Hip to be #Shopping: #HolidayGiftIdeas for #CatPeople

Hip to be #Shopping: #HolidayGiftIdeas for #CatPeople
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Looking for the perfect holiday gift for that cat person in your life? Look no further. Man, do I have some awesome gift ideas for you.

How’s about those adorable kittens in this Cuppa Kitty Cat Mug Earring Set?

Cuppa Kitty Cat Mug Earring Set

Or Here Comes Santa Paws Cat Leggings for a sister, niece or girl friend who simply loves to work out or lounge around?

Here Comes Santa Paws Cat Leggings

And for the guy who can never resist a purr or roar, the cat guitarist in this pair of Paw-ty Hard Men’s Cat Socks will tickle his toes silly.

Paw-ty Hard Men’s Cat Socks

Pick 1 or 2 or all, you simply can’t go wrong with these. You’ll make someone very happy.

And  you’ll make yourself happy too when you enjoy Free Ground Shipping on US orders of $75+. Offer ends December 31, 2018.

For first time Modcloth shoppers, here’s more: you save 15% off your first purchase.

Tigers in the woods

Tigers in the woods
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This is one of those weekends that Hip2Dad isn’t playing the El Nino Open. I say, what a great decision! Better to be enjoying a day in the comfort of home than chasing golf balls all day in this oppressive heatwave.

That said, I have to admit that at one point in my working life, I too had a golf club standing in my office. Scattered across that corner of my room were golf balls, each bearing the initials of my beloved boss, carefully carved out in permanent marker.

At random times of the work day, you could find me behind closed doors whacking the living daylights out of said golf balls✌. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe in violence any more than I believe them initials should be allowed to run amok in the workplace. But there were times when 5:00 pm was just too far away and I needed to de-stress pronto.

Speaking of which, I wonder why ‘coming home from the office to your kids’ isn’t listed anywhere as a stress reliever. For me, it wasn’t meditation or a vacation away from it all. It was my kids who kept me sane when work was a beech (oops, I’ve done it again, haven’t I? and this ain’t no Britney Spears song either!).

Back then, I did consider taking up golf. That was when Hip2bDad began telling me to stop calling golf clubs ‘golf sticks’. He introduced me to each golf club by name. Meet Dasher, Dancer and Prancer Putter, Driver and Iron! But that didn’t stop me from using a driver to putt. Duh!

And he showed me how to swing a golf club without killing anyone in the process. Good thing we never got to the real game where I had to drive the ball across the grass, I mean, green. Apparently someone drove a ball right smack into our K-friend’s head and he promptly fainted. See, it could happen even to experienced golfers. So don’t even try to imagine what I would’ve done!

Tigers in the woods

At some point, Hip2bDad began to think he saw potential Tigers in our three pre-teens. In fact, he was so sure he signed them all up for golf lessons. So began our suntanning sessions as I played doting golf mom! Soon we all began to look like roasted potatoes even as our sunblock investments went shooting through the roof.

Golf fashion quickly dominated our weekend lives. “Hey, why are you wearing that? Where’s your polo shirt?” our resident golf fashion police could be heard hollering up the stairs. “Belts please! Hey, hey, don’t forget to tuck in your shirt!” No offense but who even wears belts any more unless they’ve been living in the woods since World War 2?! You have no idea how much it pained me to see my poor kids dressed up like fusty old men with golf sticks!!

Never could understand golf fashion. Which is why it’s probably a good thing I never signed up for lessons myself. One look at Mrs K-friend in long-sleeved polo shirts and covering herself 머리부터 발끝까지 (from head to toe) in sun-protective garb and I was like, no no no, I ain’t wearing no hasmat suit!! There’s just no way!

To top it off, they even have golf fashion police patrolling the course in case you decide to get all New York Fashion Week-like. My kids got told off a few times but they just shrugged and carried on. Go kids!! Honestly, who the heck cares? It’s only a game! Or a work stress reliever, if you’re like me?

A snail mail moment

A snail mail moment
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sticking_stampSo Hip2bDaughter2 and I went to the post office. To mail a letter. It may not be a biggie to us dinosaurs but to the email generation, sticking a stamp on an envelope is not something they do very often. It’s my fault my kids have rarely ever set foot into the post office.

I myself have long given up on snail mail in the name of being a more environmentally-aware person. Not only that, if I had to choose between a trip to post office and the click of the mouse, you know which one I’d choose in an instant. Six teams of horses couldn’t drag to the post office unless I absolutely had to go.

But last Saturday, we absolutely had to… send a letter by snail mail. It must’ve been our lucky day because the place was practically empty and we were second in line, and the clerk was all bubbly and smiley. Maybe she was testing out her new foundation to see if it would crack if she smiled. Or maybe it was that tropical perfume I was wearing.

So sweet young clerk hands us the postage stamps and we move over to the service desk to stick them on. I could sorta sense Hip2bDaughter2’s excitement. You can read about a character in a book sticking a stamp on an envelope but when you’re actually standing there doing it in real life, it’s a whole different experience. It’s one of those things the email generation rarely get a chance to do these days.

I’m glad Hip2bDaughter2 and I had this quaint moment. I hope they don’t come up with some dumb app that lets you pay online and then have your smart phone spit an electronic stamp on your envelope. That would totally take all the fun out of, well, sticking on the stamp by hand.

From kitchen helpers to budding chefs

From kitchen helpers to budding chefs
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And we have lift-off… in the kitchen department. Hip2bDaughters have picked up the skillet and spatula and swept me off my feet with their cooking skills. I wonder where that came from?! 😉 Well, it all started when Hip2bDaughter1 and I went to Cali for Hip2bSon’s graduation and Hip2bDaughter2 had to stay home. For the first time in her life, she had to make some of her own meals. Here are some pictures she sent us of her cooking.

Doesn’t this look amazing?

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Chicken Pot Pie, heck yeah! Hip2bDaughter2 wants you all to know I cooked the filling for her before I left for Cali, and that she merely assembled this dish. Which is good enough for me. When I was in high school, I’d never even fried an egg on my own, let alone assemble a pie!

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Hip2bDaughter1 too has recently been inspired to pick up the spatula. This was the Dijon Chicken she served us last weekend. She says she can’t take all the credit because I created this recipe and she was merely putting it all together. Still, I didn’t lift a finger. She did it all.

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Hip2bDaughter1’s first attempt at Red Potato Salad was inspired by the gorgeous red Australian potatoes we came across at the grocery store. Best potato salad ever, what can I say? So it’s goodbye, russet (for now), hello, red.

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And her latest rendition of a new (to us) chicken recipe served over pasta.

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I couldn’t be happier, of course. I’ve always encouraged my kids to learn to cook. Cooking is a life skill, a very important one, I might add. In order to eat healthier, we just have to get in there and get cooking, no two ways about it. Ordering the “healthy” items when we eat out isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be when we have no control over its preparation. So I’m glad my teens are getting in there and dishing it out 😀 .

Your turn: What are some skills you encourage in your kids, or hope they will develop? And why?

Decluttering project

Decluttering project
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We’re into week 2.375 of Project Declutter. It’s back-breaking work. We complain a lot about the heat mostly. We’d rather be surfing the net but since everyone’s home, there’s no better time to get down and dusty. Motivation is a major challenge though.

But here’s the trick. We reward ourselves not for the job we’ve done, but for the job we’re about to do. It throws the psychology completely off but it works. Every morning, we head out and treat ourselves to a good lunch. It’s like charging our batteries.

lunch3

Right after we get home from lunch afterwards, the kids don face masks and gloves, roll up their sleeves and turn the house upside down, sorting through old toys, books, clothes, … to be boxed, given away or sold. Lots of oohs, aahs and OMGs as they discover old and treasured favorites, long forgotten.

It’s taken a few afternoons to sort through the truckloads of Lego we have. It’s really hard to discard anything because the pieces are still in such good condition and you simply can’t get Lego made in Germany any more. We checked out the Lego store the other day and the quality is definitely not what it used to be.

toys

Same goes for many of the toys. They’re all sturdy plastics and many of the mechanical parts still work. So unless they’re broken, faulty or unwanted, everything stays. To be honest, I find it pointless giving them away because some people are so rich these days they buy everything new. I once gave some perfectly good kiddy stuff to my estranged SIL and she probably tossed them in the trash the minute we turned our backs because I never saw any of it again.

Then there are the books. Considering that House Rule #289 says we are only allowed to buy story books during book sales, we’ve still managed to accumulate a huge collection. I think we’re going to end up keeping many of the cherished favorites the kids grew up with. The English and story lines in the oldies are way better than the newer series out there.

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So here we are. Obviously we can’t keep everything or it won’t be a decluttering project. The stuff that’s really hard to part with, we’re taking pictures to keep for remembrance. We’re doing a little every day. It’s hard to decide what goes and what stays. But we’re taking the time to laugh and reminisce. There really are so many, many fond memories associated with each and every piece.

Flurry in a no-fly zone

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As I’m writing this post, Steev and Raine are in the bathroom battling a fly that had somehow gotten in. I’m hearing animated shouts of “Okay, okay, I see it! It’s here! Oh no, it’s gone. Can you see it? No, can you? Oh, oh, there, there it is! Shhh, wait, where’d it go? Here , see it? No, where? Okay, don’t move, I think it can sense you!”

Hilarious if you’re not the one in there. Frustrating if you are.

This is the second fly episode we’ve had this week. The weather is hot, no doubt but the windows in the apartment are all screened so we really have no idea how errant flies get in.

Knowing us and how much we hate flies (and insects, in general), there’s just no way we can have a fly in the house and not do anything about it. We don’t own any fly swats or zappers but Steev has insect stickers here and there to trap the pesky creatures. Still! We don’t usually set out to kill any of these insects but on occasion, the inevitable does happen.

In fact, in Fly Episode No. 1, we successfully got not 1, but 2 flies to leave gracefully via the window after a whole lot of waving, shooing and dancing around the living room on our part.

In Fly Episode No. 2, however, because the fly was trapped in the confines of the bathroom, there’s limited space to wave and jump around. It was unfortunate the fly got smacked in the process. But at least, we can all rest easy tonight knowing we won’t be sharing the bathroom with an uninvited guest.

Celebrating bookwormism, if that’s even a word

Celebrating bookwormism, if that's even a word
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We found the perfect excuse to celebrate last weekend with this rare treat. A most decadent double fudge chocolate cake. One slice shared among the 3 of us girls (that’s how we roll)… and even then, we ended up pushing each other to finish it up.

choccake2

The reason for this excitement. Hip2bDaughter2 won a reading award for “student who has read the most books in high school”. And how many is that total? We don’t have the exact figure (she hasn’t got the tally back from her teacher) but we do know it’s in the region of oh, 400+ books in her years of high school combined! How anyone can read that many story books on top of all of her school work and activities is beyond me! But that’s my bookworm for ya!

No wonder there’s so much banging on the bathroom room – she’s always in there reading 😆 , and some days, she’s curled up with a book and the house is so quiet I can hear a pin drop. I don’t recall ever buying her that many books though. Not even close. But the philosophy of my two bookworms is to beg, borrow or steal if they have to. Their love for books is insatiable.

Hip2bDaughter2 was the latest bloomer in terms of reading. Hip2bSon was reading by age 2 and Hip2bDaughter1 by 2.5. But because Hip2bDaughter2 is the youngest, I always think of her as a baby. Suddenly there she was, 3 years old and illiterate 😆 . I was horrified. Bad mommy! How could I have let that slip? So began my mad scramble to get my “little sponge” caught up.

Fast forward to this week and my ‘baby’ high school senior is receiving a prize and a plaque, and giving a 7-minute speech to an entire school of 1,200+ students about the benefits of reading. She quietly wrote her own speech without any help from me or her sister, then stood up and rehearsed it to her ever-supportive audience of two – me and Hip2bDaughter1.

Since the award, she’s become a celebrity of sorts at school. Other students (even some she doesn’t know) are coming up to commend her, some to ask for a copy of her speech and many more to ask if she was nervous speaking to 1,o00 odd people. Apparently she surprised herself too that she hadn’t been as nervous as she had thought once she got past the initial jitters.

She’d told me the night before she might be “just a little nervous” and I thought yeah, maybe, this being the first time she’s speaking to such a big crowd. Then again, I took one look at that huge grin on her face and I knew that if she’s anything like her older brother and sister (surely it’s genetic, right?), she would be able to pull it off without a hitch.

Don’t you think she deserves a few bites off a slice of cake?

College or work?

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A few of my kids’ friends, whom I’ve known since they were little kids, have decided to skip college and are working fulltime jobs. It’s hard to look at them now and not think how time flies. It’s hard to imagine them in having gone through job interviews and pre-employment screening and are now in the 9-5 grind, the kids I used to see running and playing in school.

It’s at these crossroads that many kids have a problem deciding what they want to do. Taking up a job will give them time to make up their minds. As parents, we can only point them to the options and help them find their passions.

There’s a party goin’ on, y’all!

There's a party goin' on, y'all!
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My home bakery reopened for business recently. Baking has been slow because the days have been brutally hot and humid. It’s a good thing the weather has been kinder of late because I needed to get a whole lot of baking done ahead of time.

So between me and the girls, we got to work and baked a pound cake, a fruit cake and…

… oatmeal cookies (oops, I thought I had 12, how come there are only 11?).

Not forgetting these adorable li’l cream puffs which are absolutely to die for. I love cream puffs but my kids, not at all. After tasting the ones from Beard Papa (brought to a party by a distant relative years ago), all 3 of them instantly swore off cream puffs foh-ever!

I knew I was taking a chance with these, not sure if my kids would try them again. But I figure, heck, I love them and I haven’t had any decent ones in over 10 years, so if I have to finish every single one of my cream puffs myself, I will!

Turns out my fears were ungrounded. My kids could not stop popping these and are even calling for an encore. I make my cream puffs small and cute. To me, real cream puffs shouldn’t be the size of your palm. They should be poppable aka small enough to pop right into your mouth for the cream to explode in all its yumminess.

I brought along a half dozen cream puffs to the airport when picking Steev up. Yup, Steev is back for the summer from Cali. If that isn’t a party in itself, I don’t know what is! I have all my 3 kids home with me and the house is filled with laughter, music and the sound of a video arcade from morning till night!

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

Favorite blog post

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I’ve written well over 1,000 blog posts to date, before this challenge, that is. I’ve enjoyed writing all of them and quite frankly, it’s not easy to pick out just one post.

Going Green with the Grizls

But one of my favorites definitely has to be the one that begs the question

Do you talk to your teens?

simply because I really believe that talking to your teens is such an important, yet often overlooked, aspect of parenting.

Read my other Summer Blog Challenge posts here.

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