Thursday, December 31, 2009

OOOOh-Nine

I've really been in a slump lately. And not just in writing on this blog. My schedule [or lack thereof] has really thrown me for a mental loop. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Christmas has come and gone...almost a week ago. And now they want to throw New Years at me?
Maybe I would feel more festive if I had plans---of any kind. Nope, not a single plan. Just another ho-hum kind of day for me. Who knows I may even be in bed by 11pm...again. [thinking back to those days when I would stay up EVERY night of vacation because I didn't HAVE to wake up the next morning] boy, I'm getting old.

When thinking about how to approach this post I thought maybe I could answer way too many questions about my year, but after reading a number of others, I realized I wouldn't have the answers--at least not interesting ones. So I think I'm going to go with a format that I read in a Christmas letter and really liked....
What I Learned This Year

  • I learned puppies don't like to be go through the 'housebreaking' process when it's cold and windy---but then again neither do humans. 
  • I learned that when you put 2 dogs together, they like to play and bark---A LOT. 
  • I learned educational hiring doesn't make sense and Mifflin wasn't going to be my teaching home. BUT I learned that I was okay with that. HUGE weight was lifted when I learned this. 
  • I learned that a part time teaching job & a subbing job does not pay for rent. BUT I learned that living with in-laws isn't so bad. 
  • I learned that daily subbing has it's ups and downs...less work=less pay. I learned that I miss having my own class, but that I'll be more than happy when it comes time to stay at home with my own children. 
  • Speaking of kids, I learned that I don't have PCOS--[at least right now they don't think I do], but I potentially have many more tests when it comes time for that. 
  • I learned that this is God's timing. We didn't have a baby yet, because God knew I wouldn't have a job this year or our own home. 
  • I learned that God was so very gracious to us the past 2 years of our marriage and that I can't wait to see what he has in store for us [hoping that it's going to get better]. 
  • I learned that no matter what is going on, that I have amazing family and I am very fortunate and abundantly rich in His provisions for me 
My hopes for 2010:

-that I can patiently wait for God's plan to be fulfilled.
-that I will grow stronger in Him and closer to Him.
-that God's plan includes a full time job for Greg & I (like I said--they are HOPES)
-I would love to read my Bible in a year (Although I have this every year---so I also want it to say read MORE)

[While cleaning today, I found a letter from my Bum (paternal grandfather who went home in Sept.08). I keep this letter because it's him...talking to me whenever I read it. There are so many things that come to mind when reading it through the tears. But one thing really stuck out to me this time.]
Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight."
...That is my hope for 2010   ...thank you Bum, I love you and miss you.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

She's Here!

Since Friday/Saturday I had high hopes..grand expectations if you will for this blog post.  I thought I could show you this way cool video of my brother-in-law playing his bagpipes in honor of his last day in PA. But I didn't have my camera (can't believe that!) and I can't even seem to track down a single video of him. So I will keep working on that....


BUT in other very exciting family news, our family welcomed my new niece into the world at 1:29pm on December 28, 2009...Danica Ruth. And simply because I am not totally sold on plastering pictures of children all over the internet, I shall give you just 1...or 2 because I'm in love with this little lady.


[Top: The Proud Papa, Grandpa, Nana & baby Danica)
[Bottom: Nana holding her 2nd granddaughter]
[Below: The hubs and I getting some practice in :) ...and lovin on our new niece]


Okay, Okay...I know it was 4, but what do you expect. Could you only put 1 picture up? 
Yea, I didn't think so. Being an aunt is awesome!



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Sunday, December 27, 2009

5 Day Christmas Extravaganza--with pictures

We knew very early on that this year was going to be like no other...at least we can hope. I say that because we were BUSY. Everyday, we were going somewhere else. Let me explain.


Day 1: Christmas Eve- 4 out of 5 brother were home today. Which meant lots of catching up and a lunch with Granddad..yum. :) Followed by a Christmas Eve service at church. Once the family was settled after the service (all comfy again) with good food from a late dinner in our bellies, we played a family game of charades. Let's just say the "wedded" team lost even though we had 4 players. A combination of pushing the button at the wrong time and just plain hard words like "gas giant"--try picturing your mother in law doing that one--led to our demise.


Day 2: Christmas! The alarm---ohh yes, alarm--went off at 7:45 so that we could shower, pack, and be on the road by 9 to visit my family in Woolrich (the town where the store started/has the mill where things were made). It's a 2.5-3 hour drive.


We arrived during the present opening. Normally this happens after the food, but they were trying to wait for us to eat. I was very thankful. 



So we opened, we ate, we chatted and of course there was the opportunity to test out some of the gifts.

 This is one of my gram's cats that she saved from a shelter..Miss Daisy.

Day 3: A Clark Christmas Our time there was short lived because on Saturday the alarm sounded at 7:45am again to head back to Shillington for the Clark family Christmas gathering. I'm glad we were able to work it into our schedule because the WHOLE family was there. Even my sister in law who is scheduled for a c-section tomorrow [more on this later]



Here is the Clark Family Run-down. 
4 generations.1 Great-Grandfather who has 3 children w/ 3 spouses.
Those 3 parental units have a combined total of 13 kids--who now have 7 spouses.
And there are 4 great grandchildren (and 2 on the way)
If you lost count there are 30 people in this picture (but 1 spouse & 1 fiance are missing)
[it's a good thing they had stairs big enough]



Day 4: Zelinske Christmas Today ended up rather full as well. Church, V&S lunch [courtesy of Granddad & Pete], Eagles game, & gifts with my parents & grandmother.


Day 5: The finale I've dubbed this day the finale because I have nothing on my mental calendar after this day. Monday is Shady Maple with my Zelinske cousins to stuff more food into my stomach. But even more exciting is the birth of my 2nd niece. This is very exciting to me. The last time a baby came into the Linsky family, I was not even engaged yet. Wow--maybe we'll be next ;).


Now we have unpacking, organizing, and I'm sure some relaxing to do during this final week of vacation. The only present that I'm still hoping to get is a JOB. hahah 


Hopefully I have some awesome news to write about...meeting the next little baby girl. Otherwise, you may just hear some more about this year's extravaganza.


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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Not sure how much I'll be posting the next couple days, because we STILL don't know how our traveling is going to work out due to weather. 

So I'll leave you with this...Our Christmas card that was NEVER printed or sent out because I wanted a winter picture of us. hahah. ohhh well.





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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ringing in the holiday...

sick. Hoping it goes away...or at least doesn't get worse. I was up practically all night** and had a very queasy stomach all day.

Tonight 4 out of 5 brothers will be at home. Wow, can't believe it. Unfortunately, Greg and I will probably be the ones missing Friday evening when the family goes to visit the oldest brother. Maybe God will work something out. 


and in 5 days we get to meet the newest Linsky.


[clearly I'm not feeling to motivated to type much more, SO this is all you get]


**That is probably the worst part about not having your own place---being sick (AND not having a bathroom too close). blah.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Vet

Two words that we hate to hear (possibly more than the dogs...they like the car ride). Those two words usually cost hundreds of dollars. [sort of like getting your car fixed.] I love my dogs dearly and want to keep them healthy--but sheesh sometimes it's a lot. 

Like today for instance. I realized last night that in order to get Nittany shaved he needed to have an up to date rabies vaccination. And his--of course-- expired* or so I thought. So I thought that in an effort to vaccinate 2 dogs with one trip [kill 2 birds with one stone] I would take them both...at the same time. After enlisting some assistance from my mother-in-love, I set up an appointment and asked for an estimate to have a certain number of items done....

...at least $300 I was told. Now normally, it wouldn't be a HUGE deal, but for two people that moved into their in-laws house, lost a job, just barely making ends meet, and not buying any Christmas gifts...this was a HUGE deal. 

So it was my job to figure out which of all the OVERDUE** items should be done. I ended up taking Nittany to get his exam, rabies vaccine, and distemper (I was told by getting the distemper now, it would save us $60 later...I'm hoping this is true) 

by the way...how cute is he?


Soo until January/February...we are done. However when we get there--yikes! it could get ugly. Praying that God will continue to provide for us to make it through each month. So thankful for how He has provided for us throughout the last two and half years of our marriage.
 
*I found out AT the vet that the rabies didn't expire until the 29th of December, so we actually had some time. But to them--it was expired.

**I strongly believe they put OVERDUE in big bold letters on your receipt to make you feel like an awful puppy parent so that you will spend the money to get it done ASAP.



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Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas is here

Really, I can't believe that Christmas is this week. Even though I put up a tree after eating Thanksgiving dinner, and even though I put up our "tree", and even though I've been listening to Christmas music for quite awhile, it still does not feel like Christmas is on Friday!

Why?? I think it's because I have had little to worry about in the way of buying gifts. Because of our current situation, it was pretty obvious that we would not be buying gifts for anyone. I have however, spent a good deal of time making gifts for people. [it's much cheaper that way..usually]


Here is one project...or at least part of a project. [I can't show the final project yet...since it is a Christmas present for someone] I used a cricut machine and it was lots of fun. I experimented with printing numbers, letters, and shapes of all kinds and sizes. (this was taken in the midst of experimentation)


I'm happy to say that all gifts are finished, so I have some wrapping to do. Maybe tomorrow it will feel like Christmas when Greg is done with school.

T-minus 2 days until another brother comes home.
T-minus 4 days until Christmas.

T-mines 7 days until another niece is born!

...now to think of some more projects.
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Lights

I must admit that this year, I am saddened there are only a few strings of lights on the house. However for you to fully understand what I mean I think it's important to tell you we probably have at least 50 strands of lights that have been used before to decorate our house for Christmas. For example, here is what was NOT used this year. Normally I would expect these 3 boxes of lights to be strung all around the inside and outside of the house. [fyi-they are big boxes] ...maybe next year. Yesterday, while out with the pups (playing in the snow) I decided to take a little video to add some Christmas spirit to my blog...AND to let you all have a sneak peak at our (Greg's) Christmas Light Show. Enjoy! [make sure to have your speakers on!]
video
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snowy Puppy Patrol

If you didn't already know (all 4 of you readers out there) we have 2 labradoodles. You also might just be asking...what on earth is a labradoodle?? Well, it is a cross between a labrador retriever and a poodle. Yes we have 2, yes we must be crazy, and YES we love having them both. Although the one is bigger than we were expecting...they are both about 55lbs...they are tons of fun. Greg and I have finally worked out an AWESOME 'puppy patrol' or 'puppy duty' schedule as we so lovingly call it-also known as taking the dogs out. Anyway, it took enough times of disagreeing about who's turn it is to determine that it is best if every day we take a 'double turn'. Meaning that out of the 3 times the pups go out (morning, afternoon, evening) if it's your day, you do 2 shifts. I HATE going out too late at night, so it's nice when I know it's my turn I don't have to wait until 10 or 11 to take them. Anyway, today was my 'double day' and I did the morning shift and the late-afternoon shift. One would think that it should be easier and faster to take both dogs outside to go to the bathroom at the same time. However it is not usually the case. Take a look at the video below. Since it was snowing today-which to me makes the cold weather worth it-I thought I would give them extra time in the snow TOGETHER. This is what they do...
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I guess it's a good thing they are the same size...otherwise, one just might get eaten. hahah blog,signature P.S. Check back tomorrow (if I can wait that long) for a Linsky production---a video clip of our Christmas lights display.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future

Jeremiah 29:11

Some days are harder than others...This is one of them.

Trying to be patient and understanding.
Trying to be happy for others.
Trying to keep my mind occupied while I do all of the above.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Small Group & White Elephant

Greg and I joined a small group again this year. It's fun to get out of the house and get together with people that you don't always get to really talk to...not to mention the discussions are often really great also. Tonight was our Christmas dinner party. We ate dinner, a delicious brownie with peppermint ice cream (1st time I had it and mmm, so good) and then we had our white elephant gift exchange. Because I was busy all day working on a Christmas present for someone special, and grocery shopping, and cooking dinner...my wonderful hubby helped out by picking out something from our 'yard sale' pile for me to wrap and take. 

Anyway, here is what I got. I started with a purse lamp. (tiger stripes with black fuzz--not pink)



Well I stole a book (which I feel bad about, even though it's the name of the game because someone else wanted it to). A book of recipe ideas for Gifts from a Jar..ohh so appropriately named
 "Gifts from a Jar"...Cookies, Brownies, and Bars.

Ever wonder how people come up with all those different dessert jars? They get a book like this, or look on the internet of course.






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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

My art project from subbing yesterday.




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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stuck in a Rut

It's VERY obvious. I am stuck in a teaching rut. I've hit that point in the year (as I KNOW all teachers have) that it is time for a break. I truly did not want to work today. In fact I had convinced myself that I was not going to work...but then the phone rang. But not just once 3 times...then my mom called. Then I got a text. When schools are desperate for subs, they call...a lot. So luckily I got to teach art today. Soooo easy. Seriously. Had a blast. Even started my own art project. Maybe when it's done I'll post a picture.

Anyway, I still believe that if I had known my love & interest for art, just 1 or 2 years sooner I would probably be an art teacher today. Wow how my life would be different. I walk into an art room and feel at home. It never used to be that way, but now if I'm in one...I don't want to leave (unless it is to actually go home of course). It is such a comforting place.

So today, I thought of 10 reasons why I should be/should have become an art teacher: 
(in not particular order may I add, plus I know there are more but 10 seemed like a good number)

  1. It is most definitely more relaxing.
  2. The kids enjoy it..no usually they LOVE it.
  3. You can pick what you teach....or at least HOW you teach it.
  4. I could do projects forever and ever and ever.
  5. I'm that 'adventurous' or 'crazy' teacher that painted frequently with my 5 year olds and did other messy but FUN and engaging activities.
  6. Classroom teaching doesn't require very much creativity.
  7. I love all things that are colorful...
  8. ...have sharpie written on them...AND
  9. ...lets me use my hands to create something.
  10. It combines teaching with something else I love...what could be more perfect?
So in honor of #7...all things colorful...I leave you with this. [it's 2 loves in one: color & tissue paper]


 

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Case of the Mondays

I'm pretty sure everyone at some point or another suffers from this chronic and debilitating disease. Okay maybe it isn't that serious..but when you are having one of them it sure feels like it whether its a Monday or not. For me, it seems like every day that I'm subbing it feels like a Monday. I don't wake up when my alarm goes off, my shower just isn't the right temperature...it's either too hot or too cold, my hair doesn't cooperate, not thrilled with what I'm wearing but I have to deal with it, and my lunch making choices sound awful. Of course nothing is really as bad as it seems...just in the moment when everything is piling up.


However not all those things happened thankfully. I mean some...yes. I didn't wake up to my alarm even though I was asleep before 10:00. The shower wasn't perfect (probably because it wasn't my bed) but it could have been ohhh so much worse. The hair definitely didn't cooperate, but that could have been because I didn't have too much time.

However, I am happy to say that this is what I woke up to...after all, when my alarm went off I was coherent enough to take a picture. just not get out of bed


**My day was certainly ended quickly because there was an assembly. Praise the Lord because I was EXHAUSTED at 10:00am and the kids had more than enough energy to fidget and make noises [somehow that energy didn't translate very well to work...AMAZING how that happens]. :)
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Zelinske Tradition

Ever since I can remember, my grandfather, Bum as we called him [maybe more on that name later] always made cut out cookies. Since they were soo tasty, my parents got the recipe and it was the one cookie that we made and ate EVERY year. Well, Bum passed away September of 2008 and I the cookies took on a whole knew meaning. Now they aren't just a cookie but they remind me of him.

So in honor of him, I took my first crack at it. My directions more or less were to cream butter & sugar, add the egg, vanilla, baking powder, and flour. Roll out, cut out, bake for 6 minutes (depending on your oven). GREAT this should be a piece of cake.

But no...then came the exceptions. 
"Well," my mom said, "I'm never sure how thick to roll them. 
If you roll them too thick they won't cook (aka raw egg), 
and if you roll them too thin they will burn." 
My response....
"How on earth am I supposed to know how thick or thin to roll them."
My mom's response...
"Roll one set and bake them. If they come out okay, you did it right.
If they burn or don't cook, you did it wrong."


Ohhh of course! Why didn't I think of that. Without a real clear answer (and by the way I left out the conversation about whether it should be butter or shortening) off I went with the recipe with no intention to make them this weekend due to other plans. We tried going to church this morning, but we have to use a windy and hilly road to get there. We got about 85% there when we hit a stoppage of cars on a hill that we classified as a "sheet of ice". So no church today, we turned around and came back home. 

Which leads me to my cookies. The first batch was thick--they were in the oven for quite awhile, and although they were checked frequently they got a little brown...really only a little. So I rolled the next 2 batches better (at least in my opinion). And here they are in all their sprinkled glory (next time I will be using colored sugar...sooo much better than sprinkles). They are a little crunchy..not burnt...crunchy. They look pretty, but someday I'll have to try again to do them justice.


 

 

**Now for my grandfather's name, Bum. The story is that he would always tell the first Zelinske grandchild (not me, I'm the 3rd) "You're a bum." and eventually my cousin responded..."No, your a bum". So the name was born, Bum...or Bum-Bum because we repeated cool names like that.




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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday happenings

I borrowed my mom's cricut machine to work on a couple projects. One of which was updating the Linsky stockings (so that I could be included on the stocking) as well as make one for my niece, no nieces sorry (16 days and counting). Anyways I found a cute bride and groom that I decided to cut out in honor of Ben & Eryn. And poor Eryn was on Skype at the time, so this is what we did. We put the bride in front of her face...because she is engaged! (Clearly I was lacking enthusiasm/momentum in the project I was working on at the time)




While I was playing around, my mother in law was hard at work. There is an old slate hearth in the living room that after 30-40 years of life it was turning green from the yellowing of the "protective coating" that was on it. She got the motivation to strip the old coating off and it looks soo much better now! (Even though there is still some left.) Here is an "ALMOST DONE" shot. The left side is the yucky side and the right BEAUTIFUL side is the uncoated/stripped slate. She did good work...no GREAT work.




And while the ladies were busy with these things, the boys tried to gather some wood for the fireplace. But the chainsaw did not cooperate, so no woodpile yet. We'll stick with the duraflame for awhile.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

The best Christmas present

It's always interesting to me to ask people what their favorite present is, or ask what is the best present they've ever received. Lots of answers tend to include something that holds value. Not monetary value (although that could come with it), but usually more for the reason of love or memories from the person that gave it to them. I happened to be talking with my brother (in-law) and as we are ALL very budget strapped this year we are all looking for ways to give someone we love something but that doesn't cost a ton of money. When you are looking for something that is cheaper to do, it usually [not always] means making something--and truly some of the homemade gifts can be the best. So that's what he's doing..and I have to say it is going to be amazing. He thought of an idea, but wasn't sure if it was possible and Katy to the rescue. I'm taking care of the girly appearance--AKA no messy manly handwriting, and he is taking care of the rest. I really hope she is going to LOVE it, even though I'm pretty sure she will. I can't wait to post pictures of it...after Christmas of course, just in case she happens to read this. I think what I'm most excited about is that I get to use one of my loves/hobbies for something USEFUL and for someone else's benefit...not just for random things.



On the super plus side, I was summoned to jury duty again for Monday. (I was supposed to have it in September but didn't have to go). Much to my surprise I do not have to go on Monday, and I can go to work since I already have a day scheduled. phew! what a relief.


Now, I'm off to organize and design my plan of attack. Now if I could only think of something for my hubby.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Blog Wordle

This excited me enough to write 2 posts today.

While taking one of my masters classes, I discovered an awesome website called wordle. They've added a number of cool features since I was there last including scanning words from your blog to make a wordle. I guess I should mention that a wordle is a clustering of words that can be used to describe something. I know-still not a good explanation, so here take a looksie. This is my blog wordle:



Wanna make your own? http://www.wordle.net/create


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Ohhh, memories

Today I went with my mother in law to watch my 3 year old niece while my sister in law (who is going to have a baby girl in 18 days) had a dr. appt.
3 year olds are:

  • full.of.energy
  • imaginative
  • particular
  • opinionated
  • and ohh so cute.
Playing with her reminded me of:
  • pigtails
  • dancing
  • watching Blue's Clues with my brother
  • dress up
  • dolls
  • playing house

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's the little things that count

There are days in everyone's life that you just walk through with blinders on. Now I'm not saying that you are purposely ignoring everything around you, but things are going smoothly and there aren't any major bumps, turns, or other catastrophe's that make you look around.


Then there are those other days that just make you stop and question. Those are the days that you get a true perspective on your life and you have two choices:
         1. Focus on the things that are going wrong
         2. Focus on the things that are good


I'll admit, it is easy to look first to the things that are wrong, the things that could be better, or the things you aren't happy with. But why? Where does it get you. You worry, you lose sleep, you get angry or frustrated because it all boils down to the fact that you have no control over what is going on. And that's when I am so thankful I can turn to my God and realize I don't have to be in control.


Today, nothing happened to me directly. But hearing some recent events that happened to a dear friend (whom I'm praying for) and having a lovely night with my in-laws it really got me thinking. I am so thankful and glad that I have a loving and caring husband (even when he is preoccupied with sports...after all I knew what I was marrying), an awesome mom (who I've gotten to work with--not just visit at school), father, and alright I'll even say my BIG-little brother...

..who is quite a lot taller than me, and just generally and overall BIGGER than me.  And who am I kidding my in-laws are a wonderful group of people. I've got a few close friends who I would consider my "support circle"...if I need to talk to a girl, they've got my back (among other things..haha)


But the funny thing I realized in trying to offer some words of encouragement and support to this dear girl is that I was told that the people you were friends with in high school wouldn't always be your friends--some would go to different colleges and some would move away and you would make new friends. Then I went to college...and no one told me this. That you really possibly end up living farther away from the people you met in college. I realized that two of the girls who I adore and met in college both live over an hour away and I follow their lives on facebook and their blogs: (here and here). I saw one over the summer because she had a BABY and the other one I haven't seen for almost 2 years!!  But on the upside, I'm super happy that we have the wonderful ways of technology to interact and share about what is going on in our lives. 


Well there was your random thought(s) for the day (if they even made sense). :)


...maybe going to visit my niece and sister (who is going to have a baby in 19 days!)





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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My husband rocks

Why you ask?

Because this is what was awaiting my return from school today...


and just for size comparison...

Yes, it's a GIANT Hershey's bar. And I actually had to think about HOW to attack this beast...and then I decided to just dive right in. It's nice being able to eat 1 block and have my fill of chocolate because it's soo big. But 1 block sounds better than 3.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Settlers

In August, I had the opportunity of meeting an awesome lady and congratulating her as a future Mrs. Linsky. Aka my sister-in-law to be. From her home in California she brought a game called The Settlers of Catan. We spent a night playing it (without my hubster, as he is not really into board games) and it was a blast!! Lots of laughs and a great time.





We tried playing it tonight (the hubs, one of the BIL's, and me) and it was soo incredibly boring. Don't get me wrong, it's a great game and I would highly recommend it. But it was one of those games where one player completely dominated and the other 2 players were left..well with nothing to work with.  Ohhh well, if nothing else it was still fun to do something different tonight. Thanks to Ben for the idea tonight and to Eryn for bringing the game to the Linsky family, I had a little escape from sports (which every wife of a sports-aholic husband needs once and awhile)



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