Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving

Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all my readers!!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday filled with love and laughter!  This was the first Thanksgiving that my husband and I have ever spent together thanks to deployments, underways and duty days that the Navy has so graciously given to him.  Note the sarcasm.

Since my family and I moved to Virginia, I and this year we, have stopped along the Eastern Shore of Virginia to pick up oysters for my dad!  Each year there is a story of a southern character and this year was no exception!  Tim has been in the business for 26 years and he has the best oysters around! Picture a deep Southern accent and a good old country boy.
I love the "S"!
Thank you, Tim, for another entertaining oyster purchasing experience! 

We got home and celebrated my birthday!  Having a birthday so close to Thanksgiving makes the holiday extra special!  In lieu of a cake, I opted for a coconut custard pie!!  Oh my heavens, my mama knows how to make the best pies and coconut custard is hands down my favorite!  On top of the wonderful pie, my parents gave me a Martha Stewart sauce pan with two steamer inserts!  It was on my wish list since...last Christmas!  I was also spoiled my my brother and sister; they gave me earrings and two shirts! 

Since we went home on Tuesday evening, we had all day Wednesday to relax and explore the construction going on down the street...
This bridge has been under construction for a minimum of seven years...  It makes our trip to Church about 3 minutes longer and with our family, those 3 minutes are vital.  We are looking forward to the bridge being open, but we aren't looking forward to the return of traffic to our street. 
Sadly, all the rain that we have been having washed away the work that had begun...

I spent a lot of time taking pictures, reading a Nicholas Sparks book, and not doing research.  It was a much needed break! 

On Thanksgiving day, we got up bright and early, bundled up, crammed into my parent's minivan, and headed to Philadelphia for the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade!


 Heartthrob!  Stefano from American Idol!

Now that's the real Santa!  And Mrs. Claus told us that Santa's favorite cookies are Chocolate Chip Cookies! 
I had a blast taking pictures and experimenting with my camera!  Jared and Bonnie loved the parade and we discovered that Lira is called to be a city dog!  She was in doggie heaven on the streets of Philly! 
Last, but not least, we stop by 17th and Vine for this statue and every year without fail, we imitate it!

On our way home, we were stuck in traffic for an hour and a half because of several accidents.  We stayed true to the holiday and were thankful for our safety.  Don't worry, all accidents were minor. 

As for Thanksgiving dinner...I have one picture...and it's horrible.  We had nineteen people, two turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes, real cranberries, green bean casserole, rolls, squash, and PIE!!! 

Much love.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Year Older

Happy 26th Birthday to me and happy it was indeed!
I was spoiled rotten by my friends and family! 
Sometimes people complain about getting older and wish they could repeat a certain year.  Well, I can guarantee you that I will never yearn to repeat the past year of my life.  While a lot of good has happened, J-man coming to live with us, Ryan coming home from deployment, meeting tons of new friends in Virginia, making a house a home...there has also been a lot of challenges.  I've learned a lot, but if I never experience months of Ryan being gone, the emotional roller coasters, funerals of friends fathers and grandfathers, comprehensive examinations...again, I will be just fine.  All in all, this past year has been a beautiful journey that has made me emotionally stronger, more confident in the woman I am, much more intelligent, and one heck of a multitasker!  I know now how to write a paper, run regressions, vacuum, dust, do laundry, get dinner on the table, make sure J-man completes all his homework correctly and kiss my husband in an average 2-3 hour evening! 

Ryan went above and beyond to make my birthday perfect! On Sunday we went hiking as a family and played on the beach! Then we hung Christmas lights and I got on the roof and cleaned the gutters. Thanks to my dad, I am comfortable being on the roof for the most part! After a day spent with Mother Nature, we went out to dinner with some friends for Mexican food! Yum! It was a much needed and extremely fun night with friends!
On my actual birthday, I did a ton of homework! While that may not sound like fun, being productive makes me happy and I was productive for sure! I woke up to the smell of coffee and came home to the smell of cake! Yes, Ryan baked!!!! He then proceeded to make me an amazing dinner of my choice - grilled medium rare steak, steamed asparagus, and maple sugar acorn squash!! Heavenly!
Oh and the cherry on top, he made me a fun cocktail!!
What's a birthday without presents?!?!
I got my boots!! Yay!! They are tall Kamik boots in green. I love them! We ordered cream liners for them so they can be perfect snow boots too!
Jared got me super soft and cozy socks along with a wonderful homemade card! On the inside, he drew me with a bubble that said "homework" and then he drew him playing play station with a caption "ugh...okay..." Bahahahahaha so true! Four pairs of unique earrings and the Nicholas Sparks book "The Best of Me" rounded out my gifts from the boys! They were perfect!
Oh, a classmate got me LIPSTAIN! It's my first attempt at using it and I really like it! It isn't shiny, but it does give my lips a nice lasting color! Thanks Darling Dasha!
Much love.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lovin Pinterest

Dearest Pinterest,

Thank you for the inspiration to be crafty again!  I've always had a passion for sewing, designing, and creating unique items, but over the past few years, I have set it aside.  No longer I say, no longer!  Creativity is back in my life and just in time for Christmas!  My mission now is to be creative in ways that J-man can participate in!  Luckily he is quite the little seamster! 

With much appreciation,
Sarah

Today J-man and I made some craft "To Do" and "Chore" lists with old picture frames, a little paint and some scrap paper.

We can easily modify the lists because it's erasable marker!  Plus J-man loves to be able to make his own check marks when he is done the chore.  Sadly, the command hooks I used didn't work and they both fell to the ground.  I hate nails, so I might try command again...any suggestions on the specific type?

J-man and I broke out the sewing machine yesterday and made the sweet little girlies in our life adorable Christmas presents!  I can't share the picture of them because their mamas are readers and I don't want to spoil the surprise.  All I have to say is they are amazing and I want to make one for my future babies!!

Oh what to do with all those scraps of fabric?!?  Make a fabric tutu/skirt that can be worn for a photo opportunity, for dress-up or everyday!  I think this little skirt is simply lovely!  No longer will I be throwing my scraps away!  Whether I have a little girl or not, all the little girls in my life will be twirling around in one of these!  And I must add, I love the cowgirl boots!   
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Or make cloth diapers with that extra fabric!
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Photography Ideas for babies...
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Fake snow decorations for those of us who won't have a white Christmas, but want one so dearly!
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There are so many wonderful ideas that I'd love to share, but instead I'll let you explore for yourself!  The DIY section is my favorite!  Happy Pinning! 

Much love.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mass

Mass was interesting this past Sunday...
Part 1:
...I listened to readings that touched me

Proverbs 31: 10-13, 19-20, 30-31
When one finds a worthy wife,

her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.

She obtains wool and flax
and works with loving hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.

I would have selected that reading for my wedding if I would have thought of it.

Psalm 128: 1-5
R. (cf. 1a) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Part 2:  This is a venting part...
...I was extremely disappointed by the priest's homily

I don't believe the pulpit is the place to speak about how you expect your parishioners to dress for Mass.  Regardless of attire, I believe that all are welcome in the house of God.  We were told that flip flops and shorts are not appropriate, yet I look around and see sweatpants and tight dresses.  My favorite old man wears an army jacket, sweatpants and sneakers every single Sunday and he is by far one of the most active participants at Mass.  In my opinion, speaking about what to wear and what not to wear only makes people feel unwelcome and that is the absolute LAST thing someone should feel when they walk into church. This isn't the first time that I have been utterly disappointed and frankly pissed at this particular priest...I literally sat there steaming for a good 15 minutes; it completely ruined Mass for me. 

He made a comment this summer about chewing gum and socializing after Mass.  I would estimate that 15% of the parishioners remain in their seats during communion, including my husband, and if they want to chew gum, let them chew gum.  It isn't hurting anyone.  As for the socializing, when parishioners speak to one another, there is a sense of community and belonging which I love!  I understand that some people stay after Mass to pray, my granny being one of them, and I doubt they mind five minutes of chatter.  Rarely do people stay in church and chat for more than 5 minutes without moving outside. 

Maybe I am overreacting, but it's been bothering me and I needed to get it off my chest.  Sorry readers.  Any and all opinions are welcome. 

much love.

Little Joys!

Beautiful Fall Days
Today was absolutely gorgeous!  Bright blue skies, beaming sunshine, unusually warm weather, turning leaves and a perfect breeze!  Days like today bring a renewed sense of joy to my life and offer a great excuse to work outside, take pictures and open windows!
Sweet Mint
And what better drink to have than ice cold water with sweet mint ice cubes!  Thanks to my Virginia friends, Melissa and Allison, I have my very own sweet mint plant growing away on my kitchen windowsill and I was inspired to put the mint in ice cube trays with a little water and freeze away! 


Let me tell you, it tastes amazing!  There is just the perfect amount of sweetness!  If you have public water, the mint washes away all of the public water taste!  I grew up on well water and can drink almost any water, but my heart will always be with well water and now mint water!  It's divine!  Thanks for the idea ladies!

Kids:
For you concerned bloggers, J-man is doing much better and the mean click is starting to fall apart...thank God.  Slowly but surely the boys are starting to realize that it's not as much fun to only play with a few kids and leave other kids out.  J-man took our and your advice, made some new friends and stayed true to himself!  We are very proud of him.  He has become a spy over these past few weeks and has built some awesome lego creations.  He also asked to read the book Number the Stars!  That was awesome to me because I absolutely LOVED that book growing up and was surprised and happy that he wanted to read it.  We took a little adventure to Barnes & Noble and used a gift card to get it! 

Thank you for your concern and while I doubt this is the end of J-man being the target of the bullying, I have confidence that he will be able to stand strong though it because he knows he has family that loves him!

Anniversaries

Happy Two Year Anniversary to my sister and brother in law!!!  I am very lucky to be a part of your family and love you two to pieces!!  Congratulations!

Thrift Stores
I love THRIFT STORES!!  I have been hunting for a bedskirt for a long, and I mean looong time and I finally got one...for 99-cents!  Oh yea baby!  It isn't perfect, but it's perfect for the price!  My bedroom is slowly, but surely looking more and more complete.  A wooden vine wreath was also purchased for a lovely $2.00!  It will be decorated and hung this holiday season!  Last, but not least, I got the most amazing Christmas dress!  It's classy, sexy and absolutely perfect!  Here is a fuzzy phone picture...

Puppies
I fall in love with her silly face, her love of cuddles and her random craziness! Today she was outside with me while I as doing homework and she was attacking the grill cover.  Why you ask?  I have no idea, but it provided me with thorough entertainment!  Here's little miss Lira hiding from me!


Pinterest.com
Oh My Heavens!  I absolutely love this new website!  Pinterest has wonderful DIY projects, baking ideas, decor solutions, dinner recipes, you name it!  I am in love with teh melted snowman sugar cookies, the endless wreath ideas, and the erasable marker picture fram chore list!  I will be dedicating an entire post or two to Pinterest in the very near future, but for now, if I were you and I had a few extra minutes, I'd hop on over to the site and fall in love!

Much love.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas Picture Sneakpeak

Christmas is right around the corner and Christmas card designs have been on my mind.  This weekend, we all got dressed up and took some pictures!  Since we all wanted to be in the photos, we used a tripod for most of them and then each took turns for a few others. 

Here is a sneak peak: 
oops...several completely chopped our heads off while others were so shadowy that they simply could not be used. 
 Some were good...
Others had funny faces...

Overall, the session was a success, but the keepers are a secret until our Christmas cards have been sent and received!  This is only our second year doing it.  This was our card last year:
Do you personalize your Christmas cards?

Much love.

Monday, November 7, 2011

There's a First for Everything

Hi.

For the first time ever, I was asked to be a guest blogger on It's All Of The Little Things by Petchie.  Luckily for me, I was to be featured as an experienced bride. Who doesn't love talking wedding?!?!  There are pictures and answers to several questions about my wedding, the planning, the day of, all the fun stuff on! 

Hop on over to my guest post and leave your comments!  I am open to answering almost any question you may have regarding my wedding.  You can comment here as well (as I will be more apt to seeing them since this is my blog).

much love.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kids Can be Mean.

Did I ever gang up on a kid?  Honestly, I wasn't in the cool club so I didn't do that.  At school, I was picked on, but I was never singled out because I always had a friend or two to play with. At home, while I didn't live in a neighborhood, I never had issues with my friends.  We always played together regardless of age.  Sometimes it would be boys vs. girls or sibling rivalry, but it was all in fun and never lasted more than a few hours.

Since becoming a stepmom, I've realized how mean kids can be.  There are a handful of boys in J-man's grade and they have all decided that he can't play with them.  What?!?!  He was allowed to play with them for the first month or so of school.  The kids loved being at our house, but all of the sudden, he isn't cool enough for them.  Grrrr.  I am upset. I don't know what to do aside from love Jared and try to make it as fun for him as possible at home.  Suggestions please!

The worst part of this whole thing is that he is so sad.  Kids are supposed to be kids and have fun.  He is a great kid and pretty darn cool in my opinion, so I don't understand why he isn't cool enough for them and considered a dork.  I am really scared that this is going to affect him in school and I don't want that.  We are trying to teach him that it is cool to do well in school and that it is better to have a few good friends then a bunch of fake friends.  The latter is a hard lesson to learn when you are a little kid and just want to play with friends outside. 

My heart is breaking.  When thi started, we went home to my parents, so that he could get some good kid play time with my sister and his cousins!  It was wonderful!  Maybe having siblings makes all the difference.  I always had someone to play with or bug because I was one of six kids.  Being bored wasn't really an option even if I thought I was bored and bullying wasn't tolerated, so we played, sibling fought, still loved each other regardless.

It's also hard because I have so much school work to attend to (I took a break from that to write this post because I needed to get it off my chest). Any advice anyone has is appreciated.  Bullying stinks and while this is only minor, it scares me because these boys are only 9 years old. 

much love.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Our Growing 4th Grader

J-man came home with his school picture today! And it's a keeper!!
Sorry for the picture of a picture
Picture day as always such a big day for me because I didn't have to wear a uniform for once, but as I look at this picture I think two things.  (1) He is such a handsome little boy! (2) Where's the St. "Fill in the Blank" School logo?!?!  His father and I decided to put him in blue to bring out his eyes and we liked the grey background because it was neutral, but would make him standout. 

The best part about seeing the picture today was the presentation.  It went something like this:
J-man: Hey Sarah!  Guess what I have?!?! (with a huge grin on his face and hands behind his back)
Me: (thinking to myself...Oh my, what could it be? but fake it and say) I don't know, what could it be?!?!
J-man: (whips the pictures out from behind his back and says) I got my pictures!  Don't I look good?!?!
Me:  Hahaha!  Yes, you do!  You're so handsome!
J-man: I know!

Oh boy, Oh boy...We are in for some interesting years ahead. 

To celebrate some great pictures and daddy/hubby being home finally, we ordered Chinese!  Yum!

much love.

Shark Navigator NV352

On Wednesday, my brand spankin new Shark - Navigator Lift-Away Bagless Upright Vacuum arrived at my doorstep!  I have never owned a new vacuum, so making this purchase was done with care.  Since I live in a rental home, the carpets aren't always the cleanest and you never know how they were cleaned before you moved in, so I knew I wanted a good vacuum, one that would get deep down, but also one that didn't break the bank.  I asked friends, looked at reviews and had narrowed my search down to the Dyson (not the super expensive one and the Shark Navigator).  A friend informed me of a great deal for the Shark Navigator vacuum and steamer, so I went for it and love it!  I don't actually need the steamer at the moment, but I plan on having wooden floors in the near future because I absolutely love them!

I am extremely happy with the vacuum so far.  It is light in weight, has two settings -one for carpet, one for wood floors - has a detachable unit for ease of vacuuming stairways, corners, behind furniture, etc.  As for how much dirt it picks up...let's just say it gets it all!  I vacuumed less than 1,000 sqft and the entire container was packed full and I vacuum regularly.  It has a great suction as well!  My stockings were a little too close and got sucked right up! 

2292611 Larger Front


As an added bonus, she's pretty in purple! 

Do you love your vacuum?!  If so, what kind it is?

much love.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

mymemories Giveaway

A blogger friend of mine and bride-to-be, Petchie, is doing a giveaway!  By following her blog and commenting on your favorite mymemories design, you can win a free software package from mymemories! 


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Next week, I will be her featured bride, so stay tuned! 



A Boo-tastic Halloween!

Halloween was a blast as always!  The kids at the bus stop were in rare form sprinting up and down the sidewalk, climbing trees, playing sword fight with sticks.  I knew I had a long, but very fun day ahead of me...  J-man ran off the bus and wanted to put his costume on...it was 2:40pm... Like a good mother, I made him do his homework and like a typical boy, he said "Ahh, BUT why?  Can I put my costume on first?"  I answered with a "Because I said so and no you cannot wear your costume until dinner is done."   He had dinner at 4:30 and ran around in his costume until 6pm - the time trick-or-treating officially started here. 

Here are the tricksters:


Look at those bright blue eyes! 
Since I don't have a little one to dress up, I put Lira in a pumpkin costume!  It didn't last long, but she was cute while it lasted!

 Yumm!  Thanks for the pumpkin, Mommy!  :)  It was well worth $3 in my opinion!
 And here's one to show how fierce she is!!  Or how tired she is from sleeping all day!
In true Halloween fashion, we ran around the neighborhood, collected lots of candy, proceeded to eat lots of candy and readily went to bed after a long day of extreme excitement!  Happy Halloween to all!!

Dearest November,
I welcome you with open arms for you are the month of being thankful!  Thankful for family and friends, good times and bad, hard work and lazy days, sunshine and rain, smiles and tears, births and living life to the fullest! 
It is officially the holiday season and I am beyond excited to begin the thanking and giving to loved ones for such an amazing year!

much love.