Wednesday, November 30, 2011

25 Books Til Christmas project: FREE

Our 2nd annual 25 days til Christmas countdown!

Tonight we began our countdown to Christmas.
I chose 25 Christmas/Winter-themed books from the library and wrapped them in paper bags & raffia. Simple. (they aren't due back until 12.28. Remind me. )
My son's face lit up when he came home from school to find them all wrapped & under the Christmas tree. I like to buy a couple of specially marked books for us to keep.

The idea is: we will read one nightly, the last one on Christmas Eve, leaving the space under the tree bare. Good news is you can start this visual countdown at any point in December. Watching that space clear out builds anticipation for the big morning.

I wrapped the books in paper grocery store bags because I happen to have quite a stockpile & who doesn't favor "brown paper packages tied up with strings"?

Lay the bags flat, so the bottom is folded underneath. 
I cut the top off, just under the handle.
Slide the book in just the first/top fold.
Fold the top down like an envelope & tape.
Add a # & go crazy with ribbons & bows or don't. 
Spread them (& only them) under the tree & watch the space empty out before Christmas morning!

I like to gather the books at the end of each week & return any that won't be re-read to the library. I hope your family enjoys this tradition as much as ours has! Pin It

WS Peppermint bark sale & Michael Buble

If you've tried this, you know it's addictive & bound to delight any one on your list.
As a former Williams-Sonoma employee, I've watched shoppers come by the sample bar pretending it isn't their 4th time.
TODAY ONLY it's on sale for $20.21 & FREE SHIPPING with SHIP4FREE here.

I'm also a big fan of their hot chocolate. There's something special about melting shaved chocolate with warm milk on the stove. On sale today $14.96. These two flavors are my favorite.

I heard Michael say he set out to make the Christmas Album, as Bing Crosby's record was the record played at his house growing up. I've been listening to it for FREE on Spotify & love it. This is one worth owning: on sale today for $9.99 here
Also:
  • My Publisher Christmas card deal $15 for 20 cards or $28 for 40 cards on Living Social
  • 25% off @Macys with MACYSFF details here

Share the best deals you've found...
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Poulsen Turkey Secrets. still Laughing out loud.

I can still picture it exactly as it happened.
And can laugh out loud over it!
The greatest Thanksgiving memory ever.
My two sisters-in-law & I gathered to make the entire traditional dinner for our family last Thursday.
Every dish just as yummy as the next.
Michelle's crowd-pleasing sweet potatoes and old, reliable Betty Crocker cookbook stuffing were the perfect compliment to the main attraction: our turkey.
Here's the secret we shared after plates were cleared, bellies full and dessert was served (pictured above):
The nurse among us worked that turkey with butter & thyme between the skin & the breast like nobody's business before we realized it was upside down. That may have shaken us out of our "happy just to be doing this together" cloud, but, apparently it did not.
We flipped the bird & buttered it up, stuffed the cavity with aromatics & tied up the legs. Better get this guy in the oven quickly, the husbands, watching all the kids have already sent texts asking when it will be ready.
I held the oven bag open for my sister-in-law to drop the 23 pound buttered ball inside. 
Ready? 
Yep.
Go!
Smoosh those wings & legs into the opening...
All of it fits into the bag...
And...
Straight through the bag
Onto the floor and my foot.
Time stood still. Our mouths agape and silenced. Eyes wide. Looking from one to the other. And outbursts of laughter. Our turkey, our Thanksgiving turkey lathered in butter and fresh thyme is on the floor!
Best Thanksgiving memory ever.
You can imagine the glances we exchanged as our husbands and in-laws moaned over juicy bite after bite of our turkey.
Ground turkey.



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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful for...lifetime nail-biting habit kicked

Thankful for... 
  • Sally Hansen Nail Growth Miracle (lifetime nail-biter kicked the habit. 6 months my own long, strong nails! for the first time ever.)
  • Moms who share their $5 Similac coupons 
  • Robitussin CF
  • shopping with my adorable sister-in-law @Wegmans
  • ELF cream eye shadow pot. $3 makes eyeliner so much more fun! thanks, Starr
  • Sophie the giraffe. Teethers-best friend
  • reading "[I] only [saw] because I was looking..." has changed the way I go through the day. Read the book. For fans: are you using the FREE APP?
  • Nuts in my salad
  • Amazon Mom Subscribe & Save w/Free 2 day shipping. Sure helps a mother out.
  • Lights out. Kids tucked. Little voices singing "Away in a Manger..." doing motions.
  • Target...because I went to WalMart last night. Why does one make me go "Ick" and the other make me go "aahh!"?

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful For..Clara Lily, having a third

oh I had a whole list to share tonight but only one thing is on my mind tonight. so, please forgive me for this gratuitous photo of Clara Lily, 5 months 
More from this impromptu photo session by the beloved
  S.j.bridgeman photography
thankful for...
  • the experience of Clara, our first baby without colic more here
  • I'm thankful for the way she lights up while she watches her older brother & sister
  • For Lilah always willing to run for a burp cloth and enthusiastic about picking out a diaper
  • For the way she babbles when she hears her daddy talk
  • having 3 makes taking one or even two feel like a breeze
  • And she smiles at first glimpse of me after waking up...my heart. oh. my. my heart. 
so, yes. have 3. the third comes with something special. when you're done at two, since the world is built for a family of 4 or you already have a boy & a girl or you can't be sure you'll get that one you don't have, if you're on the fence: go for it! you're a pro now.  
enjoy your hard-won motherhood maturity. 
you know enough to leave a happy baby as is and to rock that baby because one day they won't fit across your chest. you've sent your firstborn to school potty-trained and sleeping in their own bed thru the night. you recognize what's "just a stage" so you can enjoy it or wait it out-whichever applies.
number three, for me, for us, brings something surprisingly sweet we are savoring.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful for...

Thankful for...
Another grown-up in the car. running in & out, how I've missed you!
Lilah spontaneously singing "heaven & nature sing" standing at the Nativity scene
DIY foaming hand soap
Heads thrown back & mouths wide-opened in joy on the bounce houses with friends
Resisting the hot, cheesy NY pizza
Perfect timing
Indoor play place & hand sanitizer
Finding just what I wanted is on sale & I can use my coupon-that I remembered to bring!
Living below our means
Bobby pins
Dog returning home. For the 3rd time. Before we knew he was lost.
Another grown-up in the car (worth repeating)


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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thankful for...

Thankful for.. 
  • finding Don't Let The Pigeon Ride The Bus at the library
  • W Kids. God, I could just give Wegmans a big hug
  • sisters. at last!
  • open chicken souvlaki. even if i had to pass on the warm pita
  • 1st parent/teacher conference. it's official: they know he's special! I get to be his mom. Proud. Tear. Smile. Tear.
  • Agave Nectar on the fixings bar. what a surprise! again, hugging Wegmans
  • old ladies fawning over the babies
  • smiling at strangers. getting a smile back
  • instant answers via facebook pleas
  • rear entertainment system & wireless headphones
  • Psalm 119: 65

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankful for

Thankful for..
  1. Overhearing Carter say, "daddy, since my mom is so sick I'd like to do something nice for her. Like get her flowers.."
  2. Lilah choosing Annie. Singing "Dumb Dog". Victory!
  3. Kids squealing & giggling on the trampoline
  4. Wegmans label on EVOO reminds me of NY
  5. singing small as a mustard seed altogether at bedtime
  6. Serendipity on TV when I'm stuck on the sofa in cough syrup coma
  7. Maid service Groupon


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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thankful: in sickness

I'm thankful for... 
  1. Lilah putting away the silverware (even if she sorts them on the floor & does it with PB on her fingers) 
  2. walk-in clinics
  3. trader joes peppermint tea
  4. playing beauty salon & restaurant perfectly disguising mommy resting
  5. homemade french onion soup w/melted gruyere
  6. michael buble christmas
  7. baby's 3 hr naps
  8. 3 y/o watching an entire movie
  9. 600mg ibuprofen leftover from cesarean
  10. steamy showers
  11. daniel taking care of kids, letting me sleep til 8 with a full day of work ahead
  12. alone time in the waiting room to read one thousand gifts. unwrapping the secret to joy & contentment! life-altering truths. possibly the most important book i've read in years.
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Thankful: Best Skin Solution. Beauty Find

I've been a whole year (including 9 hormonal months of pregnancy & post) with clear, even skin! I'm not sure I remember ever having such luck with a combination of skin cleanser, moisturizer & foundation.
A lover of beauty products, I have tried Sephora's best as well as drugstore favorites, home-based business brands too. Eucerin Redness Relief cleanser and the sensitive skin face lotion w/SPF wins, hands down. Thank you, Kate for recommending it. I should have listened years ago. Full disclosure: the Bare Minerals, I don't love as much as my old stand-by MAC Studio Fix as far as coverage but I'm too afraid to change anything in this routine because for the first time ever I've had good skin all year. WhoHoo! May sound trite, but this girl is grateful for finding what works for my skin AT LAST!

For other FAVORITE beauty finds:
click on beauty in right sidebar Pin It

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful: I didn't even ask

I'm thankful 
my husband surprised me with taping down this rug & I never even asked. 
I don't know what's better that it's secured or that he did it without request. Probably the latter.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

thankful for: the things she says




I'm thankful for the things she says
that make me have to press my lips together & silently chant "dont laugh. don't laugh. don't laugh"
 
like this conversation the other day (just after she'd made her 38th bad choice of the day)
Me (quite fed up):  "Lilah, make GOOD CHOICES!"
Lilah (not the least bit rattled): "It's okay mommy. Atchuawy, I decided I'm going to be a bad guy. Like the bad mommy on Tangled."
This is my daughter on her 3rd birthday this year.
I know, not the conventional snapshot, especially not posted blogs.
If you know her or you've read much about her here you'll agree it's very much captures Lilah.
She's fierce.
I affectionately refer to her as the "Lepiane" (my maiden name) of our kids.
Boy, do I have my work cut out for me. Still, she makes me laugh just as much as she makes me want to eat carbs. Pin It

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thankful: he's compassionate

I'm deeply grateful...
my son is compassionate 
He's sensitive and empathetic.
While I like to think he takes after eh.em..moi, after all I was voted "most understanding" in the senior superlatives (ever even heard of that category? I know, nobody has, but it's true), I think it may be God-given. He's been this way since toddler-hood. As early as in 2 year old class at church I got reports similar to the one from his Kindergarten teacher above. My heart is relieved and proud.
And thank you to the teachers who take the time to share this good stuff. Pin It

Monday, November 7, 2011

Giving Thanks. #1: for missing them.

"The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live... He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything" -Albert Schweitzer, Reverence for Life
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'll share something I'm thankful for each weekday til Turkey day. Even moreso because I am starting to see the key to joy and contentment may be a spirit of gratitude for the little things in life. As though I finally "get it" that this is the time of my life, I am working toward the discipline of gratefulness for the gifts that can be found even in the mundane rituals of life.
So today:
I'm thankful for missing my kids
for the opportunity to get the break from them I so desperately need at times; just long enough to miss them. So when they crawl into bed ready for breakfast before the sun deems in morning, I am truly happy to feel their cold feet digging nestling into my side under the covers.
Your turn...
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Friday, November 4, 2011

fun Halloween candy treat

Did you try the roast chicken this week?
Easy & delicious recipe here.
I find it incredibly helpful to have the extra chicken for soup or pasta or enchiladas ater in the week.

Are you avoiding your kids' candy stash like I am?
We made this fun treat with the bounty.

Sorta like rice crispy treats but with popcorn & the kids get to crumble whatever sweets they wish into the marshmallow glue. I used Giada's method.
Grab a RedBox DVD tonight & cuddle up with this sticky treat. (which doubles as a project for the kids)
*Keep wipes handy 
~
My kids are snotty-nosed & the baby has an ear infection.
I'm nursing my sad heart since I'm missing out on the annual gathering of some of my best friends in California. Sniff. Sniff. I'm trusting them to sit around missing me miserably.
Made some last-minute plans to distract myself over the weekend, involving a short road trip, girl talk & Pinterest to-do lists. Should be just what the doctor ordered.
Be back Monday with a 2011 Thankfulness project.
2010 Starts here if you're interested. Pin It
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