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Friday, December 31, 2010

A Theory?

OK.  So, here's the thing.  I have felt bad...headache, tired, icky...most of the days we have been off.  My theory is that this is just my new "age appropriate" reality and I only notice it when I am off because I have time to.  I am too busy or have too many other things to think about to notice it when I am at work.
Today, the same thing...maybe a little bit worse headache.  I decide I am going to go to school to work about the same time my little husband has to go to work, but I feel bad enough that a nap sounds better.  I try that for about 45 minutes and then just give up and go to work. After being there for about 6 1/2 hours I realize that I feel great.  No sign of a headache.  I'm OK with that.  Work is good for me.
But, here is the scary part...next year, after I am retired...you don't think I am going to have to do HOUSEWORK just so I feel good, do you?
ARRRGGGGHHHH!
Anyone have a better theory for me?  PLEASE!

Half Way Ramblings

Although the semester doesn't technically end until about the 3rd week of January, for me, the year is half over after Christmas break.
If you remember, I had a bit of an event when I got out and put away all of the Thanksgiving stuff at school, knowing I would never need it again.  I was anticipating a similar feeling with Christmas, but it didn't happen.  Perhaps it was the rush of it all with so many snow days before the break.  There was just not time to contemplate anything.  And wisely, I got it all put away before we left...well, except for the Christmas books, which are some of my all time favorites, that I love to share with the kids.  We didn't get through them all.  Oh.
January is, for the rest of the world, the beginning of the New Year.  I wonder how long it will take me after I retire to switch from September being the beginning of the New Year...maybe never.  I am too old to enjoy staying up past midnight anyway!  Even if I don't have to get up early the next day.  I really do love not feeling like I have to do "something" to celebrate tonight.  Maybe this will change and I will someday feel a need to celebrate this night with special people.  Perhaps.
I am hoping, however, that I will continue to lean more toward the celebrating of more days, or even all the days, in some way.  Don't wait for Christmas to give a gift.  Don't wait for New Year's to reflect on your life.  Live each day...with all the words from the post and comments from yesterday...

This has been another nice practice retirement break.  I even got the dog child trained to sleep in a little later!  Here is my latest creation.  It is a cover for my Kindle...which I am still enjoying!  As are the furkins...Mercy, the dog, and PHiG, the cat.  (PHiG=Permanent House Guest...she wasn't supposed to stay.)

It slips right inside a pocket that completely covers it.

The button holds it closed to keep it from slipping out.


Thanks, mom.  You know I love to chew these felty things.

Just as soon as you look away I am going to find a way into this thing.


So, how are you preparing for the New Year?  What are your thoughts?  Hopes?  And just remember that you can be having this conversation with yourself at least every morning...if not more often!
Live abundantly!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 10 Words of 2010 and 2011 and 2012, etc.

Here are 10 important words that I believe will make my life and the world a better place.  Live in these words, on purpose.  They are presented in ABC order.  I am a kindergarten teacher, after all.  This is my goal...

abundance

faithfulness

gentleness

goodness 

joy

kindness  
      
love

patience    

peace                

self-control   

What words do you want to add to the list?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Kindle Love on the 3rd Day of Christmas

So, after a bit of trepidation, I (oh, I have to remember to keep saying WE since WE are supposed to be sharing this gift WE got each other) got a Kindle for Christmas.  I was a bit leary because I LOVE books.  I like the way they look and feel and smell.  I like the covers and the kind of type that is used on the pages.  I like the way the paper feels.  Books have been part of my life...a big part...since before I could read.  When I was little I had a bedtime and a lights out time, and then the flashlight under the covers time if the book was really good.  I can remember my mom forgetting to fix us dinner if she was in a good book.  I always travel with at least a magazine in the car and stacks of books and magazines if I am going somewhere for a little vacation (or weekend!).  Reading is part of who I am.
So, would I like a machine to take the place of my books?  Well, yes and no.  It won't ever take the place of my longing for a book to hold and ruffle through, but it will take the place of the stacks for traveling.  It is also very nice for reading in bed...stays "open" to the page you are reading even if you lay it down or want to put your hands under the blanket to warm them up.  It doesn't take up much room and as I am trying to do with less stuff in my life, this certainly gives the allusion of less at least.  Lessens the chance of the usual stack of books on the bedside table falling on Mercy, the dog, in the night.  I have already finished one book and archived it...somewhere.  They say I can get it back when I want.  I will need to be making it a little tote bag for traveling and safe keeping.  Something cute.
I am having a little Kindle Love on the 3rd day of Christmas.  Amazon gift cards will be the most requested gift for awhile...
So, don't be afraid to try something new...you might be surprised.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day After Christmas aka 2nd Day of Christmas

Here's something I have discovered.  I have a servant heart.  I enjoy serving. 
On Christmas Eve, when we got to church, the preacher asked Don to help serve communion and to find one other person.  He found me.  We got to serve communion to our church family and friends.  It was very heart warming.  And joy-filled.
Yesterday we went to Monroe's (our favorite local eatery) and helped to serve the free Christmas dinner that they do every year.  I got to scurry about, greeting, spreading Christmas joy and bringing drinks and food.  It was, again, very heart warming.  And joy-filled.
This may not seem like much of a revelation to many people, but I have long considered myself a selfish person...able to get what I wanted when I wanted it for the most part.
No warm heart or lasting joy to speak of.
Looking back I can see that many of my moments of joy were when I was being a servant.
-organizing and delivering food after the big flood here
-going on mission trips with the church
-adopting a needy child with my co-workers and making a happy Christmas...anonymously
It is part of the continuing mystery of Christmas that this small baby would come as a servant-king to change the world.
Hmmm.  Perhaps it is just following his example that warms my heart and fills me with joy.
10 more days of Christmas.  I'm going to do this whole thing differently next year.  Something to ponder.
Enjoy the lovely snow and the 2nd Day of Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

I am home all alone.  Quiet.  Peaceful.  Wondering.  Enjoying....
Here is what was left of Christmas at school after the kids went home.  One lonely ornament...



The kids all took home about 7 ornaments that we made.  Hope they find places on some of their trees at home.  The gift that Stevie and I gave them was a stuffed ocean creature.  Ocean creatures since our theme this year is Oceans and Islands.  Here are a couple of the cuties:




There were 5 different kinds and the kids all got to choose which they wanted.  I told them they could leave them at school to play with, but each and everyone took them home with them.  Smile.
The kids got me lots of sweet, cute and yummy gifts.  Even Karyn, my Zumba instructor! gave me sweets...yummy sweets.  The Rachel Ray 5 minute fudge....well, let's just say I hope she can work it off of me next week at Zumba!  Here's the recipie.   Sounds easy enough and I can vouch for the taste.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 bag semisweet chocolate morsels (12 ounces)
  • 9 ounces butterscotch morsels (3/4 of a 12 ounce bag)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can or package of walnut halves (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup currants (a couple handfuls)
  • 8-inch cake pan, lightly greased with softened butter
  • Candied red and green cherries, for garnish (optional)
Preparation
Place a heavy pot on the stove and pre-heat it over low heat. Add chocolate and butterscotch morsels and milk and stir until morsels are melted and milk is combined. Save the empty condensed milk can. Stir in the vanilla and remove the fudge from heat. Add the nuts and currants and stir in immediately.

Cover the empty condensed milk can with plastic wrap and center it in the greased cake pan. Spoon fudge into pan around can, making sure to center the can if it drifts.

The fudge will set up almost immediately. Garnish can only be added in the first minute or two that the fudge is in the pan, so work quickly. Decorate your wreath with "holly" made from cut candied red and green cherries. A wreath left plain can be garnished with a pretty fabric bow when serving.

Chill covered in the refrigerator. Slice the fudge very thin when ready to serve – a little goes a long way!

Mine was not in a wreath and was not sliced very thinly, but it was OH so yummy and it is all gone...well, probably just relocated to my thighs!

So, we have made one of our family visits and have one to go next week.  All the gifts are wrapped and I am relaxing and waiting for our Christmas Eve church service.  Carols, candlelight and communion...it's going to be great!  Hope your Christmas Eve is all that you hoped it would be.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Never Too Old

As I have been advised by my 1st grade fashion consultant, Minka, the hat may be too young for me to wear in public, but I will never be too old!  And neither is my BFF, Stevie, who is enjoying the cow hat I just gave her for her 61st birthday! 



Here's to hoping we never "grow up", only wiser with age and to laughing until we...well, you know!

Decorate - Undecorate

So, Stevie got me this really cute little tree...kind of primitive looking.  I finally got it pretty much fluffed up and have been making ornaments to decortate it with.  I think it looks pretty good and I have it on my work table in the bedroom where I can see it and enjoy it last thing at night and first thing in the morning...and all the time I spend in there reading and crafting!  Don't you think it looks pretty cute?



All my lovely handmade ornaments.

All it well, UNTIL I get home from church today and find this:
Sweet little tree with one of it's "bulbs" chewed off, but rescued, thank goodness!

And even sadder, I find this:

Poor little birdie with a broken wing...and he was sopping wet...he is safe and drying out now.

So, there is no way that our BIG dog, Mercy, would get up there and take these ornaments off.  She could very easily.  She stands nearly as tall as me on her hind legs, but she is extremely timid and the slightest slide of the tree would terrorize her beyond all reason.
There is no way that our oldest cat, Becan, would get up there because she has some arthritis in one of her shoulders and is essentially ground bound.  She can climb up onto the bed, but there is nothing to help her climb up on a table that is about a 3 foot jump from floor to top.
There is, perhaps, some way that our newest kitty, PHiG, could jump up there, but she has not ever been witnessed in this act.
That leaves our 2 year old tomcat, Skippy Jo Lohr.  This is a cat who likes to play fetch with balls of paper.  This is a cat who terrorizes our big dog in the middle of the night and leaps on her in the day time to play.  This is a cat who could and would take each ornament off the tree and drop it in front of Mercy to chew up.  He is that kind of kitty.  He is this kind of kitty:
Helping ?!?!!?!? me make a basket!


Enjoying the finished product.  I mean, really.  Look at that face daring me to take him out of there.



So, I have deduced that Skippy Jo Lohr is the culprit even though Mercy did the damage.  My little husband came home from a short trip out this afternoon while I was at school doing lesson plans and found about 4 more of them off the tree and one of them deposited very near Mercy's favorite bed in the living room!  What a cat. 
We will be going to plan B with the Christmas tree.  Don't know what it is yet, but Plan A is not working out all that well.
Really, sometimes the furry family is just like kids!  

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Other Reindeer

Now that I have learned how to pull book covers from Amazon I have to show you this one, too:
Product Details  So, if you sing the song, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you hear about Olive...as in "Olive:, the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names....
Well, Olive thought she was a dog until she heard this song.  When she found out she was a reindeer she rushed to the North Pole to help Santa.  Santa and the real reindeer, being good sports, allow Olive to come along.  Longish story, shorter...Olive saves the night and Santa gives her her own set of antlers so she can be a "real" reindeer.  We made antlers for everyone after we read the story.
These two reindeer could be known as Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea!

And what should we name these three?

Do other professionals ever have this much fun? 

Gingerbread!

Today we did a gingerbread fun Friday!  Do you know how many Gingerbread Man stories there are out there?  Look at these....And I don't even have all of the different retellings.  Might have to think up a new excuse to buy kids books after I retire.  Hmmmm.

Product Details     Product Details  Product Details 

Product Details    Product Details   Product Details

So, after reading several of these, we had some gingerbread fun...made a gingerbread house, gingerbread snowmen, foam gingerbread guys and applesauce/cinnamon ornaments shaped like... gingerbread! 
Here's the evidence...

Making the ornaments...

Completed house.  I did the "glue" and they did the decorating.







They were thrilled to cut once and get 4 gingerbread snowmen.  Love teaching them something fun from my childhood.








 Look at the variety...all happy!



And as usual, the teachers have the most fun!  Icing "glue" and ornament dough....









Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snow Day #5 - The Mice!

Today, I went to my friend, Misty's house to make mice...chocolate mice!  Have a look.
Start with a marachino cherry and melted chocolate....cover the cherry, but not the tail, I mean stem.


 

Pop on a Hershey's Kiss.  Can you start to see the mousieness?



Add two almond slivers.  And let me tell you, you need a lot of slivers to look at to find matches.



Sit them on half of an Oreo...I picked Candy Cane and Mint, for the Christmas colors, of course.  Put them somewhere cold to set.  The garage worked well today since it is less than 10 degrees outside!

Oooh.  Don't you just want to eat them up?

 
There he is.  Look how cute. 




















Nestled all snug in their beds...wonder what visions dance in their heads.


And here is one lonely mousekin all alone.


So, there you go.  They were easy, not too messy and yummy!  Best kind of Christmas cooking.





Snow Day #4

My friend, Stevie, got me a little 3 foot tall wilderness looking tree for Christmas this year.  It is fully fluffed now and I made these to decorate with.  Smallest is only about the size of a biggish (wonder if that word should have 2 g's?) quarter. 


Next up will be bird ornaments.  I have so enjoyed watching them in the rhododendron outside the window here by the computer.  They jump from the bush to the feeder on the porch.  Probably have a dozen or more in there at any given time...cardinals to chickadees.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Coral Reef-Populated!

Fun Friday came the day after Monday this week since we missed the first three days of school due to snow.  Since I had planned to do a coral reef creature each day, Monday through Thursday, it worked out well to do them all on Friday, for fun!  I do believe they turned out spectacularly and the kids had....FUN!  They got to paint.  I almost never get out paint...too messy.  We had to wash out one shirt and I was still trying to get it off of my hands today!  Here they are with some of the fun facts they learned.

Sea Horses
Did you know they are really fish, they have no stomach and the dads have the babies?

Sea Stars aka Star Fish
Did you know they really are not fish and that they make their stomach come out of their mouth to eat their food?
Crabs
Did you know they are 10 legged creatures that walk sideways and have an exoskeleton?

Clown Fish
Did you know that scientists think that the reason they can live in the sea anemone and not get stung is because they are covered with a mucus?  What is mucus?  Oh, well, like boogers..... Hey.  You have to put it into terms that they understand!

And here is a panorama of the whole thing.  Come and see it in person.  Really.  Well, if the next storm doesn't come.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2 Hour Delay-the First

So, I love that kindergarten kids don't really have that much of a sense of time.  Today, we had a 2 hour delay...it was really cold out!  So, we do our regular beginning of the day routine - a work activity as they come in and a little carpet time to get everyone settled and on the same page.  So, I send them to their tables to work on our December Quilt piece and we get it almost done.  Then, and this is the BEST part, I say, "OK.  It's time to line up for lunch."  Here are a few of the replies:
  • What?  We just got here.
  • What?  I'm not even hungry/
  • What?  We didn't even do groups yet....they do have a sense of schedule, just not time.
  • What?  And then after lunch it is almost time to go home...
  • What?  I love today!
And tomorrow is Fun Friday!  I have a weeks worth of Coral Reef and Christmas art to get through.  We will be very crafty!
p.s.  Tom in his Catnip HideAway went to his new home.  She was happy and her payment is to do my bus duty for the very last time this spring...4 days!  Yippee!  I am happy...it's all good.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Little Change is Good

So, here is the finished Whimsical Woolie now known as "Tom's Catnip HideAway"  What a difference a few little changes make...
Now Tom is happy in his garden and I can let him go to his new home.

Going to brave the great snowy outdoors today and do some Christmas shopping and see the stage production of Mamma Mia!  Love the music and loved the movie.  Might have to buy myself the CD.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snow Day #3

Tomorrow will be our third day off!  I may be "graduating" later in June than I originally planned, but I still LOVE these snow days.  They always seem like a gift.  Unexpected, undeserved and a little bit decadent.  What's not to like?
So, yesterday, on Snow Day #1, I went to school and worked at least as long as I usually do, but there was no one there to distract me so I have more lesson plans than I can deal with for the time being.  I just keep changing the date on top of the page!
Today, on Snow Day #2, I stayed home and created Whimsical Woolies...a little more of that "practice retirement" plan.  Here are the 3 I worked on today.  The piggy one will be called, DREAM. 
He's dreaming, of course, of when pigs can fly.

The kitty one will be called CATNIP CATNAP.  That is real catnip that I dried and had to fight my kitties for.  I may redo the face and close the eyes altogether...not sure yet.

The eyes are usually a big part of my woolie creatures, but I'm just not sure about this fellow yet. 
I love that part of creating...the not knowing until you know!
The last one is an ornament for Stevie's new great niece, Savanna Mae, for her 1st Christmas. 



Don't you love the beautiful snow flake button in the middle.  I bought a small bag of them somewhere and really hate to use them, but for Savanna...and Stevie....
 A day well spent in my book.
What do you think?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snow Day #1 And a Visit to a Coral Reef


Let the winter in Preston County begin...no school today and at least a delay for tomorrow.  But, I got lots done at work today and even took a few pictures.  Have a look....do they help you feel a little warmer?
Ship ahoy!  Setting sail for Australia.  Look at all those cute sailors.

How do they all turn out so very differently when you give them all the same directions? 


Doesn't this one look like one of the characters from the David books?












This is the coral reef we created on Fun Friday and we will be adding creatures.  If you look carefully, you can see my sea horse and clown fish examples already in place.  We will also add crabs and sea stars....all of this is assuming we will have school, of course!