Friday, December 24, 2010

Deck The HAUL!

Hey everyone! 

Sorry I'm so late getting everything up and going today.  Actually this is only the second time I've been on the computer in like 2 weeks.  Hopefully things will calm down and I will be back to my normal bloggy self in a few days. 
Until then...

I wanted to start off by saying a big "THANK YOU" to all the participants of the 12 days of Christmas swap!  It really went smoothly, with only one or two bumps in the road.  Everyone (to the best of my knowledge) received a package, and I heard many good things about the new friendships that had been formed.  That makes me so happy!  I hope ya'll will join in again next year!


How did YOU fare with your 12 days of Christmas swap package???

I'll start things off by sharing with you what I received, and then there will be a link at the bottom. 

First, my partner was Lisa from THE THOMAS TRIBE, and LITTLE ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES.
Did ya'll know that she had a BABY during the 12 days???  Fun, right?!  I can't wait to see pictures of her little "Bear"!

The cutest little homemade manger I've ever seen!

Day 2

Lip balm.  But not just ANY lip balm.  DR. PEPPER lip balm!!!  That girl really did her homework...

Day 3

Some super awesome, and wonderfully shiny scrapbook paper!  I don't remember mentioning that I scrapbook, but she knew it somehow...

Day 4

Some bamboo spoons!  These will definitely come in handy when cooking Christmas dinner.

Day 5

This is kind of like Vicks VapoRub, but Lisa says it's MUCH better.  I think I'm going to try it out on myself, so I don't have to wait for my kids to get sick...

Day 6

A card game!   I've never played this game before, but I'm crazy about word games, so I can't wait to try it!

Day 7

Nail polish, and lots of it!  I have recently become addicted to pedicures, so I'm REALLY excited about these!

Day 8

I water jug, and gummi bears.  I had to search for the gummi bears, because my kids immediately declared them as their own.

Day 9

ORANGE STICKS!  I love these things!  I may be cracking into them after the children are nestled all snug in their beds tonight...

Day 10

More scrapbook stuff!  This'll be great for all the Christmas pictures.  I hope I can find time to use it...

Day 11

Such a pretty Christmas-y necklace!  I think  I may have to fight Sissy for this one...

Day 12

An awesome book, that give all sorts of tips and ideas of organization, and family togetherness.  It's like she knew exactly what I needed! 

Thanks so much, Lisa, for all the awesome and incredibly thoughtful gifts!  I think we were a pretty good match.  And CONGRATS on the new baby!  I'll be anxiously awaiting pictures...

So, did you all do as well as I did???  Write up your posts, and link them up so we can all make the rounds and become sufficiently envious of you. 

Just a reminder.  I still have a few spots left for my SUPER SECRET SWAP, so if you haven't signed up for that yet, DO IT! 

If you're looking for my 3rd installment (or 2nd, for that matter) of my extravaganza update, I should have it up later today.  If you're looking for Symfully Sweet, I'm obviously running behind.  I'll get it up as soon as I possibly can.  Thank you all for your patience with me!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Second Quarter...More than a Little Late.

I'm going to make this short and sweet.  I've been a tad under the weather, and just as I was feeling better, it was time to get preparations underway for me to host Christmas for 3 of my 4 siblings, and their families. 
I should have known better than to think I would actually have time to BLOG during all of the craziness, but at least I know better for next year, right?


I celebrated my 29th birthday, and participated in my very first swap, all on the same day!

I shared some of my biggest quirks.

Bug turned 4.

I mistakenly expected a grown woman to act like a grown woman when I revealed my childhood nickname, and IMMEDIATELY REGRETTED IT.

And last but not least, Roon fixed the car.


The straw finally broke the camel's back, and we taught the kids a lesson by STRIPPING.  Their rooms, that is!

I posted about the SURPRISE BABY SHOWER I threw for my friend, Baub.

My children FAILED MISERABLY to give me what I asked for for Mother's Day, and I couldn't be more grateful!


June was centered mainly around one thing.  Mine and Roon's 10th wedding anniversary.  I invited ya'll to celebrate with me, by hosting a game centered around our courtship and marriage. 
I announced the game HERE
and the rest of the parts can be found HERE.

The romance continued as I accidentally "sexted" Lady.

I "met" Evelyn when I was partnered with her for the Red White and Blue swap!  She's now one of my bestest real life or otherwise.

There. I'm sure that's not ALL I did that's worth mentioning this quarter, but it's certainly all I have time for.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You're Gonna Have to Trust Me...

Is anyone else getting tired of me and my big ideas?
Roon is!

Okay, Roon isn't TIRED of my big ideas, but every time I say "Hey!  I just had the BEST idea!", his knee-jerk reaction is to ask "how much is THIS going to cost me?".

Imagine his relief when I could say (without laughing) "only as much as a swap package".

That's right, I said the "S" word.  Don't freak out.

You may have been noticing my subtle hints about an "innovative idea", and the fact that I've been brainstorming, and figured that it was just Sami, coming up with yet another contest for her blog.  But it's not.  It's for a swap!

But, I can't give you details. 

Does that seem creepy?  I'll try to explain why.

I was accused of not being original with my 12 days of Christmas swap.  I searched until my fingers were tired of clicking and scrolling, and never did find another swap like it, but I was told it had been done before. 


That's not going to stop me from doing it again next year, so have no fear!
I must admit that arranging a gift exchange at Christmas wasn't exactly reinventing the wheel, so I'm not surprised it had been done before, really.

By now, you have to know that I take pride in NOT doing things like everyone else.  So, I had an idea.  And then, I did my research.  2 weeks of searching have failed to produce an identical idea.  I shared the idea with a blogger or two who have been doing this longer than me, and they had never heard of such a thing, either.

So, I'm doing it. 

But I can't tell you what IT is.

Here's what I CAN tell you.

-  By signing up, you are agreeing to RECEIVE one swap package, and to SEND one swap package. 
-  You will be given AT LEAST 2 weeks notice, before you need to send your package.
-  There will be a $40 limit on the package you send BEFORE shipping. 

Is that cryptic enough for you?

I cannot tell you what time of year the swap will happen, nor can I tell you the theme. 

But I CAN tell you that it's going to be awesome.  Seriously.  Have I ever steered you wrong before???

For everyone who might be freaking out that the 12 days aren't even up yet...don't worry!  I can assure you that you will have PLENTY of time to recover from the 12 days before you have to worry about this one.  I can also assure you, that this swap will NOT interfere with any of the regular swaps you would expect to see throughout the year. 

So, who's up for a little leap of faith?! 

Who can play?
- It's open to U.S. residents only.  Sorry!  If you're an "international" shoot me an email.  I may be able to make an exception for you.  (Canadians, for example, eh)
-Due to the nature of this swap, private bloggers make it tricky.  If you're a private blogger, shoot me an email, and I'll see what I can do. 
-Active(ish) blogging is essential!  I'm not saying you have to post X number of times in a week to play.  HOWEVER, if you only post 1-2 times a week, and half of those posts are recipes and won't work so well.  I need to know what's actually going on with you, learn who you are, and your partner does too!  You know if you'd consider yourself "active".  But, just to clarify, 1 real post a week is probably the bare minimum requirement. 

If you have adult content on your blog, I'm sorry to say that you do not qualify.  I'm all for free speech, but since space is limited, I would prefer not to be visually assaulted by overly foul language or "icky" content.  After all, half of my kids can read, and they love to do so over my shoulder...

Registration is open NOW.  There is a very limited number of spots.  VERY limited.  Think of it as super exclusive.  The form will shut down after the particular number of applicants have filled out the form.  IF you miss the chance, leave me a comment.  I will put you on standby.  PLEASE make sure that your current email address is enabled to your profile, so I may respond to you in a timely manner. 

You can find the form on the "Contact Me" page of my blog. 

Because space is so limited, I do NOT want you to blog about your participation.  Simply fill out the form, and wait to hear back from me.  If you know someone who would love to do this too, send them an email, and direct them to me. 

Signing up, is kind of like signing a confidentiality agreement.  I don't want a ton of these popping up before I've had a chance to enjoy it, and it's uniqueness. 

Hopefully the intrigue alone will get me my necessary number of participants.  What do you say?  Do you trust me???

Friday, December 10, 2010

My EXTRAVAGANT First Quarter!

I haven't quite decided the best way to do this yet, but is that going to stop me? 


Let's start at the very beginning...a very good place to start (Julie Andrews.  Sound of Music.  Anyone???)


I started my blog!  January 1st to be exact, and I'm happy to see that there was finally a resolution of sorts that I was able to keep!

I admitted to the world my love for Jake Pavelka, and proceeded to bore you with my thoughts on "The Bachelor" for the entire first quarter, and some of the second.

Basically, I was VERY new to blogging, and was not entirely entertaining. 


I seemed to have found my bloggy niche by then.  I actually had a few posts that I'm not embarrassed to claim I penned!

Like THIS ONE where I told Bug he'd only get toilet paper for his birthday.

WE GOT SNOW!!!  No really!  We did!

Boo did a little art project while the rest of us were sleeping AT NIGHT.

And I wrote one of my favorite posts about an Iniana Jones type adventure.

On the creative side, I finally figured out how to decorate my mantel.  And it is awesome. 


I got an iPhone.  It has been my lifeline since then, and I have no idea how I lived without one.

I shared with you all the woes of people misspelling my name.

I celebrated a very important anniversary.

I started Quince Quote.

And my favorite post of the month included the season passes we purchased to Six Flags.

So, that about wraps up the first quarter of my year!  What did YOU do?

Write it up, and link it on on any of the blogs hosting.  If you do it (making sure to include the official button), you will be entered into the giveaway.  You only have to link up with one of us.  Your link will show up on everyone's blog like magic!
Don't forget that you can also get an EXTRA entry by following all 6 blogs hosting. 

Samantha's Day


Family of Shorts
Don't forget to link!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Modern Family

On Saturday, the cold that I've been holding at bay started making another fierce attempt to surface.  Instead of shopping earlier in the day, Roon and I thought it would be an excellent idea to take our kids to run errands right around dinner time.  After all, tired and hungry kids beat the pants off happy and normal kids, any day.  We wanted a challenge!

A fairly uneventful trip to Costco was followed by a less than desirable trip to Walmart.  I can't really blame my children for the fighting, crying, and general mayhem.  After all, I was tired, hungry and cranky too!

While standing in line to checkout, and knowing that we had at least one more stop to make, Roon suggested I run over to the McDonald's by the front entrance, and grab the kids some cheeseburgers. 

What seemed like an hour later, we left the store.  Purchases, children, and completely unbalanced meal in hand.  Roon loaded the bags into the back of our van, while I buckled the kids, and distributed their dinner. 

Boo, ecstatic with her nutritionally lacking meal, looked up at me, smiled, and said "Dane doo, Sam!"(For those of you who don't speak "toddler", that was "Thank you, Sam!")

We had a quick conversation about how inappropriate it was for her to call me "Sam", and told her that she had to call me "Mommy" instead. 

This morning, Boo asked me for a snack. 

"Can you open dem?"


"Tanks, Sam!"

"What did you just say?!"

"Tanks, Sam?"

"What are you SUPPOSED to call me?"


"You wanna try that again?"

"Yes.  Tanks, Sam!"

Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of a modern family when you least expect it...
Now how do I make it stop?


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Symfully Late.

The term "chicken with it's head cut off" doesn't seem to even scratch the surface as to how frazzled I've felt over the last few weeks, but that is still no excuse as to why this post is so late.  My brain trust members and guest judge were prompt, and fair, and I just kept spacing it. 

SO, I just wanted to apologize to the 3 contestants in this month's Symfully Sweet Saturday competition.  I know that you had to have been on the edge of your seats.  ESPECIALLY since November's candy was a little on the difficult side. 

Before I tell you who won, let's recap the awesome entries, shall we?

First, we had Melissa, with her ADORABLE and oh so sweet CARDS.  I loved them, and thought they turned out awesome! 

Next, we had Michelle, who did not just one, but TWO projects!  First, she did a festive Thanksgiving banner, and then she made several fabric pumpkins, all inspired by the colors of the Hershey's Miniatures, wrappers and chocolate.  Such a great idea!

Finally, we had Evelyn, who squeaked in just before the deadline with her one of a kind Thanksgiving Pinata.   Yes, you read that right.  A Pinata for Thanksgiving! 

When all was said and done the judges were totally smitten with the paper mache turkey, and declared EVELYN the winner by a hair.  Or, I guess in her case...a feather?  CONGRATULATIONS!

Thanks so much to my lovely contestants!  I hope this next month's candy is a little easier for you...

I found the following story HERE to describe the next month's mission:

Many years ago, a candymaker wanted to make a candy at Christmas time that would serve as a witness to his Christian faith. He wanted to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus.

He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. The white symbolized the virgin birth and the sinless life of Jesus.

He made the candy hard to symbolize the that Jesus is the solid rock and the foundation of the church. The firmness also represents the promises of God.

The candy maker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. He thought it could also represent the staff of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

The candy maker then added red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could be forgiven and have the promise of eternal life.

The flavor of mint is similar to hyssop. In Old Testament times, hyssop was associated with purification and sacrifice. It was also used at the cross as they gave Jesus a drink of vinegar before He gave up the Ghost.

So, the candy for the month of December is...


Now, I am aware that the last Saturday in December is Christmas day.  It seems unlikely that anyone is going to be thinking about my little game on Christmas day.  So, I've decided to switch up my game plan a little bit.  Instead of linking opening up on the last Saturday, it will open on the Saturday before.  That would be December 18th.  Yes, that only gives you 2 weeks. 

Since you only have 2 weeks, I will leave the linking open until I would have normally closed it, which would have been the 29th of December.  Got that?  You have from the 18th to the 29th to link up your projects (with pictures).  By January 2nd, I will announce the winner, and assign the next mission. 

Answers to a few anticipated questions:

1.  No, you do NOT have to use the simple peppermint candy canes.  You can use any color/flavor of candy cane that you would like. 
2.  No, you do not have to use the actual candy at all.  IF you choose not to use the candy cane at all, and you decide to use it as inspiration instead, you MUST use the traditional red and white coloring, or peppermint flavoring of the original candy cane.  Does that make sense?

If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me.  I don't bite!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Because, What Sounds More Fun Than an EXTRAVAGANZA?!

Does anybody else have a really hard time believing it is already December?

It could be because I live in Texas, so the 60-70 degree temps don't exactly scream CHRISTMAS or WINTER, but by golly, it IS already December!

What on Earth did I do all year?!  How can I possibly give everyone a big ol' rundown of the highlights from my year, whilest finding out what YOU have been up to as well...

If only their was an awesome linky party going on for that...



Emmy had a brilliant idea, and was kind enough to invite a few of her favorites (that's right, I'm one of 'em!) to collaborate with her to take this party to new heights! 

But before I tell you who they are, allow me to give you the 4-1-1 on this little shindig.

Each post should contain a rundown of what you did for the specified quarter of the year.  This could include pictures, links to your favorite posts, stories of what you did, etc.  This could be the perfect opportunity to tell some of those stories that you MEANT to blog about, but were too lazy to forgot about. 

The plan will go as follows: 

NEXT Friday, the 10th, you will link up with your recap about January, February and March.
Friday the 17th-link up with recap of April, May and June.
Friday the 24th-link up with recap of July, August and September.
Friday the 31st-link up with recap of October, November and December.

I'm pretty relieved that they are done in 3 month increments.  I had a few months that were pretty skimpy.  *cough* October *cough*

You can link it up on any of the 6 blogs hosting and your link will show up on ALL of magic!

Sounds simple enough, and FUN, right?! 


You can't have an EXTRAVAGANZA, without a little something EXTRA, right?!

SO, by playing along, you are automatically entered to win a fabulous prize from your beyond awesome hostesses!  Each week you link up, you will receive an entry into the giveaway!  Link all 4 Fridays, get 4 entries!  SIMPLE! 

PLUS if you follow the blogs of all 6 ladies, (which you SHOULD be doing anyway, really) you will receive an extra entry for doing so.  Perhaps this'll help get me over my icky number slump...

Are you curious about the hostesses?  Allow me to introduce you...

First you have the brains behind the operation, and my "zipper sister", Emmy!

THEN, there is the person you can all blame for getting me interested in blogging in the first place (even if she didn't know she was doing it...) MiMi, from "Living in France".  She lives just slightly outside of France...

If you don't recognize this next one, YOU'RE FIRED!  Did I sound like Donald Trump?

Samantha's Day

Next, we have Laurie, AKA "CA Girl".  I don't know her too well yet, but from what I do know, she rocks!  Wish we all could be like her... (Beach Boys, get it?  Anyone?  Anyone?)


We mustn't forget Emily!  Yes ANOTHER one.  I also don't know her well yet, but any friend of Emmy's is a friend of mine.  At least, I HOPE so...

And quite possible saving the best for last, we have Shortmama.  Who doesn't know Shortmama?!  We're tight.

Family of Shorts

Don't forget to go check all these lovely ladies out.  While you're there, say hi, and don't forget to follow them via the Google Friend Connect.  Only a crazy person would pass up the chance to get an extra entry to win a FABULOUS prize.  Once you're following all of them, click and leave a comment on THIS post to let Emmy (because she is the keeper of the points) know that you did.

Did you get all that?  I probably don't make much sense.  I've got swapping on the brain.  Go visit any of the above ladies, and let them explain it to you.  They probably did a MUCH better job.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

Several times a year, we receive homework from the school. 

I have written about such projects before.  In fact WAY back in March, I wrote about one that you can read all about HERE.  For the record, that project is miraculously still intact.  Don't believe me?

Meet:  "Runny"...

The sturdiest horse in the west.

I find that the older my children get, the more complex these projects get.  And, that the projects get more complex from year to year.  Sissy never had to make a stick horse.  Sissy's projects have been limited in large part to 2 dimensional pictures and posters.  Bubble, not so much.

Before anybody misunderstands me, I am NOT complaining about these projects.  I completely understand and support the purpose behind them, and they can be a lot of fun to do.  As you've seen here before, we do these kinds of projects WITHOUT prompting from the school.  MY problem with them, is that as they get more complex, the engineer in Roon, and the perfectionist crafter in me take over, and they seem to become OUR projects.  And the poor kid hardly gets to help.  And then I feel guilty.  That's all.

Before Thanksgiving break, we received another assignment. 

The first grade is learning about...hmmm come to think of it, I don't really know what they're learning about.  Something with motion.  I KNOW it's something for science.  I'm positive they wrote it on the original letter home.  What was is?!  Oh well.  It was something with motion.

To complete the assignment, we were to construct SOMETHING that Bubble could push and/or pull around the school by himself, for a "push and pull parade".  They could be made out of anything EXCEPT metal.

Roon was determined to do something awesome.  He asked Bubble what he wanted to make for the parade.

Bubble settled on a dragon.

3 whole nights this week were consumed with the construction of that dragon.

And even though at times it seemed touch and go, Roon never gave up hope.

So now, the question remains:  How DO you train your dragon?

If you're us, it's with a heck of a lot of black duct tape.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's What You Wear From Ear to Ear...

...and not from head to toe, that matters.

As I laid in my bed, still curled up in my jammies, bed not made, and my laptop on my lap, I realized something.

I have the best job on Earth.

When I was pregnant with Sissy, I worked 40 hours a week...outside the home.  Roon was in school, and I woke up at the crack of dawn (work started around 6 am) to spend 10 hours making feeding tubes at a local manufacturing plant.

I enjoyed it.

It was tedious work, but it gave me sense of accomplishment.  I made some awesome friends, and with the exception of having to meet daily quotas, it didn't really feel like work.  It was adult time.  Listening to books on tape as I glued little baloons, and chatting with the person next to you about their plans for the weekend. 

I cried when I left.

Mostly, they were tears of joy, because I was finally going to start the family I had wanted so badly.  But I was also going to miss my job.
What if I lost that sense of accomplishment, my connection to friends, and some sort of personal validation because I was doing something important to help others?


This morning, I didn't have to punch a time clock.  I've been punched in for nearly 8 years. 
This morning, I went to "work" in my jammies.
This morning, my "coworkers" snuggled under the covers with me, and gave me a kiss when I opened their fruit snacks.
This morning, I chatted with a friend, texted a friend, and received an email from a friend.
This morning, I pitched an innovative idea...and was validated.

And I didn't even have to leave my house.

Just now, as Boo ran into the room, wearing nothing but her underpants (because HALELUJAH, the potty training seems to have stuck!), covered in orange Dorito dust, her hair all a mess...I smiled.

Because I made that.

Later tonight, as I'm folding the last of the laundry, I'm going to thank the Lord for all the mismatched socks. 
I'm going to laugh at the fact that as soon as everyone gets into jammies, the laundry will no longer be "done".
I'll walk by my messy bathroom, and sigh at my list of things I didn't get done.
But I won't feel defeated.

Because I may not wear a fancy suit to go to the office...
But I wear a smile.