Monday, November 30, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Ok, I wasn't going to do a Not Me! Monday post this week, but there's so many things that I didn't, I'm writing them today to save you the novella next week.

I did not head to Sam's Club in paint-stained sweat pants, white t-shirt and unwashed hair ponied up with tennis shoes so that I could pretend that I was the just-finished-working-out-mom-running-a-quick-errand-on-the-way-home-from-the-gym instead of the too-lazy-to-give-a-darn-mom that I actually am.  Did it work?  Did I pull off the rouse?  Not sure, don't care.  What?!?!  Really?!?!  Nope!  Not me!  I would never go out in public without the 1 1/2 hour long grooming ritual that I do everyday.  Personal appearance- and what other's think of me- is always on the top of my priority list.  After all, what other's think of you completely determines one's self worth, right?  Right?  (crickets...)

I did not make my family wait for an hour after church with empty bellies and crabby attitudes so I could fix them a nutritious lunch.  I did not spend that hour talking to Dave about how the boys need to eat a more nutritiously balanced diet.  I did not serve C. Kraft Mac & Cheese and a hot dog for lunch today.  Nope, not me!  I'm always following through on doing the right thing- expecially when I've just had a serious conversation with my dear husband about it.  I am not consistently inconsistent.

I did not drag my two boys through a Hallmark store on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  First, I would never brave the crowds with two children in tow, and second I would know better than to bring them to a Hallmark store.  Everyone knows that little boys cannot keep their hands to themselves, and bringing them to a Hallmark store is like bringing a bull through a China shop.  Not me!  I would never to that!  Not to myself.  Not to the boys.  Not to the poor Hallmark store owners.

A few things I did not say this past week:
  • Um...A., I know you want to help daddy pick up Molly's poop.  Um...yeah, he uses gloves and a baggie to pick them up.  Yes, I know...that one was still warm.  Let's go find a sink with lots and lots of soap.  Now...where did daddy put the finger nail clippers?
  • C....just because you could see her butt crack when she bent over, doesn't mean you need to put your finger in there. 
  • C. did not say, "Time out sucks."  When I put him into time out last our small bible study.

Ok, that's enough for this week.  Check here to see what everyone else has not been doing.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Merry Cricut! Christmas!

I'm always trying to figure out a way to do creative gift giving...

                                          ...within the budget.

So, this year, when our Christmas budget shrank considerably, I decided to make many of our gifts for family and friends.

Enter:  the Cricut.

This lovely machine was a gift from my awesome parents a few years ago.

I love it.

I think every crafter should have a Cricut machine.

Perhaps it should be a rite of passage for crafters....not sure, but I digress.

So, here's a list of some of the things cluttering up my kitchen counter that I'm keeping handy to finish my crafts:
Picture Frames . Armour Etch . Paper . contact paper . paper cutter . paper mache box . Mod Podge .

And, here's a little hint at what's to come.

I'll post more pictures when the projects are completed and/or delivered!

Merry Cricut!  Christmas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

UPDATED: ****NEW***Giveaway Winner!

Ok, the first winner was given over 48 hours to contact me, and didn't. 

So, let's draw another one, shall we?

Again to!

You have 24 hours to contact me at
letsgotothehops (at) yahoo (dot) com

I'm so excited!  It's time to announce the winner! 

Thanks for participating, everyone.
I've been able to meet many new friends through this giveaway- this is too cool.

Thanks everyone!

Stay tuned, another giveaway coming up soon.  These are just too much fun!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Ahhh, the weekly therapy session begins.

I am not bribing my toddler to be still with one of Dave's "little debbie" snacks (generic version, of course).  I would never bribe my toddler, first of all.  And second, I would NEVER dangle the carrot of void-of-all nutrient-sugar-dense junk food.  I only blog when the timing is appropriate, and never during play time.  I am always diligent to fill my little toddler's tummy with only things that are good for him.

I am not a procrastinator.  I would never procrastinate my work load leaving my husband to take care of the boys for 5 hours on Sunday just so I could meet my daily goal.  Nope!  Not me!  I am a wise consumer of my time, and always on top of my work load.  I would never stick my husband with two cabin-fevered boys on a Sunday afternoon....and especially not on the afternoon of this birthday.  Whoa, no!  Not me!  Birthdays here are national holidays, and are meant to be observed all week long.

Speaking of my husband's birthday, I did not wish him a Happy Birthday on my facebook status...a day early.  I always am aware of the date, and would never mess up the actual day of his birthday.  He did not call me that day- to which I did not greet him with a "Happy Birthday, mister!"  And if I did greet him that way (which I didn't...but you know, if I did), he did not reply, "ahhhh.....yeah....tomorrow...."  Not Me!  I am the best, most up-to-date wife in the world.  I certainly know which day my husband's birthday falls on every year.

Speaking of date-challenged, I did not send out my niece and nephew's birthday cards late.  Definately not really, really late.  Certainly not three weeks late.  I did not misplace E.'s birthday card in C.'s clutches, and he did not hide it from me...and proceed to tear it apart.  I did not have to make her a new one, and send it out three weeks late.  And since her brother's birthday was that same week, I did not purposely hold onto his card - for another two weeks just so the two would not arrive together.  I am the greatest aunt in the world!  I always put my niece and nephews at the forefront of my mind, and would never put their birthday cards in the clutches of my toddler- who has proven time and time again that he cannot be trusted with paper products.

Whew.  That's a weight off my back.  Click here to see everyone else's therapy this week.

Have a good one, everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Five Question Friday

My Little Life

Ok friends, I love these questions for this week! And since I have exactly 3 hours left to participate, I'd better get to it!
1. Are you a Black Friday shopper?   YES!  Well, I used to be...before kids.  Actually, I try hard to stay home, but end up venturing out anyway.  But, I haven't been out at 4 am since I was 38 weeks pregnant with my first (he was born on Dec. 12).  Here's the thing for me- I am a gift giver.  It's one of my love languages.  (yeah, took me about 32 years to actually realize that!).  I have a VERY limited Christmas budget.  So, when something I could NEVER afford is more than within my price range on Black Friday...well, you betcha I'm up and at 'em!

2. What was your favorite childhood toy? (Think Easy Bake Oven, Cabbage Patch Kid, Shrinky Dinks, etc.)  Ok, ok...I'd have to say my Cabbage Patch Kid.  I got her when they were super popular.  Her name was Leonora Cicily.  Who the heck named those things?

3. Favorite Christmas movie? I have two on constant rotation throughout the holidays (also depends on if the kids are awake!)  The Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  I need to bust those puppies out next week!  I can't wait!

4. What is the "must have" item on your Christmas list this year?
let's see, flooring, paint, furniture, carpeting, plumbing, kitchen sink....

No, really-

5. Do you go all out with decorations or do you keep it simple and classy?

I used to go all out.  I have a lot of Christmas decorations in storage in the rafters.  I've found a style of decoration that I love (can't think of it at the moment...perhaps I don't love them as much as I thought?)  I think it's called Willie Rae collection.  I'll take pics when they come out.  But with kids in the house, not sure if they're don the shelves this year or not.  Time will tell!  Heck, I'm not even sure where we'll put the Christmas tree this year.  Where did we put it last year?  Yeah...look here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The MOST FUN and DELICIOUS Thanksgiving Dessert

I'm not sure about you, but as a child I didn't like pumpkin pie.  I didn't even like the flavor of crust....I'd load that bad boy up with whipped cream, take it back to my seat, eat the cream off the top and leave the pie to sit.
  I know, I know....what was WRONG with me?!?!?

Anyway, a few years ago, my mom discovered this little gem
(she teaches kindergarten)

Where were these when I was little?!?!?

And they are as delicious as they are cute!

For each turkey, you'll need:

  • a chocolate covered cherry,

  • two chocolate cookies (I used Anna's brand.  Chocolate Mint)

  • Chocolate frosting

  • 3 candy corn (this one is carmel apple flavor- that's why its red but reg.. looks just as cute)

Once you have them all at your disposal, start sticking them together with the frosting!
I start by attaching the cherry to the "tail feathers"  The cherry actually sits on its side when the turkey is complete.  Then I put them on the base cookie.  Then the head.  Then I cut the last 2 candy corn in half and put the small ends in front for feet.  Don't make these more than a day in advance.  The cookies start to go stale the minute you open the sleve.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Awesome Giveaway!

If you remember my post from a week ago, you'll remember that I won an awesome necklace.

Well, Emily from Magpie Designz has graciously offered to sponsor a giveaway on this blog! I'm really excited since I love love love all her designs, and think its really awesome that I can share them with one of you!

Emily also asked me to relay the fact that she's now taking orders for Christmas- up through Nov. 25. What an awesome Christmas present!

Wanna see it?!?!?

I love it!!! I'm so excited to share it with you!

Ok, here's how to enter: (leave one comment for each entry)

  • leave a comment, any old comment will do (I reserve the right to delete any comment with profanity)
  • become a follower of my blog
  • write about it on your blog and link back to mine
  • Go check out Magpie Designz etsy page and leave a comment telling me the name of your favorite necklace.

The giveaway expires one week from today- November 23.

Good luck!

Not Me! Monday

Hey friends, I have a big giveaway to be posted tonight, so please come back later for your chance to win!

Ahhh, Not me! Monday...I enjoy it. So much cheaper than therapy! For more therapy, you can check out this site. There may or may not be others that are posting as well.
I am not already scouring over Black Friday ads trying to devise my "plan of attack." Gift giving is not one of my love languages. I do not get any sort of adrenaline rush from finding awesome deals.
I have not rebelled a little while my husband was away at deer camp. I did not go on vacation from cleaning and dishes- only to realize that it all needed to be done before he came home anyway. I did not, then, decide that I wouldn't cook- so we wouldn't dirty any dishes. We (read: I- since I'm the only adult here) have not made some poor food choices. Nope! I am always completely aware of mine and Adam's dietary restrictions and always stay within the boundaries. Boundaries were not made to be broken.
We did not go to a pet store to grab- yet another- snail for our frog cube. There was not an adoption drive that day from the humane society. I did not almost leave with another dog. I did not completely fall in love with a dog named...wait for it...Sandy. The boys did not attach themselves to her ultra soft fur. She would not have gotten along splendidly with Molly. I do not really really really want another dog. I will not be trying to talk my parents (Hi MOM!) into getting another dog this winter...preferably one named Sandy...because I do not totally love her. (By the way, mom, she's totally trained and looks a lot like Belle! And she's great with your grandsons!!! She gave us kisses and cuddled, and she didn't bark a bit. Her foster mom said that she's totally calm and would keep her if she could! Have I mentioned that your daughter loves her?)
I am not totally jonesing to get my Cricut machine out. I am not trying to come up with gift ideas that will give me an excuse to bust the puppy out. I did not watch the Cricut infomercial twice this weekend (while folding laundry) looking for inspiration. I am not totally headed to Joann's and Michael's today with coupons in hand.
Ok, I'm off to spend time with the toddler and read some books. Enjoy the week, everyone!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm in love

With a chair.

and my husband, of course.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Under construction and I WON!

Yes, the blog is different...and quite (dare I say) drab. I'm playing with some codes and layouts...not sure how I want it to look- or where to go with it. And I am not an html expert. I'm PLEASE bare with me. I could always use some cheerleaders- or tech support.

Also, I just received word tonight that I won a giveaway on a blog! Monica posted the winner of a fantastic necklace tonight- and IT'S ME!!! First of all, let me just say that I NEVER win anything. Really...hardly ever. Except I feel my luck changing....first this fall, I won a $25 gift card to Macy's from my MOPS chapter...and now this. Seriously, I don't ever win anything that I'm totally unsure on the "correct" way to act, accept, or show gratitude. I'm just a crazy girl tonight!

Thank you Monica!
and all the ladies that gave me the heads up!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Ha! Not Me! Monday is back...well, at least for me. My confession list is long and distinguished. (Quick: what movie is that line from?!?!?)

I did not stand at the nursery counter with my jaw on the ground when my 2 year old pelted my gut with his shoe. He was not totally angry with me for dropping him off in the church nursery. My child would never have a temper issue, and never throws anything- especially at his mommy. And if that did happen (which it totally didn't), I would have been prepared to handle such a situation. I am never unprepared. (And my first instinct was not to throw it back at him...nope! not me!).

I did not continue to watch iCarly after Adam went to bed. I do not enjoy juvenile television programs. Dave was not watching it with me. Nope! Our adult time is strictly that- adult time.

On that same note, I did not sing along to "The ABC Song", "Mary had a little lamb" and "The Wheels on the Bus" while driving my van to the grocery store. I did not get totally busted by the person stopped next to me doing the hand signals to the bus song. I did not look in my rear view mirror to realize that I had no kids in the van at the time. I do not waste adult tune time. And I totally don't know all the hand signals to the Wheels on the Bus. Nope. I'm way too cool for that.

I did not take Colin to a warehouse sale last week and forget to bring my stroller. And if I did forget my stroller, I certainly would have kept a better eye on him and would not have let him reorganize all the boxes and displays. I am never inattentive to my matter how much money I'm saving. He is always my top priority, and I have never taken an eye off him.

Dave and I did not give Adam a "Boo" Ghost to hang in the window so he would feel included. Our son was not heartbroken every day when he did not get Boo'ed. We did not realize that it was all about the ghost sign in the window when we saw him drawing his own ghost sign. We did not find a copy off the Internet, print it out and hide it for him to find. Nope! Not us! Dave and I firmly believe in the school of hard knocks, and would never do anything fake to "keep up appearances" even if it warmed his little heart and put the biggest smile on his face. Nope! Not us!

And a few things I did not say this week:

  • Oh, Adam...that's not Colin- he doesn't need a diaper change...mommy is trying to increase her fiber intake. Yea, sorry bout that.


  • Sorry, boys...mommy left her ipod at home. I guess we're stuck with the grown up music from the radio on the way to school today. What? Oh no...that's not the tip of my ipod sticking out of my carefully concealed coat pocket. No, I'm not hiding it from you just so I can listen to my songs.

  • Yes, Adam, we do have a new month with full envelopes. You're correct, I haven't done anything with my eyebrows yet......well, because I've been to lazy and it hurts. ........... Yes, mommy does a lot of stupid things to look pretty for daddy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Honorary Philipino

Toward the end of this summer, our family was invited to the surprise 70th birthday party for one of our neighbors. She lives with her daughter and her husband- and their beautiful miracle baby girl.

It's been fun to get to know them better, and we were excited to share this day with the lady the boys refer to as "Aunt Ester."

Her kids told her that she was going to a funeral visitation/ dinner for the father of one of her co-workers. Poor lady! She's all somber and we yell "SURPRISE!" I thought "yeah, that's enough to stop her heart!" But, she was delighted and everyone had a great time.

In addition, I learned so much about their culture. They have the amazing ability to laugh at themselves, over feed the world, aspire to great things and encourage others coming from the Phillipians. Apparently, I asked so many questions, they decided to make me an "honorary Philippino" a title I was honored to have now that I have about 70 new Philippino friends. :)

My boys patiently waiting...and waiting...and waiting


The spread. Did you know that its a horrible faux pas to run out of food at a party? As a matter of fact, every Philippino BRINGS their own tupperware so they can bring home left overs. They actually told us to bring tupperware too, but we didn't (actually, we thought it was perhaps a funny hazing trick to see if the crazy white people would stand there with their empty tupperware- next time I'm totally bringing it!)
I asked a lot of questions as far as the food was concerned. They thought I was totally into it, but really I was trying to figure out what was safe for me to eat. Not much, but I did enjoy lumpia and did not get sick!
I didn't know this, but Philippino food is a cross between Mexican and Chinese. Fun fact of the day, right? Dave tried everything. Twice.

Our neighbor and her miracle baby, Hannah. I am now known to her as "Tita Sandy." Which means "Aunt Sandy" in Philippino.

Aunt Ester with her tres leches cake.
Everyone was drooling over the tres leches cake.
Must be good!

And of course, C left his mark everywhere we went. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Awesome site

Hello all,

We had a mentor mom panel at my MOPS this morning. This website was brought up. I had to search for it, but I found it and I LOVE IT!

You can subscribe to it via email- which means you'd have a nice little reminder about how to love your husband the way God wants you to.

Please check it out:

There's one for the hubbys too (I actually signed Dave up for this!)



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Christmas: on a budget

Yes, this post is about Christmas. I'm hearing Christmas music in the radio, and I'm seeing decorations up.
It's November...Yes...Christmas is around the corner!

Being debt free...

and living on a shoestring budget

makes people ask me not "how do you do it?"

but "how do you do Christmas?"
Ok...this is how we 'do' Christmas.
  1. Establish boundaries!!! Not everyone needs a gift! Friends will understand if you just want to get together for lunch or a craft, etc.
  2. Establish limits. We do a gift exchange for our small bible group. We establish the limit at $15. Manageable if you budget for it (or find things on clearance throughout the year).
  3. Don't be afraid to re-gift. Yes, I am a regifter! I don't burn candles, and I don't use many lotions. Therefore, when I receive one of these, it goes into a regift bin. They are great generic female presents.
  4. Name exchanges. For larger families, its great to enjoy each other's company and only have to bring one or two gifts for your named individual.
  5. Have an idea of what you want to purchase for someone before you go shopping. By having a game plan, you don't aimlessly wander through a store and pick up 'stuff' that someone may or may not need. If you put thought into what you purchase before you buy it, it shows as a thoughtful gift- not a "hey, I saw this on a rack somewhere and figured maybe you could use it."
  6. Try to make some gifts. Photo albums and picture frames are affordable can be personalized easily.
  7. Start early. Like the day after Christmas sales. Cards and wrapping paper, bows, etc. are cheapest then. If you pick them up and store them for a year, it won't cut into your Christmas budget later.
  8. Have a game plan for a budget, get an envelope with cash and STICK TO IT! Dave and I sit down at the beginning of each year and allocate funds to each big purchase- Christmas being one of them. We make a list of each person we need to purchase gifts for and how much we are willing to spend (don't forget to budget for possible shipping fees for those that live far away).
  9. Give with your heart. If you can't be a cheerful giver, don't bother.
  10. Don't forget the real meaning of Christmas.

Monday, November 2, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

This is quite possibly one of my most favorite foods of all time.

It's gluten free, natural eating yummy goodness.
Garlic Expressions

I'm going to give you a moment to bask in the greeny glow of the bottle.
But, in all honesty, it really is great stuff. It's a combination of vinegar, oil, peppers, and garlic. At the end of every bottle, about 4-5 cloves of garlic spill out (which make a great rub for garlic bread!) This dressing is a little pricey at $4.59 per bottle, but really, its basic ingredients, no high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or stuff I can't pronounce.
Some put it on salads- which I do as well, but my favorite way to eat it is on top of some cut up cucumbers. The hothouse cucs work the best since the skin on them is thin. If you use regular cucs, you may want to cut a few strips of peel off giving the cucumber a striped look- then its easier to eat.

And if you want to get all fancy schmancy, you can haul out your Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter (that you just found after being in storage for 4 1/2 years) and cut the cucumbers that way!

Halloween 2009 and remembering Natalie

This Halloween was a lot of fun. Colin really got into it, and Adam started to strategize that if he ran (the.entire.night) he would hit the jackpot of candy. Colin tuckered out quickly, so Dave stayed with Adam and I took Colin back to our friends' house.
Here's the boys posing with the pumpkins on the front porch.

Our fire department has a Halloween party where the kids can get more candy (like a huge bag full!), meet a clown, get a balloon animal, and enjoy donuts and cider (like they needed any more sugar that night!-- but I digress). Coffee for the parents.
Then we all got to climb on the fire engines. We met some of our bible study friends there. The kiddos were really excited to enjoy Halloween together- it was fun for us adults too!
Lions, and lions and bear, oh my!

Adam was in his element too.

Right before embarking on freezing temps, wind and occasional sprinkling, we snapped a family pic.
All in all it was a great night!
Halloween is always a bittersweet holiday for me. 11 years ago, I was finishing up a shift at work with my best friend. I was going to go with her and her fiance to take their kids trick-or-treating. We received a frantic call before leaving which sent us flying to the hospital. Their daughter, Natalie, had fallen and became unresponsive. Turns out that she fell just right giving her a heart arrhythmia.
She was transferred from a smaller hospital to a larger one where they got a pulse back- but only for a short time. Natalie was called Home that night. She was 2 1/2.
That night has both haunted me and blessed me at the same time.
It's horrible to hear that sound a mother makes when she's given the news that her child is gone. Or that look on their face when they sign away organs and tissues. Or when they return from saying good-bye to her.
But for some reason God had me there- with them- that night. Whether it was to help explain to her 4 year old brother about Jesus and Heaven or whether it was to just sit and silently pray for God to bring them to him during their time of grieving...I don't know.
I have been blessed by that night too. My walk with God was pretty loosey goosey back then, and I found myself jumping into His arms simply because I could not understand it myself. I've also realized not to take one second for granted- because in an instant He can call us Home.
Natalie would have been 13 this year. Her mother and I are no longer as close as we once were- but still very close in other ways. She has seen more heartbreak in her life than I can shake a stick at. But she continues on, and I continue to pray for her and her kids.