Friday, December 24, 2010

Alison's "10 Things in 2011" List

So, Alison saw me making my 101 Things in 1001 Days list and wanted to make one, too.  She shortened hers to 10 Things she wants to do in the year 2011.

Here it is:

  1. Get straight A's at school
  2. Get an A+ on a test
  3. Make a new friend (I love that one!)
  4. Go shopping with Mom
  5. Play with the puppy every day
  6. Teach the puppy a new trick
  7. Read a whole chapter book
  8. Cook with Mom
  9. Make cards for Mama, Papa & Grandpa T.
  10. Make the biggest sandcastle at Lake of the Ozarks

How cute is that?

101 Things in 1001 Days

***EDIT*** 1/1/11

I have deleted about 10 things from this list and added 10 different things.  New items can be seen on the left-hand column.


Instead of a New Year's Resolution, I am going to do a list of 101 Things that I want to do 1001 Days.  I first heard about this project from my sister (Party of 5).  Then, I googled "101 in 1001" and came across TONS of other people who've been doing this for years.  At first, I thought it was a little strange (if I can't stick to ONE New Year's Resolution, how am I going to get over 100 done?) but then I realized that 1001 days is almost three YEARS!  No rush, no stress, no guilt if things get put on hold... what a perfect "resolution"!  And to help myself make the list, I put a lot of things on there that need to get done around the house, anyway.  Why not put them on the list???  For anyone interested in creating a list, just google "101 in 1001" to get some ideas, or inspiration, on what sorts of things to put on your list.  Here goes:

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.
The Rules:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

The Timeframe:
The first day will be January 1, 2011
The last day will be September 29, 2013


  1. Paint & decorate the master bedroom
  2. Save for & buy new bedroom furniture for master bedroom
  3. Give Aidan his "camouflage" bedroom he's been begging for
  4. Put in new carpet/flooring/tiles throughout the main floor of the house (ie kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom, living room, etc.)
  5. Clean the basement!!!  (That's a biggie!)
  6. Paint & decorate the basement, including the downstairs bathroom (already halfway renovated)
  7. Strip & re-stain the back deck
  8. Scrape & re-paint the house (the parts that are not brick)
  9. Make a tiki-bar in the basement (bar already built in, just covered in junk at the moment)
  10. Make flowerbeds in back of the house
  11. Spend at least 1 hr per week watering, pulling weeds & adding mulch as necessary to flowerbeds so plants don't die
  12. Take a kids cooking class with Alison & Aidan
  13. Spend a 4th of July at the lake & watch the fireworks on the water
  14. Go to a Jimmy Buffett concert in Key West
  15. Go back to Vegas
  16. Spend a girl's weekend somewhere outside of STL (Memphis, Chicago, or even the lake)
  17. Take the kids to Washington, DC to visit the White House
  18. Take the kids to DisneyWorld
  19. Take the kids back to the beach
  20. Take 1 trip every year with Jeff (no kids!), even if it's just a bed & breakfast in mid-Missouri for a weekend
  21. Go hiking/backpacking with the kids & tent camp, at least once per year
  22. Take the kids back to Six Flags (Alison HATED it last time!)
  23. Take the kids to a NASCAR race (I hate NASCAR but I think they will love it!)
  24. Visit at least 2 new States
  25. Take the kids fishing (a favorite childhood past-time of mine)
  26. Toilet train the cat (it can be done!)
  27. Enter Charlie (new puppy) into at least one agility/obedience class (not "puppy manners" class)
  28. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  29. See a Cesar Millan show live
  30. Go deep sea fishing
  31. Blog at least once a month (hard to find the time!)
  32. Get another (small) tattoo
  33. Get a professional massage (nope, never had one!)
  34. Join a Book of the Month Club
  35. Lose 10 lbs... and keep it off!
  36. Run a 1/2 marathon
  37. Donate blood
  38. Learn at least one song on my guitar
  39. Frame & hang our family pictures (taken Oct 2009)
  40. Plant a few veggies/herbs to use in home-cooked meals
  41. Read at least 25 of Time's "All-Time 100 Novels"
  42. Eat at 5 new restaurants
  43. Crochet a new scarf/hat for each member of the family
  44. Donate 100,000 grains of rice through (which goes to the World Food Programme to help end world hunger)
  45. Find a church we are all comfortable in (harder than it sounds! Jeff was raised Catholic; I was raised Baptist)
  46. Have regular date nights with Jeff (well, as regular as his work schedule will allow)
  47. Make Jeff a candlelit dinner
  48. Perfect my mother-in-law's hashbrown casserole (I can never get it to taste the same as hers did)
  49. Learn to do sudoku
  50. Try at least one new recipe a month
  51. Save money on Starbuck's coffee by bringing my own coffee to work each morning
  52. Save money on crappy hospital cafeteria food by bringing my lunch to work each day
  53. Take the kids to a craft or woodworking class at Lowe's or Home Depot
  54. Decorate our camper/campsite Margaritaville-style
  55. Bake something with the kids at least once a week
  56. Go on a family float trip
  57. Have a "date" with each child seperately at least once a month
  58. Build a sandcastle with the kids at the lake
  59. Learn to grill meat (nope, never done it!  Jeff ALWAYS grills!)
  60. Do yoga/pilates/any other exercize at least once a week for 3 months
  61. Submit at least 2 songs to BMI
  62. Do the zipline at Meramec
  63. Learn to make at least one authentic Mexican dish
  64. Learn to play poker
  65. Create a birthday calendar for my friends and family & send a real card on their birthday (not FB or email)
  66. Finish crocheting the baby blanket that my Granny Great started for Alison over 12 years ago, before she passed away
  67. Go apple picking with the family & use the apples to make pies
  68. Give up all sweets for one week, 5 times
  69. Give up soda for one week, 5 times
  70. Take the kids to the top of the STL Arch (how sad is it that they've grown up here but never been to the top?)
  71. Go to a STL Rams game to see if I hate football as much live as I do on TV
  72. Not complain when Jeff watches football all day, 5 times
  73. See a show at The Muny (nope, never been!)
  74. See the Grand Canyon
  75. See New York City
  76. See Ireland/Scotland (ok, so that's a long shot...)
  77. Go garage sale-ing
  78. Go to the flea market & find something fabulous
  79. Sell all my used books either on ebay or at a used book store
  80. Do an anonymous favor or "pay it forward" to a stranger
  81. Go to a live improv comedy show (it's been years!)
  82. Buy a bicycle
  83. Go bike riding on the Katy Trail
  84. Make another music video with the kids (our first can be seen at the bottom of this page)
  85. Perfect 5 "boat drink" recipes for summers at the lake
  86. Plan/organize a winery trip for friends & family
  87. Buy a hammock, hang it & use it
  88. Write a letter to myself, to open in 10 years
  89. Write a letter to each child, to open on their wedding day
  90. Pay my years-overdue library fee ($30 and some change)
  91. Buy a canvas, paint it & hang it in my home
  92. Go on a family picnic, complete with basket
  93. Take the kids horseback riding
  94. Learn to drive a stick shift (this is so scary to me!)
  95. Do 1 load of laundry every day (crazy how laundry piles up around here!)
  96. Trim & re-pot Granny Great's ivy
  97. Throw a party/bbq for friends & family
  98. Actually start Christmas shopping early next year (and not just say I'm going to)
  99. Say a prayer every night
  100. Complete at least 50% of this list (hey, I'm a realist.)  Put the rest on my next list.
  101. Help Alison complete her "10 Things of 2011" list, where possible
That's my list!  Wish me luck!  :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas around our house

Just a few of the Christmas decorations that I have around the house...

Our Christmas tree this year

The stockings that my mother-in-law bought for both kids several years ago.  We use them every year.

A cute house that Alison made at school a few years ago, made out of a brown paper bag.  I set this out every year.

Candles, candles, candles!

My mother-in-law's old Nativity set that she got when she first got married.  Not fancy, but I love it.

Decorative tree that my father-in-law bought for me a few years ago, along with Christmas tins filled with candy canes!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Alison's Bedroom Makeover

Alison's Bedroom Makeover, finally finished!  Or, at least 97% finished!  LOL  We still need a new clothes hamper, new drawer pulls (3 are broken), to splatter paint the canvas above her bed, and to clean the carpets, but I just couldn't wait to put up pics!  I'm really happy with the way it turned out!!!  And Alison LOVES it!!!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Soul Sisters, Fins, & Hillbillies...

We had fun entertaining ourselves on the loooong car ride to Cocoa Beach....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Good News & The Bad News

The Good News is I went shopping today for my care package.  The Bad News is that I think I bought enough for 10 soldiers!  Either I wasn't really paying attention (most likely since the kids were with me AND I was trying to call/text on my new phone which I still haven't figured out how to fully operate yet), or I figured I could somehow squeeze all this stuff into a regular sized box, tetris-style. 

The OTHER Good News is that I went through the website & found that if you go through their "Support The Troops" link, you can get mailing boxes for FREE!  I ordered a pack of 10 that will be delivered to my home sometime within the next week.  So what doesn't fit into 1 (or 2) boxes will just be put into another.  Anyway, when I finally brought all my purchases home & laid it out, this is what I had...  (click on pics to enlarge)

2 boxes Kleenex
1 pk baby wipes
1 stick deodorant
3 bars Irish Spring soap
1 can medicated foot spray
1 sm. bottle lotion
1 sm. bottle aloe vera
3 travel-size antibacterial gel

6 boxes "Singles To Go" flavored water mix (Crystal Light, Wyler's, etc.)
1 box instant coffee singles
1 box powdered coffee creamer singles
1 box Quaker oatmeal snack bars
1 box Nutri-Grain bars
1 box fruit snacks
1 box Strawberry Pop Tarts
1 box microwavable popcorn
2 bags trail mix
2 bags beef jerky
1 bag butterscotch candies
1 bag Twizzlers
1 bag sunflower seeds
1 bag 6pk Chicken Ramen Noodles
4 pks. Hormel microwavable meals
4 pks. Betty Crocker microwavable desserts
2 pks. Easy Mac mac-n-cheese
1 pk. chewing gum
1 can toffee peanuts

3 pks. water balloons
1 pk. playing cards
3 magazines (People, US Weekly, etc.)
1 sm. board game of Checkers

1 Nalgene water bottle-32 oz.
1 notebook
1 Sudoku book
1 Word Find book
1 pk. ink pens
1 pk. index cards
1 box small envelopes
1 letter from Alison
1 drawing from Aidan
1 Thank You card
1 picture of kids holding "Thank You" sign (not finished yet)

The other BAD News is that I realized afterwards that NO aerosol sprays are allowed (medicated foot spray) and ONLY travel-sized items should be sent (Kleenex), so those 3 items will just be used here at home.  I have to admit, a lot (ok.. MOST) of the items I bought were NOT on my soldier's request list, but were items that I saw lots of other soldiers requesting.  The items on MY guy's list were a $250 gun holster (sorry, but not gonna happen) and a $50 folding foot stool (again... nope!), so I just went with general snacks, games & mailing materials.  I'm sure they'll be used & appreciated either way.

Comments are welcome!  Please let me know if something on this list is a no-no and I won't include it in my care package.  (Like the pre-cooked bacon I also bought before I remembered NO PORK PRODUCTS ARE ALLOWED because of local customs... LOL).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Just a few days ago, I saw a facebook status from one of the Tesdall cousins that read: "....Hope to connect with a soldier whose package was returned to me (from Afghanistan). Injured, he was sent to Bethesda and is now rehab'ing at VA hospital in Richmond."  They are literally driving from Jacksonville, FL (with 2 young children) to Richmond, VA to give their soldier the care package that was returned to them in the mail.  Jeff & I just thought that was awesome, and we were inspired to adopt our own soldier.

I was unfamiliar with and after a bit of research into the program, we discovered that their mission is to distribute care packages all over the world to any soldier in any branch of the military who does not typically recieve a lot of mail from family or friends.  It's not so much about "stuff", but more about "support".  But, of course the "stuff" is helpful & appreciated!  Within minutes of signing up, we were searching through the list of names (over 1500) of soldiers requesting care packages for their units, or for members of their units who hardly ever get mail.  Some even requested items for local Afghani or Iraqi children who didn't have toys, shoes, blankets, etc.  After reading through several of these, I ended up with an address to a group of MP's stationed in Iraq.  (The kids really liked the idea of supporting police officers.)  So basically, our care package will be given to someone in this MP unit who doesn't get a lot of mail from home; this soldier will become our "adopted" soldier.

Alison was instantly inspired to write a letter to our soldier, to be included in our care package.  She is very excited about sending it out with a few of the items we've selected from the list of needs (which we will be buying this weekend).  I'm going to include a self-addressed stamped envelope, paper & a pen, and hopefully we will get a return letter from our "adopted" soldier.  I'll keep you updated....

Here is Alison's letter:

It reads:
"Dear Soldier,

Thank you for all you've done for our wonderful country!  Me and my brother Aidan love playing war but we know that fighting in the real war is really, really dangerous.  I hope you or any of your friends never get harmed.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself.  I'm 10 years old going into 5th grade.  I also have a black belt in taekwondo and my favorite sport is basketball.

Maybe if you have time you can write me back and tell me a little bit about yourself.  I hope you stay safe and thanks again for protecting our country.

Alison T."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Alison's Complicated Life"

So, I was cleaning Alison's room the other day & stumbled upon a book.  One of those black & white composition books that had been taped & drawn over to read "Alison's Complicated Life", then below that, "Best Book Ever!".  I was immediately curious, but didn't want to invade her privacy so I asked her if I could read it.  She agreed, and after a little coaxing, she then agreed to let me post the contents on here.  To keep it as authentic as possible, I will leave all spelling, punctuation & grammatical errors as they are.  It's cuter that way, anyway.  :)


"OK, in case your wondering this is a journal.  And I'm going to tell you all about my life.  like....

Theres this test called the m.a.p. test and if I don't pass I won't go to middle school.

I can't take elementary school anymore, theres to many werdo's and WAY to many nerds."

(insert hand-drawn picture of "nerd" here at a desk)


"What I wrote in this for was because I'll defenetily be famous one day, but for now I have more important things to wory about, like....

GOSSIP.  My freind told me about it but, I was too busy day dreaming to listen.

Remember how I said I'll be famous, well hears what my house will look like..." 

(hand drawn picture of house on Page Three that includes a hot tub, skatepark, bedroom, basketball hoop, basketball court, and an arcade)


"I don't think anyone could have a perfect home like that!

anyway, Today was the worst day of school EVER because, Mr. Johnston, my music teacher told us we have to memorize three songs by Monday.

(insert hand-drawn picture of a girl with talk bubble saying, la la la la... WHAT?)

First of all I'm not even trying to memorize them.  because I don't really care."


"I don't know if I've mentioned this before but I hate school.

The only things I like is that we get recess & freinds.  All the rest I hate!

My life is just so complicated!!" (sad face)

That's all she's written so far.  I can't wait for the next installment!  :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Is This Too Much to Ask....?

My current obsession.....  I will have one.  Oh yes, I will....

Bow Riders for sale (<------ click link)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I just needed a little inspiration to get me through the next several weeks until summer.... (click pics to enlarge)

(All pics taken by me - Key West, FL - June '09)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I did it again tonight.  I logged onto You Tube, and got lost for about 3 hours.  Just going from one music video to another, showing my kids different bands & styles of music.  I like to watch them figure out for themselves which kinds of music they like & which they don't.  But, somehow we always end these nights with a little MJ.  Fortunately, both kids enjoy his music & dance moves.

Particularly the moonwalk....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reclaiming My Basement, A Little At A Time....

I have been complaining for probably the last 3 or 4 years that our basement is nothing but a place to pile junk.  Boxes upon boxes of baby clothes, old toys (most with lost or broken pieces), ratty old furniture, 2 tv's and thousands of dust bunnies.  Well I finally I decided that enough is enough!  A big step for me, since when it comes to this sort of thing, I tend to be all talk & no action.

Since our basement consists of one large room, a small laundry room, a small workroom, and a TINY bathroom, I decided that the bathroom would be the easiest to start with because of it's size.  It's the easiest to clean & at least become functional.  As the kids get older, I know that we are definitely going to be needing another bathroom in this house!

I started by giving everything a good scrubbing so that it could actually be used (except for the shower, which needs one of those shower/tub kits that fit over the existing shower/wall/tub).  Besides the shower, I decided that the bathroom definitely needs a new toilet (even now that it's clean, the one we have is really stained & just looks gross) and a new sink & countertop combo.  None of which are needed immediately to be able to use the bathroom; they are just old & could use replacing.  Other than that, it needs a fresh coat of paint, a new shower curtain & window curtains, trash can & small accessories.

Here are some "before" pictures.  I'll post the "after" pics when it's finished.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 - The Year In Pictures

One of my very favorite things to do is log onto each Friday & look at "The Week In Pictures" from around the world.  The last Friday of December, they do a recap of the year & call it... you guessed it:  "The Year In Pictures".  Rather than write a long blog detailing what I did this year, I thought I would make my own "Year In Pictures".  So.... Enjoy, and hope you have a fabulous 2010!

Ringing in 2009 with friends!  (Erin, me, Michelle)

Jan 2009 - Alison as "Carol", the main character, in "A Christmas Carol"

Feb 2009 - Alison as a munchkin in "The Wizard Of Oz"

March 2009 - Dad, Aidan & Alison at the Harlem Globetrotteres game

March 2009 - Future WNBA star

March 2009 - Erin & I in Nashville, TN for the New Kids On The Block concert

April 2009 - Alison's First Road Trip/Concert, to New Kids On The Block in Champaign, IL

April 2009 - Easter Egg Hunt (L to R: GracieAnn, Ben, Aidan, Kanin & Alison)

May 2009 - Alison & Aidan meet cousin Jack

June 2009 - Me at Busch Stadium with an Albert Pujols homerun ball (it was a GREAT birthday present!)

June 2009 - Aimee, Kanin, Alison & Aidan at Grant's Farm

June 2009 - Aidan plays T-ball

June 2009 - Birthday Tattoo!

June 2009 - New ink for Jeff, too!

June 2005 - Jeff & I at the Southernmost Point in the Continental USA, Key West, FL

June 2009 - Jeff & I at Mallory Square in Key West, FL

July 2009 - Alison & I at her 2nd (my 3rd) NKOTB concert of the year

July 2009 - Alison & I with other volunteers meeting Joey McIntyre, for the Let's Get This Foundation charity book drive, before the NKOTB concert.

July 3, 2009 - Welcome baby Caleb!

July 5, 2009 - Happy 2nd Birthday, GracieAnn!

July 2009 - Good times with good friends!  (Susan & I at the No Doubt concert)
July 2009 - Alison & Aidan at Lake of the Ozarks, MO

July 2009 - Alison earns her 1st degree black belt in taekwondo

July 2009 - Jeff & I at the Kid Rock/Lynyrd Skynyrd concert

August 2009 - Too Cool for School!  (1st day of school- Aidan in 1st grade, Alison in 4th)

August 2009 - Alison's 10th birthday party sleepover

August 2009 - family trip to the STL zoo

September 2009 - Aidan earns his 1st degree black belt in taekwondo!

October 2009 - proud Cub Scout Aidan

October 31, 2009 - Ready to Trick-or-Treat!
(Me-80s girl, April-Devil's Wife, Aidan-Boba Fett, Kanin-Snake Eyes, GracieAnn-Minnie Mouse, Alison-vampire fairy, Caleb-monkey)

November 2009 - Happy 6th Birthday, Kanin!

December 2009 - Aidan opening presents at his birthday party.  Happy 7th Birthday, Aidan!

December 2009 - Aidan loses his 1st tooth!

December 2009 - Christmas at Mom & Dad's (Caleb, Alison, Aidan, GracieAnn & Kanin)

Happy 2010!