28 December 2008

Snow fun!

catching air
With six inches of new fluffy snow and a beautiful sunny and warm day (high of about 15ยบ) we decided to try our luck at sledding. The hills in west Mandan were the perfect spot. Corey picked out a steep area to sled down, which worked perfectly because there was a paved walking trail near it that we could walk up to get back to the top of the hill. It was a very steep hill which made for some crazy wipeouts. The best sled was Grandpa's old toboggan, which easily fit Caitlyn, Corey and I all together. 

My mom (ReNay) was our photographer, stationed at the bottom. The sledders included Corey, Caitlyn, my dad (Don) and me. Grandma, Grandpa and Ronda stopped by to check out the action and make sure we weren't getting too crazy. Dad was the best sledder, going the farthest and wiping out the least. Caitlyn and I topped the wipeout charts ... apparently I had a hard time keeping my feet in the sled - I guess I got scared.

I made a video of some of the best photos and action sequences. I'm rather surprised that we all ended the day without any serious injuries.
enjoy :)

27 December 2008

More snow and new fabric.

Adding to my collection
Yesterday Joann's fabric store marked down their (already reduced) clearance fabric by 50 percent. Which means that the fabric I was looking at that was normally $8-9 per yard was now only $1.50 per yard. For someone who is a fabric junkie, this is a big deal. Not saying I am or anything. That's beside the point. 

So I happened to be in the store ... and figured I'd browse the racks. Wow did I find a lot nice fabric. I piled my cart high and headed to the cutting table. I think I got the best cutter in the store. I bought no less than 1/2 yard of most of the fabric and 1 yard of the ones I really liked. The fabric cutter lady (my hero) noticed that many of the bolts of fabric were almost gone, so if there was less that one yard remaining after my cut, she gave it to me for an additional 50 percent off (that would be 75 cents per yard!!!). Yes, that deserved three exclamation points.

So here is my pile of new fabric - all for under 35 bucks (including one new spool of thread). Awesome. Also in the photo are a few of my Christmas gifts - a new 24x36 inch rotary cutting board, Quilts of Gee's Bend book, and Retro Stitching embroidery pattern book. Time to get sewing!

I should also mention that I do prefer quilt shop fabric over Joann's Fabric and Craft store fabric, but I just couldn't pass up this deal. The fabric is not quilt shop quality but I was impressed with it's softness and color. I think it will hold up quite nicely.

Sunrise snow fall
I've been trying to not write too much about the weather, but I just have to. We got another 5 inches of snow last night. We woke up to the soft hum of snow blowers this morning. We don't own one and our neighbors know that, so they offered to clear our driveway and sidewalks for us. how fortunate we are to have such kind neighbors. 

Morning work out
Since snow blowers are made for large, straight, flat areas, Corey shoveled off our porch and walk way to the porch. Much more manageable than the drive way!

With the new snowfall, we're thinking today would be a great day for sledding.

23 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Starting tomorrow morning we'll be in a two-day whirlwind of family Christmas celebrations, yummy food, games, gifts and memory-making.

Actually we've been in a whirlwind of fun already for a week ... starting with my parents visiting and staying with us last weekend and then Corey's Aunt stayed with us last night before her flight back home to Washington. It was great to have so many special guests in one week to the Hager Hotel. And to answer your question Dad, we don't honor Hilton Honors points. In food news, my uncle Bob served up some unbelievably good ribs on Sunday night. I'll see if I can bribe him for the recipe so I can post it here.

Congratulations to my good friends, Jessica and Justin and their new baby boy, Connor born on Friday - and thanks, Jessica for the phone call today :) always fun to catch up with long-distance friends. 

I'll return to the blog world on Friday with lots of photos and Christmas updates. We might go pheasant hunting this weekend - a first for me. I think that will yield some great blog-worthy material. ha.

21 December 2008

4 days 'till Christmas!

Sertoma Park Christmas Lights
Are you ready?

We are!
Christmas Tree Lane lights
We made it out to look at Christmas lights. Caitlyn, Chaz, Corey, me, Mom and Dad all piled into my car and we made the trek around town. It was chilly and our windows kept frosting over but it was so much fun.

Holiday Nog
We've been enjoying Holiday Nog ... kept cold the good 'ol North Dakota way – stuck in a snow bank out the back door.

Cookies are baked and decorated.

Snow keeps falling.

Gifts are under the tree.

Christmas parties are in full swing.

Parents are in town (Grandma Katy arrives Tuesday).

I've been a busy bee finishing up my homemade gifts (will be blogged after Christmas).

Only two days of work are between us and Christmas.

Let the fun begin!

14 December 2008

Not quite a blizzard but really darn cold.

We didn't quite get a blizzard, but we did get lots of wind, some snow and very cold temperatures. It's currently minus 12 ... but with the wind, that makes it negative 40 (wind chill). burrr. I've been told that frostbite can occur in a matter of minutes - so my new mittens will be getting lots of use.

I only ventured out twice today - once to go grocery shopping but it felt like we were going snowmobiling and once because someone wanted to test drive my car. Who does that? test drive a car when it's negative 40?! It went well though, it got through the snow and wind like a champ, and I think there is a good chance I may sell it tomorrow.

The video above was taken near Jamestown, ND, just about 100 miles east of here. We didn't get that much snow, but it looks very similar around here.

I learned a neat trick for testing if it is below zero degrees fahrenheit. Breathe in through your nose. If you can feel the insides of your nose freezing, it's below zero. Now, I realize this might not seem like the most fun or comfortable thing to do, but it's actually the most natural way to breathe when it's this cold. The reason this works is that our bodies (and snot) are made up of salt water (I'm sure there is a more technical term, but "salt water" makes sense to me). The salt water in our bodies is very close to the ocean's salt water content, which freezes at zero degrees. So, if you get that "yowza" freezing feeling in your nose ... it's below zero. Neat, hunh? 

We're wayyyyy beyond the whole freezing booger trick today. This is the kind of cold that makes your teeth hurt when you go outside. The kind that makes your car radio not work. The kind that makes you dread Monday – not because you don't want to be at work, but because you don't want to leave the house.

08 December 2008

Signed and sealed.

Speedy delivery
Some of my best memories of Christmas as a child are receiving packages in the mail from grandparents and aunts and uncles. Since we grew up in California and all our family lived in North Dakota and Montana, we received lots of packages from the UPS man. 

Over the years, Caitlyn and I developed the skill of scent identification. We could easily identify who the package was from by the scent. It was amazing how comforting it was to get a "Grandma Rene" scented package - they smelled just like her house! Or one from Grandma Katy - it always smelled just like her. 

It's hard to believe it's time for ME to be sending packages. This year we sent two boxes. I had so much fun wrapping each gift, tying a bow ... and then strategically packing each box, and sealing with tape. The not too fun part was bringing both boxes to the post office today – it was quite icy and very cold. But I guess that's all part of the gift giving process.

05 December 2008

I don't know where to start.

I have been away from blogging for a few days and I have so much to catch up on I don't know where to start.

I'll start with today.

Today, the University of Mary (where I work) announced the next president of the university to be Father James Shea. At 33 years old, he is believed to be the youngest university president in the America. The last time the university announced a new president, was a full THREE YEARS before I was born. Wow! I'm considering this a once in a lifetime (so far) event. Such exciting times, indeed! check out the Bismarck Tribune story here.

Also today (this evening), Corey and I and two friends of ours are going to see A Christmas Story at the Dakota Stage here is Bismarck. I'll post a review after the show but I'm almost positive it will provide lots of laughs - how could it not?!

In other "show" news, Corey and I are going to see The Nutcracker ballet one week from today. Neither of us have ever seen the show (and I've never seen a ballet!) and we're both really looking forward to it.

Lots of baby news! Congratulations to Josh and Renee and their new baby boy born this week (they are now a very adorable family of five). My good high school buddy Jessica is due in just seven days with their second child, and I wish her and her family all the best with the delivery. My cousin Gina is also due any day with their second. Wow, such fun news. I can't wait to see baby photos!

We've got most of our Christmas shopping done and I went on a gift wrapping marathon last night, so most of the gifts are wrapped and under the tree. I just love this time of year. Speaking of that - we keep getting an inch or so of snow about every day, so it's definitely looking wintery and white here. And it has gotten quite chilly - only about 12 this morning.

I know there is more to write but it will have to wait ... we're off to the show ...

01 December 2008

Our tree has a skirt.

Quilted tree skirt completed
This evening I put the finishing touches on the tree skirt. It's so darn stinking cute - I just love how it looks under our tree. I had so much fun making it and using many of my scraps in the process. It is fun looking at the pieces of red and green fabric and remembering which quilt I used it in and how long ago it was. Some of the fabric I used in high school. The binding (tiny outer border) red dotted fabric was used for the backing of Jesse and Megan's wedding quilt just a few months ago. 

Here's a close up of the stitching ... I'm still learning how to stipple (free motion curvy designed) quilt, so this is by no means perfect.
Quilted tree skirt detail

Recognize the red dotted fabric?
Red Sox / MN Twins Quilt

How about some red plaid fabric (also from Jesse and Megan's wedding quilt)?
Red Sox / MN Twins Quilt