Saturday, December 31, 2011

Highlights of 2011

2011 has been a good year. I can’t complain, I’m still the proud mom to three wonderful bassets – Molly, Polly, and Bowser, and I’m lucky to have wonderful parents, a brother, two nephews, a grandma (who’s still kicking it at 96 – go grannie!), and many other awesome friends and family. Here are some of the highlights of the past year.
Highlights of 2011
January – May
  • Took ‘Organizing Classroom Reading and Writing’ at The University of Montana.

  •  Went to a Dog Show at the Fair Grounds in June and saw some awesome Basset Hounds, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, and many others.
  • Taught Reading Camp at Hellgate Elementary this summer to fifth graders (through mid-July).
  • Began making cards with stamps and the Cricut.
  • Hiked up Blue Mountain with Bowser and Katie (throughout the summer).

  •  Went to Trout Creek to visit my grandma, aunt, and uncle.
  • Went looking for sapphires and to The Sweet Palace in Phillipsburg, MT. with Katie and Dan Boardman.

  • Went to The Sweet Palace in Phillipsburg, MT. with my mom.
  • Went to Spokane, WA. for shopping trip with Katie.

  •  Took Praxis Test for Teaching Reading and aced it! Boo-ya.
  • Completed my Reading Endorsement from The University of Montana in September.

  • Molly got really sick with a bladder infection, and miraculously recovered. Polly felt left out, so now she is currently on medication for a bladder infection (thankfully it’s not as bad as Molly’s).
  •  Presented Young Reader’s Choice Award (YRCA) books at Montana Educator’s Association (MEA) in mid-October.
  • Went to AASL (American Association for School Librarians) in Minneapolis, MN. at the end of October. Got to ride three roller coasters at The Mall of America and visit the Disney store.

  •  Finally got a cell phone – I didn’t want to rush into anything.
  • Started this blog. J
  • My friend had a healthy baby boy on November 30.
  • Made a raspberry trifle for Thanksgiving and a brownie/reese’s peanut butter cup trifle for Christmas.

  • Our outdoor green lighted Christmas tree was stolen from our front yard. :(
  • Got to refine my cooking and baking skills. My favorite new recipe is meatballs and spaghetti sauce cooked in the Crock Pot. Yummo. :)
  • Went to The Adventures of Tintin with my brother and nephews. My brother and I read the Tintin books when we were kids, so this was nostalgic for both of us. A very awesome movie.
(Clockwise, starting at Top Right): Jillian, Nancy, and I at AASL in MN.; Bowser enjoying one of our hikes at Blue Mountain; one of my favorite cards that I made this year for my friends Cory and Nick; and me at AASL in MN.

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Favorites

  • Favorite Books: The Monstumologist by Rick Yancy and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  • Favorite Game: Pioneer Trail/Frontier Trail (on Facebook)
  • Favorite Movies (of 2011): The Help, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and The Adventures of Tintin
  • Favorite Song: In the Deep by Adele
  • Favorite Mystery: Poirot
  • Favorite DramaDexter
  • Favorite Comedies (I can’t just choose one): Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, and The Middle
  • Favorite Youtube video: The Ultimate Dog Tease

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Delights

I love decorating for Christmas. Above you see the decorations that are above our entertainment center. Below are close-ups of these decorations. As you can see we collect cookie jars - which are mostly snowmen, but we love all kinds.
If you look at the above pictures you will see the hand-painted nativity scene made in a ceramic class by my mom and aunt. I still remember them working on these over 25 years ago. Behind the nativity scene you can see the Santa Basset and the Target dog, along with some angel ornaments that my mom made.
These cross stitches were made by my mom. They were designed by Mirabella and titled 'Giggles in the Snow'. There is a ton of bead work on these cross stitches, but it doesn't show in the picture.
This is a cross stitch I started last year called "The Twelve Days of Christmas'. If you look closely, you can see some beads in the pear tree. My plan was to stitch one of the twelve days each year. . .yes, that will take 12 years to complete, but I'm up for the challenge. :)
Next we go to our tree that has many of my favorite ornaments.
These are 2 of my favorite basset ornaments. I especially love the one on the right because it has the names of my 3 bassets. :)
These are 2 ornaments I cross stitched for my mom - they were designed by Debbie Mumm. I think they turned out really well. :)
These are 3 ornaments my mom cross stitched. She does good work.
And lastly I wanted to round out my favorites with these ornaments. The top 2 were hand-painted by my mom back in the '80s and have beautified our tree ever since. The Alice in Wonderland ornament is from the Disney set I got when I went to The Mall of America in Minneapolis. The bear ornament is another one stitched by my mom. :)

I hope you have enjoyed these Christmas goodies that I enjoy during this time of year. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Favorite Christmas Movies

'Tis the season for all my holiday movie favorites. My favorites are:
  • A Christmas Story (my all-time favorite)
  • Christmas with the Kranks
  • Elf
  • The Santa Clause trilogy
  • Mickey's Christmas Carol
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • Home Alone 1 & 2
  • Scrooged
  • Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009 version)
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Santa Clause is Coming to Town
  • Eloise at Christmastime
There are others that I enjoy, but these are ones that I make sure to watch every year. I love the music, the stories, and the memories they bring back of previous holidays. What are some of your favorites?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baby Card

         I created this card for a friend of mine that just had a baby on November 30th. I got this idea from Sarah at 'Live, Love, and Scrap!' and modified it. The teddy bear and bottle are removable, and I love the charm ducky! :) Below are some cards that I made this past summer.
         This first card is one I created for my grandma. I painted the dragonfly with Twinkling H2O Watercolor paints. The second is one I made for a friend that ran the Missoula marathon.
        I created the first 'Congratulations' card for my cousin's wedding, and the second 'Congrats' card was created for my cousin who graduated from high school. Unfortunately I don't have as much time to make cards as I would like. But I enjoy it when I get the chance. Thanks for looking! :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Cherished Teddies 2011

Above are 3 sets of my Cherished Teddies, which I just adore. The sets are (from top to bottom):  Nutcracker plus some other seasonal goodies, Nativity Scene, and Christmas Carol. 

This is our village set, complete with U of M Nutcrackers, a Cherished Teddies Christmas train and other winter themed Cherished Teddies. Above the village are the cross stitches called 'Giggles in the Snow'. These were completed by my mom, and they have intricate bead work, which unfortunately doesn't show up on the picture. They are beautiful. Thanks for looking.

I'm One Lucky Auntie

It amazes me with how fast time goes by. I was lucky enough to be there when my first nephew, Blaine, was born - 15 years ago. A year and a half later, my second nephew Bryce, was born. So blessed am I to have two such wonderful people in my life; this is something I am thankful for every day.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

And the winner is. . .

The raspberry trifle won for Thanksgiving. For some odd reason it didn't look like the pictures from Taste of Home. Hmmm. . .I wonder why that is. :) Anyhow, it was a huge success and tasted so good. It wasn't too raspberry tasting, and I enhanced the recipe. Instead of just using regular raspberry preserves, I mixed the preserves with whip cream and powdered sugar. It was delicious and everyone wanted more - the poundcake certainly made it even more tasty. For Christmas I'm thinking of trying the browing/peanut butter cup trifle, but it's going to be tough to top the raspberry trifle. I'll keep you posted. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let the Countdown Begin

Busy day today. Ran errands, took Molly in for a follow-up appointment (which went very well), saw my Grandma, aunt and uncle, did laundy, and some baking. :) I made sourdough bread from scratch, and poundcake for tomorrow's trifle. The poundcake turned out very well, but the bread was sweeter than what I was expecting. I followed the bread recipe exactly, so if I make it again I'll have to make some adjustments so it's not so sweet - or perhaps I'll try making french bread. Tomorrow the real fun begins - cooking, eating, and spending quality time with the fam. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In a Bit of a Trifle

Choices, choices, choices. Last Thanksgiving I made my first trifle - bananas with yellow cake, cheesecake pudding, whip cream, and vanilla waffers. This year I am trying to satisfy everyone, which is hard to do because we have the chocolate fans, and then we have the fruit fans. I'm debating between a raspberry/poundcake trifle and a peanut butter cup/brownie trifle. They both sound delicious to me, and I know that whatever I do make it will be loved by all. . .hmmm. . .what a tough life I lead. I'll keep you posted on what I decide. :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

AASL 2011 trip to Minneapolis, MN.

Day 1: On Wednesday, October 26, 2011, I, along with 4 of my fellow teacher-librarians boarded a plane heading to Minneapolis, MN. for the America Association School Librarian (AASL) 2011 conference. We had no problem catching our shuttle van to the hotel and checking in. 3 of my cohorts and I went to a cool Italian place for dinner called Zela’s. I had chicken parmisian which was delicious.

Day 2 (Thursday): Since the conference didn’t start until 2:30, my roomate Jillian and I didn’t let any grass grow under our feet and headed to The Mall of America. We rode on the light rail, so we got a mini tour of Minneapolis and even saw the Minnesota Vikings stadium. Jillian and I rode 3 roller coasters at the Nickelodian theme park which were a blast! It was great to be able to scream and have some fun. Although the fun didn’t stop there. I got to visit the Disney store where I’m sure I drooled a little. ;) After buying a few memorabilia we ate lunch and headed back to the conference. We watched a movie about the current digital age and how some schools are tackling the 21st century. We got popcorn which I promptly spilled everywhere - doh! The opening key note speaker was Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain. He was very insightful and I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation. I had to laugh at two of my collegues who were fighting falling asleep - not due to a boring presentation I found out later but because they were so exhausted. The vendor exhibits were open after the end of presentation so I explored the numerous vendors and got many free goodies. For dinner we ate at Spike’s sports bar that was located in the Hyatt. It was tasty, but we were all tired so we retired soon after dinner.

Day 3 (Friday): Let the races begin. Started the day with a breakfast conference with Capstone. Had 2 wonderful speakers - one a flamer that I instantly wanted to be bffs with (I am not intending to offend anyone with the flamer remark, but it is the best descriptor in this case). After breakfast I attended 4 sessions and visited the vendors again. At the end of day my partners in crime and I attended 5 vendor parties. Free food and drinks, among author signings and other goodies. I met Kareem Abdul Jabar and got his autograph for our library. I also met young adult author Maggie Stiefvater. She was very nice and looked like a teenage herself. :) I won a $50 cash card from the ABC-Clio party which was awesome, and I got to try a panini for the first time - YUMMO! Very fun night of party hopping. We finished it off with riding the escalators at Target and being entertained by the cart escalator. We really need to get out more.

Day 4 (Saturday): Again we started the day with another breakfast meeting and then it was off to 3 more conferences and the closing key note speaker. Busy day, but by the last speaker my mind had left me by the wayside. There was a closing dinner for the conference at the Nicolette Pavilion where we had some delicious Walleye fish and roasted marshmallows for S’mores. I was exhausted and certainly ready for bed by this point.

Day 5 (Sunday): The fun part of the morning was trying to fit everything into my suitcase. With the help of my colleagues I was able to get everything packed. :) At the airport I even got to eat at Godfather’s pizza, which I haven’t had in years. It was very tasty. We boarded the plane at 11:45 and headed for home. It was so good getting home and seeing my doggies again.

I have been home for a few days and I’m really read for a weekend, but I had such an awesome time in Minneapolis at the conference I’m so glad I got to go. Good times. :)