I Tweet, Therefore I am.

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Y’all. I’m supposed to be fasting from social media right now.

See? See how well that’s going? This is me… fasting.

Allow me to explain:

When I started the Congo fast because my evil friend Kate suckered me into it without my full knowledge, comprehension, or understanding, and I did it out of the goodness of my heart and because I am totally spiritual and my goodness this is all a load of hooey.

ANYHOW. When I started the Congo fast w/ Kate for our Sunday school class… I thought… Well. Food. I have to fast from food for 40 days. That’s nearly impossible and as we all know I have caved like a Neanderthal about twenty times in the 40 days, but who’s counting?

As God is my witness, I thought the tortillas were going to be it.

But, as Kate has so patiently reminded me, also about twenty times, the Sunday school class does exceed 40 days. So, what are we gonna do for the other portion? Just sit around and talk about how fabulous we were for fasting?

Ok, so along with Chris Seay’s A Place at the Table, we read this gem:

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I use the word “gem” because I have so few of them now, BECAUSE JEN KEEPS TELLING ME TO GIVE STUFF AWAY.

Ok, seriously. Here’s more explaining: We decided to also tackle, along with food the other items that Jen mutinies against. There right there on the cover for you: clothes, spending, waste, stress (har har har), waste, and MEDIA.

MEDIA.

YES IN ALL CAPS.

Guys. You can take my clothes and help me recycle and give me a budget and make me eat corn tortillas ’till the cows come home (that we can’t eat)

BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO PRY MY MEDIA FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS.

Here is the very real conversation I had with Kate about this whole media thing, yesterday:

Kate: I’m fasting from media and it’s going okay. How about you?
Me: *leans forward to the microphone* I cannot recall.

That’s a pretty fabulous Ollie North, right? And for those of you who are too young to understand my cheap mimicry of the general and his memory recall issues, what I REALLY said is something like this:

Me: NOOOOOOO. This is so HARRRRRRD. I’m eating rice and beans – you can’t make me NOT watch Netflix TOOOOOOOOOOO.

The wailing, I tell you, was heard one county over.

I ask you, what about all my quips? Where will the quipping go, if I cannot post about it? It will be like I don’t even exist.

Really. How can I live without the tweetings?

What if my children do something adorable? (rare, granted). Or the cat? What if the CAT does something adorable (hourly). How will I live without talking about it?

So, here is my announcement: Our Congo fast and its 40 days is over this Sunday. After that, I will be walking away from my computer for a week.

I will miss you *she waves weakly* Don’t you worry about me… *fading away* I’m sure I’ll be… just… fine *drops to the floor in a heap and makes sure her pose is flattering for a selfie*

Social media, y’all. It’s addictive stuff. I mean, really. If a tree falls in the forest and no one takes a picture of it for Instagram, does an angel lose his wings?

Or something like that.

Now, the only people I have yet to tell are the children. They’ll be joining me in this fast. No Netflixes. No Wii Rockband.

The cries will be heard from two counties over.

Pray for us.

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Walk Away from the Quinoa

Guess what day it is????

It’s FRIIIIIIIIIDAY! And you know what that means, don’t you???

Linking up with my Five Minute Friday with the lovely Kate Motaung today. There’s no place I would rather be.

Today’s theme?

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There’s some options with this one.

I could go all grim and literary and “ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE” ish. It would be literary, I guess. But heck, I don’t really feel like going for Dante’s Inferno today. Life is hot enough.

Or, I could go all biblical and talk about living life with Jesus with abandon, and then providing seventeen thousand memes from Pinterest on what that means. Some of those memes will have a smiling woman with perfect hair smelling daisies in a field, because this is what you do when you start living your life fully. You smell daisies in a field. And you get good hair.  Or, there will be at least one with a kitten trying to do something heroic, like facing down a rottweiler, “with abandon.” The cuteness will touch our hearts and almost all of you would NOT envision the kitten becoming kibble in the next frame.

But I would.

So, we’re going to skip these ideas and go for the best option:

Abandon the quinoa.

Ok, bear with me here. Let me explain.

Last night’s dinner involved me opening a package of bean burritos. This caused me some guilt. I felt bad as I ripped the bag open and all those frozen bricks of poor nutrition spilled out on the cooking sheet. And, as I stared down at them, the dejected lumps of beans and carb overload, I thought,

“I must make this right.”

I know. In the spectrum of bad choices frozen burritos might be perceived wearing white after Labor Day bad. Which, to be honest, I am not even sure is a thing anymore. But, still. Dinner was highly uninspired. So, I thought…

QUINOA! QUINOA WILL FIX THIS! IT FIXES EVERYTHING!

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I was under the supposition that it’s super healthy. It’s the kale of grains. It will, with one healthy spoonful, make my meal so off the charts good for you that my family will start glowing with vim and vigor, and recruiters will show up at the door to enter them into Olympic events.*

Alas, it was not to be.

Quinoa, as my son put it, “Tastes like cat litter.”

I have to say I agree. Quinoa is little balls of despair. If virtue had a taste, it would not be quinoa.

If sand had a healthy big brother? Quinoa.

Sand and litter aside, I tried to make the quinoa better. I added so many ingredients to it that by the end of my manhandling of the quinoa it was whimpering, “Just leave me alone… ” and I was considering adding beef jerky to it. Or bacon. Because, as we all know:

BACON! BACON WILL FIX EVERYTHING!

Instead, I made everyone eat one bite and I acted like I did too. And then I threw the little granules of edible Quikrete into the trash. Wanna know why? Because in this case…

TRASH CAN! TRASH CAN WILL FIX EVERYTHING!

walk away from you, quinoa. You are not worth all my dreams of healthy meals and phytonutriants (whatever those are) and glowy children who are the next superstrain of humanity. I will no longer feel guilt that my dinners, sometimes, are out of a frozen bag. The next time I reach into the freezer for inspiration I’ll just start humming “Let it go…”

The cold never bothered me, anyway.

And now Frozen’s in your head, isn’t it? You’re welcome.

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*Possible Olympic Events that My Family Could Do:

  1. Nonexistent washing when washing hands.
  2. Sudden-paralysis walking when cleaning floor.
  3. Power-smashing the brother.
  4. Interpretive Dance with those ribbon thingies (that’s the husband. He ROCKS the interpretive dance, I tell you. Ask him about it! He’ll be thrilled to show you!)
  5. Snark.

 

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year. Until Your Calendar Chokes to Death.

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This one is for the introverts out there. You know who you are. I mean, you wouldn’t probably tell me anyhow, because introverts.

Someday, somebody is gonna come to me and ask me for advice. I am still waiting for this to happen, but I am sure of it. It could happen any time now.

And, my friends, I will be ready.

Oh heck, I’m just gonna spill it here. Prepare yourselves. This is the best unsolicited and unwanted advice you are going to get today, mainly because I’m really tired of waiting for someone to see the fat ton of wisdom that is Momsie over here:

Ready? Here it is. It’s coming. Bet you can’t wait, can you? So, here goes.

Ahem. Momsie’s Rule to Live By and the Best Advice Ever:

 LIFE IS MEANT FOR ONLY ONE THING A DAY. ONLY ONE. NO MORE. ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER AND THAT’S GOOD.

Ok, before you decide that I am some sort of weirdo stuck in my house with molding boxes of Good Housekeeping  and National Geographics  and surrounded by seven cats (one for each day!) just know this: I got rid of the Good Housekeepings. You will have to tear the National Geographics from my cold, dead hands.

And, the cat thing isn’t really all that bad, right?

I have this strong conviction that we humans must only schedule one thing a day. I mean, along with normal life, like work and showering and the post office, only ONE item of social interaction must occur. For example: a friend asks you to coffee? Sure! But, if also you are set up for a church meeting that day? Then no. That’s too much. It’s just too risky.

I can only do one thing a day, people. Otherwise, my brain gets itchy and I start eyeing Pinterest boards about knitting with your cat’s fur (after he has shed it, not prior. THAT would be really weird.)

You can imagine how having children kind of blew this whole One Thing A Day plan out of the water. They have a delightful way of messing with your life, those wee ones. For example, today, we have Lego club. Then, we are going to take out a family friend out for dinner. I KNOW. THIS IS INSANITY. It only works because we do have to eat and I think the meal will involve cheesecake. I can make it through.

Also, Christmas. Christmas does not stand a chance under this One Thing Rule. There are all these gathering and parties (shudder) where people stand around and eat those little sausage thingies and do small talk.

I can’t do small talk, guys. I just can’t. It’s up there with root canals and Walmart trips on Saturday morning. It fills me with despair.

Every time I attempt small talk a tree falls in the forest and NO ONE hears it. Also, a kitten dies.

Ok. This is a bit dramatic (the lawyer was fired ages ago, but if he was here you better believe he would be rolling his eyes). This is such a horribly grim picture that I will promise, no baby animals were sacrificed during the making of this post. But, my small talk? It is just very, very bad.

Here is an example. Take a Tums, it’s a doozy.

Nice lady from husband’s work at yearly holiday party from H-E-Double you get the point: “Hi there! How are you?”

Me: “I’m here for the sausages.”

Yep. That’s all I got.

So, I guess I would like to add to my already pretty epic advice and say this:

People. Stop it with all this holiday get togethering! Just have your party in February, ok? Nobody likes February. Spread the love a bit. Stop it with the concerts and parties and making merry. It’s AWFUL! I am talked OUT! At my best, I have about ten minutes of material in me, and then you can find me skulking back to the sausages.

The sausages, they understand me.

And I’m not going to even pretend that that line isn’t going to make my husband snicker. But I’ll leave it alone. It’s not that kind of blog.

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How to Have a Great Spring Break in Ten Easy Steps!

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Don’t worry. This will make sense later on. Maybe.

 

I’m a mom. (You knew that, right?) And so, therefore, I am an expert on  all children.

Really. You should trust me. Why? Because I have a delightful sense of humor and I love Jesus. What’s not to trust?

Much in the fashion of those nice people that grace our block every year wearing their earnest, short-sleeved white shirts and bad ties whilst cheerfully holding a bunch of Armageddon countdown pamphlets, Spring Break has come calling. And I answered with all the aplomb and ease of a woman who can use the word “aplomb” with … aplomb.

We’re right smack dab in the middle of our Spring Break, and I bet some of you mommies are wondering: “Well, this was all fun for about ten hours, but what in the heck do I DO with the wee darlings today? We have FIVE MORE DAYS OF ALL THIS TOGETHERNESS-WACK LEFT, PEOPLE.  I need help!”

First of all, let me just say, I totally don’t feel like that at ALL.

But for those of you who do, don’t feel guilty. Nope. It’s not a measurement of your ability to parent or your moral character. It’s just that you aren’t as wonderful at life as I am. *

So…

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Fear not mommies!  Because I have compiled a handy list of all my favorite, wholesome and engaging children’s activities just for you! It’s about to get all Pinterest-y all up in hereeeere!

I bring you:

The Spring Break List of Awesomeness:

1. Stay in bed and write blog posts while the children watch Curious George. When they watch the end part that always has the cute schoolchildren and wonderful learning activity with the actual child-centered experiments and such, hide MORE so they don’t come to you and ask to make a bunch of muddy canals in the backyard demonstrating the life cycle of water. That’s crazy talk.

2. Explore your local library! No, really, I mean really explore it. Take them to your library, set them free in the paperback Westerns, and tell them to find a book about moth balls. Offer twenty dollars to the first one who finds it. Sit in a comfy chair and cheer them on while you knit and sip coffee. But, cheer quietly, because it’s a library. **

3. Make it an educational day! Speak only in Spanish to them all day long. Include one episode of Dora the Explorer in this day to appease the crying. If you need brushing up on your Spanish, watch something with Antonio Banderas on the Netflixes.

4. Make some homemade crafts out of some quinoa and washi tape. This should go well.

5. Baking day! Start making cookies. Realize you are out of: flour, eggs, enthusiasm. Offer children chocolate chips and some baking soda for lunch. Mommy is the best!

6. Come to think of it, you know the husband has hidden Girl Scout crack cookies somewhere in this house because you are on a no-sugar thing. Despise him. Offer both children twenty dollars to find the cookies! Treasure hunt! Occasionally speak in a pirate voice to add ambiance. (Bonus points offered if pirate speaks Spanish.)

7. At one point, collapse on the floor. Tell children you’re playing charades. You’re the rug.

8.  Consider going outside. Realize this is just going to create children who, like, want to play with you outside ALL THE TIME.  Holy fresh air, that’s nutball. Go back and repeat #7.

9. Actually sit with them and play Candyland. Lose your will to live.

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10. Oh, enjoy it. Your children are only this age for so long and blah blah blah. Spring break is just as scared of you as you are of it. Take control and take the little darlings hiking or bowling or whatnot.

But do not, under any circumstances, play Candyland. There’s fun, and then there’s just rampant indulging your children in mind-sucking awful. Lets face it. Candyland is Bad Parenting. It only promotes cavities and virulent boredom. Put on PBS Kids and call it good.

 

 

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“Mamma mia, here I go again. My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I’ve missed you…”

 

*Seriously. We’re going a little crazy over here. An Abba dance party is about all I’m up to today.

**If you do this, understand that my local library is rather tiny and not scary. It houses not scary patrons who don’t stay there all day and mutter. Some libraries do have LARGENESS and muttering.  Substitute “Let’s explore the basement! Whoever finds my box of ABBA albums wins!” kind of activity if this is the case. And, if you don’t actually have any Abba albums? Well, bless your heart.

 

 

My morning on a scale of 1-10

 

I would rate it a Z.

On the scale of “bright-eyed, bushy-tailed: I would rate it a:

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I hate everything.

 

Here’s how mornings go, in my head:

Get up. Walk around. Drink a healthy smoothie with green stuff. Read the bible. Journal. Bask in the whole “oh what a beautiful morning,” Lamentations 3:23-ness, of it all.

 

Here’s how this morning suffered and died at our house today:

Got up. Or tried to. When attempting to put one foot on the floor, something in my back went, “Uh HO! No way, old lady. Walking is hard. I’m putting you on shuffle.”

So, I shuffled about. No green stuff in the smoothie because I burnt the oatmeal. And yes, I know, the two don’t seem to relate, so let me explain: The wee ones insist that all the oatmeal is TOO HOT. It’s TOO HOT MOMMAH! It’s HOT LAVA I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO EAT THIS EVERRRR. IT WILL MELT MY FACE OFF.

Since listening to my children whine about porridge makes me start googling “full frontal lobotomy, what are the perks?” I prepared the oatmeal waaaaaay in advance for my sweet heat seeking cherubs.  Then I watched them sit there and chuff and blow all over it with moist abandon (mental note: do not eat leftovers) for, like, an hour.

By the time they had hyperventilated all over the oatmeal, I was on to making lunches. Something, like, oh I don’t know, THIS:

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I found it on Pinterest! Who knew?

I know, right? RIGHT?

So, then, I had a moment to myself, in which I:

Put hair in ponytail. Then realized it still looked so colossally bad that also added a baseball cap. Considered a burka because the baseball wasn’t really cutting it, but thought that might cause some confusion amongst my church going friends.

Added some moisturizer and some lip gloss. Except I used an under eye highlighter as my lip gloss, because, well, morning.

So I looked like THIS:

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Except she is a lot happier about it than I am.

And, you know, no decal hearts on my face. I coulda colored in some of my sun spots, but who has time for that insanity?

 

Okaaaaaay. So the boys are still staring down the oatmeal. They are in their underwear, and it’s five minutes till go time. Momsie decides to start barking orders like a crazed seal. Something like THIS:

Clear up!

Move out!

Pants! PANTS! PAAAANNNNNNTS. THEN SHOES.

Shirt! Turn it!

Ok, Spiderman in back.

MOVE MOVE MOVE.

COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE

KEYS?  KEYS ! KEYS !!!KEYYYSSSSSS!!!! Oh snap. Here in my hand.

 

Awesome! Car! Children dressed and IN car with shoes and backpacks. The heavens opened and sang, I tell you.

And then I realized I hadn’t put on pants.

 

Boom.

 

So…how was your morning?

My neighbors had a great start of the day, I’m sure.

 

God, grant me the serenity, to accept that I forgot, um pants.

Courage, to change that for future mornings.

And the wisdom to laugh at myself.

 

And thank you, dear sweet Jesus, that at least I was wearing my husband’s old rugby t-shirt. I wear these huge things to bed because I like to remember the 80’s whenever possible. Thank you, baggy 80’s fashion.

Coulda been worse. I coulda been wearing THIS:

 

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You’re welcome, neighbors.

 

 

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Tuesday Takeout

imagesIt’s still Fall, ya’ll.

I know… Halloween is over… you’re starting to hear snippets of Christmas music on the television (usually attached to commercials; shameless but effective)… you are starting to hum a few snippets here and there… and are thinking about how the front porch should look – white lights?  or the big glowy vintage ones??

It’s a slippery slope.  Once you start down it, you’re up to your tookus in tinsel, and from there?  You forget, FORGET to get out your Charlie Brown Thanksgiving dvd.  AND you forget to make the Thanksgiving hand-into-turkey art with  your boys…  AND then, you actually forget to create your Pinterested Within an Inch of Its Life Gratitude Jar.*

You blew right by Thanksgiving; took one Halloween and two Christmasses and decided to call it good.

NOT GOOD.  Thanksgiving is the BEST.  No endless Every Kiss Begins with Kay’s commericals.   No moral dilemna about Santa vs. Jesus…

And NO I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS.  That right there is reason enough to be really thankful.

Just sit with your feelings for a minute and really hunker down for Thanksgiving, mmmk?

Do Fall-y things.  Like:

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Fall leaf expeditions!

Red as small dog creating wonderful leaf artwork!

Red as small dog creating wonderful leaf artwork! And yes, that’s a Budweiser tray. It’s from the hubs. He thinks it’s an antique. We use it when we glue stuff.

I am being VERY careful with the glue because Momsie is watching.

I am being VERY careful with the glue because Momsie is watching.  She’s always watching.

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Caramel Skillet Apples. With I pod and other messy table debris.  Sorry.

And then, you can also stir up a batch of this:

Oh my word.  They are shamelessly simple to make AND they taste like apple pie sans the crust (which granted, is yummy, but if you don’t have a lot of time… this will DO.  REALLY.   “That’ll do.” **)

Recipe:

5-6 TART apples (Jonathans are the best.  Or Granny Smith)

2-3 fat tablespoons of bacon grease (don’t freak out)

1/4 cup brown sugar

pinch salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon (or more) cinnamon

1 pinch or so nutmeg

This so needs to be done in a proper cast iron skillet, preferably one you have made umpteen breakfasts in for years and years…  I’m just sayin’.

So, peel or don’t peel, your choice (I peeled half) and slice up your apples into fairly thin wedges (too thin, they melt away, too thick and they won’t caramelize).  Get your grease melted (and yes, you can substitute butter if you must, but if you listen to your Momsie, you keep a container of bacon grease in your fridge for such occasions. It is piggie butter.  I know, that’s kinda much, isn’t it? But you don’t want to get me started on bacon grease.  That merits a whole post on its OWN).

Throw apples in grease, stir in the brown sugar and pinch salt and lemon juice.  Saute for about 5 minutes or so on medium heat. Cover and let simmer gently for about 5 -10 more minutes.  Test with a fork for your desired softness.  Take off heat, stir in cinnamon and nutmeg.  I also added just a tidge more lemon juice to brighten.

Serve warm with a small scoop of ice cream. If you need a crunch, crumble a bit of graham cracker or nilla wafer in…

Snarf it down, watch your toddlers attempt to lick the bowls clean, fight over last caramelized apple bits with husband…

Happy Fall!

*Go here if you want to read one of my favorite posts by one of my favorite authors on The Gratitude Jar.

**This post was sponsored by BACON.  What else?

Sniffle.

NaBloPoMason

Mason jars.  I’m not kidding.

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WATCH THIS MAGIC:

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The Laundry Room. Also known as: The Pit of Despair.

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Gorgeous!

My dining room table.  With Mason.

My dining room table.  You can never actually see the table.   With Mason. LOVELY!

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These boxes have been in the living room for 8 days. With Mason. Perfect!

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Muffin as exfoliant? No problem! Mason!!! ADORABLE!

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I like to call this one: Exercise in futility. Mason it? GETTING OLD IS QUAINT!

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BILLS? Mason it! I love them!

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Our world is going to heck in a handbasket? Not with Mason!

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Even Bieber? MASON TAKES IT ALL AWAY!

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Two babies? Mason! Awwwwwwww. *

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How my floor looks every morning? Mason!!!! Divine!

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Well. Ok. I think the magic is over.

* Blonde took this picture.  I asked him to leave my face out of it.  He said, “Dat’s fine.  Der tummy takes up all the space in da camera.”

Join me in the Mason Revolution!  Send me pictures!  Unite!  Mommies and Mason Jars foreverrrrrrr!!