Tuesday, December 30, 2008


A "practice" shot of the doo-dad hanging on my craft room door!

Ah, it's time again to think about the 'ol New Year's Resolutions. I can happily announce that I kept every single one on last year's list! I did not eat liver (not even once), I didn't jump off any cliffs (not a-one), and I definitely didn't pillage or plunder (nowhere, nohow). I attribute my clear, concise, low standards to my success. This year, however, I think I may raise the bar. I am going to attempt to take a picture every single day--of something, anything--people, stuff, places. I'm planning on giving the Becky Higgins' Project 365 a try. For those of you familiar to the world of scrap booking, I'm sure you're also familiar with Becky! If not, you can take a look for yourself at her awesome blog, www.beckyhiggins.com. I love the randomness of this approach to scrap booking, and the ease of not planning ahead for the "perfect shot". Maybe "not getting the perfect shot" will make it to my list of resolutions!
I've also added Donna Downey's button to my sidebar--she's also got some really inspired scrapbook and art ideas! Click there for some great ideas as well!

As for a couple other resolutions in the works, here are a couple I've come up with:
  1. Exercise--JUST DO IT (hey, if Nike can...) I think I'll start with 1 sit-up and 1 push-up on Jan. 1st, and increase by 1 of each every day! Sounds kind of fun, doesn't it?! I may also start by jump roping 1 jump for each day. Are you getting the picture? I NEED A GIMMICK TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!
  2. Meals--DIVERSIFY. The same 8-10 meals tend to rotate their way through our monthly selections, and our friend the CHICKEN tends to play the staring role in most of these. I want to branch out a bit, and incorporate 1 meal a month that is completely unique, and quite possibly from another country. I'm counting on all you food bloggers for my ideas, don't let me down!
  3. Organize--DON'T LAUGH. Although to many I already appear fairly organized, I WANT MORE! I am going to finish organizing my magazine files and craft room THIS YEAR! I find great pleasure in organizing--sick and twisted, possibly, but I just love the overall look of "a place for everything, and everything in its place"!
  4. Craft--MORE! I would love to try my hand at beginning a business of selling things crafty-organizy-educationy (the later two not actually being words...) This is the stuff that really makes me happy, and what's more fun than being happy??!
So, what do you think?! The lists keep forming in my head, I think I'll go commit a few to paper while I still remember them!

Monday, December 22, 2008


I've been Walmarted, Targeted, Bath and Body Worked, and Bed, Bath and Beyonded today, and I want the madness to end! I was in the company of a dear friend, so it was bearable and we laughed all the way through each and every store, but I realized today that the fact that I have insulated myself against the "retailness" of Christmas so far this year was why I've been so darn happy lately! I purposely put off shopping to the last possible minute. I've never done that before, always preferring to start early and shop often. I do occasionally like the hustle and bustle, but it seems that lately it's accompanied by the grinchiest of folks. I had a man at Walmart nearly run me down to get out the front door ahead of me. I wanted to trip him a little...maybe not the most Yuletide thing to do. I know people are having tough financial times right now, and that can add additional strife at Christmas time. We have spoken to our children, who have so much more than is necessary, and told them that we were only going to be buying a few presents this year. Instead of being down or sad about it, they shrugged and said that it didn't matter, and that they were just excited to watch Christmas movies as a family, play games, and bake Christmas goodies. I guess we've done something right as parents of these two fabulous kiddos! Their response brought tears to my eyes, and my heart swelled with gladness that they understood what is really important this time of year and all year through! I want to share the letter that I found hanging in the "Letter to Santa" tube written by my daughter.

It reads:
Dear Santa,
For Christmas this year you should just concentrate on the families that don't have the things like we do such as a good place to live and food. My family will be fine with a little amount of presents this year because Christmas isn't just about receiving it is about giving. It is also about being with family and having fun together. So please Santa don't worry about us as much as the people without good shelter and food. Have a good Christmas!!! Love, Katie
P.S. How are the reindeer and elves? How is Mrs. Claus?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


A play on words is just ALWAYS FUN!

I wanted to quickly post this evening (hey, it's before midnight!), after most of the shrapnel has been scraped off the counters and floors, and before many of you may head out to the stores for a last minute teacher/coach/volunteer/parent-helper gift! My friend and I got together with the kids this evening after dinner and put these little yummy mugs together for a combined total of about 20 teachers. It all started last night in a "As Grant took Richmond" maneuver at Michael's 10 minutes pre-closing time. We found these cute mugs on the Christmas aisle, and it was there that the plan began to form. This holiday season brings with it a very tight budget, and so I will share the cost per item with you...you'll be ever-so impressed!

1 mug - $ .70 (found on 12/16/08 at Michael's)
1 coffee packet - about $ .10
1 tea bag - about $ .20
1 hot chocolate packet - about $ .10
2 individual creamers - about $ .10
1 candy cane - about $ .10
cellophane wrap - about $ .20
ribbon - about $ .05
tag (punched from Sizzix machine out of scraps) - nada

Grand Total per gift: about $1.55!!!!!!!
Having a gift to give the teachers we appreciate...PRICELESS!

Here's hoping they make if safely to school in the rain!

Monday, December 15, 2008


My superhero in training! Taken a couple summers ago.

Oh, you'll just love this one. My 7th grader (boy) just came up to me this evening at 8:47 p.m. and informed me that he needed graham crackers, frosting, marshmallows, and Skittles for a gingerbread house that he's making....TOMORROW. Fantastic. Only that's not exactly what I said, if I remember correctly. Here's the neat part. I was at Walmart, Target, and Fry's over the weekend, and picked up all the stuff necessary for the gingerbread house that my daughter is making in her class this week. So I'd like to give a toast to planning ahead, and then another for great neighbors and spontaneity! It takes a village to raise a child--GOD BLESS MY VILLAGE!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Forty may be the new thirty (God, I hope so), brown may be the new black, but three is DEFINITELY not the new seven. Not when it comes to laundry. Or underwear.
I would like to be able to say that I am such a domestic goddess that laundry gets done throughout the week at our house, and that by the weekend it's all neatly folded and hung in the closets, but that would be a BIG FAT LIE, and my pants would be on fire. No, we're the family who is frantically trying to finish up laundry on Sunday night around 10:00. It usually stays on our bedroom floor (folded, at least) in piles until about Thursday of the following week, when mom's had enough and decides that it should return home to its rightful owner. That being said, it was with much sadness that I started the laundry this morning, and counted only 3 pairs of underwear from my son's dirty laundry pile. It's been seven (or at least six) days since our last load of laundry, folks. You do the math. Is this the little boy for whom I boiled the pacifiers that had fallen on the ground? Is he the one that I so carefully bathed--never neglecting the various and sundry crevices that could trap lint and dirt? Is this the pre-teen that I supply with endless bottles of Axe spray and lots and lots of deodorant?
Well, I'm off to look under the bed, on the bathroom floor, and God only knows where else to find the missing garments. Wish me luck. EW!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I thought I would do a quick top-ten run down of holiday favorites! Here they are, in no particular order:
Decorating the tree! The air is electric with the excitement of the season to come!

Cold noses from playing in the snow!

Of course, my Christmas Mug collection! There's nothing like a cup of Holiday Mint coffee topped off with some chocolate syrup! Yum!

Polar Express--in 3D (and Santa hats)!

My mom's wonderful Nativity collection from around the world!
My kids love looking at them every year!
Baking Christmas cookies--lots and lots of cookies!
Family members enjoying their Christmas gifts!

Favorite handmade ornaments hanging on the tree!
Leaving cookies and milk for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer!

The Annual Christmas Boat Light Parade at grandma and grandpa's house, with Santa gramps at the wheel! It's always important to share the experience with a true friend!

Here's to making many new memories with family and friends this Christmas season!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I thought I'd share my practically productive weekend with you! After the laundry got almost done and the last of the Christmas decorations were put into place late Friday evening, I decided that I'd implement a "cook-ahead" plan that I'd read about in a food blog a while back. I would really love to give credit where credit is due, but unfortunately I can't remember where I found this fabulous nugget of cook-ahead wisdom. If by chance you are reading MY blog, leave me a comment and I will gladly link your blog to mine! It was a "cook once, eat 10 times" post, and WHO DOESN'T LOVE THAT IDEA, I ASK YOU?!!! I bought about 6 lbs. of hamburger today at Target Superstore--if you live in the Peoria area, it was on sale for $3.79 for 2 lbs. One 2 lb.-er was fried up and left plain, the next 2 lbs. were fried with onion and green pepper (cook these separately and add when hamburger is finished browning), and the remaining 2 lbs. were made into meat balls. I followed "fab. blogger's" recipe, which was to add 1 cup of breadcrumbs (left over from Thanksgiving!), 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 4 eggs, and basil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste (eyeball it). I mixed this up and made 53 medium-sized meatballs. I flash froze them for about 2 hours on a cookie sheet, and then bagged them into 6 ziploc baggies. The ground beef was put into ziplocs as well, about 2 1/2 cups per bag. I have about 8 meals ready to go--the precooked burger can be added to pasta, soups, chili, tacos, etc. when I don't feel like starting dinner until late (or at all)! I used to do this with chicken as well (back in the day!), and plan to do so again. It's cheap, quick, and easy, and prevents a last minute decision to do a McDonald's "drive-by"! I'm looking more forward now to Christmas crafting and baking, now that dinners should be relatively simple! I hope you all have a groovy Monday, I'll be back soon!

Friday, December 5, 2008


My brain officially turned off about 11:00 this evening, but yet, here I sit and type! I have discovered, as many (clearly more intelligent) people have discovered before me, that 20 hours of sleep a week. just. stinks. I think those people who like to quote you 8 hours a night may just be on to something.
I'm finishing up my first week of a long term sub. tomorrow, and it's been a lot of fun--and a lot of work! The kids are great, the teachers are great, and I feel so blessed to be part of this group of people for the time that I'll be there. That being said, if you see me sitting in the parking lot at Walmart or Target in my car, head down on the steering wheel sleeping? Please just leave me be. Keep on walking, nothing to see here folks. I just really need to rest for a bit. I was so tired last night on my way to bed that I actually ran right into a wall on my way into my bathroom to brush my teeth. The best part is that I couldn't stop laughing afterward--it struck me as completely hilarious. Not my husband, though, he was sleeping. I think that the thought of having to wake up, dress, and drive me to the insane asylum was very unappealing to him. Plus, who would make the kids' lunches?!
Here's wishing everyone a VERY HAPPY FRIDAY! I'm off to bed, mindfully watching the walls!

****Research in monkeys suggests that a new drug can temporarily improve performance and reverse the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain, which would be a breakthrough in helping shift workers, health professionals, military personnel and others who must function at top performance in spite of sleep deficits. --Innovations Report****

(Did they forget moms? The ultimate in sleep-deprived?)

Monday, December 1, 2008


(Click on photo to enlarge, and check out my son's very determined look!)

until someone gets impaled with a snowball! This is one of the funniest pictures I've ever taken, and it never fails to make me giggle! What is Christmas, if not to showcase brotherly and sisterly love?! We were waiting outside the church to enjoy our Christmas 2006 get together with my hubby's family up in Show Low. I told the kids to entertain themselves by making a snowman while we waited, and well, you know...one thing led to another. I really think this should be the front of a Christmas card! I will post Thanksgiving pictures next time, just wanted to get this up in time to say Happy December 1st to the SITSAS and everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Turkey Tom hiding by the Thanksgiving Tree!

One table set and ready for action...
...and another!
the spiced cider station...
Thanksgiving NotebookIndex Page

Guest List Page
Dish by Dish Ingredients ListMaster Shopping List, separated by store name

I thought I would share my "Thanksgiving Notebook" (doesn't everyone have one?!) with you, as the BIG DAY rapidly approaches. Now, in my defense, the year this notebook was created, I was entertaining 20 plus people for dinner and wanted the food to be really yummy. I am a self proclaimed "psycho organizer", so how could I have pulled it off without my handy-dandy Thanksgiving Notebook? I find myself "spinning my wheels" if I don't establish a way to direct my rapid-fire thoughts into some semblance of order. I broke down each dish I planned to serve into a grocery list, and then combined all necessary items onto a master grocery list. I also went to a couple different stores, according to where the necessary item was on sale for the best price. It really did simplify things, and allowed me more time to enjoy family and friends as they arrived. The "guest list" section was generated to be cut apart and made into place cards. My daughter and I made really cute place cards, and also handmade napkin rings (for our paper napkins!) out of recycled plastic napkin rings that I picked up for next to nothing at a garage sale, some fabric remnants, and my Sizzix machine and scrap paper. I am including some pictures of that Thanksgiving--it was a blast! We are spending this holiday close to home with some dear friends, and we are truly thankful for all we have been given! After dinner, (which will be served on heavy-duty paper plates for fast clean up!), we will watch movies and play games for as long as we can before the turkey kicks in and we need to nap! Then we'll do my favorite thing--we'll get out all the leftovers and eat again!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


If you're not in the mood to go out in the backyard and throw a ball or stick for the Family Fido, rest assured, there's another way to keep man's best friend busy. My friend and I were sitting in my dining room just the other day doing our important work (read: doing crossword puzzles and reading magazines) waiting for the kids to come home from school. Now this particular friend of mine has a sort of "animal magnetism", because Scooter just can't seem to leave her alone whenever she visits. Or maybe it's that he knows he can ALWAYS sucker her in to throwing the ball for him. Or maybe it's the tasty lotion that she wears and he licks off her legs...ANYWAY, she decided to trick him by hiding the ball he'd just dropped in her lap in our basket of shoes (it runneth over) by the front door. Jack Russell's are notorious for being diggers, so he was in heaven playing his new game of hide and seek! We laughed and watched the shoes fly out of the basket, and Scooter run back and forth and jump in and out of the basket like a dog on diet pills. It was a real hoot and a half, I tell you. The pictures speak for themselves, especially the blurry ones! I guess I should've put my camera on Sports Mode!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Okay, it may be official, I've lost my mind. Does anyone see the time? That's right, it's 2:30 in the morning (why is the clock at the bottom an hour off? hmmm...). I just finished working, and had to post a quick note about an author I recently found. She's not new, but she's new to me, and I am absolutely digging her books (I've read 2 this week, and have started on a third). Her name is Nancy Moser. I found her accidentally, because I totally judge books by their covers. I understand the metaphor behind not doing that, with people and all, but with books? Come on! There'd be no jobs out there for graphic designers, photographers, and marketing folk if we didn't judge books by their covers! Anyway, the first book I read by her is called "The Good Nearby". The message in this book was so powerful, uplifting, and overwhelmingly simple! It was truly a life-changing read for me, and I READ A LOT! Almost as often as I think about cleaning my house (but don't) and eating chocolate (totally do)! If you get a chance to check her out (ha ha, from the library--get it?!), you won't be disappointed! Here's a link to her website. http://www.nancymoser.com/

Thursday, November 13, 2008


It seems we are having a problem at our house. It's a very wiley, very sneaky problem indeed. The specifics were reported to my hubby and I earlier in the week by our 10 year old daughter. It seems that she's been waking up with someone's DOG HAIR on her p.j. shorts. I say SOMEONE'S, because I don't want anyone to think I'm jumping to conclusions, or that I'm not being sensitive to everyone's right be assumed innocent until proven guilty. Let me back up the bus here a minute and explain. Katie has asthma, which made committing to a dog in the family a tough venture. We bought our Scooter Pie from a family member who promised to take him back and love him (naturally) if things didn't work out between us. So off we went, folding under the pressure of aforementioned daughter's plea that "she had a hole in her heart that only a dog would fill". I'm not kidding, those were her words at age 7. Her future in politics or sales is bright, I think. I immediately requested a "dog run" of my husband, who drove across town to get the 4 month old "surprise". As soon as she saw the dog come through the door of our home in his cage, she gasped, "Scooter!", and the name stuck! Those first few weeks with Scooter in our home went fairly well, and we established a few "house rules" for him. The NUMBER ONE RULE was that he would reside on the first floor of our home, and would NOT BE ALLOWED upstairs where all of the bedrooms are. We have wood flooring downstairs, and it's relatively easy to sweep up the mounds of dog hair that accumulate daily. I am often heard remarking that I think I could build an entirely new dog from the hair that I sweep up. Things were going along nicely, and everyone was following the rules. Or so it seemed. Sometimes, especially lately, I have had dreams of ringing bells (could they be dog tags?) as I lay sleeping in bed. But there's never been any evidence that would suggest a night time visitor on the second floor...until now. More research is pending, and I'm looking for a jury of his peers should I find enough evidence to convict. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Hey, guess what? Did you know that if you cut in line in high school, they will stuff you in a garbage can? It has to be true, because I heard it from a kindergarten friend of mine this morning. Also, CORN is made from the CORNUCOPIA (which strangely resembles the Bugle snack). This last part is my own observation.
If it weren't for the vast knowledge imparted to me by these worldly little folk (just ask 'em), I'd be forced to get my information from the news, or some other terrible place, and that just WOULDN'T DO! I do prefer to believe that MOST of what they tell me is true, because they are unjaded by pessimism, political correctness, and the cynicism of the world. To them, UP is UP, DOWN is DOWN, and no one gives a flying fart what color anyone is. I just giggled a little when I typed fart. Come on, you can laugh, it's a funny word.
Today, I told the the class the story of "The 3 Billy Goats Gruff". We used a felt board, just like in the olden days. Even though most of the kids had already heard the story, they all clapped at the ending, when the mean old troll got tossed into the lake by the biggest Billy Goat Gruff. They clapped because that's what you do when the bad guy gets his, and the good guys win. There's no gray area, no hurt feelings afterward. It just IS what it IS, and that's the beauty of the innocence of a child!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Well, it's Sunday night again, and I ALWAYS seem to have a hard time going to sleep on Sunday nights. It's partly the anticipation of the week to come, and partly not wanting to give up the weekend that was. I find myself cruising the blogs, reading books, cleaning (yikes! yes, even cleaning) and every other little thing under the sun to avoid going to bed. Where I won't sleep anyway. I saw something shiny on a blog earlier today, can't even remember which blog it was as I looked at lots and lots, but it had to do with COUPONS! I've tried the coupon thing before, and frankly, I'm not very good at it. But, in lieu of the stinky economy right now, I AM GOING TO GIVE COUPON-CLIPPING ANOTHER GO! I'm always so inspired by the shoppers that get ridiculous amounts of groceries for chump-change--like $287.00 worth of groceries for $ .47. I WANT TO BE THAT GUY! I get the whole "coupon, ad matching, stuff on sale" combo. concept, but find that most of the stuff that falls under this category isn't the stuff I'm buying anyway. Not that there's anything wrong with tuna-flavored SPAM (kidding here), but it just isn't what sounds good for dinner. EVER. That being said, I'm vowing right here and now to look really closely at what's already on sale and I will try to combine it with a coupon. Isn't this great stuff??! Yup, it's really late! If anyone out there has any money saving ideas, feel free to leave me a comment. I'm an ALL OR NOTHING girl, and right now, I'm ALL about the savings, baby! Happy Monday to all, and to all a great Veteran's Day holiday on Tuesday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Halloween 2006: Her hat says "Sprint", and she has a phone charger cord in her hand that fastened to the side of her shirt. We made her "buttons" with my Sizzix machine circle punch, craft foam, and a white pen. Her tinfoil antenna was stuck through a hole in the back of her hat!
My boy Stumpy.
My favorite felon and her pumpkin-head creation!

The real Stumpy and his pumpkin head creation!

There's nothing like a scorching sinus infection from putting you behind on your resolve to post Halloween pictures in a timely manner! I have been fighting this booger (pardon the pun) for a few weeks now, and am sad to say that it's kicking me in the ba donk a donk. I'm now on steroids (GRRRR!) and a new antibiotic, so we'll see what happens! Our Halloween theme this year was "If we don't already own it, too bad, we're not going to buy it", so the kids repurposed some older costume parts and were very resourceful! Gone are the days of the $40.00 a piece Disney costumes, and truthfully, those were never their (or my) favorites anyway. I have always loved putting together their costumes in a creative, do-it-ourselves kind of way. We've made a bunch of really neat costumes through the years--maybe I'll dig up some old pictures and post them. Many are (gasp!) not digital, so I'll have to scan them in. One of my favorites was Katie's costume 2 years ago--she was a cell phone! She was completely phone-obsessed, so it was a natural fit. Everyone got a big kick out of it, and she was as proud as she could be! This year, she was the prisoner (guilty of stealing Halloween candy, she said!), and Nate was the Headless Horseman, sans the horse. He looked totally creepy, which pleased him to no end. All in all it was a really fun night, and the kids had fun running through the neighborhood with friends collecting tons of candy! Unfortunately, it's still flowing freely around our house--into my mouth, and onto my midsection...oh well, it should be gone in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas goodies!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I'm off to cast my vote. It may just be one vote, but it's MY vote, and I'm so thankful to live in a place where I get the luxury of having my opinion matter! We are so blessed as a nation! Whoever wins this election today needs the support of a UNITED NATION under GOD--divided we fall, united we stand! That being said, I'm gonna go punch the heck out of some chads!

"So much has been given to me I have no
time to ponder over that which has been denied."
Helen Keller

Monday, November 3, 2008


When my son was just a couple years old, he called his uncle Jeff, uncle Beff. We still call him that to this day, I just don't think he's aware of it. We went to the hospital Saturday to see Calli and Jeff as they celebrated his birthday in the hospital cafeteria. I was amazed at Calli's progress--it's been awhile since we've been there to see her due to our amazing collection of viral germs around our house. If she had been able to open her eyes (a side effect of the brain stem injury she sustained), she wouldn't have gotten even a sideways glance from anyone walking by--no one would've even thought she was a patient there! It was wonderful to receive smoochy kisses and tight hugs from this little pumpkin...it even made up for the lashings I received from the plastic bead necklace she was whipping about! I thought this was the sweetest picture--what better birthday present for her dad than the gift of his littlest girl's life itself? I have no doubt that with therapy and God's grace she'll be doing things that no one would've imagined as she lay in the hospital bed just a month and a half ago!



This time of year is my favorite for so many reasons: the crisp, cool air, the smell of evening fires, the holiday hoopla that ensues, and the pretty little plastic containers in all my favorite stores. Yup, that's right, you heard me. I have such a hard time saying no to all those little wonderful plastic containers that the Glad company and so many others dress up so fancily for the holidays! There's the Halloween containers that are sweetly adorned with pumpkins and ghosts, the Thanksgiving ones with the fall leaves, and oh boy, don't even get me started on the winter and Christmas collection. Whoa Nelly! I have posted some pictures of my faves right here for your admiring gaze. I think they speak to my freakish need to organize things--all things--even food. Of course, they can hold other things too. I've used them to give gifts in, store craft materials, and even store game pieces for seasonal games. If I made a list of my top 100 favorite things (and I think I may just put that on my list of top 100 things to do), these would probably rank higher than scratch-and-sniff stickers. I know, right?! I really like them a lot! What's your favorite quirky thing about the holiday season?

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I was a happy kindergarten sub again today. I love those little guys--all wild-eyed and innocent (okay, maybe not innocent). I was trolling the lunch line and asked one of the little boys in my class if his hair felt soft with his new buzz cut. He answered that yes, it did, and would I like to feel it? Of course I said yes, and remarked at how fabulous it felt--soft like a baby's hairbrush. The little guy behind him was also sporting a buzz cut (hey, we live were it's hot until the end of October), and invited me to feel his hair too. Which of course I did. And also remarked at the fabulousness of it. I told them I just loved their great hair, to which one replied, "Thanks! We got it at Walmart!" Who knew that Walmart sold hair??! So darn cute--and I'm sure he'd make a great spokesperson for the company!

Moments like these are the secret fuel that keeps kindergarten teachers sane after years and years of abuse. The kids' great cuteness is a distraction while they are busy wrecking your stuff, your mind, and your body. Not necessarily in that order. So if you know a kindergarten teacher, give her a big hug next time you see her, and tell her (or him, sorry guys!) thank you for all she does! Also, give her a bandaid if you have one, she'll need it. And some rubber boots. And a flak jacket. And suggest to your school district that she receive hazard pay.

And that is today's ode to The Teacher. Tune in over the weekend--I'll be in a 2nd grade classroom tomorrow--HALLOWEEN!!! Yikes, spooky..........