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*

Sunday, November 09, 2008

What A Busy Day!

Yesterday we had so much stuff to do! I think we were out constantly from about 10AM till 4:30 PM!!

In the morning we went to the library, and I let the kids each pick out a few books. I wanted to take my oldest daughter especially, because she is a reading fiend and starting to like Little House On The Prairie. So off we went, and spent some time at the library. Then the boy needed a hair cut, so that took another half hour. He looks so handsome.

I had thought about taking the kids out for a quick lunch, but we're trying to save money for Christmas, so we went home for a quick lunch of ham sandwiches. Yummy!

Yesterday afternoon was long and tiring. First off we headed to Pet Smart because we were out of Dog and Cat food, and of course they were packed since it was Saturday. Next came Hallmark; I wanted to go there because it is the Ornament Premiere weekend. I usually buy the Singing Snowmen each year, so I wanted to check it out and see if it was worth it. Well, I didn't like it this year, so we passed. Do you know how hard it is to navigate a tiny, crowded store with 4 kids in tow?

Next stop was Marshall's. My oldest needed a jacket, and I wanted to check out the toy area for some Christmas gifts. That place was a nightmare too, busy and crowded. But I was able to find a few gifts, and my daughter also got her winter coat. For toys I found a V Smile Jammin Gym toy for $12.99, but I'm not sure who will get it yet. Also found the baby a Doctor Kit, and got the boy a Ninja Turtles DVD for a stocking stuffer.

Every year I have been wanting to purchase this, but for some reason or another, I never have, probably because I don't want to spend so much on a DVD.



Well, the last two times at Marshall's, I have found individual DVDs of most of the movies included in that DVD pack. I found "Rudolph" (the original one), Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Frosty The Snowman (or else it was Frosty Returns. I can't remember. Pretty sure it was Frosty though, because I don't like Frosty Returns. Maybe it was Frosty with Frosty Returns? I know you can find the DVD with both episodes on it. Can you tell that is driving me crazy? I put it on my layaway, so I can't find out till I pick it up, lol). Either way, they were only 5.99 each. So I was pretty happy with that find, I got a great deal. I'll be keeping an eye out for the others.

Next we went to Michael's to pick up some craft supplies. They didn't have everything I wanted, but I was able to use my 40% off coupon and got a Wilton Gingerbread house village! There are about 5 or 6 houses, and each are 3-4" tall. It will be a perfect addition to our regular gingerbread house. We'll decorate those in a month I think. I think I might splurge for a gingerbread tree this year too. Decorating a gingerbread house is a tradition we have done for years, so we always look forward to doing those.

And after Michael's, came Target. That took forever, because the kids always want to look at toys, I need to check out clearance etc. I needed some toiletries, which should have only taken a half hour, but we were there for probably an hour.
Thankfully, ALL the errands I had to run yesterday afternoon were in the same shopping plaza. So I didn't have to drive all over town.

And then finally we were on our way home. I relaxed last night after the kids went to bed, and watched Sleepy Hollow.

But today, I thought it would be a bit easier. I was wrong. I've spent all morning with the girls deep cleaning their room, have done 3 loads of laundry and emptied and loaded the dishwasher, and that was all before 12PM.

I need a shower!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Candy Cane Hearts


I made these with the girls this afternoon. It is such a fun and easy craft to do. You do need adult supervision though, because it does require the use of a hot glue gun. I apologize for the sideways pictures, I was in a hurry to post and didn't realize I hadn't rotated them.


First off, cut yourself about a 5-6" length of thin red ribbon


Tie it into a cute little bow


Here I recommend using individually shrink wrapped mini candy canes, but I have not been able to find those for years, so unwrapped ones will have to do for now. Take them out of their little plastic bags/wrappers. If you have the shrink wrapped ones, leave the wrappers on, it works better.


Arrange the two pieces together into the shape of a heart, and hot glue. You don't need a lot, just enough to keep them together.


While the heart is cooling, cut yourself another length of ribbon, and tie it into a loop, set aside.



Now you want to take the glue gun and place a small drop of hot glue on the front of the heart, and place the bow onto it. Let it cool for a few seconds, and then flip it over and glue the loop to the back. Cut off any extra ribbon off the ends of the bows and the loop. Let cool and then flip back over.


And here is your finished product!

They look adorable on your Christmas Tree. I've made countless ones over the years, one of my favorite and easiest crafts to make. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

5.11 Tactical Outdoors

Are you looking for some great outdoor clothing? 511 Tactical Outdoors has a ton of 5.11 clothing that is suitable for anything and anyone from Police, to the general Outdoors man. You could find some perfect gifts for that manly man in your life.

Check out their website and look for the 5.11 Tactical Pants. The 5.11 Tactical Clothing series has a lot of great items such as pants, shirts, footwear and uniforms. You can also find all types of gear, ranging from flashlights, to vests, holsters and even knives.

Check out the free shipping too; If you spend $50 or more you will get FREE ground shipping. Use the code "freeshipping" when you check out.

JC Penney Portraits

Today I got our pictures back from JC Penney. Let me say, I am beyond thrilled with how they came out! They look awesome. The kids look so cute.

We skipped school pictures this year because it would have been $90 for all three kids, and decided to go with JC Penney. I don't regret it at all. I purchased the portrait club card at the time, so now when I get pictures taken, I don't have to pay any sitting fees for two years! Usually I have to pay 8.99 for one package with a coupon, but now with the membership I can order single sheets if I want, and not have to worry about wasting money when I only need one or two portraits.

Yaay for a good deal!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Software Techniques

www.SoftwareTech.com is a website that provides you with intuitive time and attendance software. Software Tech helps to make life easier for employers by helping them manage the Human Resources aspect of their company.

It has been a long time since I have had a paying job, 8 years to be exact, but when I was working, we still used some version of a time card. I remember grumbling with other employees about how nice a different system would have been. Thanks to Software Tech there is; They have three different programs to choose from; Complete HR, SoftTime and TimeKron.

Complete HR helps you keep track of employee benefits, certifications and training. It also provides Document Imaging, a typing assistant and even has a Multi-level security system which enables employees to only see their own personal information.

SoftTime is your answer to scheduling. It can manage employee attendance, as well as track vacation time and schedule and absence. SoftTime also supports a "points" system and even has a vacation buy back option! If you look at the image below, you can see the ease with which it can be used.



And lastly, TimeKron, is the answer to the end of time cards like I mentioned above. TimeKron has some great features such as off site punching in, and buddy punch prevention. What I really like, and think is the best feature of this particular program, is the ability to use TimeKron with hardware, which completely eliminates the time card in the work force.



Software Tech wants you to be satisfied, so they allow you to download the programs for free to try them out. Their motto is "Try before you Buy”, so go check them out. The programs are fun and easy to use!



*I appologize for the photos being cut off. I haven't been able to figure out how to change that*

Shepherd's Pie, Again

I made Smoky Shepherd's Pie for dinner again tonight, but this time I actually managed to take a picture. It turned out great!!!


A Beautiful Story

Today has been a roller coaster of emotions for me, so I've been upset almost all day (no need to get into it). But earlier today, I read a story about a man from the 60s that really just made me feel better. It is just too long to post, but I wanted to share the link.

A Man Impossible to Classify

It is a heart warming story, I just loved reading it. I don't know why it made me feel better, but it just did.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Black Friday Is Three Weeks Away!

For those of you who don't know what Black Friday is, it is the day after Thanksgiving, here in the good old USA. Basically, it is to us Americans, what Boxing Day is to Canadians. But we have better deals! lol Usually on Thanksgiving day, after all the turkey and potatoes have been eaten, and everyone is bloated from too much food, the black friday ads come out of the newspaper, and everyone crowds around to plan their shopping for the next day.

I am a Black Friday junkie! I always buy a ton of gifts for the kids for Christmas, if I am not done with my shopping already by then. This year I'm a little behind, so I plan on doing the bulk of my shopping on Black Friday. I've always been able to find good deals. One year my husband went out really early, and came home with our current TV and sound system, and paid maybe $500 for all of it. Last year I found some amazing WalMart specials for kids' gifts. I was able to get Hot Wheels cars 10 pack for $5, Moon Sand kits (BIG ones) for $10, as well as Easy Bake Ovens for $10 or $20. I was quite pleased with myself, and got gifts that everyone loved. I hope I can find some good ones like that this year. I'll also check out Target and Toys R Us for all their fantastic deals on toys. And since I am also going to be looking for a nice digital camera for my husband, I'll be checking out all the stores that sell electronics too, especially Amazon.


This year it looks like I won't have anyone around to watch the kids since my husband will be gone, so I have actually planned to do the bulk of my shopping online. I found a great site for black friday 2008 deals that is going to make my shopping even easier! BlackFridayOnline will email you every time a new store ad has been posted, so you can plan your shopping weeks ahead of time and be prepared. Once the ads are posted as well, each item listed will have direct links to the store website so you can purchase it right away!

What a great and easy way to organize all your Black Friday shopping!

Started My Christmas Shopping

And I am about half way done already!

Yesterday when I was out, I thought I would go to KMart to check out their layaway. Well, I won't ever shop there again. I dislike that store immensely, and they had no good toy selection, to put it mildly. But today I thought I'd stop by Marshall's (like TJ Maxx and Winners) and see what they had, and was pleasantly surprised to find they also had layaway!!

I'm all done shopping for my two youngest daughters, save for their stocking stuff, pjs, a book and an outfit. I found my middle daughter's last three gifts at Marshall's today, and was very happy because one of them was a Littlest Pet Shop Round and Round Pet Town, this one:



Amazon charges just over $50 for it, and I got it for $29.99!!! I also found her some other LPS toys. One of my other favorites I found for my youngest daughter, and it was a kid size enamel picnic set in a little wicker basket! I had my heart set on getting her a tea party set, but I figured this was just as good, if not better, because it was more durable. And oh so cute! I found a few things for myself, and also did half of my mom and sister's shopping. The other two kids each got a gift too, but one is a stocking stuffer for my oldest daughter, and the other is a toy we'll give to the boy on his birthday in February.

It feels good to get a lot of my shopping done. I've got a nice stash at home, and a buggy full from Marshall's that I'll get in a month. I still have a lot to get yet, mostly books and pjs, a couple toys for my oldest two, and the oldest two need their "big" gifts yet.

Does anyone have any good ideas for gifts for an almost 8 year old girl who isn't into electronics or most toys? She reads all the time, so we're thinking of getting her the boxed set of Little House on The Prairie books for her "big" gift (hey, it costs almost $50!!!).

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ode To Joy

Beaker Style!!




Love this video!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Big Money List

The other day, a guy named Michael commented on my blog and asked if I wanted to be on his blog roll. I was a bit confused, but went over to his blog to see and he's honest enough ;o)

So why not check out Michael at BigMoneyList

pretty cool, he has a Google page rank of 5!

Thanks so much Michael!!

Rubber Pork

I'm sure a lot of you have heard of the term "Rubber Chicken", and I don't mean the toy, but the food. Usually when people use that term, they mean to say they have got 3-4 meals out of one chicken. I did this with pork this week and it was awesome.

I was able to get a HUGE 6lb Pork roast for around $5.50 this past week and froze it until I was ready to cook it. Normally I defrost over night by leaving it out in the sink, or in the fridge or something. Wednesday morning I realized I had forgotten to take it out, oops! I thought I would just put it in the crock pot anyway, and just dumped it in there, on low all day (the last couple hours, I did put it on high). I did mix up one packet of onion soup mix with a cup and a half of water and poured it over the roast, so there was a bit of moisture in there. Around 4, I added some garlic salt and freshly ground pepper. We ate about 6 or so and had the most tender pork roast I have ever had. Just the right amount of flavor too, and it was just falling apart. We had mashed potatoes, gravy and peas with it as well.

After we were done eating, I took the remainder of the pork roast and took a large serving fork and a dinner fork, and "shredded" or "pulled" the pork. It's a good idea to do this while the meat is hot, otherwise it won't shred as easily. Into a bowl it went and in the fridge till Thursday. Don't make the pieces too large, you'll want to shred it as much as possible so that when you do the bbq sauce the next day, it will absorb the flavor more easily.

Thursday afternoon I took the pulled pork and again, dumped it into the crock pot. I also added a bottle (regular size, not huge) of KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce, and once the bbq sauce was empty, filled it with water and also added that. It's important to add the water, because otherwise the sauce is too thick. It cooked on low for a few hours, and then we had a wonderful meal of pulled bbq pork on fresh Kaiser rolls. Yummy!!! We had that again Friday night before we went out for Halloween. There was enough pork to feed us for 3 nights. Now that is definitely Rubber Pork! lol

I always feel a great sense of accomplishment when I can feed us more than once on one meal. I know a lot of people wouldn't even bother to do this, but I like to do it to save money. If you are creative, you could use the pork for other recipes too. In that case, I would do the pulled pork last, unless you separate the left overs into two-one for each night. When I do this with chicken, I make Roast chicken one night, Soup one night and soup the next. I suppose with a chicken though, you could do the roast chicken one night. Then the next night, pull meat off the bones and set that aside, and then make a soup with the carcass and some of the saved meat. Next night make pulled chicken or a pot pie. I guess it depends on how much extra meat you have. For a soup and pot pie, you don't need a ton of meat-the pot pie recipe I made only called for one or two cups of chopped chicken.

All you need is a big hunk of meat and a little creativity, and you've fed your family for 3 or 4 days!