Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shabby Apple New Year's Sale!

In honor of the After Christmas Shopping (my personal favorite), Shappy Apple is offering an extra 20% off their SALE SECTION AND FREE SHIPPING!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What I Wore--Red and Green

I've always loved the holidays, but being around 6-year-olds really amplifies this love to a whole new level--I just LOVE Christmas! So, even though we are still a few days away, I've been trying to go with green and red schemes each day--which I find to be somewhat of a challenge, but doable none the less. So, here is one of my various Christmas ensembles:

Complete with a holiday-themed flower ring--it was an early Christmas present I made for myself. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Sweets #13--Christmas in the Heart

This week I had the opportunity to see A Christmas Carol at the Hale Center Theater--and it was just wonderful! The company, of course, was wonderful, but the show itself was just fabulous--I loved it! Of course, I have always been a fan of The Muppet's version of the story, so at times I can be a bit skeptical about other renditions, but this one was quite enjoyable. I later found out that the drama teacher at my brothers' school was Ebenezer Scrooge, and Mr. Fezzywig was one of my high school seminary teachers, which made the show that much more entertaining. :) 

Anyhow... I just love the spirit of Christmas the importance of keeping it in the heart not only during the holidays, but all year long--so, with that said, I encourage all of us to apply Scrooge's lessons every day in each of our own lives--because, let's be honest, it will just make life that much better if we do, because at the very heart of it, Christmas really does illustrate what this life is all about. :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Sweets #12--A Little Bit More

What I love about first grade: CHRISTMAS!! There is no Hum-Bug or Scrooge on the planet that could resist the urge to smile when surrounded by 20 first graders filled to the brim with Christmas cheer. The second we got back from Thanksgiving Break it was Christmas to them--EVERYTHING IS CHRISTMAS!!--it's a blast for sure. I'm SOOOOOOOOOOO ridiculously excited for Christmas now! You see, Christmas through the eyes of a 6-year-old is the best kind of Christmas there is, hands-down. :)

So, last week as we celebrated Christmas in our little class, the kids wrote their letters to Santa; since it was a writing activity (don't worry, we are still learning, even with the hype of Christmas surrounding us), I had to read and check off all the kids' letters. This one cracked me up:

Dear Santa,

I hope you have a Merry Christmas! This year I'd like a Lalaloopsy or a camera or a puppy or new Christmas tree or a panda Pillow Pet or an Ipad or a new dress or a necklace or a trampoline or I would really like a panda Pillow Pet because I already have the puppy Pillow Pet...

This continued on for quite some time, but I'll skip ahead to the best part--at the end of her letter, she had written then following:

I'm giving you a dollar this year.

When I inquired about the dollar, she explained, "Mommy says that Santa is really poor this year, so I'm giving him a dollar to help out."

AWESOME! That totally made my day--even a 6-year-old is aware of what's going on to a point, and is aware that her Christmas may be a little smaller this year, but isn't discouraged by that fact, and is still enjoying it to its fullest just as she has every other year. I laughed as I continued reading pages and pages of Christmas gift requests, until I got to one of our students--now, this kid and I have been struggling recently. He's not a bad kid, but the past few weeks he has ignored anything and everything any teacher says--he refuses to do any work, and just pouts in the corner. I've been worried about him, because he's not always like this, but then again I figure that every kid handles the excitement and anticipation of the holidays in their own way, and maybe this was how he showed it.... but then I read his letter--it was the shortest one in the class, so I thought he was just trying to get out of the assignment, but when I talked to him he very sincerely explained that he really only wanted one thing:

Dear Santa,

I like your reindeer, Rudolph is my favorite. I would please like a blanket for Christmas. Thank you.

All he wanted was a blanket--not an Ipad or three pages of ridiculous 6-year-old requests, just a simple blanket. This boy, as I have come to find out, is the middle of several young children, in a family who is not at a financial high point. One day for Show-and-Tell, he brought in a new coat and proudly displayed it to the class, explaining that he had gotten it from the Bishop's Storehouse (a welfare program of the LDS Church). He was so excited and so proud of his new jacket, but it broke my heart--no 6-year-old should have to face the harsh  realities of life, at least not for a few more years, but here this little boy does every day and doesn't ever complain. And all he wants for Christmas is a simple blanket to keep him warm! It made me, once again, realize that Christmas isn't about all the decorations or finding the perfect gift for that special someone--not that those things are bad, I revel in them every year--but at the heart of it, Christmas is, well, about something more.

In the words of the wonderful Elder Jeffrey R. Holland,

As happens so often if we are not careful, the symbols can cover that which is symbolized. In some of our lives the manger has already been torn down to allow for a discount store running three-for-a-dollar specials on gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
I do not feel—or mean this to sound—like a modern-day Scrooge. The gold, frankincense, and myrrh were humbly given and appreciatively received, and so they should be, every year and always. As my wife and children can testify, no one gets more giddy about the giving and receiving of presents than I do.
But for that very reason, I, like you, need to remember the very plain scene, even the poverty, of a night devoid of tinsel or wrapping or goods of this world. Only when we see that single, sacred, unadorned object of our devotion—the Babe of Bethlehem—will we know why “tis the season to be jolly” and why the giving of gifts is so appropriate.
It is for this baby that we shout in chorus: “Hark! the herald angels sing Glory to the newborn king! … Mild he lays his glory by, Born that man no more may die: Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.” (Hymns, no. 60.)
Perhaps recalling the circumstances of that gift, of his birth, of his own childhood, perhaps remembering that purity and faith and genuine humility will be required of every celestial soul, Jesus must have said many times as he looked into the little eyes that loved him (eyes that always best saw what and who he really was), “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3.)
Christmas, then, is for children—of all ages....
"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! 'Maybe Christmas,' he thought, 'doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!"
(Elder Holland's excepts come from an address given to the Religious Instruction faculty at Brigham Young University, December 12, 1976; as well as from Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, New Year: Random House, 1957).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What I Wore--Pleats

This is one of my FAVORITE dresses--I know I say that a lot, but it really is. :) I love this dress because I made it from a ridiculously marked down bolt of clearance fabric (nothing beats clearance).


I also love it because it makes me feel classy, especially the pleats along the waist--I just love pleats!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Memories

I was very blessed to grow up in my Great-Grandma's home and live under the legacy of one very AMAZING woman. Many stories circulate around her life, including memories of how she painted her front window every Christmas--every Christmas was a different depiction surrounding the nativity, and each one was as beautiful as the one before it. My Grandpa asked me to paint the window this year, and I was super excited yet rather terrified--how could I live up to such a legacy? But, let's face it--I'll do anything for my Grandpa. <3 So this week I went to work...

and after three days of painting (that window was a little bigger than I anticipated), I finished! Now, I know it's not the masterpiece my Great-Grandma could produce, but I have a few years to catch up. :) For this year, here it is!

and yes, I acknowledge the pumpkins lining the stairs to the door--we are quite festive at my house. :)

and.... at night time!

Let the Christmas Season begin! :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

The First (Grade) Thanksgiving

What I love about first grade: HOLIDAYS! I wish adults celebrated like kids do, because seriously--how much fun! For Thanksgiving the kids all dressed up like pilgrims and we had a Thanksgiving Feast!

My little pilgrims, singing their lovely holiday songs. Carolyn, I posted this especially for you--enjoy. :)

"Thanksgiving comes to us out of the prehistoric dimness, universal to all ages and all faiths. At whatever straws we must grasp, there is always a time for gratitude and new beginnings." 
~J. Robert Moskin

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I am Thankful...

So, the weekend before and week of Thanksgiving, I found myself glued to  a sewing machine, embroidering logos on these shirts for Timpview's Marching Band Trip to Hawaii (personally I think my mom and I should have gone as a reward for doing all those shirts--130 shirts by the way, front and back, in only a few short days--be impressed).

Monday night we didn't go to bed--it was AWFUL--staring at an embroidery machine that long does things to the mind... anyhow, Tuesday morning I debated about calling in sick to work so that I could stay and help my mom finish the shirts--I know she could have used the help, but I needed to get out of the hosue for a few hours (it was only a half day at school), and I felt bad leaving the kids on their last school day before Thanksgiving. When I got to school, I seriously doubted my decision--the kids were OFF THE WALL! Holidays do that to first graders, I'm afraid it will only get worse until Christmas is over, but more on that later... I was about ready to cry from lack of sleep and hyper-active 6 year olds. Then something miraculous happened...

The kids had to write a page about what they were grateful for--most papers consisted of things like "I am grateful for chocolate," or "I am grateful for Recess," or "I am grateful for Christmas and presents and candy," you know, the important things like that. I had to go through and grade their papers, which allowed me to discover these lovely things:


And suddenly it was all worth it. This is why I love my job. <3