Sunday, January 29, 2023

January? How 'Bout JanuWEARY?

It's. Still. January.

In February, the daffodils and tulips start to awaken and poke some leaves through the soil and dead leaves, and you know that spring really can't be THAT far away.

But January is drab, drab, drab. The only green to be seen is if you drive past a farm that is raising wheat. I guess that can lead me to my first thankful in this week's Ten Things of Thankful:

1. I am thankful for wheat. And wheat farmers. Wheat gives us flour which gives us all kinds of goodness, and it also provides the only green you're going to see amongst all the browns of winter. (Fun fact: winter wheat is planted in the fall, then it germinates and grows these little green baby wheats that provide beautiful green fields in the dead of winter. They need the cold to trigger their reproductive stage in the spring, then it is harvested usually by early June.)

2. I bought flour this week, as a matter of fact, because we were supposed to get a GREAT BIG SNOW AND IT MIGHT BE 3 INCHES AND NO MAYBE IT WILL BE 6 INCHES AND IT COULD BE OVER SEVEN INCHES SO GET YOUR MILK AND BREAD BOUGHT NOW BECAUSE WE ARE GOING TO BE SNOWED IN and instead we got a couple of inches and didn't get a snow day. Sigh. I'm eally not very thankful about this, because I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted a snow day, but at least I have plenty of flour now to bake something delicious even if it isn't a snow day.

3. My husband was out of town all week. Now, that doesn't sound like a very NICE thing to be thankful about, but you have to understand that, since Covid, my husband works from home and is there EVERY DAY, 24/7, ALL WEEK LONG, and I am NEVER alone in my house. And I like me some alone time! I got a few things done around the house, but mostly I just enjoyed being by myself (plus three cats).

4. One of my student workers is studying abroad this semester, and I miss having her in my classroom, but she texts me every few days to let me know how she is getting acclimated to France (FRANCE! So exciting!) and how her classes are going. I'm very proud of her, as I would never in a million years have had the courage to do what she's doing at 20 years old!

5. I'm thankful for hot chocolate on cold days. I made my own mix, using a recipe from my Aunt Mary Anne (with a few small changes*):

1 box (or bag) of nonfat dry milk (1 lb. 9.6 oz size - makes 8 qts)
8 oz (half a jar) Nestle Coffee mate powdered coffee creamer
1 20.1 oz container Nestle Nesquik Chocolate Powder Drink Mix
1/2 c. cocoa
3/4 c powedered sugar
1 tsp. salt

Mix well. To serve, put about 1/3 c mix into a mug and add boiling water

*most of the "small changes" occurred because the original recipe was from the early 1970s, and the packaging sizes have changed since then. The salt was added because it just needed a little salt to brighten the flavors.

I keep a can of whipped cream in my fridge to add to the top of my cup of hot chocolate (and I usually use a giant mug and double the amount of mix to adjust to the size of mug).

6. The cats don't have a taste for hot chocolate and leave me alone while I am drinking it.

7. I didn't write a Six Sentence Story this week (because I maybe fell asleep while writing it, and if it couldn't keep ME awake while writing it, imagine trying to READ it), but I will be back next week. It's a really fun writing exercise, and even if you don't blog yourself, you might want to follow the link at the bottom of each of my SSS posts and read how creative people can be with writing a complete story with only 6 sentences.

8. Spending the weekend in Kansas City with my daughter. This is the last weekend I will have a 23 year old; next weekend she turns 24.

9. Going to church in person in just another couple of hours! Love my virtual church experiences, but I sure do love a chance to be there when I can be.

10. AFC championship game is tonight at Arrowhead. Never mind that I couldn't afford a ticket to go to it in the first place, but it is STINKING COLD in Kansas City right now and will be maybe 19 degrees F at kick off, so I will happily watch it from the warmth of my home and hope for a CHIEFS WIN.

I hope you have thankfuls this week. If you don't think you do, you're wrong. Even in the worst of times, there is always SOMETHING for which to be thankful!

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Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Month That Never Ends

Hoo, boy, this was a four-day week that felt more like a 44 day week. My nugs acted as though they had Monster energy drink for breakfast and were training to be WWE wrestlers. I had two evening meetings I had to attend, so I was at school for over 14 hours both days. My hip hurts and I don't know why and nothing is making it better. I've had a busy weekend (FUN, but busy). I'm not whining; just explaining. 

I still have thankfuls, of course!

My sister bestie Nikkie had her 50th birthday this week. I made her a Kahlua cake (per her request) that turned out really well and should be noted that it never should be eaten immediately before driving!

We did some process art at school that included tearing paper into small pieces and gluing them onto paper. They did better than I expected - tearing paper is HARD for little fingers (and that's why we do it - to strengthen those small muscles).

I'm thankful for glue sticks that look purple until they dry. 

I'm thankful when my nugs learn they are not actually purple markers but a tool for sticking paper together.

I'm thankful to work with a great bunch of college students.

My other sister bestie, Julie, and I have been planning a real 50th birthday party for our partner in crime. I was beginning to wonder if we would be able to pull it together, but somehow, we did it!

Julie and I drove 120 miles round trip so we could buy a birthday cake from Costco, because they have THE BEST half sheet cake (white cake, cheesecake mousse filling). We bought other goodies for the party there as well, because, well, Costco. I thought they were going to have to load me on one of those flatbed carts and roll me out of the store because my hip was KILLING me, but I made it under my own steam.

Really good barbeque with Julie. REALLY good.

BBQ brisket, hand cut fries, beans

We had a FABULOUS birthday party for Nikki on Saturday night. We went to a Create 'n Sip place, where we ate party food (including the delicious Costco cake), drank wine, and painted a picture. Nikki chose a sunflower as our project, and we turned out about 22 very different ones!

Our instructor, Coleman, showing us
how to paint the background.

Our inspiration picture.

How mine turned out.

The partiers and their sunflowers

How 'bout those CHIEEEEEEEEFS?!

I have high hopes that THIS week is going to be DELIGHTFUL. And there's a chance of snow mid-week, and we all know a chance of snow means a chance of a SNOW DAY. Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Paste: A Six Sentence Story

The first day of school is always exciting, with children glad to be back in a routine, to see their friends and meet new ones, the room buzzing with the newness of the school year and its shiny floors, polished desks, and new school supplies, but on the second day of school, the teacher has figured out the dynamic of the classroom, which child can be trusted to run an errand to the office, which one would be hiding a library book behind a text book, which one can't be seated next to anyone because they will talk to everyone, and which one needed to be in the center front of the room where the teacher could keep an eye on them at all times.

Jeffrey was a cute little guy, big blue eyes, blond curls, stiff, new blue jeans and a plaid shirt purchased for his first day of first grade, but the teacher realized within minutes on that first day of school that he was a live one, messing with his crayon box, turning backwards in his seat dozens of times, hiding small objects in his pockets, and he would need to be seated where she could keep a constant watch on him.

And then it was the second day, the excitement of the first day giving way to the routines that would be established for the rest of the school year, and the teacher was working with her first graders on a math lesson, walking up and down the aisles, checking on her students' understanding of the concept, but as she returned to the front of the room and glanced towards Jeffrey, sitting front and center, a flash of white in his mouth caught her attention.

"What's in your mouth?!" she asked, and when Jeffrey held up his jar of paste to show her, his teacher cried, "Get rid of it!"  and was horrified when, instead of going to the wastebasket and spitting it out, he gulped and swallowed it.

"What were you DOING?" she cried, and he answered cheerfully, "I was trying to glue my mouth shut!"

"If I thought that would work, I would have tried it yesterday," his teacher grumbled, and as they headed down the hallway together, the teacher knew this was going to be the first of many visits Jeffrey would make to the principal's office, and she was right.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "lead."

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Don't Cry Over Spilled Paint

Here's the downside to a three-day weekend: I might kind of forget that it's Sunday and not second Saturday, and that means I forget (or nearly forget) to write and post my Ten Things of Thankful.

1. Okay, it's a three day weekend, with two Saturdays! 

2.  I finally got a new phone! My iPhone 6 was well past its prime and wouldn't hold a charge any longer, so I am now the proud owner of a 14 pro max. There is a steep learning curve here, and I keep sliding down before I get very far up it, but I have faith that this ol' dog still has a trick or two that she can learn, and I expect to be rewarded with a biscuit when I do.

3. We had snow this week! Usually, snow isn't worth my time unless it's enough to give us a snow day, but this was a little snow that began falling during drop off time at school and stuck to everything but the streets, and I was able to take my little nugs outside before we had breakfast to catch snowflakes (the snow was gone in a few hours, so I'm glad I worked fast to get them out there!). Of COURSE, we sang the Barney "If All The Snowflakes Were Candy Bars And Milkshakes" song while we were outside.

4. I am sooooo thankful for my assistant, Baylee. She has had to go above and beyond the past two weeks, and she has never complained once (well, not to me, anyway). I've had to be out of the classroom a lot, especially this week, and I know she has everything under control.

5. I participated in Denise's Six Sentence Stories this week for the first time in a coon's age. You can read it here if you would like. I mean, it's only six sentences long, so it will only take you a minute....

6. I found, well, a wristful of Erimish bracelets on my dresser at the lake house this weekend, which clears up the mystery I had earlier in the week when I gaslighted myself into believing I only THOUGHT I had a half dozen red bracelets in my arsenal. BTW, I totally blame my husband, because when I found the bracelets, they were hidden under his bamboo back scratcher, so obviously, he laid it on top of them and DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE.

7. We've enjoyed watching the Wild Card games this weekend and anticipating who the Chiefs will face in their first game of the playoffs.

8. Oreos. Double stuff.

9. Hot chocolate with whipped cream on top (from a can, but still).

10. Almost forgot this one: I knocked a bottle of liquid water color paint (think highly pigmented and highly concentrated) off the top of the lockers. It fell straight down, the lid snapped off, and purple, PURPLE paint went everywhere EXCEPT on the little pink coat that was hanging inches away. 

Believe it or not, it's still not too late to join the hop! You've got just over an hour. Go!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Lead: A Six Sentence Story

Arthur was exhausted. It was February 13th, and men had been flocking into his jewelry store all day, dropping large sums of money on diamonds and watches and jeweled broaches in order to keep their wives and their lovers happy and in the dark, each one about the other, and by the time Arthur closed up and readied the deposit for the bank, he realized he would have to take the money home and make the deposit the next morning. 

Tucking the bank bag inside his shirt and pulling his jacket tightly around it, he walked the four blocks from the store to his home. As soon as he stepped inside the kitchen door, he saw that the oven light was on and his dinner was on a plate inside, warm and waiting for him, and before he even took off his coat and removed the bank bag from his shirt, Arthur bent down to remove the plate, overjoyed by finding it was heaped with pot roast, replete with gravy, potatoes, and carrots, and an involuntary moan escaped his lips at the sight. His bounty in hand, he carried his plate to the kitchen table; the chair legs scraped across the linoleum as he seated himself, and his mouth opened wide for the first forkful of roast, gravy dripping back onto the plate. With a sigh, he slid the fork into his mouth, and as he drew it out, he felt the hair on the back of his neck ruffle slightly as the lead pipe swooshed through the air and smashed into his skull while the empty fork clattered to the floor.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "lead."

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Yes, Virginia, Christmas Is Really Over Now

1. All* the Christmas decorations are down and almost all* are put away.

*I forgot the greenery on top of the switchboard, which I noticed this morning, and I haven't taken down the lighted greenery around the inside of the front door because (a) it's pretty and (b) it's hard to get down

**Except the items listed above, plus the candles from the windows, which are currently on my son's bed and which I didn't take down until Epiphany, because, you know, direction for the wisemen and all. Also there are probably at least half a dozen ornaments scattered about the house that Lewis removed from the tree and has made into toys. I may never find them all.

2. Back to school after Christmas vacation, and I sure was glad to see my nugs! Now to get them back into out daily routine after that nice, long (but not nearly long enough) break....

3. More seasonable weather has returned after that nasty cold and snow we briefly had before Christmas, "seasonable" meaning 40s and 50s and even occasional 60s during the day. That's plenty cold enough.

4. I'm thankful for this sweet, sweet boy. This is Finn. He could have slept on the bed. Or a chair. Or a lap. Instead, he chose to make a bed on the trash bag that I had been filling with newspapers and such from our bedroom. He's been there a couple of hours now. So not smart, but so sweet!

5. I love my bread machine! I made cinnamon roll dough this morning and Italian bread dough this afternoon. Same end result, less work!

6. I praise my Kitchen Aid often, I know, but with the help of it, I made a French silk pie that is now chilling in the fridge.

7. I bought a Vera Bradley handbag last weekend for $2 at a thrift store.

8. The smell of bacon cooking.

9. Friends who will road trip with me for a 120 mile round trip so I can take care of a five minute errand, especially when the road trip ends with a hamburger from the White Grill in Nevada, MO.

10. How 'bout those CHIEEEEEEEEEFS?!

How has your new year played out so far? Write your thankfuls and link up with the Ten Things of Thankful!

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Sunday, January 1, 2023

Onward And Upward!

This weekend marks both the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one, so I'm going to write this weekend's Ten Things of Thankful post to reflect both. Ready?

Ten thankfuls for 2022:

1. In spite of mask wearing, vaccinations and boosters, and generally avoiding people as much as possible, I had Covid in February, but it was a very mild case, and my husband didn't catch it from me, either.

2. We had an uneventful tornado season. I don't even remember having a single tornado warning, now that I think about it. Here's hoping that continues into this year!

3. I participated in the A to Z Challenge this year, which is a lot of work but a lot of fun, if you've never done it before. (Spoiler alert: going to do it again this April!)

4. My daughter moved from her sketchy apartment building in Kansas City to an apartment in the attic of a house just west of the Plaza. In spite of the 35 serpentine steps from the sidewalk to her door, it's a much better (and safer!) place for her and Calvin, her big, orange cat.

5. I went to Nashville in May to visit my Person for the first time since before Covid. There was much laughing and talking and eating and problem solving, and it was perfect!

6. Yes, the summer was entirely too hot, but my husband and I took advantage of the heat (and the proximity of the lake house) and visited White Water water park nearly every weekend all summer. Thanks to having season passes, we could run out there for just an hour or two in the late afternoon and cool off before bed.

7. The reason we needed to cool off before bed when we were at the lake house was because the HVAC unit had been on the fritz for a year, and after giving up on the company that installed it and was supposed to fix it (as it was still under warranty when things started going wrong), my dad contacted a different repairman who was able to resolve the problems. Air conditioning AND heat whenever needed! Woo hoo!

8. My son and daughter in law are now in their second year of residencies and doing well. We visited them in October, and my son got to come home for a visit for a few days in December. I don't get to see them as much as I would like, but I will take what I can get!

9. After attending Community Christian Church in Kansas City for over a year virtually (and in person when visiting KC), my husband and I joined the church in November. And if you think you can't get the feeling of having a church family by attending church virtually, let me assure you that the chat feature on YouTube is a terrific form of fellowship! It took me several months of visiting virtually before I was brave enough to join in on the chat, but I'm so glad I finally did!

10. I attended my very first professional football game this fall by going to a nail biter of a Kansas City Chiefs game! Oh, and they won!

And now for 2023? I'm hoping for more. I'm hoping to read more, write more, pray more, love more, learn more, dream more, breathe more, move more, grow more. Aaaaand here I go!

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