Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Merry Christmas to all….

I have been a bit MIA of late, and I do apologize. It will be one of my New Year’s Promises to post everything that I’ve been wanting to post. Life has sent me running in circles, chasing my tail of late. I’m hoping that will change after the New Year.

I just wanted to wish you all the merriest of Christmases ever. I hope you are all healthy and well and stay safe during the travel season. Enjoy time with your family and friends. Try not to over indulge too much! or stress out about the ‘perfect gift’. The perfect gift is your presence, kindness and caring toward others. And know that you are all in my prayers.

Merry Christmas and God bless us, every one.

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Observations from the retail world

Yes, it’s definitely time for a new post and since everyone seems to be running around like ants these days trying to secure the ‘perfect gift’, what better subject to write about?

Is it just me, or do people to temporarily insane while in parking lots between Thanksgiving and Christmas? I have not seen any fisticuffs lately, but I’ve heard many angry horns and several obscene finger gestures over ‘stolen’ parking spaces. Is that really necessary? I mean honestly, would it kill you to walk a little bit farther?

When shopping, people PLEASE take the cart with you as you are leaving the checkout line. That is one of my all time pet peeves and it’s just plain rude.

And while I’m on the side of plain rudeness, when you leave the dressing room, take your things with you. That’s why there’s a person working in the dressing room, just hand them off, it’s really simple.

Whatever you do, do your very best to be polite to the customer service person. When the s— hits the fan, and it never has anything to do with them personally, they are the ones catch all of the crap. And having worked that position myself, I think it’s not uncommon for someone to just be having a bad day and want someone to yell at over something stupid that no one has any control over. Just remember, that could be you someday, behind that desk or cash register. Our economy is still kind of dodgy. So don’t turn into a raving lunatic the instant “Brenda’ asks ‘Can I help you?’

Here’s something I’m curious about. when you are looking for a particular shirt or sweater in a stack in your dresser/armoire/closet, do  you flip over all of them until you find the one you’re in search of? Or do you carefully lift them until you locate it?  I’m asking this because I’ve seen some really atrocious behavior in retail establishments. People who are well dressed and perfectly normal-looking in search of the last size medium of the purple argyle sweater flip over every single stack of neatly folded sweaters in their efforts. And when they come up empty, they simply walk away, leaving what looks like a tornado strike on that table. I implore you, please don’t do that. The retail employees are not paid enough to clean up your messes. Someone will have to stand there and refold that whole pile, cursing you as they do it. So it’s simple, be courteous and considerate of the employees who work there. Once again, some day it may be you folding the mess that others leave in their wake.

This happened yesterday, to me, so I know it’s true. When purchasing clothing that is on a hanger, don’t assume the little letter “M” or “L” on the hanger is really denoting the item that is hanging on said hanger. My BFF bought me a lovely cardigan, but alas, she did not have her glasses with her and relied on the hanger that showed an “M” on it. Imagine her surprise (and disappointment) when I opened the gift and saw the tag that read “XL”. Yeah. Two of me could fit in an XL. Not to brag, but I’m like the Weebles, remember them, heavy on bottom and light on top? Yep. I’ll likely never be accused of being an XL on top! No worries though, I’ll exchange it this week.

And always, always, try to keep in mind the reason for the season. As the corporate people who crack the whip on my husband may believe, the reason is not sales goals. I remind my children constantly, the reason for this holiday season is the birth of Jesus. Our savior. Not gifts. Not parties. Not shopping. Although all of those are fun. Let’s just try to remember what it’s really all about and do something for someone in need. Adopt an angel from the tree at the mall. Serve food at the homeless shelter. Volunteer to pack groceries at the local food bank. Pay it forward and pay the tab of the car behind you in line at whatever establishment you’re at. Do something selfless and anonymous. And, if you can’t physically do any of that, you can always donate money. Times are tight for all of us and when we pull together, we can do amazing things.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

Love you all and I hope you have a very merry and safe Christmas and holiday season, however you choose to celebrate. xoxo

Cheryl

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It’s Christmas in March!!!

Ok, so, I know I have a problem with cookbooks. I can’t explain it, and I never in a million years would have thought I’d have a thing for cookbooks, but I do. Funny. Ten years ago, if you had told me I’d give everything up to be a domestic goddess, I’d have told you that you really needed to seek professional help! No way was I going to put my long and arduous education on the shelf to stay at home with my children and become the friendly neighborhood Betty Crocker. I was going to heal the world, not be another stay at home mom. My children would be fine in daycare, I was sure of it. Millions of kids are, why would my children be any different? Well, that just goes to show what happens when you speak of what you know not of.

Now look at me, six years as a domestic goddess and enjoying almost every minute. I say almost because, well, there are parts that I don’t care for, but I’d have to do them no matter if I were working or not, you know, the manual labor involved in keeping house. ugh.

Anyway, I got an email for $5 cookbooks from Taste of Home. Being one who has a hard time resisting a good deal, I ordered three. I didn’t expect them to be as nice as they are. They are hard-cover, approx 300 pages with about 4 to 5 recipes and pictures on every page. It’s like Christmas for me! I bought an ultimate chicken, a healthy cooking and a Pilsbury annual recipe book. I just flipped through one quickly, and OMG! I will be solo for a couple of days next week and now I know what I’ll be doing! Yippee!

Go ahead, you can say it, I’m nuts, I know it. I get excited over odd things, a new sweater from Eddie Bauer, a good sale at Children’s Place, new cooking magazines and cookbooks. I guess I’ll just have to deal with it. But hey, the next time you’re over for dinner, there’s a good likelihood you’ll get to sample a new recipe! And don’t be surprised if I use my standard disclaimer: It’s a new recipe, if it sucks, it’s not my fault!

Bon appetite!

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The ghost of Christmases past

 This time of year gets us all reminiscing about past Christmases, myself included. I remember one year in the late 70’s when I got a Simon game and I thought I was hella cool. I think I remember that one more because I’ve seen a picture of myself holding that crazy game with a big smile on my face.  We didn’t have a fireplace, but Santa always made it to our house. I should ask my mom if I ever questioned how he came to us without one. My son has asked me what about those kind of things. I just say it’s Santa magic. What else can I say?

With our Christmas blizzard this year, I was thinking back to our last snow-covered Christmas.  It was 7 years ago and I remember the days leading up to it more than I remember the day itself. My husband’s dear, sweet grandfather had been very ill with pancreatic cancer and passed away a few days before Christmas. We drove 2-1/2 hours away for the funeral on December 23. Terrible time for a funeral, yes. But the gift of that situation was that he was no longer in any pain and was reunited with his beloved Helena.

His grandfather had been a farmer most of his life, until he’d gotten older and all of his children were grown, then they moved to a home in town, where it would be easier for them to get around, especially in the bad weather.

We were in the tiny, one-red-light-flashing town my mother-in-law grew up in for the funeral. Everyone had come in the day before because it was quite a jaunt to get there. We enjoyed everyone’s company the night before and stayed the night with an aunt and uncle who lived just a few doors down from grandpa’s house.

When we woke up on that sad December morning, it was snowing. Not just snow, but the big, fat, feathery flakes that are so beautiful when they fall. And let me tell you, they were coming down hard and fast. Within an hour of us getting up, there was probably an inch on the ground and it was getting deeper by the minute.  We made jokes that it was grandpa’s final practical joke. He was a farmer and because of that, he had a serious dislike of snow and inclement weather; it prevented him from doing the work he needed to do on the farm.

We watched in amazement at the ever-deepening blanket of white. The children giggled and squealed with delight, since we don’t see snow here every year.

The funeral went off as planned, but several sisters-in-law and myself stayed at the church hall with the children while the others went to the cemetary. It was way too cold and windy to have several young children out in it.

We all piled in the car for the drive home, becoming increasingly nervous at the thought of driving 2-1/2 hours in blowing snow. My sister-in-law and her husband were in the back seat, along with our two year-old son. We chose a route we thought would be well cleared to drive home, only finding out later that we had unwittingly driven right into the heart of the storm.

We were on a divided highway, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by rolling hills and farms, which gave no shelter or breaks to the blowing, blinding snow. I have a feeling much of the snow that day actually fell in Kansas, but was blown into Oklahoma and probably ended up in Texas. My husband has lived in several northern, snow-covered states and is well acquainted with driving in snow, so I trusted him to get us home safely, but that didn’t prevent me from having white knuckles.

The snow deepened, the storm intensified until we were barely able to see the road. We were trying to follow in the tracks of other cars in front of us, but when it’s blowing and snowing so hard, the tracks get covered very quickly, making it difficult to tell where you are actually driving.

My husband was doing a fine job of navigating in this horrible situation. Driving blind is quite a feat for anyone. We were crawling along when he made a noise and I looked ahead to see what he was looking at. There was a minivan in the center median and people standing outside it surveying the damage, probably trying to decide if they could get out of their current predicament.

Then he made another sound as he looked into the rear-view mirror. I turned to see what he was looking at: a semi-truck barreling its way down the inside lane, on a direct course for those people standing in the median. My sister-in-law and her husband saw it too and my husband let off the gas, to give this idiot room to get in front of us rather than mow down these poor people stranded in the blizzard.

We were all literally holding our breath, waiting to see if the jackass truck driver would make it. I closed my eyes, fearing what I might see and what would be a tragic scene that would surely be burned into my retinas for life. Thankfully, Mr. shit-for-brains managed to get his big rig over in time to miss those people.  But probably not before they messed their pants seeing what was going to happen. I think those people had some guardian angels on double duty that day, because he narrowly avoided completely destroying them.

The rest of the drive was difficult at best. We ended up most of the way on a turnpike, which, thankfully, was mostly cleared, but after that nerve-shattering experience, we were all on edge. A drive that normally took 2-1/2 hours took 6 hours that day. I don’t remember exactly, but I think I kissed the floor when we walked into our house that day. One of my brothers-in-law who lived 4 hours beyond us decided that the drive was not worth it and stayed the night with us that night. Their nerves couldnt’ take it either.

Needless to say, that Christmas stands out in my mind for several reasons. The positive thing that stands out in my mind from it, was telling my mother that we were going to have another child. I wish I’d had the camcorder going, but I gave her the stick, the pregnancy test, wrapped in tissue paper and in a lovely gift bag and saved it for last. She very gingerly unwrapped it, as if it were something very delicate and breakable, and looked at it puzzled for a moment before she realized what it was. Then she did the squeal/jump up and down happy dance. I think we could’ve made it to AFV with that one. if nothing else, it would’ve been fun to show to our daughter, who was the reason for that dance.

Now, that is the most exciting Christmas in my recent memory, but I like the ones like we had yesterday, very mellow, laid back and peaceful, no drama is a good thing!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Merry Christmas!

And what a day it is! We had 6 to 8″ of snow yesterday on top of about 1″ of sleet and the FIRST ever blizzard warning for our state! It is definitely one that we will be talking about for a long time to come.

I am very thankful that we don’t have work and school to worry about missing today. We are able to just spend time together playing and hanging out. Enjoying each other for a bit. Later, when the windchill isn’t in the single digits, we’ll go out and build snowmen and have some fun outside and then come in for hot cocoa with loads of marshmellows!

My living room is strewn with the remains of at least an hour or two’s worth of wrapping, clothes, toys, random and miscellaneous stuff and a few lonely presents still under the tree waiting for the snow to clear so we can venture out and deliver them to their intended recipients. It essentially looks like a department store threw up, yeah, I think that’s a pretty good description, just because of the sheer variety of things lying about. Shoes, Lego’s, candy, Nerf guns, books, video games, board games. Wow! What a haul. I even really tried to scale back this year. Honestly, I think I was able to scale back a bit, but it still looks like my kids made out like bandits!

Me, my gift was spending time with them and seeing the pure joy on their faces and thinking about the families of the children I purchased for from the Angel Tree.  How the kids’ faces must have lit up seeing the presents under the tree, if they had one, and the joy on the parents’ faces knowing someone cared enough to help them in a time of need.

Now if we could just keep the feeling of love and caring going all year long, how wonderful that would be.

I hope this finds your heart full of love and your home full of friends and family sharing this wonderful day. I wish you the Merriest of Christmases and a blessed New Year!

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Cookies for Santa

Yes, my blog is titled “Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess.’ I never realized I had hidden within myself and Rachael/Martha/Betty wannabe. The past few years, she has been fighting to escape the confines of my brain and shows herself on a fairly regular basis.

Case in point: Last night my son’s best friend was here for a sleepover. Today is Christmas Eve and of course, we must have cookies for Santa. I think he would be tremendously offended if we neglected his midnight snack. So, with my son’s friend (and my extra son) here, we made gingerbread cookies. I thought I had a man cookie cutter, but couldn’t seem to locate it so we made Santa, Christmas trees, stockings and snowmen and had agreat time decorating them with frosting and loads of sprinkles. I think Santa may have a belly ache by the time  he leaves my house!

It really was so much fun doing it and watching them. My son’s friend is a really good kid and I like him a lot. I am very happy that they live two doors down. It’s very convenient, I like his parents, and he’s a good kid to boot. Jackpot!

He was so funny, he wanted to watch me roll the dough and cut out the cookies. I guess his mother doesn’t cook much, no matter how many easy recipes I give her, she just doesn’t enjoy it at all. He told me what a good cook I am, and that really made me feel good. Sweet kid.

I called his mother to ask a question and told her what we were doing and she said, ‘Oh, I”m so glad he gets to do that with you. I guess no matter how much I don’t want to do it, I really should, just so we can do it together.’  That really made me realize that not everyone has an inner Rachael/Martha/Betty dying to get out. I hope she will do things like that for him. He really seemed to enjoy it. In the meantime, I’ll continue passing on easy recipes for her to try in hopes she’ll discover her “Unintentional Domestic Goddess”!

Merry Christmas!

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I’m dreaming of a …..

White Christmas! Yay! It’s so exciting! Here in the southern part of the country, our Christmases are normally brown, or yellow, the color of dormant Bermuda grass. And normally fairly warm, in the 40’s to 50’s.

Not this year! We are gearing up for a big storm that could dump between 4 and 12 inches of snow on us, depending on location and path of the storm! It’s very exciting for several reasons. The last white Christmas we had here was in 2002, which means this will be my daughter’s first since she was born in 2003.

Everyone is off work today and tomorrow, and the weekend, with the exception of my hard-working husband, who, of course, has to work today and the weekend.

We are very much looking forward to building snow men, having snow ball fights, and just enjoying the snow, since it’s not uncommon for us to go an entire winter without snow. I’m just glad it’s going to be snow rather than ice. We’ve had our share of that the past few years and I could live the rest of my life without an ice storm and be perfectly happy. Ice storms are not fun, at all and anyone who tells you they are is lying to your face!

So…Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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Why yes, I am psychic

Well, today we finally made it to see Santa. I have a feeling this was probably the last one for my son, who is now 9. We got dressed in our holiday finery and made the trek to the mall.  We did go early because there is no way I want to fight mall traffic later in the day.

Santa arrives at 10AM and we were there by 9:50, and the line was already a dozen deep. Thankfully, there were no screaming children in line.  Everyone seemed to be well-behaved and vibrating with anticipation of telling the big man what they wanted for Christmas and how good they’d been all year. 

There was  family in front of us with four children. They were all well-behaved while waiting for their turn. Included in this group was a girl about 6 or 7, a boy about 4 and twin girls in the neighborhood of 2. Everything was fine until the rope was pulled back to allow them their chance to see the jolly old elf. That’s when it happened. Ear-piercing, glass-shattering screaming from the twin girls.  One stuck to dad, the other to mom, while the older children looked at the girls as if they’d just fallen from the sky. I think my ears started to bleed before they removed the children from the area.

Our turn! Yay! I was actually allowed to take pictures with my camera because I’d agreed to purchase their over-priced portraits. I got several good shots and they did as well. My children went without hesitation to sit on his knee and tell him what they wished for. The pictures are wonderful and I’ll cherish them always.

Now, how do I know that I have psychic abilities, you ask? Well, as I was admiring the photos of my children on Santa’s knee, I looked at the expression on his face.  It was not one of joy, happiness, or peace, but rather a restrained boredom, fatigue and exhaustion. His smile, if you can call it that, was a pained, strained bearing of teeth, it almost looked like he was ready to eat the children the way his lips parted to show his teeth!  His eyes were looking into the camera with a pleading look, begging for help, and saying, ‘Dear God, is it over yet?” I feel his pain, I too am ready for it to be over, but I have to say, ‘Not yet, Santa. Your big night is almost here, then you can rest.’

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Anxiously counting down

You know, I really do love this time of year. The anticipation of seeing what Santa has brought, the look of excitement on my children’s faces, the beautiful decorations, the food, the feelings of love, giving and caring that seem to permeate everything. Have you noticed how festive everything is when decked out for Christmas? I realized it a few years ago as I was packing away my decorations. Afterward, my house just looked plain, boring, ho-hum. And I am not one that goes completely overboard with the decorations. We have neighbors who we love, they are great people, and every single room is decorated for Christmas. Me, not so much. That’s way too much work for me.

Which leads me to a question. Why is it, we only put lights on our houses at Christmas? why not Easter or Halloween or Memorial day? I don’t know the answer to that one. I have seen some people put lights on their bushes at Halloween, but no other time. Oh, I just remembered, I have seen light-up window decorations for Valentine’s day at the store, I suppose the light-up decoration people are trying to break into a different holiday.

One thing I definitely could do without this time of year is the rudeness some people tend to display. As if they are the only ones in a hurry to get somewhere. As if you don’t matter, get the hell out of their way. In stores and in parking lots, it’s almost like overnight, any kind of manners vanish into thin air.

For my husband’s sake, now I am anxiously counting down for this craziness to be over, soon. Thankfully, we’ve only got 4 more days. He’s a retail manager and this is his busy time of year. Example, last Friday, he said he was working a ‘mid’ shift. I assumed maybe a 10 to 8 or something like that. Nope. He left our house at 8AM and didn’t make it back home until 11:30PM. And then had to turn around and be back at work before 6AM. Yesterday and today, he woke up at a time we like to call the ‘butt crack of dawn’ 4AM to be at work before 5AM. Whoever decided the stores needed to be open so freaking early on a Sunday should be the person who has to actually be there! I promise you, the genius who thought up the whole extended holiday hour thing was some yahoo in an office, high above the fray who said, ‘Hey, you know what? I think those poor shlubs who actually run the store are getting off too easily and need to work their asses off even more! So here’s my proposal, let’s open earlier than anyone in their right mind would be here shopping and keep it open later than curfew, just to see if these guys will do it! Yeah, that’s a great plan!” That’s my idea of how this all came to be.

Thankfully, it’s coming to a close, none too  soon either. He’s wiped out. I have a feeling he’d like to get home in time to have a hot dinner with his family, play with his children or maybe even have a conversation with his wife every now and again.

That said, I do wish you all the merriest of Christmases, or whichever holiday you celebrate in your home, and a very Happy New Year!

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Can I please just have a few more?

Hours in the day, that is.  Hours that don’t involve work, laundry, chasing my children? Hours that I can use to relax, read a good book, chat with my husband?

Today is my last day of freedom, my children’s last day of school before our two week Christmas break. So far on my list: wrapping gifts, grocery shopping, exercising, hmm, it seems like I”m missing something, but isnt’ that enough already? Oh, and I have to be at their school by 2:30 to help with my son’s Christmas party.

I am looking forward to having some fun time to spend with my children, I just hope they can find other things to do besides fight with each other, tattle, bug me, or drive me insane! Here’s hoping our weather is decent enough I can throw them in the back yard to play every now and again!

Wish me luck!

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