A Few Fun Writing Prompts from Mim

I discovered a new blog today.  Mim at R.S.V.P. passed along these prompts from one of her favorite bloggers and I thought it might be fun to do my own version.   Give it a try.  The words in bold are the prompts – just finish the sentences.

Outside my window the sky is dark, the air is damp and cold.  It’s been raining off and on since last night.  It’s winter in Phoenix.

I am thinking about the last few Christmas gifts that still need to be bought.  Surprisingly, I still haven’t bought a gift for the one person that I usually shop for first.  Wish me luck in finding a perfectly lovely treasure.

I am thankful for the rich full life that I have; a loving God, big family, amazing friends, wonderful job, cozy home.

I am wearing blue jeans with a pale blue blouse and my new black holiday cardigan.  The front is covered with snowflakes made of iridescent beads and sequins.  I’m loving the fact that it only cost me $1 at Goodwill even though it was brand new with the tags still on it .  On top of that I got two compliments on it from total strangers at the grocery store earlier.  I’m feeling very Christmasy!

I am remembering my dear friend Karen who passed away just weeks ago, and her precious husband and three teenagers.  Christmas will be difficult for them this year.

I am going to wrap up our last few Christmas gifts so I can deliver them on Christmas Eve.

I’m currently readingEvery Day with Rachael Ray” magazine.  Picking up tips for the holidays.  Can’t wait for some time to start reading my new book “Writing Life Stories“.  Hopefully it will help with my blog and other personal writing.

I’m hoping that the next week off work is filled with some fun projects and special gatherings, but also enough time to relax and enjoy the holidays.

On my mind…sad that our Hann Christmas gathering will be very small this year.  The logistics of getting people together in one place has been a nightmare this holiday season.

Noticing that there seem to be less houses decorated with Christmas lights this year.  Is that a sign of the slow economy or do you think folks are being eco-friendly and trying to save energy?

In the kitchen I wish I had more time to cook.  I enjoy it when I have the time, but when I don’t I like finding great food at my favorite shops, restaurants and bakeries.

Around the house are the sights, sounds and scents of Christmas.  Amy Grant is singing Tennessee Christmas on the stereo, tiny white Christmas lights are twinkling inside and out, and the magical glow of cinnamon candles are flickering in the corner.  The nativity is displayed proudly on the windowsill with the holy family, shepherds and wise men awaiting the arrival of the baby Jesus.

One of my favorite things in life is spending time with our kids and watching them laugh and play together.

From my photo archive:  Our kids – Kevin, Amy and her husband Andrew at The Stand in Encino, CA just a couple of weeks ago.


JYC – Snow! – Day 2

This year I’m participating once again in the “Journal Your Christmas” project for 2010 at www.shimelle.com.   I signed up for it last year and the cool thing about it is once you pay for the class, then you can participate for free every year afterward.

This is a class geared toward those who enjoy scrap booking, journaling and/or blogging.  “Shimelle” provides inspirational ideas for each day of the month and you may choose how you want to express yourself with the idea.  As you can see, since it’s December 2nd and this is my first post, I’m not firm about having to do the posts every day because I know how busy the month is.  My goal is to do more of these posts than last year and  I only did one or two in 2009, so the bar is pretty low.

The prompt for today was about taking pictures of the snow and since I live in Phoenix, Arizona and we may only get a light dusting of snow every decade or so, that’s not exactly possible right now.  What I will do is share a picture that I took in January when my husband and I traveled about 2 hours north to Flagstaff after a big snowstorm.  It was just gorgeous!

Thick Snow on a wooden fence

I am familiar with snow.  You see, I lived in Ohio for my first 16 years and I really love the glittery crystals.  It brings back so many memories of winters growing up.  I never had to drive in it so I’ve got a somewhat romantic view of snow.  Some of my most fond memories are…

  • Waking up on Christmas morning to a snow-covered world.  It was somehow more magical when it happened overnight at Christmas.
  • Learning about snow at school and going out to collect snowflakes with the class so we could look at them under a microscope.  Did you know that every snowflake really is different?  They are amazing works of art.
  • Waking up on a school day to lots of snow and listening to the radio to find out if the schools were going to be closed for the day.
  • When we learned that we had the day off it wasn’t long before we were out playing in it.  Building forts, making snowmen, snow angels, igloos and so much more.
  • Substituting socks for the lost mittens that should have been on our hands…sometimes adding a plastic bag over the sock to try to keep our hands dry.
  • Coming back into the house cold to the bone, stripping off all our clothes and switching them out for dry and warm ones.
  • Standing by the heater vent trying to warm up my cold red hands and feet.
  • Sitting inside the house enjoying the quiet of a snowy day.  It’s like having an extra layer of insulation all around the world.  Everything is just quieter somehow.
  • Walking down to the neighborhood outdoor ice rink where we’d skate all day.
  • Sledding on “Cardboard Hill” a few blocks from home.
  • Walking way out onto a frozen Lake Erie.

Oh how I wish I had pictures of some of those early escapades!  I really do love all the various seasons of the year and I appreciate them so much more now that I live in an area that has very little change.

How do you feel about snow?  Do you love it, hate it, or have never experienced it?

Christmas Sunday 2009

As mentioned before, we waited to do our Christmas until Amy & Andrew were there on the weekend.

Notice Shredder in one of her favorite sunny spots. Her tail kept knocking down the trees on the window sill. She’s so funny and oblivious.

Terry and I opened our Christmas Eve PJs and ornaments on Weds, but stockings and the rest of the gifts waited until Sunday. This is me in my new soft flannel pajamas, not too heavy so I can wear them longer in the year.

Amy & Andrew opened their Christmas Eve gifts on Saturday afternoon. This is Andrew’s pirate ship ornament. He really likes pirates! Amy posted a pic of the camera ornament that we gave her on her Teegan Photography blog here.

Here’s also a photo of Amy’s new pj’s and some new socks that Andrew’s mom gave her. Doesn’t she look cute and comfy? Then she’s modeling her green cardigan from Julie, her mother-in-law and her red slippers. Classic Christmas colors!

Kevin called on Sunday and we gave Amy most of the time to talk to him, since she hadn’t spoken with him in quite a while. She was excited to get to spend some time with her brother. We had time to talk to him on Christmas day, so we were happy to share. It was sad not to have him here, but at least we got to hear his voice and catch up a little with him. More to come about him in another post. We did find out that he’s in Afghanistan now, and not Iraq. We miss him!

I thought I’d show you an example of one of the tags that Terry wrote. He started the tradition of the creative gift tags and Kevin and the others have carried on the tradition. There are some standards that I always get, from Terry like: To Lady, From the Tramp, or he’ll write the name of the artist on a CD like: To Nancy, from James (on a James Taylor CD). So it’s always fun to try to guess what’s inside based on the tag. Kevin’s tags are much more random and unpredictable, but lots of fun too.

Terry was fortunate to find out that he gets a $400 reimbursement from his employer each year for any money he spends on fitness related expenses. Could be things like gym membership, exercise classes, even Wii Fit. This year he chose to buy himself 2 new golf clubs, so they were like Christmas presents, but we got reimbursed for them. Cool huh? Now he just needs to get out there and actually golf. Note how close his club is to the overhead light. Fortunately he didn’t break anything.

We all got great gifts! Way too many to list here. I especially like my digital picture frame and can’t wait to get pictures loaded and take it to work. I also like the book on how to use exposure in photography. I’ve started reading it and have signed up for an official Nikon 1-day photography class that’s coming to town. I also got permission to attend a class on Adobe Photoshop Elements during work time, since I can use that for some of my projects at work. I’m very excited about learning and using my photography more for gifts, projects, etc. this year!

Later in the afternoon I tried a new recipe for a seafood chowder that turned out pretty well. We served it in bread bowls with a green salad on the side. Mmmmm I’ll post pictures on this later.


Christmas Visits

Bits of news:

Just wanted everyone to know that we’re still alive. It’s killing me to check everyone’s blog and see how much cool stuff is being posted. I’ve just been too busy to post myself, but I know how boring it is to keep checking back to see nothing new (hint to Randy and Don).

As mentioned before, our son Kevin is home from Air Force training. His wife, Erin and their dog, Afton arrived on Dec 10th. As you can see from the pic below, Afton is a lovable dog. They taught her how to carry her dish outside to be fed. Very cute! She’s very smart and still really just a puppy at about a year old. Unfortunately smart dogs often get into trouble. A few days ago she jumped the 6-7 foot fence in our backyard when we were all gone and proceeded to run around to the brand new front door and scratch it up trying to get into the house. Kinda good news that it’s actually being replaced again due to some unrelated issues. Sad news is that the people who are replacing it were planning to use it as their own front door and now it’s scratched up. We haven’t quite decided what to do about it. Amy blogged about Kevin trying to find Afton a new home and they’ve found someone to take her in Apache Junction. They have 2 acres, another dog and 3 kids, which will probably be just about perfect to keep a smart dog like her busy and entertained. I think she’ll be happy in her new home.

Last Sunday part of our scrapping bunch got together to work and had the joy of having Erin join us. Miranda had a big project to work on, so she was plowing through. Erin has just started to scrap recently, so I let her use some of my supplies and she got several cute pages done. Linda and I were just too tired from the busy month to scrap, so we spent time looking at all the photos from her birthday party…another blogging opportunity delayed or missed.

Well, that’s all I have time for…there’s still grocery shopping, Christmas shopping, cooking, wrapping, etc. and we’re celebrating Christmas with our Perkins family tonight! Hopefully I can post tons of stuff after Christmas.

If I don’t post again before, please enjoy a Christmas filled with the love of family and friends!


Christmas tree shopping and gelato

I know that I’m really behind on blogging and there are things that have happened before this, but I decided that this is what I want to blog right now. I’ll go back and do other things, like our anniversary trip and other recent activities later.
Tuesday, Dec 12, Terry, Kevin, Erin and I finally found time in our busy schedules to go Christmas tree shopping. Since we’ve only been in the house for 2 Christmases we don’t really have a favorite spot to buy trees. We visited a few places and finally ended up at the Home Depot tree lot. Since it was only 13 days before Christmas, the trees were pretty picked over. A lady at the lot told us that they were out of Noble firs and weren’t expected to get more in at all…disappointing. We’ve bought Douglas and other types of trees in the past, but do like the look of the Noble, if the price is within reason.
We were persistent and stayed at the lot anyway, spread out and started to look at the trees. We checked out a few Douglas firs, all of which were very flat on at least one side and hard to picture what they would look like IF the branches fell back in place. Erin was poked in the eye by one of the needles, which REALLY hurts! You’ll notice in the picture of the three of them that it made her eyes water until the lot guy gave her some eye drops.
After some searching, Terry saw what looked like a beautiful Noble fir! How could that be? Well, upon further examination we realized that it was TOPLESS! You can see from the picture that the top foot or 18 inches was chopped off. Besides that glaring flaw, it was fresh and beautiful. So we gathered around and laughed at it. For anyone who knows Kevin, you know that he has a tender heart for the underdogs and the helpless, hopeless ones of the world and this was no exception. Somewhat joking and somewhat serious we all stood there wondering how we could top it off and give this headless tree a home. Several ideas surfaced, but we were still laughing about it when the lot guy joined us.
Lot guy: “So you’re looking at my topless tree huh?”
Us: “Yeah” (laughs all around)
Lot guy: “How about if I make you a deal? That tree would normally be $58. How about if I give it to you for $20.”
Terry: (more laughs, but considering the money he’d save) “Hmmm…I don’t know…it doesn’t have a top. What do you think guys?”
Kevin & Erin: “I’m sure we could figure out something for the top. How about a bird and nest or something?”
Nancy: Are you kidding?
Lot Guy: “O.k. how about if I give it to you for FREE?”
Now he’s talking Terry’s language!
Terry’s sold on the price, Kevin and Erin are sold on the Charlie Brown factor, so everyone looks at me…they know I get the final say because, after all, I’m in charge of the decorating and I’m not sure this tree is really salvageable.
Imagine the look your kids gave you the first time they asked for a kitten…
Long pause…
“…O.K. fine. We can get it. It’ll make a great story for my blog and besides if it really doesn’t work, we’re not losing anything but our time.”
So once we had our “special” tree secure in the car, we decided to head for The Gelato Spot, (the dessert lounge of Italy) my new favorite place, to celebrate our great find.
If you haven’t been to one fo these places, you HAVE to go! It’s amazing stuff! Much better than ice cream!
The funny thing is that when we were there, I was taking pictures and the girl behind the counter asked, “Are you from out of town?”
It was then that Kevin decided I should be called the “Tourist of Life”. Blogging and Scrap-booking will do that to you. It’s amazing how you look at things differently when your’re thinking with the perspective of capturing memories. What fun!
So after we enjoyed our gelato, we headed home to set up the tree.

Check out the picture of Terry when we were decorating the tree. We don’t remember what was wrong but there was obviously something that he didn’t like. He got over it though.

Erin had a great idea to put silk poinsettias at the top of the tree to hide the missing piece. We also interspersed some others throughout to balance it out and I must say, with the lights and decorations, it looks beautiful! What an awesome find and fun, creative solution!