Saturday, December 27, 2008

Snowed-in in AZ?

Our friends Pete & Jess joined us for the ride home to AZ. We made good time, 12 hours, and hit no weather on the way up, so even though the car was overly packed, we knew we would have a fun ride home. We stopped in Santa Fe for lunch and a little shopping, and were making good time. It was snowing in Santa Fe, enough to be beautiful and not a nuisance. So we hit the road again. As we crossed the AZ line, we could see some weather coming. But it is AZ, right? No problem. Actually, big problem. Driving through Holbrook, they had received 10 inches of snow, and the ground was covered. We had just missed the storm, and thought we were in the clear. However, just outside Payson, about an hour from home, there was a cop blocking the highway. Closed due to black ice. Seriously? Totally. So we took an alternate route, that should have only added an extra 45 minutes to the trip. Irritating, yes, but we were all tired of being in the car at this point. We drove around Roosevelt lake, and through Globe, into Miami (not FL, that would have been more than a 45 minute detour, dummy), and traffic was stopped on the highway. After waiting 30 minutes, we found out 2 semis jack knifed on the highway, and the road was closed for the night. Hhhhhmmmmmm. What now? Dinner at Mcdonald's, and a talk with a cop, we decided our 3rd route through Winkleman and up through Superior may be risky. So we bunked in a seedy motel for the night. We checked into the internet after we settled in, and roads were closed in every direction. If we had tried going through Flagstaff (3 hours out of the way) we also would have been stranded. The next morning roads were clear, and the sun was shining. Typical. Our 12 hour trip turned into 31. It is a good thing we liked our company.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Home for the Holidays

We had a great Christmas at home. Colorado was a sweet reminder of why we live in AZ. Temps were a high of 5F when we arrived, and warmed up as the week went on, but I wasn't without a scarf and sweater at all times. Alexandra has taken up snorting as a laugh, and it is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. She is an amazingly good baby, and was highly entertaining. We saw a few friends and spent quality time with the fam. My favorite gift was my National Geographic Field Guide for identifying birds. I am trying to get through the intro right now so I can correctly identify markings to classify our local species. I know, nerdy, and sort of geriatric. But I also knit, so what do I care?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gingerbread Houses

For the last 2 weeks, my class has been slaving over gingerbread houses. We made the gingerbread, hard candy for mosaic stained glass windows, marshmallows, and icing. They helped bring in candy and we decorated for days. It was tons of fun. The kids thought I should enter a contest. I think I just watch a lot of Food Network competitions. Considering I have never made a gingerbread house before, and I had to use leftover frosting which was warm and over-handled, and didn't have a large selection of candies, I think I did pretty well. Though, I did have a batch in the oven and forgot to set the timer, so I ended up with a black gingerbread man. So I ended up with an ethnically diverse display. Regardless, they had a blast, and I didn't have to worry about lesson plans for 2 weeks. Life is good. I can't wait for break.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Grandma lives on

Growing up, my favorite part of Christmas was opening stockings. All of the kids in our family had the same stocking, but with our own name stitched in. Our grandmother had made them for us, and we each still have them. I had a friend ask me to make stockings for her kids, and I wasn't happy with the idea of cloth stockings. There was something about the stretch of a knit that allowed parents to cram more goodies in them that made a knit stocking so much more appealing. So I learned how to knit. And I made Kim's kids stockings, and they are all huge, and I am sure in the spirit of Christmas, she has nothing but curse words about me when she is trying to fill them. Many knitting projects, and years later, along came my niece. What was she possible going to do for a Christmas stocking? I offered to make one for her, since grandma is no longer around to make her one. While searching on-line for ideas and inspiration, I came across something that brought tears to my eyes. I found a website Ruthless Knitting, that had permission from the Bernat company to publish a vintage stocking pattern on her blog. This pattern was the exact pattern that my grandmother used to make our stockings. While I sent a lot of ideas to my brother and sister-in-law, I was secretly pulling for this one. They agreed that for sentimental reasons, they wanted the same one. I thought it needed a little updating, and because Alexandra is such a ridiculously long name, I had to do a little altering of the pattern. But I am thrilled that the next generation in our family will be able to share in the same stocking traditions.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Spare Time

I actually wasn't sure what to do with myself this weekend . I had some spare time. My lessons are planned for the remainder of the year, my house was recently cleaned by professionals, and free time appeared. It was great, but a little uncomfortable. I bugged Jon a lot, and kind of wandered around looking for something to do. I resorted to knitting, of course. But I haven't picked up a pair of needles in a while. It felt great. And I baked this weekend. We are making gingerbread houses at school, so I have been inspired. I made marshmallows and royal icing for the first time. Then I made these great wreath cookies with the marshmallows. They were wonderful! I have made multiple batches of candy and frosting, and all sorts of stuff. I just wish I was interested in eating it...........If you want to make these at home, follow a standard Rice Krispie treat recipe, but add 1 tsp. Vanilla, green food coloring, and substitute corn flakes for the rice krispies. They are a family favorite, and fun to make. You need at least 2 people, one to drop cookies onto greased wax paper, and one to form them, because the marshmallows cool and seet up quickly. A third person would be great to decorate right behind. We used red hots growing up. Some of these just have sprinkles. It is easy to find such great sprinkle mixes now. One of my favorites has the red and green and white long sprinkles, and little brown gingerbread men. I put those on a few of these and told people they were baby Jesuses. It's the holidays, people need to laugh a little.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Busy sewing bee

So I keep waiting to blog. Which is dumb. I don't know why I let things build up. But it never seems convenient. Blah, blah, blah. Here's what I missed in my time lapse. I got a bike. My ultimate goal is to ride 2 days a week, but have currently only succeeded with one day a week. One of the PE teachers at school lives near by, and rides everyday, so we go together. It is nice to have someone to ride with, and hold me accountable for doing it. The ride is about 5 miles each way, so I get a workout in. My great friend, Kim, came to visit from Michigan. She needed a break, I needed a good friend fix. I booked a sub, threatened the kids with loss of lab privlages if they were bad, and drank the weekend away. Kim is my favorite person to drink wine with. And Jon cooked wonderful meals all weekend. We saw Zach & Miri make a porno, and I have to say it was one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. Very inappropriate, which sometimes makes the best entertainment.
In the meantime, I have been sewing like a maniac. I have been so hung up on knitting for so many years, that I forget about the basic joys of sewing. It is so nice to get a finished project in such a short period of time. I ordered fabric from New York, and adjusted some patterns, and went crazy. Besides working on liners for my bike baskets, I have made a number of things for my darling niece for Christmas. Michelle, if you want to wait to be surprised, stop reading now. The outfits are so cute that I can't resist showing them off. I also made some stuffed animals, but they just don't compare. Until I have kids of my own, I will make sure that Alexandra is teh most stylish kid on the block.