1. Do you find it gross to share drinks with family? Friends?
Family - no problem since the kids finally quit backwashing into their glasses. Friends - not so much. I think we should all keep our spit to ourselves. Maybe that is the teacher in me.
2. What have you learned this year? (You didn't see a question of that weight coming, did you? At least not for #2.)
Nothing is for sure. Don't be afraid to change.
3. When do you dismantle the Christmas decorations?
I have always taken mine down before Blake's birthday (Jan. 2) and usually do it a couple of days after Christmas. This year it was Dec. 28. I also put mine up Thanksgiving weekend, so I think 1/12 of the year is enough. Otherwise I would have to dust.
4. Something you wish to accomplish before the end of 2009 is:
I need to work on my project for my Multi-cultural Literature class. I plan to start tomorrow ;)
5. How do you feel about winter (after Christmas)?
I'm not too crazy about being cold, but enjoy the different seasons. By March I am ready for warmer weather. We have had so much snow that it is hard to get outside to walk.
6. Have you participated in after-Christmas sales?
The girls and I are going on Wednesday. Abby needs "better" clothes, Paige wants new Christmas decorations, hopefully half price. I am the gas and vehicle provider and don't really need anything but am always looking for a bargain.
7. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?
We need to talk about it. It always sneaks up on us.
8. Is there anything special awaiting you in January?
Short and sweet? No.
9. If your life this year was a movie, what category or genre would it be? (Romance, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Suspense, Farcical, etc.)
Comedy/Drama? Don't really know.
10. How much time per day do you spend blogging? Please do not lie. I will know.
During school, probably thirty minutes. No school, an hour.
11. Who runs your household?
I guess I do if that means cleaning, buying food, laundry, cooking, replacing toilet paper and paper towel rolls, sweeping, snow removal, mowing, etc. If it means snow removal with the four wheeler, reaching items I can't reach, fixing toilets, hauling in softener salt, and mowing that would be Kyle
12. Share one hope/dream for 2010.
I hope we can get through this school year and the next with minimal upheaval due to lack of money. It is a scary time.
After looking at the weather, we weren't sure how many of us would make it to Pratt County, but we ended up with everyone there. It is also my mom's birthday on Christmas Eve, so we celebrate that at noon and then open presents in the evening. Here is my mom with the grandkids.
There was a big debate over who would be the "Santa" and dig gifts out from under the tree, and I ended up doing it. It has been the kid's job for many years and they all think they have had their turn. I think I will find a way to be otherwise occupied next year. It is a tough job and requires one to stay on the floor all night. I did find time to take some pictures.
My brother and his wife sharing a gift. Isn't that cute.
Blake is proud of his new trouble light.
Dad, Mom, my sister, and nephew.
My grandparents used to sit on the couch, and the kids used to take up a lot less room.
Brent receiving the traditional tool box from Grandma and Grandpa.
Jill and Eric
More games and card playing followed, and I should have taken a picture of all the delicious treats that were shared. We left at 8am on Christmas morning and got here about 11am. It only got worse during the afternoon with blowing and drifting snow, so we traveled at just the right time.
The kids came for Christmas last weekend - I am just late with this post. We had a great time and always look forward to getting together. We all went to church, then came home, ate soup, and opened presents. Now I can't even remember if we played a game, but surely we did because we always do!
The original Bauer's
The kids plus the in-laws.
Just the Bauer kids.
Then Blake and Tamara left as they were expecting company that evening, so I enlisted everyone else's help with the annual Christmas cookie decorating. We have done this for years, but I have started making the cookies and the frosting and the rest of the family decorates because by that time I am sick of the cookies. Here they are in action.
Some might notice the beer bottles for Kyle and Russ. They thought it would help them be more creative, and I can't say it didn't work. Below is Paige with one of the new cut-outs I got at Clay Gourmet this year. For some reason, some of my old ones rusted, so I got a light bulb (as modeled), a snowman, and a mitten. Some at my family at Christmas have been known to say they it is the highlight of their day.
I enjoy my mantle every year with my Willow Tree nativity set and lighted greenery. I appreciate that the people who built the house installed an outlet right over the mantle. Par for the course, I should have taken the picture a little closer, but you get the idea.
I put these buildings in a new place this year. The church was my Grandma Leonards and I bought the house a number of years ago because it resembles our house on the farm. Speaking of which, a young couple recently moved into our old house. It was a great house to raise our family and we wish Jason and Kara our best.
One more day of school and then we will see if the weather will allow us to go to Pratt. In the past twenty nine years, I don't think we have ever missed because of the weather. So that is a pretty good record considering December in Kansas.
When I hang this ornament on the tree every year, it is bitter sweet. I made this snowman at my grandma's house the weekend a friend was killed in a car accident. I was a senior and had gone to Norwich for a girl's church retreat while the rest of my family went to Manhattan to a ballgame and to see my sister. I could have stayed at home by myself but decided instead to spend the time with my grandparents. When I got to their house, my grandma told me that Kathy had been killed in a car accident after dropping another friend off at her house on Friday night. We had only thirteen girls in our class, and she had a brother in our class, so it was a hard time for all of us. I think my grandma was trying to keep me busy Sunday afternoon and got out this kit to make Christmas ornaments. I am not usually very crafty, but it did pass the time that day. In retrospect, I am glad that I have it. Each year as I hang it, I am reminded of her short time here and how quickly life can change.
For some reason, I thought this ornament came from my Uncle Marvin, but I think in recent years I was told that I was wrong. So I don't know where it came from, but I have had it since I was a little girl. It looks like something my Grandma Leonard would have done, but I can't say that is the source either.
I know this angel came from my Grandma Neelly. Her writing is on the outside of the box. She is made out of feathers, so is rather fragile, the angel, not Grandma. My tiny Grandma could chop a chicken's head off with one swing of an axe.
I'm not much of a gingerbread fan, but have had it with some kind of syrup on top and whipped topping and that is pretty good. I enjoy looking at gingerbread houses, but I am NOT a person who enjoys doing fine detail, crafty type work. A colleague suggested doing crafts with the kids on Wednesday and I was plotting how I could be sick that day!
2. Is it important to you to always stay (live) close to family?
We live in the community my husband grew up in and has been home now for almost thirty years. I love it that my kids live close to us. My parents are three hours away, so not so far.
3. Which holiday pretend character do you wish really existed?
Buddy the Elf - every once in a while he makes an appearance at our school.
4. Which holiday movie best represents how you feel about Christmas or life?
I would love to answer this, but my movie watching is really limited, so I will have to pass.
5. Is there a particular Christmas song that you're enjoying now? Any that you're tired of?
I love all Christmas music and have been listening to it on Pandora. At our high school's program, I look forward to a couple, "Light up the Tree" where the kids have different colors of flashlights, and "Come Let Us Worship the King".
6. What is your favorite way to remember those less fortunate at Christmastime?
The kids at school have organized a food drive. I like to see the kids be proud of giving and it helps the local food pantry.
7. Does it upset you to see "Xmas" instead of Christmas? How about "Happy Holidays" etc., instead of "Merry Christmas?"
I will save my being upset over something bigger than this issue. Isn't the X a symbol of Christ? Happy Holidays is fine - encompasses New Year's too.
8. How many Christmas programs are you attending this month?
The middle school program was the day before Thanksgiving break because in the past we have had bad luck with it being cancelled on a snow day. There was the church adult cantata, and the children's program this Sunday. The middle school will attend the high school performance on Friday afternoon, then I will probably go back on Sunday afternoon for the public performance. We are lucky to have such a nice program with the art department also doing a fantastic job with the set.
9. Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Any chance of that dream becoming a reality?
No, too much traveling to do for assorted family members. We have already had a pretty good snow here with a lot still on the ground.
10. Tell me about a Christmas present you received as a child. Pics are always nice.
One present I remember was a majorette costume when I was about 8-10? I was disappointed that the go-go boots that were in the picture were actually just slips to pull over shoes. But the costume was great. My sisters and I used to study the Christmas catalogues in detail. This outfit really caught my eye.
11. How many Christmas parties are you attending this month?
I think two. We still need one more white elephant gift for Saturday.
12. How do you keep yourself centered on the significance of Christmas?
It is hard to not get caught up in all the buying and busyness. I mostly look forward to getting together with family. I always tried to center Christmas around church when the kids were little and have nativity sets and the advent wreath as prominate decoration in the house. I think it would be hard if you didn't go to church.
This is a little hard to see, but Abby's picture is in the center - I think she was about three. The other two kids had ornaments with their pictures, usually around popcicle sticks, and she had no picture on the tree. A Sunday School kid gave me this (one of the Williams sisters but I don't remember which one), so the crisis was averted. The polar bear one to the left I got in Alaska this summer, which might make one think that we saw polar bears, but no, I just thought he was cute.
Another Abby ornament gracing the tree. I'm not sure where it came from, but the cotton balls are special. The Coke ornament to the right we got at Atlanta in the Coke museum in March. I didn't really like their selection, but one interesting thing about the museum was tasting all the different flavors that Coke makes around the world. And to think I thought everyone drank the same flavors we have in the USA.
My sister, Darci, gave us this ornament the Christmas I was very pregnant with Blake. She had purchased it in Germany and it has hung on our tree for the last 28 years. We didn't go to Pratt for Christmas that year because I thought I shouldn't travel but looking back we should have gone anyway because really who cares who is there at the end of the childbirth experience. Anyone will do.
This is one of the ornaments I made the first year we got married. It is needlepoint, which I haven't done for about 25 years now. I stitched 1980 on the bottom and fill it with candy every year so that it hangs better. I made some other ones out of fabric and still put a few up, the this one goes up every year. It is a reminder of our first Christmas when we lived in a trailer house. I'm sure that three was a pasture cedar tree. The smell of cedar permeated the house and the price was right.
Trying this from a friend's blog from some lady we don't know, but it is kind of fun.
1. Which physical trait do you now accept--maybe not love, but accept--and no longer feel extremely self-conscious about?
Well, I have this thing about my lips. Mrs. Dillinger, my sister's vocal teacher, said that we had such lovely fat lips instead of thin ones like her. I was about 13 and didn't really think fat lips were in. I have had to work at getting over this and don't wear lipstick because it would accentuate them.
2. This week Meredith Baxter Birney, best known as the mom on the favorite 80s sitcom "Family Ties" came out of the closet, which led me to formulate this question: Who do you think is/was the best TV mom?
Got to love Carol Brady who had no job but had a full time housekeeper.
3. Do you speak any foreign languages? Are there any you'd like to learn?
No, and I guess I could stand to learn Spanish but I don't think my talents lie in foreign languages.
4. Who is your personal hero?
My parents and grandparents.
5. What is one holiday food that you find extremely difficult to resist over- indulging in?
I could eat a million frosted sugar cookies. The frosting should be almond flavored.
6. Tell me about a Christmas decoration that has special meaning or sentimental value.
I have a bunch of special ornaments. I buy one when we travel to remember that vacation, and have been given some throughout the years. I have the KSU ones of the buildings and enjoy putting them up. One that has sentimental value is a sleigh that I made the year we got married. We had no ornaments, so I made some and this one was needlepoint. I put candy in it (every year, Abby) because it helps it to hang nice as well as it is cute and fun.
7. How do you feel about snow?
Beautiful while it is falling, and when we get a snow day. Not too fond of dirty or yellow snow.
8. On average, how many hours of sleep do you get each night? Not that I'm jealous of any number over three or anything.
We are usually at 7 to 8 hours. However, that doesn't mean that I don't wake up during the night and check the clock. That irks me about getting older. Where was that when I needed to get us with babies?
9. Tell me about your first crush.
Oh, this is easy. Bobby K. and I were a thing in grade school. We sat together at ballgames in 5th-7th grades. He is still a nice guy, although if you see him I think he goes by Bob now.
10. You're stuck in a room for 2 hours with only a chalkboard and chalk. What will you write/draw?
I wouldn't write much because I hate writing with scratchy chalk. Now if I had a marker board, I could draw pictures or make lists. 11. Do you dress for the current temp or for the day's forecast?
Forecast - I think about what it is going to be like after school.
12. Favorite Christmas movie is?
Not really a movie, but I like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer brought to you by Noelco (love the Santa on the razor). I can tell you a bad one though that we watched last year. Snowglobe. It was about people who were living in a snowglobe, so that about says it all.
Some I like
1. Iced cut out sugar cookies. It is a tradition that I make them then Kyle and whoever else is around will frost and decorate them. My favorite cookie!
2. Puppy chow - love the chocolate peanut butter mix, but what a mess with the powdered sugar.
3. Wassail - A lady at school always brings a great one for one of the days we share snacks.
4. Fudge - Creamy chocolate - I like the one my mom makes with the chocolate and butterscotch layers.
5. Oyster cracker snacks - the best in tomato soup.
6. Other Chex mixes - I like several of those. I made one this year that used pumpkin pie spice and was a sweet mix.
And some I don't like
7. Ribbon candy - whoever thought this was a good way to consume calories? It was included in a sack of candy given at the Christmas program at school, along with these chocolate covered white cream things which weren't as bad.
8. Anise flavored anything - licorice flavor - yuk!
9. Eggnog - too raw eggy
10. Fruitcake - we used to occasionally receive one as a gift when I was a kid. It must be an acquired taste.
Is there anything better than a 5:15am phone call to announce a snow day? I was really expecting it, but still is a nice surprise. Then I get up to call Mindy, the next person on the calling tree, make coffee, read, and surf the internet. My Salina Journal was a little late today, but I will excuse them this time. It has snowed on and off all day, but in the last half hour it has been pretty heavy. Already Chapman has called off school for tomorrow. I think we will at least have a late start. The superintendent used to live across the street from us, and Abby always talked about taking any snow we have and piling it outside their front door so he would think we had a lot of snow. Here are some pictures from 3:30pm.
Also, happy birthday to my brother. I celebrated by staying home today. I did get some work done for my class, so that is a good thing and am procrastinating getting my Christmas letter done.
I feel much better about Christmas after shopping on Friday night and Saturday. I have a few things ordered, and a few things left to get, but it is all pretty minor. So I decided to delight my readership with pictures of Christmas lights. I think I need a high dollar camera for good effects, but here it is anyway.
Our neighbors - isn't this welcoming!
Some more neighbors - these light are really red and really straight.
Our tree with gifts underneath. Abby and I put it up Thanksgiving weekend. We bought a pre-lit one a couple of years ago and it is quite a bit easier to put up. The branches are hinged, so it comes in three pieces. Our old one was Mae's (mother-in-law's) and it was a nice looking tree but each branch had to be placed in the base after being fluffed and after losing a million needles.
I have had numerous requests for Kent's green bean casserole recipe, so here it is.
Buy 3 cans of French cut green beans, two cans of mushroom soup, one can of fried onions. Send them with your mom to your sister's house.
Sister assumes she is to put together the casserole. However, in the meantime during the three hour drive on Thursday morning, talk about how you are going to make the casserole and that you forgot your recipe.
When you get to your sister's, you learn that it is all taken care of. Try to hide your disappointment.
We had fourteen people here for Thanksgiving. Everyone helped by bringing food, so it wasn't much trouble and we had a fun day. Thanks to my mom for making the dressing and gravy so it tasted like hers instead of my counterfeit attempt. She also brought cranberry salad, and my sister made homemade rolls and five pies. Jill is truly a grown-up now as she contributed the sweet potatoes. And you will just have to ask for my brother's green bean casserole recipe, but he may not give it up. After dinner there was a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit.
Suzanne, Madi, and Abby were a great team and looked great too.
Blake and Tamara came up on Saturday and Sunday. We had a relaxing weekend with them. Kyle and Blake cleaned some trees out of a pasture and did some horse riding. Tamara, Abby, and I did some shopping in beautiful downtown Clay Center.
Paige and Russ were on an anniversary cruise, so no pics of them.
The grocery store circulars come out in the paper on Tuesday evening, and it is time to do that shopping for the Thanksgiving dinner we will host next Thursday. How does one decide on turkey? Is Best Choice at $.67 per pound really the Best Choice? Honeysuckle turkeys are $.99 and Butterballs are $1.19. Must be expensive to have all those people at the ready to answer questions about cooking a turkey. Then I saw a Dillons ad that they were $.39 a pound, limit two, for Jennie-O which I have never heard of. Also saw a recipe where you wrap the turkey in bacon. Now that sounds pretty good.
The rest of the meal will be pretty traditional. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (for everyone else), stuffing (hope mine is close to Mom's), cranberry salad, green beans, rolls, and an assortment of pies. Other people will bring, so if you are reading this and coming to my house, tell me what you want to make. If you aren't coming to my house and would like to contribute, feel free.
So we got out of class early last night (which is on the down low because someone somewhere in a Baker class complained about not getting their money's worth by staying the full time) and I noticed that Glee was on Fox and had been wanting to watch it. Now there will be people out there, P and A specifically, who don't understand why I don't DVR everything I want to watch or watch it on line, and to that I say - It just isn't that important!!!
It was an interesting show with a lot of people in this Glee club with issues which I assume is the reason the group got together but I haven't watched any of the rest of it. I liked the stereotypical PE teacher who then you later found out has a Down's syndrome sister. Another storyline had everyone in wheelchairs to gain empathy for a group member who actually is in one. However, I didn't like that when the two glee members were having a sing-off they both had the same voice.
So for this Roger Ebert review, I give the show a thumbs up and will probably watch it again.
Time again for 10 things on the 10th. I have decided that I am going to post 10 things to be thankful for in Clay Center. Feel free to add things by commenting below.
1. Beautiful courthouse square. It is the centerpiece of downtown.
2. Active churches in the community. They provide lots of community support and service as well as a gathering place and support for families and individuals.
3. Utility park. If you haven't checked out the Christmas lights, be sure to do that when they get set up. The power plant guys have done a great job of maintaining and improving the park as well as a planned expansion.
4. Ray's Apple Market - great grocery store for a small town. And they give back to the community, as do many of the local stores and businesses.
5. KCLY - can't leave this out even though I am involved. They do a great job of following Clay Center and area sports, giving air time to benefit auctions, and provides emergency information during storms. Also, The Dispatch. We are lucky to have a daily newspaper in our small town.
6. Schools - again I am involved, but I am thankful for all the great teachers my kids had. The schools are small enough that everyone knows each other, yet large enough that kids can find their niche and a friend group.
7. Lighthouse for Christ. They have provided for families in need for many years now. A big thanks to all the workers who sort through the stuff and especially for Donna whose level head provides the much needed balance between compassion and tough love.
8. City Band Concerts - On Wednesday nights in the summer, the city band provides free concerts at the band shell in Dexter Park. Many musicians give their time and talent to these performances.
9. Hospital - not all communities our size have a hospital or as many doctors as Clay Center.
10. Parents who watch out for each other's kids. This is invaluable and so important for parents to create a network for ideas, extra helping hands, or just to check out information coming home. I greatly appreciated the people who helped and were our network when the kids were home.
I am sure there is plenty more that I didn't list. November is a good month to remember how important it is to be thankful for many things.
Here were are, waiting for the play Wicked to start. The girls and I went to Wichita Sunday afternoon and really enjoyed it. The set was fantastic and the music was great. The basic storyline for Wicked is the story of The Wizard of Oz witches before Dorothy fell on the Wicked Witch of the East.
Paige was looking around there and spotted my cousin, ringbearer at our wedding, now a doctor and his doctor wife behind us and to the right. I talked to Justin at the intermission about not really expecting to see someone I knew, and the KSU victory on Saturday. I saw him in Manhattan at an earlier game, so figured he was there. Meanwhile, Kyle and LT survived their trail ride in Nebraska. And he traded Trent out an elevator for goat meat. So now I have about eighty pounds of goat meat in the freezer. He fried a little bit and it did taste a lot like beef. Not sure why we needed so much to try????
We had fun last week hosting a dinner for KCLY's honor of being named KBA Small Market Station of the Year. We had 32 people attend and it was a fun evening of visiting and celebrating the achievement. Way to go!
Tonight is the first play-off football game. The good news is that Clay Center plays at home which is also the bad news because the 8th graders will once again be cleaning the stadium. I should have taken a picture of the visitors locker room after last Friday night's game. I think we need to bring a garden hose tonight.
So my couple is out of the Amazing Race. They were kind of the leftovers since Kyle picked the brothers and two other fairly strong teams had been picked by Russ and Paige. Now I wish I had picked the former Miss America and her husband. My Mika/Canaan team were consistently in the bottom half, then last night was the icing on the cake when she wouldn't go down the water slide and they lost to the Globetrotters. Good grief! Did she think everyone was stacked up dead at the bottom of the water slide? Did she think that she would really be passing through a shark tank and not through a clear tube? Why didn't Canaan just shove her down the slide? Or ride down it together like Kyle did with the lady at Oceans of Fun? Anyway, it is just as well that they are gone.
Busy week with parent/teacher conferences tonight, Taste of Home cooking school tomorrow, thirty people at our house for dinner on Wednesday for KCLY winning Small Market Station of the Year (no master's class this week), jr. high girls basketball and high school football on Thursday, and a Brownback fundraiser on Friday. We should be home on Saturday, and I have my treats purchased for trick-or-treaters. Now if I would only remember to DVR my favorite shows!! I always remember too late. Oh well.
No pictures - just had a good weekend with some down time instead of going the whole two days. Abby was home, not feeling well, so that is bad. Hopefully she will be on the mend soon. We went to the KSU game, tailgated with friends, then Blake invited us to sit in the Intrust Bank suite on the east side. It was pretty chilly out, so that was a luxury. Our group might make us sit elsewhere all the time as well as the Wildcats played.
Kyle went to Enterprise, bought another saddle, and rode LT both days. They are preparing for the trail ride the first of November. Then he left for Topeka and the KBA convention where KCLY is going to be honored as Small Station of the Year. Yeah! As for me, after Sunday School and church, we enjoyed a new recipe, Chicken Pot Pie. I have plenty so I guess that is my lunch for the week. I also cleaned around here and went for a walk with Cathy and Taylor. Then had to wait forever to watch Amazing Race because the football game went into overtime. My team is still in, but they are weak and always in the bottom half (Mika and Canaan). Everyone have a great week.
1. We are on our way to KC this afternoon to go to the Chiefs game tomorrow. Seemed like a good idea when the forecast was for 50s and sunny last weekend. Guess I'll take everything I own to wear. It will be a good time regardless, and my first Chiefs game.
2. We will find somewhere to watch the KSU/Texas Tech game at 6pm on Fox Sports. Good thing we are with K-State fans, Mike and Jackie. You can count on them to really watch the game. That is always a problem when watching games with other couples - someone wants to chat about other things all through the game.
3. Finished my birthday celebrations last night going to the Country Club with the Hafner's. I had the quesadilla appetizers and the plate was huge! I brought 3/4 of them home, so that is lunch today.
4. It is 31.5 degrees today at 7:10 am. I am glad that I brought my outdoor plants in or just dumped them a week ago.
5. I am reading Steve Doocey's book, Tales from the Dad Side. Steve is an anchor for Fox Morning News and a Clay Center graduate - one year ahead of Kyle. There are references to CCCHS that are fun to read.
6. I thought Shelly from the library said Tales from the Dead Side when she left a message on the machine, so when I went to the library I told the ladies at the desk that I thought Shelly had the wrong phone number. It has been awhile since I requested the book.
7. I have discovered that I need some new winter coats. Nothing like a good cold snap! I cleaned out my closet exchanging summer for winter clothes a couple of weeks ago. I am trying to throw away or give away things that I don't wear or don't fit.
8. Next week is Spirit Week at school. My least favorite week of the year. Put a hat on a kid's head and they act all goofy.
9. Due to several factors, I ended up as the 8th grade B team volleyball coach on Thursday. We went 1-1 and they played pretty well considering I had to send a girl out to find a teammate and she was on her cell phone and one girl didn't play because she had just had her nose pierced. That could have been a factor in the win.
10. Maybe I should get the Nobel Peace prize for dragging three kids to the office for fighting in the hall. Seems like qualifications have been relaxed.
The kids were all here on Sunday to celebrate my birthday. Don't you love the Strawberry Shortcake cake? I can't believe she has made a comeback as she was popular with little girls Blake's age. I love the sweet Crisco frosting! The kids had fun meeting LT, aka Lightning but that was a sissy name or something. Note the picture of Blake with Tamara behind. LT was a little stubborn with new riders so the stick you see Tamara has is really for the horse, not for Blake. Kyle and LT practicing for the trail ride in Nebraska in November.