Monday, December 31, 2007

I had to pass this along...

Over at Money Saving Mom, I learned of some fabulous deals. I love that she makes it so simple to save money!! Well, I went to Target today to look at their 75% off Christmas stuff. I picked up travel size Huggies wipes for $.97 and used this coupon. Not only did I get the wipes for free, the coupon ended up taking money off my total bill. Here is how it went down:

Ornament 1.49
Cute Tin box .99
Huggies wipes .97
Huggies wipes .97

Subtotal 4.42
Tax .29
Total 4.71

Coupon -3.00
Out of pocket 1.71

This was my second transaction:

Cute Tin box .99
Huggies wipes .97
Huggies wipes .97

Subtotal 2.93
Tax .19
Total 3.12

Coupon -3.00
Out of pocket .12

I do not use many wipes since we all use the big boy and big girl potty now! (Woo Hoo!!) but I figure they would be great to throw in my purse for clean ups. Free is good:-) Check out the Money Saving Mom....she really does make it easy!

Also...check out her Supermarket Savings 101 book and all of her books here.

2008 is going to be GREAT

My friend Angela and I were both born on the 8th of the month and exactly 6 months apart. We have always said that "Eight is Great!". So I think 2008 is going to be a great year.

I have thought a lot about my resolutions for the year and here is what I have so far:

Financial Goals:
1. I will increase our savings/investments by 10%.
2. I will pay all of my bills when they come in and not procrastinate.

Physical Health:
1. I will lose X amount of weight this year. (I know the number of pounds I would like to lose but I am not willing to share it yet.)
2. I will get our family eating whole foods (raw if possible) for as many meals as possible.

1. I will regularly take care of my hair, eyebrows, nails and toes.
2. I will only buy clothes that will last and not clothes that are on sale. (Although clothes that will last AND on sale would be great!)

Emotional Health:
1. I will forgive my family. Really forgive and move on.
2. I will take more time with my husband. As my friend Lynn pointed out, he really loves me and likes to spend time with me.

1. I will read books that are not related to the field of speech language pathology.
2. I will mentor Kelly during her CFY and take the time to learn something new.

I love New Years resolutions. I think it is a great time to 'regroup' and get a clear plan of attack for the new year. What about you? Do you make resolutions? If so what are they?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Weekend Work

Those of you who know me, know what a small space I am operating in when it comes to our home. Maybe that is why I love our IKEA so much...they specialize in small spaces. Well, in anticipation of Cappy and Aunt Megan's visit, we tried to move some of the bigger toys out to our beautiful screened-in porch (Thanks Tony and Doug!!).

It was such a pretty day has been gorgeous all weekend. I hope it continues so the New Yorkers can enjoy some of Florida winter:-)

I moved the street rug, the car mountain, the train table and the dinosaur outside along with some bigger cat toys...oh yes, the cats we are still looking for good homes...yes, those cats!

We just need a small round table that we could eat breakfast at if we wanted to. Maybe our IKEA gift card from Cappy will go towards that??

It does make the house feel somewhat bigger because we can leave our sliding glass doors open for 10 out of the 12 months:-)

Tomorrow, Tony has to pressure wash, prime and paint the railing leading up to our porch and then we can look at doors to add on. Don't you just love our view? It used to be big beautiful trees until along came CRAZY!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Did you hear?

Congress just approved a new energy law to begin phasing the incandescent light bulb off the US market beginning in 2012. The entire article and FAQ's are here.

For this week's friday challenge update, we will change the remainder of our light bulbs over to CFL bulbs. I hope I notice a difference in my light bill!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Looks like we are truly getting a two for deal!

Stella has decided she would like to marry Thomas. Her first choice was Daddy, but she was so sad that he had gone and married someone else! (Please ignore my sick-man-voice on the video!!)

Phew! Only one wedding!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas 2007

This year was by far our best Christmas yet!

I do wish Papa and Gigi, Grandma Stella and Grandpa Kerry, and Cappy, Diane, Erin and Megan lived next door so we could easily go from house to house.

We did have a nice Christmas eve dinner with Lynn and her boyfriend and his son. The ham was scrumptious! I highly recommend the recipe if you are looking for one! The twins were supposed to sing at church on Christmas eve but Stella spent the day throwing up so we just took it easy and cooked:-)

Once the kids were asleep, Tony and I wrapped the rest of the gifts and Tony brought up the bikes. It really looked good! Bright and early, Thomas ran in our room and said, "Momma! Santa brought did he know?"

All Thomas wants to do is ride his bike. I have to take some video of how fast he can go. He is getting so big!

Stella still wasn't feeling great.

But somehow she managed to open presents, more presents and then some more. (Thomas was too busy sitting on his new bike!)

We drove over to Papa and Gigi's for a delicious dinner. It was so yummy! The twins began to, guess what...yep, open more presents!

Even Nelson got in on the action!

He was just thrilled that his girlfriend Lola came over with Carol, Bill and Grandma Jean. (The dinosaur made it home safe and sound and is still a huge hit!! Thank you!!)

Sometimes when the twins are over, it is too busy for my Grandma Audrey but she really seemed to enjoy all the company.

The kids were asleep by the time we pulled out of their driveway to drive home. The kids spent today checking out their new gifts....tons of princess stuff for Stella and car stuff for Thomas.

It was busy and hectic and we definitely had to keep in mind the true meaning behind the holiday. We did sing 'Happy Birthday' to baby Jesus and talked about why it is a special day. However, the kids could feel why it was special; we were around friends and family...just enjoying each others company!

I want to leave you with my all time favorite Christmas song. Since my wonderful husband will not let me play this for at least 300 more you go!

I hope everyone had a peaceful holiday!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Papa!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Papa!
Happy Birthday to you!

P.S. Thank you for taking us to ride the train today. We had so much fun and can not wait to see you on Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Wish Lists

I do not have much to post about our Friday challenge update. Today was packed from beginning to end and I am pooped!

Tony and I finished up all the Christmas shopping for the kids today. We did not go overboard. My husband gets a gold medal for his amazing garage sale purchase!! So, we did end up buying some things second hand which made me feel better about buying some of the new things we did. We really made an effort to keep the gift giving in perspective.

Last week when I was in the kids classroom, the teacher had a bulletin board with lists of what the kids wanted from Santa. Some of the lists were pretty detailed. I checked out Stella and Thomas' to see if we were on track. They each only asked for one item.

They each have been asking for the same one item for a while. Thomas would like a car (matchbox) and Stella would like a white princess dress. While we did buy them a bit more then what they asked for, I kept thinking of their 'wish lists' all night.

We have been trying to focusing on the giving and not the getting. And I may be kidding myself, but I would like to think that the kids wish lists are so small because they already have everything they want. I know I do!

I hope you get everything on your wish list!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I may lose my mind...

...but I am going to bake three things and give a little variety of the treats away as gifts. I am making:

1. my yummy mint chocolate chip brownies
2. cut outs with the kids
3. magic cookie bars (recipe compliments of my good friend Erin!)


Last minute..

I have picked up a couple of gifts cards for last minute Christmas gifts but there are a couple neighbors that I wanted to give them some more personal.

I was thinking of baking something. Any ideas? What do you give for those types of gifts?

Menu ideas

We are staying in Orlando for the first Christmas Eve this year. Since the twins have been born, we have always spent the night at Papa and Gigi's. The whole family has a huge Christmas Eve party at my Aunt Terry's. We really did not want to miss the party but we also really wanted to wake up in our own home and begin our Christmas traditions as a family.

So, Christmas Eve the kids are singing at a church service and then we are going to have our friend Lynn over with her not-so-new boyfriend (or friend who is a boy) and I am going to cook Christmas Eve dinner. Here is the menu:

1. this ham
2. a variation of these green beans (substitute turkey bacon...shhh...don't tell Tony)
3. honey glazed carrots
4. my yummy cheese and mushroom filled croissants
5. some dee-lish-ious red wine

Lynn is bringing a potato dish so we should have plenty of food. My shopping list will not too bad since we still have some veggies from our Orlando Organics delivery service. What are serving over the holidays?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On a lighter note....

I have doing my share of venting (here and here) and I finally found my camera so I wanted to post some fun pictures and videos.

About a week ago, I was able to get together with my good friend Kimmie and her boys, Vaughan, Matthew and Aiden. We took all five kids (when did THAT happen??) to the playground and then to lunch.

This weekend we watched our neighbor son, TJ. We took the whole crew to the Orlando Science Center. It has a new Daytona 500 event. The kids loved it!

This morning, the kids sang at two church services. Watch this...Stella and Thomas are right up front:

and another:

And finally, tonight we drove around to look at Christmas lights. Tony knew of this one house...

Thomas must have said "Holy Cow" at least 400 times when he saw it.

So fun!

Male PMS

I called my friend to ask if she remembered the date of my awful weekend last month. It was exactly one month ago. "Why?" she asked, "does it have something to do with your cycle?" As if! No, it has to do with my husbands cycle. Once a month, my husband has PMS, or premarital symptoms. It begins with a small attitude; one half rebellious and one half brash. It is "I know you usually keep this house a-running but this weekend I am going to act put out that you are telling me what to do" attitude. Then comes the escape behavior. Friday night, my husband had plans with problem. Saturday morning he wakes up and wants to go garage problem(?). Sunday morning he wakes up and even though the kids are singing, he 'may or may not' go to church. Remember, it is premarital symptoms so he no longer has to include me in any of his plans. Then, after church and after you get home from working (yes, on a sunday), he wants to run over to a friends house. When I give the " are too much look" he says, "Amy, I just want to be able to live my life". Ok, if there were not children in the house, there could have been a true smack down! Ummmmm, ok, don't say a word, bite your tongue....forever! He returns and knows that I am steaming mad and then he returns to his post marital state...i.e. "What can I do to help you?", "let me do that for you", "Why don't you go our for a bit...I will watch the kids", "Come on, lets have a good night". It is such a strange phenomenon. Once a month my husband has PMS.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Invasion of the Gap Moms

The kids had their first of many holiday party today at school. I will post some cute pictures as soon as I find my camera. Please, please pray I did not mail it with my packages going to New York! It was an interesting party because I was finally able to meet the kids in the class and their parents. Are you familiar with the term gap moms? Well, I am surrounded by them. Please forgive me for passing judgement on these mothers; I try really hard not to judge mothers. So here is what went on...

There were two young mothers with one child. They were perfectly dressed and have way-too-cute hair. Only one child...'nuff said. Then there were three moms who all knew each other. They planned today's party, they plan the schools spring fling, they have play groups together, and all dressed perfectly. They must sit around and compare whose SUV can hold more craft supplies from Sam Club. Amy, be nice! No, but really..why do you need a Hummer to drive a child to school. Aren't those for invading small countries??

I hung out with the working moms, one eye doctor, one surgeon, one real estate agent....holy cow...perfectly dressed. Honest to God, two of those women had four inch heals on!!

I was really looking for the mom is who works a bit from home and a bit outside the home with more then one child who is not perfectly dressed but is funny and can hold a conversation?? Where were those moms?? I wanted the crap moms not the gap moms!! I know I am not a crap moms, but what an exhausting experience that party was for me. Thank goodness I surround myself with friends that are excellent human beings, excellent mothers and they still can keep it real.

Ok, enough of the venting. Just had to do it and now I feel better. What did our family do this week to challenge ourselves to make less of an impact on the environment? Yes, it is time for our friday challenge update. This week I challenges our family to decrease the amount of packaging we used. I did some online shopping and when the items arrived, there was sooooo much packaging along with the item. I took all the packaging and reused it. So today, when we mailed all gifts to out of state family members, we did not have to buy new shipping materials, we reused them. Easy, huh? Small steps for us!

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I am a huge Sex and the City fan. There is this scene where Mr. Big is back in New York and over dinner he tells Carrie he is in town having heart surgery. She burst into tears. Later she is telling her friends about his surgery and she burst into tears again.

I had the same reaction.

I called my grandmothers house and knew something was wrong. I called my father and found out she has been in the hospital for a couple weeks. See…here we go. I am a faucet! Why the strong reaction?

My parents separated and divorced when I was very young. I lived with my mother in the same small town as my father’s family. While my dad was across the country, his family stepped in to help raise me. Especially my grandmother.

Every Sunday she came to take me to church. Even in my moody middle school years, she showed up. She talked to me; asked me questions. She was genuinely interested in my life; in me. After the service, we usually went to one of the two small diners in our small town. Even if I had not wanted to go to church, by the end of our brunch, I found myself in these fascinating conversations with my gram. I always knew how much she loved me.

When I moved to Florida, she wrote and called. Nothing was going to get in the way of her affirming her love for me. She listened and we talked. We talked about religion and politics and men and family and my hopes and dreams and her hopes and dreams. I had no idea that she had turned down two marriage proposals and had given up on the idea of getting married by the time she was my age when I moved. Who knew she would meet my grandfather and go on to have such a big, beautiful family? We had so much in common!

As an adult, I did something that was misinterpreted/misunderstood by part of my family and they were pissed at me (and still are). My grandmother may have had her opinion on the matter but she called and continued to write and we continued to talk.

I carried my twins and she sent me prayers for the expectant mother. I said them every night. I brought my twins home and embarked on this new journey of motherhood. She called and wrote and we talked. I asked her questions and she offered advice.

Now when we talk, she asks me the same questions a couple different times in the same conversation. She has to refer back to some notes she keeps on certain dates, etc. But we still talk and she still writes. She always loves me. It is so important to her that I know that. And I do.

I am so scared that my family will not include me these events…I am scared that I will not know that my grandmother has been in the hospital. Even though that side of my family has written me off to an extent, they have no idea that this woman, my grandmother, never did. She always called and wrote and we have always talked. They have no idea how important she is to me and how important I am to her. As her mind continues to fade, I am so fearful that I will lose touch with one of the most beautiful, intelligent, compassionate and loyal woman that I know.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I can not wait!!!!

It has been waaaaay toooooo long for this!

Wood is good

It is time for my Friday challenge update. I have been doing some Christmas shopping and we have been trying to narrow down what we are going to buy the kids. I have to admit that we are hearing more of "I want that" out of the mouths of our babes. I think this is a crucial time to not give the kids everything they want. Our society is distracted by consumerism. I want this and I want that. I hope we can teach our kids to live below their means and to not buy something just because they can. I digress...we have been thinking about what to buy the kids for Christmas. I found this great site on how to green your kids' toys.

Here are the top 10 tips to get you started:

1. Look for PVC-free

PVC (aka polyvinyl chloride) seems to be everywhere we look. Some beach toys, teethers, dolls, and even (gasp!) rubber duckies are cheaply manufactured with the environmentally dubious material. A dioxin-producing powerhouse, PVC releases toxins into the environment all the way through its lifecycle from manufacturing to disposal. Many PVC toys also contain phthalates, chemical compounds that make the PVC plastic more flexible, which initial studies have linked to both cancer and hormonal disruption. Although the long-term effects of phalates on youngsters is not fully known, we fully subscribe to the idea of an ounce of prevention now over a potential pound of cure later.

2. Wood is good

Look for FSC-certified wood to find sustainable toys that will last generations longer than the cheap plastic stuff. For the little ones, untreated, unpainted wood is safe to chew unlike plastics that contain PVC. When your child is done, wooden toys can be passed on to a relative, friend, or even sold on eBay or Craigslist to give it a second life. The FSC certification is important, it ensures that the wood you buy has been forested responsibly, allowing for sustainable growth.

3. Power down

Batteries have become second nature in most toys today. Not only is this a terrible problem when these toys get disposed of, who wants to give their child the opportunity to chew on a battery? For the young ones, decide if all the battery-powered noise is worth it. Could your child stay just as entertained with a simpler toy, one that might even let you keep your sanity. For the older ones that absolutely must have the newest electronics, look into rechargeable batteries to eliminate waste. For more, see How to Green Your Electronics.

4. The great outdoors

The most rewarding toy might not be a toy at all. It might be the act of planting a tree or a vegetable garden. Want a truly carbon neutral activity for your kids? Play tag or hide and seek. Getting your wee ones outside provides them with abundant opportunities to run around, have fun, get exercise, and learn about the urban and natural environments around them. You probably remember time spent outside with family and friends in your youth...your kids will too.

5. Second-hand magic

Just because a toy has been used once doesn't mean that it can't be just as much fun the second time around. Check out eBay, Craigslist, Freecycle, yard sales, or your local classifieds for perfectly good toys than have simply been outgrown. And, don't forget that you can always give that same toy a third life (and recoup some of the cost) by putting it up for sale right where you found it.

6. Get organic

There are more pesticides and fertilizers sprayed onto conventional fibers than you might care to know about. Not only does the thought of chemically treated fabric probably raise a red flag when you think of your child, it raises a huge red flag for the environment as well. The chemicals we use to "improve" our crops often contaminate the soil they grow in and the air and water systems around it. Look for organic and naturally-dyed cotton, bamboo, tencel, and wool for toys such as stuffed animals. For more, see How to Green Your Baby.

7. Sometimes it's not what's in the box...

It is the box. Sometimes it is the stuff you already have that can prove the most fun to imaginative children. So, next time you think about throwing the box from that new toy away, think of it as a potential arts and crafts project instead.

8. Non-toxic paints

It's not just the paint on your walls that you should think about. The paint on your child's toys may also have VOCs (volatile organic compounds). There are a slew of new toys that use water-based and low-VOC or no-VOC paints (and nearly all of them will advertise this fact). This way a non-toxic toy gets the non-toxic paint job it deserves.

9. Lasting toys

When purchasing new toys, keep the toy’s potential longevity on your mind. A long-lasting toy not only means that you won't have to buy another one in a matter of months, it also means that when the toy is no longer in use, you can always pass it along. More money for you + keeping materials out of the landfill = easy decision.

10. The color purple

Subtitled: Everything on this list can't have a cheesy "green" pun. But seriously, what better way to go green than with the color itself. Craft projects give your kids an opportunity to use their imagination. Find non-toxic paints and crayons and let the kids loose on all sorts of recycled material from cardboard boxes to junk mail to items they find in the woods. Pet rock, here we come.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


We are back! What a wonderful trip we had to Tennessee. The twins were so interested in the plane ride. They were checking out the runway, the wings, the pilot. So many questions!

On our first day there, the kids saw leaves and knew exactly what to do with them!

We headed over to Pigeon Forge on our first day there and found a car museum.

We took a sky lift ride:

The twins were even able to dance a bit:

The twins loved being with their Grandma Stella and Grandpa Kerry.

We can wait for them to come visit in April!


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