Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Goals and Aspirations


PERSONAL GOALS:
  • Lose 20 lbs. --- Right now I am at 218lbs :( and I would love to be below 200. I was at 199 on the day of our wedding (2005) and I would LOVE to be there again. I had so much more energy then. To do this I plan on:
    • exercising 20+ minutes a day Monday- Friday. During the winter, I will do this after the kids are in bed (9pm) and then shower before bed. When warmer weather comes, I will reevaluate this and see about doing more outside. I will begin by doing 20+ minutes on the Wii Fit.
    • I will work on drinking more water. I drink way too much soda and need to focus on getting healthier.
    • Read 26+ books this year.--- One of the passions that I used to have was reading. I LOVE to read. Unfortunately with having 2 young kids and dealing with issues in life, this hobby has been put on the back burner. This year I want to reignite that passion by reading at least 2 books a month. I would love to do 1 a week, but I want to be realistic as well.
  • To try out at least 1 new recipe a month.--- I have gotten into the habit of making the same things over and over, and while there is not a problem with that, I am growing tired of making and eating the same things. I also received 5 new cookbooks for Christmas so time to put them to good use.
FAMILY GOALS:
  • To better my relationships with Bill and with my children
    • I would like to implement a date night at least 1x a month with Bill. This could be dinner out, movie out, movie in after the kids go to bed, getting chinese takeout and eating after the kids are in bed, etc. Right now we are averaging going out for our anniversary and  maybe 1 other time a year and that is NOT good.
    • I want to be more patient with my kids. I tend to lose my patience quickly with Rebecca and need to work on becoming more patient with her. I may do this by making and planning activities to do with just her.
    • To read for at least 10 minutes a day to Jacob and for at least 30 minutes with Rebecca. We are doing well reading to Rebecca; however we have been really slack about reading to Jacob. I will do this by beginning to read to Jacob before he goes to bed every night.
    • Make a schedule and stick to it to limit tv watching for the kids. Right now they watch way TOO much tv and it is beginning to show in their behavior.
FINANCIAL GOALS:
  • Make a budget and stick to it.
    • Continue to gain Mypoints, Rewards points through bank, Pinecone research money, and swagbucks to use toward gift cards to be used to buy gifts
  • Save and KEEP $1000 in the emergency fund---we have had to dip into this a couple times this year and I would love to see it STAY at $1000.
  • Continue to coupon and write letters for coupons (at least 5 a week)
  • Have 2 no (low) spend months---January and June
  • Work on paying down the Discover Card bill
  • Figure out a way to bring in more money by working from home---ideas I am throwing around are tutoring, copying family home movies to dvd, making and selling simple cakes, being a part of the farmers markets to sell homebaked goods....
BLOG GOALS:
  • To write on the blog 4-5x a week.
  • Gain more readers--- I would like to have at least 80 readers by December 31, 2011
    • to do this, I want to join at least 1 blog hop a week
And last but not least:


What are your goals and aspirations for 2011??

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Taking a short break...

I have so many things going on right now. The kids have been sick. Bill has been sick. I am trying to get the Christmas stuff put away. I have to have a tooth removed tomorrow. I just am a bit overwhelmed, so I am going to take a break from blogging this week. I plan on being back this weekend with a list of goals for 2011 and some new posts! Hope everyone is having a great week so far!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Menu Plan ...December 27-January 2, 2011

I have been really busy dealing with issues in life...including an emergency dentist appt the day before Christmas Eve, waiting for 2 hours to get a prescription filled at Walmart since I have an abscess in my tooth, scheduling to have the tooth removed, the Christmas activities, Rebecca getting sick all night long last night and then our washer died this morning as I was trying to wash pukey clothes and blankets....ugh....that being said, this week is going to be filled with EASY meals. I am working on my menu plan for January. We are going to attempt to do a eat from the pantry month and a low-limited spending month. (More on that later)...Now on to this weeks menu:


Monday: Chili (from freezer) and grilled cheese and carrots

Tuesday: Chicken patties, green beans, pears

Wednesday: (my tooth surgery so hubby will be in charge of dinner): lasagna (from freezer), peas

Thursday: hot dogs and macaroni and cheese

Friday: Manwich, tator tots, applesauce, corn

Saturday (New Years Day): bbq ribs (in crockpot), julienne potatoes, green beans, rolls and butter

Sunday: Leftovers


for more great menu ideas...visit the orgjunkie.com

Friday, December 24, 2010

The true reason for the season

Let us remember on this Christmas Eve the TRUE meaning of Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Book Review: Hot Rocks

Question: What happens when you mix together con-men, an antique store owner, a sexy private investigator, 28 million dollars of missing diamonds and small town USA?
Answer: You get a great, suspense filled, romantic read in the book Hot Rocks by Nora Roberts.

Hot Rocks is the story of Laine Tavish, owner of the antique store Remember When, who also happens to be the daughter of one of the most sought after con-men of the time. Laine would prefer to hide from her past, and seems to be doing a fairly good job of it, until a ghost from her past (an old family friend) gets killed right in front of her antique store. What was he doing there in the first place? Seems that her dad has gotten Laine involved in a multi-million dollar diamond heist without her knowledge. What follows is a hot affair with the private investigator who is tracking her dad and the missing diamonds-- Max Gannon; as well as a run-in with the master villain behind the con,  Alex Crew. During it all, Laine is forced to ask herself many questions...including, who are we really? Can we ever really escape our past? Do we run from love or face it even though it seems to go against all of our rules?

This book was a great suspenseful read. Personally, I have read many of Nora Roberts' books in the past and I could not see the ending coming.  While the story line seemed familiar throughout, there was some surprises to be had in the book. I found myself pulling for Laine's father to really go to the good side and for Max to get the girl and not mess up his relationship with her. The story was fast paced and was very well written.

The only negative about the book was that there was no real wrap-up to what becomes of the major villain in the book, Alex Crew. Unlike other Roberts' books where the villain dies or is incarcerated, there really is no ending to Crew. After doing some research, it looks like this is on purpose as Ms. Roberts' has released the story Big Jack under her other known author name, J.D. Robb. This book seems to be a continuation of the story 2 generations into the future.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who was looking for a great suspenseful read. It kept me on the edge of my seat and was highly entertaining!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Things I think....

Over the past several days there have been several things on my mind....

  • My tooth hurts. A piece of my tooth broke off early last week and I was hoping to wait until after the new year to get it looked at. We don't have health insurance or dental insurance so I know it is going to be expensive and we just don't have the money right now. Today it started throbbing though, so I will have to find a dentist tomorrow I suppose. Sigh....
  • I worry about Jacob. He is 14 months old and is just now crawling. He still has not starting pulling himself up. He has just started feeding himself as well. He worries me that he is behind in a lot of these things. But he is such a sweet boy. I love him so much.
  • I feel like I am not being a good enough wife to Bill. I feel like I am being inadequate and that part of that has to do with my depression, which I am on medication for. However I am wondering if I need to up my dosage because there are days that I just can't seem to get out of a funk. And I know this is affecting my relationship with Bill.
  • I feel like I am not being a good enough Mom to Rebecca. There are days that I am struggling to get things done and it doesn't seem like I spend enough one on one time with her.
These are just a few of the things on my mind over the last couple days......

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cellphone Postcards Review

As a Bzzagent I have had the opportunity to try out and review various products, ranging from candles to toothpaste. The latest bzzagent campaign that I am a part of is for the use of Cellphone Postcards. This product is SOOOO COOL!!!!! Basically this website allows you to send a picture from your cellphone with a message as a postcard to the recipient of your choice. Or if you don't want to use your cell phone pictures, you can upload a photo on your computer, type in your message and they will print, stamp and mail your postcard to the recipient of your choice. As a bzzagent I was given the first 10 postcards to send for free. According to their website, the cost is $.99 per address in the continental USA and $1.98 for international.

I have sent 3 of these postcards. I used pictures of the kids' baptism to mail thank you postcards to my kids' Godparents. I also surprised dear Hubby by mailing him a postcard of the kids. The picture quality is wonderful! They turn out great and are a neat, personalized card for your favorite people. And they were SO easy to put together. I just uploaded my pictures, typed in my message and the recipients address and clicked send. EASY!!!! I ordered them on Wednesday of last week and my husband received his today (Monday), so there is a quick mailing time as well. (I actually also received a copy of the first 3 cards I sent as well). Here is a picture of the product we received....


This is the front of the postcard. Very nice quality.

This is the back of the postcard.



I am thrilled at how these postcards turned out! If you are looking to surprise someone with a little bit of joy I would highly recommend you send one of these postcards! They are so easy to make and send! Great idea and great quality! What more could you ask for?

Disclosure: As a bzzagent I was given the opportunity to use cellphonepostcards.com and receive the first 10 postcards for free. All opinions about this product are my own.


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Weekend wrap up and Menu plan

So this weekend was busy. Saturday I took Rebecca to see my little brother Josh play basketball. Then I had to rush home so Bill could go to work (the bad part of only having one car). Then I watched Josh while my parents went Christmas shopping. Then once Bill got home we had to hurry to Columbus to his parent's Christmas party. Yes the dreaded Christmas party that I was dreading....

I felt that it was important for us to go. It is the season of being generous, goodwill and being with family. Even if you do not agree with them all the time and they do not agree with you. So we went to my in-laws house for their Christmas party. They seemed shocked when we came in, like they were not expecting us to show up. But overall it was okay. It was nice to see Bill's cousin and her family and some old family friends. I did not spend much time talking to my mother-in-law and I think that was appropriate. We stayed longer than we were going to; we didn't get home until 11pm or so.

Sunday, Bill went to Cincinnati with my father, brother and some family friends for the Bengals Browns football game. I think it is was a much needed mens day that hubby needed. I made use of Sunday to do some laundry, make buckeyes, went to dinner with my mom, sister and other brother, did some crafts with Rebecca and just puttered around the house. I kind of stayed off the computer too. I think I needed a technology free type day. :) I also made up our menu plan for the week....

Monday:  Hamburger helper (Cheeseburger Macaroni) and peas

Tuesday: Chicken patties, carrots, and pears

Wednesday: Chicken and Cheese bake (new recipe), green beans and carrots

Thursday: Pizza and leftovers

Friday: Christmas Eve party

Saturday: Christmas Dinner with my parents

Sunday: Chili, grilled cheese and veggies

(for more great menu ideas check out orgjunkie.com)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Letters of Intent

Foursons


Foursons has a great weekly feature that she runs, called Letters of Intent. In it, she invites readers to write their own letters of intent and to link them up to her post. This week I have decided to join in....

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Dear Mother-in-Law,

We are going to go to your Christmas party. Not because you want us to or you are demanding us to, but rather because it is Christmas and I feel like we should make the effort. However, we are NOT changing our plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas. That is not an option. Sorry if you don't like it.

Signed,
Your daughter in law.


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Dear Bill,

You are a terrific husband and a wonderful father. I wish you would not be so hard on yourself.

Love,
Me

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Dear Winter,

You are not even here yet and it is SOOOO COLD!!!!! I like the snow, really I do. But you could wait until Christmas Eve to bring it here. This cold and snow makes it hard to do some of the Christmas activities that I wanted to do with the family. And now that our gas bill is going to be huge, you have me worried about making ends meet. Thanks so much for your Christmas present, but I would really like a refund.

Sincerely,
Me

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Dear Jacob,

I love you dearly. I know you are only 1 year old. But could you please leave the Christmas tree alone? Please? I left you all the stuffed animals and toys in front of it to distract you, for you to play with. Could you please play with them and NOT the tree? I love you.

Sincerely,
Your mommy

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Dear Rebecca,

I love you! What I don't love is you asking for a snack every 5 minutes. You do NOT need a snack 5 minutes after dinner! Please stop asking me.

Also I know you love Christmas shows. But sometimes Mommy and Daddy want to watch other shows and I would appreciate it greatly if you did not throw a tantrum that made us put you in time out.

Sincerely,
Your mommy


To read more letters of Intent please visit Foursons.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review: Christmas in Cedar Cove

I have been all about reading Christmas stories lately. It is the time of year and truth be told they tend to be easy reads that don't take forever to read. Such was the case in this week's book review. I read Debbie Macomber's "Christmas in Cedar Cove" in 2 nights.


This book is actually 2 shorter stories in one book. The first is "5-B Poppy Lane." In this story you'll visit with Helen, her granddaughter Ruth, and Ruth's husband Paul. Ruth and Paul will recount how they met, interspersed with the heart-breaking story of Helen and her experiences during World War II. Ruth and Paul met while he was stationed in Afghanistan, and Ruth wrote him a Christmas card to spread some cheer to a soldier. While Ruth HATES the fact that Paul is a Marine, she does not show ill will toward him because she knows she should support the soldiers. What follows is their story of learning that love takes all forms of sacrifice and when you find the one that is your soul mate you will do anything to keep that person in your life.

Overall this was a heartwarming story. But it did leave something to be desired. You felt that there should be more to the story and I was disappointed that Macomber did not go more into depth with the story lines. She could have had two great stories here had she developed them. It was a cute read, but not deep enough for my liking.

The second story in Christmas in Cedar Cove is " A Cedar Cove Christmas." This story is a modern day Nativity story, starring young Mary (as in Mary Jo Wyse) and an unplanned pregnancy. The story also has in it's cast of characters, the 3 Wyse men, a stable full of animals, and many friends. The story follows the story of Mary Jo who comes to Cedar Cove on Christmas Eve to confront the father of her baby and to talk to his family. Finding out that the father of her baby is a deadbeat and that his family is on a cruise, Mary Jo takes shelter in the apartment above the stable of a kind friend named Grace. The story evolves with Mary Jo's brothers trying to find her, running into a wicked "king" who sent them to find her, and a hero in disguise who promises to protect and look after Mary and her baby. The story shares the birth of Noelle Grace and how she is loved and welcomed into the world.

This story is one that made me smile and pleased. It is a modern day re-telling of the original Nativity story. I love the play on words and spelling that Macomber uses. The story keeps you on your toes as you begin to look for the similarities. Your heart really pulls for Mary Jo and for her to find happiness. It is a delightful story to read so close to Christmas and to remember what Christmas is all about.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read an enjoyable story. These are not new stories. "5-B Poppy Lane" was originally published in 2006 as part of an anthology, and "A Cedar Cove Christmas" was originally published around 2008. These 2 stories together though make a delightful book that is easy to read and allow you to stay in the mood for Christmas.

This is what I read this past week. Have you read any good books lately?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Kids' Baptism

This past Sunday, we had the opportunity to have the children baptized into the Catholic Church. This was something that I had wanted to get done for a while and felt guilty about as well. Well on Sunday, we finally held their baptism. It was a beautiful ceremony and a wonderful day. (The only downside was my Mother-in-Law, scowled the whole ceremony. I could hear her saying snide remarks throughout mass and she just wanted to make the whole thing miserable for everyone else. Thankfully her and my Father-in-law left right after mass to beat the snow home and so the party that we had at our house after was very relaxed and fun.)

Here are some highlights of their beautiful day:
Their baptism cake (made by me)

My Little Man

My darling daughter

Jacob getting baptized

Rebecca getting baptized

Father Hammond taking Jacob and Rebecca through church

Fr. Hammond, Bill and I, the kids, and their Godparents

Jacob and Aunt Mary and Uncle Josh (his Godparents)

Rebecca with Bill and Dana (her godparents)

Us, the kids, Mary, Josh and my parents



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2010 Goals revisited...

January 1...I set the following goals for myself. Now that 2010 is almost to a close it is time for me to take a look and see how I did. (and to get an idea of what my goals for 2011 should be!)

2010 GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS


1. Lose 30 pounds/ get down to 199.--didn't happen. I did lose some weight, but I am only down to 215.

2. Financial goals:

- Pay off ambulance bill--DONE!

- Pay off anethisiologist bill---DONE!!!

- Pay off Sears card--DONE!!!!

- add $500 or more to savings--didn't happen since we paid off the above. But we still have close to our $1000 emergency fund.

3. Declutter as much as possible--my stuff and basement---by selling, donating, or throwing away.--we threw out a TON of stuff when we moved over the summer. We also donated a TON of stuff after we moved. It felt so liberating.

-sell $500 worth of stuff by Dec. 31, 2010---we sold a few things but definitely not $500 worth.

4. Write on blog at least once a week---didn't happen, but am finally getting into a rhythm I think.

5. Take family trip that the kids would enjoy (can be a weekend trip)---we took the kids to Indianapolis. It was a fun weekend!

6. Find a way to bring in extra income--got a part time job at St. Vincent's.

7. Don't snap at Bill or Rebecca---working on this

8. Make decisions with confidence---trying to do this.

9. Find a church and join---We did this in November 2010. We joined the Catholic Church here, and had the kids baptized Dec. 12.

10. Have 200 no-spend days in 2010---I really don't know. I know that we did not do this.

11. Make a menu for each week--did this on and off

12. Exercise at least 3 times a week.--not

13. Buy NO junk food at all this year.---this did NOT happen at all.


Overall there was some positives and some negatives. I am okay with that. I am proud of the fact that we paid off the bills. Those were big weights on our shoulders and they are gone. We even had other medical bills that we had to pay as well this year.

Now I have to look forward to 2011 and evaluate what I need to do and how to get where I am going and how I can live better one day at a time.

How did you do with your 2010 goals??

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Plan...Week before Christmas

Wow this weekend flew by! It was busy, busy, busy. I baked a ton on Saturday, went shopping on Saturday, had the kids' baptism on Sunday and held a party for them. The weather has been weird. Saturday it was 50 degrees and party cloudy. Yesterday we had rain, then ice, then snow and falling temperatures. And today it is SOOOOO COLLLDDDDD!!!!!!!! And windy too. Schools around here are cancelled and that means I get the day off! I have a ton of things to do though so it won't really be a complete day off. One of the things I need to do today is catch up on housework and hopefully get started wrapping Christmas gifts and get our Christmas cards addressed and mailed. I also hope to watch last week's episode of the "Biggest Loser" so I can watch the finale tomorrow night. Also on my list of things to do today was write a blog post (which is this one :) ) and make a menu plan for the week.

So without further ado here is our menu plan this week:


Monday: spaghetti and garlic bread (using up the bread left from yesterday's baptism party)

Tuesday: baked fish, broccoli, rice and sliced apples

Wednesday: whole chicken in the crockpot, stuffing, green beans

Thursday: chicken tacos (made with leftover chicken from Wednesday), and mac-n-cheese for the kids

Friday: frozen pizza and wings

Saturday: Christmas party

Sunday: leftovers

For other great menu ideas please visit....  orgjunkie.com.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Baking goals for this weekend.

I think the Christmas spirit has hit in the form of I WANT to bake. I don't really need to but I WANT to. So this weekend I am planning on doing some baking. We are having the kids baptized on Sunday so this offers the perfect opportunity to bake. On my list of things to make are:


BUCKEYES!!!! YUMMY!!!!!


CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE


PUMPKIN BREAD



CAKE


I am making most of these for a baptism brunch on Sunday. The buckeyes I am making just because I have been wanting them!

Are there any baked goods you have been wanting? 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas stress.....

I am really trying to have a less stressful Christmas. I really am, for my sake and for the sake of my family. Christmas presents are bought. Plans were made last month for what we were doing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Things seemed to be moving forward smoothly...until...today.....

I went to the grocery store this afternoon and my husband calls me. He only calls if a) there is a problem with the kids or b) because he HAS to tell me something. He had just gotten off the phone with his mother.

The day after Thanksgiving, Bill and his mom were talking about our plans for Christmas. She wanted us to come for Christmas dinner and to be at their house on Christmas Day. Well we had already committed to going to Bill's aunt and uncles house for Christmas Eve and we had told his mom that we would like to spend Christmas Eve day with them, so that we would not have to have two 3 hour round trip car rides in 2 days. We didn't think that putting the kids through the car rides was fair. She went on a rant that she was unavailable on Christmas Eve because they had to usher at church and we were choosing my side of the family over Bill's side, etc. She said that we must have her very low on our totem pole and she hung up on Bill. At Rebecca's b-day party, she did not speak to my husband. The Monday after that she called to say that Christmas Eve was fine for getting together and that we could come in the afternoon and then all go to Bill's aunt and uncles from there. That way we could spend Christmas Day at home with our kids and then Christmas night spend with my parents (who live 15 min away). Okay so the plans were made. Right? WRONG!!!!

She called Bill today to say that Rick (Bill's brother whom we have seen 1 time in the last 5 years) is coming in on Christmas Day only and so we HAVE to come to her house on Christmas Day and that if we come Christmas Eve she won't be able to see us. ???? Bill told her we would be there all afternoon Christmas Eve and that we were going to the family Christmas party that night. My mother-in-law said that that didn't count. And she said that we were choosing my family over them and that she gets no holidays this year. (We celebrated Thanksgiving a day early with her and my other inlaws due to their schedules and the fact that my niece's b-day was on Thanksgiving Day). She said that my parents get to see the kids all the time and that we must not love her very much. Yes my parents see the kids more often because a) they live 15 minutes away and are constantly in our town as my sister and brother's activities and schools are 5 minutes away from my house and b) my mom babysits our kids 3 times a week so I can work part time. Ugh.... (Oh and we have spent every major holiday with them for the past 4 years. We have not seen my parents on Christmas Day since 2006).

Bill and I had made the decision to spend Christmas Eve with the in-laws because that way we could spend Christmas morning and early afternoon at home and not have to rush our kids out of the house and allow them to enjoy their things from Santa. My mother-in-law doesn't understand that. We have invited her to our house for Christmas morning and she says " I am 77 years old, I can't do the round trip drive." Ugghhh... I am so tired of dealing with her. If it were not for my kids, we might not have any relationship with them. It is so frustrating!!!!!  I want and need to do what is right for our family. And I am sorry if my mother-in-law doesn't understand. Christmas is not about her (even though she thinks it is). It is about the kids and about being with family and friends at some point.  I wish she could see that.  I am trying not to be stressed about this, but it is so frustrating to me.

THE CHRISTMAS PEARL---book review

One of the things I am trying to do more to live better one day at a time is to make time to read more books. The latest I have read is The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank. Following is my review of her book. All opinions expressed are my own.



The Christmas Pearl  stars 93 year old Theodora, who lives in her ancestor's home in Charleston, South Carolina. She is not looking forward to the upcoming Christmas holiday as she will have her selfish, modernized, spoiled brats of a family all under one roof. She will have her children, their spouses, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren with her. She realizes that through some fault of her own, the family has grown to be selfish, self-centered, littered with problems (including infidelity, drug abuse, shopping problems, and kids being disrespectful of others).

Theodora misses the classic Christmases of the past, especially from her own childhood around the 1920's. She reminisces over the homemade gifts and garlands, the delicious handmade treats and meals, the simplicity but loveliness of the holiday. Most of these feelings she had because of time spent with the woman of her youth. Her own grandmother, her mother, but most especially her Grandmother's housekeeper Pearl. She wishes that these women were there to help her get through this year with her own family. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, she dreams often of Pearl who is yelling at her and furious at her for the outcome of her family's attitudes and egos. Theodora is in a bleak and depressed state in regards to this holiday season.

However, true to Dorothea Benton Frank's story telling magic, all is not lost. Using some help from Heaven, the magic of gullah and the lowcountry theatrics, Pearl appears  from the dead, on Christmas Eve to save the day complete with magic tricks up her sleeve. She offers help to Theodora and to Theodora's daughter Barbara, who is to take her place as matriarch of the family. Through the magic of the holidays, Pearl brings back the cherished memories and artifacts of Christmas' past, changes the attitudes of the entire family and brings back the magic of Christmas for Theodora and her family.  She shows how awful the family had gotten through an awful Christmas Eve family dinner which resulted in many tears and accusations. By Christmas afternoon, the family has gained respect and renewed sense of love and forgiveness with and for each other. All because of Pearl.

The Christmas Pearl was a very quick, feel good read for Christmas. It reminds all of us how we need to treat our families and what love and respect should look and feel like for Christmas. Frank reminds us of this in a funny, quirky, and sometimes outlandish tale of one family's journey to Christmas peace brought together by Pearl.  The one downside to the book is that I came away from reading it wanting to know more about the minor characters. Really the only two characters that you really get to know are Theodora and Pearl. I would have loved to go deeper into the character of Barbara and the other adults in the story. They seemed to be glossed over. But this was a minor detail.

This book was a great read to stay in the spirit of Christmas and to relax for a few hours! I would definitely recommend this!

Have you read any good Christmas books lately?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas activities

Some of the Christmas Activities going on in the Davis household:


Decorated the Christmas tree and put all the stuffed animals at the bottom to distract Jacob from playing with the tree.

Decorated inside the house. Hung the stocking on the steps.

Playing games at Dinner with St. Nick

Rebecca, Jacob and St. Nick (Jacob kept trying to de-beard St. Nick)

Rebecca loved her face paint.

Doing Christmas craft

Seeing Santa Claus on the square. (Jacob was asleep)

Playing.



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My FAVORITE Christmas show....

One of the Christmas activities that I want to do with my kids and husband is to watch classic Christmas cartoons as a family---including, Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, etc. Well we have watched "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" twice! (Rebecca has decided that that is her favorite!) We have watched "Frosty the Snowman," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (the cartoon version), and various cartoons of the day that have Christmas shows...for example "Dora's Christmas Carol." (Please note we did not watch these all on the same day! We have spread them out and watched about 1 a day or so.) Tonight, airing on tv is one of my all time favorite Christmas shows..


                                                 .."A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS

I love this show and look forward to watching it every year. We don't have it on DVD yet, but I think I may consider getting it to add to our collection. I love that it helps to strike a perfect balance between commercial Christmas and Religious Christmas.I am striving to keep the balance in our home. We go see Santa and enjoy buying presents and decorating with Santas and snowmen, but we also read stories of the true meaning of Christmas and making religious crafts and decorate with Nativitiy scenes.

I cannot wait to watch this show with Rebecca tonight. She is at the age where she loves Snoopy and she has enjoyed the other Charlie Brown specials that we have watched this year... It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

What Christmas shows do you look forward to every year?

This post is added to the Tuesday blog hop...hosted by My Mad Mind.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Menu Plan Week of 12/6


Things have been crazy around here--aka money has been flying out of the house left and right....AGHHHH>>>> One thing that has worked in the past to keep some money in control is through menu planning. I admit that I have gotten out of the habit. Dinners are usually decided at the last minute and therefore things are just randomly bought at the store and/or we end up getting pizza or fast food. I REALLY need to get back into menu planning and there is no time like the present!  So the menu plan for this week is:

Breakfasts: waffles or cereal and fruit and milk

Lunches: sandwiches, leftovers and juice

Dinners:

Monday: Shredded bbq chicken sandwiches (made in crockpot), broccoli, fruit cocktail

Tuesday: Chicken nuggets, chicken wings, leftover sides from fridge

Wednesday: Hamburger helper (cheeseburger macaroni), corn

Thursday: grilled cheese sandwiches, carrots, pears

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: homemade pizza, peaches

Sunday: food from baptism party, whatever we can find.

For more great menu ideas please visit Orgjunkie.com and her Menu Plan Monday series.

Christmas Treats

Every year I look forward to Christmas time, not only because of the spiritual meaning of the holiday, but because it is the only time of year where I indulge in my favorite Christmas treats....These treats remind me of Christmas and the holidays. I admit that I eat way too  many of them during November and December, but I try to work them off in January and February in my resolutions for the New Year. So the must have treats for Christmas in my opinion are::



Candy buckeyes, candy cane hershey kisses and Queen Anne chocolate covered cherries!!!
YUMMY!!!YUMMY!!!YUMMY!!!!!

What are your must have treats for the Christmas season?





Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas activities


One of my goals this Christmas season is to have a less stressful holiday than I have had in the past. I want to enjoy time with my family and enjoy experiences. I want to spend less on "things" and enjoy quality time together. That being said, I have come up with a list of things I want to do with my hubby and kids this Christmas season.... (this is in no particular order)....

  • Follow an advent calender (begin Dec.1)
  • Make an advent cross craft that we got from church
  • Dinner with St. Nick
  • Decorate outside of our home
  • Read St. Nicholas story and leave shoe outside of bedroom on his feast day
  • make Christmas suncatchers with Rebecca for Christmas gifts
  • make garden stone with Rebecca for Christmas gifts for grandparents
  • make cookies
  • watch classic Christmas cartoons as a family---including, Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, etc.
  • watch the Nutcracker
  • go to in-laws Christmas party
  • drive around neighborhood to look at Christmas lights
  • Wildlights at the zoo
This is just the beginning of my list. I hope to do something every day of December leading up to Christmas. I hope it brings more meaning to the holiday than we have had in the past.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

BOOK REVIEW:: Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

 I have read many of Jodi Picoult's books and have enjoyed them for not only the stories that she told, but for the questions both about morality and ethics, that she makes me think about. I was excited that during my last library trip, they had one of her books that I had not read, "Handle with Care."

"Handle with Care" is the story of the O'Keefe's a family who has 2 daughters. One is a teenager going through all the angst that that time of life brings. The other is Willow, who was born with a bone disease that results in her getting many, many breaks and fractures throughout her young life. The story focuses on the emotional, financial toll that Willow's disease has taken on the family and on the mom, Charlotte's, decision to file a wrongful birth suit in order to make sure that her daughter's financial future would be secure. This books tackles the questions of whether or not the parents would have ended the pregnancy had they known earlier about Willow's disease.

Like many of Picoult's books this book follows the story of a major medical issue, a family with personal issues and a lawyer who has her own issues in her life. Unlike many of her other books, I could not become involved with these characters. I felt pity for them, but nothing else. I felt like telling the mother to grow up. The story line did  make me question how I would look at the situation and what I might do; however the differing points of view and the writing really distracted me from getting into this story. And even now a couple of days after finishing the book, i don't know how i feel about the surprise ending.....

Overall, it was a disappointing book to read. The story was awkward, the writing was distracting and it seemed like it was the same as other Picoult books. I will not be re-reading this one again and I do not recommend it to anyone else to read.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lots going on...and recap of Rebecca's birthday party

The past few days have been pretty hectic around here. The recap:

On Wednesday we had Thanksgiving dinner/ birthday celebration with my in-laws and for my sister in law's birthday. Thursday we had Thanksgiving dinner/ birthday celebration with my side of the family and we celebrated my niece's 6th birthday. Friday my sister came to visit and her friend came over for the day. Saturday was spent taking my sister to a 6am basketball practice, cleaning house, doing laundry, baking and decorating Rebecca's b-day cake. Sunday, I got Rebecca up early so we could go to church early. Then I had to get the food together for the party, etc. Then there was Rebecca's party....

She had a blast! She woke up and saw her cake first thing and said "Mommy my cake is beautiful!" After we went to church, she wanted to hurry back home to make sure her cake was still ok. LOL. At her party, she wanted to wear her party dress (pink dress with cupcakes all over it!).

She loved her balloons!

Daddy helping Rebecca blow out the candles on her Cinderella cake!

Enjoying her cake!


She got lots of great gifts! I love her expression when she was opening her birthday barbie!


Playing her new Nickelodeon Fit game with daddy!


The aftermath! Leftover cake and a Cinderella barbie to play with.

Overall we had a really great party for her birthday! She had a blast and that is what matters most! 
During the party, I started feeling achy and run down. I think it was just the stress of the last week and all the things that were going on. I was sick Monday and most of Tuesday. I hate feeling sick! Thankfully I am feeling a little better. I did not get one of my goals done. I wanted to be done with our Christmas shopping by Dec.1, but I am about 97% done so I don't feel too bad about that.

Overall  the last full week of November was busy and was enjoyable! I hope December can be the same.