Tuesday, November 16, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 16

How the hell is it 9:30? Crap, I need some sleep. I wanted to start sewing together the sweet patchwork baby blanket I'm making, but the night got away from me. After the girls went to bed tonight I had some un-fun chores to do, and my time just got sucked into some black hole.

I also have spent far too much time searching online for Snoopy stuffed animals, books, various accessories. Did you know it's like impossible to just find a cute, reasonably priced stuffed Snoopy? What gives? The girls have just discovered SNoopy this year and both love him. We pretend to cry like Snoopy, and it cracks them up. But, we are certainly well past his hay-day. I had a stuffed Snoopy when I was little, and they used to make outfits for him and stuff... But no more. Hmpf. The search continues.

Monday, November 15, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 15

Josh is out of town for a few days, so between the morning hustle, craziness at work, and the evening hustle, I am pooped. Tonight I decided to pull out the past few years' worth of MS Living and special supplemental issues. I don't have tons of people to do gifts for, but I really do need to buckle down and make a plan. Plus, Hanukkah is quite literally right around the corner, which is totally messing with my head. So many great recipes and projects, I need to narrow down the list.

Oy, my commitment to this NaBloPoMo is so lame. Oh well. Though I may not be reporting much here, and may not have an awful lot to show for myself, this idea of doing or focusing on something that makes me happy every day has been really good for me. It's forcing me out of my usual slump of just parking myself on the couch until bedtime every night. I'm still doing quite a bit of that, frankly, but I'm also a bit more alert and engaged at night, spending some time on projects etc. So maybe this month isn't shaping up to be a particularly successful month of blogging per se, but it is helping me personally. So, hurray! But, I still have another half a month to go. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 14

Delly and I have been talking about making a gingerbread house, and I intended to make one from scratch, but then I saw pre-made Wilton houses for $9 and figured we could just do that. Delma is only interested in decorating it anyway, so who cares. And it was just staring at her this morning, taunting her with it's potential fun and mess, and she HAD to make it. So I was frosting a gingerbread house before 8 am. Oy. It did come out pretty cute, though.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 13

So, weird day today. I had to have my cat Blau put to sleep. She was 15 years old, a total whackadoo, and was a scrappy, feisty little bugger up to the end. RIP, Blau.

Josh is out playing a gig tonight, and I thankfully had made plans for myself. A good friend came over after dinner to hang out, have a beer and snackies and do some crafting. I got basically nothing done except figuring out the layout of a patchwork baby blanket I'm making. So, I guess that's better than nothing? And it was lovely having some nice chillaxing lady time, especially after the surreal day I had.

Friday, November 12, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 12

Crazy work day, followed by frantic scrambling to pick up kids, clean house, get showered and dressed and prepare for dinner guests.

So, in place of my usual drivel, please amuse yourself by going to youtube and looking at videos of funny cats and dogs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

30 Days of Happy: CEIMB / Day 11

Today's Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe was Whole-wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta Cheese, hosted by Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table.

I don't super-love whole wheat pasta, but I buy it in bulk at Costco and the kids thankfully never complain about it, so it's what we use most of the time these days. I made this when we had some friends over for lunch last weekend, and it was simple to throw together and tasted great. I will definitely make this one again, and I bet it would be even better if it were made in advance so the flavors had time to meld. Great pick, Kayte!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 10

Tonight I started work on a gift for a new little girly bundle of joy. It involves fabric stamping, patchwork, and most likely -- lordy, I can't believe I'm about to say this -- minky. That minky crap drives me batty, it is an absolute nightmare to sew and sends pounds of fluff into your eyes and nose in a most horrific fashion. But it makes for great baby gifty stuff, it really does. Send prayers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 9

Tonight I took the girls out for their first Olive Garden experience. I had mentioned the breadsticks to Delma once, and she's been wanting to go there and see them for herself, these magical breadsticks. And she *loves* eating in restaurants, it's become this weird obsession with her, she begs and pleads and cries to go out to eat. Which, now that I'm thinking about it, I guess should maybe be insulting? Though she does praise me for my pasta-boiling skills, so maybe I shouldn't read too much into it.

Anyway, the breadsticks were a hit. Mimi kept calling them "hot dogs" and they both left with half a breadstick clenched in their paws, carrying them like treasures.

Then we hit Michaels to score some Halloween stuff on sale. I got tons of cookie cutters for next to nothing. I also got some nice glittery paper to make a Hanukkah decoration.

And now I get to relax with this little treasure of my own, who arrived in the mail today.

Isn't she lovely? Little Girls, Big Style by the fab Craft Addict herself, Mary Abreu. I just thumbed through it and LOVE it. She has it brilliantly divided into 4 basic pieces: bodice top, peasant top, pants, and skirt. And then there are scads of variations on each piece for endless combos. And full-size patterns, to boot. Come on, what's not to love?

Monday, November 8, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 8

I have been trying to get in the habit of picking up crafty stuff on sale after holidays, like all those different foam shape kits they always have at craft stores for making all sorts of random decorations and crap. They rarely result in things that we actually keep, but they're great time-killers in a pinch. I had a kit for making kajillions of foam Halloween finger puppets, which I forgot about until the other day. So yesterday afternoon Delma and I busted it out and made a bunch of them, then when Mimi woke up we made the witches scare the ghosts, and the ghosts scare the witches, and made them play hide and seek... I had 2 kids so that they could play together and I could sit on the couch reading books or checking email, but somehow I get roped into playing these games. Not fair! I paid my dues in many months of heartburn, and a lifetime of stretch marks, damn it. But I digress.

I tried to get Delma to let me make a third ghost, so that we could act out the Three Little Ghostesses poem, but she would not consent. And she was clearly in charge, so that was that.

Three little ghostesses
Sitting on postesses,
Eating buttered toastesses

Greasing their fistesses
Up to their wristesses.

Oh, what beastesses
To make such feastesses!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 7

This morning we had our Torah Tots program at our Temple. It was very cute, it was my turn to host the craft and the kids all made very cute (and VERY messy) projects.

Delma has been wanting to have a birthday party for her Bitty Baby (whose name is Bibby Baby), and wanted to invite her best friend Ryan. He was coming to Torah Tots today, so I invited his family to come over for lunch afterward. Mimi's best friend happens to be Ryan's little sister, so the kids all adore each other and get along great, and their parents have become good friends of ours. The kids had a blast playing, we all had fun, and Delma got to have her party.

She and Ryan blew out Bibby's candles together.

And here's Delly yelling goodbye out the window to our friends, while Mimi obsessively blows one of those damn birthday horns. You can also see part of our Torah Tots project in the window.

A good day. A good weekend. But I am so shot tonight that I totally bailed on the first day of Pillow Week. That's not a good start by any standard. We'll see if I can get it together tomorrow.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 6

Today was a doozy of a day, in a good way. No time to write much.

This morning I FINALLY used the spa gift that Josh gave me months ago for my 30th (ha!) birthday. I learned that:
1. Body scrubs are very, um, scrubby. Like, really scrubby.
2. The pumpkin facial is worth every penny.

So, after several hours of getting pampered and falling in and out of consciousness in a cozy, dimly-lit room, I had to go home to hustle and get some stuff done for tomorrow. I am hosting our Temple's Torah Tots program in the morning, and then we're having some friends over to have lunch and to have a birthday party for Delma's Bitty Baby. Much prep was required:
1. Drew Stars of David on over 20 pieces of construction paper
2. Started to cut some of them out, will leave that for the morning. Oy.
3. Cut up about 8 different colored sheets of tissue paper into tiny little bits
4. Baked chocolate chip cookies
5. Baked chocolate cookies with white chips
5. (That is a lot of cookies!)
6. Forgot to eat dinner
7. Washed and blew-dry hair and got made-up and dressed
8. Went to a Homebrew Beer Party

We have some friends who brew beer every year, and then have a party to share it all. This year there were 6 different beers, I tried 2 and they were both great. We had tons of fun, stayed way later than we planned to, and now I don't know what time it actually is with all this clock-setting nonsense. 'Night, y'all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 5

I made challah today for tonight's Shabbat dinner. I don't make it every week, but I've been trying to as often as I can. We used to buy challah every week from a bakery in town that makes THE BEST challah (they actually are Italians who got the recipe from our former rabbi), and then the price started going up and up and when I started doing the math my inner cheapskate got into a bit of a twitch.

I love making our weekly challah for my family. I love being a mom who bakes, who makes. I work fulltime, I am no fabulous homemaker, I haven't made my kids' Halloween costumes. But my children don't think that cookies, cakes and brownies come from the supermarket or from a box, and when we sit down to Shabbat dinner and say our blessings, usually I have made our bread.

I want that to just be normal for them, I want them to grow up to be women who will feel compelled to make the same effort for their families, and it's my job to set that example. What things do you do for your families that you hope your children will do one day for theirs?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

30 Days of Happy: CEIMB / Day 4

Today is my dad's 73rd birthday. Man, that is freaking old. He comes over most Thursdays for pizza, so tonight was birthday pizza night. Today's Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe was Mushroom, Onion and Basil Pizza. Perfect. So we ordered one pizza and I made a sad attempt at making this pizza.

The plan was to stop by the store after work to get needed ingredients, but it was cold and rainy and I'm a massive baby, so I just went home and figured I'd wing it. I made some sub-standard dough. I carmelized a sliced onion. I opened a can (yes, "can") of tomato sauce, I sauteed some kale from our CSA and I grabbed some shredded cheese from the freezer and made a pizza which was totally NOT the Ellie recipe. But it was not bad. Thanks for hosting, Joanne. The recipe looked great, it just wasn't in the cards for me today!

What else... I made a flourless chocolate cake which would have been awesome, but the pan I used was too small so it baked all jacked up. This was Mimi's face when she tasted it. Don't let that jerk fool you, she ended up polishing off the whole thing in about 2 minutes.

And here is what my dad's piece of cake looked like with the 7 little candles and the "3." The candles all barely fit on there.

Delly had fun after dinner playing with the little thingamajigs from our birthday ring (which I will talk more about soon, because I am so in love with that thing). The rooster was the "bad guy" but that's about as much as I could follow in the storyline there.

And this pic was just so cute. It pretty much sums up our world: A big ol' bottle of whisky, and Mimi stuffing a candle up Josh's nose. Good night!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 3

Oh, amd I supposed to be writing about something fun and happy-making that I did for myself today? Well, let's see...

I went to the library to get a book on Weaving, because I saw some really cool handwoven dishtowels on Etsy that made me think, Hey! I need another crafty hobby! So I tracked down a loom to borrow, and now it's in my house, and I have NO CLUE WHAT THE HELL TO DO WITH IT. So I found a book, which just made me realize that there is no way this is going to happen.

Then I decided to bake a flourless chocolate cake for my dad's birthday tomorrow. I tried out a Martha recipe, which OF COURSE required me to separate 6 eggs, which always makes me want to hurl. But I soldiered though, and then used a pan that's too small and I don't think it really baked right, and I just hope it's not a plate of poo when we slice into it tomorrow.

And then the final little Happy Heide thing I was going to do didn't happen because I don't have the right size Aida fabric to use for a cool x-stitch pattern I was going to bust out. Hmpf.

But I made the time and had the plans to do me-stuff, and I guess that's what counts? Or something.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

30 Days of Happy: Day 2

Today I made a huge committment. To Pillow Challenge Week. I will not be making a pillow a day (seriously??), but I can commit to spending some time each day on pillows. A long time ago a friend (Hi, Josefa!) told me that she was making a special pillow for her daughter for every holiday. Such a fabulous idea, no? I have been meaning to copy the idea for a long, long time.

So, this challenge will be the kick in the pants that I need. May as well start with Hanukkah pillows, considering it is LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY. Oy vay. Time to dig out my Hanukkah fabrics and maybe get some new stuff too.

Also! How cute is this little crafty idea for making a glittery menorah (actually Hanukkiah, I'll explain that to you Goys another day)? Gonna have to order some of these to get cracking on the holiday crafting. Glue and glitter, huzzah!

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Days of Happy

I can't believe I'm doing this, but I signed up for NaBloPoMo. G-d help me. A whole month of posting to my blog EVERY DAY, after having been such a monumental blogging slacker for the past, well, forever.

This is actually good timing for me, because I'm feeling like I have more physical and mental space lately to bust out and do more me-stuff. I've recently been going a bit hog-wild with craigslist and Freecycle and the clothing/shoes donation bins to clear up space in our house (not that anyone would notice, it's mostly been stored stuff that I'm getting rid of). And I've been organizing a bit to make my crafty corner in the family room more useable and less of an eye-sore, and to make more room for the girls to play. It's making me feel much lighter, and is motivating me to make more time to do things that make me feel good.

I hate to always sound like I'm complaining about Mimi, because I could seriously just explode from my uncontainable love for her, but she truly did bust our world right the hell up. She recently turned 2 and we (I) finally feel like we (especially I) can breathe. For so many months, most of my days have been consumed by the day-to-day crap, and by the end of the day, I am useless and can manage barely more than to drag my butt to the couch to watch TV and play Webkinz on my laptop. And while I really love having lazy-ass nights like that, I've been doing it way too much.

So. NaBloPoMo. I am committing to 30 Days of Happy. I will post about things I am doing, or thinking about, or reading about, that make me happy, so I can go to sleep at night knowing that I did more than just get through another day. I don't mean to make it all sound so dire, like I've been nothing but a sad lump for 2 years, that is just not the case. But I think I just need to make myself pay more attention to the little happy-making things in my days, feel more engaged, more consistently. Surely you know what I mean.

And now I am going to get into bed earlier than usual to read Kathy Griffin's _Book Club Selection_. I sure do loves me some Kathy, and I am loving this book so far. That seems like a good way to close Day 1 of Happy.