slice of my life

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt---New

Here we are at the end of a year, with the New Year just days away. So the theme for this week is NEW.

I had to go to the albums to get my first inspiration for the theme. Nothing is newer than a new life, and here are the new babies I recieved into my life. The first baby, circa 1995, made me a new Mommy, formed a new family, added new joys and stresses to my life. Yes, I was only 24, and my glasses were huge! At this point, I had remarked to those around me, "Wow! My stomach is so flat!" They were laughing at me, but it was such a remarkable difference to me not having a baby sticking my belly out, and finally having my lung capacity back.

And not to be left out, our new daughter, born in 1998, opened a whole new world for me to enjoy. Do you know yesterday we girls went to the mall and spent an hour or so in Limited Too? Oh, my, if only we had some more money to spend there! The cutest stuff was not on sale, of course. She tried on a dress for $45 (too much for a growing girl!!), that was just really cute. It would go great with some brown leggings. I don't go for the halter dresses there, but that is a whole other blog post! B was spending her gift card from Aunt Rachel (who could show anyone a thing or two about "what to wear" or "how to shop").

To check out others participating in the photo hunt click here. What other kinds of new are there?

Next week's theme will be Memory. Memories! Ahh . . . I may have to scan in some more photos from albums! My mind is turning with the possibilities!

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday's Feast

This is my first Friday's Feast. I don't know if "Famine" is up for another day, but here we are feasting on questions I have answered.

Here is what the feast is about, from the Friday's Feast website:

Each Friday when you visit this meme, you will find 5 enticing courses for your mind to gobble up:

Appetizer- a quick, tasty morsel to get you started

Soup- smooth and warm to soothe your mind

Salad- a nutritious blend of "veggies"

Main Course- a hearty portion that is sure to satisfy

Dessert- light concoction for your sweet tooth

So that explains it, and here I go. Got a napkin?

How do you usually celebrate on New Year's Eve?

With the children----so it isn't anything romantic!

Name one thing unexpected that happened to you in 2006.

Larry's brother Rusty passed away on April fool's day. And we had two deaths on my side of the family, too. I didn't expect that.

Where was your favorite place that you visited in 2006?

This is really hard! I guess when we went to Memphis this summer for a wedding---that was fun! Going to Memphis is always exciting to me---it's where my roots are.

Main Course
What resolution is your top priority for 2007?

I haven't made a list or anything, but it has to be organizational! Maybe organizing my time to include things I really think are important for my health (exercising), my spiritual well-being (reading more Bible!), and my own time (like not wasting time on the computer!).

Using just three words, describe 2006.

Growing, sad, blogging (but not together in one phrase!)


Wednesday, December 27, 2006


We're entering the post-Christmas blahs. It's back to paying bills and refereeing arguements and doing the laundry. But one thing we did right---we bought lots of really good presents for the kids. Board games they will play together and play with us. I didn't think about how two of these games need at least 3 people, which means I am playing too. That's a good thing.

Another thing to break up the fights: gift cards. We have them from Home Depot (Larry, of course!), Target, Wal-Mart, and Limited Too. I also plan on going to the library with the kids. So we need to plan our shopping trips now.

We also went to the movies yesterday. Larry only had to work until 3, so we met him and saw Eragon. I think all 4 of us enjoyed the movie. I sat right next to J, who's gobbled up all the Dragonology books this fall. So I expected him to enjoy it and also to have some comparisons between what he's read in those books (which he consideres an authority). I stayed away from them before I saw the movie, but I'm reading some reviews now. They aren't all positive, but I think it was fun. I really think I would enjoy the books more than the movie---which is almost always the case.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Images of Christmas

My parents came down here for Christmas. Mom was sick, so it was quiet and subdued! We drove around town looking at lights with them on Christmas Eve, and watched part of "It's a Wonderful Life." Very fun!

J with his Santa presents---the main thing was his Lego set.

B was thrilled to get her DVD. She stayed in her pajamas all day. her favorite present was the Color Wonder Sprayer. I'll have to scan in some of her artwork she creates with that.

Dad opened a DVD from J---the Three Stooges.

Larry got to laughing about something!!

I got a DVD I had been wanting---from J. He heard "Suddenly I See" on the radio (remembered I liked it) , called me, and held the phone up to the speaker so I could tell him the artist's name. He then shopped with his dad. Thanks, son! This is the best picture of me all weekend, I think!

This present is what I got with the Christmas money Granny sent. Isn't it pretty! The best feature is that you can set the amount of time you want it to cook on high or low. It will shut off after that time and be on warm. So, if I want something to cook for 7 hours, and won't be home for 9 hours, I don't have to overcook it! Yea! I am going to use this a lot when I get back to work after the holidays.

This was the Game Christmas---and I know my sister almost bought Larry a game, too. Here's a list:

Clue---from Santa (not me! I didn't even expect it!) so far, 3 games played

Apples to Apples Jr.----from me to the whole family; so far, about 5 games played

Star Wars Risk, original trilogy version----to Larry from J; one very long game played so far

High School Musical DVD game----to B from Poppa; one game played this morning

Heroscape---from me to J; 4 games played

Plus we watched 2 football games and "Deal or No Deal."
Lots of games! I'd recommend any of these board games---they were all good ones! it made for a really fun day off for larry. He's back at work today!

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Saturday, December 23, 2006


My hubby said this is the Lays Potato Chip Blog---I can't post just one! Photo for the Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt, that is.
This first one is my favorite for the theme LINES. Short lines, tall, lines, a curvy line, it has all sorts.
Half the family wanted this set of lines ot be "the one."
And this set of lines of a different variety, was taken by my 8-yr-old daughter.
All four of these photos were taken at a park we have downtown, and although it looks very cold and wintry, the temperatures were in the 70s that day.
I was experimenting with some organic lines here. I have always been attracted to these twisty, curvy lines.
I considered several other options for "lines": shopping lines, lines of cars in traffic, power lines. Next week's theme is NEW. You can view the blogroll of others participating here.
Speaking of photos, my son, the so-called "Ollie Ribbons," has a new blog---Photo Ollie. he's finding things he likes and posting there. Leave him a comment and make his day!
It is my favorite day of the year!! It's Christmas Eve Eve. Usually you can just be as Christmassy as you want to this day without a bunch of activities in the way. All my shopping is done by now (most years!), and you can bask in the glow of the Christmas tree and let the Christams tunes flow. And Christmas shows on all the day long. B and I watched a Hollie Hobbie Christmas just this afternoon. I like the anticipation of "the day" better than the day itself, sometimes! Once the presents are all done, what else is there to be so exciting?
I am excited about some of the presents I got for people this year, but I cannot comment yet. I read this blog today and thought I might put forth my own list. Later!
I did yoga today and yesterday, and my back and legs feel so wonderfully loose. I wonder if I can make it a habit again? I need to!

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Friday, December 22, 2006


I just read a nice little post about Keeping Christmas. As in Luke 2:19, "And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." This Catholic author talks about how her image of what she wanted Christmas to be was just not going to happen. Human limitations we all have prevent us from doing what we think we need for a "perfect Christmas." But the "keeping Christmas" part is hard when I'm rushing around trying to do everything. Am I noticing anything worth "keeping" in my heart?

That was my goal when I thought I'd post every day of December and put forth my joys. There are little joys all around me. B and I strung popcorn today. The kids and I all three painted plaster ornaments yesterday afternoon. I got that double batch of Molasses cookies made last night (why did I think I needed to do double? I'm overachieving!) Being creative makes me happy! So I can't wait to do the roll-out cookies today. They will be another creative outlet. And again, I had planned on doing a double batch, but maybe I need to re-think that.

What am I treasuring? These creative moments. The joy I hope to see on my kids faces when I can give them something they really want. The gift of family time with a board game. I am so glad we did gingerbread houses. I had loved doing that a few years ago, but had let my tradition drop. But it came back, adn I treasure the moments of B helping me mix up the dough, and of me putting together the house with royal icing, and of B sitting there beside me as we made little houses for J's class.

I'm treasuring what J said to me the other night. He had been home sick, and B and Lar were out. We had just watched yet another episode of Star Trek Voyager (we've been renting these DVDs). I was really engaged with him, enjoying something he was enjoying, talking about the shows with him. He said, "I'm enjoying spending time with you, Mom." I was enjoying my time, too.
Of course now, we've been stuck in the house together since Tuesday afternoon, and I am getting a little stir crazy. But what can I do today that will give them a treasure moment? I think I can still let go of my "perfect Christmas" agenda and just let them lead me into something they will treasure. Of course, I NEED to get in their rooms and clean, and this doesn't seem to be something that will produce a treasure to them! But maybe if I can not get so mad about what they are not doing, I can make it through. And their clean rooms are one more treasure for them.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cookies for Christmas

This is the recipe card for Molasses Cookies that I guess I have been using for 22 years. I got a recipe box when I was in 7th grade from my Grandmother J., and this was one recipe in it. We had been making these cookies for years before this with my Mom, and she had remembered making these with her mom. She told me that she took these cookies for a Christmas cookie exchange party this season. They are always a hit with ladies!

I was allergic to many things as a kid, one of which was chocolate, so this was a favorite of mine growing up. I love the taste of the dough. I have modified the recipe to use the microwave to melt the shortening, and sometimes I put the dough in the freezer instead of the fridge so it will cool faster.

You know the cookies are done when they crack on the tops. And these cookies are best eaten when they are warm. Yum!

This picture I found on the back of the recipe card. I am sure that J drew it when he was little. A little memory of his youth to keep with me forever. I like this card a lot since it is in my Grandmother's handwriting. She said she didn't learn how to print, so she always wrote cursive. And since she was a teacher (French), she learned how to write nicely and on a chalkboard. So the whole card is a little treasure.

Yesterday, the kids and I wrote down what kind of cookies we wanted to make, and B drew out one slip of paper with her choice on it. B asked to make Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies. I don't think we've ever made them, so I found a recipe for them online. Once cooked, B said they were a different color than the ones we eat at lunch group (at church). Not light enough! I guess we won't cook them as long next time.

We are also going to make fudge (the really easy way) and the other two choices, the Molasses cookies and my choice, roll-out cookies. What speaks to me of Christmas is those buttery Christmas shapes. The smell of them cooking reminds me of the Christmas Eve party we would have at our house with Mom's Memphis relatives: Aunt Sally, Aunt Virginia and Uncle John. Whenever I think about that, I remember the spinning metal chime (I don't know what to call it?); it spun because the candles' heat would rise and turn a windmill-like blade, which would turn the little chimes to make a tinging sound. I wonder if Mom still has that? I Googled "candle powered chimes" and found this image--------->
It's very similar to what we had.

I may post some more about cooking, but for now, I need to actually do some cooking! The plan is to make the Molasses cookie dough, put it in the fridge, then make the fudge, then bake the cookies.

I am hearing thunder this afternoon, and it's as dark as 5 pm!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Elf Name

This one is mine:

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at

This one is B's

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at

Who are you?? Comment for me!

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Hanging out with Family

We gathered in Granbury to celebrate Mom's graduation, but the best part was hanging around with each other. I enjoy my sister's kids a lot, and our little S is more and more fun. She isn't talking a lot yet, but she is so cute when she does. She really likes to be outside with the neighbor's cats who come down the hill. She will be 18 months old on January 3rd.

E will be 4 on January 28th. He loves dot-to-dots and mazes, the movie Cars, and dipping things in ketchup. He's particular about what he eats, and will probably have a more healthy lifestyle than the rest of us----he seems to not have a sweet tooth at all! He needs time to warm up in the morning, and my kids could not understand this. He likes to run, and he likes spending time with my B.

My J is 11. He tries hard to keep everyone entertained (everywhere, even in a classroom). He wants so bad to carry S around, but she wouldn't have much of that. He can be the best helper in the house,
but mostly would rather play on the computer 24-7. I wonder where he gets that? In other ways, he's a lot like my Dad.

And lastly, I'll talk about B, who was very patient to play with E and S, but has already lost it this Christmas break with her brother. Sick and tired of him already! She also loves S and wants to hold her and sit with her at every opportunity. When we drew some mazes for E, she wanted some drawn for her, but then she turned it around and drew some for me. She's in a transition

phase, as is J. Big kid, Little kid, they switch back and forth between being so independent and helpful to being needy and dependent. B is 8 years old.

Mom finally got her wish and got a shot of all four of them on her couch. She had gotten them all new pjs, and we got them all to look the same direction at the same time without sticking their tongues out!

They weren't family, but I spent a couple of hours with my high school friends, Susan and Donna. We still know who each other is. We all walked in and greeted each other, and as I was leaving, we realized none of us had hugged or touched each other a bit. So we did some obligatory hugs, but none of us are huggy people, despite our friends and children changing us over these years. Even though we have distance and time between our interactions, I feel like they really know me still. I can tell them about my artistic endeavors because they are artistic, too. Donna, my fellow oboe player and jr. high art teacher, could appreciate that the beginning band we watched had two bassoons, and that was remarkable. We can brag about our smart kids because we're all three on equal grounds ourselves. It's good to hang onto some old friendships.

J is sick with a fever, 101.9 when we checked yesterday afternoon. He complains of nothing else, but he slept on the couch from about 8 until even now. I know he's alive--I can hear him breathing. Also the check engine light came on in my car, so we're trying to figure out how to get it to our mechanic this morning, and do so with the truck which can seat only 3. Life is complicated! Otherwise, I plan on cleaning up the house some more today, and maybe we'll bake some cookies or something.

Christmas is almost here!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas questions

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate but a little egg nog is good. (your answer was just what I wanted to say, Tammy!)

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? just set out

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Definitely colored lights on my tree, and a tasteful combination of white and colored lights on the outside of the house

4. Do you hang mistletoe? not usually---but I got some this year

5. When do you put your decorations up? Anytime after Thanksgiving is fine---but usually the first weekend of December is my big push, and I add on more gradually.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? I don't really have a traditional dish for Christmas only. I love to get a spiral-sliced, ham, though!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: A lot of my memories are tied to photos! I guess getting a bike is the one I'm thinking of---and I have pictures of two different times I did for Christmas!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I asked Dad on the way home from school one day.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? The kids do---in the morning, if they want!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? We put it together, I put up the lights and garland, and the kids mostly put on ornaments. Our ornaments are a hodge-podge of old childhood ornaments and stuff we've accumulated.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? would love it!

12. Can you ice skate? yes

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I guess one of my favorites is the colorful Jim Shore angel figure that B got me last Christmas. I saw it shopping with her, nad she went back and got it. I guess part of what I love about it is that she was paying attention to me and what I liked. I hope she can always pay attention to clues like that!

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? spending time with family

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? cookie-cutter cookies in Christmas shapes

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? We have always done a "Count Down Calendar" with the kids, but I love our Lego Advent calendar, too. two years in a row is a tradition, right?

17. What tops your tree? a gold star

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? well, honestly, I love the receiving, but I love the shopping and the giving.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? I love "O Holy Night," "All I Want for Christmas is You," and "Christmas Time is Here" (the Peanuts Christmas song). I can't pick one.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Yum! (but especially the fruity flavored ones)

21. Real or Fake tree? fake---allergies!

22. fat tree or skinny tree? Fat

23. Favorite Christmas movie: It's a Wonderful Life is Larry's fave, but I like White Christmas. Really, I look forward to watching A Christmas Story for a couple of times through on new Year's Eve on TNT (or is it TBS?) And Elf---it's a new favorite.

If you post a list somewhere, let me know!

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Ode to Mom

This past weekend we went up to Granbury and Fort Worth for Mom's graduation from TCU. She has been working on her Masters degree in Nursing for a couple of years now. A lot of what she's done has been through online classes.

We ate lunch at Red Hot and Blue which is a little piece of heaven in Texas. I actually got a pork BBQ sandwich---with slaw on it! That's Memphis-style. And your drink? It's served in a pitcher! (You can see one in the photo of Me, my Mom, and my sister.) We don't have any of these restaurants here where I live, but I'd love it if they did.

Dad drove Mom to the coluseum to get in line for graduation early, and we followed for the ceremony at 1:00. I had my whole family there, plus my sister had her hands full with her two younger kids. It was a long 3-hour ceremony, but I'm glad I went. Now my sister, I don't know, since her little one was so tired of it half way through.

We sat behind the stage, which I recommend for anyone. We could see my Mom in her spot, and she located us after she sat down. In the picture below, she is on the end of the row by the aisle, & rows from the back. We were pretty close to the stage, and although we couldn't see the front of the speakers, we could see them on the big screens if we wanted to. The gowns were all purple, as you can see, and Mom's Master's hood was "apricot" (the actual color of an apricot, not peach-y). It gave the effect of a purple-gold Granbury Pirate color scheme, we thought. They had a list of the hood colors in the back of the program, so I told Larry to pick a color and work on whatever that was for his Master's (which might actually come to be in Fall 2007). The closest thing to Aggie Maroon was the Scarlet of Theology or the crimson of Journalism.

It was at least 3 o'clock befre Mom walked across the stage. I coldn't get clean shots of her walking, but here's my best effort. At this point, we were drawing dot-to-dots in the back of the program for B and E to do. I even drew some mazes for E---he's almost 4, and loves dot-to-dots and mazes! S was being walked around by her Daddy a lot at this point, but we were all in the coluseum for the actual handing of the diploma to Mom. Yea! Go Mom!

She has been working at Harris Hospital, and got a job offer from TCU on Friday night to teach nursing students at Harris. Pretty cool.

So, Mom, we're proud of you, and hope you are doing just what you want to in life. I know that your accumulated wisdom of nursing will be put to good use as you take on your new job. Congrats, Grad!

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Monday, December 18, 2006

School Christmas Parties

I have a lot of pictures I want to post about what we did this past few days. So I will take topic by topic until I get done!!

This first picture is of the graham cracker gingerbread houses I made for J's class. There were 30 houses, and it took about an hour and a half to assemble them the night before the party.

The next picture is of B and her friend, J. She is originally from Guatemala, and a native Spanish speaker. At this point (2nd grade), most Spnish speakers in her class have really good English skills already.

This next one is of J at his party in teh 5th grade. I caught him really laughing!

This next one is a girl from J's class. She spent a long time working on hers, so I thought it worthy of my blog! I think most kids enjoyed working on the houses.

And these are our Christmas lights. I got Lar to do the ones on the roofline, but I am adding on a few other things as I see fit. I really think I want about 3 more sets of net lights for the front bushes---and about two more extension cords!! How do people do this and make it look good? I don't even have a picture of the tree trunk I wrapped in lights! I like it.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


It just so happens I have two annoying moments for B. Both times, she was being bugged by a boy, and both of them relations. (And she is even wearing the same shirt---maybe the shirt is bringing some bad vibes, and maybe it is because it is a St. Patrick's Day shirt, wrong time of year for it? ha!) Both my kids have this "vision" of how things ought to be, so working together on a project like our gingerbread house can cause some friction.

Her cousin was just shaking the wagon so that her baalancing a water bottle on a stick was not working.

I really ought to get a picture of Wal-Mart on a weekend. The whole thing is annoying---the parking lot, the lines inside, the size of our Super-mart, the money I spend there, the people, blah blah blah! It's all annoying.

So this post is a bit of a downer, but it was the theme I was given! next week the theme is "lines."

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Friday, December 15, 2006

My Christmas Movie

This is probably very true:

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas

For you, it's all about sharing times with family.

Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.

It's all about family, and it's all about the little cheesy traditions I like.
Please answer my question below!! O come, all ye faithful readers! ;-)
I forgot to mention another favorite song of mine---a religious one this time. I love "O Holy Night." One time I heard it performed still sticks with me. My sister was taking cello lessons, and at a Christmas concert another cello player played it as a solo (if I am remembering it right). Just beautiful! So what is your favorite song? Comment here or in the post below.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Gingerbread and Christmas Question

This is our gingerbread house at home and the one I made for our bulletin board at school. You can tell these are children's projects! I love them just like this.

I baked the gingerbread dough in a Pampered Chef mold (which isn't available any more). B and I mixed it up and I baked it on Saturday night. Sunday we put it together and put on the decorations. Some of these candies are from Halloween---a good way to rid your old supply of candy!

The bulletin board I made with my class of 4s and 5s. I made a paper gingerbread house, and the kids added glitter and pompoms and paper "candy" for decorations. It's good for them to work on group projects like this, and also to work on a large scale, something we don't often get to do.

So here's my question of the season for you:
What is your favorite Christmas song?

My favorite is "Christmas Time is Here" by Vince Guaraldi, the Charlie Brown Christmas song, of course. But I also love that song "All I Want for Christmas is You" and I am not sure who sings it. I loved it already, but I heard a BV TROUPEr sing it (in Larry's show this past weekend), and her name is Zaisha Heardmon. She can really sing it!! WooHOo!

So please answer for me, leave a comment!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Video, Party, Gingerbread House

Two of my favorite things in one video! You have to click on this link if you like either the Peanuts Christmas special and "Hey Ya" by Outkast. HeeHee!

This was one joy for the day.

One other was B's Open House at her Tabitha Class tonight. This is a class for girls in 2nd-7th grades, and they treated us to snacks, conversation, and fun. B even had put a present together for me.

Also my joy was made complete by putting together our gingerbread house and then decorating it with both J and B. I am the icicle-making expert! Pictures in a future post!

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt

I am participating in the Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt today! This is the blogroll of others participating. What kind of things do they take pictures of? Click on the link and find out!

The theme is RED, so here are some of my favorite red Christmas decorations. Red is my favorite color, so this hunt was a joy. The Santa plate is one of my very favorite things I have for Christmas. I don't even remember where I got it, but I love it. I am collecting stars for Christmas, and one day, if I ever do two trees, I plan on having one tree with only stars on it.

Enjoy this RED day!

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