Monthly Archives

December 2010

I Want to Make Wreaths Today. Oh yes I do.

December 7, 2010
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Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up and you’re like, “I want to make something today! Because I’m a Maker. Who makes things.” No? Me either.

But then all of a sudden that happened. I am perplexed.

I think this is because it’s Christmas season. And there’s just something primal about making crap during Christmas season. Right? I’m guessing this has something to do with childhood (because it always does). Around this time of year, our exhausted moms (or teachers or Girl Scout leaders) were so over our candy-cane sugar-highs that they would do anything (ANYTHING!) to contain us for 10 minutes. And if that meant sitting us down with Popsicle sticks and glitter as a messy distraction, well fine. Worth the mess. I’m pretty sure that’s how it went down.

So now, my psyche is under the impression that I must make things! Even though I have no idea how to make things.

There needs to be a recovery group for this.

In the meantime, My name is Laura, and I have a Christmas Craft problem. Which of these wreaths should I make?

(Go here to see the top 10 DIY wreath options, links to the photos, above photos sources, etc.)

Brene Brown’s TEDx Talk. The Gifts of Imperfection.

December 5, 2010
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The first time, I watched this video because it features my lovely friend Brene Brown*. I’ve heard Brene speak several times, and she’s always just stunning…that’s the best word I can find to describe it. Stunning, and smart**, and powerful. This TEDx talk is no different.

But then I watched it again. And again. And again. And it’s now to the point that I watch it almost every other day. This is no longer because this is my friend’s talk. It is because this talk is mood changing, mind changing, life changing.

She talks about living a wholehearted life. But you really should watch the video to get it. Because Brene is just so funny and smart and engaging, however, if you want a preview, here’s a really good synopsis by Michele Woodward:

Brown calls worthy-feeling, connected, loved and loving souls The Wholehearted. Her research shows that what The Wholehearted have in spades is courage – the courage to tell the story of who they are with their whole heart.

  • they have the grace to be imperfect
  • they are kind to themselves, even when imperfect
  • they are comfortable enough with themselves to be authentic, and forge relationships based on who they are – not who they “should” be

That’s a a good start. But there’s so much more. In fact, there’s a line in there that I’m working on having an artist develop into a piece I want to hang in Harry’s room. More on that as it develops.

But in the meantime, if you are a human and haven’t yet watched this video, I highly recommend that you do so. And not just because I love the speaker. Because it’s a must see.

*Here is Brene’s blog.

**Here is Brene’s blog where we discuss our favorite curse word.

Go-To Recipe #8: Count-It-as-a-Vegetable-and-Move-On Broccoli Cheese Soup

December 3, 2010
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Whenever I’ve had a bad day, I’ve taken up saying what my friend Allison says to motivate me through the mire. It’s sort of an obscure WeightWatchersesque saying for when you might accidentally find yourself eating, say, a giant chocolate bar instead of a carrot stick…you see, instead of having this one flub mess you up for all eternity, you should…”Just count it as a vegetable and move on.

I love this saying. It’s weird. It speaks to the nuances of being a woman in the 21st Century (as opposed to a man who would probably use some related Mulliganesque Sports Reference). And it encourages you to forgive yourself, get over it, and move forward. All good things.

So I suggest, when you’ve had that crap day, just whip up some of this Count It As A Vegetable and Move On Broccoli Cheese Soup. There’s technically a vegetable included. A vegetable surrounded by yummy comfort con queso. Perfect!

Count It As A Vegetable and Move On Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
4 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, and mix in the flour. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Mix in the chicken stock and half-and-half, and season with salt and white pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 10 minutes. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place the broccoli in the boiling water, and cook 2 minutes, or until just tender. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside. Gradually mix the processed cheese and Cheddar cheese into the large pot until melted. Mix in the broccoli. Continue cooking about 5 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

There, there. It will get better tomorrow. Really.

Also! P.S. I totally grew that broccoli photographed above in my garden. For real. I don’t understand it either. It’s magic! Magical little trees that grow from plants that grow from seeds. They are blowing my mind. And then I ate them con queso. Broccoli Power, Activate!

The 12 (best) Songs of the Season

December 1, 2010
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This is a total Re-post of Christmas Past…but since most of my posts from July 2006 to July 2010 are Grinched Out/Jacked Up, I’m going to find my Happy Holidays place and push refresh on things not holly and/or jolly. See? Done. Christmas Power! Activate!

It’s December, y’all! Therefore it’s finally legal to tune in to tunes of yule. And while this duet in this brilliant album will probably always remain my favorite, here are the top 12 seasonal sounds I’m playing on a loop this year in no particular order. Enjoy! (And click on the titles of the songs to hear them. You won’t be disappointed.)

1. All I Want For Christmas Is You: Mariah Carey. Okay, I’ll admit it, Mariah isn’t all bad. (Just mostly)

2. Sleigh Ride: Ella Fitzgerald. Mmm, can’t you just taste the gin?

3. What Christmas Means to Me: Hansen. Honestly, I hate my own guts that I love Hansen’s version of this song the very very most.

4. Winter Wonderland: Ray Charles. Yes. Perfect.

5. Hark the Herald Angels/Angels We Have Heard: Straight No Chaser. I love the poetry of the phrasing.

6. Oh Holy Night: Kelly Clarkson. Gorgeous.

7. All Is Well: Micheal W. Smith. Let there be peace.

8. Christmastime is Here: Tony Braxton. When I grow up, I want to be Tony B.

9. 8 Days of Christmas: Destiny’s Child. You go, Houston!

10. Christmas: Jon Bon Jovi. Come on, admit it, we all totally dig New Jersey boys.

11. Joy To the World: Whitney Houston. Crazy can sing.

12. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Diana Krall. From my house, to yours.

We Made Two Easy Advent Calendars. And No One Got Hurt.

December 1, 2010

Yesterday after school, Harry and I made two advent calendars. Actually, I made two Advent Calendars while Harry colored a Robot with markers. He also colored the entire top of his craft table with markers. But that’s another story.

I’m trying to remind Harry that the Holiday season is about both receiving and giving. So I made two quick (really, they took me less than 30 minutes to do) but different calendars…one on each theme.

The first is more typical, and it’s all about the treat getting.

I found some outgrown Christmas socks (and a few extra in the Target Dollar Bin) and made numbered labels for each one (from modified Target gift tags). In each sock, Harry will find an Advent treat as we countdown to Christmas. Party.

The other calendar is all about the giving.

First of all, it was super easy to make. I purchased these cute little sacks from Hobby Lobby, and then I double-stick taped 24 of them to pre-cut cardstock squares (also from Hobby Lobby).

Inside, on cutouts from the same cardstock, I wrote different things we could do to help, donate, or give this Holiday season.

Harry helped me come up with a lot of these ideas.

Overall, it was a good way to fill an afternoon and an easy way to set ourselves up to celebrate every day between now and the 25th.

I found a lot more super easy…and cool…Advent Calendars that you could easily whip up in a few minutes.

I posted them all at Babble Family Style. Click here to check them out.