February 28, 2016


My firstborn son turns 14 years old today. It's blowing my mind how fast time goes by. When I was a kid, a school day lasted forever and Christmas always seemed like it was years away instead of just weeks or months.  But somehow when you have a kid of your own, the fast-forward button is pressed and time just disappears.

I think the easiest time to raise a child is from the ages of 6-10. It's all pretty easy during those years. School, food, sleep, baths and love is all they really require. After age 10 though, they really start to have an opinion on things, a social life, and activities/sports become more important. Once the teen years hit, moodiness sets in and they think they know all the things.

I don't think of his birthday the same way anymore. Now I think of it in terms of how many years we have left with him under our roof.  The end is in site. It will be here before I know it and it's making me sad, deep down.  There's a giant invisible countdown clock over his head and we only have this much time left to do the theoretical "this" before everything changes. 

However, I will set all of those feelings aside and celebrate my kid. I'm starting to see glimpses of the adult he will become a midst the moody teen aura.  He's a good kid, does well in school and sports, and loves his mother.

February 26, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 9

With my oldest son's birthday this weekend, I'm cooking a big family dinner on Sunday (BBQ chicken, baked mac & cheese, broccoli casserole, & coleslaw)  so I reserve the right to not follow the meal plan next week if I so choose!

Meal 1:  Meatballs/pasta

Meal 2:  Shrimp Scampi

Meal 3:  London Broil

Meal 4:  Grilled Cheese/soup

Meal 5:  Leftovers/sandwiches

February 22, 2016

Basement Update

The fire inspection failure was an easy fix for the contractor and the inspector came right back out to check everything again and it passed. The electrical passed too so we're good to go!

Drywall will be delivered today and they start hanging it tomorrow!

Here's comes the dust .... lol

February 20, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 8

What I wouldn't do for a personal chef ...

Meal 1:  Salmon... yeah, never made 2ish weeks ago?!

Meal 2:  Creamy Ckn Parm (skillet sauce)

Meal 3:  Breakfast for Dinner

Meal 4:  Hamburgers

Meal 5:  Leftovers/sandwiches

February 19, 2016


I don't know if I'm eloquent enough to describe how much our lives have been enriched by the addition of Kimber this past year.  Sure, we already had Gunner and we love him just as much ... but there's something about Kimber, her playfulness, her expressions and mannerisms that are just different and for those reasons she has changed all of us, even Gunner, for the better.

She's still very much a puppy in many ways (I wish she'd stop chasing my cats!) but this time around we're more patient. We laugh more at her antics and we have completely spoiled both of them rotten. We embrace the fur.

We've tentatively retired the crate and so far, so good ....

She's very lean and wicked fast like a torpedo when she runs and easily beats Gunner to chase a ball. She's nearly invisible in the dark and I recently purchased a flashing LED collar for her to wear when we walk at night. We love her so.

Happy 1st Birthday, Kimber!

We love you!

February 16, 2016

Brain Dump

There's no other way to title this post so here it comes:

~  We hosted a dinner for my MIL on Super Bowl Sunday. We did our best to make it about her and not the game. I think we succeeded. However, prior to her birthday I wanted to buy a nice Hallmark birthday card.  I didn't want anything flashy or extra stuff on it... I didn't want it to sing... just a nice card that expressed our love and appreciation for her.  When I flipped the card over to check the price, I almost had a heart attack. $6.99 FOR A CARD.  Hallmark has lost their damn minds!  $7 for a card she'll read and likely throw away a few days later.  I put the card back and made a special trip to Dollar Tree for a perfectly appropriate and reasonable priced greeting card.

Hallmark take note:  I will not ever pay $7 for a greeting card!!

~  The first basement inspection did not go well. The Fire Inspector failed us for a "fire hazard" under the stairs ... this is not really our problem, per se, but the contractor will need to fix (and then have it reinspected) before we can proceed with the drywall. What a pain.  Still waiting on the electrical inspection. Fingers crossed that passes!

~  The soccer emails are starting to fly.  With all the changes to US youth soccer and which will be implemented as of the upcoming Fall 2016 season, Boo will have to move up and play in his birth year (he's currently playing "down" because he can).  The only good thing about this change is that he will be playing with his most of his classmates once again.  But many kids are having to make the decision to play "town" soccer or club soccer. Apparently you can't do both.  It's all so confusing to me. We play for fun and to keep him active.  I'm so very glad we aren't (and will never be) in the "club" scene.  

~  We had a meeting with my Bud's middle school guidance counselor to discuss high school and his future.  The whole "future thing" throws me since he's still my baby ... lol  He has no idea what he wants to do and that's just fine by me.  I'm not sure he should have these answers yet anyway - he's 13! The goal at this point is to get him "set up" to attend college. We'll worry about the details later.  I liked his counselor so that's a plus. I guess it's a shame we didn't "need" her until to now!

February 12, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 7

Meal 1:  Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Meal 2:  Ckn/Potatoes/Green bean Bake

Meal 3:  Stuffed Shells

Meal 4:  Sloppy Joes

Meal 5:  Leftovers/sandwiches

February 11, 2016

Basement: Day 2

It's hard to believe but today is technically only the second day someone is coming to work on the basement, since the framing was completed last week in one day!  The electric is being run today and I'm thinking this has to be a two-day job, right?!

After the electric is complete, we must pass two inspections from our township: one for the framing and the other for the electric.  Once we pass, the drywall crew will be scheduled to complete their part of the renovation. So after today, we're at the mercy of the township inspectors on how fast the rest of the renovation will proceed. If all goes well, I can see the renovation (minus the painting and flooring) being completed by end of this month!

Might be time to take a field trip to Home Depot (and elsewhere) for flooring options.

February 10, 2016

A Quick Ski Trip to Camelback

Boo and I just returned from a two-day trip to Camelback Lodge and Mountain. We had a really nice time.  I'm a big fan of mid-week ski trips because I hate skiing on crowded slopes!  You pay enough to ski ... I want to ski, not stand in long lift lines and dodge people while skiing down the mountain.

The Husband and The Teenager were invited to go of course, but both declined.  My Husband has a bad back (so skiing is not a wise idea) and The Teenager didn't want to miss school. Yep. You read that right.  He went skiing for the first time last year and we thought he really like it but he's now claiming otherwise.  Fine by me. This can be my thing with Boo.

We stayed for one night at the new Camelback Lodge. It's really large and quite impressive when you pull in to the Lodge.  We checked in early around 1pm (although our room wasn't quite ready) and were fitted with arm bands that would be our room key.  We were told we'd receive a text when the room was ready and we could go straight to our room.  The text came about 3pm but we were busy skiing!

I gave Boo the choice of visiting the water park or skiing ... how dumb of me. He choose skiing, of course!  On the lower floor, there's a place where you can sign all the waivers and pay for rentals and your lift tickets.  I was able to pay for the rentals and lift tickets for both days all at once - saved so much time.  All we had to do was arrive at the rental location and hand them a pre-printed ticket and we were good to go! It was all very easy. A very convenient shuttle bus drove us right to the main lodge.

We skied until about 8 o'clock the first night. Boy were we tired ... lol  Even the allure of a water park wasn't enough temptation to leave our room once we finally got there!

The next morning we were a bit slow to get moving but we were on the slopes by 11am. We decided to have breakfast at the Hemispheres (main) Restaurant at the Lodge out of convenience only.  It's a buffet that's open for breakfast and dinner daily.  The food and selections were plentiful (for breakfast).  The donuts and muffins were really good. But the price is ridiculous. $15.99 for adults, $9.99 for kids. Drinks are NOT included in that price. Really?!  I don't know one kid under the age of 12 that eats $10 worth of breakfast food.  In my opinion, it should be $11.99 for adults and $5.99 for kids.  So, I suppose this is my one "complaint" about the new Camelback Lodge.

Our plan on Day 2 was to ski until about 3pm, hit the water park, grab some dinner and then head home. But Boo decided he just wanted to ski until his legs gave out so that's what we did. We skied until about 2:30, grabbed a late lunch at the Trails End Bar & Grille (highly recommend this place over the Pocono Family Eatery) and then went back out to ski until 5pm.  At 5, we were both exhausted but we definitely got our money's worth out of skiing!

We had a bit of an issue with the shuttle bus trying to get back to the Lodge (where my car was parked). It didn't seem to be running as frequently as it was on Monday so we gave up and walked back. It's not a terrible walk - only about 10 minutes. Since we weren't carrying equipment it wasn't a big deal.

All in all, we had a great time and we'd go back without hesitation but would skip eating at Hemispheres all together.

This is the view from the Lobby overlooking the water park ...

February 8, 2016

Basement: Day 1

So the good news:  They said the guys would arrive around 8am last Thursday to get the project started. They showed up at 7:45. That's what mama likes! Prompt workers!

Now for the bad news:  After they were all there, The Husband went into the basement to go over the general layout with the Framing Supervisor and for some reason the 1/2 wall we wanted wasn't on his plan.  So we pulled our paperwork and it was also not on the plan. WTF!  It was discussed at length because it negated the need to enclose the only exposed pillar we have in the basement!  After a few phone calls and many denials from the Sales Rep that this was ever part of the plan, The Husband let him have it.  It was now after 10am and the promised Project Manager wasn't on site to deal with the issue.  After a few more phone calls, they are adding the 1/2 wall for an agreed upon price of $310 (at first they said it would cost an additional $900 FOR A HALF WALL and we told them no flipping way!)

It's never easy, is it? And they wonder why people hate contractors!

I'm hopeful this will be the only hiccup and that the renovation will proceed smoothly from here on out.  Once the framing is done, it's pretty easy from that point forward so let's hope.  I don't want my Husband to finish the big bottle of Grey Goose on the first day!

Here are the obligatory "before" pictures:

February 5, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 6

It's a little light this week due to the ski trip.  The ones at home can fend for themselves!

Meal 1: BBQ chicken

Meal 2: Pork Chops

Meal 3: Hot dogs

Meal 4: not my problem!

Meal 5: not my problem!

: )

February 3, 2016

Day 1 - Tomorrow!

The basement renovation officially starts tomorrow! Delaying the start by a week was a blessing in disguise. All the snow has melted since winter has basically disappeared yet again.

We had a close call with my FIL but he is home now and on the mend. It's taking some time to make him understand he isn't 25 years old anymore and he must pay attention to his health if he wants to be around to see his grandchildren graduate from high school. Many men are very stubborn when it comes to needing to see a doctor. It's frustrating.

Next week I'm going on a short ski trip with my 11 year old, just the two of us. Let's hope the weather holds and there is snow on the mountain! I'm looking forward to a little time off from work and some one-on-one time with him.  Be aware that The Husband and the almost 14 year old have chosen not to go. Their loss!