The result of Christmas guilt

This is the time of year when our mail is more than the typical junk. So far, we have received quite a few Christmas cards. However I think there is more than just a card in those envelopes. I truly do love seeing the beautiful faces of friends and family, but I think they all somehow manage to sneak a little guilt into those little white envelopes.

Guilt, because, yet again, we failed to send out Christmas cards. I mean to send them out every year, but life gets in the way. By the time I remember, it's too late to do anything about it. This year in particular I really failed at Christmas cards. Why, you ask? Because I don't even have Christmas pictures of the kids.

Yes I have a picture of Little Dude with Santa, and one of GG with Santa, but not one of both of them. I have a picture of our tree that I am in love with this year, but not a picture of the tree with the kids around it.

I may have failed with those pictures, but I do have a picture of something cool...

GG is definitely a shop-a-holic! Those boots and gloves were part of her latest purchase.

You see, over the weekend, I brought down my iron fist and demanded the children to help clean the house.

Or maybe what I really did was bribe GG with a shopping trip to use up some gift cards if she cleaned. Bribery works. Sue me.

Until next time...

What the boy really wants

Alternately titled "The year we became some of those parents" - the crazy, must have this toy and now Christmas shopper kind of parents.

Every Christmas, we buy each kid one big gift and a few smaller, filler gifts. The idea for GG was conceived a few months ago and it is now safely hiding somewhere in the house. Little Dude's big gift? Well, that another story. And an ugly one.

A few months ago LeapFrog announced a new toy, the LeapPad. As cool as it looked, I didn't really think Little Dude needed it. I knew he would love it, but I really didn't want to buy all new games. It would be like switching all of our VHS tapes over to DVDs - a royal pain in the ass! And besides, stores around here weren't carrying them. I wasn't going to turn into one of those moms who goes nuts over a toy for her young child. I did that once with Elmo and it wasn't fun.

As time passed I periodically checked out this LeapPad. Our Target finally got a few in stock and I admit, I did play around with the display model a bit. But I still wasn't sure if his Explorer games would work with it. After more research, I learned that his games would in fact work with this new system. Now I had to get the husband on board with me on this purchase.

The husband was on the fence for quite some time but I finally managed to pull him over to the other side, my side. This feat of mine was finally accomplished the day after Cyber Monday. That night we turned to the LeapFrog website, as well as websites for any and all stores that sold toys. The LeapPad could not be found anywhere. The husband and I decided we would keep looking, but would talk up the dinosaur I had purchased a few days prior in case we couldn't acquire a LeapPad. And then Monday happened.

I had gone shopping with a friend in the morning. Once home I decided to give finding an available LeapPad a shot. The LeapFrog website wouldn't load and I knew something was up. A quick check of their Facebook page told me they had a few in stock. Everybody and their mother must have seen this status update. Damn them!

The husband and I spent the better part of the next 3 hours trying to obtain this precious toy. Just as one of us managed to add it to our virtual cart, our session would time out and the site would crash. Finally at the end of that 3 hour time span, the husband managed to add one to his cart and enter our shipping information. Just as he was about to enter our billing information, the site crashed once again. Our purchase never went through. When the site was finally brought back up, all but the super expensive bundles were sold out. Not wanting to spend that kind of money, we felt sad, frustrated, and defeated.

Yesterday afternoon the husband and I finally agreed that we would purchase Little Dude a LeapPad after Christmas. Perhaps for Easter. I had lost hope of obtaining one and I think the frustrations from Monday were something the husband didn't want to go through again. Apparently a little birdie, or frog in this case thought otherwise.

As usual, while dinner is cooking, the kids are taking a tv break, the husband is upstairs doing work for the class he's taking, and I'm playing around on the computer . That's when I saw it - our window of opportunity. One little status update with a heads up and off I was racing up the steps to share what I just read with the husband. He quickly jumped on the website and just like that, he bought our boy a LeapPad. I cannot wait to see Little Dude's face come Christmas morning!

Now if only I could have this kind of luck with the lottery!

How is your Christmas shopping going? Hopefully not as stressful as mine!

Until next time...

A Holiday Tour

I love decorating for Christmas! I have made it a tradition to at least start bringing decorations out of storage on Black Friday. After I'm done shopping, of course!

The first item to go up is always our tree. I love our Christmas tree! It comes in 3 easy to assemble pieces and it's pre-lit. I have a love/hate relationship with strings of lights, and having my kids help me decorate, it's one less thing to stress over. I always make sure to place all breakable ornaments around the top of the tree. My kids might not be toddlers anymore, but that doesn't mean they're not still clumsy!

After the tree, the next bin to come out of the garage is the one which holds the rest of the inside decorations. Most of these decorations are ones that can be placed on top of a bookshelf or table, but some are pictures my kids made that my son likes to tape on any and all walls around the house.

Sorry, no pictures of my crazy, taped up walls!

One of my favorite decorations to finally come out of storage on December 1st is the countdown calendar my aunt made for the kids a few years ago.

I place 2 candy cane Hershey kisses in each pocket, one for each child, and 4 kisses in the Christmas day pocket. The pockets are not in numerical order and my kids love searching for the day's pocket.

Speaking of homemade decorations, I decided to add some of my own to the mix this year. No matter what time of year, I always like to have something hanging on our front door. Our usual snowman was looking a little sad, so I decided to make something to hopefully help spread some joy.

To brighten up our tv stand, I also made a mini table runner.

Which my son lovingly decorated
with some holiday snow globes and candles.

Having two kids (three if you count the husband) and living in a house we are growing out of, keeping things clean and organized is something we struggle with, but I do have some tricks to help during the holidays.

Items, such as candles and pictures frames, that normally sit atop my bookshelves are stored in those plastic bins that normally hold the Christmas decorations. Breakable items are placed up high or in rooms the kids don't frequent as often. Although I learned this past weekend, that doesn't always matter. Things can get broken no matter how hard you try.

The one thing that I cannot figure out how to keep clean are the bottom few steps leading upstairs and the floor around them. What seemed like a good idea at the time is now turning into one, bug shedding mess!

Do you go crazy decorating? What do you do to keep your home clean and organized throughout the holiday season?

"I am sharing my holiday home decor and cleaning tips for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls and Great Cleaners."

Until next time...


That would be his name.

Whose name?

Our Elf on the Shelf's name, of course. It took quite some time to agree upon this name. We had Harold, Jack, and Max the Great in the pot. Trying to help i the decision making process, I threw some names out there as well. Since I was listening to a hockey game, those were the names I mentioned - Sid, Flower, Crosby, Maxime. Hockey names were banned, but somehow the kids agreed on Geno, a hockey player's nickname.

I am glad I brought an elf into this house. For the most part, behavior has improved. If nothing else, the kids enjoy trying to find him every morning. Assuming I remember to move him (so far, so good). It's a good thing I made the decision to buy Geno when I did because right now those elves are about as easy to find as a LeapPad!

Our Geno started off quite innocent. Early on, he was found driving some toy trucks, and another morning he was trying to play the Wii. But Geno has also had his share of trouble. A few days in, Geno discovered a string of beads. I have had this string of beads for years but can never figure out where to put it at Christmas. Geno must have tried to help because one morning he was tangled up in those beads.

After that, I believe Geno got a taste for mischief. Geno also appears to have a taste for sweets, as you can see here...

Elf on the Shelf

A few years ago, my aunt made a beautiful Christmas countdown chart for the kids. I place 2 candy cane flavored Hershey Kisses in each pocket,and 4 in the Christmas day pocket. The pockets are not in numerical order. My kids love searching for each number every night after dinner. Apparently Geno doesn't care what the date is. He just wants his candy!

This post is linked up with the I'm Elfing it Up Photo Contest
hosted by KludgyMom

Elf on the Shelf

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf?
What are his favorite places to hide?

Until next time...

Dear Santa

Not too long ago, Little Dude wrote a letter to Santa at school. He didn't write the whole letter. It was more a fill in the blank kind of thing. Almost like a Mad Lib.

This letter was sent to the schools by a local letter shop. In their store, they had a special bright red mailbox. Letters for Santa were deposited in this mailbox and shipped to the North Pole. Given that there was a space at the bottom of the letters for one's address, I am assuming that Little Dude will get a letter in return. After reading what my boy wrote, I am quite anxious to see how the big man responds.

In case you can't see or figure out what my boy is trying to say with his lovely spelling skills, let me point out the crucial parts.

For the most part, Little Dude has been good. But apparently the husband and I have been busy. If you look close, it appears our son thinks he has 22 sisters and 1 brother. It would also appear we are quite neglectful as parents because I have no idea where these siblings are!

"Please" is often a word my kids forget, but Little Dude is correct in pointing out he always says "Thank you". That does make him plite (polite), so I guess he does deserve gifts.

But just because my boy thinks he deserves lots of gifts doesn't mean he doesn't think others should get jipped!

For me, Little Dude would like Santa to bring muge (mug). His daddy needs a new computer. I beg to differ on that one! For GG, he wold like Santa to bring mackup (make-up). She's only 10 so Santa and I might have some words if he really does bring her make-up, but I have to give Little Dude credit. He does know what his sister likes!

For our cat, a lidul cot (little cot). Last time I checked, our cat died over the summer. Perhaps this cat is hiding with the missing siblings? And finally, for his cousins, some bons (bones). Because they have dogs. Yes, I had to ask for an explanation with the bones.

In closing, Little Dude would like more Digrs (diggers). Santa and I might have more words because another digger is the last thing this boy of mine needs! And that big long "K" word under diggers - I do believe that is how my son spells a construction work site. Because a sandbox and his own designated digging spot in the yard aren't sufficient? Forget words with friends, it's words with Santa should he follow through!

Although with the luck Santa's helper (aka me) is having with finding the toy I really want to get, I might have to resort to more diggers.

What are your kids asking for Christmas because obviously I need more ideas other than diggers?

Until next time...

Free gas

Well, almost free anyway!

Our grocery store are a card. This card is awesome. When scanned at the register, you get discounts on some of the items in your purchase. Also for every $50 you spend, you earn 10 cents off gas at their station. Feeding a family of four, that 10 cents can add very fast. Especially when their are extra deals every so often. Buy 4 boxes of this brand of cereal and you can earn an extra 10 cents. Um... yes please. We like cereal.

Last month I noticed that I had $2 off a tank of gas. I got online to find out when this amount expires (your earnings are only good for a 3 month period). I had until the end of November before some of what I had earned would expire. So I began to hoard my gas discounts (aka feulperks).

Four boxes of fruit snacks? Ok
don't judge

Five boxes of GoGurts? My kids will eat them until they turn into yogurt!

I was turning into the gas discount version of an extreme couponer. But it was well worth it.

Monday the gauge wasn't as close to "E" as I would have liked, but we needed gas. We wouldn't have made it to the husband's work if we didn't fill up. I made sure to remind the husband to scan our grocery card at the pump to we could cash in our earnings.

I must say I'm a little disappointed that there weren't bells, whistles, and confetti when we were done pumping because neither of us have ever paid so little for so much gas.

Gas here is $3.39
With our discounts we paid
9.9 cents per gallon!!!

Which put our total for 8.8 gallons at...

87 cents

I know.
We're awesome!

Sorry about the crappy pictures! I didn't feel like getting out of the car to take a picture in the rain. My computer is also being dumb and won't let me crop the pictures.

Until next time...

Sanity Saver

Elf on the Shelf
My Thanksgiving was spent with my family. The holiday was full of good food, lots of laugh, and of course, pouring over the Black Friday ads.

My mom and I are Black Friday shoppers, but we're not the crazy ones. We could care less about the big deals and have no desire to stand in line with hundreds for hours over a tv when the store only has 8 in stock. But that doesn't mean we don't hit the mall early - early enough for the good sales, but late enough to miss the crazies.

This year while we were shopping I picked up a hitch hiker - our very own Elf on the Shelf. I have thought about bringing one home for quite some time now. Like every other kid out there, mine go nuts this time of year. I had hoped by bringing this guy home, the kids' behavior would improve, thus saving my sanity.

Friday night we welcomed the elf into our home. I explained to GG and Little Dude that his job wouldn't start until we read his story and gave him a proper name. We read the story, learned the rules, and after much debate, they finally decided to name our elf Geno.

We have had a few bumps in the road, but behavior seems to be improving. I just hope the mischief Geno causes doesn't influence the kids in how they decide to act!

Geno wasted no time getting into things. The very next morning he was found wrapped in a string of beads, surrounded by pieces of red garland from the railing above.

Elf on the Shelf

Little Dude, who wanted to play with the toys in the box Geno was on, decided to move him to another part of the room. Touching Geno is against one of the rules. Warning Little Dude, I told him I hoped Geno's magic wasn't gone and he could still report to Santa every night.

Luckily that warning was enough, because Geno moved onto playing with Little Dude's toys the next morning. It took the kids quite some time to find him. I guess Geno had picked an ideal spot to play without being disturbed.

Elf on the Shelf

The kids, Little Dude in particular, wonder aloud every night as to where Geno will end up in the morning. I can't wait to discover the places he can hide.

I also wouldn't be surprised if Geno returned carrying a note from Santa about the things that were reported, good and bad. I hope Geno can hear my wish for a note because that would be a huge boost to my sanity!

Do you have your own Elf on the Shelf? What kind of crazy places does he hide?

Until next time...


Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. Thankful is something you should be all year, but this time of year it is stressed. I have many things to be thankful for.

Even if they are a pain in my ass.

I am thankful for...

Mount Laundry

Not a day goes by where I don't have one pile or another of clothes to wash. But every time I trip over one of those piles or leave a trail of socks behind me as I walk down to the laundry room, I am reminded of how thankful I am we are able to all have clothes on our backs. Or the floor.

Skyscrapers of dishes in the sink

Or on the counter. GG and I share the responsibility of washing said dishes. If I'm not complaining about the lasagna that burned to the pan and won't come off, then I'm bribing her to actually wash them at a reasonable hour. No matter how much whining and crying I do over those dishes, I am reminded of thankful I am we are able to fill plates with food each and every night.


Whether they are fighting or laughing, I know that they always have and always will love one another. I can't imagine my life without them. It is truly a miracle that the husband and I let them live this long created such beautiful creatures.

Creaky floors and leaky pipes

It is no secret that I hate this house. So many memories have been made here, but most days, it still doesn't feel like a home. Just a house. But no matter how I feel about this house of ours, I am always thankful that we have a roof over our heads.

Alarm clocks

Not a day goes by when I don't want to chuck them into the wall. Yes I said them. This chic loves her sleep! But since one of those alarms is on my phone, which I also love, I resist the urge to throw things at the butt crack of noon dawn. Instead of throwing, I remind myself that hearing my alarms every morning remind me that I am alive. And I am very thankful for that.


Do I really need to explain this one?!


I am taking the remainder of this week off to enjoy a day of good food, followed by a long day of shopping. I hope everyone out there has a happy turkey day. May you gobble til you wobble!

Until next time...


I have a confession to make...

I share clothes with my 10 year old daughter. Not a lot. Mostly shirts.

GG seems to know what she's doing when it comes to clothes. She loves colors and it apparently doesn't matte if things don't match. That seems to be the 'in" thing. I guess, by default, that kind of makes me cool, too. It's about damn time!

However, I must draw the line somewhere. I am doing my best to improve my wardrobe to avoid being the typical sweat and tee kind of mom, but I refuse to wear clothes from my childhood. In regards to an outfit GG put together over the weekend, the husband said she looked like she could be on a popular 80's tv show.

What do you think?

First off, can we classify those skinny jeans as acid wash?

Second, her bracelets...

Technically, those are Silly Bandz,
but aren't those the updated version
of jelly bracelets?

And this one?

A slap bracelet.
Do you know how many of those things
I had at her age?!

Just because I want to look and act young does NOT mean I want to relive my youth. Especially the clothes! I'll leave that to my daughter. As long as she doesn't give herself bangs and tease them to high heaven, I think we're safe. That trend better not come back. Ever!!

Until next time...

Blue blur

I am so proud of my boy!

Last week the Boy Scouts held their annual Space Derby. Each boy was given a kit to build their space ship. The husband glued the two blocks of wood together. Once they dried, he began to sand out the square into the shape of a rocket. The husband did the bulk o the sanding, but Little Dude definitely had a hand in it.

Once the husband deemed the shape of the space ship acceptable, it was handed over to me. My job was to then apply a base coat of paint. Sky blue was the color Little Dude picked. Once that was dry, Little Dude took over with a handful of brushes and a full palette of paint.

Last Friday, the husband added the propeller and the fins. Saturday afternoon we were off to the race. We were all worried as this was Little Dude's first time with this race. It was the husband's first time since this was an event his Boy Scout troop opted out of.

My boy's ship would be
the blue blur in the lead :)

By the end of the race, Little Dude's space ship had won 6 races before it was eliminated. Had he won just one more race, my boy would have placed third and that would have given him a trophy. The husband and I were a little disappointed that, for the second Boy Scout race, Little Dude was just one race shy of a trophy. But I don't think Little Dude cared. The race by itself was enough for him.

But a blue ribbon didn't hurt either!

Until next time...


Over the weekend, GG celebrated her 10th birthday. I still don't think it's hit me that my child is a decade old. How the hell did that happen?! I had considered dedicating a blog post to this milestone birthday of hers, but time got away from me. Between birthdays and holidays, this time of year is nothing short of hectic and out of control.

But I don't really think GG will hold it against me that I didn't write some sweet post for her. Her cupcakes alone made up for the lack of sweetness on this blog.

Sunshine cupcakes
Cute, right?!

Along with not writing a post for her, I also fell short on supplying a kick ass party. In my defense, I blame all the other parents in the area who also had their children around the same time as mine.

I told GG I would take her and a few friends for a few rounds of bowling and some pizza. Little did I know the bowling alley we planned to go was having 10-15 parties on the exact same day. A lane for the 5 of us would not be a guarantee. I have to give one of the employees some credit because she did try and secure us a lane, but it was a no go.

Again, I really don't think GG will hold it against me due to her awesome presents. Harry Potter Legos, board games, video games, a ton of clothes for her American Girl dolls, and this rockin' lamp...

Mood Lamp
Orbeez mood lamp
It's pretty awesome!

But the best present of all is one I don't think has taken off, other than to sleep, since Saturday night.

Cat Hat

My fashionista!

Happy 10th birthday, GG!!!

Until next time...

Rhyme Time

I am so incredibly proud of my kids. They brought home their report cards last week. All A's and B's!! I am especially proud of Little Dude because honestly, I was a little worried.

Every day I ask what they did in school. GG will give me examples of math problems or a science project. Little Dude will tell me what he ate for lunch or what he played at recess. However, when we least expect it, or at night when he's supposed to be in bed trying to sleep, he will tell us all about a lesson from the day.

Over the past few days, Little Dude has been learning that you can change the beginning or end sound of a word to create another word. Sometimes the words rhyme while other times they make a whole new word. For example, "man" can be changed into "map". At the end of last week, he was learning what can happen when the end sound of a word is changed. This week they are working on changing the beginning sound. How do I know this? Well, let me explain...

The other night I took the kids with me to Target, which could be an entire post in itself as I left with much more than I originally planned for. As usual! During the short car ride home, GG was talking about her upcoming birthday. Little Dude began to ramble on about words that can be changed. I was nodding and "uh-huh"-ing so he knew I was paying attention, even though I was more worried about driving down a dark, twisty hill in the rain. And then I heard it.... Duck. Oh, this can't end well.





And finally he came to the mother of all curse words.

Thank goodness we were in the car away from the general public and thankfully he had no idea what he had just said.

Proud Mommy Moment
hosted by Kmama and Emmy Mom
Do you have a proud (or "proud") moment
from the week?

Until next time...

I need a mystery machine

I seem to have a bit of a mystery.

It is no surprise that things are constantly going missing in this house. We may not have a lot of room, but things seem to magically find their way into the deep, dark abyss. Never to be seen again.

Occasionally a Lego guy or that one, long Lincoln Log will turn up under the couch. But to this day, there are still puzzle pieces that have been missing since GG was a toddler, almost 8 years ago.

Most of those little toys, especially the Legos, I don't mind when they go missing. One less little toy to put away at the end of the day. But one thing that is guaranteed to go missing in this house is a glue stick. I have learned over the years to buy multiple packs at a time. I give the kids 2 each and stash the rest away for future use. Despite my valiant efforts, glue sticks continue to disappear left and right.

As annoying, and as costly, as missing glue sticks can be, they are like those little toys. A loss I can deal with. But this latest mystery really has me worried. I am missing a bottle of Elmer's Glue. A full bottle none the less. My lovely son taught me a few years ago that Elmer's Glue spilled on a carpet does not come up, no matter how much or how long you scrub.

I worry the day will come when we can finally move out of this house. On my last sweep through the house to make sure we didn't miss anything, I will find that bottle of Elmer's lying in a corner somewhere surrounded by a stiff, dry puddle of clear glue.

This is a mystery I really need to solve. Our landlord is pretty easy going, but I don't think even he would appreciate dried glue on the carpets.

So, if you were a bottle of glue, where would you hide?

Until next time...

Happy Halloween

Looking at the outside of our house, you would never know that I am a Halloween junkie. Except for my Boo door hanger, there is not an ounce of Halloween in our yard. First of all, it has been cold and I hate decorating in the cold. Second, very few, if any kids trick-or-treat on our street.

But that doesn't mean I am lacking on the decorations on the inside of our house.

Witch and monster sign, courtesy of my MIL.
Boo ghosts that I just finished making.
A pumpkin whose batteries might actually survive
through Halloween this year.


As much as I hate spiders, I have to put this guy out every year.
Last year, I actually forgot to put him away.
Yes, it freaked me out on more than one occasion.


web made by me

Not only do I enjoy watching my kids enjoy this holiday, but I also enjoy being someone else for a change. Can you guess what I was this year?

Fallen angel Fallen angel

The husband was NOT a fan of my all to real black eye!

And by the way, why does my hair never cooperate
until I actually want it to be messy?! So frustrating!

In case you're still not sure of my costume,
would dirty, beat up wings give you a clue?

Fallen angel

Because I have been so busy making Halloween decorations and starting on Christmas stuff, I decided to forgo making homemade costumes for the kids. The first costume GG chose was not available in a size that would fit her. Big is good as we have to work a costume over layers of clothes in this city, but 4 sizes too big is pushing it. She instantly fell in love once she saw a picture of something else.

I bought Little Dude's costume at a consignment shop back in July and up until October, he was so psyched to wear it. Then he decided to be a werewolf. Having already purchased a costume, I said no. Once I explained I could paint his face, his original costume was a go.

Without further adu, I introduce my Polar Princess and a soldier to protect her.

Or maybe a soldier to chase the polar princess with the gun I caved a bought him.

Polar princess Army soldier

I wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween full of good candy for moms and dads to dip into!

PS. In case you're still not sure of what my costume was, I was a Fallen Angel.

Until next time...

Red Ribbon

This week at the kids' school, along with many others I think, they are participating in Red Ribbon week. The point of Red Ribbon week is to teach kids about saying no to drugs. In our school, the kids wear something different each day.

Forgive me as I seemed to have thrown the actual paper from the school away. I don't remember what each day symbolizes.

Monday - Black and white day. Students are encouraged to wear these colors. Possibly because it's a black and white decision to either do drugs or don't and we strongly encourage you to say no.

Tuesday - Wear your favorite boots so together we can stomp out drugs.

Wednesday - Hat day. I don't know why, but the kids were happy to wear hats, which are usually a no-no. There were some funky hats!

Thursday - Wear your team colors. As a team we can stand up against drugs. Boy am I glad I bought those school shirts a few weeks ago

Friday - Wear your Halloween costume to scare drugs away.

GG and Little Dude have been quite excited to pick out the special item before bedtime for the following day. GG was over the moon when she found out it was boot day. I will post pictures next week of her too cute boots when I do a Halloween post.

All day Tuesday Little Dude was thinking about which hat he would wear for Wednesday. Tuesday night he finally found a bright yellow Steeler hat (that's my boy!). He came downstairs to show me his find and I told him to put it in a safe place so we didn't forget it in the morning. As he carefully laid his hat by his jacket and book bag, he asked me a question.....

"Mom, what are drugs?"

Red Ribbon week fail!

I am so proud of my boy for happily participating in Red Ribbon week without knowing why. Of course this is only true if proud is the new word for disappointed.

Do you have a proud, or not so proud, parenting moment? Link up with Kmama and Emmy Mom.

Until next time...