Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ready for the New Year!

I hope you all had an amazingly wonderful Christmas holiday! I know I did. My mom was in town and we hammed it up over at my sister's house for most of the weekend.

Presents were opened and some seriously good grub was shared, which is one of my most favorite parts of the holidays. The dessert was a bit disappointing, but none of it was homemade, and I think that was part of the problem. Note to self for next year... make sure to bake the pies! And insist that my mom let us!

My sister was a wonderful hostess, and her husband was equally as gracious. They let us bring Axel along to play with their boxer Nelly, and one of the first things that Axel did was hike his leg and water one of the presents. Thank goodness it was my present!

I can't wait to share all the deets with you guys and get back into my blogging routine. My days of crazy crocheting to finish up presents are now passed, and I can get back to casually crafting as the need calls me to do so. I was gifted a ton of yarn and fabric this year, so I have lots of plans for making things. And one of the first things on my list to do is make a beautiful little iPad cover! Yes, I got one of those, too! I can't wait to lie in bed tonight and catch up on reading my favorite blogs.

For those of you heading back to work tomorrow (like me) I'm sending my condolences. We can look forward to another extra day off this Friday, I suppose. All my best to you as we are almost to 2011. I can't wait for what the new year brings. (as long as it's happy stuff...)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Where Have You Been?

If you're like me then you've been all over the place this past week! Finishing up Christmas shopping and preparing for family gatherings, putting up lights and decorations before you run out of time, balancing work and family and orthodontist appointments.

And, if you're like me you're struggling to finish up all of those handmade gifts that you intended to start working on so much earlier in the year.

Maybe we'll get a better head start next year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Internet Moms of the Year

I wanted to share with you a handful of women who I think are the top Internet moms of the year. These are moms who work from home while raising children and serve happily as the number one woman to their spouses. That's a lot to juggle!

I've picked these ladies because not only do they keep up with a blog and their families, but their blogs are successful businesses for them. I'm sure there are so many more I'm missing, but these are some of the ones I follow and are very familiar with. These ladies don't just blog about their days, they post helpful tutorials and tips on how to do things (do you know how time consuming that is???), some of them also interact with their followers using social media, some of them have MULTIPLE blogs and they still manage to run their family. How they do all of this is beyond me. But kudos to them for making it work!

Check out these ladies and tell them hello. And, if you don't already follow them I recommend you start. And be sure to look at their side bars so you can see other blogs they run or assist with. These are seriously busy ladies!

Do you have other Internet Moms of the Year you want to recommend? Just post a link to their site in the comments section and share what you like most about the work they do. Keep the compliments going!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Shopping Under $40

Sometimes it is so hard to find just the right gift for that special friend who has one of everything. This year give her something that was handmade with her unique style in mind. And, to top it off, all of these handmade accessories are under $40!

Or heck, just buy one for yourself! I don't see anything wrong with a bit of holiday overindulgence when possible. It keeps the Christmas spirit going, right? Give a little... get a little....

Monday, December 6, 2010

How to Go Green With a Real Tree

Christmas Tree decorating was off the charts in my house on Saturday night. We had a blast! You see, we've had an artificial tree for the entire life span of my 12 year old son. I've always felt like it was my contribution to not wasting the life of a tree, even though there are tree lots all over the United States every year with trees that just become mulch or organic matter of some variety.

But this year we had a new plan. We've always missed the smells of Christmas... pine and holiday spices. So we loaded up on cinnamon scented pine cones (which aren't nearly as pungent in my living room as they were in the store) and a real Noble Fir tree. Our living room smells wonderful!
What makes it even more exciting is we seemed to have found the most perfectly shaped tree on earth! It had just arrived from Oregon with melted snow still dripping from it. We were told it was loaded up during a blizzard. True or false it helped to make the sale! It was unwrapped while we watched, we gave it a twirl and made it our own.

So, how is buying a real tree going green, you ask? Let me tell you... Hubby stocked up on beautiful LED lights that we bedazzled our Noble with. You can run so many strands together on one plug and leave them all on for days and not even touch the amount of electricity that traditional Christmas lights use. They also don't get hot and are very break resistant. We are saving a ton in electricity this year and reducing our carbon footprint at the same time. How do you like those apples, Mr. Gore?

And, when it comes time to retire our beautiful Noble Fir as the season winds down I will do my best to make sure that it becomes mulch or a recycled product of some sort so that it doesn't just end up in a land fill. But, even if it does goes straight to the dump, it will help provide the other refuse with organic matter for decomposition purposes.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it! Happy Holiday!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bringing Pine Derby-ness to Thanksgiving

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with lots of delicious food and entertaining family companionship! My family and I had a great holiday break, and I must confess as of yesterday we were still munching on the leftovers.

Before I kicked off the Thanksgiving break last week some guys at my office held a Pine Derby Race for anyone who wanted to participate. Hubby was all over putting together a Derby car that sported his ITS Tactical logo. We actually placed second in one of the heats, but didn't make it to the finals. That's ok... it was a lot of fun anyway.
Me and the ITS Derby Car

The Official ITS Tactical Pine Derby Race Car

A Wintery Skyline as I drove home from work Wednesday
After the work day was done I headed home and noticed all of these low fluffy clouds across the horizon. It reminded me of the wintery days that I knew were headed our way. Granted, it took the climate until today to truly be chilly after the sun came up, but I'm thankful the 30 degree temperatures are here. Cooler weather is giving me plenty of opportunities to wear my Infinity Scarf! (Stay tuned... there will be more in my shop this week!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Academia: The Newest Disease

Houston, we have a problem. At least my twelve-year-old son does. He doesn't want to work at having good grades. He seems to think that studying is punishment. A's and B's don't come very naturally to him except in subjects that he's really interested in like History. Or football. Or hunting. Too bad he isn't growing up back in the days of Grizzly Adams.

So, I'm labeling Academia as the latest disease in my household.

We just overcame Bronchitis, and a small other upper respiratory infection that followed, so I'm sure we will survive Academia as well. However, at this point in my week I have had to ground my son because of horrible grades and poor reports from his Language Arts and Math teachers.

Of course he thinks I'm totally unreasonable and should still be allowed to have a buddy stay over tomorrow night. Of course I disagree and have canceled the plans.

His prescription includes some serious study time this weekend, and a healthy dose of knowing that I talk to his teachers. I email then. And I let them know they can contact me at any time. He also knows that after that I will deal with him. Like it or not.

You might be asking what is the upside for me while we're battling Academia in my house. I will get to crochet while I listen to him study. I'm really excited about that part!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

5 Ways to Regain Focus

This week I am feeling so out of touch. There are too many things whirling around in my brain; the things I need to do, the things that I'm letting stress me out, the things that are ambiguous and unanswerable right now.

I'm not a patient person. Well, I guess I can be patient, but I have a habit of not being so.

So, today I'm coming up with five things to help me regain focus on what's important for right now to help me stop worrying so much about what is beyond me.
  1. Remember who is important: me and my family top that list, but I need to remember that not everything that has to do with me and my family is in my control. My son is trying to get over some sort of respiratory infection so I'm helping him the best I can, and all I can do beyond that is watch for worsening symptoms, so I need to not worry about the what-if's at this point because he's really doing well. My husband is always overwhelmed with his work, but this is his job not mine, and I can only offer so much help; he has to figure out how to stop overwhelming himself, I can't do it for him.
  2.  Let go and let God: there are a ton of things out of my control. And honestly, why would I want to control so much? I'm not sure why I naturally have such a controlling tendency, but all it does is drive me and those around me crazy. I've got to practice letting go and letting God handle what is His. And that is really a lot of stuff. I'm confident that will bring me a ton of peace.
  3. Find the Me Time: keep making time for myself, whether it's stealing some time to crochet at lunch, or reading my favorite blogs before I hit the sack each night. I know I need to do a little more each day for myself, like exercising, but I've always hit a road block when it comes to making regular time for that one. I always need to work harder on that one.
  4. Share moments: make time to ask about what's going on in other people's lives, not just at home but at work, too. Talking to people around me keeps me grounded, especially if they are going through trials that surpass the stress level mine are at. It is so moving sometimes to just listen and not feel compelled to contribute to the conversation with my stuff.
  5. Reflect on the beauty of each day: when I put my head down at night it is so easy for me to just crash out. I need to remember what the wonderful things were that evolved during that day. I need to cherish all that transformed and all that I learned. Each day is a wonderful opportunity to learn from so many people.
Life is so much, but I have to remember that life is also just life. It is fleeting. I see that every day that I look at my son and realize how old he is. I see that each time my husband and I share a birthday or an anniversary, and I realize how much time has passed since we began our relationship. I see that each time I visit my mom since she lives so far away now, and I find myself noticing what's different about her and hoping that life will slow down just enough so that she doesn't keep getting older while we're a part. Life is so much, but it can take up so little time when we look back. It becomes just a memory.

Focus on what's important. Treasure what's mine. Pass it on to those I love.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You, American Veterans!

I would like to say Thank You to all of our Veterans today. Thank you for your service to our country and to your fellow countrymen and women. Your contributions to my freedom are so appreciated.Without your active service, and without the service of those who came before you, I would not enjoy the life that I have today.

From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

And in case you would like to know how you can thank a veteran today, please take a moment to read this post from one of our Veterans.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's one of those nights... missing my little Sushi Bear. 

Just wanting a pup to give me some smooches. 
And this little guy is very selective with his smooches. It's got to be his idea. Unless I have a hint of turkey on my lips.

So, he sleeps. Maybe I'll get some smooches later.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Southern Hospitality 101

Yesterday I spent most of the day in a little town in East Texas called San Augustine. My grandmother passed away and my mom and some of our other relatives drove to San Augustine for her service. Grandmother actually lived about 20 miles just outside of town, but San Augustine is where she would come to when she would 'go to town.'  There was another service underway when we got to the funeral home, and since it was such a small town the funeral home was pretty little, so we needed to busy ourselves elsewhere until it was time for my grandmother's service.

There weren't many shops on the town square, but most of them were closed. It seemed to be the trend to open from Wednesday through the weekend. We were there on a Monday so the only shops to browse through were a boutique and a drug store. The drug store was not your typical one, though. It had an old fashioned soda shop along with tons of knick knacks and little gifties to peruse.

While we were walking through the store the sales clerk did the sweetest thing. She brought us these Grapefruit Highball drinks in a little glass boot. At no charge. She said they were 'sort of famous' for all the grapefruits that they grew around there. The drink was delicious, but when we asked what the recipe was we were told they couldn't reveal it.

We sat in their little soda shop and listened as the drug store personnel greeted each regular customer by name and chatted with them while their purchases were totaled up. It was sweet. I don't get to see that kind of interaction in the big city much.

My grandmother really bragged about her charming little town. Perhaps part of why she enjoyed living out in the boonies so much was when she drove into town she was treated like an old friend whom the town folk had known forever.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Confession of the Day

This week has been full of surprises. The kind that make me smile and act giddy! I wanted to share one of them with you... Please pop over and visit Karen at A Peek at Karen's World and see what she surprised me with this week! (she's got a great blog that I really think you'll dig, too!)

Thanks again, Karen!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend Hello!

Another week has come and gone for us, my friends. I managed to get up before my 7:00 a.m. alarm this morning, bright-eyed and bush-tailed! I went to bed by 10:00 p.m. last night so I feel so rested. It's wonderful.

Laundry, hair color and crocheting have dominated my morning. It's been so nice. Now The Little Guy is playing Wii and making all kinds of groans at the television as Mario is kicking his butt. The rain is moving in which means that Hubby will be back home soon from his shooting practice with his buddies. Then all hopes of silence will be dashed until about 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning when I'm the only one up and around.

That's ok. I love the cycles of sound that rotate throughout my home.

I took a little stroll in our backyard admiring what is left of our summer garden. We are amazed to see that there are tons of beautiful little tomatoes growing on our plants, and bell peppers are flourishing as well. I can't wait to slice more of these little delectable treats up and gobble them down with a dash of salt!

Happy weekending my friends! What do you have planned?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Current Eternity Scarf On My Hook!

I am so excited to report that last week I filled three separate orders from my Etsy store, and another custom order in the works for two more Eternity Scarves. I still have one available online right now!

I wanted to share with you the project I'm currently working on. I'm actually just winging this Eternity Scarf which is rare for me since I usually follow a pattern.  I picked up this wonderful yarn by Mini Mochi in Santa Fe when I was there for Labor Day weekend. I wasn't quite sure what to do with it, but ultimately I thought I would try and make a little something special just for me. And now I'm so glad I did!

I'm really just blending stitches as I go along, but I think I'll add some more of those little popcorn stitches at some point. I just love the texture they create. And, I'm trying to keep it reversible, with popcorns on both sides, so that when I wear it twisted I won't have to worry about any of those little popcorns not being visible.
The yarn is a blend of 80% Merino wool and 20% Nylon, and it is super soft sock quality stuff. I absolutely love the colors and how they stream from green to red, with the pinks and purples in between. Since the yarn is so fine and my  hook is so small it is a slow-going project, but one that will be so worth it once I finish.

Do you have any projects currently in work?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Monday Night Football (Junior High Style)

There are only three games left in The Little Guy's football season. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's game. They have a record so far of four wins and only one loss.
Shorty & The Little Guy
Aunt Sissy & TLG
Granny & TLG
Tomorrow's game will be a competitive one... The Little Guy will be playing against one of his best friends who goes to a competing school. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We Made It!

The Scouting Adventure was a huge success I am happy to report! This past weekend The Little Guy, me and Hubby went to Beaver's Bend in Oklahoma for a Boy Scout backpacking retreat.

I knew we would have to hike into our camp site on Saturday, and Hubby had mentioned that it would be a six mile trek, but no one mentioned that we were hiking around a small mountain. I had in my mind that this would be a relatively flat journey with perhaps a hill or two. But, I was so wrong. There were some seriously steep inclines and declines that we had to traverse. And I grunted and groaned most of the way with shaky legs and hips that were screaming at me.

It was honestly a great time, though. Once I was parked safely on my duff resting. This was my first time to camp with the Scout troop, and I was so impressed with their independent spirits and how the young men banded together.

I must admit, however, that the best part of the entire trip was seeing how much of a good sport my son was. He and I both borrowed old troop packs since we don't own backpacks with external frames, and his broke three times before our hiking trip was complete. He had some help from Hubby and another Scout Dad tie up the back pack, then he kept moving on. Not only that, but he also had a young tent-mate who decided to overeat a box of Slim Jims and barfed in their tent at about 6:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. My Little Guy didn't complain, he just dealt with the ordeal. And when I asked if he had a good time, he told me had an absolute blast.

I'm so proud of him!

And, I'm super proud of Hubby for putting up with my complaining, Grandma-Hiker state of mind. He coached me when I got to the points where I said I didn't think I could go any further. He rested with me when I needed it. And he handed me the shovel when I needed to find a potty. Can it get any better than that?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

#1 Fall Accessory

Did you know that THE number one accessory for fall this year is an Eternity Scarf? It is so versatile! You can wear them as a scarf, a necklace, a wrap, a shrug or a super cozy neck warmer.
Take a look at the cowl I just listed in my Etsy shop.

I absolutely love the yarn that this is made from... Homespun by Lion Brand. It's super soft and so easy to care for. I love a garment that can be machine washed and dried!

Another thing I love about a cowl is that if you change your mind about how to wear it once you leave the house you can easily move it around a little and get an entirely different look.
There is only one of these listed in my shop so hurry over and check it out!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Scouting for Pants Update

Last night the family and I went on a small adventure to get some gear for a backpacking trip we've got planned. I say small adventure because anytime I need to shop for pants or shoes I can bet money that there will be several stops before I find what I'm looking for.

You see, I'm pretty short. Which I used to not think I was all that small. Although, it seems within the last year I've been referred to as miniature more times than I can count, and I'm not sure why. Maybe my old lady shrinking phase has already begun?  I am 5'1" and my feet are a size 5 or 5 1/2, depending on the shoe. See, that's not overly small, right?

My 12 year old son is as tall as me, so maybe I am overly small. 

But, anyways... back to my story. We made trips to a couple of three different places to find some camping pants for me. No success at any of those stops. Then I remembered Old Navy... they carry cargo pants! Success was had, I am so happy to report. I'm now the proud owner of two pair of camping cargo pants (in army green and dark gray) that actually fit cute and will make me look like a stylish camper. Despite the big turtle backpack that I'll be sporting above them. And they were on sale for $25 each!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Scouting for Pants

In the past, you may have read a detail or two about my tactically inclined husband. In the past few years his wardrobe has shifted from one of a designer nature to that of a tactical one. Farewell Ted Baker designer shirts. He shops at places like Rei over Nordstrom. This has left my mom and sister completely baffled, and me, too sometimes.

But, I must admit my mindset has begun to shift. Really, only out of necessity.

I don't think I would turn down an offer to shop at Anthropologie over a sporting goods store, but I guess things could drastically change one day. Like maybe today.

You see, tonight we are headed to our local Scout store to look for tactical Scout pants. The kind that can unzip to make shorts. The kind that I never thought I would E.V.E.R. own. But, it turns out I'm going to need some very soon for a scouting adventure we have planned. There will lots of hiking, warm daytime temps and cool nighttime temps, with the possibility of cactus needles and/or chiggers brushing past my legs. So I guess I should just suck it up and get some tactical drawers.

I'll let you know how the shopping trip goes. I'm not expecting to feel sexy at all while trying these shorts/pants on. I guess anything is possible.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Groovy Kind of Day

I am confident this is a wonderful day, and it's going to only get better as it goes along. (Despite the fact that I must go to the grocery store... the store that I abhor (I love that word!) because of so many reasons; let me just say that we shop at a major discount grocery/superstore chain to save money, but I despise having to shop there.)

Anyway, I woke up this morning to solace with my Dobie Axel as The Little Guy is with his faj, and Hubby is at a Scout training weekend. Axel and I went for a walk right after getting out of bed, me dressed in my pj's with messy hair and some trendy shades, and Axel dragging me along from mailbox to mailbox as he tried to hike his leg each time. (My hands are a bit raw from pulling the leash to keep him moving.)

I'm reveling in my daily dose of blog reading, sipping on some delicious coffee and knocking out some chores as I muddle through my morning.

My day will hold lots of time with friends that I don't get to see often enough, first at a game watching party (I don't even know who's playing), then I have two of my oldest friends coming over for a girlie sleepover! I haven't done that in sooooo long! We will devour some pasta, sip some wine and have tons of laughter and chit chat.

Oh what a great day it is! I think we will make some of these tonight... kick off October with a delicious almost morbid treat.
These are just Pillsbury bread sticks, shaped into bones, sprinkled with sea salt on top. They are sooooo good fresh from the oven. Will you bake anything Halloween-ish this weekend?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

First Scare of the Season

It's not even Halloween yet and I'm already spooked! I just had the bejeesus scared out of my by this guy who came to where I work. We keep our front door locked at work because we are in an industrial area that has experienced theft and the occasional wandering crazy person.

I was trying to enjoy my lunch in my office and the doorbell rang. I didn't hear anyone else coming so I went to the front door, opened it and asked the guy if I could help him. He pulled open the door all the way saying, "Let me come on in here" kind of under his breath, so not in a really threatening way, but he hacked me off nonetheless.

He was carrying phone books in a plastic bag and a booklet of stapled papers. His communication style and his appearance reminded me of the backwoods characters in the movie Deliverance. He asked if our company was So and So Business, and I told him that was not the name of our company. He tried to tell me that it must be since that was the name of the company on his list. Fortunately one of my coworkers came walking up and stood in close proximity and the weird fellow got the hint and exited our lobby. He got in the backseat of the car with his other Deliverance peeps and drove away.

My first thought as he left was OMG he could've been here to scam someone or hurt someone and he would've gotten right past me. That really chapped my butt. My heart raced for about ten minutes. I am going to start answering the door (which shouldn't be my job but my office is the closest one to it) with a freakin' pointy letter opener. Or something.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Great Pumpkins

The Little Guy and I stopped by a local market and guess what we saw. The biggest pumpkins either of us has ever seen!

Is this another example of 'everything's bigger in Texas' or do you have this size of pumpkin in your part of the world, too?

I'm so glad that fall has arrived! I absolutely love this time of year!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fort Worth Quilt Show

On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a quilt show with some friends of mine. Here is a sample of some of the beautiful quilts we were able to feast our eyes on.

I loved the detail that they had... so many variations of quilting and hand embroidery embellishments. One of these days I hope to make something worthy of entering it into a show.