Wednesday, December 24, 2014

In the "Nick of Time" Santa Pic 2014

You know when you have everything perfectly planned and then it all goes out the window?  Yes that was my weekend.  We had waited until the weekend before Christmas to go visit Santa.  Well Saturday came and my baby came down with the most feared thing in my house.... THE STOMACH BUG.  Well you know how this one goes, Mom went down at 6 pm Sunday night, my 6 year old woke up just before midnight on Sunday and then at 6 am on Monday my oldest was struck! 

Dad was our hero, he took care of us and we were just about convinced ourselves he was spared.  That was just until about 9 pm Monday night.  Luckily he had a quick case of the bug.  By Tuesday night we were all doing well.  As I was laying in bed with my 6 year old, he asked why we hadn't seen Santa yet?  Uggh!!  Why did I wait until the last minute?  Why didn't I think we would all become insanely ill the weekend before Christmas?  Next year I won't procrastinate!

Tuesday night we all went to the mall.  We all waited in line for about an hour.  But finally we got to see the big guy.  Everyone was excited and then this happened, the scream of fear!  Well, kind of describes my weekend, the awful "Christmas Bug of 2014"!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Three Days in NYC With Friends - Day 1

I was able to do an incredible girls trip to New York City for three days, with two of my dearest friends.  We met in college and lived together for two years.  We still get together quite often for dinner and laughs, but this was our first trip together since graduating college in 2000.  I hope we can make this a yearly tradition because we had a beyond amazing time. 

We arrived on a 8 am flight into LaGuardia so we had an entire day to spend exploring the city.  We stayed near Times Square at the Row NYC.  We were able to walk and take the Subway for our entire trip.  Day One adventures included:

Times Square

 Rockefeller Center
Central Park

At night we went up into the Empire State Building and visited Macy's.  It was a lot of walking, we took the Subway once, and saw so many sites!

Stay tuned for Day 2...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Let It Go" and "Shake It Off" Through the Holiday Season

Holidays can be a stressful time in any household.  Add in three kids eight and under, and the stressful situations can bubble up instantly!  There is so much to be done between Thanksgiving and December 25th.  The house needs to be decorated, inside and out, cookies need to be baked, Christmas pictures need to be taken, holiday cards need to be sent out, church services need to be attended, presents to buy, food to prepare, concerts to attend, the list goes on and on...  Am I making your head spin yet? 

When stress gets the best of you, I find it very helpful to sing and dance your way through it.  You may find it common in my home for me to bust out a song or start dancing in the kitchen.  As I progress along this path of motherhood, I am finding new ways to relieve stress instead of resulting to yelling.  I hate yelling.  I hate when I yell. I ALWAYS regret it after it happens!  So when I am feeling the stresses of the holidays, my two remedies are:

1.  Belt out "Let It Go" at the top of my lungs and maybe add a twirl or a spin in with it!
2.  Break out in "Shake It Off" and let the stresses all shake off your body!

Try it, it works!  Don't get caught up in all the "to do's" of the holiday season, step back and remember why we celebrate December 25th, it is Christmas Day, the day Christ was born!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It is a special day to be with family and friends and count the multitude of blessings that God has given us for each year.  The amazing food is way to sit down and share time with others you love.  This year I am so thankful for my kids and husband.  They are my biggest cheerleaders in life and always forgive me and love me unconditionally. 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving day and pray you are able to spend it with friends and family, and of course a wonderful meal!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Checkout 51 – It Works!

I’ll admit it, I completely doubted that Checkout 51 would work.  Why would a company pay you with a check for buying certain items and uploading a copy of your receipt?  Well, I was wrong!  I received my first check from Checkout 51, here it is!

I joined Checkout 51 back in August, so it took me about 3 months to get to the $20 threshold to request the check.  Once the request was complete, the check came in 7 days!  The money I earned was from mostly buying the fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and some other dairy items that the rebates were available on the app.

How does Checkout 51 work?  It’s really quite simple.


    Download the app on your smart phone (or you can do this online)

2.       Every Thursday at midnight, new rebates load to your account.

3.       Purchase these items at any store!  (Most of mine were from Aldi’s).

4.       Upload your receipt and indicate the rebates you are using.

5.       Normally within a couple of hours your rebates get credited to your account.

6.       You must load your receipt by 11:59 am the following Wednesday when the new deals load.

7.       Once your account reaches $20, you can request a check.

It is really that easy!  You do not have to shop at certain stores, anyone works.  Rebates that I have redeemed have been for bananas, apples, oranges, pumpkins, tomatoes, milk, salad mixes, yogurt plus more!  There are some name brand items that are always available in my area.  I normally claim between $1-$2 each week with my app!

I’m a believer and now I am patiently waiting for the new rebates to load tomorrow night!

Monday, October 27, 2014


With three kids, a husband, and two dogs, the amount of laundry in my household is often overwhelming.  I probably average about 2-3 loads a day with a day off here and there.  It can be intimidating especially when you have towels and sheets to wash.  Laundry for a household of five is a daunting task!  We also live in Ohio, which means the change of seasons.  With the change of seasons, comes the heavy winter laundry.  A couple of sweatshirts and a few pairs of jeans, and you have one full load.  Granted, I do not have a high end front loading machine, I have do have a High Efficiency washer, but the normal top load model.

I think my boys (now 5 and 8) feel guilty when they bring me muddy clothes.  It means more laundry for Mom and isn’t she always hanging out in the laundry room anyways?  My response to them?  I do not mind muddy laundry.  I will do muddy laundry anytime of the day.  You know why?  Muddy laundry means my kids were outside playing and having a good time.  It means they were not stuck in the house (as we so often are in the cold months) playing videos games.  Truth be told, I LOVE muddy laundry.  It is part of parenthood, part of having boys, definitely part of having fun!  So whenever my boys come in the house with muddy knees and muddy sweatshirts, I gladly point them to the laundry room and tell them to leave their clothes in there.  Mom will take care of the muddy laundry, it doesn’t bother me at all.  Really. It. Does. Not!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cheesy Baked Penne

This recipe is super quick to put together and have on the table in less than an hour.  It would also be a good recipe to take half and freeze for another night!

1 box of Penne noodles (16 oz)
1 jar of Alfredo sauce (10 oz)
1 container of Ricotta cheese (15 oz)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly cut parsley (you can sub dried parsley)
1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  Cook Penne according to package directions and drain.
2.  Combine Penne and Alfredo sauce.
3.  In a separate bowl, combine Ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, and parsley.
4.  Spray a 9x13 dish with non-stick spray.
5.  Put half of the Penne in the dish then top with Ricotta mixture, put remaining Penne on top.
6.  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
7.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Note - if you are going to freeze, before baking cover with foil and freeze.  To cook, thaw completely and then bake at 350F for 30 minutes.