Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary To Us!!

9 years ago, my Husband and I tied the knot! We were married in a lovely civil ceremony in Germany. I had no one to give me away, my dress was a silver ball gown and I did my own hair and makeup. He wore a suit he already had and shoes from his military dress uniform. When we got ready, my strap broke and he had to sew it back on for me as I was wearing it. Our witnesses were his 1st Sgt and a couple friends. We spent our wedding meal at the Brauhaus and ate bratwurst, fries and beer or coke. His 1st Sgt and LT paid for our meal as a wedding gift from them, and they joined us as well as a couple other friends. There was no fanfare, no party, but it was a beautiful day. And here we are, 9 years later and more in love than ever.

Our marriage has had its ups and downs, but we've grown and changed together. We've been through good times and bad, but through it all, we still love each other. And we're still as attracted to each other as we were 9 years ago.

Unfortunately we weren't able to find a sitter tonight, so we treated the kids and ourselves to dinner out at a Chinese restaurant. The kids loved it, and then we stopped at Safeway on the way home to get ourselves a bottle of Champagne and some ice cream. But we had a really good time!

Here's to 9 years Honey!!!! I hope we have many many more!!! I love you more than anything <3

Here is our Love Story, that I wrote ages ago, and for good measure, here is a photo of the place where we were married:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Make It From Scratch Carnival and Misc

A big big thank you to Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood, for including my post, Rachel Ray's Fudge Wreath, in this weeks edition of the Make It From Scratch Carnival!!

In other news, my husband is home and made it back safely from Portland. If you're not following the news, Portland is a disaster area with snow and ice. He got home last night right after dinner. Today we spent the day as a family and did our last minute shopping at Wal Mart and then came home and decorated our gingerbread house. The kids had a blast!! Tomorrow I have to do a bit of baking yet, I think I will make some shortbread.

Well, this is a short post, it is time to make some dinner. If I don't get to blog for a few days, Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rachel Ray's Fudge Wreath



I made this today with the kids. The "garnish" is just cut up "dots" candies. I think that the butterscotch chips add just a bit too much sweetness, so I will do it with plain chocolate chips next time, and also add some more walnuts. I did not use the currants either. Other than that, it turned out great! I'm pretty happy with it.

**I wanted to also let you all know, we're expecting a HUGE storm to come through here tonight and tomorrow, so if I lose power, I will be back as soon as I can**


Ingredients

* 1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate morsels
* 9 ounces (3/4 of a 12-ounce bag) butterscotch morsels
* 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 (8-ounce) can walnut halves
* 1/2 cup (a couple of handfuls) currants
* 8-inch cake pan, lightly greased with softened butter
* Candied cherries, red and green, for garnish, optional

Directions

Place a heavy pot on the stove and preheat it over low heat. Add chips and milk and stir until chips are melted and milk combined. Save the empty condensed milk can. Stir in vanilla and remove fudge from heat. Add nuts and currants and stir in immediately.

Cover empty condensed milk can with plastic food wrap and center it in the greased cake pan. Spoon fudge into pan around can, making sure to recenter can if it drifts.

The fudge will set up almost immediately. Garnish can only be added in the first minute or 2 the fudge is in the pan, so work quickly. Decorate your wreath with "holly" made from cut candied red and green cherries. A wreath left plain can be garnished with a pretty fabric bow when serving. Chill covered in the refrigerator and slice fudge very thin when ready to serve, a little goes a long way.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday Doings

Thought I might do another "daily doings" post today!

I'm into cleaning mode since the man will be home in two days.

Today so far I have:

*cleaned and disinfected my whole bathroom, including the jacuzzi tub
*addressed and sent a few more Christmas cards
*did a few more loads of laundry
*Made up a batch of Rachel Ray's 5 minute fudge...will do a post about this later
*showered. lol
*cleaned the kids' bathroom

I'll update again later!

*made a batch of oreo truffles
*more laundry
*made homemade pizza and homemade pizza dough (love my bread machine)
*made a few phone calls

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday

Yesterday brought the news that school was cancelled through till January 5th. So my kids are getting a 19 day break from school!!! They had 3 snow days today, and one late start, which was on Monday. Lucky kids ;o) We have been busy playing in the snow every day since then, making numerous snowmen, sledding and just having fun. We live on a bad road, it hasn't been plowed or anything...not even salted, so I haven't been out of the house since Tuesday!! I'm getting a bit of cabin fever I think. We'll probably head out in a few days though, but I have no reason to go out and we have plenty of groceries.

Today I got notice that my hubby is coming home on Monday!!! Two days early!! So we've been doing a lot of cleaning. I always do a deep clean before he comes home. And I haven't even started on my baking yet...ugh!!! That is OK though, we'll get that done yet. That is part of the reason why I haven't been blogging in awhile...too much to do!!

We decided to wait to do our Gingerbread house till daddy comes home because we thought it would be fun if he got to participate. He is gone all the time and doesn't get to do a lot of fun things with us, so that will be a special family activity we will do. We also have to do some last minute shopping that I have been putting off till he comes home because I just don't want to drive in this weather (no snow forecast for today, but again all weekend). He can drive me around while I do my errands.

To end this, I want to share our favorite song right now. I found this by accident last night and HAD to have it from iTunes. It is called Dragostea Din Tei, by O Zone, a Romanian Boy band. hehe Enjoy...lol

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Days

We got tons of snow today!! School was cancelled today, and tomorrow too! I am all set to wrap some Christmas gifts tonight and I will be watching a Christmas movie at the same time. The kids had a great time in the snow today, they probably spent a few hours out there making a few snowmen, having snowball fights and making snow angels. And now I get to listen to them laugh at watching classic Mr. Bean (thank you Netflix!!). Love Mr Bean, he is hilarious...thanks to a teacher of mine in high school, Mr. De Jager, I have a love of Mr. Bean, and Wallace and Gromit, both of which my kids love.

We're counting down the days now till the man of the house comes home. It has been far, far too long since he has been home. I miss the hugs and kisses. I have to say, there is nothing better than a big bear hug from your hubby and a long passionate kiss after he has been gone for 10 weeks! I can't wait till he comes home, I miss him so much. I'm really lucky this year, he will be home for our anniversary and new years, and should be home Christmas Eve.

I just wanted to do a quick update for today. I am going to put the kids to bed in a few minutes and then get started on my gift wrapping. I hope everyone else enjoyed the snow today, if you had snow!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday




I have tons and tons of laundry to do every day. With 4 young kids, it was never ending. I am perpetually behind, I just can't keep up with it. We have more than 50 pairs of pants in this house alone...ACK!!!!

I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but in September, I FINALLY bought a free-standing clothing rack. One that looks like this:



It has been a lifesaver for me, literally. Instead of folding shirts and dresses, and then un folding again to hang it up, I just hang all the shirts up. I separate by person as I am hanging them up, so when the time comes to put them away, I can just grap that kid's hangers and transfer them right to the closet. At the same time I am putting them away, I grab the empty hangers out of their closets and take them back with me to put on the clothing rack.

It Works For Me!! Check out more Works For Me Wednesday Posts over Rocks in My Dryer.

Make It From Scratch Carnival

A Huge thank you to 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven for incuding my post, Bisquick Chicken Fingers in this weeks edition of the Make It From Scratch Carnival!!

There are some really yummy entries this week, check them out!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Daily Doings

I thought it might be "fun" to do a post with everything I do every day...Maybe it will motivate me to do more?

*Got up and got the kids up, fed them
*Called the school Transportation office about school-late start today
*started a load of laundry
*went outside in 25F weather to help my son find forked twigs for a snowman project for school
*helped the kids do the dishes and clean the litter box (i'm mean. the kids had a late start today so I made them do chores! Muhahahaha)


It's only 8:41 today and I still have to shower obviously. I also have to go to the post office and mail some christmas cards and a package to my father-in-law. Figure out what to make for dinner, tidy up the house....etc etc.
I'll update later ;o)

3:11 PM

* Showered, got dressed and ready to go
* fed the baby and I lunch
* called the landlord
* Drove on icy roads which scared me
* Went to the post office and mailed out lots of cards and a package
* Went to Target and got a few groceries that I needed
* Did 3 more loads of laundry
* Scraped the ice/snow off the van
* paid this weeks bills
* Called XM radio to take one of our radios off
* Stopped a 2.5 year old from cleaning out the bathroom sink with her oldest sister's toothbrush.

I have to make dinner still, I am making Shepherd's Pie tonight. I also need to research Sinter Klaas for my talk at my daughter's school on wednesday. Do more laundry. Help with homework. Do the dishes. Wrap some presents.

I'll update again tonight!!



* Called AT&T regarding a bill
* welcomed the kids home from school and got them a snack
* helped 3 older kids with their homework (spelling, sentance making etc. It took awhile)
* prepped dinner
* cooked dinner
* helped with more homework
* called my Oma
* didn't do the dishes because I made the kids do it.
* uploaded some new photos to photobucket

I need to do some more housework tomorrow! ugh.

As of 10:30PM:

* folded a lot of laundry I did earlier, plus I am washing more. I am really behind on my laundry. It truly is my nemesis
* Did research on "Sinter Klaas" for my daughter's class
* watched an episode of ER while I was folding

And to mama bear, who posted below that this was a busy day. No, it was a lazy day for me. I feel like I got nothing accomplished and I'm quite embarrassed that I actually posted that. I didn't do hardly anything around the house except for laundry and dinner. My man is coming home in a week and I really need to prepare more.

Here is some of what I hope/have to accomplish tomorrow:

*scrub out both showers/tubs and the 3 bathroom sinks
*attend an achievement assembly for my oldest daughter (1PM)
*go to Karate with my son (4:30-5:30)
*prepare a crockpot dinner. I think it will be chili tomorrow.
*call my Oma to ask her what Sinterklaas was like when she was younger

And before my husband comes home, I need to:

*bring xmas bins to the shed
*catch up on ALL the laundry
*de-clutter our bedroom
*wrap all the presents
*decorate the gingerbread village with the kids - our weekend project
*buy the ham and all the trimmings
*bake, bake, and more bake. lol

I haven't been to SPIN class in forever, and I am irritated that I am so busy! I know that this is a crazy month for most people, so I expected that, but I kind of miss exercising. And what is going to happen to me when I go back in january and haven't been for forever? pain! ugh. I hope I can fit in a session friday morning, and then when my husband is home a class or two. At least that way my bum won't hurt too much when I get back on the bike Jan 5th.

This week alone I have had somewhere or something to do every day. Today I was supposed to go to Spin class, but then the kids had a 2 hour delay today because of ice on the road, so I wasn't able to make it on time. Tomorrow we have the assembly and Karate. Wednesday I have to talk to my daughter's class 9:30Am, so spin is out for that too. Thursday I have MOPS in the morning, have to go to Wal Mart afterwards to get a few things for my hubby, and then I get to take my son to Karate at the Y again in the evening. Friday this week looks like my only free day, so I am really really hoping I can go to spin class. But who knows really, because our snow is supposed to accumulate on wednesday, so if there is no school, I can't go.

Phew!

I am going to finish researching my Sinterklaas stuff, fold some more laundry and then go to bed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bisquick Chicken Fingers

I made this tonight...no pictures yet, they're in the oven. I've had great success with these in the past, and they are DELICOUS!!!


Ultimate CHicken FIngers- This is the original, I always double the recipe.

1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips (or do like I do, and buy pre-cute boneless skinless chicken tenders)
2/3 cup Original Bisquick mix
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (i just use cheddar)
1/2 tsp salt or garlic salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
3tbsp butter, melted

Heat oven to 450F. line cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. In a 1 gallon ziplock bag, mix the bisquick mix, cheese, salt and paprika.

Dip half the chicken stirps into the egg, and place in bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat. Place chicken on cookie sheet. Repeate to use up remaining chicken. Drizzle melted butter evenly over the chicken.

Bake 12-14 minutes, turning halfway through bake time with a pancake turner, until no longer pink in the center.

makes 4 servings.

Like I said though, I always double so we have enough for everyone. It's delicious! And tastes so much better than the storebought ones.

Ok here are the pictures!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tree Chaos

Last weekend when my mom and sister were over, we put up the tree. I was too tired and not paying attention, to realize that half the branches weren't fluffed, so it has been driving me crazy all week. Then, I noticed that half of my lights weren't working. So today, I decided to scrap the whole thing and the kids and I took it apart and re-decorated all of it. This morning we took the ornaments off, as well as the lights. I didn't want to go the rest of December being irritated by my tree because I wasn't happy with how it looked, know what I mean?

After lunch today, the kids and I trekked over to Target and bought all new lights. We got home and fluffed the branches up, re-strung the lights and re-hung all the ornaments. It looks much much better. I wish I could get a good picture of it with the lights on, it looks really pretty. We have had the tree for 8 years now, we purchased it from Wal Mart when the twins were only 10 months old. It is 7.5 feet tall and 5 feet wide at the base. I didn't even put all the ornaments up this year, we just don't have enough room on the tree. Usually we switch things up every year and vary what ornaments we have.

Please keep in mind that the kids did most of the decorating, so there are some bare spots. lol We have always done a "family" themed tree, though I do do a gingerbread themed tree for the kitchen usually. I scrapped that idea this year though, because we just don't have the room.

Behold the tree in all it's glory!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Christmas Baking List

I mentioned yesterday that I had done a huge grocery shopping trip earlier this week. When I planned out my groceries, I also carefully went through my pantry and recipe books to decide what kind of cookies and treats I would be making this year. I am pretty sure I bought enough ingredients, but if not, I can always buy extras.

Here is my list for this year:

No Bakes (The Man's favorite)
M&M cookies (I'll be doing it with just chocolate chips this time)
Gingerbread men- from scratch, not a bag mix
Shortbread
Peanut Butter Fudge (my favorite!!!)
Chocolate Fudge with Walnuts or Rocky Road fudge with marshmallows-haven't quite decided
Oreo Truffles - Kids' favorite
Buckeyes
Pumpkin Roll

Possibility:

Thumbprint
Peanut Butter Balls

Now since I don't have the luxury of a large freezer, all of this will be done over several days. Most of them I will only do one batch of, like the gingerbread, because the kids like to decorate them and we always have more than enough. The Buckeyes make a huge batch, probably 5 dozen, so there is no need for doubling. I always always double the no bakes and chocolate chip cookies because my husband loves those.

We'll start our baking probably the 21st or 22nd I think. And this weekend the kids and I are putting up the gingerbread houses!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Guess It's Time

I think I've done enough hiding away for now. I haven't really been inspired, but I just need to do it now. I don't want all my readers to run away!!

The last couple weeks have been really busy for our family. We had Thanksgiving, and then the following weekend, my mom and sister came to visit. Plus, we've had a few days off from school, a Choir concert, Karate Lessons, MOPS and other general stuff that keeps a family busy.

The other day I made my grocery list for the next 2.5 weeks or so, and spent waaaay too much money. It was necessary though, as we needed a lot of extras for Christmas baking and stockings and what not. Plus, we also needed expensive items like laundry soap, cat litter, beef etc. But I am all done, and just need to purchase our Christmas dinner stuff yet (we still haven't decided what to eat!!!!), and a few extras for our gingerbread house and stockings that I couldn't find at wal mart earlier this week.

The Gingerbread house will be decorated this weekend! I am looking forward to it, we always have so much fun doing it. I will have to do a special post about that and show off some pictures. Tomorrow night we're going to a Family craft night at our YMCA. They are starting this and doing it once a month for Full members,and you can go in for 1.5 hours and do all kinds of seasonally appropriate crafts. So this time we're doing Christmas crafts. The kids are really quite excited about it, I think it will be a lot of fun.

Next week also starts the last week of school before Christmas Vacation!!!! The kids' last day is December 19th, so only 6 full days of school left. My husband is coming home on the 24th, Christmas Eve, so we'll have lots do do before he comes home. I will be doing all my baking after the kids' break starts, because I don't have a lot of freezer room and I want the cookies to stay fresh. I'll really have to pack that fridge and freezer, and I am a little worried about it actually. Hmmm...perhaps I can make the dough ahead of time and then bake it closer to Christmas? I'll have to see.

Anyway, I'm running out of steam already, lol. Bare with me as I try to get back into the swing of things...

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Still No Time

I'm still here.

Maybe it's the weather, maybe a touch of winter blues, who knows...but I just haven't felt like blogging. My mom and I had huge argument and I am still trying to recover from their visit. They left yesterday morning. I just really haven't felt the urge to blog lately, so I hope everyone understands. Please continue to visit, don't go away forever, lol. I will start posting regularly, but I need to get some thing in order around the house and get ready for christmas too!

On the plus side, I am all DONE shopping for Christmas. I finished the last of it up this weekend when I went out with my sister. It feels good to be done. Now, all I have left to purchase is a gift from the kids to daddy (they'll pick that out) and stocking candy, and get my baking stuff. Our tree was put up over the weekend, it looks pretty, and I like having it up. We've had the same tree since Dec 2001!!! lol We bought it when the twins were just 10 months old.

Anyway, I'm off to finish my grocery list, shower, get the baby bathed and dressed, go shopping for groceries and genearlly try not to lose my head.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Quick Update

Hi everyone..


Didn't want you to all think I died and fell of the face of the earth, lol!
My mom and sister have been in town visiting us for an early Christmas/Sinterklaas, so I haven't had any time to blog at all. You know how it is...


Anyway, I hope to be back up and running tomorrow night or Tuesday early morning.

Ta Ta for now.

LA Police Gear

I have written about LA Police gear before, do you all remember? Well, they are looking for more business!

Check out their website and look for the 5.11 Jackets. The 5.11 Tactical Clothing series has a lot of great items. If you are looking for a bargain, the 5.11 Tactical Packable Jacket is only $29.99, plus free shipping. Also, along with these awesome prices, you will get a free Schick Quattro Titanium Razor! You can't be a great deal like that, and you can get a bonus stocking stuffer as well. LA Police Gear is also offering up a free travel mug, and free flashlight with certain items, along with the free shipping.

LA Police Gear also has some new pants in the 5.11 Tactical series, such as the 5.11 Tactical TacLite Zip Off Pants. They look pretty cool, as they are both shorts and pants. It is like getting two for one!

Check them out! They also have some great promos right now too, when you purchase any of the 5.11 Tactical series clothing. You could keep these freebies as gifts too if you wanted, to save for Christmas or upcoming birthdays. And if you need live customer help, they offer live chat help!! I love that this site offers that, as it can be so hard to get a hold of customer service with some other companies. Kudos to you La Police Gear!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Builiding Your Relationship With Your Spouse

I was just thinking of this last night, how couples can work on their relationships. I'm not talking about marital problems or anything like that, but what they do to strengthen their relationship, what they do to spend time together etc.

My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years. I can't believe that I met him 10 years ago. It seems like a lifetime ago...we were young, both 18, still teenagers! Now we're both close to hitting 29 and we've been married almost a decade. Time certainly changes a relationship, and it can have its ups and downs. We've certainly had our fair share of those, but in the end, we still love each other.

So, back to my original point, how do you work on your relationship? What do you do together that keeps your marriage strong? My husband and I talked about this last night and realized we need to spend more time doing things together when he is home. Since he has gotten his lap-top, and me my PC, we don't' spend enough time together. Before we had our computers (we were computer free for two years), we always played games together. One of our favorites is "Mo-Mo", a really fun card game. And I always beat him at Yahtzee. Wait, I take that back...I DESTROY him when we play Yahtzee, LOL!! He beats me at Scrabble, and we do equally well at Trivial Pursuit. We just love to play games together, and have resolved to get back into it once he comes home again for Christmas. I'm really looking forward to it.

We always have a fun time when we do this. We'll sit at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and play for hours sometimes. We laugh, and flirt, and joke and playfully insult each other's game strategy. The TV doesn't come on, no computers either. It is just us and the game, in the kitchen. I wish we had not forgot this over the past few months, but we are making an effort to do it again. Now, we do talk for hours each day sometimes over the phone, but there is just something different about it when we're in person. It just fills me with happiness!! We are hours from family, and our sitter is now 45 minutes away also, so we aren't left with many choices to go out on a date. We get those when we can, so we substitute with our kitchen games.

So tell me what you and your spouse do for fun? What helps to strengthen your relationship?

Monday, December 01, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

And I'm tired already!!

I haven't posted much this weekend/week yet because life has just been crazy, and I am just worn out. I don't mean to be ignoring my blog, I just don't have the energy. We had a busy holiday week last week, and this week I've been preparing for my mom's visit this weekend. And then my daughter has a choir performance on Thursday night at 7PM (ugh, not looking forward to that with a two year old! lol). Friday night I am doing a bit of shopping...maybe. Saturday morning I am picking up my layaway for my mom and sister's gifts, they're arriving later that morning. I'm busy till next Tuesday basically!!!!

Christmas prep is in full swing here at our house! I've been listening to Christmas music on iTunes and on the radio and our XM radio in the van. We've put up all of our decorations except our tree, which we will put up this weekend when my mom and sister come to visit. Yesterday I was able to get to our storage unit and get all of my Christmas decor out. Once the kids came home from school, they went crazy with decoration, and had a lot of fun. I collect snowmen and snow globes, so our decor is predominately that. I don't really "do" Santa, so we only have a few of those.

I'm almost done with my shopping too, which is a big relief. All I have left to do is purchase the kids' books, a couple stocking stuffers and order the extra controllers for the Wii we bought the kids.

Baking will wait till the kids are off school. I simply do not have the freezer room to store anything long term, so it always has to wait. Since my mom and sister are coming this weekend, we will probably do our gingerbread houses next weekend, and then the following weekend will will start our baking.

Tis the Season to be Jolly, right? So I'd better get my jolly on, it is lacking a little bit.

Ah, and thank you to MamaBear over at GottaLittleSpaceToFill for including my post Easy Peasy Branmuffins, in this weeks Make It From Scratch Carnival

Sunday, November 30, 2008

An Oldie But A Goody

I am sure that everyone and their dog has made "Muddy Buddies" or "Puppy Chow", but I'll share the recipe anyway! I made it for the kids this afternoon. I had planned on making some cookies for school snacks, but I realized I only had enough eggs for my meatloaf for dinner.

Chex Muddy Buddies

9 cups Rice Chex, or "Shreddies" if you live in Canada
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup PB
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups icing sugar or "powdered sugar" if you live in the USA

In a large bowl, place the cereal

In another bowl, mix the chocolate chips, butter and PB and microwave for 1 minute on high or until the mix is smooth when you stir it. Stir in the vanilla when it is smooth. Pour the mix over the cereal in the bowl and stir till well coated. Pour into a large, preferably 2 gallon, ziplock bag. I only had 1 gallon on hand, but it worked fine.

Add the icing sugar and shake, shake, shake, till all the cereal is coated. You can leave it in the bowl to cool, or you can spread it on wax paper to cool as well. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

It is an easy, quick snack, but man does it give you a rush! I had a small bowl, maybe a cup worth, and I have a headache already!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Busy Day

Today so far I have:

Washed and dried 4 loads of laundry
Made two turkey pot pies and cooked one huge pot of turkey soup. Froze the rest of the carcass to make another pot later this week

Made one batch of chocolate chunk cookies
Cleaned out the litter box
Gave my youngest daughter a bath
Cleaned up the back yard
Filled a hole the dog dug
Took out the trash
Cleaned up my bathroom

I still have to knit my daughter's hat tonight, but that will take only a couple hours. All the other kids have one, so tonight I make hers. We've had a busy day!!

Black Friday Weekend

If you aren't done shopping yet, why not take part in the rest of the Black Friday weekend specials? Many retailers are still offering fantastic deals through Monday. Nikon too, has a fantastic deal on the Nikon BDC Slam Hunter's Package, going till Monday. You can save a lot on Riflescopes, Rangefinders, and more.

The package is selling for only $299.95, with a savings of $145!! The Ultimate Hunter's Package includes the following accessories:
*ProStaff 3-9x40 Riflescope with BDC Reticle
*ProStaff Laser Rangefinder
*Silent Technology Rangefinder Case
*Mastering a Long-range shot with BDC DVD
*$50 NikonProGear Gift Card

If you're in need of some good quality, rugged binoculars, then Nikon Sport Optics has a great deal on that too; You can get an extra $20 off the Nikon Action Extreme ATB 10x50 Binoculars. The $50 gift card can be used towards any Nikon purchase from NikonProGear.com. Or, if you prefer to shop in person, and don't know where your local Nikon dealer is, the website has a store locator where you can search by state.

Have fun shopping!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Shopping

Today I braved the crowds and did a little Black Friday shopping. Our first stop was the mall, where I stopped in at Gymboree and picked up my holds. I landed up buying 5 shirts, one pair of pants, and one pair of hair curlies for only $52! I got a fantastic deal considering the retail is $117 not incl tax. I was quite happy with my purchases. And I earned a gymbuck!!

Our next stop was Jo-Ann's for some yarn. No, I'm not a big knitter, but I am making all 6 of us a nice winter hat, the man included. I had about 10 skeins to get, and they were on sale for 1.94 each, plus I had a 20% off coupon. We walked into the store and I kid you not, the line was halfway around the inside of the store. Two sides were covered with people waiting. Plus, the entire fabric section was crowded with about 30 or so more buggies that people had filled with fabric they needed cut. I waited in line for a few minutes and then left. I couldn't handle that, the line was probably at least an hour long or more wait. So I decided to go to Michael's instead and was able to use a 25% off coupon that the cashier gave me, and came out of there spending only $19.80 and that included all the yarn, plus our last gingerbread house. Oh, and I only had to wait in line for about 5 minutes!

And another bright spot in our day was going back to Safeway to complain about my rotten turkey dinner yesterday. I paid $39.99 for it, and they gave me half back plus tax. That was great! It bought me a few groceries, the kids got a couple snacks, and I also bought a really nice "Jingle Bell" wreath. A wreath made out of red and white jingle bells with snowflake cutouts in them. I love it!! And it was only 7.99. I'll have to take a picture of it later. I've wanted it for years, but never bought one.

All in all, I would say that today actually went really well. The kids weren't misbehaving, we got to see Santa Claus at the mall, and we had no meltdowns except for normal two year old defiance. Who knows if I'll brave the crowds next year, I guess I'll have to see if we need anything.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving Pictures, Images and Photos

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I made the most delicious looking Apple Pie this morning, and my turkey is in the oven. It's just me and the kids today because my hubby is driving in Iowa, and our family is hours away. My mouth is watering at the thought of tender turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls with butter..mmmm...and Apple and Pumpkin pie for desert! Yummy!

I hope everyone has a great day.


**************************

Updated;

Worst food ever.
A few words of advice: Don't ever purchase a pre-made turkey dinner from Safeway. You can cook the pre-cooked turkey for 3.5 hours even though it says only about 1.4 hours and it will still be un-done and pink. Yes, it was not frozen and fully thawed. And grainy mashed potatoes are never any good.

*sigh*

I'm very frustrated. PISSED that I spent the money on a good meal that has been delicious in the past (we had it a few years ago), and awful now. The only good spot of the meal was my apple pie. I'm so disappointed.

Hubby and I are researching foreign foods for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Make Your Own Pizza Night

I got a wild hair up my butt and decided to let the kids make their own dinner tonight! We had fun and the kids got to make their own pizzas.

Fun+easy+cheap = Happy Mommy

First pre-heat your oven to 450F

You will need, depending on many people you're feeding:

12 pack of English muffins
1 small bag of pizza pepperoni
1 small bag of pizza ham/Canadian bacon
grated cheese (i bought pre-grated pizza blend)
1 bottle of pizza sauce

We went though 7 English muffins for the 5 of us, and had a half jar of sauce leftover. Most of the pepperoni was left too, but that is because most of us wanted ham.


I layed out all the ingredients on the table and gave each kid two halves of an English muffins. They each spooned their sauce on-about 1 tbsp does it. And then I let them do what they wanted with the ham and pepperoni and cheese.

Bake on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes at 400F.

A fun and easy meal for the kids to make. I think we'll do this again, the kids really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Customize Your Cruiser

Do you own a Motorcycle? Are you looking to customize or upgrade your cruiser? Check out national cycle for all your customizing needs. They have hundreds of parts for all different types of Motorcycles: Harley, Yamaha, Suzuki and a few others.

Now through Thanksgiving, you can get an additional 15%-40% off on accessories! You could find some cool gifts for that motorbike lover in your life!

Check them out!

Carnivals And Grocery Shopping

Thank you so much to Tara at Feels Like Home for including my post, "M&M Cookie Goodness" in this weeks edition of the "Make it From Scratch Carnival".

Check out the entries, there are some really really good ones!!

On to the Grocery Shopping!

I decided to plan for two weeks so I wouldn't have to worry about the budget. I don't think it will be too bad, we still have a few staples left in the pantry, so I don't need to purchase a lot of canned veggies. I'm tired of the same old thing, so about the only thing we are "repeating" for the next two weeks is hot dogs. I try to make those 1 or two times a month, we usually use them for Karate nights when we get home at 6PM, and we'll only have them once.

So I need two more meal ideas, something easy and cheap and not involving beef, pork or turkey. And I'm kinda sick of chicken! lol

Any ideas?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Grocery Shopping, It's A Budget Week

Well rent is due next week as are a couple other bills, and I have a big gift to buy this week, so I am going to have to cut down on our grocery bill. I'm trying to think of some cheap meals I can feed the kids and I, any ideas?

Last night I made a HUGE pork roast, that will feed us tonight and then Tuesday night too. I'm not quite sure what to do with it on Tuesday though; I could make BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, but I don't really want to eat that. I thought about doing a Pork Pot Pie, but the thought of that grosses me out. What else can you do with pork roast? So I have Monday and Tuesday taken care of. I might even get Wednesday night taken care of too...I'll have to see how much the boy eats.

Thursday for us is obviously Thanksgiving, so we will have two meals out of that, and I can save left over bird for soup etc. That takes care of Thursday and Friday. But what do I do for Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday? I should probably buy groceries for two weeks, but I'm feeling a bit lazy with my menu planning this week...ooops!

I was thinking of making meat loaf one night, and we always do something easy or out of the crock pot on days we have Karate (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Anyhow, I am feeling very un-creative, can anyone give me some good ideas? I'm open to anything tasty and cheap for the menu for the next couple weeks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

M&M Cookie Goodness



M&M Cookies

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F

1 c packed brown sugar
1/c white sugar
1 c shortening
2 eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla
2.5c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups m&ms

Mix the sugars, shortening, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Then add the flower, baking soda, salt and m&ms.

Drop by tablespoons onto a cookie sheet (i use foil on my cookie sheets) and bake for 12 minutes or till the bottom is golden.

I actually doubled the recipe and didn't have enough m&ms, so I substitued with a 12oz bag of milk chocolate chips. I was able to get 5 dozen cookies out of a double batch.

The cookies were delicious! These would make such a cute little christmas gift, tied up with a bit of ribbon, or twine. And with 5 dozen in two batches, you could take care of a lot of gifts. Cookies make perfect gifts for anyone.

Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A "GOOD" Tea Party Set?

I've been wanting to buy our 2.5 year old a tea party set, and had picked out a cheapie one from Wal Mart that was only $5. It was cute, pink, plastic and best of all, cheap. But made in China.

Now I know it is nearly impossible to find anything that is not made in China, I bet about 99% of our kids' toys are made there. My husband freaked out a little bit b/c of all the scares lately with products from there, so he asked me to find one NOT made in China. And it was hard! There are almost no tea party sets that are made in the USA.

But I did find a few...



And the price is only $23.90. A far cry from $5, but at least we can have our minds at ease and not worry she will put something toxic in her mouth, right? Best of all, it is made from 100% recycled milk jugs

I also found these other two sets. Though I did consider them, the wooden one was too small for our needs, and the more colorful one was too expensive. Besides, with the colorful one, we don't need 50 pieces! (yes, it had that much, and cost $39.99)





Today while I was at Toys R Us with three of my kids (one was at a birthday party), I found the first tea set. It cost $1 more ($24.95), but I went ahead and bought it. I'm all done shopping for her now, save one stocking stuffer. Yaay!!

You really should try to check out alternatives to certain toys you are buying. A tea set gets a lot of use, especially in our house, and I feel better knowing I have taken what precautions I can for my kids' safety and health.

Christmas For The Children Of Payatas

Christmas is the season of receiving, not giving as it should be. In our day and age we buy and buy and buy a ton of Christmas gifts for our kids. It is a season that turns to greed and getting, so why not turn it in "giving" this year?

Please consider donating to the plight of the Children of Payatas, in the Philippines. Children in Payatas live in deplorable conditions, and are extremely poor. Each day they go to the local landfill to try and find items to sell, so they can make some money and buy food for their families. Entire families will climb the mountain of garbage, trying to salvage what they can to survive. Eight and a half years ago, after a heavy rainfall and storm, there was a "trashslide" at the dump, and over 200 people perished.

Wouldn't you like to help make Christmas just a little better for these children and their families? Please watch this video if you need more convincing as to how hard their lives are, and how much of a struggle they go through each day just to survive. Even a little bit helps, send what you can. Everyone from politicians, celebrities and footballers (Soccer players for those of you not in the UK) are donating; can you give a poor child a nice Christmas?



Please visit Christmas For Payatas,



You can make a world of difference in one child's life by just a click on their website. To date, they have raised over $73,000 US Dollars in charity donations for Christmas!!!

Here is the press realease from their website Christmas For Payatas,



"Press Release:

The landfill in Payatas, The Philippines, is notoriously known the world over as Smokey Mountain. For over 35 years, the smoking dump site has grown to become a stark and heart-tugging reminder of the desperate onditions of humanity.

On a daily basis, children pick through newly arrived garbage to
collect material to sell. The earnings made by one child are not enough to even buy food for the day. Hence, entire families are forced to climb the mountain each day, hoping to earn enough to feed everyone. Children as young as four years old are forced to work in this daily struggle for survival.

In response to the plight of these children, Totedaddy.com is working with Lighthouse Center For Children Foundation to bring a little cheer to the children this Christmas.

Totedaddy.com has kicked off with a cash sponsorship of USD 10,000 to enable the children to celebrate Christmas. FusionExcel International has also pitched in a USD 5,000 in cash sponsorship. The money raised
will help fund the projects already in place, and help fund additional projects aimed at providing better housing, and a means of livelihood for the Payatas community.

It is hoped that by creating better awareness to the plight of these children, more support can be garnered towards their betterment. Together we can bury poverty!"



Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Traditions

I am happy to say that this year I am actually looking forward to Christmas! Last year it was so-so for me, and while I did do our usual things as normal, it didn't seem right to me. But this year I think I have the Christmas spirit. I think maybe because I am not so focused on it, and have left everything for the month of December. We won't be putting up our tree till next weekend, or the beginning of December, and I am happy about that because it kind of starts the "Christmas Season".

While I am on the topic of Christmas though, I wanted to talk about traditions we have with our kids and family.

When I was a little girl, my dad's twin brother had a long time girlfriend. So much so so that we actually referred to her as "Aunty". Every year, even a couple years after they split up, she would come to our house and make a gingerbread house with us. I've since started that tradition with my children, and it is something we look forward to every December. I usually buy a Wilton one, and then also pick a pre-assembled one from Safeway. The kids and I spend an afternoon decorating them and eat as much candy as we put on the house. This year I was lucky to find a "gingerbread village" kit at Michael's. It has 5 3-4" tall gingerbread houses that will be a nice compliment to our large one.

Another tradition we have is making Cinnamon Ornaments


Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

Recipe 1:

The recipe that I use is

* 1/2 cup ground cinnamon,
* 1/3 cup applesauce, and
* 1 Tbs. Tacky glue

Mix in bowl and stir until well blended. Work mixture in hands for three minutes to form a ball. If it is too dry, add applesauce, if too wet, add more cinnamon. Knead ball on cinnamon-sprinkled surface until it holds together well. I roll this out and use cookie cutters for the shapes. I also use a drinking straw to cut a hanging hole. These can be air dried for 24 to 48 hours. Turn several times. They can also be baked in a slow oven.


And we can't forget baking. Oh the baking I do! Shortbread, Gingerbread, chocolate chip, no-bakes, apple pie, fudge, truffles, chocolate pie... all sorts of wonderful tasty treats. We usually decorate sugar cookies too, but I'll be phasing that out this year as no one ate them last year, they only wanted to decorate. And we LOVE to decorate Gingerbread men.

Every year the kids get a new ornament for themselves. I haven't bought them for this year, but I usually let them pick something out. Last year they got mini nutcrackers. Maybe we'll make an ornament this year.

Other traditions include my mom coming to visit around SinterKlass (I am a 100% pure, bona-fide Dutch Girl), putting a Christmas orange in the kids' stockings, buying a new Hallmark ornament each year, and driving around one night in December looking at all the pretty Christmas lights. And we always, always, open our gifts on Christmas morning.

I'd love to incorporate some new traditions this year, so share with me what sort of traditions you have with your family? Is there anything new you are wanting to try this year?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Takemi Select

If you have been in any mall in North America, then you have most likely seen those massage chairs where you can sit and pay a few bucks for a massage, right?.

They look similar to this:



Why not bring that comfort into your own home? Try a Takemi Select massage chair, and you will be in heaven!

Takemi Select massage chairs and beds are among the best in the world, and one of the fastest selling brands for massage chairs as well. Their customer service is fantastic, and their custmers give Takemi Select very high ratings.

Check out some of these Testimonials:

I received the Diamond Select 3500 that I bought for my Stepdaughter and her family. I decided to try it out first and it is absolutely wonderful, after recently having neck surgery it just what I needed, I can hardly wait for my Angel Touch 14000 to come.

Keep up the good work and thank you.

Jannette Morrow

P.S. I forgot to tell you, my stepson has been suffering awfully with RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) after using your chair for a few weeks he no longer suffers with it, can you believe that, we are all estactic!


I went into the showroom recently and purchased a new 11000 massage chair. Paul the salesman was very laid back and low pressured. I found him very informative. It was on a saturday and paul called Mike the warehouse manager and asked him if he could open the warehouse to give me my chair. Mike dropped what he was doing and came right over. I have been a national customer service trainer for years. To me this was the ultimate in customer service. Mike was very passionate about what he does and also very informative. Thanks to these gentleman, I actually enjoyed spending my money with you! Please let them know how much i appreciated this exceptional service. I will reccomend you to all of my friends.

Sincerely,

Terry Cunningham

Why not make someone's Christmas even better, and order them a Takemi Select massage chair?


Screaming Beans

Check out this funny website I found:

Screaming Beans

The kids and I love it. Great way to get out your frustrations, lol.

Auto Repair Meets Easy

Have you been in an accident recently? Need some work done on your car or truck?

If you live in the Buena Park, CA area, and need your car or truck worked on, head over to auto body shops buena park . If you live elsewhere, you can visit Fix Auto to find an expert auto body shop in your area. You can see reviews from other customers, see maps and get directions to your local auto body shop, and even make an appointment or get an estimate online!

I recently had to take my van in for some repairs, and let me tell you, it was not pleasant having to be at the shop at 8AM on a Saturday morning! I would have much preferred to go online and do it. And now that I have the Fix Auto website, I can do just that! Talk about convenience! I highly recommend using their service, and I will do so next time I need it.

Thumb Sucking

When my youngest daughter was born, she wouldn't take a pacifier, even the green soothies ones. She has been a thumb sucker since birth. At first it was really cute, but now the dentist is getting on us to break her of that habit because her teeth are starting to show her thumb-sucking habit. oops. I've tried, but not that hard really. I figure she'll stop when she is ready.

When our middle daughter was around the baby's age, she sucked her thumb too and finally we told her she was only allowed to suck her thumb in her room at night. And she was just over three when this happened, and my youngest will be 3 in March. But in order to get the dentist off my back, I've started using the anti-nail biting stuff on her thumbs. The dentist wants me to use hot spicy oils and hot sauce!!! I told our Pediatrician this, and he was shocked. He says she will stop when she is ready, and I agree. It doesn't happen as often, more when she is really relaxed and tired.

I was hoping maybe you, my dearest readers, could give me some tips on how to get her to stop. I don't think it is the end of the world, if she needs braces, so be it, but I'd still like to get her to stop. I'd rather see a kid her age sucking her thumb than a pacifier. And I even sucked my middle finger and ring finger for years, way past the age of three.

What kind of advice can you give me?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Zenni Optical Has Christmas Frames

Zenni Optical is the place to go for all your eye glasses needs. They are a great company that sells fashionable glasses at unbeatable prices. ZenniOptical claims that they are able to offer you such low prices because there is no middleman between you and them. You buy directly from them, as they are the manufacturer.

I went on their site because I will be needing new glasses soon, and I found some pairs starting as low as $8.00. Yes, you read that right, $8.00!! They also offer extra features such as anti-scratch coating, and UV protection, for free!!!

Seeing as the Christmas season is upon us, I thought I would see if they had any holiday themed frames. And was I in luck! They have a wide assortment of Holiday frames in all different shades of red, green, gold and silver, as well as many different frame styles.

These are the glasses I liked the most:



These frames are a bit pricier than the $8 frames, but still only cost $9.95. That is such a good deal. I love the color and the style of these ones, they really suit the holiday season and look just like candy canes. Now you can coordinate your home decor, your Christmas clothing and your eye glasses.

I might just have to order some myself, as I am long overdue for some glasses.

Works For Me Wednesday



We're often busy in the mornings as I have 3 children that go to school, and then I am out the door to Spin class myself. So we need to have a good hearty,and HOT, breakfast to fill everyone up. I love to make bran muffins. They are delicious, quick and easy, and it Works For Me!

When I was growing up, my mom always made bran muffins. I loved them! loved loved loved, them. But I have never, not once, made them and I haven't lived at home since 1998. So I thought last week, that maybe it was time to make some for my kids. Especially since we are trying to cut down on the type of snacks they take to school, and make some more healthy snacks they can take instead. They turned out great!
I'll add in my few modifications to her recipe., and please note, the recipe list is by section, it would take too long to make it all one big list and then tell you what order to go by. So just go by section ;o). Please note, if it is italicized, then that is the actual name of the cereal you're supposed to use.

Easy Peasy Bran Muffins

Step One:

In a med size bowl, mix together:
2 cups boiling water
3 cups of raisins (her recipe calls for 2, we liked more)
2 cups of " ALL BRAN " cereal

set this aside


Step Two

In a large bowl, mix:

3 cups of white or brown sugar
1 stick of softened, room temp, butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups buttermilk

mix it up really well and set aside again.

Step 3

In an even bigger bowl (make sure it will fit in your fridge first), I used a huge one, mix the following ingredients:

5 1/4 cup flour, wheat or white. Doesn't matter
3tbsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
4 cups "NATURAL BRAN" (my mom says this is by the flour in the grocery section, I couldn't find it. I looked all over, and had no luck. It is supposed to be "powdery". But since I couldn't find it, I used "QUAKER OAT BRAN", in a little red box that was with the baking stuff. It is similar enough, and worked for us.

mix all the dry ingredients together in your huge bowl, then add Step Two ingredients and mix well. Lastly, add Step One ingredients and mix with a mixer. You should use a mixer when you add step 2 and step one actually. Please make sure you used a big enough bowl, because this recipe yields a TON, and I mean a TON, of dough.


Now that all of your ingredients are mixed up in a bowl, put it in the fridge overnight. You don't have to, but it helps the dough set better. In the morning, the dough will be very thick, this is normal. You'll probably have to use a spoon to scoop it into the muffin pan like I did.

In the morning, preheat your oven to about 375 and get out your muffin pan. Line it with paper cupcake/muffin papers and fill each one about 3/4s full. Bake for
about 20-25 minutes. I originally started at 350, but 20 minutes in and they were still doughy. So experiment a little and see what your oven needs. 375 did it for us.

I only do 12 at a time, and we enjoy them when they're warm still with a bit of softened butter. Mmmm Yummy!!

This recipe actually keeps for 6 weeks in the fridge! So you can make fresh bran muffins every morning without having to worry about all the prep!




Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Look What I Made!!

I have been wanting to attempt "Curlies" for awhile now, and just recently got up the courage to do so. Yes, I was scared to try them because I thought it would be too hard to do.

I have to say, at the risk of tootin' my own horn, that I am very very proud of myself!

I will do things a little different next time, curl the ribbon a bit tighter and cut the pieces just a tad shorter, and remember to add that piece of white ribbon I forgot, but all in all, I am very impressed with myself. It feels good to get the crafting bug in my system again. And now I don't have to spend a fortune and buy other ones like this on Etsy. Hooray!!! I think I will make them a bit fuller next time too, or maybe use a thinner piece of doweling to curl them.






Monday, November 17, 2008

Make It From Scratch Carnival

Thank you to Stephanie over at Make it From Scratch, for including my post Chicken Pot Pie in this weeks edition of the Make It From Scratch Carnival.

Go check out the other entries, there are some good ones!

Supercharger Pros

If you are looking to soup up your vehicle, look no further than Superchargerpros. You can find a full assortment of parts for your car or truck. I was even able to find parts for my 2001 Ford Windstar SEL!

Though I drive a mini-van, my hubby and I have always wanted a foreign car like a Mercedes. Ours is a V-6, but we could always use a little extra "oomph", right? I don't think you can really "soup up" a Ford Windstar, but if I had something more along the lines of a sports car, I would definitely want to add some extra power to it, just to give it that extra "kick".

I am not a car person, I won't pretend to know anything about any sort of vehicle, but this website is easy to use and explains things in a way that even I would understand. They explain, in great detail, exactly what a Supercharger is. You can find parts for all types of cars, including mercedes superchargers, and Pontiac superchargers as well. Their prices are very reasonable, and they stand by their promise of quality. For all their used parts, they thoroughly rebuild each piece, clean and re-paint it. You won't find any junk yard crap from them, and they also sell brand new parts. Plus, they're open 24 hours a day and have great customer service. You can call or email their customer service as well!

Order from Supercharger Pros and you will get a great deal, great customer service, and peace of mind.

Velociraptor Season Is Here!!!

We all need to be prepared, so please do yourself favor and check out this website:

American Society for Velociraptor Attack Prevention




*Disclaimer: I thought it was funny! lol. If you really are scared, please watch any of the Jurassic Park movies to scare yourself further*

Turbocharger Pros

If you are looking to soup up your vehicle, look no further than Turbochargerpros. You can find a full assortment of parts for your car or truck. I was even able to find parts for my 2001 Ford Windstar SEL!

My mini-van is a V-6, and works well, but we could all use a little extra turbo, right? According to their site, "Both turbochargers and superchargers are called forced induction systems. The advantage of compressing the air is that it lets the engine stuff more air into a cylinder. More air means that more fuel can be stuffed in, too, so you get more power from each explosion in each cylinder. A turbo/supercharged engine produces more power overall than the same engine without the charging."

I am not a car person, I won't pretend to know anything about any sort of vehicle, but this website is easy to use and explains things in a way that even I would understand. Their prices are very reasonable, and they stand by their promise of quality. For all their used parts, they thoroughly rebuild each piece, clean and re-paint it. You won't find any junk yard crap from them, and they also sell brand new parts.

If you are a bit wary, be assured that they offer a full warranty on their products, and will even pay for shipping if your product fails. With normal shipping, they will send it off to you in 1-2 business days, and their prices are less than what a dealer will charge.

Order from Turbocharger Pros and you will get a great deal, great customer service, and peace of mind.

Make It From Scratch

Thank you to Stephanie over at Make it From Scratch, for including my post Chicken Pot Pie in this weeks edition of the Make It From Scratch Carnival. Go check out the other entries, there are some good ones!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Post On My Hubby's Blog

My hubby wrote a new blog post. He is sporadic at best with his posting, so I just wanted to give him a leg up and post the link here for him so he can get some readers ;o)

Barry The Blade

Enjoy!!!

I Despise Shopping For Myself and Becoming A Better Me

I really really need some long sleeved shirts, and I have none that are in suitable enough condition to wear out of the house. I wear things till they fall apart usually. And I hate shopping for myself! My husband today forced me, really, to purchase myself some clothes. I went shopping at Old Navy online. They are really the only place I buy a lot of my clothes anymore, I've always liked them.

Since I got my Gap Give&Get 30% off discount in my email today, I was able to walk away with a few shirts, one layering tank, and a gorgeous brown cable knit sweater for only $73.98 shipped. I hated spending that money. But my husband brought to light that I would have no problem whatsoever spending that money on Gymboree clothes for the kids, so I need to buy myself something. It is almost December, it is about time I had some long sleeves, right?

Why do I hate shopping for myself? Is it because I see it as a waste of money? Or do I not like shopping b/c I am uncomfortable with myself knowing I have weight to lose? Probably all of those. Funny thing is, I have no problem buying myself any makeup, whether it be from Clinique or Avon. But I balk at clothes, and only purchase when I absolutely have to. And I'm going to have to get a new bra soon too, because my favorite one broke today! The wire snapped, and I am NOT happy about that. Bummer, eh?

He is right though, I could easily drop that $74 that I spent today on the girls and our son. I have the classic "mommy puts the kids before herself" syndrome. At times this is good, but in cases like this, it is bad. When my 3 daughters have so many clothes we run out of hangers, then perhaps it is time that mommy fills her closet, right?

So hopefully I can overcome the horror that I actually spent money on myself and dented the checkbook for something I needed, and enjoy my clothes for myself. I should get them next week, and no, I am not modeling!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Is On Your Christmas List?

I am hard to buy for, I admit it! My hubby always has a hard time buying for me. Last year he did really well, and I lucked out with a couple DVDs I wanted. I can't remember what else I asked for, but I did receive a really pretty locket, and a bottle of perfume. I love to give gifts, I love shopping for other people, but not myself, so I don't really know what to ask for.

This year I can't think of but a couple items I'd like to receive. First is the new Futurama DVD, "Bender's Game". Futurama is a favorite of ours.

The one thing I am really really in "need" of, is a new bedding set. I really like the one I have, but it is so plain. I let my husband talk me into getting this a few years back, and no offense honey, but it's boring as hell! I need change!!!
I've got my eye on a couple sets like this:



Isn't it gorgeous? I adore it. I LOVE the set. I'm lusting over it. I'd also like some new sheets. I asked for them last year from my in-laws, and I got a great set, but I want some new ones. Something that matches this set. If I can't get that, I wouldn't mind a duvet cover instead of a new comforter, but something similar to this one at least.

So far, that is all I have on my list. I love purses, I have tons, and always like more, but I prefer to buy those on my own.

So, what do YOU have on your list?

Friday, November 14, 2008

ZooCaro

I was contacted by another reader recently asking if I would blog about her site. I figured that would be ok, since she will link back to me too. I'm always interested in getting my readership up!

So go check out ZooCaro.com.

Here is what Lisa had to say about ZooCaro:

Zoocaro.com provides a simple and safe way to shop, promote products, services and items for free. Take advantage of this service today and find what you are looking for or drive more business your way www.Zoocaro.com

Easy Peasy Bran Muffins

When I was growing up, my mom always made bran muffins. I loved them! loved loved loved, them. But I have never, not once, made them and I haven't lived at home since 1998. So I thought last week, that maybe it was time to make some for my kids. Especially since we are trying to cut down on the type of snacks they take to school, and make some more healthy snacks they can take instead. They turned out great!
I'll add in my few modifications to her recipe., and please note, the recipe list is by section, it would take too long to make it all one big list and then tell you what order to go by. So just go by section ;o). Please note, if it is italicized, then that is the actual name of the cereal you're supposed to use.

Easy Peasy Bran Muffins

Step One:

In a med size bowl, mix together:
2 cups boiling water
3 cups of raisins (her recipe calls for 2, we liked more)
2 cups of " ALL BRAN " cereal

set this aside


Step Two

In a large bowl, mix:

3 cups of white or brown sugar
1 stick of softened, room temp, butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/c cup molasses
4 cups buttermilk

mix it up really well and set aside again.

Step 3

In an even bigger bowl (make sure it will fit in your fridge first), I used a huge one, mix the following ingredients:

5 1/4 cup flour, wheat or white. Doesn't matter
3tbsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
4 cups "NATURAL BRAN" (my mom says this is by the flour in the grocery section, I couldn't find it. I looked all over, and had no luck. It is supposed to be "powdery". But since I couldn't find it, I used "QUAKER OAT BRAN", in a little red box that was with the baking stuff. It is similar enough, and worked for us.

mix all the dry ingredients together in your huge bowl, then add Step Two ingredients and mix well. Lastly, add Step One ingredients and mix with a mixer. You should use a mixer when you add step 2 and step one actually. Please make sure you used a big enough bowl, because this recipe yields a TON, and I mean a TON, of dough.


Now that all of your ingredients are mixed up in a bowl, put it in the fridge overnight. You don't have to, but it helps the dough set better. In the morning, the dough will be very thick, this is normal. You'll probably have to use a spoon to scoop it into the muffin pan like I did.

In the morning, preheat your oven to about 375 and get out your muffin pan. Line it with paper cupcake/muffin papers and fill each one about 3/4s full. Bake for
about 20-25 minutes. I originally started at 350, but 20 minutes in and they were still doughy. So experiment a little and see what your oven needs. 375 did it for us.

I only do 12 at a time, and we enjoy them when they're warm still with a bit of softened butter. Mmmm Yummy!!

This recipe actually keeps for 6 weeks in the fridge! So you can make fresh bran muffins every morning without having to worry about all the prep!




Wednesday, November 12, 2008

100 Things About Me

I wonder if I can actually come up with 100 Things

1. I have been married to my hubby for almost 9 years
2. We have 4 kids. Two are twins and almost 8, boy and a girl. Then we have one who is 6, a girl, and one who is 2.5 a girl as well.
3. I have lived in 3 different countries and 2 continents. Canada, Germany and USA
4. I have auburn hair and green eyes
5. I am not an American Citizen, I have a green card
6. My last paying job was over in October 2000, when I quit because we were moving back to the states.
7. Though I might complain a lot about being a Stay at Home mom, I love that I don't have to work outside of the home
8. I make a kick ass Apple Pie
9. I am 28 years old and the oldest of 3 kids. I have a brother and a sister
10. We have 3 girls and 1 boy. My husband's family has 3 boys and 1 girl. I thought that was neat
11. I swore I would never drive a mini van, but now that I have one, I adore it.
12. I am stuck in a rut with my cooking. I cook the same things over and over.
13. I wish we still lived in Germany
14. I collect Hallmark Christmas ornaments
15. I also collect Snow Globes, Gingerbread Men, and Snowmen
16. I also collect Depression era colored glass
17. When I talk to my Canadian cousins, or hear Canadians on the phone/tv, I laugh at their accents and can't believe I used to sound like that ;o)
18. I love being pregnant and would love to have more babies, but I despise the sleepless nights and breastfeeding. babies are fun once they're a couple months old
19. I can't have any more babies because I had my tubes tied during my last c-section
20. I have had 3 c-sections and had my tubes tied because if I had gotten pregnant again, I could have risked dying due to all my scar tissue and possible uterine ruptures. Scary! 4 kids is enough though.
21. My favorite color is black
22. I use mostly clinique makeup
23. I sell Avon, and yes, I do use and like their products.
24. I met my hubby on the internet December 18th, 1998. we were married Dec 29th 1999
25. I yell far too often
26. I love to read
27. My favorite books are historical and/or historical romances, but I read Harry Potter, Pillars of The Earth, His Dark Materials, Twlight Saga, Earth's Children series. Tons of books.
28. I've been known to stay up till 2:30/3 Am some mornings reading because I was so engrossed in the book
29. Laundry is my nemesis, so is folding it.
30. I spend far too much time on the internet. I need to cut back.
31. I would love to learn how to sew to make custom clothes for my daughters
32. My almost 8 year old son is only 1 foot shorter than me.
33. I am 5'9", he is about 4'9"
34. I have big feet, sz 11. I was sz 10 pre kids.
35. My son takes after his dad and I with big feet, he wears mens size 6.5/7
36. Every year at Christmas, the kids and I decorate one or two gingerbread houses. I love this tradition
37. I spent only 15 days with my hubby in person before we were married. The majority of our relationship was spent thousands of miles apart and conducted over the phone and email.
38. We bought our first kitchen table almost 9 years ago and we're still using it today. I'm sad because we are being forced to upgrade next march when we get our tax return. It's gotten too small for all of us. I'll keep it though.
39. I am 2nd generation Canadian. Both sets of my grandparents immigrated to Canada from Holland
40. I love Dutch candies, droopjies and stroop waffles.
41. I love to scrapbook, but I am so behind right now. I need to get some photos developed badly!
42. I lived in this country for almost 1.5 years before I got my US drivers license.
43. I have had a Canadian license, a USAREUR license (United States Army Europe) and a WA state license. Yaay!
44. My favorite movie is View From The Top
45. I don't have a favorite TV show. I rarely watch TV actually.
46. I really really want to go see Twilight in the theater, but I probably won't be able to because I don't have a babysitter, so hopefully it will still be there when hubby comes home for christmas.
47. I once burned my little sister on the wrist with a curling iron to wake her up. She still has a scar
48. We let our kids watch shows like Futurama and The Simpsons
49. I am not a Christian.
50. We don't buy our kids a lot of toys. They do get spoiled at Christmas and their birthdays, just not in between. We don't even have a game system, but we're thinking of buying a PS2 for our son for Christmas. Not sure yet. They still don't have a lot of toys though.
51. I don't think there is anything wrong with gay marriage.
52. I have two cats, Zeus (a Silver Maine coon) and Hades, a black mutt. They're gorgeous
53. We have a black lab, Braddock, who we've had for 5.5 years. We love him even when he's a pain in the ass
54. I'm scared of fish. They're nice to look at, but don't ask me to keep one as a pet if I have to take care of it. Forget it!
55. My favorite ice cream right now is "Coffee" by Haagen Daas. I dont eat a lot of ice cream though.
56. My favorite candies are Peanut M&Ms and Jelly Belly jelly beans, and Sour Soothers (from Canada)
57. I love Pizza, Papa Murphy's especially.
58. I love shopping
59. My youngest daughter's wardrobe is almost completely Gymboree. I do buy her other brands, but the majority is Gymbo. My older daughters wear a lot as well, as does my son. He wears mostly Gap. We also shop at The Children's Place and Old Navy and Target.
60. Contrary to what people think, I can make Gymboree affordable. I always shop on sale and with a coupon. I've gotten items for as low as $.28 cents before!!!
61. Photography is a hobby of mine. I've one a blue ribbon first prize before!
62. I clean out my ears with q tips even though I know it's bad. I'm careful though ;o)
63. I'm having trouble coming up with 100 things
64. I paint my nails red red because my husband likes it
65. I swoon over a fictional Vampire named Edward. I want my own Edward.
66. We can proudly say that everything in this house, save for a few small gifts, has been bought and paid for by us.
67. I've never learned how to ski
68. I will only use Charmin tp. My bum deserves softness
69. Other brands I stick with are Dove (deodorant, soap, shampoo/conditioner), Heinz Ketchup, French's Mustard.
70. I always put on chap stick before I go to sleep otherwise my lips are sore in the morning
71. My favorite perfume is "With Love" by Hillary Duff. Hubby got it for me for Xmas last year
72. I can't wear fake silver/gold earrings. I react badly to the fake stuff.
73. My favorite christmas gift was a silver heart shaped locket that my husband got me last year
74. Hubby and I have moved many times since we got married, but the one thing we have a hard time purging is Books. We have tons of books.
75. I love thrift store/goodwill shopping. Love getting a good bargain! I got my son a brand new pair of Vans for $4 a couple years ago.
76. Two of my favorite actors are Chevy Chase and Steve Martin.
77. During the winter, I love to sit down with a big mug of hot chocolate
78. I've never gotten the whole "Seinfeld" thing
79. I cried during the last episode of "Friends"
80. When my husband was home last month, I thoroughly enjoyed looking up old 80s cartoons on YouTube with him. We had so much fun, and I got to see shows like The Gummy Bears!
81. I refuse to have the kids' birthday parties at our house. We gladly spend the extra money and go somewhere for it, like mini golf or something.
82. I am still sad sometimes that we had to sell our house last spring. I miss it a lot. But renting is cheaper.
83. I actually like Spinning class, even though it kicks my ass
84. When I was 17, I was abducted by Aliens
85. I don't like to wear high heels. I own one pair of shorter heels, but they aren't very tall at all.
86. I picked strawberries this summer, and canned my own jam. Can't wait to do it next summer.
87. When my husband and I were first married, we ate out on the economy almost every night
88. In highschool I was practically fluent in French, but I have since lost it.
89. I have studied/spoken French, Russian, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Esperanto and German.
90. Math was my worst subject.
91. Years ago, when my husband and I were working out, I was running on the treadmill and I lost my balance and fell off the back of it as it was on.
92. My husband took me shooting once, and the gun was so powerful, that it jerked me back and the hammer hit me in the forehead.
93. I think hunting is wrong.
94. I love cooking with my crock pot
95. I once was in a 4 car pile up on a bridge near our old house and totalled our Jeep. I was scared for months to drive over the bridge, it always gave me anxiety.
96. The scariest movie I have ever seen was The Exorcist. I have banned the hubby from watching it while I am in the house. He now has it in his truck and can watch it on his lap top
97. Only two of my children were planned, the other two were very happy surprises
98. My husband says I am a good girl
99. I'm scared of the dentist.
100. I celebrated the milenium in Europe.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday

I do a lot of Christmas crafts with the kids during the holidays. It is a great way to spend time with the kids, plus the kids get their creative juices flowing. I enjoy it too, and always try to find something new for us to do each year. It really Works For Me, and we have a lot of fun in the process.

Some of our favorites are making snowflakes out of plain white paper, though I was thinking this year I might let the kids add some white glue and glitter when they're done cutting them, just to add some pizazz. Some years we do paper chains for Christmas decorating. And we always decorate a Gingerbread House too.

Here is a blurb from a post I wrote the other day about Christmas crafts with the kids:

"With the Christmas season, comes Christmas crafts. The kids and I are big on crafts. One of my favorite websites is MakeStuff.com. Over the years, I have made quite a few of the crafts on there. These are our two favorites, Bakers Clay and Cinnamon ornaments:


Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments
Recipe 1:

The recipe that I use is

* 1/2 cup ground cinnamon,
* 1/3 cup applesauce, and
* 1 Tbs. Tacky glue

Mix in bowl and stir until well blended. Work mixture in hands for three minutes to form a ball. If it is too dry, add applesauce, if too wet, add more cinnamon. Knead ball on cinnamon-sprinkled surface until it holds togehter well. I roll this out and use cookie cutters for the shapes. I also use a drinking straw to cut a hanging hole. These can be air dried for 24 to 48 hours. Turn several times. They can also be baked in a slow oven.


Baker's Clay Ingredients:

* 4 cups flour
* 1 cup salt
* 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup water

Mix together and knead until smooth. Add food coloring if desired. Make shapes and bake at 300 degrees until set and golden (1/2 hr to 1 hr). For a more golden appearance, paint with a beaten egg when it is almost done baking and looks dry. You can paint with egg twice or three times for a darker golden color. Don't use egg on colored dough. For colored dough, paint with shallac or laquer after baking. If cracks appear, patch with some slightly moister dough and continue baking. Christmas Tree Ornaments: Kid Project!

Making decorations with Baker's Clay is limited only by your imagination. It's just like working with clay!

1. Make shapes.
Two of the easiest decorations for kids to make are the snowman and the teddy bear:
Snowman - roll three balls ranging in size from small to large. Attach head to belly by "scoring" lightly (make very small scratches in surface of clay) and brushing with water, then press the two pieces together gently. Attach belly to bottom in the same way.
Teddy Bear - roll two balls, one small and one medium. Attach as above. Roll four small cylandar shapes with flattened ends for the arms and legs. Attach to body as above. For the ears, pinch the top of head with thumbnail.
2. Wire hook - Use needlenose pliers to bend the end of a 2" piece of wire. Insert straight end of wire into the top of your shape, leaving the hook and about 1/4" showing at top.
3. Bake - Place shapes gently on cookie sheet. Bake at 300° until set and slightly golden.
4. Paint with a beaten egg when almost done baking for a golden look.
5. For colored decorations - use food coloring in the dough. (Don't use beaten egg on colored dough.) OR, simply paint with acrylic after baking and cooling, then use shellac to seal. You can also shellac a plain ornament, and then spray with gold or silver spray paint for a sparkling appearance.

If properly sealed with shellac, your ornaments should last for years. Be sure to store in a dry place.



I really enjoy making them, though I would have to say that the cinnamon ones are my favorites. They are so aromatic, and look darling on the tree. We usually do gingerbread and tree shapes, and hang them with a red ribbon.

I am looking forward to making these with the kids. I'm itching to make them, but to make it more special, we're going to wait till after Thanksgiving. I've found that if I over-do Christmas, I get burnt out, so it will wait. But that's ok, right? It gives us tons of fun stuff to do in December. We get to decorate gingerbread houses, make cookies and candy, make cinnamon oranements, decorate, go see Santa. It will be a fun month! I can't wait, it is my favorite time of the year!"



We also do the Gingerbread Ornament crafts too, but we have to be careful not to leave those out, or the dog will eat them. And who can forget my Candy Cane Hearts? The girls and I made those over the weekend. We had a lot of fun.

Chicken Pot Pie

Can you say Yummy?

I made roast chicken yesterday for dinner, and today used the left overs to make a pot pie. It is such a good comfort food. Tomorrow I will make soup with the left over carcass and meat.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 can, drained, mixed veggies
two large peeled, diced potatoes
1/2 large onion
1-2 cans of cream of chicken soup
Salt, Pepper, Garlic salt to taste

So if you are crunched for time like me, go ahead and use a store bought pie crust. It just makes it easier for me. Put the pie crust in your pie plate. Mix all the ingredients above in a medium size bowl, and then pour into the crust/pie plate. Top with the other pie crust and cut a slit or two on top. It should cook at about 350 for an hour, mine took that long. I think next time I'll do 400 instead.

Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

I really am in a rut with the cooking, but this is so delicious! Pot pie is not a hard meal to make, just mix up some chicken with cream soup and veggies and a few spices.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Christmas and Crafts

Now that Halloween is over, I start to think more and more about Christmas. I still haven't taken down all my fall decor yet, just so I don't get tempted to put up the Christmas ones. I think we'll be decorating after Thanksgiving this year. That will mean a trip to the storage unit for me, because we have no room in our house to store the Christmas bins. Yes, I said bins. I have about 5-8 HUGE rubbermaid bins (I purged a lot when we moved here, so I can't remember the exact amount that I have) full of Christmas decorations and decor, and that's not including all the trees. We have a four 2 foot ones for the kids, and I have a 4Ft tree, a 1 ft tree and a 7.5 ft tree! Remind me to tell you all about the 1ft tree another time, I have a great story about it.

Anyway, with the Christmas season, comes Christmas crafts. The kids and I are big on crafts. One of my favorite websites is MakeStuff.com. Over the years, I have made quite a few of the crafts on there. These are our two favorites, Bakers Clay and Cinnamon ornaments:


Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments
Recipe 1:

The recipe that I use is

* 1/2 cup ground cinnamon,
* 1/3 cup applesauce, and
* 1 Tbs. Tacky glue

Mix in bowl and stir until well blended. Work mixture in hands for three minutes to form a ball. If it is too dry, add applesauce, if too wet, add more cinnamon. Knead ball on cinnamon-sprinkled surface until it holds togehter well. I roll this out and use cookie cutters for the shapes. I also use a drinking straw to cut a hanging hole. These can be air dried for 24 to 48 hours. Turn several times. They can also be baked in a slow oven.


Baker's Clay Ingredients:

* 4 cups flour
* 1 cup salt
* 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup water

Mix together and knead until smooth. Add food coloring if desired. Make shapes and bake at 300 degrees until set and golden (1/2 hr to 1 hr). For a more golden appearance, paint with a beaten egg when it is almost done baking and looks dry. You can paint with egg twice or three times for a darker golden color. Don't use egg on colored dough. For colored dough, paint with shallac or laquer after baking. If cracks appear, patch with some slightly moister dough and continue baking. Christmas Tree Ornaments: Kid Project!

Making decorations with Baker's Clay is limited only by your imagination. It's just like working with clay!

1. Make shapes.
Two of the easiest decorations for kids to make are the snowman and the teddy bear:
Snowman - roll three balls ranging in size from small to large. Attach head to belly by "scoring" lightly (make very small scratches in surface of clay) and brushing with water, then press the two pieces together gently. Attach belly to bottom in the same way.
Teddy Bear - roll two balls, one small and one medium. Attach as above. Roll four small cylandar shapes with flattened ends for the arms and legs. Attach to body as above. For the ears, pinch the top of head with thumbnail.
2. Wire hook - Use needlenose pliers to bend the end of a 2" piece of wire. Insert straight end of wire into the top of your shape, leaving the hook and about 1/4" showing at top.
3. Bake - Place shapes gently on cookie sheet. Bake at 300° until set and slightly golden.
4. Paint with a beaten egg when almost done baking for a golden look.
5. For colored decorations - use food coloring in the dough. (Don't use beaten egg on colored dough.) OR, simply paint with acrylic after baking and cooling, then use shellac to seal. You can also shellac a plain ornament, and then spray with gold or silver spray paint for a sparkling appearance.

If properly sealed with shellac, your ornaments should last for years. Be sure to store in a dry place.



I really enjoy making them, though I would have to say that the cinnamon ones are my favorites. They are so aromatic, and look darling on the tree. We usually do gingerbread and tree shapes, and hang them with a red ribbon.

I am looking forward to making these with the kids. I'm itching to make them, but to make it more special, we're going to wait till after Thanksgiving. I've found that if I over-do Christmas, I get burnt out, so it will wait. But that's ok, right? It gives us tons of fun stuff to do in December. We get to decorate gingerbread houses, make cookies and candy, make cinnamon oranements, decorate, go see Santa. It will be a fun month! I can't wait, it is my favorite time of the year!


*I am going to try to have at least one Christmas related post a week. I said "try", but I really love Christmas, so this shouldn't be a problem*