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Friday, December 31, 2010

Southern Girls Living Fearlessly in the New Year

Every [woman] should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every [woman] gird [herself] once more, with [her] face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past. ~Henry Ward Beecher

As January 1st approaches, I have to assess if I really accomplished all that I set out to do this year - get organized, manage my time better, read more books, focus on the truly important things in life . . . live fearlessly. Then I must put it behind me. Face forward and meet the New Year head on. Because if I'm seriously honest with myself, I have to admit that the only thing organization ever did for me was create a clean slate for new chaos.

Instead of making the same-old-same-old safe resolutions like travel, lose weight, spend more time with family and friends, get in shape, eat healthier, let's accept that we've probably done the best that we can with those tried and true standards over the years. In 2011, step out on a limb and take a chance on a new approach to evolving into a better person:

Say "No" - Say "No" to doing anything - joining a club, leading a group, organizing an activity - that you cannot or will not give your best to. Do not allow a guilty sense of obligation back you into a corner.

Make no comparisons- No matter what the talking heads in the media try to get you panicked about this year, no matter what your friends and neighbors do, spend your time and my money only on things that are important to you and your family.

Live life as a work of art - Cherish experiences over things. Collect beautiful memories instead of stuff.

Foolish versus Fearless - Remember the difference between foolish and fearless and do not do anything to compromise your life or your dignity. This includes skydiving and skinny dipping and other sundry activities of that nature.

Change is not just the coins jingling at the bottom of your purse - It is an uncertain world in which we live. Accept change in your circumstances as God's way of offering a new opportunity or His desire to alter your life's direction.

Be a light of this world - Speak kind words, make charitable contributions within your means, and engage in behaviors that build your community regardless of recognition.

Happy New Year! May you and those you love embrace all the possibilities it brings at the stroke of midnight.

The 30 Day Challenge

I got this idea from my FaceBook friend, Leah Kanaan. It's a 30 Day Challenge that I modified somewhat to fit the blogosphere. For the month of January, beginning January 2nd, I will post every day to the following prompts. I'm doing this for two dumb reasons: (1) I love lists. Love them! Can't help it. (2) I love checking things off of lists. Okay, and there's a third dumb reason: I like silly little projects like this that sound fun at the point of pondering but become entirely annoying by the time I finish them.

Day 01 - A picture of yourself plus five facts.
Day 02 - A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest.
Day 03 - A link to your favorite blog/video/web page.
Day 04 - A picture of what you ate for dinner last night, plus the recipe.
Day 05 - A recap of your favorite memory.
Day 06 - A picture of somewhere you've been and a few words about why you went there.
Day 07 - An honest description of your true self. A picture to illustrate might be helpful.
Day 08 - A list: Something that makes you laugh, something that makes you cry, something that makes you laugh through tears.
Day 09 - Your best advice for surviving tough times.
Day 10 - A forecast of where you will be and what you will be doing 10 years in the furture.
Day 11 - Three things you hate.
Day 12 - Three things you love.
Day 13 - Two measurable goals for 2013.
Day 14 - The one reason you will never be as cool as you imagine.
Day 15 - Three things on your bucket list.
Day 16 - A picture of something you did that you shouldn't have.
Day 17 - A confession of your biggest insecurity.
Say 18 - A picture of your favorite place.
Day 19 - A habit you wish you didn't have and when it started and why you won't quit it.
Day 20 - A date and a plan for going somewhere you've never been but want to go.
Day 21 - A poem about something you wish you could forget.
Day 22 - A picture that confuses you.
Day 23 - A review of your favorite book.
Day 24 - A picture of something you crave a lot.
Day 25 - A quiz that has no right answers and no wrong answers.
Day 26 - The greatest historical event in your lifetime.
Day 27 - Name the one family member you'd want to end up in jail with if by chance you ended up in jail.
Day 28 - A confession of something you're afraid of.
Day 29 - A picture that can always make you smile.
Day 30 - A character description of someone you miss.







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Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Review of Stainless Steel Onion and Vegetable Chopper

Originally submitted at CSN Stores

This product is designed for dicing and chopping fruits, vegetables, nuts and other food items. With each chop the knives retract and reset to a new position of the next chop. It can be taken apart for cleaning.

Features:

  • Great for dicing and chopping
  • ...


The Super Slapper

By Lucy Adams from Thomson, GA on 12/30/2010

 

5out of 5

When my husband unwrapped his Christmas gift, a huge grin broke across his face. He said, "Oh you got me one, a super slapper." I received it as a free product from CSN in exchange for using it and writing a review. As it was Christmas, I decided to give it to my husband as a replacement of one we had previously, made by another company out of less durable materials. The stainless steel body of this chopper can withstand the vigorous use my husband puts it through.

This stainless steel chopper is perfect for chopping and dicing small to moderate amounts of onions, vegetables, and even tender meats. And it's so much more convenient than dragging out the big food processor and all its parts.Plus, it stores in a relatively small space, which is important in our kitchen since we don't have a lot of cabinets.

My husband's favorite use for his chopper is making salsa. The chopper allows him to very efficiently prepare all of his ingredients. I like the salsa better when we makes it this way as opposed to using the food processor, because the food processor whips the salsa into a frothy consistency rather than a chunky mixture.

Overall, I think this product is more useful and efficient for chopping than either a knife or a food processor. Depending on how many times the blade is depressed, the user can control the resulting size of the food being chopped. The more depressions the smaller the pieces. Finally, it comes apart for easy cleaning and, again, unlike a food processor, there is no motor to worry about when cleaning the "Super Slapper."

(legalese)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I wish for you the joy and simplicity of the very first Christmas.


Let us not forget why we celebrate.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Tree in the Wild

Two years ago, our Christmas tree was a bush. I didn't know it was a bush, however, until a little neighbor girl asked me, "Why did y'all put up a Christmas bush? My mama and daddy put up a Christmas tree at our house." I of course gave her a talking to about asking personal questions then sent her home until after the holidays. When she left I sat down in the green wing-back chair in the living room and studied the dead plant in the corner holding up our ornaments. The child was right. It was indeed a bush.

Last year my parents drove into our driveway two weeks before the yule and tossed three trees on our front lawn. My mama said, "Y'all can choose one of these to be your tree. Whatever you don't choose I'm taking to your brother's house for him to pick from." What could I do? I didn't want my brother to get the best tree, so in the dark on the front lawn I had my husband hold up each specimen one at a time so I could observe it from all sides. Then he held up each one again so I could again walk around and around determining which had the best shape, height, color, clarity, and carat. We did this waltz until, frustrated, he exclaimed, "We're getting this one," and hauled it into the house.

That tree was 12 feet tall and had only four branches. I later found out it had been dead for two days before my parents delivered it to us because a bulldozer mowed it down along a fence line. My parents didn't want those nice cedar trees to go to waste. We hung 12 ornaments on it and called it Christmas.

All my children have ever known is Christmas trees that came straight from the wild. Trees with multiple choice spikes at the tip-top teasing that each would be best for the angel. Trees with gaping holes in one side where they grew around an obstacle like a fence post or a side of a barn. My children understand that the hunt for the Christmas tree goes on all year, up and down country roads, as we spy cedars that would be perfect and tell each other to remember this one or that one. Still, we end up with vast, room engulfing, evergreens of imperfection.

So when my 9 year-old daughter said to my mother-in-law, who buys her manicured fir from the boy scouts on the corner every year, "Your tree always looks so fake," I cringed. I didn't know which one of us, myself or my mother-in-law, she was insulting and which one of she was complimenting. Having been witness to our long parade of derelict Christmas trees, my mother-in-law took the child's statement as a sincere compliment, which meant I had to graciously accept the insult.

But although, in years past, as front heavy trees have crashed to the floor the day after Christmas, scattering ornaments and needles across the living room floor, I have threatened to throw the whole thing on the curb, lights, ornaments and all and be done with the homely holiday harbinger, I truly do love the thrill of finding a tree in the wild.


Identifying the perfect tree and sticking with it so it doesn't get away.

The kill.

The men folk haul it to the truck.

Cussed into corner.

Domesticated and lit in the living room.
Tradition beats perfection without exception.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Counting Down to Christmas

Six years ago our youngest son, who keeps mischief up his sleeve and his pant leg, both, came bounding into our room at 6am. It was a Christmas emergency. "Mama! Daddy! Santa didn't come! He didn't come!" He shook our shoulders and jumped on our bed to arouse us out of our winter slumber. Never mind that he just announced that he had made an unauthorized trip down the stairs on Christmas morning.

Oh my gosh, I thought. I pulled a forgetful tooth fairy stunt, but on Christmas. This is bad. Is the whole world waking up to see that Santa came? How are we going to fix this foul up? It's not as easy as pretending to find a dollar on the floor and making up a story about the specialness of that particular tooth. In a few hours curious friends will be calling the kids to ask what they got. But wait, is it Christmas? No. Today must be Christmas Eve. I think.

Still not convinced of who was right, me or him, I asked, "Are you sure today is Christmas?"

"Yes, ma'am," he cried. "I know it is. Yesterday the snowman [which we use to countdown] held up the number 1. It was the last day until Christmas, so today is Christmas, and SANTA DIDN'T COME!"

Six years later, we're having the same debate. This morning at breakfast we argued over whether the snowman should be holding up 7 days or 8 days. There are two camps. Some of us believe that he should hold up 8 days because, as of this morning, today has not yet passed. The rest of us believe that he should hold up 7 days, because today has arrived and therefore isn't part of the until anymore.

What is the correct method for counting down to Christmas? Even Google doesn't know. Which makes me think this traditional task must only tax my family. Embarrassing.

But, alas, I've found a way to keep it straight. I just hope that whoever developed this countdown isn't related to me. Otherwise Christmas might be a day late again.



Christmas Countdown

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another Merry **** Christmas

Are you hustling and bustling store to store looking for the perfect gift for Grandma Taft and anything at all for Uncle Al? Are your stockings sagging and your feet frowning? Does that little voice inside your head keep whispering, "Well isn't this just another merry damn Christmas?"

Never fear. Everything you need is in the blogosphere (and in cyberspace). Check out CSNstores.com, where shopping is easy and hundreds of items can be shipped to your door in time for Christmas morning magic. CSN is comprised of over 200 websites, including everything from luggage stores to furniture and cookware.


To hoist my holiday hostessing to ever new heights (which isn't very hard at all), I'll be doing a bit of shopping of my own this weekend over in the CSN cookware section. I might even be inspired to bake a little sweet something. Maybe I'll purchase a wood salad-serving set or some beautiful buffet utensils. But then again, I could sure use a new mixing bowl for all that Christmas cookie dough. A pot for the mashed potatoes would sure be swell. My husband says I should stick with reality and just get the fancy wine bottle opener.

Whatever I decide on, you can read a review in the coming weeks. And me in the kitchen? Well, you'll want to read all about that.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Living Fearlessly Through the Holidays

Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.
- Mary Ellen Chase

The holidays, despite all their bling and the joy they bring, can also be STRESSFUL. We run the risk of releasing our resolve to live fearlessly and, thus, spiraling into Christmas chaos. Don't lose your presence of mind.


Five Ways to Live Fearlessly for the Holidays
1.Travel Light - Remember, every decoration that goes up must also come down. Don't be afraid to simplify your yuletide.

 
2.The Book of Lists - Doubtless, you've got a list as long as Santa's of things that must be done by midnight on the 24th, or before. Accept that some things are not absolutely necessary and catapult Make cookies with the kids to the top of the list. Be happy that some stuff doesn't get done. It means you spent time on the truly important things.
 
 3.Summon Your Tunnel Vision - Keep in mind the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Don't let glitzy advertisements, glossy magazine pictures, or persnickety perfectionists convince you that you need more, more, more to have a satisfying holiday. Be confident that you've already got all you really need.

 
4.Gather the Girls - Friends are one of life's greatest gifts. Take time out of the busyness to spend time together.

 
5.Fake It - Feeling bah-humbug? Say "Merry Christmas" robustly to everyone you meet. Your Christmas spirit will soon swell.





Monday, December 6, 2010

Towing the Line

What do I say to kid who asks me, "Mama, do I look like Mater with his doors open?"


If I say no, he'll think I'm patronizing him. He'll think I'm just doing my motherly duty and making him feel better about a kid at school teasing him.

If I say yes, he'll cry. And he'll write bad things about me and my maternal cruelties in his memoirs.

Silence simply confirms his worst fears, that the little girl who said it can see deep down into his soul from where his ears sprout, and that she maybe likes what she sees there. Bleck!

So I said, "You got less rust on your chin."

He went and asked his daddy.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run

Be the first to read. Be the first to review.

Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run

This approximately 180 page book is filled with humorous, hilarious and downright harebrained true stories of mishaps, missteps and miscalculations.

The official release is scheduled for January 2011, but the publisher has made a limited number of pre-release copies available through December 15. Special discounts are available and all pre-release copies are signed copies. Join the pre-release party and get yours before anyone else. Order a few for Christmas gifts, too.

Signed copies of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny are also available.
Buy a set of both books and receive a 15% discount.

Lucy Adams, lucybgoosey@aol.com,  ww.IfMama.com

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Junior League Tree without the Junior League Headache

Does your yuletide tree look like this?



Or this?


Or maybe even this?


Have you dreamed for years of giving your family the kind of Christmas tree they deserve? A Junior League Tree? But you couldn't face the Junior League headache of trying to perfectly arrange those themed decorations?

There's hope for people like us. The Show Me Decorating: Recipe for Holiday Tree Trimming DVD demonstrates step-by-step instructions for a Junior League Festival of Tree (you're only going to put up one right?).

In the time it takes a claymation snowman to blink, you'll learn all the tricks of the trade. You can even follow along while you trim your own tree.

Best of all, the DVD lends itself to family fun for years to come. Break out the eggnog for a little reindeer game of Christmas Balls. Every time someone in the video says "balls" everyone sips some nog. A word of caution, however: Too much of a good time too early could result in a Junior League headache.

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