December 30, 2008


...that's my 'word' for 2009.
I'll be doing Ali Edward's "One Little Word..can make a BIG Difference!"

see: This link for One Little Word

Make each moment...MEANINGFUL.
Make each word...MEANINGFUL.
Make each thought...MEANINGFUL.
Make each action...MEANINGFUL.
Make Life....MEANINGFUL.

lazy town....

I know that's the name of a kid's show, but that pretty much describes our family after Christmas....and we like it!

Wii, I mean 'We' have done basically nothing. and 'nothing' is a good thing. relaxing, watching 4 seasons of NCIS, a plethora of cookies now missing, kids playing with toys, the Wii Fit marathon, family night every night, snuggling with the pugs, laptops lit up and active, chatting with family and friends, hoagies from LaSpadas for lunch! Only thing missing is the SNOW!!!

Now, this is the time we really cherish...down time.

Tomorrow night is New Years Eve. We'll be ringing in 2009 as a family.
Here's hoping you and yours are happy, healthy and enjoying life!

December 24, 2008

Dear Santa...

I wrote this a few years ago....

Dear Santa,

What's the deal? Are you planning on bringing me some gifts I can actually use this year or am I going to have to get Mid-Evil on your jolly rump again? Haven't I proven to you that I have been a good girl? Being a Mom isn't as easy a job as you think it would be, ya' know. Just yesterday I managed to wash, dry, and fold 3 loads of laundry while performing my many talents of Dish Hurling, Vomiting Baby Wiper, Toddler Chasing 101, Cat Juggling, and Tap Dusting (that's when you tap dance and dust at the same time). Not to mention my other abilities such as; Multi Tasking (a performance only done by women), Grocery Jedi Master, and Grand Prix Race Car Chauffer.

I don't ask for too much, Santa. I just want you to be aware that if you want all of the good things I do to continue...fork over the presents!!! It's just that simple.

My wish list includes:

1. A new body...not a Barbie body, just a new one that doesn't tire out as quickly, doesn't have any jiggly-wiggly parts attached, and can fit into any buttoned, zipped or spandex article of clothing and not look like a rump roast ready to explode.

2. A Maid. Yes, that's right...I said a Maid! I don't care if she's Merry or not...just as long as she can clean like the wind and looks like an ugly man in drag. This gift is for me, not for my husband. Got it?

3. My own bed. My husband can get his own. I just want this bed all to myself. I dream...well, I at least day dream of what it would be like to have the covers all to myself, be able to roll over and not fall out of bed, wake up refreshed for once, and not feel the morning 'salute' from my husband.

4. A Bull Horn. Since I have children who apparently fell deaf over the past few years, I will need this device to be able to communicate 'effectively' on a daily basis.

5. A Tape Recorder with a built in Stun Gun. I have a husband who says: "You never told me that!" This device should resolve any future memory losses.

6. And last but not least...a few stocking stuffers like my old hair color back. (I can't remember the original color, but anything that isn't grey, frizzy or falling out will do). Oh...and perfect eyesight. Having the Optometrist say that I have 'Geriatric Eyes' made me want to find my nutcracker and practice my golf grip on him. Go figure.

That's it Santa! I know it seems like a bit much, but I deserve it. If you hesitate to bring me the fore mentioned items I'll be forced to show you my unpleasant side and call in for backup. I have a few angry woman friends who would be willing to help me kick a fat man's butt just for the heck of it!

I am counting on you being a smart Elf.


December 23, 2008

waiting for Santa...

May the joys of Christmas be with you and yours and through the New Year! From our family to yours...Christmas Blessings.

December 22, 2008

The Legend of the Christmas Spider

Once upon a time in Germany long ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year - the day on which the Christ child was to come and bring the gifts on Christmas Eve. Not a speck of dust was left. Even the spiders had been banished from their cozy corner in the ceiling. To avoid the housewife's
busy cleaning, they finally fled to the farthest corner of the forgotten attic.

Twas Christmas Eve at last; the tree was decorated, and the children delighted. But the poor spiders were frantic, for they could not see the tree, nor be present for the Christ Child's visit. But the oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could peep through the crack in the door and see Him. Silently they crept out of their attic, and across the floor to wait in the crack on the threshold.

Suddenly, the door opened a wee bit, and quickly the spiders sneaked into the room. The tree towered so high they couldn't see the ornaments on top. In fact, their eyes were so small they could see only one ornament at a time. They scurried up the trunk, out along each branch, filled with a happy wonder at the glittering beauty. Every place they went they left a trail of dusty, gray web. When at last they had inspected every bit of the Christmas tree, it was shrouded in a dusty gray of spider webs.

The Christ Child smiled as he thought of the happy spiders seeing His tree. But as he thought of how brokenhearted the mother would be over the dusty tree, He reached out His hand and touched the webs and blessed them. They all turned to shimmering, sparkling silver and gold. The tree glistened in greater beauty than ever before.

And so it became a custom to have a spider among other decorations on the Christmas tree.


****BTW....My Husband, James actually makes these ornaments. ****

December 21, 2008

oh starbucks, how you tempt thee...

Cranberry Bliss Bars

photos from: good eats blog

1 cup butter , softened
1-1/4 cups light brown sugar , packed
3 eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla or orange extract
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups All Purpose flour
3/4 cup diced dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks
2 tbsp candied ginger, minced

4 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat Neufchatel cheese)
3 cups powdered sugar
4 tsp lemon juice or 2 tsp orange extract (I used 4 tsp orange juice)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup diced dried cranberries

Drizzled Icing
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk
2 tsp vegetable shortening
orange zest , garnish (optional)
(Instead of this icing, I used melted white chocolate instead - approximately 2 ounces of chocolate with 1/4 tsp shortening)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt; beat well. Gradually mix in flour until smooth.

Mix 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries and white chocolate into the batter by hand. (If using the candied ginger, add it during this step.)

Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13-inch baking pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. Let cool.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.

When the cake has cooled, spread frosting over the top of cake. Sprinkle top with diced cranberries.

Icing: Whisk powdered sugar, milk, and shortening. Drizzle icing over cranberries in a sweeping motion or use a pastry bag with a fine tip.
(Alternatively, melt the white chocolate and shortening in a ziploc bag on low heat in the microwave. Cut a small hole in the corner of the ziploc bag and drizzle chocolate over the top of the cake.)

Allow cake to sit for several hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally, creating 16 triangular slices.

Yield: 16 servings.


December 17, 2008

December 11, 2008

all i want for christmas...

Italian Night Before Christmas...

Twas the night before Christmas,
Da whole house was mella,
Not a creature was stirrin',
Cuz I had a gun unda da pilla.

When up on da roof
I heard somethin' pound,
I sprung to da window,
To scream, "YO! Keep it down!"

When what to my
Wanderin' eyes should appear,
But da Don of all elfs,
And eight friggin' reindeer!

Wit' slicked back black hair,
And a silk red suit,
don Christopher wuz here,
And he brought da loot!

Wit' a slap to dare snouts,
And a yank on dare manes,
He cursed and he shouted,
And he called dem by name.

"Yo Tony, Yo Frankie,
Yo Vinny, Yo Vito,
Ay Joey, Ay Paulie,
Ay Pepe, Ay Guido!"

As I drew out my gun
And hid by da bed,
He flew troo da winda
And slapped me 'side da head.

"What da heck you doin'
Pullin' a gun on da Don?
Now all you're gettin' is coal,
You friggin' moron!"

Den pointin' a fat finga
Right unda my nose,
He twisted his pinky ring,
And up da chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh,
Obscenities screamin',
Away dey all flew,
Before he troo dem a beatin'.

Den I heard him yell out,
What I did least expect,
"Merry Friggin' Christmas to all,
And yous better show some respect!"

December 9, 2008

Clothespin Santa & Mrs. Clause...

Carson and I spent a few hours one day last week making these. We have more 'bodies' ready for clothing, but have been doing a plethora of other Christmas crafts, so they'll be worked on later. Just wanted to share this.

cookie photos...

from the other day...

December 8, 2008

A Christmas get-to-know-you....

I got this off Chris Jenkins' blog and thought it was a fun survey:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper for that traditional look. My twist on gift bags is to use containers or tins that are part of the gift and wrap with a cellophane bag and add an ornament to the bow.

2. Real or Artificial tree? Going ‘Green’ means to reuse the artificial tree each year….it’s also less mess and easier.

3. When do you put up the tree? The night before Thanksgiving. It’s a family tradition. We play Christmas music, the kids wear Santa Hats and decorate the tree, as I snap photos.

4. When do you take the tree down? New Years Night. I like a clean start to the new year.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, but being Lactose intolerant, I can’t have it anymore. Wah!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Donny Osmond album!

7. Hardest person to buy for? James. He never gives me enough ideas and is hard to surprise.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Carson. She loves everything you give her.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? I did, but it broke, so next year I plan on getting the Fisher Price one, because I know Porter will play with it, so make it plastic and we’ll always have it.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, of course! We add a yearly newsletter to those we haven’t seen in awhile and some years we do a family photo.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Nothing at all.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? PRANCER.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually once Fall season starts and I’m usually done by Cyber Monday. I do most of my shopping online w/ free shipping, but always get stocking stuffers in person.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? NO, but a gift bag, yes.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Our homemade Sugar Cookies.

16. Lights on the tree? As a child, I loved colored lights. As an adult, I prefer white.

17. Favorite Christmas songs? The Christmas Song- by Nat King Cole, Thankful- by Josh Groban, Baby it’s Cold Outside- by James Taylor and Natalie Cole, All I Want for Christmas- by Danny Kay and the Andrew Sisters, Santa Baby- by Eartha Kitt, and Marshmallow World- by Johnny Mathis.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay HOME!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Stained glass looking, plastic Angel.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning only.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The economy.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Anything handmade. I especially love the ornaments my children have made in school with their photos.

24. Real Reason for Christmas? Celebrate the birth of Christ and show love, compassion and giving of one’s self for one another.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? SNOW!!!

December 7, 2008

baking sugar coookies...

Our family Christmas tradition w/ the kids. (photos will be added tomorrow).

We have such a fun time listening to Christmas music and rolling out dough, using cookie cutters, baking and frosting and sprinkling on sugars and other decorations....then eating some of them, yum!

Here's my recipe:

The Best Sugar Cookies (from Peg Graham)

1 rounding cup shortening
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp of each lemon and vanilla extract

and this important step:

1 c. buttermilk- (add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 c. milk to make buttermilk)
1 tsp baking soda, (dissolve in buttermilk mixture)

Mix well, and then Add:
6 cups flour....add a little more until you get a good dough- like consistency. Roll out (on the thick side) on a floured surface, cut with large cookie cutters and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 not burn!

Cool and Frost....Makes 8 dozen cookies

The Best Cookie Frosting (from Peg Graham)

1/4 c. Crisco shortening
2 c. confectioners sugar (sifted)*Add More if needed...keep tasting it.
1 tsp almond extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk....or more according to thickness.

Mix and chill, then spread on cookies and let dry. YUMMY!!!!

I won a major award!!!


Sandy Herwig tagged me with this Fabulous Blog Award!

The rules of this award are:

1. You have to pass it on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.
2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.
3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.


Instructions: On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then "add image" it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as well. To add it to your sidebar, add the "picture" gadget. Also, don't forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.


I am choosing 5 Fabulous Bloggers:
(who make me wanna read their blogs again and again!)

1. Sherelle Christensen- My Crazy Life- I love her farm life, photos, recipes and fabulous scrapbook layouts. She is so talented and has a plethora of ideas. She can sew, do fun hairstyles, bake with love, craft and take wicked awesome photos. I always enjoy reading her blog.

2. Amanda Blake Soule- SouleMama- This woman is an amazing, talented mother, writer and woman. Anyone who reads her blog has to come away totally inspired.

3. Ali Edwards- {A}- Ali is my Memories Guru. Ali has such simple, fun ideas in scrapbooking. Right now I am following her December Daily album and doing one of my own!

4. Heather D. White- {unwrapped}- What a fun blog to read! Heather is super talented and shares such fun girlfriend and family get togethers on her blog.

5. Alicia Paulson- posie gets cozy- Crafty, Classy, Creative and Caring. I get many ideas from reading her blog. She helps remind me that it's the little things in life that matter most.


5 Fabulous Addictions of mine:

1. Meeting new people- I belong to several MeetUp groups...Autism, Pugs, Yarn, I just love meeting new people and making friends.

2. Pugs- I have 2 adorable pugs; Yoda McLovin' and Yuka McButtercup...and about to adopt Pug #3. They fill our home with love and joy. Pugs are like potato can't have just one!

3. Crafts- I scrapbook, stamp, photography, bead a little, paint a little, make stitch markers for my new Yarn addiction- crocheting and soon to be knitting. I make crafts with my kids and find it very rewarding and relaxing.

4. Baking- I am a baker at heart. I am excited right now, because it's the season to bake cookies. My kids love this month as well, because we all bake together...and eat the cookies together too!

5. Sushi- I can never get enough and rarely get to eat sushi. My husband, James and I go out on lunch and dinner dates and always wind up at Domo in Norfolk for some awesome sushi.


Enjoy your award ladies! You are FABULOUS! Can't wait to read your Fabulous addictions!

December 6, 2008

waiting on the pug...

the lady with the pug didn't call my brother back...hoping she will today. Her husband had us contact his wife, since he's out of the state....a few more emails and phone calls and hopefully we'll get our little pug this weekend.

button flowers...

Carson and I adore the button flowers Glenni made us awhile back, so we played all day the other we need to purchase a plethora of buttons and make even more. Carson said it was something she could do with me and relax and have fun making them. we will do more this weekend, I think.

December 5, 2008

on the fifth day of christmas....

my brother gave to me....

a new pug for our family!!!!

1 russian turtle, 2 silly pug dogs, 3 cranky kitties,
and now....

(works better if you sing it out loud, eh?)

November 29, 2008

animal jungle...

Today we took the kids to Animal Jungle, so Cameron could buy a few items for his Russian Tortoise, 'Sheldon'. They had a blast and now want to make it a monthly family visit.

Here's some of the animals we saw:

trimming the tree...

(We did this on Wednesday night before Thankgiving, but I just remembered to post it).

Every year James sets up the tree with lights, the kids do all the decorating, we play Christmas music and I take all the photos. This year my camera was having some major lighting issues, so the photos have been turning out bad...ok, ok, really I still NEED to work on my indoor/lowlight photography skills...ugh.
But, on the plus side...the kid's tree turned out cute and we all had a great time.