Friday, November 28, 2008


As you saw in the prior post, this was our first Thanksgiving away from home and not with family. Joe was somewhat sad when he reflected on this. I know Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday and I am sure that it wasn't really 'Thanksgiving' if your family is states away.

We made the best of it.

We relaxed in the morning. Joe watched the kids while I played around in the kitchen. Michelle (the mom of the family across the street that invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner) asked me to bring dessert...except it started with a pumpkin roll. Then a pumpkin pie. Then an apple/raspberry cobbler (the one featured on the Biggest Loser). Then Joe wanted a cherry pie so I made something like it and then I had a cup of pumpkin left over so I made Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin cookies. Let me tell you, the pumpkin roll and the pumpkin cookies were the hits of the night. They were both sooo good.

The cherry pie never really 'set' correctly. The cobbler was ok, but Joe really liked it because he said he doesn't like things overly sweet. I wouldn't make the Libby's pumpkin pie recipe again. It seemed a bit bland.

So 2 out of 5 good recipes isn't bad! The cookies were just a last minute thought anyhow!

After Justin's nap we went across the street in 60 degree weather (short sleeve shirts and it was AWESOME outside) and took our desserts over.

We had a wonderful time. Michelle and Paul are just wonderful hosts. Their children Nicholas and Paige are wonderful too - great with our kids. We had a good time talking. Paul is working on a prototype of an actual board game and actually had it professionally created, box, board, pawns and all. It was so neat. Joe was seriously speechless. He came home and said to me, 'That was so darn cool'. I said, 'Well you really didn't say anything'. He said to me, 'I didn't know what to say, it was just so neat!'.

For having a Thanksgiving away from home, this was wonderful. We really enjoyed ourselves and appreciated that they opened up their home to us.

Today I got a call at 5:30 am. My pal Lori from work was already working the stores for Black Friday and went to Joann's and got her and I both a cricut for $99! OMG I'm so excited. A cricut is a die cutting computer for scrapbookers. It's normally about $200 or so. Of course I'm paying her for it but I'm so excited that she got me one! Joe had to work today so I was home with the kids so I wasn't able to go out at the crack of dawn.

It rained and we had a small thunderstorm this morning when I woke. It rained until about 10am. It was a nice rain. Relaxing.

I did brave the crowds to go to Michael's. They had the cricut cartridges for $29/piece but they were sold out by the time I got there with the kids.

We then went to Target. I got Joey a new cartridge for his leapster since they were only $15/piece. I got the Cars 2 cartridge and he's been glued to it all day. At least he likes it and it's educational!

Thanksgiving morning. Joe was amusing Justin while he was coloring.

Joey helped me cook all the desserts. He's a big helper when it comes to cooking. He loves to try the ingredients. I told him that was off-limits! I did let him lick the beater for the mixer though!

The Lions got creamed again. That's about a tradition too - gather around the tv and watch the Lions lose.

Right before we left I curled my hair (don't I look awesome?) and I made the glaze for the cookies. Joey helped.

Thanksgiving dinner

The kids table.

Our table. We hadn't gotten our food yet. We had just gotten the kids their food.

Paige turned 13 on Friday so we had a little celebration for her, and we got her a gift card to Target.

The shirts her mother/grandma got her. Justin liked the dogs (Snoopy).

Family Photos Thanksgiving

The four of us and the drawing Justin made and wouldn't let go of.

Justin LOVES Paige. Here's Paige and Justin.

Here's Nicholas, Paige, Michelle and Paul.

Carolyn and Christopher were invited over for dinner as well. They normally go out of town for Thanksgiving but they were in town so they joined us.

AND If you didn't have enough of our Thanksgiving update, you can read it from Paige's point of view here. There's even a video of Joey playing in the leaves and photos of Justin and Joey.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Update

This will be our first Thanksgiving away from home. Each year either my mother has made the turkey or Joe's grandma/grandpa has made it.

This year my parents came down the beginning of November and we had a Thanksgiving dinner. That was very nice.

This year we are going across the street to Paige and Nicholas's house to have Thanksgiving dinner. It should be very nice. I've actually never even been IN their house :) The kids just adore Paige and Nicholas so it should be a nice time. I'm in charge of bringing dessert so I'm bringing a pumpkin pie, a pumpkin roll and the Apple Crumble they showed on the Biggest Loser last night. I'm excited. I have never actually made something for Thanksgiving before. I've helped make some parts of dinner, but never actually had to bake and bring something. I can't wait to test our my cooking skills with pies and rolls! I usually cook, not bake so it should be fun!

All these desserts meant I had to traverse to the store today. What a mistake. The Albertson's store near my house was my first stop. It would have been my ONLY stop had they had raspberries, but they were sold out and the apple crumble calls for them. Grrrrr.

Off to my favorite market. They did have raspberries so that was good. The bad thing was the entire parking lot was filled to the BRIM, including all the way out to the pub in the adjacent lot. It was very crazy in there and it was only 1pm in the afternoon. What was I thinking?  I felt like a crazed shopped. People get out of my way. Stop stepping in front of me, cutting me off and stopping right in the middle of the isle. AUGH! Seriously. All for raspberries. That damn apple crumble better taste damn good!

Yesterday Joe worked late so I took the kids to McDonalds for dinner. I ordered their food, and as we were going into the playland, Justin decides to run. Excited? Sure!

Justin trips and falls flat on his face.

He gets up, I put our food down on the first table I see that is empty. I scoop him up and then look and he's mouth is all bloody. He bit his loop and it's bleeding and I'm sure all the parents around just loved that sight as they were eating their burgers. Luckily he only cried for about a minute and was fine. Whew.

They really enjoyed playing in the playland there. I let them play for about an hour until some big kids came in about an hour later and got them ready to go home.

A friend of mine mentioned online that he craved an eggnog shake and McDonalds makes a killer eggnog shake. I went to get in line and there were two people ahead of us. Joey and Justin are not patiently waiting. Joey wants to cut. I tell him we have to wait in line.

Justin sneezes - not just sneezes but SNOT ROCKETS out of his nose.

Oh jeez. Where are the napkins - ok over there. I drag Justin as he sticks out his tongue and starts to grab at the snot, right in front of more people trying to enjoy their delectable McDonalds food.

I get the napkin and grab at the snot. Turn to put it in the garbage bin next to me and I hear some dude at the nearest table say to his friend, 'Ha, there's still a stragler'. I KNEW he was talking about Justin.

I look at Justin and yep, there is still a snot hanging off his cheek. Another tissue and he's cleaned up, half the restaurant is grossed out and I realize that God has told me in not so many words that my thighs do not need the eggnog shake and I drag the kids out of the restaurant, promising them ice cream at home. Jeez... What a night.

The other funny thing that Justin is doing.... Joe bring Justin home from daycare every day. He passes by this field that has cows on the way home. Because of the time change, when they go by in the evening it's dark. Justin asks about the cows. Joe tells him they are sleeping.

The first thing Justin does as he busts through the garage door to greet me when he gets home is, 'Mommy, the cows are SLEEPING'... as if it's the biggest and coolest news there is. No, 'Hey mom, Love you' or 'Hi mommy'. No - it's 'The cows are sleeping'. At least I know what's important in his life - cows.

Joey is OBSESSED with transformers - you know those cars/machines that transform into faces/robots? The same ones that Joe used to play with when he was about 7 years old.

I was trying to get a Christmas list together for Joey and all he wanted was transformers. Funny thing is Joe's grandparents saved all of his transformers from when he was a kid and they were in our garage. I asked Joe nicely to bring them in the house.

That box of old transformers kept Joey occupied for hours. The only downside, it's all he talks about.

Case in point: I'm on the phone in the car talking to Lori. Joey interrupts, 'Excuse me, mom?' I sigh, 'Yes Joey, what do you need?'. Joey butts in, 'Did you know that bumblebee (the transformer) is a good guy?'. Yes this was the important thing that he needed to interrupt me for. But that's not all - every time he talks, it's about transformers. It's an obsession.

The funny thing is - JOE is right there with him. Every night they camp out on the couch and play the latest dvr'd episode of the transformers. Oh father/son bonding. Isn't it grand?

We started a new tradition - saying what we are thankful for at dinner each night. The first night we started this Joey stops, thinks really hard and says out of the blue, "I'm thankful for butterflies'. 
Uh, what the heck? Joe and I look at each other and start to giggle and Joey then starts to laugh and starts saying he's thankful for his 'soda', his 'rice', etc. Funny kid. I swear the things kids say!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving y'all!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Misc Photos from my Phone...

Justin tonight in his pajamas. I think they are still a bit big. He stole Joey's slippers!

A rather favorite photo I took of myself in the car :) I love my new hair do!

This was about a month ago outside of Joe's window at work. I have no clue why they were doing a cattle run downtown in Dallas. Weird but funny all the same.

Our finished tree...

I'm finally done decorating. Here are some after photos (taken with my cell phone)...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Our Christmas tree...

On 11/15 I begged Joe to put up our Christmas tree. I LOVE to celebrate early. He agreed. What a sweetie. He said anytime after deer season starts is an ok time to put up a tree. That cracks me up.

He dragged down the tree and it's his job every year to put it up.

Joe getting ready to put up the tree. Joey helped (a little bit).

Justin wearing my shoes...

The kids and I.

The kids and I again.

Joey helping hang ornaments on the tree.

Joey in the Santa hat.

This year has been more fun than prior years. The kids LOVED helping put the soft ornaments on the tree. They were so excited they couldn't stand it. I had to help Justin but Joey hung them really well.

I hung the moving ornaments and they really loved those too. Justin kept wanting to touch them. I was so afraid the tree would topple over, but luckily it didn't.

They were very excited to put their new ornaments on the tree (see below's post). Justin had his trains put on the tree and Joey put his speed racer car ornament on the tree.

We had a train setup under the tree that we bought last year on clearance. It was a real train track. It didn't make it more than an hour before it was toast.

Soooo, I suggested we put the Geotracks under the tree and so now the kids train is under the tree. I'll have to take a photo :)

By the way - do you like the new look?

Our new decorating...

Problem - when we moved into our house we loved our living room but had no clue what to put in the recesses in the wall. No clue. They were empty for a good 11 months.

Empty recesses.

Before view.

Enter in my mother with a mission. Her mission was to visit us and find something to fit in those empty recesses (she paid for it too - thanks Mom!!). We went to a flea market, found these awesome vases, and then went to Joann's/Michael's and got a ton of these grasses (they were on clearance for fall too - score!). Joe painted the red by himself on a super huge extension ladder and a paintbrush duct taped to a pole. He did a great job. This is after:

Vases and even a vase on top of the edge by the stairs.

Another view.

We love how it looks now! :)

We've been really busy...

Our family has been really busy. I've been addicted to facebook so of course that is taking up some of my time in the evenings :) If you haven't joined yet, I'd love you to join and add me as a friend! It's for all ages - teenage up to 100, if you so wish! ;) It's a awesome way to get a hold of old friends! I found out I know about 130 friends. I never would have thought!

Yesterday I went to workout in the morning. I was a bit PO'd because I've been working out about 4-5x a week (2-3 days a week at Curves and another 1-2 days a week running 2+ miles each time) and I've been watching what I eat and the scale went up at curves and my measurements even went up in some places. That made me so mad. I was so angry I worked so hard at Curves that day that I burned almost 500 calories in that 1/2 hour workout. I WILL get this weight off!

When I came home we got ready to do some errands. We picked up Joe's dry cleaning, went to Walmart to return some Red Box movies (if you haven't tried Red Box - it's a great place to get movies!). Our Walmart has a Red Box and so does our grocery store Albertson's. It's $1/night for any movie - even new releases. If you don't return by 9pm the next evening they charge another $1. It works out great for us and Joe's watching a ton of new movies and Joey's even able to get some for him!

After we got back it was nearly nap time so everyone laid down for a nap (except Joey).

When we got up we agreed it was time to bring out the Christmas tree, which made me totally excited. I've been trying to get Joe to put it up since Nov 1st. I love Christmas - everything about it - the music, the feelings surrounding it, everything.

We got most of the tree put up. We still have some ornaments to add to it. We have to keep telling Justin to STOP touching the tree - especially the moving ornaments. I have a feeling the tree may be toppling over this year, unless we find a way to bungee it to the wall.

Justin was playing with these snow globe trains and busted the glass globe on two of them already. Oiy.

We decided on two Christmas traditions

1. Make chili every year on the day that we put up the Christmas tree. We made this last night and it was AWESOME!!
We made Boiler Tailgate Chili from and it was amazing. Joe and I loved it. We added some ground turkey to the meat and didn't add the celery and peppers because Joe dislikes them.

2. Go to Hallmark every year and let the kids pick out their OWN ornament for the tree. This way we can look back at every year when they get older and see what they were interested in at the time.

Joey got the speedracer ornament. Justin got trains. Justin also changed his mind about 100x. He first had a boat, then an airplane and then .... until he got to these trains.

The Trains Justin wanted.

The ornament of SpeedRacer Joey wanted.

So anyhow our Realtor had a thank you party for her clients last night. We went and a few people from Joe's work went that used her as a Realtor. We had a nice time and stayed until about 11pm. The kids were at the drop in daycare and were still awake when we got there. They were NOT happy we left them there so late as Joey said, "Dad, I'm really tired". They crashed pretty much as soon as we got home. It's 9:30am and they are still sleeping. Poor kiddos.

We saw gas here yesterday for $1.77. That's like totally amazing. I never thought I would see it again with a $1 in the front of the price.

We love our new computer (see post below - we got it for under $300 at a early bird sale at Walmart) and we've since formatted our old pc and put it in Joey's room. He even has his own desk and chair now. He's such a big boy!

On Tuesday of this week it was Veteran's day and Joe and I had the day off so we took Justin to daycare and Joey to preschool and couldn't believe it. We have not had a single day off without plans in as long as we could remember - without kids!

We decided to make the most of our time. We ran to Toys R Us and finished the kids Christmas shopping. We then came home, ate lunch.

Then we ran back to the mall so I could use up some gift certificates to get some clothes. I found a really awesome red shirt at Coldwater creek for $80. Good thing I had a $50 gift certificate that made it more affordable. It's the shirt I'm wearing for our yearly Christmas photos!

Then we ran back to Joey's preschool to pick him up. Stopped at half price books to get a few presents for Justin for the trip back to Michigan at Christmas and then got Justin and spent the rest of the evening together. It was nice to have that free time that day!

That reminds me, we found this lady - she takes Christmas photos and you bring payment in a Target or Walmart gift card and she donates all the proceeds to a local charity that helps buy gifts for abused children in our county. We already have a date picked to get our photos taken (Nov 30th) so I'm very excited about this.

This Christmas we decided to adopt a soldier so we went to and found a group of soldiers overseas in which we are going to send a care package. I'm just waiting for the post office to send me my flat rate overseas boxes. We plan to send shampoos, conditioners, razors, soap, and some food like chocolate milk, oatmeal packets, etc and a few other things we'll pick up.

So that's about it for this week. I promise to follow up with some finished photos of the tree!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Last Saturday my parents flew into Dallas to stay with us for 5 days. I posted our fun below so make sure to check it out.

The last day they were here we took them about 5 minutes north of us to show them how we may be in the 'city' but 5 minutes north is the STICKS! My mother loved the area north of here. It was so nice and quiet. I told Joe maybe one day we'll move back to the country. Some days I miss it.

Mom and dad flew out on Wednesday around 2 and I miss them terribly. My mother has been down three times. Each time we hope for a thunderstorm for her to see (we both LOVE them) but so far no luck.

Bummer for her - we had a thunderstorm WEDNESDAY NIGHT - the day she left. AUGH!!! Poor mom. I wish she could have been her!

Let's see what else has been going on.

Friday night I went scrapbooking. That was fun.

Saturday morning we waited in line at Walmart at 7:30am for their 8am-11am sale. They had a Compaq laptop on sale for $298. I am not kidding. I'm using it now and it's soooo nice and fast compared to our four year old archaic piece of crap. We also got Joey a new digital camera for Christmas. It was also on the sale for $89! We got the last one and we thought we weren't going to get a laptop. We were number 36 in line. We got the second to the last computer. We were so lucky!

I hope to update this more frequently. I know some weeks I post almost daily and others hardly at all. With my mom and dad here I wanted to spend time with them. It was such a nice visit.

There has been other things going on but I can't remember. Maybe if I remember them, I'll make sure to come back and post!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dallas Arboretum with mom and dad

We promised to take my parents to the Dallas Arboretum when they came down. We did this on day 4. My parents are NUTS about gardening, flowers and trees. Having them come down to the Dallas gardens was fun. They saw so many plants and trees they just can't grow in Michigan.

The gardens are beautiful and the kids really like it. They can run around, they have things to climb on, trails to run and more.

My dad, Justin and Joe outside the pumpkin house.


Love this one of Joey.

The boys!

More fun at the gardens...

I love this one. The boys were racing.

My dad is obsessed with frogs - mostly statues. He LOVED this one. I know he was thinking how could he get something like this at his house!

A nice photo of my parents.

I love these overhanging trees. The boys racing - again.