Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time

~  My first day of break started waaaay too early:  Ally (my 14 year old Schnauzer) stood in the hallway in front of our bedroom and "woofed".  Because that's what she does:  She "woofs".  She'll "woof" one time, then wait to see if she gets my attention.  Then she'll do it again.  And again.  And again, until I finally get up.  "Shhhhing" her does no good:  I don't think she can hear anymore.  And so, my first day of break started at 4:00 am, letting the girls out and then attempting to go back to sleep.  Which I couldn't because she started woofing again because she was hungry.

~  I spent the good part of the day with MS & YS.  MS had a car accident (nothing major) back in August (I think it was) due to the university he attends failing to put up stop signs in a new part of the residential housing.  So, he's been without a car this semester, which was fine because he lived on campus and could walk everywhere...including work.  Since I'm on break, YS & I can share my car, so I went to his apartment (he had to move due to his fraternity losing their charter), picked him up, and brought him back to the Small Town.  We picked up YS and ate lunch, then MS wanted to go to Aldi to do some grocery shopping, then he took YS' car back with him.  

~  I picked up a couple of these at Aldi:
My mom used to make a version of these when we were little...minus the powdered sugar coating.

~  I started baking a few things last night:  Cranberry Bliss Bars, Red Velvet Cookies (I noticed some of them were gone this morning, so I'll have to make another batch), and the Mosaic Glazed Sugar Cookies that I made for my In-Laws 50th Anniversary.  I haven't decorated the cookies yet...I'm saving that for another day!
Mine didn't turn out as pretty as Recipe Girl's did, but I think I did okay!
~  Since I was up so early yesterday, I printed off some winter material for school...until I ran out of cardstock.  I figured I can laminate while I'm watching Christmas Movies (after the baking/candy making is done).

~  I wrote out thank you notes for the students who gave me presents.  I like to send them through the mail...I think it adds some excitement into their lives to get something in the mail with their name on it!

~  On today's agenda:  grocery store (for actual food for dinner), post office (to mail those thank you notes), more baking and I may get started on a few of the candy items.  I purged my Christmas notebook Wed. night:  there were things in there that I've never made, things that I have made that just didn't make the cut, and some things in there that I have no idea why they're in there!  

~  I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  I'll be taking a vacay from blogging until the weekend after New Year's Day to spend time with my family and just relaxing.

Holiday Hodgepodge

1. Do you believe in miracles?
Absolutely.  I think there are no coincidences.

2. What's a recent fad you admit to trying?
I'm thinking, but I'm coming up with nothing!

3. Peppermint-are you a fan? If so, what's your favorite food or beverage containing peppermint?
I love peppermint!  Just give me the hard candy kind & I'm happy.

4. Break the ice, on thin ice, as cold as ice (emotionally, not literally)...which phrase have you run into most recently? Explain.
On thin ice, but I'm not at liberty to explain.  Nothing major, and it's mostly in my own head!

5. Have you ever broken or spilled something in someone else's home? Still friends?
Right after CH & I got married, I ran into something in my MIL's house and it broke.  I was very upset, but she didn't seem bothered by it.

6.  'Tis the week before Christmas...are you feeling more like Buddy the Elf or theGrinch before his heart grew?
Buddy.  Definitely Buddy!

7. Share a favorite quote relating to Christmas.
I'll stay with "Elf":  "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I am SOOO looking forward to this break!  Today is our last day before Christmas break.  YAY! Joyce is taking next week off, and I'm taking the next week off, so I'll have a nice little holiday from the Hodgepodge!  Here's hoping everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Weekend Wrap-Up

I'm finally getting into the spirit, and all it took was a little bit of shopping!  MS' girlfriend was coming to our family get-together on  Saturday and then going home on Sunday, so I knew I wouldn't see her until after the first of the year.  After school I headed out to do some shopping.  I got a few little things for her and found a really cute basket that looks like a drum to put them in.  I also picked up a couple of things for OS' and YS' girlfriends.  And I picked up something for the boys.  
Saturday was my side of the family's get-together.  We get together to eat and spend time with each other.  As always, it was a good time!
The ladies of the family (minus 1 of my sisters):
The men (minus 1 brother & 3 BILs)
The grandkids (minus 8 and 2 spouses)  
The 2 at the head of the table are spouses.  Aren't they just adorable?
The great-grandkids (minus 4:  2 of them live in Az. and 2 live in NC)
Do you notice the lack of girls in the grandkids and great-grandkids?  2 of the great-grandkids that weren't there are girls, though.
Sunday, CH & I took a trip to Lowe's for some house stuff.  Other than that, it was just a lazy day.  
I'm looking forward to a short week at school this week:  only 3 days, and the buses aren't running on Wednesday, which means that a lot of kids won't be there.  Then I can get busy with the baking and making candy!  What preparations do you still need to do before the big day?

Friday Frags: Back at it!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

~  How long has it been since I've fragged???  Seems like forever!

~  Today is the last Friday before Christmas break...only 3 more school days!

~  Friday the always makes me think of the Friday 13th that one of my sisters & I were cleaning the basement for another sister's party (not sure why we were doing that) and T had to go to the bathroom.  We went together, and T pushed the bathroom door open to make sure nobody was behind it.  It didn't open all of the way, so we both ran screaming:  T upstairs, and I ran into the rec room and put all of my weight against the door (like that could've kept somebody out!).  My oldest sister called our next door neighbor, who came over with his shotgun.  My 2nd oldest sister had left her shoe behind the door, which was why it wouldn't close.

~  I'm really glad I have a supervisor who is supportive.  I've been really stressed out about something, but, after talking to her, I think things are going to be okay.  

~  CH & I went to the big town last night to help MS move the last of his things into his new digs.  He has been living in the fraternity house, but they were notified over Thanksgiving that their charter was being revoked.  I don't know all of the details.  His fraternity was one of the best ones on campus, which makes it harder to believe.  It was incredibly sad to walk into the fraternity house...most of the guys have already left.  One of the guys moving out said that he thought it would hit them at the beginning of the new semester when they don't go back to the fraternity house.

~  I've got to get started on my Christmas shopping.  Nothing like waiting 'til the last minute, huh?

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Are you doing anything special to mark this season of Advent? If so please share.
I suppose getting back to Mass would be a start, wouldn't it?

2. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen...and of course you recall, the most famous reindeer of, which reindeer name best describes you this week? 
Dancer:  I'm dancing around with less stress this week!  

3. What's worse-too quiet or too loud? Which have you had more of lately?
Too loud.  I've had too much of that lately, even though it's all in my head!

4. This question comes to you from Zoanna over at A Penchant for Pens-thanks Zo! 

When you are administratively gifted, how often do you find yourself not trusting less gifted people to do what they've committed to do?  If you are not so gifted that way, but are reliable, how do you feel when the stronger person (in that area) goes ahead and covers it before giving you a chance to come through? 

I don't know if I'm going to answer this the way it was meant!  It absolutely drives me CRAZY when people butt in!  This has happened at one of my schools: if there's something that needs to be done with a speech student (my responsibility) who also has special ed, the teacher will try to take care of it.  I realize that she's just trying to be helpful, but I'm pretty particular about the way I do things at work, so it really makes my blood boil when someone tries to do what I'm responsible for.
5. What is your most dreaded task relating to the holidays? Your most looked forward to holiday task?
Shopping.  Honestly.  I'm not looking forward to getting out in all the messiness and crowds.
I love my baking days!  I take 2 days:  1 for baking, 1 for candy-making.  The rest of the family knows to stay out of the kitchen and leave me alone.

6. Facebook has released its list of the 'most talked about' topics of 2013. Pope Francis took the number one spot.  Does that surprise you? He was followed by election, royal baby, typhoon, and Harlem Shake. Your thoughts? What was yourmost talked about topic in 2013? (Facebook, around the kitchen table, or wherever it is you talk)
It does surprise me a bit.  He is an amazing man, for sure, but I'm a bit surprised that he's getting as much attention from non-Catholics as he is.
We talk about a lot of stuff around the house.  I don't know if we talked about one thing more than the rest.

7. What's something you consider a necessity that others might view as a luxury?
I'm coming up with a blank.  Air conditioning/heat while camping???

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
YS showed this to me last weekend when I was separating the yolk from the egg white to make spiced pecans:
When we did it, I just cracked the egg and YS used the bottle to separate the yolk.  Easy Peasy!

Weekend Wrap-up

This is going to be more like a week wrap-up instead of just the weekend!  Last week was so incredibly stressful, that I couldn't even think about writing any posts at all.  I can't get into everything that went on, but Monday's stress was work-related.  Tuesday was son-related.  My intern's last day was Wednesday; that wouldn't have normally been stressful, but I knew at the end of the day I would have to go over how she performed over the semester.  Let's just all wasn't good.  I'm not a confrontational person at all, so this was not an easy thing for me to do.  It didn't go so well, either.  I may have checked to make sure my car hadn't been keyed.  (It wasn't.)   But, what's done is done, and I can't beat myself up over it any more.  
Thursday was the flute choir Christmas Concert, so that was a whole different kind of stress!  A friend from one of my schools came; she took a couple of pictures during the concert.  After the first one she took, the director looked at me and asked if it was a family member!  The concert went pretty well...I had some pretty awesome parts on the bass.  (That's me in the middle!)
The best part about the concert was that my mom was there.  I had asked her to go last year, but she never went.  I knew if she ever went, she'd love it.

The drive into work on Friday was another kind of stress.  It poured most of the way, and, since I had a 7:15 meeting, it was dark.  As long as there are no cars coming, I'm fine, but I almost had to stop and make sure I wasn't out of the road when another car came toward me.  It was pretty rough.  

Now for the weekend:  Small Town High School played in the State Championship on Friday night.  They had 1 1/2 hours of a rain delay:  they had to leave the field before the game started because there was lightning.  They finally got out onto the field, but there was more lightning, so they had to leave.  Once they finally were able to play, Small Town did quite well.  One of the players broke the state record for number of carries.  As it turned out, the quarterback may have broken his hand, and another boy who usually runs the ball was having trouble getting warm.  (It was cold and rainy by the time they got to play.)  In the end, Small Town won their 13th State Championship.  Rival High School won their 14th Championship on Saturday.

Saturday was laundry and grocery shopping day.  There's a Scholastic Warehouse close to the house, so I went by there to see if I could find a book I'm looking for since they were having a huge sale.  They didn't have the one I was looking for, but I did find a few other ones.  It was definitely Championship Saturday:  I watched 2 state championships and the SEC Championship.  I didn't watch the OSU-MSU game, but hoped MSU would win since that should put Auburn in the National Championship Game.  

Sunday was a cold & rainy day.  I shopped for my angel tree person.  I have no idea if I spent the right amount or not; we weren't given any guidelines.  CH & I went out for lunch, then I got most of the decorating done.  It's hard to believe that this is the last full week of school before break!  So much to little time!  I haven't even begun to shop for the boys; we have no idea what they want.  In fact, I have no idea if OS is even going to be here on Christmas.  He is working as a snowboard instructor, so...

Here's to a less stressful week!

Thanksgiving Weekend Wrap-up

I hope everybody had as wonderful a weekend as I did!  Last week was a short week at work:  only a 2 day work week!  Wednesday morning, we woke up to this:
Just a little bit of snow, but I don't ever remember having snow in November before.  The roads were okay, most of the snow was just on the grassy areas. And, as is very typical here in the south, most of it was gone by the end of the day!
I took advantage of the free day by taking Laika & Pepper for a romp in the park:
It snowed on & off during the day, but it didn't stick.  I spent the rest of the day doing laundry, and getting things ready for Thanksgiving.  After a couple of disastrous episodes with a cake last week, I was holding my breath when I made this:
I was so pleased that it turned out!

CH, MS, & I left for CH's brother's house early on Thanksgiving morning.  (OS & YS spent the day with their GFs' families and had to work over the weekend.  YS is working at Target over the holiday, and ended up having to work Thanksgiving night.  He said the line wound all the way through half of the store...from the registers, around electronics, and then to the back of the store.) 
This greeted us as we got closer to their house:
My SIL did an amazing job with the table centerpiece:

 Isn't she just adorable???
Don't you just love her sideboard?  The cotton looked great on it.  (This is an untouched picture!)
The place-settings/napkins:

My BIL cooked a beautiful bird:  (well, actually 2 of them!)
And my FIL carved it:
MS checking out the table:
(This was right before he called me "creepy"!)

The "Fam" before we dug in:

Dinner was followed up by cleaning up (YUCK!), a walk, and watching some football.

I ended the night playing Rummikub with my MIL & FIL.  My MIL said she had played a long time ago, but she remembered the rules like it was yesterday!  

Friday, MS' girlfriend came down.  (She lives a couple of hours away from my BIL.)  That afternoon, the GF, my SIL, and I went to "Spirited Art".  The night before, my SIL & I had made some Spiced Apple Sangria to take:
Oh.My.Word!  This sangria was AMAZING!  I will definitely be making this again!
I was just a tad bit stressed about painting.  I'm not an artist by any stretch of the imagination.  I can't even draw a straight line with a ruler! SIL & I had already picked out our picture, so GF picked hers out when we got there.  Luckily, GF was the one who had the "more challenging" picture!  Our finished products:
 And, a close up:
I had a little mishap while painting.  Not being the most observant person in the world, I kind of didn't notice that the bottom of the background wasn't blue until I looked over at some kids' paintings!  I just put a couple of coats of paint over the blue, and it worked out.  We got a pretty good laugh over that.  Is it perfect?  No, but I was pretty pleased with how it turned out; especially since I had visions of each leg being mis-shapen!   
This made me feel great when I went into the bathroom:
After we got through painting, we ran to the bookstore real quick so I could get a book I needed for work this week, then we met everybody at a place that serves Korean food.  CH is from a military family, and they lived in Korea during his pre-teen years.  My MIL had to have bulgogi, so the guys (& MIL) had it while the rest of the girls had American.  I actually like it, but I just wasn't in the mood for it right then.

We left Saturday; I wanted to have a day to relax and get some stuff done before the craziness of the week starts.  MS went to GF's house so it was just CH, Laika, and I on the way home.  We got home just in time to watch the Auburn/Alabama game.  Just before we left, though, my FIL had to get a picture depicting our divided family.  Auburn is on top, 'Bama on the bottom:
(Someone couldn't make up her mind!)
If you didn't watch the game, you missed a doozy!  I feel really badly for my BIL is a Bama alum, and he really gets into the game.  I think it's a good thing we left on Saturday!
So, here I sit on Sunday writing this post.  This week is going to be crazy:  Flute Dress Rehearsal on Monday, my intern's last day is Wednesday (which means her grade is due on Friday), and the flute choir concert is on Thursday.  I forgot to mention that Small Town HS won their game on Friday:  75-18.  The team they played had been undefeated.  Friday afternoon they will play for their 13th state championship.  They'll play another undefeated team.  Small Town lost 1 game this year, and that was to the Rival High School, who is also playing for a state championship in 6A (Small Town plays in 3A).  Traditionally, our end of the state is known for having better football teams than the "other side", so we'll see.  The good thing is that I'm pretty sure our starters got plenty of rest last Friday!  I'll be watching it at home from the comfort of my couch.
I'll probably start decorating for Christmas next weekend.  Have you already done yours?

Very Airmail Christmas

If you're looking for the Wednesday Hodgepodge, click HERE. (or just scroll down a bit!)

Last year, I participated in a "Very Airmail Christmas", hosted by Rebecca at Making Memories.  It took very little time, and I was like a kid waiting for my card to come in the mail!  
This year, Very Airmail Christmas is in memory of Doria's mom, who lost her fight with breast cancer before Christmas last year.  What a wonderful way to honor someone, by spreading happiness and the wonder of Christmas!  All it takes is a little bit of time and a stamp.  To read more about the exchange, click HERE.
Want to join in?  Send Rebecca an email at before December 1st!

Talkin' Turkey with the Hodgepodge

1. Are you settling for something?
Nope.  Can't think of a thing right now.

2.  It wasn't that long ago almost every store in the US locked doors and turned out lights on Thanksgiving Day. This year many will be open all day Thursday, giving shoppers a jump start on 'Black Friday'. In your opinion is this a good thing or a not so good thing? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving Day?
I will NOT be shopping on Thanksgiving.  The only way this will stop is for everybody to stay home.  (Like that's going to happen!)

3. Speaking of shopping... I saw a recent article on the twelve best shopping cities in the world. In order they are-

New York, Tokyo, London, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, and Seoul. 

Ever shopped in any of the cities listed? In which city would you most like to pull out the plastic or cold hard cash?
I've only been in NY & London.  I was more interested in seeing the sights than shopping.  I'm not much of a shopper.  I did go to Herod's when we were in London, but just took a quick look around.

4.  When did you last dine by candlelight?
I dined by campfire last weekend...does that count?

5. What do you have too much of?
Let's's not money, for sure!  

6. The Hunger Games...are you a fan?  Did you read the book(s)?  Will you/have you seen the movie?  Will you/have you seen Catching Fire?  No spoilers please!
I loved The Hunger Games books!  CH & I just saw "Catching Fire" on Sunday.  Excellent movie!

7. Share your plans for Thanksgiving Day. The who, the where, the what...especially the what! As in what's for dinner?  If you're one of my International visitors, whose homeland doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving (the whole world doesn't ya know!), then still tell us your plans for Thursday. 
We'll only have one of our boys with us on Thanksgiving:  OS will be with his girlfriend's family, and YS will be with his girlfriend's family.  We'll be with CH's brother, SIL, and parents.  I know we're having deep fried turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole, dressing, and plenty of desserts...I'm not sure what else we're having!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Today begins Thanksgiving weekend!  Yesterday was so rainy and just all-around yucky.  I had my first observation, but won't have my conference until next Tuesday.  This is my first time with this principal, so we'll see how it goes!

Weekend Wrap-Up

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to a short week this week!

Friday night, MS brought a few friends down for dinner.  I made a huge pot of spaghetti (at first he said that there may be around 12 guys, and he didn't tell me until 5:30 that there were only going to be 5-including him!) and garlic bread.  Thursday night, I made a cake for dessert, but took it out of the pan too soon, and it fell apart.  No biggie:  I made another one on Friday as soon as I got home from school.  I don't know what happened, because I've never had any trouble with this cake before, but the cake messed up again.  It tasted great, but it wasn't pretty!

After the boys ate, they went to the Small Town's playoff game.  They had to play the team that knocked them out of the playoffs the past 2 years (and who also went on to win the state championship).  It was a very rainy night, so CH & I stayed home and got updates through a friend on twitter.  We were also able to hear the fireworks go off after we scored, so that helped!  Laika would run behind CH's chair every time they went off, so she was in & out of her "safe place" for a couple of hours!  Small Town won 42-14, so they have to win next Friday to make it to the State Championship Game.

We just hung around the house on was a laundry day, materials-making day (for school), and football-watching day.

Sunday, CH & I went to see "Catching Fire".  I read the book, but I couldn't remember where it left off and the 3rd one started.  CH hasn't read the books, so he was a little put out by the ending.  I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it and plan to.  Excellent movie...can't wait for "Mockingjay".
Before the movie started, one of the theater employees came through the theater with an empty soda cup saying, "Leaky cup...who had a leaky cup?"  A little later, at the end of the trailer for "Frozen", a lady started "belly-laughing" followed by a snort.  Never a dull moment at the movie theater!

If you work outside the home, are you getting to enjoy a short week?

Smokin' Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What lesson has failure taught you?
To never give up.  

2. What decision are you glad you made?
To move back to the Small Town.

3. I've been a little bit surprised to see fully lit and decorated Christmas trees popping up for the past several weeks in friend's Instagram feeds. So tell the truth-is your tree up and decorated, and if so when did that happen? If not, when will you be decking the halls?
Absolutely not!  I'll wait until after Thanksgiving.  When the boys were playing football, I wouldn't decorate until after football season, which ended after the state championship the first weekend in December.

4. Solitaire-Poker-Rummy-Hearts-Go Fish-Old Maid...which game of cards would you most like to join? 
Go Fish is pretty fun, I have to admit!  A couple of my camping friends have got me playing Rumi-Kub, which really isn't a card game, but it's like Rummy.  

5. This question comes to you courtesy of a Facebook friend, who once upon a time had a blog...When you're feeling stressed do you snack a lot or are you more the 'can't eat' type?
Oh, I snack!

6.  Have you ever reviewed a product or service on line? Was your review favorable or less than favorable? 
I review materials from Teachers Pay Teachers all the time, and it's paid off!  Some of the Speech Pathologists who make their own therapy material and sell it on "TpT" have a give-away every month:  they pick one person who has given good feedback to win something from their "store".  I was given the opportunity to pick an item from one of my favorite sellers a couple of days ago!

7. What was the best conversation you had yesterday? 
Since I'm writing this on Tues. night, the conversation would have been on Monday.  CH & I had a pretty nice conversation with YS.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
We had some excitement at school on Tuesday.  Usually, all of the excitement happens when I'm not there, but I was able to get in on it this time!  We had a fire drill, or at least we thought we did.  I didn't realize that the "drill" happened when the principal was at a meeting.  After the drill, we went back inside, but after about 5 minutes, the alarm went off again.  Apparently the indicator was saying there was smoke on the bottom floor.  

The fire dept. is a volunteer dept, so of course there are no firemen hanging around the station, which is at the bottom of the hill from the school.  It took them about 15 minutes to get to school; we were finally able to go back in after about 45 minutes.

Weekend Wrap-Up

We had big plans for the weekend:  we were going to leave to go camping on Friday as soon as CH got off of work.  After I left work, I went to the grocery store to get a few things that we needed.  When I left the store, we were in the middle of a good, soaking rain, and it felt like the temperature had dropped significantly.  I don't mind camping in the rain, but I don't want to have to set up in the rain.  So, after we grabbed a quick dinner, I put on my pjs, bundled up with a blanket, and cuddled on the couch with Pepper.
The weekend wasn't a complete wash-out, though.  We got up Saturday morning and headed out to camp.  We went to a campground that we had visited last year.  There were some people from our camping group and a dutch oven group getting together for the weekend.  Last year, the campground was pretty full.  This year, there were only 3 other campsites being used besides those in our groups.  I guess the nasty weather kept others away.  Saturday was chilly on and off, with the sun coming out every now & then.
Our drive into the campground.
 Laika had a few friends to play with.
 Our campsite
 We had a visitor on Saturday evening.
 The Dutch Ovens were out in full force on Saturday.
 It was cool enough for a fire.
We had an amazing moon.
Sunday morning I walked out to the pier.
 I managed to catch this sunrise. 
I also saw this interesting sign!
Breakfast consisted of our first attempt at camp french toast:
We thought it turned out pretty well!  We also had yogurt and fruit.  This is going into our rotation as a keeper!
On our way out, we stopped by the overlook to see the dam:
 We ended the weekend with our weekly visit to our favorite Mexican restaurant.  YS had to work, but MS & his GF, and YS' GF joined us.  The view from the parking lot:
Not bad, huh?
Hope you had a nice weekend!

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