$5 Buys Peace, Harmony and a Christmas Gift…or Ten.

Oohh boy. Today was a recipe for disaster.

It’s Saturday and it’s 109 degrees outside.

My husband had to work. And my boys were so bored that they were in danger of dismantling the house. Added to this dire situation was the fact that normal indoor activities were off the table. The movie theater is too expensive, and we still have an oven to pay off, among other things. I would’ve taken them to an indoor arcade or fun center, but those germ factories are NOT where the boys need to be hanging out during the week before school starts. The last thing I need is two kids with a stomach virus on the first day of school.

However, I was determined to keep them under control, and maybe off the video games for just a little while. First, we finished up the school shoe shopping, and then headed over to Hobby Lobby so I could ogle the Autumn eye candy and peruse the yarn. I also wanted to walk around anywhere that was air-conditioned. While we were there, I found a plastic loom and a bag of nylon loops for about $5. Though G-man looked a little skeptical, I convinced him how UNBELIEVEABLY FUN it would be to make potholders for everyone for Christmas. Either he sensed the rising hysteria in my voice, or his boredom was so desperate that even he was willing to grasp at straws.

Regardless, that loom bought me several hours of unplugged peace. Talk about $5 well-spent.

And if you’re one of our relatives reading this, you’d better act dang surprised this Christmas when you receive a mountain of potholders.

Obsession—Or How To Keep Sane With a 107 Degree Forecast

As the summer heat continues to beat down on us (um, 107°, seriously?!?), I’ve retreated into crafting mode. I’ve already begun planning for Christmas, because starting early is the only way to keep our budget from imploding come December. By employing a little creativity and several dozen craft-store coupons, I hope to have everyone but the kids crossed off my shopping list by late Fall.

Unfortunately, I am on an indefinite candle-making hiatus. My heart is just not in it right now.

Even if I felt like cranking out a candle or ten, the sheer heat outside means that I can’t punish my air conditioner any more than necessary, and the added heat from melting pounds of hot wax would probably do it in. With candles on the proverbial back burner, I racked my brain for anything I could work on that may have gift potential later. I needed something to keep my idle hands from strangling someone in a heat-induced frenzy.

So, I finally decided to teach myself to knit…again. I tried to learn how to knit many years ago, and was overwhelmed in the first five minutes. I think I still have the yarn buried in my closet somewhere. With a book, some needles and cheap yarn, I got after it…only to feel like I was wrestling a rabid octopus. Feeling a mite discouraged, I dropped into the local yarn shop for inspiration, and hit the Holy Grail. After explaining my plight to the shopkeeper, she sat me down and gave me a ten-minute crash course on casting on, and the knit stitch. By the next day, I knitted my first garter stitch scarf, and was on my way to learning the purl stitch. Later that week, I found Ravelry, and was sucked into searching for information about patterns, yarns and anything else that struck my fancy.

I’m still an abject novice, but it’s safe to say that I’ve been ensnared by the knitting bug. Guess we know what my family is getting for Christmas!

A Cost-Benefit Analysis—Or I’ll Show You Where You Can Stick Your Orange Duo-Tang Folder

The new school year is just around the corner, and I’ve been busy trying to get the heathen’s ready. Between weekly trips to the library to find/renew their summer reading books, shopping for pants that actually fit, and trying to find shoes that won’t fall apart by mid-October, I’ve procrastinated a bit too much on procuring school supplies.

In years past, I’ve always purchased the supplies through the school, in pre-selected and packaged bundles. Though these pre-done bundles were a little high in cost, I knew they were part-fundraiser for the school, and they saved me from driving all over town to find duo-tang folders to match the teachers’ ridiculous color preferences. (Orange, really?)

However, when I found out just how much those “convenient” bundles were going to cost this year, I balked and decided to buy the dang supplies myself.

Early Saturday morning, the heathens and I set off to Target. After 30 minutes of what felt like the scavenger hunt from Hell, we managed to find 95% of their supplies. All that was missing was a very specific type of binder, some manila paper and, you guessed it, an orange duo-tang folder. Apparently, Target foolishly assumed that red, blue, green, yellow and purple were enough of a duo-tang color selection this year.

Two stores and a lot of swear words later, we emerged victorious. I saved about 50% from what the bundles cost, so I guess that’s something. However, I now see that the bundles are really a siren’s song of “what are you willing to pay to avoid such headaches?” As I waited in my third checkout line of the day, I was probably willing to pay anything to make the torture stop.

Well, I have a full year to recover from this expedition, but it remains to be seen if I’ll be able to resist the temptation next time. I can say with certainty, however, that if any school supply list next year even mentions the words “orange” and “duo-tang” in the same sentence, then you can bet temptation will win out.