Monthly Archives: March 2012

Day 160- Been missing my weekday skirts

I haven’t worn as many weekday skirts lately. I revert back to my old ways when it’s cold (or when people in this house are sick.) Jeans. Tennies. Sweatshirt. It’s just my nature I guess. I’m ok with this of course, but it was nice to get back to a regular weekday skirt too.

Have a wonderful day!



Filed under A Year in Skirts

Day 159- Why I appreciate the beauty message in The Hunger Games

I know that a few days ago I lamented having an apparent “hole in my soul” for my lack of enjoyment of fiction writing. With all of the hubub of The Hunger Games I decided that I simply MUST be a part of this latest cultural happening and read this very talked-about book. So having had the book on my shelf for about two weeks, I finally picked it up at 9pm on Wednesday night and regretfully put it down at 2am. I proceeded to ignore my children the following day so that I could finish it up. I really did enjoy it! It was like watching a movie. (And I do hope to see the movie as well.)

One aspect of the novel I appreciated is the moral beauty message that Suzanne Collins weaved into the plot without being preachy or heavy-handed. The reader is led to deeply admire the heroine Katniss for her strength, independence, survival skills, maturity, and love of family. Collins does not lead the reader to admire her for her physical appearance whatsoever. (Which is quite different from most female-led tales.) While we do have a sense that Katniss is attractive physically, this is not the point of why we the reader like her, nor why the two young men in her life Gale and Peeta like her. 

In fact, being admired for her physical appearance alone, as she is when ablaze in her arena fire dress becomes a clever commentary on the vast efforts that go into creating a “media image” for celebrities. Because of the disdain the reader feels for the Capitol’s sacrifice and using of children, we come to disdain the practices of the Capitol in general. Katniss undergoing a full-body waxing, for example, seems a harsh stripping of her humanity. The Capitol workers with their excessively stylized hair and outfits and plastic surgery to stay looking forever young are regarded as shallow, materialistic, and self-centered. It is as though they have never really experienced life. Katniss suspects that they behave this way due to having so much time on their hands. She wonders what sort of personal identity she would have and how she would spend her time if she wasn’t spending it hunting for food everyday.

The Hunger Games raises the question: Does a modern society that no longer needs to spend its days in survival-mode need to guard against the practice of sacrificing others for entertainment? Does it need to guard against a type of hyper-vanity that sacrifices their very humanity? 

In fact, the only person in the Capitol whom Katniss likes and trusts is Cinna. It is observed that his only facial embellishment is a touch of gold eyeliner. Collins seems to be making the point that “a little bit of something is ok”. The overall intensity (and painful) beauty efforts in the Capitol contrast significantly with how Katniss is prepared in District 12. In getting ready for the reaping she wears a simple, but nice, blue dress and her hair is expertly braided by her mother.

These questions of what amount of beauty participation is ok, and even healthy, and what isn’t are important considerations in our time given the amount of media manipulation and social pressure that our young people face. The Hunger Games raises these questions (and more) and is a valuable contribution to YA lit.

Have a wonderful day!


Filed under A Year in Skirts, Thoughts on Stuff

Day 158- Now’s the time to go shopping!

If you’ve read a post or two around here, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’m not a big shopper. One of the problems of doing a blog about skirts and dresses is that you NEED skirts and dresses! I can’t help it that I don’t like to shop and I don’t like to spend money. This is why most of my items come from the thrift store. However, over the months that I’ve been doing this blog I’ve found that one of the most versatile ways to wear a dress is to buy these summer dresses like the one I’m wearing today and pair it with capri pants or leggings. It basically acts as a really long shirt. If I owned more of these, I know you would have seen me wear more dresses in the wintertime because I could pair this with skinny jeans and boots. But because I only own three dresses like this one, I’m pretty limited.

However, now that springtime is here the stores are stocked with cotton dresses just like this! So now is a good time to go shopping for dresses that you’ll be able to wear all year long. If you’re a mom like me, I’d recommend buying something with a pattern. Solid color cotton just gets grease stained way too easily.

I started this blog in August so dresses like these were off the shelves and all the fall stuff was out. Now that I know what works for me, I’m looking forward to getting a new stash!

Have a wonderful day!

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Day 157- new skirt!

I haven’t worn these boots since Day 3! But I pulled them out on Sunday because I thought they worked well with my new skirt. This skirt will be perfect with sandals, but it was fun to get some cool-weather wear out of it too.

Have a wonderful day!


Filed under A Year in Skirts

Day 156- Swimming pool garden, Earth Box, and a good science experiment for kids

My great-grandfather was an Oklahoma farmer. My dad isn’t a farmer exactly but every spring he grows some amazing tomatoes and usually a few other things. I’ve been waiting for a decent patch of dirt to come into my life so that I can carry on the family tradition of food growing. However, for some strange reason, that patch of dirt has been eluding me. From six years of apartment living, to now townhome living, we do have a bit of space outside, but darnit if it isn’t mostly shaded.

Of course the part that is in the sun is on the concrete.

So last year, in an effort to capture the concrete sun, I tried this swimming pool garden. (Poke holes in an old swimming pool. Good way to re-purpose.)

It worked OK, but we really didn’t get as much production as I hoped for. This year we’ve cleared out some plants to try a little garden patch.

And yet everyday I go out there, and I hem and haw because I know these little leaves are not getting as much sun as they need.

Several years ago my dad bought me this Earth Box which promises huge yeilds with less watering. I don’t know why I’ve never used it (skeptical perhaps?) but this year I decided to try it. And it has the advantage of being on my patio in one of the few locations that do receive fairly steady direct sun exposure.

I’ve probably over-planted the thing.

But I will update mid-summer as to which garden is doing better!

Now, speaking of gardens, this is a SUPER NEAT experiment that I think your kids will enjoy:

Francesca brought this home from school in October. Back then it was just the two cups together with the dirt at the bottom (with seeds) and some water. Basically this mimics the atmosphere and the teacher did this with the kids to illustrate the concept of evaporation, condensation and precipitation. So it’s been fun to watch her empty cups become this grassy thing that still hasn’t dried out over all of these months. That water keeps on keeping on with its recycling. Very fun!

The kids were having fun with the self-timer today

Have a wonderful day!


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Day 155- The faux frenchbraid and some haircuttery things

I love hair. I really do! This week we came up with this “faux frenchbraid” style that is very easy and quite cute.

Part the top of the hair and braid just a short ways and rubberband it.

Part the section underneath and separate into two sections. Use the braided piece as your third piece. The two sections will cover up the rubberband of the braided piece as you do a second braid. [Repeat]

Let me know if it makes sense! I can take more detailed pictures next time of the process if anyone is interested.

Today was a haircut day for Adam and Natalie. I believe the key to a good child’s haircut is a Dum Dum lollypop for the little customer. This ensures a willing attitude and good listening ears for directions such as “put your head down” or “look right” or “close your eyes”.

A plastic grocery bag cut down the middle and slits cut for the arms works to keep clothes mostly clean. It’s also quite fun to “whap whap” them with a hand towel afterward to get the hair off the neck and face.

I’ve always cut the kids’ hair myself because it is easy, fun and saves lots of money and time. There are few things that offer so many direct benefits! It also helps that I’m not a perfectionist and it helps that my kids have fairly “easy” hair. About two years ago I started cutting my own hair as well, pretty much for the same exact reason that I cut the kids’ hair. I estimate that this little hobby has saved at least $1, 560 for just the kid haircuts! It’s definitely worth it to pick up a pair of clippers and some basic scissors and a fine tooth comb. If you aren’t sure how to cut hair, take your child in to the salon and watch closely how they do it then practice at home. It’s ok for a little one to suffer from an uneven or “off” haircut once in awhile while you learn.

[As far as hair sites, I am having fun seeing the amazing styles that Tav comes up with on Goldilocks ‘n Me]

Finally feeling better again after I also caught the dreaded family virus! We’re almost done with this thing! yay!

Have a wonderful day!

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Day 154- Fishbowls, yogurt, and the Secret Stash

I’m developing a real personal identification with fish and fishbowls. I know that sounds silly! But oftentimes I think of myself as a fishy swimming around in this house, going upstairs, going downstairs, around and around in the kitchen and looking out the windows and the trees and bright sun. I do go outside of course, but I also spend a LOT of time here: swimming in my fishbowl.

Because I have this little fishbowl, a key to happiness for me is to really ENJOY my fishbowl. To take care of it. To love it up. To find things to do here.

Since the kids have been sick all week I haven’t even driven the car once. I’ve just been here at home for 5 consecutive days. So being that I’ve been stuck here, rather than wish I WASN’T stuck, I decided to enjoy my fishbowl time and embrace it.

So I decluttered my tupperware! Yay!

I folded Secret Stash laundry! Yay! (more on that later)

I made sourdough bread! And real lemonade! And lemon bars! Yay!

And I’m currently making yogurt for the first time! Yay! (Before the internet I didn’t even know a person could make yogurt at home. Right now results are mixed as to how well it came out.)

Anyways, being at home has brought an opportunity for me to get a little more creative and do some organization.

Now…about that Secret Stash laundry. I have a little secret that I don’t tell my husband. I cleared out a space in my bedroom closet and I use it to stack all the unfolded laundry. This way our bedroom doesn’t constantly look like a laundromat with laundry baskets always overflowing! The bedroom looks clean and inviting even when I really have three loads of clothes that need attention. (But I don’t tell J that because I’d rather he just think that the bedroom looks great! Not, “well there is that laundry again that’s not folded.”) But here’s the thing: my laundry is never all folded. There is always some laundry waiting to come out of the dryer. So I was ALWAYS feeling the nag of an undone chore that never really gets done and every time I’d pass those unfolded clothes, it would nag at me even when I didn’t have the time to fold them right then. Now I can dip into my stash and fold even half a basket during a phone call and the progress made FEELS like progress. When it’s all just out there, half a basket of folding feels very unsatisfying against the backdrop of 2 1/2 more baskets. He he!

Here’s my cleared closet space (no one ever opens this side):

What it looks like from the other side when all stacked up (I only really use this closet):

I was able to fold two baskets today, so I still have one more left:

But if you were to come into my room all you’d see is the made up bed and niceness all around. Now my room doesn’t feel like a drag every time I go in, and I’m sure J likes it better even though he probably thinks I’m just getting to the laundry quicker. 🙂 If he ever finds my secret stash I’ll just fess up to my motives, but for now I’d rather he just think I’m doing a better job! ha!

I wore this dress to church last Sunday. Before The Great Virus befell the children 😛

Have a wonderful day!

Linking to Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real– because this post has all of the above, although I’m not good at dividing!


Filed under A Year in Skirts, Thoughts on Stuff