Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011- In Review

In retrospect, I suppose 2011 has been better than 2010.  In some ways, much better.  In other ways, not much at all...  Here are some major points that happened:

January- March:
  • My professional camera went missing and then was found.
  • My blog hit 1,000 page views! :)
  • Cute Gremlin #4 turned 3
  • We got snowed/iced in at the house for 4 days and everything got organized and sorted! (For a little while, anyway.)  Plans for redecorating/renovating my room were begun.
April- June:
  • I participated in the A-Z Blog challenge,  nearly tripling my followers list! :D
  • I spent time at the beach and with good friends
  • Cute Gremlin #3 turned 6
  • I turned 30
  • I got to return to the beach :)
  • I made many more blog friends, and my page views topped 10,000! WOW!
  • I got to see "Wicked" at the Fox Theatre!
  • Cute Gremlin #2 turned 11
  • I began to set some strong goals and plans for my future, even in the midst of much uncertainty.
October- December:
  • My blog page views have now surpassed 25,000!!! Amazing!
  • I participated in NaBloWriMo
  • I began the 52 weeks of mail project, and pen pal-ing.
  • I got a job at Hobby Lobby- a direct answer to prayer!
  • Cute Gremlin #1 turned 13
  • The Cute Gremlins had a wonderful Christmas
  • [Update: what I originally wrote here has been removed for revision/prayer/privacy/etc] The Lord is my Rock and my Refuge.  I am clinging to Him and He will never fail me.
As my current Facebook status reads:

Dear 2011,
It wasn't your fault.  You tried to be a good year and gave me all your 365 days to live in.  So, thanks.
Dear 2012,
BRING IT ON.  I'm ready for you.

I'm still writing letters and trying to get caught up on blogging.  I'm sticking to plans that I've made:
  • Growing my income with Lucy Jane and Avon, etc.
  • the 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge in April
  • saving up for my England trip in June of 2013 (more about that in another post soon!)
  • Spending time with my kids and creating a happy and healthy life for them.  Plans for trips to the park and local attractions and events, church events and other fun things.  We're going to be fine.
  • Most Importantly: reading my Bible every day and following the Lord wherever He leads me.
Happy, happy New Year, everyone!  2012 is going to be wonderful!

Love to you all,

Monday, December 26, 2011

52 Weeks of Mail: Weeks 10 and 11

Before I get into what came in and went out via USPS, I think I should share that I have a problem that is related to/rivals that of my stationery addiction (highlighted in this post, if you missed it.)

Remember I said I was super busy and still writing letters on top of it all?  While I tried to get ready for Christmas?  Well, maybe now it's over I can claim half of my bed back.  Because this is what it has looked like for the past month:

The plan this week is to get my room back to being organized and useful!
Meanwhile, here's what arrived in week 10 of 52 Weeks of Mail!

A wonderful letter from Laura of The Daily Dodo, one from Lucie-Jane in England, a sweet card with a tea to try from my Nashville, TN penpal (that's the purple square one), a photo Christmas card from the Bestie, and (center) my first card from New Zealand!!! :D

Also got a card from the Pen Thief, a card/letter from a new pen pal in MI, and a post card from Snailmailfan of 100 Days of Snail Mail

Close up of my Christmas card from Misty, The Pen Thief. :)
And here is week 11's incoming:
Gorgeous Christmas Card from Lucie-Jane.  She lives on the Isle of Wight.
Christmas Cards from a local friend (snowman) and a lovely new
Nebraska pen pal (Noel) !
Sue, the Knitting Assassin, sent me a package from the UK!
Know what was in it besides this lovely Emmanuel card??
Thank you, Sue! :)
It's not a whole lot, but here is what got sent out those 2 weeks:
The giveaway prize letter pouch got sent to Germany; Christmas cards and post cards
got sent to [other parts of ] GA (4), PA, TX (2), TN, OH, MA, New Zealand and Ireland.
I'm getting emails with pen pal requests too, so the lists in the upper left sidebar will be changing soon! :)
See you at the mailbox!

PS- If you've written to me and I haven't written back yet, it's coming!  January in retail sees a huge drop in my hours, so I'll have some mornings free to put pen to paper! :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas

It's Christmas Eve.  I am alone, in my room, perched precariously on one side of my bed, typing out a quick post so that you all don't think I've forgotten you.  The other side of my bed is filled with letter writing supplies, clean laundry that I haven't had time to put away yet, wrapping paper, my "to do" notebook, and other assorted ... stuff.

In the floor by my bed is a pile of gifts still to be wrapped.  I also have to work from noon until 6 tonight.  After I bake a batch of cookies as a gift for a family member I will see at 7:30 tonight, after work.  (They don't read this blog, so it's ok to mention it.)

I'm down from 40+ hours/week to under 30 on next week's work schedule, so I'm hoping to grab a few hours to seriously sit down and get all of my blogging news caught up.  Frank's had about a dozen adventures that need to be blogged still, and I've had more awesome mail, Music Mondays, book recommendations, and general life news to share that I just can't seem to get to unless I'm falling on my face tired and then the posts come out all disjointed and lame.  And I can't give you lame posts, dear readers.  That would be bad.

I hope you get what you want for Christmas.  I hope you spend the day in company with people you love and who love you.  Actually, I hope that's what you want for Christmas.  All the other stuff is just extra.  I love each and every one of you.  Remember that Christ is why we celebrate the season!  Love came down to us!  Emmanuel - God with us!

Blessings, warm fuzzies, love and twinkle lights.  Those are a few of my wishes for you, not just today and tomorrow, but for a long time to come.

See you soon.

Merry, Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

52 Weeks of Mail: Weeks 7, 8 and 9

I don't drink alcoholic beverages- or lattes, for that matter-
but I may consider ordering one of these soon, the way my life
 has been going these last couple of months. LOL
Some MAJOR life things have been happening here, most of them too private and personal to divulge on a blog.  Any blog.  Not just mine.  So.  I'm a bit behind in many of my regular posts, but let's start getting caught up to speed with a 52 Weeks of Mail update!

Week 7:
Great Thanksgiving card from a friend in TX, and a letter from
Kate of Birdcage Cards in New York.
One of Katie Marlowe's cool Peter Pan envelopes! (and a good letter
inside!) and also received my new return address labels. :)
Week 8:
Awesome "Where's Waldo" postcard from Bev Sykes of The Penpal Project.
(You had to find the REAL Waldo from among the impostors!)
And a lovely wintery postcard from Suvoni in Ireland of . simply. .
Another one from Katie Marlowe, in reply to one of mine.  What's fun
is that this is my favorite stationery from Studio 18 cards and I
bought out all that my Michael's store had and sent a bunch.  Now, thanks
to awesome Katie, I have one to keep with a lovely letter on it! :)
I also got a penpal letter from a friend in TN, but I didn't get a photo.
Snailmailfan of 100 days of Snail Mail in Canada sent me this sweet
Christmas card and enclosed 2 plantable postcards embedded with seeds.
So cool!  I haven't written her back yet, as she's been on holiday, but
I plan on writing her a looooong letter very soon!
Week 9:
I'm such a distracted ditz.  I bought stamps at the Post Office
and then hurried out after ensuring my mailings were all set to go,
leaving the stamps on the counter.  The next day in the mailbox
I got them and the sweet note saying I'd left them.  I love my local
postal workers!  Also in the mailbox was a card and a mini stocking
 from my friend who signed me up for Avon.  Thank you, Beth!
Later in the week was a card from some Civil War reenacting
friends and a letter from a penpal in Ohio.
The backs of the envelopes from Ohio penfriend Cathy are always awesome!
A couple of really good mail weeks!! :)


Working 40 hours a week (PRAISE GOD!!!) at Hobby Lobby, plus seeing to the Cute Gremlins, plus getting ready for Christmas, plus that personal mess I mentioned earlier, plus working Avon orders, Lucy Jane orders and 2 wedding gigs, I seriously don't remember what I sent out on what days.  I know I had it all together for a photo, though, so here is what went out during that 3 weeks:

They included a baby congrats for an expecting friend (more below), a wild Hoops and YoYo Christmas card with sound for the Bestie (who text messaged me that she was slightly afraid to open the envelope, based on the madness on the cover! lol), cards to a pen friend in OH and one here in GA, a letter out to England and 2 Christmas postcards; one to The Pen Thief and one to Bev at The Penpal Project.
That box with the penguin on it is a birthday care package to a friend of many years (more on that below as well).

Here is detail of the Baby Congrats card.  The front says "What are we waiting for, Pooh?" "You'll see, Piglet.  A dream is about to come true."
And here's what was in the Birthday Box:

Rosie's a penguin NUT.  Being the indulgent friend of 15 years that
I am, I've contributed probably a good 80% to her penguin collection!
She's also into anything 80s retro, as that's more or less our growing up era.
So I got her some 80s glam sharpies to go with the penguin madness. :)

All the stuff fit in this penguin-y bag and then
this bag fit in the box. :)
So, in all, 7 pieces plus a package.  Not my best, but it's been a busy season and I'm usually at work during Post Office hours.  So far my only day off is Sunday, so that doesn't get things mailed either! :P

Week 10 was WAY AWESOME for mail.  Show it off in a bit. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Letter Pouch Giveaway WINNER! :)

Hi!  I know I have a few weeks of blogging to catch up on, but I'm posting this first:

This was up for grabs:

The Cute Gremlins were all in bed, so I did the drawing myself- with the help of the trusty un-biased bird tin, of course:
Yes, that's my blue polkadot pj pants and pink bath robe.
Blogging from the comfort of my own bed. :)

Congratulations, Pocci of Vanessas 52 Weeks of Mail blog!
Email me your snail mail addy and I'll get this pouch (plus some goodies!) in the post to you!!! :)

Thanks, everyone, for entering.  Remember, if you didn't win this one, there will be a few more given away in the future!

I'm off to draft some more posts, in order to get all caught up!
See you soon!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

November Gratitudes

While the first thing that tends to jump to people's minds at the word 'November' is likely Thanksgiving Day, I did my very best to not lose sight of my blessings from the first day of the month to the last.  I am blessed beyond measure.

  • 11.30- Leftover 'Fish Legs' from our date at Joe's Crab Shack
  • 11.29- Jake's home improvement accident involving a work knife and his arm could have been so serious. I'm thankful he didn't die. No, really. It could have gone that way and God kept it from being so.
  • 11.28- Tallied up the hours scheduled for this week and it merits a low, "how awesome is this!" whistle
  • 11.27- Excellent message at church from Pastor Godwin
  • 11.26- Same as yesterday
  • 11.25- No fights breaking out in our store
  • 11.24- Happy Eat-Yourself-Into-A-Stupor Day! :)
  • 11.23- Quick closing at work so that we could come home and get ready for Thanksgiving.
  • 11.22- Grocery shopping by myself for some quiet down time
  • 11.21- Several friends are expecting! I love new babies!
  • 11.20- Choir practice and cute pass-along clothes from friends
  • 11.19- A soft bed to sleep in
  • 11.18- Sturdy shoes
  • 11.17- Great day at work, wonderful last Bible study class, a good car to run all over town doing errands in, and books waiting for me at the library. :)
  • 11.16- I GOT THE JOB!!! :D
  • 11.15- A good rainy, snuggly kind of day to get my room cleaned up and then write letters and catch up on other work
  • 11.14- Quiet time writing letters at the new library
  • 11.13- Church and bringing Christina with me! :)
  • 11.12- All day of a gorgeous wedding and wonderful people to photograph!
  • 11.11- Getting an elephant made and delivered and getting to have a chocolate peanut butter milkshake afterwards
  • 11.10- Getting to tour the wedding venue early to compose some shot ideas
  • 11.9- My pastor
  • 11.8- Morning: spending time at the new library while Emily was in daycare. Writing letters, finding books for myself and letting the older 3 kids browse. Also thankful for my right to vote. Evening: spending time visiting with my friend Adam Jones.
  • 11.7- Quality time spent with Emily at the new library and grocery shopping
  • 11.6- My mother in law coming to church with us before she had to head back to south GA
  • 11.5- Morning: The new library is open! Evening: Going to see Joe M. Turner's magic show
  • 11.4- An evening at the opera. So beautiful.
  • 11.3- A (once again) stellar Bible study session
  • 11.2- Dayquil
  • 11.1- My awesome Aunt

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Just popping in to say Hello!

God has blessed me so much with this new job!  (Even if I did accidentally drop a cookie jar yesterday while we were condensing the Christmas aisles.  It made a spectacular crash but no one was hurt, thankfully.)  I'm working a LOT of hours, which means I'm hard pressed to get everything else done, but I'm getting there.  The wedding photos from the other weekend are nearly done; Lucy Jane has some work to do this week too, early morning and late at night.  Then there is the laundry and the housework, the kids homework time, baths and bed.  I'm getting much help there from family and friends, though.  God is so good.

If you've written me snail mail, or are waiting on me for a letter via 52 weeks of mail, I will be sitting down Tuesday morning to get those answered, so just hang in there!

After work tomorrow, we'll be going to get our Christmas tree!!!  I LOVE this time of year.  I will post photos as soon as it's all up and decorated.  I'm headed right now to bring all the stuff out of storage.  I hope you all have a wonderful week, and I will post again as soon as I can!

Love y'all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Irony

This time last year, I wrote this post about what I'm thankful for.

With the exception of having a Honda Odyssey instead of the Buick, and my job being different, this year's list is exactly the same as last year's, down to the box of cordial cherries! LOL

But I do have way more to be thankful for, even if it doesn't all get mentioned.  Like, this year more than last year, I'm thankful for the penpal letters and cards that have shown up in my mailbox these past few months.  I'm thankful for so many new blog friends.  I'm thankful for my Gran's hip surgery to have gone so well.  I'm just thankful.  For so much.

I'm off to the kitchen now, to pop some gossamer spice cookies in the oven for tomorrow!  We're going to Atlanta to be with Husband's family (his mom's side in the a.m., and his dad's side in the afternoon).  And after I am full up with all of that food (glorious food), I'm going to sleep as long and hard as I can, because I will be working retail on Black Friday and Saturday! :)  I've missed it, though, and I'm looking forward to helping people find what they need for Christmas gifts and projects.  I LOVE my new job so much!

Happy Thanksgiving, my loves.  I am thankful for you.
Until Sunday,

Getting and Giving

Yet again I find myself retro-posting blog entries!  Another week has roared by and I'm way behind on my Frank Friday, 52 Weeks of Mail, Music Monday, Video Wednesdays flipping everything.  Don't forget to check the Blog Archives list to see what might have gotten slipped in that you may have missed in the update feeds.

I am loving my new job and am getting lots of hours!  I worked from 1 til closing last night.  I get to do that again tonight and then have Thanksgiving off.  Black Friday and Saturday will be hectic, but not horrible, as I'm set down for very reasonable hours.  (By reasonable, I mean my full 8 hour shifts don't start at 4 a.m.)  Sunday afternoon, I am planning on taking a couple of hours to get completely caught up here on The Modest Peacock.  I have a lovely little journal that I write out a post schedule in (and then scribble all over, as things swap and change and get mixed around!).  I also write out post ideas/memory joggers for later reference.  So rest assured, dear reader, I have some good posts in store if you will just hang in there with me! :)

In the meantime, I'm hosting another giveaway!

You may have seen the Avon widget on my righthand sidebar.  I've been an Avon Rep for 2 full years now, and I love it!  I'm still getting started, really- it takes time to grow a business, especially when you can't devote full time to it because of kids and other responsibilities, etc- but so far I have loved getting to know people in my community.  I buy as much Avon as I sell, but it all works out in the end. :)  Well, Avon had these FABULOUS cosmetic bags to go with some skin care products a few campaigns back and I had to get a few to share!  They are 9 and 1/2 inches long by about 6 and 1/2 inches tall with a zipper on top and a see-through back.

(Cards not included, but I will be throwing in some other mail goodies with it)
They are technically "cosmetic bags", but the possibilities are endless as to how you could use them!  I'm using mine for a mini writing kit to take along with me to places- a couple of favorite pens, some postcards, some notecards, and some stamps and voila!  Letter writing stuff that goes where I do! :)

I have 3 that I will give away- one now, and the other two sometime throughout next year.  So if you don't win this one, you'll have another chance later!  (If you just want to go ahead and purchase one (or several), you can email me privately and I will help you with that.  They are $10.00 each, plus tax and shipping.)

The drawing for this one will take place on Saturday, Dec 10th.  I'm giving an extra couple of days because of the Thanksgiving holiday and a lot of people not in town/online because they are spending time with family (which is exactly as it should be! :)).


Yours Ever,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

52 Weeks of Mail: Week 6

This was a good week for outgoing.  Incoming, not so much, but I have heard from several people saying they've sent things, so I'm sure the box will be full this week! :)

Just one, but it was good!  My first post from Canada!  Snailmailfan over at 100 Days of Snail Mail sent me this great "Where's Waldo?" postcard.  It took me a good 5 minutes to find him and the 4 other things on the list, but I finally found them all. :)

8 pieces!  That's pretty good for this week, considering I did start my new job too! :)

A penpal intro to a girl in Japan, a thank you to Vicki over at 2 Bags Full for the lovely Vera Bradley purse I won in her giveaway, a penpal intro to a girl in Malaysia, a penpal letter plus goodies for a friend in Nashville, TN, part one of a long letter reply to my penpal friend in Ohio, a note to Pamela of Cappuccino and Art Journal (which, sadly, was not as artsy and creative as I would have liked.  I have an idea for next one, though.), a reply letter to Katie of The Marlowe Bookshelf, and last but not least, a letter to Misty of Confessions of a Pen Thief, which I decorated last minute in a mystery theme.  (For no apparent reason, other than making the little footprints like the ones that show up on Harry Potter's Marauder's Map was super fun and easy and cute!) :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Partly Cloudy

It was drizzly and overcast yesterday.  So I thought this wonderful short fit just right for this week's Video Wednesday.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Abundant Blessings

My Grandmother had hip surgery yesterday, and aside from the pain that any major surgery brings, she came through it very well.  I am blessed to have in-laws keeping Gremlin #4 for a week while we adjust to Gran's schedule when she gets home.  That means I can drop everything at a moment's notice and help, but mostly it means I can stay on top of the housework for everyone (there are 8 people living in the house, remember) without Gremlin #4 being underfoot/needing attention/turning my brain to oatmeal with her Barbie movies being played over and over and over.  :)

Last night, Cute Gremlins #1 and #2 asked to go play at a friend's house.  With Gremlin #4 gone, that left just Gremlin #3 and me to ourselves.  So I took him to eat pizza at Stevi B's.  The best part of the meal was when he wanted to "clink" our (plastic) cups of Coke together and have "cheers".  That's just pure 6 year old silliness and I have missed enjoying that when my attention is divided amongst 3 more Cute Gremlins.

After supper, we stopped by the office supply store.  While I was admiring some pens, he tried to sneak up on me from around the corner to the next aisle.  Of course I could hear him- because he's a first grader, he's about as stealthy as a dinosaur crossing a gravel parking lot that's been covered in bubble wrap.  So I turned around and he says the most awesome thing:

"Awww.  I was trying to sneak on you.  Did you hear my footprints?"

Yes, sweet baby.  I heard your "footprints".  LOL  I am so blessed to have him.

I was also blessed today when we went to the new library (that would be trip #6 in the space of a week and a half, for those of you who are keeping track. ;)) and got these books.

I know I've blogged about my stationery addiction, but I think this is coming in a close second!

Anyway, while we were on our way to the library, I got a call back from a job I had put in for a month ago and I'm hired!!! PRAISE GOD!!!  I report tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. to fill out paperwork and get acclimated to everything.  I already know where everything is, since I'm there all the time anyway. :)  So I'm VERY EXCITED!  It's part time seasonal, so I will still make time when I am home to post for you, dear readers.  I may have to make good use of the "schedule" feature in the post options!

And with that good news, I'm headed to bed!  Big day tomorrow!
Love to all.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

52 Weeks of Mail: Week 5

As always, I'll start with what arrived!

On Monday, Nov 7th, I got a lovely long penpal letter from Laura over at the Daily Dodo.  I love ALL of the letters I get, but I just can't help it- seeing an address from my beloved England is my absolute favorite! :)  On Thursday, Nov 10th, I really had a good mail day: I won the Vera Bradley purse that sweet Vicki over at 2 Bags Full gave away on her facebook page!  Thank you, Vicki!!!!  I also got my newest issue of Tea Time magazine, a letter from one of my Ohio penpals, and a notecard from the peacock set that Misty of Confessions of a Pen Thief won, so that I got to keep one when all of my own set had been mailed out.  (I sent her one to keep out of my set in with her goody box.) :)

Back of letter from Ohio
The week didn't end there!  Today, after I'd gotten home from shooting a wedding for 7 beautiful hours (Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Raffety!  I love y'all!)  I got 6 wonderful pieces of mail!  3 catalogs/fliers to some of my favorite stores (Things Remembered, Family Christian Stores and Jo-Ann Fabrics), and 3 letters.  One is another letter from the Ohio Penpal who wrote the one pictured above, one is a wonderful avian themed letter from fellow blogger Katie over at The Marlowe Bookshelf and one is a gorgeous mail art from none other than Pamela Gerard, whose blog, Cappuccino and Art Journal, I found on the 52 Weeks of Mail page.

But wait- what's that, also in the photo?  It looks like an airmail envelope, doubling as a zippered pouch!  Could there be a giveaway coming up soon?! ;)

LOVE the owl! 
Gorgeous goodies from Pamela!
One sad thing did come in the mailbox: an introductory penpal letter that I'd sent a few months ago, that was unable to be delivered. :(

*sniffle* :(
Now on to outgoing!

On Monday, I sent out a bill and a letter to my Ohio penpal. (no, the bill did not go TO the Ohio penpal. Only the letter. lol)

And on Saturday:

Thanksgiving card to friend in TX, letter to Laura of Daily Dodo (link above), introductory letter to penpal in Japan, postcard to Bev Sykes of The Penpal Project and a postcard to Kate Kane of Birdcage Cards, whom I "met" on the 52 Weeks of Mail facebook page.  A modest offering, but I had been getting ready to work a wedding, get hired at another job for Christmas, tend to 4 kids, etc.  (I know, I know.  No excuses! lol)  If you sent me mail and haven't gotten a reply yet, just be patient- I always write back!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Still Alive

I did not die.

I have been SUPER BUSY this last week and there hasn't been time to do the posts that I wanted to do the way that I wanted to do them.  So here is a big ole "HI!!!" from over here, and I will do my best to start catching you up on all the latest goings on in a post (or 2) tomorrow.  

Love to all,


Monday, November 7, 2011


Cute Gremlin #2 is learning about Roman Numerals in school.  I was never very good at math when I was in school.  I fought to pass Algebra II (hey look, a Roman Numeral!) in high school with a 76 or something, and I was proud of that C, because it was hard.  You ask me to play a clarinet concerto, fine.  Write a 10 page paper on any part of British Literature?  Sure.  Give a US History presentation with visuals and references? No problem.  But Algebra, Geometry and beyond?  Not so much.

So I'm very proud of my Cute Gremlin for having an aptitude for something that I never mastered.  She's a math whiz.  Her reading fluency and comprehension irk me sometimes, but this is when I am reminded that she is not me.  (Heck, she doesn't even have my genes.)  We help each other learn.  She loves math, and I love that she does. :)

Here are two great songs about math.  One is "New Math" by Tom Lehrer, and the other is a great song (that contains Roman Numerals!) called "18 Wheels on a Big Rig" by Haywood Banks that we heard on the Bob and Tom radio show a long time ago.  Also, here is an Abbott and Costello clip about math that we love.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Frank goes to the Fall Festival

Mostly just pictures in this post, as they tell the story best.  Enjoy.

Ephesus Baptist Church Fall Festival: Monday, Oct 31, 2011

Cute Gremlin #1 goes as some other teenager named "Bob",  Cute Gremlin #2
is a vampiress of sorts, Cute Gremlin #3 is Batman's Sidekick, Robin,
and Cute Gremlin #4 is a mermaid.  Frank got dressed a bit later. 

Frank helps us pick a pumpkin

Frank goes as a mummy

Hanging out with Cute Gremlin #3 Boy Wonder as he eats his hotdog

Cute Gremlin #3 takes Frank on the cake walk.  They didn't win this
time, but Cute Gremlin #2 did it as well, and won some brownies.