What I Learned This Week

Sometime after dinner, I opened a kitchen cabinet in search of the lid for my Longaberger ice bucket that has been missing for months. A good three hours later, I had emptied, wiped, dried and straightened five cabinets, and my china cabinet.

I also found the lid I was looking for. And it was cracked.

It feels great to have my kitchen cabinets cleaned and straightened just in time for the busy holiday / weekend ahead. We host Thanksgiving dinner here at our house for my parents, McDaddy’s parents, my brother, and my two grown nephews. And then on Sunday, we will host McDaddy’s entire family (and it’s a B-I-G one) here for a combined Thanksgiving/Christmas McCelebration. And then come Monday, my head will be spinning as I head up Santa’s Workshop at Alex’s school.

So, after a long evening of cleaning, I’ll do my best to gather my thoughts and share what I learned this week.

1. Even though I have 12 place settings of China, for reasons unknown to me, I only have 11 coffee cups.

2. Bleach will take the finish (or since it’s plastic, I suppose it’s more like a protective coating) off of McDaddy’s utitlity sink. OOPS.

3. I completely forgot to celebrate my 5th bloggy anniversary which if you know me is unheard of because I am typically a party looking for a place to happen.

4. When I saw that Lady GagGag and The Muppets were doing a holiday performance together, I had to laugh because HOW FRIGGIN’ FITTING?

5. The French toast at iHop is better than the pancakes at iHop.

6. Medical Grade cannabis is of a much higher quality than the non-medical marijuana sold illegally.

I say it all the time people, this blog is about so much more than just entertainment.

7. While preparing to take a Christmas picture, the words do, you, want, to take, it, in, front, of, the, AND Jeep will make McDaddy very happy.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.



Holiday Gift Giving Guide

Last time we spoke, I was teetering on the edge praying that the replacement iPhone I received that day from Apple would accept the backup from iTunes from my original iPhone – after it was diagnosed with a bad battery – just as it was supposed to. I am pleased to report that everything went as planned, and within an hour or so, it was all set up, and my world started spinning again.

Things were a little iffy for a bit, but thankfully everything went according to plan.

Now, on to my next order of business…

Christmas is right around the corner. In other words, things are gettin’ serious. That means, it is time to buckle down and do some serious shopping if I intend to stick to my original word that I would have most of my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. And just because I’m such a nice gal, I thought I should share some of the things I found while shopping online tonight, with you, my faithful readers.

All eight of you.

These items range in price from $2.00 to well, a lot more than that. But at least there’s something to fit every budget. And in the interest of full disclosure (because I’m not interested in going back to Jail) I am not being paid, pressured, or compensated in any way to promote any of these items. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

So there.

1. I love anything at all with my name on it (which explains why I have about fifteen monogrammed 31 bags), so it should come as no surprise that I just love these monogrammed ornaments.

 

2. No gift idea list of mine would be complete without at least one pair of shoes on it, because in my opinion, one can NEVER have too many shoes. I pinned these sandals several months ago and I absolutely love them. (And if McDaddy is lurking around here on the blog today… I would love these in a size nine – preferably in a more neutral color like black or brown.)

3. A few months ago I began carrying a purse I could sling over my shoulder. I found this one (Vera Bradley hipster) on sale at a military base exchange in Jacksonville over the summer and have been carrying it since. I absolutely love it because it allows me to be hands-free, and if it gets dirty, you can throw it right into the washer. (The print shown here is called “GO WILD” which is fitting, but I also love the new print Canterbury Cobalt.) Before we went to New York, I purchased the Backpack Tote in Canterbury Cobalt and it was perfect for carrying my DSLR Camera plus everything that I needed while touring the streets of New York City. (McDaddy, a hipster in Canterbury Cranberry, would be lovely.)

4. And speaking of DSLR’s, I am including this because it truly is one of the best purchases I have ever made. It is absolutely wonderful for capturing great moments on the baseball field no matter how far away you are sitting, though you can’t tell it from this out-of-focus picture I shot with my iPhone.

5. If you’re looking for a great stocking stuffer, look no further. I think I speak for women everywhere when I say that we go all-out crazy for a good Sharpie. These super-fine tip ones are awesome! (And if McDaddy could find them in colors other than black, I think he should totally get them for me!)

6. I live in West Virginia. It is hotter than you-know-what in the summer and colder than an Eskimo in a refrigerator in the winter. These gloves are so handy (Ha! I crack myself up!) because you can use your iPhone without removing them. My sister-in-law bought me this pair a few years back when she drew my name for Christmas.

7. If you have a friend who enjoys reading, this is a great read.

Sparkly Green Earrings, written by my favorite blogger friend, Melanie Shankle (and when I say, my favorite blogger friend, what I really mean is that I read her blog everyday and it is my favorite, not that we go eat Mexican every Thursday and discuss world problems, though if she lived closer I have no doubt we’d be fast friends) is easy-to-read and I’ve even read parts of it twice. I haven’t read very many books since getting my iPhone (Actually, I haven’t done much of anything since getting my iPhone) but I just knew this was going to be a great book. As is the case most of the time, I was right.

8. If you don’t have one of these,

what are you waiting on?

I am declaring the iPhone the best invention of my time, and it wouldn’t be caught dead without an Otter Box because GREAT PROTECTION.

9. Looking for some great smelling perfume?

Go getcha’ some of this. I wear Ralph Lauren’s romance everyday and I love it.

10. We go through some candles up in here. (And by we, I mostly mean, me, because McDaddy always makes some crack about a séance when I light them.)

You can’t go wrong with a Yankee Candle. (Well, unless you get the Winter Pine / Evergreen one, and then? You need to re-gift that stinky sucker as soon as possible!) Cranberry Chutney is my favorite. I have vanilla cupcake burning in my bathroom and banana nut bread burning just inches away from me. I also like Red Velvet, Vanilla frosting, spice cake and just about any other candle that smells like something I’d eat.

11. And last, but certainly not least (you knew this one was coming), it’s my absolute favorite gift of all the time.

And I suspect it will be for the better part of forever.

The Saturn Sky.

Only problem is, you’ll have to search online for a used one because Saturn went belly up years ago.

Well, that was fun!

Have a great week, y’all!

Teetering On The Edge

I am teetering on the edge.

As I type, I am patiently, anxiously watching the little wheel of death as it updates to iOS 7.0.4.

For several weeks, my phone has been doing this thing where it dies once it gets to 20 percent. It is no secret that I stink at math. Still, I have enough sense to know that 20 percent doesn’t equal zero. I made a visit to the AT&T store because I thought I had a one-year warranty on the phone.

The good news is, I was right.

The bad news is, the one-year warranty expired eight days ago.

The fella at the AT&T store could not help me. I left there aggravated and agitated, planning my defense in my head.

Later that afternoon, I contacted Apple. First, I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I absolutely LOVE calling Apple because in the four years that I’ve conducted business with Apple, I have found them to be very helpful, and as an added bonus, THEY ALL SPEAK ENGLISH.

Within thirty minutes, the Apple technician located in Charleston, South Carolina ran a diagnostic test via text link on my phone located in Charleston, West Virginia and was able to tell me that I had a bad battery.

Y’all.

If you carry a smart phone, I AM CONVINCED that you can run, but you can’t hide.

After providing some vital information, the good people at Apple agreed that they would honor the one-year warranty, even though it was eight days late.

In less than 48 hours, I was opening a brand new [at least to me] iPhone.

And now, I am waiting [and praying] for all of my information to transfer. (And I even changed out the SIM card!)

If you don’t hear from me in the next few days, you’ll know I’m in a fetal position, in the corner, mourning my beloved iPhone.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Thursday Thirteen – Random Thoughts

It’s been quite some time since I’ve done a Thursday Thirteen, and I know my friend, Becky is excited because she loves a good Thursday Thirteen. I have lots of things rolling around up there, so I thought this might be a good time to give you thirteen random things occupying my brain…

1. My friend, Heather is working on a new blog design for From Inmates To Playdates. I’ve asked for lime green and bright pink. I know that it will be straight-up fabulous.

2. Most of McDaddy’s 40 gifts are sitting in the same place where he unwrapped them on November 7th. If my math is correct (and it’s probably not) those items have been sitting there for almost two weeks. This drives me nine kinds of crazy.

3.  Middle School drama is ridiculous. We are three months into the school year and OH MY HEAVENLY DAY why can’t we all just get along?

4. This time between November and the end of December is my favorite time of year. I have 80% of our shopping done. My Christmas cards will be finished by the end of the week. Now, if only I could persuade McDaddy to bend on his “no Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving” rule.

5. My iPhone battery is showing itself. At 20% the thing just dies. I spent most of the day yesterday on the phone with Apple hoping they would honor my one-year warranty, even though I was eight days past the one-year purchase date.

6. We’ve enjoyed a week of wonderful temperatures this week. Honestly, it wouldn’t bother me to NEVER see another flake of snow ever again.

7. I’m preparing for my friend Becky’s cookie exchange. If you have a great [easy] cookie recipe, I’d love to hear about it.

8. I am thinking about wrapping all of our Christmas gifts in coordinating wrapping paper. I see a lot of that on Pinterest and it looks fabulous.

9. It just dawned on me that I never mentioned the results of my sleep study.

10. Nor have I mentioned my five-year bloggy birthday. OOPS.

11. I forgot to stop at the store for a loaf of bread. OOPS.

12. I think I am getting forgetful in my old age.

13.  K-mart and Joe Boxer just aired the weirdest commercial. I am sitting here shaking my head.

Happy Thursday, y’all!

What I Learned This Week

It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means? Another edition of What I Learned This Week. As an added bonus, I even had time to write my Christmas letter after taking our family Christmas card photo this evening.

So yeah, there’s that.

1. According to Alex, Author Barbara Parks (Junie B. Jones series) died yesterday after a battle with [ovarian] cancer.

2. I have 18 friends on Facebook with the name Jennifer.

3. When I am away from home overnight, McDaddy doesn’t unmake my side of the bed. This fact baffles me.

4. I have no business buying Lindor Truffles.

5. My post “I Kiss Better Than I Cook” has been repined 326 times on Pinterest.

6. Obviously, I should be using Pinterest more often to promote my blog posts.

7. My favorite primitive store is no longer located at the outlet mall in Jeffersonville, Ohio.

8.  Adults who talk about other children in front of their own children really aggravate me, especially after their own children go to school and tell other children what they heard an adult say. Did you follow that?

9. If you search the house over for a pair of pants that belong to your older son, chances are, they are in the top drawer of your younger son’s dresser.

10. When the mother-in-law texts you to say “High winds expected tonight, secure stuff on your porches,” you should by all means, HEED THE WARNING.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Alrightythen. Ready, Set, GO!



Friends, Flags, Feet and Fun

I was out-of-town again this weekend. Unfortunately, I was not fighting my way through crowded New York City Streets. Instead, I was fighting my way through a crowded outlet mall in Jeffersonville, Ohio with three girlfriends.

Have I mentioned that I love to shop?

I did some Christmas shopping and enjoyed leisurely shopping in some of my favorite stores.

I could shop every single weekend. But my feet would disagree. Because my feet and my calves? They were in hot protest after five hours of shopping on Saturday after two long days of walking the streets of New York City last weekend.

My forty-year thirty-nine year old feet are nothing like the twenty-year old feet I used to have.

Here’s my weekend – in pictures.

I found this on Google images while searching my phone for family Christmas picture ideas. I love the idea of including the Jeep since it is something our family enjoys together.

But I can’t help but think about how much cooler our picture would be in front of this sexy sucker.

Tomorrow is that day of the year that my fellas dread. The annual Christmas picture day. Wish us luck.

And speaking of the Saturn Sky, I saw this one at the mall on Friday before we left town.

I will never understand why the powers that USED TO be at Saturn would take a sexy sleek car and paint it this crazy color.

ICK.

I couldn’t help but stop and snap several pictures of this site.

Long may she wave.

And wave.

And wave.

And wave some more.

Since deployment, I stand in awe of the American Flag. I consider it a beautiful symbol of this great nation.

On Friday evening, we had dinner at Max and Erma’s. I ordered the Laredo steak – which was delightful – with roasted potatoes and mixed veggies. It didn’t dawn on me to snap a picture until it was almost gone. But you should know that it was a great dish that I totally recommend.

Four women, five hours, lots of laughs, and several trips to the car later, this was how we left the parking lot.

Unfortunately, you cannot appreciate the depth of this Jeep Laredo “trunk” because I am telling you, it was stuffed to capacity.

A fun time was had by all.

Except for my feet.

Happy Birthday McDaddy!

One of the things that I’ve always loved about McDaddy is that he looks for every opportunity to help others. Honestly, (and I’m not just saying this because he is my husband) if more people were more like McDaddy, America would be a totally different place. I have said many times here on the blog that he is the type of person who does the right thing, even when no one is watching.

In other words, he is a very special person.

And by some strange twist of fate, this special, wonderfully considerate person chose me to be his. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world being married to him. For that reason, I wanted his 40th birthday to be really special.

McDaddy is not big on birthdays. He probably wouldn’t even celebrate if he had his way.

Me, though?

I’d celebrate my birthday for the entire week month of December if I could talk someone into it.

Especially, since this one coming up is a BIG ONE.

Two days before his birthday, I got the bright idea to give him 40 gifts, which at the time sounded like a great idea. It wasn’t nearly as easy as I thought it would be to find forty gifts that he would actually use that wouldn’t cost a small fortune.

But, when I get something in this crazy head of mine, well, you know what happens.

I went to Target, Wal-Mart, Gander Mountain, Family Dollar, Dollar General, and The Dollar Tree.

Plus, I picked up a double-decker chocolate chip cookie cake from SAM’s (because he loves chocolate chip cookies) and then purchased a tube of red icing to jazz it up a bit.

After picking Alex up from school, we stopped to buy some balloons for the occasion. I had intended to tie the balloons to our mailbox, but the wind was blowing like crazy, so they ended up tied to the front door.

Now, just to be clear, McDaddy doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that he is forty. (Unlike *cough* others *cough* who will *cough* be forty *cough* very *cough* soon.)

It was fun watching him open 40 gifts.

It took quite awhile.

 I really hope he enjoyed it. The boys and I had a great time celebrating him and his forty years of life. If I could have, I would have wrapped up a Chevy Corvette and a six-car garage.

But alas, that was not possible.

We got him a really nice everyday watch (which he wanted!), car cleaning stuff, his favorite snacks, muscle rub and fiber bars (for his aging body and system!) things for the garage, a movie, a Matchbox Corvette, socks (which he needed!), and several other things.

Happy Birthday, McDaddy! We are so thankful that you were home to celebrate with us and not in Kuwait!

We love you so much!

What I Learned This Week – New York City Edition

If you follow me on Facebook, you already know that I had a wonderful time in New York City with McDaddy for our 40th Birthday celebration weekend. My favorite thing (besides the Broadway shows) was the tour that we booked for Saturday where we learned LOTS OF STUFF about New York.

Here’s what I learned this week in New York.

1. On a chilly, windy day in New York, a $10 scarf from a NYC street “merchant” will be well worth the money.

2. According to one New Yorker, a kettle corn business costing $40,000. is a great investment because you will make your money back within the first year.

3. When crossing a NYC Street, you should never be the first one to cross or the last one to cross because the first one to cross and the last one to cross are the most likely to be hit by impatient NYC drivers.

4. The fine folks at US Air waived the bag fee on flights to and from New York City when McDaddy presented his military ID. Thanks US AIRWAYS!

5. If you are looking for discounted Broadway tickets, the TKTS booth in Times Square is the way to go.

6. If you are looking for discounted Broadway tickets, the scalpers around the TKTS booth in Times Square is probably not the way to go.

7. The Premium See It All Tour with OnBoard Tours is awesome. It is a great way to see and learn a lot about New York. (And in the interest of Full Disclosure, I am not being paid or compensated to say that.)

8. It takes a very long time to get from one end of Manhattan to the other by subway.

9. Yellow signs on a street pole or street sign means that a production company will be filming on that block in the next week and if you don’t move your vehicle by the date on the sign, your car or it will be towed.

10. Wall Street in NYC is actually an entire street. (Might sound crazy, but I never knew that.)

11. The smells from the street food vendors is straight-up nasty.

12. Central Park covers more than 800 acres and is the most visited city park in the United States. (More than 24 million visitors each year).

13. Although we spent most of our time in Manhattan, John F. Kennedy International Airport is in Queens, New York. I had no idea I was in Queens over the weekend.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Alrightythen. Ready, Set, GO!



The Big Apple

This fella,

 

turned 40 on Thursday.

This gal,

will turn four *cough* zero next month.

That fella, decided to surprise this gal with a special 40th birthday surprise trip. He planned a whirlwind weekend trip to see a Broadway Show because I’ve always wanted to see one.

Then, he couldn’t decide which show we should see because he doesn’t know a great deal about Broadway shows, and he was afraid he’d pick a bad one.

We flew out of Charleston at 5:30 IN THE AM on Friday. Which, in case you were wondering goes against EVERYTHING I believe, because I am not wired to function that early in the morning.

Y’all.

We had such a wonderful time.

We hade the opportunity to see two [very different] Broadway shows.

 

My eyes were big as stars when we walked past this,

(even though he wasn’t filming while we were there)

and this,

 I’ve seen both of these on television my whole life an it was such a treat to see them in person.

McDaddy navigated New York City like he had been there hundreds of times. Which is wonderful because I lack a sense of direction AND the patience to figure out which direction I’m needing to go when there are 3,246,721 people going in four different directions – all of them – IN A BIG HURRY.

We nosed around in here and hoped to see The Donald.

We strolled through Central Park on a beautiful fall day.

We stood in awe of the 9-11 Memorial

And we felt patriotic when the water taxi that we were riding on approached this fine lady in the New York Harbor.

Isn’t she lovely?

Such a beautiful site.

This younger woman loves this older fella with everything in her.

Thank you for an incredible weekend, McDaddy! I will never forget it.

Well, at least I hope I never forget it. Who knows what might happen when old age sets in?

Eight Is Awesome

Dear Alex,

We just celebrated your eighth birthday.

EIGHT.

How did that happen?

Just last week, I was holding you in the labor/delivery unit wondering what in the heck I was gonna do with TWO stinky, smelly, peeing all over the bathroom BOYS.

Here it is, eight years later, and I am so stinkin’ sad that you are growing up so quickly because soon you won’t want to cuddle on the couch, and you won’t call me mommy, and you won’t tell me “I love you more, and that’s final” ever again.

And just like I tell you every single day, IT IS NOT final because I’m the boss of you.

But the truth is, I love it when you say that to me. I love it because it brings a smile to your face when you say it, and there are fewer things cuter than your sweet, toothless grin. That grin melts my heart every. single. time. and I think you know that.

You can match clothes and accessories better than most adults, and if you had your way, you’d have a pair of tennis shoes in every single color because, YOU ARE SHOE CRAZY.

You enjoy life.

And you are a crazy, fast, daredevil.

Tricks like this one?

Have made me gray before my years.

But I love that you are fearless and independent and loving and A MOMMY’S BOY. Can we just make a pact that you will be a MB forever? Pretty please? After all, you are sweet and impatient, with a side of stubborn, and in case you haven’t figured it out yet, YOU GOT THAT FROM ME, PAL. (And I turned out okay!)

I enjoy seeing the world through your eyes.

And I totally enjoy your random questions throughout the day, even though I rarely have the answers.

I am so proud of you for wanting an iPod, saving for it, and then buying it. Trust me when I say that you will appreciate things so much more when you buy them yourself.

Oh, and just for the record, I think you’re awesome, too!

Happy 8th birthday, sweet boy.

I love you more, and THAT’S FINAL.

Love, Mama