Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gift Ideas – A Post That Never Posted

So I sometimes like to think I am technologically savvy and can figure out most things technological.  Like when I got a new fancy coffee maker this year I was like “Terry: give it I got it. Back off, I can do it.  I got it, give it. Just let me do it.”  Then a few minutes later I am on the verge of tears and on the verge of throwing my new coffee pot and asking Terry to show me how it works.  I like to think that even when it comes to stuff online I can figure stuff out.  However, in all reality, when it comes to knowing stuff about technology I am somewhere between my 70 some year old grandma and a 4 year old kid (put the two of them together though and I am done for).  So what is my point?  Well, I had this post written and thought I had scheduled it to post the Thursday before Christmas.  I had forgotten that I had scheduled it until I went to post another blog and saw this blog anxiously waiting to be posted.  Apparently I have yet to figure out how to post a blog at a later day and time. SIGH

SO…..because I have been busy, don’t have any better ideas, and don’t want to let a perfectly “good-ish” blog post go to waste, here it is.  Yes it is a little late as Christmas has come and gone, but I figure there are other reasons why a person might need gift ideas so here you go…… 

........ORIGINAL POST..........

I love going to to see what interesting and clever products are for sale.  Sometimes the products are ingenious and I want them or want to give them as a gift.  However, sometimes the gifts are just a little too much and make you say “come on, really?!” as you chuckle to yourself.  So with just seconds to spare before Christmas and if ANY one needs last last last minute ideas, here are some of my favorite gifts I found on their site!  And by favorite it could mean things I really do love or things that I find humorous and totally ridiculous…..ok and still sorta want.
“Why carry around dull and boring USB Flash Drives? Use the Hot Dog USB flash drive and be the envy of all your friends (okay, some of your friends!).”  Yes, WHY carry around a dull and boring USB flash drive?!  I ask that question all the time.  And this looks like it would not be at all a nuisance if you put it in your pocket or purse!

“All in 1 TV compatible gaming system Wood grained updated console case, approx 2/3rd the size of the original 1977 release of the Atari 2600 console 40 Atari Games [20 original classic 2600 games (Pong, Missile Command, Asteroids, Centipede, Breakout, etc.) & 20 new Atari games] 2 Atari 2600 joysticks Power supply & A/V cable Single player and Dual player head-to-head.” I WANT THIS.  I would love to kick it old school with the Atari.  I think it would be fun to yell at the screen while playing slow games that work only part of the time. Aw, memories.

“Perfect for travel / Underwater / Be included in every photo and video / Extends to 18-inches, Closes to 7.5-inches / Weighs only 3.5 ounces Great for personal photos and video blogs No support surface needed Ideal for any occasion - Vacations, Sightseeing, Honeymoons, Camping Trips, Birthdays, Weddings, Parties, Hikes, Parades, Over large crowds”  Ok, while the face the guy is making as he concentrates on taking a picture while holding a bar with a camera on it that is 18 inches away is absolutely priceless, I am not so sure that this little contraption is worth carrying around.  I think instead you would just look silly and get pictures with the tops of your head cut off and parts of buildings you are interested in instead.

Kikkerland Charging Station $25
“The ingenious Grass Charging Station by Kikkerland is a clever way to keep your electronics (and your decor) properly charged. This clever little charging station hides messy cords within a refreshing faux grass design. Great for cell phones, media players, cameras and more, this fun gadget will be the talk of the town.”  Yes, so very clever.  It will fit right in with the other fake grass we have growing in our living room which is right next to our fake rainforest that hides and charges our TV and DVD player.

“This is the ball-point pen that has a built-in video camera, capturing videos or still images with a click of its button. Ideal for use while secured in a pocket, it has a built-in 1.3 MP image sensor that captures up to five hours of AVI video and up to 20,000 JPEG images, storing either on the pen's integrated 4 GB memory (with optional time and date stamp). Its built-in color camera.” For the stalker in everyone….this gift is perfect.

“The new LEGO Stop-Animation Video Camera is perfect for any LEGO fan, big or small. With LEGO Stop Animation Camera you can capture regular videos of everyday situations or you can be even more creative and produce your own Stop Animation Videos. You have all you need: two LEGO mini figs, tripod, Stop Animation Studio Software and easy to use Stop Animation Camera with rotating 1.5” color screen”  I love Legos – A lot.  And I was just telling Terry (no I wasn’t) that I would just love a Lego camera and then here it is. 


“Introducing the alarm clock that runs away and hides when you don't wake up! Clocky gives you one chance to get up like a normal person. But if you try to cheat and stay in bed (you know who you are!), Clocky will jump off of your nightstand, alarm sounding, and wheel around your room looking for a place to hide. Fully adjustable: set it to snooze once before running away.” In theory I must have clocky!  In reality I feel that the first time clocky bolts, clocky will find himself thrown against a wall… soon as I catch the little bitch.

“Bring the FORCE into your game with this officially licensed Yoda Yoda Star Wars Golf club cover. The plush head cover with padded lining and long knit neck protect club head and part of the shaft.” I don’t golf, but I MUST have this. Also, I hate the word shaft.

“Who's the biggest TABASCO® lover in your life? Flavor? We have them all. There will be no question who this gallon belongs to! With up to twenty (20) characters this personalized gift will be a BIG hit. More at TABASCO Country Store®.”  You laugh, but guess who is the proud owner of a huge jug of TABASCO? (Thumbs pointing to myself) Yep, this gal! Now it is not personalized because that is just ridiculous, but I do have enough TABASCO to last till we put our haven’t even been conceived yet kids through college.

“The Mega Moon Mood Hopz are light weight and strong. Moon Hopz are FUN and aid in the development of balance and coordination. They are easy to use and bounce like you are on the moon. Strap on the all New Moon Hpoz Anti-Gravity Shoes and give yourself the ultimate air bounce with every step. The Mega Moon Mood Hopz is a one size fits all, up to USA men's size 9, shoe with platforms that are made More at Toys & Babies “R” Us.”  Right now I am thinking… “Oh my goodness those look so dangerous and that kid looks like she is going to fall and get hurt! Do they come in my size?”  And the answer is YES!  These look like hours of fun as well as hours of trips to the ER for the whole family!

“Ohhh hi! I missed you so much today! Did you miss me? I missed you! Give me kisses! What did you do today? Did you see squirrels outside? Have you ever wondered what your pet sees and does when you're not home? Is your pet an all-day napper or do they get into all sorts of mischief? Just clip this lightweight, compact digital camera to your pets collar and explore your pets secret life!... More at Cabela's.”  As a crazy cat lady myself, I think I want this for me my cats…..and I am sure they feel the same way!  I mean who wouldn't want to know what their pets are doing all day?!  Only problem I see and it is just a small, I mean absolutely minuscule problem, is that when we put anything on our cats, even a little toy that weighs practically nothing, they crawl then fall to the ground like they have a brick laying on them. (So Dramatic)  I imagine that while they wear this, they would not be able to move. At all. Boooo

“You too can bring honor to your family with the ninja umbrella featuring a samurai sword handle. Comes with carrying case for dramatic effect (and easy transport).” NINJA UMBRELLA?! OH HELL YEAH! You bet my ninja loving ass I want this!!

“In the spirit of the Wild West, this holster keeps his beer ready for a quick draw whenever the need arises. Made of rugged leather, it snaps onto any standard belt and the adjustable nylon strap wraps around the thigh for additional support. A fun accessory for parties and tailgates, it also makes a convenient holder when he needs his hands free for grill duty. Holster fits a 12 oz. can or bottle.”  Uh, duh. Why wouldn’t you get one (or two) of these?  I mean who wants to hold their beer anymore, not me.  I want it splashing around and getting all over the place while it is strapped to my leg and I am doing more important stuff with my hands. And this is perfect for parents with small kids.  Just strap that beer to your leg while you hold your baby. Seriously, genius.

“Send PajamaGram pajamas. Free keepsake gift packaging with every order! Pajamas range in price. Our coordinating pajama sets for men, women, and kids are perfect for families who love to have fun. From colorful prints to classic styles, we've got something for everyone, including the family dog!” Even the family dog.  Riiiiight.  See that girl on the bottom right?  See that face she is making?  Yeah, that pretty much sums up how I feel if I got these.

“This Christmas Story Leg Lamp Ornament stands over 5 inches tall. The Leg Lamp and shade are composed of a cold cast resin. The ornament is hand painted and the fringe is made of string.” I MUST HAVE THIS! Infact, going to buy it right now.

Ok,there were a few gift ideas for this next year!  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finding The Happy - Christmas Edition!

As I pull myself out of this Christmas Funk, I thought it would be good to post pictures of where I am finding the happy. 

Sunday, I definitely found the happy and it was in baking and finally getting our tree up. We listened to Christmas music all day and stayed in our PJ's and it felt just like Christmas in our house!  I looooved it!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough....mmmmm

BEST kitchen purchase EVER after the Kitchen Aid.  
A medium scoop is perfect for making all these cookies quickly and uniformly.

 Look how perfect those cookies are!

 Our "cooling" Station. It was also the testing station as warm cookies are the best!

Packaged Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Packaged Snickerdoodles.

 Peanut Butter Blossoms. Terry had the great idea to mix red and green sugar with the regular sugar! 
So festive.

 Fudge 1 - Double Chocolate fudge with slivered almonds.

Fudge 2 - Traditional Fantasy Fudge

Terry & K. putting up the tree!

The tree!!  Loves this tree. And why is the picture blurry? Oh, that is because it is spinning!
Yep, our tree spins.....and we are that awesome.

Another picture without the lights.

I love that ALL 3 cats (except Belle as she ate too much Sunday and was feeling bloating and didn't want her picture taken....I get it!) just lay by the tree and watch it spin.  SO cute. 

Here is Charlie watching the tree...

Here is Sebastian watching the tree.....

And here is Charlie just laying under the tree....which again all 3 cats love to do.

Yep, I am finding the Happy.

(Cookies left to bake: Frosted cutouts, Gingerbread men & ladies, Chocolate crinkles, 2 kinds of biscotti, Pecan Tassies, Chocolate covered pretzels, Butter & Jam thumbprints, shortbread. YAY!)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Funk – When Did The Grinch Steal My Christmas Spirit?

I have always looooved Christmas.  I love the music, decorations, giving, receiving, family/friends, feeling of hope, cookies/baking, tradition, weather, Santa, Rudolph, elves, wrapping paper, movies, Christmas cards, spontaneously shedding tears of joy when I watch Christmas related shows on TV where everyone comes together for the greater good, and most of all I love what Christmas MEANS religiously.  I love it. ALL.  This time of the year holds such a special place in my heart and tends to restore that feeling of compassion, love, and giving that may get lost throughout the year. 

So please, my friends, tell me why right now I am in a Christmas Funk? (P.S. I have heard a rather large number of friends/family the past few weeks say this exact thing….and that makes me very sad.)  It seems like the older I get the harder it is for me to avoid this Christmas Funk, and it is not for lack of trying. I try SO hard to stay in the Christmas spirit.  I get excited about listening to Christmas music even when I hear people tease me and say they hate Christmas music.  I say please, thank you, hold doors for people, smile as much as I can, and take extra time to be kind & patient to those around me even when those same people are being Scrooges and only thinking of themselves.  I try not to take it personally when I want to do some fun and creative gifts for people when instead they tell me not to do that and all they want is money.  I continue with my day and try to keep my cool even when a person takes the spot I was waiting for or cuts in front of me in line.  I ignore that we JUST (meaning Sunday night 12/19/10 at 7pm) put up our tree and decorations and for the last 3 weeks have had 8 boxes stacked in the living room that our cats have happily been using as a jungle gym and place to hide.  I try to disregard all the negativity during this time of year and focus on the good.

Through all the pessimism and ciaos I try sooooo hard to keep the Christmas spirit.

But I will be honest.  The older I get the harder it becomes to keep the spirit and the more it wears me out trying. 

I remember this time of year, even just 5 years ago, being a very carefree time.  Sure it was busy and there were nutters out shopping (And I may or may not have been one of them), but I don’t remember so many people losing their Christmas Spirit and just feeling rushed and crazy.  I don’t remember completely losing track of nearly a month and being this crazy just days before Christmas.  I don’t remember feeling in the funk that I am in now.  I don’t ever remember feeling that internal conflict of being excited for Christmas while part of me just wanting to get this time of year over with.  And the worst part is, I am not alone.

So what happened?  Is it simply just due to the economy and the hardships we are going through as a society that is bring us down or is it more than that? When did it get so hard to be in a good mood around the holidays?  When did it become just a nuisance and job to celebrate this time of year instead of a time of reflection, hope, and giving?  When did we lose track and run out of time to do everything we felt we needed to do?  And when did we begin to think that we needed to do all this stuff during the holidays?  When did the feeling of appreciation become something other than that?  When did watching a simple and light-hearted holiday show fill me with such emotion that I burst into tears while watching it (and am doing this ALL the time the last 3 weeks)? When did I start asking so many questions about the Holiday and time of the year I love so very much?

Is this part of getting older or is it just the times we live in?  A time of economic hardships and frustration.  A time when it is all about the superficial and instant gratification and not about the spiritual and slowing down for those special moments.  We live in a fast pace society constantly filling our heads with all these images of what we should be doing, who we should be, and what we should be buying (which I hate so much) that we become programmed to just “go go go” and become too overloaded with everything that we lose track of what is important.  We think we need to do it all and do it all NOW and that if we don’t everything is ruined.  It is tiring thinking of everything I need to be doing for the holidays and I get frustrated when I don’t accomplish the things I want to do.  But why?  What happens if I don’t get Christmas cards out, bake cookies, buy the perfect gift, get all our decorations up, have a huge party, cook tons of food, perfectly wrap all my gifts, or just do all those things that in my mind I HAVE to do to make everyone happy?  The holidays are not ruined if I don’t do those things.  I still have and am grateful to have a roof over my head, loving husband, good job, wonderful family, amazing friends, and all the real gifts in life. I still wake up Christmas morning filled with joy and excitement and at that moment nothing else matters except being with the people I care about and spending time together while we reflect on what this time of year is really about. 

NONE of those things that I stress about really matter.  Sure, I do enjoy doing many of those things.  It makes me feel happy to bake cookies and share them with family & friends.  BUT, if it is at the expense of feeling frustrated or like I am resenting the holidays because I feel I should bake 18 different kinds then is it really worth it?  Wouldn't just baking 6 different kinds still be enough as it is the thought and gesture that is important.

I am at fault….oh how I am soooooo at fault to falling into all that I am talking about.  I have a huge list (3 pages to be exact) of things that I feel I NEED to do BEFORE Christmas or of lists to keep track of.  I love this holiday SO VERY MUCH that I want it to be perfect and want everyone to enjoy every moment of the holidays but I think that it is back-firing on me.  I think I am focusing so much on making things “perfect” for everyone so that THEY will be happy and love the holiday as much as I do that I am starting to get frustrated with this time of year.

I don’t really know what the point of this looooong, question laden post is except that maybe by writing this all down it will help me (and others who may feel similar) to refocus and reboot as we approach the final days before Christmas.  To help us not get caught up in the Holiday itself but keep focused on what this holiday symbolizes. To do what we can without getting frustrated and realize that it is OK if we don't do everything and that as thoughtful as those things are, it is more than just those physical things that make this time of year so special. 

Yesterday I had to “reboot” myself.  No TV but instead we listened to Christmas music ALL day.   We stayed in our PJ’s all day while we did stuff around the house.  We baked cookies together as a family and it was not at all stressful and the smell made us all think back to our childhoods.  T & K put up the Christmas tree and made the house feel like the holidays.  We organized gifts and got ready to wrap gifts so we can put them under the tree.  I am not saying it was perfect and there were not times of stress (because there were) and I am not saying today I am not a little stressed (because I am), but we finally spent some much needed time together with no distractions and got ready for the holidays….physically and mentally and that really helped me put everything back into perspective. 

For all of you who are also feeling the stress and frustration of the Holidays (maybe just because of the season or because you have other things going on in life that are stressful) and may be in the Christmas funk, I hope you are able to find a way to take back your Christmas spirit and enjoy the holidays and what it is really about!

Maybe this will help.  And yes, this is also one of the many shows I cried at.  I also cried at a commercial for Christmas!  Sigh

Friday, December 10, 2010

Feeling Lucky

Earlier this week I found out my name was one of a 100 people’s name drawn as a finalist for a $10,000 kitchen give-a-way! WHAT?!  I never get picked for anything!!  Now, before I get too far into my story and keep you on pins and needles to the outcome, no I didn’t win….but more on that in a bit :)

Seriously folks….I am so unlucky in raffles/drawings or anything that is about chance.  This is one reason why I do not gamble, I increase other people’s odds because I am that unlucky.  If there were 5 people and 4 gifts and names were selected randomly, I would be the one who did not receive a gift.  If I pick a checkout line and you are behind me, then just go to a different line as I will get stuck there (*most recent example below). If I were to play scrabble I would pick one vowel and mainly “X’s”, “W’s”, and an “S” (of course I only spell 3 or 4 letter words so it isn’t that big of a deal….but still I would get all the shit letters).  And let’s not even talk about what my outcome would most likely be in Russian Roulette.

So my point, dear readers is this….I am not known for being lucky with this stuff.  So when I randomly filled out a drawing ticket to win a new kitchen I never thought twice about it. (I filled it out because I like to write my name on tiny pieces of paper.)  Infact, when I got a voicemail from the radio station that I was one of a 100 finalists I had to think for about 10 minutes when I signed up for a drawing because I could not remember!  I never thought for a minute I would win anything, but I was very excited to actually get picked in a drawing. 

So last night I went to Abuelos for the chaotic drawing.  Seriously, the event planner in me came out big time as they obviously did not think this location or the way the raffle would work through at all.  Very disorganized, too many people, not enough room, and a fantastic place to do my favorite thing – people watch!  So I just sat patiently in my little corner, sipping on water and waiting for the drawing to begin.  I don’t really get out much and even though I do not generally like people or being in places with lots of people, I tried to relax and enjoy watching some of the crazies present.

It was a reverse drawing, so if your name is called you are out.  Last person left wins. As the names begin to be called you listen carefully for your name but hope it is not called. And you definitely do not want to be the first person called….I am glad I was not that person.  After they got through about 50 people and the place started clearing out, it started getting more exciting!  Then they were down to 20 people and you start to wonder if #1 you missed your name and #2 that maybe you could win!  

Then they asked for the final 10 to come forward. WHAT?!  I made it to the Top 10?! I don’t think I have ever made it to the Top 10 of anything before!!  This was the point that I actually started getting nervous.  Before I just figured I would go there and hang around for an hour and go home. If my name got called and I was sent home, no biggie.  But standing there in the Top 10, well you start to think that maybe, just maybe, this was meant to be. Just as I am sure the other 9 people were thinking the same thing.  It is all random and all just chance, but could this chance thing be on my side?  Anyone of us could win and anyone of us could be the next name called….it is sort of thrilling; which was apparent but how profusely I was now sweating!   

Another name was called and I was still there.  I am now trying not to think I could win as I don’t want to jinx anything, but as just 7, then 6, then 5 of us stand there I think to myself: “don’t act stupid if you win; don’t stutter when talking; don’t cry, you always cry & won’t be able to stop; why are your hands shaking; oh my gosh I am sweating so much and going to need a shower when I get home; I hope you don’t have any “bats in the cave”; what is the name of this radio station if I have to say their name; oh I hope I am not on the radio – though I do have a great voice for radio;  focus Jenn…don’t miss if your name is called; oh I am so close and hope my name isn’t called” and then …..Jenn H, I am sorry you did not win the kitchen, but come collect your consolation prize.  Ah, there it is.  5 left out of a 100 and my name is called. 

Now I must say, at that point it was kind of a huge relief. Did I want the kitchen – um hell yeah I wanted that kitchen!  But at that moment I was not thinking about the prize but just the relief of not being the center of attention and not having to keep standing there waiting for my name to be called.  I really don’t think I am the type of person who is cut out for this type of excitement.  My heart was racing, my hands were shaking, I was sweating everywhere, people were staring at me (thank goodness my hair looked awesome that day)…seriously, it was nerve wracking being there!

Yes, I was sooooo close and didn’t get it, but that doesn’t matter at all.  There is nothing I could do about it and there is now some other lady, who maybe is usually even more unlucky than me or that needs it more, who just won a fabulous new kitchen and that is awesome. I got a gift card to Abuelo’s and some CD’s and got to experience the thrill of being so close to winning.  Though I must say, I don’t know if I can handle this kind of excitement on a regular basis, I did have fun and have a story and experience that I feel is kind of cool!

So there it is….out of the thousands who entered I made it to #5!  I am feeling pretty lucky right now and hope that is a good sign for the coming year!

*Example – Monday I picked the shortest checkout line at the Grocery store.  The lady was putting the last of her bags of groceries in her cart and I thought was ready to leave.  I unpacked all my groceries thinking “sweet, I got lucky and picked the lane where the lady is leaving….I will be out of here in no time”. Uh, wrong.  As I was unpacking I hear that the lady had 50 boxes of candy canes in her cart.  I didn’t think that would be that big of a deal as the cashier could scan one and hit “50” but the cashier said she had to scan then individually and proceeded to go over with her little hand gun and scan them all ONE AT A TIME. Then after she paid she realized they miscounted and had to delete two boxes and refund the money. *sigh* I never get mad at this stuff, it is what it is and I think it is comical because it happens all the time to me.  But seriously, if you are on a schedule, don’t get in line behind me. EVER.

*I feel lucky in many areas of my life, this is just a tongue and cheek post.