What Did You Do? Wednesdays

Calling all fall fanatics, adventurous organizers, exercise procrastinators, perfectionists unable to make a move unless they're certain it will turn out with ultimate precision, messy Marvins, and any other category you put yourself in ~ stop by each Wednesday and share what you did that week. Big things, little things, adventurous things, nothin' much things, somethin' special things....doesn't matter.

Share your just one thing on What Did You Do? Wednesdays!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Father Time

Father Time's role has come to an end yet one more year. The old man is tired and worn, he has served his purpose and it is his duty to retire his position to a fresh, new character. I wish I had that ability, don't you? To have the chance, annually, to reverse the harsh effects of life, to undo aging, illness, unfairness, mistakes..... I guess that's not what makes up life, however. With age comes wisdom, of things both joyful and saddening. We learn what makes up happy, who we want to surround ourselves with, how to spend our fleeting time. We learn, too, about tragedies, hard knocks, tribulations and how to maneuver our way through each event.

For each of us, I wish a successful navigation through 2010. May we be granted health, kindness, consideration, support, serenity, laughter and delightful memories that last through the remainder of our years.

Easy Fleece-y

I've done it again! Sewing 102 is now under my belt. Little did you know, right? I had the luxury of being the only one in the class, with the same teacher as last time, so we zoomed right through a whole bunch of fleece embellishments. I would have liked to do more, but she was so careful about teaching me how to use a rotary cutter and a cutting board, that said little task took longer than I cared for. Taking heed to keep my fingers in tact, understood. But slicing along a ruler.....definitely NOT rocket science. I cut, gathered, sewed, weaved and fringed that forgiving fabric with ease. May any and all projects I ever tackle be as simple (ha!). So then, I'm prepared for some genius sewing to begin in this house. I think.

.....and I'll need to use these when??

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One, Tooth, Three

Remember my daughter's "magical teeth"? Well, today was a magical dentist appointment and magical co-pay to have the baby teeth extracted, or, as Dr. Dentist calls it, "wiggled out". Sounds innocent enough, right? I'm glad I was the only one who knew what it was really going to involve. A. didn't have a clue in the world. But hooray for the advancements in dental care!

I had 4 permanent teeth (no, they weren't even my wisdom teeth) pulled in order to fit them all in my head before I had braces put on 1981. (Yes, I have a lot of big chompers in a big mouth. People have always commented on my teeth.....even my dentist. So far, though, I haven't made any toothpaste commercials. Although that's not a bad New Year's Resolution......). I remember my kind, old dentist coming at me with a needle the size of football goal post, and that was that.

A., on the other hand, got sunglasses, her choice of movie to stare at with a screen directly above her, bubblegum flavored laughing gas, and not even a peek at the football goal post....I mean "sleepy water" Dr. Novocain shot into her gums ~ 4 times, I might add. Either way, she was braver than I. I kept a fake smile plastered to my face & comforted her when she needed it, which, to my complete surprise, she didn't really. I was the one trying to maintain an upright position while that double tooth was yanked, pulled and twisted out. What a crazy root from hell. Ugh. It had to feel better with that out!

It ended up being quite a painless experience. I'm so thankful for a wonderful dentist who made the whole ordeal just a one, "tooth", three removal. The worst part for A. was the gauze she needed to bite down on (which only lasted until we got to the van), and the taste of the blood. Once I clued her in that she could swallow instead of wondering what to do with all the gunk coming out of her mouth, she was fine. As a matter of fact, she bounced back with such
unaffectedness, that her only question or comment about the whole experience was on the car ride home. "Can I still talk?" Yes, Miss Chatterbox, yak away.

Still in tact.

The bruise that continued up to the side of her mouth and looked pretty bad for a few days afterward.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22nd

Four years ago today, at 6:22pm, my dad died of pancreatic cancer. I have learned a lot about loss and mourning in those 4 years.

Grief is a paralyzing, stripping, hollowing, and very personal emotion. It may not hit you when you think it will, and it may strike at other times when you never saw it coming. I think the extent of grief is related to your closeness with the person you have lost.

Don't expect anyone else to understand exactly what you're going through.

Take great comfort in the people who are actually there for you, and try not to be angry with the people you thought would be but aren't.

The pain and sadness never go away, you just adjust.

Memories really do last a lifetime.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's So Cold

(All together now.....) How cold is it? It's so cold that it's come to this....

Little Bunny Boo-Boo (see the owie on his noggin?) says, "Brrrr!"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sports Time

I don't know where the time goes. I never feel like I get anything done. Of course, the perfectionist in me wants it all done, finished and handled, like, yesterday! There are so many things I want to do (i.e. decorate, bake, create, go, do, see), but the time just seems to slip away. I'm not a procrastinator, and I consider myself organized (not the utmost organized, but organized nonetheless), yet at the end of each day I wonder how time has once again eluded me.

My husband was watching a basketball game early this evening as I was preparing dinner. I asked how much time was left. "One minute," he replied. I'm not a sports fan for a variety of reasons, but to me, broadcast basketball games are not too overly offensive. At least it's a faster paced game (than ....snooze.... football), and my workaholic demeanor feels somewhat at ease since the players spend most of the time moving around in a quick manner with some sense of productivity. But I tell you, "one minute" is never, ever "ONE minute" in sports. About 2 years later, the game was actually over.

Then it occurred to me that I need to discover a way for the time clock in LIFE to stop and start like that. Man, would I be rich. Can you even imagine?? This is a lovely moment to bask in, let's stop the clock right now. This situation stinks, let's keep those seconds ticking. Wait. Hold up. I need some more time to finish this. Clock stopped. What a solution to it all.

But meanwhile, gotta' run......tick, tock.
Tempus Fugit

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day

Blizzard here. No school. Being forced to stay home was actually a nice thing. The bonus was that the girls played well together and touched the majority of their toys, which, in itself, is quite a feat.

Sleepy heads starting out their day with love

Monday, December 7, 2009

Paper Glitter Winner

I have discovered a whole new area of blogging....giveaways. Oh yes...free stuff. It seems as bloggers become popular, they use giveaways to promote their site & readership. I can't wait for the day I can give something away! No, it can't be the kitchy shelf-sitter that your great aunt gave you for Easter. It has to be something you make or design.

I have only signed up for 2 so far, but check this out.....I was a winner on my second try. You must visit Paper Glitter and check out her darling designs. I am in awe over her job as a toy designer. I mean, how cool is that? And she designs for mass market lines that we folks with girls surely have in our homes. The ultimate for me is Hello Kitty. She, too, has been a fan for over 3 decades. But then to end up designing for Sanrio. OH! And the other neat thing is her web site where you'll find a variety of free printables that you and your girls will love. Also, check out her Etsy store for a variety of cute and very inexpensive designs.

So, thank you, Linnette, for your sharing your creativeness with us! A. and I had a great time choosing our selection, and she was also thrilled to find your latest offering printed out for her this morning.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

Now how sweet is a family's first true Christmas tree excursion? Picture in your mind a beautiful forest of strong pines, motionless in their sturdy roots, dusted with the most beautiful, glistening, powdery snow on the ends of their branches. The still silence surrounding them giving the greatest sense of peace on earth you could ever experience. Breathtaking. I said picture it in your mind; I didn't say we actually got our tree in that setting!

I have some majorly fond memories of picking out a Christmas tree when I was a kid. YEARS of picking out Christmas trees with my mom & dad. I loved it. Somehow the weather was always perfect ~ not bitterly cold, not windy. We went to a lovely Christmas tree farm down a side road about 5 miles away from our home. The owner knew my parents & I kind of always felt like we were treated well. The chore of choosing the perfect tree was equally exciting, fun & difficult. It somewhat saddened me to leave certain trees behind.....the ones that weren't so perfect. Would they get chosen at all? Or would they just sit there, alone, all through Christmas and beyond? And then what happened to them? I felt bad for them. So I'm sensitive. Sue me. I've long attached feeling to completely inanimate objects (those tiny Cheetos were cute, darn it!).

I picture my dad in his outdoor coveralls, with his slightly hunched over shoulders & somewhat subtle side-to-side walk, always asking me which one I liked. I picture my mom, close by my side, pointing out the different types of trees & teaching me yet one more thing in life. I see her choosing left behind branch clippings, forming for herself a now beautiful bundle of trimmed greens.....ones just right for the classy arrangements she always whipped up.

One day I want to go to an out of the way tree farm like this one was, but for our first year with a monumentally bored 6-year old (who attempted to make a Fairy Snow Village in any whisper of snow she could find on our stops), a 2-year old who would surely need a nap, and a Mother who was trying not to think of the umpteen million things she had to do at home. It so happened that our 3rd try was the charm. (Stop #1: no real selection. Stop #2: $110 trees?!?! Ty said that even if George Clooney would have been helping us, we still wouldn't have bought one. I said we certainly would have lingered though.)

(Pause, pause, pause..............)

Huh? Oh, yeah, right, the tree. I got a little Clooney gooney there for a bit.

Beautiful tree. Really a nice one. Balsam fir. Almost perfect shape. Great size. So great, in fact, that it didn't exactly fit in the corner we planned on putting it in. A couple more feet & we'd have even been out of luck in the 13' corner of the living room. Truly, it looked much smaller out in the wild.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ho Ho Ho...ly Line

Today we visited the jolly bearded man. There were about four different "neato" outings we had to choose from, but a jaunt to a cute little town about 20 minutes away seemed like a pleasant manner in which to meet up with Santa. Oooo ~ and he was a "good" one too....perfect size, great beard, the right age, nice voice. I liked him.

The event was at a library where they also had Mrs. Claus in attendance, along with a hard-working elf who was reading books & scurrying about helping with this, that and the other thing. There were areas where the kids could color and enter a contest with their art piece, decorate a cookie, and make a pipe cleaner & bead ornament. The function was from 10am-noon. We arrived about 11:20.....to find a line so long that I couldn't even see the end of the winding maze of people. Having no idea how long it might take us to be able to encounter the large elf himself, we set up Ty as our place marker. Piling him up with all of our coats, hats, mittens & our video camera & digital camera bag, I took the girls on a little jaunt to keep them occupied.

Ty learned that the people in line behind him originally arrived right at 10am, but the line was already out the door. That would have been an almost 2-hour wait! They came back later to get in line behind us, but had to get to a child's birthday party as well, but didn't know if they'd make it in time. How do you make a kid choose ~ Santa....birthday party? Santa....birthday party?

Suffice it to say, they were all out of the supplies for our ornament making enjoyment, but there were still cookies to decorate. There were cookies, and we were approaching 12:05pm. I'm sure I have never let my children eat two cookies, especially ones that I didn't make, before noon.

Finally, with quite a lot of patience on their part, up in Santa's lap they went. A. was very prepared with her list in hand. When Santa commented on the length of her wish list, she politely pointed out that she didn't even use many of the lines on the page. M. was happy to hang out for her 2-minute dose of the jolly old elf. And that was that. Lots of waiting, a little video taping, a couple of pictures.....and another sweet memory for my memory bank.
Santa, can you clarify your definition of "good"?

Cookie #1.......or was it cookie #2?

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's In The Bag

....my Sewing 101 diploma, that is. And really, it's in the bag I made during class. Wanna see??

What a masterpiece, eh? It was so ridiculously simple & because of its small size, I don't know in what capacity I'll ever use it, but can't you just see the care put into it?

I have to tell you, Sewing 101 was just fine. Can you believe it was just one other woman (a 66-year old Chinese woman) and myself? Basically everything we learned came flooding back to me (the memory still works). And yes, Mom, you DID teach me all the sewing basics. I know you hate the craft so much that I think you probably just blocked it out. But, once again, you were my original and BEST teacher.

The class didn't quite go off without a hitch. About 15 minutes in, I got a call from my husband. He would never call me in a situation like that unless it were truly necessary. And it was. Our first grader missed the bus home, and I had the van, in which the car seat for the 2-year old was. What to do? We had no one to call for assistance. He reached into the depths of our helpful people bank, but no one was available to call upon. All-in-all, the school's psychologist drove her safely back home (with appropriate booster seat in his vehicle). I'm sure she was scared when she first realized the bus had left, but one of her classmate's Moms helped her back inside the school & took her to the office. To A's defense, it had been our first snowfall and it took her longer to get on snowpants & boots, etc. vs. just a coat.

Ok, back in class....we all got along well, but I had the sneaking suspicion I might have been the favored student. My fellow student "Mae", as we'll refer to her as since that's what the teacher kept calling her even though that was NOT her name, was having quite a time with the foot pedal. I mean, I never knew a sewing machine could go from zero to 60 in 1 second flat. And so began the 2.5 hour long dialog between the two of them.

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR (sound of sewing machine)
Teacher: "Mae! You're scaring me, sweetie!! You've got to get the hang of this. S L O W L Y. I'm afraid you're going to hurt yourself!
Mae: "Oh no! I sorry Miss Laurie! I no do dis on purpose. I cannot contro so well. I not do dis to make you mad! I sorry, I sorry."
Teacher: "Now look at Julie. See how she's got a nice rhythm going?"
Mae: "Oh, I try. I cannot do so well. I see Julie do a good, good job. Oh, Julie, I see you do such a good, good job (giggle, giggle)."

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR (sewing machine smokin' again)
Teacher: "MAE! Sweetie, dear!! It's my job to keep you safe & I'm afraid you're going to get your fingers here!"
Mae: (Repeat above sentences.)

Teacher: "Mae, Mae, Mae..... (me thinking: For the hundredth time, her name's NOT MAE!!)... you're half way to the moon!!"
I tried to keep track of how many times she told her that. I think I totaled 11. It meant she was sitting really far away from her table & machine.

If I had to grade myself on that class, I'd certainly give myself an A. Maybe not an A+ like I got on my pig pillow in 8th grade Home Ec. class, but an A, nonetheless. I left there with a little bit of knowledge back in my pocket & I'm at least ready to sew some straight lines for a few home decor items, an accessory or two, or something simple for the girls. And, no, Miss Laurie, I will not, I repeat NOT, be making a pair of pants for my husband. Trust me on that one.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Super Simple Suppers

I have been on a bit of a non-cooking/just throwing something together kick. Here's what we ate the last 2 nights:

Mexican roasted potatoes:
Potatoes, quartered, microwaved until mostly soft (to speed things along) and then roasted.
Pinto beans, black olives, green peppers, corn & McCormick's Taco Seasoning (I used half of a packet). Heat in pan, spoon on top of potatoes & sprinkle shredded cheese. Add sour cream if desired.

We also had avocado on the side, but a green salad with tomato would have worked.

Mexican Roasted Potatoes

Cilantro & Thyme Flatbread sandwiches: (This was a really good one!)
Flatbread (I just happened to get some at Super Target with the cilantro & thyme, which gave me the idea)
Pieces of pork loin (which I had in the freezer & ready to go)
A couple of slices of Hormel Natural Baked Ham
Swiss cheese
Provolone cheese
Hearty spicy brown mustard, yellow mustard, Smart Balance Omega Plus mayo (a blob, squirt or dollop of each one). Mix together along with ground pepper, cilantro and thyme.

Top flatbread with mustard dressing, slices of both provolone and swiss cheeses, pork loin pieces and ham. Heat in oven until warm & bread is toasty.

Brussel Sprouts:
(really, they were yummy)
Heat frozen brussel sprouts in microwave until mostly thawed, transfer to frying pan with olive oil, ground pepper, sea salt & just a bit of the sandwich mustard sauce. Coat & heat. Be oh-so healthy!

Cilanto & Thyme Flatbread Sandwiches

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Calendar

Every year, as a child, my mom gave me an advent calendar. I absolutely loved them. Each one was different, and I admired the scenes, often times, feeling as if I could be a part of the activities in them. Even into adulthood, Mom continued to surprise me with an advent calendar just in time for December 1st. It always tickled me, because I had a strange amnesia about the calendars. I would recall them something during the month of November, but then completely forget about them until she presented me with the annual gift. She has maintained our tradition even after I have had my own children. The calendar countdowns have advanced since the 1970s, now with more elaborate detail & material, but nonetheless it's still something that is one of my most basic loves of Christmas.


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