Thursday, December 29, 2011

Well hello there!

I seem to have forgotten that I have a blog.

Actually, my hiatus from blogging wasn't planned but it was nice. Our family of five has been enjoying a lot of family time and it's been wonderful. Because I try to keep a chronological record of things here on my blog, I'm going to fill you in on some of what we've been up to.

We enjoyed a visit with John's parents the week before Christmas. One night we opened gifts with them and one afternoon we drove up to Denver to see White Christmas, which by the way, was superb! They also helped us get our Christmas cards and letter stuffed, sealed, and stamped in record time and they kept the kids while we went to a Christmas party. It was a short visit but it was a really nice one.

The kids got out of school SO late this year. Their last day was December 21st. Abbey's winter break began a couple of days early because of fever and a stomach bug. Yuck. I felt so sorry for her having to miss her Christmas party at school. She seems to have a knack for missing school parties, but thankfully she didn't share that bug with the rest of us!

We got a really big snow last week. I never heard the final snow totals but it was at least a foot (on top of the 3-4 inches that fell earlier in the week). I love snow in December but it definitely gets in the way of my morning walk with friends! We keep plowing through it anyway...and it's always worth it.
On Christmas Eve Eve (I love saying that) we drove up to the 16th Street Mall in Denver. We'd hoped to take John's parents when they were here but we ran out of time. We walked around and looked at the lights, shopped a little, and enjoyed a delicious dinner. It was a nice family day!

Our Christmas Eve was very low key. The kids played outside in the snow, we cleaned and cooked, watched holiday movies, and stayed in our pjs until church that evening. Abbey kept saying all day that it just didn't feel like Christmas Eve. John and I agreed that it really sort of didn't and we just figured it was because school got out so late this year and no one really had time to relax and let the anticipation build. Abbey leaned over to John in the middle of Christmas Eve worship and said, "Now it feels like Christmas, Dad." I'd be lying if I told you that our eyes stayed dry.

Christmas day was perfect! The kids got up SUPER EARLY to open gifts and I must say that Santa was VERY good to all of us this year. We made the choice to stay home this year--and it was the right choice--but it was sad for us not to be with our families. On Christmas afternoon, we played around with a pocket camcorder and made this video for our family in Arkansas. The people who live in my house may disown me for embarrassing them sharing it with you but I'm going to anyway because I think it's fun...and yet slightly embarrassing. If you watch "The Middle" on television then you'll get the ending...if not, then you need to watch that show because it is seriously funny!

John has been on vacation this week and we've been out and about almost every day since Christmas doing something fun--the movies, the mall, and a DATE!
I'm so thankful that after twenty-one years of marriage, we still love spending time together. The kids and I have another week of him at home with us and we couldn't be happier! School  doesn't start back until JANUARY 10. You know I'm loving that, right? I really truly am!

John asked each of us at dinner the other night to think of one word that would describe 2011. I've been thinking about my word and I hope to be back to share it with you all soon. He also came up with a fun family slogan for 2012 and I'll probably share that too!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Things I learned over the weekend...

1. Your keyless remote will NOT work if you're pointing it at the wrong car. Yep. A true senior moment. Go ahead, laugh. I did too.

2. I don't need to watch the entire Broncos game. I can tune in for the fourth quarter and catch all the excitement. Side note: I haven't really been much of a Tebow fan...until now. I'm a believer!

3. Lunar eclipses are worth getting up for. In the past I've just kinda been "eh" when I've heard one was happening. I got up early to walk with my neighbors on Saturday and to our surprise and delight we got to see the eclipse from start to finish while we were walking. It was AMAZING! Did you see it?

4. If you accidentally rip an entire toenail off it will hurt. It will hurt a LOT.

5. These enchiladas are fantastic. I usually prefer to eat enchiladas at a mexican joint because I can't ever get the taste quite right at home. Not anymore. This recipe is a game changer.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holiday Currents. Not to be confused with Holiday Currants!

My December currents...

Current Books: How pathetic is it that I haven't read a book in ages!?! Even if I had time to sit and read, I don't think I have the attention span to finish a book. L-A-M-E.

Current Playlist: Anything Christmas! I'm especially loving Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Point of Grace, Jim Brickman, and Glee Christmas!

Current Color: Black, red, gray, and lime green. Though not necessarily together!

Current Drink: Same 'ole, same 'ole--Good Earth tea, water, and occasionally Zevia soda.

Current Food: I really, really love red meat and seem to crave it all the time. And this time of year those clementine "Cuties" are soooooo yummy.

Current Favorite Favorite: THIS CANDLE from Bath and Body Works. It makes my house smell so good and Christmasy!

Current Wishlist: Yaktrax and Cotton Bowl tickets. Santa has been informed.

Current Needs: More hours in my days! And someone to do my laundry.

Current Triumph: Well, I've got several. 1. I survived an insane week. 2. John and I got our basement cleaned and organized last weekend! 3. I found a unique gift for my very-hard-to-buy-for husband and have successfully hidden it from him. 4. I've blogged more in one week than I have in a very long time. TRIUMPH!

Current Bane of my Existence: The snow plows that bank snow in front of our driveway AFTER we have cleared it all away make me want to say really bad words. Huge piles of heavy, wet, snow got pushed up against the curb two days ago and now we have this frozen hump of snow that we have to drive over when we pull into our driveway. It's gonna be there awhile because it's so packed that it won't be melting anytime soon. Such a pain. Grrrrrr.

Current Indulgence: Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses! I love those things.

Current Mood: Most of the time I think I'm pretty merry and jolly--just like the season. But every once in awhile Grinchy Mer pops in for a visit

Current #1 Blessing: It's hard to list only one so here are a few: a warm house, vehicles that start faithfully every morning, children that love each other, a fulfilling marriage, and good health!

Current Outfit: Well, my favorite part of any outfit these days is a scarf because it instantly adds color and interest to an otherwise plain outfit. My favorite place to buy scarves is Forever 21 because they're cute and they're cheap! I bought this one the other day and I'm loving it.

Current Excitement: John got tickets to the stage production of Irving Berlin's White Christmas in Denver next weekend. SOOOOOOOO stinkin' excited! His parents will be here and they're going with us. YAY!

Current Link: I posted a bunch of links yesterday but came across this one last night for some great teacher gift ideas, and these peppermint cookies look pretty yummy too! 

Happy weekend, y'all! 

Friday, December 09, 2011


Got a few links to share with you guys today. Links to things that inspire me or are too good not to share!

My real-life friend, Angie, made these ADORABLE and (very inexpensive!) leg warmers to wear with boots. Sarah and I want to try making some this weekend! If you only click on one link in this post make it THIS one!

We also hope to make some of these rice-heat bags. I bought one a few weeks ago and I use it daily because it's been so stinkin' cold here! The one I have is wonderful.

This feta dip is sooooo good and sooooo easy. Make it! Seriously! I made a small bowl of it for lunch yesterday. I ate it with some leftover pita chips we had because I didn't that kind of bread on hand. Pita chips aren't gluten-free but I've found I can tolerate small amounts of wheat once or twice a week. It's just the everyday consumption that really affects me.

Another friend directed me to this blog last week and I LOVE it. She has some really great gluten-free recipes and I made these steak tacos with cilantro lime rice one night this week and they were delicious! My family gave them two thumbs up.

These chewy gingerbread bars are not gluten-free but they look wonderful! Maybe I'll find some time to bake soon because these are definitely on my list!

Raise your hand if you're glad it's FRIDAY!!!! Yep, me too! Have a great weekend, people!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

thirteen minutes...

I have thirteen minutes before I have to leave for my afternoon carpool round so I thought I'd sit here and spill the random contents of my brain.

1. This is so superficial. I got my hair cut and colored yesterday. The last time I had my hair highlighted, my stylist went really light. I liked it but I didn't like my dark roots when my hair started growing out. I told her yesterday that I didn't want to go that light again so she suggested I go a little more natural. I thought that sounded like a good idea but wowza, I didn't realize how dark my natural color was. It's dark, y'all. I'm not sure I like it. At least I don't have to worry about dark roots when my hair grows. I don't go very often for color so I'm guessing maybe around Easter I can lighten it up again. I'll probably be counting the days...

2. John took the day off yesterday and we went to Denver to do some Christmas shopping. I did a little bit prior to yesterday (on Black Friday) but we bought everything on yesterday's list and only have a few more things left to buy before Christmas. YAY!!! It was a fun day!

3. The "check engine" light came on in my van at the end of last week. We took it to our wonderful mechanic yesterday before we left for Denver and we stopped back by there on our way into town to pick it up. Something was clogging the air filter and guess what? They didn't charge me a dime to clean it! I heart our mechanic. Especially when he saves me money in December!

4. I'm excited about our Advent service at church tonight. Our entire church staff is at a conference in California and so they asked John to teach tonight. I can't wait. He's my favorite speaker EVER. I'm also excited that I don't have to cook tonight because we have a soup supper before the service. I signed up to bring two pies but between our trip to Denver yesterday and volunteering all morning at the elementary school I ran out of time to bake. Thank goodness for the Village Inn. I picked up a cherry and a chocolate pie to bring tonight. They'll probably be better than any pie I could have made from scratch! time is up. Minnie-the-van is calling. Happy Wednesday, peeps.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Tell About It Tuesday: 3 Things

It's been awhile since I've done a Tell About It Tuesday post so today you're getting three in one. My blog readers are sooooo lucky.

1. New-Skin Liquid Bandage. Y'all. This stuff is amazing! It's exactly what it says--a liquid bandage. Over Thanksgiving break I got a small cut on my index finger that would not heal. Between cooking all week and the constant washing of hands (I'm an admitted germaphobe and wash my hands obsessively) and the need to do normal things that require the use of your index finger (like buttoning jeans) my cut kept splitting open. And it was painful. I remembered that I'd bought this liquid bandage for John when his knuckles kept splitting open from our cold, dry air and would not/could not heal either and so I tried it. You simply brush it on with the applicator and let it dry. It burned like crazy for a few minutes because it has an antiseptic in it, but then the New-Skin dried and formed a waterproof seal for my cut. You can reapply if you need to, but one application did the trick and lasted for four to five days--long enough for my cut to completely heal despite the all the cooking and hand-washing and jean-buttoning. I LOVE this stuff. It retails for around $4. Two other things to note. One, it stinks. It works great, but it smells bad. Two, it comes in a glass bottle which isn't shatterproof when dropped on a tile bathroom floor. Not that I'd know anything about that. 

2. Emergen-C. I swear by this stuff. Last week I started coming down with a cold. Stuffy head, headache, congestion, runny nose and one night I even felt achy all over. I immediately started chugging Emergen-C. And you know what? I kicked that cold to the curb! It didn't happen instantly (or even overnight) but by drinking Emergen-C a few times a day my symptoms never worsened and were completely gone within three days, which is great because who has time to be sick during the holidays?

Basically, it's a packet of flavored powder that you dissolve in water that turns into a fizzy, vitamin-packed drink. Each packet has 1000mg of Vitamin C (plus other vitamins and minerals) and I've found that the B vitamins give me a little burst of energy (bonus)! You can buy it at Walmart, most drugstores, and health food stores. My health food store sells individual packets which is nice if you're trying to find a flavor you like, but it's much cheaper to buy a box. It'd be terrible though to be stuck with a box in a flavor you can't tolerate. Personally, I like the Tropical flavor best, though the Orange and Tangerine aren't too bad. The packets are usually around .50 each and the box retails for around $8. When I feel myself starting to get sick, I usually mix and drink three packets a day--morning, noon, and evening.

3. Microfiber cleaning cloths. I'm a clean freak. I wish I could deny it but I can't. My friend, Molly, told me about these cloths last summer and I am crazy addicted to them. They are amazing. I use them for so many things--cleaning my computer screen and electronics, cleaning stainless steel, polishing faucet fixtures, windows, countertops, and any dusting any surface imaginable. They pick up dust and trap it so you're not spreading it all around and the fibers leave glass and stainless steel shiny and perfectly streak free. Seriously. STREAK-FREE! They're super absorbent too which makes them perfect for cleaning up spills. I bought several of the ones I linked to above (because they were cheap!) but they're so big that I ended up cutting each large square into four smaller ones making them the perfect size for dusting or cleaning. Note: If you cut your microfiber down to a smaller size, you'll need to "seal" the edges so they won't fray. I just ran a lighted match around the edges to kinda melt/seal the edges and have had zero problems
Yes, I really just blogged about liquid bandages, vitamin drinks, and CLEANING cloths. I'm a dork. A liquid-bandaged, cold-free, and cleaning obsessed DORK.

Monday, December 05, 2011

A snow day and a mystery solved!

If I had to choose a word to describe December (so far) it would be SNOWY! We're only five days into this merry month but we've had snow almost every one of those five days. Since December began, the kids haven't had a full day of school thanks to weather delays or closures and today is ANOTHER snow day--let the celebrating begin! I'm actually glad that it worked out this way. Sarah was at a Wyldlife Winter Camp all weekend and came home very tired and Will isn't feeling super great. They could both use a down day and I was thinking yesterday how nice a three day weekend would be!

Yesterday, Abbey helped solve a perplexing mystery. I picked her up from a birthday party yesterday afternoon and as we were getting in the car, she said, "Mom, I kept feeling some kind of metal thing in my snow boots and when I pulled it out it was an iPhone." HUH? An iPhone? In your snow boots? Hooray! I knew immediately that it belonged to my niece. When we were leaving Winter Park last New Years, Mikenzie could not find her iPhone. All eleven of us searched every inch of our condo, our cars, our luggage, etc and could NOT find that phone. I guess I never thought to look in Abbey's boots, though I did look in every other nook and cranny for most of January. Abbey was so proud of herself for solving the mystery some forty-eight weeks later. Thankfully the iPhone still works despite Abbey walking all over Walmart and ArtSports with it in her boot because she thought having something metal inside snow boots was perfectly normal. Sorry about that Mikenzie! Case closed.

Friday, December 02, 2011


I flipped my calendar to December yesterday--a happy thing for me. I'm determined to have a stellar attitude about this wonderful, fun, activity-filled month! The kids get out of school for Christmas much later than they ever have and so our weekends are packed with activity, and if you've read this blog for any length of time you probably know how I feel about weekends that leave no room for rest. I'm going to stay positive though...I think I can I think I can I think I can. Smile.

I've got some scattered thoughts in my head this morning. Lucky you.

I think I have a sensitivity to gluten. I eliminated a whole bunch of things from my diet back in May, including gluten. I've added everything back at this point with no problem except for gluten. It just makes me feel YUCK! Things flared up for me over Thanksgiving break so I eliminated it again and felt 100% better until yesterday when I ate something with regular flour in it. I guess I'm going to join the ranks of gluten-free friends. Will you please leave me a comment if you're gluten-free? I'd like to have some people to dialogue with and share recipes!

You know yesterday when I mentioned that we had to have our heater repaired this week? Yeah. We found a leaky pipe in our basement yesterday afternoon and had to have that repaired as well. It's been a costly week for home repairs. Sigh. Seems like something big either breaks or needs to be replaced at our house every year in December. Last year it was our refrigerator. Again though, I'm thankful we had the money to take care of things, thankful things are working now, and thankful things weren't worse!

The only reason I have time to blog this morning is because our schools are on a two-hour delay. We had snow and icy roads yesterday and things are still slick this morning. My kids are still sleeping--hallelujah!!! They are so wiped by the time Friday rolls around. This extra sleeping time is a gift for them. (And it would have been for me too if the text message relaying the delay hadn't woken me up at 4:24AM! Drat!)

Oh oh oh! Remember that earring I thought I lost at Kohl's last month? I was sitting in the pick up line at school one day this week and decided it was time to clean all the trash out of my van. I reached down in the door pocket to grab some trash and something caught my eye. I might have squealed when I realized it was my earring! I'm sure the lady in customer service at Kohl's will be relieved to know I found it. I've checked the lost and found there um, several times lately. It's always the same employee and she always looks at me with a sad and slightly annoyed face and says, "Sorry, no earring has been turned in." 

I thought of several other things earlier that I wanted to mention but now I'm drawing a blank. I should probably get up and get moving though. Two-hour delays are great but that means fewer hours in my day to get all my Friday things finished up! Happy weekend, peeps!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Twenty-Eight. Twenty-Nine. Thirty!

I guess technically I should have finished this series yesterday.

#28 I am thankful for a heater that works. We woke up Monday to no heat in the house. Honestly, it wasn't that cold outside so it wasn't too big of a deal. The repairman came and replaced a part...a teeny-tiny part that cost a small fortune...and voila! we had heat again. I'm thankful we had money for the repair in our checking account, thankful for jobs that keep money in our checking account, and I'm SUPER thankful we have heat today because it's snowy and frrrrreeeeeeeezing cold outside. 

#29 I am thankful for small things that bring BIG joy! A sweet text message from a friend, a friend bringing me my favorite candy (Bit-O-Honey--thank you, T!), a phone call from a friend I haven't talked to in awhile, a FOUND earring, a "thanks, mom" from one of my kiddos.

#30 I am thankful for our church's soup suppers and Advent services. We went to our first Advent service at church last night and it was beautiful. There's something about sitting in a quiet, candle-lit sanctuary that really stirs me. The music we sing and and the scriptures we read are very centering and I love the opportunity to quiet my heart and mind and REALLY focus on what's important this season. It's sooooo good. And I'm sooooo thankful for that time.

Gratitude is something I believe we can (and should) express every single day of our lives!