Best Day EVER!!!

Today was one of the days those of us who work in the world of education live for.  It was a SNOW DAY!!!

Snow Day.  Those are two of the best words in the English language.  Now some of you may think that I am over emphasizing the beauty of these glorious days.  You couldn’t be more wrong.

First of all, you have to have a perfect storm of conditions in order to get those school districts to start canceling classes.

First of all, you have to have the snow fall on a weekday.  Last year was a real downer.  The only really measurable snow fall we had occur happened on a Saturday.  What a waste.  I mean, it was pretty, but schools aren’t open on Saturdays!

Secondly, you have to have it snow enough inches to make it start to pile up.  Usually 6 inches or more.  (There’s an inappropriate joke in there, but I’ll leave it alone for now.)  But in addition to the necessary inches, you also need to have the snow spread out over a period of time, say 8 to 10 hours.  It needs to be stretched out so that the snow plows will have to keep going over the main roads, making it impossible to get to those neighborhoods.

Next, and this is the real kicker to the whole equation, you have to have the snow fall during the correct time of day.  Eight hours of snow from 9 am to 5 pm might look pretty, but it won’t keep you home in your jammies.  Ideally, you need the snow to start in earnest around 6 pm and keep going into the wee hours.

Now all of these items combined will most likely get you a ticket to a turned off alarm clock.  For an extra insurance policy, throw in some high winds to keeps those snow accumulations blowing back onto the roads!

In Kerry‘s world, the conditions all came into perfect alignment last night.  It started with rain that turned to freezing rain in the afternoon.  By 5 pm, the snow flakes were big and heavy.  Around 8 pm, the winds were picking up and snow was piling up.  Our present came early with the cancellation notifications coming out before bedtime.  Woot!  Woot!

Now this type of snow day might be the best of all.  I’m sure that you are all in crunch mode, trying to get all your Christmas preparations done.  The same is true in my house.  After I received the call that I would be granted a day at home today, I got online and created my Christmas cards, sending them to print at the store done the street from my house.  I might not be going in to work in the morning, but I knew my wonderful husband would dig us out and could get the 4 wheel drive sleigh down the hill to pick them up. Then I turned off my alarm and crashed!

After sleeping in and getting my run on, the well rested Soby crew ate an unrushed breakfast while watching our first Christmas movie of the day.  The boys set out to dig us out while the girls made some dipped pretzels….and vegged a little on the couch!

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Thanks boys!

Once the vehicles were freed, we set out to see the fat man himself…SANTA!  Yes, that’s right, we went out on the snowy, icy roads to see Santa.  Why you ask?  Well the Santa will like to see is usually packed with a long line.  (He’s good, but he’s free and you get a free picture, so the line is always horribly long.)  You know what happens when you get 10 inches of snow?  No waiting to see Santa, that’s what!

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Score!

After that Santa visit was done, we swung by the store to pick up the Christmas cards. Back at home, I hunkered with my pen and stamps.  While I wrote, I started what I always have wanted to do.  I had a Santa Clause movie marathon.  I addressed envelopes during #1, stuffed, licked, and stamped envelopes during #2, and made a fresh batch of cookies during #3!  Pull out that Christmas To-Do list and put a bunch of checks all over it!

On top of all of that, the kids got to get some snow play time and sledding in.

It’s days like this that make all the stressful days at school worth it….kind of!

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What were they thinking?

I’m a pretty lucky lady.  I have a group of friends from high school that I still get together with every month.  At Christmas time, we have a Christmas Party, complete with an ornament exchange.  To spice things up a little, it’s an ornament exchange with the ability to steal!

Year after year, we’d all go out and buy these beautiful, thoughtful ornaments, vying to find that one special ornament everyone would take a liking to, that would get stolen repeatedly.

Then one year, a few of us decided to throw a wrench into the plan.  We still bought a very nice ornament to give to a friend, but we also decided to buy the ugliest ornament we could find and wrap it up as our real ornament.  When the first ugly ornament was opened and the fake excitement was displayed by our dismayed friend, a new tradition was born.

Now everyone searches high and low, hoping they have struck ornament gold, with the tackiest, gaudiest, ugliest expression of holiday joy.  After the endless fights and rounds of steals, the owners of the ugly ornaments are rewarded with their beautiful consolation prizes, and a side ache from all the laughing.

After many years of ugly ornaments, the hunt to find the ugliest gets tougher each passing year.  Here are some of the contenders from this year’s hunt.

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Happy hunting!

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Who doesn’t need a Luau Gorilla?

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Everyone’s Cool in the Pool!

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This one I just don’t get.  Who puts mustard on a tree?

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Namaste…  To answer your question, yoga hippo was my purchase this year and  a real winner.  I loved it so much I almost bought one for myself!

In case you were wondering, this is the BEST ugly ornament I have ever received.  I think it’s supposed to be an owl, but I think it looks like a deranged C3PO.  I LOVE IT!!!

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May the force be with you.

 

Shopping….not his bag

This is how you normally will find my son.

Any chance to show off.

Or steal the spotlight.

He’s there…. He’s just got be the center of attention.

I found out yesterday, that all changes when you take him shopping.

Tis the season when I spend time on the weekend out looking for Christmas ideas and hunting for deals.  I want to find the best price and the perfect present, so it takes time.  It’s not always fun.  Trystan now knows how true that is.

Dad and daughter were having movie day out to see the newest Bourne movie at the cheap theater.  (Him because he’s a Bourne freak.  Her because she thought the guy in it was dreamy.)  So I told the boy we were going to go shopping.  About the times October hits, I try to not just buy things for the kiddos just for no reason. In his defense, he believes that when he goes to the store, he gets something.  He’s used to being spoiled.

After sulking around Kohl’s and being told “no” or “put in on your list” about everything he touched, he…

stomped out of the store,

and pouted in the car.

That was fun.  On to the next store.

Sidebar—When did these become oldies????

Seriously, John Cougar Mellencamp and Red Hot Chili Peppers in the cheap-o bin.  I’m sad.

More shopping.  More “No’s.”

I did find a him this though.  What do you think?

Yup, that’s perfect.

 

Rolling out the memories

Every year, every season, every holiday, our family would make cut out sugar cookies.  My mom has her own, and in my humble opinion, the absolute best recipe.  So many childhood memories are wrapped around making the dough, cutting the cookies, and creating a decorated mess of goodness.  During this process, became very adept at sneaking pieces of cookie dough.  (Mom always insisted that eating raw dough would give me worms.  I think she thought that would make me stop.  I was never fazed.)

About the time my brother and I moved out, my mom presented us with one of the best Christmas presents every…a link to the past and an invitation to future memory making.

To ensure that the family tradition would get passed along, for years my mom secretly bought cookie cutters and squirreled them away so my brother and I would have our own sets ready for our future families…AND guarantee we wouldn’t swipe any of hers on the way out the door!

I have gladly passed on the tradition to my own.  I smile widely every time I open the box to pull out the cookie cutters for that holiday or event.  In the kitchen, I pull out Peggy’s Cut-Out Sugar Cookie recipe…the flour flies and the memories flood my brain.

Yummy dough…can’t wait to swipe a piece behind her back.  Yes, I have told her cookie dough is HORRIBLE for her.  I can’t have her eating all my goods!

 

Roll baby roll, but don’t over roll…I don’t like them too thin!

Remember to flour those cutters, so the cookies don’t stick!

Cut the cookies as close to eat other as possible to get as many cookies as you can per roll!

Don’t place to cookies too close…you don’t want the cookies into each other.  Be careful with the sprinkles!

Rise baby, rise!

Time to clean up… guess that little bit of left over dough not big enough for a cookie will just need to go into my tummy… It wouldn’t be right to throw it away!

Time to dig in and enjoy!  They think they are just making yummy cookies….I know what we are really making!

 

 

 

 

Let the games begin!

I love Christmas.  I love the music, the movies, the cookie baking.  I also love the deal hunting. 

I know, Christmas shopping is a drag to some people, but I see it as an ultimate fighting competition where you are engaged in battle to find the best deal.  I want to find a present that the recipient will actually like, at a steal of a price, but I also want to find it early, so I’m not out fighting the man crowds the week before the holiday.  Nope, my goal is always to be done shopping by the first week of December, that way I can spend time wrapping at my leisure, make cookies and praying for more snow.  (Yes I said praying for snow.  I love snow on the holidays.  I love snow days.  I work in a school with behavior disordered kids.  A day I get paid to stay in my jammies and not got to work?  I LIVE for snow day.)  In contrast, my husband begins his Christmas shopping on December 23, goes to one store, maybe two, and I get interesting presents. 

From September on, I save store gift cards, coupons, and have my eyes peeled for the deals.  

I scored my first present a few weeks ago for $2.  Yep, $2!  I had a $20 gift certificate to a local sporting goods store.  I popped in one day to see if could find an item my son was looking for.  That’s when I saw it.  A $35 item on sale for $22.  The perfect item for a certain someone on my Christmas list who shall remain nameless.  I snatched it out and hit the checkout.  Cross that name off and record my victory.  One person down and only $2 spent. 

Then I wait.  Patience is the key to the deal.  Once I get the Christmas shopping bug, I have to control myself from running full steam ahead in an attempt to annihilate the list.  That is how over spending and bad gift choices are made.  Wait Kerry, wait.  Let the deals come to you….

Today, I hit the motherload of deals. 

We have credit cards, who doesn’t these days.  We use them of online purchases, etc, but we always pay off the card.  (I have a problem with carrying debt.  It’s my issue.  I deal with it.)  Well for 15 years, we have been using the card and acquiring points in their rewards program….a lot of points.  I’ve only spent them one other time.  I wasn’t impressed with the items in the rewards store, so I haven’t been back browse since.  Well I logged on today, and was shocked by the incredible items that were all available for free at my fingertips. 

After a moment to contemplate shopping for myself, the visions of perfectly wrapped, no-expense out of my pocket presents flashed in my mind and the hunt was on.  Within minutes, I hit the motherload, the things a few certain someones were already hinting about wanted…in stock…available….and for me…free! 

Click, confirm, send. 

Running total:

Number of Christmas presents purchased to date:  3

Number of dollars spent out-of-pocket:   $2

Score another victory for team Kerry! 

Bring on the Christmas carols, ginger snaps and the snow days!

Already????

I took a quick pop into the happiest place on earth…Wally World!  What?!?!  Wally World is not the happiest place on earth?  That’s not what the Griswold’s total me, bunch of liars.  No wonder the moose wouldn’t let them in the park.

Anyway, I had a short list of a few things I needed to grab.  I was going to get in and out without fraying my nerves or killing my pocket book.

You know how the check out clerk always asks you if you found everything you were looking for and you mindless say yes because you can’t say what you what to, because if you could,  you’d say this?

“Well, actually, no I didn’t find everything I was looking for.  I came here for a fan.  You know, a little, sit on your desk or on your night stand fan.  I went to your home section and you have a WHOLE FLIPPING ROW of heaters.  Small heaters, big heaters, oscillating heaters, ceramic heaters.  Do you know how many fans you sell in this store??? ONE!   You sell one option for a fan.  A giant 3 foot by 3 foot box fan.  So no, I didn’t find everything I was looking for.  But while I’m ranting.  Right next to your row of no fans, you sell this

and I’m a little curious if you have a huge demand for outside, industrial style doghouses.  Are they really for dogs or does the weather barrier style door indicate they are actually for husbands?  Because if they are for husbands, then I understand why they are located in the home section and not the pet section and do you think my husband will fit in it?  And another thing.

Is there some big ration on sugar I should be aware of?  I mean really.  Who does this?  I appreciate that you let me price match items, but when someone comes to the check out with 200 bags of sugar, don’t you give that person a nice talking to about sharing? And what’s the deal with this?

I’m all for Christmas.  I love the holiday.  I shop on Black Friday.  I listen to Christmas music from Thanksgiving through New Years, but dude, check your calendar.  It’s October 3rd.  Too soon.  Let me eat all that Halloween candy I bought first.  Other than that, yes I found everything I was looking for!”

That might be the last time she asks, but boy would I feel better.

On the right side of the dirt

I love my birthday.  I think it’s the best day in the world.  Better than Christmas.  Better than Easter.  Better than the first day of the football season…and that’s saying a lot.

I turned 37 yesterday.  It’s all good.  I really don’t have an issue with aging…yet.  I do have an issue with still getting zits in my late 30s and when I figure out what department I can file that complaint with, I will, in triplicate.

Presents are the best part of birthdays.  One might say cake, but they’d be wrong.  You can get cake any day you want.  You can’t always make people buy you something.  I’m a lucky girl.  I have a group of people who really know me, really pay attention, and buy presents that really hit the mark.

We have four award winners this year.

My husband gets the award for listening.  He usually has my daughter ask me what I want, but then sometimes goes rouge from the list.  This year, he stayed on track.  I wanted a white Green Bay Packers hat.

Well done honey, well done.

The most awesome goes to my mom, well my parents, but we all know that mom does the shopping! 😉  My parents have gone to giving cash, so you can go shopping for yourself, but my mom has to have something for you to open or it wouldn’t be your birthday.  I don’t know how, but she always finds something incredible that you didn’t know existed.  Behold the newest member of my game day family…

Frozen tundra piggy!  It’s he awesome!!

My brother and sister-in-law get the award for paying attention and hitting the mark.  It has been a rough start to the school year and the edited version is this.  So far I’ve chased students, called the cops, been drooled on, creeped out, had my hair petted, and been kicked and punched.  Is it May yet??  This is what my loving bro and sis got me.

PERFECT!  Peanut M&Ms because I’ve literally put out daily stress calls for them.  Clorox wipes for the next time a student pets my hair and braids it into hers.  (Yes that happened.  Yes it totally grossed me out.)  Pumpkin coffee for that needed caffeine kick. Therapeutic bath salts for either aches and pains if I get kicked again or stress and tension relief if it’s one of those days.  And the piece de resistance, the thermal coffee mug that will keep hot things hot for 5 hours and cold things cold for 9 hours.  Whoever invented this is a genius!

But the ultimate “reality check” winner goes to my son.  He make this homemade card.

I like that he promised to walk the dog.  I’m bringing this out daily to remind him.  I am a little concerned that only him, I and the dog are in the card….

But the reason he wins is for the packaging.

Congrats to me!  I’m not in the obits this year!

A gentle reminder that I’m still on this side of the dirt and that it could always be worse.