Monday, November 29, 2010

Today's Holiday Challenge

Today's challenge (to myself) has nothing to do with the holidays in reality... Instead it has to do with cleaning out the kitchen. I started this mission on Saturday (did I already tell you this???) and today I am cleaning out the other side of the kitchen, aka the breakfast nook and my pantry. So far I have several things to drop off at the donation center. I am thinking about throwing my never been used toaster oven in for good measure, too. It takes up too much space!

So this morning, The Bug had to go back to school (much against her will!) and I came home to start tackling the shelves in my pantry. I have thrown away and thrown stuff into the recycling bin like you would not believe! I started in the pantry and then somehow ended back up in the frig. Anyway, just a holiday reminder...check the expiration dates on your bottles of salad dressing, boxes of cake mix, and those little pudding mix packages, too. I will not tell you the oldest item found...in case you ever decide to eat at my house...really...it was June of 2010... don't call child services on me!

I am about to load up the Momstermobile to go and drop off the kitchen stuff to the donation center. Then I'll probably come back home and load up the van for the recycling center as well. One thing that I know for sure...there will be no 'kitchen items' on my wish list this year!

Maybe I'll eventually get around to putting up the tree!

My New Favorite....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cleaning the Cupboard

Late this afternoon I decided to venture into the kitchen to clean out the cabinets (aka cupboards). Imagine my surprise when I realized we had a folding griddle... because we had FORGOTTEN all about having it. How convenient that would have been on those mornings after spend the night parties...

In cleaning out the recesses of the cabinets, I realized I have A LOT of baking stuff. I counted four different kinds of bundt pans. Not to mention the miniature bundt pans. And a lot of those little 'one bite' baking pans. Wilton cake pans - I wonder if I thought at one time I'd bake a wedding cake I have so many of them! But never fear, we don't only eat sweets here. I rediscovered my bread maker. My steamer. Electric knife. Food processor. Hand held chopper. All of those things that I had forgotten that I had because they were 'way back' in the cabinets where I never bother to look.

This prompted more cleaning. I moved my coffee cups. I took out all of the water bottles, except for two to keep. I went through my utensils drawer. Decided to get rid of my rotisserie that has never really worked for me. I'm still 'thinking' about keeping my blender. When is the last time I used it? Or my mini chopper? Maybe I should do something so that if I don't use them in the next month, they're going to a better home? I've gotten rid of salad 'tossers'. Wooden spoons. Extra coffee mugs. Those little measuring cups that come with liquid medicines. All sorts of stuff is on its way out of our house and either to the recycling center or a better home in one way or another. Next is the cabinet where my casserole dishes live. I do use them regularly - even though I live in a house with people who do NOT like casseroles.

Tomorrow maybe I'll get to the other side of the kitchen and take care of the pantry. I need to wash the windows, not to mention the curtain valances that I have up in the room. Don't even ask about the ceiling fan or the blinds! I have copper molds along one wall (at the ceiling) that I am sure need to come down and get some TLC as well. I want to turn on the self-cleaning feature of the oven and clean behind the refrigerator, too. At this rate, I'll have a lovely and CLEAN kitchen... but when am I going to put up the Christmas tree?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday....

We went to Walmart at midnight. I know...crazy! And the insane part is went to two...2....TWO Walmarts. Stood in line for about an hour...talked to some crazy funny people...and had a good time. Then we came home and Hubs had to get some shut eye for work...while I headed back out to Target, Belk, and a few other places. It was fun. I am tired. Driving home was not so much fun... and I came in, took some cold medicine and fell asleep for about 3 hours until the phone woke me up.

As much "fun" as it was, I think next year I'm going to sleep in, shop online and spend the day decorating my house. With all of the tree decorating I did at my parents, I still do not have a tree up here at home. Maybe Monday when everyone goes back to school and work...

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

With Visions of Sugar Plums...

The Bug's clay ornaments turned out to be GORGEOUS! So much that I have asked her to make me a charm bracelet with the gum drops that she designed in all sorts of colors and I hope she'll get busy on it in the next few days! I promise to upload some pictures, especially of her cocoa mug necklace that she made!

We have managed to get everything decorated at my parents house except for the front porch. Garland and icicle lights and we should finally be finished. I had hoped to have my decorations out by now but no such luck. That's okay... I have been enjoying my time off with The Bug. Today we went in search of the perfect bracelets and jump rings for her projects and five large clay pots for the nutcracker soldier that I am planning on creating for the front porch. I hope to get started on that one tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest.

On Wednesday I am taking her and a friend to see the new movie "Tangled". It should be fun. We are going to see it in 3-D so I am excited about that part. The girls seem to be glad that they're going to get together and do something. We originally planned on having her spend the night but then I realized that Hubs would be home ... ah! a night off!... so we changed their plans slightly so that we could have some family time together.

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is this Thursday?!?! Where does the time go?

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Just Like Candy...With No Calories!

Tonight The Bug and I sat at the kitchen table and she created candy out of clay. I have a collection of clay from years ago when we went to Michael's every Saturday morning for their craft club. And a clay 'pasta' machine. So this year I really want to go all out with my gingerbread themed kitchen for Christmas. So I asked Miss Artsy to create me some 'candy' for a tree. She's made me kisses and hugs, gum drops, a candied apple, twizzlers, candy canes, and a few other things. I, on the other hand, have no success with the clay so I decided to cut out the ice skates that go on her tree while she worked. She also created a few 'pieces' for herself...including a cocoa mug and marshmallow charms that she saw in a book.

It's so nice to sit with her and chat while we create. She's so artistic - I wish I had 1/10th of her ability... she can just visualize things and get them done. She told me tonight that she would secretly love to grow up and go work at Carlos Bakery in Jersey with Buddy... she loves that show and would love to be one of the decorators who creates all of the interesting things that he puts on his cakes. She could do it, too! I hope her love for creating never ends...

So her masterpieces are baking in the oven as I type. She is upstairs in bed, as is Hubs. I am sitting here, watching the timer so that she can see the fruits of her labor in the morning. Hopefully I'll be able to convince her to make me a few more things. And I'd really like a sugar plum or gum drop charm bracelet...if she has time.

What about you? When's the last time you sat down and created something from the heart? Hopefully pictures to follow...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's a Jungle Out There!

I am taking a class on collaboration. One of our assignments was to complete this test and to see where we rank. I thought I'd post it in case anybody's interested...if you do take it, post a message and let me know what your results are and I'll share "page 2".

Until then... I'm still decorating!

PERSONALITY CHECKLIST

Read the following personality descriptions. Pick the ones you are most like. Circle each description that is a consistent character of you. Then total the circled answers for each personality. The larger numbers indicate basic personality traits.

Lion
1. Is daring and unafraid in new situations
2. Likes to be a leader. Often tells others how to do things.
3. Ready to take on any kind of challenge.
4. Is firm and serious about what is expected.
5. Makes decisions quickly.

Golden Retriever
1. Always loyal and faithful to friends.
2. Listens carefully to others.
3. Likes to help others. Feels sad when others are hurt.
4. Is a peacemaker. Doesn't like it when others argue.
5. Patient and willing to wait for something.

Otter
1. Talks a lot and tells wild stories.
2. Likes to do all kinds of fun things.
3. Enjoys being in groups. Likes to perform.
4. Full of energy and always eager to play.
" Always happy and sees the good part of everything.

Beaver
1. Is neat and tidy and notices little details.
2. Sticks with something until it's done. Doesn't like to quit in the middle of a game.
3. Asks lots of questions.
4. Likes things done the same way.
5. Tells things just the way they are.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Santa's Diet Clause

Do you ever wonder if there are Weight Watchers at the North Pole? You know, those people who monitor Santa's weight...? (Drum roll please...) I thought that was a funny way to start today's post.

The tree fluffing is coming along well at my parents' house. All of the bedroom trees are up, fluffed and decorated. Hopefully by the time this posts, I will have the tree in the dining room lit and ready for the collection of ornaments that go in there and the tree up in the foyer. Then it's garland all around and wreaths on the door.

As I have worked in each room, I have cleaned for Momma since she's having some issues with her heart. It has been fun. But I am exhausted! I came home to cook dinner for Hubs before he heads off to work and then I have to pick The Bug up from drama club rehearsal and we are going to get dinner and head back to my parents' house to eat. And then I'll be fluffing trees and humming Christmas carols. Until I get back home and realize that the magical kitchen elves did NOT show up for duty again tonight. But never fear...tomorrow is another day.

Speaking of, I think tomorrow we're going to do some crafting. We don't get to spend too much time doing all of that lately and I miss it! It used to be that every Saturday morning we went to Michael's to get our craft on. Not so much any more. So tomorrow I am dragging out the gingerbread house kit, the felt for making skates and mittens and the clay along with the pasta machine (for the clay only....).

On another note... I hate taking back returns. I did that (FINALLY) at Kohl's today. It is sad when you realize the money that you 'loaned' the store because you didn't like something when you got it home but didn't want to return it. But that's a story for another day....

Toodles!

Fluffing the Trees

Today I have a date. With decorating. I am going to my parents' house to fluff their trees. It used to be that I was summoned home to put the lights on the trees too, but thanks to my convincing Momma to buy prelit trees a few years ago, I go home to fluff and decorate instead. Tomorrow I am doing the four trees that she has upstairs. Should be a fun day. Oh wait... I think there are five.

I actually look forward to this every year. My parents have a beautiful tree in the foyer of their home that all of the guests see when they enter the house. The tree we used was HUGE but last year the lights gave me fits so we decided to buy another tree. It's skinnier... but just as tall. She also has a white tree in the formal dining room where she displays her glass ornaments and one in the breakfast nook of the kitchen that is covered in fruit and flowers.

Once the trees are decorated, we'll put the garland on the stair cases and hang the wreaths and place the garland on the front porch rails. I'll have to see when Hubs can go and hang their icicle lights. He's super busy... hope he can get it done! My parents like to entertain at Christmas so I am sure Momma is planning their party.

What about you? Do you go and help anybody do their decorating each year?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Purge...then the splurge!

Do you do that? Clean everything out in anticipation of the holidays? My Mom, aka Momma, cleans EVERYTHING...right down to the drawers in her house when the holidays are coming and she's expecting company.

Today I am focusing on cleaning out the guest room. I love(d) my guest room. In that room I have my grandmother's twin iron bed, which was always my favorite bed to sleep in when I was little and would go visit. I also have the rocking chair that I used when The Bug was a baby in that room. And my exercise machine...but let's not go there...because I haven't used it for two weeks (sssshhh!)

What I don't like about my guest room - it becomes the hiding place of everything we don't want to deal with around the house. Well that, and the curtains, but that's another story for another day. So today I started out cleaning off the bed and under the bed and now, just like my Momma, I am moving on to the drawers. I've found a ton of things to drop off for the charity we usually donate clothes to each year. I found The Bug's school pictures from last year. Sandals. Clothes that still have the price tags on them...those are going back!

What's the worst thing that's happened in that room? Well, I found a bottle of Murphy's Oil Mop n' Go or something like that. I thought I'd sit it on the little 'shelf' at the top of my stairs...Instead it slid on the banister like Ralphie after his visit with Santa and hit the wall. So I had to take a break to find enough old towels to try to dry up the mess that I had made. I'm hoping it doesn't stain the wall...otherwise I'll be painting before Hubs figures out what I've done.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Better Than Black Friday....

I have been Christmas shopping the past few days. I need something to distract my mind since my student teaching has ended and I am procrastinating on finishing up my IEP writing for my fictional student "Tommy". I've found some incredible deals out there the past few days and I'd gladly mention them, except that a certain teenager reads my blog sometimes. She likes surprises. Which means she gets a wee bit upset if she figures out the surprise before the big day.

I did buy something for myself. A roasting pan at Macys! Isn't that exciting? I've spent a good part of the afternoon thinking about getting a GPS... probably a Garmin... but am not sure. It is not for myself although I do plan on getting to use it quite a bit. HE doesn't read my blog so I think that is safe to say. So if you have any opinions, please share.

The Bug has informed me that she wants to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. This is the first time that I can recall that she actually wants to go...without being bribed....!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas Lights and Candy Canes

I asked my husband this morning when he thought he'd have time to put the icicle lights up on the house. Because he never found the time to do this last year and the house looked so sad to me. Because in all of the years we've been married, we've always put up lights. He said maybe this weekend. Which is fine...but let's not turn them on just yet.

Then he mentioned that maybe we could get the Christmas tree out. Now what do you think about that? Putting the tree up NOW rather than the week of Thanksgiving vacation? I don't know why...but that just seems WRONG to me. So I told him no... we'd do that when The Bug and I are both at home for the break. That we had too much other stuff to do.

Which started him on this conversation about building this huge Christmas tree out of lights that we've seen in someone's yard before. It is beautiful ... but to be honest, he's not home enough lately to be able to accomplish something like that. And it means I'd have to buy a zillion lights. But if he's determined to do it, I am sure he'll find the time.

I am going to get out the clay and the pasta machine and ask The Bug to make me some 'candy' ornaments for a small tree I want to put up in my kitchen this year. I've always loved those ornaments at Cracker Barrel and I believe she could do them with no problem. I will post pictures if we get around to it.

I want to make this Christmas special here at home. Mostly because I have no idea what to get The Bug this year ... and because it's the last Christmas that I won't be 'working' or 'student teaching' and I want to enjoy every minute and make lots of memories.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas Is Coming...Christmas Is Coming!

Can you believe it? Don't you just feel like you just put away the decorations and the wreaths and the outdoor lights? Well let's hope nobody's still got their outdoor lights up... !

The stores are all bustling with Christmas merchandise. Christmas movies are stocked on the shelves. Christmas CDs have been coming out for about a month. Wrapping paper on aisle 12. I bought a three pack of Scotch tape yesterday...just for the fun of it!The "Sounds of the Season" channel on our cable system is playing the tunes that I adore and today.... the local radio station....played WHITE CHRISTMAS. I demanded NO TALKING while I sang along with Bing and Danny and Rosemary and the other voice that was not the woman from the movie. I bought Elf last weekend... even though we are still eating Halloween candy... and yes, I just took the big glowing pumpkin off the front porch yesterday... Christmas is going to be here before you know it!

Can you tell that I'm excited? Like a kid in the candy store....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What's Going On?

Wow - busy week here. I have decided, after my last post, to get down to business and knock the rest of my classes out. So far I only have a few assignments and 2 finals to take...and I will be DONE! yeah ME!

With all of the school work going on, I also have some GOOD news! The Bug passed her 1st round of All-State Auditions. In fact, she received the highest score at her school. We are VERY proud of her! But then again,this girl can S*I*N*G!

She is also in the drama club this year. And just got the starring role in the Christmas play that they're putting on next month. Principal Scrooge. The drama club sponsor really encouraged her to audition for this role and while I think maybe she's nervous about memorizing all of her lines since she's the only person in each and every scene, she's also very excited!

She's testing for her purple belt in Goju so hopefully we'll still have time to go to classes with all of the dramatic rehearsals going on around here. I think it would look good on her college applications to have her black belt and her Senai is encouraging her to stay with it. He's offered to advance her into the adult class (remember she's only 13!) but she's not sure. It's later and lasts longer. So I told her to think about it and just let us know. I am fine with her staying where she's at...she'd just learn more in the next class.

And the big big big news? December 20...no more braces! I think that I was more excited about this tidbit of information than she was... I'm so excited to see her teeth when the braces come off! I told her we'd have to do something BIG to celebrate...like have ice cream! LOL She hasn't had ice cream in forever!

That's it for us.