Thursday, December 29, 2011

How the Grinch Almost Stole Christmas...

We've had this Grinch stocking around for ages; from when Nick was little, and there wasn't yet a Jim Carey version. We pull him out and hang him up every year but he never gets anything from Santa.
I understand how he could get a little grinchy because of that, so starting next year the Grinch will always get a little goodie in his stocking. It'll just be my superstitious way of keeping away anymore accidents like we had on the Monday after Christmas.

Call me a bad mom, but I do in fact let Sophie and Laney remove the cushions from our leather couch, which is currently (but not for long) in front of the fireplace, and use it as a trampoline. However, being the safety girl I am, I have rules.
1. No shoes (often ignored)
2. No shoving (commonly referred to as the "She did it first!" defense)
3. No jumping when the Christmas stockings are hung

I actually had to un-hang all the stockings after putting up the tree and other decorations because of that last rule. I was never directly concerned about the stockings, but I worried that the stockings would get pulled on and the heavy, metal stocking hangers would fall on a tiny foot. So I took them down and forgot all about rule #3.
We've had several minor accidents on the couch trampoline. Luckily, we're talking about girls... otherwise at least two of the incidents could have brought their voices up a notch. Of course, the answers to my two favorite questions always remains the same:
Me: "See why I don't want you to jump on the couch?"
Girls: "Yes."
Me: "Now are you going to stop jumping on the couch?"
Girls: "No. Who's turn is it?!"
Me: *sigh*

On Christmas Eve we rehung the stockings and after the festivities the next morning there was only one stocking left hanging; lonely and miserable... The Grinch. (Insert ominous music here.)

Monday evening, around 5pm Sophie and I were in the craft room working on stuff, listening to Pandora's children's station on my iPhone and having a nice quiet evening.
She left her desk for a minute during a particularly upbeat song. I am tortured by the idea that I didn't ask where she was going, but I honestly thought she was just going to the bathroom or to get a snack. Even worse, since my scrapbooking/crafting end of the counter is opposite the doorway to the living room, if I had swiveled my chair I would be able to see the couch and the mantel with one stocking left hanging.
Within a minute she let out a scream and was running toward me holding out her hands. At first I thought she had gotten red ink from my stamp pads or markers all over herself, but as she got right up to the chair she said, "Momma, it hurts!", and that's when I realized there was a rush of blood streaming down her face. I cradled her in my lap for a second, trying to find out what happened and then realized that the blood was continuing to pulse out of the top of her head. I jumped up with her and started running from the room, asking what happened. She calmed enough to point out the heavy snowman stocking holder above the Grinch, which I could then see was dripping with blood and the couch was splattered with it. That's when I started to freak out.

I had to run with her back to the craft room to get my cell phone, since we haven't had a home phone in a good year I knew if I needed it I wouldn't want to have to leave Sophie to get it. Then as we ran the obstacle course of toys in the living room I stuffed the phone underneath her body, where my hands were trying to lace together to hold her tight.
I started to run to the kitchen sink, but realized I wouldn't be able to clean up her wound (or even find it in what had become a solid sheet of matted red hair) while still holding her in both arms.
I started to run out of the kitchen, but couldn't get through the mess of chairs and Moon Dough between the dining room and kitchen tables, so detoured back the way I came and around the other side of the dining room.
By now, the music blaring out of the iPhone was starting to get irritating and while running down the hallway I fumbled with the phone underneath Sophie to get Pandora turned off. (Praising again the long nail-friendly iPhone)
All the while I'm trying to stay calm, but with my mind racing with questions on what?, when?, where?, how? I haven't done any of my normal calming techniques yet. Then I hear Sophie saying, "Shhhh... Shhhhh... Shhhhh...". I'm still not exactly sure if she was doing it FOR me or TO me, but it worked. I started to slow my thoughts down a bit. I laid her on our bed, trying to keep her head on one of Bryan's old sweatshirts (that I inherited) instead of the freshly washed white comforter (not a total success).
I grabbed a wet hand towel and started patting her head in the general area where the blood was oozing out of. I tried to access the damage, but by now her long blonde hair was thick, deep red and matted and I was afraid to really scrub at the scalp. I didn't know if it was going to require stitches or if she had a serious head injury, or what. That's when I decided to call 911.

The operator asked the usual questions and then kept me on the line. I kept blotting the wound area and turning the towel to a clean area until finally the operator wanted me to see if I could see it. I pulled the towel off of Sophie's head and told the operator I couldn't see through the hair to find the spot and then the blood started bubbling out again, so she instructed to just press and hold the towel without moving it at all; "If it bleeds through, just put another towel on top of the first one."
Mind you, I'm also being asked about Sophie's behavior. "Is she responsive? Is she conscious?" I started to feel like I shouldn't have called them, as while I was answering yes to both of these questions Sophie is shouting quite clearly, "Don't call the ambalance! Don't call the ambalance!"

The paramedics and fire truck arrived a few minutes later, just as the blood had stopped for good, but they were unable to see through the hair either. I was tasked with trying to wipe her hair clean enough for one of them to pick through it. (Of course, if I'd known I was going to be the one scrubbing her head anyway, I probably would have just puked in the sink and gotten it over with instead of calling 911. But I was in a near-panic mode at the moment and I'm still trying to forgive myself for wasting the call, so I'll not second guess myself now.

The guys were really great with her though, and she wasn't afraid of them once they got here.

Years ago (when Nick was little) I donated some stuffed animals to a local fire department when they were doing a drive for teddy bears and stuffed animals that were just starting to be given out on calls with injured or traumatized children. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a wonderful idea, but this would be the first time I would get to see the benefit of it in action.
One paramedic gave Sophie a little stuffed tiger and then proceeded to help her name it and before long she was answering all their questions and was very calm.

In the end, we still couldn't see the wound, but the bleeding had stopped and all her vitals checked out and she was acting normally, so I didn't take her to the ER. We still couldn't get to the wound though, so after they left she and I got in the shower and cleaned up. I hope I don't ever have to try to wash her hair in that condition again. It was hard not to hurt her and still get the area cleaned out, but she's a tough little girl. We did a load of bloody laundry, steam mopped the dining room, kitchen, front room, hallway and bedroom floors, combed her hair out and crawled into bed to watch a movie.

Before the shower I snapped a few pics of her, or rather, tried to. The lighting in the bathroom is awful for photos, and I only had my cell at that point. The funny thing is that they don't look as bad as it all sounds; for two reasons. One, we'd already used two hand towels to wipe away as much blood as we could and two, Sophie is actually doing POSES for the camera! Seriously? Could she not just try to portray the horror I was still feeling? LOL

The last photo is with my camera and after the shower. We can see now that it's clearly just a puncture wound, so I think I made the right choice not putting her through the ER.

Sophie and Bump the tiger:

P.S. She still wants to jump on the couch! *sigh*

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Cookies

Sophie and I made my Gingerbread Boys and girls, trees, bells and bows for Santa tonight. Of course I was too tired to make fresh white frosting, so Santa's getting Delaney Pink and Sophie Blue; the colors of frosting the girls chose the last time we made cupcakes. I just thawed it out and used it on the gingerbread. Trying to make the boys look as manly as possible in baby blue and white pearls. LOL

I'm usually very good about keeping track of where a recipe came from, but this is one that I don't think I ever had a clipping for, so maybe from an old cookbook of my mom's? I don't know, but it's the recipe I've been making for the last 20 years and I posted it to for a friend to try last year. Thanks to her review I have increased the spices a bit and even though I always use freshly ground nutmeg, tonight we ground our own cloves and allspice berries as well. The dough isn't overly sweet, and it's possible that I have strayed from the original recipe, especially in the sugar category, since I started making these when I was married to my first husband, who was an insulin-dependent diabetic. However, I really like to make these cookies huge, so the less sugar in the cookie means the more cookies I can eat! :)
I like to use the 9-inch gingerbread boy cookie cutter and I have an 8-inch Christmas tree, so this recipe makes about 6 boys, 4 trees and a bunch of other little shapes. I've never really done a proper count, since I'm always making these for different reasons or with kids that like to cut as many little ones out as they can. I just roll and cut until the dough is gone.

Last Tuesday we joined Michele and Delaney in their family tradition of making kolaches. They're a beautiful yeast-dough cookie; delicate, not too sweet and filled with apricot filling. I didn't get her recipe, but plan to. For now you'll have to drool over the photos and take my word for it: they were delicious! ;)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Glass-like Photo Key Chains

Do I always wait til the last minute to make handmade gifts? Nooooo..... it's just that I'm not an idea girl, but give me an idea and I'll make it happen. Like creating recipes, sometimes the ideas take more than one... or two... attempts before the result at least resembles what I have visualized.
This year I was stumbling on gifts for the men in the family. I had an idea, inspired by some key chains I found on Pinterest. Well, I tried the original idea but wasn't happy with the outcome, only because I didn't have some of the proper hardware on hand and also because I was trying to make them as manly as possible, but the craft was really screaming to be girly.
Next I tried an idea from one of the comments on that project. It worked and I was going to go with it. Then I Mod Podged over the carefully stamped, punched and positioned (with tweezers!!) the 1/4-inch letters for 3 kids' names and the word "family". The Mod Podge smeared the craft ink on all the letters. I was incredibly frustrated, but after two attempts I wasn't about to give up now. I put a bandanna on my day-old hairdo, re-braided my daughter's hair (she totally looked better than I did!) and we ran out to the Craft Warehouse for some new inspiration and supplies. I was still going to go with the plastic hang-tag type key chains, I just needed to purchase more of them. It was funny though, how all the time I was working on this project I kept thinking to myself that I should get out the epoxy resin and cover the key chains with it instead of just Mod Podge. Of course, I didn't... for some reason I can't explain, but then again, if I had then I wouldn't have found myself at the Craft Warehouse staring at bottle caps filled with resins.

A display in the jewelry area caught my eye. I love the smooth, glassy look of resin and have used it many times, so when I saw the insides of the bottle caps decorated with stickers, gemstones and beads, then filled in with the clear, glassy resin, I fell in love and knew I had to adapt this technique for my purposes.

I found some pendant casings (I don't know what else to call them) and matched up appropriate sizes for the photographs I wanted to incorporate into the key chains. I bought some key chain clip doohickeys (yes, don't know what to call them either - I'm a total nube when it comes to making a key chain) and we headed home! Oh...well, we did flit around the store a little longer, restocking the paint that Sophie & Delaney have been using up like crazy (mostly painting my kitchen table and their clothing with it, but whatever) and picking up a few other cool craft stuff.

So, instead of using the epoxy resin compound I've used in the past, I bought a $6 bottle of stuff called Glossy Accents.

Glossy Accents by Inkssentials on

Basically the same exact effect without the mess of cups and tongue depressors, stirring frantically to mix the two kinds of goop and then having to wipe drips off the edge of the piece for hours. With the Glossy Accents you just squeeze it out. As Sophie would say, "Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!"

We ran home, printed new photos on glossy paper, cut them to size, Mod Podged the fronts and backs (drying between each side) and then placed them into the key fobs. Then squeezed the Glossy Accents to fill up the rest of the fob on top of the photos. They were dry within about 5 hours, but I still left them overnight, just in case. I'd already learned my lesson when I didn't wait long enough between the Mod Podge and accidentally glued my brother-in-law's face to the scratch paper. I wondered for half a second if he would notice his right ear was missing... then reprinted the photo and started over. lol We made two identical ovals and one round one for all three of the wonderful brothers I have inherited.

I'm so excited about the possibilities now for girly ones that Sophie & I are off to buy more supplies at what Bryan has taken to calling the Crap Warehouse. But even he gets excited when he sees the stuff that I make. I think he secretly likes the place, but I understand that browsing stickers, stamps, beads, fabric and artificial flowers when you don't have a mind that can visualize the end result, might get pretty boring after awhile. I don't mind his nickname, I call it that myself quite often, cause I can't just go there for one thing. I DO come home with a bunch of crap that I don't know for sure what it's going to become. He indulges me by helping me try to organize my crap... I mean, craft room.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sophie's Scooby Snax

I don't usually have pet gifts on my To Do list for Christmas, but this year we have only one dog left in the family and one dog that I WISH was my family. Being highly allergic to animals makes bonding with any a bit difficult. Cats generally love me and I've had several that will actually crawl into my purse for a quick nap. Yeah, now that my sister has gotten me addicted to Vera Bradley purses, made entirely of fabric, bringing home one that has had a cat sleeping in it means I need to wash it or pack it away. :/
Anyway, dogs really aren't my thing and if I could live with an animal I would choose a cat. But, life likes to prove us wrong once in a while and in this case the proof is Ella; a loving, gentle Boxer belonging to Sophie's BFF, Delaney.

So, this year Sophie and I got the idea to make treats for our two favorite fur-babies. I found this recipe for Doggies Favorite Peanut Butter Treats, posted to by scotty's mom. The recipe was super easy, we had everything on hand, and one of the 13 glowing reviews was left by a chef that has very similar taste in recipes to myself. I trust her judgment and looked no further.

We mixed up the dough in the Kitchenaid mixer and started rolling. I have a cookie cutter in the shape of a bone that I had actually bought a few years ago for Halloween treats, and it was going to be perfect for this gift.

We bought a couple empty metal tins to hold the treats. I did some creative lettering and water-coloring for each of their names to personalize the tins.
I don't know yet how Trigger and Ella will like these, but we're excited to find out! :)

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TinksTreats by Lorilyn Tenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License