Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fa La La La La....

Photo courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
Tomorrow is December 1st. We all know that. What I don't quite know is HOW it got here so quickly. Every year I wonder. Every year it all gets done. This year will be the same; I am just not sure how it will happen.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my sister's house in Utah. Although there was snow on the ground, it didn't snow while we were there. It would have been nice but Little Miss made due by building baby snowmen with the existing snow. She was also able to take snowboarding lessons for the first time. She had been asking since her last ski lesson in March. Against our better judgment, we let her do it. She didn't like it and wants to go back to skiing. I am proud of her for trying it and sticking with it all day long when what she really wanted was to ditch the snowboard and put on skis. While she was in snowboarding school, I joined my mom and sister for a pedicure. A much needed pedicure.
Friday night we all went to the 'Polar Express'. I have to admit that I had been putting this off for the past 7 years. We have a Polar Express in Arizona ,too, but it is a 3 hour drive which usually means an overnight stay, plus it books up a year in advance. My husband doesn't really plan ahead so I never made reservations. We are really the only people in our group of friends who hadn't taken their kids to it yet. When I realized that we could go to the event while at my sister's and it was only a 40 minute drive I decided it was time. I have to say that we had the BEST time! The train took us to the North Pole while we drank hot cocoa and read the 'Polar Express' book. We had a visit from Santa and he stopped to talk to all the kids. On the way back to the station we sang Christmas Carols. It was a fun way to start the Christmas season.
So, now we are back home and I am trying to figure out what I am going to do to accomplish my many Christmas preparation activities. I want to make a detailed schedule as I am out of town the next two weekends - This Saturday LM has a hockey tournament and the next weekend my mom and I are going back to my sister's for a little Christmas brunch here with my sister's friends and their moms. I am hoping I won't have to work too much for my husband (his secretary was out all last week due to morning sickness) - that could really throw a wrench in my plans!
I have lots of things going on with Christmas decorating. Lots of ideas and pictures to share. I hope to be able to do some of that this week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Calgon, take me away...

Remember that commercial?

That's how I feel today.

First of all, it is Monday and we were gone over the weekend. Second, my husband called me this morning to say that his secretary is out sick today. Third, we leave for Thanksgiving on Wednesday which means I have 2 days to get ready to go - from 70 degree weather to snow, which means lots of clothes and boots and hats and scarves.

So, the 2 days I thought I had are being cut back a bit so I can go help my husband out. I have stuff to do there - what I usually do at home - but it involves yet more packing (notebooks, checks, etc). This will likely be my last post until next week. Probably my last peek into blog world until then also.

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Favorite Things....

Join Melissa @ 320 Sycamore for her My Favorite Things party. Here are my favorite things:
David Cook. The CD. Still lovin' it. Listen to it a lot. It's good. Very good.


Philosophy Lip Gloss. I have the melon daiquiri flavor and love it. It's shiny AND stays on. Tastes good, too. About $12.


Electric Pepper Mill. How did I live without this? Really. You can find one like this at Crate & Barrel for about $40 or so.



Peets Coffee. I talk about Starbucks a lot because we don't have a Peets here. It's really the best in my opinion. Luckily you can find it in the grocery store for about $14/lb -or less when it's on sale. You know that's when I buy it! :)



Measuring cups. I have these from Williams-Sonoma. I love them. I think it's my favorite thing in my kitchen. At least one of them. And one I use almost daily. It took a while for me to break down and buy them but I have to admit that it's the best $30 I have ever spent. When Little Miss moves us out of this house at a very old age I am sure those measuring cups will still be around.

Caldrea Basil Sage hand lotion & hand soap. Great smell. Not too strong but nice. And I love the little caddy it comes in.
Now, if I were Oprah I would say that everyone in the audience would get one of these products. But I'm not Oprah. Sorry...

I'm just not feeling it...

People announced their 'Sexiest Man Alive' - Johnny Depp. I don't see it. At all.
Eddie Cibrian apparently made one of the lists. Good choice, I think. (Although I must say that I am not happy to see that he left his wife to be w/ Leann Rimes with whom he made a movie, now is maybe seeing someone else. All gossip of course but one wonders.)
Who would make Debra's list you ask?
Darius Rucker

David Cook

Chris Daughtry
(I like the bald look!)
Funny that those 3 are musicians and I am clearly not but there is some amount of sexiness to them.
I would also put Hugh Jackman, Patrick Dempsey, Ryan Reynolds and Kurt Warner on the list.
And my husband!!!
Who would make your list?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quirky...

One Fabulous Mom did a post about her quirks yesterday. I thought I would join in since everyone is surely dying to know mine!

If you watch 'Big Bang Theory' you know Sheldon. (If you don't watch it you should, it's hilarious). Sheldon is the king of quirkieness - in my opinion. Sad thing is that I don't know that I'm not too far behind him. For example: Sheldon has a spot on his couch which is his and his alone. No one else should try to sit there. If they do they get the stink eye. That is me. I have my 'spots' every where I go: at scrapbooking I have my seat- everyone knows that's my seat, at school drop off I have my parking spot (unfortunately, the other 300 parents don't know it's my spot and sometimes have the nerve to park there), I have spots in all the parking lots I frequent that I prefer. Sometimes I get them, sometimes I don't.

I find it all very strange and quirky but I just can't help it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Homemaker Monday...

The weather in my neck of the woods: Supposed to be sunny and 71 today.

One of my simple pleasures: A cup of green tea. I like to have one everyday, first thing. If I don't have it, I feel 'off'. I am sure it's in my head but it works.

On my bedside table: 'First Things First' by Kurt & Brenda Warner

On my TV: Fox & Friends (news)

On the menu for tonight : Quesadillas (we have hockey tonight so it's quick and easy)

On my to do list: Jazzercise, grocery shop, change sheets, work, take LM to religion classes, take LM to hockey practice

New recipe I tried last week: nothing

In the craft basket: Christmas gift tags

Looking forward to: Taking LM to see Santa on Saturday. We didn't make it when I wanted to go a couple of weeks ago, so it's on the agenda again.

Homemaking tip for the week: If you buy anything like 'kid's cuisine', weight watchers meals,lean cuisines: When you are done with the containers wash them out and keep them for things like snacks and crafts. The kid's cuisines have different compartments so they are great for snacks like crackers and cheese, apples and peanut butter, etc. I use the containers for paint - a different compartment for each color of paint. They are also great for gingerbread house or cookie decorating time- you can put different candies in each compartment.

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other): This one at A High & Noble Calling.

Favorite Photo of the week: none this week.

Lesson Learned the last few days: Not every friend you make is forever. Some are here just for a 'season' of your life (kids are the same age and in the same playgroup, work friends, etc). When that season passes sometimes so does the friendship - and it's okay.

On my prayer list: Friend whose dad was just diagnosed with cancer. Friend whose brother in law was just diagnosed with cancer.

Devotional, Scripture Reading, Key Verse:
We all have angels guiding us...They look after us. They heal us, coach us, comfort us with invisible warm hands...What will bring their help? Asking. Giving thanks.
~Sophy Burnham
Visit Sandra at: Diary of SAHM for more Happy Homemaker Monday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Have you ever...

seen clothes as cute as the ones J Crew has for kids (Crewcuts) ?

I am looking for something for Little Miss to wear with this skirt.

I need something short sleeved for Christmas Eve at church. It was hot as blazes last year (one lady even passed out from the heat) so she needs to be cool. That counts out a lot of really cute Christmas options, unfortunately. Of course, in looking for tops or light sweaters I come across this darling velvet dress (pictured above). I fell in love with it as well as some other dresses. Also, some really cute sweaters. Fell in love. Love.

But I am still looking for a top. I have to remember that and keep focused. Since I already have a perfectly cute skirt, I want a top. I want to spend as little as possible as it's probably not something LM will wear a lot. Hope I can do it! I am off to check Hanna Andersson now (sale in progress).

Wish me luck...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

When you've got it, you've got it...


I am not a huge country music fan. I like it. Sometimes a lot. But I must say that I was so excited to see that Darius Rucker won 'New Artist of the Year' at the CMA's last night. I was originally a 'Hootie & the Blowfish' fan. Still am. I thought the cross over to country was interesting. I got the Darius Rucker CD for Christmas last year and was convinced that he would make it in the country genre after my first listen. Such a distinct and wonderful voice.

I guess when you've got it, you've got it...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you Veterans....

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again
with just my children and my wife,
I'd thank my lucky stars to be living here today
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
and you can't take that away.
And I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
And gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up
next to you and defend her still today
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God Bless the USA!
From the lakes of Minnesota
To the hills of Tennessee
Across the plains of Texas
From sea to shining sea
From Detroit down to Houston
From New York to LA
Well there's pride in every American heart
and it's time we stand to say...
That I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up...next to you
And defend her still today
And there ain't no doubt I love this land
God Bless the USA!
~Lee Greenwood~
Thanks to all who have helped to keep our country free!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I can make that...

I am joining the 'I can make that party' hosted by Just a Girl today. LOTS of fun, easy, thrifty Christmas gift ideas. Head on over and check it out.

Here's what I have:
Little jars of hot cocoa mix. They would be great for teachers, babysitters, mail carriers, coaches, scout leaders, neighbors, etc.
I used jars I had from mushrooms. The Walmart brand mushrooms are great because the top is solid gold so I didn't have to try to cover a logo. I have been collecting these jars for months just for this project.
You can use already made hot cocoa mix (buy it in bulk) or make your own.

I made a little tag with instructions (sorry it's blurry). Just printed the instructions on regular paper - you could also use cardstock.



I used these rub-ons from Target's $1 spot to decorate the jar and part of the label. I got one sheet of the red and one of the blue for $1. Can't beat that! You could also paint the jar or use stickers. Just be creative. Everything but the rub-ons I had on hand.
So, for less than a couple of dollars I think this is a great gift.

Happy Homemaker Monday...

The weather in my neck of the woods: Sunny, high of 85

One of my simple pleasures: Clean sheets

On my bedside table: 'First things first' by Kurt & Brenda Warner

On my TV: Good Morning America

On the menu for tonight: leftovers from last night

On my to do list: laundry, run to the grocery store for a few things, clean office

New Recipe I tried last week: none

In the craft basket: nothing

Looking forward to: Wednesday - school's out for Veteran's Day

Homemaking tip for this week: For a clean house, invite company over. We have had company for dinner for the past 2 weekends and my house has been clean, for the most part, the entire time. I can do it fast under pressure! Who shall we invite over this weekend to keep the streak going???

Favorite Blog post of the week (mine or other): This one which shows 2 very creative 'mini mudroom' ideas.

Favorite photo of the week:

Little Miss donating a Build a Bear to Toys for Tots on Saturday.

Lesson learned the last few days: Saying 'no' when over scheduled is a good thing and people generally understand.

On my prayer list: Our men and women in uniform & their families.

Devotional, Scripture reading, key verse:
Never regret money spent on old books, old dogs, and old friends.
~H. Jackson Brown
Join Sandra @ Diary of a SAHM for more Happy Homemaker Monday.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"New" Dresser...

I finished putting the knobs on my 'new dresser'. I decided on the knobs as opposed to re-drilling the holes and buying 'pull's'. I wanted to keep the cost down to keep the dresser as close to 'free' as possible. So I picked the square blue ones - they are brushed nickel with the blue sea-glassy center. They were my favorite and first choice but the knobs were $9 each and the pulls were $10 so getting 20 of them wouldn't be too frugal, right? I ended up getting a variety and spending about $60. The wooden round knobs I just painted with my array of blue & green paint. I am glad this is finally done as it is so much easier to open the drawers now...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Got Votes?

...Apparently not.

Yesterday was election day. Some locales had big time elections (Kudos to Virginia's new governor!); some, smaller, local issues. Our town was in the latter category. Only 17% of registered voters here voted yesterday. Yes, you read that correctly: seventeen. Disgusting. I wish people would understand that just because we're not voting for President or Governor doesn't mean an election is not important. Sometimes it's more important.

Which may be the case with yesterday's election. Four years ago our town voted on an 'override' to put more money in the school's budget. It passed. Yesterday it was time to renew this override. It didn't pass - just barely 48-52. But what's the saying - 'close only counts in horseshoes'? This, unfortunately, is not horseshoes. It's our future.

The money from the override provides for things like all-day kindergarten, reading specialists (who, by the way teach our Spanish speakers to speak English - in AZ we have a large # of kids who speak Spanish only), school nurses, 'specials' - which include PE, Music & Art as well as library and computer as well as other smaller things.

I will be the first one to admit that throwing money at an issue doesn't necessarily make it better. Often times it makes it worse. And I think that taxpayer money needs to be spent very, very wisely and frugally. But after having a child in our school system for a couple of years I understand that the override money is used, for the most part, wisely.

The loss of this funding means 2 kindergarten teachers at our school will be without jobs next year. Our sweet school nurse will be unemployed. It's the tip of the iceberg. More layoffs will be taking place over the summer. I would like to think that the district administration would be able to cut costs elsewhere to keep some of the important programs running. Time will tell if they have it in them.

Speaking of school & money: we are having yet another 'fundraiser'. They are calling it the 'winter fundraiser.' Don't they know it's still fall? Unfortunately, we can't use this money to pay to keep a teacher...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Homemaker Monday....

The weather in my neck of the woods: Warming up again- supposed to be 89 today.

On of my simple pleasures: a morning walk

On my bedside table: 'Finding it' By Valerie Bertinelli (almost done!)

On my TV: Fox Business channel

On the menu for tonight: quesadillas

On my to do list: Stamp club, pet smart (need dog food), change sheets

New recipe I tried last week: none

In the craft basket: nothing right now.

Looking forward to: stamp club today, hopefully taking LM to see Santa on Saturday (we will be in Las Vegas to meet my husband who will be there for a Trade show most of the week & it's a good chance to hit the mall and beat the rush -I just hope Santa is there - he was last yr so I have my fingers crossed.)

Homemaking tip of the week: If possible, I try to do all my housework during the week so I can relax on the weekend and not feel like I 'should' be doing this or that.

Favorite blog post of the week: It was a good blog week with Halloween but I have to say I just love this one.

Favorite photo of the week:

LM is trying to tie the pink poodle to Smokey's back with ribbon so the poodle can 'ride' him. If Smokey ever runs away, we'll know why!

Lesson learned the last few days: Everything eventually falls into place.

On my prayer list: friends & family

Devotional, scripture reading, key verse:

"I have done my best." That is about all the philosophy of living one needs.

~ Lin Yutang

Join Sandra @ Diary of a SAHM for more Happy Homemaker Monday.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween fun....

Here are a few shots of our Halloween weekend.

We had some friends over for pumpkin carving on Friday night. I wanted to make a fun dessert for the girls and happen to catch Sandra Lee on Good Morning America with her semi-homemade ideas. The graveyard below is crushed chocolate cookies (I used the outside of the oreo- just tossed the cream inside), Swiss rolls (or hoho's) on the top of the 'dirt', chocolate frosting spread on the rolls to hold more 'dirt' in place. Graham crackers make the headstone. No sugar overload here!

Little Miss getting the 'guts' out of her pumpkin.
The finished product.


LM on her way out to trick or treat. Complete with 'glow' jewelry. It's all the rage here. She went as Alex from 'Wizards of Waverly Place'.


LM and her friend Sarah @ Sarah's church's 'trunk or treat'. They had a bouncy house & cotton candy there. Because we didn't have enough sugar in the little plastic pumpkin.

A fun time was had by all. And we'll likely have enough candy to last us until Valentine's Day...