A return to bedlam.

Lunacy I can handle. It is pretty much what we live with. The craziness that the holidays brought, not so much.
We actually had an awesome time- a lot of family activities, baking, shopping, watching the Christmas specials, singing and dancing around, etc.
Mama was sorely missed- it just wasn't right with her not here. And not just because she is my wrapper extraordinaire, either, although that was a big part of it. ;-)
The tree and decorations are still not down- I know some of you leave them up through the new year or til twelfth night or whatever, but for me once Christmas is over I am ready for it to be over.
This year, though, it just hasn't happened. Even though I tried really hard, I apparently pushed a little harder than I should have and I've not had a choice but to take it easy or end up back in the hospital.
Usually when this happens, the little divas do it for me, but with 2 of them sick and Dawn's ankle sprained it is all we can do to get the bare minimum done.
Good, though, is that for the first time in quite a while the girls got to stay home all of Christmas. They usually make a mad dash to Louisiana to spend time with their dad right after opening gifts, but due to his lay-off and some other things going on and his company trying to get a new contract it worked better for everyone for them to be here.
Of course that would have been miserable for all concerned as the day after the tummy bug started, so it all worked out for the best.
If it wasn't apparent before I now have proof positive that I'm out of my mind.
Found a $130. personal trampoline with the safety net online for $30 so of course thought that would make a fabulous present for Ian since he LOVES to bounce- on my bed, the couch, the chairs, the dogs, doesn't matter.
Well, personal to some is not the same as to me as this thing is a LOT bigger than I expected (like one of those little mini exercise trampolines that had net to keep the boy safe). Ha! NOT.
I should have expected when it said it held up to 154 pounds, but oh well, at least most of us can use it for exercise or fun. ;-)
Luckily, our family room is big enough to have the seating/tv area half and the computers/plant tables, etc half. We have a whole pile of Kyra's things here and as soon as she takes them we will move the trampoline to the desk half of the room along with Butterscotch, the (not small) pony we got him also on a fabulous deal.
The kids all think it rocks, and say all we need is a ball pit and we are Play World and Jump Zone combined.
I have to admit it is pretty fun to watch them enjoying themselves so much. I know not everyone could or would want a gigantic playroom/living room, but I guess it suits us as well as anything. And the giggles make it all worthwhile.
We tried a few new recipes that we are pleased with and will be making regularly, I'll post those another time.
Aside from the trampoline, the Air Hogs battling/dueling helicopters, PS3 I won, along with the Mirror's Edge game, Kingdom Hearts Re-Chain of Memories for the PS2 and Animal Crossing for the Wii seem to be the big hits. Oh, and the Silly Putty they got in their stockings. Dev especially can't get enough of playing with that stuff.
I got some GREAT deals the day after Christmas- JC Penney's, especially had the bargains- I ended up getting two small trees, 3 pieces to a white village, a few ornaments and other things at 75% off then because I spent more than $50. they knocked off an additional $10. All that for under $45. so not bad at all.
At the Christmas Store I got another Lenox Grinch ornament for 60% off- this one is him carving the rare who roast beast. Last year mama got me the one with him and Max on the sleigh. Also got an official cookie dough taste tester apron that Ian and Dev will fight over. ;-)
Not a ton at Wal-Mart and Target, but a few new decorations and a small fiber-optic tree.
All in all 2008 has been a great year, and we're looking forward to 2009 being an even better one.
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Family, the weather and random rambling.

The *weather* is over and things are back to normal.
BTW what does that mean? I mean isn't sunny or partly cloudy weather? It always makes me giggle when people start their conversations with some weather we're having, isn't it? or How'd y'all make out in the weather?
After growing up in the northeast and then living in New Hampshire and Alaska it cracks me up how everything shuts down when it snows here. I know it is because they just aren't prepared for it but keep a few sandbags and it'll all be good.
Two inches and town is closed for the duration. ;-)
Wait, I take that back. UPS came only not in their regular trucks, in U-Hauls.
Lots of deliveries this year, did more than half of the shopping online. I can't wait to see Ian, he's at that age where it will be wicked fun watching his face light up since he understands what is going on.
I love having the girls home from school- something so special about snow days, isn't there?
We've been doing some baking and whatnot- lots of fun and helps keep the house warm and smelling yummy.
Kyra's been having trouble again with Ian sleeping- as in he's not. Even when he falls asleep he's up within a couple of hours. Not acting scared or crying or anything so don't know if it is nightmares or what but the boy is exhausted and so is his mommy.
Shh don't tell but we got a crazy good deal (Thanks, Trina) on a personal trampoline for him with the netting so if he keeps it up she can keep him enclosed where he can't hurt anything and jumping to wear his little butt out.
Do you ever feel like you are being spied on then see bits and pieces of your life on tv or in commercials. We used to feel like that with Gilmore Girls (not the drunken stupid crybaby ones but the witty dialect and repartee) but now they have a commercial that I swear they stole right from my life. And since I have a big mouth and have been telling this story for years and posting all over the net they prolly did. ;-)
Anyways one year Dawn woke up early and caught her daddy eating the fudge off of Santa's plate. She was totally freaked. There were tons of cookies and whatnot (we make sure to leave the big guy lots of variety) but the fudge is the thing and she was sure that's why she always got the best gifts.
Anyways, we fixed it and made more microwave fudge (yes the same one I posted here earlier) and Santa still was exceptionally generous, but he hid daddy's real stocking and gave him a little novelty one filled with real coal. OMG it was the funniest thing ever.
Now they are running a commercial that reminds me so much of that with the dad and the little boy and making those cookies from a mix up quick.
Anyways, it is a cute idea for a commercial whether they spied on us or not, we laugh every time and remember when... daddy eating Santa's fudge and getting a stocking full of coal is of course wonderful family legend now and has to be told several times during the season.
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I do love this weather. :D

Geekazoid here.

School was let out at 1:30 today due to the sleet and hail. Sadly, it's the one day I don't want to stay home--we were going to watch Horton Hears a Who in French class, and I missed it since I have French 7th period.

It's also cancelled tomorrow. That's a good thing--who doesn't want an extra day to sleep?--but it's also kinda bad. Finals are Wednesday through Friday (Mini diva's exempt, because she's missed less than 3 days, grr) and tomorrow was primarily review time. Still, it won't be too hard.

Beyond all the school stuff--it's snowing now! It's the one thing that makes up for cold weather. We only get it a couple times a year here, and it doesn't last more than a day or two, so I have to enjoy it while it lasts. Poor puppies--most of them don't like the snow very much.
Perfect weather for snuggling with a blanket, a book, and some cocoa. Can't wait--except that Mommy stole the book I was reading. Grrrr.

Geek out.
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Basic Biscotti with variations.

Biscotti is one of the things we make that everyone tries to make sure they are on the list to receive every year.

Here is a really good basic recipe that is easy to adapt- nuts, fruits, candies, whatever your imagination can come up with. The sky is the limit.

If desired, before the second baking brush the tops with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar (colored sugars work fine) or after cooling drizzle with melted chocolate.

Basic Biscotti

8 tablespoons butter, unsalted, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 375.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated; add extract and beat until incorporated.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Divide dough in half and shape each into log. This will spread quite a bit during baking, so use a decent sized or two sheets.

Bake until logs are golden and beginning to crack on top. (Approximately 25 minutes.)

Remove from oven and drop temperature to 250.

When loaves are cool enough to touch, slice each into 1/2-inch slices, on the diagonal- spread apart slightly still standing on cookie sheet.

Return to the oven. Bake at 250 for another 15 to 20 minutes until insides are dry.

This is a really great basic recipe that can be adapted however you like.

Some of our favorites are: chocolate chip, chocolate chip and chopped maraschino cherries, white chocolate craisin, dried apricot and almond, heath chips, chocolate biscotti (add cocoa powder) with crushed peppermint on top.
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The Christmas Letter I don't send out.

I am so happy for those of you with perfect lives. Really, I am. But, I am not and never will be you; nor do I want to be.

My family is awesome, but we aren't perfect.

My husband has a good job which we are very grateful for, but we don't make gazillions of dollars a year.

My kids have many, many accomplishments but they also have less than stellar moments.

My grandson *cover your eyes if you can't take it* can't walk on water. Yet.

Once more I failed to make mother of the year.

Our house isn't featured in Snooty Snotty I'm so much better than you don't sit on the furniture or walk in my garden magazine.

And that's okay. Cuz we are happy and *relatively* healthy and have a whole lot of fun and love going on.



Sorry, can you tell we've gotten yet another yearly brag letter? We do like keeping up with what is going on but ahh not so much when you only tell us how perfect you and your kidlets are.

Especially when we actually have contact with said perfect children and they paint an entirely different picture than you do.

I'd rather know you are human, really, I would. I'd think much more highly if you flat out said I'm only telling you the highlights but we're all in this together and we struggle too.



I guess it makes people feel better to let the world think things are perfect and wonderful and you are together and in control.

If nothing else the letters give us a good laugh, so keep 'em coming.
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Microwave Fantasy Fudge

This was originally posted on the back of Kraft Marshmallow Creme.

For some reason they changed the recipe, but, this is the original and the best. I adapted it to our tastes, the original called for margarine and nuts, etc. You can make it on the stove top, but I don't remember that part of the recipe because then you have to spend all that time stirring.

This makes a HUGE pan... I think mine is a little bigger even than the 9x13, but you know how it is- there is never any left over once you give someone a taste. ;-)

Microwave Fantasy Fudge

Ingredients
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Butter
  • 2/3 cup Evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed)
  • 12 oz pkg Semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 7 oz jar Marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup Chopped nuts (optional, I omit)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
Cooking Directions
  1. Microwave margarine (butter) in 4-quart microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) 1 minute or until melted. (I use the 8 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup- it is perfect and makes it easy to pour into pan.)
  2. Add sugar and milk; mix well.
  3. Microwave on HIGH 5 minutes or until mixture begins to boil, stirring after 3 minutes.
  4. Mix well; scrape bowl.
  5. Continue microwaving on HIGH 5-1/2 minutes; stir after 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in chips until melted.
  7. Add remaining ingredients; mix well.
  8. Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. (I line with waxed or parchment paper and spray lightly with pure vegetable spray.)
  9. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares.
  10. Makes 3 pounds.

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Review Flip Ultra Video - White and Nerdy Lip Sync Video


We were thrilled to receive a Flip Video Ultra to review.

We got the white/silver one which is perfect for divas.

I have to say we are very impressed. The Flip is as small as my digital camera and fits easily into a pocket or purse.

We messed around with it a little bit at home but decided to give you all something truly amusing to watch.

Now those of you who read my blog know I am totally technologically challenged. Well, the mini-diva so takes after me in this area so the fact that she took it the day after we got it to her drama class and was running it like a pro tells us one thing- this baby is idiot proof.

We were a bit wary of the quality after reading how easy this is to use but for the price and ease of use, it is most definitely worth buying.

She told me to warn you all that any mistakes (jumpiness) is because she was laughing and totally operator error.

If you have anyone left to buy for this would be the perfect gift- we will definitely have ours charged up and ready to go for Christmas.

(Mini-D talking: I'm also using the camera to make a short movie for one of my classes that I'll have mommy upload when it's done. =3 I luffs my idiot-proof video camera thingy! Mine! DIBS! Mwahahaha!)

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Review Death Knight Class - Wrath of the Litch King for WOW



Okay, so if you know Anything about gaming news you know that Wrath of the Litch King just came out.

Unfortunately because I’ve been sick I haven’t been able to play much, but I have been able to try out the new class.

Let me just say that SO far Blizzard has done an amazing job from what I have seen.

The Death Knights look like what they are, fallen heroes raised from the dead.

The starting quests for the new class are just plain fun and a great way to ease you into the class instead of just dropping you into the world.

They were so fun in fact I remade mine 3 times just to go through them again …….. That and I couldn’t get my skin shade just right. ;)

This is the first time I have ever had fun in what is considered a “tanking” class.

The three talent trees are very well fleshed out, with each having their own strengths .

I personally went with unholy- I am a sucker for a pet class and really, who doesn’t want their own zombie pet?

I’ll have more of a review of all the new content when I have more time to play but if the rest is as well done as the Death Knights I know I wont be disappointed.
gamer girlie out.
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What we've been up to, shopping deals

Just when things settle down on one level and gear up on another it is THAT time of year- no, not the holidays, the sicky-germs are coming to town. I left my Mother-In-Law's house on Thanksgiving before Ian could even open his presents. :(
Luckily not too bad, and I am okay now, but Dev has been sick. They had all last week off of school (Yay) and she's been sick for days even missed yesterday and today from school.
I didn't try to get any black Friday deals this year- nothing that appealing in our local stores and too wiped out to stay up to hit online- from what I have been reading I didn't miss that much anyways.
Dawn and I did run out for a bit, though, and SCORE! got the mini-diva the mack-daddy of all presents. Dude, all I will say is it is totally pimpin'. Yes, we want to drive Casey crazy. ;)
Most of the shopping I have done so far has been online- if you check out my sidebar you will see where I have found some of the best deals for anyone who still has to finish their lists.
I have won a few things that I actually managed to keep my big mouth shut about- the girlies will be having a very nice Christmas!
I just don't have the oomph right now to post more, but hope everyone is doing well and if you got any great deals, let me know!!! I am only about a third done with mine.
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