Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I heard the buzz about the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. But I wasn't interested. I am not about to scare myself out of sleep by reading a book about a bunch of vampires.

Then I spoke to Krista. Krista has been a friend of mine since childhood and came for a visit one day with her super-cute son, Jack. The conversation goes something like this...

K - Have you read Twilight yet?

Me - No, I don't think I can. I can't read horror books. Is that about vampires.

K - Oh, you have to read it. It's a love story. The vampire stuff is secondary.

My tone changed immediately. My 16-year-old cousin is reading the series, by 15-year-old step-daughter wanted the books for Christmas. So, I ask myself, should I jump on this bandwagon? I'm not typically a bandwagon jumper. I decided this, I would read the book if they had it at the library, I was not about to buy the book when I could read it for free. The next thing I know there's the book on my mother's end table.

So I read the book in 24 hours. Incredible. I loved the book and cannot wait to read the 2nd, New Moon. I hope the library has that. Should I venture out in the cold snow and wind for this book? I can see why teenage girls fall in love with this story. It's a easy read. Great even when you're too tired to concentrate.

Have you read any good books lately?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Good Morning!

It's about quarter of 7 where I live and everyone else is still asleep. Ah....the quiet before the storm. I loved Christmas morning as a child. My parents were such great sports. I use to set my alarm to wake early in the morning. When I say early, I mean like 3 or 4 in the morning. Did my parents tell me to go back to bed? Did they get mad and order me away? No, they got out of bed and watched me open my presents. Of course, a nap was in order for the afternoon.

Luckily, Jared does not have an alarm clock in him room. Luckily, Jared understands what to do when I say, "Santa was here!" He jumped out of bed and was a perfect little angel getting out of bed and downstairs.

Christmas is totally different with a 3-year-old. He really makes the day. Thank you Jared!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How I met your Father...

I have been good friends with Jason since 7th grade. I loved to go to football games and watch him play, he was the quarterback and I enjoyed that he basically controlled the game. Once Jason was old enough, he joined the fire company. It was inevitable, most of his uncles and cousins were members and I believe his father was too until he was injured. Since Jason and I spent a lot of time together, his fire house friends became my friends too.

We use to go out every Thursday night. Usually we went to Frank's. Frank's was once a one-room school house that was converted into a restaurant-bar - I even went there for my 21st birthday, but that's a story for another time.

When I turned 22 I decided that I wanted to buy a house. I was dead set against renting because I wanted all of my money to turn into equity...not someone else's equity. So in 2001 I bought a house on 1/4 acre of land for $64,000. It was about 10 minutes from my parents' house and it needed some serious TLC. It only had a bathtub, no shower, and that tub stuck out about 6 inches past the door frame. I could live with least I could take a bath. But the part I could not deal with was no washer hook-up! I needed a plumber and I needed one now.

There were two plumbers that I knew of...Dan and Dave. They were brothers that worked in the plumbing business for their father. Since I knew Dave better than Dan I expected to ask for his help. Oh, I forgot to mention...Dan and Dave are both firefighters and regularly attend the Thursday night outings. So, the next time we went out, Dave wasn't there but his brother Dan was. I asked him for the office number and he was extremely helpful.

The rest is pretty much history. I have had many plumbing needs since that washer hook-up. So, I've kept him around. Just to make sure that I am first priority I married him and started a family. Dan, I'm just kidding. Thank you for taking care of me. If it weren't for you I'd still be washing my clothing by hand and taking baths instead of shower....oh, and paying a fortune for oil from a oil-guzzling 40-year-old furnace!
You're the best!

Friday, December 19, 2008

No More Karate

Dan and I decided that Jared was no longer going to karate class, at least anymore this year. This past week was....embarrassing.

At this particular Karate school, everyone receives a free month to determine if they like the school. Until that time the students (children or adult) don't have a karate uniform. Jared was the only child in the class that was still in his free month and stood out like a sore thumb without a uniform (more than usual).

We finally decided that enough was enough when Jared left the gym floor and started running through the other parents to hide from us. I guess it is our fault, well, my fault. Jared told us that he didn't want to go there that evening. He insisted, "I don't want to go to karate class!" as he crossed his arms, turned his head away, and closed his eyes. Dan looked at me and asked, "Well?" I was taking him. He wasn't going to join something and then quit. I should have listened. Why oh why don't I listen to Dan? Why?

So, picture this....

There are all of these cute little 3 year old children down on the gym floor doing their front kicks all in their little white karate uniforms. Then there's Jared. In his black tee-shirt and gym pants. Yelling, "Mommy! Look at me!" As he pirouetted.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Year's Resolution

It's that time of year again when we need to think about our New Year's Resolution. When I was in Junior High and High School, my resolution every year was to stop biting my nails. I never did...until I went to college and didn't have time to bite my nails. Then in college, my resolution was to lose weight every year. Then I met Dan, got serious and lost the weight. So as of the last few years my resolutions have been things like: have less clutter around the house, put myself in other people's shoes, and other things like that.

This year, I'm going to increase my emergency fund. I would like to see it grow up to $10,ooo one day, but this year I'm going to focus about $2000. That's a decent start.

I figure there are two ways to make my fund reach $2000. One way is to spend less money. The other way is to bring in more money.

How am I going to spend less money? Here's what I've come up with so far. We are going to eat at home more often. In fact, we haven't eaten out in over 9 days. I know that 9 days doesn't seem like a lot, but for a family that eats out at least twice a week, this is huge! I also starting using the clothes dryer less - I hang most of my clothing on a rack in the bathroom near the radiator. I clip coupons like there's no tomorrow. We found local discounts....I found out that our wireless provider will give us a discount just because I'm a teacher. No bottled water for this lady...straight from the faucet...I'm not scared. And the library. Who needs a bookstore?

Now, where do I find more money to bring in? Well, I did mention earlier that I am in direct sales. Perhaps I will put a little more effort in that area. I can create my little heart out and list my creations on etsy (I will let you know when I do this one). There are so many opportunities at work for extra money. Detention monitor, after school tutoring, bus duty, curriculum, summer school, etc. I will definitely take advantage there.

I promise to keep you updated and we'll see if I can reach this goal.

What's your resolution?

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Long Winter's Nap

Tomorrow is the Christmas party at my Mother-in-Law's house. This is a tradition and so much fun because Santa makes an appearance at this party and everyone gets a chance to sit on his lap and get a present. So, my part is to make the cheesy sausage meatballs for this gathering.

Here's the recipe....

1 40 ounce box of bisquick
4 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
5 packages of jimmy dean sausage.

Mix all together and form into meatballs and bake at about 400 degrees for a half-hour.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. It took me about an hour and a half to make these in conjunction with supper.

Everything was quiet in the living room and I decided to see what was going on. I found Dan asleep on his recliner. And I was a little envious. Not that Dan curls in his chair, but I found myself wishing that I was curled up on my couch for a little nap.

Then I wondered why Jared was so quiet. I looked over at Jared's recliner and he too was sleeping. All curled up in his chair. But, not like you would think.....

Here's another view....

This poor child. Do you think that Santa should bring him a bed?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Classroom Technology

Our school is making the switch from the old-fashioned white boards to the new fan-dangled interactive white boards. I have both in my classroom. And the more I learn about this new technology the more I like it. I know, technology doesn't come without it's own problems. I also know that the benefits outweigh them.

I've had my interactive white board for almost a year now and I am able to place all of my classroom notes on my very-own webpage. This is exciting stuff. Not only can my students get the notes and homework from the internet, their parents can see what we are doing in class everyday and so can my administrators. Some of you may be cringing, but I love this idea. I love that parents can never say that we do nothing in class, not that they did before, but they certainly can't now. If I could have a camera put in my classroom I would do that too. I would love for some of these parents to see what their 'angels' are really doing.

Want to see what a digital classroom looks like? If you said yes, click here. This is my class website. Yup, that's a picture of me, taken by a student last year. You can't really see it, but I'm about 6 months pregnant in that picture!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My First Job

You'll never guess what my first job was....that's it, McDonald's. And to this day I claim that that was the best job I ever had. Not the best paying or the job that utilized my skills, but definitely the most fun.
My cousin, Erik, worked there and was one of the reasons that I too filled out an application. I remember my interview with Kelly. One of the things she mentioned to me was that I needed to shower or bathe everyday. Hmmm. I guess when you apply to an entry level position, they tell you about personal hygiene.

My cousin and I like to fling pickles at each other. We would place a pickle on the end of a spatula and pull it back for extra speed and let go, much like a catapult. One Saturday morning we were doing this - his back to the customers and me facing him. He flung a pickle at me and I of course retaliated and flung one back. But, I missed. As soon as I saw the pickle fly past him, I ducked down. Erik however did not duck, he decided to turn around to see where the pickle landed. His eyes were met with a gaze from an angry customer with a pickle on his face. hahahaha. I'm still laughing about this and it happened over 10 years ago. hahahaha.

I never minded getting up at 4:00 in the morning for this job. And the food...a teenagers dream! I ate french fries and fried chicken all the time. There is something I want you to know. I did lose weight by working there and did learn how to eat healthier. Before working there I never, I mean never, ate a salad. Once I started working there and was making the salads, I figured, why not give it a shot? I fell in love. And now they have such awesome salads. My favorite it the southwest salad with the vinaigrette dressing. Once I realized that the bad foods were always at my disposal, I didn't feel the need to eat them.

I learned a lot about teamwork by working there too. I had been playing basketball since I was in the 5th grade. But, since I'm not much of an athlete, I spent the majority of the time on the bench. Teamwork was shoved down our throats but I didn't truly understand it until I took that job. I am still friends with a lot of people I worked with there. Of course, Erik! I encourage any teenager to go out and get that job. It is so worth it!!

What was your first job?


Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Favorite Christmas Movies

I love December. I'm sure that's it's my favorite time of year because it was my parents' favorite time of year too. My mom ALWAYS goes overboard with decorations, but I wouldn't want it any other way. We also had a tradition of watching Christmas movies starting on Thanksgiving night.

My hands-down favorite Christmas movies is Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas. This is the first movie that we watch for the Christmas season. Last year I found an old copy of a book of Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas on eBay and bought it for my mom. We didn't even know that there was a book.

Jared likes to watch The Polar Express. As you know, my little boy is in-love with trains so I'm sure this makes sense.

Dan made the comment one year that it didn't feel like Christmas until we watched It's a Wonderful Life. Believe it or not, he never saw that movie until he met me. How can a person go for 29 years without seeing that movie? The poor man.

I know that my dad is a big fan of White Christmas. For as much as he enjoys it, I've never seen anything but the end of the movie. Maybe this is the year.

A few other Christmas movies that I like to catch each year are:
Garfield's Christmas Special
There's one on cable with Tony Danza...let me google that quickly...Stealing Christmas
Charlie Brown Christmas
The Grinch (animated and the one with Jim Carrey)

What are your favorite Christmas movies?


Friday, December 5, 2008


Dean is my brother. Well, my half-brother...and that's a story in itself. Anyway, I want to share of story with you about the time he got me lost in the woods...

I remember that I was in 1st grade when this happened, so that would make me, what, 6 years old. My parents went to visit friends of theirs and took us along. Their friends didn't have children our age so that meant we had to entertain ourselves.

Now, since my brother was 7 years my senior I trusted him and so did my parents foolishly. Dean and I decided that we were going to play hide-and-seek in the woods behind their house. The woods weren't really woods. It was maybe an acre of trees that seemed like a complete forest to a 6-year-old. And hide-and-seek wasn't really hide-and-seek. It was more like Dean ran behind a tree and I would giggle all the way to that tree, once I reached it he ran behind another one. I felt safe because I could always see him or I knew which tree he was behind. Here's where the trouble starts. Deans started to do this faster and faster and I got disoriented and I couldn't find which tree he was behind and before I knew it, I couldn't find him at all.

So, I didn't want to just stand there, actually that thought never occurred to me. So, I kept looking for him and finally came up to a road. This car stopped and I got in. Yes, I think about that now and I can't believe how incredibly lucky I am. Anyway, I remember sitting in the back seat behind the driver and I couldn't put my feet on the floor because her guitar was there. So, we drove around the development for a while and the next thing I can remember is my parents standing in the front yard of their friends.

I don't remember either one of them being hysterical. And I also don't remember my brother getting into trouble. That's not to say these things didn't happen, I just don't remember if they did.

But here I am today, safe and sound.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Karate Update

So, this week was our third week at karate class. Just to recap...

The first week was horrible. I was so embarrassed. Jared kept running around the gym. He even got some of the other children to not pay attention.

The second week my husband went along. His thoughts were that if things don't get better by the end of the free month we're not paying money. Jared was better for the 2nd week, but it wasn't good. This time he only ran in one-half of the gym. At least he was in the right area, right?

The third week (this week) was super! Dan's thought's...I would pay money for this. Jared did awesome. He stood in line and tried to do what the instructors wanted. He waited his turn in line to hit 'Bob', one of the dummies. I was so proud. I wanted to yell to the other mothers who rolled their eyes at me during week one, "Look, I am a good mother! Take that!"

Who knows what our last free week has in store for us.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Every Monday Matters - On a Tuesday

Oops! Looks like I missed a Monday.

Okay, so eating healthy for one week should not be a problem. Well, it was. There was way too many desserts, and just unhealthy things at my disposal. I will try this week again in January. I will not even try to lie to you and say that I will try again this month, because I will not.

This week you are suppose to get rid of junk mail. I honestly do not receive that much junk mail. I will try to rid myself of those credit card offers though.

By the way, I tested my Wii age again and I am happy to say that I am 27. I am in my twenties again!! We wii, do you wii?