This week…I made gift baskets!!! (and almost locked my kids out in the cold)

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. This week I spent my time doing what I always do the week before Christmas: I bought shit I can barely afford, ran around trying to get every gift on The Ubiquitous List, and tried really hard not to lock my kids in the backyard all day.
  2. Since it was raining, I felt like somebody may call CPS, so I didn’t.
  3. BUT HOLY SHIT I WANTED TO. (What? What’s that you say? Where’s my Christmas spirit? Um, my Christmas spirit left when my kids lost their freaking minds, about five days after they got out of school and it started raining like FOREVER and there’s nothing to do but run around our too-small house and scream and yell and piss each other off until I rather suddenly boil the fuck over in a fiery cauldron of Christmas spirit). I’m serious. They are really annoying.
  4. Speaking of annoying, I’ve decided Christmas music would suck way less if there weren’t so many damn bells involved. All that jingling. Damn.
  5. In my own personal quest to annoy people, I’ve been saying “Merry Christmas” on a regular basis to pretty much everybody, mostly because “happy holidays” is a P.C. term. And we all know how I feel about P.C. terms.
  6. Also, I don’t think saying “Merry Christmas” means “I wish you a happy day celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ because I’m assuming everybody is a Christian and if you’re not, well I think you should be.” Rather, I believe it means something more like “I wish you a happy Christmas holiday.” And since it’s a national holiday, presumably a large portion of the population (sans Walmart workers, of course) – whether or not they celebrate Christmas – will have that holiday off work, and may, therefore, deserve to be wished a happy one.
  7. Plus, if somebody wishes me a “Happy Chanukah,” I’m not going to be offended – I’m going to think something along the lines of “That person just said something nice to me. That’s nice.” And I’d probably respond “Thanks.” But I really don’t think I’d say to myself “How dare you cast your Jewishness on me!”
  8. But of course, I could be wrong. I’ve never actually been the non-Christmas-celebrator having to deal with the onslaught of Christmas each year. Or maybe I just don’t get it. I don’t know; basically when I say “Merry Christmas” I feel like I’m saying something meaningful and authentic. When I say “happy holidays” I feel like I’m saying something meaningless and hollow because I’m afraid I’ll offend somebody. Not that I have anything against “happy holidays.” I mean really, does it fucking matter what we say? The bottom line is that we’re saying something pleasant. Does anybody feel me on this one or am I just an asshole?
  9. At risk of losing all street cred, I got inspired by my friend Jo and started making body products (from recipes I found on Pinterest), and, um, well, ahem…I think I’ve found my calling. I made lavender sea salt body scrub, peppermint sugar scrub, peppermint lip balm (!!), healing hand salve, hand lotion, and even SOAPS (Do you know easy it is to buy the goatsmilk soap bars, melt them down, add stuff and feel like freaking SouleMama?). We started out doing it because we were making homemade gifts for people due to money shortages, but now I’m hooked and I think I’ll be doing this forever, until I enter DIY Body Product Rehab. Don’t knock it; it exists.
  10. So Mac made applesauce and chutney, and we rolled beeswax candles and stuck it in a basket with the body products and a napkin and a sprig of tree (I copied it entirely off this blog (which also has some of the recipes I used) because I have no crafty ideas of my own (mean that)), and the result was pretty rad, if I may say so myself. Photographic evidence below.

What’s that they say about mothers and need and invention?

Yeah, well, wait til I tell you what we made Rocket for Christmas. I may lose half my readers.

But until then, Merry freaking Christmas!

15 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | December 24, 2012
  • Lisa

    Jealous!!!! Where was this post 5 days ago? I know, you were busy, but ??? : )

    So this year, I JUST got into making cookies for the neighbors and a few others, and making some body salts and ONE type of soap for much of my family. . . . And I gotta say, I’m not all savvy yet, but sign me up for the rehab NOW!! Your basket looks totally adorable. I searched for printables yesterday and today and was not enthused. These trees are just what I wanted. What goatsmilk soap bars did you get? I bought in on some straight-up glycerin from the local craft store for my stuff and added from there but I’m totally intrigued. Don’t go in for help yet. . . . Keep me hooked a while longer, mkay?

    • renegademama

      I’m sorry I didn’t post a week ago. If I were organized, I probably would have, but alas, it’s a small miracle any of this has happened (the gift-basket thing). 🙂 Anyway I got the goatsmilk bar at a local beekeeping/candle-supplies store. I actually went there for beeswax and happened to find the bars. I also saw them at Michael’s craft store (a chain), but it was a very small amount and super expensive. I got a bar for $11 and it made about 20 bars of soap, which is pretty cheap, right? I just melted it down and added lavender flowers, rolled oats, and lavender essential oil (got that off some blog too – I’m not kidding, I have NONE of my own ideas). They’re really nice.

      • Lisa

        Oooooh. . . I was just kidding about “where was this” . . . . . Dude, if you had seen me in the week prior to Christmas, when I finally admitted it was happening whether I was ready for it or not and kicked my delusional ass into gear. . . . You would know that first part was sarcasm font, hehehehe.. . . Thanks for the info on the goatsmilk bar. . . . I got my glycerin from a local beekeeping place and they sell bricks by the pound for $3.75/lb or $3.50/lb if you buy 9 pounds or more. Did some phone pricing at Michael’s it sounded like the first deal was better and the store was closer soo. . . . Sent the man while he was running errands to get me a chunk haha. But if the goatsmilk ones are less per ounce I may have to switch over. . . For the ones I did I added lemon zest, lemon essential oil, and fresh Rosemary and mint, then poured into a holiday-themed small cookie mould pan. Not an original idea here either but hey, people liked it so who am I to complain??? Thanks for the links and stuff too. . . I’m gonna be locking my kid in the closet (or back yard if it’s sunny) and working on some of those soon. Ok, ok CPS. . . . No I’m not. I’m just gonna let her watch a leeetle TV. Hehe. Any tips on where to get the containers and small tins for not a million bucks each? Thanks!!!

  • Suzanne

    Can you post the link for the body scrubs, etc. too? Pretty please!

    And ditto on all the stuff about your kids driving you crazy! My kids are all grown now (27 & 23) but they have been here for 5 days and they are annoying the shit out of me with their childish behavior. Just a warning – THEY NEVER STOP BUGGING YOU! Now of course I have to add, “but I love them so much!”

    • Marisa

      I wonder if the salt scrubs are on her pintrest?

    • renegademama

      Here’s the recipe I used for the peppermint sugar scrub. My friend emailed it to me so I’m not sure where it came from, so oops.

      ½-1 c. sea salt
      ¼ c. organic oil (olive, almond, grapeseed or another light-textured oil. (Don’t use simple cooking oil from your pantry).
      1 tbs raw, organic honey
      ¼ c baking soda
      5-10 drops of essential oils of your choice.

      Put the salt (or sugar for a finer scrub) and baking soda in a small bowl.
      Add the oil and honey, mixing well with a spoon or wooden stick. The texture should be moist enough to hold together, but not overly oily. You can adjust the amount of oil to achieve that texture.
      Gently tap in the drops of essential oil and combine well. You’re DONE!

    • renegademama

      There are a quite a few recipes (including all the ones I used except for one above) on a Pinterest board called “for the body.” not trying to shamelessly self-promote, but it may be the simplest to find everything.

      But here’s the link for the the hand salve I made. She calls it lotion but it’s just like Burt’s Bees salve, and it cured my friend’s eczema on her hands!

      Email me if you want anything else or can’t find the one you’re looking for.

  • Marisa

    I was thinking I might start saying Merry Winter Solstice. But, yes, I like Merry Christmas. So, Merry Christmas!

  • Becky

    What amazing presents!
    Do we get to know what you made Rocket?? 😀

  • Shawn

    I’m addicted to cooking recipes on pinterest. I have made 2 this week and will be trying another. I love your gift basket idea and say continue your journey! Well and share your ideas and maybe gift baskets? LOL I also wanted to say I am one of those “PC” people and love to say Happy Holidays because I’m intrigued by the celebrations this time of year! I always say every year that I won’t fall into all the commercialism of the holidays, but there I was rushing around like crazy. So my goal next year it to be organized and plan ahead and buy more local and send out Christmas cards. I am 3 years behind…since having my youngest, I can’t get a head in anything.

  • Dawn

    Merry Christmas! Totally agree with you!

  • Lisa

    I love my basket! Thanks for everything. I can only imagine how hard you worked on it. I still am thinking about our gathering and singing Christmas carols in our living room. I can’t help but smirk about the adlibbing with some of the songs e.g. Winter Wonderland! XOXO

  • sara

    i ordered shit on amazon at 2 AM, had some poor slob at amazon wrap it, then mailed direct.
    i am anti-soulemama

  • André

    Well as a guy (and father of two girls, 5 years old & 4 months old), I’ve gotta say this blog is refreshing, from a blokes perspective, and insightful because I’ll learn big time how to avoid pissing off the wife when she’s under the kosh looking after our kids & of course your take on every day life is hilarious to the point it sodding well hurts!! I’m in the UK & was put onto your blog by a great friend of ours from S.Rafael, Cali…….I’ve put my wife on to your blog too! Keep up the great blog entries. Here’s hoping that 2013 is peaceful for your and your family.

  • Amber


    I mean – I “found” your blog last week (yay Facebook repost of died-to-live) and I’ve been totally not getting enough sleep because I’m reading, like, everything you ever posted here, and now I think I’m going to cry because I don’t know what you made for Rocket last year for Christmas, and I LOVE that boy even though I’ve never met him, because I know him and anyway, SHITBITCH, thanks for all the incredible stuff and I’m not done reading yet, but I have to take a shower and go to work but I really do want to know what you made for Rocket and yeah, thanks for everything.

    I have two littles and I’m jealous of your more-than-that-and-pregnant-again. Can’t figure out what I would want to do more in life than have a third baby, and yet, wasn’t very good at it first time out (I mean, with the yelling and the laziness and the not-housekeeping and all), and maybe that’s why I want to do it again, because man, the babies were amazing, and I can’t even believe I miss toddlers, because TODDLERS, holy shit, toddlers. But. So. Anyway. Just know there’s some crazy lady in Brooklyn fucking her shit up this week to read every damn thing here, but also inspired in a way that the other shit I ususally read isn’t, because it’s more real, and more better, and you’re calling us out, but it’s all about the struggle. And the kids. Because they’re so indescribably incredible, but you do a pretty damn good job.

    Shower. Work. I’m going now. For Real.