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Fun Christmas Survey (Borrowed From Deb)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Have you been naughty or nice this year? I can never get away with being naughty so I gave up on that.

What do you want most for Christmas? This is true: end war and famine. When people want to give me gifts, I ask that they spend the money on UNICEF or Doctors Without Borders. I personally don't need more 'stuff'.

Do you believe in Santa Claus? Well, of course! Frosty, too.

What is your favorite food at Christmas? My family's traditional Christmas cookies. See bottom of page.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Yes. I do most of that on line - I hate shopping crowds.

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Not by a long shot!

What is your favorite Christmas song? Chestnuts

What is your favorite Christmas movie? My all-time favorite is 'It's a Wonderful Life'. I also have to watch 'A Christmas Carol' with Alistair Sim every year.

What is your best memory of Christmas? We were not allowed in the living room until our parents woke up, but Santa left stockings filled with goodies on our bedroom doorknobs. My brother, sister, and I would get up before dawn, open our stocking presents together on one of the beds, and eat chocolate. My children then continued the tradition. Even now as adults, they go for their stockings first and giggle together while they find their goodies. I love it!

What do you look forward to most at Christmas? Spending time with my granddaughter. I don't see her nearly as often as I would like to. And of course, the rest of my family.

What are you doing for Christmas this year? My son, DIL, and granddaughter will be visiting.

Who do you want to kiss under the mistletoe? My husband, or course!

What kind of Christmas tree do you have? Artificial .

Do you take part in a secret santa? No, but we have a Giving Tree at school. People put children's hats and mittens on it, and these go to a homeless shelter and women's shelter.

Do you go to any Christmas parties? No. We have a huge Lunar New Year party each year instead.

Have you ever had a white Christmas? Often. Looks like the chances are good for one this year.

How early do you wake up on Christmas morning? I get up between 5 and 6 most days. Now that the kids are grown, it is anyone's guess when the rest of the house will get up.

Do you still get a stocking? Well, there is a stocking for 'Mom' but there won't be anything in it unless I put it there.

How many Christmas cards do you normally send out? Around 100.

What is your Christmas wish? See Question #1.

This is a sampling of the traditional cookies my family makes and gives out at Christmas.

I am looking forward to making them with my granddaughter this year and passing on the tradition.

And the new cookie since Stella joined our family:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIRIRADHA 12/12/2010 8:13AM

    Fantastic cookies! Lead me into temptation, go ahead! emoticon

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SOON2BEFITSLP 12/11/2010 4:44PM

    I love your cookie cut-outs!

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LINDAGRAVEL 12/9/2010 12:06AM


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MCGS62 12/8/2010 11:54PM


Do you believe in Santa Claus? Well, of course! Frosty, too.

What about Rudoff!!!

Stella cookies look good! Where on earth did you get a stella cookie cutter!!

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0309COOKIE 12/8/2010 6:26PM

    I love the stocking tradition and the poodle cookies are just too cool!

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MARY1313 12/8/2010 3:03PM

    You are about like me and my family at Christmas.

Love the cookies, especially the Poodle cookies!


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GOSPELCLOWN 12/8/2010 11:49AM

    The survey is a great idea. Christmas traditions vary from family to family and country to country.

Here's hoping all your wishes come true!

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IUHRYTR 12/8/2010 11:42AM

    The stocking tradition passed down to the children will give them years of good memories as will the cool cookies. -- Lou

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KRITTERKEEPERS 12/8/2010 10:04AM

    I enjoyed the survey. What great Christmas cookies!

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ARIESPANDA 12/8/2010 8:02AM

    WOW! Now THOSE are some serious cookies! I'm inspired! :)

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MEOWMAMA3 12/8/2010 7:37AM

    Love the Stella cookies! I'll have to do this survey when I have more time. Just checking in on you. Have a great day!

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SOPKAMANJU 12/8/2010 7:07AM

    I like your survey and the cookies look yummy emoticon emoticon

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SCOOTER4263 12/8/2010 7:07AM

    Your camels, horses and dogs look so wonderful - better than magazine cookies (and they don't even have to use real food!) I made cut-out cookies for years, but never so elaborate as these - you've got real artistry going on there! emoticon

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LAGREBE 12/8/2010 6:58AM

    I love the look of these cookies!

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Making Latkes For Hannukah at School

Monday, December 06, 2010

We had a great time preparing latkes for Hannukah today. In the morning, the children washed, peeled, and grated potatoes, and grated onions. In the afternoon, the children added the eggs and salt, and two children helped fry the latkes. We made traditional and sweet potato latkes and served them up with applesauce, sour cream and cinnamon. Delicious!

Browning on the griddle

Sweet potato latkes

Brown and done!

And ready to eat!

Latke Recipe from Epicurious:

1 pound potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil

Accompaniments: sour cream and applesauce
print a shopping list for this recipe


Preheat oven to 250F.
Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.
Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven.

For people like me, with nightshade allergies, substitute sweet potatoes for the potatoes.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MCGS62 12/7/2010 10:11PM

    Now I know what to make for Haunnaukah!!!

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MARY1313 12/7/2010 1:26PM

    Oh this just made me hungry LOL

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KJE_3001 12/6/2010 10:18PM

    Ohhhh, I LOVE me some latkes, and it has been WAY too long since I last ate them. Your pictures are making my mouth water!


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IUHRYTR 12/6/2010 8:58PM

    I've never tasted one of these but your pictures make them seem so delicious. I know I've said it before, but your students must absolutely love being in your class. So many creative activities and for such good causes. How do I nominate you for teacher of the year? emoticon -- Lou

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WATERMELLEN 12/6/2010 8:12PM

    I love latkes -- can just imagine how delicious!!

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MCSNYDER1 12/6/2010 7:17PM


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MEOWMAMA3 12/6/2010 7:03PM

    Ah, the smell of latkes in the halls at school! My friend Pat used to make them every year with her Resource Room kids. I need to give her a call. She's now a relaxed retiree. Enjoy!

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CLEVAGAL 12/6/2010 6:28PM

    We have decided to make these for christmas day as my sisters partner is jewish and is celebrating his first christmas with us...

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LMB-ESQ 12/6/2010 5:38PM

    I love latkes! We make them every year. For the mess they make and the fact that they are definitely OUTSIDE my food plan, I'm glad we only make them once a year! Not sure when we'll do it this year. My mom, who usually heads up "operation latkes" at her house, went out of town. Maybe when she gets back, even though Hanukkah will be over by then. Oh, well, they'll still taste great!

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BONNIEJEAN51 12/6/2010 3:43PM

    They look delicious! emoticon

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UR2LOVEIT 12/6/2010 3:11PM

  Sounds lovely! Happy Hannukah! emoticon

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Facing Reality About My Kitty

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and words on my earlier blog. The sad and inescapable reality is Stella, Mike, and I have lost a beloved fur-buddy. I sincerely believe Tex has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. We live in an isolated area so there is no putting signs on trees, ads in the paper, etc. There is no cozy place that Tex could go except into our house. He is (was?) a very old man, and never wanted to be outside for more than an hour at a time once he hit old age. He was very demanding and would beat on the door and yowl when he was cold or hungry or wanted his nap. The fact that I have not seen him for 24 hours does not bode well.

I have no evidence that he has died... I have walked up and down the road and along the fence row perimeter of my yard, I have checked outbuildings, the chicken coop, and camper. There is no sign of him anywhere, foul play or otherwise.

The fact that he has not come back is enough to make me believe that he has either gone off to die, or been caught by a wild animal. He would be my first fur kid in over 3 decades not to die in my arms of venerable old age. The house feels empty without him - he has been my little cuddler for 16 years.

Mostly, I wanted to say thank you for your kindness and optimism in my earlier blog and to update you on whether he returned or not.

If by some miracle he is alive and has fooled me, I will definitely let you know. I am not even a little bit optimistic that this will happen.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRITTERKEEPERS 12/7/2010 10:41AM

    I am so sorry to hear about Tex. There is such an emptiness when we lose one of our pets without knowing what happened. I hope that he either returns or that you learn what has happened so that you may have closure. emoticon

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JOYSGARDEN 12/6/2010 6:23PM

    I'm sorry you are going thru this right now, with no answers to your questions. My silly cat likes to crawl in places he's not supposed to be, and I'm hoping that's what yours has done too, and he'll let you know he needs out! But if not, you have my thoughts and prayers...

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OLDERDANDRT 12/6/2010 5:48PM

    My dear friend, I do not mean to dredge up these sad thoughts, but just happened to wonder, are you absolutely positive that he was out? My kitty could hide in this house and convince me she had gotten out! I'd get frantic and then after awhile, she' d waltz out from wherever she'd been. A lady I knew used to accidently close hers into a linen closet! Just a thought. I am so sorry he's disappeared.

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AQUAJANE 12/4/2010 9:44PM

    emoticon I empathize with your worry and loss. I love the photo of Stella and kitty. emoticon

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SOON2BEFITSLP 12/4/2010 1:14PM

    I hope everything turns out well and if not, it is always heart-warming to think of how great a friend our pets can be. My dog Shadow ran away this summer when my brother let him out. He's a beagle and once he is out in the woods he gets distracted in tracking animals. We could hear him bellowing that he had found something for a while, but we couldn't find him. Usually he would come home covered in mud and super tired from his little trip, but he didn't come back. My parents like to think he was picked up by a stranger on another road, but I often worry that isn't the case. So I know the feeling of wondering where he could possibly be. I really hope that Tex is alright. emoticon

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DEBBIE_J 12/3/2010 11:42PM

    emoticon My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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TEAWONDERFUL 12/3/2010 11:14PM

    emoticon So sorry, that is never easy. I remember when I first moved to AZ and our older cat who use to go outside in Ohio wanted to go out here and we wouldn't let him. Well, one day he got by one of us and never returned. We put up posters and everything. I'll never forget, one of the neighbors told us that a coyote probably got him and I just burst into tears and the guy started back peddling as fast as possible to his house. I hope you find your litte guy.

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KJE_3001 12/3/2010 5:11PM

    Many emoticon to you and your family. I'm glad that you have many happy memories of Tex to remember him by, wherever he is.


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RAYLINSTEPHENS 12/3/2010 11:13AM

    my emoticon and emoticon are with you.

sometimes they still manage to come home

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OLDERDANDRT 12/3/2010 11:05AM

    emoticonI'm sure you've looked high and low, but do you have a porch he might have crawled under? ANy tiny little space that only he could have accessed that maybe you've missed? I am soooo sorry, my dear friend. This totally breaks my heart for you! I had a kitty that came to live with me once, but I had Bianca (kitty) as a stricktly indoor kitty and I was afraid to bring him in, too. But I fixed him a place on the front porch, fed and watered him, doctored him, had him to the vet and all and he stayed with me about a year then disappeared. HE was a young, intact male, so I counted myself lucky to have had him that long. Neighbors would catch sight of him occasionally for the next year or so, then nothing. I don't have any idea if he's alive or dead, happy or starving or anything. Sometimes I think the not knowing is the hardest part. I do hope you find him.....even if he's crossed Rainbow Bridge so you can lay him to rest properly and you KNOW where he is. emoticon emoticon emoticon
Hug Stella for me, too. I know she is missing him as well.

Comment edited on: 12/3/2010 11:07:02 AM

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MCGS62 12/3/2010 9:35AM


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SVELTEWARRIOR 12/3/2010 8:04AM

    emoticon I am so sorry

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    Hi Chris,
That's the case with many of our furry friends. If they can, they go off on their own. They don't have the same attitude in the end that we do although we swear they think like humans.
If you do find him and he is gone, hopefully he found his own nesting place to take the trip wherever cats go.
I like your Rainbow Bridge. It sounds like a nice place to cross into another land.


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TISHTOES 12/3/2010 4:27AM

    So sorry. Give the dog an extra hug.

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0309COOKIE 12/2/2010 11:32PM

    I'm sorry to hear that Tex has not returned. My heart aches for you. I'm sure Stella must be sad too. Maybe he'll show up yet.

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    I am so very sorry to hear about your kitty. My cat needs his time outside, so I know what you mean about quality of life. I know how hard it is to lose a furry friend and my thoughts are with you.

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WATERMELLEN 12/2/2010 9:14PM

    So sorry -- I've had beloved pets who knew when they were ready to go and wanted to "spare me" . . .

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PENNYAN45 12/2/2010 8:31PM

    So sorry. Our pets are family - and when they go, they leave a huge hole.

emoticon emoticon

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STARLASUE 12/2/2010 8:22PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CLEVAGAL 12/2/2010 6:59PM

    Im thinking of you and Tex today...love love love Clevaxxx

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MCSNYDER1 12/2/2010 6:46PM

    Oh, honey, I am so sorry about this! I know that you think of your pets as family members, as do I. There will be an empty spot in your heart for quite a while.

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IUHRYTR 12/2/2010 6:01PM

    Even though I still have two dogs and two cats, all strays, here inside the house, it still feels empty since I said goodbye to Kitty on Tuesday. I pray and hope Tex is found or returns because your heart is breaking. It's a sad part of being a pet owner but it never easy to deal with. But if there is power in kitty prayers, then you, your family and Tex are showered with them. emoticon -- Lou

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SUGARLUMPS35 12/2/2010 5:52PM

    So sorry to hear about your missing cat. I had a cat that owned me for 10 yrs so I know the pain you feel. I still miss my baby Cinnamon. Hopefully Tex will return but if he made it over to Rainbow Bridge there will be a 22pd calico by the name of Cinnamon waiting to welcome him in. emoticon

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MARY1313 12/2/2010 5:43PM

    Oh bless your heart Chris. I know how your heart must be aching. IT is so hard that we outlive our fur babies that are just like our kids. I wish I could hug you in person, but my words will have to hug you instead. You are loved here. Stella must be sad too because I know by that picture that she loved him too.


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PUDLECRAZY 12/2/2010 5:33PM

    He did have a long and good life with me. He was a rescue cat, and just loved living here, having a warm and stable home, great food, and lots of room to roam. I had planned to have him be an inside kitty when I first brought him home, but that made him very unhappy. He has always had the run of our house and 8 acres. I have always accepted the fact that there are risks involved letting cats out, but for Tex, it was a quality of life issue. He did have a very happy life.

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MAUR88N 12/2/2010 5:30PM

  I am sorry for your loss. This is one thing I don't look forward to going through with our aging Corgi mix dog.

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SIRIRADHA 12/2/2010 5:29PM

    He's purring in your heart, thanking you always for your love and the friendship you shared. Wherever he is, angels are watching over him. I believe the universe loves these special little furbabies.

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LMB-ESQ 12/2/2010 5:26PM

    emoticon I am so sorry. I will keep praying for him and for you though, maybe he'll surprise us all.

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BARBARASDIET 12/2/2010 5:21PM

    I am so sorry. I have had to put several pets to sleep and it is hard whether they go that way or naturally.

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Worried About My Kitty

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I am very worried about Tex. If he were a younger guy, I would expect him to go carousing at night and come back in the morning to sleep it off. But, at 16, he is an old man... thin and in love with his comforts. He likes to sleep near the fire and loves his lap time.

We got our first blanket of snow yesterday and last night the temperature dropped to the low 20's plus a windchill factor. In his youth, Tex would have enjoyed being out, but probably not all night. In his old age, he would not have wanted to be out in the cold and damp. He is not a kitty who would sit quietly at the door - he pounds on the door and yowls when he wants to come in. I slept on the couch all night hoping to hear him at the door, but there was no sign of him. It is still too dark to go out and look for him.

I am really afraid the worst has happened, and I am sad.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SOLUCKY12 12/6/2010 10:21PM

    I want you to have hope! My prayers are with you as you remember Tex and the great gift he gives you. The memory of his company will never leave and your love for him will never end. When he comes back, give him hugs from your SP friends.

I love your picture of Tex!

Keep us informed. I'm sad for you lying on the couch waiting for your friend. Our kitties are such a blessing. emoticon

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MEOWMAMA3 12/6/2010 6:56PM

    Oh Chris I just saw this, and read the update. I'm so sorry and sad for you. Don't give up hope though, cats do find themselves in lots of jams they manage to get out of. When my Barracuda was little she went missing for about 4 days....INSIDE and I woke up to her licking me and meowing like crazy in my face. I swore I had checked every possible nook and cranny. hugs to you my friend.

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MARY1313 12/2/2010 5:40PM

    Oh no Chris! I'm so sorry, I know how worried you are. Prayers coming you and tex's way.

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IUHRYTR 12/2/2010 4:29PM

    I am still mourning saying goodbye to Kitty on Tuesday so I fully relate to your concern, Chris. Kitty prayers going out for his safe return. Please let us know. emoticon -- Lou

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BRIAEL 12/2/2010 1:10PM

    Don't give up hope. Cats are smart, they will often find shelter if they can't back in to you. Maybe he's found somewhere to tuck up warm.

If his time has come, then he spared you having to watch and you know that he won't suffer. I'm always heartbroken to lose a pet, but they are such a gift that they can't be forever! *hugs*

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OLDERDANDRT 12/2/2010 11:56AM

    Oh, my friend. I do hope he comes home to you! It's so sad, but lots of times they know their time is short and will go away. I hope this is not the case, dear. By your pic, he resmbles my Pippin that I had years ago. So precious. Prayers for you and Tex's safe return to you.

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CHICK_MAMA 12/2/2010 11:23AM

    You are like me. My animals are like my babies, part of the family. When one disappears it is so hard. I hope he returns safe and sound. emoticon

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MCGS62 12/2/2010 9:48AM

    I hope your kitty comes back. emoticon

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STARLASUE 12/2/2010 9:41AM

    I am so sorry he has disappeared. Kitties of advanced age sometimes do that. It is hard on us when they do it though. I thoroughly understand your saddness. Sending lots of love your way that you locate him. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HANNAHV 12/2/2010 7:59AM

    aw, so, so sorry. what can I say-been there with one of my parrots, it is the worst! Be brave, you and Tex are in my prayers emoticon emoticon

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SNUGGLY4U 12/2/2010 7:33AM

    Let us know what happens. Maybe he just found a comfy tree to nap in and he'll be back when it warms up.

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DOR2BFIT 12/2/2010 6:58AM

    Oh poor thing- I hope he turns up soon and is OK. Our dog is so old now that she can't scratch to be let in, and doesn't bark. We have to set the kitchen timer so we don't forget to let her back in! We do love our animal companions! emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 12/2/2010 6:44AM

    Ohhh.... I hope he comes home soon. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts today. Keep us posted. emoticon

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LMATTHEWS76 12/2/2010 5:58AM

    I am so sorry you are missing and worried for your kitty. I really hope he comes home soon!

My cat was lost during a snow like that for about 4 days. I walked the neighborhood calling for him, put out a FB post etc. Finally, on the fourth day, he came waltzing up to the door, skinnier and very eager to get in out of the cold. I bought him extra treats and lavashed attention on him. Luckily he hasn't repeated the experience.

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LAGREBE 12/2/2010 5:38AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
So sorry, we love our animals...

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Quick Uke Blog

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Here is the little blue ukelele I bought for my class. Stella is enjoying modeling it in the classroom... it suits her coloring well!

I have been teaching the chords for Jolly Old St. Nicholas and Dreidel to the children who are interested in learning to play the uke. We are having lots of fun with it. Right now, I have a quartet of children playing guitar, piano, and singing working on their part in the holiday performance and soloists for sax, trombone, violin, and piano. Of course, the whole group is working on singing seasonal and holiday music. I'm looking forward to our performance on Dec. 16.

I am really excited about taking the class to see the Cirque de la Symphonie on Friday. I've added a link - it really looks like fun!


Happy Channukah to my friends!



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEOWMAMA3 12/6/2010 6:58PM

    Sounds like fun! So nice you have a music program. My school has none, but we had a great one at one time at my old school. I think it's a disgrace that we have none, especially since the principal is a former music teacher and she decides how to staff prep classes. Anyway, make that joyful noise!!!!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TISHTOES 12/2/2010 2:52AM

    I love the Uke picture with the dog. Very Cute!

What ages/grades are your students?

I want to get a fluke. Have you seen them before. It has a flat bottom so it can sit up on the floor which would come in very handy. I played uke as a kid and want to play it again but don't have one yet. Any suggestions?

P.S. have you heard of the flukes and fleas?

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MCGS62 12/2/2010 2:05AM

    Heck, that looks like a nice instrument. is it left handed or upside down just for the picture?
Just teasing!! couldn't resist.

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KJE_3001 12/1/2010 9:20PM

    Stella looks so regal with the uke that it almost seems she should be conducting the class! Haha!

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OLDERDANDRT 12/1/2010 7:58PM

    The blue Uke DOES look nice with Stella's coloring! How cool to do such fun stuff with your students!!

Happy Channukah!

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0309COOKIE 12/1/2010 7:27PM

    What a wonderful way to show off the uke by having Stella model it. And a beautiful model she is! So photogenic. I always enjoy a picture of her! Thanks.

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WATERMELLEN 12/1/2010 7:04PM

    Stella is a very clever (and musical) dog -- and that bright blue colour must be so appealing to your children.

In keeping with my "one silly thing" rule, I was wearing stillettos just about that shade today!!

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DOR2BFIT 12/1/2010 7:02PM

    I checked out the link- that is absolutely amazing! LOVE the blue uke modeled by Miss Stella- when I first read your title I thought it was in a different language! emoticon

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 12/1/2010 4:32PM

    SO cute! Isn't that just something, put a picture of stella in your blog and you will always get a smile!

..) .)
(. (. (.`♥Victoria✫**.

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PUDLECRAZY 12/1/2010 4:26PM

    Thank you, Lou and Mary. One of the things I love is that my graduates come back to visit and spend the day in class when we are in school and their school has a day off. I get students coming back to visit even after they have graduated from college. It is wonderful to have a 'forever' connection with them.

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IUHRYTR 12/1/2010 4:23PM

    I can picture Stella now: "For my next song I dedicate it to all of my buddies out there -- Who Let the Dogs Out?" Now if we can get her a grass skirt, she'll be all set. emoticon Love you, Stella. And thank you, Chris, for having such an inspiring and caring attitude toward your students. I am sure these times are ones they will not soon forget. -- Lou

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MARY1313 12/1/2010 3:43PM

    Oh goodness she is so cute! and I know she loves those kids in your class! You are a good and thoughtful teacher Chris!


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