The Return of Horribly Mean Mommy

“But, Mom, I you are ruining me trying to read! Do you mean you don’t want me to read?” That is the cry that is echoing through my house right now. And what, you ask, prompted this outcry, proclaiming that I am the meanest mommy in the world who is actually trying to prevent my ten year old from reading?
This outrage has a cause. The fact of the matter is that he did not begin reading until after I asked him to pick up his game. You see, he has a habit of not picking up his games when he is finished playing with them and, imagine this, the pieces get lost! So he was told to put the game away, at that moment, he picked up a book to read and I became the mean mommy who doesn’t want him to read.
So, now, he is sulking and continuing to explain that I am hindering his reading time by making him clean up his game. But, when he goes to play Monopoly Millionaire later this afternoon, he will have all the pieces and it will be put away neatly.

Hmmmm

I have realized that there has been a decrease in the domestic arts, at one time called the womanly arts. I don’t know if it is the demand for instant gratification of the “me generation” or just the availability of things for purchase, the quicker pace of things, or a combination of all three. I was in Wally World yesterday and I was shocked to see that a simple 2 panel kitchen curtain is $60! I enjoy standing at my kitchen sink to do dishes. Yes, I am weird, but, it is time I use to think, meditate, and wind down the day. Especially during the summer, it is starting to cool off for the day, dinner is done, and the day is ending. A major bonus for me is having a window over my sink.
It just amazes me that a place where so many wonderful things are made by hand, that most people would prefer to go out and spend $60 for a set of curtains, a set that would take an hour and a halk to make, maybe three hours if you don’t have a sewing machine.
There was a time when every woman would have a sewing machine on her bridal gift table, when she would take pride in the appliance, and know how to use it. Now, what a surprise a newlywed man has when he pops a button off a shirt and he finds out his young bride doesn’t know how to fix it! Heck, even my ten year old son can sew a button on!I have a friend who doesn’t know how to fix a simple seam on her work apron and has asked me to fix it several times. People look at us weirdly when we look at places to live and my husband asks if the extra bedroom is big enough for a sewing room for me because he knows the enjoyment I get from sewing things for my family.
This is an issue that I, a single seamstress’s daughter, can’t fix on my own, but I can damn sure do my best.
So, my challenge to all of you out there in cyber land is this. Choose one thing, a dish towel, a dish cloth, a set of placemats, table cloth, curtains. Choose one item for your own kitchen, and make it yourself. I’m not asking you to become the Vera Wang of kitchen textiles, or the next Martha Steward, just something simple. Something for you to get the joy and satisfaction of knowing you created it, start to finish, from first measurement to final hem.
Ok, I am done with my rant. I think I am going to make myself some new curtains for my kitchen window, something light ans summery.

My Journals

Everyone who sees my paper journals says the same thing. They ask where I got the journal.
The truth is that I create my own journal kits. I start with a plain journal, just any old journal that I happen to find cute or pretty. The journal must be acid free paper.
After picking out the new journal, I have a plastic box where I keep everything. In this box, I keep everything I need. One rule for the journal kits it that everything must be acid free.
I have colored pencils, markers, a glue stick, scissors, stickers, anything that I might want to use plus cool pens of all different colors.
As far as entries, I include not only my thoughts and whatever I want to write about but also things I want to keep. I use the glue stick to add things like ticket stubs, receipts, print outs, letters and notes, really anything I think us cool or I want to add to entries.
Flipping through my current journal I have a sketch if quirk squares I want to make some day, doodles in different colors, traveler’s ticket stubs, a receipt from a dinner Big J took me to one night in an entry about that meal, a line of nail polish I was wearing when I wrote the entry, color swatches we used to pick the paint for our bedroom.
My journals aren’t so much a written account of what’s going on but also a sort of personal life scrapbook.
You can make your own journaling kit, just make sure everything in the kit is acid free!

Deaths of the Storm Chasers

With all the recent violent tornadoes out there, I can’t help but stop to think about the men and women risking their lives to chase these storms. One almost can’t help but think about it now, especially after the three Discovery Channel chasers were killed. People like Tim Samaras have improved warning times by an average of 10 minutes in just the last five years.
These chasers do this, knowing the danger, knowing what could happen to them, but they do it anyway. They educate others on tornado safety, they study these monster storms. They dedicate their professional careers, and in the case of these three brave men, give their lives, so others can survive violent tornadoes.
If it weren’t for men like Tim, or Reed Timmer, or Sean Casey, or the vehicles and instruments they have spent so much time and money developing, all for the sake of studying these storms, to learn all they can about them, we would not have the warning time we have now.
Just this past Thursday, my county was under a tornado warning, there was a center of rotation bearing right down on my area. A storm like this when I first moved to this area, we would have had, maybe, 10 minutes warning time. But, with the new data these scientists have been able to gather by storm chasing, by putting their instruments into these storms, we had well over 30 minutes notice to be ready if we needed to move and take shelter.
Can you imagine how many lives these people have saved? How many people were able to take shelter in Moore, OK, because of their research?
In an average tornado year, this state has 12 tornado deaths a year. Because of the longer warning times, we have not had a tornado death in almost 24 months!
This year, the scientists at the National Weather Service were talking about violent tornadoes being possible in the area of Oklahoma City for days in advance, and people had, literally, days to possibly get out of the area if they took heed. Could you imagine if we had the same warning times for a tornado that we have for a hurricane? That is what these scientists are trying to do.
Knowing that, while Big J is on the road, he can have ample warning now to get out of harms way, makes it easier to not worry as much with him on the road. Knowing that Little J and I wil have more than ample warning time to get out of harm’s way if a storm hits here makes it easier for Big J to not worry as much, also.
We owe these scientists a debt of gratitude, a thanks, and, in many cases, those of us who live anywhere near tornado alley, our lives. So, if you see Reed or Sean in your area in their massive tornado studying tanks, take cover and, then, when it is safe, thank them for their work in studying these storms, for putting themselves in the paths of these storms, for risking their lives, but, mostly, for making it a little safer to live i this area.

Crafting Project Organization…

So, how do you keep your different crafting projects organized? At any given time, I have about 3 or 4 different projects going, between crochet and needlepoint. I was trying to think of a good way to organize them all so things don’t get lost or, in the case of the crochet, I don’t forget the hook I am using.
About 6 months ago or so I mentioned this to my Mom, thinking she might have an idea, since she always had multiple projects going when I was growing up. Two weeks later, I get a package from Mom. She sent me a bunch of Post-It-Note reusable tote bag things, and a ShopRite reusable shopping bag. I had a few reusable shopping bags in different sizes already. They are perfect for holding everything needed for different projects! Why didn’t I think of this sooner?
Right now, I have the crochet afghan I am making for my bed to match our summer quilt in one of the larger Post-It-Note bags. It is large enough to hold the afghan and 10 different skeins of yarn! Plus, if the hook falls out of the afghan, it does not get lost.
The second Post-It-Note bag has the maroon and off white yarn for another afghan. I am not too sure yet the pattern I am going to use or the hook size, but the yarn is all in one place when I do decide these things.
I am using the ShopRite bag to hold all the stuff for my holiday crocheting I have already started. I am making lots of scarves, some dish cloths and towels, a few bar soap pouches, and some other things. These are all one skein projects that use the same hook.
In some of my smaller pouches are embroidery hoops with the thread and needles needed for them. For these, I have a zippered pencil case that goes from one to the other with a thimble, snippers, small roll of masking tape, and other odds and ends needed for needle point.
All of these bags are awesome! They are a great way to organize projects. Whenever I want to work on one or have an extra spare hour that I can use to craft, I can just grab one of the bags and have everything I need!   
Once again, my mom comes to the rescue with project organization! Thank you, Mom!!

The Car Saga….

Last July, we turned our van in to the dealer because we could not see spending both a car payment AND all the repair bills for it. We were paying $204 a month for the van PLUS an average of $200 a month on repairs because things just kept failing and breaking (from simple things like the power window not working all the way to dead pistons). Come to find out the dealership has a history of selling cars that need a lot of work before they are road worthy, but they are one of those “everybody can finance through us” places.
After the voluntary surrender, we were left without a car until we found one on Craig’s List in Early August. We brought our mechanic with us to look at it, since at this point we thought he was a great mechanic, we had never had any problems with his work before. The car was fine, it just needed the heads to be repaired. So the mechanic took the car to his shop and we made arrangements to pay for the repairs.
After waiting for 6 weeks for the heads to be retooled, it was finally ready to be returned, or so we thought. The mechanic was test driving it between his place and ours and he threw out a rod. He had the car towed back to his shop and told us the bad news, it needed a new engine, but he had a lead on one already. Ok, cool.
Several weeks later, still no engine, and it is getting close to time for us to leave for a planned Christmas trip. He decides to trade us for our car he is waiting for the engine for, all he needs to do is put new seals on the transmission, even trade, and we are done. Sounds good to us, lets do it.
The day we are supposed to leave for our trip, I am all packed up, waiting for the car to be dropped off so I can pick up Big J and get on the road. I call the mechanic about the car and no one answers. I keep calling until he answers and tells me that the car will not be done for two weeks! Did I mention that this is three hours before we are supposed to leave, that ALL our Christmas stuff is still put away, we have no tree, ALL gifts have been sent to Vegas, etc? So, after much panic, the mechanic’s wife agrees to let us use her truck for our trip. Not an ideal situation but it works.
We get home from Christmas and it is just excuse after excuse. We were waiting for 7 weeks for the ball joints for the car, then when he dropped the transmission back into the car, he stripped a gear, which he had to order from a transmission place. Wait 2 weeks for that. They supposedly didn’t send a gasket. So, we wait another three weeks for a gasket, with excuse after excuse.
I would understand if ONE or TWO things happened to cause delays, but every week and almost a year? Different excuses every week for two different cars?
Supposedly, the gasket will be in tonight at 5 and we will, supposedly, get the car back on Friday. I am not holding my breath and, quite honestly, I doubt I will get it back on Friday, but, we shall see.

Summer menus…

Well, the weather has warmed and very soon it will be too hot to do the oven baked dinners, stews and soups I make all winter, so it is time to clean out the fridge, pantry, and freezer. This is the deep clean where I scrub the shelves and get rid of any science experiments that have been brewing in the back. I did this yesterday evening, so I am all set for the fruits, veggies, and lighter snacks and meals that I make during the summer time.
It is time to pull out the pastel colored recipe box, the lighter colored cook books and all of our favorite warm weather meals.
We have a lot more cold weather favorites than we do warm weather ones, and there are only so many times we can eat fresh grilled meat salads or wraps for dinner. So, what is everyone’s favorite summer time meals?