Category Archives: fashion

My Husband is The World’s Most Ridiculous Dad

flashback friday

In 2005, we had the privilege of having four, yes  four, count them, teenagers in our house at one time. We thought it would be cool having  six kids close in age so they’d  be friends.  Even if we’d done the math and calculated we’d have teenagers for almost 20 years in a row, two or more teens the majority of those years, we wouldn’t have changed anything. We just might have prepared ourselves a little more for the changes ahead.

When the girls outgrew wearing  Mommy-chosen clothes and wanted to express their own personalities with clothes that were actually in style, it was painful for both sides of the generation gap. Those years of adorable matching outfits sewn by Mommy were definitely over. They had to  wean Mommy from her expectation that her daughters would love her 80’s high-waisted, put-your-socks-on-first jeans.

Daddy, who loved his lovely daughters, but didn’t want the boys to notice how lovely they were,  squawked like a good Daddy about their clothes.  He would have preferred black garbage bags or burlap sacks, because his daughters were his treasures – treasures he wanted to keep buried.

After several discussions, we came to a family understanding.  We didn’t want set rules, because rules stir up theRomans 7 desire to break the rules. We didn’t demand  denim skirts and tennis shoes, but we didn’t want them to dress like Hollywood starlets.   We came up with guidelines. Their clothes had to pass a few inspectors along the way.

1.  The Lord – were they God-honoring?  We tried to instill in our daughters that as Christians they  belong to Him and their life decisions should reflect that. We gave them to opportunity to make wise decisions based on their own faith and conscience.

2. The parents – could we stand their choices?  We didn’t have to like their clothes, but we couldn’t hate them. We gave them leeway  to choose and relieved them from the expectation of looking like us. However, if their conscience didn’t guide them enough, we had veto power.

Daddy’s wisdom in discussing  until we came up with guidelines that pleased everyone paved the way for an easier transition into those years of raising  teenagers. We were encouraged to see the tasteful, stylish clothes the girls chose in their freedom.  They were so good, they started picking out my clothes and providing guidelines for clothes that are flattering  and appropriate for my age. I dressed them when they were young, now they return the favor. 

In 2005, several years after the monumental Introduction of Modern Styles into our household,  Daddy still wasn’t convinced about  low-rider jeans. Usually a seriously minded Office kinda’ guy, the hubbster is known for having occasional outlandish moments that the kids talk about for years and years.

The kids laugh themselves breathless then exclaim, “Oh, Dad, you’re SO ridiculous!”

Picture 314
This was one of those moments.

He decided to prove how ridiculous low-riders were by trying on our oldest daughter’s jeans.

In front of the whole family.

On Thanksgiving Day.

Not knowing someday I’d be a blogger and reveal all.

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After tugging and pulling and giggling, he got them up this far. (Maybe hubby was  the style inspiration for  teenage boys?)

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Like today’s teenage boys, he found they had to be peeled off.

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But, he wasn’t young and agile, he was an old man losing his balance.  He  humbly begged for help so he wouldn’t fall and break a hip.

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My early digital camera was poor quality, but the blur proves we were busting a gut.

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Toddler Baby can’t figure out why Daddy needs help.  She doesn’t need help.   She dresses and undresses all. by. herself.

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Maybe Toddler Baby is wondering if she should hide her clothes from daddy.  Maybe she’s wondering if he’s going to try on her clothes when she’s a teenager.
Maybe she’s wondering if she even wants to become a teenager.

This episode only proved one thing  – it wasn’t the jeans that were ridiculous.

My children have always declared they have The World’s Most Ridiculous Dad. 

As they mature,  they peel off the memories of their Dad’s ridiculousness and see his wisdom underneath. It’s then they finally understand how treasured they are.

Making your home sing Mondays

Decked Out Like A Princess

Poor Princess Kate.

She went shopping after the baby was born and it was news. Wait, everything she does is news in England.

I went shopping last  week and nobody cared, except for the kids at home that were waiting for the toilet paper.



I found this on the GLAM blog and was very impressed with the identification and price information. Even if I could see the clothing labels, I wouldn’t know what they meant.  I don’t speak fashion.  But, I’m confident her Saks isn’t the same as my “all you can fit in a sack for $3” at the thrift store.

Princess Kate spent $480.40 for one outfit, not including undergarments because, thankfully, the paparazzi couldn’t get that close.

The only thing I’ve ever worn that cost that much is the scar on my neck from an expensive total thyroidectomy.

My mom raised six kids and had a passion to make sure we were always clean and stylish, even if our clothes weren’t expensive or new to us.  An excellent seamstress with an amazing ability to create or re-create anything, she sewed, shopped, altered and mended her six kids through adulthood.

We always looked nice, accept when someone loudly exerted their free will and Mom allowed them bear the consequences of what they wore in public. Like the time one sister fussed until Mom brought her to the grocery store wearing one cowboy boot, one sandal, a dress over a pair of holey-kneed jeans (when holes weren’t in style) and uncombed hair.   But I won’t tell you which sister because she hated being the baby of the family and being teased. But I will tell you, she never dressed like that again.

Once Mom bought bright t-shirt material covered with the flags of the world on clearance and made matching t-shirts for the kids for vacation.  We were walking around feeling pretty spiffy when we overheard someone say to their friend, “Wow, those people must be rich.”

One of our favorite pastimes was dressing up for an event, then calculating the cost of each outfit, just like they did for the Princess.   It was rarely over a few dollars.  The most expensive item was usually our unders, but maybe I shouldn’t mention unmentionables on a Christian blog.

My Mom was a woman before her times.  She upcycled, recycled, crafted and created, but never gathered a following because the Internet wasn’t invented yet.  If digital photo editing and Pinterest were available in the 70’s, a post about getting presentable for Grandma Geneva’s visit in 1973 would look something like the following: 

Brainard Kids with Gramma 73

1.  Joel – Decked out in jeans from J.C. Penney’s for $2.99 and crew-necked  t-shirt from Salvation Army for $.29 = $3.28.

2.  Melinda – Modeling a white polyester bodysuit and purple polyester pants created by her mother.  Size 24 purple pants  Salvation Army $.10 (remade for size 8slim) + plastic buckle from button jar + $.29 for snaps + $.49 for a yard of white polyester = $.88.

3. Allan – Sears Toughskin jeans, probably reinforced with canvas by mother because he was tougher than Toughskin jeans, cool red print pirate-sleeved shirt with extra pointy collars topped with a knitted sweater vest.  Jeans $4.99 + hand-me-down shirt and vest $.00  = $4.99.

4.  Angela – Hand-me-down red corduroy dress accented with eyelet cuffs and collar = $.00.

5.  Laurie – Hand-me-down hot pink mini-dress $.00 + adorned by Mom with braided trim $.30 =$.30.

6.  Lee – After winning the battle to have hair longer than his ears, was proudly wearing a green, tan and rust geometric patterned button-down shirt sewn by Mom with for $.98  +  lint-trapping olive green cords for $3.99 from Tempo Department Store = $4.97.


Children’s clothing…………………………………………$14.42

A thrifty Mom who dressed you like a princess…..PRICELESS


Knots, Not a Noose Around My Neck

In Amsterdam, everyone wore scarves, even the men. At first I thought it was only a fashion statement, until the light rains came and the temperature dropped.  Needing extra warmth, I headed into the V & D store to buy a scarf. I don’t like shopping, I liked this store.  I was especially impressed that I bought a cashmere scarf for under €20.  That’ll learn me to shop without my glasses.  It was actually CASHMINK and made in Germany.  I consoled myself that at least it wasn’t made in America.

I was a little slow to buy into this new look, due to a traumatic teenage experience.  At the beginning of my 8th grade, my family moved to a farmstead in North Dakota. That winter, I was invited to go snowmobiling with one of the cute town boys one Saturday. I had never been on a snowmobile in my life, I hadn’t even seen one up close.  I spent Friday night in town with a friend, who  loaned me all the correct winter gear to go out on this adventure on the frozen prairie. 

Her dad insisted I wear a scarf.  He was from North Dakota, he knew how cold I would soon be.  Wanting to be cool  like the magazine models, I wrapped the scarf around my neck once and draped one tail gracefully behind my back.  As I hopped on the back of the snowmobile of Town Boy, I was thinking my long,  blond hair might be looking pretty styling peeking out from the brightly colored hat. 

Her dad came racing out of the house, his cigarette dangling from his mouth, his comb-over strands blowing in the wind, and wrapped that scarf around and around and around my head and knotted it behind my head. He kindly talked about it getting caught and all the dangers of the snow mobile. 

I was mortified.

 It ruined my hair-do, my make-up and I was breathing acrylic fibers through my mouth and my nose.  I pouted only until the Town Boy hit the throttle and thrust us both into the frigid ND winter.  Not wanting to be too forward, I was afraid to hold around his waist too tightly. After all, I had just moved there and had my reputation to worry about.  I realize now that was probably the idea behind the whole snowmobile date, but at the time, I wasn’t understanding those things.  I also didn’t know how to lean into turns, and I almost tipped us by staying upright as we flew a bajillion miles an hour over, under and through more snow than I’d seen in my entire lifetime of 14 winters. 

I sat on the back of the snowmobile, trying to hold on with my legs, peering through the narrow strip  between scarf strands, and wondered why North Dakotans thought this was fun.  With all passion of a true ND boy, Town Boy zipped and ripped around the trails.  I’m sure when he headed for a larger mound of snow, he was intending to impress me with his driving ability. The sled went nose-first up in the air, I went rear-first into the snow bank.

He didn’t even notice.

I sat in the frozen tundra and watched the man and his machine disappear from view. I didn’t know where I was or how to find town, but I knew enough to understand if I started walking and got lost, I could freeze to death out there. My only friend was that scarf  wound around and around and around my head. Town Boy eventually came back to get me, after being warned by his friends he had dumped his date. He was politely apologetic and probably mortified, he really was a nice guy. He  helped me back on and we continued flying frozen. I held on a little tighter, now concerned more about survival than my reputation.

After that date, I never rode on a snowmobile again.

Town Boy never spoke to me again, until the class reunion when we all turned 40.  “Hey, do you remember that snowmobile ride?” 

Do I?  I was scarfed for life!

So, you can understand why I had hesitation when all the fashion divas were urging me to knot something around my neck. I always associated scarves with that memory of being dumped on the first date.


Anyhoo, I knew when I marched around Amsterdam  with my scarf draped gracefully around my neck, I knew I had conquered my Scarf Phobia.

Hubby and I bought lunch at Albert Heijn’s grocery store, then ate on the back steps of a palace.  A stinkin’ palace, can you believe it?



As you can see, I still had a little problem styling my scarf.  I’m not a fashion queen, as the buckle shoes and the jean jacket state.


When I got home, I had found the answer to my problem as posted by Tiffany on Making the World Cuter. She always makes my world cuter.


Tie a Scarf Around Your Neck Without Choking Yourself

I saw the European Loop a lot in Amsterdam, but when I tried it with my scarf, it was too stiff.  Claustrophobic people with a huge scar around their neck, don’t do well with a lot of material tightly bound around their neck, it felt like a noose. Good thing she had a 24 more options!

Without strangling myself, I now have a bit of color  and a lot of warmth knotted around my neck to help me through the gray, Pacific Northwest winter.

Maybe,  I’ll even wear it to the next high school class reunion.

I Look Like a Barbie Doll

In a mother’s life there’s a sad, sad turning point,
when you stop being the joy and delight of your child’s life,
and they’re embarrassed
around you
regarding you
over you
near you…

Pick any preposition and add yourself,
to describe the dimensions of their embarrassment.

We were going to run a quick errand.

OK, I’m not telling the whole truth.
It’s never “a” errand, as in one,
and it’s never quick.

Anyhoo, we were on our way out the door when the winds of affection
changed directions in the climate of my 9 year old, Rebekah.

“Are you going out like that?” she asked.

Ignorant of my most recent faux pas, I asked, “Like what?”

“Maw-aw-aw-awm,” she informed,
(the longer it takes to say mom, the bigger your offense)
“you have a stick in your hair!”

Barbie Hair 003

When we were busy doing school in the backyard,
soaking up the last of the summer sunshine,
I was getting too warm.

Barbie Hair 004

So like the Prairie Momma I am,
that’s my name on my other blog,
I twisted up my hair and stuck a stick in it.

There wasn’t a pen or a chopstick nearby,
so I just made do.
I always impress myself when I can
improvise in primitive conditions.

To pacify her, I pulled the stick out and continued on my merry way.
Apparently, I forgot to comb my hair.
(And that wasn’t embarrassing?)
After all, I was on an errand mission.

Barbie Hair 008

When we got home, my hair was STILL wrapped up in a bun.

My newly grown curly hair and my wiry gray hair
have changed my hair into Barbie hair,
but not new Barbie hair.

Old, icky, abused-too-much, left-in-the-toy box-too long hair,
like my Quick Curl Barbie.

Except she was born that way.

The marketing propaganda that build up expectations that couldn’t be fulfilled.

The commercial promised hours of fun with this gorgeous blonde Barbie.
Instead, her hair didn’t hold a curl and she had constant bed-head.
Matted, twisted, frizzled, I-can’t-do-anything-with-it bed head.
By the time our Christmas tree was taken down,
I had a Barbie with a brand-new body and destroyed hair.

Since Mattel had changed the neck joint structure,
I couldn’t put an older Barbie head with good hair
on the newer doll.

I was stuck with the hair.

Now I’m stuck with my hair,
but this generation says bed head is cool.

According this blog,
by someone younger and trendier than me,
I was only a stick away from being cool.
She fixes her hair the same way,
but finishes it off with hair elastic,
sparkly tie or a strand of her own hair.

So, why should my daughter be embarrassed
in my presence
around my presence
regarding my presence
over my presence
near my presence
since I look like a Barbie doll with very cool bed head!?!