Nov 29, 2011

My FABULOUS Holiday Weekend

So before you say anything, I already know that I have been way off my blogging game for a while.

But life has been so crazy for me over the past month that honestly, blogging was just about the last thing I could think about.

But now life is *kind of* starting to get back to some kind of normal.  And I miss this blog o' mine.  So I'm hoping I can get back into the swing of things.

So now let me tell you about my FABULOUS Holiday weekend!

First, the girls had last Wednesday off of school, so it was a special mommy-daughter day. 

We started off by having breakfast at Waffle House.

My girls have never been to Waffle House before, and Addy had been begging us to take her.

Unfortunately, my husband is not a fan.  I am!

So we went and of course they loved it, too.

I mean, how can you not love a place where you get to order things scattered and covered???

After that we went Christmas shopping for daddy.

I won't tell you what they bought him because the hubby reads this blog, but I will say that they are SUPER excited about it, and I am just hoping that they can keep it a secret until the big day.

Our fun day was then made even better when we went home and the girls helped me bake 3 pies.  I love the help, and they love helping, so it's a win-win!  And no one minds that there little fingers were taking swipes of the filling anyway, right?

On Thursday, my day started early so that I could get our GINORMOUS turkey in the oven, followed by the ham.  But it was worth it when we got to enjoy the best meal of the year while we visited with 20 or so relatives.

But the real fun began when at 7:30pm, a few lovely ladies and I, (and my hubby for the first stop), headed out to begin our BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING!!!!

Oh friends, let me just tell you that Black Friday shopping is not for the weak. 

First of all, it should be called Black Thursday now because the deals started on Thursday evening at 10pm at Wal-Mart, which was our first stop. 

And can I just say that Wal-Mart is just full of the most interesting people you will ever see in your life?

I mean, where else can you see someone in ugg-like boots, pj bottoms, and a tank top with no bra and think that it's totally acceptable? 

And just when things were starting to get boring while we waited in line, a fight almost broke out between a guy I'm pretty sure was a truck driver at some point in his life and a preppy little momma trying to cut in line who had no fear of him.  That is until he started cursing at her.  Then she hightailed it outta there.

I think it was a wise choice.

And then, after we got our goods and tried to make our way to a check-out line, I was stopped by a police officer inside the store who was directing traffic.

Did you see that I said, INSIDE the store?


After that we hot the mall for Old Navy, Elder-Beerman, NY&Co., and The Great Steak Escape.

There weren't a lot of choices for food at 3am, and we were running out of steam.  And truth be told, pretty much nothing is off limits at that time of the morning.

Our last stop was Target.  Unfortunately, everything had been pretty picked over at that point, (they had opened at midnight), so I struck out there.  But when I got home, I was able to get the rest of my stuff on, so it's all good.

And on Friday evening, those same great ladies and I gathered up our families and went to the Downtown Dayton Grande Illumination and Children's Parade.  The weather was perfect and the kids had a fabulous time!

The next day we put up our tree and decorated the house.  It is seriously one of my very favorite things to do.  It just makes every day better when you get to walk by a beautiful lit-up Christmas Tree.  It just does.

And our wonderful weekend ended with a Pajama day and pizza-movie night.  A perfect ending for a perfect weekend.

I am so excited for all the fun stuff that this season holds.  We have lots of fun plans, and I can't wait to share all of them with you.

Which reminds me, tomorrow I will be listing a bunch of the events going on around town in December.  Hopefully, you will be able to check out some of them with your crew!

So I hope you all had a great Holiday weekend, too!  Feel free to share some of your Black Friday stories also.  I always love a good Wal-Mart story!

Nov 22, 2011

Are You As Excited As I Am??

The preparations have begun.

Groceries are bought, turkey is thawing in the fridge, cranberry relish is cooked, cheesecake is baked, and pies are getting started.

I am sooooo excited for the absolute best meal of the year!

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This year, I am hosting at my house.

20 relatives all under the same roof is definitely a recipe for disaster, but I don't care one bit!

I LOVE having everyone together for the holiday's.

Unfortunately, my husband doesn't enjoy the cleaning and other preparations for the day as much as I do, but someone has to get the house ready while I bake... :)

And the girls are getting excited too.  Tomorrow there is no school.  So we have plans to go to breakfast together, go Christmas Shopping for daddy, (shhhh), and then home so that they can help me finish all the baking for the BIG DAY!

And after dinner on Thursday, it begins.

You do know what I'm talking about don't you?


Target Black Friday Ad page 8

Usually, we wake up at 3am, head out to stand in line and stay out until about noon.

But this year, Wal-Mart deals start at 10pm, so I will be out at 8pm.

It kind of cuts into our Thanksgiving, but since I am usually heading to bed around 8pm anyway, I don't mind so much.

This way I can just stay up all night and (hopefully) be home by 6 or 7am.

I am just giddy about it.

I have my list's done and the plan is laid out. (BTW, I use this site to lay out my plan.  It has all the Black Friday ads listed so I know what's on sale!)

First is Wal-Mart, then Target, then the mall.  I *may* drop by Toys R' Us at some point, but there is nothing that I have to get there that is on sale, so we'll see.

And my husband and I have a great system, too.

As soon as we go into the store, he goes and gets in line.  I go do the shopping and then by the time that we are done, he is near the front. 

Because waisting time on Black Friday is NOT an option!

This is serious business.

And yes, I DO know that I have the most wonderful husband in the world!  Most husbands avoid Black Friday like the plague.  But when Addy was a baby, he really wanted to come out and help me shop for her.  And after that, it just became our tradition.

He won't admit that he loves it, but I know he does :)

So in case I'm too busy baking and enjoying the holiday with family to post on here again before Thursday, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of friends and family!

And a great Black Friday, too!

Nov 18, 2011

Winner of The Nutcracker Tickets!!!

Congratulations to......

Real Life Motherhood of 4 for winning tickets to The Nutcracker!!!

Email me your name and mailing address to and I will send you your voucher!

I KNOW that you will love this show!!

Congratulations and I hope you have a FANTASTIC time!

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Nov 11, 2011

Great Service Makes Me Smile

Have I shared with you about how much my family enjoys eating out?

It's kind of a bad thing, I know.

It cost extra money and isn't super healthy.

But it means no cooking for me, no clean-up and everyone is happy with their choices so there's no complaining.

So, I pretty much want to do it every night.

{Note:  We DON'T do it every night.  That's just my wish...}

Anyhow, because we do eat out a fair amount, we are used to so-so customer service at restaurants.

I don't complain because honestly, I don't even want to serve my family supper, how do I expect them to do it with great service?

But I do realize that we are actually paying for the service, so I do expect something beyond the minimum.

But I have to tell you about some EXCELLENT service we got last week.  It was just that good!

Because my mom was in the hospital, my husband went to visit one evening and then stopped to eat at Longhorn Steakhouse after.  It was by the hospital and I was too exhausted and emotional to drive anywhere else. 

First of all, I was a little in shock at the price.

{Have I also told you how cheap I am?}

We are used to eating at Wendy's, Chick-fil-a, Bob Evans, Chili's on kids eat free night....we  pretty much try to keep it around $20-$25 for our meal.

So when I saw that most steaks were around $15-$20, I panicked a little. 

But then I calmed myself down and reminded myself that this was a grown up meal without nuggets or mac-n-cheese.  I decided to just enjoy the moment.

I ordered a nice steak, medium rare just like I like it, with salad and mashed potatoes.  I felt like it was my birthday or something.

Until the steak arrived.

Remember that I said I ordered it medium rare?

It was VERY well done.

But then the manager came over.

Not only did he bring me a new steak, but he stayed while I cut into it to make sure that it was cooked perfectly.

And it was!

And then he told us that my entire meal would be on the house.

Seriously?  Just for overcooking a steak?

I told him it wasn't necessary, but he insisted.

And that my friends, makes me a happy customer.

Not because I didn't want to pay.  But because they went the extra mile to make sure I was happy.

And this is not the first time Longhorn has given us excellent service, either.

I have to say, when it comes to chain steak houses, they really rise above the rest in terms of service.

So Thank you Longhorn for making a crummy night just a little better. 

Nov 7, 2011

Mix It Up Monday: Boots and A Skirt

There is this fashion rule that I try to follow most of the time.

That fashion rule is: Just because it's trendy doesn't mean it will look good on you!  Wear what looks good, not what everyone else is wearing!

But I have to admit that sometimes, I look at a girl in a something trendy that I'm pretty sure won't work for me, and I am SO jealous!

I just wish I was one of those girls who could pull off any look...but I'm not.

And when everyone started wearing skinny jeans or leggings with boots, I was screaming, "WHYYYY?" in my head.  Not because it doesn't look good, but because I didn't think it would look good on ME!

First of all, to find a pair of boots that will fit up over my large calves is almost impossible.

And need I explain the skinny jeans or leggings?

I didn't think so.

But after and eternity a while of watching everyone else pull off this look, I was determined to try. 

And by golly, I think I found a way to make it work.

Sweater: Garage Sale, Skirt: Goodwill, White Tee: Target, Black Shirt: Old Navy, Gray Leggings: Gap Outlet, Black Boots: Avenue Online

I still don't think I can follow every trend, (and actually, this may be the only outfit I can wear these boots and leggings with...but what the heck!), but it's nice to know that if I am willing to adjust a little, I can feel a little trendy too!

So tell me, what fashion trends have you tried lately?

I will be linking up with Momma Go Round for RMRS, and The Pleated Poppy for WIWW.

Nov 4, 2011

Choosing To Focus On Today

This has been a week of ups and downs for sure.  A lot of sadness but a lot of praise too.

Let me explain.

{Deep Breath}

So on Sunday, my momma called me and my three sisters to her house to explain to us that she had a large mass in her lower abdomen that they believed to be cancer.

It was a scary thing to hear.

She had been having pain for a while that she thought was gallbladder pain.  But since the tests for that had come back fine, they decided to do a CT scan and that is when they saw the mass.

My mom had breast cancer about ten years ago, but had been in remission since, and we were hoping to never have to hear the C-word again.

But here it was, and we were scared.  Especially since we wouldn't have much information until they operated.

So this past Wednesday, they operated to remove the mass. 

And when the surgeon came out to talk to us, he told us that it was ovarian cancer, stage C3.  I don't know much about ovarian cancer, but that didn't sound good to me.

But the good news is that they were able to get all of the mass removed, (it started in one ovary and had spread all around engulfing the other and grown to a size larger than a softball), but it had NOT spread to her colon.  That had been one of my mom's major concerns.

That was a HUGE praise!

He said she would go through six rounds of chemo and hopefully, after that she would be fine.

I was SOOOO relieved to hear that. 

He also mentioned that there is an 80% remission rate and that also is great news.  Unfortunately, he also mentioned that of that 80%, 75% will have cancer return within 3 years.

Ugh.  Seriously?  Why did he have to say that?

I spent the day with lots of ups and downs. 

First being so thankful that she made it through surgery fine, and that they got all of the tumor, and that she will likely be fine after her chemo.

Then being crushed by the news that she might be dealing with this for many years to come.

In some ways, I felt like a little girl again, a little girl who just wants her mommy.

It is strange to be in this place in life when you start really realizing that your parents won't be around forever.  I knew that, but I don't like to think about it.

But now it's here, trying to get my attention, and I just want it to go away.

After praying and talking with amazing friends who have been down this road, I am choosing to focus on the positive news and only think about today.

Today she is recovering.

Today she is getting stronger.

Today she is tumor free.

Today she is watching Fox News, telling me how to raise my girls, and being sassy with the nurses.

Today, she is being my mom.

I am focusing on that, and praising God for it.

my mom, sisters and I

She will be in the hospital until sometime next week, and then she will go home and start her chemo.  I would covet your prayers for her as she walks down this difficult road.

Thank you!

Nov 3, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: The Nutcracker {GIVEAWAY}!!!!

One year when I was about 15, one of my church youth leaders took some of us girls to see The Nutcracker Ballet. 

It was beautiful.

I knew that one day I would want to take my kids to see it too.

And when Addy was 3, we took her to see it, and she loved it too.

It is so much fun to get all dressed up, go out for a fancy dinner, and then go to The Schuster Center.

The Christmas decorations were up, the Holiday music was playing, and there was a fabulous anticipation in the air because it was just one of those magical moments.

You know, the kind that almost make you want to cry.

(Okay, so maybe I'm a little over-emotional right now.  But it *is* just so special!)

I wish everyone had the chance to see this beautiful and special ballet, but I realize that it can be a big expense during a time of year that is already kind of tight.

Not that it's not worth it, because it TOTALLY is!  But I'm just saying that I can definitely see why sometimes people just can't fit it into the budget.

But if you have thought about going, but have been holding off on getting tickets, TODAY'S YOUR DAY!

I am giving away 4 FREE tickets to The Dayton Ballet's Performance of The Nutcracker!!! And one of the BEST parts is that you get to choose the date you want to go!

There are several ways to enter for your FREE tickets AND YOU CAN ENTER AS MANY TIMES AS YOU LIKE!  But make sure to leave a comment for each entry.

-Follow This Blog
-Follow Family Fun Mom on Facebook
-Follow Family Fun Mom on Twitter
-Follow The Dayton Ballet on Facebook
-Follow The Dayton Ballet on Twitter
-Tell us about your favorite memory of seeing The Nutcracker
-Tell us why you want to win the tickets
-Blog about this giveaway
-Link a post from your Facebook or Twitter account to this giveaway


The Giveaway will run through November 17th and a winner will be announced on November 18th! 

I am SOOOO excited to be doing this giveaway, you don't even understand!  I just know that you'll have a fabulous time!

Good Luck!

Disclosure:  I have received tickets for my family and to giveaway for this promotion of The Dayton Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker.  All opinions in this post are completely my own!

Nov 1, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Bring on the Holidays!

Every year I have to will myself to hold off on the Christmas music and general Holiday celebrating until Halloween is over.

I want my kids to enjoy all the fun that trick-or-treating brings.

Because, it just isn't the same to trick-or-treat with "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" ringing in your ears, ya know?!

But now that it's officially over, BRING ON THE HOLIDAY CELEBRATING!!!!

The Christmas music will be playing, the cinnamon candles will come out and the baking will begin.

Isn't it just wonderful?!

So in honor of the sheer JOY I feel today as I let loose on all of my Thanksgiving/Christmas celebrations, I am dedicating my Top Ten to Reasons I Love The Holiday Season!

10.  Loads of Baked goods!  The bagged candy is out the window in honor of warm pies, rich cakes, decorated cookies, and all the other goodies that come out to play for the season.

9.  Christmas Music!  I could listen to Christmas Music all year round and my kids feel the same way.  Just a few weeks ago I heard my youngest humming Jingle Bells in her room.  It warms a mother's heart :)

8.  Shopping!  I know Christmas is not all about the "stuff", but I DO love to buy presents for people.  It makes me giddy to try and get the things that I know my loved ones will want. 

7.  The decorating!  Putting up Christmas lights, wreaths, and our beautiful tree with all the ornaments just makes me happier than almost anything. 

6.  Family Meals!  Thanksgiving dinner is by far the best meal of the year.  Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn casserole, cranberry dressing, rolls...I mean seriously?!

5.  Peppermint Mocha's from Starbucks!  Enough said...

4.  Getting together with friends!  During the Holidays, everyone always makes time to get together and celebrate the season with friends, and because I have the very best friends in the world, I can't get enough of it!

3.  Christmas cheer!  Somehow, during the Holidays, everyone seems to be in a better mood.  Even spending an hour in line while you wait to pay for all the goodies you're getting doesn't phase you. 

2.  All the fun Holiday activities/events we do as a family!  Looking at lights, going to The Nutcracker, sledding in the snow, Christmas Tree lighting's, parades, Breakfast with Santa, Christmas movie marathons...I just LOVE all of it!

1.  Faith, Family, and friends!  I really know what this season is about, and I love celebrating it all. 

So tell me, what are you most looking forward to this Holiday Season?

I am linking up with Oh Amanda for Top Ten Tuesday!