The We’re-so-much-better!-Now-I-can-tell-you-what-I-did-last-weekend! post

I see you lookin' at me lookin' at you.

The sun came out today. It was so nice. Still chilly, but just seeing the bright sky with dynamic clouds lit up with real honest-to-goodness sunshine was like waking up from a three day long shiver-fest. Which actually I was suffering from. I’ve never had that happen before when I’ve gotten sick. Shivering? Freezing cold for three days straight? It was really terrible and weird.

Bug and I are sooooooo much better. We’re still stuck with the snoctopusses living in our sinuses and we cough every other word but at least we can think clear thoughts again. For a while there I thought I was going to take up residence on the couch. I didn’t even check my email. You know it’s bad when I go missing off the internet. I usually eat colds for breakfast. They hardly ever slow me down but this one…it was a mean mother-buster. Mean, green and you just better hope you’re not around me while I’m still contagious.

Bla bla bla…I don’t need to complain about the common cold. You guys have all had it before and heard this a thousand times. Cold schmold. What you really want to hear about is my sister-in-law’s thirtieth birthday party right?

Wooo Hoooo! You only turn thirty once. My family has been talking about this birthday all year but poor CC, just like every year when her birthday finally came around we were all strapped for cash, out of time and feeling like big clods of dirt for not planning something really extravagant. It sucks having your birthday so near Christmas.

When I was trying to pull some kind of plan out thin air, I asked CC if she’d ever really had a big birthday party growing up and how her parents pulled it off. She thought about it for a little while and then said she didn’t think she’d ever had a big birthday bash. Here she is related to me, the party-planning queen, and she’s never had a birthday bash?!! That is just sad sad sad. I should go dunk my head in a bucket of pig slop.

So we thought and we thought and we thought and nothing really happened. Being the super-capable person that CC is, she said she could have a party at her house and we could all cook Chinese food. It was a good idea but I was thinking that’s not really how a birthday party is supposed to go down. It’s bad enough she cooked and cleaned for her own ten-year wedding anniversary. We needed to do something really fun and different and it couldn’t be at CC’s house. But where? None of us wanted to drag the kids out to a fancy dinner. But we didn’t want to leave them behind either. She’s their mom after all. My house was out. My mom’s house was out…

Then I got a wicked idea. How about we have a party at Bethany‘s house! You all know how much I love the Actuallys’ house. That place is made for having parties. If I lived there I would have had forty of them by now. But you know how it is. Some people aren’t really the party-throwing types. I perfectly understand that. Now how could I break this news to Bethany?

Um, hi. Can I have a party at your house?

Hahahahahahhahahhahaahhaaaaa. I’m such a dork. Thankfully, Bethany is a dork too because after she laughed at me for about twenty minutes, she said, “Sure! Why not?”

And that is how we came to have CC’s 30th birthday party at Bethany’s house. It was great.

CC, Mom and Bug

We had Chinese food at a restaurant that was not very expensive.

blow out the candles

Bethany made the cake (of course). It was delish. She killed us with chocolate.

green hands!

We painted pottery at a local pottery-painting store and then we crashed in one of their many guest rooms. Technically they have one guest room but that’s one more than any of us have so it was quite a luxury.

present girls

Then the next morning we opened presents and lived happily ever after…

Well until Bug and I came down with the killer cold from hell. But before that it was all fun.

Homemade citrus paper!

a lemon present for a new bride

Here is something fun that Bug and I did together the other day. That’s my secret, you know. That’s how I get stuff done when she is awake. I force her to help me. Actually, it’s more like I rack my brain all day long for things that we can do together so that I can actually cross something off my list and not go insane at the same time. I get very bored of playing picnic and watching Dora all day long. I think boredom brings out the creativity in me. That might be a good explanation for why having kids can be so inspiring for creative moms and why we all feel like we are going insane because there is never enough time to do everything we want to do! But if we didn’t have the kids we’d never have all the ideas so it’s a catch-22!!

all tied up with ribbon

We made wrapping paper! We’ve done this lots of times before, with crayons and potato stamps…but this wrapping paper was made especially for some people on my gift-giving list who like lemons. It’s not exactly the most Christmas-y paper but it does fit the recipient. I really wish I had some bright yellow cheery ribbon to go with it but I refuse to go shop for any. I’m going to do as much of my holiday gift-making/shopping at home as possible. Long live Etsy!

lemon stamp

You can do this too if you are so inclined. I just carved two lemon shapes out of some apples we had (we didn’t have any potatoes so apples did just fine in a pinch). One of the shapes is a lemon slice and the other is an oval with those characteristic lemon bumps on both ends. (Though I think in real life lemons don’t actually come in that shape that often…but whatever, it’s all about recognition and I’m not going to get all Norman Rockwell while carving an apple.) It is sort of funny that no citrus fruits were harmed while making this paper. Just apples.

stamp stamp stamp

We stamped the crap out of those apples. Too bad poster paint isn’t edible because those apples were ready to be applesauce by the time we were done. It was pretty fun. The perfect craft a two-year-old attention span. After she was done slapping the paper with apples we hung it out to dry on our handy dandy patio lighting.

lemon paper!

And then, me being me, I had to add something. The paper was perfectly cute with just lemon stamps and the odd kid thumb print here and there but my black roller ball pen was calling my name and the next thing I knew I was scrawling silly phrases about lemons. I think it turned out cute. I gave one present to a friend already (her wedding was last week so it was a late wedding gift) and she wadded up the paper right away not even realizing it was homemade. Then when I told her, she shrieked and un-wadded it right away. So you could say that the paper looked so good it looked store-bought, or maybe you could say that it looked like something to throw away. Haha. I’m going with the former, of course.

So there you have it. Homemade lemon paper.

poke poke smudge smudge smudge

We also made some Christmas paper from candy canes carved out of apples but by then Bug’s attention span had flitted off to something else and she started finger-printing my beautiful paper like some kind of murder happened. So I shooed her away and finished it up by myself.


I tried to tell Toby that Bug made the paper but he was onto me. So I guess this 100% kid art was made by a 100% 36-year-old kid. I still like it and I think everyone getting a gift from me in this paper will like it too. I may or may not clarify who did the painting. We’ll just say that Bug helped in her own way. And she did! See that massacre of red fingerprints attacking my nice cinnamon bun swirls? That was all her.

it's all about the packaging for me

Wrapping paper with a story is always better anyway.