The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting it up for the New Year...

So I was at the doctor the other day with my toe pain again and how sick of me are they? But that's not all because there is my left elbow pain, both wrists and the heels and then it spread all over. Everywhere.

And once it was all over it was just all, well... over. Do an image search for cranky and  this will turn up....

Ask my family to do an image search for who's fun and that will not turn up. But man,  I don't feel well and yadda yadda blah blah blah fa la la boring boring boring.

Boring, I know but I thought I'd let you know she took lab work because I insisted it had to be gout cause what else could it be according to me and today  my lab work is back and I thought I'd let you know she tested me for other stuff cause she had other ideas about my pain and  perhaps a resolution us gals should all make is to have our Vitaman D Levels done.

And I'm suggesting we all check out our levels because when I told another gal that my level was low she said, Honey I haven't met a female who had her level checked who's level wasn't low.

I goggled the normals and they vary a bit but and it looks like they should be between 50 and 80 under normal circumstances.  Mine is a dainty, petite flower of an eleven.  And of course if I have to be low on something weight would be nice but no, it's Vitamin The Hell D.

Anyway I was surprised it was so low although my Doctor didn't find it surprising at all considering my current state of incessant whining - er,  muscular skeletal pain.  Well, let me rephrase that...

She found the number eleven result very surprising but it went along with the pain like gravy on mashed potatoes.

So for the new year while we are making lists and resolutions anyway...maybe we should all see how we are rockin' the Vitamin D and if it's not going so well in that department let's get it up for the new year.

Clicking image will take you to a WebMD Vitamin D info page.

Note - There are a lot of health reasons to maintain your Vitamin D level but regarding the pain issue I found this information - According to peer-reviewed clinical research, inadequacies of vitamin D have been linked to chronic musculoskeletal pain of various types, muscle weakness or fatigue, fibromyalgia syndrome, rheumatic disorders, osteoarthritis, hyperesthesia, migraine headaches, and other somatic complaints. It also has been implicated in the mood disturbances of chronic fatigue syndrome and seasonal affective disorder.

It is well worth investigating your level if you have fibromyalgia or anything of the sort.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's on my shelves?

I'm burned out with stuff.  All the stuff.  Everywhere I look.  STUFF.  Maybe it's all the Christmasalia and doohickeys around, or maybe it's the new things or maybe I haven't decluttered enough lately but I decided it was time again.

No! Way more then time.

So onto the THE DECLUTTER FEST OF 2011

I'm starting with the wall shelves in my bedroom because well, I'm not sure.  I've not been feeling well and after I went to the Doctor yesterday I came home and pretty much planted myself in bed.  Mostly I slept till morning except when I woke up for a few minutes, blinked and went back to sleep. The shelves are the view if  my eyes are open from a reclining position so they are bugging me the most this morning. 

There are ten small shelves; I only did the five on the right.  I'm feeling punky after all.


Tippy-Top shelf

I couldn't part with all of the books that were Ben's when he was a little guy but they were kind of a raggy mess so they are now in a basket;  it's a much better look.  The candle holders were Mongo's mother's I think.

art books

Next one down, left side - Art books

I decluttered these books a while back so there aren't many left and a few of these are favorites.  Every time I hear myself say favorites I think of the decluttering shows on TV and winch.  Should I part with some of these anyway?  Truth is I haven't looked at a few of these in a very embarrassing amount of time.

Right side, sort of random

I got the Anchor-Hocking Fireking Price Guide on Paperbackswap recently;  been waiting forever for that one.  You can get it retail but free's better!

craft books

Next! Left side, craft books

I got rid of a lot of my craft books this last year and that was painful. Looking at the pile it seems I didn't get rid of any of my button books though.  I especially love the two I bought from Amazon Japan   I discovered the best thing ever for Japanese craft book shopping by the way.  

If you use Google Chrome and set it to translate pages you can go to Amazon Japan and the pages will auto translate and I promise you it's a breeze to look though.  Ordering is easy too.  I ordered when you had to do it manually and even then it was not hard just cumbersome - but this is a walk in the park!

Now I know this about getting rid of, no acquiring but... button books are necessary to my sanity.


Right side, self help and sorta self help

Looking at the stack my crush on Wayne Dyer is obvious for all to see.


Next shelf is pretty random

Romance on right, random stuff on left and Franklin Covey inserts in the middle.  Oh! And my leopard print shoe snow globe that plays Material Girl.


At the moment the bottom  shelf has no books
For now I decided to put nail polish and girly stuff like that on there.  That is subject to change depending on how the decluttering goes and my whim.  It might work though because that stuff hasn't got a real home.

I don't know what's next but anyone want to join in with the Declutter fest of 2011 with me?  It feels good to have some of this stuff gone and not have to look at it - for sure.

I've already done some Freecycle listings and have a bag ready to go to good will and some other things were frankly, garbage (and what was I thinking holding on to that stuff anyway?

So who's in with me?


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Felting Fun on Retro Tuesday

I learned how to crochet a few years ago with a singular purpose; to felt something.  Not a clue what but I wanted to felt because the process was clearly the coolest thing ever.  The glitch was, well beyond my not knowing how to knit or crochet, I'm allergic to wool.

But I decided to put on my big girl panties and suck up the hives and associated itching and have me some hooking fun.

I haven't done any felting in ages but looking at all my new buttons...

vintage buttons tin

Made me want to do something with them.  I know most people just collect and play with them and yeah, me too but I do like to give the buttons a purpose.

Several years back I made felted bracelets and this weekend, being snowed in anyway, I thought - Yeah Baby!  I got out my hooks and wool and Benadryl and Calamine lotion and had me some felting fun...

felted cuff

And oh look!

Part of my rash is visible below the pretty cuff.  How attractive.   I used two vintage pearl(ish) buttons on my baby blue and pink ruffled felted cuff and since the buttons are very old - These were from a button box with some extremely old things, back to the 1920's - I think this clears the spirit of Retro Tuesday.

I have two more in the works.  I can't wear anything I make for long, granted; a problem.  Maybe I will etsy them or maybe I will just stare at them like I did all the old ones. But I sure like them and I really like doing something with the buttons I've collected.

PS and FYI if you're allergic to wool -  I can (and would love to and you probably could to ) work with Alpaca which felts and isn't wool and feels heavenly and cushy and divine.  It's also very very expensive and you have to use a lot of fiber when you felt because the shrinkage is intentional and quite impressive.

And an update - Here's the other two I've been working on:

felted bracelets3

One is gray and salmon pink with a pearl... (ish) .... button  and the other is the same light gray with a seafoam - Hm, seafoam? -  More  light Tupperware Green with a coordinating gray-green button.  They are not nearly as wide and no ruffles.  All of these open and close with the buttons.

Go visit my Retro Tuesday Pal, Ms. V at Vonlipi's Favorites


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Round-up, a Blizzard and some pantaloons thrown in....

1.  Christmas - What a  great day. I thought the best part would be giving my son  the vintage manual typewriter I found on Freecycle


(pic from his blog)

And in many ways it was; especially the look on his face.  That look of Holy Crap! My Mom really is magic and psychic like she says and oh! What the heck else does she know...
That never gets old.

He never thought getting a manual typewriter was  possible.  He calls the thing analog.  I don't even think that terminology fits; analog the way he probably means being a long way off but I don't think his brain can comprehend something that antiquated.    

He sent a picture of the typewriter to a friend who asked, "What's that Windows 98?"

Which I found hysterical. 

Yes Ben, your mom lived in a time even before Windows 98.  In fact I walked twenty miles to school in snow up to my pantaloons and ate my breakfast of gruel with a spoon I whittled myself.  Verily.  

2.  The Blizzard of 2010 last night -  That stopped the festivities pretty much and overnight it actually did snow up to my pantaloons.


Which is a lot.    I'm not sure how much but when it's higher then the dog and I have to shovel out a place for her to doody;  how much in inches doesn't matter.

3.  The Snow day Sleepover  - A whole lot of teenage all over all night.

Which was fine with me, I didn't want any of them driving in that mess outside.  When I woke up every chair, every bit of sofa... the floor...  was covered with a teen  or teenphrenalia.

Last night they showed up with snacks but I offered to make them popcorn.  They said they had microwave popcorn.  I suggested that popcorn not only came from microwave ovens  but from popcorn.  

Obviously a new idea.

They were upset that I'd go to that much trouble.   Trouble?   A few tablespoons of oil in a large pot, cover the bottom with kernels and shake - shake - shake?  They drove here in a blizzard and - shake - shake - shake is trouble?

Oh my.   I made them the real  popcorn which had never seen the inside of a microwave - something I don't think they'd eaten before, salted it,  melted some butter over it for them and went to bed.

I think they liked it, the giant bowl was empty in the morning.


Which is more then I can say for my living room but as long as they had fun and were safe I'm good with that. 


Thursday, December 23, 2010

It feels good at either end.

Ben, gynecological warning. Don't read.

I was thinking about  Freecycle the other day and if you don't know what it is, check it out.    Freecycle says nothing is too small to give away and yep,  I'd never have thought about giving away  a ham bone with some meat still on it - but you know people are in need, real need. 

You're, it's  too small who'd want it,  might be someone's hearty bean soup enough to  feed their whole family for two days.  

This year I gave away a lot.  A lot of cookbooks, a painful amount actually.  I also gave away clothes I could no longer wear and and a ton of scrubs.  The scrubs I remember especially because a gal from the Camden Animal Shelter came and picked them up.  They use them for spaying and neutering clinics that they set up in abandoned crack houses.  That may seem odd if you don't know Camden; not so odd if you do. 

I also gave away leather sofa and love seat in great condition to a young couple who had just moved into an apartment without a stick of furniture.  They responded to my post in less then five minutes; they must have been sitting on the computer (for lack of a chair) waiting for a horizontal surface.

I've requested things too.   You don't get everything you want.  I'm still trying to get a trench coat.  And a large leather purse.  And that large size leather Filofax.... But I did get an old fashioned non-electric typewriter that my kid wants for Christmas; and I had it about a day and a half after he was musing about really wanting one...  How amazing is that?

Oh and there are no girly mommy  parts in this post - I just don't want my kid to know about the type writer....

And then there's these...

button tin

Well, not the tin although it's nice.

vintage buttons tin


That's the second time I asked for old buttons for crafting and got a response. 

So be sure to check out Freecycle and if there isn't one in your area contact them  - You might be able to start one up.  Dealing with Freecycle feels good on either end.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I always wanted to be somebody but now...

Does anyone do resolutions?  In the past, me - Not so much because most people I know make them and then break them in a day and a half but maybe they could work if you put some muscle behind them.  Some real intention.

I'm trying to come up with a list of things I want to accomplish next year, improve upon, or focus energy on because something Lily Tomlin said keeps clanging my lazy ass:

“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.”

And I  feel like that is where I am in my life; at somewhere doing something but not really steering the Good Ship Tracy.

Maybe I need something more visual, like a dream board  or the Filofax version of a dream board.  I'm mulling a whole DREAM section for my Filofax and  building it over 2011; that's more appealing  then a static list.

I started changing it already, adding a picture of my two-year-old self in the very, very front.  There's something that little girl's been trying to tell me for years. 


Maybe she's ready now.

It definitely makes me wish I had a bigger Filofax (for bigger DREAMS) but I think this might work for me.  But what do you guys do?  Do you write a list?  Or have a dream board?   Or do you just make mental notes to yourself...

What works for you when you need to reevaluate?

We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.  Henry David Thoreau 


Monday, December 20, 2010

A moratorium on chapped teats, I mean feets...

I've been playing around with recipes for when you have feet as ugly as Cruella DaVille's face; I mean if you have dalmation-hating feet you'd want to remedy the situation; I do anyway.

It all started in January with my first batch of Colorady Lady's Rockstar Lotion which I love and still use because it's so emollient and really good for the winter.  But feet, feet are a whole other issue because foot creams need some extra Ooomph! and you pay verily for said Ooomph! 

The technical term for Ooomph! is a debriding agent but that grosses me out and I will continue to call it Ooomph!   The actual ingredient is frequently Urea (or Salicylic Acid, or both but mostly just urea).

If anyone is wondering about the origin of Urea, it sounding so much like pee-pee and all, it's synthesized in a lab and contrary to popular belief here is nothing like a Blood Mobile that goes around collecting pints of pee-pee.  Now that that is settled we can move on....

I wanted a cream like the original Rockstar but with Ooomph! and yes, I can buy an Ooomphishious! Cream but they cost so much.  There must be a belief among the makers of Ooomphishious! Creams that the calloused are well-off.  I think they see gnarly feet and go all dollar signs and Ka-Ching!

But should you have the cash and want to buy one, this is a great one:

6.7 ounce, $18 - Their Ooomph! is lactic acid.  I had Bigalow Derma Remedy  once and loved it but man, eighteen dollars is too steep for me.

Ah! Kerasal 

There are a few Kerasals, (The Daddy the anti-callous set) a cream, a lotion, a um, something more like Vaseline - the one's I've tried run about $10 an ounce.

But I decided to make one and see how it goes and this morning I did using  Dr. Scholl's For Her Overnight Foot Cream

Which was really reasonably priced for a foot cream with Ooomph! $4.99 3.5 ounces.  I added the entire thing. 

To that I added an equal amount of baby lotion....

And half that amount of this...

Bag Balm.  

The original recipe called for Vaseline but hey, you never know when you'll run into a cow with chapped teats and I don't even have to commit the chapped teat thing to memory, the directions for use in that situation are on the can.

You mix everything up really well, no really well.  Longer then you think.  Minutes, ladies.  And then more minutes with an electric mixer and then store in air tight jars.  

I like this, I like it a lot.   I'll update you on how well it works on the callouses but I think it will work out great.  


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Why bake when you can melt...

I can't bake but it's that time of year so I drag out my recipes and melt up some cookies.


And no one misses the baking aspect; try it.

You lay out pretzels on a lined cookie sheet...


Pop on a Rolo

And bake for 4 minutes at 300 degrees...

They look identical when you pull them out but they are a-foolin' ya. They are meltly and squishable! Squish a pecan (roasted and salted is best taste-wise) into the center and let cool. I put mine outside (It's a balmy 22 degrees today) because they don't seem to harden back up and, Oh!Oh! ....



My son doesn't like nuts so in his I squish either a Hershey's Kiss or a semi-sweet morsel, whatever I have.


Danger Alert of the Most Unattractive Sort!   Hershey's kisses do not work in place of Rolo's; they melt into the most unattractive (think dog poo from a sick dog) mess in the oven.   Kisses can be used instead of the nut at then end, but not for the melty part.


Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm just addicted.

Don't yell at me; it's about planners again but look at it before you judge.

It's a black patent leather Filofax with Sworovski crystals; I found it on the UK site.

Here's what they say about something I love like I gave birth to it:

 Prepare to be dazzled (and I am, I am ) by the Filofax special edition personal organiser, embellished with dazzling CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements.  The inside of the organiser is lined with sumptuous cream pigskin suede and contains luxury cream diary pages, dividers, address pages and organiser stationery.  Presented in an elegant black giftbox, only 400 of these stunning organisers were produced for the UK! Width 117mm, height 145mm 

 It's been reduced from a heart-stopping 157 pounds ($243 US)  to an only semi-heart stopping 78.50 pounds ($121.50 US) and I'm cursing my lack of disposable income with every ounce of strength I've got; which isn't so much because I haven't taken a breath since eye-ballin' the planner of my dreams. 

I'm about to faint.

That thing is perfection in black patent leather and sparkle.  I'd wear that thing.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ginger eats dryer sheets

I got away from making my own laundry detergent a while back but recently someone yelled from the laundry room, Do we have fabric softener?

And I thought to myself, We never had to add fabric softener when I was making it.  And I was right.  So then I thought to myself, Why am I not making it and duh, make the stuff again you're spending so much extra money on something that doesn't work as well oh! I think the chicken's burning. I better get down there.

Yeah.  It was kind of a free association thing but the gist was why had I stopped?  And I couldn't answer myself.  So I started making my own laundry detergent again.

The recipe is simple, three (or four) ingredients and cheaper in the long run so Ta-Da!  Here's the recipe:

2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (grated fine)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax

Optional - 1 cup of oxyclean powder. (I add this)

The bar soap doesn't have to be Fels Naptha - but it's the only one I can find - although it smells really, really nice.  Lemony,  fresh... Very nice.    I'd love to try the pink Zote.

If you can't find the ingredients,  don't have a food processor (or don't want to hand grate the soap), you can order this kit from Soaps Gone Buy.


I purchased everything locally.

The 76 ounce size of Borax I bought was around five dollars
The 55 ounce size of Washing Soda was around four dollars
The Fels Naptha per bar cost was about a dollar fifty and I use two per batch.

Now, you will up the cost if you use the Oxyclean which was around ten dollars but it's optional.

Math isn't my forte  - I could be wrong about this whole calculamationathing. Numbers don't make too much sense to me but -  I think this amount of Borax, Washing Soda and Oxyclean will make about ten batches (of five cups each).

And there's  a lot of laundry to be done per batch because you only need one or two tablespoons per load.  Plus, I don't recall clothes coming out of the dryer feeling like Popsicle sticks when I used it so no dryer sheets; Ka Ching! Saved money in dryer sheets.

That might seem incidental but not having to buy dryer sheets is a really good thing.  Ginger loves them; she finds them tasty.

ginger coat

But only for a while.

After she's done with them, I find them with my bare feet.

And they are not nearly as fresh as when they went in.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stocking stuffers for people with really big feet...

Okay, well maybe this is more a gift gift because the box the Literati comes in is a bit big for most stockings.


Not my stocking mind you;  I wasn't blessed with delicate human-sized feet but for most people it would be easier to stick this under a tree then in something they could stick their feet into.

Okay so first, no more feet and Yay! for that.

Mom Central asked if I wanted to try out the Literati and yes, I did.  I had two, (maybe three) main reasons...  First my kid and I have been downloading books onto our  iTouches (Or is it iTouchi? Anyhoo...) using various programs - which is nice but really, really dinky.

And second and related to the dinky thing - That eye surgery I had few years back  left me with no near or mid-vision and even though I can adjust the font size on my (teeny-tiny) iTouch the whole reading experience remains small, mushed together and migraine inducing. 


Where as Mr. Literati on the left gives me a romance novel that is spaced out, clear and not a headache waiting to happen while remaining heart tightening, shaking, and thudding in only the best way.

And three...

Over the last year I've given away so many books (which breaks my heart) because of space; books I loved and would have kept if I had room.  On an eReader the size of your house doesn't matter.

 And four...

I wish I had this when my son was in High School.  Getting summer reading books was near impossible because everyone was looking for the same books.  And eReader books are cheaper.   I also purchased every in-class book he had to read.  The cost of the Literarti would have paid for itself in a year or two - or in one summer based on how much aggravation it would saved me trying to find those summer books.  I looked around just now, the Literati can be had for as little as $79.99... and that's a bargain for an eReader. 

But did I like it?  

Yeah, I did.   It connected easily with my wifi (and found all my neighbors by the way).  It connected with Kobo,  the online eBook site associated with the Literati easily and downloaded books quickly.  Kobo offers a lot of books, even cookbooks.  Enlarging the type on cookbooks has been life altering - Okay, well life altering might be a bit much but the on with the glasses off with the glasses on with the glasses is a giant pain in my ladle so not having to do that is a dream.

 There are  a lot *a lot* of free eBooks on Kobo; with a dedicated link to some of them at the top of their website.

If you're used to a touch screen you'll need to readjust yourself, it's not a touch screen.  But the screen is very nice, large and in COLOR and there are dedicated 'touch' page turner areas on the sides of the unit.

My biggest issue isn't with the Literati - it's with Kobo.  While the store boasts 1.8 million free eBooks...

lit  have to happen upon them.  They don't come up with the dedicated link, they also don't come up when you search from lowest to highest price... And they also don't come up if you search the word 'free'.    Now, I have to be fair to Kobo and say if I took the time to make my way through 1.8 million free books I'd never get to their paid stuff but honestly that's their advertising so help me find them. Please.  There has to be some way to find them that's easier then doing a search for the exact book and then finding - Oh! It's a free one. Happy Birthday to me!  

To wrap up this review with a pretty bow - I liked it!  I think this is a great eReader ( not a computer) at a great price.   There is a lot of content plus Newspapers and Magazines - That I like a lot.  My kids college major is English so he will be able to download all the books he needs to read at a lower cost so Yay! for saving money at college! And I can now download cookbooks and enlarge the type!  I like that a lot.

And I'm thinking of downloading some books Mongo wants to read and taking them over to her...


...Because she rocks large print too!

"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of The Sharper Image and received a Literati eReader to facilitate my review.”


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Living off your own fat for a year

This isn't Retro Tuesday although it is remotely related because it has to do with Retro Toesday.  The last Retro Tuesday I posted was delayed because I had to visit my doctor due to an ongoing toe thing.
Nothing came of the visit.  Well, not nothing.  Eventually I was told  to go to a foot doctor which is the same as nothing because I'm so not doing that because the last time I did that he tried to take my spleen out through a Plantar's Wart.

Anyhoo, when I was at the appointment I found a Good Housekeeping Magazine from September 2009 and flipping through it I found a fascinating article :  Could You Survive a Year Without Shopping? How my family and I weaned ourselves from the "goods" life — and found a richer one.

It's online ( here ) and you should take a look.   I would love to try something like this although I don't think I could talk anyone into diving in to living off the fat of their previous purchases for a year - I mean, seriously -  I think I would have to have an ambulance with oxygen on standby if I brought this up but I wonder if my family would be willing to give this a go for maybe two months?

I ripped out the article and left it around.  Here.  Then there.  Then here again.  I think I might have to be more direct and actually broach the subject.

Do you think your family would be willing to do something like this...  And if so do you think it's feasible?

 An update

**Okay -  I need to clarify ...  This doesn't include food or disposables.  And every family would need to negotiate.  Some families would include say, batteries and not buy them - others would buy them.  Some people would buy cotton balls.  I believe from what I recall this family was running around pulling cotton from medicine bottles!  What would be consider consumables varies with the family. **                                          


Friday, December 10, 2010

My big toes gave two thumbs up!

Last week Pledge contacted me, Do I want to try a can of Pledge?

The yellow one everyone knows...

And yes, I did but then I got to wondering how they found me. And why they wanted to send one to a person  that doesn't dust and, oh.  Right.


That tweet I did in November.

So I said, Send it my way even though - Well, here's the thing:  I don't have a lot of proper wood around here.  Yeah, I've got wood-grained, wood-like, wood-toned and a heck of a lot of stuff that's ...



But wood, not so much.

And didn't that  turn out to be fortuitous because woodish is exactly what they want.

Oh.  Wait.

They didn't want that toilet.  No one wants that toilet.

The campaign is about using Pledge on other surfaces. Seems it's not a well known fact that  Pledge cleans lot's of surfaces besides wood and  if we're taking  other, those I have.

I decided to try it on my kitchen cabinets because so far the only thing that has worked on them is a chisel.


Huge surprise. 


And I mean huge.

Huge like I woke up Christmas morning and looked out my front door to see a new car with a bow huge.
 I didn't think it was going to clean those greasy, awful things.  I've tried stuff made for kitchens that didn't even work, let alone work well.  And said kitchen stuff certainly did  not smell like lemony heaven.

My lemony verdict is TWO HUGE THUMBS up for Pledge!  Wait - Make that TWO HUGE THUMBS and BOTH BIG TOES.

It's just that good!

  Pledge® aerosol (Natural Beauty, Clean & Dust & Allergen, Protection Plus and Extra Moisturizing) family of formulas can be used to dust, clean, shine and give limited protection to the following surfaces: sealed wood and wood laminates, synthetic wood surfaces, stainless steel, leather, sealed marble, sealed granite, vinyl and chrome.  This would include car dashboards (vinyl) and car seats (leather or vinyl).

*Although this is a sponsored post Pledge cleaned those crazy, dirty kitcen cabinets like nobodies business and me and my beloved yellow can are off to clean something else now"


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