Soul Sister Auto

I’m taking a “posting break”!  Every Wednesday for the next few weeks, I am posting past posts from my blog when I was at Blogspot!  This one is from 2009!  Enjoy!

I took the picture of this car while we were on vacation in California last summer…..because it “spoke to me” (not literally spoke to me…..like “hey! Come over here and take my picture”).

This morning, I gave my child ice cream for breakfast because I figured it has milk and protein so that must count for something…..and there wasn’t anything else that caught my eye for breakfast.

When I dropped my child off for her golf lesson, I felt something sticky on my face and realized the sunglasses I grabbed on my way out the door had honey on them and now it’s on my face……why do my sunglasses have honey on them?

This car is my soul sister – I can relate to this car and totally understand how all of the sudden this car must wake up in the morning and think “How has it come to this? How is it that I am held together by duct tape?”

……..and I’ll bet there is honey smeared on the backseat somewhere….. and peanut butter.

By Eleanore Macnish

Top 10 List – Being a kid in the Summer

TOP TEN LIST OF

BEING A KID IN THE SUMMER

1.    Climbing trees, getting stuck & telling younger kids to go “get help”- – but not from an adult”…..
2.    Camping in the back yard in tents with flashlights.
3.    Garden hoses and Wham-O Slip n Slides.
4.    MS Walkathon back-yard carnivals.
5.    Playing “tag” at dusk with tons of kids in big Kansas front yards
6.    Looking for four leaf clovers in the front yard…..when Dad’s were about to mow over the clover – “Hurry while he does the back yard!”
7.    Putting on “shows” for our parents on the patio.
8.    Trolling the neighborhood as a “spy team” .…. for the “safety & security” of the neighborhood.
9.    Playing Marco Polo, “who can hold their breath the longest” & underwater handstands at the pool…eating frozen Snickers bars, and sitting on the hot concrete for 5 minutes when you did something a life guard told you not to do….but you did it anyway.
10.    Catching lightning bugs in jars.

…..and of course Summer Camp!

Did I miss something? Leave a comment of your favorite Summer memory!

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift……”Saving Graces”

“Why Ellie Mac – Tart of Life?  Why do you think these things are so “fly”?”

Because they “rock” – that is why!

#1. Bill Atkinson’s Photo Card iPhone App – Ohhhh yes, there are so many photo card apps and I have many of them; but this one is the one I keep going back to time after time! Easy to use, fantastic quality & customer support, 5×7 postcard (laminated front and back) arrives in your mailbox…..love, love, love!  A “saving grace” for me because I tend to document my child’s life on my phone!  I take a picture with my phone, choose it as the front image, type a message on the back (there is plenty of room), add little “stickers” -the heart and basketball in this photo), send it to myself and sometimes others – Done! Yay!!

You buy PayPal credits ahead of time, so you never have to enter your credit card info or “log in” – you just choose if you want to email the card (free) or have it sent in the mail. It costs $2 to send the card by mail.  Particularly helpful when on vacation! – you just compose one card and choose as many recipients as you would like from your contact list!

#2.  Stuck On You ID Labels.  Ok, I know at the outset this might seem like a “no big deal” thing………and in that case you would be wrong…….so very very WRONG!  A friend of mine (April Young) turned me on to these about 5 years ago and I love them so much, I even have a set for myself with my email address!

This is why they are so amazing:

  • They are dishwasher & microwave safe.
  • They are vinyl (not paper!)
  • You can put them on the inside of shoes & coats
  • They are so small, kids are not embarrassed of them (the ones in this link are about the width of your pinkie finger nail) – and you can trim them down to just their name to make them even smaller.
  • They come in “cool” colors.
  • Stick them to everything!  Mobile phones, tools, inside of luggage, loop around the zipper of anything, cameras, chargers (think “Girls weekends” when everyone is plugging their charger into any available socket and everyone’s is the same), iPods, iPads, Nintendos, laptops, key fobs, notebooks – a bottle of wine – ha! – anything you do not want to lose – slap one of these babies on it and you’re good to go!
  • Think: Every single freakin’ thing you send your kid to school with – lunch boxes, cups, supplies – anything you want back or don’t want to have to buy again if it is lost – think about that my friend!

This a NOT a sponsored blog post – these are just things I love and thought you would like to know about – that is if you don’t already know about them!

Enjoy your weekend!

By Eleanore Macnish

Friday’s Gift……Fill in the blanks and make your own crossword puzzle!

Crossword I designed for the child of a friend – kids LOVE this….because it is all about them!

There is a site I truly adore.  I adore everything about it….the aesthetics, the mission, the beautifully honest and charming way she speaks about everything that is who she is, what she makes, why it is important to her, her products and her wonderful sporadic blog (I gather she is quite busy!).  “She” is Lea Redmond and she is refreshing and so great!  Her site is filled with her products and many free projects – my favorite is one of her conceptual knitting projects called the “Sky Scarf“, in which you knit a row of whatever color the sky happens to be everyday; at the end of the year, you end up with a 5 foot long scarf that is a visual sky calendar of the past year.

One day while looking at her blog, I happened upon a link that generates a crossword puzzle with your own words!  -You also write the hints (obviously)!  Such a fun thing for birthdays, holidays…..or any day! Kids love it because it is all about THEM!! — and you can make the answers as simple as can be, so even a 4 year old can enjoy something like this as long as an adult is there to fill in the blanks!  NOTE: Sit down and come up with a list of questions and answers first – then go to the site and plug in your answers & questions!

** #2 across “An old ______ injury makes Eleanore’s (me) back hurt sometimes.”

Answer: Bullfighting (I have an old bullfighting injury that makes my lower back hurt – but only about once a year…..and it is waaaaay cooler than having an old tennis injury!  When I was pregnant and hurting because of it, my OBGYN just looked at me dumbfounded.  I said “I was not fighting a bull yesterday! It was 15 years ago – in Spain no less!!” …..my explanation didn’t seem to make a difference.)

Enjoy your weekend!

By Eleanore Macnish

Manifesto of an 8 year old: “Why I Should Have My Ears Peirst”

This just pulls at my heart strings….

Ooooh the earnestness of youth!  I just love that my daughter does this!  She has only done it twice but each time she has delivered one of these notes, my heart just melts. She does NOT understand why sanctions are imposed on her and she does her best to make a persuasive argument….as only an 8 year old can.  Above is her first Manifesto…..(her second was regarding why she should be allowed to have and play the X-Box game “Assassins Creed”…..but that is a different story.)

Perhaps the reason this so “gets” to me is her persistence (after many conversations about why she could not have pierced ears until she was 12) and the heart-felt earnestness.

I finally caved when she was nine.  We were at Anthropologie when two separate women came up to me, in the space of about 5 minutes, and said “I think your son is looking for you”, as my daughter was calling “Maaaama?!? Maaaaaaaama! Can you hear me?” while walking through the store (I was standing by the sale rack and responding “I’m right here, just follow my voice”….really really softly…kidding – I said it loudly enough for her to hear).

I thought “Really!??  You mean my “son” who is wearing pink sweatpants and a shirt with daisies printed all over it…..who has a Pixie Cut?”  There was just something about the whole experience that irked me…..we got in the car and she said “Where are we going next?” ….and I said “To the mall to get your ears pierced (peirst)!”

I look back on that time and remember thinking: “Yes, I am giving in — will she remember this and learn from it and exploit my emotions in the future? Does getting her ears pierced at nine instead of 12 really matter in the grand scheme of things?  Will it lead to drinking or other self destructive behaviors at an early age? Will she think me weak?  If she does realize my weakness, will she organize elaborate “flash mob” situations without me even knowing, as a teenager to convince me I should extend her curfew?…..just because I let her get her ears pierced at age nine?” – Probably not.

Amazingly enough, no harm done!…..with the exception of having permanent holes in her body!


……..and then I thought, “you know what? I’ll bet this doesn’t really matter…..except it matters a lot to her.”        

UPDATE:  She is now 10, and is feeling “pretty good”, and is trying her best to navigate the “pre-tween”  waters!

Hopefully, she did not hire those women to approach me……….

If anything pops into your mind of stuff that may be coming my way in this regard….please comment with how you handled it – so I can be prepared! Thanks!!

Update: This blog was featured on Daily Buzz Moms – Raising Daughters. Check out other fun blog posts about raising daughters!

By Eleanore Macnish

Spring Tea -A Schedule and “How-To” for Fabulously Decorated Sugar Cubes

When you buy commercial icing in the grocery store, the can comes with many tips. The “kind of smooth with a whip” looking sugar cubes were from one tip and the frilly icing cubes were from a different tip. On some of the cubes I performed the “surgery” you see in the photos (click to enlarge) and others I just dipped in  tiny bowls of sprinkles. **Note: Get the icing in the can. The kind in the squeeze bag will not stick to the sugar cubes.

AND NOW ON TO THE ‘PARTY SCHEDULE” I PROMISED ON TUESDAY!!

Kind of long which is why I have put it at the end! Hopefully it is detailed enough to make it so you don’t really have to think about anything.  It seems like a lot but most of this stuff doesn’t really take very long – I just make detailed lists so I don’t forget anything!  I posted a Flickr photo set here – it might help with ideas for table set up, invitations, etc.! Also, be sure to check Wednesday’s post – it is LOADED with information and links.
3 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Pick a date
  • Buy cute note cards for invitations
  • Make invitations. Ask people to RSVP
  • Order party favor paper baskets for as many children as are invited plus 8 more. Also have 8 additional cups & plates. Since it is a Mother/Daughter Tea, siblings (sisters) are also invited by default – inviting 12 kids can turn into 20 kids before you know it! – a good reason for RSVP!

2 WEEKS BEFORE

  • Send invitations
  • Find 3 serving trays (scones, cookies, sandwiches), spoons (they make great silver plastic ones now!), tea set , cups & plates (there are beautiful paper plates, and plastic cups out there!), tongs for sugar cubes, 4 bowls ( jam, whipped cream, nuts and crackers) and 2 pitchers (lemonade & water). Call rental company to reserve, borrow, buy or dig yours out of storage.

1 WEEK BEFORE

  • Make a grocery list or use mine (below)!

2 – 3 DAYS BEFORE

  • Decorated Sugar Cube ingredients: Canned spray icing, sprinkles, sugar cubes
  • Buy ingredients for and make sugar cubes.
  • Store in a container or on a cookie sheet with a drinking glass in the middle and foil “tented” over the cookie sheet (so you don’t smush the icing).
  • Pick up rentals if needed (or have them delivered).
  • Set table with serving trays, cups, plates, spoons, tongs for sugar cubes, pitchers, clear plastic cups, bowls with spoons, and tea service.
  • Fill sugar bowl with sugar (women do not usually want icing in their tea).
  • Make a little tented card for the PB&J tray alerting people that they are PB&J (peanut allergy).
  • Lay clean dish towels over everything to prevent dust.
  • Set up an area away from the tea with wine glasses and an ice bucket for the sparkling water and wine.

1 DAY BEFORE

TO GET (Grocery):

  • White paper doilies for serving trays
  • Bulk Candy for favor baskets
  • Flowers or something for the centerpiece
  • Decaffeinated mint tea (see Tea For A Crowd for amounts needed)
  • Wyler’s Pink Lemonade mix
  • Clear plastic cups for lemonade
  • Scones
  • Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 & 1/2 cream
  • Jam
  • Cookies
  • Nuts
  • Little snack crackers (Goldfish)
  • Bread for sandwiches
  • Peanut Butter
  • Grape Jelly
  • 3-4 bottles of wine (you probably will not need this much but it is good to have on       hand in case you do)
  • 2 large bottles sparkling water
  • 2 bags of ice
  • 2 boxes of frozen hors d’oeuvres (I always pop some in the oven around 4:45 in case someone would like something other than cookies & scones)
  • Votive candles for bathrooms
  • Cocktail napkins for table and ice bucket area

TO DO:

  • Make whipped cream (you can also buy fresh whipped cream at Whole Foods)
  • Make PB&J sandwiches, cover & refrigerate – do not cut.
  • Arrange paper favor baskets on table and fill.
  • Make lemonade
  • Make tea concentrate (see Tea For A Crowd)
  • Set the bottles of wine and water in the empty ice bucket and remember to lay a corkscrew & cocktail napkins somewhere in the vicinity.

DAY OF PARTY

  • Cut sandwiches into little “2 bite” sizes, cover & refrigerate

RIGHT BEFORE (3:30)

  • Open a bottle of wine & recork
  • Ice the wine & sparkling water
  • Set out Lemonade & Water
  • Boil water for tea
  • Light votives in bathrooms
  • Fill the trays & bowls
  • Fill the cream pitcher

Enjoy your party!

P.S. Did you remember to clean your house?

*Tea concentrate – link to Tea For A Crowd suggests filling each cup with concentrate and adding water but I fill the teapot with boiling water and add concentrate to taste.
*Clear cups – when they are scattered across the landscape of your house, they look better than colored cups and your house doesn’t look like the morning after a Fraternity party.
*Sugar-Free Lemonade – it will get spilled and there is no sticky sugary mess with sugar-free.
*I usually pick out a movie to play if the girls are “done” with the tea party and the mothers are still enjoying themselves.

A Mother/Daughter Spring Tea…. an idea you should consider!

Every year, my daughter and I host a Mother/Daughter Spring Tea. In the beginning it was a “fun” thing and now it is something to which we look forward every Spring! If you would like to have a party, it is an incredibly easy one to have…if you follow these few simple rules!  Learn from my experience – it does not have to be hard unless you make it so!  I created a Flickr collection of photos from past “MD Spring Teas” if you want to take a look.

Check back on Friday for a detailed schedule of “To Dos & To Gets” to relieve any stress you may have about hosting such an event (I am a stickler for planning and will share with you my “schedule”, grocery list, etc.), and a photo tutorial on making decorated sugar cubes yourself for about $5 and 20 minutes of your time.

Invitations, Party Favors and a Table Centerpiece:

•    We buy cute note cards at Tuesday Morning, dig out scraps of past birthday party invitations, etc. (stickers, rubber stamps, etc)  and make invitations….Eliza applies the stamps…sometimes askew…we talk about the Victorian custom of sending coded messages by stamp placement…very sweet….

•    We buy little crepe paper baskets for party favors , fill them with candy and set them on a tray on a table by the front door.

•    In the first photo, the centerpiece was the base of a discarded lamp from Home Depot that I ripped apart, with a decorated party hat on top of it. If you look at the Flickr collection, you will see a cachepot (any ornamental container for a flower pot) filled with pansies I picked up at the grocery store last minute after I realized I had totally forgotten a “center piece” for the table!  The extra food in the above photo (not mentioned in my grocery list) , is food my friends brought to the tea!!  My friend Alicia brought prosciutto wrapped figs!  Yay!  Love her!….she is a good friend indeed! — particularly because she brought something the children would not eat! Ha!….but really.

Food and Tea:
•    One year we made “mice” by dipping a maraschino cherry in chocolate and attaching a chocolate kiss for the head, adding sliced almonds for the ears and icing eyes and noses………..and “we” will never do this again because Eliza lost interest about 10 minutes into the entire project and I spent the next 2 hours completing them….and my back hurt…and my feet….and my head hurt…….but it is wonderful if you are willing to do it!
•    Buy decaffeinated tea and use these instructions for preparing it ahead of time! (Tea for a crowd)
•    We ordered decorated sugar cubes one year (Eliza chose the designs). (Check Friday’s blog for a Pictorial “How To”….when you see the prices of these sugar cubes…..you will be back on Friday! Ha! ….but really)
•    At the grocery store, we buy the following: Scones, whipping cream (whip it yourself…it is better), jam, Pepperidge Farm Pirouettes, pretty cookies, nuts and/or little cracker snacks, bread & peanut butter (our “tea sandwiches” are PB&J made ahead of time and refrigerated then cut into neat rectangles right before the party), fruit and mint flavored decaffeinated tea, wine, 2 bottles sparkling water, 2 bags of ice and a couple of boxes of frozen hors d’oeuvres.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM HOSTING THESE TEAS:
•    Homemade invitations are the best – and all the better if your child obviously had a hand in making them….duh!!?
•    Buy EVERYTHING, make nothing you do not have to make. Children do not care if anything is homemade – they care about the PARTY.  Scones at our grocery store are $1.99 per dozen….a bargain! Also, women do not care (in this atmosphere) if everything is store bought! If I were giving a bridal or baby shower tea, would I buy everything?….no…..but for this occasion it is totally appropriate and now, I do it every time! The only exception is whipped cream; I make it myself.  Children are very suspect of clotted cream and do not go near it – whipped cream is much easier!
•    You can rent tea cups and dessert plates (ask for dessert plates instead of saucers! Dessert plates will hold a teacup and food!) for very little. You can rent them for about .40 per cup/saucer set (search “party rentals” + name of your city). You can also rent tea sets — or borrow them (do you know how many of your friends probably have a tea set they NEVER use and would be happy to loan to you?)!
•    Schedule the party on a school day. Our invitations specify from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. –everyone can “pop in”, spend a little time and leave to get home in time for dinner.
•    If you have an SUV, have (or borrow) extra car seats (or ask others to carpool). Most mother’s are able to make it around the start time, but some are not and I bring their daughters home from school and their mother’s pick them up from our house—- and the little girls are able to attend — and that’s important…and is also important for their mother’s to be able to attend for a little bit – because that is what their daughters will remember – that they were there together – even if their mom was just there for 20 minutes!  All of the Mothers in attendance automatically take care of and help all kids in their proximity (as Mothers tend to do), so everything works out.
•    Have a short tables or blanket chests covered with a tablecloth for the children………they prefer to sit on their knees (especially 5 – 7 year olds) and any amount of pleading or admonishment will not change this.  After all, if your legs were 20″ long – would you really want to sit in a big adult chair or on a couch and be sooooo far away from your friends?  If you do not have enough “little” tables you can lay sweet tablecloths or blankets on the floor for a Tea Party Picnic!
•    Set up a “Mothers Table” for the Mothers…..the children sort of band together and do not need or want any attention after adults have helped them pour tea and pick sweets from the table …..and the Mothers like to “hang” and have a glass of wine…did I mention that?…the “wine thing”?
•    HAVE WINE ON HAND (for our “1st Annual Mother/Daughter Tea”, I had no wine – and friends kept asking “Do you have any wine?” – now I always buy a few bottles to have on hand for when 5:00 rolls around.  Please know that I am in no way advocating drinking and driving, however many people would like a glass of wine around 5pm and I always make sure I have some for that reason. I also have sparkling water on hand for those who would like to dilute their wine a bit….  **If you are on a tight budget, buy cheap boxed wine and “decant” it into glass “carafes” (about $5 each from restaurant supply stores)— and you will be soooo glad you have those glass carafes in the future!  Wonderful for anything and everything!
•    If you are stressing over “serving” trays, utensils, etc. – DON’T!  Party City (and stores like it) sell wonderful silver metallic plastic trays & thrift stores always have lots of old glass and china serving trays for under $10.  Stick a paper doily on anything and you are golden! If you arrange anything in a pretty way, it will look pretty…..seriously!  Again, Thrift Stores are your friend, as is Ebay – search “vintage glass serving”.
•    Again, don’t stress. The important thing is to do something special with your daughter.  It does not have to be perfect. It does not have to be fancy. It does not have to be expensive. But it MUST be fun!

P.S. Notice in the photo above, there are TWO table cloths on the table because when this photo was taken, I did not have an oval tablecloth, so I had to layer 2 tablecloths to fit the table! Make “do” and “do” what you can!

Friday: Schedule, Grocery List and Decorated Sugar Cubes! Yay!