Friday, May 29, 2015

A Soggy Week of Thankfuls

This was my first week of summer vacation. It rained every day. Every. Day. When it wasn't raining, it was so humid you could hardly draw a breath. My hair? Roseanne Rosannadanna. Hello, summer in southwest Missouri! Hello, Ten Things of Thankful!

1. Well, we aren't in a drought.

2. I don't have anywhere to be tonight, which is good, because I can't swim, and that seems to be the only way I'd get there if I HAD to go somewhere.

Local radar. That's a lot of rain.

3. Fresh local strawberries. My parents brought me a flat of freshly picked ones from an Old Order Mennonite farm not too far from them. Sweet as sugar.

4. Strawberry shortcake.

This would have looked even better if I had taken the picture using my light
box I made for A to Z Challenge. If Ruby hadn't destroyed it, that is.

5. Kittens who steal strawberries and make it halfway up the stairs with one before getting caught.

Not even sure how she did it.

6. Not finding any other strawberries tucked away around the house by the strawberry thief (hey, they're red, they roll, and somebody just LEFT a whole flat of them on the kitchen counter, where a certain someone wasn't supposed to be in the first place).

No strawberry shortcake for you, Ruby.

7. Strawberry Pretzel Salad. I made it before I knew we were getting a flat of fresh strawberries, but you can never have too much strawberry stuff, can you?

8. Linda the Cold is waning. Still have a cough and a little bit of a stuffy head, but that overall crappy feeling is pretty much gone.

9. Now annual trip to the general surgeon, Dr. Bumberry (or as I call him, Dr. Dorian Gray), he of the gorgeous auburn hair, where I was proclaimed to be in fine condition. He had a PA student shadowing him, and she also got to feel my magnificently awesome reconstructed boobies and admire the amazing nipples that Dr. Geter made for me (swear to GOD, they were part of the tour). She agreed with Dr. Bumberry that you would never know they were fake from just looking at them. I'd show you all if I could. Really, I would.

Doctor's office selfie. Because I get bored when I'm waiting.
Like my gown? Open to the front, please.

10. We have a tentative diagnosis! My poor mom has been run through the wringer with tests this spring, as her platelet count was very low with no other obvious symptoms. After a barrage of different diagnostic tests, she was diagnosed with COPD (which is not necessarily a GOOD thing, but at least it's SOMETHING) and was given two different inhalers to use (she had severe asthma as a child, which the pulmonologist feels is the cause). She hasn't felt BAD, but I have a feeling after a few weeks of using the inhalers, she will find that she was, indeed, not feeling as well as she thought, because she's going to feel so much better when she's getting more oxygen into her system.

How did your week shape up? What kind of thankfuls do you have? Link up with us. You'll be glad you did!

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Monday, May 25, 2015

This Was My Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is supposed to be the kick off to summer, but ours was a weekend of rain upon rain upon rain. Then it rained some more. Here's my weekend, in a nutshell:

My husband stood out in the rain and grilled chicken for us for supper. He must have really wanted grilled chicken, because I don't think we were worth it otherwise.

I ran to the store BEFORE it started raining for a few things for supper. Of course, it was pouring when I left the store. I had four bags of food (well, and dish soap) that I lugged to the car rather than pushing it in a cart, because I thought I would stay drier that way. I thought incorrectly, as I couldn't walk very fast with four heavy bags on my arms, plus whether I was pushing a cart or not, I had to slosh through rivers of rainwater in my flip flops.

I loaded the bags in the van behind the driver's seat, because our doors aren't automatic and that seemed to be the best way to get myself completely drenched while putting the bags in the car. Complete success.

I pulled up as close as I could to the carport when I got to the house (my husband's car was inside the carport, rat bastard), but it was still raining buckets, I was already wet and didn't want to get wetter, so I torqued and twisted and successfully got three of the bags of groceries from behind the driver's seat to the front. The fourth bag proved to be a problem, as a jar of Miracle Whip rolled out and stopped between the back seat and the sliding door. my options were to get out of the car, stand in the driving rain, yank the sliding door open (it's not an easy task on a  GOOD day) and catch the jar as it rolled out the door, or get on my knees in the driver's seat and reach around to the bag and grab the jar. I opted for Plan B, which would have worked beautifully had my arm been about a foot longer.

The Joplin tornado was four years ago Friday. Ever since then, I have had two pieces of broken ballet barre from the destroyed dance studio where my daughter used to dance on the floor of the van behind the front seats. I kept meaning to take them in the house, but they became handy when I found out I could use one of them to lock the back passenger door by reaching behind the seat and hitting the lock with the end of the barre (my son broke the automatic part of the lock about a year after we got the van, and we never had it repaired). When I found out I couldn't reach the Miracle Whip, even kneeling in the front seat and reaching as far as I could, I put the ballet barre to work. It only took me about 10 minutes, beginning to end, and if that barre would have curved, it would have cut that time down to about 30 seconds, but I got that jar without standing in the rain, by golly, and only wrenched my shoulder, got a stitch in my side, and a charlie horse in my calf as I wrestled for the jar. Then I opened the car door, stepped out with the bags, and got drenched walking the four feet from the car to the carport.  Sigh.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My son, the College Boy, didn't think my daughter and I were very good at sharing the bathroom counter while we were there:


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We drove home from the lake house late this afternoon, after a nice weekend away (and one where I was - and still am - near death from the cold named Linda). We had three cars, as we all came from three different places (long story, boring, and not worth telling), so my son drove one car and I drove another with my daughter riding shotgun. My husband stayed at the lake house for another night (part of the boring story as to why we had to have three cars transport us to the lake house). This proved to be a mistake on his part.

My son's vehicle needed gas, so our caravan of two stopped at the next town, about 30 miles down the road. While he pulled up to the gas pump, I pulled up to the convenience store to get a Diet Coke, because The Cold Named Linda is making me exceedingly dry. I walked into the convenience store only to find out the did not have Diet Coke at the fountain, so I walked out again, because NO, DIET PEPSI IS NOT OKAY. My son thought my tires looked a little low, so while his car filled with gas, he got the tire gauge out and checked the tires. As he did that, I glanced around for the air pump and saw it around the side of the building and currently blocked by a Krispy Kreme delivery truck. My son pronounced the tires "good enough," and as he started to head back to his car, the Krispy Kreme delivery guy walked up to me and handed me a GINORMOUS SACK with three boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts inside. THAT'S THREE DOZEN DOUGHNUTS. 

"Would you like to have these? Several of the stores on my route are closed because of the holiday," he said, and after my mouth opened and closed a couple of times like a halibut, I said, "Yes! Thank you!" I got in the car and gleefully handed my booty over to my daughter (who had not budged out of her seat or lifted her head from her phone the entire time we were at the gas station, and this is important). My son pulled up next to me, and I handed him an entire box, and we hit the road. 

My daughter only somewhat jokingly said, "He must have given them to us, because he saw me in the front seat and thought I was cute."

"He could't even SEE you in the front seat," I replied. "And he gave them to ME."

We wasted little time calling my husband to tell him about our windfall.

"Are you KIDDING me? The ONE TIME I don't ride back with you, and you get FREE KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS?!" was his response.

When we got home, my son and I stood in the kitchen and discussed the merits of each (remaining) doughnut in the three boxes (we may have eaten a couple of them during the drive home). 

"That was really nice of that guy to give us the doughnuts," I said. "How cool is it to have someone give you three dozen Krispy Kremes?! Of course, Emma thinks he did it because she was cute."

"He did it because he saw me checking the air in your tires," my son said. "He was rewarding me for being a good Samaritan."

"He gave the doughnuts to ME. Did it occur to anyone that maybe he gave them to me because he thought I was HOT? That he thought I was a MILF?"

And I tried not to wish my son would choke just a little on the doughnut he was eating as he laughed and laughed and laughed....

Saturday, May 23, 2015

No One Peed At Preschool Graduation And Other Thankfuls

You know what we work on every day in preschool?


You know what the director of our preschool did for me this week?

Shared her cold with me.

You know what I do when I get a cold?

I name it after who gave it to me.

This one is named Linda - thank you, Miss Linda, for sharing!

That is #1 on my list of Ten Things of Thankful. If I didn't have a good working relationship with my director, I wouldn't have caught her cold (I also probably wouldn't have caught it if I hadn't sat across from her at dinner Thursday night).

2. Last week of preschool. I love my job, and I love my students, but I REALLY love to have summer vacation.

3. Pre-K graduation was Thursday night. The minimum qualifications of a good program (no one peed, no one threw up and no one cried) was met.

4. I did have one student cry, but it was AFTER the program was over. I was her teacher for Primary AND for Pre-K, and after the program, when she and her family were getting ready to leave, she burst into tears, because she didn't want to leave preschool and go to kindergarten. I picked her up and held her, told her how much I have loved having her in class, but that she was ready to go to kindergarten and would do great. I'm not thankful that she cried, but I'm thankful that she loved her preschool experience so much that she didn't want to leave.

5. I am also thankful that all those times I had to tell this child to STOP TALKING didn't lessen her love for preschool (it also didn't do a thing to make her stop talking). At every parent teacher conference her parents attend for the next 13 years, they will be told she talks all the time, but I wouldn't change a thing about that kid, and neither will her future teachers.

6. I'm thankful to have had every one of my students this year, whom I prayed for individually every day, from the ones who were sometimes trying to the ones I would take home and keep forever. Each one of them are special gifts that I got a chance to teach.

7. Too serious. Time to lighten up. I'm thankful for toilet paper. I had to buy some yesterday, and as I stood there in the toilet paper aisle (because there's an ENTIRE AISLE for it), weighing the merits of each brand and style, I was reminded that my parents and grandparents had to use pages from the Sears Roebuck catalog when they WENT TO THE OUTHOUSE.

8. Indoor plumbing. Because outhouses.

9. A gloriously long weekend at the lake house that includes our three cats.

Pete, enjoying the fresh air on the screened in porch.

Ruby, a little skeered of that great outdoors just beyond the screen.

10. My mama. Because today's her 83rd birthday. 

ca. 1941
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Butterflies Are Not Hardy And Not Always Very Smart

We study butterflies in Pre-K in late April of every year. All of the kids are familiar with "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle, making it pretty easy for them to grasp the concept of egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly cycle. To further enhance the experience, our preschool director orders us live caterpillars that we can watch turn into butterflies.

It's pretty cool, really. Four or five Painted Lady caterpillars are shipped in a clear plastic cup with a lid that is lined with a disc that seems to be made out of the same paper as a coffee filter. The bottom half of the cup is filled with caterpillar food, which looks rather like damp brown sugar. The caterpillars love it, and after two weeks, they go from skinny caterpillars about a quarter of an inch long to big, fat caterpillars measuring a good inch and a half in length. They eat and poop and crawl around inside their cup and practice hanging from the top in the shape of a "J" (this is what they do when they turn into a chrysalis). When they hatch, we take them outside, open the butterfly house, and watch them fly away.

Our caterpillars did just what they were supposed to do. They ate. They got fat. They practiced making a "J" on the lid. Then one day, we came in and had four chrysalises. I got out the butterfly house, opened the lid of the jar, peeled off the paper disc from the lid, and safety pinned the disc to the inside of the butterfly house.

Then we waited. And waited. And waited.

Monday morning, we came into class, and we had a butterfly! Its wings were still crumpled, but by the end of the morning, it was dry and fluffed and fluttering its wings. I showed the kids at Circle Time, and they oohed and ahhed over the miracle of a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis. After school, I mixed up some sugar water and placed it in the bottom of the butterfly house, but as I did, I saw that one of the chrysalises had detached from the paper disc and was now lying on the floor as well. This was not good, but what are you going to do?

Tuesday morning, before school started, I checked the progress of the other chrysalises. (NOTE: the butterfly house is in my Pre-K room, where the kids come three mornings a week. There is no class in there on Tuesdays and Thursdays.) Two were still hanging from the disc, with the fallen one still on the bottom of the butterfly house. Also on the bottom was our butterfly from the day before. It was lying there, wings spread (not their natural resting position). I swear it was panting. When I jiggled the butterfly house, it fluttered its wings slightly and gave its antennae a wiggle, but that was it. This was not good.

After my Primary kids left at noon, I did a well-being check and found another chrysalis had opened, and a second butterfly was fluttering around the cage, checking out its surroundings, trying to find the escape hatch. Butterfly #1 was still on the bottom. Its breathing was slow and labored (I'm pretty sure, anyway). I decided it would be in this fella's best interest to be turned loose outside. 

The trick was going to be getting him out without #2 making a break for it. I reached into the butterfly house and tried to coax #1 into crawling onto my hand. With great effort, #1 heaved himself across the floor of the house and wedged himself partway into the seam where the floor met the wall and just laid there. In the meantime, #2 was crawling across my hand and being playful, and I had to wait for him to crawl off again before I could retract my hand.

Next, I tried slipping something under #1 to lift him up and free him. I was on the playground (and barefoot, as I had kicked off my shoes in the room and didn't wear them outside, thinking this would be a quick exercise), so I picked up a flat piece of mulch to use as a stretcher. I gently, gently worked it under one wing, slowly lifted #1 up, and he promptly tipped off the stretcher and landed on his back like a turtle. I was afraid to try to pick him up with my fingers, for fear of hurting him, although I just found out (thank you, Google) that touching a butterfly's wings will NOT kill it, although he may be less aerodynamic if he loses too many of the tiny scales that cover his wings. #1 was certainly not exhibiting ANY aerodynamic qualities at this time, so I said the hell with it and took them both back inside the school.

They aren't supposed to lie on their backs, are they?

As soon as I got to school this morning, I tentatively peeked into the butterfly house, hoping for a miracle. I had one butterfly fluttering around, one lying flat on his back on the floor, one chrysalis hanging from the disc, and one chrysalis lying on the bottom of the house. This was not good.

This was also our last day of Pre-K for the school year, and if we didn't take them out and free them that morning, the kids wouldn't get the joy of watching them fly away. Unfortunately, it was also raining buckets outside. This was not good.

I told the kids #2 had emerged yesterday, and I walked around the circle with the butterfly house so they could see him. 

5 year old: Why is that one on the bottom?
Me: Umm. He's not doing well.
5 year old: What's wrong with him?
Me: He's kind of dead.
15 5 year olds: HOW DID HE DIE?!
Me: It happens.

The rain finally stopped, and we went outside to free #2. He climbed onto my finger (he's a good sort, that one), but stubbornly refused to fly, so I deposited him onto a bush. He wasn't thrilled with the wet leaves, and he didn't fly away, but he didn't fall over dead, either, so we told him goodbye and went back inside.

Fly! Fly! 

The kids left at noon, I walked by the butterfly house, and found #3 had emerged and #1 was still dead. It was time to do a removal (no stretcher needed this time). I reached into the butterfly house to pick up #1 from the bottom, bumped into #3, and knocked him onto the floor of the house, where he laid on his side and kicked his feet. This was not good. 

I left #1 on the bottom of the house. In the meantime, #3 proved to be a resilient one and made his way onto his feet, climbed back up the side of the butterfly house, and hung out next to his empty chrysalis, and after a long afternoon of putting the classroom to bed for the summer, #3 was fluffed and ready to fly away. Out again to the playground (in shoes this time), opened the cage, convinced #3 to (reluctantly) climb onto my finger, and tried to get him to fly away. Which he didn't. His wings looked a little whoppy-jaw to me, and I was hoping it wasn't from the little spill into the bottom of the butterfly house. I sat him on a bush. He didn't fly away, but he didn't fall over dead.

Seriously, FLY.


Maybe we just got dumb caterpillars this year?

I picked up poor, dead #1 and laid him on the same bush. 

RIP #1

I'm Dyanne, and I'm a butterfly killer. Sigh.

Friday, May 15, 2015

100 Weeks of Thankfuls

This is big, people! This week marks the 100th week of Ten Things of Thankful. 


Write a TToT post and link it up with us (which you can do at the end of this very post), and you will be entered into a drawing to win a WHOLE BOX FULL OF INTERESTING ITEMS from one of the ten TToT co-hosts. Your odds are pretty good for winning one, so LINK UP. You might win MY box of fabulous things! Plus, you'll be a better person for giving thought to YOUR thankfuls and joining in the best blog hop in the blogosphere. Trust me.

My thankful list this week leans toward the domestic. For starters, I'm in a purging mood, and I plan to be ruthless, especially with other people's stuff. I plan for many, many bags of trash to leave this house, along with many, many boxes of items for donation. Here's my list:

1. On Sunday, I took the electric mattress pad off the bed. This means I really believe warm weather is here to stay! Bring on summer!

2. As I've mentioned before, I live in an old house that lacks closets, among other things, like a garage. We have no linen closet, so we use an old armoire as a surrogate linen closet, and it's stuffed to the gills. I pulled the non-electric mattress pad out, but when I laid it on the bed, it was obvious it wasn't big enough. Somehow, I had my son's full sized mattress pad in my armoire/linen closet. I looked in his pigsty room to see if mine was in there, but to no avail. It wasn't in the basement laundry area, either. or anywhere ELSE in the basement, and I was out of options for a place big enough for it to have hidden all winter. HOW DOES SOMEONE LOSE A QUEEN SIZED MATTRESS PAD? I went ahead and made up the bed without a pad, resigned to the fact that I would just have to buy a new one.

A few days later, in preparation for the College Boy coming home for summer vacation, I waded into the Superfund Site he calls a room to trade out HIS electric mattress pad with the regular one and change the sheets on his bed before he came home. When I pulled the electric pad off, however, I found his regular mattress pad was still on the bed UNDER it, so guess what that means? The mattress pad in my armoire WAS MY MATTRESS PAD THE WHOLE TIME. It just LOOKED too small, because it had been scrunched up in the filled-to-bursting armoire all winter AND because it's quilted and stretchy - duh! Mystery solved!

3. I'm thankful I found my mattress pad, because only a crazy person loses a queen sized mattress pad in her own home, AND I'M NOT CRAZY.

4. I made the much-needed purchase of a new vacuum cleaner this week, and I LOVE IT! It's a Shark Navigator Lift-Away, and it has already changed my life in magical ways! We have all hardwood floors with area rugs, and keeping ahead of the cat hair is a miserable job. My old vacuum cleaner (PSA - never, never, ever buy a Panasonic vacuum cleaner) weighed a ton, fell over and cracked me across the back or head or shoulders whenever I tried to use the entirely too short hose to clean under furniture, etc., and was less than efficient at picking up what a vacuum cleaner is SUPPOSED to pick up, although excellent at grabbing curtains and cat toys and sucking them up quicker than I could react and turn off the power. My new Shark Navigator is SO AMAZING that my husband came to witness it for himself, and I had a total Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence moment when HE started vacuuming the rugs, just so he could see how well it picked up. Oh, and the Lift Away part of it means you can detach it from the base and carry it to the stairs to vacuum them or reach up to clean cobwebs (not that I have any of THOSE *cough cough*). If you need a new vacuum cleaner, GO BUY ONE OF THESE!

5. I bought a new shower head for the shower in my bathroom, installed it myself, and NO DRIPS OR LEAKS. Added bonus, it feels absolutely divine! The perfect amount of pressure without feeling as though needles of water are being driven into my skin.

6. The weather has remained cool enough most nights that we have been able to sleep without bedroom windows open (our room only; the rest of the windows in the house are sealed shut with 90 years of paint layers). Last night, the temperatures dipped down into the 40s, which is unseasonably cool.  I woke up about 3 a.m. and really needed to go to the bathroom, but I was also FREEZING (and very UN-thankful at that point that I had removed the electric mattress pad only days earlier). I didn't want to get out of my cold bed into an even colder room to go to the bathroom, but my bladder finally settled the argument by INSISTING I get up and go, and when I did, I realized it was not only raining, it was raining IN the windows. Thank you, bladder, for your moment of weakness!

7. I keep a blanket folded up on my side of the foot of our bed even in the summer, because occasionally, I get cold in the night with the air conditioning, but more importantly, because the cats like it. Most nights, the blanket is a revolving door of cats coming and going (seldom can more than one share it without a fight), but after washing the blanket with the rest of my bedding when I removed the electric mattress pad, it was still in a laundry basket on the floor near my bed. When I came back from my (freezing) bathroom trip, I plucked the blanket out of the basket and spread it on my side of the bed, where not one, but TWO cats joined me, making me the filling of a kitty sandwich. I was warm WITHOUT the benefit of my electric mattress pad!

8. We moved the College Boy home for the summer!

They are trying to take the back off the recliner that my son took to college with him.
My job was to hold the seat of the chair down, and I think it was an insult, but
at least I didn't get my fingers pinched, although they almost pitched me
into the desk head first.

9. Every single thing the College Boy had in his dorm all year is now in my living room, but he SWEARS he is going to use a backhoe and clean up his room and get rid of many pounds of junk and old clothes and very large but worn out shoes over the next two days. I am thankful for his optimism.

This is only part of it.

10. This one's for YOU, dear reader. I am going to quit talking about electric mattress pads now. Until fall, that is, when I put it back on the bed and take delight in its warmth on the first cool, fall nights. Unless I lose it, for as much as I'd like to say that won't happen, well, yeah.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

I'm It!

Back in early April, the very sweet Marisa at SquaareKat tagged me to play "I Mustache You Some Questions." I was in the midst of the A to Z Challenge and couldn't play, and I imagine she thought I forgot all about it, but I didn't! I'm so pleased she tagged me. I love Marisa - she is the BEST cheerleader, always reading my posts and commenting, and I hope she realizes just how much I appreciate her.

Here are the questions and my answers:

Four names people call me other than my real name:

Mom: obvious suspects
Dy: usually high school friends, especially my friend Dana
Miss Dyanne: preschoolers, former preschoolers, parents of preschoolers
Pudd: my husband's name for me

Four jobs I've had:

McDonalds: after I graduated from high school and in college
Elementary Teacher: after I graduated from college
Assistant to the Art Director at RCA Records/Nashville
Manager of Contract Administration at Warner Special Products, a division of Warner Bros. Records

Four movies I would/have watched more than once:

"The American President"
Sedagive? SEDAGIVE?
"Dirty Dancing"
"Young Frankenstein"

Four books I would recommend:

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
"And Ladies of the Club" by Helen Hooven Santmyer
"A Bargain For Frances" by Russell Hoban
"A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" by Betty Smith

Four places I have lived:

Kansas City, MO
Branson, MO
Nashville, TN
Ventura, CA

Four places I have been:

Daniel Boone's grave, Frankfort, KY
The top of the Empire State Building
Niagara Falls

Four places I would rather be right now:

Nashville, TN
Rocky Mountain National Park
New York City
Ithaca, NY

Four things I don't eat:

(I'm very picky; it's hard to stop at four.)

rare meat

Four of my favorite foods:

ice cream
Sonic onion rings

Four television shows I watch:

"Modern Family"
"The Middle"
"Jimmy Kimmel Live"
"The Today Show"

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:

(I make it a point not to wish my life away, so I rarely say, "I can't wait until ____." These are just things that I know I will enjoy when they get here.)

Lizzi coming to visit.
A trip or two to Nashville.
Having a clean and organized basement.

Four things I'm always saying:

"Don't borrow trouble" (words of wisdom from my mother)
"Dammit, Ruby!"
"Is it hot in here, or is it me?"
"I love you!"

I am supposed to tag four bloggers to play the game. I have a horrible fear of rejection, so this is tough for me to do, but here goes:

Christine at A Fly On Our (Chicken Coop) Wall
Kristi at Thankful Me
Vanessa at High Heels and a Toolbox
Sarah at Amycake and the Dude

No pressure to answer, friends, but just remember that I won't even ask someone to be my Facebook friend, because I am afraid they won't approve me, so....

Friday, May 8, 2015

99, I've Been Waiting So Long

I think I still have an A to Z Challenge hangover. I've been so SLEEPY this week! Have had a catnap (literally, a nap with a cat in my lap) nearly every afternoon. I think I'm caught up now, though, and raring to go with this weekend's Ten Things of Thankful. 

1. I got the Mother's Day gifts completed for preschool in a timely fashion (we make a scrapbook of pictures for each child to give to mom). I wasn't worried that I wouldn't, but I always have this nagging feeling in the back of my mind of WHAT IF's until they are completely done (like, WHAT IF there's a tornado and they blow away, which is always a very real possibility this time of year around here). Project completed and presented. Whew!

2. The preschool Mother's Day programs were this week, and they went very well. The Christmas program is a bit of a crap shoot; it's the first time we have them up on stage in front of an audience, and you never really know what will happen until it happens. By the Mother's Day program, we are all older and wiser, and it usually goes off without a hitch, which it did.

3. Our grass heads in my Primary class are finally growing hair! This could have been one of my Pinterest challenge posts in itself, but I didn't get pictures of the process from the beginning, so it will have to do to be right here. Instead of the mundane planting of grass seed in a soup can of potting soil this spring, I thought it would be FUN to try this Pinterest project I found:

Walmart had knee hose on clearance for 18 cents a piece, so it cost me next to nothing for the supplies. Each child sprinkled grass seed in the toe of the stocking and added potting soil on top. I tied it to make a ball, my lovely assistant Miss Janet stitched a nose on them, and the child added googly eyes and a mouth. Then we set them into a can of water. The end of the stocking was supposed to act as a wick and pull water up into the ball of potting soil, and soon, the head would grow grass hair. 

Kind of Mr. Bill-ish, I know.


Our stockings did NOT wick water up to the head, and the heads just stared baldly back at us for two weeks. After repeated baptizing (from a modest Presbyterian sprinkling to a full blown Baptist submersion), we finally got some grass to grow. They look like little old men in a nursing home, but by golly, they're growing hair!

In need of Rogaine.

Two days later. Better....

The whole Grass Head family, mocking me.

That was really long. I'll make the rest of the them short.

4. My daughter's last show choir concert of the year was this week. They did a new ballad, arranged by one of the senior boys in his music theory class, and it turned out just beautiful. If you want to give it a listen, here it is (the sound isn't great, of course, and the man three rows ahead of me kept getting in the way, but you'll get the idea):

Joplin High School Sound Dimension

5. Open windows with fresh, spring breezes wafting in.

6. Central air conditioning, for when those spring breezes turn humid and the air starts to smack of summer.

7. Being greeted by Ruby every time I return home with the same amount of enthusiasm, whether I've been gone five minutes or five hours (if you start talking days,though, she ramps up the enthusiasm).

8. Honey Bunches of Oats cereal. 

9. My Time Hop app on my phone. It's really fun to see what I was posting on social media each day over the past few years.

10. I'm thankful for my mama, not just Mother's Day but always. She's been through the wringer lately with health issues, and she has stayed cheerful and positive throughout (okay, not going to lie, MOSTLY throughout) even when I do things like compare her to Maxine.

This is week 99 of the TToT, oh, by the way. 99! Can you believe it? That means I have found 990 things for which to be thankful in the past 99 weeks. Can you find just ten and join us? Consider it a warm up exercise for NEXT week, the 100th TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL! There will be a contest! 

Fun fact: my husband used to work with Toto.

Ten Things of Thankful

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A to Z Challenge 2015: The Recap

I had THE. BEST. TIME. with this year's A to Z Challenge. THE BEST!

Could anyone tell?

I loved my theme of trying different Pinterest pins to see whether the projects turned out or not. With currently 47 million daily users, and each of those users averaging 2,700 pins, I didn't want for ideas. 

This is not to say that it was easy to come up with ideas relating to each letter, especially the obvious ones of Q, U, X, Y and Z. I thought I was going to have to stretch a bit to find a pin for those letters, but scroll through Pinterest long enough, and you WILL find something.

Ruby's contribution to the Challenge

Here are some things I learned while doing the Challenge this year:

1. Having a theme really did help me write my posts this year.

2. When I made up my mind to do this theme, it was "go big or go home."  I think it's pretty obvious that I did NOT go home.

My injury from F is for Festive Feet

3. Anybody can pin anything on Pinterest and say they made it/bought it/used it/cleaned with it/ate it/photographed it, and there is a chance they are lying. 

4. If the aforementioned pinner makes whatever they made/bought/used/cleaned/ate/photographed look amazingly easy/inexpensive/miraculous/delicious/lovely, then other pinners will blindly pin away.This causes big, fat lies to be carried on into perpetuity.

5. You know the old saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is"? Remember that when you're on Pinterest (or anywhere else, for that matter - there's no such thing as a free lunch, y'all). 

Prime example of too good to be true.

6. When you find a pin you'd like to re-pin, follow that pin all the way to its source. Sometimes, the pin is a dead-end, with no instructions or recipe or anything else to go with a pretty picture. You might even get a message that says the pin may redirect you to a site with inappropriate content (I choose to believe Pinterest at this point and have never checked to see if it's true or not). Check to see that your pins are legit BEFORE you pin them, so your boards aren't cluttered with pretty, but useless, pins.

7. In spite of all the above, there are lots of awesome ideas on Pinterest.

8. I found out I was craftier than I thought I was.

I looove this glass pendant!

9. I also found out there are a few crafts I tried that I want to continue to do, even after the challenge. Watch your mailboxes for glass pendants, washer necklaces, arm-knit scarves, and shoe bunting.

10. I would never, never, ever have tried to make my own doughnuts if it weren't for this Challenge. 

Thank you, Pioneer Woman pin!

11. The one pin that proved to be the easiest and with the best results was K is for Kazoo. Every time I listen to that recording of "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star," it makes me happy all over.

12. Magic Oil is probably the single most useful pin I tried. It will change your life, people. Trust me.

13. I met several new-to-me bloggers along the journey that I would never have met otherwise.

14. Doing 30 Pinterest projects in one month can get expensive.

15. I will do just about anything on a dare, apparently.

I have had several kind, kind readers who have told me they enjoyed this A to Z Challenge theme so much, they would like to see me continue it as a monthly event. Challenge accepted! Game on!

Lastly, a big thank you to my family for putting up with all of the Pinterest projects and for being incredibly good sports along the way.

A big shout out to my Ten Things of Thankful co-hosts who not only participated in the A to Z Challenge (Ivy at Uncharted, Clark at The Wakefield Doctrine, Kristi at Thankful Me and Christine at In The Coop), but also kept up with weekly hosting duties of the TToT. We rocked it!

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