Friday, July 31, 2009

If it's Friday I've been junking and a winner!

Well it was an exciting day here at Shiny Red Houses because not only did we have soul crushing humidity, we also had torrential downpours.

Luckily I was distracted from the dreariness by not one, but two itty bitty teeny tiny newborns! I am a La Leche League Leader and today I made a few home visits to new mothers who needed a little breastfeeding help.

The babies! Dear god, I wanted to just eat them. They were so beautiful in the way that only brand new life can be. They smelled like heaven and nothing gives me hope for the world like watching a mother with a baby sleeping on her chest.

Anyway, let's get to the junk shall we?

I found a few things, but this is the best thing I've found in ages. Check it out!

When I spotted the beautiful beat-up croquette set for 7.99 I felt like I was having a Country Living moment. You know where they interview the homeowner and she says, "I found this lovely set in my favorite junk store, it's become the key piece in my collection."

I also found this sweet little girls dress.

I think I'll use it as an attractive accent piece.

Speaking of attractive things, I found the second volume of the Popular Mechanics Home Handyman Encycolpedia. Know what picture totally made me snicker?

This one. "Secrets of Attractive Packages". Sounds dirty doesn't it? Hello? What? Oh, nevermind...

How about this helpful tip:

That's right! Apply a 1 inch layer of asbestos cement to your boiler to reduce heat loss...and your life span.

Okay, you've endured enough of my nonsense for one day and it's time to announce the winner of the Godiva Chocolate giveaway.

The winner is....


She left this comment:

" Count me in! Yummy! I feel for you! We are having a cooler day here in Colorado, sorry! I actually did shiver! Hope you cool off soon!"

Just send me your mailing address and I'll send your prize pronto!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shiny Red Recipe!

Some people think that being a housewife is boring.

I happened to disagree, but even so sometimes I like to create little challenges to keep myself fresh.

Remember when I mentioned that we were eating through the freezer? Well, we're not just eating through the freezer, in fact I am trying to spend the week eating only what food is already in the house. I did make an exception for milk and fresh fruit, but other than that we are eating the food we have.

Yesterday we ran out of cheerios and Mighty Bites (or as Lily calls them "ones who swim in the milk"). Today the children grudgingly ate "reject" cereal but I know that they will not go along with that for long.

Today I decided to pretend that it wasn't 94 degrees out with 90% humidity and baked muffins so that my sweet cherubs will have something delicious and nutritious with which to fill their poor starving bellies.

One of my favorite cereal substitutes is this recipe. It's a bit of a mash-up of several different recipes and it has enough healthy ingredients that I can ignore the sugar...and butter. The best part about muffins for breakfast? You can eat them on the go or throw one in your purse so you don't grow faint and cranky from hunger. This is especially important while out junking.

Shiny Red Banana, Honey, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip Muffins

1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter, room temperature
2 eggs
2 ripe mashed bananas (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of milk
1 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup of oatmeal
chocolate chips- As many as your heart desires. I probably use about 2 cups because I believe that chocolate chips are an important part of a balanced diet.




Whole wheat flour!


Brown sugar!

Heaven! I mean chocolate chips!

* Heat oven to 375
* Cream together brown sugar and softened butter (I use a Kitchen-Aid Mixer, but a hand mixer should be fine
* Pause to notice how beautiful those ingredients are together
* Add eggs, bananas, honey and milk
* Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
* Stir until blended
* Add chocolate chips (Sample some to make sure that the quality is up to snuff)
* Spoon into cute muffin wrappers and cook for 20 minutes

Let cool and delight your friends and family!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My little girl is now a woman.

And it's not what you think.

Yesterday, of her own accord, Rebecca organized her closet by color.

It started when she offered to hang up the clean laundry. I wish that I could say that she is doing this out of innate desire to be helpful, though she enjoys being helpful. What Rebecca really enjoys is the current incentive program.

The children have gotten a bit slovenly this summer and by this weekend I Had Had Enough.

So I started "Padrusch Bucks". Every Sunday I give each kid ten Padrusch Bucks. Each is worth fifty cents. To keep those bucks they need to do their basic requirements. Beds made, dirty laundry in hamper, wet towels off the floor, dirty plates and cups into the kitchen etc. If they don't do those things they lose their bucks. Extra bucks can be earned for going above and beyond the requirements.

Rebecca loves this stuff. She is a natural born capitalist. The first day she swept the stairs and made my bed. This earned her two additional bucks.

This brings us to yesterday when she offered to take care of the laundry. Hanging up the laundry got her thinking about her closet and thinking about her closet got her thinking about colors and before you know it she had emptied her closet and was reorganizing.

Of course I took pictures.

I love a tidy closet. Makes me feel so peaceful. Sort of the opposite of how I feel when there are dead rotting birds in my house.

She loved it. She debated hues and textures.

My baby.

Guess what she did next?

She went into Lily's room and did her clothes too!!

Please notice the size of the closets.

Feel free to pity me.

Our house was built in 1925 and apparently people didn't own clothes then. Maybe the original owners were nudists. Either way our closets are tiny.

Rebecca's is about two feet wide. Also, it's in the hallway. She doesn't even have a closet in her room.

Lily's closet is in her room though it's about 18 inches wide. Seriously.

The bathroom closet is about 2o inches wide and is in the shape of a triangle.

My closet is a bar at the entrance to the attic.

I'd show you a picture but then I'd have to kill you. Just saying.

I got a bit side-tracked with the closets there.

Anyway, Rebecca earned an additional two Padrusch bucks.

Lily? How does Lily like the incentive plan?

She prefers a welfare state. She's all about stickin' to the man and fighting in the revolution.

Don't forget to leave a comment to enter into the Godiva contest.

A special shout out to my pal Thea's daughter Maya who turns 10 today! They are in Denmark avoiding the Boston heat and having a great adventure. Happy Birthday Maya!

One more message: Mgster- can you pretty please email me with your email address? You'll be my best friend and I'll invite you to my birthday party! :P

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I hate the hot, hot, heat but I love chocolate.

I wanted to post something witty and meaningful, thought provoking and poignant.

Instead I must whine and complain.

Dear God I hate the heat.

It has only been hot for the last week but it feels like I have been roasting in the fiery pits of hell for an eternity.

I drive down the streets imagining snow banks and ice covered trees.

I long to shiver.

I spend my days lying on my bed in front of the air conditioner trying not to move.

The attic is too hot to clean.

Even the basement is hot.

Only about six weeks until fall. Last night I dreamt of pumpkin picking.

Tomorrow is parents visiting day at camp.

I am not going. The heat will kill me and I'd hate to leave my children motherless.

Instead I will go to IKEA and imagine cool swedish winters.

If you just endured this drivel I have a reward for you.

A giveaway, but a repeat giveaway. A Godiva box of chocolates. They are having a secret member sale and it would be shameful not to share the goods. I would give more details about the chocolates but it's too hot. I'm pretty sure that they are delivered in a cooler, so if you live somewhere that makes hell look cool and breezy, enter anyway. One entry per person, randomly selected Friday, 5pm EST. Good luck!

Monday, July 27, 2009

How my husband failed me or Why I had to go junking on a Monday...

I first noticed the smell yesterday.

I didn't mention it to you guys because I was hoping it would go away on its own.

The smell was in the downstairs bathroom, the roof of the very bathroom which recently had an air conditioner dropped on it. In addition to being a landing strip for wayward air conditioners, this roof also has an exhaust vent which has become the home to a family of birds.

The birds have been nesting there every year and each year we think, "We should do something about that", but then inertia and our somewhat hippy tendencies would get the better of us and before you know it we hear the sweet chirping of baby birdies. Ah, nature! So pure and beautiful, we love its dulcet strains.

So when I smelled the bad smell, the dare I say rotting smell, I had a very bad feeling about what had happened in the exhaust vent.

First, I removed the light fixture. Nothing there...but the smell was worse.

I went upstairs for a while to pretend I did not have a dead bird somewhere in my bathroom.

It was not effective.

Back down I went, with my favorite phillips head screwdriver in hand and carefully removed the housing from the vent.

And there it was. A dead rotting bird jammed between the wall and the vent.

I immediately called David.

"You have to come home right now." I tried to speak calmly.

"What's the matter? Are you okay?" He asked.

"There's a dead bird in the bathroom and you need to come home and get it out!" I said.

"Well, I would come home, but I'm 3000 miles away, so I think you're on your own with this one" he said.

"You don't understand. You. Have. To. Come. Home. Now." I stated.

Readers, that man laughed at me! So while he is in Los Angeles, CA enjoying fancy lunches and promoting his new business, I had to remove the dead bird from the vent.

I used a dog poop bag and pulled it out. I was terrified that there would be maggots. Maggots would have sent me straight to Mclean's.

There were no maggots, though there were lots of stinky feathers which I cleaned up.

Once that was over I washed my hands about 100 times and contemplated just burning the house down in order to erase the memory from my mind.

Instead, I made a cup of coffee and went to Global Thrift because that's what big girls do when faced with dead rotting birds.

Global Thrift is a gritty Good Will type store in Waltham, MA. All I can say is that the junk store gods must have seen me suffering with that bird carcass because the haul from the thrift store was epic.

Check it out!

I've been looking for an old Radio Flyer wagon for years! I want to put flowers in it, though mark my words, Lily will take possession of that in seconds once she gets home. The wagon was 5.99!

I actually gasped out loud when I saw the old turquoise Coleman cooler. I love old coolers and the color! I just adore it! Also 5.99.

What is that shiny black thing? I have no idea, but I plan to put umbrella's in it...or maybe sunflowers.

Chippy red striped lamp 3.99, Scotch Jug Thermos 3.99 and jadite mug .99!

I can't wait to play with this house!

It's a facade and I'm going to redecorate it.

It would be more authentic with a dead bird jammed somewhere...

Speaking of the dead bird...

Let's just have a moment of silence and a collective cursing out of David for forcing me to deal with this on my own.

Thank you.

I will be eating chocolate now.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The handmade's tale...

If you've been reading this blog for even a short time you have probably noticed that I am incapable of just leaving well enough alone.

It's the reason that I keep futzing (definition: perhaps part modification, part translation of Yiddish arumfartsn zikh, literally, to fart around) with the look of my blog.

Now you know what it's like being a member of my family. Go out for coffee and when you come back every thing's changed. I need to work on my banner though because it's a little out of wack.

I was struck by two separate and only tenuously related things today.

The first is that I have figured out why Lily is being so darned difficult lately. I had the realization tonight at dinner when Lily asked for a second helping of rice and then a third helping of steak. She's having a growth spurt!

I wish I'd notice this earlier- it would save heaps of frustration for everyone.

Lily has been weepy, angry and tired all week. Impossible to please and most importantly- very hungry! You'd think I'd have put it together.

After dinner Lily was sufficiently well fed to happily play with my old dolls from the attic.

I was really struck by how many of them were homemade.

Here Lily is wearing a baby bonnet crocheted by my Aunt Evelyn.

See that canopy bed? It's made from a shoebox! No kidding! I received it as a gift when I was little.

This Raggedy Ann doll is handmade too. I can't remember who made it. If my mom does maybe she'll let me know it the comments.

The sweetest detail about this doll?

Look at that. So lovely.

When I was a kid we always went to a store called "The Doll House" on Cape Cod. It was run by a little old lady who made everything herself.

She made this kitty.

And this doll.

I still love this little doll.

All the clothes can come off and the limbs are fully movable.

Remember that little cradle?

It's also a purse!

This was my mother's Ginny doll.

My memere made the dress this doll is wearing.

I think that I need to learn to sew. Maybe it would keep me too busy to paint!

I clearly need to pay more attention to what Stanley is doing while I'm playing photographer.

He does not have the excuse of a growth spurt. He is just a bad cat.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

This post is brought to you from the attic and the freezer...

First, the very wonderful news!

Tibbles has a new home! I delivered her to Christine today, whose sweet boys, Alex and Nicholas were excited to see their new kitty. I am hoping that Tibbles settles into her new home quickly and without incident. I'll keep you guys posted!

Today was one of those sleepy kind of irritable days in our house. No one had slept very well and so if I had to use one word to describe the household mood it would be "cranky".

We eased into the day by letting the girls watch two hours of TV.

Once I made them turn it off I knew I had to get them busy or else a tsunami of whine would wipe us all out.

One of my favorite ways to get the kids relaxed and happy is to put on an audio book and get them involved in a fine motor project. I don't know why it works but it does.

Today we listened to "Junie B. Jones has a Peep in her Pocket". I love Junie B, I honestly and truly do. I know some folks don't like that her grammar isn't perfect. There's also the part where she calls Jim a big fat stinkyhead. I like that about Junie B. though.

Once the Junie B. got started I put out the sculpey clay. The little hands got busy, their brains were occupied and everyone chilled out.

A family of mice was born.

While playing I fed the children hor'dourves. It was 10am, so it was an unusual time for hor'dourves.

I have a plan though. We will spend this week eating through the freezer.

Have you ever noticed how weird food accumulates in the freezer? I usually end up with weird food when I shop without a list while hungry. A very dangerous combination!

That is how it came to pass that we were eating raspberry and brie filled philo pastry at 10 o'clock this morning. Judge me if you want, but I have one less weird thing in the freezer taking up space.

Later in the day I further delighted my children by taking my childhood out of the attic.

Readers, I loved these toys. I took good care of them and have been hiding them from the girls for years, waiting until they were old enough to enjoy them and not destroy them.

Glenda and the Mayor of Munchkinland.

Notice the fold out yellow brick road.

Dorothy's house is on the other side of Munchkinland.

See that door in Dorothy's house?

It's a tornado! You put Dorothy in there, spin the door and voila! She's on the other side in Munchkinland.

Here's the rest of the cast in front of the Emerald City.

I lost Toto and his basket somewhere along the way.

Rebecca added her own twist to the story.

Zombie Dorothy.

Weird, weird children.

Friday, July 24, 2009

If it's Friday I've been junking and David's first flame war...

Hello, hello my sweet, sweet bloggy-poos!

Today is junk day so I made my way through the rain and wind to Urban Renewals, my favorite junk store on the planet.

My haul was small in quantity but ginormous in quality.

I kept my cool when I saw the McCoy pitcher for 5.99. But just barely.

And I ask you, how on earth was I to resist a bright yellow elephant watering can with googly eyes?

See that book in the back? It's a Popular Mechanics Home Handyman Encyclopedia and Guide published in 1961.

It has lots of instructions.

Like how to make your own bamboo windchimes.

How to install radiant flooring into an outdoor doghouse.

Instructions for building your own pool and diving board.

I kind of like the driftwood candelabra.

Be careful with it though! Or else you could have a...

Christmas tragedy!!!

Who knows why the homemade floating playpen never caught on.

Look ladies, you can spackle too!

But they know that you really want this.

A chair to sit in while you gossip. Of course!

I love this book! Such a sense of optimism! There's a whole section on building boats and the men in the illustrations all have nice slacks and sweater vests on.

Onto an entirely more ridiculous subject...

My husband. Have you met him?

He looks so sensible doesn't he?

This man got himself involved in his very first internet flame war.

What was it about?

Not politics.
Not religion.
Not the environment.

No, David fell into the "cry-it-out vs. co-sleeping" trap.

I spent some time there myself about ten years ago when Rebecca was a baby. Message boards were very popular and for post-partum hormonal women they were a place to make your parenting opinions known.

David was busy earning a living through all of this so he never got involved in this sort of thing.

Then Facebook happened. David loves Facebook. It is a great outlet for someone who is relentlessly outgoing. And it all went well until one of his friends mentioned letting her baby cry herself to sleep.

Since I have shown you pictures of my kiddos snuggled in my bed I think you know how we feel about this issue, but I have the good sense not to get involved.

David could not help himself and so began the drama of the day. He started forwarding me messages from other people on Facebook who let their kids cry. "How should I respond?" he'd ask.

"Ignore it." I typed back.

Then he'd forward another one. "But what about this one?!!?"

"Ignore it." I typed back.

"You can't expect me to ignore this one!!!!" he sent.

"Ignore it." I typed back.

It's been an hour since he sent me an email so I am hopeful that he took my advice and hasn't found himself unfriended by mobs of angry mothers.

If he sends me another email though I know just what I am going to do.

Ignore it. :)