We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...We need silence to be able to touch souls. --Mother Teresa

Thursday, December 31, 2009


I always find this a tough day...do I look back (and over self-reflect) or do I look forward (and over self-reflect)?

Looking back....
This was another good year for the Hays Crew.

Truth be told, every year is a good year.  That's just how we roll.

It's simply the way we were raised.  Our moms are the kind of women whose strength and guidance continue to lead us.  Put your feet on the ground one at a time, say a prayer and go out into the world.  We are very lucky that both of these women continue to grace us with their presence here on earth.

When two nerds mate, this is what you get....

I am afraid to blink.  Didn't they look like this....

just last year?  NO?  I suppose not.  But in my mind, they do and I will forever look like this.....

No.  Really.  Seriously. 

Looking forward...

2010 will be a year much like the other 23 years have been....Truth be told, every year is a good year.  That's just how we roll.

New Year's Resolutions?  Maybe.  I like to think of them as 'things to practice'.  I have some left over from last year....sewing, scrapbooking, and learning to crochet.  Coach always has the same resolution.  Don't ask.  Suffice it to say that I think every man who has a wife has the same resolution.  

We do have some things to look forward to....CG will be 20 in April.  Frick and Frack will be 16 in May.  Time marches on.

Don't blink.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Random Dozen

1. Do you find it gross to share drinks with family? Friends?
Um.  Yes.  I do not share drinks.  Or straws or forks.  Ick.

2. What have you learned this year? (You didn't see a question of that weight coming, did you? At least not for #2.)
I really do not like grown ups.  WAIT.  I already knew that about myself.  OK.  I will man up on this one.  

I have learned that I can write for fun.  Even if nobody else is reading what I write, I enjoy writing.  And I might be funny.   

3. When do you dismantle the Christmas decorations?
New Year's Day.  

4. Something you wish to accomplish before the end of 2009 is:
A clean house.  Totally clean house.  Not just the rooms that don't have doors.  

5. How do you feel about winter (after Christmas)?
It sucks.  I hate winter.  I hate cold.  I hate cold.  And January takes FOR EV ER to get over....mainly because my birthday is in February and I do love my birthday.

6. Have you participated in after-Christmas sales?

7. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?
Yep.  Homemade egg rolls, 3 Stooges marathon and a few games with the family.  

8. Is there anything special awaiting you in January?
Nothing comes to mind right now.  

9. If your life this year was a movie, what category or genre would it be? (Romance, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Suspense, Farcical, etc.)
A romantic comedy.  

10. How much time per day do you spend blogging? Please do not lie. I will know.
Actual blogging on my blog...30 to 60 minutes.  Blog stalking?  Too much.  

11. Who runs your household?
The dog.  

12. Share one hope/dream for 2010.
 Gee.  This is tough.  Just one.  I dream of being debt free. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

10 Things I Know For Sure

1.  If it sounds like a fart, and it smells like a fart, it's a fart.

2.  I hate winter.

3.  I really like warm starch with melted dairy.

4.  Christmas break 2009 is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too short.

5.  I never want to see ham again.  Who thought a 20 pound ham would be just enough for 8 people? 

6.  What goes up must come down.  Dang Christmas treeS. 

7.  Shopping is the stupidest sport ever invented.

8.  Coffee and a newspaper is a great way to start my day.  If my children are still sleeping...even better.

9.  Cancer stinks eggs.

10.  Laughing out loud is good for the soul.  Belly laughing until you cry...priceless. Just sayin'.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I hate to shop.  I have never liked to shop.  I have always been an oversized person.  As a child, I was 3 and looked 5.  And when I was 8, I needed a size 5 shoe.  By the time I hit 6th grade, size 10 shoe and by November 1980, I was 5'11 and needed a size 11 shoe.  Oh, and my feet were like skies--thinthinthin.  At that point, so was my butt. 

Therefore, shopping wasn't any fun because it was nearly impossible to find ANYTHING that fit.  

As a youngster, my mom and my grandma made most of my clothes.  They were amazing seamstresses.  And I was picky.  I did not like jeans.  I still do not like jeans.  I think it stems from needing a 36 inch inseam and now that I am quickly approaching being as wide as I am tall...well, you get the picture.

Anyway, I told you all of that to tell you this.....Today I went shopping with my children.  We usually go once over Christmas and today was the day.  And now I am resting. 

Sales clerks were slow and not so friendly....nothing was too crowded....and generally there was a 'it's the Monday after Christmas' feeling about the world. 

LT purchased a 32G iPod touch. 

I bought socks.  And a book.  And lunch.  And $182 worth of crud at that store-that-pisses-me-off-on-a-regular-basis.  Gee.  If only I had bought underwear, my day would be complete.

But the girls.  The girls bought.....



Cowboy boots. 

College Girl actually bought 2 pair....

Of course, they are just alike but one pair is brown and one pair is black.  I am extremely jealous.  Since she is unable to make decisions, this didn't take a few moments.  It took FOREVER, but was worth it to see her parade around in them once we finally got home. 

Frack bought these.....


If these aren't the coolest boots I have ever seen in my lifetime.....I am sooooo jealous.

And yes.  She wore them with her sweatpants.  Only she can pull that look off.  Just sayin'. 

The Music of My Life

Well.  I do love George Strait. 

I have seen him in concert several times.  Really.  If you ever get the chance to see him...take it.  And prepare to be in a spot pretty close to heaven.  I would go again.  And again. 

He just sings.  Oh.  And wears a cowboy hat and wranglers.


This song brings back many memories...just sayin'. 


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Punch

or cranberry punch.  That's what the recipe is actually called--cranberry punch.  I call it holiday punch because that is the only time of the year I make it...the HOLIDAYS.  And I drink it and I lovelovelove it.

Ingredients:  2 bags of fresh cranberries, 4 quarts of water, 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of red hots, 12 whole cloves (got three count'em 3 jars in my cabinet--don't ask me why), 1 can of frozen orange juice, and 1 can of frozen lemonade.  THIS MAKES A CONCENTRATE. 

Start by putting the cranberries into 2 quarts of water. I use hot water--almost boiling.  Really.   Get a good boil on this mixture.  The cranberries will start to pop and pop and begin to cook down.  The kitchen will be filled with a lovely aroma. 

Meanwhile, I put the other 2 quarts of water--again, I use hot water--in with the red hots so they can begin to dissolve.  Add the cloves at this point.  This is kind of a time saver.  Did you know that red hots are mostly sugar?  First two ingredients are sucrose and corn syrup.  Anyway, let them sit. 

I have this strainer system I have created.  You will need your own system but you MUST have a strainer of some sort.  And a fairly large bowl that can take boiling sugar. 

As the cranberries cook down they will start to look like this: 

After they have cooked down pretty good, pour the mixture through the strainer.  It's kind of hot, watch yourself.  If you are delicate, you could burn yourself.

Now pour the red hot mixture and 2 cups of sugar into the pan and get a good boil on it.  You will have to stir it because it is sugar.  And it won't take long.

This is your bowl of cranberry juice.  Isn't it pretty?  But if drop any on the kitchen floor, prepare to mop.  And mop some more.  If you step in it, your shoes will be sticky for days.  Days, I am telling you.

I keep the cranberries 'dripping' over a glass measuring cup while my sugar mixture is cooking.  I kind of smash them and smash them until most of the juice is strained through. 

Once the sugar has dissolved, add the orange juice and lemonade.  Give it a quick stir. 

At this point, discard the cranberries.  Strain the sugar, clove, oj and lemonade mixture through to the measuring cup.  Trust me.  You will want to strain this mixture at least twice.

I then put the strainer into the cranberry juice and then strain the sugar mixture through again.  I am not a fan of pulp.  Some people like it.  I do not.  Strainstrainstrain is my motto. 

This is what the finished product will resemble.  Remember, THIS MAKES A CONCENTRATE.

I store the Holiday Punch in canning jars.  When I make it, it makes 5 quarts.  Which is really 10 because you mix this 1/2 punch, 1/2 water.  And heat it up.  It is a wonderful warm drink on cold winter nights. 

I would suggest using a funnel to pour the punch.  Less messy.

I pour (sometimes straining a 3rd time) the punch back into my glass measuring cup and then I pour into the jars.  Women of a certain age aren't as strong as they used to be.  Or as accurate.

Remember that this MAKES A CONCENTRATE.  If you use one cup of punch, you need one cup of water.  Store the jars in the fridge until ready to use.  I heat it in the microwave and add hot water. 

I basically am the only person in my family who enjoys this punch.  The girls sort of like it cold, Coach is iffy at best and LT is totally out.  Can't stand it.  The girls made it into slushies earlier in the week--but didn't like it that way, either.  Coach grossed us all out when he added full sugar ginger ale to his instead of water and drank it.  He liked it a lot. 

I don't care that I am the only one who enjoys Holiday Punch.  I am worth it.  Just sayin'.

P.S.  I attempted to post this on the Tuesday before Christmas.  And on Wednesday.  And on Thursday.  And on the Saturday after Christmas.  Blogger and I were the 'outs'.  I ended up deleting and starting completely over this morning.  I hate it when that happens.........just sayin'.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

This is what we woke up to on Christmas morning.....

and ended up staying home.  We missed our KC family GREATLY...Father Ed's mass, Chloe's first Christmas, Uncle Tim's hugs and ham, Aunt Lisa's really awesome table and and and I could go on, but the gist of the deal is...we were at home.  And that was good, too.  It seems as though my sinuses have decided to wreck havoc on me and I was glad to be able to rest on my heat pad and take it pretty easy. 

The kids found a recipe for homemade pretzels and made them.  They were pretty good warm...cold took a little more chewing.  They had a great time!

We had cheesy potato soup and chicken dumpling soup.  Frack and I actually created this recipe and it tasted pretty darn good.

I have been pretty amazed at my children's cooking knowlege...it seems as though they have inherited my love of recipes and cooking.  It does my heart good to know that they can cook from scratch.

Frack attempted to make taffy on Christmas Day afternoon.  I helped her with the recipe and we talked about the whole thing before she started.  Her sister, you know the one who goes to college, was her assistant and I think the Dad might have been involved.  If you hear the words, 'IT LOOKS LIKE HAIR' you might want to pretend you are sleeping when you are invited to try the hair, I mean taffy. 

After some consultation with her Grandma Cindy

and several cookbooks later, she attempted taffy again today.  She assured me that it costs almost nothing to make taffy.  But what do you do with blue hair, I mean taffy?  Anyway, this time she got her taffy.  Her dad and I were pullers and I must say that we did a mighty fine job.  More on this adventure a little later.


So my mom, my Uncle Tom and my brother came to our house Saturday for Christmas.  This is what Scotty did the entire time he was here: 

Which is exactly what his nieces hoped he would do while he was here.  He did take some time to play a game of 'Oh Hell' with me to refresh my memory on the rules, but right back to the puzzle.  When we were kids, Mom would keep a puzzle set up all winter long.  Scotty could sit for hours and hours working on the puzzle.  I am a puzzle grazer not a puzzle sitter.

My mom brought us a wonderful gift......

And...yep. Matching pants.

You cannot imagine the pleasure I felt when Frack opened up Salthawk donned clothing.  And then College Girl.  And then Frick.  And then my husband.  Oh the pleasure!  He is constantly giving me grief over being a Salthawk.  At Thanksgiving, my girls were looking through my old Allegeroo's and discovered that the pep club was called, 'the Briny Birds'.  They have given me so much crap over the Briny Birds--I have determined that they are just jealous because they aren't members of a cool pep club like the Briny Birds.  Nor do they have a cool mascot like a Salthawk. 

And then when my husband had to put on the Salthawk shirt (he drew the line at the pants) for a picture--one would have thought he was going to wither up and die.  He looks good in blue and gold, don't you think?  Maybe it was the State Champion part he was shuddering about...

Lots of laughing, eating and napping have gone on at the Hays House.  I could get used to this...
just sayin'.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

O Holy NIght.....

So it's Christmas Eve......take a few moments to enjoy those around you.  Find the blessing in each person and tell them!  Merry Christmas.....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ahh....The Best of Times

The memories all came flooding back.....I loved this commercial when I was a kid and we only had 3 channels!  We all knew this song and would sing it at recess over and over and over.  That's when we had real recess--you know--a hugongous expanse of asphalt covered with sky high slides and monkey bars and totally illegal merry-go-rounds.

We lived in perfect harmony.  Just sayin'.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


This is a classic...from my childhood....and waywayway before. 

You know when I hear these 'classics' I am instantly transplanted to that time in my life.  The beautiful silver tree, Grandma Hillbilly's, Santa's Toyshop on Grandma's miniature TV in the sewing room and Christmas programs at school.  So many things flood my mind.....

I hope my children have memories to carry them through a lifetime...just sayin'.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Yep. This is classic...I lovelovelove it. Just sayin'.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Queen of the Court

Yep. Someone put her name in the box for a $1 and out of the stands she came.....and she rocked the court! Her people can be so proud....she was an excellent sport and her kids were so excited! I had to watch several times to catch the family in the background cheering her on.

Oh, and Coach says way to make the Dotte proud! You go, girl!


After an extremely exciting Tiger win last night....I am up and doing laundry this morning.  I am the only one up and it is so quiet in the world. 

Quiet is a wonderful blessing. 

6 days until Christmas.  I have bought 2 gifts.  People freak out when I tell them that....Why?  I am not freaked out.  In fact, I am surprisingly calm.  (I am more freaked over the fact that I didn't vacuum mid-week)  I have to go with Mrs. E on this one.  Read it, she is a wise woman. 

A friend of mine posted this video on her facebook page and I thought I would share with you.  Have a wonderful Saturday...take some time to enjoy some quiet in the world.  Just sayin'.


Thursday, December 17, 2009


WOWWOWWOW.  This is a pretty amazing group to listen to....well, and they don't hurt your eyes, either.  Once I started watching/listening to them on YouTube it was pretty clear I could easily become addicted to them.  Thanks to Mrs. E for the tip on these guys!  She saw them in concert--lucky girl!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh. No. You. Didn't.

Oh. But. I. Did. 

Yep.  Did you have any idea that Wham! had a Christmas song AND a video.  I just couldn't stop myself. 

It's worth watching.  Seriously.  I love the 80's.  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Her clothes rock! I just love Doris Day--isn't she the best? And what awesome hair she always had...kind of like someone else you know. Just sayin'

Monday, December 14, 2009

Didn't He Just Win...

..Dancing With the Stars? Who knew? Really.

This video isn't so hot..this lips don't match up with the singing. It's kind of hysterically funny--sort of like watching Chinese movies that have English dubbed over the top of them.

I do miss TV shows that were good, clean fun.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Silent Night

I loved the muppets and I probably watched it on TV when it originally aired...Just sayin'.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Who Knew?

Dean the Man Martin. Who knew?

Friday, December 11, 2009

3 Things

 Sugar Cookies

Today I did an incredibly crazy thing.  My class made sugar cookies from scratch.  Yep.  SCRATCH.  We used 10 sticks of butter, 10 eggs, 10 cups of sugar and 20 cups of flour.  Baking powder, salt, and vanilla.  Hand mixers, rolling pins, and cookie cutters.

Can I just say....MY CLASS ROCKED!!  It was a pretty amazing day in the Hays Team. 

Each child made 12 cut-out cookies and frosted them to take home.  I didn't let them eat ANY at school because I really wanted them to take them home as a gift to their families.  Most of them made it home. 

And I didn't do this by myself.  I had some super help--a good friend whose child is finally in my class and a wonderful para who isn't afraid to jump right into anything I want to try.  (Monday we made Latkes!)  Thanks, ladies--it wouldn't have happened without you.  Oh, and I should mention my student aide, Sean.  He did my cruddy jobs all while shaking his head at me and repeating nutsnutsnuts.


Outside Recess
This afternoon they cleared our slab and the temperature allowed us to go OUTSIDE for recess.  Pretty much our rule (when I say 'our', I mean my recess partner and I) is that we go outside
unless there is moisture coming down in sheets.  They cleared that slab and out we went--if kids bring snow boots they can go off the slab.  I think that there must be nothing better than being a kid with 12 inches of snow on the ground and friends who wanna play.



Tote Bag
So since we had 2 snow days this week, I completed 2 projects.  Pretty impressive for the queen of UFO's (unfinished fabric objects).  The Christmas tree skirt was one but the other one was this:

I have had this quilt for many years.  I used it on my bed when I was in college--but it was old even then.  I am not sure where it came from but I suspect it was my Great Grandma Ringer's.  My youngest daughter used it for a long time on her bed.  It became just too frail to use on a bed so I have had it stored for awhile. 

I used the good parts and made this tote bag.  You have no idea how impressed I am with myself.  It really is cool--I took it to school today to show my friends and they were very impressed.  I think I have enough good quilt left that I can make another bag slightly larger than this one.  I am contemplating making it my purse.  I am still working on how to add a piece inside that would make a divider, possibly with a zipper, because I really like a purse with dividers.  I always thought that was the true sign of an old lady--someone who carried a purse with dividers--now I realize that it is the sign of a well organized woman of a certain age.   Just sayin'. 


Can I just say that I love Christmas music?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Random Dozen

1. Which physical trait do you now accept--maybe not love, but accept--and no longer feel extremely self-conscious about?

My grandmother got in the big butt line vs. the big boob line.  I am ok with that gene pool issue.  In fact, I am glad that's the line I got.

2. This week Meredith Baxter Birney, best known as the mom on the favorite 80s sitcom "Family Ties" came out of the closet, which led me to formulate this question: Who do you think is/was the best TV mom?

Claire Huxtable.  She rocked.

3. Do you speak any foreign languages? Are there any you'd like to learn?

I must speak a foreign language that teenagers don't understand.  Pick up your clothes, put away your shoes, and why is this book bag in my kitchen are all met with blank stares.  Therefore, it must be a foreign language.

4. Who is your personal hero?

 I prefer to call them 'cheerleaders'.  People who love me and cheer me on--NO MATTER WHAT.  And I want to be like them when I grow up.  My mom.  Enough said with the phrase....My Mom.  Coach.  Who grounds me--literally and figuratively.  My children.  Who keep me insane and loving life.  I want to be like them when I grow up.   My second grade teacher.  She was amazing in her love of us.  Several of my cheerleaders have gone to heaven and are cheering me on from there.  My grandmother is one of those cheerleaders and I miss her everyday.  My mentor whether she wanted to be or not, Pat.  She and her husband taught me some amazing life lessons.  Whenever I have to make a teacher decision, I ask myself, What would Pat do?  Everybody should have a pep squad of their very own.  No lie.

5. What is one holiday food that you find extremely difficult to resist over- indulging in?

Food. Just food.  

6. Tell me about a Christmas decoration that has special meaning or sentimental value.

It's interesting because as much as I love Christmas that I don't have a special ornament or decoration that I have an unusual attachment toI have several that I have a special memory attached to--like the small snow globe that a 6th grade girl gave me in 1998 who now goes to med school and is the same girl who puked spaghetti and peaches all over the bathroom when we were custudionless so guess who cleaned it up and the ornament from the 'What if...' brothers and the special purple glitter covered snowflake from the 3rd grade boy who loved a local university so much that he was constantly giving me crap because I love a better one on down the road.  

7. How do you feel about snow?

I lovelovelove snow.  I hate inside recess.  And that usually goes with snow.  So it's tough love that I have for snow.  

8. On average, how many hours of sleep do you get each night? Not that I'm jealous of any number over three or anything.

I get around a total of 7 hours.  NOT straight hours, mind you.  I'd like 10 straight hours.  And  every third grader in my class would love it if the teacher slept 7 straight hours, 10 would be even better.  But my mother would tell you that I am my Grandmother's child (see #1).  Not a bad deal, but...... 

9. Tell me about your first crush.

Gosh, really.  I can't remember that far back.  That's a lie, but to protect the innocent I shall lie.

10. You're stuck in a room for 2 hours with only a chalkboard and chalk. What will you write/draw?

My to-do list when I get out of that room.  I love lists.

11. Do you dress for the current temp or for the day's forecast?

Forecast.  I am a weather channel addict.  Can you say Old People's MTV?  I actually dress for outside recess.  Have you noticed a pattern?  I am all about recess.

12. Favorite Christmas movie is?

Charlie Brown Christmas hands down, the greatest movie ever made.  Closely followed by A Christmas Story.  You'll shoot your eye out, kid.  Just sayin'.

(ok...so I don't get how to make this a cute little widget for Mr. Linky.  But this will link you up so you can participate in this meme started by Linda at 2nd cup of coffee--which I love reading by the way--and maybe you will, too!)

O Holy Night

Um..yeah. I can't believe I am posting this because she isn't one of my favorite singers, BUT she sings this beautifully. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Project Complete

I have completed my Christmas tree skirt.  And it didn't take as long as I thought it would--no kidding.  I only started it over a year ago.

Here is the finished product....I think I will skip all the step by step stuff...I do have pictures of it but I think you get it.  I stood on a chair to take this picture so you could have the full effect of the skirt.  I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Here it is under the tree.  I especially like the way the skirt looks with my red bulbs and my homemade cinnamon ornaments.  The colors compliment each other quite nicely, don't you think?  I also like the way the skirt looks against my wood floors.

I will tell you that it isn't a perfect project.  I thought I would gather the edging before I attached it to the main body of the skirt.  Because of the thickness of the quilt--I have no idea what it is exactly that was used as batting but whatever it was is still very thick and very warm--whenever I would sew a basting stitch and then try to gather it, my thread would break.

On to plan b....which worked and I am very satisfied with it.  Plan b was to simply sew the edging to the main body kind of easing it through as I sewed.  I didn't even pin it.  I just sat down and sewed.  I am not telling you that it is perfect.  As is usual for my projects, the underside doesn't look so lovely, but to quote my mom...'don't look at it'.  She also said, 'don't tell people and they won't know.'  So much for following that advice.

Here is a full picture...I don't really like this picture but I am having issues with my flash usage.   Plus the tops of the curtains don't look level.  The dog pillow is showing and some cords and my husband was trying to play a video game and didn't want to move out of the chair so his foot is in the picture.  Geez--such imperfection. 

I am off to start and finish another sewing project.  Snow days are such a gift...just sayin'.

P.S.  I edited this several times before I published it...and then found errors....published it again...found more errors....and again and yet, again.  I guess I can't type as fast as I think. 


And yes, they let me teach other people's children.   Just sayin'.

Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel. -Proverbs 11: 17