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Stuttering Shell: December 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

goodbye. hello.

i feel like i should be waxing poetic about 2011 and everything good & bad that happened during its 365 days.

don't worry, i'm not.

2011 is what it was. it came & soon it will be gone. it was a good year. it was also a bad year. mediocre? to an extent. fabulous? not really. glad it's over & ready for a fresh start? you betcha.

with every new year, i create a list of goals that i'd like to meet. however, those goals ultimately wind up as being dreams or aspirations that seem to fall within the category of "wishful thinking." i'm certain, though, that this coming year will be different. 2012 seems magical to me. it will be a year of "cans" and not "cannots." the impossible will be possible. and, through it all, i'll remain positive.

of course, ask me again in a few weeks and we'll see just how positive i really am.

while i have a lot to be thankful for, i have even more to look forward to. like what? i'm glad you asked...

i'll finish my masters degree this year.
adam will begin his college career.
my parents will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.
adam & i will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.
a new life will be welcomed into the family.

those are the big things. there are little goals, too. little, attainable goals...

paying off credit cards.
saving more.
being more thrifty.
kissing fast food goodbye.
loving more.
getting rid of clutter.
detoxing from bad relationships.

2012 - it's going to be a good year. no, will be a great year.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

welcome, winter.


i haven't been hibernating. promise.

what i have been doing is feeling extra grinchy & mean lately. it's amazing how the magic of the holidays can also suck every last ounce of happiness out of my body. true story.

but, i think i may have snapped out of it. maybe. i'll admit it...i'm stressed. but, i'm hoping everything falls into place as it should by next week. nothing like ending the year with a bang, huh?

good gracious. can you believe it? it's nearly the end of 2011. another year has come and gone. i honestly feel like this year passed us by a little too quickly. but, i suppose that's how every year starts to feel once you surpass your 21st birthday {at least that's what my daddy told me}.

life needs a pause button, don't you agree? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

bitch alert: if the shoe fits, wear it.

it's that time of the month again. time for me to bitch, bitch, bitch. i'll try to keep it clean. maybe. if your eyes are sensitive, or you find cussing offensive, then i kindly ask you to go read a different blog.

oh, and the idea isn't to be offensive. i just need to get things off of my chest clear my head.

to the people who clip antlers & a red nose on to their vehicle,

stop it. you look like an ass driving down the road. you'll look like an even bigger ass when it's february & the antlers are still clipped to your car. there's only one rudolph & your whip isn't it.

the driver of an antler-free vehicle

dear kids in my 'hood,

my crepe myrtle tree is not the neighborhood jungle gym. stay out of my damn tree, please & thank you.

the bitchy lady who lives on the corner

to the neighbor who lets his dog shit in my yard,

i don't find it pleasant to walk across my front yard only to have to dodge land mine size piles of hot poo. clearly, you don't believe in cleaning up after your four-legged friend. unfortunately for you, i have a pretty good idea of who you are. be scared.

the lady who will bag your shit up & leave it on your doormat

to my dear, sweet daughter,

let me make this very clear: whatever is not an acceptable response to anything that i say to you or ask you to do. got it? good.

your mother {who is over your tween angst}

to my inquisitive son,

it is not okay to ask questions about when the world is going to end or how people get pregnant while i'm driving in the rain at night. come to think of it, don't even ask me those kinds of questions. ask your father instead.

your mother who must now go dye her hair...again.

dear pottery barn,

i really hope you fix your screw up. i mean, if i wanted stockings with crooked embroidery, then i would have done it myself. it would have been a hell of a lot cheaper, too.

here's to hoping i'll actually receive two new stockings before christmas,
a potential ex-customer

to my patience,

i know you ran off with my sanity, but it would be nice if you came back. please.

the lady who snaps faster than a rubber band

good gracious. do i need to pop a valium or what??*

*kidding! i've never taken one. ever.

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for the holiday cookie swap...

thanks to duncan hines for sponsoring my writing. there's no limit to the baking possibilities, so grab your favorite duncan hines mix and comstock or wilderness fruit fillings and bake on!

i'm ashamed to admit this, but i really don't do much holiday entertaining. we love having cookouts in the summer, but once the cooler weather hits and the hustle & bustle of the holidays takes over, well, we seem to be busy doing other things {read: going to parties and other holiday festivities}. but, being busy does not mean that i don't have time to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth.

it's no secret: i love to bake. i also love to share my goodies with friends & family. during the holidays, i am always in the kitchen creating something whether it's cupcakes for my children to share with their classmates, cake pops for the hard working teachers in my life or cookies for the annual cookie swap.

and, speaking of cookie swaps...

they seem to happen quite often this time of the year. never mind the fact that you're probably being inundated with goodies at work, school, or home, right?? this friday, i'm attending a cookie swap with a few of my friends and i cannot wait to sink my teeth into some freshly made sweet treats! around the holidays, i bake a lot. sometimes i bake from scratch, but i'm no stranger to taking a shortcut or two. while i prefer not to buy store-bought goodies, i often turn to my grocery store's baking aisle for some help. for the cookie swap this year, i'm very excited to try out a recipe from duncan hines...


brownie cookie macaroons
{for the recipe, please click here}

brownies plus coconut macaroons...what's not to love?? and, these luscious, rich cookies would look stunning when displayed on a fun holiday plate filled with red & green, don't you think?

in addition to sampling some amazing cookies & other sweets, cookie swaps are also a great way to build up your recipe file and add a few new things into your repertoire. toss in a holiday plate swap, good wine & great friends and you've got yourself a holiday shindig that is sure to please!

what yummy, fun things are you baking this holiday? 

remember to check out duncan hines' website to find some great recipes for your holiday get-together! i was selected for this sponsorship by the clever girls collective.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

as good as it gets.

i really should be studying for my algebra final, but i'm not. my mind just isn't in school mode any longer. good thing the semester is technically over and, once i take that algebra final on thursday morning, i'll be left to my own devices until the spring semester starts in january. what will i do to fill my time? i plan on reading, knitting {go buy a scarf!}, and pretty much nothing else. kidding! i'm sure i'll be just as busy while on break as i usually am while slaving away in grad school.

i know i'm not the only person out there who is having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that christmas is less than two weeks away. with our budget being what it is...i'm not even close to being done with christmas shopping. even more upsetting? i was in joann's today & they already have valentine's day crap on display. what the what? bah humbug!

speaking of christmas, i ordered stockings from pottery barn. adam flipped out about the price of each stocking {yeah, that's the last time i leave a packing slip laying on the counter}. as for me? i flipped out about this bullhonkery:

{gotta love a cell phone pic on the fly}

seriously, did somebody hit up happy hour before their shift? pottery barn is sending me two new stockings with the embroidery done properly. at least i hope they really are...the feedback on their facebook page is not good. {and, yes, i posted this pic there as well.}

last week, malia went with my parents to say goodbye to nono. she insisted. i let her go. the vet's office called to make sure malia was doing okay. good gracious is that office filled with compassion & love or what? we pick up nono's ashes on wednesday. {this past sunday, my mom said she woke up and said, "i need to let nono out." broke. my. heart.}

if my christmas tree gets peed on one more time, i'm going to do & say things i'll regret. well, no, not really. i'm using a pet deterrent spray, but apparently one of my boys LOVES our $15 martha stewart faux tree. {yes, $'s that for an after christmas clearance blue lights special??}

since i seem to be on a christmas kick, let me share a favorite christmas song of mine. it's not traditional in any way whatsoever and that is why i love it.

{i love robert earl keen. yep, whoever posted this vid on you tube spelled his name wrong.}

and, i'll leave you with that. why? because my brain is fried, it's nearly 11pm and i need sleep. don't fret, however. i'll post more meaningful stuff soon. maybe tomorrow. promise. {my fingers may or may not be crossed behind my back.}

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

say goodbye.

"she is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. you are her life, her love, her leader. she will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart. you owe it to her to be worthy of such devotion."  
- unknown


but we call her nono.
she belongs to my mom & dad.
they adopted her almost eight years ago. 
{not long after the death of our family dog, buddy}
she's been a faithful companion, travel buddy, and
a well-loved member of the family.
her health has taken a serious decline in the last year or so.
she has trouble walking.
she's nearly blind.
old dog issues run her life.

last week, we knew it was time...
time to say goodbye.

adam gave her a bath last night.
he said goodbye to her this morning.
she'll be gone - to a new life across the rainbow bridge - by the time
he gets home from work tonight.

my heart aches for my parents
who are returning home to say goodbye to their faithful friend.
my heart aches for my children
who have never dealt with death...until now.

nono was a good dog.
her fourteen years of life were filled with love & joy.
she touched many lives.
she will be missed.

*nono has been in our care since thanksgiving. we dogsit for my parents often, but this trip was longer than normal due to family obligations my father had to take care of in his home state. last week, nono had some health issues that scared me. she wasn't eating. cleaning up vomit, poo & blood on a daily basis was not fun. clearly, something was wrong. the vet suggested blood work, but given her age & her condition, he said that it would be best to choose quality of life over anything else. my parents, who had to make this decision while 18 hours away, agreed. nono's ashes will be scattered in the garden at my mom & dad's house. it is the same place my parents scattered buddy's ashes.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

yep, still random.

first of all, i still have a few scarves looking for a good home. you can check them out here. but, don't forget about this beauty, too:

another infinity scarf!
{clearly, they're "my thing"}
this one is a rich, deep purple color.
knit using the knit or garter stitch on a really big needle so the stitches are more "open," if you will.
again, 100% acrylic yarn as used.
this is approximately 8" wide & 68" long {before sewing the ends together}.

remember, $20 includes first class shipping {priority is an extra $3.50}. if you buy more than one scarf, the first is $20 & each additional scarf is $17.

i'm sorry i keep pushing the scarves, but i'm curious to see if my knitting will take off as a nice, paying hobby. wishful thinking, i know.

so, i'm on month two of using homemade laundry detergent {recipe found here} and homemade dishwasher detergent {recipe found here}. i will never buy laundry detergent again. i'm hooked on the homemade stuff. it's cheaper and, quite frankly, i think it cleans better. i'm on the fence about the dishwasher detergent, however. didn't i read somewhere that i could run white vinegar in the dishwasher to help with the film? or, maybe i just made that up.

i hate that i'll still be working on completing my practicum next week. the semester ends friday. but, it's all good. and, i'm starting to think that first grade is the grade level for me. of course, i say this now when i still have a rotation in 2nd & 3rd grade as well as student teaching.

tomorrow is the day. i've never had to say goodbye to a pet before. flushing goldfish doesn't count. {well, about that whole "saying goodbye" thing...our family dog passed away back in 2003, but i didn't know right away since it happened the day after i gave birth to aidan. my parents didn't want the news to upset me...or my milk supply. ha!}

but, on a happy note, buxton will turn a year old on friday. yay!

june will be an exciting month.

i'm stressing over money...again. but, who doesn't this time of year?

i enjoy how quiet my home is before my children get home from school. once 2:45pm hits, the fighting, sass & headaches begin. 

i may or may not be ordering personalized stockings for my dogs. and, yes, i realize this does not help my financial-related stress.

i have quite a few product reviews in the works for this month as well as a really, really awesome giveaway. trust me.

one day i'll resume some sort of meaningful blog schedule and actually write about stuff that you're interested in...i promise. for now, just deal with me, please, and buy some scarves. pleaseandthankyou.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

croutons & middle school.

it's monday.
it's the last week of the semester.
it's time for a healthy dose of random.

i've been on a crouton kick lately. i add them to everything. you know, because topping your beef stew or cream of mushroom soup with croutons is so damn good.

my husband is sick. he's never sick. this isn't good, y'all. why? because he turns into a big, ole baby when he's sick. homey don't play that.

i've sold seven scarves so far! there are four left. i plan on knitting more this week.

my throat hurts. good thing i'm sampling these lozenges.  a review & giveaway are in the works.

did i mention that this is the last week of the semester? one of my classes finished last friday. i'm trying to finish both of my practicums by the middle of next week. i also have a final exam to work on early next week {it's online} and an algebra final a week from thursday. think happy thoughts about that algebra exam, folks. "c" stands for credit!

i'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of the holiday cards i ordered from erin condren. here's a peek:

i also ordered cards from tiny prints this year, too. they turned out amazing if i do say so myself...

if you're wondering about the pictures on our cards, we had lots of fun on the beach with leah from silly little sparrow photos.

adam & i are on the fence about leaving our current cell phone provider. we've been customers since the early 2000s and we're not a fan of all of the recent fee changes they've made. i mean, why do we need to pay you our cancellation fee for each line in order to change our calling plan?  that. is. whack.

our daughter came home with a big ole packet of information about middle school including her class registration form and information about applying for an international baccalaureate program. i did okay on her first day of kindergarten, but i'm not sure my heart can take middle school. i want my baby back.

{malia, on her first day of day care, 13 months old...yes, she had a big dome piece}

thursday will be a sad day. a very sad day. my parents are saying goodbye to their dog, noel {a.k.a. nono}. she's been in our care because my parents are out of town & it's been difficult taking care of her. she's old, is blind, and has a host of other's time. we told the kids on saturday. my parents will be back in order to say goodbye. if you follow me on the twit, you know how much of a mess i was last week. i can only imagine what i'll be like come thursday.

harry potter marathons on abc family always distract me. always. but, it's a welcome distraction.

i have a dinner date on friday night, but not with my husband. i cannot wait! {seriously, it's not like that y'all.}

yesterday, adam helped his mom's boyfriend install new kitchen countertops.  last month adam helped friends tile their entire home. the tile? it's beautiful. click here to see glimpses of it. i'm very thankful i have a husband who is so generous with his time. new oreck magnesium vacuum will be here tomorrow. i cannot wait! keep your eyes peeled for my review & a giveaway. yes, an oreck giveaway!

whew. now that's a smattering of random!

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