Food · Holidays

National Graham Cracker Day

Today is National Graham Cracker Day, the date chosen (I am guessing) because of their importance in the creation of s’mores, a traditional summertime treat.  These crackers were first eaten by the followers of a Reverend Graham, an early vegetarian and temperance leader in the 1800s. I always thought he had created the food, but apparently not, according to Wikipedia.  Nevertheless, his name will always be tied to this sweet treat.

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I am not a camping fan as I prefer all my sleeping to take place in climate controlled, bug free places, so my experience with true campfire s’mores is very limited.  I did make microwave ones for Fourth of July one year, but I decided they were a little too rich for my tastes. However, graham crackers have such a mild flavor that they make a great base for many pies and cheesecakes, which is how I normally enjoy them.  My mom used to make homemade cookies out of graham crackers, spreading them with canned frosting, which made a yummy, cheap, treat.

I have made my own version of lazy girl s’mores by spreading one graham cracker with marshmallow creme and another with Nutella and pressing them together to make a sandwich.  They were incredibly tasty but I discovered that I can’t be trusted with a jar of Nutella, so they don’t make my menu often.

My favorite way to enjoy graham cracker flavor is eating Golden Grahams cereal.  I think part of my obsession with this cereal is because I could never convince my mom to buy it when I was a kid.  Sadly, this is another food that I can’t be trusted with, so I don’t buy it often either, however, I may need to pick up a box since it is a holiday after all.

clipart from http://digitalartsi.com

Holidays

Happy July 4th!

I thought I might have to work today at my second job, so I’m am so happy to have today off.  I will probably spend most of the day crafting as I am working on opening an Etsy store this month and want to finish the work on my initial inventory.

For many years our family would watch fireworks as part of our loose July 4th traditions, but we stopped doing even that a few years back.  But even though I won’t be barbecuing, picnicking, or going to the beach, I will still be thanking God for being blessed enough to live in such an amazing place where I enjoy so many benefits that I sadly often take for granted.  

A friend is a naturalized citizen and has shared some of what still happens in her country of origin.  I have always been grateful, but hearing about the experiences and situations that happen there has added a new level to my thankfulness.  

Clip art from http://digitalartsi.com

Holidays · Minimalism

National Splurge Day

Today is National Splurge Day, a holiday to celebrate a little indulgence.  After a lifetime of too much splurging, I began the slow process of downsizing, decluttering, and minimizing where I spend money several months ago.  So far, I’m really happy with this decision. Less clutter and chaos is much better for my mental state.

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However, there are two categories where I still allow myself some splurging.  I still treat myself with things that smell good, for both body and home. Many days I go without makeup and tennis shoes are my go-to footwear, but I rarely go anywhere without applying some body spray.  I may look super casual, but I am going to smell great. I also use candles and room air fresheners. My favorites are the wallflowers from Bath and Body Works. Today I was luxuriating in my office, enjoying the smell of white caramel cold brew.  Almost makes me happy to be at work.

My other splurge, which I am indulging much less these days, is craft supplies.  Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and the like are masters at separating me from my money and I have sadly wasted too many of my dollars on all the pretty things I find in their stores.  I’m working on some projects that I hope to eventually sell, but I am remaining focused on only buying the things I need when I need them. Of course, need in this context is not really a need, therefore craft supplies remain a splurge.

Since I’m currently well-stocked in fragrances and craft items, if I had to come up with something to splurge on today, it would be sleep.  An extra long afternoon nap would be such a treat. Maybe my boss would let me leave early if I told him it was a holiday?

Holidays

Happy Father’s Day!

I want to send a special shout out this morning to my own dad in Heaven and all the dads out there.  I think fathers are so important in the lives of their kids. I also want to say a special thanks to my husband.  He had two boys from a previous relationship who were two and five when we met and I told him in his card this morning that one of the first things I knew about him was how much he loved his kids.

Bryan and Joshua in 1997

Fast forward twenty-six years and I still know how much he loves his kids.  I see this demonstrated every day in his relationship with our son, Joshua. I generally don’t write about this, but Joshua is twenty-two and autistic.  Like many autistic young adults, he struggles with anxiety and depression. He is also highly functioning and I’m so proud of the young man he has become.  He is working part-time, has been in a relationship with his girlfriend for over a year, graduated from a vocational program last month, and will be taking community college courses for credit this fall.

More subdued, but still close. Joshua’s graduation from the STRIVE program at Alvin Community College- May 2019

I’ve thought about writing about my own struggles parenting an adult who still sometimes needs extra guidance and support. It’s sometimes hard to know when to step back and when to step in. My husband is disabled due to some issues with his neck and because of this and a horrible case of restless leg syndrome, he often doesn’t sleep well.  However, in spite of being in constant pain and extremely tired most of the time, Bryan is an amazing husband and father. He is firm when he needs to be, gives Joshua great advice and guidance, and is amazingly patient.  I can’t think of any other man who could be half the father to Joshua that Bryan has been. I am especially thankful this Father’s Day for the blessing of these two men in my life.

Holidays · Pets

National Hug Your Cat Day

Today is National Hug Your Cat Day!

I tried to find out the origins of this day, but couldn’t find much information, just typical calls to love on your kitty.  But let’s be honest, I don’t think most cats want to be hugged, especially in response to an arbitrary holiday.

A quick scan through Pinterest images for Hug Your Cat Day confirms I’m right, most the pictures show very enthusiastic owners and tolerant (if not downright hostile) kitties.

One of my cats, Mia, is very particular about whether she will even allow us to pet her, so I think she is a definite “no” for hugging.  The other one, Max, can be very cuddly and snuggly, but only when he’s ready.

My entire family is introverted and I think that’s why cats work better for us.  We understand the need for affection on our terms and the desire for solitude.

Max making his feelings known.
Holidays

Happy World Otter Day!

designed with clip art from http://www.digitalartsi.com

Yay, a day to celebrate one of the earth’s most entertaining little creatures, the otter!

This day was started five years ago by the International Otter Survival Fund to raise awareness about otters as endangered species.  

My son loved otters growing up and we have visited the river otters at The Houston Zoo multiple times and the sea otters at The New York Aquarium.  He had several stuffed toy versions, books and room decorations. Our best otter product was his Halloween costume. I used a generic animal costume pattern, because of course, I couldn’t find a specific otter costume.  It took some adapting, but I was thrilled with how it turned out (he even had a plastic fish).

Holidays

Happy Dinosaur Day!!

Look who else shops at Target…from Summer 2018

I saw a reference several weeks ago that claimed May 15 was National Dinosaur Day.  I got really excited as I love discovering obscure holidays and I’m a huge fan of dinosaurs.  I started planning dinosaur greeting cards and gift wrap ideas, but then came across another source that said it was actually on May 21, and then a third source that said June 1.  I guess it doesn’t matter which day it gets celebrated, there’s enough dinosaur love for all of them.

Someone should’ve let Bath and Body Works know about National Dinosaur Day

Before my husband and I got married, we had gone to see a very forgettable Sylvester Stallone movie and as we exited the theater, we saw a long line of people waiting for another movie, obviously a big one.  We found out it was a late night, first showing of the original Jurassic Park and we scrambled to get in line too.  Neither one of us hesitated, though we both had to get up early to work the next day.  It was so worth all the sleep we lost that night!

My son has always been a dinosaur fan, from Halloween 1999

I tell my 22 year-old-son, before Jurassic Park, we hadn’t really seen life like dinosaurs.  Those old timers who were around and paying attention in 1993 may remember that before the movie opened, the previews really didn’t show many dinosaurs.  It was a great ad effort to actually entice viewers to the theater. I will never forget seeing (and hearing) the T-Rex on the big screen for the first time.  It was incredible!

Land of the Lost TV show in the 1970s, dinosaurs were really not very life-like
http://themoviedb.org

My son has grown up watching the Jurassic sequels and the excellent television production of Walking With Dinosaurs.  He has been to the live action experiences of Dinosaurs Alive and Jurassic Quest that turn animatronic beasts into something like playground attractions. The technology available in toys and such for today’s kids has just slightly improved so the stars of Jurassic Park don’t have quite the same impact on younger kids as they did on my husband and I in 1993.  

It doesn’t matter to me, if I catch the original playing on TV, even today, I still remember the thrill I had the very first time I saw it.

Happy Dinosaur Day (whenever it gets celebrated!)

Joshua is still a dinosaur fan! From 2017
http://www.thedinopark.com