Saturday, September 18, 2010

Days of Play--Paper Mache Pumpkins

I saw this craft on a blog and fell in love.  
Photo from Hillside Home
I mean, aren't these the cutest fall craft pumpkins you've ever seen?

You know what I like even better?  You could totally make these with kids of any ages.

Okay, you probably won't want to let your one year old play with the glue but your wee one could rip the paper for you. 

Anyhow, if you want the down-n-dirty on how to create this delight"fall" little pumpkin family with the little pumpkins in your family, follow this link.  Enjoy!

Here are some photos of our pumpkins!  We went with a retro-look in our paper color/selection.  It took M.E. and I about forty minutes to make three pumpkins.




P.S.  For the glue mixture I used equal parts of Elmer's glue and warm water.

And if you want to try win $45 to spend on fall home decor from a CSN store, click here!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Frugal Fashion Friday--Toddler Shirt Re-Do

A friend turned me onto the blog Ruffles and Stuff.  Sadly the author is no longer posting but you can still get sewing advice and tutorials off of it.

M.E. had this pink shirt that is a 4T and fit across the chest and arms but was basically becoming a midriff.  And I'm not one of those moms who wants my daughter to look like a belly-baring Britney Spears a la 1999 so I decided to follow directions and re-do her shirt.

The too-short shirt and leftover material from a bag making frenzy I went through two years ago.

The shirt cut in half and the new fabric placed in the middle (M.E. cried when I cut her shirt).

The bottom part of the shirt sewn to the new fabric.

Okay, I got really distracted and forgot about taking photos.  Here's the finished product.
When I finished the initial shirt M.E. said she wanted it to have ruffles.  Ergo, the ruffles at the bottom. And I have the thing for bold details=button flowers up top.

Before you get all "I could never do that" negative on me, let me tell you that I have a basic understanding of sewing.  I get my know-how from websites.  Why am I saying this?  Because if I can do this, you can too!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

{FALL} Things I Love: Electric Tea Pots

Well, since it is nearly the official start of fall I've decided to do a whole slew of Things I Love posts that deal with fall stuff.

First up--my tea pot.

You'll think I'm crazy but I know fall is officially "here" when my tea pot and I get better acquainted (again).

I used to have this great Pfaltzgraff Naturewood tea pot.  I loved it.  Isn't the bird on top soooo cute?!?!

Anyhow, there were some days that this teapot was my BFF.

Then, for my 23rd birthday my mom and dad got me this:
It's a Chef's Choice International electric tea pot.

At first I was skeptical because I really love the sound of water as it rumbles to a slow boil atop a gas stove.

At Matt's insistence (because it looks so cool--he was never a fan of the cute bird) we plugged it in and made hot drinks.

I have not used my stove-top tea pot since (isn't that sad?  It does have a permanent home in my cupboard though, if it helps).  I kinda feel bad for that tea pot.

But I love, love, love my electric tea pot. It heats up quickly, looks sleek, and still allows for the pre-boil rumble sound that I love.

Nothing says "Welcome Fall" like a slow boil and steam drifting from a tea pot.

disclaimer: this is my personal opinion.  no goods or services were exchanged for this review.  i simply use and love this teapot!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What I Think About--Religion as a Crutch

I adore my mother-in-law, Ginny.  There have been very definite times in my life where she has been the mom I needed at the moment I've needed her.  She'll never take the place of my mom but she has been there.

A few years before I met my husband, Ginny had a stroke that left her unable to use her left leg.  Flex your leg and point your toes to the sky right now.  Yep, that's what it is like for her--day in and day out.  Though this is a huge challenge for her, Ginny is able to walk with a cane.  Her "crutch" if you will, is a daily reminder that a part of her is physically unwell.

A Thanksgiving photo of Ginny, Nana, and yours truly.  FYI--cameras add ten pounds and three people were taking photos so I'm actually a size 0 (not that you can tell in this photo)!

Why did I tell you this?  I have a point.

In the world of academia I've been confronted with people who believe me weak or feeble minded because I believe in God.  To them, my faith is a crutch. 

The idea of religion as a crutch is that people use religion to reassure themselves that their difficult circumstances are worth what will be received in the afterlife (this is the "opiate of the masses" idea).

The other argument is that people do not want to think for themselves and religion gives them simple philosophy, morality, and instructions for daily life.

Both of these arguments have a point.  People do lead difficult lives.  People do lean on hope that something better is coming. I believe in heaven and an afterlife but for arguments sake, let's say I'm wrong (and the real beauty is that you can never prove me wrong or prove yourself right.  As Yan Martel wrote in The Life of Pi, "And so it goes with God.").

If I am wrong and all this afterlife stuff is merely self-delusional, what's the problem with that?  If people need to use "fantasy" to help get through tough circumstances, who am I to rob them of that need?  It would sort of be like telling Ginny, "Hey, I know it's hard to walk but that's life.  Stumble along and get used to it!"  Pretty harsh.

If you think religion is a delusional crutch--what's it to you?  Let people be delusional.

The other argument I think stems from the fact that religion can be used to control. Sometimes religion is used as a cage to institute a hierarchy and I'm willing to admit that I've seen religions, including my own, do this. 

Though that may be the case, it is also equally true that religions have freed people abused by other systemic power structures that are non-religiously based--like socio-economic status, race, gender, nationality, etc.  (FYI--power-based abuse happens in countries with an required absence of faith so blaming religion as the only culprit is a gross over-simplification).  

Think of the multitude of ways religious people have reached out to the poor, the dying, the parentless ... Clearly those laid out rules for moral living aren't all bad.  

Finally, I don't think religious/spiritual people are all non-thinking idiots.

I firmly believe that a relationship with a loving God pushes people into life outside the norm.  It pushes people: to question mindless obedience and imperfect authority, to challenge hegemonic powers, to defend the oppressed, to fight injustice even if it is done in the name of one's very own religion, or nation. It causes people to fight against the powers of greed, power, and lies, no matter what guise they take (and trust me, they often take on the guise of "The American Dream).

Religion can free others and ourselves.

Whether you like it or not, religion can promote positive change.  For example, faith encourages persistence even when the future doesn't look bright. Faith can teach humility, patience, and gratitude (just ask Ginny about this one). Faith can inspire us to reach out and care for the hungry, the lonely, the sick, and suffering.

When people confront me about my "spritiual" crutch, I often want to tell them about Ginny.

I'd want to know if they think she is a bumbling idiot for using the crutch to walk.

If they said no, I want to know if they think she is weak for using her crutch.

If they said no again I'd love to explain all the ways crutches can be beneficial to people.

I'd love to point out that it takes incredible humility and trust to use a crutch regardless of what those around you think or say.

Okay what I'd **really** love is to show people that crutches take many forms. Ginny has a cane (well, she is a believer so she has a physical and spiritual crutch); my crutch is spiritual.  What these in your face "religion is a crutch" people need to know is that their pride in science and even their own intellects is their crutch.

And they probably shouldn't belittle my crutch while leaning on their own.

And that's what I think about religion as a crutch.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday's Too Clean Tip--Furniture Polish

I have to admit that I'm not the greenest cleaner insert gasp here.

In fact, I kinda love those furniture spray polishes.  Like this one.
Anyhow, a few weeks back I went to go dust and I was out of furniture polish.  To me furniture polish is not worth an extra trip to the store so I decided to make my own.

You'll be surprised to know I used lemons (okay, since I've shared my love of lemons before you might not be surprised).

What to do:
  • In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1/4 a cup of fresh lemon juice.
  • Stir the mixture.
  • Daba soft cotton cloth into the mixture.
  • Rub on the furniture (going with the grain if you can).
That's it!  Quick and easy (not to mention cheap and green!).  Please note, this is for finished wood furniture!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vote for Sarah!

We know I love Sarah.  Yes, I love this one but right now I'm talking about this one--the chef behind Frontier Kitchen.

Miss Sarah is quick to send blueberry syrup and hummus my way and I can vouch for her tremendous cooking capabilities!  She's one of my favorite cooks.

Anyhow, she recently entered a blog cooking contest and she needs us to vote for her.

She entered a fall inspired recipe--Roasted Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes with Mushrooms (doesn't that sound dreamy?).

Support a Where is the ME in Mommy? community member by following this link and voting for "Roasted Rosemary" by Sarah Lenhart.  And while you're at it, leave a little comment encouragement!

Let's vote Sarah into culinary school!  Thanks gals!

BTW, my review of Sarah's recipes are not paid for or coerced through bribery (though I wouldn't mind that cheesecake we talked about, Sarah!)

Monday Minute

Monday Minute

I've decided to link up with The Daily Dose of Reality today and participate in The Monday Minute.

So, in one minute, here's some stuff about me you probably never cared to know.

1 - Who is your favorite childhood superhero?
No fave superheros here.  If I could make up a superhero it would be "The Not-So Super Mom" (key cheesy yet dramatic music now) and her skill would be making paper mache pumpkins with her children when there was a sink full of dishes.  Her outfit would definitely include spit up and sassy red Mary Janes.

2 - List something you have done for pure shock value.
I may or may not have gotten an ill-advised frog tattoo when I was 16.

3 - What is the most recent thing someone has said/done to you that left you picking your jaw up off of the floor.
I watched a comedy skit wherein Dane Cook decided that we overuse the word "rape" in our daily language and should stop using it at once.  (This came about since people don't like hearing the heterosexist phrase "that's so gay").  Normally Dane Cook=funny.  This skit=What an idiot!

4 - Do you have a moment where you gained clarity about your life?
When a doctor at the Mayo Clinic told my sister and I we have a 50% chance of getting my mom's disease.  When it comes to faith, this is putting the pedal to the metal!

5 - What are you doing to achieve your biggest dream?
One of my biggest dreams was to stay in school forever because I'm a nerd like that.  I'm getting my Ed. D so I'm well on my way. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What's Cookin'--9/13-9/19

This Sunday post is a bit late. Oops!

Monday--Shish-ka-bobs (didn't eat these last week)
Tuesday--Sweet and Spicy Chicken thighs with steamed veggies
Wednesday--Dinner out with the kids
Thursday--Enchiladas (we were supposed to have these 2 weeks ago but never did!)
Friday--Manicotti and salad
Saturday--At the Pokes game
Sunday--Garlic Rubbed pork loin with sweet potatoes and wax beans