Saturday, December 31, 2016

A look back...2016

2017 is almost here!!  How crazy is that??

A blog is a great tool to help aid in reflection over the past year!  I thought today, as the year comes to a close, I'd share some of my favorite moments/posts from this year on the blog!

One of my most favorite posts this year has to be my birthday post, 36 is... where I shared 36 fun facts about me!

Quite possibly my most favorite posts ever  is My Mixed Tape!  The MOST FUN to put together for sure!!  It certainly took me back!!!

When I'm not blogging, I'm teaching!  My Teacher Tuesday posts have been a lot of fun!  This Teacher post was definitely one of my faves!!

2016 found me face to face with some of my bloggy friends, which was tons fun!  In July I had a super impromptu visit with Jenny and in October, Deena came to visit me all the way from Sask!!  I wrote about both their visits here and here!

After a year of so much bad, so much uncertainty in the world, I had a day that restored my faith in good people and kindness, so I blogged about it...and it's one of my faves!  Read it here!

A few more things of note from this year on the blog...

The blog got a new look this year!  It funny, that after it's makeover, I blogged less and less but I love the new look!!
I've linked up lots with my bloggy buddies from The Blended Blog this Year and loved every minute of it!  And I've posted some of my own, posts over there as well!  Check them out here!

New Year's Eve... always a day of reflection and looking back.  A day when you realize all the things you've done this year...and still all the things that have been left undone!

I know this year on the blog has had it's ebbs and flows, but I just want to thank you all...thanks for always reading, commenting and loving the blog!  Tomorrow starts a new year and a new chapter...

Happy New Year!  Here's to a great year for us all!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday Favorites: The Countdown to Christmas Break!

A pair of bookend posts was all I could muster this week!  The last week before break was officially the longest ever!!  And in a few short hours, I'll be on Christmas vacation!!  So that's definitely my number one fave of the week, for sure!!  

So, so true!!

Here's a few more to take me sliding into break!

/TWO/  Mom's DIY Christmas Surprise!!
This week my mom surprised me with an early Christmas gift.  She mad my sisters and I this super cute Christmas decoration, and wanted me to have it as soon as she finished it, so she brought it over.  it is so cute.  And I know she spent a lot of time thinking about it, planning, and working on it, so it makes it that much more special.  And I'll take a random Wednesday Happy Hour with mom any day! Mom's homemade gifts are now a tradition....check out what she made us last year here!

/THREE/ Festive Leggings!
I have been living in super cozy festive leggings this week!  They're not THE leggings, but they're a bit cheaper, buttery soft and all around freaking fabulous!!  A mom at my school sells them and I was introduced to them by her at the breakfast with Santa, a few weeks ago...and now have 4 pairs!  LOL!

/FOUR/ Christmas Photo booth!
On the first day of school, I created a frame for the kids to pose with (
check it out here).  And since those pics are still up in the front hall and so very badly needed to be replaced, I thought a fun thing to replace them with would be Christmas Photo Booth pics.  I got some fabric at Jo-Ann's, colored and printed some props, and the kids had a blast posing in the photo booth on pajama day! 

/FIVE/ Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas
If posting this as a fave makes me a little bit of a loser, I DON'T CARE!!  Because I know everybody secretly watches the Hallmark Channel all season long.  And I just love it!!  A few months ago I downgraded my cable and lost The Hallmark Channel because my bill was just getting out of control! Then on December st the cost for cable rose again, so I downgraded... again!  But then, when I went to go watch something and even that channel was now blocked, so I had had enough of the nonsense!!  How could I live without some of my most favorite channels?  So I totally went back to my original package and I know I'm going to be paying an arm and a leg, but I'll deal...I just won't by so many clothes in the new year!  HA!!  Because you know what?  Cheesy Hallmark movies make me happy!!  And I have been watching them nonstop since I upgraded Saturday!!  LOL

As the Christmas and New Year Holidays draw near, I just wanted to thank you all for visiting, reading and commenting on the blog all year long!!  I know these last few months the blogs have been few and far between, but I think you for always sticking with me.

Have the Merriest of Chrsitmases...Cheers to everything the New Year brings!

Linking up with Erika and the girls today for Friday Favorites!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Mondays should be Optional....

Well this Monday hasn't been the greatest!  You know those days where nothing seems to go right and all you want to do is crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head!?!  Today was that kinda day for me!  So I thought I'd share...sometimes blogging's good to get things off your chest!

I woke up late!  And on a Monday that's just THE WORST!    I don't know why but it always seems the case that if I go to sleep early, I inevitably wake up late!  Grrrr.....

Then, I forgot something at home and I guess that's what I was thinking about when I walked into school because, as I was walking into school, I slipped on some snow and bit front of everybody.  Usually when I come in at 7 no one is in the parking lot.  Today we arrived at 7:40 and EVERYONE was arriving, so they saw me!  I laughed....and dropped my coffee!  I was more upset about that!  HA!  I joked that I'm not awake til 10 a.m.!  It's funny because I was walking up to the step and thinking I hope I don't slip on that snow mound, and then I did!  LOL

The day turned around a little when a sweet co-worker surprised me with my favorite bagel-a salted with vegetable cream cheese!!

This morning, I was kicked out of my library for picture retakes , and I couldn't go into the computer lab because there was testing, so I seemingly had no home for a bit!  So the faculty room it was...but my teacher friends who know me, know I NEVER go in there, EXCEPT to make copies!  Because, quite's gross!  LOL  But I survived.  And spent some time in there enjoying my bagel and covertly perusing Facebook and Insta on data because social media is blocked at school.

Finally, when I was allowed back in my library, my usual Monday morning resumed and I saw my 6th and 7th grade students which wasn't too bad because we are reading novels aloud.  This keeps them super interested and QUIET, which I relished in because this being the last week before Christmas break, it's really crazy town!

My day had a bit of an up kick again when a parent arrived to cover the lunch duty that I was scheduled for!  Woo Hoo.  By the time my day ended at 4:15 though I sorta felt like I had been hit by a mack truck.  So I just came home, turned on my diffuser and decided that my couch and I had a date for a few hours!

Now It's close to 10 ( I never post this late...but I will be honest here...this post might just be for me!)
I've showered and am headed to bed wishing this day to be over, and thanking God that every new day is a fresh start!

I hope your Monday was better than mine!

4 more days 'til Christmas can't come soon enough!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Friday Favorites: The Christmas Edition!

Happy Friday and Happy Almost Christmas!.  Since it's been such a long time since I posted my favorites on a Friday, I thought today I'd just share a round-up of some of my faves this holiday season!!  Because the cold weather is here, the tree is up and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

/ONE/  My New Tree!
After having a hand-me-down tree for the last few years, I decided that this year I'd get a new one.  I got a good deal on this larger tree over the Black Friday weekend, and decided I just couldn't pass it up.  It fits the space really well and I just love it.  And a big thanks to my mom, the queen of Christmas tree fluffing and bow making!  We had so much fun one night decorating the tree together!

/TWO/ Best Advent Ever\
Last year during the Lenten season, I strengthened my faith by participating in the Best Lent Ever Program with Matthew Kelly and Dynamic Catholic.  I really enjoy the program, so when I saw they also had a program for Advent I signed up. I am really enjoying the daily emails, videos and reflections that are preparing me to celebrate a more faith-filled  Christmas.

/THREE/ Christmas Festivities
Breakfast with Santa, Polar Express Day, Christmas parties and cocktails, oh my!  It's been a fun few weeks and is setting up to be an even more fun weekend!  Tonight I am hosting a small gathering of After Care Staff at my house! Being the admin of the program, I thought we should do something and figured it was a good tradition to start!  I am a little nervous, as I am so not a hostess, but think all will turn out well!  And it's Crazy Christmas sweater optional, so that's sure to add to the fun!!

SANTA!!!  I know him!!!

/FOUR/ Christmas Shopping...
I'm really excited that I am already all done with my Christmas Shopping!  I know it's the 16th, but for me this is a big deal!!  I did a lot of shopping over the Black Friday weekend and was able to get a good bulk of it done, and had been buying throughout the year...some stuff which I forgot about...HA!!  Now on to the wrapping!  Which I have yet to buy.  I will wrap  my family's gifts on Christmas morning while watching Love Actually and drinking mimosas.  It's my little Solitary Life Christmas Morning tradition!

/FIVE/ Christmas Home Tour!
On Monday I shared my home at Christmas on the blog!  Check it out here if you missed it.  It is always one of my most favorite posts of the year!

Thanks for stopping by today...Have a great weekend everybody!  Stay warm and cozy!

Linking up for Friday Favorites with Erika and the Girls!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Teacher Tuesday: The {Things I Say} Edition....

I've been back at school for a while now.  You could probably tell due to my lacking and sporadic blogging lately.  But it's going well.  And, lets be honest...the summer is a distant memory, and I'm counting down the days until Christmas break! A few times during the school year last year, I posted teacher topics on Tuesdays and called it Teacher Tuesday!  Today I'm bringing it back!

Today's Topic:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Home Tour with The Blended Blog!

Happy Monday!

How is it that we are less than two weeks away from Christmas!  That is just crazy!  My presence on the blog has been less and less as the year comes to a close but I am happy to be back today sharing a glimpse of my home at Christmas time with some of my favorite Blended Blog buddies! If you're stopping by from Sheila's blog and you've made it this far in the Hop, I thank you!  :)  I've really enjoyed getting to peek into everyone's homes today!

If you're a regular reader of the blog, you've seen my little home.  I love my home, but no more so than at Christmas!  I can't wait to show you the few new touches I put on this year!  Come on in....

My mom made this snowman last year at Christmas for each of my sister's and I!

This year I got a new tree and I'm so happy with it!  It's a foot and a half taller and really fits in the space well.  My tree is the first thing you see when you walk in the door.
I'm loving the new bow pillow I got at Pier 1, too...there are tons of cute ones!

My tree skirt and matching stocking were made by my mom.  She gave me the tree skirt the first year I had my own tree in my first apartment and then she gave me the matching stocking my first Christmas in my condo.  I know how much time they took her, but I love them and know I'll have them forever!  Just like my mom still has her handmade tree skirt form the year she was married in 1971.

Living in a condo, my place is basically one big great room!  This is the living area...

My mom made me my handmade stocking but this is my original stocking from my first Christmas in 1980.  This Christmas pillow I got on super sale last year from Primitives by Kathy.  Actually a number of my Christmas decorations are from her site, either given to me as gifts or bought on sale at the end of the season!

My nativity is really special to me, too.  It was passed down to me from my grandmother.  It is a Hummel nativity from the 1950's.  I know it might be a little unorthodox, but I believe it fits really well on my wine table!

Now that my TV is on the wall, I use my TV stand as a display place.  I switch this up a little bit every year!  This is this year's Christmas version!

The WANTED sign stays up there year round!  
Here's a close-up!

The kitchen is pretty Christmassy as well.

My corner nook!

My mom claims she worries about my wine consumption, but then she buys me awesome wine tags like that one!  HA!!  I also enjoy running my diffuser this time of year with Christmas Spirit! 

Last but not least is my Christmas card holder, which is just a ribbon hanging from my pantry!  I really like this simple, easy idea.  And it's really a great way to showcase the cards I receive.

I hope you've enjoyed my home at Christmas and loved seeing all of our TBB Homes!!  Wishing you the happiest of holidays...
  Thanks for stopping by today!

If you missed my previous years' tours, you can check out 2015{here} and 2014 {here}!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dinner and....Drinks!

I'm so excited The Blended Blog has started Tasty Tuesdays and is doing a progressive dinner blog hop!  It's so fun and different! Thanks for stopping by today! How yummy did everyone's courses sound!?!?

Was there any doubt that I would be the one providing the drinks?!?  I'm getting a reputation here I think! HA!

If I'm being honest here, I am not one to mix drinks...and by mix I mean going from one to the next to the next, mixing alcohols. Like starting with a prosecco, switching to a red, and ending the night with a martini is no bueno for me.  If I have an after dinner drink with everyone, like a Bailey's on the rocks, that's about as much as I can mix.  I like to start with a drink and stick to it.  And if I was going to pick an drink that goes with Leslie's comfort food, I'd definitely go with wine.  A bottle of wine is so fun and easy to share with your special someone or a group of friends.

I thought I'd share wines today that pair well with chicken and would totally compliment Leslie's chicken pot pie.  Chardonnay is most often paired with chicken, but a white like pinot grigio, would totally work as well.  More often than not, I'm a red girl. So I'd pair a lighter pinot noir with the Pot Pie.   I'm not your typical, strict wine drinker...if I like it, I'll drink it!  But I would admit that a lighter wine is better with Pot Pie and will help offset the deliciousness of the flavors.

I am no wine expert.  I actually most often go on the recommendations of my "wine guy" aka my brother-in-law! I call him my wine guy because he picks up wine for me at this heaven on earth he lives by...a wine warehouse with THE BEST prices, call The Wine Guy. ( We might not be able to buy wine in the grocery store here yet, but we have a Wine Guy and right now that will suffice!)

And just because I wanted to include something fun, I thought I'd share this martini.  It's good, either before the meal or after...for a treat!  If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed that my new fave is RumChata.  When I told a co-worker this fact, she told me about this drink!  It's definitely a treat...

one part rumchata
one part caramel vodka (I used salted caramel!)
a splash of cream/half and half
Shake vigorously over ice, strain into martini glass and enjoy!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Christmas Wishlist: Ponchos + Link Up!

Happy to be back posting today for The Blended Blog's Wednesday Fashion Linkup!

I've been seeing ponchos all over the place lately.  And not those silly just "wear out in the rain ponchos", but rather the "totally in style, fabulous looking sweatery" ponchos! All my coworkers seem to have one, strangers I pass on the street, my sister, etc. ! It's got me thinking.... I need to get in on this!

I never thought I would try the trend for myself because I am short and didn't ever want it to overwhelm me.  But the more I see them, the more I feel like I need one!!  As I sit her typing this in my school's freezing cold library and hear the wind whipping outside, I really wish I was wrapped up in a cozy poncho!  *Any teacher friends, who might be reading this, please don't tell the principal I blogged at school!  HA!  But, it is my lunch half hour, so I can use it as I wish!*  A poncho is probably more acceptable than my blardigan at work.  So naturally, when I see something I may like, I begin scoping out a few online!  Here are a few of my faves!

This first poncho is from one of my favorite online retailers, I've mentioned a few times here on the blog, Gray Monroe.  I like that it's plaid, and like half slit (different!) and looks somewhat fitted, as to not overwhelm me!
Check out the Issac Poncho here!

Fellow TBB buddy and blog friend, Lisa has posted numerous ponchos on her blog the past few weeks and that is one of the reasons, too, why I feel like I need one.  She posted this one here and I just loved it, but didn't pull the trigger on it.  I think I may need it though!!

This one from Old Navy looks really fun as well!  And is super affordable.  Actually all these are ponchos that won't break the budget!  So for me that's great!

It's really hard to decide!  I'm hoping the black friday sales will help me decide.  And I may include one of these on my Secret Santa list.  In my family, we buy presents for the kids and do Secret Santa with just the adults!  A poncho just might make the perfect addition to my list!

Have you tried the poncho trend?  Do you own and poncho or have on you love?  Let me know about it in the comments below!

Wishing everyone a fabulous Thanksgiving!  Be comfortable!!  LOL

Now link up your favorite Fall Fashions with us!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

Happy Tuesday, Ya'll! I know you can hardly believe that I am posting today about my favorite kitchen gadgets!  Ha!  But I am. I couldn't miss out on this blog hop with my TBB friends!!

 Now that I'm cooking more with Hello Fresh, I'm getting to know my way around the kitchen!  And I actually have a lot of kitchen faves!  I am excited to share some them with you today!  How fun were Sarah's? I have added a few of those to my list!  Thanks for stopping by from Sarah's blog!  I'm so happy to have you!

My Kitchen Aid mixer is my oldest Kitchen gadget!  Can I even call it that?  It's more like an appliance!!  And to be honest, I probably now only use it a half dozen times a year, but I got it more than 10 ago on super sale, so I absolutely could not pass it up!  And because I felt it was just something I should have! I know I'll have it for LIFE!

Apple slicer: This is definitely a fave!  Apples are a go to snack.  And since I always enjoy them with a scoop of peanut butter, I always slice them up.  This slicer is really inexpensive and easy to use, though with some apples I will say, you need to use your muscles!!  HA!
Mine has pink handles of course! :)

This Pampered Chef chopper is my most used kitchen gadget! it's quick, easy and a must have for slicing onions!  No more tears!!

My Quesadilla Maker gets a workout at least once a week!  Sometimes twice...sometimes five!  I received mine from my friend as a house warming gift when I moved into my first apartment four years ago and it's still going strong!!

Above when I mentioned that my slicer was my most used gadget, I totally lied!  How could I forget about the best gadget ever invented?!?!  MY ELECTRIC WINE OPENER!!!!!  It's my most favorite. And I know I get made fun of for having it a lot from my brother-in-law, who I consider to be a wine connoisseur, but I don't care!!!  I love it!!
What are some of your fave kitchen gadgets? Let me know in the comments below!  Now head on over to see what Lana's picked as her kitchen favorites!

Monday, November 21, 2016

5 Ways to be Better at Being Alone

I'm spending this Monday over at The Blended Blog with my post in  our Self Help series.  I figured since I spend so much time alone, I'd share how I got so good at it! LOL

Would love it if you hopped on over there today.  Thanks for the love and have a great Monday.  It's a short week...WE GOT THIS!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I'm Guest Posting Today!

While my fellow The Blended Blog Contributor and blog friend Whitney is off in CHINA (!!!!)  she asked me to guest post on her blog today!!  I'd love it if you'd head on over and give it a read!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Low Key Friendsgiving!

I can't even believe I am writing this post!  So hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner!  Am I the only one asking myself, "Where has the year gone?"

For the past two years, my two best friends and I have been celebrating Friendsgiving.  It's always at my place and always a lot of fun.  Typically, Mel cooks the turkey and Kerri and I make the apps and desserts.

After two years of hard work turkey making, Mel asked if it'd be ok if we switched things up a bit, and made something baked ziti!  Kerri and I were all for it.  Because really all that matters is that we're together. Kerri and Mel are Girl Scout leaders for Addison's troop and had a meeting on the same day, so Mel couldn't get here at her usual 11 a.m. to start cooking. And to be honest, every year we have so many leftovers! We were due for a change I suppose!!

Oh but the turkey wan't the only major change!  Chris, Kerri's husband didn't make it either!  He called to request off and was denied.  To say both he, and we were disappointed, is an understatement. So an All-Girls Friends giving it was!!

And we still had a great time!  We spent the day eating, talking laughing, dancing, hunting for turkeys, playing Turkey Trivia and making some fun crafts.  Addie and I baked cookies for dessert but I totally forgot to make the pumpkin dip and we forgot to eat Kerri's Pumpkin Bread...but we still had our fill of Pumpkin with all the beers we drank during the day!!  HA!! There were even a few super competitive rounds of Zingo to be had , too!  It was a fun day as always!  A bit different from our typical Friendsgiving, but more relaxed which was good.  After everyone left for the night. I took stock of things.  I looked around at all the food, games and things strewn about, poured myself a glass of wine and sat down to make my Grateful List, at the top of which are these girls!  And Chris, too of course!!

Some fun photos from our day!

 Turkey Trivia! 

Fun with Photo Booth Props

Turkey Hunting in full effect!  

 There's always time for a dance Party in Aunt Katie's Living Room...then we need to recharge with cookies!!!

Another memorable Friendsgiving in the books!  Until next year...

Read all about the fun we've had during Friendsgiving's past here:

Have a great week!!!