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 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!

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!

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!

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 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. 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 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!
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 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 arrived back here on 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!

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 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!

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!

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!

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.

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. 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!