Top ten tuesday … the to-do list

February 1, 2010 at 9:06 pm (Blissdom 10, blogging, random, Top Ten Tuesday)


Going out of town is always so much work.  But almost always well worth it!

And this out of town trip, is definitely worth it.  On SO many levels!!! Girl time, no-kiddo time, blogging time … oh it’s going to be fun!!

But there’s so many things I need to do before leaving at 1pm on Thursday.  So this one is likely more for my benefit than yours, but maybe you can help me if I’m forgetting anything!!  And I can help you, if you’re forgetting something too!

1.  Remove pictures off my camera –  I’m horrible at doing that, but I want a fresh clean memory stick!!

2.  Pay bills –  Blah, blah, blah.  Ugh.  I hate paying bills!!

3.  Pack my bags – which also means figuring out what I’m going to take, leave, wear, not wear, etc.  The packing is the easy part!!  It’s all the deciding that isn’t!!

4.  Pack bags for the kids – they’ll be spending the night with my parents one night & then with Pepper the other two.   But Lord knows what they’d be wearing or not wearing if I didn’t get all that organized before leaving!!

5.  Get some dinners ready – I think they’ll only be home for dinner one of the nights I’m out, but still, it makes me feel better knowing I’ve left some of their favorites ready in the fridge.  That probably means Chicken Casserole & Chicken Pot Pie!

6.  Try to get my new site finished – yep, you read that right.  I’ve been working (not really me, but rather someone’s been working on my behalf!) on a new site for a little while now & my goal is to have it ready tomorrow.  I was going to wait until after Blissdom, and then went back & forth on what to do.  So we’ll see!   Lots of blogrolls & widgets still to change over.  But I’m excited!!

7.  Set up my poken – Eeek.  I haven’t even opened it!

8.  Look at the Agenda one more time – I need to remind myself of where I’m supposed to be, what classes I want to take, who I want to hear speak, etc. etc. etc.

9.  Think about all the random stuff – Camera Charger, Laptop Charger, Phone Charger, Blog Cards, Chewing Gum, Spending Money, Pillow, Notepads … what else??

10.  Try to remember everything I’m forgetting – Can you help me??

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Top ten tuesday … got milk?

January 19, 2010 at 9:10 am (Megan, Top Ten Tuesday)

Well, I’ve got milk in the fridge (three different kinds no less) and A LOT of milk related questions.  Can you help?? When Megan was an infant I had to start her on Lacto-Free Formula because of spitting up & just overall an inability to digest milk on its own.  Now honestly, I don’t really know if it was the Lacto-Free that worked or if it was just timing.  But her tummy was happier on Lacto-Free so that’s what we used. 

 Fast-forward to a year & I asked her pediatrician about which milk to use.  She suggested we start with regular Whole, Cow’s milk and just see how she does.  That’s what we did.  And for about five months, things were fine. 

Until last week.  For no clear reason she started throwing up. Of course I backed off all milk-based products and after about a day to a day & a half of holding food down I gave her a cup of milk.  Twenty minutes later … sick to her stomach again.  This happened again & so I stopped giving her milk.  I’ve given her some glasses of Organic Fat-Free milk the last couple of days & she’s held that down without any problems, but she doesn’t exactly need to be on a Fat-Free Diet!!! 

So, that’s the background.  *Whew* Now on to the questions. 

1. Is Lacto-Free an issue that could come & go? 

2. What is Soy Milk

 3. Is Lacto-Free Milk basically cow milk but without the Lacto??  And how in this world do they get the Lacto out? 

4. But Soy Milk is Lacto-Free … right? 

5. So how is Lacto-Free different from Soy Milk which is different from Cow’s Milk

6. If I give her Soy Milk do I also need to give her Vit D supplements?  Or does it have enough Vitamin D already? 

7. What about Lacto-Free Milk?  Does that have enough Vit D for her? 

8. What in this world is Silk Milk?? 

9. Why are there so many kinds of milk?? When did this happen?? 

10. Any kind of milk I’m missing that I should consider? 

So no pressure or anything, but it is for this little cutie!! 

Megan ~ December 2009

For more Top Ten Tuesday or to link up your own post, visit ohAmanda

And obviously, I’m not looking for an answer to every one of these questions, but if you do know anything about what I should be feeding Megan that would be appreciated!!

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Top ten tuesday … thing i used to be/have

January 12, 2010 at 1:21 am (life, life with two, Top Ten Tuesday)

Usually my posts focus on what’ s going in my life, in that moment.  I decided I’d switch it up a bit & let you know The Top Ten Things I used to be or have … you know, before becoming a wife & mother!!

I used to have a …

1.  Dining Room – I know I’ve talked about this before, but it still saddens me!!  My dining room is now a toy room.  I had my Great-Great-Aunt’s antique table from a really, really long time ago & it’s been replaced by a Dinosaur Table.  Oh lovely!!. 

2.  Guest Room – Our little 3-bedroom house was purchased with the plan of only having one child in it.  We had no intentions of staying here longer than about 5 years, but that little “housing bubble” kind of messed up our plans!!  We don’t have company a lot, but when we do I would really love to offer a guest room instead of a sofa!!

3.  Career – It wasn’t a long career by any means, but I had one!!

and I used to be …

4. Organized – I once was pretty good at that.  Everything had its place.  I could find papers.  I didn’t misplace our Passports, random checks or Social Security Cards.  Some where along the way of becoming responsible for all my things, two little ones, AND a husband … I’ve become totally & completely UNorganized!!!  Mandi (she totally spells her name right!) at Organizing Your Way is hosting 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010.  She has some great tips & I’ve got to start putting some in place!!

5.  Clean – I still take showers, wash my hair, brush my teeth & all that good stuff.  But please don’t make me tell you the last time I mopped our floors or Lord help us even changed the sheets!!

6.  Size 4 – Yep.  I was one of these back in the day.  I actually remember being a little pissed off when my husband bought me a size 8 pair of pants one year.   Now I’m elated to be in a size 8!!

7.  a Slow Eater – This sounds crazy, I know.  And honestly I’ve never been good at eating my food slowly.  But I feel like I hoard my food in five minutes flat.  I think it’s just because I know that as soon as Megan or Evan are done then it’s going to get crazy and I’ll never get to finish so I just eat like I’m on the Dixie Speedway (I don’t even know if that’s the right reference … but I mean FAST)!

a Volunteer – Oh I feel badly about this one, but I still haven’t gotten plugged in & started volunteering at our church.  Part of it is likely excuses but part of it is also just logistics.  Megan does horrible in the church nursery (or anywhere for that matter) and honestly I feel bad enough that the Nursery workers have to keep her for an hour.  I couldn’t imagine doing that to them for 2 hours!!!

9.  a Traveler – Pepper & I were married for 6 years before we had Evan.  And that was part of the plan.  We knew it’d get harder & harder to take vacations after we started having kids & we were right.  It’s like night & day the amount of vacations we went on during our first six years of marriage to the past four!!

10.  Completely Unaware of how Wonderful (and difficult) this could be – Sure I miss all the above & sure some days are really (really, really, really) tough.  But I love my Megan, Evan & Pepper too much to worry too much about not having or being any of the above!!

So that’s me pre-who I am now in a nutshell!!
For more Top Ten Tuesday posts or to link up your own, visit

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Top ten tuesday … posts of 2009

January 5, 2010 at 8:32 am (blogging, Top Ten Tuesday)

For the first Tuesday of 2010, I thought I’d look back one last time at 2009.

I love stats & analytics.  So interesting to me – and I’m not kidding!!  Or at times so depressing.  As in, these are my Top Ten Posts of 2009.

Hopefully I’ll improve on this (my blogging content) for 2010!!!

#1.  Big Boy Underwear ~ The one about potty training Evan.  I actually removed the picture from this post early in the year.  It’s my ‘forever Top Post’ and the words that people search to come to this post are about as disturbing as you would think!!

#2.  HANDmade Calendars ~ The one about a handmade calendar from Megan & Evan to their Grandparents.  I still love the way the gift turned out!!!  And I’m actually kind of sad that the year is over and it’s not hanging up at my parent’s house anymore!

#3.  Family Recipe Fridays (Broccoli Casserole) ~ The one about my family’s yummy Broccoli Casserole Dish!

#4.  Works For Me Wednesday (Once a Month Cooking) ~ The one where I highlight my Once A Month Cooking Day with ohAmanda & Simply Staci.

#5.  Top Ten Tuesday (Fashions I just Don’t Understand) ~ The one where I show how much of an UNfashionista I really am!

#6.  Disney Questions ~ The one where I ask a bunch of Disney Questions before our family trip and got a bunch of good responses!  (someone Stumbled this one for me & that’s why it’s so high!)

#7.  Finer Things Friday (Local Non-Profits) ~ The one where I talk about Square Peg Ministries.

#8.  Welcome to the Party ~ The one where I link up to the Ultimate Blog Party.

#9.  Top Ten Tuesday (Things To Do When You Mess Up Your Back) ~ The one where I complain about my back hurting.  The search terms on this one always crack me up!!  Poor people are looking for real help & Google directs them to me – Ha!!

#10.  Works For Me Wednesday (Gift Wrapping) ~ The one where I tell you how brilliant I am – kidding!!

For more Top Ten Tuesday or to link up to your own, visit

This post also included in Real Life’s Your Life, Your Blog.

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Top ten tuesday … surprises of 2009

December 28, 2009 at 11:18 pm (Top Ten Tuesday)

This is the last Tuesday of 2009.  The last Tuesday of this decade.  So incredibly crazy.  I’m kind of looking forward to saying 2010.  What about you?!?

I know a lot of people like to reflect deeply before a new year, but I’m not that deep.  So, here’s a pretty shallow version of my 2009 reflection.  Also known as a few things I’ve done this past year that have surprised even me!!

1.  Baking a Made-from-Scratch Pumpkin Pie – I didn’t even know there were specific pumpkins to make pumpkin pies with.  Who knew?!  I’ve never even made or had a desire to make a pumpkin pie from a can, so why on earth did I want to try one from scratch??  I have no idea.  But, I’m glad I did.  I used this recipe from Getting Freedom.  It was super easy and tasted pretty darn yummy for my first try!

2.  Attempted a Once A Month Cooking Day – I’ve always been intimidated by freezer cooking.  I’ve always loved the idea, but none the less been intimated for some reason.  But one day of freezer cooking & you’re cured!!  Here’s a recap from my experience with Simply Staci & ohAmanda.  And of course I give all the credit to Ms. Once A Month Mom herself!!!

3.  Homemade Pop Tarts – As in I made homemade Pop Tarts.  Yep, that one definitely surprises me!!!  Why would I make them when I can just buy them at the store?!?  I used this recipe from Once A Month Mom.  It was on a total whim.  I read her post in the morning, realized I had all the ingredients and thought I’d give it a shot.  I liked them better than the kids, but that’s probably because I was trying to make them a tad healthier and used sugar-free jelly and NO icing!!  I’ll have to try the icing & sprinkles next time!

4.  Blogging – I have actually kept up with this thing a little better this year.    I didn’t say any of it was good or interesting, but just a little more frequent.

5.  I signed up for a Blogging Conference – how’s that for trying to keep up with this a little better.  It’s a combination of being excited about attending Blissdom 10 and also being excited about a girls weekend to Nashville!

6.  Became a Pampered Chef Consultant – Yep.  Surprising and not so surprising all in one.  I’m a sucker for those kinds of things.  It was going to be cheaper (in the short run) for me to purchase the Consultant Kit in order to get everything I wanted.   So that’s what I did.  We’ll see how it all works out in the long run!!  But in the mean time (shameless plug to begin), if you’re interested in stocking your kitchen with some awesome products in 2010, you know who to contact!!!  We can have in-real life or online parties!

7.  Losing Weight – Yippee!!!  I’ve needed to do this since before Evan was born.  And then definitely after he was born.  And then really & truly definitely after Megan was born.  And I’m definitely not done.  In fact after this last month I might likely be starting all over again!!  But either way I’m very proud that I actually started a diet and got weight off in 2009.  I should finish the year at 29lbs lighter than I started it.  So I am very happy about that!!  Now it’s on to those last ten pounds (and the extra I gained over the holidays!!).

8.  TwitterI jumped on the Twitter bandwagon in 2009.  And well, I love it.

9.  I let go of my Dining Room – it really broke my heart, but it was time.   We bought this house before we had children.  We really never planned on having children here.  Maybe babies, but not little children with lots of little toys!!  So without a separate play room I had to get rid of the one room we used the least … the dining room!!!  My dining room table has now been replaced with a Dinosaur Table!

10.  My 2010 Goals – one includes running.  That is so surprising to me.  I am NOT a runner.  But for some reason I have a crazy desire to want to be one.  I’ll let you know how that one goes!

So that’s me … 2009 in a nutshell.  What about you?

For more Top Ten Tuesday Lists or to link up your own, visit

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Top ten tuesday … christmas day countdown

December 22, 2009 at 6:22 am (Christmas, Top Ten Tuesday)

I’m making my list.

And I’m checking it twice.

Gonna find out if I can get it right.

Cause Christmas is comin’ in … just three nights!!

Man is it ever true that things come faster as you get older.   It’s going fast enough for me!!!

So I know everyone has a To-Do List right now.  Maybe mine will make you feel better about yours!!  Or maybe it won’t (sorry if it does that!).  But here’s my Top Ten Things to do before Christmas morning!!

1.  Buy three more gifts – I was doing so good until I realized that!!

2.  Make Becky‘s Sausage Ball Recipe – this was going to be for breakfast with the in-laws (it’s a several-year Christmas Morning tradition, but they backed out this year!!)  I already have the ingredients so we’re having a breakfast for dinner on Wednesday night.

3.  Make Paula Deen’s Garlic Cheese Grits – see #2.

4.  Make my family’s favorite Broccoli Casserole dish – because I’ll be taking this dish to my husband’s family Christmas … I think his family thinks it’s the only dish I make!!

5.  Pay the bills – because with Christmas on a Friday I need to make sure we’re paid up for several days!!  A missed bill would not be fun the week after Christmas!

6.  Get caught up on laundry – because I want the hampers empty on Christmas Morning … that would be a Christmas MIRACLE!!!

7.  Stuff the Stockings – it’s a Christmas Eve thing over here.

8.  Have  a “Happy Birthday Jesus Party” with Evan – because I like the idea of that tradition.

9.  Develop some photos – not sure if I’ll remember how to do that – ha!

10.  ENJOY the SEASON!!!  And most importantly the reason for it!

So, did I make you feel better about your list or worse?!?! I’m sure I’m forgetting something!!

For more Top Ten Tuesday lists or to link up your own, visit

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Top ten tuesday … getting ready for christmas activities

December 8, 2009 at 11:54 pm (Top Ten Tuesday)

We have a few Advent Calendars in the house this year.  Trust me – our four year old needs to be reminded every day that “today is not Christmas”.  How confusing is that though? We do all this Christmas “Stuff”, go to Christmas “Parties”, and have trees, garland, lights & stockings up for weeks but it’s still not actually Christmas!!  Needless to say he stays a little confused!

He keeps repeating me & says “it’s Christmas TIME, but NOT Christmas DAY”.  So the countdowns are helping – not eliminating the questions all together, but helping.

One of our Countdowns is activity-based.  I tried to make a list of some really inexpensive things to do throughout the 25 days that would keep us busy, active, and let us have some fun without breaking the bank.

These aren’t earth shattering by any means, but my Top Ten Favorites are:

  1. Roast Marshmallows in the Fireplace – This is fun because it can be done almost any night of the week.  Or at least any night of the week that my husband is home to carry in the logs!!  Evan loves this.  He actually eats more unroasted than roasted, but it still makes for a fun night!
  2. Lights – There’s several places around town that charge money to drive through & look at their lights.  I’m sure some of them might actually be worth the money but at just 4 yrs & 1, any old lights will do!  (Even the horrible ones on our house where a huge section went out the first week they were up!!)  So we’ll bundle up in the comfort of our PJs one night & drive around the neighborhood looking at lights & all those awesome annoying blow-up thingies!
  3. Build A Bear – Their price points really aren’t all that bad.  Some bears start at $10 and if you sign up for the rewards program you’ll get coupons to help bring the cost down.  And maybe it’s because my oldest is a boy, but if I build up the experience, we can totally get out of there without any clothes or accessories … again helping with the cost.

    Build-A-Bear ~ August 2009

  4. Clean out Toys – This one doesn’t cost a dime!  Although it may start a mini war!! I think the trick to this is picking the right time.  If I try to do this after Evan’s in trouble he’s usually not that excited about giving some of his toys away.  But when we’re having one of those good, sweet moment-kind-of-days he’s actually a little eager!!  And it provides the perfect opportunity to show that Christmas is about giving to others!!
  5. Bake Cookies – Evan’s finally at the age where he’s interested in getting his hands in a bowl of cookie dough.  I was beginning to think I was going to have to wait for Megan to get old enough!!  And decorating the cookies is always a lot of fun too!!
  6. Church or School Plays – Another freebie!!  Growing up I was always in our Church Christmas Programs.  And they were always a huge deal.  Whether it’s the adult choir, the teens or children, look in your area to see if a local church is putting a program on.  You never know exactly what you’ll get, but sometimes surprises are fun!!
  7. Reminisce – Evan LOVES seeing himself in pictures or on video.  Why not put it on the big screen in the family room & make a night of watching past Christmas videos?  Or looking through pictures of previous years?

    Christmas ~ 2006

  8. Make Cards – Evan comes home with a lot of coloring pictures and crafts from his Pre-School class.  I can only keep so many of those things.  So, I like to turn some of them into greeting cards.  Evan has a fun time signing his name & making them for someone special.
  9. Deliver Cookies or Cards – There’s something about the Holidays that just puts me in the baking mood, but I can’t possibly shouldn’t eat all the cookies I make.  So instead we’ll wrap some up & let the kids deliver them to local family, neighbors or friends.
  10. Go to the Mall – This one may be overboard on the sanity levels this time of the year.  I’ve actually grown to hate the mall anytime of the year, but it does provide for some cheap entertainment on the cold winter months … of course that depends on what your local mall has to offer!!  Ours has a small indoor play area.  I hate it because it’s a germ-fest and always crowded.  But I love it because it’s closed off so ones the kids are in the area, it’s easy to keep an eye on them.  We also have a really nice carousel.  They even have a punch card so with more than one little one you could fill a card rather quickly & get a free ride.

    Evan ~ August 2009

So, like I said, not earth shattering … but we’re still having fun!

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Top ten tuesday – every ornament has a story

December 1, 2009 at 9:36 am (Christmas, family, Top Ten Tuesday)

While I don’t enjoy the work of getting the house decorated for the holidays, I do love the result !!  It’s just fun to have a house decorated for a specific season!!  One of the best parts of the actual work, is dragging the boxes down from the attic and opening each one every year.  Seriously – it’s like the first gift of the season!! So many memories are unpacked with each box opened.

And I think the ornaments are the most special.  It’s as if every ornament has its own little story. Most bring good memories, a few bring sad.

So, here’s my Top Ten Ornament Stories.

1.  The Musical Note – This one’s for my husband.  He loves music.  I wouldn’t have been something I would have picked out.  And to be honest, when he picked it out (yes, HE picked it out) I was not that excited.  But, I’ve grown to love that little musical note because it’s him.

The Musical Note

2.  The Angel – My mother in law gave this angel ornament to both my husband & his sister several years after my brother-in-law died.  Each year I hang it next to Pepper’s stocking on the mantle garland.  I don’t know if he “gets it or not”, but just my little way of thinking his angel is especially with him during this tough season.

The Angel

3.  The Santa Claus – This is one of my childhood ornaments.  I’m almost certain one of my Great Aunts made this for me when I was a baby.

The Santa Claus

4.  The Evan Sled – One of my husband’s friends gave this to Pepper for Evan’s 1st Christmas.  It’s proudly hung on the tree for the last 5 years!

The "Evan" Sled

5.  The Foam Star – *Sigh* I love crafts made by Evan, but I also love having a pretty Christmas Tree.  One day I’ll have to devote an entire tree to the “kids’ crafts”, but for now that one little foam star is just perfect.

The Foam Star

6.  The Sisterchick ChicStaci gave these to all of us last year.  It hangs proudly & reminds me of the girlfriends I love so much!!

The Sisterchick One

7.  The Cool One – I LOVE this one – I just happen to come across these at a tiny little store in town.  Unfortunately it was in January and they only had three left!!  I love them & their rustic look!

The Cool One

8.  The Soccer Cleats – I found this ornament at Target.  It was the first Christmas we would be celebrating after my husband’s brother died.  Jeremy played soccer for his highschool team & he was known for his red soccer cleats.  He wore a size 13 at 18 years old!  Those red shoes definitely stood out on the field – they were huge!!  We laughed because if you set his shoes on my forearm (from my elbow to my hand) they would hang OVER my fingertips … that’s a big old foot!!  It took about 5 different Targets to find three of these ornaments that weren’t broken, but now everyone in the family has one.  It’s a cheap old ornament but it hangs right at eye level in the front of our Christmas Tree each year.

The Soccer Cleats

9. The Beautiful One – My Sisterchick Kristen gave this to me a long time ago.  I don’t even remember how long it’s been.  She bought it while she was in China one year.  Isn’t it beautiful!!!!  It even has it’s only tiny little storage box.  I absolutely adore this ornament … and my friend that gave it to me too:)

The Beautiful One

10.  The Other One – That’s an exciting name, isn’t it?!?  I found these shortly after I found “The Cool Ones”.  Since the store only had three of  those I needed something with a similar look & feel to make anything work.  I do love the little rustic snowflake though that hangs off each star.

The Other One

So those are my ornament stories.  What are some of your favorite ornament stories?

For more Top Ten Tuesday Posts or to link up to your own, visit ohAmanda.

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Top ten tuesday – more randomness

November 24, 2009 at 12:14 am (random, Top Ten Tuesday)

I must be in a funk.  That or my procrastination is just catching up to me & I don’t have any posts ready.  Either way, looks like you’re stuck with another set of Random Facts about Mandi again!!

1.  My car has been hit on THREE separate occasions while it was parked!!  In a parking lot!!!  Two of those times were to the same car.  Is that normal???

2.  I cannot clap on beat.  Seriously.  Just ask my husband (and anyone else that stands near me in church).

3.  I just randomly became a Pampered Chef Consultant (so if you need anything let me know!!).  I was only hosting the party because the Sisterchicks wanted to have one.  And I became a Consultant.  Go figure!

4. I have 1 older sister & two younger twin brothers.   So I’m sort-of like the middle child, even though there’s four of us.

5.  I got married before I could legally have a drink … that’s why we honeymooned in Jamaica (totally kidding Mom!!).

6.  We call my grandfather CaCa and yes, I totally know what that means in Spanish … but we say it ONLY with pure love!! (He’s name is Carl.)

7.  I was sick as a dog at my 10th (I believe that’s right) birthday party.  I was vomiting as my friends were skating around the roller rink!

8.  My husband & I got a private tour of a lot in Hollywood – we got our picture taken and even splashed in the water of the famous “FRIENDS” fountainI loved every second of it!

9.  The sight of hair (no longer attached the head) will seriously make me gag.  My Dad always cleaned my hairbrush as a child & now thankfully my husband will!!

10.  In highschool & college, I dyed shoes for a living … just ask ohAmanda!

For more Top Ten Tuesday or to link up to your own list, visit

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Top ten tuesday – the post birthday edition

November 17, 2009 at 11:49 am (Top Ten Tuesday)

I celebrated my 31st birthday this past Saturday.  I did some very random & unusual things on my birthday coupled with some very wonderful things.  I’ll let you decide the random or crazy ones versus the other!

1.  I had 550 Krispy Kreme doughnuts in my car.  The aroma is how I think Heaven should smell!!

2.  I wore a birthday “crown” on my head thanks to my sis.

3.  I spent an unusual amount of time in a walk-in refrigerator.

4.  I opened up a box of under garment thingies (not lingerie exactly but not Hanes either) from my mother-in-law (in front of all my in-laws).   Umm … Awkward.

5.  I drove home with a crock-pot full of chili praying it wouldn’t run out the sides & onto my floorboard.

6.  I was greeted with this in my drive way.

Sidewalk Chalk


7.  I saw a late-night movie with my husband.  (on a side note, if you want to feel really, really old – go see a late night movie with your husband on a Friday night!!)

8.  I ate my favorite food – Mexican – two of the three weekend nights.

9.  I slept in till 6:45am on Saturday.

10.  And the day that my husband had morning duty, both kids slept past 8:30am!!!

Craft Time with Daddy


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