I am a proud mommy to two wonderful, healthy kids...Jake who is 7 and Jaise who is 2. I have been a sahm since Jake was born and wouldn't change anything for world, although, it is by far the hardest job I have EVER had!!! I am constantly looking for a GREAT Deal and hope to share my knowledge and tips with you, so that you can also benefit.
So, most people have many places to go during the holidays, especially if you live near family. If you throw in divorced parents, that doubles the places you have to go. So in our house, the day after Thanksgiving is our peak for excitement for Christmas. We are excited the whole month of December. Mid December is my husbands work party and the kids are happy to see Santa visit them there. Then the week of Christmas arrives and we are all SCROOGES by the time it is over from lack of sleep, not having a minute to just chill and enjoy the moment and the wrapping paper mess EVERYWHERE!!!!!
We started Monday night at my mother-in-laws house. She always puts on a play with the little kids and when someone goes off to the bathroom, magically, Santa appears. This year he came in with a trash bag filled with presents (hey even Santa is trying to cut back...maybe he sold his pretty red bag on ebay for some cash....who knows?!). So the little kids sat patiently as he called their names and gave them each a present and then he was gone and magically Gpa appeared back from the bathroom.
So, we had another Christmas Tuesday night, then Christmas Eve we were at my Grandma's and Jake was asked what he had gotten so far. He very matter of factly said he got a lego set from the "fake santa" at Grandma Becky's.
How did you know he was fake?
Because he had a pillow sticking out from under his coat.
Evidently Santa is not very good with detail or else my Jake is one smart cookie!!!
So, Christmas morning was the best. By this time I was living on caffeine and would have preferred to have an IV drip with me at all times. The kids woke up around 8am which would have been perfect if I hadn't stayed up until 2:30am playing "Would You Rather" and "Catchphrase" and drinking sangria with my brother, sister, hubby and Joe (sister's S.O.)
Christmas is my favorite holiday and by the time kids don't buy into the whole santa thing anymore, I will have nieces and nephews that do. It is just priceless to see their faces Christmas morning and the amazement that he really came to their house.
I love it but am glad to see it go away for another year. I am going to enjoy doing absolutely nothing this entire week!!!!
Christmas morning....the look of awe as he has presents to open.....even though he wasn't always on his best behavior this year.
The matching purse and hat of the year!!! Yes that is the second pair of dora pajamas on little J. They both idolize their uncle Matt. He left last night to drive back to Florida.
Our annual Christmas play at my mother-in-laws house. Jaise is the angel sitting next to the cute little Shepard and Jake is the Shepard walking into the room. The little kids love doing it now, and I am sure will hate us for dressing them up when they are older!!!
We have such a big family that there is no possible way that we can see everyone in two days. So we spread the cheer out over the entire week. Last night we had round one with my aunt and uncle. Jaise has asked for anything Dowa (Dora for those of you who don't speak 2 year old). She is convinced that anything can be made using a Dora theme. Here she is with Aunt Erin in her Dora pj's (she still has them on and it is 16 hours later).
And here is her piano that came with her pj's. Luckily it has a volume on it since she is not exactly up to concert pianist level yet. And here is the infamous Uncle Matt. Jake is sooooo excited that he is here from Florida. He loves his uncle Matt. He just wants to be under the same roof as him when he comes home which is about twice a year. Can't you just see the excitement in his face!!!!!??
Went out to pick up some groceries on Monday and evidently so did every other person in this town!!!! Everywhere I looked, there was a MALE............I swear.....if they would just do their shopping like normal people I wouldn't have to be stressed out to go get milk and eggs!!!! They were all so proud of themselves too.......just skippin' along the parking lot. UGH!!!!!
You can't see her in there but this was Jaise's first ride in PaPa's tractor after he helped dig us out of the snow. She drives like a crazy lady!!!! Jake is introducing his sister to all of his friends at his Christmas party.
Jake LOVES playing in the snow and it looks like he will have a lot of fun on Christmas break.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.
This weeks question is based on curiosity. I always LOVED opening my stocking on Christmas morning. My parents always got the coolest things for us to open.
What kind of things do you buy for stocking stuffers?
Okay, I feel like this week was a good week. I am only down 1/2 of a pound BUT I got into a routine. I did 3.5 miles 5 times this week!!!!! Just so you know....I don't EVER do that much!!!!! My thighs are sore but that is a good thing.....that means something is working!!!! Check out Baby Tea Leaves for more updates.
So, yesterday, I was being a good dubby and jumped on my gazelle (airwalker, whatever you want to call it) and I was watching the View while I was completing my 3.5 miles. It's the holidays and it seems like every show is giving away stuff. You know what they gave away? A flippin' $2500 BowflexTreadClimber to everyone in the audience!!!!!!!
As if that wasn't enough to ruin my "mood".........I finished up my 3.5 miles and when I got off to go get my water, I could smell a not so fun aroma.....familiar but not so fun. Yes, while I was sweating the pounds away, my little J, who is potty training, decided that the kitchen floor looked like a better place to take a dump than the toilet!!!!!!!!!!!! Am I raising animals?
Oh, but on a good note......it turns out that the wedding I photographed is going to be featured in the newspaper!!!! They called to ask my permission to use my photos. Maybe momma can get a new pair of shoes (or camera lens or bottle of wine) with the business that it throws my way.
It's time for another week of me admitting what I would never in a million years do and thanks to My Charming Kids for hosting.
I did not spend hours on Saturday wrapping presents for my kids from Santa, place them in a very discreet place in our basement and then find out that my kids had gone into the basement and found their stocking stuffers!!!!! I absolutely did not then lie to them and say that Santa needed to drop them off a little early this year and I told him I would keep an eye on them for him!!!!!
I did not put a diaper on little J to attend Daddy's Christmas party so that I did not have to take her to the bathroom 25 times while we were there. I have waited too long for her to finally potty train to do something like that. (FYI: she did great and even though she had a diaper on, she still told me about 12 times that she had to go potty, I took her, lined the toilet with paper and held her there each time and she went!!!! Diaper was still dry when we got home!!!)
Check out more "Not Me's" at My Charming Kids and enjoy knowing that others struggled through their week just as you did.
It's time for another edition of Weekly Winners hosted by Sarcastic Mom. Post pictures from the past week that YOU took and enjoy!!!!
First, we have Jaise and her favorite cousin in the whole wide world....."Bock" (that is Brock, for those of you who don't quite understand Jaise's language). We decided to make a gingerbread train while Brock was visiting us for a couple of hours and Jaise wanted NOTHING to do with the train......she just wanted stare/love on Brock.
This is the finished product........and yes, that is Brock eyeing the leftover frosting. That boy can eat!!!!
Look at the AMAZING detail!!!! I know, you are jealous.....you wish you could have such a great decoration in your house!!!
And these are little J's painted toe nails. She is just like her momma.....has to paint her toenails.
If you haven't finished shopping yet......I have got a tip for you to save a little bit of money.
Thursday, December 18th, 2008 is Free Shipping Day. It's a day when participating merchants give free shipping to online shoppers with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.
Amazon has some AMAZING toy prices. MANY things under $10 that were originally $25 and more. One example is the Little Mommy Gotta Go Baby. Originally priced at $69.99 and is marked down to $24.99. Many items are shipping free with a $25 purchase as well.
So, the Hot for the Holidays challenge is officially over. I was a little sad because I enjoy having to report to weigh in every Friday. I know I am a little odd......but it helped to make me accountable throughout the week. However.....Christie over at Baby Tea Leaves has organized another challenge.....the Quest for Greatness. Here is the theory. She suggests that you register and pay for an event around March of 2009 and then start to train for it. The thinking is that if you pay for something you will be more prone to stick to a schedule. BUT the great thing is that you don't have to register for an event to be part of the challenge. I understand the whole "accomplishing" feeling and satisfaction from completing something, but I am just NOT an event person. However, I still have goals and think being part of this challenge will help me get there. My goal is to be consistently walking 5 miles per day a minimum of 4 days per week by March 22nd (that is my 12 year anniversary).
This week I have done 2 miles one day and 3 miles another day and after this post I am off to do 3 more miles. I have no change in my weight this week. I know it's not going to be easy. This takes dedication, time and an attitude to push through the yucky days. Make sure to check out the other goals people have made and go ahead.....make a goal of your own!!!!
It's time for another edition of Aloha Friday!!! So, I have been doing "some" research and snooping around about starting a Twitter account. I am not the most tech savvy individual and am not sure what kind of things that you do with a Twitter account.
This was the weekend to get some of our homemade gifts completed. I have blogged about the bath salts before and this weekend we did Vanilla, Cocoa Butter, and Plumeria scents. We also did our "Blizzard Bites". I have never done a "gift in a jar" but I figured anything covered in white chocolate had to be yummy. You can find these recipes and printable tags at Organized Christmas.
Next were some snowman ornaments. Now, my mom came to me with this idea that she had seen at a craft show. I DO NOT sew and knew there was no way I could make a stocking hat and I can guarantee you I am NOT an artist of any kind but I totally copied the face from the original........let's just say they each have their own character!!! We made one for each of the grandkids on my mom's side of the family. I think they turned out cute and it was pretty much just felt, frosted ball ornaments and paints.
Time for a look at what I did not do this past week....
I did not give up and start putting my daughters clothes in a laundry basket in her room because I got sick and tired of her pulling EVERY piece out of her drawer and closet and finding it on the floor.
I did not spend the entire weekend making homemade Christmas gifts so we could save some money this year!!!!
I did not do 5 EXTRA loads of laundry since Friday while my 2 1/2 year old has decided she will potty train now.
Weekly Winners is hosted by Sarcastic Mom. It's where you post your favorite pictures from the past week that YOU took. Since I take a gazillion photos I thought it would be fun to participate. You can check a ton more participants by clicking on the banner above.
Jaise visiting Santa for the first time.
Photo from my first wedding that I photographed
5 Minutes earlier Jaise was telling me that she wasn't tired "No nitenite"
Jen over at Mommay's Mayhem is hosting a virtual cookie exchange. It's pretty simple......all you have to do is share your favorite holiday cookie recipe. I knew right away what recipe I was going to choose.....my grandma's sugar cookies and vanilla butter frosting. It would seriously not be Christmas without these cookies. We always triple this recipe to make a pretty big batch:
1/2 c. shortening (1/2 butter)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Chill in refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours but overnight is best. Roll out to desired thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 425 for 5-7 minutes. Cool then frost with:
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter (softened)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
You can add food coloring for different cookie shapes.
In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.
Since we have had kids, I always send out a photo Christmas card.
Do you send out Christmas cards? Does it include a photo?
This is the final week in our Hot for the Holidays challenge. Look what I won last week from Angie over at Losing It and Loving It!!!! It is the coolest little prize package.....an adorable can decorated with my "weight angel" a collection of power bars, tape measure, jump robe, headband and a journal to keep me motivated!!! Thank you Angie!!!! I started a little bit later in the challenge because I didn't know about it, but I am glad that I stumbled across Christie's blog at Baby Tea Leaves to find out about it. It is motivation enough, to me, to know that I need to check in every week. Christie asked us to share photos of ourselves before the challenge and after the challenge......this will have to be in a future post because I don't have a photo of me NOW and today is weigh in day!!! I feel like this week was a good week. Why? Because my hips and thighs are sore!!!! That means I used them!!!! I have been drinking my water, doing my biggest loser cardiodvd and walking. Some days I did BOTH my dvd and walking......I know, I should have told you to sit down before I told you that!!! So Christie has asked us to tally our total weight loss for the challenge and mine was 11.2 pounds. Now, this week I lost 2.25 pounds!!!!!! THRILLED with that!!!! For a total loss of 13.45 pounds!!!!!!!!! I am still a ways away from my goal but I am never going back to where I was!!! Thank you Christie for organizing this challenge and all of the work that went into it and thank you in advance for my "Strength, Focus, Discipline" bracelet!!!! You ROCK!!!!
It's that time of year when people are shopping and I thought I would pass this site along to all of you to help you save on shipping costs.There are over 850 retailers on this site that you can get free shipping from including JCPenney, Kohl's, Macy's, Dell and Gap.The site is very easy to use and well organized. You can locate free shipping coupons by store name, category, soon to expire and most recent free shipping coupons. The site is free to use with no membership or fees. So go get your FREE shipping!!!
Being brutally honest and living to tell about it was never so much fun! I found this great site, My Charming Kids, with a fun post for Mondays and we are going to give it a try. You pretty much talk about what you did "not" do this past week and then travel around to read everyone else's post. Since I am having withdrawals from the blog party, I figured this would be a good way to get my fix and I love seeing what others do that I would NEVER admit too!!!! So, here it goes......
*My daughter was sick on Thanksgiving so I asked my mom to bring me back some leftovers from the big dinner.....I did NOT give her 15 tupperware containers to put it in.
*Jaise is turning out to be not so much the "golden" child. So this week she spilled some chips out of a bowl and I asked her to pick them up. She did and as she was walking away mumbled "Are you happy now?!!".....did I mention she is TWO!!!!! I did not laugh hysterically at that, because that would be wrong and encourage her to do it again!!!
*So, after dealing with 2 sick kids, hubby working alot of hours, going out on Black Friday JUST to get my kids antibiotics and taking pictures of my first wedding this weekend.........I did NOT drink half of the bottle of wine last night while I was MAKING dinner!!
Wow, that was better than therapy!!!! This might just have to be a weekly event.
Read everyone else's posts (Which, I promise, will make you laugh until you wet your pants and breathe a sigh of relief that everyone is at least a little abnormal.) Just click the banner at the top of the post.
I spent all day yesterday photographing my first wedding!!! No, I don't do this as a profession. I just take pictures of my kids and "play" with the photos on the computer. A friend got engaged and asked if I would photograph her wedding. She didn't have any other reason for asking except she liked the pictures she had seen me take. I figured if she wasn't nervous, neither should I be, right?!!! I am pretty surprised that I wasn't more nervous. Things went smoothly. She had a gorgeous sunny, crisp fall/winter day. I am now in the process of going through the hundreds of photos that I took and here are just a couple.
Jenni over at JiggetyJigg stole this.....so you know what they say about karma?....I'm now stealing it from her.
A is for age: 34 B is for burger of choice: Flame Broiled, cheese, ketchup and mustard...mmmm!! C is for the car I drive: 2007 Chevy Tahoe......LOVE it! D is for your dog's name: Mater.........like TaMater without the Ta!!!! E is for essential item you use every day: Coffee cup......don't those Keurig coffee makers look awesome..........a girl can dream. F is for favorite TV show at the moment: Private Practice, Lipstick Jungle, The Real Housewives G is for favorite game: Does Guitar Hero count? H is for home state: Michigan I is for instruments you play: ummmm, I can push play on my Ipod....does that count? J is for favorite juice: OJ with champagne or cranberry with vodka K is for whose bum you'd like to kick: I have a long list! (I agree with Jenni on this one) L is for last restaurant at which you ate: Applebee's 2 for $20 deal M is for your favorite Muppet: I love Miss Piggy and her sarcasm N is for number of piercings: 4 O is for overnight hospital stays: 3.....2 having my kids and one...making sure I can't have any more. P is for people you were with today: It's only 8:30 am so just my sleeping household....but....later I am photographing my very first wedding and I will be around a TON of people!!!! Q is for what you do with your quiet time: I wasn't aware I had any quiet time.....is this a trick question? R is for biggest regret: Not purchasing a winning lotto ticket S is for status: Happily Married T is for time you woke up today: 8:12am......why? everyone else is sleeping and we stayed up until 2am watching Hancock.....why am I awake? U is for what you consider unique about yourself: I could stay on the computer for 12 hours straight and enjoy it........I don't do that but I could. V is for vegetable you love: Ummmmm. Coffee. (I'm sticking with Jenni on this one!!) W is for worst habit: Sorry......can't reveal this one.......now you are wondering what it is aren't you? X is for x-rays you've had: dental, lungs, ankle.....the usual Y is for yummy food you ate today: coffee Z is for zodiac: Cancer
Now post it on your blog and let me know so I can come check it out!!!
So, I am down 1/2 of a pound this week, but am certain that as soon as my pumpkin pie and whip cream turn into fat in my body, I will be over!!!! So all that means is that I have to step it up a notch this week. This is the last week and we need to sprint to finish line ladies!!!!!!!!! My motto this week: drink water, close your mouth and MOVE your butt!!!!!! Check out the other results at Baby Tea Leaves
Below are a few examples of photos that I have taken over the years. I can take any photo you have and turn it to black and white and leave a certain item in color. Contact me for pricing information if you are interested. If you live close enough, I can do a photo shoot for you with all of your photos on a cd for YOU to develop!!!
I always start thinking about Christmas in August. I found this cute idea for great gifts or to add the final touch to a great gift. If you have smaller kids, they can help. You can use any type of paper pattern but I am going to use pictures of my kids. The holidays always get busy so why not do it now and free up some time later? Check out how to make bubbly magnetshere.