Friday, December 11, 2009

The internet in my mailbox, Betty Crocker lives and a tale of car window irritation.

Hello friends! So kind of you to drop in and read my drivel. I usually post earlier than this, but my people were asleep by the time I got home from Festival Choir practice last night at 10:15 PM. Have I forgotten to mention that it was 14 F? Add a wind chill factor to that and it spells C-O-L-D. I'm good with cold, but having a little difficult adjustment to the stinkin' cold all of a sudden. Apparently, my winter ache will be my right hip again. I told Hubs that I have money down that that will be the first part I have to replace. Last year was my tendinitis affected thumb. That has been begging to differ a little to. Oh well.

Onto the good stuff. Thursday was Internet in my Mailbox Day! First, I found a lovely box. I opened it and this came out:What could it be? Why, it is a set of handcrafted cards made by my lovely friend Rachael in Virginia! That is one talented girl. Keep in mind that she not only made my set, but sets as gifts and some as donations for an auction. She also made the gift tag and her whole set of Christmas cards. She is also 5 1/2 months pregnant, works full time as a teacher, keeps house, cooks, cleans and mothers a nearly 4 year old Lily. She makes the non-pregnant of us tired with all she manages to do! In another envelope was a card and photo from my friend Jamie in Pittsburgh. (Browns just won last night against Pittsburgh and I have no idea what happened as clearly Pittsburgh should have just spanked the death out of them, but again, it was frosty cold on the lake. Maybe the weather threw them.) She managed to get an absolutely gorgeous picture of her family while on vacation, despite some vacationary unpleasantness that was going on. Her newsletter online? No wonder why someone asked her to write! She is quite talented with photography and the written word. As for me, I embraced the weather and decided to set a little TV tray out on the back step to use as a cooling area. I felt very Ma Ingalls about it, as my cheesecake was covered in a tea towel, while sitting in the brisk wind to cool. Snow swirled about and the air was crisp. It cooled my baked goods in no time! I told you I baked. Peanut Butter/Peanut Butter Chip, Butter Crisp and Red Hot Sugar Cookies. And baked some more. Almost Candy Bars. And after that, I baked some more! Ginger kisses. (Recipes to come on WFMW.)

My sister and Leland met up with me this morning to help me set up my tea table at church. We have an annual Christmas Tea, where women in the church volunteer to set up themed tables, you come to eat, drink tea and be merry. We have the most wonderful homemade broccoli noodle soup and wrap sandwiches. A lady in the church makes cookies by the hundreds to provide to each table. This year will be the first year that K- and her cousins will be attending. I've made them tea goodie bags with Fun Pads, crayons, a journal and a mechanical pencil to keep them happy. I also found some fun red and white striped ornaments. For the ladies, I have cardinal ornaments, a nature-themed journal pad and some simmering spices. And yes, you'll see the pictures come Monday for the Christmas Tour of Homes.

After setting the tea table, LeAnne, Leland and I went over to my 92 year old grandmother's house to set up her Christmas decorations. Everything was set, we went to leave and I noticed that when I came up to my car, my back passenger window was down. It was not broken out. Nothing in my car was missing. (There was nothing of value in there then anyhow.) I pulled on the window and heard CLUNK! The freakin' track fell off the bottom of the window again. I called the glass guy, was polite, but obviously irritated that it was 20 degrees and my window was down with no way to get back up. He told me to come up. I called my mother, using the few choice words that I refrained from using with Rick and mom said that she would call my dad. (My dad knows the glass guy.) I'm pleased to say that my window is repaired with no charge and should not be a problem any longer as they urethaned the seal to the glass. See, what happened was that K- tried to roll her window down to wave to Jim the crossing guard. She said that the window was stuck. She stopped trying, but I put the window lock on just in case. I explained that we didn't want to jimmy with the frozen window, as that is the window that gives us fits anyhow. Apparently, the motor pulled the track off the window at that point and I didn't know it. I went on about my business and the world was fine. The temperature went up to a warm and toasty 25 degrees. When it did, it warmed the seal that was keeping the glass in place, melted the water that was frozen between and let go of the glass.

So that leaves me to now. It is 5:07 PM. I should really be warming taco dinner leftovers and clearing K-'s school trappings from the table. Hubs will be home in a half hour and I suppose that I should quickly find the table top so that we can sit and eat as a family.

I hope that all of you have a wonderful weekend. May the weather be kind to you and may your automotive windows behave as they should.

Smiles in my day:
- Getting the tea table busted out with my sister. We divide and conquer as our mama taught us to.
- Getting grandma's Christmas things put up without any complaint from grandma. Usually, she has some decorative issues, but we did it in half the time that I'm usually able to. LeAnne and I did it tornadically, so I think that the speed made grandma's head spin.
- The laundry is all clean, on the line and awaiting deposit in their proper creature drawers.
- Leftovers.
- Hubs and his cookie baking support as clean-up crew.
- K- and her willingness to put her taste buds on the line to test drive the cookies for me. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Bailey's Leaf Christmas Meme

I've decided to do a little Christmas Meme post. Here's a little something I whipped up. Feel free to copy it and play along on your blog.

1. What is your favorite Christmas song?
O, Holy Night.
2. What is your favorite Christmas cookie?
Hershey kiss cookies.
3. What is your preference? Giver or receiver?
4. Wrap or bags?
5. Bake or cook?
For Christmas, bake. Both any other time.
6. Cut-outs or drop cookies?
Drop. I'm not a fan of doing cut-outs.
7. Christmas socks or Christmas sweaters?
Christmas socks.
8. White or multi-colored lights?
9. Real or artificial tree?
Artificial. Hubs would have a massive allergy problem with a real tree.
10. Star or angel at the top?
A star that I scored at the grocery on clearance for $1.00. It is a great star!
11. Outdoor decorations-- lights or blow-ups?
Lights, though I will admit to one blow-up penguin. Blow-ups are not my favorite, though they crop up by the dozens around here (sometimes that many per very small front yard.) My sight impaired aunt bought it for my daughter when she was 2 and K- loves it. We have it near the fence and we blow it up once or twice for K-. The rest of the time, it lies flat in the yard.
12. All year shopper or shop during the season?
All year! I start my Christmas shopping for the following year on December 26, the day after we just celebrated!
13. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate. Egg nog doesn't sound appetizing.
14. Fruitcake-- a great treat or a fantastic doorstop?
Never had fruit cake, though K- had some recently. She liked it. To me, it looks a bit too petrified for my taste.
15. Theme tree or family ornament tree?
Used to be a Victorian theme, but turned into a family ornament tree when we got K-.
16. Rudolph or Frosty?
Rudolph. Frosty is not my favorite.
17. Speaking of, what is your favorite Christmas movie?
A Christmas Story!
18. Favorite seasonal food?
Hmmm. Peppermint stick ice cream.
19. Handcrafted gifts or thoughtfully purchased gifts?
20. Do you go on a drive to check out the lights?
Yup. We drive around the neighborhood, then go on a drive to see lights with K-. This is how we celebrate her Happy Home Day. (The day that she came to be with us.) This year we are planning on making the trip to Oglebay. We tried to do this for her first Happy Home Day, but she ended up with the yucky stomach flu from court. (Here's your child. They are legally yours. Oh and we infected them with the stomach virus. Have a great life!)

So there you go. You are tagged, if you so choose to be.

Smiles in my day:
- The crank butt lady who yelled at me was really just pressed for time, going out of town this weekend for a few weeks and completely behind on her list of things to be done. Though she didn't say she was sorry for yelling at me, she was very appreciative of our efforts to accommodate her need of immediate attention. Perhaps it is because I took a deep breath right in front of her and very calmly asked, "Ma'am, what can I get out of the case for you?"
- Though the wind gusts have been 60 MPH and I'm sure sustained winds are at least 30 MPH with sudden and very odd blasts of sleet/slush/rain combo dropping from the sky, we were able to be kept safe on our travels home.
- A steady work day makes for a day that goes by at a fairly decent clip.
- The electric blanket that warms my side of the bed before I climb in.
- K-'s 97 sight words. She knows most of them and the ones she is stumped on, she is sounding out. It isn't a perfect process of sounding out, but she's on the way.
- I'm back on-line. More specifically, I'm back on track with my laundry hanging habit and since the heat is on, the clothes dry much faster downstairs than they do during the in-between seasons. A very good thing. In fact, I must go hang the laundry I just washed.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Oatmeal cookie tip

Substitute half or all of the required oatmeal for your recipe with Apple Cinnamon breakfast oatmeal. I also add cinnamon chips and craisins. YUM!

Smiles in my day:
- Working Breakfast with Santa and having to leave 15 minutes earlier than expected because of the poor child who dumped hot chocolate down the backside of my pants. It was funny and we're only 8 blocks away. Breakfast went well. For those of you who read my post yesterday, the mom count? 4. You can't receive if you don't ask.
- My MIL sent home some holiday earrings for me. :) I'll wear them to the Christmas Tea this weekend. I'm hosting a table and they will be very festive to wear.
- I'm in charge of the Christmas party for K-'s class next week and moms finally called me back! Hooray!
- A good place to work, a warm place to live, friends, family and a full tummy.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: Obligations of a PTA mom

Okay, this one took me by surprise. About a week and a half ago, a sheet came home about signing our children up for Breakfast with Santa. It was $5.00 for a breakfast of sausage, scrambled eggs, pancakes, juice, hot chocolate, a picture with Santa and a special treat. So, I kept watching K-'s backpack for information.

Finally, I sent a note to school:
"Breakfast with Santa info? If it is coming home today, disregard my note. If not, what time does she need to be there?"

Teacher response:
"Bring K- to school at 8:15 AM and plan to stay with her."

Hmmm. So I call a mom that I know from the preschool days. I know that R- is her third to do this.

"Kay, what's up with the Santa breakfast tomorrow? Mrs. H- said that I need to stay on, but I have no idea why."

"Because the moms cook the breakfast."


"The moms cook the breakfast and Mrs. C- will only allow you to make the hot chocolate the 'old fashioned way,' so it takes a long time."

"Um, what time do these kids eat?"

"9 AM. So we do the cooking and clean-up."

"Kay, there was nothing that came home that said any of this."

"Oh, I know. Nothing came home to anyone. They usually don't say a whole lot about it."

"So, I should probably pack my lunch before I leave tomorrow, too."

"Come ready to go to work and excuse yourself when you need to leave."

I don't mind helping. I really don't. My minding is that no one said anything. Parents work. There are extra children in tow. What are they supposed to do? I doubt that there will be 90 parents helping out with this thing. I called my neighbor to let her know what was going on. She had no clue and she worked the Santa Shop this past weekend. In fact, she forgot about Breakfast with Santa altogether. I'll work it, bow out when I have to and shuttle onward to work.

Next Wednesday, they scheduled the Kindergarten Christmas program for 12:15 PM. Hubs cannot go. MIL is going to go with me, but I have to leave work, go and run on back to work.

Is the wacky communication and odd scheduling typical for schools or just ours?

Smiles in my day:
- I'm still happy from all I was able to accomplish this weekend. Almost 23 dozen cookies baked. 35 + packages wrapped and dropped to their proper Christmas tree homes. 18 necklaces crafted. Laundry folded and caught back up. House cleaned. Attended Lowe's workshop, Santa Shop and Pat Catan's Secret Santa Workshop with K- and crafted things at each one. Attended Festival Choir, Advisory Board Meeting, Leadership Meeting and the Congregational Meeting Sunday night, after which I went to the grocery. I also had time to eat and sleep.
- I made a quickie crock pot of chicken soup this morning. I didn't have time to fuss with it, so it was very basic. Hubs made noodles for it this evening, ate it (it was Hubs legal since it was so basic) and he LOVED it. It was good. Hit the spot.
- We had snowfall that stuck! Big fluffy flakes! And yes, driving to work I slid a little on a bridge. It was only about 3 feet or less. Apparently, the bridge had frozen over.
- Heather stopped by this morning with donuts in hand. She called just a bit ago to let me know that they won't be moving to Ontario. At least the transfer her husband will be making is stateside.
- I found a way nifty R2D2 Play-Doh set for K-'s birthday. She was with me and very good when I told her that she needed to stand so that I could take the item I needed off the shelf and wrap it in her coat. She covered her face at the register and didn't want to see what I was getting. We hate spoiled surprises in our house.
- Rachael gets to find out the bean flavor today. I'm feeling all girl about it.

Morning comes early in a house where you need to leave with your spatula in hand. Good day to everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2009

My original post subject is now completely unimportant.

While attending the festival of many meetings tonight at church, I was able to catch up with Jane and Brian to see how their court date went. In a word, bad.

"They sent the kids back."

I cried and cried. All I could do was to hug her tight and keep telling her how sorry I was. S- and R- were every bit their kids. S- came to them very young, but R- came to them brand crinkly new. He was 2 months premature, if memory serves. (S- was the recipient of many of K-'s hand-me-downs. It always put a smile on my face to see S-dressed up in K-'s clothes.)

Apparently, this decision was all against the advice of anyone having anything to do with the kids as far as advocating for them is concerned. The judge chose to ignore the advice and give the kids back to their biological mother.

The children were returned to the mother right after court.

I cried through the two church meetings. I cried when I got home and told Hubs about what happened. I cried my way through the grocery.

Brian and Jane wanted to adopt these two children. Now they are left with an emptiness in their home.

Working through the county system as a foster-to-adopt parent can be rather trying. Hubs and I knew full well that we were being given a child because of someone else's failings. K- was the 7th child to be removed from her biological mother's custody, so the county had everything streamlined by the time they got to us.

Though we had a side swipe that rattled us, it was a blip on the radar that hardly affected the time frame for adoption anyhow.

Unfortunately, that is not the same for Brian and Jane. Please keep them in your prayers as they now adjust to their little people not being there and underfoot.

My heart just absolutely breaks for them.

Smiles suspended for the evening. Prayer requested instead.