Friday, November 28, 2008


If you have to Mow AROUND the snowman.....

Great and Grateful Family

The "What I am Thankful For" game went over well...everyone had a great time trying to guess who was thankful for what...In the process I saw a lot of nodding heads in agreement over what everyone else said: Mission accomplished--I got everyone thinking about what really matters.

Here are a few of my favorite responses:

-That I've made it to this age.
-That the Presidential election is over.
-I never hit a deer while driving.
-How smart my kids are.
-Extra pillows.
-Green Grass.
-A wife that doesn't complain too much.
-Even though my car is not new, it starts every time.
-My family has taught me that there are lots of ways to be rich.
-I am free and there's no one in the house.

Maybe you are thankful for some of the same things? It's a great reminder.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

If You Are Coming To My House Today....

It occurred to me that my kids can churn out the "craft", so I directed them to create this useful napkin ring.
Here's the centerpiece for the kids table...a few cranberries, a nectarine (hollowed out) with a battery operated tea lite tucked inside. I always cover the kids table with butcher paper and provide crayon cups so that they can color and draw while the adults are cooking and talking.

This is the prize that I'm offering for....

The pie game that we are playing! Here's how it works: Everyone is given a slip of paper that says: "3 Surprizing Things That I am Thankful For"--Signed Annonymous. (I'm hoping to eliminate the "health and family" replies.) The slips will be tucked inside the "pie" that we made out of construction paper weavings and with a crust of aluminum foil. After dinner, I plan on reading them and giving everyone a list so that they can guess who wrote each one. The person who has the most correct guesses wins the prize--a set of cute dessert plates!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Dawn of a New Era

Last week, I casually read an article for and against teaching cursive in schools. I found it fact, it had never occured to me NOT to teach it, but the argument was that it takes up too much time and the kids "today" really don't use it. The proponents held that cursive is important because there are certain situations where it is considered approprite to use it (personal notes, signatures). Apparently the debate rages on. Here's the window to my world: I have been trying to get my #4 Darling to write. His skill level is shown above. I'd say fine motor skills are a concern. He can write exactly zero letters, but knows and recognizes them all from A-Z. He can spell 20 or so words, but only verbally.

I was helping him on today, and all of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks! The boy knows the QWERTY as well as I do! He has no problem typing anything!

How strange...maybe someday we'll be debating whether to teach the hand written word at all.

Ok, Somehow This Guy Gets a Pass

Call it a "get out of Jail Free" card or whatever. There is this house "in town" and I just had to take a picture. Usually the pre-Thanksgiving decoration grates on me, but this house is so decorated that I can't give them a hard time for wanting to get it done while the weather was warm. Plus, it is done out of pure Joy and celebration....there is no commercialism here. I wish you could hear it...there is a constant Christmas soundtrack as well. It's a good thing that 7-11 is their neighbor (it may even be a draw for 7-11!).

My only question is: Where do they keep all of this stuff 10 months out of the year??

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving is a week away..

I'd like to celebrate the holidays one at a time. Being grateful for the things that we have and the people that we choose to spend time with.

Am I the only one? Does it make anyone else gag that on ABC, they are counting down TO the 25 days of Christmas countdown? As in: "13 days until The 25 Days of Christmas!" It made me laugh when I first saw it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Invitation to Woot

Here's fair warning: There is a Woot-Off today. I've mentioned this before, but Woot is a one day/one deal web site with really good deals on that ONE thing. Today, there's a "Woot-Off" which means that once they sell out of the "one-thing" they move on to the next. (The flashing yellow lights indicate a Woot-Off).

Check it out . Then you, too can use phrases like: "I wooted it", "I got caught up in the Woot", "Holy Woot!"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Fish Out of Water

I was at Joann's yet again today. (Ok, I was there twice, but who's counting...I've got craft).

I saw this huge burly, bearded man in Carhardt overalls and a flannel shirt with an canvas insulated vest covered with grime standing in the midst of the quilting fabrics today. He seemed so pensive and out of place. I had to make a comment..... help maybe. He stood there and explained how he was looking for a really warm fabric to make hoods out of because he and his crew are often outdoors and also work in mines where it's cold. They needed hats to wear under their hardhats.

I'm waiting for the other shoe to know..."my wife/mother said she'd make them if I picked up the fabric" sort of thing. Then he launched into how the Navy taught him how to do lots of things and the guys make fun of him and then I finally GOT IT! He sews! He showed me his vest, that he made....I'm tell'in ya ladies, I have never seen such quality. The vest was a heavy canvas, lined with a heavy quilt, the collar was courduroy...double stitched for strength, zippers, pockets, the whole thing. Wow.

Then he asked me how many machines I had...I wasn't sure if he meant hand held mixers or what. Then he said he's got 6! Six sewing machines!

Now who's the fish out of water!

I would have taken a picture except for the obvious...see my previous blog :(.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Off Kilter

So I'm feeling a little out-of-sorts. I've pieced together that the last time I knew where my camera was, was last thursday. I remeber I posted here, and the kids came home from school and the pandemonium started to swirl.

Friday at school I realized that I didn't have it in my bag (as I usually do). It's OK, I thought, I just left it at home on the counter.

It's not on the counter.

I've been waiting for it to show up all weekend. I run the same "route" through my days, so I was thinking it should be there somewhere, right on top of a pile of camoflaging clutter.

I actually started to look in earnest last night. To no avail. Now, I'm at a complete loss. It must be right next to my address book, because I can't find that either.

I'm just not allowing myself a sense of panic and loss. It HAS to be here someplace. I have pretty much figured out that it is in some very random place, like behind the green beans in the pantry, I just hope I didn't leave it on top of the garbage can.

Ok, gotta go check....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Forcing Some Paper-Whites Just in Time for Christmas

A great-grand uncle to my Mom (or something like that) stopped by recently with a big bag full of narcissus bulbs. He simply had too many and thought I'd enjoy some. Well, of course! Me and my girlfriends would ALL like some.

So I gathered up all of the big wide mouthed vases that clutter my life and stopped at the Home Depot for a $2.00 fifty pound bag of pea gravel. Some re-purposed wired ribbon from the attic was the final touch.

We had a fantastic day doing makeovers (thanks to Marzipan Mom and her recent Mary Kay connection.) We pulled names for the Secret Santa that we are planning ( I swear, I'm more excited about this $10 maximum-make-it-yourself from stuff you find around the house project than any other Christmas gift I have planned.) And, we all put together a vase of paper-whites.

Things were a little rushed as usual....we decided we need to start writing some of the things we think about down, so that we make plans to DO them!

Here are the directions for forcing some Narcissus bulbs just in time for the Holidays:

1.) Fill a dish or wide vase with a layer of pea gravel.

2.) Cover the rocks with water.

3.) Place the bulbs in the dish, flat side down, nestling the bottoms into the stones.

4.) Place the vase in a well-lighted indoor location. Keep the stones constantly wet.

Paper Whites (Narcissus) will bloom in about 6 weeks!

They are a great fragrant gift and a refreshing bloom to have in your home when the outdoors gets dreary and cold.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Christmas Items

Here are some new items that we have recently put together for Christmas! These are the most detailed fused glass. The Christmas stocking is on a black adjustable leather cord and is hung perfectly on and angle so that it hangs just right.
I just LOVE these new Santa rings that we are making! They are on an adjustable sterling dipped silver band. Just add a red or green sweater and you are festive!

Available at:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Green Before His Time

My Dad was recently recounting how he secured the building materials that he used to build his own house. It occurred to me that he was and always has been "green". Let's just say that he never throws anything away unless it's absolute junk. For all of the questionable stuff, he keeps it "just in case" and for the really good stuff, like a coffee can, that's just an opportunity waiting to present itself!

Here's how he built his own house with little or no money: Lots of sweat and effort.

Before my parents were even married, he paid $100 for a barn that was soon to be sunk (literally). The barn was on property that has since become Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park. He and my Mom would go out to the barn on Sundays and dismantle the slate roof, beams and siding. He later used some of the beams and siding in the barn at the farm, he used the slate to put a nice roof on his house.

The beams in the house came from Olbum's Furniture Store in the North Side. Apparently Olbum's was being torn down to be replaced by better things (not) and Big Mike was contracted to do the demolition. Dad just can't stand to see perfectly good building materials wasted, so he paid Mike $3 a 3X14 floor joist. He bought most of the 3rd floor. It was all he and his friend could do to get those beams down to the second floor and then lower them out of the window and onto their truck. The windows in his house are 1/4in. plate glass that used to be the display windows from the store.

The hearth used to be a curb stone from the streets of Evans City. Apparently he happened by when road workers were removing some of the curb, and was fortunate enough to have them put in the back of his truck.

So, he's "green", or resourceful or just plain grew up having to figure out creative ways to accoplish goals. I give him a lot of credit, and hope that I could do as well, if I ever need to.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I am Determined to Get Done Early This Year

I am determined to get my Christmas shopping done early this year. Every year I resolve, but this time I'm serious. I think everyone is on more of a budget this year, more so than in years past, and I'm also committing to sticking to that. I've even given myself a deadline of November 30th. Wouldn't it be nice to relax and enjoy the festive weeks before Christmas, enjoying what the season is truly about: a celebration, family, gratefulness and appreciating those that you love? This year I resolve to banish frantic mad-dash running.

The catalogs have begun to arrive at my door in earnest, and my kids have started to gather all of the toy catalogs and circle with sharpie everything that they want. Let's just say the Lego catalog is nearly one big black circle.

I love to avoid even going to the stores, so here's the plan: Order from catalogs! Couldn't be simpler, selected items arrive at your door, generously packaged in concealed brown boxes (so that they can go right to the "hiding place" without even being opened!) The only thing that cranks me off is paying for the shipping. Then I found this site: . It gives free shipping codes for more than 800 web sites!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Wise Woman Once Said:

It would be wonderful to realize that the time, money, and effort we spend on people when they are children, to point them in the right direction, will be much less than the time, money and effort we spend on trying to fix adults.--Amy Hoxie

I agree Amy, I'd also like to add that I'd like to see kids earning more and given less (mine included).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We're All Knee Deep

No Fair! My friend over at Hope Studios beat me to my laundry story!

I had to laugh yesterday at my pile of's huge. This is only the kid's clothes....neatly folded in 4 piles, one for each of them. I have to admit, it still isn't put away. Somehow I end up thinking that I'll just do the last load, and then I'll put it away. Well, by the time I get the "last load" washed and dried, There's another load.

I had another friend remark that she did laundry all day yesterday, too. I think it's funny that we all got caught up in the halloween party/last minute costume/field trip swirl last week!

Monday, November 3, 2008


We were back at McConnel's Mill yesterday. It was such and amazingly beautiful and warm day for early November. I just made sense to take advantage of the weather and go out for a walk. (By the way, I'm not sure when a walk becomes a hike, but maybe it's when you walk in the woods??)

The McConnel's mill terrain was formed when the glaciers that were moving across North America stopped at this point, dumping all of the rocky debris. The place has always been fascinating. Horses and buggies made their way to the mill to grind their wheat, and through the ages, people have left their mark. Whether it be initials carved in trees or dates carved in the stone.

I came across my favorite yesterday: How about the script?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mental Note for Next Year...Bring Tractor

It was the usual Trick or Treat mayhem around here....You know cramming down dinner at 5:30, looking for the missing parts to the costume from 5:34-5:42, looking for suitable candy bags for all from 5:42-5:48, looking for a flashlight from 5:48-5:49, one with batteries...OH, forget it.... so that at 5:59, the kids were all standing at the door for the imaginary whistle to blow at 6pm: To OFFICIALLY begin Trick-or-Treat.

We live on the edge of a somewhat rural area, and one enterprising farmer hooked up his wagon to his tractor, strung some lights, and loaded up the kids...ALL of the adults in our party were so jealous...

Wouldn't it be nice to have a seat, an cold beverage, relax and take in all of the kid's excitement from the heights of a haybale?

We're pooling our resources for next year...