7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 60)

December 4, 2009 | 42 comments

— 1 —

THERE IS SNOW IN THE FORECAST FOR TODAY! Forecastfox, please do not toy with my emotions about this. You have to understand, I live in central Texas. We see snow about once every other year. So when we see that little icon with the white geometric shapes next to a gray cloud, we get VERY excited, and would be DEEPLY disappointed if no actual snow materializes. I assure you that I will be roundly denouncing your name on Twitter if I have to spend all day explaining to disgruntled children why there is no snow in our yard when mommy said there was going to be snow in our yard today.

— 2 —

I could have an entire blog about how much I love Christmas cards. Every single aspect of it is a joy for me: I delight in updating our contacts database with the names of new friends we met throughout the year; I look forward to composing a handwritten note to each person in the space at the end of our family newsletter; I smile as I affix each address label on an envelope, thinking warm thoughts about the family whose name is on the top line; for months I look forward to nights of drinking eggnog with my husband, carefully reading each of the Christmas card letters we receive. One year I even made a nice scrapbook with all our friends’ photos and letters.

It is as if I have some sort of Christmas card gene where all the kindness, warmth, creativity and graciousness I lack in every single other area of life is all concentrated in this one thing. Whatever the reason, it is my favorite part of the Christmas season (other than, you know, celebrating the birth of the Savior of mankind).

— 3 —

If you’re looking for some good Advent/pre-Christmas reading, I highly recommend Magi by Daniel Gilbert, which I reviewed here. It’s a quick, entertaining read that offers a lot of inspiration.

— 4 —

If self-pity were an Olympic sport, I would be up for a gold medal with this whole ruined clothes thing. I already mentioned it on Twitter, but since 140 characters is not nearly enough space to fully unpack my woe-is-me saga, allow me to use this space to expound a bit:

I am fortunate that I have (err, had, but we’ll get to that in a minute) a small winter wardrobe of quality designer sweaters. Not that I can afford designer stuff, but luckily my mom is the Michael Jordan of bargain shopping so she often buys clothes for me at deep discounts. Because my freakishly long limbs make it hard to find stuff that fits, I meticulously take care of these few clothes that are the right size for me. On Monday I saw that I’d developed a laundry backlog of all my nice sweaters (since I wash them separately in the delicates cycle and hang them to dry), so I decided to do a load.

Fast-forward to Wednesday morning: I was looking around in my closet and saw all my sweaters folded and neatly stacked on my bathroom counter. “Wait a sec, ” I thought. “I don’t remember getting them out of the washer…” And then I realized: we’d had a friend who cleans houses come the day before…and she needed the washer to wash some sheets…and probably thought she’d help me out by finishing my load…and might not know that I don’t put these clothes in the dryer…and….NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

It was a total loss. She’d dried them on hot. My Ralph Lauren piece now looked like a turtleneck tube top with three-quarter length sleeves, and I will have no further use for my once-classy Liz Claiborne sweater unless I’m invited to be a backup dancer in a Snoop Dogg video. I’m not mad at our friend at all — it was totally my fault for forgetting the stuff in the washer — but I am just slightly distraught about the whole “not having any winter clothes anymore” thing.

— 5 —

With the astounding generosity I’ve seen from blog readers in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised if some saintly person emailed me to offer me a gift card to replace my clothes after reading the pity party extravaganza above, so allow me to do a little translating: when I say that I “DON’T HAVE ANY WINTER CLOTHES ANYMORE!!!!” in self-pity-speak, what I mean is that I “don’t have any winter clothes that I like as much as the ones that were ruined…though there probably are still things in my closet that I love but that I’m conveniently forgetting about because it would make the situation seem not that bad.”

If anyone is moved to help out folks in need, I would recommend contacting your local St. Vincent de Paul society since I know they have a large number of families in need (real need) this year.

— 6 —

Anyone heard of gargling with cayenne pepper to cure a sore throat? My husband had a sore throat earlier this week and I came across this site that said that it almost always works. It’s a cool idea for a site, by the way: they take common folk cures and let people rate how well they work. The cayenne pepper sort throat cure had 342 people say it did work, 24 say it didn’t. Interesting.

— 7 —

Tonight I’m going to do one of my favorite things in the world: prepare Christmas cards while sipping eggnog and watching movies with my husband. It doesn’t get much better than that. Have a nice weekend, everyone!


Below is a Mr. Linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own 7 Quick Takes post. (1) Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL. (2) Include a link back here.

I look forward to reading your posts!

1. Colleen
2. It Feels Like Chaos
3. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
4. Molly @ Just Simply
5. Sarah Reinhard – Fairy Tale Novels Review
6. DebbieQ@stophershesknitting
7. Stephany Writes
8. Tami @ The Next Step
9. Katie @ The Baby Factory
10. Katheen (toothpick cities and overparenting edition
11. Judy@A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings
12. leah @ abundant life
13. EV @ somewhat in the air
14. Sara @ AShowerOfRoses
15. Amanda
16. Sarah @ SoJo & Co
17. Elisa @ Elisaloves…
18. Megan@Blueberry Scones
19. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
20. Pam@mosaicsynapse
21. Marie, Two Ways of Renouncing the Devil
22. Nadja@Patch O’ Dirt Farm
23. Janet @ Domestic Bliss
24. Trena @ The Third Prayer
25. Missus Wookie
26. Young Mom
27. kim
28. Jaime @ UndertheFigTree
29. Jenny
30. Lori @Busy With Blessings
31. Deanna@Notlukewarm
32. Becky @Beck’s Three
33. ThatMarriedCouple
34. Kim @talklesssaymore
35. Vee @ A Pixilated life
36. Phyllis @ Life on Windy Ridge
37. MrsDarwin
38. Sarah @ Fumbling Toward Grace
39. Barbara C.@Box of Chocolates
40. Transitus Tiber
41. Box Full of Blessings
42. Miranda
43. Milehimama
44. Dymphna @ the Well
45. Sarah@EmergingMummy
46. Mama Fuss
47. Sarah @ Simple Pleasures
48. Christina@Mrs. Broccoli Guy
49. Suz@ One Of Five
50. Maggie @ From the Heart
51. Jason
52. Jason @ Mainland Voyager
53. Elena @My Domestic church
54. Mrs Bubbles
55. Julia@ Blessed Obscurity
56. Smoochagator
57. Salome Ellen
58. Emily
59. Mary @ Passionate Perseverance
60. Tracy@The Secret of Living
61. Catherine @ Adventures in Domesticity (Garlic and Onion Soup)
62. Jocelyne
63. Christian H @ Thinking Grounds
64. Christy@frugalcrunchychristy
65. Michelle @ made4joy
66. Jen @ The Short Years
67. Anna @ Annalogue
68. Lindsey @ Love is Triune
69. Jill @ Old Skool
70. Gill-Life of a Photographer

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  1. blissful_e

    So sad for you about your sweaters! I also have freakishly long limbs and I don't tumble dry any of my clothes for this reason. Kudos for thinking more about people in real need. Enjoy your snow!

  2. Susanne Barrett

    And I thought that I was the only woman who actually enjoyed writing, sending, and receiving Christmas cards to such a huge extent. It's lovely to know that someone else enjoys it as much as I do. πŸ™‚

  3. Colleen

    I have not done this meme in a very long time, but enjoyed it tremendously. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your winter sweaters. Did the cayenne pepper work? I love movies and egg nog! God bless!

  4. Jen Rouse

    Oh, my. I would be so, so sad if all my favorite things had been shrunken. I have twice (TWICE–you'd think I'd learn to check pockets!) had a load of pants with crayons in the pockets go all the way through the washer and dryer, coming out on the other end with colorful wax designs all over them. There is nothing more depressing than seeing that entire load of clothes that you know you'll never, ever, be able to wear again.

  5. Kathleen@so much to say, so little time

    6. So the real question is, did you try it?????? πŸ˜‰

  6. Heather

    I've never heard of gargling with cayenne pepper, but I have a cousin who swears by gargling with whiskey.

  7. Marie

    Pepper for a sore throat? That sounds like a cruel trick. I've done hydrogen peroxide, it is really, really, really vile and needs diluting and then you have to huff and spit and yell yuck for half an hour, but I think it really does a lot of good. I think when you get a virus it hurts the lining and every little bacteria in your mouth has a party, the peroxide beats that down.

  8. Pam Elmore

    Thanks to you, I've written (and linked to) my first-ever 7 Quick Takes! Thanks for hosting, Jennifer!

  9. Anne Marie

    If you get snow, will it kill the scorpions?

  10. Young Mom

    MMM, Eggnog and movies, I need to get some of that. And so sorry about your sweaters! Its miserable to lose your favorites!

  11. Susan Thompson

    I like to gargle with Listerine or the generic equivalent for a sore throat–not Scope or the generic equivalent.

  12. Anonymous

    Jen, your blog has become a near occasion of sin for me today. I would have been furious at someone who dried my sweaters without reading the care labels and now I find myself furious on your behalf. I've had a similar thing happen to me. The person was being nice, but cleaned improperly and ruined something very special to me when simply reading the care label! or taking a few seconds to call and ask me about it, could have prevented it.

    I know people are more important than things, I know the person was being charitable and going out of their way to help me and I am grateful for everything they did. I felt and still feel so churlish and low about being angry about it, but I still am angry about it. If you and your readers would say a little prayer for me and everyone else who struggles with this kind of anger, it would be nice.

    anonymous today

  13. jird

    Gargle with warm salt water for a sore throat!

    I hear you on the sweaters. Last year I found a cashmere sweater on super-sale for $25. I bought it. I loved it. It fit perfectly. It was the only cashmere thing I've ever owned. I wore it twice, before my husband had a lovely burst of thoughtfulness and did the laundry, for like the first time ever. I have to remember that I love his thoughtfulness more than I miss the sweater. (But I do still miss the sweater!)

  14. That Married Couple

    Oh, you've made me excited for writing Christmas cards!

  15. Jen Raiche

    Sorry to hear about your sweaters. ={ Isn't it amazing how hard detachment is? I've been struggling with that as my four (very lovable but very busy) boys have been kind of hard on some of our possessions lately.

  16. lori

    You can make very cute bags from shrunk wool sweaters. The strap of the bag goes over the shoulder of the original sweater. You cut the arms off. You sew it with embrodery (sp)thread. They suggest that you tri-fold the strap and stitch for added strength.

  17. Milehimama

    I've heard of the cayenne pepper for throats. I've heard it's easiest if you make a pepper spray (like chloraseptic, I guess). I've never tried it – by the time I get desperate enough to try it I'm too sick to be mixing up pepper concoctions, lol.

    You might try to reblock the sweaters, depending on how badly they've shrunk. Worth a try.

    Otherwise, why don't you whip out the sewing machine and stitch up some cloth diaper covers or other such supermom trick with 'em? ROFL.

  18. Carrien

    The solution to number one is to not ever tell them that it's going to snow. They'll figure it out when/if the white stuff starts to fall.

    I really don't like Christmas cards. So much so that I don't do them any more. I send a mass email. Sometimes it even has photos in it. I don't even have the mailing address for most of my family and friends anymore. The last time I mailed something to everyone was wedding invitations. Just the thought of trying to do that again makes me want to cry.

    In my defense the list is at least 300 people long. I'm from a very large family on both parent's sides and they all live in Canada. I don't have 100$ a year to send them cards that, If they are anything like me they'll just toss in the trash after a week or two.

    I feel very grinch like saying that. Especially knowing that my grandmother tacks up yarn all around her dining room and hangs her cards off of them like garlands.

  19. Pam Elmore

    Thank you for commenting on my blog, Jennifer! I feel like I've been visited by a celebrity! (Well, if celebrities were as warm and kind and down-to-earth as you are.)

    Blessings! I hope you're able to find new sweaters, and new uses for the old ones.

  20. T with Honey

    I haven't tried cayenne pepper but twice in the past year I gargled with slightly diluted apple cider vinegar and my sore throat. The pain lessened about an hour later and the sore throat was completely gone in 24 hrs.

  21. mrsbroccoliguy

    I love Christmas cards too. I wonder though what FB will do to the tradition – I mean it's not quite as exciting to get a photo when you've been looking at friends/family's photos all year, right? But I'm going to embrace tradition anyway and send out the photo card and letter. It just isn't Christmas without them!

    I linked my quick takes – thanks as always for hosting!

  22. Jason

    I learned quickly that drying sweaters in the dryer for my wife is a big no-no. It only took one time.

  23. Lenetta @ Nettacow

    Apologies if you have a dozen comments waiting to be moderated with this same info, but I've read that you MAY be able to restore your sweaters after shrinking using hair conditioner. Here's one article I found on it and here's another. Or, as another commenter mentioned, make some super-cute tote bags. Blessings!!

  24. Milehimama

    I guess I should mention:
    To block a sweater, soak in warm water with a little bit of Woolite or baby shampoo to relax the fibers (animal hair sweaters only! i.e., wool or cashmere).

    Blot dry (don't wring).

    Lay flat on a big towel. Stretch it gently into shape. Use weights or thumbtacks or straightpins to fasten it to the towel so it dries in the right shape.

  25. Sarah

    I love Christmas cards too…the kind with personal messages. I bought mine yesterday and am looking forward to writing them today, one of my favourite things about Christmas. My husband (of 1 year and 1 month so we didn't do much of Christmas cards last year) is completely baffled at the Christmas card thing…I'm glad to see I'm not the only one left in the world who gets a kick out of them!

  26. Emily

    I LOVE Christmas cards! I send them to pretty much everyone I know. And almost everyone I know thinks I"m nuts.
    We should start a group for lovers of Snail Mail Christmas Cards!!!!

  27. Kerry

    I am EXACTLY like you in regards to Christmas cards. LOVE IT!!!!

    I LOVE writing personal notes, and getting them too, of course!

    Enjoy your egg nog!

  28. Jocelyne

    I'm pleased to be finally taking part in this … but almost didn't make it in for Friday!

  29. Christian H

    1) You can have our snow. Quite seriously, you can. (OK, "may" might be more correct here, because you have my permission but you probably actually can't have it since I have no way of transporting it to you. Sorry!)

    2) I'm afraid I'm not up on this whole Twitter thing, so don't ever feel like you should avoid a topic because you have Twittered about it. Unless it really is so trivial that 400 characters covered it, and then I guess it's no big deal.

    WV: rongsmu!

  30. Vee

    So, did you get your snow? I hope so! It never snows in wretchedly continually sunny California, but I'm hoping other parts of the country are enjoying their flurries. Trying not to be jealous about even the hope for snow! Hee!

    And I'm always washing clothes. Never drying them. I forget that part, and dear husband has to do that for me. Or the kids do. Someone. Sigh. I'm sorry about your clothes! And I imagine your friend feels so badly, too, poor thing.

  31. Martha

    It is such a delight to read your comments about Christmas cards. I love sending Christmas cards and keeping in touch with friends.

  32. Kellie

    I tried gargling with cayenne once, about two years ago, after a friend mentioned it.

    Unfortunately, trying to get it into a way-back part of my throat, I somehow managed to snort it up my nose, a la what happens when you laugh while drinking. You can imagine how that went!

    So I don't know if you can really get an endorsement from me…but I'll tell you this: about fourteen tissues' worth of toilet paper later (half of it for my watery eyes), my chronic postnasal drip WAS much better for a few hours. πŸ˜‰

  33. TRS

    Who on earth (men excluded) puts sweaters in the dryer? I mean without even asking to verify?

    Sorry for your loss.

  34. Kathleen

    So sorry about your sweaters,that happened to me in my 9th month of pregnancy. The repairman switched the hot and cold water on the washer. I was not as cheerful and Christian as you at the time.

    Any my husband's aunt SWEARS by Tabasco for sore throats (peppers and vinegar I guess). A little southern Louisiana wisdom. She carries a bottle in her purse all winter.

  35. Jill

    1-So, did you get your snow? πŸ™‚ I woke up here in Kentucky to just a light dusting. I wasn't expecting it.

    2-Also love Christmas cards (cards of any kind really). I save them for years! πŸ™‚

    4-I'm sorry to hear about your clothes πŸ™ Recently I had a pile of things in the closet that needed to be dry cleaned…one of which was hubby's wool sweater. He didn't know what the pile was for and trying to be helpful, he washed/dried it. He came out of the closet wearing it and said "I don't know what happened?" I don't even know if it would fit ME now, LOL.

  36. Rebecca

    I'm not going to offer to replace your clothes (though I absolutely feel your pain, most of my clothes have never seen the inside of a dryer either) – I will offer to pay you to do my Christmas cards for me ;).

  37. Moms In Need Of Mercy

    You know how they say you should sniff spices to see if they're still good? Well, I came across some cayenne pepper from when we were first married (7 yrs. ago). So I went to give it a gentle sniff…but instead, I ended up inhaling it slightly. DEFINITELY. NOT. FUN!
    After all the burning (which lasted for several hours), I think my sinuses did feel more clear though πŸ™‚

  38. Shannon

    Oh, OUCH on the sweaters. With all your little ones, this might be tricky–but you should really check out some thrift stores. I've lost a lot of weight in the last year and have had to completely redo an entire wardrobe, and I've built it largely from some GREAT finds at thrift stores.

  39. Allison

    New reader πŸ™‚ Try soaking the sweaters in conditioner and very gently and very slowly (over several days) re-shaping them.

  40. Anonymous

    On addressing the Christmas card, try looking her up on the internet with the address. Otherwise, Our friend, I think sounds sweet.

  41. Maureen

    I've heard about saving sweaters, too. Hair conditioner is what I heard.

    Probably Woolite is safer. πŸ™‚

  42. Lauren

    Jen- I was relaxing on a Sunday evening, reading Real Simple brainlessly, when I saw a page that made me think of you. I had to get off the couch, search for this post, and tell you what I learned! To STRETCH OUT SHRUNKEN CLOTHING use BABY SHAMPOO (or even conditioner). Add 1 Tablespoon to 1 quart of water, then immerse the garment in the solution to relax the fibers. While the shrunken garment is soaking, trace an outline of a similary-sized piece of clothing onto a piece of parchment paper. (I'm not making this up.) Lightly squeeze the excess water from the garmen, then lay it on the paper. Gently stregch the item so that it fits the traced outline. If there is a little stiffness, use a steamer or the steam from an iron to make the garment more malleable. Finally, secure the edges with heavy objects until dry (glass paperweights or coffee mugs will do the trick). I hope you still have the sweaters and that this works!! Real Simple- Feb 2010, pg. 48

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