Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

So here are my resolutions for 2011:

1. Journal more often. I found one of my old journals the other day and was transported back to my teenage years. I remember all the angst and heartache that went into those pages, and how diligently I crafted each entry, hoping that the act of writing would somehow solve all my problems. And while I did over dramatize about every other event (what teenage girl didn't?), it was astounding to see how honest I was with myself. I need to do more of that kind of writing, especially now when so many things are happening in my life. So I want to scrapbook/journal at least four times a week, even if it's only a little note to myself about the day's events.

2. Read more. A lot more. Did you see the picture of the books John and I got for Christmas? If not, here it is again:
Yeah, so I have no excuse for not reading. That includes daily Bible reading as well as fiction and nonfiction stuff. I received a lot of Elisabeth Elliot's work, which is fantastic. I may even rent End of Spear again to get the full context of her struggle (her husband was brutally murdered by a band of Amazon natives to whom he, and three other missionaries, were trying to share the Gospel). I'm also working through a Julia Child phase, and I am finding her passion to be absolutely wonderful. Case in point: I went to the Fayetteville library, found the oldest copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and actually read the foreword. To a cookbook. And you know what? It was awesome. Here's a sampling:
"This is a book for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistlines, time schedules, children's meals, the parent-chaffeur-den mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat."
So I need to set aside time every day to read. Every day. Maybe before bed? Maybe after John leaves in the morning? I'm not sure yet, but I'll let you know which works best.

3.  Forgive myself. I have become quite the self-deprecator (yes, I made up that word).  It seems that every time I screw up, I refuse to forgive myself. Whether it be an overcooked pot of beans, a wrongly-washed dress shirt, or an unvacuumed apartment, I am always upset at having failed. This year, I would like to try harder at letting things go, forgiving myself for all the little things that no one will even remember in 2012.

4. Be more homemade. Thanks to a fantastic two-day road trip and a husband who prefers to do most of the driving, I am in love with knitting. Let me explain...
Toward the middle of October, John and I discussed the possibility of a Michigan Thanksgiving. Apparently this is a family tradition, occurring every two years or so, wherein the Peterson side of the family convenes at the home of John's grandmother, Inez, in Iron Mountain, Michigan. Fast forward to mid-November, when plans are confirmed that Kelly will be participating in this tradition, which also involves a TWO-DAY, SIXTEEN-HOUR DRIVE. Being the fidgety person that I am, I knew, instinctively, that I needed something to do. Sewing seemed hazardous, as did oil painting, playing guitar, and Scrabble (loose tiles could cause driving accidents). Crossword puzzles get boring, reading is rude, and listening to music is not enough. So I chose knitting. I went to Hobby Lobby, spent $11.37 on two types of yarn, one set of 8mm needles, and a crochet hook. The result, after knitting there and back, was a beautiful, fairly decently knitted teal scarf!
With all that said, I want to do more handmade, homemade things. That includes cooking more from scratch (which I'm already doing more of), making more knitted/sewed/embroidered items, and using more earth-friendly, cost-effective cleaning products. If you have any tips or ideas for the above, please comment!

5. Love. Love my husband, my family, my friends, my community, my neighbors, and myself. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010 - The Pictures

So here is the Christmas album for 2010, my very first Christmas as Mrs. Kelly Peterson! 

Christmas in Mena - December 23rd-24th
We began the journey to Mena (where John's family lives) with a stop at Starbucks in Fort Smith. It was the location of our very first date last November...I had a skinny latte, John had a caramel frappuccino.  Love bloomed.

The Mena Christmas tree, covered in handmade ornaments for each year.

Hanging out after opening gifts. Mrs. Peterson played the piano for us, and we sang to Mr. Bishop, whose birthday is also on Christmas!

This year's ornament :)

2007's ornament - John in front of the Taj Mahal!

Mrs. Peterson made these tea cup and cupcake pin cushions. I thought they were really cute. I got to take two home!

John and David invited their friend Joseph over to play Halo. Mrs. Peterson, Catherine (David's girlfriend) and I all watched them go at it.

Our gifts from the Mena family. The purple jar in the front is lingonberry jam from Catherine's family. It's delicious!

 Christmas in Fayetteville - the morning of December 25th 
Our Christmas breakfast (this was John's plate). Sausage, grapefruit from Mena, cinnamon rolls, and scrambled eggs made the Julia Child way (I had just finished that chapter in My Life in France). 

John and I both tweeted/facebooked our gifts and Christmas morning thoughts

My gift to John - the collector's edition of Lost. He was saddened when it was removed from Netflix instant streaming, so now we can watch whenever we want (I'm getting into the series as well).

Two of my gifts from John - an awesome book about writing, and an authentic Bento box. I love Bento!!!

John lovingly put together the Wii he got me for Christmas. I love it!

 Christmas in Fayetteville - the afternoon of December 25th
One of two handmade scarves that I gifted this year. The other went to John's aunt Gayle in Detroit. My dad looks quite handsome in this one :)

Christmas #2 in Mountainburg with my side of the family.

Playing White Elephant with my family. I ended up with Love Potion from Aunt Brenda. 

These are the books we got for Christmas. No joke. 

I went to the after-Christmas yarn sale at Joann's. Fantastic start to next year's presents!

By the way, this was the first scarf I made. It went to John shortly after Thanksgiving. Doesn't he look handsome? I think so. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


So, my birthday was pretty great. It started off with a phone call from my dad at 7:01 Friday morning. He’s a bus driver for Mountainburg Schools (as well as a grocery store assistant manager and Southern Baptist preacher), and every birthday he waits until all his kids are on the bus, then calls me so they can all sing Happy Birthday to me. Seriously, this makes me tear up just thinking about my dad going to all that effort each year. I’ve grown to look forward to that call almost as much as my birthday itself.

After a long day of professional development, I came home and waited for John. When he got home, I opened presents! He bought me a copy of My Life in France by Julia Child, having taken note of my affection for her after watching Julie & Julia several months ago. In addition to other lovely gifts - chocolate-covered raisins, an EcoCup, a hand-written letter - he also took me to Arsaga’s Espresso Cafe, which is sentimental and delicious at the same time.

Last year, John took me to Arsaga's and we played UpWords. He recreated that for me again this year :)
Then we went to Greenhouse Grille and had delicious, organic, seasonal food such as cranberry walnut bruschetta, KC strip with shittake mushrooms, and yam cakes with grilled vegetables.

John, showing off the appetizer.

Yum. Cranberry Walnut Bruschetta with Feta and Balsamic Vinaigrette.

The next day, mom and dad came up to visit! We went to Mellow Mushroom....

And I got a card from Jen! And my grandma Bisby!

And we went to a charity event for Mama Carmen’s coffee!


And then, two weeks later, we have Christmas.....oh Christmas.
This Christmas season really caught me off guard. I wanted to do all kinds of homemade crafting, gifting, and baking, but apparently my mental calendar didn’t sync with reality, and I’m left with 3 days and only a fraction of my initial motivation.

But here are the things I would like to actually accomplish over the break, in no particular order:
  • begin our engagement/wedding/honeymoon scrapbook
  • finish reading the following books: My Life in France by Julia Child, Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller, A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards, Desiring God by John Piper
  • begin reading the following books: Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot, Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams, cookbooks, and any interesting books I get for Christmas
  • clean out the guest room closets and kitchen cabinets, donating extra items to Potter’s House Thrift
  • send out applications to the public library, area universities, and maybe some coffee shops
  • knit at least two more scarves, then try my hand at gloves (hehe) and maybe socks
  • put together a list of next year’s Christmas ideas, so that I’ll be slightly more prepared for the holiday madness. This includes printing off all the pdf files I found on Martha Stewart’s web site (which also requires me to get black ink for my printer), printing off the Christmas card list, and writing down any epiphanies John and I had while buying gifts. Also, a collection of any Christmas recipes I think I might use
  • send thank you notes
  • try to make a Black Apple doll (I found the pattern on Martha Stewart’s website and fell in love)
  • compile a list of birthdays, anniversaries, and significant dates for the two sides of the family
  • continue working on the family trees
  • finish watching the Band of Brothers series from HBO
  • decide if I actually like Community or just really want to like it
  • make really good pork chops
But most importantly, I want to rest. It's been a very trying couple of months, and I need some time to breathe and figure out what's going on, where I want to be, and who I should become. Here's a song that's guiding me through, along with some podcasts from Mars Hill Seattle and The Village Church in Dallas.

I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the Moon reflect the sun.
Every Starry Night, that was His design.
I'm giving my life to the only son, who was and is and yet to come
Let the praises ring, 'cause he is everything
'Cause he is everything

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

End of the 1st Quarter

When I went to school, I don't remember there being so many distinct academic time frames:

Fourth Week Progress Report
First Quarter
Midterm Progress Report
First Semester
Second Quarter
Second Semester
Fourth Week Progress Report
Spring Progress Report
Third Quarter
Fourth Quarter

Seriously? What's the deal people? Do we just work better under deadlines? Do we thrive on the pressure of countdowns and time limits? I guess I mention this because parent-teacher conferences are this week, which means we are at the halfway point of the halfway point (1/2 of the first semester is over). Now, just so you know, the only grades that appear on a student's transcript are those at semester; therefore, this mid-semester conference is meant to alert parents (and students) of any negative consequences their lack of academic focus might have created, and allow for time to remedy the situation before semester grades appear. 


On to other thoughts. 

I got out my sewing machine this weekend and went to town on a Bible cover. I know, not the most extravagant of crafting projects, but was fun. Unfortunately, I did not do a fantastic job. Some of the fabric creased when I put it through, and I mis-measured one side. But the process of sewing was fun and allowed me to relieve some stress that I've been holding on to for weeks. Who knows, I may end up sewing every night if it helps!

Speaking of stress, does anyone have relevant ways to deal with massive amounts of it? Yoga? Tai chi? Baking? I need some options.

I've been reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close lately, and I don't yet know what I think of it. Here's an excerpt that I feel represents the eccentricity of the book:

I went through hundreds of books, thousands of them, they were all over the apartment, I used them as doorstops and paperweights, I stacked them if I needed to reach something, I slid them under the legs of wobbly tables, I used them as trivets and coasters, to line the birdcages  and to swat insects from whom I begged forgiveness, I never thought of my books as being special, only necessary...Later that year, when snow started to hide the front steps, when morning became evening as I sat on the sofa, buried underneath everything I'd lost, I made a fire and used my laughter for kindling: "Ha ha ha!" "Ha ha ha!" (pg. 28). 

This particular passage comes from Oskar's letter from (I think) his father, whom Oskar lost in the attacks of Sept. 11th. His father left him a key, and Oskar is now destined to find the lock which will open the key and, according to Oskar, solve the mystery of his father. I haven't gotten very far into the book, mainly because I keep it at school and read through during each period's allotted independent reading time, but it has my attention at least. I'll let you know when I finish...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Grammar is my favorite.

I like fall. It's my favorite season.

You know what else is my favorite? Grammar.

This is from

They are incredibly funny...and relevant. You should check them out. My favorite is the apostrophe project, wherein one would find sentences such as... 

"Bob's jelly bean hat melted in the scorching sun. Bob's going to the store to create a bacon hat instead. Bacon hats do not melt and they smell wonderful."

Grammar and  bacon, you say?
Oh yes. Yes indeed. 

Friday, October 1, 2010


It's October! Yay!

John got off work early today, so we ran a few errands around Farmington and Prairie Grove. Then John surprised me with a stop at the local RV place. Why? Because it's cool! We even saw one that, with a bit of adjustment, can fit a car directly into the living room!

Some concerns with purchasing an RV:
1. Could we afford to drive further than 10 miles a year? Gas is expensive, people.
2. Would you (friends and family) allow us to park a gigantic RV in your front yard when we come to visit?
3. Smallest. Showers. Ever.
4. Would we automatically be subscribed to AARP upon purchase of this "retirement home on wheels"?
5. Could I install about thirteen extra bookshelves? I'll need something to read while John drives.

In other news, I made a root tree for my classroom today. I'm quite pleased with the results, especially since it's my first foray into grammatical agriculture. I'm a linguistic arborist!

If you look closely, each branch is a root word. The leaves are examples of the root word in everyday language. We'll add leaves throughout the year! So far, we have branches for:

"man" - hand
"cred" - believe
"aud" - hear, listen
"graph" - write
"dict" - speak
"ped" - foot
"loc" - place
"act" - do, respond
"mot" - move, shift

Here are some things I'd like to accomplish this month:
1. Have coffee with at least four friends, catching up on everything that's happened in the last few months.
2. Get out the sewing machine and start working on Christmas presents - scarves, purses, pillows, etc.
3. Cook with butternut squash, acorn squash, and pumpkin. Not all at once, of course. That'd be a bit of a carb overload. I'd like to try to make roasted pumpkin soup, or maybe pumpkin muffins.
4. Go on a bike ride every week. It's going to be cold soon, so I need to take advantage of the crisp fall weather while I can.
5. Teach my students what an introductory phrase can do to a sentence. In all reality, it's a life-changer in the world of writing. 
6. Stay on budget. We've done quite well the last few months, thanks to my husband's fantastic finance skills, but I want to make sure we stay on track. 

That's all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Crucible

It's the third time I've taught The Crucible in three years. I like the story, especially when the students pick up on the parallels between Salem in 1692 and today's society. We've talked about how a "witch hunt" is not about witches at all, but rather the idea of seeking a scapegoat for the frustrations of a community. We're just on Act Two now, which is when John and Elizabeth Proctor's rocky relationship is tested by the accusation and arrest of Elizabeth on charges of witchcraft. The students are shouting out the unfairness of the situation, claiming it's "stupid" to think such things; I love it when they get that involved, but also question why they have trouble digging  below the surface. Yes, it's "stupid," but why did they behave that way? What's motivating them? We'll work on that this week...

Sparknotes Summary of The Crucible (video)

In other news, I like this picture that I took at the Border's Bookstore at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers.  John took me to Kennedy Coffee in Bentonville, where I had my very first Velvet Elvis - a white chocolate caramel latte. Needless to say, it was amazing. AH-mazing.

I also like this picture of John, staring at the precarious display of "religion" books at the Border's we visited. We found two self-help books, two books on female entrepreneurship, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, and John's favorite, Fast Food Nation. Now, I understand that American culture worships food, but I assumed it was on a metaphorical level....

Saturday, September 18, 2010



It's been four weeks since I started working at the high school. I'm slowly learning the ropes, and I'm looking forward to the next few months of learning.

It's been almost three months since the wedding. Even in all the chaos of school starting, we've been able to enjoy quite a few of Fayetteville's local hot spots.
Cave Springs Corn Maze - Sept. 18th.
Cave Springs Corn Maze, September 18th


Blue Man Group at the Walton Arts Center, Sept. 5th

Blue Man Group "Dance Party", Sept. 5th
Mom, Dad, and Blue Man 

Barnes and Noble is a frequent's a short walk from the apartment!

John and his caramel frappuccino (w/ whip)

Bret Schulte at Ozark Writers Live, Sept. 11 at the Fayetteville Public Library

John reading a Peter Block book at the Fayetteville Public Library. We like the library.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Weekend

This past weekend was a photo adventure for the Petersons. We went to Eureka Springs, where we'd been earlier this year scouting for wedding venues. While we didn't find anything that would accommodate our 100+ guest list, we did really enjoy strolling up and down the streets, wandering in shops and talking to all the tourists and shop owners. We especially enjoyed the view...

So this weekend we went back (but John didn't was all a surprise!). Our first stop was Pivot Rock, which is on the "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" index of super-cool places. It's a little unusual though...apparently an older couple owns the land, so you have to go in through their "store" and pay $4.50 a person to walk the trail down to the rock. It's a short walk, though, and it's quite pretty.

John found Pivot Rock.

After a very delightful night's rest at The Lookout Lodge, we awoke bright and early for our next adventure:

Horseback riding!!!

John. On a horse.

Unbeknownst to John, I had reserved the "Cowboy Breakfast Ride" at the Dinner Bell Ranch and Resort right outside of Eureka Springs. We arrived at 8:20 and, with another set of riders from Kansas City, we rode up into the mountains and ate a cowboy breakfast: a Dutch oven layering of eggs, potatoes, cheese, and sausage with homemade biscuits and watermelon! It was my very first horseback riding experience. Ever. (well, that I can remember. Supposedly I my cousin's family had two horses...He-Man and She-Ra...that I got a chance to ride when I was little.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Photography Weekend Extravaganza

John and I have decided we are photographers "in the making." This stems from two facts:
  1. John and I both have an innate interest in photography.
  2. The iPhone 4's camera takes insanely clear pictures.
Here are some of the shots we took this weekend with the iPhone 4's camera. The first set of images are at
the Fayettevillle Farmers' Market on Saturday, around 10am. That event is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I bought Japanese eggplant, fresh cuttings of basil, cherry tomatoes, and a rosemary plant I'm delighted to have sitting in my living room window.

Second Set - the Starbucks on the corner of Joyce and College. We went on Saturday afternoon and stayed for over an hour drinking frappuccinos, reading, and people watching.

Finally, Sunday morning we saw an incredible juxtaposition on the way to church at Reunion. Two blue Volkswagen beetles were sitting alone in the same parking lot. One was a current model, the other was a retro 1970s version.

That's all for now. More to come soon.