get. Now where is that girl’s shoe…

Sincerely,

Mom of four

 

Son of a beach

For about 2 months I’ve wanted nothing but to go to the beach. And honestly, I have no idea why.

1. I don’t have a beach body. I’m not even sure if my swimsuit still fits. I was barely pregnant when I last wore it.

2. I HATE that post beach feeling. Gritty. Sticky. Crunchy hair. Tired. Raw from the realization that sunburn is setting in (let’s face it, mom is the LAST person who gets the sunscreen and it’s usually a self spray jobber that DOES NOT cover all the nooks and crannies)

3. I have a new car. I’m not ready for salt soaked seats and sand that will NEVER come out no matter how many times you vacuum.

4. The packing and preparation. It takes longer to pack and get ready than the time you actually spend at the beach.

5. Did I mention the inevitable sunburn?

Despite all these reasons, I really want to go. And this reason trumps all the ones above:

My love/hate relationship with summer

It’s nice that the days are longer (and HOTTER! in FL) and the kids have vacation, but really most summer days I feel like this:

Why I will never put Hallmark out of business

Besides family, religious meaning and the presents, Christmas means so much more to a wannabefoodiecrafty gal like me. It means lots and lots of baking and crafting! And hopefully some cold weather days thrown in the mix (in FL you never can tell).

For the wannabefoodiecrafty gal (WFCG, for short) the season starts eaaarrrrllly. When Joann’s starts merching their seasonal stuff in September, the planning and decision making begins. What am I going to make? Who am I going to make stuff for? When can I get all this done?

I started thumbing through some of my crafting books and supplies last month. My son was being his usual nosy self, peeking over my shoulder. Immediately the cross stitch pattern of a train ornament caught his attention. Throughout all his begging and pleading a grand crafty idea was born.

HANDMADE ORNAMENTS!

Not just any handmade ornaments, but special ornaments that focus on each one of my kids’ interests, milestones, etc. in 2011. It’s like Etsy meets Hallmark without all the cranky old lady kitsch.

First ornament is complete. the train cross stitch looks great. The sewing, eh, I’m still learning (see: ganked up stitches in the second photo). Most important thing is that my son is excited about his ornament and can’t wait to hang it on the tree.

I’m currently working on felting a saxophone for my oldest daughter (her band instrument) and something ballerina themed for my youngest daughter who LOVES dancing. My hope is to be completed with these two the day after Thanksgiving so that we can hang our special ornaments on the tree that night.

Who knows. I may even give Hallmark a run for their money, but probably not.

Sliding Door Sneakers

Fate. Serendipity. God’s hand. Whatever you call it, I truly believe in it.

One of the things I obsess about is my decision making. Being a religious person I attempt to listen to God and hope that I make the decision that falls into ‘The Great Plan’ he’s laid out for me and my family. And sometimes those heavenly nudges aren’t very clear cut at all. In fact some of them are down right frustrating.

Enough of the righteous gobbledy-gook, let me illustrate my point…

We awoke Monday morning to wet streets, soggy grass and grumpy attitudes. It all came to a head when I asked my son to find his shoes, five minutes before we needed to leave for school. A thorough topsy-turnover of the house produced no sneakers (his ONLY school shoes).

Five minutes later, he had the brilliant idea that his sneakers were somewhere outside. Sure enough, seconds later he produced two of the wettest shoes on the planet. With no time to dry them we had to go with plan B, which were his ratty sneakers from this summer that barely fit.

I was fuming. It was late, raining and traffic was going to be a monster. As I approached the base of the bridge/overpass to make the left turn to his school’s neighborhood there was a six car accident with rescue squad and police just arriving on the scene.

An accident that in all likelyhood could have happened five minutes before. An accident that we could have been in, if it weren’t for the missing shoes.

I apologized* to my son for being upset about the shoes and promised to go shoe shopping that afternoon so that he would always have 2 pairs of shoes for school.

The whole way home I thought about the shoe incident over and over. It wasn’t as simple as my son forgetting his shoes outside. It was definitely more than that. Fate/God’s Hand definitely played a part.

For those of you not overly religious, this is one of those Sliding Doors moments:

  • Missing shoes = no car accident = us going on with our everyday lives.
  • IF the shoes were nice and dry in the house = car accident = no car = possible injuries = money problems.

So next time something gets you frustrated and you’re running late or things aren’t going your way, be thankful. This is God’s/Fate’s way of preventing something terrible down the line.

Oh…and my son is now the proud owner of the current wet/dry sneakers as well as two other pairs!

*Any time we have a disagreement or the kids get lectured in the mornings, I ALWAYS apologize before they get out of the car. It’s a good way to restart the morning and hopefully allows them to have a good day.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

Yesterday I posted about my innate ability to procrastinate about everything, even my kids costumes. There was a lot of franticness, fur flying and swearing as I tried the non-sewing method of getting fabric to fuse (BTW, Stitch Witchery does not fuse felt on to faux fur).

At 1:00 I finally gave up and hoisted the sewing machine out of the closet. Thirty minutes later, I had the dang thing threaded and was ready to go.

I can officially say I can sew a semi-straight line, thread a sewing machine needle and could possibly make something using straight stitches (pillows or curtains, maybe?).

The sad part of all of this is that the faux fur leg warmers I made were not used. The costumes look good without them.

Sewing machine? Fear conquered.