Monday, November 30, 2009

My Thanksgiving Weekend...

I had really planned on blogging more since Thanksgiving, but time never permitted. It seems as though the entire Thanksgiving weekend was a blur, but nevertheless, here is a re-cap:

On Thursday, of course, we went to my Parent's house for Thanksgiving Dinner. I had gotten up pretty early that morning to get my Crock Pot Mac and Cheese going. Bree and I watched the parade, and then around 12:30 went to my Parent's house. We left from my Parent's house around 3:30 and headed to Columbia to have Thanksgiving with Paul's side of the family. 4 years later, and I still haven't gotten used to the whole traveling part of the Holidays. It is so exhausting, but the food is oh so worth it. Needless to say, I got fat on Thanksgiving Day. I probably should have worn my maternity jeans so that I could have eaten more, but maybe it's a good thing that I didn't. Nevertheless, here are a few photos from Thanksgiving:
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After we left Columbia, the Hubs decided that it would be a bad good idea to go to Toys R Us. They had a few things on sale, and we thought it might would be kind of fun to be shopping at midnight. I mean, how often does that happen? So, the Hub's brother came and stayed with Bree at our house so that we could go. I had a headache like you wouldn't know, but some how managed to get in the car and ride over to Toys R Us with the Hubs. The scene that we saw outside of Toys R Us, was so stupid it was hilarious. There were people lined up from the door of the store, around the parking lot, down a road, and around a bank. I'm talking, this line was at least 1,000 stupid people deep. I couldn't believe the stupidity courage of these people. Not to mention it was 30 degrees that night. I could not picture myself standing in a line that full of people, freezing to death, just to get a few dollars off of some things. So since we were laughing at all of the idiots courageous people in line at the Toys R Us, we decided we would ride around town to look at other stupid brave people lined up in front of stores. Best Buy had a line of people with tents pitched, and they didn't open until 6 a.m. Target didn't open until 5 a.m, and at midnight had a line of people already forming. I did feel sorry for Old Navy though. They were to open at 3 a.m, and at midnight, there was no one there. We went back home, and cut our losses, still laughing at the dummies brave, brave people at Toys R Us. I did, however, state that the Hubs and I had a little bit of stupidity courage in us, because we got in the car to go midnight shopping, but, we're not completely stupid courageous because we weren't among the thousands of people, freezing to death, standing in the Toys R Us line.

On Friday night, we popped Christmas Vacation into the DVD player, and put our Christmas tree up. Bree and I decorated the tree. I was so excited to see her putting ornaments on the tree. This might actually be the first Christmas she remembers, so it means a lot to me to make it memorable. She was excited. Bree kept pointing at the tree and screaming "LOOK!". Here are some pictures of us decorating the tree:
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We spent Saturday at home. Our State's Rival College Football game was on at noon, so the Hubs made sure I didn't make any plans whatsoever. So, I didn't. We stayed at home, only to watch our team lose, and lose bad. After about the first quarter, I began cleaning house and doing laundry. No sense in watching a beat down. The Hubs was not pleasant to be around that afternoon either. In fact, we started fighting. Not sure why. He acted as though I had something to do with the fact that our team was losing. I guess he thinks I have some kind of psychic ability to force a team to lose. Crazy boy.

Yesterday I had two photography sessions scheduled. One at 1:00 and one at 3:30. When I had finished my 1:00, I was getting ready to head to my 3:30, when I noticed I had a voicemail. So I called my voicemail, and it was my 3:30 canceling our appointment. I was none too happy about the fact that they were canceling an hour and a half before appointed time. Not to mention, I had just heard from them the day before and they had confirmed our time and didn't mention of any problems or issues. Because of this little incident, I think I am going to have to start charging deposits. It's a major inconvenience when you have something scheduled, and then they call and cancel an HOUR AND A HALF before the set time. 24 hours notice would have been a bit more helpful. Oh well, my 1:00's pictures turned out really well though. We had a lot of fun. Here are a few pictures from that shoot:
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So, that was my weekend in a nutshell. Today, I am Cyber Monday shopping, and cleaning house. I hope everyone's Thanksgiving and weekend went wonderfully! Did anything funny or out of the ordinary happen to you? Were you one of those stupid brave people standing in line on Black Friday? Tell me about it!! I can't wait to hear how you're Thanksgiving weekend went.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

This Thanksgiving...

So, you may have noticed that I have the new blog layout up :) I am going to change a few things, but will wait until the better part of next week to do so. If things don't look quiet right, it's because I'm not done yet!

I can't believe that Thanksgiving has already rolled around once again. With all of the Thanksgiving traditions that we all have, there seems to be one that everyone does, and that is make a list of the things they are thankful for. I personally think that if we did this every day, and not just on Thanksgiving...the World would be a much better place. If I thought about everything I am thankful for, and everything I have been blessed with each and every day...there would be no room for negativity in my life. That glass is always half empty, but I bet if I were to list my blessings and thanks on a piece of paper every day; that glass would begin to get fuller and fuller.

This year I am thankful for a lot of things.
1) I am thankful that God has given me another year with my baby girl. Bree means everything to me, and every day I have with her, I am more and more grateful. I love her so much, and I cannot believe that I ever lived my life without her.
2) I am thankful for the Hubs. He puts up with me every day, and I know that sometimes he wishes he could just knock my block off, but he doesn't.
3) I am thankful to have clothes on my back, food in my tummy, and a roof over my head. I know that I think times get pretty bad for us, but when I think of all of the homeless people living in the streets...I have so much.
4) I am thankful to be a child of God. Without Him I would be absolutely nothing. Because of Him, I have a place waiting for me in Heaven. I know that I will never be alone, and that He will always be there to watch over and protect me. We have gone through financial issues before, and when I look back, I know that the only way we got through them was because God was watching over us. I believe in Him, and I know that my God is a living God. I thank Him every day for choosing me, a nasty, dirty, rotten sinner, to be His child.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and enjoy the time with your family and friends. In the midst of all of the craziness, take a few minutes to reflect and think of your very many blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It May Look Funny...

Don't fret! I'm working on changing everything over for the Holidays, so if the page looks a little won't look funny for long :)


Wordless Wednesday: A Sneak Peek at the New Blog Look...

Here is a sneak peek at what my blog will look like for the Holidays. I want to make sure you all like it first, because I want you to enjoy coming here. I don't want it to be like when you refuse to go potty in someone's bathroom because they have horrible wallpaper on the wall. So, honest opinions only!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Need Some Ideas...

I've spent most of this morning trying to get caught up on blogs. I got a few read. Bree has been screaming at me for 30 minutes. She wants more bananas. At the moment "Go Diego! Go!" has distracted her, and she's forgotten that wants more bananas. Good thing, because she isn't getting anymore bananas. I swear the child would eat 24/7 if I let her, and sadly can't tell. She's as thin as a rail. How unfair is that? I eat one calorie over 1200 and you can tell. Oh to have the metabolism of a child. It would be wonderful!

Speaking of food, I have been selected to bring macaroni and cheese to Thanksgiving Dinner. My Pyrex dish busted a few months back, and since I don't cook enough to buy another one...I'm having to make a Crock Pot Mac & Cheese. I've never done this before. I make a mean Mac & Cheese Pie, but have never made a Crock Pot Mac & Cheese. It has to taste good, because everyone will be eating it, as it is a favorite dish in my family. If I screw it up, I may not get invited to Thanksgiving next year. That would be horrifying. So, does anyone have any suggestions or recipe ideas for a Crock Pot Mac & Cheese?

Tomorrow, for Wordless Wednesday I'll be giving a sneak peek of my Christmas layout for the blog. Just to get your opinions and see if you like :) So make sure you come back!

Have a happy Tuesday!!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

It's the Monday Before Thanksgiving...

You wouldn't believe the amazing deals we got this weekend while Christmas shopping. It wasn't even Black Friday (which I don't EVER do). First of all Kohls was having AMAZING sales, including a Croft&Barrow fleece, 3/4 zip pull over for Men. It was on sale for 12.98, and I had a 10 dollar off card that I had gotten in the mail from Kohls. So, I only paid 2.98 for that pull over. It's original price was 36.00. To top that off, we went to The Childrens Place at the mall to look for Bree a Christmas outfit. We weren't really expecting to buy anything, but when we saw THE outfit was on sale PLUS an additional 30 percent off PLUS another 15 percent off, we had to get it! We ended up paying 5 dollars for each of the pieces of the outfit which inludes: a red polka dot skirt, a cream turtle neck onsie, and a red cardigan. That's right, 15 dollars for all of that. You can't even do that at an outlet store. Believe me, I know. I was at The Children's Place outlet last weekend.

Yesterday, it was pretty cold with a cold rain too. I was supposed to have 2 photog sessions, but of course had to push it to next week because of the rain. That only means that I won't be able to get my new shoes before Thanksgiving. That's okay though. I'm excited about Thanksgiving, and putting up the Christmas Tree on Friday. I am already contemplating what Christmas movie I'll watch first. It's a tie between Christmas Vacation and The Santa Clause. Both are my favorite Christmas movies! I'll admit that I've already started listening to Christmas music, only because 2 out of the 4 radio stations I listen to frequently, began playing Christmas music a couple of weeks ago. When there is nothing that I want to hear on the other 2 radio stations, then I have to listen to Christmas music. Bree's favorite Christmas song thus far is "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer".

It was altogether, a pretty great weekend. How was yours?

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Friday, November 20, 2009

I've Found IT!

I have been stressing over the past couple of weeks of what to get Bree for Christmas. She's such a persnickety little child. One might would think that she would get great enjoyment out of a play kitchen, or something like that. Well, I have this thing called intuition, and it kicks in when I'm searching for something to buy. Whether it be new shoes, or a shirt for a certain occasion, I won't buy it unless I know that that's IT. I'm the same way when I buy Bree toys. I've got to know without a shadow of a doubt that Bree is going to play with this toy until all of the stickers are peeling off of it. Bree goes crazy every time the commercial for the Dancing Dora doll comes on television, but I honestly can't justify spending that much money on something that sings and moves up and down. Bree would be bored with that thing in 3 seconds flat.

So, we spent our Friday night at Wal-Mart. We just walked around looking at different stuff, just to help pass time by. For some reason the Hubs suggested we go to the toy section, knowing good and well that Bree has a conniption every time we enter the toy aisle. She immediately wants everything that she can get her hands on, and if I don't hand it all to her, she begins to scream like someone has just stabbed her in the gut. Anyway, we were browsing the toy aisle, looking at all of the Dora dolls and Kai Lan dolls when I saw IT.
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It's a Smart Baby play set complete with stroller, play pen and changing pads...and best of all, it is only 50 bucks. The same amount of that stupid Dancing Dora doll. I could see Bree pushing the little stroller around the house with the baby in it, and then tucking it in to go "nigh nigh" as Bree says it. It was perfect!

We didn't accomplish much tonight, but we did finally find the thing to get Bree for Christmas. That makes me happy :)

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Excuses, excuses...

I am waaaaaaay behind on reading blogs, and catching up with you, my beautiful bloggy friends. I really am sorry, but I do have a good reason for being so lazy slack. You may not want to hear my excuses, but I'm going to tell you them anyway. This entire week I have been working on a Christmas layout for Apple Juice and Milk. I plan on changing everything on Thanksgiving, and I want it to be super cute! So far I think it is, and you may get a sneek peek next week sometime. My other reason is that somehow, our morning routine has changed. I am getting up earlier, working out, and then Bree and I have breakfast. You would think that getting up earlier would allow me more time to read all of my blogs, right? Well, not exactly. Bree eats her bananas, watches an episode of Go Diego, Go! and then she's ready for a bath. During her bath time, I try to speed clean her bedroom, and my bedroom and get laundry started all before she's bored with the tub. By the time Bree gets out of the bath, and has had her hair dried, the Hubs is home for lunch. I can't very well get on the computer while he's home for lunch, or he'll think that's all I do with my day. I generally try to look busy while he's home. When he leaves to go back to work, then it's time for Bree to eat lunch and then,'s nap time! I generally take advantage of nap time, and catch up on my blogs but the past two weeks I have had to do other things during that time.

So, there ya go. There is one big long excuse of why I haven't been up to date with everyone's blogs.

Back at the beginning part of the week, I did get a blog award! Yay! Go me! I have gotten this award before, but I had forgotten to post it over there on my award wall. Anyway, the Unexperienced Mom gave this to me, so thank you very, very much! It'll go nicely with the others! Now, like most awards, you have to pass it on to other bloggers. I've decided that I have so many favorite bloggers, that I am going to give this to everyone reading this blog. So, if you're reading this post right now, then go ahead and save that blogger award to your desktop and share it on your blog, because it's yours! Congratulations!
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On another note, I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is next Thursday. It seems like November was a lot shorter this year, and normally I wouldn't mind. This year I care. My brother leaves for bootcamp on January 11th, so, you can imagine that I would appreciate it if these days would slow down a bit. I don't want him to join the Marines, but he's already been sworn in. So, there's no going back now. What do you get someone for Christmas who is leaving for the Military? I think the Hubs and I have decided on getting him and his girlfriend a gift certificate to a pretty high class restaurant & some movie tickets. Somewhat of a "goodbye" present for him so the he can spend it with his girl.

I have 2 photography sessions this weekend, both on Sunday, if the weather permits. It is supposed to be cold and rainy on Sunday. I hope not...I was hoping to treat myself to a new pair of shoes with that money and then put the rest back for Christmas. Yes, I know, I just bought new shoes. Turns out, not having a wide width size, makes a difference. The stupid shoes just waited until I had, had them for 3 weeks before they started KILLING and I mean KILLING my feet.

Anyway...I hope you all have a great weekend & I'll see you back here on Monday!

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Try This! Thursday - Thanksgiving Place Card Holders

Since Thanksgiving is next Thursday, I thought this would be the perfect craft for you and your kids to do! If you have a lot of family coming over for Thanksgiving, this will make seating arrangements easy and won't leave anyone guessing where they need to sit. Besides, these are super cute and add a little spunk to your Thanksgiving Day!

Thanksgiving Place Card Holders

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- Heavyweight letter-sized or card stock paper
- Pencils
- Safety Scissors
- Colored Markers
- Glitter glue pens (red, green, or gold) opitional
- Crayons

Step One:
Pass out paper and a pencil to each child. Have them place one hand down on the page with their fingers spread widely apart. Show them how to slowly outline the shape of their spread hand, tracing between each finger. Tracing should begin and end just below the wrist joint. This extra piece will be the stand. Keep repeating this step until you have as many name cards as you will need.

To ensure a sturdy card, use the heaviest stock paper you can find. It should be thin enough to cut with safety scissors, but rigid enough to stand on its own when folded.

Step Two:
Make a medium-sized rectangle in the center of the body (or palm); this is where the name will be written. Outline the box in black marker, or with one of the glitter glue pens.

If using the glitter glue pens, allow the glitter to dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step Three:
Pass out the crayons and markers and let kids color in the feathers (or fingers) of the turkey and its head (or thumb), being sure to add the eyes. Encourage kids to color around the outlined name box as they color in the body. The final step will be adding legs to the bottom of the body.

Step Four:
When all the cards are colored, cut them out. You can do them all yourself, or have your kids help you.

Once all the cards are cut out, begin filling in the guests' names. Let kids help out, or at least allow them write their name on their card.

Step Five:
To make the cards stand up, fold the excess paper under and towards the back of the name card (the fold should begin at the feet of the turkey).

A variation is to make a quarter-inch cut on either side of the excess paper at the bottom of the name card and fold it into a "v" to serve as a stand.

To find more crafts like this one, click here
Craft Directions, and picture found here

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

20 FREE 4x8 Photo Greeting Cards...

This was too great of a deal to NOT share!! Right now at CVS Online, you can get 20 FREE 4x8 photo greeting cards. All you have to do is log onto CVS Photo Online, upload your picture(s) for the greeting card, and then pick which card you want. They have lots of really cute greeting cards! When you're all done with your card, you have to add 60 cards to your shopping cart, type in PROMO CODE: 20FREECARDS, and finish checking out. It's pretty easy, and I can't wait to show you all our Christmas card!!

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Wordless Wednesday: A Sneak Peek at "Try This! Thursday"

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"MINE!!! MINE!!!!!!!! MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Image and video hosting by TinyPicBree, as of late, has reminded me of the seagulls on Finding Nemo. You know, the ones that constantly squawk, "Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine..." I didn't think that I would have to know how to deal with a child who wouldn't share, or who thought that everything belonged to her. Kai Lan talks about "sharing" all of the time. Surely Bree would understand. Surely Bree wouldn't be THAT mean kid. Well, I was wrong and now I look like the World's biggest idiot. Buy a me t-shirt and coffee mug, because I deserve the title.

I thought that since Bree was an only child (and I'm a stay-at-home-Mom), she wouldn't really be around other kids enough to be jerking toys out of their hands, and screaming "Mine!" This past Sunday, the Hubs and I had nursery duty at church. We realized pretty quickly that Bree was going to be trouble. She was a bully and just straight up mean to the other kids in the nursery. She would not let the other kids play with any of the toys in the room. Even if there was no possible way that she could play with all of the toys at one time, if any of the kids in the room even looked at a toy, Bree was screaming, "Mine!" and jerking the toy out of sight from them. I couldn't get Bree to listen to me, or reason with me. There was no, "Bree, why don't you play with this toy while they play with that one.", because she wouldn't hear of it. As far as she was concerned, every single toy in that nursery was hers and no one else's. She eventually got so bad, that the Hubs took her into another room.

And then...last night I picked Bree's Doodle Board up off of the floor and began drawing on it. She wasn't playing with it, nor was she anywhere near it. It was just lying there on the floor, being unused. As soon as Bree saw me pick it up, she started screaming, "Mine! Mine! Mine!" and when I told her that she had to share and that I wasn't going to give it to her...she screamed some more. She even threw a pillow at me. My 2 year old, sweet baby girl, was having a mental breakdown over a Doodle Board that she wasn't even using! She was screaming, and crying, and running to her room to slam the door, and then coming back out only to scream and cry some more. I couldn't reason with her. She was too upset to listen. So, I ignored her, and let her calm down. When I thought that she was calm enough, I asked her if she wanted to sit beside me and draw with me. Of course, she liked that idea. She hopped up on the couch beside me, and I then handed her the entire Doodle Board.

The point is, we have a real issue. It cannot be healthy for Bree to be this possessive over things. I realize that this is all normal, two year old behavior, but there has to be a way to tone it down. I mean, she resorts to violence if she isn't getting her away. In the nursery, she would push or shove. Last night, she threw a pillow at me. What in the world is wrong with me child? Any advice that you guys can give, please, by all means...give...

I'm desperate.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Lord Help Me.

I was hanging up some of my new clothes that I got at the outlets this past weekend in my closet, when Bree joined me. On the floor of the closet is a Clemson football poster with a list of the 2009 schedule. I wasn't really paying attention to what Bree was saying at first, because half of the time I can't understand the words coming out of her mouth. But then she kept repeating it with "Mommy!" added in to catch my attention. I finally looked at her and said, "What baby?"

"Football! Go Tigers!" she said pointing at the Clemson poster.

I nearly hit the floor. How did my two year old learn how to identify a football, a football player, and what team to cheer for? I was glad that Paul was home for lunch or he would have never believed me. I called him into the closet quickly, and got Bree to repeat what she had just said. Paul laughed. I couldn't tell if he was laughing at me or Bree. We had just had the conversation about how I couldn't wait until football was over. It begins to get on my nerves after a while. It completely consumes my weekends. Now, my two year old daughter knows and likes football.

Lord help me.

She never ceases to amaze me. Everyday it seems she has added 50 more words to her vocabulary, and the rest of the words that she was already saying are improving and are in the middle of her sentences. The sentence that she says often, that makes me laugh the most is, "I want to eat!". She doesn't say it sweetly, or kindly. She says it like she's been on a deserted island for 40 days, ravenous and starving. I wish you could hear it.

I couldn't imagine my life without this kid. She keeps me laughing, even when I don't much feel like it.

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It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next Thursday. I just can't fathom that. It seems like yesterday I was laying on the beach in my brown polka dot bathing suit, getting my tan on.'s Thanksgiving? Seriously?!

I have mixed feelings about the Holidays this year. This Thanksgiving & Christmas will be my brother's last ones before leaving for Boot Camp on January 11th, and then who knows if he'll be home for Christmas while he's in the Marines. It makes me sad to think about it, and I really do wish time would stop going so quickly. I've never been without my brother for such a long period of time, and quiet frankly, I'll miss him so much. That's why we have to make the upcoming Holidays, special ones.

We went outlet shopping this past weekend. Just the Hubs and I. It was nice, and we got some Christmas shopping done. I bought more stuff for myself though, because it was partly a trip for my birthday too. I wish that these outlet centers still had toy outlets, I bet I could have gotten a lot of Bree's Christmas shopping done. My In-Laws are hard to buy for. Why? Because they're conceited. They want you to spend a lot of money on them. They care if you don't get them anything, because you can't afford it or because you wanted to spend more on your own child. It is really rather irritating. Last year we got Paul's Mom a 20 giftcard to Starbucks because she loves that place, and she was pissed because that's all we got her. Since when do you get mad because of a present someone gave you? My Parents got pajamas for Christmas last year, and they were happy. That's when I hate Christmas, because people forget it's true meaning and make it all about the presents.

Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I have to spend the day cleaning and picking up all of the clutter that accumulated over the weekend.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Ramblings...

I can't believe it is already Friday. This week did fly by, but I'm sure it had something to do with the Hubs having a day and a half off of work at the beginning of this week. He took Monday afternoon off, and then Tuesday for my birthday. By Wednesday, he was ready to go back to work. He said he now understood how people got "cabin fever". I don't know what he thought goes on around here during the day, but I assured him that we don't have parties or anything exciting. Bree and I generally repeat the same day over and over again, sticking to the same routine: Breakfast, bath, laundry, clean house, lunch, nap, me-time, Hubby comes home, supper, and then about four hours of the night is designated to randomness. We never know what is going to happen at night. So, I think he was less jealous of my ability to being a stay-at-home Mom.

My birthday kind of sucked, although there was a couple of hours during the day Tuesday when the Hubs and I got to have a day date. It wasn't much of a day date though. We went to eat lunch, and then picked Bree up because the Mother In Law had to be at work. Anyway, my Mom was sick, my Dad had an emergency deacons meeting at church, Paul's Dad was broke, and well...the MIL was working. So there was nothing to do Tuesday night. There was no one to take me out to eat, or for me to spend quality time with, besides of course, the Hubs and Bree. Which was fine, of course. On top of all of this, Tropical Storm Ida was dropping her remnants on us, and it literally looked like a monsoon was going on outside. It was raining harder than I had seen it rain in a while, on top of the fact that it now gets dark around 5:30. So driving around trying to find something to do Tuesday night for the sake of not sitting at home, just didn't feel worth it to me. I kind of flipped a little, and had a pity party. I got over it though, and just accepted the fact that my Birthday doesn't mean the same as every one else's. I mean, the whole entire world stops when it is other people's birthdays, but then mine rolls around...and "Samantha who?". Birthdays are over rated.

But finally, it's Friday and the Hubs and I are heading to Commerce, Georgia tomorrow to do our Christmas shopping!! We decided that we wanted to get our Christmas shopping finished before Thanksgiving this year. The past couple of years we were running around a couple of days before Christmas trying to shop, and well, we all know how that goes. I hope that we are able to get everyone's Christmas tomorrow, and we won't have to worry about anyone else but ourselves until Christmas. I am at a loss as to what to get Bree. She does want that dancing Dora doll, but my problem with it is that it cost 50 dollars and all it does is spin around and sing. No thank you. The Hubs wants a PS3, but we have a Wii. I could sell the Wii and then get him the PS3, but how would I do that without him knowing? I guess I'll figure that one out.

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday!

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Try This! Thursday - Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and you may be planning your Thanksgiving menu. If you haven't exactly gotten it all down, Southern Living has wonderful menu suggestion ideas for everything from the main course, to sides, to desserts! So, make sure you check that out if you are in a little bit of rut. If it is a dessert you are looking for, I found the perfect recipe that is perfect for children and adults! Try This!

Sweet Potato-Pecan Cupcakes

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Prep: 15 min., Bake: 40 min., Cool: 1 hr.
Yield: Makes 2 dozen

-1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
-2 cups sugar
-1 cup butter, softened
-4 large eggs
-1 (16-oz.) can mashed sweet potatoes
-2/3 cup orange juice
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-Cream Cheese Frosting
-Garnish: coarsely chopped pecans

1. Place pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan.
2. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring once after 4 minutes.
3. Beat sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
4. Whisk together mashed sweet potatoes, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sweet potato mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Fold in toasted pecans. Place foil baking cups in muffin pans, and coat with vegetable cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full.
5. Bake at 350° for 28 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove immediately from pans, and cool 50 minutes to 1 hour or until completely cool. Spread cupcakes evenly with Cream Cheese Frosting. Garnish, if desired.

Picture and Recipe found here

Make sure you tune in for every Try This! Thursday beginning on Thanksgiving for the countdown to Christmas! I'll be featuring crafts, DIY decorations, and delicious holiday recipes!
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: A Moment of Silence for our Veterans

Veterans, Veterans Day, MySpace Commemts Pictures, Images and Photos
"Thank You" is hardly a strong enough set of words to describe the gratitude that I feel for Veterans & those currently serving. You have fought for freedom, safety & protection, and have sacrificed your lives for people that you will never meet. To my brother, a Marine, and for my friends who are serving or will be serving soon-I pray God will protect you & bless you while you embark on the adventure of your life.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So...It's My Birthday :)'s my birthday. Today, I am 22 years old, although, I do feel much older than that (physically). This was the first year I didn't make a big deal out of my birthday. I didn't really care if people forgot or not, whenever I try to plan something for my own birthday, something bad always happens. So, I didn't plan a thing, and if people forget....well, I'll make sure to "forget" their birthday too. Totally kidding.

I'm not officially 22 years old until eight o'clock tonight. I've heard the story several times about the night I was born. My Grandmother was banned from my Mom's room, by my Mom, until I was born. You had to know my Grandmother to understand this move by my Mom. My Grandmother kept coming in the room, at the most crucial moments, asking how my Mom was and what she was doing and if I was here yet. To understand this to it's fullest extent, you would have to understand how my Grandmother asked questions. Anyway, it's hard to believe I am now only a year younger, than my Parents were when I was born. Guess that should make my Parents feel pretty old, but they really aren't.

Anyway, here's a picture of me when I was Bree's age. And yes, this is a picture of a picture, because the scanner is being stupid.
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Monday, November 09, 2009

Hello Monday...

The weekend went by relatively fast I thought. We didn't do much this weekend, except watch football. Against my will. If the Hubs wasn't watching a football game, then he was watching a football movie. I felt like throwing a football through the television. Don't get me wrong, I love football. I love watching my Clemson Tigers play (which we won Saturday night, beating Florida State 40 to 24!), but I do not love watching other random football teams play football. I thought that by Sunday, I would be free from football since neither one of us really like NFL football....but nope. He even watched NFL football, claiming that there was nothing else on the television. Give me the remote. I'll find something.

So, I can't exactly say that my last weekend as a 21 year old went out with the bang. It actually ended like a person who was about to turn 93. I had a headache, stuffy nose, and was laid out on the couch for most of Sunday night. Seriously, I know more women in their 80's who have more active lives than I do on the weekend. It was a good weekend though, and I got to spend it with my family.

Over the weekend, I did get an award from Elizabeth at Confessions of a Working Mom.
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Like every award I have ever gotten, I am eternally grateful!! So thank you Elizabeth! Now, like most awards, there are a set of rules and they are as follows:
* Display the award logo.
* Nominate up to 9 blogs that make you feel comfy or warm inside.
* Link to your nominees.
* Let them know they have been nominated by commenting.
* Link to the person from whom you receieved the award.

So...without further ado, here are my nominees for the Heartfelt Blogger Award:
- Megan of Infertile Myrtle
- Neva of Mostly Flummoxed
- Muthering Heights
- Brandy of You Don't Know

I swear, I could have listed all of you, but I don't have that much time on my hands. So, if you are new to this blog or come all of the time, but haven't checked out any of my awesome followers...then look over to your right and check out my friends! They are all awesome!

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

So...I've Been Tagged :)

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So, I've been tagged! Theta Mom tagged me, and I thought it would be fun to continue the process! As part of the "tagging" process, Theta Mom has asked that I write 5 experiences that have helped shape me into a Theta Mom(a true, authentic Mom), and then tag some other, really AWESOME theta moms! So, without further ado, here are 5 experiences that have molded and shaped me into a Theta Mom.

1. The way in which I got pregnant (before I was married, and at 19 years old), not many people thought that I would be able to be a Mother, because I was "too young and inexperienced". Well, if anyone actually knew me, they would know to not tell me that I can't do something, because that gives me even more of a reason to do it, and do it good! I have surprised everyone who ever knew me with how I have handled being a Mother. I am a good Mama with patience I never thought I would have. How much experience do you have to have before you can be a good mother?

2. Bree got her first cold when she was about two months old, so I pulled out my baby book to see what I should do. I was surprised that I had already done all of the things the baby book suggested. Humidifier, propped head, etc... However, my Mother In Law wasn't satisfied with the fact that I knew what I was doing and that I had a pretty good maternal instinct. She swore that I needed to call the doctor, and wasn't going to leave me alone until I did. To get her to shut up, I called the Doctor, and he told me everything I told her. Without a fever, they wouldn't see Bree, but do this, this and this...and she should begin to get well soon. And...she did. I was proud of how accurate my Maternal Instincts were, and even more so proud that I could successfully care for my baby without the help of a doctor, or a baby book, or a stinkin' Mother in Law.

3. Unlike a lot of first time Moms, I never wanted to just stay at home all day long with my baby. In fact, since Bree was born, we would do a lot of going. I did most of this going, by myself, while the hubby was at work. You wouldn't believe the muscles in my arms from lifting the car seat in and out of my 2 door Honda Civic. I think it was important for both me and Bree to get out. Even if it was just to walk around a store, we were still getting out.

4. Bree was a late "walker". She was 16 months old before she actually walked, but I knew all along she could...she just didn't see the need in it. While the Mother In Law (again) swore up and down that something was wrong with her...I knew that you couldn't force a baby/toddler to do anything. They do things on their own timing. While the Mother-In-Law had me taking Bree to a chiropractor to make sure she was developing correctly (which I knew she was), I waited...patiently. And sure enough, one day she got up and just started walking. Perfectly. As though she had been walking all along. Again, my maternal instincts were right, and I knew then that I had to wait on Bree to do things when she was ready.

5. I won't say that I am a perfect Mommy, but I do try hard. Being a Mommy requires more patience than I could have ever imagined having. Sometimes I think about how easy my life would be without a kid, but then I can't imagine my life without Bree. She means the world to me, and for the first time in my life, I know what it is like to love someone unconditionally, just as God loves His children unconditionally. Being a Mommy is one of the most rewarding experiences that anyone could ever imagine having, because at the end of the day, no matter what has happened in the midst of a chaotic day, I know that Bree will love me no matter what; and she knows that I will love her no matter what she does. It's all about love.

So, now that I have shared with you just 5 of the many experiences I have had, that have helped shape me into a theta mom, I ask you to grab this tag and share with me and your readers, your experiences. Make sure you tag others as well, and let's get this train moving!

Becky of In The Trenches
Mrs. M of I've Changed My Name to Mommy
The Crazy Baby Mama
Helene of I'm Living Proof That God Has a Sense of Humor
Chell of Nicely Composed
Our B Life
Jenny of Our Nifty Notebook

I hope you all have a FABULOUS Sunday, and I'll see you back here tomorrow!

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

P.M.S - Piss Me off Syndrome

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThis entire week I have been suffering from PMS. Although I have been more irritable lately, I have also been extremely bloated. The bloated issues make me crazy. I feel fat, and like I could pop at any second. This is not a good feeling. My hands swell, and of course my tummy, the one thing I have worked so hard at making look thin, looks fat. I exercised every day last week to try and keep the bloating down but with no avail.

I don't normally write about this stuff, but at the moment, I'm a little fed up with it all. I can't take Midol, or any other "non-bloating" medication, because it makes my heart race and gets me all jittery. At the moment, I think I'd rather be having those side effects rather than the bloating. It's not like they show in the commercials, where you can get your pants to button, it's just this annoying, internal feeling of bloat. It doesn't matter what type of clothing I put on, I still feel like I look fat in it, because I feel like I am about to blow up!

So, when I don't feel right in my own skin...I tend to get a little grouchy. That's why I have deemed P.M.S to stand for Piss-Me-Off-Syndrome instead of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome. Just add an "O" between the M and S

Oh, and yes, I have been drinking lots of water (because that's all I do drink)...and still it makes no difference.

Thank you for bearing with me as I vent about my bloating. Feel free to join in, maybe it'll make me feel better :)

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Friday, November 06, 2009

A Re-Cap...

I took Bree to the doctor on Wednesday for her 2 year old check up. They told me to be there at 1:45, but my appointment wasn't until 2:00. The nurse said that I should be there 15 minutes early, so that they can get things started (as far as measuring height, weight, etc.). So, I was there at 1:45. I sat in the stupid waiting room until 2:05. Now, tell me, what is the point in telling someone to be there 15 minutes early, if you're just going to make them wait longer than if they had just showed up at their appointment time. Had I gotten there at 2, I would have only had to wait 5 minutes. Instead, I'm sitting there for 20 minutes.

Anyway... we finally get called back. After weighing and measuring Bree (27 pounds, 36 inches), it was time for Bree to have her finger pricked to make sure her blood count and all was normal. I had to hold out her little arm while the nurse stuck the little finger pricker into Bree's pointer finger. Bree didn't cry, or anything like that, but she definitely gave the nurse a "go-to-hell" look as the nurse continued to squeeze Bree's blood into a vile.

Finally the Doc arrives. He sat in his little chair across the room, and told me a bunch of crap I already knew. I asked him about Bree back tracking on potty training, he gave me a solution. He listened to Bree's heart beat, looked in her ears, made sure her legs were growing right, and then...that was it. He left. We were done. I dressed Bree, and we got the heck outta there!

That doctor's visit cost me one hundred and twenty three dollars. That's right. One hundred and twenty three dollars for the doctor to tell me a bunch of stuff I already knew, peek inside Bree's ears, and listen to her heart beat. Then I noticed that they charged 20.00 for the finger prick (just the finger prick), and 20.00 for the test. So 40.00 to stick a needle in Bree's finger, draw some blood, and run it through a machine for two seconds. How do they get away with charging that much?

I guess I can't complain much, because I do have a healthy, 2 year old, baby girl. What more could a Mommy ask for?

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I am going to enjoy my last few days as a 21 year old. I turn 22 on Tuesday. Eeek!

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Try This! Thursday - The Ultimate Cookie

For this edition of Try This! Thursday, I'm going back to a classic. Every man, woman, and child LOVES a good ol' fashioned chocolate chip cookie with a big glass of milk. This recipe takes a classic cookie, like a chocolate chip cookie, and adds additional yummy-ness. Try This!

The Ultimate Cookie

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Prep: 30 min., Bake: 14 min. per batch

Yield: Makes about 5 dozen

-3/4 cup butter, softened
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
-2 large eggs
-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-3/4 teaspoon salt
-1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels

-Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended.
-Combine flour, soda, and salt in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in morsels. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.
-Bake at 350° for 8 to 14 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Types of Cookies to Use
-Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies: Decrease salt to 1/2 teaspoon. Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter with butter and sugars. Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons. Proceed as directed. (Dough will look a little moist.)
-Oatmeal-Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies: Reduce flour to 2 cups. Add 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats to dry ingredients and 1 cup raisins with morsels. Proceed as directed.
-Pecan-Chocolate Chip Cookies: Add 1 1/2 cups chopped, toasted pecans with morsels. Proceed as directed.
-Almond-Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies: Reduce morsels to 1 cup. Add 1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds and 1 cup almond toffee bits. Proceed as directed. Note: For testing purposes only, we used Hershey's Heath Bits O'Brickle Almond Toffee Bits.
-Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies: Substitute 1 (12-ounce) package dark chocolate morsels for semisweet chocolate morsels. Proceed as directed. Note: For testing purposes only, we used Hershey's Special Dark Chips.
-Chunky Cherry-Double Chip Cookies: Microwave 1 tablespoon water and 1/2 cup dried cherries in a glass bowl at HIGH 30 seconds, stirring once. Let stand 10 minutes. Substitute 1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chunks for morsels. Add 1 cup white chocolate morsels, 1/3 cup slivered toasted almonds, and cherries with chocolate chunks. Proceed as directed.
-Coconut-Macadamia Chunk Cookies: Substitute 1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chunks for morsels. Add 1 cup white chocolate morsels, 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, and 1/2 cup macadamia nuts with chocolate chunks. Proceed as directed.

Recipe and picture found here

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Customary Toddler Habits

Upon observing toddler habits, I have found that it is customary for a toddler to stand 2 centimeters from the television screen to watch t.v. I also found that they are quiet fond of lifting their shirt & rubbing their belly while watching television.

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Note: These pictures were taken with my cellphone, hence the bad quality.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

No Sir, Not Me...

Not much going on in our little world so far this week. I finally got around to scheduling Bree's 2 year old check up appointment for tomorrow. I had been so hesitant at taking her to the doctor's office, because everyone was getting so sick (or so the media would have us to believe). I'm not sure if she is supposed to get any vaccinations tomorrow, but I'm sure the doc will try and push the Flu & H1N1 vaccinations on me. Let me make this clear...she WILL NOT be getting the Flu shot or H1N1 shot. Last year she got HALF of a Flu shot, and got so sick...that I didn't take her back a month later to get the other half. She was sick for nearly 2 weeks after that stupid shot, and I swore she'd never get another one. I don't know why they are pushing this stuff on us so much. I have NEVER had a Flu shot, and I have NEVER had the flu. Coincidence? I think not, because the Hubs is the same way. Neither of us have ever had the Flu shot, and neither of us have ever had the Flu. I won't be submitting Bree to these ridiculous vaccinations.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for vaccinations. Had my brother had the Bacterial Meningitis vaccine, he wouldn't have nearly died from the disease a few years back. I am a firm believer in getting those types of vaccinations, but I just don't completely agree with the concept of the Flu/H1N1 vaccination. Bree has never gotten sick from any of the other vaccinations. She may have gotten cranky, or a little irritable...but never sick like she did after the Flu shot last December.

Okay, I'm through venting. I promise.

I'll let you know how the doc's office goes tomorrow. I plan on asking for some advice about her potty training back tracking, amongst a few other questions I have.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Snicker Bars, Reese Cups, M&Ms, OH MY!

Well, Halloween has come and gone, but the candy is still around to show it's existence. Bree did better on candy amounts than I ever did when I was kid. Of course, we only went to our relatives house, and she was loaded down with lots, and lots, and lots of GOOD candy. The advantage of only visiting relatives on Halloween, is that you know you're not going to get that cheap, nasty candy that was only sale for 50 cent a piece. The disadvantage is knowing that Bree has all sorts of awesome candy, including my favorite, Reese Cups...and I am terribly tempted. I can hear the little pumpkin bucket calling me name, and the Snicker Bars, Reese Cups & M&Ms are all saying "Eat Me" in unison. I put the bucket on top of the refrigerator. "Out of sight out of mind" as the old saying goes, and I'm short, so this works pretty well.

We had fun "Trick or Treating" though. The Hubs and I decided it was like Christmas to Bree. She was happy sitting in her car seat, with her bucket full of candy, eating all the sugar she could & she was completely happy. It wasn't until Sunday morning when we realized how much she really had eaten. When we got in the car to go to church, the entire back seat was full of empty candy wrappers. Which would explain the horrible poop she had later on Sunday afternoon.

Below are some pictures from Halloween:
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Yesterday afternoon I was scheduled to do a "One Year Anniversary" couples photo shoot for an old friend of mine. I was pretty excited, because let's face it, I absolutely LOVE taking pictures. She wanted them done at her house which is on a beautiful set of land. The leaves were absolutely beautiful, and I think the pictures turned out GREAT! Have a look:
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It was a pretty good weekend, and I am glad I was also able to keep the house clean over the course of the weekend. There's not much house work that has to be done, except for the usual grocery shopping. How did everyone else's Halloween go?

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