Friday, December 31, 2010

Catching up...@home :)

I am home after 6 days and 5 nights in Los Angeles! It is so good to be home! However, I do have to say that the time I just spent with my two boys down in So.Cal - watching 10 hockey games that they played in days, spending time with each of them while the other was on the ice, time in the hotel room and driving to/from - was priceless. Lots of Mother-sons bonding time...something that gets less and less as they grow up!

Yesterday, the last day of the hockey games, miracles happened...in order for Robert's team to finish in 2nd place and play in the championship game the following had to happen in the morning games: the Dallas Stars Elite Bantam AAA team had to beat the Phoenix Bantam AAA team...and Robert's team had to beat the LA Select Bantam AAA team. Well, all the stars and planets must have lined up perfectly because that is what happened. So, Robert's team ended up 2nd and played in the 3pm championship game. With 2-1/2 hours between the morning game and the championship game, the boys and I enjoyed a lunch at Panera Bread Company and then came back to the parking lot of the rink. Since we checked out of our hotel room, because I assumed that the miracle wouldn't happen, we vegged out in the car:
Robert enjoyed an hour nap in the back seat; I hung his hockey gear on the car in order for it to dry out in the sun (nothing is worse than putting on sweating, wet hockey gear, or so I have been told) and Matthew spread out a blanket to read on that grassy patch beside the car. I ended up dozing in the front seat of the car - in the sun, with the window open! A perfect way to prep for the next game for Robert...and a good chance for me to get in a little shut eye before the game and the long drive home.

The championship game was between us and the LA Select team again (the same one we played in the morning and beat to qualify for this game). The other team definitely utilized their "winning strategy" in the afternoon (something which I believe they didn't do in the morning), as they beat us 5-0.  But, as Robert mentioned in the car on the way home, whether the Selects played their normal strategy or not, it felt good to leave SoCal with some wins!

Well, as soon as Robert was changed and out of the dressing room, we "high-tailed it" out of LA trying to beat the evening commute traffic (you have never been in traffic until you have driven through LA, OMG!). It wasn't too bad...just took us about 1-1/2 hours to get out of there...and we were home around 11:15pm (a little over 6 hours of driving).

Today - I am staying home and will try to catch up on some of the things that need to be done before we settle down to ring in the new year: laundry, taking down the Christmas tree, stock up the house with food, etc. I might even be able to sit down and cross stitch a little today/tonight :)

Well, my friend, take care - Happy New Year (just in case I don't get a chance to wish you one tomorrow) - and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How to keep expenses down during hockey travels

I'm still in LA and we just finished up a day with 3 hockey games. Matthew's team had a game at 6:15am and Robert's had two games: 9:50am and 4:30pm. It has been a long day, especially for Matthew and I who got up at 4am so that he could eat breakfast before leaving at 5am in order to be at the rink 1 hour before game time. Matthew's team lost...Robert's had 1 tie and 1 win.

Since we are housed in the Marriot from Dec. 25 through the 30th, eating out can get expensive. So, we have decided to enjoy one meal out while eating in our room for the other two. One meal, breakfast is easy to deal with - as there is a refrigerator in the room for the milk for the cereal and yogurt, which accompany the chocolate chip muffins. The other meal has either been a lunch or a dinner, which is what the boys are finishing right now. We figured out a way to warm up hot dogs in the coffee maker (innovative, huh?) and serve on hot dog buns along with canned green beans and some sort of fruit. Sounds silly, I suppose...but it does help save cost on these travel hockey tournaments.

Tomorrow we have about the same schedule...Matthew will play in his last game of his tournament at 7 am, then Robert will have two games: 9am and 4pm. In the evening, after Robert's last game we will enjoy a meal with his team.

I am enjoying my time with my two boys, but I definitely will be ready to go home Thursday evening. Keep your fingers crossed that Los Angeles traffic will not be too bad that evening :)

Well, take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Hello"...from Los Angeles

'tis the day after Christmas...Boxing Day for our Canadian friends up north...and "return those unwanted gifts" day for others. For me, it is a day to sleep in a little before getting up and hitting the fitness room at the Marriot Long Beach, while the boys slept in a little longer.

Yesterday, after getting up at 6am to watch the boys open their Christmas gifts (they boys received "needed" items - underware, socks, pajamas -  so that they could use their gift cards received from their grandparents on "wanted" items) we had a quick breakfast and headed into *The Store* so that we could be there for all the Christmas fruit arrangement pick ups scheduled between 8 and 12. We even made up a few other arrangements to have on hand "just in case" walk ins came in looking for something special to take to a Christmas meal they were having that day - which was a good thing, as we sold 3 out of the 4 that were made. Just like Thanksgiving, the boys came with us to work, greeting the customers at the door, found their arrangement in the walk-in refrigerator and carried it out to their cars. They really have a good time coming in with us to "work". This wasn't your typical Christmas family celebration, but it worked for us...and if that wasn't atypical enough for you, around 3pm the boys and I had the car all packed up and started our journey down to LA for our hockey week.

Matthew's (younger son) starts his tournament today with a game at 4pm...his tournament goes until Tuesday evening...Robert (older son) starts his tounament on Tuesday and finishes up on Thursday evening, when we head back home. We have camped out in the Marriot, bringing food so that we can keep the costs down, eating breakfasts and some lunches in our room.

That is about it, hope you are having a nice holiday with your friends, families and loved ones!

Take care and remember...
Love, Live, Laugh and Stitch Often!
Lisa

Love is the greatest medicine.
I ask to be the healing medicine for others.
I ask my heart to expand its boundaries and to love others as they wish to be loved.
I ask my heart to expand its boundaries and open to my being loved as I wish to be loved.
~Julia Cameron

You are as prone to love as the sun it so shine;
it being the most delightful and natural employment of the soul of humans
~Thomas Traherne

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve day....

As promised, above is a photo of my Friendship Sampler RR, which has "officially" come home after all the wonderful ladies in the group have stitched their heart on it. For those of you who aren't aware of the history of this...here is the short version:
Friendship Sampler by Carriage House Samplings
 (the photo from the insert in the pattern)
January 2009, a group of 18 women sign up for a "round-robin" which was organized by a wonderful woman named Sara, who collected the names/addresses, created a mailing list and sent out monthly emails to make sure that we were stitching and mailing. Each of us purchased the Friendship Sampler by Carriage House Samplings, fabric of our choice and stitched the first heart before sending it to the person next on the list...then stitching on a member's RR and sending it to the next woman on the mailing list, etc...until everyone received their RR back with hearts stitched by all the members of the round robin.

February 2009, the end of the month was the first mail date...after we stitched the first heart on our own we all packaged up our RR and sent it to the next person on the list. Each of us has some sort of special instructions regarding how we wanted ours to be stitched (some wanted only reds, others blue, several neutral colors or just a request to stitch as per the pattern). The first 4 months seem to go well, but by the summer time two of the RRs were missing at one of the member's houses and we never heard back from her again. One of those was mine. While the other member decided to withdraw from the RR in frustration, I decided to purchase more fabric and start all over (that is why mine was the last to make its way home!). After being re-introduced in the group again, my RR travelled pretty quickly for a while, but again during the summer of 2010 it lost a little momentum. Some of the members got busy with life, which caused some of the delay; and sometimes it was just that it took awhile to swim across the ocean.

Nevertheless...it is home...and it contains all the hearts, names and home state/countries of those women who stitched on it. Now, I just need to add the last remaining hearts to finish it up :)

Well, it is Christmas Eve...
What are your plans for this evening? What traditions do you have in your household?

When I was a little girl...my family would go to St. Louis, Missouri where my grandparents lived to spend Christmas - something that was a little unorthodox for a Jewish family. But my grandparents loved Christmas and passed on the spirit of Christmas to me and my sisters. Our tradition was to go out to dinner on Christmas Eve, was to drive to my great-grandmother's house (she was my grandmother's mother and also lived in St. Louis), where we would enjoy a buffet of all sorts of food - meatballs,cookies, brownies and rice krispie cookies (I am sure that there were other things on the food table, but those were the things that I remembered the most). After everyone was stuffed, my sisters and I would put on our Santa hats and pass out presents to all the adults...for this was the night of the Adult's Christmas, our Christmas was the next morning when Santa came. For a long time, I believed in Santa...and felt that since Adults stopped believing that they had to celebrate their own Christmas on the Eve and purchase things for eachother. The kids, on the other hand, believed in Santa and were treated to the magic of Christmas the next day (assuming that we were good).

When my boys were younger...our Christmas Eves were spent at home: DH, myself and the boys. After a nice, quiet meal the boys and I would sit down and work on their Christmas letters to Santa (a little late, but they were young at the time that this tradition started). Under the Christmas tree was bare, until the "day of", so in their young minds they still had time to draw and write their wishes.

Today...our Christmas Eve seems to have evolved into almost another day at home. However, given our crazy schedule this week, it will be a nice quiet day at home for the boys - a "sleep-in-late-stay-in-your-pajama-day"...they have had hockey activities all week up to today - this is the first day without. But while they get to sleep in, I will be going into *The Store* with DH as we continue to work with our wonderful employees creating fruit arrangements for delivery and pick up today. Over 175 were created yesterday and we do have more to do today. In the evening, though, I am planning to come back home and fire up the grill for cheeseburgers and Italian sausages...something that the boys requested to do this holiday break, but we haven't had the time to do. So, I thought that this would be the perfect evening to do such a meal. I am hoping, that while *The Store* is open tomorrow until noon, that since we have no deliveries taking place on Christmas Day that DH can come home early and enjoy a sit down meal with the family.

Well, whatever the tradition you have in your household - I hope that you have a wonderful evening filled with lots of love and laughter!

Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa
The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas. ~W.C. Jones


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Somedays look the same

I'm up and spinning on this dark and rainy Wednesday morning. At 3:45am, the only thing on the tv to view is a repeat of the Jay Leno show...but the morning Early Today show will be on in 15 minutes. My days piseem to be running together during this Winter Break, with only little variations here and there...and I am just trying to keep focused on the "now" while trying to put a little planning of the future into the day.

The typical days I have experienced so far consist of getting up (hopefully early enough to get in my "drug of  choice" of a 2 hour-sweat-producing-stationary bike sping), showering & dressing, jumping in the car and heading over to *The Business* with DH. While he works on printing off any last minute orders for the day, I get the kitchen area ready to produce fruit arrangements and prep the strawberries (which are used in the arrangement plain or dipped in chocolate). Soon, our wonderful employees come in and start prepping the other fruit - melons, pineapple, grapes, apples, and oranges. Soon, there becomes a fruity chocolate aroma in the kitchen. Once the fruit is prepped, enough to make the number of arrangments for the morning, all the work stations are cleaned off and set up for production. Around 10am, the magic begins with hope that the mornings orders are wrapped and in the refrigerator quickly so that the drivers can begin their part.

The last few days, I have been able to put in morning hours until about 10am, then I have raced home to get the boys ready for a day of hockey clinic and practices. They have been pretty good about getting themselves up, fed and packed up before I get home. Then it is off to the rink for about 5-6 hours.

I have read some of my friend's posts about their kids getting out of school for the Winter Break, and within a few hours complain that they are bored...I guess I am blessed with all the activity as my kids don't have enough time to complain...and, while they are actually loving all their hockey activities & not being able to sleep in...they are welcoming Christmas Eve as a day "without" hockey so they can sleep in and have a "pajama" day. I am sure that with all the activities, a "pajama day" will feel good for them!

It is a crazy schedule, which many of you have commented on...and I am getting tired...and wish that I could have a day at home to clean the house and get caught up on all those things that I typically do when the boys' have school off and we are home. But, it doesn't look like I will have much of a chance for that this break. And I do need to find sometime to make the Chocolate Krinkle cookies that are tradition in our household - it is the cookie that we leave out for Santa. Maybe I will be able to get that done this evening after we get back from the rink????

Some exciting news on the stitching front...as you know I received my Friendship Sampler RR back around the first of November. However, since there was one more RR member that needed to stitch her heart on it, so I sent it out to her last week...and guess what...it arrived back here on Monday...it now is complete with every members' heart stitched on it. FINALLY, after almost two years - the RR started with the first round on February 15, 2009 - my RR is home; the last one to make the journey back! It is beautiful...I promise to get a photo of it posted very, very soon!

Well, that is it from rainy California! Hopefully Santa has an umbrella, 'cuz it looks like it will be a rainy Christmas here in California1

Take care, my friends, and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Breathe in...1..2..3..4...Breath out

Taking a little time to breathe this morning as I have felt like I have been on the "rocket-ship of life" lately - currently I have gotten off at the station, waiting to board the next rocket. But I find that I still have some time to make my connection, so I will update you on things...

The Computer seems to be on the mend...
Well, friends, DH wiped our little laptop's memory clean and rebuilt it from scratch. So, I am up and running again and can catch up with all of your blogs...as soon as I up date mine :) . However, my time spinning on the stationary bike - while typically the time I catch up on emails, blogging and facebooking - was spent by reading a couple of books I have had in my book stash for a couple of years and haven't taken the time to read. The first book was "Things I want my daughters to know" by Elizabeth Noble. Great book - sad though. About a mother who kept a journal while she was going through chemo, telling her daughters things that she never took the time to tell them. As the women are reading what their mother wrote after her passing, the book relates some of the writings to the women's lives they were experiencing at the time. It was definitely a good read and a tear jerker at the end! The other book: "Isabel's Daughter" by Judith Ryan Hendricks takes place in Colorado/New Mexico area and is about a daughter who was abandoned at birth by her mother and ends up finding out about her mother's life. Another good read! While it was nice to shorten my book stash, it is definitely nice to have the computer back!

Hockey travel...
I got back home this morning at 3am from a bus trip to Los Angeles (about a 7 hour drive) with Matthew (younger son), his hockey team and some other hockey moms & dads. We left at 2pm on Friday afternoon, as all the kids seem to have had the 1/2 day of school before the winter vacation. The boys sat in the back and the parents/coach in the front. On the ride down we watched: "Miracle on Ice," and "Remembering the Titans". Two very good movies to watch with a young hockey team travelling down to play 2 games. We arrived in Long Beach, at the hotel, around 9:30pm...checked in our rooms and headed off to bed. Saturday morning, after a good work out in the fitness room, I got Matthew up to enjoy breakfast in our room (brought a tupperware bowl of cheeriors, a bag of Hostess mini-muffins and Dannon yogurt with me...little money saving actions I have learned over the years). Because it is important to bond with the team, after Matthew finished up his 'breakfast brought from home' and I finished packing up the suitcases, he and I headed down to sit with the team and the parents to visit for a while before we loaded up the bus and headed off to the first rink for the first game. Saturday, the boys played two games at two different rinks...a nice lunch at Fudruckers in between. After the last game, which ended at 7pm, we loaded up, watched: "Despicable Me," and "Blind Side"...arrived back at the rink around 2:00am where I picked up my car and then headed home. While the bus ride down and back always has its time where it feels like "forever", the trip was fun and the boys played pretty well - even though they lost both of their games.

Next trip coming up...the evening of Dec. 25th the boys and I head back down to LA to the same hotel in Long Beach - both of them have tournaments down there. We will be down there until the 30th.

Winter Break...
As mentioned, the boys are on winter break and I am taking some vacation time off from my job...however, I don't see any relaxing in my future! In the mornings between now and Christmas Day, I will be working in *The Business* and in the late afternoons/evenings, I will be taking the boys down to the rink for a hockey clinic and team practices. *The Business* is going well and it is busy...lots of fruit arrangements to make between now and Christmas! Yahoo!

Stitching News...
Over the last few weeks I have been talking about stitching some "secret" ornaments. One, I finally finished and sent off to its receipient...and I heard that she received it:
The design is from Just CrossStitch 2010 Christmas Ornament edition.The design is called " 'Tis Red" and is by Lori Markovic of La-D-D. No...I didn't stitch it in red (the first time), but in a NeddleNecessities green overdyed color thread on a fabric from my stash. To finish it off I had some fun beeds from my stash of beads - from the days when I was beading. The person who received this ornament was Valerie of FogCity Dweller blog (my computer is still acting funny, so I can't get the link right now).

So, that is about it - that should catch everyone up for now. Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Life is chugging along...

Life is short.
Each year passes more quickly than the previous one. It's easy to deny yourself many of life's simple pleasures because you want to be practical. Forget about practical and decide instead to be a joy collector. Always be on the look out for gifts without ribbons. God is strewing them across your path right now. His gifts come tagged with a note:
"Life can be wonderful. Do your best not to miss it!"
Enjoy what IS before it ISN'T any more.
~Barbara Johnson

Here we are - December 14th...hard to believe that the "big man", the man in the red suit, will be making his appearance in 11 days and I just don't feel very ready for that moment. It seems to be sneaking up on me this year and the panic seems to be rising. The tree is up, the ornaments in place and the lights are twinkling. However, the boys' wish list needs to be looked over and the famous chocolate crinkle cookies need to be made. Just need to find the time to make those things happen. I am sure that I will get it all done to the best of my ability, in between all of the activies :)

Hockey News...
We got some great news on Sunday...Robert, who tried out for the Pre-Select NorCal Camp (hockey) was selected. On Saturday, 35-40 Bantam aged (birthyear 96) boys  from all over the Northern California area tried out to be selected to represent NorCal - only 6 forwards, 4 defensemen and 2 goalies were selected to move on to the next selection process. What is this all about? Well through a process of several tryouts (NorCal Dec. 11, California/CAHA Jan 28-31, and Pacific Districts in early spring), a U14 National hockey team is created to play in a high level tournament over the summer, where there will be scouts from different junior leagues as well as schools will be watching. Last year Robert tried out, but due to having bronchitis, just didn't perform up to his potential, thus didn't make it through the first cut. This year he was healthy and had a wonderful tryout and, thus, was selected. We were very excited for him. So, now we fill out all the paperwork and pay for the next set of tryouts and see how things go the end of January. In the meantime, we have a few tournaments and hockey clinics to get through first :)

Stitching News...
As mentioned before, I have been working on a few Christmas Ornaments as surprises (so I can't show them yet)...just about finished stitching them and should be able to finish them in order to have them in the mail shortly. Then it will be back to stitching Family Sampler.

Well, that is about it right now. Hopefully DH will be able to get my little laptop cured of it's virus so that I can be back in business...multi-tasking on the stationary bike. I miss reading everyone's blogs while biking. Keep your fingers crossed that the computer will work again.

Take care my friends and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Catching Up...

It has been a long time since I have sat down and blogged. The computers that I normally use - the little laptops which I can use while spinning on the stationary bike- have been plagued by all sorts of viruses that we haven't been able to nurse them to health, so we have had to put them asleep until we can find a cure...or maybe Santa will bring us a new lap top. In the mean time, thank goodness for our ancient "big" computer we have had since the dinosaur years, the kind that is so slow but you are thankful that works so that the kids can do their homework and you can log (when they aren't on it) and catch up on facebook or blog reading.

Anyway, between work - the boys' hockey - *The Business* - I have been crazy busy still, however today I find myself with a little time between Robert's hockey select camp tryouts to sit and catch you all up on my life.

Last night, after Matthew went to his first middle school dance, I was able to finally put up our Christmas tree.

Our faux tree is 20 years old and is in sad shape (I was thinking about the tree that Charlie Brown brings home from the Christmas tree lot) - the top is a little wobbly - but it still works as a good tree to put lights and ornaments on. It was fun this year, pulling out some of our favorite ornaments and putting up my new ones that I received from my ornament exchange group as well as some others I received from exchange groups throughout the year. To be able to say: "This one is from Australia...and this one is from Canada...this one The Netherlands...this one from Oklahoma...this from Michigan, etc." is pretty cool, don't you think? Then there are those that the boys made over the year and the ones DH & I had when we were first married. And my special ones that came from my great-grandmother and my grandmother, which I remember hanging on their trees when I was a little kid. Isn't hanging ornaments a fun way to reminisce?

Well, just wanted to stop by and say "hi". Hope all is well with you all out there and that you are finding time to stitch and laugh! Take care, Lisa

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Things happen for reasons

Sometimes things happen for reasons we just aren't aware of, but we just need to accept. And tonight, Matthew's hockey practice was cancelled - which was perfect timing as DH let his closing employee go home due to sickness, which would have made it difficult for DH to leave the store to pick up Robert when he was done with wrestling. Now that I don't have to go to the hockey rink, I can pick up Robert when he is ready. And I can also catch up on things - blogging being one of those things!

I haven't really posted much - only the small, quickie - when I was in Denver. The little travelling lap top seems to be picking up little viruses here and there and was out of commission while we were in Denver. But I found a "restore" button, which seems to have temporarily fixed this little computer allowing me to catch up on my life tonight.

I had a great weekend in Denver. Matthew's team played pretty well over the weekend - a little inconsistant - but the games that they were "on" and "focused" they played amazing. Saturday was one of those days. Their first game they played one of the top ranking PeeWee AAA teams in the nation and ended the first period 0-0...unfoturnately they had 2 more periods to play and ended up loosing; but overall it was a great game. The second game that day, they actually ended up in a 5-5 tie...Matthew scored 2 goals: one on a penalty shot and the other was a power play goal. It was fun!

The weekend in Denver also gave me an opportunity to meet up with family and friends. I have an Uncle and Aunt who live there, as well as a cousin...and I have a college roommate I got to see, whom I haven't seen since we graduated college 20 years ago.

Cousin Jeffrey, Me and Matthew

College roommate Laura and Me
Being able to combine a hockey trip with visiting is a wonderful bonus. Next up is a trip to Los Angeles this month and then down to Dallas, TX and Coral Springs, FL in January. I wonder if there are any blogger friends who live in these areas who I can meet :)

Well, I know that I am just blabbering on and on, so I will sign off. Hope everyone is doing well out there!
Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Sunday, December 5, 2010

in denver colorado

Hello from Denver. Matthew's team is playing their 5th game of the weekend and it isn't a great one this morning. However, the weekend has been nice, as I have been able to visit with my uncle and aunt, a cousin and his girlfriend, and a college roommate I haven't seen since we graduated 20 years ago. And I have been able to get some stitching in because of all the waiting time at the rink before the games.

Just wanted to update you and say "hi". More later.
Lisa

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Welcome December

Thank you for your comments...I forgot to acknowledge my gratitude to my kids who made my quiet birthday celebration one that was sweet and thoughtful and the fact that my RR finally came home (and Kathy, I still have to get it in th we mail so that it can "officially" be complete. i was at the post office today, where I did get it in a priority mail envelope but lost patiences with the 5 people in lines with packages piled high...I will try again soon!)

So we reach December in the year 2010. Hard to believe that this month is already here! Today I feel like I got a few things accomplished...on my "to do" list at my job I had to visit a off-site storage facility and move out all our trade show booth parts which have accumulated over many years. Since the facility was located near our local "giant" hockey superstore and near the local stitching store, I was able to:

1. get the boys skates sharpened - which Matthew's were in dire need of a good skate shapening
2. purchase, with reward points, the last in the LHN Monthly Sampler - November & December 

Now I have the whole series:


And will now have to determine when to start working on it...hum, I have the Family Sampler going on...Mary Wigham which is now over a year old UFO...a hockey winter scene which is at least a 3 year old UFO. Well, I am sure that I will find a way to work it in. I purchased the fabric in the Summer making sure that it fit all 6 kits...and the kits already come with the "called for" thread. Maybe it will be a sampler a month (no pun intended) and I can start it on Jan. 1 and maybe finish on Dec. 31...you think?

Well, anyway it was go to get the skates sharpened and that last pattern, both something that has been on my personal "to do" list for quite awhile.

Tomorrow Matthew and I leave, yet again, for another hockey tournament. This time we are off to Denver, Colorado...DH and Robert get to stay home. While in Denver, I will be able to hook up with some more family and friends - which is always really cool to do! Since I really didn't get unpacked from the Arizona trip 2 weeks ago, it won't take too long to prepare to fly out tomorrow.

So, blogger friends, I bid you good night until next time! Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 30...NaPoBloMo Ends

The end is near, the month is done...yet soon we begin another one.
I gave it my all, the NaPoBloMo fun
Hard to keep up, for the craziness won
But your comments rained and kept me sane
Throughout the month of November...and for that, I'll always remember!

Well, today is the last day of November - a day to look back and gleen all that I have accomplished and received. It has been a crazy month for me and my family as we "officially" became owners of *The Business* on November 1. The first 2 weeks of November, DH was out of town for training and the rest of the month he has been working open to close at the store; so I have had the feeling of a "single mother" trying to get everything accomplished for everyone - driving the boys to where they need to go, making sure everyone's clothing is cleaned & dried, organizing life so everything runs as smoothly as possible, making sure that Robert had what he needed before he left on his first hockey tournament solo (without DH or I), etc. I am not looking for sympathy nor am I asking to be put on a pedestal. While there are definitely days that I want to pull my hair out and scream "what about me?" or "why me?", I look at the choices I make and what I do have!

During the month of November:
  1. I was able to get everyone to where they needed to be...by the time they needed to be there
  2. I was able overcome my anxiety of sending Robert to a tournament without DH and I present
  3. I traveled with Matthew to his hockey tournament and shared time together that we haven't had in a long time
  4. I was able to send out Angela's Ornament for the Ornament Swap early in November and she received it before her Christmas Tree was set up and decorated
  5. I was able to bake 4 batches of chocolate chip cookies and share them with our employees at Edible Arrangements, my co-workers at Hexcel, Matthew's teammates at a hockey practice
  6. I was able to work in *The Business* with our wonderful employees and crank out over 80 arrangements
  7. I was able to work in our store with DH and my sons on Thanksgiving day, when customers came and picked up their arrangements for their family gatherings; and beamed with pride when my boys walked the arrangements out to the customer's car.
  8. I was able to share the evening with Matthew when he received his 4.0 acknowledgement at his 1st of many Honors Evening. I witnessed his proud smile that stretched from ear to ear!
  9. I was able to sneak in some morning and evening time to stitch on my Family Sampler and an ornament; as well as time to spin on the stationary bike to maintain my health and sanity
  10. I was able to share priceless moments and have wondeful conversation with my boys as I drove them to and from the hockey rink 4-5 times a week.
  11. I have enjoyed and received support from the wonderful comments of blogging friends from all over the world
  12. I shared a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with my family; who, for the first time in many months, all sat down at the table together to enjoy all the same foods...and had no where to go after the meal was complete. That in itself is priceless.
So no matter how crazy life seems around my household...and no matter how many times I do want to yell or feel resentment building...I do try to "stop" and take a look at what I have and put a postive spin on the situation. My crazy November was full of love, family team work, and friendship. My heart swells with gratitude that I can share this all with you. I pray that your November was as fullfilling as mine was and here is hope that December will be too!

Take care my blogging friends - thank you for visiting and all your comments you take time to write. Until next time, remember....
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 28...29

November is coming to an end...and so is NaBloPoMo, something which I have failed to blog every day during the month of November. I had every intention of doing it, for I was definitely busy and there were things to write about...but it is because I was busy that I truly wasn't able to blog every single day during the month of November. I tried, hopefully I can get some brownie points for that.

Anyway, Sunday DH went to work at *The Business* (we are open from 9-2 on Sundays). There were just a few fruit bouquets to make and a couple to deliver...it seems to be the "quiet before the next storm." After some research regarding last December's business, the week before Christmas is going to be crazy! DH emailed last year's order/delivery report to me, which the boys and I tallied up all the orders/deliveries per day. This information will definitely help when creating the schedules for this month. Tallying up all the information took over 3 hours to do...that is where some of my blogging and stitching time went yesterday...oh, well, there are priorities in life, I guess.

However, once that report was handed over to DH to play around with, and after the boys had their dinner, I did find sometime to get in a little stitching. I have put aside Family Sampler for just a little bit to stitch an ornament for a stitching friend (which, for obvious reasons I cannot show you it). It will be a quick stitch and finish and then I can get back to stitching Family Sampler.

Today it is back to the normal-routine (whatever that truly is)...I go back to my job and the boys go back to school; there are evening hockey practices and after school wrestling; I get up early in the morning in order to try and get in a good spin on the bike and to bed as early as possible in order to get some rest before starting the next day. However, on Thursday Matthew and I leave for Denver, CO for he has another hockey tournament already. I have family and friends who I am making plans with, which always adds something special to these hockey travels.

Well that is it from my household. I hope that you and yours are all doing well. Take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 27

Well, I wasn't sure what I would post today as we really didn't do much today. DH went and worked at the store, the boys worked on their homework in preparation to go back to school on Monday, and I...well, I am not sure what I did today. However, I just heard from Angela P who is the last one to receive ornaments from our Ornament Swap Group and she received the one I sent her.

I made a two sided ornament...
Side 1 - "Snowmen"  Designed by Valerie Danish of Val's Stuff
Just CrossStitch Ornament Issue Preview (October 2006)
Side 2 - "Be Merry" Designed by Valerie Danish of Val's Stuff
Just CrossStitch 2006 Special Christmas Ornament Issue
Angela loves snowmen and it sounds like she has a lot...but, thank goodness, she didn't have these :) I really enjoyed stitching these and was excited about the way the finish came out....almost kept it for my self.

Oh, my I just noticed that today is my 2nd blog-o-versary...I have been so busy with things that I haven't put any thought into celebrating it. Mmmm...I will have to put some thought into it.

It seems that my brain is in salt over load...just got back from dinner at a mexican restaurant. So, I will end this with hope that your evening is going well.

Take care and remember...live, love, laugh and stitch often! Lisa

Friday, November 26, 2010

November 26...the day after Thanksgiving

It was nice to have a day at home! I did a little catching up...laundry (now that my dryer is fixed), exercise (a couple of hours or so of spinning and walking the dog), stitching and napping!

Our Thanksgiving ho liday was very nice. After a sleepless night, the whole family (DH, Robert, Matthew and I) went and worked at *The Business*. Most of the customers were just coming in to the store to pick up their fruit arrangments that were pre-ordered and ready for them. However, we were able to sell 2 of the 4 extra arrangments that were in the cooler especially for walk-in business (the remaining 2 we took to two local firestations for the firemen to enjoy with their Thanksgiving meal).

The boys had fun working at the store. Before any customers showed up, they helped DH check in and put away boxes of supplies that came in on Wednesday afternoon. When the pick-ups started to arrive, Matthew enjoyed doing the customer service. He would find out the name of the customer, go to the walk-in refrigerator to pull their arrangement and then carry it out to their car for them. Several of the women thought that "he was just the cutest thing."

Around 12:30pm, all the orders were picked up and we closed up the store (we technically were scheduled to close at noon but needed to wait until the very last order was picked up). Once home, DH and I decided that a nap would come first before getting Thanksgiving dinner around. Boy, did that nap feel good!!!!

We finally sat down for dinner around 5pm, went around the table to say what each of us was thankful for,and then ate...turkey, potatos, Stove Top Stuffing, home made rolls, noodles, etc. It was so wonderful to have everyone home together and sit down as a family to enjoy the meal together. It has been along time since we have been able to eat together. What a blessing!

Thank you for visiting today - hope all is well with you!
Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Thursday, November 25, 2010

November 25...Happy Thanksgiving!

Good morning - today is the Thanksgiving holiday for us in the US. Yesterday I made my pumpkin pies (a request from DH...his mother's recipe of course) and made the dough for "Grandma's rolls" (a request from Robert...another recipe of my mother-in-laws...and one that I have never been able to master. Mine never come out as good as hers, be every Thanksgiving DH & Robert request them to be made).

This morning...around 1am, I was wide awake and decided that it might be more productive if I got out of bed - instead of laying there looking at the dark ceiling - and finish prepping the rolls which had risen for 6 hours. I rolled the dough out, coated it with butter, cut out triangles, rolled them up like crescents and set them out to rise some more before they are put in the oven later today. Maybe this year they will taste "as good as Mother's" :) I also decided to prep the turkey - coating that with a butter, onion, carrot, orange rind and spice mixture (I just made it up as I went). Once Tom was back in the refrigerator and the kitchen was sanitized (don't want anyone to come down with food poisoning over the holidays), I went back to bed.

Back in bed, I found DH was also up and thinking about our business. Yesterday after all of Wednesday's fruit bouquet orders were produced and delivered, the staff and I started prepping and producing all the bouquets which were pre-ordered for pick up for Thanksgiving (we are open 8-12 today for pick up only...no employees are coming in...it will just be me, DH, Robert and Matthew working in the store). Once all the fruit bouquets were created, wrapped and tagged for pick up, we came up with a large amount of extra dipped fruit - apples, cinnimon apples, strawberries and bananas. It was bothersome that there was so many extras as they will not be good after today.  So, the more we talked, we decided that we would pick out the best of the best and box them up in the dipped fruit boxes and sell to walk in customers.The rest that aren't pretty enough to sell, we would create a sample tray for customers to try while they are waiting for us to bring out their arrangement.

Well, now...with all these ideas churing in our head, do you think that we could really go to sleep? If you said: "No" you are correct. So, what does a business-owner do when they have a good idea? They act upon it. Quickly we jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and ran to our store (btw...it was 3:30am). Once there, we created about 8 boxes of dipped fruit and loaded up the sample tray so that we were ready for the first pick ups, which are at 8am...only 2.5 hours from now.

And what am I doing "now" you ask...well, getting in my Thanksgiving exercise of course. DH and I got home around 4:45am...he went back to bed and I got on the stationary bike, which I am doing as I post this post on my blog.

I know...I am a little crazy...I will find time to get some rest later today.

In the meantime...here are thoughts to keep in mind on Thankgiving Day as well as everyday of the year!

Have a great day - Thank you for visiting! Lisa

Deciding to be grateful for our situation, our experiences, our unique perspective, quickly changes our outlook on everything that did happen, on everything that is happening now, and on everyone we meet. Accepting that we are in charge of whatever kind of day we will have forces us to accept responsibility for our joy, which can always be ours, or our unhappiness. And being grateful feels so good. Gratitude is an attitude, and I can feel it whenever I want.~Unattributed


The art of thanksgiving is thanksliving. It is gratitude in action. It is applying Albert Schweitzer's philosophy: "In gratitude for your own good fortune you must render in return some sacrifice of your life for other life." It is thanking God for the gift of life by living it triumphantly. It is thanking God for your talents and abilities by accepting them as obligations to be invested for the common good. It is thanking God for happiness by striving to make others happy. It is thanking God for beauty by helping to make the world more beautiful. It is thanking God for inspiration by trying to be an inspiration for others. It is thanking God for health and strength by the care and reverence you show your body. It is thanking God for each new day by living it to the fullest. It is adding to your prayers of thanksgiving, acts of thanksliving. ~Wilfred A Peterson

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow ~ Melody Beatti

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 23

Hi all...so here is a status photo of Family Sampler. It is coming along, but haven't had much of a chance to put any stitches in it since Sunday while sitting on the plane. Yesterday and today I spent time in our store getting comfortable doing fruit prep and creating the fruit bouquets...and it has been busy! Lots of fruit centerpieces for the Thanksgiving holiday...Yahoo!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I did my grocery shopping this morning at 6:30am - trying to beat the last minute rush to the store for Thanksgiving holiday foods. My 13 pound turkey has been sitting in the refrigerator since Monday morning trying to thaw out (no, it is not one of our neighbor hood "free range/wild" turkeys - but it was a free turkey the grocery was giving away when you made $100 purchase). Tomorrow morning, while I wait for the Sears Repair man to visit, I will try to get most of the baking out of the way...pumpkin pie for DH, special "grandma" rolls for Robert.

Yea, the Sears Repair Man is scheduled to visit as my clothes dryer doesn't get hot and, therefore, doesn't dry clothes...no matter how many times you turn it on - cold air doesn't dry clothing. Hopefully it will be a quick fix! I have a lot of clothing from our weekend trips waiting to be cleaned.

Well that is about all from my home. Hope all is well in your household.

Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often,
Lisa

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22 (missed 21 and 20th - but definitely lived it) - Lots of hockey

Well, didn't get a chance...or should I say make a chance...to sit down and blog everyday while I was in Arizona with Matthew (younger son) for his hockey tournament. It was quite a crazy schedule.

Friday...
After getting to the airport - using public transportation - we found out that our plane was delayed about 30 minutes; which wasn't too bad and definitely wasn't anything to complain about as several of the other team families were delayed much longer. Several didn't get to the hotel until well after curfew (of 8pm). Matthew and I did finally arrive in Phoenix, got our luggage and took the hotel's airport shuttle to the hotel...where we checked in, got settled and headed up to the restaurant. We had a nice dinner - Matthew enjoying his protein (shrimp cocktail) and pasta (speg noodles w/o any sauce or butter) - and of course the chocolate milk shake. We did get a fruit plate with yogurt to take back to the room with us, something to round out the breakfast food we brought from home. This was pre-planning for the next day because his first game was at 7am and the hotel "free" breakfast buffet didn't open until 7am.

Saturday...
The alarm rang at 4:45am: "up and at'em!" This gave Matthew a 45min to eat, dress in his shirt/tie/dress pants, and pack his hockey bag so we could meet our ride at 5:30am. The coaches ask the players to all be at the rink 1 hour and 15 minutes before every game. This gives them time to get settled in the locker room, change into their warm up attire, go outside and do warmups, come back in to change into their hockey gear and be ready to listen to the coach's last minute pep-talk. However, there are many times that we believe that 75 minutes is a little too long and too early to be at the rink; for there always seems to be sometime for craziness that leads to someone or someone(s) getting into mischief!

Saturday, there were 3 games in total that Matthew's team played: 7am, 10:55am and 7:30pm. The first 2 games, the team played horrible. Either you were a player who was "sat" for a portion of the game...or got a "talking to" by the coach during/after the game...or you were one of the lucky ones who experienced both. Either way, after the second game, all the kids looked a little upset. Matthew did have a little breakdown as soon as we got back to the room after the second game. After giving him sometime to "let it all out", we had a good talk about some of the issues that the coach talked to him specifically about. He is the captain, and with wearing the "C" on his jersey comes a lot of responsibility and expectations from the coach. Some of these expectations are things that he needs to do on ice, and some are things that he needs to perform off ice - like trying to maintain a disciplined locker room. Not an easy task for an 11 year old. But we talked about many different options that he could try the next time that the locker room situation gets out of hand. After talking, I could tell that he felt better.

Between that second game and the evening game, Matthew and I ate lunch in the room, watched Avatar and napped. While he was sound asleep, I took that opportunity to sneak in an hour on the treadmill - something that I definitely needed. Early morning games and hotel exercise rooms that are not 24hours are not good things for me :)

The evening game...well the team played much, much better. They still lost - but they played as a team, faster and more skilled looking...and Matthew scored the first goal of the game and assisted the second. The Matthew I knew was back!

Sunday...
Again we had an early morning game - 8:40am, a little more reasonable. And a second game at 12:45pm. Again, the team did play better than they did the previous morning - they still lost, but they did play much better. After the last game, we had a nice quick lunch with the family we were sharing a car with and then headed to the airport...only to find out that our plane going home was delayed by 15 minutes. With a lot of time to kill, Matthew enjoyed some chocolate ice cream while I got an opportunity to cruise the airport shops. Fun stuff...but nothing that I had to have. After boarding the plane late, it was amazing that we landed right on time...how much time do those airlines pad their flight times?

Robert's team in Medicine Hat...
While in Phoenix with Matthew, Robert and his hockey team were at the Medicine Hat Hockey Hounds tournament (Alberta Canada). It was a challenging weekend for him. Not only being there without mom & dad...which he survived very, very well...but the team lost every single game. Unlike Matthew's team, who played better and played as a team even though they lost all their games - Robert's team just didn't try to play well; especially as a team. After the first few losses, Robert's coach tried to mix up the lines hoping for something to "click" with the boys...unfortunately Robert got with some of his teammates that are a little slower, play too individualistic and/or are afraid to play agressively. So, nevertheless, the tournament was a big upset and the team a disappointment. In the grand scheme of life, Robert got a lot out of the weekend -
  1. Traveling with out DH or I
  2. Making choices for ones self
  3. Prioritizing how to spend one's money; budgeting what you have to last the entire trip
  4. Dealing with losses
  5. Dealing with disppointment of team's outcome and teammates who don't seem to care
  6. Figuring out what is important to you - what you can control and what you can't
All good life lessons! So while the team didn't come away from the weekend with a trophy or a medal, my son came home with new knowledge, new life skills which he can choose to apply to his life.

On the Stitching Side of life...
I did get in some quality stitching time to work on the Family Sampler- at the airports, on the airplanes and in the lobby of the hockey rinks while we waited for the game to start. I didn't get a chance to snap a photo of the progress yet - but will make sure to post one tomorrow.

So, until then my friends. Thank you for visiting and I am sorry that I haven't been able to fullfill the blogging everyday during NaBloMo...but I am sure that you will understand.

Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Friday, November 19, 2010

November 19...It is Friday! It is Friday! Yahoo!

It is Friday...that means that the weekend is here!
It is Friday, Nov. 19...that means that I am getting ready to fly to Arizona with Matthew!
It is Friday, Nov. 19...that means Thanksgiving break begins (no school, time off of my job, 10 days to spend with the family).

It is nice that MY Thanksgiving break starts with a little weekend in Arizona...in a hotel where the housekeepers make the beds, straighten up the bathroom, take away the dirty towels and bring clean ones. It will be a short mental vacation, where I only have to make sure that Matthew eats well and gets to the rink on time (and since I am sharing a car with another family I don't even need to worry about driving); where I can show up at the rink and watch Matthew play (for I am not the team manager and therefore do not have any team responsiblities) and where I can pull out my stitching or a book because it is the weekend of my mental vacation :)

Honors Evening at Middle School...Congrats to Matthew!
Last night, was honors evening at Matthew's middle school. That is the night where the school honors the 3.0's and above. This year, with the new principal at the school, it was done much differently - more of a "free-for-all". For a comparison...when Robert (older son) was in middle school, The kids would line up in alphabetical order in 3 sections: (1) those with a 3.0-3.49, (2) those with a 3.5-3.99, and (3) those with a 4.0 had the honor of sitting on the stage. Each group was acknowledged by their achievement when handed their certificate.

THIS year, there was no stage...all the kids sat together on either side of a podium...in fact the 6th graders sat in such a way that girls were on one side of the podium and boys were on the other. When it came time to hand out the certificates, they were handed out in the order that the kids came through the door and checked in at the front desk...the school was so worried about having a child present when they called out the name, that the missed an opportunity to acknowledge the academic achievement of the kids. Well, I guess they did "half-a$$" explain that "if Academic Excellence is read before we announce the child's name, then they were a 4.0 student for 1st quarter".  Ok, so the first 50 kids that came up and received their certificate, there might have been some 4.0s in that group and the parents weren't aware of it.

I know...on an evening where my child was excited about his accomplishment of earning a 4.0, I shouldn't let the way the event was handled bum me out...but it is hard to; especially when so many teachers are upset about the way kids are handling homework - either turning it in late, not completed or not at all. So when you have kids that are conscientious about getting their homework complete and turned in (even if that means staying up late because they have hockey practice and don't get home until late). Make an example of those kids who are acomplishing the "basics" of school work; honor those kids who are taking school & their education seriously...maybe those who aren't will see these role models, know that it is achieveable and try for the goal of "Academic Excellence" next time. Oh, well, enough said...now for the official bragging photo:

Matthew receiving his certificate of Academic Excellence - a 4.0 1st quarter of 6th grade
 Mailperson left something in my mailbox...
February 15, 2009...the day 18 women from the US, Canada and The Netherlands, stitched the first heart and sent their sampler to the next person on the list...is basically over as far as this Round Robin is concerned. Yesterday, my Friendship Sampler came home for a brief visit (more on that in a moment).
My Friendship Sampler...94% complete
It is so exciting to have this here that I didn't even bother ironing it before I took the photo to show you all this lovely piece. Now, it is here only for a moment...the last woman to stitch her hear has a summer and a winter residence; and since I know that it would be ready to be mailed while she was in transition between the two places, I thought it best if it would come here and then I would send it out to her when she got settled in her winter place.  Pretty exciting to have it in my hands!

News from Robert and the Medicine Hat Hockey Hounds Tournament...
Robert and his team arrived safely on Wednesday evening in to Calgary. They were picked up by the Hilton Garden Inn airport shuttle service - the whole group at one time - and were greeted by a warm pizza buffet upon checking in. On Thursday morning, after enjoying the free breakfast, they all packed up and boarded the bus at 10:30am to start their 3 hour journey to Medicine Hat. Before checking into their hotel in MedHat, they stopped at Tim Hortons (where else would you stop when you go to Canada, eh?). Known for their doughnuts and coffee - Robert txt'd that he did enjoy a chocolate doughnut with his BLT and hot soup.

They got checked into the hotel and took time to get settled into their rooms (thank you Medicine Hat Lodge for arranging early check in) before they had to switch into their game day dress clothes (shirt, tie, dress pants, dress shoes) and head to the rink for their first game of the tournament...it was not a pretty one. They played a team called Nortre Dame, which I believe is a hockey team from a Canadian boarding school of the same name. The final score was 16-0...the San Jose Jr. Sharks were on the loosing end of the score. During a call to home, Robert said that the whole team didn't play well in the 1st...maybe it was due to being travel worn? But he also said that the whole team just didn't compete well with the team from Canada...for they were faster, strongers and took advantage of every mistake that the Jr. Sharks made (which was a lot).

Their next game is this morning and they are playing a team from Kamloops Canada. Good luck Sharks! Play hard!

Until next time...from Arizona...have a good Friday and remember -
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 17...November 18...I am loosing track

Boy, blogging everyday is hard - expecially trying to remember to do it. There are days that I think that I sat down and typed out a post, but when I check my blog the post was done for the day before. Oh, well...let's just say that I am trying and leave it at that.

Yesterday my oldest son left for Canada - the first time that he is travelling without DH or I for the whole hockey weekend. It feels a little strange to "let him go". I know that he is capable of handling a weekend without either of us...and I know the 6 parent chaperones going on the trip and the 2 coaches...so he is in good hands. As my mother pointed out, this will be a good experience for him as well as a great exercise for me to "let him go" and "let him grow up"; for he will be 15 in January and probably the only one on his hockey team who hasn't had the experience of being away from mom and dad a whole weekend.  He did call last night when the plane landed in Calgary; and while I haven't heard from him today, one of the parent chaperones emailed me that everything is going just fine. I am not sure that this was with regards to Robert, or to let me know that the hotel accomodations I arranged for last night for the whole team, but I appreciated the email this morning.

Tonight will be my turn to prepare for travel. Matthew and I leave tomorrow afternoon for Phoenix for his hockey tournament. It has been a long time since he and I travelled together for one of these weekend. I am definitely looking forward to it!

Aside from all of that, I was able to get in a few stitches last night on Family Sampler at the rink while Matthew was on the ice...but not enough for a status photo. I am sure that with a 2 hour plane ride tomorrow, I will be able to get more done!

In light of Thanksgiving being a week away (in the US), I came across some readings and thought that I would share with you all. Have a good day my friends in blogland and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often - Lisa


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, choas to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast - a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
~Melody Beattie

Gratitude helps you grow and expand;
gratitude brings joy and lughter into your life and into the lives of those around you.
~ Eileen Caddy

These are the gifts I ask
Of Thee, Spirit serene:
Strength for the daily task,
Courage to face the road,
Good cheer to help me bear the traveler's load,
And, for the hours of rest that come between,
An inward joy of all things heard and seen.
~Henry Van Dyke

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November 16...25lbs of chocolate chips

So, when you own your own business, there is always a lot of work...but there are typically some perks. Yesterday I went down to *The Business* between leaving my work office and going to pick up the boys from school so that I could meet the corporate trainer who has been working with DH this week. Before I left, I was given a 25 pound box of chocolate chips and a flat of strawberries. The chocolate was left from the previous owner and was a brand that is not high quality used when dipping strawberries and other fruit for the fruit bouquets. And the flat of strawberries that came home with me...were too small to put in the arrangements as well. We have high standards when it comes to the quality of the products and produce we put in the fruit bouquets - we don't want to be selling and delivery poor products to the customers.

Strawberries, we can eat at home or put in fruit smoothies (yum) - so they will not take too long to consume. The 25 lbs of chocolate chips? Well, that is another thing.

When I walked out of the store, the trainer joked with DH and I...he expected to see some chocolate chip cookies the next day. So, last night, DH brought home stick butter and flour from Costco (now, in addition to the 25 pounds of chocolate chips, I have a 25 pound bag of white flour and 4 pounds of butter); and when I got home from hockey practice, I got out the Toll House Chocolate Chip cookie recipe and made 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies. At 10pm last night I had made 80 cookies.


Two batches of cookies didn't make much of a dent in the chocolate chips...guess I will have to come up with some other treats to make...nice that the holidays are coming up, for I am sure that I can make some wonderful holiday treats and share them with others!

Hope your Tuesday was nice and sweet too! Take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15

It is Monday. The start of a new week; one that is going to be a crazy - busy one...but what weeks aren't? DH is home now, all the training for *The Business* is complete, except for the in-store trainer visit which starts today. A corporate trainer, who is in town from Atlanta, will be in the store all week to make sure that DH understands how to run the business. He actually got in town yesterday and came by the store to meet DH. DH's impression...he will be nothing to worry about. Which is good, because we found out on Saturday when the previous owner came into the store, our 2nd driver quit. Down to one driver going into the holiday season isn't ideal - we can make it work, taking on the extra deliveries ourselves, but DH & I really need to start focusing on the behind the scenes tasks: budgeting the money, ordering supplies, prepping staff and supplies for the holidays, working on the marketing and promotions...and hopefully going out and talking with some different businesses to create corporate accounts. We will get things done and organized, but we are transistioning into this new life - so all the tasks, when incorporated into our personal daily life seems very overwhelming.

DH already left for work, so I will continue with what has become my daily routine - of getting the boys up for school and then taking each of them to their respective school before the school bell rings...then getting myself into my job, too.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon prepping for Robert's trip to Medicine Hat Canada for the 38th annual Medicine Hat Hockey Hounds Bantam (U14) tournament. They leave on Wednesday night and return on Sunday evening. This will be the first trip Robert will be going without DH or I...DH has to stay back here with *The Business* and I will be going to Phoenix with Matthew for his hockey tournament over this coming weekend. As team manager of Robert's team, I have been making sure that I have all the information needed in the travel binder, which I will give to one of the other parents going on the trip. The Medicine Hat stuff is just about completely organized, just need to figure out the group check in process for the flight on Wednesday...then all my responsibilities for that trip will be pretty much concluded; until they come back :)

Well, I will not bore you all any more...time to sign off for the day. I hope your Monday is rich with love and laughter! Lisa

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 13...and 14th (oops)

Ugh, trying to blog everyday is difficult! Yesterday I was up at 4:30, got only 1 hour of exercising in before I decided I rather sit and stitch. I am at the point where the Family Sampler calls my name - and the call of stitching seems to be much louder than spinning on the bike. So between the hour of early morning stitching and an hour at the rink in the evening, here is where my Family Sampler is now:
The tree has leaves and the flowers have their yellow center
It is coming a long slowly, but surely. I will finish the floral on the right-hand side of the house before planting the tree and flowers on the left-side. Soon my house will be surrounded by the beauty of nature - grass where the boys can play and trees they can climb or sit in the shade to read. Flowers to be enjoyed and picked for quick Mother's Day presents or for a centerpiece for a nice family meal. Now that I have my next stitching steps mapped out, I will make some time today to sit-n-stitch.

However, that probably will not be until a little later this afternoon. Just like yesterday, DH and I will go into *The Business* and help prep the fruit for Sunday fruit bouquet deliveries. There is one employee who comes in on Sunday, as it typically isn't busy - but DH & I want to continue our learning process of *The Business* so that when those very, very busy holidays come up (Valentines and Mother's Day) we can step in where needed. Yesterday, DH and I stood side by side prepping the melon wedges - cut the melon, scoop out the seeds, cut in wedges, peel off the skin and then skewer them for the arrangements. It was fun working side by side with DH, while talking with the 3 women working and getting to know them. We are at that point where we want to establish ourselves as "the boss" but not in an aggressive, threatening way. So we have just "jumped" right in to the "production", as it is called, which also includes cleaning and sanitizing all the utensils & trays. It was a lot of fun...I even got an opportunity to insert some of the cantaloupe and honeydew in several arrangements that were going out that day.

Once the majority of the production was done - which is close to 10am - DH took me home because I needed to get the boys around and head to the rink. Robert's team had a "controlled" scrimmage against a 19U girls team ("controlled" means that they cannot hit - which is always a bummer according to Robert - and it also means that the coaches are playing referees. They will stop the action so that they can create situations that each team is working on). After the 75 minute ice time, Robert had an hour of off-ice conditioning with the fitness coach. During all of this...Matthew and I sat in the restaurant that overlooks the rinks. Here, he worked on his home work packets he received to do over the weekend while eating lunch I fixed him at home (I know, strange to be taking in a homemade lunch into a restaurant...but since we have to watch our nickles & dimes right now this is one of the best ways...and probably the most nutritious). This is when I took out my stitching, which is always a good way to make the time pass at the rink.

Anyway...Sunday is here now...I am up, a little later than I would have liked, but on the bike non-the-less to get in a little workout. DH and I will go in again to *The Business* and continue getting comfortable with all the different tasks to be done. He is the one who will be doing the majority of the running it (payroll, ordering, taxes, hiring, firing, etc) and I will step in where needed when I can. Today is the last day that the previous owner will have a key to the store and today is also when the corporate training will arrive for the week of in-store training. It is going to be a crazy week!

Well, my friend, I will end this post with this thought on positive thinking:

Although many of us probably didn't get a thorough education in
the value of a positive attitude,
we can teach ourselves. Simply by making a decision to look for
the good, happy and beautiful in all things
and all people, you will have completed the first and most imporant step in learning
to accentuate the positive.
~Sue Patton Thoele

Accenturate the positive today; while remembering to also:
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!
Lisa