Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens . . .

Maddy and I watched The Sound of Music the other night. I love that movie -- it had been such a long time since I've seen it. Definitely made me think of some of my favorite things from the holidays!

At the top of my list is always my sweet family. Unfortunately, due to bad weather, we could not all be together, but we just get to spread out the holiday a little more that way!

I love my girl's generous spirit. A couple weeks ago, Maddy and I went to the Dollar Store so that she could pick out some presents for family members. I’m not going to mention who got what, as some of our gifts have not been given yet due to the bad weather. But, here are some of the items she thoughtfully chose: a box of Kleenex, a 12-pack of washcloths, a snowman soap dispenser, microfiber cloths to clean car windows and more microfiber cleaning cloths. Sometimes, it's those little dollar gifts that mean so much!

Since I’ve already received my gift from her, I can tell you what it was. While I really do need the kleenex and the cleaning cloths, she picked out five or six of her favorite Littlest Pet Shop animals, boxed and wrapped them just for me! So sweet! And even though she had a microfiber cloth gift for big brother Connor, she also made another one up for him on the spot. She boxed up an ornament we made along with a few Reese's peanut butter cups!

My other favorite thing from the holidays (besides all the eating!) was seeing Maddy and Cboo playing games together!! This small air hockey table was a big hit and will get lots of use. Sweet Cboo also hooked up our Wii for us. Maddy and I had a blast bowling and can't wait to try more games! Even though we were mostly house-bound, it was a wonderful Christmas!

Happy New Year -- wow -- 2010 -- I do love an even-numbered year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Christmas Blizzard of 2009!

Doesn't that sound like a title right out of Little House on the Prairie?? We felt a little like the Ingalls family -- with modern conveniences, that is! The weather forecasters were right on target this time. We got hammered with icy rain, following by lots of snow, pretty cold temps and blowing snow! All this weather started on the 23rd and continued through Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Mr. Tennis and the snowblower could hardly keep up! I think the total is at least 12 inches of snow and due to the wind, it has blown into drifts here, there and everywhere! We might have gone outside to play in it, but with the wind blowing, the temps were around -4, not exactly the type of weather to be out building snowmen or sledding. Luckily, we have my little red jeep, so we can get around if needed. Somehow, Mr. Tennis doesn't think the after-Christmas sales are a necessity!?!

We had a fun Christmas anyway even though Philip and Catherine were unable to get here due to the weather conditions. We played games, watched movies and Mr. Tennis challenged Maddy to figure out a Rubik's cube! Note to others -- do NOT buy your child a Rubik's cube and tell them you will give them some $$ to get it figured out. Such a tactic results in frustration, some tears and the Mom (moi) hiding the cube and hoping it is never found!

Guess what else -- I cooked . . . a lot! Quite an accomplishment for me. I admit that I am sometimes the queen of fast and/or frozen foods. I made some Chicken and Wild Rice soup (yum), beef brisket (yummy), mashed potato casserole (extremely yummy - from my blog friend Lisa) and some chocolate scotcheroos (delish)!! Still on my list to be made today or tomorrow -- Spinach/Bacon quiche, chicken enchiladas and Hershey kiss cookies!

Bet you guess my New Year's resolution! But until then, bring on the chocolate! :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From our house to yours, best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Some Fave Ornaments

Raise your hand if you do a "theme" tree please. Anybody?? I don't know that I've ever had much of a theme - just a lot of ornaments assembled through the years. Some I've loved, some I've tossed -- really, how long do I have to keep that Cub Scout ornament from the 1990's?? Some ornaments are too special to get rid of (see why I have a clutter problem?), but they don't need to go on the tree every single year.

This year I decided we would try and limit the ornaments to silver, white and red! These are some of my fave ornaments.

Note: One bad thing about silver glittery ornaments -- the glitter comes off! Oh yes, I've had glitter on my clothes at work some days! But that's just me trying to look festive and brighten up the workplace!

Friday, December 18, 2009

All About the Birthday Girl!

Kind of hard to believe that my little sweetie-pie is turning 8. I have been asking myself, why is it that 8 seems so much older than 7? I figured it out. Of course, 8 is so close to 10 and 10 is close to 15 and 15 is close to 20 – darn – she’s grown-up! Though I’ve tried to stop the clock before, I was not successful – as both boys are now over 21 – guess I should stop calling them "boys" eh! Anyway, in honor of Miss M’s 8th b-day on the 20th, I thought I would list 8 special things about her.

1. Maddy is very sweet! Truly, she is the sweetest little girl I’ve ever known and I’m not just saying that because she’s my daughter! Well, I suppose it could be that I haven’t known that many other little girls, but she is sweet and thoughtful and delightful – a real treasure!

2. She is a good student. She works so hard at school and at home. Even though math has given her a few problems this year, she has worked at it and is conquering her fear of numbers! She loves her tutor and I believe that has certainly helped change her thinking about her own abilities. I haven’t heard her say the dreaded "I’m just no good at math" in a while now. Yay Maddy!!

3. Maddy has a great imagination! One of the most fun things for me is to listen to Maddy play with her stuffed animals. They have very expressive and extended conversations about the weather, their dreams, what to do and just about anything and everything under the sun. It is a real treat to listen in as she "talks" for the various animals.

4. She is a talented little artist. She loves to draw and makes very detailed and meticulous drawings ... usually of animals. Lately, she has been making little books on scraps of paper of animals or movie characters. She staples her little book together and presents it for your reading enjoyment.

5. Maddy loves chips! If there is one thing that girl will eat, it is chips – BBQ, sour cream and onion, plain, cheddar, sun chips . . . just about any chips. She sometimes decides to take hot or cold lunch based on whether or not the cafeteria has chips! If chips are on the menu, it’s a hot lunch day.

6. Maddy is very determined. When she puts her mind to something, she sticks with it and follows-through. Last summer she was determined to master her bicycle without training wheels! And she did it! Lately, she’s made up her mind to get a puppy and has somehow negotiated away a year. I agreed to a dog in June, 2011 – somehow, she and Mr. Tennis have now agreed to June, 2010!! I don’t know how that happened and I don’t think Mr. Tennis knows either!

7. She is very tender-hearted. You (and by you, I mean me, of course) have to be careful to discipline and/or direct her in a gentle way. Cross words break her little heart.

8. Maddy is very loving. She gives her heart to her family, her friends and her faith and draws strength from all three.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart! We love you so much and I am so honored and blessed to be your Mother.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Voices of Angels

Getting ready to go!

Last night was Maddy's school Christmas music program for the K-4 grades! Oh my -- it was so special! I absolutely love hearing their little voices and the wonderful Christmas songs. It's fun to see the boys and girls out of their uniforms. The boys were squirming around like they could barely stand still and giggling at the girls, while the girls were smiling angelically (is that a word?) -- it is now! The church was really dim, so it was extremely difficult to get any good pictures.

Maddy and one of her Bestest Friends

Maddy was so thrilled to pick out a special dress a few weeks ago. A sweet blog and real life friend make her that lovely flower barrette! Previously, she fussed and put any barrettes I attempted to place in her hair, smack on top of her head. It made for a somewhat weird look. But, she seems to like these and is willing to wear the ones Kim makes. Now, she's hooked and we have new addiction to feed! :)

Maddy and Mr. Tennis

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sing Along -The Weather Outside Is . . .


Yes, the weather has been frightfully snowy and cold!! That manic drive home on Sunday was nothing compared to the dumping of snow and the Artic frost we've been enduring the last few days! Shocking -- the office closed early on Tuesday -- totally unheard of and school has been out for 3 days now! Luckily, my little red jeep gets us around pretty darn good. Mr. Tennis doesn't want to take his newish vehicle out in this snowy and icy weather, so he's put on a new hat and become Mr. Chauffeur! Really, you should see his hat -- it's something else. I'll try to sneak a photo some time. I do love home to office curbside service!

Luckily, the snowblower is working, even though it had to go in for a quick service call on Tuesday. The Rickster is one of those neighbors who likes to do everyone's front walk (yes, he is sweet like that). But, after he did that Tuesday afternoon and had just started on our long driveway, a belt blew! AAACK!! Off to Ace Hardware. I'm so happy that they were able to fix it. I did manually shovel the front steps and walk to the house and that was plenty for me!

If you thought I'd get some holiday baking or something useful accomplished during the snowstorm, you'd be wrong, unfortunately. I did do some Internet shopping, but am still a bit behind due to the bad weather. Think I will try some marathon shopping, baking and wrapping this weekend!

My updated wreaths and garland by the front door look even better with a bit of snow on them, so I guess there is a bright side to the snow!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

First, the GOOD! On Sunday, Maddy and I ventured to our nearby big city to attend a holiday Mulberry Lane concert. Maddy's sweet sister (in-law), Catherine, joined us and so did my twin and her daughter. My Mom was not feeling up to going out to the concert, but we were able to visit a bit with her before it. The concert was so sweet and definitely got us all feeling all Christmasy!

(Snow Bear went along on the ride -- should have known snow was inevitable! Did you notice -- it's even snowing on my blog! )

I suppose the weather was also trying to get us in the holiday mood as it started to snow. In my book, that was BAD. I'm not the most confident highway driver under the best circumstances, but blowing snow . . . yikes!!!

And that turned into the UGLY part of the day! Oh my word!! We were about an hour away from home when the snow started and it was blowing all over the highway. At least it wasn't sticking and getting icy yet. We were on a two-lane highway because I'm afraid of the interstate. There, I admitted it -- go ahead and laugh. But seriously, the speed limit on the interstate is 75 and most people consider that a suggestion and go much faster! The sweet little two-lane highway speed limit is 60, much more manageable. Anyway, the snow was blowing all over the place, nearly white-out conditions at times, making me more and more nervous. I was able (barely) to see the lane marker lines and then started to worry, what about the cars coming towards me? Could they see the lane markers or would they accidentally veer into me head-on? I'm my own worst enemy, aren't I!

We were listening to some Christmas music, but I had to turn it off as it was a distraction. So, guess what we did? Prayed -- out loud! I said, let's pray the rosary, so we started on Hail Mary's. Of course, Maddy says we didn't really pray the rosary as we didn't count the Hail Mary's or say the prayers in between the decades of the rosary, but I had enough to think about without all that. I did have a little freak-out moment when I had to pull off in one of the small towns along the way and call Mr. Tennis so he could calm me down a little. Back on the highway, I started to visualize my little red Jeep being protected from above. As we neared Lincoln, the roads started to get more snow-packed and icy, but we kept on with the Hail Mary's and were able to get home safe and sound, where I promptly collapsed in a heap!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Packrat Confession

Isn't the first step to solving a problem admitting that it exists? Yes, it's true -- I'm afraid I'm a bit of a packrat and I'm a teensy bit embarrassed!

Once again we have a painting project going on in December! Why do we do this? It puts me way behind on decorating, shopping, partying (who me, party??).

This year's project is not a big one (like last year's) and I really did try to get it accomplished in September, October or November, but the painters had other more lucrative jobs. The project -- repainting the kitchen cabinets. So, why you ask, am I embarrassed?

Well, the painters took the cabinet doors off and opened the drawers to sand and paint. What I didn't quite realize was that all of my cupboards were so incredibly messy! Who knew that all 11 or 12 of the drawers in my kitchen were junk drawers? Yeah, some weren't closing very well, but I just didn't use those, stashing more papers and junk in the ones that would open! Clever, eh!!

Last night when I got home and saw the mini-disaster and all that "stuff" about to fall out of my cabinets, I immediately began to throw out stuff. Yay for me! Guess what the oldest "use by" date was? Give up? 2002!!!! Stuff that has a "use by" date of 2002 is still ok, right?

Oh yes, the majority of "use by" dates were 2008 and 2009, but also saw some 2007 and a few 2005. Canned goods evidently tend to move to the back and be forgotten.

Hey, I found something even older than 2002 -- a little box of "To Go Tea" from China. This amazing tea is often given to adoptive parents in China for the kiddos who are having a bit of issue with pottying due to all the trauma and stress going on. Anyway, the box looks to be dated 2000 which is a bid odd as we didn't even meet Miss Maddy until 2003. Not to worry, even if it was already outdated, it did its job. Such a cute little box, I had to keep it!