Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Just Have to Say...

If you are at Joann's buying fleece to make a blanket, get out of my way.

I try to be quite positive here on my little blog, but today I have to give the world a piece of my mind. Let me explain. I am a sewer. I am an informed crafter. I visit Joann's frequently. I know what I want. I know how much I need, and I have my coupons ready. There are many shoppers like me.

There is another type of Joann's shopper. These shoppers usually want to make a stupid fleece blanket for a baby, a grandchild, or a friend. They have no idea what they're doing, and they spend a ridiculous amount of time at the cutting table asking questions about what to buy and how to assemble. It frustrates me nearly every time I go in to Joann's.

Here are some ideas I have.

- Basic sewing test before being able to shop.
- Special membership for those of us who know what's going on. We can either skip the line or come in early or stay late.
- Many posted signs of how to make these stupid blankets, how much to buy, and any other pertinent information.

I would be happy with any of these solutions.

That's all.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Holly, Jolly Christmas

After four days of Christmas traveling, I'm home today cleaning, organizing, and looking at pictures. Here are the highlights from the past few days.

Joshua and I went up to my parents' house the day before Christmas Eve, earlier than expected because of predicted snow. The snow turned into reality, bringing 7-8 inches and a nervous drive to Grandma Norma and Grandpa Joe's for Christmas Eve festivities. We made it okay and enjoyed soup and sandwiches (meatball, chicken, and Cuban), along with the annual white elephant gift exchange. I took home two classic DVDs, Animal House and Austin Powers. Joshua was quite pleased with his gift, an over-sized thumbs-up statue. I should have taken a picture of that one.
We spent Christmas day at Mom and Dad's, opening presents and eating brunch. Here are a few memorable gifts.
Shaun's present to me was truly inspired and really is my favorite. After reading about an abandoned donkey named Hobo in the Peoria Journal Star, Shaun knew a donation for Hobo was just the gift for me. It's no secret that I do love donkeys. I hope to NOT be a donkey collector, with friends and family buying me loads of collectibles to junk up my house, but those animals do make me smile. Poor Hobo has had a sad life, and there are no rescue groups for donkeys, so this lady, the owner of a horse therapy farm for children with autism, has taken him in. She needs a little cash to get Hobo gelded, but once that's done, he'll have a very happy life at God's Little Acre farm. (That's really the name.) I can't tell you all how much I LOVE this gift. Shaun said I can be expecting a picture of Hobo in the mail. Makes me smile.
Shaun hit another home run in the gift department with Joshua. A couple times each year, Joshua declares a moustache party at our home. The guests wear fake moustaches, and we have a good time with a few beverages. Shaun tracked down (on etsy) shot glasses with moustaches; so cute! Joshua also loves his new Bears jersey from Dad and Mom.
I also love this new little treasure, a kitchen clock featuring silverware. Very kitschy.
Ryan seemed pretty pleased with his personalized rolle bolle, and we all loved the rolle bolle bags. We'll be set for next Labor Day.
One other fun item was press-on nails. I thought it would just be some goofy fun, so they went on my Christmas list. Mom agreed, and bought enough for all the girls. Here we are, thanks to Kati's expertise. Later that night I spent over an hour taking them off because they were making my fingers hurt. Worth the laugh.
Yesterday, Joshua and I went to Monticello to visit his family. Everyone was there for lunch at Grandpa and Grandma's, and then to Philipo's for dinner. Joshua could hardly skip going there. It was nice to see everyone; even Aimee was in town from Colorado. We don't get to see them enough.
Hopefully we can see Polly, Greg, and the kids in the next couple of weeks to finish our Christmas visiting.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mark That Down

Today I was showing Joshua the Christmas cards we've gotten the last couple of days. Many of these cards contain nice pictures and messages from friends and family. Joshua then said to me, "Next year I guess we should really send out Christmas cards." At this point, I burst out laughing. He never cares about things like Christmas cards. It's just not him. I normally care about things like Christmas cards, but I've never felt like we have much to share in a card, so I don't send them.

The purpose of this entry? Proof that he cares. Next year when he's whining and complaining about taking a Christmas card picture or helping to fill out the cards, I'll simply pull up this blog, and put him right in his place.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Changes Down the Road

Dunlap recently announced their plans to withdraw from SEAPCO (special ed coop) for the 2011-2012 school year. That means my position has essentially been eliminated. I can't apply for the new Dunlap-hired position because of my contract company's rules, and honestly wouldn't want to take the enormous pay cut by doing that anyway.

What does all this mean? Nothing for now. I have to just relax about it until about July when SEAPCO figures out if they would have a different position for me. And then if they do, do I want to make the commute. (Right now, I only drive 13 minutes to work.)

If things don't work out with that, I'm confident I can find something else. Speech-language pathologists are quite in demand. I'm just not crazy about the resume, application, interview, and new worker process. So, although there's nothing to be done about the situation right now, I do need to begin thinking positive thoughts about change. I hate change, and it takes me a long time to get used to new plans. I have seven months :0)

Until then, happy winter break! Oh school schedule, you're amazing!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


My little etsy shop has gotten busy in the last two weeks, five orders just this weekend! I find stitching to be quite relaxing, which is a good thing. Here's the design I've been making the most.

In other news, Christmas is fast approaching, and I think I'm almost ready. Joshua and I went to cut down a tree last weekend. It's a lovely white spruce that makes me smile, all loaded up with my childhood ornaments. Nearly all of my shopping is finished and wrapped, and Christmas break will be here in two and a half weeks.

One last picture before I conclude this entry. A present to me from my dear husband. He thinks he's so clever...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday, Mom, Dad, and Grandma Bev were over for an early Thanksgiving. Joshua and I will be in Monticello on Thursday, so we wanted to spend some time with the rest of the family. (Unfortunately Polly, Greg, and the kids couldn't make it.)

Our table settings included pretty floral plates, paper, but still very fun looking. We put them on gold chargers, and they were quite fancy. I also filled up a cornucopia with fresh flowers, and the room did look very festive.

Shaun went nuts with the food, making a turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, pumpkin mousse. and cranberry sauce (not from a can!). My efforts included broccoli and pecan pie, which is a new favorite of mine. Here are a few pictures from the day.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Going on a Treasure Hunt

I've been quite an absent blogger lately. So sorry!

Last weekend, Shaun and I got out to enjoy the beautiful weather. We went geocaching in a cemetery close to my house. I'd been with Shaun a couple other times, but never had any success locating the cache. My luck changed last weekend! Here are a few action shots documenting my find.

We added Shaun's caching name to the list and were on our way to the next location. Shaun found the second one under a statue of Jesus, which was very exciting. Not only did we find two caches, a record for me, but we had a lovely, sun-shiny November day. Wish they could all be like that.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Birthday Wrap Up

Wednesday, Shaun's birthday, we went to Bloomington for a Here Come the Mummies concert (a very fun group if you don't mind a little vulgarity). Overall, I decided that I'm too short and care too much about my hearing to attend concerts.
It's been a quiet weekend around here, which is kind of nice. I cleaned the house, did some yard work with Joshua, and bought some Christmas presents with Shaun. Back to work tomorrow.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Derby Time!

The past weekend was one of the busiest we've had in quite a long time. It was a very fun sort of busy. Friday evening we had some friends over. The carved pumpkins went over very well, as did the food.

Saturday was even more fun. We headed over to East Peoria for a roller derby match. How exciting! There were lots of crazy skating costumes, pushing, shoving, action, and nicknames. What's not to love? We even had front row seats thanks to Shaun springing for the VIP tickets. So worth it!
Sunday we were at Grandma Norma's for a wiener roast and an informal celebration for Shaun's birthday.
The fun continues on Wednesday when we'll be in Bloomington for a Here Come the Mummies concert. I don't think we've been this fun ever in our lives.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Six Little Pumpkins

Last night we carved pumpkins in anticipation of the party we're hosting on Friday. Shaun and Stuart were over, and Joshua even joined in the fun. We ended up with six pumpkins that will be lighting up our front step tomorrow evening. Stuart gets the award for most impressive, a Superman S (because I love letters!), created with a power tool. I get the prize for speediest, completing three pumpkins. Shaun wins for being willing to prep the most pumpkins. Thanks for scooping all those seeds! Joshua wins for participating in a craft project for the longest amount of time in his life, and I think, even enjoying it a bit.

So, if you're driving around Peoria tomorrow night and happen upon this lovely collection of welcoming pumpkins, come on in. Free food and beverages!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

Shaun and I had a nice time carving pumpkins last year, but I waited too long to buy. Last minute, I was scrambling, searching grocery stores, until I finally found two at Lowe's. This year, no procrastinating. We went to a real pumpkin patch yesterday, planning to buy three pumpkins, one each for me, Shaun, and Stuart. (Joshua hates Halloween couldn't be talked into carving last year.)

Upon arriving at Ackerman Farms in Morton, we were quite impressed with the giant assortment of pumpkins and gourds. Instead of coming home with three, five items found their way into our wagon. It was a beautiful day, over 80 degrees, and just very fun to wander around and look. We will definitely go back next year.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Winner, winner...

Chicken dinner!

Grandma Norma called me up yesterday after work and asked if Shaun and I would want to meet at the Jubilee Cafe for dinner. So, last minute, we drove on out to exit 82 and met her and Grandpa for chicken and pie. Gotta love a restaurant where none of the sides are truly vegetables, and the one labeled "vegetables" ends up being corn. Shaun and I had a good chuckle over that. The chicken was quite tasty, and I would go back for sure. It was great to see Grandma and Grandpa, and they also brought a big basket of apples ready to be cut and frozen for winter pies. Fun night!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Time for a Trim

We went to Monticello yesterday to visit family. While we were there, Joshua's grandpa gave him a haircut in his garage barber shop. The last few years I've taken over the hair cutting, but before that, Grandpa was always in charge. Thinking of his barber shop (still open to the public, if you're interested) always makes me smile. Surrounded by old sheriff election signs, pictures of police dogs, and a vintage barber chair, it's quite the cozy place. It's also the only place I can think of to get an $8 haircut while petting a Golden Retriever.
In other news, we still haven't seen baby Ava. She's in the NICU for another week at least and is only allowed limited visitors. She's doing well, but isn't able to hold her own temperature yet.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Joshua!

I'm a bit tardy in posting Joshua's birthday pictures. Birthday weekend events included a trip to Dairy Queen, always delicious, homemade pumpkin pie, and out to dinner at Johnny's with my parents. The majority of Joshua's birthday presents were paintball items. Who knew a person needed so many things to play? So far, he has been enjoying paintballing and being 28.
Should I be concerned that his love for me is "All Talk," according to the love tester at Dairy Queen?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Ava!

My first little niece baby was born today. We love you Ava! Can't wait to meet you next weekend.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Will Work for Big Wheel

Shaun and I were busy this weekend with baby shower preparations. The mother-to-be is the sister of one of Shaun's college friends, and we got involved because Shaun's friend (and party planner) lived out of town and needed some help. I'm not really a baby shower fan, but I do enjoy a good floral arranging project.

The theme was Born to Be Wild, including hot pink and zebra print decorations. After much planning and searching for just the right flowers at several Peoria grocery stores on Friday evening, here is how they turned out.
Super adorable. The animals are puzzle pieces from a Melissa and Doug puzzle, and the vases are fabric-covered orange juice containers. Our reward for all of our hard work? A big wheel from Kroger (delicious cookie ice cream sandwich), purchased with the last of our flowers. Totally worth it! The roses and daisies came from Fresh Market. They were really beautiful and very reasonably priced. The filler flowers all came from Kroger. A very fun project, indeed.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day 2010

Labor Day festivities were once again held at Grandma Norma's and Grandpa Joe's. This has become quite the tradition in the family and is always enjoyed by about 30 people. This year a few changes were in order, including smoked meat exchanged for a crab boil. The crab boil included about 25 pounds of food in a 60 quart pot. Joshua, Ryan, Dad, and Grandpa took charge of the fire and boiling, and I held the beer. In less than an hour and a half we were dumping the mountain of food onto the table. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, and the process was a new experience. Other activities for the day included the annual rolle bolle tournament, shooting clay pigeons, watching the many babies, and taking many pictures, both professional and for fun. Here are a few...
More weekend updates as time allows.

Notes for next year, not exciting to read now, but so helpful later.

- Crab boil ingredient included 6 pounds of shrimp, 6 pounds of crab, 4 pounds of mild Polish sausage, 10 pounds of red potatoes (get smaller next year), 8 corn ears (do more next year), 4 boxes of Zatarain's seasoning, 2 onions, 3 lemons, 1/2 cup of salt, 7 gallons of water with 2 extras. Perfect amount to serve 26 people with minimal leftovers. Only bring one loaf of bread next year, thinly sliced. Butter, cocktail sause, hot sauce, and sour cream on the side.

- Consider rolle bolle teams of 4 to allow for a shorter double elimination tournament. Single elimination was too short, but the double elimination with teams of three was too long.

- 2 pounds of chicken for the non-seafood lovers. Cooking them in the oven in a foil pan worked great.

- Note to Shaun: don't defrost the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight.

- We love Ove Glove!