Merry Christmas!


Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey everyone! Kyle and Avery are still at his aunt's house eating and watching our beloved Titans crush the Lions (21-3 after the FIRST quarter!), but I had to come back to get tonight's turkey in the oven. After spending the Thanksgiving I was pregnant without turkey (some was fried, the other a HoneyBaked Ham soked breast cut into completely uniform slices--ugh.), I started volunteering to make the bird. Now I couldn't get out if it if I tried!
And I know it's been awhile since I've posted anything new, but I just got back from San Antonio Sunday (had a GREAT trip...one of those where you work really hard, but none of it feels like work), and I've been a little involved reading Twilight. Okay, obsessed. I never expected to like the Align Leftseries; I was only reading the first one because all of my students were, and since it's so rare for them to read any book, I wanted to be able to talk about it with them. When my friend Sarah loaned me hers, she handed me New Moon as well, saying simply, "You'll need this, too." She was right. I started last Tuesday night, and am now half way through Breaking Dawn. For anyone who's read the series, you know that's about 2000 pages in just over a week. TV? Blogs? Laundry? No thanks, I'm reading. I seriously have not been this excited about a book--much less four books--since the Babysitters Club in fourth grade. And I'm an English teacher. I think it's because I skipped from BSC stright to Faulkner, missing out on the whole YA literature thing. Now I get it.

But back to crafty stuff. I saw this really cute fabric out of the corner of my eye a couple of weeks ago at Hobby Lobby, and immediately wanted to make Ave a dress out of it. So far my sewing has been limited to pillows and Halloween costumes that only have to hold up for a couple of hours. But my excited blinded my hesitance. I whipped up this little pillowcase dress in just about an hour, without a pattern. I even used a blind stitch on the hem, something I had not done in at least 15 years, when Mimi tried to teach me to sew.

Ugh. The picture turned out blurry, but you get the idea. I made her hair flower out of a scrapbooking embellishment, simply hot gluing a clippy to the back. She told everyone at church that Mommy made her dress on her sewing thing.
And that may be all for awhile. I'll be done with my book soon, especially since I have a few hours alone babysitting the bird, but I have a website to build, papers to grade and some finals to create. And a house to decorate. And shopping to do. I'm planning to do a lot of my shopping on Etsy this year, so maybe I'll start featuring some sellers instead. Any favorite shops out there? Let me know!

And to all of you crazy people hitting the malls tomorrow, have fun. I'll be hiding in my house, far away from the bedlam.


I Love a Challenge!

I was checking Shyla's blog, Mothering In Grace, and her newest post caught my eye: "a challenge to my oldest friend Heather"...that's me! Shyla and I have been friends longer than either of us can remember. All our lives, literally. We were a tiny bit competitive in Sunday school Bible quizzes, something that happened each time a month had 5 Sundays. We called ourselves Daughters of Thunder (remember that?).

So the challenge? A Bible quiz. How did I do?

You know the Bible 90%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Take More Quizzes

I have no idea what questions I missed, but I think I might have somehow selected San Francisco for the city where Mary and Martha lived. Yea, it had choices like that. For the record, I know that's not the correct answer, but I tend to use my arrow keys to scroll down, and more than once that changed my answers. What an excuse after replying to a parent's email today about how a 90 in my class was perfectly fine and he shouldn't be concerned about his son!
So, Shyla--our usual lunch over Christmas break? I'll buy dessert!
The real challenge I faced today? I made a dress. On my sewing machine. Without a pattern or my grandmother to just do it for me when I grew bored and frustrated. I finished it after Avery went to bed, so pictures of it will have to wait, but trust me, it's cute! Just don't look too close at the seams.


My Pretty Butterfly

No, I didn't forget about pictures of Ave in her Butterfly costume...I've just been busy teaching and writing and cleaning and cooking and running all over town. She looked so stinking cute, though, so I simply must share them...

I had to make it...just like last year and the year before. That's what happens when your 2 year old is the size of a one year old. Ave chose the black and orange butterfly, and I found the gorgeous Pottery Barn one as inspiration. But $90 for a costume? No thanks. Besides, it started at a 2-3T. Maybe when she's in kindergarten. $5 in felt, a headband from the dollar aisle, some pom poms, a turtle neck and mary janes. Done. It was actually pretty easy. Except for finding a black turtleneck in a 12 month size with no snaps in the crotch. Snaps and potty trained kids don't go well together. I'm literally having to cut the bottoms off her tops and hem them to make things work. But I digress....

This is my favorite shot, and it's getting blown up to 8 x 10, even if it is a little blurry. I think it adds to the idea of movement. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself.

So there you go. One butterfly and one more year of her choosing something classic over the commercial. I know those days will end soon. My little girl is growing up...in fact, they're moving her up to the 3 year old class at school. She's 2 1/2...she's only spent 6 months in Red Snapper! I like to think they are moving her up because of her superior intellect, but I'm pretty sure it has more to do with the fact that they need to move other kids into the 2 year old rooms and she's the one of the only potty trained ones, so she's getting the boot. But she is pretty smart :).

I do have some ideas for Thanksgiving projects and menu items, but those will have to come between birthday parties (my nephew's and cousin's), Leadership Team meeting for the Writing Project and a trip to San Antonio for the NWP annual meeting and NCTE convention.

Enjoy the weekend...for us Tennesseans this may be the last semi-warm one.


Pumpkins in the Classroom

I think I promised a while ago to post how my kids used pumpkins in an assignment for my AP English class. So here it is.

The assignment: to decorate a pumpkin to look like a character from a piece of literature. They could use anything they wanted to make that happen, but no carving was allowed (we didn't want them getting yucky after a week on display).

The purpose: um, I should probably come up with some State Performance Indicators that this fulfills or something, but really it was just for fun. Students and faculty could vote for their favorite, and one of the clubs at school matched each vote with a donation to the new library in our town.

The result: my favorite part! They all turned out sooo cute. I have a favorite, but I'll keep that to myself in case one of my kiddos should find my blog. The mythological ones are from my friends' World Studies class.


Poseidon -- this was the vote winner

Dr. Jekyll...and Mr. Hyde

Mean Wicked Witch of the West

Cute Wicked Witch of the West

Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"


Brother and Sister Bear

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

"The Cask of Amontillado"
Isn't that fun! I hope to make it a yearly event for at least my AP class. But now it's back to rhetorical analysis and critical essays. Which I actually find pretty fun. I know.


Pumpkin Patch Fun

It's been awhile--a crazy week, planning for a weekend retreat for the leadership team of the Writing Project, and a house in chaos--but I'm back with a few simple things.

First, I won another giveaway! Imagine my suprise when I was reading through some blogs and my mouse happened to land on the link to the winner and I saw my blog address! Wendy sent over these too cute pumpkins. They arrived yesterday--just in time for Halloween.
Don't they look great on my kitchen windowsill? Except you probably can't tell that that's my kitchen. I zoomed waaay in so you couldn't see the dishes piled up in and around the sink. Really. It's that bad. Have I ever mentioned that I need a dishwasher? My next house will have two, just because I can.

And check out what I did with one of the pumpkins we picked up at the pumpkin patch. Soooo simple, but I love the look of its little belt (as Avery called it). This what I want to do for the bottom tier of my pumpkin topiary, but I still haven't found one in the right size.

My students are working on projects using pumpkins right now, and I can't wait to show them off in the next day or two, but for now, here's a little more fall inspiration.


Happy Fall, Y'all!

(Yes, I'm from the South and proud of it.) It's finally starting to feel like fall here in Nashville! I'm so excited to start dressing Avery in all of her too cute fall outfits instead of the sleeveless tops and shorts she was still able to wear earlier in the week. I'm excited about brisk, but sunny afternoons. I'm excited about oranges and browns and reds. I'm excited that fall brings us closer to winter, because winter means snow, a favorite word among teachers.

This picture of our front yard was taken last weekend. The leaves were just starting to turn--you should see them now! Hopefully we'lll be able to ride up on the hill this week so I can get some shots of the farm in full color. I'm so not a farm-type girl, but I married a man with strong ties to his family's land, and though there are still times that I think about what it would be like to go house hunting or to live somewhere more suburban, I'm finally--after eleven years--starting to understand the pull of the Hollow. This time of year, when the fields are mowed, the leaves are bright, and the animals are more visible, I feel it even more.

And so....I went looking for some fall inspiration. I LOVE these projects, and might try some of them myself...next year. Right now I still have a Halloween costume to finish, a website to design for one of my three jobs (and by that I mean paying jobs, nevermind being a wife and mommy), and two trips to take in November. Here's what I found.

And these are the projects I have tackled this season. Actually this past Monday. Hey, I don't get that many days off between August and May, so I try to get a lot done on those days I am off (hence my love of snow days).

Those house numbers are my entrance into the world of vinyl lettering. I cut them out on my Cricut from Wall Pops, which you can get at Lowes.

And here's a closer look at the pumpkin topiary in progress. I'm still looking for a larger pumpkin to add to the bottom. I may use a real one for that. Once it's done it should fit better in the pot, hiding the dirt left from the summer's flowers.

Easiest. Centerpiece. Ever. The floral/berry picks are just stuck into the spaces of the wire pumpkin.

I want to find some black pillar holders for the pumpkins, but the little silver pots work, too.

So I finally did some decorating for fall. I'm still looking for more fall decorating ideas, though, so please comment with ideas and links!


Welcome SITSas!

Today is the day of the big Blog-a-thon! It should be lots of fun and a great way to support women bloggers. Not sure what SITS is? Click below to get in on the fun.

I found SITS only about a month ago, and then only clicked over for a chance to win a Cricut. I didn't get the bug, but I did find an enormous community of bloggers who reach out to each other and give us all a way to find new interesting things to read and try. The community aspect of blogging is why I started this blog in the first place. I probably post a lot more now because I know there are actually people out there who read my crazy thoughts, and that audience is great motivation to keep creating and writing. And the comments! A few weeks ago I was a saucy blog and received 22 comments on one post alone. And isn't that really why we all blog? :) Comments stroke our egos, admit it! So head on over to SITS and find some good reading material. You might even win something! Here are a few SITSas to get you started.

Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder

Made With Love and Lots of Glue

Life as a Mom at 22


My Dogumentary

And don't forget to leave comments!!


Drumroll Please.......

After over six months and I'm sure way more money than he ever intended, Avery's 2nd birthday present from my parents is FINISHED. This is by far the biggest project I have ever taken on, but the results are pretty spectacular. It started out with a plan that my dad insisted wouldn't be much more difficult than a plain Jane one. Right. I actually was sort of joking when I showed him the plan. I never thought he'd actually go for building it. It started with Dad and Kyle building it, but when the summer came it became dad and me finishing it, as I'm a little picky about finish work. I haven't had a chance to really move her in or decorate yet, but I think you get the gist. You should see the back part of my bedroom--it's filled with all kinds of pink and green stuff to pretty it up with. I've been collecting and crafting all summer! And yes, those are tiny energy efficient windows (free demos from a friend who sells windows), upgraded carpet (a remnant) and electricity (you plug the house into an extension cord running from our house) you'll see. At some point Dad wants to add a loft, but I nixed that idea for now because I wanted her to be able to play out there without me having to constantly hover over her for fear of her climbing and falling. Avery loves it, and I know she will love it for years to come. I can just imagine sleepover out there--who needs tents?!

Okay, so now for the big reveal. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, starting with construction and moving towards the finished mini-mansion. Enjoy your house, Avery. You're worth every minute spent on it!

So there it is. Avery has already had a McDonald's picnic in it with her daddy, and isready for all of her friends to come and visit soon! Tea party, anyone?


Happy Mail!

We had about 100 people over this weekend for the Peay Hollow Reunion. Once they dispersed I headed past the garage for something when something white between the cars caght my eye. Imagine my excitement when I found it was a package addressed to me!
Heidi over at Vacuuming in High Heels and Pearls held a giveaway at the beginning of the month, and I won! I never win anything, so I was very excited, and playing with the gooodies was a nice break between Kyle's family reunion and mine.

Look at all the goodies--papers and stickers and candy--OH MY!

And look at this little spider candle holder. She packaged everything so cutely.

And how about this great Halloween chipboard kit. I'm looking forward to playing with this, as chipboard is a medium I haven't really played with yet.

Thanks, Heidi, for all the pretties. I still have two days of my 5-day weekend, so I will certainly play with it all before heading back to school Tuesday. And be sure to check out her blog...she's a fantastic thrifter and crafter!


Look What I Got!

After being in my basement for almost exactly two years, I finally found time to have my grandmother come over and help me set up the sewing machine she gave me. She bought it right after she and my grandfather married...58 years ago! She kept talking about what a pretty stitch it made, which I didn't get (like when my mil says Avery has such pretty straight legs. HUh?), but she's right! It works perfectly, and I'm excited to try my hand at sewing now. Actually, I already sewed one thing today, but it's very much a prototype, so I'll have to post about that another time. Just what I need, right? Another hobby.


Just a Tease

That's all you're getting for now! {evil laugh!} Check back for more very very soon...it's almost done!

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