Friday, December 31, 2010

The new year list of tweaking.

I actually did fairly well on last year's list.  I have another new year post of listish things.

1.  Cook more.  I love to cook.  There are times I've held back on cooking particular things because Hubs can't eat it.  He's fine with having something different, so we'll just have to ride that one a bit.  I made my very first pan of lasagna the other evening and it is lovely.  Actually, I made two loaf pans and froze one.
2.  To go with number 1.  Menu plan.  Don't just pick things up that are on sale.  I have a pretty great shelf in the basement where I have extras.  (My house is too small for an actual pantry in the kitchen.  Someday I'll have the steps enclosed and we'll be able to build my dream pantry under there.)  Have solid things in mind.
3.  It's okay if the grape tomatoes are $1.79.   K- loves them and don't hold back because they cost more than usual. 
4.  Now that the studio is bailed out, make things.  It would be nice if I could get my act together and start earning more money to be able to put some cash away for college.  We have a savings of sorts, but not nearly what it should be. 
ETA:  I did the budget, we're good for saving for college there, so I'll be able to use any money made from the sale of my work towards purchasing a new set of dishes.  (Fiesta Ware, if you were wondering.)
5.  Exercise.  I hate it and look like a skating cow when I do it, but it must be done. 
6.  Budget more.  Spend less.  We always give the budget a re-do in January and June, but we need to pull that in even a bit more.  We'll need to buy Hubs a truck in about a year and a half and my goal is to be able to pay half down.  I have a savings, but I promise that it is not currently even close to half down. 
7.  Say no to flying through the drive thru.  I won't start and neither will K-.  A couple of bucks here and there do add up.
8.  Look at the gardens.  What works?  What doesn't?  Plant tomatoes, but not 4 plants.  Growing beautiful plants that give pounds of tomatoes is lovely, but having them fall all over the ground and waste away isn't mindful of what we have.  Plant only grape tomatoes (Sun Golds) and don't fiddle with the others.  Thin out some plants in the butterfly gardens.  Register the yard as a Monarch Waystation.
9.  Thin through the things that we have.  Use what we have.  The bed bug thing has really kept me from visiting the thrift store, so that has helped. 
10.  Continue to think about how we can be more environmental.  I would love a rain barrel.  Perhaps that would be a nice birthday gift suggestion. 

That is my list of goals for the year.  I'm hoping for good things.  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family time and my friend that won a car.

I surprised K- this evening with a McD's play date with her family.  We exchanged gifts for birthday or Christmas, the kids played for a couple of hours and we enjoyed hearing about how H-


Yes, she won a car from Oprah on one of the Favorite Things show this past fall.  Can I tell you how extremely thrilled we are for her?  H- was nominated as a hometown hero for her work with adoption.  She's great at what she does.  We have K- because of her and her husband.  That alone deserves a car as a reward!

She scored some pretty fancy earrings, sparkly Ugg boots that make her giggle every time she wears them, an iPad (I played with it a little, but McD's had no WiFi!), a $500.00 gift card to Nordstrom's, a Coach bag, something about pot pie but I didn't get details.  How can you really go wrong with pot pie, though?  There's a set of brand new pans.  A good set of brand new pans.  I've seen H-'s pans.  I may very well have helped to cook with them.  Girlfriend needs a new set-- bad.  She's been sharing a $150.00 tin of popcorn.  K- has a very expensive snack awaiting her tomorrow. 

H- deserves it.  She deserves all of it. 

The new car?  Her current car has the window duct taped because the motor is broken and it is a $700.00 repair.  She has a 22 mile drive to work.  The little VW bug that she'll be getting will get great gas mileage. 

K-?  Her prize was her family.  To her, that was worth more than the gifties that H- scored from Oprah. 

Smiles in my day:
-  Surprising K-.
-  My work week is done.  I'm not a fan of working sale.  People have been very well behaved this year, though. 
-  Getting a resolution to the Saga of the Sauce (post below.)  Though I'll be pitching the jar, perhaps the e-mail discussion that I had opened the owner's eyes to being a little kinder next time. 

Have a great day! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Saucy Ending.

---------- Original Message ----------

Subject: RE: A gift box question

Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2010 09:18:36 -0500 (EST)

Actually Amy, I am a manager of sorts; I own [ - - - .]

[ - - - ] no longer prints expirations on their jar lids and they haven't had that shape of jar or style lid for awhile; we don't have any on the shelf. That's why I thought you were intrepreting our pricing sticker as an expiration date. That happens.

I am glad that you are familiar with [ - - - ] and you must realize then that our product guarantee policies are simple. Whether you were re-gifted or wherever your jar came from, we'll replace it. We're not beyond human error here, and it may well have been our error, but I don't know where the jar came from. Regardless, bring it in and we'll replace it, or we can mail you a rplacement jar.

I apologize that you misintrepreted the motive of my explanation below.

- - - - - - -

My response back:

Thank you so much for your response. Since you haven't had that style of jar in quite some time, it isn't up to you to replace product that has perhaps been passed on. I do appreciate your getting back to me and telling me about the change of style of jar. That does make a heap of difference.

I'm sorry for whatever time that you've had invested in trying to help me.


- - - - -

I admit that I was a bit more apologetic and wordier, but Hubs made me simplify. The original response back irritated him, too.

So there we have it folks. The sauce will hit the round file and we'll be dining on some lovely noodles with Italian dipping sauce on the side.

The end.

So, I received this wonderful gift for Christmas.

The neighbors sent over a beautiful box from a high-end, specialty grocer in the area.  To get a product from this particular grocer as a gift gives warm fuzzies inside. 

I was so excited.

We received it on Christmas and I decided to prepare the product for dinner on Sunday.  I'm a stickler for dates on products, so I dug in to check everything out before making it. 

Italian dipping oil?  Good through 2012.  Great!

Noodles?  No expiration, but noodles probably don't generally go bad.

Mushroom pasta sauce?  Expired in August.  Actually, the lid says:
Knowing all that, I decided to contact the store. 

-----Original Message-----

Sent: Sunday, December 26, 2010 5:08pm
Subject: A gift box question

To Whom it May Concern:

Imagine my surprise yesterday when my neighbors delivered a beautiful box from your store
to us for Christmas. Oh, what an incredible treat!

I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous box today and use the items for dinner. I untied the red and green organza ribbon, placed the fresh sprig of pine in a pot to make the house smell of Christmas pine and cut into the cellophane wrap. In the box was [ - - - ] Italian dipping oil, [ - - - ] penne ziti rigate and [ - - - ] Pasta Mushroom Sauce. Because I'm a stickler about food and expiration dates, I did a check.

The oil? It expires in 2012. The noodles are without expiration, but they do have a [ - - - ] sticker with white out over the price and then there is the [ - - - ] Pasta Mushroom Sauce. Expiration? 8/28/2010.

At first, I thought that we had been re-gifted. My husband and I kind of giggled about it. But then I started thinking. It was undoubtedly a [ - - - ] made box, had the red and green organza and the sprig of fresh white pine.

There is no way that I would discuss the expiration of goods with my neighbors. They would be absolutely mortified.

It brings me to this question. Did you sell pre-packed holiday gift boxes in the description I gave (in a white half box with [ - - - ] stamped in gold on both sides with white shredded paper inside and including the three items) and if so, is there any way that you would consider rectifying the expiration situation? [ - - - ] is synonymous with quality and I was very shocked when I discovered the terribly expired item in my Christmas gift box.

Thank you in advance for your time.


---------- Original Message ----------

Subject: RE: A gift box question
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2010 09:43:12 -0500 (EST)

Thank you for your question.

Unlike the grocery store, we still put pricing stickers on containers for the benefit of our customers. The date on the pricing stickers is the day we put it on the shelf; it's not an expiration date. It helps us rotate product on the shelf, as many of the manufacturer's dates are cumbersome to read without considerable study. Your pasta sauce was priced on 8/28/2010 and placed on the shelf on that date.

[ - - - ] doesn't have a best by date printed on their containers; I suspect it's because they are a tiny company in [ - - - ] OH with sales small enough that they aren't required to. However, we have good movement on all the [ - - - ] products. Normally a pasta sauce will have a 2-year shelf life, so your sauce should be good for at least another year.

My follow-up e-mail:

I understand the size and pricing of your store. Believe me, I've been to [ - - - ] in the past. I'm also apt to believe that given the photo evidence that I have now attached to this e-mail, you did not take the time to investigate my complaint beyond your expired knowledge.

The jar does say "BEST BY 082810" and it is printed on the lid of the jar.

That is NOT a shelf date. That is an expiration.

It is sad that your company would be willing to sell and defend selling expired goods in gift boxes purchased by customers thrilled to pass your products on for gifts. I tried to be understanding. Mistakes happen. I work at a locally owned, non-chain store myself. I understand that when there is a customer complaint, we resolve it. We don't excuse it away. We also walk away from our counter to do hands-on investigation.

Please pass this on to a manager. I would like to have a resolution to this matter from staff that roams the floor and is more familiar with the product.

- - - - - - - -

The jar of pasta sauce in question? It is a $7.00 jar of sauce. Given that I tend to buy sauce that is $1.39 at the local discounter, it seems kind of spendy to me. It's worth it for good, non-expired sauce, but a little rich for me. That is probably precisely why the neighbors bought it for us. They knew that we wouldn't.

The neighbors don't know and won't know.

This is the day that I go to you. Would you have tossed it or would you have gone further with it. I admit that when I got the response back this morning, I was ticked.

Oh internet, what would you do?

Smiles in my day:
- The childcare shuffle continued, but mom is off today so K- will be going to hang out with my nephews for a bit this AM and hanging out with my mom for the day. Hooray!
- K- doesn't realize it, but we'll be going to have dinner with her siblings AKA her "bamily" tonight.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


First, I want to thank each and everyone of you for your kind words and prayers.  It isn't very often that I hit bottom, but this time was like taking a ride down an elevator shaft with no way to stop.  Thanks to all of you and your sympathetic reading eyes, I have bounced from the bottom of the shaft and am back up again.  Whew.  It was a down yo weeks in the making and when the bottom fell out, it was kind of ugly.  Thanks for being there.  :)

On to much more fun things. 

Hubs does it every year.  Each and every year, I work hard on finding a perfect gift combo for K-.  Since instituting the 3 only gift rule regarding Santa's offerings, K- and I both need to zero in and focus on something instead of having Hanukkah style Christmas.  (Believe me, it happened.)  K- belted out some things that she wished for, but I told her that when she says things that she's hoping for, it is just a suggestion and not a list of demands.  I told her that Santa doesn't work that way and he keeps in close touch with me anyhow.  Her response was something to the effect of, "I always love whatever Santa brings me." 

K- asked for a Nintendo DS.  I had done some price checking, ended up getting it online and paid $59.00 plus tax and $4.00 in shipping for the DSi.  Cool!  I had a necklace made for her from a lovely woman on Etsy.  I told her that Mrs. Claus made it especially for her.  We had the DSi, Hubs bought a skin and a few games for it.  The pile was tiny for Christmas this year.  We got something she wanted, though.

There's the stocking.  I tend to be an over-purchaser for the stocking.  I try, but I find books and things.  This year, I had it on the money.  Everything was good.  Everything fit.  I didn't go terribly overboard.  Then Hubs decided to go to Walgreen's for a DS accessory kit. 

He bought a set of noise magnets.

He bought Flarp noise putty.

He bought a "farter" AKA the Whoopee cushion. 

Oh. my. heavens. 

He trumped me on the stocking.  All my hard work down the drain with one self-inflated, scentless, noise-making fart balloon. 

She took it to Christmas and bless my in-law's hearts, she put it under all of our chairs, flooped it all day long and we still laughed.  Really, it is right up my father-in-law's alley.  My mother-in-law, notsomuch, but even she was cracking some hilarious laughs about it.  I think that it was K-'s enthusiasm and need to perfect the ability to make a truly realistic fart sound minus the noxious fumes. 

Good times, I tell you. 

Smiles in my day:
-  K- downstairs in the basement rolling along on her razor scooter with helmet and knee pads in shorts and short sleeves and slippers when I arrived home.  I should add that outside it is about 20 degrees.  Obviously, our home is well heated.
-  The fact that Hubs cleaned the basement and that K- can roll along on her razor scooter with helmet and knee pads in shorts and short sleeves and slippers. 
-  That it didn't matter that I didn't wake to my alarm today.  I always do, but Hubs took it upon himself to turn it down because he said it was too loud.  Well, it may have been too loud to listen to, but it was loud enough to wake me up.  I woke up with more than enough time to read the paper, have breakfast, pack a lunch and go forth to the retail public.  Yes, I did turn it back up.
-  A friend that can bail me out on child care for the next two days. 

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Losing Bailey.

Most of my regular readers are familiar with our loss of our first daughter Bailey.  Yes, it was nearly 8 years ago.  There are times when it comes back up. 

Don't get me wrong, her loss is always in a way right at the surface.  It can creep below the scab for a really long time.  It's just when there are occasions that come up that remind of her loss, like this past week, it's like the scab has been ripped clean and the sore begins to weep once again.

First, I'm surrounded by pregnant woman.  Don't get me wrong, I love babies.  L. O. V. E. babies.  The women, the bellies, the pregnancy complaints, the comparative stories and the birth details.  [breathing deeply]  It's an exercise of keeping me from doing the duck and run.  It's not a jealousy thing.  Oh, I would never in a million years want to see anyone lose a child.  How it hurts.  I can't truly explain.  [insert welling tears]  I just wished that people could be pregnant and magically give birth in one fell swoop.

Frankly, I think that many of the pregnant ladies would agree.  (Not all, I know.) 

I have two cousins due within a week or so of each other.  They are due next month.  Christmas Eve dinner was the typical comparative pregnant women talk.  Nothing was meant as offensive.  When we drove home, Hubs had asked me about it.  I'm hoping that I hid my emotions better with everyone else or that he was just better in tune to me.  He said, "How thoughtless!"  "[Hubs], they are pregnant.  They truly meant nothing thoughtless or wrong.  Bailey has been gone for almost 8 years.  They probably didn't think about it.  I do all the time, but I doubt that they even gave it a thought."  (Neither one did anything wrong.  My cousins would be beside themselves if they knew of my sadness.)

"Well, I did." 

So there I am, doing the cringe on my own (silently, of course) and there is Hubs, in the same big Titanicish boat with me.  How thoughtless of me not to consider that either.

A couple of days ago, my aunt's health aide came down and they were telling me about how her granddaughter had given early birth to her twin babies.  They were at 4 1/2 months along, were born despite efforts to keep them on the bake, they stayed alive for 3 1/2 hours and were gone.  Their funeral is tomorrow.  She was talking about getting dog tags made with the babies foot prints on them.  I was talking with her about having Bailey's foot prints hanging on our bedroom wall.  I gave her the name of the memorial company who, when we told them that we were looking to purchase a stone for a baby, told us that they provide those stones at no cost.  They had a selection of maybe 10-12 and the gentleman apologized for not having more.  I told her that people were giving me a hard time about not having a stone earlier.  (It took us about 6 months after she passed to go.)  It's just not something that you snap right up and say, "I'm going grave stone shopping today!"

She was telling me about the beautiful photos that the hospital had taken of the babies.  Hands and feet, all taken in detail.  I told her that we had been provided with a roll of film that I've yet to develop.  They were living in the world of pinkish babies.  To skip detail, I can tell you that I was not.  No thank you, Baby Bailey will be in my memory forever and I can't do the photos.  Period.

We talked about how my mom went on the hunt for a dress for bitty Baily to wear.  In the end, I do recall that she was buried in a blue flowered dress.  I think that it may have been a doll dress and I know that it was provided by someone or something of the hospital or funeral home nature.

I sat in church this morning in tears.  It's not often that the loss of Bailey hits me so hard.   The water in the church has been tainted with major pregnancy hormones that have three ladies due within a month of each other this coming May.  We just had two babies born in the past week.  One pregnant mom was a part of the Christmas tea and gave full detail about how she wanted another baby, her husband wasn't on board, she prayed and had a bunch of other people praying about it and last Christmas he gave her a baby name book, they were having a baby and it's all good.  (I would want it no other way.)

So I'm in a funk.  Rachael would call it a down yo.  It's not that Christmas was bad.  We had a lovely time.  We spent time with family.  Christmas was very good.  I've just been working up to this funk. 

Smiles in my sparsely blogged week:
-  K- running from house to house delivering baked goods.
-  The true meaning of Christmas, of course!  (Not to be trumped by the baked good bit.)
-  Being able to get together with family on Christmas Eve and having it be like it was when we were kids. 
-  My parents getting our white elephant offering and being really thrilled.  It was a plug-in mini fridge for the car that we gave them, they decided that they weren't using it, they gave it to Hubs, we weren't using it, I tried to unload it at the yard sale, it didn't go and it was white elephanted.  My mom was so thrilled, as my father has said on numerous occasions how they wished that they had it back!
-  My father received the owl pellets.  Apparently, that will be a passable thing every year now.
-  We got the gingerbread house done on Friday.  Or was it Thursday?  Either way, it is upright and standing firm.  See, having Hubs build the structure is a very good thing.  No use in it looking like a forgotten foreclosure with candy stuck to it.
-  Hubs asked what I wanted for Christmas.  I'm in need of nothing, but told him a camera.  Mine is old and the delay is just awful.  Because I fancy myself as a budding photographer of sorts, he bought me a Nikon. We're generally Kodak people, but since the model that he was looking at was falling apart (FYI Kodak), he bought a lovely Nikon on sale and now I have a spiffy new camera that can apparently hold 10,000 shots or so.  Wow.  Now if I can just figure out how to work it . . .
-  The neighbor replaced my old and gigantic monitor with a new flat screen!  It's lovely and he didn't even know that the old one was ailing.  He bought Hubs an impact drill set and a few DS games for K-. 
-  K- is going to play in the snow.  I was thinking today.  We've had snow continuously covering the ground in some level of measurement for a month.  Colds and flus are flying around everywhere and I may very well have to suck it up and open all the windows and doors with the temp only being 39 or so at the end of the week.  I need to get us some clean, fresh air to keep us all well. 
-  The Baker Creek catalog is here and I'll have to be getting with Rachael to see what we'll be swapping this year.  (We are swapping, right?)

I've dumped.  I feel better.  How therapeutic it is to let it out.  Thanks!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

While the icing sets and the bath water runs . . .

A quick post.

I managed to complete getting the items needed for K-'s Christmas gift from me.  I needed to have a leisurely stroll through the craft store.  (AKA without child.)  Today was the day.  I went to the mega locally owned craft store and found some wonderful wooden kits to include with K-'s tool kit.  They were on sale for a dollar a piece, which was a wonderful surprise.  She'll be able to build a western fort, a log cabin, an antique car, a bird house, a doll (that she'll be able to clothe from my scraps) and a primitive snowman that she can paint and accessorize.  I bought some glue and nails to include in her kit.  Hubs wanted me to get her a hack saw, but I'm holding out for a little while on that one.  Let's see how she does with his. 

The house is cleaned and just needs a dusting.  The laundry is washed and dried.  It is presently heaped on my bed so that I can fold it.  That will be done this evening and tomorrow I will do clothing distribution.  I'll be back on the line drying band wagon.  I always fall off in December, but I don't think that is that bad considering that I line dry all the rest of the year. 

I stopped by the grocery to pick up items to make ramen noodle coleslaw for tomorrow night and broccoli cheese casserole for Christmas lunch at my parents house.  I'll be making homemade granola and taking along a tub of vanilla yogurt to add to the Christmas breakfast that we'll be having at my in-law's. 

This evening, we've kicked back and decided to watch Elf.  Polar Express was on and yikes.  I just can't do it. 

I've made plans with Aunt Donna to stop by and visit tomorrow.  She threatened me not to bring anything into her house for a gift, so I will be verbally telling her that we'll be taking her out to lunch to a restaurant of her choosing for a Christmas gift.  Dealing with Grandma's apartment clearing has gotten my aunt to really clear out the items that she has amassed over the years.  Considering that I'm the one that will be given the task when her time comes, I appreciate all of her efforts now more than she could possibly know.

A goofy thing that possibly only Rachael and Sissy could appreciate.  I had two good curly hair days.  I mean, it was curly hair down with nothing pinning it up and out of my face or anything.  Call that a Christmas miracle all and of itself. 

While on the hunt through the party box this week for supplies for the birthday extravaganza, I found my container of simmering spices.  Right now, my house smells of a delightful mix of cinnamon sticks, whole allspice, star anise and cloves.  Delightful.  I promised Hubs that we can throw the contents of the simmering pot away on Monday, so as to avoid growing the awful mold that seems to bloom rather quickly on my resting spice mixture.

With that, a bath awaits me as my husband builds the gingerbread structure.  I made the icing and have readied the candy pieces.  When I build it, it collapses.  Somehow, a gingerbread tenement doesn't scream Christmas cheer. 

Have a great night! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lots of things. Lots of stuff. Lots more whatnot.

Rachael thought something was wrong.  I normally post.  Rachael and I normally e-mail back and forth at least a time or two a day.

The box?  It has been silent.

I'll re-run to give you a look at what all has been going on. 

Friday was dough day.

Saturday was baking day.  The stove was on from 9 AM - 7:30 PM.  I held to my promise.  What was baked was baked.  Brownies didn't make the cut this year and neither did chocolate covered pretzels, but all is well.

Sunday was church, then home to work on birthday preparations, bundling cookies and getting bags assembled to take to my parents house so that every gift (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) were delivered and out of my house.

Sunday evening was birthday party set-up.  Our church has an additional building on the property that they built about 15 years ago.  It is a multi-purpose building.  It is a carpeted gymnasium with a stage, and kitchen.  They had a big screen that we could bring down and they loaned us their projector.

I worked until 4 PM on Monday, then went on to more party prep.  I would have 25 children and a variety of parents on hand for the party.  We had a big screen viewing of Willy Wonka, pizza, rainbow cupcakes and other treats and things to eat.  Everyone had a great time and K- really loved being able to spend time with all her friends.

Tuesday was the day that K- had an American Girl Tea Party date with her friend, E-.  Now K- and E- have been friends since birth and the girls have never once fought about anything.  The reports that have come back from Adam and Nora that K- was delightful and the girls had a great time.  Makes my heart happy.

I worked all day on Tuesday.  Monday we were slammed, but Tuesday was a little more on the steady side.  I was able to step out and meet up with Paul.  Paul is the massage therapist that the boss' hire for us.  On Monday, Paul massaged my hands.  While doing that, I asked if he could tell the handedness of someone without them telling so and he said that he pretty much could.  He said that I was ambidextrous, which I've always kind of known. 

More about Paul and the work that he does.  He found that my back was hurting when I hadn't even realized.  When he started touching, I could see how tender it was and he went to work. 

Today, my back is aching.  Deep tissue work hurts.  It works, but it hurts.

Speaking of today, we were busy.  It was delightful, though.  I ended up being the big order desk.  I ran the back counter almost all on my own and ended up pulling in over $2100.00 in sales nearly all on my own.  (No, we get no commission and I'm quite fine with that.)  I had one couple buy $490.00 worth of things that needed to be individually gift wrapped.  They had at least 20 items, so I sent them on to lunch and announced that I was out of commission until I was done.  I knew that it would take me at least an hour.  (About half were things that were very breakable.)  I got everything done and called the gentleman to let him know that it was ready to be picked up.  He said that he had just signed his lunch check and was happy to return.  I told him that I worked it that way on purpose.  ;)

I was busy up until the bitter end, drove on home to my people waiting for me to go to see the Christmas lights.  Today is Happy Home Day for K-, so we celebrate by going to see Christmas lights every year.  (Happy Home Day is often referred to as "Gotcha Day" by many others.  Happy Home Day is the day that K- arrived to be with our family.  We always give her the tale of how she got to be ours and often make a trip past "her hospital.")  We had a great time.

Tomorrow we will sleep in.  Hubs has made the request that the alarm is not turned on.  (I always turn it on even on days that I don't work!)  Sleeping in may be to 7:30 - 8 AM, but anything will do.  We have plans on building the gingerbread house.  I'll finish assembling the cookie gifts that I'll have for K- to distribute throughout the neighborhood on Friday. 

See?  I haven't been ignoring you!

Smiles in my days:
-  Sprinkled in above.

Have a great day!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Right there at the big ole number 7.


It's 11:48 PM on December 19, 2010.  In just 12 minutes, you will change from being my 6 year old to my big 7 year old.

Now why'd you go and do that?  I'm just kidding, you know. 

You love to read.  You've learned to spell so well that air spelling things while you are in the room is not an option anymore.  You know what I'm spelling!  In fact, you've earned a 100% on every spelling test this year!

You are a work-it-out-in-your-brain math kid.  Mrs. S- says to have you keep it up.

You love to build things.  You can swing a hammer, follow directions and do a pretty good job at making something work.

You've become quite a problem solver.  I encourage you to sit and think about what you need to do and you get things all worked out. 

You love to play in the snow.  I don't just mean love, but I mean L.O.V.E.  If it weren't so cold, you would do nothing but play in snow.

You love the slip and slide, catching butterflies, digging in the sandbox or the dirt and playing on the swing set. 

You love swimming and soccer. 

You love your toys and don't want to give anything away.  The thought of parting with anything, even a tiny scrap of paper, brings you to tears.  That is why I thin the herd when you aren't home. 

This year you've learned to stand on your own two feet with the bully thing.  You don't bully back, but you don't take what is dished out. 

You still love playing with the girls and running with the boys.

And yes, D- still wants to marry you. 

When the weather is nice enough, you love to stay after school until the last bell rings so that you can play with your friends. 

You've been in speech for over a year and I see quite a lot of improvement.  Right now, you are working on remembering to say "Heather" and not "hedder" and "weather" and not "wedder." 

You are still young enough to like snuggleupagussin' with me.  You love to "steal [my] warmness." 

We found out this year that you are quite a good shot.  We aren't gun people, but while visiting Bass Pro Shop, you were able to shoot a BB gun.  Imagine the surprise on gentleman's face when he saw that you shot straight through the center of the target.  You loved playing with the Nerf cross bow when we were there just last month.  In fact, Dad got one for you for Christmas.  (Shhh.  You aren't supposed to know.)

You are a fun kid.  You can get a whine on, though.  You are a big help.  Like everyone else, you love to feel needed. 

Baby, we are so glad that we were chosen to be your parents.  We love you.  Happy number 7, Doll.



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dough a deer, a female deer... No, wait. Wrong song.

I was the dough lady today.  I actually spent the better part of the day preparing the cookie doughs that I needed to bake my cookies.  To do it all in one fell swoop seemed reasonable.  At least then, I only trash the kitchen with flour and whatnot once.

The cookies will be baked tomorrow. 

I have the following prepared and chilling:
Ginger (for Ginger Kisses)-  It needs to sit overnight anyhow.
Red Hot Sugar Cookies-  I'm thinking that they might benefit from some overnight rest.  The cinnamon flavor will settle in better.
Crunchy Peanut Butter
Chocolate Chip
Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip-  I've learned to steer clear of flying cocoa powder.  One year, I ended up inhaling a huge cloud and ended up ill.  I swear that the upper respiratory infection I got (I started coughing right then and didn't stop for 6 weeks) was an inhalation cause.  I was so sick.  Antibiotics and a lot of Mucinex were involved. 
Butter Crisp-  Very easy cookies that involve Rice Krispies and a box of cake mix.
Thumbprint AKA Fingerprints-  K- has some ideas about how best to place the indentations into these.

I have a couple of batches of brownies to make and a pan of Almost Candy Bars.  Those change flavor by the year, so I'll be winging it on that.  As long as I have the cake mix crust and sweetened condensed milk top, all the rest is up to whatever I have. 

I will be caffeine driven.  It has to happen tomorrow.  My Susie Homemaker apron will be on and my trusty side kick will be at my side. 

Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 17, 2010

I just need to vent.

We have bad sportsmanship.

We have people who know that they are looked up to by the younger set and choose to make bad choices regardless.  Though she says that it is no big deal, I had a discussion with K- about what she did, why it is wrong and about how her or her famous character will no longer be in our home.  (She was on a minimal basis only because of items she had received, not because of things we bought or encouraged.)

I had a mother and daughter, in their mid-50's and mid-20's, fighting in front of my cash counter yesterday.  A co-worker had to walk away to regroup.  A customer who wanted to get something was so disturbed by it that she apologetically told me that she "gave up" and left. 

I also had a flurry of very needy, need-to-know-your-name customers so that they could specifically belt out your name from any corner of the gallery to have you come running.  Yesterday was packed.  The folks were in and making up for lost time from the winter weather occurrence of earlier on in the week. 

I had one lady who was very irritated because we were busy and couldn't snap-to right away and let her into jewelry cases.  Now, I did call for back-up and thankfully, Sherri came running.  This was the same lady who purchased her items as if each was solid gold and truth be told, the average price of the 6 items she bought was about $7.50.  Each sale is crucial.  Still, please don't act like you own the joint at any time of any sale ever. 

The charge machine also ran slower than cold tar yesterday. 

Also, a lady came in with a barely signed credit card.  I asked for ID, she told me that it was in the car and, "You aren't going to make me to get it ARE YOU?"  I took down all her information.  "Well, I just don't understand why people ask for ID all the time if the card isn't signed."  "Well, we're looking out for you.  Thieves are out there and people steal stuff."  Rrrr.

I am trying to pull together a holiday party for K-'s classroom.  (I'm writing this Thursday AM because OH! I need to vent.)  I have a book exchange scheduled.  I sent home two notices stating if they needed a new book provided for their child, to please let the teacher know.  The teacher was contacted by two parents.  We had 4 additional children sent with nothing.  Now, it is covered and not a big deal, but if they needed it provided, why wouldn't they let us know in advance?  One book was wrapped in white tissue, so that you could see what book it was.  It was probably all that they had and I re-wrapped it.  I did request gender neutral books and that one was Littlest Pet Shop.  Let us hope that a girl gets it or is willing to trade with a boy for it. 

:After party note:  K- was the recipient of The Littlest Pet Shop book.  She was so excited.  She didn't realize until later that the book was very well used.  The only way that my child noticed was that there was a page missing.  She couldn't understand why.  Never mind the marker on the corners, the name written on it or the very worn cover.  When I explained that it was a sheet of stickers that had been removed, she said, "But Mommy, Mrs. S- repeated several times that the book needed to be new.  A- didn't follow directions."  (She said it in a mortified that someone didn't follow directions tone, not a ick used book tone.)  "Well baby, my thought is this.  Maybe A- didn't have enough money for a new book and she decided to give up one that she loved very much.  This book was well loved and even more valuable because she gave it up special just for the book exchange."  Now I don't know what the true reason was, but my explanation seemed to work out just fine for K-.  I told K- that she loved the book and was so thankful to A- when she got it, that it shouldn't matter new or used.  She agreed. 

I sit here this evening in a much different place than I was this morning.  I spent a few hours with K- this evening trying to track down a rather expensive book for a hopefully inexpensive price while on the way to drop a box by my in-law's to have shipped.  Turns out that I looked Barnes and Noble up online tonight and the very book that was $25.00 just a few days ago was marked to $14.61 and I had a 20% off coupon in my e-mail box.  I was scattered and irritated, but stopped to remember that I needed to tell K- that I wasn't frustrated with her, I was just frustrated because I felt like I couldn't take care of the remainder of a gift because the requested gift cost more than I could spend at that point.  (It was supposed to be a filler item that was going to be $5.00 or so.)  She was very kind and said, "Don't worry mom, it's okay."  I have to remember to be more in tune to the flip-out's that I'm having.  Her behavior can wear on me some days, but the same holds true for her.

This season is supposed to be a season of love.  It is a season of celebration.  It shouldn't be a season of over-extending (monetarily, physically, mentally).  It shouldn't be a season of irritation. 

I've taken in, processed, dumped (thank you, by the way) and let it go.  Thanks for being a set of eyes for my venting session. 

Smiles in my day:
-  Any other kid would have made it well known that the book that was received was used.  I'm so glad that K- got it.  She was so blinded by the fact that it was a wonderful title that she wanted that she didn't realize the wear. 
-  Mr. B- talked to a school board member who is looking into exactly why they've decided to move our crosswalk and lovely Mr. Jim.  When the school is reconstructed, all of the entrances will be to the front, which faces the street that is now losing the main intersection crosswalk that we currently use.  I thanked him for checking into it, as I also stated that I'm not willing to add 2/10ths of a mile to our walk in the AM when I don't need to.  I told him that we will be crossing at the school street and I even informed the officer in charge of the crossing guards that, too.  The officer disagreed with the move, but traffic engineering decided that is what they wanted to do.  I'm so glad that the school board is checking into it!
-  That K- goes to such a wonderful school.  A friend has been sharing tales about their school.  The school is just up the road, an elementary in our same district and it is a raving mess.  Seeing their lack of communication and organization makes me even more thankful for our little school every day.  In fact, I did mention to her that she could always change schools and she mentioned that idea again to me today.  I told her that open enrollment is January.  Who knows where it will take her, but stories she tells me makes our school sound like a golden palace.  It is to us.  :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tips in review

I decided to take a jog through Works for Me Wednesday Christmas past and post some things that y'all may or may not find helpful.

Gift wrapping.  I work at an art gallery and we have free gift wrap.  I can probably wrap about anything with anything if I would need. 

Cookies Part 1

Cookies Part 2

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be taking part in Cookies 1 and 2. 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Plans. I have 'em.

I've been a little non-existent because Christmas!  It's right around the corner!

The other night, Hubs helped me haul the items up from the gift shelf in the basement so that I could start wrapping them.  I would have wrapped them downstairs, but it's a lot warmer up here. 

I'm happy to report that I only had to do one gift switch from my original labeling. 

I was able to scare up some things for additional kid gifts for the family Christmas Eve.  Each child has three gifts to open.  All of us cousins purchase gifts for the other kids.  Sometimes the count ends up uneven because of financial issues and others pick up the slack. 

This year I got the pleasure of providing 6 additional gifts. 

The way we look at it is this; we only spend $5-6.00 on each child.  If purchasing a few extra gifts evens out the count for all the kids, then it is all worth it.  I did have some items stowed away.  One child is receiving a 4 book preschool pack that I made up of books off the 75% off Target dollar rack.  Another is getting Monopoly Deal that I got for $3.25 from a Walmart clearance.  There is a jewelry kit that I purchased for a whole $1.97.  I have a Mad Libs pad that I bought for $1.98 from Barnes and Noble clearance and an additional lip gloss that was left over from my gift bundling that I did with some bracelets for the older girls.  I had my nephews that I was able to recycle gifts to that I purchased for my cousin's sons, but they never show up and we were tired of sending gifts along. 

K- has been off for the last two days.  She was off Monday for snow and Tuesday for wind chill.  Hubs happen to have been home for both days, which was wonderful because my lovely in-law's just flew back from Chicago and we weren't sure that they were even going to be able to get back to Ohio for quite some time.  They did hit a window from airport to airport, but flew in a blizzard on the way here.  They arrived safely, but it was really better that they were able to rest. 

Hubs has been continuing to work on the house.  He replaced all the outlets in the kitchen, which also called for him to finally bite the bullet and map the house on the electrical box downstairs.  In doing that, he is convinced that the people who did the circuit dedication must have been high, drunk, both or otherwise.  He did get it all done and it is wonderful.

So the balance of my week is:
-  Getting a book for my niece, boxing their gifts and getting them to my father-in-law to ship on Monday. 
-  Working all day on Thursday at school and sandwiching the IEP review in the middle of all that.  Remember that K- is on an IEP for speech and she has really started to blossom with some pronunciation problems.  The funny thing is that with her, it is truly an out-of-mouth issue, but it isn't causing spelling/reading issues.  That is really a great thing. 
-  Making cookie dough on Thursday night so that when I drop K- off for school on Friday, I can bust a move back home to get my Christmas baking rolling.  I kind of figure that what I can get done on Friday and maybe Saturday will be it, so I've got to get myself completely organized baking wise to get the job done.  I will be baking chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip/chunk, peanut butter, ginger hugs, raspberry thumbprints, apple cinnamon oatmeal, sugar cookie red hots and brownies.
-  We'll drop in to see Aunt Donna on Saturday.  I must call to let her know.
-  Sunday, I'll be baking, prepping and decorating for K-'s birthday on Monday.  I'll be working part of Monday, so I want to have as much done as possible on Sunday evening so that it isn't an issue.  Oh, I also need to drop by the church to pay for the room rental (a love gift, thank you my lovely church!) and pick up keys.  K- wants pizza and that's certainly not hard.  I have a Little Caesar's coupon for pizza and crazy bread, so that will be handy.  I've been gifted enough Sprite to keep NE Ohio well hydrated.  We'll make a Sam's Club run on Sunday to pick up some individual chippie bags (flu season, you know) and a veggie tray.  I'll bake rainbow cupcakes with rainbow frosting and we'll have a cupcake bar where the children will be decorating their own.  Because of all the Sprite, we'll be having Fizzy Lifting Drinks.  (Sprite, rainbow sherbet and sprinkles.)  Can you tell that we're rolling Willy Wonka?  ;)  We'll be watching the classic movie and taking a crack at a pinata. 

Busy, busy.  It's all in how I pace myself. 

Smiles in my day:
-  Hubs working so hard.
-  Remembering and getting up at 5 AM to hide Buddy our Elf on the Shelf.  Do you know how many nights a week I end up roaming the house in the middle of the night to give Buddy a new spot to sit in?  Shhhh.  K- doesn't know that!
-  Yes, I remembered to hide Buddy before I fell asleep tonight!
-  Giving K- her home spelling test this morning and she got them all right.  It makes me feel better, because I was a bit lax in reviewing them with her.  Having the first two days off school didn't help, either!  I know, excuses, excuses.
-  The Biggest Loser finale tonight.

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Waffling weather

Slush rain. 

Hold on.  Snow.

Wait.  Rain.

Back up. Flakes.

Nope.  Rain.

Wait again.  Large.  Seriously large flakeage. 

The thermometer is twitching and flipping up and down so slightly, but enough that it is hovering at the freezing mark.  One twitch in the wrong direction and the weather changes completely.  The road is full of slush and my guess is that the road crews are busy dealing with the main roads (as they should be) and that our road will turn into rock hard masses of glacial-like street icebergs. 

Have I mentioned that Hubs is a half hour north of home in the Tercel (I offered the truck) and we are all under a Winter Storm Warning?  Ah yes, he has a puppet show scheduled for this afternoon and my guess is that he might have some volunteers show up and maybe two families.  Maybe.  They haven't called a Level 2 snow emergency; a plea to the public to stay off the roads, but not mandatory. 

We'll be having turkey rice and veggie soup this evening.  It seemed like the thing to do. 

I've put a pot of water on to cook.  Too bad that I'm clean out of cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg and anise to cook in it.  It always makes it smell so nice and holidaysie.  (How do you spell that non-word?)

K- wore the jammies inside out last night.  Tonight will be the flushing of the ice cubes, the wearing of the jammies on the flipside and a spoon under the pillow.  I have no idea where the pillow spoon thing comes from, but we're hoping for a snow day tomorrow.

So for today, we're officially in.  We've been by the grocery and have even stocked up on baking supplies.  I would be pleased as punch if I get a day in to do nothing but bake. 

Have a great, safe day!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some holiday music for you.

No, I'm not being paid to sell their CD.  The only copy of it I could find was the one with the ad on the front. 


Friday, December 10, 2010

The lunch time drama returns.

Earlier in the year, K- was being bullied by a particular child over some things in her lunch.  We haven't had an incidents in quite some time.

Well, turn the calendar a few pages, move a few squares over and you have today.

Earlier in the week, I stopped by the bread store just up the street.  It is a Hostess/Wonder outlet and they had some boxes of the 100 calorie snack cakes on sale for $1.00 a box.  I thought that they would be a nice treat for K- to have.  The same student who was bullying her for the dehydrated marshmallows in September was now begging her for some of her snack cakes.  K- told her no and she continued to beg.  K- didn't give her any and that particular child announced that K- was no longer her friend.  Then, she decided to try to talk the little girl next to K- into not being her friend.  Her friend didn't bite, but still. 


K- had talked to me a couple of days ago about this particular child.  She told me, "You know, Mommy, I have something to tell you but please don't say anything to --- ."  "What's that?"  "You know, --- can be mean sometimes."  "Yes, I know."

We talked about knowing that was an issue today and I have to laugh.  When the lunch bully told K- about not being friends with her anymore, K- said, "That's okay, I don't mind."

Good for her!

Smiles in my day:
-  This week, K- aced her math, spelling and vocabulary tests.  That is a very good thing.
-  I got my table all set up for the Christmas Tea.  It only took a couple of trips to actually remember everything. 
-  Speaking of, Hubs hauled my heavy tubs up from the basement and loaded them into the car for me and I didn't even ask!  He got out of bed this morning to do it and went back to sleep for a while.  I thought that it was very thoughtful!
-  We have a big winter storm coming! 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The one where I admit to watching far too many episodes of Kitchen Nightmares.

My grandmother's funeral was today.  It was a beautiful service followed by a rather crispy short bit at the cemetery.  My car thermometer registered 26 degrees, and that didn't factor in wind chill.

Anyhow, the family traveled on to do ye ole traditional post funeral meal.  They chose a mom and pop joint.  The one and only time I had been there was probably about 15 years ago with my grandmother.  I had ham and au gratin potatoes and a slice of peanut butter pie.  I don't recall having been terribly impressed, but it was what everyone settled on, so I went with it. 

When we got there, my silverware was dirty, but since everyone seemed to be on a first name basis with the waitress, I just traded with the silverware next to me. 

I decided that as crispy as it was today, chili sounded wonderful.  It was one of the specials and I was good with that. 

My sister needed some culinary guidance, though.

"I think that the crab cake sandwich sounds great!"

"Um, LeAnne, you live in middle America far away from any ocean.  I don't think that is your best bet." 

Insert more detail:  My sister lived in and near Baltimore. Her crab cake obsession started there.  It took her through pregnancies.  There is an ocean nearby.  Crab cakes in Baltimore are fresh.  I was certain that the ones here were canned/frozen . . . certainly not fresh.

"Good point.  I'm a crab cake snob."

"Here is not your place, then.  It is not even a fish joint.  You don't want to do that."

Then she decides to settle on the ham and au gratin potatoes. 

"Um, LeAnne, I don't mean to veto another for you, but the potatoes are not homemade."

"Are you sure?"

"It's what I had here years ago."

"I'm sure that they've changed.  I'm sure that they are homemade!" 

So her dad asks the waitress that he is on first name basis with and bingo!  They ARE from a box.  "But they are pretty good, though."  I can tell you that they are box, they taste like box and if that's what works for you, you are in business.  If homemade is what your heart longs for, box ain't gonna cut it.

She finally decided on the grilled chicken breast salad.  It had to be a full head of iceberg lettuce served up in a severely chipped woven wood salad bowl.  Mine was a lovely bowl of chili that was great and even better when they dressed it up with sour cream and cheese. 

It takes me to the day after Grandma died.  It was the funeral prep day.  It was another day where they had settled on having a meal together and they went to a different mom and pop.  I hadn't heard shining reviews, so I got the chef's salad.  I also got homemade rice pudding that was beyond delightful.  (With a healthy sprinkling of cinnamon and a dallop of real whipped topping.)

I'm glad to report that neither establishment had photos on the menu, but they did have a span of choices which left me thinking, "Chef Ramsay would have a field day in this place."

Smiles in my day:
-  The beautiful service for my grandmother.  Of course, the pastor joked with me about people "stealing all his material," but that is what happened to me.  Most of what I was going to say overlapped with what he said, but I still had some tidbits. 
-  My sight impaired and mobility deficient aunt got up from the family seating at the cemetery and decided to lean on my grandmother's casket to steady herself.  That sent grandma swinging wildly back and forth in her box and we thought that she was going to take an early header into the hole.  If you can do nothing other than laugh, why not?

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My sweet little Hanukkah dancer.

K- had her holiday program this evening.  She had volunteered for a special part.  She told me that she would be a dancer.  She started to spin about the room and sing her song.  She sang and sang and I said, "Hold on, K-.  Are you singing about Hanukkah?" 

"Yup!  I'm a Hanukkah dancer!"

My little Baptist Hanukkah dancer did a fantastic job!

They danced in a circle, in and out, holding hands and in one part, they parted hands long enough to really get down and then they reformed their circle.  So funny! 

What a fun night!

Smiles in my day:
-  K-.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: Living in a shovelable world.

I'm good with snow.  I'll take it in any amount.  The more, the better.  I'm thrilled with blizzards, Nor'easters, Pan Handle Hooks, Lake Effect snow-- it's all good.

Y'all, it's shovelable out there. 

K- and I walked to school today.  It took us a bit longer than I estimated.  (She was a few minutes late for breakfast, but not late for school.)   I used my gaiters for the very first time and needed a little instruction from Hubs on how to put them on.  (Initially, I had them on backwards and tucked into my shoes.)  They were wonderful!  They are perfect for walking K- to school.  It isn't a snow pants kind of situation, but I definitely need to keep my pants and shoes dry.  The LL Bean clearance rack comes to the rescue again!

People are complaining, though.  It's Ohio.  It is the weather here.  If you live in NE Ohio, you have to embrace snow. 

K- loves it.  She'll go outside and play, roll around and make a variety of snow things.  I was out much of the day on Sunday dealing with Grandma things and K- said that she was in and out all day.  Fantastic! 

So how much snow do we have so far?  Well, probably 6-8".  It is hard to measure since it is blowing and drifting.  I'm just eyeballing what accumulation we have on top of the swing beam on the swing set. 

Snow.  We've got it.  Apparently, we're getting a lot more.  It's all good.

Smiles in my day:
-  Though I have no window treatments in the bedroom, I do finally have woodwork around both windows, the paint was touched up and the little holes have been filled in from the time that Hubs put our windows in a little over 6 years ago. 
-  Giving a call to Grandma's pastor and speaking to him about the service that he is preparing.
-  K- reading the Advent Jesse Tree reading each evening to me/us.  She finds the ornament and hangs it, then reads to us.  Truly, there aren't many words that she doesn't know, so she can read through it pretty well.  Yes, I count it as a part of her 100 Book Challenge Reading.
-  Buddy hasn't lost his charm.  She still loves looking for her Elf. 

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fly, Grandma! Fly!

Last night at 11:25 PM, my sister and I walked my grandma to the Great Door and dropped her off.  I watched her go from labored breathing, to the infamous rattle to calmer, shorter breaths.  We were there as she walked into the arms of Jesus.

I am not sad.  I could not want grandma to exist in her state any longer. 

Human nature is to miss someone.  It is my Christianity that rejoices in her passing.  Grandma was in a state that she would never want to be in and we encouraged her to make the rest of her journey. 

I kept thinking, "What is Grandma waiting for?"  We had all given her permission to go.  It seems like a self-centered thing to say since death is a happening and not a permissive something.  It hit me.  The Pastor was there and we were talking.  He was saying about my grandmother's concern for my aunt.  As soon as I talked with grandma and promised her that we would take care of my aunt, within 10 minutes, she had left us. 

I have no tears.  Truly.  Why would I want to take her back from her Heavenly Home?  I rejoice that my grandmother, a woman of great faith, is now with her Lord and Savior.  I had tears for grandma for what she was going through, but now that she is gone, my tears are gone.

Grandma's suffering has ended.  What a great day!

Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Simple things that have made my day.

1.  My living room is D-O-N-E!  Hubs finished sealing, grouting, sealing and putting the trim on the slate tile at the front door.  I cannot explain how happy this made both of us.  He also finished putting the woodwork in the kitchen and in the back entry.  He made a Pergo landing and it looks wonderful!  He's worked so hard on his vacation!

2.  We have about an inch of snow right now and K- was aching to get out and play in it.  She rolled around.  She pulled out her new sled.  Her snow pants from last year still fit wonderfully well.  Oh!  And she had enough snow to make a fairly decent sized snowball. 
3.  I took Grandma a small Frosty, knowing full well that she loves them.  I asked her if she wanted some and she said yes.  I could only spoon out very small amounts to her, but it was like I couldn't get it in her mouth fast enough.  She took hold of my arm and was guiding my arm to get my hand to her mouth. 

4.  Grandma gave me a couple of big hugs today. 

5.  K-'s interim pick-up was today. We were in and out lickety split.  Her teacher told me that she knows that I had math concerns a few weeks ago, but when reviewing the flash cards with the class, K- is about the only kid that doesn't use her fingers or a number line to get the answer.  She said that she works it out in her brain and that is great.  She said that she is exactly where she is supposed to be and to keep doing what we are doing.  Hooray!

6.  The PTA directory, thanks to the help of Kay the wonder secretary of the PTA, is printed, stapled and folded.  Now all I have to do is to print the cards, pile things up by class and distribute. 

7.  I'm getting a bit of a rhythm with the 100 Book Challenge prize distribution.  All the teachers know me well and I think that the kids see me as the prize lady.  Either I'm handing out prizes or standing on a bench, updating our 100 Book Challenge board.  I keep getting kids coming up to me and hugging me.  They know that I hook them up with the goods.  ;)

8.  I had a talk with K-'s teacher from last year on what to buy her teacher for this year.  I told Mrs. H- that I didn't quite think that an art gallery gift certificate would be a good fit for Mrs. S-.  She agreed, then told me that she would be happy to have it.  We determined that Kohl's is probably a great thing for her.  It is great that I had the opportunity to be able to consult with Mrs. H- to get a great gift for K-'s teacher.  I know that she'll be honest with me. 

9.  It seems that the stress of the week (stress?  What stress?) has caused a gigantic (and I mean HUGE) cold sore to bloom on not only my lip, but the right portion of my pie hole.  My sister suggested hitting it with tea tree oil.  While the tea tree (applied with a wet Q-Tip) is not necessarily the most tasty thing around, it completely halted the nasty burning that I had.  I'm going to apply more before I go to bed.  Hopefully, it will make this size-of-Arkansas cold sore magically go away.  Overnight would be spectacular, but I don't see it happening.  Darned stress!

10.  My truck, complete with new tires, didn't slip once on the icy roads last night. 

11.  Though it appears that stress may also be causing a lovely sty on my eye, a good dose of Advil Cold and Sinus seems to have taken the boulder-jammed-into-my-eyeball feeling out of my optical orb.  It's just one eye, which is a great thing.  It feels much better, which is a fabulous thing.  Now I'll rub my gold wedding ring over it just like Grandma-ma taught me and it should be all gone.  She was very specific and I can't recall if from the outside in or from the inside out.  I'm sure it makes no actual difference, but I'll do it both ways just to be certain.  I can tell you that I don't have Pink Eye, so that's a positive for sure!

12.  My mother-in-law shared with me some electric tea lights that she purchased.  Hubs bought me a snowman lantern years ago and I plunked one of those little lights in it.  It was lovely!  It flickered like a real candle, so it didn't have that fake kind of look about it. 

13.  Though I slipped a little in the parking lot of my Grandma's apartment complex, I didn't fall.

14.  I think that Hubs has finally settled for the night and has stopped obsessing about his craftsmanship.  Maybe.

15.  I got the insurance re-certification papers filled out and ready for Hubs to take to work.  That's been another one of his obsessions, so I'm glad that I tackled the paper beast.

16.  I have a toasty bed awaiting my indentation.  'Night all.

Smiles in my day:
-  Above.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

So, I had that chat with my grandma.

You know the chat.  The one where you tell them that they don't need to hang out for you.  Yup.  The tears rolled down my face.  Grandma held as tight to my hand as she could.  I talked to her about how she could wear all the red that she wanted, about how Jesus would have his arms out for her and about how she could be our angel.  I asked her if she wanted me to pray with her and she said yes.  I told her that I hated to see her feeling so bad, to be in pain and I know that she didn't care much for it either.  I told her that we would miss her, but we would be happy for her to not be sick anymore.  I told her that we hate to see her suffer, but know that God has her here for as long as she is supposed to be here. 

Her night aide came in not long after our talk.  My eye make-up was still probably a little smudgy.  I told Grandma to make sure she behaved.  She told me she loved me. 

It's all good.  Whenever that day comes, we'll rejoice because she'll no longer be suffering. 

Until then . . .

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The end of time.

Regular readers know that my grandmother has been suffering with Stage 4 Small Cell Lymphoma for the last 5 1/2 years.  Last evening she started having seizures.  Now, Morphine is being given for the pain.  If it isn't Hospice giving it, it is up to me.  I've been trained by Hospice how to measure, give it, log it and lock it back up.  I've also been given the full run on how to crush up Ativan and how to give that to Grandma if she is having a seizure. 

My prayers for Grandma?  That her passing be gentle and as painless as possible.  I don't want her to hang on and be in misery.  What she is right now is not the grandma that I know. 

She did tell me that she loved me today.

She did ask, "Where is your little girl?"  So, she remembered K-, even though she couldn't think of her name.  For her, that is huge. 

I stopped in this morning before work.  That's when I got the morphine talk.  I dropped in on lunch to give it to Grandma.  I came back by at about 6:15 PM and she was a lot better than she was this morning.  She's no longer able to drink on her own, but I gave her several medicine droppers full of Sprite.

Yes, that is what her liquid intake has come to.  Droppers full of Sprite. 

It's been a long day.  I don't expect it to get any shorter any time soon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A handful of days that involve lots of bon bons.

Really, notsomuch. 

I had many days filled to the brim with much to do.  Let's see.

Worked all day, then came home, did homework with K- and made chocolate/chocolate chip bar cookies with her for the PTA cookie drive.  Our post office has an orphan Thanksgiving for all those living around here that have no family to spend the holiday with. 
Did that thing called work all day.  Came home and started some prep for Thanksgiving.  Got rolls on the rise and baked two pumpkin pies.  They always take longer than I anticipate.  They never take the 45 - 50 minutes that they say.  Hubs and I watched the Biggest Loser update show while we smelled them baking.  Well, it was only me smelling them as Hubs' cold had reached the point that tasting and smelling no longer occurred. 
Got up at 7 AM to start the prep to get the turkey in the oven by 8 AM.  Turkey got in the oven by 8:15 AM.  As I prepped the turkey, I baked 3 1/2 dozen dinner rolls and a double pan of corn bread.  As the turkey cooked, I steamed potatoes (a few carrots, too) to mash, prepped the cornbread stuffing to bake, steamed some fresh green beans and got glazed carrots rolling along.  Hubs was feeling a bit under the weather, so he stayed home.  He didn't want to share his cold.  K- and I had lunch with my parents and dessert with Hubs' parents.  I got home, got my ads together and took a two hour nap.
Thursday evening:
Left at 11:15 PM to go get my sister for shopping.  Worth noting, it was 44 F when I left.
We were at Walmart at 12:05 AM.  Their sale started at 12:01 AM.  All DS and Wii games were wiped out before I reached the cardboard carcass of a rack.  We scored some $4.00 jammies and my sister got some $5.00 fleece coats.  We stood in a long line to cash out, but everyone was kind.  No gun involved this time! A highlight this year was that my sister's partner decided to call her 7 different times.  I mean, he called to tell her that L- was crying.  He called back to have L- scream in the phone.  He called to ask when we were coming.  He called to ask where we were at.  He called to ask if we had left.  He called to have L- scream in the phone, again.  He called again and by that point I announced loudly, "IT'S THE 7TH CALL!"  We were in the store for about an hour.  My sister turned so that she could keep talking with him.  When we left, I drove her back home, watched a couple of episodes of Cake Boss (boy that guy is obnoxious!  I had never watched him and don't think that I could.) before going out on my own at 2:45 AM.  I hit Kohl's and stood in line for an hour.  I then drove to Target about a half hour away, fetched the items that my sister was going to buy but wasn't allowed to leave the house for.  I went to Joann Fabrics after that and scored myself a steamer iron presser thingy to use on K-'s uniforms, as well as some odds and ends that I cannot remember right this second.  I went from their to our local mall to hit Big Lots.  They had nothing left of the Zhu Zhu pets that they had advertised on sale.  After all, I was there 1/2 hour after they opened.  Who could expect anything to be left?  I decided to slide on over to that Target to use the $10.00 gift card that I earned at the previous Target for spending over $100.00.  I figured that I bought things for two people, combined them to make the $100.00 and since I stood in line, it was a reward for me.  I used that card to buy K- a robe that I'll use as gift wrap for her birthday gifts.  I hopped on over to Toys R Us, found absolutely nothing and drove on to Lowe's in a completely different section of town so that I could get Hubs the light spikes that he was longing for.  I, being a good wife, decided to give him a call to let him know I was there.  He then needed another extension cord.  Then he needed two additional sets of lights.  Then he needed a drill.  A new drill.  A drill that was on sale for "Only $99.00, but it was originally $199.!"  Reluctantly, I picked it up for him, knowing that we have a couple of other drills at home.  I scored a poinsettia for me, a set of tools for me to gift to K- and I was out of there.  Since I was so close and I was still riding high on an additional 15% discount from Kohl's, I went on an undergarment replacement mission.  I caught sight of the fact that they were on sale when I was in the never ending line at the previous Kohl's, but without my sister, I couldn't abandon my post with my belongings and expect people to save my place.  Besides, I didn't want to explain to a stranger that I had an undergarment let go earlier the previous week and I really needed to replace it, especially in light that they were 50% off and I had an additional discount.  After scoring at Kohl's -- again-- I had to stop by Joann's to return the tool box that I now didn't need since the tool set I bought K- conveniently comes with a tool bag and apron.  I called my sister, told her that she owed me $50.00 more for more presents that I scored for her and that I was dropping her things off.  She was thrilled.  She kept saying, "You saved me $55.00!"   She also promised to have my nephew weaned before next year.  I made my way home and none too soon.  I was starting to fall asleep on the way there.  It was 9:30 AM, I had been out since 11:15 PM and a cold front came in as I was out and about.  By the time I reached home, it was light out and a crisp 27 degrees.  Hubs and K- understood my collapsing in bed exhausted.  I laid down at 10 AM with the intention of sleeping just an hour and woke up three hours later.  Hubs and K- had put the tree up, so it was my task to start the decorating.  I was still so tired and spent that I started it, but the task had to roll on over to Saturday.
Stayed home all day and decorated the tree with K-.  Yes, it was an all day affair. My tree?  Some branches have 3-4 ornaments per.  It is a study in engineering.  Can I really get that much stuff to go on that amount of fake greens?  It takes a bit of work.  I think that we watched Girl with a Pearl Earring, Year Without Santa Claus, Santa Claus is Coming To Town, The Toy that Saved Christmas,The Star of Christmas and one of the Home Alones that involved a kid that was not MC.  Every now and then, I must walk away for a few to uncross my eyes.  By 10 PM, I put the finishing touches on.  Part of the time it takes rolls into a walk down memory lane.  It always takes a while.
Went to Bass Pro Shops.  We had a drive ahead of us, but we got there by 10:30 AM.  Hubs took K- to enjoy their Winter Wonderland as I did some much needed shopping for him for Christmas.  K- enjoyed the activities, she took an absolutely awesome picture with Santa, made a "Bobber Santer," had lunch and before we left, we got some ice cream.  I had pumpkin with bits of graham crackers and pumpkin.  Oh, it was lovely!

A funny thing to note:  I noticed that they had gift wrapping tables set up with paper, scissors and tape.  "Oh!  You have gift wrapping!"  The cashier apologized that their gift wrappers weren't there.  "Would it be okay for me to wrap the gifts that I purchased here today?"  "Oh, sure!  It's not a problem.  Just have your receipt with you."  So K- and I went out, fetched my gifts and went back in.  I hurried up and wrapped them, got ready to go and the blasted alarm went off.  The guard lady stopped me and said, "Well, since your packages set the alarm off and we DON'T have gift wrappers on duty today, I'll just have to unwrap all your packages."  "Are you serious?"  "Well, I have to see what is going off."  "I have receipts for all I purchased.  I have four things.  I have four things on the receipts.  I swear I didn't steal anything."  Someone else went through, set the alarm off with the motorized cart and she let us go.  We dropped the things off in the car, then went to track something down for K- to buy for Hubs.  She found her thing, we picked up pictures that we had developed, went to the counter, paid for all and quickly wrapped up her item.  The guard lady came through and said, "Well, let me check and make sure that it doesn't set anything off.  Make sure that you hide the scissors because we really aren't encouraging people to wrap their gifts."  "I'm so sorry.  The cashier told me it was fine!"  For the love that is all good and right with the world.

When I reported being stopped by the guard at the door, I was teasing when I told Hubs that, "They were gentle, though."  I was so kidding and he seriously thought I really had been patted down and searched! 

Today we brought The Elf on the Shelf home with us.  His name is Buddy.  He has brown hair, blue eyes and he is currently resting with the Christmas books awaiting his child to find him in the morning.  K- read the book to us tonight and totally got into the whole thing.  Let's see how it works.

In the last few days, we've managed to get our whole house decorated and Hubs even gave me beautiful woodwork around both kitchen windows as a holiday bonus.  Go Hubs!

I have some turkey that I need to freeze, so I'm going to scadoodle here.  Besides, there is a half gallon of caramel cone ice cream calling my name.

Smiles in my week off:
-  Listed above. 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: Many and lots of things.

My friend, Rachael, did a lovely post that struck home with me.  I'm with her and am thinking of a schedule to have for box time.  Must work that out. 

In the meantime, Hubs is on vacation this week because he's earned more time than he thought and if he doesn't use it, he'll lose it.  Hold on, I needed to take a breath after that one.  He's puttering around the house doing man things like rewiring the surround sound in the living room and re-shelving all of the movies . . .

As for me, I have baking and cooking to attend to.  I also have a half gallon of ice cream calling my name and sadly, it is 10:10 PM. 

With that, I'll bid you a farewell for the week.  I've got family and things and stuff and Black Friday. 

Have a wonderful holiday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Because a great deal makes me feel as if I have battled the retail beast.

Y'all, I feel like I'm super-power Santa Mama.  The one and only big thing that K- has been asking for is a Nintendo DS.  Now, Hubs bought me one last year at the resale store.  It was basically an open box thing, but being a kid, we wanted to get a new one so that the warranty went along with.  I was depending upon Black Friday to make that happen for me, but the only place that had it listed for sale was Walmart. 

I'm not a huge fan.  Especially on Black Friday.  Last year, there was a family trying to swindle the cashier.  They were switching things out, having her ring things up, taking them off, wanting more, not having enough cash, no try this card, well take that off . . .  It ended up being that she had 3 additional co-workers watching over the transaction AND! a guard in uniform WITH! her hand on her gun. 

Isn't that a warm and fuzzy feeling? 

Given that, my sister and I swore to never again deal with the monster that is Walmart during Black Friday.  I'm more of a Target shopper all the way around anyhow. 

Target?  It was my ticket to present-purchasing happiness.

I was looking through my late-to-arrive-on-my-doorstep issue of the Sunday newspaper and like a vision, there it was in the Target ad.  The Nintendo DSi was on sale for $119.00.  (Savings of $30.00.)  That made me extra excited since I had $60.00 in Target gift cards that I had earned from My Points to use for K-'s Christmas gifts anyhow.  Let us review my deal, shall we?

Nintendo DSi -  $149.00
Target sale    -      30.00
Target price  -     119.00
My Points     -      60.00
Balance due   -    $59.00
Now, between tax and the very nominal shipping cost (sadly, this one didn't qualify for the $50.00 and up free shipping, but it was only $4.44), in the end it was $71.50.  That, my friends, is cheaper than the $89.00 that Walmart had the DS Lite for and that isn't even figuring in the 6.5% tax on top of it.

The upside?  I'm thrilled that I have this purchased.  I wanted to purchase her a camera and this one has one (or two I think I read) included.  We can purchase the games used (Hubs handles that) and the Leapster you can't.  Have you checked what some games are going for on eBay lately?  Eeek! 

The downside?  It's white.  It is the only color choice available.  I will be able to wipe it down and K- is a pretty careful kid with stuff. 

A note to Target about a downside:
Please consider moving your customer service to THIS COUNTRY as opposed to India.  The young woman talking to me didn't understand what I was trying to tell her when I was asking how to input my gift cards.  In the end, I finally taught your customer service agent how to help anyone else who might encounter the problem.  Also, when she started helping me, she was without a computer.  It's kind of difficult to help someone with an internet order when you don't have access to the internet yourself.  Just sayin'.  This is not the first time that I have encountered issues with your overseas customer service.  2 1/2 years ago, I was trying to buy two Britax Regent car seats, because they were not available in store.  The young man I talked to finally gave in and took care of the problem when I announced the massive sum I was spending on two car seats.  Please, oh please, give Americans these jobs. 

So there we go.  K-'s necklace arrived just yesterday and it is beautiful.  Of course, Mrs. Claus made that.  All I need to do is to pick up a box of Fuzzoodles at the local craft store and I'm done with the three gift process that is K-'s Christmas.  They are $6.00 at the craft store and she just loves them.

I feel shoppingly accomplished.  Believe me, I know it's not about a stuff thing.  We really wanted to get her something nice and she is now old enough to appreciate it. 

Smiles in my weekend:
-  My sister is feeling so much better.  A friend came over and gave her a chiropractic adjustment.  She also took her truck (High Ho Silver rides again!) for a ride down the driveway and to the bus stop.  She made it, but got nervous when another car was coming towards her.  I told her that will happen from time to time and that she has to get back in the saddle before the snow flies.  She was able to go to the tow yard to retrieve her purse and she got a really good look of what she walked out of.  Oh my.
-  I've accomplished writing ye ole Christmas letter (hey Aunt Patti!) and I've made K-'s birthday invites this evening.  We found some stupendously gold glittery paper at the craft store that makes her invites look like lovely golden tickets.  Now grant you, it took three gluing options to finally get the printed portion to stick, but Zots to the rescue!
-  As soon as I hit publish, I will be assembling and addressing Christmas card envelopes.  The Christmas cards that also include a birthday invite (gotta save on postage!), I do believe will call for additional postage.  I'll take a ride past the post office to purchase my stamps and to confirm my stamply thoughts.  I took an Excedrin Migraine at about 3 PM and still feel myself going strong.  It'll be a long night, so why not put all that energy to good use? 

Have a great day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Praising God with hands high and with crocodiles rolling.

I've got to tell you as I sit here and cry, my sister and my nephew are fine.

She was busy running frantically from one place to another, pulled out in front of a vehicle and rolled her van.

She had her seatbelt on.

L- was strapped firmly into the car seat. 

When they came to a rest, he started crying.  She was able to release both of them, knock the back window out with her elbow and climb out. 

Of course, she only had liability insurance.

It's just a van. 

My people are okay.  L- was checked out and released from Children's Hospital.  LeAnne said that she thinks she is fine and just wants to go home.

Like a good Baptist, I'm preparing them dinner. 

ETA:  I took dinner out and was able to lay my eyes on my sister.  Long story short, she had a migraine, the light was bright and the van that hit her was dark green.  She didn't see it.  It clipped the back passenger corner of her van as she had almost reached the road that she was trying to drive down.  When she got hit, she went flying through the air, skidded and remained upside down on the roof.  In a surprise turn, the van actually turned on its side.  She was suspended, as well as L-, and so when his car seat let loose, she said he just kind of dropped into her arms.  She is very sore.  He is without any damage.  She has a scraped up elbow.  She also got a call from the insurance company.  The other people who were involved have an attorney who has already contacted my sister's insurance.  Oh, this should be fun.  I did tell her that they call them accidents not an "on purpose." 

In your prayers of thanksgiving tonight, can you belt another out for us?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

He will see you now.

My sister and I traveled down to the city of my child's birth with three kids in tow and met up with the man.  I can now say that I officially have this item crossed off of our list.  (Yes, my version is full face and not so nighttime swirly.) 

Smiles in my day:
-  I had a great meeting with Mrs. S- today.  K- is on track.  Everything is good. 
-  The PTA directory rough draft is in my hands.  :)
-  We had a great time with the kids this evening. 
-  My house is cleaned, my beds stripped and remade.

Have a great weekend!

Signing my life away at the customer service counter.

I've had a cold.  Nothing serious.  Really, I've suffered much, much worse.  Since I've had this continual evening and early morning tickle in my throat, I've found that the Advil Cold and Sinus that I had in the cupboard has helped out a bit.

Today I took the last one in my cabinet.

Now, that may not seem like a big deal, but since people like to boil stuff like that down for met*h, I have to go beg pharmacists or customer service personnel for the OTC drug(s) that I may need.  God forbid should you actually need Advil and cough syrup at the same time. 

I visited the cold reliever aisle.  No dice. 

I visited the pharmacist.  Nope.  Go to customer service.  (Seems weird, since every other store has OTC at the pharmacy.)  Okay then. 

I go to customer service.  I hand over my ID to purchase my drugs o' relief and I kid you not, the girl had to check 10 pages of drug log-in's to make certain that my name was not listed.  After a rather thorough check, She wrote down about every bit of information from my driver's license.  I could be wrong, but my height and slightly inaccurate listed weight may have been written down, too.  I had to sign the listing. 

The customer service clerk apologized.  I told her that really, I promised that I wasn't going to the street to make anything illegal.  I really just wanted to take it for my own cold relief.  She was saying that she thought it was slightly ridiculous and I agreed that in a way, I see that but there was just a me*th lab 1 block down from a school in our city that just blew up.  She then told me that there are some people who will come in and ask (in a drug type drawl), "How many boxes can I get?"  Considering that they just sold me a 40 ct. box and it will take me a year to go through all that, I can't imagine why they would want more other than for illicit activities.  She said that at that point, she'll tell them none.  She'll refuse them.  She said that she can tell. 

I hate that she is put in that position. 

I know that I've talked about this before, but it still surprises me each and every time.  Wow.

Smiles in my day:
-  K- got a 100% on her math test!  It was a 4 page (2 pages double sided) test that was addition and subtraction and she neatly wrote her answers.  Didn't question herself.  She didn't erase all over the place.  She was sure of her answers.  Quite amazing since doing subtraction flash cards has been quite painful.  I'm going to meet with her teacher to see what ideas that she has to have me help K-.  I want to make certain that the ways that I help her are in line with what Mrs. S- is teaching.  I don't want to teach K- a way to figure out subtraction that she can't use at school.  It appears as though she needs visual cues to pull subtraction around. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Religion brought to you by children in the single digits.

We are Baptist.  My nieces are Catholic.  When we were on one of our many cab rides in NYC, my sister-in-law pointed out a gorgeous Baptist church just a block down from our hotel.  I think that her girls were asking about being Baptist and I told her that we believe a little differently, but it all comes around to God and it's all good. 

"Jesus is in my heart," K- announces.

My 9 year old niece said, "What?  He's where?"

"Jesus is in my heart," K- repeats.

My 7 year old niece proceeded to turn to K-, knock on the area of her heart, bent her head down to K-'s heart and said, "Jesus?  Hello?  Are you there?"


Smiles in my day:
-  Getting the rest of the directory information for PTA handed over.  Thank goodness!
-  Having someone happy to handle the directory compilation for me. 
-  The fact that the store did so well this weekend, tons of our Christmas merchandise flew out the door and there's not the amount in back stock that I thought we would have. 
-  K- wearing the thick wool and fleece lined hat around my mother-in-law's house, flapping and hooting.  Even though there were a few girls in her class that laughed at her hat, A- thought it was way too cool.  She decided that she wasn't going to be bothered with what they had to say and I'm thrilled with that.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: My mind is filled with PTA.

I worked for 2 1/2 hours last night on compiling PTA directory information.  More specifically, I didn't consider lying under my blankets until about 12:30 AM.  I was wide awake, but very tired.  I probably fell asleep well after 1 AM.  Hubs is suffering from a cold that I'm trying to fight off.  Between the two of us dealing with that, then Hubs coming to bed close to alarm time while constantly clearing his throat, my heavens I'm tired.

This morning I was at school at 8:00 AM.  I worked on directory stuff for 45 minutes. 

This evening I've worked on compiling more information needed to award a donut party to a class.

Then I talked to the kind woman who is taking pity on my soul and she is actually doing the directory off the old format from last year.  Tonight, Cindy is my hero.

Then I talked to another PTA member about her membership entry problems with the National PTA entry site.  We got on to talking about the PTA cookie drive for Thanksgiving and my help with transportation of Santa Shop items.  (I refuse to work Santa Shop because I work holiday retail and I cannot do more retail than required at the holidays.  I volunteer for just about everything else.  That one I had to put my foot down.)

Then I had to call someone to confirm that it is a donut and juice party (again with the food rewards) for the class with the most members.  We got on to talking about plans for a retirement celebration for the school office assistant.  (We love her.)

I had to e-mail my monthly newsletter submission by the end of this evening.  I got it done.

Y'all, I'm tired!

Have a great day!

Smiles in my day:
-  K- had a lovely report card.  She is doing as expected in most things but above in a few things.  The entire behavioral section was all +'s.  That made my heart very happy!  As a prize, I bought her a hand knit owl hat from work, but she is concerned that people will make fun of her.  I'm wondering if being tired was getting the best of her.  We'll see how she feels about it in the morning.  She had it on.  She had a smirk.  She just needs one person to tell her how cool it is.  That someone needs to be someone other than her mom.  I told her that I'd take it back if it isn't what she wants. 
-  That my kid has such a great school and a very involved PTA that makes a ton of great things happen.
-  A nice, toasty bed waiting for me.  'Night all!

ETA:  The owl hat is a "hoot" (couldn't resist.)  K- loves it.  She was flying and hooting all morning long.  She just felt like a PTA orphan.  She wore it to school today and thinks that it is just wonderful.  Score one cool point for mom.