Thursday, July 13, 2017

Bringing Back 25 Random Things About Me



Who remembers when posting 25 Random Things About Me was all the rage on Facebook? 

If you don't remember, it was this deliciously narcissistic exercise in self disclosure that was sort of irresistible. I loved reading 25 random facts about my Facebook friends almost as much as I loved writing my own list. Perhaps its popularity was because Facebook was still in its toddler years and we hadn't all become the gross over-sharers we are now. Maybe it was back when Facebook limited your characters so we weren't getting as much stuff off our collective chests as we would have liked. Who knows. 

At any rate, in the interest of getting reacquainted, I thought it would be fun to resurrect this oldie but goodie. I actually went back to my original Facebook list-some of them no longer apply but there were a couple timeless ones that I left in for good measure.  Like the one about tuna. Tuna was and will always be the devil. 

25 Random Things About Me
{The 2017 Version}

1.  I loved college. The nerdy parts, I mean. I loved taking notes and studying for tests. I loved class discussions. I miss that.

2.  A few years ago, I started attending a weekly writer's workshop. I meet on Monday nights with a group of 10 or so writers, many are novices, a few are published authors, with everything in-between. We critique each other's work with the help of our instructor. It has been the single greatest thing I've ever done for myself. I've found my tribe.

3.  I LOVE to travel. I get an actual high whenever I book a flight. 

4.  I love Disney World more than is probably socially acceptable for a grown woman. I'm a Disney Trip planning nerd. I know everything about the place. Go ahead-quiz me!

5.  My idea of hell is being forced to eat a tuna fish sandwich. 


6.  My four grandparents are each 100% Irish, Italian, German, and Norwegian, respectively.  It's on my bucket list to visit all of those countries. I've been to Germany, so three more to go!

7. I loathe winter. This makes living in Wisconsin sort of inconvenient. 

8.  I love that both of my kids were born on an even numbered day. It would have totally bugged me if they were born on an odd day. That's makes absolutely no sense, especially since my own birthday is an odd numbered date. I probably need help.

9. I'm lactose intolerant but ice cream is my most favorite thing ever so I eat it anyway. This is makes life extremely unpleasant for me and my entire family. It's worth it.

10. My favorite flower is a Peony. I really want to plant some peony bushes in my yard but it seems like a lot of work.

11. I'm kind of lazy (see number 10).

12.  I'm seriously considering getting a tattoo. I'm not really a tattoo kind of girl which is what makes it so appealing to me. 

13.  I have a well documented fear of rats. I once saw a rat the size of a cat walking in the gutter in downtown Chicago late at night and I was so scared I was literally frozen in my tracks and couldn't make sounds come out of my face. 

14. I love books. I love reading them and collecting them and looking at them and smelling them. I've been a total bookworm my entire life. This is a current photo of my dresser: I've read about half of these, the rest are on deck to be read next. I can't help myself.



15.  It feel like I've recently entered a new season of parenting and I love it. My kids are (almost) 12 and 9 now and are pretty self-sufficient. My butt-wiping days are over. I'm actually able to leave them home alone and that feeling of freedom is borderline euphoric.  While we still have our difficult drama-filled moments just as we always have, they are genuinely good and interesting people who, it seems, I have yet to completely screw up. Which is nice.



16. Despite loving my place on the parenting continuum, I can't confirm or deny that I got teary the other day at the grocery store watching another mom talk to her one year old whose scrunchy diaper butt was a perfect fit for the grocery cart seat. Those days are over for me, which, is sorta sad.  


17.  I've never fallen into the stereotype of a woman who loves shoes. I'm just not that into them. Disclaimer: rain boots don't count. 

18.  I hate housework and I'm horribly disorganized. This is a pic of all the junk I found in my kitchen drawers recently. Don't judge me. 


19.  I discovered last summer that I love camping. I'm a camper now. I camp. No one is more surprised by this than me...

20.  I really want to be the kind of person that works out all the time and says things like, "I get so cranky on days I don't get my workout in" and mean it...but I can't. I will never be that person. I do my best not to be a complete sloth and get some form of exercise in when I can but it will never, ever be my thing. 

21. I love dip. All kinds of dip. French onion dip, spinach dip, taco dip...if I could have a meal entirely comprised of various dips I would be in heaven.  Unless the dips have meat in them.  Meat dip is all kinds of wrong on a stick as far as I'm concerned. And no, I'm not a vegetarian otherwise. I am a dip vegetarian. Is that a thing? It is now. 

22. I compulsively buy blank journals that I don't need. I can't help myself. Blank pages and the prospect of someday filling them make me happy. 

23. I love water slides. I've been known to strap on the old mom suit and take a few turns down them along with the kids at the local pool. Much to the horror of the 17-year-old lifeguard who looks pained, like he wants to suggest that this might not be the greatest idea but can't muster the courage to confront me.  I offer this short video of said shenanigans for your viewing pleasure. You're welcome.

video


24.  We have an ancient Golden Retriever named Skyler who will turn 13 next month.  Our relationship started out rocky but she and I have moved past that and I've grown to adore her. One of her favorite things to do is to creep up behind me like a wounded soldier when I'm cooking, as though I won't notice. She's in reasonably good health but I know our days our numbered. I can't go there. Not yet. 


25.  Justin Timberlake and I are BFF's. Ok,that's not entirely true outside of the confines of my mind. Justin is probably not currently aware that I exist. But he was once, my friends, yes, he was. For approximately 30 seconds in 2012 he knew I was alive and said like, 5 actual words directly to me and I'm pretty sure bonds like that can never truly be broken. So there. 

Phew....that was a LOT harder and more self indulgent than I bargained for. My inner narcissist is going to be satiated for quite a while. 

But, it was fun to get my blogging juices pumping again. I'm a little rusty and truth be told, I feel worlds behind as far as all of the inner workings of the blogging world but whateves. I'm just going to keep writing and see where it takes me...

Now, your turn! Shout out a few quirky things about yourself that others may not know in the comments! I dare you!



XOXO,
JEN

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Filling Up My Cup {Again}





Who takes a four year hiatus from blogging and then dares to try and return? Apparently, me. 
Here goes nothing...

Here's the deal: I'm letting go of the pressure of having to apologize and explain myself to death. Henceforth, my plan is to just start writing about random/funny/interesting/weird stuff again and pretend that no time has passed. After this post, we'll just do this dysfunctional family style and never speak of this again.  I'm going to assume that we are the kind of friends that can go years without seeing other and then pick up where they left off without missing a beat. We're cool like that, right? Sweet.  


 To be clear, no one died, I wasn't placed in the witness protection program, and I have not been trapped under something heavy for the last four years (name the obscure movie reference for 10 bonus points). 

Really, all it was, at first, was that I needed a break. I started to feel like blogging was taking over my life and stressing me out instead of adding to it which went against the whole point of doing it in the first place.  And then, life got in the way and there always seemed to be an excuse not to write. After that, I just plain got lazy. For the longest time, I really wanted to come back-but too much time had passed and it felt like it would be weird to try and jump back in as though everything was the same. You know what I mean? 

It's like how after you graduate from high school there's a very short window of time, maybe a few months, where you can walk back into the gym and watch a varsity basketball game and it's still okay for you to be there. Folks are happy to see you, even. You have actual friends that still attend high school and no one questions your homecoming. Part of you feels kinda cool. But after that, it starts to get weird.  People look at you like, "What are you doing here? Your time has passed. Move on, loser." It was kind of like that.  Does that make any sense? No? Good. That means not much has changed. 

In the end, my instinctive need to write has won out.  FUMC has been calling to me in the night and begging me to return, so here I am.  Still dorky and mellow dramatic as ever, clearly. I've decided to go back to where it all started and just write for the sheer joy of it and not worry about anything else. In the last four years, I've come to understand that writing is actually what I'd like to do when I grow up and it's what makes me happy. So, I'm going to go ahead and do that which makes my skirt fly up, as they say, without worrying about my inner and outer critics, and hopefully good things will follow. 



If anyone is still out there, thanks for reading this meandering, rambling post. I have a lot of ideas for revamping this place a bit but all in good time.  Wanting everything to be perfect and a need to have it all figured out before I published another word was part of what was holding me back so I decided just to dive in and write something for Godsakes and figure it out later. Cause figuring it out later is still how I roll. 

Have any of you ever taken an extended blogging hiatus? How did you handle your reentry? I'd love some advice! 

In the meantime...I'm back, bitches! (Woo hoo!)

Disclaimer: Sorry for repeatedly calling you bitches. It just felt right. I got a little carried away. I meant that in a loving, you're my girl squad, I am woman, kind of way. But you probably knew that. So, never mind.
XOXO, 
 

Monday, April 15, 2013

What You Missed-Part One

  Happy Monday, Loves!

I swear to God, I do have some ideas for more creative blog posts rolling around in my head. Unfortunately, today's post is not one of those. 

Before I get to the really good posts, I feel compelled to fill you in on what you missed while I was away on my strange blogger's block hiatus....somehow, my weird OCD (or whatever this is) won't let me get passed recapping those 4 months before I can move on. I'm not sure what's up with that. I'm thinking that it's entirely possible I'm just certifiably crazy. It's not likely, cause I'm pretty sure someone would have said something to someone on my behalf in the last 36 years if that were the case, but you never know. Perhaps everyone I know has been wringing their hands and having whispered conversations like, 
 
"She knows she's crazy, right?" 
 
"I don't think so...someone should tell her." 
 
"That's awkward. I'm not going to tell her. You tell her." 
 
"Dude. I'm totally not having that conversation with her. What if she snaps?"
 
"She'll probably figure it out on her own eventually, right?"
 
"Probably. I mean, how can she not see how crazy she is?" 
 
"Yeah, you're right. Wanna go get some pizza?"
 
  I have issues...let's just leave it at that.
 
So, anyway. I believe I left you right after Thanksgiving.  Here's a recap of the first few months after that...
 
December
 
Christmas  came and went and we had a lovely holiday.  I got a new SLR camera and have been having loads of fun learning how to use it since then. Trust me, it's still very much a work in progress. 


There was cookie baking...
 
 


 
And sledding...
 
 
 

And lots and lots of snow....






And presents and celebrations and love...


January
 
 
Pretty much nothing except this happened in January. Seriously. I live in the frozen freaking tundra. You missed nothing.
 
February
 
February was a little bit more exciting (to be fair, it really had nowhere to go but up).  
 
 
 
 Husband and I went to New Orleans for the Super Bowl!! Well, I went to New Orleans to tag along with Husband who had tickets to the game but, that's a minor detail. This is us in the French Quarter.




 Jackson Square
 
  And with a drunken Homer Simpson on Bourbon Street
 
 
 
And with a sober (I'm assuming) Aaron Rodgers at the NFL Honors Award show. This is a picture of a the screen on someone else's camera. Sorry for the ghetto quality of the photo. 
 
I'm working on an entire post on NOLA...stay tuned.  
 
 
 Out of interest for your time, and (let's be honest) my shear laziness, I will save the March/April recap for another day.  
 
On another topic....it appears that while I was away the blogging Gods have decided to do away with GFC/Google blog reader?  WTF??  This is disconcerting.  I'm all confused and frightened now.  I guess I need to get my cookies moving on this.  So...I'm linking up with  the ladies at Northern Belle Diaries and Postcards From Rachel for their I heart Bloglovin' link up. 
 
 



So, that's that!

Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

xoxo,


 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hi. I'm Not Dead.



Imagine, if you will, that I am sheepishly poking my head into the room and waving a small, embarrassed hello. Cause that's what I'm doing in my head.

So, let's get the awkward explanations out of the way right off the bat. I was unexpectedly gone for a while.  A long while.  I'm not sure why, other than I tend to do that.  Fall off the face of the earth, that is. 

Nothing horrible happened, my family is fine. I'm fine. We're all fine.  I just needed a little break from blogging that I meant to last just through New Year's and now, well, it's freaking April.

Oops. My bad.

I get a little reclusive in winter...kind of like a crabby, hibernating bear. When I'm in that state, I feel like nothing I could write would be fun or funny or interesting and it all seems like way too much work anyway.  (Hmmm...depressed much, Jen?)  Yeah...if I'm being totally honest, I believe I do have a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder. (It's a real thing. I swear. Go Google it.) But the sun is slowly coming out and the snow and ice are finally gone and I can feel myself coming back to the land of the living.

I live in the wrong part of the country, that's for damn sure.  I dream of living in Southern California someday where I hear they have things like plants and sunshine and temps above 7 degrees between the months of November and April and all the people there walk around feeling all superior what with the sufficient levels of vitamin D coursing through their veins and all. Hell, I could move to Southern Ohio and have less of a barren winter wasteland to contend with than I do here in the fair dairy state of my birth...

But, that's neither here nor there. I am back now and I can already feel my blogging mojo returning. Just the act of logging back into my account and dusting off the cobwebs has triggered a whole slew of future post ideas.  Thanks to all of you who stuck around and to all of you who subtly and not so subtly (I'm talking to you A) pushed me to get back into the game. And thanks in advance for being patient with me as I find my voice again.  

This post is definitely sub par but I have to just write something and slap it up there or I'll never be able to start again. I was just reading back some of my old posts and I was relieved to realize that I'm not as big of a no talent ass clown as I thought. So, there's hope for better posts to come. I promise. 

Incidentally, I've always wanted to work the phrase "no talent ass clown" into a post....Yes! I AM back!

See you all (very) soon!

XOXO,



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

Hey, Loves!
Just wanted to let you know that I survived Stressgiving. And it turned out to not be so stressful in the end. Chaotic? Yes, but in a good way. It wouldn't be a holiday with my family if it were anything less. We had a lovely time and ate some pretty yummy food {if I do say so myself}.




The table...simple and lovely.
My sister and Husband. He was hard at work carving the bird, I think she was a little drunk. She had just finished explaining to me that she was going for "Modern Pilgrim" with her outfit. Let's just say it was a fun Thanksgiving...

XOXO,


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Stressgiving

Hey, Loves!
I had a different post planned for today but I just haven't gotten to it yet. I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year and as much as I promised myself not to get stressed out....I'm totally freaking stressed out.

As of right now, I have to take the dog to the groomer, go pick up my turkey, go get my phone off my desk at work where I left it last night (doh!), make one more stop at Target for a few last minute things including a replacement for the doughnuts that were supposed to be for Friday morning that my children just sniffed out of their hiding place and snarfed down while I was upstairs starting the 5 loads of laundry I have to finish by tonight.  I also need to change all the sheets, mop the floors, dust, vacuum, clean the bathrooms, put away laundry and start cooking. And it's not that I've been procrastinating, honest. Last night I was up late, grocery shopping, cleaning out the fridge, the pantry, and the linen closet in the guest bathroom. That's when all the lights in the guest bathroom decided to short out and explode. So my family will be peeing and showering in the dark while stepping on tiny shards of glass. Awesome.

Oh, and Husband casually announced that he was going to go out after work tonight with some co-workers and would be home late.  I gave him that look. You know the one? The blank stare down, "So help me God I will end you. Just try me." look and so I think maybe he'll be home on time. 


Other than that...I'm totally freaking jazzed for Thanksgiving. Truly, I am. Or, I will be. As soon as I start drinking.....Is noon too early? Noon seems about right. 

A glass of wine or four two and I'm sure the scene around here will start looking like this in no time.



But for real, I'm really grateful for all my blessings. Like all the extra wine I have in my fridge right now. And my family. But mostly, right now it's the wine.

Happy Thanksgiving! 


And by the way, make sure to head over to Carly's blog Lipgloss and Crayons today! I did a guest post featuring a delicious holiday side dish recipe....and a yummy, festive cocktail! While you're there, look around Carly's blog. She's my fashion idol. And even though I was in middle school when she was born, I totally want to be her when I grow up. 


XOXO,

Monday, November 19, 2012

DIY Glittery Thanksgiving Garland

Hello, friends.

I have a really cool little DIY Thanksgiving project to share with you today. I'm seriously in love with the way it turned out. Like, I keep walking past it and stopping to admire it and then I say to whomever is standing within ear shot, "I really love that. Isn't it cool? I'm so proud of myself." By now my family's eyes have begun to glaze over and they just reply with a patronizing, "Yeah. It's great." 

That's why I'm so glad I have you guys. You'll understand. It's a glittery Thanksgiving garland for the mantle. I really love it. Isn't it cool? I'm so proud of myself!

I found my inspiration here via Pinterest.





Here's how you do it:

You'll need wood letters, glitter, Mod Podge (or just regular school or craft glue would work too), a paintbrush or sponge applicator,cup cake wrappers work great for holding the glue and glitter, hemp twine, and a hot glue gun (I just got a mini one and it worked fine).




That's right you guys, I bought my first glue gun. Crap just got real up in here. I'm a real crafter now. You better watch yourselves.





Apply a generous coat of the glue to one side of the wooden letter. If you'd like to be neat an uniform I would suggest doing that yourself. If however, you prefer to have glue all over everything I recommend finding a four year old to handle that job for you.





If you can find one with a strange hand tattoo even better.





As soon as you're finished applying the coat of glue, generously sprinkle on the glitter.
 




Just a tip: If you're still utilizing that four year old from the last step, don't say the phrase "use a lot of glitter" out loud. That will result in approximately 257 times more glitter than is necessary being used. It will also result in finding glitter in strange places all over your house for approximately the rest of your life. You've been warned.

When you've coated the letter shake off the excess glitter and reapply to any bare spots. I found that it helped to kind of press the glitter into the wet glue before shaking the rest off.





Incidentally, this is the glitter I was using. I actually found a mix called "Autum Leaves." It was red, orange and green. Perfect!  And sorry about the creepy eyes of General Petraeus staring at you from behind the glitter.  That has got to be the strangest sentence I've ever typed. There are so many jokes hidden in there but I will leave it alone. This is a Thanksgiving craft post on a mom blog, after all.


Moving on...





After all of the letters are sufficently glittered let them dry for awhile. We ended up getting busy with other stuff and waited about two hours but that was probably way longer than necessary.


Cut a piece of the hemp to the length you want it and tie a loop at each end.






Grab your trusty hot glue gun, flip a letter over and apply a line of glue along the top. Then adhere it to the hemp. This stuff dries super fast so you have to work quickly. Hence there not being a picture of the actual gluing of the hemp step.





That's how they'll look once they're glued on. I recommend stretching out the twine and lining up the letters the way you want them with the correct spacing so you can just go down the line, flip each letter over, apply the glue and then stick it on the string.

Then that's it! You've got a perfect, sparkly Thanksgiving garland to enhance your holiday decor! 




Here's a close up of the finished garland. Have I mentioned how much I love this?

I've already planned out another one for each holiday..."Believe" for Christmas, "Be Mine" with a wooden heart in the middle for Valentine's day, "Lucky" with a wooden clover for St. Patrick's day, and of course, "Happy Birthday", "Happy Easter"...the possiblities are endless. 

Endless just like this post if I don't wrap it up.



 Have a sparkly Monday everyone!

XOXO,


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