Monday, December 31, 2007


I hope everyone out there has a safe and happy new year's. We are having a nice, quiet evening at home. Camille has conked out already, but Celeste and Kait are staying up with us to ring in the new year.

What a year this has been! We've had soo many good things happen this year. We finally got good news from USCIS (formally INS) for Craig, we welcomed our baby Camille to our family, Celeste started Kindergarten, Kaitlyn continues to do well in school and was invited to join the Tri-M Music Honor Society for band and more recently, we've gone from a one-income family to two incomes.

I am looking forward to the new year, the new challenges and happy things that will come with it. Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And THIS is why I hate living in Florida...

Saturday, it's 80+ degrees outside. We're wearing shorts, short sleeve shirts and flip flops. Washing the car, riding bikes, playing outside. It all sounds lovely, yes? NO! It's December, it's supposed to be cold!

Yeah, well fast forward to Monday - it's 34 degrees outside in the morning. Sigh. This is why people get sick, the constant up and down with the temps wreak havok on a body's immune system.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Traditions Festival - Week 3

Christmas Cookie Baking ensued this weekend at our household. We made lots of yummylicious (that's a Celeste word, btw) goodies. We also made some banana bread that made our whole house smell delicious. They should make a candle that smells that good, maybe then I'd actually light candles.

Tada! Our finished cookies:

Another holiday tradition in our family is the countdown. We make a paper link chain and take one chain off each night before bed. Some years, I fancy it up and put little activities for us to enjoy together on the back of some of the rings. Not this year, though. It seems there's not enough time to breath, let alone be creative.

And last, but certainly not least - thanks to a suggestion from Shannon at Gabi's World, I was able to get a picture of our outside lights. :) Thanks, Shannon.

The countdown is offically on - only 8 days until Christmas! Anyone else out there totally and completely unprepared? We have hardly anything purchased as far as presents go, I'm way behind on my holiday crocheting, nothing is wrapped. At the rate I'm going, I might be ready by the time NEXT Christmas rolls around. At least the decorations and baking are done. :)

Head over to Melissa's blog for more Holiday Traditions!

Menu Plan Monday

Can you believe that it's almost Christmas, that this year is nearly over!?! It seems silly to say "where does the time go?", but really, where does it go? How is it possible that just yesterday, I was complaining about still being pregnant and now my baby is almost 8 months old? How is it possible that just last week, I was watching my little girl take her first steps and now she is 5 years old? How is it possible that just last month, I was watching my big girl walk into Kindergarten for the very first time and now she is 2 weeks away from 14?


Onto the weekly menu-

Monday: Kaitlyn has a concert for band tonight, so we will be having something quick and easy - either frozen dinners or we'll order a pizza.

Tuesday: Ham Steaks with buttered egg noddles and corn on the cob.

Wednesday: Roasted Chicken with mashed potatoes and glazed carrots.

Thursday: Vege-Spaghetti with salad and garlic bread.

Friday: Chicken (left-overs) with steamed rice and black beans.

Saturday: Free Night - no plans. Hubby and I will probably be shopping this weekend.

Sunday: Dinner at mom's house. We usually do our Christmas at mom's on Christmas Eve, buy hubby has to work, so we are going Sunday and the kids are sleeping over so that we can finish wrapping and preparing for Christmas.

Have a great week, everyone! Check out Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

In keeping with the "Goin' Old School" theme here...

I thought I'd share a story with you from when my oldest (now 13) was almost 8.

I was newly pregnant with Celeste and we had recently had "THE" talk with Kaitlyn about where babies come from and how they get there, etc, etc. She and I were driving in the car one day and she made an off-handed comment about wishing she never had twins. When I questioned why, she replied that she wouldn't be able to feed them both. I assured her that yes, if she had twins, she would be able to feed them, that is after-all why we have TWO breasts. She sat quietly in the car for a moment and then quipped "well, then I hope I never have triplets!" lol

I've been reminiscing a LOT lately. My oldest will be 14 next month. Fourteen. I realized this morning that I could potentially be a grandmother in 10 years time. Eeek!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Goin' Old School

Taken May 2002, look at how teeny, tiny my girls were.

For more, visit the Wordless Wednesday Headquarters.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happy Day!

Happy birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday toooooo meeeeeeee, Happy Birthday to me!

OK, now that I got that out of my system, in case you didn't know - today is my birfday. And to celebrate I went yarn shopping the other day. I got some yummy fingering weight yarn in a pastel purple that will go towards something for Camille, a worsted weight pastel purple that will go towards something for Celeste and a gorgeous teal colored aran weight yarn that I'm not sure what I'm going to do with.

And then, as an added bonus, I got a package in the mail yesterday from a yarn exchange that I was taking part of and I got THIS yummylicious sock yarn from ShiBui Knits. *drool*

Monday, December 10, 2007

Holiday Traditions Festival - Week 2

We got our outside lights up over the weekend. The baby was napping and the two older girls were playing together (and *not* fighting - !!!), so hubby and had a nice chance to catch up from the week and just talk and relax together. We tried to get pictures, but it was way too dark when the pictures were taken, so all you can see is the outline of the lights! lol

Every year, I love to bake, bake, bake and bake some more. I always make way too much sweet stuff and end up bringing a bunch to work. Hey, they’re not complaining so why change. Here’s a few of the tasty treats I make each year.

Pecan Tassies - These were always my grandma’s favorite and are a favorite of my dad as well.

Peanut Butter Cookies - Just the recipe off of the PB jar.

Banana Bread - I add a splash of vanilla to this recipe and it is so yummy.

Oatmeal Cookies - Craig and Celeste both LOVE these, especially when I add raisins.

For some reason, I can NEVER get sugar cookies just right, so this year we’re going to try a new recipe from Pioneer Woman - Fingers crossed that they come out well.

I think I’m going to try these this year as well. They look scrumptious!

And I really want to try making gingerbread cookies, but I haven’t found a recipe yet and I think I’ve got enough going on, so that will get pushed to the back-burner.

I will be sure to post some pictures once all of our delectable treats are complete.

Head on over to Melissa's blog to see more Holiday traditions and ideas, or to join in and share your holiday traditions!

Menu Plan Monday

Going with a pretty easy week here. Still trying to get used to hubby not being here in the evenings, luckily littlest one takes a nap right about 5:30 every day, so I have time to prepare dinner.

This week we'll be starting Holiday baking. Will post more details on that later.

Monday: Vege-tacos with all the fixin’s.

Tuesday: Italian style sausage with steamed rice and broccoli.

Wednesday: WW Spaghetti with crusty bread and salad.

Thursday: Strip steaks with baked taters and green beans.

Friday: Homemade vege-chili over rice for me and grilled cheese with fruit for the girls.

Saturday: BBQ chicken with garlic roasted potatoes and corn on the cob.

Sunday: Free Night!

For more menu ideas, head on over to Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Blog Reviews

I haven't ever taken the time to make a linked-list of blogs I visit regularly, so I'm just going to share a few with you here.

Melissa at Banana Migraine and I met through an AP message board that we are both still a part of. It's amazing how much has changed in the years that I've been posting there and how close I feel to all of these wonderful mamas that I haven't had the pleasure to meet in real life yet. Plus she's got the Holiday Traditions Festival going on right now, and I love reading about other people's holiday traditions. But the real reason I stalk her blog is to catch new pictures of her A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E children. Seriously.

InsaKnity is a blog for the knitters from the above mentioned AP message board. Although I don't knit, I appreciate the time, care and effort that goes into their works and I love looking at their beautiful finished works of art.

Another Melissa at Inner Child Crochet was soo helpful to me when I first started crocheting again. I was having a serious brain-fart moment and did a search for crochet help. Her blog came up and I sent her a random email asking for help about a hat, she was soo kind and helpful and responded to my many, many questions. She is an amazingly talented crocheter and has several patterns on her site.

I first came upon Green Style Mom's blog through the Menu Plan Mondays. I love reading her product reviews, as I am always on th elookout for more "green" products, toys, etc. Plus she lives in a co-housing community and I've always thought that would be neat.

And, last but not least, I found Bitter Sweet's blog through a pattern from Ravelry. She takes amazing photograghs, is a crazy talented crocheter/knitter and writes the funniest, wittiest blog posts.

Care to share your favorite blogs?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Holiday Traditions Festival

Melissa over at Banana Migraine is hosting the Holiday Traditions Festival, a fun way for everyone to share their family's holiday traditions. Head on over to her blog to see more traditions and ideas, or to join in and share your holiday traditions!

Every year, one of the first things we do to get in the holiday spirit is to decorate the tree and house, while listening to Christmas music. I always like to try and do this the first weekend in December.

So, this past weekend we dusted off the A Pooh Christmas CD and put up the tree while listening to Pooh and friend's version of The Twelve Days of Chirstmas. We weren't able to get the outside lights up yet, so we'll do that this weekend coming up. I think next year, I'll be asking Santa for some new ornaments and tree decorations. We've had the same decorations and tree since our first Christmas together, in 1998. We will be keeping our angel though. She's always the last thing that Craig adds to the tree. The girls and I sit on the couch and ooh and ahh over the lights while Craig reaches up on tippy toes to position her just right. I can't imagine a different tree topper for our family tree.

Here is a picture of our table decoration. I love snowmen and have collected several different ones. The teddy bears music box is from my childhood - it still works! Celeste loves to listen to it. And an added bonus - in the backround is a photo from our wedding. :)

Menu Plan Monday

This week's menu will mostly be items we already have on hand. Trying to watch the budget. Since Craig's new job will have him away from home at dinner-time, I'll be able to make more vegetarian meals throughout the week.

Monday: Vege-Spaghettti with salad and bread.

Tuesday: Seasoned chicken, steamed rice and green beans.

Wednesday: Stuffed baked potatoes with steamed broccoli.

Thursday: Oven-fried chicken srumsticks with mashed taters and corn on the cob.

Friday: Left-overs.

Saturday: Home-made pizzas, using this recipe for the dough. So easy and tasty.

Sunday: Free night.

I've started getting into my holiday baking mode. Yesterday, I made home-made bread for the girls' sandwiches for lunch and it is delicious, if I do say so. I plan on making some more bread, some of my favorite mini-quiches and probably some rice-krispy treat for the girls.

For more menu ideas, head on over to Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It is complete...

And I am going to go cry now. I wish I had taken before pictures, it was beautiful. Gorgeous, soft, even stitches, just a few ruffly edges. I thought, no big, it's made from 100% wool yarn, I'll block it to get the edges flat. Biggest mistake ever. Getting maried at 17 to the biggest ass-wipe in the world was a good idea in comparison.

It is now all stretched out, completely lost it's shape and, the kicker, it stinks. Horribly. Like one of those non-shaving hair removal products bad, Veet or Nair I think it's called. It's RANK.

My darling husband, being the ever so NOT understanding gentleman that he is, scolded me for about 5 minutes on how unbelievably emotional I was acting over something so trivial. I think he lost a few fingers in the act, but he helped me squish it back into a remotely similar shape, we sprayed it thoroughly with Fabreeze and threw a towel over it to dry.

I am HOPING and praying that when it is dry, it will once again resemble the blanket I loved before blocking.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Family Updates

The time has finally come where our family isn't able to survive on my income alone anymore; our savings that we had put aside for my maternity leave are depleted. Craig was offered a job, a good job, in an industry that he loves, and he has accepted. He starts next Monday.

Good thing is the hours are 4pm to 1am for the first 6 weeks (training), so that means only 1-2 hours that we'll need a babysitter. Even better is that since it's such a short time-frame, Kaitlyn will be the baby-sitter. She is looking forward to the experience and earning money and we are both relieved that we will not need to put Camille in a daycare setting just yet. I know that daycare is not the worst thing in the world; it's just not mommy or daddy. Or in this case, sister.

Wish us luck. To say that next week will be an adjustment for us, is an understatement.

And just because I love sharing photos:

A'hoy Matey!

I needed a break from the tediousness of THE blanket, and wanted something that would give me instant gratification. This was the perfect project. Super cute, super quick little Pirate Pal from the Lion Brand website. I worked on this during my pump breaks at work, and it took only two days to complete. Will be a gift for Kaitlyn, since she is in love with anything pirates.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Girly's a Daisy!

Celeste joined Girl Scouts and is now officially a Daisy! She is soo excited about this! She had her second meeting last night and they had their Investiture Ceremony, where the girls are formally welcomed into the world of Girl Scouts. They learned the Girl Scout promise and then had an ice cream party! It was so much fun to watch her participate and make new friends.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My blog is worth what!?

I always wonder where they come up with these type of things? And how they figure the calculations? What makes a blog worth more? But according to this site, my measley little blog is worth a measly little $1129.08.

I entered the URL of some of my favorite blogs and there's some money-makers out there! Don't know where to cash in on these, but I sure could use an extra $1000.

My blog is worth $1,129.08.
How much is your blog worth?

How much is your blog worth?

Menu Plan Monday

Can you believe that November is almost over? We are in the last week of November! Where did this year go?

Pretty easy week here for our menu plan, still recouping from last week!

Monday: Lemon Pepper Chicken with steamed rice and broccoli.

Tuesday: Vege tacos with refried beans and all the trimmings. Fruit on the side.

Wednesday: Oven-BBQ chicken legs with baked potatoes and corn on the cob.

Thursday: Cheesy Baked Ziti with a big salad and crusty garlic bread. So, so very yummy and makes a BIG pan, so there's enough to freeze for left-overs.

Friday: BFD! Either french toast or pancakes, eggs, and fruit.

Saturday: Free Night!

Sunday: Grilled Cheese sandwiches with Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup.

Head over to Laura's site to see more meal plans.

Also - Check out the contest that Green Style Mom is hosting for some cool baking gear! I absolutely love baking at this time of year and how cool would some star shaped breads be?!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Not a lot to say, just wanted to share some photos. I hope everyone had a wonderful day, full of family and food. I made dinner this year, and it was soo yummy. And the best part is, I get all the left-overs!

My mom ate dinner with us, here we all are sitting down to eat. Like the girls' turkey wreath hanging in the backround?

Even Camille had some Thanksgiving day dinner. She loved feeding herself the green beans! She also gnawed on a carrot (but didn't eat any of it) and had some mashed sweet potatoes.

After dinner, some of Craig's famile came over to visit. Here's our family, with my mom, his mom, her boyfriend, his two sons and Craig's sister. I love having family together at holidays.


Melissa at Banana Migraine has tagged everyone to share what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving, and everyday. We all have soo very much to be thankful for.

I am thankful for Camille. Before I got pregnant with her, I was going through some serious depression, and when I found out that I was pregnant I wasn't exactly happy. I didn't think I would be able to handle another child emotionally, and had finally come to accept that we were going to have two and only two children. The moment I held her for the first time, and every day since, I can't imagine my life without her. Our family wouldn't be complete without her.

I am thankful for Kaitlyn. She is such a cool, wonderful, beautiful girl. She is a great help in the house, and especially with her younger sisters.

I am thankful for Celeste. My princess. She is such a fun kid. I love seeing her learn everyday.

I am thankful for my best friend, my husband, Craig. Without him in my life, I would be an emotional basketcase. To quote a Blue October song - he "gives me a quiet mind."

I am thankful for our home, my job, our continues good health and our many friends and family that we love soo much.

There are soo many more things that I am grateful for in life, much to much to list in one blog post. I tag any and everyone who feels blessed in life to share what they are thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Crochet Updates

I've been slacking in the updates department, sorry. I have been getting stuff worked on, just not updating. I've updated my Christmas list a bit. I'm not going to stress myself, I will get done what I can get done. It's not like anyone is expecting homemade gifts. For now though, here's what I've been working on.

I'm actually a bit more finished since taking this picture. I've started the pink rounds, so just about 8 more rounds to go until I am done. I keep seeing blogs/posts where people talk about what a quick project this is. I must be the slowest crocheter in the world, because this feels like it is takign for-evah. But I still love the way it looks and the yarn is super soft. It's going to be soo cozy and warm and gorgeous when it's finally done. I really want this to the blanket that Camille drags along with her everywhere as a child, takes with her when she leaves for college and someday passes it on to her own kids.

2. In the meantime, I whipped up these fingerless gloves for my oldest. She asked me to make her two things for Christmas: fingerless gloves and socks. I think I can oblige. I made these using a heavily modified version of this pattern from Inner Child Crochet. Obvioulsy, I didn't include the tops to the mittens/thumbs and they are bigger. I used the same cheapy yarn that I had left over from her hat, so at least they will match!

3. I am still stuck on these damned cute birdies. All I need to do is add the beaks and eyes. All I've needed to do for the last 3 weeks is add the beaks and eyes, I just can't motivate myself to do it. Maybe tpying out my laziness will be the motivation I need to get these done. They really are cute!

4. And last, but certainly not least, the Soft as a Cloud dress for Camille from the book Simple Crochet for Cherished Babies. The pattern calls for a fingering weight yarn. I started this with a worsted weight yarn. Yes, I really can be that dumb sometimes. Of course, it's already way to big, the picture is just one of the sleeves, so I am shelving this for now and will start it again when I get the right yarn. I might also continue with this yarn and she'll have it for when she's an older toddler. lol

I'm also just starting a new project. This shrug/bolero for my 5 year old. In a beautiful deep red Borroco Touche yarn. No prictures yet, so far just the 1st row done. I am attempting to modify the pattern since it's written for an adult, hopefully I don't screw it up too badly. If the finished product looks half as good as the pattern photos, she will love it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blue October in Concert

As I posted in this blog post, a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get to see Blue October in concert not once, but twice.

Thursday night's show was in St. Pete at Jannus Landing, which is a fabulous little outdoor venue. It was nice and cool outside, so there was minimal sweatiness. lol The show itself was great! I missed the first opening band, Love Drug, but was able to catch Shiny Toy Guns set. They are great! Should have bought their CD at the show, but I will definitely be getting soon. Met up with one of my good friends after their set and we stayed together for the rest of the show. Up next was Yellowcard. Not really my bag, but they were ok. Very energetic, good musicians and performers, I just didn't kow the music well enough to enjoy them. There were a lot of people there specifically for them, though, which was good for me because once their set was over a lot of people cleared out. Leaving us plenty of room to get up closer.

Kate, one of our local DJs from 97x (the reason the Tampa area even knows about Blue), came up on stage to introduce Blue October. It was wonderful seeing her up there, Kate has been stationed in Iraq for the last 6 months or so and just got back a couple of weeks ago.

Once Blue took the stage I was lost in the show. They are a phenomenal band and never, ever fail to awe and amaze me. Justin was full of smiles and was interacting with the crowd throughout the show. Ryan was just on fire, he is such a talented musician.

All of my pictures are from a crappy disposable camera, so they kind of suck, but here are the best of the bunch:

Will post a review of the Orlando show later. :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Thanksgiving is this week, and I absolutely can't wait. I will be hosting this year and am really looking forward to it. I love playing hostess and cooking/baking. It will just be us and my mom, unless my hubby's mom decides to show up. But even if she does, Craig doesn't think she will be eating with us.

Here's our plan for the week:

Monday: Oven BBQ chicken drumsticks, fried taters, and corn on the cob.

Tuesday: Chicken Parm with angel hair pasta, broccoli and garlic bread.

Wednesday: Grilled Cheese sandwiches with chicken noodle soup for the girls.

Thursday: Turkey Day! We'll be having all the traditional sides with our turkey: mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato cassarole, green beans, corn, cranberries, corn-bread stuffing, and fresh baked bread. For dessert, I will be making pumpkin and apple pies and Celeste wants me to make rice krispie treats.

Friday: Mom and I will probably go shopping, and then we'll just stuff ourselves on left-overs for lunch and dinner.

Saturday: Free Night for me. Whatever Craig plans on making for dinner tonight is what will be served

Sunday: Chinese take-out and popcorn with a movie.

Hope everyone has a FABULOUS week and holiday! Click the link above for more menu plans.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

AHA Heart Walk

Today was the day for our local Heart Walk. It was a beautiful day, perfect for being outside. The morning started out a bit cold, but by mid-walk, we were peeling off our sweaters and enjoying the sunshine.

They started off with a pep-rally (basically) and a warm-up. We then we walked through Safety Town, or as Celeste called it Little Town, a miniature-size city that is designed to help teach kids about safety. Celeste loved this part and we quickly ended up at the back of the pack because she wanted to stop and look at each little building.

The track & fielder in Craig started coming out at that point, and he urged (read "come on, come on!") us on to walk a bit faster, so that we weren't dead last to finish.

Camille slept through most of the walk, but when she woke up, she wanted out of the sling so that she could play!

After the walk, they had lunch provided for the walkers from Subway and lots of fresh fruits to snack on. Jarod (the Subway guy) was even there, he did the walk and then some meet-and-greet type stuff afterwards. They also had a bounce house for the kids to play in - Celeste had fun with that!

We also got to say hi to the horseys (and their mounted officers) from the Pasco County Sherriff's Office. But, of course, the batteries on the camera died before we could take a pic. It was a wonderful morning, we all had lots of fun, and it was all for a great cause. This will definitely be an annual thing for us.