Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cards or No Cards?

I got my first Christmas card of the season yesterday and it was BEAUTIFUL!!! A sweet family I know that moved recently sent a precious 5x7 flat card/picture of their adorable children and I immediately showed Chuck and the girls and hung it on our refrigerator. I want to message her on Facebook and tell her how much I appreciate her sending it and how much I think her kids have grown. I will also (somewhat) apologize for NOT sending out Christmas cards this year. Again.

Yep. You read that right. I may be the only person on the planet that is NOT sending out Christmas cards. In fact, I can't remember the last time we sent any out... but it's been several years. Are you surprised? Shocked? Disgusted? Don't be. I've pretty much given up the Christmas card guilt and have become okay with my decision. For the most part.

I enjoy getting Christmas cards and I keep the photos that come with/on the ones that people have taken the forethought to do in advance. Like I mentioned earlier, I like to see how people's children have grown from one year to the next and I bet I even have some relatives who don't live close by that wish I would do something like that with my crew. In a small way, I do too, but written correspondence has not always been my strong suit. In fact, I'm STILL working on thank-you cards from when Anna was in the hospital back in September. I'm SO not the typical southern lady, am I? So Christmas cards... eh. I just quit bothering a few years ago when life (along with the holiday season) got a little too hectic for us.

At first I decided that I would only send out cards to the people who were so kind to send us a card. Boy did THAT cut the list down in a hurry! And then after a year or two of that, I just got busy and forgot to get them out on time. In fact, the unopened, very full box of cards is still tucked away waiting for their chance to grace another home's mantel or doorway (and eventually their garbage can or recycling bin). Sigh. It just seems like a lot of waste to me.

This is the part where my sister will start calling me a hippie, or a snuggler of the trees, but think about it... Even if ALL the cards got recycled, it still seems a little excessive to me. With all the social media that we have today, I can keep in contact with anyone I want to and post pictures of my kids to my wall. I can wish everyone a Merry Christmas without waiting in line, buying said cards, purchasing stamps, hand addressing and then tieing up the wonderful USPS who are busy enough making sure Aunt Edna's fleece-lined booties make it to her house before December 25th. See. I don't send Christmas cards because I care. ((Snort.))

I understand that for many of you, it's a tradition, and trust me, I am in NO WAY trying to lure you to the dark side. I still have many Christmas cards signed by family members who are no longer with us and I wouldn't trade them for anything. I'm simply explaining to you why your mailbox will be missing a Christmas card from our family. We all have to do what works for us. And for me, it no Christmas cards. Is there any part of Christmas that you dread because it's "what you've always done in the past" or because it's what you think you are "expected" to do? Grinches UNITE!!! Let us all cut back where we can and make the holiday season a little less chaotic for ourselves and those around us. Who wouldn't like a less stressful Christmas? Sign me up!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Preparing For the Rest of the Holidays: Deadlines or Dreadlines?

It's upon us, folks. The wonderful holiday season is officially in full swing with Thanksgiving being tomorrow and then it's full speed ahead until Christmas. Whew! Where did the time go? I know I keep asking that, but seriously. This year has FLOWN by. Are you ready for what lies ahead? It seems I get to this point every year and wish like the dickens that I had started earlier. With everything. I'm a planner by nature, so why in the world does this time of the year send me reeling? I have a couple ideas: expectations and procrastination.

I've worked myself into a tizzy this week preparing for overnight guests and family at our house this Thanksgiving. Wait! That's not procrastination, you say! You're right. But it IS expectation. I have a sickness and it's called I-want-my-house-to-look-like-a-magazine. Unrealistic, I know. But it doesn't stop me from trying to live the dream. I like things organized and put together in an esthetically pleasing manner. Unfortunately, I take things to the extreme and don't know when to say "enough." This would give you the impression that all I do is constantly organize and that my house must look amazing. Ha! I wish. And that's where the procrastination comes in.

Nothing like "company coming" to try and tackle all the projects I've been putting OFF. Painting, rearranging, tossing... Mental note: Make a list of tasks to be done and then make a deadline to finish them THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. Not just before your company is to arrive. Before the holidays. That would seem simple enough,, right? Yeah. One would think. The planning part I've had down pat. The deadline, not so much.

For instance, wouldn't it be wonderful to have all of your Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving so you could just sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the season? I've said in the past, " start Christmas shopping in January," but I've never given myself a deadline to have it completed. I've said, "put Christmas tree up November 1st," but have never had a deadline to have the decorating COMPLETED. Therefore, I'm always running around finishing up the final touches way after the fact, driving myself and all around me insane. FYI: my tree is still not up yet. Cuz I've been painting bedrooms, and rearranging furniture and making coffee tables out of discarded items. Madness. But back to deadlines... Doesn't that make so much sense? And perhaps that's what the rest of the world does. But for me, this is a revelation.

Many of you would argue that setting a deadline for the things that are supposed to be pleasant and fun would put a spin on the holiday season that you just don't want: one of just another task to be completed or a chore. And you may just have a pretty valid point. But momma works best under pressure and on a time schedule over here. Essentially, it's just a more organized way of waiting to the last minute, nailing all of my strengths and weaknesses in one fell swoop. Genius. I can't lose!

So while I'm not finished with my Christmas shopping (heck, I haven't even STARTED yet. Gulp.), I am still going to set myself up a little Christmas schedule, complete with deadlines, to help ease the chaos that inevitably ensues with each Christmas season. What about you guys? Do you have a plan or do you wing it? Check back later for how it all goes down. I'm getting excited! Happy Turkey Day, you all!

Friday, November 18, 2011


How did it get to be Friday already??? This week has totally gotten away from me. I've been pretty busy, volunteering at the school and trying to get this house in order for Thanksgiving next week. WHAT??? I know. My house STILL looks like a tornado went thru. Why does things have to look worse before it gets to looking better?

Anyway, I saw this on another blog a while back and thought it was pretty awesome. Until I can get my crap together and show you what I've been working on in the house (painting Jamie's room, upcycling a coffee table and re-doing the mudroom) I'll just leave you with this gentleman. His message is a little more important than mine and heck of a lot more entertaining. I dare you share it. I did.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How to Get Permanent Marker Off Hardwood Floors

Yep. That's some good old-fashioned Colgate paste. Who knew?! Well, Google did. Naturally. :)

Excuse the craptastic photo. It was taken on Chuck's phone and I tried to enlarge it. Photographer extraordinaire, I am not. The pics below I took with my camera to document what happens when you leave a seven year old and her friend alone with some hi-jacked Sharpies from my office. No, they didn't exactly draw on the floor. Black permanent marker just happened to seep through the paper they were drawing their masterpieces on. Sharpies are cool like that.

To say I freaked is putting it mildly. Thank God Google came to my rescue. What on earth did we do before the Internet? I shudder to think...

Ahhh, more Sharpie loveliness. But, with a smidge of toothpaste (it HAS to be paste... no gel. Luckily we had some.) and a washcloth.... viola! Instant restoration with no damage to the finish.
Gotta love that. Just rub the toothpaste in with your finger and wipe the residue away. It doesn't get any easier than that.

And there's your "after" shot. I could hardly believe it, myself. Thank you, God and Colgate toothpaste!!! FYI...Chuck also said it will work wonders to get the stinky smell off your hands (like chicken smell if you work at a processing plant or garlic if you happen to use it on the chicken that comes from the processing plant). I sure love a good household tip, don't you? Hopefully you won't need this particular tip any time soon. Public service announcememt: Kids, Sharpies are NOT your friends. Oh yeah, and stay in school. ;) I'm gonna go stare at my ink free floors now. Catch y'all next week!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Music Therapy Thursday... Mercy Me - "Move"

There's been a lot of sadness in the news lately with all the Penn St stuff (which is unfathomable, btw) and the passing of rapper/entertainer Heavy D. I also read where Wyatt Knight who played Tommy Turner in "Porky's" committed suicide this week in Hawaii after dealing with the physical and emotion pain of treating his stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. ((sigh)) Throw in some more flailing economy and whatever personal issues you might be dealing with and you've got yourself a recipe for some delicious depression.

Sometimes life can blindside us with something tragic right out of the blue. And then sometimes, it's just "the straw that broke the camel's back" that can send us reeling into the throws of sadness and despair. I have come to realize that it is not our circumstances that define us, but rather the way we react to those circumstances that determine our state of mind. Sure, go ahead and cry your eyeballs out. Shedding tears is very therapeutic... and it's not healthy to keep feelings and emotions bottled up inside you. But the moment after you're all cried out, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and put one foot in front of the other.

Life is hard and we ALL are dealing with something monumental. Myself... well, I'm choosing to move. I don't want to stay in that pit. And one thing's for certain, nothing ever stays the same (which is good news for those of us who are dealing with heartache right now). So if yesterday was unbearable: good news! Today is a new day! In a day or two, after putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, you'll be amazed at how far you've come. Remember, a journey begins with one.single.step. I'm not asking you to jump up and run to Happy Town in 27 and a half minutes. Just take one step in the opposite direction than where you were yesterday.

I've chosen this song for my music therapy today because it inevitably gives me the kick in the pants I need to keep going no matter what life tends to throw at me. I pray blessings for you today and much, much happiness in spite of ALL that's going on in the world around us. Now, let's MOVE!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What's Cookin'? Granny's Butternut Cake!

Ain't she purdy? Well, let's just cut to the chase, shall we? Yes, I, Lindsey Pearson, ACTUALLY made said cake. Shocking, I know. Yes, it was a labor of love. Pains and all. ;) And YES, it was edible. What am I saying, they LOVED IT!!! Success is so sweet. Kinda like this hunk of butternut deliciousness pictured above.

Like I said in my last post, I want to start cooking my way through a cookbook (ya know, all "Julie and Julia" like) so I decided that Chuck's birthday, yesterday, would be a good jumping off point. His grandmother (God rest her soul) used to make this for him EVERY birthday. It's his favorite. I prefaced the ordeal by saying that I was in NO WAY trying to replicate what Granny did so effortlessly... the woman worked magic in the kitchen. I was just trying to do something nice for his birthday and with any luck, not send anyone to the hospital with food poisoning. Kidding. ;)

There are no pictures of the process and that's probably a good thing because I made a MESS of the kitchen. I'll have to work on documenting this cooking thing. *Babysteps. :) But the end result turned out much better than I imagined, so I'll consider this one a win! He was SO surprised and raved and raved about how good it was. So without further ado, let's get to the recipe in case you want to try this one for yourself:

For the cake:
1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 TBS Butternut Flavoring
(I went to three stores looking for butternut flavoring. Apparently it's not as common as it used to be. Actually, the one I found was a vanilla and butternut combo, but it worked fine. For those that are local, I found it at Foodland.)
Mix cake according to directions on box, adding the 1 TBS Butternut Flavoring. Bake in three layers.

For the filling and frosting:
1 8oz package of cream cheese (softened)
1 stick butter (softened)
1 box confectioners sugar
1 TBS Butternut Flavoring
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
(Last Thursday I went to visit my folks and got a sack full of pecans from their two big trees in the front yard. This little cooking adventure, if nothing else, taught me that I am NOT the best sheller of pecans. It is apparently a learned skill that takes time and patience (both of which I'm a little short on lately). Those little bags of nuts in the grocery store that are all pretty and perfect and WAY overpriced? Yeah. Worth every penny. Anyhoo, I DID roast them in the oven for a bit and it made a world of difference, so don't skimp on that step.)
Cream together cream cheese, butter and sugar until well blended. Add flavoring and nuts. Spread between layers, on the sides, and on top of cake. Then you're done! Yay!

In case you're wondering, Jamie put the candles on the cake. She made sure Chuck knew that the number of the candles was not really the age he was, but that we didn't have enough candles for all that. LOL! The red-head strikes again! She also "made" him a present by painting a hand in fingernail polish on one of our guest soaps and wrapped it in ribbon. Others might shake their heads and wonder "WTH?" I beam with pride cuz momma has a resourceful DIY'er on her hands! Anyway...let me know if you make Granny's delicious cake. Or the fingernail polish hand soap. ;) As long as it's made with love, I don't think we can go wrong!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cracking Open the Cookbooks... Go Ahead and Pick Yourself Up Off the Floor

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a cook. I CAN cook, I just do not enjoy it the way a lot of women do. My husband LOVES to cook, however, so he has become the designated chef for our family. Truth be told, that's MORE than okay with me, but I wonder sometimes how this reversal of roles in our kitchen will affect my litlle redhead as she embarks on her own journey to become a domestic goddess. Somewhere inside me I feel like she should see her mom cooking (as old fashioned as that sounds and even though she could learn SO much more from her dad). So today I had an idea that would put me back in the kitchen more, improve my culinary skills, and could perhaps be fun to boot. Lemme explain...

I've been rearranging things in the house lately and have finally put every book I own in one bookcase in the office. This includes cookbooks as well. Sure, it would make more sense for cookbooks to be in the kitchen, but I've got limited real estate in there as it is. And besides, for a gal that doesn't cook much, I've got A LOT of cookbooks. Many have been handed down from Chuck's grandmother and my mom, but Chuck and I have accumulated a fair share of our own. It hit me today that I should put those suckers to use or just get rid of them. So I've chosen the former.

In the style of the movie "Julie and Julia" I thought it might be neat if I took a cookbook and "cooked" my way through it (or at the least, try and make one recipe a week from the different cookbooks that take up a whole shelf and a half of my gi-normous bookcase). I would feature the recipe on here and tell you where it came from and also tell whether it was a hit with the fam or an epic fail. I think I'll call this series "What's Cookin'?" (or more appropriately "What's That Bubbling Over On the Stove, Momma?" LOL!). Seriously, though. I think this could be fun. Look for a "What's Cookin'?" post later in the week!

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Watch"-ing the Redhead Learn Time Management

My husband works with a man that frequents auctions and on more than one occasion, we have been the recipients of some of the treasure that he has bought "sight unseen." Last night Chuck brought in a "Little Miss Chatterbox" watch from Avon (new in the box) that Mr. Arab had sent for Jamie. She loved it so much that she had to sleep with it on. Adorable, right? But momma has reasons for loving this watch too.

This morning while barking out how much (or little) time is left before she has to walk out the door to get to school, I stop myself and begin to shift gears. Taking Jamie aside and showing her on her watch that when the "big" hand gets to the three, Nana Mary will be here to pick her up and she MUST BE READY. I've done this before with the clock on the wall, but something about having her own beautiful pink time piece to keep her on track made all the difference. Insert "Halleleujah Chorus" here! Without missing a beat she said, "And now I'll be able to know when it's time for lunch, too!" Priorities. I've taught her so well! With me and "Little Miss Chatterbox" in her corner, she just might be able to conquer the world! Thanks, Arab. I think our mornings may be taking a turn for the better. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Music Therapy Thursday.... I Wanna Put On My My My My My Boogie Shoes!

I have been singing this song since early Sunday morning and I knew then I had to share it for some music therapy today. There are more "cleaned up" versions on You Tube, funkier versions, more versions in stereo and HD, but this one came from "American Bandstand" (didn't we all look forward to that show on Saturdays?) and this version sounds like it's coming right out of our 1975 television set. I'm a traditionalist, what can I say...

I had an epiphany that if I just put some of my favorite dance songs (like this one) on my mp3 player, and danced around like a maniac (like I do when I hear this song... I can't help myself) maybe I wouldn't have to spend so much time on the treadmill. After all, boogieing AT LEAST 3 nights a week in college was my fitness regime back in the day. ;) Couldn't hurt to give it a re-try, right? Put a Swiffer Sweeper in my hands and I could have a clean house AND a cardio workout. I think I might just be on to something.... I'm going to put on my-my-my-my-my boogie shoes and give it a try! Enjoy a little KC and his Sunshine Band today and Happy Thursday, y'all!