Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Stay safe out there and have a great weekend!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The other cool thing about Black Friday is that my birthday falls on that day. So here is my "plan of attack" for enjoying, not just surviving the Black Friday Frenzy. And things I'd recommend you consider if you are going out.
So here are my Top Ten Black Friday Shopping Tips
1) First and most important the kids are staying with my mom. Yay!!! That is probably the best birthday gift. I love my kids, but a momma needs to have some time away. And I won't be gone all day long. You can't cover ground and look at things with a 1 yr. old and 3 yr. old in tow. It just won't happen.
2) Use the buddy system. It is way more fun if you can find the right person to go with you. I'm going with my sister. We used to always go out on Black Friday. It is so fun going out with her. We have the same taste in clothes and shoes so when we shop together we are able to scout out things that we both like. I can't tell you the number of times we've been in a store together and have come around the corner with the same item to show the other one. It is uncanny.
Taking a buddy is great for not only sharing the excitement, but they can help pass the time while standing in line and they can also help hold packages as you take time for bathroom pit stops.
3) I recommend taking change with you for mall vending drink machines. Yes, they are outrageously overpriced, but you will save yourself time by not spending it in line at the food court. Stay hydrated people, there is no reason to find ourself passing out on the shopping trail.
4) Take a page out of Santa's play book and make a list. If your main objective is to get your Christmas shopping done then take a list. When you are in the midst of your shopping frenzy, the last thing you want to do is try and remember if you needed to pick up something for Aunt Edna's cat Mr. Binkles. Perhaps a string of lights? (Anyone pick up on that slight Christmas Vacation reference LOL) Also, if you've already bought items for some folks then make a note of that so you aren't over spending on them. You don't want to get home and think, "Oh yeah, I already had X,Y, and Z for Uncle Buck. That way you can stay within your budget.
5) My next tip is to have a budget. So many people have such big hearts, but a small wallet and they get themselves into trouble at the holidays. Having a list and a budget will help you stay within your means. I also recommend if you can swing it, to give yourself a little fun money. There are great deals to be had. When I've shopped Black Friday in the past, I've planned ahead and gotten some great sales on things I need around my house. Having a budget is also good so that even if you end up spending over it, you will hopefully control yourself so you don't go way, way over. Everyone's will power is at different levels. I'm just sayin.
6) Wear comfortable shoes and layers. I plan on wearing boots like these so that I can slip them on and off quickly while trying things on, but they are also comfortable and won't wear a blister. I got mine at Payless, but Target has them available as well. As a side note, the lady at Payless told me the black are easier to keep clean and I'm glad I went with black. http://www.target.com/Xhilaration-Kendra-Suede-Boots-Black/dp/B001VSEI4Y/ref=br_1_1?ie=UTF8&frombrowse=1&searchView=grid5&searchNodeID=2233127011&node=2233127011&searchRank=pmrank&searchPage=1&searchSize=30&id=Xhilaration%20Kendra%20Suede%20Boots%20Black
Instead of having to wrestle with a jacket I wearing a Rachel Zoe inspired faux fur vest with my boot cut jeans. Who says you can't be comfortable and stylish while out on the shopping trail?
7) Take some hard candy or breath mints. I don't know what it is, but when I get in a mall I get all dried out and my mouth tastes terrible. Maybe it is the heat? But, I'll be taking something so that I don't get all dried out. Along those lines some lip gloss or chapstick will come in handy too.
8) Hand sanitizer. I have discovered that Bath & Body Works has these in their holidays scents. My favorite is the Winter Candy Apple. I have already purchased one that I will be taking with me, but I think I will go back and stock up on some more. My hands might as well smell good if I'm having to use that stuff a lot. With the swine flu going around, I'm not taking any chances. Also, I love those small bottles because they fit easily in my jean pocket.
9) Vera Bradley Wristlet. I've featured this on my blog before and I can't say enough good things about this wallet. It has a place to hold my cell phone and will just hang right on my wrist. It will be so much easier to keep track of my wristlet then a huge purse.
10) Snacks. Put some kind of snack in your car. Just call me "Meals on Wheels". After shopping and fighting the crowds you'll need a pick me up and the drive thrus and mall food courts will be packed. Have a little something ready to go in the car to tide you over.
So go out there, have fun, be kind and patient with others and all will be merry and bright!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Today I was reflecting on my blessings and one in particular. I am blessed to have good friends in my life, but there is one friend in particular that I have been so thankful for over the last few years. We both have children the same age. The two oldest are two weeks a part and the babies are 3 days apart. So that is one thing we have in common. One thing among many.
What I love about this friend is that our friendship is not one sided. I'm not always the one calling to get together. We both make the effort. When I've had some difficult times she has always been such a positive force to make me feel better. And when she has had some difficult things to deal with, I've tried to be there for her too.
We got together last week on Wednesday and I was having a rotten week. But once I got together with my friend, it changed not only my day, but my whole week around. We always have a good time and the time flies. I love it that our children are friends. These are friendship I hope both our families will have for a long time.
So, this week I encourage you to call up a friend and remember that friendship is a two way street. Friendship, just like a marriage takes good communication and letting the other person know that you care. And the rewards are so great.
Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Since Thanksgiving is next week, I thought I'd share this Pampered Chef recipe I made last night. This would be a great way to use your left over turkey, that is if you have any left over. :) This comes from Pampered Chef's "All the Best" cook book. I know a lot of people get invited to parties this time of the year to do Christmas shopping, so if you are invited to a Pampered Chef party, I highly recommend this cook book.
Turkey & Cranberry Ring
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 1/2 cups (5 oz) shredded swiss cheese
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
3 tablespoons of snipped, fresh parsley
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon coarsley ground black pepper
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 (8 oz cans of refrigerated crescent rolls)
1. Separate crescent rolls into 16 triangles. Arrange triangles slightly overlapping. In a circle on the Large Round Stone with wide ends 4 inches from the edge of the baking stone. (Points will extend off the edge of the baking stone). Roll wide ends of dough toward center to create a 5 inch opening.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine turkey, 1 cup of cheese, celery, cranberries, parsley, mayonnaise, mustard, and black pepper; mix well.
3. Using a large scoop (cookie or ice cream works great) scoop filling evenly over dough in a continous circle. Bring points of triangles up over filling and tuck under dough at the center to form a ring. (Filling willl show).
4.Once you've done step 3, brush the top with the egg white. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Some notes about this recipe..
I never seem to have the celery or parsley, so you don't have to have them to make this. Also, during the year I go to the deli and buy turkey from there and it tastes great.
I also seem to have a hard time making this into one great big ring. So last night I used eight and made two separate rings. Also, I've found with my oven that I was able to pull this out in 20 minutes so keep an eye on these.
I hope you enjoy! This is a great quick meal during the week. Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Our journey on the preemie roller coaster began at the end of June in 2006 when I started having some slight bleeding and cramping. I went to the hospital and they kept me over night and then sent me home on modified bed rest. That was on a Friday and on Sunday I started having the bleeding again and we again rushed off to the hospital.
I went into the hospital and was examined by the ob on call. At that point I wasn't dilated. He decided to have a specialist come and do an ultra sound. The on call doctor came within an hour and half and went to examine me and his eyes got huge. I had gone to 6 centimeters that quickly. Everyone jumped into action and fortunately they were able to stop my labor.
The next ten days were some of the most difficult of my life. I was in the hospital, not allowed to get out of bed for any reason and the bed was tilted so that I was basically lay with my feet positioned upward to let gravity help keep the baby inside. I could only lay on my sides, which makes you very, very soar after a while. I was also put on some awful medications to help stop my labor contractions.
On July 4th, I started getting worse and running a fever. Unfortunately, I had some kind of infection and it was starting to affect the baby. I had hoped to keep him in longer, but the ob who was on call told us that we had to go ahead and deliver because the baby was getting sick and it was better to have a premature baby than a sick baby. The medications they had us on stopped working to control the infection. By eight o'clock on July 4th, we knew a baby was coming and our fire works were beginning. They thought my labor would go quickly, but the doctor came in around eleven o'clock and had to break my water. We kept watching the clock thinking we were having a fourth of July baby, but our little monkey decided to stay put a little longer and was born three minutes after midnight.
Our son was a whopping 1 pound, 12 ounces and was 13 inches long. 13 inches. I told folks, just look at a ruler and add an inch. That is how long he is. His little head was literally the size of an orange.
The Neonatalogist came in and spoke with us to level with us on what we would be dealing with. He was a statistics man and the statistics weren't good with having just had a baby so premature. There were all kinds of awful things that could happen. I remember looking at the doctor and telling him my baby was a miracle. He rolled his eyes and told me bluntly that he'd already had three miracles born that month at the other hospital where he had rounds and that if I said that my baby was a miracle again, he was kicking him out of the NICU. Ok, I'm a person that believes the Lord has a purpose for everything. So I kept my mouth shut, said a prayer and knew that this doctor would eat his words.
I remember that we weren't able to go and see our son until later that morning. I was so nervous because they had whisked him away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and I didn't know what to expect. They had tried to show him to me right after I delivered him, but I was in pain from not having any meds (yeah, natural child birth, very over rated) and getting stitched up so I really didn't get to see him until that moment. I remember dh wheeling me into the tiny room where they had him and he was so small. I felt so awkward because I didn't know what to say, but I just talked to him. I was trying to not choke up because I needed to be strong and reassuring and comforting for him. It was very hard to see him with so many wires coming out of him and him hooked up to the ventilator.
Within the first twenty four hours, we received our first blessing. He was able to come off the ventilator. We were warned that he just as easily could go back on it. But we were blessed that he was a strong fighter and never went back on the ventilator.
From the very beginning, we were warned that the stay in the NICU would be a roller coaster of ups and downs. They told us not to expect our baby to come home before his due date of October 12th and he may not even be home by then. All kinds of scary things could happen.
The first two weeks were very difficult for dh and I. We were afraid of our own child. Afraid to get attached to him, fearing the worst that we could lose him in an instant. We didn't even want to touch him, afraid that even doing that could put him at risk for an infection because his little skin was so fragile. I spent the first month feeling like I was in a daze. Trying to make sense of a senseless situation. It wasn't until about a week after he was born that we had what would come to be one of our favorite NICU nurses push us to touch our baby through the isolette. She had also had a preemie years before and knew how we were feeling. We found a number of the NICU nurses had been in our position.
I got into a routine of going to the NICU every day which started to bring a sort of comfort to me. I was able to participate in my child's care which helped me form a bond with him. Because it is so important for your baby to hear your voice, I would bring books to read to him. After a while you run out of things to say.
We were very blessed that over the course of Sawyer's NICU stay, he really didn't have any "major" set backs. At one point we were possibly facing him having to have heart surgery, but we had a miracle that a medication that wasn't favorable for working for him did work. Any time something came up that looked like it would be an issue, we had friends and family pray and the prayers were answered.
On the day that my son was released, the doctor I mentioned above was our discharge doctor. Now, I think it is only fair that I mention that we had the opportunity to get to know this doctor during our son's NICU stay and while his bed side manner is gruff, he is a very caring individual who is a wonderful doctor and I knew my son was in the best care when he was on duty. This doctor started to go over our discharge and was reviewing my son's chart. As he looked through the chart he said, "You all never had any major set backs, did you?" At that point I looked at him and said, "You probably don't remember this, but the day this child was born I told you he was a miracle. And you told me if I said that you would kick him out of your NICU. Well I'm here today to tell you again that this child is a miracle and you can now kick him out of your NICU." He smiled at me and said, "Well, I won't say he is a miracle, but he has had a miraculous stay." He also said that in twenty five years of practice, my son was only one of three children he has seen do so well during their stay.
Remember when I told you that we were told not to expect our baby home by his due date of October 12th? Our son came home to us on September 27th.
Our story is one of how God does miracles even today. There were so many things that happened during our son's stay that I know God was watching over us. If you wonder if miracles still happen, you only have to look at the pictures below to have that question answered.
While we have been very blessed to have a fairly healthy child, we still worry as the parents of a preemie. Our son is now 3 years old. We are working on his speech. Things like H1N1 are especially scary since he is still considered high risk.
While it hasn't been easy having a child born so premature, dh and I couldn't imagine our life without our little Sawyer. He is such a sweet boy, we know the Lord has special plans for his life. That has already been shown to us from the beginning.
This is a picture of me having "kangaroo care" with Sawyer. It would help him to lay on my chest in my shirt. Whenever we would do that his breathing would do so well. They were always amazed at how well he did. He would cry like a little kitten when they would take him away to put him back in the isolette. It would break my heart.
In order to show friends and family just how small our little guy was, we put dh's wedding ring around his arm. See the ring around his arm?
Remember when I told you he was born an inch longer than a ruler? He he is in perspective to a pencil.
This is my sweet, 3 year old today with his little brother. We were blessed to have some wonderful specialists who figured out I have an incompetent cervix, thus the reason I went into premature labor. They were able to help me to keep from having a second premature baby. We are so blessed with our two boys.
Thanks for stopping by today and reading my story. I hope it helps others who might be going through this. Having a premature baby is something no mother should have to experience
*Note: These pictures are copyright and property of the Chic Crafty Chick blog and may not be used without written permission.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
I had to make a Target run and I was looking through the food section and this tea caught my eye. I'm not a big Chai tea person all the time, but the weather has been foul here and I needed something different.
I was pleasantly surprised when I had a cup of it this morning. I love coconut and if you don't, I have to say the coconut is hardly noticeable. In fact, if it didn't say it on the box I wouldn't know it has coconut in it.
To me, this tea had a smooth flavor to it. I think I will definitely be drinking this one a lot more often then other Chai tea's that I've tried. I also love that it is decaf. I try to limit the amount of caffeine I have because it really keeps me up. Caffeine is not always my friend.
I have a friend at MOPS who is expecting that loves Chai tea. I think I'm going to share a few of these bags with her so she can try it too.
So if you are looking for a nice new tea to try, I'd say give this one a try.
I hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods. I've got some things I'm excited to share with you next week. Lord willing the DSL holds out. LOL
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
But, I'm not letting all this icky weather and stuff get me down. I'm getting really excited in anticipation of the holidays. I have started talking about Thanksgiving with Sawyer since this will be the first year he will understand. It is so cute, I've been trying to teach that the turkey says, "Gobble, gobble" and to flap his arms like a turkey. It is really cute. I may need to take a video to show y'all.
His preschool class is focusing on leaves month and I'm going to try to come up with some leaf activities here at home. I also have an idea on doing something with turkeys. As soon as I get it all together, I'll share it here on the blog.
I'm also keeping my eyes peeled for books about Thanksgiving. We have a little board book I bought two years ago that we read about Thanksgiving food. I'd love to find something that talks about the Pilgrims and the whole Thanksgiving story.
So, those are my thoughts today on the upcoming holidays and things I'm doing to make it special for my little ones.
Do you have any fun crafts or family traditions for Thanksgiving? I'd love to hear about them. Leave a comment if you do.
Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
As I mentioned in a previous post, we have the new Elvis Christmas CD that Hallmark has put out. I think my favorite Christmas CD collection are the Time Life CDs. The collection is two cds and it has all the classic songs. It has a great mix of fast and slow songs.
One of the best Christmas songs is Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas". I love the upbeat tempo and the light heartedness of the song. When we play it, I love to grab up the babies and dance with them. They start to giggle and if they are in a bad mood then it helps turn that around.
So, it is beginning to sound like Christmas around here.
Have you started listening to Christmas music or doing anything to get ready for Christmas?
Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!
Monday, November 9, 2009
Hope you are having a great Monday in your neck of the woods!
Friday, November 6, 2009
As I mentioned yesterday, I've had Christmas on the brain and I've started the Christmas shopping. I've been listening to Christmas music in the car and as I rock the boys to sleep at night, I've been singing Christmas carols to them so they will start to learn them.
My Fabulous Favorite Friday pick I've got today is something I haven't actually purchased yet, but plan on buying. I am going to get one of the Chick Fil A 2010 Cow Calendar. I just saw on Sweetie's Swags website that when you purchase a $20 gift card at Chick Fil A you can get a free calendar. Sounds like a great deal to me. http://www.sweetiesswag.com/2009/11/free-2010-chick-fil-cow-calendar.html I love the idea of giving someone a calendar that comes with great coupons. And the Chick Fil A cows are such fun.
So, that is what is going on with my Christmas shopping. Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
This year I have started shopping early to get a head start. I personally like shopping early because it now only relieves my stress, but it also spreads the costs out. Trying to shop with two little ones is definitely a challenge, so I find that I don't get as much accomplished.
I wanted to share a couple of ideas with you of things I've recently purchased that may work for folks you've got on your list.
As I've mentioned before, my little Logan loves Elvis. It is so funny how he just calms right down in the car when I put on the Elvis' Greatest Hits CD. So, when I went to Hallmark recently and saw they are selling an Elvis Christmas CD, I snatched it right up. We have actually started listening to it in the car. So if you know someone who likes Elvis, I'd check this out. I've seen advertisements that many Hallmarks are having their Open Houses this weekend. Many stores have great deals during that time, so you might want to check out a Hallmark near you. I also find them to be a great place to pick up nice, inexpensive gifts such as cute holiday spreaders, cookie platters, and of course holiday ornaments.
Yesterday I bought one of the easiest gifts I've purchased this year. I picked up the phone and called Kraft Foods and ordered their "Food & Family" magazine for my grandmother. This has been a free publication, but they are now charging a subscription for it. Right now when you purchase a subscription, they are also giving a free gift of their "Best Loved Recipes" cook book. My grandmother has enjoyed this magazine, so I took advantage of the great price and ordered her a two year subscription. Plus she will get the free cook book as well. You can either give them a call, or you can go to their website to order subscriptions. http://www.kraftfoods.com/kf/Pages/home.aspx
As I was out and about yesterday, I popped into Bath and Body Works and browsed around. I love their holiday gift sets and scents. They have my favorite scent back this year, Winter Candy Apple. I purchased one of their small antibacterial bottles in the Winter Candy Apple scent. I don't remember them coming in the holiday scents, so I was excited to see them. I will definitely go back and pick up some more of these for gifts. With this whole H1N1 and bad flu season going on, I think these will make great extras for folks this holiday season.
As I mentioned yesterday, I'm excited to see that ELF makeup products are now in Target. I may have to grab a few of their things as gifts too. You can't beat the price.
So, those are just a few things I've purchased that I thought might be of interest to you as you are developing your Christmas lists. So if you haven't started your shopping yet, then you better get started. Because soon there will only be 50 days left to shop.
Have a great day in your neck of the woods!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This weekend, I was excited to head to Target and to see that ELF products are now being carried in the store. If you've never tried or heard of ELF, that stands for Eyes, Lips, Face. I placed my first order through their website. I decided to take advantage of a special they had which ended up with me getting their mini kits for free. It is a great little package that has a number of eye shadows, lip glosses, eye liner pencil, blush etc. I have really enjoyed using this kit, as well as the other eye shadow I purchased.
If you haven't checked out ELF, their makeup is really reasonably priced. A lot of their products are just a $1 a piece. Some of the new products at Target are priced at one dollar and some are a little more. The items that are priced higher are because you'll find multiple items packaged together. When I went over the weekend, I purchased two of the lip glosses and they were $3 for the two. They come in cute round containers with duo color combos. I thought the price was very reasonable for two of them. They also had other packages including one with eye lashes, mascara and some other goodies.
They have a great looking eye lash curler for $1, as well as some awesome looking tweezers. They call them professional tweezers. It is hard to find good tweezers and they look like a nice pair. I will definitely give them a try.
With the holidays coming up, I'd suggest checking out the ELF website, as well as the display at Target. These little gems would make great stocking stuffers. They are also be great if you are looking at doing any mini makeovers on yourself for any holiday parties you might be attending. ELF products are definitely a way to do "chic on the cheap".
Here is a link to the ELF website if you want to check them out. http://www.eyeslipsface.com/elfhome/2SHIP?utm_campaign=brand&utm_medium=CPC&utm_source=Yahoo&utm_content=&utm_term=Elf&YSKCID=1&OVRAW=ELF&OVKEY=elf&OVMTC=standard&OVKWID=224681311021&OVADID=24511128021&OVCAMPGID=5608869521&OVADGRPID=10641771409
BTW, there is a great sale starting today at Gymboree. Circle of Friends members get 30% off their total purchase. So if you need something from Gymboree, you might want to search online to see if you can find one of these coupons. They emailed one to me.
Have a great day in your neck of the woods!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
When the weather gets cooler, I love to bake. I decided that I'm going to try and make a pound cake using Paula Deen's recipe. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/mamas-pound-cake-recipe/index.html I want to make this because it is a good recipe to freeze, per Paula, and I thought it would be nice to have something to put in the freezer with the holidays coming up. I'm hopeful that I'll also get a chance to make some pumpkin bread. I love making pumpkin bread in mini loaves. Of course they don't last long. But they look so cute. My favorite thing to do is add golden raisins, pecans and coconut. It really jazzes up the pumpkin bread.
Wish me luck on the baking. Sawyer wasn't feeling well yesterday, so we are keeping our fingers crossed we will have a good day. He hasn't been sleeping well at all at night. We are in a bad phase with that right now. I think he is getting worn out with not sleeping. And it is wearing us out too.
Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!
Monday, November 2, 2009
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- Give Away Announcement Today!
- Birthday Black Friday
- Happy Thanksgiving
- Operation Black Friday aka Shop Til I Drop
- Thankful Tuesday
- Turkey Cookies
- Ramping up for Black Friday
- Gobble Gobble its a Turkey Ring
- Playing hooky
- Our Miracle
- Fight for Preemies Month
- Fabulous Favorite Friday
- Check in later
- I'm living with The Grinch
- Christmas Music
- Happy Monday
- Fabulous Favorite Friday
- Check in Later
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- ELF - and not the Christmas kind
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- Sugar Rush
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