Sunday, November 30, 2008

25 Days til Christmas

Tonight we decorated our Christmas Tree.

Everyone was looking forward to it all day long. I lost count of how many times they asked me if it was time to decorate the tree.

One of our Christmas traditions is for each of the kids to pick out a new ornament every year. That means 3 to 6 new ornaments (the grandparents have gotten involved, so it is more than one ornament a year!). But, all three of the kids have great ornament collections, and wonderful memories to take with them, some day.

The Christmas Tree is getting pretty full. Every ornament on this tree belongs to the kids. I think we may be in the market for a larger one at the after Christmas clearance sales this year.

This year Caley has added two new Tinkerbell ornaments to her collection. She loves Tinkerbell!
Caitlyn got Minnie Mouse and Sleeping Beauty ornaments. Two of her current favorites.

CJ got a Mickey Mouse baseball ornament. A great tribute to his first Little League season.

It was a fun night and it went surprisingly well!

(The picture is a little blurry, I was not using a flash)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

26 Days til Christmas

Tonight we started off the Christmas season by watching "The Polar Express." This is not a new movie, in fact I saw it in the movie theatre with CJ on his first-ever-school field trip, way back in Kindergarten. Ahhh... the memories. Where has the time gone?

Anyway, "The Polar Express" is about a boy, about 9 or 10 years old, who is starting to question whether or not Santa Claus is real. It is Christmas Eve and he is laying awake in his bed waiting to hear Santa's sleigh. Instead, he hears a train come through his yard. He gets on the train and travels to the North Pole with a bunch of other kids. All of the kids have their own reasons for being on the train. Once they get to the North Pole, the boy is chosen by Santa to receive the first gift of Christmas. He chooses a bell that fell off of Santa's Sleigh. The ringing of the bell can only be heard by people who believe in Santa.

I just love the message of this movie. I know that CJ has struggled with believing in Santa for the last couple of years. Many of the kids in his class have told him that there is no Santa Claus. I just keep reassuring him that it is silly to not believe. Those who do not believe do not get a visit from Santa on Christmas Eve! A movie like "The Polar Express" helps to promote the idea of believing in Santa. It helps to give kids and adults a reason to say "why not, why not just believe?" You have nothing to loose by just believing.

I Believe!

Friday, November 28, 2008

So, What's All the Hype?

OK, so today is Black Friday. I decided to participate, on a limited basis. I don't get up at 4:00 am for anything. My Black Friday shopping started at 9:oo am, a much more reasonable hour, if you ask me. I went shopping with my mom, we needed each other for moral support, and there is strength in numbers! Our first stop was Wal*Mart. There were a few items pictured in their ad that I was interested in taking a look at. When we got to the store the crowd was not bad. Wal*Mart's answer to the shopping madness was to put all of their "Door Busters" in cardboard display boxes in and around all of the main aisles. What a mess!!! When we did finally manage to find a few of the items that we were interested in, the quality was poor. So, we ended up with a few DVD's, and a couple of stocking stuffer's.

Our next stop was Toys 'R' Us. The store was packed. There were two lines, each reaching far back in the store that you had to get in just to then, get in a register line. No Thank You!!! We took a quick look around the store, it was such a mess that even if they did have something that we were interested in, we would never have been able to locate it. Total spent at Toys 'R' Us...$0.

Our next stop was a mall that is close to Toys 'R' Us. It was not too busy, but all that I came away with were some clothing items for my girls, from a store that did not even have a Black Friday ad, Children's Place. They do however send me coupons in the mail, so I am a loyal customer.

Finally, we decided to go to my favorite store...Target! Target was busy, but not excessive. They still had lots of items in stock. They actually had everything that I went there for. So, thanks to Target our shopping trip was not a total loss. I came away with two or three items for each of my kids and a few incidentals that I needed. Thank you Target!

My take on Black Friday is is mainly for people who just love to shop in chaos, and are willing to buy anything that they think is a good deal. If you have specific gift ideas in mind, Black Friday may not be for you.

My lesson for next year...get up at 7:30 am, eat a little breakfast and go straight to Target!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Fun!!!

Today was a good day. It started off as it normally does (at least for the past 5 years) with me getting up early to get started on ALL of that Turkey Day cooking. My day started at 8:00 am with lots of bread and vegetables to prep and chop. By 8:30 the girls were up helping me. By 10:00 everyone was awake, and watching the parade. We had our traditional Thanksgiving morning breakfast of Pilsbury Grands Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls (nummmm). I wanted to attempt homemade caramel rolls this year, but I chickened out at the last minute.

After breakfast it was time to make the stuffing and prep the Turkey to go in the oven.

Here are a couple of pictures of the kids getting in on the Turkey stuffing fun......

After all of the food was preped and cooking it was time to clean up and set the table.

Grandma and Grandpa came over at 2:00 pm, and that is when all of the eating got started. We had some veggies, bread cubes and dip to nibble on while the rest of the food was doing it's magic. At 4:00 we all sat down to a great Thanksgiving feast. We had Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, green bean casserole, carrots, cranberry sauce, and rolls. For desert we had pumpkin pie, apple pie, vanilla ice cream, and of course cool whip to go on top. Everything turned out great, and without any glitches. I think I am actually getting the hang of cooking this meal!!!

After dinner and clean up we had time to take a few silly pictures before the kids sat down to watch "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving." While the kids were watching tv, I finally had a chance to take a look at all of those Black Friday ads. I am not much of a fan of Black Friday, but I saw a few good deals on things that I had in mind for Christmas gifts, so I may get up and throw myself into the mayhem in the morning. That remains to be seen.

All in all, it was a good day. I hope it was for all of you as well!

Thursday Thought ~ Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday Thought

Thanksgiving Day is here! There are so many things to be thankful for today. The main thing that I keep thinking about is, all of those who came before us. I am thankful for all of those people who made our country the great place that it is. I am thankful for the vision of William Bradford and the Pilgrim's. I am thankful for our founding father's and the divinely inspired ideals that this country was founded on. Let's not forget them today. Let's take time to think about the great gift that they gave to us. Let's not forget their vision. Let's continue to make this the greatest country on the face of the earth!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Things I do for My Kids

The guys of Pack 220 and Troop 220

Of all the crazy things that I have ever done for my kids, last weekend ranks way at the top of the list. I went camping with CJ's Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop.
Oh, but wait, I forgot to mention that I was the only female on the camping trip. Yep, it was me and 39 men and boys. Oh, and did I mention that it was probably the coldest weekend that we have had in Central Florida since last winter. Friday night, as I laid shivering in my TENT, the temperature dipped to a wonderful 28 degrees.
So, as if being the only woman at a very cold camp out was not enough. Saturday morning we got up to go on a five mile hike on part of the Florida Trail. Now, I was not at all worried about the hike, I was actually kind of looking forward to it. However, all of my hiking and walking experiences have taken place on well traveled trails. The trail that I was about to hike on was not at all well traveled. In fact, many parts of the trail did not look like a trail at all. It was difficult at times to know if we were even on the trail. Needless to say, it was quite an adventure and a great workout. My legs are still feeling it, even 3 days later.

This is what part of the trail looked like

Well, now that all is said and done. I have to say that it was not all that bad to be the only woman on the trip. All of the guys were pretty well behaved. They treated me pretty well, helped me when I needed it, and were pretty nice all the way around. Plus, I think the fact that I made it through what was a challenging weekend for all of us, impressed all of them a little bit. And, even better, I am very proud of myself. I made it through, I did what I had to do, I toughed it out, and I was there for my son. It was a big weekend for both of us. We will have stories to tell for years to come!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday Thought

I saw this idea on another blog (see Our Family Ramblings at, and I thought it was a great idea.

So, I am going to try to do this on Thursdays.

Today, what I keep thinking I am most thankful for is my family.

I know that is an easy one, but we do not always say it as much as we should.

I am thankful for my husband, who works a gazillion hours every month to keep our family going, and makes me laugh with the crazy things that he comes up with.

I am thankful for my son who always keeps me guessing and provides lots of opportunities for me to grow as a mom.

Wait til Monday when I tell you about the growth experience that he is providing for me this weekend!

I am thankful for my two beautiful girls who make my life so much better.

I don't have any sisters, so I feel like these two girls were put in my life to give me plenty of female interaction and companionship.

I can't wait to have lots of 'girls days' with them!!!

That is a lot to be Thankful for, and I know there is so much more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Find Your Voice

This is a list that I found on Glenn Beck's website ( I found it very interesting and full of great things to think about. We are living in uncertain times. I think it is important to take time to consider who we are, what we believe in, and what we want our country to look like for our children. I hope you think so too.....

You are your own voice. Others may be silenced. Who will lead if your guy 'who speaks for you' is gone?

Who are you really? What do you believe? Have you been pushed and challenged? Do you know where you stand? Can you support it with real facts?

Don't ignore your weakness. Make your weakness into your strength.

Make it your focus, work at them. Values don't just 'happen' they are developed. A house divided against cannot stand. Be the same person at home, at work, in public and private.

Too much hate has been planted. Uproot it, pull it out and replace it with goodwill for those of different faiths, political party or viewpoints.

Connect and encourage those who put Constitution and service to God first. Help them wake others.

It will come from places that Americans are encouraged to find it. True joy won't be found in stores, sex or power. You will need to know where your unlimited supply can be found. Look to your family. Look at selfless service. But you have to find if for yourself.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Raingutter Regatta

Last Saturday (Wow, was that already a week ago?) was the annual Pack 220 Raingutter Regatta. Raingutter Regatta, what does that mean? That is what I thought my first year in Scouting. It is a pretty cool event for the kids. We actually have a "track" that is made out of side by side sections of rain gutter. We fill each gutter up with water and the kids race their boats in them. They all buy a little kit that BSA sells to make their very own boat. They decorate it anyway that they want, and then, they all get together to race. The boats are propelled, down the gutter, by each kid gently blowing on the sail of their own boat.
This year CJ decided to decorate his boat like a Greek Pirate Ship. Yep, I did not know exactly what that was either. But, being the history buff that he is, CJ had a picture of one in a "101 facts about Pirates," book that he has. So, a Greek Pirate Ship it was.
The boat looked great, but did not race so well. We thought that maybe it was top heavy because of the extra decoration that he attached to the sail. But, upon closer inspection I noticed that the rudder and keel were attached crooked to the bottom of his boat. So, the lesson for next year's boat is; remember to make sure the rudder and keel are strait when gluing them on to the boat.
The day was not a total loss though. Even though he did not win a medal for racing his boat, CJ did win "Most Realistic Design." That was probably a more important prize to him anyway. He is all about his boat looking like a real boat! ;-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do I Hear Fairy Wings?

Believe it or not, the Tooth Fairy was at our house AGAIN!!! Monday night it was Caitlyn's turn. Is it just me, or do they seem to be switching back and forth with the lost teeth? It must be another one of those mysterious twin connections. Oh, what will they find to fool us with when they get older?
This tooth was a bit of a surprise. I knew it was loose, but I did not realize it was that loose. We were brushing teeth, getting ready for bed, and all of a sudden there was blood in Caitlyn's mouth. Then, I saw a space between two of her bottom teeth. I must have sounded really surprised when I said, "Caitlyn, did you just loose a tooth?" She put her fingers in her mouth, and sure enough, she was holding a tiny little baby tooth.

So, we got out the Tooth Fairy Box, yet again. This time the Tooth Fairy brought a little stuffed horse. Too cute!

Need I say it again? Stay tuned.........

They did it Again!!!

The FIRST place Yankees did it again last night! It was a tough game. They played the Marlins, the only team that they have lost to this season. It ended up to be a real nail bitter. The two teams are pretty evenly matched, but in the end the Yankees came out on top with a final score of Yankees 9, Marlins 8.
CJ was happy to take a walk in his first at bat. A couple of good hits by his teammates got him all the way to 3rd base. But, that would be as close as CJ would get to scoring a run last night. He ended up being the third out of the inning, as he got tagged in the baseline, running for home.
In his next at bat, I could see that he was still nervous about getting hit by the ball. But, he took a couple of good swings. A little more batting practice should help to boost his confidence.
We can't wait to see what will happen next week. Only two games left in the season!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I was tagged today by my friend Kelly. See her blog "Our Family Ramblings." So, the subject of my post today is...

"15 Things that I am Not Afraid to Admit"
  1. I am not a morning person! I am forced to be because I have to get my kids off to school. I love to stay up late, not get up early!
  2. I order Hot Chocolate at Starbucks. I just cannot seem to develop a taste for coffee. I just don't get the attraction.
  3. I would love to have another baby. I don't think it will happen, 3 kids are plenty, but I still think about it! ;-)
  4. I wish I could move back to Minnesota. I miss it all the time. Even the winters.
  5. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the fall colors, Halloween and Thanksgiving. They are my favorite holidays!
  6. "John & Kate Plus Eight" and "Little People Big World" are two of my favorite TV shows. I just love watching the things that go on in their lives.
  7. I listen to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh on the radio. I have been a big fan of both of them for a long time.
  8. I played the flute and piano through high school.
  9. I have a BA in Art, I wish I was using it more. I need more art in my life.
  10. I love to scrapbook. Again, I need more art in my life.
  11. I am getting ready to go back to work as a Substitute Teacher. It scares me a little. I am not sure if I will like it or not.
  12. I like being a Stay-at-Home-Mom. I wish I could find a way to make money from home.
  13. My dream vacation is an Alaskan cruise.
  14. I would like to visit France, regardless of what people say about the French. I am still intrigued by all of the art, the history, and just the city of Paris.
  15. I met my husband working at Disney, and we never had a "real" first date."

Well, that's it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hope some of it was interesting to someone! ;-)

Tag! You are it Melody. See "Melody's Harmony."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yankees 8, Pirates 7

Well, I am a little bit late getting this one posted, but it was just that kind of week. CJ's Little League team pulled out another win last Thursday night. It was a great game. All of the boys played really well, on both teams. They are showing signs of improvement in all areas. The practices seem to be paying off.

Although is was a tough back and forth battle, the Yankees came through in the end and beat the Pirates 8 to 7 (Oopse, sorry to our friends from PA) ;-)

CJ was happy because he got a walk in his second at bat. He is feeling a little uneasy about standing in the batter's box these days. He got hit in the knee at last week's practice. It left a nice BIG bruise on the inside of his leg. It is going to take some time for him to gain a little confidence about batting again, I think!

But, nothing cures an ache like Ice Cream, so after this weeks game we went to Twistee Treat with cousin Devan, Aunt Sarah & Uncle Jay who were visiting from MN. Grandma and Grandpa came with us too.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Another Lost Tooth

We had another visit from the Tooth Fairy this week.

Last Sunday, Caley said "good-bye'" to her infamous "ugly" tooth.

She originally loosened the tooth by hitting it on our ceramic tile, kitchen floor.

She was playing "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," with her brother. They were sliding across the tile floor on pillows, pretending to be the kids in the movie floating across the chocolate river!

So, last Sunday, dad decided it was time for that tooth to go. It had gotten pretty ugly, and we were worried that maybe her gums were getting infected.

After quite a bit of drama, Caley finally held still long enough for Chris to pluck the tooth out.

Thank goodness, it was fine, no infection, and very little blood.

Caley sulked for most of the rest of the day.

It was hard to say "good-bye" to an old friend I guess.

She was all better the next morning, when she found the doll that the Tooth Fairy had left for her!

Stay tuned, we have many more loose teeth!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Scouting for Food

Today was day one of our annual "Scouting for Food," food drive. Scouting for food is the nation's largest single day food drive. This year is the 20th anniversary of this event.

Every November, thousands of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and adult volunteers spend a few hours of their time, on two separate Saturday mornings, to go out and accomplish this task. On the first Saturday, the Scouts hang specially marked bags on thousands of front doors. On the following Saturday, they return to the same neighborhoods to collect the filled bags. Our Pack hung 1.500 bags today. Throughout Central Florida, the scouts in this area distributed over 700, 000 bags today!

The collected food will be immediately sorted, boxed, and donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Last year the Central Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America collected 500,000 pounds of food, in one day!

Why do we do it? In Scouting we teach the boys to do "a good turn daily," "to help other people," and to give back to their community. Scouting for Food is just one example of how our boys accomplish these VERY important scouting principles.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Fun!

Halloween is a day that my kids wait for all year. They start talking about what costume they want to wear, months and months before it gets here. I have to admit, it is partially my doing. I don't like the long hot summers that we have in Florida, so my way of passing the time is to count down to Halloween. I have learned that usually by this time of the year, we get some long-awaited for, cool days and nights.

This year our Halloween traditions started on Thursday night. We got all of the pumpkin carving stuff out and set out to carve our pumpkins. CJ's pumpkin ended up being the "traditional" pumpkin face. Caley picked a "Minnie Mouse" design out of a pumpkin carving kit. Caitlyn choose a "Mickey Mouse" face out of the same kit. I decided to use this cool little tool that was in the kit, and put "Mickey Mouse" cut-outs all over my pumpkin.
Everyone had a fun and messy time with the pumpkins.

Friday afternoon, after school, the kids came home and got right to work putting on their costumes. This year Caley dressed up as "Sharpay" from High School Musical. Caitlyn dressed up as "Jasmine" from Aladdin, and CJ ended up in a "Jack Sparrow" costume. He was originally going to be "Capt. Rex" from Star Wars-the Clone Wars. When he went to put his costume on, he was not comfortable in it. Luckily for both of us, his costume from last year still fit. He did not get to wear it last year, because he was sick on Halloween!

After everyone was all decked out, Grandma and Grandpa came over. We all piled in their van and headed to Downtown Disney. They do a very nice Halloween celebration there. They have "Trick-or-Treating" at about 15 different shops and locations around the Marketplace. They also have a DJ, Jugglers, Magicians, a Storyteller, a place to get pictures taken, and "Mickey" Halloween decorations. It is really fun, and has been a tradition of ours for the last 3 years! Even Grandpa got into the Halloween spirit this year! We got lots of laughs out of his crazy costume! ;-)

And by the end of the night, everyone wanted to try on Grandpa's costume. We had a good ole time drinking hot chocolate and passing that crazy nose and mustache around! It was a good night! WE CAN'T WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!!!