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.