Saturday, September 22, 2012


For his birthday, I bought my husband two canyoneering classes, one for him and one for me. We decided to make a mini-escape out of it. It ended up being one of the neatest and funniest things we have ever done. But it was a comedy of errors from the get go. We started off by taking Wednesday & Thursday off work and planned to leave early Wednesday, but instead ended up cleaning the house until the kids got home from school. When we finally pulled out, it was to late to find a camping spot first, we had to go straight to the class. We got to the site, camper in the bed of the truck, and realized that the incline we had to traverse to get into the parking lot was much more than we had expected. I had to get out of the truck while he pulled up into the parking lot, because I had so much anxiety. But once in, we had a glorious parking spot! Then, on to canyoneering 101. We learned to tie knots, secure carabineres and harness ourselves for future canyoneering adventures without our trusted guides. Little did they know that without a guide, I was scaling no mountains, jumping down no rock faces and harnessing up again never! I'm sorry, but even a double jacket fire hose is not strong enough to hold me after I've tied a knot in it! But all things considered, we had a great time. By the time we left, it was well after dark and we still needed to find a camp site and a grocery store, not to mention dinner! We ate at Red Lobster, love that endless shrimp! Then we went to Target and picked up some stuff for breakfast. By this time, getting a camp site was going to be nearly impossible, so we conceded and stayed in the camper in the WalMart parking lot. Funny thing, we pulled in and backed into a spot with a single pine eree,ustaseyond thside the door and a little stream just beyond th

Friday, June 15, 2012

Do I really want an iPad?

Last year I won an iPad and I got rid of it as quickly as I got it. I really didn't need an iPad, I had an iPhone and I really needed a lens for my camera since my beautiful Ladybug took me too seriously when I asked her to "throw my camera in the truck". So, I traded my winnings for a camera lens and never looked back.... well not fully anyway. But now I am beginning to wonder. At my husbands Christmas Party, he won a Pandigital Tablet and we have played with it a little here and there, but never extensively and often times we forget it even exists. So why would I want an iPad. The answer is simple... because everyone else has one and I don't! Silly I know, but true as true. So I have been working my tail off at work, hoping to win another iPad. Looking at the rules of the game, I am being very liberal with them, but if it all plays out the way I hope it will, I will have an iPad by the end of the month and I will have joined the newest line of sheep. Any suggestions on what pointless item I should covet next? Because you know it's coming... it always comes!

Football... Dance.... And So It Begins...

The school year winds down and Summer begins so benignly and then it hits! The Summer Boom, we call it. It's that time during Summer when the relaxation ends and EVERYTHING begins! It doesn't start slowly, it hits with the force of a 3000 pound truck. WHAM! It's time! You jump out of bed and hit the ground running from sun up to sun down, it's football practice, dance practice, soccer and skating lessons. It's country fair days, family reunions, girl scout camp-outs and holiday picnics. And somewhere between the madness of creating and baking the next to-die-for summertime potluck surprise, driving your kid to football practice and wondering why you didn't just make him play the clarinet, you realize that half the summer has slipped away. A little later, while enjoying one of those sweet moments of relaxation after mowing the lawn but just before you start weeding the garden, you look around and realize that school will be starting soon. You have spent your entire summer running, baking, cleaning cooking and weeding and you realize that you have missed out. Well, not this year. This year I want you to remember to stop.... take a minute to enjoy a sweet lemonade while sitting on our back porch and watching your kids play in the sprinklers. Believe it or not, your family reunion will survive if you just bring chips this year and your kids will survive if the house is not immediately picked up. After all, between football, dance, soccer, camp and skating... they wont be around anyway. Enjoy your summer... it only lasts just three short months!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm Going on a Cruise!

I have always wanted to take a cruise, for as long as I can remember. Funny thing is, I have no idea why?!? I am scared to death of boats and water. But regardless, last night, I booked a cruise for myself and my husband. Yep, that's right, I am leaving the kids home, taking a vacation with my sweetheart. Now, if you don't think I am a bad mother yet, I have not yet mentioned that I am taking said cruise over my baby's birthday and my little man's last football game.

So why, you might ask, did choose to take a cruise and at the worst possible time for us? Well, price of course! And, in case I haven't mentioned it before, I LOVE MY JOB! I was able to get a 7-night DISNEY Mexican Riviera Cruise, porting out of Los Angeles for $60 per person, per night in a VERANDAH Suite! Now, that is one sweet deal! That included all port taxes and gratuities too! Just to give you an idea on what I am saving, my mother and father are coming along and we paid a total of $1947.32. The regular price, without port taxes and gratuities was over $5800! Not even my visa reward cards can do that for me!

So, very soon, we will be setting sail aboard the Disney Wonder, one of the newest and nicest cruise ships, currently in operation on a sun filled, blissful 7-night vacation. Can I just say one more time, I LOVE MY JOB!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Carpet, My Woes...

My poor carpet. I really feel the need to apologize to it. It started it's life more than ten years ago, brought into a home inhabited by two middle aged adults with grown children and two ankle bitter pups. It was in the prime of it's life. Then we moved in. At the time, we had a 5 year old little boy, two 2 year old girls and a brand new infant boy and a couple of cats. We have since added a beautiful little girl, numerous cats two dogs and our newest addition, Toby. The poor carpeting had no idea what it was in for.

So here we are 10 years, multiple cats, dogs, children, bathtub floods, sleeping bag and laundry basket rides and one hot wheel car wash later and my poor carpet has had it! Not even miracle carpet cleaning raleigh nc, can save my poor carpet! It's torn on a stair from the numerous days of being used as a slide, the seams have been pulled up and are now being used to conceal special treasures, such as the special Lego sword my youngest has commandeered from his father and does not want repossessed. (I should probably tell my husband where his Lego sword is before he loses his mind) And it has gone from a slightly tan colored cream carpeting to a dingy matted tan,brown, cream colored mess. I absolutely can not wait to get it replaced!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mary Kay: An Opportunity or a Scam?

I joined Mary Kay recently, mostly because I wanted the Timewise kit and it was less to buy the starter kit than the set itself cost. From that point on, I have been sckeptical of this so called "opportunity". First, they wanted me to stock my shelves, like a good retailer would. The problem with that is that in my current financial situation, it would take more than a couple of cash advances to make that happen. The next concern I had was the outrageous financial claims. $10,000 a month profit. Um hum... And then there was the products themselves. How good are they really? And do I even know enough to show them to other people? I hate wearing make-up and the whole wash, scrub, rinse, renew, moisturize, protect, repeat thing just took too much time for me. I was a jump in the shower, jump out and go kinda gal. If I don't use the products, why should anyone else?

But, I am a competitive kind of person and my director, unknowingly, issued me a challenge. She said, those of you who are sitting there thinking that this opportunity is not for you, your right. It's not. It was then that I decided to try. I was going to put effort into this and see what happened. I started going to the Unit Meetings, talking to my director often and following the plan, kind of. But here's the thing.... I started seeing results! Not the $10,000 per month results, but I was making some money. And for the first time, I started one of these "crazy schemes" and I actually paid off my starter kit. That's a big deal! I have never recouped my investment before!

Then I started to realize how much money I was losing by not having an inventory of products, ready to sell to my customers. They loved the products and they wanted them right now. Heck, I wanted them right now! So I took out a small loan, found out that my credit was all sorts of messed up from incorrect credit reporting, and I got my inventory order placed. Now just let me tell you how much fun it was to get that box in the mail! Ladybug and I ripped into it straight away!

And as for the claims, the large amounts of money, free cars, tons of prizes, well as I have attended our Unit Meetings, I have rubbed shoulders with car drivers (i.e. women who have earned a free car from Mary Kay and all they pay for is oil changes and gas), future directors and DIQ's (Directors in Qualification) who are making $1000's of dollars a month and Directors that make $5,000 per month, regularly. But then today, at another one of our meetings (I have more support in this opportunity than I have had in anything I have ever done), I met my National Sales Director, Tammy Crayck and she did something amazing. She copied her June 30th paycheck from Mary Kay and gave us all a copy. Suddenly I was convinced, there really was money to be made if I would just treat this as a business, myself as an executive and follow the plan. If you too are interested in finding out more about this almost unbelievable opportunity, or if you would just like a free facial, let me know and I would love to share this amazing opportunity with you in any way you are comfortable.

So, are you wondering just how much Mrs. Tammy's check was? $32447.54

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Family Camping: Homemade Ice Cream

Most of the time, camping involves a wide variety of temperatures from very chilly at nights to incredibly warm during the days. Trust me when I tell you, I have staying warm down to an art! I hate being cold. But cooling down is not something that I typically try to do, so I have had to be more creative than usual. This recipe however, made my job a breeze!

Here's what you'll need:
(Per Person)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup whole milk or half & half (2% will work too, just not as well. Half & Half is your best bet)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons rock salt
1 pint-size plastic food storage bag (e.g., Ziploc)
1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
Ice cubes
Newspaper or brown paper bag
Duct Tape

In the pint size bag, mix Milk, Sugar & Vanilla. Seal tightly and place inside the gallon Ziploc bag. To the gallon bag add ice and rock salt in layers until full, but still able to zip closed tightly. Wrap tightly with newspaper and secure with duct tape. ( I will usually wrap with 4 or 5 layers of newspaper and then cover completely with duct tape, but my husband says that is just wasting duct tape.) Then shake, shake and shake some more. Shake and shimmy it around for 5 to 10 minutes. (My kids really enjoy rolling it down hills or kicking it around. Whatever gets the job done. Just don't kick it so hard that either bag breaks open. Be kind of gentle with it.)
Makes = 1 Scoop of Ice Cream

When opening your bags, take the ice cream out of the ice & salt mixture first and then wipe down or rinse the Ziploc opening before opening it to prevent the salt/ice mixture from getting into your ice cream and making it taste salty.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Family Camping: Super Easy Orange Roll Recipe

This is one of my all-time favorite camping treat and it's SO easy to make over a campfire.

You'll need:

Aluminum foil
1 Fresh Orange Med. to Lg. for each person
2 Refrigerated or Frozen; pre-made Cinnamon Rolls per person (Pillsbury is a great brand, but I would not recommend buying the orange flavored variety, unless you really, really like orange flavored cinnamon rolls)
Butter or Margarine

Cut each orange in half and scrape out the meat, leaving the peel intact, so it forms a bowl. Place one cinnamon roll in each orange peel half and add a small amount of butter to the top of one roll in each orange. Place together and wrap in tin foil. (I usually wrap it twice to prevent burning.) Set down in the glowing embers of your campfire. (Let the fire burn down to embers only, lame is not good for these). Allow to sit in the embers for 7 - 10 minutes, turning half way once during cooking. Pull them out of the fire and allow to cool for a few minutes before opening. Once cooled, remove the tin foil and add the icing from the package. ENJOY!

As a side note: I will usually reserve the meat from the orange, add a teaspoon or two of sugar and squish into a yummy orange juice. (Pampered Chef pitchers come in really handy for this)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Family Camping: Activity Drawer

My kids are easily bored and when we are up camping, away from their regular activities such as sitting in front of the TV, surfing the internet or texting friends "K"' ":)" & "Hey", I need to have something to keep them busy. When they were little a pile of dirt and some hot wheels or the Tinker-Toy bucket did the trick. And while I do still have the Tinker-Toy bucket, it is just not as amazing to them as it once was. So I have dedicated a drawer in our camper, exclusivly to stuff that will keep them busy. Just some ideas of items you could include in your drawer (or when I am without my camper; rubbermaid shoebox) are: Markers (I use the non-washable kind because they are brighter, don't wash off rocks and my kids camping clothes are specifically chosen so that I do not have to care if they get destroyed.); Watercolor paints, which like markers, are great for coloring rocks and trees; Crayons, which come in handy for coloring of course, but also for making sun catchers and other fun melted wax creations, Scissors & glue; Pads of lined and unlined paper; decks of cards; dice (many, many fun games can be played with a set of 5 dice) and a couple of folder games.

The things that get used the most out of my drawer would be the card decks, dice; paper and markers. I will usually restock my drawer in late August or early September, when all the school supplies are on sale.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Family Camping: Dishes

One of the things that I have struggled with when taking my family camping is dishes. If I buy paper or plastic ware then I spend the majority of my camping trip chasing down plastic cups and paper plates and I swear that my family of 7 can easily got through a 100 pack of cups and plates on a 4 day camping trip and that gets expensive really fast. I have tried using washable plastic ware and always wind up with a huge pile of dishes to wash. NOT my idea of a relaxing camping vacation! So I was thrilled when I found this idea for individual mess kits and washing stations.

So here's what you need:
1 Nylon Mesh Bag (like a garment bag) per person
1 Washable Plastic Plate per person
1 Washable Plastic Bowl per person
1 Washable Plastic Cup per person
1 Washable Plastic Fork per person
1 Washable Plastic Spoon per person
1 Washable Plastic Knife per person
1 Strong Clothes Pin per person
2 Scrubbie Sponges or Brushes
1 Bottle of Dish Soap
1 Nylon Rope (to hang between trees as a drying line)
3 Plastic Buckets, large enough to fully submerge the plastic plates.
1 Large Rubbermaid Tote, Large enough to fit everything in.

Here's how it all works....
Label each dish, bag and clothes pin with a family members name. Use a marker or sticker that is waterproof. Setup the three buckets just before dinner. You'll line them up in a row. Fill the first bucket with plain warm water and a scrubbie sponge or brush. Fill the second bucket with hot water and add dish soap & a scrubbie sponge or brush. Fill the last bucket with cool plain water. Hang the rope between two trees. After dinner, each family member will scrub & rinse their dishes in the first bucket, scrub & wash their dishes in the second bucket, rinse their dishes in the last bucket, put all the wet dishes in their bag and using the clothes pin, secure it to the rope to hang dry until your next meal.

As an after note: I assign each child to a chore throughout the day. One of the children will be responsible for washing the meal preparation dishes, after everyone has washed their meal dishes and another child will be responsible for cleaning out the washing buckets when everyone is through.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Family Camping

Under this heading, I want to share with everyone, things that I have found helpful while traveling, camping specifically, with my semi-large family. I want to share trials and errors, funny stories and fun games, recipes for great meals and yummy treats and anything else that I find helpful, useful or just plain fun. Check back often to find out what inventions or ideas we have come up with on our most recent camping trips!

Korker Hair Bows

I know I have been a bad blogger friend lately and I am not promising that I will be getting any better, especially with Summer getting into full swing, but I did come across this tutorial that was just too good not to pass along. This tutorial on Korker bows comes from the Funky Polkadot Giraffe's website, which I found following a link on Red, White & Blue pipe cleaner rings/hair bows, which were just adorable as well. But I specifically wanted to pass on this particular tutorial because of one special step, the cereal box holder! She claims it to be "the best use of a cereal box EVAH!" and I challenge you to disprove that. Those little Korkers are very slippery and tend to boing themselves in every which way. But her cereal box holder invention is AMAZING!

So, follow this link and start making Super Puffy, Super Easy Korker Hair Bows today.