Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What Christmas looks like at my house

Matching PJ's thanks Grandma
before the creatures were stirring

oh Sing Star, how I have wanted to play with you.

"come on, what does tearing paper have over ME?"

notice what the box says, I'll tell you if it works.

"I can't believe I actually got it!"
unlimited hand held gaming, it must be Christmas!

"thanks for my presents daddy, your the best!"

"new food bowls, cool"

the weather outside was frightful/delightful depending on who you asked.

almost too cute to eat.

mmmmmm... homemade wassail

curling up with a new book

belting it out with sing star
Bella, "why in the world did I follow those kids?"

the best part about playing in the snow sometimes is drinking hot chocolate till you warm up again.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Way to go Swimmers!

So for my family that I used to email before I started blogging, I thought you might like to know how Kali's team did at District. Congrats are in order for the girls for taking 3rd place. And our hats are off to the boys for walking away with the 1st place trophy! (well ok, they didn't just walk off with it they did earn it!) And as proud parents we are so excited that Kali did well enough on her backstroke that she helped contribute points for that girls trophy. Keep up the good work.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hope you have a Coat!

I just looked at the weather forecast for the next week and we have SNOW, SNOW and more SNOW! I wanted to share some pictures that went along with the weather and just look what jumped out at me. OK I know you don't see any snow. But you can feel it coming. That's exactly how I'm feeling as I sit here at my computer listening to the 50 mile an hour winds try to blow my windows out. Brrrrr, I swear I can feel a draft as my windows rattle. This does nothing to entice me to get to the post office to mail the last of my Christmas packages. Alas I must go. Hope this post finds you warm and cozy and enjoying some of your favorite Christmas music!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who knew?

Really this is not rhetorical. Who out there as ever heard of (or used) a Light keeper Pro? It is dubbed as "the complete tool for fixing lights"... Christmas lights that is. You know the kind you test before you hang from the eves of the 2nd story of your house. The same ones that work perfectly on the ground, but somehow get stagefright once they're hung. Or what about the ones on your artificial Christmas tree... yes those beautiful little gems twinkling nicely that come already attached to the tree? Those are the kind of lights I'm talking about!
Let me start at the beginning. Around here I am the one who strings up the lights. Every year I replace at least one whole string because they stop working. Being the planner that I am I buy at least 1-3 boxes of lights each year when they go on clearance, so I'm always ready for the next year. Well somehow this year 3 out of 4 of last years were not working. So I open brand new box #1, NOT working (whoa, doing the math very slowly, I realize that I will be short a string and thus unable to complete the task at hand) grumble, grumble. Plug in brand new box #2 ... NOT working. HUH? maybe my outlet just freaked out on me, try another outlet... still not working. Quickly grabbed 3rd new box and luckily they worked. So recap.. of the seven strings before me only TWO of them are working. The thought of tossing 5 strings of lights into the trash makes me sick to my stomach. (we are talking about the icicle ones, that are really heavy and take up lots of space) Oh well what else can I do, they're junk and must be disposed of. There is no way of fixing them, I'm not an electrician.
Fast forward 2 days now we are assembling the tree that we bought 2 years ago. I plug it in and stagger in utter shock and disbelief as only 3 branches light up. What the HECK, doesn't anything last these days? Shake the tree... nothing. Shake harder... *thinking choice words I am careful not to utter*... still nothing. Think about crying, decide not yet, there must be something else I can try. Start checking fuses with some gadget that tells you if they are good or not. They are all fine. Decide I can't deal with this right now, try again tomorrow.
Next day Anthony spends almost an hour trying to figure out what the problem is. No luck. Repeat. Repeat again. *thinking more choice words*
In desperation I try surfing the web for an answer. A few threads about removing the "white safety bulb" that will render the whole string useless. Then low and behold I started reading testimonials about this lightkeeper pro gizmo. Sounds magical so I scoff and look for something useful. More about this gizmo. I decide I'm going to try and remove the "safety" bulb, what could it hurt? Well this bulb does not come out, so I get the pliers, I will win. Bulb shatters, micro shards of glass everywhere. Wow this is not what I had in mind. Still have to fish base of bulb out. I won. Now I put a new bulb in and ... nothing. I am now ready to illuminate the tree with real candles, in hopes of a grand finale to that blasted tree. I look out the window and wonder how none of my neighbors seem to have this problem. Disgusted I go to bed. In the morning I decide I am desperate enough to try this lightkeeper pro thingy. Four stores later and lots of strange looks, I am back on the web trying to find all possible stores that carry them. Actually at Lowes the guy that puts up all their Christmas decor said he uses it every year and has never had to replace a string of lights since he started using it. Now I must have one. At last 1 store had one in the return bin and it looked like it had been on hold and not actually returned. I had Anthony pick it up on his way home from work and start right away. In less than 1 hour all our lights were back in working order! *I think I really heard the Hallelujah Chorus at this point*
So now fess up, who knew? Have you all been using one for years?
P.S. in very nontechnical terms it works like this: lights quit working when a bulb goes out... I know we have the "constant on" type too which is why it is so confusing. A switch thingy inside the bulb is supposed to stay open to allow the current to pass through and illuminate the rest of the lights but it often times gets stuck causing random spots to be out. Then I throw them away thinking it must be the wiring. WRONG. This lightkeeper pro plugs into an empty bulb spot (remove the bulb) and while it is still plugged into the electricity, you pump the trigger and this "opens" all the switches back up. Miraculously all lights come back on except ones that the bulbs are actually burnt out. I was soooo AMAZED after all these years of replacing the whole string that there was something out there to fix your lights! That's why I was wondering if I was the only one out of the loop, and vowed to share my knowledge. Now the "white safety bulb" is a whole other thing but I was trying not to bore people. But let me know if you need this info because I will tell all.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

At your request :-}

Thanks Lisa, yes it was time for a new post. And you have inspired me, so I hope you enjoyed a few shots of my favorite neighbors... and be patient your Christmas gift this year just MIGHT iclude some truffles! (Whenever I finish all my Christmas orders that is.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Don't cha want one?

Either a lens like mine or one of my awesome Oreo truffles... Yes I could resist on longer and had to play with my new toy. I also had to bring something homemade to a Christmas party last night. It was a party for girls only so I didn't think it was fair to ask Anthony to make it for me. So thanks Costco for handing out recipe books to everyone who came shopping on black friday, because this is where I found my inspiration. Even someone who doesn't like to cook will occasionally be motivated to follow a recipe just to taste the final product. I have weakness for truffles (thanks Mom) and with only 3 ingredients this seemed like a task I could handle. The best part was that they were the MOST talked about treat at the party! Nobody could figure out what they were made of and of course no one expected me to be the contributor. It was soooo much fun. To explain the other photos with this post, my lens is made for low light conditions. So I had to test it with the outdoor decor that I have just put up. These shots are with available light only and hand held (no tripod). I'm not disappointed :-}