Thursday, December 31, 2009

check this out...

Emily, my amazing sister-in-law (although I prefer to think of my SILs as simply "sisters" - the in-laws part seems so unnecessary) has started a blog!  I knew she had the voice of an angel, two of the cutest girls you'll ever see, the perfect brother (ha, ha), a heart for the Lord, and now her talents as a writer are shining through.  Head on over to her blog and check it out!

P.S.  She's absolutely beautiful too!  :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

check it out...

I have a signature on my blog now.  Wow!  :) 

Do you like it? I'm not sure I do just may change, we'll see.  If you would like to create a signature for your blog (most folks have probably done this already - you might say I'm a little slow), check out Becca's simple tutorial here.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

nothing fancy, just the facts...

There are no fancy pictures or funny stories to share.  There are no gifts to speak of or gatherings to discuss.  Instead...

That about sums it up!  It's all that TRULY matters in life!

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

oh, how i've missed her...

Laura came into town last week, and it's been so nice to catch up.  Although we talk to each other several times each week, it's so much more fun to spend time person!  So far we've enjoyed some sushi, done a bit of shopping, designed and created 50 invitations (for a friend of hers in NY), watched some movies, lounged around, enjoyed a night out on the town (complete with a late night dinner/early breakfast at Denny's), and we even managed to get 1 picture together.  I need to be better about using my camera.  At least we've got Laura's cell phone picture.  :)

It's not the best picture in the world, so I'll do my best to ensure that we get a few more before she leaves!

Friday, December 18, 2009

a Christmas recipe unlike any other...

"Literally heaven on a stick!"
- Hillary's response to this little gift

1. First, you take a delicious recipe found online at Giver's Log...along with some television for background noise (as a teacher, I struggle with absolute silence - it's not a naturally occurring thing in my classroom)...

2. Toss in a dirty sink, full of nasty water, lots of dishes (several of which aren't pictured)...

3. Add some popsicle sticks, candy canes, yummy chocolate and a few other important ingredients...

4. Finally, it's time to gently mix in frustrated cook who is trying to channel her inner baker.

Swirl it all around, add a bow and some sort of tag and here's what you get...

Some yummy hot chocolate on a stick...with a touch of white chocolate and peppermint.

I decided to take the first batch of marshmallows and throw them away.  They were a pain in the booty and they turned out a little too funky.  Instead, I just melted down a bag of small marshmallows and then added in some peppermint.  The end result was a little better than my first attempt.  However, I don't know that I'll be making them again.  They just appear so sloppy and the stickiness is not much fun to work with either.  I had to toss these in some powered sugar to be sure they would actually leave my fingers.  Together though, I think it's a pretty sweet little gift.  :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

anyone else enjoying this song?

I've posted the lyrics and a picture of the woman whose voice is so incredible!  I'm listening to it over and's such a calming Christmas song.

Winter Snow

Could've come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could've come like a forest fire
With the power of heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

You could've swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we've scarred

But You came like a winter snow
(Yes, You did)
You were quiet
You were soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Oh, no, Your voice wasn't in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn't in a rushing wind
It was still
It was small
It was hidden

You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

(Oh, yeah)
To the earth below
You came falling
From the sky in the night
To the earth below

Audrey Assad - Photo From Here

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

this is a nice little article...

I thought you might like to read about an incredible young man who was taken from this world just a little too soon.

Thank you to the folks at the Seattle Times who wanted to include a more personal side of Luke's life.  I think they did a fine job.  See for yourself...

While you continue to pray for Luke's family and friends, please remember to lift up the two hikers who are still missing - and their family and friends as well.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

christmas cooking...

Over the last few months, I've found myself searching for projects to complete.  However, these projects all have one thing in common...they require a bit of creativity (I'll post a few over the next couple of weeks).  So, preparing for Christmas has been more fun than ever.  Along the way, I've made a ton of messes.  Take a look at last night's project...

This is what my kitchen looked like - nothing creative or crafty about it!

This is what I created.

Now, these are supposed to be peppermint marshmallows.  At this stage they are done, but not yet settled.  In a bit, I'll be cutting them up into squares and hoping they compare to Martha's...

Yeah, we'll see.
Thankfully, this minor set-back won't slow me down.

Next up?
Hot chocolate on a stick!

Sounds silly, huh?  It should go well with my marshmallows though.  :)

christmas cuties!

Look who we saw today!  :)



They are getting soooooo BIG!  And at this stage, they are constantly making the most entertaining faces...enjoy!

Ben thought it would be fun to demonstrate Evie's silly smile.  She has a mouth full of teeth (at least 6 or so) and she likes to show them off when she grins.  Oh, and her nose scrunches up too.  Could this be any sweeter?

We went to dinner with Emily, Ryan and the girls...this was our Christmas present to each other.  While we sat there waiting for our food, Evie and Ella showed off some of their communication skills.  Ella (above) is really good at using her sign language.  This is her most favorite sign, "please."  She's smart enough to know that when she uses this sign, she'll be given something.  :)

Instead of using sign language to express herself, Evie loves to repeat the following "pease, pease, pease, pease, pease..."  Listening to her throughout dinner was hilarious!  She likes to eat and as a result, she finds herself saying this over and over.  Too funny!

It's so much fun to see my husband with these two!  He loves them so much (so do I).  It's a side of him I absolutely adore.  He'll be a great dad someday (not anytime soon though...this is not an announcement).

I must say, our time with them today was far better than any gift!  It will be so much fun to see them again on the 26th.  Oh, and next time I'll be sure to take some pictures of their mom and dad too (sorry about that Ryan and Emily).  :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

i give up...

I want to take a graphic design class...seriously!  I have given up on creating my own cool, unique, and amazing blog background.  Instead, I have opted to use someone else's for the time-being.  There are these visions in my mind that I simply wish I could find a way to create and implement.  Someday.  Until then, this will do.  At least it's festive.  :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009



A new student arrived.  She is now a part of my 5/6 block - Language Arts & Social Studies.  This 7th grader seems nice enough.  She's rather quiet, sweet, and attentive.  Oh, and did I mention that she speaks NO English?!?!  However, I'm supposed to get her to the point where she can pass all standardized tests.  (I'm also going to hope and pray that her scores don't bring down our school average - otherwise we run the risk of being labeled a "failing school.")  Really?  Welcome to public education, my friends.  In so many ways, it's a great system...and in other ways, I can clearly see the need for improvement.  :)

P.S.  I now have 31 kids in my 5/6 block.  And I'm the one with the smallest class...hence, I'm the one who receives the new student.  (Nevermind the fact that our district will likely be making cuts again this year...)

Solutions & suggestions gladly accepted.  In the meantime, I'm praying!  :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Welcome to Mix-Up Day at Maywood Middle School!  :)

I wanted you to see my inspiration for this awesome outfit.  Click here to see the cutie pa-tootie!  It's a much better look when being pulled off by a young child.

love my job!

P.S.  The picture is not the best quality (in composition, clarity, and subject), but that only adds to the "Mix."  :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

some favorites...

This might be a little random, but these are small things that make me smile.  Maybe they'll brighten your day as well - and it will keep me from having to figure out this whole blogger update (see previous post).

In random order...
  • - this website is one I stumbled upon a couple years ago.  It contains coupon codes for so many online stores.  I check this website before I order anything online (I also check a few other searches if nothing shows up on retailmenot).  This site has greatly improved over the last few years and I'm hoping that most of you already have it listed as a favorite.
  • - this website gives me money back.  There's no catch.  If I want to buy something, I first head to retailmenot and write down the coupon code(s).  Then I head to ebates and look to see if the store I am looking to purchase from is listed.  There are literally hundreds of stores to shop.  It then links me to the store and I get a percentage of the final sale back.  Every few months, a check shows up in the mail and I head to the bank!  I've earned back $72.55 since I started with ebates.  Who doesn't love a little bit of extra cash?!?!  If you decide to give it a whirl, please include my email address so I can get a little something in return.  :)  Ben and Anne at gmail dot com
  • - this site allows you to trade books.  (Some of you hate to read, so you might want to skip this one.)  Here's how it works...I list my books and then wait for someone to request one.  When they do, I mail it out to them and receive a credit for the paperback/hardcover/CD.  Now, I can request one of the books that I would like to read.  They start you off with a few free credits to help get the literature moving.  As long as you're willing to be patient, the program works well.  I also enjoy this because it keeps the clutter, created by books, to a minimum.  And, instead of taking the books to Goodwill and feeling as though I'm not getting anything in return, I can at least trade them in for something I want.
  • sushi - Right now I can't seem to get enough of this stuff!  I never thought I would be one to embrace something like sushi.  However, about a year ago, Laura introduced me to some incredible sushi.  If you live in the area, you need to try Umi Sake House.  They have the most delicious food!  For those of you who have never tried sushi, you need to find someone in your life who appreciates this food and then ask them to show you the way.  You'll thank me!
  • Ben is no longer considered seasonal help - he's full time!  Praise the Lord!  Although his decision to quit his job was not something I wanted to face, I am so thankful he made the difficult choice.  I know it couldn't be easy, but we can both see the benefits now.  We trust that God provides, but to actually put that trust into action was not an easy task - it's still difficult at times (especially when we feel like ships passing in the night).  But we are incredibly thankful for what we have!
  • The Christmas shopping has started!  We're trying to be more thoughtful and intentional this year.  We've made plans to do something as a family, with my side, instead of exchanging gifts with the siblings.  However, that still leaves a few holes to fill...and I'm having fun doing that now.
  • cards - Oh, how I love making cards!  Now if only I could make some money doing what I love.  (Don't get me wrong, I love teaching.)  However, it would be sweet if this hobby of mine could pay for itself.  At least we don't have to throw away money on greeting cards.  We're set...and people seem to like the homemade version.
  • rain - I am actually welcoming the rain this year.  The cooler temperatures are kind of fun too!  Fall is my favorite season and this one is shaping up quite nicely.
  • posting - I like being able to select the time at which my new blog writings will post.  It makes me think that perhaps I should sit down and blog a few posts at a time and then schedule them to "appear" throughout the week.  That could be fun.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

i want to change things up a bit...

I've been checking out this post - looking for some creative way(s) to change up my blog.  Some of the templates out there are rather decorative and fun, but I want something that's totally unique.  So far, I've found a ton of great ideas, but I'm not so good at the technical side of it all.  We'll see.

Oh, and I'm hoping this change will also inspire me to keep up with my blog.  Our camera is full - literally - of pictures that need to be uploaded and shared.

P.S.  I would like to take a graphic design class at some point in my life.  Nothing fancy, just the basics.  I want to be able to create cards and such with my computer.  Right now, I simply fumble my way though things.  It's worked so far, but I know there's an easier, "right" way of going about it.  In the meantime, I will happily head to places like scrapblog for some cool, free stuff to keep me busy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

last weekend...

Check out my adventures here!

I had a blast hanging out with Hillary, Riley and Owen.  I can't wait for another trek into the city with them.  :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

do you want to...

...renew your current magazine subscription(s)?  Or buy a new one?

You can help Maywood Middle School by either purchasing a magazine subscription or renewing your current subscription(s).  Unfortunately, we're a bit behind on sales this year - we were pridicting this.  Since Maywood only asks students, parents, staff, and the surrouding community to participate in one fund raiser each year, this is it!  As the Leadership teacher, I get a little nervous each year at this time.  So much has to be covered by ASB funds...which means that every little bit helps.  :)

If you're interested, please visit

Our school code is: WC3660

When you're prompted to enter a student's name, you can either put my name in the boxes (Anne Simmons) or you can enter "No" & "Student" and the school with still get the credit.

I would love to know if you decide to participate.  Please leave me a comment so I can thank you!  :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

chunky monkey...

Here are a few recent shots of Gavin...I just can't get enough of the the little guy.  He has the sweetest smile and he's a chunky monkey - it's quite the combo!  There's no doubt he's a Weber - he looks just like my dad and Bobby (maybe more so like my dad though).  Enjoy!
Here we have the messy picture from lunch followed by the cleaned up version.  He is so happy and content with a full tummy!
Here's Gavin with Uncle Mike...I don't know who did more smiling.  It was so sweet!
This is a shot of Gavin flirting with Auntie Jamie!
Now he's trying to redeem himself and make it clear that I'm his favorite auntie.  :)
This is one of my favorites - Gavin with Grammy!  He's happy, full and tired.  This was taken when we were over in Leavenworth last month.  I love it!
Ridin' Dirty (diaper, that is)...
And here's how Gavin's visit at our place ended on Sunday (we babysat while Bobby & Kelli were at the Seahawks game).  He HATES to he constantly fights it.  This time was different.  He was rolling around and crawling all over the place.  At one point, he rolled onto his backside and just started to chill out.  Ben and I sat there watching him and the Seahawks game...before we knew it, his eye lids were shut and there was no waking the little man.  Looks like we've got the touch.  :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

learning, but not quickly...

I am a gift-giver & receiver.  It's my strongest love language.  However, it's not Ben's love language...not at all!  Unfortunately, that hasn't stopped me from using my love language to reach him - or try to reach him.  Let me show you what I mean...
This is what I did before heading off to see my BFF in New York earlier this summer.  Since I was going to be gone, I thought I would leave a little gift for Ben each day.  The first day (Wednesday) he opened a card and there was $10 inside for him to get a sandwich at his favorite lunch spot.  The next day, he had a gift card waiting for him - to use for a breakfast sandwich on his way into work.  For Friday, it was a Starbuck card for a yummy drink and breakfast treat.  On Saturday he was up with his family at Big Lake, so I had to hide the Gushers in his car...the card told him where to look.  I knew he would be coming home to an empty house on Sunday and if there wasn't something frozen, he probably wouldn't eat (he hates to do anything that resembles cooking).  So, I made sure the freezer was stocked with his favorites.  Then it was time for him to head back to work on Monday, so I tied together a few Power Bars - something to help sustain him should he choose to skip meals.  ;)  Tuesday, I left money in the card for a bucket of golf balls down at the driving range.  Then, the last day - the same day I came home - I put a gift card in there for dinner.  The idea being that he would pick me up from the airport and then we would enjoy dinner together while catching up.
Great idea, right?  I thought so.  But that was my mistake.
Selfishly, this is the type of gift I would LOOOOOOOOOOVE to receive.  Naturally, I thought it would be something that Ben would enjoy.  However, I was thinking about myself and not him.  Sure, the gifts were for him and they were symbolic of my love (which sounds strange, but you know what I mean).  But Ben's love languages are words of affirmation, touch and time.  Sure, he's pretty strong in 3 out of 5...unfortunately for me, my gift is not listed there.
I say all of this not to toot my own horn, but instead, to show just how much I'm still learning - after three years of marriage.
The Bible Study I'm current going through has been an eye-opener to say the least!  The Lord is showing me that I am still so selfish - in small and in big ways!  I've also been able to see that often times my selfish side comes out and rears its ugly head when I least expect it to.  It's not like I sit around plotting and planning against my husband.  However, I am also realizing that I don't sit around plotting and planning NOT to be selfish in my marriage...which is what I should be doing!
Thankfully, I'm married to a wonderful man who loves me despite all of my flaws!  And, I can confidantly say that he loves me like that because He is actively pursuing the author of love!  How blessed am I?
Now I just need to be sure I voice these things to my husband so he can enjoy those words of affirmation.  ;)
As for the gifts I left behind for Ben...he forgot to open the first few.  So, when I called to talk to him during the day, he explained that they were at home/forgotten/left behind.  From that point forward, he just decided to open them all at once so that he wouldn't forget.  Bless his little heart!  :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

fun times...

Fun picture
This past weekend, Ben and I had an impromptu gathering at our place.  It all started with a text message, on Friday, from our buddy Chris (Kilcup).  He wanted to do something on Saturday since the weather was going to be nasty.  Ben and I figured we couldn't go wrong with video games and board games. 
Ben & Chris Playing Some Wii Tennis - Lots of Hard Work as You Can See
Ben called up his cousin Brandon to join us while I sought out the Platters - figuring the number of girls needed a boost and I hadn't seen them in a while.  :)  Annie and Abbie were kind enough to help balance out the gender quota.
Brandon, playing around on his laptop while the other two are Wii-ing.  Ha, ha...
Our place is super small, but we all fit in there rather nicely.  It was a low-key, enjoyable evening.  We introduced Brandon to everyone (the rest of us were up at LBC together this summer), caught-up with one another, ventured out to Carls Jr. for some dinner, played Catch Phrase, made brownies, and took turns playing all sorts of Wii games.
Chris would only agree to play Catch Phrase if I made brownies - but according to his recipe.  Of course I was more than willing to go along with that - who doesn't love brownies?!?!  The only requirement was that whatever brownies were made, a layer of peanut butter had to be added to the top.  Delicious!  Thank you Christopher!
I should have taken pictures throughout the night, but I only grabbed my camera once the girls left.  I was reminded of what life was like growing up with brothers.  The fellas were nice enough, but I could have done without the farts!  ;)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

i can't make this stuff up...

The students just turned in an autobiography assignment. They were given a template and asked to fill in the blanks to create a unique poem about themselves. It's part of our get-to-know-you routine at the beginning of the school year.

Here's my favorite line...

"Who plans to become a dentist, more responsible, and more smarter"

Ah, the irony! ;)

Friday, September 4, 2009

why... 7th graders use Mr. Sketch markers to write all over their bodies?  I thought that was something reserved for those much younger.

Alas, I was wrong.

Welcome to the end of week one (or at least the first three days of school).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

living life... so much fun!
  • lots of time with LBC friends
  • a new MacBook (hooray!)
  • meeting babies - Ezra and Hazel
  • babysitting
  • working a ton already
  • watching 24
  • making cards
  • planning for the upcoming school year
  • packing for Leavenworth
  • hanging out with Gavin and enjoying every moment of it
  • staying up way too late and getting up way too early
  • excited to meet my new students
  • tons of pictures to sift through
  • learning lots about what it means to be a Godly wife
  • enjoying the fact that Jordan and Jamie are living in the area
  • playing games
  • visiting other churches to see friends
  • wedding
  • lending advice to young ones entering a new relationship
  • meeting with people who used to stand strong in their faith...and now they question
  • missing the folks from our home-group
  • having dinner with old family friends
  • a plethora of possible blog posts
  • FarmVille...I got sucked in!
  • piecing together classroom decorations
  • slumber party with campers (and Jamie too)
  • encouraging Ben in his new endeavor - quitting his job, going back to school, and planning to sub this year
  • reading blogs
  • salmon bake
  • swimming across the lake

Thursday, July 16, 2009

ny with my bff...

New York City is one of my favorite destinations. I can't quite pin-point the exact reason, but I think it has to do with the sights and sounds of familiar pop culture. Since I live for movies, television, celebrities, and anything that has to do with the world of the rich and famous (I realize it's rather pathetic), NY is a good fit?!?! I think it also has something to do with the fact that my BFF lives just outside of the city. Oh, and JT now has a place in Manhattan. What's not to love about that? ;)

The people aren't too friendly, the weather is kind of gross, and the streets are fairly dirty. At the same time, I find myself wanting to return for more. Go figure.

Here are a handful of shots from our adventures. We'll begin with our night out...

We stood in line at the TKTS booth in Times Square (with everyone else watching Michael Jackson's funeral) to get cheap tickets to a show. Our first choice, of those available, was South Pacific. We ended up with incredible seats...and for such a great deal. The show was absolutely amazing...from start to finish!

The next day, we ventured out to Serendipity for lunch. I have always loved the movie (don't judge), and I was excited to actually see the little restaurant. So cute, funky, and busy. However, not the greatest food or service. Their desserts however...a totally different story! So delicious! The frozen hot chocolate is their most popular item. It was beyond yummy! I had a chocolate peanut butter one while Laura enjoyed the chocolate chip mint. As best friends, it was only appropriate that we share. ;)

(Laura liked one of these pictures more than the other...I can't remember which one, so I'm including them both to be sure that I post the right one.)

Next up, was Rockefeller Center. The last time I was in NY, we passed through this area on a Sunday evening. Most everything was closed. So, I wanted to be sure I saw it all this time around. There's the statue just outside of the NBC studios, the fun NBC store - where Ben's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon t-shirt came from, along with my Bayside Tigers t-shirt, and a few Office pieces - and some incredible views from The Top of the Rock. This view is far better than that from the empire state building (in my opinion). The fact that you can see the Empire State Building is part of the appeal. I also love the look of Central Park from up there. The idea of something "natural" existing within this fast-paced city is so intriguing to me...and it looks incredibly beautiful.

We did a whole lot more, but I didn't take too many pictures. Instead, I just enjoyed it all! I'm already thinking about my next trip out there. Instead of going by myself, I'll be packing my husband too! Ben and I want to look into the NBC studios tour, a taping of Jimmy Fallon, SNL, the Radio City Christmas show, and maybe some ice-skating at Rockefeller Center?!?! I would love that!

Thanks to Laura for allowing me to invade her life! I had sooooooooo much fun! ;)

Stay tuned for more pictures from my trip into Boston. (I left my camera behind, so I have to wait for Laura to email the photos she has.)