Monday, November 30, 2015

Black Friday and Cyber Monday


So my Christmas shopping has officially begun. I'm running very behind this year, Usually by now I am almost done my shopping. I think with Mitchell being sick, watching Jaxson and having Thanksgiving here I fell behind. Nevertheless it's begun! 
Image result for shopping

I did do something this year I thought I would never do. I ended up going out Thanksgiving night and started my shopping.  It honestly wasn't that crazy. I also went a little bit on black Friday and got some super great deals. That was crazy but worth it! I ended up getting $60 sheets for only $8 between the deals and my coupons! 

money cash $$$ cartoon jetsons

Yesterday, I got up at 4:30 to take advantage of the cyber Monday sales. Between Dicks Sporting goods, and Toys "R" Us I managed to finish Mitchell who is the easiest one to buy for! The other girls like Vineyard Vines so I  managed to get Jessica done and the other girls a couple things. Kohl's was the next stop on the Cyber Bus.  I got some great deals there and then moved on to eBay which is my favorite place to compare prices. I ended up getting a $66 Lego set for Mitchell for $20 new!!! I have no idea how it was that cheap but I was thrilled and so was Jim. 

Ifi you take the time to fight the crowds Black Friday and get up early on Cyber Monday, you can get some great deals.

holiday holidays shop medium cyber monday

 Today is December 1st and I am well on my way to finishing my Christmas shopping. Now to decorate the house, get the tree, decorate the tree, bake cookies, finish shopping, wrap gifts, etc.

OK, I can do this!  

Happy Shopping Everyone!!!

Post Thanksgiving Thankfulness

I can't believe Thanksgiving has come and gone already. This Thanksgiving was the first one we have ever had for the family. For 30 years we have gone to New Jersey to spend it with Jim's family. Unfortunately Jim's dad passed away in June so we thought it would be nice to host it here as all the memories there could prove to be to much this year. Hence,  I think we may have started a new tradition!

We ended up having 18 people for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a unseasonably warm day with the temps in the upper 50's, which almost never happens in Pa. I personally think its way to warm for Thanksgiving, but the kids enjoyed it as they played outside most of the day.

We ate RIGHT ON TIME which also almost never happens!  It helped that for the first time I used a roaster oven that freed up the oven so I could cook all the sides at the same time. I have to say the turkey was delicious. I will be using the roaster oven again for the christmas turkey!

I also prepared all the sides the day before that way, what needed to be cooked I just had to stick in the oven. I used the crockpot this year for the mashed potatoes and WOW how easy it was and they were delicious to boot!

So our menu changed so many times but the final menu was...
mashed potatoes
green bean casserole
scalloped potatoes
sweet potato casserole
cranberry sauce
cranberry fluff

We had the adults sit in the dining room and the kids at another table in the hallway that is connected to the dining room. Taylor and Savanna made place cards that way there was NO fighting over seats or who is sitting at which table which has happened on more than one occasion.

We also had quite the dessert spread!Pies, breads, cakes and rolls, YUM!

It was a great Thanksgiving celebrating with family and some friends. Everyone left by Saturday evening and we cleaned up. It's amazing how dirty a house can get with 16 people staying under one roof!!!! 

Since everyone was gone I began taking all the fall decorations down on Sunday. It's quite a task being that I have probably as many fall decorations as most people have Christmas! When that was done I made a new huge Christmas wreath for over my fireplace. Again, I saw one that I loved in a magazine and decided to make it as the old one I had was to small for the space. Here's the end result! 

I have no idea exactly how many ornaments I used, I lost count around 100. I love how it turned out and can't wait to put it up in a week or so.

So that's what I did over this holiday weekend, what did you do? 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Happy Thanksgiving Eve

Yesterday was the beginning the three days of baking, preparing and cooking for Thanksgiving. I wish I could say that I love cooking but I really don't although I enjoy entertaining I just wish I was a bit less of a perfectionist!

Things were crazy to say the least. I watched Jaxson all day and he spent the night. He is at the age where he is into every cabinet, drawer, bin, closet, etc. Our house is open so there is NO place to put a gate to contain him in any room so he runs around exploring all day!

Somehow I did manage during naps to make two loaves of pumpkin bread, cranberry bread, pumpkin roll and a apple pie. YUM!  Now today is another story! Actually, my husband is off all day so he will help watch him. The kids are all home from school which makes it more difficult to get things made and done. They DO have their to do lists now lets see how many aliments they can come up with to get out of them!!!

On the agenda today is to make:

Stuffing casserole
cranberry sauce
cranberry fluff
scalloped potato casserole 
Sweet potato casserole 

Put leaf in table and set it for Thanksgiving dinner. 
Wash sheets for guests 

Let the fun begin! 

What are your Thanksgiving Eve preps?  I would LOVE to hear!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Long car rides and Birthdays

The beginning of new beginnings!

My first grandchild, Jaxson, was born one year ago today. I was there when he came into the world at 10am, weighing 7lbs 11oz 19 inches long. It was such a euphoric experience that I honestly wasn't prepared for!

 We were not particularly thrilled with this pregnancy being that our daughter was 23 and not married to the father although they are together, its not the best relationship in the world. Nevertheless, Jaxson had arrived and it was the beginning of a new beginning for Jim and I as Grandparents!

For his first birthday they decided to have it in his parents town, some 2 hours from our house. It was okay with us because we always have things here and its only fair we share. Unfortunately, we have a LOT of car sick riders in our family so the 2 hour ride was NOT a pleasant one, but we made it there and back with NO vomiting which is always a plus!

His family is awesome and will think of every last detail when it comes to a party. They rented a beautiful clubhouse in their area and boy did they go all out to think of everything to make his first Birthday special!

My daughter Savanna made this so all the kids could get their picture taken as Curious George. Everyone loved it!

Party set up

Candy bar

Jaxson and I

dessert and cake table

Jaxson's mom and dad

Kaylee and Jaxson what a great pic

Boy that cake was good!
After the party we headed back to Pa to celebrate a good friends 40th Birthday where we took our turns riding a mechanical Bull. Wow, what an experience! Today to celebrate Kaylee's 24th Birthday and Jaxson's again.

What a great way to spend the weekend celebrating three wonderful peoples birthdays and their lives!

Happy Birthday Jaxson, Kaylee 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Motherly instinct

Happy Friday after a not
 so great week!

As all of you know Mitchell had an appendectomy last week and still was having LOTS of pain and intermittent fevers. I kept thinking he would be better the next day as maybe hes just taking more time to heal but had a bad feeling it was something else.  Finally Sunday I  called the Surgeon who, because hes our neighbor, made a house call to check on Mitch. He thought because the incision sites looked good and by the exam that he had an entrapped nerve from the surgery and said with time it would get better. He said he wanted to see him on Tuesday.

 By Tuesdays appointment he was much worse. After examing him he decided to sent him to the hospital for a CAT scan and blood work. Mitchell was in severe pain and we had to wait for him to drink a contrast that took over three hours. He was so exhausted he fell asleep in the wheel chair. He was in that because he literally couldn't walk. After the scan one of the surgery fellows came out to talk with us. He explained that Mitchell had an infection and that his lymph nodes were swollen and he had a fluid collection in his belly as well.  He was admitted and given strong IV antibiotics along with a anti inflammatory. He was not very happy with us because he did NOT want to get an IV and stay the night.

Within two days he was already like a new kid. Jumping out of bed instead of being helped out and was finally hungry! He was dressed in his street clothes by 9 am and he was discharged that afternoon on two very strong antibiotics.

As soon as we got home the poor thing took a shower then laid down and took a two hour nap.

If there is one thing I've learned over the last 27 years is that we need to trust our motherly instinct. So many times I have had it and ignored it. This time I kept believing that things were going to get better and that  I was just being a worried mom knowing my son and knowing how I am I should have trusted myself.

Thank goodness Mitchell hasn't been on a lot of antibiotics in his life and that he responded so quickly to them.

Once again we were reminded how precious life is and how fast things can get bad.


Worst Parent Ever Award!

Nothing is Ever normal...

I always felt blessed to have six kids...who wouldn't want a house full of adorable nuttiness right!? Well i'm sure to the human eye things look normal and like the perfect family but...


We have had our share of crazy stories, so much so that people, including myself have tried to persuade me to write a book. If you ever watched Cheaper By the Dozen, well that is pretty much the way it is or at least was. Its so true that the more kids you have the more that you go through on most fronts. I could be a nurse, psychologist, a FBI negotiator, teacher, etc. 

Here's a story that almost had social services at our door...

Cory was a very active 3 year old who loved to wrestle. His buddy was over and they were playing around all of the sudden Cory hit his nose and it bleed and swelled up. The next morning when he woke up it was HUGE. After a trip to the doctor it was concluded that he had broken his nose.

A couple days later Cory was walking down our carpeted steps and fell down ONLY four steps and landed on his temple. Within minutes he began to vomit! We proceeded to the hospital where they did tests and said he had a  concussion and spent the night.

A week later as that was healing our neighbor offered to take the kids to the playground with his two while I made dinner. About 10 minutes later they returned with a very frazzled neighbor and a boy with a thumb that was facing the wrong way. Seems Cory was going down the slide as his little girl was walking up. Somehow his thumb got stuck on her and out of the socket it came. After a visit to the local prompt care center they said he needed to go the hospital because it probably needed surgery. Well they were right, he had surgery the next morning to put it back in place and wore a cast up to his elbow for 6 weeks!

A couple days after that Cory was playing in his room and decided to make a bridge with a bed rail from his dresser to his bed. I was in the hallway steps away and before I could say it was not a good idea, Cory fell on the edge of his bed and knocked his four front teeth out! The blood was crazy and I couldn't believe my eyes! Poor Cory was toothless for many many years!

So here we have it. Within a two week period our 3 year old had managed to break his nose, get a concussion, dislocate his thumb and need surgery AND knock four front teeth out! Talk about winning the Worst Parent Ever Award!

Well there's just one of the many many stories I have to tell about the craziness of my life!
Stay tuned there are more stories to come...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Things that I love

So now that you know what my pet peeves are, here's some things that I love! Most people who know me could probably name all of these things right off the bat. Some may be a bit weird or bizarre but hey i'm just being honest!

1. Dachshunds. I have always had and loved dachshunds my entire life. As a kid we either had two or three at a time. We had a Heidi, a Trina, A Daisy and a Tiger.  When Jim and I got married, my friends, gave us a female dachshund, YES a dog for our gift. She was our first baby and we named her Guava because I loved Guava juice. Now we have a black and tan long haired named Snickers and a piebald dachshund naned Snoopy, both are males. They are absolutely spoiled to death and are the best little dogs ever! I have passed my love for dachshunds on to my oldest daughter, Jessica, who has two
Me as a kid with our neighbors dachshund Noodles
Snoopy Christmas Morning looking through the gifts

Snickers on Christmas morning

2. Snoopy!!! I have always been a Peanuts fan all of my life especially Snoopy. He is just so cute and such a character. When I was little I had a small beanbag stuffed Snoopy that I took to school everyday. I would put it in my desk and it just made me feel better to know it was there. I still have many stuffed Snoopy's and finally, I have a real dog named Snoopy!  

3. Christmas. I LOVE the entire Christmas season. I love the Christmas movies, the shopping, the hustle and bustle of the season, the Christmas trees, decorations, gift wrapping, and the magical feeling of it all! There's nothing better in the world than to watch someone you love open a gift you got for them, especially kids! This year for us will be extra special as my grandson, Jaxson, will be one and i'm sure the magic will be in his eyes!

4. I love the winter and SNOW! The colder and snowier the better. I know, some people think i'm nuts, including my husband, but I love it!

5. Ok, this may sound corny and weird, but I love the miracle of birth. I have been in the room with friends and family members when they are in labor and delivering their babies. There is just something unbelievably amazing about the birth of a child. Its just such a miracle that I love being a part of. I hope and pray I can be present for the birth of all of my grand babies.

6. The Beach! I love the beach! I love the sound of the ocean. I love sitting by the water with my feet in the sand and feeling the hot sun on me. I love watching the kids play in the water and ride the waves. Some of my best memories are of the beach...

7. My PJs One of the reasons I love the winter so much is it gives me an excuse to put my pajamas on earlier because it gets dark so early. I love the super soft fuzzy fleece PJs. I would wear footsies if I thought my husband wouldn't kick me out of the bed!

8. I love a clean house with straight vacuum lines on the floor! I know thats super dooper strange but I really do. Luckily we only have one carpeted room on our first floor so its not to much to ask!

9. My family. I love my husband and my kids and grand kids. Its what life is all about or at least should be! 

10. GERMANY! I honestly don't know where my obsession with Germany began but I have always been fascinated with the beauty of that country. As a teenager I took german in school and I visited Germany twice. It was like a storybook or fairy tale. I hope one day to go back and this time with Jim.

Thanksgiving Meal Planning

Let's Give Thanks For 
This Meal

Well it's a little more than a week til Thanksgiving and I'm starting to meal plan. I don't usually have
Thanksgiving; we usually head north to my in-laws, but this year they are coming here.  I grew up with my mom having every holiday meal. She always had the same things and never, ever thought of adding or changing something. I try to change big meals up a bit but honestly, sometimes it's scary because you never know what you're going to get when you experiment.

I am a perfectionist and when I say I'm having Thanksgiving, I'm doing it up right, even if it kills me! I want it to be the Thanksgiving you see in the Norman Rockwell painting. It's not to show off, it's just who I am and how I'm wired. No, I don't expect the same anywhere else or from anyone else, just myself!!!

We will be having around 20 people. So right off the bat I know I need to have around a 20+ pound turkey. I actually got mine today and it was 22 lbs. My confession...I HATE COOKING TURKEY! I don't like dealing with a whole dead bird, it makes me sad, but I have to do what I have to do, RIGHT???

Next are the sides. I try to do things I can prepare the day or two before, that way it takes the pressure off a little. I love casseroles!!!

We always have the staples but the recipes tend to change...

Autumn squash soup
Apple cranberry walnut salad                                                                                                              
Green bean casserole 
Scalloped potatoes                                                         
Mashed potatoes with gravy                                                               
Sweet potato casserole                                                                                            
Apple-Cranberry stuffing 
sweet white baby corn
Parmesan garlic asparagus 
cranberry bread

Apple pie
pumpkin pie
pumpkin roll
pumpkin bread

So there we have it, our Thanksgiving menu. Now to figure out how to keep sane through it all! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Our Famous Fireplace/Mantle

Happy Monday!

Who doesn't Love a Fireplace to decorate!

We moved into our home in July 2007. We moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania and just about doubled our square footage and quadrupled our yard for just a small amount more a month!  We were thrilled! Well, everyone but a few grouchy teenagers, but that is a story for a different post.

The house was only about 12 years old but hadn't been lived in the entire time as the family was transferred and hoped they would be moving back to PA. The house needed some updating, fixture changes, painting, new curtains, and just things I could NOT live with for too long like red carpet in the family room and what I thought was a BUTT UGLY fireplace. We immediately had the house painted, got new shades, curtains and rods. We also got all new appliances as theirs were from the 80s, ugly as sin, and didn't work great!

There was NO money left to get new carpet or  fireplace updating...or anything else for that matter! 

After five years we finally got rid of the RED CARPET!!!  And finally, last fall, my husband started working on refacing what would become known as The "Famous Fireplace"!!!

Christmas was rolling around and he was putting the final touches on the fireplace. I could hardly wait to see it complete and to decorate it for Christmas!
Finally it was done!!!

 It turned out WAY better than I could have dreamed of and that very same day it was decorated and put on display for all to see on facebook.  I was so proud of the work and diligence my husband put into this project.

Why is it famous??? 

This fireplace became famous because I have been known to find ANY reason to take a picture of it and post it online. NO, I honestly don't brag or boast about material things but I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my fireplace.
Now, people wait in anticipation for me to post that season or holiday photo of the fireplace decorated in all its glory. Its become a bit of their joke, but I love it anyway!