Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Review

picture by Giant Man Child
Blaine, WA
sunrise Dec 31, 2011
 Here is what this year looked according to the numbers. 

Number of  Posts -260 including this post
Number of  Books Read - 34 books
# of Geocaches Found - 162 caches and 3 challenges
one of my favorite photos of the year
There is nothing that this cat is going to start.
Top 10 Posts of  2011(according to my stat counter)

Skateboard Swing
Christmas Tour 2010
Ruler Wreath and Challenge
31 days to a Better Desk/Office Space
Risk in Progress
December Daily - Day 2
Christmas Tour 2011
Line design Art
Christmas Tour (2009)
December daily - Day 3

One Little Word of 2011 - ACT
This is the new addition to our family.  Tigger the puppy though not much a puppy now as he is 7 months old. His name should of been Orick, Hoover, or Dyson. We had to say goodbye to our beloved Buzz early in 2011.  He is missed.

Last Beach Day of the YEAR!

Yesterday with a rare glimpse of sunshine, Mrs Epi and I took the kids to the beach.  I think cabin fever had set in.

This past week there had been a King Tide.  A King Tide is simply the highest tides of the year. We were hoping to find some treasure from Japan.  It was cold and windy.  We stuck it out for a whole hour. Long story short, we found nothing really.  Well, I found a tile surely it is from Japan (maybe from a bathroom). The kids had a good time until their faces became frozen.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December Daily - Day 22 and Day 24

I am joining Ali Edwards December Daily.  Just doing a little catch up here.  Grandma, #1 Son, and myself cut out sugar cookies on Dec 22 but we didn't get around to decorating them until the 24th.  Everyone got in the act Grandpa, Grandma, Giant Man Child, Kids, and myself.  We even listened to Christmas Music at the suggestion of #1  Son. The Giant Man Child even made a frosted sunburned snowman in a thong.  That is a little wrong.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Top 10 Books of 2011

Yes, I am the dork that keeps a typed list of books read.
****Update, I am joining the impromptu linky at Nester too
I am joining Oh Amanda's Top 10. I read 34 books in 2011 that is the exact same number I read in 2010.  Here is the list of my Top 10 reads in 2011 in no particular order.  I found myself drawn to biographies and real life stories this year. A lot of the stories involved travel.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X Stork
The Help by K Stockett
Water for Elephants
French By Heart by Rebecca  Ramsey
My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock
Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris
City of Veils by Zoe Ferraris
The Lost Girls by J Baggett, H Corbett, A Pressner
The Good Girls's Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman
Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

I plan on joining Life as Mom's Booking it 2012. It was really fun joining a online book club and seeing what everyone else was reading as well.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

December Daily - Day 23

I am joining Ali Edwards December Daily.

I am so lucky to have my parents visiting for Christmas.  We have done so many different things.  My kids are loving spending time with them. One of the things we did was go to Museum of Flight Restoration Center at Paine Field in Everett, WA.  My Dad is really interested in older aircraft.  It was really neat to see all the work being done to these old planes by the really really dedicated volunteers.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December Daily - day 21

I am joining Ali Edwards December Daily.

It seems like this season just whizzes by.  I am trying to remind myself to SLOW DOWN and enjoy this time of year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December Daily - Day 20

I am joining Ali Edwards December Daily Project.

My kids have been enjoying having their Grandparents here.  I love that they get to spend time with them. You know you have really arrived when they make you a Mii on the Wii.  Chuckles has been teaching them how to bowl on the Wii.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

December Daily - Day 17

I am joining Ali Edwards December Daily.

DEC 17

We went on a little adventure last night.  I had read an article in the Seattle Times about the Ladder Creek Falls in Newhalem, WA.

 My parents are here visiting so we took them on a  rather long mountain drive.  IT was an adventure.We went to Ladder Creek Falls in Newhalem, WA. Seattle City Light just recently re- illuminated the falls in rainbow of light.  It was quite stunning.  The falls are lit every night from dusk until midnight.  You cross the Skagit River on a pedestrian only suspension bridge.  This was a little eerie at night. However it was worth it as the falls were really beautiful all lit up.  The falls look quite magical bathed in the light.We had the whole place to ourselves.

 JD Ross started the tradition in the 1920's and is considered the "Father of City Light". It was considered quite extravagant at the time to be using electricity to light the falls . The whole light project fell into disrepair over the years and in 2004 the lights were shut off.  Recently, Seattle City Light brought the light show back. The current lighting is LED and very energy-efficient.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December Daily - Day 14

I am joining Ali Edwards December Daily.

DEC 14
My morning kids and I played a little Christmas Game.  You had to put a plate on your head and draw these 6 things

1. Draw a line for a floor
2. Draw a Christmas Tree
3. Draw a star on top of the tree
4. Draw a fireplace
5. Draw a stocking
6. Draw a present

The idea is from Happy Home Fairy.  It was hilarious. Later we played the game with my Hubby and he cheated!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Tour 2011

I am joining the Nester's Annual Christmas Tour.  It is so great to see how everyone else decorates.  

I have a small Shiney Brite collection that I like to display on thrifted glass candle holders.  It is arranged a little different every year.  The arrangement is on top of my Curio Cabinet safe from children and cats. This year I added these jingle trees from all places - Walgreen's.  I know it is a lot of bling but I like it. 

My tribute to the movie ELF - Elf garland. It has become a tradition to make a snowflake garland. We made coffee filter snowflakes and hung them on a tinsel garland wrapped in twinkle lights.  There are some excellent directions at Mega Crafty on how to stiffen the coffee filter snowflakes. There are also beaded snowflakes and Popsicle snowflakes plus some dollar store snowflakes thrown in for good measure.

THE TREE (need I say MORE)

I am loving this snowman display by my sink. They were made by a friend. They are  simply painted 2x4's that have been dressed as snowmen.  There is a paper chain across the entire sink window.

Previous Christmas Tours

Booking it 2011 - December

I surprised myself and did quite a bit of reading this past month.  Please check out what everyone is reading at Life As Mom.  As well as the plans for 2012!

I read the Girl's Guide to Homelessness by Brianna Karp. The basic gist of the story is girl loses house and loses job.  Girl moves into late father's travel trailer and parks it in a Walmart parking lot. Girl starts a blog about homelessness. Deeper than that the book explores the definition of Homeless.  Intertwined is the story of her past with the Jehovah Witnesses and deep abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother. Parts of this book are deeply disturbing and raw.  I am going to say this read is not for the faint of heart. Brianna will challenge your definition of homelessness.  I think in our current economy there are SO MANY working poor that are just one bad situation from living in their cars or being on the street. Brianna was lucky to have a travel trailer to move into but I still consider that homeless. 

I also read two books by Zoe Ferraris - City of Veils and Finding Nouf.  They are both mysteries/thrillers set in the Middle East and give one a rare look into a woman's life in the Middle East. Find Nouf is the first in the series but I read them out of order.  I really enjoyed both of them and can't wait to read more by Zoe Ferraris.

Monday, December 12, 2011

December Daily - Day 11

I am joining Ali Edwards December Daily.

Dec 11

We spent the weekend at Nonna's.  We had fun decorating her place.

December Daily - Day 10

I am joining Ali Edwards December Daily.

Dec 10
We spent the entire weekend at Nonna's and Pappy. We really enjoyed decorating and spending time with them.  On Saturday, there was a lunar eclipse.  Nonna, Kevin, and Charlie got up and watched most of it from the deck.  As luck would have it, it was clear for the eclipse.  I watched from the bedroom window.  Later we decorated Nonna's tree.  Nonna treated us all to the musical production of Peter Pan at the Tacoma Musical Theatre.  It was really fabulous.  The boys got a light up hook and light up pirates hat.  They had a chance to join in the audience participation in the 2nd half. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December Daily - Day 9

I am joining Ali Edwards December Daily.

 Just doing a little catch-up on my project.  Above is story about the photo I chose for my Christmas Card.  The picture was taken in Pt Whitehorn Preserve near Birch Bay, WA. It was just one of many adventures we have had geocaching. We are turning into avid geocachers when the weather allows us here in the Pacific Northwest.  We use a kids GPS and a smartphone.  We are hooked on Geocaching.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Daily - Day 7

I am joining Ali Edwards December Daily.


A lot of boy energy around here.  It was an early out for both from school today.  It was also Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day which I was reminded a couple of times by #1 Son. He also coined the phrase above.  Obviously, hot chocolate is better with your Santa Hat on.  :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December Daily Day 5

I am linking up with Ali Edwards December Daily.


I had my morning crew this morning.  After we dropped off my #1 Son, we headed for a donut.  The kids were trying to embarrass me.  It was cute.

I worked a little at drawing or zentangle while I waited for my oldest to get out of school.  The little tree on the layout is a doodle. It was part of  the extremely talented Princess Lasertron's Readvent Party.  I am doing some of the prompts.  This one had to do with drawing.

My hubby emailed me a picture of the sunset.  It just so happened that I took a picture of the sunrise.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Readvent Day 5 - Drawing

I am joining Princess Lasertron's Readvent Party.  See prompt above.  I am not an artist.  I do occassionally lick to experiment with zentangle which is basically doodling.  I made some little doodle trees. 

The doodle inside the top tree is hopscotch.  I just colored it in.  I practiced and experimented while waiting for school to get out for #1Son. The second tree zentangle used as garland is echo. It was relaxing and slightly addicting.

December Daily - Day 4

I am participating Ali Edwards December Daily.


My husband participated in a Charity Pistol Match all day.  The rest of us spent the day pulling out the rest of the Christmas Decorations and playing Wii.

I am doing my layouts in PhotoShop Elements 8.0 on a 5x7 background.  I haven't played around with my digital scrapbooking stuff in a long time.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December Daily- Day 3


It was a busy day of catch-up.  My youngest went with the Giant Man Child to help set up at the range for a charity pistol meet. That left me with #1 Son.  We dropped some stuff at Goodwill and went grocery shopping.  I managed to come home to make a Mexican Lasagna for the freezer. Later in the afternoon, the boys and I decorated the tree.  The day ended with me reading "Are You Grumpy Santa Claus?" to Chuckles.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December Daily - Day 2

I am joining Ali Edward's December Daily

Day 2
Started off the morning by showing Chuckles the Christmas tree I made out of Lego's.  In about 2 minutes, he came back and showed me his better Christmas tree.  It took me about 2 hours the night before to come up with an acceptable tree.  Kids these days.

It was also Chuckles turn to open the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar.  It was a mutant alien thing, totally not Christmasy.

I had my extra kids this morning and we worked on Coffee Filter Snowflakes.  I stiffened them with liquid starch.  It worked OK.  It did make them stiffer. Directions found here.  I just re-read the directions and definitely follow the directions for stiffer flakes. By the way, I love coffee filter snowflakes so much easier for little guys to be successful at.

This evening Chuckles and I worked on the hanging up the snowflakes we made and the snowflake ornaments that we had.  Chuckles, The Giant Man Child, and Me watched ELF.  That movie cracks me up.  #1 Son isn't into movies so he hung out up in his room.

We also had a senseless shoe killing by Tigger this morning.  He ate part of  Big E's shoe.  Something isn't quite right with that dog. Honestly, I am feeding him.  He just prefers shoes, Lego's, and socks.

I ended the day reading to Chuckles.  I know he is completely able to do this by himself but he still likes when I read to him.  Sometimes, he gets a little lost in the shuffle. He actually fell asleep with the Santa hat on, too funny. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

ReAdvent Day 2 - Balancing

Check out the prompt at Princess Lasertron ReAdvent Linky Party.

The Top 3 Things I NEED to do TODAY

1. That Puppy really really needs a walk. The trainer was SO right when he said the more exercise they get the better they behave. I guess that goes for people too.  LOL Done -plus the dogs got some play time, too
Tigger and Niki

2. Get those Christmas Boxes down. I had the kids make some snowflakes and I want to hang them up. DONE

3. Watch a movie and snuggle with some kids. Maybe watch ELF and put up our snowflake garland. DONE
Start of Elf Garland

December Daily Day 1

Ali Edwards is hosting the December Daily.  I thought I would give this a shot, too.


This morning was all about the Star Wars Lego Advent Calendar.  #1 Son got to choose first.  We flipped a coin for the privledge, yesterday.  This was a surprise for them. My kids had been asking and asking for this.  I was very relucant but my Hubby, who is a much of a Lego nut as them, encourage me to buy the Lego Advent Calendar. 

A really awesome sunrise. I can't resist a good sunrise.

On the way to school, #1 Son handed me a stack of prints he made in art class - very cool.  He was so proud of his prints.  It is really cool.
We broke out our Christmas collection of books.  I read Merry Christmas, Splat.

After the kids were in bed, I experimented with coffee filter snowflakes.  It is my project for my morning kids. I was trying to make them stiffer.  I sealed them.  That didn't work.  I painted with liquid starch. That did work. They do get a little wrinkly but a bit stiffer.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

ReAdvent Day 1 - Challenging

Sunrise this Morning
I am going to attempt to do the Princess Lasertron's ReAdvent Series.  I did some of these last year.  The first day is Challenging. 

Challenging could be my middle name.  It has been a difficult challenging year.  My mother in law's breast cancer returned but she beat it.  My son was officially diagnosed with High Functioning Autism.  Our dog of 12 years passed away.  I gained a lot of weight despite my vow to lose 40 by 40.

As I was looking back through my blog archives, I realized I am pretty good at highlighting the positives in my life.  I always say I can't go down the rabbit hole of  rumination.  I have enough people in my life that do that.  It is not to say that occasionally I don't go there. 

My weight is challenging to me and at the beginning of the year I really worked on that but life got in the way.  I know intellectually what I need to do but it is challenging  mentally to say myself, " By eating that, it isn't going to change my emotions."  It is OK to feel mad, angry, lonely. I give myself  permission to feel. I AM GOING TO BE HEALTHIER.  Maybe if I put that out in the universe, I will remember that and strive for healthier.