Wednesday, December 28, 2011

OMG...what a holiday

I am here and feel more like a human being finally. The week of Christmas was crazy, crazy busy. More than what is considered "normal" for me.  Having 2 stores this year definitely took a toll on my DH and myself this holiday season. Last week I was basically up at our 2nd store, supervising our wonderful employees. Our 2nd store is about a 40 minute drive from our house. The beginning of the week was pretty managable...but as soon as Thursday came...well, I didn't get much sleep between that day and the night of Christmas eve.

Friday I was up at store #2 at 5am and didn't leave there until 7pm only to go to store #1 to help DH with delivery route organizing for Christmas Eve deliveries. I finally went home around 9:30pm and was in bed by 10pm for a nap. I, then, woke up at 2am on Christmas Eve to dip strawberries and apples in chocolate at store #1 from 2:30-5:30am and then drove up to store #2 to get ready for business up there (I was at store #2 from 6:15am-6:30pm). By Christmas Eve I was toast!

Christmas Day...with 2 teenage boys, present opening didn't start until after 8am. It is amazing how things have little pitter patters at more 2 little boys with sleep in their eyes due to excitement induced insomnia the night before. No more little toys or things to put together under the Christmas tree. The boys received clothing, gift cards and money - definitely things that they needed. After the wrappings were tossed aside and breakfast served, the rest of the day we just vegged.

Well, I take that back...while working in the stores, I wasn't able to get anything done I needed to do for the upcoming tournament Robert and his hockey team were leaving for on Monday, Dec. 26. So during Sunday, I got everything around for that tournament which meant not much time for rest. I also had to catch up on the laundry and assist Robert in his packing. So my rest was delayed until Monday after Robert's plane left and after I took Matthew down to his hockey practice (which was at 9:45am, something I didn't remember until at that he was 30 minutes late to his practice).  By 1pm on Monday I plopped on the couch and didn't move!

Yesterday was the first day that I felt like myself - I feel caught up and clear headed. Last night I even pulled out my stitching and put some X's into a project...not Family Sampler, but something else I started a few weeks ago and didn't get much time to finish. I will post a photo soon.

Anyway...I am back!

Hope everyones holiday was great. Until the next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Monday, December 19, 2011

And so it is feeling a little more like Christmas

It felt good to be home yesterday - didn't have to work at either store and was able to do some catching up around the house. As planned, the boys and I created a very nice family holiday meal which we all sat down to and enjoyed after my DH got home from the store. It was like the Thanksgiving we missed out on due to Robert being away on a hockey tournament and the Christmas meal that I probably will not have the energy to make next weekend due to working all week in the stores. We enjoyed turkey, mashed potatoes & gravey, stuffing, homemade rolls (a recipe I received from my mother-in-law but they never rise like hers do), homemade pumpkin pie with homemade crust and fresh steamed green beans. A very filling late lunch...but definitely made it easy to take an early evening nap :)

While making the bread and pie doughs, the boys helped out by bringing in the 20 year old artificial Christmas tree from the garage and putting it together. If you have an artificial tree, you know that they look scrawny before you "fluff" it all out. While the boys were totally aware of this, they had to make some snide remarks and compared it to Charlie Brown's sad tree...

The boys were funny, commenting about our poor tree and kept me entertained as I kneaded the bread dough. Yes, the tree is old for my DH and I purchased that tree for our first Christmas as husband and wife...20 year ago. The poor tree is almost an antique. They got the tree all assembled and strung the white lights around it without any arguing. Once done, Matthew (my younger son) went back out into the garage to get the bucket of ornaments. He separated out the ones he received over the years from those that belong to Robert so that they both would be able to hang their special ornaments.

Just like the tree of Charlie Brown and the gang...

Our tree, with a little love, was converted from the sad scrawny bush to something full and lovely (although there definitely are some places on the tree that could use some additional ornaments...just noticed that in the photos)...

The boys, even though they are much taller than I am now, decorated the bottom saving the top for my special ornaments from the ladies of the Ornament Swap group. Once done with the pies and the rolls, I gathered up my special 10 ornaments and placed them up on top..

Now it definitely feels more like Christmas and the holiday season! Hopefully, Santa finds time to go shopping...ugh.

Well, until next time...take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often

Sunday, December 18, 2011

OMG it is Sunday already...where did the time go!

Yikes, I have been away for quite a while. It has been busy around here, but I think I get a little break of sorts least I have some time to catch up on things around the house.

First I want to share with you the ornament I stitched for Conny in the Netherlands - the last receipient for the Ornament Swap is my photo

For Conny, I stitched Snow Buddies by Amy Bruecken of Amy Bruecken Designs. The patter is from the 2011 Special Christmas Issue of Just CrossStitch. I stitched it on 28ct even weave linen which I hand-dyed in blues/greens which made it kind of the perfect fabric to stitch this whimsical pair of snowmen on. I did use all the DMC colors it called for, even the black Memory Thread. Have you ever used this is very fun and makes your stitching kind of come to live.

I had to borrow Conny's photo she took and uploaded to the Ornament Swap blog because it made my ornament look better than the photo I took...

I think that I might have to stich one of these for my tree...sometime...when I can find more down time :) But doesn't it look good on Conny's tree!
Well, now that Conny received my ornament, which was the last one for I was a little late getting it in the mail, the Ornament Swap Group comes to an end. Our little group of Six has been doing this for 2 years and our wonderful moderator Angela thought it was time call it done. And we all agreed it was...for it is best to end things on a good note. And this group was awesome! Thank you I just need to get my tree up so I can display all my ornaments I received from these fine ladies this year as well as last.


Last week, I bid a fond "good bye" to my part-time job - Thursday was my last day in the office. The busy week was filled with a lot of cleaning out file cabinets and store cubes that hadn't been gone through in many years. I took it upon myself to get this task done before walking out the door for the last time. I wanted to make sure that Jenny, my replacement, started really nice a fresh.
Well, I didn't have a lot of time to say good bye to many of my co-workers, for we did have a little issue at the store, which my DH called me up and asked for me to come in to help out. So as soon as I finished up my exit interview with the HR department...and did a little walk around to catch a few "good-byes" I was out the door. Nothing like going from one job to the next without catching one's breath.
Since that moment, I have been working in both our stores - Friday in store #1 and Saturday I went up to store #2. It is one of our busy times of the year!


Today I shouldn't have to go into either store, unless someone calls out sick. I am planning on catching up with all the laundry and some of the house hold things. The boys and I have talked about having a special holiday meal today in which I have enlisted them to create the menu and help me to cook what they are planing. Since Robert (my oldest son) was out of town for a hockey tournament on Thanksgiving, we decided that we would do a 2nd Thanksgiving meal - turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, homemade rolls, etc.
So, I guess I need to finish up this post and get off this stationary bike so I can get to the grocery store to get all the ingredients for their menu. And...I need to get those sleepy heads...oops, I mean my assistant chefs...out of bed!

Until next time, remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mid-December and the tree still isn't up

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning. ~ J.B. Priestley

I am up and going this morning; getting in my morning spin while trying to catch up on some things - emails, blog reading and posting, facebook, the morning news. Morning time is "me" is the where I find my quiet time to reflect and plan - to regroup and get ready for the rest of the day. It is the time where I don't have to answer to anyone, to listen to anyone else's thoughts or feelings - it is just me here.


Thank you all for your nice comments...Matthew (younger son) and I had a great time down in LA over the weekend. Although, his hockey team didn't fare well down there. They lost both of their games...2-13 and 0-8. The team down there that we played does have some good talent, but basically they play as a team and have really good skating & passing skills. But since the outcome was expected, no one really came home depressed or upset. Aside from the hockey games, Matthew and I just use the weekend to get some R&R. The drive down and back home went very smoothly without any problems. We got home Sunday evening at 4:30pm - adequate time to get all the laundry done from our travels as well as the laundry that DH and Robert (older son) left waiting for me :)

It is hard to believe that it is mid-December and our Christmas tree isn't up yet. In fact, it is just hard to get into the holiday mood with everything going on right now - it isn't bad things that are going on, just a lot of busy activity.

Three more days are left at my part-time job. My cubical is pretty bare right now. Today and tomorrow I am helping my replacement move all the "stuff" in...what use to be my a storage closet. While transporting all the boxes and things, I will continue to go through things to help determine if it is something to keep or something to trash. I think Jenny, my replacement, will be in good shape when I leave.

The boys are finishing up their last week of school before their winter vacation. I think that they are looking for a little break. During the vacation, both will continue to have hockey activities, but will not have to balance the school work.

My DH and I worked on the stores' schedules for next week. It looks like it definitely will be busy. Like we did for Thanksgiving, DH will stay at store #1 which is the busier of the stores and I will go up to store #2 to help out and supervise up there. Without the part-time job, I will be spending more time in the business.

Before the bulk of the holiday business hits, I think that I will try and plan a family meal on Saturday and a time we can put up the tree too. That sounds like a good idea, don't you think?

Anyway...time to sign off and thank you all again for your visits and comments. Take care my blogging friend and, until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often

Friday, December 9, 2011


It is Friday - Yahoo! Always a nice thing to hear. I have the day to myself, but have to pack things up for a road trip. I am going to Los Angeles with Matthew for a hockey weekend. We are leaving after he gets out of school and will head on down. LA is about 6-7 hours south of here and not a bad drive as long as we don't get stuck in traffic. We should miss the LA traffic by the time we get down in that area...I hope.

Well, one more week of my part-time job - last day is Dec. 15. Yesterday, I spent most of my time at the office going through file cabinets and shelves, making the decision on what should be kept and what needed to be trashed. It seems that once I am gone that area that I have resided in will totally be torn up and rearranged. So while I am feeling a little sad that this chapter is coming to an end, especially since my cubicle is looking pretty bare...with all the cubes around me getting cleaned out and torn down it really is kind of depressing.  Oh, well I guess while all GOOD things come to an end, more GOOD things are to come for me and for the company as they continue to grow...and have a really good person hired to replace me!

Yesterday, I received a surprise at boss, who works/lives in the UK and will not be able to see me off next week, sent me a little going away gift...

A new needlework bag and matching needle/scissor holder - a going away gift from my boss, Rachel
Rachel found the perfect gift - a needlwork bag and a matching needle/scissors case. Isn't great! Of course I took it home and filled it up immediately with ALL my stitching projects: Family Sampler, Mary Wigham WIP, and a few other little projects that I am planning to start one of these days. Let's just say it is stuffed already :)

Thank you so much Rachel!
 I love it and will always remember my experience at Hexcel and our working relationship.
 It has been such a wonderful experience - I have learned a lot about the company and the industry while working with some amazing people!
Thank you for all your support!

Speaking of stitching...the other evening I worked on my Family Sampler and have started to stitch the characters that make up my family...starting with our 90 pound mutt. As soon as I finish the pooch I will definitely post a status photo.

Oh, I have to show you something...
Do you know what that is? It is a 1/2 of sweet onion in a ziploc plactic bag. I used 1/2 of it last week when I grilled burgers, for my DH loves raw onions on his cheese burger. After dinner I put the other 1/2 in the bag and over the weekend it started to grow. We are thinking of planting it in dirt and see what happens. Interesting, huh?

And speaking of experiments...have any of you heard of the tv show MythBusters? It is a show on the Discovery Channel. While I had never heard of it, my sons have watch an episode of two and told me that in each episode they do different experiements to bust different myths - most experiments have something to do with explosives. Well, due to an unfortunate situation I found out that Myth Busters shot most of their episodes less than a mile away from our house at the local county police rifle range and the local army base. This week the show was going to see what kind of cannon ball - either steel or stone - would actually penatrate the wall of a castle that would have been built back in the middle ages.

Well, the cannon misfired...the cannonball traveled down the hill they were on...into a neighbors front door...bounced up the stairs and out the back wall..traveled across a busy street and landed in another neighbors minivan.
The exit hole of the cannon ball.
Please know that no one was hurt!!! Of course the neighborhood was in a buzz...between all the emergency services that afternoon - cops, firetrucks - as well as helicopters and, of course, tv camera crews. It is probably the most exciting thing that has gone on in our sleepy little city.

That is about all the news from here, my blogging friends. It is time for me to wrap up this post so that I can get things around, run to the grocery store to make sure that there is food in the house for my DH and DS Robert who will be here over the until next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A mini happy dance...and the preface to a new chapter in my life

Well, finally...although you will have to pardon the snapshot, still no batteries for the "real" camera so I had to use the phone again...I have a phone photo for you to show the status of Family Sampler.  Last night I put in the last few stitches of the border corners and also took time to sketch out & stitched the capital "D". Yahoo...a mini happy dance I did have :)

I have started to put some thought into how I want to represent my family in the middle section where the tree is. Using the various of combinations of a mom, dad and 2 sons...and a selection of cats & dogs...I think that I figured out how I will stitch us. So stay tuned as my Family Sampler mojo has returned and I am still hoping to get this big project complete before the bells of Jan 1 2012 ring.

I am also counting down the days until my part-time job is over...with a little saddness as I have been there 5.5 years mixed with a little excitement to move on and work more in our stores and help my DH out.  Today at my part-time job is our holiday luncheon at one of the local wineries. This event is a very nice occasion and I look forward to sitting with some of my co-workers I have worked with over the years as well as the young lady who was hired to replace me. Please note, while the word "replace" sounds harsh, I have no hard feelings at all about leaving - continuing on in the job as full-time is just not an option for me. More responsibility, more hours and travelling is just something, given my personal life, would be very difficult to wouldn't be good for me, my family or the company. And, like I said I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life - more involvement in the stores and continued time with family...aka chaufer to the boys :)

Well, time to sign off but before I do, I would like to share a few of the thoughts that arrived in my inbox this morning from

The best thing about this very minute is your ability to recognized the possibilities in it. Any fool can count the seeds in an apple. But only God can count the apples in a seed. There is something in every problem that holds potential for something better. Do you want a lifetime of happy righ nows? The little choice this moment to see the beauty in what appears ugly, frustrating, or disgraceful will change everything. ~Barbara Johnson

If you're not happy with who you are, you'll spend precious energy trying to be somebody you're no, and it wil wear you out. Think for a moment. Is there anybody in your life you're comparing yourself to? A beautiful sister? An accomplished brother? A friend who never seems to have problems? Well, may I say with all the love in the world: Quit it. That business o comparing is going to make you sice and unproductive, if it hasn't already. You are you! ~Luci Swindoll

The first thing to do in life is to do with purpose what one proposes to do. ~ Pau Casals

Until next time, my blogging friends, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A little package arrived, from a dear stitching friend!!

Yesterday a little package was sitting on my doorstep. I wasn't expecting anything, although some of our relatives have started their Christmas shopping a little early. However, this package was from my dear stitching friend - CindyMae. Totally unexpected, I of course couldn't wait to tear into the package...even through we were 1/2 our the door for a hockey game.

Rip...Rip...Tear...Tear...YAHOO! HOW COOL!...sob, sob..OMG, I can't believe that anyone would do this for me...

In the package was a pillow, with the Prairie Schooler Santa 2009 stitched AND the pattern...and a beautiful door hanger that reads: "Stitching Friends Forever."
Can you find any holiday stitching pattern that would be more perfect for my life than a Santa with a hockey stick, a couple of hockey pucks and ice skates?  Like, this is so my LIFE...and hopefully Santa takes the hint that the boys could always use a new pair of skates, a stick or even the puck for their stockings. And if that isn't enough, she threw in the pattern as well. Which, is awesome because after I showed my boys the pillow, they immediately said that would make a neat ornament for me. So, I guess I need to get my supplies together and stitch some skating Santas for the boys.
And the other stitched "door hanger" - Stitching Friends Forever, I think really sums up the friendship I have with Cindy. Through the blogging community of stitchers our paths crossed. A new and upcoming stitching designer, she needed people to help her out and stitch some of her designs so that she would have some models...I volunteered. And we have kept in contact throughout.

Cindy, thank you so much! I love my package. The pillow I have placed on my bed and the door hanger on my bedroom doorknob. You have truely spoiled me :) My life has been richer since you have come into it years ago and even through we live thousands of miles appart and have never met, you are a very special friend!


Yesterday's two hockey games, which Matthew and his team played, were pretty good. We knew going into them that his team would be challenged. Matthew played well and the team was not totally shut out...but they did loose both games with a score of 1-10 and 2-8. It could have been worse, for the opposing team, who is from Southern California, does a lot to recruit players from all over California as well as the US.

Today, my DH just left with both boys at 6:30am. Matthew has another game, an exhibition game against an older team from our club and Robert has an early morning practice with his team. Then later today, Robert will be playing in a hockey game as a member of his high school hockey team. This is the first game for this team and the first high school hockey game for his school. High school hockey is just getting organized in California (so, if you are keeping track, Robert is on two hockey teams - his high school team and his club team). 

Well, Robert will get to play in that High School game if he gets his homework done...Matthew has informed us that his homework is done for the weekend and he is ready for school tomorrow...fingers are crossed that we will not have any homework surprises at bedtime tonight!

That is about it my blogging friends. I am trying to get all my "to dos" crossed off my list before the boys come home from hockey: exercise, blog posting, catch up with relatives, grocery shopping, folding the laundry and prep a family lunch. So I better keep going to knock the things off. Until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It December???

This was our beautiful fall tree last Wednesday, November 30...before the 50-80 mile winds attacked it.

I am still in denial - it can't be December already...can it? It is hard to believe! But I guess since the boys got out their advent chocolate candy calendars, the holidays are getting closer.

Last Wednesday, I had a rare day off and enjoyed a nice 7.5 mile jog. The trees around the neighborhood were filled with colorful leaves, the sun was shinning a nice 50-60 degree temperature, the sky was blue and the grass green. In most places in the US, this wouldn't be a typical "winter" day but for here it is pretty standard this time of the year. HOWEVER, that was Wednesday...

Since then, the Santa Anna winds have been howling anywhere between 50-80 or 90 miles an hour. All of those beautiful crimson, orange and yellow leaves are no longer on the trees - they are on the ground and in my garage (we forgot to close the garage door the other night and the darn leaves found there way in there). Nevertheless, the temps still hover around the mid-50s and the sun it shiny bright - so I can't complain!

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.- all know the saying: "what goes around, comes around"? Well, I lived it on Thursday evening/Friday morning.

You remember those big school projects you would get and the due date would be a few weeks to a month out. The ones that would take some work and the teacher gave you all the time in the world to do it. So much time, in fact, that there wasn't any reason to start right away. The kind of projects you would set aside for the first week, then take the time to plan for the second week and then the night before the due date you and one of your parents, who would be very angry & have a sneer on their face, would stay up all night to complete it together. Well...

Matthew, my younger son, received a project a week before the Thanksgiving break that wasn't due until Friday, December 2. Decided that he wouldn't start it until the break, because he know that he would have a lot of time to research, write and draw since both DH and I would be at the stores working. Thanksgiving break comes...he works on the cover of the project and then writes down the outline of what he will research.. He develops the plan that he will work on 3 pages a day...the project is an ABC book of Ancient China...and therefore be able to get the project done during the T-giving break and not have to worry about it the week it is due (which is always a good idea because of all the other homework he has which he juggles with hockey practices).

Well...every day I would get home from the stores and was greeted by Matthew, who was still in his pjs playing a computer game. I would ask, "did you work on your project?" and he would respond, "no, not today, I will put some work into it tomorrow. I have a new strategy, starting tomorrow I will do 4 letters a day and will still be done before the end of the break." The next day - new strategy 5 letters a day...and the next was 6 letters a day.

Bottomline and to shorten the story...Thursday evening DH and I were up with Matthew "helping" him to get the project done. Working on the last 13 letters...we finished the project at 2:30am.


We have a lot of hockey this weekend...surprised? Matthew has a couple of league games today, both kids have practice tomorrow morning and Sunday evening Robert will be playing his first high school hockey game. High school hockey is new here in California - all the hockey is played representing a club. Robert's team is made up of 10-12 kids with various of hockey playing levels. It should be fun to watch and exciting for him to show off his hockey skills to all his schoolmates who know of his passion for hockey, but have never seen him play.

Well...I don't want to bore you any more. I am hoping to have some status photos of Family Sampler soon. Keep your fingers crossed!

Until next time...remember,

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!