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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our visit with Santa - and luckily it didn't involve a trip to the mall.

Technically it isn't Christmas day yet so I'm going to squeeze in one last post pre-Christmas activity post.

Sarah is a Daisy Scout this year.  The very first field trip they took together was to ride the Santa Train at the NC Transportation Museum

Family members were invited so Dan, Peter and I went as well.  And it worked out great because Santa was on the train.  Both kids got their picture taken with Santa and we didn't even have to go to the mall! 


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The 2009 Gingerbread House!

Every year our church hosts a gingerbread house workshop and this was our third year attending.  It has become a sweet little tradition for our family and I hope we continue participating for years to come.

Dan takes the role of lead designer and decorator and the kids offer lots of advice.  However; this year, once the kids stopped eating all of the decor, they decided they should take a bigger role in determining placement of the candies and actual gluing of the candies.

Lots of frosting and candy later we had a really cute house. 

I thought I loaded the pictures of the side views of the house but apparently failed to do that before our just imagine lots of cross mosaics made out of chicklets.  (Think stained glass windows gingerbread house style!)   Stunning, I tell you!  Stunning! 


Gingerbread men and cupcake frosting!

My husband loves gingerbread cookies.  Well, mostly he loves frosting so he makes gingerbread cookies as a delivery mechanism for the frosting. 

I do not like gingerbread cookies and I do not like to make any cookie that has to be rolled out so my husband and Sarah have been making them together for the last couple of years.

My husband has the patience of Job and doesn't seem to mind flour, sugar and spices flying around the kitchen.  And Sarah loves to measure, mix and roll so it's the perfect combination.

I hope the memories of baking cookies with Daddy will be as sweet for her when she is all grown up as the cupcake frosting that they make for the cookies.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nothing bonds a family like 16 and a half hours in the car in a snow storm in a traffic jam.

Friday started off according to plan.  The kids went to school and I ran around doing laundry, packing suit cases and cleaning messes.

Then around noon it started to ice a little.  And by 3:00 the snow was really falling. 

A sinking feeling washed over me.  We probably wouldn't be leaving for our trip to Massachusetts as originally scheduled.

The plan was that we would hit the road as soon as my husband got home from work.  We would be in Alexandria, Virginia by 11:30 PM and then on Saturday morning we would be on the road by 5:30 AM and hopefully in Massachusetts no later than 4:30 PM.  We've done this road trip 14 times by now and we have it down to a science -  we even know the locations of all the McDonald's with the best playlands between NC and MA.

But then it started to snow in North Carolina and I knew all bets were off.

When my husband got home we decided we should postpone our departure until Saturday morning.  My husband is an excellent driver in the snow but most people in North Carolina are not.

So we headed to Alexandria around 10:00 AM on Saturday and hoped we would arrive no later than 7:00 PM.  We were hoping what normally took us 6 hours would take us 9.

And we were actually making great time.  The snow had been cleared off the highways and even though it was still snowing we were pleased with how well everything was going.

Until around 5:30 PM. 

We were on the north side of Richmond and things slowed down, way down. But we figured we would still be fine.

Until around 7:00 PM.

We were only 35 miles from my sister-in-law's house when we came to a complete stop. Well, I guess I shouldn't say complete stop because in the next three and a half hours we technically we did move 2.5 miles. 

Yep, that's right.  In three and a half hours we moved 2.5 miles.  And then we realized we weren't moving again and it felt like we were never going to move again.  So we cut the car off and got out the blankets and tried to get some sleep.

Yep, that's right.  Right in the middle of I-95 we put cut the car off and tried to get some sleep. 

The kids were troopers - there was minimal whining and minimal fighting.  Luckily I travel with a lot of snacks so we weren't starving.  And luckily Sarah doesn't have a problem peeing in a cup. And luckily I didn't finish my Diet Dr. Pepper at lunch because I do have a problem peeing in a cup.

And finally around 1:00 AM we started moving.  And we finished the last 30 minutes in an hour and a half.  But let me tell you, it felt like we were flying!

Needless to say we spent the next day in Alexandria.  More snow up the east coast and the thought of even setting foot near the car prevented us from making the second leg of our journey.  So we slept in, went to the late Mass and took the kids sledding.

And then finally, finally, yesterday evening we arrived in Massachusetts two days later than originally planned. 

But we were safe and sound and now, let Christmas begin. 

Well, after I wrap a whole lot of presents!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I know his baseball season ended in early November but I've been busy!

After an interesting season of spring baseball, Peter decided he would like to play fall baseball.

When he announced this over the summer I was a little leery.  Practices would begin as the new school year was beginning and it seemed like too much to handle.  And he would be moving up from coach pitch to machine pitch.

Before registration, I asked him repeatedly if he really wanted to play and his answer was always yes.  And since fewer boys play in the fall I figured this would give him a leg up in the spring (if he decided to play then as well) as  he would already be familiar with the pitching machine and might do a little better.

We practiced hitting and fielding over the summer and by September he was ready to start the season.  He had a great coach who emphasized listening to and respecting the coaching staff and he emphasized supporting your team and most importantly having fun. 

The older boys on the team were great to Peter and did not give him a hard time when he had trouble throwing or hitting.

Hitting a ball that has been thrown by a machine is so much harder than hitting one that is being lobbed to you by your coach.  And while he hit the ball occasionally  for the most part he struck out.  It was very demoralizing for him.

And because is still isn't a great fielder, he was stuck playing in the outfield.  Although frankly I think he was a little relieved at this because  he has finally realized that you are supposed to know where to throw the ball when it comes to you to try to get an out.  And even though he knows this, he still hasn't really learned where to make the plays.

But through all of these issues, one thing kept him going back game after game - the knowledge that he would receive a trophy at the end of the season.

And just like at the end of every season before, he said he didn't want to play baseball next season.  And I told him that would be okay.  But this time, I think he means it.  Because right after his end of year party he asked me if "they give trophies to the people that eat all those hot dogs in those food eating races."

Sounds to me like he's looking for other ways to add to his trophy collection!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The best face!

Today I received an email from Sarah's kindergarten teacher.  It was a 5 second Flip video of the whole class saying in unison "Merry Christmas Mom and Dad!"

I watched it 5 times when I got it this afternoon and when Sarah got home from school we watched it together at least 30 more times.

After watching it Sarah declared, "I have the best face in the whole class!"

Not only does she have the best face in the whole class but apparently she has the best self-esteem as well

Monday, December 7, 2009

My girl.

As a parent you learn early on to pick your battles.  And one of the battles I have consistantly chosen to let Sarah win is the battle over what she is going to wear.

She loves to choose her own outfits.  And she loves to mix stripes with polka-dots or flower patterns with plaids.  I have filled her closet with solids and patterns yet she never chooses to combine them the way I want her to.

And I'm okay with that.  Sort of.

I have learned to let it go because after all it was only preschool. So who cares what she looks like. And now it's only kindergarten. So who cares what she looks like.

However, occassionaly we do go out in public and I do care what she looks like.

Two weeks ago we took Peter and his friend Colton to the Lego store for his birthday.  While the boys were in their class we were going to walk around the mall.  (Theoretically we were going to shop but as much as she loves clothes, she hates to shop.)  And then we were going out to dinner afterward.

Two days before our outing, Sarah chose to wear some cute leggings underneath a sheath dress.  (The dress was from last year and was actually a size too small so it looked more like a long shirt.)  And the leggings were solid and the dress was stipped and it. was. adorable.

The next day she chose to wear a pair of leggings underneath a skirt that had small polka dots on it and a solid colored shirt.  And it. was. adorable.

On the morning of our outing I told her to pick an outfit and I was so excited to see what she was going to choose this time.  After all, she had done so well the two previous days I figured I had nothing to worry about.

Boy was I ever wrong.

And no amount of calm dissuasion would change her mind.  And when I saw how excited she was with her outfit, I decided to let it go.  After all.  It was only the mall and dinner.

I will admit though that I was a tad embarrassed when she turned heads while she was prancing through the mall, bracelets jingling and grinning from ear to ear.

And it didn't take long for me to push my feelings of embarrassment aside.

She felt good about herself.

And as a woman, I know those feelings will be fleeting.  I hope they aren't but I know how mixed up things get inside our heads. 

I hope she always feels good about the way she looks.  And I hope she never cares if she turns a curious head. 

She's beautiful.  And she's my girl.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's a good thing he's cute!

Last night I called my husband over to check out some items I had in my shopping cart at

After I showed the different items to him (ranging from electronics to toys) to make sure he agreed with my purchases, he said, "So, Amazon sells more than books now, huh?"

Monday, November 30, 2009

So much better than a big party!

In July they opened a Lego store in a mall about an hour from here.  Since Peter loves Legos and loves the Lego store we've been to in Massachusetts, we promised him we would go as soon as it opened. 

But July turned into August and August into September and well, you get the drift.

I convinced Peter that he didn't need a big birthday sleepover with lots of kids and a pinata(kids birthday parties are so overrated if you are the parent who is hosting it). Instead we took Peter and his BFF Colton to the Lego store where they could attend a class and afterward we would go to dinner and Colton could spend the night.

The moon and stars aligned properly and we finally got Peter to the Lego store 4 months after it opened and a mere two weeks after his birthday.

I do not recommend setting foot in a mall on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and if you do, please steer clear of the Lego store.  That place was packed. It was wall-to-wall kids, parents and of course, Legos.
But we knew it would be and the boys didn't seem to mind searching for the perfect Lego set in a crowd.

And even though the store was packed, they were the only two kids in the class they were taking.  And there were two instructors!  So for one hour, they worked hard to figure out the best way to combine a pile of Lego gears, handles and bricks and make it into a working bubble beater.  They each came up with different beaters and I think they both had a great time.

After the class we left the mall and headed to the Quaker Steak and Lube for dinner.  The kids loved it there. 

It was loud.  There were cars hanging from the ceiling. They had great kid's meals that came with Twizzlers and they comped us a big ole hot fudge brownie with ice cream. 

Peter didn't even miss the pinata!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...How Lovely Are Your Branches


That's better.

And I purposefully left all of the paper plate ornaments at the bottom of the tree hoping that the kids wouldn't notice the ornament redistribution I had done while they slept.  And it must have worked because no one has mentioned that there are no longer branches with 17 ornaments each hanging from them.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!
In beauty green will always grow
Through summer sun and winter snow.
Publish Post

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...How Laden Are Thou Branches!

Can you tell the kids helped me decorate our tree?

It looks verrrrrrry bottom heavy.

Notice all the ornaments are concentrated together right at Sarah and Peter level.  And look how many they have piled on each branch.


I think I may need to redecorate it tonight when the kids are in bed!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Yes, I know Thanksgiving was yesterday...

Last year and the year before, I had the kids make a Thankful Tree and a Thankful Turkey.  Don't they look so proud?  (I guess I didn't blog about the turkey from last year but I have it stored away in my closet.)

This year with both kids in school and afternoons full of homework and practice and Faith Formation and all three of us just being worn out, I never got around to making anything crafty.

However, I did want the kids to at least make a list of things they are thankful for.  So I put "Things I Am Thankful For" at the top of a sheet of paper and asked the kids to start writing.

Peter didn't want to do it because "that's too much like school work!"  And Sarah who is usually game for something like this seemed pretty disturbed from the start.

So Peter sat at the table and in less than 30 seconds had written:

Gramae (Grandma)
Grendpa (Grandpa, of course)

And when he was done said, "There. Can I go play my DSi now?

O.k.  Not quite the spirit of thankfulness I was looking for and then out of the middle of nowhere, Hurricane Sarah swept through and made landfall right at my kitchen table.

She began to scream (yes, scream!) and cry that she wanted to do it like Peter. 

"Of course you can do it like Peter!  That's what I want you to do!  Make a list, just like Peter!"  My frantic smiles did nothing to calm her and I knew I was in for at least a ten minute storm.


Oh.  I get it.  She wants to be able to write her words like Peter and of course, she doesn't know how to spell everything.

"Honey, why don't you tell me what you want on your list and I can write the words for you!"  More frantic smiling.


"Well, honey, why don't you tell me what you want to write and I'll tell you how to spell the words."  More frantic smiling.


At this point, I was done with the frantic smiling and had to pull out the old, "Well, if you can't calm down, then you are going to have to go sit in your room for a while."

"I just want to do it like Peter!" 

She was so mad!  Certainly not how I wanted our Thanksgiving Thankful List making to go.  So I let her tantrum for another couple of minutes and then she began to lose steam and sat at the table and proceeded to write the following list without any help from me:


I cracked up when I saw it and it almost made the 10 minute screaming and crying fit worth it.  She just wanted to make her list on her own.  That girl is an interesting and sometimes annoying mix of stubborn and independent. (And if Sarah Palin is not the first female President, then maybe my Sarah will be!)

And if God and a few kindergarten site words are all that's on her Thankful List, then I guess I'm o.k. with that.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Webster defines it as being satisfied.

I was reading this post at Scribbit earlier in the week and she references an article she recently read on Being Content With Our Homes which references a book  by Linda Dillow entitled, "Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment"

Contentment is something I find myself struggling with every single day and if you will recall, being content was the only resolution I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

Unfortunately as this year draws to a close, I still find myself struggling to be content.

Whether it is my house (my kitchen is too small, my  house is not organized and my couches are old and ugly), my appearance (if only I  could lose just 3 pounds, I have zits and wrinkles and my wardrobe is so plain) or the job I am doing as a mom (my kids aren't helpful enough,  kind enough, respectful enough).

I never feel satisfied with the way things are.

The article lays out these five principles of contentment from the first chapter of the book:
  • Never allow yourself to complain about anything — not even the weather.
  • Never picture yourself in any other circumstance or someplace else.
  • Never compare your lot with another persons lot.
  • Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
  • Never dwell on tomorrow — remember that tomorrow is God’s, not ours.
 The first principal immediately threw me for a loop!  I complain about everything.  And maybe not out loud (well, all the time anyway!) but to myself.  I grumble all. day. long.

So I am going to strive to spend the last 6 weeks of the year following the above principles.

And I am going to try to turn my complaining  into thanking God.

In the last two days for example, I have turned the following complaints into thank-yous and my attitude is already changing:

Old: I wish Dan didn't have to work late -  again.
New: Thank you God for Dan's job. Through it he is able to provide everything we need.

Old: This kitchen is so small nothing fits in here!
New: Thank you God for my warm and cozy home.  We are so lucky to have a house when so many don't and we are lucky to have food when so many are starving.

Old:  My kids are driving me crazy!
New: Thank you God for the gift of my kids.  They are healthy, smart, beautiful and energetic.

What a whiney, selfish, unthankful brat I have become in my old age.  No wonder I can't find contentment.  I'm too busy complaining.   

And just in the last two days, as I have started praising God instead of asking him to changes things, I have felt more peaceful, more satisfied - more contented.

I have six more weeks until the new year, and I think this year I have a chance at actually accomplishing my resolution!

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

(And I can't wait to get that book!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I suppose he's right.

Sarah:  Peter, let me show you the Thanksgiving book I made at school.

Peter:  O.k.

Sarah:  See, here's the Mayflower.  And here's a pilgrim.  And here's an Indian. And here's...

Peter:  Actually they prefer to be called Native Americans.  Because, really, they weren't from India.

I suppose he's correct  but I miss the good old days when we could all sit Indian-style.  Criss-cross apple sauce just doesn't have the same ring to it.  

(No apples were offended in the writing of this post!)

The best giveaway ever!

I hesitate to share this but it's such a good giveaway I have to let you in on it.  (And, truth be told, I get an extra entry for putting up the button.)  

Scibbit is giving away an HP Touch Smart 600-1055.   

So get over there quickly and enter before I change my mind and take this post down.  I don't need the competition.  

Oooohhhhh!  I hope I win.  We could really use a new computer and this one sounds fantastic!

HP TouchSmart 600 Giveaway

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Who says Rock Stars don't wear pink?

So we survived Crazy Hair day on Tuesday which meant yesterday was Rock Star Day.

Sarah informed me on Tuesday afternoon that she wanted to participate in Rock Star Day because her BFF was going to dress up.  "Oh really?" was my quiet reply.  "What is the old BFF going to wear on Rock Star Day?" I questioned her.

"Um something glittery I think. And probably her boots but I'm not sure." was her less than helpful response.

Something glittery?  I guess if you consider Hannah Montana a rock star then glittery fits the bill.  But I don't.

I consider Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Guns N Roses rock stars.  Oh I how loved me some metal music in the late 80's and early 90's!  And these guys wore lots of black tee shirts, ripped jeans or spandex and tacky scarves.  And since it was the late 80's - lots of hair spray in their permed hair.  (Oh take me down to Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.  Oh won't you please take me home.  I'm afraid I'm going to be singing this all day now.)

Sarah's tastes land on the pink side of the color spectrum with an occasional foray into purples so I knew there was nothing black in her closet and the only thing with Hannah Montana on it was a pair of pjs that she will be wearing to school on Friday.  (Don't even get me started on pajama day.) But we headed upstairs to try to pull together a Rock Star outfit anyway.

I said a quick prayer because my girl is stubborn and she wanted me to run to the store to get her a Rock Star outfit.  And I can be pretty stubborn too so the chance for tantrums on both sides was pretty high.

This past weekend my mom got Sarah a pair of shiny red boots from Wal-Mart.  Since they were red (and not pink or purple), Sarah patted them tentatively and said "I'll wear them later" which in Sarah speak translates to "I'll never wear these."

So I grabbed the red boots and suggested a mini-skirt to wear with them.  We looked through her skirts and found a red one that was covered in pink and purple and white hearts.  I then grabbed a pink tee shirt with a pink heart on it and a pair of white tights and said, "Look!  You can be a heart rocker! Get it?  Heart Rocker?  Instead of a hard rocker you can be a heart rocker!"

And then I preceeded to spend the next 15 minutes chuckling at my own pun. I repeated it so often that Sarah told me to "Stop saying that!  I hate it when you say that!"  Peter however, actually got it (oh how that boy gets me) and laughed.

Sarah was not very happy with her outfit but she wore it anyway.

Yesterday was my day to volunteer at the elementary school so I got to see all the other Rock Stars.  There were lots of little Hannah Montannas covered with purple hair, sequins and eye shadow.  And there were lots of metal rockers with ripped jeans, black t-shirts and sun-glasses.  And there were lots of cowboy boots and plaid shirts.  There were even a few Michael Jacksons walking down the halls.

But none of them as cute as my little heart rocker.  I love you Sarah.  Thanks for putting up with me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crazy Hair Day equals Crazy Mommy Day

This week is Spirt Week at my children's school.  That means every day has a different theme and the kids are encouraged to participate.

Monday was Twin Day.  My kids wanted nothing to do with dressing up like their friends so that day went by as usual.

However, Tuesday was Crazy Hair Day.  Sarah has been talking about Crazy Hair Day for two weeks now.  Her BFF was going to have crazy hair so she wanted crazy hair too.  Anything the BFF is doing, she is doing. 

We had decided that I would put it up in 4 pony tails because what is crazier than that?  And honestly, I don't have very good "little girl hair style" ability.  So on Monday I decided I that we just make it PINK.  She was thrilled at this idea but decided she wanted pink AND 4 pony tails.  So instead of making it easier for myself, I made it harder.  She had a doctor's appointment on Monday morning  and afterwards we swung by Sally and picked up a can of pink hair spray.

The person that waited on us in Sally was a very helpful androgynous looking sort.  I was not sure if it was a male or a female and the whole time we were being waiting on, I was holding my breath. We made it out of the store uneventfully but the minute the door to Sally closed behind us, Sarah asked, "Mommy, was that a boy or a girl?"

And it was at that point that I thank the good Lord for that embarrassing day at Burger King 3 years ago when Peter stated very loudly as we were walking out, "Mommy, did you see how FAT that person was?" But luckily we were walking out as the very large person was walking in so I was able to frantically usher the kids into the car before having the talk with them.

And from that moment on I have been drilling it into their heads that we don't ever say out loud in public if someone looks fat, strange, different, weird, etc.  We always wait until we are alone with Mommy until we talk about it so we don't hurt their feelings.  And thank goodness, the kids have been listening because we have dodged many bullets after seeing large people, mohawked people, bald people, scarred people, tattooed people, etc.  It is so much easier to explain to your children how or why other people are different from them when you aren't also trying to apologize to those people for your children's questions.

But I digress...

After school Peter realized that Sarah was going to paint her hair pink and he got very upset.  "Where's my blue hair spray?" he asked through tears and a tantrum.  (Yes, my 7-year-old is still very good at tantrums.  It is something we are working on.)

He had told me earlier that he did not want to participate in Crazy Hair Day so I didn't bother getting anything for him.  But since he seemed so upset I told him that after I dropped Sarah off at Daisy Scouts I would look for blue hairspray for him but I was NOT going to go back to Sally.  It was too far away and he would have to take what I could find at one of the local drugstores.

So after a trip to Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Wal-mart, I determined that there was no blue hairspray within a 6 mile radius of our home and we would have to get creative with hair gel.  (Apparently every other child had already purchased every color of hair spray because apparently every child had blue hair expect my son.  I will be better prepared next year and will buy up all shades of hair paint at Halloween when Wal-Mart is very well stocked.)

And since Peter doesn't really have much hair to speak off, there wasn't very much I could to to make his hair crazy.  I like boys and men to have very short hair and I will be very glad when the shaggy 1970's looking hair phase has passed us.  I think, based on all the 1980's fashions I see in the store, Mohawks and glitter gel are about to become all the rage again.

I digress again...

I had to get the kids up early on Tuesday morning so I could do their hair and the whole time I am thinking in my head that this whole concept of Spirit Week for elementary school kids is ridiculous.  I agree with my husband when he said, "When is it going to be Let's See How Much We Can Learn in School Day?"

But after much brushing, spraying and gelling, this was as crazy as it got for my kids. I'm not very good with hair and I think it shows...


Sorry kids.  My crazy hair skillz are limited.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Seven is...

a great reader
a momma's boy
a rule follower
a Cub Scout
a good swimmer
a ball player

Seven has my heart.

Happy Birthday, Peter!  I love you!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

She's all about her loose tooth!

Sarah is obsessed with losing a tooth.  Peter has lost one.  Her kindergarten BFF has lost two and Sarah thinks it's time she lost one too.  I think keeping up with your kindergarten BFF is probably more important than keeping up with your big brother.

For the last month or so she talks nonstop about loose teeth, wiggles her teeth, wonders when oh when will she have a lose tooth and constantly asks me to check for loose ones all to no avail.  They are all holding firm in her five-year-old gums.

Yesterday afternoon she was nibbling on a fun-sized bag of Skittles.  (And yes, you know you are thankfully at the end of all the Halloween candy when the kids are down to Nerds and Skittles and Dum Dums.  Where did all those Reese's Cups go?  Hmmmm....I wonder....)

And as she was nibbling on a Skittle she let out an "Ouch!" followed by "Mom!  I think my tooth is loose!"

So I wiggled it and I wasn't sure one way or the other so I said, "It just might be."

And then the phone calls began.  We had to call Grandma and we had to let Daddy know at work.

And then there was more wiggling.  And then there was lots of excitement and anticipation at the mere thought of letting the kindergarten BFF know at school the next day.

And then she wrote "Loose Tooth" on multiple Post-It notes and encircled her dinner plate.

When I asked her why she was doing that she stated very matter-of-factly, "Mom, I am all about my loose tooth!"

I guess the Tooth Fairy better stock up on ones just in case.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lazy Couponing Works for Me

About a year and a half ago, I decided to save money by couponing.  I read all of the money saving websites, clipped every single coupon and tried to play the coupon game at CVS and Walgreens.

And I hated it.  gasp

There.  I said it.  I hated it.

I know there are thousands of people who stock pile items this way and save hundreds and hundreds of dollars every year and get very excited when they buy a whole grocery cart full of cereal and toothpaste for mere pennies.  And I know this should excite me and I guess it would have except for that time I bought a giant bottle of Sambucal and then accidentally let $21 worth of CVS bucks expire.

It was at this point that I realize I didn't have the energy or the gumption to clip every single coupon every week, scour the sale ads, match up coupons to sales and spend hours on all of the money saving websites.

Now don't get me wrong.  I have several friends that do this and I have a huge amount of respect for themBut I am too lazy.  But at the same time, I feel that throwing away all of those coupons that come anyway in my Sunday paper is a waste.

So I come up with a system that works for me.  I keep each coupon circular.  And I mark the front of them with the date and toss them in a folder.  I have separate folders for Red Plum, Proctor and Gamble and Smart Source.  This takes me about 30 seconds. 

And when I see something as I am casually flipping through the weekly food circulars that I know I am going to get anyway that happens to be on sale and wonder if there is a coupon out there to match it, I head to

This site is awesome.  All you do is type in a product name and it will tell you if there is a coupon out there for it, how much the coupon is worth, which circular it came from and when it expires.  It also has a 'clip' feature.  If you know you are going to use this coupon, you 'clip' it (by hitting clip) and it will mark it so that you don't think you have this coupon when you do future searches.

I know I'm not saving tons of money this way but I am saving some money, I'm not spending hours clipping coupons I'm never going to use and I can spend the rest of the time happily reading blogs...WORKS FOR ME!

For more Works For Me Wednesday, please visit Kristin.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Of boats, rain gutters and disappointment...

Peter got to participate in his Cub Scout pack's annual Rain Gutter Regatta this past weekend.

The scouts each work with their dads to design and make a boat.  The boats are then raced in rain gutters in multiple heats to see who has the fastest boat.  In addition to ribbons and trophies for the fastest boats, there is also a prize for Most Creative boat and Best Looking boat.

Dan wasn't confidant in their skills to make a fast boat since this was their first year competing but he knew they could make a nice looking boat.

So Peter and Dan sanded and painted and glued and painted some more until they created a replica of the USS Constitution.

 Here she is before the big race.
Peter is proudly displaying his boat before the race.
The boats are under sail power only.  The boys aren't allowed to touch the boats.  They can only blow on the sails.
After the first leg of the first heat, you can see that Peter's competition beat him to the end of the gutter. 

Peter was very disappointed that he only won one of the legs of  one of the heats.  He lost the rest but we reassuered him that surely he would win for Most Creative or Best Looking.

But alas, it was not meant to be.  Peter didn't win anything and to add insult to injury, his BFF Colton not only won as fastest Tiger but he beat the 4 other age divisions to win as the fastest boat over all. Way to go Colton!

After shedding a few tears, listening to a couple of lectures from Mom and Dad about good sportsmanship and how you can't always be the winner, and reading a few chapters in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Peter was able to shake off the disappointment and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. 

And Dan is already contemplating next year's winning design. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kids Walk

One of the benefits of doing the Shred workout this summer was that my kids got to see me working out.  They got to see me jumping, pushing, running, sweating, grunting, huffing, and muttering all in the name of being healthy and getting in shape.

And they always wanted to "take exercise" with me.  (Sarah calls it working out "taking exercise".  Isn't that the cutest thing?)

Occasionally they would try to join me but the living room was too small and the workouts were a little too complicated for them so they would always give up after a few minutes.

Now that summer is over, they are still in bed when I am "taking my exercise" so they don't get to see that I am still working out.  And they often ask me if we can do the Shred together.  And my answer is always the same, "I've already done my Shred.  Why don't you guys go outside and run around."

But earlier this week on the Exercise Channel I noticed a few workouts for kids.  So on Friday evening when they asked to Shred with me I turned on "Kids Walk" for them.

And boy did they ever get into it.  They both did the entire 20 minute workout.  Peter even grabbed my weights and Sarah, not to be outdone, grabbed some decorative pumpkins to pump.  And because Sarah has to be just like Peter at all times, she even took her shirt off when he did.  Because,you know, exercising makes you sweaty!

I'm not sure they will do the workout again but I love that my working out is making them aware of staying in shape and moving their bodies to get exercise.

And if nothing else, Dan and I were able to have a peaceful twenty minute conversation while the kids were taking their exercise!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I would have done anything to make that noise stop. And now I'll be paying for a long, long time.

About two weeks ago as I was pulling in the driveway I noticed a cat sitting in front of my door.

That's odd, I thought.  Why is the neighbor's cat sitting at our front door?

As I approached the cat I realized that it was not our neighbor's cat, just a similiarly colored cat that looked as if she had not eaten in days.

I took one look at this cat and knew I was in trouble.  The way it was laying on my doormat as if it was his own personal bed made me realize that this cat had decided it had a new home.

"Go away, cat.  Go back to your home."  I said half-heartedly as I scurried inside.  The cat tried to make it's way into the house but I pushed it back.  "No. You are not coming inside."

I sat down in the office, which is conveniently located right off the front door, to check my email.  And then I heard it - that horrible moaning, mewing sound that only cats in heat or cats that haven't eaten in days can make. 

I had to make that horrible noise stop.  How was I supposed to concentrate with that noise?  I'll take fingernails on a chalk board over a cat moaning any day.  And I really hate fingernails on a chalk board.

I tried to ignore it as I read through my email.  But the sound got louder and louder and more pathetic and I couldn't take it any longer.  So I scrounged through my refrigerator and pulled out a couple of slices of sandwich meat and put it out along side a bowl of water.  The cat looked at me as if to say, "Sandwich meat?  Are you kidding me?  Do you know how much sodium is in this stuff?  And what about all of the nitrates? Are you trying to kill me?"  To which I replied, "If it's good enough for my husband and my kids, it's good enough for you."

So he scurried off leaving the food untouched and I felt satisfied that I had at least tried to do a good deed.  I hope he finds a good, sandwich meat free home, I thought.

And I assumed that was the end of things until the kids got home from school and excitedly screamed, "Mom!  Look!  A cat!" 

And I knew it was over at that point.  The fish has long since sufficed as a real pet and Sarah has been begging me "for a sister or at least a dog Mommy. I need someone to play with." 

So I reluctantly bought some cat food at Wal-Mart and it has been ours ever since.  She comes and goes as she pleases  but she always seems to make it back in time for breakfast and dinner.

In fact, every morning while I'm sitting in the office before the sun comes up, the cat (Who has since been named Gray-Gray by Sarah.  She would not even consider my suggestion of Kit Kat. Yum.  Kit Kats.) will take her bowl and scrape it back and forth across the porch and bang it into the door until I feed her. 

So the kids have a pet and I have another mouth to feed.  That's usually how things work around here.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm not surprised.

Report cards came home today.  My first grader and my kindergartner both got less than perfect grades on their handwriting.

Apparently the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What kind of mother would I be if I didn't post these?

Peter is still into blood and gore.  His mask bleeds when he pumps a little heart that he holds in his hand. He actually made a few kids cry at his Boy Scout Halloween party.  Of course these were younger siblings but none the less, there were actual tears.  Which made it even more frustrating for him when he didn't when the Scariest Costume award. I had a hard time explaining that all the awards went to costumes that were made by hand (most likely by mothers with way more patience than me) instead of purchased at the Halloween store.

Sarah is still into pink.  She choose this Wonder Woman costume even though she has no idea who Wonder Woman is (or was I should say)!  And the pink costume cost more than the old school red and blue costume.  What's up with that?

We had a great time Trick-or-Treating with our neighbors.

And you know how I know that my kids and their friends are growing up?

Everyone lined up, looked at the camera and smiled when I asked them to.  There was no crying, no pushing, no whining and best of all - I got this picture on the first take.

Friday, October 30, 2009

If carpets could talk, mine would be saying, "Thanks and it's about time!"

As I was vacuuming today I could  hear the sound of my carpet breathing a big sigh of relief.

Or maybe that was just the sound of dirt, debris, fish food pellets and cat food being sucked into the vacuum.

And yes, I said cat food.

More on that later.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Did I miss something?

Every season I look forward to the new edition of Kraft's Food and Family magazine to arrive in my mailbox.

And a new Holiday edition arrived today!  But when I pulled it out of my mailbox  I noticed it was in a plastic bag.  Hmmmm...that's odd, I thought. Normally that only happens when you are receiving a bill with a magazine but that can't be right because this magazine is free.

Upon further investigation I discovered that I was correct.  Inside the plastic bag was my copy of the magazine and an URGENT NOTICE telling me that if I wanted to continue to receive their formerly free magazine I would need to send them $6.99.  (Which is a reduction in the Regular Subscription Rate of $13.98)

And for my $6.99 in addition to receiving the magazine (did I mention that it  used to be FREE), included would be recipes, how tos, solutions for everyday meals, and affordable ways to serve family favorites.  And all of those would be INCLUDED with the price of the $6.99 magazine.  Well excuse me, but all of those are supposed to be in the magazine in the first place.

I do enjoy the Food and Family magazine but come on people!  Let's call a spade a spade.  The "magazine" is really just one pretty advertisement for Kraft.  And now I am supposed to pay Kraft $6.99 for an advertisement.

Did Kraft send a memo telling me this and I chucked it like it was my kids artwork?  Or is Kraft trying to pull a fast one?

Or perhaps they have come up with the world's cheapest marketing plan.  I wonder how many people will pay the bill thinking they've been buying this magazine all along? 

I keep thinking I missed something. What did I miss? 

When will I learn?

My kids are always drawing or coloring or writing something.  And when they are done it always lays on the kitchen table for a while.  And then I toss it.  And usually I make sure that it's pushed way down underneath the coffee grounds, the onion peels, the junk mail and the other general household debris that makes it's way into our garbage can on a daily basis.

However, once in a while, I will accidentally toss the drawing into the garbage where it lands on top in plain view for little eyes to see.

And every time this happens I get busted!  And then the artist pitches a huge fit.  "How could you throw away my beautiful drawing?  You always throw away everything I ever do!" (Which is completely untrue.  And if you don't believe me, I can show you the Rubbermaid containers full of preschool crafts and old homework I have stashed in the basement.)

By the amount of wailing and moaning and foot stomping that ensues, you would have thought that I had thrown away the Mona Lisa.  Or at least something that hadn't been sitting largely ignored on the kitchen table for over 4 hours.

So you would think I would have learned my lesson by now.

But no.  Now I am taking my art-trashing skills to a whole new level.  I am trashing other people's kids tiny masterpieces.  Today at preschool, one of our students told me very sweetly that he was going to draw a picture for Nanny. 

He sat down with the crayons, markers and a big blank sheet of paper and lovingly began working on his drawing.  Fast forward to 30 minutes later when we were cleaning up to go home.  I saw the drawing and thinking nothing of the abandoned artwork, I trashed it.  And not only threw it in the trash, I wadded it up into a ball and completely crumpled it.

It was nothing against this sweet little boy and his Nanny, I was just cleaning up the room.

Fast forward 5 more minutes and the little boy is frantically searching the art table for his drawing.  And then the panicked whining began.  "Where's my picture?  The one I drew for Nanny?  Where is it?"

Oh crap, I thought to myself.  I've done it again. I've tossed something that I shouldn't have. At first I tried to pretend I didn't know what he was talking about.

"What?  Huh?  Grab your backpack sweetheart.  It's time to go home!"  And then I flashed a big grin.  Surely he will drop it if I flash a giant cheesy grin, I thought.

But the whining reached a fevered pitch and the tears were starting to well up. 

I shot a desperate look to the head teacher and she jumped in with "Don't worry honey, we'll make TWO pictures for Nanny next week and they will be even BIGGER than the one you drew today!"  And then she patted him on the back and led him away from the art table.

And just as quickly as the picture mattered, it wasn't so important any more.  Because with preschoolers, size really does matter and bigger really is better.

Except when it involves cheesy grins!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A much better way to start the day!

It all started during preschool right after we moved into our new house.  Every morning while the kids were eating breakfast I would let them watch Little Bear or Miffy.  And then it gradually turned into The Magic School Bus and Arthur.  And then Sponge Bob. 

I knew eating while watching TV probably wasn't a good idea but it seemed o.k. at the time.  The kids could see the TV from the kitchen table so it wasn't like they were eating in the family room.  And it seemed to help them wake up.

Fast forward several years and now both of the kids are in elementary school. We are getting up even earlier than we had to for preschool and we have a bus to catch.  We only have about 40 minutes from the time the kids get up to the time they get on the bus.  And we have a lot to do in that 40 minutes.

They have to get dressed, eat, brush their teeth and their hair.  All of this is very doable in 40 minutes.  However it seemed that I spent that entire 40 minutes yelling at my kids. "Eat faster!"  "Don't forget to brush your teeth!"  "Put your shoes on NOW!"

About a month ago I decided that this was a horrible way for all of us to start the day. And I realized that the culprit was the TV.  The kids were so engrossed in whatever show they were watching that they didn't want to get ready for school.

So one Friday morning after finally getting fed up with the constant yelling, I told them that on Monday there would be no TV at breakfast and instead we were going to read the Bible.

I started my day with prayer and devotions so it only made sense for the kids to do something similar.

I headed to Lifeway Christian store and I looked through all of the kid's devotional books and realized we just needed to start simple.  So I bought a Bible.  My kids have many children's Bibles but they only contained stories.  I wanted us to read the entire Bible.

So I purchased The Day By Day Kid's Bible by Karyn Henley.

For the first couple of days the kids  were not happy about not being able to watch TV with breakfast but let me tell you it has been a lifesaver. While they are eating I read one 7 minute section.  Sometimes they ask me questions, sometimes they don't.  And sometimes I wonder if any of it is sticking in their sleepy little minds.

All of the early morning screaming has stopped.  (Well except for that one morning when the bus came really early and we weren't ready!) 

I can send my kids peacefully out the door knowing that they have heard the Word.  And really, what better way is there than that to start the day?

"...but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you. - 1 Peter 1:25

For more Works For Me Wednesday ideas, please go here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Miracle Monday - The Reluctant Messenger

Have you ever experienced or witnessed a small series of events and looked back on them and realized that God had been completely in charge and you were just going along for the ride?

Last Monday I received this devotional in my inbox from Proverbs 31 Ministries. In the devotional, the writer, Tracie Miles, mentions receiving a wonderful gift from someone.  The gift was a little box that contained slips of paper with Bible verses written on them. 

But these verses were extra special.  They were written in a conversational tone and the person that gave her
Publish Post
this gift included her name in each verse.  It was a very personalized gift and made her feel as if God was truly speaking directly to her.

After reading this devotional, I went to Tracie's blog where she had written about it further and bookmarked the page.  I thought that I might like to do this for someone in the future.  On Tuesday, Tracie even posted all of the different verses that were in her Treasure Box.

On Thursday I was at school when I happened to overhear part of a conversation between two of the other preschool teachers.  I blurted right in and asked them what they were talking about.  This is very unlike me and even as I was doing it I felt as if someone else had taken control of my body.  I just assumed I had too much coffee that morning.

One of the teachers was asking the other teacher to pray about a particularly difficult situation her family was going through.  This situation deeply affected her sister.  Without going into any of the details, current events were bringing up horrific situations from the past and were causing this family (especially the sister) great pain.

Because of these events the sister had drifted away from God and the church over the past 35 years.  I told her that I would pray as well and then I blurted out, "What is your sister's name?"  Again, I felt as if my mouth were being overtaken and the question had come out of no where. 

I woke up on Friday morning with my day planned out.  After getting the kids to school, I was going to work out, clean the house and have coffee with some friends.

While I was working out, I got the idea that I would make a Treasure Box for the sister of the woman I work with.  It sounded like she could definitely use some comfort from the Word of God and this personalized box would be a great way to help her.

But I already had my day planned and this certainly did not fit into my schedule.  So I decided I would just do it later.  For me, "Do it later" usually translates to "Keep thinking about it, never get around to it and then come up with a hundred reasons why it wasn't a good idea anyway."

I hopped out of the shower trying to decide which part of my dirty house I would tackle first.  I only had a short amount of time before Jennifer was going to pick me up to take me to the coffee shop so I had to maximize my cleaning efforts if I was going to get it all done.

And then it came to me that I needed to make the Treasure Box right then and get it to my coworker immediately so she could get it to her sister. After all, I already had her sister's name so there was no reason I couldn't put the box together right then. I felt a sense of urgency to get it done as soon as possible.

It was one of those moments where I knew I didn't even need to fight it.  I knew God was nudging me and telling me what I needed to do.  And I know from past experience that I just needed to go ahead and do it.

In my boldness I told God in a bit of a huff that I'm embarrassed to admit now, "Fine.  I'll do it but you have to make it o.k. that my house is this dirty." (I usually clean my house once a week and even when I clean it, it still isn't very clean.  But if I don't clean it, I start to feel apprehensive and nervous.  The dirt and grim seems to grab a hold of me and makes it hard for me to breath when I look around.  I have  kids so my house is normally dirty but for some reason dusting, cleaning the toilets and getting the visible crumbs off the floor just once a week makes me feel better.)

And God said, "You'll be fine.  Just do it.  Make the Treasure Box."

So I hopped on the computer and got to work.  And then I looked around for a suitable box.  What in the world was I going to put these verses in?

And then I remembered the Willow Tree box that a family friend (who is a priest) had given me and Dan for Christmas two years ago.  It was a beautiful little wooden box with the Holy Family carved on the top of it.  Dan and I thought it was very special, not only because of who gave it to us but because the name of our church happens to be Holy Family. 

I'm not a trinket person and I never knew ecactly what to do with this box.  I didn't know what to put in it or where to put it so it had been sitting on the top of my dresser for two years empty.  Almost as if it were waiting.

So I grabbed that box praying that my husband and the person that gave it to us wouldn't mind and I started filling it with little slips of paper.  And each time I put a slip of paper into the box I prayed the verse out loud using this woman's name.  And with each prayer for her, I felt calmer and more blessed. 

In my attempt to help bring the Word of God to someone else, I was being blessed.

I got the Treasure Box finished right before Jennifer came to pick me up and we dropped it off.  No one was home but I had written a note to go with the package, left it on the porch and then I was off to enjoy a latte with my friends.

Around 5:00 that evening the teacher from work called to thank me.  She said when she got home later that morning she opened the package and read the letter.  She said she immediately burst into tears and called her sister to tell her about the box.  She then got into her car and drove it over to her sister and her mother.  The three of them sat and read through each of the verses one by one.

She was calling to thank me for the gift that I had given to her sister.  But I had to tell her that this gift wasn't  a gift from me to her sister.  It was a gift directly from God to her sister because I had other things I wanted to do that morning, because I don't normally barge into conversations, because I don't normally have beautiful boxes laying around, because I normally come up with a million excuses not to do something. 

No, this gift was something that God wanted her sister to have and  I just happened to be the reluctant messenger who delivered it. 

I have spent the last two days looking at the dust and crumbs covering my house and instead of feeling a tightening in my chest or an uneasiness, I have felt a deep peace, a  joy that can come only from listening to God and doing what he tells me. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. - Galatians 5:22

What about you?  Have you listened to God lately and done exactly what he wanted you to do?  I would love to hear about it!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The challenges? Not so much.

I have to get my kids up at 6:45 every morning so we can be ready for the bus which comes around 7:25. And because it is still dark and because my kids are always in a deep sound asleep at 6:45, sometimes it can be a struggle to get them up.

Yesterday while I was trying to get Peter up, I said in a sing-songy (and probably extremely annoying) voice, "Good morning, Peter!  Time to rise and shine!  It's time to start a brand new day!"

"Good morning, Momma," was his sweet reply.

"Are you ready to start a brand new day?"

"Yes," he sleepily resonded.

And I continued babbling, "Are you ready to face all of the challenges of this brand new day?"  (And yes, I realize this is a goofy thing to ask a 6-year-old at 6:45 AM. It's probably a goofy question to ask anyone at 6:45AM.)

"Um, the challenges?  Not so much," he replied as he was rubbing his eyes.

I laughed out loud, gave him a giant hug and told him that I wasn't ready either and then we headed downstairs for a Toaster Strudel.

Because everyone knows you can't face challenges without a hug from mom and a full belly.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Juggling it all.

Hey, y'all!  Don't worry.  I'm still here.

We spent a long weekend at the beach and between working, volunteering and the kid's crazy schedules, I haven't had have much time to sit down at the computer.

My skin continues to look like a relief map, I haven't worked out in a week and my car is in the shop.  The dreaded Service Engine Soon light came on and  both the air conditioner and the heat don't work.  And this week, there have been several times when I've needed both in the same day.

So things are plugging along here just as I would expect them to be.

And speaking of plugging....

My friend Susan makes car seat covers and I would love it if you would check them out.  They are adorable!

She offers all kinds of great materials and she even offers custom embroidery.

Check out her blog, Juggling It All and her eBay store.  These car seat covers are so darn cute it almost makes me wish my kids were still using these and not the booster seats...well, almost!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Calm down, honey.

I figured I better post something quick so my husband would quit freaking out about the picture I posted.

After he read my last blog post he came rushing into the family room and declared, "I can not believe you would post that picture!  Every picture I have ever taken of you is rejected because you don't like how you look in it.  And they are all great pictures!  And then you post that horrible picture of yourself!  That is the worst picture I have ever seen of you!"

And I just started to laugh.  Because posting that ugly picture of myself was very liberating.  To me it said, "Here I am - zits, wrinkles, and taken at an angle that makes my nose look like I've been telling lies."

And it made me laugh.  The whole concept of posting such a bad picture of myself just made me laugh.

But apparently it disturbed my husband.  Because again last night he said, "It's still there!  I just can't believe you would post that picture!  After all those pictures of yourself that were great and you couldn't stand!"  And then he just shook his head and muttered under his breath.

And I chuckled some more.  Sometimes even my beloved doesn't get me or my sense of humor.

So in honor of him, I failed to post a picture of me this morning sporting yet another gigantic zit.

Besides, I'm running out of brown eyeliner and even Cindy Crawford couldn't get away with that many large moles on her face! 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cindy Crawford doesn't have anything on me!

God has a great sense of humor.  Want to know how I know?

Because at the age of 40 he has decided that in addition to wrinkles I should continue to get zits.

But I have a great sense of humor too.  I'm going to take my brown eye liner pencil and turn these zits into moles and pretend that  I'm Cindy Crawford.

Well, I'm off to finish working on my latest line of furniture for Rooms to Go.  And after that,  I've got a photo shoot. 

Ta ta for now!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This is how I know that we were meant to be...

My husband thinks he got the better end of the deal with me.

But I know I did.

Friday, October 9, 2009

If you give a mom a bread machine...

Have you ever wondered what happens when you decide to make your pizza dough in your bread machine but then leave the house and don't come back for 4 hours?

Well, I'll tell you what happens.

You will open your bread machine thinking "eh, it'll be fine" and will be practically knocked over by the smell of cheap wine.  And then you will think to yourself "I guess the yeast in pizza dough really is the same as the yeast in alcohol!"

Have you wonder what happens when you think that it will be o.k to use anyway and try to remove the dough from the breadmaker to salvage it?

Well, I'll tell you what happens.

The dough will be so sticky and gooey that it takes a 1/2 cup of flour just to unstick your fingers from themselves.

Have you ever wondered what happens when you decide you will just make another batch of pizza dough the old-fashioned way and open up your refrigerator and realize that you used your last tablespoon of yeast on the sticky drunken dough that is completely unsalvageable?

Well, I'll tell you what happens.

You immediately call Hungry Howies Pizza and order a "real pizza" as your kids like to call it making them extremely happy.  And then you will pay the bill and remember why you make homemade pizza in the first place.

Frankenstein Snack Mix

While the Frankenstein colored Sweet Pea Mash did not go over well at all with the kids, the Franken-Snack Mix Sarah and I made was a huge hit!

I go this recipe from Gourmet Mom on the Go.  If you have never been to her blog, you should make an extended visit.  It's a great place for cool fun food ideas.  Your kids will thank you!

Here's her recipe which we followed exactly as she had written it.  However, you can change it up based on what you have on hand or what your kids like.

8 c. Corn Chex Cereal
1 package Lemon-Lime drink mix (unsweetened, we used Kool-Aid)
1 c. Granulated Sugar
1/2 c. Light corn syrup
1/3 c. Butter or Margarine
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 oz. vanilla candy coating (we used Candi-Quick, available in the baking aisle)
1 oz. chocolate candy coating (we used Candi-Quick, available in the baking aisle)
1/4 c. Cheerios
Wax Paper
Non-Stick cooking spray

Mix-ins (you can change them as desired):

3 C. Kix Cereal
2 C. Trix Cereal
3 C. mini-pretzels
1 bag Goldfish Crackers
1 C. M & M's Candies

Heat oven to 225 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Heat the sugar, syrup and margarine in a medium saucepan over medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Boil for 3 minutes (do not stir).
 Remove from heat and stir in soda and Koolaid.
Pour over 6 cups Chex Cereal and stir gently. Spread onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 225 F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and while still warm, set 20-30 pieces on another greased cookie sheet to use as your "Frankensteins". Cool completely, stirring occasionally if desired.
To assemble "Frankensteins", melt chocolate candy coating in a small microwave-safe bowl for 45 seconds. Stir well. Dip one end of a Chex square into the chocolate. This is your "hair". Set on wax paper to dry. Using a toothpick, dip end into chocolate and draw two eyes and a mouth on your creature. Repeat with all 20-30 squares. When set (about 5 minutes), melt vanilla candy coating as above. Dip two Cheerios in coating and attach to sides of Frankenstein (these are his "bolts"). Let dry completely.Mix remaining Chex and other Mix-ins in a large bowl. Top with your "Frankensteins" and serve it up to the waiting Goblins and Ghouls!

 To see what other moms and kids have been up to this week, visit Ramblings of a Crazy Woman.