Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wilton Tent Sale

starts tomorrow!!! After taking a year off (which, frankly, was a good thing for my pocketbook since we never manage to emerge from there spending under $50), the big white tents are pitched again.

If you need any cake decorating supplies (including this really cool spray-on food coloring that is great for backgrounds on cakes when you're doing something like water or grass), it's the place to go. I don't think I ever see any real sales on Wilton in the stores, so the discounts at their tent sale are unbeatable. Of course, it helps if you live in the Chicago metropolitan area. Wilton is located in Woodridge on 75th at I-355.

We'll have our tribe traipsing through there in the next couple of days. I'm not sure that we actually need anything, but it's such an incredible kitchen smorgasbord that it's hard to stay away. A Musing Dad is just as big a fan of the tent sale as I am (maybe even more).

Now that I think about it, I just might pick up one of those cool cupcake trees. Or maybe a portable container for cupcakes. And then if I get one, I'll have to whip up a batch of Magnolia's goodies...

Note on Tent Sale dates & hours: Runs May 29 to June 16. Hours are 4:30pm-8pm on the 29th, then Saturdays and Sundays 8am - 6pm and Mondays through Fridays 9am - 8pm.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Breaking Expectations

Rebel or conformist? Which are you?

I'm a conformist, through and through. Rules are meant to be followed. It drives me nuts to see people not following the rules. To me they seem rude and self-centered. I've always taken it that people who go against the grain are just being selfish.

Now I'm beginning to wonder if they're just self-aware. Going along with the program often comes at a cost. As a conformist I would simply go with it and then fume and gripe it when the cost was more than I had wanted to pay.

Well, I'm learning to rebel. Not for rebellion's sake. For my sake. I'm learning to pay attention to the price of rules and expectations and decide whether I can pay it. And if I can't pay, I won't play.

Here's an example from the last couple of weeks that really opened my eyes to this:
a good friend has been good through some difficult times. As to be expected, another friend coordinated meals for her family. I was asked if I could make a meal.

Normally, my heart would sink at the thought of having to cook for another family. Cooking is a necessary evil to me. I do it for my family and I do it reasonably well, but without any real joy. And so when situations arise (births, deaths, sickness) I pitch in by making a meal but dread every minute of it and find myself drained in the process. Cooking is not my love language, my chosen area of service, a hobby, or anything aside from a way to keep my family alive.

So here it is, a request for a meal. My heart sinks. Not only that, but I am already burnt out by the own demands in my life. From where I stand, I'm wishing someone would make me a meal. And so I avoid responding, but I think to myself, "I just can't do it".

Some days pass and I walk around in a cloud of guilt for not wanting to help a good friend this way. Finally, I simply decide that I need to take the step of not doing something simply because it's expected. And so I respond that I cannot make a meal. I am not in a place where I am able to do it. Period.

Suddenly the guilt vanishes. I've rebelled and placed myself and my needs first. But I'm not selfish. I'm still a caring person. Without the weight of expectations I find the freedom to be creative. I write a card to my friend in crisis. I drop by her house with a small gift. I show compassion through actions that fit me better than making a meal. I think she is blessed. And I'm not so burnt out.

This conformist is seeing that rebellion can be good. I'm thinking of making it a rule to rebel at least once a day. Of course that rule might be hardest to break of all.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Super Savings Saturday: Cheap Baby Wipes

If you have a little one in diapers, chances are you go through a TON of baby wipes. And that can be pretty expensive after a while (as if all those diapers weren't enough). Well, I found a recipe for homemade wipes shortly after my first child was born and I used it through all three of my girls' days in diapers. These things were cheap, easy to make and worked just fine, thank you!

Wanna know the secret recipe*? Here it is:
1 roll of regular size sheet Bounty paper towels (do not skimp & buy cheepie paper towels - they will. not. work.)
1 cup of water
1 Tbs. baby shampoo (any brand)
1 Tbs. baby oil (any brand)

Cut the paper towel roll in half. I usually used a hack saw, but a bread knife works too. Then remove the cardboard core. Place the half roll in a RubberMaid servin' saver 3 qt., size G container or similar size container with lid. Mix together the water, shampoo & baby oil. Pour over paper towel roll, saturating the towels evenly.

To use, pull paper towels from up from center of roll.

I used these almost exclusively for all three girls. The only reason I bought regular baby wipes was to put in the travel wipes container in the diaper bag for when we were out and about.

*Sorry for no attribution of my original source. It's been so long now that I completely forget where I got it from.