Sunday, January 30, 2011

And so it begins....

Yesterday morning after I recovered from morning bootcamp, I ventured over to our local little league down the street, and signed up our youngest for T-ball. I can't not stress enough to you how weird that was, as it doesn't feel that long ago that I was spending my years on the ball field. Ok so maybe it has been a long time in reality, but walking in and filling out the form made me feel OLD. Seriously I almost cried. She's going to be five next Sunday. FIVE! Time needs to slow down. So... I don't know if baseball/softball will be her thing, as it was mine, but I'm pretty excited, and she is too.

This morning I took her to Target on a mission. She needed some new school shoes, and I ended up letting her pick out a helmet and bat bag for T-ball. My dad always bought me a helmet as needed, and when he coached he bought every player on the teams their own helmets, because... well helmet sharing can be gross. He even personalized them with our names and uniform numbers. He wasn't about to let us become victims of lice and other cooties. So the very thought of my little girl sharing a helmet gives me the shakes. Laura picked out the pink one, (who could blame her, I totally wish we had the cute colors when I played), and I let her get a pink Easton bat bag as well. She has a glove already, and closer to the season we will get her some cleats (no need to get that now in case her feet grow). Dave's parents are getting her a bat for her birthday, so she will be all good to go! I can't get over that she's going to be old enough to play. This makes me way too emotional.

Valentine's Day door decoration....

First of all I can not take credit for this. I saw this on a friends facebook page and thought it would be a blast to do with the kids. So props for my friend for the inspiration!

I drew a large heart on some cardboard (I used part of the box that the smoker I got Dave for his birthday came in). I then cut out the heart. I took pink and white tissue paper because that is what I had (my friend used pink and red), and cut them into small squares. Don't sweat the size or making them perfect as it doens't matter. Then using glue sticks, and some Elmer's (my girls had to all have their own glue), we bunch up the tissues and started sicking them on close together, and worked until it was covered. To be honest by 3 year old and 2 year old grew tired of it after a little bit, so Laura and I finished it up. After it dried I secured a ribbon with packing tape to the back, and we hung it on the door. The girls think it's so pretty, and I am excited to have another Valentine's Day decoration that we all helped make. I might attempt this with a clover for St. Patricks Day.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Upcoming Menu:

In my attempt to be accountable for my menu planning I will try my very hardest to post my weeks line ups on here...If I try something new or groundbreaking I will share the family's verdicts...

Sunday- Left overs. Totally didn't see that coming did you? I made the kiddos stuffed pasta shells, and we have a ton left over, I also a few other items tucked away, so we will have a variety of items to choose from, if no one else is feeling them. The pasta shells are something new I just tried, the receipe came from the pasta shell box, very easy.

Monday- Smoked honey mustard pork chops from:

Tuesday- Beef Taco's (not very ground breaking, but we go wild for them)

Wednesday- Sloppy Joes from Pioneer Woman-

Thursday- Chicken Enchilada's- this is something that I make a lot, and I cook the chicken in the crock pot, it's easy peasy, I am pretty sure I have blogged this one way back when.

Friday- Apple Butter Pork chops: This is something new, and I am going to make it with a few modifications

as for the weekend I am leaving that open for leftovers or if we go out, or have to move around the schedule for something that comes up....


Friday, January 28, 2011

Favorite Things...

It's been probably forever that I have done a favorite things post, and since I am not sure what else to write about, I will just go with that.

1. A cool website I just finally got into, after signing up a while back is I am in a reading kick right now, and it's been really cool to discover new books, and see other friends reading lists. I also just joined a book club, and we had our first meeting yesterday in which we picked the books, and chose our hosting month for the next year. I am excited to add those books to my goodreads, and get cracking on them. Side note, the book club has me more excited then Christmas.

2. Another cool website I found as a budgeting tool is Dave and I have attempted to run budgets in our head, but this website really helps you lay everything out, and organize it for you. You can also set goals and watch yourself meet them. I have attempted excel budget programs before and they were always a pain in the butt, but this is just so easy, and has us excited to work towards goals. You can also see at a glance how much you are spending at specific places, which can be really eye opening. Damn you Chickfila! I totally recommend this website to people who are trying to save.


3. My IPAD. I got this for Christmas, and I AM IN LOVE. It's fun to use this rather then my laptop when I am on facebook. Also it's cool to take into the kitchen when you are trying to follow a recipe. It's also been super for the kids. We have downloaded some apps that have children's books on them, learning game, some "pop out" books that are interactive, and they love the Elmo Monster Maker app. One thing we are careful about is to supervise them with the Ipad, (so I don't end up freaking out). We make them take turns and sit down. We also make sure to put it up out of their reach at other times, so someone can't swipe it or try to use it without us. Another favorite of ours is the Yahtzee game, that Dave and I get pretty competitive with. I also use it some for reading as it has a the basic ibook app, kindle app, or nook app, depending what your a fan of (I use the kindle app). It's just been a family favorite, and if the thing wasn't so darn expensive I would want them for the kids, and then of course need a foam cover or something lol.

4. Lands End - I know they have been around forever, but seriously, their items have really become a lot more stylish, especially their Lands End Canvas line. They always have good sales, and their stuff is just excellent quality, and is 100% guaranteed. Great tote bags, great kids clothing, etc etc.


5. Fitness boot camps- This seems to be a big trend in our area, and I am guessing it's growing everywhere else too. Basically, there are several outdoor bootcamps, and kick boxing classes that a woman who pretty much looks like Wonder Woman, runs in the local area. I just did a kick boxing class of hers, and I just did a bootcamp session tomorrow for one hour. I am seriously ending my gym membership, and planning to just go to these classes, as I am totally getting more out of her sessions then I do when I work out at the gym. Through out her classes I am usually cussing inside my head, and let one or two slip out, and swear I will never come back, but afterward, I know it's helping a lot, and promise to come back.


6. Suave's Professional Series Sleek Shampoo and Conditioner- It is a pain in the butt to spend a lot on something that you just wash down the drain, but you want something that works, and makes your hair feel healthy. Also, my freaking husband will not keep his hands on my shampoo bottle, and for some reason he has a need to use gobs when he hardly has any hair. He's the same way with soap, it's crazy! So in an effort to find something cheaper I gave this brand a whirl, and funny enough I have received more hair complements lately now that I am using something really cheap, then when I have used more expensive products. Don't get me wrong, I still use Morrocon oil, I will not give that up, but a bottle lasts forever, and thankfully my husband leaves that alone.


7. Le Creuset Dutch Oven- I have two of these babies now. One came from Tuesday morning, and the other from TJMAXX. They tend to get a lot of those items in, which makes me question why anyone would pay full price at Williams and Sonoma? Crazy. Anyways I have a smaller oval shaped one, and a large normal one. They have been fantastic to cook in. I have done soups and meats in it, and I love them. I also love that you can put them in the dishwasher. I am trying to convert my baking dishes over to this brand as well because it gives you the same great even heating like my Pampered Chef bakeware, but I can wash it in the dish washer. That's one thing that super sucks with PC stoneware. So far I only have a 9x9 Le Cresuet baking dish (another TJMAXX find), but it's been heaven.


8. Pioneer Woman- This woman has pretty much just rocked my world. I have tried gobs of her recipes and everything I make from her is always a big hit. Her step by step instruction has helped me not be cooking retarded, which has just led to help build my confidence in the kitchen. Seriously just the other day I was thinking about my cooking skills when we first got married. Um yeah... I didn't quite know what the hell I was doing. I guess I was just a product of having Martha Stewart as a mom. She did it all, and I was a lazy ungrateful brat. So sorry! I guess sometimes we get pay backs times three huh? So back to PW. I just made her pico and guacamole for Dave's party, and it's been pretty much life changing. It's totally better then my favorite mexican restaurants make at the table side guacamole. Honestly I need to go ask Sr. Paco if he wants to hire me.

9. My holy Trinity of Shopping- TJMAXX, Target, and Costco. I could very well get by with out any other stores. TJMAXX has great clothing for the whole family, great house hold items, and adorable cheap holiday decorations. Target also has cutesy cheap items, AND I am loving their coupons on the website. They really come in handy. Costco, is a love for food items, all of our birthday cakes, some clothing, and other interesting finds. I get my pictures developed here, birthday cards that I make with my CM digital program, and it's fun to grab a bite to eat with their $1.50 hotdog combo.

10. My public library- I can burn through books like it's my job. I thought I was so clever buying books cheaper at Costco, or downloading them on the Kindle. I still might buy one or two a year, and I might download if I have a gift card, or I just simply can't wait, but I now use the library for just about all my reading needs. I love how I can go online, reserve a book, and then just walk in and pick it up from the front desk. I will be using the library for my book club needs.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another year older...

Yesterday was my husbands birthday, and the poor guy celebrated his birthday in a house of sick kiddos...Last week our middle child had strep throat, and over the weekend the other two girls were sniffly, but by Monday they needed to see the doctor.... Crazy enough they tested positve for the flu...I was going to cancel the party for Dave, but I made the mistake of letting Laura hear me say that, and she got upset (my kids live for birthday parties/cake), so we went through with it, but gave warning.... Sounds awful, but honestly the kids slept through the whole thing except for the cake part, and I worked hard to sanatize the house before hand....Those who were afraid of germs had the option to stay home.

So... despite sickness drama 2011, Dave had a nice birthday. I got him an electric smoker that he was begging for (scored a good deal online, and got to use woohoo). He better smoke me a ton of ribs with it.... We had a taco bar, which was really easy to do, and I made some homemade guacamole and pico from my hero Pioneer Woman.

Today I am making sure the kids take it easy, and I am trying to keep Rachel away from the other two, so she doesn't pick up the flu. My chances are slim to none, but I gotta make the effort.

In off the topic news, if you enjoy reading you have to check out it's really a neat way to keep track of what you read, get recommendations of books you would like to read, check out reviews etc. If you sign up (it's free) friend me! I have already made a list of book that I must read! Oh I also joined a real live book club! Not through but through some friends in the junior leauge! A book club ranks up there with me wanting to find a bunco group...We are meeting for the first time this week to pick out the books, and pick months to host, but this has been pretty exciting.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dish Pantry

I was reading one of my mom's Paula Dean magazines, and my girl Paula wrote an article about the dish pantry. I think I have only heard them called butler pantry's, but essentially, that is what the pantry is, it's a place to store all your serving pieces, and other large kitchen related items. Paula wrote about how they were in every home back in the day, and then you just didn't hear about them anymore, but that now they are making a comeback. Paula has a nice one as you can only imagine, and she went on to share a story about some of the dishes in it, and apparently each issue this year will showcase something from her dish pantry.

Pantry's in general are not around much anymore. It's sad really. I know my great grandmother had a huge pantry, and my own mom has a nice one, but generally people turn part of their cabinets into a pantry, or if your like me you have a small closet filled to the gills with stuff that's non pantry related. In our "pantry" I store our vacuum, some BB gun riffles, and some of the kids art work, that I can't throw away, but don't exactly know what to do with it. There might be a few food items, but the majority of my real pantry items are in a lazy susan cabinet by my stove.

Of course when we were building our house I wasn't concerned about a nice big pantry, my main worry was making sure we had a huge bath tub. and that we could hurry up and just get in the house. I just didn't care about things like I do now. Now don't get me wrong, I like my kitchen, but man I just love the idea of a huge food pantry, and more room for dishes.

I made something last night that had my kiddos thinking I was a super hero. I made up some Pioneer Woman pizza dough on Friday, and decided to make pepperoni rolls with the dough Saturday for a fun dinner. It was pretty freaking easy, and I don't know why I never tried it before... All I did was roll out the dough in a big rectangle shape, then pile on some shredded cheese an pepperoni. I then rolled it up, and then using a knife, cut the roll in 2 inch pieces. I then placed them on greased baking pans. I had some Italian seasoning, so I sprinkled that on top of the rolls, and then baked them on 500 degrees until they looked done... maybe 20 minutes or so.

The picture I took was when they first went in the oven, forgot the whole after picture, BUT the girls and husband simply loved them, and we even have a few left over to have for lunch today. This will be something I can see mysef making for fast dinners when we have a lot going on and need something FAST.

In non-cooking news our city had a pass they gave out for free to all the area museums, that we picked up a few weeks ago, so we took advantage of doing a few things this weekend. Two of the places are 2 miles away from our house. Friday I took the girls to the Peninsula Fine Art Center. We went back directly to the kids area (it's a back room devoted to letting kids create some art work). The girls colored, drew on the chalk board wall, made some beaded bracelets, etc). I then attempted to look at some of the art work with them in the galleries, but that didn't go so well lol. This museum has some local art, but they also get in some big name items... Currently they had an Andy Warhol, and Emily get reaching for it, so we got the heck out of there. That's all I need, is for us to damage some million dollar item... Sorry kids, no college education for you.

Saturday we went back out to the Mariner's Museum, which is right next door to the PFAC. This was pretty cool, and had really grown since I had last been there, which I guess was 11 years ago. Emily spent the whole time screeching "boat" whenever she saw one, and wanting to touch all of them. I have to say I enjoyed seeing both of those places, and I feel really bad that they are so close to our house but we never go. I am going to have to change that, or at least take advantage of the free deals once a year.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Menu planning...or at least thinking about it...

I am attempting to menu plan this week. I hate taking the time to do it, but it sure beats pondering all day what to cook, and then having to make last minute trips to the grocery store, or just throwing my hands in the air and called for pizza to be delievered. I am not sure if I mentioned it, in our vacation recap post, but on our way to and from we stopped at a little store in Stuarts Draft, VA called The Cheese Shop. This is an adorable Amish Style bulk foods store. They have a small deli section, but the main draw of the store is their bulk spices and other bulk items. The deals are AMAZING. If you are not driving through you can order from their website but I really encourage anyone who is going to be nerby to stop in. Anyways, on our trip I stocked up on spices, seasonings, etc. This has greatly helped me with my cooking lately, as I pretty much have a big supply of the things we like in our meals now, to probably get us through 6 months when hopefully we will back near there again.

So back to my menu planning....I made up some Pioner Woman pizza dough this morning to use for either some pizza one night or calzones in the next few days, and Monday I am having a taco bar for my husbands birthday party at the house, but other then that I am blanking out, and will be spending the day looking over my cookbooks, or see what Mrs. PW is up to. If you have a good meal idea send it my way! What does your family eat a lot of? I need to grocery shop tomorrow so I gotta get my weeks game plan going... BTW I know some people do a months worth of menu planning, and that is AMAZING. That is seriously some skills.


Friday morning thoughts...

In my quest to attempt to take more time for fitness, I tried a workout class yesterday. There is a lady in my local area who has her own company, and she does bootcamps, and kickboxing around the local area. She does the bootcamps outside, and during the summer she even had some sessions at the pool we belong to. I always had heard about her and her classes, but was too chicken to do it. I figured I would give it a shot though, and did a kickboxing class that she held at a local highschool.

Well I am still alive lol. It was intense. I was scared to death beforehand. New stuff freaks me out if you can't already tell. I got so flustered just walking into the classroom that I forgot my water. Major mistake on my part. Everyone was so welcoming and nice, and the owner/instructor was really encouraging. It lasted one hour, but seriously it was a great workout. I did want to throw up near the end, but I survived, and I plan on doing it again. They do the kickboxing every Thursday, and then they have outdoor bootcamps on Fridays and Saturdays. I guess now I need to brave up for a bootcamp class, and I might give that a go next week.... If anyone locally wants more info on this company just email me/facebook me, and please come to a class with me!

In other non-workout news I have figured out the birthday plans for the girls. I booked the combined kid party, and I have dates for their separate family parties, and I am happy and the girls are excited! I nixed all other brainstorms for the party place and went with the "My Gym". I can't get over how organized and kid friendly it was. It was like this place new exactly what I was looking for/needed. Now I can actually concentrate on getting things ready for my husbands party that I am throwing him on Monday now lol.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rent the Runway....

(Image from

I have an event to go to later next month for Junior League, and I am supposed to dress up. The theme is Vintage Vegas, and they are encouraging us to dress the part. This means sequins, long gloves, flapper type looks etc. I don't exactly have that look in my current closet. Ok, so I do have some sequin prom dreses still that I just can't part with, but they are not going to fit these days... I could probably buy something that I don't really love, wear it once, and then it would remain in my closet for a very long time time.... I did check around the stores, and even at TJMAXX, but the bottom line is I don't want to pay a lot for a dress, but I still want to look cute.

So after looking around on I figured I would try it out. They have fancy name dresses that pretty much cost more then my wedding dress, that you can rent for a small fee. You pick out two sizes to play it safe, they include insurance in the event something gets spilled, ripped, etc, and they pay for you to return it to them. This is pretty genious. Also, if you want another style, you can pick another dress for another small fee and they send them all to you. I also found a code for an extra $15 off my order!

So to make a long story short, I found a great dress that is perfect for the event, and per the reviews that I read, it should fit ok. (crossing fingers, and breaking out the spanx). The dress pictured above is what I am getting. If for some reason, it's a total flop, I can return it and get my money back, and just pay for the delivery charges. In that case I have a plain black dress that I wear all the time, but I will just wear it again and jazz it up with some fun jewlery or something.

I am hopeful that this dress works out, and I feel excited to have paid less then I probably would have paid elsewhere but get a great name dress, that hopefully I will feel confident in!
Strep throat has entered our household....My middle child has it, and soon probably everyone else will have it. I joke that I never use my sick time for myself, as with three kiddos they come first. Also, the husband just went back to working nights, which we have done before in the past, but we are attempting to get adjusted to that as well.

Some issues with that includes that our bedroom is downstairs. We planned it that way when we built our house, but that doesn't make it that wonderful when we are right smack in the middle of winter, and mainly stuck inside. The kids are older now, but more active and LOUDER. I do try to banish the kids to the playroom upstairs, but when I am in the kitchen or doing some other stuff down stairs my kiddos like to be right behind me to "help". One thing we are going to do to help him is to get plantation shutters put in our bedroom asap. We had some put in a while back in our breafast area, and the game plan was to get the whole house done, but unless someone wants to donate to that cause, we have to do a little at a time. They got put on the back burner, but since those suckers block out light like a champ, and look a million times nicer then black out curtains, the bedroom is the priority.

So in other news, as far as birthday planning for the girls I am trying to choose between a cutesty princess party at our house for their friends, or this really cool place I just found that is a little kid gym. Honestly the little kid gym sounds really cool, they could invite a bunch of friends, the parties sound really organized. It's called My-Time Gym. If I do the princess party though, let's face it, I wouldn't invite their male friends, and Rachel especially has a lot of male friends at school. She's the tomboy of the group so far. I mean I guess I could invite them, but I don't think they would really enjoy themselves, or want to dress up like a princess. Or at least their dad's probably wouldn't appreciate that too much. So basically I am set on one combined kid party, but as far as the family party goes I am still on the fence. Part of me is leaning towards combining it, and not sweating this like a crazy person. When I ask the girls they don't seem bothered by having them together, so if they are ok with it, I guess I should be to. I am going to give myself a deadline of this coming Sunday to figure it out.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Adventures in cooking....

Confession. This week is the first time EVER that I have used the broiler function on the oven. I didn't exactly know what the heck that meant, or what you used it for. Thankfully I figured it out after using two recipes that called for it, and I worked up the courage to flip that button.

My first attempt was with a chicken wing recipe. I am a BIG fan of chicken wings. Love them. I have been know to pretty much inhale them at Hooters, and if noone is watching I seriously attempt to lick off the sauce on the plate. I have never made wings before either, but I saw some for a steal at the grocery store so figured I wasn't out of a lot if I totally screwed them up. Now normally I like hot wings, but as my kids can't handle the heat, I made a sweet wing sauce that I found online from $5 dinner's blog.

Here's what you need to do if you want to copy.
3- 3 1/2 lb wings
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp honey

Put the wings in the oven and broil them for ten minutes on each side, while that is cooking bring the other ingredients to boil on your stove, I put them all in my large dutch oven, and once the chicken was done I dumped them in the dutch oven and let it simmer for about 10 more min. Then I put the chicken back in a pan under the broiler for 5 min, to really seal in the marinade.

The verdict- my kids loved them! Emily especially was a wing fan!

My next broiler adventure is a easy peasy one. You know Pioneer Woman never lets me down. My question is though, how is she not 400lbs? I made THE BREAD. All you do is take a loaf of french bread, cut it in half, and take a stick of butter thats gotten soft, and smear it all over the bread. Ree uses 1 stick on each half, but that seemed a bit cra-cray even for me, so I used one stick total... You then stick it in a over on 350 for 10 min, and then crank on the broiler so it browns up. Search for THE BREAD on her website for pictures.... We had the bread with spaghetti tonight, and my oh changing....


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Birthday party planning.....

Birthday parties. It's on my brain right now. My husband and two older girls have birthdays really soon. My husband has a birthday in another week, and I am planning on having some of the family over. I always try to have a meal when we have a party, sometimes I slack off and order pizza, and sometimes I try to do a meal myself. I plan on having a taco bar, as he's a big fan of mexican, and let's be honest, it's easy to pull off, and not very costly.

I am semi freaking out though, trying to see what we should do for the girls birthdays. Ok I totally lied, I AM FREAKING OUT. I have pretty much just done family parties for them so far, with a friend or two invited, but I would like to have a party for them with their school friends.

Here's my issue. My girls are a year apart in age, and they both have birthdays in February. I have never combined their birthday parties before, as I feel that birthdays are special days, especially when you are little. Though I dress them up alike a lot, they are not twins. However, let's add in another issue. On my side of the family I also have a nephew with a Feb. birthday, so that means my family spends three weekends in a row at birthdays. I personally find it fun as I get to spend time with family, but it does take up an evening or afternoon. That usually means some people miss out on a party or two, and it's usually Rachel's party that people pass on, as it's the last one.

So.... I do a joint kid one and family one? Honestly, if I were to have a kids party at the house it wouldn't be hard to keep the kid parties separate, but if we go to a jumping place it get's expensive, so I would combine them. Also, do I just combine the family party for both? This is the crap that stresses me. Not big world problems. Give me your thoughts people!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday night dinner....

A coworker shared with me a yummy easy soup that I tried tonight.

Poor Man's Beef Stew

To make it you will need:

3 cans mixed Veggies drained

2 1/2 cups of tomato juice

2 beef bullions and two cups water

1lb ground beef browned with some chopped onion

salt and pepper to tase

After meat is browned I threw everything in my dutch oven and I let it simmer for a while.

It tastes pretty good, and well it's cheap and easy! The Glass Castle parents should totally have gotten off their butts and made this for their kids....Just saying.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some book reading....

While we were gone on vacation I read two books: 1. The Newest Sookie Stackhouse series book and 2. The Glass Castle. Obviously if your not a True Blood/HBO fan that book doesn't mean a thing to you. The Glass Castle though I have to recommed to EVERYONE.

I heard about this book from a friend at work. She talked it up, and the next thing I knew a few patients had read it,and other staff members, and were raving about it, so I knew it had to be good. I don't want to give away everything from this book, but basically it's a true account of a woman who is now a reporter for MSNBC, growing up in extreame poverty. Her parents also without a doubt have some issues of their own. This author captures such a hard childhood. Please go read it. I checked it out from the local library, and since I gobbled it up in no time, I lent it to my mom to read before it's due back.

What I liked about this book is it really made me think. We all have our own family issues. Show me a family that doesn't have something crazy going on. Some hide it better then others, but there are secrets everywhere. Don't let perfect people fool you. I don't need to go into details , but my point is, this book made me so happy that I didn't have a childhood like the one in the book. Yes I fought with my parents like any kid/teen usually does, yes now I worry about being a super parent to my children. Sometimes we get caught up in how our parents should have maybe done this or that differently, and now as a parent I find myself worrying constantly over the craziest details (example we may or may not have tracked down a school board member to get some insider scoops on school for next year, and even did begging for help making sure we get what we want for our oldest for next year, this mom and dad don't mess around.)

Anyways, the book made me really appreciate and realize what the cushy childhood and adulthood we have. Sometimes you get caught up in the negative and wish for this, or get sad about this. Neither my children or my kids ever had to worry about not having food, clothes, and other basic needs. I didn't have parents who were so selfish about themselves, I had parents who did everything they could for me, and gave me as much oppurtunites as humanly possible. I know that I would do anything for my children too. The bottom line is, this books made me ache for children who have no control about their up bringing, and made me so thankful for my life. When my kids are older and complain about something, I am just going to make them read this book.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I need a day trip to Hobby Lobby....

On the way to and from vacation I begged the husband to let me stop in Hobby Lobby in Richmond to see its glory. I had never been to one before, and for years now I have been dreaming about it. All of you bloggers make me so jealous with the goodies you find! So, my first trip in on the way up, I was completely overwhelmed. It was freaking huge! Way bigger then Michaels. They seriously had a map at the front of the store, and it was much needed. I didn't want to hold us up on our drive, so I just did a mad dash (we had already made a stop to exchange a Christmas present, so I needed to hurry.) My big purchase was a large Gold "G". It was half off so I scored it for $5. I plan on hanging it in the dining room. I also got a glue stick (boring purchase, but I needed to have one for a craft to do with the kids while we were away.)

I was really surprised by the large amount of houseware items. Tons and tons of picture frames, knob pulls, decorations, etc. Super cute stuff all priced very well. The scrapbook aisles were massive, the fabric department was nice, and they had some cute holiday items for Valentine's Day.

So fast forward to when we were coming home I stopped in again. I was able to spend a little more time. I picked up these cute heart ornaments so I could do a little Valentine tree. Got a box of them for 30% off of $3. I also got a cute little feather heart wreath for the front door for $9. I wanted to go crazy and buy more, but I stuck to getting Valentine's decor, and needed to not spend a lot.

I forgot to take a picture of the wreath, but I will get back with that another day...I put the heart ornaments on a small white tree that I used at Christmas in one of the girl's rooms.

So anyways, if you love crafts, and good deals on home decor Hobby Lobby is your dream come true... I hope to make a day of it, and go back to take my time in a few months...


Massanutten 2011

And were back! This was the second year we ventured with the girls to Massanutten, and it did not disappoint. We went to the indoor waterpark a couple of time, went tubing, attempted skiing, and just hung out. The skiing portion was hilarious! Laura was old enough for lessons, but we didn't think she would like to do it by herself as her sisters are too young and the lessons last pretty much all day, so we gave it a shot of trying to have Dave teach them. Apparently, he's not a great teacher lol. I have no room to talk, I like skiing, but I am not good. I stick to the easy hills, and pretty much hope noone gets near me. Seriously if I would have taken them one of us would have broken a leg. Anyways, it took Dave and the girls forever to get down the hill each time (he took them one at a time), and I spent a bunch of time taking pictures of people who I thought were Dave and the girls, and when they would get closer I would learn they were strangers lol. It pretty much took them half and hour to come down the bunny hill. So the verdict on skiing, Laura is not a fan, but she has pretty good coordination. Rachel loved it, but has two left feet. They will do a ski class next year and get some actual instruction. =)

Tubeing is always one of our favorite activites. Emily tried it out, she just made the height requirement. She wanted to do it, and went down one time with a scared look on her face, and the second time she screamed bloody murder, and whimpered so she was done. I am proud of her though for trying it. My older girls enjoyed racing each other and giggling about who was going to win.

It was nice to get away and soak up some family time with out distractions. As I was being silly with the kiddos in the back of my mind I kept thinking, one day they will roll their eyes at me, and think I am a huge dork, but right now, they just want to play with me. I just love my family so much. I am so blessed.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Running off for some family time....

VACATION! Be back soon with pictures.....and I will be visiting a Hobby Lobby for my first time ever on the way out of town, and I am super excited about that alone!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I have a hard time sticking to just one topic....

This morning I got 1 out of three workouts in that I am trying my hardest to get in each week.... Should be interesting how I fit the other two in as I have alot going on in my mornings the rest of the week, guess I might have to break out the Wii Fit, not sure if I am ready to hear it call me a fatty. I loath working out in the evenings as I don't want to be away from the kiddos and my husband, and I also hate the PM gym crowds. Freaks me out.

I made a successful stop in Target as well today to grab some toothpaste. I was excited to get that for free as it was on sale, and I had a Target coupon and a manufacture coupon. Love getting deals like that. I also zoomed through the dollar aisle and spotted the cute "Love" sign (it was a $2.50 item) and these cute lipstick pens. I want to put together a little goody bag for the girls to get on Valentine's Day from us and I think these will be perfect in it.

I downloaded a book on my ipad (Thinner by Stephen King),and I have three other requests pending at the library (didn't download them as they were on the high side as far as Kindle and Ibooks go...) Those books I have pending are "Water for Elephants", "The Glass Castle", and "Commencement". I am excited to read them all, especially Water for Elephants since the movie will be out soon. I am ready to get back on a reading kick!


Monday, January 3, 2011

First attempts...

Soon after the Christmas decor was put away I was itching to do something for the next holiday. I dont' really have any Valentine's Day decor...the craft shows usualy do not carry those items as the shows in our area our usually centered around Christmas, or Fall. The spring shows are usually Easter based...hence a big issue in why I am lacking. I put around a hurricane with a candle with cranberries inside around the candle, and did this with another glass bowl... Cute, but you can only do but so much with cranberries.... In order to satisfy my urge before I can get to a craft store or heck the dollar store, I put out my Southern Living at Home ribbon plate on the stand. I found some ribbon that we got on a package at Christmas that looked Valentine Dayish,and put that around the plate with a small bow. Then I used my Cricut to cut out this wording. My cricket was the first release, so I have had it for a while. I have not ventured into vinyl, as I just never think to buy any when I am out...So I made do with some scrap red paper, and some gummy glue dots to hold it on the plate. It serves my need, and didn't cost me a thing, as everything was here at the house... I do need to get some vinyl and give the Cricut a whirl with it....In the mean time I am just faking it this way =)


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday brain dump....

First things first I have to share a black eyed pea receipe... This was from Pioneer Woman's Website, and it's from her SIL. It's stupid good. I say this as someone who does not exactly like black eyed peas. I normally have a spoon full on New Year's Eve and then toss the rest in the trash can. Instead of wasting the goods I made this dip with a can, and my husband and I ate it up in record time. It was like a spicy tex mex dip. The peas in it were just like refried beans, so if your not a refried beans person you may not like it. We loved it! It will be made again very soon.

Click Here

I mastered putting away all of the Christmas decorations (ok so the pink tree is still in the playroom, but we will get to that in a few days, the girls have just really enjoyed it, and that just goes in some attic space in the playroom so no biggy putting that away, 5 min job tops). I am trying to still get some ideas for Valentines Day decorations... we are heading out of town in less then a week and as luck has it, we are driving through Richmond and their Hobby Lobby just opended up... The husband will be stopping for me, or I will just grab the wheel myself. I bet they will have a ton of cute ideas for V-day. We are heading back up to Massanutten, and this year the older girls are going to attempt skiing. Dave will be leading this adventure as I super suck at it, and rather sit my happy tail in a snow tube.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

So 2011 is here! We had a low key New Years Eve. For the past three years we have gone with another couple to a Hibachi ( I am sure I goofed that spelling) for dinner. We followed through with that, and then took went to watch Fire Works over in Hampton at the Town Center. The fireworks idea ended up being really good. It wasn't too cold, or very crowded, and it was a family themed event, so they did the fireworks early at 8pm, and had cool things for the kids to look at or listen to before.

We came home and Dave and I were just wiped out, and he wasn't feeling good so we went to bed before the ball dropped cause we are super lame and old like that. We even griped about being woken up by some fireworks that were being set off (We must need Centrum Silver now).

We spent New Year's Day at my great Aunt's house at a family reunion, and visiting with my in-laws. I used the party today as a last hurrah of the girls in their Christmas dresses. Before we left I took their pictures in front of the Christmas tree. I will be taking it down tomorrow morning, and undecorating the rest of the house which makes me feel sad. I am trying to come up with some Valentine's Day decorations to give the house some pizzaz.... If you have any ideas shoot them my way! I need a new wreath for Valentine's Day, which I will attempt to make.

As far as New Year's resoultions, I honestly want to work on pretty much the same things I say every year... isn't how that always goes? I want to workout more regularly, become better organized, and just be a great wife and mother. I know those things are pretty challenging, but I just need to develope better routines in general. I need to set a goal to work out at least 3 times a week. Three isn't a big number, but honestly it's super hard to find the time. Or rather just have the motivation to make the time... Same with homekeeping. Thought I feel our house isn't a disaster, it could use some better cleaning routines, instead of waiting until there's a crazy amount of laundry, etc. I am thinking about starting Fly Lady again... There is an app on the Ipad using the flylady routine, and I might just give it a go...It's a good time to set up something new, now that the holidays are over, and a lot of the chaos has quieted down. Also, I am trying to get the kids in better cleaning habbits with their rooms and playrooms, and it's kinda hard to get on them about having a mess when our bedroom can be just as crazy.

Another part of my whole home keeping goal, is to be a better meal planner. I was doing good with this, and then I just got sidetracked. I need to get back on it as I know if I do this it will make grocery shopping so much easier, and it saves money, and what's not to like about that?

What are your organizing tips?