LAFF on Thursday: Extreme Poo-Pourri Experiement….

Well, my husband and I prepared to welcome the new year in style. Sort of. Ok, not really in a conventional way. We did use a product that we’ve wanted to try for awhile and just got for Christmas;Ā  a travel-sized bottle of Poo-Pourri. (Um, thanks?? šŸ˜‰ šŸ˜€ )

Now for those of you who don’t appreciate bathroom humor, (which is a perk of a child-free house. You can openly gloat about a good poot without worrying that your kid will gleefully let one rip and give commentary in the middle of, say, aunt Ida’s funeral mass), Poo-Pourri is a spray that you mist in the toilet bowl before you, ehem, let one go. The sprays are made of essential oils that supposedly trap the smell from the offending thing, and gives the bathroom a pleasant smell of, in our case, “Lemon, Bergamot, and Lemongrass.”

In our first time using this toilet spray, we kinda upped the ante, so to speak. We were coming home from my family Christmas and in our haste to unload everything, we lost the spray tube of Poo-Pourri. When I couldn’t find it the next day, I thought maybe it was still in the car. Well, when my husband returned home, he presented the box it came in…it was soaking wet. See, it had rained all the night before and since it was dark, we couldn’t see that we had accidentally dropped the container of Poo-Pourri on the side of the road. In. The. Rain.

Honestly I thought maybe we had ruined the product, but that made us want to test it out even more. I mean, how great would it be if this thing worked great even after almost being drowned in wintery midwest yuck?Ā  Earlier today we had a chance to try it out.

First, prep the bowl by spraying the water 3-5 times. Then do your thing. Now, it’s supposed to, according to the commercial, trap the odor so all you smell is the essential oils you just sprayed into the bowl. Which, it kinda does. But you do get a tiny whiff of something else.

If I had to give this product a rating, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5. Maybe we need to try another scent. Or maybe I’ll just unscrew the bottle and dump the entire contents in the next time I take a d…..never mind šŸ˜€Ā 

What a Difference a Year Makes and New Years Resolutions…

During our Christmas vacation, I shared the following photo on Facebook:

christmas 2015

The caption was as follows: “What a difference a year makes! Praising the Lord for his mercy and grace!”

Of all the 32 likes, I’m wondering if anyone thought about what this picture represented to me, beyond the length of my hair.Ā  In contrast, here is a picture taken last year around the same time:

christmas 2014

Besides the shorter length of my hair is something that you can’t see; how broken I felt inside. See we had just come to the conclusion that we’d not have children.

I’ve blogged about this several times. My first entry can be found here. The rest can be found at the bottom of that same page under “related.”

At this time last year I was wondering what my purpose in life was. If I wasn’t supposed to be a mother, what could I do to fulfill myself? Would I ever be happy not being a mom? Would my marriage crumble under this stress?

It’s been an unexpected year so far. A year filled with joy and hope. I actually did give birth in February; to my blog. A place for me to give people hope and a purpose. And to remind them that they are never alone in their struggles.

I also learned more about the new community I was a part of: the awesome community of people who are Childless Not By Choice. A community that I am grateful for. The community is a place I can go when I’m feeling down or frustrated. And they are always encouraging, always supportive.

Through this community I’ve realized that each CNBC story is as diverse as the snowflakes that have yet to fall outside my window. Although each is unique, they are all valid and meaningful. There is a sacredness to each narrative.

I don’t know why my story has so far been hopeful. Yes, I’ve had days when I’ve felt a loss, but I’ve also had more days filled with promise. My marriage is as strong as ever. And I think I’ve found my purpose; as a blogger to help others understand the plight of the CNBC, and as a child-care provider. I’ve also realized the important role I play in the lives of my nieces and nephews (My newest niece will come into the world next week and I couldn’t be more excited. šŸ˜‰ ).

So this year ends with hope. And excitement. I actually have a new years resolution that I think will stick. It’s a goal really (is there a difference? ). But I think I’ll leave it at that till I reach 200 blog entries. Don’t worry, I’m actually almost there. I have a few things to flesh out before I make the official announcement anyway. Till then, always remember you are never alone….especially as this year ends and another begins! Oh, and Jesus loves you šŸ˜‰

Cheers!

Here is a song I can’t get out of my head and I think it’s a great one to start a new year. While my situation is different, I think the lyrics still apply….living this year with anxiety and childlessness, I feel like the lyrics, “I’m gonna do all the things that you said I never could” still apply to me and the “you” in the song is anxiety and doubt.

Nostalgic Christmas Comfort Food: Mennonite Haystacks…..

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful few days with my side of the family. We returned before my parents hosted my dad’s side of the family, but my mom was discussing the menu at one point and announced her plan to do Haystacks. Immediately my mouth filled with saliva and I asked if she could possibly do them on Sunday as Chad and I would still be at their house. She said yes.

Ah, haystacks. One of my favorite meals growing up. In my area of the country, this Mennonite* staple food would be made for large groups of people and holiday gatherings. Eating it this past weekend brought a sense of nostalgia to our family gathering. I was also eager to introduce Chad to them since I’ve talked about them for years, but we hadn’t had a chance to actually eat them.

So, what are haystacks, you ask?? Simply put, it’s a bunch of vegetables and protein, stacked into a pile on the plate; or a haystack. šŸ™‚ With a bed of rice below.

The table is topped with bowls of diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce (with or without meat-your choice), walnuts, cheese sauce, lettuce, crushed saltines, green olives and crushed tortilla chips. Honestly the list of ingredients is up to you. I think it’d be fun to add shredded cheese and kidney beans, like a taco salad. Note that you don’t have to use all the ingredients on the table. The more ingredients, the more options you have. šŸ™‚

So now you know about haystacks. Let me know if you make them and what you used.

Happy Eating!!

*My cousin’s blog explains better than I could about what Mennonites are. And she’s a great blogger. šŸ˜‰

Haystacks

Here we have my delicious haystack creation! Bon appetite, ya’ll! šŸ™‚

Christmas Delays and Lists…..

Ok, I lied. I said that yesterday’s blog would be my last in 2015. But an unexpected delay has me kinda twiddling my thumbs as Chad and I are pretty much ready to roll, we just can’t yet. So, I thought I’d move one of my planned 2016 blogs to today. Consider this a Back to the Future thing.

So, you know those lists that float around Parenting websites and Facebook titled, “Why My Kid is Crying”? Well, I thought I’d make a similar list, but use the next best thing to a kid we have: our oldest cat. So I now present to you:

Reasons Why My Cat Bit Me:

1. She saw a pin hole sized piece of the bottom of her bowl. She assumed she was dying.

2. I wouldn’t let her eat plastic.

3. I wouldn’t let her eat the string from a birthday balloon.

4. She needs to bite one person each day to meet her quota and she hadn’t yet. She actually does door-to-door sales for a new brand of skin ointment and uses her teeth as a visual aid.

5. She’s still mad that we have another cat that is younger than her and female. Never mind that the other cat is her child.

6. It’s Wednesday.

7. I wouldn’t let her get on Facebook (yes, she has a Facebook page) because I was busy typing up a list of reasons why she bit me…which is how I came up with #7.

8. She’s betting that since we’re only two days away from Christmas, Santa doesn’t have time to double-check who’s being naughty or nice, and she doesn’t want to wait for new catnip toys to tear apart…so my hand will do.

9. I asked her if she was voting for Donald Trump.

10. Because she can.

And that’s the short list.

Remember, if you are a cat parent to a high maintenance cat, you are not alone! šŸ˜‰

Happy Holidays Ya’ll!!

holiday nap practice

Having more time to plan, our fearless blogger practices her vacation nap in holiday appropriate attire. šŸ˜€

Silent Night…..

A few days ago I promised to upload the outtakes from our family holiday photo session. So, behold the gloriousness:

Oh, that reminds me, there is nothing wrong with your computer. Our family Christmas video does not in fact have sound. We didn’t even realize we were gonna do a video. When we planned our photo session we planned the theme–Christmas Morning–and even wore our pajamas. What we didn’t plan for were uncooperative cats. You’d think after over a decade of cat ownership, we’d know this by now, but cats can be unpredictable and hard to work with. Especially when you bring out the selfie stick and the youngest freaks out and runs for her life into the next room.

So, we decided to improvise and work with what we had left, each other and the oldest cat. In that spirit, we decided to make a video of our Christmas greeting. So we pushed record and began. And the oldest suddenly grew bored and jumped off the couch. Leaving both Chad and I in our pajamas, hair askew, surrounded by cat toys, trying to make the best of it. At one point we picked up our oldest so she could say hi, but she still wasn’t having any of it and jumped back down.

When we finished recording, we went to play it back and….what the?? Where is the sound?? All volume controls were up on all devices. We could not figure it out. But we decided to upload it to Facebook and my blog anyway. After all, our facial expressions are funny enough. We are even thinking of sending this in to the guys that do the “Bad Lipreading” videos on Youtube to see what they’d come up with.

So, Merry Christmas (this may be my last post this year as we have a busy few days ahead) and if you’re family photo doesn’t turn out the way you planned this year, take heart. It could be worse.

You could be us. šŸ˜€

 

A Christmas Story: When Honesty is Not the Best Policy….

Good morning friends! How many of you cat parents had one of your cats greet you in bed this morning, hours before you were supposed to be awake, with a song and dance number to commemorate Christmas? Our youngest actually thought today was Christmas day and was so excited for Santa to come. I had to tell her Christmas isn’t for a few days yet. She took it well but asked if I’d share her favorite Christmas story on the blog today. She has the cutest face so of course I have to oblige.

Before we tell our tale, a few caveats. I can neither confirm or deny the truthfulness of the following story. Also, no names are being used to protect the guilty party. With that out of the way, let’s begin:

Once upon a time, a family with 3 grown children traveled to a southern state to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. The oldest child was in school and would be hosting the annual Christmas gathering for the first time.

After a time of merriment and delicious food, the family gathered in the living room to read the Bible story of Christ’s birth and open presents. After the story was read and a prayer was said, the oldest child spoke. She asked all in attendance to take turns retelling what their best Christmas memory was. What then transpired made all in attendance decide that this had probably been a bad idea.

After hearing memories of warm feelings and remembering what Jesus means to them, the middle child spoke. And in the course of 20 seconds, forever changed how the family saw the world.

The story the middle child told went like this, “Once when I was in middle school I faked being sick so I didn’t have to go to school. That day I was home, I unwrapped all the presents under the tree. If they were clothes, I tried them on. After I finished, I carefully re-wrapped everything and put them back under the tree.”

The room was so quiet you could have heard a flea poot.

The family just sat in stunned silence until finally the matriarch spoke: “Well, I hope you were let down on Christmas day knowing what all the gifts were!”

Now, you may be wondering why the middle child didn’t just open the packages with their name on it. Well, here’s the thing: the family learned long ago that the middle child would snoop around Christmas time and so to make it more challenging, they stopped putting names on packages. Each person had their own system of identifying the packages they wrapped and who they were for.

I hope the story above serves as a lesson to you, boys and girls, about how if you ruin the surprise of Christmas, you’ll have to live with the guilt for the rest of your days. And that is worse than getting coal in your stocking on Christmas day. šŸ˜‰

the-christmas-story_c_2630961

 

LAFF: Star Wars And Family Secrets…..

Well kids, it seems that with the opening of the new Star Wars movie this week, this is the best time to tell you something. We’ve been keeping a secret from all of you for awhile now and it seems like the time is right to go public with our secret…….

Our cats are the evolutionary ancestors of Wookies.*

If you’ve ever seen any Star Wars movie, you will of course remember Chewbacca as the biggest of the Wookies and the little teddy-bear creatures enrobed in cloaks running around their tree village and helping to save Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. They were experts at using lightsabers and made cute gurgling noises when they talked. Their eyes also glowed in the dark.

So, how did this evolutionary phenomenon create the furry domestic gods and goddesses we have today? Ah, young Padawan (yeah, I had to go there šŸ˜‰ ) keep reading for the answers that you seek.

See, a long, long time ago in a gala…..eh screw it-here’s what happened:

The original Wookies roamed the tree forests and fought evil with their lightsabers and stellar kung-fu moves. Later on in evolution, their lightsabers were permanently affixed to the south end of their bodies and over time they began to only be able to walk on all fours. Their ears also grew pointier. Their light saber tails were still useful, but they seemed to sway back and forth at random. Oh and they became covered with fur.

But two things remained; their fighting capabilities and their voices. Oh, and their eyeballs still glow in the dark.

At night is when things really get interesting for these Wookie relatives.Ā  This is when they are able to hone their light saber skills without the gawking eyes of their unsuspecting adopted families. After the last human goes to bed, the cats begin their fight training. Their tails, evolving from lightsabers, start glowing and they are able to jump around the room and off the furniture faster and stealthier than they can with the lights on and humans watching.

So, why do we know this to be a fact? Well, I happened to get up late one night because I was hungry. I crept silently into the kitchen and they must not have heard me because I was able to watch them practicing with their lightsaber tails. It really was something to behold. Like a violent laser light dance. With claws.

The next morning I went back into the living room and it was like nothing extraordinary had occurred. They greeted me with indignant bored gazes and went back to licking themselves.

So now you know our deep family secret. Just don’t let on that we told you if you ever come visit. We are a little nervous what would happen if they found out. šŸ˜‰

phoebe glowing eyes

Here we have more proof. I took this when she thought I was sleeping. The force is strong with this one šŸ˜‰

**PS: Well this is embarrassing. I counted myself a fan of Star Wars, but apparently I confused my characters (getting old does this to you periodically). I realized this when throngs of my Facebook friends who really are die-hard fans (think full cosplay) came to my door wielding over-sized lightsabers and chanting about how Obi Wan Kenobi truly is their only hope. They informed me that I had mistaken Wookies for Ewoks. Here is a chart detailing the key difference. You are welcome. šŸ˜€

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Key difference chart to educate us all appear courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/35013719@N03/11763271514/in/photostream/

Adulting and a DIY Face Mask to Soothe Holiday Stress…

Well guys, I had high hopes for today. I had imagined that we’d take our holiday family photo so I could cross that off our to-do list. It’s not looking like it’s gonna happen today. Between both cats napping at the same time in separate areas of the house, errands that needed to be run, and the youngest cat avoiding me even after her nap because she still remembers the attempt last night to clean her ears (I only got one done before she ran for her life šŸ˜› ), I think we’ll have to postpone our photo for another day.

So until then, here is a facial mask that you can make at home that promises to soothe your face and is, apparently if YouTube is to be believed, good for acne-prone skin.

Step 1: Here, um, you’re gonna rub some Pepto-Bismol on your face. (Hey, why are you running away from me?? This is a legit beauty mask that is supposed to calm acne and soothe sensitive skin-according to the internet. And hopefully as an added benefit it’ll vanish the mustache that is starting to form over my upper lip. Yelch!)
pepto bismol facial

Step 2: Dab a thin layer over your face with an old foundation brush, cotton ball or in my case, cushy toilet paper. As you can see in the photo above, it doesn’t really show up that well on my pale as notebook paper face. I promise I have it covering my face and you aren’t being Punk’d.

Wait for it to dry, about 15-20 minutes and then rinse off with cool water. You’ll know it’s time to rinse when you move your face and see little pink cracks beginning to form. Think of this as what you may look like WAY in the future. šŸ˜‰

Honestly while I was waiting for it all to dry, I wasn’t too impressed. It does tighten your face which is a bonus, but it smells like, well, Pepto-Bismol. And I’ve had an aversion to the liquid form ever since I was a little kid and I had the stomach flu and my mom gave me the liquid version. I immediately threw up. In my mom’s defense she said I would have thrown up anyway, but ever since then, I’ve avoided the stuff……until today. But I think my opinion is changing because….

HOLY JEEPERS, BATMAN! MY FACE IS SOFTER THAN THE SOUTH END OF A BABY!! #facialgoalsachieved

It came off pretty easy with just plain water and when I dried off my face, only a little pink transferred to our hand towel. Yes, my mustache is still visible, but the mask didn’t claim to remove hair (dangit! šŸ˜› ).

So I think all in all it was a success and I’ll be using this in the future.

Now, does anyone out there have a recipe for this one?Ā  šŸ˜‰ :

bvescgjicaarwli

Mrs. Doubtfire appears courtesy of http://www.pbs.twimg.com

PS: Blogger Face Update: I’d just like to point out that it doesn’t completely come off with just water, you do need a little bit of a mild soap. I thought I saw tinges of more pink than usual in my skin (my skin is quite yellow-y) and with a quick spray and swipe of MAC’s Fix + I was able to see that I still had dried Pepto on my face. The additional washing with soap did not diminish the softness the mask left.

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WordPress Christmas PSA….

Don’t worry, your computer isn’t doing something wonky. There really are small white dots falling down over the entire screen on my blog. It’s bloggers version of snow and will continue to fall until January 4th.

Now you can breathe a collective sigh of relief as you don’t actually need to buy a new computer this close to Christmas. Phew! šŸ˜‰

And now you can return to your regularly scheduled Christmas panic.

Awkward Family Holiday Photos Part 1

T-minus 9 days till Christmas. Are you ready? Me neither. Honestly I haven’t even started shopping. I am however making progress. I have a load of laundry going and last night I finished my nephew’s one-year old birthday picture. I gotta say I’m pretty excited about it, but you’ll have to wait till after Christmas to see it. I promise I’ll put it in a blog.

This afternoon I am brainstorming ideas for our first official family portrait for our Christmas card. Ok, it’s more than likely gonna be a New Years card because, let’s be real, it ain’t gonna happen in 9 days. The portrait may be taken, but the actual card will probably take some time to create.

Dear family, in all honesty I wouldn’t look for this thing in the mail till March. Seriously.

I’m pretty excited about our family holiday (yay March?) card. My sisters send one out every year and they are always pretty cute. Of course ours will be different because our kids have four legs and fur. And get themselves in crazy yoga positions to wash themselves. Hopefully that won’t end up on the card, but cats are pretty unpredictable. I guess that’s part of the excitement. And maybe we could end up being featured on Awkward Family Photos. We happen to be pretty big fans.

So, did we hire a photographer? Nope. This is gonna be a strictly DIY holiday card. We had wanted to hire a photographer, but our youngest is really shy and tends to hide from people she doesn’t know, (or when Chad walks through the door….She’s an enigma wrapped in fur šŸ˜› ).

You may be wondering how we are gonna take a good portrait without a professional photographer. Two words: Selfie Stick! A good friend of ours recently purchased one and is graciously letting us borrow it for this endeavor. This allows you to put your camera in the claw thing and take a picture of a landscape with minimal effort.

The process is virtually hands-free. While the other hand is on the youngest cat who’s trying to make a break for it because the oldest decided now would be the perfect time to see if the youngest would make a good football and is about to “kick off.” After you thwart the oldest’s plan, she remembers she’s the star of the show (she thinks she’s the reason for the season. We are working on being more humble-but she’s a cat so it’s not really helping much) and she’sĀ  prancing back and forth between the two of us on the couch, nuzzling our hands and sticking her bum in the air. Not exactly the perfect angle I had envisioned. Whilst this is going on the youngest has sought refuge underneath the couch and is now making loud retching sounds as puking is her go-to behavior when she’s stressed.

Yep, this family photo is gonna be great. Don’t worry, I will share outtakes on here when they are done. šŸ˜‰

Happy Holidays!

cat-auditioned-lamp-christmas-story-humor