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A new year, a new you! More like, a same, slightly older and fatter you

Ugh. Stop it. It’s only January 7th and I’m already tired of all the frikkin’ diet articles and headlines on magazines.

Sure it’s US Weekly and In Touch or whatever, not Popular Mechanics or Golf Digest, but still, ENOUGH!

I admit, I like a juicy rag mag like the rest of us. What else would I read while sitting in the orthodontist’s office waiting for Emma to get her headgear adjusted?

It’s all WEIGHT WEIGHT WEIGHT.  And we’re buying this shit folks!

Or at least my orthodontist is.

We are so weight and image obsessed in this country that it’s forced me to write this post.

I could just go on my merry way eating donuts and making makeup tutorials, but NOOO, they have forced my hand. It must stop.

We need to just embrace who we are. We don’t need to be size 0 and having paparazzi snap our pics while vacationing in Cabo. That’s fantasy land.

So yeah, back to the New Year. Everyone wants to lose weight for the New Year. Me? Not so much. Nah. I’m good. I’ll lose some weight for St. Patrick’s day. Yeah. That sounds about right. This way, I’m almost on my way for getting ‘bikini ready’ for summer. Excuse me while I roll my eyes at the phrase ‘bikini ready’.

Basically people, this is the truth we are facing. The New Year hasn’t brought us a new you/ us. It’s just still – us. Totally the same. In fact, a few days older.  Nothing magic happened when the ball dropped from New Years Eve 2013 to New Years Day 2014.

Sorry. Hate to break it to you.

And sure, we’re feeling a little guilty about all that fruit cake and crockenbush we ate. No, that’s not a euphemism for something on HBO, that’s a Martha Stewart delicacy. What? You didn’t make a giant crockenbush for your family holiday gathering? What’s wrong with you?

So maybe I partook in too many donuts and rounds of cookie butter toast and coconut milk lattes with my new Nespresso machine I bought myself as a Black Friday gift to, well, myself. No one else is out there getting me Black Friday gifts! Somebody had to!

But right now, most of the country is deep in witch’s tit freezing cold temps. I mean, we’ve got #Chiberia going on people. When it’s 10 below zero and they are cancelling school because it’s that cold, you are going to be glad you had that extra spritz cookie. Maybe the fudge your best friend brings you every year seemed lonely in that cookie tin all by itself. Think of it as insulation now. You’re welcome.

You don’t need to drop those few extra pounds just yet. Give it awhile. How do we know if Snowmageddon ’14 isn’t finished yet? What if #Chiberia spreads into Chantarctica 2014? Be prepared.

So with that I leave you with my good wishes for 2014. Be healthy? Of course. Exercise? Definitely! Worry about bikinis? NO!

And gosh darn it, have another cookie. You’re looking cold.

 Frugie New Year slightly older you

Preparing your home for holiday house guests- Frugie style

 

Use closets, the garage, the office and the master bedroom to hide all the shit that’s been piling up all year. I’m talking about the kids’ Easter baskets and trick or treat bags; you know what I’m talking about.

Practice the phrase, “And I just cleaned it this morning, and look at it already!”

Fill your house with wafting, tempting scents that will distract guests. Like bacon.

Put out plenty of alcohol, spirits and alcohol. This is also a good distraction.

Wear clothing that isn’t covered in pet hair.

Remove the bra from behind the couch cushions your teenager shoved there one night while she was watching YouTube. (What? 13 year olds get tired of those things too you know!)

Try to remove cat or dog hair from the butter dish. This is hard, I know.

Do a quick once-over to check for any ‘surprises’- used band-aids, underwear and popsicle sticks shoved under the coffee table or on chairs. Trust me on this. The day you don’t check for that stuff is the day it will be your son’s band aid face up on the chair Aunt Susan sits on and she’ll have it stuck to her skirt unknowingly.

 

Stupid Christmas commercials like cars with bows and jewelry on the tree.

This post originally was published 2 years ago. But I figure it deserves an encore. My feelings haven’t changed.

You know those commercials where the wife goes outside on Christmas morning. It’s snowing, she’s dressed perfectly with makeup on like a Kardashian, and everything, probably wearing a pretty mohair sweater, that’s white, yeah, cuz moms always wear fuzzy, WHITE sweaters, and there sits a new SUV with a big red bow on it. Or the jewelry commercial where the guy is hanging the ring box on the tree and says so smoothly, ‘ OH, what could THIS ornament be?? Why, maybe YOU should open it’.  Gag.

If you find those commercials nauseating too, raise your hand. Thank you.

I’m not sure why those jewelry and car commercials at Christmas time drive me batnuts. Is it because that will never happen to me? Am I jealous? I shouldn’t say never. Maybe one day, James and I will hit pay dirt and he’ll buy me a Mercedes for Christmas and put it in the driveway with a big red bow. And Hugh Jackman will step out of it with a cup of espresso and whisk me away to Australia to be on his Oprah reunion special. I’ll be so happy and grateful, Oprah will ask to be my friend and then Gayle will get jealous and run off with Steadman. Then Oprah will just have to adopt me (and my family) because she’ll be alone and need a friend. We’ll move in to her Chicago mansion with all her dogs and read books and have Dr. Oz over to talk about our bowel movements. It will be so. much. fun.

Instead of ridiculous commercials that only cater to a small, and I mean, small demographic, let’s have a commercial where the husband gives his wife a carpet steam cleaner and an Ov Glove, or a Ped Egg. Her eyes will well up with tears and she’ll offer to do all kinds of ‘favors’ for him. Or maybe he gets her a Victoria’s Secret nightgown that’s see-thru, she can only wear when the kids are in bed and she feels like lounging in underwires and shiny, cold satin. That would be a very realistic commercial. Really.

To James’ credit, one Christmas he did give me diamond earrings. It was the Christmas Owen was a baby. Sort of a delayed Push Present maybe? If I remember correctly, I had a sinus infection and bronchitis that Christmas, which I did pretty much every Christmas the children were little. I didn’t have make up on, I was in some kind of fuzzy jammies with teapots on them, and had one of those heated rice pack thingys on my head to relieve the sinus pressure. I think I asked him to turn OFF the video camera as to NOT document this moment in history since we didn’t want to traumatize our children in the future should they happen to find the tape and see mommy with suitcases under her eyes, no voice, and heat pads on her head. No makeup, no white mohair sweater. nada. zip.

It’s okay. I’m not bitter or anything. Really.

There’s more to Christmas presents than jewelry and luxury automobiles. There’s gifts that can’t be bought in stores. They’re made with love and glue. Lots of glue.

When I unwrap one of those gifts that the kids make in class with their school picture hanging in a foamy wreath, or a  pipe cleaner tree, THOSE are the ones that make my eyes well up with tears.

I’ll take those over diamonds and German engineering any year.

Look, Frugie’s in the Kardashian Krismas Kard

It will be like a Where’s Waldo of sorts. Can you find me? Oh, and there’s some other fun ‘footprints’ I left too.

I’m not going to waste our time with me explaining what a nutcase of a media cluster fluff this “Christmas” card is. If you can call it that.

But hey, it’s the holidays, so let’s be merry.

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without swearing under the tree

We have a fake Christmas tree. Maybe Martha wouldn’t approve.  I’m okay with that. Some families go to tree farms and cut down the tree themselves. Some go to a tree lot and pick out the best looking, least Charlie Browniest they can find.

We used to do that. And then there was the year James brought the chainsaw into the living room, and something had to change.

We never did the tree farm thing with the kids. Just the tree lot. We’d drive down the two miles to the fruit stand that sells the Christmas Trees in December. It’s right across from the Starbucks, that we would visit afterwards, or before, or both. The guy at the lot straps the tree on top of the minivan and off we go to decorate it. It’s like Norman Rockwell. Or the Griswolds. I don’t know if the Griswolds paid $95 dollars for their Fraiser Noble, but we did.

Emma and Owen were smaller. Probably 7 and 4.  They knew what bad words were. Like ‘shit’ and ‘damn’. We tried to keep it innocent. Mostly. That would all change at the holidays.

Now, the tree strapped to the minivan was at least 8 or 9 feet tall. We wanted it grand in front of the living room window. It was also about 7 feet in diameter. And so pokey with all those pine needles. They don’t call them needles for nothing.  We, James and I,  mostly just James would lug the tree through the front door and shove it into the tree holder. This would take a lot of screaming on my part, because of the pokey needles, and that  it weighed 400 pounds at least. Getting it just so, in the hole with the screw thingys all tight meeting in the middle. This would work very easily with a 5 foot tree, about 4 feet in diameter and with a trunk only about 6 inches. This tree we got, had a trunk about a foot wide. Clearly our tree isn’t going to fit. But what’s hard about realizing this, is you are still holding this 800 pound tree (it gets heavier with each minute that passes) with all the pokey needles in your hands and up your nose and stuff. You can’t just lay down a 9 foot tree in your living room. Well, you can, but then your couch will probably have sap all over it and pine needles all over the carpet. Which are anyway after it didn’t fit through the front door and it needed to be shoved over the threshold. So I stood there holding it up and James says he’ll be right back. Meanwhile the children are anxiously putting ornaments on it while you are holding it, and you’re telling them now is not the time to hang Rudolph on the branches and that Daddy is going to fix it so we can get the tree to stay up without mommy holding it up. So BACK OFF. I mean, ‘Go watch Dora for a minute sweeties’.

So the part I haven’t told you yet, is the colorful words that come forth from daddy when the tree doesn’t fit. I don’t know why he’s the one swearing. I’m the one holding the 1200 pound tree. But I’m not swearing in front of the children, because that would be wrong. When he returns to the living room, he is holding a chainsaw. Or was it a circular saw? It was a power tool with ‘saw’ in the end of it’s name. I think it plugged in instead of using a pull string to start it. So maybe it wasn’t a chainsaw. Either way, it looked dangerous. And dirty. And not something that belongs in my living room.

Laying down the tree-very carefully-(because I am NOT holding it anymore since power tools are involved).  James starts cutting the crap out of the bottom of the stump to fit it into the tree stand. There’s wood chips flying everywhere. It was working. Sort of. What was this tree made out of, metal?  It was very loud and I worried that he wasn’t wearing protective eye wear. I think there was a knot in the branch that was at the bottom of the tree. It would be nice if the tree guys could whittle it down like a pencil to fit perfectly in the tree stand. But that’s hindsight I guess. So James fought that knot in the stump with valor. It had no chance. Eventually.

Once we heaved ho-ed it into the stand, screwed in the screws at the bottom, took turns standing across the room squinting to see if it was straight or not, James got the pleasure of getting the massive spider’s web nest of tree lights out of the bin to find that probably 3 out of 5 strands had dud bulbs in them and he needed to go to the hardware store anyway. More swear words. At this point the children have learned the finer language of truck drivers or sailors, or long shore men- just pick a profession that swears a lot and that is what the children learned.

So, to make a long story, kind of longer. We decided that even though it might not be eco friendly- totally sentimental, or even have that piney smell, it was time to get a fake tree. We didn’t care that they were made in China, that you paid about $400 for a decent one. We just wanted to save Christmas from the litany of profanity that came with the tree. It was our duty as parents.

So the next year, we packed up the kids and drove to Ace (it’s about a half mile from our house) and picked the display model that was discounted for only $150 (a steal!) and, you guessed it, went to Starbucks after to celebrate. The cool thing about most artificial trees is they come pre-strung. The lights are all good to go. You pop it together, plug it in and voila, O Tannenbaum.

Now Emma says when we put the tree up, “It’s just not the same without daddy swearing.” Cheeky.

Thanksgiving- the embarrassing bounty of it

 

I’ll never forget. Last year heading out for my holiday food shopping, there was a man on the corner holding a cardboard sign, it read, “hungry, I would love leftovers.”

It broke my heart. I was heading off to Whole Foods for some fancy vegan somethingorother and probably some organic wine and a freaking pear tart and this man is hoping for a plate of leftovers.

I ate my dinner that Thanksgiving thinking of him and if I could just bring him a plate. But I didn’t.

It was logistically impossible that day anyway.

But I always felt like I didn’t do enough. Like I chickened out.

I do a lot mind you. Well, I’m charitable anyway. I sponsor a woman in a developing country to give her work skills and job support for her family. I give to my church, I give to my PTSA, I give to my food banks and clothing banks. I write checks all the time.

But I always feel like it’s never enough. Because I know there’s still people out there that are hungry. That are cold.

I was reading magazines at the dentist’s and doctor’s offices this week while waiting for the kids at their appointments. All the issues have Thanksgiving recipes, table settings, center piece displays, pictures of pie. It’s so enticing.

I couldn’t help but think we are such a funny country to make such a huge deal over one meal. Sure other countries have celebrations and the food is paramount to the gathering, but Thanksgiving is all ABOUT THE MEAL! It really is truly. I mean right? The pilgrims are celebrating their harvest. And no, I’m not going into the typhus blankets they gave the Native Americans. Or how about the fact that most Native Americans now living on reservations couldn’t even afford a Thanksgiving dinner? Okay…. another day we’ll talk about that.

Reading Facebook statuses talk about the days ahead of preparations. The thawing the turkey, the making stock from the turkey parts. It takes DAYS. Pinterest is loaded with stuffing recipes. Stuffed.

I love food. I love eating. I love good food. The kind Martha or Julia would cook. My mom kicks ass at these holiday meals. She browns the stock, she makes the dressing, she brines the bird, she makes the richest darkest gravy you can get from a fowl. It’s amazing. Even the freaking green bean casserole out of a can is delicious. She is magic. Well, she’ll tell you it’s not magic. It’s hours of laborous (sp?) prep.

I tell her if we ate toast with popcorn on it like Charlie Brown, I’d be happy. And it’s true. Because we have an embarrassment of riches.

What is my point? Well, my point is- if you think you’ve not done enough, then go out there and do more.

There is always someone hungry, someone lonely, or someone cold. I won’t ever be content until I’ve reached out to as many as I can.

My friend Sam is matching those who need something with those that can give something. If you can reach out to a family with a grocery card or some gas money, please let Sam know by going to her page,  here.

This year I haven’t seen that man again with the sign. But if I do, I’m bringing him something.

And I pray you always have enough. Spread the love my friends.

Namaste.

 

The Cult of “Peeps”-onality

It is a Cult of Peeps. Not the 80s rock song, but marshmallow Peeps. Peeps are sweeping the nation. They are everywhere. Not just for Easter either. But this is Easter week, so it’s only fitting to give those little squishy marshmallow guys, a shout-out.

The Peeps company has a campaign called Express Your Peepsonality. Here’s their adorable commercial you can watch on Youtube- go ahead- watch it! 

So I thought I’d take part. How hard can it be? Really hard, apparently.

No, you will not be seeing my clever creations of Dr. Who Peeps, Lord of the Rings Peeps, or even Peeps jousting in a microwave. All of which have been done. Just check on Pinterest- they are all there!

I just went down the ‘less is more’ path and created a few simple Easter decorations that even a monkey could make.

Here are Peep ka-bobs. These would work well for a party favor in a little cellophane bag, a centerpiece grouped together like I did, or as part of another display. It’s truly the easiest thing ever.

Get some wooden skewers from the grocery store, an assortment of Peeps, some bags of jellybeans, (or M&Ms) and pour into any vase or clear glass jar you have. And voila! :

The next project was not as easy, but sort of similar. Basically stabbing Peeps onto toothpicks.

Start with a yellow peep and insert six toothpicks, 5 to the top, 4 to the bottom.

Pick a color of peeps, we used pink, (‘we’ meaning, Emma helped me with this) open up the package and take out the Peeps without pulling them apart. Turn them upside down, since their bottoms look like petals, fan them out in a little half-circle and stick them into the toothpicks that are sticking out of the yellow Peep you first used.

Take the next row of Peeps out of the package, doing the same thing and stick them on to the toothpicks. Take jelly beans and either glue with craft glue, (Don’t use a hot glue gun, it just melts the marshmallow and nothing sticks. Trust me on this- I know.) or you can use toothpicks, which is what Emma did. She cut toothpicks into little pieces, stuck them in the jelly beans and then stuck them in the center Peep. I was really impressed with how it turned out- you can see here: (setting it on some Easter grass really makes it ‘pop’) A whole row of these would be cute in a flower box. But I didn’t get that far!

Have fun and express your PEEPSONALITY!

This post was sponsored by Peeps but the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Reason To Live Friday #27- We survived Christmas

Okay, we did more than survive it. We sucked the life out of it and showed it who’s boss. Well, really, I just ate too much, drank a little too much and have become a vegetative shell of a human.

This is why bears hibernate during the winter. I don’t think mammals are programmed for much activity once the Winter Solstice kicks in. I’ve been sleeping in and so have the children, except Christmas morning- when Owen came in my room, “It’s 6:04 mom. You said we could get up at 6:00.”  Sure kid, Merry Christmas to you too.

I’ve been eating every carb in sight. This might not be new for you either. Cinnamon bread, scones, and coffee. You’d think I’d have more energy with the amount of coffee and sugar I am consuming. Far from it. I seem to just plan my day around which warm, caffeinated beverage I will have next. What creamer or syrup will it be this time? Gingerbread, pumpkin? Hazelnut? Coconut?

My waistline is starting to resemble Augustus Gloop’s mother’s. It’s starting to form into a tire shape with it’s own treads.

But enough complaining. We had a blast. The kids enjoyed their stuff. They were even (gasp) nice to each other and to us. I shall share with you a Christmas photo montage of our fabulous holiday.

Here goes-

 

But wait, there’s more. My best gift, aside from the Lululemon jacket McSweetie got me, or even the spending $$ my MIL got me, Emma wrote me a ‘vignette’. I writing assignment in Language Arts class that pretty much can have any content, no plot line and not even complete sentences. Sounds like my blog doesn’t it? Anyway- it went something like this-

“Mama is proud of me when I am performing, tears trickle down Mama’s face. Salty hot tears of joy swell up in her eyes. Those eyes that are forests. Forests in autumn when the leaves start to change, crisp, yellow. Mama’s eyes are a burst of all those trees changing, changing, changing. Mama is beautiful.”

Okay that’s all I can type until I start with my own hot salty tears again down my face.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Here’s to the New Year!

Reason To Live Friday #26 – Still trying to find happy

There’s a lot of folks out there that are sad. Sometimes I’m one of them. But my sadness comes and goes. I’ll watch news coverage of a young child’s funeral in Connecticut and burst into tears. I’ll look at my children and think how lucky I am that they are in front of me, and burst into tears. I’m lucky enough to be distracted away from my sadness. Unlike some people’s sadness that’s like a smudge that is stained on their skin. It will need to be washed again and again to start to fade.

I can be gripped with anxiety that makes me think irrational thoughts about my children’s safety. I can start to panic and feel my skin get that cold prickly feeling.

But I can also try to remember that if I don’t get my happy back, I can fall down a rabbit hole of never ending sadness.

When something awful happens to someone else, it brings up our feelings of grief and despair. I know people who have lost a loved one tragically, by their own hand even. I know people missing loved ones from cancer. Little loved ones. I worry about them at times like this. The holidays are bad enough. But to have constant images of grief and tragedy. Motorcades and balloon memorials.

Maybe they feel there is no point for them to go on living. That they too could just leave this earth, and things would go on, and the pain would be over. But that would just cause more pain for others.

Pain and sadness can be contagious. They can be a viscous cycle that doesn’t yield. The dark can keep creeping until the light has been snuffed out permanently.

Don’t let that happen.

We all need to find our happy. We feel guilty laughing. We feel guilty enjoying Christmas movies and cookies and presents. We feel guilty getting to have loved ones to spend these times with.

We need to stop feeling guilty. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to share the happy. Spreading kindness randomly. Sharing joy with others gives them more reason to share it to someone else.

And then it’s okay to be sad again too sometimes. Feelings are good. To feel pain, means that you will feel relief eventually. To feel grief, you will feel joy soon. See the pain as a window, a perspective. Tell yourself, I will look out this window, but only a short time. And then I will close it to open the door of happy once more.

Thankfully, children seem to have the best recipe for finding their happy. If we let them, they seem to flourish in their own lost thoughts. Thank heavens in times like this, their little brains can have the attention span of a flea.

Owen only gets sad if I remind him of sad things. His heart is naturally happy. He has given me plenty to laugh at this week in the area of farts, penis love and boogers. Yes, the Owen trifecta.

At a shop in the mall with all kinds of weird, crazy things like squirrel underpants, and bacon flavored gum, he sees a magnet that reads, I <3 my Penis.  He whispers to me so no one else can hear, “I do love my penis actually. It’s there for me when I’m bored.” Dear heavens son, only in the privacy of your bedroom please. He assures me, only in privacy.

Also this week, in a parking lot, Emma somehow was compelled by the power of song, and decided to belt out at the top of her lungs, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. I admit, I laughed and tinkled. I had to be careful not to literally pee my pants. She was skipping and singing, and on key too, as a matter of fact. Who says (almost) teenagers are self conscious?

I laughed heartily at the recent Saturday Night Live episode with Martin Short. I’m sure it was a little bit funny, but I seem to laugh harder when I desperately need it.

I’ll leave you the link to my favorite skit and you can check it out for your amusement. You’re a Rat Bastard Charlie Brown.

I heard the song on the radio “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, and thought it was Will Ferrell singing. But it was actually Robert Goulet. Which is funny because Will Ferrell impersonates Robert Goulet singing that song and apparently he does a good job. Or I’m just hard of hearing.

Just remember that there will always be light. We have to focus on that. On the giggles and the belly laughs. The sunshine and the snowflakes. That there is a tomorrow.

Peace to all of you my friends. Be safe. And shine your light.

 

Here we go a wassailing

Let’s drink and be merry, it’s the holidays!

I made wassail for you. Okay, it’s not really wassail, because it isn’t made from cider and it’s not to celebrate the apple harvest. But I digress… I made mulled wine and show you can too in this little video.

Holy crap, the cat video bombs- again! It’s 5 minutes and you can sit with your beverage and watch. I even sing. People, I don’t hold back for your entertainment.

And don’t forget to watch, click and share. I get paid in m&m’s for my videos now and you will save my mom so much trouble trying to accumulate all those views herself.

Behold: