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Friday, December 28, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday


--- 1 ---
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  We did, and we are truly blessed.  Of course, we missed some family members that were unable to be with us.
--- 2 ---
My allergies have really been bothering me lately, so Saturday in between loads of laundry, I decided to kick back in the recliner and take a quick nap.  I swear I was only out for about 30 minutes, but that was time enough for my boys to sneak inside, get my $20 bottle of Philosophy shower gel and try to wash both vehicles.  When I stuck my head out the door, and they poked their heads up from behind the Pilot, they were both dripping.  I yelled for them to get inside and dry off.  Of course, Garrett, my oldest decided to try the guilt-trip route to get out of trouble.  He said, "we just thought it would be a nice thing to wash your car for you, Mommy."  Why yes, it would be a nice thing, EXCEPT anytime they decide to wash something, it's really just an excuse to soak each other.  This particular day, it was approximately 40 degrees and both have been sick with colds.  They wonder why they can't kick those colds.  I can't imagine why.
--- 3 ---
I considered myself ahead of the game come Christmas Eve.  I didn't have the last minute rush of things that I usually have. Sunday while the boys were outside burning brush with their dad, I locked myself in the bedroom and wrapped the last of the presents.  Unfortunately, since I wasn't in the living room to keep an eye on them, they tracked in mud and soot all over my area rugs, kitchen rugs and couch.  UGH!
--- 4 ---
For days the weather forecasters were basically rolling the dice regarding a Christmas day snowfall for our area.  They were fairly sure Arkansas would get snow, but the amount each area would receive, if any, varied drastically.  The last projection I heard for our area was about 1 inch, possibly a little more.  WE GOT 10 INCHES!  Apparently, Arkansas was one of the few states fortunate enough to experience a rare thundersnow.  The name even sounds wicked, doesn't it?  Sounds like something out of the movies - Mad Maxx and the Thundersnow!!
--- 5 ---
The power in our home went out 11:30 Christmas night, and as of this writing, we still have no power. I'm tired..... so, I'm a little punch drunk, so to speak. Sorry.


I had to laugh at a friend who posted the following on Facebook: 
"For all of those inconvenienced by the snow storm, I would like to personally apologize.  There is a button marked "snow" in Lisa's Lexus and I pushed it the other day to see what would happen.

My bad....."

So, I blame YOU, Sam!  Step away from the button!  LOL!
--- 6 ---
Thursday night, we decided to give in and go stay at my grandmother's house. She has electricity and plenty of room.  However, 2 full-sized adults and 2 dogs in a full-size bed does not make for a good night's rest. But, at least we had heat. For that, I'm extremely grateful. 

I'm sure my boys are grateful that Nanny packed away the creepy dolls in the bedroom where they slept.  Teehee!


I realize there are still more than 100,000 homes and business without power.  We are inconvenienced, but other than having colds we are relatively healthy, we're together as a family, and we're okay - so what is a little inconvenience in the scheme of things?  We will get through this, and just think of the memories we're making. 

I'm also trying to take advantage of each teaching moment I encounter.  For example, Garrett complained last night about the comfort of the bed he had.  I reminded him that he could be at home sleeping on the cold, hard floor by the wood burning stove or worse yet, homeless without a bed at all like so many others.  I think he got the message.
--- 7 ---
The New Year is right around the corner.  Are you making any resolutions?  If so, what are they?  Are any of your resolutions new or are you dusting off the same ones from years past?

One of my goals is de-clutter, simplify and organize both my home and my life as a whole.  The home part may be a little difficult since I live with a pack rat, but I'm going to try.  Clutter stresses me, and I definitely need to de-stress.

Here's wishing you and yours a very happy, safe and prosperous New Year!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thundersnow

Sorry - I've been absent.  For those that don't know, we've been snowed in since Christmas night.  Apparently, Arkansas was one of the lucky states that experienced the rare Thundersnow.  Whatever they call it, we got hammered.  Arkansans are not used to snow, we don't typically get snow.  I know I'm ready for it to BE GONE!!

The power in our home went out at 11:30 Christmas night.  Power has still not been restored, nor does it appear that it will be anytime soon.  Luckily we have a gas range, gas water heater and a wood burning stove.  So, we've closed off the back part of the house, and have all basically been living in the living room.  Ben and the boys bedded down on a pallet in the living room floor last night, while the two dogs and I tossed and turned on the couch.  Actually, the dogs slept really well.  Me?  Not so much.

Using the wood burning stove, the gas range and some portable propane heaters we have, we've been able to keep the living area fairly comfortable (around 60 degrees).  We saved the propane heaters for bedtime, and we used the last of our propane tanks, last night.  I hope that we'll be able to find some more today.

The boys thought it was a fun adventure.  At first.  Like camping.  Now, I think the "fun" is starting to wear off.  The boys' game systems are dead or have low batteries, the laptops are dead, mine & Ben's phones are off limits because we're trying to save the batteries, etc.  We've played numerous games of Battleship, Go Fish, Left Right Center, etc.  We even read aloud last night.  I KNOW, I can barely believe it myself.  Gabe even asked for me to read.  Imagine that! 

I know we're are not the only family without power.  From what I understand Arkansas originally had over 190,000 homes and businesses without power.  Now there are approximately 130,000 still without power, including the big Baptist Hospital in Little Rock.  As much as being without power stinks, we are okay.  We understand there are others that take priority.  They'll get our power back on as soon as they can.  In the meantime, I'd like to ask for your prayers, not only for my family, but for all of those affected by this storm.  Actually, please pray for anyone struggling this time of year, whatever their struggle may be.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!
"Every knee shall bow."

Friday, December 21, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

 




--- 1 ---
We're now on the downhill side of another crazy week.  Christmas is just a few days away, and NO, I'm still not ready.  **sigh**
--- 2 ---
Gabe's basketball team lost pretty badly Saturday, and although I know this is going to sound bad, I think it was because Gabe was sick.  Although he's one of the younger boys on the team, Gabe seems to be one of the boys that gets everyone pumped up, and he's a major force on defense.  Saturday, he was still one of the high scorers, but he was dragging tail.  We knew he didn't feel great, because we had to wake him up to take him to the game, but we didn't realize just how bad he did feel.  When we got home from his game, he went right to sleep and developed a fever.  Poor little guy.  I didn't feel well either, so he and I napped most of the afternoon.
--- 3 ---
All of us have felt pretty crummy at one point or another this week, and Garrett actually asked to go to the doctor. The doctor says that Garrett has an extremely bad cold. He also said the cold virus this year is particularly nasty and highly contagious, and that he's sure we are all passing it back and forth. Yay! So, now we know why we've all felt bad.  We also learned that my status as Mom of the Year is not in jeopardy. I could have sworn that both boys had already gotten their flu shots this year. Turns out, no. So, Garrett got his shot Wednesday, and I have to take Gabe in this afternoon for his.  So, Mom of the Year, right here folks!!  I'm so proud......
--- 4 ---
Ben slammed his own finger in the car door Tuesday.  How is this even possible??  When asked that very question, he simply rolled his eyes and shook his head.  I feel for him though, I know it hurts.  It looks like he smashed it right across the cuticle.  When he showed his finger only a few minutes after it happened, the nail had already turned purple.  It reminds me of my broken toe when Gabe ran over my toe with a revolving door.  I think Ben's finger is broken also, but, will he go to the doctor?  Of course not!
--- 5 ---
Thursday, I posted the recipe for "my" chocolate chip cookies.  If you missed that, you can find it here.
--- 6 ---
I know I've mentioned that Gabe would be portraying Santa in a play.  Well, the play was Wednesday, and he did AWESOME!  It was entitled The Wizard of Claus and was like a Christmas themed Wizard of Oz.  An evil elf named Biff was mad that Santa had known him for 97 years, but could never get his name right always calling him Bernard, Bud, etc.  So, the evil elf devises a plan to get even.  He works on the toy machine and causes it to start making evil toys.  When all the boys and girls open their evil toys, they lose faith and no longer believe in Santa.  Because they no longer believe, Santa is frozen.  A good elf volunteers to follow the treacherous Christmas Road to visit the Christmas Wizard to try and save Christmas and help Santa.  Along the way, Owen, the good elf, gains an entourage of Christmas misfits, such as the Gingerbread Man who has lost his gumdrop button.  Pretty creative, I think, for a bunch of 4th and 5th graders.  Don't you?


--- 7 ---

If you're reading this, the world hasn't ended yet.  I saw this, and had to laugh.  There have always been doomsdayers and folks screaming it's the end of the world.  I even saw a Facebook post reciting the supposed time it will all end.  5:11a.m. CST, in case you were wondering.  I do believe things are changing.  Is the end of days close at hand?  Who knows.  Remember, the Bible says, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man."  Matthew 24:36-37.  If Jesus doesn't even know, I doubt God would have tipped off the Maya.

Until that day does come, I plan on putting my faith in the Lord above.  With His help, I will try to be the best person I can possibly be, and Ben and I will try to raise our boys to the best of our ability to be good, faithful men.

Someone posted this link on Facebook.  It's one of my most favorite Christmas songs, but this version has just haunted me.  I simply cannot stop playing it.  I hope it speaks to you as much as it does me.  After all, He is the reason for this season.


May the peace of Christ be with you.  Merry Christmas!


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Most Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies

Earlier in the year, I was perusing a blog that I often read, and I found a recipe for what she professed were "The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies..... Ever."  Always a doubting Thomasina, I had to test these cookies myself.  I quickly learned they really are that good.  Now, I have requests for these cookies all of the time from my co-workers, Ben's co-workers, friends, etc.  I have even packaged up these cookies and sold them at work.  Each time I've done this, they sell out immediately because folks buy multiple packages and ask for more.  Pretty good stuff, I tell ya!

One thing about these cookies is that they require patience, and those that know me, know I have very little.  These cookies are worth it.  The preparation isn't complicated, but part of what makes these cookies so good, is that the cookie dough needs to rest - the longer the better.  Of course, you can bake them immediately, and they will still be great; however, they are even better when the flavors have had a chance to meld together for approximately 36 hours.  I have even let the dough rest for up to 72 hours, and they were so, so yummy!

In addition to letting the dough rest, I think there are a few other secrets that help make these cookies so darned good.  They are:
  1. All ingredients should be at room temperature. 
  2. Use a combination of bread flour and cake flour.  Cake flour is finer, and I think it contributes a great deal to the overall texture of the cookies.  By the way, regular all-purpose flour is considered bread flour.
  3. Use REAL butter - no margarine or butter wannabes.
  4. The chocolate is very important.  Don't skimp and use semi-sweet (Toll House) chips or any other chips you may already have on-hand.  Use only bittersweet chocolate chips with at least 60% cacao.  Remember that!  This kind of chocolate adds such a rich flavor.  I use the Ghirardelli brand.
  5. The size of the cookie plays a major roll in the texture as well.  When the cookies are too small, they dry out too quickly.  When the cookies are larger, you get the perfect texture, in my opinion - crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.  In my opinion, gooey and chewy is always good when referring to cookies.  Yum!  I use a 1/3 measuring cup as my scoop or you can use an ice cream scoop that holds approximately 3 fluid oz.
  6. Sea salt.  Course sea salt is used not only in the recipe but is also sprinkled on top of the dough prior to baking.  The salt helps to cut some of the richness of the chocolate chips and enhances the buttery caramel flavor of the dough.  Trust me, don't skip sprinkling the salt on top of the dough.
  7. When cooking these babies, underdone is always better than overdone.  Once you take them out of the oven, they will continue to cook on the baking sheet for a few minutes, so bear that in mind.
Let's get started.

2 cups of cake flour, less 2 Tbsp.
1-2/3 cups all purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp course sea salt
2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 Tbsp
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1-1/4 lbs bittersweet chocolate chips*
Course sea salt for garnish

*I have actually reduced the amount of chocolate chips to approximately 1 lb., but I would suggest you follow the recipe to the letter the first time, then adjust to your taste the next time.

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Mix together well, and set it aside.

If you have a stand mixer with a paddle bit, I strongly suggest you use it or your arm will eventually fall off.  Just sayin'.  Cream together the butter and sugars until it's light and fluffy.  Next, add your eggs one at a time mixing well in between each one.  Add the vanilla and mix well.  If you have a splatter guard or whatever it's called, use it because you are now going to add all of the dry ingredients.  Reduce the speed of the mixer, and add those dry ingredients one small scoop at a time.  Adding the dry ingredients too quickly will result in what appears to be an atomic mushroom of flour even with the splatter guard.  You've been warned.  Finally, add your chocolate chips and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.  If you wish to add any nuts, you may do so now.

Press plastic wrap onto the dough, making sure to cover it completely.  I was out of plastic wrap, so I used a gallon zip lock instead.  Don't judge - it worked.  Refrigerate the dough for 24 to 36 hours, but no more than 72 hours.

When you're ready to bake the cookies, remove them from the refrigerator and allow the dough to soften some.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  I don't like using dark, non-stick pans for these cookies.  Instead I line a regular cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper or simply prepare the pan with butter.  Using my 1/3 cup scoop, I place six level scoops evenly on my baking sheet. 

Sprinkle the top of each scoop with sea salt and bake them until they are golden brown but still soft.  Now, I don't think my oven heats consistently because I often have to vary the times I bake these cookies - one time it will be 14 minutes, the next time I bake them it may be for almost 20 minutes.  So, obviously, you will need to judge the bake time based on your oven.  Again, remember underdone is much better than overdone.

When the cookies are golden brown but still soft, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes.  Next, remove the cookie from the baking sheet and put them on a baking rack to continue cooling.  These cookies are amazing piping hot right out of the oven, but they taste even better once they've completely cooled.

This recipe should yield approximately 18 large cookies - maybe a few less depending on the severity of your cookie-dough-eating problem.

Sorry the last two pictures are crummy cell phone pictures.  The day we baked these cookies, I wasn't feeling well, so I left Ben to do the baking and I didn't get any pictures.  However, I did find some cell phone pictures I took of a previous batch I made.

So, there you go!  The secret is out.  I hope you enjoy.  As always, if you make these, let me know what you think.

I'm linking up with:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What the Heck Wednesday

It's now the week before Christmas?  Are you ready?  Me neither.  I should be in full panic mode any moment now.

These posts on unusual gifts have really been fun to research, and I hope you've enjoyed them so far.  So, let's take a look at what I found this week, shall we?

This Starving Piggy Bank - Unfortunately, this is how my piggy bank looks right now.  Hopefully we all won't be taking a nose-dive off the upcoming fiscal cliff.
The Toilet Coffee Cup - I manage high-rise office buildings, and this is an all-too-familiar sight, and so totally not cool!  That's all I got to say 'bout that.

The Inflatable Van Gogh Art In A Can - For those who like to personalize their work space, but work in a cube farm!  Blow up your Van Gogh, and you're good to go!

Butt-Station Desk Organizer - I wonder where the stapler is?
This isn't a bad idea either - push the complaint button and get a broken finger.  LOL!
Emergency Underpants - "Because it's better to be safe than soggy."  LOL!  In another time this would have been hilarious.  Now, in my mid to late 40s and 2 babies later, it's just sad.

Cupcake Air Freshener - as the mom of two boys, I think I need to hang these all over their bedrooms, stuff them in their shoes, etc.  UGH!  What is it with boys?  Why do their rooms always seem to have a funk?
Giant Auto Band Aids - Okay, notice she's blond?  I just imagine she's the type of blond that gives the rest of us a bad name.  I can hear her, after scraping the side of her car with a shopping cart, "Oh, oooopsie!  Heeehheeehee!  Let's put a band-aid on our booboo." 

A beer belt or Hops Holster - I actually know a few folks that would probably appreciate this gift.  Fewer trips to the fridge, right?
The Cruizin' Cooler - Can you get any more redneck?  Nevermind.  That answer is probably, yes.  Just a word of advice, buddy.... the battery inside that cooler will overheat and quit working.  Don't ask me how I know, I just know.  Okay - I'll admit it, my son's baseball team made a boombox out of a rolling cooler.  It had great sound, it was lightweight and portable.  But, yeah.....  Trust me on this one.  LOL!

The Whoopee Cushion key chain - My aunt bought my boys a whoopee cushion one year, and we were all rolling with laughter for quite a while.  Even when you try to be dignified and keep a straight face, how is that even possible with the various "Pffffffts" coming from a whoopee cushion?!  AMIRIGHT??
The RX Cocktail Shaker - Pefect for those who like to self medicate.  Eh hmm.
The Rotating Ice Cream Cone - The ultimate in lazy.  Just stick out your tongue, and the ice cream spins for you.
Mustachifier Pacifier - I don't understand this whole trend with the mustaches, but I have to admit that this is soooo cute!

Swiss Measuring Spoons - A great idea for those with limited kitchen storage.
Dress for Dinner Napkins - Much like Barney's bro bib from HIMYM.

And finally..... something that grosses me out a little, and I'm POSITIVE my boys will think is the coolest thing.......
The Peter Petrie Egg Separator...... you're welcome.

Happy Hump Day, ya'll!

Monday, December 17, 2012

It Takes a Village...

A personal message to the teachers and school administrators who have touched our lives:

I've been deeply affected by the tragedy that occurred Friday.  I've cried off and on all weekend, and tears are rolling now as I write this.  I can't bear to watch television or look at Facebook because all that's there now is pictures of those sweet angels and school faculty whose lives were taken much too soon.  I can't make any sense of what has occurred.

I was so busy Friday, and I didn't hear about the events until later in the afternoon. As soon as I heard I wanted to rush to my babies, take them out of school early and just hold them tight until, well.... forever.  But I didn't.  I was an emotional wreck, and I was debating on what, how or even IF I would tell my boys about the day's events.  Showing up in that state would only alarm the boys.  I knew they were safe at the time, and I needed time to collect myself, so I allowed our day to progress as usual and I tried to limit their television exposure over the weekend.

It's now Monday, and I still had not told my boys anything.  Goodness knows I didn't want to take them to school this morning, but then I remembered so many of those teachers and school administrators at Sandy Hook who loved and protected those children, some even laying down their own lives to save those of their students.  I felt better knowing that you love your students as well. You worry about them.  You laugh with them, you play with them.  I know you don't hear this often enough, but thank you.  Thank you for all that you do to help teach, love, protect and shape the lives of these little people.  It comforts me to know that they are safe and loved in your care.

Before we left for school this morning, I decided to tell my boys what happened.  Surprisingly they already knew.  My youngest even mentioned that one of our local elementary schools had gone into lock down following the tragedy.  I assured them they would be safe at their respective schools,  and I reminded them to trust in their teachers and administrators and to keep all of these families in their prayers.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I want to thank you for being a part of our village.

Friday, December 14, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday



--- 1 ---
Gabe's basketball team plays each Saturday.  This past Saturday was another painful game to watch.  It was a very low-scoring game: 10-9.  We won, so Yay!  Only Gabe and one other boy scored. 

I've mentioned before that Gabe is struggling with his shots because he's trying to get used to the goal now being set at 10-feet.  The Director of the Program, who also coaches a team, sat with me at practice the other night.  He's told me before that he wanted Gabe on his team, but someone else picked him first.  Anyway, he assured me that most of the 4th graders struggle for the first few games, but they soon figure it out.  He said that when Gabe figures it out, he's going to be tough to stop.  I hope you're right, Tommy.
--- 2 ---
Folks keep requesting my chocolate cookies.  I really don't mind, in fact, I consider that a compliment, but it seems like I've been making cookie dough all week.  Thankfully my sons like to help me, and I think that's Garrett's belly you can see in the picture. Heehee!  By the way, stay tuned because I just might share that cookie recipe with you all soon. 

Ben and a few others have also requested homemade cinnamon rolls.  I'm not quite sure when I'll be able to get to those, but I hope I can.
--- 3 ---

I know I've mentioned that I'm not very crafty, but I keep trying. For those of you in the South, that first sentence should be followed by the phrase, "Bless her heart," and you all know what that means. PIT.I.FUL!  Earlier this the week I made glass Christmas trees using the flat marbles or floral beads. If you missed that little adventure, you can read about it here.

I already have my next crafting adventure picked out. Yes, it does require a glue gun. Please pray for me.
--- 4 ---

My oldest son had his first band concert of this school year on Tuesday night.  Remember me saying that he likes to duck behind something when he sees the camera?  Yeah, well this is only picture we could get, and Gabe took this.  Garrett is the blond boy just to the right of the director's music stand.  THE.BAND.WAS.AWESOME!  I'm so proud of them.  You can really tell the difference between the beginning band and intermediate band, which is Garrett's band.  It's amazing what a difference a year makes. 

For those of you who have kids who just started band or will be starting soon, let me recommend a program called Smart Music.  It's wonderful!  You'll notice an improvement in your child's performance very quickly, and they'll gain confidence with this program.
--- 5 ---

Another thing we've been doing this week is working on a Santa costume for Gabe.  We still have work to do, but it looks pretty good so far.  I gathered together the wardrobe pieces, all of which we already had on hand, and Ben has been adding batting to turn it into a Santa costume.  He's done a great job, don't you think?
--- 6 ---
Dwija, shared this video over at her blog, House Unseen.  This is one of my most favorite Christmas songs, but I this cracked me up...   

--- 7 ---
We are now only 11 days away from Christmas!  Aaaah!  Is anyone else on the verge of panic??  This weekend will be a whirlwind of activity for us me.  I hope you all have a wonderful, and blessed weekend.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.






Thursday, December 13, 2012

Glass Christmas Trees

I originally found this project in Mop it Up Mondays over at I Should be Mopping.  It was posted by Alderberry Hill, and you can find her tutorial here.  I loved the stacked look of the trees she created, but I was unable to find tree forms like that in my area. 
Instead I bought regular cone-shaped forms in various sizes, and I set my youngest to work painting them.  Since the forms were white, I could have just used them as they were; however, I love color, and thought I would create trees that were color coordinated with my home decor.  I have reds, turqoise, greens and golds in my home.  Yeah - I told you I like color. 


Remember the kitchen curtains I made?  Please ignore the ugly cabinets, redoing those is definitely on my project wish list.
Gabe painted this form almost a lime green, but the color doesn't show well here.  Once, your forms are painted and dry, plug in your glue gun.  My glue gun disappeared, and I resorted to using my husband's glue gun, which is a high-heat gun and basically turned the glue into molten lava!  Oh my goodness, I still have blisters on my fingers, I'm not kidding.  So, please whatever you do, be careful with your glue guns.  I learned my lesson and put bandaids on the fingers I had burned already for fear that I'd burn them again.


I purchased 3 bags of iridescent clear flat round marbles or floral beads at my local HobLob, and after covering 4 forms of various sizes, I have about 1/2 a bag of marbles left over.  Using the hot glue gun, glue the marbles onto the form, starting with the bottom row and working around.  On the next row, I staggered the first marble over the space between two of the marbles below so that hopefully the marbles wouldn't end up in a vertical row.  You will occasionally see some marbles that are lined up because the marbles are not all the same size nor are they perfectly round, but you should not line them up intentionally.  Because of the irregular shape of the marbles, there were also a few places where the space between marbles was a little larger than I wanted.  After making the first two trees, I finally decided on the next two trees, I would fill in some of those larger spaces with hot glue, and now the spaces aren't quite so noticeable.  I think I'll go back and do that with the red and green trees as well.  In the meantime, here are the completed red and green trees, large gaps and all.
The red and green trees were actually completed in one evening.  However, I ran out of glue sticks while working on the turquoise trees.  They have been completed since this picture was taken, and I think they're actually my favorite ones.

This project was super easy despite my awful hot glue burns. I'm not really a crafty person, but I think there may be hope for me yet - at least I keep trying.

I'm linking up with:

HookingupwithHoH

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What the Heck Wednesday

It's that time again....  Wow!  Week 3, and I can't believe there are still so many unusual gifts out there to discuss.  I've seen some that just make you shake your head, and I'd love to talk about them.  However, I do try to keep this a relatively family-friendly blog, so I refrain.  But, my goodness!

Anyway......  Let's get started.  Shall we?

The Beer Pouch Sweats - this is pretty good idea.  Many were the night that I would have given anything to have one of these sweat shirts.  I don't like to wear gloves.
 The iPhone Horn Stand - does this remind anyone else of this.....
The perfect thing for your next cookout! Cooking and eating outdoors has always been a risky venture anyway.  Now if a bird doesn't foul up your meal (pun intended), then you can sprinkle a little bird crap on the food yourself.  It's actually seasoning, but imagine the fun you could have telling everyone you seasoned the food with bird crap. 
Combat Cookware - For the manly chef or just in case you need to go Madea on someone...
Kaos Battle Pump for filling your water balloons.  This would get a work out at our house.  Just this past weekend, our two boys were playing basketball, and for some reason decided to turn the water hose on each other.  I have no idea why.  Boys....  This fills your balloons and ties them too!  Imagine the amount of time this will save you when you're trying to achieve maximum soakage.
The Covert Cooler - They need to make one of these that looks like a baseball bag.  I can't tell you how many times we've had to figure out a way to sneak drinks into a ball park.  More parks are banning coolers from the fields, and they want you to pay $4 per sports drink at their field house.  I don't mind hiking the 1/2 mile back to the field house to purchase drinks for myself and my husband.  However, when we have kids out there playing baseball in 90 plus temps, we need to have cold drinks readily at hand and a cooler for some cold towels.

Foie Gras flavored bubble gum - Gum for the discriminating pallet.  What the???  Seriously?  Who the heck wants gum that tastes like goose liver?  I gagged a little just reading it. **shudder**  I imagine this would put those ear wax flavored jelly beans to shame.


A butter bell - I actually want one of these.  I recently started making homemade butter for my family.  It's really yummy, and I especially like the fact that it's not laden with all of the chemicals you can't pronounce that are typically found in margarine.  However, the butter spoils fairly quickly when left out of the fridge, especially here in the South.
Mr. Ghost EMF Detector - An EMF detector that you can add to your iPhone.  For those of you who are into ghost hunting, I can imagine this would be a pretty cool gift.  For me?  I'll leave the ghost hunting to those guys on TV.  I like watching the shows, but I'm too much of a scaredy cat to do any ghost hunting myself.


Harry Potter's Marauder's Map - Oh my.... wouldn't this be nice.  Imagine how many awkward situations you could avoid if you knew where everyone was at all times?  As a parent, being able to see where our children are and who they are with would certainly give us peace of mind.  The office slackers would be able to see where the boss is.  Bosses could see if their staff members are hanging out in the restroom/breakroom/smoke hole a little too long (I used to work with a girl who would take naps in the downstairs restroom - no lie!).    
Let me just say that if you have to buy your spouse a wedding ring that imprints the word "married" on their finger, you have more issues than what kind of gift to buy.  This is just sad.  Why not tattoo "Married" across their forehead?  Come on, people!

Poo-Pourri or Trap-A-Crap Toilet Odor Masking Spray - I have to say this is something that I definitely would NOT want to receive as a gift.  Now, that being said, living with a house full of males, I can definitely see the benefit of these products.  In fact, I think I may order some.
Odor Eliminating Underwear - Baaahahahahahahaha!  The description claims that odors are neutralized within 30 seconds of donning this underwear.  Seriously?  If your junk is stinkin', try some soap and water and a clean pair of drawers!  That's all I got to say 'bout that.

Hitch a Stage Stripper Pole.  Is this a problem?  Really?  "Oh, shoot!  We're out of town, and I forgot my stripper pole.  Again!  Man!" or maybe, it's more like "Honey, we're running low on cash.  Let's hook up the stripper pole."  Talk about taking the show on the road.....  What?  It's for exercise?  Yeah, right!  Buy a yoga mat. 

The Baby Owner's Manual - "Operating instructions, trouble-shooting tips, and advice on first-year maintenance."  I'm sure this is written in a tongue-in-cheek manner, but the concept is great!  I think we all know the deer-in-the-headlights look when they hand you your baby at the hospital and kick you out the door.  Really?  No instructions?  No advice?  Can you come home with me for the first week or 10?  If you think about it, when you buy a big screen TV, they give you an owner's manual 2 inches thick.  When you have a baby, they give you a smile and pat on the back. 

Okay, who is the whack job that wants to smell like sushi?  Really??  Fish?  That's just bazaar.  I don't think I've ever met anyone who loves the smell of raw fish.  Now, on the other hand, if you're trying to put off the creep at work who just can't take a hint, this might be the way to go....  Come to think of it, the Marauder's Map would be a helpful tool in avoiding that creep as well.  LOL!

That's all I have for now, folks.  I hope I didn't disappoint this week.  Things are busy, busy, busy around here, and I feel rushed!  There are cookies to make, a Santa costume to create, a house to clean, the never-ending laundry, shopping, wrapping.....  

Aaaaah!!

Well, I better get to it!  Happy Hump Day, ya'll!