Wednesday, November 30, 2016

DIY wreaths for less than $5

Happy Wednesday and the last day of November!
I am a Christmas decorating fanatic. I love to decorate and every year I seem to find a new project to
do. This year I wanted to make our basement living area more inviting for the holidays with more time spent decorating down there. In the past I always talked about making wreaths for the windows down there but never got around to doing it. Anyone who have made wreaths in the past knows it can get very expensive!  I was at the dollar store the other day and saw that they had wreaths. So I thought I would try to make mine with dollar store wreaths and ornaments and some greens I already had to see what I could come up with!?

First I started with a plain old 15 inch wreath. I got a bunch of ornaments, bells, bows, etc all at the dollar store. I pulled out some greens and ribbon I had at the house and got my glue gun out. I started strategically putting the cut greens around the plain wreath. (This is the very time consuming part.) Next I placed the decorations where I wanted them on the wreath and glued them down. Then I cut the ribbon to size and placed it on the wreath. I think it turned out pretty nice for the price.

Since these turned out so good I decided to go back to the dollar store and see If they had even smaller wreaths so I could make two for my small kitchen windows over the sink.YES they had them! They  looked pretty pitiful but I thought I would give it a try.

I added a bunch of small holly berries around it. Then I added the ribbon and made small little matching bows. I LOVE the way these turned out! Simple but cute. Super easy, and cost only $1 plus they look adorable in the kitchen!!!

Mission accomplished! Now to work on my picture taking skills!!! I just couldn't get the lighting right for these pictures! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday

Happy Cyber Monday!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and holiday weekend. Ours was wonderful just went so fast.

We didn't end up leaving until Thursday at 9:30 am to head to New Jersey and got home at 10 pm so it was a fast visit! Everyone went except for Kaylee and Jaxson who were both under the weather.We went to Jim's sisters house for dinner who lives in Northern Jersey, we were lucky we didn't hit a bit of traffic! Even though we came from the furthest away somehow we were first to arrive to we goofed off taking selfies!  It was a cold overcast day but that didn't stop our annual Thanksgiving football game. Its one of the highlight of the day and everyone looks forward to it and participates.

Friday I did some online Christmas shopping and went out to OLD NAVY to take advantage of the sales there.  I got a lot done and did more this morning since its Cyber Monday. I love not having to leave the house if I don't want to! This year I shopped online at Target,, American Eagle, Vineyard Vines, Dicks, Bass Pro Shop and Toys R Us. I love shopping at Target their delivery is so fast that by Saturday afternoon the items I ordered Friday had already arrived. I remember the same last year!

Saturday we went to our annual Church Christmas Sale. Its the coolest thing I have ever seen. A huge Church in our area takes donations throughout the year of Christmas items people no longer want. Starting the Saturday after Thanksgiving till Dec 5th they fill a Huge gym full of everything and anything Christmas. I always end up finding something to buy. This year my big score was a Ugly Christmas sweater of which then I bought more ugly things to go on it and now I have the ugliest sweater, I hope!

Saturday night Jim and I went to a birthday get together for a good friend. They had it at Escape
games which is the newest THING! Its a place that has multiple themed rooms. You pick a room theme that interests you then you make teams of however many you want, or you can just play against the clock, which is one hour. The rooms are filled with cryptic puzzles with hidden clues that have to be solved one after the other until you find the last one that leads to the key to get out. We had two teams of 7 and our team one by about three minutes. We had an amazing fun night with great people.

Sunday I sadly put all the fall decorations away in preparation for the Christmas decorations. I hope you all a great holiday weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful for Thanksgiving

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Where has November gone? Its already the day before Thanksgiving! Today I am doing one of my favorite things and that is baking. I hate cooking but love to bake! I am making a pumpkin pie and roll, an apple pie, a pecan pie along with pumpkin and cranberry bread. Now the trick is keeping it away from the family so I don't have bake even more before tomorrow!
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Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays. First off, the food is the best of any holiday hands down. The weather is usually perfect, not to cold and not too warm.There's no gifts to exchange just family to exchange conversations and maybe some political talk as well. The long awaited annual Macy's day parade is on! Its the day before Black Friday and the official start to the holiday season which means Christmas movies will be on most of the day! Oh, and more holiday commercials too!!!

As we sit at our Thanksgiving tables I hope we can realize how extremely lucky we are to live in a such a great country. Where we have freedom and we can safely sleep without a  war zone going on outside our doors. Where we have the right to vote, and also the right to protest. I hope I can remember to count all my blessings big and small and acknowledge even the simple pleasures being one. Life and everything in it is a miracle... Remember we can see life as it is or as we see it through our eyes. One of my favorite quotes:
 “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie

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I'm not sure exactly what it is but there is just an overall GOOD feeling I get when I think about Thanksgiving. Maybe its the cool crisp air, the beautiful leaves that have fallen from the trees or the the smell of fireplaces burning. I know for me its the entire package that Thanksgiving brings! It is the one day that I sit down, and just be Thankful for so everything and anything while I am surrounded by everyone I love and who loves me. Really, what could be better!

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Jaxon's Paw Patrol Party

The weekend is over already and what a weekend it was! With 70 degree temps, a major dust storm, 50 mile an hour winds and snow all within several hours of each other and all during Jaxson's Birthday party...

Saturday morning was busy with making food, cleaning and doing last minute errands before Jaxson's birthday celebration! The temperature at noon was around 70 degrees, very abnormal for a November day in Pa. Jaxson was so excited when his guests started to arrive. Then, the dust storm blew in, looking like a tornado with the leaves blowing around and the wind whipping at up to 50mph!

The temperatures soon dropped into the 30s as we played games and watched Jaxson open his presents, his favorite of which was a Little Tikes basketball hoop! He was never without a smile the whole day, especially when it was time to sing Happy Birthday. He clapped, sang, and blew out the candles, all with a huge smile on his face, followed by the giggles because he was on a sugar high between the cake and the candy table he kept sneaking candy from.



We ended up having around 40 people including children and tons and tons of food! Most people who attended were from out of town some traveling over 2 hours to be here. Its so awesome to have so many people gathered all in one place to celebrate a very loved two year old little boy!

By the time everyone was leaving it was sleeting and snowing and 32 degrees!!! A drop of 40 degrees in a matter of a couple hours!!!

Sunday was a relaxing day catching up on laundry and doing odds and ends. In the evening we celebrated Kaylee's 25th birthday with a family dinner. 

What a blessed weekend we had surrounded by good friends and family. Once again we are reminded how good our God is...

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Life Here Lately

Life here lately has been busy, here's what we are up to!

I have been watching Jaxson full time for several weeks and will be until December 9. His daycare provider had to quit suddenly because of health reasons. So needless to say I have been extremely busy trying to keep up with him!

We are gearing up for Jaxson's second Birthday Party this weekend here at our house. Its a Paw Patrol Party which he is so excited about! We are expecting around 50 people to help celebrate this little guy! There is soooo much to do and with me having him 10 hours a day, its not so easy! Post and pictures on Monday...

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My mother in law is coming to visit on Saturday and staying until Wednesday when we will leave to go to NJ for Thanksgiving. I am a tad nervous about her stay as she can be quite difficult at times. I am practicing patience this week and praying...

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We are headed to National Children's Hospital in Washington DC to see yet another Gastroenterologist for Taylor. He is a specialist in bowel motility and has the ability to do the tests she needs. Yes. we went to Boston but they really didn't do many tests just gave suggestions on what should be done. She was in the hospital again several weeks back but fortunately was able to be treated in the ER and sent home. (She is seen at Hopkins and treated there but they don't have a bowel motility specialist so they send her out for the sub specialties.)

We decided this year to start a new tradition and buy matching Christmas Pjs for everyone to wear Christmas morning. Of course the men in the family (mainly my husband) aren't too thrilled about it but they aren't putting up too much of a fight. All 12 of them arrived today!  The woman are wearing the one piece and the two piece are for the men.  I can't wait!                                                            
Jammies For Your Families Kids Reindeer One-Piece PajamasJammies For Your Families Toddler Boy "Get Your Jingle On" Fairisle Pajama Set

We are going to Jim's sisters house in NJ for Thanksgiving. Its a bit crazy because altogether we are taking FOUR yes FOUR cars. Reason being Jessica and Brian go to his parents for dinner also that live only 15 minutes from his sister. There schedule is different and they typically leave to go and come home at different times. I am doing a same day trip because both Cory and Taylor work early the next day. Kaylee and Jaxson are coming with us as its hard for her to stay overnight with him up there. Jim and Mitchell are going Wednesday with his mom and staying till Saturday and Savanna and her boyfriend Anthony are visiting his mom who also lives in NJ the day after Thanksgiving. I am bringing all the desserts for about 22 people so I am looking forward to baking on Wednesday!!!!

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I have made the decision this year that I am cutting back on the Christmas gifts. (No this is not Christmas With the Kranks!)We just have so many to buy for and except for Mitchell everyone is technically an adult. In the past we have always gone a little crazy so this will be different but a lot less stress on me and my wallet. Wish me luck!

I have been in full swing with Christmas crafts. Now I am working on new wreaths for our front windows. I loved our old ones but they just looked worn. I am trying to use cheap Dollar store ones and add to them so they look more like MACY ones...Blog to follow...

I hope everyone has a terrific and safe weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Election and Mental Illness

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I'm going to start this post with some facts about my blog. I post things about my life. I post the good and the bad. I post fun, victories and defeats.  I am not a person who is going to paint all rainbows and butterflies about life. I am a realist. "This is Not Nutcrackin" is about Life and what we expect it to be and what the reality is. I love life and try to be as positive as possible while raising a family, its not exactly what I thought it would be but that's ok. That being said....

I really thought the drama from this election was going to be over by now. I can't believe it has gotten even worse with protesting and even some riots. People being unfriended on Facebook and family members not speaking to one another! Its all so crazy, immature and down right ridiculous!

Through the entire time leading up to the election I chose to keep quiet on Facebook and not put my opinion on any social media. I find it to be a very personal decision based on different things to different people. I respect other peoples opinions and will NOT engage. I DO NOT like conflict!!! I was very proud of myself seeing what people I respected were writing and believing about candidates. So much was just pure ignorance on their part.

As much as I tried to stay out of it, this all changed the day after the election.

My sister lives in Oregon and can be a handful to say the least. Unfortunately, she has a history of being mentally unstable. She is opinionated and thinks her way is the only way. Up until Thursday we managed to have no real communication with one another except through facebook which again I did NOT post about the election. On Thursday early afternoon,  I received a text from her that was the meanest texts I have EVER received to date. It was beyond rational thinking! It was accusing me of siding with a sex offender. It was calling me a racist and a bigot and how dare me allow my girls to vote for such a person!  It went on and on...All of this without really knowing who I or my family voted for. She assumed by seeing some things my girls had shared on facebook but didn't know for sure.

I text back that I loved her regardless of who she voted for and I was very sorry she was misinformed and stated that she had no right to say the things she was saying. (see when you are dealing with an emotionally unstable person you have to be careful not to upset the apple cart more than it already is)

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The fact of the matter is that this is not the first time she has done this to me or others. You never know when they will turn on you and try to make you as miserable as they are. Its so sad to see but you can NOT talk with them in any logical way because you just will NOT be heard.

Sadly the barraging went on and on and ended with her saying that she will, "see me on the other side". OK, good riddance because as much as I love her and want her to be in my life, eventually the craziness takes a toll, not just on me but my entire family. At some point you need to protect you!!

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So this election has brought a lot of emotions to the table for many people. We all have opinions but chances are if someone cuts you from their life, Facebook or whatever they more then likely have BIGGER problems then who you voted for!!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

How to make a Holiday wreath out of a pool noodle

Happy Monday!
I hope you had a great weekend. We had a super relaxing one so I ended up getting a lot of odds and ends done. Slowly I am trying to prepare for the holidays by making wreaths and doing a little bit of shopping also.

Has anyone heard about pool noodle wreaths? You start with a pool noodle or two, some ribbon, decorations, and a glue gun. Super simple and cheap!

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I was lucky we had a couple left over noodles in our garage otherwise they would be hard to find this time of year. If you want to make a big wreath you could put two together. I used Duct tape to hold the two ends together or two put two together to make a circle. 

I LOVE our dollar tree here. They have so many cute decorations to make a wreath and you save a fortune too! I picked up different size and color balls and ribbon. I also went to Walmart and got one pack of more fancy balls and some greens to put in as well. You could use whatever you wanted and make it as fancy as you wanted to.  Altogether I think I used around 55 balls.

First I wrapped the noodle with ribbon that way if there were holes or gaps you couldn't see the noodle. I used a glue gun and started hot gluing the balls to the noodle first, mainly the bigger ones then adding the smaller ones one the inside and outside of the noodle.

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After I situated the balls all around the noodle, I took my greens and stuck them around to fill some gaps and to give it some dimension. I didn't have to glue the greens down because they just pocked
 right into the noodle.

This a tedious but therapeutic project that takes several hours to complete. After about two hours I was finally done, It turned out great and it certainly doesn't look like it started with a pool noodle!

I think the entire project cost around $25. I can't wait to get a matching ribbon and hang in over our fireplace down in our club room! 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Snoopy The Nanny Nurse

Happy Friday!!!

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Has anyone ever heard of the Carl Books? They are the most adorable series of childrens picture books written and illustrated by Alexandra Day. It is about a Rottweiler named Car and a little girl named Madeleine, of whom he takes care of. The illustrations in this near wordless book are exquisite! These were my daughter Kaylee's (now 25) favorite books. She now has her own little boy now that also loves these books.

We have a Carl here at our house in dachshund form. Snoopy, our piebald dachshund thinks he is Jaxson's nanny. I have had dachshunds all my life and typically they are not big baby or kid fans. Don't get me wrong they are very loyal dogs, just unsure of kids and their fast movements.

Since Snoopy was very young we know he was special because anytime someone cried or was sick he would NOT leave their side. We would take him to Nursing Homes to visit the patients and he loved it and they loved him. When Taylor started getting sick, Snoopy would always stay with her and would lay on her stomach as if he knew it was that that was hurting. One time she has a bad case of strep throat and for a couple days he layed on her upper chest by her throat which he has never done before and never did again once she was better from it.

When Jaxson was born we were unsure of how our dogs would react. Snoopy is the youngest of the three dogs and honestly thinks hes a person. He is the type of dog that you forget is a dog if thats possible! Anyway, when Jaxson first came over at 2 days old, Snoopy immediately was curious like any other dog but instantly took the roll of seeing that he is tended to anytime he made a noise. From then on out Snoopy is by Jaxson's side when he is here. When he spends the night or naps, Snoopy is the first one to hear him awake and runs to his door with excitement. Snoopy even knows how to play ball and if Jaxson rolls a ball to him, he will roll it back with his nose.  

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 The other day when I ran into a woman at Walmart with her service dog that was a dachshund. She said they are starting to use dachshunds more and more especially with children that have diabetes. She explained that she has a seizure disorder and her dog warns her before she has one and won't leave her side until she is safe.

Its no surprise that people call dogs,"mans best friend". Now when we ask Jaxson who his best friend is he always says, "Snoopy!" A true faithful friendship!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Easiest Crab Soup EVER

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Now that its getting chilly, I start pulling out my favorite soup recipes. One of my all time favorites is Maryland Crab Soup . This was my moms go to recipe that she got from her mom. Growing up in Maryland, I am a connoisseur of anything with crab, especially soups and crab cakes. When we moved to Pa, I was horrified at what they called "crab cakes"! I guess i'm spoiled that way but that has forced my hand to never order anything crab in Pa.

Mitchell loves my crab soup and requests it every chance he can. For his birthday I made a double batch which hardly fit into a 6.5 qt crock pot! We had it for two nights and its always better the second night! The best part about this recipe, besides the taste, is that it is super easy!

Maryland Crab Soup

Maryland Crab Soup

1 Large Can or bottle of V8 juice
1 large bag mixed veggies (I use Weis brand Lima beans, corn, green beans, okra, peas, carrot blend)
3-4 Large potatoes, cut up
8 oz. lump crab meat (Not claw or canned)
Old Bay to taste (I use several tablespoons)

Put everything in pot or crock pot and cook on stove for at least an hour or crock pot for 4-5 hours on high. Add more old bay then if necessary. Serve with warm crusty bread and a large salad.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

October Online Purchases and Deals

I love to shop Online! I do most of my shopping that way especially at Christmas time and for most of Mitchell's clothes. I find you get better deals, you can compare prices much easier as well as having many more options!
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October was a busy online shopping month for us as a family. I'm sure November and December will be the same with lots of birthdays and the holidays approaching! Jim loves Amazon. He is a big reader so he buys all his books from there. This past month he also bought a iphone 6 finally so he needed a case which he quickly found on Amazon. I started my shopping early in the month at Bath and Body works storing up on all my favorite fall candles and soaps. 
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Next I had to concentrate on Mitchell's Birthday of which I bought all his gifts online. He is obsessed with anything soccer and loves jerseys of which if you can find locally are a fortune, but most you can't. He wanted the new Barcelona and Brazil jersey. For Jerseys or anything soccer I really shop around!, Angelo's soccer corner, which is more of a local store in Pa, Ebay, Amazon and Dick's. I always have Dicks coupons which are $10 off of 50 or $20 off of every 100. For these Jerseys the best deal was at Dick's as they had the Brazil one on sale and since I spend over $200 including a sweatshirt and a USA soccer ball. I ended up saving an extra $40 and of course free shipping. I love a good deal!

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Men's Philadelphia Union adidas Navy Logo Set Pullover Hoodie
Nike Copa America Centenario Skills U.S.A. Mini Soccer Ball - Dick's Sporting Goods

 I also shopped for  Jaxson's second birthday gift. His birthday is November 22 but I like to shop early. ToyRUs, Ebay, or Amazon is where I usually go for toys. I ended up finding a train table at Amazon for under $100. I love this because its not just a train table and he LOVES cars. I can't wait for him to see it!

 Mitchell's indoor soccer season starts in two weeks and of course he has outgrown his indoor soccer shoes. Unlike soccer cleats these can be worn everyday. He is very particular and wanted a certain type that are around $140 or more pretty much everywhere. A good friend of mine uses a site for her kids shoes and other things called The deals seem to good to be true but they are. I got the shoes he likes and wanted for only $53 with NO shipping!

New Elastico Superfly IC Indoor Soccer/Football Shoes  
I have started a little bit of shopping for Christmas. People who are done already make me a nervous wreck because I have soooo much to buy and I panic when others say they are done! I have done a couple things so far. Jim wanted an inflatable Kayak that he saw on Amazon. He never asks for anything so when he mentioned this I jumped at it and got it. Mitchell is still into Legos which is fine with me. He likes the new Star Wars collection. I did manage see one that he needs at BJ's the other day so I got it!  Ok, so i'm on a roll, 2 gifts down 100 to go! YIKES!
\LEGO Star Wars Obi-Wan's Jedi Interceptor 75135
So overall October was a moderate online purchase month but look out the rest of November and December, I am going to be giving my UPS man a run for his money! 

Happy Online Shopping!