Archives for December 2008

InkHeart: A New Family-Friendly Movie

My husband and I are very, very strict on what our kids can and cannot watch, so I am always excited when I hear about a new family-friendly movie that’s coming out.

InkHeart opens on January 23rd and stars Brendan Fraser (“The Mummy”, “Journey to the Center of the Earth”), Paul Bettany (“The Da Vinci Code”), Helen Mirren (“National Treasure: Book of Secrets”), Jim Broadbent (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”), Andy Serkis (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy), Eliza Hope Bennett (“Nanny McPhee”), and Rafi Gavron (“Nick & Norah’s Infinte Playlist”). It is rated PG for Fantasy Adventure Action, Some Scary Moments, and Brief Language.

InkHeart is based on the best-selling book by Cornelia Funke. I love the tagline for the movie which is “Every story written is just waiting to become real.”

In InkHeart, a young girl discovers her father has an amazing talent to bring characters out of their books and must try to stop a freed villain from destroying them all, with the help of her father, her aunt, and a storybook’s hero. (Taken from IMBD.com.)

Go check out InkHeart‘s website to learn more about the movie. I’m definitely taking Ashley to see this one, as we both share a passion for reading. She watched the trailer with me, and couldn’t stop talking about it afterward. It’s definitely her kind of movie.

Remember, it opens January 23rd in theatres everywhere. Don’t miss it!

Wordless Wednesday: Football with Pa

This picture cracks me up. Every time Jace would throw the football to Pa, he’d kick his leg up this high!

Eamon’s Journey Fundraiser (Review & Giveaway) CLOSED


You may remember this review that I recently did for the Pumpkin Recipes for Autumn Holidays. All of the proceeds of that recipe book (or e-book) are used to fund the therapies and costs of Eamon, who was diagnosed with mild autism.

You can read about Eamon’s journey here. Tiffani also states, ““Eamon is an amazingly loving and lovable little boy, who was recently diagnosed with mild autism…just at the base of the spectrum. We invite you to participate in our journey by offering informational resources and participating in our fund raisers…”

Tiffani, the compiler of the recipe book, and the mother of Eamon has also set up a CafePress shop as a fundraiser for Eamon and his therapies. From onesies, to t-shirts, to recipe books, there are tons of super cute items available in their shop.

Tiffani sent us a turtle t-shirt to review. You can see Jace beaming in the picture. He and I love turtles. In fact, I still call him my turtle-baby, and it doesn’t even bother him! Yet… I know. 🙂 Since Jace is trying so hard to read like Zander does, he was so proud that he could read the word “turtle” on the shirt. And, I think he looks pretty darn cute in the shirt!

There are some absolutely adorable items in the shop, and they’re a really great quality. The t-shirts are durable, and the images are printed beautifully!

As a thank you to Tiffani, and to show her my support, I am offering one of my readers their choice of any one item from her shop. Take your pick – a t-shirt, a onesie, or one of the fabulous recipe books. If you are the winner, I will contact you for your information, place the order, and have it shipped to your door.

To enter, simply stop by the Eamon’s Journey CafePress shop and tell me which item you would pick if you won. (You can change your mind later, I promise!)

Here’s how to gain extra entries:
1. For 1 extra entry, twitter about this contest. (Leave your twitter ID)
2. For 1 extra entry, follow me on twitter.
3. For 3 extra entries, add our button to your blog.
4. For 5 extra entries, blog about this contest.
5. For 5 extra entries, subscribe to our feed or follow this blog. (5 points for each you do.)
4. For 20 extra entries, purchase something from the Eamon’s Journey CafePress shop. (20 entries for each item you purchase.)

Please leave the appropriate number of comments below for each of the extra entries you complete.

The contest will run from today until January 6th. Winner will be chosen through random.org and notified on January 7th. If you do not reply within 48 hours, the prize will be repulled.

That’s it! Good luck to all who enter!

I’ve got a secret!

And, no. I’m not pregnant.

At least I hope not.

No, no. I took the depo shot, and we’ve only *ahemed* twice, and both times were after the shot…..

So even though my period *still* hasn’t shown up, I’m not pregnant.

Right?

I’m a nursing mom. Sometimes your period doesn’t show up for months. That’s all this is, right?! Parker nurses far more than any of my other babies did, so that *has* to be what it is.

I’m hoping that by posting this, my period will start and I can quit silently panicking. I think I would die. Honestly. I would fall over dead. And to my family that may be reading this… I don’t even want to hear it. Just keep your opinions to yourself.

Anyway, I really am working on a secret. A big one. But I can’t reveal it just yet, because I still have much to do before I announce it.

I am *really* excited about it, though, and should be able to reveal around the 4th or 5th of January. Not too much longer to wait. I hope.

But, if I get quiet around here, it’s just because I’m busy, busy with the big secret.

I’ll let you know what’s up just as soon as I can!!

And please keep your fingers crossed that Aunt Flo shows up soon. **PLEASE!!**

We had the best Christmas!

Hubby ended up coming home early. He helped me put Lucy’s kitchen set together and got everything ready for the kids. Thank heavens!

The boys were up about 7am. Parker had a rough night, and was up until about 5:30am. So, Gene and I made the boys sit in the recliner in our room until 8am. Then, we all got up, ate breakfast, and read the Christmas Story together. After that, we opened all the presents.

The boys still believed that Santa brought the presents, and they were so excited over everything they got. Lucy loved her kitchen set, and Ash really liked all the stuff she got.

All in all, it was a great day. I got sick in the afternoon and ended up on the couch for quite awhile, but it still couldn’t have been a better day.

I hope that each of you had a wonderful Christmas. I’ll share photos soon!

Merry Christmas!

I’m busy, busy today, as I’m sure you all are. Looking forward to spending the entire day with family.

We have been so blessed this year, and I’m looking forward to all the things to come.

Merry Christmas to all my friends – new and old. May God bless you richly!

Wordless Wednesday: Sleep in Heavenly Peace


Parker and Lucy both fell asleep in my bed. Aren’t they sweet?

Skin MD Natural Lotion + SPF 15 (Review)

I had the opportunity to try Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion + SPF 15 Sunscreen. I’m always looking for a good skin care product that won’t make my face break out.

I’ve been using the Skin MD Natural Lotion for about 2 weeks now, and so far, it’s been great. I haven’t broken out from it (which is a HUGE plus!), and I love the fact that it leaves my skin feeling smooth, not oily. Most of the moisturizers I try tend to be greasy and leave a residue on my skin. I haven’t had this problem at all with the Skin MD Natural lotion.

It seemed to work better on my hands than it did my face. Of course, I was constantly applying it to my hands. I’d just put it on my face once in the morning and that would be it. I may just have not used it enough on my face.

In the winter, my skin gets extremely dry. My hands crack and bleed, usually at the first sign of cold weather. Since using the Skin MD lotion, my hands have stayed baby soft – even in the bitterly cold weather we’ve had lately.

Some good-to-know facts about Skin MD Natural Lotion:
* No animal products or testing
* Fragrance and colorant free
* Dermatology tested
* Non-comedogenic
* Hypoallergenic
* Paraben free

If you’re looking for a good skin care lotion, I’d highly recommend Skin MD Natural.

To read what doctors and dermatologists are saying about Skin MD Natural, read their reviews here. And, to see a video of Skin MD Natural protecting skin from rock-dissolving acid, click here.

Thanks for the chance to review this product. It’s a great product and one worth spreading the word about!

My husband works for Scrooge.

I suppose this is what happens when you have a boss that is younger than you, single, and has no kids.

Gene always has Tuesday nights off. Always. Except tonight. And, not only does he have to work tonight, he also has to work Christmas Eve night.

Now, who in their right mind makes their night stock crew at a grocery store work Christmas Eve, when the store will be closed on Christmas Day?

Scrooge, that’s who. Well, Scrooge and my husband’s boss.

Now, I have to figure out how I’m going to get to MIL’s house without the kids to wrap all the presents. Then, I have to figure out how to get everything home. And I have to do it all alone.

I am so angry, I could spit nails. They don’t just have to go in for a little while on Christmas Eve, either. They have a truck coming. A truck. On Christmas Eve. Tell me how much sense that makes. Idiots.

This means Gene is going to be exhausted all day on Christmas now, and is going to have to focus on staying awake long enough to enjoy things with the family.

I have to go to the grocery store today, but I am certainly not going to my husband’s store. I’d end up getting Gene fired if I went in. I think it’ll be safer to go to Hiawasse to the grocery store there. Wonder if they have to work Christmas Eve? I’ll have to ask…

The 5 Things Game

I’m bored, and have stuff I should be doing, but just don’t want to do. So, I thought I’d play the “5 things game” instead! 🙂

The rules are to write 5 things under each of the 5 headings, and then tag 5 other people.

10 years ago…
1. I was a single mom.
2. Working in a machine shop as the receptionist.
3. In one of the best churches ever.
4. Lonely.
5. Getting ready to have my first Christmas without my Daddy.

5 Things on Today’s “To-Do” List
1. Get Lisa’s cover designed for her new project. (Waiting for approval.)
2. Post my Featured Blogger Post. (Done!)
3. Wrap the presents that are hiding in our closet (that the boys didn’t see!).
4. Write up my remaining “things to do/get list” so that I can take care of it on Wednesday.
5. Relax – even if it’s just for a few minutes.

5 Snacks I Enjoy…
1. Apples with fat-free caramel dip. (The only way I’ll eat an apple!)
2. Cucumbers and Ranch Dressing. (Must be Hidden Valley!)
3. Chocolate Chip cookies
4. Raisins
5. Cheese and Crackers

5 Things I Would Do if I were a Millionaire!
1. Build a much bigger house – I want at least 4 bedrooms!
2. Pay off everything we owe on.
3. Buy a brand new Super-sized SUV
4. Convince hubby to have one more
5. Take the family to Disney World

5 Places I Have Lived…
1. Akron, Ohio (YAWN)
2. Barrington, IL
3. Schaumburg, IL
4. Uniontown, OH
5. North Georgia Mountains

5 Jobs I’ve had/Still have…
1. Head Teacher in 2’s class at 2 different daycare centers.
2. Nanny
3. Legal Secretary (lasted a month)
4. Picture People photographer (constantly got written up for not doing “Picture People poses” even though my sales were through the roof. Go figure.)
5. MOM. The best job EVER.

5 People I’m tagging:
1. Danielle
2. Chris
3. Natalie
4. Dawn
5. Cat

I have to be the world’s worst mother. Honestly.

I am SO sad. I have been crying my eyes out for hours now. I just blew Santa for my kids.

I am such an idiot. We live in the world’s smallest house, so hiding the gifts that we purchased yesterday is nearly impossible. We ended up putting everything in our big garden bathtub and covering it with blankets. We did the same thing last year, and we were fine. We told the kids to stay out of our bathroom, but neither hubby nor I thought about locking the door. (Can you see where this is going?)

I was sitting on the couch nursing Parker, and hubby was getting stuff ready for work. The kids had been sitting in our room watching a movie, and Zander came out to the living room. He tells me that “I was in your bathroom…” and I jumped up. The blankets were off all of the toys, Jace was holding *THE* Iron Man toy, and Lucy found the Little Mermaid doll we had bought for her.

I burst into tears. I didn’t know what else to do. Christmas is ruined, and it’s all my fault. How do I recover from this?? The boys KNEW not to go into our bathroom, but it’s my fault for not thinking to lock the door.

Hubby and I told the kids that we’re taking all the toys back to the store. We’re going to pack them all up in the car, and take them over to my MIL’s house. We’ve told them that *maybe* if they’re good, Santa might bring them a few toys, and maybe it will be some of the ones we had picked out for them. But, this year, they’re only getting their ornaments from us. Nothing else.

What do you think? Will that help them believe in Santa? I do NOT want to ruin it for them. I feel so awful about this, and if they stop believing in Santa because I messed up, I’ll never forgive myself.

I know that Santa isn’t the *true* meaning of Christmas, but I believed in Santa until I was 12. (I was a blond, just like Ashley!) 😉 My parents always let me believe and always had me convinced that Santa is real. I wanted to at least pass that on to my kids.

So, tell me… have you ever done anything like this, or am I really the worst mom ever? Am I going to recover from this? Are my kids going to recover from this?

SIGH. I am a mess right now. Tell me this will be ok – even if you have to lie to me.

December 20th

The kids spent the day at Ms. Sabrina’s house while hubby and I went shopping today. As soon as we got home, Zander was *dying* to know what we had been doing all day. At Sabrina’s house, he had asked if we found a Toys R Us. I said No, but we found a Babies R Us, so I had to buy them all baby toys for Christmas.

When we got home tonight, I tucked the boys in. As I bent down to kiss Zander, he grabbed my face with both hands and said, “Mom. Even if you bought me baby toys, I’ll still love you. I’ll just like you better if you bought me big boy stuff.”

What an awesome day!

I had SO much fun today!!

We left Ms. Sabrina’s house around 9, and got down to the mall around 11. We started at Walmart (praying we could find a pair of Batman Pajamas in Zander’s size – thank God we did!), then headed over to Payless Shoes. After that, we had lunch at Steak & Shake. They completely changed the menu from the last time I was there. But, they still made me my favorite sandwich (the Chicken Frisco) and loaded up my fries with their ooey-gooey cheese. Mmmmmmmmm Mmmm!

After lunch, we headed to Toys R Us. Oh.My.Gosh. The store was HUGE!!!!!!! It was connected to a Babies R Us, and was as big as a MALL! We found some awesome deals there, too. We got a kitchen set for Lucy at almost 60% off, and we found the boys a 30 inch Batman toy for only $25! We really struck gold there. Probably a little too well. 🙂

After Toys R Us, we headed to Target. Man, I’ve missed Target. I love that store. We found some great sales there, too, and found the boys some very cool Iron Man toys. (They’ve never seen the movie, but they’re obsessed with Iron Man. Go figure.

Then, we hit the mall. Wow. It was like heaven. Honest. It was HUGE. We didn’t even make it through the entire place. We only hit Macy’s (had to drop off our Santa letters and get Ashley a Christmas dress), Gymboree (they had super cute Monkey stuff that was too darn expensive!), and the Disney Store. The Disney Store (my favorite store in the whole world) had some awesome sales going on, too, so we got each of the kids something from there, as well as their “special ornaments” for this year.

I hated to leave, but hubby had had no sleep, and Ms. Sabrina and her family were waiting on us to get home for dinner. I did really good on the drive home… until we hit Blood Mountain. I am a city girl. I grew up driving 90 mph in bumper to bumper traffic in Chicago. Give me a million cars and a highway, and I’m fine. Give me an extremely curvy mountain road, and I freak. Poor Gene. The man was living on no sleep, and I think I must have terrified him going up the mountain. As we got close to the top of the mountain, he told me to pull over so that he could drive. I told him I was worried about him being able to stay awake, and he informed me that I had scared him so badly that he was wide awake. Honestly. I just do not do well on mountains. Plus, it was dark and raining, and I had someone on my butt the whole time, so that didn’t help a thing.

We made it back safe and sound, hid all the presents we bought, and headed to Ms. Sabrina’s house for dinner. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner with some very good friends, and ate WAY too much. 🙂 After dinner, they gave us the most amazing gifts. They had put together photo collages of all of our kids together. I LOVE them. I can’t wait to hang them and show them off to everyone!

Thank you, Ms. Sabrina for keeping my kids today. I had a wonderful day with my husband, and a wonderful evening with you and your family. We love you guys dearly.

Now, I am exhausted, and I’m praying we wore Parker out today, too.

I’ve got tomorrow all mapped out!

And I can’t wait!!!!

We’re hitting the Mall of Georgia, Toys R Us, Target, and Best Buy. I haven’t seen the insides of any of those places in almost 15 months. I get to go in a Disney Store, an Old Navy, and a ton of other places I haven’t seen in an eternity.

We’re having lunch at Steak and Shake. Hubby already knows. LOL! It’s been way too long since I’ve had their cheese fries. 🙂

I am so excited to get to go tomorrow. Ms. Sabrina is watching the kids (except non-bottle drinking Parker), so hubby and I have ALL DAY to ourselves to shop till we drop. Hubby hates shopping, but I think he’ll do ok if we’re looking for toys. Poor guy will be shopping on ZERO sleep, though, since we’ll be leaving as soon as he gets home in the AM.

I am so looking forward to tomorrow. I need this SO badly. Just wish the mall wasn’t 2 hours away so I could do it a little more often!

Have a fantastic weekend!!!

December 19th

Sunday is Mandy’s birthday, and she is having a slumber party at her house tonight. The boys were quite upset that they couldn’t go to Mandy’s slumber party. I overheard them talking to Ashley today:
Z: I want to go to Mandy’s slumber party, too.
Ash: But, only girls can go to a slumber party.
Jace: I can wear a dress!

SIGH.

Look who arrived on my doorstep today!

Ollie Octopus arrived on my doorstep this afternoon. I won Ollie over on 5 Minutes for Mom – a place that I’ve been frequenting probably a little too much lately! It’s such a great website!

This past weekend, they had a quick giveaway for sweet little Ollie to go along with their unbelievable sale! I couldn’t afford to buy Ollie (as much as I wanted to!!), but I knew what a hit he would be in our house, so I did everything I could to win him. Can you even believe it? I got an email from Susan @ 5M4M on Tuesday saying that my number had been pulled!! I couldn’t have been more excited! Lucy is going to LOVE him, and it’s something that Parker can also grow into. Hopefully the bigger boys will give the little ones a turn! 🙂

I’m holding onto Ollie until Christmas, but I *had* to sneak a peek for myself. He is even cuter in person than he is in all of his pictures. He’s the perfect size for Lucy, and I just know she’s going to ride him all the time.

I guarantee Ollie has found a good home here. He’s going to get so much love from all of my kids. I predict hearing “My turn! My turn!” many, many times over the next few years.

Thank you, 5 Minutes for Mom. My kids are going to love Ollie, and I can’t wait to present him on Christmas Morning!

Pumpkin Recipes for Autumn Holidays (Review)

I had the opportunity to review a recipe e-book. “Pumpkin Recipes for Autumn Holidays” is complied by Tiffani Lawton. The book is dedicated to her son, Eamon, who was recently diagnosed with mild autism. The proceeds from the sale of this book will aid in the support of therapies not covered by his insurance.

You can read about Eamon’s journey here. Tiffani also states, ““Eamon is an amazingly loving and lovable little boy, who was recently diagnosed with mild autism…just at the base of the spectrum. We invite you to participate in our journey by offering informational resources and participating in our fund raisers…”

Now, on to my review!

You all know what happened with the pumpkin pie incident at my house on Thanksgiving. While I couldn’t be the one to taste any of these recipes, the rest of my family *loves* pumpkin and jumped at the chance to do a review for me.

The recipe book is filled with more than 50 recipes – all using pumpkin! I had no idea one could do so much with pumpkin!

I went through the entire e-book to find a recipe to make for my family. They wanted me to make all of them, because they all sounded so good, but I figured we’d better just pick one or we might never get the review done! 🙂

We decided to make the 3-Step Pumpkin Cheesecake:

I really wish I could have tried it, because it smelled absolutely divine… and I love cheesecake! But, I couldn’t try it, so I had to let my husband, daughter, and 2 oldest sons to do the tasting for me. The “Mmmmmmmm’s” and “Yum’s” that I heard while they were eating made it pretty clear that we had made a good choice. It was a hit with all of them, and they can’t wait for me to try another recipe!

There are 2 ways you can purchase the Pumpkin Recipes for Autumn Holidays book:
If you prefer an ebook, you can find it here. You can purchase the ebook for only $1! It’s a steal at that price, and you will be helping fund Eamon’s therapies!
If you prefer an actual book that will be mailed to your door, you can find it here. The paperback book is only $10, and again, all proceeds go to benefit Eamon.

Go get your copy today! You won’t be disappointed!

December 18th

Ashley was watching tv with me this evening, and a VW commercial came on. When it was over, she asked me, “Can they really do that?” I had no clue what she was talking about, so I asked her what she meant. She asked, “Do they really have machines that you can sign and they tell you what kind of car you should drive?”

So innocent… and so blond.

I am counting down the days!

On Saturday, I get to go to the MALL!

Now, most normal people despise going to the mall this close to Christmas. I, however, simply cannot wait. In fact, I’ve spent today thinking that it was Friday – probably in anticipation of Saturday.

Why on earth would I be so excited to go to such a place on such a day? Because I haven’t been to a mall in over 15 months. Yes, it really has been that long.

We live in a little podunk town. Our nearest shopping mall is about 2 hours away. There is no way I would drive 2 hours there and 2 hours back with 5 kids to spend a few hours at the mall. So, it’s been since before we moved since I’ve been to a mall.

When we lived in the Chicago suburbs, I practically lived at Woodfield Mall. I loved that place. They had everything you could ever imagine… and now it’s even bigger than before I moved back to Ohio!

In Ohio, the malls weren’t as nice, but we lived 15 minutes away from 3 different malls. Shopping was never an issue in Ohio. Ever.

Now we’re in the mountains of Georgia. I mean *really* in the mountains. For crying out loud, I have to drive almost 45 minutes just to go to Walmart. And forget Target, Kohls, or Old Navy. You have to drive well over an hour to find one of those. I haven’t seen the inside of a Michael’s, a JoAnne Fabrics, or even a Sally Beauty Supply since before we moved.

Now, I am not one to spend a ton of money when I go shopping, but I do like having choices. Down here, there isn’t much choice. You “get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit” – as I often tell my kids.

So, Saturday, while I’m fighting the crowds, and dealing with all the people, I’ll remember this post and how excited I was to go to the mall. I just hope the excitement lasts all day and doesn’t wear off too quickly.

December 17th

A couple of good ones from the kids today:

Zander and Jace were talking about the Justice League cartoon that’s on Cartoon Network. Zander told all of us that Superman is the boss of the Justice League. Jace asked him what happened when they were kids. (In an episode on Saturday, the members of the Justice League got turned back into kids.) Zander told Jace, “Superman was still the boss, because I heard him say something grown-uppy to them.”

My MIL got a new dog yesterday, because her dog died during the night on Saturday night. The new dog’s name is Underdog and is a 4 year old hound mix from the local shelter. (VERY good dog. It was so good with the kids tonight.) The kids met the dog for the first time this evening before church. The boys were standing by him talking, and I heard Jace say, “Look how big his thing is!” Now, he was talking about his tail, but it had us all rolling with laughter. I know, I know. We have gutter minds.

We all got in the car to go to church later, and Jace told my MIL, “Maw Maw, you know you’re going to have to make underdog a costume, right? You’re his owner. That’s what Underdog’s owner did in the movie.”

When we got to church, the boys couldn’t stop talking about Underdog. I overheard Zander telling one of his little friends, “Maw Maw got a new dog. His name is Underdog. He’s not a super-dog, though. He’s just a really big regular dog.”

On the way home from church, Zander asked my MIL, “Maw Maw, will you ever be un-blind?” MIL told him that when she gets to heaven, she’ll be able to see again. He said, “No, I mean while you’re still here. Can they give you new eyes since yours are broken?”

Maybe Zander will be the one to find the cure for her blindness. You just never know.
Sorry for the long post! I had some catching up to do, and the kids were really on a roll tonight!