Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just a quick hello... and a smile (?)

Wooooooooo---eeeeeeeeee!!! It's been my first Ca-raaazy week of the school year! Tests, tests and more tests; Parent-teacher conferences last night, early morning meeting today, and worked the volleyball game tonight. Today, it was all I could do to hang on by my fingernails! I was shootin' from the hip in one of my classes, and it actually ended up being a great lesson! :0)

So....time for BED now that my Pre-Calculaus test is written.

.......for my Canadian readers, I just couldn't resist sharing this! It showed up on Facebook tonight, and I simply chuckled and shook my head. :0)

Happy weekend! Heading out of town, to the farm.

{{and for those of you unfamiliar with Mt. Rushmore, here it is "from the front."}} :0)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Something new on my design wall

Blue-n-Gold Pride ended up getting pieced today, as well as a backing prepped for it. I was not able to get it loaded onto the frame by dinner time, though. And......frankly, after dinner, I no longer had any ambition to load it.

I wasn't completely unmotivated, though.

I hadn't just "looked" around the sewing room in a bit, so......I stood....turned...... and eyed.

The Fall Buckeye Beauty swap blocks from last year caught my eye. Since Fall is DEFINITELY in the air, I thought it would be nice to see what the status of the layout was.

I could leave this as an 8x8 layout and put those three extra blocks on the back. OR....

I could spend some time cutting into some more scraps in order to make thirteen more blocks to complete the bottom row and an additional row on the top.

And OF COURSE!!!! Once I was done cutting and piecing.... I found a HUGE stack of "extra" 4-patches from the swap. **hitting forehead** I guess I'll have to see about doing some kind of pieced border on this one.

I also haven't posted a Stash Report in QUITE a while. With the additional Buckeye Beauty units tonight, and the Jamestown Landing HSTs this morning, and the 9-patches of the Blue-n-Gold Pride piecing from last week.....
Stash Report: September 5 - 25
Used/wk: 4.819 yds
Purch/wk: 0.00 yds

Used/yr: 145.645 yds
Purch/yr: 81.917 yds

Net Used: 63.728 yds

I am definitely further behind in my "used" category than where I was last year, but my "Net" is MUCH nicer than last year :0)

Aren't these FUN!??? Candace has snack tomorrow, and a cousin of Paul had posted sunflower cupcakes like this on Facebook last week that she had made for HER daughter's snack day. With the girls' help, we made up 24 cupcakes, and enjoyed eating a couple too :0) {{Candace only needs 17 for her class}}.

Another weekend coming to an end. This one kinda FLEW by. You too?

Leader-Ender (Jamestown) & Blue-n-Gold updates...

I resisted starting the QOV mystery. At this point, only the fabric requirements have been posted, so I'm hoping I can get some progress done on others before the cutting clue is available. BUT, I am most definitely going to participate. I've done the last four mysteries; and it's always nice to work on a project along with others :0)

Instead, I spent a couple of hours this morning cutting up the rest of my HSTs for Jamestown Landing. 420 HSTs awaiting here, and will be my leader-ender until finished up with Blue-n-Gold Pride.

Yup.....BnG Pride is up next! :0)

While I'm doing that, Paul has potatoes on his mind for today. He checked "pigs" off his list yesterday. And even though he requested that the girls stay inside...."they don't need to watch this".... the girls had other thoughts!!! They were peering out the window, watching him with fascination, so he finally just said "Well, you might as well come out and learn something then!" They were pretty enrapt with how the tendons/muscles worked to move the pig foot. Besides, this is about the only "non-gross" picture I took, and I didn't want to push my luck here on the blog :0)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Loads to do ; Must resist a QOV Mystery!

Another Homecoming week (almost) wrapped up....The Homecoming Dance remains, scheduled for tonight, but I have no plans of attending.
We truly have a great student-body this year; some amazing seniors! (and yeah...even that clown peeking through from the background. :0) )

And our Queen didn't let us down (although our King did) :0) {{In all reality, I'm actually glad our King Jesse decided to back-off on the icecream eating. Afterall, he had a big football game to play a couple of hours after this craziness!!!}}

And our amazing Mrs. Amanda, 7-12 secretary, kept the days running smoothly with her lovely southern-drawl announcing over the PA system. I don't remember where she hails from, but she CLEARLY came from the south somewhere; her southern hospitality is always shining through when she needs to bring out her "people-skills."

So now....bright-n-early awake on a Saturday. Loads on the agenda; For Paul -- butcher piggies (ewww) and dig potatoes. For me: LOTS of school work lesson planning and documentation..... I think it could be an all-day thing, so I will get busy very shortly!!!! Because......

Mystery Quilts 4 Military is started a mystery, and I'm really interested in starting. BUT.....I've been resisting it so far :0) {{It started yesterday}}

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The "Crazy but Fun" week (aka: Homecoming!)

A definition:
Homecoming is the tradition of welcoming back former residents of an area or alumni of a school. It most commonly refers to a tradition in many universities, colleges and high schools in North America. It usually includes activities for students and alumni, such as sports and culture events and a parade through the streets of the city or town. {{courtesy of wikipedia}}

I would agree with MOST of that.....but more is needed!!!

The Homecoming "Royalty" - pictured is our 2011 Homecoming court. Upper middle shows our King and Queen. (yay Kellie!!! My volleyball captain from last year, and once again a captain this year, was voted Queen!)

The crazy Homecoming Pep Rallies and CRAZY games to fire up the School Spirit. {{Pictured in Grade 4 teacher: Mr. Kevan. ALWAYS a crowd favorite!!!!!}}

The wacky "dress-up" days all week long. Our 8th grade class is showing off some of the "Pirates" that were wandering the halls yesterday.....

ALLLLLLL of these events lead up to one finality: THE HOMECOMING FOOTBALL GAME ON FRIDAY NIGHT!

Ya see---we Americans LOVE our football. (Not that soccer, no, no......the game of the genuine "pig skin", oblong brown ball) :0)

The week of Homecoming at our school often is quite chaotic, but ALWAYS great fun and an excellent demonstration in school spirit! Having missed out on "Pirate Day" yesterday, my partner-in-crime for the last 13 years, Miss Everson (aka: Jan) and I were NOT going to miss out on "Identical Day." And....ya see?!?!?!?! MORE FOOTBALL LOVERS!!! Sportin' our Green-n-Gold (and white) Green Bay Packer jerseys!!!!!

My first 6 years, I was teaching in the High School wing, but when the Junior High math teacher retired 7 years ago....I JUMPED at the opportunity to move over a wing with the the amazing close-knit Junior High Staff! Jan teaches English to our Junior High students, and we have been "neighbors" since my transition. When I first started teaching 14 years ago, I was also hired on as the Assistant Volleyball Coach (JV squad), and this is truly what brought Jan and I super-close together :0) She was the Head Coach at the time. We were a dynamic-duo coaching staff for 8 years, and I learned so much from her. A TRUE, good-hearted, respectful mentor! LOVE HER TO DEATH!!!! And I couldn't imagine the work place without her!

These two characters are the two crazies that are in charge of much of the Homecoming chaos organization. And YES-----"they got spirit!" {{Hmmm...notice the Packer football picture in the background. Did I NOT say that we American's (Wisconsinites in parTICular) LOVE our boys of the grid-iron (football field, for those of not "up" on your football lingo)!!!!}} Deb (left) is a relatively new-comer to our District; I believe this is the 4th year since she and her husband moved their family into our neck of the woods. From day #1, she has been very active in the school! Last year, she was hired on as a Teacher's Assistant and we are SO LUCKY to have her. This year, she ventured one step further to add "Student Council Advisor" to her plate. Additional, Patti (pictured right), put her Student Council Advisor hat BACK on after taking a few years "off" from the duty. Both of these two make another SUPER GREAT dynamic-duo for our school!

So....despite some poo-poo-butts that exist in EVERY corner of the world, and EVERY job environment that exists....I'm happy to say that there are also some AMAZING people in every corner of the world as well! :0)

Happy Tuesday!

Tomorrow's Homecoming Dress-up Day: "Senior Citizen Day." Hmmm...wonder if I have some old polyester pants hiding in my sewing stash inherited from Grandma???!?!?!? ;0)

SO.......7:05 PM. The girls are hanging around Dad outside...... I don't know if it pays to head downstairs when I'll have to wrangle them up in 25 minutes to get ready for bed.

Hmmm.....wonder if I'll lose ambition once they get settled in bed.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Run that almost wasn't [2011 Running]

GOODNESS! It's no wonder (sometimes) that kids forget this or that at school......specially when they live in a situation where they are at Mom's for one week, and then Dad's the next week.

This morning, while rummaging through my closet looking to see if anything would pass for a "Pirate" outfit (yeah....Homecoming week!), I started throwing my "running clothes" into my running bag to be prepared to run once school ended today. NAUGHTY MOM! I should KNOW better than to procrastinate and wait 'til the morning of a school day. This SHOULD have been done last night!!!!! after school today, I head to the locker room to change. Before I even reached the door, it hit me!!! I forGOT to pack a sports bra. Gah!!!!! Stupid, stupid, stupid. **hitting forehead** I wasn't about to let that hold me back; rather I asked a fellow coach if she could "hook me up." Sadly.....she couldn't.

Oh well-----I only was planning a short run; I think I can manage with the "standard" over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder. {{snort...haven't called it THAT in a long time!!! Besides...mine is more like an 'over-the-shoulder-pebble-holder. Tee-heeeee! {too much information there???}}} I'm getting dressed, the next thing hit me! NO HAIR TIE!!!!!! Really Amy!??!!?!? You're just TRYING to come up with anything so you DON'T have to run!!!!

BUT......I ran anyway. Long, curly hair a'flyin and pebbles a'bouncin! ;0) forward to just a few moments ago.....

I was getting frustrated that my watch (Garmin Forerunner 305) wasn't transferring information over to my new computer!!! The software appeared to be installed correctly on the new machine, and appeared to be running alright. But it kept crashing whenever transferring info over.

SO-----off a'googlin' I went!!!

And here's what I found!!! A free upgrade!!!

And the new graphs-----ooooooohhhhhhh. This math teacher is in LOVE!!!!!

I always was able to install my "speed zones," but they never really did anything before. NOW.....with one lil' checkbox, they can now be shown on the "speed" graph to get an idea of how fast slow I ran.

Yay!!!! :0) I'm off to play some more to see what "new stuff" can get my butt motivated again! OMGoodness! I hadn't run since LAST TUESDAY!!!!! That's just NOT acceptable!

{{Oh, BTW...never did find anything for Pirate Day :0( But tomorrow, I'm ALL OVER "Twin Day"; a coworker and I are going as crazy Packer fans, pigtails-n-all}}

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday afternoon down-time

The go-go-go energy from yesterday finally subsided. After coming upstairs at noon to put some dinner on the table, I sat down with the laptop to read over some blog updates, and I ended up resting my eyes for a small moment while listening to the Packers on the radio. By 2:00, a warm bath sounded that's what I did.

Fall weather has hit full-bore in Wisconsin; rainy and cold all day. I've been bundled up in my favorite sweats, wool fuzzy socks and long-sleeve shirt.

I grabbed a new book for my soaking time: Linda Howard's "Mackenzie's Mountain." I haven't read a paperback in a bit; I've mainly been reading stories on my Kindle for my iTouch. However, I wasn't about to try that in the water :0)

After the bath, I found a little bit of motivation to get back downstairs. However, Blue-n-Gold Pride stayed exactly where it was; still in rows waiting to be pieced into a top. A few of you had been asking about the pattern used: this is one that has been stewing patiently on my "To be made someday" list. The design is Scrappy Stars by Melissa Erickson. I didn't follow her cutting directions nor some of her piecing directions, but the design is all hers.

Instead, I started cutting more Blue/Neutral HSTs for Jamestown Landing.
And I pressed the HSTs I already had finished. The quilt needs 840 HSTs, and I had exactly HALF completed already! As a mathematician, that was just TOO FUN of a coincidence!!! Go figure!!!

When walking through the living room, this was what I saw. They are under there with the laptop playing a DVD; their own "homemade theatre" :0) Eventually, they made their way to our bedroom, which is MUCH DARKER once the door is closed and the blinds are drawn.

Paul helped a buddy butcher his pigs yesterday morning, so on his way back home, he stopped by a meat shop and picked up some steaks. Paul definitely loves his mushrooms and onions; I pass on that topping. I cut up some pieces of steak for the girls, and after Candace took her first bite, she asked: "What is this?"
Me: "That's steak honey; from a cow."
{{and without missing a beat}}
Candace: Dad. We HAVE to get some cows!!!

Oh boy. Pigs and Chickens already on our hobby-farm. We tried a cow already, but she kept breaking free of the fencing. So frustrating. I can't foresee having cows again any time soon.

To finish up this post: I can't resist showing one (final?) garden goodie shot. These are the ingredients for the vegetable juice I made up after dinner last night. It all looked SO YUMMY, and the final cooked product certainly was!

Blue-n-Gold Pride layout

Yup...Angela was right. It didn't take too long to whip up the missing blocks {{and IF I actually DID make them originally, and IF they decide to show up.....they'll either make some great backing additions OR an excellent pillow accessory.}}

Lunch time; glancing over this picture to make sure all blocks are turned correctly before sewing the rows together into the top.

Homecoming game is this Friday-----oooohhhhhh......push, push, push. Would be so great to have this completed and USED in the cheer section!

Houston quilt center - We have a problem


How did THIS happen?????

I've searched high-n-low; did I really fail to make these blocks???????

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tired of seeing my tomatoes yet?

Here is my 2nd load of tomatoes for the day; the first load is in the canner for their 45 minute bath. Always something to do during the process, and once started, there isn't much downtime. {{Obviously I have some downtime right now, though!!!}}

The 2nd load has since been skinned and cored, and is currently getting up to boiling temperature. Then, they'll be loaded in the jars and OFF for their 45 min. bath too.

Now, the sad reality.....

I will only be doing one more partial load (5 quarts), because that'll be the END of our jars.

Sure, sure....that should be HAPPPPY reality! But the reason it's a sad reality.......

LOOOOOOK at all the tomatoes we still have on the tables!!!!! Not to mention what still remains out on the vines!!!

;0) Guess we don't need to plant 38 tomato plants next year :0)

So.....5 quarts left.

Hmmm....... straight canned tomatoes? Or tomato juice? I need to count what we have and try to "equal" them out. When I make chili, I plan to use one jar of canned tomatoes, one jar of tom. juice and probably one jar of vegetable juice too. thinks MAYBE I need another batch of vegetable juice!!!!

Always an exciting stage [updated]

With those Blue-n-Gold Pride units waiting patiently all week long, I was anxious to get downstairs this morning to start the FUN-n-EXCITING stage of staring to piece them all together.

Piecing-n-Pressing has been much of my morning

And the first glimmer of a quilt top is enough to keep me pushing along at warp speed :0)

Takin' a small mid-breakfast break; jam-n-toast with coffee.

I see alllll those tomatoes on the table, just a-waitin' to see some processing today. And they will!!! Just a little bit later; after lunch, maybe.

For now.....I wonder if I can get that top together by lunch time.

Hmmm....1.5 hours away; I don't think so, but I'll do the best I can.

12:15 update
Too much of a good thing isn't always good when other things are also pressing in for time! With lunch needing to be made, and an afternoon of processing tomatoes on the priority list, I must set my B-n-G Pride sewing aside for now. The good news, though.......I was motivated and busy last night prepping for all of my classes and grading all my homework papers. Therefore, I have NO SCHOOLWORK looming over me for the rest of the weekend. I'm betting I'll be back with B-n-G later this evening :0)

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MORE tomatoes!!!

Holy tomatoes Batman! With the 100% certainty that frost/freezing temps are hitting tonight (24 degrees F forecasted), I ditched out of school shortly after gathering up my girls directly after the ending bell in order to get home and into the garden. With the girls' help, we picked a whopping load of tomatoes! Bag upon bag upon bag was emptied onto the tables (see the little one in the background?).

It was Cassie's idea to get this angle to show that we simply didn't have enough table to lay the tomatoes in one layer; many have been doubled up.

And we STILL have tomatoes outside on the vines.

I have been going like the energizer bunny; pushing tomatoes through the food strainer, with MUCH assistance from the girls! A true assembly line; Cassie washing the tomatoes, me cutting them into the hopper, Candace mushing them down in the hopper, and Caitlyn turning the crank. BOY! Did that save ME some time tonight while I made another 11 quarts of juice; just straight tomato juice tonight. And sadly, barely a dent was made in the tomato population on the tables! This weekend, the game plan will be to tackle canning whole tomatoes.

While we were doing that, Paul was outside covering up much of the garden and picking basil.

After hanging the basil up on our kitchen over-hang, he snapped this picture.

You really CAN say a picture is worth a 1000 words. There's so much going on in this picture! (That's better than saying the kitchen is a total disaster, right????):0)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

OFF with her hair!

Yeah, yeah. It wasn't too long ago that Cassie had her hair cut to make a donation to Locks of Love. And lil' Candace begged and begged to have her hair cut. Recall at the time....MOM was NOT too keen on the idea. I LOVE her hair!

But after a week of school mornings and combing through her wind-blown-from-playing-outside hair snarls.....

When she begged once more this morning with tears in her eyes from the "gentle" hair brushing....I was PERFECTLY fine with her request.

My response: "Tonight Candace, okay?"

Her response: "Do you pwomise, Mom? Cuz you CAN'T break a pwomise!"

Me: "Promise!"

This is the FIRST time her hair has been cut, other than a lil' trim here-n-there, and of COURSE her bang cuts.....

She was nervous! Every time I grabbed another hair-tie, she thought I was grabbing the scissors to cut her hair, and she pulled away from me.

"I'm afwaid Mom..." she kept saying. {{She's trying so hard on those hard 'r-sounds'. She's ALMOST there!}}

I calmed her, as did her bigger sisters. And I asked her ONE FINAL TIME if she was SURE she wanted the shorter hair....

"YES MOM!!!!! Just DO it already!"

She BOLTED to the bathroom mirror once I made the complete cut across the pony-tail, squeeeeeling and giggggling! Caitlyn wasn't far behind her, either.

I had to convince her to sit still a bit longer so that I could trim up and even out the cuts.

And if she weren't a whole foot (and then some) shorter than Cassie, I would have a hard time telling the two of them apart from the back.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The first "real" Monday

I don't teach Health of any biological sciences, BUT.....

I DEFINITELY can tell you where my "turbinates" are; as mine are quite painful and touchy from my day of nose-blowing yesterday. I think they are talking directly to the upper-middle of my brain too! My head has hurt all day; my nose continued giving me the daily sniffles; and I tried NOT to blow my nose as much as possible because I didn't think my head could take any more pressure!!!!!!! My students pointed out that I looked "under the weather;" my voice was "tired" .... and I can only guess that I sounded as stuffy as my head felt all day.

Yeah....exactly! Now imagine some water in that bubble, .....yup! That's the ticket! Exactly how my hearing came across today.

Despite, the day merried its way along without much of a hitch; classes were fine; students were okay; and my work-load was tolerable.

Homefront: I even have the laundry under way, dishes done, counters cleaned, supper made, homework completed, girls to bed, .... and feet up with a cup of "Sleepy Time" tea. Yum! Main ingredient: speariment, with no caffeine.

UGH! I NEEEEEED to sleep better tonight! After another 90 degree day, and 82!!!! in my classroom. Yeah, I suppose that didn't really help my mood today. I caved and turned the AC on when we got home; Paul wasn't too keen on that move (since it's supposed to plummet to 50/60s tomorrow--gotta love crazy weather patterns!), BUT.... I have faith that the AC will allow me to sleep better tonight! No windows open to let in any NASTY NASTY pollen!

I REALLLLLLLLY wanted to work on Blue-n-Gold Pride, just like I realllllly should have gotten out to run 4-5 miles tonight. Psht! I'm riding this sinus head business out; but no excuses tomorrow! I MUST run!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Somehow, we fit it all in!

As much as I want to get those few extra minutes of sleep during the work-week....once my eyes open on the weekend, I'm UP! Soooo much to do all the time, and quite literally, there is NOT enough daytime to get it all done., we did pretty good!

Yesterday in the mail, I received the give-away scrap box that Nancy (Patchwork Penguin) graciously gave-away earlier last week. I didn't even open it yesterday with all the tomato fun we were having :0).....

But nothing held me back today. My GOODNESS!!!! The "scraps" were JAM-PACKED in there! And....WOW! So many GOOOOOODIES!

In fact, I put one of the fabrics to work straight-away as I started piecing more 9-patches together -- a blue strip here, a yellow strip there

an hour here....

an hour there....

another hour there.... (working at WARP speed because I just wanted to get all 165 9-patches DONE today!)

And it worked!!!! ALLLLL the units for Blue-n-Gold Pride are now completed. And as BADLY as I wanted to keep going and start piecing the blocks was already 11:00, and I had LOADS to do yet if we were going to get out on that boat in the afternoon to enjoy the last NICE day we'll probably have before Fall weather really takes over.

From 11:00 - 1:30 ... more canning! 6 half-pints of pickle relish, and another 10 half-pints of salsa. Amidst that time, I also made up some lunch and picked up a friend of Cassie's who we invited to tag along on the boating excursion.

And EVEN though I KNOW Paul would rather have kept working on his yard tasks, (just like I would have LOVED to have kept working on B-n-G Pride.....

We did get on the road around 2:30 to enjoy the rest of the afternoon on the water. As we were heading through town, the Bank's sign was letting us know EXACTLY how beautiful of a day it was!!! 91 degrees! LOVELY!

Now, for those of you in the south, hearing 91 probably makes you say "ugh!!!!!!!!" But, up here, we may have set a record for the latest 90-degree day in September (I'll have to watch news tonight).

As for the water.....


{{alright, alright. So it probably wasn't 32 degrees F, was COLD!!!!!!}}

But it didn't stop the girls (too much) from enjoying the afternoon. Even I dived in to cool off........and that water CERTAINLY did the job today!!! However, after lounging in the sun on the boat with legs propped up, face looking up towards the sun..... ahhhhhhhhH! It was a BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL toasty warm afternoon on the lake!!!!!

By 6:00, we were rolling back home to make sure we had time for dinner, baths, and getting everything ready for school. And again, amazingly, we got it all in, with the girls climbing in bed by 8:00.

While dinner was cooking and the girls were finishing their baths, I took the basil leaves out of the dehydrator to give 'em a whirl in the small food processor.

Using the words of Judy L, ..... they were pulverized to a lovely fine seasoning flake.

Paul knew what he was doing when he "recycled" some old seasoning jars after we emptied them. Golly...all I'd have to do now is print off an adorable little label, and I could sell basil seasoning for a living!!! ;0) As for the dehydrated tomatoes -- they weren't quite dry enough yet. I'm predicting tomorrow :0)

The most annoying part of the day: MY ALLERGIES!!!!!!! My goodness! The pollen count must have been SUPER-HIGH today! I even took a second 24-hour-time-released tablet (about 6 hours after my first).... and the meds didn't even TOUCH my allergies today! My poor nose! Thank goodness for Puffs Plus w/Lotion!

I didn't do much of any prepping this weekend, but I think I'm set for at least tomorrow since I prepped for two-weeks last weekend. Kinda nice being ahead. :0)