High Class humor, advice, and happiness (if you're lucky)

l. #212 How to make it Christmas in July: Ugly Christmas Sweaters, Elf on the Shelf, and Green apple Pucker

Tips to Christmas in July!

Tips to Christmas in July!

Have you heard all the ads for Christmas in July?  And then do you panic when you realize July is almost over?  Yeah, me, too.  But there’s still a few days for you to squeak out some summer fun before parkas are necessary and shaving is not, so let’s have a little warm Christmas yuletide.  Maybe you’re in need of family bonding, maybe you are refusing to go out into the heat, or you need an excuse to avoid the to-do list, whatever the reason, let’s Kris Kringle it up, people!  Let’s do some things we never have time for in December because we’re too busy making a list and checking it 500 times.

So how can you bring a little Christmas to July?  I have just the answer.

*You can go purchase ugly Christmas sweaters at Salvation Army.  Why not enjoy the variety to choose from and get it out of the way so you and your sequined poinsettias with mustard yellow embroidery are ready for December?

*Take your Christmas pic…with Santa hats and best of all – a TAN!  Yeah, baby!

*Make a couple batches of sugar cookies to decorate.  One set to eat now.   (Plus, I highly recommend some choco-chip cookie dough to eat while baking the others.  Just sayin’.)  One set to put in Tupperware with a piece of bread so they’re ready for the holidays when they do actually roll around.  Aren’t you the organized pro???

*Have a movie marathon.  Pop popcorn (you could make popcorn balls if you’re an overachiever), whip up some eggnog (or not), turn up the A/C, and wrap yourself in a blanket.  You can’t tell me you aren’t up for Chevy Chase dealing with his wacky brother, a squirrel, and a burnt turkey.  We’ve all been there.  I’m also a big fan of Christmas with the Kranks, Four Christmases, and if you want to go really old school, check out Holiday Inn.  (It’s my dream job.)

*Get out the Christmas mix cd you got from me and have a sing-a-long.  You absolutely cannot be in a bad mood when singing Christmas carols.  I’m pretty sure it’s nearly impossible.  So if you have to do dishes, do them to Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells.

*Go to church.  Okay, the congregation might be in shock that you’re there and it’s not Christmas or Easter, but Jesus will not judge.

*Make a Pinterest project.  Remember all those millions of things you pinned to your boards for Christmas?  Holy crapola, you could get one done!  You could make an Advent calendar for this year.  You could knit up a stocking cap for the baby that’s due in December.  You could make Christmas ornaments for the whole family.  La-dee-da!

*Best one of all:  you could go shopping!!  Tell me that doesn’t appeal to you!  But why not?  Why not go buy all those school supplies for your kids you’re going to end up buying anyway, yank out the Christmas stockings, and load ‘em up for a July morning Santa visit?  Heck, wanna take it up a notch? Break out Elf on the Shelf if you want to get your kids back in line.  Nothing like a friendly reminder that Santa’s always watching.

Okay, sure, Santa is probably on vacay right about now, but it doesn’t take a trip to the North Pole to put a little fun in your heatwave and holiday spirit in your heart.  And if you need a little help getting to the happiness of the holidays, you can always buy green apple pucker and cherry pucker to put with your 7up for red and green beverages on the deck.  Nothing says the holidays like a drunken family member!

Happy Christmas in July!


Have you celebrated Christmas in July already?  What did you do?  Do you have another way to celebrate we should know about?  Share it.  Do you think it’s ridiculous to even think about Christmas right now?  Are you making gifts as we speak?  Let’s see a pic.  Whatever you have to share, get it on here so we can see!

l. #211: Tips to packing for your ride on a Jet plane (or why you need a Ziploc in Cabo)

photo 1-001

Is there a vacay in your future?  Or dare I say it… a business trip? (Ew.)  Either way, it’s important to pack well and light. (Well, only if flying.  I prefer to take the kitchen sink if driving. Know what I’m sayin’?)

Needless to say, I pack like other people shave:  tight and right.  So I thought maybe I should share some of my secrets to making a suitcase user-friendly:


Ziploc bags

Ziploc bags

*Toiletries go in Ziploc bags.  Plus, take an extra.  Yes, I know you have a fancy little kit with 50 compartments for Q-tips and body wash, but what happens when a lid pops off in-route?  Guess who’s wasting precious vacation time scrubbing out those compartments?  Exactly.  Instead, Ziploc can go in the trash, you break out the new one, and you’re sippin’ a drink by the pool.  (And if you don’t need the back-up, you can use your Ziploc for your swimsuit that may still be wet after your 3am swim on the last night in Cabo.)

*Roll, not fold.  It’s a little like shaken, not stirred.  When you pack your clothes in your bag, roll them.  They take up less room and although it may sound not quite right, they actually get less wrinkled when you roll instead of fold.

*Speaking of taking up less space, always leave room in your bag on the way there because it never goes back in as easily as it got there.  Well, that and you might have over-purchased souvenirs or packed in 2 seconds in avoidance of having to go home.  There is that.

*I also recommend taking a trash bag or your ginormous Macy’s bag you have from your last shopping spree.  Put your un-used clean clothes in it for the trip home and less laundry for you!  Woo-hoo!

*Pack a sweater.  Supposed to be 100 degrees?  Yep.  Unless you don’t pack a sweater and then it’s 50.

*Call ahead to see if the hotel provides hairdryers, irons, shampoos, etc.  No need to stuff crap in that is already sitting there waiting for you.  (Yes, I’m picky about my hair, too, but if it’s the difference between packing, hauling, re-packing, and un-packing, I can use lavender-seaweed shampoo once or twice.)

*Check to see if there’s a Walgreens nearby.  Walgreens generally doesn’t mark up their crap just because you’re in a tourist trap so if you forget something, don’t want to lug it cross-country, or don’t have a fortune to spend in the hotel lobby snack shop, you know where to go.

*Take comfy shoes.  Yes, I understand you want to look good, but who the hell knows you there?  And if you’re worried about pictures on Facebook, have a waist-up policy of photo-taking.  Easily solved.  Or are you afraid they won’t match?  I can solve that, too:

*Take clothes you can mix and match.  I’m guessing you already know that your bag should be heavy on neutrals – blacks, whites, navy, browns, and khakis.  Then you can be sure to have shoes that go with your outfits and not be so over-packed that it takes a back-hoe to dig out your outfit for the day.  But if you’re headed to tropical nations, be sure to have a pop of color, too.  Nobody wants to see you looking like you’re at a funeral in Cabo.

*Double the panties, double the fun.  Needless to say, the thing you want most of is your unmentionables.  Things closest to your body can’t be worn as many times as the outer layers.  Plus, who wants to hunt down new bras on vacay?  Ug.  I have heard of people that just take their saggy, old underwear with them so they can throw them away and not haul them home, but seriously?  Who wants to be hiking up falling-down bikini bottoms on their hike up the Great Wall? Lol.

*Have a carry-on.  What should be in it?  Anything you can’t easily replace should the rest of your luggage be lost like your 40EE bra.  Not gonna find one of those very readily on a mountain in Estes.  Just sayin’.  And yes, you should have your emergency plane stash of reading material, electronic devices and chargers, and your saltine crackers for a nervous, or hungover, stomach.  (Okay, so some people only take a carry-on, but well, if it’s $50 for checking my bag vs. me smelling like a teenage basketball player who hasn’t discovered deodorant yet on the 7th day of a trip, I’ll pay the moola.)


Now pack it up and get the hell out of here!  There’s an umbrella drink calling your name somewhere!


Do you have any other tips for me?  Have any bad packing experiences you’d like to share?  I want to hear them!

hint, hint: here’s where you’ll find me this week!

County fair, anyone?

County fair, anyone?


Where will I be this week?  The same place I’ve been for the last 40 years .  With the cute future of our fair!  Why will I be there?  Look and you will see.

Homemade Projects

Homemade Projects

Kids making things.

American as Apple PIe

American as Apple PIe

A patriotic nature.


Home-grown beauty.








Meet and Greet

Meet and Greet

Social time.

Fam Bonding

Fam Bonding


Why will I be at the county fair? Two words:  family tradition.  A tradition in which kids learn responsibility, compassion, heartbreak, creativity, respect, the importance of family, work ethic, and to quote the 4-H motto:  how to make the best better.

Isn’t that what every family wants for the future?

So where can you find me?  The East Pottawattamie County Fair in Avoca, Iowa.  Hope I see you there, too.


P.S. – I am doing Jen Schneider’s blog challenge and we were supposed to do a picture-inspired blog.  Hope you liked mine.  I know it’s a little out of my norm. :)

So did you learn any life lessons at the fair?  Been to a fair I need to know about?  Tell me what you have to say in the comments below. :)


l.#210: 10 ways you can tell it’s Summer in the Midwest (shh…it’s our little secret)


10 ways to know it's summer in IA/NE

10 ways to know it’s summer in IA/NE


How do you know it’s summer in Iowa and Nebraska?  Well, that’s easy!  I’m at home!  Oh, sorry about the bragging.  Seriously though, there are some telltale signs.  So today, I’m channeling my inner David Letterman and giving you 10:

10. People are talking about the weather.  (Okay, in our states that’s pretty much year-round, especially if there are farmers involved – lol).  In the summer though, we talk heat waves, droughts, flood waters, and apparently now, polar vortexes.

9. It’s still snowing…except this time of year, it’s snowing cotton from the cottonwoods.

school and state fair 004

8. The scent in the air is either bug spray, fresh alfalfa (hay to non-IA/NEs), or grilled meat.  If that doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what would.

7. You can actually hear people un-stick themselves from chairs or the seats in their car.  You only hope it doesn’t take skin because it damn sure feels like it is.



6. Along those same lines, you’re probably gonna notice sweaty inner thighs, sweaty bra lines, sweaty hair, sweaty feet, sweaty faces, sweaty eye brows, and sweaty butt prints.  It’s a little Bubba Gump shrimpesque, but you get the point.

5. And when you run into people and ask them where they are headed, they are all headed to a pool, a lake, or a water park at some point.

4. So when you head there, too, you’ll probably see a food stand along the side of the road selling sweet corn and watermelon.  I highly recommend you stop.  It’s always worth it.  (Double points if you find one that you collect your food and leave your cash in a bucket on the honor system.  Right, Treynor, Iowa?)

3. Another way you know it’s summer in Iowa and Nebraska?  Everybody’s got an Igloo cooler ridin’ dirty in the back on their truck with a cute girl in short shorts, spaghetti straps, and flip-flops with a koozie in her hand ridin’ in the front!

2. You’re also going to hear more radio ads for county fairs (shout-out to East Pott. Co. Fair going on this week in Avoca, Iowa) and rodeos (shout-out to Carson Rodeo the first weekend in August) than you do for protein shakes, baby momma makeovers, and ways to lose 15 pounds without doing a damn thing.  And that’s sayin’ somethin’!

Finally, how are you absolutely, positively sure it’s summer in Iowa and Nebraska?

1. There’s a longer line at the Dairy Queen than at the Walmart!

That, my friends, is how you know it’s summer ‘round here!  And with that said, I’m off to enjoy my last few days of it.


Do you agree?  Or do you have some things to add?  Or do you have a favorite summertime in Iowa/Nebraska memory?  Let’s hear ‘em.  And be sure to share this with anyone else that would appreciate that good-time summer feelin’.

rainbows, Iowa, and a shorty-short bucket list

Buck, buck, bucket!

Buck, buck, bucket!

Normally when I think bucket list, I think of buckets and lists. Both of which make me think of work.  Water buckets, feed buckets, tool buckets, ug.  And lists?  Well, don’t even get me started on lists.  Let’s just leave that at never-ending and my husband’s nightmare. Lol.

But I’m doing this blogging challenge, and I’m supposed to write my bucket list.  The last time I wrote one, it was an Anti-Bucket-List!  (Feel free to go check it out.  I think you’ll be on board!)  But seeing as how I’m older and more prone to rule-following (ha ha), I am going to write an actual bucket list.

Now, to me, the thing about a bucket list is that it shouldn’t be your dreams or nearly impossible to make happen.  That only sets you up for failure and self-destruction (and nobody needs to start drinking more because of that)!  So I’m all for attainable, or at least plausible (as long as I get to them before I’m 90).

Along with attainable, I like realistic.  Why put 50 things on a list and feel bad about the 40 I didn’t do?  I’ll stick with short and sweet on this bad boy.  So here it is:

*I want to take a kick-ass rainbow picture.

Seriously.  Every time I see one on Instagram, I’m jealous.  I’m not Irish, nor do I eat Lucky Charms, so maybe that’s why I haven’t lucked into the situation yet, but I still feel like my day is coming.

*I want to show my hubs Washington, D.C.

Most people don’t have somebody else’s goals as theirs, but I do.  I’ve been to DC twice.  My hubs chooses to watch the History channel.  Clearly, he needs to see some of it firsthand, up close and personal.  Plus, maybe we can make-out with Abe Lincoln watching. Lol.

*I want to adopt a child.

Who doesn’t like an excuse to read Dr. Seuss books?

*I want to go to a Christmas taping of Ellen.

Listen, she gives away great shit at Christmas!  And I LOVE Christmas.  Plus, I am still laughing about that episode with Julia Roberts and Martha Stewart.  I’m just not so good at dancing, but even I can sway to Jingle Bell Rock.

*I want to go to Kool-aid Days.

Laugh if you want, but it’s one of those cheesy festivals, I know I’d love!  (Yes, lime is my fave flavor.)  The only issue is that it’s always right around when I go back to work and it doesn’t exactly fit into the schedule.  But one of these days, I’ll be running down the street with the Kool-aid Guy!

*I want to make a Love Iowa book.

I know.  I’m a giant dork, but I’m okay with that.  I would love to be able to take the time and have the money to drive around to all these random pieces of Iowa, take pictures, and tell why we like our corn fields and marshmallow Jell-O salad.  Okay, fine, I’ll do one on Nebraska, too, if the first one goes well, but Iowa still gets first dibs.  And damn it, they better give me a sign that says “birthplace of Bolton Carley” someday.  I’m still jealous of Rebecca Ann King and her sign in Hancock. Lol.

*I want to be a trophy wife.

Okay, so that’s probably not so realistic or attainable, but damn, I’d be good at it!  I would love to do community projects, write books, take pictures, and watch old episodes of Love Boat and Saved by the Bell every day.  Just sayin’.

So that’s my list.  It’s not long.  It’s not flashy.  It’s probably not all going to happen. Lol.



What about you?  What’s on your bucket list?  Have you already knocked a bunch of stuff out or have you thrown your list in the trash?  I want to hear about it.


Fabulousness Factor 10 Friday: Martinis, Minivans, and the always funny Danielle!

Danielle Herzog

Danielle Herzog


Okay, I think you’re catching on to my Feel-Good-Fabulousness-Factor-Fridays!  This week is another fab-u-lous guest you’ll love. Forget all the shootings and stupid, naked people laying down in the middle of a traffic jam.  My guest will have you laughing after the first sentence.  I started admiring Danielle’s work as a blogger and have since gotten the pleasure to meet her, too.  She’s hysterically funny, sweet, helpful, and less than one drink away from a snarky, fun comment.  I absolutely adore her words on paper and in person.  It is quite a privilege to have even scored an interview with her as she’s becoming a regular local celeb!  How cool is that?
So without further ado, meet Danielle of Martinis and Minivans!
What is your biggest annoyance/pet peeve?  (Be sure to explain yourself in full detail so we can be frustrated with you!)
My biggest pet peeve is people who don’t eat junk food. How is that even possible? I mean, seriously, do they not feel the earth’s pull towards a Little Debbie snack cake. It’s just a pathetic way to live your life.
If you had super hero powers, what would be your first act in fixing the world? (world peace comes to mind – lol)
Let me set the record straight. If I had a super hero power, my first act would not be fixing the world. My power would be to create caffeine and alcohol with the flick of my wrist. It might not save the world, but it would drastically help my parenting.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten and who bestowed it upon you?
You can still make a baby with your socks on – my grandmother.
What’s your Guilty Pleasure (scrogging or Facebook stalking are both completely acceptable answers – lol)?
Well obviously it’s drinking caffeine and alcohol while eating Little Debbie snack cakes. Other than that, anything that involves not having to watch Disney Jr.
If you have a business or a cause you’d like to promote, add your link here or attach a picture and give me a description.  (It’s okay if it’s simply to Spay and Neuter your Pets!) 
I’m in the middle of pitching my first novel so I’d love as many supporters of that! It’s about what happens when a 30-year-old recently divorced woman accepts the challenge by her therapist to follow the advice from each of her nosy and hilarious 80-year-old grandmother’s letters.
If there’s anything you’d like to add, here’s your chance to put it out to the world:
Come stop by and say hello on my blog -Martinis and Minivans.  And I’m constantly dolling out the sarcasm on Facebook and Twitter. You can check me out there too! FB: www.facebook.com/martinisandminivans
Just so we’re all clear:  she’s worth the likes!  She makes me laugh every. single. day.  And who doesn’t need that????
Got a response for Danielle?  Want to wish her well on her book?  Or want to help share her with the world?  Well, go ahead! :)

Fear Factor 10 – snakes, Scarlet O’Hara, and the MO River lol.

Fear gets everyone!

Fear gets everyone!

What scares the crap out of you?  In my younger years, I was extremely afraid I would become a spinster with 100 calves (not cats, come on) that my grandpa predicted I would be.  Thankfully, I have laid that fear to rest!  Check one of the millions off the list, please!

This month I am doing Jen Schneider’s July blog challenge.  Today, I am supposed to be writing about fear which isn’t hard when you are a naturally God-fearing person like I am.  What scares me most?  The list is freaking endless.

Things I’m scared of:

I am terrified of snakes.  (However, I am all about killing them sonuvabitches! See this for details.)

I am quite afraid I may never understand Mail Chimp or the many other technologically-advanced things I’m supposed to be able to figure out as a blogger.  (Dear God, I am old.  Please grant me a tech fairy.)

Sadly, I am also concerned that I may become an old, lazy piece of crap.  You laugh, but my parents work me under the table (one I can only hope has some Bacardi on it so I can drink away my ineptitude)!   I am quite certain I have gone way soft living in the city and will not fare well in my old age if I don’t get off my ass and do more.  I will be a whole lot of Maxine (the cranky, worn-out Hallmark lady) and very little Mr. Clean (buff and tough).

Of course, I’m also scared my husband might someday realize that he’d be better off without my mood swings, roller-coaster-like drama, and inability to put him ahead of the to-do list, or even worse, he could die.  These things and the thought of losing family members pretty much put me in Scarlet O’Hara mode of “I will think of it tomorrow.”  And then I avoid, avoid, avoid.

Finally, I fear failure and not being worthy.  (No joke, just a simple truth.)

So what should I do with that?  Well, that’s a funny thing.  Fear always gets the best of me, even though people often mistake my resting bitch-face for bold and fearless.  When, in fact, fear keeps me from saying what I’m really thinking, quitting my job, or swimming in the Missouri River among other things.  So is it all bad?  Possibly not.

But in spite of fearing failure and being unworthy, I am a perfect example of it pretty much every day.  If you’ve ever seen me try to understand plug-ins, bowl, dance, make an even pie crust, or walk down the street without tripping over my feet, you clearly know that I barrel right into failure territory every day.  That being said, I feel like it is just a matter of Pandora’s Box:  as long as I still have some time, there’s still hope I can get it right…


So, I threw my insecurities out there.  You wanna share yours?  Or do you have a little advice we all would be remiss to not take?  Break it out.  I’m listening.

l.#209: Older and Wiser, or Why I won’t be frying the bacon

Never doing that again!

Never doing that again!

Don’t ever do that again!  I tell myself that often, and I hear people telling their children that all the time when I’m at the grocery store or at the park.  I also laugh when I hear people say they are never drinking that much again after a rough night buddying up to the toilet.

I happen to have a lot of friends that say that same thing on a regular basis like how they’re not going to eat the entire batch of cookie dough in one sitting ever again…until the next time.  Or they will never touch a shot of Hot Damn! EVER. AGAIN.  How they won’t sit through their son’s 5-game baseball marathon ever again without putting on sunscreen.  How they will never go home with a hot guy on a first date.  And then… it happens again.

Sometimes, we actually learn our lessons and don’t do it again.  And sometimes, we don’t.  So it got me thinking of things I never plan to do again.


Things I should probably never do again -

*Teach kindergarten.

Now, I will never say never on this one only because for $1 mill, I’d suffer through, but… Listen, there was way too much crying happening that day…and some of it, oh, who are we kidding, a LOT of it, was mine!  It may have been 18 years ago, but I can still picture the broken easel, the snot-wiping twins, and the trail from the boy’s bathroom.  Ick.

*I should probably never wear stirrup pants again.

It wasn’t pretty the first time around.  I have photos.  Trust me when I say that sucking something to your ankles is not a good plan when you have a much wider muffin-top area above that (even though it wasn’t named yet at that point).  Add 60 pounds and I’m pretty sure it’s even less so now!  Bikinis should probably be out, too, but that goes without saying.

*Please God, let me never again burn the bacon.

Don't Burn the BACON!

Don’t Burn the BACON!

First of all, it’s just sacrilege to ruin bacon.  Second of all, I’m not sure I will ever live down the first time I did so, due to my husband’s pithy comments that still surface on a regular basis about it (And damn it, it wasn’t intentional!).  Finally, there’s no need to call the fire department.  EVER.   (not that I had to, of course)

*Hopefully, I will never again get kicked in the face by cattle. 

Sure, there’s a pretty easy way to make sure of that, but you could say the same thing about alcohol or a pan of brownies.  It’s easier said than done to walk away from it.  I lucked out the first time that my resulting broken nose ended up making my sinuses better.  However, I just can’t imagine it will go so well the second time.

*It might also be in my best interest to never go to the Burger King on Ames St. in the dark again.

I’m sure it still puts out the best bacon, egg, and cheese croissan’wich in the metro area, but somehow, I value you my life a little more now and my car isn’t nearly as crappy and non-distinct.

And that’s just a minuscule amount of things I came up with on the fly.  How long would the list be if I gave it some real thought?  Oh.  No.

That being said, isn’t it kinda nice to have a few things you can say you’ve done that you know in your heart, you will never do again?  I think the phrase is “been there, done that.”  And who doesn’t like to have that moment?  So will I be doing these things again?  Hopefully not.  Will there be more to add to the list?  Probably.  But now the bigger question…

What’s on your list????  Inquiring minds want to know.

Fabulousness Factor 10 Friday: I think you might know her. She goes by ‘Merica.

Way to go, Shellbergs!  Parade rockstars!

Way to go, Shellbergs! Parade rockstars!

It’s Fabulousness Factor 10 Friday and normally, I’d have a friend for you to meet.  Today, I have a special kind of guest, you know her as ‘Merica.

When I was younger, I always said Independence Day was my holiday – I was solo, single, a party of one. I celebrated my Whitesnake Here I Go Again on my Own Independence.  Okay, so it also meant an excuse to watch The Saved by the Bell episodes with Stacey Carosi at the beach with Zach, but I have a little different view now.

I realize that ‘Merica’s fab-u-lous, and I’m damn thankful for her.

Fabulousness is a long list of men and women who serve our country so we can set off firecrackers and eat wieners.

Fabulousness is a whole town on the streets celebrating our luck of being American with Kleenex-stuffed flower floats in parades and smores in the backyard and pancake feed fundraisers.

It’s also a chance to reflect on our forefathers who wrote a document with pen, quill, and calligraphy to declare they deserved to be treated properly.

It’s a chance to tear up when you hear “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood. (Can make a grown adult cry Every. Single. Time.)

It’s a 3-day weekend hanging out with family – grilling, eating mayonnaise-based salads, and sitting in lawn chairs with the family while the kids spray each other with water guns and flop around in the 2-foot-deep inflatable pool from Wally World.

It’s wearing red, white, and blue.


It’s dousing yourself in bug spray.

It’s swirling sparklers in the air and writing your name with one.

It’s a day when PBR is Patriotic, not just cheap.

It’s a reason to fly your flag and watch it wave.

It’s putting Cool Whip on everything to celebrate the day.  (and I do mean everything)

Fabulousness is kicking back, enjoying the sunshine, laughing with friends and family, watching bright lights pop in the sky, and remembering what it means to have time and a country to call our own.


Oh, and for the record, it’s still an excuse to watch Stacey and Zach play sand volleyball and kiss in the club house.  Long live Saved by the Bell!


Happy 4th of July, everybody!


Got another 4th of July tradition I should know about ?  A great memory you hold dear to your heart about the holiday?  Or another thing we should be thankful for?  Be sure to share it!

Bolton’s Brief Rule #150: younger, smarter, but not …

photo 1

Listen, we can’t be the best in every category as much as we want to or as much as we try, but at the end of the day, there’s always something we excel at…even if it’s not always a good thing! :)