Saturday, October 22, 2011

Celebrating the holidays with Shutterfly.

Last weekend, we made a trek to Amish Country.  It is a favorite place of ours and several of our Christmas card photos were taken there.  My first choice was to return to the produce stand.  I know that it sounds a little cheesy, but it was a great place to take our photo.  They have mums, pumpkins, bales of hay and I flipped and twirled everything to be just right.  Hubs secured our then camera to a telescope tripod with a rubber band, hit the timer and voila!  A Christmas card photo was born.

Side note-- you'd be glad to know that we've grown up, gotten a new camera and an actual tripod that attaches to the bottom without the use of stationery supplies.

My hopes to take the photo at the produce stand were dashed when they were still quite full with produce and people.  Drat.  No worries, my husband told me, we'll look around to see what we can find.  In the end, our photo was taken at a gazebo behind the yummy chocolate factory.  The leaves were changing and the wind was gusting in a way that would make Chicago jealous.  I'm trying to delete from my mind that my hair is flying, but no bother, Hubs was pleased with his progress. 

I have shuffled through what archives I can find after having my photo program deleted from the computer while I was deleting only our printer and I've made a run through some Christmas cards on the Shutterfly website.

My husband would tell you that me, the cards and the photos can be quite a thorn in the side of my dear family members.  Imagine his joy when I found these delightful options in Shutterfly's 2011 Holiday Card selection:

This one might be our favorite!  We can ditch the holiday letter and just roll it on into this one.

I loved the idea of the monogram, even though our family monogram doesn't exactly match.

We are, aren't we?


And then, we might roll with this one.  So many to choose from!

I think that this one is it.  I like the variety of sizes.  I'll be able to tell the story of our year in photos and I do believe that I recall this one being available in black, too.
 Of course, I could always choose from the flat photo 4 x 8" cards selection.  We have always sent the flat photo cards.  Of course, they have 5 x 7", as well.  Just lookie what I found!

I'm so excited that they have reusable shopping bags in their photo gift selection.  This is $14.99 and folds up pretty small. 

I considered getting an ornament for my in-law's last year, and this may be the year.  Shutterfly has either a ceramic or pewter ornament available. 

I like the idea of rolling over after the year is through and doing a photo thank you card.  I did these for K- last year with her combo thank you birthday/Christmas cards.  Geeze, Louise does it take a long time for that child to write out her thank you's!  These cards would make that agony so much more cheery.
See?  Can't help but smile, right?  It's a card, so the cute will be on the front and the "do you know how many hours we spent on these" writing will be on the inside.
They even have gift tags
And address labels!
I've gotten cards from Shutterfly in the past.  I loved them.  I used a different online card printing service one year and I received my 60 photo Christmas cards shoved into an over sized envelope.  Needless to say, the corners to most of the 60 cards were all munched and crunched and so were many of the envelopes.  I had decided right then and there that I would go with someone else and Shutterfly was the service I used.  Printing was quick, prices were great (you can find sales on their website all the time, too) and they sent my items in a box.  I realize that might seem weird to some, but it is the little things to me that keep me and my family coming back. 

Are you a blogger? Want a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season? Register here.  Not a blogger?  Never fear, Shutterfly offered me three promotion codes to offer to readers.  I already spoke to two readers about Shutterfly and they are on their way.  I have one more Shutterfly 25 free cards code to pass out to the first commenter who asks me for it in the comments and tells me what type of card you are interested in using the code for. 

Now go forth to Shutterfly and shop for something beautiful! 

I was compensated by Shutterfly for blogging about their 2011 Holiday Card Selection.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Winterization of the vehicle has begun!

A few years ago, I did a WFMW about girly winterization.  I'll give a list of my recent accomplishments and my to-do list.

 Wash and wax the RAV.  Done!  I won a wash and wax from the local Toyota dealership when I went to have my oil changed in June.  I had previously scheduled it for July, but K- got sick with that nasty respiratory crud I had and was running 104.2.  I was going to have it done in August, but we had the chipped windshield, the belt scrapping of the paint, the repaint and the time to allow the paint to cure.  The day I dropped the car off for the repaint was the day I was going in for the start of the foot episode.  (I tell you, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.)  Fast forward through all that crub and to today.  There was a kind gentleman who for two hours, kindly washed and waxed my entire vehicle.  Y'all, that is no easy task.  I now can put a check mark on the list there, though.
√  He also swept the car and wiped over the inside!
√  My car hasn't been a mama mobile since we came back from vacation and Hubs gave it a good detailing for me.  I went through and picked up a few pieces of garbage from the back, but you'd be proud that it seriously wasn't dirty! 
√  Refilled Purell dispenser in my driver's side door.
√  Wiped windows inside and out.  Again, nice gentle guy did that for me! :)!!
√  Storm blankets are returned to the vehicle.

Things to do:
1.  Tire rotation.  Scheduled for tomorrow.
2.  Storm food and add few bottles of water.
3.  Check windshield washer fluid and put an extra bottle in the back.
4.  Make sure that I have a book to read in the console.  You just never know around here. 
5.  Make sure K- has a book in the back.
6.  A flashlight would be excellent!
7.  Track down the snow scraper and bring it out to be in view.  Snow is around the corner.  My 5th metatarsal tells me so!

I can't think of anything else right now.  Right now, it is 45 degrees F and raining.  It is chilly willie puddin' pie and warmness is not in our future, I'm sure. 

Do you see anything I missed?  Shoot me a comment!  I'd rather know!

Smiles in my day:
-  My awesome free car wash and wax!
-  My Pampered Chef order arrived!  Now I have a simple slicer, a mix and chop and a toaster oven sized stone baker.  (I had birthday money.)  I'm so excited!
-  Dr. W-'s office phoned today to tell me that he has called the orders in to have an x-ray done on my foot before my appointment on Friday.  This way, we can actually discuss my progress rather than just guess about it.  I like being able to meet with Dr. W- so that I can get the full scoop from him, rather than a relayed message from the nurse.  Cross your fingers and toes people.  I'm hoping that this thing is healing. 
-  Having a removable cast that can be flared out in front of the heat vent at night to dry.  Twice this week, my aircast boot has taken on water.  It got damp and a little muddy at soccer, despite my gorgeous purple plastic boot bag.  (Compliments of work.)  Last night, I had kind of a rinse and repeat, except I walked in a puddle that I didn't see.  The top of my foot was dry, but the bottom was soaked.  Yuck.  I'm glad that I can dry it out so it doesn't smell like a dead critter strapped to my foot.  Ewwwww!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What if there was a big cat roaming through your 'hood?

The exotic animals that were let loose was probably about an hour and a half south of my house.  By other reading that I've done, Ohio seems to be a bit lax on the exotic animal owners.  It's several times a year that we have some type of incident.  Last year, a handler was mauled to death by a bear that he worked with daily. 

My thoughts?  Probably not popular with everyone, but I understand why they handled it the way that they did.  Do I wish that they could trap and hand deliver the animals to a place like The Wilds?  Absolutely.  The Wilds is a gorgeous place and they aren't that far from where the exotic animals were released from.  Click here for map. (For reference-- Zanesville is where this happened and Cumberland is where The Wilds is.)

My husband said that they talked about this at work.  He agreed with what they did and so does Jack Hanna.  The animals were released, it was dark, the cages were disabled so that they couldn't be used again, tranquilizers would work for a short time, but couldn't guarantee that they would have enough time to keep the animal down so that they could find them before they awoke.  The man didn't leave a note, so they don't know if this is what he considered a last act of kindness or one final stick-it-to-'em.  (Our thoughts are for the latter.)

Sadly, many animals died.  They shouldn't have.  If only the owner would have surrendered them. 

Thoughts?  I know that I'm opening up a can of worms, so please know that I appreciate every comment.  I don't mind if you don't agree.  I don't mind if you leave me a longity leggity comment.  Just keep it family friendly and constructive, please.

ETA:  This article was on Yahoo this evening.   There is also this petition to outlaw exotics in Ohio.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tales from the Trenches: A letter to the dog lady and one to smoking man.

Dear Dog Lady,

I know that each morning you see me, you must grit your teeth in anger.  I know that you find my protecting the children at the bus stop from your ferociously barking dog annoying.  I know that you tell me that as Spot, the medium-sized German Shepherd that barks his fool head off that, "He's really gentle and would hurt no one."  Pardon me for not being convinced.

One of the first days of school, you decided to walk Spot through the crowd of 6+ children.  I was dumbfounded.  "He's fine," you said, as the look on my face suggested otherwise.  "I'd really rather not," I said softly while I was horrified to think that I might have to throw myself in front of these children to avoid a good ole fashioned mauling.

Fast forward to a day last week.  You were walking Spot, approaching our bus stop corner and not stopping.  I stepped ahead of the spot about 5 feet and said, "Ma'am, would you mind not walking your dog through the crowd of waiting children at the bus stop?"  "He's harmless," you say, while Spot has his ferocious people bark on.  You continue to advance toward me and I continued, "No, Ma'am, please.  You don't understand.  I would really rather you NOT walk your dog through the bus stop of children.  Please consider walking him on the sidewalk on the other side of the street."  "Well, there are things planted there and he may pee on them and kill them."  Really?  You are concerned about burning plants up at the end of the season with dog urine, rather than a concerned parent with children ranging from 2nd - 5th grade.  "Well, really, we'd rather you not."

Yesterday, you were approaching the stop.  I very politely gave a look your way, moved down a bit and blocked the sidewalk.  You took my not-so-subtle hint, turned around and went the other way.

Good girl!

Please understand that I'm just protecting these kids at the bus stop.  I have been bitten by otherwise "very gentle dogs" and my bites required medical treatment.  I was bit in the hand and chest by a Great Dane.  I was also bit in the leg by the same owner's Doberman.  My niece had a "very gentle dog" snap one night while she was sleeping with her and my brother came in to find the dog chewing on my niece's head as if it were a chew toy.  I had a cousin who had his face chewed by a dog that had gone hungry.   I have big dog issues.  I love them if I know them, but I don't know your dog and don't care to.


The Over Protective Bus Stop Mom

- - - - - - - - -

Dear Smoking Man,

I really don't quite know what possessed you to smoke while standing on the white line outlining the boundaries of the soccer field this weekend.  I understand that it was raining and that you brought your very large EZ-Up tent to keep your family dry.  That was kind of you.  What was not kind of you was to smoke right where the children were playing soccer.  I know that you can't be surprised by children paying soccer.  You've paid your play cost to have your child involved. 

The children are out exercising.  While I understand that it isn't my place to tell you where to smoke, one would think that common sense would kick in and perhaps you wouldn't do it ON THE FREAKIN' FIELD!

There are asthmatic children.  While my child is not one of those, she is smoke sensitive.  What do I mean by that?  Well, she ends up with a hefty case of croup or bronchitis every time she is exposed to more than a puff of smoke.  I had the discussion with my family that we would not be able to attend family functions if they continue to smoke in the house and around my child.  If they can move out to keep my child safe, you can use your noodle and move your heiny under the tree, up the hill and away from the children, to keep their lungs safe. 

Dude, where is your brain?


The Smoke-Free Mom

Smiles in my day:
-  That my daughter had a teacher that phones.  I'm not quite used to that.  She is an open book.  You can literally talk to her about anything with your child and she truly wants to help.  As I was walking down the hall the other day, she grabbed me up to discuss my child's math test.  K- failed.  K- didn't fail because she didn't know the material.  K- failed because she rushed.  K- had an A- an interim and I had asked Mrs. B where this 55 % put her.  I told her that the way I figured (with tests being 50 % of her grade and this being the first one), she was now sitting at a low C - D.  It turns out that K- is sitting with a D.  :insert exploding bomb sound here:  She called to tell me that she hadn't realized quite the percentage impact that made on the kids grades, and that she had 5 other children bomb the test, too.  She will be re-testing that test in a few weeks.  I explained to her that I didn't bring up the percentage to her as a want to retest (though I'm thankful), but with at least 25% of the class in K-'s same boat, I could see her point of concern.  (Imagine 28.5% of your 2nd grade class now failing one subject all because of one test.)  As Mrs. B said to me, they are working with a completely new math program and it is taking some getting used to.  Still, I laugh that she calls my house, doesn't even say who it is (thank God for caller ID) and just launches on in talking.  I told her that K- is under 2 weeks of restriction to make sure that the impact of rushing is firmly planted in her noggin.  She is under screen restriction, except with First in Math, is to double check her work, slow down and concentrate and her handwriting is to be neater.  When she doesn't rush, these things aren't an issue.  I told her that we would re-evaluate on October 28 and see how she is doing then.  She appreciated us taking this seriously and I told her that I don't think it will be a problem for K- again. 

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

By George, I think we've got it.

As many of you know, we've left our home church and have been church shopping.  Apparently, we are a try just a few churches and settle in kind of people.  We tried the Episcopalian church with the neighbors.  We tried the Southern Baptist church with friends.  Now, we cruised on to the Methodist church at the suggestion of K-'s school librarian.

We think we've found a church home.

Now, my good friend Rachael said all along that she thought that the UMC would be a good fit for us.  The people were warm.  Everyone was themselves.  They took us in, talked our ears off, the sermon was related to real life and so was Sunday School. 

We left with the biggest sigh of relief.

I can't recall at what point I made the comment that being in that church service brought tears to my eyes, but Hubs agreed. 

We went downstairs to retrieve K- from her services and I laughed at her teacher.  "K- just blended right on in and we didn't even know that she hadn't been here prior to us taking attendance."  It was then that I told them that she is a churched kid.  We talked about having left our church home, being "church homeless," which was certainly a 4 year consideration of prayer and discussion, and now we are here. 

We love that we are amongst people full of flaws and that is okay.  I love that they grabbed us up, K- was blended right on in with a 4-child family from school (at one point, I had no idea where she had gone), and people were glad that we were there. 

:deep breath:

It's a good thing.