Making things…

My momma would be super proud because she was always known for the stuff she made. First off she was and still is an amazing seamstress and second off she could make a craft absolutely amazing and out of nothing. Every Christmas people would wonder and wait to see what she had concocted for this year. I will be honest, I never quite appreciated it like I do now. I look back at the things I have that she made and realize that the effort that takes to make things sometimes is so much more meaningful than going to Walmart and purchasing something. However, I won’t lie I tend to be on the sentimental side. Don’t believe me? Look at my teaching wall which could be considered a wall of junk, but to me it will never be that. They are little mementos of the time someone took out of their lives to tell me I mean something to them and I matter. Therefore, made gifts have a similar meaning for me. There is nothing more valuable to me than time. I feel like I never have enough of it, so I feel like if someone takes that time to make a gift it is amazing!

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Earlier this fall my bestie Kpuff was dabbling in making cleaning products. Something I had never really thought about. In fact, I probably would have laughed at the thought of me doing that. A classic, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” She made laundry soap and told me how nice it was and that she loved it and asked if I wanted to try it. I thought sure! She brought me over about two cups of the stuff and it was funny. I used one and I was skeptical it would work, but it did and it smelled amazing. Then I was sure my family couldn’t use it because it did smell good. They are highly allergenic and anytime I try to switch from our All free and clear they break out in hives. I can’t use fabric softeners or dryer sheets or bleach. I started just using it on my clothes and one day in laziness I threw my guys clothes in there with mine. I said nothing. No complaints and/or hives. He also gets ridiculous sneezes and what not with laundry soap changes, but nothing! I expanded it. Two weeks later we all had our clothes washed daily with it. And no complaints from the allergy filled asthmatic, skin sensitive or the one who doesn’t like smells. Wahoo!

detergent1I decided to search Kpuff’s pinterest for the recipe and decided to make it. I found it @ Aprons and Pearls. I made some and my guy helped me to mix it in our giant trash bag. Once I realized how much it actually made and far just a little goes with it I had the idea to just place it into cute containers and give out as gifts. It is HE safe and it smells nice. A thing my highly allergic family had kinda taken from me. It is a subtle good smell though and not over powering. My whites are whiter than they had ever been. I never have to worry if my clothes are clean. The jars I bought were clear and let the pretty shine through and you could smell it. I gifted about 8- 2-3 cup  jars of it for Christmas and that left me with three large OXY clean containers full which will last me for a really long time. I love the stuff and if you feel like venturing out a bit and using it I highly recommend it. I have thanked Kpuff multiple times for it since and will continue to use it. I did pick a detergent2different scent than what the blogger picked. Of course, now I don’t remember what it was. It was purple so that was mostly why I picked it.

My second gift that I made for most of my confidants was this homemade milk bath. I just loved the natural ingredients in it and I struggle with incredibly dry skin in the winter so I thought hey! I made a double batch and also bought pretty containers and placed it into it. It was super easy to make and I am very happy to say since I have made it I have taken two milk baths and I love it. It doesn’t provide much scent which maybe good for some. I wasn’t really looking for a great smell and more to combat dry skin, so it worked perfectly. I would venture to guess an essential oil of your choice would be fine to add. Just make sure it is natural. I wouldn’t want to muck it up with unnatural chemicals. A lavender or lemongrass would probably be really good and probably add some great benefits. I was going to put a pretty ribbon around it like in this one and I even bought it. But once I got it into jars with the measuring utensils I bought I loved the natural look so I left it. This is a great and easy gift to put together for a fairly low cost. I do recommend doing a nice dry milk. I used the vitamin D goat milk to ensure that it had the quality I was after for gifts. I am guessing you could use a generic dry milk, but I am guessing you will lose some of the silkyness that is provided by the higher concentration of fats in goats milk.

I also did several of these color themed gifts for my gifts. I started out shopping for nail polishes that reminded me of my friends and then built their gifts around that. I bought candies, make up bags, manicure stuff all that centered around how I saw their personalities. It was super fun. I even did one for a secret santa exchange for someone I didn’t know that well and went with my old faithful favorite color of purple and I loved it so much. I had a hard time giving it up. The funny thing is it ended up being similar to a first year teacher survival kit which I didn’t intend, but she is a first year teacher so it worked.

MommyJargon and the Precious Gift

So after agreeing not to buy each other gifts for Christmas, my husband surprised me with an ipad.

Sure I cheated too.  I bought him cute little animal cable ties to make running all the cables for our TVs and computers fun, and I bought him special silly putty that cleans keyboards.

I spent a whopping ten bucks.

I got over my petty fairness issued pretty quickly though.  Because ipads are cool.

So cool that I have taken to have fake tummy aches just so I can steal the ipad and lock myself in the bathroom with it instead of sharing it with my 4 year old, who has developed some sharing issues of his own too.

So cool that when I carry it around the house I look like I am hugging it.

So cool that I often sleep with it next to me on my night stand.

My husband has taken to calling it “My Precious” while imitating Gollum’s voice.

Saturday Sharing….

Sorry guys, I was on hiatus. I was dealing with some huge issues at work. I needed one hundred percent focus on that and my family. So……Here I am.

Last weekend sharing….

mj3So last weekend MommyJargon and I went away for our annual Christmas shopping getaway. We started it last year and continued it this year. Remember I had some long rambley post about my anxiety and the trip. Amazingly, there were none of those issues this year and it really let me let my guard down and relax. Maybe it was because we went to my old stomping grounds and it felt more familiar.

We kind of even went without a real plan of attack. We just decided to get a hotel in this area and shop till we were sick of it there and matriculate out. Well the matriculating did not happen. This mall area is incredible and we didn’t even come close to going to every store we wanted too. And we shopped hard.

But a few of the highlights of our shopping trip were good enough to talk about. First, at Tiffany and Co. a place that had a waiting list for shoppers to talk to their representatives. A list that was carried by a guard at the store and that let us pass by without asking us if we needed added to the list. So I guess they were making assumptions. It was only on our way out a guard recognized MommyJargon’s Detroit Redwings sweatshirt and made small talk.

Then the going rate for normal every day clothes at this mall was 300-400 dollar shirts that I found similar the next day at Kohls for a 10-12 bucks and even cheaper with my 20% coupon. It was neat to see the things and people we saw at this mall. I think at one point MJ said, “This is how the other half lives.” Even the food court was ‘high class’. Not that that is a bad thing. It is just so different than what a normal Indiana mall has. We FRY everything and we don’t serve lentils in a regular rotation.

sammyBut no worries there was plenty of bad food to be had. Especially when we visited the Cheesecake Factory which was straight out of Las Vegas if  you ask me. TALL, GRAND and INDULGENT surroundings. And maybe that is how they are every where. It has been years since I have been to one, but I know I would remember that kind of set up and I completely do not remember that kind of grandness! But the food was so yum! And even if my fries felt a little fancily served I still remember I was a born and breed Hoosier.

A cool store we did find (well there were a few I will share) was Hot Mama. A store we originally passed thinking MATERNITY. But after seeing the mannequins in scantily clad chemises we did a u-turn. Okay not really, we just realized there models were not pregnant. They had some really expensive stuff but their sale rack was fairly awesome! I didn’t buy anything, but I wanted too. I just couldn’t find anything. And then there was Madewell which was an extremely awesome store and pretty much how I dress. I wear fairly muted colors, suttle designs and earthy tones. Plus they had some super cool toys for kids. I did buy something there to stick in the kiddos stockings. 😉  I also think MJ thwarted a shop lifter there. The girl dropped something out of her purse. A purse which I noticed was considerably mj2empty except for rows and rows of earrings, jewelry and bracelets. She dropped a hair thing and MJ gave it back to her. She acted goofy and then abruptly wanted to get out of line and leave. West Elm was a super cool store. Think Crate and Barrel meet and marry Pottery Barn and had a baby. West Elm would be it. It was a fun store, too! And last but not least Urban Outfitters was a super fun store that all kinds of ‘adult’ stuff. And I don’t mean adult like that. I mean adult like bad words, gifts that make you laugh and they had cool hipster clothing. I could have spent hours in that store looking at everything, but it was super packed. And I don’t play well with others so a quick buzz through and a few giggled shared between MJ and I and we moved on vowing to come back at a less busy time.

Food Sharing…

In the face of all that luxury I suppose you can say we found our way back to our roots withmj dinner at Friday’s. Where the food seemed fairly Hoosier like (or American I suppose). We had the most awesome spinach flatbread that was smothered in cheese that I ‘deconstructed’ (MJ’s words all weekend I am a deconstructionist on the food). But the best part of the evening was MJ and I placing mint leaves on our teeth and talking because you gotta be super cool to pull that off and we did. We both  had really good meals here too! I would definitely eat there again. Although our first pick of P.F. Changs was a one and half hour wait.

But I must admit there was nothing better than the breakfast we had the next day at Cafe Patachou and their broken egg sammy was one I have been making at home for years. Who would have thought making a restaurant out of it would work so well?  But it does and they do that by luxurious breakfasts that make you feel comfort and goodness. So much so I served Cafe Patachou sammys for dinner last night at home just to recreate the yumminess! Down to their perfect cinnamon toast. All recipes I will share eventually!

And today I doing Christmas shopping with my guy. Now who wants to venture to guess it will not be as fun as it is with MJ? Who wants to guess how many fights we get into? He is so simplistic in shopping for girls. Just get it and go. I gotta think about present sizes, amounts of money I have spent on each one and proportion it all so it looks equal. He just says, “Are we done?”

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Wanna see my other Saturday Sharings? Go here.

MommyJargon was Lost

Lost.  Not in a bad way.  Just lost in my daily life with my family and friends.  Here are a few things that have been occupying MommyJargon’s time and keeping her away from blogging:

First up-Eating.   I have been gaining weight like crazy.  I had to go buy all new pants!  Sure, I am not happy about it, but at the same time I have decided to not be hard on myself.  I can blame not exercising, eating too much junk – these are true, but I am choosing to spend time with my kiddos, my family, my friends instead of exercising.  As far as food choices go, I know I could do better, but it is so hard!  Especially with all the Holidays coming up and living in an area where the weather has been really cold and dark just makes me want to eat!!!  So, I will be happily stuffing myself just like the Thanksgiving turkey until my new pants are too tight, then I might head back to the gym.

My husband has had a lot of extra work lately and has been working very long hours for over a month now.  One of the reasons for no working out in the evenings…  While it did make me crazy on a few nights when I had a hard time making supper, running the kiddos to their activities, and helping my mother-in-law, I am so grateful that he has a job.  His company, as well as my father’s, might not make it another 4 years with the way the president likes to tax businesses.  We will jump that hurdle when we get to it though, no need to worry about something that hopefully won’t happen.

My mother-in-law had a health scare and ended up having a very serious heart problem resulting in a major heart surgery.  For weeks I spent my spare time taking care of her.  She had some complications when she got home and she really had a rough recovery.  She is doing amazing now though and the entire process has made us closer.

My niece just had her first baby, a boy, who came early, but is healthy and sweet!  I am so glad I am out of the baby stages here at my house, but I do miss holding a little one!

Lastly, my 3 kiddos have been making me so proud, doing amazing jobs in school, at home, and at church.  They were complimented on their behavior, personalities, and grades from their teachers.  At home they have been helping me clean up the house and they have even been trying to get along better and not fight.  Our church started sending cards home with the kids each week with activities for them to do during the week and my kids have done them on their own and are very excited about them.

On facebook this month so many people are posting something they are thankful for each day.  I love reading these posts and I think it such a wonderful idea.  I decided to do that here, but all in one day.  The lazy girl’s thankful list!

1.  My parents- they gave me life, they give me love, they give me guidance.

2.  My husband- he loves me even when I think I am unlovable.

3.  Mommy Rhetoric- she is the sister I always wanted, she is generous, loving, intelligent, and hilarious.

4.  My church- I never felt like church was for me until I walked through those doors.

5.  My big brother- he played Barbies with me when were were kids, he protected me, he makes me laugh.

6.  My country- where I can vote, work, marry, have children, go to church- all of my own free will.

7.  My education- it gave me a wonderful job, experiences, and helped shape me into who I am.

8.  My husband’s job- it has supported us, let me be a stay at home mom, and gave us opportunities to travel that we wouldn’t have had.

9.  My children- each one gives me so much joy and they are the ultimate gift and highlight of my life.

10. Jesus- without Him, there would be no hope.

MommyJargon Makes Stuff

I really like to make stuff.  I know how to sew.   Sort of, anyway.  I know how to knit.  I used to teach classes.  I also love all kinds of other crafts- jewelry making, painting, drawing, paper mache, the list goes on and on.  If there is an aisle for it at the craft store I want to do it!

I had a couple of productive weeks as far as craft projects go.   Here are a few things that I made, finished, and took pictures of!  (That last one always being the most difficult to remember to do!)

Here was a plain ‘ol Hanes sweatshirt that I made a little more snazzy.  I found the inspiration for this one on Pinterest.

DSC01335 Mine.    i want!Pinterest.

I went with fewer strips since the sweatshirt was already very purple.  I can always add more strips later if I get bored with it.

I was going to make a circle skirt from this fabric, but once I got started I didn’t have quite enough fabric anymore since I have gone up a size (or two…)  So 2/3 of the skirt is the circle pattern and the front 1/3 is a more narrow wedge.  I really like the result, it lays in a very flattering way.  The only problem is without the extra fabric in the front it is very difficult to get on and off over my hips.  So, I need to add a zipper instead of having just an elastic waste.  If my fabric had some stretch I would have been good though.

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I also finished a couple of knitting projects that have been tucked away for a few months.

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I made the green baby pouf from a free Lion brand pattern and for the large brown and tan pouf I used the same pattern, but doubled my yarn and needle size.  The color block green and white pillow I just made up on my own.

Are you crafty too?  I would love to see pics of the things that you have made- send me a link!

And just who is this transition hard on?

People ask me all the time? “How are the girls doing with your new work schedule?” I sit back and I think for a minute. I know in my head I should offer some sort of mixed bag of suffering sprinkled with a little bit of they know it will get better. But nope….my girls have handled it good. Sure they miss me not being there when they get home. Occasionally, they will have a tiny tear or two but mostly what I have seen is a whole lot more reliance on their Daddy. I have been accidentally called “daddy” probably about twenty times this week. And while it does cause me to wince a little, I am finding ways to be okay with it.

I have spent the last 11 years being the main one and they accidentally called him “Mommy”. They have these new people in their lives that they are learning to rely on and even more importantly they are relying on themselves more. All of these are good things, right?

Then why am I struggling so? I tried talking to my guy about it and in natural “I am a guy I will fix it way” he says, “Well you can quit.” But that doesn’t solve anything. I don’t want to quit. I love my job. I love being a graduate student. I love being a mom. But I cannot seem to put it all together and make it work.

Yesterday I woke up with the weight of the world on my shoulders. My friends lives have continued on. They operate on normal mode. My family life seems to operate just fine without me. But my life it feels like one big juggling match and I keep dropping the ball. It was too much. I cried. I finally admitted that I may have finally bit off more than I can chew. How can I do and be all that I am supposed to be and do it to the standards that I have set for myself and that people have come to expect? I can’t.

I did what any grown adult would do in this situation. I began crying in a crying hiccup hissy fit and I called my mom. I confessed, “It is too much. I can’t do it all. I am overwhelmed so much that I can do nothing.” I think that was the first time in my adult life I have ever proclaimed such. She was silent. What words of wisdom did you have for me sweet mother?

She says, “Shannon, you need to lower your expectations on yourself. And know this is not forever.” No it didn’t really help but I don’t think it is ironic that that would be the fourth time I have heard that in two weeks. I know what it means and I know it is the solution but that does not make it easier. I have such high expectations for everything I do. But I will never survive this season in life if I don’t follow her advice.

My OCD is over the top and my hands are raw as hamburger because often when my life feels out of control my way of controlling it is through antibacterial soaps and sanitizer. Thankfully, I have MommyJargon who has listened to me endlessly proclaim it is getting better despite the fact that I am not always sure I buy it. She pretends like she does every time.

My mom told me, “Give it 90 days…In 90 days it will feel different.” I am holding her to that. It is so hard to be good at anything when you feel like you suck at everything. The hardest part is the people who I thought would support me and love me through this are already tired of asking, “Are you okay?” I know it is easy, I am not normally a high maintenance person to have around. But I am lately. I know it.

The most difficult part of this transition is going from the mom I was to the new mom I am. I cannot be the first person there always. And I realize that is on me. I add my own guilt and I need to find a way to excuse myself. But I can’t. I am just not there yet. It says way less about those taking care of my child than it does me.

But I know this is a season and I know there is nothing I would change to alleviate this hard part. I know that when you are uncomfortable that you are being pushed to the brink of who you are and the only way to make it the other side and is to hang the heck on. So I hang on. I cry a lot. I hope a lot and I know I am right where I belong.

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button screenplay

MommyJargon Reads Again!

I read a book the other day.   It was an epiphany kind of book.

I know, I know!  I adore books and whichever one I am reading is the best book of all times and a life-changer.  Seriously though, this one REALLY was.  Plus some parts were laugh out loud funny.

After I finished it, I thought-  “Phew!  I am so glad I am not the only crazy person on this planet!”  In fact, I thought why do I even hide all my craziness inside?  It is stressful, it is time consuming, and it makes me seem snobby or mentally slow.  I still claim shy though, I really am sometimes shy.

I have decided to just let the crazy out.  The best part is that maybe the people around me will let their crazy show a little more too.  Maybe.

I won’t have to take too long to answer people by trying to figure out the acceptable way to say things.    I may not even edit all the swear words out!  Because eventually if you stick around me long enough you will find that I can cuss like a sailor.

Seriously though,  I have always had to pay very close attention to that little filter that thoughts go through before they become words.  I get very nervous and just don’t say anything sometimes because I am afraid I will slip and say something crazy like, “Your lips look like they would be soft to kiss.”  at very inappropriate times to people that I really shouldn’t say things like that to.  I don’t actually want to kiss their lips or anything, it is just more like an observation.  But I know it will sound weird.  So instead I am trying to figure out something else to say, but I can’t.  All I can think of is their lips.  Or my thoughts may jump to something else by then.  Like a line from a movie for example, that still wouldn’t be quite right to say out loud.  So I just stay quiet until the filter finally finds something that doesn’t need an explanation after it.

The author from the book has similar issues.  And many more, to be honest.  I think my filter may work a little better than hers, but the point is that she still has people who love her the way she is.  She says her weird thoughts, gets the weird looks, tries to explain, then everyone just moves on.

Who knows, the soft lips person may have totally taken that as a compliment.  Maybe.

MommyJargon Likes

Some things are just too good not to share with your buds.  Chocolate may not ever be one of those things, in case you were wondering.  I will share a few other things that have been making me happy though!

The blog, Putting Me Together, has been a lot of fun to look at.  Very inspiring as I like to start dressing nicer in the fall than my usual 5K T-shirts and Nike Walmart shorts I wear all summer.  The author is so cute and I love her style.

Another blog that I have been subscribed to for long time is Natalie Dee.  Every day at midnight a new comic is posted.  I have to say they almost always crack me up.  She also has another daily comic called Married to the Sea, in case you want to check that one out too.

I picked this comic to share because ever since Mommy Rhetoric clued me in that chicken legs can be made in the oven and not just fried, I have had to make them for kids 1-2 times a week!

The last blog I want to share is Six Sister’s Stuff, a food blog that occasionally throws in a craft too.  Every recipe I have tried from them has been really good even with my picky kiddos!

I finally ventured in to our local Sally Beauty Supply after not shopping there since the store opened.  I broke out my club card (which I had not lost, amazingly!) and saved some moolah when I bought these two things that I ended up loving:

A product thumbnail of Nail Bliss Bling Cosmic LightsA product thumbnail of Beyond The Zone Rock On Dry Shampoo

I normally never wear nail polish because it begins chipping within 48 hours.  I have tried lots of different polishes and “tricks”, but nothing had ever worked.  The bling stickers lasted 12 days (!) before I took them off.  Also because I have very short nails I can actually cut the sticker in half and have twice as many- excellent deal in my book!

I used to always wash my hair every day, but since it has finally gotten longer it was getting very dry and brittle.  Part of that is caused by my hypothyroid, but over washing wasn’t helping either.  So now I have been using Beyond the Zone dry shampoo on the days that it goes up in a shower cap.  If I have any oily-ness around the scalp it takes it away and it leaves my hair smelly powdery fresh, kinda reminds me of baby powder.  It also adds a little volume which I love since my hair tends to be on the flat, stringy side.  Don’t I sound lovely?

Well, it may not be as wonderful as chocolate, but it is close- Biscoff Spread is absolutely yummy on bagels, bread, toast, or off the spoon!

I have only had the creamy version- and I can’t really say enough about how yummy this stuff is!  I think I have had some for breakfast or a snack almost everyday since discovering it earlier this summer.  Has it added to my crazy weight gain this summer?  No, I am sure it hasn’t!

Nope, not at all!

Really!

MommyJargon, the Annoying

Last week while Oldest and Middle kiddos were in school, I decided that youngest needed some major cramming for preschool.  So far he had resisted all of my attempts at teaching him to write his name, sing the alphabet song, and count higher than 5.

I dove right in,  after breakfast he wanted to play with Magnetix.  (This toy is no longer made, sadly.)So while he was building,  I made little basic shapes: triangle, square, rectangle, etc.  I was telling him the names of them, then began asking him which was which.  He put his hand up and said, “You are messing me up!   I am trying to build!”

The next activity was playing catch.  I decided it would be fun to count each throw we made.  After a few passes with me counting, Youngest dropped the ball and decided he didn’t want to play anymore.

I tried to turn everything we did into an educational opportunity.  Youngest seemed to sense the “teacher mode” immediately and would give me a look that read “I am on to you.  You will not succeed.”

One rainy afternoon, I was out of ideas and said, “What do you want to do?”  Youngest replied, “Let’s snuggle and rest on the couch and watch cartoons.”  So we did.  And they weren’t the educational kind either.

After that I let up on the poor little guy.  I was obviously driving him crazy.  I would throw out an educational statement here and there, but I was no longer shoving it down his throat.

Over the weekend while I was cleaning (ok, really I was playing a game on my Nook, but that sounds lazy) Youngest came up to me carrying a big Magnetix thing he had built.  “Look!  I made a rectangle!”  He said.  And it was!  It was a great big rectangle!  I got a little teary and said, “That is the best rectangle I have ever seen!”

And it was.