Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thanksgiving, Clower Style

In case you haven't picked it up by reading this blog, let me just tell you flat-out that my family is goofy. We are weird and dorky and we love each other very, very much. My dad was career Air Force, so we moved around a lot when I was a kid. My mom is originally from Montana, my dad was born in Arizona but his parents are from Maryland, I was born in California, and my brother was born in Montana. Throughout the years, the closest we've ever lived to any of our immediate family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, & cousins) was when I was 3 and my brother was a newborn, and we were still four hours away from our grandparents. It was only natural that we'd grow to be an extremely close nuclear family, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

So here's a belated Thanksgiving post, heavy on the pictures, serving up a snippet of "Why I love my family."

Come Thanksgiving, my dad insists we refer to him
as "The Mashed Potato Maven."
Since I was five or six, our family has always played a "Turkey Bowl" touch-
football game on Thanksgiving morning with our friends and family.

Recognize that foil? Ooh yeah, it's mimosa time at the football game!

My mom's delicious cranberry-almond mini-muffins.

Fun fact: my mom prefers salty to sweet any day, but she LOVES marshmallows.

My brother is a "traceur"--he free-runs/does parkour. This means he's usually
on top of something of which people aren't usually on top.
My fingers were stained red from the annual making of Cranberry Jell-O Salad,
which requires mushing crushed pineapple and whole-berry cranberry
sauce into a pan of partially-set red Jell-O. 

Another wonderful Thanksgiving with my family. I couldn't imagine it anywhere else.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

"Snowflake Ballerinas" -- a simple craft

Initially, I saw this craft on Pinterest and followed the link to this page. I took the ballerina template but used a couple of the snowflake templates from the "mom" version. My first thought was "NUTCRACKER DECORATIONS!"

Here's what they'll look like, if you don't screw everything up TOO terribly. They are beautiful and wonderful to hang on your ceiling fan because they distract your guests from the globby dust all over the fan blades (which, y'know, you probably could wipe off BEFORE hanging these princesses everywhere, but that would require forethought and who has THAT?). Your house will be a winter wonderland and you all will have ME to thank. You're welcome in advance.

Gather your ingredients. Or supplies. Is that what they call them in the craft world? Anyway, ingredients:
Rumchata & hot chocolate (see below)

Step #1: create your ballerina. Trace; cut.

I'd already gone through the process of hanging my other ballerinas before
deciding to blog about the craft, hence the ribbon.

Step #2: create your snowflake.
 2a: take your printer paper and cut it into a square.
Pictured: fold; cut. Save the stub for small snowflakes.

Step 2b: fold your triangle into a triangle the other way.
Like this.

Step 2c: uh, make like a pyramid?thing? 

Easiest way that I can [think of to] describe this: hold your square in front of you, square-shaped. Then fold it backwards in half horizontally while poking the vertical sides in to the middle.
It should look like this from the bottom.

I hope that makes sense. Then squish it flat.

It should look like this when all is said and done:

Step 2somethingorother: fold it into thirds. This step will be a bitch, I'm sorry to say. Just try your best. It may take some experimentation to get it right.

It should end up looking like a spaceship from one end and a cute pointy fox head from the other end. Now you're going to maul that cute little fox head, but before you do, you need to take a break to build up your courage.

Step 3 or something: Go get your Rumchata and hot chocolate and make yourself a nice little Rumchacolate (copyright pending).
It helps if you drink it out of a grumpy-gummy-bear coffee mug.
Step ___: Shear the ears right off your li'l fox's head.

Start cutting...

Open it up and put your ballerina through the middle...

and then watch the "Sisters" scene in White Christmas, because it's the best. (But make sure you also watch the OTHER "Sisters" scene, because it's actually even better.)

Pictured: the reason I like crafting during the holidays. CHRISTMAS MOVIES.
Also, be jealous of my vintage tree topper that I got for $1.99 at the Salvation
Army, and which my mom and Spencer fixed for me.
At some point, loop a piece of ribbon through your ballerina's arms and then suspend her somewhere. Or don't. It's up to you.

Obligatory cat picture.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Easy-peasy closet organization!

This is such a simple tactic that I'm ashamed I didn't bite the bullet earlier. Our coat closet was stuffed full of scarves, hats, and gloves (or "glubs," in the Clower colloquial), and my "running bag" was packed with bandannas, headbands, extra [snot-covered] glubs, and the like. It was frustrating to find anything, and it hasn't even gotten especially cold yet!

So, I nipped over to the housewares department at Walmart and for something like $7.98, I got an over-the-door shoe pocket organizer...and it transformed the coat closet almost instantaneously. First, the "before" pictures:
Running stuff, which was all muddled together in a bag or
tossed on the kitchen table
Crap on the top shelf (box of more stuff fit in that gap on the right,
and is shown below)
A bunch of cold-weather gear was shoved in a box, and Spencer's
scarves were bundled together. Have you noticed that at least one
in every set of my household pictures must include at least one cat?

A total of maybe 10 minutes of sorting, rolling, and tucking produced the lovely "after" pictures:

My running bag now has only my essentials in it; that blue plastic box is all emptied and tucked away in storage; Spencer and my's scarves are readily available. I love opening that closet now! What a difference that simple organizer made.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Bagel Thins

Okay you guys, guess what new deliciousness I found! The answer...well, it's the title of this post, so that wasn't a great way to start. Anyway:

Thomas makes yummy bagel thins that are only 3 PPV apiece. Since a normal bagel usually runs about 6 PPV, this is very obviously a bargain. I was home over Thanksgiving (in Oklahoma) when my mom and I went to Walmart and found these (limited edition) Pumpkin Spice suckers, and boy were they yummy! (I have yet to find them in Nebraska, though.)

Partner them with some 1/3 Less Fat Laughing Cow Cream Cheese wedges (cinnamon flavored, of course) and you have yourself some bona fide deliciousness with a very reasonable total of 4 PPV.

And of course, feel free to sprinkle some cinnamon-sugar on top for a pretty little accent, and steal your mom's Thanksgiving decorations to use as set dressing.