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Monday, December 31, 2007

Lessons Learned

This is it, folks! Post 1,000! You have all day today to comment on all the posts from 12/24 to this one. I will draw a winner on Jan 1st for the year subscription to Everyday Food magazine (a Martha publication).

Here are the details to enter the giveaway for my 1,000th post.
  • One comment per post between 12/24 and when I reach 1,000 will get you an entry for each of those comments.
  • Link to my blog to get an entry (let me know in the comments if you've done so and a way for me to check).
  • Bonus entries for answering my question of the day in the comments. You may have to search to archives or have been a regular reader for a while to know the answer.

I thought I would mark this occasion with a look back at 2007 and some of the lessons I've learned this year. I don't think I could have planned it out any better to have my 1,000th post fall on the last day of the year.

1. Blogging every single day this year wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be. In fact, I loved every single minute of it.

2. Blogging is cheaper than therapy but sometimes you need therapy, too.

3. My friends are extremely supportive and generous. We raised a good chunk of money for autism research in April.

4. Having two kids is just right for me, for now.

5. I can't help myself. I have to make money--no matter how little. I opened my etsy shop and sell Stampin' Up. I also started doing Pay Per Post.

6. I can't do everything. But, I can try!

7. I need at least one weekend away from home so I can remember what it is like to be an adult and also remember how much I miss my family when I am not there.

8. I can't resist Bit-O-Honey candies. Mmmm.

9. My husband isn't perfect.

10. Choosing to medicate a child isn't an easy decision but it turned out to be the right one for our family.

11. Yarn is a good investment. It is kind of like emergency preparedness. I store up flour, sugar, water, and wool.

12. I can't resist Dancing With the Stars.

13. Severus Snape is a good guy (Harry Potter). Jacob is a wolf (New Moon). Adeline and Emmeline aren't alone (The Thirteenth Tale).

14. Most people that find my blog through google searches are here for i-cord tutorials and felted oven mitt patterns (which I have never actually made).

15. I can accomplish anything I put my mind to!


Yesterday's answer: Cornbread Casserole

Today's question: What was a lesson you learned in 2007?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

999

Short blog today. I'm not feeling so great. Carl made me some oatmeal so I'm at least good enough to get out of bed to check my email and blog. I'm not sure if I'm going to make it to church today. We'll see how I feel after I shower.

You still have today and tomorrow to enter my giveaway for the magazine subscription. I'll draw the winner on Tuesday.

Here are the details to enter the giveaway for my 1,000th post.
  • One comment per post between 12/24 and when I reach 1,000 will get you an entry for each of those comments.
  • Link to my blog to get an entry (let me know in the comments if you've done so and a way for me to check).
  • Bonus entries for answering my question of the day in the comments. You may have to search to archives or have been a regular reader for a while to know the answer.

I see that my question yesterday was too easy. Most of you didn't even have to go and look in the archives! The answer was: The Count of Monte Cristo. Love love love it.

Today's question: What is the first recipe I ever posted on my blog?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

What's Up With Me?

If I post once a day, my 1,000th post will occur on MONDAY!!! That's the plan, people. Keep commenting to get your entries for the giveaway. There was a question about the links. If you include a link to me in a blog post, let me know and you'll get an extra entry. Example: Christy is such an awesome blogger! Go comment on her posts for a chance to win her giveaway in honor of reaching 1,000 posts.

Easy!

Answer to yesterday's question: Sam likes Hufflepuff and Joe likes Ravenclaw. Kerry gets extra credit for her superior knowledge of even which kind of scarf they preferred.

Today's question: What is my favorite book of all time? (HINT: Sept 2007)

I worked on getting our Christmas cards out last night. Here's the deal. No cards! I feel a little weird not sending cards considering that's WHAT I DO!!! It just seemed a little late to send an actual Christmas card so I'm going to save them for next year or post them to my etsy shop for next Christmas. Instead some of you will just get a picture and some will get a picture and a letter. Actually, if you read my blog I didn't include a letter because I basically pulled all the information off of here.

My theme for Christmas 2007? Lower the bar!

Friday, December 28, 2007

MMMMMalabrigo


I think some of my favorite yarn to work with is Malabrigo. I love it. Yesterday when I hauled my butt up to Personal Threads for the sale I knew I would be bringing some home with me. I wanted to get some to make these mittens. The colors I chose are natural and taureg (the blue). I think the mittens are going to be absolutely gorgeous and it has really motivated me to finish up some of the projects I have from Christmas (some gloves for Carl and a secret present).

I got a few other skeins of yarn at the sale, too. I bought two skeins of Koigu (Mulberry Tree colorway) and one lone skein of Plymouth Galway (color 130-an avocado green). The Galway color didn't really come out true in the picture. It is a beautiful green. It is the one I am always drawn to--I can't help myself. Karen from the knitting guild made this beautiful bag and has it listed on etsy. I wanted to buy it but Carl thought I should just make one myself. It will take a while for me to get around to it when I could just enjoy this bag that is already made. Alas, Carl's frugality won out so I started looking for a good cable pattern that I like. I found one. Now I just need to find another skein or two of Galway. I bought all they had yesterday.

With all this yarn acquisition, you'd think I would be able to knit a lot while Carl is home. Too bad that doesn't seem to be the case. While I was gone yesterday, Carl finished up the drywall in the bathroom (most of it, anyway). He said Caleb and Eva were good helpers. Today we'll tackle something else---maybe he'll build our vanity. I'm going to try and finally get our Christmas cards out. There is my goal for today.

I'm only a few more posts away from 1,000. Don't forget to get some entries into my giveaway.

Here are the details to enter the giveaway for my 1,000th post.
  • One comment per post between 12/24 and when I reach 1,000 will get you an entry for each of those comments.
  • Link to my blog to get an entry (let me know in the comments if you've done so and a way for me to check).
  • Bonus entries for answering my question of the day in the comments. You may have to search to archives or have been a regular reader for a while to know the answer.
Yesterday's answer: The World's Strongest Man Competition! I've been watching this every year for at least 7 years. Last year an American won but this year he got beat quite handily by Mariusz Pudzianowski from Poland. Mariusz is pretty much a stud when it comes to this competition. This is his 4th win and that ties him with 2 other guys for the most career wins.

Today's question: My brothers love for me to knit them Harry Potter stuff. I've knit them quidditch sweaters, scarves, and hats. They always choose the same houses. Which houses do my brothers prefer? For the muggles, there are 4 choices: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Family Day Out

Yesterday we braved the crowds to do some after-Christmas shopping. Oh, wait. There were no crowds. We went to Wal-mart. NO LINE at customer service. NO LINE at checkout. It was crazy. We loved it! We also went to the mall where I scored these Handy Books for $5 each (I got one boy and one girl). They aren't the Daring Books that have recently come out but I was really impressed with the fun stuff included in these books. Carl is really excited about reading about knots and hitches in the boys book.

Last night I went by myself to Hobby Lobby and CVS. I got some of those butter cookie mini tins (that hold 20 cookies) for $.50 each. They are going to be really cute to decorate. Carl's happy he gets to eat the cookies. I also got some super cute gift bags that match my blog banner. I bought ribbon and wrapping paper, too. The wrapping paper is red w/ white paisleys and can be used for any reason---which I love!!! We had a fun day.

I wonder what today will bring? I'm trying to figure out how to go to Omaha to shop at the Personal Threads sale with the kids with me so Carl can work on the bathroom. I may just end up going by myself and then taking them out of the house when I get back. We'll see.

GIVEAWAY!!!

I though it was about time to do a mini giveaway for everyone that has entered so far.

A package of peppermint bath confetti will make its way to Heather! It might even come with a belated Christmas card!

Here are the details to enter the giveaway for my 1,000th post.
  • One comment per post between 12/24 and when I reach 1,000 will get you an entry for each of those comments.
  • Link to my blog to get an entry (let me know in the comments if you've done so and a way for me to check).
  • Bonus entries for answering my question of the day in the comments. You may have to search to archives or have been a regular reader for a while to know the answer.
The answer to yesterday's question was: Breckenridge, CO! In 2008 we're going to San Antonio! You know I'll be posting details about when the time comes.

Today's question is: I've mentioned before that when there is a particular competition on tv I have to watch it. It is a compulsion. It was on again last night. What did I watch? HINT: You'll find the answer if you dig through my Jan 2007 posts.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

O, Ye of Little Faith


Here is post 995 with photographic evidence of the answer to yesterday's question. The answer was C. I finished it right before we went to bed on Christmas Eve. I didn't take the time to print out Eva's name in the same font I used for the rest of our names so I just free stitched it. It doesn't look as nice as I hoped but she can hate me for that later. I think I have a few years before she'll notice/care. By then I'll probably make some other kind of stocking. I definitely need a few years off, that's for sure.

Today we are going to brave the crowds and go shopping. I'm going to buy Order of the Phoenix with a gift card we got. We're also just tired of being at home. We need to get out of the house and do something. The kids have been begging to go in the car for days.

Only a few more posts before we reach 1,000! Here is a reminder on how you can enter my giveaway of a year subscription to Everyday Food.

  • One comment per post between 12/24 and when I reach 1,000 will get you an entry for each of those comments.
  • Link to my blog to get an entry (let me know in the comments if you've done so and a way for me to check).
  • Bonus entries for answering my question of the day in the comments. You may have to search to archives or have been a regular reader for a while to know the answer.
Question for today: Where did I go on the first annual girls weekend?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Here are a few pictures from the last few days.

Caleb and Eva opened their Christmas pjs last night. You may notice Eva's dress. She picked it out herself from her closet. It used to be my sister's when we were little. Eva danced all day in that thing! Very festive.

Here are a few from this morning. Caleb's favorite things so far are the Care Bears. The green one is actually Eva's but he doesn't care (and she doesn't, either). The bears are in bed right now so he can play with his other toys. He is really enjoying his hoppity ball and mp3 pillow speaker.



Eva got a lot of dress up clothes and some Little People. She has changed her clothes so many times already today. The outfit in this picture is from Grandma and Grandpa Nelson. The Little People came courtesy of the Greer grandparents.

We're having a great day. Carl and I have been rocking out to Guitar Hero III (thanks, Mom!). So far I'm the best at Hit Me with Your Best Shot. I also did okay on Barracuda. Maybe it is because those two songs are on my iPod and I know them the best. I haven't tried Welcome to the Jungle yet but I'm sure I'll totally rock on that one, too!

This is post 994, people! Enter my contest! You have lots of ways to win the year subscription to Everyday Food.

  • One comment per post between 12/24 and when I reach 1,000 will get you an entry for each of those comments.
  • Link to my blog to get an entry (let me know in the comments if you've done so and a way for me to check).
  • Bonus entries for answering my question of the day in the comments. You may have to search to archives or have been a regular reader for a while to know the answer.

Answer to yesterday's question: Carl was my Sugar Daddy, Caleb was Frog, and Eva was Big Apple.

Today's question is multiple choice and you'll just have to guess the answer because only Carl and I know the real answer:

When did I finish Eva's stocking?
a. Right after Christmas last year.
b. This summer.
c. Last night before bed.
d. I still haven't finished it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Giveaway Announcement

I'm so close to my 1,000th post! I will get there before the end of 2007. How fitting since this year was, as declared by me, the year of my blog.


To celebrate, I will be having a giveaway. The grand prize is a year subscription to Everyday Food magazine. This is one of my favorites! If you already have a subscription, my gift will add on a year to what you have remaining. I will also be doing some smaller, random giveaways this week leading up to my 1,000th post.

  • One comment per post between now and when I reach 1,000 will get you an entry for each of those comments.
  • Link to my blog to get an entry (let me know in the comments if you've done so and a way for me to check).
  • Bonus entries for answering my question of the day in the comments. You may have to search to archives or have been a regular reader for a while to know the answer.
Ready to play?

Question for today:

When I first started my blog, what names did I use for Carl, Caleb and Eva?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Talk

Carl and I are speaking at church today. I've known about it for a month and I've been thinking about it a lot. Speaking on the Sunday before Christmas is always a little stressful. I know I always look forward to those talks every year. Now I feel pressure to make sure that mine doesn't disappoint.

Maybe a lot of people will be gone for the holidays.

Or, maybe, I will have found a really inspirational story to tell and everyone will cry and be moved to act. We'll see. If you're going to be at church today and you don't want a "spoiler", don't click the link until after church!

The White Envelope Project

Saturday, December 22, 2007

And So It Begins...

School is out. Carl is home for just over a week. We have NO PLANS for the next several days (aside from church and the like). I'm not dressed yet. I haven't eaten my toast (still a little sick). The party went well last night. My chili was awesome (made up recipe). I made a HUGE batch and we had zero leftovers. I felt a little bad because these huge college guys (one girl--not huge) probably could have and would have eaten more if my crock pot was big enough. It was already filled to the brim. They brought lots of goodies so I was glad I didn't bust my butt making more stuff.

I'm going to try and get some serious knitting done this week. I'm also trying to do some serious yarn shopping but I'm running into some difficulties. Personal Threads is having their annual sale. Their website is horrible. Does anyone know if their shop is still open or are they just taking online and phone orders until they move to their new building? They don't have a search option by yarn weight so I have to go to other online stores to do searches there and then search for specific yarn at Personal Threads. It is a pain and is taking up too much time. I'd rather just go to the shop and spend some money. Free money. Yep, Joe (the PT guru himself) called me yesterday to let me know he finally got my gift certificate (from the State Fair). He tried to make it for $15 but I had to kindly let him know that it was for $25. I had to prove it to him by giving him the link to the entry book. Kind of annoying but worth the hassle. It isn't like I haven't dropped a pretty penny at that store before. I earned that $25!

I'm going to try to shift gears at my etsy shop, too. It is time to start stocking it up for Valentine's Day. I'm going to be making some of these coupon books. This is the one I made for Carl last year. I have some little love note mailboxes to make. I guess maybe I will be a little busy this week.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Diagnosis

Earlier this week, Carl was pretty sick. He stayed in bed late every morning and went to the bathroom a lot. He thought it might be something he ate but then it lasted for a while. He had me enter some of his symptoms on Webmd. Here is a short list of his possible ailments:

  • lactose intolerance
  • appendicitis
  • premature labor
  • lupus
  • traveler's diarrhea
  • menstrual cramps
  • childhood cancer
We decided it must just be some sort of bug and that he should eat lots of toast and applesauce. He's better now.

HOWEVER...just in time for the big party tonight, I'm on a strict diet of toast and applesauce.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nelson Bakery

My kitchen has seen so much action these past couple of days it is unlikely to recover any time soon. Just last night I made a double batch of coconut sandwich cookies and the filling, two batches of rice krispy treats, and a double batch of fudge. Add that to what I've made in the past couple of days (haystacks, chocolate dipped pretzel rods, lollipops, breadsticks) and you can catch a glimpse of why I wasn't that excited to spend another few hours in the kitchen making tamales (Carl voted for vegetarian chili, btw).

I'm feeling good about all I've got accomplished, though. The gifts for the teachers (3), paras (2), OT specialists (2), and bus drivers/paras (4) are finished and on their way to school. The teachers and paras got homemade checkbook covers, the OTs got magnets and chocolate, and the bus drivers/paras got treats and herbal tea.

Treats for some people from church will be going out this weekend. I'm also in the midst of making the gifts for the whole ward Relief Society. I won't say what they are...because a lot of them read my blog...but they will get those on Sunday. I am also speaking in church this week so I need to work on my talk. Ay ay ay. When it rains, it pours.

All but one of my Christmas packages has been mailed (Eric & Connie will have to wait--sorry!). Wendy helped me out big time with my Christmas card picture. Dude, I need photoshop. I am picking those up at Walmart this morning and should get Christmas cards out by the day after Christmas. My sister, Lisa, told me that if people have lower expectations of you then it doesn't really matter when you get all this stuff done. Good point. This is the year where I lower the bar.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Admitting Defeat

It is time to start retreating and waving the white flag. There is no way I'm going to be able to make my usual tamale dinner for the party we throw for Carl's grad students. I don't have the ingredients. Even if I went shopping tonight or even had the ingredients on hand, I wouldn't have time to cook everything. Carl works all day tomorrow and then has scouts in the evening. Making tamales while alone with Caleb and Eva is not an option. Friday is the party and Carl will be working all day and come home just about 30 minutes before the rest of our guests are due to arrive. I also need to clean the house. And do some more baking for our friends and neighbors treats. And wrap up the presents I made for Caleb's teachers and bus drivers. And finish up some last minute gifts. And wrap all our presents. And keep Caleb and Eva from killing each other (not as easy as you might think).

Oh boy, I'm tired.

I'm thinking a slow cooker recipe is in order. I have to decide soon so I can go and buy everything tonight. Any suggestions? My only limitations are that a few of the students are vegetarians.

Chili?

HELP!

Chuck Taylor

Were you cool enough to own some Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers? I remember I had some Airwalk imitations.

My very first nephew will be stylin' in his own Chuck Taylors...an imitation made by me! Aren't they just the cutest thing ever?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Talk About Tuesday



Today I want to talk about a Christmas tradition we have in our family. Caleb will be five next month and Eva will be three in March. Up until now they have been pretty oblivious to Santa. Caleb still doesn't really get the concept. He knows who Santa is now but has no idea what he does. This is fine by me.

When Caleb was two he started to understand the concept of birthdays. He loved to say "Happy Birthday!" to everyone. We decided to make Christmas more real for Caleb by explaining how we celebrate Jesus' birthday. We sang "Happy Birthday" and even made a cake. Caleb blew out the candles and then we opened presents.

This has become a really nice tradition in our family that I think we will probably continue.

Have something to talk about today? Do it here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dang Cold

It has been really cold here. We've been lucky to not have huge ice storms and our power has stayed on. It has just been really cold for a long time. I guess it is just beginning. Welcome winter.

Yesterday we went to church. We have to take two cars so Carl can stay for choir. Carl was taking extra time in the morning getting out to his car and I didn't want to be late so I went ahead and left. As I was pulling out of the driveway, I saw him come out of the front door so I figured he was right behind me. I got to the church and waited for a minute for him to get there to help me get the kids inside. I couldn't wait any longer so I got them in the church by myself. It wasn't pretty. The kids just ran inside. Eva ran to put away her coat. Caleb ran to sit in our pew. I went in to make sure Caleb was sitting down. Eva realized I wasn't with her and started screaming. I went out to get her. We got situated. Still no sign of Carl.

There weren't too many announcements so the sacrament portion began. I figured he was probably just outside waiting to come in after it was finished. When the sacrament was over, he still wasn't there. I left the kids with the family that sits behind us and I went out to look for Carl. My phone battery was dead so I went out to the car to charge it and see if there was a message. Carl was at home. His car didn't start. He had a dead battery. So, I went back home to get him. We were back in time for the last speaker and I don't think the kids even missed us. They were actually really, really good once they got in their seats at the beginning of the meeting. Well, Eva did have a tantrum at the end when it was time for the closing song. She wanted to sing on the stage. She's been obsessed ever since seeing the primary program.

This morning we went out to give Carl's car a jump. He's taking my cell phone today so he can call me if I need to come and help him tonight. I hope I don't. We've got the missionaries coming over for dinner tonight.

Nothing else too exciting is happening around here. I've just got lots of work to do so I can be ready for our big Dr. Carl Tamale Party on Friday night. I also still have all of those Christmas cards to send out. The kids didn't cooperate for a picture yesterday and it was a shame because I fixed Eva's hair in braids. She's my little Coolio.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Weekend

We did a lot this weekend to celebrate the holiday season. On Friday night we were invited by Marsha to ride on their private bus for the Holiday Light Tour around Lincoln. Santa came on the bus before we left and handed out lollipops. They were excited to see Santa but didn't want to talk to him. You'll notice Caleb had his "hair" on. It is starting to become an obsession with him. Frankly, it is a battle I just don't feel like fighting. So, for now, he goes almost everywhere with his yarn hair.



The tour started around 7:15pm and the kids usually are in bed around this time. Caleb made it to the first neighborhood but after that, he slept the rest of the way.

Eva was up and it was all we could do to keep her from running up and down the aisles. She had a good time looking at the lights and kept saying, "Oh my goodness!". It was pretty cute.

On Saturday I went to my knitting guild meeting. We had our annual ornament exchange. This picture is all of the ornaments we brought. I got the felted Christmas tree that is in the upper left. I wanted it as soon as I saw it and now I know why...it was made out of the same sweater that Julie used to make the bag I loved so much. I missed out on the bag but I got an ornament!

Today I'm going to try and put the kids in some cute clothes, make Caleb take off his yarn hair for a few moments, and snap some pictures of them to put in my Christmas cards. I've had the cards made for months but I can't get the rest of my act together to get them ready to mail.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Pay Per Post

I'm sure some of you have noticed the ad I have in my sidebar for payperpost. I signed up for it a while back but didn't post about it for some time because I wanted to post about opportunities that I believe in or have experience with. I also didn't want to promote something in a post that I hadn't tried out myself. So, this past week I was able to do that (my Amelia Island post). It was a really easy process and my post was approved for payment quickly. I'm going to try to limit my posts to one a week because the point of this blog isn't really for me to make a little extra cash. However...this is something that I do everyday and I love it so why not make some money with a post here or there? Right?

It was really easy to sign up. It did take a little while for them to approve my blog, though. You get a blog rating based on your traffic. If your blog generates a lot of traffic, you are able to post about opportunities that are worth a lot of money. My blog has a little following so most of the posts available to me range from $5-$30 per post. I'm going to try and earn enough money to pay for my 2008 girls weekend.

If you do decide that you'd like to do this for your own blog--all you have to do is click on the ad in my blog. If you do, I'll get credit for it and a little extra cash.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Rough Draft

Here is my rough draft of my Christmas letter.

Dear Family and Friends,

If you would just read my blog I wouldn't have to write this Christmas update.

CRAFTYCONSERVATIVE.BLOGSPOT.COM

Merry Christmas!
The Nelsons


What do you think? Too subtle?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

All Cinched Up

The new style of Lane Bryant jeans that fit me best require a belt. They fit fine in the morning but they stretch out by the end of the day and I have to start hiking them up. Instead of fighting with my jeans, I bought a really cute belt at Bass. This was a month ago.

Way back then I had to have it on the last hole. I was a little worried that I might need to break out my crop-a-dile to make another hole closer to the end. But, the last hole was working just fine. Until today. Can belts stretch? If they can, I don't want to know. I want to think that my waist is shrinking because I had to go to the next hole up!

Maybe my waist hasn't felt the effects of the banana cake yet.

Either way, I'll take it.

Amelia Island Getaway

Last year Carl spent a week at Amelia Island in Florida. He went for a conference. We decided against going as a whole family because it seemed like a place that we would like to go as a couple. After spending time there, he agreed. There are golf courses, shopping, restaurants, and the ocean! Did you know Amelia Island was voted one of America's top ten islands?

I saw this opportunity on Pay Per Post so I thought I would share since Carl enjoyed his trip so much.

Between now and February 29, 2008 there is a hotel and bed and breakfast booking deal. Stay two nights and get the third night free.
Lodging Special

Here are some of the things Carl listed about his time there.

1. It doesn't feel too "touristy".
2. He loved waking up and looking out his window at the canopy of trees.
3. Lots of trails for hiking.
4. Nice beaches for walking.
5. Warm water for swimming (you can rent boogie boards and stuff, too).

He's not too big on shopping but when I asked him if there was good shopping he said there was. I'll just have to take his word on it...or convince him to go back there. This time, I'll have him take me!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Reflections

Years and years ago (maybe more like 6), all I wanted was a baby. I worked really, really hard at it (thank you very much). I did the natural things (you know) and then with the help of modern medicine I did some unnatural things (like grow my follicles to abnormal sizes and feel like I was carrying around cantaloupes in my ovaries). Some things were pleasant (natural things) and some things not (cantaloupes). When things weren't working out I tried to envision my life without kids. What kind of person could I become? Could Carl and I really be happy as a jet-setting couple with nothing but time? We made a decision. We could not. We needed some kids.

Then came the question...how would we get these kids? The next unnatural thing on the agenda was IVF (in-vitro fertilization). We were too broke and I was too tired of feeling like a medical experiment to go that route. I was also starting to feel like being pregnant wasn't something I really wanted or needed to do. We were perfectly content and excited about the decision to adopt.

I hope this next part of the story doesn't seem too flippant because it really was a neat experience.

I had been on a few email lists including one for LDS women called 2ofus4now. Every once in a while there would be an email listing several adoption opportunities. I always felt a little tug in that direction even before we decided to pursue adoption but they were always for African american or multi-racial children and we hadn't really discussed this option before. One day I couldn't wait any longer and when Carl was in the shower I asked him if we could adopt a black baby. Without any hesitation he said, "Yes!". We had both been thinking about it even though we hadn't discussed it together and knew that it was something that we wanted and needed to do. We pursued it and 5 months later we got Caleb.

Looking back on what we went through and how we ended up with each of our children, I can see now how we were guided and sustained along the way. I wasn't expecting to have the perfect white picket fence scenario with our super-obedient kids lined up in their clean clothes. I also wasn't expecting the kinds of challenges we're facing with them. HOWEVER, knowing everything I do now, I still wouldn't change anything. I wouldn't want any other kids than the ones we have. They really do belong in our family and if I hadn't suffered through infertility, we wouldn't have them. Did I ever think I would look at my infertility as a blessing? Well, I do.

Sometimes I just need to remind myself how much I wanted this...all of it. I'll take the good with the bad and try to remember to enjoy every minute of it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Talk About Tuesday


Today I thought I might talk about my nearly finished bathroom and the flooring that we are getting (laminate on sale at Menard's this week). Instead I'm going to give you the recipe to the most awesome banana cake I have ever tasted. I made it last night in anticipation of being stuck in the house all day today (with Caleb--no school!). Here is the recipe via Recipe Zaar.

3/4 c butter
2 1/8 c sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c buttermilk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
  1. Preheat oven to 275°.
  2. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
  3. In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.
  7. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
  8. Stir in banana mixture.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
The link includes directions to make your own frosting. I just used a can of whipped cream cheese frosting. It also includes some more directions that I didn't do---like putting the cake in the freezer for 45 minutes. Whatever. I needed it WARM!!! I can attest to the fact that it is delicious whether you do this step or not.

Yummy!

Have something to talk about today? Do it here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Someday I'll See Even More!










Here Comes Santa Claus

Santa made an appearance at our church Christmas party on Saturday night. Eva followed around Mrs. Claus and the elves. Caleb couldn't care less until he saw that he could get candy if he went to see Santa.

Caleb has been very attached to his "hair" lately. Notice the yarn on his head? We didn't really want him to wear it for the Primary Program yesterday so Carl gave him a haircut. A real one. We got by without him wearing any yarn hair to church. Today is a different story. He wouldn't leave the house without it.

My mom missed the program (they left early to avoid the ice storms down south) but they did get to see him at practice. Caleb was pretty entertaining. He kept waving at everyone. He was especially trying to catch the eye of Alex, Kori's oldest daughter. He's such a charmer.

Eva was pretty good during the program. She cried for a while when she couldn't sit by Caleb but eventually got into the program. She clapped after "Love is Spoken Here". That was her favorite. Near the end she started saying, "It's my turn! My turn!". She wanted her chance to talk at the microphone. It's a shame she'll still be too young for next year's program.

All in all it was a fabulous weekend and the kids had a great time. I'm trying to get back into the rhythm of life and will start by doing as much laundry as possible today. Joy.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Feeling Neil

I was in the mood for a little Neil Diamond this morning. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

LEDs for Weddings and Holidays

Did you know that LED string lights are durable and consume 80% less* energy than incandescent bulbs? Seem like a pretty smart alternative to me. These lights are so energy efficient and you can string 125 strands together with just ONE plug.

I'm envisioning wedding receptions and holiday decorations with cool and virtually indestructible bulbs.

Check out the link for these wedding lights. I don't have a wedding coming up but I would certainly recommend these for decorations. I'm more in the market for holiday decorations. As soon as I can convince Carl to put lights on our house during Christmas, you can bet we'll be using LEDs. I think they will appeal to his frugal nature when I tell them they are rated to last at least 100,000 hours (incandescents last around 2,000).

This post has been sponsored by www.holidayleds.com
*Thanks Stacey for the editing!


Friday, December 07, 2007

Shameless

Julie and I have some items at an event this weekend. It is in a house near Sheridan Elementary (and Wendy's house) and there are a lot of cute things. The hostess makes the cutest things out of vintage chenille.


Here's the info:

CRAFT BOUTIQUE-OPEN HOUSE

At

2945 Sewell Street

Fri 10-6, Sat 9-2

Handmade gifts · Several crafters · Great last minute ideas

Bring a friend. Dec 7,8

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Omaha Shooting

I wasn't going to write about this but enough people have called and emailed that I thought I better let everyone know that we're fine. We live about an hour away and were nowhere near the incident. Certainly our thoughts are with the victims' families at this time and all those (especially the children) that had to witness this horrible event.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Can of Soup

Little Caesars here in Lincoln on 27th and Normal is having a holiday canned food drive. If you bring in a can, you get an order of crazy bread and sauce for 99 cents. We head by there every Wednesday after piano lessons and I'm glad I knew about the offer ahead of time so I had my can ready to go. I was the FIRST ONE to donate a can! They started this on Monday. I was feeling a little sad. Don't you want crazy bread for a buck? Go and take a can by and get you some!

Mid Week

I started the post as a list of everything I need to do before this weekend but I deleted it when it started making super depressed. There is no way I can finish everything I have planned and I have to be okay with that. I'm going to get as much done as possible so I can enjoy the fun festivities of this weekend. Here is what we have to look forward to...

Friday--Items from my shop will be at an open house; Jewelry party w/ some friends; mom and Greg arrive
Saturday--Primary program practice in the AM; set up for ward Christmas party; ward Christmas party
Sunday--Primary program; Caleb giving a talk; mom and Greg leave

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Talk About Tuesday


It's a mini sweater factory around here! I've been working on getting my custom orders done for my mini sweater ornaments and by the end of today I should be all caught up! My shop should be stocking these ornaments (and the OU ones) again by the end of the week. I'm taking Eva to the indoor play center this morning (every Tuesday morning we try and do something with Mary and the girl she watches) and I should be able to get a fair amount done there while they run around like little heathens. Last time we went she actually took a nap later in the day (she stopped regular napping in August).
This picture includes the bag I'm keeping my stuff in. Recognize those? They are Organizing Bags (cliick the button in the sidebar). This small bag is just perfect for carrying everything I need to make my ornaments. I keep some business cards in the pouch because when I work on these in public, I get a lot of attention. Speaking of which, I better brush my hair and teeth if I'm going to be getting some attention today!

Got something to talk about? Do it here.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Skaters

We were spared the brunt of the winter storm that passed through here over the weekend. We had some ice on Saturday morning and then just a little bit of snow yesterday. Caleb and Eva decided to take advantage of our slick deck yesterday before church and they did a little skating.They zoomed around the deck while I snapped these pictures through the door. Caleb didn't really fall down in this next picture. He was just playing like he had a hurt knee so Eva would come over and kiss it. She's a good little nurse.

I was hoping I would have news of lots of prizes that I won over the weekend! Oh well. I missed out on a NaBloPoMo prize and all of the Design Mom giveaways. I'm still waiting for word on the Dish Rag Tag prizes.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bubbles

Sadly, there was no bath for me last night. This is not because we don't have a bathtub but more for the fact that I want my first experience in that tub to be glorious. As it is at the moment, I would be bathing surrounded by insulation and staring at pipes. Instead of bathing, I went to Lowes and bought our shower surround and checked out some possible paint colors. We also realized that our tub is smaller than the opening so we have about 6 inches of sub floor showing. Looks like I'm getting a new floor after all. Woohoo! I'm going to shop for that tomorrow. I also found a mirror I love and I bought the curtains to replace the closet doors in front of our washer and dryer. The bathroom is really coming together!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Disaster Strikes!

I knew they shouldn't have gone camping! The other leader that went slipped on the ice and broke his wrist. Luckily, Carl took the van (and my cell phone) so he had room to haul everyone out of there. He has to go back later with someone else to go and pick up the other car. Wild. There is ice all over the place and I have to go to the grocery store today...desperately! Carl said the roads aren't too bad. It is above freezing so they are mainly slushy on the main roads. I think I might be able to make my way down to Super Target and knitting group this afternoon while the plumber is here installing my brand spanking new whirpool tub! Mama's taking a bath tonight!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Brrr

Carl is about to leave for a scout campout. The boys get to sleep in a cabin but the leaders have to sleep in a tent. Here is the forecast:

  • Tonight: Mainly cloudy this evening. Then a mix of wintry precipitation expected overnight. Low 24F. Winds ESE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precip 70%.
  • Tomorrow: Windy...with a mix of rain and freezing rain in the morning. Rain in the afternoon. High around 45F. Winds SE at 20 to 30 mph.

The scouts might be prepared but they aren't very smart. Who would willingly go and camp in weather like this? I guess now I know the answer to that.

Smarty Pants

Eva had her evaluation for speech and hearing this week. The hearing test was first and she passed with flying colors. The only thing was that she didn't say a single word to the audiologists. She did everything they said but was completely silent. I was wondering how the speech pathologist was going to get her to talk. As soon as the speech pathologist got out the car and the people, she was not afraid to speak. This part was really funny.

The SP asked Eva to put the doggy in the car. It was a pretty big Scooby Doo and he didn't fit. Eva got the dog and pushed with all her might making a really great face. Like this one. Only scrunchier.

After trying for a bit she said, "No FIT!" Then she shrugged her shoulders and said, "Oh well!". It was pretty funny. Maybe you had to be there? At any rate, she's on track and does not qualify for services. I got worried for no reason. It was nice seeing everyone at the office again. They remember me from Caleb.

Speaking of Caleb...his teacher from last year called last night to see if I would bring Caleb in so she could show him off for the workshop she does for other teachers. This will be his second time to do it. He has made so much progress and is really a great example of how this program can work for kids on the spectrum. I took the workshop last spring and they have a lot of video footage of Caleb and other kids from his class and others that are working on the program. It was amazing to see the footage from when Caleb first started to where he is now. They have graphs in the front of the book to show what skills the students have mastered and Caleb's is almost full now. They say a typically developing child should be able to fill it in by the time they are 3 and it covers all the skills necessary to be able to learn new things (labeling, intraverbal skills, etc...). Having Caleb master most of these concepts before starting kindergarten is HUGE and will be a major accomplishment.


It is the end of NaBloPoMo. It is a little anti-climactic as I post every day anyway. But, maybe I'll win a prize? Because, really, it is all about the prizes.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dish Rag Tag--Vote for ME!!!

Remember when my team won dish rag tag? Now that all the teams have finished, it is time for the individual merit awards. I just so happened to be knitting the dish rag at the American Idol concert. I'm up for one of the prizes. Can you take the time to go and vote for me?

SWAMPED!


I'm swamped in the most excellent way possible. People love my ornaments. I'm sold out on my etsy shop and I even have a few special orders (for 10 more--some Nebraska, some OU). Every year I think that if I would just make a few a month I would be ready to go for the holidays but then every year I figure I have plenty of time. It feels really great to be "working" again. Everything listed in my shop right now is already made so I don't have to worry about anything there. I'm not going to relist any ornaments until I'm done with these orders and have a few more ready to go! Almost every day for this week I've had at least one order or special request. What is most surprising is that 75% of those have come from people that don't personally know me and have just found my shop through product searches on the etsy site. Love it. Makes me wish I would have started my shop sooner!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm Glowing!


I saw this yarn on the Lime and Violet blog. There is no way I can justify buying this yarn at the moment. I have got too many projects in the works to have this kind of yarn in the house tempting me to make baby blankets with glow in the dark stars or a garment with a secret glow in the dark message. Can you imagine the possibilities?

***on a different topic***
I went to Target last night and found those boxes of trim that I used for my tree. They are regularly priced $99.99. I'm certain I got mine for around $20. Keep your eyes peeled for those after Christmas!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Talk About Tuesday


I put up our Christmas tree yesterday. This is the first year I remember in a long time where I was actually looking forward to decorating for Christmas. You see, last year I found some great deals after Christmas and I couldn't wait to try them out!

I got this huge 100 piece trim box from Target. I can't remember whether it was 75% or 90% off by the time I decided to buy it. Either way it was a SUPER deal.

It is so organized inside. I love it. Each layer has individually wrapped ornaments and they have handles on each layer so you can pull them out effortlessly. My tree is too small to use the largest ornaments but I figure we'll have a bigger tree someday. For now, I like my smaller one.
At the bottom of the box are poinsettia sprays and ribbon. The ribbon I'll save for something else but I used a few of the sprays to spruce up a wreath I had lying around.
Here is the tree all decorated. My topper is something I picked up a few years ago. It is a gold wire angel. It goes perfectly with the gold and burgundy ornaments. I also love how the tree matches our walls in our main living areas. This wall is obviously a mustard color (a little darker in real life) and the opposite wall and some other accent walls are a rich red.

The lights are built into this tree. That was important to me. I hate stringing lights. I also really love that this tree has a trunk. There is room to put presents and I don't have to get on my hands and knees to decorate the bottom of a tree. It was also nice when Eva was smaller--to keep her away from the ornaments.


In the next few days I'm going to organize part of our living area downstairs to put our stockings down there. I also need to find time to finish Eva's stocking. This will be the 3rd Christmas I've been trying to finish it. I'm so close that I think that this year might actually be the year it will be completed!

Do you have something to talk about today? Do it here!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Oil Country

This is how I knew we had passed the line from Nebraska where corn (and ethanol) reign supreme into Oklahoma oil country.

Highlights

Here are just a few of the things the kids did while on vacation in Oklahoma.

A serious bubble bath in the bathroom of my dreams (my mom's house).


Jumping on the trampoline all morning with my little brothers at my dad's house. Thankfully, no injuries.


Chilling out at the temple hopping up and down the steps.


I think they had fun!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Eternity

The real reason we went to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving this year was to be able to see my mom and Greg be sealed in the Oklahoma City Temple. I hadn't been to that particular temple yet (it was dedicated a month after we moved to Indiana) so it was nice to be able to see it. Another bonus was that President Gillespie performed the ceremony. He was the patriarch of our stake when I was a youth and was later called to be a mission president in Mexico while I was there (different mission). Melessa was there and blogged about it, too.

Greg is the best stepdad ever and has always treated my family as part of his own. The kids sure love him...probably as much as the ducks and Peter---and that's saying a lot!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm Coming Home

It's official. Oklahoma doesn't feel like home the way it used to. Sure, my family lives there and it is great. I will always love coming to visit. But, things have just changed so much that I feel more at home in Nebraska.

Lisa asked me if I would ever stop cheering for OU--even if they are playing Nebraska. I can't imagine it ever coming to that!!! I'll always be an OU alum.

Norman is getting so big! They are building some big hotels and OU has a lot of new buildings.

My mom lives in Tulsa now and I'll probably always feel a little lost in that town.

Even Caleb and Eva are pining for the "new house".

I wish Nebraska had a cool song to sing as we cross the border. Although, I'm pretty sure that there is not a single state that can compare with Oklahoma's state song. Oklahoma, O-K! See you next year, Oklahoma.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Good Morning Baltimore!

I bought this movie last night. We even stayed up late to watch it.

Today we are driving down to Goldsby to see my dad and Melessa. Then we're heading to Norman to stay with Tiffany. Fun times.

Gotta go!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving today! We're just chilling with the ducks and the family. Now it is time for me to have the obligatory pumpkin pie slice (or more) for breakfast!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oklahoma, O-K!

We're leaving this morning (in a matter of minutes) to go to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. the kids have been in a super mood because they know we're riding in the car to go and see Peter and the ducks. Peter is the dog. I'm sure they'll be happy to see their grandmas and grandpas and aunt and uncles, too. Mainly they are in it for the animals--which will remain a novelty forever because I will not have animals in my house (besides the human kind).

Besides the announcement that I will be on the road all day, I have a book recommendation.

The Thirteenth Tale

I just read it over the weekend for book group (last night). It sucked me in and I really, really enjoyed it. Good stuff.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sweet Caroline

Neil Diamond revealed that a picture of Caroline Kennedy was his inspiration for the song Sweet Caroline. I have nothing against Caroline Kennedy but I kind of wish I didn't know this.

Carly Simon is smart for not revealing her inspiration for the song of "You're So Vain".

Because I think the song is about me.

Talk About Tuesday


I went a little crazy at the mall last night. I didn't even buy things for people other than myself. Oops.

It all started when I needed some jeans. I had purchased a new pair early last month and I loved them. I was pretty much wearing them constantly so I figured that I needed another pair. I had a coupon to use but it was one where I had to spend a certain amount to get a big chunk taken off. No problem. I could use some long sleeve tops.

I started in the clearance section. I spotted a denim jacket. I couldn't pass it up. I found a blue sweater. I tried it on. When I came out of the dressing room I got some major oohs and aahs (not even from the sales staff--from other shoppers!). Can you really pass up a sweater that makes other people ooh and aah? I can't.

Then one of the staff let me know that she had a coupon that would work better for me (I had passed my previous coupon's minimum purchase) but I had to find $25 more worth of clothes and it would cost the same amount as I would have paid with my coupon. I found two long sleeve tees that were just over $30 but she discounted them down to $25 because this lady likes me (she gave me a little bit of a discount last time I was in there, too!).

Here's the tally:

Jean Jacket
Blue Sweater
Ivory Camisole
Blue long sleeve tee
Green long sleeve tee
Jeans

I got all of that for under $100! I'm feeling pretty darn good about my purchases and now I have to plan outfits for everyone else around my new blue sweater for our pictures!

Have something to talk about today? Why not do it here?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cutie Pie


Now it is my turn to distract you all with a picture of Caleb. We took this on Friday. Check out that smile!

I might think of something else to blog about later but for the moment, this is it!