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Pokemon No

Guess what time it is?!  Yeah, it’s time for the Hodgepodge!  You’ll see the theme of time in this week’s questions.  Answer on your own blog and link up with Joyce.

1.  Pokemon Go…your thoughts? Are you playing? Do you even know what it is?

I have mixed feelings about this app.  The lengths people are going through to collect the characters is ridiculous.  People are throwing caution and respectability to the wind because of a virtual game.  Really?

On the plus side, it is getting people moving.  I use the app Charity Miles, which partners up with different sponsors who donate money for how far people move their bodies (inside, outside, and biking).  This app had record-breaking numbers a few days ago because of Pokemon Go, and charities benefited.

For fun, have you seen this video…Chardonnay Go?  Oh my.  It’s totally more my speed!!

By the way, when I was on the hunt for this video, I googled “Chardonnay Run” by mistake and discovered that there is a Chardonnay Run in San Diego!  It’s a 5k, and you get to do wine tasting after!  Sign me up!!

2.  What was something you collected as a child? Do you still have that collection? If you’re a parent what’s something your own children collected? Have you ever camped out, stood in a crazy long queue, or paid a ridiculous sum for a ‘collectible’?

I cannot think of anything I collected when I was a child.  I don’t have many things left from my childhood other than a few books.

My children collected a few things.  Chicky collected key chains and American Girl dolls.  Rooster collected Hot Wheels cars and baseball cards.  Both children had large collections of books.  Reading was a big thing in this house.

Have I ever stood in a long queue to get a collectible?  Not that I recall.  I never really bought in (pun intended) to fads such as Bratz dolls (remember those) or Pokemon cards.  We didn’t have the money, and I wanted my kids to be their own people.

3.  “Collect moments, not things”…tell us about a moment you’ve added to your collection this summer.

My summer has been especially quiet now that Rooster is officially on his own.  My social media posts have included a lot of beach and pool photos with the hubby.  We are empty nesters now and are learning how to live life in the slow lane.  We treasure our weekends and downtime from work.

4.  What’s something collecting dust in your home right now? Any plans to do something about it?

Ha!  What’s not collecting dust?  I’m home on summer break, and while I should be catching up on cleaning and whatnot, I’m filling my hours with other activities.

What I really need to do is go through my closet and prune rarely-worn / too-large clothes now that I’ve lost weight and am back in shape.

I also need to get in my attic and decide what needs to go.  Empty nesting has that effect on you…you want to purge.

5.  A favorite song relating to time?

A song I always use in the end-of-the-year slideshows that I make for my classes is Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day.

I first used this song when Chicky was a senior, and I put together the slideshow for her school’s soccer teams’ banquet.  This was her senior class song, and it spoke to me on so many levels.  I still think of that special soccer season with her (the girl’s team went to the Final Four playoffs…unheard of for Podunk, USA).

It seems that my life lately has constantly been about crossroads…paths diverging…saying goodbye to what has been known and hello to what is new.

This song ALWAYS brings tears to my eyes.

Oh, and here’s something for you…

I typed this post late yesterday afternoon and finished right before I left for dinner.  The hubby and I met some friends at a place on the beach.

When we arrived, our friends were sitting at a table behind the guy playing a guitar and singing.

The song?

Good Riddance.

I looked over at the Mr. and said, “Hey, I just blogged about this song.”

It was meant to be.

6.  What’s been your most frightening or your most interesting encounter with wildlife?

A number of years ago, the kids and I were taking down plywood that I’d put up around my screened-in porch after a hurricane had passed by.

When I lifted one piece, I discovered a very large, red snake that had somehow slithered between my brick and the wood.  The snake and the brick were the same color, so I almost put my hands on it!

I screamed bloody murder.

There were kids playing in the yard of the house behind mine, and they stood on their trampoline and stared at me.

Fortunately, the Mr. had come home on a break, and he was inside the house.  He came out, grabbed a stick, and took the snake to the pond across from our house.

Lord have mercy!!

7.  On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong set his foot down on the moon. If you could travel to the moon would you go? Why or why not?

If I knew it was completely safe, I might.

I recently finished reading the Lunar Chronicles series that I bought for my classroom.  A good portion of these books take place on the moon, so now I’m curious about what it’s really like up there.

8.  My Random Thought

Can we talk fitness?

Oh my.

I’m working through my second round of Beachbody’s Hammer and Chisel (I don’t sell it, so please don’t think I’m trying to push this on you).

I’m working extra hard and seeing some great results.

What I like about doing this program again is that I can actually process some of the funny and motivational things Sagi and Autumn say during the workouts.

First of all, who made the schedule?  Look at what I circled below…two Leg Hammer workouts consecutively.  Say what?  These are after the other videos in the boxes.

You use a medicine ball with the leg workout, and it is so dang hard!  I’m only smiling because I’m done.

The payoff on Monday was worth it…BIG calorie burn!

Then yesterday, I did Chisel Agility, which I really like (except for the jumping moves, which are freaking hard).

Autumn said something toward the end that I had to write down, “She doesn’t quit when she’s tired.  She quits when she’s done.”

I’m going to use this quote in my classroom.  My students often get tired.  That’s when they need to push through.  The payoff will confidence and, although sometimes unseen, progress.  I’m proof of that.

It’s a great motto for life.

Christmas in July?

Last week, I finished a project I’d started back in April or May…Heartwarming Stockings…a kit I purchased from Knit Picks.

I’d made a set of these stockings for the Mr. and me last fall.  When Rooster got engaged, I offered to make his girl her own stocking, which she eagerly said yes to.  Then, I decided to make Rooster a stocking as well so they would have a matching set.

I had almost enough yarn left over from my first set to make this set; however, I had to order a couple of skeins of yarn for Rooster’s girl’s stocking, so I cast on his while I waited for her yarn to arrive.

The great thing about this pattern is that you can customize it.  The pattern has a template, and you pick from various patterns offered for each section.  Rooster’s girl picked out everything, and I went from there.

When I finished Rooster’s stocking, I got to work on his girl’s.

I absolutely love the flowers on this stocking.

When I finished, both stockings got a lengthy bath to ensure that every fiber was soaked through.

Then, I blocked them.

I don’t know if you get a sense of how large these are just from looking at the photos.  I had written down the measurements, but I’ve lost the paper!  Ha!

Rooster’s girl asked if I was going to line them.

I said no, because I didn’t know how, but then I started thinking.

And I started Googling.

And after watching a couple of YouTube videos, I decided that I’d give it a shot.

After I took some measurements, I went to JoAnn Fabrics.

The colors I selected looked great; however, I should have taken a stocking with me, because I made a novice mistake and didn’t double my measurements (hello, this would be an inside lining…like a tube…hence double the amount of fabric required).

Money wasted.

And time.

Ugh.

By this time, Rooster’s girl had come to the house.  I can’t remember what we were doing, but she wound up running with me back to the store, where I got the correct amount of fabric.

I traced around each stocking with a permanent marker, giving myself about a half-inch extra space all around.

Now, I had the bright idea to use my sewing machine to stitch the two halves together.  I’d used my sewing machine, obtained as a gift from a yard sale eons ago, maybe once or twice over the years.

It’s a handy thing…folds down underneath the table.

This thing was d-i-r-t-y.

Look at all of that dust!!

Once I got it plugged in, I made sure it worked by turning on the light.

I got out the manual to make sure it was threaded correctly from the top and ran into a problem when I couldn’t get the bottom bobbin to thread properly.  Maybe my thread was too old…it did keep breaking.  Regardless, I spent at least an hour trying to get it to work before throwing up my hands in surrender.

I’d do things the hard way, thus continuing to live out my mom’s words from years ago…”If there’s a hard way to do something, you’ll find it.”

So, I got out my needle and quilting thread and used a whip stitch to stitch both halves together.

Then, I stuffed each lining into its respective stocking and stitched around the top of each stocking, just under the i-cord.

I was actually really pleased with my small, somewhat even stitches.

When all was said and done, I had two lined stockings.

I am so honored that Rooster’s girl allowed me the privilege of making something so special to commemorate what will be their first Christmas together as a married couple.

 

Weekending

Even though it’s my summer break, and the days kind of run together, I find myself looking forward to the weekends when the Mr. is home from work.

As new empty-nesters, we are starting to fall into routines that work for us.

I kicked off the weekend on Friday with a beach lunch date with Rooster’s girl.

We ate at one of my favorite places right on the beach.  The view…so lovely and peaceful.

Saturdays find us sleeping in.  It’s a luxury that I do not take for granted…especially with 4am wake-up calls looming on the horizon again (for me…not him).

Even though I got up late, I still managed to get in my workout.  I just don’t feel as though I can enjoy my day guilt-free if I skip out on this.  Plus, it burns extra calories that I can later eat. :)

Ever since Rooster left in April, we started making trips to the beach on Saturdays.  Sometimes, we just head to the neighborhood pool.

We’re getting pretty good at this, even keeping a bag ready with our towels and sunscreen.

I always throw in a book, and we fix coolers with snacks and drinks.

First, though, was lunch…a necessity given my workout.  I was starving!  I ate a bowl of West African Peanut Soup.  It’s less like a soup and more like a stew.  The next time I make it, I’ll either increase the vegetable stock or will decrease the amount of brown rice.  It’s delicious, though!!!!!

The Mr. surprised me as I was selecting my water wear.  He’d purchased a new bathing suit for me!  They’re on clearance right now at Victoria Secret.

Because the water at the beach had been FILLED with seaweed the week before, we opted for the pool this past weekend.

It.  Was.  Hot.

Unless it rains, the water is tepid…not cool.  At least it’s wet and offers a bit of respite from the heat and humidity.

I loved my new bathing suit.  It was the perfect fit.

We really enjoy watching young families at the pool.  The little kids are too cute.  I have discovered, though, that I have a limited tolerance for boys between the ages of nine and twelve years old.  Oh my, but they are LOUD at the pool!  And they are rough.  And they don’t care who they splash when they jump in.

The Mr. knew I was starting to get annoyed, so he suggested that we leave.  We’d already been there a couple of hours, so I quickly agreed.

The Mr. wasn’t feeling well, so we stayed in for dinner.  I ate another helping of the soup.

Sunday mornings find us going to church.  First, though, was my workout.

We skipped our usual lunch with friends to run to the grocery store and Hallmark.  I picked up this Itty Bitty at Hallmark…

These are all the rage with my Facebook support group.

Then, I ignored the huge pile of dirty dishes in the background below and got ready for a second stint at the pool.

The weather was uncooperative, though.  We kept a close eye on the sky and my weather app, and hoped that the promised thunderstorms would skirt us.  They did.  For all of thirty minutes before it started raining.

Back into the house we went, where I picked up the third book in The Testing series and started reading.  I couldn’t help but notice the blurb you see boxed in below.

How fitting, do you think, regarding the leadership crisis we are experiencing right now in America.

Hmmm.

I watched First5’s weekend video message, which was one of the BEST since this free app started last year.

I was in tears by the end.  God’s provision…His promises…they just awe me.

The dogs tried to use their cuteness to get me to fix them an early dinner.

Their charms did not work, by the way.  Poor babies.

Dinner was leftovers again, but I was craving something sweet.

I turned to one of my newest favorite recipes…Crazy Cake…which is so simple and contains NO eggs!  It and the chocolate buttercream frosting are vegan-friendly.

The rest of my evening consisted of Big Brother (what a crazy episode!!), Next Food Network Star, and more of my book.

I absolutely love my weekends.  We don’t run hard any more.  I’ve learned the value of lying low and taking things easy.  There’s a peace that my soul has yearned for and is now able to enjoy.

A Box of Goodies

Empty nesting is an active verb around here.

Namely adjusting to empty nest is the ongoing action.

It’s still hard to walk through the grocery store, see things that Rooster likes to eat, and then be slammed with the knowledge that he’s not home eating these things.

We no longer keep cereal, ice cream, or Cheez Its in the house.

It’s strange.

Unlike Basic Training, where care packages are strict no-no’s, tech school attendees are allowed to receive them.

I still had one box of Krave cereal from a Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal I’d taken advantage right after Rooster went to tech school.

To this cereal, I added the other items you see below…

I got out the pad of paper I’d purchased right before Rooster left for Basic Training and discovered that I had one sheet left.

That’s a lot of letter writing, y’all.

I added my words of love to the box.

He’s probably the only Airman who’s received a box that claims it has knitting notions inside.  You’ve gotta love recycling!

This box was h-e-a-v-y.

It cost me a pretty penny to mail this thing off, but it was worth it when I talked to him a week later.

He seemed happy to receive it, although he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to finish the snacks before moving on to the next phase of tech school.

I told him to make a friend and share.

:)

I’m eking out every last chance I get to spoil him.  His girl will be the one doing that soon enough.

Some Assembly Required

Summers are always about DIY projects.

You may have seen my post about my screen door project, which is still not finished.

Sigh.

My latest adventure happened this past weekend when I decided to get busy and put together the Mr.’s birthday present.

Not the Bowflex (that’s mine), but the grill, which he’d picked out at Walmart.  Here’s the photo of the one he saw in the store…all put together, mind you.

He had wanted to purchase this one, but I poo-pooed the idea and told him it wouldn’t fit in the back of my car.

I’d be forced to eat those words later.

The box sat in the garage for over a week before I decided to give it a go.

The Mr. decided that he would go to the grocery store.

Can you say role reversal?

heehee

I had to carry the parts in separately because the box was too heavy to carry in by myself.

There were a LOT of parts…

I’ve put a LOT of things together over the years.  The labeling of parts has gotten better, let me tell you.

The manual laughed at me…

Getting started was the hardest part…kind of like beginning an essay…trying to figure out which parts were which.

I finally figured out where my first pieces were and got busy.  The dogs were a little curious.

Not very helpful though.

I got the first few steps done and then ran into a problem.

Bent parts.

The Mr. had pounded down one part to flatten it out, but these parts…they couldn’t be fixed.

The Mr. was not very happy.  This kind of thing stresses him out.

As a teacher used to thinking on her feet, I came up with a plan.

I would return the grill.

And I wouldn’t take apart the section I’d put together.

Take that.

The Mr. helped me load it in the car.  We put the non-assembled parts back in the box and stuck the section I’d finished in as it was.

The people in the Garden Center were very understanding, but I had to go to Customer Service before I could do anything.  My plan was to exchange the grill for another one in a box.  The Garden Center representative told me that there was an assembler on staff who would put it together for me.  I love how they didn’t tell us this when we’d purchased the grill the first time around.

Sheesh.

The Customer Service representative told me that she needed the old box to scan.

Really?

Sheesh.

My Garmin was racking up the steps with me going back and forth across the store.

The Garden Center rep put everything on a cart for me, and we walked BACK to the Customer Service desk.

Doesn’t that assembled section on the bottom look like a dead bug with its legs in the air?

heehee

The rep issued me a Walmart giftcard since I didn’t have the VISA giftcard that the Mr. had used to buy the first one, and then I had to go back to the Garden Center to rebuy the grill.

Sheesh.

It was the most inefficient process EVER.

The grill wouldn’t be ready until the next day, so I headed home and watched a soccer game that was HALF OVER by the time I got back.

Grrr.

The next day, I went back to get the grill.

It was beautiful.

It was put together.

Ahem.

I crossed my fingers in the hopes of it fitting into the car.  Two sweet young men worked on loading it.

It did fit, much to their surprise, and I got to listen to it rattle and clank all the way home.

The Mr. and I unloaded it, and he grilled on it the next day.

The thing is HUGE.

It needs a separate handle to roll it around.  That’s our biggest complaint.

Otherwise, the Mr. is happy.

Never Say Never When You’re Hodgepodging

The Hodgepodge…it’s the happening thing today.  Join in by linking up with Joyce!  Since I’m in a rush (it’s 2:30pm and I’m only now answering my questions), let’s get to it!

1.  Do you find yourself influencing your world, or is it more the other way around? 

I usually think of myself as a follower; however, the longer I teach, and the older I get, I’m discovering that I’m becoming more of a leader.  This could be due to maturity.  It’s probably confidence.  As such, I think I am influencing my world through my work in the classroom, my sharing (or oversharing, as the Mr. would say) on social media, and my blogging.  I’m not as quick to jump in on trends (hello, Pokemon Go…no thank you).

2.  July 14th is National Tape Measure Day…the device was patented on this date in 1868. When did you last use a tape measure? Do you always know where to find one in your house? Tell us one way in which you feel blessed ‘beyond measure’. 

I last used a tape measure two days ago when trying to determine how much fabric I would need to line two stockings I just finished knitting.

I keep this particular tape measure in my knitting bag.  I also have a tape measure by my workout DVDs so I can do before and after comparisons.

We have a couple of tape measures in the toolbox in the garage as well.

How am I blessed beyond measure?  I’d say with my husband and my children.  They are my world.  I am so grateful that God has allowed me the privilege of being a mom to two amazingly independent and successful children and having a husband who loves me the way he does.

3.  The Plaza Hotel (Eloise), The Land of Oz (The Wizard of Oz), Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia), The Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh), Wonderland (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), or Never Never Land (Peter Pan)…which storybook land (on this list!) would you most like to visit and why? 

I think I’d visit Never Never Land because it’s a place where you can indulge your inner child.  That’s so important in this modern day of technology and rushed schedules.  Getting back to the simple pleasures in life sounds like paradise.

4.  Where and when do you get your best ideas? 

My best ideas ALWAYS come to me in the shower.  It’s the oddest thing, but I’ve noticed this trend for a few years now.  I suspect that I’m most relaxed in the shower, with the hot water working out the tension of my day.  I’ve had the BEST lesson plan ideas while I’m in the shower.  I kid you not.

5.  So what have you been watching on TV this summer? Anything good? 

I love my summertime, non-teaching schedule.  My go-to shows are Big Brother, Next Food Network Star, MasterChef, Wayward Pines, and the Olympic trials.  I watched the EUFA tournament (Euro Soccer)…so much fun!! I’ve also got Netflix, so I’ve been working my way though Agents of Shield.  Oh, and there’s been a lot of Chopped playing on the TV.

6.  ‘Don’t swim for an hour after you eat’, ‘Dog days of summer’, ‘Knee high by the Fourth of July’…choose a summer saying from the list or share one of your own, then tell us what image or memory comes to mind when you hear it spoken.

I’ll go with “dog days of summer.”  I’m spending a lot of time with my fur babies.  They are so funny and just plain old precious.

I took this video of Pele.  He loves bath time, so I thought he would like his own little pool.  You can see from his reaction that this wasn’t quite the case.

7.  In a single sentence, sum up one life lesson you’ve learned. 

My current motto is this:  “She believed she could, and so she did.”

It’s a motto I came across after I started “running” (more like walk/jogging) last fall.

It’s a motto that says so much to me.  I have always lacked self confidence.  I have NEVER lacked determination.  Because of that determination, when I set a goal, I usually obtain it.  It doesn’t matter if it’s getting back into shape, becoming a teacher, or learning a new skill.  I don’t let obstacles get in my way.

8.  My Random Thought

Yesterday, I had to move some things to get to my sewing machine (an epic fail, by the way).

One of the things I moved was this picture…

Oh y’all.  This picture took me back…wayyyyyyy back.  These two have my heart.  My Chicky is still every bit as spunky as you see hinted at in that mischievous smile of hers, and my Rooster is still just as cute as ever.  Both are grown and pursuing careers of their own.  I miss them so much and treasure the memories that flood in whenever I give myself a moment or two to gaze upon their faces in the framed photos that are sprinkled around my house.

Monday

Because I’m trying really hard not to fall off the blogging train, I’m going to post something quick before the clock strikes midnight.

Today was a good day.

I had plans.

For an introverted teacher who spends ten months surrounded by lots and lots of people and two months shut away from the world, this is huge.

I got up early…for a summer day…and did my workout.

I started my second round of Hammer and Chisel last week.  I really need to blog about round 1.  I’ll get to that as soon as the Mr. takes my measurements.

Anyhoo, this morning, I added in an ab workout that’s not part of this program but one that I saw that Beachbody had tweeted out about.

Y’all…the first move.  Oh my golly.  It was brutal.  The bug move was fun, and the last move…totally had me smiling, in an ab torture kind of way.

Then, I jumped in the shower and got ready to head out.

I was on my way to meet a new-to-my-school reading teacher.  Along the way, I stopped at Fresh Market to hunt for brown rice syrup, an ingredient I need for a recipe I want to try.  I didn’t find it, so I moseyed on over to Ulta and catered to my inner diva with the purchase of a few bottles of nail polish.

Ahem.

Then, I met my now-new friend, J, at one of my favorite places to eat.

I asked for a certain seat, and here was my view…

Go ahead and be jealous.

J is just adorable, and I quickly took a liking to her.  We are going to have a lot of fun this year, and I know I’m going to learn a lot from her.

After we finished, I met her at our school and walked her around.  She got to see her new classroom, which she ogled over, and I gave her the low-down on teacher attire (no uniform for us!) and other things.  Then, we parted ways with her hugging me before she left!  Total sweetheart.  I can say this because I’m almost twice her age. 😛

I ran a few other errands, met up with Rooster’s girl, who came to the house to get some paperwork and then run more errands with me, and finished out my day with a bit of Food Network Star on the DVR and my current book, The Testing.

I am loving my lazy summer days.  They make up for the harried pace I run the rest of the year.

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