Monday, December 28, 2009

Connie's kids

Connie sent me an email with this photo attached of her kids with the ornaments Connor had made :)
Thanks Connie! Your kids are certainly looking good!
Is Catherine wearing the coat you got for mom? Just wondering...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009

My personal carolers, just back from the Festival of Lights.
Diana's spot.
Connor's spot.
Trevor's spot.

Our spots.
Singing "Jingle Bells."
After reading the Christmas story, singing the carols & wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, we can open the gifts.
Connor's favorite came from Trevor: Super Mario Galaxy for his Wii. Connor's been wanting that one since before he got his Wii!
Big win for Diana - she gave her dad a Sonic Screwdriver. Same size & shape as the one David Tennant uses on Doctor Who :)
Lee also got this totally awesome gaming keyboard (from me). He kept leaving the website open to the page with this on it when he'd leave his computer... just a little hint for me...

See Carolyn? The shirt fits!!
The aftermath :)
Connor's Teller. I made the little stars, but all the other baking stuff didn't make it to the plates! The lebkuchen & spritz were all gone!

The new keyboard lit up in red (you can choose any color). The little screen does something too - it would be too much info for me.

And I got a Macy's shopping spree: Short boots, jeans, 4 long-sleeved t-shirts, a sweater & a jacket. And I still have $40 on the card. The gift card was the same cost as the keyboard - I think I got the better deal.

Connor's request

Connor is usually pretty specific about what he wants.
This year, he wanted to make cookies that are rolled out and green frosting & sprinkles.
I kind of cheated in using Pillsbury sugar cookie dough. I had already made rolled out butter cookies with lemon glaze, so I just had Connor roll out the prepared dough.

He frosted & sprinkled the cookies as well. Some more than others... (3rd down on the right side).

And we had to have an angel-food cake.
We are supposed to do devilled eggs for New Years.
No - I don't know why. It's a Connor thing :)

Kiester Christmas 2009

Myrna invited us all to her house for the family Christmas again. We do a potluck dinner (I made veggie lasagne rolls) and we all bring mostly cookies to share for dessert - I brought Mohn Stollen & Rice Krispie Treats.
We play bunco after the meal, and there's a gift exchange based on where you land in the bunco + the actual bunco prizes. I actually got the most buncos this year (3) and got the bunco award, which was an awesome basket of local stuff + homemade canned stuff - Yummy!

Before the actual exchange however, we sing "The 12 Days of Christmas" with as many people singing whatever number you're on. Daniel was the partridge in a pear tree, but we helped him out :) There's a lot of standing and sitting and it can get a little confusing when you have 4 or 5 parts to sing. That's what makes it fun :)

Thanks Myrna & Doug for a very nice family Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Finally - Christmas Break!

I appreciate that I have a full time job.

I knew it would be difficult - these kids need a LOT of support & patience & tolerance.

I have been having a drink almost every evening.

This is more drinking than usual for me.

'Nuff said.

I'm really looking forward to the holidays and the time off from work. More so than usual as well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Open House 2009

We had a pretty good turn out. We never know who will come, since we invite people from everywhere we go. I don't know anyone else that does one, and I get the feeling a lot of people don't know what a holiday Open House means - like they think we're going to sell the house or something... Anyway - we had 23 people come through and visit, and we certainly enjoyed ourselves :) We have extra food left over, but everything keeps anyway, and that just means we're ready if anyone drops by :)

This year we had cranberry salsa & strips; potato chips & onion dip; veggie platter & ranch dip; crackers & sourdough with spinach dip; Trevor's fudge, Diana's spritz cookies; Mohn & Almond stollens; lebkuchen; cream cheese with jalapeno jelly (kind of a dip) and of course, Rice Krispie Treats (because that's Connor's favorite).

There was regular & decaf coffee, tea and also hot spiced apple cider on the stove. We opted to use our own coffee mugs this year vs. paper cups, but I wound up washing them three times, so I think we'll go back to cups next year.

After everyone left, we celebrated 3rd Advent & opened gifts people had brought (which is just very sweet). The house looks great & the next thing is just Christmas cards & family gifts. W00t!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The plan for today

Lee went shopping & got all the stuff for the Open House last night, while Diana & I helped at a Girl Scout Christmas party (we showed the girls how to make candy cane reindeer).

House cleaning in the AM (kids getting kicked out of bed at 9:00). I'm glad Diana is home to help. Lee gets in on the cleaning action today as well, since I need some stuff done that takes elbow grease. :)

In the afternoon, we'll be making the dips & baking. Trevor's making his fudge, Diana's baking Spritz cookies & since I already baked before, I'll just have to do the Rice Krispie treats. I'm also making that AWESOME cranberry salsa! Yay! Lee likes to make dips.

Tonight we'll decorate the tree. It's in a bucket of ice right now in the back yard, so Lee gets to break it free today :)

A few more final touches (like putting candles in their holders) and we're good to go!

Now I'm gonna eat breakfast & crank the Christmas tunes - Wheeee!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

An old Trevor funny

Back when Trevor was a little guy, I worked with him to try to learn "Twas the Night Before Christmas." He got it down pretty well, so on Christmas when we went to visit Grandma & Grandpa, he got up to recite the poem for everyone.

I helped him along when he forgot which line came next, which is where the funny comes in:

Mom: Twas...

Trevor: ...the night before Christmas, when all through the house...

Mom: Not a ...

Trevor: ... creature was stirring, not even a mouse, The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St Nikalaus soon would be there...



Mom: The children...

Trevor: ...were hung by the chimney with care....

And then we all lost it.

The end.

Open House

Sunday, December 13, 2009 2:00 to 5:00 pm

We've been working to get the house ready. It makes it nice to be able to enjoy the house, all gussied up and pretty. I really like when we have people over, and it seems this is one time a year we can do a party & enjoy visiting for a day.

We are doing a few different things with the munchies this year. We are trying to trim costs a bit since Lee has fewer hours. The commute for me to Sutherlin daily is also an added expense we didn't use to have.

I will still have another week of school, as will Connor, after Open House, but Trevor & Diana are in finals week (Diana finished yesterday). Trevor is going to the college to sell back books today.

I have been busy every night this week, but it's all stuff I want to do!! I have monthly meetings for different things and they all hit the same week this year - just before Open House.

If there was any chance my classroom could survive without me a day, I'd take a personal day, but it's sooo touchy in there right now it would be really detrimental to the students for me to be gone :/ As it is, we're still trying to figure out how the staff can even get away for a 1/2 hour lunch break (sometimes I get one - but usually I'm still watching a student). My poor teacher hasn't had a real lunch breaks since we started getting students a month ago. *sigh* Still working out bumps in this program!!

I need the Open House for my mental sanity! Cleaning is good therapy too :) As is baking! I'll accept hugs at the door - thanks much :)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Happy 2nd Advent & St. Nicklaus Day!

I have 4 stollen in my kitchen. My house smells very almondy, with a small hint of PineSol from the wall & cabinet cleaning. Oh well.

When I was in Canada over the summer, I stopped at a German deli with my mother. They had poppy-seed filling in a can, like a pie filling. I used to sell poppy seed cake when I worked at the german bakery in Old World, and it was one of my favorite cakes. It's a LOT of poppy seeds. If a poppy seed muffin can mess up your drug screening for opiates, you'd better not eat any of this stollen if you're applying for a job.

One almond stollen is for Carolyn - no raisins or citronat or any of that. Just a 3 cups of ground almonds worked into the dough. It's really good tho :) The other one will be for Open House next week.

One poppy seed stollen is for the Open House as well, and then the other is just for our family to enjoy during Advent. Or maybe it will just be me... heh. I'm okay with that!

Friday, December 04, 2009

What's wrong in Anaheim?

Why can't the Ducks get out of the funk they're in? They are the BOTTOM of the whole Western Conference. There are a couple of Eastern Conference teams with less points but, c'mon!

Isn't anyone yelling at them? That's the way you do it in Hockey Land. That's what they need & expect.

In fact, I'll bet the kids in my classroom would benefit strongly from being on a hockey team. I can't tell you due to confidentiality what happened in my classroom this week, but I can say I'm glad this week is almost over. I'm looking forward to the weekend!! And baking stollen!!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Civil War History

Today the University of Oregon Ducks will play the Oregon State Beavers to see which team & band will go to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on New Year's Day. This is the first time in the history of the state that both main teams are playing against each other to get to the BIG prize.

Every time they play, it's Civil War, but now it's amped up to the nth degree. The whole state will be wearing either Green & Yellow, or Orange & Black today. Oh, sure, there are a couple of platypus out there (duck bill with a beaver tail), but for the most part, people will cheer one or the other.

Rose Bowl tickets were already on sale at Thanksgiving & tickets for today's game can be found selling at $500 each (at least). No one I know with tickets is selling them :P

Hopefully, no one is unintentionally driving toward Eugene, OR this afternoon - because it's gonna be nuts!

GO DUCKS! (I have to say it - my daughter's a Duck!)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Diana's episode aired again

It was on at 8:00 am this morning.

She got recognized at school in Psychology class.


I got it back on the DVR again :) It had gotten deleted last time (Lee suspects Diana...)


Saturday pictures

Tree hunt with the extended Kiesters & all. Fun was had!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friday to the Folks

On Friday, Lee & I took Connor with us to visit with Mom & Pop. Trevor & Diana both had homework to do, so we left them at Myrna & Doug's to get that stuff done.
We had a nice visit with the folks. We even got Pop hooked up on Facebook, and I'm looking forward to reading his posts :)
While we were busy with that, Connor was playing the organ for Grandma. He was actually repeating little sets of notes, and it sounded like a song - Lee & I looked at each other a little questioningly with that. Maybe our boy needs a keyboard? Hmmm.