Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In Praise of Cyber Monday

I've heard of "Cyber Monday" for the past couple years, but I never actually bothered to venture onto the internet to do my shopping on that particular day.  I didn't realize that basically EVERY website out there offers AMAZING deals.  I'm kicking myself now for having already ordered most of our online Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving.  Next year, I definitely need to hold out until the Monday after.  I didn't realize how good the deals were until about 10:30 last night, at which point I launched a frenzied internet search for a new pair of black boots, which I desperately need.  It was more stressful than it should have been, and I kept calling the exasperated husband up to the computer to show him the new batch of options, and get his opinion.  But I beat the clock, and got the discount!

I ended up getting these boots from Famous Footwear.  Originally $90, but I snagged them for $35.99 with free shipping!  Not bad, Christine, not bad.  There are also many great deals to be found right after Christmas, but I know from experience that boots are mostly sold out by then (especially when you wear the frustratingly hard-to-find size 11), so I didn't want to risk it.

Anyways, I think a lot of sites are still offering partial discounts for the rest of the week.  So if you're going to be doing any shopping online, make sure to get it all in soon!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 22)

Yes, I know it's Sunday now, and this is very late.  I wrote "takes" #1-5 early last week, before we went to visit the in-laws for Thanksgiving.   I intended to finish up the last two on Friday and post them while there, but their computer was being frustrating and didn't let me.  So I'm finishing it up now!

- 1-
 Sly and I have been on a little crafting kick.  I find it's a good way to keep him calm and out of trouble, and also to provide me with a more interesting way of entertaining him than just reading the same books for the one thousandth time.  I've been digging back into my memories of kindergarten for inspiration.  Last week, we did the classic "hand turkeys" for Thanksgiving.

Sly wanted lots of feathers on his baby turkey.

We also tried playing with some clay I discovered in the craft cabinet.  I thought it might be a disaster, but Sly was good with it, and didn't make a mess at all.  I showed him the gist of how to work with clay, and then asked him what he'd like to make.  He said a kitty.  While he worked to mould* his little ball into a kitty, he narrated what he was doing: "Make a paw.  Make a tail.  Make a bum."  haha!  I was pretty impressed at his understanding of all the parts that make up a cat.  But in case you start thinking I have a child genius on my hands, let me just show you the results of his cat-moulding...

hmm, yes - indisputably a bunch of cats...

Speaking of cats...I took a picture recently of one of my poetic masterpieces made with our ancient Magnetic Poetry set (remember when those were cool?) which we have on the metal cabinet we use as a pantry.

And I made it the cover art for my facebook page.  Oh yeah.

I am trying really hard to get all our Christmas shopping done before December.  It would be so nice to just have a low-stress Advent for once.  I remember when I was a kid how much I LOVED Christmas shopping.  Of course, my parents gave me the money to buy gifts for themselves and for my brothers, and since I was a kid, I felt zero pressure to pick out the "perfect gift" (actually, it's probably just that since I was a kid, I was delusional enough to believe that whatever I had picked out was perfect).  But now, gift-giving is incredibly stressful to me - the huge cost, the need to think up something the other person will actually enjoy.  Sometimes I wish I could say, "how about we just stop giving each other gifts" to most of the people in my life.  Sometimes you can get away with that.  But with most people you can't.  Sigh.

Stella Update:
I think Stella's in that stage you hear about where babies don't understand that they have a being distinct from their mother....you know, that mom is actually a part of them.  Which means that sometimes when I walk from the room, a previously-content Stella will suddenly burst into tears.  It's sad but also sorta sweet.  As long as I'm nearby, though, she's usually happy to just watch me and smile.

We've started to put her to bed a bit before our own bedtime, which means for the first time in months, there's actually an hour or so each day that's entirely kid-free!  I cannot WAIT until her and Sly both go to bed at the same time :-D

We were invited to brunch at our friends' house this morning [Sunday].  When I heard they were serving waffles, I was a bit disappointed, since I don't eat waffles.  I also don't eat pancakes or french toast.  And what do you think is the common denominator between them all?  Maple syrup.  Which I think is disgusting.  And you can't eat any of those foods plain, because they're too boring.  So I just don't eat them at all.  But my friend had made a special recipe along with the waffles: apple cider syrup (as shared on the inimitable blog Shower of Roses)!  So delicious.  So non-maple-y.  I've honestly never eaten a whole waffle before today.  It even got me talking about picking up a waffle iron next time we're at the thrift store (something we swore off for the rest of the year, after going a little too bargain-happy over the weekend), and making them at home.  Tom was thrilled too, since he hasn't eaten waffles either, since he married me.  ha!

Today we went to Mass in a different city, since we were on the road and visiting abovementioned friends.  A little before Mass began, a family began to stream into a pew a couple rows ahead of us.  I was only vaguely aware of them, but I got this weird feeling like I recognized them from somewhere.  I took a closer look, and I realized: I follow that mom's blog!  I've seen a million pictures of those kids, and read all about their goings-on for the past year!  I'm not going to say whose blog it was, but they are one of those families whose blog just leaves you in total awe.  It was so jarring to see them in real life.  I know this sounds silly, but until that moment, I never thought about the fact that they are real people who have a life beyond just the little glimpses they share online.  I prayed (literally) for the courage to go introduce myself afterwards.  It was a little awkward for us all, but I'm glad I did it.  I think it's really easy to let yourself feel intimidated by some of the other people out there in blogland, who seem to be doing parenting, homemaking, life, better than you are.  And I know I tend to think of certain bloggers as faultless sources of information and opinions.  But somehow, just knowing that one of those "superstar" bloggers who I read is really a REAL person who goes to a real church on Sunday, and with people who I actually do know in real life (and not some mythical church where everyone is already a saint)....helped to bring me down to earth a bit.

*Spell-check is telling me it should be "mold", but I always thought when it meant "the action you do with clay", it had a 'u' in it.  Dictionary.com confirms that there are two accepted spellings.  So I'll stick with "mould", I guess.

Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Footless Tights, You Make Me Miserable

And in my first post in two weeks, I'm pondering one of life's big important questions...

What is the deal with footless tights?!  I cannot figure out the purpose of them.  I own a few pairs, but I never wear them.  I'm not even sure where they came from.  I think I may have accidentally bought them, thinking they were "real" tights.  Each time I pull them out of my drawer, and work a foot down into them, only to have it pop out the bottom again, I growl in frustration, tear them off, and throw them back.  I should probably just get rid of them, but I hate to waste something that *might* have potential...if only I could understand why they even exist.  Maybe I'm just using them wrong?

Tell me: in what sort of situation would they be preferred to tights with feet?  I just can't conceive of a time where it would be cold enough to want to cover your legs with tights, and yet you...what?  Want to wear open-toed shoes?!  That doesn't even make sense!  But why else would you want bare feet? When I am occasionally forced by a lack of footed tights to wear the footless ones, I end up putting socks on top which just looks stupid.  I can see why the footless aspect would work if, say, you're wearing boots, and no one will see the juncture between tights and bare ankle.  But I would assume you'd still want to wear socks on your feet anyways.  And wouldn't footed tights, or footed tights + socks work just as well??

Can anyone explain this?
This looks weird.  Does anyone agree?

Not wearing any shoes in this example.  This is not helpful.

With heels?  People really dress like this?

So after pondering those images for a minute, I think that maybe the answer is, it's not a "practical" concern whatsoever.  It's just a really dumb-looking style statement that I'll never understand.  (Sorry to anyone who wears these.  I'm just not a fan.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Two-year Old Killed at Zoo -- PRAYERS needed!

 **This is sad and depressing and horrible.  You've been warned**

A two-year old boy was killed today at our local zoo.  He fell into an enclosure of Wild African Dogs, and was mauled by them.  From what I've read, investigators are still unclear as to whether it was the fall or the dogs that actually killed him.  Does it really matter, though?  It was still a gruesome tragedy.

The whole thing must have been absolutely horrific.  I've read accounts which mentioned the primal screaming coming from the witnesses and heard throughout the zoo.  I just can't stop reading about it.  Can you imagine what his parents are going through now??  After watching that?  The worst part is, his mother had lifted him up onto the railing.  That's where he fell.  She will be blaming herself for his death for the rest of her life.  It must be paralyzing.   This brings back so many memories of what happened to us a year ago...but we got lucky - our baby lived.  PLEASE pray for this family!!

Sly looking at the same Wild Dogs a year ago

 Here's an article about it.

Do yourself a favor, and don't read all the heartless and hateful comments after the article.  We don't know the circumstances of this, and we have absolutely no right to be casting blame on the parents now.  I was fuming while reading them.   How dare people so callously call them stupid, negligent, idiotic, etc.. when they have no idea what really happened?  When that poor mother just watched her baby get killed?  And the people claiming the mother should have jumped in and beat away the wild dogs herself?  Ridiculous.  Or who are complaining about the one "especially aggressive" dog having to be killed?  It's a damn dog, people.  A human's life was at stake, and that's ALWAYS more valuable.  Especially when it's: "innocent child" vs. "vicious attacking animal".

No one knows what it's like to actually be there, when something like this happens.  It's so easy, after the fact, to say what should have been done.

Ugh.  Sorry for the depressing post.  PLEASE PRAY!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 21)

So I wore that skirt from Goodwill - the one Tom hates - to All Saint's Day Mass last night.  Be honest - how ridiculous does it look?
  Tom said I looked Mormon.  But I also found out that the skirt has pockets!

While we're on the subject of clothes, I just need to complain about something.  Today we're going to a wedding for some of Tom's co-workers (Friday weddings always seem weird to me).  Usually, I relish such a rare opportunity to actually get dressed up, especially since I'm not in maternity clothes anymore.  But everyone from Tom's office really wants to meet Stella, so told us we have to bring her.  Which means I have to find a dress that accommodates nursing.  Sigh.  This is really hard to do!  I found a couple dresses in my closet that could maybe be pulled down in the front just enough - if I was slouched down rather uncomfortably, and under a nursing cover of course - to nurse in.  But I decided to go with a more-casual-than-I'd-like babydoll-style dress with leggings underneath.  I'm just going to lift the whole dress up to nurse as if it were a shirt! ha.

I often think despairingly that I may basically never wear any of my dresses again.  What are they chances that all three of these situations occur at once: 1. I'm not pregnant, 2. I'm not nursing, 3. I'm attending a formal event?  Possibly very slim. 

And while we're on the subject of dresses, and Stella...

I just think this is so cute.

The other day, discussing an item we're selling on Craigslist...

Tom: Did that guy say he was gonna take it?
Me: He said he's gonna ask his wife.
Tom: Ughhhh. That means the answer is no.

haha.  So true ;-)

Earlier in the week, Sly was having a very "terrible twos" sort of day, and driving me crazy.  I decided we needed a craft to occupy us and ease some tension.  I settled on the classic "tissue ghosts".  I always thought it looked like they were hanging from a noose.  Maybe I'm just too morbid.

Martha Stewart would be jealous, don't you think?

Sly's love for Bach has only continued to grow.  Tom printed out a picture of him, and asked Sly if he wanted to tape it up in his room.  When asked where it should go, Sly pointed at the ceiling and said "up high".  So that's where it is...

He also now likes to say the composer's full name, which to Sly is, "Johann 'Dassin' Bach!!"

I checked a few books out of the library about Montessori's method as relates to young children.  I hear a lot of people talk about their appreciation for her approach, but I just need to learn more about it to see what it's really all about.  I will write about this again, if I have any strong impressions or decide to implement anything from this reading...

Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Goodwill Haul

Ever since a friend introduced me to the absurd concept of the "haul" videos that litter Youtube - where some chirpy teenage girl shows you all the ridiculously unnecessary, expensive, and inappropriate items she bought at the mall with daddy's credit card - I've joked that I needed to do a thrift store "haul" video sometime, as a parody.  I don't actually have the time or inclination to set up a video camera for such a silly thing right now, but I thought I'd share pictorially the results from a recent "lucky" trip to Goodwill I had.

Really, this is all just part of my plan to convince more people to start giving thrift stores a chance!

So, here we go..
An interestingly-colored long silky skirt with velvet trim ($3.99).  Tom HATES this.  I tried it on at Goodwill, and he gave it double thumbs-down.  Teeheehee.  But there was just something about it...it reminds me of something women would wear in the 1850s.  If it was a little longer, I might try it on with the petticoat from my wedding to pouf it out more.  Also, it was very well-made from good-quality fabric, and I appreciate that.

A fun navy-and-white sequined Boho skirt, slightly past knee-length ($3.99).  Tom did like this one a lot.  It's probably too cold now for shorter cotton skirts, though, so this will be saved for summer.

 Super girly pink dress, 18-month size ($0.25). It was priced at $3, but the lady marked it down for us since a jewel-button is missing.
Cute gray monster mittens ($2). Maybe Sly's hands will be big enough for them next year.

Cool ship picture printed on fabric ($1).  I LOVE ship paintings.  If we don't find a good place for this, I might take it up to our cottage at Lake Erie, as that seems a fitting place for it.  It was priced at $5, but the lady marked it down because of some light staining.

Parenting with Grace by the Popcaks ($0.99).  I've been curious about this book for awhile, so it was nice to find my own copy.  I think it's funny how dated all the outfits are on the cover.  Totally 90s.

Total cost: $12.22.

I'm aware that these items may not be everyone's style at all.  But at Goodwill, one man's trash TRULY is another (wo)man's treasure.  I was pretty pleased with everything, and it will all get good use.  But don't say it's because my local Goodwill must be a "good one" or something.  Not true!  You just need to take the time to search, and be willing to check back often.