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!