Wordless Wednesday

I love babies :)

Welcome to the world, Baby Drake.


A merry little Christmas

Whew! After four whirlwind days, Christmas is finally over!
We had a great time celebrating with family and friends — and were reminded just how blessed we are! I'll get some pix posted soon. I got just about everything I asked for - how awesome is that?
This morning, I found out our offices decided to just close for New Year's Eve as well, since the work flow will be super slow. Which will give me all day to get ready for our big bash at the house.
I skipped meal planning this week, and don't have any real plans for this week, with all the leftovers we have. It will likely look something like this:
Monday: Leftover chili (can do chili dogs or whatever :))
Tuesday: Leftover spiral ham and hash brown potato casserole. I'll probably open a can of corn or something to go with it.
Wednesday: Turkey noodle soup and sandwiches (using turkey leftovers)
Thursday: New Year's Eve party! I think we're just going to make some huge sub sandwiches, and then let everyone else bring appetizers
Friday: I'll use up the rest of the ham making ham stromboli or a pot pie.
Saturday: To be determined ...


Howdy, neighbors!

J and I really feel as if we won the lottery when it came to our neighbors (two of them at least!)
The first weekend we worked outside, they both came over to introduce themselves and offer to let us borrow supplies or anything. In fact, one of them said he'd come over and bush hog the lovely four or so acres of weeds :)
Of course, it's been a crazy month since we've moved (and I've been sick twice) from getting things in order and getting ready for Christmas. But last night, we decided to return the hospitality and give them a little Christmas cheer!
I made these goodies, then we delivered them and had a nice chat with both sets of neighbors. After speaking with them, we felt even better about the people who live so close to us :)

Another view:

I should get off work in about an hour, then heading to my parents' house to celebrate Christmas Eve.
Tomorrow, we have no real plans - so J and I will just sleep in, open presents and relax!
Saturday I work (bah!) but  should be off by 11 - when I plan to hit up some sales, then go home and nap before we celebrate the holidays with J's side of the family.

Merry Christmas!


All about Christmas!

I can't believe it's only three days until Christmas!
My family actually usually celebrates Christmas Eve, so J and I have Christmas Day to ourselves - when we'll relax, play with our new toys, and clean to get ready for weekend festivities and the NYE party we plan to host.
I thought this survey looked fun. So ...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Definitely paper. If you look under my tree, there are only two bags. I hate opening a bag - paper is so much more fun to rip into! - so I don't like to give bags, either.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial

3. When do you put up the tree? Depends. As soon as possible - I love decorations and I buy a lot of gifts on Black Friday, so they need a place to live :)

4. When do you take the tree down? A week or so into January. I'm Catholic and the church celebrates Christmas until Presentation Sunday, which is two Sundays after Christmas - and I use that as an excuse to keep things up as long as possible!

5. Do you like eggnog? sometimes

6. Favorite gift received as a child? That's a hard one - especially because my parents rarely gave us toys, but more clothes and books. I'm sure it would have been something Barbie though :)

7. Hardest person to buy for? My Dad

8. Easiest person to buy for? Jimmy

9. Do you have a nativity scene? One on the entryway table and then a nativity shadow light

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Just something that wasn't my taste

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I try to shop through the year - but really hit it Black Friday

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? don't think so

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Roast beef and gravy and potatoes!

16. Lights on the tree? of course!

17. Favorite Christmas song? Do I have to choose just one? Gloria, Silent Night, Mary Did You Know ... 

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? 
stay for the most part

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixon, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen ... and Rudolph!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? angel

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? both - different traditions

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? nhe weight gain!

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color? 
No real favorites. But my grandma gave me an ornament every year, so I have a mostly full tree!

24. Favorite for Christmas Dinner? Roast beef and gravy with mashed potatoes

25. What do you want to do for Christmas this year? Enjoy my house!

26. Favorite Christmas tradition growing up? Christmas Eve at my grandma's while we stuffed ourselves, opened presents, went to Mass, then came back and stuffed ourselves again!

27. Favorite tradition now? Well, one year earlier in our relationship J and I spent the day together and neither of us felt like cooking so we went out looking for food. The only place open was Hardee's, so we've made a bit of a tradition of going there for lunch :)

28. Favorite Christmas Memory? I can't pick just one!


This weekend ...

Wasn't near as productive as I hoped it would be, but still good!
We had a blast with my friend's kid on Friday. Isn't he a doll? I was exhausted so did nothing but play with this little man!

Saturday we got up early (although cutie above was VERY nice and slept all night and until 7:30 a.m.!) and got to work! We spent a solid six hours in the basement, and J finally finished hanging all the blinds (our screwdriver is crap. There's an update for him under the Christmas tree :))
But the basement looks great! We cleaned the "equipment room" with the water softener, furnace, water heater, etc., and mopped it. It took at least five mop buckets full of water just to drain all the dirt! Then we neatly stacked all the storage boxes in there - and there's still room! We also swept and mopped the rest of the basement, which was no easy task. Like a dummy, I forgot to take pictures, but I'll get some soon! We plan to host an NYE party so I don't have much time to get it looking really great and ready for guests.
Sunday I did some baking (after I swore I was done!) and went to my friends to watch while the baby horses got their feet trimmed. The horses were not behaving and her mom, a vet, ended up getting her leg broken. Ouch! Please pray for her, as she's having surgery this morning, so she'll have a quick recovery!
We ended the day at my aunt and uncle's for a family Christmas celebration. There was great food, great company, and even better drinks. I was just sad that we had to come into work today and I couldn't stay out too long!


Weekend plans :)

We have a busy weekend planned (as if that isn't a give during this time of year!)
Tonight, after running a few after work errands, we are going to watch this adorable kid and warp his mind :) His momma is moving so we're taking him off her hands.

Meanwhile, tonight and tomorrow we plan to do some work around the house — general cleaning and new-house stuff we haven't gotten around to yet. Top of my list is cleaning the kitchen, getting the last of the blinds installed, cleaning out the storage room in the basement and putting the boxes in it, sweeping/mopping the basement, installing the dart board, and cleaning the bathrooms.
Sunday will be the first of the holiday parties for us! My cousin and his wife live in Hawaii, so my mom's side of the family is having our party Sunday afternoon. Which means I'll likely come to work with a hangover Monday morning. I can't wait for our dirty Santa gift exchange. Some lucky member of my family will get the most awesome gift ever - something in the house that was just too awesome for us, we had to replace it.
Oh, and I also plan to make another three batches (yes, three) of oreo balls and finish up some tins of cookies and who knows what else for our new awesome neighbors.
I have a feeling the weekend is going to fly by ...



There's something I want to blog about ... because it's killing me ... but really don't want others to be able to find.
And the way some people are, they would, although, to my knowledge, they know nothing about this blog.
But I'll just say this - I can't believe how rude, catty and two-faced some people can be, especially the way they jump to conclusions and fill in the blanks however sounds best to their ears.
I've been doing a lot of praying on this one, but still don't feel the best about it. So far, I've let the issue drop ... but I'm really thinking of confronting these people ... but I don't know what to do.
Sigh. What are people the way they are?


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The house may not be unpacked, but it's decorated for Christmas - the inside at least! J and I have decided to wait until we have kids (or I can find a great sale on lights!) to decorate outside, especially since we live out in the country and not many people would see it. But here are my decorations:

The living room from the hallway:

Sofa table on the entryway:

Can you tell I like snowmen?

I love this table because it has some "heirloom" items. The small nativity scene on the right of the table was passed down from my grandma on my dad's side. And the Christmas tree music box in the middle was my mom's mother's. When Grandma passed away a few years ago, the grandkids drew for her music boxes, because she collected them, and I got this one :)

And here's my lovely tree and all the gifts :) This picture was taken in the daylight, so not quite so pretty, but you get the gist:

Once I did all the decorating, I was in the mood to make some goodies! So that's what I did over the weekend and on Tuesday, when I was off work. Here's the platter I made for J's work:

There are dipped cookies, covered pretzels, oreo balls, toffee, chocolate chip cookies and no bake cookies in here. I don't normally do no-bake cookies, but one of his co-workers requested them, so I obliged. The co-worker also got a Ziploc baggie with the leftovers, since neither of us care for them.

I've seen a lot of pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipes floating around, so I tried them. They are pretty good! Here's what it made:

And I finished the night making my oreo balls, which everyone loves! They are pretty easy, but tedious. J decided to snap a picture of me making them. Here I'm dipping them in almond bark - the final step:

So that's what I've been doing (in addition to drinking lots of water to wash away the kidney stones!)

Wordless Wednesday

Our dog, Hank, loves us even more since we moved.
At the duplex, the escape master was confined to his concrete pad, measuring about 10 by 14 feet and all fenced in. Now, he has five acres to run as he pleases.
But he still can't get enough love from his mommy and daddy.
One of his favorite things to do is walk with us to get the mail in the afternoon. Daddy even challenges him to a workout :)


What's for dinner?

Menu for Dec. 13-19
Sunday: Beef tips with seasoned rice
Monday: Lemon pepper chicken breasts, alfredo noodles and salad
Tuesday: Slow cooker ham and beans with Jiffy cornbread
Wednesday: Tacos! I've been craving them.
Thursday: Leftover ham and beans
Friday: Salmon patties, fried potatoes and noodles in juice (I didn't get around to making this last week due to my lovely kidney stones)
Saturday: Jimmy's work Christmas party

For more menu ideas and recipes, go to I'm an Organizing Junkie!

The worst pain ever ...

In my book, it's kidney stones. And last week, for the second time in my life, I had the pleasure (haha) of getting them.
If you've had them before, you know how I feel. If not, I hope you never get them.
They hurt (some say worse than giving birth!) and hit suddenly. Here's my story (and why I've been absent a few days.)
Thursday was a normal day. After work, I went to Walgreens to pick up some items. Well, as I was putting the bags and sodas in my car, I felt a pull in my side. I immediately began cursing myself for getting so out of shape that simply lifting a 12-pack of sodas hurt me. Well, I quickly realized it was more than that, when I had shooting pains and got really clammy on the 15 minute drive home.
I get home, make it through the door and had to lie down - on the floor. I could not get comfortable, no matter what. Jimmy was slightly freaking out.
Then the bathroom runs started. I went every 10 or so minutes, but didn't have more than a tablespoon each time. So we went to Urgent Care.
Luckily, there was no one in front of me when we got there, so I got to go straight back. After giving some samples, I talked to the doc and she got me a pain shot, in addition to a shot to keep my from getting nauseous — but also sleepy. X-rays confirmed I had three kidney stones.
While I passed out in the truck, Jimmy got my meds (yay for oxycodone!) I slept most of the day Friday and have been staying drugged up since. Hopefully it will all go away in the next week.
Friday was a waste, but I managed to be semi productive on Saturday and Sunday, including making the first of my goodie trays. I'll post a picture later :)


Baking woman

I love to bake/make sweets. Especially at Christmas time. I make platters and deliver to a lot of friends and business associates this time of year. Most every night I'll make something.
Last night's creation was toffee. Yummy, and SOOOO easy. Here's the recipe:

What you’ll need:
- 1.5 sleeves of saltines or half a box of Cheez-Its
Two sticks unsalted butter
One cup packed light brown sugar
1.5 to 2 bags of chocolate chips
0.5 to 1 cup chopped nuts

How to make it:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Line a sprayed jelly roll pan with crackers
Meanwhile, bring butter and brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer two to three minutes
Spread toffee over crackers, filling all holes
Bake 5 to 8 minutes or until bubbly. Remove and turn off oven. Let cool a couple minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Then, put in oven for 2 to 3 minutes or until chips begin to melt. Use a spatula or other utensil to evenly spread, like icing on a cake.
Sprinkle chopped nuts on top. Let cool (at room temperature or in refrigerator) and then break into pieces.


A recap :)

It's been a busy few days!
Saturday, as you may remember, I helped my mom at the craft fair. She sold a lot of goodies, as well as quite a bit of the food I contributed. I'll know more later this week on what I made - which I hope is just enough to break even on my ingredients and the gorgeous quilt I ended up buying for 50 bucks! As said quilt doesn't yet have a home, no pictures of it yet - but she's pink and green and an absolute beauty!
Sunday the fiance and I went to Cape to check out a projector on sale at Kohl's for just under 100 bucks. Our house has a mostly finished basement that we're transforming into a game room (for now) and we — plus pretty much everyone who walks into the basemen — wanted a projector. Most of them are about $1,000 so I was thrilled when I spotted it in the ad! Quality isn't great, but it's pretty darn good!
Monday I had to work part of the day at our sister office in Cape, so I took the rest of the day off to shop! I met one of my besties, Bel, for lunch and we stuffed ourselves at Olive Garden, then shopped until we dropped! I'm happy to report I only have a few gifts left to buy for Christmas — for my dad, a small something for my brother to go with his big gift, my boss, and I need to order one gift online. Everything I've bought is wrapped and under the tree. I think I went a little overboard (for me, considering what I planned to buy) but I got some excellent deals. In fact, the whole reason I'm waiting to buy the one gift online is because I'm waiting on some Amazon giftcards from Swagbucks. Not sure what I'm talking about? Ask! Because it's a fabulous way to make money just by searching the web!
I was also off work on Tuesday and super glad, because it was rainy and windy all day. My Hank dog looked so pitiful when I tried to kick him out of the garage that I just lifted the door a few feet and let him come and go as he pleased all day. I cleaned and did laundry in and morning, and in the afternoon, Bel came over so we could wrap presents. I finished putting up the tree and decorations, too :)
This week, I'm kicking my butt trying to get the house in order. I'm once again motivated so taking advantage of it. I'd like to have some friends over this weekend so I really want it to be in tip top shape.


Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Pork tenderloin w/gravy, mashed potatoes, corn
Monday: Sausage sandwiches, tator tots
Tuesday: Chicken enchiladas, refried beans
Wednesday: Hot tub party @ my friend's house, so we'll have appetizers. I'm making mini pigs in a blanket.
Thursday: Hamburger Helper and a veggie
Friday: Salmon patties, fried potatoes, mac and cheese
Saturday: Chili!

I don't have real recipes for a lot of my meals ... but if you want any details, just ask!


One of my favorite stores ...

Is going out of business! Oh no!
This too-cute for words boutique, Whimsy, opened a couple of years ago in downtown Sikeston. I love, love, love it! It has awesome gifts and at a very reasonable price. Plus a lot of household goods and great service.
And today, I found out it's closing for good this weekend. Total sadness. Where else where I got when I need that perfect gift?
So today, I'll be spending money I don't have on all the things I've liked but never gotten around to buying. I mean, who can beat 50 percent off?
And on the bright side - my awesome mom said that she'll reimburse me for a few of the items for Christmas gifts. How awesome is that?


Lots of sweets!

For the past nine years, my mom (one of the best bakers/craftiest people I know) has had a booth at our church's annual craft sale.
This year, I'm joining her. And I've been overwhelmed with sweets over the past few days.
My contributions? Inside out oreos (easy AND delicious), buckeyes, smores in a jar, toffee and chocolate-covered pretzels. Mom made a bunch of fudge, tiger butter, and other yummies. I can't wait for Saturday!
Poor Jimmy has seen me making all this ... and his reaching for a sweet resulted in a smack on the hand from me! I love to bake and can't wait to continue all through the holidays, as I make a lot of trays to share with friends, co-workers, etc.
Other tidbits:
- New Moon has been in theaters 13 days and I still haven't seen it
- We bought a sofa table at Lowe's last week. We went to put it together and a corner was banged up. Sigh.
- Not one room of the house is totally put together. And we're wanting to host some holiday parties at the house.

Happy Thursday!


Muchos gracious

I have a lot to be thankful for - and it's way too much to list. But here are the highlights:
- I'm blessed to have a beautiful home and family and friends to help me fill it with love.
- Although I've been sick the past week, it's not too bad considering the pain and ailments many others suffer.
- I have a job. Although there have been cuts in hours, I am employed and able to pay my bills.
- I'm surrounded by friends and family who love and support me, although they may not always agree with me.
- I have an amazing fiance who loves me in a way I never thought anyone could love me. Yes, we argue and have disagreements (daily almost!) but that's what makes us strong. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a perfect relationship and someone who says they have one is only lying to themselves. I'm glad he's a strong man who stands up for what he believes in and doesn't buckle just because I disagree. Because I've seen too many men whose wives/girlfriends have them on a leash and hate it.
- It may seem ironic, but I'm thankful for the people who are just plain rude to me. I'm talking about the people who can't talk to you, but sure can talk ABOUT you all the time and those who start rumors. I see now they are sent by God to test me and make me a better person. And the thing is, once I've learned to laugh it all off and just be the bigger person, I have much more peace about it. I look back and see how, previously, I was just like them. Now, I know I have grown and become a better person - and it's all thanks to those people who like to throw knives at my back :)

Jimmy and I had a great Thanksgiving at the house and at my uncle's with my Mom's family.
This morning we woke up at 3 a.m. (AHHHH!) to go to Walmart, but we got some great deals. Once I get off work, I'll stop in Walgreens and Lowes before heading home for a nice nap. I'll post more on my deals later :)

Did you all have a good Thanksgiving?


I've gotten the plague ...

OK, maybe not really. But I feel awful.
So last night I planned to go home and unpack some more boxes. I ended up lying on the couch with a 100 degree fever. Considering my typical temp is about 96.8 instead of 98.6, that was pretty darn high.
Luckily, the fever broke before I went to bed. I still have a runny nose, but that's doable.
Now the question is - what do I have? Because I most definitely don't want to skip out on Thanksgiving celebrations (I really love to eat!) but I don't want to get anyone sick either.
Moving sure wore me out, so it may be that. I also got the H1N1 shot on Monday, and had every one of the side effects it mentioned. But let me clear this up - I would go back and get the shot again! I don't believe the shot itself is what made me sick, there were likely underlying conditions. I knew my allergies were acting up on Monday, so maybe it was more than I thought.
So the question is: Do I go to family events tomorrow, or quarantine myself?


Crazy weekend

Can you guess what I've been doing the last four days?
Moving, moving, moving!
Closing went perfectly on Friday and other than bleeding the pens dry, we are now in debt for 30 years. But it's a beauty and well worth it.
There are boxes all over the new house. Old place still needs to have the fridge cleaned out, as well as the garage and back porch, but it should all be done in a few days. Good thing we have until the 30th to be out!
I'll post pictures soon.
Now the question is, can we just invite people over for a bonfire on Thanksgiving and get them to help us unpack?


A new journey

While writing is second nature to me — I work as a journalist — blogging is something new.
But my fiance Jimmy and I have a lot going on in our life right now. We're really growing up.
Most imminent — we're going to have the American dream. In two mere days, we'll close on our first home together.
And the rest of life has yet to follow — planning a wedding, marriage, children and more. I've always wanted to keep a journal, so I figure this is a great way to share what's going on in our lives with others we may not speak to a lot — as well as keep it all documented for us to read down the road. Not only that, it's a great way to expand my network, meet new people, and get new ideas.
Follow us on our journey of making the house a home, my adventures in cooking (I love trying a new recipe) and more.