Thursday, December 24, 2009

In case you were wondering...

...what kind of last minute gift to pick up for me... ;) I'm easy to please!


Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I found this meme on Mad Maggie Designs and thought it looked fun! Just copy and past the questions and fill them in on your own blog post. If you decide to do one, leave me a comment with the link so I can come read it and learn some more about you as well. Enjoy!

Making: time for reading for once! 
Baking: Actually, Walt's baking some potatoes to have with dinner right now.
Drinking: Walt's Mt. Dew.
Reading: Lyon's Pride by Anne McCaffrey (4 of 5 in the Tower and the Hive Series).
Wanting: A Tom Tom XL 340.
Looking: to get all the wrapping done tonight so I can chill with my family and check
NORAD's Online Santa Tracker with Spawn.
Skip Bo with Walt and Spawn after dinner.

Wasting: Money on too many stocking stuffers!
Sewing: my Coconut Joe's t-shirt back together. It's beat!
Wishing: for the same thing I always wish for - another baby. =D

Enjoying: my new barn star, cottage-style tree topper.
Waiting: for Christmas morning so I can see my guys' faces when they open their gifts!
Liking: Plantation Mint Tea with Orange Blossom Honey with Prosciutto & Brie to snack on. Yum!
Wondering: what my husband got me for Christmas and what he'll think of what I got him.
Loving: my family, friends, and pets!
Hoping: I get my Tom Tom before we go down to West Chester next week.
Marvelling: that Spawn still believes in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
Needing: to get my Christmas card-newsetters done.
Smelling: steak and potatoes.
Wearing: Walt's sweatpants and one of my old 
Callie's Candy Kitchen staff t-shirts.
Following: too many wonderful blogs to read them all!

Noticing: that I'm not getting nearly as much done as I wanted to before Chrstmas. :/
Knowing: that it'll all be worth it when I see their faces on Christmas morning.
Thinking: about our make your own pizza and sundae menu for Christmas Eve.
Bookmarking: too many blogs!

Opening: the suitcases I hide Spawn's gifts in. ;)
Giggling: I don't giggle. :p I have a big belly laugh. =D
Feeling: Twitterpated!!!

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I admit it...I'm addicted... Better Homes and Gardens Online. =D

Have you seen the beauty that is the Rainbow Tree?

 Or this cakeplate conglomeration of crystal and boxwood? Crystal Topiary

Yup, thoroughly addicted. And this affliction is even worse around Halloween! :o I don't even have the time to do this stuff! But a mom can dream. ;)

~ Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Reader's Digest Christmas Trees

I remember making these with my great-grandmother when she babysat me when I was younger than Spawn. =D I prefer the natural, recycled look of the unpainted trees, but spray-painting a Reader's Digest Christmas Tree metallic gold with glitter is a rite of passage for any crafty child. =D

Mine, made with a Better Homes and Gardens magazine (I have no idea why the dog is there! LOL! I didn't even notice her in the background until now. I thought that lump was a blanket. =D):

For directions, visit:

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Monday, December 21, 2009

Invisible Scotch Tape... NOT invisible nor is it as easy to use as the 9 for a $1 deal scotch tape you can get at the dollar store. The invisible stuff is thicker and harder to tear off the dispenser. I have invisible-scotch-tape-purchase-regret. :( Oh, and using fabric scissors because you're too lazy to go get your craft scissors - that's me, Empress of Stupid. :p

~ Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Happy Winter Solstice and a Very Merry Yule, too!


~ The Cyber School Family ~

Recycled Magazine Bows

In the spirit of the Winter Solstice, Spawn will be getting a few small gifts tomorrow - in a beautiful, polka-dot, reuseable, shopping bag, but a gift without bows is a poor gift, so I made these tonight:

I used a summertime FujiFilm ad from a Better Homes and Gardens mag. =D Took me about 10 -15 minutes from start to finish to make both. Not bad a for a first attempt, if I do say so myself. ;)

For instructions, visit: I saved the link to this MONTHS ago and was convinced I'd misplaced it, but it turned up tonight and I really prefer this to any of the bow-making tutes on

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Motivation, thy name is "Orchestra"

I've been extolling the benefits of music and instrumental lessons for Spawn to my husband and parents for months now, but coming from non-musically-inclined families, it's a hard sell. :p I was in highschool choir and, though my guys tolerate my singing, a singer I am not. ;) I can pick out a few tunes on a piano, but I can barely read music - and certainly not well at that. ;) I regret never learning how to read music or play an instrument and I'd hate for Spawn to regret something like that simply because we never offered it.I believe every language learned opens doors to new opportunities and I think learning to read music is just as important as learning to speak English!

I've been angling for a kids' guitar and lessons for Spawn for 8 months or more and, if the snow ever lets up, I'm going guitar-shopping for Spawn this Christmas. I just found out the Pocono YMCA now offers guitar lessons for kids ages 7 and up - private or group lessons - with an eye towards the Pocono Junior String Orchestra or the Pocono Youth Orchestra. (Previosuly, kids had to be at least 8 for guitar lessons at the Y!) Both ensembles are non-school-affiliated orchestras, by all accounts, so should be more open to home/cyberschoolers! (I had signed Spawn up for beginner lessons at one point, but then the music shop in town [owned by a local highschool music teacher] closed and moved to a much less convenient location, so we came back to square one. :p) He'll need two years of lessons under his belt before they'll even consider auditioning him for the orchestral group, but I think 4th or 5th grade will be a good age for attempting that anyway and it's a LONG way off. Here's hoping Spawn goes along with the plan and doesn't decide to start a garage band or something in the meantime. ;)

While Spawn himself may not be motivated just yet by the prospect of playing with a string ensemble or youth orchestra, I think his grandparents would be overjoyed at the prospect of attending seasonal concerts and doing 'typical' grandparent stuff for once. ;) Okay, so would I. =D

Now I just need to find a good beginner guitar! This is a hard step for me, though. When my grandmother passed away, I asked my mom to find out if the family was going to keep or sell all of my deceased grandfather's old guitars and banjos because I wanted to make an offer, at least for one of them. Mom never got a clear answer and in the confusion of clearing out the house and yardsaling nearly everything in it before it was sold after Gram's death, the guitars and banjos were sold at a yard sale, too. :( What I have left is a guitar pick of my grandfather's that Gram gave my mom to sew into my wedding dress for my 'something old'. (Maybe someday I'll pass that keepsake on to Spawn, but not before his wedding day, I think. ;)) The sale of all the guitars makes me especially sad because I was willing and able and OFFERED to buy one if necessary. :( I'm not bitter, just disappointed.

So, for those inthe know, is it better, when shopping for a child's guitar, to shop for a staid classic that he'll get several years out of before he outgrows?:

Or something less expensive, fun, yet functional that will engage him short-term and keep him going back to lessons and practicing at home without nagging?:


Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Wisdom of Hot Chocolate

On this eve of a major Nor'easter, we're snuggled up at home, watching Disney movies, sipping some hot cocoa and it reminded me of a story in the first issue of Baloo's Bugle I ever read last year - before I became an interim Cub Scout Leader. It was at the very end of the October 2008 issue and it actually came up during my first training session as a reminder to not choose favorites and to treat every Scout equally. Though, I often think of it when I find myself struggling to accept the cards I've been dealt and referring to it when Spawn has the same trouble.

With thanks to Baloo's Bugle:

The Wisdom of Hot Chocolate

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives.

Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: "Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you 're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups. And then you began eyeing each other's cups."

"Now consider this:

􀀹 Life is the hot chocolate.

􀀹 Your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life.

􀀹 The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have.

􀀹 Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate [God/Deity] has provided us.

􀀹 [God/Deity] makes the hot chocolate. Man chooses the cups.

􀀹 The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

And enjoy your hot chocolate!!
Chrissi, Cyber School Mom =D

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A peek into the workings of the brains of a cyber school mom...

Spawn will, naturally, be gifted with plenty of books this holiday season. CS Dad's family celebrates Christmas and Epiphany (or Three Kings Day), we celebrate the Winter Solstice (otherwise known as Yule), Spawn's best friend (son of my best friend) celebrates Hanukkah, and everyone seems to have some reason to gift the boy this time of year! We had countless celebrations last year and Spawn got an introduction to Hanukkah with our best friends. Here's Spawn and his BFF, T, listening to the story of Hanukkah being read by T's mom, my BFF, Dani:

Yes, the boys are wearing matching Hanukkah jammies. =D

Last year's Yule tree (made up for Christmas morning with most of the Yule ornaments removed for Christmas company):

We'll be visitng our Jewish friends during New Year's and exchanging Hanukkah gifts then, so Spawn's first gifting of the season happens this coming Monday, December 21, 2009 on the Winter Solstice.

Though we have observed Yule in the past with the traditional tree, decorations, cookie-baking, etc., we've never discussed the meaning behind the longest night in depth or why we mark the occasion. This is the first season we'll be taking on that particular discussion and it makes me nervous. I don't want to sway him when the time comes for him to decide what he believes. He's expressed an interest in Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Neo-Paganism recently, so it just feels like the right time to begin the discussion. =)

Yule gifts are more traditional, handmade, or heartfelt gifts. Things made with love or bought with special intent toward the receiver.

I've chosen a special family gift to inspire some discussion, handmade crafts, and goody-making (which I had to special-order because B&N doesn't even keep it in stock! :p):

And for Spawn, to inspire less time indoors on the couch and more time doing typical 'boy' stuff this winter:

I made some new Yule ornaments, but my plan for an ornament a day for December went quickly awry when Spawn informed me in no uncertain terms that he was not crafting EVERY day. :p We've done three ornament projects, totaling about 10 ornaments, 8 of which I ended up making myelf. :p He has decided, however, that the Winter Solstice is Gingerbread House-Making Day and despite the fact that his poor mother has no baking or cooking skills to speak of, he expects no less than my best try on Yule. Bless and keep us in your thoughts - KWIM? ;)

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom
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