Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Warm sweater Wednesdays

Turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater today. It's been so warm recently that we have not had to use our heat. Tonight, on the way home from church, I noticed it was 40 degrees. Brrrr. It is suppose to get down to 27 tonight. I might even consider closing my bedroom window tonight! Naw, I'll leave it up. I do love fresh air on winter nights!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Friend Joanne

Great things come in small packages! That certainly was true for me today when the mail was delivered. Look what came in the mail for me today!

My wonderful friend, Joanne, sent me a package consisting of wonderful and marvelous items! Joanne sent me the gifts as the results of me being a winner in a Christmas Trivia game that we played. Her smart, beautiful daughter, Jacquelyn, came up with the quiz and fortunately, the songs lyrics were all my favorite songs. Now, let me share with you my prizes! The picture above was every thing in the package. She sent the 2 blue pens and candy canes to my boys. Wasn't that thoughtful?!

Look at this adorable little primitive ornament. Joanne, did you make this? She is an incredibly talented person.

And, I loved this little snowman and bookmark. I have developed an affinity with the snowman over the years. I used to be afraid of them when I was a young child - go figure!

Thank you Joanne for a wonderful treat for me!! You are the BEST!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Spring cleaning early

I woke up this morning with a mission to clean my house. It was a beautiful day with the sun shining and warm. So, I opened the windows and turned on the attic fan to cleanse the house of all those winter/rainy day/yucky germs! The boys and I started in one room and worked our way through the house room by room. They were so helpful today and worked really hard. At one point, Nikolai looked at me and asked if I had them just to do work!!!! Silly boy!

I still have a few more hours left in our bedroom as I go through things. I kept Dennis' truck this morning and have done a good job of throwing things away today. He will have lots to carry off tomorrow. It's nice to have all the Christmas decorations packed up and put away. It's nice to have a nice, clean house. It's nice to have a family that appreciates all the hard work!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A year ago today...

Mama died. It's been an incredible year of sadness, sorrow, healing, and rejoicing for me. This was the last picture we had made of her. She looks so happy. My brother was home from North Dakota and she always perked up for him. She loved him and my sister-in-law beyond words. My preacher asked me yesterday if I was angry with God for taking my mother. I told him no because I knew she was with the ones she loved the most and who would want an Alzheimer's patient to still be here? So, no. I am no longer angry with God. I had a good, Christian mother who loved her family and did the best that she knew to do. Was she perfect? Far from it. Was she a good role model? Absolutely the BEST role model any daughter could hope to have. It was from her that I learned how to craft, sew, be a homemaker and wife. She was unassuming, loved her family, and had a heart for those in need. She never had fancy clothes, or an expensive home, or lots of money. But she was rich beyond compare. I will leave you with scripture that sums her up completely, Proverbs 31.

Description of a Worthy Woman
10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.

14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.

15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.

18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.

19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.

20 She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:

29 “Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

31 Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Long awaited magazine

Look what came in yesterday!! I am so excited to start looking through, planning, and ordering goodies from this magazine! They have the best things and the plants are beautiful. I always have big plans for my garden, they just don't always materialize as I plan!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day Of & After

This pretty music box was a present from my mother-in-law, Joyce. It plays Amazing Grace and I am using it to keep my needles in. See my other blog for an explanation of that.

Nikolai plays with Deniska's pirate ship. They decided they both wanted a pirate ship but WITHOUT any pirates - go figure! You can also see the Dora house in the background. Last I looked, Dora and family was being held captive on the pirate ship!!

Beautiful wooden flutes to the boys from Grandma Joyce. I know we will enjoy many performances from them.

This cute little silver kitten was in my music box. I have put him on a shelf in the kitchen so he can oversee what is going on!
(P.S. - just realized that this sweet little cat is a ring holder! Right? Still, the kitchen is a good place for her!)

Deniska hard at work unwrapping gifts. He loves his V-tech games by the way. He has already mastered fractions (part to whole). I played with the boys last night. They got a kick out of mom letting Spiderman get zonked in the game. It was fun.

Both boys received BIG animals. They use them as chairs in their room. Can you see Nikolai's toy kitchen in the background? It took me all day yesterday to put that little kitchen together. It is cute and the boys are happy playing with it. Since we are not gender specific with the toys we buy them, they tend to like to play with a lot of different types of toys. Let me assure you that they are both ALL boy!!!

Just threw this picture in of Molly because she looked sooo cute. She is such a sweet cat. The cats were not pleased with the ATVs yesterday - too much noise. She looks much more relaxed today.

This was the BIG gift to both boys. They are still a little small for them. By summer, I suspect they will be comfortable on them. We have them turned so they will not go very fast. However, they still go too fast for my comfort. We will have to closely monitor their riding such big toys! On the other hand, Dennis and I really enjoyed riding them yesterday!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all of you!

A very Merry Christmas to the 2 readers of this blog! I hope each of you have had a wonderful day as we all did!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

In a little over an hour it will be Christmas. It's hard to believe that a year has rolled around once again. This past year has been a year of sorrow and sadness for me, along with some happiness. The death of my mother has been incredibly hard over the year; this has been balanced by knowing she is out of her misery and is in a far better place with the people she loved best. I must say that Hospice has been my biggest supporter over the past year. I always got a letter or a card for each of those hard times. Well, enough of that. I believe you must have the valleys of life in order to appreciate the mountain tops. And, if you never climb the mountain to the top, how will you see where you have been?

We attended Christmas Eve mass tonight. It was very good and we enjoyed our time at church (as we always do!) Afterwards, we let Dennis' new toy, his Garmin GPS, lead us to an Applebee's for dinner. It was an Applebee's we were not familiar with at all. It was fun to travel new territories and see new sights. I am still not over my stomach bug so I mostly just sipped my drink and played with my food. Matter of fact, Garmin (Gabby as we like to call her!) took us a new way to church tonight with lots of pretty scenery. Gotta love her!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stomach bug

The stomach bug has been rampant over the last few weeks at school. I was so happy that I had avoided the ugly bug and school was out for Christmas break on Friday. Home clear - right? WRONG!! I woke up this morning feeling fine and within an hour, I knew I had the nasty bug. Add to this the 3 1/2 hour drive home (without a bathroom) and you can guess how I have felt today. We arrived home early this afternoon and I have spent most of it in one room (you can guess which one!) Dennis has left to go get me something that will help. I drank a little port wine to settle my stomach. This too shall pass (and in a hurry I hope!) I pray the rest of the family will not be sick as well. After all, Christmas Eve is tomorrow and I just cannot be sick on Christmas Eve or Christmas!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

4 things to do when it's 20 degrees & below outside

1. You can visit Bridal Veil, North Carolina. It's a beautiful waterfall (one of many near us!) but terribly COLD in the winter with a strong wind!! Of course it would have been a better picture if the boys would have stayed still instead of running out of the water spray. Bridal Veil Falls is unique because you can drive your car right underneath it! The water falls 120 feet from above, right over U.S. 64.

2. This was at Newfoundland Gap on top of the mountain going from Cherokee to Gaitlinburg. Newfoundland Gap is located on US 441 on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. It was so cold that the ice was on the trees (and the road in patches.) It was absolutely breathtaking and cold! Did I mention C-O-L-D???? Brrrr.... That's Dennis in the corner.
3. Since it was too cold to be outside, we went to Dixie Stampede. What a good time we had. We all enjoyed the pre-show and the Christmas show.
4. And finally, our boys decided to wash our windshield in 20 degree weather. What's a mom to say? This is a new phenomenon of them having to wash the windshield at every gas station every time we stop. Boys and cars....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cross stitch pillow

I love this little cross stitch pillow that I made. I only cross stitch in January and February. I have no idea why I restrict myself to cross stitching in those months. Isn't that silly? Anyway, since January is fast approaching, my fingers are itching to start stitching again. I only have patience for small projects. I may just live on the edge and start in December this year!

Today has been a gloomy day. It had rained off and on all day long. It's warm (sweater weather) and that is most discouraging since it IS almost Christmas and should be cold! Tonight at dinner, I suggested we move to Colorado since I know they would most likely have snow in the higher elevations. My suggestion was soon forgotten as Deniska started sharing his Cheetos!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Handmade toys banned in America!

If the ill-conceived Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act goes into law (as is) on February 10, 2009, toys made by moms (like me) will be banned. Making and selling our toys will be comparable to the local drug dealer on the street corner supplying crack and meth. Only, we will be supplying toys and dolls. Hard to believe isn't it?

I think congress has missed the boat on this one. And just think, we voted for some of these guys. Unbelievable!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy 8th Birthday Deniska!

Happy 8th birthday Dear Deniska! I can't believe my little one is 8 years old today! How quickly time passes. I baked him a birthday cake today. He really enjoyed every bite of it as he ate!

This business of birthday celebrating is fairly new to me. I grew up in a family that did not make a big deal of birthdays. We were told Happy Birthday and that was about it. I don't remember ever getting a present on a regular basis. It just wasn't a big deal. My husband, however, comes from a family where birthdays are celebrated. It wasn't until after Deniska came along that we started celebrating birthdays. It's a big deal for our children.
Deniska and I were in Wal-Mart this morning at 7 AM for birthday shopping. This year, he requested to do his own birthday shopping. I thought that was a great idea. So we gave him 2 gift cards, and along with his birthday money from other folks, he had quiet a stash. He shopped very wisely and with his brother in mind. I am very proud of him.
We are going out to eat at Los Amigos tonight after church. It's his favorite restaurant. I know he wants the waiters to sing Happy Birthday to him. He is such a ham!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


My children's school is involved in a project call the 100 Book Challenge. Every night, they are to read 15 minutes and log their books. This sounds easy enough, right? Wrong! For some unknown reason to me, this task of monitoring their reading has fallen to me. (Thanks Dennis.) Anyway, back to the boys. I have 2 that are on different levels and in intense competition for my undivided attention. There's only 1 of me and 2 of them! Every night ends up with them looking over each other's shoulder, reading, and fussing. This has led to many a fight - like tonight.
Deniska is on a higher level than Nikolai. Nikolai wanted to look over Deniska's shoulder. (I think he does this to annoy Deniska.) This, apparently, irritated Deniska to the point of whining and complaining. Then, to add injury to insult, Nikolai spoke first to lick the mixer spoon of the cupcakes that I was making for Deniska's class party. Deniska took this very personally and proclaimed that both the spoon and bowl was his. After all, the cupcakes were for him and his class. (I had offered the bowl as a consolation prize to Deniska, knowing that I would leave him a good bit to lick.) But no, that was not good enough for his young majesty. It was all or nothing. So, he got nothing. I sent him to his bath and to bed early. Of course, he still has to read his book...

At least, I know why it's called the 100 book CHALLENGE!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Warm sweater Wednesdays

Is it Wednesday again already? It's not hard to turn the thermostat here since it's hot (in the 50s). I have been hot all day. I would turn on the air conditioner but that would just defeat the idea of saving energy!

This picture has nothing to do with Warm Sweater Wednesdays other than the cats all sleep cuddled up next to me at night! This is Ana (short for Anastasia). I love her eyes. She is very much a Siamese kitten. She takes things and hides them under Deniska's bed. I have to send him under there every week to retrieve my things. She gets mad on Mondays when we go back to work. She tears a roll of toilet paper off the roll to express her displeasure. I love this kitten even though she can be a hand full!! Look at those gorgeous blue eyes!

Deniska has a little cold right now. He is not running a fever, so off to school he goes. His energy level seems to be pretty good. I sure hope he gets better before his birthday on Saturday.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma Joyce

A very Happy Birthday to my husband's mother, Joyce! We hope you have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Warm Sweater Wednesdays

Put that sweater on and turn down your thermostat 2 degrees! Let's save the planet and save money on the heating bill at the same time!

If your cat is cold, you can find the directions to making this cute sweater for them at Matter of fact, her site has adorable free knitting patterns. So, pull out those knitting needles and get started, or learn how to knit. You won't regret it at all!

She must have a very patient cat to sit so nicely for the pictures. Wonder if one of my cats would do that for me.......

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

National Fritters Day, December 2

What's a fritter? According to Answers.Com, a fritter is a small cake made of batter, often containing fruit, vegetables, or fish, sautéed or deep-fried. [Middle English friture, from Old French, from Late Latin frīctūra, from Latin frīctus, past participle of frīgere, to roast, fry.]

In Pigeon Forge, Tennessee there is a business called The Apple Barn. It consists of a restuarant, a grill, a winery, a gift shop, etc.... They make the BEST Apple Fritters ever! We are going to Pigeon Forge right before Christmas and I intend to have an apple fritter from there. Here is the recipe:

Apple Fritters

1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 tbl. melted butter
1 tbl. orange peel
1/2 cup chopped apples (with skin on)
1 tes. vanilla
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbl. baking powder
1/2 cup sugar

Blend sugar with all wet ingredients. Fold in orange peel, salt and baking power. Fold in flour, fold in chopped apples. Do not over mix. Drop spoonfuls of batter in 325 degree oil and fry until golden brown.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Today has been a day of surprises - snowflakes!! Yesterday, it was cold and rainy. Did I mention cold? Oh, I see that I did. This morning it was 41 degrees when I left the house and by the time I arrived at work (25 minutes later) it was 39. The weather forecast called for rain, with snow mixed in for good measure. Now, being in the South, we do take snow seriously. At work, it was the common consensus that it was not going to snow, it was too warm. We all looked at the sky and various people talked about their knees hurting, the cats playing, the Farmer's Almanac, and my hair. (My hair curls with lots of precipitation in the air.) It made for interesting talk before work, but then we moved on with our duties. Besides, no one smelled snow in the air. (We have a few folks who claim to be able to do that.)

I, along with my co-worker Gail, have the privilege (cough-cough) of having outside lunch duty. This is normally a duty that I love but in 39 degree weather with a strong wind, it is not my favorite thing. However, I had my soup and winter coat and I was good to go. We endured the cold for 25 minutes and then decided to move the few brave students who were outside in to the cafeteria. (Silly teenagers outside with short sleeves and shorts! Geez!)

An hour later, we started to have snow flurries. Forget about class - I took my whole class out to stand in the few snow flakes that was falling. Now, for you winter states with lots of snow, a few flakes is not a big deal. But for us in the South, snow flakes are a very BIG deal. We flock to the grocery store and buy milk and bread. We call off school if there is ANY accumulation (ice or snow). We bake cookies to celebrate. We call everyone to make sure that all needs are being met. We hunker down and stay put until it all goes away. (This is very irritating to those Northerners who have moved in and have tried to change us!) They (the Northerners) talk about how stupid we are to stay home, but no one ever gets hurt on the road if you are at home. We are not the ones out trying to drive in a wet snow (of which they are not used to and always have accidents.) OK, enough of that! We just chalk it up to the source and shake our heads.

Anyway, the snow came, it fell, and now it is all gone. It was fun to watch the 50 or 100 flakes to fall and to dream of a White Christmas!

St. Therese

St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore, and tell Him I will love Him each day, more and more.