Thank you for visiting my blog; it is an exciting venture for me and I hope this will become a forum for moms and homemakers of all types to share stories, frustrations, and triumphs. There will be recipes, pictures of my latest and greatest soap creations, and anything I think will be interesting to Enthusiastic Homemakers.....

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.....

La Jolla Cove; San Diego

Dorian resting after his ordeal!
Hello, everyone! I noticed I've picked up a few new followers in my absence; I feel very honored; thank you!

I'm afraid I'm a little too tired to wax poetic tonight, but wanted to share with you all a few of the high and low points of my vacation so far; and let you know I'm still here!

We've had an absolutely memorable, wonderful vacation; just finished our third day at Disneyland; and it's been worth all the planning and worry and work!

Seeing my children's faces as they experience Disneyland magic for the first time is absolutely the high point; I feel like I've finally stepped into that point of maturity and motherhood where my enjoyment is completely secondary; seeing the world through their eyes makes me happier than any experience I could ever have! Hearing Dorian say; "I don't like ghost-es" after going to the Haunted Mansion and Bentley telling me that the ride I suggested and went on with him was his favorite ride he'd ever been on; makes everything worth it.

The low point was last night; we had just returned from all day at Disney and an excellent dinner when we heard Dorian cry from the adjoining room; the bad cry, the one all parents dread and recognize immediately. I reached him first and found him on the floor between the chair and the window. I turned him upright and started comforting him, thinking that he was fine because I couldn't see a scratch on him. While I was staring confusedly at this red substance that was pouring onto the chair, James calmly informed me it was the back of his head. He took over, applying pressure and ice to the wound. After a few seconds he told me, still calm, that Dorian was going to need stitches, so while I frantically handed him towels and called the front desk, he took care of Dorian and stopped the bleeding. I feel absurd that I wasn't more help, I'm usually quite good in a crisis, but I don't think I acquitted myself well in this circumstance. James completely took over, inspecting the wound  with the nurse when she arrived, and carrying Dorian the mile to the car, took him to get stitches and his prescription, while I flailed about miserably and ended up being very sharp with my other children. I know that when the time comes, James will be an excellent fire fighter; I know if I were to be in an accident, I would wish for someone so capable and calm to care for me!

All is well now, Dorian got three stitches and returned in good spirits. He enjoyed Disneyland very much today, even though I held my breath whenever he was even close to tripping or bumping his head! I know that with five boys, accidents like this are inevitable, I just need to learn to not become so shrill and frantic when they occur!

We have great plans tomorrow, and I know it will be fun!

Happy Thursday, all!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Viva, Las Vegas.......(and San Diego)

Did you see the snazzy new picture on my sidebar? It's a award given by 1950's Atomic Ranch House to all the bloggers that read her blog ; I have had the pleasure of getting comments on my blog by her, so I feel honored....and I love the button!

Well here we are....San Diego!

This taco shop was what James has been waiting for! We enjoyed a nice lunch there, and he even went back in afterwards to tell the staff how much he enjoyed his Chipotle fish taco, and how glad he was that the food was still the same!

The weather's been a little iffy; I think we brought a little Idaho with us, because we were greeted by a monsoon while driving down the I-15 from San Bernardino, and the sun has been hit and miss. Yesterday when we left my father-in-law's house the sun was finally shining, and it was beautiful!

We spent the afternoon driving to all of James' old haunts, and we discovered that sadly his childhood home is all boarded up and about to be demolished. He wanted me to take a picture anyway, but I won't post it because it's sad. Seeing his old hometown made him nostalgic and introspective, and he wrote this lovely piece about it. I hope I won't embarrass him too much by publishing it, but I'm proud of him and want to share:

Boise vs San Diego

by James Arnold on Friday, March 25, 2011 at 6:55pm
I love living in Boise.  Transplanting my family from San Diego to the "City of Trees' was the best decision I could have made.  But being in San Diego still feels like home.  These are my people.  They're a crazy, rude, impatient lot.  I'm pretty sure its more important for them to try and kill themselves and each other on the interstate than to get where they are going.  In Boise, turning on your blinker lets the person in that lane know that you would like to move over, and could they kindly allow you to do so.  In general, they do.  In California, a blinker means, "Go _____ yerself! Let me over and I swear it'll be the last thing you do, you jackwagon!" 

I drove past my High School (Go Titans).  Its a little different now, but I remember almost every day I spent there.  We went to go see the house I grew up in.  Its on a little dirt cul-de-sac called Sycamore.  The tiny house I have so many memories of is boarded up and sad.  The front deck is gone.  The yard, not nearly as big as I remember, is overgrown and muddy.  My next door neighbor, and best friend, on Sycamore is dead.  He was about a year older than me and he died in a motorcycle accident about 8-9 years ago, his name was Matt .  The house he grew up in is gone.  There exists an empty lot where the 2nd house I grew up in used to stand. 

The point is, I sat there in my Explorer saddened by the state of my childhood stomping grounds.  The best years of my childhood were spent on Sycamore.  I'm not "from" this state anymore.  I don't recognize the parts of it that were the most important to me.  Those parts exist only in my memories. The things that are most important to me now, are all with me here and they're from Idaho.  They change, but only for the better.  I have friends and family in Idaho, and I love them all.  Idaho is my home now.  San Diego is just a bitchin vacation spot.  I like it that way.

Isn't that sweet and sad? I'm so happy we were able to visit, it's been almost five years since he was able to come back and visit, and I know he sometimes misses it. I've often been afraid that he wasn't happy in our poor little Idaho home and that he didn't feel like he belonged yet. I'm glad to know that he considers himself an adopted Idahoan! 

Ok, I can no longer avoid doing this; I've been talking about my new clothes forever; it's time to woman up and post a picture of myself, although the very idea makes me cringe! After a few failed attempts to get my son Andrew to take a picture of me while I was not talking; and since James refuses to take pictures of me because he claims I'm never happy with them....I took a ridiculous picture of my reflection in the mirror. High-tech, huh? Well, I felt absurd, but I love my new wrap skirt and sweater. And my green shoes, though the quality of the picture is awful:
Our messy hotel suite is in the background, and I think the glare from the window adds a nice touch. Oh well, the skirt is really comfy and has pockets! I'm also thrilled with the versatility of the sweater, I'll be wearing it constantly, I'm sure! Underneath, I'm wearing a nursing camisole so it's a pretty baby-friendly and comfortable outfit! 

Oh, I almost forget what I intended to post about.....Viva Las Vegas! Yes, because I'm an overachiever and possibly a masochist, I've decided to tack on an overnight stay in Las Vegas to our return trip! When we drove through, at 3 am; the boys were amazed at all the bright lights, and it seemed like an opportunity too good to pass up; it's not often we will be passing though Las Vegas, and it will also break up what is a grueling drive! Circus Circus, here we come! 
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vacation! And Jean Harlow.....

I was going to take a picture of all the chaos around my house; and my pin-curled and covered with a scarf head...but I decided Jean Harlow is much prettier!

For a classic movie aficionado, I've somehow managed to avoid ever seeing a movie starring Jean; probably because my taste in classic film runs more to the mid-to late 40's Film Noir up to the early 60's; and poor Jean died at the absurdly young age of 26, in 1937 (a fact that I had to google, after trying to figure out why I had never seen a Harlow film). Last night, while folding laundry and packing, I watched a movie I had DVR'd; "Hold Your Man" which starred Clark Gable, whom I love. It was a very early film, 1933; and I was amazed to see the styles of hair and clothes, and how much life has changed (and not changed) in 78 years. The vernacular was too funny, several characters, including the train conductor said Cincinnati like this "sin-sa-NA-ta"; which is something I've never heard before and found interesting. Could those two people act or WHAT! The chemistry was amazing, I love Clark Gable and hated him in "Gone with the Wind", because I think it wasn't the best casting choice, both for the fictional Rhett Butler, who I heart, and Clark Gable, whom I also heart to pieces.

Anyway, I'm standing here in my kitchen, blogging; when I should be loading the car; but I wanted to pop in and post because I probably won't be doing a whole lot of blogging in the days to come. Although, who knows, I may blog my head off about Disneyland!

Have a great week everyone, and wish me luck while I drive for 16 hours with five children across the wilderness!

Monday, March 21, 2011

'Courage is being scared to death...and saddling up anyway'

I'm a little obsessed lately with John Wayne quotes! I just watched a great classic John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara movie, McLintock!, I'm not usually a fan of Westerns; but I love to see a movie with a man in it, and I guess that's why I love John Wayne! That particular quote from the title is my mantra; I usually know I'm doing the right thing because it doesn't feel easy!

On the swimwear topic, now I'm depressed because my swimsuit doesn't have rhinestones! Boo! I'm happy to announce that after weeks and weeks of empty talk....dadada DA! My swimsuit is finished! (actually, I have to sew the buttons on, minor detail!). I have to apologize for the photos, I took them late, and I was in no frame of mind to model the garments...so....these will have to suffice!

So, I increased the size from a very petite 32 bust, to.....my size! And I'm not going to look like the picture, either; and the waistband is a tad big, but I think more flattering to my babies-tummy to have it looser. I will update with the number of people hospitalized by the sight of my white flesh and un-toned abs!

I also whipped up in a single night this 60's wrap skirt, I love skirts with pockets, and I'm usually skeptical about wrap skirts, because I don't want to have a wardrobe malfunction, but this design is pretty ingenious, with two buttons for safety, and a flared skirt that prevents the back from opening no matter what acrobatics you get up to; I know because I used our big screen TV as a mirror and replicated all the moves I would be likely (and unlikely) to do, and nothing was exposed! This lovely paisley vintage fabric is the perfect weight for a skirt, and I love the colors! The camera with poor lighting couldn't do it justice, these are really bad pictures!

I went to the store to search for a lightweight sweater or jacket to wear for California springtime; since the ones I have are ancient, but apparently no one looks for sweaters in March? I also couldn't see myself wearing a hoodie with a sporty logo atop my vintage wear, so I splurged on a (clearance) fine-knit cardigan. It was possibly one of the most expensive items in my wardrobe; at $20; but I think it's so pretty and versatile!

I had imagined having the 2 or 3 shirtwaist dresses I have patterns and fabric for done before our trip; but I got the essentials and I don't think I want to push my luck. I'll save those for when I have the time to do them justice; and I think since we're packing light and doing laundry, the wrap skirt, a few more skirts I already have, and a few pairs of capri's will be enough for our trip. I'm closing my shop for the duration of our trip, feels sad, like it's gone, but I know it will be there when I get back! I'm also meeting tomorrow to discuss plans for a Farmer's Market this summer, so I have a few last-minute business things to do and some loose ends to tie up. I will also be making 2 more batches of soap tonight, and sending off a few freebies. Tomorrow I will start packing in earnest, I have most of the things for the boys set aside, it's just a matter of making lots of lists and keeping track. Oh, and cleaning the house and keeping it clean!

So excited about going, doesn't seem real yet, I will be updating my blog while I'm gone; and my facebook page will probably be where I post pictures; exciting week!

Have a great Tuesday!

Friday, March 18, 2011

An Apple Pie a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

We've slowly been recovering, and my poor boys are almost all better! Some of them have lingering coughs, and two of them never got sick at all; and I'm hoping our luck will hold. I'm trying to think of all the last-minute things I need to do before our vacation, and one of them is to use up the half-bushel of apples I bought optimistically a few weeks ago. Although I'm storing them in the garage, I don't want them to go bad while we're gone, so I've decided to go on an apple pie baking blitz. I figure that if I make an apple pie every day, or two every other day, I should use up all the apples before we leave. Yesterday, I baked pie #1; it seems like forever since I've made a home-baked dessert and it made the house smell awesome! My boys were all thrilled, they love apple pie, and I felt like I had accomplished a lot that day, even though I didn't.

I think I've been pushing myself too much lately, I've been unusually tired, and the joy I used to have creating and selling my soaps has seemed to be replaced by feeling that I've fallen short, not just at that, but that I've let it take over my life a little too much. I have a tendency to be a perfectionist, and although I told myself when I started that I would be happy if I only made one sale, soon I found myself glued to the activity feed! I think I'm going to concentrate on the joy of it again, and if it's true that a "watch pot never boils"; well, maybe it's true that a "watch etsy-shop never sells"! And I am looking forward to my first Farmer's Market, I love Farmer's Market's and it will be so scary and exciting to have my own (shared) booth! I'm already planning my display and decor, with my snazzy new apron that Rita, a fellow etsian at Lazy Mondays made me. I've made "Idaho Dirt" soap, "Clean Air" soap, and have a lot more planned that I hope people in an open-air market will like!

For now, I need to concentrate on my sewing, which is my one true love; and getting ready for our vacation, that is so close now I can taste it. I almost can't believe we're actually getting to go to Disneyland, I think I've avoided thinking too much about it, because it seems almost too good to be true!

Since it's a Friday night, I can stay up as late as I want, watching old movies and sewing old patterns, my favorite! I may work it some new soap "flavors" I have planned. I have more consignment goodies, can you believe it? I also have to buy Andrew new dress shoes for his school performance; which will be the day we leave for San Diego! He's been preparing all year for this, and is really nervous, I'm hoping to have everything packed in the car and meet him at school with the whole family, including Daddy; so that right after the performance, we can leave for San Diego! So much going on this coming week, it's scary and exciting! I will post pictures of my now-mythical vintage attire once it's done, I swear!

Have a great weekend, everybody! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Keep on the Sunny Side of Life

With all the things happening in the world lately, today I was thinking about attitude, expectations and how they've changed in the last, oh; 75 years or so. I mentioned in my profile that I have a lovely next door neighbor, who turned 90 in January. For her privacy's sake, I'll call her Rose. In the nearly seven years we've lived in this house, she has been an inspiration to me. She has occasionally told me stories about her life, and her upbringing, and one of the anecdotes was really eye-opening and inspirational, and I felt I must share some of her wisdom. Rose was born in 1921 in a small town in Idaho. I remember ruefully telling her one day when I was pregnant with Elvis, that I regretted the necessity of having five children in such a small house. She chuckled and said, "There were five children in my family, and we lived in a three room house, not a three bedroom house". Later, I found out that since she was the oldest child, she had the privilege of having a small cot to herself, while her four brothers and sisters all slept in one large bed. She went on to tell me of the story of the day she turned 13; I will attempt to retell it in the spirit with which she shared it with me.:

It was January of 1934; Rose and her brothers and sisters lived in the top floor (probably little more than an attic) of a very small house, which had only a living area and her parent's room downstairs. She didn't share with me the details of the plumbing, but based on the location, a rural state, I'm guessing there was none. It was her thirteenth birthday; and also one of the coldest days in January that anyone could remember. Rose had just received a gift from her aunt; her very first store-bought underwear; at that time, it was common for mothers to make underwear for their children from empty flour sacks; I remember my own Granny telling my mother that when she was a child, all her underwear said "Pillsbury's Best" on them! Rose was so excited by her gift, and at the dinner table, she couldn't wait to show off her gift to her father. She ran upstairs to retrieve the precious gift, and when she got upstairs had the horrifying sight of a burning chimney! She ran downstairs, calling; "Papa, Papa, the chimney is on fire!". As she told me this part of the story, she got a very far-away look in her eyes, as if she could still hear the sounds from that long-ago day, and her father's words, as if he had just spoken. Her father, thinking she was joking, said "Hush, Rose"; but then her mother saw the smoke and, alarmed; called to her father as well. Her father's words were still so fresh to her, I know she was repeating this from memory; he said, "Nell, get the children out!", as he tried in vain to put out the fire. The fire department was called, of course; but because it was such a cold day and the roads were covered in ice (and most likely dirt roads); the fire truck was unable to get to their house. The whole family stood on the side of the road and watched as their house burned to the ground; with Rose's precious gift inside.

Sad story? Yes, but when the story was retold to me, it seemed almost bittersweet to her. Did Rose and her brothers and sisters need therapy to deal with the awful trauma of losing their home? I'm almost positive not. All those decades ago, there was a sense of community support, and also an expectation of people being able to handle things themselves. The thing that most sticks out to me, was that Rose wasn't telling me an awful horror story, it was just another pearl to the story of her life. What she has told me, many times; is how lucky  her family was during the Great Depression, because her father, unlike others, had a steady job; and as she said, "We never went hungry". Although she ruefully remembers the breakfast "schedule", of oatmeal, cornmeal mush, and pancakes; over and over; and that they did not get much fresh fruit, and no sugar. It doesn't seem to have harmed her, however. 

Whenever I speak to her, I'm struck by how much expectations have changed since then, and I wonder; are we better off now? When not being able to buy the type of food you prefer is a hardship, and the fact that you are able to avoid being hungry means nothing? When children expect, not just their own bed, but their own room and often their own TV, Wii, and cell phone? I hope to instill in my children a sense of gratitude for the fact that we have a warm and cozy home, a daddy who comes home safe every night, and almost any food we could desire. And I hope that, should I reach the age of 90, like Rose; I will have her determination and pluck; which led her to recover from a stroke that would have felled a lesser woman, and the sense of fun which prompted her, at the age of 88; to run down the street; simply because someone told her she couldn't!

A little word about my picture; "It Happened One Night" is one of my favorite movies of all time; funny, romantic, and surprisingly current. It also came out the year of my story; 1934; and always makes me think of the era in which my Granny, and Rose grew up.

I know this post is a bit of a departure for me; I hope I haven't bored you to death!

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's good to be the (consignment) Queen!

Our vacation is fast approaching, so all my boys need some spring/summer things in advance of when I usually buy them. Last weekend, I did the dreaded task of sorting through all my bins in the garage that hold out-of-season and outgrown clothes, so I knew what I already had. I found that strangely enough, one of my children had ten pair of shorts, and one had zero pairs! I made a little mental list of who needed what (Andrew; shorts, Bentley; pajamas, etc) and headed to the consignment shop with Elvis in tow. He insisted on being held, so as I grabbed up clothes as fast as I could, added them to a stack on the counter, then went back for more, I had a little baby trying to grab everything off the shelves! I had store credit, from the last batch of clothes I consigned, so I ended up getting practically everything I need, including hoodies all around and shoes for Andrew; and the big hit of the trip; a Boise State hoodie for a lucky Bentley Jeffrey! I love the little terrycloth beach cover up for baby Elvis! It was only 2.95 and perfect for keeping him warm poolside and at the beach! After my store credit was deducted; I bought 28 items for $47.97! Not bad!

I posted earlier about needing summer sandals for myself, and I went to Payless to look for the shoes I have pictured, tried them on, and found that they were the kind of shoes that slip off your heel continually while walking! No good! So I sort of fell in love with the green wedges with the flower on the toe, and as it turned out, I didn't even need the wide width! I also picked up these blue sandals with a buckle and again, the flower; I couldn't resist these, and I wanted to have some flat sandals for Disneyland in case the wedges prove too high for walking. I love colorful shoes! To me, almost any color goes together; and since I know have a blue pair and a green pair; I can't think of a single color that would clash with both! Payless was having a BOGO sale, so I ended up getting two pairs of shoes for myself and shoes for two of my boys for $60. Not quite consignment prices, but not bad for shoes!

This morning we had the unwelcome surprise of having Callan wake up with a croupy cough; it's been exactly a year since my little Callie scared the daylights out of me and his daddy by developing a life-threatening case of croup, which led to a two day hospitalization and sleepless nights for both of us whenever croup is afoot. Fortunately, the usual remedies helped tremendously, and we're hoping for an uneventful night. We will probably sleep with one ear out for him and clothes laid out for a quick getaway to the hospital if necessary. I've learned that with so many children, sickness is inevitable, and I don't waste a lot of time worrying about what could happen, I'm just thankful we live in a day and age where they have effective treatments and that we live only 5 or 10 minutes from the hospital.

I was thinking about that yesterday, when I was practically shaking with exhaustion at the grocery store, since I'd been up most of the night. I think a person's happiness depends a lot on their level of thankfulness, although I occasionally have bad days, I always know how lucky I am; I've known loneliness and sorrow in my life, but I always knew it was not forever, and the pain had no portion in me; I always could see this life, the one I dreamed about, and knew it would happen. So even though I'm often overwhelmed, and exhausted, and have many things I could spend a lot of time worrying about; I am a content and thankful person. I wish that peace and happiness for everyone.

I have a busy day of laundry today, with hopefully some time to work on my sewing; have a great Sunday!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Big Girls Don't Cry.....

I just realized today that we have exactly two weeks before we go on vacation. Where did the time go? And me with a half-finished swimsuit and not a wrap skirt to bless myself with! And my etsy shop is really picking up, which makes me worry about putting it on vacation mode; I'm still leaning towards "not"; just putting up a notice that says that shipping will be delayed until I return; which I think effectively dissuades a lot of people, but you can't have it all!

Up high on the list of the things I can't have right now, is the tan, toned body, I envisioned myself in on the beach...I considered getting a spray tan for about half a second; then decided to be true to my paleness. I'm not fooling anybody with the fake tan, and I actually like being an oddity in a sea of the perfectly tanned. Sure, I'd like to look great; but having an orange-y glow is not my idea of beauty. So I'll just go out with my fair skin, flashing like a beacon for the world to see! And the toned part it not necessarily happening; I've been rather neglectful of my gym membership lately, because I've been so, so, busy; and having five 9 and 10 pound babies is not conducive to a bikini bod! Cleansing breath! The only thing that matters, really; is having a great time with my family; I don't care if I look like a beached whale and everyone is blinded by the glare coming off my snow-white thunder thighs! I remember last time we visited San Diego; although I had lived there for three years and only been back in Idaho for three; I couldn't believe the contrast in the culture! Where in Idaho, I'm a fairly stylish and put-together person, I confess I felt like a country bumpkin! I remember my husband, a native San Diegan,  remarking while on the freeway with cars whizzing by us, "why is everyone in such a hurry?". Quite a culture shock, even for the initiated.

So, big girls don't cry, right?! I will not cry, no matter how many things I have left to do; my sleep deprivation, my dwindling soap stock, my white legs, or my Idaho style!

I'm going to wake up every morning, put on my new perfume and lipstick, and slog through my miles of housework and the ever-present laundry. I need to start putting less pressure on myself; no one except me expects me to have an immaculate house,  five children, and and etsy shop, but I do find it discouraging when I work so hard all day and seem to never make a dent. But, as my husband always says, my real job, my only job, is to take care of our boys, and any day that ends in them being happy, safe, and healthy is a success. 

On a much more fun note; I'm due for new summer shoes, and have been looking around for something to go with my vintage summer wear. I also have a wide foot, so finding something in a wide width is difficult; but here is what I found:

I think these are pretty, and since I'm accustomed to walking in higher wedges than these, I think these will be comfortable enough for at least one day at Disneyland. I love the white, I remember when white shoes were "in" and then most horribly out; so the white is fresh and eye-catching. I love to wear white shoes for some reason! I think I'll go and try these to make sure they're truly "wide", and then buy them!

Have a great Friday, everyone! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Bold and the Beautiful

Maybe I should have titled this post; Beauty and the Beast, because that's the kind of week I've had. I've had an absolutely fabulous week business-wise and have also met some great local etsians; I never thought when I started my silly soap-making plan that I would have actually succeeded at it; I really feel lucky and blessed. I've also gotten to know people I never would've had the opportunity to meet otherwise; I'm making friendships that I know will last a lifetime.

I think I'll address the "Beast" part, before I go back to the loveliness embodied in this picture. This week was a very rough week; family wise. Not my little brood at home, but extended family. I have a very large, opinionated family; and have sometimes felt like the outsider, because I'm one of the few...actually the only, one who believes in God and is religious. And for some other reasons, but that's the primary one. It doesn't bother me at all for someone to be an atheist, why would it? I often laugh when people are upset at someone for not doing something; like, "I am insane with anger because you didn't go to the movies!". I'm always painstakingly careful not to bring up God or religion, or the fact that we are not vegetarians, because I don't want to insult my family's lifestyle (or anyone's). I'm not one of those preachy types; and I'm sure people who know me even fairly well are kept guessing about the more controversial points of my life. But many of my family members openly disdain everything that makes me..me. I've dealt with my share of outrage about the number of children I choose to have, or us not celebrating holidays, or the fact that our house is too small or that I never went to college. Or the names of my children; yes; several family members made it very clear that they viewed my choice of names for my wonderful boys to be practically criminal. Their names are, by the way: Andrew, Bentley, Callan, Dorian, and Elvis. And they are beautiful, meaningful names! Ok, off my soapbox about that. I have somehow, despite my caution, managed to convey the impression that I have a problem with people who are vegetarians; I honestly cannot imagine how that happened. It was really hearbreaking for me to realize that no matter how hard I tried, I was never going to be acceptable to my extended family, and for my own well-being and sanity; it's necessary for me to disconnect from them. I've been through a lot with my siblings, we've come through some bad stuff together, but even with them, I seem to be constantly offending and offensive; and this while I'm putting a great deal of effort into not doing so. I've apologized, backtracked, soothed ruffled feathers....and finally snapped. I'm not proud of it, but I managed to be quite snarky and rude to many of them. So be it. We just don't bring out the best in each other, and that's why it's best to take a break from them. All of this has a point, it really does! So after dealing with all the yucky family stuff yesterday, I came home today to the most wonderful present. The perfume I had custom blended for me by Stacy at Mermaid Lane Perfume. It was like a soothing voice in a room full of shouting; when I opened the box, I actually cried. For a time when I was feeling very battered emotionally, the thought that someone put so much care and love into something for me was beyond words. She also included a very welcome extra

A wonderful bottle of her body/massage oil; with the most awesome scent; rose and lavender; my favorite! I had told her our anniversary was coming up, and this was her gift to us. So kind! I also just had to take a picture of the perfume bottle and it's lovely satin pouch; so beautiful! Such a precious little bottle, I feel like it contains my essence, who I am. I know I will treasure it for years to come. Being a mama with so many boys, I have very few things which are just mine and it is so very important to have that to hold onto, so that I don't become so immersed in them that I lose who I am.

So this week, I was bold, not so beautiful, and then beautiful again. I'm sorry for such a melancholy post; it's really not characteristic of me; perhaps the late hours and the family issues have taken their toll on me. But as they say it's hard to keep a good (bad?) woman down; I'm sure if I get a good night's sleep...if...if...if...I'll be back to my annoyingly energetic self!

Wednesday already! Have a great rest of the Wednesday; and a great Thursday!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

You Say Obsessed Like It's a Bad Thing

Ok, before I blog about something more mature; I have to point out my awesome new blinkie bloggy thing; the one right
HERE........I do adore it; Twilight it my guilty pleasure and I make no excuses!

Now I'm going to attempt to act like the staid, settled, 30 year old that I am.....The picture is the lovely springy flowers my sweet husband had delivered to the house on Friday! He knows that I like roses; but much prefer a beautiful bouquet of colorful flowers, especially yellow and white flowers; and this bouquet also has snapdragons, which are his favorite and just happen to be the flower for my birth month, August. As I was typing this, I just thought of something I haven't thought of in years and years. When we were engaged, my 19 year old fiancee James used to bring me a fresh bouquet of flowers every week! And at the time, we didn't have much money (much like now), but he loved making sure I had fresh flowers! In the intervening 12+ years, the frequency of flower-bringing has of course diminished significantly; which I don't mind, because I always feel kind of sheepish when he gets me flowers; I'm a practical person by nature; and I hate money being spent on me. I know that he enjoys getting flowers for me; so I love it for that, and the bright colors are so cheerful!

On Saturday everyone got a little cabin fever because it rained, so we packed up the whole crew and went to the outlet mall; it's a bit of a drive through no-man's land; but worth it because there's a Lee outlet where I buy all of James' clothes. He hates it when I buy him clothes, but he was overdue, and has absolutely no summer clothes that haven't been worn to shreds. I also was on the hunt for some knit tops to go with some of the vintage pieces I've been making; my paisley wrap skirt in particular; and some of my capri pants. I was able to buy James several pairs of shorts, some Polo shirts and found myself some great breezy, pretty tops; all for a very reasonable price; I spent only 3.98 each for the tops I bought, and was able to find James name-brand shorts for less than 8 dollars!

Tonight we're having our usual Sunday Salads; and the usual giant pile of laundry! I'm looking forward to a very busy week; and hoping that Spring will finally make it's appearance!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Love Potion #9.....

I blogged a few days ago about my big splurge of the decade; a custom blended all natural perfume by the wonderful woman who owns Mermaid Lane Perfume. After sending her a questionnaire about my preferences, she blended a perfume for my approval. I received it today; what an experience! I feel so lucky to have someone blend something just for me, based on my likes, dislikes and quirks! I excitedly opened the package; would I like it? My first thought, as the top notes of the blend made their way from my olfactory senses to my brain was....oooh! FANCY! At first I wasn't sure if I liked it; was this really for me;  the often overwhelmed and bedraggled mother of five? Could I be this woman, the one who wore such a..a..sexy, alluring scent? I decided to "live with it" for a while before making my decision. I was on my way to the post office, so I dabbed it on my pulse points and went about my business. Within moments, the notes that I found a little fussy on first whiff deepened, became warmer. As I stood in line at the post office, I started to feel like one hot mama. As I chatted with the clerk regarding my shipment; a bar of soap to England (my first international sale), he leaned forward, actually sniffed the air, and said "Either you or the soap smells really good"...Hilarious! And it wasn't the soap, that was encased in layers of bubble wrap! How funny, I don't recall ever being given that particular compliment before; and not ten minutes after applying the perfume; someone comments on it! Then I got to pick the bottle and the size I wanted; I'm telling you, I felt downright queenly! It's so rare for me to be able to treat myself to this extent, and I know this perfume will give me years of pleasure; so it feel right.

I actually had a pretty great day; I finally gritted my teeth and went through every single bin of boys' clothes in the garage, to see what they have and what I still need to get them for our vacation. I also was able to consign lots and lots of stuff; made $44 dollars in store credit, which is more than enough for one boy to get everything he needs; if I shop carefully, I should be able to get about 15 items, success! Since I started consigning, I've definitely learned what they want and what will sell; this time I was so close that out of two boxes of clothes, they only passed on four items! It definitely helps to have the consignment option. when you have a limited budget and lots and lots of boys to clothe!

Have a great Sunday; everyone!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Can I?

Wow, what a week! A week in which all my plans have gone awry in some way or another, a week in which I had all sorts of plans to stay up as late as necessary...and instead ended up crashing immediately after the boys went to bed! I now have the daunting prospect of a huge vacation to plan for, and I'm in the horrible stage where it's too soon to do some serious packing, but I have terrible packing anxiety because I'm afraid that once it comes time to pack; I'll suddenly realize it can't be done. Yes, that's my fear; that is actually can't be done; I mean; whoever said it was possible to take five children several states away, in a car that seats the amount of people we have, for a week. A week. I'm now wondering how few things I can get away with bringing. They have clothes and baby food and diapers and shoes and toys in California, right? I can just imagine myself, though; in some seedy laundromat in Southern California, frantically doing laundry before I get mugged. However, I believe they do have laundry facility at both hotels we're staying at; including the rather posh Disneyland hotel. My other fear involves the rash plans I made to make my clothes for the trip. Will I ever learn? Probably not. I have my bathing suit about halfway done; and I've made the decision to only do the "must have" items, like the bathing suit and a wrap skirt, which should be quick (no, I'll never learn). The rest will just have to go into the ether until later in the year. I have lots of soap projects that I'm behind in; which leads me to my other concern: putting my shop in vacation mode or not? It's not as though I'm getting daily orders, so I think I'll just take my laptop and do such work as I can in the evenings; (here I go again!); and just tell any customers that I may (or may not) have that all shipping will be done once I get back.

I'm hoping (as always) to get plenty of work done tonight, and to really buckle down; including going through the dreaded bins of boys' clothing, and consigning all the items I have saved up to consign. I probably will need to buy quite a few summery items for all the boys and for James; and most likely will need to fill in deficiencies in my wardrobe as well.

Can you tell I'm worried and stressed? I feel rather ramble-y tonight; I'll just keep repeating to myself, "I think I can, I think I can, I think...."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes...and Jane Russell

I heard yesterday that Jane Russell, brunette foil to Marilyn Monroe in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes', passed away at age 89. This is a bit of a departure for my blog, but 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' is one of my favorite movies, and I just had to comment. I grew up hearing that term, and saw the movie poster many times, but I didn't actually see the movie until I was an adult. It is one of those movies that "they" just don't make anymore, a truly funny comedy with a great plot, and Jane Russell made the whole movie work! As much as I loved Marilyn Monroe, she was not the greatest actress and needed someone like Jane, with her sarcastic quips and impeccable timing to act as the "straight man" for her character, which was the usual ditsy blond. As a lover of vintage fashion, I also love this movie for the clothes; and since it is in Technicolor, the fifties' odd color combos are on full display, including a rather obnoxiously purple dress on Marilyn's character, which somehow manages to work; as well as my favorite outfit; a chic black bathing ensemble which Jane's character wears during a musical number. I only wish they made bathing suits like that still; this black number acts as it's own girdle, and flattered Jane's famous figure perfectly. I also loved, loved, loved the character played by a fantastic young actor, who dryly delivers some of the best lines in the movie. Whenever I see the movie, I always wish I could adopt this boy; nevermind that he must be in his sixties by now! I have this movie on DVD, and I think I will watch it again in honor of Jane Russell.

Enough of playing at movie critic, what is really on my mind today is how much I have to do before leaving on our vacation on the 24th! It is rather alarming; including minor details like sewing several pieces of clothing, going through all the summer clothes for the boys, buying any deficiencies, buying clothes for James, figuring out how to fit enough luggage into our limited cargo space, car tune-up.....and on, and on, and on. I will just have to triage, do what I can do and not worry about the rest!

I am also thrilled that it is March; winter feels over, although March is a notoriously blustery month in Idaho, it is still much better, because it holds the promise of Spring!

Happy Wednesday!