Monday, November 30, 2009

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause

Sometimes Santa comes in the guise of a perfect stranger.

While J and I were browsing the Target toy department (of which he is no longer afraid, yay!) on Saturday, and older German woman approached us carrying a Target bag. She asked if J had any games yet, and I said no, he didn't. She went on to tell this story:

She'd bought Candyland for her granddaughter, but the little girl already had the game. She didn't have the receipt, so she couldn't return the game, so she was looking for someone who didn't already have the game to pass it along to. No one had yet taken her up on her offer, and she was beginning to think she'd be stuck with the game indefinitely.

After she finished her story, she asked us if J would like the game, perhaps for a future Christmas since he's so young. I was floored and grateful, and not entirely sure how to react to this random act of kindness. I know the games were on sale, but to think that a total stranger just gave J a Christmas present is very touching. He is too young for it, but at worst we can use the cards to teach him his colors.

This encounter reminds me of my favorite "real" Santa story ever. When I was a little girl, my family was poor. I had no idea how poor at the time. I thought everyone shopped at Payless and Goodwill. This was the year that we didn't go out to visit my grandparents in Illinois for once, and money was pretty scarce. Anyway, my mom was at a store chatting with the lady next to her in line at the register, and somehow it came out that she wasn't going to be able to buy my sister and I what we wanted for Christmas. I guess she mentioned some of the toys by name, but I'm not sure. Christmas morning came, and there was a large sack of toys in front of our garage. I was only about 4 or 5, so I can't remember for certain, but I think that the toys included a fantastic play kitchen with faucet knobs that turned and everything, which would be one of my sister's and my favorite items for several more years to come. How that stranger was able to deliver the toys to us on Christmas morning I may never know, but I do know one thing. The magic of Santa lives in those friends we haven't had the chance to know, and it is very, very real.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my BIL Jake's house. All of C's siblings (that live in this state) and their families were there, so it was total chaos, but it was great. The Great Pumpkin Dessert was a huge hit (thanks again to my fabulous friend Francisca!). We also had all the regular stuff. Poor little J didn't feel much like eating (his molars were bothering him, poor boy) but he did eat bread, so I guess that's good.

We did go see my grandma before we headed over to Jake's house. She was sitting in the dining room when we got there, so we took her back to her room and helped her get into bed. It was a bit heartbreaking. As soon as she was in bed she just curled up and went to sleep like a little mouse. I wish growing old didn't have to be so painful.

I am thankful that C and I both have jobs.
I am thankful that my grandmother has gotten to meet J, even if he is afraid of her.
I am thankful for my family.
I am thankful for my house.
I am thankful for my health and the health of those I care about.

I hope your Thanksgivings were memorable and full of love, family, and food.

I hope your days served to remind you of your blessings, as mine did, rather than to act as a prelude to Christmas shopping.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What I Got...

I realized that I never filled the citizens of the blogosphere in on the details of my "free" shopping spree! I know you are all just hanging on the edges of your seats. Or balancing. Something.

Anyway, it was truly amazing. I bought J a 2 pack of Gerber blanket sleepers-with DINOSAURS ON THEM!- (only $7.99, thanks to a handy $2 off coupon I got at Gerber's website!), and I bought Twilight. Yeah. Oh, and I got J some neat stocking stuffers from the Target $1 bins. Have I mentioned that I LOVE the $1 bins? I got him a Richard Scarry book about opposites, and two little wooden vehicles (one's like a dump truck or something, and one is a helicopter) because J really loves vehicles.

J is wearing his new jammies tonight and kept lifting up his feet to look at the "saurs" on them. *Gush* He's so stinkin cute!

Except when he tells the dogs to "shup" (shut up)...well, ok, that's cute too but I am trying to stop saying it so he will hopefully stop too.

Scratch #42 off the list!!

Yay! I've read 50 books this year. Wow. That's pretty cool. I've got several more to read, so we'll see how many I get to before NYE. I have changed #43 so that my goal for next year is to read 75 books because 50 wasn't really a challenge, other than trying to read books that I hadn't read before.

I am currently reading The Handmaid's Tale and Twilight (again). I am nearly done with both, though The Handmaid's Tale is for January's book club. For December we're reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, which I haven't read before but I have a lovely illustrated copy that I bought last Christmas. I plan to start reading it to J the day after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

State of the Finger Address

I got my stitches out today. Not bad at all. Only one bled a teeny bit but none of them hurt. My finger is a little bit infected (BOO!) just to prove that no matter how clean you keep it, getting a bit of pumpkin and germs in when you cut it can create infection, so I get to take Keflex. Whee. No biggie, really. I don't mind Keflex at all. Amoxicillin (totally random, but spell check suggests Amontillado as it does not recognize Amoxicillin- hee hee) makes me puke, so I'd rather take just about anything than that. Or sulfa, because I am allergic to that. Did you know that most people with sulfa allergies are also allergic to latex? Interesting, no? I am one of those people. Neato. Or not.

So anyway, I am excited because last night while grocery shopping/picking up my "happy pills" at the pharmacy, I got a coupon for a $20 Target gift card with new prescription at the pharmacy! So J and I get to go shopping for free! YAY!! I am not sure what I'll get yet. I may just be lame and get J some new jammies and me some new long sleeved shirts or something. I feel like I should get C some shoes, but those are way more than $20 so I'm thinking they'll have to wait until we get our Christmas money. We also need some new tupperware containers, as a certain toddler **cough cough J cough cough* has done away with many of the ones we had.

Anyway, in summary: my finger is now stitch free but slightly infected so I get to buy a new Rx and get to go shopping with the $20 gift card that comes with it. Or, to quote one of C's favorite "sayings": So I was pimping some hos and found $20.

Maybe that doesn't exactly work. Hmm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Could someone just wrap me in bubble wrap?

Because between the pumpkin incident on Sunday and a table leaf falling on my foot/ankle this morning, I think I need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Adventures in Pumpkin Processing

I prefer fresh pumpkin to canned, any day. I have been baking and processing my own pumpkin since C got his first apartment, so I was about 18 at the time. My first homebaked pie was good, but since then they have only improved. The first time I processed pumpkin, I baked it until the rind came off easily, then mashed it with a potato masher to the best of my ability (neither of us had a blender). Since that first attempt I have refined my technique. The food processor works better than a blender, and draining the pumpkin is a must (it should look about like smoothly mashed potatoes when done- an amusing tie-in to my early attempts!). This year I tried baking the pumpkin in our dutch oven rather than wrapped in foil- for about 1-2 hours at 350 degrees. I am very pleased with the result. Do be sure to let the pumpkin cool before trying to scoop it off the rind (a large metal spoon works great).

I also brine the pumpkin seeds (nothing special, just add a bunch of salt to water and soak them for a few hours) and then bake at 250 degrees for about 1-2 hours. Yum!

As a "special" addition to this year's pumpkin, I added at trip to the ER (ok, Urgent Care, but ER sounds so much more dramatic!) between the pumpkins. Yep, that's right. I was making that first stab into the pumpkin and my hand slipped, and sliced open my pinky. Click here if you want to see a really big, blurry picture of my 4 stitches (taken with my phone, which is why it sucks. No, I still haven't gotten the camera fixed.) I find it pretty hilarious that tinypic suggests purchasing a mug with a picture of my wound on it. C was at work when I did this, and J was napping, and I didn't have a car or the car seat. I did manage to wrap my hand up in an ace bandage with a paper towel to absorb the blood. After a series of progressively calmer phone calls to family members that live in the area and have cars, I eventually called C at work to come home and take me to the ER. My poor stepdad was the first person I spoke to, I started crying halfway into my first sentence! After 2 hours in the ER, plus a few comments about how good I got myself, and compliments on my assessment of the wound (while holding it under the cold water I made sure I could bend my finger and had feeling) and my wrapping job, I got 4 stitches. I get them out on Sunday. Things seem to be healing pretty well, but I did manage to slice through a small nerve so I have a little numb patch on the back of my finger. I've been assured that it will heal and I'll regain feeling. Good times. I did make it to almost 27 years old before I managed to injure myself badly enough to need medical intervention, so that's cool.

Anyway...I made some yummy pumpkin-oatmeal muffins with a little bit of the pumpkin I got done. I'll post the recipe later. The moral of this story? Tena shouldn't be allowed to use knives when C isn't home.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th!

Happy Friday the 13th! I have never had a horrible Friday the 13th. Ever. In my entire life (that I remember). If anything, those days tend to be better than average, and today kept up with that trend, aside from when I decided to weigh myself because I "felt" skinnier. Yeah. Bad idea. My BMI is now 25.4, which for the first time in my life means I am overweight. Fortunately the rest of the day made up for that. Oh yeah, and the thing at Target with J. Hmm.

I just need to get my ass in gear and lose some weigh so I can actually be in good shape and not be totally useless after a 10-minute "run" that was mostly walking.

Anyway. Happy Friday the 13th, I hope your day and night was as nice as mine! You know, minus the feeling fat and wondering if someone called CPS because you showed your toddler a dinosaur.

Recent Freebies by Mail

I have gotten a ton of samples in the mail, most of which I've seen advertised on Money Saving Mom's blog. Here is list a few of the best, links if they actually are still available:

(Aside: I just noticed there is an amusing pattern in my freebies. Hmm. I wonder what the postman thinks?)

  • Free sample of Oregon Chai's latte mix, includes a $1 off coupon. I am enjoying this as I type, and the promotion has run out but they repeat it fairly frequently, so keep the link!
  • Free sample of 6 different Nescafe Instant Coffees (can't be worse than the well known chain's new instant stuff, can it?), just click on "Try it on us" and sign up. I haven't gotten any spam, so it's well worth signing up.
  • Kotex Sample pack from WalMart. Came with several different pads and pantiliners, plus at least 2 coupons. Good way to try their pads, which I don't usually buy. You may be able to sign up for this multiple times, I haven't tried that but they repost the ad once in a while.
  • Always Being Girl sample pack. The best feminine product pack, as it came with a coupon for a free package of Always Infinity pads. And no, you don't have to be 13 to sign up!
  • I also got a free travel/purse pack of OB tampons. Bonus? Came with two coupons. Fail? They expired in July.
I still haven't received the pregnancy test freebies I signed up for a few weeks ago, but I'm assuming they had a ton and a half of signups so I am going to give them another month before I give up on it.

How Not to Encourage Your Child to Like Dinosaurs

J loves dinosaurs, or "sows" as he calls them. He has dinosaur books and dinosaur jammies, and he delights in pointing out the "sows" on his shoes. I thought it would be neat to show him the big, red, roaring dinosaur they have on display at Target.

Apparently seeing something that is your size roaring and stomping around is pretty scary. Even scarier than that is showing him a small, molded plastic dinosaur that neither roars nor moves as an effort at demonstrating that not all dinosaurs are scary. That sent J into such a terror that people actually came from the next aisles over to look at me and see what I had done to my child, because surely only a child that is actively being abused cries like that. I told J I was sorry and carried him around a bit, but I may have gotten him off the dinosaur kick. I also managed to thoroughly terrify him of going down any aisle in the toy department. Oops. Well, you live, you learn.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Thank you, Veterans of America. Whether you fought in a war or not, you performed a service for our country and it is appreciated. Thank you Grandpas, for fighting in WWII. Thank you father-in-law, for fighting in Vietnam. Thank you Dad, for going to Korea.

Thank you for making our country what it is today.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dream Babies

I had a dream last night that I was pregnant. With triplets. Two boys and a girl, I believe. Most of the dream I was in labor. Good times, that. It was a really strange future-dream too, where the world was very different and dark and weird. Of course, the dream faded very quickly after I woke up.