Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We had an....interesting...Thanksgiving break this year.  The kids get a 5 day break starting the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so that Tuesday was pretty exciting knowing we had 5 days to enjoy together....
Well, Tuesday night Rich went to take the truck to go to the fire hall and it wouldn't start!  We had only had the truck for a month at that point and we'd already had problems with it blowing heat through the vents when the defrost was on AND the horn had stopped working.  So when it wouldn't start, we were quite upset thinking we'd bought a 'lemon' :-/
Wednesday, I had plans to do some fun activities with the kids and my Dad was going to stop by to look at the truck and change the fuel filter to make sure that wasn't the problem...turns out that wasn't the problem.  I ended up calling the dealership we bought the truck from and they were going to pick up the truck free of charge and look at it for us...
In the meantime, the kids and I were quite busy!
This is actually an Indian that Blake drew in school from watching his teacher draw one.  I'm always amazed by his abilities for only being 5!
We made little Pilgrim hats to share at Rich's family Thanksgiving.
The kids went to work shelling the Indian popcorn.  This is a small portion of what we ended up shelling.  What they did is going to be part of their teachers' Christmas presents this year. :-)
The kids' hand and foot turkeys.  Blake's ended up having his head tilted because he put the eyes on a little crooked...which I think he did on sure turned out super cute! :-)
Wine cork turkeys.  We ended up making 4 so my nieces could have one too.

Thanksgiving day, I made Green Bean Casserole for Rich's family Thanksgiving.  Blake wasn't feeling right and had to run to the potty a few times, but we figured he was better by the time we had to leave.  We had a really nice time, but Blake ended up falling asleep on my lap by 4ish, which isn't like him.  We figured he must have felt under the weather still and we'd get him home and rested and he'd be better the next day. :-/

Friday the kids and I were suppose to visit friends and Rich was going to help my dad with a project.  The dealership sent their tow truck first thing and got the truck, Rich went with my dad and the kids, my mom and I went to do a little shopping for a couple things Rich had wanted to get but wasn't able to being he was helping my Dad. We had to cancel the plans with friends with everything we had going on.  That night was the town's Christmas Parade which Morgan danced in with her studio and Rich and Blake rode in a fire truck together.  Afterwards we were able to go get our truck.  Turned out that the problem was a fuel pump relay fuse, which the fixed free of charge.  (We decided not to fix the vent/defrost problem and they ordered a horn for us, but the horn started working again last week!  And Blake didn't eat much all day but seemed to be acting fine.)

Saturday was nothing like we planned for.  Blake had thrown up in the night.  We hoped he felt better enough to make it to art class then go to my sister's for Thanksgiving there. (Morgan was with my parents, so she was going with them.)  We went back and forth several times as to whether we'd go.  Rich ran the stuff to go to my sister's to my parents' house in case we didn't make it.  I took Blake to his class, then Rich met us there to head down to my sister's.  We drove for about 10 minutes and Blake threw up in the car...needless to say, we didn't make it to Thanksgiving at my sisters...but Morgan did! :-)

Sunday we stayed home.  Blake rested and I spent most of the day cleaning to babysit a couple little ones Monday.  A friend called Saturday morning to ask if I could watch her nieces.  Her grandma had passed away over Thanksgiving and the funeral was Monday and I was the only one she could think of that wouldn't be working.  Not a problem, but Blake being sick worried me.

Blake seemed more chipper Monday morning and went to school.  I was able to babysit the little girls, but worried about Blake all day.  I could barely get him to eat that morning and he seemed tired again by the time we left to drop him off.  Thankfully he made it through the day but didn't starting eating well again until Wednesday.  Whatever he had had him down, in one way or another, for nearly a week, but never had a fever, so would act sure was a puzzler of an illness :-/

Well, that was our Thanksgiving!  At least Morgan was able to enjoy the whole break and our Wednesday off together and most of Thanksgiving Day were good :-)  And despite the few setbacks of the weekend there were, and are, still countless things to be thankful for :-)

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty Giveaway is Back!

Melissa & Doug is feeling super generous this Christmas season!!  They brought back the Terrific Twenty Giveaway for a second time for even more chances at winning some great toys for the kids in your life!!  :-)

Be sure to check out the wonderful toys on the Terrific Twenty Holiday Gift List, then make your way to the giveaway form.  Again, you only need to enter once and you're entered to win for every day of the giveaway!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Experience in Las Vegas

I was almost embarrassed to tell anyone that I was going to Las Vegas.  Anything I've heard about the city wasn't anything I ever thought I'd be interested in experiencing.  Yet when I first found out my sister's and my roommate from college was getting married there, I was excited to go.  I left Halloween night to stay at my sister's and be closer to the airport for our morning flight and this is what followed:
We stayed at the Vdara at the City Center.  It's a hotel & spa without a casino, so it was nice not having all the people that the casino draws and just a fairly calm place to stay.  This picture is from in front of the Vdara.
My sister and I were both quite impressed with out room.  This is our kitchenette.  It even had a sink and a stove top, besides the fridge and microwave :-)
This is the bedroom/living room area.  There was a TV on either side of the wall. (We only have 1 TV in our house, so to have 2 in the hotel was kinda neat-lol!)  We also had a queen size sofa bed.

The bathroom had a shower and a tub...also more than what I have in my own house!  LOL!


This was the view from our room on the 23rd floor.
I had to take this picture for Rich.  The fire station was kinda under and to the side of our hotel.
My sister, Katie, and I spent most of the first day exploring the strip before heading to the Las Vegas Hotel, via the monorail.  We had never seen what we were calling a 'wine vending machine' before.  We made sure to enjoy a few drinks from it though! :-)

The whole reason for going to the Las Vegas Hotel was for the show we got tickets for "Nunsense".  Very funny and very cute show.  I loved the atmosphere of the place, being that it was kinda small and the actors interacted with the audience.  There was actually only 17 people in the audience and we all sat in chairs with a little table and our drinks that we got at the bar in the back :-)

In all our sightseeing, I was able to see a couple things that I may never see the real ones of, so I was sure to get pictures!
The Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel and casino.

The Statue of Liberty at New York New York.

This is the one place I planned to see while we were out there and the place we got most of our souvenirs! :-)
Katie and I stopped for a drink in the Monte Carlo at The Pub.  I never drink beer and have never had more than a sip before that day.  With 122 beers on tap there, they had one I liked!
This has to be the most delicious beer in the world!  It's a Belgian beer called Framboise Lambic Ale, which is a Raspberry Beer...and tastes like drinking raspberry juice!!  YUM!  It was so 'heavy' that I wasn't able to finish it there, so Katie and I got our beers in plastic cups to go.  We're not used to being able to do that, but there must be no such thing as 'open intoxicants' in Vegas.
Of all the hotels and casinos that we saw, the Bellagio had to be my favorite!  The fountain out front is beyond awesome!  We happened to drive by after the wedding while the fountains were going off to the song "God Bless America" and it actually brought tears to my eyes.  AMAZING!
Another reason that the Bellagio is so cool!  The talking tree! :-)
And the Bellagio's BEAUTIFUL lobby!!
My second favorite of the casinos we saw was the Cosmopolitan.  Katie and I walked through it quite a bit since it was one of the ways to the strip from our hotel.
I took this picture for Blake, since he likes Ghostbusters, before realizing that you're not suppose to take pictures in the casinos...oops!  This was in the Cosmopolitan.
I took this for Morgan.  It was the 2 story Chandelier Lounge in the Cosmopolitan.
A place where Katie and I ate, also in the Cosmopolitan...we of course had to eat where the pink cow was! :-)
Another neat place was the pool at Caesar's Palace.
The waterfalls in front of The Mirage were pretty awesome too! :-)
Treasure Island had a couple neat things.  One was this sculpted tusk!  AMAZING!
Another was the pirate ships.  I actually had the chance to see the show with the pirate ships, since we ate at Gilly's after the wedding, a restaurant in Treasure Island.  The effects of the show were the neatest part...the show itself was kinda goofy ;-)

 My sister and I before the wedding.

The bride and groom waiting for the sign to be fixed with Kelley's correct spelling of her name, so the photographer could get their picture. :-)

Las Vegas was quite an experience!  I'm going to make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I'm not sure I'd go back and if I did, I definitely want to go with Rich!  I didn't care for the creepy guys making comments to my sister and I...or the foreign guy who stroked the back of my arm and then laughed...not cool!  All in all we did enjoy ourselves, though.  We loved seeing all the themed casinos, Nunsense, and enjoyed the night out before the wedding just having a couple drinks, dancing and seeing the strip lit up at night.  I'm definitely glad to be home with my husband and kids though too! ;-)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List Reminder and a Fashion Design Activity Kit GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Congrats to the winner, Erika!
Melissa & Doug are half way through their Terrific Twenty giveaway on facebook.  If you haven't had the chance to enter, be sure to head over there and try to win an awesome toy for a little one in your life!  You only need to enter once and you're entered for every day of the giveaway!! :-)
After you've gone and entered Melissa & Doug's giveaway, come back here and try your luck again by entering to win the Melissa & Doug Fashion Design Activity Kit from the Terrific Twenty Holiday Gift list!
From me: The Fashion Design Activity kit reminds me of something I played with when I was young, and I can imagine Morgan loving it as well!  I can't wait to share it with her this Christmas to spark a little creativity ;-)

Buy it: The Melissa & Doug Fashion Design Activity kit can be purchased from the Melissa & Doug website for $16.99.  And until November 11th Melissa & Doug is offering FREE SHIPPING on every order over $30!  (Believe me, $30 would be easy to do and cover a couple children's gifts!)  The code for the free shipping is: FREESHIPTHIRTY.

GIVEAWAY! To enter to win the Fashion Design Activity kit, please stop by Melissa & Doug's Terrific Twenty Holiday Gift List, then come back here and tell me what toy is your favorite.  Be sure to leave an e-mail address for me to contact you if you're the winner.

Giveaway will end Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 at 10:00pm EST. Winner will be chosen that night and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.
Thank you to Melissa & Doug for sponsoring this giveaway!  :-)

*Disclosure:  I was provided a product, as well as one to giveaway, in exchange for a previous post.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Halloween Fun 2012

My head was NOT into Halloween this year. Between mentally preparing for a trip, being distracted by the hurricane and it's effect on our area and our yard being dug up for a water line to go to the barn, I didn't do as much as usual. We still got a couple little things in though :-)

The kids' footprint ghosts.

These are some pudding mosters we made
A game we played called "Don't Eat Frank!"  We had a TON of fun with this one.  So simple too!
A wine bottle ghost I made with glow-in-the-dark Mod-Podge.  I made 2 more for my sister and my mom :-)
Rich took Halloween off to help get a last minute car issue fixed before I had to drive it for my trip.  It was nice since we were both able to go to the kids' Halloween parties at school and I didn't have to feel guilty about missing one to be at the other.  We also got to bring the kids home early and they carved their pumpkin that we got from the garden a month ago! :-)
Love Blake's face as he cleans the pumpkin.  Too funny!
Rich enjoyed doing the carving.
The picture I took the kids right before they left for trick-or-treating and I left for my trip.  They still had fun without me :-)

I hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween festivities.  I'm hoping next year is a little more relaxed! :-)

Please ignore the messes in the background!  A tiny house, with small kids somehow equates to HUGE messes!  It's never as bad as it looks though ;-)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Crazy Weather!

Two weeks ago, Wednesday.  Sunny and mid-70's.
Last Tuesday.  High winds and rain.  This is Lake Huron, a few miles from my home where the winds reached 72+ mph.  People were actually surfing on the lake!
This past Monday.  Snowed all morning.
It's mostly sunny and 45 today...a little more normal for this time of year! ;-)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

We absolutely LOVE Melissa & Doug toys in our house!  The kids have several that they play with on a regular basis and are among their favorites.  I always enjoy shopping on their website and dreaming about what other toys the kids would enjoy. So I'm super excited to see that they will be giving away some wonderful toys!

Starting today, November 6th, and running for the next twenty days, Melissa & Doug will be giving away the toys from their Terrific Twenty Holiday gift list!  What an awesome way to win one of their amazing toys for a little one in your life.  Be sure to stop by their facebook page and enter for your chance to win a toy from the list! :-)

*Disclosure: I will be receiving a free product, as well as one to give away, in exchange for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"The Sparkle Box" Children's Book Review and GIVEAWAY *Closed*

Congratulations to the winner, Marissa!

Christmas is quickly approaching!  With it only being a couple months away, I'm already looking forward to the traditions that we enjoy doing as a family.  A couple of my favorites tend to be picking out our Christmas tree together and doing our Advent calendars.  Although I haven't thought of it as a tradition before, something else that our family enjoys doing more this time of year is giving to others.  The book "The Sparkle Box" is a great way to introduce children to giving at Christmastime and shares why it is so important:

About the book
Sam is so excited about Christmas! He's thinking about his Christmas list, looking forward to holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift: a sparkly box sitting on the mantel. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family's good deeds. Sam's mom explains that the things that they've been doing are, in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him.

Author Bio
Author Jill Hardie and her family began placing a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to the holiday. The first time they opened His gift, the commercialism of the season melted away and they felt a profound joy and peace. Jill hopes that The Sparkle Box will spark a new Christmas tradition, bringing light into thousands of lives.

Illustrator Bio
At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life. After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children's books began to take shape. She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.
My Review
Our copy with the Sparkle Box that comes in the inside back cover.
The Sparkle Box has a lot of things I love wrapped up in one book.  It's a well-written, beautifully illustrated, heartwarming children's book that focuses on Jesus, giving, tradition and Christmas.  :-)  On top of all that, it also comes with a Sparkle Box, so that those who purchase it can easily start the tradition as well.  It's a wonderful book to share with children, and even adults, at Christmas.

I highly recommend The Sparkle Box as a must read this Christmas.  I know I can't wait to share it with my kiddos and start a new, meaningful, tradition!

Buy It
The Sparkle Box hardcover 10x10, 32 page book, with enclosed sparkle box, can be purchased at Ideals Books for $19.99.  It is recommended for ages 4 to 8.

Be sure to visit the following sites to learn more about The Sparkle Box:
Thank you to FlyBy Promotions and Ideals Books for providing me with this book to review, as well as another to share with my readers! :-)

One of my readers is going to be blessed with their very own copy of The Sparkle Box!  To enter to win, please leave a comment about a Christmas tradition you enjoy or a favorite way you like to give during the Christmas season :-)  Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you win!

Giveaway will end Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 at 10:00pm EST. Winner will be chosen that night and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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