Thursday, November 30, 2006

Back to School


A couple of weeks ago, I visited with my daughter, Kristen, and helped out in her classroom. This has been a rough year for her. First she had a classroom (first grade) for two weeks, then she didn't have a classroom and was a Reading Specialist and an Assistant Librarian. Then, two weeks before the end of the grading peroid, she was a first grade teacher once again. Of her 13 kids, 5 had been retained and more than a couple were 'special needs'.

I helped by working one-on-one for writing and reading, assisted in some grading of papers and actually taught a math class (my high school math teacher is probably rolling in her grave). Kristen's kids are sweet, needy, demanding and typical 6 and 7 year olds.

The week culminated with a Writer's Celebration with each child reading his or her creation that he/she had worked on during the week. The kids got to sit in Teacher's Chair to read and all did an amazing job.

I will go back! The cafeteria guy gave me free coffee and the little kids thought I was funny! Posted by Picasa

Our Big Night Out


Because E is such a great cook and loves to cook (thank heavens!), we don't eat out much. We decided to take some of the cash from our yard sale and go to one of our favorite restaurants, The Lighthouse which is on the water near a marina. The view is lovely and we have seen dolphin, manatee and even a gator in the small bay that is a home to the Marina and to Connie Mack Island.

The food is tasty, plentiful and attractively served. I had the Oscar Grouper which was divine. Tons of crab meat mixed into a stuffing over tender grouper topped with home made Hollindise (although I can't spell it, I can tell the difference between home made and packaged!). E has the oso bucco over risotto and raved about the flavor. I have enough of mine left for lunch today.

I deep sixed the dress idea and settled on a new pair of black slacks, a red camasole and a black jacket. E had wanted to dress comfortably so I followed suit. I think we clean up quite nicely though, don't you?

Not much on the agenda for today. The greenery is hung on the bannisters and now I have to reattach the gold poinsettas, the grape clusters, the beading and the pears and apples. I saw a bannister about ten years ago in a Southern Living Christmas book and just had to try my version of it. The whole thing is entwined with a red, green and gold sheer ribbon. I'll post pics when I finish it.

We do have a realtor or two coming through this week with the first one scheduled for this morning. I no longer get wildly excited about these visits like I did when we first put the house on the market. Any more I think if it sells, it sells, if it doesn't than we can live here without too much We do want to get up closer to the Clearwater/Palm Harbor area but we no longer feel pressured like we did before, which is a very good thing! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Let it Snow!


Easy for me to say, I know, living here in the tropics like I do but without snow, there can be no snow people. I collect snow people as do several others I know. Kip and I have a couple of matching ones which we have bought together. After a couple of years of a wee bit of moaning, my honey has now given in to my collecting and this terribly funny snowman for me along with another one which I will post another time. This chubby, vested fellow sings and dances and his antlers light up with glee.

We are heading out to the Lighthouse Restaurant (located on the way to Sanibel)tonight. This is the night we have choosen for our garage sale supper. When we counted up our money after the sale, there was enough to take the kids out for Thanksgiving and for us to have a romantic time by ourselves. I can't wait. I am going to find a dress (somewhere in my closet) and get gussied up. It has been a long time and is overdue. E only works until noonish so we'll spend some time getting some chores done around here and then get cleaned up to head out.

Hope your day is a good one! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sunsets in Paradise


Our sunsets here on the Gulf Coast are often spectacular, many times merely pretty but never mundane. We get some of our best sunsets during our rainy seasons in the summer when clouds form a backdrop for the rays and the sun as it appears to sink into the Gulf. The two pictures here were taken the other evening from Captiva Island. We have had a bit more rain and clouds here than usual for this time of year and thus the sunsets you see.

Today is a run those errands day. I have to get holiday computer paper for our invitations to the Open House Holiday Party we are planning for after our trip to St. Louis. E has been compiling snack recipes and making lists while I've been working on getting all the inside decos up and making an invite list. I also have to pick up some of the tropical holiday cards I love to send to the folks up north!

I am working on my Techniques column for Little Scrap Box and have been having lots of fun with the products I've been given; Daisy D Misteltoe papers are so lovely.

Enjoy your day! Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 27, 2006

Introducing Lucille


This is our newest Christmas deco addition. I fell in love with the citrus colored tinsel trees when I saw them at Michaels the first time. They are bright, festive and so very retro. When Kip came down a bit ago, she agreed to give the old front porch tree a good home, so we began the search for ornaments for Lucille. The retro colors were definately a challenge in the small size needed for Lucille but Kip and I found a few and Kristen and I found the rest the Wed. before Thanksgiving. Poor Lucille blew over once but she is not firmly duct taped to the table and will withstand the remainder of the season glowing brightly and standing proud! Welcome Lucille! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happiest time of the year...


(Something strange is up with blogger today. I don't see the picture of the cute snowman so am typing in hopes he appears when I post)

Today seems to be a kick off day for the holidays to me. We have most of the decos up and turned on the outside lights last night. We have a couple of trees left to drape but the timer is on and is working.

I am taking today off from decorating. I need to dig out from under a huge mess in my scraproom and do some much over due work. I am currently sitting on three CJs and need to get at least one done and in the mail this week. I am planning an UPS visit for Tues and will get out a CARE pkg. of items for a donation then as well.

My honey is off to work and the kids leave shortly after they get up this morning. I had a nice chunk of Kristen's yummy apple pie for breakfast. This recipe is from a 1936 Betty Crocker cook book of my grandmother's and is not in any of the current cookbooks so we cherish it.

Later this afternoon I'll do a slide show of Lucille all decked out in her holiday array! Thanks to Kip, I can work the slide show program and am loving it!

Have a great one all. You can sign me happy! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Fireworks at Tween's

Thanksgiving Day

We had a great Thanksgiving! We ate at Channel Mark which is on the back bay here. The view was beautiful and we ate in the open air section right down on the water! The food was great and the company even better.

This is my sister, Janet, and her beau, Dennis. I managed to catch my sis with a mouthful of food, which you can see from her plate was plentiful.

My poor son-in-law, Christopher, had to serve as a sibling go between with Kristen and Rob or one may have gone into the drink
with all their horseplay down on the dock. The teasing between the two of these "adults" has gone on unabated since early childhood and I have visions of them giving each other Wet Willies way into their sixties. Poor Chris!

And finall, E and I. This was the first Thanksgiving since he joined our family over twelve years ago that he has not cooked the dinner. We are having turkey and all the fixings today so we can have leftovers. LOL
Here we are with happy bellies and grateful hearts surrounded with family and friends. Does life get any better? Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Day

While the aroma of cooking turkey won't be wafting through our house today as we are eating out, we will still have all the rest of the chaos of TG going on. All of the kids are safely under mama hen's roof and they stayed up talking for some time last night long after E and I went to bed. All 3 of them are late sleepers so we have the house to ourselves for a bit. E goes to work at 9 and will join the kids, my sister and her boyfriend and me at the Channel Mark restaurant on the Back Bay where we will have a buffet Thanksgiving. E is cooking a turkey and all the fixings for us on Sat. so I still get my white meat on wheat with mayo sandwich!I am hoping to convince the two guys to help me string the candy cane lights on the tree out in front while E is at work. We started to do this on Monday when the branch E was leaning on gave way and he fell off the ladder onto the lawn. Fortunately, he was cushioned by the thick grass and only his pride was injured. I'd rather he not get back up on the ladder for a bit.Poor Lucille, my new lime green retro Christmas tree for the front porch. She was blown off the table by the winds while Kristen and I were out shopping. While the rug cushioned the blow somewhat, several of her oh so cute ornaments were broken. I've now duct taped Lucille's feet to the table so she does not take another spill. Good thing I had found some more cool ornaments for her at Target when K and I were out!My coffee is hot, the morning brisk and the hot tub is calling me so I am off. Will post lots of pics of the kids and the restaurant. Have a great Thanksgiving one and all!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Countdown begins

Posting from Paradise

Only two more wake ups til the Macy's Day Parade, non-stop football and Tom Turkey! Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where you spend hours preparing for one meal that everyone gobbles (sorry about the pun)down and then you spend the rest of the time cleaning up the mess. I spent far too many years repeating this tedious routine so, when I was divorced eons ago and the kids and I were celebrating our first Thanksgiving by ourselves, I decided to reinvent the day.

First of all, I only cooked the turkey and the stuffing. The kids each picked two dishes and those were theirs to prepare and serve and clean up as they went. We did watch the parade but the tv went off for the remainder of the day until after our meal. Then we would watch a movie that we had picked out together the day before. What did we do with all that time from morning until our late in the day Thanksgiving meal? We played board games and got a new one each year. My personal favorite was Scrabble as I was the only one who could use "bad" words and got double points for was the only way I could win!

Things have shifted and changed as all things do. E has taken over the turkey and dressing and makes real gravy, not the gravy in a jar I use to use. And he enjoys the parade as much as we all do. We played the games for a couple of years after he joined our family but they have gone by the way. Everyone still has their specialty dishes and all help with the clean up.

This year we are eating out joining my sister and her boyfriend at a back bay restaurant. This also is a big change for us. E is cooking a turkey Sat. while he and Kristen bake Christmas cookies so we will have our cherished left overs. Rob, don't let Chris and Kristen tell you that there were none as we are sending a bunch back with them for you!

Biggest Congrats to my dd, Kristen. She recieved the news today that she has passed the Florida State Media Instructors Exam for her certification! Yeah! See you tomorrow, K. Drive carefully

Monday, November 20, 2006

Another Epic Tale

Kip and I had a nice lunch dock side here and, of course, we just had to take pics of each other in the oversized chair. Kip still uses the last shot I took of her in one of these out on Captiva(that day is another story entirely).

And here is the Kipster!
We were on a mission yesterday or at least I was. I bought this oh so very cute tinsel tree for the front porch and it needs decorations. Kip did find me four funky glass trees with all the perfect colors but now I NEED some other retro ornaments for the tree who I have named Lucille. Four ornaments does not a well dressed tree make. We are off to Target and maybe another store early this morning before the Kipster heads back to St. Pete.

It doesn't look like the pic of my new dancing snowman showed up so I'll try again to post him very soon.
After Kip leaves, E is getting out the rest of the Christmas array and we will get up what we can. This is his last day off work until next Sat (half day on TG but we are eating out so it works out ok). If he can get the big tree up for me today, I can work on adding the decorations.and can finish off the inside of the house by Thanksgiving.
We like to have the whole house done by the Friday after TG so we can turn on the lights that night and enjoy the pretties all of December.

Have a great day...and I'll put up the Snow people pics soonest. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kicking off the Holidays

This is last year's view of our front porch. The little tree in the left corner has seen better days and is being replaced with a replica of a 50/60s prelit tinsel tree that matches the green in the carpet. Today, when the Kipster arrives and, after we have nourished ourselves at some beach side restaurant, I am on a quest for the perfect retro ornaments for the tree. I saw a box of small ones at Home Goods that I think will work and want to find some others to mix in. Sure am glad we did well at yesterday's yard sale! lol

I have a couple of layouts I'll be putting up on Jules' Creations sometime this weekend. So mosey on over if you get a chance with my thanks.
I am too too fond of the Fancy Pants Biggest Board chipboards and have been addicting everyone (right Pam and Janet?).

We're off to St. Louis on the 6th. -11th. Cat sitter is in place and hopefully we'll have all the holiday stuff up by then. E has been bringing in box after box until our great rooms looks like a cardboard maze. I can't empty and place things faster than he can bring them in. He has to work from 6:45 am-1pm so maybe I'll have a chance to get caught up.

Did I mention how much I love my new bedroom spread, shams, curtains etc. It give the whole room a new look and has set us on a new road this holiday. We loved how totally different the new things made our room look, we have decided (with a few exceptions) to put lots of the holiday decos in new places too and see what the results are. Every year the tall beaded cone shaped trees got at the top of the steps and no ones sees them...this year, I'm thinking the front porch for these lucious creations.

Who knows, maybe I'll even do something different with me!

Kristen is talking about coming down early Wed. morning so she and I can play. Her hubby and Rob both have to work all day Wed, so they could car pool together. Rob, as usual, has to be back on Thurs. night as he has to be at work bright and early Friday morning.

Well, the holiday music is playing, the Christmas Island Village is up but not lit and I found most of my Noel candles from Crabtree and Evelyn so let the games begin! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Kipster is coming...

This means that my honey breaks out the recipe files and goes to town. The last time Kip was down, E fixed this oh so wonderful blackberry/heavy cream/concoction filled with flavor (not to mention calories). Who knows what he has in mind this time but as soon as he decides, I'll post it here for collective sighs.
We are still in the midst of the community yard sale purge. When we thought we were getting the new house, we bought new master bedroom fixings: cover,throw pillows, pillow covers etc. What we didn't get was a new valence. I want to put the "old" set into the yard sale so today took down the old valence, folded the cover and the pillow shams and put the whole thing in the "to be sold" pile. E is off tomorrow and I wanted to make sure we got out to the outlet mall to pick up or at least order a new window treatment to match the rest of the new set. I knew if I didn't take down the old, we'd never get this done before Christmas.

It is a rainy day here and I am off to scrap. If you are one of our Hang Ten Paper Art Kit lovers, please read Jules' Creations for some news about our December kits. Many thanks, The Surfer Girls, Jill and Jules. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Welcome to my Wed.

We don't get much change in season here in the tropics; the heat increases or decreases and the breezes blow or not. This is why I was so thrilled to find many of the trees in the Nashville area still had beautifully hued leaves. Janet, Pam and I took several shots of this particular tree across the street from a cute little stamp/scrap store.
Today is work in my room day until my honey gets home from work around 1:30pm. After lunch, we'll be working in the garage sorting and pricing items for the community yard sale on Sat. I have tons of scrap paper bundled into stacks of 15 and will price these around 1.25. We also have some nice grid works, hooks and tons of 13x13 plastic paper trays that we'll be selling for a buck. I am including a bunch of stamps and some kits I'll never get around to making. Wish us luck!
The Kipster is coming down Sunday to play! I've started a list of our must shop stores and E is working on recipes. He wants to try something new for KIp as she has had most of his specialties already. We might even get some scrapping in...who knows?
Enjoy your day! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Holiday Decos at the Gaylord

While Pam, Janet and I had attended scrapbook events at the Gaylord in Nashville, Marcel, Pam's husband, had never viewed this amazing resort. I had been awe struck when I first saw it, complete with its river flowing through the resort and the boat rides available.
We were just in time for a viewing of the holiday array. There were poinsettas and other Christmas plants in profusion, hanging hot air balloons with characters and drums and stockings etc. Elves had been placed in fun locals and their cute smiling faces greeted us when we least expected.
The crowning glory was the huge tree all done in purples and greens and pinks! It was so beautiful that I think I will use it for my msn photo for quite some time.

Today is just another day in Paradise. I have some kit work to do and I need to gather and tag scrap papers and tools that I will not use for the community garage sale scheduled for this Sat. We have grids and tons of plastic 12x12 paper trays that I'm putting out. I'll save some for myself and some of my pals, but we have 3 boxes filled with these and will not ever use them all.
The hot tub is calling. It is a very crisp day here today. We have not even opened up the house. We did sleep with one of the french doors open from our bedroom to the lanai and I slept like a log. It was fun to pull up covers instead of throwing them off. One cat is nestled under the covers of the bed now and the other has all his fur puffed up to stay warm.
Have a great day all. Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 13, 2006

What a great weekend

This is the view of the lobby of the Union Station Hotel in Nashville. The rooms are being rennovated on a few of the floors but our room was lovely. The lobby was where Anne's reception was held. Having always been a big fan of the Art Deco decor, I was in heaven.
The Rehersal dinner was held at the Wild Horse Saloon and these two guys at the bar were really horsing around. As you can see, they were trying to put the moves on Pam, Janet and I so we gave them a thrill and sat at the bar with them for just a bit!

And now I know where Elvis went when he left the building! lol

Today is a day filled with unpacking, laundry, sorting and some work on December's kit, Winter Wishes. I'll post a new hint on Jules' Creations later today and maybe even give you a sneak peak of a couple of the frosty, sparkly pages! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jules' Creations blog

Posting from Paradise

has been updated. Be sure to check it out!

Anne's Wedding DAy

Wow...did we have fun yesterday. We met Pam (moncton)and her husband Marcel (or, as Janet and now refer to him as, ST. Marcel, who took us all over N'ville and we found 2 scrapbook stores thanks to him). We all had breakfast at the hotel and lunch at the Gaylord Hotel. While Janet, Pam and I had all attended CKUs there, Marcel had never seen the hotel. It was all decked out in holiday array and so pretty. When we left there and the outlet mall, the outside lights were turned on with thousands of twinkling white lights in trees and the center of the main entrace surrounded by huge prelit beautiful.

The rehersal dinner was such fun. It was held at the Wild Horse Saloon and the country music was jumping! The food was good and Anne looked lovey in a denim long skirt, boots and a pretty rusty colored sweater. She is going to make a very striking bride. We have had custody of the dress in our room since we checked in last night. Anne did reclaim it before Janet and I turned in last night and just when she and I were getting ready to play dress up (Jk) lol.

I sure wish I had my memory card reader here so I could post the pics of Janet and her "bar dates"! Guess you'll just have to wait til I get home later tomorrow.

The Vet's Parade goes by here in a bit and then I think we are going to take a walk down the street. There is a wild rumor there are some cute shops to be seen. The wedding is at six and right across the street so we will walk to that as well. We are sure enjoying our time here! More when I can...

Everyone have a great day!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Morning World

It is me again. Today is Thurs. so I must be in the Orlando airport (double checking...yep) on my way to Anne and Ken's wedding on Sat. Janet flies in later this afternoon and we'll check into our room then. Look out come the Cabana Crew...or at least 2 of us to join a 3rd. This is our first Cabana Crew wedding, now that I come to think about it. Another first for the Crew!

Kristen and I went out to lunch yesterday once the kiddles had left her room and the school campus and, just our luck, we got the slowest service in the world. We went to the Tarpon Turtle restaurant on Lake Tarpon. The view was lovely, the day balmy and the service was slower than sap in December. We ended up taking our food back to her room. She was worried about being gone too long from the building as no one was told what they were suppose to do about this half day. Most were packing up their rooms or cleaning and grading so we did a bit of the same. She had a few things to run off but the office was locked so no one could get to the xerox machine. Strange place, that school! Hope the rest of her week goes well.

I'll post some pics when I can as we watched a couple of baby gators while we waited.

My battery is almost dead on Minnie so I'm off to try to locate an outlet to recharge. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Return to First Grade

I feel like a stunt stand in from Kindergarten know, the movie where the K students run poor Arnold ragged. I managed to survive day 2 with my daughter's class. It was actually a smidgen better than yesterda. The child who screamed for what seemed like an eternity yesterday only had one melt down in class today. The little boy who has worn the same uniform shirt for the past two weeks had it on again today but his mother (or so he said) hung an air freshner in the shape of a Christmas tree around his neck (I kid you not). The student who was absent yesterday got almost all caught up and I, once again, taught first grade math without doing irreperable damage to their sense of numbers.

Kristen asked me two questions today that made me think for a bit (like 2 seconds)
1. Did I miss being in the class room? HELL NO! I love deciding each morning if I want to be productive, creative, amusing or just me and wear my jammies all day long.
2. What was harder: teaching first grade or high school English? First grade by a long least I changed students every hour on the hour and I didn't have to blow their noses.

Tomorrow is a half day and yes, I am drinking again!

For Julie Comstock: I apologize for getting confused and marrying you off to the UPS account man, David, and hope you will not be arrested for bigamy. I am sure you husband will understand and will you be hyphenating your last name now? Sign me, stunned from working with first graders for two days!

P.S. Julie is only married to one man, her honey!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Broadcasting live today from....

beautiful Palm Harbor at my daugher and son-in-laws home. We got up here yesterday without any car problems at all...shouldn't have any after what we paid to have the van fixed! Ed and Deb, our neighbors, followed us in their converted mail truck and they guys got all our stuff loaded quickly.

The kids bbq'ed for us and E and the neighbors headed back to Ft. Myers, all arriving safely. I don't envy E having to try and rearrange the garage for all the stuff we had stored at the kids.

I met kip up at Ruban Rouge for the afternoon and, while I didn't get any work done on the Winter kit for Hang Ten Paper Arts, I did buy some cool scrap stuff and hung out with Lisa, the owner, Anne, the Ed. Director and, of course, the Kipster who was working on one of the tons of Christmas projects from Lisa's DT.
Great time.

The kids and I did movies and a pizza for supper and all hit the sack fairly early. Today, Rob, Christopher and I have a lunch date on the beach and I am going to try to sweet talk my favorite (and only) son-in-law into taking me to JoAnne's up the street.

Having fun in Palm Harbor...wish you were here!

Friday, November 03, 2006


Morning all, our van is in the garage and will be ready (hope hope) in time for us to get an early start to Palm Harbor tomorrow. E has been building new shelves for the garage like a mad man. I have my To-Do list and am checking things off in an orderly fashion.

One thing on my list is to compose and run off about 30 fliers for the neighborhood. Somehow, I ended up in charge of the Community Garage Sale (just setting the date and notifying everyone and that is all thank heavens). I'll run these off and get them to my neighbor to distribute next week while I am gone. We have a huge pile of goodies to sell/give away and then we can reclaim our garage!

The Winter Wishes Dec. kit for Hang Ten is coming right along: lots of sparkle and such soft, lovely colors too. I'll post a teaser pic up on Jules' Creations soon just to whet the whistle, so to speak! You all know by now that I love to entice and tease!

I love the sun shining through this tree. Kip and I went on an adventure in the morning before we left Creep Over Scrap Retreat ( and I loved the tall pine.

Have a great day all and I'll post more soon. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 02, 2006

When it rains, it gushes!

As if it weren't enough that I am rushing to get ready to go spend a few days helping Kristen in her classroom and that I leave for Nashville and Anne's wedding early the morning after I get back, now we have some major repairs that have to be made on the car. Either E is going to have to take off work on Friday (and the van won't be ready until mid morning Sat) or I stay home or we borrow a car from someone so E can get to work. We thought, at the worst, we'd have to have the breaks replaced but this is a doozer. There is something wrong with something that is going to cost 900$ or thereabouts or the whole car will come to a screeching halt. Our car is way past warrenty and we were hoping to hold off a bit on a new one. I hate messy situations!

I am packed for both Kristen's and Anne's with the exception of some scrap things for Dec.'s kit. Fortunately, I have taken to keeping each on-going and finished kit in its own 14x14x6 bin with a cover so it is simply a matter of putting the lid on this one and packing up a few supplies.

I also have to have the house all spic and span (on tomorrow's agenda) as we have a showing on Sunday. E will be at work and I'll be in Palm Harbor with the kids. I am 90% done with laundry and did a quick once-over on the upstairs. Calgon, take me away!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NOV 1ST. IN Paradise

Posting from Paradise
This year is just flashing by in a a blink! Seemed like just a couple of days ago we were packing for our couple of weeks at the beach and here it is working towards Thanksgiving.

This morning was a cool, misty one and reminded me of many mornings back in St. Louis in the late fall. My last year in town, I was retired and vowed to walk no matter what the weather. The village where we lived was built on what had been a golf course and there were lots of hills, cul d'sacs and sidewalks throughout.

I remember best the walks in the very early morning in the fall. I would put on E's rubber lined fishing jacket and pull the hood tight over my head phones. While the misty rain would fall, I would walk to Enya and end up down by one of the lakes to watch the geese and ducks.

This was my favorite time of the day and the best way to start one that I can think of. The leaves would be wet on the sidewalk and berries would be starting to grow on vines in the woods that lined the whole development.

This morning just set my thoughts drifting back. Time is so fleeting; it is hard to catch and keep a memory.