Dear Diary, Please make it stop!

Dear Holiday Diary,

After a week of decorating, I still am surrounded by doodads and ditzies just begging to be made into some form of centerpiece, swag or other holiday shimmery thing. It doesn’t help that I keep looking up at my cupboards with the memory of this ceiling I spied while in Denver.

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Thanks a lot, Oxford Hotel. I’m still trying to forget the images of Patsy Ramsey’s house. Now I want to buy gold ribbon to swing from above my cupboards to the top of my chandelier. As if I don’t already have enough to do –

  1. Finish sketching the Christmas card.
  2. Note to self: Ask Danny to hide all the scissors in the house. NO POPUPS!
  3. Ink the illustration.
  4. Blog the contest to win a Christmas card.
  5. Put away crafting supplies and duct tape the containers shut. Danny should hide them too.
  6. Start baking.
  7. Get outside! It’s supposed to drop from the 50’s to below zero by Wednesday. Maybe I can add one more string of lights to the outdoor display, I mean, take a hike.

Ideas keep popping into my mind. I need to make them stop. I’ll let you know how I manage.

Have you started your holiday traditions? Are you scrambling like I am?

You Still Have a Chance!

I have spent hours sketching, drawing, crafting, cutting, slicing and pasting my Christmas cards in a sort of elf-like assembly line without the elves. While up to my elbows in paper scraps, I looked forward to that blissful nirvanic state attained after slipping them into envelopes.

A lot of love goes into each card and I would like to share it! Here’s your chance to win one.

Elf materials

Every year, I draw my family engaging in some kind of holiday or winter activity.

Guess what we are doing in this year’s card, leave a comment, and win!

Merry, merry!

 

The Unusually Wild Gift Guide

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I’ve been surfing the net for the wildest gifts online and would like to share a few unusual finds with you. Some are wilder than others, but they are all meant for someone who has everything or a sense of humor.

The Power Nap Head Pillow can be found at Hammacher Schlemmer.

the power nap head pillow 1

Because naptime…

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 The Shower Squid can be found at Uncommon Goods.

shower squids Continue reading

Do You Know What Day This Is?

It was a sunny Wisconsin morning the first time it happened. My mother screamed and ran into our bedroom waking my sister Patty and me from a sound slumber. I thought my small heart would explode. I bolted from our shared bed and followed her to the picture window of our apartment.

“There’s a purple polka-dotted elephant walking down the street!” she shouted.

“What? Where?”

When my little sister joined me in squinting through the glaring window, she said, “April Fools,” and then laughed. I didn’t think it was very funny at the time.

Through the years, I have played tricks on friends and family. My children ran to the window searching for purple giraffes, along with other strange colored creatures. I know. I am so mean. It must be genetic. Every year, I have tried to come up with new ways to trick my husband, such as, “By the way, we’re having company for dinner, so if you could stop and pick up some wine and a few things at the grocery store and then come home early to help me clean, that would be great. (Wait for it…) APRIL FOOLS!” The relief on his face is always worth it!

Yesterday, I checked my phone’s April calendar and noticed little lines under the some of the dates.  I didn’t remember saving any appointments, so I checked them out. April 22nd is Earth Day. The 15th is dreaded Tax Day. And the 1st is… April Fools’ Day!

Wait a minute… It occurred to me that if phones list April Fools’ as a holiday, everyone will know and no one will be fooled. That could begin the extinction of the holiday!

Ugh. That would be terrible. I have always looked forward to a day of pranking.

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April Fools in Denmark. No. A subway car did not crash through the ground…

How did it begin anyway? There are conflicting reports which is no surprise since this is April Fools we are talking about. The following explanation gets my vote. During the Middle Ages, the first of the year was celebrated at the end of March. Then in the 1500’s, Pope Gregory XIII changed the Gregorian Calendar to start on January 1st.  Bells would toll across the land to “fool” other fools into thinking the 1st of the year still began in April.

I never noticed that the Pope named the calendar after himself! He died on April 10th. Irony or coincidence???

During the 1800’s in France, the first of the year changed to January 1st. People who celebrated on April 1st were ridiculed in that country as well.

“Ha. You peasants are such idiots…”

Today, in Italy, France, and Belgium, pranksters will stick a picture of a fish on their unsuspecting target’s back and then shout, “April Fish!”

April Fish

WHAT? That is so lame! How did that one start? Were they fed up with being called fools and substituted fish? And did they originally use real fish back in the day? Did they use minnows or mackerels? Apparently, that variation has something to do with the astrological sign Pisces.

April Fools’ Day will be celebrated in many countries today. Thanks Wikipedia for that specific information. How will we play any practical jokes if everyone knows and is already suspicious? My advice is to strike early before your friends and family have their first cup of coffee.

“Roxy! Look at that pink coyote trotting down the street!”

Purple spotted Roxy1

Consider this heads up, my gift to you. Now get out there and prank someone!

Do you plan to fool anyone?

Guess What? A Contest

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One of my annual holiday traditions is creating our family Christmas card. In the last couple of days, I have drawn and copied, cut, folded and stacked all of the parts that will be ready to glue and assemble. With around 24 hours into this art project, I would guess that I am just about half way to finishing them. I am hoping to make 90 cards. I know. I am ridiculous.

This year’s card is another pop-up, meaning there will be folded paper inside that will have some dimension after opening.  Last year, I added beads and half of the envelopes were returned before Christmas with postage due. Ugh. This year, I avoided any extra dingle dangles that would mess up the otherwise timely delivery.

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Last year’s card. Those beads cost me!

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Another pop-up from two years before.

I thought it would be fun to  run a contest for those of you interested in receiving one of my homemade cards. No matter what your faith or how you celebrate, this is a card made with lots of love for you! Continue reading

Creeped Out by Santa

creepy santas 1Do I look terrified or what? My sister escaped!

Let me start out by clarifying that I love the idea of Santa Claus as the embodiment of joy and generosity for children around the world. But it was the department store Santa with the nasty cigarette and coffee breath I endured for the sake of the obligatory traditional McCartan photo every Christmas. Continue reading

Tackling the Turkey

Don’t I look confident? It is all a facade.

When my children were younger, I would get nervous just thinking about Thanksgiving. Roasting that humongous bird was intimidating. All those years of my own mother making the perfect feast loomed over my head and I feared that I would make the dreaded – dried out turkey.

One year I accomplished the opposite. I stuffed the bird. I know and in high altitude of 5280 feet above sea level. I don’t think it was cooked all the way through. I was horrified to find out that my mother-in-law, who never complains, was up in the night.

Then there was the first time we celebrated Thanksgiving in the mountains. I was caught unprepared in more ways than one. I didn’t have the right pots, so I steamed vegetables in cake and iron frying pans. I warmed the biscuits in bread pans. Hey. I have always been a MacGiver-type. I hadn’t accounted for the super high altitude of 10,500 feet so although the water was rolling, the potatoes were firm after an hour of boiling. After watching two sappy Christmas movies, we finally sat down to dinner at 9:00. My sister was by my side and we giggled throughout the turkey madness. My husband Danny kept the kids entertained. It was a feast to remember. At least we had silverware…

Now I roast that gargantuan sucker with panache. I wrote down my mother’s recipe long ago, but I will call her in the morning and ask for it again like every year. I’ll mix up the stuffing with the cooked giblets and bake it in a separate casserole. Then when the electronic thermometer beeps (I said panache and I won’t ever take chances on a rare bird again), signaling that the turkey is done, I’ll pour the drippings through a fat separator. Then, I’ll drizzle some of the juice over the stuffing. No one will know that the bird wasn’t stuffed.

This year I’ll make a list of all of my sides. Yep. I go overboard. Last year, I found the sweet potatoes in the microwave on Friday. I knew there was something else.

We’ll try to pack a lot into our day and enjoy our kids and my sister’s visit. I am hoping we will take a walk and enjoy the sunshine since Thanksgiving is almost a week early and the temperatures are still in the 60’s. We’ll watch old family videos and a football game or two.

This Thursday will be the 23rd time I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner. After all these years, I will relax and enjoy it. There will be no Black Friday shopping for me.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Roxy thought my Thanksgiving turkey was delish!

Have you ever been intimidated by cooking?

For safe turkey roasting tips, click here.