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.***