Monday, December 29, 2008


Celia!! Celia is a 2002 Honda Civic EX 2-door coup. She is silver with tinted windows and a moon roof. Morgan cannot wait to get her license to be able to drive her to school and other functions. Jenni cannot wait for Morgan to be able to drive herself places. It is a fun little car and now we can stop talking about what car we plan to get Morgan to drive. Rozzie already asked if she'll get the car when Morgan goes to college. I suggested we wait a few years to make that decision. I have learned that most decisions made early-on get changed anyway, so why fuss!!

And yes, it is warm here. The temps have been pushing 80 all week. ick! I know, you all THINK it would be great, but it isn't. I need more variation in my life. Anyway, here's to another week of vacation!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all and a Christmas Miracle

Merry Christmas from our house to yours. We hope you have had a great holiday season and wish you the best in the new year. It is hard to believe the school year is half over. I have accomplished my first half of the school year as an English teacher. The hardwood floors are done. We're all healthy and happy. Merry Merry Christmas.

Now for the silly stuff!! The "Spider House" in our neighborhood also decks the halls for Christmas. The Grinch is new this year. The girls sat in the car dying of embarrassment (Mom, we know these people!) while I got my picture taken with the old curmudgeon.
And last, but certainly not least, during our nice Christmas Eve dinner, Maddie found a Christmas Miracle in her potatoes. We think it is the Virgin Mary and we want to sell it on Ebay. Actually, she already ate it. We got such a kick out of this. The face was randomly made by parsley flakes. It has made believers of us!!
We enjoyed our gift giving and merriment this morning. We enjoyed out delicious breakfast. Now we are just lolling around the house, cleaning up, and trying on clothes. Have a great Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We don't need exotic trips, we already live in Florida!!

This morning, Rozzie commented that one of her friends is in Hawaii for Christmas. She did it in her typical teenage, ho-hum, can we go? voice. So I told her how all of you up north in this cold and snow you have been having, are probably so jealous that we LIVE in Florida and we are like on vacation every day of our lives. right. Jacksonville isn't really known as a great vacation location. (Hope you guys had a great trip to Hawaii!!)
So, back to Christmas decorations. My visiting teacher is the ward craft lady and she has a business making all these sorts of things. Each year she gives me something she has made and I just love it!! This first one is one she had for us to do at the Christmas Craft Day. It is quite big and I just loved the red/white. Extremely festive.
This little group of polar bears was this year's gift from Juanita. It is very adorable, as always. The candle is battery operated and so I won't forget to blow it out like the candle last year in the hurricane lamp. When Juanita does the Christmas Craft Day, she comes with everything all prepared and in separate bags and all organized. I needed some help with mine as I was teaching something else, or making something else, so Morgan did this one for me. She did a great job. Juanita said it was obvious I had my kids into crafts because Morgan was confident and didn't get distraught when things weren't perfect and actually thought she did a great job. I think she did a great job, too!

Another year it was the blue Santa which goes quite perfectly with all my "blue" Christmas decor. He has a little candle, also. Many of Jaunita's things come with a battery operated candle. And there is this little guy who sits on my piano. Juanita also brings the girls teddy bears with bows and baubles on them. It is so nice of her. Tomorrow, I'll post another gift she gave me last year. It is very WOW.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not a Silent Night

But a fun night!! I love to hear my kids play Christmas Carols together on their violins. It really isn't so much fun if they only do it for me. So I invited a few families over on Sunday night for a Caroling party. It was exceedingly fun. Morgan, Roz, and Missie played violins and we all sang. My friend, Heather, mentioned that people don't really do that anymore, they just listen to music. Well, we sang! Morgie printed up copies of the words. Next was chime-time!! I got the chimes out and we went through 3 songs with those. The kids were mostly younger (rather than older) and they did such a good job. The songs were recognizable. The chimes are a really kid-pleaser, too. They had the best time. It is pretty easy to control them, too. They were all crowing me with excitement and when I said to sit down, "plop," everyone of them sat down. Last, we sang "Rudolf" and everyone just banged on the chimes. Most all the other songs were religious and wonderful!! We had lots of treats to eat. I made hot wassail which is tres delicious. So, it was a fun night. This morning I was going around taking pictures of my favorite Christmas decorations to intrigue the masses that attend my blog. After having lots of little hands investigating thing, I had a few surprises. This nested nativity is a lot of fun. I painted it when we lived in Chicago. I did this after I swore I'd never do another nativity again as the first one took forever. I love the camel, that its butt is on the back of its face. He is slightly disjointed after last night, but he'll recover.Next is my cookie cutter nativity. I saw this somewhere when we lived in Cincinnati and so I got the pattern and made it. I think it is very adorable, except I noticed this thing on the roof of the stable. Upon close look, I noticed it is some sort of bug!!! It is icky and I don't know what to do other than wait until Travis gets home to take care of it. Imagine if it was scale size like the figures in the stable. That would be one huge bug!!I took this picture and wondered what was missing. Well, according to this little reenactment, Baby Jesus just came into being without parents at all. Maybe that is why the angel is so upset on the roof. We'll have to search the house for Mary and Joseph... This is the first nativity I painted and it nearly drove me nuts. That was back when I wasn't as patient as I am today. I love this nativity anyway. Last, but not least, I wanted to include my advent tree. The girls still love to attend to this tree I painted. I even painted all the ornaments. On Christmas Eve, the star goes on the top nail and the tree is complete. Tomorrow I'll have a different collection to showcase. I hope you can sleep tonight with the anticipation!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let Freedom Ring

I know that that is not a Christmas song; however, I am out of school for two weeks!! I have also survived the first half of the school year. That is a major feat for me. How many years left? Do I really have to keep doing this? I got a few teacher gifts and that was fun. Since I have felt better this week, it hasn't been so bad. I guess I can do it again in January.
This morning, we went and looked at a car for Morgan's use (notice how I didn't say a car for Morgan?) Really, it will be her car, but we still control it - you get my drift. It is a 2002 Honda Civic Coupe - silver. She couldn't be more excited. Travis' boss is selling it. It is a couple months before we anticipated buying a car, but it is the right car, right price, right person to buy it from. We'll work on it this week. Morgan asked if she could tell her friends. Being that I never call anything a done deal until it is a done deal, I told her she could say that we plan to buy it and it looks like we'll get it. Again, until it is parked in our driveway, nothing is for sure. We forgot to get a picture. Once it is ours, I'll post a picture. Travis was all worried about this being the right thing. My feeling is that we drove whatever we were given. This is a decent enough car - not new but not embarrassing - heck I was just happy to have something to drive. It is in our price range. Travis' knows his boss is meticulous with cars. So stop worrying and be done with it. he agreed!!

After having these beads for 2 years, I finally took 40 minutes out of my busy schedule and made the necklace and earrings. I have worn them 3 days in a row with different tops. I love them and feel very festive and happy. I love the peppermint earrings!!

Here are the girls with Santa at the ward party. At their ages, we are lucky to get this done, anymore. They are all happy to be out of school, done with projects and test, and they are ready to sleep in EVERY day of vacation. Happy Holidays!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The last melon

Guess the movie and win a Christmas ornament made by me!!

The ward party is done and the ward Christmas program is done. I wasn't the choir director, but got hornswaggled into being the choir director and we did TEN songs! It was a lot of time and effort and a little nervousness, but everything went off without a hitch. There was one song the women sang and on Saturday morning, it was still hideous. We ran through it on Sunday morning and looked at each other and said, "How did that happen?" It was beautiful!! I'm always so glad (after the fact) that I participated.

We made 3 batches of Chex candy mix for Morgie and Rozzie's friends. Instead of buying each other their 1,679 friends a gift, they had out bags of candy and it is well received. So that is now checked off the list.

Morgie's English project is DONE and checked off the list.

It is our last week of school before break, so that is almost checked off the list. I'm feeling pretty good about Christmas. Now I just have to get over the cold. It has started to drip down my throat and make me cough my lungs out. My chest is sore this morning from coughing so hard last night.

Have a great week!!

Friday, December 12, 2008


So I'm home sick today. On Wednesday, I got a cold around 10:32 AM. That is always how it is for me. I'm just fine until one exact moment when I get a cold and from that moment on, I'm SICK. I took a full dose of Nyquil that night to ensure sleep with my throbbing head. That knocked me out for the night. Then I took a full dose of Dayquil to make sure I lasted through the day. I should have stayed home, but I had 3 major changes in my day; my 1st and 6th classes were in the library, since Teto was using our classroom for a workshop, then I had Teto's classes with mine for 2nd and 4th, and then, I had an observation in 6th period. By 5th period, I had filled out my paperwork and let the secretary know I wouldn't be in school for the next day - today. I feel better today than I did yesterday, but I'm glad I'm home. Maddie is home, too. When it rains, it pours. So, because I was sick, I spent the entire evening running around crazy. Morgie had violin. I told Roz to get ready for dance and her reply was, "If we turn in our science fair project tomorrow, we get extra credit." Morgie also had a project due today. So it was "Project Night." Travis had bishopric duties (he needs a better duty). So it was crazy last night. I had to get some pictures printed for her board because the ones I ordered online from CVS were messed up. They printed them incorrectly. It was a wild night, but at 10:45, Roz finished her project!! Now, I have a free weekend! She tested different bottled waters to see if there was much difference between them and tap water. The big difference was in pH. Tap water (actually any water taken from the Florida aquifer or springs) has a higher pH - more acidic and therefore, are "hard" waters. Processed waters such as Dasani, Aquafina, and Smart Water were slightly lower than neutral pH and are "softer." So there you have it. And here she is, happy that this mess is over!
Next on the list of show-and-tell is a pair of socks I just finished. They are not for me. I like the colors. They went really fast. I get my embroidery machine going and then I can knit at the same time!!
On Tuesday night, we had Morgan's band concert. It was a combined band/chorus concert and 3 girls from the ward were involved. It was Mutual night, so we just took the girls to the concert. It can be counted as a Personal Progress night!! Here is Morgan with her best buddies, Hannah and Sarah. Sarah and Hannah are in the choir. You have seen many pictures of Morgan with her sousaphone, so now you can rest assured that she still plays her tenor sax.
Here is a blurry picture of the Jazz band setting up or finishing, don't know which. It just gives you an idea of the look of it all. Morgan is standing in the front row.

That is all the news I have for today. I must get two finals written while I am home today!! I hope you are all having a great holiday. I am enjoying getting Christmas cards. That always makes me happy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Please let this week be a better week!!

Last week was just one disaster after another. I'm hoping for a better week this week. And, I'm hoping for a few more comments. I know Sara has more friends, but I need some love!! Maybe a picture of a cute girl will help boost comments. This is Roz. Her ultra-cool hat was knit by her grandmother. Roz is suffering great sickness right now and she is cold and shivering. Travis is building a fire as I type (He is burning bits and pieces of the leftover hardwood floor). Roz was supposed to work like a fiend on her science fair project, but she just couldn't do it. She got a lot done, but it isn't finished. Oh well, a couple more days of work ahead.
So here is Trav putting in the LAST PIECE of the puzzle. Can you believe it? He has finished ALL the flooring!!! He still has the baseboards, including the caulking to do, but the floor is down and he is happy and I'm happy. We are all a little sick of the mess everywhere. Not only is it the actual "stuff" but also the saw out back with all the saw dust being tracked into the house. I'm so pleased with him and his stick-to-itivness!! Maybe some of my habits are rubbing off on him! He did a great job. It was very satisfying to him to put in the final piece. Hooray!!
I will call my dentist first thing in the morning. My broken tooth is driving my nuts and my tongue is all shredded. I can't wait to get this tooth fixed. Sara requested a picture, but they didn't come out too well. I'll see if my dentist can get me a good one!! Only two more weeks of school until another break. I'm very excited!! Christmas is getting done, slowly but surely. Hope you have a great week.

Friday, December 5, 2008

And now for the weekend follow-up

After the horrid morning I had on Wednesday, I thought I was clear for the next few weeks. But, no!! After 3:30 this Friday afternoon, one of my molars broke. I have been having problems for months and the pain was getting worse. I was looking forward to my dentist visit in January because it was just getting to ache all the time. Well, sure enough, after the dentist office closed for the weekend, a piece broke off. Some of the pain has lessened and I figured it was a pressure relief. Dr. Mike called me back and reassured me that I would live through the weekend. The tooth has a huge filling and my regular dentist has been telling me for years that it could crack, so this isn't a major shock. Dr. Mike also reassured me that this sort of problem usually occurs on Friday afternoon after the offices close. So, by Monday, I'm sure my tongue will be lacerated up real nice from the broken edge of the tooth. I'm feeling real confident right now as we go off for our monthly grocery shop!! My favorite thing!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It is only 6 AM and I've had a full day's work

Travis is out of town. Last night was Young Women's and decorating gingerbread houses and I was in charge of the frosting. Tonight is the Relief Society Progressive Dinner and I have two things to make for that. So Morgan and I woke at 4:45 AM which is standard procedure. Right away we heard a loud crash and tumble. I didn't hear glass break so I was a little relieved that it wasn't the Christmas village. I went out to the kitchen and Morgan was over by her bathroom next to the mess. The top shelf of the food storage had broken and about 7 things had fallen. I told Morgan to just keep getting ready - don't worry about it now. After my shower, i noticed it smelled odd. Sure enough, two of the bottles had broken; teryaki sauce and SYRUP. What a mess. Of course it was all over the floor and the cans that were on the floor. So, guess what I got to do? It was so awful. SYRUP!! It is done. I'm sure we'll be wiping down the floor for days as it will be tacky for a while. After that was done, since Travis is out of town, Morgan drove me to Seminary and I drove home. Now I need to get the Crock Pot Chicken going.

Silver Lining: I had to clean the hardwood floor this morning; however, it is better that if I'd had to clean the carpet that used to be there. See, something to be thankful for, other than the strong smell of teryaki in the house.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pictures of Thanks

We hope you all had yourselves fabulous Thanksgivings. Aside from being in Minnesota, ours couldn't have been better. We were invited to the Collard's for dinner. I made pies, rolls, deviled eggs, and Travis made the carrot souffle. Here is a picture of my cherry pie that I thought was very pretty. Here are the girls playing with the Bedazzler. McCall was very excited about it. They had a lot of fun Bedazzling t-shirts, flip flops, and a cast boot.
We were at Collard's until pretty late with one round of "Werewolves." There was a lot of talking and laughing. The kids all watched "The Notebook" and then laughed at the end when they were all crying. Here were are off to Kohl's on Black Friday. I don't really do the Black Friday thing, but we did have a couple of things to get. We did not get up early, I do that every day and I do not need to do that on vacation. I ended up getting more "around the house" things done. Note the Christmas decor on the counter. Yes, my friends, the flooring project has moved out the the main areas so I can decorate. We worked hard and have it all done. I knew that if it was left and we went back to school, it would not get done. Rozzie was a great decorator. I took pictures last year to remind myself where everything goes, so all I had to do was pull up the picture and tell Rozzie to recreate the picture and she was off!! Now we are a festive bunch. Here is Maddie helping Trav with the lights. She has fun doing this.

I have had a great vacation and accomplished much good. I did 7 portfolio items which was my goal. I have 26 more to do. *sigh* School is back in on Monday and there are only 15 more working days until Christmas break!! I think I can handle this! As a matter of fact, November 16 was my 1 year anniversary in my job. That was the day I took over the class and was expecting to work for 6 weeks. Who knew at that point that it would turn into a career! Not that I want a career. I still think of it as a job that can come and go - not permanent. It is how I cope. I hope you all had a great holiday break and got to enjoy family and friends and especially some good food!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Bubbly

Our favorite drink for Thanksgiving is the Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice. So I was buying some at Wal-Mart and this was what happened:

Wal-Mart Lady: Can I see some ID?
Jen: It's non-alcoholic.
WML: I know.
Jen: OK. (shows ID)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Most Glorious Thanksgiving Break

So here I am on Thanksgiving Break!! We got the whole week off. I guess they decided that everyone leaves anyway, so why fight it? I'm not complaining. I got right to work enjoying myself on Friday afternoon. We took Rozzie and Maddie shopping at Kohl's. The girls have this problem with their arms. They got really long over the last year and none of their long sleeved shirts fit them. It has been chilly and so they were in need of clothing. They got some nice things and will be appropriately clothed. Of course with Kohl's, everything is on sale and we are grateful for that option close by. Rozzie got the nicest coat!! I LOVE it. Saturday morning she went out to clean the garage and wore her new ivory/black coat out there. "No dear. Cleaning the garage is a "sweatshirt" kind of job." She likes to get dressed to the nines to sit around the house. So, here is a little hint of how we are spending our days off:

Licky is a connoisseur of taking it easy. He loves it when we don't make the bed and there are pillows to lean up against and snuggle in-between. He embodies the attitude of comfort and rest.
Travis took a day off last week and worked on the floors. Some have asked about progress. I thought that showing the bedroom all done was as much as you wanted to see regarding the floors. Travis got through Morgie's hall and into the storage closet. I love how the wood just flows everywhere. Travis took everything out of the closet and put it back. Now he is familiar with what is in the closet and won't have to ask me if we have any more salad dressing. He already knows that yes, it is in the closet.
Travis is very proud of this little joint in the toe board. He is not a detail man, so this was a big deal for him. It turned out great. He will do the caulking all at once for the entire house. At least the boards are in place.
Here is how Maddie is spending movie time. She is knitting wash clothes!! She has become quite the knitter.

As for me, I FINALLY got to the last 12 ornaments. Hip Hip Hooray!! They are done now and I just need to spray varnish them, drill the hole, and put the twine in them. Love this life!! Tonight is "Twilight" night. Very exciting.

One last story (and I know Sara has done this before). Last night, Morgie was in her room playing her guitar and not responding to my calls. So I texted her, knowing she was expecting a friend to text her and she'd pick up her phone immediately. So I texted "come clean the kitchen and wash the dishes" (there was hardly anything to do as I had cleaned up before dinner). I had Travis come and watch what I was doing. Within seconds we heard, "Mo-om!" She laughed really hard and came out and did the dishes with Rozzie's help.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Picture this...

(because there are no pictures of it) The bell rings. 2200 kids are released from their classes. In the midst is Mrs. Smith in her "big books" t-shirt, running and pushing kids aside to get to her car as fast as possible. Yes, my friends, it is Thanksgiving Break! I'm free for 9 days. I might cry, I'm so happy.

And, happy birthday, Mike.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's been a full moon and the werewolves are out

Look at Maddie being all eleven. She has her new earrings and she loves them. They are very sparkly.
This is Maddie at the Paterson Variety Show doing her tap dancing. She did very good. She did the dance that she performed at the recital this past summer. I was proud of her to go up there all alone!!
This is Maddie's werewolf cake!! We were so excited about it. I didn't have the time for decorating cakes this week, so I hired a friend's mother and she did such a great job. Maddie was so thrilled with it. Morgie asked if she could make her cake, too.
Maddie's crowd. We had 4 more girls arrive, just right for the werewolf game. This was the perfect game for a crowd. It kept all the kids in their seats with their eyes closed and they were all quiet. They loved it. The game is "Werewolves of Miller's Hollow." It is a GREAT game. Here we are playing! That is all for now!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Missie Pie!

November 10th means that Maddie is eleven. It is hard to believe our littlest is so old and mature. She is moving into her last year of Primary. She has been a precocious little girl. She was such a good baby; able to be left in the playpen for long periods of time so I could get stuff done. When she was born, her most identifiable feature was the dimple in her chin. The hospital staff whisked her away to the NICU before we really got to know her. When I finally got to see her again, I knew she was the right one by that dimple in the chin!! As you can see, she had a head-full of blond hair. What a great little kid.
She grew in stature quickly. I think it was the heavy cream I produce. She was a darling little girl with pretty blue eyes. She was always ready to smile. This is a picture of her at 6 months. She would lay on the floor at church and sing and sing. I'd take her out because she was so distracting, but then the people would say, no, keep her in.
So here she is at 9 months, continuing her "angelic" rouse. She was still delightful and so easy to have around. She didn't start eating solid food until about this time. She didn't care, I didn't really need her to be left for anything. She was pretty patient. She was plenty big. Just a nice baby.

Then at about 18 months, things changed. She got an attitude and started demanding all that she thought was her's and then some. She really gave me a run for the money for a few years. We always say it is a good thing we weren't cussers or Maddie would have cussed a blue streak. We always prayed that she would use her strong will for righteousness. Going to bed was a nightmare for about 3 years. She would make a mess of things and torment Roz. This picture was her 3 year old picture. She was not happy about this set-up. I kept up with the photo shoot because this is an accurate depiction of her at this age. She is saying, "I'm done!" It is actually one of my favorite pictures of the dear girl. This was the phase that earned her the name, "Missie Pie." She would disrobe if she got her clothes wet. She hollered at people. She stomped around. However, often times, she was quite nice and lovable.
Then, she grew out of it and has turned into the nice, quiet, conscientious Maddie we all know. She got long and lean. She is very well behaved. I mentioned precocious before; she once told me, "I like to go see movies at the cinema." She loves cats, as we all know. This is her Jazz costume from this summer's dance recital. The scanner wasn't scanning the whole picture so this is all I have. We are blessed to have Maddie in our home. She is kind and loving. She is witty and creative. Now, she is eleven!! Now it is time for me to meet them all for dinner!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Since you may not have seen them and I am so very proud...

Here are Morgan's wristlets that I knit her. They are wonderful and snuggly. I wanted to have my latest stuff up so that there was something on my blog.

Things Are A-Changing

Things are changing around here, but I don't know how to do any of it and I keep wrecking stuff. Jessie (of "Bessie" fame) has the cutest blog templates. I tried to change mine and ended up having to delete the whole blog and start over. Now I can't get rid of the original template. If you have any suggestions, I'd love some help. Please.