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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas cards/postcards

Christmas cards/postcards

    I took part in a secret Christmas card exchange on Postcrossing. I sent 15 cards and will receive 15. I really like to share my postcrossing adventures with some of my students so all of my cards received up until 12/20 are posted on my office door so they can see them. Here are the ones I've received over the last few days:

This wasn't part of the Postcrossing secret card exchange but it is a Postcrossing card. I love the different shape and it is glittery too. Thanks, Maire!
 From Belarus...
From Hank in Marietta, Georgia. There is a recipe for peanut butter pie on the back.
 I love this one. It is from Russia.
 This one is 3D and is from The Netherlands
 From my dear friend Wendy in the US.
 From Russia.
    Happy Christmas Eve Day!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Crafting and Reddit Secret Santa

So, anyone who knows me will know that I'm not exactly the most artistic person. Crafting sometimes scares me. I think I just like rules- rules to tell me how to do it 1) right and 2) so it looks nice. My sons made a few things at school in art that I thought were super cute. We recreated them at home and plan to give them to some friends and family. Unexpectedly, we had a ball. It was fun for me to watch each son create and to see the way they made art their own. I think I will do things like this more often.
      These are some snowman ornaments.

 These are the ones I personally worked on. These may be my best works of art in my entire life.. lol. Just kidding... sort of.

     After the snowmen came the cupcake decorating. Timmy and I made the cupcakes in the afternoon. I frosted them and we each frosted 3. This beauty was mine.

 David uses the minimalist approach.
 Timmy doesn't.
 My favorite..

 Timmy "accidentally" unwrapped this.
 After I told him he could eat one.

 Our next project model... Timmy made this one in art.
 Matt has actually made a few modifications that we all like. Here are the new batch ready to be decorated.

Reddit Secret Santa

     Reddit was trying to break a world record for the largest Secret Santa exchange. I decided to take part. We did break the record. If you don't know what a Secret Santa is- you are matched to someone who you will be assigned to buy a gift for. Someone else is assigned to buy you a gift. I was assigned to a man from CA. Reading his profile it was obvious that I didn't know a lot about his interests. His main interest was jiu jitsu. My first idea was to get him a nice hooded sweatshirt from one of the local jiu jitsu places. I tried 5... who all ordered theirs online. I should've known that ahead of time and just ordered them online right when I was assigned but I figured the best place to get gear from a gym would be AT that gym. Live and learn.  I ended up getting him a generic Brazilian jiu jitsu t-shirt and then some straight shaving materials, which he is also interested in.  I'm really hoping he likes them.
      I received my gift today.  Here's what arrived:
Presents in a package- always good. Packages are good, period.

    Funglish is a board game. I love games. The boys and I have already played it. It's a game where you are supposed to describe a word with cards with adjectives on it and the people are supposed to guess the word. They'll get the hang of it soon. She also sent bubble wrap, which the boys also enjoyed. Thanks Reddit Secret Santa!!!!

     Alright, I'm going to head out to our family Christmas party! I will be blogging more over vacation.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Still here?

     Hello everybody. Thanks for still checking in. I know that it has been a while. I have had a long lull in my letter writing. These past few months have been full of some difficult times.  Personally, my family and I are fine but there have been major events that have impacted many of my friends and acquaintances. There was also a murder in my community that really hit everybody hard. Sometimes when events like these happen, you just wonder if what you say has as much importance as it should or if you are just being superficial. Combining the past few months with other items within the year, like the Sandy Hook Shooting and the Boston Marathon Bombing, I have been relatively quiet. I've been feeling a little more like myself lately so I figured I'd take a few minutes to make an entry on the blog.

     Last week I celebrated Thanksgiving with my husband's family. We went to my in-law's house in Boston. It was my family, 2 grandparents, a grand-aunt and grand-uncle, 2 aunts, 4 uncles, 7 cousins and my sister-in law's mother and brother in law. (Phew) This is actually small for our family. We had turkey, pork, ham and potato soup, mashed potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce,green beans, squash and some munchies. Our dessert table was just as abundant with ice cream, all kinds of pies, pastries and some delicious Oreo cookie dessert that I need to get the recipe for. We had a great time just relaxing with the family. My husband's aunt had died a few days earlier so it was sad to reflect on the loss of a dear family member, but a blessing to appreciate each other.
     I have been busy with work and with musical performances that are coming up. I had 1 performance that one of my groups sang in last week, 1 concert they still have to perform and 2 concerts that I will be performing in within the next 2 weeks. As a musician, this is not too overwhelming. I actually really look forward to these 2 concerts that are coming up. Playing this music really puts me in the Christmas mood. I also love seeing people in the community appreciating the music from the orchestra I play with. These specific concerts benefit 2 local food pantries so it is really cool to know that my talents are helping to serve some local people who are in need of some assistance. I will try to post some pictures of the concert venues, they are beautiful.
    I'm also excited to be starting Ann Voskamp's "The Greatest Gift" to read as an Advent devotional. So far, so good. 
     The kids are fine. We had a great parent teacher conference (our first) for our youngest son and still need to have one for our oldest. Both children are really excited for Christmas. They don't really care about getting gifts but they are excited to learn more about Jesus and spending time with us. I can't wait to put up our tree. Here are some pictures from just hanging out the other day. David is reading to his stuffed animal and Timmy is just reading- as always. (no complaints here)

     I'm trying to come up with some nice family traditions that we can start this year for Christmas or New Year. Do any of you have anything special you are doing, or have grown up with?  I have a few ideas but I'm not sure what I'd like to do yet. When I was little, we used to go to my Aunt Diane's house and make gingerbread houses from scratch. I used to love it but used to hate it falling apart on the way home. Since I had this tradition, I think I'd be hesitant to use the precooked, "ready to assemble" sets, but I'm not sure I have the patience to do it from scratch. I also have carpal tunnel syndrome so sometimes that makes things like decorating a little difficult.
     Ooh! I'm also participating in the Redditgifts Secret Santa 2013. We have over 100,000 people involved. I just got my match today and he is totally different than me. This is partially exciting and slightly unnerving. I look forward to find something that he'll like but I'm hoping I don't put a lot of time and effort in and then fine out that he thinks it's totally lame. I will be enlisting the help of some of my friends to bounce ideas off of. I can't wait to participate. I'm also excited to see what my Santa thinks to get me but, honestly, I'm sure I'll be happy with anything.


     Today was actually a great day. I was a little stressed when I got home so these notes and cards made my day a whole lot brighter.
     The first piece of mail was super exciting. I got a letter back from my latest soldier. Many times, the soldiers that I write to so not write back. Although I have connected to a few of them over Facebook so I keep up to date, I don't always expect a response. I figure that if I was a soldier, especially one in a war zone, and I was on duty- would I spend my free time trying to catch up with my family, trying to let them know that I am okay or would I write to a random stranger? I expect that the family will come first. If they can write, awesome- it will definitely reaffirm that my letters are making a difference, but if they can't, I get it. This is my first letter from this soldier. Ironically, I just wrote him a letter so I will add my response to it and send it out tomorrow in a Christmas card.

     The second piece of mail I got is from my penpal, Belinda, in South Africa. I love her delightful, chatty letters and I love the little Christmas card she sent with the letter.

     The last 2 things were Postcrossing cards. The first one is from Lunenberg, Germany. The second card is from Mingna in Beijing. She bought this card in Inner Mongolia. It is very different from many of the cards I have received and I like it a lot. The little boy is running around au natural so I gave him some pants. (with my luck I would be reported for inappropriate content or something!) What is it with little boys liking to run around without clothes? At least it's a global thing and not just my weird children :)  The text on the card says Harmonious.

     Alright, I think that's it for tonight. I hope to write more in December. I'm trying to give myself time to pamper myself a bit and writing sometimes calms me down. My posts will definitely not be as long as this one every day. I hope you are well and that you see the blessings in your life right now.