Thursday, December 25, 2008

Having a Merry Little Christmas

Christmas is always a whirlwind experience for us. It's Jon G's favorite day of the year, and she goes to great lengths to make it special; however, a generous amount of snow and ice prevented some of the usual activities this year. We couldn't make it to Grandma and Grandpa Gilbraith's on Christmas Eve, so we missed the big party with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins. Instead, we had a quieter evening in (though the Wii tennis tournament was ferocious). Christmas day included the annual brunch, gift opening, and picture taking. This year we also went over to visit Grandma and Grandpa Gryp. We didn't stay long, but it was nice to wish them a merry Christmas. Later in the afternoon, we made the trip to Grandma and Grandpa Gilbraith's, and it sounds like we missed quite the party. Joshua and I then had to scurry home a day early in order to miss another coming storm.

It was a wonderful Christmas, just with disappointing weather. Here are a few things that made me smile this year.
Meeting little puppy Maia, Kati's dogger. She's pretty cute, especially in a loverly coat, designed by me. (I think my new coat looks pretty festive as well. Thanks Santa!)

Seeing Joshua (looking rather like a pimp) with some of his very favorite things, including an Indiana Jones hat, Superman t-shirt, and leopard print blanket. Thanks Vanilla Bean Counter for re-introducing some leopard fur into my home. Joshua loves it, and I had just managed to get rid of all of his bachelor's animal print junk. Really funny... Actually it was pretty funny.

Taking a family picture to celebrate the new year. Mom was really disappointed to discover that she had no family pictures from all of 2008 to send in a Christmas card. I made the suggestion that we take a new year's picture. She hopped on board with this idea, and will be mailing cards soon. Vanilla Bean Counter came up with the festive hats and blowers, and I think they made the picture. It's fun to look at and think of 2008 drawing to a close. 2009 has even more to look forward to, including three graduations (bachelor's, master's, and M.D.), a move on to residency and a real job, exciting changes, and things to do with the family. We live a good life.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brrr, It's Cold in Here

I'm a stickler when it comes to the furnace and air conditioner. I like it a little warm in the summer and a little cold in the winter. Save the earth and some money, right? Well, when the temperature drops below five degrees outside, as it is at the moment, even I'm a little chilly. Despite the thermostat being set at a reasonable 68 degrees, our downstairs still feels like the North Pole.

Even my bread is feeling it. Normally I let bread rise on top of the dryer as it runs. It's the perfect temperature. Today, though, that wasn't getting the job done. After taking out the last load, I put the tray inside and shut the door. Perfect! (And quite clever, if I can say so.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Night Date

I'm a young gal, right? On our Friday night, it would be possible for Joshua and I to spend some quality time together on a date. We've never been a traditional date couple. I don't like going to the movies, mostly because I feel like I can find a less boring way to spend $20. We don't go out to dinner very often, and we don't like going to the bars. So, you might ask, what was our fun Friday night date today? Why, free sample time at Sam's Club, of course. After returning a faulty ice scraper, we meandered the isles and tried some bagel bites, everything bagels, Texas toast, meatballs, cheese sticks, Fig Newtons, and cheesecake for dessert. What more could a girl want from an evening? Good times, good company, and marginal food cooked in microwaves. (The everything bagels were good. I might buy them next time.)

We really need to find something better to do with our time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blast You Snow and Ice

So this morning I went to clear the snow and ice off the car in order to take it to the dealership to get fixed. After letting it run for a half hour and scraping for a half hour until I thought my fingers would break, my ice scraper did break. Frustration. Much irritation. I was going to take a picture of it to enhance my post, but I just didn't have the patience. Now after taking it in to the dealership and waiting over two hours for it to be fixed, I am home and in a very blah mood. It's almost time to drive to Edwardsville for class, a trip that takes an hour and a half in good weather.

Let's all take a moment to feel sorry for me.


Thank you for your kind attention.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Polly had a fun idea to start a Christmas tradition this year that included the entire family. She and Greg supplied a 20 dollar bill for everyone; we drew names and then were off for in groups of two or three for two hours to spend the money on the most thoughtful gift possible.

Greg drew my name, and he did a splendid job. After meeting back at the house to quickly wrap the gifts and eat some Pizza Hut, we opened. In my package was a mountain of felt, several embroidery flosses, five fat-quarters of fabric, and a bite-sized Milky Way and Smarties. Total amount spent: exactly $20. What a perfect gift, especially the felt. Now I have pretty much every color, and I love just looking at it in tidy rainbow order and thinking about all the fun projects ready to be made.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hoop #34,212: School Externship

Check, and done!

Today I finished my time at the elementary school. I'll miss some of the kiddos, but mainly, I'm just excited to be moving on.

Hoop#34,213: Medical Externship

Beginning January 12, 2009

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jingle All the Way

This past weekend, Jenna and I joined my dear mother on a Christmas bus trip to Chicago, organized by the United Methodist Women. At 7:30 Saturday morning, we were seated on the charter bus with 50 other women on our way to a fun day.

Bus activities included many games with the opportunity to win prizes. As you probably know, I am a very poor sport when not winning, so I was determined to come out on top at least once. After game one, I was not a winner, but I managed to hold myself together. After game two, my patience was wearing thin. I finally won game three! We arrived in the big city at about 10:45 (long trip). We shopped around for the rest of the afternoon and found a few things, including a lovely pumpkin-colored coat. If I'm good, it will appear on Christmas morning. Overall, the trip was a success. Vanilla Bean Counter wasn't there, making it a more pleasant experience for all. (I mean that in the kindest way possible). Jenna was a good sport about the whole thing, and we're still friends. Jon G. was thrilled to have me and Jenna around for the weekend.Next road trip: cousin's wedding in six days. We're off to Indiana.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Things I Learned at the High School

Today I went to observe the SLP at Springfield High School. What a strange experience it was. I learned a lot.

1. At the high school level, SLPs are more like LD teachers.

2. Students with cognitive disabilities think my teeth are shiny. (I had just brushed them.)

3. At some store in Springfield (most likely) an adorable pair of red boots are available that I covet very much. Similar to these:
4. Some SLPs still use oral motor therapy and don't know that it has been shown not to work.

5. Students are very tall compared to a stumpy gal such as myself.

6. The high school may not be the place fore me.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Spanish Alphabet Letters

You probably know that my latest obsession is felt. If I could have every color of felt in the world, I would be overwhelmed with joy. I've been working on a felt alphabet series that is turning out so cute. They feature bold brown letters, adorable little cutouts, and words embroidered in Spanish (very fun!). Hopefully browsers on Etsy find them to be as cute as I think they are.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shopping Cart Fun

My Friday routine usually includes grocery shopping, which often irritates me, depending on how busy the store is and if they have everything I need. This past Friday, I had a new, and extremely positive experience. I used a mini-cart for the first time. (I just tried to find a picture of one on Google Images, but no luck.) If you haven't seen them, they have two small baskets, one on top of the other. They are much shorter than a traditional shopping cart, and the baskets aren't as deep. For gals such as myself who do not like maneuvering a big shopping cart or carrying very heavy things in a basket, this was the perfect alternative.

The point of this story? More stores should get these new small carts.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wow, Another Honor

Today when I got home from school, I had a message on my Etsy store page. I've been included in the Upstate Fancy Handmade Holidays Gift Guide. An embroidery piece I made is pictured under the "home gifts" section of the website. I'm so excited! The second picture is of another project I made to coordinate with the first.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dog Coat

So my dear friend connected me with her sister's dogger, who was in need of a lovely winter coat. Here's how it turned out. Darby and owner are pleased, so I'm thrilled. I'm thinking dog apparel could make it's way to toodleooo pretty soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Now that you mention it, I am a really good blogger.

I would really like to thank my dear sister for making me the winner of this award. She knows how much I like to win, anything really.

So, the rules indicate that I should now share with you all six things I love. Can do.

1. Eating meatballs or Chinese with my husband. We're just so darn content when we're eating delicious food and relaxing. (And I make really good meatballs.)

2. Crafting, and more specifically, sewing. I love making cute things for my home, or for anyone else who likes hand-crafted items. I do have to give credit for this to my grandma. She showed me how to do my first sewing project at the age of four by giving me a piece of denim, a needle and thread, and access to her button jar. I was so proud of myself for making it. Hmmm, I wonder if Jon G. still has that.
My latest sewing project.

3. Visiting people for a day or two. I'm not a traveler. I have no desire to be away from my home for long periods of time, but I do like to spend weekends with some of my favorite people, usually Vanilla Bean Counter or my forever friend.

4. Cleaning. Yes, I know, it's totally dorky, but I really do love making my home clean and bright. It feeds my addiction to organization and neatness, and it makes me feel like I'm in charge of my world. I just wish things would stay clean longer.

5. Thinking about having a little house. As graduation approaches, I find myself becoming more and more obsessed with thinking about where we'll live next year. Can we buy a house? I better look in case we can. Then I should think about how to decorate it. I could paint the walls and go to the fabric store and look for bedding. The possibilities are endless. I would like to thank my older sister for introducing me to this, as she is practically a professional house hunter and obsessor.

6. Bagels. I could eat them all the time. My favorite way is to make a bagel sandwich with egg, cream cheese, and bacon.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mas Calcetines de Navida

¡Soy una máquina de calcetines de Navidad! Para comprarlos, visitas Toodle-ooo.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Here's my latest stocking for Etsy. I just sold my second item, and it's inspiring me to create more. I think this may be my cutest one yet. If you're in need of a lovely snowman stocking, please visit

Monday, November 3, 2008

Apple Pie

I decided to use my morning off of work to make an apple pie, one of my specialties. My cooking skills are somewhat limited, (I'm thinking of disasters such as my chocolate mousse attempts) but the things I can make (meatballs, for example) are quite tasty, if I must say. So, here is my caramel apple pie. If you're wondering about the black metal thing in the pan, it's a wonderful gadget from Williams Sonoma. You just bake it with the pie under the crust, and like magic, the first slice of pie is lifted from the pan with ease. Also, I had to take this opportunity to show you my donkey salt and pepper holder to let you know not to take your salt and peppers too seriously. Life is more fun with donkeys.
Today's pie-making has me thinking about the holiday season. Joshua and I will be attending Thanksgiving at his aunt's house, and this apple pie, along with a pumpkin pie will be my contributions to the meal. I love pies; people are always so impressed with them, even though they really aren't all that tricky to make.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Our First Halloween Party

Thinking back to my childhood, I can only remember one other Halloween as nice as last night. The weather was perfect (no giant winter coat under the costume needed), and Joshua and I were lucky enough to be invited to the 3rd Annual Little Halloween Party. We went as Fred and Daphne from Scooby Doo. It was a fun evening spent with good friends and lots of delicious food. (I think Joshua ate about twenty chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, while my weakness was the cheese fondue.) We're already looking forward to next year. It's Joshua's turn to choose the costumes, so I'm sure we'll be superheroes of some sort.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Creations for Etsy

Sometime last year my dear sister introduced me to, a fun website where individuals sell all sorts of handmade items. Every since then, I've been thinking about having my own Etsy store. Two months ago, Jenna and I finally decided to go into business. Our store, has been an entertaining project, but so far, we've had little business (one sale). We're trying not to be discouraged... Here's my latest project, which combines two of my favorite things: buttons and embroidery. If you know any parents of little girls, send them my way!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why Isn't Blogging More Creative?

I'm not sure why, but I was under the impression that designing and writing a blog was a creative process. When I signed up for this blog, I was excited to design the template and make it cute. One of my favorite things to do is spend hours contemplating font, color, and layout choices for projects. So, I assumed blogging would be the same. How could I be so wrong? Last night, I was disappointed to find that, yes it is possible to choose a new template, but they're all basically the same, and it is impossible for me to be more creative with them. I am not pleased. I would have much preferred to make my own. Why should that be so difficult? Oh well, Egyptian camels will do for now.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hello Friends

Yes indeed, I have joined the blogging world. Who would have guessed? You may be wondering what has inspired this endeavor. A number of individuals, observations, and recent projects have shown me that blogging could be a good use of time. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but either way, here I am. In addition to being a loyal reader of Mandi's Musings, I hope you also will frequent my Etsy shop,, my first entrepreneurial attempt.