stuff I like

Stuff…and a Few Things: Spring Survival

May 18, 2015
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What a wild and wacky Spring it has been here in West Texas. Tornados, hail, and lots of rain. Lots and lots of glorious rain. So, while we get weather warnings more often than usual, you won’t hear me complaining as I delight in the lush green of my yard.

And while I’m not complaining, that moisture comes with a few things, namely mosquitos. They aren’t out in full force yet, but the early birds have started to congregate. And those little critters love me. And my Dude. Suffice it to say that we are both very, very sweet. Or something. Do they like you, too? Of course our first line of defense is not to be bitten in the first place (hello, OFF!) but I have yet to go through a summer unscathed. So, treatment is the name of the game and I’ve found nothing  that beats the healing powers of this:

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It’s pure magic, folks, and you can get it here.

While we’re on the subject of histimines, let’s talk about pollen. And eyeballs. And me wanting to scratch mine right out. You, too? The funny thing is that my nose and sinuses are quite happy. I’ve already got enough drugs running through my system, so I wanted to avoid an allergy pill if most of me was faring pretty well. I’ve tried at least 8 kinds of  drops, but I’ve finally found the holy eyedrop grail.

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Once in the morning, once before bed, and I’m all set. Really, life is so much better when you can a) see b) not have to tell all of America that you are not crying and c) not scratch your eyeballs out. Amen. Easily found at the Walmarts or your favorite drug store.

Finally, hydration. I’ve always struggled with making sure I drink enough water throughout the day, especially during my teaching years when you can’t exactly saunter to the loo any time you’d like. With a recent trip to the ER for yet another kidney stone, I was reminded that it’s more important than ever to keep things moving along. I’d like to avoid all the nasty sweeteners out there in diet drinks, nor do I want to quaff a week’s worth of sugar in a day. And let’s face it, there is only so much plain ol’ water one can take. What’s a girl to do? Behold, Sonic Strawberry Water. *angels singing*

IMG_0174 44 ounces of filtered water laced with sweetened, squished up strawberries, and the best ice on the planet. I know, it does have sugar in it, but just a little. In fact, this entire vat of hydrating goodness is only 70 calories. 70. And no nasty sweeteners. And you wanna know something else? This beauty will only set you back $.54. And that’s not even during happy hour, y’all! Bottoms up!

Oh, and none of the people that make these things know who I am or that I love them. I just dig their stuff. And wanted you, dear readers, to know their life-saving (or at least comfort-inducing) magic. Happy Spring, friends!

 

family, home, memories, ridiculousness

Thoughts on Motherhood: I’m CRUSHING It

May 10, 2015

The flowers, the hand-made little gifts, the breakfast in bed…all magical. All designed to make you feel like the most appreciated woman on Earth. And who’s to say we don’t deserve it? Perhaps your own kid. Leave it to a child to pull no punches. That’s right, behold these gems from one of my (unnamed) offspring from years-gone-by.

The cover. Balloons, a Dutch Maid hat, a random Gingerbread Man, and Jester’s shoes. And I bow and arrow, I think. So sweet.

IMG_0113 Next, one of my favorite things to do…

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…kissing Daddy. Could be worse.

Then, this.

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Apparently I love to just lounge around and read magazines. When I’m not kissing Daddy, that is.

Wait! There’s more!

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When I’m not lounging and smooching, I like to put on make-up.

And the mothering piece-de-resistance…

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You sad, little kid? Go to your room! The one with bars on the window. And the exposed electical outlet. And keep it down, would you? I’m trying to read magazines and put on make-up!

Feeling like your mothering skills are sub-par? I thought about offering a seminar to young mothers, but seeing that I’m totally crushing this mothering thing, I wouldn’t want any of you to feel less-than by comparison. So, just come by some time, and we’ll have a nice long chat on my porch over some sweet tea. And don’t worry, I’ll have some bourbon at the ready. For us both.

 

 

 

family, memories

The Day My Legs Spoke to Me

April 12, 2015
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It was a lovely afternoon. Sun shining, clothes laundered and folded, kitchen scrubbed, and me propping my feet up feeling mighty satisfied. Then I looked down and my legs. My pasty, jiggly, bruised, veiny legs. Before I could even filter my words, I found myself actually uttering the words I’ve thought countless times.

“You uuuugly.” And then it happened.

‘Scuse me?

Um, who was that?

It’s us, braniac. Your legs. You know, the ones that have carried you around for nearly your whole life.

Uhh, you heard that?

Of course we did. Both when it comes out of your mouth and every time it whizzes through your head. Every. Time.

Uuuhhh, well…I mean….

Yes, we are looking a bit worse for wear these days. And our joints? A bit cranky. And we hate that for you. Really. We do. But let me ask you something. Is there anything about us that makes you smile? Makes you proud?

Uhhhhh…

Anything. Really. Throw us a bone, will ya?

Well, there was that one time my little brother and I decided it would be a good idea to poke a possum with a stick. I never knew you could whisk me into the house and behind my mother’s skirts so quickly.

Nice start. Anything else?

Hmmm. We used to really cut a rug together. Pirouettes, Thriller, the running man, dancing like a maniac in the kitchen with my kids. That’s always brought me great joy, even if I looked like a complete dork doing it. No comments, please.

Not even one teeny weeny one?

No.

Oh, ok.

And how about the time we were at that SWAT Team hostage situation in Houston. You ooched my 17 year-old-self right under that KPRC news van before I could say, “Does fresh asphalt stain Laura Ashley dresses???” Thanks. Like, really.

Our pleasure. Really.

Then there was the time I thought you were going to give out on me, not wanting to see my dad all wired and tubed up post-heart surgery. A slight buckle, but you shored me right up and marched me right in there.

We did. It was a sweet moment we’ll never forget.

Down the aisle, to my love. And into the hospital, to welcome my babies. To far-flung places, helping me discover who I am. Over the mommy years, running, playing, skipping, skiing, hiking. All right next to my people. Making memories. Having fun.

Precisely.

Do you remember all those miles and miles of training we put in? Running a half-marathon before I turned 40. Turns out you went above and beyond and we did two. Couldn’t have done it without you.

Perhaps not, Einstein. But seriously, we still remember the tears of joy. And maybe a bit of pain.

Let me ask you something else. What would you say if you heard your kids talking to another person the way you talk to us? And not just my buddy and me, but the whole package. 

Uhhh.

I know. You wouldn’t stand for it. We know that you try to be a loving, kind person to those around you, but guess what? We are someone, too. We are YOU. And we LOVE you. Even on our crankiest days, we want good things for you. We ALL do. Right, batwing arms? Jiggly mommy belly? Squishy fanny?

Call me crazy, but they all answered. In unison. In love. Right there on my sofa. I heard it y’all. Really. Have I been kinder to my body since our little chat? Well, I’m still working on that. In the mean time I am learning to see all of my parts as me. And not in a way that defines who I am by the way that they look, or even perform (heaven help me). Me. My story. My memories. The memories of the people I love. May I learn to be more kind. Both to others and to myself. And may I learn to never EVER post pictures of my legs again. Amen.

 

 

Cedar Cottage, craftiness, home, Tutorials

DIY Window Seat Cushion in a Jiffy

March 23, 2015
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For reals! Yes, you can whip together a little wondow seat cushion in less time than it will take you to say, “What? A custom window seat cushion in a jiffy?” And the best part? There’s not a single stitch in the whole thing, y’all! You’ll just need a few supplies and the will to have a squishy place to sit in the sun.

IMG_2398 Gather up the fabric of your choice, a staple gun and staples, scissors, a piece of plywood cut, and some thick foam (I went with 3″ foam for maximum booty comfort). That’s it! Now it’s time to put it all together.

IMG_2386 First, measure and cut your plywood and foam to the size of your window seat. You may want to use fancy  clean foam. Mine got shoved into the netherregions of our crawlspace when we moved, but this stuff isn’t cheap, people, so I vacuumed and went with it. PS The good folks at your local hardware store will cut your plywood to size for you if you ask really nicely.

Next, cut your fabric to size, making sure you have plenty to pull and staple around the foam and plywood. If you are using fabric with a linear design, make sure to cut it straight. No one likes a wonky seat cushion. Use the design to help you stay on track.

IMG_2388 Now lay the fabric out right side down, then the foam, and layer the plywood on top. Pull the fabric taught and staple into place, wrapping the ends like you are wrapping a present.

IMG_2389 A few wrinkles on the underside? No one will see it-it’ll be our little secret. 

My staples were a bit cranky, so I used a hammer to persuade them not to be so proud.

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After a little persuasion, that’s it, y’all! Flip ‘er over and gussy it up with a few pillows!

IMG_2392 And perhaps a dog.

IMG_2396 I do recommend splurging on thick (3 or 4″) foam, as it gives the finished product a substantial feel.

IMG_2397 Plus, it keeps the more sensitive ones in your family happy and will avoid a “princess and the pea” situation. Bless him.

family, memories

Beauty Shop and Cameos

March 18, 2015
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Over the past several days I’ve been waltzing across Texas and having a grand time. My first stop was to see Mom and Dad in Houston. The best part? I had them all to myself (you middle kids feelin’ me?)! Like, totally all to myself, as I left all my people at home for this trip. Truth be told, they were all tied up with various Spring Break festivities, so I hopped in the car and played Name That Tune with myself all the way there (I do looove me some serius XM, y’all). I’m easily entertained.

Of course we chatted, ate, and did a little shopping, but the highlight of the trip was a visit to see my grandmother. Here she is as a fresh-faced Registered Nurse in New York City.

IMG_1016 This summer we got to celebrate her 100th birthday.

IMG_1019 That’s right, 100 years young! It was a fantastic celebration and we were so glad to be a part of it. When I got to Houston last week, I couldn’t wait to see her again. In fact, we planned to play “beauty shop” during the visit, complete with a hair cut and manicure. If there’s one thing the Coleman girls love, it’s playing beauty shop in mom’s bathroom. I mean, what’s better than chatting about our latest beauty finds, painting nails, cutting hair, and laughing until our sides hurt, right?

After Grandma selected her color, I got busy, filing, shaping, and painting. As I was putting on the final coat, she looked down at my hands and said with a wink, “I like that cameo.”

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Her cameo. The one her father gave to her on her 12th birthday. The cameo she gave my mother when she was 25. The same cameo my mother gave to me on my 25th birthday. Tears welled. Smiles exchanged. Beautiful memories made.