Thursday, November 27, 2008

***CU turkey template from ScrappinCop

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holiday Fun

The holidays can be fun, but for me it's all about the logistics - which make it stressful, which make it

This Thanksgiving week is going to be a crazy one for our little family. Hopefully we can find some downtime in here to enjoy our weekend.

Wednesday: Manda to mom's to decorate Christmas tree (since she's off and it was a good time for her brothers too) Also clean our house. A lot.

Thursday: 12:00 lunch with Manda's family, 3:00 dinner with Mike's family followed by everyone coming to our house for games and merriment.

Friday: leave at 9 for a long drive and 11:00 lunch, get back to help Mike's mom get her Christmas tree up and decorated, potentially attempt some shopping (if our items are on sale).

Saturday: Probably attempt to get a little shopping done with Mike's brother while he's in town, potentially decorate Mike's mom's tree (if we didn't get back early enough Friday), put up and decorate our tree. Hopefully get Mike's brother to take some family pictures.

Sunday: Start organizing/cleaning preparing for Holiday Baking Extravaganza 2008 next weekend. Finish decorating our house for Christmas as part of this prep work.

Yikes! This year I decided not to make us our own Thanksgiving dinner (for the leftovers) over the weekend. I figure three dinners in 2 days should tide us over. Plus, I don't really feel like putting in all that effort!

Are the holidays a crazy time for you too? Do you travel to see all of your families in a short period of time? It only gets worse when you get married...and divorced parents make it even harder. You think three Thanksgivings is bad - last year we had 8 Christmas's (INSANE!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Baby Love Letters

Featuring a question each Friday encouraging you to write for your children, Baby Love Letters is a unique blog. The challenge is to take 15 minutes every week to write a letter to your child/ren about a specific topic. The goal is to leave something for your children to use to get to know you, your thoughts and your hopes and dreams for them. I think it's a fantastic idea, and at the very least it will give me topics to blog about. 

What is your favorite Thanksgiving Tradition

I don't really remember Thanksgiving as a child, it wasn't a huge deal in our family.  - the first Thanksgiving I do remember was late in high school, I think it was my junior year. My parents thought that instead of having a delicious, traditional turkey dinner; we would have porkchops. Porkchops. On Thanksgiving. To my teenage self this was the most horrible thing in the entire world. I threw a huge tantrum with screaming and crying and hysterics all around. Finally, I climbed into the bathtub and refused to come out until they agreed to serve turkey. After about a half hour of hiding out, my dad turned the cold water on, soaking me, and giving in - deciding we could have turkey. But only if I made it. (I did). 

Another mini-tradition involved my high school boyfriend. Each year (2) that we dated, he came over with a pie after dinner. We broke up a few months before Thanksgiving my freshman year of college, and he and my parents made plans for him to [still] come over that Thanksgiving, despite the fact that we were no longer together. I told my parents I wasn't comfortable with this , but they invited him anyways. This ruined our Thanksgiving tradition, as I chose not to come home and celebrate with them if he was going to be there. 

For the next couple of years, I went where I could get invited. One year to my grandparents and one year to a friend's home. My third year at Winona, I met Mike. We started dating a month or so before Thanksgiving, and when he found that my plans that year were to get eat grocery store chicken and potatoes - he wouldn't hear of it. He asked if I would join his family, and I did. 

The food was fantastic, and I felt at home with his family instantly. Their simple tradition, dinner and games, was perfect. It was nothing like I remembered, nothing like my family's Thanksgiving, it was wonderful. They even continued their tradition through the weekend. They would go to see a movie, pick out a Christmas tree and decorate it together. That year I was invited to join all of these activities, and couldn't imagine ever spending Thanksgiving any other way. I haven't since. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wish List

It's that time of year where holiday wish lists are created and secret emails and phone calls are had. Shopping ensues and fun is had by all!

We finally finished our wish lists and shipped them off! In our world, it's quite an ordeal. We need to create three seperate lists, for each of the three families we celebrate with. We need to be organized. There is a thought process that goes into each list: Who would enjoy shopping for this more? Are we doing alright with choices and price ranges on each list? Are there enough options for everyone? We didn't duplicate anything did we? Once the lists are created, the notes are written and I breathe a sigh of relief when the send button is clicked.

But, now that I have sent them out their destinations, I can share with all of you a few of the items on my 2008 Holiday Wish List with the hopes that someone will see something they would like to add to their own or just as a way to get to know me a little better!

Manda's 2008 Holiday Wish List
Crafty Stuff
Cuttlebug, various dies and embossing folders for Cuttlebug, Xyron 250 refill cartridges and a yearly subscription to Scrappers Guide
Other Stuff
A cover and extra bowl for my KitchenAid Mixer, NKOTB: The Block (CD), Little Big Planet (PS3), jewelry box, 18x13 baking sheet, over the sink cutting board, a meat thermometer, pepper mill, stainless steel measuring cups, fire proof safe, No2Snow, wire whisks, Brita pitcher filters and ink for my printer

Dream Items (Not on Wish List)
Portable Hard Drive (to store all of my digi-scrap files)
Lighting for above my craft desk
Nintendo Wii (& Wii Fit)
Nintendo DS (and some fun games)
New light for my car (it burnt out about a year ago!)
New Cell Phone (mine works fine, but some of the buttons are missing)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Make a Difference.

Did you know: Every 4 minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer? Approximately every 10 minutes, someone dies. We're not there yet, but researchers are coming closer to a cure all the time.

You can help.

Make a donation TODAY! Pennies for Patients, a community service project teaching students that even "one little penny" can make "one big difference," is going on right now. Students across the country are collecting spare change, raising millions of dollars each year for research and patient services.

You can too.

Simply click here and make a donation towards this wonderful cause. It is a safe and secure site and you will be provided a receipt for tax purposes via email immediately. If you do choose to make a donation, please note "Amanda" as the student.

For the Cure,


Years ago I was not the most responsible young lady. In fact, my life was a crazy party every day and I didn't care if or how my decisions would affect my future. I lived life day-to-day, deciding each minute what I would do next. Then I met Him. My behaviors didn't change immediately, but as I grew to know him and love him I started making changes. I adjusted my life to better match his. I am so glad I made these decisions, and so thankful that he helped me turn my life around (because God only knows what could have happened to me if I hadn't).

Once the decision was made to turn my life around, a battle began. It took a lot of time and money to correct my mistakes. A lot of apologizes, phone calls, letters and tears. Alot of research was done, a lot of good-byes were said and many, many changes were made. Changes that would give me a better life in the long run. I turned my focus from the present to the future, and tried my best to straighten everything out.

After a long time of working through these problems, I finally had everything under control. I wasn't perfect, but the decisions I was making were healthier and the bad ones weren't as dangerous or harmful. I had dealt with every problem - or at least had a plan to solve it over time and my life was on route to a destination I wanted to go to.

Or so I thought.

There was one problem that I thought I had dealt with, finished, taken care of. One HUGE stressor that I had finally tossed away into the "done pile" and forgot about.

Until today.

It turns out that that problem wasn't solved, wasn't fully dealt with - part of it had been left untouched, and today it came back to haunt me. And now it's not only haunting me; it's haunting us. The whole being married thing makes my problems his problems. I am filled with guilt over this issue coming back. It has nothing to do with him, never did; yet now it's his problem too.

I am so very sorry about this sweetie, I wish I could make everything better; but I can't. Thank you for facing this battle with me. We'll get through it, one way or another; we always do. It won't be easy though, and it's another long road ahead.

Thanks for standing by my side. I love you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

All About Fall

My husband had his wisdom teeth pulled out this morning, so I decided to stick around for the morning to make sure everything went well. While he snoozed in front of the TV, I got a layout done! I used Summer Driggs's kit "Gratitude" to create this fall layout. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Are What We Do

So I was blog surfin' and came across the We Are What We Do web site, and more importantly, their Actions section. The description given is this "Here's our list of simple, everyday actions you can do to help change the world (and have fun while you're doing it). It could be doing something for the community like shopping locally, something for the environment like avoiding plastic bags, or something for you, like learning to paint, sing or speak Spanish..."

I was intrigued, so I read further - and then I was entertained ("Speak Football?" What?) But after reading a few more of the actions, I realized some of them were very do-able, and some of them really could and would make a difference, even if it was just me doing them. I am not going to make any promises on how well I stick with this, but I am going to give it a try...if only for the challege of it.

So, out of the 129 actions available on the site, I picked 8 to try.

1. Use both sides of every sheet of paper. (I keep a notebook full of lists for work, I have a habit of turning the pages whenever I feel like starting a new list...I will start turning to the back of the page instead.)

2. Give Blood (It's been a few years since I've done this, I think it's time to do it again. Next time I see a blood drive, I'll head in!)

3. Turn off unneccesary lights (Mike will love this one, I always leave the bathroom light on...)

4. Have a bath with someone you love (It saves water!)

5. Don't charge your cell phone over night. (It only takes a couple of hours, max, to charge a phone, that's a lot of wasted energy if you leave it plugged in for 6-8 hours)

6. Shut down your computer properly. (At work, I only fully shut down on Friday's - perhaps everyday would be better.)

7. Stop Junk Mail (This might be my favorite! - If I can reduce the number of junk mail pieces we get every week, that's a lot less stuff for me to sort through, and a few less sheets of paper being printed.)

8. Recycle your specs (I have 2-3 old, extra pairs of glasses that I don't wear or need!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

A delicious addition to your fall menu! Click the image to download a 4x6 recipe card then run to the store to pick up your ingredients! You can thank me later!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Picking Perfect Pumpkins

(Design and all elements by Manda)

I Miss Being a SAHM

An unplanned day off last Thursday allowed me to remember what it was like in my pre-working mom days...albeit, my son was at I wasn't exactly playing mom. Regardless, I realized how much I miss being able to really take care of my home and myself.

My day consisted of the following (in no particular order), not super relaxing (or fun), but a much needed and enjoyed day.

Wake up and take the little one to day care
Make coffee, check email and read blogs
Sort laundry, and start a load
Pop outside and pull out flowers and clean patio, pack it up for winter.
Vacuum the house, clean windows, dust...pick up toys from around the place
Design and print Holiday Party Invitations, do a few other little projects on the computer
Run to storage unit to take a box and toys for storage
Eat lunch, watch the Tyra show
Prep dinner
Make Snickerdoodles
Mor laundry
Change sheets on beds
Pick up more random toys
Meet husband at Honda so he could get an oil change
Run to Target

It was a busy day, but man did I enjoy a day out of the office, but more then that, my day at home. I look forward to a time when I can spend more time at home and less time going crazy over work and social commitments. Or maybe it was just the alone time I needed...