Deciphering A Geekazoid

I know a lot of our readers have younger children, so I wanted to show
you what you have to look forward to & translate 
one of the notes I get to let me know what my kids are up to.

This one happens to be from Dev aka Geekazoid from today.

(This is assumed to be part of every note.)
Dear gorgeous, wonderful, fabulous mother of mine (or other random flattery).

(Kidnapped by Ninja's!)
Friend came & picked me up, not sure what we're going to be doing
but shopping will probably be involved.

(Be back after I learn their Kung Fu ways & defeat them!)
Have fun, I sure will.  No clue when I'll be home so don't worry.

Love you tons,

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WWTKW what are your food quirks?


Thanks to the lovely Mamarazzi and Alicia aka Queso for hosting once again.

{1} What is one thing (food or drink) that you MUST have everyday?

Coffee is the hands down winner here.

{2} What is your "go to" food when you don't feel well/need comfort?

It's gross, but Lipton noodle soup with real chicken broth with white mushy bread torn up (Wonder)

{3} Is there a dish that you make that people request when they visit your home/a family favorite?  

The top 3 are our lasagna (NO ONE knows it is meatless, it's that hearty)  actually anything with our all day sauce; Tex Mex Casserole & (seasonal) my pathetically easy to make fudge-  it wins EVERY TIME and people beg the girls for it.

{4} What are 3 foods you have TRIED, do not like and will NEVER eat again?  

Brussel sprouts-  little green balls of grossness; organ meat (NO, it's not that I just haven't had it cooked right, it's just nasty) and greens for the same reason-  there's not enough bacon in the world.  (I can deal with organic baby spinach but THAT's IT.

and our final question comes from Dee@ HomesickCajun
{5} What's one thing that you love to eat that most people would think is weird and/or gross??  

Most people find it odd that I can't eat mac & cheese (no matter if it is homemade gourmet or from a little blue box or shaped like bunnies) without drowning it in either salsa, piccalilli, chutney or even bbq sauce if I am desperate, I just can't stand it plain.  Then again, for the most part I prefer condiments to real food. 

How about you?  What are your food quirks?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Link up *points to cute button on top* and play along.  Going to add this to the party then run errands if the stupid car decides to work then check out the other participants.  

XOXOX Dddiva

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Random thoughts & more free printables.

We're calling this better late than never since I am counting the minutes til bedtime.

I had time to randomize earlier but not the inclination-  I was too busy having a personal little pity party while plotting the demise of my temporarily craptacular circumstances.  I'm over it.  I pretty much roll that way-  have a major pissy fit (usually at the top of my lungs tossing bombs at whoever is brave (or dumb) enough to be in my way - then I am back to looking for the good in life.  Mostly the good wins but if I try to hold things in instead of getting them out nobody and nothing in my path is safe.

If you are depending on others to keep the levels all checked  (in your car) don't stop nagging when they say they will take care of it-  nag the hell out of them so you don't seize up in a very inconvenient place.  Just sayin'.

I think it should be a punishable offense if you leave your mother's closet door open when there's a puppy on the loose.  A puppy who eats every dang thing including glitter (should be interesting potty breaks for the next couple of days, anyways).  Memo to self-  find a way to get new sandals and flip flops before Hawaii.

You know you aren't going to have your best day ever when SOMEONE forgets to make your coffee for the morning.

Especially when the idiot dogs hear some neighborhood dogs barking and start going berserk almost an hour before your alarm goes off.

I actually just like to whine sometimes (I know, right?  but I do.)  Not very often as I totally believe in LOA but I am human enough to like bitching and moaning now and then.

As I've mentioned earlier-  I have been working on the other blog and along with the printable menus I will be doing when we make ours so people can get ideas if they like (I know a LOT of people who hate figuring out what's for dinner) I also made some blank templates so people who do like planning can print them out-  also a shopping list- and a blank menu w/shopping list on the same page.

Both of Dev's pics placed in the regional competition.  What's funny is one was taken with my digital camera and the other was taken literally 5 minutes before class.  Both are awesome, she's got some mad skills.

Ki is over the moon with wedding plans.  Earth to Kyra-  FOCUS.

More but this is long enough I better stop so I have a little bit of time to visit some of the other random goodness.  Thanks for keeping the torch, Stacy.

Click that button up there & leave us a comment if you're playing along.

XOXOX Dddiva

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FREE printable menu and shopping list templates

For your convenience, we made some very basic blank menus for you to fill in yourself.  Feel free to download them for your own personal use.  Right click to save or print.


Weekly menu

Shopping list

Weekly menu & shopping list on 1 page

5 line monthly menu

6 line monthly menu for longer months

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Menu for week of 9/26 - 10/2


We deliberately chose not to date it so you aren't limited to specific dates or years. Feel free to download for your personal use.

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Sprinkling our way to good health.

As we write our final post for the Mrs. Dash campaign, I'm so happy to be able to tell you that Ken has given up a lot of the salt he used to use liberally and is now OFF OF BP MEDS. I know, right? Something as simple as switching out what he seasons his food with has made a world of difference- and saved a ton of money as well as kept unnatural substances (from his bp pills) out of his body. He's not in perfect health, because of something he was born with that finally caught up to him, but he's doing better than he was.

You can find Mrs. Dash on Facebook or go to their homepage.

For our final recipe, Dawn took over the stove and made some awesome ribs: I'll let her tell you in her own words what she did to make them come out so well.

The other day I was bored in the kitchen and decided I was going to do something diffrent with the ribs mom had gotten out for dinner.

I went to the spice cupboard and saw the collection of Mrs. Dash seasonings and looked through them and nothing quite screamed I'm the one so I pulled out a bunch of different bottles and proceeded to dump them into a bowl to make a rub for the ribs. Now this is a guesstimation of what I used as like mom, I am a little of this and a little of that cook and I didnt measure precisely.

I used approximately 2 parts Steak Blend, 2 parts Onion and Herb Blend, 1 part Fiesta Citrus Blend, a hefty sprinkle of Chipolte Spice from our Mrs. Dash collection and added a generous dose of a fancy sweet roasted Spanish paprika mixed well and rubbed into the ribs.

I wrapped the pork ribs in foil and put them on a large baking sheet and cooked them in a 200 degree oven for about 5-6 hours.

They came out fantastic, so tender and flavorful. Mom of course still had to drown her in bbq sauce (she likes condiments more than food, but even she said they tasted good with out it too). For those that wanted the extra sauce we brushed with our favorite and broiled them on low for another 10 minutes.

The little divas enjoyed them as well- kept saying they were the best ribs we've made at home. Messy, messy but very delicous.

Ken especially enjoyed them without any sauce or additional salt, which he used to sprinkle on everything before we started using the Mrs. Dash seasonings regularly. If you try them, we hope your family enjoys them as much as mine did.

Gamer girly out.

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Mrs. Dash and received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.
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Happy Happy Divas - Our Happy List for 9/24


We're pretty sure Dawn got the right meds this time to knock out the bronchitis.

The 3 girls are doing well in school.  And enjoying it immensely.  Except for the wake up early part.

The derp rescue pup fits in really well with our family, but the 2 over 10 old lady dogs aren't so thrilled with his puppy shenanigans.  They have moved on from snippy annoyance to (mostly) ignoring him.

The cat and the pup love to antagonize each other and it's hysterical to watch -  esp the cat, you can see Pan plotting as he lazily eyeballs the pup then Kablooey they're pouncing each other.

I won two of the major Christmas presents-  Casey's (mini dddiva) and Devon's (geekazoid).  Lots of smaller ones as well.  We're getting there.

and that's all just teasers because HERE is our really happy news:

One of the divas is getting married.  Soon.  Like January or February soon.

The wedding is going to be on the cheap and mostly casual (as the bride and groom are very laid back) except for the big poofy dress.

The dress is going to be priceless because the bride's very talented cousin Amber is a wonderful seamstress and has said she would make it.

We really like the groom.  The are very very well suited.

He knows us and wants to marry her anyways. ;-)

Can you guess which little diva is getting married?

It's Kyra (geeky mommy or little mommy as Ian calls her).

She's over the moon ecstatic and busy making plans-  a lot of her friends will be helping with the plans so everything will be extra special.

Robert couldn't love Ian more than if he was his own.  And it is reciprocated.

So- that's our happy news for the week, how about you?  What are the fabulous things that happened to you this week?  Link on up (click button on top and play along).

Oh, and if you have any ideas for weddings on the cheap, or know of any sponsors who might like us to review or host giveaways for wedding related items, please share.  You can look forward to seeing posts on how things are coming along, especially with the things we are doing ourselves or having friends do so you can hopefully pick up some wonderful ideas along with us.

XOXOX Dddiva

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'Fess Up Already


We're once again joining up with the lovely Mamarazzi to play along with the Friday Confessionals.  Here's what we're ready to admit to this week:

I confess:

If we don't stop passing the sicko germs around I am going to go whacko.  It seems like we're spending more on meds than food lately.

Our go to comfort food in times of illness is seriously gross, but it's what we do-  boxed Lipton Noodle Soup with Real Chicken Broth served over 3 slices of torn up squishy mushy white bread (think Wonder).

When we're on the mend we switch to crackers, either oyster crackers or saltines.  Yes, we know they are the very basic of the most basic and if we run out and only have fancy crackers (which is our usual choice) whoever can drag themselves has to go stock up.  NOT THE WHOLE WHEAT ONES EITHER!  LOL when we're sick ONLY the worst possible choices we can make will do. ;-)

We were seriously disappointed-  we found a new (to us) Reese's candy bar that is pb filled squares (the giant ones that Kroger has on special 3 for $4).  The chocolate to pb ratio is way way off and the pb is entirely wrong consistency.  Luckily we only got one an had Hershey's with Almond's and a Symphony to console us.

Someone lost yet another memory card (I think- the doohickey that makes the camera work) and swiped mine so once more I can't access what I need to or take any pics.  I really need to stop letting someone borrow mine, but she has the GOOD ONE and doesn't want to risk leaving that at school when she brings her projects into her advanced photog class.

Even though we took a really long break from it, we're excited to be back to offering our readers the chance to win prizes again.  Check our sidebar out to see if you might be interested in.

If I have to listen to Ken listen to the dumb old debates for the next year + one of us will probably be dead by the time of the elections.  I REALLY need good noise canceling headphones.  I can hear his tv over my music (he is about 90% deaf in one ear and not sure but partially in the other from working many many years in a machine shop so I can't really ask him to turn it down more than I do already-  I do say do NOT under any circumstances turn the volume up over halfway-  of course he does when I leave but what're you going to do?).

I know the important things going on in the world but I don't watch the news/politics etc because I try to surround myself with more positive things than negative.

I need to go pick up Gamer Girlie then take her to get YET ANOTHER prescription then I will pick the winner for the Carmex prize pack and get them emailed then start visiting as many of the confessors as I can.

What are you confessing this week?  Click the button up top and play along if you like.

Have a great week.
XOXOX Dddiva

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**UPDATED W/WINNER** Win Dinner & A Movie On US

Want to take your honey on a date and just don't have the funds?  Or maybe you're like me and want to take your little sweetie pie (grandson Ian for me) out for some one on one.

We know what it's like to be on a wicked tight budget and just not have the funds for the extras.

Here's your chance to win a night out for you and anyone you like.  Or even escape for yourself for a couple of nights.

We've got a $25 Olive Garden gift card, 2 movies passes for any US AMC theater and coupons for 2 free fountain drinks.

We're using Rafflecopter, so if the EASY entry form doesn't show up immediately, wait for a minute or refresh the page.

Good luck - we hope you win.

XOXOX Dddiva

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WW Our newest family members, Max & Petrie w/Linky

This is Max- originally named for Max in the Grinch Who Stole Christmas- can't you just see his dorky self with a homemade antler tied on pulling the old Grinch? We call him Maximus Prime or more often Maximum Derp. If ever there was a derpy dog, he's it! Fits right in with the rest of the crew.
Poor Ian was sick and tired and this is just after he took the meds but before they kicked in (OR HE'S BEEN TURNED INTO A ZOMBIE), but Petrie (named from the character in The Land Before Time) likes him and after he got over the fear, Ian let him sit on his head..
"He's a faller, not a flyer.  But he thinks he's a flyer."

Notice the Phineas and Ferb pj's.  If you haven't seen the show, you really should it's very clever- even if you don't have kids!  We love Perry the Platypus  aka  Agent P.  Ian cried at the sad part in the movie Across The Second Dimension-  not big gulping sobs just silent tears - til it all worked out.  NOT giving spoilers but it was a GREAT movie, best we've seen this year.

*Pics from new phones so they aren't as good as they might have been, but we wanted to show you our newest loves.

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WWTKW - Must See TV


The lovely Mamarazzi and Alicia aka Queso are at it again hosting one of my fave play alongs.  Click the cute button up there to play along.

{1} What is your MUST SEE show?

I have 2 Phineas and Ferb (NOT JUST BECAUSE OF IAN) and Burn Notice.

{2} What shows are you most excited to watch this season?

See #1 ;-)

{3} How many hours a week do you actually watch TV?

It's on ALL THE FREAKING TIME (not really, just when Ken is awake)  2 or 3 depending, sometimes Ian wants his Gigi to sit and watch with him.

{4} Do you think TV has gotten too "racy" (vulgar, pushing the limit, etc) ?

Umm I watch Disney!  RACY?  What's that?  I have no idea-   in Burn Notice, mostly they get the crap beat out of them and blow things up.  (Since I am MAJORLY against editing out lyrics, I am pretty sure I'd feel the same about tv- however, while I will listen or sing, I won't watch it but that is just cuz I am not a TV watcher and the girls are older and when they weren't I was fully capable of setting limits on what was and wasn't acceptable for their ages/maturity levels.

{5} How many TVs do you have in your house? 2, but one is strictly for gaming and dvds.

I NEVER thought I'd want another since for us TV is family bonding/jail time, but since Ken's early medical retirement- if I win one for his man space you will NOT hear me complaining).

How about you - are you a TV junkie?  Play along and link up over with Mamarazzi or Alicia aka Queso.

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Carmex review & giveaway - ends 9/22 ENTER SOON

With 4 girls, you can imagine the amount of lip glosses, balms and other products we go through so we're delighted to be Carmex Blog Squad members.

Recently we were fortunate enough to receive 3 new products to try out and review and once again, Carmex managed to hit on a winner.  Dev snagged them up before the rest of us had a chance and her fave is the vanilla  click stick, but the clear satin gloss has become a staple - she uses it alone or over lipstick.

As usual, your lips are super soft and yummilicious and the click sticks have an spf of 15 so you're protected from the most harmful rays.

Pick them up, you won't be disappointed.  It's a little early yet, but the Carmex family of products make wonderful stocking stuffers if you are daily users.  (And if you aren't, you should be.  The regular Carmex is also great for guys.

THE GIVEAWAY:  One of our readers is going to receive the same package that we received which includes:

  • 1 Carmex Lime Twist click stick
  • 1 Carmex Vanilla click stick
  • 1 Certified Awesome Picnic blanket* (it's really cute)
  • 1 Carmex Moisture Plus® clear satin gloss finish

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What's your factor? and other random stuff w/LINKY

*If you know me you probably already know I have a serious sensitivity to stink.  I am in fact known as the shower police around here and have screwed up my girls so badly that they (the two little's, especially) do random pit checks.  In public.  And don't bother to try to be subtle, after all, sniffing yourself to see if you have a factor is much better than actually smelling to high heaven.  Or even smelling a little bit not fresh as a daisy.

I take my parenting job seriously, and after all they need something to talk about in therapy.  If you don't make your kid need therapy (they always blame it on the mother) you weren't doing your job.  Or maybe I'm just a whack job.  Oh wait, that's a definite, but still.

My poor nephew is a mechanic and takes like a zillion showers a day to make sure he's not got a factor.  A hideous insult when he was living with us between him and the girls was "you smell like Taco Bell".

When I think someone is getting a little close to the 24 hour mark since the last shower, I put on my cop hat and go after them saying "shower police, shower police, I can see the factor forming from here".

They're on each other as well, if they get a whiff walking by they will say factor 2 or whatever.  (It's a major crime to get that much of a factor around here, let alone higher.)  If someone tells you you need a shower, you drop what you are doing and go take one immediately.  Yes, it's worth being late for school or work for.

Over the years we've come across many offenders- here are some of the worst:

Half of Alaska-  you know who you are.  It was a major issue there- some from people not having indoor plumbing (and no, we weren't living in the boonies) some I guess just didn't care.  Even in the nicer malls and restaurants.  *gag*

Coverer uppers - you know who you are too - instead of a shower you swipe at the pits with a damp cloth (maybe) and then put on your deodorant and spray (usually cheap) perfume.  You don't smell better, you just stink with a heavy overtone of sticky sweet.

Random chick at the gym who works up a *huge* sweat then uses dry shampoo, does the coverer upper trick of swiping the pits and swiping the deodorant then instead of even changing clothing sprays herself with Febreze.  YOU ARE GROSS - take a damn shower, water, shampoo & soap are your friends.

People who have sweated, thoroughly wash their pits, deodorize and put on clean clothes.  Your body still sweated and still stinks, it's just different than pit stink but you have a factor.

Anyone who uses cheap perfume (drugstore toilet water 5 bucks for a thousand year supply) - same with guys who slap on that nasty cheap aftershave or cologne.  Even if you shower daily and don't have body odor.  To borrow a phrase from mama 2-  that's yucky!

Now that I've written a novel and gotten you on the right path to a negative factor, here's some more of our random this week:

*In addition to the rescued pup, we have yet another new pet, Dawn got a *insert all the specifics meaning fancy ass* baby parrot looking thingy (Conure or something).  Obviously 5 dogs, demon psycho cat and the majorly derpy dog weren't enough of a zoo.  (Pics coming soon-  if I can get someone to actually upload to a place I can find them maybe for WW tomorrow.)

*Ken's blog is really coming along-  It's called Grumbling Man, partly cuz he's a grumbler, partly because for as long as I have known him he's sang that song Rambling Man as Grumbling man til we told him the real words.   He still sings it his way.  Lord I was born a Grumbling Man- and boy was he!!!

If you enjoy esoteric historical facts and/or politics, you should check it out.

*I've been putting a lot of time into our food blog, especially with making up different types and styles of menu plans with tons of samples and one of my fave ever posts-  A New Way Of Looking At Food that has to do with body image and dieting and the like.  I also like our food memory posts-  not a ton yet, but I think it's fun sometimes to look back and remember.  If you are into cooking and / or eating, we'd love it if you stopped by for a visit over at  Divas Cuisine.

*The 3 girls in school are super busy but enjoying themselves and we couldn't be happier but boy oh boy tough courseloads this year.  And lots of running, lots and lots of running.

*(Ki has a not so super secret thing with the guy we *ALL* knew she belonged/wanted to be with.  Neither of them had  a clue, but apparently his family thought the same thing.  They've known each other since high school.

*I made another awesome playlist - uplifting songs.  I will warn you if you youtube with me my uplifting choices will not necessarily be yours-  no Walking on Sunshine here.  These are just songs that make me happy every time I hear them and it totally fits in with our random theme.  I don't have a ton on there- less than 30 songs (I never remember names or artists and have to hit one at the right time and remember to add) but so far it's dominated by Matchbox Twenty.  I have such diverse choices as Unwell by Matchbox Twenty, Buck Cherry's Crazy B*tch, Shinedown's If You Only Knew, You Spin My Head Right Round by flo rida and Gives You Hell (I know, I know, but I LOVE thinking people remember me and are sorry :P) by All American Rejects.  Plus, how can you not love such lyrics as "Truth be told I miss you.  Truth be told I'm lying.  When you see my face hope it gives you hell hope it gives you hell.  When you walk my way hope it gives you hell hope it gives you hell."  I did give you fair warning by saying my own kids say I don't have a mean streak I have a nice one. ;-)

I had better skedaddle, I think I wrote more here than I did all last month.  What's your random this week?  Play along if you want to.

Have a great random week.
XOXOX Dddiva

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Menu planning for everyone

Menu planning can save you time and money and keep you from wasting perfectly good food.  There are many types of menu planners and menu planning, the best one is the one that works for you.

Whether you are on a supertight budget and have to go along with the sales, have a fully stocked pantry and freezer and want to avoid staring blindly into the fridge at 5pm hoping something resembling a balanced meal will strike you or you are running all over to games, practices and meetings and are sick and tired of take out (not to mention  broke) we have a plan that you will be able to adapt to your situation.

We'll be highlighting some that have worked for us- at different stages in our lives different plans worked best for us- including winging it, so don't be afraid to play around with different plans and make them your own.

As we can we'll be putting up 4 week plans for each and add the links here, but for now- here are the plans we have used with a 1 week sample menu from each.  If you have other plans that worked well for you, or even that didn't work but you want ideas on how they might work, please feel free to let us know and we'll be happy to see if they are something we might be able to use or help you with.

Theme nights- this is a no brainer for planning out your menu.  If you grew up in the 60's or 70's you probably remember this-  Sundays were meat and potatoes- usually a pot roast or roast chicken that was ready after church, Mondays were spaghetti, Tuesdays were meatloaf... you get the idea.  B.O.R.I.N.G.    But with the vast varieties of foods available and cuisines today there's nothing boring about this method. It's fairy brilliant if you have a hard time coming up with dinner ideas.  All you have to do is come up with 7 different themes (one for each day of the week) and you automatically know what to make for dinner.

Sample 1 week theme night menu plan
Sample 4 week theme night menu plan

No time to cook make ahead menu - this is for you if you have a little time once a week or so to cook and have to throw together something quick during the rest of the week.  It takes a little advanced planning but the rewards are worth it- to your wallet, your taste buds and your health.

Sample 1 week no time to cook make ahead menu 
Sample 4 week no time to cook make ahead menu

Seasonal - this is one of my favorite styles of menu planning-  produce is at its peak and you can eat your favorite foods at the time it is meant to be eaten- heavier stews and roasts in the fall in winter, lighter fare with lots of salads in the spring and summer.

Sample 1 week seasonal menu plan for each of the seasons 
Sample 4 week seasonal menu plan for spring
Sample 4 week seasonal menu plan for summer
Sample 4 week seasonal menu plan for fall
Sample 4 week seasonal menu plan for winter

Limited budget - a very strict budget for groceries usually means you shop the specials and make your menu around  sales, manager's specials and loss leaders.  This is probably my least favorite way to shop because it limits your variety to what's on sale for a certain period of time.  We highly recommend stockpiling when prices are at their lowest so you can vary your menu more but that takes time, room and an extra freezer really helps.

Sample 1 week limited budget menu plan (extremely drastic)
Sample 1 week limited budget menu plan (moderate)
Sample 4 week limited budget menu plan

Weekly Menus

Monthly Menus

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Sample 1 week menu plan for all 4 seasons

With few exceptions, we really enjoy eating seasonally.  The produce is vine ripened, the cooking is suited to the weather and we just prefer eating lighter in the warmer months.  It's also, unless you have a bad crop year cheaper to eat this way.

Here are plans for 4 weeks, 1 week for each season.

Spring - the weather is warmer but we can still cook without heating up the house to unbearable so mostly lighter meals but the oven is still an option.
Monday - cream of asparagus soup; chef salad with ham, cheese and tons of veggies
Tuesday - beef and broccoli stir fry; brown rice
Wednesday - chicken fajitas with onions, peppers, mushrooms, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, salsa and homemade guacamole
Thursday blueberry waffles with blueberry syrup, sausage, sliced honeydew
Friday - crawfish, shrimp &/or crab boil with potatoes, onions, and corn
Saturday - seasoned panko crusted oven baked pork chops with mango/peach salsa; steamed baby carrots lightly sauteed in coconut oil with a dab of butter and dill
Sunday - bbq chicken quarters; grilled seasoned potatoes and onions in foil pouches; broccoli salad

Summer - the 90's quickly move into the triple digits and it stays in the hundreds way too long and even with a decent AC unit, the house heats up into the 80s in the afternoons so heating up a big oven is the last thing we want to do so cool or light foods are in order.

Monday - grilled brats with caramelized onions on buns; macaroni salad; cucumber and onion slices marinated in red wine vinegar with a touch of sugar
Tuesday - buffalo chicken pasta salad
Wednesday - grilled veggie burgers; potato salad
Thursday - main dish caprese salad
Friday - fish fry with hush puppies and homemade tarter sauce; sweet corn on the cob; sliced tomatoes
Saturday - steak salad with sauteed mushrooms & caramelized onions
Sunday - homemade submarine sandwiches; baked potato chips

Fall - the temps are falling and we can (sometimes) turn the oven on though there is bound to be a round or two of Indian summer before the cool is here for good so we want our meals on the heartier side.

Monday - chicken & sausage gumbo made easy with our oven baked roux; rice
Tuesday - oriental chicken wings; easy lo mein
Wednesday - pork & apple cheddar melt on toasted honey oatmeal bread; applesauce
Thursday - cheesy scalloped potatoes with ham and petit pois peas;
Friday - Italian style sausage and pepper subs with mushrooms, onions and meatless spaghetti sauce topped with provolone lightly browned under the broiler
Saturday - red beans & rice with ham & sausage (aka heart attack on a plate); thickly sliced tomato and onion simply seasoned with salt and pepper
Sunday - oven roasted chicken; roasted root vegetables; beets (plain or pickled)

Winter - the wind whips through you and when we have an ice storm it is bitterly cold and you feel like you'll never be warm again.  In the summer we'll forget all about freezing our tushies off, but for now it's comfort we want, and a nice hot meal is the way to get it.

Monday - crawfish fettuccini; mixed green salad
Tuesday - chicken fried round steak with mashed potatoes and cream gravy; petit pois peas &/or corn; tossed salad
Wednesday - beef stroganoff served over wide egg noodles; steamed carrot coins with butter and dill
Thursday - slow cooker old fashioned Polish style cabbage rolls; mashed potatoes; baked apples
Friday -  western style omelet with ham, peppers & onions; salsa; rye toast; citrus fruit cup (white & pink grapefruit, oranges)
Saturday - spaghetti & meatballs with all day sauce; cheesy garlic bread; pineapple salad
Sunday - slow cooker beef stew; hot buttered dinner rolls

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Sample 4 week menu plan for theme night method

While some may consider this type of plan boring, we're going to show you a variety of meals that fall under the specific theme but are vastly different.  You can schedule your meals around how much time you have to prepare and eat them.  Say Tuesdays are game day and everyone has a different schedule- perfect day to get the crockpot going with something that everyone can grab and go.  If you observe lent you can get into the habit of having your meatless meals on Fridays.  If Saturday is your family fun night (when the girls were little we always had Conrad family night at the movies where we made some of their favorite fast food treats or got take out).  Menu planning is supposed to make YOUR life easier, so go with what works for you.

Here is a 4 week sample menu with each night falling under a specific theme, but you will notice it's not boring- no eating the same old same old.  We eat leftovers for lunch or planned second meals most of the time although we do have some eat whatever doesn't eat you first aka leftovers aka eat what you want that you can make yourself meals, you can certainly plan a leftover night into your menu plan to avoid waste.

Monday - Soup and sandwich
   Week 1 Roasted butternut squash soup; roasted veggie & havarti paninis
   Week 2 Tomato bisque soup; grilled cheese & green chili sandwiches
   Week 3 Hearty potato cheese soup in bread bowls
   Week 4 Chicken, veggie and rice soup; grilled cheese & tomato sandwiches

Tuesday - meatloaf
   Week 1 Mini meatloaf cupcakes topped with cheese and iced with mashed potatoes; zucchini in tomato sauce; corn
   Week 2 Veggie stuffed rolled turkey meatloaf; steamed Normandy blend veggies (frozen); creamy cucumbers
   Week 3 Classic diner meatloaf with mushroom gravy (alternatively, top with catsup or tomato sauce sweetened with brown sugar); mashed potatoes; green beans; dinner salad (for authenticity use iceberg lettuce, a few slices of cucumber and a slice of tomato with either french or ranch dressing)
   Week 4 Sweet & sour ham or pork loaf; brown and wild rice; grilled pineapple; petit pois peas with pearl onions and mushrooms

Wednesday - breakfast for dinner
   Week 1 Biscuits with sausage & gravy; scrambled eggs; fresh melon
   Week 2 Stuffed french toast; bacon; fresh fruit
   Week 3 Baked deviled egg casserole served over english muffins; asparagus
   Week 4 Blueberry pancakes; canadian bacon; fresh fruit

Thursday - crockpot
   Week 1 Italian beef shredded for sandwiches on onion rolls with cheese of choice; carrot, celery and cuke sticks with dressing of choice for dipping
   Week 2 Beef stew; hot crusty french bread w/butter
   Week 3 Pulled pork sliders on Hawaiian sweet rolls; coleslaw
   Week 4 Spicy black bean chili garnished with sour cream, shredded cheese and sliced green onions; cornbread muffins

Friday - meatless or seafood
   Week 1 Easy tilapia w/veggies; seasoned mixed (wild and brown) rice; tossed salad
   Week 2 Lentil tacos (red or pink lentils cooked and seasoned with taco seasoning), hard or soft shells and all the trimmings
   Week 3 Tomatoes stuffed with tuna salad or easy tuna mac salad; easiest ever freezer pickles; Hawaiian sweet rolls
   Week 4 Baked eggplant parmesan; angel hair pasta w/marinara; pineapple salad

Saturday - junk food / take out
   Week 1 Triple decker BLT's on 12 grain toast or Cali clubs w/turkey & avocado; milkshakes or malteds
   Week 2 Cheeseburgers; oven baked sweet potato fries; root beer floats
   Week 3 Chili cheese dogs; oven fried onion rings; cherry limeades
   Week 4 Pizza; tossed salad; ice cream sodas

Sunday - big family dinner
   Week 1 Yummy baked ham; mashed potatoes; carrot & raisin salad; sesame green beans; hot french bread with butter
   Week 2 Lasagna; garlic bread; salad
   Week 3 Perfect pot roast w/veggies; oven roasted broccoli & cauliflower; hot fresh dinner rolls
   Week 4 Chicken & dumplings; oven roasted potatoes, baby carrots & pearl onions; marinated tomato and cucumber salad

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Sample 1 week menu plan using no time to cook method

Say Sunday you have a bit of free time, here's what we're going to do:

Grill some boneless/skinless chicken breasts (or your fave part- you can even make a rotisserie style slow cooker chicken or buy one from your favorite deli)- enough for 2 meals - shred or dice half for salad;
Brown up ground beef - enough for 2 meals
Make a pork roast with veggies for dinner that night and shred the rest then add your favorite bbq sauce for pulled pork sandwiches another night.  Toss in some potatoes while the roast is baking for later in the week.
Here's how the week will play out.
While the meats are cooking you can chop up any veggies, shred cheese, etc so you can just add to your dishes when you are ready to use them.

Very little work yields delicious, healthy home cooked meals for even your busiest weeknights.

Sunday - pork roast with new potatoes, baby carrots &; pearl onions (use frozen); green beans; Hawaiian sweet rolls
Monday - chicken salad wraps- mixed diced chicken with craisins, walnuts and diced apple with mayo or mayo & sour cream blend & curry powder.  Serve in tortillas or flatbreads with organic baby spinach.  Baked chips round out the meal.
Tuesday - tacos- heat one portion of ground beef with taco seasoning according to directions (can also heat in salsa) while that's cooking, chop a couple of tomatoes, shred some lettuce, get out whatever else you like in your tacos then heat the shells and everyone can make their own.
Wednesday - pasta w/veggies - boil some water to cook up some medium noodles of your choice-  when they are almost done add in some frozen veggies of choice and continue cooking til done.  Drain then toss with half butter half olive oil, salt & pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Thursday - pulled pork sandwiches - heat up the shredded pork in bbq sauce and serve on your favorite sturdy rolls with coleslaw.
Friday - grilled chicken salad- mix together a bag of organic baby spinach with your fave salad blend, add diced or shredded chicken, grapes, shredded cheese, sliced almonds & your fave dressing; whole grain crackers.
Saturday - baked potato sloppy joes - mix ground beef with your favorite sloppy joe mix (we like using bbq sauce) and heat for 15 minutes so flavors meld.  Meanwhile, nuke pre-baked potatoes then cut in half and rough chop partially through then top with sloppy joe mix and cheese if desired.  Serve with sweet corn.
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Sample 1 week menu plan using theme night method

Using a theme night meal plan makes getting supper on the table easier if you have trouble deciding what to eat each night.  For a more detailed explanation and more menu planning ideas, see meal planning / menus.  Menu planning for everyone can help you determine which plan is right for you.

Monday - meatless - celebrate spring salad; breadsticks
Tuesday - beef - slow cooker pepper steakperfect rice
Wednesday - breakfast for dinner - Finnish oven pancake served with mixed berries and fresh whipped cream; sausage links and fresh melon slices
Thursday - poultry - oven fried panko and parm crusted chicken fingers w/honey mustard dipping sauce; oven baked french fries; cherry tomatoes and baby carrots
Friday - seafood - crunchy fish tacos; broccoli slaw
Saturday - pasta - creamy eggplant ziti bake; wilted baby spinach salad w/bacon dressing
Sunday - family dinner - slow cooker corned beef dinner w/veggies; steamed cabbage; hot fresh dinner rolls

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Raise a glass with us in honor of Talk Like A Pirate Day

Talk Like A Pirate Day countdown banner

Ahoy mateys. Do you be celebratin' talk like a pirate day? Or maybe just Johnny Depp? Either way, t' drinks be on us.

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Menu for week of 9/19 - 9/25

We've got a little of this and a little of that this week on the menu.  What's cooking at your house this week?

Buffalo chicken pasta salad

Polynesian style stir fried veggies over brown rice

Roasted turkey; savory baked acorn squash; petit pois peas with pearl onions and mushrooms; hot crusty dinner rolls

Easy baked tilapia w/veggies; fresh fruit

Turkey tetrazzini; oven roasted broccoli

Breakfast for dinner: special pancakes made with vanilla & evaporated milk; sausage; sliced honeydew and cantaloupe

Eat whatever doesn't eat you first aka eat what you want or leftovers

For more menu ideas head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie.

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WWTKW Road Trippin'


Hosted by Mamarazzi and Alicia aka Queso

{1} What are 3 must haves for a long road trip?
{2} What was the destination of your most recent road trip?
{3} What do you miss most about home when on a trip?
{4} What is the furthest you have traveled on a road trip?
{5} Will you "stop for the largest ball of twine, etc" or are you a "hurry and get there" road tripper?

My must haves for any road trip-  good music, a sense of adventure and a good lookout.
(Shh the lookout watches for cops so you can slow down in time. ;-) )

Most recent destination - dang it has been SOOOOOOOOOO long- from New Hampshire to New York to New Jersey then back to New Hampshire when I was visiting mom a couple of years ago.

What I miss most when I am on the road-  hmmmm any family members left behind, my doggies and home cooking.

Farthest traveled on a road trip would be New Hampshire to Alaska.  Or Alaska to Florida.  One of those-  I suck at geography.   Florida seems farther, but New Hampshire took longer.  Of course that was in the winter and Canada in the ice and snow will put days onto your trip.

I won't stop for goofy crap but we stop along the way to shop or see people, go to festivals or explore.  Don't really care about monuments to Teflon pans etc.

Loved the questions this week- I absolutely adore road trips when I have a dependable car and enough $ not to sweat the gas or meals.   Especially if I am moving but we've not done that in a long time.  I love moving too.  A lot.

I'm not crazy I'm just a little unwell.

How about you-  do you like road trips?  Play along with Mamarazzi, Alicia and the gang then press the button to link up.


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Pretty review and giveaway

I'm a reader.

That's not unique; it's a trait lovingly passed down in my family, and growing up, pleas for "just one more chapter" before bed always became three or four. Luckily, I have the best mommy ever, and she usually indulged me.

I read all kinds of books, from nonfiction to fantasy, but my favorite sort of book is one that's not easy to read. If it's formulaic and I can swallow it in four hours or less, that's all well and good, but I really love a book I can sink my teeth into.

Breakout novelist Jillian Lauren's book Pretty is not an easy read. I picked it up; I set it down; I picked it up again. Not because it wasn't good (quite the opposite, actually), but because it was intense.

Pretty follows the life of Bebe Baker, an "ex-everything" (including stripper, Christian, addict and pretty girl) as she tries to make her life over in a halfway house. I won't give any details further than that, because I hate hate HATE spoilers.

It's the sort of book that keeps you thinking after you crawl into bed and shut out the lights, not the sort you can put down and forget about... even if you try. It's haunting in the best possible way.

Check out @jillylauren's new book, Pretty-

And we're giving away one free copy! To enter, leave a comment telling us the best book you read this summer.

Entries are due FRIDAY, Sept. 16th 11.59 pm

We received two copies of the book as part of a Global Influence campaign- one to read and one to give away.  We were not compensated in any other way.

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A New Way To Look At Food via Abraham-Hicks

So many of us struggle with food, specifically what we should eat.  

Females especially struggle with  body image, so much so that talking about what diets we are on, how many calories are in what and how to get the most nutrition to fill up are major topics of conversation among almost every gathering of women.  

What is good for us and what is bad, superfoods, what causes cancer, etc.

We don't want our children to go through what we did/do, so we are pushing our school aged children to watch their weight if they have the least little bit of pudge or baby fat on them.

If you read our blog Our Loonyverse, you know I am a big proponent of law of attraction, and had a huge aha moment -  what we focus on is what we attract.  DUH!  Talk about a derp moment.

I invite you to look at food in a new, life transforming way- a look at food that puts things into perspective, for me at least.  It's not about what I eat, but about how I feel about my body and what I put into it.  

This is a rampage of appreciation on food from my favorite spiritual teachers, Abraham (as channeled by Esther Hicks)-  when we KNOW this, food and our weight will no longer be an issue for us.  Before you dismiss it out of hand, really read it, and see if you don't feel that it makes a lot more sense than the fad diets, the expert opinions that turn out to be false a few years down the line, the torture and torment we put ourselves through trying to live up to some glamorized ideal.  

I love to eat.
Food is my friend.
I always choose well.
I know what to do.
There is a lot of variety in my life.
My body knows what to do with it.
I'm coming more and more into alignment.
It feels good to eat.
It feels good to feel my body.
Food is for family.
Food is for entertainment.
Food is for refreshment.
Entertainment is a big part of food.
Food is for frolicking.
Food is for celebration.
Food is for love.
Food is about love.
Food is about maintaining this magnificent vessel.
Food is my friend.
I adore my body.
My body is so good to me.
My body knows what to do.
I'm so in alignment.
I am so connected to Source.
My Source adores what I am eating.
My Source has inspired this eating.
My Inner Being is eating through me.
My Inner Being is adoring what I am eating.
My Inner Being is maintaining the energy of my body.
My metabolism is carefully attended to.
My machine is functioning perfectly.
I'm fueling it just right.
It's performing just right.
My moments are powerful moments.
Life is so good to me.
Food is my friend.
Food is fuel.
Food is fun.
Food is so good.
My body is so stable.
My body is so sure.
It is made of up so much intelligence.
It knows what to do.
I am in alignment with all of this.
Life is so good.
When do we eat!?

What do you think?  I am going to read this a couple of times a day, remind myself what my inner being already knows, and give up the constant struggle and just let it go and enjoy my life, my body and my food!

Lots more Abraham quotes over at Our Loonyverse.  

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**UPDATED W/WINNER*** Win The Couponizer & over $60 in FREE product coupons

Congratulations to our winner, Cathy W comment #38  We've sent you an email.

Cathy W said...38!/cjwallace43/status/114614187749158912

For national coupon month, we have a prize we think everyone who wants or needs to save money (and get those dang money saving coupons organized) will like this giveaway-The Couponizer $19.95
From their site:

Each Couponizer system comes with:
The Couponizer booklet - measures 8" tall, 6" wide, 1" deep (before coupons), 18 pockets for grocery coupons, 6 pockets for other coupons such as Restaurants, Retail, Rewards, 2 shopping pockets (Coupons to be used this shopping trip & Checkout), 3 loyalty card card sleeves, metal spiral bind, elastic closure strap, durable plastic covers. 
1 Shopping List pad - 20 tear off sheets/cardboard backing
1 CoupTracker pad - 15 tear off sheets/cardboard backing for record spending and savings by store
1 CoupStacker - pre-sorting mat used to organize coupons according to pocket when clipping
1 Carrying Bag - clear zippered vinyl bag
1 pair of scissors

That's not all, we'll be tossing in a few free product coupons to get you started:

10 Kemps FREE Ice Cream or Dairy product coupons (up to $4 ea, expire 12/31/11)  $40
3 Axe Shower Gel FREE product coupons (up to $5.99 ea, expire 6/30/12)  $17.97
1 Purex Complete Crystals Softener coupon (up to $5.50, expires 12/31/11)  $5.50

That's over $80 in retail value for one lucky winner.

THE GIVEAWAY:  One winner will receive The Couponizer as well as over $60 in free product coupons.  $80+ MSRP.  Open to US Residents 18+ ends  9/30 11:59pm CST

Mandatory Entry:   Follow us however you like-  networked blogstwitterfacebook or you can follow us via GFC and leave your user name in the comments.  Simple, huh?

If the mandatory entry isn't done no other entries will count.

Tweet the following and leave the link: (can be done 3x daily at least 1 hour apart)

I want to #win The Couponizer & over $60 in #FREE product coupons from @dddiva Our Loonyverse

Want even more entries?  You can find them here:  EXTRA ENTRIES FOR OUR GIVEAWAYS

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***Updated w/ Winner*** A giveaway for the ladies

Congratulations to Ricki Jill Treleaven   we sent you an email.

We've got a little giveaway for the ladies, though men are of course welcome to enter as well.

Avon Anew Ultimate Age Defying System : The Ultimate skin care in a 4-piece starter kit. Addresses advanced signs of aging for women 50+ years in age. Restores the look of natural volume & cushion in just 3 days. A $62.00 value. SYSTEM INCLUDES * Try-it-size Age Repair Cream Cleanser - 1.7 Oz. * Try-it-size Day Cream SPF 25 - .5 Oz. * Try-it-size Night Cream - .5 Oz. * Full-size Contouring Eye System: Elixir .09 Oz. & Cream .5 Oz.  

*product description from

Home Scents Lavender Chesapeake Bay 3" by 6" pillar candle
Clinique Eyelash Curler

Sephora by O.P.I in i'm wired 3.75 ml

Guerlain l'or radiance concentrate 5 ml

Tokidoki rollerball eau de toilette in adios 2 ml

THE GIVEAWAY:  One winner will receive the Avon Anew Age Defying System, the eyelash curler, the Pillar Candle & other goodies.  $85+ MSRP.  Open to US Residents 18+ ends  9/30 11:59pm CST

Mandatory Entry:   Follow us however you like-  networked blogstwitterfacebook or you can follow us via GFC and leave your user name in the comments.  Simple, huh?

If the mandatory entry isn't done no other entries will count.

Tweet the following and leave the link: (can be done 3x daily at least 1 hour apart)

I want to #win an Avon Anew Ultimate Age Defying System from @dddiva Our Loonyverse

Want even more entries?  You can find them here:  EXTRA ENTRIES FOR OUR GIVEAWAYS

Good Luck!

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MPM menu for week of 9/12 - 9/18

It's been a bit on the cooler side in the mornings and evenings so I've been in the mood for soups-  made up huge pots of tomato based veggie and a chicken broth based mushroom and froze several containers-  6 quarts and 11 pints along with what got eaten.  I wasn't a soup fan except when we went out as mom wasn't much of a cook and what I knew was the red & white label.  Now I know that they are extremely easy and so much yummier and a lot healthier without all the sodium.  We'll munch on those whenever along with or in place of the meals (remember, I live with picky people so whenever someone doesn't like what we are having they can have soup and maybe some bread or rolls).

On that note, here's what's on the menu for the week:

Corned beef with potatoes, carrots & pearl onions, fresh hot dinner rolls.

Breakfast for dinner:  Finnish oven pancake w/berries & fresh whipped cream; sausage & fresh fruit.

An oven roasted dinner this evening:  chicken; potatoes and pearl onions; broccoli; salad.

Veggie stir fry served over brown rice.

Fruited crunchy chicken salad (grapes, cranberries, apples, celery, walnuts) rolled up in flatbread wraps w/organic baby spinach; baked chips.

Easy pork chops & rice casserole; steamed Tuscany blend veggies.

Fruit & cheese platter served with crackers.

For more menu ideas head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie.
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Confession time again


This week, I confess:

I have been in an exceptionally great mood.

I now own the most adorable boots in the history of adorable boots.  

We have added YET ANOTHER pet to our little zoo.  Dawn's.  And I will let her tell you all about it.

I am enjoying the heck out of this cooler weather.

We are going to take advantage of Dev's double discount this weekend (remember, she works at TJ Maxx and a few times a year they offer 20% off to employees instead of the normal 10).

I am currently a sassy, feisty redhead.  Well, I am always sassy and feisty but now I have the red hair to go with.  Loving the color, iffy on the bangs.  Just a huge change that I am going to need to get used to.

I will get a couple of giveaways up before the weekend is over.  Tonight if I am lucky.

I am really looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday morning-  I should be used to it, but I  loathe the alarm -  of course one might say that a senior in high school shouldn't need mommy to wake her up in the morning, but that's how we roll.  We just aren't morning people so we need to nag each other out of bed. ;-)

I have a really great start on Christmas presents- that- yes, I have WON.  :D

There comes a point where little boy handprints and dog snout slobber on the windows moves from adorable to disgusting.  Our windows and sliding glass doors are WAY beyond disgusting.  Maybe someday they will get cleaned, or maybe we'll let them go til they are blackout shades. ;-)

That's enough confessing for this week- join on in by clicking the button at the top of the post and let us know what you're confessing this week.

XOXOX Dddiva
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WWTKW early holiday edition.


Hosted by Mamarazzi and Alicia aka Queso

6 questions this week-  here we go:

1. What is your favorite holiday?  
2. Do you have any fun holiday traditions? What are they?
3. When do you start Christmas shopping?
4. What is your favorite holiday food?
5. Share a favorite childhood holiday memory?
6. Have you ever actually tried fruitcake?

1:  All of them.  What can I say, I don't play favorites.  Oh wait, yes, I do.  

2:   Fave traditions are that Santa comes early on Christmas Eve and leaves us jammies or blankets and a game or movie and some yummies to eat.  Because he likes us best and we're cute. ;-)

3:  This year I am winning Christmas, most years I start shopping right after the new year all the kick butt clearance deals.

4.  Fudge.  And stuffing -  I can give up everything else but the stuffing.  I often do so I can overeat stuffing and not be sick for days.

5.  I don't really remember much as a kid-  when my dad was drunk the holidays were ruined cuz mom tried too hard to make it up to us.  Fail.   I have a great one from when Dawn was little though-  Santa had tacked up a  couple of sheets over the living room to hide her dollhouse and possibly a bike or something I don't remember-  I woke up when it was still dark and went to make coffee and saw a little butt sticking up in the air and feet sticking out from the sheet- sure enough Dawn fell fast asleep looking at the tree and the presents that were unwrapped.

6.  No.  And if I ever get one I WILL use it as a doorstop.

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