Monthly Archives: June 2015

The 4th of July… Sans Fireworks

Going to buy fireworks with my dad and watching him set them off in our driveway has always been one of my favorite 4th of July traditions.  It’s fun, and it makes me feel especially patriotic since our very own ancestor John Adams was the one who decreed that the 4th of July should be celebrated with fireworks.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival . . . it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade . . . bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore.                 – John Adams  

Our little fireworks tradition got even better when my husband joined our family and unintentionally added a new comical dimension to our yearly fireworks display: watching him and my dad walk on eggshells to politely share the fireworks lighting privileges with each other even though each guy clearly wants to light all of them himself.

It’s been several years though since we’ve had fireworks due to either droughts and firework bans, being rained out, or having a baby/toddler who would also like to share in the fireworks lighting duties but certainly cannot be trusted near flames and sparks.  So while we look forward to another fireworks show in our driveway one day in the future, for now we have found nonflammable entertainment for after out 4th of July cookout.

One of my most favorite 4th of July activities is watching 1776, a musical about our very own cousin John and his efforts to create our new nation long ago.  We’ve actually watched this each year for years, usually while waiting for it to get dark enough for fireworks.  This year we also got some other fun things to play with that might be more exciting for a toddler (although she does really love her show tunes!) including glowing flags and water balloons.  May not be explosive fun, but I know we will enjoy it nonetheless.  As long as we are together (and get to eat gallons of potato salad), it will be a great celebration I’m sure!

It’s Always the Most Wonderful Time of the Year… Except When It’s Not: Moving Day – Part Deux

Last week marked our second move in four months.  That’s two moves too many if you are keeping track.  And now that both moving days have come and gone, I can say without a doubt that the moving process in general is decidedly NOT the most wonderful time of the year.  Here are a few choice reasons why:

1. First, to stick with the point of this blog, every single holiday or special occasion over the course of this four month process was somehow negatively impacted by the move – from being exiled from our old house on my husband’s birthday so that the inspection could occur to beginning the move to our apartment amid cases of stomach flu on Valentine’s Day to having our Easter decorations mostly unavailable in storage to not getting to plant flowers for Mother’s Day to being so exhausted from finishing our second move to our house that staying awake during dinner out was a real struggle on Father’s Day… this moving process has put a real damper on every celebration.

2. Companies will try to cheat you out of bunches of money at every opportunity during a move.  Whether it’s a security company who charged your credit card without authorization and lied to you about your contract and then requires you to pay hundreds of dollars to break that contract (that they told you wasn’t a new contract in the first place!) or a moving company who informs you on the Friday before your move on Monday that they have suddenly decided to change the rate they quoted you five months earlier and confirmed two days earlier and your move will now cost $300 more than you were told… lying, cheating companies are the worst!

3. Moving stuff into a brand new pristine house is also the worst.  Especially when the refrigerator delivery people smash in the side of your brand new countertop and when the movers choose not to take the drawers out of a heavy dresser before carrying it up the stairs despite you asking them and then those drawers slip out and slam into the wall of the brand new stairway leaving it gouged and scratched.

4. Dealing with utility and cable companies is apparently beyond my capabilities.  Evidently my master’s degree is not a high enough level of education to handle canceling and starting services.  The following conversation actually happened –

Me: I would like to schedule a time for someone to come pick up our old cable equipment since we are disconnecting our service.

Cable Company: Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t schedule pick up or accept old equipment.  You will be charged $40 for keeping the equipment.  Unless of course you’d like for me to schedule a time for someone to come pick up the equipment.  Then the $40 fee would be waived.

Me: That’s what I’m trying to do.

Cable Company: Ok then, I’ve scheduled an appointment for someone to come on Tuesday.


5. Moving with a toddler is not easy.  After finally being free from our old tiny apartment and in our lovely new house where she actually has room to – you know – play, she keeps crying to go back to her “repartment.”  Poor baby.

Phew.  Thank goodness the moving part is over.  I can’t wait to finish unpacking and start enjoying all of the most wonderful times of the year in our new house.  It’s about time!

Card File Boxes

Besides holidays, one of my other favorite things is organizing stuff.  So why not combine the two?  My card files keep all of my holiday card samples organized.

Whenever I make cards, I always make one extra to keep as a sample in my card file boxes.  I used to go to monthly stamp workshops and seasonal “stamp camps” back when I had time for such things.  I never sent or gave away any of the cards I made at any of those workshops or camps.  Instead I kept them all in my card files as samples.

I got these great boxes at The Container Store.  They are just the right size for cards and even come with plastic dividers you can label.  I have a section for each holiday/type of card.  Of course, some sections are bigger than others, but the dividers are adjustable so it works out well.

To be honest, I’ve never actually remade any of the card designs I keep filed so carefully in my card file boxes.  However, looking through them helps give me ideas and inspiration that I use to create new cards… and then I save samples of those in the card file boxes… which help me get new ideas for new cards of which I save samples in my card file boxes… a never ending cycle!  Which leads me to think that one of these days soon I may need to expand in to another card file box…

June Card of the Month: Graduation Card

When I think of the month of June, I think of graduations.  I graduated from high school in June 20 (oh my!!) years ago.  And lots of stores used to run promotions advertising gifts for “Dads and Grads” during June.  Anymore though, it seems like most graduations happen in May instead.  But since for me, when I think of June graduation season still comes to mind, June’s card of the month is a graduation card.  If you’re already done with graduation parties for 2015, you can always just get a jump start on next year’s graduation cards.

Start by getting some 8 1/2 inch by 5 1/2 inch card stock.  Personally, I like red for graduations because it reminds me of the ribbons on diplomas, but silver or gray card stock would be nice too.  Or you could even use card stock to match school colors.  Fold the card stock in half.  Then cut a smaller white rectangle for the front of the card.  Get some sparkly ribbon that matches the card stock and wrap it around the white rectangle and tape it to the back to hold it in place.  Attach the rectangle to the front of the card using pop up dots.  Put a black mortarboard sticker on the white rectangle above the ribbon.  Ta da!  A cute graduation card,  whether you end up using it right away in June for the Class of 2015 or save it for next May to celebrate the Class of 2016!