Thursday, December 31, 2009

Making Sugar Cookies

This year, I put the girls in charge of making their own cookies. I bought some bagged sugar cookie mix, handed it to them with a big bowl and a wooden spoon, and let them go at it.

They added the butter and egg, and started trying to mix with the spoon. After about thirty second, I saw little hands mixing the dough, and it came out perfect.

It was then time to get it on the cookie sheet, and start the decorating. They had a ball! They made some that had the sprinkles on the inside, and they called those their "surprise" cookies. They were delicious!

I am glad I let them do it all on their own, too. Next year they are going to want to try and do more, and I am going to let them. It will be interesting to see what they will want to make!

No Christmas Cards From Me This Year

The day after Christmas, I took down the tree and packed up all my Christmas decorations. I will admit that I was glad to have the space back in my living room. I have this one snowman thing that holds all the Christmas cards we get every year. I stick both the card and the envelope in it, so that I don't lose any one's address. I was going through the envelopes as I was packing the snowman and noticed that a bunch of them had really cute custom clear address labels on them. I say every year that I am going to get some, but for some reason I never do. There are so many different designs and stuff to choose from, so I know I can find one that I really like. I really like the ones where you can put little characters for each member of the family. I wonder if they have fat stick people?

The sad thing is that I never sent out Christmas cards this year. Lack of money played a big role, plus it took me a while to get in the Holiday spirit, and by the time I was, it was too late to send them out. I guess everyone will just have to wait until next year to see how much the kids have grown.

It's New Year's Eve!

Tonight is the night! New year's eve. We have no plans, other than playing games and spending time as a family. If I know Junior, he will be asleep by eight, and the kids and I will stay up til the ball drops. I am sure there will be some fierce games of wii bowling, and probably more than one game of tennis. The only thing I do not want to do tonight is talk about medicare supplement plans. Thankfully it will be many years before I have to start worrying about that.

I prefer not to go anywhere, so I don't have to worry about making it home safely. But to all of you who do brave the roads tonight, please be careful. If you drink, don't drive. If you drive, don't drink. Simple as that. I want you all to still be here tomorrow.

Candy Cane Cupcakes

Can you tell I was in charge of dessert on Christmas? lol! Here are the cupcakes that I made. I was piping the frosting on them about 12:30am Christmas morning, while waiting for Santa to come. I put little mini candy canes in the tops, and they came out so cute. I would say they tasted good, but I didn't eat any. I was actually pretty impressed with how little I ate during the past month. I usually taste everything, but this year I resisted, and was rewarded with a loss instead of a gain this month. I was shocked, but happy.

I have more baking pictures to share soon, so keep an eye out!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

June 22, 2015

This June, Junior and I will be married for 15 years. Some days this is hard for me to believe, because it seems like only yesterday that he called to ask me for a date. Don't worry, I am not going to share the story of our first date again.

June 22, 1995. My wedding day. I was five months pregnant, and for the first time during the pregnancy, I had morning sickness. Or maybe it was just my nerves, who knows. We weren't having a "real" wedding because of the pregnancy. We were just going down to the courthouse with only family and a few friends in attendance. I never got to send out wedding invitations or have a bridal shower, and I kind of miss not being able to do those things. I wanted to have bridesmaids and wear a beautiful white gown. I still want to do those things, and I always said that on our tenth anniversary that I would do just that. But, that anniversary came and went, and now I have my fifteenth coming up soon, and I am not prepared. It is now my goal to have a wedding on my twentieth anniversary.

I am going to send out invitations from the kids, asking for friends and family to join them as their parents renew their vows. I want my girls to wear purple and be my bridesmaids, and my son to be the best man. Everything will be perfect.

I have five more years to plan this, and no more excuses.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Brownie Houses And Brownie Men

I finally found a use for my new gingerbread pan...I made brownies in it!

They came out great, and as I was about to mix up the frosting to ice them, inspiration struck. Since we are all peanut butter freaks, I decided to try and decorate them with that. I just put some peanut butter in the microwave and melted it a little, then added some powdered sugar and microwaved it a little more. I put it in a piping bag and went to town! Trust me when I say they tasted even better than they look.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Replica Watches

Christmas is in two days, and I still haven't gotten Junior anything for Christmas. I think at this point whatever I decide to get him, he will be getting it after Christmas.

I was thinking that he may like a watch, but most of the name brands are so expensive. I did findbrietling replica, which are just as good as the brand name, but not as expensive. I can save a lot of money, and I don't think anyone would notice that it is a replica.

I am not sure which type he would like best, though, so I might have to have him take a look before I order one. I would hate to get one that he won't wear.

While I am having him take a look, I might point out a few that I like, and then see if he can take the hint. I desperately need a new watch, but that is not something I will buy for myself. And these replicas are beautiful.

So, honey, if you are reading this, hint, hint.

More Cookies

I made a batch of my flourless peanut butter cookies with chocolate, and added some holiday sprinkles to make them a little more festive. I really like making these cookies, but my mixer doesn't. For some reason, every time I make these, the beaters pop out of the mixer as i mix the ingredients. I usually end up mixing it by hand, which is kind of sticky and frustrating. But, they are worth it.

Electronic Cigarettes

Have I told you guys how proud I am of my husband? A few months ago he quit smoking, and as far as I know, he hasn't been cheating too bad. I had been after him for years to quit, but it took a raise in cigarette prices for him to finally do it.

I am just glad he doesn't know about Green Smoke. Green Smoke is an electronic cigarette, and from what I understand from reading a Green Smoke Review , you are smoking vapors, not smoke. They come in eight flavors and five different nicotine levels, so you are sure to find one that works for you.

Check out other electronic cigarette reviews before deciding which one to invest in, because they are a bit pricey. But, compared to the price of real cigarettes these days, you will save money in the long run.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love chocolate chips cookies. I love them warm, right out of the oven when they are all gooey and delicious. These are not necessarily a "Christmas cookie", but I only make them this time of year. The ones I made today came out extra good, and I have already eaten too many. Thankfully I had to fill a few tins to give out as gifts, so I couldn't eat them all.

And trust me, if they stay in my house, I will eat them all.

What Happens In Vegas...

I am having a hard time finding the perfect gift for my husband. The only thing he really needed was a new wallet, and the kids bought him one of those. I was thinking about getting him Floyd Mayweather tickets for the fight in Vegas on March 10, 2010, but then I have to get him to Vegas, and that will be pretty expensive. I could probably swing it at tax time with our refund if we don't move, but we really need to move. I guess it looks like he will have to watch the fight on television, if it is even being televised.

I am not a big fan of boxing. I think it is violent, but I think that is what Junior likes about it. I think he wishes he could get up in that ring and take out some of his frustrations. I am pretty sure he would get his butt kicked. No, I am positive he would leave on a stretcher, so I think we will leave the fighting to the professionals, and let him be the spectator.

Maybe if I start saving now, I can find a way to get him to Vegas and let him spectate. That way he can root for Pacquiao in person.


Junior bought me the cutest cookie pan. It has gingerbread houses and gingerbread men shapes where you can put cookie dough. I am thinking I should have used gingerbread cookie mix instead of sugar cookie mix, because the sugar cookies just didn't come out right. I think they were too thick, so they didn't cook all the way through.

Since I am not a fan of gingerbread, I did what I did at Halloween and made some with brownie mix. Those came out great, and as soon as I decorate them, I will post some pictures.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Playing Guitar (Hero)

Today was the second day of the kids two+ week Christmas vacation. I have decided that we will get along better if I don't expect them to do anything, like clean their rooms or help out around the house. All they want to do is be lazy, and really, I can't blame them. School is tough, and they deserve a vacation. But, this will not last long. After Friday, I will need help packing up the tree and Christmas stuff, and the house. I want to get all the stuff we don't use everyday packed so I am not scrambling when it's time to move.

So what have we been doing the past few days? I have been trying, and failing, to get my online work done. You see, my son has been playing guitar hero, and I just have to play too, and beat him. It's fun to kick his butt!

In all fairness, though, he is really good. (I am just better) He believes in the "practice makes perfect" philosophy. I wish he would apply it to school work as well, but that's another battle altogether. He has been asking me to get him some real guitar lessons, and I am still trying to figure out the best way to learn guitar. Are private lessons the best way, or should we start with some type of video lesson? Can he learn better from books, or should he just try and play by ear? A friend of his is taking private lessons, and I am not all that impressed with his progress. Of course, it could just be that Ryan's friend is just a slow learner. I know whatever we decide, Ryan will put 100% into it, and be playing like a pro in no time.

Crumb Topped Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 mashed bananas
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter

crumb topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp butter

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In separate bowl, beat bananas, sugar, eggs, and melted butter. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients. Fill loaf pan 2/3 full.

For crumb topping, mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter. (I used my hands to mix it, and found this to be the best way to get the texture right)

Sprinkle over top of loaf.

Bake at 350* about 35 minutes...maybe longer...I used mini muffin pans, but full loaves will need to cook longer.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I KNow I Owe, But...

Times are tough. It seems like more and more people are having trouble paying their bills, and are finding their accounts turned over to Cavalry Portfolio Services, or other recovery companies. I know Junior and I have a couple of bills right now that are in collection, and it is not a good feeling. Unlike Cavalry Portfolio Services, one of the companies that calls us does so twice a day, every day. No matter what Junior says to them, they continue to call. We have tried making arrangements to pay off our debts, but they have an "all or nothing" attitude. Although I have never dealt with Cavalry Portfolio Services, I have read that they go out of their way to make affordable arrangements with their clients, so that paying off their debt doesn't seem like an unattainable goal.

I wish we could deal with a company like this.


My dad and his wife got Brandi this "knot a blanket" kit for her birthday, and yesterday she started making it. It is pretty just take the squares of material, and knot them together. Each square has fringe on the edges, and that is what she knots together. The directions say to tie eight together in a line, and when you have two lines of eight, to tie those together. Well, she was almost done with the first eight when I realized that there were two different textures, and that we were not paying attention, and they were going in every direction. So...I had to un-knot and then re-knot the whole thing, and now we are on the right track. I can not wait to see it when it is done.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gravy, Baby

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Club House. All opinions are 100% mine.

Thanksgiving was a few weeks ago, and I had my fill of turkey. The meal on that day was delicious, and the sandwiches with the leftovers were even better. My mom went all out for our meal that day, so she has decided that for Christmas, she is going to focus on the presents and family time, and not on the cooking. I think she decided on some type of pasta, which will be yummy, too.

But, my husband wants his turkey, so I will probably be preparing one at home for my family. I have done this in the past, but I have never attempted making gravy. I always used a jarred gravy. I think this time I am going to try and make one from the turkey drippings, because watching this gravy tips video made it look so easy! Using a dried gravy mix, like Club House Gravy, takes the guess work out of gravy. These packets have the perfect blend of ingredients, and they are designed to prevent lumping. Let me share this tip with you that I learned from the video; instead of using all water with the mix, use the drippings from the turkey. Just add enough water to he drippings to equal what you need to add to the mix. This will give your gravy that from scratch taste.

How would you like to win a Club House Gravy Gift Pack? All you have to do is head to the site and fill out the newsletter sign-up and contest entry.

This is going to disappoint some of you, but this contest is only open for our Canadian friends. I know, what a bummer, because that gift pack looks really cool.

Good luck to all my Canadian readers! I hope one of you wins. If so, wanna share?
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My Second Wind

I took a nap today, from 5:30 til 7:30 pm. Now I am wide awake, and worried it will be hours before I will be able to fall back to sleep. I was sitting here around 5, dropping ecards, and all of a sudden I couldn't keep my eyes open. I literally laid my head back, and fell asleep in my computer chair.

I think it had something to do with only getting about four hours sleep last night, and not going back to bed this morning. I stayed up to do some dishes and get some wrapping done, and it took me a couple of hours, and at that point it was almost time to get Brandi, because she only had a half a day of school.

So yeah, I was tired, and my little nap was just what I needed. Thankfully, I can sleep in tomorrow, so even if I am up half the night, I will still get a good nights rest.

Little Black Dress

Have you ever heard the saying that every woman should own a little black dress? It should be a dress that makes you feel good about yourself, and it should make you look your best. It's a dress that you can wear anywhere, not necessarily somewhere fancy.

I do not have one of those dresses, mostly because I have been very unhappy with the way I look for a very long time. The thought of looking for Sexy Dresses to try on would make me crazy.

But ever since my breast reduction, I have been dying to try on some nice dresses, now that I know they will actually fit me properly. Sure, I still have a lot of weight to lose, but I think a dress like this black and white one would be cute on me.


Peanut Butter Balls

Today was cookie day! This is an annual tradition with my mom and sister, where we pick a day and do nothing but bake. All day.

It is so much fun!

I was worried this morning that I wouldn't get to go, because they were predicting winter weather. The kids had half a day, and when I walked outside to get Brandi off the bus around 11, I stood in a sleet storm.

Colleen decided to come get me anyway, and since Junior works about two miles from my moms house, he met me there when he got off. (I didn't want mom or Colleen to have to drive me home if the roads got bad) Ryan and Kasi were home, and about 3 he called me and said the roads were getting white here, and that our little bridge (driveway) was a sheet of ice. My moms house was just getting a mixture of rain and ice, but nothing was sticking.

We decided to leave before it got too bad to drive. The closer we got to our house, the worse the roads got. By the time we got home, we had seen two cars that drove off the road, and the roads were all icy. But while we were at my moms, I got two different cookies made. One of them was peanut butter balls. I found the recipe online, and it was horrible. It didn't call for graham cracker crumbs, so I added those in for texture. Apparently I didn't add enough, and they are mushy inside the chocolate. But, they taste like a reese peanut butter cup, so I am not complaining. Brandi helped, too, which was fun.

Hopefully next year we can pick a better day to bake!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm Hearing A Lot Of Good Things About These Glasses

Check out these glasses. Can you see the little stockings on the sides? Adorable, right? They make these glasses the perfect finish to any holiday outfit.

Okay, maybe not with that little black dress, but these holiday eyeglasses frames are a great holiday accessory. These come from Zenni optical. I have been wanting to try their glasses for a long time, but it's not time to have my eyes checked yet. Junior is going to have his vision checked in February, and I think we are going to order his glasses through Zenni. A friend of mine recently bought two pairs of glasses from them, and she said the quality is great. You can also read another review here. It is just one of the many out in blog land, from actual customers of Zenni optical. It's nice to know that you can get quality eyeglasses at a low price.

When I finally get around to ordering from them, I am sure I will also be writing a review.

Another Cake For Brandi

Yesterday the little monster, I mean Brandi, had her birthday party. We had lots of fun, and lots of good food. Brandi and I made this cake together, and from what I heard it was yummy. I ate the peanut butter brownies we made instead of the cake. And they were yummy, too.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Best Roulette Casinos Online

Some people think gambling is wrong. I think it is wrong only if you are gambling with money you can not afford to lose. Playing every once in a while, just for fun, shouldn't be a problem. Like all things, moderation is the key.

It is also true that there are good and bad sites out there where you can play. You can check out this guide to the best casinos sites to play roulette games. You know, the game where you can bet it all on red. Or black. Or eleven. Whatever strikes your fancy. And of course, you don't have to bet it all...but what's the fun in that?

I know I have said this before, but please gamble responsibly.

Busy Weekend Ahead

Deep Breath.

That's probably the last one I will take until Monday.

Tomorrow is payday, so we have lots of running around to do. Kasi is going to a dance after school, so we have to be there to pick her up at 5:30, then head to my moms to help her move a few things into the house. (she closes tomorrow) After that, we need to head to Walmart for a little Christmas shopping.

On Saturday we will be moving mom completely, then me and Boo need to make her cake for Sunday. Plus I have to find time to clean my house, bake the ziti, make the goodies bags, figure out what kind of craft the kids can do...

Then Sunday morning I have to do the last minute things before the party...and then have a house full of people over. I am looking forward to good food and good company, but I will be glad when I can finally relax. I am also hoping my back holds up through all the moving.

So like I said, busy weekend ahead!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Three Bedrooms, And Maybe Two Bathrooms

I have been talking about moving a lot on my other blog. Junior and I decided months ago that when we got our tax refund in February, we would move. We are tired of living in an apartment that is falling apart. Making the decision to move was easy. The hard part is deciding where we want to live when we do move.

Our requirements are pretty simple. I only want on thing for sure, and that is three bedrooms. I would love two bathrooms, but I can live with one. We have gone online and looked at some house plans, and there are so many beautiful options to choose from. House Plans And More has thousands of house plans, and it was so hard picking our favorite. I wish we could afford to build a house right now, because then we could have everything we want. But, financially, we are not in that place right now.

Maybe in a few years...

Carly, And Hannah, And Wizards, Oh My

Okay all you moms out there. Have you ever seen iCarly? Or Hannah Montana? Or Wizards Of Waverly Place?

For those of you who aren't parents of young girls, these are some of the hottest shows on Nick and Disney. Brandi and Kasi both love these shows, and sometimes I will catch Ryan watching them. I can handle watching iCarly, which is a show about three young teens who do there own webshow from a loft in Carly's apartment. This show is funny and well written, and appeals to both of my girls.

Hannah Montana used to be tolerable, but now I can not stand watching it. I think it has something to do with Miley growing up to be not such a good role model for my daughters.

Wizards, on the other hand, is a show that I will go out of my way to watch. I love Selena Gomez, and so does Brandi. In fact, she wants that to be the theme of her birthday party this Sunday. This is a problem for me, because she wants a very specific cake, and I just can not find it anywhere. I can't even find Wizard decorations to make the cake for her.

I guess I will try talking her into something else.


I am throwing away the ornament I made. I wish there was a way to save them, but I am coming up blank. I wish there was a way to remove the paint from inside the balls, but I have no idea how to do that. Any suggestions?

Now I have to come up with something else to give my 12 nieces and nephews. Well, I will only be seeing six of them on Christmas, so the rest can wait until after the Holidays. But, I still don't have any ideas. I need to try and find some type of craft for the kids to do at Brandi's party on Sunday, so I will be in Michael's and Hobby Lobby this weekend...maybe inspiration will strike there.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Yoga, And Wool

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Ramblers Way. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have been wanting to learn how to do yoga for a long time. The positions look difficult, but relaxing, all at the same time. The only thing holding me back is my weight. I have heard from several people that most of the positions are impossible to get into if you are carrying extra weight. Since I am carrying enough weight for another person, I think I will wait until I lose a few more pounds before I attempt any downward dogs. I just really want to look as peaceful and focused as that girl in the picture over there.

I also have another reason for posting that picture. I found this picture while looking for camisoles at Ramblers Way. I never would have thought of wool as a fabric for an undergarment, but it does make sense. Wool absorbs moisture, so it will continue to feel fresh. It also naturally repels odors, so it may be worn several times between washings. I have been looking for something to wear at night, and this seems like a comfortable way to sleep. I hate the feel of fabric restricting my arms during the night, so I am loving the spaghetti straps. Oh, and did I mention that it is machine washable? Thanks to an all-natural enzyme, the camisole resists shrinking and will keep its shape.

To recap, I found the perfect top to sleep in, that will absorb moisture, repel odors, keep it's shape in the washer, and keep me comfortable all night long. Oh, and when I start my yoga, I can wear it for that, too.

Not bad. Not bad at all.
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Remember the post I did last week about these ornaments I made for my nieces and nephews?

Well, I am a little ticked off right now, because all the paint it coming off. They look horrible.
There are streaks of no paint, and where there is paint, it looks like it pooled.
I am not a happy camper. I have not figured out how, or if, I can save them somehow.

Any ideas?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Girls

Here's a random shot of the girls. I took it a few weeks ago when we were fishing. I wish Ryan was in the picture, too, but what can I do. He hates having his picture taken. I used to be the same way, too. In fact, there are very few pictures of me in the past 15 years since I have been married. I wish I had taken some when I was pregnant, but I always thought I was too fat. These days, I have accepted that fact, and will, most of the time, smile for the camera.

Life is too short to hide from the camera. I mean, when I die, I want some pictures of my life to leave my kids. I mean, Junior and I have already provided them with our term life insurance, but I want them to have memories, too. Wonderful memories of a mother who was always smiling. Well, at least of a mom who was willing to smile for the camera.

Gambling Responsibly

Games of chance are the easiest to play. There is no skill required. Basically, it's all about luck. Playing slots games requires no experience. You just pull the handle and hope for the best.

I have never had much luck with games like this. I have a tendency to get bored and bet everything on one spin. This is not such a good idea, because it can end the game very quickly.

Just remember to gamble responsibly, and never gamble with more money than you can afford to lose.

From One Tree To Another

It's taking forever, but the kids are still doing it. We'll see how long this lasts...


Do you play in online casinos for real money? If so, check out this website, where you will find a list of safe casinos where you can play slots. I am not a big fan of games of chance, but Junior likes them. I would much rather play my cafe game.

An Unexpected Gift

It took me days to get all the ornaments onto my Christmas tree this year. I just couldn't get into the holiday spirit. But, we got it done, and all was good.

Today I got a phone call from a friend of Junior's. He asked if we wanted his old Christmas tree, because they were getting a new one. Now, their old tree is about three years old, and they are getting rid of it because it is a pre-lit one and the lights won't light. (this is something Junior could easily fix, but i like my twinkle lights anyway, so no big deal) I was prepared to put the new tree away, and use it next year.

Oh, if only I got my way. Right now the kids are taking the ornaments from one tree and putting them on the other. I am staying out of the way. But, I am sure that before long, they will get bored, and i will be left doing all the work.

At least that is what usually happens.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Learning About Wheat

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Wheat Food Council. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have been trying for a long time to lose weight. I have been trying to learn how to eat better, and make healthier food choices. I have been failing miserably.

The only change I have made, that I am truly enjoying, is the switch to wheat products. I have been buying wheat bread, wheat cereal, and even wheat pasta. When I heard about How Wheat Works, I knew I needed to check it out, and I am so glad that I did. The first step was registering with the site, and that was quick and easy. They asked for my name, email address, and I think the state I lived in. It took about 10 seconds to fill in the form, and then I just had to click the link in the email they sent me.

Once I was registered, I was taken on a virtual tour of how wheat goes from a seed to the food I enjoy. The tour takes you through every step of the process, and you get to see the tools and machines used for each step.

Educational information is given out with each phase, and I really enjoyed learning about wheat. I can honestly say that I learned a lot, and am going to have the kids do the tour as well. The best part is that for every participant who joins, the Wheat Foods Council will donate two pounds of flour, up to 90,000 pounds, to Operation Homefront, a non-profit that provides assistance to needy U.S. troops and their families. How cool is that? By learning about a healthy food, you are helping to put food in the mouths of people who need it.

You can also become a fan on Facebook and twtter.
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Brandi's Birthday

I can not believe tomorrow is little butts birthday. It blows my mind that my baby is going to be eight years old.

I made these cupcakes for her to take to school tomorrow. She picked out the princess picks, and I wasn't surprised. If she could walk around all day in a princess gown with a tiara, she would. She is convinced that she is the most beautiful person on earth.

To me, she is one of them for sure.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Online Casinos

It is no secret that I love playing games online. I have to really limit the time I spend doing this, because I can lose hours out of every day if I'm not careful. It's embarrassing to admit, but when I first started playing roller coaster tycoon, I did nothing else for days. I was obsessed with it, and I finally had to just walk away.

You don't even want to know how bad I got once I bought the second and third editions of the game.

The bad thing is that I think I have passed my gaming gene on to my girls. They can get lost in computer games as easily as I do, and I have to limit their time online because of it. Thankfully, Junior and Ryan seem to be unaffected. Junior's only weakness is playing poker and slots online. He has been trying to find a good site to play on, and was happy to come across this online casino guide. This site lists the best online casinos to play in.

I won't let him play on any site that requires him to gamble with real money, simply because we don't have any money for him to play with. He used to play the poker machines when they were legal in South Carolina, and he would usually come out ahead, so I have no doubt in his ability.

I have doubt in our ability to come up with extra money to play with right now.

Painted Ornaments

These are the gifts for my nieces and nephews. I took regular glass craft ornaments, and painted the insides. Then I wrote each kids name and the year on them, and there you have it. Simple, inexpensive Christmas gifts.

Now I just have to figure out how to wrap them...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This Is Pretty Funny

Augusten Burroughs has a new book out, and it's called You Better Not Cry. That's the book trailer above. I love the flashing, I mean dancing, Santas. Too funny. The book sounds pretty funny too. In it, we are entertained with stories of Christmases past. I know in my family, there are stories that are told that we would never want an "outsider" to hear. This book sounds like it is a collection of such stories, and I have to say, I am looking forward to reading them. If you are too, do like I did and enter the "You Better Not Cry Book Promotion Sweepstakes" for a chance to win a copy.

The Heat Is On

It's December first, and I finally broke down and made Junior turn the heat on. The house was so cold when the kids and I got up this morning, and I just couldn't get warm. At all. For the entire day. So when Junior got home, I had him turn the heat on. Doing it for the first time kinda freaks me out, especially when it starts to smell.

But now I know that tomorrow morning, it will be nice and toasty when the kids and I get up. The only problem is that if i am really warm, I won't want to get out of bed.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I Love The South

I live in South Carolina, as most of you know. I grew up on Long Island, though, and lived there until I was in my early twenties. The high school I graduated from was huge. My class alone had over 1200 kids. At my graduation ceremony, it took over two hours just to call out all the names. I remember when it was over, walking back to the car with my parents, and it wasn't where I remembered they had parked it. I found out years later that they had left after my name was called (I was a "C") to go get something to eat.

I don't blame them. If I could have left I would have, too.

I love that my kids go to schools where everyone knows everyone. The staff in the office knows who my kids are when I walk in, and I love that. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I loved growing up in New York, but I would never raise my kids there. I am now a true southerner, even if I do still have my New York accent. I would recommend to everyone that they come visit South Carolina, and if they are anything like me, they will stay. Greenville SC Real Estate is really booming right now, and I have heard that it is a buyers market. I wish Junior and I could afford to buy our own place right now, but it's just not in the cards for us.

Maybe someday...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am going to spend the day with my family. I hope you are doing the same. There are so many things to be thankful for; not just today, but everyday!

I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving, and remember to take a moment today to thank God for all the wonderful thing in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's That Time Of Year

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of TrickOrTreatMe. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's Thanksgiving today. I woke up this morning thankful for so many things, not the least of which are my husband and kids, and the fact that we are all healthy. We got the best news yesterday at the dermatologist...Kasi's rash is nothing serious, just a spider bite. I can not tell you how relieved I was to hear that.

I can not believe that in four weeks we will be celebrating Christmas. It seems like every year, time goes by faster and faster. It seems like just yesterday that I was taking the kids trick or treating. I wish I could say that all the candy collected that day is gone, but I can't. We still have a bowl full of the stuff the kids don't like, and I keep forgetting to throw away. I hope next year more people give out healthier treats. There was this website called Trick or Treat Me
where they talked about healthy alternatives, like giving out shelf stable, single serve chocolate milks. I love this idea, and my kids love chocolate milk, so everyone would be happy. The blog is now a "mom's blog", dedicated to sharing tips and tricks to keep all our kids happy and healthy.

Twick or Tweet Me is also over for the year, but I am sure it was a success. The World Wildlife Fund received a donation for each tweet, which I am sure they are going to put to good use. I loved the idea of helping a good cause while raising awareness of good, healthy alternatives for kids instead of candy. Next year for Halloween, I am going to look into those single serve milks. Heck, I am going to look into them now. I bet they would be perfect for the kids on our day long fishing trips.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Turkey Cookies

What you need:

sugar cookies
hershey kisses
red hot candies
chocolate frosting
candy corns
a really cute seven year old

That last ingredient is really important, because no one can put as much love into each cookie as a child who is allowed to do it all herself.

The finished product:

I wish you could see the kisses better, but they serve as the nose/beak.
They came out so cute, and she is so excited to serve them to our family tomorrow.

Holiday Airfare Deals from my Friend in Paradise!

This is a sponsored guest post written by Ali Kendall on behalf of Post powered by Sponzai.

Just wanted to send a quick "shout-out" across the Pacific to my friend Ali in sunny Honolulu, Hawaii!

Ali runs the website with all kinds of tips, coupons, strategies, etc. for findng holiday airfare deals. Now airfare comparison travel sites have come a long way in the past few years but there are still literally thousands of them to choose from. So here's a big aloha and mahalo to Ali for keeping it simple on a pretty nifty little travel website!

Turkey Cookies

Yesterday Brandi made cookies at school. The kids took regular store bought cookies and made them look like turkeys with chocolate frosting, candy corns, red hots, and hershey kisses. She asked me if she could make some for tomorrow, so I am going to get the supplies and let her go nuts. I am curious to see what they look like when they are finished. Don't worry...there will be pictures. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Growing up, I always heard that the shoes make an outfit. You could have on the prettiest dress or the nicest pants, but if you wear the wrong shoes, you could ruin everything.

I had one pair or dress shoes, a pair of boots, and sneakers. I wore them with everything, and I lived. I was never one of those girls who has an obsession with shoes. My daughter, however, is already showing those tendencies at seven. It drives me crazy! Pretty soon she is going to be asking me to buy her custom shoes so that she can match from head to toe. To be honest, I had no idea that brands like Nike, Adidas, Converse, KSwiss, and RBK even offered custom shoes, but apparently they do.

Let's just not tell Brandi.

Getting There

Here's a look at some of the decorations Brandi put up over the weekend. I helped with hanging the garland, but she put all the figures and stuff out. She had a ball! I remember doing the same thing with my mom when I was little, and I hope someday she can do the same with her daughter. Now to tackle the tree....

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Furniture

I have always wanted glass tables for my living room. For years I told myself that as soon as the kids were older, I would get some. Now that the kids are older, I am trying to find some that I absolutely love and have to have. While looking at Furniture online the other day I found this table.
I wasn't necessarily looking for glass tables, but when I found this one I fell in love. It's not too modern, but it still doesn't go with my couch. But to me, that just means I get to buy a new couch, too.

Do you think I can talk Junior into that?


Here's another addition to my Halloween decorations. I found this at Micheal's and paid about $.12 for it.

Not a bad price, right?

I think next year, closer to Halloween, I am going to try and find some glow in the dark paint to go on the white bones. I think that will look pretty awesome.

Getting Help To Lose Weight

Are you like me, and constantly trying to lose weight? If so, you may be thinking of alternate ways of doing so. I know from experience that diet and exercise doesn't always work. You may think that the cost of lap band surgery is too high, and that you can not afford it. In the United States, you will pay anywhere from $14,000 to $25,000 to have the procedure done. Going to Mexico can save you more than half of that, with prices ranging from $5,000 to $7,000. The only issue I have with this is whether or not you will get the same level of medical care that you will receive here in the States. I guess you have to ask yourself how bad you want it.

Tired Of My Ornaments Yet?

This one is just a simple blue and silver snowflake. I wish I had bought more of these, because I love the way it came out.

Maybe I'll make another trip to Micheal's this weekend. Wait, maybe not.

I hate shopping the weekend after Thanksgiving. The stores are way too crowded for me.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What I Want For Christmas

Have you guys started panicking about Christmas shopping yet? I know I have. The thought of spending money I don't have is enough to raise my blood pressure. Luckily, I don't have too many adults to buy christmas gifts for. We started a few years ago only buying for the kids in the family, and that has been a blessing. I do still buy for my mom and dad, and my dad's wife, but that's it.

Junior and I don't usually buy gifts for each other until we get our taxes back in February, but I found this really cute (pink) video camera online and I love it. It's a Winait DV-Q1 1080P Digital Camcorder 5.0MP CMOS 12.0MP Enhanced 3.0 inch TFT LCD 4X Digital Zoom(DCE014). I have no idea what any of that means, but the list of features is pretty impressive, and it only costs $161.99. The only thing that would make it more perfect was if it was purple. Now I have to work my magic and convince Junior that I need this for Christmas, so I can capture all the memories of our kids while they are still relatively young.

As far as christmas gifts for the kids, I am going to do a little shopping myself at They have a good variety of gifts for boys and girls, so I am sure I can find everything I need for all my nieces and nephews. Paying wholesale prices is a great way to save money, and you all know how much I love saving money.

You can save money, too. Just go check, and see what you can find.

Just Aother Ornament

Here is a little ornament I painted the other day. Nothing special, just something I picked up on sale at Micheal's.

I added the sparkles to give it a little something.

I bought a few other ones, and of course will post pictures when I get them done.

It's The Little Things We Do

A couple of weeks ago I went to print something, and the printer didn't have any paper in it. I searched the drawers in my desk and found nothing. Turns out the girls decided that computer paper works well for drawing, and they used up every last piece.

As I was standing in the store trying to decide which kind to get, I noticed that they now sell copy paper made from recycled materials. I thought that was pretty neat. I would love to be able to buy all recycled office supplies, but I just can't afford it. The recycled paper was almost twice as much as the regular paper.

Why is that?

I have been doing little things to help save paper, though.

  • I signed up for online banking, so the bank will no longer send out monthly statements in the mail.
  • My cable/phone/internet provider no longer mails me detailed statements.
  • We signed Junior up for direct deposit, so he will no longer be getting paper checks from work.
  • The kids have started doing power point presentations instead of written reports, and to be honest, they have more fun and do a better job this way, too.

I know these are only little things, but if we all did these little things, we could make a difference together.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kasi's Country And Brandi's Angel

How awesome do these look?

I let the girls pick out these signs in the Dollar Tree, and they had a ball painting them.
kasi said she was going for a camouflage look, and I think she did great.
Brandi was just trying to make hers look as colorful as possible, and I think she did an amazing job! They are already planning which signs they will get next.

My Kids And Church

I have been struggling a lot lately with the fact that I do not take my kids to church. I know for some this is a touchy subject, but it has been on my mind so much the past few weeks. You see, I took my kids to a fall festival at my dads church. They had a pretty interesting way for the kids to trick or treat. Different rooms in the church were decorated for different bible stories, and members of the church dressed up as those characters and told their stories. (I say characters, but you know what I mean) After going through several rooms with Brandi, she turned to me and asked if the stories she was hearing were true.

I knew all the stories, because I had grown up in church. I want my kids to know the same things, and it finally dawned on me that I am the one that needs to lead them to that knowledge. Yes, I can be a little dense sometimes.

Living in South Carolina, there are churches everywhere. Ryan and Kasi both leave school on Fridays to go to a local church for youth lessons. They are learning bible verses, and the other day Ryan came home and told me that he got saved. I was floored. I asked if he knew what that meant, and he said he did, and he explained to me what he believed it to be. I was so proud of him, and so sad at the same time that it took the school for him to be exposed to God.

I am such a horrible mother. I thank this youth pastor for all that he has done, and I pray that one day soon Junior will agree to take us to church. Things would be so much easier if I could drive myself, but that is just an excuse. I am tired of writing about what I wish I could do, when I should be doing everything I can to make what I want happen.

Did that just make sense?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Butterfly By Me

I am thrilled with the way this one came out!

I wish there wasn't a shadow in the picture, because the bottom wings look just as good as the top wings.

This is also a clip, so like the other two, it can hold papers or whatever on the fridge.

I had a baal painting with my girls. I love that they have inherited my love of all things crafty. kasi has asked if her and I can find something to try together...just the two of us...and I think we are going to get some polymer clay and see what we can come up with.

Any tips from all you sculptors out there????

Customizable Visa Gift Cards

I am not usually a follower of trends. I have never really found myself having to have something, just because it is the hottest new thing. But, I do know a good thing when I see it, and I am loving these customizable Visa gift cards. O, as in The Oprah Magazine, featured these cards in the Holiday Gift Guide, and I have to say, I think they are an awesome idea. You can upload any picture, and have it put on the front of the Visa. Imagine how surprised you kids would be to pull a card with a picture of themselves on it out of their stockings Christmas morning. I know my kids would love it! This is also a great idea for businesses too. They can put the company logo on gift cards for their employees as Holiday gifts. The possibilities are endless!

And if you order before 11/25 and use this code: pumpkin, you can get a $2/card discount.

You can also check out this press release for more information.

Flower-ish Magnet

Again my camera was acting up, and when I edited the pictures, the white looks yellow. The bottom flower is really white, with blue, pink, and orange flowers. The front flower is black with different colored flowers on it.

It looks a whole lot prettier in person...

This one is also a clip, so it can hold paper on the fridge. I got these in a pack of three at Walmart for under $3. I am really into thrifty shopping this year...

Photo Christmas Cards

Last year I sent out Christmas cards without pictures. My sister got mad, and told me that there is no point sending out cards if they don't have a picture of the kids. I thought the point of sending cards was to let people know you are thinking of them during the holidays, but whatever. This year, to make her happy, I will be sending out photo christmas cards. In the past, when I have sent pictures cards, it has always been a shot of all three kids together. This year I found a card that has room for individual pictures, and I really like the way it came out.

What kind of Christmas cards are you sending out?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Little Ladybug

I painted this one...

For some reason, when I edited the pictures, it turned all the white a little yellow. Trust me when I tell you her face is actually white.

I made a set of these little critters for myself a while back, and thought they would make good Christmas gifts. This guy has a clip between his head and body that can hold papers on the fridge.

Ohm, and he does have a right side...I don't know why it's black in the picture...

Mr. Handy Man

The other day, Junior decided to move the television in the girls bedroom. He moved it to the other side of the room, and of course, the cable wire wouldn't reach that far, so he had to go buy the compression connectors to make the wire longer. Compression f connectors from ICM are easy to install, so he had no problem once we had the right supplies. I love that my husband is handy enough to fix these problems. This saves us lots of money on repairmen. Although, I do pay for the inside wire maintenance every month on my cable bill, so maybe this would have been covered. I will have to call and ask the next time we need to move things around.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brandi's Butterfly

I love the way this little guy looks with the goolgy eyes!

I was debating putting them on, because the head is so small, but I am glad I did. They gives this green butterfly some personality!

I bought these critters at Walmart, and they came in a four pack for under $4. I was looking for Christmas crafts to do with the girls, and they had NOTHING! I remember when they used to have more than Michael's did. The only things they had were the foam crafts, and I really don't like those. I think painting shows more of the kids personality.

Maybe next weekend i can make a trip to Hobby Lobby and see if they have any ornaments the kids can paint. I am looking for a baby's first Christmas one for Lylah...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Generational Equity Complaints

Is it fair that the younger generations are going to have to pay for the older generations healthcare? Our parents spent years raising us; is it time for us to return the favor? These questions are all part of generational equity complaints.

Do I have an opinion on all of this? Sure I do. Am I going to discuss it with all of you? No way. Because no matter what I say, no matter which side of the issue I support, someone will disagree with me, and I am not in the mood for a heated political debate.

Feel free to click the link and read the information available. Then make up your own mind.

Brandi's Flower Magnet

I love this little flower!

Brandi has been bugging me for weeks to buy her some things to paint, and today I gave in. I have been thinking about what I can get a certain member of my family for Christmas, and decided that hand painted magnets from the kids would be perfect.

I even painted a few myself...I'll post those later.

For now, enjoy Brandi's handywork!


Years ago, I developed an ingrown toenail. It was ridiculously painful. The entire left side of my toenail was red and swollen, and I couldn't even touch it. When I went to my regular doctor, he said I needed to see a podiatrist new york city. The podiatrist did a little surgery right there in the office and a couple of weeks later my toe was as good as new.

Last year, Ryan had to have his toenail done, and we were lucky enough to find a good podiatrist for him around here. I wonder if getting ingrown nails is hereditary? I know Junior had to have both of his big toes done when he was younger, too. If it is inherited, then my kids are in trouble because they are getting it from both of us.

Butterfly By Kasi

Here's another magnet from Kasi.

You can't see it too good, but the wings are light blue.

I really hate that I bought these to be gifts, because I want to keep them for myself.

I wonder what Junior will have the kids do for me this year? Maybe if I drop enough hints, he will figure out i want some of these magnets painted by the kids.

Want To Win $5000?

Christmas is right around the corner, and I am totally stressing about money, as I am sure most of you are. We started buying a few things over the weekend, and hopefully by the time Christmas comes around, we will have a few things under the tree. I have been scouring the internet for giveaways and contests, and I found quite a few. I am entered to win books, gift cards, and other cool stuff, but what I really want to win is $5000.

That's right. I said $5000. You want a chance to win too, right?

All you have to do is enter the iLASIK Video Contest and if you win the grand prize, you get $5000! First and second prizes aren't bad either. First prize is a HDTV package, which is a $2,500 value, and second prize is a Flip UltraHD™ camcorder, which is a $199.99 value. Both of those prizes would make excellent gifts. The Grand Prize is from all categories, but first and second are awarded in each category.

So, I guess by now you want to know what you have to do to enter, right? It's really simple. Just make a video that can fit into one of the following categories:

“My contacts are getting in the way of my good time”
“My favorite sport or activity would be so much cooler with better vision”
“You should see life after the iLASIK® Procedure”

After you make your video, just submit it to the contest, and then tell all your friends to go and vote for it. (voting makes up one of the key factors in determining which videos win a prize) It's that simple!

So go...make a video! If you decide to submit one, come let me know and I will vote for you. Be creative. Make your video stand out from the rest.

Good luck!