Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The San Diego Zoo

Every year we spend some time with my in-laws in San Diego but never really do much sight seeing.  This year we decided to take the kids to the San Diego zoo.  They were great ages for it and I had not been since I was a child.

First of all, the weather was gorgeous!  We were actually dressed too warm for most of the trip.   Our first stop was to see the Elephants.  Madeline LOVED it.  We actually got to see them get a bath and be fed and they were really close to us. 

We also saw the lions.  They were asleep but right against the glass so we could see them close up.  Madeline kept screaming saying "ASLEEEEEPPPP".  Brooke was not thrilled.  She had a chip on her shoulder at the zoo for some reason.

We did manage to get one family photo out of the day.  I must say I am shocked at how our photos are actually starting to have all 4 family members looking at once!

The petting zoo was a huge hit as well!  I wanted to burn their clothes after being in there, but the kids had a good time :)

Here are some other animals we saw on our HIKE.  I say hike because I had no idea that zoo was so hilly and rugged.  By the end my legs were burning!

At the end of the day Brooke HAD to see the Pandas.  The line was so long and it was so hot waiting in line to end up seeing this:

Madeline could not even see the Panda and Brooke just said "why isn't he moving?" and that was the end of our Panda experience.

Overall we had a great trip!  Brooke is asking to go to Sea World so maybe we will do that on our next visit to CA.

Here is a pic from our last day in San Diego.  Such a pretty day! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Celebration #1

Right after arriving in CA, we had a Christmas Celebration with my mom's side of the family.  It was nice to see all of our relatives we had not seen in a year!  My uncle dressed up as Santa and the kids were thrilled!

Behold a family photo that is halfway decent!

Here are the kids with Santa.  Brooke was on cloud nine!  Madeline actually sat on his lap which I was shocked at since our visit to Santa at the mall did not go over so well!

We then opened gifts which of course was their favorite part of the night!  It also gave us some things to keep the kids entertained at Grandma's until Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a great Holiday Season so far!  I am going to try my best to not fall behind on this blog while we are out of town but that is not going so well :) 

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Brooke funny for the weekend

Brooke said this to me on our way  home from swimming lessons today:

"Mom, I am sure glad you decided to have me first and not Madeline.  I am glad I am not the little sister.  Big sisters are better."

Why you are welcome, Brooke!  I really had a say in the matter.....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Our visit to Rockefeller Center

Since we live near NYC I want to take full advantage of it while we can.  Last year we had big plans to go see the tree in Rockefeller Center but the day we wanted to go was freezing, Brooke had a fever, Madeline would have been too cold, etc.  It never happened.

This year I was determined to go.  I knew Brooke would love it!  I planned for us to take the train, have lunch at the Stardust Diner, then walk over to Rockefeller Center to see the tree, maybe do some shopping, etc.  It was a loose plan and now I am glad I didn't have anything set in stone. 

The city was awesome, but super crowded.  I really have not been in the city on the weekends much.  Normally we go during the week and its pretty empty in most of the touristy places.  Not true for a weekend during December!  Curtis had the pleasure of navigating the stroller through the crowds.  He only cursed a few times :) 

We made our way to the Stardust Diner and we saw a line around the block.  I thought it was a line for something else so I asked the last person and they were waiting for the Diner!  There were probably 100 people in line.  We wisely chose to go elsewhere.  NO way my kids could have waiting that long in the cold.  Instead we went to TGI Fridays.  2 appetizers+1 kids cheese pizza = $57!!!  Way to inflate the menu Fridays!  Oh well.  We were starving and cold so it was a nice break and we were seated right away. 

After lunch we headed to Rockefeller Center.  It was crowded!  The line for ice skating was very long but I had not really planned on doing that anyways. 

Here are the 3 pics from the day.  First off the tree in all its glory!   Very nice!

Curtis and Brookie.  She was so excited!  

Madeline and I.  I guess I am too short to actually get the entire tree in the picture.  Or there was some photographer error :)

After our tree viewing we headed to Toys R Us per Brooke's request.  NEVER AGAIN will I go there on a weekend.  OMG it was literally wall to wall people.  You could barely move.  After that we were done and headed home on the train.  We were all beat! 

Overall we had a great day!  No tears from anyone and we accomplished what we set out to do! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crockpot Wednesday!

I did  not post meal plans this week so here is today's Crockpot Recipe.  I found it on Pinterest of course!

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chile

I have a few recipes that are similar to this so I hope its a hit!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving (a few days late...)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We had a fun filled weekend of eating, ER visits, shopping, and hotel sleeping. 

Of course Wednesday morning while we were packing the car, Madeline started running a fever.  Lovely.  There was no time to call the Dr., so I gave her some motrin and we went on our way.  We picked up Brooke from school and shockingly did not hit a ton of traffic while traveling to Curtis' Aunt and Uncle's house in Springfield, MA.  Madeline's fever would not go down and by Thursday morning she was pathetic.  There were not any urgent cares open so off to the ER we went.

Here is my little sick patient:

After them finding no cause for her fever, they wanted to test her for a UTI (which was very involved).  I decided not to go that route just yet and we left without any answers but at least I knew she did not have pneumonia, bronchitis, or an ear infection :)

The rest of Thanksgiving was great!  The kids looked adorable if I do say so myself. 

Here they are with their cousin C.  Don't they all look thrilled to be doing this photo shoot?

Friday I set out to do some shopping.  I had a BLAST!  I think since most stores opened at midnight, by the time I got there at 7am it was not crowded at all!  I got some great deals.  I convinced Kate to steal a shopping cart and I would push it :)  I was so glad.  I bought 3 Yankee Candles and they were heavy!

Overall the weekend was fine, but Madeline was such a crab the last day.  Yesterday she broke out in a rash and has roseola so that solved the fever mystery!  I know this won't be the last time a holiday is interrupted by an illness.

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving!  On to Christmas now!  I am done shopping, my cards are mailed out, and now I am starting to prep for our trip to CA! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bad Santa Photos

Call me crazy.  Call me cruel. But I just love photos of kids crying on Santa's lap.  It almost should be a rite of passage for all kids under the age of 5. I mean its not scary at all for your parents to drop you onto the lap of a complete stranger dressed in a red suit with a giant white beard right??? 

A few years ago when Brooke was 19 months old, we got this gem:

The best part about this was that Curtis and I were laughing hysterically as she freaked out.  Parents of the year here!

This year we once again had a Santa hater.  Madeline really isn't afraid of anything so I didn't think she would freak out.  Well, she just wanted to give us another photo gem to treasure for all time:

Yes, that is Madeline screaming in fear and reaching for me as Santa happily held onto her for dear life.  Brooke was unphased by the screaming and just wanted to make sure she told Santa that she NEEDED an easy bake oven.   Maybe next year I can have both kids happily smiling in the santa photo.  (Last year it was Brooke who was afraid and I had to be IN the picture as she pretended to be scared on my lap....).

OH and yes we saw Santa on November 2nd.  We were at the mall taking pictures and there was no line and a lonely Santa ready to go.  No line at all!  It was perfect :)  I am sure Brooke will make another visit, but we surely no Madeline won't have any part of it!

Tea Collection sale!!!
Just in time for black Friday, one of our sponsors, Tea Collection, is having an awesome sale!  Tea Collection will be having a special Black Friday sale featuring $15 dresses for girls and $15 pants for boys valid 11/25 through 11/27. Here are some of my absolute favorite gift ideas:

For girls, I love the Pinata Stripe Dress! This dress was inspired by the brightly colored striped pinatas in Mexico. The dress is made of 100% cotton and machine washable and is sure to create tons of fun. The Ticking Stripe Pant for boys is definitely a staple item for any outfit. These stylish striped pants are 100% cotton, machine washable! Keep children dreaming with Little Citizens Pajamas. This adorable pj set is inspired by Mexico's famous Arbol del Tule. Not only are these pj's adorable but proceeds from your sale will benefit the Global Fund for Children and their work advancing the dignity of children around the world. I also love the Art To Go Deluxe Set. This is the perfect gift for the little artist whose creativity won't be contained--even on the road! Let their imaginations run wild!

Happy Shopping everyone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The winner of the November giveaway is......

Thanks to all who participated in this month's giveaway and to all of you who ordered from my Thirty One party!  There is still time to order if you want something!

The winner of the wonderful Organizing Tote is.......................................................................


Congrats to you and please contact me so I can get your organizing tote in the mail!  

There will not be a giveaway in December.   My life is way too hectic next month for that!  Giveaways should be back in January.  If you have a business and would like to sponsor a giveaway you can email me at

Thanks again! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meal Plans week of November 13th

Sunday:  Blue Mac N Cheese
Monday: Stovetop Chicken
Tuesday: Beef Stroganoff
Crockpot Wednesday: Honey Sauced Chicken
Thursday:  leftovers
Friday:  Cheese Enchiladas
Saturday:  Grilled steak, peppers, and rice

Don't forget my Thirty One party and giveaway is still going on!  Great gifts for teachers and family for the holidays!   Order by tonight to get extra entries to win the free Organizing tote!

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Christmas Card Season!!!

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is receiving Christmas/Holiday cards.  I love getting mail and during the Holiday season its guaranteed!  I just get so excited to see what cards people chose and their cute family pics that go with them!  I also get super sad when I have a day when no cards arrive.  Don't be slackers people!!!  :)

I always start browsing cards in late October/Early November.  I can't help myself!  I love looking for the perfect card!  I try to order them by mid-November and I send by December 1st. I have my list all ready to go so I sit down one night while watching a good Holiday movie and address them all to send!

I am in love with Tiny Prints cards this year.  IN LOVE.   They have such unique designs and their paper quality is awesome. 

Here are a few cards that I have my eye on:

Be Merry:

 Behavior Blocks:

Delightful Pastels:

Family of Trees:

Fine Festivities:

Behind the Scenes:

I guess you can say I have a theme going this year with bright colors :)  I had the girls pictures taken in bright dresses this year and am trying to do a card that will coordinate perfectly!  Luckily I have a lot of options with Tiny Prints.  Sorry, I won't be telling you which card  you'll just have to wait and see :) 

When do you order your holiday cards?  Do you obsess over it like I do? 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cleaning House

As a mom, I am never "done".  There is always something to do.  Always.   I saw this picture on pinterest that explains my life:

I can't even claim the house was clean yesterday.  Sometimes it was, but most likely not.   Parts of it were clean maybe!

Here is the main reason why I can't complete a task in my house: 

While the big sister is at school, that leaves Madeline at home with me.  Sometimes its great, and sometimes we have days like this.  Days where she rips off her pants and hangs on my legs while screaming because I wouldn't let her play with a sharpie.  How dare I????? 

Here is what you will find if you come over after the kids have been playing (old pic since obviously Madeline is bald here LOL) :

That's just my life right now.  As I clean, Madeline is behind me taking it all out.  I had to make a bed the other day with her in it!  I laughed at myself  because it was the only way I could keep an eye on her while changing the sheets.  One day I will actually have something called "free time" back again.  Oh how I miss that. 

Don't forget that my Thirty-One blog party is going on as well as the giveaway!  It's a great way to get some holiday gifts out of the way! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

November blog giveaway!!!!

Hello everyone!  It's time for another blog giveaway!  We had a great response to our last one so good luck this month!

This month's sponsor is Thirty-One!  My friend Julie is a consultant and has graciously offered to do a giveaway this month! 

This month's giveaway is an Organizing Utility Tote from Thirty One in the Harvest Floral Print!  This is a great bag for new moms because it can serve as a diaper bag!  I love to use it as a day bag if we are going to be out all day, etc.  Fits a ton of diapers,  snacks, water bottles, sippy cups, etc. 

Thirty-One also has other products that I love!  Our absolute favorite is the Thermal Zipper Tote.  I use this several days a week.  Brooke uses it as a lunch bag sometimes, or I use it to pack snacks or dinner if we won't be home for the day.  I can fit BOTH girls meals in here and its insulated which is a bonus.  Here is a pic of Brooke's (this pattern is no longer available but they have new ones that are adorable!)  These would make GREAT teacher's gifts too!

Two other products I love are the Organizing Shoulder Bag and the Pop Crossbody Bag.   Great and practical but still cute!  The Over the shoulder bag holds a lot and I can sometimes get away with not carrying a diaper bag since it fits so much!  

Needs some toy organization ideas?  Try the Square Utility Totes!  Perfect for toy storage in the house or in the car!  No more toys rolling around on the floor while you drive!  Can fit in between car seats in the back seat too!

Also this month if you spend $31, you get the Littles Carry-All Caddy for just $1!

So do you want to know how to win that great Organizing Utility tote?  

There are two ways to win!  First, you can leave a comment here on my blog for one entry.  If you place an order with Julie within the next week at Thirty-One, you will receive  TWO additional entries!  Be sure when you are ordering you choose to ship it to YOU and not the host.  I want to make sure you get your gifts on time! You do not have to order in order to win, it just earns you extra entries :)

I know I will be shopping for teacher gifts since the holidays are approaching!  They have such cute things that can be personalized and are very affordable!

Good luck and happy shopping! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Great sale on Blurb books!

One of our great sponsors on this site is Blurb.  They are a fantastic company and great for making photo books!  I am currently working on one titled "Sisters" as a Christmas gift for my girls.  They love looking at pictures of themselves so this will be great! 

Don't put shopping for the holidays on the back-burner this year because I’m excited to share with you that now through 11/30 you can save 15% off your Blurb order with promo code AFFILIATE15OFF.

Here are some of my favorite gift ideas:

Make a truly special gift with the Instagram Photo Book with the photos you've taken with your cellphone. Gather up those sacred family recipes and create a cookbook perfect for family and friends! Create a custom notebook for all the kids to take back to school. You can use your family photos or pictures from summer vacation! Blurb has all the tools and customization for you to make unique gifts for everyone on your list.

Remember that these things take time to do so don't put it off too long!  They make the perfect gifts for Grandparents too!

Happy Shopping! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Have you thanked a soldier today? (and Brooke sings a lovely song)

A few years ago I saw a segment on the Today show about an organization called Soldiers Angels.  This is a non-profit organization that provides aid to active and deployed military and their families.  There are many ways you can be involved, but we have adopted two soldiers in the past.  All soldiers are nominated to be eligible either because they have little family support or could use some extra support.  You can adopt a soldier, join a writing committee, donate money, or donate your time in another special way.  

We have adopted two soldiers in the past (as well as sent packages to a family member that was deployed for a year).  You should not expect to hear back from them, as they are obviously busy defending our country.  I can say, however, that if/when you do hear back from them, it makes the tiny sacrifice of sending them notes and packages very very worth it. 

Even though most of our troops are supposed to be home by the end of the year, there are still people who have to and will be deployed from here on out.  They are sacrificing their time and lives to defend our country while we stay safe at home.  Please consider helping out in some way.  It's also a great way to get your kids involved in a great cause helping others.  Brooke loved to draw pictures and help pack up the packages before we mailed them!

We just had our second soldier come home and I am glad he is safe and back with his family.   I hope we made his deployment a little better by letting him know that people here in America really care. 

On that Patriotic note, here is a video of Brooke singing "God Bless America".  Can you catch any off lyrics from her?  :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Belated Halloween

Well Halloween 2011 has come and gone.  We survived the long day of waiting since Brooke did not have school (those clever school Principals.....). 

They were both very into it this year.  Madeline even said "Trick or Treat!" when arriving at people's doors!  She also loved collecting the candy in her basket and would not let us hold it at all!

Brooke did well and also got a few lessons in manners this year:  Always say thank you.  Don't walk on people's lawns.  Don't grab candy out of people's hands.  If someone left a bucket of candy out, only take one (thank you to the group of older kids who emptied most of them out by 5pm.  Jerks.). 

Oh and we had yet ANOTHER picture miracle today.  I hope this streak lasts!

Here they are last year: 

and this year!: 

Now wish me luck since I am taking my kids for professional photos the day after Halloween.  What was I thinking??? 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Meal Plans week of October 30th

October is pretty much over!  After our little snow storm yesterday I am not sure what to expect out of November now! 

Sunday:  Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Monday: Grilled Cheese and tomato soup
Tuesday: Chicken Parmesan and pasta
Crockpot Wednesday:  Slow cooker Cranberry pork, mashed potatoes, corn
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday:  Grilled burgers and fries
Saturday:  Curt's on his own.  This mom is out of town!  :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Picture Miracle

Something miraculous happened this weekend.  I actually got a picture (well TWO) of my children both looking at the camera and smiling.  This is huge people!  A rare occasion to say the least!

This one is a framer. I just love it.  LOVE!!!!  

Brooke is looking so old to me these days.  Sigh.  Before I know it she will be talking on the phone with boys.  

So if you are on my Christmas card list, you might see two girls in pumpkin shirts celebrating the birth of baby Jesus.  Or I can just crop their heads off and put these two faces on it LOL.  There is just no telling if this will happen again during our attempts for a Christmas card photo. 

Speaking of Christmas cards, have you started planning yours yet?

Here is today's deal by TINY PRINTS.  30% off Flip cards by using code:  1026DOD.   I have already taken a peek at some cards that I love and I will share some of my faves with you next week.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Festivities

We have done a few activities this fall so far.  Here is a quick recap:

We went to Hick's Nursery to pick pumpkins.  Last year we went to a great place in the Hamptons but its a far drive and we decided to go local this year.  I must say I was slightly disappointed in this place.  They didn't have any pumpkins in a "patch",  just pumpkins sitting on tables.  Plus all of our pumpkins we bought from there have rotted completely!  Such a bust!  The kids didn't mind though.  They had a petting zoo and hayrides so they were happy :)

Here are the kids in front of the petting zoo.  Even though there are no animals pictured, I promise you they were in there LOL. 

Next we went on a Hayride.  Note the two constants in this photo:  Brooke is not looking at the camera and Madeline is eating.  The usual!

Next we met the famous "Otto the Ghost".  He was kind of creepy looking but I guess he is a staple at this Nursery. 

We also went to the local fall festival this weekend.  Brooke had a great time going on all of the rides and getting her face painted!  We love it because we can walk to it and its stress free!  

We have some fun Halloween activities going on this week so stay tuned for that post next week :)  Brooke has been asking me every night if it is time to Trick or Treat.  Next Monday can't come fast enough! 

A quick sale from our sponsor Tiny Prints:  Have you thought about your holiday cards yet?  Tiny Prints is offering 25% off William Arthur cards, good only until tomorrow.  Click HERE and use code 1024DOD.  Happy Shopping!


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