Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Best $20 I've Spent This Year & My Slight Curly Girl Obsession

Hi Friends!

Check out my new fabulous 3-sided rack!  I scored it from the local video store when it went out of business (sadness).  When I bought the rack, the owner, Charlene, asked me what I was going to do with it.  I knew the possibilities were endless!  For now, I've got one side filled with cards, one side holds a few of my mini albums and the other side holds some paper and supplies that I'm currently using on a project.  (And yes, I know that's a lot of cards.  And yes, I do own pretty much the entire Curly Girl card collection.  I think it's about time to put some in the mail.  Note to Self:  No more new cards until that side of the rack looks empty!)

Every now and then, I host craft parties at my house.  I'm planning on using the rack to put supplies on for those parties.  Won't that be perfect?!?
I love scoring awesome finds for under $20!

XO,

Vicki

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Incomplete List of Things I Cannot Do


An Incomplete List of Things I Cannot Do:

1.  Any math that involves parenthesis, more than one letter, or fractions, except in relation to baking; I'm pretty good with 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 2/3.
2.  Operate anything that requires the use of more than one remote control.
3.  Change a flat tire.
4.   Read a map. Or fold a map.
5.  Use a sewing machine.
6.  Pass up on a bet with Karen.
7.  Do a French braid.
8.  Do that really cool whistle that requires fingers.
9.  Pull-ups.
10.  Root for Michigan.
11.  Read more than one book at a time.
12. Bowl (I gave it the old college try...)
13.  Use the grill.
14.  Roll up a hose.  Or Christmas lights.
15.  Taxes.
16.  Keep the budget in my head.
17.  Follow directions that involve the words "north," "south," "east," or "west".
18.  Clean a mirror.
19.  Cut the grass.
20.  Say "No" to Buster.
That was fun!  What's on your list?

XO,

Vicki

PS This post was completely inspired by this list over on Turning Pages.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Time to Step It Up!


Hi Friends--

I am feeling filled-to-the-brim with happy this morning.  The weekend was everything I'd hoped it would be, and more.  I have so much to think about and process, and pages and pages of notes to read. 

Here are just a few of the things I walked away knowing:

There is nothing lovelier than 506 women singing together.
Some people have had more-than-their share of hardship.
In every case, believing helped get them through.
In comparison, I have had an extremely easy life.
I know I have been blessed.
If you listen, you will hear.
Laughing until you sound like a hyena is good for the soul.
A meal shared over good conversation tastes better.
I need to step up my game.
I am on the right path.

XO,

Vicki

Friday, February 24, 2012

Women's Retreat Journal

 Hi Friends--

I thought you might want to take a peek at the journal I made for the retreat.  I tend to take tons and tons of notes (must be my journalism background), so I thought this time I'd just bring an entire journal so I could record my thoughts.
I covered an old journal that I had laying around from two summers ago when I used to make my swimmers record what they ate for breakfast every morning before practice.  I'm pretty sure I won't ever need to refer back to what Emily ate on June 20, 2010.  : )  I just ripped out the used pages and covered the front with bits and pieces of things I had in my stash.
I'm pretty sure I won't have any problem filling up this journal with goodness from the weekend.
I'm off to pack my bags!

XO,

Vicki

Nourishing My Soul


Hi Friends,

I am off to nourish my soul this weekend at my church's women's retreat.  Yahoo!  I am ready for a little bit of quiet reflection time, lots of joyous singing and a whole big bunch of good fellowship.  Amy and I are going together, so it's like a double-bonus!  It's going to be a good weekend!

Hope you have a good weekend, too!!

XO,

Vicki

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On Kindness



Hi Friends!

Yesterday I ran over to Kohl's to pick up a set of flannel sheet for Ms. Emily's bed.  Bless her heart, the girl is always cold.  Her bedroom is in the basement, which probably doesn't help.  The flannel sheet were on clearance, so I picked her up a set.  Of course, sheet sets are all the way in the back of the store, so I had a lot of time to look around at all the other merchandise as I made my way to the checkout lady.  I spied a cute pair of pajamas that I knew would be perfect for this weekend's women's retreat.  Then I saw an amazing dress that I could wear when I teach.  I scooped up my treasures and headed over to check out.  I stood in line behind a friendly elderly gentleman, who was obviously a regular at the Neenah Kohl's;  he called out a hearty hello to all of the cashiers by name.  As I was getting ready to pay I realized I didn't have any of my coupons with me.  I consider it a huge "no-no" to shop at Kohl's without a coupon.  Everything I picked out was on sale, but a coupon would have made it all an even better deal.  Guess what!  The friendly elderly gentleman offered me his 30% off coupon.  I may or may not have done a little happy dance.  He told me that he was happy to help out, that we're all one big family and we need to look out for each other.  With his coupon the grand total of my items was $65.  I was pretty giddy.

I've been thinking a lot about that man since yesterday.   I'm bummed that I didn't give him a hug. I think he would have liked it.  Next time, for sure.

I love kindness.  Kindness is the best, isn't it?

XO,

Vicki





Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's a Miracle!

Hi Friends!

At the risk of sounding like the old lady I am, I've got to take a few minutes to gush about my new *favorite* thing:  cherry concentrate!  It's like a miracle cure for knee pain. Just two little tablespoons a night has literally turned my life around.   Here I've been hobbling around and all I needed was a little cherry concentrate.  Who knew?!?

I have been struggling with swelling and pain in my right knee for at least a month and a half now--the direct result of too much jumping and running stairs in my boot camp class.  Oy!  All that jumping completely took a toll on my joints.  Last week a woman I've been working out with told me that cherry juice concentrate took away all her joint pain.  I was a little bit skeptical, but decided I'd give it a try.  Friends--it totally works!  I feel like a new woman.  Seriously.  And the best part is that it's completely natural, which is way better than downing several Advil multiple times a day.  Hooray!

Am I the last person on earth to discover the fabulousness of cherry concentrate?  Do you have any other secret cures to recommend?  Let me know in the comments!

Edited to add:  I bought my bottle at GNC, but I think you can find it at health food stores, too. The brand I bought is Dynamic Health 100% Pure/Organic Certified Tart Cherry Concentrate.

Have a happy day!

XO,

Vicki

Monday, February 20, 2012

An Incomplete List of Things I Just Don't Get



Why anyone would start doing drugs.
Professional hot dog eaters.
Dogs wearing shoes.
Why I had to take geometry.
Why we call it a "building" when it's already built.
Why people watch other people playing poker on TV.
The way teens wear their pants.
NASCAR
People who don't like chocolate.
Why anyone would want to follow me on Twitter.
Why the bananas are either all gone the day after I buy them, or they are left until they are brown and squishy soft.
Why they can't invent something that would allow golf announcers to speak in a regular voice instead of that creepy, whispery voice they all use.
Why my kids spend so much time learning about the colonial period in school.


XO,
Vicki

Friday, February 17, 2012

Books, Books, Books & Book Club

Hi Friends!
So far 2012 has been a banner year for reading;  I have already read so many *awesome* books!  Here's a few of my favorites so far:
Heft, by Liz Moore.  Hands down, two of the most memorable and believable characters I've met in a good, long time.  I was sad to see this one end.  I'm not sure how Liz Moore got inside the mind of a 500 lb man and a 17-year-old baseball player, but she did.  An awesome read.


The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern.  Magical.  This book is simply magical.  Erin Morgenstern makes the sights, sounds, and smells of a travelling circus jump right off the page.  Amazing story.  Amazing descriptive language.  And more than a bit of magic.

The Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka.  Historical fiction, written almost lyrically.  Beautiful.

Maud Martha, Gwendolyn Brooks.  I am a huge fan of Ms. Brooks' poetry, so I was delighted to stumble across this, her only work of fiction.  There is an art to saying a whole big bunch in just a few words.  Ms. Brooks is a master at doing just that.  Fantastic book.

*********


Last Sunday the girls and I hosted our first Mother/Daughter Book Club gathering.  In true Vicki fashion, I remembered to take pictures before the event and then just left my camera sitting on the counter through the whole evening.  I have a feeling we have stumbled on something good with this group.  Want to read along with us?  We're reading "The Buddha in the Attic" (above) and "If I Stay," by Gayle Forman.  The adults will lead the discussion on "Buddha" and the teens will lead the discussion on "If I Stay".  Can't wait!

Read anything good lately?  I'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

Have a wonderful day!

XO,

Vicki


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Buster, One Year Later

Hi Friends,

It's been exactly one year since Buster (the Super Dog) had his bionic knee replacement.  It's been one year since the big, plastic cone, the wiggy drugs, and the home physical therapy sessions.  Hard to believe!  And while sometimes (very, very, rarely!) I fantasize about what we could have done with that $3,800, if I had to make the decision to spend it on his surgery all over again, I would.  The truth is, Buster is my bestest buddy.  He loves me something fierce, and I couldn't imagine my life without him and all his little quirks. 

He's a good dog.

XO,

Vicki

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

With Love, From Russia

Hi Friends,

As promised, here are a few snapshots of the *adorable* nesting dolls John brought us back from Russia.
I loved each one so much, it was hard to decide which one to keep, and which ones to give away.  We ended up giving Amy this beauty:

There is something mysterious about her eyes, isn't there?  Emily chose the one with the strawberries, and Maddie picked the one wearing the blue kerchief.  I kept the tall, blond one.  I think my favorite out of all of them might be the one he picked out for Jack:


Mrs. Claus lives inside Santa, and a chicken lives inside Mrs. Claus.  There is a golden egg living inside the chicken.  Love it!

And speaking of love, Happy Valentine's Day!  Do you have any special plans?  I'm pretty sure we're going to just hang out here and eat chocolates!  Yum! 

Have a sweet day!

XO,

Vicki

Friday, February 10, 2012

He's Home!


Hi Friends!

My love is back home, safe and sound.  At this very moment, he is making me a feta, spinach and mushroom omlette.  He took the day off so we could play.

Life is good!

XO,

Vicki

PS  I know you're all dying to know:  Yes.  He did bring home the nesting dolls.  Pictures soon!  : )



Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day Dreams//Art Journal #1

 Hi Friends!

Here's my first completed page for the "Art Journal All Year"  class I am taking.  Our first prompt was "day dreams."   Our art challenge was all about layering.  Elsie and Rachel encouraged us to layer our pages with different found papers.  We were to "mix and match them to create a beautiful look."  I used bits and pieces of papers I had in my stash: a scrap of vintage map, some old stamps, mismatched playing cards, vintage labels & and an old Bingo board:
 The only new things on the page are the letter stickers and this key:
The journaling challenge was to list the things I've been daydreaming about lately, both big and small:
It was fun to sit quietly and record my day dreams.  I sure would love to make each of those day dreams into a reality.

How about you?  What do you day dream about?

XO,

Vicki

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What She Carries With Her


Hi Friends!

When I got home from the gym this morning I found this note from Emily on the kitchen counter:
Emily went to workout at the Y this morning, too, so I offered to drop her stuff off at the high school before I took Maddie over to the middle school.  Here's Emily's pile of stuff:
 The backpack, alone, weighs 40 lbs.  I kid you not.
Then she had her French Horn (private lesson last night), and her mellophone (pep band performance last night), which add another good 50 lbs:
She also had a box of candy bars she's selling for the drama club trip to Chicago (I love that she decorated the box with fun polka dots):
I couldn't resist taking a picture of her pile.  Her backpack, alone, tells her story:
Fun, colorful buttons, and a handy bottle of hand sanitizer:
"Sisters" rings from swim season tied on with a fun ribbon:
And her ever-present water bottle tucked in a side pocket (the girl looooves water!):

It took me three trips to get everything out to the car.  When we met at the high school, she just whipped that backpack up on her shoulders, grabbed an instrument and her music folder in one hand, and another instrument and the fundraiser candy in the other, and headed into school:  no big deal.

I'm pretty sure she got her weight-lifting in for today.  : )

XO,

Vicki

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Russian Nesting Dolls


1.  John is officially on the other side of the world today.
2.  Kimberly-Clark flew him to Russia for 3 days.
3.  I wonder how much a ticket to Russia costs?
4.  He must be super important if they had to fly him all the way to Russia for just 3 days.
5.  Amy asked me if John would mind bringing her back a set of Russian nesting dolls.
6.  John made a face when I asked him.
7.  Not because he doesn't like Amy.  He does.
8.  He just doesn't believe in spending money on silly things.
9.  He thinks nesting dolls are silly.
10.  I showed him the picture above for an example of what to bring back for Amy.
11.  I liked them so much, I asked him to buy me a similar set.
12.  He told me to just go ahead and order 2 sets off the Internet.
13.  Really.
14.  I told him that wasn't the same thing.
15.  The fact that he doesn't understand that that is not the same thing is one of the biggest differences between John and I.
16.  I told him the kids would probably like their own sets, too.
17.  Now he's up to 5 sets of Russian nesting dolls.
18.  It will be interesting to see if any Russian nesting dolls come home in his suitcase.
19.  John:  if you're reading this, please know I am serious about wanting a set of nesting dolls from Russia.
20.  Preferably a cute set like the one above.
21.  I already checked, and the set above is sold out.
22.  So I can't order them on-line.
23.  I also told him he should get one of those big, furry hats.
24.  I thought it would keep his head extra-warm.
25.  He told me he already has a hat.
26.  Sigh.


XO,

Vicki

Friday, February 3, 2012

Vintage Valentines

I love, love, love the vintage Valentines:  the graphics, the colors, the sweet sayings. Sigh. To me, they just represent all the goodness of the past. Nowadays, kids send Valentines that feature TV characters or teen pop stars. Nice choices. Too bad they don’t make ones that look like the one above anymore.
Of course, I’m not sure how this naked child card would go over today:
That thing sticking out of his bum is a lever that makes the little boy’s leg go up and down. Not sure what that’s all about. I’m pretty sure giving someone that card today would result in a trip to the principal’s office.
This card appeals to my corny side:
This one is one of my favorites:
I find myself reading it out loud over and over again. Ja! Dots Me!

Back in the day, this one would have been my all-time favorite:

And for sure I’d have sent this one to the special boy I had a crush on (it even had glitter!):

I love flipping over these old Valentines and seeing who they were to and from:

Is it just me, or did Delores already have old lady handwriting in grammar school? : )

I have been searching Pinterest for cool handmade Valentines for Jack to give out.  I think this is the very last time any of my kids will be exchanging Valentines as school (sadness!).  Last year I made these for Jack to pass out:
 This year he wants to give out these:


From sweet owls to dynamite--guess that's a 5th grade boy for you!  : )

Have a sweet day!

XO,

Vicki