Sunday, December 31, 2006

Two Years Ago Today...December 31

And now here we are! We don't have as exciting of an evening planned as we did in 04, but we're happy to spend our anniversary together anyway! Wedding day photos taken by Mrs. Hovan and Stephen Martin Today's photo taken by David.

December 29 and 30

December 29- Kathy S. and I went for a pedicure at Coco's. I snuck this picture. I was totally embarrassed about taking a pic, so I made sure the flash was off and pretended I was looking at pictures of my grand-neighbor that were saved on my camera! Coco's is so relaxing...just look at those recliners! It felt good to splurge for the 40 dollar pedicure and get the great foot massage instead of just the polish change. I was nervous about how well my freshly-pedicured feet would hold up after Saturday's 15 mile run (2 hours 23 minutes), but I was impressed... between the super-base-coat and my cushy new running shoes, not a bit of polish was rubbed off and no blisters made their way onto my toes! And that's December 30th picture to prove it! Silly I know.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

December 28

Lots of pictures today. I'll keep the typing to a minimum--a beautiful day for a run, although I was hoping for rain so I could curl back up and sleep. Also, I met our new grand-neighbor, Phoebe Elizabeth! She is a little cutie! I didn't get to hold her, but someday I'm sure I will! I was soooooo excited to see that they had covered her up with the blanket I made when she came home from the hospital! Tracey from ScrapVillage says that's a big honor--for my blanket to be THE one that she was brought home in! When David got home from work, we went to see her again and I swear she was even cuter than she was at lunch time! We are so excited to be grand-neighbors. It's so fun to have a baby upstairs that we can go look at anytime we want to, but we don't have to change it's diapers, care for it, or pay for it to go to college! It's great being a grand-neighbor!

December 27

It's a big job, but somebody's gotta do it. I've waited and waited but it gets clearer everyday that that somebody is going to have to be me. Tackling the scrap room is no small task. I don't just want to put things places, I want to throw things away, re-organize and put things in places that make sense. Which makes the chore take a really long time and makes me lose interest in working in here very quickly!

December 26

It's officially finished! All loose strings have been woven in and the butterflies are completely sewn on. Hooray! And just in time, too...
I took the blanket upstairs to give it to Valerie and Guillermo for baby Phoebe who is due on December 30... Guillermo answered the door quietly and I didn't see Valerie. So I asked if she was napping. He said she's still at the hospital. Phoebe was born on Christmas day at about 10 pm! How exciting! We're grand-neighbors!

December 25

Santa came! He really did! David was up early to watch the NY Giants game, and I guess Santa wanted us to get our presents at the same time, so he hid David's golf clubs in the bath tub! Ha! That Santa is one clever man! He also brought me a new camera, some crocs, and 2 magazines (I already had one of them, but I know Santa has a lot of things to keep track of, so I'm just going to give it to a friend). Today's picture is of my old camera, taken with my new camera!
I talked to Ami in the morning which was really nice, but it made me almost late to Christmas brunch. So I had to skip taking a shower. We met running Rhonda, Mike and Jill and Jill's husband for brunch which was a fun group of people to spend the morning with. We lounged around the house until it was time to cook dinner. We had invited David's troop over for dinner, so I made super-tasty corn chips with a cilantro-lime-corn-and-bean spread, delicious Christmas Pasta, Mediterranean veggies and some veeerrrrryyy tasty Chocolate-Banana Bread Pudding. Wow that stuff was good! We also had Grandma's famous Christmas candles. I got 2 cherries on mine just like Grandma would give me if I was at her house! The worst thing about dinner was our guest...he was an hour and a half late!

December 24

Christmas Eve was great! David was dying to open a present in the morning, so we each opened 1. I opened a Post Secret book, which I already knew I was getting, and David opened the corn-on-the-cob griller from my mom, which had stumped him ever since it got here! To keep David away from the presents for a while, we went to see Pursuit of Happyness at the theater. I thought it was really good, David didn't. He says that it was 'slow'- because there were no alien invasions or explosions.
When we came home, we ate and then opened lots of presents! Lots!
I got:
SB embellishments and a card kit stack
16 (!!!!) stamp sets!
Inks, Cardstock, ribbon, buttons, chipboard, punches
Mojito Mix!!
Some moose things- a cutting board, a magnet and a coaster
A toaster!
Pajamas and socks
Christmas decorations
Scrap Gurl T-shirt
kitchen stuff- pasta pot, turkey carver, condiment server, cutting boards
photo printer
table cloth & placemats that I wanted
new scrapbook album

Told you it was a lot!
David got:
grilling stuff
golf balls
pj pants
wireless keyboard & mouse
video game
and I don't really remember what else.

I was so excited the whole time we were opening presents. But, I came down hard when it was over and I remembered how much I missed spending Christmas with the rest of my family. So I made a lot of phone calls and kept myself busy cutting out stamp sets!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

All caught up! December 22 and 23

It felt like I hadn't posted a pic in a long time, but catching up didn't take that much time at all!
December 22- Since Survivor is over, we had to change up our typical "Chili's and Survivor" Friday routine. So we had Mike's Italian Garden and watched a movie. David picked these movies 'for me' because one is about a teacher and the other is something that I'll need to see in order to chat with my students about it! We watched How to Eat Fried Worms and it was really cute! I haven't read the book.

December 23-It's not even 3 pm and I'm done with my photo for the day AND my post about it??? What the heck is going on? (It could possibly have something to do with the fact that I realllly don't feel like cleaning my scrap room. Or the living room. Or the bedroom.) Well, last night David asked me if I'd make "Christmas dinner" for his troop since he has nowhere else to go. I said I'd make something, but not to be advertising it as a traditional Christmas dinner. There will be no turkey. There will be no ham. There will be no mashed potatoes. There might be some cranberry sauce since I think I have an extra can and I love that stuff! Last year we had Rachael Ray's Christmas Pasta on Christmas Eve. It made a lot, so this year we'll have it on Christmas day when the guy comes over. I also invited my newest set of neighbors to come down since they said they didn't have anything planned.

Catching Up- December 20 & 21

December 20- Our last school day! I got several gifts from my students- mostly candles and candle-related gifts. Like this candle holder from Bailey. I love it because it reminds me of these tiny old fashioned Christmas houses that my Grandma puts out at Christmas. They have glitter on the roofs, and so do the houses painted on this candle holder. I think I saw the same kind of houses in a Martha Stewart or similar style of magazine recently. I have always loved them! So this gift makes me happy!

December 21- Our house guest, Black Cat, in one of his two spots. If he's not sitting in the dining room on top of the bookshelf, then he's curled up in the very back of my closet, and I always think he is a black shirt that fell off its hanger!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Catching Up- December 18/19

December 18- Binding off! Finally finished the blanket! After working constantly on it for 2 weeks, I let it sit untouched for almost as long. But finally... a whole blanket made by me!

December 19- More crafting...we made these cute little fingerprint snowman ornaments in class as Christmas gifts for parents. A poem is attached, it says, "These aren't just little snowmen, as anyone can see. I made them with my hand, which is a part of me. Each year when you trim the tree, you'll look back and recall/Christmas of 2006 when my hand was just this small."

Catching Up Again

December 16- My new running shoes after their first run. They're Saucony Grid Triumph and they're wonderful! Not a thing bothered me after 13 miles (2 hours 13 min) in these puppies! The photo is under the Christmas tree because, technically, they were a Christmas present. But I just couldn't wait!

December 17- David insisted on opening a present the week before Christmas. He let me open a Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cookbook and I let him open these puzzling items from William Sonoma. For a while David was just like "What the...??" Finally after piecing them together (and looking at the packaging) he figured out that they're salt & pepper shakers with really long handles for grilling.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Everyone, meet Black Cat

David and I are catsitting! A teacher from school is leaving for Christmas, so we get to take care of Black Cat until mid-January. Unfortunately, BC is a little shy and wouldn't come out for a picture. Yet. I'll get him one of these days!
The great thing about having a shy cat in your house is that you can knit in peace--something I'd never be able to do with Moby in the house. So, thanks to Black Cat (and a 3 hour Survivor finale) I finished the baby blanket! 12 days before the baby's due date! Hooray for me! Pictures later...

Of all the cookies I could be...

You Are a Chocolate Chip Cookie

Traditional and conservative, most people find you comforting.
You're friendly and easy to get to know. This makes you very popular - without even trying!

Looks delicious... but how do I end up being a Tinsel Tree and a Chocolate Chip Cookie? Quiz courtesy of Tracey.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Got Cookies?

I had a fun time at my cookie party... except I'm really irritated that 3 people did not show. Do they not understand the concept of a cookie party??? Only 1 called to say she was sick and unable to make it. The other two just didn't show. Anyway, the people who did show were fun and so it didn't matter that the others didn't come! I have plenty of cookies anyway. I also made the bacon-ranch dip (that I first had this Thanksgiving), fudge, spiced cider (never made it before!). I set out cheese cubes, chex mix, and dried fruit with peanuts.
Angel arrived first...while I was out picking up Saori at the gate. Her cookies came out very cute! I haven't actually tasted any of the cookies except Stacy's Snickerdoodles. Saori made honey-nut-raisin cookies, Jill made lemon cookies, Angel calls hers Christmas Cups, and Beth made "Easy Cookies". I made the cran-white choco and also some chewy chocolate.
We used reindeer plates for snacking and I set the table with Santa Baby plates.

We also used the reindeer wine glass charms on mugs for hot cocoa or cider.
We did a left-right story to see who got what party favor, and then I allowed trading because I am so nice. All in all, it was a nice afternoon, and I don't think anyone left starving.

Friday, December 15, 2006

December 15-America's Next Top Model

I brought home this pearly garland today to use in a decorative glass bowl filled with ornaments. (The bowl is big and the ornaments are 3 bucks each, so I wanted to find a cheap-o filler).

Have I ever mentioned how living with David is often like living with a small child? For instance, as quickly as I got the pearly garland in the bowl, he had it out, wrapped around himself and acting like a fancy lady. I knew it had to be my picture of the day...but how can I choose just one?

David hits the runway.
This is when the high-fashion photographer in me said "You're angry with me baby!" (In my head, for some odd reason, I sounded just like Austin Powers)
David's through with fashion... he knows he's got the bod for Muscle & Fitness. Ha!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Officially caught up!--December 14

I wanted to take a picture of the 3 packages I sent off, in hopes that they'll make it in time for Christmas...but, David had the camera (again) how frustrating!
I wanted to take a picture of the parking lot of the post office... an hour after David told me "there are only 3 people in line" it was packed!
So I ended up taking a picture of the tree skirt that we finally bought yesterday. Last year, I bought fabric, designed a pattern, and started to make one. But I never finished it (I'm noticing a trend just from the entries I've made today). Even though I kept telling David that as long as we have enough presents under the tree, we don't need a tree skirt, he still really wanted one. So we picked up this cute snowman one. David also got pinecone garland and mistletoe to hang in the entryway between the living room and the hall way, and a cute snowman door hanging.

Almost up to date- December 13

I really wanted this picture to be of my student Raya at her Christmas choir performance. She invited me to go and it was right around the corner at Chapel 1, so I went, at 6:30, directly from my classroom where I had been all evening making sub plans for Thursday. See, I was going to take a day off so I could make my holiday gifts and treats, clean up for my cookie party and send off a few packages at the post office. I had planned to work on this stuff Wednesday night and all day Thursday. Then, the phone rang... It was Angel, a parent who typically volunteers on Thursdays, calling to tell me that she wouldn't be coming in to the classroom the next day because she just had too much holiday stuff to get done with. I told her that's why I wasn't going to be at school the next day too. And somehow, that took nearly 2 hours on the phone! Yikes! Needless to say, I did not meet all of my goals for my day off!

Still Catching Up- December 12

The Life Cycle of a Yarn Ball.

I bought a ball of this cute yarn around this time of year in 2003 at my favorite little yarn store in Sacile, Italy. I took it home and made a scarf with it. Then, a few weeks later, my knitting friend Erin gave me a birthday gift--3 more balls of the very same yarn. I thought I could make a hat to match my scarf, so I started making the hat. But then I realized I would still have 2 balls of yarn left, so I took apart the hat I was making, and took apart the scarf I had made and turned them back into balls of yarn. Decided I was ready to make a sweater. Knitted the front, the back, and one sleeve of the sweater-to-be, and then noticed that ponchos were all the rage. So pulled the sweater pieces apart and rolled them back into a much bigger yarn ball. The poncho pattern I made was two rectangular pieces sewn together. I finished up the first rectangle on the train to Rome. Finished the second rectangle on the way to Florence. Started sewing them together one night in Venice. Almost 3 years ago. I never finished stitching them together, and the poncho pieces were transported to Indiana and then to Okinawa Japan. The other day I decided that I wanted to knit a sweater (again) using the same darn yarn. So, I got David to unknit the poncho for me as I rolled it back into a yarn ball. And here we are, back at square 1...again.

Playing Catch-Up December 11

After working sporadically on this project for months, I finally finished one! Two more to go (although since I'm posting on December 15, I can now say that all are finished!) It's a card holder/perpetual calendar that is for someone who I hope is not reading this right now! Got the idea from Irene M on ScrapVillage.

Playing catch-up-December 10

A cookie thief is among us! Caught David stealing cookies... good thing I had more! Baked these delicious Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread cookies for a cookie exchange at school. They were a big hit, I've had several requests for the recipe, and I've heard people who weren't even at the cookie exchange talking about how good they were!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Another Christmas Quiz

You Are a Snowflake

You live for the winter - blizzards, cold nights, snowball fights! The holidays are just a bonus!

Don't worry... I'm still taking my photos, just haven't gotten them uploaded yet.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

Last night, I walked into a Winter Wonderland.
At about 2:30, I got a call from one of my students' moms. Her daughter was in my class as a 1st grader last year, and now in 2nd grade. She's active in volunteering and so we've gotten to be casual friends. She plays Bunco once a month, and tonight someone was sick and needed a sub. So I was invited. I had to take a $20 gift, and a $10 ornament. Luckily though, she had an extra ornament and... I had an extra gift here at home! David bought me a book for Christmas and Amazon sent two of the same one instead of one of each that he ordered. So I gave the book and a little packet of handmade cards. We met at Chili's first, and then went to Angel's house (my student's house too!) to play. Now, I was really getting excited, because some of my students have been asking Angel when she comes to volunteer if they can come and look at her house. Today's picture is the outside of her house. And the photo does not do it justice. Spinning Christmas carousels, a bouncing, singing Santa, a lit-up ladder and Santa climbing into a window. I wish I would have taken my camera INSIDE too... whoa. Now, my mom has quite a few Santas, but this was unreal. It was like walking into the gift shop after cutting down your fresh Christmas tree. Life-size Santas, moving Santas, Santa snow globes, ornaments, I am not kidding you... 3 curio cabinets full of Santa memorabilia. It was very festive.
Wow...seeing your students' parents outside of class is weird... I think she was being on 'good behavior' since I was there, but I joked that I was going to have her name crossed off of the approved volunteer list now that I've seen her true colors! Bunco was fun... too bad nobody's moving so I can only sub. Unless I find 7 friends who want to play at my house. I tied for the most wins (19 out of 30) but I had a great winning streak for a while there! Now I have a whole night's worth of cleaning, holiday treat making and gift making to make up for! Yikes!

December 8-Roll out the Barrell

Tonight was the faculty Christmas party at school. Everyone said it was "at the Barrell", but it never actually dawned on me that we'd actually be eating inside a huge, giant barrell! It was a really cool building. The food was good, but the portions were too small. I did hear, though, that if you go and order off of the menu (rather than family-style) you'll be satisfied with the food. It did kind of weird me out to have fish staring at me as I used the rest room though. Anyway, the party was fun, even though we did not win the money tree. David even got chosen to reach in and draw the winner. People just love him. I don't get it :) He did pick one of my good school friends, Stacy. She's having a baby in April so if it had to be somebody besides me, I'm glad it was her!
Unfortunately, I forgot my camera. Which is really unfortunate because the building was so cool, and looked beautiful decorated for Christmas. I did, however, take a picture of the pile accumulating on my bed as I decided what to wear. My December 9 picture could have been all of these (and more) clothes thrown onto the floor because I left them all on David's side of the bed. I fell asleep on my own side of the bed before I put the clothes away. Anyway, I didn't end up wearing any of the things thrown onto the bed.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Why I was late to work this morning...

ScrapVillage is having a Canvas Concepts contest and today was the last day to enter. You know how I love to win things and I'm hoping to hang on to my lucky streak into the new year. So, I knew I wanted to enter. Only, have you noticed that ever since about November 15, time has been moving faster? Last night I realized that today would be Dec. 7, and thus, the last day to enter. So, last night I gathered my supplies and painted my canvas. This morning, I got up early so I'd be on time to the faculty meeting (It's common practice for the speaker to embarass people who walk in late, and I didn't want to go down that road...again). But, then I realized that I hadn't completed my project! So I worked on that all morning, you know, instead of taking a shower, eating breakfast or brushing my teeth. Then, at about 7:05, I realized that I had to do all of those things and leave for work within 15 minutes to get there on time. Oh, and don't forget the most important thing---uploading a picture of my project to the gallery! Of course, as non-luck would have it, the computer just wasn't accepting my upload and I had to try 3 times! I parked my car and as I opened the door to get out, I heard the announcement "Faculty meeting in the cafeteria right now" and as I hustled to the caf, it dawned on me... ScrapVillage does not use Japan Standard Time. I had a whole 'nother day to get all that done! it is, my photo for December 7, one day earlier than I needed it to be!

So...I'm not getting fired?

Pretend it's Dec. 6, ok? (I took the pic yesterday) Had my observation/evaluation today with my assistant principal. My students were, and I quote, "Very well behaved", which absolutely shocked me. Perhaps some of them remembered last year when I promised them popsicles for good behavior during a principal's visit.

How I Met My Monster

AFN is playing season 1 of How I Met Your Mother, 2 episodes in a row, on Thursday nights. Typically, there is nothing worthwhile on on Thursday nights (or any other night, for that matter), but one Thursday I was flipping through and started watching. OMG it is the sweetest, funniest, best and addicting-est show ever! David started watching with me and he was hooked... I've created a How I Met Your Mother Monster---we got the 1st season and watched all of it in 3 days! (This photo taken as we watched on Dec. 5) How I Met Your Mother is ruling our lives. I wake up wondering if Ted and Robin will ever last... we order in rather than go to a restaurant so we can watch a few episodes. We've started describing things as "Awesome", "Legendary" and "Steak Sauce". Ok...I've got to go it's Thursday night and I can watch a HIMYM rerun on AFN!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Gas & Gifts

My pictures from yesterday (Dec. 3) and today (Dec. 4)... so far so good on keeping up with the challenge!
Dec. 3- I filled up my gas tank! This may be a pretty normal thing for most, but since I drive only 5 miles every day to work and back I rarely need a refill. Plus, when I do, I normally sucker David into using my car so he'll fill 'er up!

Dec. 4- I opened my first Christmas present... a Willow Tree angel ornament from Katelyn, one of my 1st graders. Today was her last day until after Christmas break. She's going to Wisconsin to be a flower girl AND to meet our pen-pals at Prairie! Awesome!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I'm a tinsel tree!

Found a link to this quiz on a Villager's blog... thanks, Beth!
You Are a Tinsel Tree

For you, Christmas is no different than the rest of the year.
And this means you do things your own way - and continue to surprise people.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Can you remember yesterday? And the day before?

Really it's the 3rd, but I've got to pretend it's the 1st and 2nd so I can post my pics for the ScrapVillage picture-a-day challenge.

My photo for December 1: I can tell that Dec. 1 was a Friday, because there is a Chili's take-out bag in the picture and every Friday we have Chili's and watch Survivor. I even included the remote controls. It's on channel 7. And of course our tree with 6 presents under it. So far, we are tied 3 to 3 with presents!

Before, during, and after Survivor, I was working my little fingers off trying to complete a baby blanket in time for a baby shower on Saturday. I did NOT finish, but at the suggestion of some friends, I gave the gift as-is and asked them to give it back to me so I can finish. They live right upstairs so it's no big deal.

Which brings us to our Dec. 2 picture(s). Here is the blanket-to-be. I only have a little bit left to finish, should be done well before the end of the week, and that's with knitting less fervently than I did this week. The pattern for the blanket came from the Stitch & B*tch book (except of course I couldn't find any beautiful or fun yarn, so I'm using plain ol' Red Heart (ick) from the Arts & Crap center. ) After frustrating myself trying to follow a pattern for a crocheted butterfly, I found a knit butterfly pattern in Stitch & B*tch Nation. I might put a few more butterflies on before I'm officially finished. Haven't decided yet. Or maybe I'll try to make a few smaller butterflies. I wonder if it's just like half-ing a recipe. Anyway, I'm really proud of my blanket (even if it didn't get many oohs and ahhs when presented at the

baby shower)... I believe I started this the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Which means I worked on it for just 13 days. And not at all on Thanksgiving, because I was cooking all day. Kind of makes me wonder what's up with the other baby blanket I have in my knitting bag... it's been in the works for over a year!

My Saturday

It all started at quarter to six this morning. I met with my fellow runners for a 7 mile run. I was really happy that this girl about my age and about my pace showed up. I'm in a funny middle-ground when she's not there... not fast enough to run with the guys in the group but too fast for some of the ladies in the group.

Came home, showered and baked some more chocolate-chip pumpkin muffins.

I turned on the Christmas jams and lit the trees and a holiday candle. Then 3 ladies came over to stamp some cards. That was fun... but right after they left, I had to go to a baby shower. Unfortunately, my baby present wasn't finished. But I'm workin' on it... pictures later.

Then about 2 hours to relax (while working on the blanket, of course!) before a housewarming party... it was okay. But... now I'm off to watch my new fave show- How I met your Mother!
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