Thursday, January 28, 2010


You just have to love the 99 Cents Only store. You just never know what you're going to find there! From time to time I meander the aisles just for fun to see what I can find.

Today, I scored! I found these: for just 99 cents each! The tins are filled with over 350 shapes and tags for card making, scrapbooking - any kind of paper craft. Plus, I love the little tin and I've got some fun ideas for these, too. They had five tins, so I bought all five. Just one tin of these die cuts is normally $15.00 at Michael's; I bought all five for a grand total of $5.43 -including tax. SCORE!

Monday, January 25, 2010


... that's what we were today at work. Not by choice mind you, but that's what happened. Jeff called me last night to say that the power at school was out, had been all day, and there wasn't much hope of getting it restored by morning. He said mostly he was calling to warn me to bundle up because we wouldn't have any heat in the office. Great.

I came in this morning fully expecting it to be just an awful day. They were able to restore lights to all of the classrooms and the office, so that was a pleasant surprise! I teased our contractors on the way up the front stairs reminding them how much I hate to be without the little heater under my desk, so imagine my surprise when I walked in and the office was actually quite toasty. Apparently, the offices did have heat - YAHOO! - but none of the classrooms did (sorry, guys). However, we were still unplugged as we had no technology. No phones. No bells. No clocks. No computers. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

At first, I thought it would be impossible to come up with enough work to keep me busy throughout the day. Boy, was I ever wrong about that! Just imagine: an entire day without phone calls and email. It's pure bliss! Absolutely no interruptions! I finally had time to clean out, re-organize and label all of the drawers in the office. Something that, since our move in August, I just hadn't found the time to do. I organized paperwork and caught up on a few things that were still outstanding. I organized supplies. I chatted with everyone who came in the office - a nice treat and true rarity. At lunchtime I decided to continue the uplugged trend: instead of driving, I walked to the used book store and credit union. I turned in books for credit and I deposited two checks. While walking back to school, I noticed that the local frozen yogurt shop had closed (bummer ... I'll really be missing that in May and June when it starts to get really hot before school is out.). I came back in to the office feeling quite accomplished - and very refreshed!

In short, I had a wonderful, extremely productive day. Something I would never have dreamed when I got that phone call late last night about the power being out. What a great reminder to enjoy that delicious lemonade when we it looks like we just have a pile of lemons.

It's (Been) Raining, It's (Been) Pouring
We had SO much rain last week - it was just incredible! We had more rain here last week in southern California than we've had in some entire years in California. Truly. Unbelievable. We had over 10 inches in Los Angeles, and more than that in Monrovia - though I don't have our town's published figure.

It was a strange sight indeed. Last week Kevin and I were sitting on the couch and we heard a strange noise. We looked out the front window and didn't see anything ... at first. A minute or so later, we saw trash cans being pushed down the street by a river of rainwater! It was kind of funny, actually ... until much later in the day when we saw our poor neighbors up on Canyon hoofing them back up the street before the next round of rain started.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Two hundred and fifty posts. It's hard to believe I've got that much to say!!

...uhhh, no it isn't.

New Jammies!

Is there anything in the world better than a new pair of jammies? Soft and comfortable and ohhhh, so cozy!

Yesterday I went shopping with mom. We went to JC Penney to return some Christmas items. While mom was searching for a new purse and a pair of shoes, I headed over to the sleepwear section. There are some beautiful spring pajamas on the horizon (note to self: go check out spring jammies on sale in March), but I was still in the market for something warm and cozy.

I found the most adorable pair of Liz & Co. pajamas on the clearance rack. They'd been $40.00 (for pajamas???), but they were on clearance with an additional percentage off. I got a brand new pair of pajamas for (drum roll, please), just $10.23 - including tax! I think that's a pretty good deal. Here's a photo of a similar pair.Mine are the same idea - black top, but mine have a white v-neck inset, and the print on the pants are a little different than the ones in the photo - mine have more of a fleur de lis pattern. I wore them last night and they're realllly comfy. Just like p.j.s should be =)

Does this ever happen to you?

You have every intention of walking in to Michael's to pick up ONE thing. An hour and $30.00 later, you're walking out the door with a bag or two filled with goodies that you absolutely had to have.

It does? Good. At least I know I'm not alone!

Tis' the Season

I don't think it's a coincidence that flu rhymes with 'EWWW'. That's pretty much how you feel when you have it.

Try as I might to avoid the flu, it finally caught up with me last weekend/week. Fever. Chills. Body aches. General-all-over-yuckiness. Saturday afternoon, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were all a complete blur. By Wednesday I was feeling a bit more human, and by Thursday I was finally back at work. All I can say is: WOW. Avoid it at all costs if you can.

On the upside: last week was cold and it rained buckets! If you're going to have the flu, I do recommend that you have it during inclement weather. At least you don't feel bad about not being able to go outside!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Kevin and I are so excited! For years we've enjoyed listening to, and reading books by, Dave Ramsey. (If you don't know who he is, check him out here.) We were surprised and happy to find out that our credit union will be hosting Dave's "Financial Peace University" program!

For 12 weeks we will attend classes covering many topics including: how to get and stay debt free, budgeting, retirement, investments, buying a home, insurance, and many others. Though Kevin and I are completely debt free, we still feel that we'll be able to glean a great deal of information. One of the great things about the Dave Ramsey program is that it has such a common sense approach. As he says, if you're looking to 'get rich quick', this program is not for you! The class is a great deal; $99.00 for both of us for 12 weeks. It includes the workbook and all classes - plus, once you complete the course, you're a lifetime member of the University so you can attend refresher classes in the future.

New Year, New You!

This past Saturday I had the good fortune to host a House Party!

I know, you're probably saying to yourself 'Isn't every party you have at home a house party?' Well technically speaking, yes it is; but this was different.

In early December I was invited to apply to host a House Party at which we would test a new Wii fitness game, a new Wii dance game and the new Mousse Temptations by Jello. It sounded like so much fun, and a great way to start the new year, so I applied. I was thrilled when I was chosen to host the party! Hostesses all over the country were chosen to host a party in their home on the same day: January 9th. We were all sent packages that contained the Your Shape and Just Dance games to test out at the party, and coupons for free packages of Mousse Temptations by Jello, spoons, napkins and coupons to give away to our guests.

I made up goodie giveaways for each guest, set up a table of healthy goodies and was all set by the time everyone arrived. I hosted 11 guests - family and friends - and we had a blast! A couple of times we were laughing so hard I wouldn't be surprised if the whole neighborhood heard us!

The bottom line is that everyone enjoyed the games, the munchies and the goodie giveways ... and we all had a great time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Everything's Coming Up Roses

Years ago when I was growing up, we had the pleasure and privilege of attending the Tournament of Roses Parade every single year. My mom was fortunate enough to work at a car dealership on Colorado Boulevard and all of the employees were given seats in the grandstands. What made it even more special is that, because mom was an employee, we could go inside and use the restrooms, take shelter in the warm building if it happened to be a cold year, and (best of all!), we were treated to hot chocolate and donuts upstairs!!

We went to the Rose Parade every.single.year until I was in high school. During high school, I'd grown too accustomed to our yearly ritual, and went out on the parade route with my friends. I did that for a few years and then, sadly, we pretty much stopped going to the Rose Parade altogether. We watched it on TV every year, but it's not really the same thing.

Many years have passed and I realize what a rare and special treat we enjoyed for so many years. Not just watching the Rose Parade itself, though that was a major part of it, but all of the charming and delightful memories we made going to the parade as a family. Bundling up in the rare years it was cold for the parade. Mom and dad shuttling us inside to use the restroom when needed. All of us going upstairs to enjoy delicious hot chocolate and donuts. How lucky we were!!

It's been a very long time since I last saw the Rose Parade in person. This year, though, I was feeling very nostalgic for those wonderful times we enjoyed all those years ago, and I suggested that we go to the parade. The boys have never seen it in person, so that made it even more special.

In an odd turn of events, though I bought the tickets online and wasn't exactly sure of their whereabouts, our grandstand ended up being just across the street from where we sat years ago! We had what we considered to be magnificent seats! There were 6 of us - Deb, Bill, Pat, Drew, Kevin and myself - and the ticket company was very clever and gave us three seats directly in front of /in back of each other. It made it much easier to talk to each other than having to holler down a long aisle. Additionally, we lucked out even more; our seats were right at the end of the aisle!

No, the experience wasn't exactly the same. Mom and dad were unable to join us. Grandma and Grandpa are long gone - as is the business where we created all of those fond memories. However, we all had a wonderful time!!! Kevin and I have another wonderful experience to share and add to our history. The boys were excited to see the parade in person for the first time. Deb and I got to regale everyone with our tales of seeing the parade long ago.

...and I brought the hot chocolate and donuts. (Can anyone please tell me why I'm making this face? Please?)

Thursday, January 07, 2010



Just before Thanksgiving, Kevin and I discovered that we had a rat (or perhaps rats) in the garage. EWWWW!!

We made this little discovery when our brand new garage door opener (thanks Don & Janis!) wouldn't work. When Eric came over to repair the wiring, he said that it had been chewed through. Well, it was a pretty safe bet that it wasn't either of us ... or Slippers ... or Daisy, so we began looking for other evidence. We didn't have to look far. Right there, in the corner ... tufts of one of our summertime music-in-the-park blankets. Then, we noticed the picnic backpack strap had been chewed. What's this? Oh ... the tassle from my overnight bag. Rats! Great - just what every home could do without. Unfortunately, though, it's not uncommon for our area. There are many, many avocado and citrus trees in the area and they are a magnet for rodents. (As much as I love the avocados and citrus, I could definitely do without the rodents!)

To rid ourselves of the pest (or pests), we decided on poison pellets well out of reach of the animals. Kevin set out trays of bait and, sure enough, about two weeks or so later, we smelled evidence that the little bugger (or buggers) had met an untimely demise. Good riddance!


The last laugh is on us. To add injury to insult, the Sunday before Christmas, I noticed a leak under my car. Hmmmm. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's to the mechanic's we go. It seems that our rat had a hankering for meal of rubber hoses and exhaust. That ding-dang thing nibbled it's way through a perfectly good rubber hose, which caused this not to work ... then that not to work ... and then, once at the mechanic's shop, the battery decided it was done. The end result? Oh a mere $620.00 car repair bill three days before Christmas, thank-you-very-much!'s a good thing that critter is dead, or I'd go out and wring his little neck myself!

A Spoonful of Sugar

What a wonderful Christmas surprise: Kevin gave me tickets to see Mary Poppins at the Ahmanson Theater, and mom and dad gave us a night at the Biltmore Hotel!! On Sunday, December 27th, Kevin and I packed up our bags and headed to L.A. for a night of historic hotels, dinner at a fabulous restaurant and an evening performance of the ultimate nanny, Mary Poppins. What a great time we had!

If you've never been to the Biltmore and you ever have the chance to go, I highly recommend it. Built in 1923, the hotel is absolutely gorgeous and steeped in a rich history of intrigue (legend says that the Oscar statue was sketched here on a Biltmore napkin in 1927), mystery (in 1947, the Black Dahlia was last seen alive in the lobby of the hotel before her unexplained death), celebrities (the Biltmore hosted the Academy Awards Cermonies from 1935 thru 1939), and politicos (President Reagan was honored at a luncheon at the Biltmore in 1981 before he left for the White House).

Yearround, the hotel is gorgeous; however, it's especially beautiful at Christmas when it's decked out in all it's finery...
The guest rooms are very charming. Many original details such as oval brass doorknobs, tray ceilings, crown moulding......and a cozy seating area with comfy chairs...
Before the show, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Daily Grill. Filet mignon - what a special treat! We had a delightful waiting who was very accomodating and took a photo for us:
After dinner, we took a taxi over to the Ahmanson. We arrived just in time to hear the bells chime to signal the performance would be starting soon. What a show! The woman (Ashley Brown) who played Mary has an amazing voice; clear as a bell and very angelic. The man who played Bert (Gavin Lee) is a phenomenal dancer; very precise. Because of the nature of the show, there were many children in the audience. Most of them were clearly mesmerized by the show - the lights, the colors, the movements - quite a visual to be sure! Kevin and I had almost as much fun watching the kids and their reactions as we did watching the show on stage.

A perfect gift. Thanks, Kevin, for such a thoughtful gift. And thank you, mom and dad, for making our night out even more special with dinner and a stay downtown.

Had Ourselves a Merry Little Christmas

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly two weeks since Christmas. In some ways, it seems that it was just yesterday, yet in other ways, it feels like it's been months!

We had a wonderful Christmas. On Christmas eve, Kevin and I took dinner up to mom and dad's. Vicky was supposed to be there, too, but she wasn't feeling well and stayed home. Because we were on Winter Break and had the time to cook, Kevin and I made homemade stuffed shells and marinara. Mmmmm - it was delicious! (We even made extra stuffed shells and 'stuffed' them in the freezer for future dinners. Yay us!)
Christmas morning we headed back up to mom and dad's to open gifts. The Lala's arrived just ahead of us so it was time for Santa to distribute packages!Santa was indeed good to all of us this year; we must have all been on our best behavior.

Later, we all enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. Kevin helped prepare the turkey for the oven......and after dinner, pumpkin and pecan pies. YUM! I almost didn't want to cut into the pecan pie - I think it's the most perfect pie I've ever made...All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas. The only disappointing part of the day was that Vicky still wasn't feeling well enough to join us. We missed you, Vicky!! Mom, Dad, Deb, Bill, Pat and Drew: thanks for helping to make Christmas 2009 a very special and wonderful day!