It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Saturday we ventured out to procure for ourselves an arbre de noël.  We bundled up against the cold and traveled to the conveniently nearby Wilson Hill Tree Farm.  We looked at {nearly} every tree on the farm, and finally picked a nice smallish Frasier, which Tom then cut down for us.  Ella and the Rico-chico were exuberant helpers (though Rico's frog boots are a few sizes too big {they are Ella's} which slowed him down a bit).  Lou opted to ride in the baby bjorn, so she wouldn't have to help carry the tree. {Maybe I should try that next year!}
Mr. and Mrs. Claus were quite happy with our choice, and even let me take their pictures!

I put the lights {white only!} up Saturday night after the kids were in bed, and we set about bedecking it with ornaments Sunday evening after dinner.  Once more we had enthusiastic little elves, who shrieked with excitement over each decoration.  I was surprised how much they {particularly Ella} remembered from last year.

Tonight I added the finishing touch: icicles.  In my book, no tree is complete without them. {I would like to state for the record that I would be happy if these were the only kind of icicle I ever saw.  I do not have a need for a house trimmed with their frosty cousins.}  I don't know where the tradition started, but both my parents and paternal grandparents have had them on their trees as long as I can remember.  In fact, I may have helped make the ones that now adorn my tree--back when I was two!

They are super easy to make (I'm told--I don't remember) and are so perfect and festive {in my humble opinion}.

Should you desire to add them to your Christmas decor (so you, too, can look like ME!) all you need are a few simple materials. (Like I mentioned, I haven't actually made these in my memory, so these are my grandma's instructions, but they seem pretty clear to me!)
  • Glitter Sticks (silver pipe cleaner things) cut in half (about 6")
  • Craft glue (optional)
  • Clear beads (AB finish, if desired) in the following sizes:
    • Large (18mm) and small (12mm) "cartwheel" beads
    • Large (8mm) and small (6mm) round beads
    • Tri beads
    • Faceted or plain spaghetti beads
Place one spaghetti bead on the end of the glitter stick and glue if desired.  (If kids will be touching these, save yourself some grief and glue the bottom one!)  Follow by three small round beads, three large round beads, four tri beads, six small cartwheels, and six large cartwheels.   Bend the remaining stick in half and attach an ornament hook.



Since I first posted about Soup Monday, we have successfully had a different soup each week. This week marks the first repetition.

Which is not a bad thing, seeing as I'm making taco soup again.

Since the first week, where we enjoyed taco soup, we have sampled (more or less in order):

Sausage Bean Chowder
Baked Potato Soup
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Lasagna Soup
Beef, Barley, and Vegetable Soup
Mint Pea Soup

Some were old favorites, some were new favorites (hello, pea soup!) and some were mediocre in my book, but much appreciated by others (read: Tom).

What is your favorite soup?


A little obsessed

You may recall the two bows I posted as an option for the winner of the giveaway.Since then, I've become a little, um, obsessed.
No scrap of ribbon is safe.
Yesterday I expanded to crochet.And yes, that's just a sampling...



Standing at the post office today, my phone rang, got a text, and then rang again. Being the polite customer that I am, I only checked it the second time it rang to make sure that it wasn't Tom calling with some kind of emergency.

It wasn't.

When I got back to the car, I checked it more carefully. Both calls and the text were from the same number that I didn't recognize, and the text said:

"I want my 20 Back or more bud"

Hello, confusion.

The only thing I could possibly imagine was that a little over a week ago I sold our crib on craigslist for $20, but I was totally upfront in the ad about it having been chewed on, and the guy obviously saw it before he bought it, so I was miffed as to what the problem could be.

I continued to ponder this on the way home wondering what in the world it could mean. When there was no message on my home phone or email, I texted the person back expressing my confusion:

"Who are you, and what are you talking about?"

And he/she replied:

"rong number"

Oh good. I'm not crazy. You are. And I'm okay with that.


I promise they go together.

When we were first married, we somehow acquired a doorknob-hanger-thing. It had "DO NOT ENTER" on one side, and a little white board on other, with a dry erase marker clipped to the side. I don't remember where it came from, but it quickly became the traveling love note. Tom would write a sweet something on it and hide it somewhere where I would be sure to find it. Then I would reciprocate. In one of our many moves, it disappeared, and was all but forgotten.


I used my last check the other day. I have cute Disney checks with Tinkerbell, Bambi, Cinderella, and Lady and the Tramp on them. They make me happy. Knowing I had more somewhere, I went looking.

And looking.

And looking.

And I could not find them in any logical location.

Even after Tom checked where he thought they were, they remained elusive. Last Saturday, I finally started pulling down each box in our closet (we have far too many) and going through them, even if I thought I knew the contents. There was one of candles, one of stationary etc., one of frames, one of random stuff from Tom's desk that was thrown together when we moved and was never unpacked (it was obviously important stuff!) and finally the last box was of things I had determined I wanted to keep, but not on my desk. And in that last box, lo and behold, was the checks. Hooray.


I am the ward choir director. Each member has a black binder to keep all their music in, and I keep all those binders in a cardboard box which I tote to and from church each week. Having had the calling (and, therefore, the box) for over two years, it was beginning to fall falling apart. I had taped it back together, but it was really quite pathetic.

Last Sunday, as I was getting my box out to take it to church, I commented to Tom (who is not usually at home Sundays before church, as he has early meetings) about the dilapidated state of the choir box.

Remembering the half-empty box of randomness in the closet, (which was in pristine condition) he pulled it out, dumped the contents on the bed, and transferred the choir binders to their new, much sturdier home.


As Tom sorted through the contents later, he found the door-knob-hanger-thing and quietly recommenced the traveling love note.

And I love it.



You may remember the Santa debate. Well, he didn't come to our house last year, and I don't think he'll be coming this year either. (Maybe it's because we don't have a chimney!) Some of you may applaud this, and others think we are mean parents.

That may be so.

In fact, here is another example of our child abuse: Our kids have never been trick-or-treating.

I know. Mean!

Last year was the first year that Ella even dressed up. (Aside from when she was 9 months old and we put a pumpkin costume on her for five minutes just because someone gave it to us.) And it was the first year we carved pumpkins. (Thanks to the Reyes' who invited us to carve pumpkins with them.)

It's not that we're against Halloween. I think it's a combination of things. We like to get the kids to bed early and the church trunk-or-treat always starts at 7. And we are lazy, and once you start, you're stuck doing it FOREVER! But most of all, I guess we just don't see the need for pumping the kids full of sugar. And they don't know what they're missing out on.

We do pass out candy to all the little ghouls and goblins who come to our door. In fact, that's Ella and Rico's favorite thing. Each time the doorbell would ring, they would shriek and run for the door vying to be the one who got to hand out the candy. And they even got a couple of pieces from our bowl before they went to bed.

And this year, as Ella climbed in bed, she said to Tom:

"Maybe next year, we can knock on some persons doors and get some candy."

And Tom said:

"That would be great."

So our cruelty ends here.



The following is a text conversation between Grant and me on Halloween:

Grant: Do you listen to Pandora?

Me: Of course! Why?

Grant: Stop! We found something a million times better!!! It is called Grooveshark.com. It OWNS Pandora in every way possible! Literally!

Me: Most excellent. I shall try it out promptly. :-)

Grant: You can choose ANY song to listen to, you can make your own playlists (like on iTunes), you can play it Pandora style, you can slip forward and back, etc!!!

Me: That is most excellent! I wish we knew about it last night, Tom tried to put on some halloween music, but pandora was just not getting the right idea.

Grant: Type in "halloween music" to the search bar and press play all and you got it! We are listening to it right now. And there are no limits on how many you skip!

We promptly checked it out and I'm a huge fan! Tom spent like an hour on it that night listening to his favorite songs. I'm been listening to a little Michael Bublé right now.

If you like music, and have not yet checked this excellent website out, I urge you to do so now.

Why are you still here? GO!


I would not have you miss out on this comment from Grant:

I once again affirm my promotion and support of this FANTASTIC site!!!

Think of all of the things that you don't appreciate about Pandora (limited skipping forward, no skipping backward, no looking for specific songs and just hoping that Pandora would just happen to have that song in their random playlist so that your soul's need could be met, the new ads in the playlist, the 40 hour limit per month, etc).

Well, my friends, you can throw those concerns out the window with grooveshark.com. I am still fruitlessly looking for flaws in this very user-friendly interface. I have tested it's depths of resources and found the site to be amazingly comprehensive. And let's say that you find that it doesn't have something...throw your copy in there and upload it to the system so that others can enjoy it.

Some things that you will find that grooveshark.com provides, that inferior competitors do not: You can create your own playlists (much like iTunes), you can skip to the middle of a song, you have your own library, etc.

If your heart yearns to not have to create it's own playlist, then just plug in a favorite song of yours and press the "Radio" button and you have the same service that Pandora provides, without the annoying ads, restricted mobility, etc.

I can't stress enough how much stress relief this site will provide you and your friends and your family AND for the strangers on the street that you share this information with in your newly found enthusiasm for your new favorite music listening resource, grooveshark.com. So join in the celebration and enjoy life to a greater degree!