Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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A Fire, A Rowdy Beaver, and a Bubble Bath

Wow! This has been one busy week! Crazy. It seems we hardly go anywhere for a long time, work and school keep us tied to the grind stone. And then BAM! we’re going and doing lots. No real vacation in 2011, but this past summer we had about three! Feast or famine I suppose.

I recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of the greatest day of my life. Yes, my husband is a retail manager and we got married two days after Christmas, what on earth were we thinking? Obviously not about celebrating our anniversary in January I”m sure.

This weekend, we snuck away to Eureka Springs. I’m sure I’ve written about it before, but in case I haven’t, it’s a lovely 1880’s era Victorian village in the Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas. We love staying at the bed and breakfasts that are scattered throughout the town. There are several we’ve stayed at. Our favorite is the 1884 Bridgeford House. Like most houses in Eureka Springs, it’s got gingerbread decoration and the whimsical period painting (it’s pink!) as well as being furnished mostly with antiques. We’ve stayed in three different rooms and enjoyed them all. The breakfast is wonderful and the innkeepers are very friendly and accommodating.

We chose to stay in their suite this time and I’m so glad we did. It’s a really gorgeous room with a gas fireplace (that really cranks out heat), a bubble bath for two and a separate bathroom. The bed is hung with lace curtains that can be released for a really romantic setting.

Our trip is about 3 hours, really easy. Friday night was the Cotton Bowl. Being Oklahoma State fans, we cheer for teams that play OU,and since Texas A&M (a former Big 12 team that moved to SEC this year) was playing OU in the Cotton Bowl, we wanted to see the game. We also wanted to see what Johnny Football is all about. Unfortunately for us, most of our favorite restaurants are closed for the season. What? There are places that do that? We were surprised to find that out too. They close from Jan 1 to Valentine’s day because business is just so slow there, they are heavily dependent on tourist traffic. We found a bar that had tv’s and a decent menu and ordered some food and settled in to watch the game.

Have you ever been to a place that really has potential, but someone ruins it? Yep, that was the Rowdy Beaver. It was a small bar in downtown Eureka that we went to eat & watch the game. Before the game started, we were literally the only people there. Then, in walks a local, a regular, who starts plugging the juke box. I know, they really still have them, but they’re digital now. The music starts (random crap that’s really LOUD), and we can barely hear each other speaking. Then the local sits at the corner of the bar and begins a conversation w/the bartender. They apparently knew each other. Well. The local, I’ll call her Lobby (loud & obnoxious), had a very limited vocabulary, all centering around the term ‘effin’ (I won’t burn your eyes with the whole word, but you get my meaning). As in ‘Effin this’ or ‘Effin that’ or ‘My effin brother got a dui’ but when she’s having this conversation, she’s saying everything AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS, SO YOU CAN HEAR HER, IN CALIFORNIA OR NEW YORK.

FINALLY, the music stops. (sigh) I asked the bartender to turn up the sound on the football game that had just started. She obliged, nearly. We could almost make out what the announcers were saying. We got almost through the first quarter before the karaoke started in the next room. Ok, that’s our cue. Packed it in and watched it in our room. Which was fine, but it just can be more fun in a bar sometimes.

Saturday found breakfast brought to our room on china. i was so full when we finished eating, I literally went back to bed. I never do that. EVER. I laid there dozing while hubby watched a movie. I was just full and warm and content. The fire was crackling away and it was so cozy and relaxing. Probably around noon we decided to go and see what shops we could find open.

Eureka is an artist village. Most people there make something in some way, shape, or form. Paintings, photographs, pottery, glass blowing, jewelry, all sorts of really interesting & beautiful things. We wandered around just taking it all in, enjoying being there without the crowds that are normally present.

We finally decided to grab a bite and went to a reliable joint called The Balcony. It’s on a balcony, can you imagine? It’s in one of the oldest hotels in town, The Basin Park. Had a quick bite and decided to go warm up with a bubble bath. There’s nothing like a crackling fire and a hot bath on a cold winter’s day to make you feel completely relaxed. Throw in a glass of wine and you can understand why I was ready to fall asleep before I got out of the tub! When I finallydid get out, I envisioned a piece of overcooked pasta!

Dinner was a new favorite called Local Flavor. It’s one of those placed that you’ve driven past a million times but for whatever reason, never stopped. It was packed out, mainly because so many others were closed, but it was a good place to eat as well.

It was just what we needed, rest and relaxation. A perfect weekend to cap off 15 years, and another busy Christmas season, to get us ready for a new week and the second semester of school.

If you ever get a chance, these are a couple of the places I mentioned.

http://www.bridgefordhouse.com

http://www.localflavorcafe.net

http://www.ermilios.com

The last one, Ermilio’s is amazing Italian & was closed til Valentine’s day for this trip. We’ve been several times, it’s wonderful. I highly recommend it.

 

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A Grape, A Wolf, and Chlorine OD

So, do I have your curiosity up? We had a terrific weekend. And I”m glad because that’s probably going to be our vacation for the year. We just got back from Grapevine, Texas (the Grape). It’s a cute little suburb of Dallas, just north of  DFW airport. Amazingly enough, our little jaunt didn’t involve anyone puking (nearly every vacay we’ve taken for the past 4 yrs involved at least one of my children, and sometimes me too, puking.) or becoming seriously injured. I was thrilled! Unless you count the three times the day we left that my daughter inflicted injuries upon herself: 1. finger smashed in car door. 2. skinned back from standing up too quickly in a Mc Donald’s play area. 3. a bruised shin from falling down at the hotel.

The hubs had to go to San Francisco a few weeks ago for work and I didn’t get to go 😦 . So, we  planned a fun family getaway to just have some fun together.   I don’t know about you, my in my house, every single day of summer starts with the words, ‘Can we go swimming today?”. And since we don’t have the luxury of a pool in our backyard, it involves a trip to the public pool, and the expense of a gate fee to get in. And many times, lying on my towel on blazing hot concrete b/c all the chairs are taken. And let me tell ya, when the heat index is 115, that concrete makes me feel like a pizza baking in the oven!

I saw a story on MSN about indoor water parks. Hmmm. That could be fun. And then it got better! I found out there was one only 4 hours from our house. That’s a day drive, easy. So I booked a room for three nights. next time I know better, two nights would’ve been plenty. The Great Wolf Lodge is where we went. It was a beautiful resort, all the furniture was lodge style, family friendly and lots of fun. They have an 84,000 sq ft (I think) indoor water park that includes a lazy river, a wave pool, a fort with all sorts of water cannons, a kiddie pool, and 5 amazing water slides. Three of the water slides are 4 stories tall and the other two are 5 stories tall! Seriously! And if it’s been a while since you’ve climbed 4 flights of stairs, let me tell ya, it’s harder than you remember! But the upside of climbing those stairs all those times, I didn’t feel a bit guilty for having key lime pie at Pappadeaux!

After sitting four hours one day in the 84F humidity that reeks pretty heavily of chlorine, my head was pounding and I couldn’t get it out of my nose! My children spent so much time in the water, my son actually was tired of it and that was a shock! We could’ve spent time in the water yesterday, but he said he didn’t want to. My daughter wanted to go, but was only disappointed for about that long, and got over it. I think we were all ready to come home.

I do have to say though, I felt like a real genius. I had everything packed by the time our kids got home from school on Wednesday.  They didn’t know we were going, so it was surprise to them. We got on the road and two hours later, it hit me. DOH! My makeup bag, including my hairbrush and all my other necessary implements, was hanging on the doorknob of my closet door! Great. My husband was being a smart ass when he asked if I wanted him to go back! Oh well, I’ll be in the water most of the time anyway, and I’m not going to get all made up for that. I had an au naturale weekend.

We visited some of my favorites from my time living there: Einsteins bagels, La Madeleine, and Pappadeaux. And tried a restaurant that I’d only heard about when I was in school there, Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. One of my professors raved about it, but it was a bit of a drive from where I was and I didn’t have the time or the money to go hunt it down. However, since I left there 12 years ago, they’ve branched out and there was a location not far from the Wolf. Oh man, am I ever glad we went! It totally lived up to the reputation! The best fried chicken EVER!!! I never eat the skin of fried chicken, but it was so crispy and so good, I had to! The portions are served family style and the plate of fried chicken they brought out fed my husband, myself and our son for dinner, and then all four of us the next day for lunch!

Now, back to reality. Getting out of bed this morning was tough on all of us, but the kids made it out the door in time, and now it’s time for me to tackle Mt. Pile-o-dirties. I hope you have a fabulous week, I know I’m going to!

I promise, I’ll post some pics soon!

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Why now?

Sorry gang, this is a rant. I’m kinda pissed right now and for me, to just get it all out there helps me feel better and get over it, so grab a glass of wine and hang on.

I graduated high school in 1985, which puts us at the 25 year mark this year. I was on the planning committee for our 20th reunion. We started with at least a dozen, maybe 18 people on the committee. But as with any committee, it starts out strong and ends up with only a handful of people doing all of the work, for the benefit of everyone. We worked really hard and I think it turned out well, we had a good time and a pretty good turn out. When it was over, several people were asking us about a 25. The committee chair and I both said, there wont’ be a 25, if you want one, you plan it!

Flash forward to last fall. A classmate of mine who was unable to attend either the 10 or 20, thought we really should mark the quarter century mark with a big party. She asked for assistance in the form of a committee. A few people offered, but never really came through. I offered to assist in any way that I could. Key word being assist. Yeah, right. You know where this is going, especially if you’ve ever offered to assist in some kind of function. Basically, it came down to being Jami, the chair, and me. She asked for more people to help, and a couple did, but that was pretty much it. Out of 350, 116 of whom are on our class Facebook page. So it’s not like they’re clueless and completely in the dark about everything.

My co-chair (see what I mean? assist = co-chair) essentially did everything once we had the location chosen. She contacted the dj, signed the contract, chose the colors for the china, napkins and table coverings, by the time I asked what needed to be done, she would rattle off the things she’d done and I was gobsmacked at her attention to detail. Oh, and I have to say that she was not only trying to plan our event, she was teaching 8th grade pre-algebra, planning her own wedding, and planning a move out of state. This woman knows how to multi-task and puts me to shame with her eyes closed!

We have been selling tickets online through our Paypal account we setup to make purchasing easier for everyone. A couple of weeks ago, I had a heart to heart with Jami and told her that I think we may have to call the reunion off. We had only sold 30 tickets and needed a minimum of 100 for the event to be held, otherwise we’d lose money on it and have to dip into the class account, which is pretty small. We discussed it and agreed that we should give everyone one last opportunity to buy tickets if they were planning to attend but had not yet bought. The response we got from that was, um, well, I’d call it underwhelming. And disappointing and frustrating.

The reason for my rant is Brian, a classmate (and apparently a dumbass) I’ve known since elementary school. Tomorrow is the deadline we agreed on to give our classmates until tomorrow at midnight to buy if they wanted to.  Jami forwarded a message from Brian that was basically telling her, and me, that the reason people weren’t buying tickets was because we were having it at the Hard Rock Casino, and no one wanted to support a casino. And I totally get that, believe me, our state has a serious skin condition and it’s called casino-itis.  And that he thought we shouldn’t have a ‘big fancy gala with a big price tag’. Ok, gala to me just means a really nice party. We never said it was black tie. No word of attire was ever mentioned. And, oddly enough, he conveniently forgot that it’s the same price of the tickets for our last reunion, which he attended. So I responded to his letter, and let me tell ya, I let him have it with both barrels. I hope his eyeballs blister when he reads it. He had many opportunities to voice this concern. In fact 6 months ago when we chose the venue, only one person had an issue with the casino, but their convention halls have a completely separate entrance. You can’t even hear the ‘ding ding ding’ of the machines. Honestly, if you had been invited to an event such as ours, and input was asked for and welcomed, why, oh why, would you wait 6 months to let your feelings be known? Grrr. He just really irritated me. I replied to this message that was sent to her and I hope she forwards it to him because that’s just crap if you ask me. If you have misgivings about something, or an issue with the location, why on earth would you wait to voice your opinion until it was too late to do anything about it ? I mean seriously. He started this note with ‘meaning no disrespect to the reunion committee’ which was Jami and myself. Well, you know what? It was disrespectful and hurtful.  He mentioned a tailgate before a football game where people can hang out. I told him if he wants a tailgate to plan it himself because I”m out. He’s a rat pig, but that’s a different story that I think I”ll keep to myself.

Thanks for letting me rant. I feel better now. I think I deserve a glass of wine now. Ha ha. And I didn’t think this was going to be very long! Guess I was on a roll.

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I’m back with new recipe ideas!

Wow! Talk about a hair-on-fire week! We just got back from a week+ at Disneyworld in Orlando and I never thought I’d be so happy to sleep in my own bed! I can tell you that at least the hotel beds were very comfortable, pillow-top in fact and plenty big enough for my 6’4″ hubby and myself to sleep comfortably.

We went full-tilt for 7 full days, and a little of the evening we first arrived. I wore a pedometer, just for grins and giggles and got quite a shock! The first full day we were there, we walked 7 miles! i forgot how many steps that was, but we were all wiped out!  It was a good time, lots of rides, meeting characters, including many that we didn’t get to see on our last visit, good food, and, well, standing in line! We were able to avoid too much standing in line by hitting the parks early, but it’s inevitable when 20,000 people want to be in the same place at the same time, there’s going to be a line where you want to be! My husband and I made jokes about the ‘line simulation ride’ because there was alot of that. We refused to stand in a line that was longer than 20 minutes, 30 minutes was max that we would try. Normally they would move faster than was posted, but still….

We ate lots of good food, and many things I’m going to attempt to replicate. At Ohana at the Polynesian resort they have pineapple bread that is just to die for! It’s not overly sweet or frosted, but it was amazing!  Oh, that and the skewers of grilled steak, pork, turkey and shrimp! All you can eat can be a bad thing sometimes! I would loved to make the Dole whip, but I don’t have the frozen smoothie machine, but I bet I could make a sorbet or ice. Then there were the parmesan rolls at the Rose & Crown. They were warm and soft and I love the taste of the browned parm sprinkled on top.  Oh, and I can’t forget the Oreo bon bons! They were fantastic! Oreo’s topped with some kind of cookies and cream creation then sprinkled with cocoa powder and a dollop of chocolate mousse.

We ate at a drive-in theater that was an indoor restaurant made to look like a drive-in. Very cool! You sit in little cars to eat while watching B movies from the 50’s and 60’s. The walls are painted to look like night. Very unique and fun. We ate at a Biergarten in Germany at Epcot. We were very lucky to be able to have dinner with princesses at Cinderella’s castle. And for the end of our trip, we ate at an English pub called the Rose and Crown in the UK pavilion at Epcot. I can’t forget about the Mickey bars!

We were very lucky to go on this vacation and eat at some of the restaurants we did, they are difficult to get reservations at. I’ll keep you posted on my quest to replicate some of the recipes and share if I have any success!

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I may have temporarily lost my mind, but…..

Ok, so on my other blog, I chronicled our vacation nightmare last year over spring break http://never1dullmoment.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/are-we-there-yet-part-deux-aka-attack-of-friday-the-13th/

After that trip, I swore I would never again plan another big vacation, or fly domestically. Well, the flying thing, that was thrown out last fall when my husband and I went to Napa for a long adults-only weekend.  I don’t know about time clouding our memories, well, that’s not true, I do know that happens. but for some reason, as we come to the end of  a school-year, our thoughts turn to vacation. It’s inevitable. Summer = vacation, right? I love taking our children to new and exciting places they may have never been to. Or that none of us has been to. And those damned Disneyworld commercials just get to me. We took our kids two years ago to Disneyworld in Orlando and had a great time.  We drove that time and it took us a day and a half to get there. That first day was a seriously LONG day.  But once we were there we had a ball. The only problem was that we didn’t have enough time and tried to cram too much into a really short period.  We both agreed that the next time we visited, we would take more time.

Fast forward to spring 2010. Those freaking Disneyworld commercials really make us start thinking. We started talking about vacation and decide where to go. We had a list of places that we were interested in : Disney, Destin, FL; Denver (we have friends there); Devil’s Den (a really cool state park in Arkansas that we may visit just as a long weekend); or Idaho (my in-laws just moved back there and they are only a couple of hours from Yosemite and Jacksonhole). My husband is crazy busy working at his new job and tells me to just start planning, he doesnt’ care where we go.

So I started doing some research and narrowed things down to Idaho or Disney. Because we are a solid month+ from any trip, I didn’t want to tell my kids just yet. I can’t handle the every day, ‘Mom, when are we going? Are we there yet?’ questioning. But we have been discussing taking a vacation, so they have an idea we’ll be going somewhere, we just don’t know where yet.

I have booked airfare and a hotel room (a 2 room suite w/full hot breakfast for an insane deal, $85/night!) but still haven’t told our kids. Last night I was tired, they were tired and getting on my last freaking nerve, and I started thinking, OMG what the hell was I thinking? I know we’ll have a great time when we get there, I just know it’s going to be a busy time and I’ll just have to go with the thought that we’ll sleep when we get home!

And you know, the people who post on their Facebook pages that they’re gone, they really are just inviting trouble, so don’t expect me to post when we’re leaving, I’ll simply post when we return!

Happy vacationing! I”ll post more when we get back!

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Cheerios: Not just for breakfast!

Ok, I must admit, i love Cheerios. I always have, but having children has given me an excuse to constantly have a box in my pantry. darn. I love to have a bowl for a snack, or even just munch on them dry. When my son was a baby, we rediscovered our love of the oatey little o’s. I mean really, how cute is it when you’ve got a cute, chubby, toothless grin with a cheerio stuck to his cheek? Love it. Our old dog used to lay on the floor under my boy’s high chair just waiting for the hailstorm of free food. His name was Jack, but his nickname was “Jack the Vac” because he basically cleaned up after us!By the time my son was a year old, dear Jack’d had enough of my favorite cereal and wouldn’t eat any more, unless they were the honey nut/apple cinnamon variety.

So, knowing this about me, you can imagine how excited I was to find a recipe called ‘Cheerios Energy Bars’. Woo hoo! A great snack recipe for one of my all time favorite cereals. So, I immediately went to the store to acquire all of the necessary ingredients that I didn’t have on hand. Wow. Just let me say, I love them! They have honey nut Cheerios (the original recipe called for banana nut, but I had honey nut and thought they would do just as well), dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, slivered almonds toasted, peanut butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. I don’t think they’re very low-cal, since they include peanut butter and corn syrup, but they are a lovely little treat. They would be great as a breakfast on the go with a cup of coffee. Or just as a treat, like right now, as I”m writing this. I have a feeling you could use any flavor Cheerios you wanted to. And I also have a feeling you could cut down the amount of corn syrup and they’d still be just as good. The batch I made today turned out a bit loosey-goosey and don’t want to stick together like they should. That’s ok. I”m totally fine if my food isn’t pretty, but tastes good. I can forgive the appearance of just about anything if it tastes good. If it’s visually unappealing and it tastes bad, in my world that equals dog food!

I have another Cheerios recipe, it seems to me it was more of a kids treat bar kind of thing, I think I”ll dig around and find it to see if I can make it for an after school snack for my children. My son won’t eat dried cranberries, so, darn the luck, that means the bars will be all mine! 😀

I also found a new cookbook today. I was at our local Big Lots, I love that store. I find all kinds of neat snacks there. I don’t buy much else there, but when I can buy a snack for $1.50 and it’s currently at the grocery store for at least twice that, I’m in. I found Oreo Cakesters there last week for $2.00 and they’re currently nearly $4.00 at the grocery here. I was just wandering around, enjoying the peace of being momentarily childless and came across a rack of cook books. I’ve become a sucker for cookbooks of late. The one I picked up, a nice spiral bound, hard cover was only $5. It’s a Bisquick cookbook. I don’t know how you feel about biscuit mix, but I’ve always got some on hand and have found some really great recipes from it. So…I”ll keep you posted on the results of my testing it out!

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Merry Christmas!

And what a day it is! We had 6 to 8″ of snow yesterday on top of about 1″ of sleet and the FIRST ever blizzard warning for our state! It is definitely one that we will be talking about for a long time to come.

I am very thankful that we don’t have work and school to worry about missing today. We are able to just spend time together playing and hanging out. Enjoying each other for a bit. Later, when the windchill isn’t in the single digits, we’ll go out and build snowmen and have some fun outside and then come in for hot cocoa with loads of marshmellows!

My living room is strewn with the remains of at least an hour or two’s worth of wrapping, clothes, toys, random and miscellaneous stuff and a few lonely presents still under the tree waiting for the snow to clear so we can venture out and deliver them to their intended recipients. It essentially looks like a department store threw up, yeah, I think that’s a pretty good description, just because of the sheer variety of things lying about. Shoes, Lego’s, candy, Nerf guns, books, video games, board games. Wow! What a haul. I even really tried to scale back this year. Honestly, I think I was able to scale back a bit, but it still looks like my kids made out like bandits!

Me, my gift was spending time with them and seeing the pure joy on their faces and thinking about the families of the children I purchased for from the Angel Tree.  How the kids’ faces must have lit up seeing the presents under the tree, if they had one, and the joy on the parents’ faces knowing someone cared enough to help them in a time of need.

Now if we could just keep the feeling of love and caring going all year long, how wonderful that would be.

I hope this finds your heart full of love and your home full of friends and family sharing this wonderful day. I wish you the Merriest of Christmases and a blessed New Year!

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Cookies for Santa

Yes, my blog is titled “Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess.’ I never realized I had hidden within myself and Rachael/Martha/Betty wannabe. The past few years, she has been fighting to escape the confines of my brain and shows herself on a fairly regular basis.

Case in point: Last night my son’s best friend was here for a sleepover. Today is Christmas Eve and of course, we must have cookies for Santa. I think he would be tremendously offended if we neglected his midnight snack. So, with my son’s friend (and my extra son) here, we made gingerbread cookies. I thought I had a man cookie cutter, but couldn’t seem to locate it so we made Santa, Christmas trees, stockings and snowmen and had agreat time decorating them with frosting and loads of sprinkles. I think Santa may have a belly ache by the time  he leaves my house!

It really was so much fun doing it and watching them. My son’s friend is a really good kid and I like him a lot. I am very happy that they live two doors down. It’s very convenient, I like his parents, and he’s a good kid to boot. Jackpot!

He was so funny, he wanted to watch me roll the dough and cut out the cookies. I guess his mother doesn’t cook much, no matter how many easy recipes I give her, she just doesn’t enjoy it at all. He told me what a good cook I am, and that really made me feel good. Sweet kid.

I called his mother to ask a question and told her what we were doing and she said, ‘Oh, I”m so glad he gets to do that with you. I guess no matter how much I don’t want to do it, I really should, just so we can do it together.’  That really made me realize that not everyone has an inner Rachael/Martha/Betty dying to get out. I hope she will do things like that for him. He really seemed to enjoy it. In the meantime, I’ll continue passing on easy recipes for her to try in hopes she’ll discover her “Unintentional Domestic Goddess”!

Merry Christmas!

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I’m dreaming of a …..

White Christmas! Yay! It’s so exciting! Here in the southern part of the country, our Christmases are normally brown, or yellow, the color of dormant Bermuda grass. And normally fairly warm, in the 40’s to 50’s.

Not this year! We are gearing up for a big storm that could dump between 4 and 12 inches of snow on us, depending on location and path of the storm! It’s very exciting for several reasons. The last white Christmas we had here was in 2002, which means this will be my daughter’s first since she was born in 2003.

Everyone is off work today and tomorrow, and the weekend, with the exception of my hard-working husband, who, of course, has to work today and the weekend.

We are very much looking forward to building snow men, having snow ball fights, and just enjoying the snow, since it’s not uncommon for us to go an entire winter without snow. I’m just glad it’s going to be snow rather than ice. We’ve had our share of that the past few years and I could live the rest of my life without an ice storm and be perfectly happy. Ice storms are not fun, at all and anyone who tells you they are is lying to your face!

So…Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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Can I please just have a few more?

Hours in the day, that is.  Hours that don’t involve work, laundry, chasing my children? Hours that I can use to relax, read a good book, chat with my husband?

Today is my last day of freedom, my children’s last day of school before our two week Christmas break. So far on my list: wrapping gifts, grocery shopping, exercising, hmm, it seems like I”m missing something, but isnt’ that enough already? Oh, and I have to be at their school by 2:30 to help with my son’s Christmas party.

I am looking forward to having some fun time to spend with my children, I just hope they can find other things to do besides fight with each other, tattle, bug me, or drive me insane! Here’s hoping our weather is decent enough I can throw them in the back yard to play every now and again!

Wish me luck!

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