Thursday, November 29, 2012

BIG Ol' Giveaway!

You know I love aprons. You know you want one (or five) because I influenced you with my awesomeness, right?


Anyway. Moving right along....
Check out this awesome giveaway from The Apronista. It's totally cool, even if I'm not.

To wit, and I quote:

Prize Package ($85+ in value) includes:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Fill-in - November 1, 2012

1. I was perfectly content not knowing that a Scrabble keyboard existed. But now I do, so I want it. Now.

2. I think my kids are possessed when the moon is full.

3. When we seek to help others at all times, we really help ourselves.

4. Uninterrupted sleep is the best!

5. Underneath it all I'm really a lonely, insecure little girl that wants someone to think of her occasionally.

6. Oh! And thanks for being a complete butthead - you know who you are. Well, no you don't, because you're a butthead and you have no concept of what you've done wrong. Sadly, this might as well be to Ya'll, because there are so many.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to warm covers, tomorrow my plans include maybe going downtown to check out the Iron Horse Festival and Sunday, I want to sleep for that extra hour I'm getting!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gettin' Flirty with the Swappin'

I joined Flirty Apron Swap several years ago and really enjoyed it. Life got crazy and I didn't join any more apron swaps. This year, Mama needs some extra lovin', so it's time to get flirty with the swappin'!

Here's the deets:

Shawnee's Secret Santa Swap

Register by: November 3
Mail between: November 15 and November 30

Your Secret Santa Swap package should be a minimum of $15 in value before postage, and include the following:

At LEAST One Handmade Item
Something to Read (book, magazine, poem)
Something for the Tree (garland, ornament, topper, skirt)
Holiday Goody (candy, cocoa, tea, coffee, chocolate)

Challenge: Include one gift for each letter needed to spell out a word from the season (SNOW, JOY, FAITH, LOVE, HOPE, GIFT, TREE, JESUS, STAR, SANTA, etc). We've done this last the two years and it was SO MUCH FUN! Of course, the perfect gift for an "A" is an APRON.

Then, make this a special box -- gift wrapping, bows, the whole nine yards! Include a note identifying yourself with your email and blog address so your partner can contact you with her grateful thanks.

An additional requirement is to answer a questionnaire about yourself. Look, Santa, I'm being a good girl and following the rules! ;)

Shawnee's Secret Santa Swap Questionnaire

What are your hobbies?
crochet, making ATCs, making cards, papercrafting, swapping on Swap-bot

What are your favorite colors?
muted, rustic greens described with words like cypress, thyme, moss, lichen, putty, olive, and avocado

Do you collect anything?
hugs from all "my" kids
yarn (unscented)
old books - I love the ones that are written in or falling apart.

Are you allergic to any fibers or animals?

Do you have any pets?
If by pets you mean children with fur, then yes. I have three children of the feline species and one of the canine species.

Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate?
Tea and chocolate!
Favorite teas: Earl Grey, Lady Grey, Irish Breakfast, English Breakfast, Chamomile, Mint Medley, Sleepytime (not a big chai or spice tea fan)
Hot chocolate is wonderful with mini marshmallows or stirred with those old-fashioned peppermint sticks.
Favorite chocolate to chew: Mr. Goodbar, Peanut M&Ms, KitKat, Hershey's, Mounds

What do you like to read?
Trivia, nerdy, encyclopedic stuff, and the classics. I'm halfway through reading Austen's works chronologically.

Do you prefer Cookies or Candies as a sweet?
Probably cookies, even though I eat candy more often. I like soft, gooey, warm cookies. Chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin are my favorites.
I think I just felt another pound appear on my hips...

What is your favorite holiday treat?
My mother's homemade bonbons. Edible Heaven.

Describe your favorite holiday tradition.
Finding the package marked as being from Santa. (see next question for reason)

Did you believe in Santa as a child?
Yes. My mother continues Santa's generosity these days. ;)

When do you open presents?
Usually Christmas Eve, then stockings on Christmas morning.

Do you put up a tree and when? If not, how do you celebrate?
Usually. I didn't last year because of depression, which was more depressing. When I'm not fighting depression, the tree goes up mid-November. One year it was Christmas Eve before we got around to putting up the tree. Yeah, Depression sucks. Fight it! Go see your doctor! Find help! Don't let fear of stigma destroy your life!

Does your tree have a theme?
Memories. The ornaments are either handmade or have a story behind them.

What has been your favorite gift to give? to receive?
I don't really have a favorite gift I've given. I love to give gifts, so my favorite is any that the recipient just loves because it's the "perfect" gift.
My favorite received gift is the teddy bear a beloved cousin sent home for Christmas after he'd graduated from high school. We'd hung out the entire year before and he adopted me like a big brother, so I was really missing him. It made my day when my grandmother produced a big teddy bear and told me he sent it to me. I carried it around the rest of the day. Teddy went to the hospital with me when my first child was born (he's been the perfect belly support through four pregnancies) and he still sits next to my bed.

Happy holidays!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Silly Haiku

Today's prompt: Silly. Whatever comes to mind.

Silly, silly Sal
was up all night with her pal,
laughing and playing.

She began to yawn
a few hours after dawn,
then she took a nap.

She slept all the day
and at dark began to play,
that silly gal Sal.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pb&j bites for toddlers

Sam loves his pb&j, but prefers bits rather than biting off a piece. Digging through my baking drawer and trying to decide how I wanted to cut up his sandwich, I came across my apple corer:

Hello, perfect bite-size circles with a bonus side dish of shape learning!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Motherhood and Marsupiality

So he screamed for 30 minutes before I picked him up and sat through Dino Dan while he went back to sleep. Then he screamed when I put him down so I could go to the bathroom. Beginning to feel like one of those animals that carries its young on its back for a year or two.

I know the years go by fast, but the days and nights lately are really wearing me out.

Cue more mommy guilt - I can hear judgmental tones telling me that's what I get for having kids. That if I wanted sleep and to not have little bodies attached to me all time I shouldn't have had kids or should have gotten "fixed" before I had this many.

Am I the only one to feel this way and then go through these self-lashings for feeling it? If you've been through this, what did you do to get through it?

Is it just a case of "get over yourself - this is the bed you made, now you have to lie in it"?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins - 13th July

1. For the first time I wish I was in California - with Michael at Comic-Con!

2. Sleep is one of my best memories of the summer so far.

3. My recipe for banana bread is one of my favorites because I've tweaked it to healthy, moist, nutless perfection.

4. I'll pine for sleep for years to come.

5. It starts with a crazy idea. Then it becomes reality after crazy belief and crazy work.

6. Vanilla is a fragrance I enjoy most in a candle.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a little sleep, tomorrow my plans include church and Sunday, I want to survive until Monday when I get Michael from the airport!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Today's Writing Prompt: Alone

What is the best thing about being alone?

No one yelling or whining "Mo-ommm" at me.
facepalm kitty

Get your writing prompts here:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Retread: It's Wear Your Apron Day!

A note to my readers: This post was originally posted on May 11, 2009. Wear Your Apron Day 2012 is Monday, May 14, 2012. I haven't decided which apron I'll wear this year - we'll just see which one strikes my fancy when I'm getting dressed.

Apron Evangelism helped spark my love for aprons. Some may find it old-fashioned and patriarchal; I find that several of the values represented there resonate deeply with me. I encourage all mothers and homemakers to read it as inspiration for you to strive to fulfill whatever it is that means reaching your ideals for you.

Sadly, I have distributed all the vintage aprons I had, so there will not be a giveaway this year. If the outcry for one is overwhelming, I will get my hands on one to give away. Aunt Crystal hates to disappoint!

And finally, a bit of kitchen humor for you:

Did you know that today is Wear Your Apron Day? I learned about it from one of my favorite  blogs, The Apronista. Yes, The Apronista, as in fashionista but with cooler prints and more cleanliness. More values could be argued, too, but I don't feel like going there, so I won't.

So how do you celebrate? Easy: wear your apron all day long. Wear your favorite one, or the one passed down to you from your grandmother. Maybe it'll be the one you made from a tea towel. Or the vintage one you found on eBay. It doesn't matter as long as you wear your apron.

I'll be wearing my favorite apron. It's one I found on eBay in my favorite cut and the cutest fabric. It's a goldenrod orange-yellow with bees all over it and green plaid binding. I'll try to get a picture of it to post for you all. This picture from Wikimedia Commons shows the style of it:

Ok, who said that? Did I actually just hear you say you don't have an apron?? How have you made it to this point in your life without an apron??? Never mind. We'll fix it. I have a box full of vintage aprons literally right here behind me.

***Prize Alert!***
I'll send an apron to one of you poor, deprived waifs that have suffered through life without an apron so you'll be ready to celebrate next year. Wear Your Apron Day is always the Monday after Mother's Day, so be sure to mark your 2010 calendar now.

How to Enter:
Leave a comment telling me why you want an apron and about your favorite style (ie: half aprons, full aprons, cobbler aprons, etc.).

Extra Entries:
  • Second Entry: Tweet this giveaway and leave a comment with a link to the tweet.
  • Third Entry: Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know your Twitter user name.
  • Fourth Entry: Subscribe to 3Stairs and leave a comment letting me know if you subscribed with RSS or via e-mail.
  • Fifth Entry: Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with a link to your post.
  • Sixth Entry: Add a 3Stairs button to your blog and leave a comment with a link to your blog so we can admire it! (your blog, not the button)

I'll let choose a winner next Monday morning, May 18, so get your comments in by then!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins

1. Eggs are best deviled.

2. I hear uninterrupted sleep is awesome! 

3. When I look in the mirror, I remember why I avoid mirrors.

4. Good food, good company: these are the things I like for a special dinner! 

5. Currently, I am in need of a shower.

6. I like to play word games.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleep, of course, tomorrow my plans include church and crochet and Sunday, I want to crochet more!

Monday, February 27, 2012

I love you

I can't put into words why I love you.
I just know that I do.
I know you don't deserve it,
but I love you anyway.
I know the real you -
the you that babies and animals see.
The you that makes the babies stare and the animals nuzzle.
They and I see and know the real you,
the lovable you,
the you that you feel is lost.
But I see you hiding in there,
and I love you.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins (on Saturday)

1. I'm feeling all riled up by disrespectful, lying kids in the neighborhood.

2. I want their Mama to march them down here to apologize. 

3. I need to figure out a way to not let it get to me.

4. I was thinking of buying a stash of Girl Scout cookies to hide away and sell in June and July when everyone runs out.

5. I wish people would teach their kids to be respectful.

6. I'm reading bits and bobs of books here and there, but never enough at one time to actually count as really reading the book.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight (Saturday) I'm looking forward to watching Merlin on the DVR, tomorrow (Sunday) my plans include knowing that I should be tackling my disaster/hoarders house but probably not doing it and Sunday (Monday), I want to get a plan of action from the counselor to help us with Brandon!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins

1. It's time to sleep, but I can't.

2. Don't try to cheer up Marvin ... and don't forget the towel!

3. I'm trying to decide if getting a booth at a craft fair would be a complete waste of time and energy.

4. "_____", that was the last funny comment I received.

5. Please send me customers with lots of money to spend.

6. You might as well stop telling me to leave, 'cause I'm in it for the long haul.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to crocheting, tomorrow my plans include crocheting more and maybe the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby and Sunday, I want to craft!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hap-tea Winner

Mad Hatter
Mad Hatter by karen.tkr, on Flickr
I finally found a minute to let draw a winner - comment number 4!

Anonymous said... I loved the challenge posed by your post. Unfortunately, I honestly don't know what the significance of choosing Hat Day for the date to have the entries in by. Unless their is a tie-in with preventing colds (wearing hats & tea). I have been googling, and honestly don't have a better answer... Regardless, thank you for the giveaway, and I woud love to win!!
terry (underscore) thacker (at) hotmail (dot) com

I'll be sending you and e-mail to get your address to send your goodies.

Julie got an extra entry for guessing why I chose Hat Day - Alice in Wonderland! Who wouldn't love to wear a crazy hat and have tea with the mad hatter?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Apple Dumplings

I finally got around to making apple dumplings again and taking pictures to share with you, so without further ado... *Warning: long post with lots of pictures*

Start with two rolls of cheap crescent rolls, two wedged, peeled green apples (Don't eat any! Moral to come later in our story), and cinnamon-sugar mix.
Preheat the oven to the temperature on the rolls (375F in this case), and line your cookie sheet with foil so clean-up is easy.

Roll out the first can of rolls and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon-sugar mix.

Take a close up picture and be really proud of how it turned out considering you're using an iPhone.

Place an apple wedge on the wide end of the triangle of dough.

Roll the dough around the apple wedge from wide end.

Wrap the corners of the wide end of the triangle around the apple so that the three points of the triangle meet.

Place the roll so that the gathered points of dough are on the bottom of the dumpling. Space the dumplings an inch or two apart.

Repeat with second can of dough. 
Make sure you don't eat an apple wedge while you're wedging the apples or you'll have a lonely, sad, apple-less crescent roll like me.

Bake according to package instructions (13 minutes for the Great Value brand) until light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Become the apple of everyone's eye when you declare that these are for dinner.

Take another good picture and pretend you're a real foodie/photographer.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins

1. When I looked out the window this morning I saw frost on the country club grounds.

2. How someone could hurt a child doesn't make sense to me.

3. Remind me to take care of myself.

4. Giving gifts is something I love to do!

5. TP is toilet paper - duh.

6. I cleaned the refrigerator recently and I found out that I'm apparently a scientist.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to working on an OU hat and scarf set for my big sister, tomorrow my plans include church and Sunday, I want to keep plugging away at sorting the girls' laundry!

Monday, January 9, 2012

What's with today, today?

Empire Records name badge for a geeky swap

...and a geeky Empire inside joke...

What's your favorite line from the movie?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins

1. Discussions are fine, and even encouraged, so long as they are civil and respectful.

2. It almost always hurts to say goodbye.

3. I think it's time I learned to tune out the insulting self-talk.

4. Seeing Michael's dimple puts a smile on my face.

5. Maybe sometime I might think I'm worthy of something good.

6. Knowing what's right gives me strength.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a quiet evening of nerdvision (I hope, if I can find something good on), tomorrow my plans include enjoying Michael's grilled hamburgers for dinner and Sunday, I want to sort the girls' clothes and plan to get rid of about 3/4 of them!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hap-tea Holidays!

Tea by Laurel Fan, on Flickr
I'm a holiday junkie, but not in the typical sense. I like weird holidays. I like them so much I've actually managed to get people to pay me to learn about them and write about them - more than once! I've just discovered a new holiday: January is Hot Tea Month. How did I not know this? Anyone who knows me knows I love my tea. Extra points if you know which is my favorite! +20 coolness factor if you know how I take it. Also, today celebrates another love of mine - Trivia Day, so how about some tea trivia? Here are some interesting tea tidbits I discovered:
  • Tea from the herb Camelia Simensis was first enjoyed by the Emperor of China 5000 years ago.
  • Colonial tea was very bitter. The severely overcooked leaves were salted, buttered, and eaten.
  • Tea is second only to water as the world's most popular beverage (take that, nasty old coffee!).
  • 50 billion cups of tea are consumed in America each year; 40 billion of them are iced.
  • The first tea bags were silk, created by Thomas Sullivan in 1904.
  • Black, Green, and Oolong teas are all made from the same type of tea leaves. The difference is in the fermentation during processing: Black is fermented, Oolong is semi-fermented, and Green is not fermented.
  • Herbal teas don't actually contain tea, but peels, flower leaves, herbs, and spices. They have no caffeine.
  • Speaking of caffeine, tea only has 40 mg per cup, whereas coffee has 99 mg per cup.
  • Tea must have a caffeine content of approximately 5 mg per cup in order to qualify for the "decaffeinated" label. 
  • Black and Green teas have antioxidants called flavenoids.

Still not a fan? Check out these health benefits of tea:

  • Consuming 30 oz. of black tea daily can reduce Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels by more than 10 percent.  Study participants who drank four cups of tea per day had significantly lower risk of death following a heart attack – a decrease of up to 44 percent.  
  • A Dutch study found that the incidence of heart attack decreased by 43 percent in the study participants who drank more than three cups of black tea per day.  
  • Heavy smokers who consume four servings per day of green tea can have up to 31% lower levels of 8-OHdG (a biomarker for oxidative damage to DNA) in white blood cells. Oxidative damage to DNA is one factor which increases cancer risk and the researches suggest that a significant reduction of DNA damage found with green tea drinking may help reduce cancer risk in smokers.  
  • Women who drink the equivalent of 2.5 cups of tea per day or more have a 60% drop in rectal cancer risk, as compared to women who drank less than 1.2 cups of tea per day. 

It's cold and flu season. Aunt Crystal says, "Drink your tea to fight viral infection!" Research reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people who drank 3 cups of black tea per day produced 5 times the amount of germ-fighting cells than those who drank coffee, suggesting that tea drinkers have more ability to fight viral infections such as colds and flu than non tea drinkers. I don't know about you, but I can't stand being sick. This sounds like a perfect excu-- *ahem* reason to drink tea.

So, care to join me for some tea? Leave a comment and I'll send a tea care package consisting of a dozen tea bags in a variety of flavors to the winner. Enter by midnight on National Hat Day: Sunday, January 15. An extra entry goes to the first person to tell me why I chose that day!

Disclaimer: This giveaway is not sponsored. I received no compensation for hosting this giveaway.
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