Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy Boxing Day

This has been a truly blessed holiday season for us.

The night of the 23rd I took my daughter to see The Nutcracker Ballet and she loved it. It was so nice to see so many pretty little girls all dolled up in their holiday finery enjoying the ballet with their families. I think we may have to do this again next year. Thanks to Groupon for the discounted tickets. Hubby got in some guy time with my son at an indoor swimming pool with slides and a whirlpool.

On the 24th Hubby and the kids delivered cookie tins to our neighbors. It started snowing so we had a wonderful fluffy white Christmas. The kids played and made a snowman. We had a lazy afternoon. I got a nap in. We enjoyed an evening candlelight church service then went in search of something to eat for dinner. Most restaurants were closed and we settled on getting some true junk food from the gas station. While we snacked on hot cocoa and Bugles, Hubby drove us around our neighborhood to check out the holiday lights. Next year I'll make sure to pack pb&j's or something healthier. Oh well, we had a really good time.
Then it was time for lights out and tuck ins and our excited children finally closed their little eyes.

Then Christmas morning we all dashed downstairs to see what was under the tree. I love watching their little faces light up as they opened all their gifts. I'm definitely going to be garage saling for gifts again next year. Big Girl loves the Polly Pocket art stuff I picked up in June. It's among her favorites. We spent the day with my side of the family eating cheese ball, baked beans, deviled eggs, and homemade pie and candy. After we put the kids to bed Hubby and I settled in with a bottle of sparkling wine and the first season of Big Bang Theory. It was truly a great way to end Christmas.

Today we're all still in our jammies. We've snacked on leftover caramel rolls and I just made a pot of ramen noodle soup with veggies. There are no plans and nowhere to go and life is very good.

This week I'll be thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2011.
Happy Holiday Season!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Overstuffed- I Bought Too Much For the Kids

After I had sorted through all the toys and stocking stuffers, it seems I have a wee bit too much.

I decided to save half the stocking stuffers for Easter Baskets and part of the big toys for their birthdays in February rather than give them too much right now.
I'm still working on giving them the right amount that makes for a good Christmas without overdoing it.
It's just so hard when I see so much I'd like to give them. Especially when it's a good deal.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Feeling that Christmassy Feeling.

I have many chores left undone and cookies yet to bake and gifts yet to be delivered.

Yet, I'm smiling because dinner is pretty much done. I'm about caught up on laundry.
My husband is on his way home. My kids are healthy. I'm healthy. All my shopping is done. Most of my wrapping is done. My kids have been pretty well behaved and very loving lately.
And there's only one more day of school and work until Christmas vacation.
All that other stuff will get done. And I'll probably be listening to Christmas music while I do 'em.

Tonight I'm going to be working on:
Making candy out of pretzels and peppermint chips.
Making cookies out of Almond Crescent dough I have in the fridge.
Cleaning the stinky mouse cage
Putting away more laundry.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

I've been squirrelling away stocking stuffers for months. My favorite part of Christmas morning is watching everyone dump their stockings and go through the goodies. I love getting stuff in my stocking too and Hubby and the kids are really good at shopping for me.

Candy (Walgreens had some chocolate figurines on sale for .29 cents in their ad)
Scotch Tape (if you have a little girl like mine who likes to "invent")
Mini staplers/staples
Super Glue- My Hubby loves Lock Tite
String/Twine (for the handy type guy or the inventing child)
Nail Polish
Nail Files
Sharpies (I asked for sharpies this year)
Mini bottles of lotion and bath gel
Hot Wheels or Match Box cars
Polly Pockets (great use of gently used yard sale purchased dolls- bonus is they come with shoes)
Stockpiled McDonalds toys
Lip Balm (plain flavor non shiny for the guys)
Cartoon Band Aids
Tooth brushes
Nuts (my daughter loves pistachios)
Mini liquor bottles (for the adults only, ahem)
Eye glass repair kit
Homemade Scribble Cookies
Homemade Bean Bags
Cd and Dvds (bonus if thrifted, swapa dvd'd, or garage saled)
Hair Clips and Pony Tail Holders
Aquarium stuff like fish pellets, weekend feeder, or chlorine remover for those who have fish
Plant Food Sticks
Seeds for the gardener
Mini Sewing Kits (even the ones you get at nicer hotels)
Laundry Detergent Samples (great for college students)
Favorite Fruit- My Hubby loves mangoes
Pet Nail Clippers for your animal lover

What else could you put in a stocking? Feel free to comment.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What's in the Works- Making Gingery Things in the Kitchen

I'm going to try this recipe for Gingerbread Creamer. If I like it, I might bag up some to give out as neighbor gifts.

I'm also planning on making a pan of these ginger snaps. I like them as a bar cookie and I use half white/half wheat flour. I amp up the ginger a bit for Hubby.

I lucked into some Trader Joe's Sugar Cookie Kits today for .99 cents each on clearance. They come with cutters, frosting, and colored sugars. I think this might round out my Christmas baking. Here's a review of the cookie kit. I dropped off a box for my friend who's stuck at home with sick children who are climbing the walls with boredom. I think I'll use the extra cookie cutters as decoration for the neighbors cookie bags.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Does it make sense?

It's 20 degrees outside. Yet I get so hot in my car with my coat and gloves on, my seat warmer on, and my heater on that I order an iced drink.

Dear Starbucks,
I'm glad I'm not addicted to you because it was almost $5 for a venti iced drink.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I went ahead and ordered drugstore stuff online since the shipping was free. One more reason to stay out of any "marts" until January. And I went thru ebates to get my little $1.25 back.

This evening Big Girl had a soccer game and afterwards I ran thru Save-A-Lot to get a few groceries. When we got home my Mom had made dinner from stuff I didn't remember we had in our pantry. This was awesome because:
1. Yay! I didn't have to make dinner.
2. We ate up stuff we had.
3. Since I bought it, it was stuff I wanted to eat.
Win, Win, Win.
And also, she and Little Guy had made peanut butter cookies. Love you, Mom.

I'm really turned off lately by bloggers that have turned their blogs into money making opportunities and little else. I really don't want to read blogs about things I could buy at Walmart or hear about special trips people got to take to schill something for a company. It's a rant I know. I appreciate people trying to make a living from their blogs but I feel like I'm reading a commercial. Also, if you tell me to sign up for something because you'll get $$$ out of the deal, chances are that if I do sign up for it I'll do it without using your link. Not that I'm against people making money but to me that seems like asking someone out to lunch and then using a 2 for 1 coupon and making the other person pay for their portion. Greed stinks.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I should just do all my Christmas Shopping Online and In Thrift Stores

The title pretty much sums everything up.

Oh, and Walgreens for stocking candy. Because you know, you really can't find good candy at the thrift store. At least not the disgusting Sponge Bob gummy thing I bought for Big Girl.

Anyway, Hubby took the kids to a pajama party Christmas thing at church this morning so Mom and I ducked out for some super not-so-retail therapy.

Our first stop was the Goodwill. All Christmas was half off so naturally I picked up some wrapping paper that I don't really need but I guess wrapping paper is a Christmas gazingus pin for me. I also picked up a few kids books and a Starbucks coffee mug for a quarter. Mom was in the market for a new book or two to read so she picked up two hardbacks. What I really enjoyed was seeing people obviously shopping for presents in the toy and doo dad aisles. One lady in particular was gingerly picking up things and looking them over really well before she placed them in her cart. See, you can be a thoughtful thrift store gifter too!

Then we decided to check out the Feed My People thrift store which is a little country thrift store where volunteers sort and price the merchandise. You can find a lot of needle pointed pillow cases and bits and bobs of ribbon ends bagged together for a quarter. Today they had books for a nickle apiece. And then they rolled out a cart of Sara Lee bread for everyone to take a loaf or two since the pantry had extra bread. It was like we won the lottery! I bought new packages of Christmas ribbon and stocking stuffers of new glitter and a tonka truck for a quarter a apiece.
I picked up a copy of The Tao of Physics for my nerd husband or one of his nerd friends. For a Nickel! I passed by a complete set of Hot Wheels track, a bag full of Noah's Ark figurines, and other great toys. I just didn't need any more big presents. I spent about $7 but bought a lot of stuff. I could have bought our kids entire Christmas (minus gross Sponge Bob candy) for less than $20 today.
My Mom spent 45 cents on book and left with two loaves of bread. I think she was quite tickled.

Maybe next year I'll do the bulk of my shopping at Goodwill and Feed My People.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Run Through Target

I wasn't planning on shopping today but after a visit to the pediatrician with Big Girl, the dr. advised I give her half a tab of generic zantac for her upset tummy. She is cleared to go to school on Monday unless some other illness befalls her. Yay!

Off to Target we go.

We tried to hurry through the store but we all know December makes for stupid slow shopping.

We bought-
Generic zantac
Bag of pine shreds for the mouse
Box of Morningstar bacon (our favorite snack of late)
$1 box of Fiddle Faddle to stretch the Mail Carriers gift. I spent $3 total on the gift.

I had a coupon for $1.50 off of three Market Pantry items so I picked up:
Can of mixed nuts (to go into the adopted family box)
Microwave Popcorn (adopted family)
Peanut Butter

My total was $20. Now if I can just stay out of any stores until grocery day it will all be good.
Perhaps I will be one of those people who gets up at the crack of dawn to shop at WalMart before the rest of the world is awake. At least until January.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Deals for Your Tiny Train Enthusiasts.

We're lucky enough to have a Whittle Shortline train store just a few minutes away. I've only bought a few of their wooden trains, but I can tell you that the quality is great.

Right now they have a sale on some of their Christmas train stuff. If you're still looking for a Christmas present for a small train enthusiast, you could still score a good deal on these American made wooden trains. The set pictured above in on sale for $20.00. If you've ever priced wooden Thomas trains then you know this is a good deal.

Guess What I Did?

I went into K-Mart today with Mom and I left empty handed.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Housework Waits For No Mom

Day two and a half of Big Girl being home with me. She's had an upset stomach. She's been a real joy to deal with and didn't even complain when I pulled out some workbooks for her to work on today. I also picked up her homework packet from school. I doubt she'll be as uncomplaining when those get pulled out tonight. I did get her to take some pepto bismol so hopefully she'll be feeling better soon.

My Mom is coming today and my house is a complete disaster.

One thing after another is breaking down in our home.
Hubby installed my new dishwasher on Tuesday. Yay for clean dishes!
On Wednesday my dryer started acting funny and not drying right. Hubby fixed it this morning by jiggling things around.
This morning our downstairs toilet is backed up.
Just one little annoying thing after another. No big deal.

I started reading Room by Emma Donoghue. I really don't want to put it down even though I need to go clean the kid's bathroom and work on my son's bed sheets for my Mom's visit. It's been so long since I have read a good book, I'm really looking forward to getting into it.

I scheduled a charity pick up for our stock piled donations that are taking up valuable real estate in our living area. Goodbye Wiggles Christmas videos. Little Guy has finally outgrown you. (can I get an amen?)

Gotta get upstairs and get my vinegar and baking soda cleaning on.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Making Merry Despite It All

I finally got a call today declaring that I do indeed have an adopted Christmas family to shop for. The drop off is in less than a week.
I ignored those initial feelings of being put upon at such a late date. I signed up for this after all. So I put on my shoes, packed my jacket with tissues, and set out to shop for my adopted family.

I spent $88 on food at Aldi to round out what I'd already stock piled. It adds up so fast. I never spend that much on ourselves at Aldi. But, this food is supposed to last for two weeks and I have to shop with the impression of an empty pantry. I also bought a winter coat for the three year old on the family list.

Now, this past week I have been the definition of dumpy. I wear a pair of sweats daily. My face has not seen make up since last Monday. I don't want to put lipstick on these cracked and chapped lips. And I really need to visit my hairdresser for a color and a cut. My hair is a sad mess being kept only slightly in check by both a barrette and a ponytail. So, in essence I'm not exactly feeling pretty lately.

That didn't help when I lumbered into the very packed toy aisle of Target (at 1 pm on a Tuesday, people!) looking for a tonka truck for my "adopted" 3 year old. Every single one of the women there had on makeup, had their hair done up, were wearing nice coats, and had a snarl of entitlement and grouch on their face. They looked good but they acted bad. Pretty much my opposite today. I kept my chin up even though it was hard. I picked out a nice little Tonka dump truck for his toy.

That is my last holiday purchase of 2010. I will let myself off the hook and declare what I have bought as enough.

The house is an ultra disaster after a week of barely doing anything other than coughing, wheezing, groaning and moving from the couch to the bed. I'm trying to ignore it. It will get done eventually when I have more time and feel better.

I've got beer bread in the oven and a package of soup that just needs the addition of water. Dinner is taken care of.

My Mom will be here tomorrow and things are looking up.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Limping But Going Nonetheless

Sometimes things just need to be done.

Fed and watered the dog. Timed it an it took less than a minute for both.

Unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. The sink was full of nastiness. No longer.

Folded the cold and forgotten load of laundry in the dryer and found another day of reprieve from naked children. There were outfits for both of them to wear tomorrow included in the pile.
Gathered all dirties from the downstairs and did that load. Hubby's in luck. He now has a few pairs of clean socks for work this week. Wondering why so many of Hubby's dirty socks ended up downstairs?

Had Little Guy help me spread out the quilt under the tree for a skirt.
Wrapped two Christmas presents and stuck them under the tree.

Looked up a recipe for Sweet Potato Pie because I have a lot of sweet potatoes to use up. I think I'll make one to eat and one to freeze for Christmas. Do I bake them before or after I freeze them?

For Dinner Hubby's reheating Egg Foo Young leftovers from our lunch out yesterday. I felt good for a few hours and really wanted to get out of the house and enjoy a hot bowl of soup.

Yesterday we also took care of getting that Brownie exchange ornament at Cracker Barrel yesterday since it was next door to the Chinese restaurant we ate lunch at. We found a pretty one on the 40% rack for $1.74 and had it wrapped there. It's much nicer than I could have done myself.

Can't Wait To Get Started

The virus has turned into a head cold. I'm not complaining although I want to. Mostly I'm starting to feel annoyed that I am so behind.
I got by last week because I had all our laundry caught up and put away and our grocery shopping done. Well, this week there are piles of dirty clothes to wash and we're starting to run low on food stuff.
I just want to be healthy again. My family isn't functioning so well with me not functioning so well.
Maybe tomorrow I'll wake up as Super Mom.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Why will my boy child refuse to eat good homemade food I've made and happily eat from a loaf of old bread that I've thrown in the trash?

Food waste seems to occur with sickness or busyness around here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sitting here alone with my cocoa

Hubby and I share most everything. And now he has passed down his nasty virus that kept him home from work all of last week. Yay!

I'm feeling a bit better little by little. Being home with the four year old was beginning to wear me thin though. I sent Hubby and the kids out for dinner tonight. And now I am missing my family and don't feel good enough to do any chores that have been piling up or any Christmas cards or present wrapping. I did about three Christmas cards today before I gave up because it was making me snarly. Not the right mood to address Christmas cards.

I'm hoping tomorrow is better. I plan on sleeping in tomorrow. The past two nights I have been up between 4:30 and 5:00 feeling miserable. I'd take a pill and then fall blissfully back asleep for half an hour before the dingity danged alarm clock went off and ruined my happiness. Children must be fed and sent to school no matter how crumby I feel. But, tomorrow morning is mine! Muahhahhhha.

I'm glad I did a shop till you drop earlier in the week right now. We have plenty of food and I am done shopping for gifts. I ended up just buying Little Debbie holiday cakes for the trash and recycling guys but since I don't actually know who they are or have a personal relationship with them, I feel that is acceptable.

I haven't heard back from the food pantry about adopting a family yet and I'm starting to worry. I started stockpiling food stuffs. If I don't hear back by next week I'll just make a lump donation to them and consider that my holiday good deed. I also have a lot of donations to make to their thrift store. So, they can make a bit of money from my donations and get out the food that I bought for the adopted family.

My kids have a date with Santa tomorrow morning. I guess I do need to get up early enough to comb the snarls out of Big Girls hair and put a bow in for her. I'm hoping they don't ask for something that I haven't already bought for them because they won't get it because I am done done done shopping.

Today I did find out that I have to bring a new ornament for a gift exchange at the next Brownie meeting. The kids got their yearly ornaments from Cracker Barrel this year for .99 cents. They have free gift wrapping so maybe I'll take Big Girl there to check them out. The ornaments have to be new with tags so I can't gift one of the cute salt dough ornaments that we made in November. They are now gracing our Christmas tree.

And now I'm going to lay on the couch like a slug and think about all the chores that are going undone and wishing my annoying wonderful family would come back because I miss them.
Tomorrow is a new day, dang it.