Saturday, March 21, 2015

New Hobby

I just have to share something I am doing. I am exploring stop motion film making.
Now Harley-Bree and Nancy (from my other blog) will have a bit of animation in their adventures.  This is only the second one I have done and I wanted to see if I could pan. Let me know if you see my "cheat".


Monday, February 23, 2015

"Antediluvian" - pilot episode (steampunk webseries)

This is a new series from the Steamworks and Shadow's group and I am really enjoying the new storyline.  Anyone else love steampunk as much as I am?

Friday, January 9, 2015

I need everyone that reads to comment. Let us start a discussion about F*##!

My sons, AKA Brother & Baby, came to me awhile back with a comment.  Baby had a job at a local big-box retailer and had been observing people.  He said that his father and I were good to him and his older brother when they were small.  I listened while he said that a number of parents come into the store and when the kids would ask for anything, the parents reply 'Shut the F*## up' and other horrible things.  Baby said, with Brother nodding, that their father and I would just tell them either yes or no and explain why.  I said that we treated them as we wished that they treated others and used language we wanted them to use.

BUT, this has bothered me for a long time, WHY do people use such horrible language in public and especially towards their children?  I don't remember people using such vulgarities and obscenities in public and certainly not around children when I was growing up.  When did this become the norm?

I remember leaving a movie theater with my husband and going to the grocery right afterwards.  Dating myself, it was 'Basic Instinct'.  As we walked around, I heard people quoting lines from the movie that I don't think that they would have said unless it had been a quote. I was shocked then, and I am still shocked.  It has gone downhill from there. Now I hear people in public using language that wouldn't have been allowed in movies without an R or X rating.  In the dark ages of the 60's and 70's, they used to give X ratings for LANGUAGE!

When did it reach the tipping point that the F word is used in normal conversation with total strangers in public?  It doesn't even have a shock value (well, maybe to and for me, I used it once and Baby almost dropped a plate).  I have noticed people using it when I am shopping in daylight hours and there are still small children out.  ( a little note, I have noticed parents taking small children out all hours of the night since stores have started 24 hour shopping).  My boys now use it in conversations, thankfully not usually with me, though sometimes they do forget and have to 'rephrase'.

Is it that our language pool has shrunk in recent decades that people have to fill their sentences with obscenities to convey their thoughts and emotions?  Do people no longer own thesauruses?  Do people no longer watch Shakespeare, which conveys vulgarities in language powerful and beautiful without reaching for the coarsest of words? (for an example, see the video below)



Not only am I upset about the words people are using now, they are using them incorrectly! F*## is a verb, a rude one but still a verb.  I hear it used as an adjective constantly.  I almost laugh sometimes if I mentally insert another action verb into the sentences I hear.  Think about it, someone describing their 'floating teacher' or their 'swimming boss'?  It really disarms the sentence and changes the emphasis.  But at the same time, most people aren't even using the F word in anger.  They are using it as an adjective when they aren't even NEEDING to emphasize anything!  I overheard one young man in a diner ask his date/wife/sister/who knows to 'please pass the F*##ing catsup'.  Granted, I should be happy he said 'please'.  He was not angry or upset with her because the catsup was not within his reach, he asked her in a normal, pleasant voice.  Why could he have not just asked her to please pass the catsup?  And catsup is incapable of independent movement or reproductive actions so could not F*## no matter how many GM tomatoes were used. 

I could go on.  Believe me.  I won't.  At least today.


Give me your thoughts!  Am I just old fashion?  Is the F word no longer a conversation stopping vulgarity and now is the new filler word with 'um' and 'uh'?  Or is language going to Hell in a hand basket?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Another Clutter Busting Idea

We don't travel often, but when we do, we stay at hotels and motels.  We often bring back the little bottles of shampoo and lotions and the cute little bars of soap (you know that they will just throw them out after they are opened.)  The lotions are great for tossing in your purse and using on the go when you are feeling dry and flakey. And we have relatives that stay in really nice hotels all over the world that will gift us with the fancy soaps and lotions that they bring back.

After awhile, I noticed we had quite a bit of them.  CLUTTER!  I went online and looked for clutter busting solutions for this. I saw so many elaborate storage solutions for all the little lotions and soaps that it made my head spin. One woman dismantled her folding closet door to place a shoe storage hanger on the back to store all the little packages. What the heck? I came up with a very simple solution. Let's just use the stuff up!

Why store it? It will just grow and you have MORE clutter. I love these little soaps and bottles and don't want to stop getting them, but the solution is to use them up. It will save you money as you will not have to buy the shampoos and lotions and bar soaps for awhile.

Here is the solution. Find a pretty little container that you ALREADY HAVE! (don't fall into the clutter trap of going to stores to buy containers. Containers ARE clutter). Place all the soaps and shampoos in them and put it on the back of your toilet.  You now have the shampoos right at hand. Open one up and use it up. Recycle the plastic and grab the next one. The shampoos are concentrated and you can get two or more uses of them. If you have more than what the container can hold, put the extra away, but make sure you rotate them out! Storage IS clutter. Anything stored is something that will be forgotten and duplicated.

"MELISSA...(I can hear the whiners in the background)...I don't like using the tiny bars of soap!" If that is the case, why did you bring it home? Pass it on to someone else. Homeless shelters and other such places always need soap and shampoos. Ask around and pass it on. Don't give the stuff you already opened. Ick, would you want some stranger's used Dove?

If you can't part with the soaps and find the tiny bars a bit hard to handle, buy a mesh soap holder. They are made with the sole purpose of coralling the little bits of leftover soap and using them completely gone. They lather rather nicely and I use them instead of washcloths in the shower.

Send me your clutter busting solutions. Heaven knows I am on a constant battle and am no expert.

Pictures of my cute little container that I have for my shampoos and soaps will be added later.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Best Ever Real Chocolate Syrup Recipe!

A couple years ago, I was at the grocery and noticed something odd.  The chocolate syrup brand that I consider the epitome of what chocolate means was NOT chocolate!  It said 'chocolate flavored'.  What the heck?  I searched the shelves and ALL the syrups and add-ins were labeled 'chocolate flavored'.  I looked at all the ingredients listed and was a little frightened.  Granted, we shouldn't sweeten up all of our foods, but when we do splurge on the sugar foods, they should be good quality and not 'imitation' or 'flavored'.  I went to the web and searched for the best recipe I could find for the least amount of work.  Here it is!


½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla


Mix the cocoa powder and the water in a saucepan. Heat on medium and stir to dissolve the cocoa. Add sugar, and keep stirring as it dissolves. Let it boil for 3 minutes.  Watch it so that it doesn't boil over (what a mess).  Add the vanilla and salt, stir and let it cool. I pull out empty clean glass bottles and jars out and a funnel and pour.  Old catsup bottles and pretty preserve jars are great to use and make wonderful presentation gifts.  Store it in the fridge until ready to give or to use.  This keeps for several months and is wonderful for ice cream and chocolate milk. Yields two cups.


A quick tip.  Skim the scum off the top as it is boiling and spoon into a ramikinLet it cool and harden.  Chip it out and you have a bit of dandy candy to crush up and sprinkle on ice cream.  You can also add another flavor besides vanilla.  Orange or mint is great, but make sure you taste as you go to keep the flavor from becoming too strong.

Tell me what you made and send me pictures of the jars you used.  This is a great way to reuse the pretty jars and bottles you have kept because you couldn't bear to throw away.  And to cut your clutter, give the bottles away filled with your wonderful chocolate syrup to your friends and family.  They can do something with the glassware after they use up the syrup!
  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Shoes! Difference in being young and being not so young.


Shoes, I love shoes and what woman doesn't?  Even when you hate them, you still go on the hunt for them.  I tend to wear low heeled pumps or athletic shoes for comfort, but I truly covet the high-heeled, bad girl, red shoes.  You know the ones I mean.  They are stiletto heeled, thick soled and usually studded with something gaudy.  Flame red!  Oh yeah!

Ah, to be young again and wear bad shoes that hurt your feet and make you walk like you are just learning how.  Dang, we all felt sexy, even when we probably looked like we were drunk and it was only 9 am on a Sunday morning at church.  But I regress.

Bad girl shoes!  That is what we all loved when we were young.  We wanted them high.  We wanted them dangerous.  We wanted them so teetering that we needed a man on each arm just to be able to stand in them.  We wore them and loved them.  Even if they killed our feet and we couldn't walk on anything but the most even and smooth of surfaces.  And forget slippery!  But that is the charm of being young.  If we fell off of our dangerous bad girl shoes, we just bounced.  We would glance around to make sure no one saw us and we would get back up and sashay ourselves back down the road as if that was a new dance step we meant to teach the world.

To be old(ish).  Not quite the same.  We still covet the bad girl shoes.  The thigh high pirate boots.  The little spindly strappy things that are sure to cause our ankles to twist and break.  However, pain seems to be the death of our love of the bad girl shoe.  If we have a man on each arm, they are either our sons or our husbands and fathers who need our help as much as we need theirs to maneuver the sidewalks and paths.  Even in our dreams, they aren't George Clooney and Brad Pitt.  And if we trip and fall, we still look around to see if anyone happened to see.  And we are torn between hoping no one did so we don't end up on Vine labeled 'Old Lady Falling' and hoping someone did because I am sure we broke something.

Are you sure that this sensible lace-up doesn't come in red with a stiletto heel?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Stinky Teenage Boys

I was at Cosplacon this last weekend and was talking with another mother.  We were discussing on how "fragrant" teen boys can be, no matter how well they wash.  This is caused by hormones, not by the boys not scrubbing well enough.  Thankfully, teen girls don't seem to notice the smell as much as adult women do (or maybe it is what draws them to our sons, like bees to flowers).  I thought I would do a little post on how our family got through this period.

1. Stinky bodies need special soaps:  We found that Red Zone by Old Spice was the best out there.  There are several options  in the soft soap and deodorant line.  The boys come out of the showers sweet smelling and almost as appealing as when they were babies.

2. Stinky feet: If you can, put insoles in their shoes that will wick away the moisture and odor.  These boys tend to want to wear really expensive shoes, so pitching the shoes is hard to do, even if they would allow you to do it.  A good trick (and something I like to do myself) is to make a nice, strong pot of black tea, with maybe a bag of mint tea in as well.  Pour it into a basin and have them soak their feet in it.  The black tea and tannins will kill the bacteria that causes odors and the mint will make their feet feel tingly.  It might tint their skin a bit, but you know they aren't going to take their socks off in public anyway.  We like to sit on the back deck and soak our feet while we watch the sun set.  Very relaxing.

3. Shampoo:  I never had a problem with my boys having stinky hair, but if you do, try to find shampoo and conditioner with mint.  It helps stimulate the scalp and will cut through some of the smells.  Another good thing is Head & Shoulders every so often.  Even if they don't have dandruff, the shampoo is nice on the scalp.

4. Rooms:  Boys' rooms will stink.  Just a given.  Check the floor and closets for wet towels and old socks.  We don't want mold and mildew growing!  Make sure that they REALLY changed their sheets and not just wadded up the clean sheets you gave them and kept the dirty sheets on the bed.  You might have to do it yourself a few times.  Check the blankets and other bedclothes.  They may need to be laundered, especially if they aren't sleeping with sheets like they told you they were.  Vacuum the bed with a new vacuum bag and maybe change out the mattress pad.  I bought a waterproof one for one son who seemed to sweat through the sheets and pad.  Do NOT use carpet cleaner on the carpets.  Rent or hire the Stanley Steemer people.  Do, however, use one of the powder carpet cleaners in small bowls set around the room.  That will help absorb odors.  I used old tea cups hidden behind wrestling trophies on Baby's dresser filled with Love My Carpet.  If you don't find a product you like, or you prefer to use more natural products, you can use plain baking soda.  Let the room air out when you can and keep the drapes open so that natural sunlight can deodorize the room.

Do you have any tips or questions on how to remove puberty stench?  Now is the time to ask and to share!