Friday, December 31, 2010

six hundred, a sale, & something new

I just noticed that the Blogger dashboard says this is my 600th post. Wow!

And it's New Year's Eve.

I just listed a whole bunch of stuff in my shop. Here's a sample.

Let's celebrate!

In honor of my 600th post and New Years's, I'm offering 10% off everything in the shop to you, my most favorite blog reader, for the rest of the weekend. Upon checkout, just use the code HAPPYNEWYEAR10 to receive your discount.

And here's a little sneak peak of something else I'm working on.

Now, go shopping!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

christmas craft #1

Sometime around Halloween, Greg and the kids were in Joann's with me and announced they'd like to make Christmas blankets. So we bought the holiday fleece right then and there. And then it sat in the bag while I got ready for a craft show and filled special orders from school. 

We started this craft Monday, 30 minutes before we had to leave for dance (but please note, it did not take 30 minutes to complete).

First, cut a 4-inch square from each corner. Then on all four sides, make 4-inch cuts about a ruler's length apart.

I even let the kids use my good fabric scissors, with strict instructions to not cut any carpet. I know, wonders never cease.

While they worked on their cuts, I started my own little project.

After all the cuts are made, tie a knot in each piece of fringe.

This is a great t.v. activity. Put the blanket on you and tie while you watch.

Me? Still cutting.

All done! Snuggle up with a buddy and watch some Sponge Bob quality television.

Still! The skies continue to mock me with the constant rain for the last three days. At this rate, people will be getting Christmas cards around March. Greg says this is how he knows for sure that God has a sense of humor. It n.e.v.e.r. rains here, but in the busiest delivery week of the year, it rains constantly.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Usually, seeing our mountain in the wispy embrace of old man fog on a blustery, rainy day is a welcome sight.

But not when I had planned to do an outdoor photo shoot to take pictures of the kids for our Christmas card. Hmph!

Maybe tomorrow will be the perfect overcast with no wind or rain until after we're done.

Cross your fingers.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

humbug and a major award

This holiday season, Heather made her big break onto the stage as an actor in her drama club's performance of Humbug. It was a little play where the teacher, Mrs. Ebenezer, has lost her enthusiasm for teaching. There are visitations of ghosts. You get the idea.

During the dress rehearsal, Heather showed up on stage with this hat on and I busted out laughing. It's so outrageous and cute at the same time. When she is in high school, she will just wither with embarrassment!

Heather had a small part ~ one line ~ at the end of the play. Plus she had to share that line with another drama club member. Although it was not the part she dreamed of, she did a swell job.

This past week, Stephanie had her first band concert. Over 100 kids who just learned how to hold an instrument, read music, make noise on an instrument? That's quite a feat, so my expectations were low. I had been listening to Stephanie practice, so I knew how well she was playing. But everyone else? Who knew!

We were pleasantly surprised. I thought they were amazing. Each section (woodwinds, brass, etc.) played a little selection by themselves. They ended with a larger medley piece.

Just before the medley, the band director said a few words about how hard the kids have worked and how much they've had to learn in just a few months. Then she gave out a few awards. Stephanie was the first band member to get an award for being an outstanding oboe player. She mentioned how Stephanie takes her instrument home every day to practice and spends a lot of time practicing. The award was a surprise to all of us.

As always, I sit in the audience and watch my little lovlies on the verge of tears with a grapefruit-sized lump in my throat. They bring me such joy and I am so proud of them. When they choose to do something ~ dance, drama, instruments, singing ~ they also make a choice to give it their best efforts. That, alone, makes me happy. The fact that they are good at what they try makes it even better!

I don't know if I can take all this growing up!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

it was bound to happen

So last week at a school function, a mom came up to me with news about her niece, whom I taught in 4th grade during my 5th year of teaching. Turns out she's gonna be a new mommy in April.


When did this happen?

Just as I am not quite finished reeling from the shock, I sense someone else standing beside me. Another mom. I have a much longer and complicated history with this one. I taught her daughter in 3rd grade during my second year of teaching. I also taught her grandson/son (long story) three years ago. Her sister watched Stephanie the year I had her. Anyway, she tells me that Brittany, her daughter, is there and wants to say hi to me. I haven't seen her in a couple of years and excitedly turned to say hello (she was one of my favorites ~ even though teachers don't have favorites ~ ahem). She said hello and proudly presented a baby carrier for me to see. Her baby boy is seven weeks old.

A little bit dizzy and weak in the knees, I oohed and aahed over him. He's a cutie.

I am fully aware that this is my 15th year of teaching. Believe me, that business alone is something I can hardly fathom.

I am also fully aware that the tiny humans grow up.

But somehow in my mind, these girls will forever be in 3rd and 4th grade.

And I will forever not have a gray hair in my head!

But I guess it was bound to happen.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

vroom, vroom

My nephew, Gavin, turned two this week. 

I've been wanting to try to make a car roll-up for a little while. Now I had my chance!

What a great place to drive your cars!

I was a little nervous about the track. I didn't follow any instructions on that part. To up the stakes a little more, I didn't start making it until yesterday morning ~ and the party was at one. Greg smelled potential melt-down disaster. Fortunately, I pulled through on this one with only a few pin pricks and no tears.

When he's all done, he can park them in the "garage."

Gavin loved it. Wendy loved it. We even caught some of the older kids (jr. highers) playing with it.

All done? Park your cars and roll it up. Perfect storage for an on-the-go play item.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

tales from the schoolyard

1. Yesterday, as one of my students was sitting down to read with me, this conversation took place:
Student: Are  you going to stay up late tonight?

Me: Huh? (Ok, so I'm not always the best conversational example for the students!)

Student: It's Friday, are you going to stay up late?
Me: (with realization of what the heck he's talking about) Oh. Yes, I probably will.
You see, he's remembering a time when I told the students that I was excited for a Friday because I like to stay up late and I don't have to get up early on Saturdays.

Too bad he can't remember the difference between a noun and a verb with such clarity.

2. Someone has been taking food from my little fridge in the room. Not just the candy bars that happened to be in there for a little while around Halloween, but the plums and string cheese too.  It has happened about half a dozen times. I've narrowed down the suspects, but when confronted, the sticky-handed student lies brazenly to my face. Yet, when I told her I kinda already know the truth, she cannot look me in the eye. Very telling.

Yes, I'm bluffing. But I also didn't say what truth to which I was referring exactly. There are lots of truths in life that I know.

3. In light of the downturned economy, I am wondering if it might be a good idea to put a tip jar on my desk to supplement my income.

Except, I'd probably just get a couple of broken pencils.

Monday, November 29, 2010

first challenge

Stephanie had her first chair challenge in band last week. They were told to practice the "Dreidel Song" for the challenge.

She practiced, and practiced, and practiced the weekend before the challenge. The repeated transition between the high and low notes was difficult for her, especially at full tempo. In steps used-to-play-the-clarinet-mom with a little hint on holding the instrument during the transition. I'm not sure if I helped or confused her. When she was in tears over that darn transition, we gave her pep talks and tips. Greg played in band much longer than I, so he's better at these "band talks."

Her band director is sneaky, I tell you. What a tricky way to get all the kids to practice the hardest song in their upcoming concert ~ over, and over, and over.

She had to wait an extra long time to find out the results of the challenge because one of the oboists was absent and needed a chance to perform. But today she found out that she is FIRST CHAIR! Of course, if you have a texting plan and Stephanie has your number, it's likely she already told you this news after school!

Way to go, little one!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

first time friday

I've never been shopping on Black Friday before ~ at least not that I can remember. I've never gotten up at the crack of crazy to go stand in line in the cold only to get trampled when the store opens. I've never needed that b.i.g. ticket item for Christmas that would be deeply discounted for the brave.

This year, I did need to go shopping for a few things on Friday. We set out about 12:30 p.m. in hopes that all the crowds were worn out and at home in bed. Ha! Wishful thinking, right?

Our first stop was my favorite quilt store. Oh, the hours I could spend in there. When we were all done and back in the car, the kids proclaimed that we spent two hours in there. I could have stayed longer!

We went to the quilt store to get some supplies for an upcoming birthday. And a couple of weeks ago Greg asked me to make a holiday table topper for our kitchen table. And since he's the boss he hardly ever asks for anything, he gets what he wants. He just had to wait for my craft boutique to be over.

I couldn't decide which set of fabrics to get for the topper. I sent Greg pictures of each and asked him which he wanted. By the time he was able to text me back half an hour later to tell me which he liked, he figured I was long gone from the store, so he just said, "Surprise me." I was still in the store. I got both. He has since picked one. I will make another topper with the other fabric and put it in the store. You'll have to wait and see which is which, though.

We moseyed over to Old Navy, Target, and Hobby Lobby. Really, the crowds were nothing different than a regular Saturday except that we had to wait about 10 minutes in line at the dressing room at Old Navy. That's a small price to pay for $10 kid jeans. We stayed away from the mall. Good thing too, because as we drove by I saw the parking lot f.u.l.l. of cars.

Not a bad Black Friday experience ~ and I still got to take advantage of plenty of sales.

Friday, November 26, 2010

it's all about the food

That's not exactly what you expected to hear about Thanksgiving, is it?  But this year, "all about the food" meant all about the kids.

Our Thanksgiving turned out to be just the cozy four of us this year ~ no company, no going through the woods. So we focused on the girls. We asked them to develop the menu for our feast.

The menu consisted of the traditional fare for most houses ~ turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy, yams, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce (no can!), Aunt Nell's salad, rolls, and pumpkin pie. Heather drew a picture menu that they used for list planning and strategic planning on Thanksgiving Day.

After the list was created, I helped Stephanie & Heather go through the recipes, both on paper and in my head, and make a shopping list. They were wholly in charge of Thanksgiving shopping. Greg had taken them grocery shopping the week before to practice. He merely supervised while they did all the shopping. Since they are nonworking children, he provided the means of payment at the end too. For our Thanksgiving shopping, Greg supervised the girls while I did our regular weekly shopping in a separate cart, and even in separate aisles at times. They really enjoyed doing the shopping and I'm thinking they will be doing it more often!

The night before Thanksgiving, Heather helped start the Aunt Nell's salad. First thing in the morning I supervised the pie making. We nearly had a mishap of sweetened condensed milk being substituted for evaporated milk. Other than that, all was well.

We cooked the turkey on the grill again this year. In years past, I had always been in such a rush to get the turkey ready for cooking, the kids had never really watched. This time they felt the innards and were amazed by the way the turkey felt in its raw state. We had an fowl anatomy lesson by the sink. I finally had to send Heather away because she started petting the turkey quite lovingly and asking about how they kill them and did the turkey know it was going to die. Attachment was settling in.

We had an easier time of getting the turkey on the spit and securing it this time. Greg rigged a counter-weight system so the motor was not so taxed in bringing the breast up to the top. It was a very windy day, however, and the flame snuffed out two or three times unbeknownst to us, which added more cook time to the bird. No worries. We weren't in a hurry.

The kids cooked the meal as much as possible. They followed recipes or followed directions quite well. The onions proved to be too much and too strong at one point, so I had to finish that up. They were proud of their accomplishments. It was a delicious dinner!

After dinner we went to the movies and saw Tangled. Super cute movie. We recommend it.

And don't forget the pumpkin pie after the movies! Never forget the pumpkin pie!

Even though this year's Thanksgiving was all about the food ~ it was really all about being Thankful. We are thankful

  • for each other;
  • that we have the means to buy the food;
  • that we have a nice warm home free from wind on such windy days;
  • that our children are healthy and such smart helpers;
  • and so much more ~ too much to mention here. 

Next up ~ Black Friday shopping. Give me strength!

Monday, November 15, 2010

off they go

I sewed my fingers to nubs this weekend finishing up things for the craft boutique this weekend. I dropped them off at the boutique house tonight so the ladies can get everything set up. I always get a little nervous about this! Did I make things people are gonna like well enough to spend their hard-earned cash? Or will they put it back on the table, barely able to hide their disgust? You never can tell! Of course, I'm always rooting for their willingness to spend!

Monday, November 1, 2010

boo to you!

Stephanie went to a pumpkin carving party at a friend's house Saturday. Normally, we carve the pumpkins on the 30th, but Heather chose to wait until the next day and do it outside.  That girl loves to be outside.  Come to think of it, I think we did it Halloween morn last year too.  Stephanie "supervised" and played with pumpkin goo.

They took their time and did their own thing.  Gone are the days when they don't want to touch the gushy innards.

Heather carefully separated the seeds from the goo so we could roast them. Unfortunately, she forgot to lay them out flat to dry and now they are one big dried up glop in the bowl. Oops.

Jack-o-lantern success.

Afterwards I tortured them with chores.  Stephanie is mystified that she has to do the dishes when she "just did them yesterday." Yes, honey, that's how it works cuz you people keep eating! Then they spent the rest of the day outside enjoying the wonderful weather. Not too hot, hot too cold. Ahhh.

Dress up time! This year Heather was a nerd ~ and such a cute one she was.  She picked this costume with a little encouragement from Suzanne.  Stephanie was a delinquent devil. Although how can you call that face a devil?

 We made our usual "loop" around the neighborhood.  It was a perfect night for being out and about.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

what a week!

This must be what happens after a long week of middle school, very early mornings, three dance classes (an extra this week), a community service opportunity, and lots of homework.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

even in the rain and even in october

When the kids were much littler, the ice cream man rarely made his way down our cul-de-sac.  We'd all get pretty excited when we heard his jingle. We'd wait. And wait. Pretty soon, the kids could hear it when he was in the next county! We even walked down the street a few times to try to catch him on the street leading to ours. Our success was random.

Pretty soon the proprietor of frozen treats realized that children live down this cul-de-sac and makes his way down the street on a regular basis.  Our girls and the boys across the street couldn't be happier. Last Sunday, the familiar tune rang out in the afternoon and the kids gathered around his van...even in the rain...even in October.  It's still pretty warm here in October.  The word fall means nothing to us.

For just about the first time ever, they bought candy instead of ice cream. Who are you, anyway? Are you sure you belong to me?

I asked them what they got for me ~ "Oh! We forgot!"


Monday, October 4, 2010

necessary discussions

As I was dismissing my students this afternoon, one of my really sweet boys handed me something. He asked if I would please put his pencil in his desk because he brought it out on accident. 

After I used my microscopic eyesight to see what he gave me, I smiled and said, "Sure, honey."

Tomorrow we will discuss the fact that appropriate writing utensils should be longer than one inch. 

Just sayin'.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Is it me you're looking for?

My sister-in-law texted me this weekend and asked if everything is ok because I hadn't blogged in almost a month.

I guess it has been that long.

Would you believe that I've been on a whirlwind surprise vacation to all the gorgeous places in Europe I have always wanted to go? No?

Would you believe that I've been abducted by aliens and used for weird alien-science research? No?

Would you believe that I've been on a world tour with an up and coming girl band? No?

Would you believe that school started and I'm working on finding a groove? Yes? That is so much more believable, even if it is less exciting.

Because of a certain middle schooler's schedule, we are leaving the house an hour and a half earlier in the morning. This means that my usual morning blog time is now spent driving to a middle school then to my school and being there earlier than I'm used to.

And then, the first week of school always kicks my butt. All that time trying to winningly convince a group of newbie 2nd graders that I'm the boss, while making them think it was all their idea, is rough on a gal.

So, in case you were wondering too, I am indeed just fine.  I have some really cute first day of school pictures to show you soon. But right now, it's bedtime!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

as promised

I'm excited to add some new items to my store! I've been working on things that are perfect for teachers ~ lanyards and wristlet key fobs. What? You're not a teacher? Well, I bet you know one or two. These make perfect gifts for a very reasonable price.

But wait! These aren't just for teachers. People in many different professions wear lanyards these days. They are perfect for holding ID badges, not to mention keys. I made two different kinds. These are all patchwork and are about 1.25" wide.

These are more narrow, at about three quarters of an inch wide, and have a lobster claw clasp.

Gorgeous fabrics, right? You might need a few of them, you know, to match different outfits.

Lanyards just aren't your thing? Well, these wristlet key fobs might be just the ticket for you. It easily slips onto your wrist so you can keep your keys handy, but your hands free. Plus with these cheerful fabrics, it's not likely to get lost in your purse!

Head on over to the shop to check out all the options available. And as usual, I'll add more as I make them.