Sunday, December 31, 2006

More Baking and Beading

Today I continued to bake from the book I mentioned in a recent post. I made another batch of the cinnamon rolls. One pan will be for my family. The other will go to my mom's house where she is hosting a sleep-over for all of the cousins. She is a brave soul. She gives them fun hats, noise makers, the whole works! My husband and I will go to our annual bookgroup New Years Eve party. I am bringing a bunch of fingerfoods which include this ciabatta that I made today. It is yummy. I am also working on the calla lillies for the scissors cases for the sewing kits. I am in a quandry about design. Should the scissors simply slip in? SHould it have a flap with a snap? should they tie onto something? I can't decided. Any suggestions?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Birthday Eve Tea

Tomorrow is my birthday. As a special treat my husband's cousin's wife, Lilia took Ellie, Eleanor (MIL) and I to tea at The Windsor House. It is my favorite place to have tea. It is owned by a few women from England who moved here when their husbands were transfered. We had a lovely time. We drank many tea pots full of tea and each of us had a delightful plate, like the one featured here. It had three kinds of sandwiches (Egg Salad; Turkey, butter and Brandson Pickle ( a bit like chutney); and Ham with butter and cream cheese. We also had petite foures and the ever popular scones (two kinds) with strawberry jam and double cream. It was a grand way to quitely celebrate my birthday.

On my way home from having tea I stopped in at a cooking store. They had THE CUTEST aprons. You can view them at But let me tell you, the pictures on the web don't do them justice.

The cinnamon rolls I made yesterday was a smashing hit. If anyone is interested, I will post the recipe. It is absolutely the best I've made thus far!

Friday, December 29, 2006

"A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That"

Today is a "Fiddler on the Roof" type of day. I have an awesome batch of Cinnamon Roll dough proofing in the kitchen. The recipe comes from THE BREAD BAKER'S APPRENTICE: MASTERING THE ART OF EXTRAORDINARY BREAD by Peter Reinhart. I imagine that the results will be wonderful! One item of note is that this dough has lemon extract, and it has perfumed my main floor. In the bowl of the mixer I have a double batch of poolish, a bread dough sponge that will be used to make something wonderful tomorrow. It begins with small bits of domesticated yeast and it attracts "wild" yeast as it ferments at room temperature.

As I read the head chapters, here are some things I have learned: 1) Salt is a key ingrediant in bread baking. It controlls the amount of gas exchange from the yeast. Too much and your yeast is dead. Too little and you end up with a gassy, runny mess. (I already knew this part) Some salts are more course than others. With kosher salts, the crystals are hollow and light. If you cook with kosher salt, you may need to adjust your recipe. It takes nearly double the amount to equal what you get with table salt. One teaspoon of table salt is .25 ounce. Kosher salt is 1 3/4 teaspoons to make a .25 ounce and sea salt requires 1 1/2 teaspoons. 2) Failed bread recipe? It may be the amount of flour. In cooksbooks what is considered 1 pound of flour can range from 3 1/2 cups to 4 1/2 cups, depending on the level of miosture in your air.

On a different note, I got some great fabrics. The colorful ones fit me to a "T." I love bright colors. I have been loving this fabric for a while and decided that I HAD to have some. The others will accent it. It may become an apron, or maybe a purse. I found a great purse tutorial over in the archives for (January or Febuary 2006). The other, cute fabric is out of my usual realm, but I thought I could do something great with it for Easter.

The snow continues to fall. I think we have another 14", so far. Ethan says he likes snow, he thinks it brings people together. The fact that he has made over $100 shoveling snow helps, too.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sewing Kits -a good beginning & More Snow

Ellie and I have been very inspired by some of the items that we have seen on the Jujulovespolkadots blog (I've got her link there on the sidebar of this page) and have made a few of our own pincusions. We had so much fun, we decided to make the cherry needlebook, too. That was fun, but also a little fidgety. One part of my brain was says, "Hey, very cool and kind of fast, too." The other part of my brain said, "Oh no, not more of those little fabric berries. They are such a small, exacting thing to do!" The Fun side is winning over. We continue to make more of them, or rather I am. Here's what I have learned: 1) If you are making cherry berries from cloth and don't want them to have salvage edges showing, turn under a hem as you gather the material to make the berry. This is also true when making the yo-yos. 2) Filling the berries with stuffing is messy. The berries are small engough that wiggly bits of the stuffing want to pop out and look messy. It is better to make small scraps, or nibbles of batting from quiting. They behave better. 3) The thinner the needle, the better.

Ellie also decided that her monkey needed a hat, so she, being such a clever girl, fashioned one with just a wee bit of help. She will endeavor to make one for the monkey that goes with this one.

Snow has begun to fall, again. It has been predicted that we will get another 18" of snow. I am packing up some of the Christmas stuff. I usually wait until after the New Year to do that, but we have been home so much that I am ready for a less cluttered house. You'd think that since we have been home a lot that the house would be clean. I have endeavored to make this true, but the house still seems to be messy. As I enjoy the beauty of the falling snow, I am also wishing I had gotten some Valentine's day fabric. I think I need some hearts kinds of placemats.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Buche de Noel & Post Blizzard Shopping

Our family had a wonderful Christmas. We had wild times, quiet times and fun times. We had merriment at home, at Grandma Gay's house and at Grandma Eleanor & Grandpa Don's house. This is the Buche de Noel that Ethan and I made for the Christmas dinner. Ethan and I made the mushrooms together. The cake is a simple, airy chocolate bit that has been covered with Chantilly Cream, rolled up and decorated. Everyone was very complimentary and it was gone in a flash!

Today, the day after Christmas, was a big shopping day. I scored big at Target by getting another four settings of the Torde plates that I love. My mom got an entire basket of stuff. She loved it so much that she went home and decorated her home with it.

The grocery store was another matter. It is predicted that we may get another blizzard, with 8"-15" of snow on Thursday or Friday. I went to stock up. Boy was I amazed at what it was like. In the produce section you could buy celery or oranges, nothing else was available. In the meat department you could get a small bit of pork or chicken nuggets. Forget about most of the breads. If you want cheese you could get a soft Mexican cheese or cream cheese. Let's hope you don't need eggs. They had one carton left, and it had broken eggs. Each section was a similar story.

I will be employing my creative cooking skills this week. Right now I am working on green chile. I can't wait to get back to crafting!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town...

We are officially ready for Christmas. Our town is like a small country town, but it is actually in the middle of a big town. Each year our volunteer fire department escorts Santa from home to home so that he can greet each child. He arrives in a convoy of fire department vehicles. As he gets near your house he sends out a special signal and rolls the lights. Then he lumbers up to the door to greet the children and hand them a bag of candy. This year we didn't think it would happen because of the snow, but sure enough, there he was. And oh how magnificant he was in his wonderful red suit and his glistening white beard. Ellie, who is really questioning the whole idea gave him a big hug. I wish I could have taken a picture. It was the very spirit of it all in one image. As we were walking back into the house a distant train blew its whistle. Ellie said, "Mama, it is offically Christmas. I've given a hug to Santa and I've heard the Polar Express. Do you think it will come by our house?" Then they both ran up to go to bed, with visions of sugar plums, or at least sugared fruit slices, dancing in their heads. Truely, Santa is coming to town. Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

It is finally Christmas Eve. We spent last night at a friend's house having cheese fondue, pecan pie and lots of other goodies. She has two message chairs that we spent time in. By the time we left we were so relaxed that we were nearly ready for bed. Today we are cranked up. Ellie says that her stuffties (stuffed animals) open their presents on Christmas Eve, so they are having their party today. I am busy making hot crossed buns, green bean casserole, more gingerbread, and edible mushrooms for the Buche de Noel that I make for Christmas dinner. I will try and post pictures of that. It is a lot of fun. We also continue to sew and bead our way through movies. The snow is still here. When I go out I get stuck an average of two times, usually within walking distance of our home. The sky is a beautiful chambrey blue and the snow glistens. The major roads are dry and snow-free.

I hope your holiday is a bit magical and full of fun. Happy Holiday!

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Small Tin for Alexis

This little tin was a great challenge, one I took up for Alexis. She is my student assistant, and a wonderful one at that. She has been my student since she was a sophomore. She will be going into the Navy and I will miss her greatly. I've watched her transform from a sweet sophomore to an insightful, responsible and resourceful young woman. I wanted to make something special for her. Knowing that we was going into the Navy I knew I could not do my usual stuff. When I asked her what she would like she told me that she would love a very small thing that she could take with her that would hold photograhs. It would need to be travel hardy and study. It also needed to be very light. I thought this would be the ticket. It is about 1/2" thick and comes with an accordian book inside with 7 panels. She can pick 14 photos to attach to it and it should still close. I grappled with decorating the accordian book, too, but decided against it. I will leave that for her doing.
Weather wise I am in day three of being home. Yesterday we spent the afternoon digging out the alley. We are in the middle of the block, so it was no easy feat. It took all four of us many hours to get it done. In some places the snowdrifts were four feet high. I had to dig in layers as the snow, non-drift snow that is, was up to the top of the pockets on my pants. When we tried to drive out, just so Larr could go to work on Friday, we got stuck. It took five people pushing to get the car out of the rut. We decided to not drive today. Being the ever resourceful man that he is, he found someone with a 4 wheel drive and high clearance to take them to work/school. Yesterday morning the kids walked over to my mom's house a few blocks away and brought back a few cups of flour and Chex mix. We enjoyed it while we watched movies.
While I am enjoying my free time, I am also becoming nervous. The Big S presents are at the in-law's house, the wall hanging for Ellie is still at work, I am one gift short for Ethan and I don't have what I need to make the Buche de Noel that I traditionally make each year for Christmas. However, I will chase away those nervous feelings by cooking the gingerbread that we have on Christmas Eve. Don't you just wish this had a smell-o-vision feature?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Penguins on Parade

In an earlier post I showed you this project as a WIP (work in progress). It is still a WIP, but it is much closer to being finished. These are the four fun panels. They are adhered with a fusible webbing. Each panel also has a lot of iron on crystals. It is really quite cute and fun. Ellie has no clue that I am making this. She is going to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. One small problem is that I took it to work to show it to my students, and left it there. This is day two of the blizzard and I am worried that I will not get it from school in time for Christmas. Next up, the final stitches in the hat for my husband and a buttonhole on the bathrobe for my son.
Say, did you notice the new look? It is due in large part to the help I got from my friend, Peg, over at Artistic Explorations. You can check out her blog by clicking on it in my links section. Nothing like a helpful friend, and a blizzard that keeps you from going places in order to get some cool things done! Say, I kind of like those snow days.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Butter Council is Going To Love Me!

Today we are having a doesy of a storm. The snow is coming in horizontal, not vertical. You can't see more than two houses away. School was canceled. I don't know what we're going to do about finals! And I didn't bring home any essays to grade - oh, darn.

The practical girl in me went to the grocery store at 6:00 a.m. to make sure we had enough food. Then I did all of the laundry. If we are going to get snowed in, at least we will do it in clean clothes. Then the baking commenced. So far I have made four batches of Russian Tea Cookies (also known as buttery snowballs around here) and four batches of Pepparkakor (Molasses Spice cookies). I have learned a few things today: 1) The capacity of my stand mixer is three batches of cookies, or 12 cups of dough; 2) More flour and freezer bags should be on the emergency grocery store list. Once all of these babies are baked, it will be on to the sewing.

I tried to show you the progress I am making on my gifts, but the photos will not load. That is the problem of a dial up connection. So, I will share the recipes instead:

Swedish Pepparkakor Cookies
6 TBL. Butter,, softened6 TBL Canola Oil
1 1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 TBL Water
1/4 cup Molassas (Brer Rabbit is best!)
Cream the above items together.
Mix in:
3 cup Flour
1/4 tea. Cloves, ground
1/4 tea. Ginger, ground
1 tea Cinnamon, ground
2 tea Baking Soda
1/2 tea
The resulting dough will seem very dry. Form small balls. Place them onto the cookie sheet. Place extra sugar in a small bowl (I use a ramakin) , dip the flat end of a drinking glass in the dough, then into the sugar and use to flatten a mound of dough. Repeat until all cookies are flattened and sugared. Dough should be kept cool at this point.< Bake at 375 in a [reheated oven for 8 minutes. Watch closely as they burn easily. Remove onto a rack or paper towels to cool. This makes about 60 cookies. They freze well. Russian Tea Cookies

Cream together:
1 cup butter, softened
1 tea Vanilla Extract
6 TBL Powdered/Confectioners' Sugar

Add in:
2 cups Flour
1 cup Nuts (walnuts or almonds work nicely) , finely chopped

Mix until just blended. Make small balls of dough. They can be close together on the baking pan as they do not expand. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Once they are cool place them in a large baggie that contains a generous amount of powdered sugar, seal and shake gently to coat the cookies. It is important to wait for them to cook, or the powdered sugar melts onto the cookie.

Enjoy! Now, what else can I make?...
3 cups Flour

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas...

The craziness of the last regular week of school is done at the school I work at. It is a relief. This weekend we were able to make our lives a bit more Christmasy. We got the tree up and decorated, there are snowflakes glittering in the windows and the kids have put up their towns. This is Ellie's first year for designing her villiage. It goes on the bookshelf in the old livingroom. The buildings are lit up, as well as the fake, downy snow. She moves the people around each day so that their lives are more interesting. I think she did a bang up job. The villiage in the kitchen is Ethan's domain. He has done this for several years running. There is a bit of design and a bit of humor. Last year the Hobbits and Gandalf were off in the snowy hills above the town. This time they are smack dab in the middle of the square. Gandalf is thinking about seeing Santa, getting cookies from Mrs. Claus, or going into the library. Oh, so many choices. Sam and Frodo are headed towards the skating pod for a little fun.
My kitchen also features four little windows that I adore. I have a dream of having seasonal decorations for every month of the year. Here you can see how three of them look. The snowbabies are from Germany. They are made of clay and cotton. They are nothing like the snowbabies you can buy now. The next window over is a bit more modern and funky. Love the metal tree. The window with the glass bell is my favorite. The angel with the candle is from my childhood.
Now back to the creating and later to the baking...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Tord Plates

I simply love all of the Todre stuff they are selling at Target this Christmas season. I would love to have a service for eight. I started out with four bowls. Then I got four dessert plates. This week my friend gave me four dinner plates. Now I have a service for four. I had hoped you could see them better, but the picture was cropped when I posted it. The house is a lot of fun. It has little lights that line the roof line. It was a thrill to get the plates. It was one of those completely unexpected gifts. :)

I am spending today making gifts. I am making great progress on the red bathrobe. I set a clothes hanger down on the pile of extra polar fleece. It struck me that it would be fun to make covered clothes hangers. That will be something that I can make for nice gifts. I'll post them when I make them, which may not be until January.

A cold front is moving in. I am ready. I have food, cloth for sewing and paper for crafting. Bring it on, snow daddy!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Cards

These are the cards that I am making to send to our friends and family. They are much more interestig in person. It seems that they are a bit subtle for this viewing. The papers come from the current line by Basic Grey. They are really yummy in person. The top section sports snowflakes in a blue tone with an ivory and tannish modeled touch. Each card also has three silver reindeer sequins leaping over the greeting. (You see, I am a pseudo sequin Queen, at times) The "Merry and Bright" is actually on a transparency that is attached with a brad put through a sequin snowflake. The ribbon is sublte, too, with a touch of pink in the white. The bottom paper is sort of a mod berry bush print which I enhanced with glitter glue.

This is one of those things that sort of called out to be created. I usually do much more splashy, loudly colored things that shout out to you as you walk by. This one sort of sings "Silver Bells" to you in a lovely voice. (The various high ranking choirs at my school performed for the staff today - oh they are fun to watch. It is such a great thing to see and hear. We clapped and cheered for them like we were at a rock concert. It is amazing to see some of my goth girls who only wear large black clothes up there in swingy, rhinestoned bedeckled dresses. The gentlemen are so wonderful, too, in their tuxedos. They can clean up really nicely, when they want/need to. They closed the concert with "Silver Bells.")

I hope that the people who receive them will enjoy them. I'd love to see what cards others are sending out, even if they are not handmade.

Famil Gift WIPs

Every year I try to make something handmade and special for my husband, daughter and son. This year I've got a good start on it. The knitting is a hat that I am making for my husband. When I went to pick out the yarn I had to have a lot of focus. He tends to like the very basic, greyed down colors of the earth and sky. I like all of the funky stuff. I carried around a wonderful bit of yarn that was mostly blue, but with flecks of green and purple in it. I realized that while it would be fun to knit, it was not really intended for a manly hat, so I opted for this very basic, make Larr happy, color. The colorful photo is of some of the pieces that I have cut out for a quilted banner that I will make for my daughter. She has a major Penguin thing going, and this will be fun. Thanks to WonderUnder, it will be a snap. The addition of heat attached Swavorkican cystals will add the bling that I so love. Ethan is getting the dark red bathrobe he has so kindly asked for. I did not include a photo because it came out looking like a red blob.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Come In, Red Commander

With the confirmed unfixablility of our old van, affectionately dubed "Blueberry," we set off in search of a new "gently used" vehicle. We actually found two good candidates. The Used Auto Gods were smiling on us. We finally settled on a 1995 (yeah, old but well cared for) Honda Odyssey Van. We will miss Blueberry, but we know she will go on to become a learning opportunity for students to learn how to fix vehicles. The new one will be known as "Serenity Snowflake" because it is white. It is kind of fun to drive. It has very different windows. I feel like I am in X-Wing Fighter from Star Wars...

(crackling sound) my voices says, "Red Wing Commander, come in, this is purple shoes..."
(crackling sound, again) "Purple Shoes, I've got you on my radar, go in, I'll cover for you..."
Yoda's voice says, "May the force be with you..."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mike's Glittery Red Box

My friend Connie and I spent a long Saturday recently in a flurry of creation. She loved the box I made for her, so I taught her how to make them, too. The most challenging one was the one for her brother, Mike. We were stumped. Mike is an unusual guy, so we had to make him an unsusal box. He has rooms n his house with a color theme and each room has Christmas lights up year round. Mike's favorite color is read. We tinted the box red, but then we were stuck. Finally I got an inspiration. I made raised, glittered letters. I found that using glue dots with something that has glitter on it is problematic. Next time I will most likely use double sided foam tape. That much red on red didn't work, so we put a strip of fun, striped paper. I used rub-ons and an occasional permenant marker to fill in letters I had runout of. I put "Peace," "Blessings," "Hope," "Joy," "Create," and "Inspire." Then I put on tacky glue and glitter. I learned that thin glue does nto stick to the metal and that tacky glue does not seem to dry clear, at least not so far. Connie will fill it with more Christmas lights, a nice watch with a red face and a few other interesting items.

December Gift Swaps

Natalie and I have a fun gift swap going. They usually have to do with the holiday or the season. We got an unusual December visit from Natalie and her family. This allowed us to give each other our gifts in person, which was a lot of fun. The gift I received from Natalie is on the left. The picture does not do it justice. She gave me a wonderful Jillery plate. This is a fun serving dish that is clear and has great accent details with coiled wire and beads. It is hard to see here. She also gave me yummy Enstrom's toffee, Celestial Seasonings Holiday tea and snow sprinkles for our holiday villiage. Natalie also gave me a great apron. We have enjoyed looking at the "Tie One On" sites, and this is a small nod to that. This lovely apron is well made of sturdy material. It is a welcome addition to my kitchen.
My gift to her is on the right. I found a bunch of fun stamps - sayings and images. I also included a lovely kitchen towel (I have a thing for kitchen towels), a variety of Christmas sprinkles, some fancy "N" stickers, recipes from Penzy's, one of my snowflakes, a small scrapbook that is accordion style and a peppermint candy tree.
It was a wonderful, albeit short visit. We ate, we played, and we talked.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Not So Secret Santa

I organize the Secret Santa activity at my school. This year I am sending to a good, artistic friend of mine. I wanted to give her fun things. This first gift was inspired by a "Stress Week" gift pack I saw at the scrapbooking store. That one had recovered post-it note pack, recovered box of gum, one other food item and a card. It was flying out of the door at $12. I decided I could make mine own, and do a quick job of it. I found a small notebook with pink paper inside (Susan's favorite color), a bar of dark chocolate (every adult girl needs this) and a pack of gum. I love the ones that come in the little box. I thought I was being clever by making the decorations understated. Come on, there are 123 on staff here, surely many of them. craft. But, NO! (Okay, maybe there are closet crafters, anyway, I digress...) I was found out on the first day. She said the recovered gum box was what tipped her off. Oh well (sigh), now I don't have to find a kiddo to deliver things for me. On day two I gave her a fab "Fresh Cranberries" candle from Bath and Body Works. I thought this would throw her off. I found out that afternoon that she was onto me. Today she got one of my fun snowflakes (see the post below). Thursday is our "big gift" day. I had so much fun making the sled. I got the idea from the Cricut Messageboard. ( It took a while as each side of the sled is three layers to give it strength. I am nestling a Starbucks gift card inside of it.
My own Secret Santa has been amazing. On day one I got a mat stack, a fun item I never buy for myself. On days two and three I got those HUGE DCWV Stack with 180 pages, each. She is really going overboard, but I must admit that it is fun to get. She is way beyond our $15 limit. She just moved into her new house and is hoping to get engaged on Christmas day ( I am hopeful for her, too) so I am trying to come up with something fun to make for her.
The Used Auto Fairy confirred with my mechanic and said the Honda Odyssey is a screaming deal, so we pick her up on Thursday. My kids already named her Serenity. Yeah, I know it is a little odd to name our vehicles, but fun, too.
On a more sad note, I check the news often for news of James Kim. I am thrilled that his wife and girls are all found and doing well, but I still worry for him. This event makes me appreciate the simple things we have in our lives. My husband reading his book on the couch, my daughter reading AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS and my son planning our next summer garden.
I read a short article in the newspaper that really spoke to me. The person is doing research on happiness. She herself is very stressed. She has been trying an experiment. Each night before she does to bed she thinks about three good things from the day. Then she things about what it took for those things to happen and/or what she did that led to them. She reported that it has made an amazing difference in her life. Being thankful is one thing, being conscious of your part in that magic and finding the way to create it again is empowering.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"A List" Christmas Cards

I love lots of texture. These are some of the special cards I am making for a few select friends. The bases are acrylic colored tags. These were put out by Heidi Grace (or was it Heidi Swapp?) a few years ago. I loved them, but could not figure out how to use them. When they went on sale for 80% off, I bought a bunch. I have attached pictures of the children of the given families. Then I have added on snowfake and round bling rhinestones in different colors. The hangers are made from a fun yarn that sparkles. I have added crystal beads, snowflake sequins and ribbon to them. The backs feature a special "Merry Christmas" greating rubber sticker and a personal message from our family. I hope they will love them. These are temporarily attached to cards so they have nice presentation when received. Now on to the more standard cards that I make for others.

Glassy, Glittery Snowflake Decorations

I have this thing for snowflakes. I just love them. One year I had my students help me make some and now I have over 100 paper snowflakes that I hang from the ceilling in my classroom. Not many high school teachers decorate ( I don't do very much, just a little for fun) and my students seem to really enjoy it.
This was a blast to make. The base is an 8" chipboard snowflake make by www.makingmemories. com. I then used a blue stamp pad and added swirls to both sides. I covered that with tacky glue and applied this really cool superfine glass glitter that I recently purchased. Now I have to decide what I should use to hang it - ribbon, fun yarn, fish line, beaded string? Any suggestions? They will go in my windows. I have wreaths that hang on the outside. You can see the back side of them inside. I will hang them there, making the wreath back look like a frame.

Sledding Pictures - Makes you want to be a kid again!

Here are the sledding photos I promised. The blogging genie must have heard my prayers and fixed the posting site. Doesn't it make you want to go out and play int he snow?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Well, it is official, our van has died. The brake system went out and it is too old to find a new or new used one. So the search for a new vehicle has begun. We are zeroed in on a 1995 Honda Odyssey or a 2000 Subaru Outback. We know people who have kept them in amazing shape and they are both in our price range. The van feels great to drive and has lots of space, as well as seats. The Outback feels solid when I drive it and it is newer. There is about a $2,000 difference between the price tags. I wish the used auto Fairy God Mother would simply visit me and tell me which one to pick! It is a tough choice.

On Sunday we got our Christmas tree after Ethan's race. It was a brutal one - 9 degrees and about 8" of snow on the ground. He had technical difficulties, but finished the race. I am proud of him for that. We also went sledding. I have really fun action shots to post here, but the photo option seems to be down. I will post them when tat is an option again.