Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How Texting Changed My Life

{via here}

I have these vivid memories of rolling over in my bed in the wee hours of snowy mornings, turning on my clock radio, tuning into the local AM station and listening (and hoping) to hear my school's name cancelled.

I cannot tell you how many times I fell asleep mid-list and then had to listen again and again.

And, then, of course, I had to listen again to reassure me that I did (or didn't) hear my school's name.

It was hardly restful. Even a bit anxiety-filled.

Well, recently (I know, I'm probably a bit slow on this), I discovered I could have my kids' school district and daycare cancellations texted to me -- and it has changed me life. Okay, maybe it hasn't changed my life, but it has certainly improved my life.

Now, when I hear that little "beep" from my Smartphone in the wee hours of the morning, I smile and rollover knowing we have a little more time to sleep...oh, and to think just how this cancellation might wreak havoc on our day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Living in a Snowglobe

{photo via here}

It's one of those winters here.

The kind of winter where we get a little (and sometimes a lot) of snow every couple of (and sometimes every) days.

It's really lovely. Really lovely.

Unless, of course, you get caught up in the tiresome chore of shoveling (and, I'm oh-so-very lucky to have a husband who handles that for the most part) or get flustered by snow days (and, I admit to this).

For the most part, we live in a place where people embrace the outdoors. They don't let the weather - or the threat of weather (because we also live in a place where there is always a threat of weather) get them down. Every season brings a host of outdoor recreation. Winter? Snowmobiling. Skiing. Sledding. Ice fishing. Ice skating. Driving cars on frozen lakes (yes, it's true - and I might even tell you more about this really, really stupid activity which I vow to never partake in).

But, the last few days have been what one newsperson characterized as "dangerously cold".

We're not talking freezing.

We're talking below freezing. Days when "warmin' up" equals 5 degrees. No, that isn't a typo.

Days when it's just too cold -- even for hearty Maine-rs--to do anything. It's even too cold for Mother Nature to spit snow.

Last night I was huddled in bed with both my girls and a hot water bottle to keep our toes warm. And, while I relish the cuddling of sleeping girls, there wasn't a whole lot of sleeping going on....

So, this morning when I pulled open the shades and saw snow falling--the perfect consistency of a snow globe--I smiled. I didn't even let the possibility of a snow day get me down. Nope. Instead, I smiled because it had warmed up enough to snow.

We can go outside again.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mason Jar + Lisa Leonard Designs = Bliss

By now you likely know that I have a wierd obsession with mason jars. [For evidence, see here, here and even here.]

And, I love Lisa Leonard's designs (it is embarassing to think that I haven't shared this secret...)

Well, imagine the two colliding.

Oh, how sweet! (Good thing next month is Valentine's Day AND my birthday!)

 {image via Lisa Leonard Designs}

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Heart Tees with Heart

My dear cousin (of LoveVermont fame) has introduced me to the designs of New Hampshire clothing designer Emerson Made. And, just look what Emerson Made has launched just in time for Valentine's Day. How adorable is this tee?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Warm Hands = ?

{photo via Once Wed}

Warm hands = cuteness and a fabulous Crafternoon activitywhen it comes to these adorable handmade handwarmers. Take those unsightly disposable handwarmers and give them style with little wool pouches. Here's the how-to.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You Must Live in Maine

It seems every day my inbox is flooded with jokes or such that are forwarded from friends. Often I don't read them because I get tired of scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through all the "forward to". But, my Mom insisted that I read one today. And, I'm glad she did. It's comedian Jeff Foxworthy's take on Maine. And, for the record, I get all of these so I must live in Maine. (Note: He doesn't say "from Maine" because here in Maine, that's a whole different story....)

Foxworthy on Maine: 

If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through
  18 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, 
You might live in Maine 

If you have ever refused to buy something because it's "too spendy",
You might live in Maine 

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from November through March, 

You might live in Maine 

If someone in a store offers you assistance, and they don't work there, 

You might live in Maine 

If your dad's suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of
 his forehead, 
You might live in Maine 

If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time, 

You might live in Maine 

If your town has an equal number of bars and churches,
You might live in Maine 

If you know how to say...Wicked. ..Up to camp. .Ayuh
.Can't get there from heyah, 
You might live in Maine 

If you think that ketchup is a little too spicy, 

ou might live in Maine 

If vacation means going "up north" for the weekend, 

You might live in Maine 

If you measure distance in hours, 

You might live in Maine 

If you know several people, who have hit deer more than once, 

You might live in Maine 

If you often switch from "Heat" to "A/C" in the same day and back again,
You might live in Maine 

If you can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow
during a raging blizzard without flinching and keep drinking coffee

You might live in Maine 

If you see people wearing hunting clothes at social events, 

You might live in Maine

If you install security lights on your house and garage and leave both
You might live in Maine 

If you think of the major food groups as beer, fish, and Venison, 

You might live in Maine 

If you carry jumper cables in your car,
 and your wife or girlfriend knows how to use them, 
You might live in Maine 

If there are 7 empty unlocked cars running in the parking lot at Hannafords
 at any given time, 
You might live in Maine 

If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, 

You might live in Maine 

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, 

You might live in Maine 

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter,
 and of course, road construction, 
You might live in Maine 

If you can identify a southern or Massachusetts accent, 

You might live in Maine 

If your idea of creative landscaping is a plastic deer next to your blue spruce, 

You might live in Maine 

If "Down South" to you means Boston 

You might live in Maine 

If you know "scat" is something you don't eat,
You might live in Maine 

If you find -10 degrees "a little chilly",
You might live in Maine 

If you actually understand these jokes, and you forward them to all your Maine friends,
Youdefinetly live in Maine

When Snow Days Became A Bad Thing

Yesterday it became painfully obvious as the day wore on, that today would be a snow day. The signs?

The weather forecast, for one.

But, the real sign?

The fact that this would have been the first week in eight weeks that didn't have a "blip" in it -- no sick kids, no school cancellations, no holidays. That, my friends, was the real sign that today would be a snow day.

So, I was not surprised that when both my girls awoke earlier than usual (because that is another sure sign of a snow day) to learn that school and daycare cancelled.

Luckily for those around me, it seemed like a legitimate call (I have to say that isn't always the case.)

I know, I sound like a horribly mean mother. Who wouldn't relish an unexpected day to play with her kids? And, in the snow to boot?

There was a day when I longed for snow days. And, especially longed for snow days with my kids.

But, this week - this day - was not one of them. I wanted, for once in two months, to have a regular week. I wanted to make my full some deadlines...maybe even get a workout in.

No such luck.

I've just finished some absolutely necessary work calls - and, now I'm going to let go. Because it seems so dreadfully wrong that I have come to a place where snow days are a bad thing.

So, right now, I'm changing my attitude. I'm going to make cookies with my girls, play in the snow, play some games...maybe even let them suck me into a game of pretend (I love pretend, but I, apparently, always do it wrong, so it isn't always fun for me.).

Happy snow day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Work in Progress: Swapping Cookies for Love

[photo via here.]

Over a margarita on New Year's Eve, two of my favorite fellow baker friends and I concocted an idea. It went something like this.

We compared holiday baking stories. How many batches. New favorite recipes. Joy in delivering.

I confessed to my disappointment of another year passed without hosting a cookie swap.I vowed that next year would be THE year.

Amy said, "You can only have one if you agree to donate the cookies to the Food Pantry". She does this every Christmas -- deliveries dozens of beautifully bagged homemade holiday cookies to the help-yourself portion of the local food pantry. (What a gift!)

We shifted gears and talked about how many hungry people there are - and how sad it is that the donations all happen at once - over the holidays. What would happen in the middle of the winter when folks really needed stuff the most?

Ahah. The lightbulb went off. (There might have been another margarita by then...) Cookies in the winter. Valentine's Day. That's it -- A cookie swap for Valentine's Day. So, I'm still working on this idea (and, I know, Valentine's Day is just around the corner), but here's how I am seeing it play out.

1. Identify a date to invite friends (armed with homemade cookies) to share in tea (or something) while we bag cookies.
2. Invite friends.
3. Welcome friends (armed with cookies) at my house
4. Share in friendship and bag cookies in cellphane bags. Tie with Divine Twine.
5. Deliver to local food bank in time for Valentine's Day.
6. Feel a tad bit warmer knowing some hungry folks will get to enjoy a little extra treat this cold winter.

So, I need some help. I need a good name for isn't really a cookie swap...what is it?

If I made it easy...invitation templates and all...would you host one too? Tell the truth.

And, of course, I welcome other ideas, too.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January: A Planner

Okay, I'm not off to a good start. It's January 5th and I actually have no planner yet (it's my idea of forcing myself to abandon my paper planner and use Google tools on my Smartphone)...but, here's a list of the things I'm hoping to do this month:
  • Ice skate. A lot. Maine is notorious for ice rinks. Sure, there are some of those fancy kind with zambonis and all. But, more often than not you'll find towns flooding their recreation field or town green to make way for ice skating. And, many a Maine-r floods their own backyard. The rationale? It's cold here - make the best of it! If you live in Maine and are looking for a place to skate, check out this listing of known Maine ice rinks (indoor and out).
  • Sled. A lot. Again, it's cold and snowy in Maine. We could sit inside and feel sorry for ourselves, or get out and enjoy it. 
  • Ski. Again....I grew up skiing in Maine. Largely at Mt. Abram and Sugarloaf (and, please don't even think of letting that news about the lift collapse intimidate you - it is a fabulous ski resort). My new favorite ski destinations? Saddleback Mountain and Camden Snowbowl. Saddleback, thanks to its recent change of ownership, has become a super family-friendly mountain with a fantastic ski lodge. The Camden Snowbowl? Well, maybe not the best skiing in the world. But, it's the United States' most eastern ski resort - and you can see the ocean while you ski. It's where the mountains meet the sea--and, I'm not sure if you've picked up on this or not, but that's a theme in my life (my husband is from the mountains; and I'm from the sea).
  • Cook. Again, the cold theme kicking in here. :) I love to cook soup and my inlaws got me a cookbook I've been dreaming of. Sunday Soup: A Year's Worth of Mouth-Watering, Easy-to-Make Recipes Organized by season, the book is full of yummy sounding soups. And, the ingredient list won't send you scurrying around from store to store.
  • Knitting or Felting or Something. Man, it feels like months since these hands have done anything but write, change diapers and fold laundry. It's time to dig into a project.
  • Finish my daughters' Shutterfly calendar (again, not a good sign...). Each year I make a wall calendar that features photos of that month from the year before. It's my version of a scrapbook. And, please don't tell my kids about scrapbooks, 'else they'll be sorely disappointed because I'm not doing any.
What's on your January Planner? And, speaking of planners...what do you use as a planner?

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    January - Updike's Take

    In keeping with tradition here at Maine-ly Home, here's John Updike's take on January. If you haven't gotten your hands on A Child's Calendar, make it a resolution. It's a great book of monthly poems by John Updike with lovely illustrations depicting Vermont family life. I was introduced to the book via my daughter's Montessori school where the kids memorized the poems each month (talk about precious!).


    The days are short,
    The sun a spark
    Hung thing between
    The dark and dark

    Fat snowy footsteps
    Track the floor,
    And parkas pile up
    Near the door.

    The river is
    A frozen place
    Held still beneath
    The trees' black lace

    The sky is low.
    The wind is gray.
    The radiator
    Purrs all day.