December 24, 2012


you a Merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year.

2013? I'm still trying to figure out where 2012, 2011, and 2010 went ... time is really flying by. I wish it would slow down. I will turn 40 this coming year. So not ready ... lol

As a gift to myself, my eyes, and my family, I'm powering down the electronics until January 2nd when I return to work. I hope you all find the time to slow down and power off during the holidays as well.

See you in January!

December 21, 2012

French Toast Casserole

Food Fest continues ... it's time to share this gem of a recipe. I came across this recipe at least a year ago. I'm not sure when it was first published in the magazine, but I tore it out immediately as a recipe I needed to make someday.

For the past few years on New Years Eve we head over to my sister-in-law's house for a Breakfast for Dinner night of family fun. The catch is - you have to wear your pajamas. This tradition started mainly because all of our kids were young and we wanted to do *something* for New Year's Eve but we were all over the going out to party phase ... so this idea was born. It's fun, we enjoy it, and so do all the kids!

Last year I made this casserole for the night and it was a huge hit! I follow the directions exactly and leave out the nuts. It's sooooooo good and I'm usually not a bread pudding fan. This isn't quite like that but I suppose it's close - like a cousin.

I'm attaching the link below which has all the step-by-step pictures, as well as picutres of the final result.  I hope you give it a try and love it too!


December 20, 2012

Brownie Trifle

The week before Christmas is always Food Fest Week at work. This year we changed it up a bit and decided to have theme days, like Dip Day, Mexican Day, Dessert Day, and Breakfast Day. I signed up to bring a dish on two of the four days. I usually bring cookies each year but this year too many people put "cookie platter" on the sign up sheet so I decided to go a different route this year.

That leads me this delicious Brownie Trifle. It's very easy to throw together.

Bake a pan of brownies using whatever mix you like - homemade or a box. A box is easier sometimes, ya know. Make sure they are cooled completely. I baked my brownies late one night and assembled this the following evening.

Mix up a pack of chocolate instant pudding according to the directions (which may need about 15 minutes in the fridge to set.) While you are waiting for the pudding, whip a 1/2 pint of heavy cream and 3 tablespoons of sugar together until nice and fluffy. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate pudding and mix well.

You will also need 2 containers of French Vanilla Cool Whip, defrosted.

Next, take your cooled brownies and crumble them. Try not to eat them all during this process.

Then take your fancy bowl and begin layering the ingredients:

1/2 of the crumbled brownies on the bottom
Then 1/2 of the chocolate pudding mixture
Then 1 tub of the cool whip

This is best if you let it setup overnight so it's the perfect make-ahead dessert. If you want to make it more festive, you could add some Christmas jimmies on top like I did just before serving it.

Don't forget to share it with your friends & family, or not ... your decision!

December 19, 2012

Prayers & Tears

I can't watch the news or visit any news websites. I've also been steering clear of Facebook. What happened last Friday at the elementary school is beyond evil. I can't hear about it or see a picture of one of those sweet faces without tears coming to my eyes. I cannot imagine dealing with unfathomable loss in that way and so publicly.

To the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers & staff, classmates, police, fire, EMT's, and friends of all the victims have my most sincerest heart-felt condolences for this utterly senseless tragedy.

December 17, 2012

Overheard in My Kitchen

B, do you have ants in your pants?

"Nice idiom, Mom!"

(He's 8. He makes me laugh every day!)

December 14, 2012

The Naughty List

I can tell you who is on the naughty list - our dog. He's been an absolute terror lately and I think it's because we haven't had him "fixed" yet.  Our vet wants us to wait until he's closer to a year old  but wow, I don't know if we will be able to make it until April!

I was trying to get something on the table for dinner the other night and he wouldn't leave me alone. I was reheating chicken, so of course he could smell it ... he usually takes the hint and goes over to lay on his bed but not that night. I ended up gating him out of the kitchen so he was in the family room with the boys. But then he suddenly went w-i-l-d, jumping all over the new couches, nipping at the boys, etc ... he was a dog possessed.  I would have put him outside but we've had a lot of rain and I didn't want to deal with wet & muddy paws so I went to get his leash...

I looped it around the door handle to the sliding glass door and told him to sit and calm down.  Now, our loveseat is only about a foot from the sliding door so what did he do? He stretched as far as he could and jumped up to rest his front legs/paws on the loveseat and turned his head - - and just stared at me as if to say, "Now what? Huh? I am lord of this manor!" 

This dog might be smarter than me.

So I re-tied the leash to the dog gate that separates our kitchen and family room. I've got him now! He can't reach the couch so he will just sit there and chill out while we eat. About 3.2 seconds later, he was free. Walking around the family room with a shit-eating grin on his face. How did he do that, do you ask?

Do they have military school for dogs? Because I think he may need to enroll.

December 13, 2012

Do You Elf on the Shelf?

I get a serious kick out of how many Facebook postings I see groaning about The Elf. It seems people either love it or hate it. Our Elf, whom we never named, joined our family 3 years ago, I think? So my oldest was 7 and my youngest was 5.  When The Elf first arrived (ours arrives on December 1st thereby reducing the number of nights I have to remember to move him), the boys bounced out of bed every morning before school to look for him. It was great - no more fighting with them to get up and get dressed!

When just moving him around didn't seems to do it anymore, The Elf started to hide, to the point I had to give them clues as to where he was hiding. Sometimes he even brought little gifts (like a small piece of candy, $1 store toy) and then it all morphed into sometimes finding him in trouble, tied-up, and surrounded by army men. 

But this year, all of that has changed. A few weeks ago my youngest son told me during a car ride "I know you are Santa."  That statement simultaneously broke my heart and made me jump for joy. No more hiding. No more pretending. No more worrying about where to stash the wrapped gifts. It was such a free-feeling but also sad at the same time ... my babies are growing up!

When he said that, I countered with, "Well, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being Daddy and I are Santa, how sure are you?"  He said, "I'm about a 9." I'm still not quite sure if he figured this out on his own (the boy is not stupid - kind of surprised he made it through last Christmas still believing) or if someone spilled the beans.  But regardless, I thought this meant The Elf could retire!

I was wrong, very very wrong ... right after Thanksgiving he told me that he still expected me to hide The Elf!

So yes, I'm still hiding The Elf, leaving little candy gifts, and occasionally making The Elf be mischievous ... and he's still bouncing out of bed every morning to find him. And when I forgot 3 nights in a row (whoops) he reminded me in an annoyed tone that I forgot AGAIN.

Son #1 was still awake and saw The Elf sitting on the shelf (yes, literally) in the kitchen. He says, "Mom, I'll hide him for you so you don't forget. I don't even look for him anymore but I know B really likes to."  Ahhh ... one of those rare moments I know he really loves his younger brother!

December 12, 2012

1st Birchbox!

has arrived ... so much fun receiving fun mail!  Since it was the first box sent, it includes their favorite all-time loves to get you started. 

Here's what was in the box:

~ Nail polish in "Status Update" by Color club ... a custom gray color (haven't tried yet)

~ Eau Flirt fragarance by Harvey Prince ... hint of fruit but not too fruity ot floral ... I think I like it!

~ Pomegranate & Fig lip butter by Mox Botannicals ... very smooth, nice scent ... love it!

~ Textute & Volume spray by Oscar Blandi ... it's a light, nonsticky spray to use on dry hair to add some volume or to freshen second day unwashed hair ... really like it ... I can see myself ordering a full-sized bottle.

~A gray elastic hair tie by Twistband ... it's cute, soft, and stretchy ... but I usually do with elastics that blend into my hair color to tie my hair back.

And lastly, a plastic slider bag by Tili. This is promoted as travel-friendly perfectly sized bag for storing beauty products. But it's really not much bigger than a ziplock sandwich bag (but seems thicker/sturdier.) Pricey too ... I would not buy these.

Not bad start for a cost of $9.16 per month for the next year!

December 11, 2012

Bacon, Basements & Baking

The weekend was very productive. I'm not sure what came over me but I was a woman on a mission.  Our spare bedroom has long been a dumping ground for clothes that no longer fit and the pile of random crap on top of my scrapbooking desk was getting out of control and stifling my creativity! So I took charge and cleaned it all up. Rearranged a few things too, in hopes of making this room more "me" soon.

Cleaning up this room enabled me to tentatively make it a wrapping station for all things Christmas. Everything I have purchased so far is wrapped and ready to go. And the crazy thing? It was only Saturday!

Sunday morning after making breakfast (hello bacon!), I wouldn't let the boys leave the house until we did a basement sweep. It only took an hour but order has been restored and the dead bugs have been vacuumed up.

*Mental Note: Call an exterminator!*

I wish we had the money to finish our basement. That's really the only thing that's missing from our home ... but we make do and have various rug remants down there to make it more cozy - as cozy as it can be with cinder block walls!  I've thought about trying to suspend cheap long curtains (or maybe even flat sheets?) to give it a more finished look.  But I have no idea how I would do it .. maybe I should google. I'm sure someone somewhere has done this in their unfinished basement.

I also managed to find time to bake a batch of butter cookies to try a new recipe I had scribbled down, probably a year ago. Finally, a recipe that will press through my cookie press the right way! The cookies are good. They should be with a whole freaking pound of butter in the recipe! But even still, something is missing ... it's still not the taste I'm looking for.

Sunday night we went out to dinner to a local, but really good, diner. I know, how rare ... a diner that serves good food! It had been awhile since we've been there and it was really nice to sit down and enjoy a meal with my family.

December 10, 2012

Proof He's Crazy

I'm not even sure I have words to describe this photograph ... my husband did this.  The only way I can explain it is to say this:

He works 7pm-7am. He's sleep deprived all the time. And when he's off from work, it's virtually impossible for him to flip to a "normal" sleeping schedule so most of the time, he wanders around the house at night doing really stupid shit.

Those sugar cookies? Were in a sealed container. Why he decided taking them out the container, which was supposed to keep them fresh, and wrap them in a paper towel and then label them with a sharpie, is behind the scope of my comprehension abilities.

He's driving me crazy!!

December 7, 2012


I used to make crafty projects all the time. Then I had kids. I've spent the last ten years keeping them fed, busy, and my house clean so crafting took the very last seat in the back of the bus. Now that they are getting older, I find myself with more free time. I seriously can't believe I just typed that - free time!  It's true. These days, they are all about playing with friends and destroying the front lawn with their pick-up football games. A small price to pay to get them to break from the electronics!

When you walk around AC Moore aimlessly with your sister, this is what happens ... you see cute, easy projects that suck you in and before you realize what happened, you have all the supplies in your cart and you're checking out at the register.

Cute, right? All you need is a glass block/cube, the vinyl decal, a small string of lights (the lights go inside the cube), some ribbon, and maybe some bells and glitter glue.  If you look closely, you'll see the glitter glue was dotted in the word Santa and in the little stars on the decal. I didn't decorate the perimeter of the cube with green paint like they did but I did choose ribobn I liked and added the jingle bells.  The store offered a few other holiday themed decals but I really like this one.

December 5, 2012

Over It

This past weekend finally brought an end to our football season. My youngest son was invited to play on the All Star team and the game was on Saturday. It was a beautiful day! I was very pleased with how diplomatic they were in making sure each child on the team got equal playing time. Our division won the game 26-0!

With all the drama this season brought and our impending switch to another league, I decided to un-friend 4 out of 5 moms I had accepted friend requests from over the past year at the end of the season. I did that about a month ago.  The reality is, they weren't a friend and never commented or acknowledge anything I put on Facebook. So what was the point? Plus, I didn't like the idea of them having access to my information and I wasn't going to let them "spy" on me and my family, if they would be inclinded to do that.

So fast-forward to the game ... I walk past one of the unfriended mom's and I say "Hi' to her and she doesn't even acknowledge me. Really? Seriously? Are we in 5th grade? I've never had words with this mother. In fact, I think I can count on one hand how many conversations we've ever had. At first it didn't dawn on me why she was so rude - and then I remember the unfriending ... honestly, I didn't even think she'd notice!

Why are women so difficult? I'm almost 40 years old and I still don't understand female relationships. The good news is that with age, comes less caring and tolerance of the BS. I'm over it!

December 4, 2012

He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good...

so be good for goodness sake!

I have no doubt about what he's thinking about doing!

December 3, 2012

My $70 Mistake

Three years ago I finally convinced my husband to have someone come in and paint our kitchen/family room, two-story entry, and the hallway upstairs. It was a big job and he did not want to do it.  I didn't want him to do it because I wanted it done as quickly as possible and you know how it usually goes when you do things yourself. Yes, you save money ... but the time it takes and there are the unforeseen interruptions. Sometimes it's just easier to pay someone to do it. The painter we hired did a great job and now I could finally decorate the rooms the way I wanted, which included buying new curtains.

Curtains are a necessary evil. I really don't like them and picking them out is a nightmare for me. After trying a few stores with no luck, I went to and found exactly what I was looking for. The panels hanging over my patio door were about 3 inches too long but I just pinned them up, fully intending to get them hemmed. Ha!

I've vacuumed and refreshed the curtains every so often over the past three years but never washed them ... until Thanksgiving weekend. In the midst of cleaning the house and prepping for Christmas, I finally took the time to take them down and wash them. I looked for the tag for washing instructions but apparently I had removed the tag. No problem, I thought. I'll just wash them on delicate and toss in the dryer and re-hang them damp because the other thing I hate doing is ironing. What could possibly go wrong, right?

When I took them out of the dryer, they smelled so nice ... and I decided to "hem" them before rehanging them. The liner behind the curtains was acting a bit weird (wasn't laying quite right) but I figured it was because I had just washed them, I'd hem it, lightly press it, and all would be okay.

All was not okay.

After the hemming (seam tape!), I rehung the one panel and stared in disbelief - the panel was now 6 inches too short. THEY SHRUNK. But worse than that? The liner behind the panel (yet to be hemmed) did not shrink and was now hanging 6 inches below the panel. Seriously?!? 

Lucky for me, still sells the same curtains (on sale!) and had the same color I had purchase three years before. The new panels arrived the other day. They have been hung and yes, they are still too long and need to be hemmed.  The tag clearly says DRY CLEAN ONLY. Next time I'm leaving it to the professionals.

November 30, 2012

Snowman Door Decor

Have you seen this snowman floating around Pinterest? I found him about 6 months ago and pinned it, intending to create him this year - - and I did! See?

I used 3 plain wreaths I found at the dollar store.  Then sprayed them white glossy spray paint. Using some jute, I tied the 3 wreaths together and then added a festive green scarf (also purchased at the dollar store.)  His hat was cut out of glitter cardboard-like sheets I found at the craft store. Do you like the technical term I used there? Then I glued 4 jingle bells to his hat because his hat needed a little something and hung him on my front door!

Really really really easy ... and cute too. I was bored of my normal holiday wreath I had been using on my front door for quite a few years. This is a nice change.

This is the second little project I've completed in the past week. I'm on a roll! I will show you the other project next week.

November 29, 2012

Christmas Shopping

Just over a week ago I didn't have any shopping done at all. I didn't even have any ideas what to buy anyone on our list. As Thanksgiving got closer and closer, I started to panic. What am I going to buy my children!  They don't have everything, at least I don't think so ... but they are getting to that age where toys don't interest them. They got ipods for Christmas last year. We don't need a tablet computer. Laptops aren't happening until they are in high school. If I see one more Nerf gun or Lego set enter my house, I may go insane.

I asked them what they wanted for Christmas. Video games and itunes giftcards. That's about all that was on the list. There is more to life than gaming, right? Please tell me there is!

It's safe to say they will be getting a few things they didn't ask for ... like the Under Armour hoodies I found at Burlington Coat Factory for $20 each, a pogo stick, and a sling shot toy that I will likely live to regret buying.  And yes, I'm feeding into the gaming by purchasing a new game and two gaming chairs. At least they will be comfortable while they rot their brains.

I did purchase myself a gift this week ... I'm now a Birchbox subscriber!  I am so excited to be receiving FUN mail once a month for the next year. I will definitely be sharing what arrives in the box each month so be sure to look for a post about that soon.  If you are looking for a different gift to give someone this year, this might be the way to go. You can buy a 6 month gift subscription for just $60. So each month, for 6 months, the recipient will receive a box of beauty samples in the mail ... fun, right? I think so!

If you are unfamiliar with Birchbox, please click here:

Happy Shopping!

November 28, 2012

Hey Gunner!

... if you stop putting your head in the trash can, this won't happen!

Yes, we're still trying to get that freaking ear to stand up and stay up!  We've resorted to a modified toilet paper roll tube and medical tape. Let's hope it works for good this time.

November 27, 2012

Best Long Weekend Ever

Did you eat too much turkey and pumpkin pie? I certainly hope so. I loved this weekend. My house is ready for Christmas. I helped my mother organize her apartment. I even managed a dinner out with my sister one night - without kids - which is a rare event! Then we stopped at AC Moore which was bad, bad, bad ... And yesterday, I got a lot of shopping done. That's the best part about Cyber Monday - no crowds in the stores!

My most favorite purchase so far of the holiday season has to be the pet stockings I found on Etsy. This woman has some mad sewing skills and ships crazy fast. I ordered them on Wednesday afternoon (11/21) and they arrived on my doorstep yesterday!

I'm planning on personalizing the fish stocking for my two cats but haven't decided how just yet. They have to share. I only have 4 stocking holders on my mantle. I'm fairly certain they don't care.

I have lots more to share ... stay tuned!

November 23, 2012

Black Friday Do's and Don'ts

Just don't.

It's such a waste of time.  I hate this day and all the subsequent news reports that will be on TV by the end of the day tellling us all about the latest stampede in a store to grab 1 of 5 low priced TV's/computers/etc.

I went shopping on Black Friday once. I didn't even go until 11am but I was still able to get the item I wanted - 2 prelit potted trees for my front porch - at the price that was listed in the store's ad.

So people, stay in your nice warm beds. Bake cookies with your kids. Christmastize your house. Watch a movie. Watch the news and laugh at all the idiots on TV freezing their asses off at 3 am to be the first in line. Stay home and save the gas.  Maybe then the stores will stop cramming Christmas down our throats in September!

Can I get an AMEN?

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Even when life gives you lemons, there is always something to be thankful for. We shouldn't just be thankful on this day but every single day of the year.  It's okay to lose sight of that sometimes though. We're only human.

This year I'm especially thankful for:

~ Electricity

~ No storm damage

~ My blossoming, smart, and healthy boys

~ My other child, err, my husband ... he's the sugar in my tea

~ My crazy family, both sides.

Today I will sit down, take a deep breath, look around, smile ... and just be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 20, 2012

Just "Off"

Every have a day when everything seems to go wrong?  That describes what Sunday was for me. I started off the day by falling down the steps with a big basket of dirty laundry. Had there been a camera on me, it was probably really funny to see me fall admist a cloud of laundry falling all around me. I'm okay but bruised my elbow pretty good and got a rug burn on my leg.

After that I went to the grocery store.  You cannot pay me to go back there until after Thanksgiving.

Then I attempted to bake cookies using a new spritz cookie recipe a friend recommended and use my Pampered Chef cookie press to make cute pumpkin cookies. This cookie press and I have been fighting the past few years. I can't seem to find the right recipe that will actually press through  the dumb thing! I consider myself a decent baker too, which  is why this is so frustrating to me. Another fail. And the cookies tasted  bad so I threw them away.

I really should have just thrown in the towel and went to bed or sat on the couch the rest of the day ... but no, it's the weekend, I must be productive so I decided to take down and wash the curtains that hang above our sliding glass door.

THEY SHRUNK. But worse than that? The curtain shrank but the white liner DID NOT SHRINK. So now the liner is hanging a good 4 inches below the tan curtain. These were not cheap curtains!! I was f.u.m.i.n.g!! I still am.

I did manage to get a decent shot of the boys and the dog for our Christmas card and saved $51 on my order from Shutterfly ... so hey, something positive to focus on!

November 19, 2012

Chipotle Love

I love Chipotle. I really love Chipotle. The rice. The black beans. The chicken. The salsa. The corn. Topped off with a little sour cream ..... mmmmm, so, so good. I think I could eat there for lunch and dinner every single day.

Imagine for one moment how insanely happy I was when I discovered there was one located about three blocks from where I work?

I'm the only one in my house who will eat Mexican food. Some days I cannot believe I'm related to them. How can they not like Mexican food?  So I consider it a real treat when I can eat at Chipotle (I officially lead a boring life!)

November 16, 2012

The Grades Are In

The first marking period ended about two weeks ago but our district waits until the week of parent-teacher conferences before handing out the report cards. Remember the grades contract we all signed at the beginning of the school year? Well, I'm now poor.

Son #1 (5th grade) received 2 A's and 3 B's ... so I owe him $35.

Son #2 (3rd grade) received all A's ... so I owe him $50.

A small price to pay for rewarding good work!

Both teachers had nothing but nice things to say about my boys, which is always a nice thing for a parent to hear. I guess we're doing something right, huh?

My older son has some conflicting standardized testing scores that we are all trying to figure out, teachers included. One test is putting him on the reading cmprehension level of a 7th/8th grader while another scored him in the "below average" bracket, thus making him eligible for extra help. Meanwhile, he's getting A's and B's on his schoolwork and not showing any signs of trouble with his schoolwork. It makes no sense! 

We collectively decided that he must have had a bad day when the test was administered last Spring. Seems fair to me, given all the other evidence.  For now, he's been placed on a watch & see list.

This school year I've tried to have more of a hands off approach to their homework to make them be more independent. Afterall, I'm not with them in school to help throughout the day.  My younger son still needs some help with certain assignments, but overall both are completing their homework without my help. For me, it's hard to find that balance between helping too much and letting them do things on their own.  I like to be involved.  But I'm working it. I fully realize I'm not doing the world any favors by hand-holding them through life. I can deny it all I want but soon they won't even want me around!

November 15, 2012

Soup Time!

I love soup, especially homemade soup.  This soup is delicious. I made it on Sunday for our little football game gathering and have eaten it for dinner the past two nights. I finished it last night but I'm already itching to make more!

Creamy Chicken Crockpot Soup

5 cans of chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can of corn
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups of shredded cooked chicken - I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store
1 1/2 cups of your choice of uncooked pasta

Mix the broth and cream soup well then add remaining ingredients (except the pasta) into your 5 quart slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  About 30 minutes before you plan to eat it, add the uncooked pasta. Stir well. At this point, I set my slow cooker to the "warm" setting - the pasta will cook just fine.

Eat and enjoy! Share with others if you choose.

November 14, 2012

New Furniture!

Our old couches were about 12 years old and were bought to fit our old house. I've spent the last four years trying to make the old furniture fit in our new house. I wasn't winning. It was awkward and just didn't work.

Enter new furniture and a new rug! A large sectional with chaise and dual reclining loveseat.

Ignore the little ripple in the rug ... it has flattened out. I was just so excited to take a picture!

November 13, 2012

Alive & Well

I defer to No School November to explain my absence. It was a nice mini vacation even if I didn't go anywhere!  I did watch a movie - in the middle of the day! - while sipping hot tea and wrapped in a fuzzy warm fleece blanket. It was almost like heaven.

On Friday we had new furniture family room furniture delivered.

On Friday night the boys both had separate parties to attend.

On Saturday we took the boys to a Villanova College football game. They won!

On Saturday night I took my 15 year old sister-in-law shopping for a homecoming dress. That took HOURS.

On Sunday I celebrated the return of warm weather with a long bike ride and then we watched the Cowboys spank the Eagles. It was like Christmas on my TV!  Thank you, Tony Romo. This season has pretty much sucked so far but as long as you beat the Eagles, I can live with that.

November 6, 2012

No School November

This week marks the beginning of No School November in the state of NJ. I really despise the month of November for this reason.  And since the NJ Teacher Convention was canceled this year due to effects of Sandy, I think the kids should have school this Thursday and Friday since they will need to make up the two days they missed last week. Our school district decided not to alter the school calendar because it would "be disruptive to the academic process."  Their words, not mine. Seriously? Hurricane Sandy wasn't disruptive enough?

So this week - no school Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

Next week - half days ALL week to accomodate teacher conferences. Keep in mind, there are only 18 kids in my son's class. It does not take a week of half days to accomodate 18 parent-teacher conferences when you have evening appointments available as well.

And then the following week is Thanksgiving.

I'm so not ready for Christmas.

November 5, 2012

Every Little Bit Helps

Saturday morning I dropped off two big bags of winter clothing to a local group that was gathering items to be taken to people along the Jersey Shore who lost everything during Hurricane Sandy. Since I'm a little bit OCD, one bag was labeled "boys clothing" and when the woman saw it, she immediately hugged me and thanked me over and over, commenting that boys clothing was one of the items they really needed. I'm just glad I could help in this small way.

It's still a bit surreal to see pictures of our coastline so devastated when I look around and see no reminders of the storm around where I live.

November 2, 2012

NJ Now

I'm finding it diificult to think about blogging while so much sadness is happening in my home state.  I've lived here my entire life and nothing like this has ever happened during my lifetime.  The pictures, the stories .... it's all so heartbreaking.  I can't even turn on the TV without seeing and hearing about it 24/7.  I'm lucky to not be actually living it.

I know our beach towns will recover but it will take a very long time.  New Orleans,  seven years later, still isn't the same.  My good friend lost her home and everything in it during Katrina. I still can't watch anything about that tragedy without crying because I am reminded of every thing my friend lost that day and what she dealt with for years afterwards.  The pictures she has of the contents of her home just utterly destroyed and covered in mold are unbelievable.

And now many people along the eastern seaboard are facing the same reality. Now there's word of another storm headed our way. Seriously? Please God, make it turn right and head out into the middle of the ocean. We've had enough.

October 31, 2012

Returning to Normal

Well, Hurricane Sandy was quite the cranky bitch. I'm very thankful that our home did not suffer any damage and did not lose power during or after the storm. I suppose having underground wiring is a big plus in situations like this. However, our beloved shore towns have been utterly battered. The pictures and news reports coming out of the damaged areas are heart breaking.  I have a few friends who own property at the shore and they are hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

During the height of the storm, the boys were playing in the kitchen with the dog and Gunner jump up and pushed my younger son right into the corner of the counter, splitting open his eyebrow. Did I mention I didn't have a car at the time? I quickly texted my neighbor who is a nurse to see if she was home - she was - so she came over to take a look.  He did likely need a stitch but we decided the "trauma" of getting one stitch wasn't worth it and used steri-strips instead.  It turned out to be a great decision. The cut looks great! We are also treating it with Mederma, hoping that will minimize any scarring. Last year he smacked his face into the front door and got a nasty scrape on his cheek that left a tear-mark shape scar on his cheek. It seems to be fading but you can still see it.  I really wish he'd stop scarring his handsome face!

Gunner drove me n.u.t.s. during the storm. He would not go to the bathroom outside, even if I stood out there with him holding a freaking umbrella over his head.  He eventually let loose in the kitchen, first pooping ... and then peed the entire perimeter of my kitchen not 10 minutes after I cleaned up the poop.  Then I drank wine. Lots of wine.

My poor husband had to work during the storm. A police officer's job is never done, you know.  I hope he kept his temper in check last night.  People *love* to call 911 for the most absurd things during storms.  They had someone call 911 and asked if the police would go check on their cat ... yes, this happened and happens frequently.  I was happy to hear his department was handing out $500 tickets to people who were out driving during the storm (for no authorized reason) and got their cars stuck in flood waters. Maybe that will teach them to use some common sense!

School is back in session today but Halloween has been postponed until Saturday. A bit overkill for our neck of the woods but gives us more time to work out the costume situation.

Happy Halloween!

October 26, 2012

The End is in Sight

Football season is almost over. I'm very excited. Don't get me wrong, I like watching my boys play but the time commitment is huge. This is our third year on this football team so I clearly know what to expect but still, I'm happy when it's over.  We all need a break.

It's also been a long year due to our problems with my older's son coach and other adult drama that seems to plague children's sports e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.  It's getting old. I don't understand it and I try to stay out of it because it really is pointless. I'm all for having hopes and dreams for your kids but when it makes you look and act like a complete asshole, I think you need a reality check and admit whether you are doing it for you or for your kid.

We won't be staying with our current football team next year. I don't have much hope that it will be different on the other team but one can hope, right?  This new team is a  "feeder" program for the regional high school my sons will eventually attend so if they want a shot at playing high school football, this is the right move.

October 25, 2012

Nutella Cookies

Aother recipe that is all over Pinterest.

I was skeptical that I'd actually end up with edible cookies.  But since I had a jar of nutella that no one was eating, I figured I had nothing to lose.

Just 3 ingredients:

1 cup of nutella
1 cup of flour
1 egg

Mix that all together. The dough will be stiff. I did add a few drops of water so that I didn't break my wrist or my spatula. Rolled into balls and bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees ... and presto, cookies that taste like brownies. They really taste like brownies! My picky 10 year old likes them so I'm calling this one a success!

October 24, 2012

Easy Halloween Costumes

I don't know about your house, in my house, deciding on a Halloween costume is torturous.  My boys really don't enjoy dressing up. But since they both still have Halloween parades at their schools, dressing up is expected.

I do not like spending a lot of money on costumes anymore. When they were younger and I picked the costume, I spent the money. But now I'm older, wiser, and don't want to spend buckets of money on overpriced costumes for what amounts to about 4 hours of wearing the costume.

I'm all about simple costumes. Wordplay costumes are my favorite. Below are some of my favorites:


~ Dress in pink and carry a feather ... You are tickled pink.

~ Attach Smarties candies (w/ the wrapper still intact) to your pants ... You are a smarty pants.

~ Pins socks, dryer sheets, etc to your shirt ... You are static cling.

~ Wear a shirt with a large question mark on it and tape popcorn to it ... You are a pop quiz.

~ Attached a picture of an enlarged quarter to your back ... You are a quarterback (currently trying to convince the 8 yr old to do this since he is, in fact, the quarterback for his football team)

~ Wear rain gear and attached cat and dog stuffed animals to an umbrella ... It's raining cats and dogs.

~ Take a stuffed dog and attached it to a long-sleeved shirt ... You are an attack dog trainer.

~ Dress in a suit and attach legal documents to yourself ... You are a law suit.

~ Carry a toy airplane ... When asked what your are, hold it in your hand and say, "I'm an aircraft carrier."

~ Put a sign on your shirt that says "Go Ceilings!" and carry pom-poms(?) ... You are a Ceiling Fan.

~ Attach a muffin to you hat ... You are the Muffin Man.

~ Wear all white and paint/attach a yellow circle on your stomach then add horns and a pitchfork ... You are a deviled egg.


~ Dress in all black and tie a shot glass around your neck .. You are a shot in the dark.

~ Wear all black and put an enlarged postage stamp on your chest ... You are black mail.

~ Wrap yourself in wrapping paper with a tag that says, "From: God, To: Women" ... You are God's gift to women.

~ Attach sugar-cubes all over yourself ... You are a Sugar-Momma/Daddy.

~ Using a box, cut a hole for your head. Attach a book, tissue box and lamp ... You are a one night stand.

~ Put crosses all over your clothes ... You are a cross dresser

~ Wear an extra-large bra over your clothes. Stuff it with spices ... You are a spice rack. My 2nd Favorite!

~ Attach unlit cigarettes to a hat ... You are a butt-head.

~ Using an empty box of cereal, attacha toy knife and some fake blood ... You are a cereal killer.

~ Wear normal clothes and make a sign that says, "Nudist on Strike!"  MY FAVORITE

~ Wear all white and attach old cups, paper plates crumbled paper to you ... You are white trash.


October 23, 2012

We Have Ears - Again

German Shepherds are known for their large ears standing at attention all the time. Those ears are naturally supposed to stand up, usually by the time the pup is about 4 months old. But they can go up and down during this time while the puppy is teething.  Gunner's ears were both up for a short period of time but then one went floppy.  We contacted the breeder and she linked us to a few sites that had suggestions on how to help get that ear up.

We decided to glue it. It was that or tape and he recently had an annoying infection in his ears so the tape and the moisture it would trap underneath it didn't seem like a good option for him.  The Tear Mender glue is supposed to hold for about a month and then should just naturally wear off.

It only took Gunner a week to get his ears apart. But it worked!

You have to admit, he's a handsome boy at only 6 months old. Let's hope that ear stays up because I don't want to glue it again. We haven't figured out how to get the residual glue off ... hoping that time, a little bit of baby oil, and gentle snipping will take care of it!

October 19, 2012

Lost and Never Found

Note the date.  We are already missing one zip-up hoodie.

Did you take it off and leave it on the bus?


Did you leave it on the playground at school?


Did you leave it in your classroom?

No, I checked.

THEN WHERE IS IT? Because you wore it to school but it didn't come back home!

I'm considering buying a glittery purple hoodie with butterflies and rhinestones all over it - and they can wear that when they can't keep track of their stuff.

Is that mean?

October 18, 2012

Party Scenes

Well look at that.  This party was only 10 days ago and I uploaded the pictures already.  I'm on a roll!

October 17, 2012

Christmas is Coming ... fast

This Sunday my son is celebrating his 8th birthday with school and football friends at a local bowling alley. It's a bit late, yes, but it was the best we could schedule with football and other family obligations.  Now that his birthday is technically over, I have to start thinking about Christmas.  It's daunting.

The boys are getting older.  My 8 year old does not play with toys so buying gifts has become increasingly difficult.  I realize Christmas is not all about gifts but to kids, that's most of it.

I've thought about taking a trip somewhere, maybe take them skiing. They've never been skiing and we keep saying we want to take them but we haven't.

I've thought about buying a new TV and gaming chairs for the (unfinished) basement so I can reclaim family room TV from the PS3 system. The toys we do have are down there now. To have the ability to shut the door to the noise when they have friends over to play video games would be a-w-e-s-o-m-e.

I've thought about buying a new family computer but the thought of transferring my iTunes account and all of the pictures off the old computer makes me want to run away and hide. I also don't want to spend that money just yet.

Can we have Skip-a-Christmas this year?

October 16, 2012

Weekend Recap

~ 5th Grade Camp was a big success. He had a great time. He didn't starve. Nor did he shower ... but hey, he brushed his teeth each night!

~ My mother moved to a new apartment over the weekend. She has moved 6 times in the last 8 years. I asked if she's done now because we are done moving her. She has so much crap - it's bordering on hoarding. She still lives like she lives in a 4 bedroom house.

~ Why does she move so much? Well, she finds the smallest issues with a place and blows the issues out of proportion. The reason for the latest move? At the old apartment building, there wasn't air conditioning in the hallways. Seriously.  We live in NJ not the deep south!

~ With this last move, she gave my brother a garment bag with a note attached to it.  The notes says,

"Bury me in this dress 
Love, Mom" 

After reading the note, my brother asked her, "How long do we have to wait?"  Love him!! 

~ My mom turns 66 this year. She's in good health but I think she might be crazy. I know she drives us crazy!

October 12, 2012

Redbox is My New Best Friend

The cost of NFL game tickets is insane. It's a huge scam, if you ask me.  I've been wanting to take my boys to an NFL game for some time now but the ticket prices are making that impossible.  I refuse to spend at least one thousand dollars on FOUR tickets 10,000 rows from the field. And that $1k would only cover the cost of the tickets!

I don't think so.  I'd rather take that $1k and fly somewhere fun instead of funding some thug's undeserved huge paycheck. Do I sound bitter? I am.  I think each team should be required to designate one home game each season and make it affordable for families to attend. The added bonus here would be we wouldn't have to worry about the drunk guy with a colorful vocabulary sitting near us.

Then this morning, in my email, a ray of sunshine!

Redbox is now selling event tickets with only a $1 surcharge! Are you kidding me?

I LOVE YOU, Redbox!

That email alerted me to an upcoming Villanova Football game.

I purchased FOUR tickets to this game  - center field - row SIX - for $54 dollars. $54! 

Suck that, NFL!

Redbox, I love you ... I really, really, love you!

October 11, 2012

5th Grade Camp

Yesterday my 5th grader left for camp. His school takes the entire 5th grade class on a special trip every October.  It's anxiety inducing for parents who cannot chaperon for one reason or another. But on the other hand, it's a great opportunity for him to exert some independence and not have Mom there to save the day.

He was in tears before he left which had me in tears too ... but I kissed him good bye and told him it's normal to be nervous, he's going to have the best time, and he'll always remember his 5th grade trip.

So far, so good.  And lucky for me I have a friend who is chaperoning this trip with her daughter. I have a spy!  She has sent me a text a few times to let me know that he's fine.

Last night around 9pm my younger son was really feeling the absence.  He said, "I guess I know what it's like to be the only child. I don't like it. I have no one to play with. When does he come home again?!"

Awww ... he loves his big brother. A feeling that isn't exactly reciprocated!

5pm Friday can't come fast enough!

October 10, 2012

Delicious Pumpkin Muffins

Have you stumbled upon this delicious recipe yet? I've seen it everywhere online, including Facebook.  Two ingredients. That's it. They even taste better than the pumpkin muffins I purchased from my grocery store's bakery a few weeks ago - and everything from this bakery is typically very good. But not this time. These muffins are better!

Two ingredients.

A spice cake mix and a can of pumpkin. That's it. 

Mix them together, plop batter into muffins cups, and bake.  In my finicky oven, the muffins were perfectly baked after 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Oh, and let me know if you grocery store is running low on canned pumpkin. I'm curious. It's not even Thanksgiving yet and at my store, there was only 1 can left on the shelf! Is there still a shortage or are people hoarding canned pumpkin? Maybe that many people are making these yummy muffins!

October 9, 2012

The Awesome Snackadium

Are you familiar with a Snackadium? No? Well, let me show you what my version looked like:

It was party time over at my house this past weekend. And in my never ending quest to do something fun while simultaneously making my sister-in-laws mad at me, I constructed this beauty.

Everyone loved it. Many versions of this show cut up hot dogs to simulate football players on the field but I ran out of time and decided to leave them off.  No one missed them.

The field goals are yellow straws with a wooden skewer glued in with a dab of hot glue and then stuck into a thick square of cheese to make sure they stand up - and they did! Never fell over.

I used salsa, ranch dip (with a dab of green coloring gel or you could use guacamole) and cheese dip as the field. Sour cream was used to created the lines on the field.

One long loaf of italian bread was used as the barrier, secured together with toothpicks. Then it was simply filled with a variety of snacks. Easy, right?

Easy. And a great table centerpiece for any football party.

October 5, 2012


Today my baby turns 8 years old. According to him, the best gift is the fact that he does not have school today or on Monday. So he got a 4 day weekend birthday gift from our school district.


I have to keep saying it over and over to make it sink in. If you closed your eyes and listened to him talk, you'd swear he was 16.

I'm in so much trouble with this one.

But he still climbs in bed with me in the middle of the night. He still sleeps with two receiving blankets he's had since he was a baby. He's still my monk-a-chunk.

Happy 8th Birthday, Son.

Please time, slow down!

October 4, 2012

Football Birthday Party

My older son has had a  football themed birthday party for three years in a row. Now my younger son is joining in with the monotony. I say that with love, people.  Since they are 10.5 and almost 8 years old, I guess I can't expect them to still want a Batman or equivalent birthday party.

Since I've done so many football parties, I have many football decorations in my arsenal of party supplies that I get to reuse and/or re purpose.

But with every approaching  birthday, I always search the Internet (and now, Pinterest) for some new ideas and printables. Below are some awesome free printables I found with working links that print correctly!


Happy Printing!

October 3, 2012

To the Vet - Again.

Dog ownership is fun!

The puppy has a yeast infection in both ears.  It smells nasty and he keeps flipping his head all over the place.  Poor guy.  Now I have the pleasure of squirting cream in his ears twice a day for the next two weeks.  If it doesn't clear up, we will have to start looking for the cause. It could just be an annoying thing that will pop up every so often or he could have a food allergy.  So let's hope it clear up!

The only fun thing about going to the vet is seeing how much he weight he's gained since his last visit about a month ago.  He gained 20lbs IN A MONTH. Dude!  He now weighs 65lbs at just over 5 months of age.

While we were sitting in the waiting room, another patron was gushing over Gunner and how beautiful he is. And as usual, people are always shocked when I tell them his age. And then she said,

"Did you want an elephant?"

That was funny. No, I didn't particularly want an elephant but a dog is not a dog to my husband unless it weighs 100lbs or more. No doubt he will surpass that goal!

October 2, 2012

Science Project

After a weekend of football, many drinks with friends to celebrate our anniversary, and two birthday parties, I also had to squeeze in time to help my 3rd grader with a science project. Yipee! I love projects. They are my favorite.

They are studying the solar system during science class so it just screams "project"!

Because I knew we were short on time, we googled to see how we could make this as easy as possible and discovered that yes, you can make the solar system out of candy.  Candy is right up my kid's alley so I figured why not.  We went shopping at the Dollar Store for our supplies.

First we found a shoe box and painted the inside withe black acrylic paint.  Two coats did the job.  The "sun" already came with a black elastic cord attached to it so it made the perfect sun!

Because I'm lazy, I didn't take pictures at every step of the way. I was even burned during the process ... but here is our result:

The details:

Each child had to pick a planet to report about. My son picked Mercury so we also hung Mercury, an orange jujubee, and the rest of the planets were glued to the back of the box.

Venus = a mini nonperil
Earth & Mars = m&ms
Astroid belt - rainbow jimmies (should have used white glue instead of a glue stick but it worked)
Jupiter = puff mint
Saturn = yellow gumball with a gummie life saver glued around it
Uranus = green jujubee
Neptune = blue sour gummy
Pluto = purple nerd (might be hard to see)

Then we poked small holes through the back of the box to let light in which represent stars. Total time to complete this project, along with the written portion, was about 2 hours. Not bad.

You want to know how I was burned?  Son decided to mess with the hot glue gun even though I told him twice to leave it alone, don't put another stick in ... and as those words are coming out of the my mouth for the second time, glue is squirting out of the gun. So it was grab at the glue or the hot glue lands on his leg. I took one for the team.  My middle finger/palm on my right hand was burned pretty good.  I may have cursed, loud. It really hurt!!

Project #1 of the school year is complete!

September 29, 2012

12 Years of Marriage

On a beautiful, crisp, fall day twelve years ago I married my husband. It was a fanstastic day, filled with many laughs and lots of family and friends. In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday that I was running around making sure all the wedding day plans were finalized but in other ways it feels like a lifetime ago. I guess 2 kids, 2 houses, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 2 full time jobs will do that to you!

Seems like two is our number, huh?

It's not all unicorns and rainbows, of course. Marriage is hard. We've had a few rough patches over the years but we've remain committed to each other and our family.  In this day and age of quickie divorces, I think that says a lot about both of us.

1995 ~ we started dating

1999 ~ got engaged

2000 ~ bought our 1st house and got married

2002 - our 1st son was born

2004 ~ our 2nd son was born

2008 ~ sold our 1st house and moved into a new one (where I will die and be carried out in a body bag because moving is not fun!)

2010 ~ marks 10 years of marriage (we like to joke that we got married in the year 2000 so it would easy for him to remember how many years we've been married)

September 29, 2012
12 years and going strong

September 28, 2012

Overheard in My Kitchen

Son #1 was working on spelling page for school.  At the bottom, was a list words and he had to pick out the synonym of each word from the word bank.

The word was work.  In the word bank, was the word labor. He looked and looked but couldn't figure out the answer so I finally told him the answer was labor. And he says,

"Wait, I thought labor was when a woman has a baby"

After much laughter from me ... yes, son ... work = labor = having a baby

Happy Friday All!

September 27, 2012

Reality TV

Based upon our three years of experience playing football, I firmly believe that reality TV producers are missing out on a definite cash cow ~ let's call it Football Moms.  It would be an epic clash of The Housewive of Wherever meets Dance Moms.  Think about it ... the drama, the back-stabbing, the my-kid-is-better-than-your-kid, the blinged out Mom shirts toting their kid's name and jersey number, and the ass-kissing of the coach so your kid plays a desirable and important position on game day.  There is all of that and more going on in our footall organization.

2 games down, 6 to go.

This season has been eye opening, to say the least.  My husband had words with the Queen Football Mom the other night and I'm really bummed I wasn't there to witness it!  Safe to say she didn't like hearing things she knows is true.  This one woman is the source of 80% of the problems in our organization. She cannot keep her nose out of anything!  People just seem to deal with her because she's been around for so long ... but something is off with her. I felt it when I met her three years ago. 

I'm eagerly waiting the arrival  of November 3rd, the day of our last games.  We will be switching to a new organization next year, hopefully one with fewer "Football Moms."

September 26, 2012

Lazy People

Every morning on my drive to work I pass this one house. It sat empty for awhile but last fall, someone finally moved in. The house is small with an attached screened-in porch. And on that porch, sits a Christmas tree.  It has been sitting there since last November. It's decorated too.  I hoped that when the stuffed bunny Easter wreath was placed on the screen door, the tree would have disappeared.

Nope. The tree is still there. And so is the Easter wreath.

If you took the time to put these decorations up, why can't you take the time to put them away?

I can't wait to see if they set out Halloween decorations.

September 25, 2012


It's been three months since we brought Gunner home.  The first month was hard. He was a smallish puppy. Puppies are adorable but needy.  The second month was better. The third month went back to being hard while he was sick but in the end, he's now completely house trained. He's capable of going 8 hours without needing to go outside. That's awesome.

He's picked up some bad habits along the way. He will take cat poop out of the litter box.  Did you know that cat litter sticks to dog's teeth like cement? It does. I had to brush his teeth to get it all out. He also counter surfs. I lost count how many disposable dish rags he has shredded.  He destroyed at least one kitchen area rug.  But I'm very grateful he has not decided to chew furniture.  Overall, he's a great dog - even at just 5 months old.

My older cat plays dead if Gunner comes near her so he'll just take a sniff and move on. She's the smart cat.  The other cat, Tibby, she puts up a fight. She hisses and bats her paws at his face. And now, whenever she's on the other side of the gate, Gunner will mimick her and bat his paw at her. It's hysterical. My husband, however, doesn't find it funny.

If he learns to hiss, we may have a problem.

September 24, 2012

Monday Musings

~ Yesterday I spent the day cleaning the pigsty that was my house. I even rearranged the furniture in the family room (again.)  The furniture we have was bought when we lived in our old house so I have issues making it work in this house. The good news is that when we finally buy new furniture? I definitely know what will work right for the room since I've moved things around so much!

~ I celebrated the arrival of chilly fall air by making a lasagna for dinner last night. My dad has been in town for the past week so it was nice to share a homecooked meal with him.

~ Son #1's football team (with the coach from hell) won their game on Saturday with a score of 19-7. Despite the win, he barely congratulated the boys after the game because he was too pissed they didn't score any points during the second half of the game so that wasn't acceptable to him. I hate him. I really do.

~ Son #2's football team didn't get the win, despite playing a team that was their size and ability. It was frustrating. But as a team, they looked better this week than during the first game. Maybe next week they'll get their first win.

~ Should I admit that my house is full of Dallas Cowboy fans? No? Well, lots of happy people in my house this morning, especially since (Con)Vick and the Eagles lost realllllly bad. 

~  All hail the power of the Magic Eraser!  I used it last night on the floor of the master bath shower and that combined with bleach spray, has made the shower floor look brand new.  That little sponge is a miracle worker!

September 20, 2012

Pin-imenting ~ Lazy Cookies

I don't know about you, but I find Pinterest slightly annoying.  It's becoming harder and harder to figure out who deserves credit for the original idea/pin.  I have an acquaintance who gets all of her ideas from Pinterest, recreates them, maybe changes a small detail or two, and then repins the idea to Pinterest with a link to her blog and photo. Um, stealing? Are you really that much of a click whore?


This recipe I'm about to post I found on Pinterest. It is not my own, although I did make a few changes. It's a very simple recipe and took less than 5 minutes to mix up.

Take any box cake mix. I used chocolate.

Add two eggs. Then some melted butter.  And mix that with the cake mix.  The batter will be quite stiff. I was surprised how stiff it was so I added about a teaspoon of water to help with the mixing process.

Then I added a cup of mini M&M's (or chocolate chips or peanut butter chips or something else!) to the stiff batter.  Now throw it into a well-greased 9x13 pan and bake.

I ended up baking mine about 4 minutes too long so don't do that ... these should be good to go in 20 - 25 minutes.  They are very much like a brownie with a cake-like taste.

These are definitely a go-to quick and easy dessert idea!

The possibilities are endless.  Strawberry cake mix and white chocolate chips? Use a lemon cake mix for easy lemon bars? Yum!

Lazy Cookies

1 box cake mix, any kind
2 eggs, beaten
5 TB butter, melted
1 c M&M's, mini chocolate chips, etc
(original recipe called for 2 cups - too much, in my opinion!)

Using a 9x13 pan, bake at 350 for 20 - 25 minutes.