Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Recap

If I delve into all of the details, I may bore you all to death. However, I thought I could post a bit of an outline of our events with lots of pictures. Because I know that my kiddos are just so darn cute that everyone wants to see them right?

Christmas Eve morning Jesse gets a call from a co-worker to check his raffle ticket. He won, a Wii - FREE!! That was by far the highlight of my day!!! He left to go pick it up, I stayed home with Jenna, went and did some last minute shopping (I know I am insane, but it was fun). I went home and wrapped everything, hubs met me there, we ate lunch and went to get the boys from my mom's.

We stayed there a bit and visited, then headed to Jesse's aunts house for Christmas Eve dinner. The kids opened their gifts there, the boys each got new sweats and a new t-shirt, and Jenna got a huge pink princess blanket that she has not let go of yet!! We went home, let the kids open one present (new Christmas PJs), and sent everyone off to bed!!

I had the joy of playing Santa all by myself since Jesse fell asleep too. Here is the loot:)

Christmas morning the boys came in to wake us up. We all went out into the living room and opened presents, after seeing what Santa left.

We cleaned up, got dressed for the day and out we went to go open more presents at my mom and dad's house.

They all had to watch Nana open her present:)

We had a glorious dinner of prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, carrot souffle, and a broccoli and blue cheese casserole that was to die for!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and were able to enjoy time with your families!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Are You Ready for Some Rice?

You can sing that title to the Monday Night Football tune, I will allow it, heck, I will encourage it.

I decided to start posting a few recipes that we use so often in my house. These are regular simple everyday recipes that we eat all the time, and usually there is enough for a couple of meals. Good, and frugal, plus a time saver, SCORE!!

Here goes, these are the ingredients you will need:

1 8oz can of tomato sauce

2cups of uncooked rice

1 small tomato diced

1/2 of a small onion diced

1/3 of a small bell pepper diced

few sprigs of cilantro chopped

1 1/2 tablespoon of chicken bullion

3/4 tablespoon of minced garlic

1/2 tablespoon of ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon of ground black pepper

1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil

4 cups of hot water

Start by putting the oil into a heated pan (medium high heat will work best) pour in the rice and brown until the rice is lightly toasted.

While the rice is toasting chop the veggies.

Dump the veggies and garlic into the rice, stir then add the spices, and stir again.

Add the four cups of hot water and about 2/3 of the can of tomato sauce, stir.

Bring to a boil.

Cover, turn down the heat to medium-low, and cook for 20 min. (it may be best to periodically check on the rice and stir to prevent sticking to the bottom)

After 20 minutes, uncover, fluff the rice and serve as a side to any of your favorite Mexican dishes:)

I did not have all ingredients on hand (i.e. bell pepper and cilantro) but it comes out just as well without them:)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Birthday Boy

Wow!!! I cannot believe that my little angel is 8!!! Yesterday, AJ came rushing into my room, "Mom, I am eight, I am eight!" I rolled over and said, "No son, you were born at 2:24 pm, you will not be eight until then" (Way to burst my bubble mom!!) We made his cake, wrapped his presents, and prepared to head to my mom's for dinner.

I always feel a bit bad with his birthday being just a few days after Christmas, kind of like he doesn't ever really get to celebrate. Typically we will have a birthday party in the Spring for both the boys, we usually wait until then to give gifts. This year I decided we need to do something for each of them on their actual birthdays. We will still have the party in the Spring, but it will be less stressful to me and I will know that the boys also were able to enjoy their special day too.

Sunday evening I asked AJ what he wanted for his birthday, he responded, "Mom, I got everything I could ever want for Christmas" Awww. Such a sweet boy he is!! Either way I hit up Target for some clearance items, and let me tell you the boy made out like a bandit!! Here are a few pictures from last night.

Oh, what can I say about my big boy? He is smart, kind, funny, athletic, reserved, sensitive, and the best role model to his brother and sister I could have ever asked for. He loves baseball, football, basketball, reading, playing video games, and helping mom and dad. He will entertain his sister and brother for hours (well, the brother for hours, sister's attention span isn't quite there yet). I love this little guy more than words can explain. Happy Birthday son!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 24, 2009

An Early Christmas Present

I’ve whined all month long about not having the money to buy the gifts I wanted to buy for everyone this year. I love finding the perfect gift for each person on my list. Due to the economic situation the country is in; and the lack of wage increase at work, along with cut backs at Jesse’s work and rising food/gas prices, the perfect gift is not an option. We do have a little something for all the kids (thanks to some early shopping on my part, along with some great deals that I found). They will be happy with what they get, I am sure of that!!

Every year our office “adopts” three families to help out around the Holidays. This year it was suggested that we nominate people that we know versus the normal route of “adopting” through a local church.

I thought of a family who lives in my neighborhood. A man, a woman, three kids; a story that broke my heart the minute I was told. This man had been laid-off in March, his wife due with their fourth child in October. They have a 19 year old daughter in a relationship with an older man her parents did not approve of, a 12 year old daughter, and a 14 year old daughter. Mid way through October, the wife goes into labor, delivers a boy – they were hoping for a boy! Eighteen short hours later, the wife/mother passes away. She was able to see her son, and hold him for a few minutes. That was all he would ever know of his mom. She left behind her two young daughters who probably need her guidance now in their lives then ever before, and her older daughter as well. A son who will never know what it feels like to be hugged and cuddled by his mom, and a husband who will not have his wife by his side as his children graduate from school, get married, and have children of their own. I submitted their information to our office in hopes that we may be able to offer them some glimmer of hope this Holiday Season. They were one of the families chosen; I could not believe the outpour of love being shown by my co-workers.

A couple of days ago I was asked if I could deliver the gifts to one of our office Christmas Families. I kindly accepted, not know what I was getting myself into.

This is what the front stoop looked like as we rang the door bell.

This is the father as he opened the door.

This is the family that blessed me this Season far more than they will ever know.

I have realized so many things from this, do not attempt any acts of kindness of this magnitude without tissue in your pocket, I am probably much better at charity behind the scenes, I was a blubbering mess as I was loading the stoop with all of the gifts!! The amount that we are able to give to our loved ones may not seem like a lot, but spending the time with them, tucking my kids into bed on Christmas Eve, waking with them on Christmas morning, watching my kids grow is the greatest gift I could ever be given. Seeing this family accept their gifts is a very close second.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Healer

So I was tidying up a bit around the house,
and I noticed something strange with the Nativity Scene.

Upon closer examination this is what I find.

If you look closely, that is a little ice skater from our Christmas Village.
This boy is missing his feet.
So, I asked the boys: "Boys what is this little skater boy doing on the baby Jesus?"
Their answer: "We are waiting for Him to heal the skater,
and then we are going to put him back in the Christmas Village."
You can't very well argue with that can you?
Except for the fact that these are both porcelain dolls, and not real people.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Yesterday I received an e-mail from my aunt, no subject, with an attachment - I skimmed over my inbox (sorry Aunt Paula) because I thought it was one of those "send this to 15 people or you will surely have a heart attack" kind of e-mails. Before I closed the window, I went back to open the e-mail. There were no words, just this...

Two of the most amazing, and influential people in my life!!! This is my Gram and PaPa!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Finally Put 'Em Up!!

I realize that we are days away from Christmas now, I suppose this year my theme has been procrastination!!!

I had only bought a couple of gifts for Jenna, and all the kids stocking stuffers as of Thursday. I bought all of that the same day - at the beginning of November!!! So Thursday I started a mad hunt for the rest of our shopping list!! Thursday also happened to be the last day Amazon was offering free shipping. So by the time I left work on Thursday, I had three more people to cross off the list (and at super discount prices too). Thursday night I had to run into Target. Although I think that may be a bit of an oxymoron, since I can never just run into Target:). Upon doing so, I was able to cross off two more names on my list (more super discounted prices - Thanks to Target Clearance!!) SUPER!!! Friday, I left work a bit early to go pick up the boys "Santa" gifts, no super discounts there, but it was on sale!! The boys were complete, Jenna complete, my parents complete, one of my brothers complete, our good friends' kiddos complete (we really only buy for the kids anyway), all that is left is my other brother and my sister's kiddos:). My sister's kids are easy, I already know what I want to get, just have to run in and see if they have it, if not, I already have a back up. Only thing about the back up... it requires me to run back into Target, which I love, but my wallet doesn't:). My brother on the other hand is a 14 year old boy/man that is extremely difficult to buy for. He, himself is not picky, it is just finding what i think is the right thing for him - you know? And, the end of my Friday night was spent with the kiddos finally putting up our Christmas Tree and decorations in the house!!! It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here now - and stress level has gone down quite a bit!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Wishing Bone

On my way to drop the kids off at daycare before school on Tuesday, I was talking to the boys about their day - good attitudes, no bad notes from the teacher etc. We also were discussing what we would do once we got home.

I told the boys that if the wishbone from the turkey was dry they could split it and make a wish. Jay thinks it is a "wishing bone" and he decided that he would wish to be "big". As in he wants to be an adult. Which reminded me of the movie with Tom Hanks - "Big", so I started to explain the movie, thought maybe I would buy it for them for Christmas. I told Jay that being big isn't all it's cracked up to be. Sure you don't have a "boss" to tell you what to do, when to clean, when to go to bed, what to eat, etc.

There are so many other things that adults have to do that kids would not enjoy. to which Jay replied, "Oh yeah, I would have to worry about buying things for may anniversary and blah, blah, blah... Never mind, I don't want to be big, I will wish for a bunch of candy!" AJ is cracking up in the back seat, Jenna is laughing because the rest of us are laughing and Jay is dead serious, he does not want to deal with "his anniversary" He thinks it is too much trouble, and now NEVER wants to grow up for fear of this anniversary!!

I am not sure when or who he overheard that was stressed about an anniversary, but he is frightened of it and it is kind of cute:).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Picture Advice People!

Ok, let me start by saying I am not asking for advice on how to use my camera, or how to take awesome photographer quality photos, or how to edit my photos like a professional. :)

I am asking for advice on how you request photos from others. Let's just say that I have been many a times sans camera! With the meds and nebulizer and what ever toy the kids can not leave the house with out, often times my camera ends up lonely sitting on the counter, or dresser, or what have you.

So, here is my question, I e-mail friends and family after functions to see if they can forward me any of the photos of my immediate family. I am not asking for all the pictures that were taken, just any that may be of me, my husband, or our kids. More times than not I get no response. A few days go by and I will get a "Send this to 10 people or you will die" type of e-mail from the person, but still no response regarding the pictures.

Ok, so maybe I lied a little when I said I send these type of e-mails often, but truth is, I have sent them a few times a year to the same person. Not really even sure if she reads our family blog or not, but she is family (by way of marriage) and to put it nicely things are tense between her and a lot of people. She is the type of person who you have to word things very carefully with on one day and the next you could say anything and it would not bother her. Problem is I don't know what kind of day it is:).

So - (which is apparently my favorite transition word today) How would you ask? Oh, and I can not just stop by and ask to put them on a CD that I just happened to bring with me, I was informed some time ago that I was not welcome to visit their home:) That I am guessing was an off day, at least I hope that was not a good day, because my word, what would she have said on a good day???

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Progress Reports...

Well, we got the boys progress reports and I have to say I am terribly disappointed!!

AJ is making straight "A"s and will be tested for the Gifted and Talented program in January. Can I just say that i hate the term "Gifted and Talented" when they refer to this program, the schools make it seem like the other "on-level" kiddos are neither gifted nor talented. But, we know this is best for AJ, as he is getting extremely bored in class, he has begun to teach himself multiplication and cursive when he finishes his work:).

On to Jay - I have written several notes to his teacher asking how he is doing if there was anything additional we need to work on at home, etc. Never a response!! Jay has come home with two home readers all year, while AJ had three a week when he was in 1st grade. I never get notification of benchmark tests, and I found out through Jay that he was in a reading tutorial program (confirmed by a mark on his report card), but never found out through the teacher!! I have also found out through some friends that work at the school that Jay's teacher can often be found texting or surfing the web on her phone - GREAT!!! In addition to all of that there was a letter sent home by the principal several weeks ago explaining that this teacher was not actually a certified teacher, but somehow teaching under a program that allows her to work and receive her certification at the same time. I e-mailed her this morning, and I am still waiting for a response, any of you guys have any advice to give?

Here is the e-mail:

After reviewing the notes on Jay’s progress report, I have some concerns. I sat with him last night and watched while he did his homework. As you know the handwriting needs some improvement, however, I did not notice any problem with him reading the words or knowing the meaning of any of his spelling words either. I continued to watch as he was completing his math work and again, there were no areas he needed my assistance with. I also wonder why he scored so low on his math benchmark, did he even complete the test? He struggles with names in the word problems, but other than that he can complete the assignments with little to no help needed from us. We read through his sight words – again, other than a few words (confusing what, want, and went, along with some confusion with the lowercase d and b) he read all 75 with no problem. The home reader that was sent home last night was DRA 10, he needed no assistance from us on that either. Thinking that it was possible that he could have the book memorized, we pulled a book from his shelf that is a level 2 reader, he really didn’t need my help. My concerns are this; from the start of the school year he has only brought home two home readers, until now there were no other indicators from you that he was needing additional help, and while I have no problem with him being in a reading tutorial group, I am surprised that I was not formally informed by you of this need. Jay is a very smart student, but, I do know his personality and I know that he can be a bit stubborn and strong-willed at times. Please let me know what we can do to improve his grades and help him be as successful as I know he can be.

Maybe I should have texted her:)