Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Joining the Hodgepodge

Hodgepodge Questions  volume 254

A group of bloggers does “hodgepodge questions” every Wednesday, 
and I decided to join the fun for a change of pace! 

1. Describe love using all five senses.  
Love looks like a gift, shiny and exciting and new. You open it, and the aroma of home-cooked meals wafts out, and when you lift it from the tissue paper, it wraps a child’s warm, soft arms around your neck, and you hear laughter, tears, and soft sighs all at once. You press your lips to it and taste ... chocolate dipped strawberries. Okay, that last one may be a cliché, but love makes life rich and sweet like that Valentine treat!

2. February is Canned Food Month. What’s your favorite food that comes straight from a can?
Cherry Pie Filling! The perfect topping for cheesecake, and you can’t have cherry delight without it.

3. A principal in a UK school recently sent home a letter to parents requesting they (the parents!) dress appropriately when escorting their children to/from school (basically saying please don’t wear your pajamas) You can read the letter here. It’s gotten a lot of publicity, both positive and negative. Your thoughts? And do/did you ever make the school run (or hit Starbucks, Walmart, etc) in your pjs?
Noooooooooo! But I will admit to driving my daughter to work in my pajamas, before sunrise, because I was going right back to bed when I returned home. I did worry about what would happen if I had car trouble and had to look under the hood of my car in my flannel Coca-Cola pj’s on the side of the road.

4. Crew neck, V-neck, turtleneck, scoop neck...which is most prevalent in your wardrobe?
V-neck. It may be the most flattering neckline there is and makes a nice frame for a pretty necklace.

5. I read here recently a list of four things to avoid so you wake up happier. They were late night snacks, hitting the snooze button, social media just before bed/upon waking, checking emails. Are you guilty of any of these behaviors? Which on that list do you need to work harder at avoiding?
Oops. But not going to work at avoiding any of that. I don't generally wake up unhappy unless I had a bad dream.

Me and my brother in my favorite house
6. Share something you remember about a house you lived in as a child? Of all the homes you lived in as a child, which did you love best? 
I remember five houses. The white 2-story house with a big front porch was my favorite. I was ages 4-6 when my family lived there. After hearing the story of Mary Poppins, I took a little umbrella out onto the porch and jumped off. I did not fly. What a disappointment. A few years later, I took an umbrella outside during a strong wind. I didn’t fly then, either. And that was the end of that poor mangled umbrella and my dream of flying like Mary Poppins.

7. Your favorite movie based on a true story? 
Hmmm. Not a big fan of true story movies. I’m more of a Princess Bride/Willy Wonka kinda gal. But I did see and enjoy The Blind Side.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
You know what’s completely unfair? It’s how you lose an entire segment of your life when you end up divorced. Everyone else can reminisce and share any part of their life to their heart’s content, but the divorced individual is told to “move on,” and there seems to be an unspoken rule that to share or even just occasionally think about any experience you had during the time when you were married is unacceptable. How can it be right that 20 years’ worth of experiences have to be buried and forgotten for me to be healthy? I don’t think denying that those 20 years existed is healthy at all. They’re a part of what made me the woman I am today. What do you think of that?

And that’s the not-Christmasy hodgepodge for today! Gotta post it while it’s still Wednesday! Thanks for your comments!

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Life for Old Cards

Ideas for Chrisstmas Crafters

While we’re on the topic of Christmas cards, I’d like to share this link to a blog post by Southern Savers full of recycling ideas for Christmas cards. Repurposing Christmas & Greeting Cards

One idea that was not included is an ornament craft my mother used to make when I was a child. I found the directions and template for that project here at ChristmasCards4Less: Card Ball Ornament 

This is a craft project you can do during these snowy winter months (if you live in the northern hemisphere), and children can help cut, fold, and glue. Each ornament is made of 60 (sixty) circles cut from cards.

If you can’t bear to cut up greeting cards you received from family and friends but still want to tackle this project, visit thrift stores looking for already low-priced cards now at reduced clearance prices. Those won’t have sentimental ties, and you can cut and create to your heart’s content for very little expense!

Save your finished project(s) in a cardboard or plastic bin, labeled clearly, so you find them in perfect condition next December, ready to display!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Counting the Cost of Christmas Cards

On a 3-dimensional, metal, card tree with a star on top, I display Christmas cards as I receive them. I’ve done so since my children, now adults, were small.

This year when my son arrived for Christmas Eve dinner, he glanced at my card tree and then did a double-take. 

“What’s with your card tree?” he asked.

“What do you mean?”

“There are hardly any cards on it,” he  pointed out. “I remember when it used to be filled on all three sides.”

“People don’t seem to be sending cards this year,” I told him, “or else they’re waiting to receive a card before they send a card.” I went on to tell him that I sent mine out the week before Christmas, and two of the cards on the tree were from my mom, who forgot she had sent the first one and so sent the second one.  Those two cards were the first of the season to arrive in my mailbox.

I’ve seen Facebook posts where folks have confessed that the near-fifty-cent price of stamps has forced them to forego mailing Christmas cards. Not knowing what kind of mailing list these friends have, I can’t say how much they would have spent had they sent cards. I bought 40 stamps in November and sent 32 cards a month later. So, it only cost me $15.68 to put some holiday cheer in the mailboxes of 32 friends and relatives. ... What’s that? ... You say I forgot to add the cost of the cards themselves? No, I didn’t. 

You see, I never shop for Christmas cards in November or December. I think ahead. I buy them after Christmas when stores are selling them at a 75% discount. I seek them out in thrift stores, which incidentally also have 50-75% off already low prices after Christmas. I can get an unused pack of cards for as little as 25-50 cents then! I bought cards off ebay one year when I wanted to have a vintage theme. If you or someone in your immediate family is artsy, you might craft your own cards and envelopes. One summer I painted tree cards and made envelopes out of the previous year's leftover gift wrap. No matter where the cards come from, I prepare in advance and then keep the cards where they are easy to find when the time comes to continue my Christmas card tradition.

Buy/make your cards soon, and come next Christmas, your only expense will be the stamp. Is 49¢ too high a price to pay to deliver holiday cheer to a loved one? If so, you might consider sending Christmas postcards for 35¢ a stamp.

And remember, to receive cards, you need to send cards. Not everyone will reciprocate (I send cards to a few people who never send me a card in return but who I’m sure appreciate being remembered). Hopefully enough will so that you can display festive cards on your mantel, a shelf, desk, card tree, or card wreath. 

When counting the cost of Christmas cards, remember to consider what is lost if you cut them out of your traditions. Plan ahead, and you (and your loved ones) won’t have to miss out!