More Branching Out with New To-Do Lists…

Alternative titles for this post included the following: “How to Survive Teenagers in the House,” “Keeping Your Sanity with Teens,” “If you thought my nagging is annoying, kid, wait until you experience yo mama’s supernagging!” and “Help Me, I Have a Teenaged Son.”

Honestly, I can’t really use any of the above alternates because The Boy is a growing into a fabulous young man. If I could harness a fraction of his drive and (hyper-)focus there is no telling WHAT I could accomplish.

So, the boring, non-antagonistic title will have to stay for now.

My strategy for success (my own, not the The Boy’s- he shall have his own) is to keep discovering new… everything: restaurants, recipes, cocktails, hikes, sports, books, friends, music, etc. Hopefully I will keep my sanity by continuing to grow myself as I watch my two teens grow.

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Scratch Lab’s cookbooks- for feeding those athletes you love
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The Main Man, The Bard, Wm Shakespeare

The Short List for 2017

  • Piano lessons for me (or online tutorial… anyone have any suggestions?)
  • Complete OpenCulture.com’s Survey of Shakespeare’s Plays
  • Complete a 15 mile mountain bike race this June while The Husband makes short work of the longer race
  • Tear through some fab recipes in my Scratch Labs cookbook. Because I don’t want to be eating icky bars or energy gels on the above mentioned ride.
  • Finally watch Downton Abbey (because I have to do something about this Sherlock hangover. Moffat and Gatiss- can we have more than three episodes per series? Pretty Please?)
  • And probably the most important on this list, give The Boy enough rope to learn, grow and thrive- and trust that he wont hang himself. And try to shut my mouth shut. Because he is one heck of an awesome guy.

 

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Did you know that if you wear a green Christmas Sweater, the camera will add at least 15 pounds in a photo? Beware. Or it could just be the stress of raising a teenager. Either way, beware.

Good Old Friends and Complete Silliness

What happens when you put a family of five into an SUV for thirty hours of nearly straight-through driving to visit their old friends and attend the Rose Bowl? They have fun. We helped our old friends get their wiggles out by putting them through our Tourist Treatment, specially constructed for Hoosiers.

You get some terribly centered selfies…

Some Christmas Card worthy photos…

 

A whole LOT of drinking…

 

And pics that were as much fun to see and share as the whole day.

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Seven years ago we were all canoeing on Sugar Creek in central Indiana:

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And this is the ridiculousness into which we have degraded:

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“Look, Mrs. J! I bet she’s not wearing any undies!”

 

 

 

 

New Things to NOT Do Again…

#1 Take The Boy to an R Rated movie.
#2 Gain five pounds from all the new foods tried.
#3 Try to cram too much stuff into each month (a book, a project, a play, a tourist attraction, four new restaurants, four new menus, a date night, a couple of random acts of kindness, including moving one kid out of state and moving a new kid into our home… August was a bit… much).

Dat Tree -or- If Mamma Ain’t Happy…

Last year’s Christmas Tree was too small, I decided. So were the previous trees we have brought into our living room. As a matter of fact, we’ve never had a really big tree in the house before. I arrived at this decision based on only one fact: the trees are too small because I’ve not been able to put up even half of the ornaments the family has made or collected.

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The tree is in the middle of this pic… see? Doesn’t look that huge, right?

The Husband and The Boy were helplessly dragged into doing my bidding, and I bid the purchase of a Twelve Foot Tall Christmas Tree. I swear it didn’t look as big at the tree farm, growing next to a couple other big ‘uns.

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Has The Boy gotten smaller or The Tree gotten bigger?

Aaaannd here it is:

The amount of profanity that was uttered in my living room in the course of getting this tree erect is matched only by the amount of times we laughed at the ridiculousness of its size. Another frequently sworn oath was “Never again!”

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The Roomba has quit.

Happy, the Valentine’s Day Roomba (don’t be jealous of the depths of romantic gifting in our home), has put in his official 48 hour notice.

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Dat Tree!

Let the ornamentation begin! I hear that today is National Cocoa Day, someone bring me a mug of hot chocolate as we decorate this bad boy. It’s not too much to ask, is it?

 

“Catchy Marketing Win,” (said in my BEST bad French accent)

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Image from AdWeek.com and if you click the link you’ll be taken to Ad Week’s article about the music and marketing behind these ads. You know… if that’s your thing.

Ever see that goofy “Got Milk” commercial with all the tempting, delicious looking sweet treats swirling around on the screen? Are you, like me, then stuck with the equally goofy music banging about the inside of your skull? Especially niggling is the blip of lyric that sounds like French: “maintenant bla bla bla bla…”

Fourteen seconds of seraching, and the Power of the Almighty Google turned up this (click through to the You Tube link that will appear in the middle of the viewing window to view):

This video is hilarious. Now I’m going to have to search for New Zealand’s comedy/music group “Flight of the Conchords” on iTunes and buy some of their stuff. And, after my music downloading is finished, I will need to go pour me a tall, cold one of milk to go with the cinnamon roll I am suddenly craving… you win, California Milk Processor Board, THIS time.

 

What to Do When the Turkey Baster is Basted…

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Pan left from this view and you can see how many empty growlers are on the kitchen table…

How do you get your Thanksgiving Turkey safely from the roasting pan to the carving board? Your crispy, tender, perfectly cooked bird is at risk of taking a spectacular dive onto the kitchen floor- it’s probably twenty pounds of hot, slippery yumminess.

And what if the head Turkey Chef is cooked? And all the other family Sous Chefs are probably equally toasted by this time in the family’s day, too.

You think ahead and equip your kitchen with the equivalent of a Turkey Gaff, that’s what you do!

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This bird was perfect, by the way… way to go, Chef!

This Good Grips Poultry Lifter is a good idea, way better than the two wooden spoons that we have traditionally shoved unceremoniously into either end of the bird… ouch! We hardly knew him, after all, how rude! But seriously, anyone with grip issues (arthritis, strength, etc…) will appreciate the big, rubber, ball-shaped grip at one end and the fork-y hooks,  general physics, and gravity proved that this design is way better than two flimsy spoons.

I should thank the family for letting me throw them under the bus in the name of humor (“Artistic License,” is just another way of exaggerating for the sake of a good laugh, really).

Is It Curtains for My Parents’ GROOVY Wallpaper???

My parents have been doing a lot of remodeling, so I thought I’d feature one of their projects tonight. Because really- look at this awesome wallpaper. I said they should keep it, but instead of listening to me, I got told what I could do with my opinion…

I lobbied hard for this wallpaper to be saved because just THINK HOW DELIGHTED SOMEONE will be to purchase a home with vintage 1978 foil wallpaper when they finally sell this home eventually! Notice Mom modeling the best of two centuries-  iPhone in hand, vintage 1970’s wallpaper behind her.

This stuff is too groovy to retire, don’t get rid of it! People love vintage accessories in vintage homes!

*****Six Months Later*****

And here’s the finished room… notice how some of the wallpaper is still in the hallway:

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TA DAH!!!!! Looking good, ‘rents!

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Powder Room? More like Power Room!
But don’t worry, there’s still the bathroom! I’m sure it’s days are numbered, though…