Monthly Archives: December 2011

Update on My Vacation List

A couple of weeks ago, I made a long list of things I would like to get done by 1/3/12. My vacation was actually from December 17th through the 26th, but I wanted to give myself a bit of extra time to get things done. My kids are at their dad’s this week, and I have the long weekend still to get a few more things done. I am glad, too, because while I did get a lot of things done, there are a lot left to do.

Items that are complete

  • Finish a crafting project for the kids–1 project x 3; my two children plus their little brother–this was the 3 tied fleece blankets
  • Make magnets to give as gifts
  • Hang out with my friend Andrea–twice!
  • Buy clementines for the 4th grade class party
  • Help out on the day of the party
  • Declutter my dining room (again)
    • Organize desk–technically, I just shoved most of the stop on top of the desk down on the shelves, but it does look a lot better…
    • Clear off buffet
    • Clear off table
    • Clear off tray
  • Finish last minute Christmas shopping
  • Host my family for Christmas Eve
  • Finish decorating the Christmas tree
  • Wrap presents

Things I did a bit of work on, but did not complete

  • Post here 3 times per week–actually, if you count the weekly fitbit stats that were auto-posted the first week, I did this one (and I did three actual posts this week, four counting this one!)
  • Help the girl clean out the kitchen–the kitchen looks much better, but still needs some decluttering on the table
  • Catch up on Gaming Angels work–I did write a post and do a bit of editing, but not caught up yet
  • Hit 10,000 steps on my pedometer every day (starting today–I only made it to 8727 yesterday)–I did pretty good on this except for a couple of days; I only topped 10,000 steps 3 days, but I was over 9,000 on six additional days
  • Have the children clean their rooms–the girl did go in and do a (very) small amount of cleaning, but there is more work for her to do

Things I haven’t done that are definitely on the list for this weekend

  • Finish statistics on gender breakdown of nominees and winners of Hugo Awards for Broad Universe
  • Get back to that fiction project I abandoned a few months ago–I have done a bit of thinking about this; I want to do some diagramming, maybe one of those cluster diagrams, to get some ideas straight
  • Develop a good writing routine–I am not talking about a writing habit, but a routine that puts me in the writing mode; I probably won’t get this entirely done this weekend, but I want to think about it a bit
  • Finish crocheting a hat for my daughter (she already knows about this one)
  • Declutter the bookshelves in the living room
  • Take the kids to see the Winter Wonderland lights–this is still a bit iffy, but we could try for Sunday night

Things that probably won’t get done (although who knows, it could happen!)

  • Do a little bit of baking/candy making
  • Put together the shelves I bought for my closet something like 6 months ago
I also did some things that weren’t on the list, like a lot of laundry, some vacuuming and carpet cleaning, and hanging out with the kiddoes, but I am trying to focus a bit more on what I had planned this time.

What did you get done over the holidays? Are you ready for the new year?


Some Recent Craftiness


I have mentioned before that I am a bit obsessed with making things. I have had this kind of craft aspiration before, but this time the urges are actually translating into real stuff that I have made! Oddly, this is not making my urges go away–every time I make something, the compulsion to make more things increases. For now, all of my friends and family are thrilled, but we will see how long it takes for them to turn me away like a gardener during zucchini season.

The first thing I have to show was a pretty easy project: tied fleece blankets. I made one with colorful peace signs and a purple back for my daughter:

For my son, I chose planets and constellations with a blue back:

For my children’s little brother from their dad’s second marriage, I made a blanket with frogs and a blue back again:

It took me a while to start these blankets, because I couldn’t find a ruler. I was sure I needed a ruler to get the corners cut out and all the fringe the same length. I finally realized the exact size didn’t matter, just (mostly) consistent cuts, so I made a template square from a sheet of paper and used it as a guide. That really did the trick. I just spread out the fleece on my bed, turned on NPR and did a lot of cutting and tying. I think they turned out very cute, and my kids really liked theirs (little brother will get his next weekend).


My family mostly does presents for the kids only, but lately our celebrations have gotten smaller–everyone seems to be busy and geographically dispersed, not to mention all the other extended family obligations. Consequently, there aren’t as many children or adults, so we do sometimes exchange small presents among the aunts and cousins (the ones who still come around are women, mostly, that’s just how it worked out; my brother gets left out, but I don’t think he cares). Come to think of it, though, people have always brought the occasional crafty gift. It isn’t expected, but sometimes people just make something and distribute. My aunt makes earrings, but only when she finds beads that inspire her, for instance. This year, I made magnets.

None of these are actually glowing; I need a new camera, but you get the idea. These were easy and fun to do, and my aunts and cousin loved them. I got the idea from my friend Hilary at the crafting party a few weeks ago–this is why I think getting together to craft with friends is so awesome. I also made a few with regular round buttons for another cousin, but I didn’t get a picture of those.


I went out yesterday and bought a bunch of new craft supplies, including glass plates and spray paint to make my own custom plates. When I got home, though, it was raining outside, and I didn’t get any lace to make a pattern on the back of the plate, so I was bummed out. Then I remembered one of the things I wanted to do was to spray some of the plates with water and then silver paint, let that dry and back it with another color. I don’t have an empty spray bottle handy for the water, so a light rain was actually perfect for my purposes. I ran outside and sprayed my first plate, and now I am waiting for good weather to finish with another color.

I haven’t decided yet whether to back this one with Rich Plum or Jade, but if it turns out as awesome as I think it is going to be, it doesn’t really matter, since I will make many more!


A couple of cute stories about crafts and my kids:

I always get something arty for my son, because he loves to draw and do crafty things. This year, I got him a drawing desk with a projector and light box. When he opened it, he said, “I was wondering when I would get a crafty present! Finally!” I am so glad he likes doing art!

Later that morning, I was looking through my new craft book, and talking about gifts I could make to give out next year for Christmas. I learned this year that giving nice handmade Christmas gifts requires planning ahead, and it is fresh in my mind now, so I was going through all the things I could make, thinking about getting things done early. My daughter looked at my like I am crazy and said, “Mom, it is still *this* Christmas *today*! You have the longest possibly time to worry about this still! Why are you thinking about making next year’s presents already?” She is 14, though, so I am used to her thinking I am crazy, :).


What are you making?

Menu, Week of 12/26

This is the the-kids-are-gone-and-I-have-to-go-back-to-work-after-vacation version of a menu, so not terribly inspired. Also, it is late, because I had to go out and buy cheap Christmas stuff and craft supplies today. Hey, it’s a family tradition, what can I say?

Monday: Leftovers–salmon, veggie risotto, chocolate pecan pie

Tuesday: Kielbasa with cooked cabbage

Wednesday: Leftovers or out with a friend

Thursday: Red beans and rice, steamed broccoli

Friday: Probably leftovers or out

Saturday: Pizza, appetizers, snacky stuff for New Year’s Eve

We had a pretty good Christmas. Thanks to my foresight in purchasing my own present, I am set to have some fun craft projects keeping me busy for the foreseeable future. In addition to the supplies I bought today, I was able to order a lot more from Amazon, because my brother gave me a nice gift card. The kids got 9-inch portable DVD players from my brother (this was the great deal I posted about back in November–$50, down from $129, and the Target by my mom’s house had them on an endcap in the Market section, which was why there were plenty left when we got there around noon), and those kept them occupied, along with a 3DS (the boy) and an awesome book I picked out for the girl–Divergent, by Veronica Roth–which I can’t wait to steal when she is finished reading.

How were your holidays?

This post will be linked up over at–head over for more inspiration (hopefully a lot more than my not very inspiring menu!)

My Favorite Christmas Present


Most awesome present ever!

I totally cheated on this one, and picked it out myself, had the store wrap it, and told the kids they bought me a present when I got home.* How could a book called The Big-Ass Book of Crafts go wrong? Ok, the kids were a bit appalled that they bought me a book with a bad word in the title, but they got over it, since they didn’t actually have to lay out any cash, ;).

I want to make approximately 20 crafts in this book RIGHT NOW, but since I will have to gather supplies first, I have to content myself with making a list of the crafts I want to do as soon as possible.

Lace Glass Plates
Drag Art
3-D Blossom Box
Art Switch Plates
Fabric-Covered Salt and Pepper Shakers
Kid Art Napkins
Bathroom Tile Coasters
Seashell Encrusted Bookends
Kitchen Art Tray
Bubble Stationary
Tin Can Luminaries
Rolled Magazine Bowl and Basket

I could go on, but this is probably enough to keep me busy for a while. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that there is a second book in the series, and a home decor book by the same author, so the crafts will never end! Hooray!

Pictures to come, no doubt until everyone is sick of them.

* What, did you think I was going to say something about my kids’ love or something sentimental like that? No, not when there are crafts to talk about!

Menu, Week of 12/18


Okay, we have made it down to the final week before Christmas. I am so not ready, and not yet recovered from the big brake repair bill. But I get paid on Wednesday, and I have some time to spend at home finishing projects since I have no money left to spend until then! In the meantime, I am just about sick of trying to figure out what to make for dinner using ingredients that I already have in the house. Thank goodness that is almost over.

I am having my family over on Christmas Eve, because my children go to their father’s house at 10:00 AM Christmas morning, so I have a bit more planning than usual this week.

Sunday: Omelet, hashbrowns

Photo credit:

Monday: Salmon burgers, sweet potato fries

Tuesday: Pizza, baby carrots

Wednesday: Paella, tomato and cucumber salad, steamed broccoli

Thursday: Sloppy joes, baked beans, ginger glazed carrots

Friday: Chicken with almonds and green olives, sauteed kale with garlic, pan-fried potatoes

Saturday: Greek style vegetable risotto, Salmon with Lemon, Capers and Rosemary, lima beans cooked with olive oil and oregano, salad

This post will be linked to’s Menu Planning Monday–head over there for lots of great ideas!