Saturday, December 31, 2011

Always the Last Gift of the Year

Our last gift of the year is always the celebration of our oldest's birthday.  This year, he turned the big NINE.  Next year will be double digits for him.  We celebrated in style by having his birthday party on his birthday as we did last year.  We invited his friends and for the first time, one of his sister's friends and her family.  The group that celebrated with our son was the same as last year so the kids all know each other and had a great time.  It was fun.  In some ways, I would like to put some space between Christmas and his birthday, but in other ways, I am glad the celebrating is over all in one shot between Christmas and school starting after the new year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

What Do I Look Forward to in the New Year?

I look forward to travelling in the new year.  We are trying to get to some places in the United States as well as travel overseas.  My son is really into American history and would love to see some more of the historical sites in the Eastern United States.  I would like to take him to Boston again to see the sights near there.  I have not been to Thailand since 1998 and am excited to see my family and friends and share Thailand with my husband, son, and daughter.  We will see where opportunities lead to travel later on in the year.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Forward to the Gift of a New Year

The NaBloPoMo theme for January is Beginnings.  As this year ends, I am looking forward to the beginning of another year.  The year ends with a celebration of life for a relative of one of my close friends, the celebration of two more birthdays, a family lunch on New Year's Eve, and some one-on-one time with my husband to ring in the new year.

As I look back upon the year and look at the goals I set for 2011, I realize that my goals changed as the year passed.

1.  Participate in three 5Ks and run at least one. (I did not achieve this goal.  One of the 5K we normally do was on a weekend that we were out of town.  Instead of walking another one, I volunteered with the kids' activities.)

2.  Help Riley organize LEGOs and finish LEGO table. (This is a half-done project.  The LEGOs are sorted and binned by color, but the table is not complete.  This project also became organization of the whole house rather than just LEGOs.  I spent the summer reading organization books/websites and trying to apply some of the tips to my life.  My goal became to declutter and use what we have and get rid of what we did not need.)

3.  Finish garage so that cars will fit.  (Another almost complete project; we decided that rather than store some of the items, we would sell them.  Need to get them posted to sell; then cars will fit.)

4.  Clean out crawl space. (This is one that did not get accomplished.  The main floor and the garage are mostly clean/organized, but the crawl space still needs work.)

5.  Keep up with laundry.  (Not particularly successful at this one.  I find that I can gather it up, take it to the washer, wash and dry it, and carry it back upstairs, but lack motivation to fold it and put it away.)

For 2012 most of my goals are the same with some tweaks.

1.  Participate in three 5Ks.  I would still like to do this one, but I have no desire to run in one anymore.  When the weather gets warm and the days get longer, I will start to walk the neighborhood again or hopefully, invest in a bike so that I can ride with the kids.

2.  Organize the house.  I will continue to use what I have learned and read to keep my house in better shape.  I will work on the daily chores of laundry and dishes as well as continue to declutter and get rid of what we do not need.  I will teach my children how to play and put away their LEGOs and toys properly.

3.  Eat better.  For many years I have been able to eat what I want, but I have found that I need to eat healthier so that I feel better.  Plus, I could lose about 15-20 pounds and watching what I eat would help me to do it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Gift of Time to Read

Below is the list of books that I read in 2011.  There are many books that I started and did not finish, and maybe even a few that I finished and did not list.  I have found that I do not get to as many books as I use to, but that does not mean that I am not reading.  I read all the time whether it is the newspaper or the headlines on  Sometimes, I read for professional reasons, and those books, I tend not to finish.  I also reread both The Blind Side and In A Heartbeat after reading I Beat the Odds....

My favorite book was Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, but I enjoyed all the books that I read this year.  Some of my book club friends went onto to read more Jodi Picoult books after we read My Sister's Keeper.  Although I liked the book and enjoyed the discussion, I have not read another Jodi Picoult book, but I have found that author in Kristin Hannah.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond by Michael Oher with Don Yaeger
The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe
Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Family Affair by Debbie Macomber
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach by Anthony Bourdain
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

My goal for 2012 is 12 books, one book for pleasure a month.  With technology at my disposal in an e-reader and an itouch as well as regular paper books, I hopefully will exceed this goal!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Was My Favorite Gift?

My favorite gift is definitely the ipod touch.  I really enjoyed having this piece of technology and it is working out the way that I intended.  I wanted it for myself as well as for the kids, but did not have to buy them their own individual ones.  I also decided that I am done buying kid speciality computers; my kids are old enough to use the adult versions if they are taught the proper way to use them.  I bought a Fisher Price iXL last Christmas for Reese, and she loves it, but will also grow out of it.  Now, we have a tablet and an itouch so the kids have their own devices, and we can share them all.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ron's Gift

My husband's gift is the ability to host and cook.  He is in his element and loves to entertain especially his family and close friends.  He always gets rave reviews for the dishes that he makes.  Christmas dinner included prime rib, wasabi crusted salmon, crab stuffed mushrooms, grilled asparagus, spinach salad, and creme brulee for dessert.  We hosted Christmas dinner last year and again this year.  Next year, we may have to go on the road, but what matters is that we are together.  This year's dinner numbered 19 and next year we hope that more family members will be able to join us.

The Boys

The Girls

The Adults

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa's Gift

Reese made Santa a card for Christmas.  We did not have any cookies so we left Rice Krispies Treats, white chocolate pretzels, and a candy cane.  Santa snuck in while Mommy was wrapping gifts last night and ate some pretzels and one-half of a Rice Krispies Treat and took the card.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

On Christmas Eve...

I am blessed with a great family and wonderful friends.  As our Chrismas dinner table gets fuller and fuller, I think of what fun tomorrow will be just to be able to spend time with the family.  There will be three generations of family here tomorrow, and time spent together is precious because we never know when it may end.  The oldest is 78, and the youngest is five.  May we continue to be able to have good health and peace in the new year to spend time together.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Gift to Myself

I have decided that my gift to myself will be a clean house for Christmas and the New Year.  I stopped mid-cleaning to get this post off tonight.  I have really the kitchen, bathrooms, basement floor, and the rest of the great room left to do.  It is still a lot, but I am trying to clean and throw things away at the same time plus put things back where they belong rather than just shove them in a box, basket, etc.

Tomorrow will be for making beds for guests and probably cleaning the bathrooms so that they are nice and fresh for the guest coming Christmas Day.  It will also be my wrapping day as I have not started that yet!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

In the stretch...

At this point I am pretty much done with Christmas shopping.  I have a few gift cards to pick up and all my wrapping, cleaning, and Christmas cards still left to finish.  Hopefully, the house will be mostly clean tonight, and the Christmas cards will get finished!  Loftly goals, I know, but I need a sense of accomplishment.  I have to work the next two days, and then we have guests for Christmas.  I love watching the kids open their gifts on Christmas morning.  I hope they like what they get!  If not, the money they get for Christmas will be used to fill in the gaps especially since Reese is not always really clear in what she wants.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Two Surprise Gifts

My husband and son took off for New York tonight to go and see Fort Niagara.  My daughter and I had some bonding time finishing up the Christmas cards.

When my husband got to his father's house, his oldest brother showed up as a surprise from Maine about 10 minutes later!

A Christmas of special gifts, Merry, Merry!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Lesson in Gift Receiving

One of my students got excited because she traded one of her friends the book that I gave her for the book that she really wanted.  She went to show her other friend the "new" book, and I could overhear her telling her friends.  Here comes the lesson of the day: when receiving a gift, act gracious and trade in secret.  It is not polite to trade gifts in front of the person that gave you the gift.  One of my students asked why, and I told them as a class that when someone gives you a gift, they pick it especially for you.  Sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are wrong.  Whichever it is, be nice and say thank you. Then, you can return it to the store later or trade with your friend without the giver knowing.  Lesson in etiquette and manners complete!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Gift of Kindness and Generosity

Today, our Adopt A School, Huntington Bank, came to deliver their Christmas goodies.  I have been in conversation with the department that was paired with our classroom and told her our needs/wants.  Some were just wishes; others were things that I felt I should ask for since we are short on funds this year.

They say that those who can teach.  Well, those that can give do so from the heart.  My students got many things for the classroom, but also for themselves to take home.  They each got a gift bag with a Crayola Kit, toothbrush and toothpaste as well as some snacks and goodies.  I was able to send home with them in addition to that a puzzle each, a package of socks, and a Chapstick.  Snack was provided, and we have extra snacks to get us through the winter months.

For the classroom the kids got to replace their crayons in their boxes and got new glue sticks, the big ones that I love.  We also got modeling clay, a set of markers and coloring books for each student, composition notebooks, pencils, pens, floor puzzles, games, tissues, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, LEGOs, flash cards, magna doodles, books, and some extra items that I may not be remembering right now.  I got a digital camera for the classroom as well as some really nice pampering items.

Thank you does not adequately express my appreciation for the items that we received.  I was speechless when I saw what these people were willing to provide for my classroom and students.  They were really generous with their time and money, and we will use our things wisely!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Gift of Saying Goodbye

When my mother in law died, someone told me that it is a gift to have the privilege of saying goodbye to a loved one in person before they die.  Most people do not have this chance.  Over the years I have reflected on this statement and have found that this wise person is right.  Since we do not always know when we are going to die, it is impossible to know if when we say goodbye today, it may be the last time we see that person.  As you go through life, remember that we cannot predict the future and the only thing that we can control is the present.  If given the chance, go and say goodbye; it will be something you will never regret.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thirty-One Gifts

Until last March I had never heard of Thirty-One Gifts.  Then, one of my friends started as a consultant, and I was looking for a Vera Bradley printed type bag that was not cloth.  I also wanted a new school tote that was not a canvas tote.  I love my canvas totes from Lands' End, but the tote itself is heavy without adding books to it.  I decided to have a party, and my love of their products was born.  I have found that I do not like everything, but the things that I do like, I really like.

The most useful tote is the Organizing Shoulder Tote.  It holds just enough items inside and can stand mostly straight up for files, and is durable.  I have only one and I use it everyday.  I have bought many more for gifts.

I also love my two Large Utility Totes.  I use one for beach/swimming gear, and the other one for library books.  I like that it is open and has a frame that makes it stand up.  I also like that I can keep my library books in the bag when I get home because it is easy to get into and the tote is pretty enough to keep out.

I just bought two All-In-One Organizers for my children.  The idea is that they will use them to help pick up their things every night.  They will hang on their bedroom doors for things that they need to put away or just need to know where it is.

The purse that I bought is the Organizing Shoulder Bag.  It is a crossbody bag, and I love it.  It needed to be washed was the only reason why I stopped using it.  It holds just enough and lays really well.  I would buy another one except that I have not seen a print that I like in the Fall/Winter fabrics.

There were a few products that have not been satisfactory.  I bought the Picnic Thermal Tote specifically to take on a trip to Walt Disney World.  I wanted to carry in water and snacks so I could spend money on meals and souvenirs.  For the amount of stuff that I could put into it, the strap was too flimsy.  It made the bag heavy, and it was not easy to carry either on one shoulder or crossbody.  We ended up either putting it in the stroller or hanging it from the stroller which didn't really work.  (Next time I will buy a backpack cooler, and not for $76.00.)

I bought a Mini Zipper Pouch and did not use it for many months.  When I finally found a use for it, after a few uses, the side stitching came out.  The Mini On-The-Go Organizer was okay as a little wallet, but when I tried to match it with a previous print that I had bought, I felt that the black and white print that they have currently is too big for that little of an item.

I would love to be able to buy some of their higher priced totes, but....  Maybe some day!

All in all, I have to say I like the totes, but I still want a Vera Bradley!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Peter and the Wolf

My students got the opportunity to see Peter and the Wolf today.  It was performed by the Phoenix Theatre.  Until I got the book last night at the library, I did not know that it was a musical in which each of the different instruments were the characters in the story.  The music teacher arranges these performances for the whole school to see, and she does a wonderful job of preparing them for the event.  I wish that my students would get more opportunities to experience the arts.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Secret Santa Gift Exchange

Secret Pal, Secret Santa, everyone calls it something different.  At one of my old schools we use to have year long secret pals.  You gave one gift a month and you would reveal yourself at the end of the school year in June.  At the school I am at now, they do Secret Santa, five gifts over five days for $5.00 each.  I did it last year, and I am doing it again this year.

Last year when I did it, one of my friends said that she didn't do gift exchanges or secret santa because it just added to the stress of the season.  For me, even though I sometimes feel stressed by it, I also like to do it.  I think that it gives me something to look forward to leading up to the holiday.  I also like to get to know someone who I might not know otherwise.

This year I had to pick three times.  The first time I got myself; the second time I got the person I had last year; the third time I got a person that is the polar opposite of me.  Her favorite thing to eat is peanut butter, and I put on my form at the bottom that I cannot eat peanuts, but can eat things that are processed in a factory with peanuts.

So far, I have given Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Reese's Pieces in a gift bag and caramel corn with peanuts.  I have another gift that I forgot to get out and give today.  Then, I think a Tim Horton's Gift Card and a non-food item from the list of favorites will round out my gifts!  I have gotten a bag of Chex Mix, a jar of Jelly Bellys, and Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses, all of which make me very happy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Gift of a Great Teacher

Most of our teachers, the good ones and the bad ones, we remember for life for the way that they make us feel.  I hope that, to most of my students, I am the good one worth remembering.

Today, my son's Archery teacher told us at the end of open archery that she would not be back next year.  She has taken a job in western Ohio.  Although we have only known her for a short time, she has had a great impact on our lives.  Riley started Archery in September.  He was so excited, but did not want to shoot right handed.  I allowed him to shoot left handed in order for him to be comfortable in the class and not have a meltdown on the first day.  He made it through the beginning class and onto intermediate we went.  The teacher suggested that my son switch and shoot right handed because he is right eye dominant.  I insisted that he switch, and although he resisted at first, practice paid off, and he could finally see that he was a better right hand shot.

After the intermediate class, the last three weeks have been open archery.  My son has gone to every session and stayed the whole two and a half hours.  That is five hours at the archery barn a week.  He has spent a great deal of time with his archery teacher, and she has taught/tutored him a great deal.  It has worked to his advantage in that he has mostly been the only one there or one of a handful of kids.  He really didn't have to take turns and could shoot every round.  The practice has paid off, and the last two days, my son has been shooting balloons from 10 yards.  With five shots, most of the time he can hit all four balloons on the target!

Thank you Miss Ronda for helping my son to realize that he has a talent, can be athletic, and giving him confidence in himself and his skills.  Although we will continue to come to the archery barn and take classes and lessons from others, things will not be the same without you.  You will be missed immensely!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Which do you enjoy more: receiving or giving?

I enjoy giving more than receiving.  I like to think of people and their delight when receiving a gift as I am picking out their gifts.  I feel that sometimes, when receiving a gift, I may seem unappreciative if I do not "act" happy enough or excited as I am opening the present.  I guess I think there is more pressure to receiving because you want the person that has given you the gift to believe that you truly love the gift.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sharing Our Gifts

I love to work with Shutterfly and have for many years now made a calendar for my husband's father.  I wrapped up the calendar yesterday in order to get it ordered and in by Christmas.  In the past I have been able to post my work from Shutterfly onto my blog, but that option is not available for the calendar.  I like to make photo books also and the kids' from 2009 is already here and ready for Christmas.  This is a gift that I like to share.  I like to make scrapbooks by hand also. but this is just easier sometimes especially since my son's and daughter's are identical; it is easy to make two copies with different covers.

In addition, I make photo collages for graduations and Christmas.  I usually make one with both of my kids and individuals of each of them for my own wall as well as for each side of grandparents.  This year, since my duaghter made our Christmas cards, I make photo stickers instead of wallets to go on the cards.

What fun it is to share this gift!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Gift of a Little Girl

When my son was little, he asked for lights in front of the house.  I bought the bush lights and the candy canes and put them up in the front of the house, and he was happy.  This year, our daughter asked for lights on her house.  She wanted them to be hanging from the house and wanted lots of them.  She would have preferred colorful lights, but any lights were better than none.  The thing about her is that she was willing to help, and she brought the family together to get the job done.  Both her dad and I helped each other, and I made trees out of our tomato cages.  There is only one up right now because the lights on the other one did not work.  Looking good!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

10 Gifts

On this 10th day of the month I am sharing some of the gifts that I have already given myself this month.

1.  A working toilet: I bought the parts and helped to fix the toilet.  What a fascinating piece of machinery!

2.  A working sump pump: in the spring I thought that I had a drain clog when water backed up into my basement.  Called the drain people; they said no, the sump pump was not working.  They got it to work, but were not sure how long it would keep working.  We have gotten so much rain that I have been keeping my eye on the sump pump.  When I spotted water coming up the drain again, we took the sump pump out of its well and figured out how to fix it.  Thank you internet for the directions.

3.  200,000 miles on my van: thank you for a reliable vehicle.

4.  A new battery: it's been five years since I replaced it, can't really complain.

5.  Four new tires: much needed for the winter, but timing will see that this is my Christmas present as well.

6.  Mental Health Day: just had to have one.

7.  My Adopt a Classroom friends from Huntington Bank seem to want to make Christmas and the rest of the year better for my students.

8.  Book Club Dinner: my gift to myself, plus my dinner became my lunch for the next two days.

9.  A sister in law who aims to please; I have spent many hours on the phone this week with her helping her to pick out gifts for my family that they will like.

10.  A semi-clean garage: still hopeful that I will get cars in it this winter!

I am glad that I have the gifts to be somewhat handy.  I also appreciate that gifts do not have to be tangible items, but sometimes the tangible is nice!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Gift of Words

As I continue to embark on my second month of NaBloPoMo, I started to think about my great aunt.  For all the year that I knew her, she would write daily in a hardcover daily planner provided by some bank in Thailand.  She would write happenings of the day, who borrowed money and how much, and sometimes poems or short stories.  In her car she kept a separate notebook to log her gas usage: the kilometers on the odometer at fill up, how many liters were bought and at how much?  The one thing I remember most is that she had the best handwriting I have ever seen both in Thai and in English.  She liked specific pens, no ballpoint!  In English, she wrote in cursive, and it was so neat and perfect.  I remember watching her one day practice her signature so that it would look the same all the time and people would not be able to forge it!  She was an accounting educator for vocational schools as well as for junior college students.

Which brings me to this thought... do the words lose their personalization by not being handwritten?  When my great aunt died, she left 60+ years of diaries in her own handwriting as tangible proof that she was here.  When I leave this Earth, I will leave my words/stories, but in typewritten form on a blog.  They will not be written for someone to hold unless they want to print them out.  But, I know, from past experience, that if I were to handwrite my memories and stories, they would not get written down.  I am better at typing my words and love the blog format. So, I have to rely on the words that I have written expressing the feeling and personalization for me.  As in, you can hear me talk as you read my words.  It is as if I am talking to you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What Was My Favorite Gift Before the Age of 10?

I don't remember my exact age, but one of my favorite gifts was a Cabbage Patch Kid.  I never thought that I would get one because people were standing in line for hours to get one.  My mom and dad both worked all the time and didn't have time to go and stand in line for a toy.  On Christmas Day that year I was so surprised to open up a Cabbage Patch Kid.  He didn't look anything like me.  He had blond hair and a green outfit, but it didn't matter because I got one.  His name was Louie Wilton, and I chose not to change his name.  Eventually, I ended up with a girl with brown hair named Lea, I believe, but Louie was always special because it showed me how much my parents cared for me.

By the way my mom arranged for her friend to go and stand in line for her to get me one.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Gift of Books and Friendship

Over 10 years ago my friends and I went out one night and as we were talking, we decided to start a book club.  At that time we decided on six members, myself, my friends and their mothers, and a former coworker of one of my friends.  We decided to meet on the first Wednesday of every month.  From the original six, five of us still remain.  We have had some friends come and go, some come and stay, and one go and come back.

We all love our book club for different reasons.  Although I don't always read the book, I always try to go to book club.  This is the one thing that I have kept consistent and fought for the most over the last 10 years.  It is my time to explore my interest in books and to read a few that I may not have read otherwise.  It is also a time to get together with friends and learn from their lives and share mine with them as our book club ranges in age from close to 70 to myself, the youngest at 37.

The one thing that we have done over the years is discuss the book.  There may be side conversations or other dinner time conversation, but, at some point, the discussion questions come out and we actually talk about the book.  We still rotate houses and everyone hosts once a year.  We use to meet year round and gave that up a few years back as it got harder and harder to schedule around vacations.  We were up to 10 members at one point, and right now, the nine that we have seems just right.  We don't meet in July and August, go out to eat in December and have a potluck in June.

We have changed the way that we pick books.  When we started, we chose books month to month, then quarterly.  Presently, the host for this month picks the book for the next month.  The new system seems to be working out and is fun!

We don't know the big secret as to why we have remained a book club for so long.   But, we do know that we hope to continue meeting long into the future!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Do you like to try to guess your gifts ahead of time?

No, I do not like to try and guess my gifts ahead of time.  One year, when I was about 12, I found all my Christmas gifts in my parents' closet.  On Christmas Day I was so disappointed because all the things that I found were the only things that I got.  There were no other gifts and no surprises, teaching me that sometimes, it is better to wait.  Ever since then I never go snooping and try to give lots of ideas so that I will not know exactly what someone is getting me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What Is A Gift that You Have Made for Another?

The most memorable things that I have made for other are when I take the time to make scrapbooks, not by computer, but by cropping and using real pictures.  A good friend of mine turned 40 and I arranged for some of her friends and her mother to help me with a scrapbook for her.  My best friend turned 30 about the time that the grade school that we met at closed down.  I found our old uniform skirt and used it for the border on one of the pages.  My most recent project celebrated the 20th wedding anniversary of my brother and sister in law.  I stayed up all night finishing the album and was really pleased with how it turned out.  The way their faces lit up when they saw the album made it all worthwhile. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Van Full of Memories

Today, at just shy of 8 1/2 years, I got to 200,000 miles on my van.  We bought it in mid-June 2003 when Riley was 5 months old, and we were travelling to Cleveland a great deal.  To be honest I cannot remember where I was when the van got to 100,000 miles.  But, I do know that the van was the second vehicle in which I was the original owner and I saw the 100,000 mile mark.  The other was my Ford Escort, who only had five digits on the odometer and so went back to zero.  We traded the Escort in for a Honda Civic that we had for almost four years before we got the Honda Odyssey.

The van has been on numerous trips to Cleveland and around Ohio as well as just the average everyday driving.  It has been the kid mobile as well as a delivery van for the flower shop and Sticks.  The distance trips that the van has seen not in any order are: Orlando = two times, Atlanta, Arkansas, Boston/Maine = 3-4 times, Chicago, Atlantic City, Ann Arbor, Port Canaveral, and maybe a few more that I missed.

Ironically, I ran into an old high school friend this summer who drives the same color, year, make, and model of my van.  Her van is only eight; she has 54,000 miles on it.  I asked her how she was able to keep it so low.  She said that she lives/works on the east side, all of her and her husband's families live in town, and with four kids, they could only go on one vacation a year which would be the only long distance they travel.  More power to them...

Go baby, keep on going!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The First Day of the Weekend

Saturday did not bring the gift that I wanted.  I wanted a clean house, inside, that is.  Instead, I got the outside clean.  That would include sweeping up after the man who mowed the grass and cleaning out under the lawn mower so that it can be stored for the winter.  The flower beds are clean of leaves and as ready as they are going to be for the winter.

The gift to myself would be if I can really get cars in the garage this winter.  I tried last year.  I was out on New Year's Eve cleaning the garage out.  I threw lots of things away and even took some things to the scrap metal place, but it never got beyond that.  The vehicles never did make it in the garage last winter.  It was a mild day, close to 60 degrees.  This year, today was the day to put up the things that we do not need for the winter, bike, balls, etc.  It was also time to throw away some things that have not been used and are not useful anymore.  Finally, it was time to put those things that need to go to Goodwill in the truck.

We are almost there.  Most of the garage floor is clear.  Some of the things need to be hung up and we should be good to go.  Pray that the rest can be done; with the vehicles getting older, it would be a lot easier if they could be in the garage at night.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Night and The Gift of the Weekend

TGIF, Thank Goodness It's Friday, is something that most people can agree sounds so good!  This week, especially, I have been looking forward to Friday.  The week of work seemed long, and I was somewhat tired from entertaining my children during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  The children both had after school activites this week, and I had an after school meeting so there was a great deal of juggling.  I needed to work late last night planning with a colleague.  We didn't get much done, but it was a start.

I also need this weekend to recover from last weekend.  I have a laundry list of things to do that I did not get done last weekend with a few things added on like putting up Chirstmas decorations and going to Breakfast with Santa.  I still have high hopes that I will get most of what I want to get accomplished done with the gift of two days without work.

Friday nights, though, I never get much accomplished with regards to housework.  I am usually beat from the work week, and the children are usually happy to just chill in front of the TV and watch videos or play the Wii.  Tonight was no different.  I guess I still had school on my mind and brought it home with me.  On the computer tonight I went researching for free resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I found some really good things that I can use right away in the classroom.  Then, I went searching on SMART Exchange for writing mini-lessons.  I got lucky there also.  I know, I know, I should have taken the laundry downstairs and gotten the first loads started, but that is where the gift of the weekend comes in!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What was the first tangible gift you remember receiving?

I don't know what the first tangible gift that I remember receiving was.  I do know that one Christmas when I was about nine or ten years old, I went with some family friends to their relatives' house.  They were not my relatives, and they were not expecting me to join them for Christmas.  As they sat and opened their gifts, I looked on longingly until the mother of the house came down the stairs and handed me a gift to open.  It was just a Mickey Mouse paint and marker book with a set of markers to go with it, but it was so special to me because it was so unexpected, that someone would think of me, an unexpected guest and have something just for me.  To this day, I remember the warmth I felt receiving that gift and remember the mother fondly.  May she rest in peace.