Wednesday, January 30, 2013

You know what?

Chicken butt.


I had to say it. 

It's blustery and cold out there today.

Exhibit A:

I stayed home with the kiddos today as commuting was just not in the cards with all of the SNOW and then all of the BLOWING of the snow. 

I thought we might settle into the day and make some cookies maybe if we felt like it. 

Evidently my energy levels were bigger than I thought as I spent the day cleaning. 

I took apart the dryer and cleaned out the lint trap.  I found a bunch of change, six pounds of lint, and a marble.  How that rascally bugger got in there, but there it was.  After that, it was cleaning baseboards and door jambs in the kitchen and dining room.  There's almost nothing better than looking around and all of those finger prints, hand prints, little bits of gunk are gone, long gone.  Plus, it makes the house smell nice.  And plus plus, germs be gone.  

You know what would be a million dollar idea?  Self-cleaning baseboards.  It's true. 

In other news:  I've been rereading A Wrinkle in Time and have moved onto A Wind in the Door.  It's a great way to pass the time on these winter nights when the wind is raging outside and it's nice and toasty indoors. 

I also made up a crock pot of cowboy beans that filled everyone's bellies. 

Cowboy beans, you ask?  Well lemme tell you allllll about it.  It's the best one dish meal ever.  Plus it's an awesome rib-sticking meal in the middle of winter.

I used 1 can of Baked Beans, 1 can of Butter Beans, 1 can of pinto beans, and 2 cans of chili beans (in their sauce).  I rinsed off the Butter Beans and Pinto beans.  Then, I tossed all of them into the crock pot on low while I browned 1 -1/2 pounds ground beef.  I also added about 1/4 cup brown sugar (use more or less according to taste), 2 tbsp yellow mustard, and 1 cup of French dressing.  I also added about 3 tbsp minced onion (dry).  When the ground beef has been browned, add it to the crock pot.  I set it on low for 4 hours.  Serve with cornbread or if you're like me (sekritly 12), serve with wavy plain potato chips for dipping.

I think everyone liked it and I'm just happy that I have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  Woot.  Win-win.  

After a nice hot bath, I'm gonna play a quick game of Zuma Blitz and do some reading I think.

So, question time:  How do you pass the time indoors during the long winter months?  Games?  Hobbies?  Cooking/Baking?

Do. Tell. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

She listens like Spring and she talks like June....

Tomorrow my middle baby will be nine years old.


Count 'em, nine years old.

I still cannot believe it actually.

She believes in the power of Pink.

She makes greeting cards with pop-out hearts.

She leaves post-it notes in my purse that says I heart you Mom (or leaves post-its in her dad's lunchbox too)

She loves Junie B. Jones.

She loves her sisters...a lot.

She doesn't care for her brother overmuch.

She loves playing Angry Birds.

She loves cupcakes.

She loves lipgloss.

She wants her own kitten.

She's curious about crickets and grasshoppers but hates spiders with a passion.

She's getting taller every single day.

She believes that more is definitely better.

She loves listening to my ipod and singing along quietly.

She loves to rock in her chair, or on the couch, or in her bed....or anywhere really.

She loves riding shotgun.

She can spring up out of bed and be ready in two minutes.

She loves to swim and can do it for hours on end.

She has freckles.

She loves nail polish.

She goes by Sadie, Shoog, or Tink. 

....And she's only going to be nine for one short year.  I hope it's her best one yet. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Long Winter...

So, yesterday we did a wee bit of baking and this past weekend I've been deep cleaning in the bathroom and in the mudroom. 

Coffee Cake

One of my secret passions is rearranging things.  I love taking bits of our furniture and moving them this way and that to make them fill out a room maybe a bit better than they did before.  The thing I've been doing lately though is completely removing pieces of furniture (usually small ones).  One thing I figured out over time is that our small house is full of furniture that do not necessarily fit our lifestyle or just don't serve any purpose other than to stand around and catch dust. 

Part of the reason I'm doing this (deep cleaning, etc) is to get out all of the germs that have been bunking in with us this past week (Jude & I were down with Influenza - NO FUN) and the other part is to remind me why I loved this little house when we moved into it. 


Our house is well over 100 years old and has plaster walls and beautiful molding around the windows, strange little doorway arches and a galley style kitchen.  You can tell what part of the house was the 'original' farmhouse (dining room, kitchen, and our bedroom) partly because when we tore back the carpet that was in the (now) dining room, you could see where the old wood stove had sat on the wood floors. 


Part of my problem with 'decorating' is realizing that my 'taste' is so not in line with a lot of people's desire for contemporary things.  I have metal cupboards in my kitchen from the 50s....and I love 'em, okay?  I have industrial lino in my mudroom that I uncovered (again, carpet) that I adore too with it's bits of brown flecks in it (altho, it's peeling up in spots and I need to get something else in there but for now, it's perfect for me).  I love our uneven hardwood floors.  I love the high ceilings.  I love the built in china hutch in the kitchen (altho one of the panes of glass is broken - I'm thinking of knocking out the others and putting chicken wire behind them). 

But mostly, I love these faces that I share my home with:


(This was taken during half-time of the Iowa Men's Basketball Game....GO HAWKS!)

They kinda make all of everything that I do worth it. 

So tell me, guys:  What do you LOVE about where you live?  Or what do you want to change?  What couldn't you live without? 

Window Too

Talk to me. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tuning out the static....


Do you guys remember sitting in front of your boombox trying to make your radio station tune in just right?  A titch this way or a skosh that way and it was fuzz and static and when you're trying to record your fave song off of the radio, you didn't want static did you?  So you'd sit cross-legged on the floor, leaning forward, tongue sticking out of the left side of your mouth concentrating for all of your might to get that dial just ever so.

And then right there for a second, you found it.

You've already got in a blank cassette tape and you hit the button marked 'Record'.

Smiling, you lean back and enjoy your success.

(In reality:  You've bootlegged music off of the radio. But back in the 80s and 90s, this was a very grey area of the entertainment industry.  So we'll just gloss over that little fact, shall we?)

As I've gotten older, I've noticed a certain comfort level settling into my bones much easier than it used to.  Even when I try new things that I'm nervous about, there's still a level of certainty that no matter the outcome, I'll be okay even if I don't excel at it right away.

In other words:  I've got my blank tape and I'm filling that 90 minute Side A with the songs for the soundtrack of my life.

It's just trying to tune into the actual music gets harder and harder while I try to turn the dial this way and that, fine tuning. 

One of my biggest down falls is that I am a social medium addict.  I love staying in tune and in touch with things going on all over the world.  I've got Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, a Blog, a writer's account website, Ravelry, goodreads, etc.

Can you see where I might overwhelm myself with too much?

If these things had all existed when I was a teen, I never would've gotten any sleep let alone studying and eating.  I'd have been a proper Facebook and Twitter addict.

I would've followed the antics of my favorite boy band, New Kids on the Block, like a true stalker and maybe, just maybe, worked up enough gumption to finally tweet Joey McIntyre on my birthday just to hopefully get a birthday wish back from him.

Now, maybe you can see that while these tools are handy and help keep in touch with people in my life, they're also 'static'. 

In an effort to be a better me or the best 'Heather' that I can be (without apologies thank you very much), I'm going to see if I can enforce 'time-outs' with my social mediums.  I've been thumbing through Gretchen Rudin's The Happiness Project and it came to me loud and clear that there are certain goals that I have and I will never get them accomplished if I continue to dole out my time with these things.  It's not that I don't appreciate the relationships that I've re-established because of them.  No, that's not it.  I just want to re-establish a relationship with me. 

So, in the next few weeks, if I seem quiet, that would be why. 

Plus, I've got the whole Side B of that tape to fill up just yet.  Can't wait to see what I put on it. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Anglophile, I am one.

Well it's been a snotty few days at Chez Hez.  Not necessarily because of the weather and mostly because I've been down and out with the Crud of 2013.  Everyone I know has had it.  So, I shouldn't feel special or anything but being surrounded by a half-used up roll of toilet paper and tiny wads of tissue on my bed is not particularly dignified....but I think I'm on the uphill swing and have only sneezed 40 some odd times this morning. 

I hate sneezing. 


So, the title of my blog:  Anglophile.

I was expressing my excitement via gchat to my pal, Candice, about my new Union Jack tee shirt that had arrived from Etsy yesterday and she laughed calling me a proper anglophile.  Not recognizing that word, I promptly toggled over and opened a new tab on Firefox.  Typing the word into google (freaking love Google), I was soon given the meaning of the this new vocabulary word.  Essentially, it means a person who is fascinated by all things 'English/British'. 


That's me alright.  That's me in a nutshell.

After telling her that she's not allowed to bandy about words that I don't know, I tried to think/remember where my fascination began. 

I couldn't, of course.

It's always just kind of....been there.

I've loved the Beatles and can't remember when I didn't.

I've always had a fascination for the British Royals.  I remember finding out that Princess Diana and I shared a birthday (not the year thank you very much) and thinking just how very cool that was.  (I was a kid.  Gimme a break.  I had no idea at the time of what she was going through behind those palace doors)

And the older I got, the more this interest increased.

Harry Potter came along and again my interest in all things British soared.  There were new words to learn (ie. In Brit speak, sweaters = jumpers; trash cans = bins; brilliant = awesome; etc, etc) and after having made a few virtual friends from across the pond, I could honestly say I was properly hooked.


I don't honestly know.

It'd probably take me at least three hours on the therapist's couch to figure out why I think British things are 'cool'.  I just do.

It's the same way I think Irish things are cool, too (but I think that has to do more with my their accents are hella awesome). 

I wanna tromp around in a small village in my wellies with a fisherman's sweater to keep me warm and drink a pint of Guinness with my Mom while a musician plays in the corner and a fire crackles with life.  (It's a stereotype, okay? But it's my dream so let me keep it, yeah?)

You can tell I've put some thought into that, right?

I also wanna do the Literary Pub Crawl in Dublin.

My bucket list on pinterest is full of all things Irish and Uk related places that I'd love to visit/to see sometime in my life.  (Please, disregard that peeing in every ocean.  I thought that was just too hilarious to pass up)

And God willing (along with a little old-fashioned Heather-ingenuity) it might be possible.

Some day.

Just not today.

Until then, I'll keep listening to my Brit faves (Adele, Ed Sheeran, The Beatles, and yes, even One Direction), following the happenings of the next generation of the Royals (Harry, Wills, Kate, and Andrew's girls), wear my union jack tee shirt, and see if I can ever properly get through a glass of Guinness (I keep trying).  

Is there something you're fascinated with and have no earthly reason why?  What are the places on your bucket list that you'd like to visit?  How do you take your coffee and/or tea?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Well, here we are.  In a whole new year. 

Go us, right?

2013 holds possibilities untold for all of us and while that seems overwhelming sometimes, it also seems nice.  (I know it's a poor word choice and maybe not as bold when breaking down 365 days that can change your world and/or your life but it's a kind word and maybe it's an easy word, too)

Resolution can also mean bringing things to a close.

What a cool way to start out a year, yes?

Letting go of the things we need to let go of.  Bringing the important things to the forefront.

How neat is that?

I've never once pretended to have all the answers for the whats and whys and wherefores of my life's happenings but, I will never pretend to be a bystander in my own show (aka my life).  So while I meander along my path this year, kicking gently at the smooth rocks under my feet, I hope to share it with you. 

And in turn, I hope you share your journey with me.  I don't care if it's as insignificant as you got out of bed today.  Because, let's be honest, some days that IS the hardest thing. 

Okay, let's get to the resolutions part of this gig:

1.  I promise to share, at least once every other week, an essay of sorts.  That's 26 posts about my life, past & present.  I can't promise thought provoking, but I can promise to entertain.  HAHAHHA

2.  I promise that I will be as honest as kindness allows me to be.  I will always be honest with myself but sometimes in that vein of self-discovery, I have to set aside other 'characters' in my life in the interest of anonymity.  (aka no one wants to see themselves portrayed in a negative light even in a meagerly read blog post)

3.  My bathroom.  I promise to paint that damn room, recaulk the shower, get a new shower curtain, and finish tiling the damn floor.  This year it will be done.

4.  Reading.  I promise to read more and share what I'm reading and why.  Look at it as 'Hez's book Club'.  Which means it won't be nearly as impressive as Oprah, but you might find something that you like.  (I'm currently reading 'You Had Me at Hello' by Mhairi McFarlane' on a rec from my pal.)(I also pilfered this resolution from the very same pal.  *waves hi to Candice*)

5.  Classes.  I'm signing up for one in the Spring on Creative Writing.  I promise to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of the life of being an errant student looking at this side of 40.  We'll see how that goes. ;)

6.  I promise to speak kinder this year.  As a Cancer, you will never doubt about what is going on inside my head and I realize sometimes that I'm not the most tactful about saying what is on my mind/heart.  This year, I vow to think more before I speak.  (This mostly has to do with my children and spouse....I'm not always the nicest person in the world and these people are the ones I should be kindest to and I would do well to remember that)

7.  Get back on the exercise train.  I will be the first to admit that I don't do well with 'groups'.  I did bootcamp last year as a favor to a friend and found myself enjoying it because it's a great physical release for all of the things going on in my life (life of a busy mom, writer, rockstar) but I also found that I enjoy that 'me' time, too.  While I would supplement our classes with long walks around the local walking trails with me, my nike's and my ipod, I was like the proverbial pig in poop.  Aka it made me happy.  I promise to get back to that this year in one form or another. 

8.  Organized.  This year I promise to integrate more structure in my life.  I enjoy 'winging it' as much as the next girl and being a mother, you have to know how to roll with the punches but even the basic things such as brushing teeth, combing hair, and washing faces first thing in the morning are things that I fight with my children about constantly.  It's like they're these little animals in the petting zoo before the gates open and everyone is running around trying to pretty them up at the last second.  I hate running first thing in the a.m.  It gives me grey hair and wrinkles.  I'd like less of those, please. 

So, there it is.  In a nutshell, the things that 2013 will bring....or I hope I will bring to 2013.

Anything weighing in on what you'd like to accomplish for the year ahead?

P.S.  I'm going to try and teach Sadie the basics for knitting this afternoon.  Wish me luck!