Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

We had a WONDERFUL Christmas. We have been so busy that I didn't have time to blog this week.

We had a wonderful holiday spent with family and friends. Over the next week or two I will add some pictures to the Blog of Christmas. We took so many pictures.

Katie had a GREAT Christmas. She loved every minute of it.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Here's to a Happy, Heathly, and FUN 2009!!!!


Mommy and Katie Christmas Eve 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa Stop Here......


Merry Christmas everyone. I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and blessed Holiday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Christmas Card Debacle

I LOST MY CHRISTMAS CARDS.....yes you read that right. I lost them. All 100 hundred of them. They were addressed, stamped, return addressed, just needed to be sealed. I lost them. My multi tasking as gone bad. I had these Christmas Cards since mid-November. I carried them everywhere in a bag in my purse. I worked on them every time I had a few minutes. I worked on them while I waited for Katie at Dance, on my lunch break, etc....

The last time I saw them was last Saturday. I was finishing the stamps at Bailey's basketball game. I was going to mail them out that night. They just needed to be sealed. I never sealed them Sat night so Sunday morning I said to Dan we have to seal the cards and get them in the mail. They were not in my purse. I sent Dan out to look for them in the car. He came back in the house and said they were not in the car. WHAT!!!! I looked in the car, no cards. Dan looked again, no cards. We looked all over the house, no cards. The only thing I can think of is that after Bailey's game we went to Target and out to dinner. I think I may have took them out of my purse at Target to get to my wallet. I may have left them on the counter. I called Target, no cards. I called the restaurant, no cards.

So, I uploaded my photo to Walgreens and got another 100 cards. I was VERY disappointed in the quality of the photo in the Walgreens cards. The first cards where from Shutterfly. The kicker is that I paid about half of what I paid for the Walgreen's cards at Shutterfly. I also got free shipping and free return address labels from Shutterfly and the quality of the cards was great. Oh well.

So, I pick up my new cards at Walgreens's. I told Dan that I was shutting myself in the bedroom to work on the cards. I went to put the cards in the envelopes and NO ENVELOPES!!! I had to go all the way back to Walgreen's for the envelopes. So, I get all the way back home and shut myself in my room again. I start stuffing the cards and I come across a picture of a woman and alittle girl mixed in with my cards. I also sent them out as my Christmas card. LOL! I stuff them and addressed them. Dan stamped them and sealed them and in 1 1/2 hour they were done. I drove them to the post office and every mailbox was jammed packed with cards. I couldn't even get them in the mailboxes. By then I was seriously started to think I was "punked". I drove all the way to another post office and sent them off. Happy to have them out of my hands and into the mailbox.

Maybe some kind soul found my other cards and since they were stamped mailed them for me. But, if people get 2 cards they will think I am NUTS!

This is the picture we used for our cards.

Cookie Exchange X 2

I participate in 2 cookie exchanges every year. The first one I have been doing for 7 years. It's with my old co-workers from the hospital. It's a GREAT cookie exchange. We usually have about 10 people and we bring 10 dozen cookies each dozen individual wrapped. Everyone gets into there wrap and puts alittle something on the wrap like an ornament or a lipbalm, etc,... This year we had 14 people so we did 1/2 dozens for each person. So I had 14 packages with a 1/2 dozen cookies in each package. I had extra cookies so I made them "bakers" 1/2 dozens and gave everyone 7 cookies. Whoever is hosting the cookie exchange has all of us for dinner. It is such a nice time. I really miss my old co-workers from the ICU/CCU. I worked with an amazing group of men and woman.

The next night was my second exchange. This was our 4th year having a cookie swap in our neighborhood. My friend Heather always hosts the cookie swap at her house. This exchange is done alittle different. We all bring 8 dozen cookies, not wrapped. We stand in front of our cookie and we tell what cookie we made them we take 5 cookies and move to the next cookie and so on until you are back at your cookie. If there are cookies left we take one or two more depending on the amount of cookies left. Then you go back home with 8 dozen cookies but a variety. After the swap we have a GREAT time hanging out in Heather's basement. Her basement is finished and she has an awesome bar. You feel like your hanging out at a pub.

I made "Aunt Faith's Best Butter Cookies". I got this recipe from Dan's Aunt Faith at my bridal shower. My Best Friend Karen sent out recipe cards with my bridal shower invitation so people could write there favorite recipe on the card and bring it to the shower. I love Aunt Faith's butter cookie recipe. I use it every year and get requests to make this same cookie every year. I use my pampered chef cookie press and make the cookie in the shape of a Christmas tree. One batch makes alittle over 4 dozen cookies. I ended up making about 17 dozen cookies. It was a good year. I got them done in 4 hours. Pass years I have had burnt cookies, cookies that wouldn't come out of the cookie press, etc. It was those years that I called my friends who were also in the exchange and asked them who's brilliant idea this was. I took Katie to school because I knew I wouldn't get it done if her hands were in the mix. So, Dan is going to make some cookies with her tomorrow night.

Enjoy the photos. I took to many to choose my favorites. So there is alot AGAIN!


Ready to bake!


Aunt Faith's Best Butter Cookie


Ready to go into the oven


Finished product!


Katie taste testing


All of our cookies wrapped and ready to exchange

My creation

Thanks MaryBeth for Hosting the Cookie Exchange. It was a wonderful time. I had the BEST time reconnecting with old friends.


Ready for my next cookie swap. I have 8 dozen cookies in that container. It doesn't look like it!

My creation

Neighborhood Cookie Swap. Thanks Heather for another wonderful time!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best Birthday!

This past Wednesday, December 17th was my 35th Birthday. I had the BEST Birthday ever! We left the house at 7:20 and took the express train from Hamilton, NJ to New York City. Our first stop in NYC was Macy's to see Santa. We were at Macy's by 9:30am and there was no line for Santa. Katie was alittle shy with Santa. Not me, I told Santa it was my Birthday and sat right down next to him. Katie then decided she would sit with me and Santa for a picture. After we left Macy's we took a cab to the American Girl store. Katie couldn't wait to get to the American Girl store. We told her that we were going weeks ahead of time and she has been looking at the catalog to pick out a doll. Katie picked out "Mia" the doll of the year. Well they were sold out of Mia. I thought Katie was going to be really disappointed but she wasn't. I think because there were so many dolls in the store to choose from that she forgot all about Mia. She picked a "Just like me Doll". She picked a doll with long black hair and brown eyes. First she named her Katie just like her then she changed to Mia after the doll she originally wanted. Then we had lunch at the American Girl Cafe. It was really nice.

Next, we were off to Rockefeller Center. We looked at the tree and the ice skaters. I couldn't wait to see the tree this year because it was from a tree farm right down the street from my work. It was beautiful.

Then off to Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Spectacular. It was amazing!!! Katie fell asleep half way through the show. I thought maybe the cotton candy she was eating would give her a sugar rush and keep her awake during the show. Dan was taking picture during the show. Missy, I thought of you!!!! I kept thinking if he gets in trouble for taking pictures I am acting like I don't know him. He was not using the flash so maybe they didn't notice.

We walked to Times Square after the show. Katie loved all the lights. We went into Toy R Us and rode the ferris wheel. Then we walked back to the train station and took the express train back to Hamilton, NJ.

We met my Mom, Karen, Jeff, Bailey, Brady, Karen's Mom, and Jeff's parents for dinner at our favorite place.

It was a WONDERFUL birthday!!!!!


Katie and Mommy on the train


Katie and Mommy at Macy's


Katie, Mommy, and Santa


Katie with her doll


Mommy, Katie, and her new doll Mia at lunch


Happy Birthday to Mommy


Katie and Mommy in front of the tree at Rockefeller Center


Katie and Daddy at Rockefeller Center


Katie amazed by the sights in NYC


The Rockettes


Radio City Christmas Spectacular


On the Ferris Wheel at Toy R Us in Times Square


Times Square


Happy Birthday


Birthday hugs and opening presents


Jen and Karen

Wow...I posted alot of photos. We took so many that I hard a hard time choosing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

3rd Annual Christmas Party

We hosted our 3rd Annual Christmas Party for our adoption group. I know that I have said it before but I will say it again.....we are so lucky to have such an amazing group. We also had some new friends at our party this year. It was so great to spend time with friends old and new. I invited a few of my bloggy friends that live in the area. It was so nice to meet some of my bloggy friends in "real" life.

The party started with some arts and crafts. I had a craft table set up for the kids. They colored ceramic ornaments. While the kids were hard at work the adults enjoyed some punch. I will post the punch recipe below.

Santa arrived and had a gift for each child. The kids were so excited to see Santa. Most of the kids sat and waited for there turn with Santa. A few of the smaller kids were alittle freaked out by Santa.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner after Santa went back to the North Pole. Everyone brought either a appetizer, main dish, or dessert. The food was GREAT!

The kids had a ball playing together. We found Katie and Lia pulling off there party clothes to change into princess dress up. Soon, some of the other girls saw this and joined in. They came downstairs and paraded through the house and told us it was a princess parade. Dan put on the High School Musical soundtrack for them and the next thing you know we had a princess dance party in my family room. It was so wonderful to watch these girls dance and have a ball with each other. I looked at Kate and she had a little tear in her eye. I then got teary eyed too. THESE are the moments we waited for.

Next we had our ornament exchange. Each child brings an ornament and then we do a random exchange and each child leaves with an ornament from there friend.

The next thing I know Katie was out of her princess dress up and into her PJ's. Well then all the kids who brought there jammies followed and put there jammies on.

Everyone was tired out and a wonderful night came to an end. It was a fun, amazing night with new friends and old friends. A night full of memories that we will cherish for a long time.

I am already looking forward to next year!

The girls hard at work on there ornaments

Santa arrives!!!!

I love this pictures of everyone sitting waiting for there turn with Santa


Katie with Santa


Santa and children


Some of our Princess Parade


Princess Dance Party


Ornament Exchange


Cranberry Juice
Rainbow Sherbert

I didn't measure just added it all in a punch bowl and voila......Jen's Christmas punch!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Be your own person

I have so many things I want to post from the weekend but I am exhausted and don't have the time tonight.

But, I need to blog this one before I forget it. Katie had a Ring Pop candy from Dance Class tonight. They sell candy at the Dance Studio and Katie spotted the candy last year and I always let her pick out one treat for being a good girl in class. So, tonight it was a Ring Pop. She had it in her mouth like a pacifier. She was calling it her "binky". The ring pop was gone but the plastic "binky" was still her in mouth. I told her to throw it in the trash because it was time to get ready for bed. She tells me that Baby Sister is going to have a binky. Katie often talks about Baby Sister(we have been logged in alittle over 14 months to adopt again from China). This is how the conversation went.

Katie: We have to buy Baby Sister a binky.
Me: Do you think Baby Sister will suck her thumb like you?
Katie: No, she will use a binky. I love to suck my thumb.
Me: Maybe Baby Sister will like to suck her thumb too.
Katie: No she will use a binky, Baby Sister needs to be her own person.

I was cracking up laughing. She was very matter of fact and serious. How does she even know to say that??? I guess my lectures of be your own person Katie you don't have to do it just because so and so did it is working.

She is so funny.

Hope to post all about our Christmas party with pictures tomorrow night.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Getting ready to have 27 adults and 21 kids at my house and what happens?????

Our 12 foot Christmas tree falls over. I was sitting at the kitchen table with my Mom eating dinner. Karen was standing at the table talking. The kids were at the kitchen island eating dinner. All of a sudden the tree just fell over. All 12 feet of it. Fully decorated. I just sat there shocked. I didn't know what to do. Karen called Jeff and Dan who were out having a drink and smoking a cigar(these boys live the life) to come home. They thought we were joking. Karen and I stood the tree back up. I was so afraid I lost all of my ornaments. A few broke but mostly just the balls broke. Most of my ornaments were okay. I held up the tree while Karen got under the tree to fix the tree in the stand. Jeff and Dan came home. We vacuumed up the mess. Started decorating it AGAIN. Honestly, it looks better than it did the first time.

What a mess but what a memory!

Looking forward to tomorrow. We are having our Adoption group over for a Chritmas party. Thank God the tree didn't fall when we had a house full of people!


Tree Down


Clean up crew


Putting the tree back together again


Putting the Angel on top


Katie helping Daddy


Our tree.....take two

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Happenings

Last Thursday we went to pick out our Christmas tree. It was so cold and started to rain. I wanted to get the tree because Dan was going away for the weekend. We got a 12 foot Frazier Fir. It was dark and we were freezing so we picked the first tree that looked good to us. We only got one picture of us picking the tree. Dan went to Pittsburgh this past weekend for a guys weekend for the Steelers vs Cowboys game. Yes, Dan is an Eagles fan so why did he go?? Couldn't miss out on a guys weekend. Uncle Jeff is a Steelers Fan and Two-Pop is a Cowboy's fan. Dan went for the fun.


Picking out our Christmas tree


Friday night. Karen and I at our Holiday work party.

So, Katie and I spent the weekend together. Saturday we went to our local FCC annual "Potluck/Pollyanna". This was our first time attending this event. It was very laid back and the kids had a BLAST just running around the place. It was in a church hall and it had a stage. The kids LOVE playing on the stage. It was snowing when we left. Katie immediately looked up at the sky and started catching snow flakes with her tongue.


Hannah, Rachel, and Katie at our FCC party. I have become such a camera snob...Dan took our new camera to Pittsburgh and I had the old point and shoot. The quality of these pictures are not great.


Katie and Taylor


Hannah and Katie


Katie on the stage


Katie with her gifts


Rachel and Katie enjoying cupcakes.


Catching snowflakes

Sunday, we stayed home and decorated the house. We also attempted to make a gingerbread house. I never made one of these before and didn't realize you need to let the house dry for 2-3 hours before you can decorate it. Well we didn't start this project until 7pm at night. So we let it dry overnight. Well the next day the rest of my icing was hardened!!! So we have a gingerbread house that is still not decorated. I need to go buy some regular icing in a jar and finish it.

Dan came home Monday but Katie and I both have Dance on Monday night. So, Tuesday night we started to decorate the tree. It took forever for Dan to put the lights on the tree. I like alot of lights on the tree. We have this same struggle every year. I keep telling him more lights, more lights. It got late so we decided to finish the tree tonight. Katie had a blast putting the ornaments on the tree.


Helping Daddy with the lights


Helping Daddy with the ornamnets



I also got a dining room set FINALLY this past week. Katie and I carried all my sewing stuff to the basement last week. The dining room set arrived and it is all set up. My dining room actually looks like a dining room! I can't wait to set my table for Christmas dinner.

When Katie was helping me take my sewing stuff into the basement she said...."Mommy, I wish for a telescope so that I can see Santa. It should be pink with Barbie on it". I said "That sounds like a great wish". She said " I am NOT so happy that it is not Christmas yet". I just laughed because she was so serious. This was while we were both walking down the basement steps with our arms full of sewing stuff. Our next trip down the steps she says "Mommy, I wish for rubies and jewelry". I said "Wow, you have alot of wishes today". She just smiled and my heart filled with love.