Christmas break has begun

Well, technically the girls get out tomorrow - but I am checking out in my mind today. I'll be back to blogging after Christmas - I'll miss you all!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! (I may be back before New Year's, but I make no promises ...)

Our first Christmas together, 2002.

We were so young! So thin (him at least)! (Hey - despite the bangs I really like my hair ...)

We had no idea of the craziness that was to come - and now that it's here we wouldn't trade it for the world.


Dear Baby (Week 15)

Hello there, baby. How are things? Good ... good. Me? Oh, well - I am cold.

I can't ever remember being this cold in my life.

I went to Catholic school and wore a skimpy wrap-around kilt until the 12th grade that I was told on many occasions was shorter than regulation, so I have pretty high cold tolerance. I keep the heat set at 65 or less when we go to sleep at night. I have to have my window open in the car all year round so I can breathe in the fresh air.

It snowed and snowed this past weekend and usually I am out with your Daddy and sisters running around taking pictures, enjoying the air. Whew - not this time. Just opening the door to let them all outside gave me a bad case of the shivers. Brrrrrrrrrr. I took pictures through the windows from inside. Not very good shots I must tell you.

What's going on here?

You taking all my body heat?

OK - you can have it.

Just let me go grab another sweater. Love, Mama


Deck the Halls with Lots More Laundry

(This is an icky post about sick kids, but I need to get it out. You've been warned.)

The 24-hour bug hit us hard this week. Except I really shouldn't call it a 24-hour bug because it lasted oh so much longer than that. My cousin Tara suggested I call it the 24-hour-plus bug, so that's what I'm going with.

It started on Tuesday at dinner - in that Maddie lost hers. It wasn't horrible and it was only once and she was fine after I cleaned it up. No fever so I figured the blueberries (eeeew) just didn't sit well in her tummy. (I called it her "belly" that day and she got very upset with me and said with emphasis that it was her TUMMY. Noted.)

All was well for the the rest of the night. Katie started crying for me around 10:30pm that she had to go to the bathroom and she did a GOOD one so I was happy. Then she started screaming for me 15 minutes later and she had vomited everywhere! (That's the last time I will use that word - from now on it will just be "it." Ugh.) All over her bed and pillow and animals. Andy had just given the girls a bath that night but she needed to be bathed again. I cleaned up the mess (so much fun for a pregnant woman who gags) and she said she was feeling better. She went back to bed and all was well.

Except it wasn't.

We repeated that scenario about 7 times that night. Each time was less and less messy - but she didn't stop until about 4am. My heart was breaking for her - and the pile of laundry that kept growing and growing in my basement. Four sets of sheets, 7 blankets, 3 pillows, plus all her clothes. I stayed with her until about 3am, and then Andy took over from there and just slept on the floor beside her bed. She was very upset. I called her out of school the next day and the secretary said she wasn't the only one sick.

Then on Thursday I was taking the girls to get their 2nd H1N1 shot and Katie gags on a piece of banana and loses "it" in the waiting area. Ugh. Andy ran to get someone to help us clean it up, I'm kneeling down holding Katie because she's crying, a friend of mine, Tracey, is watching Maddie for me, people are moving away from us, it was nuts. A nearby dad asked if he could help with anything - which was so nice. The nurses didn't want to give Katie the shot at this point and I agreed - (just when I thought we would all be done with vaccinations for the year). So now I have to find another place to take her.

THEN - while I was Walmart with my neighbor Lisa - Maddie loses "it" in her bed. Andy cleaned it up and bathed her all alone and I felt so bad. He said it was fine though and that Maddie kept thanking him: "Thank you for cleaning me up, Daddy ... Thank you for giving me a bath, Daddy ... Thank you for warming me up, Daddy." Too cute. She's done that before.

That was Thursday night and we have been "it" free since then. The laundry situation is still out of control because all my regular laundry had to be put on hold so I could clean up all the other things that were a mess. I did a few loads more than once just to be sure. I ran out of detergent at one point and had to wait for Andy to pick me up some on the way home from work so that set me back a day, too.

Thanks for sticking with me through this icky post - I just needed to vent!

Hope you all have a "24-hour-plus" free Christmas!


Pictures with Santa through the years

We took the girls to visit Santa Claus this past Saturday at our town's Community Center. It was free, we could take our own pictures, it was free, they had music and munchies for the girls, and hey ... it was free! I worked in a mall for years and years and I always admired those parents who brought their youngins to see Santa - the place was always a madhouse. I try to avoid the mall around Christmas by any means possible.

This is the first year that the girls REALLY understand Santa and who he is and what he does so I had high hopes. They point him out in drawings or figures whereever we go so I figured we had a pretty good chance of getting a decent picture this year.

The CC gave out numbers as you walked in and called them out in sets of 10 so you didn't have to wait on line for an hour. There was so much for the kids to do: dance with the DJ, color, look at the HUGE tree, and walk through a mini Christmas village. We had a great time, saw lots of neighbors, and when our number was called we only waited on line for about 5-7 minutes.

As we were waiting, I mulled in my head our pictures with Santa through the years ...

Their first Christmas ... 2006 ...

This picture was taken at my twin club's annual Breakfast with Santa. The girls were 8 months old and crawling all over the filthy floor. I absolutely LOVE this picture. I actually entered it into a contest, but that was over three years ago and I never heard anything so I'm figuring we didn't win. The next picture is what happened about 30 seconds after this was shot ...

30 Seconds Later

Katie lost it. Check out Maddie's face. "Yo, dude, whassup?"

Second Christmas ... 2007

Not bad, not bad. Again at twin club Breakfast with Santa. Both a little shy, but I remember they would not look at the camera at all. Katie has this sheepish grin on her face (looking down) and Maddie and Santa are just checking eack other out.

Third Christmas ... 2008 (last year)
Whoa, Nellie - this was a toughie. We decided to try something new that year and went to Santa Land (check out that post here). The place was GREAT - but neither girl would even go near him. This first picure is Maddie going floppy (which she still does) and just melting to the floor.

Here's Katie, just clinging for dear life. There was quite a line behind us, but that Santa was wonderful and really tried his best to talk to the girls. He gave them both an apple and they managed to smile at him in the end.

This Christmas ... 2009

What a difference! Here is Maddie posing in front of one of the village scenes. There were 8 of these overall - each one had little children/elves in a different Christmas scene: cutting down the tree, baking cookies, making toys, decorating the tree, ice skating - and they all moved. Maddie was enthralled and spent most of the time walking up and down the lane just looking at them all.

Katie spent most of her time coloring, but I got her to check out the village a little bit, too.

Daddy and the girls in front of the tree.

Finally it was our turn to meet Santa ...

They ran and gave him the biggest hug! It was great!

What a shot! I just love this picture.

(I wish I had thought of taking their pics with him separately - it's on my list from now on.)

They are finally old enough to pose for a picture with Santa.
Let's see what a 6 month old will add to the mix next year!


Away in a Manger

Katie's school's Christmas Concert was this past Friday and it was beautiful. It is a K-8 school and every class participated (through song or narration) in the story of Christmas.

Katie's class were cherubs and they sang "Away in a Manger." They sent a note home about a month ago that the preschoolers needed to wear a white shirt and white pants. I avoid white clothing on my girls like the plague - I had nothing for her to wear! I found a white long sleeved shirt at Walmart, and thank goodness my friend Carol had a pair of white pants that she let us borrow. (White pants!?!)

They sent the words home and we practiced - though she liked to fool around almost every time. She would sing in a mouse's voice or in a really deep voice or just mouth the words with no sound. It drove me nuts!

But, lo and behold, when it came for her to be on stage she sang every word! There were about twenty 3-year-olds on stage and you could barely hear them, but I saw her mouth moving. Whoo hoo! I videotaped her song, but of course I have no clue how to transfer it (on tape) to the computer. We got there super early so we had a great spot in the second row.

I must say I really loved it - I can't wait for both of them to do more things like this as they grow up!


Dear Baby (Week 14)

Dear Little Baby - which is what we seem to be calling you lately! (I tried to make up cute little names for the girls when I was pregnant with them but they didn't stick either, so don't feel bad.)

Your presence is still making itself known in my day to day happenings. The exhaustion is less, it usually just comes around at dinnertime - which is impeccable timing since that's usually the time your sisters turn into creatures from another planet and decide that the love they have given each other all day has now come to an end. My gag reflex is alive and well - oh boy - do I have some not-to-be-told-when-anyone-is-eating-stories to tell!

Your sisters talk about you all the time. Whenever Katie sees a baby she says, "Just like the baby in your belly!" to me with a big smile on her face. They both pick up my shirt and Katie wants to touch you through my bellybutton. (Which gives me the willies!) Maddie tells you she is going to be your big sister with a big smile on her face and in quiet shy voice and then asks if you are coming today. I smile and say, "The baby will be here when it gets warm outside."

We decorated more of the Christmas tree today and I found one of my favorite ornaments: two bears touching noses, one labeled Katie and one labeled Maddie. Next year I will have to find one with three little bears on it!

We have no idea if you are a boy or a girl - and I have visions in my head of you as one or the other all the time. I see you as a boy on top of the roof in your teens helping Daddy hang Christmas lights - and I see you as a girl on top of the roof in your teens helping Daddy hang Christmas lights. Your Daddy will not discriminate! I see you with your Daddy's red hair and I see you with my dark brown hair. Your sisters blue eyed genes were strong enough to overpower my dominant brown eyes - will yours be that strong, too? Will I finally get a kid who looks like me or will I have to continue to point out your Daddy to people when they look at me and the girls with quizzical looks on their faces? Either way is fine with me!

Have a good week, Baby ... we can't wait to feel you start moving! Love, Mama


How we get Katie to take her antibiotics

Poor Katie. She has been out of school almost as much as she's been in. When she first started school I was very cautious - if she had a cough or runny nose of any kind I would keep her home. I was a brand new school mommy and I figured other parents wouldn't send their kids to school like that. Hah!

Once I realized how it REALLY goes, I only kept her home if she had a fever or a really bad cold. Which she has had quite often. Example: She missed picture day because of pink eye. Then she missed the make-up picture day this past Wednesday because she currently has a urinary tract infection.

So this week she is on antibiotics and she is none too happy about it. Let me show you how each morning and each evening goes in our household ...

We start by circling each other ...

I get her in a hold and start to bring her down ...

She escapes and the circling begins again!

Andy has to come in for backup ...

I've got a good grip! (And this is literally the face that Katie makes.)

She's pinned!

It's in her mouth - she's crying and rolling on the floor. (Don't worry - she gets a pez when she's done and she knows it.)

Mommy is victorious!!!

How does medicine taking go over in YOUR house?


Our Christmas Card Surprise

When we decided (read: when I convinced Mr. Andy Man) to try for a third kid we at first thought of planning for last year, when the girls would turn three. Which meant we had to get started when they were 2 1/2 - which both of us immediately reconsidered! We decided that waiting until the girls were going to be four when the new baby was born was probably a better idea.

I still can't get pregnant on my own, so we did IVF again (we did it for the girls) - and since we knew the drill it wasn't nearly as daunting this time. Our only request from our fabulous doctors at RMA was that we only wanted ONE embryo transfered. They laughed and said, "Sure - but you know it may split, right?" Oh yes, we knew! We just knew we'd have to add another bedroom onto the house if that happened.

It was so different this time because of a few reasons. We decided not to tell anyone this time. When we couldn't get pregnant years ago - everyone knew. They knew we were trying - they knew we were going through infertility treatments - they knew when we had the IVF done - and they knew the minute I found out I was pregant. They knew we were having twins - they knew they were girls - they even knew their names. I really wanted the element of surprise this time.

Another thing that was different than years ago was that now we had the girls. Andy was always able to come to appointments with me (which were anywhere from 5:30-7:30am). Now he had to stay home with the girls. We had a friend lined up to babysit the girls when the actual transfer took place - but then both our girls were sick with horrible horrible colds and we didn't want to get her little girl sick, so Andy stayed home instead. I went alone. It wasn't horrible - but I would have loved for him to be there to hold my hand.

We found out within a week that the transfer worked! And we found out a few days later that the embryo did NOT split. Yay!

Now we had to wait to tell everyone. I wanted to be sure and I wanted the baby to be safe. We waited until 8 weeks to tell our parents and siblings - on Halloween! All our parents were in a state of shock I think, and looked at us like we were nuts. Hey - we may be nuts, but all I know it that I felt like someone was missing. There was a notion of another little kid running around this house that I could just not get out of my head.

I don't want you all to think that our parents are upset or anything - I think we just shocked them! Trust me - they will eat this next little one up judging by the way they adore our girls in a way I never thought possible! :)

So now we had to tell everyone else. When I saw that I was going to hit 12 weeks the first week of December, "Christmas card" immediately popped into my head. My cousin did it a few years ago and I thought it was such a great idea - so I copied. That week we had our nuchal scan screening and got great results so the next day I mailed the cards.

I took a picture of the girls wearing "I'm gonna be a Big Sister" shirts instead of a Christmas dress. Mail must be fast because the next day the phone rang and rang. It was great to tell everyone and hear "Are you sure it's not two?" over and over!

I'll be blogging more and more now. I am just starting to feel better - the exhaustion, morning sickness, and headaches are almost gone. (Shhh ... don't tell Andy ...)



A prayer for a friend

Please pray and send good thoughts to my friend Alicia and her husband Josh who literally had an adoption slip through their fingers this week. They have been trying to have a child for over 7 years now and got news last week that a woman had chosen them to be adoptive parents of her soon-to-be-born baby boy, only to change her mind this week. I don't have any judgement towards this mother - but at the same time I am upset that my friend is hurting.

Take a few moments to read her blog, http://www.yayastuff.net/, and their adoption website, http://hopingtoadoptamiracle.blogspot.com/, if you'd like.



Halloween Pics!

It is raining here in Northern NJ and we had a wet Halloween. But did that stop us (me) from getting our candy? No way! We went out with umbrellas and raincoats and hoods and had a blast.

The girls were butterfly/faeries and they were just so excited (mostly Katie) to get all dressed up in pink and glitter from head to toe.

Here are some pics from today ...

Hope you all had a wonderful day - and I hope there was sunshine in other parts of the country today! We took one for the team this year - next year we get the sun!


Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

I just read that Patrick Swayze passed away this evening. I don't know why it is affecting me so much - usually I don't see the big deal that just because someone is a celebrity they deserve our adoration. I can't say for sure what Patrick Swayze was like in real life - but I can't remember any scandals surrounding him.

But Dirty Dancing was a movie that came out when I was in the 8th grade - and we all wanted to be Baby. I saw it with Melissa Barbier - we rolled up our jeans and we wore our Keds. We all wanted to meet the seemingly bad guy with the heart of gold. It takes me back to a time in my life where I was just about to enter high school and I was excited about all the new things to come. Patrick Swayze in this movie will always be a part of that - for reasons I am having a hard time explaining.

You can't help but watch this clip and want to stand up and dance. Even Andy loves that famous line - he's said it to the girls on many an occasion!

My prayers are with his family - rest in peace ...


Sesame Place

Mr. Andy Man took a week off in August and we did a few daycations, and I even had a whole day to myself! (Thank you my darling!)

One day we asked the grandparents to come to Sesame Place with us, and we all had a great time. It was a bit of a muggy day - and it POURED for about two hours while we were there - but as long as there was no thunder the rides stayed open. There was no thunder - and the girls had a blast in the rain. Thankfully my mom and Andy agreed to get wet with them - and I huddled under an awning with our wagon of stuff for two hours!

The GPS took us through a ridiculously long and windy route to get there - down a highway with a million and one lights. Andy's parents were coming from PA (Sesame Place is in PA) and their GPS took them into NJ first! Crazy maps. But eventually we got there safely and loaded up the wagon with food and towels and clothes and backpacks and the kitchen sink. In case we got thirsty.

Many of you may remember that Maddie does not do well in crowds. Or on hot days. Or waiting for any period of time longer than 15 seconds. So ... you know ... she did just great! (Insert sarcasm here.) The funny thing is that I KNOW she will love the rides once she gets on them and starts moving, so I push her to wait on the lines even though she drives everyone in our general vicinity nuts. "Sorry, people - we all have kids - deal." We did a few dry rides first thing - and she did smile and smile. Katie has much more patience and doesn't mind waiting, but Maddie can rile her up quick.

It was a trying morning, and I think I lost my temper more than I would have liked - but after we ate lunch we decided to just put them in their bathing suits and let them on the water rides for the rest of the day. Then it started drizzling. Just drizzling. Andy's parents decided to call it a day at this point - and I didn't blame them. Good thing, too - because after about 5 minutes after they left the rain came down! My mom was stuck with us because we were her ride - but she just got wet and was fine with it. They were all playing in Count's Splash Castle where every 10 minutes or so a huge bucket would drop hundreds of gallons of water all over everyone. We kept the girls away but Andy ran under it a few times!

I hid under said awning and chilled. It was rainy and it was hot. I stayed about 90% dry and wasn't complaining. After about an hour it started to let up and I saw that some patio tables with umbrellas were open so I rolled the wagon over there and chilled some more. Then it started pouring again! I was in a good spot and didn't get wet, but the wagon was not fairing as well.

Andy and my mom took turns bringing the girls back and forth to get a quick dry off and a drink or a snack - but those girls wanted to go right back into the water. The parade was right by where I was sitting, and because it was raining - we got front row seats. That parade BOOKED by, though. You could tell they were double timing it.

It finally stopped raining and we went to the other water rides throughout the park and the rest of the day went really smoothly. The highlight of the day was when they got to meet Zoe and the Count. Those two were the only characters we saw the whole day. When the girls saw Zoe they just ran right up to her and hugged her legs and wouldn't let go. It was adorable! Katie did the same thing to the Count, but Maddie was a little scared of him. Still adorable!

We left around 6ish - stopped at BK for food for the girls and they fell asleep the rest of the way home. I chose a different route from the GPS and we took highways the whole ride home. Better!

We bought two day tickets and have one day left to use. The water rides are all closed, but we will venture again sometime this month - we didn't do a lot of the dry rides or any of the shows. I'm glad we took them this year as opposed to last year, and I have a feeling next year will be a little better.

As long as it doesn't rain.

Here's a little slideshow of the day - enjoy!


First Day of School

We had a busy hectic week figuring out schedules and what time we all have to get up in the morning. I decided to send the girls to different schools for a variety of reasons, and they seem to have taken to it fine. Maddie goes 5 days a week and Katie goes Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are crazy.

We bought an extra carseat for Andy's car so he could drive Katie to school in the morning. Maddie takes the bus, which is just sooo much easier. But Katie's school is only like 7 minutes away so it's really not that bad.

Katie's first day was last Friday and it was a beautiful sunny day. Maddie hadn't started yet so we only had the one kid to get ready. It was nice, it was fine, it was a breeze. "We got this!" Andy and I said with a chuckle.

Katie's First Day!

Tuesday came (day after Labor Day) and it was Maddie's turn. Her bus doesn't come super early so we had time - and since it wasn't a Katie school day, again we only had one kid to get ready. "Hah!" Andy and I exclaimed with grins.

Maddie's First Day!

Then Wednesday hit. And we were promply put in our place.

We woke up them at 7am - "plenty of time!" I thought to myself. After all, we woke up at 7am on Katie's first day and it went like clockwork. But now we had two crazy little girls to get ready. Our stress level did not just double, it quadrupled. "Eat! Go potty! Come here! Stand still! I'm not brushing it too hard! Arms up! Keep your socks on! That's not yours!"

I suppose we'll laugh about this one day.

One day years from now.

Finally they were dressed and Katie was ready to leave with Andy. But since it was their first day of school together I wanted to take some pictures of them together. I was dreading it - after the morning we had I would have been happy with just one picture of them crying together. But they were great!

They posed and laughed and hugged. I wanted one picture of them hugging each other and looking at me, but they just couldn't get it, so Andy said, "C'mon" to get them to behave. They thought he meant "C'mon over here," so they started walking towards us. Literal children. (PS - I always said I wouldn't dress them alike when they started school, but since they aren't at the same school I figure it's OK!)

This morning was a double-child-school-day and I was determined not to have a repeat of Wednesday. I got them up at 6:30am - and it was much smoother. We needed that extra half-hour. Andy had to be in his office for an 8am meeting so I had to drive Katie to school, and Maddie had to come along for the ride. It's raining and I expected some craziness, but it was fine. Whew.

I'll just keep repeating to myself, "One day ... years from now ..."


Dirty Dirt Dirt

I am JUST getting calm enough to let the girls play in the dirt. It probably has something to do with the fact that they don't eat it or throw it anymore. I just make sure the clothes they have on are already stained and I let them loose. And I don't look.

It was so cool, beautiful, and breezy last night that we all went in the backyard to just chill. Even though we have a nice selection of climbing appartus-es and slides my darling daughters go straight for the back of our yard where hardly any sun gets through the trees and there are nice surfaces of brown calling to them: "Psst ... Katie ... Maddie ... c'mon over here. Those clothes need a little color on them."

And of course Mr. Andy Man cannot let fun be had without him.

"Just makin' it easier for them."

The wind was blowing the dirt away before it even made it into the bowl.

All I needed was a pitchfork and this picture would have been complete.


Stop & Shop Gift Card Winners!

We have our winners! I meant to do this yesterday but we had a last minute invite to the Renaissance Faire and were out all day. We had a great time - but that's another post!

OK, so ... I had 4 entries total that made it by the deadline of midnight on Friday. (I had more comments, but they didn't have a Stop & Shop near them - so sad ...). I numbered them in order.

1. Christine
2. Tracey
3. BoufMom9
4. Beverlee

Then, I went to Random.org and generated 2 random numbers between and including 1 and 4.

Here are the results ...

So a big congratulations go out to Christine and Beverlee! Email me at madkatblog@yahoo.com with your addresses and I will get the cards right out to you!

Enjoy your shopping!!!


Giveaway Closed!

Hi everyone - thanks to all who entered the Stop & Shop giveaway. I will be picking the names of the winners later today and let you know who won!

For those of you who don't have a S&S near you - you are missing out on some good shopping! Haha! :)

Andy and I are off to the Renaissance Fair today while his parents watch the girls. We are going with some of his friends and they aren't bringing their kids so we aren't bringing ours!

Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone!


Stop & Shop Gift Card Giveaway!

Well, this summer has been a busy one, let me tell you!

We went to lots of family parties, we went to Sesame Place for the first time (which was a good/trying experience), we went to the zoo, we went down the shore, we played and played in the kiddie pools!

I plan on posting lots of slideshows in the upcoming weeks - as well as telling you all about the Katie and Maddie's first day of school! Yikes!

In the meantime, I was contacted by MyBlogSpark on behalf of General Mills and Stop & Shop to hold an awesome giveaway for you guys! Now, just to let you know ... I shop at Stop & Shop almost daily. Seriously. There is one about 5 minutes away from me and Katie and I were there constantly while Maddie was in school. (It's amazing how much shopping can be done with only one child in tow ... I'd go straight to the bakery and get her a bagel and it was smooth sailing.). I like their prices and I like their variety. Recently I went to another store with my mom and the prices were higher than my S&S! So, I don't feel like I am just randomly pushing an advertisement on you guys.

(I also eat Cheerios like they are going out of style. When I was pregnant and teaching I carried a tiny plastic bag of them everywhere I went and just munched all day long - they kept my tummy calm.)

Also, my Stop & Shop has those automatic price scanners, which I planned on blogging about soon anyway. I grab a scanner, grab some bags, and shop. Scan my stuff - put it in my bag. Go to the register - it pulls up my order - I pay - and I'm out the door. No more unloading all my groceries just to reload them back into my cart. I turn into a German nannie and sing, "these are a few of my favorite things" as I roll out the door.

So ... Shop & Stop is having a back-to-school promotion ... here are the details ...

This Back-to-School Saving Event is taking place at Stop & Shop stores September 4-10. Great sale pricing on the participating General Mills brands: Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Reeses Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cookie Crisp Sprinkles, Cookie Crisp, Fruit Snacks, Old El Paso Dinner Kits, Pillsbury Strudel, Pillsbury Scrambles, Green Giant Boxed Vegetables, Yoplait Yo-Plus Multi-Pack, Fiber One Yogurt Multi-Pack, Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookies, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Pillsbury Sweet Rolls and Yoplait Delights.

Additional savings for you or your school, depending on which Stop & Shop location you shop.

If your Stop & Shop store sells gas: (mine doesn't - :(
- Buy four (4) participating General Mills items and you’ll automatically earn 100 points on your Stop & Shop card.
- For every 100 points earned, you'll save 10¢ per gallon of gas (Please note: Total discount cannot exceed price per gallon)
Just swipe your Stop & Shop Card at the pump to redeem your Gas Rewards.

For those Stop & Shop locations without gas stations, don’t worry – you’re not left out of the savings – if you buy five (5) participating General Mills products, you will receive 20 Bonus Box Tops for your school.

AND ... MyBlogSpark, Stop & Shop, and General Mills are allowing me to giveaway a $10 gift card to one lucky reader! But that's not all!

They sent me a $10 for myself, but I have decided to give that one away, too!

So that two - count 'em - TWO - $10 gift cards to Stop & Shop for TWO lucky readers!

(I feel like an infomercial - all I need now is a British accent.)

So here's how to enter ...

1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite time of day to go food shopping and why. (That's one entry.)

2. Blog about this giveaway and you'll get another entry. (Be sure to tell me if you do this.)

Comments will close at midnight on Friday, September 4th. I will choose two winners on Saturday, September 5th and post it up!

Good luck everyone!!!

(And don't worry - I'll take that June banner down soon ... hehe)


I am coming back soon!

Hey all! I miss you!!! I suddenly decided (back in June) to take the summer off - but then forgot to tell everyone. The girls are starting school in a couple of weeks (whoo hoo!) and I am looking forward to some sort of semblance in my life again.

Thanks to everyone who left me "Where are you/How are you/I miss you" messages. I can't wait to catch up with you all!!!


Father's Day Fun

We had such a nice Father's Day. We originally intended to go down the shore to Point Pleasant, but looking at the weather in the morning the outlook didn't look good - so we stayed home. Andy took the girls grocery shopping (by choice!) and I had some nice time in the morning to myself.

I told him to pick up whatever he wanted for dinner - and he came home with burgers, tilapia, and scallops. He didn't want to wait for dinner, though, so as soon as the girls went down for their nap he fired it all up on the grill. I'm not a fan of scallops (unless they are wrapped in bacon, of course - everything is better wrapped in bacon) but the tilipia was yummy.

He also came home with two cake mixes, and he couldn't wait for those either. I'm in the dining room and I see Andy out of the corner of my eye bending down for things under the cabinets - opening drawers - then he asked me where the vegetable oil was. He made his own cake! I made him wait to cut it until the girls woke up so I could take a picture. (He was itching for that cake.)

While the little ladies were napping the sun came out! We hemmed and hawed about taking the ride down the shore anyway, just so the girls could go on the rides, but decided against it. I wanted to take them SOMEWHERE - goodness knew when we were going to see the sun again - and after reading on Facebook that my friend Maureen and her family were at the Arboretum we decided to head over there.

I set my camera to the micro setting (the little tulip) and took really close-up shots of some of the flowers. My favorite ones are the two right after the light pink rose in the slideshow. When I saw they were from the hydragea family I was not surprised - my favorite flower! I like what I like.

The Arboretum is great - lots of paths - lots of open fields for the girls to run around in - lots of fountains. Just beautiful.

Enjoy the slideshow!



I've been tagged by Michelle over at Lollypops and Lizards! I usually forget to do the assignment when I get tagged - but I am turning over a new leaf - I am doing this one.

Here's the rules!
1) Go to your photo files…Select the 6th photo folder
2) Select the 6th photo in that folder
3) Post that photo along with the story behind it.
4) Then challenge 5 blog friends to do the same.

Here is my photo ...

It's my favorite piece of furniture - and this picture was taken in our townshouse. (Ahhh ... our first home ... our townhouse ... a place I loved and I miss everyday. Not that I don't love our home now - it's just that when you go from a 12 year old townhouse with a brand new pale yellow and white kitchen that you installed yourself ... to a 55 year old house with dark brown 70s kitchen with ugly flower wallpaper and an electric stove that burns EVERYTHING you cook on it ... you tend to get a little nostalgic.)

The hutch was decorated for Chrismas and I love looking at it. All those plaid dishes and platters and mugs I bought on sale at Target for like 70% off the year before. (You love it, Tiff!) I collect (collected) snowmen and had them displayed in little vignettes all over the dining room and living room. Did I mention this was before the girls?

Right now it is empty. We just haven't had a chance to load it back up again (with my pretty dishes) since the floors were done. This is what it will look like soon ...

I want to get the dishes back in this weekend - I am having Twin Club over next Thursday and would like this place to look lived in.

I am tagging who-ever-so-wishes to participate. Let me know if you do.