Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has a safe, fun, and happy New Year's Eve celebration!

I had to work today and, of course, just as I was getting ready to leave around noon I get hit with an escalation!  It never fails.  I don't think I've ever really been able to take advantage of early release over the past few years.  When I finally left around 1:30pm, I realized I had actually forgotten my driver's license in the jacket I went running in last night...  OOPS!  On top of that, because I could give a Graduate level course in procrastination, it expired today so I had plans to go to the nearest DMV near my workplace and just get it done.  Well, since I had left my license at home, I had to drive all the way back home - 40 minutes - to get it.  Since my day was going awesome when I got home... yep... you guessed it... my license was in my wallet the whole time!

So now it is almost 2:45pm.  After quickly checking to make sure {thankfully!} the DMV was open until 5:30pm today, I ran out to try and get at least one thing accomplished today.  The DMV is only 15 minutes away so I can do this!

BTW... Marshall did not have school today and Freddy currently isn't working.  They were BOTH still in their pajamas when I got home!  At least the dishes were done!  LOL!

At the DMV, the receptionist asks me for my 6 points of ID to check in and get my number.  WHAT???  Being the first time that I've renewed my license in New Jersey, I thought you only had to do that when you got a new license.  Nope!  Every time!  Luckily I had my military ID in my wallet so the combination of that and my current license satisfied the 6 points of ID {whew!}

They were only on number 68.  While waiting, I heard the security guard say that if they don't get to your number by 5:30pm, then you have to come back another day.  That would NOT be cool.  So I sat.  Played a couple games of Soda Crush.  Played a couple games of Cookie Jam.  Checked Facebook.  Played some more Soda Crush.  Finally, after almost an hour, they called my number!  I found out that I received the last number to guarantee service before they closed up for the day.  And, apparently, everyone now gets a new picture when they renew licenses, so after I went to the first counter where all she did was check my IDs again, I had to wait in another line to get my picture taken.  Another 30 minutes later and I walked out the door with a brand new license in hand.  I vowed, like I do every time, not to wait to the last minute next time.  But pretty sure I will!

Now to start my New Year's Eve celebration!!  Or, as we like to call it, relaxing in the living room doing nothing!  Yep, we're pretty low key so for the past couple of years we have just stayed in and had our own little celebration to welcome in the New Year.

I'm working on some plans for 2015.  We had a pretty crappy 2014 and we have both vowed to make 2015 better and make it our year.  But more on that later.

For now, we wish you health and happiness in 2015!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mommy Fail Alert

So I was getting Marshall ready for bed tonight and he lays on the bed and says "I can't wear those pajamas."  I had pulled out his batman pajamas... one of his favorites.  "Why not?"  I asked.  "Jason says that we need to wear our Christmas pajamas."  Jason is his teacher's helper at school.  He goes on to describe what constitutes "Christmas pajamas"...  ones with Santa Clause or snowflakes or snowmen or presents etc.

Every year that Marshall has been on this planet, I have spent the money on 1 or 2 pairs of Christmas pajamas like all good mommies do. 

Except for this year. 

This year I never got around to buying any Christmas pajamas... they went the way of my Christmas cards that never got sent out.

Christmas cards and buying Christmas pajamas never got added to my daily task list so they never got done!  It seems I need a task to update my task list!

So wish me luck as I leave work early on Christmas Eve to hope against hope that Target or K-Mart might still have Christmas pajamas left!

BTW... Freddy told me that I should buy him oreos.  I told him that if I find Christmas pajamas he will get oreos :)


Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Christmas Tree Lighting

Our town does an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony every year.  They light up the large tree in front of the town hall in addition to have a petting zoo, performers, cookies and hot chocolate, and a visit from Santa Clause.  It was supposed to be December 5, but for the 3rd year in a row inclement weather forced the town to push it back.  The rescheduled date was this past Friday, December 12.  It was a little chilly out but not unbearable.

A nice perk that our town does is for the month of December they turn off all the meters to allow people to enjoy their holiday shopping and activities without being required to worry about feeding the meter.  A lot of the neighboring towns do the same.

We, of course, went right for the petting zoo upon arrival.  Marshall loved feeding and petting the animals.  There was also some goats and a llama.  My favorite was the little donkey.  All he wanted was for people to scratch between his ears.

Marshall's reaction when they announced that Santa had arrived and was in route...  he was jumping up and down.

And this is what I got when I asked them to smile... 

Around 5:40pm, with a countdown lead by the mayor, they lit the tree.  The holiday ensemble from the high school also play holiday music.

Once the tree was lit, you could hear the sirens.  Santa arrives every year in a fire truck with a police escort.

2 years ago, Marshall wouldn't go near him, but this year he couldn't wait to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas:  a semi truck with an airplane.  I was surprised that he went right up to Santa Clause and just started talking.  I couldn't get Marshall to smile because he was too busy telling Santa what he wanted, but I was happy to get any kind of picture this year.

Tomorrow I will hopefully be able to catch you up on my December Daily project, which I'm a tad bit behind on.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Marshall's First School Winter Show

Yesterday was Marshall's winter show at his school.  I was a little concerned with how he would do since we've been having some behavior issues (more on that later) and he is sometimes difficult and won't follow instructions or do what he is supposed to do.

The show was during the day, so I didn't know how much of a turn out there would be, but I was very happy to see so many parents were able to make the show.  It was a full house.  Freddy and I ended up standing in the back because I couldn't see anything sitting in the back rows.  Short people do not do well sitting in the back :)

I should take a step back and explain that Marshall's school has 3 classes:  The 2 1/2 year olds, the 3 - 4 year olds, and the 5 year olds.  Marshall is in with the 3 - 4 year olds.  I was curious on how they were going to organize 40 toddlers to perform anything but they did it!

Marshall's class was first and they performed the story Tacky the Penguin.  Everyone had lines from the book and most of them remembered what they were supposed to say with little to no prompting.  Marshall was one of the hunters who come out to hunt the penguins.

When they first came out, he was doing his shy thing where he covers his face and turns his back to people.  But he took a minute and scanned the room.  I'm so glad we were standing up in the back because he was able to see us.  As soon as he saw us, the shyness went away and he actively participated in the story.  At that moment, I made a mental promise to him that I would attend as many of his activities as I can.  Just the look on his face when he saw us was priceless.

After the shows, they had holiday treats for everyone.  And each class made a gift for their parents.  Marshall's class made little snowmen with hot chocolate mix and marshmallows.

We may be cracking into that hot chocolate tonight if it stays chilly!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Historic Trolley Rides

Anyone else freaked out because December is half over???  This past week has flown right by and it seems like we didn't do much.  Where does the time go??

Last Friday was supposed to be our town's annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the town hall.  Because of the rainy weather, for the 3rd year in a row, it was postponed to tonight.  But they still had the Saturday activities go on as scheduled even though it rained all day.  A lot of stuff cost money, but one of the activities that was completely free was the trolley rides that went through the downtown area.

We've lived in our town for 2 years now and have never done this so I thought it would be something fun for us to do.  And did I mention it was free :)

There was a pretty steady rain all day, but quite a few people showed up for the trolley anyway.  Marshall was super excited to ride the trolley.

It was hard to take pictures of the view because the windows kept fogging up, but the town historian gave us a historic tour of the downtown area of our town.  Turns out, there is a gated community where quite a few famous families lived during the turn of the 20th century.  Thomas Edison had a huge influence on our town and his home is located in this little community.  We're hoping to take a tour of the house in the spring or summer when it is much warmer to do an outside walking tour.

As Marshall gets older and more aware of things, I've been trying to find stuff for us to do as a family.    I came to the realization a few months ago that we really weren't doing much as a family because we were getting to involved in our day to day activities.  Our town and its neighboring towns always have fun family activities so we've been trying to take advantage of what our area has to offer... especially the free stuff!

BTW... My hair looks wet because it is!  They had canopies set up for us to stand under while waiting for the trolley to show up.  But if anyone bumped the legs, all of the water that had been pooling on the top would spill off the sides.  And, yep, I was standing by the edge and got a nice shower on my head and down my back.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December Daily... First pages

Can you believe it is December already???  Crazy how fast this year has gone by... but we say that every year don't we!

Today I have, for your viewing pleasure, my 1st few pages of my December Daily album.  I'm still kind of playing things by ear so I'm hoping not to have to redo too many things.

First of all, I apologize for the poor quality photos... the lighting in my living room is not too good at night with my phone.

I haven't decorated the cover of my album.  I'm not sure if I want to since it will be sitting on a shelf with other albums but we'll see if inspiration strikes me later on.  I'm using the off while 6x8 album from Ali Edwards.

This is my current cover page.  Everything is from the Ali Edwards December Daily kit, with the exception of the "December" acrylic, the doily, and the red ink used by the stars stamp.  They are all from the Take Ten Days of December kit.  The "December" acrylic came in plain white and I just embossed the gold on it.  My first time embossing anything :)

I'm thinking I may put a family picture on the right side so hopefully we get a good one over the next few weeks.

The back of my cover page is just a calendar of the month of December.  The word "celebrate" and the star on the 25th are both from the Ali Edwards December Daily kit.

Next, I added a filler page so that December 1 would start on the left side of the book.  The cards and embellishments are from Ali Edwards December Daily kit.  The "Be Merry" and "Season Greetings!" cutouts are both from the Take Ten Days of December kit.  I plan to fill in the "All I want for Christmas" card with items from Marshall's wish list over the next few weeks.  He seems to want everything that is advertised in commercials these days.

And onto my December 1st page.  I was really worried that I would have anything to tell on the weekdays since our evenings are pretty quick... but tonight we played a game of Kerplunk while waiting for dinner to be done.

The holly card and start cutouts are both from the Take Ten Days of December kit.  The gold 1 and the journal card are both from the Ali Edwards December Daily kit.

Stay warm!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ready to go... somewhat...

First of all... I'm trying to write this post after the shocking season 5 mid-season finale of The Walking Dead...  Those of you who watch the show know exactly what I'm talking about!  So, hopefully, my post will be coherent!

Tomorrow is December 1... the first day of my December Daily documented.  What I wanted to do today was get all of my foundation pages completed.  But, turns out, that takes a lot longer than planned.  So, I was able to get my cover page and the first few days of foundation pages completed.  I will post my cover tomorrow and possibly day 1 if I can get it together.  I'm a little concerned that I won't have enough to document each day since we don't really do much during the week in December, but we'll see how it goes.

I did get my December Daily stash somewhat organized and portable for the month :)


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving... and some thoughts on shopping...

I hope you and your family enjoyed a safe and happy Thanksgiving with family and friends.  We spent the afternoon with Freddy's family in the city.  It was a fun afternoon and evening with food and drink.

I then did what I've never done before... went shopping on Thanksgiving night!  I refuse to go shopping on Black Friday because I refuse to get up at 4am on any day just to go shopping.  But, seeing some of the awesome deals on Thanksgiving night might have added this little ritual to our Thanksgiving evening activities.

The last week had Facebook blowing up with protests about retail workers required to work on Thanksgiving.  And to be honest, I didn't feel bad about shopping at all tonight.  You see, back when I was in college, I worked at Meijer for almost 6 years.  For those of you who don't know, Meijer is a 24 hour store and the only time they are closed is from 7:00pm on December 24 until 6:00am on December 26.  Every year I worked just about every holiday... which included a 3rd shift on Christmas night to get ready for the day after Christmas sales.  And you know what?  We were asked for volunteers first and then the shifts were filled by seniority with the lowest seniority selected first.  And guess what?  Most of the shifts would fill with volunteers!  I can tell you that holiday pay was a nice bonus so, yes, I was one of those volunteers every year.  It is great to see stores close on holidays, but our economy cannot support everyone shutting down during the holiday season when retailers need a big boost in sales.  And really, why are there no outcries about the Military, Police, Firefighters, EMS, hospital workers, gas station workers, and anyone else I forgot who also have to work every single holiday???  My sister works for the admitting department at a hospital and had to work today as one of the holidays in her rotation.  Just really my opinion on the matter... but we really need to get our priorities in line with our rants these days.  What do you think about Black Friday starting on Thursday night?

Back to my shopping excursion...  I intended to just hit up Michael's, who had a coupon for 30% off all items (including sale items) on top of some pretty good doorbuster sales.  I found my supplies for embossing and some other cute items that I needed for my December Daily project.  I also picked up a Gingerbread House kit that was on sale that I'm going to try with Marshall in the next couple of weeks.  I am planning on putting together my foundation pages for my book this weekend and hope to be able to share them with you Sunday night.

So I leave you with one of the few images where Marshall actually stopped and posed for a picture today.  I'm not sure what he was trying to be.  I'm sure in his head he is a ninja warrior.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

December Daily 2014

This year I started on an endeavor to document our daily lives.  While I'm VERY grossly behind, I started scrapbooking in January using the pocket scrapbooking system.  If you're not familiar with this, you can take a look at to learn more.  You can embellish your pages if you want, but pocket scrapbooking is super easy in that all you need to do is drop in your journal cards and photos and you're done.

Anyway, I was introduced to the December Daily project about a month ago.  December Daily was created by Ali Edwards to document 1 story each day in December.  So, I thought, why not give it a go this year??

So I did some research (like I always do) and decided that in order to be successful at this I was going to need an all inclusive kit.  Otherwise, I would probably just buy a whole bunch of random Christmas paper crafting supplies and then never do anything with it.

I decided to go with 2 kits and use pieces from both of them for this years try at my first December Daily.

My first kit comes from Take Ten Kits by The Studio 29 Designs.  I subscribe to this kit every month and, in October, she offered a "Days of December" kit.  There was a small kit available at $10 and a larger kit available at $25.  Of course I had to get both of them!  As of the date of this post, the $25 kit is still available.

It is hard to see in the picture, but the kit comes with washi tape, sequins, flair buttons, chipboard designs, acrylic words, a stamp set, pocket cards, and a 6x6 paper pad.

To be honest, I was just going to use what I received from Take Ten Kits... until I saw the video from the Ali Edwards kit.  I hadn't decided on what kind of an album to use and her kit came with all sorts of awesome supplies AND an album.  You can still order a kit from Ali Edwards.  They are currently offering free shipping in November to US recipients and double the paper (while supplies last).

The kit from Ali Edwards comes with a stamp set, paper, chipboard sets, large chipboard gold alphas, plastic shapes, wood veneer numbers, puffy stickers, small alpha stickers, and more!

Unfortunately, due to all the delays on the west coast with the dock workers and such, the album hasn't arrived yet, but it should be here next week.

Next weekend, when I sit down to put together my foundation pages, I'll have more pictures of the individual pieces.  Everything is so neatly packaged up that I didn't want to take things out yet until I figure out how I'm going to organize them for easy access next month.

I can't wait to get into this project and share our Days of December with you!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Another Dimension

That is where it feels like I've been for the past 8 months... another dimension.  I've been in a bit of a funk over the summer and had to do some self help and soul searching on how to improve my situation and move forward.  It was nothing life threatening, just a bit mind and body threatening (if that is even a valid statement!).

I'm now ready to move forward and get back out there!  I have quite a few projects lined up that are going to start in the next 2 - 3 weeks that I'm excited to share with you.  Although, I'm sure I've lost a few readers with the unplanned hiatus, but I guess that goes with essentially starting over.  1 of those projects is starting on Monday and I'm really excited to put it out there, even if no one but me reads it :)

I recently went through Chalene Johnson's 30 Day Push, which is a 30 day program to help you focus on the goals that are most important to you and also help you to complete the daily tasks that need to be completed.  It is a free program and I highly recommend it.  The program really helped me to put into perspective what was really important to me and what I needed to prioritize to move toward my goals.

So, I promise I am back.

I can't promise there won't be a refocus of topics.

I can't promise that I won't overhaul this blog.

I can't promise there won't be whining... or soul searching.

What I can promise is that I'm back!


Monday, March 24, 2014

This is Happening!

I bought this years ago on a clearance rack and just dug it out of our boxes of DVDs that we haven't unpacked yet.

I've been starting the wheels turning on a couple things that I'll be reporting back on real soon :)


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Deployment Preparation


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Super Bowl Boulevard

In case you haven't heard, the Super Bowl is at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey tomorrow.  That's right folks!  It is in NEW JERSEY!  NOT in NEW YORK!

To celebrate, NYC turned Broadway between 32nd and 47th streets into what they called "Super Bowl Boulevard".  In my never-ending quest for family fun activities as we near Freddy's deployment, I decided it would be fun to head into the city to take a look.  I figured it would also be a once in a lifetime experience as well.

As soon as we got there, I very quickly remembered why I hate even the thought of taking a step into Times Square.  There were about a hundred gazillion people crammed into a 15 block area.  It didn't take us long to see what we had to see and then get the heck out of there!

We thought about taking Marshall on the toboggan ride... until we saw the line!  That is only part of the line that you see going up the left hand side.  So we just snapped a picture and moved on.

They also had the Vince Lombardi trophy on display so we headed over to see if we could get some pictures of it.  Until we heard that it was a 3 hour wait to get inside the building!  SO I snapped a picture from outside and called it a day...  This was the best I could do with the glare from the other buildings on the glass.

And last, but not least, we got a picture in front of the numbers that were set up around 46th street...

There were a lot more Bronco fans then Seahawk fans walking around but the Seahawk fans were louder :)  As crazy as the crowd was, and the fact that I got into a yelling match with the obnoxious security guy from H&M, it was a pretty fun day and probably something we won't see again for a long time.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pinterest Inspiration

We've start a little unofficial tradition where Marshall gives family members ornaments for Christmas.  This year I didn't want to just buy ornaments so I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration.  Now, we've all seen the Pinterest fails that have been floating around the Internet so I didn't want to do anything that was going to take a lot of time and be a huge disappointment if it didn't turn out.  Easy, right?

Well, I came across this ornament that looked like it would be pretty easy to do.  Now… to get a crazy 3 year old to cooperate!

I picked up some of the plain $6.00 ornaments from Target.  I thought blue would make a pretty background.  I also picked up some sharpie markers, white poster paint, and sponge paint brushes from Michaels.

As soon as Marshall saw the supplies he got super excited for the pending messiness that was soon to come.

Next steps were to slather on the white paint on his hands and keep him from touching anything! Easier said then done but we managed to complete the whole project with only paint on our hands and the ornaments.

After our hands were good and painty (is that even a word???), the next step was to mark up the ornaments.  We just set the ornament in the palm of his hand and he wrapped his fingers around it.  Since Marshall's 3 and has the attention span of a flea, I had to move quick for each ornament as well as reapplying paint in between.  I only made him hold onto the ball for a few seconds.  We had a few smudged patterns but overall he did pretty well with the whole process.

And here are our drying ornaments waiting for the final touches to be added.

I originally tried to do all of the embellishments with Sharpie markers, but the blue ornament was too dark so the black hats weren't showing up very well so I turned to some adhesive backed felt for the hats.  Otherwise, I used a Sharpie for the eyes, nose, and buttons.  The marker did each through the paint a little bit, but you can really tell.  It is possible that a different type of paint would be better suited for this type of project if you are really particular, but the poster paint worked fine for what we needed it to do.  And here is our finished product!

Not too bad for our first Pinterest project :)

Have you had any successes or fails at Pinterest project attempts?


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Start

That is what January 1st is supposed to be, right?  Starting over… forgetting about past grudges… getting things in order…

Well, that is what 2014 is going to be for me!  I've been thinking most of today what I want 2014 to be for me and my family.  I already know it is going to be a challenging year.  Our 1st deployment as a family will be starting very soon.  Freddy will be gone for most of 2014, which is a driving force behind most of my goals for this year.

So here goes… I decided to compile a list of both short and long term goals.  I think if I include some easy goals in the mix it will help me to stay motivated by actually completing something.

Complete a Deployment file

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that we attend our Yellow Ribbon event for Freddy's deployment.  Well I still have two full tote bags of documentation to read through and organize.  In addition, we need to gather all of Freddy's personal stuff that needs to be taken care of while he's gone and and basically just get organized.

Focus on my weight-loss and fitness

For those of you who have followed my blog for awhile, you know weight-loss is a popular topic on my blog.  I've always struggled with my weight and will try to make the right decisions this year to get started in the right direction again.  I may even give meal planning a try :)  I'm starting a 21 day sugar detox on January 6.  There is a large Facebook community also starting on the 6th so there will be lots of support.  Plus, if you sign up on their website, you can get daily emails of tips and encouragement.  It is based on the 21-Day Sugar Detox program.  I plan on going through the book while doing the program.  I've also toyed with joining Weight Watchers online again while their registration is free.

Run a 5K

Yep… I've been saying it for 2 years now but this is going to be the year that I finally run a 5K.  It has been hard, as a beginner, to run in my neighborhood because it is extremely hilly.  But we have a treadmill now!  My plan is to do the Couch-to-5K Running Plan and build up my endurance on the treadmill and then tackle the hills in the 'hood.  There is a Hot Chocolate run in Philadelphia, PA in April that I would like to target as my first 5K.  Who would run for hot chocolate at the finish line :)

Complete a Project Life Album

I recently discovered the Project Life system of scrapbooking.  With Freddy leaving, I've decided we need to make sure to document 2014 so he can see Marshall growing up.  I just don't have time for traditional scrapbooking so Project Life seemed like the perfect solution.  I already have my album set up and ready to go so look for a post this week for details.

Become credit card debt free

I've struggled a bit in this area over the past couple of years.  But I've started some research on some methods that will hopefully work for us as it seems like we can never catch up.  Look for a post on our game plan in the coming weeks.  The one good thing about Freddy's deployment is we'll be getting 2 paychecks again.

Complete a 365 day project

I started one last year and never completed it.  I'd like to try and complete one again this year and, coupled with my Project Life scrapbook, it will hopefully be easier.

Read 5 new books

I need to start reading again.  Enough said!

Redesign my blog

A big goal that I have for myself is to redesign and update my blog.  I've joined a blogging support group that will hopefully help me direct my efforts in the right direction.  This will also help me to blog more and include meaningful content.  You should start seeing some changes in the next 2 - 3 months.

Plant some flowers

I know this is pretty general.  I have some plans on what I want to do with our front yard and hope to make some progress on that this spring.

Do 1 thing for me each month

I don't know where this one will lead, but with Freddy leaving I know I am going to have to make a conscious effort to take care of myself.

So there you have it… my focus for 2014.  I have some other things that I want to get done this year as well but these are items that I wanted to make sure that I focused on this year.

What goals to you have for yourself in 2014?