February 28, 2013

The 11th Birthday

Eleven years ago today our first son was born, all five and half pounds of him. And even though he's slowly morphing into a know-it-all preteen, we love him to pieces.

We wish him a spectacular year full of new experiences, lessons learned the easy way, and great family memories to carry with him as he grows.

Happy 11th Birthday, Son!

February 26, 2013

Pinterest Idiocracy

I've been spending some time on Pinterest and maybe I'm spending too much time there because some things are really starting to annoy me.  It has mostly to do with people's descriptions of the pictures they are pinning.

There's a very easy way to leave a personal comment about a particular pin so why do people put their comments as the description? Doesn't this defeat the point of describing the actual pin? Saying "OMG I'm sooooo doing this" doesn't help me search for that great idea, recipe, quote, etc.

I dare you ... type in "OMG I'm sooooo doing this" into the search bar to see the thousands of random pins that come up. It's hysterical and annoying all at the same time.

When I pin something, I've actually been taking the time to delete any stupid personal comments in the description area so that it makes the actual pin idea searchable.

Some other "favorite"  descriptions are:

"A pinner said...."

"I NEED THIS"

"Best ____ Ever"

"OMG This is so true!"

"Brilliant" or "Genius"

I'm just one person trying to fix Pinterest. It may take awhile. Bear with me.

February 25, 2013

Favorite Candy

It's that time of year. Easter candy is everywhere. This is my most favorite candy in the world. The best part is, you can only buy them at this time of year which is good. I can only be tempted for a few weeks ... unless I buy a large stash of the eggs and freeze them. But I wouldn't do that, would I?


It has to be a Zitners cocoanut cream egg.
 YUM. Nothing else compares!


February 22, 2013

Tween Parenting

I'm silently starting to freak out. My 5th grader turns 11 years old next week. I know, 11, he's still a baby but you know what? He's not. Later this year he'll be in 6th grade. And I just keep thinking, holy shit, he's half way through the traditional schooling years. Then I start to think, holy shit, 6th grade? I *clearly* remember the things that were being talked about in 6th grade and now with the Internet being everywhere, these kids are smarter then we were.

But the thing is, they aren't smarter. They're just more savvy. Instead of asking a friend or a parent a question, they just google the answer. Hell, even I'm guilty of that. Google has made us all geniuses.

Now is when parenting gets hard. Now is when he'll start to roll his eyes at us. Now is when he'll claim to hate us. It's already happening because he has a set bed time which he thinks is too early (9pm on school nights) and because we won't let him watch The Walking Dead. In the grand scheme of things this is stupid stuff but to him, it's the "end" of his world.

I feel like I'm watching a reality show on fast forward all the time. It seems like just yesterday he was an infant and I was juggling my job, our daycare issues, on-going house renovations, and a husband working nights. It feels like this all happened last week!

At first, his birthdays were fun. Another milestone reached. Another baby-toddler-preschool-ism conquered. But now the birthdays are making me sad, like we're on some sort of countdown until he moves out. I swear, it's the biggest catch 22 ever. I suppose it doesn't help that he's the oldest grandchild on both sides of our family so he will literally be the first to leave the coop. Heaven, help me. I may need sedation.

February 21, 2013

3rd Birchbox

My Birchbox for February just arrived on Tuesday, thanks to the blizzard that blanketed the Northeast earlier this month. I'm starting to see a slight trend in what arrives in the box each month and I'm a little disappointed. But nevertheless, it's fun to get a box of girl goodies in the mail.


So in the box this month (left to right):

1.  Skin&Co Roma ... bath gel. This has a really nice scent. Full size bottle is $17.50 ~ not bad.

2.  Dr. Lipp - original nipple balm for lips ... very smooth, vaseline-like. Full size tube is $14.50 ~ eh.

3.  Ghirardelli Milk and Caramel Square ... can't go wrong with sending a girl chocolate. Delicious!

4.  Twistband headband ... I wasn't thrilled with the (colored) pony tail holder that was sent in the December box. And while this may be soft and not crease or tug your hair, some of us need that "grip" for it to stay on your head.  Set of 6 is $20 ~ wouldn't buy.

5.  Color Club Nail Polish in Wild Cactus ... emerald color. A nice color for spring & summer. Full size bottle is $8 ~ wouldn't buy.

The trend I see? Sending nail polish and hairbands. I have found some of the BEST nail polish is also the cheapest and you can buy it at Target or CVS and not pay for shipping. And hairbands?  They are a dime a dozen and not for nothing, but I'm not 20 years old anymore and they clearly know this because of the profile information you provide.


February 20, 2013

A Necessary Evil

My car reached a milestone recently, as you can see by this photo:


I have a decision to make in the coming weeks. To keep this car or give it back so that means I'll be spending some time in a car dealership. I really dislike car dealerships.

I really like my car but with the mileage being this high on a 2010 vehicle, I'm not sure it makes sense to buy out the lease. I know leasing is a waste of money to most people but it works for us. And I like not having to deal with car repairs. A high price to pay for that perk I suppose, but totally worth it to me.


February 19, 2013

Spring Soccer Starts

I think I finally have feeling back in my toes ... soccer practice started last night! But I suppose that's my penance for mandating involvement with a team sport this spring. I was amazed to see some other teams also practicing last night and a few of the girls were wearing short shorts? Seriously? If we were lucky, it was 30 degrees on that field last night.

Son #2 last played soccer during the fall season os 2011 so it's been well over a year since he's played. He moaned and groaned a bit about going to practice, mostly because we weren't sure who was on his team. Thankfully, he knows a few of the boys and had a great time last night!

When we got home he took a quick shower, ate 2 bowls of Apple Jacks, and curled up on the couch. He was exhausted.

Yessssssssssssssss!!

February 18, 2013

Little Late...

But I couldn't not share the beautiful flowers that were sitting on my dining room table when I got home from work on Valentine's Day...


I know it's a Hallmark Holiday and we should show the people we love that we love them daily - and we do - but my husband isn't a "just because" kind of guy (never has been) so if he bought flowers for me on Valentine's Day, I'm taking them!

We've now shared 17 February 14th's together ... he's my one and only Valentine.

February 15, 2013

Tastefully Simple Haul

I mentioned a week or so ago that I recently hosted a Tastefully Simple Party on a lovely, girlie Saturday afternoon, complete with mimosas! Well, my loot arrived. Because of the generous orders of friends and family, this entire box was shipped to me for free and my out of pocket only totaled $16.04.


 Save to say I'm stocked up on TS products for quite some time.



And yes, that's my son photo-bombing the photo! 

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Sitting by their alarm clocks this morning were their robot-Valentine's-Day-tins filled with some candy and a card (the dancing dog, from the link below.) So they had candy for breakfast this morning. That's how we roll sometimes.

I hope you go out of your way to do something nice for someone you love today and everyday for that matter ... and if you need a cute, quick, FREE card? Check out this link.  These are really cute, customizable, print correctly, and best of all - FREE!

http://www.office.xerox.com/small-business-templates/greeting-cards/valentines/enus.html

February 13, 2013

Puppy Update

It's almost funny to use the term "puppy" and Gunner in the same sentence because while he may technically still be a puppy, he doesn't come close to looking like one. He was 17lbs when we brought him home at 8 weeks old; now he's 90lbs. So he's gained an average of 9lbs a month since June!  We're not sure how much bigger he will get. Length-wise, we're pretty sure he's done growing but I'm sure he'll still fill out some. We're expecting at least another 20lbs of dog.

His ear:  That damn ear. It will not go up. We've tried several methods at several different times to get that ear to stay up. It just won't.  You can feel the difference in the cartilage in his ear - it formed wrong. We aren't sure how that happened since we've been very concerned about that ear the entire time. So he's a one ear up, one ear down German Shepherd ... unless we decide to do a cosmetic surgery to correct it. 

House training:  He is completely house trained. He can go close to 10 hours without needing to be let outside. This is awesome.

Food:  Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy is still our dry food of choice.  He's been slightly spoiled  and thoroughly enjoys having table scraps put into his bowl.  We still feed him twice a day, morning and night.  He's eating about 6 cups of dry food each day. He loves cheese and will do anything for it. If you say the word cheese, he immediately sits (even if he was just running around,) perks his ears and just waits for you to give him a piece.

Walks:  LOVES them, as most dogs do, I suppose.  The boys typically walk him after school and every night, even in the freezing cold, I take him for a walk before I sit down for the night, usually around 9pm.  When we get about a block from our house, I make him sit, say "good boy?", and put his leash in his mouth.  He runs a bit and turns to looks for me, and then sprints to the garage door every time. It's the best thing ever! He is a good boy.

Training:  With our trainer has been going slow. We've missed or it's been cancelled the past 4 Saturdays for various reasons, weather included. So at this point, I almost feel like we'll be starting over. I'm a little frustrated that the only option is Saturday AM training sessions. We may have to talk to him about that.

Behavior:  He will act out if he's left alone for too long or if we all leave the house at the same time. He's a bit spiteful like that so we have to be very careful about what is left around the kitchen. He has plenty of toys he can play with but of course he chooses "trouble" most of the time. He has not tried to chew any furniture - it's just stupid stuff. Like the dish towel, or a plant, mail, the recycling ... you get the idea.

My cats:  They still hate him and avoid him at all costs.  Gunner is insanely curious about the creatures he generally only gets a glimpse of ... I can hold my 5 year cat and bring her close to him while telling him to be nice and they will sniff each other but that's about as nice as it gets. If she happens to come into the kitchen while he's there, the chase is on.  My older cat flips out if I even try to bring her downstairs!

Between the kids, the dog and running interference for the cats, my house is quite literally a zoo but I wouldn't have it any other way!


February 12, 2013

Cookie Heaven

Have you tasted these cookies yet?


It's half of a Milano cookie, covered in dark chocolate, with salted pretzel bits on top ... or you can just call them heaven. I seriously haven't even looked at the calorie content because it really doesn't matter. They are worth every single calorie. Just try not to eat the entire bag in one sitting!

Pepperridge Farm - you've outdone yourself this time! YUM!!


February 11, 2013

Snow-Joke

I'm so very thankful we only got an inch of snow over the weekend. The forecasting was all over the place for us. First they said rain, then sleet/ice/rain, then snow, then the forecast changed back to rain but said it would change over to snow and to expect a 3-6 inch accumulation ... these weather people could not make up their minds!

I love a good JANUARY snowstorm but by the time February rolls around, all the stores and TV ads are throwing spring and summer in your face so the last thing I want to deal with is snow.  And since I bought my 8 year old new boots a few weeks ago, I pretty much single-handedly assured our region that it would not snow this winter. You're welcome. Our last decent snowstorm was in 2010.  So this can only mean one thing:  we'll be dealing with a hell-ish snowy winter very, very soon.

On to other interesting news, my son is supposed to have his first soccer practice tonight ... I'm betting that won't happen because it's been raining since 2am.


February 8, 2013

Overheard in My Kitchen

After a particularly loud and slighly insane witching hour at my house the other night, I said,

"Take the dog to the basement and find his balls"

Proof that sometimes it's good to not think before you speak.

Laughter really is the best medicine.


February 7, 2013

In Local News...

I love a good murder case. I'm a frequent viewer of all the true crime stories on TV, including the Dateline and 20/20 shows.  It's even more entertaining when it involves the most idiotic people on the planet! Not only did this 37 year old woman convince her 22 year old boy-toy to murder her husband but they text messaged each other AS the murder was being committed!

Are you kidding me?

Four days later when they decide it was time to burry the body, they also texted back and forth AS the boy-toy was digging the hole, joking about how much more he needed to dig and how he needed a shower.

Are you kidding me?

At least they were smart enough to have a Plan B when Plan A didn't work out. Plan A was to get the victim to drink a poisoned Snapple but (I guess) he wasn't drinking it fast enough so the boy-toy opted to beat the victim to death with a shovel.

I joke and I realize this isn't a joking matter at all, especially for the victim's family, but the intellect of some of these people is just mindblowing! Sure, divorce is messy and expensive so let's just kill the guy instead? At what point did they believe they would not get caught?

So instead of divorcing the victim, she's now spending the rest of her life in jail. The boy-toy was sentenced to 40-80 years in jail. He'll be approximately 65 years old IF he's ever released. That's essentially a life sentence too.

I hope it was worth it.


February 6, 2013

Tastefully Simple

Are you familiar with this company?  I'm trying to remember how long it's been since I was introduced to Tastefully Simple.  It has to be close to ten years ago, I guess. I've always loved the majority of their items and the ease of making them but not so much the price. It's a little pricey and adds up quickly for just a few items.

I just hosted my second ever Tastefully Simple party to help out a friend who started selling it about a year ago. They are running a very nice hostess promotion during the month of February (50% more free hostess rewards!) and they debuted a special Cherry Cheese Ball, which is only being sold during the month of February. IT.IS.SO.GOOD!!

You typically don't have to ask me twice to throw a party and a girl party? Even more fun because I rarely get to do anything girl-themed living in a house filled with boys, The Husband included.  Since Valentine's Day is approaching, I really pinked it up. Silver tablecloth and plates paired with printed heart napkins. And let's not forget the pink champagne glasses for the mimosas!

I had a great turn out, thanks to family members, friends, and neighbors. My party totaled $840 in sales, making my hostess reward reach $180 in FREE products.  I also received two half-priced items because of two future party bookings ... that's A LOT of Tastefully Simple products on their way to my house!

Party at my house!

February 5, 2013

Report Cards: Round 2

Son #1 (5th grade) managed to squeak onto the Honor Roll again. His final Reading grade was a low B. But a B is a B and not a C!

Son #2 (3rd grade) got a little lazy this past quarter and got kicked off the Principle's List ... but hey, the Honor Roll is an accomplishment.

Both are looking for their payouts according to the grades contract we signed at the beginning of the school year.  I'm considering sweetening the deal just slightly to ward off any impending laziness as we head toward the last half of the school year.

I am thankful they are doing so well in school and I hope it continues as the curriculum becomes more challenging with each passing school year.  So far, so good.

February 1, 2013

Healthy or Sick?

I am fully aware that's flu season but wow, it seems like same adults and kids are sick every other week! My family has been spared, as we typically are, unless you count my two sinus infections since Christmas.

I've always found it interesting to consider at a family's lifestyle to figure out why one family is sick more often than another family. Is it just good luck or is it more than that? If you were a germ-a-phoebe when they were babies, once they are school-aged, do they pick up every little bug that comes around? Do vaccinations (or lack thereof ) play a role?  Good hygiene is important of course, but in my experience, the hygiene of 98% of kids (including my own) is lacking.

When my boys were little, I was not an uptight mother. Their vaccinations were given on time. I didn't make family members sanitize their entire bodies before they held my babies. I'm certain they even licked their fair share of store carts! The boys were in various daycare situations while they were little and I like to think that, along with always having pets in the house, has afforded them with the great immune systems they both possess.

And for that, I am so very thankful.

Sure, we've had a few tummy bugs along the way but they are very few and far between.  Neither have had the flu, despite it running rampant in their schools. And as a rule, we skip the flu vaccine every year.

I have two requirements before they go to bed each night: they must wash their hands and they must blow their nose. No sleeping with clogged nasal passages in my house because it doesn't take much for that gunk to travel down the back of your throat, into your chest, and begin to cause trouble.  I believe these two simple rules are responsible for keeping my kids free from sickness.

Here's to hoping we sail through the rest of this winter healthy!