Sunday, December 30, 2012

Operation Christmas Child Box Report

Our box made it to Namibia!  We've had boxes go to Iraq, Georgia (the country, of course) and now Namibia.  It is a wonderful thing to be able to find out where your box went, so that you can pray for the recipient throughout the year.

If you sent a box out and found out where it got off to, let us know!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cruciferous Vegetable Night

Season 4, Episode 2 of the Big Bang Theory is called "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification."  When my husband saw me preparing 1/2 of a head of cauliflower for consumption this evening, he insisted that I suit up with Beano and warned me that his evening sleep may be taken on the couch.

He sees a replay of Sheldon's Cruciferous Vegetable Night.  Of course, the most hilarious portion of his night was not on You Tube, but this will suffice.

Let's hope that we don't have a re-run. At least I can tell you that I am not designed for nor do I run. (Well, not unless it is an emergency.) Falling down steps while running shouldn't be a problem for me.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wintertime vocabulary lesson for the masses.

I realize that not all of the readers here live in the cold, white north.  We have a different vocabulary up here during the winter.  Here are some words/phrases you may here:

1.  I've got to snap my blades.  That means that if you are really good at it, you can drive down the road, reach out your window and grab hold of a moving windshield wiper blade while in motion.  You need to do this to "snap" the ice off the blade to make it so that it can start clearing ice, road sludge, salty water and whatnot from your windshield.

2.  Drifts.  We're not talking about hints that people are dropping.  Oh no.  We're talking about swirling measurements of snow that collect and block the worse possible places.

3.  Beet juice.  Where I live, they use a beet juice cocktail on winter roads for ice treatment.  No, we don't drink it.  Surprisingly, it doesn't turn the cars pink or purple like I thought.  Well, I suppose it is hard to tell under all of the gray road gunk.

4.  Parking lot sludge.  Gray and black semi-frozen matter that is a result of salt melting and driving over ice and snow.  It will ruin pants.  When you walk through it, you end up with a stripe of gunk all the way up the back of your legs.  Nice.

5.  Give my car a brush, please.  No, I don't drive the dog mobile from Dumb and Dumber.  Brushing a car is simply taking the lovely snow brush and brushing the snow off the windows and lights.  My husband usually brushes my car off, but this morning, I was on my own.  :(

6.  Snowman snow.  Snow isn't just snow.  There are different degrees of snow and just because you have it doesn't mean that you can make a snowball or snow person out of it.  The warmer it is, the more the snow sticks.  The colder it is, the fluffier it is.

7.  Car blanket.  You don't have this to tuck your car in.  You have this in case you end up in a horrible traffic jam because someone decided to stomp on their brakes or because your car failed to cooperate.  A nice, toasty blanket in your car may never be used.  In the winter up north, it is a necessity, though.

I know that I'm forgetting a ton of things here.  Feel free to keep adding to the list.  :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Getting ready for our storm.

We're supposed to have 8-12" of snow today.  By Saturday, we're supposed to have 19"+ on the ground.  Hubs returned to work today after being off on vacation time.  I get to greet the Christmas Sale crowds (ugh) and then we are to be slammed late this morning and on through this evening.

I'd rather be hanging out at home.

Hubs thought I was ridiculous to pack him a bag with a blanket, water, gatorade, foil packs of tuna, granola bars, fleece pants, a sweatshirt and wool socks.  Oh, and because he's been suffering with a cold, I sent him with a box of Puffs and a disposal bag.  He also has a little shovel with him.  The road out to where he works was shut down and blocked for an obscene number of hours (as in overnight +) so that particular stretch of road doesn't have a real good track record.

My MIL has asked that K stay over so that we don't have to worry about going out to get her.  K has her bag packed, her doll's bag packed, an extra blanket and pillow (she got yesterday) as well as a doll bed and a doll barber chair.  Methinks she packed a lil heavy.

As for me, I work just up the road.  I'm blessed to work for people who will and have sent us home early.  If it is getting ugly, they will send us home.  I'm looking forward to that today.

I've gassed up both cars.  Hubs is in front wheel drive and I have 4 wheel drive.  We'll be okay.  It's the driving of everyone else that concerns me.

We pray that everyone remains safe.  For now, we're under a Winter Weather Advisory.  Up towards the lake, they are under Blizzard warnings because of wind.  Who knows what this will really hold?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Having a wonderful day with family and hoping the same for all of you!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Rachael recently asked me about someone on my prayer list.  "I read that, you know."  Updating the prayer list had slipped my mind.  I have updated it today.  There are some pretty chewy things on there that need our prayerful help.

We have Sandy Hook.  That goes probably without saying, but I've heard that people have been taking Christmas decorations down.  I don't know that people are boycotting Christmas, but their hearts are hurting so bad.  We need to continue to lift this community and the affected families in prayer because Christmas isn't about gift giving.  It is about hope.  So much would I love to grab them all up and just hug them.  Say nothing.  Just listen and hug these poor people with every ounce of energy that I have.

We have families with health issues and no money.

A family that has dropped off the radar and though we haven't heard that anything is wrong, my heart tells me that there is something not right.

We have families who have lost and are looking to lose.

We have family members who will hopefully get past the issues that they are having and come together in love.

So many prayers.  So many needs.  If you have one that you would like to add to the list, please contact me to let me know.

Oh, and don't think that I mind getting the poke to update.  I sort of fell off the wagon when the computer crashed.  I promise.  I'll be better.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A birthday, a new car, parties, snow, the collapse and more!

We celebrated K's 9th birthday on Thursday.  The previous weekend, we had a sleep over so that she could celebrate with her friends.  Little girl is growing up.  I had her stand next to her growth chart and she is 56" tall.  At 10 1/2, she'll officially be as tall as me.  Bless her heart.

We had family over for filled cupcakes, brownies, chocolate covered pretzel ice cream and party cake ice cream.  I mean, how could you go wrong with those choices?  Needless to say, she had delightful gifts given to her, too.  Lego Friends are a big hit, though we have two bodies in the box and one head. I'm going to have to e-mail them about that.  She wanted Kids Bop, so I picked that up for my mom along with a Spirograph.  I mean, how could you go wrong with a Spirograph?  She also received the movie Brave, a stuffed puppy and a book.  We added to her Webkinz collection, gave her an American Girl sewing kit that she wanted (clearance at Target!) and a Hello Kitty MP3 player (clearance at Target.)

Before we had K's celebration, we plunked her onto the bus with a cake container full of brownies and headed off to buy Hubs a new car.  We had made the deal on Sunday, left a locator deposit and were on the wait for the arrival.  What did we buy him?  He chose a standard shift 2013 Black Toyota Yaris.  It gets 38 MPG and when I wash it, I can reach the roof without standing on anything!  We call her the Barbie car because she is rather petite.  He loves it and I appreciate him and his decision to purchase something that is more practical and cost conscious.

We got snow yesterday!  Of course, being the first snowstorm of the year, they predicted Armageddon. They had crawls on the TV not to go out until after the advisories had lifted and things of that sort.  Really?  In fact, K is so excited right now since she is dressing to go roll around in the 2 or 3" of snow.

Yesterday was K's classroom Christmas party.  I made Rachael's baking soda/cornstarch and water ornaments.  I made 32 stars and baked them for 2 1/2 hours at 170 degrees.  The ornaments were a hit!  The kids loved them and I purchased styrofoam bowls for them to take the ornaments home in.  We stapled the bowls together to make a container to take a wet ornament home in without wearing the glitter, glue and other things that were stuck to them.  We had a delightful buffet of snacks, even though no one could tell me that they were sending anything in.  I was kind of sweating that one.  It all worked out okay.  Hubs came to volunteer with me and the teacher was thrilled.  We don't see that many dads at our school.  We had another mom who was able to come to help.  She has a great boss who allowed her to cruise on in to help.  I thought that the ornaments would take far longer than they did, then I realized that we had a half hour left.  I did my "unhang man" AKA building a drawing of something other than a guy hanging.  I drew a snowman, a Christmas tree and Santa.  The kids dug it.  We only got the wiggly widgets the last 5 minutes, so I call that a success.

I came home from the party, drew myself a bath, put on my pajamas and hopped into bed.  We had no obligations last night and I was beyond dog tired.  I had run for two weeks straight without stopping, having multiple meetings, breakfasts, work, other school obligations and such.  I knew that we could all take a quiet night and kick back and rest.  I ended up taking a nap (which I never do) and the fell asleep at 10 and slept all night long.  Hubs commented this morning how I was "dead to the world" and must have been beyond tired.  He said that the ADD keeps me spinning and the fact that I was down and resting kind of threw him.  I wasn't sick, but I was pretty convinced that if I didn't stop, I would be.  I needed to listen to my body and listen I did.  He chose to work out last night and K decided to watch the movie Brave three times in a row.  We aren't big with TV with her and doing that is a very rare thing, but she's been exhausted, too.  Kiddo needed to decompress, so she rested, played with her dollhouse in the middle of the living room floor and loved the quiet time to herself.

Today is Happy Home Day!  Today is the day that we celebrate that K came to be with us.  (Most people call it Gotcha Day, but that title doesn't ring real well with me.  I wanted something more meaningful to us and a little less slang.) We like to take her to see Christmas lights on the evening of Happy Home Day.  There have only been a few years that we've missed it, but we always like to do something special with her.  (One year had the stomach flu and last year we had no lights where we usually go.)  We'll have fun this evening for sure!

Having spent every single day at the school this week, I can tell you that our procedures for different things have been tweaked all week.  The tweaking is definitely a good thing and everyone seems to be fairly obedient about it.  I texted my PTA peeps to let them know that they needed to print badges as well as wear their lanyards, we needed to give specific whereabouts to the office and are absolutely under no circumstance to let anyone in at all.  (We already knew most of those things, but it didn't hurt to reiterate.)

I have to jog out to the land o' retail madness today.  For those who speak with me by phone, they will be thrilled to know that Santa (my parents in this case) will be gifting us a new cordless phone!  The phone system was a hand-me-down from the neighbor and it has gotten so beyond that it doesn't beep when the battery is low anymore.  It just hangs up.  People know that I will call them back, but still  . . .

K is out shoveling snow from the neighbors drive.  She is moving snow to probably make herself a mini sledding hill.  She loves playing in snow more than I can even express.  There is more coming basically everyday.  To her, that is the greatest gift.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The dinner time talk with K- about the shootings.

I don't want my child to be scared to go to school.  However, I do not want her to be blind sided by the information that may very well come up on Monday.  

"K-.  Dad and I need to have a serious talk with you.  You did nothing wrong.  We do want to talk to you about something very bad that happened.  You'll probably hear about it at school.  Something happened very bad at a school very far away.  People were hurt and people died."  

"What happened?"  

Hubs answered that someone came in and did have a gun and shot a lot of people.  I was hesitant about giving so much information, but she asked and we told her.  We told her that it seems like he was mad at his mom.  The people in the school did nothing wrong.  

Tears rolled down her face.  "But I just feel so bad for all of those families."  

"We do, too."  "We want you to feel safe.  Do you feel safe?"  

We reviewed different policies and how lock downs are done on a regular basis.  Again, I'm thankful that I witnessed a live lock down that was not a drill.  That does make my heart feel so much better.  

We explained to her that her school is always locked, but it is important not to open it up for anyone.  "They need to get buzzed in and make sure you never let anyone in, even if you know them because we want to follow the rules."  

I'm sad that we had to have this conversation with her, but I wanted her to have some time before going back to school to digest the information in as much as she can.  She knows that she can always ask us any question and this allows her processing time before re-entry.  

I told her that I suspect that Miss W (the school counselor) may be having a talk with them sometime about it.  I also said that I wouldn't be surprised if they have a lock down drill this week.  

I just wanted to prepare her, but we don't want to scare her.  Still . . .

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nothing that I could say seems significant enough.

I was busy dashing around to get ready for K-'s party yesterday when I read a blip on Yahoo about the school shooting.  At that time, they didn't have any information to give other than big, bad things had happened.

My cousin came over to help assist in the process of painting and whatnot and was talking to me on the side about it.

How my heart breaks.

Mr. B, our principal, used our weekly All Call to reassure parents, grandparents and guardians that we have regular lock down drills, have certain sign-in procedures for a reason and you could tell in the quiver of his voice that with this being an elementary, it hit particularly close to home.  He knows each of our 530 students personally.  He stands at bus stops, stops by homes, calls regularly truant children in the morning to make certain that they are up to get ready and be on time for school.  Our kids are his kids.  He asked that we hug them a little extra tight.

I can write that I've been in the school for a full lock down.  It was not a drill and I saw the entire school buttoned up in well less than 60 seconds.  Each child has been locked down in every area of the school, so they know what they are to do if they are in the gym, art room, hall or the cafeteria that has a full side wall of glass.

I had 4 additional young ladies stay over with me last night.  I told their parents that I did not turn the TV on on purpose.  I told them that if they wanted to approach the subject with their children, I wanted it to be on their own.  I just wanted the kids to have one more quiet night of fun before reality of another mass shooting came to light.

I could ask, "What makes someone do this?" Obviously this is not a new thought.

"How could we stop it?"  But then, you have people accusing each other all the way around.  This one is right and that one is right.  In the end, we have death.  A mass death.  Let's not lay blame.  Let's lay prayer.

I have a child who just got past the anxiety of the OAA.  I can't imagine the anxiety that she might have over worrying about a gunman coming into her school and wiping out a classroom or more of children.

I was awake in the middle of the night, listening to the little snores of the sleepers in my living room.  I can't imagine not having any one of them around.

I just can't imagine.  It's safe to say that I'm sure that Newtown wouldn't want anyone to have to feel their pain.

We lift the families, the community and everyone concerned in prayer.  How my heart breaks.

Monday, December 10, 2012

5200+ e-mails made my account blow up.

I have a confession.  I have admitted it to you before, but it got absolutely no better when the computer crashed.  I was behind on clearing out old e-mails.  The computer crashed and I could only access those e-mails on the Kindle.  When you erase them from the Kindle, they don't erase from the actual account. (Or at least, that is what I found.)  When the computer got replaced with a machine that works willingly, I had 5243 e-mails.


I was dealing with them bit by bit.  I went in one day and noticed that my e-mail had now become one page with many additional spaces left for more.

Juno ate them.

It's okay.  The account needed freed of the clutter.  Still, 5243.  Really?  If I was that stuffed full of e-mails from the Vitamin Shop, Old Navy, Bass Pro and more, I would explode, too.

I've since been very good at clearing out the old.  I've also blocked e-mails and changed subscription notices.

A New Year's Resolution?  Keep better control of the e-mail.  I promise.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I touched hundreds of little faces.

We had our Santa Shop and Winter Wonderland event at the school yesterday.

Sweet Pete, I was tired.

I was the face painter.  I had a few young ladies helping me, but it was primarily my gig.  I had 4 designs for them to choose from.  Still, I had the "but I want a monster!"  "Darlin', you can choose from these different designs here.  Would you like a snowflake, an ornament, a star or a tree?"  "I want a monster."

I was not paid by the hour as a party painter.  I was a free volunteer and happy to do so.  Still, to keep the line moving, I had to be that lady who made them stick to the four designs.  Oh, and I had to have them stick to the one cheek per kid rule.

I would say I was no fun, but I did sing silly songs to kids.  Some were impressed.  Some could care less.  Still, I had my hands all over hundreds of little faces.

The good news is that no one bit me.  :)

I'm preparing to go be the cupcake decorating coordinator at our church.  We're having a Happy Birthday Jesus party and it is me, and me alone, who will be manning the sprinkles and icing.

Lord be with me.

Still, I'm happy to do it and we want the kids to have fun.  We anticipate 70 children, but since we put out over 1600 invites, we're hoping for a lot more.

Frosting knives raised and prayers of patience.  Have a great day!

ETA:  We went.  We enjoy.  We iced, sprinkled, sang and ate.  We ended up with 96 extra cupcakes, so we had the older kids ice and sprinkle the additional cupcakes so that we could put them up for our Family Promise families that will be arriving this weekend.  Something tells me that they won't be in a want for cupcakes any time soon.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Third Grade Guarantee

We're breathing a sigh of relief in our house tonight.  K- passed the Ohio Reading Achievement test enough to qualify for promotion to 4th grade.  It is very sad that this child got so stressed out about a test that could potentially hold her back that she took half of a day off as a mental health day.

Poor kiddo!

She scored above their required score, but just a few points behind where they want the kids to be at the end of third grade.

Considering the massive amount of stress she felt, we think that is awesome!  On a general day, she could do better, but having never seen it before, she did fabulous!

It is sad that it has come to that, though.  It is ridiculous what they put these poor kids through.  The teacher made no mention of the 3rd Grade Guarantee specification and neither did we, but other parents told their kids who were a little free-wheeling with the information.  Between that and the difficulties in math, the kid has been a complete wreck!

She takes the reading test again in April, along with the math achievement test.  About a week ago, the kids had a reading test for the city that took 2 1/2 hours and K- said it was 31 pages long.

Do I need to remind y'all that K- is 8?

I have a hatred for standardized testing.  I know it has its place, but I'm not a fan.  Argh.

:whew with a wipe to the forehead:

That is a hurdle that we've jumped over together.  Now if we could just get that math thing licked!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tales from the Trenches: Don't worry, I'll bend down.

My daughter is growing.

And growing.

And growing.

This is where I remind you that I'm 5' 1".

This morning, I woke up about an hour later than I usually do.  My alarm usually goes off at 6:09 AM with two options to have alarm smack-downs, then up at 6:30.  Since I failed to set the alarm, I did not have that this AM, but with the bus coming at 7:40, we had enough time.  (And I even had to pack lunch!)  I ran down and grabbed K's uniform parts off the line, started packing her lunch and grabbed up breakfast for her.  I was brushing her hair, she popped up to brush her teeth and then she stopped.

She bent down for me.

"Mom, don't worry.  I'll bend down for you."  You see, it's getting harder and harder for me to part her hair without her being seated.

My baby?  She's growing older and taller.


I even bet that she'll be taller than me.  That's okay.  Hubs told her that she'll be 6' 4" (which she won't be) and I'll still be putting her into time out.  All she could do was to laugh.  I told her that I didn't care how tall she was, she just needs to remember that I'm mom.

A short mom.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Will work for books.

Today, my book fair co-chair and I went to the Scholastic Warehouse sale.  We needed to purchase books for our school library.  In years past, we were able to purchase paperback books and all was well.  Central processing has now said that they will no longer bar code the paperbacks and all further purchases need to be hardback.

Drat it all.

Kay and I went knowing what we had brought in for the Birthday Book Club.  We also knew that we had a fairly successful book fair this fall and are sitting with quite a sum to be used for book purchases. We had books to purchase for all 6 grades, and to keep with hardback, we knew it would be difficult.  The warehouse sale was 25-80% off and most were 50% off.  While she picked some ahead without me, we went to town today.

I have no idea of how long we were there, but we were able to score.

We purchased 65 hardback books for the bargain price of $315.  For those of you not wanting to pull your calculator out, it was an average of $4.85 per book.  Given that, we decided that 4th and 5th grade would each have a donated book in their name, where grades K-3rd would be buddied up a few kids on some books.  In the end, it doesn't matter, as long as we purchase for the library what needs to be gotten.  The folks, if they have a problem with it, will notice the retail price on the back is NOT the $5.00 that people donate.  We had a coupon of $25. off each $100. spent, so we did 4 separate transactions to get the best price.  We saved $100 that way!  When we dropped the new books off to the librarian, she was thrilled to death.  Those two boxes of books were like Christmas to her!

Kay and I were given a book a piece as a thank you for our recent book fair.  Apparently, they were impressed by how well we did.  They made sure to let us know that the books that we were given were for us for our use at our homes.  I thought that was kind.  Kay worked on set up yesterday and since Scholastic pays $10 in book trade per hour of labor, she is sitting with a tidy $40 in credit to use towards Christmas.  I will be helping tomorrow as well.  I have a few science project books set aside for K to go with her Christmas gift.  To my understanding, they honor the 1/2 price with that, so for two hours worth of work, I may owe them just a few dollars.  Hoorah!

I love books.  K loves books.  To be paid in books?  That is just grand!

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

One more thing ticked off of the list.

The annual Christmas card is usually ordered and posted by now.  I like to drop them off on the day before Thanksgiving so that they can hit mailboxes on Black Friday.

Not so this year.

We have a different computer configuration since the infamous crash of early fall, so I haven't been able to get tutoring on transferring photos.  The photos are locked into the external hard drive, but tonight's e-mail had me motivated enough to do some investigation on my own.  I figured that the worse I could do was to get a funky screen that would call for my neighbor to come bail me out.

Shutterfly was having a sale, y'all!  There was an extension of Cyber Monday, I had a coupon code that came in K's photo package from school and I had free shipping since my order was over $30.  I cashed in on a savings of $97.00!

You see, I plugged the camera in and touched the computer and told her how pretty she was.  I wasn't brave enough to work with the external hard drive.  I know nothing about it anyhow.

Then photos started popping up.

And it kept going.

It was a program that I wasn't familiar with, but I was lucky enough to have it be pretty easy to navigate.  I was able to transfer all of the photos, they have arranged it in order of date and I transferred the photos that I needed over to Shutterfly.  A photo that would work for our hodge lodge popped up lickety split and I was able to get all arranged and ordered in about an hour and 15 minutes.  (I was being picky, so it wasn't any problem.  I also wanted to check out card options.)

I'm so excited!  I was having a tough time with my cards not being ordered or out.  I'll be able to get them addressed quickly and out in the mail when they arrive.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tales from the Trenches: The dreaded school mornings.

Once school started back up, K has absolutely every excuse in the book to NOT get ready in the morning.  (She was perfectly fine during break.)

"I feel like I'm going to throw up."

"No, for real this time."

"My foot hurts.  Look at the bruise that I have."

"My head hurts."

"Real bad."

"My stomach hurts."

"Real bad."

"I can't stand up straight."

I understand that we're going through a bit of a thing this year.  Getting her up and ready for school is more painful than a mouth full of root canals.  This morning, she was running so late, that she had no time to brush her teeth.

"That is it.  K, I'm telling you what I am going to do.  We will NEVER have a morning where you can't brush again.  I woke you up at 6:30 AM and now it is 7:40 AM.  I'm letting you know that if you do this same thing tomorrow, I will wake you up at 6:00 AM on Wednesday.  If you do the same thing Wednesday, I'll wake you up at 5:30 AM on Thursday."

"Okay, Mom.  I promise.  I won't do it again."

As it is, my alarm goes off at 6:09 AM so that I have two alarm clock smack-downs before getting K up.  I snuggle in with her.  We talk about stories and whatever it is that she wants to talk about.  It is a school lunch day, so we had extra time since I didn't have to pack a lunch.

No, it isn't because she doesn't go to bed early enough.  She goes to bed at 8:30 PM, but no later than 9 PM.  Bedtime remains the same for non-school nights.

For the love that is all good and right in the world, mornings wear me out.  K called me this afternoon to tell me about her social studies grade.  "Mom, number 8, 9 and 10 were 5 points each."  Gulp.  "How'd you do, babe?"  "I got 5, 5 and 5."  "That's great!  How did you do on your whole test?  What grade did you get?"  "22 out of 22!  I got an A!"  Turns out that K was sweating her social studies test grade.  She said that she was convinced that she was getting a D when she actually scored perfectly.  We discussed how that may have affected her behavior and about how she needn't sweat these things.  She just needs to do her best.

She has decided that she wants to wake up at 5:30 AM tomorrow.  I begged her to please wait until 6:20 AM.  We have her alarm set, which is always set for 6:30 AM, but we've pushed it back a bit for her.  She is looking forward (at least for tomorrow) of getting up and getting moving earlier.

Me thinks that she wasn't too fond of the idea of a cranky mom at 5:30 AM.  We've discussed how nice the mornings are when she can take advantage of the extra time and chill with a little bit of cartoons before the bus.

Let's hope this plan sticks.

ETA:  The morning went well.  K got herself up at 6:30 AM.  She was delightful.  She had breakfast, made her bed, brushed her teeth and we even had extra time to tie a headband in (a two people job with this one.)  She has city wide writing assessments this week, so I'm glad that she shuttled off happy, fed and well.  No complaining of the typical morning ailments, either.  I hope that this is a permanent situation, but something tells me that it probably isn't.  I'll take it while I can get it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Deck the halls with too much glitter . . .

Fa, la la la la, la la la la.

Know the tree took 8 good hours.

Fa, la la la la, la la la la.

The gifts are wrapped (mostly) and under the tree,

Fa, la la la la, la la la la.

The outside is lit and Hubs did do it.

Fa, la la la la, la la la la.

I would provide photos, but haven't quite figured that function out on the box.  Soon enough.  The photos are locked inside of the camera and on the external hard drive and are begging to be let out.  :)

I can say that my shopping list is DONE.  What little bits of whatnot I had to do yet were complete this weekend, including K and Hubs.  I have a gift to make for K, but everything for it is purchased and awaiting assembly.  It won't take me more than an hour.

I have yet to carve out when the two day baking extravaganza is to be done, but I can tell you that I have 10 ladies coming to my house on Saturday for Christmas Tea.  Since I did it here last  year, I know what I need to do and the bonus is the fact that I found table cloths on the clearance rack, so now I don't have to phone the boys across the street to ask about borrowing their linens.  (Though, I might add that they were absolutely thrilled and dropped them off laundered and freshly pressed.)

The items that I have to send off to Chicago are wrapped, bagged and ready to drop off at my in-law's so that they can send the box all together.  I have a few other boxes to mail out, but one is awaiting cookies.

The boxes for everything for the holidays are back up in the attic and the pile of games is returned back to the game closet.  Now I can walk through my kitchen without the lamp and three Rubbermaid totes in the way.

K returns back to school tomorrow.  Schedule as usual is back on for four more weeks.  The kids go to school through December 21, then they are off from 12/22 - 1/7.  It seems a bit excessive to me.  It is what we have though, so we'll rock it out.

I have to laugh, we had a dusting of snow yesterday.  The snow accumulated on the cars about an inch, but everywhere else was just a fluff coating.  K played outside and hauled her sled around gathering snow from every cook and nannie that she could find.  The child absolutely loves snow, so I hope that she has a ton of it to play with while she has two full weeks off.

With that, I do believe that the bath is calling me.  I also have to put some black bean nacho burgers up.  I made a double batch tonight while I was making dinner.  They will carry us through some of the busy parts of the holiday, when Mama is just too tired to cook.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 23, 2012

"A real puppy and a pare of high hells."

A wish list appeared on my pillow shortly after Smudge died.  (It should be noted that the spelling of the post title is the spelling that appears on the wish list.) A real puppy (moreso a pound rescue) is something we've talked about for a while, so it is no surprise that she wanted that.  I did tell her something.

I told Santa no.

There was a second item on her list.  She wanted high heels.  She has wanted high heels for quite some time, but since the child suffers from atrociously narrow feet/heels and a high arch, I have never explored the possibility because, well, shoes hardly ever actually fit her well.  Tennis shoes often have a bit of a heel slide on her.  When she told me, "Mom, I dream of wearing high heels with my Christmas dress," I knew that I had to make that dream come true.  She wasn't asking for something unreasonable or outrageous.  My baby wanted her first pair of heels.

My sister and I went for our traditional Black Friday shopping extravaganza last evening.  I went with an index card in my pocket with the list of things I needed and items that I promised to pick up for other people.  I started out at 11:15 PM and went out to "the farm" as we referred to it all day to get her.  We gathered change, stopped by the Circle K for our half gallons of soda and we were off.  We arrived at Target, found the Brave movies I needed for my MIL and took a funny spin through the shoe department.  Not only did they have "high hells" but they had a strap to keep them on her feet AND! they had her size.  It was like the light shone down and angels themselves were singing the hallelujah chorus.  I grabbed some clearance lip goo (Chapstick) and the requested Q Tips and off and away we went.

We went next door to Kohl's where we spent an hour and 45 minutes in line.  The good news is that I was able to use my $5. Black Friday coupon, 15% off coupon and my Discover Card $15 off $75 coupon and I saved a bundle.  That was delightful!

We pressed on to Walmart which was a big bomb, but I managed to get another box of laundry detergent since I was running low, so it wasn't all for not.  LeAnne cashed in on cheapie jammies for her little man.

We cruised through Dunkin Donuts and being the dork I was, I didn't consider that someone else could possibly be out besides us and almost got plowed into at 3:30 AM by another Black Friday shopper.  She was kind and didn't honk.  Apparently I cut her off pretty bad.  My sister said that she would have every right to be ticked.  I needed food.  I blame the low blood sugar.

We jetted up to the next Target where I decided to bite the bullet and just buy the danged AGesque bed for K-'s American Girl doll.

We went to the mall after that.  The restroom at Sears looks like it belonged at a concert venue that had been ransacked and abused during a multi-day event.  The good news is that they still flushed and that is about the only positive news I could relay.  How can people be such pigs?

Old Navy was a big ole stinkin' pile.  Aeropostale was where my sister had to fill in some holes on her list.  She dragged me into Hot Topic and besides the fact that all of these stores were blaring music at 4 AM, it was bad music.  Really bad music.  Think Pink Floyd rolling through Muzak but with a funky beat.  It was so wrong.  The only sweet thing about Hot Topic was that I scored the Soft Kitty t-shirt that I wanted for a whole $10.  Other than that, the store is one that I will probably never step into again.

Bath and Body Works had nothing.  JCPenney had a gathering of people outside of the gate waiting to get in.  We didn't choose to stand in line to see what the fuss was all about.

We went on to our third Target, where I found the DS game my MIL wanted me to get for her.  I think that the only reason that it was still in stock is because they only had one person in electronics and no one to open the cases.

We went on to Joann Fabrics where there was another steaming pile.  That is really my fault as I didn't read my circular carefully enough to see that what I wanted to purchase was on sale tomorrow.  Snap!

I was able to score a gingerbread house kit at Michael's for about $5.00 and some lovely AG stuffings for K-'s stocking.  They were on the clearance section and I had an additional coupon.

I introduced my sister to the fine, fine land of World Market where I was able to score some additional stocking lovelies for my people.

Since Kohl's somehow lost control of a ring that I bought for my niece, but didn't charge me for it, I went ahead and headed back out to take advantage of their continued sale.  What I bought her still had the early morning extra percentage off sign up and though it didn't ring that, the jewelry counter folks were kind enough to give me that and my additional 15% off.  I scored $15. to spend starting Monday, so I'll probably use that on something for Hubs.

All in all, I call this Black Friday a success, though we did find that it took several trips to stores in different areas to find what we needed.  I spent $248 ($30 of that was for things for my MIL) and I saved $292.  My sister spent $310 and saved $397.  That is why we go out.  We only buy the deals or the can't finds.  We do not camp out for them and I'm not going to get in a knock down drag out fight over something.  I left my house at 11:15 PM, after having only scored 45 minutes of sleep and returned home at 10:30 AM, exhausted and nearly falling asleep while driving.  I would have slept longer than an hour and a half, but my mom called.  Oh well.  Tomorrow is decorating day.  Hubs has been on the ladder hanging lights on the house and re-lighting deer.  We have snow coming down and it is actually accumulating a bit.

Christmas is on its way!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It is because I love my sister and her family that I passed out the only box of Ho Ho's that I owned.

We were lucky enough to have a Hostess/Wonder Outlet right up the street.  I have bought my bread there for years.  We aren't the American white Wonder Bread kind of people.  They had a wonderful bread-- Nature's Pride Double Fiber Whole Wheat bread.  There were times that our favorite bread was $1.99/loaf.  I cashed in when I could find it for 99 cents a loaf.  You see, the normal retail is about $4. a loaf. When you went into the bread store and spent over $5.00, occasionally they would have a rolling rack of freebies to choose from.  A few weeks ago,  they had a rolling rack of Ho Ho's and that is how I scored my box.

K and I went to register her for archery class today.  Since we were going to be half way to my sister's house, I went ahead and phoned for a drive by playing.  She offered lunch of an unknown variety.  I packed a few boxes of Kraft Veggie Mac and Cheese, sweet potato fries and a box of Ho Ho's.  I came in the door, they were all at the table eating and I started the Ho Ho flip.

You would have thought that I brought them all something valuable.

"Wow!"  "It's really a Ho Ho?"

My brother-in-law announced to the family that I just passed on probably $200. in Ho Ho's, to which I exclaimed, "Merry Christmas!  It is because I love all of you so much that I share with you my box of Ho Ho's."  I even left them the box and threatened them not to burn it up in Chief (the wood burner.)

My niece, C, has designs on selling her loan Ho Ho for a profit so that she'll have Christmas money.  I do appreciate her attempt to make some cash.

We're not a snack cake house.  It is because of that that I had to let the Ho Ho free.  I would rather share them with a bunch of kids and family that would truly enjoy them, than to hoard them and keep them for ourselves.

In all seriousness though, I got the voice mail from my mom on Friday about Hostess going out of business.  Mom said that she watched it on MSNBC and since they are the same fine folk who didn't give rave reviews on Apple (go figure since I'm thinking that MS stands for Microsoft and not Multiple Sclerosis and they aren't going to be all pro on their biggest competitor), I didn't really give the Hostess thing a thought.  I was at school all day and had no time to do the bread store run that mom requested.  At the end of the school day, I did have 25 minutes before the bus would come.  I figured that I could fly through, get some bread and get out.

The parking lot was packed, y'all.  There was also a gentleman standing outside the door announcing, "I hope you don't want Twinkies."  "I'm not really a big Twinkie fan, so I'm good.  I just really want some bread."

There were bare shelves.  There was an old woman smacking her man in the arm because he was loading up on bread for the freezer.  Apparently, she was frowning upon that.  The bread I liked was in good stock, but mom wanted Smart White and I could only find one loaf.  I did find 3 packs of English muffins for her and a pack of 12 hamburger buns, where I picked up 6 loaves of our bread and a loaf of cinnamon breakfast bread.  I stood in a line for 10 minutes.  Usually I'm the only one in the store.

Sadly, staff confirmed that they only heard of the closing on the radio.  No one had been phoned.

Are we losing Ho Ho's and Twinkies?  Nah.  Someone will buy the rights and recipes and give them a run again.  We have people losing jobs and the holidays doesn't make it any easier.  We need to lift these people in prayer.  I'm good with giving up the snack cakes.  I'm not good with giving up jobs.  So sad.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We're still here.

We've been working through our kitty mourning.

 I don't wake up to the vittles hitting the metal bowl.

 Hubs doesn't have something furry looping in and out of his feet and around his ankles. Well, if he does now, we need to phone an exterminator!

 My laundry buddy is gone. I would talk with her. Scratch her on the head. She'd beg for more vittles. 

Walking through the kitchen, the pots hanging on the pot rack made the exact same "ting" that Smudge's collar did when it hit the bowl.

 Hubs comes home from work and I have nearly yelled, "I didn't feed the cat!" I've caught myself though.

 I think that Spike (our iguana) misses Smudge. He probably wonders where his partner in crime went to.

 Yesterday and today were grand days for leaving the windows and doors open. The sun was pouring in. Smudge would have been found on the slate pad at the door in a block of sun. She would be on top of the couch (on a towel, of course) sniffing the breeze that came in the window.

 I miss her doing the kitty-scooch shuffle on the couch to shimmy in next to me. Rare were the times that she did that with Hubs. She did that with me most of the time.

Whenever K was sick, she would come and hang out in her bedroom with her. No bites, I promise. She liked to hide under K's headboard. She would shimmy through the backside hole for the trundle. Occasionally we would have to sweep her out with the dust buster. She hated getting the sweep. Normally she would hiss, then she would leave you a very disapproving poop surprise later. Good times.

 On the other hand, my house doesn't smell like cat butt. No matter how much we scrubbed and cleaned, it seemed as though it always smelled of kitty bottom. The litter box was always changed, but Smudge suffered from some issues and she was a butt dragger. No matter when we took her to the vet and had that tended to, she'd come right home and do the kitty shuffle.

 The hair tumbleweeds in the basement have almost all been found. As a long haired cat, she would leave tumbleweeds everywhere.

 I don't miss the kitty litter on the basement steps that fell through the open risers and onto everything below. I don't miss the kitty litter dust.

 K doesn't miss the bites. Neither do Hubs or the neighbor. She didn't bite me. I told her that I'm mom and no bites. For some reason, she listened to that.

 It's been a week. It's hard to believe. For a critter that was with us for 14 1/2 years, it has been a bit of an adjustment. We've made a deal with K. She wants a dog. Longs for a dog. Has been begging for a dog- for years. On her Christmas wish list? Number 1 is "A real puppy." We will get her a dog the spring after she turns 10. That will be about a year and a half. In that time, we'll be able to get together a good game plan. We want her to work on being responsible, since the dog will be mostly her responsibility. She'll be old enough to be able to take good care (with supervision, of course.) We also want to be certain that we can afford a dog. We've explained to her that dogs are not like cats. They take a lot of work and a lot of money. We only want to bring a dog into the family if we have the cash flow to do so. This will give us time to do some doggie research with her. We told her that we'll have her do obedience training. We'll have her scoop poop (we're planning on having a pea stone strip that we hope to train puppy doggin to use for bath rooming, as I don't want a lawn full of puppy land mines.) I'd like to see if we can score a border collie for her. We had one growing up and Pepper was wonderful. K is a high energy kid who would pour her heart and soul into a dog. She would love to have a dog love her and to love on her. She would love to have a dog sleep in her room or at the end of her bed. We have things to work out. We have time. Plenty of time.

 Until then, I'm sure that she'll continue to ask to go to the animal shelter. It'll be soon enough.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ballot number 26

I'm old fashioned and think that the idea of driving to my voting location ON voting day is fabulous. I woke up at 5:20 AM and couldn't fall back to sleep. I decided to go when the polls opened. I was there at 6:25 AM and waited in a line that stretched out into the parking lot. The air was a brisk 30 F, but no matter. I needed to vote. I did vote. After today, I am excited to get this decided once and for all. I would love to be able to answer my phone, watch my TV and to pick up my mail- all free of political commercial or ad.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

She ran off into the kitty sunset.

We're sad here that our 14 1/2 year old Maine Coon made her voyage off to the Kitty heaven this morning. I knew that she was having a little bit of breathing distress yesterday afternoon and knowing her age and the way that it had come about, we knew that this was the signal that the end was nearing. This morning, Hubs and I were in the basement with Smudge and that is when her little kitty legs went running, despite the fact that she was lying on her side. She breathed her last and we were with her. Hubs went to work late and we just went to Sunday School so that Smudge could be properly laid to rest. In the middle of the night, there will no longer be the thumperness against the side of the litter box. She will no longer trick us into giving her two servings of food. No more kitty bites. No more hide and seek turds. (Her favorite way of letting you know that she was mad at you.) She was certainly not the kindest of kitties. K has a recent scar from a Smudge attack. Still, she was ours and we loved her and her quirks. We are so sad. :(

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hanging at the dealership.

The RAV maintenence light came on a few weeks ago. I knew that I needed an oil change. I made an appointment today, made mention of the airbag light staying on twice, found that there were "three other campaigns" and we're sitting for a long stay. It truly is why we have our oil changed at the dealership. They can pull for recalls and we can get it taken care of lickety split.

Or just lickety. Since I'm still here, I'm thinking that split isn't quite it yet. For the time being, K is becoming quite proficient at operating the vending machines. :)

ETA: Another great reason to go to the dealership- apparently, there is a pipe at my catalytic converter that is rusted. They are ordering a new part and since it falls under warranty, it will cost us nothing. Hooray!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Math, Guatemala, the boat anchor and one hot mess.

Math: I am happy to report that K got a C+ on her latest math test! Of course, that was only after I ended up at K's school before classes started and accidentally cried because K got a zero on a math quiz and was so upset about it and that we took her out of the after school program that she vomited. She's going to the math tutor everyday now. We're looking at a D for math on her report card, but she has worked so hard for it. Everything else is all A's and one B. The sad thing is that she will not get merit roll because of the D and that will make her sad. Next time.

Guatemala: There was guy who came into work last week and after putting all pieces of the story together, I've found that he asked several of us to travel with him to Guatemala over the Christmas holiday. We were giggling about it yesterday.

The boat anchor: That would be what our neighbor is falling the computer. He said that he's seen nothing like it. They still have it Geek ICU, but we don't have much hope.
One hot mess: That would be the hurricane-force winds that we're dealing with. We've hit 75 MPH winds and all schools are closed. They talked about closing where I work. "But it's just some wind," I said. Yup. Wind and rain that closes tons of stuff. K is happy. She gets to go hang with her cousins today.

That's my lame update. Typing big paragraphs with the Kindle is difficult, especially with auto-correct. You never know what auto-correct will give. :s

Hang onto your hat today!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

So tired of the negativity.

Seriously, I would love to watch TV without all of the negative attack ads. I would love to answer my phone without looking at the caller ID. I would love to pick up my mail without ads spilling from the in betweens- on a political side that I've never subscribed to. I am so tired of it. I cannot be the only one.

I admit that it isn't just that. I have found out why people only serve the one term as PTA President that they do. There is always someone telling me what they would do different. I loved getting text messages at 6:20 AM from someone who disagreed with how I handled a situation. Not just one message was sent over, but three to four. Oh yes. Good times. There were duties left unfinished and since they were very time sensitive, I opted to sit Friday and get the task all done. I've had people insert themselves to positions that didn't exist, I have people with control issues, I have people who have a difficult time remembering that this is not a paid position and that we have families, jobs and lives that exist outside of the confines of the PTA walls.

Don't get me wrong. It isn't all bad. Through all the crub, I am happily confident in the candidates that I am voting for. I also have wonderful PTA folks who are absolutely happy to do anything and yes, I practice having them say, "No," so that I know they can say it. We have teams of people who rotate weeks on handling different tasks and people who are honest with me in a loving and constructive manner. I have people and a principal willing to work with me to get things done for our 530 children. I am thankful that we do have parents so dedicated and willing to make everything that they can happen for our school.

The negativity has just all piled at once. Couple that with an ailing computer that is not allowing me to get things completed and it kind of makes me cranky. I would live it if everyone and everything would just cooperate and not be so yucky. Some day the dust will settle with everything, right?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Have I ever mentioned the love we have for our neighbors?

Our paralyzed vehicle to the Internet is currently sitting on the neighbors kitchen table as he attempting to rescucitate it for us.

She is in some serious rough shape. I think that she may need bypass surgery. Right now, she is in ICU and we hope the best for her.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Skechers Twinkle Toes- what a disappointment!

Dear Skechers,

My daughter has wanted a pair of Twinkle Toes for years. Since she wears the standard American school uniform, TToes were legal, funky footwear. They were a bit cost prohibitive for what they were, but we found some on the clearance rack this summer. For $30.00, I've been able to buy Nikes or Converse, which have held up wonderfully, but I agreed to get the TToes.

The first day of school, a twinkle came off. Bummer.

Fast forward a month and you have my daughter announcing that, "You need to e-mail the sneaker company, Mom. There's a hole on the bottom of my shoes." When she got home, I looked and there was a big hole in the sole of her shoe. She has only run in them. There is no swingset at her current school, so it isn't like she was dragging the paper thin bottoms of these otherwise ridiculously high-cost shoes.

The failure of these shoes has left my husband and me to have to reinvest in shoes for my daughter for school. Our money has gone into a pair of LL Bean comfy girl mountain moc's (low hiking shoes) for another $40.00. They are well worth the money and at least if they have a problem, they will replace them. Oh, but they are well built to begin with and I'm certain that the sole will last longer than a month.

Your company will not be getting any more of our money.

A sad mom,


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Check, check, check goes the list. AKA feeling accomplished.

K started our day by announcing that she wanted to take me to breakfast - her treat. We got rolling to her establishment of choice- the arches of gold. Grandma had given her a coupon for a free breakfast sandwich and she had a want for a smoothie. We had breakfast. And went on to our appointment for tire rotation.

Check mark #1- We dropped ye ole vehicle off, knew it would take a while and set off to walking to a few stores. K has healthy habits project due on Monday and she has chosen exercise as a healthy habit to do. One of the 3rd grade teachers at the school drove past and was yelling hi to us when I announced that K was working on her health project. All she could do was to laugh.

Check mark #2- We picked up some craft paper to decorate K's project. Fully unnecessary, but a lil glitter and stickers never hurt anyone. :)

Check mark # 3- We stopped in at the bulk food store to get some cake pop supplies. K loves that store. She marvels at all of the selections in bins and thinks it is grand that you can buy one scoop of just anything. Before you question my germaphobia and a self-serve bulk food store, it is a well-policed and very small mom and pop.

Check mark #4- We stopped at the costume store to look for Princess Leia buns. They didn't have them, but at least we looked. We did see a rather hilarious Ro*mne$y mask. I couldn't help but to snap a photo and send it on to Rachael who loved it as much as I did.

Check mark #5- We went back to the tire store, checked in and the RAV was still on the rack. We were stuck watching truTV with stories of crimes and thefts in a rather unclean waiting area. The gentleman came back to tell me that they needed to pull the RAV off the rack, drive it, then put it on the alignment machine. Apparently, it doesn't read right when the suspension has been dangling for the rotation. Turns out that it was out and with the RAV, it eats tires when that happens. I'm glad that we got that handled before winter.

Check mark #6- We ran onto Target and bought very little. My Morningstar Farms wasn't on sale. :(

Check mark #7- We dashed by the store for broccoli for tonight, cereal and milk. I just realized that I never found the eggs. Drat. Tomorrow for that one.

Check mark #8- We stopped by the bank and both of us had money to deposit. K now has $160.00 saved. She hasn't been saving for that long. I'm thinking from maybe this summer? She did go with a jar savings to start out. Still, not too shabby for an 8 year old.

Check mark #9- We stopped by the Democratic Headquarters in our area and got our Obama yard sign. K even got a pin to wear. I was able to ask the lovely young man that despite always voting Democrat, why is it that I'm being bombarded with recycling materials from the MR campaign? Battleground state, perhaps?

We'll take off here in just a bit to go pump out water from my parents basement (it rains every single time that they are out of town and since they are having major home repairs done, no gutters are up since there us nothing to attach them to.) I'll stop by for a car wash and mark that off my list. We're going to a fall festival tonight with friends. Another check mark. :) Got to love clearing a mental list! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Happy with 66.7%.

K had a math test today. She and Hubs has studied since Saturday, including a review session this AM before school. Her teacher emailed that she got 8/12 and she knew that wasn't what we were looking for but, "We'll fix this!" I told her that I never thought I would say that I was thrilled with a D, but that was a 20 point improvement and I can't ignore that percentage of improvement. So I breathe a sigh of relief. It isn't bomb bad. It is thinking of tickling a C and that isn't a bad thing.

K has been approved for the supplemental tutoring. The teacher is backing us and wonderful with communication. We will fix this. It will take time. We're moving in the right direction and that is all I can ask.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

History repeating itself.

My struggles with math began when I was in third grade. I had Mrs. Henry as a teacher and she was busy teaching us a shortcut in division, if memory serves. The spiral started downward at that point.

I have spent so much time praying about K this week and her math difficulties. The school system switched from Harcourt math to enVision math- a math system that we are convinced was written by people who clearly don't sit in the classroom. Nonetheless, it is what we are stuck with. On Thursday, we received a letter that went home with all grade 3-5 students, introducing the tutor and different types of things that they can do to help the students.

I e-mailed her straight away. I asked for intervention. I told her what is going on, what we are trying to do and the all A's and one B she has otherwise. She e-mailed me last evening explaining more about enVision (I understand her point, but I'm not convinced) and told me that she'll check in with K's teacher and with K herself. Praise God!

Yesterday afternoon, K came hone with an invitation to the after school tutoring and enrichment program for math. Since space is limited, we filled the form out and drove right back up to the school. K begged me to allow her to do it. When she handed the form to me she said, "Mom, I need this." You think?

How thankful we are that the school is truly trying to help us and not sweeping K's struggle under the rug. We are so thankful for the opportunities that are being given to her. Despite that she will be gone from 7:30 AM until after 5, she knows that it will make for a very long day, but she is eager (without my building the opportunities up as a good thing for her) to get her mathematical misunderstandings worked out.

How glad I am that she has these oppotunities, because I did not and my struggle continued on. I'm hoping for a much better math brain for her!

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Quotable Kid: Einstein's Law of Relativity according to an 8 year old.

"Don't yell at each other." Okay. :)

We've been walking at night and K has told us, "Ask me a question. Any question."

I also asked her, "What is Pi?"

"Well, it's a dessert in cherry, apple . . . "

It makes us giggle.

"What is the point that paper will burn?"

"A thousand degrees? Um, no. 104."

We'll keep on asking her questions to see what her answers are. They make the walk seem shorter.

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Teaching and learning the same lesson.

This week, we hit a speed bump in the land of learning. Despite studying as a family for a math test for an hour and a half, K bombed a math test. A 47% bomb.


I e-mailed her teacher in a near heart attack. I knew K would be devastated. (Grades were posted online that night which is how I knew before school the next day.) I told her that our normally A-B student doesn't generally get F's, much less on tests, and I was just trying to figure out what went wrong so as not to repeat again. She was kind in responding back that afternoon that K did well at working through problems and where the big issue was was in the finer details. She added or left off a zero. She did long work on figuring out an answer, but wrote the wrong one down - that kind of thing. K was crushed that morning and cried. "But Mom, I worked very hard on that." She did say that she had the option of staying back and listening to Mrs. H talk through each question or to press on. She went ahead, got a bit behind on details and instead of stopping and asking for directions on her problems she, "Problem solved, Mom!" Mrs. H did report that the grades for the whole class were not good, but the same happened the year before. In the end, K will have a D on her interim report - something she hasn't had yet. It is fixable. I will take time, though.

K took a lesson from this. She studied from 3:30-8:45 PM on Thursday. When I commented on how long it was taking, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "Mom, you tell me not to rush and I was not rushing. Now you are telling me to rush because you said I took too much time. I like to study, Mom."

Mother of the Year right here, folks!"

I felt so horrible. She is right. The ADD in me says, "GO! GO! GO!" Yet, I need to step back and take stock of the mixed messages I was giving. I apologized. We have a policy of open communication in our house and I thanked her for talking to me about what bothered her. Her teacher says it is fixable and every student ditches a test once in a while. K has learned and so have we.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I may be regretting our current lack of heat this evening.

It is supposed to go down to a crisp 42 degrees this evening. I left all of our windows open a crack all day. Currently, the house is a bit chilly. I have dropped an extra heavy blanket onto my slumbering child. I'm curled under a fleece blanket while sitting on the couch and have a pillow and my sleeping bag on standby. You see, Hubs took my allergy meds yesterday, and he was unable to sleep last night. Hubs is not one to go without sleep well, he came home from work and went right to sleep. I cannot have him give the furnace a once-over before starting it and it will have that yucky burn-off smell. I don't want to do that with two people asleep and keeping the windows closed.

It's going to be a hair chilly here in the land of Bailey's Leaf. I have a candle burning, but I don't think it can generate enough heat. It's a little to early to start cooking up my pot of mulling spices. It's all good. A little chill in the air won't kill us. I may have to chip myself off the couch in the morning, though.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Warm milk for your brain.

When K was an infant, my sister-in-law gave her a handful of music CDs to listen to. One of those CDs got the most play, even earning an emergency copy after the CD was cracked when the radio fell out of the car. She listened to it so often that even I can predict the next note.

Recently, K was having some difficulty sleeping. We looked through music CDs and found the old standby.

It worked like a charm. Just like the days of old (when she was an infant until she started Kindergarten) it put her right to sleep.

I tell you, even after all this time it still remains as warm milk for her brain. You see, kiddo has taken to going to bed listening to books on tape. There are occasions that she gets so wrapped up in what she is listening to that she can't shut her brain off.

It makes me smile to know that it still soothes. She isn't too old yet!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Have I ever mentioned my lack of grace?

No, I didn't break anything. I will, however, tell you that being short is not a plus in some circumstances. 

I was at work, busting out a Halloween display (my absolute least favorite display that I have to do since Halloween isn't my gig), I decided to stand on a not-a-step-ladder and since it wasn't heavy enough in the middle to hold my sheer girth, I punched through the middle, fell back, my feet were stuck in this thing that was now like a trash can, I finally got my feet loose, but couldn't get my balance and kept stumbling backwards until I bounced into a shelving unit and had tripped over an August sale bin-- all the while this is sounding like a herd of elephants to my coworker downstairs.  Julia, one who generally rolls with things and doesn't bother to check, opens the door and says, "Amy, are you okay?" 

"The good news is that I didn't break any merchandise and I do believe that I didn't even chip my wrist, though I do believe that I will have a heck of a bruise, though." 

"You need to not rush and push!" 

She's right.  I was trying to speed through the very end of a display and ended up leaving a mess for them to clean up upstairs and downstairs. 

More good news is that the blasted Halloween display is up.  I struggle with it because I just don't like scary, creepy Halloween and I work extra hard on it since I don't want it to reflect my general dislike.  The display is pretty decent, if I do say so myself!

Smiles in my day:
-  I didn't break a bone! 
-  K- is actually starting to feel better from her virus.  (Not strep, thank you God!)  The doctor said that she was on the backside and was pulling out of it.  Tonight is the first time in a week that she has expressed interest in playing outside or doing anything other than laying in bed and sleeping.  That is not my child.  She would come straight home, put her pajamas on and go straight to bed.  Eek!
-  I tagged butterflies at work with some of my coworkers and they thought it was the neatest thing!
-  The computer is briefly cooperating.  After the neighbor goes on vacation and returns, he and his computer geek friends are going to take our computer and give it some computer geek love.  I'm hoping that they can resuscitate the box.  We are trying hard to save money for a truck for Hubs and I would really love to have the savings continue to accumulate for that.  They are pretty good with saving the unsaveable, so I trust their judgment.  Have I mentioned that they work for free?  :)  Being that they are all single men, I'll cook them a good dinner and all will be well. 

Have a great night!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Recipe alert! Mexican lasagna

First off, I haven't forgotten about you.  My computer has been ailing more than usual and frankly, sometimes it isn't worth the intense fight just to get it to boot up.  With that said, since you've heard from me last, I've had  10 hour (in some form or another) PTA meeting, a Garden Fair at school for the kids, a butterfly hike to my house where we taught 20 people how to tag butterflies all the while our child was in the house quarantined to her bedroom because of a virus that had given her a fever that we didn't want to share.  Oh, and PMS.  Let us kick that in just for giggles, eh?

But here is your recipe.  I found it delightful even after it was frozen.  Yum.  I ate most of it!

Mexican Lasagna (that isn't what they call it, but I made a copy and can't see the title)

Makes 4 servings
Prep time:  15 minutes
Cook time:  17 minutes
From:  Fitness Magazine

1 15-ounce can pinto beans (though I used kidney since that's what I had.) 
1 1/2 cups chopped roasted tomatoes (I used those fire roasted from a can.)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 cups shredded poached chicken
1/2 cup scallions (I always use less)
1 T chili powder *
1 T ground cumin *
1/4 t salt *
8 6-inch corn tortillas, each cut into 6 wedges (I used wheat.)
1 cup shreadded Monterey jack (I used rice cheddar instead.)
1 small beefsteak tomato (I used cherry tomatoes from the yard.)
    *  I used taco seasoning instead.

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  (I used two loaf pans so that K- and I would be able to have two dishes out of it, since it isn't something that Hubs can eat.
2.  Combine pinto (kidney) beans and their liquid, tomatoes, corn, chicken, scallions and seasonings in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture is bubbling and corn is completely thawed. (I actually cooked it for an hour. I wasn't in a rush so I thought I would let it cook for a while and get happy.)
3.  Layer about a third of the tortilla wedges, half bean mixture and a third of the cheese in a prepared baking dish. Repeat this until done. I ended up making another layer. Top with remaining cheese, bake until cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through. Let it cool slightly before serving; garnish with diced tomatoes.


Yes, the computer decided to have a convulsion and I had to finish the post on the Kindle.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Clothes don't dry real well on the line in 88% relative humidity and other things I learned this weekend.

I tried to dry laundry on the line today.  I did happen-- eventually.  I found that the humidity of a terrarium tends not to dry laundry so well.  My cousin used to live in Gonzales, Louisiana and she used to say it was like living in a terrarium.  Isaac was kind enough to bring that air to us and when I was hanging laundry at 9:30 AM and sweat was rolling down my back in all of 83 F (generally a very nice temperature), I felt just a taste of the humidity pain she lived for a while.  Wow. 

The Black Bean Nacho Burgers were so good the other day that since I had the general supplies on hand (except for needing another can of black beans), I decided to make another batch and freeze those for later dinners.  Yum.  Lookie here!  I added some red pepper and carrots this time. 

Yum! Getting ready to cook these up to freeze for two different meals for K- and me. Recipe in the previous post.
We've been tagging Monarchs and were successful in getting 10 tagged and on their way today.  It was a family effort, but we're chipping away at the 100 tags that we purchased. 

On Saturday, we went to Amish Country.  We stopped in at our favorite vegetable stand and I purchased yellow squash, 3 pounds of green beans, 5 pound of fresh dug potatoes, a few sweet candy onions, 3 red peppers, a few heads of butter lettuce and a mum.  The squash was shredded, bagged in snack bags then double bagged into freezer bags.  Green beans were blanched and got the same treatment.  Onions were sliced on my Pampered Chef slicer (the one that straddles a bowl) and those were bagged, as well as the red peppers.  While at our favorite bulk food store, I did purchase a number of things for my Christmas baking, since it doesn't look like we'll make it back down until after the holidays.  I also purchased a lovely salad spinner.  We washed and rinsed the butter lettuce, then gave it a good ole spin.  Damp salad is a pet peeve of mine, so I was thrilled with how wonderfully it worked!

We stopped in at an antique mall on the way home and darned if I didn't find 2 more Holly Hobbie glasses that I didn't have.  Drat.  I just found a few more.  I just marked them for Hubs :wink, wink: for Christmas. 

I may not have mentioned that I burned the top of my hand on my birthday when I was trying to help my sister get lunch for 6 kids.  I've been using the Avalon Organics Lavender Hand and Body Lotion on the burn a few times a day.  They don't advertise it as burn cream at all, but it has done a wonderful job at keeping the area well hydrated and though there is an area that is still quite tender (where the blister formed and subsequently was injured further when I accidentally smacked my hand against my nightstand- ouch!), I'm happy to say that it seems to be healing nicely.  Yes, it will leave a permanent mark. 

I scored some lightly worn Ann Taylor Curvy jeans at the thrift today for a whole 50 cents.  I found a pair of Docker jeans for the same.  I scored a pair of uniform skorts for K for a dollar and we found a white graduation gown for $2.00 for her to wear when she is Princess Leia for Halloween.  (We have to go with something big enough to fit over a winter coat.)  We've collected the whole set at this point, so Hubs will go as Darth Vader, I'll go as Queen Amidala (Amidolly, in our house) and K- as PL.  She's thrilled and apparently, we have the correct order of mom, dad and child.  Who knew? 

I've gotten to the bottom of my laundry bucket.  HOORAY!  It won't last long. 

We went to University Circle yesterday and visited the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Museum of Art. It's been wonderful to stop in at the art museum and see how far they have gotten with their 10 year remodeling/addition plan.  This time, there was a huge courtyard open for people to walk through and the flow of the museum is now a bit more friendly.  CMNH was busy and we stopped in at the cafe for a snack, but they only had two people on staff and they were so very much in the weeds.  We bailed, knowing that we'd never get out in the next hour with anything and when we walked by a half hour later, they had a sign up that they had closed early.  That's okay, because we went ahead and went here. Why yes, we took a hungry child to the largest candy store in the states.  Don't worry.  She was good and we didn't go out with a bill the size of the national debt.  We found things for my FIL's 70th birthday tomorrow (Charles Chips chip tin and a refill bag, candy of "his time" and some Velamints, which he used to love.) 

We've done lots this weekend and frankly, I'm tired. 

Have a great day!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Recipe Alert! Tonight's dinner.

I was thumbing through Fitness Magazine this morning and ran across a recipe for what they titled, "Patty Svelte."  Here she is:

Black Bean "Nacho" Burgers

Makes:  4 burgers
Prep time:  25 minutes plus 30 minutes chilling
Cook time:  12 minutes or a little better

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup finely crushed tortilla chips (preferably blue corn)
1/3 cup salsa, plus additional for serving
1/2 cup 50% reduced fat cheddar shreds or 1/2 cup cheddar Rice Dream shreds (what I used)
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 scallion, white and green part, finely chopped or a half of a lil garden onion finely chopped (what I used.)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper or about 10 grinds of the pepper mill (what I used)
4 hamburger buns or 4 whole wheat sandwich thins (what I used)
2 t vegetable oil (I skipped this)
4 butter lettuce leaves (I skipped this because I didn't have it)

1.  Use a food processor or a potato maser to smash beans until chunky, leaving some partly whole.  Stir in crushed chips, salsa, cheddarish cheese, egg, scallionish onion and black pepper.  They say to shape into 4 patties, but I didn't until I plunked them in the pan.
2.  Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.
3.  Preheat pan (I used a grill pan with a little bit of Pam in place of a standard pan with oil) and place or form mixture into patties.  Cook until golden brown on one side, 6ish minutes.  Flip and continue to cook until golden brown.  Serve up on buns and with lettuce and a dash of salsa just for extra flavor.

We had blue corn chips and salsa with a side of corn.  Yum!

Smiles in my day:
-  I bought myself a Baby Cakes Rotating Cake Pop maker with birthday money I had.  I was gifted a Kohl's gift certificate and some cash, received a coupon for an additional 15% off, so now K- and I will be venturing into that great world of cake pops.  We had them last week at the wedding reception and loved them.  Yum!
-  It probably shouldn't make me smile, but it did.  Hubs got so mad at the caulk and his caulking gun (bad, wrong caulk that caused the caulk gun to blow), and he pitched it (not his style) across the front lawn.  I came home to the caulk gun near the sidewalk and knew what happened.  He discovered a 4" section of swell on our one sill in the living room.  He took off 1/2 the woodwork around the window, cut out a section of the drywall and found the non-expanding foam to be sopping wet.  He continued to dig and discovered that there was a hairline crack in the caulk of the window which allowed water to seep in.  Since we are expecting Isaac to make landfall for us sometime tomorrow, Hubs was concerned because, "THERE'S A HURRICANE COMING," and the window was exposed.  He has everything sealed up, but will have to go back through and rework all of his work after Isaac has left us.  Still, the caulking gun straddling the sidewalk line was hilarious.
-  A friend gave me a Ghirardelli Dark and Caramel bar (Carmel or caramel for you?  For us, it is car-mel.)  It is calling my name. 

A bath. That is calling my name as well.  Enjoy the tasty burgers!  They were absolutely lovely.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Monarch Tagging 2012: It's all fun and games until a Monarch gets loose in the house.

Today we began tagging our Monarchs.  We've purchased 100 tags and so far, we tagged 6.  That may not seem like a lot, but we have a church nature walk to our house so that some parishioners can help catch, tag and release.  We're also having a Boy Scout troop over (4 boys thankyouverymuch) that will do the same.  My cousin wants to come over.  My sister and her girls want to come over.  We think that 100 will work.

K- was all excited to be tagging.  She continued catching as I was making dinner.  She'd catch it and bring it to me.  We were tagging at the kitchen table and she'd take it back out to release it.  That is, until the one she was so enchanted with was walking on her finger.  I don't know, but she lost her monarchin' mind and didn't guard the little guy. 

He was in flight in the kitchen.  He kept getting whacked by the ceiling fan.  "K- A-!"  "Mom, I'm sorry!"  She went to get the butterfly net as I was attempting to catch the Monarch by hand.  Finally, he flew to the window screen and clung on.  I was able to get him detached, tagged, logged and on his merry way.  K- was relieved.  So was I.

I can officially say that is the first butterfly to ever get into my house.  We've had moths, spiders and once a mouse.  We've even had ants.  There's been a renegade earwig.  Never a butterfly-- until now.

Smiles in my day:
-  K- loves LOVES her teacher.  Mrs. H- is truly delightful and I'm so glad that I chose her. 
-  K- is taking dinner leftovers for lunch tomorrow-- chick'n nuggets and sweet potato whole grain pierogies.  "What am I supposed to tell them that I'm eating?"  "Chicken nuggets and pierogies."  I'm thinking that she might be getting a little embarrassed now of her not average lunch. 
-  They have reworked lunches completely and even had them nutritionally okay'd by the Cleveland Clinic.  They claim that they are the healthiest school lunches in the area.  Grilled chicken sandwiches.  Turkey dogs.  (Better than regular, I'm thinking.)  Chef salad with turkey and GARBANZO BEANS!  (My kid will eat them, but the general most?)  They even have seasoned collards with the macaroni and cheese.  Well, I say good on them.  K- knows that she can do mac and cheese for a lunch with school.  She's excited to see what else is offered.  Each lunch will have two veggies and one fruit.  Today they had cherry tomatoes.  That's wonderful!  :)

Have a great night!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hello third grade.

My daugher will be starting the third grade tomorow. She's been "nervous" lately and a habit which has been almost non-existent has been revived a little. K- has been sucking her thumb at night. She says that it makes her comfortable and calms her down. I certainly understand that, but we're working on redirecting that to something else. In the meantime, I have her sleeping with a glove on. It seems to be working. She admitted that she tried the gloved thumb in the mouth and said it was rather unpleasant. "Mom, I think that if I'd do that, I'd cough up a giant hair ball." We've met with K-'s teacher, but she already knows me. I've been the 100 Book Challenge prize pass mom for several years. Believe me, there are 525 children every year that know me personally. I can't go to the grocery without little eyes twinkling and getting a sudden, "HI!" K-'s desk is right at the door and we explained that not every teacher puts every child there. Hubs teased her with Mrs. H- that she could make a quick escape! She does know that K- won't go on a walkabout and dart on out in the hall for no reason and without permission. Her quad mate, C-, was in her class last year. He's a good boy and I've found him standing on my front porch and smiling. Apparently, he came to say hi to my daughter. :gulp: She has two other children in the desk quad that she doesn't know, but methinks she get to know them very well very soon. She was impressed that Mrs. H- had her name written IN CURSIVE! on the name plate on her desk. Oh, how excited she is to learn cursive. She's also excited for the incubator project. Third graders get to grow baby chicks and then they are sent off to a farm. I heard another little boy talking about his chick excitement, too. K-'s clothes are all set out. Her lunch box is set out and her water bottle is chilling. The fruit is cleaned and placed in the container. The cheese stick is at the ready. Her school bag is hanging and ready to go. The morning is coming early. :zzzz: I should sleep now while I have the time. I'm thinking that third grade is going to be a lot of homework.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

I am that mom. When readying K's things for school, I really took a good look at what was in her pencil box. K's pencil box is the same purple plastic box that she's used since Kindergarten. Going into third grade, the box still is in excellent shape. I cleared the things from the box, wiped it off and set to refilling it. K had a big handful of pencils in there that were at least 2/3 of the original length, if not longer. She killed the erasers, so I gave them all a good sharpening, recapped them with new cap erasers and breathed new life into those still very usable pencils. Scissors were the same. I just wiped them off and dropped them back in. Her dry erase markers were barely used last year. They have an ink gauge on the side, so we know they have tons of ink. Voila. Reuse! Her pink eraser was completely reusable, too.

As far as new supplies are concerned, new crayons and new glue sticks were a must.

Once again, K will be reusing last years book bag and lunch carrier. Because of defect, they were replaced by LL Bean in the spring. The backpack that was replaced was the very same bag she carried for nearly 5 years. The locker hang loop ripped out, so we replaced the bag with a messenger bag.

She's good with reuse. I'm glad that she's not a kid that requires brand new all the time. It's good for her to use things up and not to just replace because that is what she thinks needs to be done.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Recipe alert! Mom made me my favorite childhood cake.

After posting a recipe in my grandmother's handwriting, I have a true appreciation for seeing a recipe in original writing.  Yes, I did add NO EGGS and the bit about applesauce.  I do recall calling Mom to say, "Um, applesauce squares have applesauce, right?"  "Yes, of course."  "You forgot to add it."  Oops. 

Things to remember.  Mom uses margarine.  She also uses real vanilla and made today's batch with apple pie spice instead.  She seems to like that substitute better than the original called for pumpkin pie spice.  Oh, and with mine, she left out the offending nuts and raisins.  Just FYI.
 Because of schedules flying in 12,000 directions this year, we were unable to do family birthday cake for my sister and me this year.  Mom decided that she wanted to take us each out to breakfast.  I'm kind of a low level girl (so is my sister) and told Mom to just make me breakfast at her house.  She made me French toast (a favorite) and brought my cake out of the freezer.  She made me applesauce squares.  :)

We were poor kids, but I remember applesauce squares a fair amount.  My mom is still an avid user of margarine and shortening, so I know her recipe to be using at least one or both.  They are delightful.  They are delicious.  I have a take home box awaiting my nibbles.  Pardon me as I go indulge in the calling of the box.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

39 and holding.

That's what I'm supposed to say right now, right?

My peeps got up at 6:30 AM to wish me a happy birthday and to lavish lovely gifts upon me.  Hubs and K- bought me a giant telescoping butterfly net so that I will never again risk leaping through the air after a butterfly and result in breakage of bones.  They found a butterfly shirt for me at "the little museum" and a butterfly book that I didn't have.  I collect the 70's Holly Hobbie cylindrical Coke glasses and Hubs actually found the one I didn't have, despite my thinking that I had them all (and extras, too.)  Hubs found an enameled Holly Hobbie piece that he placed in a frame.  He said he didn't know what it was or what it was intended to be (my thought was a small tray or plate, but it wasn't stamped) and since American Greetings is a Cleveland company, he thought it was probably a cast-off from an employee.  No matter, it is framed and hanging in my kitchen above the glasses. 

Hubs got the annual Dairy Queen cake and we had that for breakfast.  Yum!  He and K- are taking me out to dinner tonight.  Hooray!

We went to a local county fair with my sister and she paid my admission as a birthday gift, as well as making me chocolate zucchini bread (I don't have the recipe, but she said that she'll pass it along).

Mom is having me and K- over tomorrow morning for breakfast after our hair cuts. 

Julia, my co-worker, brought me breakfast yesterday and roses in a little vintage medicine bottle. 

So here I am, 39 and holding.  That's good I think.


Monday, August 20, 2012

And once again, I'm without photos.

Oh, I have them.  They are locked into the camera and what with work and unpacking (Hubs did most of it) and the driving (dear Lord the driving), I'm a hair tuckered.

We went on a 4 day whirlwind vacation to PA. 

We're convinced that PA stands for Paving Always.

Where'd we go?  Well, I'm pleased that you asked.  Here is what we did:

On Thursday morning, we drove across the great, somewhat wide state of Pennsylvania to Scranton.  It took us longer than we had expected since probably 80% of our drive (no exaggeration) was through construction zones.  Good times.

We made it to Scranton by the make-it-or-break-it time of 3:30 PM.  We wanted to go to Steamtown National Historic Site. We did make it, though we are pretty convinced that they changed the area of entrance from the last time we had been there.  Poor Hubs, he only had about an hour and 20 minutes there. 

We went on to camp.  We stayed at Hickory Run, which is a part of the Pennsylvania State Parks.  We were able to get camp set up on Thursday night, with me cooking and putting up different items in the dark, as K- and Hubs had taken off leaving me no light.  Oops. 

On Friday, we headed over to Easton, the home of the Crayola Factory.  K- was in heaven, as there is no such thing as good as the smell of a new crayon!  Hubs had done his homework and found that you should be there at open.  That we were and in about an hour and a half, we were thankful.  Church groups and daycares filled the space and soon, K- was being run over by hoards of people.  We were thankful that we were able to do and to see everything there, even doing somethings several times.  It was good stuff. 

When we left Crayola, we cruised on to the Delaware Water Gap.  There we were able to see the Point of Gap and to even cross over part of the Appalachian Trail.  We hiked to see the upper portion of Raymondskill Falls, the largest falls in Pennsylvania.  We were amazed the the falls were flowing with such force, given that it was August and there had been a drought.

We found out why when we returned to our campsite.

It rained.  And rained.  And rained.  Our easy-up was starting to stag with the weight of the water that it had collected.  Our changing tent had a damp floor from wicking.  The new tent held, though!  I knew that there was going to be some rain and had Hubs drop the easy-up with me so that it covered chairs and all.  Thank goodness!  I also stopped and got some food at Wendy's on the way back.  It was looking just too ill out to be thinking that building a fire would be a possibility.  Turns out that idea was a good one.  We got back in enough time to clean-up and change.  I went to the car to get K-'s seat cleared out in case we had to do an emergency car sleep-in instead.  I ran to the tent.  "Open up!  It's coming!"  I could hear the rain and I just got in in time. 

It probably rained a total of 4-5". 

The good thing was that the rain drowned out the noise of the very loud neighbors that we had the previous evening.  The sad thing is that our neighbors right beside us ended up sleeping in their car because setting up in the rain was just not working out for them.

On Saturday, we did a slow motion cruise.  We were hunting for bears.  We literally drove through the woods at about 5 miles per hour looking and just taking it all in.  The rain clouds had parted, sun was beaming in and the butterflies were out.  While we didn't see a bear, but not for the lack of trying, we did get to Boulder Field, a National Natural Landmark. 

- - - - -

Drat.  Blogger ate the rest of what I wrote!  I'll finish it up later.  I don't have it in me!  I wrote for an hour.  UGH!