home sweet home

I’m back in the USA! Hooray!

Saturday morning (Brisbane time) Mr. Engineer and I headed for the airport to check our bags (and be forced to buy a new one thanks to an overweight bag that weighed EXACTLY what it did when we flew in), get through customs (Mr. got the super-duper pat-down. ha ha), and board the flight that would be our home for the next 14 hours. A cross over the international date line, and BAM! It’s Christmas again! Whee!

Some 7,000 miles and a whole lot of in-flight movies later, we landed in LA for what should have been a fairly short layover and did the customs gig all over again (so much quicker in your home county! Ahhh, home!) and scurried to our gate, boarded, and then waited.

And waited. We finally got an announcement that the plane had been overfueled and thusly needed to be, well, defueled. This took something like 40 minutes. THEN announcement #2 came that they accidentally took too much fuel out and needed to REFUEL THE SAME DAMN PLANE THEY HAD JUST DEFUELED.

But I wasn’t annoyed or anything. Obviously.

So! When we finally landed in Houston we had been  globe-trotting for nearly 26 hours, had traveled over 8,000 miles (frequent flyer account goes ca-ching!) and it all happened on Christmas Day.

Since we emptied out the fridge before we left, we didn’t exactly have Christmas dinner waiting at home for us. The solution? Our favorite little Mexican joint was open, which is perfect since decent Mexican food doesn’t exist in Australia.

2010 will forevermore be the year that I had two days of December 25th and ate Mexican food for Christmas dinner.

Oooh, and presents! The Mr. got me a nook! Looooove! I was often complaining maybe mentioned during our travels that I didn’t love lugging around three books in my carry-on. Never again! And that, my friends, was one more Christmas present than this girl was expecting, considering that whole plane-ticket-to-Australia I was given last month. I’m a very grateful and lucky girl : )

And now, pictures of my new toy, because there was no way I was busting out a camera after that many hours of travel/staying awake/developing large circles under my eyes. (Hint: NOT cute.)

Jeri just read this book and said it blew her mind. Obviously I had to take the bait. (Har! Shark? Bait? Get it? Did you just decide to stop reading my blog? Okay.)

the ridiculously girly cover. gotta keep the nookster safe!

and the back!

Today I did Coach Jeff’s Tabata workout (it’s a series of exercises done in insane repetition with no rest and it’s HARD!) and  I’m so looking forward to getting back to a routine (even though it’s going to kick my booty for a while. I wasn’t exactly the most diligent about workouts while on vacation.) Tomorrow it’s hitting the streets of Houston for a run where it’s ACTUALLY CHILLY outside! Squeeee! I might need an earband! Maybe gloves!

Happy running.

9 Responses to “home sweet home”


  1. 1 Sana December 27, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Everyone has been getting readers for xmas! Enjoy!

  2. 2 jeri December 28, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Did you read my Xmas wish list blog? That’s the exact case I wanted!!! Hahah too funny. Except I think I decided on the b&w nook, so it’d be silly to buy a case that’s the same price. So sad. Because I LOVE it.😀

    • 3 Mike January 27, 2013 at 5:43 am

      Mix pretty much equal parts of the ascpelaupe and the cinnamon until you get it to be a nice clay consistancy. Roll the dough out on wax paper until it is 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Use the cookie cutters to cut out holiday shapes. With the straw, poke a small hole towards the top of the shape. Put the shapes in a warm spot to dry, this takes a few days! Once your sweet-smelling ornaments are dry you can string a 8 10 inch piece of ribbon through the hole you made with the straw and hang it up!Go for a walk and gather some acorns. Take them home and paint them different colors. Let them dry.Cut the metalic stems in half and bend over so both ends are together. Use a hot glue gun to attach the chenille stem to the top of the acorn to work as a hanger.Using the scrap felt, cut 2 small teardrop-shaped pieces about 3-inches long. Lay the candycane on top of one of the teardrop-shaped pieces of felt, noting in the graphic how the candy cane hangs out over the edge. Cover with the other teardrop-shaped piece of felt. Glue the 2 pieces together, sandwiching the candy cane in the middle and lining up the edges.Using the graphic below as a guide, glue the nose and eyes in place. Cut two small circles about 1-inch across to be the ears. Cut 2 smaller circles out of a contrasting colors and glue them the center of the 1-inch circles. Glue the ears in place. Glue on the whiskers.Trace around the CD onto a piece of felt. Cut out the felt circle.Cut a 10-inch piece of ribbon. Tie the ribbon into a loop. Put a dab of glue onto the back of the CD towards the outside edge. Press the ribbon loop into the glue to make the hanger.Spread glue over the entire back of the CD. Center the felt circle on glue and gently press. This will cover writing and ribbon ends, and it will be the back of your ornament.Cut around the figure in the picture you are using. You can cut it into a rectangle shape, circle, or whatever you want. For a fancy edge, use pinking sheers!Trace the picture onto a piece of felt. Cut out the shape, making it about 1/2-inch wider than the picture. Glue the photo onto the piece of felt so you can see the felt on all sides. Glue this onto the center of the CD, making sure you cover the hole completely.Hot glue the 12 mm. and a 10 mm. faceted crystal bead together hole to hole. Cut 4 wires, approximately 3-4 inches long, and string each wire with 8 small crystal bugle beads. Leave about a 1/2 inch gap between the first 4 beads and the last 4 beads. Bend the ends of the wire so the beads won’t fall off. Twist the 4 wires together at the 1/2 inch gap, forming 8 legs. Hot glue the twisted section of the legs to the underside of the crystal beads, right where the 2 crystal beads join together. Take aproximately 10 of silver metallic thread and tie it around the middle of the spider , and tie the ends together to make a loop for hanging. Bend legs to look like a spider.This is adorable and very simple!Christmas Spider LegendOn Christmas eve, a long time ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year Christmas day, the day on which the little Christ child came to bless the house. Not a speck of dust was left. Even the spiders had been banished from their cozy corner on the ceiling. They had fled to the farthest corner of the attic.The Christmas tree was beautifully decorated. The poor spiders were frantic, for they could not see the tree, nor be present for the little Christ child’s visit. Then the oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could wait until everyone went to bed and then get a closer look.When the house was dark and silent, the spiders crept out of their hiding place. When they neared the Christmas tree, they were delighted with the beauty of it. The spiders crept all over the tree, up and down, over the branches and twigs and saw every one of the pretty things.The spiders loved the Christmas tree. All night long they danced in the branches, leaving them covered with spider webs. In the morning, when the little Christ child came to bless the house, he was dismayed! He loved the little spiders for they were God’s creatures, but he knew the mother, who had worked so hard to make everything perfect, would not be pleased when she saw what the spiders had done.With love in his heart and a smile on his lips, the little Christ child reached out and gently touched the spider webs. The spider webs started to sparkle and shine! They had all turned into sparkling, shimmering silver and gold.According to legend, ever since this happened, people have hung tinsel on their Christmas trees. It has also become a custom to include a spider among the decorations on the Christmas tree.(For Christmas gifts I made one spider for the Christmas tree. I printed out this story on fancy Christmas paper and put it in a frame. I then made another spider, with out the string, and glued it to the edge of the frame.) 1. Blow up balloons (at a size to fit your palm). 2. Smear the starch all over the balloon (or use your favorite paper mache recipe). 3. Put the pieces of newspapers all over the starch Let dry. 4. Repeat this procedure three times. 5. When you get the newspaper completely dried, pop and take out the balloon. 6. Decorate it with seeds using glue. The impression would be better if you put the seeds in some order to make a nice relief. 7. Paint it with one color only, to put the accent on the relief design. 8. Tie the lace on the match 9. Put the match inside the ornament to be the hanger.Begin by taking off the top and washing out the glass ball ornament. Allow it to dry fully. Use the egg carton to hold the ornament, so it doesn’t roll off your table.Choose your shells and various beach items and clean them. They have to be small enough to fit into the top of the glass ball ornament. Use the funnel and fill the glass ball with sand about one third of the way. Add the shells and beach items.Put the top back on the glass ball ornament and add some Christmas ribbon as a hanger. In order to tie a bow for the hanger, you’ll need to do a square knot and then tie the bow. This way it will not come out when the ornament is hanging on the tree.Enjoy!I’ve done these with 3 year olds. Older kids can do more of the process themselves.Holding the cone by the base, place glue all along the inside rim of the cone. Have the child place the ball ornament on the cone with the hanging part straight up.When that is dry (that’s why hot glue works great), either you or the child can drizzle some white paint on the top of the ball.Sponsored LinksLightly spray the cone part with acrylic (don’t get too close with the acrylic can while you are spraying or it may melt the cone) to seal it. Tie a colorful ribbon through the loop and you’re ready to give these as gifts or hang them on the tree!Note: Use a sharpie to write the child’s name and year on the base before you spray the acrylic.I saw these several years ago in a preschool classroom and have been making them since. Everyone who sees these RAVES over them. They are one of the few crafts that can be done by the younger set that are also saleable for Christmas fairs and fundraisers. Let’s face it, we’ll all put our kids’ crafts on OUR trees, but would a stranger buy them? They will buy these! * Elbow macaroni * Bowtie pasta * Ziti noodles (this looks like a giant macaroni with groves on the outside with an arch in it) * Gold pipe cleaners * White and gold paint * Medium sized clear faceted balls or round wooden balls with a face * Glue gun and sticks * Paintbrush * Glitter (optional) * Ribbon (so they can hang from the special spot, silly)Instructions:Step one: Paint the elbows and ziti white. We use Apple Barrel brand paint, easy clean up. Paint bowties gold or glittery silver. We paint them gold.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray foil lined cookie sheet with non-stick spray.Color any way you choose with the permanent markers on the outside and/or inside the clear tumbler. When colored to your satisfaction (not all spaces have to colored) place cups on foil and into the oven.Check after a minute and watch closely. The cup will melt and you do not want it to burn.Each cup will melt in a different shape; play with the placement. Remove from foil when slightly cool to keep from sticking.When completely cool, make a hole with the hot tip of the glue gun and string a ribbon thru the hole to hang in window or on tree.This project requires an adult to help but is great for all ages from 2 years old and up.Here’s what you’ll need to make your own Dancing Princess beaded Charm: * One 2 1/2 inch long, gold-colored headpin * Five 3X11mm two-tone pink Dagger Beads * One pale pink 8X6mm Center-Drilled Bell Flower bead * One 10mm crystal/pink Glass Angel Wings bead * One Delica bead color number DB 214 * One gold-colored size 15.0 seed beadAdd the five dark pink dagger beads to a short piece of Nymo thread. Gather the dagger beads into a loose circle, then tie a surgeon’s knot in the Nymo thread. Be sure that you don’t pull the beads together too tightly, Leave some slack so that the beaded overskirt will hand properly, If you pull the beads together on the thread too tightly, they will pucker and not drape properly over the pale pink bead when you assemble the Dancing Princess Beaded Charm.Begin the assembly of the Dancing Princess Beaded Charm by placing the light pink bell flower bead onto the gold headpin.Place the circle of dagger beads that you made earlier over the light pink bell flower bead. Make sure they are not gathered too tightly, and that they hang properly, to resemble an overskirt atop the the bell flower petticoat beneath. It’s Ok if you can see a bit of thread between the dagger beads; this means it will drape properly over the bell flower bead.Once the overskirt is in place, add the single Delica DB 214 bead to the headpin. Check the overskirt of dagger beads once more, to make sure it is sitting on the headpin properly.Now you’re going to add the remaining beads to complete the Dancing Princess Beaded Charm. Over the Delica midsection bead, place the Angel Wing bead, with the tips turned up, so that, when viewed from the side, it looks like the letter U. Once the angel wing bead is in place, add the size 15/0 gold seed bead, then the pearl, then the gold plated daisy spacer bead to complete the assembly of the Dancing Princess Beaded Charm.Using your round and flat pliers, make a Wrapped Loop on the headpin. Your Dancing princess Beaded Charm is now ready to be hung from a strand of silk, an organza ribbon, a delicate chain, or a beaded necklace. Make two Dancing Princess Beaded Charms and attach them to a set of ear wires for a delightful pair of Dancing Princess earrings. However you choose to wear your dancing Princess Beaded Charms, I hope you’ll enjoy them!Add the gold 15/0 bead, the tiny round pearl, and the gold plated daisy spacer bead to complete your Dancing Princess Beaded Charm * bd cup salt * 1 cup flour * bd cup water * Rolling pin * Cookie sheet * Toothpick * Miniature cookie cutters: star and Christmas tree * Acrylic paints: green, yellow, and various colors of your choice for tree ornaments * Glitter glue or glitter paint * ribbonWhat You Do 1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. 2. Mix together, salt, flour, and water until dough is formed. 3. Knead the dough on a floured surface until the mixture is elastic and smooth. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle with flour, continue to do so until stickiness is gone. Do not add too much flour, this will dry out the dough and will cause it to crack before you get a chance to bake it. 4. Roll out the dough to about bc” thick with a rolling pin that has been dusted with flour. 5. Use cookie cutters to cut out as many trees and stars as you want. 6. Use a toothpick to make a hole toward the top of the shape. Poke the toothpick into the shape, then holding toothpick straight up and down, make a circular motion as if you were stirring something. Keep circling until the hole is the size you want. 7. Place all shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet and place into the preheated oven. 8. Bake for 2 hours. 9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. 10. Paint the trees green and the stars yellow. 11. Use the handle end of the paint brush to dot on ornaments by dipping into paint then dotting onto ornament. 12. When paint is dry, use glitter glue (we used green) or glitter paint (we used gold) to put a sparkling cover coat on your ornaments. 13. When dry, thread ribbon through hole and tie in a knot in the back. 14. Tie onto package.Helpful Hints * If your toppers are large enough, you can make two holes in each so that you can thread ribbon through like a button, only showing a small amount of ribbon on the front. * These make adorable pins to wear to school. Just don’t make a hole. Glue a pin back to the back of the completed ornament instead. * Uncooked salt dough doesn’t keep well, so only make enough dough for the ornaments you are going to make. If you are only making a few toppers, halve the ingredients above. The listed amounts will make enough ornaments for a classroom of 20. * Small balloon * Fabric stiffener * Hot glue gun or strong glue * Ribbon and other things to decorate it * String or yarn for a hanger * Spray paintHow To Make It 1. Blow up the balloon. 2. Cover it with fabric stiffener. 3. Wrap yarn in every direction. (Make sure to get it on the top.) 4. Let it dry. 5. Pop the balloon. 6. Then spray paint it. 7. Put a hanger on it. 8. Decorate with flowers or anything you want, but make sure it’s not too heavy.For a Victorian potpourri ornament: * Round clear Christmas ornaments that you can purchase at craft or variety stores * Loose potpourri * Dried or fake rosebuds * 1/2 inch Ribbon, optional * Glue gunHow To Make It 1. Carefully remove the top, hanger-portion of the ornament. 2. Push the potpourri into the ornament until full. 3. Replace the top back onto the ornament. 4. Cut the rosebuds away from the stems. Using your glue gun, glue the rosebuds in a circle around the top of the ornament. 5. If you wish, glue a gathered ribbon beside the cluster of rosebuds. 6. Attach a standard ornament hanger, or another piece of ribbon to the top and it is ready to be hung on the Christmas Tree. You can be simple or extravagant when you make these (i.e., paper ribbon and fake roses as opposed to velvet ribbon and real dried roses) but they come out looking great! Merry Christmas!Step two: Cut each gold pipe cleaner into four equal parts.Christmas Angel OrnamentsBuy Christmas Angel Ornaments. The savvy shopper’s secret weapon!PriceGrabber.commake loop and twist ends together, this should look like a halo. stick twisted ends into the hole at the top of the ball, this should look like the halo over a head.Step three: Take a length of ribbon and make a loop big enough to fit over the tree branch or the place where it will hang. Glue it to the bowtie, then glue the wings on the ziti in the small arch. Glue two elbows to sides but letting them touch in the front of angel.Step four: Put glue on upper mouth of ziti (the one closest to the wings) and attach the head. Let dry and taaaadahhhh, you have a pasta angel.

  3. 4 Page Spicer December 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    That case is SUPER cute! Glad you made it back safely and Mexican food for Christmas dinner sounds PERF!

  4. 5 Heather C January 12, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Welcome hoooome! I hope the humidity and heat left Houston for good, to reward your homecoming with some chilly run-friendly temps😉

  5. 6 Rosendo Sandoval January 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    So if you want to try out something different this Christmas take a look at these……… ….recipes for a Mexican Christmas dinner it will bring even more festivities to your table!

    • 7 Zach November 12, 2013 at 10:42 am

      sebastiaan wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick ecrpxetI just upgraded from Photoshop 7.0, I know, to Photoshop CS3 (Extended version, thank you). And with the upgrade came a lot of the new tools that I have been seeing in the tutorials around the net but have never had the opportunity to

  6. 8 Yogesh January 27, 2013 at 6:09 am

    the baked dough cookies, (special craft rpicee), where you lacquer them afterwards star shaped etc. old fashioned tinfoil stars ..handcut snowflakes out of folded white paper popcorn balls lacquered (craft rpicee) -paste their picture on something they cut out, like red posterboard ornament-shaped,etc. Oh, and though it\’s not an ornament, we always had fun making gingerbread houses out of the tiny milk cartons-slap icing all over it, use graham crackers for walls, and decorate with candies! HAVE FUN!

    • 9 Marina November 12, 2013 at 8:52 am

      I have an urban farm,’ where I raise Angora Rabbits, among other things. I spin, knit and have done some kntetid felting, but I have discovered the delights of crafting with felt sheets from browsing Pinterest. I have named my farm and business, if I ever get around to selling anything Wren Cottage. I was delighted to find this wee Wren, and will have to make it to wear as a pin when I am representing my farm !!!


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