Friday, December 20, 2013

Away Into the Manger

Ellie was just in a preschool play at church.

Yes, I said preschool even though Ellie is in middle school.

The preschool at our church is run by the youth minister's wife who also helps lead a bible study that my girls are part of.

She asked Ellie to be the LEAD in the play for a few different reasons:

•She can read.
Which is good since her part was really big.
It's easy to forget that preschoolers can't read…yet.

•She leans towards the dramatic.

•She has aspirations for the stage.
She was just in the Orphan Choir for the production of Annie, as you may remember.
She rocked "It's a Hard Knock Life" with the broom.

Even though Ellie practiced her lines at home, 

unless I was willing to pull her out of school so she could go to preschool for the day, 
(which I wasn't with finals coming up)

there was no time to rehearse with the kids.

It came to my attention that Ellie would need a biblical costume.

Think nativity scene.

No big deal. 
Costumes are my thing.

Or so I thought.

It needed to be robe-like in a neutral color.

I found a cream duck cloth love seat slip cover for a love seat that we sold over a year ago.

I have no idea why I still had it
or why it was in the toy box.

I cut some arm holes and some length off the bottom and found, 

with the already-there straps tied in bows in the front--

that the costume looked just like a love seat slip cover.

With just an hour and a half before show time, Ellie and I took off to Target.

We found a long gray night gown and a long white robe.

A little lab coat/medical doctorish, but with a sash and head piece that Ellie knew was at the church, we thought it could work.

We flew to the front to checkout.

The lines were intense with people.

I looked around to find the express lane that I had never before used at a Target 

because I have always been under the impression that you HAD to get a cart and fill it.

Target's unwritten rules or something.

Just then I heard a man's voice say,

"One item or less, over here!"

I ran to him with my two items, hoping it was a ridiculous joke.

Thankfully, it was.

Although it was hard to tell because he looked just like

James Gandolfini.

Does this face scream great sense of humor?

In a red Target shirt.

If I wasn't so rushed, I would've asked him if he was in the witness protection program.

Which wouldn't have been wise, now that I think about it.

He obviously didn't pick up on my rushed, frazzled body language

or maybe he did

and asked what we had going on for the evening.

I told him about the church play.

He turned to Ellie and said she was going to look like an angel.

Imagine that uttered with every stereotypical 
emphasis that James Gandolfini had to offer.

It made me stop.

And smile.

I believed him.

It made Ellie smile too.

The outfit worked great.

As Monte and I waited for the play to start, we felt OLD sitting with all the preschool parents. 

They were all so cute with their tripods and multiple recording devices.

Luckily for us, some grandparents came 
making us feel slightly younger.
Ellie did a great job…

So much better than a love seat slipcover, don't you think?

… considering.

Considering that there was no rehearsals

and there was a chatty shepherd,

some slow angels

and a star with stage fright.

Oh yeah, and Ellie accidentally threw baby Jesus "away into the manger" a little too aggressively.

His plastic head went thunk on the side of the wooden manger.

The audience gasped.

Except for me stifling a laugh
and a silent prayer that the good Lord 
will give her some mothering skills 
when the time proves necessary.

Ellie had to say the parts of some of the kids more interested in waving at their parents than staying in character.

She also had to speak up when she asked the preschoolers where Jesus was and one shepherd kept hollering,

"Mom, do you know where baby Jesus is??!!"

Then he started pretending to shoot the wise men
and lost his head dress 
and took a really long time figuring out how to put it back on correctly 
so that we could see his face 
and he could, well, breathe.

All the while, the star started to take her outfit off 
with a bottom lip stuck out so far in a pout 
that I thought it might take out the front row.

It was not Broadway but it was cute.

And real.

And Ellie was exhausted.

But Target James Gandolfini was right,

Ellie looked like an angel.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesdays Unwrapped--#3

Here is my 3rd installment in Emily Freeman's Tuesdays Unwrapped series that I am linking up with.

Monte and I went to see Bill Cosby a few weekends ago.

We bought the tickets as an anniversary gift to each other. 

We celebrated 18 years on the 16th.

We drove through a snow storm to get downtown to the theater.

We had planned to eat at a nice restaurant nearby before the show.

Did research on places and everything.

It took WAY longer to get downtown than we had anticipated

and once we parked and Monte pointed to a tall building not exactly by the theater 
and said the restaurant was 3 blocks BEHIND it

we decided to go somewhere closer.

Did I mention it was snowing HARD? 


It was like a Christmas episode of Little House on the Prairie.

Monte and I were bundled up and I just hung on to him as he led me, 


to some place that served food.


I couldn't see as there were so many snowflakes on my eyelashes, I could no longer open my eyes.

Thank goodness I brought a hat.

I am not sure you can appreciate the enormity of the snowflakes from these pictures.

Out of what seemed like the blue,

Monte pointed to this:

Not the most clever of names but the Open sign was on so it was just fine with us.

Everyone inside seemed to have made the same perilous trek as us judging by the amount of snow each of them were tracking in or still sporting in their hair.

The worst part was walking back to the theater. I was so afraid I was going to fall down. 

Bill Cosby started the show late to accommodate all those stuck in the slow moving snowstorm. 

We had great seats.

He mainly talked about marriage. He has been married almost 50 years.

He had a few things to share about the topic.

He took it all the way back to Adam and Eve, never once blaming Eve for being tempted by the snake but suggesting that Adam failed his job as husband for putting Eve into a position that she'd even WANT to talk to the snake.


And of course, funny.

Because, Bill Cosby is one gifted story teller.

It was a great theme for an anniversary gift.

Our whole night was like marriage in general.

An expectation sidelined by a storm.

A blind walk into the dark

having to trust one another to lead, 

hopeful, that the destination will be reached,

afraid of falling down,

and being flexible enough to drop the prior expectations 

so we could just. enjoy. the. show.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesdays Unwrapped--#2

I hesitate to even say this out loud (or in type)

but I am not stressed this holiday season.

I could follow that up with a "yet",

assuming that it is only December 10th and I haven't planned the 

Christmas Eve meal 

or Christmas Day breakfast 

but those thoughts don't produce even a distant hint of stress. 

It will get done, 

just like all the gifts on order will arrive

and get wrapped,

and the crafty gifts I want to make

will. get. made.

So on this Tuesday,

just 14 days from Christmas Eve,

I will unwrap this peace.

Because we woke up this morning to a lot more snow than we were expected to get and cars needed scraped and driveways shoveled

and Ellie was so congested we kept her home from school and when I called the attendance line at school I left my MAIDEN name that I haven't had in almost 18 years

then I left the name of the wrong daughter

which I clumsily corrected and then hung up.

But today, STILL

I have PEACE

and I am going to enjoy it.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Paper Cuts

No, that isn't some cute play on words referring to a short cut on some paper craft

but that would be quite the sweet name for such a post, wouldn't it?

No, this is about paper cuts.

For real.

I don't like them.

Not that anyone can claim paper cuts as their favorite,

but I REALLY don't like them.

I could easily be forced to share sensitive governmental secrets with just the threat of paper cuts.

If anyone ever trusted me with governmental secrets.

But given my above confession, 
I am pretty sure I would be a threat to national security.

This paper cut issue comes with just cause.

It was the 1st day of 1st grade,

oh yeah, me and paper cuts go WAY back.

My teacher handed me an oversized coloring book and said I could pick any picture I wanted to color and tear it out of the book.

I looked closely over my options and picked a picture. As I was tearing the enormous sheet of paper out of the book,

do you see where this is headed?

I got a paper cut on the tiny piece of skin underneath my nose.

The piece that seemingly connects it to the rest of my face.

Like all paper cuts, 

it hurt worse than if a piranha nibbled my nose clean off my head.

I sat silently in my chair holding both hands to my nose,

convinced that if I let go,

my nose would flap in the wind, 
no longer connected 
by that little piece of skin.

I imagined myself going to the teacher's desk and having to talk through my hands,

in a muffled voice,

explaining my extreme pain and woundedness.

I also imagined that she'd patch me back together with a big bandage that would block both nostrils forcing me to mouth breathe the rest of the day.

Not a good start to the 1st grade. 

For me or the teacher because I remember a boy 
named Jonathan throwing up in the play area and 
then crying while he rocked back and forth in a 
balled up position by the blocks.

So why am I telling you about something that happened so long ago???


as I was getting out of the car this afternoon with a large paper shopping bag 
filled with just the cutest toys for all the little ones in my life,

lightning. struck. twice.


I got a paper cut from that shopping bag right in the nose!

Not the tiny piece of skin underneath my nose that seemingly connects it to my face,
thank goodness!
But the still important upper part of my right nostril.

It hurt worse than if a piranha nibbled my nose clean off my head.

And it bled, people!

After I stopped sucking up all the air out of the car in a long drawn out gasp

and I finally let go of my nose long enough to look.

And after I stopped saying, 

"Not again!"

Like it was just yesterday that I was slashing the nose off my face 
on the 1st day of 1st grade.

I guess some wounds just don't heal.

Anyone else have a traumatic paper cut story?

Friday, December 06, 2013

Gift Giving Ideas (Or Not)

I don't know about everyone else, but this late Thanksgiving has made the gift figuring out and purchasing seem a little more crunched and frantic.

Or is it just me??

I am a big online shopper.

I don't handle long lines

or malls


I thought I would share some ideas based on AWESOME gifts I have either received or purchased.

Decorative pillows.

I love throw pillows. Sumita gave this to me for my birthday.

This is a wool hook pillow by Scott Church. I LOVE that
this penguin is riding a bike like my Lolly!

Looks great on one of our many
"Chairs From the Curb".

Love the pillows from 

This makes me laugh so hard. It is called a Dream Man Armpillow.
Perfect White Elephant gift. 

What?! This is called an Ostrich Pillow. So. many. questions.
It is $99 so my first question is "Why?"

Hand made gifts.

These are always my most favorite gifts to give and receive.

Julie made these candle holders for me for my birthday from a birch tree that fell in her backyard.


 My other friend Julie had these cuties in her house. I have to make some (just not sure it will happen before Christmas).

Mini clothes pins painted red and
embellished to look like Santa!
Wouldn't they work great to display
Christmas cards?

Oh my goodness he is adorable! Book
page Santa! I imagine doing this with just
a piece of card stock rolled into a cone shape.

I do adore this jingle bell tree. Since me
and 2 neighbors host a Jingle Hop
progressive party every Christmas,
I think this would make a great gift
for my neighbors. Just not this year.
I really should start gift crafting
in August.


Sumita also gave me a pair of texting gloves for my birthday. They work great!

These are wool but they have cotton too.

The thumbs and first finger have special
padding that make the texting thing work.
Why is my thumb curved like that??

My girls want the mittens/fingerless
glove combo. Etsy has several options.


I love jammies. "Jammie Bo's" as my grandmother always called them.  

As in, 

"Go put on your Jammie Bo's."

 I still say it. Even Monte does. 

As in, 

"Time to Jammie Bo up."

My aunt gave me a gift card to Target for my birthday so of course I bought Jammie Bo's.

I love Nick & Nora pajamas. These are
perfect with Lollys all over them.

The girls get new Jammie Bo's every year. They are the only presents they can open on Christmas Eve. 

McDaniel loves feetie Jammie Bo's. All 6'1" of her.
After she split the crotch out of her Mickey Mouse
feeties 4 seconds after opening them last Christmas
Eve, we decided that we need to order REALLY
big sizes for her. 

Subway Art.

Sumita gave me this for my birthday. 

I know, I am spoiled rotten.

I have recently read how to make my own subway art. I have only 4 TRILLION ideas for subway art I would like to make for me and others.

The blog Tempting Thyme has a great step by step explanation on how to do it.

I want to also mention the wonderful new Etsy shop of a friend of mine, Shannon.

You have to read her bio on her Etsy page. Her background led her to research the medical benefits of silk and flannel for a baby's comfort. It is amazing.

She calls her sweet little blankets "silkys". She hand makes each one with high end fabrics.

I bought this one for the little one in my life:

My cousin's daughter has had pneumonia and is still doing
breathing treatments. I thought a little silky would give
her some much needed comfort.

Happy crafting/shopping!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Tuesdays Unwrapped '13

Better late than never, but I am going to attempt to participate in Emily Freeman's Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Head over to Chatting at the Sky and read her post about it.

It has been a crazy busy last three days but the only thing I can think of to write about is a few people I came across living these crazy busy days.

Monday McDaniel got her braces off. 


Her mouth and our pocket book were ecstatic. 

Do people say pocket book anymore?

I took a picture of McDaniel with her braces still on in the waiting room as a "before" shot.

Another mom noticed and mentioned that she was waiting on her daughter to get her braces off as well.

It was her third daughter to have braces.

Her fourth daughter is getting ready to get them.

Four daughters with four different sets of braces.

The appointments.

The bills.

She was a happy woman with a contagious laugh.

She said she has told her daughters since they were little that they each would need to give her $300 a month to support her when she is old.

She called it "Mommycare".

She was joy wearing neon tennis shoes.

Later, I was in Kroger and the cashier got quite passionate with the customer ahead of me when a very negative partisan slam was mentioned. 

I was busy digging through coupons when I heard her say, 

"We need to offer a hand up, not a hand out."

When it was my turn to check out I asked her to repeat it.

She went on to give one of the best explanations of our current governmental/political state and where it is headed if not changed. 

The cashier at Kroger!

She got so worked up as she talked that she apologized for her passion and decided to go on her break.

I came home and told Monte what she said and he wanted to know why SHE didn't get her own TV show instead of many other unnamed, unqualified people who yell and interrupt for a living.

Now I won't go into all the political "sides" of things but,

"We need to offer a hand up, not a hand out,"

is something I will remember.

I read one of my favorite blogs today, A Dandelion Diary, by Mindy Whipple.

Some bloggers were following a "giving Tuesday" theme.

Her post listed some amazing websites that do just what my cashier friend said.

"We need to offer a hand up, not a hand out."

These sites sell the handmade items,

cute items like jewelry and bags and scarves,

 of women in extreme poverty around the world 
so that they can support themselves.

Please go to A Dandelion Diary for all the links. 
It is worth it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Humbled. In a Grocery Store.

I like to think that I am not easily "thrown".

You know,

thrown into a tizzy,

a fit of rage,

a bad mood.

But in one weekend,

two visits to different grocery stores exposed just how easily I can trade 

my peace,

my mood,

my sanity.

And for very little.

It is not like I witnessed a crime

or a social injustice.


I just got stuck behind a bunch of people in line for a wine tasting at Whole Foods when I was trying to get some soup for my sick Ellie.

I wanted a quick in and out.

But everyone was having a great festive time tasting wine

all pushing empty carts which took up the entire width of 
every aisle I attempted to walk down.


I crashed into the back of one woman who decided to stop pushing her empty cart quite suddenly in the middle of an aisle.

I didn't even say sorry or oops.

I just sighed loudly and
kinda shoved myself off of her.

Not super proud of that.

But that wasn't my worst moment of the weekend.
(She said in a very shameful whisper with her head on the table.)

Sunday after church, Monte dropped me off in front of a grocery store so I could pick up some doughnuts for my daughter's bible study that meets before school on Monday mornings.

Let's just pick out a few important points:

•I had just been to church where I got to help a friend teach Sunday school to a group of lovely well-behaved children. We watched a video about Jesus in the garden in Gethsemane and, 
much to my delight, John Boy Walton was the voice of Mark.

I LOVED The Waltons.

•I was getting doughnuts for my daughter's BIBLE STUDY.

It was cheek-slapping cold and my new black wedge boots were really hurting my feet.

Just sayin'…

The doughnuts were pretty picked over but I started the business of loading up a box with what I could find in the case.

I felt the presence of someone THISCLOSE to me.

I glanced over to see a red headed version of a Duck Dynasty employee, complete with camo attire.

You most certainly don't see that in our neck of the woods like, EVER.

He kept moving in closer clearly trying to get to the same exact doughnuts that I was currently holding and planning to hold.

Like the Hoosier basketball player that I was raised to be,

I boxed out.

In other words, 

I squatted a teence,

stuck out my behind,

and blocked my possessions like the championship depended on it.

It was just like this except with
a large purse over my shoulder
and wearing painful black
wedge boots.

"Red"neck mister didn't enjoy this one bit.

Just then, Monte walked up.

I turned enough that my big Mary Poppinsesque purse 
tipped the box of doughnuts off the counter. 

All but two landed on the floor.

Ol' "red" had some snarky comments about that turn of events

but I held my post like it was my JOB.

Monte picked up the mess (and gave me the stink eye) 

while I kept loading up doughnuts and boxing out mister red beard.

I actually pictured myself giving him a swift right hook to the throat as I screamed,

"These doughnuts are for Jesus!"

It wasn't funny at the time
because I was shaking with rage.

Over doughnuts.

My red head bearded nemesis finally grumbled loudly and stomped off.

Although I wanted to celebrate my victory,

I was too busy trembling with ridiculous.

Monte was looking at me like,

"Really?? THAT guy?!"

In a grocery store.

So I am not going to claim that I am not easily thrown anymore.

I read this morning in Romans 7:14-16 . I love how The Message phrases it:

14-16 I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.

Oh my, is God's command necessary.




Because grocery stores bring out my ugly.

And doughnuts make me downright violent.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dog Tea

Every year I throw a tea for Carisa (and me)

to celebrate our birthdays.

Hey, it's MY party and I'll throw it if I want to.

I was drawing a big fat blank on ideas this year when my friend Julie came up with a dog theme.


Carisa LOVES dogs.

Like it-is-her-passion-kinda-loves dogs.

She rescues them.

And they rescue her right back.

Oh my goodness, did anyone else hear music 
in the background and envision an entire
Hallmark movie??

I can just see her driving one of those cute mobile dog grooming trucks with her cartoon picture on the side saying something in one of those conversation bubbles like,

"Hey, y'all, let me cut your dog's hair."

Except WAY more clever than that.

But definitely keeping the y'all part.

Anyhoo…Julie nailed it.

A dog theme was born.

I went to Dollar Tree and bought a bunch of dog collars.

The idea was to add some "bling" and make them into bracelets.

Life happened so the bling adding didn't.

But we kept them in the favor bags anyway.

I made "doggy bags" out of lunch sacks. I stamped a dog paw on the front and used a stamp I had of a cute dog holding a heart onto card stock for tags.

I wrote the name of each person attending the tea in the heart.

Sumita made the cutest dog bone cookies with everyone's name on them to go in the bags.

I found this candy at World Market for the bags as well:

Julie wanted to make sure I kept the dog theme "classy"

but sometimes I just. can't. help. it.

Then there were the cupcakes.

Of course, I went to Chocolate Cafe.

They did the cupcakes for last year's 80s themed tea.
And McDaniel's thrift store themed party.
And the awesome breakfast tailgate.

I just told them the theme and to run with it.

I didn't even think to tell them, 

like Ron Burgundy from "The Anchorman", 

to "stay classy".

This is what I picked up the morning of the tea:

Seriously not my fault, Julie.

Carisa, late and fuzzy-headed from a cold

There she is…finally!

(she got lost driving to the tea house)

loved the cupcakes!

I probably took advantage of her cold
medicine stupor with these pictures.

Going in for the close-up in case there
is a debate on if she did, in fact, eat poop.

No debating it now.

So cute!

The grass detail was so awesome.

They crumbled chocolate cupcake bits to
look like dug up dirt around the bone.

I found the cutest napkins at World Market that completely summed up Carisa:

I put together a little "reading" about dogs and friends.

I passed out two cards to each person at the table to read out loud and show the corresponding picture.

We decided that Carisa is the moon howler and I am the one
most likely to chase my own tail.
Can I get an Amen?
We get our own room at the tea house. I think my "bra theme" a few years
ago pretty much required it. That and how loud we are. Lots of laughing.

Carol trying to sneak out. Ha!

Great group of Jesus loving women. You should have
heard Julie's prayer before lunch--it had its
own soundtrack.

Someone trying to sneak their icing fire
hydrant home with them.
It was such a great time and everyone is such good sports about all our

moon howling, 
own-tail chasing,

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