06 December 2019

12 Days of Christmas - Day 6

I hope you all know that making this list is harder than it looks!

Today I got to thinking about all the competitions I attend with the kids, and in a couple of years, it'll be a bunch of football games too! One of the gift-buying guides I saw recommended this as the top-rated stadium chairs. It's padded, compact to carry, and has different recline positions. Looks like something I should try. I would prefer it in black. On the front of the right armrest is a cup holder - cool, right?

Maggie and I attended exactly one high school football game this year. All right - all we stayed for was the marching band pre-game show. But that was long enough to know that bleachers are HARD and COLD. Ugh. A comfy seat is surely a necessity if I plan to keep cheering my kids on through their baton twirling careers.

05 December 2019

12 Days of Christmas - Day 5

Every year I put a new hoodie sweatshirt or two on my list. I like being a little surprised with gifts, of course, even if I like giving specific ideas. Here are three different hoodie designs from SnorgTees that I thought looked fun. I think I'd wear a size L in any of these, and I like the colors they did their samples on.

Hoodies are seriously a mainstay of my fall/winter/early spring wardrobe. If you've read more than a couple posts on my blog - especially this time of year - you'll know I'm usually cold. Hoodies are one of my favorite snuggle accessories. 

04 December 2019

12 Days of Christmas - Day 4

This is a classic that has been on my list for YEARS. These fantastic cooling racks are about the same size as my baking sheets, but I only have one. My cookies and such are never cool enough to put away before the next sheet is done baking. Help!

The Pampered Chef designed these to actually be stackable, and I'd love to have a couple more so I can stack them with the one I've already got.

A lot of things are on my list for a few years, then I finally buy them for myself. Somehow the cooling racks are something I crave most leading up to the holidays (prime baking time), and then never end up getting anyway. But I still want them!

So far this year I've only made some chocolate chip cookies, but oatmeal scotchies are the usual favorite around here. I also love the spritz cookies with the fancy lil cookie press. I got extra flour, sugar, brown sugar and butter at the grocery store this week - I'm just about ready to bake again!

03 December 2019

12 Days of Christmas - Day 3

So if you read yesterday's post, you may have seen where I mentioned that I have only brown boots (and even those are a little rough for the wear). My black ones? The sole fell off at my first Halloween event this year. So sad! I really, really need new black boots. I've been filling in with tall pair of Doc Martens that I've had for like 30 years, but they're heavy, and take me a long time to lace up.

Something like these from Zappo's look perfect. My new boots should be black, leather, size 8.5, zip-up, and no measurable heel. I'd actually like a little texture to help me walk on ice/snow, but my old ones were smooth, so obviously I'd live ;)

My old ones were a holiday gift from hubs and Maggie wayyy back before Jack was born. I loved those old boots, and they lasted a good, long time. Now it's time for a new pair for the next 10 years or so, right?

02 December 2019

12 Days of Christmas - Day 2

This is something I NEED periodically. I have two dresses that would go well with either dark brown leggings, or dark brown tights. These fleece-lined tights from Berkshire on Amazon look super perfect! There's even a 'tall' on the size chart. I have long legs. So while I don't need these specific ones, they sure do sound right.

I used to have lots of leggings from LuLaRoe. A pair of their one-size dark brown leggings would be fine, but I don't (ever) feel like paging through a consultant's page to see what they have. Shopping isn't usually a hobby for me, as much as a necessity from time to time.

The dresses are both blue-ish, with some brown in their prints. I don't like wearing black tights with them, but usually do anyway. I also don't have black boots, so I'd like to have tights/leggings that will match the boots I currently have for now. So dark brown it is.

01 December 2019

12 Days of Christmas - Day 1

Welcome to my amusing little version of the 12 Days of Christmas. I use the first 12 days of December to actually focus and think about what I would like to receive as a gift, since a few people soon will ask me, "What do you want for Christmas?" I'm here to make it easy for you ;)

In looking back at old blog posts, it looks like this is actually my TENTH year listing out my own 12 Days of Christmas. I usually get a few things off the list, but I do like to think they make gift buying for me a little less of a guessing game.

On to the fun items I've found and decided I'd like to have:

I saw this little gem by the magazines at our local Meijer department store. I tried to search it up online, but only found similar ones - I've already looked at this one and know it looks so fun! Seriously - take this picture with you to Meijer. This is the 2020 version, and it has a mindfulness activity for each week, and some journaling-prompt style questions. I would love to try and take some time to myself each week to focus on stuff like this.

I would be delighted to see this in my holiday stocking, or under the tree on Christmas morning. It looks like the price label says $13.99. This is actually one of those things I might go back and find if I haven't received it by the end of the year. I do love to give myself a little treat, if someone else doesn't beat me to it ;)

26 November 2019

Middle School Battle of the Books - 2020

Have you ever been part of a 'Battle of the Books' before? My daughter is participating in her third one this year. Our local library sponsors a battle for the fifth-graders in the school district, and a battle for the middle-schoolers (which is sixth - eighth grade here).

The study guide suggestions for the middle-school battle specify that the questions can be any of the following types:
  • Cover significant events
  • Cover character development
  • Cover unique settings in time or place
  • Ask questions from the preface, epilogue, or biographical info in the book
  • Ask questions about details that you normally would never need to know (like the character's address, or the name of the neighbor's pet fish, etc -- these are the types of questions that will differentiate the winning team from the others)
Each middle-school team has three - six members who all attend the same middle school. Our team this year has four sixth-graders, one seventh-grader (my daughter), and one eighth-grader. I'm a co-coach along with another mom (she's wayyy better at coaching than I am).
In case the books weren't a challenge enough, teams are also encouraged to create an interesting book-related team name and dress in costume. There are also prizes for the team name, the best overall costume, and the best use of a book theme. 

The battle is held in early February. Until then, our task is to read and study these six books (all summaries copied from Amazon):

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

It's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it's too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can't imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.

Told through Nisha's letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl's search for home, for her own identity...and for a hopeful future.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colter

Twelve-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl has discovered a world below ground of armed and dangerous--and extremely high-tech--fairies. He kidnaps one of them, Holly Short, and holds her for ransom in an effort to restore his family's fortune. But he may have underestimated the fairies' powers. Is he about to trigger a cross-species war?

Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry

Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn't mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn't long before the kids at her new school realize she's different. Only Calliope's neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is―an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public?
As Calliope navigates school, she must also face her mother's new relationship and the fact that they might be moving―again―just as she starts to make friends and finally accept her differences.
Partially in verse and partially in prose with two intertwined points of view, Ellie Terry's affecting debut will speak to a wide audience about being true to oneself.

Guts by Raina Telgemeier

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it's probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she's dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina's tummy trouble isn't going away... and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What's going on?

Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face -- and conquer -- her fears.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

John Smith seems like an ordinary teenager, living a normal life with his guardian Henri in Paradise, Ohio. But for John, keeping a low profile is essential, because he is not an ordinary teenager. He’s an alien from the planet Lorien, and he’s on the run. A group of evil aliens from the planet Mogadore, who destroyed his world, are hunting anyone who escaped.
Nine Loric children were sent to Earth to live in hiding until they grew up and developed their Legacies, powers that would help them fight back—and help them save us. Three of them are now dead. John is Number Four, and he knows he’s next….

Thunder Dog by Michael Hingson

Every moment in Michael Hingson’s and Roselle’s lives seemed to lead up to this day. When one of four hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Center’s north tower on September 11, 2001, Michael Hingson, a district sales manager for a data protection and network security systems company, was sitting down for a meeting. His guide dog, Roselle, was at his feet. Paired for twenty-one months, man and dog spent that time forging a bond of trust, much like police partners who trust their lives to each other.
Michael couldn’t see a thing, but he could hear the sounds of shattering glass, falling debris, and terrified people flooding around him and Roselle. However, Roselle sat calmly beside him. In that moment, Michael chose to trust Roselle’s judgment and not to panic. They were a team.
Thunder Dog is a story that will forever change your spirit and your perspective. It illuminates Hingson’s lifelong determination to achieve parity in a sighted world and how the rare trust between a man and his guide dog can inspire an unshakable faith in each one of us.