Friday, December 2, 2011

Date Night In: If You're Happy and You Glow It ...

I was completely wasting time when I should have been writing a paper for my GLTBQ literature class browsing around Pinterest a few weeks ago and found some crazy fun ideas using

Yes.  Glow sticks.

Anyhow, I complied several of the ideas into a fun date :)  I never dish details (okay, I do but not this time) but I will say, the bath idea was a hit.  Like a hit out of the park.

What you will need:

  • glass juice glasses, votive holders, glass jars, etc. (4-8)
  • 2 glasses you'll use to drink out of
  • either a special dessert OR a game (think Uno, black jack, etc.)
  • 10 empty water bottles without labels
  • ball (heavier kind of ball)
  • robes, towels, smelly-good bath stuff
  • glow sticks (I bought 3 packages of 15 bracelets from Target for $1 each)
  • some fun mood music
  • wine or sparkling cider

What To Do:

The morning of your date, leave your partner a note that says this "You make my heart glow.  Plan on spending the evening with me.  The fun starts at ___________."

Prepare (this took me roughly 5 minutes--you won't want to do it too far in advance.  Although you can get the bath area prepped ahead of time and just wait to fill up the tub)

  1. Get your jars/glasses out and clean.
  2. Fill 10 water bottles with water
  3. Break glow sticks (I love that part).
  4. Put 10 glow sticks in water bottles and seal them.
  5. Cut open two glow sticks (yes, this will get everywhere if you aren't careful.  No it's not toxic). Shake the glow stick juice into your jars/juice glasses.
  6. Take two glow sticks and wrap them around your drinking glasses.
  7. Get the bathroom set up for a bath for two--have towels and robes handy (and maybe a bottle water each in case it gets hot--literally and figuratively speaking).
  8. Make your special dessert (or get it ready to serve) or get out the game you are going to play.
Date Time:
  • Put the kids to bed while your partner relaxes.  
  • Set the scene--turn off the lights, get out all the glowy stuff, get the food/drinks out, etc.
  • Invite your partner into the date space and start the fun.

Glow + bowling = glowling

First up, go glowling.  Set up your glowing water bottles into a triangle shape (in a kitchen?  hallway?) and bowl.  I don't know how to keep score with bowling--if you don't know either, just add up how many "pins" get knocked down.  Goading and trash-talk encouraged.  

Dessert (or games) with the Stars

First off, I love the idea of "stars in jars!"

After your friendly game of glowling, go sit down and either share dessert and wine/cider or a game/cider with your "stars in a jar".  The light from your glow sticks on cups and the stars in the jar should be enough.  If you are sharing dessert, find some good conversation topics so you don't end up talking about the kids or bills or something un-dateish.  If all else fails, play "I've never"

Here what your glasses could look like (of course it depends on the glass ...)

Source: via Reagan on Pinterest

Romanti-glow bath

When your game/dessert is finished, invite your partner to go get ready for a bath (which is code for naked but it's creepy for me to say--tell your partner to go get naked.  Although I just said it so I guess it's not that weird).

While your partner gets ready, grab the stars in jars and go draw a bath.  Put the stars in jars all around your bathroom to set a romantic glow.  When you draw your bath, you can add great scents, oils, or fizzy thingies to really make it spa like.  To finish off the bath, throw in the remaining glow sticks.

The glow stick light is oddly seductive.  Plus, we had so much fun playing with the glow sticks while we soaked and chatted.

Now here is a true confession: baths actually make me feel dirty.  So when we were done with our bath, I gathered up the glow sticks and lined the shower with them.  We then took a hot shower by glow-light.  Quirky but it works ;)

P.S.  If you really want to go all out, you can:

Make drinks and foods that glow by using tonic water and black lights.  Amazing, right?

Make a glow stick sign

Draw a glow stick bubble bath for your kids

Who knew you could have this much fun with $3 of glow sticks?  Just the geniuses on Pinterest!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Things I Love: The Side Dish that Saved Thanksgiving

It was a hard Thanksgiving.  There, I said it.

I mean everyone tells you the first year after the death of someone significant is rough and I'm hear to say, those folks aren't kidding.

Imagine this.  I'm in my sister's kitchen sautéing diced onion and celery in sausage drippings for stuffing and this memory hits me like a ton of bricks.  For nearly three decades I'd walk into the kitchen while my mom was making stuffing for Thanksgiving and I'd reach into the saute pan, pull out a piece of onion, celery, and browned sausage and pop the trio of yumminess into my mouth.  Mom would give that "mom" look, and keep right on sauteing.  When I'd try to re-commit the crime she'd lovingly bat my hand away with a bamboo spoon and say, "hey, hey, you get out of here!"  This thought, this memory, this realization that she'd never say or do that again--well, it nearly had me crying over my sister's stove (thank goodness I could blame the onions ...).

It's funny the memories we don't think twice about until they are all we have left.

Like I said, Thanksgiving was hard.  But there was something that made it a bit better.  Sweet potatoes. You probably thought I was going to say tequila. Wrong-O!  It wasn't alcohol that saved Thanksgiving; it was candied coconut sweet potatoes.  I turned my sister onto Our Best Bites about two years ago and she found this recipe.  Hallelujah!

Sweet potatoes. Coconut flakes.  Brown sugar.  Butter, butter, and more butter.  What more could you ask for?

Photo from Our Best Bites
Seriously.  So GOOD.  These are totally going to make an appearance at my house for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I Think About: Mom Guilt {gulp}

Prepare for a good laugh.

When I decided to stop working to stay at home with my children, I actually thought that I would, ahem, stay at home and the house would be clean and I'd craft all the time and read.


Turns out that "stay at home" doesn't actually translate into "tons of free time to read the books in your book stack while blogging and creating inventive dates and craft ideas."  In fact, "stay at home" is actually defined as: madness created by cleaning, gardening, errand running, nose wiping, diaper changing, oatmeal cleaning up, laundry folding, freezer meal making, play group planning, life group leading, should kids get vaccines or not? agonizing, and "I think that mom just judged me" musings.

I'm not saying women who work outside of the home aren't working hard.  What I'm saying is that I work twice as hard as a stay-at-home-mom than I did when I was teaching (I blame my Type-A personality).  I mean this job is 24 hours a day.  It's exhausting.  And I swear that dust bunnies and smudged stainless steel appliances never bothered me when I worked outside the home but if I have to look at it all day, there's gonna be problems.  But what's more overwhelming than trying to keep the house tidy after chasing a tornado two-year old through the house is the guilt I feel when I don't want to chase said two year old.  Or push him in the swing.  Or share the last cookie.

Confession time:

  • Sometimes, I just want a break from my kids.  And I feel guilty for it.
  • Sometimes, I just want to read a book (alone) and not play.  And I feel guilty for it.
  • Sometimes, I just want to get my chores done during the day so I'm not folding laundry until 11:00 pm.  And I feel guilty for it.
Mom guilt: the scourge of moms everywhere.  

Do you ever have moments like this?  Guests are coming for dinner.  You are busy juggling the flight of the bumble bee clean up while tossing a Caesar Salad, baking homemade rolls, and trying to explain to your mother-in-love (again) that it is possible to type into the address bar of the internet browser.  Suddenly your five year old appears and pleads with big brown eyes, "read to me, mommy."  

My dilemma--Guests are coming.  I committed to entertaining.  I want to help my mother-in-love.  I value education and that little girl is only little for so long so .... what do you do?  What do you do?  Well I get off the phone, finish dinner, and promise to read at bed time.  But the guilt.  Ohhhh the guilt!

Is it necessary, this guilt?  Once I was sharing this with my friend and she told me that guilt is of Satan; conviction is from the Lord.  Why would I feel guilty?  My child is fed.  She is healthy and happy.  Having to post-pone play time or reading time for an hour surely won't cause her the sort of psychological harm that will have her naming lint balls.  Why then, do I feel guilty?

I don't know why.  I just know that I do.  And this mom guilt, it sucks such joy out of life.  I hate feeling compelled to do things or worse, feeling ashamed when I don't do them. When I feel like someone would do it better.

I know there is no answer for this but what I think about mom guilt is it SUCKS!

How do you handle mom guilt?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Buellar? 

Thanks to Shell at Things I Can't Say for hosting my random Wednesday rants!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Days of Play: Advent Calendars

The Advent season is nearly upon us.  Today, may I suggest creating, buying, or finding an Advent calendar for your family?

Last year I used cheap $1/8 cards activity advent calendars for my children AND my husband (Matt is looking forward to his advent calendar again this year.  Right now the ribbon is hanging up ... just waiting for 24 envelopes filled with compliments and activities ...).  You can read more about how I made my Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar by clicking the link.

Of course you could check out Pinterest to find a cute and easy Advent idea.  I thought this one would be quick and it's adorable, too!

If you are looking for something meatier--perhaps with a devotional, an activity, prayer, and scripture then the blog A Holy Experience has just the thing for you! The Jesse Tree Advent Calendar is free to download and print in its entirety.

Enjoy this countdown :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Music Monday: Suddyn(ly addicted to this band!)

I love music.  Love, love, lovey love it.

Imagine the thrill I got when the lead singer of Suddyn, a band from Montauk (and a Ireland, a little bit.  It's a long story and not mine to tell.  The end.) contacted me to tell me about his band.  Did you imagine me smiling a big smile and doing my silly happy dance?  Oh good.  You know me well.

I stole this photo from Suddyn's webpage.

Anyhoo, the e-mail had links to some songs and a video.  So the darling husband and I dropped everything we should have been doing to sit in front of the fireplace and give Suddyn a listen.

We wanted to hear the songs before the video because somehow seeing a musician before hearing him/her seems wrong.  It's like eating an Oreo whole without at least twisting the top off and licking the frosting.  It's wrong but then I repeat myself.

Back to the fireplace, the laptop, SoundCloud (don't make me list why I love SoundCloud) and Suddyn.  

Each time we listened to a song we stated, "Oh that was so good.  That one was my favorite."  Then we'd listen to the next song and say the same thing and not because we are an easy audience like that but because we big fat loved this band!  Seriously their sound is something between Airborne Toxic Event, Snow Patrol, and Coldplay.  My ears were in ear heaven (which makes no sense but you get what I mean, right?)

So today, I suggest you give Suddyn a listen.  Start with Side Arm (<--- Go ahead and click that link.  You know you want to AND I'll be here when you're finished.  It's okay).  Then go to Brighter Star.  Don't over look In Flagrante Delecto (rambling side note: Matt talked with a judge once who told him this funny story about catching some co-workers "in flagrante delicto."  We had to giggle over that story while listening to this song.  Aren't you glad I share this random nonsense with you?).

Finally, watch a couple of these videos.  I'm not gonna lie, someone should make a "literal video" out of the Nothing Lasts Forever.

Nothing Lasts Forever (except zombies. Obviously).


Letting Go (Fan made video sucks but song is super romantical. If you're reading this Matt, this song should make "the" list.  You know what I'm talking about *wink wink*)

On my Christmas list this year: Suddyn!