Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

I thought I'd try my hand at a little thing called Works for me Wednesday. On Wednesdays, over at Rocks in my Dryer, people post about a good idea they'd like to share. And Shannon lists all the links on her site so everyone can check them out. Here's mine:

I got a lovely blender when I got married. See how mid-nineties it is?

Since I've been married now since, well, the mid nineties, the glass container for the blender has either been broken, stolen or just didn't want to make the move with us so many years ago. So, do I throw out a perfectly good piece of machinery because it's missing a very important accesory? Do I replace the accesory with one I found at Target, online, at a thrift store? Do I let it sit in my cabinet until I come up with an answer?

First, no, I do not throw away a very good piece of machinery. Just, no.
Second, if I had any forethought, I would replace it with one from any one of the above mentioned places. If I had any forethought.
Third, I did let it sit in my cabinet until someone, and I'm sorry I can't remember who, gave me this blender-saving tip.

You start with a jar of spaghetti sauce from your favorite grocery store. Go ahead and make dinner for your family, you're going to use that empty jar for dessert later.

Then, you peel the labels off, because you have an unhealthy obsession with peeling things, and clean the jar thoroughly. See how beautiful the clean, empty jar is in the evening sun?

I love that the name MASON is pressed into the glass. It's a nice touch, don't you think?

Now, at this point I should tell you that because I throw away no useful thing, I still happened to have saved the blender parts. They were just sitting nicely next to the blender waiting to fulfill their destiny.

Take the rubber gasket. At least, I think it's a gasket. Sounds better than round rubber thingy. Anyway, take that thingy and put it over the blade piece so it's resting against the plastic base.

Here's where things get interesting...and personal. Pick your favorite blendable concoction. Say, bananas and strawberries, or strawberries and blueberries or rocky road or shoot, how about margarita mix and ice. The point is, I decided to let you use your imagination on this one because I didn't want you to get distracted by my choice of smoothie fruit and stop reading this post altogether because you detest bananas! (You know who you are!)

So, with your jar filled with whatever, invert the blade part, with the gasket in place, into the mouth of the jar like so.

Now put the only piece that's left over the top of that and screw it on.

Turn the whole thing upside down and place in your blender. There's only one place. It's not rocket science.

It should look like this. Again, not rocket science.

Now it's time to unscrew the lid

and enjoy! (Again, we're imagining here.)

So, here's to your health, to heck with my diet or bottom's up. Whichever applies!

It may not be much, but it works for me!

***Important Update*** The person who gave me this idea has come out of the woodwork! Her name is Erica and she's divine! She is very artsy and clever and loves to multi-task. Thus, the great blender idea! She doesn't have a blog or a website at the moment, but when she does, I will direct everyone I know and even those I don't to her wonderful craftiness!

Monday, February 25, 2008

She's sweet like that

Conversation with Autie on the way to the Encounter service,

Autie: Mom, if I find someone who is really nice and sweet and has soft hair, can I give her two balloons?
Me: Uh, okay. If you find someone like that, you go right ahead.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Grab yer kleenex

You've heard of Compassion International, right? Well, I've heard of them, too and for years I've thought it would be neat to sponsor a child, I just never actually did it. (Notice a pattern?) Anyway, Shannon, over at Rocks in my Dryer got an amazing opportunity to go to Uganda through Compassion as a blogger. They put together a team of bloggers who support Compassion and asked them to go and blog about their trip to help raise awareness about them. Today, I saw this video of Shannon meeting the child that she and her family have been sponsoring and I cryed my eyes out. Really. I did. The first time I watched it, I teared up and started to cry. The second time I watched it, I literally put my face in my hands and started to wail. Autie came over and started patting me on the back and comforting me.

So, after I saw that, I went on over to Compassion International and I signed up. Elliott and I have been looking for ways to show our kids how big the world is and how blessed they are and this is just one way to do it. In a couple of weeks, we'll be getting a packet of information on each child and that child will be ours. I'm really excited to see what the kids think.

Oh, and thanks Ragamuffin Soul for the video.

She's gonna make a good waitress

Overheard at the breakfast table this morning:

Anna (with a small pad of paper in her hand and a pen): Would you like anything to eat this morning?
Autie: Yes, I would like eggs and toast, thank you.
Anna: And would you like anything?
John: No. (said with disgust)
Anna: Okay, one "no" coming up!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jim Gaffigan folds the laundry

Not really. I knew that would get your attention. So, I'm here at the house on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Elliott is at the studio, the littlest one is asleep and the three others are at grandma's house. I'm listening to a Jim Gaffigan cd and folding laundry. Yes, the never-ending laundry cycle.

Here's how you know you've been doing laundry nonstop for the last 10 years or so: You realize halfway through folding a load that the clothes are, in fact, not clean at all. They're dirty. In the basket. Just waiting in line to be washed. I found myself saying, in my best Jim Gaffigan voice, you know the voice he uses that sounds like a whispering woman,

"Are these clothes clean?"

"These shirts just don't smell fresh."

"What is that? A stain? When did I have a Hot Pocket?"

So I'm off to wash some clothes that are currently folded nicely on my couch. It's a good thing I don't have a habit of putting clothes away after I fold them.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

St. Valentine, I could just kiss you!

This morning, while getting ready, my mind started to ponder the arrangement Elliott and I have regarding Valentines Day. Years ago, we decided that Valentines Day was just a commercial holiday meant to trap guys into forking over their hard earned money for something with petals or cocoa. Ha!, we laughed. We don't need all that stuff to show our love for each other. We love each other like it's Valentines Day every day!

Some years this arrangement worked better than others. Usually when I got too busy to remember to do anything for Elliott. But some years, when I happened to be feeling particularly overworked and underappreciated...and fat, the arrangement was not exactly consensual.

This year happened to be a good year for consensual non-Valentines Day celebrating. I hadn't even thought of it. Well, I thought about it. Even planned something that never got past the thought stage. But I certainly didn't expect anything. Elliott has been so busy lately with the studio, actually near exhaustion, that I thought I would do him a favor by not even mentioning it. So this morning as I thought about how thankful I am that we can have that kind of arrangement and it be okay, my thoughts were interrupted by Elliott saying, "Come on kids, let's show mommy her surprise!" What? My surprise? Oh, I'm surprised alright.

As I walked down the hallway to the living room, the kids were jumping up and down and Elliott told me to look in the corner. When I looked, the chair that should've been there, this one

wasn't there. Instead I saw this

It's the laptop with a picture on the screen. What's that you say? You can't quite make out what it's a picture of? Here, I'll get a little closer.

Isn't it just beautiful? It's the chair that I wanted to get to go with the leather couches we bought 2 years ago. We decided to wait a while for the chair because the couches were such a big purchase. "A while" turned out to be 2 years. Actually I figured I'd have to pick out something else because there's such a high turnover rate with furniture. And yet there it sat. Well, a picture of it. In the corner of my living room.

I think now would be a good time to pay tribute to the old reliable recliner. We bought it at an outlet furniture store when we found out we were pregnant with baby number 1. I needed a rocking chair and Elliott was wanting a recliner, but I have never really been fond of the way recliners look. When I saw this one, I was sold. It doesn't have the look of a big poofy lazy boy and the wood on the arms gives it a little bit of an arts and crafts type look. That was over 9 years ago. I've rocked 4 babies to sleep in that chair. Nursed, napped and even slept overnight in that chair. It's been really good to us. About a year ago, something broke on the right side of the back, making it lean back and to the right. You couldn't rock because you'd fall out the back of it. I thought that was the end, but it was only the beginning of the end. Elliott got some handy dandy bailing wire and wired it together. Now, there was only the illusion that you could fall out of it. No one ever did. I thought for sure we'd be getting rid of it with the new chair on it's way, but Elliott informed me that we still needed to rock someone every now and then and we could just move it to the other corner. To tell you the truth, I'd be kind of sad to see it go.. It's practically a part of the family!

Well done thou good and faithful recliner. You have served us well. We're all about rewarding a job well done in this family. Oh, and celebrating Valentine's Day. We're really good at that!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ahhhh, spring is in the air. At least I think that's spring, smells more like a skunk to me. And believe me, I know skunk! Which reminds me of a story...

You know how they say that the scent most closely related to memory is smell? Well, let me tell you, when the smell in question is skunk, you have a hard time forgetting!

Let's see, the year was 2003. I was pregnant with number three and I'm not sure how far along I was but throughout all my pregnancies I have had a super-human sense of smell. We were living in the 100 year old farm house in Belle Plain and we were always encountering skunks. I was really afraid to go out off the porch at night for fear I'd get sprayed. You know, that's a big fear of mine. I remember growing up hearing stories of how you can't get the smell of skunk off of you unless you take a bath in tomato juice and that just horrified me. That, and Elliott would always tell me about the time that his dad shot a skunk that was right below his bedroom window.....and his bedroom window was OPEN! His room smelled like a skunk and all of his clothes were pretty much ruined. It was ugly.

Everyone has a story, it seems, about their encounter with a skunk and their story is always worse than everyone elses. Elliott says there are layers to a skunk's smell and if you've only smelled one running around your yard or one that's been hit on the highway, you have no idea. It's a totally different smell, he says, with a prideful look in his eye.

Well, back to my story, which I do not in any way claim to be the worst of skunk stories. I'll save that one for another time. Anyway, we were coming home from being at my in-law's house and when we pulled up to our house I knew immediately there was a skunk somewhere in the vicinity. Elliott left the headlights on while he checked the place out. We had a deck that was a foot and a half above the ground and just below that deck was a black and white object moving very slowly. Since it didn't take off running when we pulled up, Elliott knew it was probably hurt or something so he went inside to get his gun. I had gotten out of the car when it was clear this skunk was not much of a threat. Elliott came out of the house, shot that thing and immediately, and I mean immediately, I was hit by this stench, the likes of which I had never encountered before. This overwhelming need to vomit overtook me. Another thing about me and pregnancy is that I have a very strong gag reflex. I could throw up at the drop of a hat. I started to heave, but nothing came of it. I tried to say something to Elliott, but was interrupted repeatedly by the gagging and heaving. I finally managed to tell him that I couldn't sleep there and that we had to go back to his parent's house. I contined to gag and heave the entire 25 minutes it took to get there.

To this day, I am very affected by the smell of a skunk. At this very moment there is a skunk somewhere on our place that is spraying incessantly for no apparent reason. My house smells like a skunk and even the clothes in my dryer stink because that little flap that goes over the dryer vent is missing. It's disgusting. My mouth is watering and my throat is doing that weird thing it does when it's preparing for something to come through in reverse. Ahhhhh, did I tell you how much I love this time of year?

Thursday, February 07, 2008