Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm making quite a name for myself!

And not in a good way!

     Word on the street is that I have moved from chocolate afficionado to chocolate junkie.
And who am I to argue?

I have had a Birthday. I turned 29 again.
Usually I do my best to ignore my b-day. I do not celebrate. There is no reveling. Oh, there's usually chocolate, in the form of cake, and wine, natch...but those are obligatory measures, really.
But this year, I actually enjoyed my birthday! ...maybe it was the sambuca....

...And I'm not done yet; there has yet to be cake, and candles, and singing! Power outage killed my oven. More on that later.

First there was this:

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'fess up Stash, you're one of those people whose toilet paper matches their bathroom, aren't you??? I knew it. And I'd use your bathroom anyday. (huge compliment, that.)
Why, yes, that s the Post Office scale in the background! Why, what do you use to prop up your objects d'art for their photo shoot??? (I was closed, btw)

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I always thought I was a thoughtful person. And it either wore off, or I was deluded. Because I don't believe I was ever as thoughtful a person as Stash is.
She even threw in lollipops for the kids.
Wait- one is pink (red), one is blue.  Yeah, deluded.
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How frickin' cute are these, I ask you??

Thank You very much Stash, for surprising me with such luvlies!!

But wait! I had other luvlies, too!!

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It's weird that both packages were wrapped in CIRCLES. I have a circle obsession going on right now. I want to re-paint the post office. With giant circles. The girls were...reluctant, but I think I've swayed Em over to the ...round side. I'll show you why another day.

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Have you seen these? Awesome way to keep the yarn out of the muck!
I've been using this for a few days, and I like it a lot. No fur turds in the yarn.

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A cute little bear who will soon live on the xmas tree, a wrapped surprise, and a 'smelly'.
You know this went right into the Orient Heights train station, I mean the downstairs bathroom. 
Thing One took off with the bear as soon as she laid eyes on him. But she came back a few minutes later. (I confess, this was hours after I opened all this stuff. You'll see why this is important in a moment.)

She came back to show me this:
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Apparently the bear came bearing gifts of his own. I never even noticed. Yikes.
She could have totally made off with that Joanne's gift card, and I'd never have known.


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So stunned was I by the chocolate, I couldn't hold the camera steady.

Now.
I can only chalk this one up to the fact that I don't sleep much. I routinely stay up until 3am, and have to be up with the Things by 7. (I should be up by 6:30, with them....but it's more like 7.) I worked the night shift for...too many years. I'm sure I've lost brain cells from this. (That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.)
 When I unwrapped this, this just happened to be the position it was in. 
I was befuddled.
candle holder?
piggy bank with the stopper in backwards?
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Thing Two asked what it was. I pretended I had a phone call to stall for time. He reached for it, and....
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as soon as his little hand grabbed it, I realized it was a wine topper (stopper?)!
Hmmm, what does it say about me that I 'got it' when my son had it in his hand?
Wait, don't answer that.

Big Thank You's to Kissy and Stephen, Stephen J and Hawk for all the surprises!

And to Mother and Daddy, and Maria, and Auntie Ro and Uncle Spuzzy, too.
I haven't enjoyed my birthday in...no kidding, like 20 years. 

And Michele, I have a separate post for the gift you sent me. I've worn it every day since I got it. I really, really wanted one of these. It is already slightly battle-scarred, which is the point. But in order to show it, I have to take a picture of me in it. I'm working up the nerve.
It's NOT a string bikini, folks. Sorry to disappoint.






Better than a scarf

I like scarves. I always want to be that girl who can just throw a scarf around her neck and look finished, polished, put together.

I look like I'm at the gym with a sweaty towel around my neck.

'Course in my current self-imposed heat-deprived state, I am wearing one brand new scarf repeatedly, and it's just perfect....

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I love this scarf.

Once I nearly was dragged by a car when my super-long very fashionable scarf got caught in the door. I'm way cool like that.

So when I saw these popping up, I had hope.

And I had to make one.

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OK, the color is off on that last one.

This is Ilean, by Patti Simmons.
In Dream in Color's Classy.
Sooo soft, soooo squishy, soooo pretty.

There are many, many more of these in my knitting future.
And many more cowls to investigate.

And, hey- since this pattern included yarn overs, and psso's...I believe I can now say I have knit lace! Not exactly the lace I aspire to, but, I'll take what I can get!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A really bad day...

No, it's not me. This was circulating in an email.




Unknown
photo credit unknown

Now THAT"S a bad day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

If this doesn't get your blood pumpin'...



He's got the sweet legs.


And this is my new favorite movie. 

It's all I want for Christmas, Santa.

(You may have guessed that I am cooking like a fiend, and have nothing of interest to say, and no knitting to show...)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Seen on the web...

This is blatantly stolen from the blog of Maryse , but it's just too funny not to pass around.

And what was I watching that I missed this? I'm up every night with Conan!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Alternative Energy Source


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I'm on a candle kick. This is the only place I dare to light one due to one stupid cat and two kids, who apparently are moths...

Dear US Government,
     I am writing to thank you for promoting the upcoming switch to Digital Television. I am one of the 19 million households not currently subscribed to cable or satellite service. I appreciate the coupons made available to us through my (considerable) tax dollars, enabling me to purchase yet another electricity-sucking device to keep plugged in, thereby enhancing my electric bill. Lorraine at the Swan's Island Electric Co-op will be thrilled to hear it.
I spent some time today familiarizing myself with the new converter box, and after the Benedryl I had to take for the allergic reaction to all the dust on the labyrinth of wires behind the tv/vcr/unused stereo equipment wore off, was able to set it up properly. I am happy to report that I am now able to receive two stations! 
     Unfortunately, I found out a few hours later that the system is not compatible with fog and/or high winds, as I promptly lost both of those stations due to those factors. This does not bode well for me come February. I anticipate wind at that time. And, if the past serves as any example, there is the very good probability of peanut-butter-thick fog, from April through, Oh-I don't know....August? 
     I spent some more time on my knees behind the tv cabinet (admiring my newly-cleaned labyrinth of cables and wires) unhooking the converter box so that we could watch something tonight on the old, crappy, fuzzy, snowy analog signal. And I have a nagging worry: what are we to do in February, when this old and crappy signal is no more? While the rest of the world revels in the glory that is digital programming, we will be enjoying a black screen. 
     I have seen the future, and is it not pretty. I see myself moving from free tv, to paying for increased bandwith to watch online. Hmmm, makes me wonder, whose idea was the switch , anyway?????
Signed,
Not-in-a-very-happy-place.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

'A' for effort...

Seen on our trip to the mainland....


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How cool are those??



Rather unexpected. however, on this:
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Leave it to Thing Two to notice those hubcaps on a random car at the grocery store.
I would have loved to have seen the driver- some punk rocker? Or a Granny??
Or a harried Mom whose teen- aged son put them on her car and she never even noticed??

I'M GOING WITH THAT LAST ONE!!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seeing a trend

My house has a set point, it seems.

When we are at home, our body heat (and the hot air coming from all of our collective mouths) brings the temp to a balmy 56 degrees. 

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You'd be blurry, too, if you were here.

I keep asking the kids if they are too cold, and they keep saying no. The Big Guy keeps saying yes. I am toasty warm in my scarf and t-shirt and sweatshirt. (And sometimes fingerless mittens.)
Apparently, the kids run amok around so much, they keep themselves warm.
But this is their new favorite thing. (They learned this from the cat.)

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No, really, it's perfectly fine for you to rearrange the furniture so you can sit right on top of the heat vent. We wouldn't want your stuffed animal to be cold.

We've got some winter-y weather going on (translation: it's blowing a gale out there, and The Big Guy will be grounded for a good week or so. The upshot to this is that hopefully the lobster price will go back up to $2.25. woo-hoo.). So we've compromised: the thermostat is now set to 60. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Halloween sugar-high wearing off...


I don't have much fun to share, just the nonsense of trying to keep a few businesses running.


I have this really crappy picture:
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Seriously, what is up with my crappy pics??

This is Ilean, but shorter and tighter. Think turtleneck, instead of cowl. I actually prefer this size to the original, if only because I would likely wear it in place of a scarf, and I'd want it to be inside my coat, against my neck, and in order to close the coat it had to be shorter and tighter.
Viola!
I sent this one off to Kathy in Oregon. I hope she likes!
And I've got another one on the needles in a different yarn.

I've been agonizing over this yarn:

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I love this yarn wound in a skein, but then I wound it into a ball....and...well....

It's just so busy! At first I thought fingerless mitts, because, well, I love them, and I'm really itching to do them in some fingering weight. 
But, eh.

Then I realized that Thing One's winter coat is brown and pink, and would match this yarn perfectly. Hmmm. Maybe a hat for Christmas. Oh, wait- Christmas is in December. Not an option.
Possibly mittens. But wait, this is her snow coat I'm talking about.
Snow Coat + Not Waterproof Mittens = why bother?
So socks. Because she, like me, will wear any socks with any outfit. That's what feet are for.

And so:
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I did some 2x2 ribbing, and spent exactly 3 days scouring Ravelry for a pattern that will not be a complete and total waste of time in these colors. I think I found one.
But I'm going to try it first, just in case I'm totally and completely wrong (like I've been about the other 482 patterns I've tried so far. One thing I can say about this yarn, I've knit and frogged this for 3 days, and it's only showing the slightest bit of abuse.)

And I am determined to find something other than plain vanilla.





Saturday, November 15, 2008

Presents!

I received a fabulous package from Kathy in Oregon!


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Try not to look too closely at the mess behind the goodies, I just got back from the mainland. And, who knew, 25 lb bags of flour make the perfect backdrop for a beautiful lace Noro scarf!


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You know you have found treasure in a book when you open it for the first time, leaf through it, and have half of the pages dog-eared!


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This yarn! Oh, this yarn!!

But this!!!!! I wrapped this around my neck as soon as I finished with the pictures, and only took it off when I got into bed. (We all know what would have happened if I left it on....)
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Aside from the fact that Kathy made this for me (blush), and the fact that these are some of my favorite colors, there is another reason it was so well received...

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How is it that there is shmegma even on the thermostat? Somehow The Big Guy is behind that. You should see what he does to the phone.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Not the only one...

I don't know if I'm happy to not be the only person somewhat obsessed with commercials (the funny ones, anyway), or ...disturbed.


But I had to put this here.


Can I just mention that this guy reminds me of my friend Scott soooo much- the face when the bird gets eaten? I've seen that face on Scott before! It's uncanny. And it's the reason this commercial caught our attention in the first place.


Candygram!



And one more..I've mentioned this before. I still sing this song when I'm really bored.
(The middle one stinks, but the first one is a riot!)



Do I have to tell you that I've just watched these about 80 times each?
No, you knew that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Living Frugal

...or, as we call it, being poor.

I am taking the 30 day challenge to save a thousand bucks.
Hi, I'm Marissa and I want to save money...

So here are the first 7 of the 30 tips. Let's see where I stand, shall we?

1. Pack your lunches for the week.
Ok, I live on a rock, 8 miles out to sea. Seriously. I would be all over a Dunkin'Donuts if we had one, and I'd surely know if there were a McDonald's say, out on the head. There are no restaurants here (there are two take-outs in the summer which we cannot afford to frequent). There are no convenience stores. There is no supermarket. No gas station. 
I've lived here for 11 years. I make lunches every day. I have no choice!
Total Savings=0

2. Turn your thermostat down 3'.
Umm, my thermostat is set to 50, and it hasn't kicked on at all.(Except for the 2 times The Big Guy turned it on. I turned it back off when he wasn't looking, and he didn't notice. It's been pretty warm here. The coldest weather we had was the week the boys were away moose hunting, and thing One and I froze our butts off!)
Total Savings=0

3. Sell something on Ebay today.
I'm working on this. Problem is, I don't have 1 something to sell on Ebay, I have BOXES of crap that I've been setting aside to sell on Ebay. It's a freakin' full-time job!! But I have picked 10 things (lots of clothing), weighed and found boxes at the post office, and now just need to list them. This is still in progress...
Total Savings=?

4. Involve your friends in your savings challenge.
I wasn't sure what this meant, until I read the whole post. My friends don't influence my spending, because there is no place here to spend money. When we go off, we go alone. And we have a very tight budget. So I guess we do this already.
Total Savings=0

5. Optimize your cell phone bill.
This is a good one. Everyone should do this. I do it once a year, because I've been with US Smellular for the 11 years we've lived in their area, and I've been a 'free agent' (not under contract) for 9 of the 11 years. They LOVE me. I call them ALL THE TIME. I'm constantly changing my plan, and they are constantly trying to 'sell' me stuff, because they want me in a contract. It's sooo much fun. I am currently locked into a dirt cheap plan with a buttload of minutes- so many minutes that we dropped the long distance on our landline and still don't use them all. (I'd get rid of the landline entirely, but I'd lose my DSL connection. CAN'T HAVE THAT HAPPEN!!) I call every time I see or hear about a new promo, to see if it's any cheaper than my current plan. So far none have been.
Total Savings=0

6. Use gas prices to become your own hedge fund.
I was so freakin happy to see gas prices come down! The high prices did not seamlessly slip into our budget as they appear to have for Ramit and his many readers. No, here at The rock, it went something like, 'what can we NOT put gas in so we can keep running the boat?'. Turned out to be whatever I'm driving. We keep one car on the mainland for emergencies (and to avoid a $30.00 ferry ticket every time we go off- I'll say it; I'm that cheap.), and the truck here for work- both his and mine. I have so far avoided having to drop off and pick up the mail bag(s) and many boxes with the kids little red wagon, but it's been close! We've been sharing the truck. It'd do-able. (Plus, I'm cheating a bit-I've had the van here; usually it's on the mainland. It's going off next Wednesday. I don't use much gas, we only have one mile of road, and we, make let the Things walk to and from school the four trips every day. When I need gas in the van I suck it out of the truck. Don't tell The Big Guy.
Total Savings=0, since we cut back on gas instead of spending more on it.

7. Create a 'no spending' day once a week.
This is genius. A great idea for you $5 latte sucking commuters.
But again, there is nothing here (except the post office) to spend money on, so EVERY DAY IS A NO SPENDING DAY. I pay bills online as necessary. We never ever have cash on the island. We order stuff for the business when we have to (and it ain't often!). And that's that.
Total Savings=0

So there it is. I will make whatever I make off Ebay.
Wow, I guess I suck at this saving money challenge!

He has some great tips- if you're not already using them, you should be. I'm actually considering dropping my internet and phone in the spring, just temporarily. We'll see.
And the readers' tips in the comments are helpful, too.

And it's free!!


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Marooned, Again.

Dammit, I've got to get off this Rock more!!



It's not fair! I wonder if I can convince the kids that sleeping in the car in near freezing temps is just another fun way of camping.  Walmart allows overnight parking....you think I can sell it to the Things as a campground? What if it's dark? Surely they'll buy it, they are a Polish and Italian mix, remember. And school s overrated anyway. They can miss 2 days of school so I can get a haircut and look at yarn, right? Plus, my driver's license is going to expire at the end of the month, -and we're down to 3 rolls of toilet paper. (That's about 3 days worth in this house...don't ask me why, I can't figure it out.)

All signs point to me making an escape this Wednesday.

Still doesn't get me to Stitches, though....

Righteous Indignation

Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, I get this piece of mail. It's in a letter sized envelope.

And everybody who has kids, or has ever sent out those picture cards, recognizes the size and shape of that envelope.
It's the first Christmas card of the season.

The day after Thanksgiving.

And who is it that has their act together so early?    Stacie.
Good for her! (she obviously has too much free time.)

This is a problem for those of us who are OCD, because we feel that we are 'late' or 'falling behind'. Ridiculous, of course, but that's the way it is. It's like a cattle prod to the backside.

And so I begin to sweat a little, stressing about the fact that I can't take a picture to save my life, can't keep my kids clean long enough to attempt a Christmas Card Picture, can't get the two of them to stand next to each other without hitting, pushing, crying....you get the idea.  And then there's the tears, the wine (oh, that would be me.)

I'm not looking forward to it this year either, though I do think I have a usable picture for a change.

A few months ago I went to the mail, and had that same cattle-prod feeling. I recognized the shape of the card immediately.

Oh, c'mon! It's September!!!!

Well, it wasn't a Christmas card, but it was a photo card.

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Isn't that a great Thank You? I love that it lives on my fridge now, with some of my other favorite pictures.

And I don't know if the words are clear enough to read, but Stacie and Michelle raised the most amount of any team in New England! 
Way to go, girls! 



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

True Love

Pirate Yarn!

smoke rings
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These colors are spot-on. Isn't it gorgeous? Every time a new skein comes I say 'this is the best colorway yet', and yet, she manages to out-do herself with the next skein!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fun and Games

Remember all that apple jelly I made?


Well, once you drain all that juice from the cooked apples, there is a lot of sludge left over. I put that sludge through an attachment on my KitchenAid (what would I ever do without that thing?), and make applesauce from it.

also thrown in here are some pics of another attachment shredding zucchini. I have 3 gallon ziploc bags full of shredded zucchini. I have a great bread recipe.

I'm already sick of it.

Making applesauce

That was 4 bushels of apples, to make 7 cases of jelly (and because you can't do a double batch when making the jelly, it was 11 batches), and 10 quarts of applesauce.

And I thought my drip pans were toast, after dripped jelly was baked on during subsequent batches of jelly-making...but good old Oxyclean and a long hot bath took care of that mess!
I love me some Oxy!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pre- Thanksgiving

Saturday, the 25th, we held a Harvest Supper.

I called it the Harvest Ball, because I've always wanted to go to a Harvest Ball.
I ended up late, harried, dirty and stained from cooking all day, and went in my worst t-shirt. So much for the Ball!

I made a 20 lb turkey, stuffing, and gravy. Lots of gravy- about a gallon and a half!
mmmmm, I wish you could smell this!

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There were four turkeys in all, plus all the fixin's...and desserts-oh, the desserts. It was fantastic! We all pigged out, and then we went on the Haunted Hayride.
It was the best one ever! And you know what those jerks did to me???
They rigged a bucket up over the road, filled with flour (ashes) and plastic bugs, AND REAL SPIDERS! And when we rode under it, they upturned the bucket (think Carrie)! Of course, it was pitch dark, so I never saw anything, but I'm still twitching every time I think I feel something on me. wahhaaaaa!
Despite being covered in flour and plastic bugs, it was so much fun!

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This is Rit and Joan. They were moving off the island the next day. But the weather had other plans. It blew Sunday, and the ferry cancelled. They were stuck here until the next boat (Wednesday)...all packed up, with no food beause they'd used up their perishables. We brought them stuff to get through. 
Aaaaand then we got another storm Tuesday night, and the ferry cancelled the Wednesday trip!
They finally got off Thursday. Good luck, guys, we'll miss you!


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Thing Two wouldn't sit with us to eat, he only wants his teachers, Mr. and Mrs. F.
He loves them!!!! (They are pretty awesome!)

So this windstorm Tuesday night.
I was up late. Yes, really.
It was blowing pretty good. And then there was a big whump. Now, the previous Sunday's storm took out the last remaining piece of our fence. The last bastion of defense against the four legged Taliban we have running amuck on the island. The Deer.
So when I heard the whump, and felt the house shake, I said, well, there goes the brace on that last piece of fence. The deer will be here any second to clean up the blueberry bushes and apple trees. 
And I went into the kitchen to get a bottle of wine.
About then The Big Guy came running downstairs, all nervous-like.
(Never moved that fast when either kid was crying during the night, but, whatever....)
Did you hear that?
Ya think?
He opened the door on that side of the house and there's this huge tree, right there, against the peak of the roof. (The only tree that is anywhere near enough to actually hit the house had to fall.)
(I meanwhile am still in the kitchen, snickering under my breath because he ran down in his skivvies, and for some reason, his sister was following him around the house. I don't think she was fully awake (she was sort of shell-shocked at the hours we keep...he falls asleep around 9pm, I go to bed around 2am, he's up at 4, the kids are up at 6...she didn't know if she was coming or going all week! In true Brotherly form he just kept yelling at her to' go to bed, what was she going to do , climb up on the roof in the dark with a chainsaw and cut it off'...I all but had my face buried in a kitchen towel so they wouldn't hear me laughing! She was inches from his half-naked butt, and he was sooo  mad! We still don't know why, or what she was doing up!)

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the problem


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the solution


Well, the only damage that old tree did was to crush our piece of crap antenna, and drop us from four channels to one. As I managed to soak the burnt-on apple jelly off my stovetop, I'm asking Santa for a new antenna instead of drip pans.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Birthday!

To Ghost!

Ghost turned 20 on Halloween. We don't know how she's lasted this long! But we're pretty glad she has.


Keep on reading...I'm trying to catch up, and this is the 3rd post today, so far. I'm not done yet!!

Halloween Shenanigans

A few pics from the Halloween Party. Specifically, the pie-eating contest, which Amber (not pictured) won. It's fun to enlist the bearded!!


My creation

That's Mr. F, the schoolteacher, trying to kiss Thing Two with his messy beard. Thing Two thought it was so funny that he was covered in cream...until he tried to kiss him!
Bottom left is Joe. Joe played with a beard last year, too. This year he made sure to clean it really, really well. He said the smell of sour milk stayed on him until he had to shave it off!

And those teeny-boppers? They were barely walking when I moved here.
Where does the time go?

The party was awesome, as usual. Lots of games and laughs.
Can't wait for next year!

First Things First!

I'm Back, Baby!

That was an unexpected hiatus! 

So, one day in the middle of last week, I went to get the mail. And there was a box for me! I love it when that happens! 

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Just look at this surprise!!

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I love it when stuff inside boxes is wrapped too, prolongs the excitement...



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Oooooo, tea, yum, and cute cute kitty (which only made it into the picture because it was about 3am when I finally was alone to open the box. I knew I'd never get pics with everybody around!)
And a postcard from Jersey.... so pretty!
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I love these!!!!! (and I see cupcakes in my future...)
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And I love this!!!!!  It went right into my bag...minus the Tazo. Label read  Calm Herbal Infusion, and it was must have for almost 2 weeks with a houseguest. During a school week. (Did I mention I have OCD tendencies?)
It tasted great, but wine was ever so slightly more numbing calming.
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This is one of Grace's infamous Tea Cozy's...which Thing 2 is wearing as a hat! I keep fighting it away from him, and showing him what it's for, and he keeps stealing it back off the teapot!
He says, "No, Mama, you're wrong...the holes are for if you have a ponytail". Oh my.
His Father is going to have a fit if he sees it on him!


And wait 'til you see this.....
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Are these my colors, or what????
How much do I love this yarn???
The best part??   HAND DYED BY TOM! 

Thank you so much Grace (and Tom), I love everything!! It was so nice of you!