Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...
  • my family and friends
  • my health
  • my job
  • the fact that I have a liiiitle bit more of Christmas break left before I return to the aforementioned job
  • a wonderful, family-filled, sparkly, shiny, warm and fuzzy Christmas...been trying to blog about it for 3 days now and Blogger. Won't. Post. It. Hmph.
  • getting to see the first white Christmas I remember
  • the fun grown-up presents Santa Claus brought me for Christmas
  • the safe (EARLY) arrival of healthy, handsome baby John Mark Evans yesterday morning...I wish Colorado was just a smidge closer so that I could visit. And hold him. And smell the top of his sweet baby head. Congratulations, Julie and Mark!
  • 2010...such a fab year
  • 2011 beginning on Saturday...I love sitting around on New Year's Day and pondering what's in store for the new year
  • getting to do a bit of sewing lately
  • being able to cross Starbucks' Peppermint Hot Chocolate off of my things-I've-always-wanted-to-try-but-then-didn't-like-them-one-single-little-bit-when-I-tried-them list...ick...tasted like a bunch of York Peppermint Patties melted in a cup...surefire way to get your blood sugar up, though!
  • finally getting those clementines finished...thanks, fam!
  • the National Championship game coming up in less than 2 weeks...nervous and EXCITED :)


Thursday, December 23, 2010

5 lbs of clementines, 1 girl, and a quest

I love clementines. I love seeing them in stores this time of year. They peel easily and hardly ever have seeds in them and they're tiny and precious and adorable and such a pretty color. I don't love, however, that they're only sold in 5 lb crates. That's a lot of clementines. That's a lot of anything. Clementines were on sale at Publix last week, and I like them so much that I decided to buy some. 5 pounds worth. I had no doubts that I could finish them.
I'm here today to throw in the towel. I can't do it anymore; this victory goes to the clementines. I've taken in so much vitamin C over the last few days that I don't think my body knows what to do with it. When I put my makeup on yesterday, I could've sworn the color of my skin was starting to look...clementine-ish. I'm done. I sure hope my family members like clementines, because somebody may find this under the tree Christmas morning.

Oh, and since I've had so many stinkin' clementine peels, I've decided to put them to good use instead of throwing them away immediately. I've been simmering them in some water with cinnamon sprinkled on top. I learned that from my mama...makes your house smell so good!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Warm and fuzzy

I'm really, really good at not going to work. I am so thankful that I have a job that allows some really nice (though very hard-earned) breaks during the year...yay, teaching! This first day of winter, I've been doing a little (or, ahem, all) of my Christmas shopping, a little of this:

and partaking of some of this:

recipe here:

This was so good! I made it without the Gruyere...the only block I could find was $9.49 at Publix, and this girl doesn't shell out that kind of dough on dairy products. I put some red bell pepper on top for a little Christmas color. Really, really tasty.

Christmas break's not-so-secret-admirer,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lullaby Carol

The choir sang a beautiful song at church yesterday and I loved it so much that I wanted to share it here. It's called "Lullaby Carol" and it's written by Molly James. It may be old news to other people, but I'd never heard it before. It really made me stop and think about that sweet little baby Jesus (literally) carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders from the night he was born. How awesome.

Lullaby Carol by Molly James
Lullaby baby, now reclining, hush, do not wake the infant King,
Angels are watching, stars are shining over the place where Jesus lies.

Lullaby baby, now a'sleeping, hush, do not wake the infant King,
Soon will come sorrow with the morning, soon will come grief and bitter tears.

Lullaby baby, now a'dozing, hush, do not wake the infant King,
Soon comes the cross, the nails, the piercing, then in the grave at last repose.

Lullaby baby, now a'waking, hush, do not stir the infant King,
Dreaming of glory, gladsome morning, conquering death, its bondage free!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rolo-pretzel things

I guess I could come up with a better name, but that's exactly what these are: things made out of Rolos and pretzels. Fitting, no? I made these for my 5th grade teammates as Christmas presents last year and decided to churn 'em out again this year. Here's the recipe...easy, easy, easy!

Rolo-Pretzel Things

pretzels (I use the "windowpane" ones because I like the way they look, but any kind except sticks would work.)

Lay a bunch of pretzels out on a baking sheet. (For the love of all that is good and decent, use foil. Learn from my mistake last year. I was still scraping Rolo mess off my cookie sheets by Valentines Day.)

Unwrap enough Rolos to top each pretzel and place on top. (If you can con someone else into doing this part for you, do it. It's definitely the least fun step.)

Bake at 250 for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oven and smush another pretzel on top. Let cool. Done.

*I've seen a variation of this where people smush a pecan half on top. I just use another pretzel because I like the pretzel/chocolate combo. Oh yeah, and pretzels are way cheaper than pecans. The pecan ones are good, though. They taste very "turtle-y".

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...
  • my family and friends
  • my health
  • my job
  • peace and hope and joy and faith and gratitude
  • the safe arrival of baby Sam Landrum Christmas present ever for the Landrum fam!
  • my Monday morning prayer group at glad I've started going this year
  • a break in the sub-freezing temperatures
  • not having to drip my faucets last night
  • not having to scrape ice off my windshield this morning
  • getting our salt dough ornaments made and decorated...sent these little guys packin' today!
  • Beth...could NOT have managed the salt dough/painting/glittering/ribboning/glazing/packaging bonanza without her
  • a chance to start (yep, start) my Christmas shopping this weekend
  • a visit from my bubba today...he ate Chicken Supreme in the lunchroom...he played football (quarterback!) at recess...he schmoozed with mamas at our Christmas party...he did it all because he knew it would make me happy...seriously made my day
  • a fun, successful, well-organized Christmas party
  • the Christmas party being over (really, really fun and all)...I'm exhausted
  • the Honors Club meeting being over...I'm exhausted
  • school being over as of tomorrow...I'm exhau...(you get the idea)
  • Christmas break dangling right in front of me...glittery, shiny, warm, cozy, beautiful, peaceful Christmas break :)
  • most of my kiddos being genuinely excited about their Christmas presents from me (whiteboards, markers, felt "erasers")
  • Birmingham's Christmas tree being replaced after someone burnt the first one down...somebody's getting a lump of coal from Santa Claus this year!
  • getting to watch "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" today...never gets old! The kiddos loved it. And I still think the Abominable Snowman is kinda scary. Always has been. Always will be. Amen.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Up to my eyeballs salt dough. This crazy teacher decided to let her 27 students have a mixing/stirring/sloshing/kneading/flouring/big-fat-mess-making/rolling/cutting/aw-do-we-really-have-to-clean-all-this-up? kinda party today. It was a large, large mess. And it was so fun. We baked the ornaments at school, and I came home and made some extras juuuust in case. I imagine that at least one precious little ornament will break or be deemed otherwise unacceptable during the painting process tomorrow, and I'm packin' plenty of back-ups. Save the tears, kiddos...Ms. J is prepared!

If any mamas or teachers (or plain ol' regular people who can't get enough dough crafts in their life) want to try it out, this recipe was great!

Salt Dough
1/2 cup salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water

Mix together all ingredients until a dough is formed. If the dough is too sticky or batter-like, sprinkle in flour. If the dough is too dry, add a bit of water.

Flour a surface and knead the dough on it. Knead until the dough is soft, smooth, and elastic.

Roll the dough to 1/2"-1/4" thickness, adding flour as needed.

Cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Take a toothpick and whittle out a hole at the top...make the hole a little bigger than you think you need. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake at 200 for about 2 hours. They don't rise or spread much, so no worries about placing them too close to each other. Check every 30 minutes or so to flip the ornaments. (We didn't flip the ones we did at school, and we really needed to. Plus we used the cafeteria's commercial oven, and that big girl doesn't mess around. I think they baked too fast. The ones I've got in the oven here at home look smoother and overall prettier.)

Let the ornaments cool and dry completely; there should be no mushy spots. Decorate with acrylic paint and let dry. If you wish, finish off with a coat of Mod Podge to seal and add some shine. String a ribbon through the hole and deck your halls!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Island of Misfit Toys

The annual Johnston family Christmas decorating extravaganza was held today, and as we pulled out all of the decorations, I noticed a theme. We put out each and every single item in the boxes, with no regard to its condition or attractiveness. Of course, there are some nice, very beautiful things we put out. But honestly, we look most forward to dragging out the old homemade ornaments that would fit right in on the Island of Misfit Toys. Here are a few of our favorites:
This beauty is made of an old ground beef tray--washed, baked, and decorated. Washed really, really well. We hope.

Plastic cup. Glue. Red glitter. Done. Instant heirloom.

Who doesn't love a good dried macaroni wreath?

This jewel above is a real crowd-pleaser. Daddy loves it so much that it goes front and center on every tree, every year. This green one is Daniel's and I made a red one to match. Mine got thrown out years ago because...well, I guess it was too ugly to look at. Good thing this one isn't nearly there yet. Right?

This little guy is my personal favorite. He used to have little googly eyes. And, oh yeah...he used to be a whole candy cane. Over the years he's started disintegrating from the inside out. I imagine he'll grace the tree until he's just an empty wrapper with antlers on top. Wait, who am I kidding? The wrapper and antlers will probably still be draped on a tree branch for years to come.

As much as we moan and groan when each of these ornaments is pulled from the box, I wouldn't have Christmas any other way. I'm thankful that we can give these less-than-perfect ornaments a warm, happy home for Christmas. They're thankful that they haven't been exiled to the Island of Misfit Toys...yet.

Merry Christmas from the Johnston clan!
(And yes, we all planned to wear Auburn gear at the same time...we don't usually call each other to plan our wardrobes. Usually. Unless Mom makes us. We're just a proud buncha folks these days.)

PS--In order to get to the old homestead to decorate, I had to the snow. Snow! In Alabama! In December! Well, it was just flurries and none of it stuck, but still! Snow! You know what that is? Global warming in action :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

29 years

Happy happy happy 29th anniversary to these two crazy kids! I used to love looking through their wedding album when I was little; I may have to drag it back out tomorrow. Mama and Denny J have set such a good example for my bubba and me to follow. I love them more than I can say and am thankful for the happy, wonderful life they gave us while we were growing up. Happy anniversary, Mama and Daddy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...
  • my friends and family
  • my health
  • my job
  • exactly 4.5 schooldays (after tomorrow) until Christmas break begins...not that I'm counting or anything
  • the Christmas season...trying to sop up every second of it
  • a successful Colonial Celebration today...kiddos
  • the fact that we don't have to do another Colonial Celebration for 12 months :)
  • sweet, sweet Beth...she tidies up my classroom, grades papers, makes copies, teaches small groups, tells me when my hair's messed up, preserves my sanity...pretty sure I couldn't get through the schoolday without her
  • my bubba wanting to come eat lunch with us next week
  • the community where I teach
  • my SEC Champion Auburn Tigers...still can't believe they're going to play for the National Championship!!!
  • being warm when the weather is so very stinkin' cold
  • the mornings when there's no ice on my windshield
  • my pretty little Christmas tree when it's all lit up
  • some fun ideas for Christmas presents
  • money to buy Christmas presents
  • finding a fabulously wonderful new doctor this week
  • a relaxing, almost commitment-free weekend coming up


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Fred-ism

I have a student that, for privacy's sake, I call Fred. Fred is a trip. He says at least one thing every day that makes me glad I got out of bed that morning. We had this conversation in the lunch line yesterday and it still made me smile today:

Fred: Ms. Johnston, lunch smells really good today!
Me: It sure does.
Fred: The smell...I mean, it's stuck up in my nostrils but I don't mind it because it's a good smell.
Me: (I got nothin'. I give Fred a confused look that is meant to convey "Why on God's green earth are we having this super strange conversation?")
Fred: You think the lunch ladies would like it if I told them about the good smell?
Me: Sure! It would probably make their day.
Fred: (to the lady fixing his tray) Your lunch smells great today. The smell is stuck in my nostrils, but I'm okay with that because it's a good smell. Thanks for making a good smelling lunch.
Lunch lady: (She's got nothin' either. She looks at Fred as if he's suddenly sprouted an extra eyeball.)

I had to take Fred by the shoulders and walk him away since he started pointing to different areas of his nose to further make his point. Good heavens. It's the little things that make me smile.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel

The Raleys were on my mind until I finally went to sleep last night, and they were the first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning. I opened up my devotional book before I got out of bed and had to smile when I saw this morning's reading: no worries in heaven. "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain."...Revelation 21:4. The reading was so good and so applicable today. It talks all about how the things that worry us and grieve us in this life won't even be on the radar screen in heaven. It makes me feel better to know that, no matter how bad things get, we won't have any worries or concerns in heaven. There is total, complete peace and joy on the horizon for all of us...makes me happy to think about :) Thanks again for your prayers...keep 'em coming.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Prayers so desperately needed

I've been thinking about this all day and can't get it off my mind. I even got back out of bed to write this because I was too busy thinking to go to sleep. A family in my school community needs all the prayers they can get right now. If you read this and are a praying person, please please please pray for the Raley family. Their 13-year-old passed away this evening due to really tragic circumstances and I can't imagine the horror the family is feeling. Pray for everyone who is hurting over this. Pray for all these sweet kiddos who are far too young to be mourning the loss of their brother and friend and classmate and teammate. Pray for those of us guiding those sweet kiddos through this. Just pray pray pray pray pray...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...
  • my family and friends
  • my health
  • my job
  • this cold weather...Christmas is coming!
  • that I have a place to go to get out of the cold weather...makes me feel bad for people who don't
  • Christmas music and Christmas lights
  • a little free time this weekend so that I can get my Christmas tree up
  • 9.5 more days left (after tomorrow) until Christmas break...the kiddos are excited and their teacher is ready
  • that my Auburn Tigers are playing for the SEC Championship on Saturday...SO proud of 'em!!
  • the extra large salad I made for supper was extra good
  • the salad dressing that came into my life for the first time may get its own post, and I'm not totally kidding about that
  • overall good behavior on our field trip today..."The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" always makes me a little teary at the end
  • my warm and cozy bed

On that note, I'm declaring this post done so that I can get into that warm and cozy bed of mine. That's right, it's not even 8:00. And I'm fixing to go to bed. And I don't care who knows about it. This girl is tired, tired, tired today.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"It looks like Christmas threw up in here!"

 I decided to be a bit festive this year and string up some lights in my classroom. I had these lit up and some peaceful, instrumental Christmas music playing when the kiddos walked in this morning. The above comment was the first one I heard; I was assured this is a good thing. The kids were SO excited. We spent much of our time today with the overhead lights off (and blinds open) so that they could work by "Christmas light" ("Fred's" term). As long as I kept the Christmas music on, they were silent...and if you think I didn't play the crap out of that CD all day, you are way wrong. I know a good thing when I see it...or hear it! $9 for a string of lights and a CD is a small price to pay for jolly, hardworking 5th graders. If only it was always so easy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sew fun

 These are the fabrics I'm using in my top-secret sewing project for this angel baby. I'm pretty sure I like shopping for fabric as much as I like many beautiful patterns to pick from! I've started working on just a tiny bit of The Project, and I think I'm going to LOVE the way it looks when it's done. I hope I do, anyway! It's for Princess Elizabeth's first birthday (in, uh, May...I jumped the gun a little) so I'll have to wait until then to unveil it. I'm thinking I've found a new favorite project, though!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Yum, and a Thanksgiving rundown

Well, Thanksgiving started out as a disaster nearing Griswoldian proportions...a trip to the ER, a near takedown of a boiling vat of giblet gravy, a mad dash to get a rapidly-melting plastic utensil out of a 400* oven, a drawer FULL of 50 years worth of silverware dumped out on the floor, a telephone pole down across the road. Shall I go on? Thankfully, we managed to salvage it. It was nice to visit with the various family members who showed up at both of our eatings. I'm especially thankful for a family that can roll with the punches and laugh when plans "fall spectacularly to pieces". (Name that movie.)

On a different note, my recipes turned out to be quite tasty. I'm posting them here in case anybody reading this wants them:

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
printable here:

2 lbs sweet potatoes
4 strips bacon
1 whole onion, diced
2.5 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups milk
grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 325. Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch slices (who the heck ever measures stuff like this? eyeball it.) Boil potato slices for 5 minutes, drain, and set aside.
2. Cook the bacon strips. (The directions have you save the bacon drippings to cook the onion. I microwaved the bacon and used olive oil instead of grease. It worked perfectly and was a smidge healthier.) Crumble and set aside.
3. Saute onion until tender. Stir in flour over low heat and stir until a dry paste forms. Add milk, salt, and pepper. I added more pepper than was called for...taste as you go. Cook over low heat and let the mixture thicken a bit.
4. Arrange half of the sweet potatoes in a baking dish. Sprinkle on half of the bacon. Pour on half of the milk gravy. Layer the remaining potatoes, bacon, and gravy.
5. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

*This is a great alternative to sweet potato casserole (of which I am no fan). Easy and tasty!

Caramelized Onion Dip
from "Real Simple" November edition

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium onions, sliced or diced (I used one white and one yellow.)salt and black pepper
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 c sour cream
chopped fresh chives

1. Melt the butter and add the onion with 1/2 tsp salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes until the onions are very golden brown (but not burnt!). Remove from heat.
2. Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, chives, onions, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Stir well.
3. Serve with chips, crackers, pitas, or veggies.

*This was a huge hit. It was even better after it sat in the fridge for a few hours.


Friday, November 26, 2010

One little point

Sometimes, one little point is all you need to get what you're after. That one little point might be just good enough. Today one little point was enough to pull of a giant come-from-behind win, and I'm a really, really, ridiculously happy lady. Here's to that one little point! AU 28-UA 27. Off to gather up what's left of my nerves and enjoy the weekend basking in the glow of that one little point. WDE!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

All over the place...and excited

My mind is all over the place today. I have 3,000 things to do before tomorrow, I've got a serious to-do list kickin', writing on the ol' blog is not even kinda on that list, and I am. Priorities!
  • I fell down my wooden outside stairs rather spectacularly yesterday afternoon. Just call me Grace! I'm sporting a couple of giant, throbbing, wince-inducing, nearly-impossible-to-get-comfortable-on lumps. The landscape of my back (and behiney...) may never be the same.

  • I'm more excited about Thanksgiving this year than I've been in a long time. Can't wait to get home! I'm pretty pumped about the two recipes I'm whipping up for the feast tomorrow. If they're worth eating, I'll post the recipes later.

  • I'm very much looking forward to (and feeling a bit nervous about) the Iron Bowl on Friday. Here's hoping the Tigers hold on to their winning streak!

  • I'm embarking on a new sewing project (a 1st birthday present), but it's a secret. I'm really, really, ridiculously excited about it.

  • Just realized this is the 100th post. Pretty nifty.


Monday, November 22, 2010

God's navy

I read this a while back in my devotional book and thought about it again today. This is one of the readings that really, really stood out to me, and I'd like to share it with anyone who reads this little blog of mine.
We are many, but in Christ we are all one body. Each one is a part of that body. Romans 12:5

"God has enlisted us in his navy and placed us on his ship. The boat has one purpose - to carry us safely to the other shore. This is no cruise ship; it's a battleship. We aren't called to a life of leisure; we are called to a life of service. Each of us has a different task. Some, concerned with those who are drowning, are snatching people from the water. Others are occupied with the enemy, so they man the cannons of prayer and worship. Still others devote themselves to the crew, feeding and training the crew members. Though different, we are the same. Each can tell of a personal encounter with the captain, for each has received a personal call..." Max Lucado, Grace for the Moment, p. 578.

I loved this devotion. I absolutely see myself as a "crew keeper". Not much makes me happier than taking care of other people so that they are equipped to fulfill their role, whatever it is. It's been interesting to keep family members and friends in mind when I re-read this. It's fun to try to figure out who fits in each role in God's navy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On the rolling plains of Dixie

I got to spend my Saturday in my happy place, glorious Auburn, Alabama. As much as I adore Auburn, I'm glad that I moved away...for the sole fact that I get little-kid-on-Christmas-morning excited when I get to visit. It was a stellar day. Tailgating, darling friends, great weather, fabulous seats (albeit in the GA section...which cleared out nicely by the end!), a visit from Sir Bo, a flyover, a gorgeous sunset, and a solid victory. Oh, and this goosebumpy moment, which makes me want to weep and sing the fight song. Bo is such a high-class kinda guy...I bet Michael Dyer won't ever wash his forehead again.

I was unhappy with the thuggish behavior displayed by some of the players and some of the fans (from both teams), but instead of griping about it, I'll just pray for all of them :) One thing, though: how stupid must you be to throw a bare-handed punch, over a referee's shoulder, at a player wearing a helmet? And pads? And a face mask? When you're already winning by more than 2 touchdowns? Does it feel good to get booted off the field like a CHILD and have to run past the student section on your way to your time-out corner? Me thinks no. An Auburn man (at least, an Auburn man with any class and self-control) is better than that. Oops, this sounds unkind. Better get back to praying...see how far I fall? And so quickly! I've got my work cut out for me.

All in all, I enjoyed the day so much. I'm THRILLED that I got to go to this game. I'm so proud of my Tigers and their hard-earned 11-0 record and their guaranteed spot in Atlanta next month. War Eagle!

I was wondering why this UGA majorette had her hair pulled back in such a tight bun. The reason why became immediately apparent to me when she, you know, set her batons on fire. All FIVE of her batons. Engulfed in flames. She was easily the biggest hit of the halftime show.

I love this one of the field...the colors turned out so bright and pretty.

orange and blue sunset

And THIS is how the West was won. WDE.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let's all pray for this man

I've been making a conscious decision every day to not speak or think badly about people but instead, to pray for them. Some days I go down in a big fat burning ball of failure, but at least I'm trying. On that note, this man really needs some prayers.

Kanye West is not one of my favorite people. He seems to suffer from a severe case of I-think-I'm-much-more-important-than-I-really-am syndrome. This is a terrible sickness that I hope to never develop...and if I do come down with it, I hope someone will love me enough to knock me down off my self-constructed pedestal. After watching this interview I found on my homepage, it hit me how miserably unhappy Mr. West must be. He needs prayers from more people than just me.
(2:27 and 6:36 are what made me cringe. Ick. Prayers, prayers, prayers.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day

Fun fact: Did you know that Birmingham is home to one of the country's oldest and largest Veterans Day parades? This was the 63rd annual parade, and I decided to celebrate my day off work by attending. The weather was stunningly perfect, and I (unknowingly) chose a spot right by the viewing stand...I got to see everything. It was fabulous and very moving; I'm so glad I decided to go. I'm thankful that there are people selfless enough to serve our military and our country. And (let's be honest), it was also a good excuse to play with my new camera :) I love, love, LOVE having a camera where I can adjust the shutter speed and take pictures of objects in motion. That alone was worth paying for! Here's what I came away with:

I think these ladies were my favorite. I would love to sit down and chat with them. What an interesting perspective on WWII they must have!

Marion Military Institute---I wish I could've captured just how many of them there were. It was truly impressive.

This gentleman is nearly 101 years old. He looked AMAZING; his secret is probably sunscreen.

I felt like a creeper taking this without permission, but it was so worth it. I think this is my favorite shot of the day.

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...
  • my darling family and friends
  • my health
  • my job, and a glorious day off today
  • the men and women who have served in the military and fought for our country so that I can have the freedom to do what I want to do
  • those veterans being much, much more selfless than I am
  • the opportunity to go out to the Bham Veterans Day parade today...fabulous
  • my new camera...still getting to know each other, but I'm learning more every day
  • my sweet students and the things they're teaching me this year
  • a few more weeks until I'm done with my last grad class of the semester
  • being able to afford grad school and the time to do my classwork
  • finally finding skinny jeans made for non-skinny people :)
  • stellar weather this'll spoil ya!
  • getting to see Mr. Bush on TV several times this week...didn't realize it, but I've missed him and the class with which he conducts himself
  • the holidays approaching
  • fun plans this weekend...bring 'em on!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Feelin' a little crafty

I've been in a crafty mood lately. I found a wreath tutorial here and decided to make one of my own yesterday. It was very easy, just time-consuming. Like, I watched "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in the time it took me to make this bad boy, time-consuming. (Side note: I adore those movies, don't you?) It was fun, though. I may make one for myself someday with non-Christmas ribbon. My super cool parents are the lucky recipients of this little guy.

(I took all of these pictures with Nikki. We're still getting to know each other. Excuse the occasional blurriness.)

Let's get to it! (Click the link above for specific directions.)

Step 1: Cut a million bajillion pieces of ribbon. (You could use whatever you wanted, but I think the finished product has more visual interest if you mix different textures and widths of ribbon.)
Step 2: Make loops with your ribbon pieces, stick a pin through them, and jab them on your wreath one color at a time. Don't quit and throw it away when your wreath looks as hideous as in the picture below. It does indeed shape up by the end!

Step 3: Keep jabbing.

Step 4: Jab some more.

Step 5: Ignore the fact that you're developing calluses from pushing all those pins. Continue to jab.

Step 6: Jab in ribbon loops until your wreath is sufficiently full. Attach a ribbon for hanging (didn't get there with mine yet) and hang 'er up!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...
  • my family and friends
  • my health
  • my job
  • beautiful, cool fall weather
  • a fun day off today spent at Christmas Village with Mimi and Mrs. was like an NYC '06 flashback...I loved it
  • a day off next Thursday, and the men and women who have served, fought, and even died in order for me to have that day off
  • the holidays coming much to celebrate and be thankful for
  • my new camera, even though I have yet to take a picture I really like...lots to learn!
  • baby #2 news from a darling college friend
  • the last few days of daylight past 4:00 this time of year but really miss the sunshine after the time changes
  • the right to vote on Tuesday, and the way it all turned's hoping it's a change for the better
  • getting to break out my Dutch oven to make chili this week...didn't use it all summer and forgot how much I love up: this recipe on top of this
  • fun plans for the next two weekends
  • getting this in an email of my very favorite moments from "The Office"'s a whole lot funnier when you see the whole episode, but I'll take what I can get :)


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Meet Nikki

Ain't she purty? I've been saving since August for Nikki, and now she's finally mine. I am most excited about her. She has a strap, a pop-up flash, and, get this...a lens cap. A lens cap! I have officially made it to the big time. She makes cute noises and does lots of cool and fancy things. In fact, she's far, far too cool and fancy for me, but I'm trying to catch up as fast as I can. I see lots of adventures in the future for Nikki and me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...

  • my stellar family and friends
  • the many blessings in my life, and being able to recognize them (big and small)
  • the fact that things always work out God's way, not my way...this is way good because I don't have a clue what I'm doing most of the time :)
  • my health
  • my job
  • Auburn's very first ever BCS #1 ranking...cautiously excited (very, very, very, very excited :) )
  • the beautiful, gloriously cool fall weather that arrived here today (to stay? could it be???)
  • a successful first Honors Club meeting after school today
  • the chance to go on a walk this afternoon
  • no ill effects (so far) from my flu shot
  • getting to catch up on my "Jersey Shore" this week...I should be embarrassed about how happy that show makes me (but I'm not)
  • my new nail polish...never thought I'd get on board with gray nail polish, but I love it
  • wrapping up my second grad school more to go for this semester!
  • Christmas Village plans with my Mimi next week
  • the silent, dramatic interpretation of the Jamestown experience my kiddos did in Social Studies was hilarious and they LOVED it
  • a (hopefully!) relaxing weekend coming up, and the start of a new family tradition on Sunday
  • no more dreams about Michael Myers since that awful Tuesday morning...let's hope it stays that way!
  • payday tomorrow!
  • "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" on TV tonight...the holidays are officially here!!!!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I had a dream...

My alarm went off this morning at 5:30, as usual. I clearly remember turning it off, making grand plans to reset it for 5:45, and being excited to catch a few more minutes of sleep. Only by the grace of the good Lord did my eyes open at...wait for it...wait for it...6:16. Ick. I try to leave every morning by 6:30ish, so I was panic-stricken. I think I set a new land-speed record getting ready and, thankfully, made it to school right on time. With wet hair, zero jewelry, and considerably less makeup than usual, but I made it.

Oh, and what was it that woke me up from my extra long slumber? A dream I was having. A scary dream. A dream I didn't want to have. A dream about this weirdo:

That's Michael Myers in the original Halloween movie. He's just finished killing a guy, throws a sheet over himself, puts on the dead guy's glasses, and (slowly, yikes) walks up to the girlfriend. She apparently has 11 brain cells and takes a stupidly long time to figure out that this. is. NOT. her. boyfriend. It doesn't end well for her. If you've never seen this, I'm jealous of you.

I was dreaming about this. I woke up right before he grabbed me. Rise and shine, indeed!Michael Myers dream + oversleeping = the opposite of how I like to kick off my Tuesday mornings.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...
  • my awesome family and precious friends
  • the grace of God, which gets us through the bad times
  • the power of prayer
  • opportunities to reflect on how blessed I truly am
  • my job, and how sweet everyone has been to me this week
  • the thoughtful cards my kiddos and my "math babies" made for me while I was cute, and so (unintentionally) funny
  • the fact that one of my kiddos calls the Tums he has in the nurse's office "TumTums"...and has all week long...I don't have the heart to correct him because it's so stinkin' cute that sometimes I pretend like I didn't hear him the first time so he'll have to say "TumTums" again
  • pretty fall weather
  • my mulled cider and pumpkin spice candles (who are getting a whole lot of burn time these days)
  • getting to celebrate 2 way cool friends this week...happy birthday LA and Sara K!
  • TumTums
  • chugging through my first semester of grad school...not tons of fun yet, but definitely manageable
  • a chance to catch up a bit on sleep and life this weekend...much needed
  • rediscovering this today...heard about it on Rick and Bubba this summer and it made me giggle again today
  • TumTums


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Sometimes, something happens that takes your breath away and changes the track your "life train" was traveling on. Sometimes, you're left wondering why. Sometimes, you're reminded in a not-so-subtle way how short life is and how thankful you should be for each moment.

Uncle Mack was too young to go and we didn't expect this at all. If anyone reads this, please pray for Uncle Mack's wife Tammy and his kids Jerry, Sarah, Abby, Spencer, Leannan, and Maggie. Please pray for Mimi and Grandad. Please pray for DennyJ and Aunt Dianne. Please pray that all the rest of us know how to help in the best ways possible. I don't even know what to do or think right now. Please pray.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for:

  • my family and friends
  • my health
  • my job
  • fun plans this weekend :)
  • fall weather finally (finally???) here to stay
  • the safe rescue of all of the miners/rescuers in Chile...I watched so much of it on TV that I'm fairly positive I could rescue any of you if you got stuck in a collapsed mine
  • getting to climb Yogurt Mountain tonight with a sweet friend
  • the birth of sweet baby Luke Conerly excited for Suzy and Ian!
  • the fact that I got to be friends with this cool kid for 14 years...
    (This was from Psychedelic '03, my very first sorority date party. I was new in Auburn, with 1.5 new friends and -4 date possibilities. I was planning to just wallow around in my dorm room instead of going by myself. Mikee very kindly offered to take me so I didn't have to skip out, and even willingly wore women's clothes from the thrift store. And yep, he even volunteered to go shopping with me. His $2 pants were too tight to button so we had to rig them up with a rubber band...after he laid down on my bed trying to suck it in. He even treated me to a fancy dinner of frozen burritos...heated up in the MICROWAVE, no less. Mikee made that such a fun night, and made me feel a whole lot less like a loser freshman. Easily one of the highlights of my college days.)
I miss him and that sweet smile and his crazy hair and his totally infectious laugh. A whole lot has changed in the 5 years since he left us, but he is still definitely loved and missed. Every day.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Just sew sew...

I think I was getting a little bored with the "same old, same old". And honestly, maybe I was getting a little cocky. I mean, I taught my own self how to sew. I can crank out burp cloths, bibs, and headbands like a machine. So I decided to branch out. Yesterday, on my day off, after crossing off everything on my to-do list, I decided to make myself a throw pillow. I found a great tutorial, bought the world's cutest fabric, and set to it. Two hours later, I was nearly in tears, with a much-too-long, impossible-to-sew-up "throw pillow".

My task: I needed to sew 3 buttonholes. My dilemma: I don't know how to sew buttonholes. I practiced and practiced and still couldn't get it. No problem...I just sewed on the buttons by hand, not realizing that the buttonholes are IMPERATIVE to making this work.

So now she's unfinished, and will remain that way until I gather up the motivation to finish what I started. Sometimes, we all need to be humbled a bit.

Oh well, at least the fabric and buttons are cute!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Just realized I didn't participate in Thankful Thursday last week. Woops. I'm definitely thankful, but sometimes don't feel very bloggy. Back to normal this week!

Today I am thankful for:

  • my family and 'em love 'em love 'em

  • my wears me out daily, but I'm glad to have it

  • the lessons I'm learning this year

  • my health

  • the beautiful fall weather we're having...still a liiiittle warm, but I'll take it

  • getting to sew last weekend, and getting to mail out some little bundles of baby goodness I adore these new fabrics, particularly the dotty/swirly one. I'm thinking of making myself a hot new outfit out of it. Thoughts? Yes? No?
    {It's a little ridiculous how happy sewing makes me.}

  • Kira and Princess Sugarpieangelface coming to visit this weekend...I love visitors, particularly of the former-bathroomie-and-her-precious-babe variety
  • a field trip tomorrow
  • making an A in my first grad school class, and maybesortakinda deciding on what I want to ultimately do with all this extra schooling I've decided to put myself through
  • the new devotional book I bought this week
  • t-shirt tiiiiiiime tonight! I. love. this. show.
  • a day off on Monday...yes, please!


Monday, October 4, 2010

STOP the presses!

I just read something that totally altered the course of my fall. I am elated. Beyond elated...euphoric! This article states that...ready yourself...the pumpkin shortage is over!!! No more waiting list at Publix. No more hoarding cans in my pantry. I'm gonna eat pumpkin in EVERYTHING. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin pancakes. Pumpkin salsa soup (so yum). Pumpkin to dip my fries in instead of ketchup. Pumpkin on a spoon, straight out of the can. Just kidding about the last two, but NOT kidding about my level of excitement. I plan to take on an orange hue by December. Bring on the pumpkin!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Here kitty kitty...

Where I live, there are a few homeless cats wandering around. I guess people just dump them outside when they move away and leave them to fend for themselves. Without climbing up on to my soapbox about such hideous thoughtlessness, the cats seem to be at least finding something to eat and have adjusted alright to their new life outdoors. All except for the new kid. I've seen him the last few days and he's pitiful, poor fella. He just sits looking around and meowing.

I was out walking this evening and every time I looked around, New Kid was behind me. Following me. Looking at me with those sad little eyes. It was more than this girl could stand. All I kept thinking was, "Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me." I even called Mom to see if she thought that verse applied to animals. If this was a test of my faith and compassion, I didn't want to blow it. (Have I ever mentioned that I'm a weirdo who overthinks nearly everything? If I haven't, now's a good time.)

I couldn't take it. I cut my walk short, fired up ol' Mitzy, bought two cans of cat food at the gas station, and proceeded to climb through the woods calling for New Kid. I was about to give up because I was running out of daylight, but I finally heard him. New Kid was answering me. I couldn't convince him to come to me, so I left his food for him. I hope he found it. I hope that $0.89 can of Tuna Delight was the best meal he's ever eaten. I hope it made New Kid feel (at least momentarily) better about his new life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Utter trash

The only people who knew this about me before today were family members. They have no choice but to love me, no matter what weird stuff I get tied up in. After admitting this to two friends at work today, I'm ready to come totally clean. I look forward to something every week that is best described as complete and utter garbage:

Jersey Shore. It's such a pointless show, and certainly does not contribute to my "betterment" as a human being. Doesn't matter though, because not only do I not change the channel, I seek it out! Since the trainwreck airs on Thursdays, tonight (unfortunately) is not the night. I think I may sew instead to fill up my time, you know, after I complete my GTL routine. You think the guidettes from Jersey Shore have spent much time with a sewing machine? I'm gonna go with a resounding NO.