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That’s How You Celebrate!

People have already been asking me if I’ve enjoyed my Spring Break, now that it’s almost over.

I can say, with all honesty, that it’s been the best one to date!

I got to do everything I’d hoped…

Yarn shopped…clothing shopped…stayed up late and sort-of-slept in…

The best part, though, was spending a few days with Chicky!

Chicky and her roommate, K, drove up to visit on Thursday, walking in the door an hour and a half earlier than originally planned.

Do you have grown children?

If not, you have yet to experience the joy of welcoming one back home.

I’d spent the entire afternoon cooking, and the girls were ready to chow down, beginning with the vegan-friendly Cowboy Caviar

For dinner, we ate Parmesan Chicken over Lemon Butter Pasta.

I ate my Daniel Fast Black Bean Soup.

For dessert, I’d made another batch of brownies, as well as a double-recipe of Velveteen Cupcakes…

The frosting on those cupcakes is very messy, and I’m a bit ashamed; however, after spending over five hours in the kitchen, I was simply happy that 1) The frosting turned out well and 2) That there was an end to the cooking.

We watched Catching Fire after dinner before turning in for the night.

Friday was a bust as far as venturing out.  It poured like crazy here, so I stayed inside.

For dinner, we met some of the people in our Small Group.  We went to a Mexican restaurant across the bridge and had a lovely time.  It’s a place meant for the tourists, so there was live music.

Chicky told the waitress that it was my birthday the next day, so I was serenaded…in English and Italian.  Though I was quite embarrassed, the man who did the singing was so sweet that I had to hug him afterward.

We went home fat and happy.

Today was the real treat, though.

Rooster had to work, and the Mr. took Chicky’s car to the auto shop for much-needed repairs (shout-out to our friend, T, who gave us a super-awesome deal on the repairs!).

Chicky, K, and I headed out for an afternoon of fun.

First, we visited the boutique where I’d purchased the dress and sweater I posted pictures of a few days ago.

The day was simply glorious.  I should have taken pictures.  We were down at the marina, and it was in the low 70’s…perfect weather.

We walked to a coffee shop nearby, and I treated K to her first Espresso shot.  Chicky got regular coffee, and I got hot chocolate.  The owner was a sweetheart, and Chicky was reminded of how nice the people in Podunk, USA are…something she misses living down in South Florida.

We stepped next door to a small show where I purchased a bottle of wine.  The wine came from a local winery, and on a whim, I asked the girls if they wanted to go wine tasting.  They are, after all, of age.

They did, and so we drove across the bridge to the beach.

What fun, although the experience was a bit awkward at first.

Social graces are not my thing, I fear.

We got over our nervousness and simply had a good time.

I bought a few bottles…

Don’t you just love the bottle topper?

By this time, we were starving, so we headed back into town, drove past my school, where I waved at it, and parked the car in front of one of the many stores that lined the street.

We took a leisurely stroll, glancing in the windows and reading the menus at the various restaurants before finally setting on a well-known restaurant in our area…one that I am fond of for its Mediterranean food.

We sat outside and ate…enjoying the people watching we were doing as well as the easy conversation.

By this time, we were quite tired and headed home where Chicky presented me with my birthday gifts from her…

The wine is a Riesling called “Relax.”  This was the theme of the entire package of gifts, as you can see from the body scrub, body wash, body mist, and spa socks.

Super Sis sent me this lovely bracelet…

The bracelet was made by a single mom who is part of Trades of Hope.  The proceeds go to benefit women who are trying to create a sustainable income for themselves.

Coupon Queen and Grand Pooba sent me a card and a check…much appreciated.  🙂

We then sat down and watched Frozen.  I had been singing Do You Want to Build a Snowman ever since Chicky had walked in the door.  It was good that she finally got to see the movie!

Spring Break was a total blast.

I did not work, except to answer one SOS email from a parent (a quick response).

I got to see my Chicky and spend some time with Rooster (we met for lunch after his classes ended on Thursday).

I feel rejuvenated and ready to face the next two and a half months left of school.

Most of all, I feel loved after the extra pampering (by myself and by others).

A Visit From Chicky

Guess who’s home for the weekend?

My Chicky’s school district has had this week off for Spring Break, so she and her roommate, K, drove up to spend the weekend with me!  Their other roommate, K#2, was supposed to come as well; however, she’s been feeling under the weather and decided to stay home to recuperate (i.e. keep her germs contained to her house).

I’m not sure what the next couple of days will bring, but I do know that my heart will be full, and I’ll be treasuring every moment!

Spring Break Shenanigans

Let’s do some math, folks.

What do you get when you add together one teacher plus Spring Break plus a beautiful day?

I realize I’m only a Reading teacher, but even I can tell you that the things listed above equal out to M-I-S-C-H-I-E-F.

Although I’d stayed up until 3:30am watching the last few episodes of Prison Break (anyone remember this WONDERFUL series)?

Yeah.

I cried.

Then I discovered that there was one other episode I’d never seen.

Seriously.

The two-hour finale.

How in the heck?

I’d boo hooed so badly over what now appears to have been the second-to-last episode that I guess I’d assumed the series ended on that note.

The last episode was two hours long.

I think I already said that.

Michael Scofield, I will always love you.  Four seasons just wasn’t enough.

But I digress.

Ok…so I wasn’t sure if I’d be doing anything except for sleeping on the couch.

The beautiful day beckoned me, though, and I gladly heeded its call.

I jumped in the car and began driving…

As a reminder, I live a few miles from the beach, and today’s drive was a long one.  The sand dunes were everywhere the condos weren’t…

I make this drive a couple of times a year and never tire of the views…

My first destination was Yarn Store #1, where I found an empty parking spot waiting for me.  Guess they’re into telepathy.  An hour later, I walked out with these goodies in tow…

The purple is Malabrigo Sock, the two round piles in the middle are Mini Mochi, and the aqua green on the right is 100% silk.

Lovely.

I continued driving, reaching Yarn Store #2…my favorite…a bit later.

There’s just something wonderful about yarn shopping.  I’ve shared my musings before, but they bear repeating.

When a crafter walks into a yarn store, the door shuts out the rest of the world, and the senses go into hyper-drive.

All of the worries (except for how much one can get away with spending) temporarily disappear as the colors and textures take over.

I had one particular project in mind and hunted Ravelry for others to use for yarn I spied in the store…trying to justify the ogling I was doing.

An hour or more later, I walked out with these goodies…

The top three cake patties are Cascade Alpaca Lace, which I will use for my Harry Potter OWL next term…a rather large and detailed project, which you know I’ll post about eventually.

The bottom skeins are Madelinetosh Worsted in Maple Pecan.  Perfect for the South, eh?  I’ve got a project lined up for this yarn too.

I drove toward home with a huge smile on my face and quite a few dollars lighter.  I had nine new skeins of yarn…

I still had one more errand to run.

I’d purchased a lovely blue dress a few days ago and needed a white sweater to wear over it to make it appropriate for school.

I found one, online through Facebook, at a friend’s boutique.

While there, I tried on a few other things and found a strapless dress that fit me perfectly.  The sales lady suggested I pair it with a shawl.

I chuckled.

You know me and my shawls.

Here’s what I bought at the boutique.

It had been a fine day of shopping, and this girl was T-I-R-E-D.

I’m making the most of my Spring Break.  There’s still more fun to go.

I’m going to enjoy every single second of it!

Work First, Play Later

That was my motto for my Spring Break.

I was determined to get my lesson plans and classroom ready early in the week so I could relax the rest of it.

Turns out that I was a little slow on my feet the first couple of days.  I don’t exactly remember what I did those days, but I think it involved working out in the gym (more details forthcoming in a future post) and reading (I’ve already blogged about the new books I recently purchased).

Tuesday evening, I hunkered down on my couch and got busy with some lesson planning.

As a good reader, I’ve taken my ability to read to granted.  Now that I teach intensive reading, I have to think critically about what I do, exactly, when I read and comprehend.  Hence, the lesson planning is slow going for me, breaking down the steps into understandable bits for my students to process.

I hit a wall and put away my plans.  Wednesday, I got up, and God zapped me with a great site on the internet and good ideas.  Thank you, Lord!!  I went into my classroom for about an hour or so, talked to a few of the other teachers who were also there, and got the low-down on how to use the new technology that had finished being installed while I was gone.

Then, I went to lunch with the gals.  It was impromptu and fun.

I worked hard on finishing up things that evening and went back into my classroom on Thursday morning, spending a solid four hours straightening my room, setting up my stations, practicing with my new technology, and brainstorming with a fellow teacher who had stopped by.  I took a few things home with me to finalize and worked hard that afternoon.

Thus it was on Friday (yesterday) when I was able, finally, to play.

First, I stopped by my classroom and dropped off what I’d finished the night before.  I didn’t hang around long, afraid to get sucked into the world of work.  I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t and that what had not gotten done wasn’t going to.  Sometimes you just can’t do everything.

Then, I headed out for some fun.

First, my nails.

As you know, I’m very eager for the movie, The Hunger Games, to come out.  I read all three books in the series.  The reading teachers are taking our students to see it on the 27th.  I’m giving serious thought to attending the opening night.  Yes.  I know that’s midnight, but that’s part of the fun.  Barb has suggested that I take a half-day of vacation.  We shall see.  I’ll probably just suck it up and nap during my planning.  😉

In honor of the movie, I walked into my nail salon with a plan and a couple of pictures.

After being told that no, she could not draw a bird (ahem…it’s a mockingjay…sheesh), I settled for Plan B…

Those are flames.  She did her best…refusing to do the red that was in the picture I’d printed out.  Although a couple of the nails on my right hand messed up a teensy bit when I left, I’m pleased with the overall result…

After lunch, I headed to the beach.  I had a coupon for the store, Ulta, and my friend Jane had agreed to meet me there.  You might remember that Jane and I taught together last year.  She says that I left her when I took the job at the public school.  I’d offer the suggestion that she didn’t follow me.

Semantics.

She had never been to Ulta, so it was my pleasure to introduce her to this fun, girly store.

Jane is 61 (or is it 62), but you’d never know it from talking to her.  She’s incredibly young at heart and pushes herself to the highest standards in everything she does.  She’s got such a wonderful sense of humor, so we laugh CONSTANTLY when we’re together.

She’s the person I took with me when I won free tickets to the Christian Concert last August, and it was so funny to watch her jumping around to the music…even commenting on how cute the guitar player was (for the record, he was butt ugly and looked about 90.  She needed her eyes checked.  heehee).

Anyhoo, though Jane and I are friends, there are times when she feels like a mother to me.  She has a daughter close to my age, and according to her, the daughter and I are very similar.  I just love having this friend/mother figure in my life, so today was especially fun as we shopped and discussed nail polishes (she refuses to go wild, unlike me with my crazy nails).  We ate lunch at Panera and talked the entire time.  Then, we returned to Ulta because I’d forgotten something.  She had to buy a little something for the road.  Parting from her is always bittersweet.  Though we talk weekly, we only get to see each other every few weeks.  Life is NUTS for both of us.

By the time I got home, it was 4:30.  As soon as the Mr. got home from the gym, he asked, “Who wants to go to Kohl’s?”

Um, hello?  That was on my to-do list but I was so busy that I hadn’t gotten to it.

I had been carrying around 20% coupons all day!  He informed me that I needed to check my email for a $10 off of a $10 or more purchase coupon.  I finally found it…in my spam folder!

Off to Kohl’s we went, expecting to be back home shortly.

Two hours later, we finally returned, with me sporting a few new things…

Those are shoes designed by Jennifer Lopez.

In case you’ve had your head in the sand and have not been watching TV much lately, J. Lo is the new spokesperson for Kohl’s.

As I had walked around shopping, I realized that I had not hit the shoe department.  The Mr. was actually shocked when he’d gone looking for me fully expecting that to be the FIRST place I visited.

heehee

Anyhoo, I spied the black heels first and had to try them on…

Let me tell you…though the heels are high, the bottom is thick, so it doesn’t feel like your feet are arched very much.  I have no idea what kind of leather they used, but it is COMFORTABLE!  Trust me.  I have much experience with these things.

The shoes are very well made.  The heels actually mold around your heels, so there’s none of that foot-coming-out-of-the-shoe thing.

I love these and knew I was going to buy them as soon as I walked around in them.  I didn’t care how much they cost.  For the record, they were roughly $31, down from $75, and I had a 20% coupon.

The second pair only cost $21, and I love them almost as much as the black pair.

They have some sort of suede-like covering…definitely not your smooth leather.  I love how thick the soles are, which makes walking in them much easier than you’d think.

Please excuse my white legs.  Apparently, working and Spring Break do not add up to much time to tan.  I’ll try to fix that in the next couple of days.

Anyhoo…

I tried on lots of other things at Kohl’s and came home with a couple of new tops for work…

That’s not the best picture.  It doesn’t show off each top to its best.  I love both of them!  The black one is a similar style to a few others I have, but it’s just so doggone pretty!  I love, love, love the pink one.  It’s made out of some sort of rayon or something, and it is just so “blousy.”  It’s thin…perfect for hot Florida weather, but it’s very dressy.

One thing that’s really caught me off guard this year is how observant students are.  They notice EVERYTHING (except for due dates written in all UPPERCASE red Expo markers on the whiteboard).  When I wear something they’ve never seen, they comment.  They have their favorite outfits, and they don’t hesitate to tell me.  So, finding new things to wear to work is fun because I know that they will appreciate my effort to be professional, stylish, and a bit whimsical.

My day of fun ended with a dinner to a local Japanese restaurant where I had Miso Soup and cucumber and asparagus rolls.  Yum!

Work is going to slap me in the face next week.  I think I’ll take the next day or two to relax, recharge my batteries fully, and count my blessings.

One thing I was reminded of as I talked to Jane today was how different my life is this year compared to last year.  Last year at this time, I was a very hurt and angry gal.  I felt betrayed by people I had trusted, and I had some major regrouping to do.  It was during this time last year that I knew that I wouldn’t be returning to that school…that the fit just didn’t fit any more.  I knew that God had other plans for me.

He was true to the nudging I felt in my heart and here I am…in a place where I fit in completely…content and as thankful as I can be.

Farewell Spring Break 2011

I have to say that I have enjoyed my Spring Break this year.

Once I got that big bad test out of the way, I felt a little freer, although not completely.

Lesson plans still weighed heavily on my mind, as did my EPI classes.

Still, I managed to carve time out of my days at home to sit outside and enjoy the splendid weather…

I did not want to be a complete slug, however.  So, on Saturday, I took my lesson plans outside…

I’m ready…for the next couple of weeks, anyhow.

I’m hoping that the next nine weeks will fly by so I can focus on just my certification classes and get that BIG monkey off of my back.

Regardless, I’ll always remember my first Spring Break as a teacher.

Spring Breakin’ and Knittin’

Ahhh…the first “official” day of Spring Break.

If you heard singing, it was my heart rejoicing at the extra five hours of sleep I got this morning.

Spring Break is all about catching up on chores but finding time to relax too.

The first thing I did was take Rooster to DQ for Bizzards.  I had received a B1G1 coupon through my email (sign up so you get one on your birthday).  It expired today, and I did not want to let it go to waste.  I think you can get arrested for something like that, and you know me…I’m a rule-follower…most of the time.

Sorry I don’t have a picture of that, but I kind of forgot in my haste to inhale it.  Just take my word for it.  It was heavenly!

After dropping off the boy at church to paint some backdrops for this summer’s VBS, I decided the fun was over…for a little while.  I had a lot of coupons that needed to be cut out and filed, so I got to work…

Coupon Queen is very generous with her extras, and she passes quite a few to me every time we cross paths.  This makes for a TON of filing!

Meanwhile, there was laundry to do.  As I said in one of my Random Dozen postings, one of my favorite things about Spring is hanging the clothes on the line.  Today was the PERFECT day for it!

By leaving the side door and the garage door open, the breeze blows through, making for even faster drying!  With the wonderful fabric softeners I’ve been able to pick up for cheap prices, the smell of the clothes is incredible!

While I was filing coupons and my clothes were drying, I had a little something that was on my blocking foam…

What, pray tell, is it?

Well, let me show you a better picture first…

This is my Linoleum Dishcloth.  It’s a Kay Gardiner (of the Mason-Dixon duo) design, and it’s free!  You can find the pattern here.

What a fun, fun pattern!  I completed it in about three hour’s time…while I was watching my Sunday night shows.

I used size 6 needles and Peaches ‘n Cream yarn (Yellow, Cornflower, and Soft Teal).

The texture is perfect for washing dishes!  It is thick because of the slip stitches and the way the yarn is carried behind the cloth.

I am envisioning more of these babies in my future!

So, will knitting be a part of the rest of my week?

Like…

DUH!

heehee

Off to watch Dancing With the Stars!  Maybe I should have titled this post, Spring Breakin’, Knittin’, and Dancin’!

Woo Hoo!

Day 5 of Spring Break

After the day we had yesterday…

Today’s sunshine is very much welcome…

The kids ventured out to the beach…a MUST during Spring Break.  They didn’t stay too long because the water was cold.

While they were gone, I had the house to myself.

Ahhhh…nice and quiet.

I opened all of the windows and sat contented.

I decided to do a bit of cleaning…sweeping the floor for Rooster.  Chicky was not amused at my having completed his chore.  While I swept, I listened to a new CD that Rooster gave me for my birthday…

A New Hallelujah - Michael W. Smith

A New Hallelujah - Michael W. Smith

What powerful songs!!!

I did a few other little chores and am now ready to sit down and knit.  Work is progressing on my Shetland Shorty, although I had to tink three rows (at 240 stitches per row).  Oy!  It was painful but necessary because I did two extra k2tog’s on one row.  Now my stitch count is right, and progress can resume.

Spring Break has lived up to its name…a wonderful respite from the regular routine.  I accomplished my goals…sleeping and cleaning.  Real life will resume on Monday.  Until then, I’ll simply enjoy the weekend.

Day 4 of Spring Break

Wow!  What a wet start to the day!

I had heard that we would be having storms, but…WOW!

Here’s what my porch looked like when I crawled out of bed at 10am…

The back porch

As I peeked out of different windows, here’s what I saw…

The back yard

The back yard

The front yard

The front yard

I guess it’s safe to say that Chicky will not be going to the beach today; nor will she be going to the mall as our roads are prone to flood.

I’m thinking that this is a good day to sit and knit.  I have chicken cooking on the stove.  It will be turned into Chicken Creole.

Rooster is washing a huge pile of dishes…ever the procrastinator.  Chicky and Guy Friend are finishing up with spring cleaning her room.  She’s pretty much gutting it in preparation for painting.  She’s thinking of a shade of blue.

Rainy day, lazy day.  In a twisted way, I love it.

Day 3 of Spring Break

Day 3 of Spring Break began by a leisurely stretch in bed.  I don’t think my feet hit the floor until 9:30.

Ahhhh…the life…of unpaid school employees, that is.

In my defense (a weak one, at that), I had stayed up until past 2am catching up on old episodes of 24.  Every Monday finds me torn as to what to watch.  I had to begin with Episode #11 because your’s truly didn’t know that the network pulled older episodes off of the Internet.

Gee Whiz.

I armed myself with a new project…the Shetland Shorty…a skein of my South West Trading Company Bamboo, purchased in Las Vegas last year…and began work while enjoying Jack Bauer’s antics.

Here’s what it looks like right now (minus the one pattern repeat I’ve since completed):

I placed stitch markers every 25 stitches to keep from losing count.  The picture above also shows where I’ve used extra cables as stitch holders.  I’ll be working on the back from this point forward.

After dragging myself out of bed, I showered and headed out the door…on a mission to find Bernat Softee Chunky in a grayish color.  I had a 50% coupon for Michael’s and a 40% coupon for Hobby Lobby.

Of course, neither store had the yarn.

Ugh.

So, I called my friend, Rabbit, who has the largest stash of anyone I know (and probably anyone you know) and asked if I could buy a skein from her.  Being the good friend that she is, she quickly said yes.  I should receive it in the mail in a few days.

My shopping trip was not a total failure, though.  I couldn’t pass up Spring/Summer issue of Knit Simple.  It has a good picture tutorial on Hairpin Lace and some gorgeous beach blanket/coverlet patterns.

On the way home, Chicky called me.

“Mama, I decided to clean my room.  Can Guy Friend come over after you get home and help?”

Now, how could I turn her down.  She had gotten in the mood to really clean her room after helping Guy Friend’s mom clean his yesterday.

When I got home, she had two big bags of clothes and a few boxes of miscellaneous items…soccer trophies, CD’s…typical teenager stuff.  Guy Friend came over and helped her finish.

Wow!

I quickly got in the cleaning mood and began work on the light fixtures in my house.  I’ve known about, but chosen to ignore, the layer of dust that has steadily grown thicker over the years.  Yeah, I said years.  I’m not that into cleaning, but this icky stuff has gradually gotten on my nerves.

Armed with a ladder and screw driver, I took the fixtures apart and carried pieces to the kitchen sink.

Before:

After:

It might be a little hard to tell the difference because the glass is frosted, but the dirty water was evidence enough.  I even took time to clean the light bulbs!

One other thing that had been bothering me was the dust on the fan blades.  Every time I sat on the couch and looked up, I saw a layer of dust hovering just beyond the edge of each blade.

Ewwww…

So, I climbed on the ladder and cleaned those up as well.  Which led to my having to sweep the floor after.

Ugh…the cleaning domino effect.

One last thing I did was clean the light covering of my fluorescent light in the kitchen.  You know the kind…long and plastic.  A while back, I had noticed dead bugs in it.  Yucky…especially given the location in the kitchen.

In the process of cleaning it, I cut my finger on the stupid plastic edge.  I mean…sliced the top of my pointer finger.

Rats…I always knew that cleaning was bad for your health.

I still managed to finish cleaning…bandaged finger and all.

After that, I needed a rest and finally sat down.

Chicky and Guy Friend hung out, making Mexican Lasagna for dinner.  It was a yummy treat!

They also went fishing at the pond across from my house.

Guy Friend thought he was All That when he caught his fish:

Rooster walked out, and within 30 seconds, caught this:

Guy Friend was not amused, nor were the fishies.  They were mercifully thrown back into the water.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful.  The kids went to church and then the shopping plaza at the beach.  I worked on my current knitting project and watched American Idol (I totally agreed with the voters today).

It’s so nice to be able to relax and just enjoy “being.”

The dogs are enjoying the break as well…

Especially Pele…

Day 1 of Spring Break

I thought Spring Break was about relaxing!!!

Chicky and I slept in but then hit the ground running.  After making an appointment with a seamstress, we headed to the tux place to get Guy Friend fitted for his fancy threads.  We took the dress with us to get the colors matched up.  Then, we ran to the mall to look for the appropriate undergarment for Chicky’s dress.

After much debate, we bought this:

They are gel inserts for the halter part of her dress.

They fit right into the top, so Chicky won’t have to worry about a strap.  Yay!

We then made our way to the seamstress’ house.  Once again, I was blown away by how pretty Chicky looks with that dress on.  After getting the dress pinned, she was ordered to walk down the hall.

That’s when we discovered that we had a problem.

Chicky cannot walk in heels.  She already had a pair of shoes from another function, but I’d forgotten how hesitant she was…teetering while walking across the gym floor to accept an award.  There was simply no way she was going to make it through an entire night with them on…plus a fancy dress.

Another debate ensued.  What to do.  She wanted to take her shoes off after pictures, but the seamstress reminded her that the dress would be too long as it would be hemmed to fit a higher heel.

So, back to the mall we went…in search of a more comfortable pair of shoes.

We found these:

They are fancy, but flat.  The perfect combination.

Back to the seamstress’ house we went, Guy Friend still tagging along.  He was extremely patient.

The seamstress re-pinned the dress, confident that we had made the right decision.  This time, when Chicky walked across the floor, she did so with more confidence.

Mission accomplished.

We finally made it back home around 2pm…four hours later.

The mail had come, and surprises were waiting for me…

Gifts from my sister

Gifts from my sister

And…

Malabrigo Lace - From one of the West Coast Oddball Knitters

Malabrigo Lace - From one of the West Coast Oddball Knitters

Oh yeah…so very nice to come home to!!

I made dinner, and Chicky offered to do the dishes.  Shock of all shocks.  She was about halfway done when dinner was ready.  I told her I would finish the dishes.  Shock of all shocks.  LOL

After dinner, she left for a visit to Guy Friend’s house.  On her way out, she whispered, “Thanks for finishing the dishes.”

I whispered back, “Thanks for starting them.”

A good day in the AuburnChick home.  A good first day of Spring Break.

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