Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy Holiday Season to All

Sorry I haven't been around much the last month. I was doing holiday stuff the first couple weeks and have been extremely sick then .  Several sicknesses, symptoms and doctor visits later....I am having blood work done Monday to help determine what is going inside my poor ailing body.  Stay tune for updates.

Until then I want to thank all my wonderful readers for reading and supporting me. I've missed writing and have missed telling many adventures here the last month. Hang in there, I will be back.

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. And a Happy Holiday season to those who celebrate differently. I appreciate you all and wish you much happiness in the coming new year. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reflecting Back

As I lay here watching Christmas Vacation with my daughter fast asleep beside me I wonder where this year has gone. I can't believe 2012 will be here in a matter of weeks.

So many changes this year. The kids are now 7, 9 and 17. My baby is now in second grade and my stepdaughter will be graduating in June. Where has the time gone?  Our local ice rink closed at the beginning of June. Little Bee stopped skating and started playing soccer. She's enjoying it and finds it to be much warmer. I'm gonna miss my figure skater. My son is now playing hockey at a rink an hour away from home. It's a change but he's adjusting well. Ironically enough, the rink was finally purchased and reopened with one rink operational just a few weeks ago. Not sure if we'll be returning next season or not.  It was like family there but the hubby gets to see all of Goalieboy's games and practices at the new rink. So we'll see.

After being out of work for close to two years I finally found a job.  I'm really enjoying it and the hours are during  school.  Hoping it will soon relieve the financial pressure on my husband, who's been working two jobs since the spring.  He's so exhausted but refuses to give it up just yet.

I'm hoping 2012 will bring us good tidings. I think things are finally looking up.

In May I'll be married 10 years. We've had our ups and downs but our love has survived.

Looking back on 10 years here's a few milestone:

We've moved 3 times (plus once 3 months before we got married). 

Purchased our first house three years ago.

Two healthy and happy kids.

Several jobs for hubby....I've lost count.

Had my patents live with us for five years and lived to tell about it ( and our marriage intact).  Those years were very stressful. 

Worked a thankless retail management 60-70 hours a week. Got injured at work and reinjured a few years later.

And here we are now heading towards our ten year anniversary.  Wow!  I'm proud of my family and love them more than anything. I am so blessed.

How has 2011 treated you and your family?  Was it a good year?  Are you excited for the New Year?

Friday, December 02, 2011

There's a Party Going On

No, not really. Sorry to disappoint .  But I swear that's what my kids think happens every night after I tuck them in and kiss them good night.

You would think at 7 and 9 they would know the dirty truth. Seriously dirty.  When they go to bed mommy cleans up the little ( and sometimes big) messes around the house. There's dishes to do, last minute loads of laundry, leftover toys hidden and forgotten about to put away, counter top crying for a good scrubbing and even lunches to be put together ahead of time.
Mommy is seriously not rocking out and partying hard after you go to sleep. Heck, where would I even find the energy?

If daddy's home sometimes he can convince me to put my feet up and snuggle on the couch with him. But that's rare.  The only weeknights he's home are Monday and Thursday and since he has to get up at 3:30 he's usually already fast asleep on the couch by 8 pm.  So I quietly go about my work without waking him until it's done. 
If it's a really good night I may actually watch a show on television or curl up with a cup of hot tea and a good book.

How's that for mom the party animal?  Disappointing, isn't it.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of green beans
  • 1 package refrigerated biscuit dough (torn in pieces)
  • chicken broth (or water) to cover


1. Place chicken, butter, soup and veggies in slow cooker.

2. Fill slow cooker with enough chicken broth or water to cover mixture.  I use about 1/2 to 2/3 a carton
    of chicken broth.

3.  Cook on low for 7 hours.  Shred chicken.  Then tear up biscuit dough and place in slow cooker.  Cook
     another hour or until dough is no longer raw in the center.

*** I use reduced sodium products whenever possible.  I also add seasoning to taste when needed.

***Cooked turkey can replace chicken.  Perfect way to use up holiday leftovers.

The whole family enjoyed this.  Comfort food at its best on a cold rainy (or snowy) day.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Getting ready to deck the halls.  Christmas tree is up...artificial since real ones make me break out in hives (yikes!).  I still have to decorate the rest of the living room, entry way and staircase.  I love this time of year!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Leftover Turkey Day "Pot Pies"

 Have anymore leftovers from Thanksgiving? Here's a quick and easy solution that's very versatile!

  • Pillsbury Grand biscuits
  • leftover turkey
  • turkey gravy
  • stuffing
  • veggies


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2. Take Grands biscuits and firmly press biscuits into the bottom and up the sides.  Form  1/2 inch rim over rim of muffin cup.

3.  Mix cut up turkey, gravy, stuffing and veggies.  Spoon mixture into biscuit lined cups.

4.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until biscuit edges are golden brown.

These were a big hit with the whole family!

Tweenage: The Nightmares Begin

Tweenager/Tween...those years between child and teenager.  I am looking at the tweenage years right now; as the mom of a 9 year old boy.  And it's S-C-A-R-Y!  The days seem to fly right by but those scary moments seem to last FOREVER.  If you have one then you know what I mean.

Emotions-Think pregnant woman and you're totally in the tween zone.  They skyrocket up and down, back and forth like a pin ball in an arcade game.  Zing to the left and then bounce off the wall before being flung in another direction.  One moment he is just going with the flow and then something changes.  He can get silly and crazy out of hand like he's on a sugar high.  Then he'll crash and be crying and upset about something.  Or raging mad.  9 times out of 10 he's way overreacting and I can't settle him down.  Drama much?  It's not just a girl thing (though girls can be worse).  But he doesn't see it.  Mom is always wrong and being mean and that sets those emotions off in yet another direction.  Occasionally, I'll get the helpful tween side and I love this side. It's rare and I'll take it when I can get it. This morning when I was in a mood because we were running behind (again) and everyone else got to eat while I made breakfast and lunches (for everyone but me) he up and offered to put away the clean dishes in the dishwasher.  I tried not to look too stunned because we had just been bickering moments before.  Some mood swing I tell you!  But I was grateful and accepted the help.  I got to finally eat breakfast and he felt good from helping out.  Proud mama here.  I pray for more of those kind of moments but I won't get my hopes too high.

Hormones-You know they're starting to simmer.  I've seen his covert looks at cute girls.  And his eyes glaze over just a bit when Selena Gomez is on tv.  I know girls his age are crushing on Justin Bieber and other such cuties.  I think it's sweet but fear the real deal crushes ahead and hope his feelings are not crushed by some prima donna chick.

Uncertainty-Some kids this age are full of bravado but most are still finding their sea legs.  They are uncertain about most things around them.  i.e. friends, the opposite sex, school, sports, peer pressure and more.  They just want to fit in with everyone.  This stage of childhood scares the bejeebers out of me and I know it tends to run right through the teenage years.  I want my tween to believe in himself.  I want him to make the choices he know is right.  I want him to be a leader, not a follower.  I want him to stick up for himself, his beliefs and what he knows is right.  Try to build confidence in your tween(ager) and be their behind the scenes cheerleader. 

Friendships-This is the time that cliques start to really develop and children can become ostracized.  Or they can become an arrogant, know it all and bully.  Keep your ear to the ground to avoid these two negative scenarios.  You want to prevent these. Your child can easily be in or be out.  Many a times kids are casted out on whim because kids this age like the feeling of power over one another.  Friends they've had for years can suddenly morph into beings you've never seen before.  As parents we need to keep our eyes and ears open.  We need to help guide them through the minefield of  friendship drama without feeding into it.  We need to be supportive.  We need to listen and encourage open dialogue.  And, if heaven forbid, our child happens to be the one ostracizing others we need to speak openly with them.  They don't need to be everyone's friend.  They don't need to keep the same friends.  However, they need to treat each other with respect and the way they would like to be treated.  I'm a firm believer in the golden rule. 

Testing Boundaries-Leading into the teenage years our children will test boundaries more and more. It's common for children of all ages.  At this age though they can be more secretive about it.  Or more blatant.  Either way is difficult.  We have to be patient and on guard.  We need to allow boundaries to be tested but make them aware of why they are there.  Also, we need to communicate when the boundaries will shift, be more flexible or lifted and why.

Appearance-And last but not least their appearance will start to change and (most likely) go into that awkward phase.  Bushy hair, skin inflammations, acne, body odor, new hair growth in many places, etc.  We have to make sure we speak to them about these changes.  Preferably before they happen.  We don't want our tween to feel like they need to hide it or that they can't talk about it.  Be open with them.  Provide guidance in new hygiene areas...deodorant, hair products, skin cleanser, shaving lessons, etc. They may not be comfortable talking to you about this so you need to be casual about it.  Feel your way carefully so you don't hurt their feelings or cause more confusion.  Information is a good thing here so they don't feel too self conscious.  As I said, hormones are beginning to rage.  Bodies are developing, some quicker than others.  Be there to offer advice.

Beware parents.  These are shark infested waters we are entering.  Tween years are just the beginning because up next are the even scarier teenage years.  Good luck to us all!  And just remember to be there for support.  Offer advice, your ear, or a shoulder.  Whatever they need.  They'll remember it....sometime into their 20's but they will remember it and be thankful!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shake My Head Monday

I'm sure you've had those moments where the only way you can respond to a situation is to just shake your head. Or roll your eyes. I have to admit to doing both...numerous times throughout my day. I've decided to dedicate today's post to things that made me shake my head today. I may even make it a weekly installment, so if you like it join in and share what made you shake your, this week, whenever.

Today I owe credit to my husband for making me shake my head. He was off from both jobs today; I love having him home. My only problem is that he disrupted the flow and routine of a school morning. And as it's extra hard to get back into the routine on the Monday after almost a week off from school. How did he earn the "shake my head award" you ask?  Here's how...

I woke up late after a restless night full of an aching back and shoulder. I turned the kids lights on and headed for the shower after asking the hubby to make sure they got up, dressed and ate breakfast. Not much to ask plus it's our regular week day morning routine.  No surprise there for the kids.

As I'm closing the bathroom door I hear him tell the kids to get dressed and come into our room to lay with him. What?!  No!  We're running late. Snuggle time must wait until after breakfast and teeth brushing, if there's time. I hate sounding like a grinch but if we don't stick to the routine then they're lost and running behind. Ugh!

I opened the door and kindly reminded him we were behind and snuggling would have to wait. I heard him grumble but what was I to do? That earned him the first eye roll and head shake.

It was eerily quiet when I came out of the bathroom. Could it be the kids actually made it downstairs?  I cringed and prayed they weren't still asleep in bed. A peek into the rooms showed empty beds. Yippee! But still, it was too quiet.

I made my way downstairs to find them all laying down on the couches. Claims were made that breakfast had been eaten. Seems we we're out of milk so Little Bee had dry cereal and Goalieboy had a hot pocket (not the breakfast kind). Sigh. I guess it was too much to ask for him to cook eggs, frozen waffles or oatmeal. Somehow I kept myself from beating my head on the wall. I repeated to least they ate something. I definitely did the "shake my head" thing then.

As I was running out the door  promises were made that the garbage would be taken out, the bathroom cleaned and the last load of laundry finished for me before I came home. I admit I wasn't a believer. Good thing because I would've been disappointed.  Garbage wasn't take out until 6:30, laundry just made it into the dryer and the bathroom hasn't been touch though he swore at 3 o'clock he was going to do it. It's almost 8:30 and I'm realistic. It's not happening. So now the bathroom goes on my to do list (as usual).  Hopefully I can clean it after work tomorrow. Sigh. So I'll shake my head one last time and concentrate on the positives.  The kids got to school on time, he picked them both up after school/girl scouts, took out the garbage and attempted to finish a load of laundry. 

So, what's happened lately to make you shake your head...and maybe add an eye roll too?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankful Friday #3

I'm a day late with getting my Thankful Friday post up. Eek!  But it's here.

Things I'm thankful for:

•  My family

•  Having a job...liking it is bonus

•  Fabulous coworkers

•  A quick and divine go to peanut butter brownie recipe (everyone needs chocolate and peanut butter!).

•  Kisses, hugs and family snuggles

•  Self sufficient children who get there own breakfast on Saturdays so mom can dream she's sleeping in bed (not lying awake listening to her crazy kids and smiling).

•  Friends who call out of the blue and say it's been too long and they miss you.  This made me feel amazing.  You should totally be the friend that makes this call.

•  Paying the Direct Tv bill after it was only shut off for a few hours.  Last time it was something like two weeks.  Let's be honest, I can totally live without tv but it does provide sanity.  I limit the kids tv watching but they love their shows and I can get things done during that time without interruption.

•  Being able to sleep next to my husband every night. He works a lot of hours but we get a few hours each night to sleep together.  I cherish this time.

There's so much more I'm thankful for but these are the highlights.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Kernel Seasons Winner Announced

Unfortunately the previous winner of the Kernel Seasons Giveaway has not responded so I have drawn a new winner using

Congratulations to:


I have sent you an email. Please respond by Wednesday November 23rd with your mailing inform so we can send you your goodies!

Thanks again to everyone who participated.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brotherly Love

If you look closely you can see that every other piggy toe is painted light pink. The others are obviously red.

Who painted my daughters nails you may be asking yourself.  This time it wasn't momma.  She was baking and Little Bee was impatiently waiting. So, Goalieboy offered and the rest is history!

Such a sweet, un-boylike thing to do.  It makes my heart melt.

Don't you just love when your children are kind and giving time one another? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Easy and Divine Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

The other night I was craving chocolate and peanut butter. I easily could have went to the cupboard and pulled out a couple Reese's Peanut Butter Cups but I wanted more.
Here's what I came up with and I can honestly say it was a hit with the whole family.


•  Fudge brownie box mix
•  Ingredients to make box brownie mix
•  3/4 cup peanut butter
•  1/3 cup confectioners sugar
•  2 Tablespoons melted butter
•  1 Large egg
•  Tub of chocolate fudge frosting


1.  Make brownie mix according to directions on box.

2.  Pour batter into greased 9x13 pan.

3. Mix melted butter, confectioners sugar, egg and peanut butter.

4.  Dollop mixture onto brownie batter.

5.  Take knife and swirl it through batter.

6.  Bake according to brownie mix directions.

7.  Remove from oven.  Cool about 15 minutes so brownies are still warm.  Then slather on chocolate frosting. 

***I wanted to make my own but I was too lazy. It was still decadent!

***Dust with some confectioners sugar for a little pizazz.

It was rich, gooey, chocolaty with just the right amount of peanut butter. The family has voted and this recipe is a keeper for us!

You know you want to have a bite!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy Harvest Muffins

As the days grow shorter and colder I crave comfort food.  During this time of year I love soups, crockpotting and baking up a storm.  However, sometimes I'm in a hurry and don't have as much time to bake as I'd like.  Or I'm short on supplies.  Here's a quick easy muffin recipe most of my family likes. 


1 box of Carrot Cake Mix (I prefer Betty Betty Crocker Super Moist)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 15 oz. canned pumpkin


1.  Mix pumpkin into cake mix.

2.  Stir in applesauce

3,  Fill muffin tins 2/3rds full and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

serves 18

***Spice cake mix can be used in place of carrot cake mix.
***Dress them up by adding chocolate chips, cranraisins or nuts.
***Icing with cream frosting for a sweet treat.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Kernel Season's Giveaway Winner Announced!

Cool Text: Logo and Graphics Generator

The Winner of the Kernel Season's Giveaway is:

All Things Yummy!  

Please send me an email at with your mailing address so we can ship you your goodies!

Thank you to all that entered!

***Winner was selected using

Fall Beauty

Monday, November 07, 2011

Belated Pumpkin Picking Post

Between the new job and juggling the kids activities and such I'm late on my pumpkin picking post but I wasn't going to be deterred so here it is!

Every year we go to a local farm during the fall to enjoy a day of outdoor fun.  Most of the time we go twice.  Once we do apple picking (mid to late September) and then we go pumpkin picking (early October).  This year we went apple picking early because I knew it was just knew it was going to be a crazy month full of rain....and I was right.  We ended up going pumpkin picking late for the same reason.  The important thing is we continued our family tradition and had fun doing it!

First we went to the animal area.  There were pigs, cows, chickens, roosters, turkeys and more. 

Then we headed over the the petting zoo area.  We got some food to feed the goats, lamas and piggies.  This was a big area the kids could walk around in.  The first area was just 5 or 6 pens of animals to look at but not really touch.

My daughter really like the three little pigs.  She was rubbing them and cooing at them.  She made the mistake of getting to close and they actually knocked her down and started nibbling on her fingers.  I called them the three devil pigs.  My daughter loved them though. 

We also enjoyed a hay maze and a corn maze.  The corn maze was huge and we had a lot of fun weaving through the various paths.  My kids made friends with two of the farm dogs and one followed us around for a good half hour as we meandered around the corn stalks.  The kids wanted to take him home.

Because of all the rain there weren't many pumpkins to choose from but we had a fun time looking for the perfect ones.

The "road" leading back to the pumpkin fields were more mud holes than anything.  I'm amazed the tractor didn't get stuck.  Here's a picture of the tractor tire in the deep mud.

We had a wonderful day out.  My daughter also enjoyed the bounce house and face painting.  Goalieboy (now 9) claims he is too old for that kind of stuff.  It makes me a little sad and nostalgic.

However, he did have fun playing with the pumpkins after we got home. 

We let our kids decide on their own lack-o-lantern design.  My son drew his out and cut it all by himself this year.  I think he did a great job working by himself.  I cut the top and helped scoop the guts.  Daddy helps Little Bee and she likes to do things totally freestyle.  He just helped guide her hand.  She wanted to put extra holes (for ears & stuff) but he convinced her otherwise. 

The finished product.  Little Bee's is the smaller pumpkin and Goalieboy's is the bigger more menacing one.

***Fall is my favorite time of year!  Here are some pasts posts about fall...Fall....the Best Season of All and Perfect Cool Fall Day.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A Weekend Without My Husband

What a long weekend full if juggling for me and it's finally almost over!

Hubby has been gone more than home this week. He worked late Tuesday and Wednesday (10:30). Then he was out of town Friday until today for a work related weekend. I'm so tired.

Friday I made dinner and took the kids grocery shopping with me after getting them from school. You think I would learn that shopping is only productive sans kids. Nope. They begged for everything and fought with each other. They did settle down after a few threats of severe punishment. After getting home I entertained them with games, movies and snacks. I had it in my head I would put them to bed by 9:30 and then relax with a book and a glass of wine. That didn't happen. I was mentally too exhausted.

Saturday we had an early morning soccer game on 38 degree weather. I froze my butt off as did my daughter. Thankfully it was the last game of the season. Then we ran errands, I made lunch and started laundry. Then it was off to the hockey rink an hour and 15 minutes away for my son's game. I froze there too. We didn't get home until around 8:45 after leaving the house at 3:30. Good news is his team played solid, he made a lot of saves and they won their first game.

I finished up the laundry in the washer and dryer while the kids showered, watched a couple shows on Disney and had a snack. I was ready to drop.

I didn't sleep most of the night. My sinuses acted up, I was itchy all over (still have no idea why) and my rotator cup was killing me. Too bad I couldn't actually enjoy that extra hour we got.

I shipped the kids off to church with grandpa this morning. While they were there I finished two more loads of laundry, tidied up, did dishes and swept and mopped.

Relieved hubby is now home. He's offered to "watch" the kids so I can relax (aka attempt a short nap). I won't say no. I'm beat and still need to cook dinner tonight, set out clothes/school things and pack lunches. I'm beat. I know I've mentioned that but I feel the need to repeat it.

I can honestly say I didn't have a boring weekend. Lots of juggling here. How was your weekend? Did you relax and kick back or run around?

Friday, November 04, 2011

Thankful Friday #3

Thankful Friday is here once again!  I missed last week because I was running around crazy trying to prepare for a possible wild October snowstorm.  Boy I'm glad I did!  We got about a foot of heavy, wet snow that took down power lines and tree limbs leaving thousands in the dark!  I plan on posting about that soon but for now, on to Thankful Friday!

1,  So very thankful to have power restored.  I love heat, lights and hot water!

2.  Being able to get my son a new winter coat and both kids snow boots right before the storm hit.

3.  Great friends who offered to help with showering and laundry needs if need be.

4.  Grateful we were only without electric for 32 (very cold) hours.  There are still thousands of homes on the
     East Coast in the dark.

5.  Happy to have a roof over my family's heads, food in our bellies and clothes on our backs.

6.  The sun is shinning and amazingly most of the snow has melted!

7.  The kids had a great time trick or treating even though it was cold and snowy (post to follow).

8.  Missing hubby since he has been working hard at his two jobs this week and will be out of town from today
     until Sunday morning.  However, I'm excited to use the time after the kids go to be to catch up on my reading
     and blogging.

What are you thankful for this week?

***Go and enter my Kernel Seasons Giveaway here.   Low entries so there's a higher chance to win!  Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm November 8th.***

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Kernel Season's Review and Giveaway

My family adores popcorn, simply adores it!  We would have it several times a day if we could! Popcorn is a wonderful healthy anytime snack.  Our favorite time to have it is during movie night on the weekend.  We pop up a few bags and munch our way through whatever flick we've picked to watch.  It's a wonderful way to spend an evening with family and feel good about what they're snacking on.

I was so excited when Kernel Season's approached me about doing a review and giveaway for their 2 new seasonings...Pumpkin Spice and Milk Chocolate Carmel.  I knew the whole family would love trying new ways to dress up our favorite snack!

Kernel Season's sent me a variety of flavors to try.  I was amazed at their offerings.  The samples I received were: Pumpkin Spice (New!), Milk Chocolate Carmel (New!), White Cheddar, Nacho Cheddar, Butter, Kettle Corn and Ranch.  With 19 varieties they have something for everyone!

My son's favorite seasoning was Ranch and my daughter loves the new Milk Chocolate Carmel.  I love them all because they are so versatile.  By versatile I mean they are more than just awesome popcorn seasonings.

With my samples I also received a small recipe booklet.  It was amazing to see just what more I could do with Kernel Season's.  Here's just a few things we tried:

1.  Ranch Chicken  (my family inhaled this, including my meat finicky daughter)
2.  Pumpkin Spice Milk Shakes
3.  Pumpkin Spice Coffee (I loved this one!)
4.  Milk Chocolate Carmel Coffee (again Mmmmm)
5.  Milk Chocolate Carmel Hot Cocoa
5.  Nacho Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

If you check out their website you can click on the recipe tab for more ideas.  These add pizazz to your oatmeal, coffee, hot chocolate, pancakes, potatoes, meats, dips, veggies and more.  You have to try them!

Pumpkin Spice Milk Shakes:

We love seasonal foods and have become addicted to pumpkin ice cream.  All you do is take a few scoops of pumpkin ice cream, some milk (less or more to taste for thickness) and a capful of Kernel Season's Pumpkin Spice.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into cups.  Top with whipped cream if you'd like (we were out) and add a few dashes of Kernel Seasonings Pumpkin Spice for color.  Perfect!

Kernel Season's is offering one of my lucky readers their two new seasonings (Pumpkin Spice and Milk Chocolate Carmel).  All you need to do is follow my blog via Google Friend Connect and visit Kernel Season's ( and leave me a comment telling me which flavor you would like to try.  It's that easy! 

Kernel Season's not only has popcorn seasonings but also popcorn spritzers and popping oils.  They can be found at grocery stores across America including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target, Safeway, Food Lion, K Mart and Blockbuster Video.  Visit to find the location nearest you or to order online. You  can also find Kernel Season's on Facebook and Twitter  Make sure you check them out, you'll be glad you did.

***Giveaway ends November 8th at 11:59 est. The products mentioned above were sent to me for review purposes. The opinions expressed above are solely my own and have not been influenced by anyone.***

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ October 26, 2011 The Morning Grumps

This picture sums up the general feeling in our house first thing this morning. 

Good news is that we've conquered it and now we're full of happiness, smiles and laughter.  Let's hope it stays that way!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Relationships ARE Work

I think we all agree relationships are hard.  They take work.  Hard work even, if we want to maintain and help them grow better, bigger, brighter.

That said, I think there are always times we get annoyed with our significant other.  There are even tines, dare I say, that we want to throw in the towel and walk ( sometimes run) away.  And you know what?  That's ok.  It's called being human.

However, when you love someone enough you continue to work hard to fix and overcome problems.  Sometimes it takes some breathing room and thinking.  But, we come back for more because the relationship and the bond we have overrides everything else.

So here are some of the reasons I work hard to keep my marriage alive and well:

*  He doesn't put our financial future at risk by purchasing frivolous things.

*  He plays like a big kid with our children.

*  He is truly happy to be home with us when he walks in the door after work.

*  He sits with my son when he has a stomach bug.

*  Sometimes he will just walk up to me and hold and kiss me for no particular reason.

*  He has our my needs first.  We bought my new cell before his (even though his really needed replacing).  He helped me finance a car since my van died.

*  He gets indignant in my behalf.  Sometimes more so than me.

*  He enjoys snuggling/cuddling with me.

*  He graciously takes no for an answer when I'm not up to making love (my back, neck and/or shoulder hurt).

*  He works two jobs so we can stay afloat.  He rarely complains about it even though 3 nights a week he falls into bed at 11only to wake up at 3:30 for his main job.

*  Somehow he gets little sleep, works 10+ hours and wants to drive an hour to watch our son play hockey.

He just gets me.  We fight and argue like cats and dogs at times.  It's just the way we are.  We're both Cancers.  We both come from management backgrounds.  However, when push comes to shove we stick like glue.

When I see how some other spouses are with their wives/husbands it makes me thankful that I am with a man who truly loves and cares for me and our children.

Thank you honey for everything you do for us.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall....the Best Season of All

As I've gotten older I find my seasonal preferences shifting from fun in the sun to crisp fall days.

My favorite season when I was younger was summer by far.   I craved hot summer days.  I would lather up with Hawaiian Tropic Oil ,lay out back on a lounger and bask in the golden sun. 

Nowadays that same sun causes me to cringe in fear.  Somehow in the last few years the sun has become my enemy.  The heat and humidity effect my body in ways I still don't understand.  It dehydrates me, makes my body weak and shaky and blackness closes in.  So now I'm extremely careful going out to enjoy a summer's day.

However, fall is cool and filled with beautiful ever changing colors.  I love experiencing these changes with my family.

We enjoy walking and taking in the breathtaking reds, oranges and yellows surrounding us.

I love the smell of leaves burning.  I love staring into the dancing flames.  It's invigorating.

We have our fall traditions.  We start with apple pucking in late September.  Then we decorate the house inside and out for fall.  Finally we head to a local farm to pick out pumpkins.  We drink hot apple cider and eat dense apple cider donuts.  We trail through hay and corn mazes.  We take hayrides into the pumpkin fields.

After all the pumpkin field fun we take our pumpkins home to carve.  Carving is so much fun.  The kids deliberate on how to proceed.  Will they go free style?  Use a stencil?  Or use the plastic cut out pieces to pierce the pumpkin skin, trace and then cut the shapes out?

Then Halloween arrives.  The kids dress up and excitedly run door to door for Halloween goodies before hitting the wall of exhaustion.  We finish the night off at our local ice cream stand.  Halloween night is their final hoorah before shutting down for the season.  Free ice cream for all!

Before I know it October is over and Thanksgiving is on its way.  Before long it'll be winter.

Winter...please hold off as long as you can.  I want to enjoy the crisp fall days before they turn brutally cold.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thankful Friday~October 21

Hooray it's finally Friday!  Here's my list on what I'm thankful for this week.

1.  So happy Friday finally made it and I am still mentally intact.  The second half of this week has been stressful for me.  Unfortunately, stress often turns into anxiety for me.  I've been emotionally wound tight the last few days.  Thankfully, today proved to be a good day without much stress so the anxiety is seeping away.

2.  Today my kids school had picture day.  First, I was able to purchase a picture package this year.  This made me so happy.  (Yes, sometimes it's the little things in life).  Last year I forewent Fall pictures and just purchased an 8x10 Spring picture.  Second, we had fun going online last night to pick out the perfect backgrounds to go with their picture day outfits.  And last, despite hair battles this morning they arrived at school looking picture perfect.

3.  Goalieboy studied really hard all week for his social studies test without much of a fight.  His dedication and hard work paid off.  He got a 97!  Proud mama here!

4.  Both kids lost their games on Saturday.  But they played their hearts out and didn't give up.  Little Bee took a chance and played goalie for her soccer game for a quarter.  I think she's decided its not her thing and that's ok.  Poor Goalieboy is playing on a team that is struggling.  I think many players don't really understand positioning yet. I'm proud he hasn't let it get him down. 

5.  I have a new (to me) car!  We went car shopping and hubby helped me get one.  He's going to help me with the payments until I can fully afford them. 

All and all it's been a good week.  There's been ups and down but I always try to focus on the positives.

What are you thankful for this week?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dear Son, You Make Me So Proud

Dear Son,

As you sleep tonight I look in on you and am overwhelmed with the love I feel for you.  I just had to snuggle with you for a few minutes and whisper my thoughts to you.

I am so proud of who you are.  I know sometimes I am hard on you but it’s because I want you to be the best you can be.  I want to push you so that you don’t give up on your dreams.  I know you have it in you and sometimes you fear failure.  I want you to know it’s ok to fail.  We learn from our failures and mistakes. 

We grow from them and overcome obstacles we never thought we could hurdle over.  I think you are starting to understand that nothing worth having comes easy.  You have to work hard for what you want and never give up.

You’ve come so far this school year.  You are showing what I’ve known has been hidden behind the surface all along.  You are learning to believe in yourself.  I think you are starting to see what I’ve been telling you all along.  I will always be your biggest cheerleader, pushing you on to the finishing line.

I’m watching you grow and mature before my very eyes and the transformation has come about quickly, in just the past 6 weeks.

You amaze me.  I hope you amaze yourself.  I hope you see, hear and feel my pride.  You are becoming a stronger student.  You are not giving up.  You are learning control and focus.  Something you’ve struggled with so much in the past years.  Your teachers gave me lots of positive feedback when I met with them 2 weeks ago.  They say you are attentive and actively participate in class.  They do not see a major problem with lack of focus, nor with distractions to yourself and others (such as talking out of turn).  This is a major stride for you.  Be proud.  Own it. 

At home you are starting to help out more without me having to beg, proud or guilt.  I appreciate it so much.  I know there are things you don’t want to do but you do it because you know it helps me.  Now that I’m working again and daddy’s working 2 job it’s great to have a helping hand.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You are a wonderful older brother too.  Yes, there are times you are not so nice, when you push your younger sister’s buttons or hurt her feelings.  But, those are part of being a sibling and I know that.  On Saturday mornings, I can hear you two laughing together as you play or watch television.  You can make her laugh when she’s crying by being dramatically funny.  Her tears forgotten and belly laughs ensue.  That is a special gift you have, use it wisely.

Tears are in my eyes as I write this because you will always be my baby boy.  You were such a happy confident baby and toddler.  You started to struggle as your hearing difficulties became more obvious.  I know there are times you’ve used it as a crutch or a reason to give up.  I know that it was hard for you when you started wearing glasses, then bifocals and then a month later a hearing aid.  I know you struggled with your self image and how others perceived you.  I think getting the two hearing aids over this past summer and having the time to become comfortable with them outside of school has really helped.  I believe having a wonderful one on one summer school teacher that believed in you did amazing things for your self confidence.  He helped you see what we have known is there.  I will be forever grateful to him.

Honestly, I feared the day would never come when you would actively choose to read a book quietly on your own.  There was a short time last year but it was with easier, shorter books. Once those books were done, you’re interest in reading quickly faded.  You actually told me today that there were 2 books that you were looking forward to reading.   Two books that we not “Big Nate’ books.  Though I have to say, those are the books that started it this year for you.  I am so glad you asked your friend to borrow it because you’ve been immersed in them for the last few weeks.  Now you’ve found a school library book and a classroom book that you are excited to read.  I couldn’t be happier.  Reading should bring joy.  It should offer up new worlds for you to dive into and explore.  I hope it is something that you will continue to enjoy with pleasure for years to come.

Looking at you asleep tonight, I see all my hopes and dreams of a bright future for you.  I want you to be strong.  Positive. Proud. A Leader.  A Believer.  A Fighter that goes after what he wants and lets nothing stand in his way, especially himself.

I love you.  I’m proud of you.  I always am.  I always will be.  I am your biggest fan.  Your champion.

Love you from here to Eternity and back,


Friday, October 14, 2011

Thankful Friday

It's that time of the week again...T.G.I.F.!!

I like to take this time to look back at the week.  Even if it's been a bad week there's always things to be grateful for and I take this time to reflect.

1.  I have a job!  It may be only part time and not pay much but it's honest work.  It's a start.

2.  I had a wonderful time spending the holiday weekend with my family and visiting my brother in Buffalo.

3.  I had some awesome Buffalo food and I can't wait to go back for more!

4.  It didn't rain for a week here.  The first time since before Hurricane Irene at the end of August.  It's been
     sprinkling the last few days but no flood warnings.  I am very thankful for this.

5.  Co-workers that I like.  It's been 3 weeks and no drama so far.  I love it.  I don't think I've ever worked
     at a job that didn't have quite a bit of drama.  The women I work with are nice, fun and entertaining.  One
     is a little "crazy" but that's OK.  There's always one in the bunch!

6.  I'm starting to carve out blogging time.  I come home from work, relax for a bit and then have an hour or
     so to write before I'm off to get the kids from school.

7.  My son has found a book series he enjoys reading.  He just got one from the library on Tuesday and is
     over half way done with it.  I let him stay up a little later last night because he was quietly reading in his
     room.  I'm so excited!

8.  My son did well on his vocabulary and spelling tests he took Tuesday.  Awesome news since we had little
     time to study while we were gone.  We totally forgot about the spelling test and he only got one wrong.

9.  Great email from son's teacher.  His talking is minimal to nonexistent so we are going to hold off on
     putting a reward system in place.  He's doing so much better over all this year.  His academics are good
     and his distracting behavior (talking/focus) is almost nil.  I couldn't be prouder or happier.  He's right
     where he needs to be.

What do you have to be thankful for this week?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Must Haves When Traveling With Children

We just came back from a weekend away.  I realized I have many expected and unexpected responsibilities during a long drive.

Here are just a few hats I wear:

*  Direction giver/GPS checker
     - I never leave my husband in charge of directions because his mind wanders.  If I'm driving he's usually
       fast asleep instead of paying attention to where we need to be going. 

*  Keeper of the snacks
     -water bottles, pretzels, fruit, crackers, granola bars and a few sweets.  Very important to keep up
       every one's energy when traveling.  A hungry adult/child is a crabby and whiny one.

*  Argument settler
     -Self explanatory for any parent.  I lost track of the amount of times I said things like...stop doing that,
       keep your hands to yourself, use your indoor voice, leave his/her stuff alone it's not yours, stop fighting
       and the list goes on and on and on.

*  Game coordinator
     -My kids like to play games in the car.  It keeps them engaged and that makes mommy happy.  A
       few games we like to play are:  searching for different state license plates, 20 questions and I-Spy.

*  Entertainment Bag
    -I make sure both my kids pack a small bag to bring into the car that is separate from their luggage.  This
     bag contains things that will keep them occupied.  It is a life saver because no matter how well you plan
     the kids will get bored.  They pack activity books, coloring books, crayons, a book/magazine to read,
     their DS and small toys.  My daughter likes to pack a few Barbies (hope this stage is over quick) and a
     stuffed animal.  If it's small and will keep them entertained for a while I will let them pack it.  The only
     exception is really tiny toys like Squinkies which are easily lost and nearly impossible to find.
*  Music Controller
     -Everyone has different tastes in music.  Right now my kids don't have i-pods so we have to compromise
      on music choices.  My kids like popular "Top 40" type of music, my son and husband like Country.  My
      responsibility is to make sure everyone gets a chance to listen to what they like.  Sometimes we've run
      through the Cd's and the radio stations are full of static.  In my world that can be pure hell.  So, I always
      try to keep the radio on until we get to a point where we can't find a good station to listen to and then I
      I put the Cd's on.

*  Movie director
     -If we're borrowing my dad's van I am in charge of the movies being played on the DVD player.  It's hard
       to get the kids to agree.  I have a boy and girl so it can be a struggle.  My son likes sport based movies
       and my daughter likes girly movies and cartoons.  Depending on how long we're going to be
       in the van I have them choose 3-5 movies and I am the enforcer of compromise.

*  Rest Stop Coordinator
   -This goes along with direction giver/GPS checker.  My job is to plan out stops to use the bathroom and
     stretch.  This is very important.  Kids need to run around after being in the car for a few hours and they
     have a harder time waiting to use the bathroom.  Adults just need to stretch so their backs don't freeze
     up.  I have a bad back/neck/shoulder so this is very important.  I wasn't able to plan in enough stops
     on the way back from our last trip (because we started home late) and my body screamed at me for days
     after.  So, always plan stops in your travels.  Your body will thank you later.

And finally....

*  Climate Control
     -This is very important!  No one's body has the same temperature thermostat.  It's a very fine line to walk
      especially if it's extremely cold or hot outside.  Again, a lot of compromise comes with this responsibility.
      I make sure the kids bring a sweater or jacket to keep them warm in case the car is too cold for them.

Oh, and another must is pillows or pillow pets. Kids get tired during car rides and there's nothing worse than trying to find a comfortable place to put your head while you close your eyes.  I always make sure they bring pillows with them into the car.

Do you have any responsibilities when your family is traveling?  How do you keep things running smoothly?  Do you have any go to's to keep your kids from getting bored and cranky?  I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Family Weekend Away

For the Columbus Day weekend we went on to visit my brother in Buffalo. 

Being originally from the Western New York area, I am an avid hockey fan and love the Buffalo Sabres.  We spent part of Saturday at First Niagara Center.  The Sabres were actually playing overseas in Germany. The team broadcast the game on the jumbo tron at the Center.  My son was so excited to be able to see a game there, even if it wasn't live.  I'm hoping we can get him to an actual game sometime this season.

Being a goalie, my son loves this work of art.

Buffalo Sabres fans truly do live hockey.  We definitely do in our household.

The kids enjoyed meeting the Sabres mascot, Sabretooth. 

We walked around the Buffalo Waterfront enjoying a beautiful 80 degree fall day.

Sunday the girls spent the afternoon at The Great Pumpkin Patch in Clarence, NY while the guys watched football.

The petting farm was a huge hit!

Amazing pumpkin carving!

Another piece of pumpkin art!

Wow, over 1,600 lbs of pumpkin!

View from the car ride home.

Windmills in the fields.  My kids found them mesmerizing.

The weekend flew by way too quick. We tried to do as much as we could in a 48 hour period.  Late Friday night we feasted on traditional Friday Fish Fry and chicken finger subs.  Saturday morning included a trip to a local Tim Hortons for delicious coffee and bagels.  How I miss Timmy's!!!  Saturday night we had pizza and wings.  I always associate Buffalo with a variety of amazing food choices.  We weren't able to hit every place so I have a to do food list for next visit...Ted's Hot dogs, Mighty Taco and Beef on Weck (hold the weck) just to name a few.  I did pick up some sponge candy and I have it stashed away until I have a major sugar craving.  I may share it if the kids ask nicely.

It was wonderful spending time with my family and seeing my brother.  It was tough spending the first night at my brother's place because he has a one bedroom apartment.  We stretched out on air mattresses which screwed up my neck and back.  The hotel we stayed at was good but it was hard having 5 people in a room with only a king bed and pull out couch.  Little Bee shared the bed with hubby and I.  She's a bed hog so I didn't sleep too well.  I was ecstatic to come home and sleep in my own bed Monday night.

I'm sad it was over so quickly.  I'm looking forward to another visit soon!!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Back to Work Mom

Sorry I haven't been around much the last few weeks.  There have been changes happening in my life .  I've struggled to find the time and energy to blog because I've been so tired mentally and physically.  Thank you everyone for hanging around waiting for me to come back. 

As many of you know I have been out of work for the past two years.  Last week I finally found a part time job.  It has been difficult getting back into the routine of being a working mom.  I'm still trying to find the delicate balance between work and home.  It's not easy but I'm getting there.

Whether you're a "working" mom or "stay at home mom" it's all the same as you work 24/7 7 days a week 365 days a year.  It's never ending being responsible for your family and household.

For me personally it was easier being a stay at home mom. Maybe it's because that's where I prefer to be.  And trust me when I say that wasn't easy by any means.  It was just easier because I could rearrange scheduling to accommodating the last minute changes.  I also was able to find more time to cook, bake and sneak in a few minutes of me time before the kids came home from school.  As a working mom I have to have more of a set routine and stick to it.  When I fall out of the schedule things start to unravel a bit.
Having both kids in school full time now definitely makes life easier.  It was a lot harder 2 years ago when I was working full time with only 1 child in school. I don't know how I did it all.  Looking back I feel like I must have been super woman.  I'm tired all the time now, how did I do it then when I know I was even more exhausted?!  I guess sheer will power.

Right now I'm just glad to have a job. I've been without one for 2 years now due to an on the job work injury.  Last December the company that I had worked for (for 7 years) terminated my employment.   It's been a very difficult job hunt.  I have physical limitations due to my injury, plus I really needed a day job while the kids are in school. Combine those two and finding a compatible job is nearly impossible. 

At this point the job is only part time but at least it accommodates the hours I need.  I'm hoping and praying something full time opens up.

Its not my dream job and it doesn't pay much but I'm working and I have a foot in the door.  That's all I can ask in this economy. 

Unfortunately, I think I'm doing more than I should be physically, even though it doesn't sound like much.  I'm standing on my feet for 4 hours with little walking.  I'm also reaching above my head and doing repetitive motions.  I'm not supposed to be doing any of that.  I'm telling myself it's alright because the reaching isn't constant and the motions are tolerable.  At this point I don't have much of a choice.  Worker's compensation requires me to look for full time work.  At least with part time work I'm showing that I'm trying.  Also, the little bit of unemployment I had is down to almost nothing.  So, I will continue looking and forge forward.  It's the best thing I can do for my family.

I'm teaching my children that it is good to work hard no matter what the job or the pay.  The best thing is that I like the job and the people.  That's a bonus in my eyes.  I do find myself enjoying being out of the house and doing something productive.

Wish me luck on this new journey in my life!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mexican Slow Cooker Soup

This is my go to soup from fall to springtime.  My whole family loves it and it's easy to make extra and freeze some for later.  It's not too spicy and very versatile.


1 lb of Chicken Breasts

1 (10 ounce) can of enchilada sauce

1 (14.4 ounce) can diced or pureed tomatoes

1 (15.5 ounce) black beans drained and rinsed

1 medium onion chopped

2 minced garlic cloves

1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers

1 (14.5 ounce) can of chicken broth

2 cups of water (can use chicken broth/stock instead)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


1.  Place chicken, enchilada sauce, tomatoes, black beans, green chiles, garlic and onion in slow cooker.  You may saute onion and garlic before placing it in pot.

2.  Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.

3.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. 

4.  2 hours before serving take chicken out of pot and shred with two forks.


*** Frozen chicken breasts can be used in place of fresh chicken.  I do this all the time.  Shredded, cooked chicken can be used too.

*** 1 (10 ounce) bag of frozen corn can be added to the slow cooker with everything else.  My son doesn't like corn so I skip this part. 

*** Bulk it up with a cup or two of cooked rice stirred in at the end.

*** Topping options:
                     Sour cream
                     Fresh chopped cilantro
                     Sliced avocado
                     Shredded Mexican cheese
                     Sliced green onions
                     Tortilla chips