About Me


Southern New Jersey

I am a Mom to 2 amazing and fun daughters and wife to a great guy and a wonderful father!

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Kayla, my oldest. She is 4 1/2 and is a sweet, loving and silly little girl. She took us 2 ½ years and 3 IVF’s to conceive. Kayla is allergic to dairy. We manage her allergy and work to balance her safety with giving her a normal childhood. Kayla loves to read books and play games - she amazes me every day.

Alysa, my youngest. She is 3 years old and is a silly little spitfire. She’s our monkey and loves to climb on everything. She was a “natural” baby, but it was only b/c of my wonderful doctors that we were able to stop an impending miscarriage. Alysa suffers from Acid Reflux Disease and sleep apnea. She may be little, but she has a big personality. She adores her big sister and is so much fun to be around. She keeps me laughing every day.

Our Daily Reads
On My Nightstand
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Mothers Day 2009

Sunday, December 31, 2006
Calm Week
Amazingly it's been a pretty calm week. With the tree gone, we have all been healthy. And even more shocking, both girls have eaten pretty well this past week. Yes, I know it's unheard of. Now my fingers are crossed that with the allergy under control, that Alysa will actually gain some weight. I won’t hold my breath though.

The girls have had a good week. They have been enjoying their new toys. But with these, has come more fighting, which means more headaches for me. I try to balance sharing and alone play time as best I can. Kayla likes her toys “neat” and lined up, where Alysa’s face lights up when she sees Kayla’s neat piles, as she heads over, arms waving just so she can mess it all up. It’s quite comical actually.

We have no big plans for tonight. Put the kids in bed, watch a movie and indulge in some Doritos, potato chips and real onion dip. Yes, I know, this will cause me quite a bit of anxiety and a lot of work. But sometimes, we need the real stuff. So, we will cover the couches and floor completely, indulge and clean up extra good when we are done. We don’t do this often, but I’ve been craving this. What better time to be “bad” than b4 the New Year kicks in. Then I can start off 2007 the right way.

Tomorrow, we will get to have a family day. Our plan is to take the girls to the local Children’s Museum in the morning. With them being “sick”, it’s been a while. And Alysa is at that great age, where she will actually be able to participate really well now. She’s such a climber. Then in the afternoon, after all of our naps, my parents are coming down and we are heading out to dinner to P.F. Chang’s. It’s the one restaurant I have let Kayla eat at. So it’s our restaurant of choice right now.

Like I said, it’s been quiet around here. I plan on posting my New Year’s Resolutions tomorrow sometime. I have to give it a bit more thought, as I’m not making any I know I can’t keep. :)

posted at 10:41 AM  

Saturday, December 30, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt
This week's Theme is New. We have a ton of new stuff around this house this week. But I chose this picture of the girls. Although it's not their first Christmas, Kayla (or Alysa) has no memory of years past. So it was a new experience for them.

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To view other photo hunts or to join in, visit tnchick. You can also check out the Themes for 2007.

posted at 9:14 AM  

Friday, December 29, 2006
Friday's Feast
How do you usually celebrate on New Year's Eve?

Well, we have no "usual" yet. 3 Years ago, I was 8 weeks pg and felt so sick, so I stayed in bed. Two years ago, we stayed in and went to bed early. Last year, Alysa was only 4 weeks old, so it was a blur. This year, we'll stay in and hopefully rent a movie and just relax together. Not sure if we'll make it to midnight...

Name one thing unexpected that happened to you in 2006.

I lost all the baby weight (although my tummy is not what it used to be)

Where was your favorite place that you visited in 2006?

The balloone festival in July. Kayla was in such awe over the hot air balloons. She loved every second of it.

Main Course
What resolution is your top priority for 2007?

I haven't really given too much thought to this yet. But I guess it would be to eat healthier. I'm good at having the kids eat healthy, but I want to maintain that by example...

Using just three words, describe 2006.

Exciting, Scary & amazing

To view others who have dined or to join in, click here.

posted at 6:06 PM  

Thursday, December 28, 2006
Birth Order Predictor
You Are Likely an Only Child

At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.
At work and school, you do best when you're organizing.
When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.

In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.
Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.
You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.
The Birth Order Predictor

I'm actually the youngest of 2. But I do have an MBA in Finance and am a Financial Analyst. So it got something right.

posted at 1:18 PM  

Thursday Thirteen - #9

Thirteen of the Girls’ Favorite Gifts

1. The Weebles (this started with Alysa’s birthday) - Both
2. Musical Instruments from Magic Cabin - Both
3. Lacing Buttons from Learning Resources - Both
4. Bear Family Counters from Learning Resources - Both
5. Barrel of Monkies – Both (these get all over the house very quickly)
6. Tubes of Animals and airplanes – Kayla (Alysa loves to mess up Kayla’s neat piles)
7. Tyrone Doll from the Backyardigans - Alysa
8. Melissa & Doug Food Sets - Kayla
9. Thomas the Tank Train Set - Kayla
10. Thomas the Tank Musical Caboose – Alysa (she carries this around the house pressing the button over and over and over…)
11. Stickers – Kayla (as can be seen from my WW post)
12. Basic Skills puzzle by Melissa & Doug - Both
13. Melissa & Doug mailbox with mail and stamps – Kayla (now she can be just like her friend the Mailman)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

posted at 11:37 AM  

Saying Good Bye to Old Traditions
So, as I mentioned in my earlier Christmas post, we have successfully determined the cause of Alysa’s health issues lately. She is allergic to evergreen trees. As soon as we took the tree down Christmas morning (yes, Christmas morning – it was down and cleaned up by 10am to be exact), her runny nose cleared up and she has been perfect ever since. Her appetite has returned as well.

So this means that next year and every year thereafter, we will have an artificial tree. Now, for me this will be hard. I have always prided myself on having a real tree. And I was lucky to find a hubby who wanted nothing less than a real tree as well. Neither of us ever planned on switching to an artificial. But of course, the health of our children come first, so we have pretty much given up dairy and now we will give up our real, fragrant tree.

Now, I can tell myself that we will save money in the long run, as it will be $300 or so next year to buy the tree, but then no more spending $60-70 per year on a tree. And I can tell myself that we won’t have anymore needles to prick our fingers and no more watering and vacuuming constantly under the tree. No more imperfections to hide against the wall or in a corner. No more trudging around in the cold for hours (yes, this year it took hours) looking for that tree that we all love – the one that is “perfect” for our home.

But you see – these “negatives” are also the things I love about a real tree. I love having a tall, full (aka fat) tree that is not perfectly shaped. I love that scent that fills the house from the tree. I love the traditions of decorating with lights and ornaments and finding the right way to put the tree so it looks just right. And most of all, I love the trips to the tree farm. Kayla loves the wagon rides and running amongst the trees. Both girls love being outside. Kayla was so excited with all the trees around her. As soon as we told her where we going that day, she immediately asked for a wagon ride. And this year, we went on Alysa’s birthday and decided it would be a yearly birthday tradition – something fun and meaningful we would do on her birthday every year.

And add to that that these Christmas tree hunts and outings have been a part of my life since I can remember. My parents have never had a fake tree either. It’s what I (and J) grew up with and it’s what we assumed our girls would grow up with.

It saddens me greatly that all these things will come to an end. And yes, I know it is not the most important part of Christmas. We are all healthy and will be together. But nonetheless, it’s something I need to “mourn”. And then we will work on coming up with new traditions for the years to come…

posted at 10:23 AM  

Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Wordless Wednesday - Christmas Fun
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Alysa loved her boxes and yes, Kayla had those stickers on her face from early afternoon until bedtime!

Hop on over to WW to see more great photos or to join in.

posted at 8:28 AM  

Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Settling Back In
Well, Christmas is over and now it's time to settle back in to normal routines. I spent today cleaning and cleaning and more cleaning. Add some organization and finding spots for all the new stuff Santa brought the girls.

Yesterday was great. We had a great day and the girls are thrilled with all their new things. Alysa, like a typical 1 year old, was just as thrilled with all the boxes. Kayla officially loves Santa now. She was very happy with all he brought her. I will say, he has excellent taste. We approve of everything he brought them. Very fun and musical and artistic and educational toys. Lots of things to count and sort (which Kayla is in heaven with). And that means lots for Alysa to mess up (Kayla's not thrilled with that).

But sadly, my suspicions were also confirmed about Alysa. Alysa has been plagued by allergies, not colds. She is allergic to evergreen trees. We will hopefully get medical back-up on this on Jan 2nd when we take her to see the Allergist. I had suspicions about the tree over the past week. Yesterday morning, after spending a half hour or so opening gifts right "under" the tree, she got very cranky. So I fed her, which she barely ate any of. Shortly after, she threw up twice, all while choking and gagging. She had no fever and was otherwise acting normal (and of course the runny nose started after being downstairs. So we put her up for a nap and let K finish unwrapping her gifts. Then down came the tree. That was the last we saw of a runny nose on Alysa. She has been prefectly clear every since.

On the one hand, I'm glad we know what was causing her "sickness" and that we were able to fix it. But on the other I'm devestated. I love my real trees. Not just the pine scent and the look, but the tradition and fun of taking our girls each year to the tree farm, picking out the tree and cutting it down. That is the part that will upset me the most each year.

As my Sister, so nicely pionted out to me, we have given up dairy and real Christmas trees for our kids. The things we do as parents. :)

Here are some pics of the girls enjoying Christmas...

Here is Kayla hanging up the Santa Key:
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The girls seeing the tree in the morning:
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Alysa thrilled with her tambourine:
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Kayla taking a "picture" of Alysa:
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Kayla in her new Cloak:
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My happy girls:
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All of us:
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I hope you all had a great day. I can't wait to hear all about your day!

posted at 8:31 PM  

Sunday, December 24, 2006
A Fun Christmas Game
I found this game over at Lil Bits of Me and thought it looked fun.

What you need to do is Google or Yahoo the word Christmas and the year you were born. Then post the pics that you find associated with that dat here.

I found a few fun ones...

Here is a sheet of Christmas Seals from the American Lung Assocation in 1976

Here is a 1976 Christmas Superheros magazine

Here's a Christmas Plate

Here is a Christmas Day envelope from the Navy

And here is the 1976 Frosty's Winter Wonderland video

Have a wonderful Christmas!!!

posted at 10:56 AM  

Saturday, December 23, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt
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This week's Theme is Lines.

Kayla is very exact and likes her toys and pre-cooked cookies lined up. And all heck breaks lose whenever Alysa comes over and messes her stuff up (which she does often).

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To view other Photo's or to join in, hop on over to tnchick.

posted at 1:48 PM  

Friday, December 22, 2006
Here We Go Again...
Kayla put this house through a lot of turmoil over the past year. With her dairy allergy, reflux and Failure To Thrive (FFT) dx (they all go hand-in-hand), it made for some scary times. It took us many-many months of doctor’s appointments and tests and feeding therapy to get Kayla out of her dx of FTT. She’s now doing wonderful – eating great and gaining weight as she should be. She’s even played a little catch-up.

But, Alysa on the other hand seems headed down the same path as her big sister. Although, she has no known food allergies (although she has never had dairy yet), she was born in the 50th % for weight and at 1 year, dropped into the 5th %. We had tried to hold off judgment (me and her doctors) for a little while b/c between 9 and 12 months, she needed an increase in her Prevacid (for acid reflux), then she was sick with colds a lot and had a sinus infection. Of course, she won’t eat while she’s sick. She only gained 1 pound from 9 to 12 months. Now, she’s on her umpteenth cold and her 2nd sinus infection, which means it’s her 2nd round of antibiotics and it’s only December. And…she lost 4 ounces since Dec 5th. So she’s not doing too good. Every day, I try to hold back that feeling of dread and panic that is forcing its way to the surface. And to make it all worse, when Kayla was a year, I was very overwhelmed at the thought of feeding her. I was just entering the area of living and eating dairy-free. But now, I’m a pro at that. Alysa has a much more varied diet than Kayla did at her age. She eats meats – some in bites, some ground up with her pasta. But, she eats it. I know of many ways to add fat and calories to their meals and we do them. So she should be better off than Kayla, right? Apparently NOT!

As it was getting close to the 2 week mark for her latest “cold”, it started to creep into my had that this could be allergies. She basically seems to always have a cold/runny nose. She’ll have a day or two where she is fine and then it hits again. And the past month of her on and off colds, we have all been fine. Her Ped suggested the same thing this week (so I’m not the only one). So off we are heading to the Allergist on January 2nd. That should be fun taking my 1 year for allergy testing by myself with my 2 ½ year old. Yay! LOL Kayla had allergy testing done at 8 months and wasn’t bothered by the skin tests. I can only hope Alysa is the same, although I know her threshold for pain is much lower…

I of course don’t want her to have allergies, but in some ways, it will be a relief if she does. Maybe then we can come up with a plan to manage them so she won’t get sinus infections and need antibiotics all the time.

So I’ll be filling you all in as the latest health saga unfolds…

posted at 8:33 PM  

Friday's Feast
What is one of your Christmas traditions?

We do not have a fire place, so we have a special “Santa Key” that we hang on the door knob of our front door, so Santa can get in the house.

Who is the easiest person on your list to buy presents for?

My girls

What is your favorite Christmas scent?

Christmas Trees

Main Course
If you could give a fellow blogger a Christmas gift, who would it be and what would you give them?

Janeen and I would get her a cleaning lady so she could have more time to make all the home cooked and home baked foods she has to make due to Jason’s allergies. And then maybe get some rest. ;)

What's something on your Christmas wish list this year that you need (not just want)?

A new hand mixer – mine died at Thanksgiving

To see more Feasts's or dine yourself, visit the Friday's Feast site.

posted at 4:13 PM  

Thursday, December 21, 2006
Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Reasons I Can’t Wait for Christmas

1. Christmas is my favorite holiday
2. Hubby is off and we get time the 4 of us
3. Time with family
4. Good food
5. It’s an excuse to eat extra cookies and desserts
6. I love holiday traditions
7. I love the smell of pine tree in my house
8. There is nothing like a real Christmas Tree
9. I love to see the decorations and lights everywhere
10. Christmas puts me and most everyone else in a great mood
11. I love to give gifts to friends and family
12. I have waited so long for my turn to “play Santa”
13. I can’t wait to see the look on my Girls’ faces when they see the tree Christmas morning

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

posted at 10:46 AM  

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Wordless Wednesday
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Kayla dressed in her Fairy Best!

Visit the WW HQ to join in or see other Wordless Wednesdays!

posted at 8:15 PM  

My 100th Post
I can’t believe this is my 100th post. I’ve never been a journal person, so in some ways Blogging has been hard for me. I can get overwhelmed and caught up in my little world and miss a day or two or three. And when that happens, it’s even harder to get back on b/c I feel like I’m so far behind, it’s too overwhelming. But, so far I’ve stuck it out. It’s been fun and I’ve learned some more html. As most people who know me know, I love learning anything new about computers.

So now, to celebrate, I am going to take a “page” out of my Sister’s Blog and share with you 100 things about me.

I hope you enjoy!

1. I was born and raised [and still live in] New Jersey
2. My hubby and I went to the same high school
3. He graduated with my Sister
4. His family used to own a dairy farm (now it’s a golf course) and I grew up across the street from a dairy farm
5. I have some amazing memories of playing there with my Sister
6. I hope my Girls can go sledding there like we did as kids
7. I love the smell of manure – it reminds me of home
8. I went to preschool and Kindergarten at a Montessori School
9. I actually have memories from the school
10. We enrolled Kayla in a Montessori School for September
11. I’m not ready for her to go to school
12. I used to play soccer and softball
13. I still love softball
14. I hope my kids play when they are old enough
15. I used to play the Violin, the Piano and the Clarinet
16. I was in the marching band for 1 year in high school
17. I went to Hawaii with the band my Freshman Year
18. I quite marching band to work my sophomore year
19. I liked having my own money
20. I still do
21. I used to work for a Patent Attorney
22. I found it fascinating - the patent work, not the attorney
23. I had to testify against the attorney years later for ethics violations
24. I got my first car in August 2003
25. It was totaled 28 hours after I brought it home
26. I was hit by an 18 wheeler that ran a read light
27. I walked out of the car
28. I’ve been in a total of 5 car accidents
29. Only 1 was my fault
30. I rear-ended someone in the state of Delaware
31. I never liked school
32. I went to college anyway
33. I went to a Community College for my 1st 2 years
34. Then I transferred to Rider University
35. I graduated with a BS in Business Administration
36. I have never pulled an all-nighter for school
37. I never even stayed up late to study
38. I have stayed up all night for fun
39. I met my best friend at Rider
40. We were put together as roommates
41. We clicked right away - everyone thought we had known each other for years
42. We got an appartment and lived together after college
43. Once, we came home after the paper was delivered
44. Amazingly I went to Grad School
45. I have an MBA in Finance from Rutgers University
46. I can't believe I actually went into Camden for grad school
47. I'm a country bumkin
48. I am shy until I get to know ‘you’
49. I’ve been told my personality is scarily similar to my Dad’s
50. J and I met when I was 15
51. That was 15 years ago – YIKES!
52. When J and I met we were friends
53. Then we didn’t like each other for a few years
54. Then we were friends again
55. Then I married him :)
56. I’ve always wanted to be a Mom
57. I used to babysit and LOVED it
58. I am a Mom to 2 girls - Kayla (2 1/2) & Alysa (1)
59. Being a Mom is the best thing I've ever done
60. I battled Infertility and beat it – twice
61. I went through 3 IVF’s before conceiving Kayla
62. Alysa was conceived naturally, but I almost had a miscarriage
63. I wish I was a SAHM
64. But I do have the best of both worlds since I have to work
65. My company is extremely flexible and understanding – I only work 20 hours a week
66. I have seen all my girls’ firsts
67. I LOVE milk – it’s my favorite drink
68. That makes it all the more “devastating” that Kayla is severely allergic to dairy
69. Infertility has taught me a lot
70. Kayla’s dairy allergy has taught me even more
71. I’ve been to every state on the East Coast
72. I’ve been to California and Hawaii
73. I was in Canada once for a short amount of time
74. Other than that, I’ve never been out of the country
75. But I have 2 very close friends – one from Canada and the other from the UK
76. We met on-line (through an infertility message board)
77. I have met my gf in Canada in person (we met up around Boston)
78. I hope to meet my gf in the UK in person someday.
79. I was very overwhelmed at first with the thought of living dairy-free
80. Now it's easy
81. I feel "dirty" after eating or using dairy
82. I miss dairy
83. J and I are victims of Identity Theft
84. That is a nightmare
85. We knew the Woman (it was J's ex-wife)
86. We are waiting to hear about her sentence
87. I love to read
88. I am not the most creative person
89. I'd like to get into scrapbooking
90. If I had the time
91. I love doing anything on the computer
92. I have an excel spreadsheet for almost everything
93. I love my house
94. I hope to have 2+ acres someday
95. I love Christmas
96. This time of year makes me happy!
97. I'm so excited to be Santa
98. I love my hubby
99. I love and adore my girls
100. My family ALWAYS comes first!


posted at 11:14 AM  

My New Look
As you can see, I got a new “do”. Thanks to Susie over at Bluebird Blogs I have a design that I love and is much more “me”. I will say, I put in my order back in October, so it’s been a long wait, but it was well worth it. She is so easy to work with and does an amazing job! You can check out her website for more of her designs and to order one for yourself.

posted at 8:14 AM  

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Where did my Kayla go?
For those who know her, know that Kayla is both a Mama's Girl and very shy around those she does not know. I'm lucky if she says "hi" to a store clerk, etc. She will usually say "good bye" though. :) Well, tonight I had my dental cleaning and I took her with me so she could observe and hopefully get a tooth cleaned on my next visit in June. I even dragged poor J and Alysa with me as back-up. I was afraid that not only would she be scared of my Dentist, but also be afraid of the buzzing tools, etc. This would not be surprising, as she is scared of my Dancing Frosty Christmas decoration.

Anyway, she was wonderful. I am not sure what happened to my baby and I don't often recognize this little Girl in front of me. She was personable with the receptionist and dentist. She did turn away from him a couple times, but she smiled and showed him her teeth. And she sat and watched attentively and unafraid as he cleaned my teeth. Amazing!

We got good news that as far as he can see, her one front tooth is ok. She had banged it pretty bad about 5 months ago and it is darker than her others (tooth bruising), but so far it looks ok otherwise. We just hope it stays that way until it falls out.

So tonight was a pleasant surprise. And she's still talking about Santa's presents. Again, who is this Kid and what did she do with my Baby?

posted at 7:42 PM  

A Santa Breakthrough?
I've mentioned already that Kayla is afraid of Santa. But, if you ask her, she's not scared of him, she just doesn't like him. She only wants presents from me and J, not from Santa. Well, this morning, she watched The Wonder Pets Christmas special. After that, she started handing me her toys and saying they were presents. I had to "open" them the ooh and aah over them. Then I asked her who they were from. Her answer? "Santa". Yay! Once she even said 'ok' to getting presents from Santa. But that part is still a work-in-progress. But...she has been giving me presents from "Santa" all morning.

Maybe there is hope for her after all...

posted at 10:57 AM  

Monday, December 18, 2006
Blogger List
I got this off of ChupieandJ'smama and of course had to know.

B-List Blogger

posted at 8:31 PM  

Crazy Times
Ok - so it's been a very hectic couple of weeks. First, Alysa's birthday, then her party a week later and preparing for Christmas. And in all this, my girls have colds, yet again. Alysa's is the worst, of course. Her latest is on it's 10th day with no sign of fading. So I'm fearing it means another sinus infection. And she barely eats when she's sick, which is bad for her since she's so low on the growth scale. So I'll give her Ped a buzz tomorrow and see what she says. I don't want to drag her in if it's unnecessary.

But...on a good note, I finished all my wrapping yesterday - ours and Santa's. It feels so good to have that done. My back will thank me over the next few days as well.

I've also been working on putting together J's birthday present (his birthday is Jan 5th). Of course, I can't say what it is here b/c he does read this. I have it, it just needs some prep work.

I am also currently going through all the girls' toys and seeing what we can part with. I'm sure some of the baby stuff we can keep because Alysa is only a year, but she prefers the older toys anyway. Especially anything she can put in her mouth 100%.

Oh and did I mention I still have to do the Thank You's for Alysa's party? Yikes. Christmas is a hectic time of year to have a birthday.

But I have been productive (hence why I have been lacking here). I went through all the clothes in my closet and tried every single thing on. The good news is I could get on and zip and button everything I own. But of course, most of it didn't fit well enough for me to actually wear it out of the house. So I filled a 50 gallon trash bag with clothes for Good Will. The sad part, is I used to take up two rods on either side of our walk-in closet. I now take up 1 - and that includes winter and summer and "play" and work clothes. Very sad... And of course, as a Mom, I don't buy myself clothes like I used to, so I will make do with what I have and a new item here and there. Ho hum...

So Christmas is exactly a week away and I'm so psyched. Kayla is excited to get presents, but I just don't mention they're from Santa anymore. She says she's not afraid of him, she just doesn't like him. Good thing she's so cute! We are having the IL's here for dinner. This is less stress on us, as it will be a safe, dairy-free meal and I won't have to be "food police" on Christmas. Plus, now the girls won't have to leave their new stuff and they'll get their regularly scheduled naps (if they'll actually sleep that is). But both of them love to open presents, so it will be such a fun Christmas for us this year.

I am almost done, I think, with all my Spring Cleaning in December. So I will do my best to be better on the computer...

posted at 3:32 PM  

Saturday, December 16, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt
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So this week's theme is Annoying...

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Yes, it's an empty tissue box. And why, you ask, do I find this annoying? Because it symbolizes that yet again, my kids have colds. It's been on and off again for a few weeks, and more importantly on this past week. Which means my youngest doesn't eat and she's so small, she can't afford to not eat. And my oldest, who has gotten worse the past 2 days doesn't sleep through the night. This started last night, so that means exhaustion for me. And of course, the inevitable cold for me, which I'm just waiting for...

I also overlooked the fact that I should have bought stock in Kleenex. :)

To view other Saturday Photo Hunts or to view the line-up and join in, click here.

posted at 7:46 AM  

Friday, December 15, 2006
Christmas Tour of Homes
BooMama has invited us all to join her Christmas Tour of Homes.

Welcome to my home and I hope you enjoy your visit.

Thanks for visiting. Be sure to visit BooMama's to tour her new home and view other homes.

posted at 7:44 PM  

Friday's Feast
What was your very first job with a paycheck?

Hostess at the Union Hotel - it is a restaurant that use to be a hotel as well. Rumor has it that it's haunted. I never encountered anything strange there though.

Did you ever lose something really important to you?

Yes - I can not, for the life of me, find an emblem that is off a Cadalac. It fell off the car in a hail storm. It was the last thing my Poppy gave me before he died (I was 9). I know it's in the house somewhere, I just don't know where. Grrrrrrrrrrr...

What is the best Christmas present you ever received?

I'm not sure. As a child, maybe the Cabbage Patch Doll. As an adult, I'd have to say Kayla. I got my positive pregnancy test (after 2 1/2 years of trying and 3 IVF's) on December 1st.

Main Course
Tell about a favorite "hang out" place for you and your friends when you were in high school.

I spent a lot of time at the Roller Rink.

Name something that always brings a smile to your face.

Seeing my girls smiling and laughing together

Check out the Friday's Feasts website for more who have dined.

posted at 1:17 PM  

Thursday, December 14, 2006
Thursday Thirteen
Thirteen Things I Need to Do Before Christmas

Finish Wrapping Santa Presents
Get cards
Plan the Christmas Dinner Menu (dairy-free of course)
Buy a ham and all the other foods I decide on for Christmas Dinner
Get out the cup and plate for Santa’s soy milk and cookies
Get out the Santa Key – it’s a special key that we hang from the front door so he can get in since we do no have a fire place
Have the girls make Christmas Cards for family
Make some cookies with Kayla for Christmas
Convince Kayla that letting Santa bring presents is a GOOD thing :)
Go through their current toys to make room for their loot-to-be
Finish wrapping family presents with Kayla’s “help”
Watch the Christmas Specials with Kayla (she loves them)
Enjoy Christmas with Hubby & our Girls

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

posted at 11:17 AM  

Monday, December 11, 2006
Alysa’s Dairy-Free Party
So, I always get questions on how I can do a party that is dairy-free. So I figured, I’d give some details on the menu for Alysa’s party. With only one food allergy, it actually makes things a lot easier. And I think that dairy is one of the easiest foods to work around and substitute for.

I love chips and dip. I have always had it at any gatherings I had. So initially, when I thought a dairy allergy meant no dip, I was at a complete loss as to what snacks I could serve. Especially being, that my staples were chips and dip and cheese and crackers. I have yet to find (and I don’t think anyone has) a doable substitute for cheese. So cheese and crackers are no longer in my house. :( But… I did find a wonderful fake sour cream. When you mix it with Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix, you can’t taste the difference. It’s made by Tofutti and called Better Than Sour Cream. With this dip, I put our Ruffles potato chips (plain) and pretzels. I also had Fritos. Then, I made an excellent Jalapeno Cilantro dip that I get on-line. It’s made by Desert Gardens and can be purchased through Comfort Foods, Inc.. Mmmmm, yummy. It calls to be mixed with mayo and sour cream – again, I used the Tofutti brand. I also made deviled eggs.

For the meal, I had 3 main dishes.

Chicken Thighs – all I do here is throw the thighs in a baking dish, season with McCormick’s Chicken Seasoning and bake on 350 until they are no longer pink. I have gotten many compliments on this and they come out very juicy.

Kielbasa – I got this recipe from my sister and it is as follows:
3lbs Kielbasa
2¼ C Ketchup
¾ C Grape Jelly
1¼ C Dijon Mustard

Slice up the kielbasa and mix with all other ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 4-5 hours.


Finally, I had sausage, peppers and onions. I had them without tomato sauce since the party was inside my house. Much less messy if anything spilled.

For the small kids, I also made chicken strips.

As side dishes, I had potato salad and baked beans.

Finally – for dessert, I had my dairy-free cake. I used the Cherry Brook Kitchen vanilla cake mix and made 2 9x13 cakes. I put strawberry filling between them and had a 2 layer cake. I decorated it myself with homemade icing.

I used Wilton’s Buttercream icing recipe. I had to alter the recipe a tad and use soy milk and soy butter. But it tastes no different. Here’s the recipe…
Buttercream Icing
• 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
• 1/2 cup butter or margarine*
• 1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla
• 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
• 2 tablespoons milk**
Cream butter and shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
YIELD: 3 cups
*Substitute all-vegetable shortening and 1/2 teaspoon Wilton No-Color Butter Flavor for pure white icing and stiffer consistency.
**Add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup per recipe to thin for icing cake.
I was very happy with how the cake turned out – both in taste and looks. I got a lot of compliments too. That’s always nice. I hope to eventually take a cake decorating class. Even if Kayla outgrows her allergy, I’d like to keep making the cakes. I think it would be nice for them to know I always took that time to make it extra special.

So that is Alysa’s dairy-free party. Not as hard as it seems, once you are used to it. But it used to all overwhelm me.

Here are some pics of the birthday girl at her party…

Alysa all decked out…
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Alysa getting stuck in a toy bin…
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Me and Alysa…
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Kayla and her friend Mia…
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posted at 8:05 PM  

Sunday, December 10, 2006
Busy Weekend
So Alysa's party was yesterday. I'm happy to report that it was a success. It was on the smaller side, which was good since it was inside and at my house. But the kids seemed to all enjoy themselves and everyone said they liked the food. :) And my best friend, did not believe that I made Alysa's cake. That's always good on the ego. Here is her cake - homemade by me. It's a 2 layer vanilla cake with strawberry filling.

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But, I just realized today that I completely missed Saturday's Photo Scavenger Hunt. That really annoys me - but what are you going to do?

I have more pictures to share and more details on the party, but first, I must get dinner ready and then we are decorating our tree tonight. Another exciting, eventful night at our house. But, I will be back...

posted at 4:44 PM  

Thursday, December 07, 2006
Toy Hall of Fame
I found this on-line today and wanted to share. It's the Toy Hall of Fame that was created by the Strong-National Museum. These bring back memories and it's great to know most of them are still around. And I'm loving that the cardboard box made it to the list.

Pop on over and check them out. You can even nominate toys for the Toy Hall of Fame.

posted at 2:50 PM  

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I have to Do for Alysa’s Party on Saturday

1. Finalize the grocery list & send J shopping
2. Go back to Costco for more eggs and a case of water
3. Go back to Whole Foods – they did not have enough cake mix
4. Dig out my crock pot
5. Bake the 2 layers for her birthday cake
6. Put together and decorate her Princess-themed cake (with strawberry filling between layers) – I’ll post pics of it when it’s done
7. Boil a bazillion eggs for deviled eggs
8. Move our coffee table out of our family room & make room for the home-made ball pit and our round jumpy thing
9. Put away some of their favorite smaller toys (aka Kayla’s million small Dora figurines) to minimize lost toys & give the kids a bit of breathing room with sharing
10. Make dips for the chips (both dairy-free) onion dip & jalapeño cilantro dip (yummy)
11. Hide the Dancing Frosty (Kayla’s terrified of him) so other kids won’t turn him on
12. Clean the house (my least favorite part of it all)
13. Cook all Saturday morning (again, everything will be dairy-free)
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

posted at 8:18 AM  

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Joining the Holiday Decorations Parade
I am FINALLY getting around to joining in the Holiday Decorations Parade that Wystful1 started. Christmas is my favorite time of year, so this was a lot of fun for me. I’m enjoying seeing all the other decorations as well.

Here is our house all lit up…
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Here is a train that I hunted down a few years ago…
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Here is my Inflatable carousel…
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This is my favorite decoration – Rudolph. I had wanted this and my best friend got it for me one year. She’s the best! The tree next to him is newly acquired – I got it in Lancaster, PA…
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Here is my newest addition. I was shopping online and my total was $42 plus $10 in shipping. Well, if you spend $50, you get free shipping, so I spent a little more and actually got something for my extra money. :) He’s so cute…
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Hop on over to Wystful1 to join in or see other decorations.

posted at 3:57 PM  

Tuesday, December 05, 2006
How New Jersey are You?
My Sister and I did this quiz when we were in Ohio. I had fun with it...

You Are 82% New Jersey!

You are definitely Jersey. Well done, my friend. You are most likely from this great state, and you fit right in. Odds are, you love being Jersey!

How New Jersey Are You?
Create a Quiz

posted at 7:02 PM  

Sunday, December 03, 2006
What a Difference a Year Makes
One year ago today, at 1:00pm (on the dot), I delivered a 7lb, 2oz blob. That “blob” being Alysa. She was beautiful and healthy, but a blob nonetheless. Newborns are so helpless, yet they steal our hearts from the moment they are conceived. It amazes me how much can change in 1 short year. Alysa is now a 1 year old Spitfire. She is full of laughter and life. This child never stops moving. And this began in utero. I knew while I was pg with her that she was going to give us a run for our money. She did not stop moving ever. And this part of her personality was quite evident with her crawling at 6 months and walking at 9 months. She is a fun, happy little girl who loves to be silly just as much as her big sister. It’s so hard to imagine when your baby is born that in just 1 year; they will be all over the place and beginning to talk.

And for me, I still can’t even believe she is here at all. I battled infertility and won with Kayla. We knew we’d have that uphill battle again for #2. Little did I know, I had 1 perfect egg waiting… We conceived Alysa naturally. The problem was I was not “supposed to” and I had started to miscarry when I found out I was pregnant. I was not only blessed and lucky with Alysa, but with a wonderful team of doctors and nurses who were just as diligent as I was in saving my pregnancy. You have to realize how amazing it was for me to conceive. A woman on the pill has a 1% chance of conceiving if the birth control were to fail. Well, my chances without the pill AND with hormonal support of a “potential” pg, were <.5%. Those are amazing odds and we overcame them – somehow. I think I’ll always look at her and be amazed at how truly lucky we are to have her in our lives.

I feel the same about Kayla of course, but it’s a bit different. I understand where Kayla came from. We had wonderful doctors and a LOT of medical treatments, not to mention some debt. ;) But she was worth every ounce of heartache, every shot and every penny. Alysa on the other hand just boggles my mind.

So as we spend this day doting on our youngest on her special day, I will enjoy thinking back on all her changes this past year. And I will enjoy that I get a whole day with both my girls AND J home (we are going to cut down our Christmas Tree. These days are few and far between, so they are much appreciated.

Here is Alysa 1 year ago…
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And now...
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posted at 10:04 AM  

Saturday, December 02, 2006
The Toy Boxes
So my sister called me up a few months ago and said that Jason (her hubby, my BIL) has gotten into woodworking recently. And he had the great idea to build my girls a dress-up trunk for Christmas. In the end, he built Alysa a toy box for her room (Kayla already had one) and built them both a dress-up trunk. My sister (the artist in the family) decorated them. We were able to pick them up when we went out for Thanksgiving. They are beautiful. It will really be special for them to have something made specifically for them and by someone who loves them. Here are a couple pictures of them.

Alysa's Toy Box
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The Dress-Up Trunk
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Now, as I see them all perfect and shiny, I almost hate for the girls to use them. I know they'll get all scratched and nicked. But I also know that that is what Jason intended. In a world where families are spread out and family is not always what it should be - I feel very fortunate that my girls have an uncle that loves thems as much as he does and more specifically that he has shown them by giving them something so special and from the heart. Now if we could all live in the same state!

posted at 3:15 PM  

Saturday Photo Hunt
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Our House All Lit up for Christmas
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The train I hunted for 2 years ago...
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What's missing is our newest addition - our inflatable carousel. I got an AMAZING deal at the QVC Outle in Lancaster. Of course, it blew out of the ground yesterday. Luckily it's not damaged, but it was too windy still to put it back up last night.

Click on the Saturday Photo Hunt image above to view more photo scavenger hunts.

posted at 7:07 AM  

Friday, December 01, 2006
Some Pics from our Trip
Ok - it took me a bit longer than I hoped, but here they are.

Colin and Maddy
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Alysa trying to figure out the Sit n Spin
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Colin & Maddy not helping her. ;) Elliot is in the background
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Elliot asleep in the swing
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Kayla on the swing
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Maddy & Kayla
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And last, but DEFINITELY not least is Jason (BIL) after 10pm - we were all a little punchy...
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Both my girls have colds, again... Alysa is at the end of hers and Kayla just started. So more night wakings from her now. Yay! I'm exhausted, but we're surviving.

Alysa's 1st Birthday is Sunday. I'm very excited. We are going to cut down our Christmas tree and I'm planning the final details of her party which is Dec 9th. It will be a busy-busy week.

posted at 5:46 PM  


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