Sweetest 16


I survived the Sweet 16 Backyard Party. Couldn’t have done it without a few dear friends who helped out at the end when panic mode hit. The most surprising thing? How sweet all of those teenagers were! So many of them thanked my husband and me for the party, praised my crafts and coffee bar, and offered to help clean up that your faith in the American teenager should be restored!

They danced, made super sweet coffee drinks, ate all of the bar cookies, brownies, and blondies that I could provide, and sang Happy Birthday to my Libby TWICE (Lillie was in the bathroom and missed the first version)!

I had been warned that I would have to be on guard for alcohol being smuggled in in “water bottles,” and I feared an over abundance of public displays of affection, but all for nought. They behaved like people grateful to have a party thrown for them.

We had originally thought to do a white tent in the backyard, but after pricing them out (and constantly checking the weather), we decided that we could make it festive enough with lots of lights and burlap. We had string lights on the fence, bulb lights on the deck, and tube lights around a rented dance floor. We moved our patio furniture out to the lawn, and the kids mostly gathered there, squeezing more than I would have expected to fit onto each couch and chair.

The “L” luminaria that I “monogrammed” (drew on with a Sharpie!) for the past month lined the driveway to show the kids where to go. Once they had all arrived, I moved them into a heart shape in the backyard and later saw four kids laying in the middle of them, looking up at the stars. Too cute, but I didn’t get a picture! I am lucky to have any pictures at all and only have them thanks to my husband and seventh grader, who weren’t too shy to mingle with a large lens in kids’ faces. I mostly ran around tending to things, though I did find myself dancing in the kitchen with Tim, Caroline, and my friend Julie when the teens weren’t looking.


What has gotten into me? Been starting blogs, wielding hot glue guns, and this morning I opened a shop on etsy. I am usually one to think on things for several months or so, but Kristin has got me acting fast. Her excitement is contagious, and I don’t want to let her down. I’m not sure how long this burlap bunting banner craze will last, but, “Get ’em while they’re hot.” I’ll customize to your team, party, classroom, or seasonal decor. I’m having fun with the glitter, and I won’t stop now. http://www.etsy.com/shop/AllBanners?ref=search_shop_redirectImage


Important things!

I am going on a retreat this weekend and while I am super excited about some much needed time to myself, I am slightly concerned about leaving my husband alone with the kids.  The last time he was in charge, I was sick in bed, and he sent this lovely photo to me.


My oldest daughter is having cheerleading pictures taken this weekend that will be in our teams “Home” program for the season.  I explained to him that he will need to have her dressed and in full uniform by 7:30am Saturday morning.  I mentioned that her hair will need to be pulled back in a ponytail.  He responded, “Well I don’t know how to do that?”  Hmmmm…ten years and three daughters later….maybe a skill he could have picked up along the way?  This brings me to my list of things to teach my husband if I die.

  •  If the girls get invited to birthday parties please send them with a gift.  It’s not just free babysitting.
  • The “take home” folder in their backpacks isn’t just something they cart back and forth to school.  There are important papers in there that you need to go through each night.
  • Other parents don’t LOVE your kids.  You can’t just send them to a neighbor’s house so you can watch football.
  • Talking in the voice of Mickey Mouse doesn’t fix everything.  Sometimes a hug and no words will be best.  The same goes for your Donald Duck and Goofy voices.
  • Santa Claus is not real.  I am Santa Claus and it takes a bit of planning.  Don’t start shopping on Christmas Eve.  You need to wrap presents from Santa in a different wrapping paper.  You need to USE wrapping paper.  I’m sorry to break this all to you.  Those presents don’t magically appear.  Oh yeah and that “Elf on a shelf”….he doesn’t really fly back to the North Pole every night.  You are supposed to move him.


  • You must NEVER EVER let them pick out their own outfits for family pictures.  You may endure a lot of kicking and screaming but one day they will thank you that you didn’t let them wear their favorite “Smurfs” t-shirt for the picture.  They don’t “accidentally” show up in coordinating outfits.

pro pic

  • YES it is necessary to clean the house BEFORE the cleaning lady comes.  We didn’t hire your mother.  She won’t make your bed and fold your laundry.
  • On Halloween the kids usually eat candy for dinner.  That’s okay.  Oh by the way, you need to make sure they have costumes.  People don’t like when kids show up with a just a bag.
  • If you let them pack their lunches it will consist of fruit snacks, cookies, chocolate pudding and a cheese stick.
  • Keep your mom, my mom, my sister and all of my best girl friends on speed dial.  They will take care of you.

Oh I almost forgot…..Just be yourself.  They love that about you.


Burlap and Me


First, is there a blogging protocol against posting multiple times in one day? I just started this new adventure on Monday, and then I subbed on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I am all excited to post things today. . .

Second, I am going to be so sad when burlap goes out of style. It’s very easy to craft with, especially when sewing is not in your repertoire! I whipped this up last night after teaching, shopping, carpooling, making dinner, and cleaning it up. Now I want to make some for Mizzou and Cards fans. Takers? Okay, I’ll hook up those crazy Hog fans, too. 😉

25 Things You Really Don’t Need to Know About Me


1. I inexplicably became a “dog person” at age 40. No one can believe how much I love this dog.
2. My favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird even though that’s everyone’s favorite book.
3. I don’t wear sweat pants. I like to be dressed up.
4. I’d rather be reading.
5. I love the ocean. It’s calling me home.
6. I have a feeling that my death will be caused by falling down stairs. I often lose my balance there.
7. I’m busy, busy, busy and hardly ever sit down during the day. 
8. I am a neat freak. I’d love to organize your stuff. Would you pay good money for that?
9. I’ve become a decent cook, though a bit of a recipe follower.
10. I have never baked a cake. 
11. I graduated from high school in Germany and still miss it (Germany, not high school).
12. I’m an optimistic skeptic. Does that make sense?
13. I am working on my volunteering problem. They tell me to just sit on my hands at meetings, but I never do.
14. I like to talk a little during movies. My best friend totally tolerates this. 
15. I don’t like to camp. Poking the fire is fun, though.
16. I am a morning person.
17. I keep giving up coffee (headaches and all) and then getting back on it. 
18. I’m a Sunday School teacher, but please don’t stereotype me for it.
19. I am glad God gave me girls. Boys mystify me.
20. I kinda regret not going to law school.
21. I used to read and drive in college. Couldn’t stand sitting in the car and not getting something accomplished besides transporting myself. 
22. I like mushrooms and think everyone should.
23. I am a good speller.
24. I’m a little obsessed with genealogy despite understanding the fact that 10 generations or so back, we’re ALL related. 
25. My greatest fear is hunger. Real hunger. Like there’s no food anywhere hunger. Scary.

– the spoon

Stir Fry Crazy

I love stir fry. One daughter requested my chicken stir fry for dinner last night, and the other said, “Not stir fry again! You make it twice a week!” In my defense, I always make a different one! But this one is easy, colorful, delicious, and THE TWELVE-YEAR-OLD said, “It’s really the mushrooms that make this, Mom.”

“I thought you didn’t like mushrooms?”

“I don’t. Except in here.”

Okaaaaay. Works for me. Anytime I can get someone to eat mushrooms, I consider it a victory. (I don’t trust people who don’t like mushrooms.)

Quick Chicken Stir Fry

Combine 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips; 1 T each cornstarch and soy sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic, and 1/2 t. minced fresh ginger root (I left this out b/c hubby doesn’t like it.) 😦

Combine 3T soy sauce, 1 T corn starch, 3/4 c. water.

Heat 1T veg. oil in wok or large skillet on med-high heat. Add chicken. Stir fry until nice and slightly browned. Remove.

Heat another 1T oil in same pan. Add 1 red bell pepper and an onion, sliced. Add 1/4 lb each sliced mushrooms and snow peas; stir fry 5 min.

Stir in chicken and soy sauce mixture. Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Substitute Teacher


First year teaching, 1991

When I was a little girl and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “A substitute teacher.” My dad thought this was hilarious (and a little lame, I’m pretty sure). Who wants to be a substitute anything? My rationale was that I thought substitute teachers were the nicest, prettiest, most fun grown ups I ever encountered! They showed up at school unexpectedly, usually in a pretty dress, and kind of let me boss them around while they got the lay of the land. What could be better than that?

Fast forward 30 years or so, and I find myself exactly that — a substitute teacher. After 20 years teaching middle school English, I followed my husband’s career to another state as a “trailing spouse.” While I was bummed to give up an awesome job, I thought that a year out of the classroom to take care of my family and home might be kind of nice. But I underestimated how much I would miss teaching! So I am baby-stepping back in and answering the 6 am wakeup call to be a “guest teacher” as they call us nowadays.

In some ways it’s harder than having your own classroom. Pluses = no grading, no meetings. Those are BIG pluses. Minuses = no rapport with students, no classroom space of your own, no teacher buddies to talk to. Half the battle, no–the whole battle–with students is establishing rapport. You show them respect; they give you respect. It’s awesome. But it takes a couple of weeks to make it happen. You can’t just walk in and feel the love. 😦

That said, I discovered this week that I no longer hate geometry. I can even teach it. That’s a pretty cool change in the life of this substitute teacher.

P.S. The best thing about this old photo? The Warriner’s grammar books lined up on the shelf behind me. You’d never find those in an English classroom today.

25 random things about me (the thimble)


1. I am a firm believer in Laser hair removal.
2. I am proud to be a military brat. I think it helps me make friends on the fly.
3. I was the designated driver on my 21st birthday.
4. I could exist on Mexican food alone.
5. My family knows to leave me alone, on Friday afternoon, when my People magazine arrives in the mail.
6. I don’t want to be buried in a dress…put me in some comfy sweats when I die.
7. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
8. My sister can make me laugh like no one else.
9. I am a stay at home mom and my husband still does the laundry…praise Jesus!
10. I love to cook but hate to clean up.
11. I eat the same breakfast EVERY morning……plain whole wheat english muffin and 1 poached egg….No I never get sick of it.
12. I think I have a newfound addiction to Turtle Sundaes.
13. I would rather get up at 4 AM than stay up until 11 PM
14. I want to start my own business
15. I appreciate good manners.
16. Makes me nauseous to clean out the refrigerator. Can’t eat leftovers either.
17. Two things I would never give up…my cell phone and gym membership.
18. Apparently I can only make girl babies.
19. I always wanted to be a doctor.
20. I love photography and wish I knew more about how to use my camera and Photoshop.
21. Don’t mess with my family or friends…I am extremely loyal!
22. I am glad my first house was old…it made me appreciate attached garages and good windows.
23. I wish I talked less and listened more
24. Every year I get more and more excited about Spring.
25. I watch way too much reality T.V.