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We’ve had a pretty terrific holiday break, so far. Some highlights….

My wonderful husband upgraded Squirrel Circus headquarters with a new laptop!! Now, I can work in my awesome home library OR in the midst of everything — without having to fight for time on the “family” laptop that lives in the kitchen. Check out my wallpaper muse!

My mom gave me Adobe Photoshop (Thank you!). My goal was to create some photographic magic for this post, but early indications are that the software’s capabilities far exceed my mental capacity. Stay tuned on that front.

My grandmother came through with her annual Christmas cash, and I also bought this Vera Bradley laptop case. It was ON SALE! — and it matches my purse. Had to have it. Enough said.

Santa brought Wii Monopoly, and it has revolutionized our gaming. Board gaming, that is. Evan and Will are always asking me to play Monopoly, and the boxed version stretches the limits of my obsessive compulsive sensibilities.

Not only does the competition REFUSE to keep their paper money in ANY kind of order, they throw the dice with abandon (launching them either into the dog’s bowl or under the couch), AND they CHEAT (I can’t prove it, but they DO). Never mind that the game goes on roughly FOREVER. That means it’s semi-permanently set up on the family room floor, in all it’s disordered glory. I feel the hives coming on already.

The beauty of Monopoly Wii (just the basic version– we haven’t even gotten INTO Monopoly Streets!) is that the virtual banker handles EVERYTHING. No paper money, no wondering who has which property in their pile of paper, no “it’s your turn…hello?…it’s your turn” , and, best of all, you can SAVE the game and come back later. As much of a control freak as I am, I have no problem letting the little guy with the top hat and the cane handle it all.

BUT enough FUN — time to get some serious cleaning done. Although I have referred to my job as “working mom lite”, it DOES takes me away from the house from 9:45 till 3:45 five days a week, and the relative condition of the house has suffered.

Scott is too sweet (or frightened of me) to complain, but our shower was the worst that I have ever seen it. We both started joking about wearing flip flops in it, and Scott said he felt like he was at summer camp. The guest room shower wasn’t any better, and, with Grammy on her way to stay for a few days, well……

I let the boys play approximately five hours straight of Wii while I tackled cleaning the bathrooms Wednesday morning. This was my arsenal.

I pulled on my yellow gloves and tried not to create any lethal chemical reactions whilst blasting the soap scum and technicolor slime out of the shower. TWO hours later, I was a little lightheaded, but both bathrooms were sparkling.

It would probably be easier (according to FlyLady, of course) to clean it along the way, on a regular basis, and it would never get to the condition it was in. But what fun is that? You feel like you’re “always” cleaning the bathroom, and you miss out on the challenge and thrill of bringing a shower back from the brink.

Thursday, a chance encounter at lunch became a surprise reunion.

That’s Will and Evan – with Joshua — a super nice guy who was working at this pizza buffet that we LOVE. Joshua is a cook at Infinito’s and also takes shifts clearing plates from tables. He seemed really friendly (but very quiet), and I told him that Infinito’s is Will and Evan’s favorite restaurant. On his next pass by our stable, he stopped and really softly said “You’ll probably think this is crazy, but……”

He remembered Will, Evan, and I from almost a decade ago! He asked if I used to take the boys “when they was just babies” to get soft pretzels at an Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop inside the Walmart we used to live close to. Unbelievable. As soon as he said it, I totally remembered him. He always gave the kids samples of different pretzels and smoothie drinks and was SO nice.

I asked him if I could take a picture of him with the boys, and he said he’d like to change into a clean apron first—so sweet!! It was just a very cool thing (about as close to “warm fuzzies” as I get!)

Finally…… speaking of FOOD….

This morning, I dumped out all of the leftover casseroles from Christmas. We’ve already had Christmas dinner redux, and what remained had developed a runny consistency that would stop even me from eating it. The only thing that looked like it still had some miles in it was the smoked ham. I knew it was time to resurrect an old childhood favorite. The most awesome use of leftover ham…..ham salad.

My mom would be the first to admit that cooking is not really her thing (with the possible exception of cookies). Notably, when we were kids, she didn’t commit a whole lot of time to dinner planning or preparation. Around 4:30 pm every day, we’d pile into the family station wagon and head over to Weis to pick up the fixings for that night’s dinner.  The late start invariably spelled disaster. Cooking meat HIGH and FAST has never produced a tender chicken or roast. Quick fix — make a salad of it!! Mayonnaise fixes anything. We had chicken salad, ham salad, even beef salad (I wouldn’t recommend the latter — it looks and tastes like sludge).

Ham salad most closely resembles an Oscar Meyer sandwich spread. Scott HATES it. In fact, he can’t stand the sight or smell of it. I have to admit, now that I have taken a hi-def picture of it, it DOES look a little like cat food, which is what Scott calls it. “Here, kitty, kitty….”








What kind of holiday awesomeness have you had?