Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Christmas Stuff...

I have been working on more Christmas gifts recently. I need to work out for my health, but my crafts have taken over as my current stress relief. So far, I have made a lovely, royal blue prayer shawl as a surprise gift for a colleague who is dear to me. This is my second prayer shawl and I would like to make another one but I will have to see if I have time between now and Christmas. I had ordered cute little bracelets from a school fundraiser with the ten commandments on little charms around them for my nieces. I completed a cute little multi-colored hat and matching scarf for one niece. Now, I will have to make a set for the other niece. Can't figure out what colors yet, though. I'm trying to use up my stash for gifts as much as possible as I have created a storage nightmare for myself :-)

Next, I am trying a new design for a doggie sweater for my doggie which we share with my parents. She is such a sweet little baby, but she always acts like she is freezing to death. My first two attempts gave us a cute bandana and a sweater that won't stay on. So, this time, I am trying to knit it in the round with a knitting loom so that it will be extra stretchy, but fit pretty closely. I'm hoping that it will just be a matter of getting the arm holes in the right spot. I am modifying this off of a chihuahua pattern and making it longer through the torso for my little mini-doxie/terrier mix. Hopefully, this one will work. The nicest part is that I am not looking for perfection on this one. Next, I will have to go back to working on the gifts that must be fabulous looking.

I feel pretty psyched that I have some gifts ready to go and it's not even November yet. I made a set of nice slipper socks a while back that I can give to someone also. When I wasn't working, I did lots of canning fruits and veggies and could use those for gift baskets at Christmas. That did take a lot of pressure off during the actual Christmas season as the only thing that I had to do for the majority of our gifts was just assembling the baskets and making sure they looked cute. That was always easy-breezy!

on a different note, my oldest was out sick today. He seems to starting a mild head cold, but he gets so emotional about anything that feels out of the ordinary that I kept him home to keep him calm. Aspie's can get so overly emotional sometimes. I could have made him go to school, but I can pretty much guarantee that he wouldn't get any real work done and neither would I (I would spend my day trying to help deal with him). So, he has rested up and has a better shot of behaving tomorrow. Plus, I always have the ace in the hole: if you behave today, you can go home and spend the night with Granny and Grandpa. There is no better bribery than that!

Friday is our Fall Festival at work. It will be a long day, but we always manage to make a good time of it. Hard work, when accompanied by good friends and wicked senses of humor usually make for time to go a flyin'. Hopefully we will have a good turn out and lots of community support. I'll be helping with the silent auction primarily and that is usually a big hit.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

School, and Flu Shots, and Tears--Oh Joy!

Well, it has been an interesting week for us. We have had an abbreviated week at school (even more than our usual 4 day week) because of a teacher work day on Monday. It was nice to have a day to catch up on all of my paperwork, etc.

Today, we left right after school and went to the pediatrician's office for the walk in (cattle call) flu shot clinic times. Needless to say, I didn't tell the boys until I absolutely had to. They still didn't handle it well. Additionally, it was packed and noisy in the office which throws my oldest (Aspie) into absolute fits.

My oldest was an absolute trooper. He hasn't had to get flu shots before because of the lack of availability of the preservative (ethyl mercury) free version of the vaccine. This year, we were able to get our injections from single-dose vials that don't require any additional preservatives (Hallelujah!). My youngest has athsma and we really don't want to risk a bout of flu. The oldest doesn't process and expel mercury from his system like a normal child, so we have avoided any unnecessary immunizations that might contain mercury. I refuse to expose him to any mercury that is avoidable at all. I really don't see the logic in exposing any child to ANY amount of mercury at all-but particularly not a child with a known history of problems with mercury lingering in his tissues.

My youngest has gone for all out drama with his shot. He cried, he wailed like a paid mourner, he couldn't give himself a bath for the pain. Yes, shots hurt, but I believe that things like kidney stones and childbirth would have to rate higher on the pain scale. With this kid, a paper cut could be permanently debilitating to hear him!

But, tomorrow promises to be a better day. The boys are both going on a field trip to the Super Scientific Circus and are excited. My parents are driving them, so I don't have to worry about the older one getting overwhelmed and no one knowing how to handle him or the younger one needing a breathing treatment and no one knowing how to administer it.

Plus, it's always easier if I don't have to get a sub for my classroom. I am so grateful for the support that my parents give me and the boys. I am blessed.

Monday, October 15, 2007

working out

I made it up this morning to work out a bit before getting ready for work. It's amazing to me that this has been such a struggle, when I regularly did this for months before I broke my foot.

Anyway, I got up and did 20 minutes on the elliptical. Not much, I realize, but maybe enough to spur my metabolism a little bit. I will do a resistance band workout after work.

Now if I can only do this again tomorrow...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

More Christmas ideas...

I saw on a blog that Bev Qualheim has (she is from of an idea that I had seen before but forgotten about. It is a jar or decorative piece of glasswork layered with Christmas lights and potpourri. The top is covered with a doily and tied with ribbon. When plugged in, the lights heat up the potpourri and give off a lovely scent. It's a good Christmas gift, but can be left out year round.

Another idea is a gift that I received last year from Margaret (a teaching colleague and friend). It is a glass brick with a hole drilled in it (hubby can handle that part). It is filled with white Christmas lights and tied up like a present with a lovely wired ribbon. Under the tree, it looks like a gift that glows. Very cool and the ribbon can be changed to match occasions or decors. It could be left out year round if decorated correctly. I suppose you could add some silk or dried flowers to the bow also for a more victorian feel.

Now, I have more to consider. Hmmm. I LOVE sparkly gifts.

My teammates made it!

I just got off of the phone with Misty and she survived the 3-Day! I am so proud of her and Denise and Kristin. These ladies have really given of themselves to make the world a better place. The only thing better is if I could have joined them.

My aunt sent me a link to which is a group that makes quilts to sell to raise money for breast cancer research. Maybe I will make a quilt to help Misty and Kristin fundraise next year. Hmmm. I can still participate and I like that idea.

Boys and Haircuts

Okay, the boys have gotten downright scraggly in the last couple of weeks, but it finally got so bad that I could ignore it no further. So, I broke down and (finally) handed out 40 minutes or so of "threats and haircuts." It's not that I am being mean, it's just that my kids can sit perfectly still for half an hour in front of a professional hairstylist, but they can't sit still for more than 30 seconds for me. The threats sound something like one or more of the following:
I am NOT going to cut your ear off
Sit still. I can't do a good job if you're moving.
Don't move your head.
If you don't sit still, I will cut your ear off--but it will be your own fault
Stop whining
I did NOT poke you with the scissors, but I just might if you don't hush.
Sit still!
Hold you head still or you'll have a freakish haircut!
Did I mention, sit still--or else?

Okay, I have never claimed to have the market cornered on great parenting skills, but this one thing really tries my patience. I love the goomers and I hate it when they look scraggly and unkept so haircuts will be a recurrent issue. Plus, the professionals aren't open tomorrow and I saved $$$.

By the way, the boys actually look really nice and respectable. Looks can be deceiving....

Church fellowship gathering

Our church had a lovely fall gathering last night at the home of one of our elders. They have a lovely spread out in the country with corrals of horses behind their yard. The boys enjoyed it and our aspie seldom really enjoys anything that involves lots of people because it makes him so apprehensive and nervous that he will do something wrong.

But, we cooked hotdogs over an open fire, petted the horses, made s'mores and enjoyed one another's company. It's been a long time since we have gotten to socialize as a family since it's so tough for oldest child.

But, it was worth it. I felt much more encouraged as we went to worship this morning.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I have (had) a chili dog...

Our dog, Daisy, is half terrier and half mini-dacshund. She is currently living with Granny and Grandpa because she has two major issues. The first is that she has the world's smallest bladder and pees all over everything--constantly. At the grandparent's house, Granny is home during the day to let her out often. The second issue is that the poor thing is so cold natured that she is constantly shivering.

So, I have made her two little prototype dog clothing pieces to keep her warm. Am I a sucker or what? The first is a half granny square with ties that she can wear like a shawl. The other is a long rectangle with a ruffle over the butt and loops to put her front legs through. I will have to post pictures if I can ever get some of her wearing her new duds.

We went into a pet store lately, and they were selling all sorts of dog clothes at outrageous prices. At least these could be made from yarn left overs and some time.

Pondering Christmas ideas...

It's that time of year again when I get antsy trying to figure out ideas for Christmas gifts that won't break the bank. As usual, once the panic passes, then I am usually caught up in the creative spirit. I never seem to have enough time to get enough crafty stuff completed, but absolutely LOVE making gifts instead of just buying them.

Of course, I do stupid stuff like talk to the gifts as I make them, giggle over them, and such--but that's my sick state of mind and I end up having a really great time with it all. Plus, it's a help to the budget that I can usually make things that end up being more sentimental or valuable than just the sum of the materials that I have put together.

So, now I just have to decide what to do. I have lots of yarn on hand, so projects that use that up would be a winner. I have recently taught myself to crochet and have done enough knitting in one sitting to give myself tendonitis one year... (have I mentioned that I am an all or nothing kind of gal???). So, there are options there.

I have fabric around (boy, do I ever have fabric, but that is another story/storage nightmare) so quilted gifts are an option. I have done some machine quilting in the past for smaller pieces and it turned out well. Large quilts inevitably get bunched up on the back when I try to work with them. I'm still working on fixing that one. So, Christmas pillows and decorations are big hits with my family (we have several Santa collectors). Table runners are usually easy and quick to complete. Placemats, pot holders, with matching napkins are pretty easy also. Hmmm... there are options here also.

I could take up excess fabric and crochet a rug from it. If I have enough in the right colorways, then that is a great, inexpensive gift.

I have been enamored with the idea of gift baskets full of mixes in a jar and such. Maybe a meal theme would work well for that (soup in a jar, salad dressing mix, brownies in a jar, etc.). I used to do lots of gift baskets with home canned jams and jellies. I haven't been able to can so much these last couple of years, so that is not terribly likely. But, the mixes might work also.

I have found a website that shows how to crochet a decorative edging around fabric items and that can be really nice. Since hubby bought me the set of nice crochet hooks, I have the small ones that can punch through an evenweave fabric. So, a nice edging on pillowcases is an option. I could even do some embroidery work on them first to add more color.

There is a monthly sale at the Sock Shoppe in Griffin, GA which often has wonderful, fluffy towels at bargain prices ($1 for regular towels, $3 for bath sheets which could really be cut into 2 ample kids towels). When (if) you can find good, neutral colors, they can be embellished easily with trims and ribbons to look spectacular.

Hmmm... Decisions, decisions. Did I mention that panic sets in before I can settle into my crafting???

Senior Pictures

We are finally getting some reasonable weather for taking Senior Pics. It's hard to take good shots when the students are sweating to death. Plus, some want fall scenes with changing leaves, etc. for their photos. It's tough to pull off outdoor shoots when it is 101+ degrees out. Nothing like sweaty students...

But, it's really good to see them all dolled up and ready for their formal pictures.

In the springtime we will do the infamous cap and gown photos. Those are fun, too.

All of these babies are growing up. Sigh.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The 3-Day starts today!

Well, the 3-Day walk starts today and I am rooting and praying for my teammates as they complete the event!

Go Misty, Kristin, and Denise!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm proud...

This is what I have been doing lately. These are two hats with booties and a baby afghan for our former preacher's first grandchild. After three daughters, his first grandchild will be a boy--he's a little tickled about that.

It's been fun working on baby stuff. It works up fast and it's so darn cute! I have laughed and oohed and aahed over the little booties and reminisced over when my babies were little (although my oldest was NEVER that tiny--his 3 month old size clothes were pretty darn full right away).

The blanket is just a huge granny square. But it makes for good, mindless crocheting for in front of the tv. I guess this is what I am doing for stress relief these days since working out isn't doing it for me much. It's probably because I can't work out for the duration that I did before my injury. But, I have got to get it together.

The 3-day starts tomorrow. I am rooting for my team--BIG TIME!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

3-Day Praises!

Hurrahs and big hugs to Misty, Kristin, and Denise, the remnant of team 3-Day Supporters! They will report in 2 days to do a 60 mile walk to raise money for breast cancer research.

I am both insanely jealous and really proud of them all!

It's Official!

Okay, I have finally hit the big 4-0. I guess the good news is that I am way more bummed that the 3-day walk will go on without me. My pity party goes something like this: everyone will be having fun without me. Oh well.

But, I had a good day yesterday. I didn't take on anything major and we just took everything slow and easy. We did go out for dinner last night and it was lovely. Eddie and the boys got me an excellent set of crochet hooks so that I can continue my crafting fun.

I have finished the big blue blob for a Christmas gift. Plus, I have just finished a lovely baby afghan with 2 matching hats and 2 pairs of booties for the expected grandson of our former preacher. It's so sweet to work on baby stuff. This is the first grandchild for a family that had only daughters and no sons, so this is going to be one spoiled rotten baby! Of course, I have a really soft spot for baby boys...

The only really bad part is that I am going to have to really start cleaning and working hard around the house while I am on fall break to keep my mind off of the 3-day. Yuck! I'd rather be lazy...