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Dec 29, 2010

Christmas and then some!

Well, Christmas is finally over for this house. I love Christmas time. I have said that in so many posts lately. I love the reason for Christmas and being with family so much, but boy oh boy, we have such big families that Christmas can be never ending sometimes. This year was LJ's 3rd Christmas. It all started on Thursday night when we saw a friend to exchange presents (our usual Chinese night crew). John got a coloring book and crayons and Baby C even got some really cute outfits.
Then came Friday. We had to leave our house around 2 in the afternoon so that we could head out to East Brunswick NJ to see my dad's side of the family for our Traditional Christmas Eve gathering. We were there until after 830 (got there around 4), so we didn't get home until after 1030 at night. LJ had a blast at my Uncle's house and got a whole bunch of trains. I can't believe how many train sets (Thomas of course) he has now. We set them all up yesterday evening and he was in heaven. :)
Of course after getting LJ in to bed we had a bit of work to do in order to get things ready for the next morning. Santa had a fish tank all set up in our room that we moved in to LJ's room and put the wrapped box over so he had a present from Santa in his room when he woke up. He was totally amazed by that. We were sort of lucky that we did not have to hook it up as it did not have fish in it yet. That would have been interesting to say the least.
We don't do too much Christmas morning as we don't want to teach John that Christmas is all about presents. Plus, he gets plenty of gifts from the rest of the family. We are planning on having it that each child gets a present from Santa, a stocking, and then one present from mommy and daddy. Then we just have a nice morning as a family and enjoying each other and the reason why we have Christmas. Mid morning we headed over to Hubby's parent's house (the whole minute drive) to celebrate Christmas with Mommom, Pop, Uncle J and Uncle B and the newest member of the family, Aunt S. LJ made out like a bandit, again. This time luckily it was more construction equipment type toys instead of more trains. Around 1 we had Christmas dinner when Grammy and Pop M came over.
After Mommom and Pop's house, we went over to my parent's house (Mommer and Pop-pop). Of course LJ had more than enough presents again to open. It was this day that LJ actually was getting in to present overload at each house. It was nice being at my parent's house later in the afternoon because we were then able to be there when my granma was there. Our Christmas day adventures didnt' end until after 6 that night.
So, that brings us then to Sunday, the day after Christmas, and day 4 of "Christmas" for our family. Since we both have such big families we have to split the family in to groups and meet with grandparents and their sides of the family separately. After church on Sunday we went over to Grammy and Pop M's house to have Christmas dinner with them and the Aunts and Uncles on that side of the family.
Oh what a few days we have been having! And we knew we still had Mommom's mom to see and have Christmas with. That was Monday night! That means Christmas was then 5 days long, in a way, for LJ! I couldn't believe it. It was nice that Monday night at Nanny's house was pretty subdued, but it was still quite the ending to a week of Christmas.
Now we are just trying to recover from such a busy few days. I have so many new toys in this house that I had to pack up everything from before Christmas (well, almost). I love Christmas, but Christmas Eve and Christmas day are good enough for me. This whole, 5 days of Christmas, can be a bit much. I am just happy that Hubby only has to work today (Wednesday) and tomorrow. He has off every other day this week. It is great because then i have so much help getting things back to normal around the house. And I just love when he can be home with us! :)

How was your Christmas? Did your kids get spoiled by the family?

Until next time... Happy New Year!

Dec 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!
As so many of us, I will not be on my computer all that much in the next few days. As a matter of fact, Hubby has off all but one day next week even, so I probably won't be on much then either. It is so nice when he can be home. We really enjoy the time as much as possible when we can just be our own little family and be together without a ton of things we have to do, but can relish in what we may want to do.
Baby C is making mommy take things easy for a while too. She started acting as if she wanted to make an early appearance, but we are holding her off for as long as possible. If I don't make my myself rest as much as possible these next weeks, I pay the price. So, here is just hoping that we don't have ourselves a Christmas baby, but if she really wants to be a New Years baby, I won't say too much as then things aren't as crazy for the family and all. :)
So, anyway...

Merry Christmas!

Dec 21, 2010

Annual Fudge Night (Pic Heavy)

Okay, so here is the long awaited Fudge Night post.Like I mentioned last night, There is a lot of stuff that goes in to four batches of fudge. You may remember, 2 pounds butter, 16 cups sugar, 8 bags chocolate chips, 4 cans of evaporated milk and some vanilla extract. Well, This is what that looks like (tins included).

My mom has been making this recipe for about 27 years now. We have found through the years that doing one stick of margarine and one stick of butter works pretty nicely, so that is what we use now.  Again, you can refer to this post for the full recipe.
It all starts with the sugar and milk in a big pot and the chips, butter and vanilla in a big bowl.

I like to break up the butter/margarine a bit so that it melts faster and things get all happy in the bowl quickly. The milk/sugar gets heated up on high until it starts to boil, then we turn it down closer to like 4-5 (just enough to keep a boil but not too much that it boils over). Boiling over is just a total sticky mess!

When the sugar is boiling and someone is stirring constantly for 8 minutes, we make sure we have our tins (or plastic containers) well greased with a cooking spray and ready to go when they are needed. Once the sugar is poured in to the chip mix bowl, things can move pretty quick, so being prepared is a good thing here. :)

My mom is always the one to pour the sugar mix into the bowl while I am at the ready, just waiting to start mixing like mad (without splashing hot sugar on anyone)

Mix, mix, mix until it is all happy and smooth (just make sure you don't take too long or it will start to set in the bowl) :)
Then we pour it all into the tins. Mom pours while I move the tins into place so she doesn't have to move the bowl too much.

When we have things set in their containers, we put them out on the back porch which acts as a second refrigerator in the winter.
Repeat all these steps for each batch. Yes, four batches can be fun and a bit of time. There is a reason we set aside a night to do this. You need a night to do that many batches.
Curious what it all looks like when things are done? Well, my sister and I love to make fudge so that we can lick the bowl when we are done. Here are my closing shots. First, the table of all of the fudge tins. Then Hubby took a picture of Sis and I licking the bowl and the spoon. Then of course he had to take a picture of the bowl when I was done with it.

Baby C loved mommy licking the bowl. She has made me all about the chocolate!

So, there you have it. Our Fudge Night in picture form. I know this may have taken some time to load because of all of the pictures, but I love to share. I hope you enjoyed.

Do you have a recipe you have to make every year? Make a night of things? I would love to hear all about it!

Until next time... Happy Christmas Preparations!

Dec 20, 2010

Fudge coming soon

Last night was our big fudge night. It was also the night we celebrated my dad's birthday (it is really the 22nd). I was going to do my big pictorial post about it today, but today has gone totally haywire. After over a day of what I was hoping was Baby C stretching and a few other symptoms, the phone nurse felt otherwise and said I have to stay off my feet more than I am on them. At least for a few days to see if it helps. Hubby ended up with an extremely late day (he is still at work) so I ended up at my parent's house for the afternoon and evening whenever LJ was awake. I just could not stay off my feet and keep him from wanting to be on top of me or my belly. Yes, LJ likes to sit on my belly if he can, though I always tell him he can't.

The pictures from fudge night remain on my camera to hopefully be put on to my laptop and then into a post tomorrow. It was fun and tiring. We made four batches of fudge. If you don't remember the recipe for it you can look back at this post. But to sum it all up, 4 batches takes 2 pounds of butter, 8 bags of chocolate chips, 16 cups of sugar, 4 cans of evaporated milk, and 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Doesn't that just sound like the healthiest thing in the world? No? Well, good because it is the Holidays and we splurge!
I took a ton of pictures, so you will be able to see just what it takes to make that in one night plus my dad's favorite dinner (open faced bacon and sharp cheddar sandwiches). Oh what a night it was.

Until next time... Happy Christmas Preparations!

a New Goal

Well, I want to bring you all some really great reviews and giveaways during my baby event that I am trying to set up for February around when Baby C arrives. Well, to do that, I need some more followers. I am thinking that quite possibly there may be a nice little giveaway on here when I hit 300 followers. I will tell you more about it when we start to get closer. I am at 53 followers now, so we have a ways to go. Can we hit it anytime soon?

Dec 18, 2010

Good Fluffy Week!

This was a very good week for fluff mail. I posted earlier this week about my delivery from KAM Snaps. Then on Friday I got a great little package in my mail. It was a diaper that I am going to be testing for a great diaper company. I can't say who it is for, but hopefully come February and my event, I will be able to tell you all about it. One reason I love the diaper even more is because it is winter themed! LJ doesn't really have any winter themed diapers (other than the one I just made for him with Peanuts on it) and so this one is just too cute!

There are so many weeks that I don't get any fluffy mail so to get two fluff mail days in one week is just awesome for me! I just had to share with you my joy for Fluffy mail. When I saw the mail on Friday I started singing "Oh fluffy mail, oh fluffy mail, how i truly love thee!" (to the theme of O Christmas Tree) :) Hubby and LJ got a kick out of that. LJ was then trying to sing "fluffy mail" too. It was cute.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great weekend and a great week leading up to Christmas!

Until next time.. Happy Holiday preparations!

Season of Advent - Day 21

It has been a little while since I have posted about our Advent activities. Shortly after my last post, we were able to decorate our tree. LJ had fun helping us, though he likes to put all of the ornaments in one location, so we were helping him try to spread things out a little more. :)
Our Advent Manger scene is really coming along. We have enough stickers for the wall that one day we will do an animal or person and the next day we do two stars. When we get more in to the people (we have just done animals so far) we are actually probably going to do all the wise men in one day and things like that. We have that many stickers and not the many days left. LJ really loves putting these on the wall each day. He gets so excited and loves placing them himself or telling Daddy where to put it (Daddy helps with bigger stickers like the animals).

Our Manger Scene so far

I have been ever mindful of how much Santa has become a part of Christmas and it seems like so many are forgetting what Christmas is really about. It makes me sad to think that way, but so often that is how it seems anymore. I find myself singing many of the great hymns of the season while trying to go to bed and then when I wake. It is nice. We have spoken to LJ a lot about how Christmas is celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus. I love when he then tries to parrot back "Baby Jesus?" Whenever he repeats a word or phrase he always makes it a question, it is very cute.

Another part of my getting ready for Christmas day is to do some baking. Well, some might be a slight under statement. Last year I ended up baking I think at least 6 or 7 dozen cookies for family and friends. I love doing that. This year I can't make as many, as I haven't had a good working oven until today. The oven that was in the house when we moved in had a shot thermostat. At one point it almost maxed out at 600 degrees when it should have been in the 400's. I knew then and there that there was no way I was baking in that oven. Last night Hubby and his dad moved the range from our old house (we have yet to sell it) over to our new house and we put in a replacement (free) range in that house.

What have you and your family been up to in order to prepare for Christmas? I would love to hear all about it!

Until next time... Happy Holiday preparations!

Dec 17, 2010

Last minute Gift Ideas from Husky Tools

I never know what to get my Hubby or most of the guys in his family for that matter. They are all about tools though, so usually I end up trying to find some tool that they might like and not already have. Well, with things tight at they are for almost everyone, I can't spend a whole lot on gifts for everyone. Hubby and I both have big families and that would easily run into a whole stinking lot of money and there are just some people I can't make gifts for.
This is where Husky Tools steps in. They have some great gifts for Dads, Granddads, Brothers, friends, almost anyone. The best part? They are all under $20! Where can you get these great tools for such a great price? The Home Depot. That's right, great tools for a great price and at a great store.
If you are like me and end up with last minute shopping to do for Christmas, then I would check out Husky Tools News and see what they have available. I think you might be pleasantly surprised at all that is available. I know I was!

If you can't click on the above link, here is the address: http://huskytoolsnews.com

Until next time... Happy Bargain Hunting!

This post was a sponsored post for Husky Tools. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.

This is just too Cute!

Okay, you may not think so, but I do and that is why I am posting this. :) Yesterday I told you a little about a shirt that my mom bought for LJ that gave me the idea to make a matching diaper. Well, here is the post!
First the shirt that inspired the whole thing:
The Shirt

As it turns out, last year I bought some material that I wanted to make some children's placemats out of, but I could never find a coordinating material for the flip side, so it didn't happen (well, not yet at least). Here is the material already cut in to the diaper pattern (I used the Cloth Revolution Pattern for this diaper).
A little closer shot
Being as this is a very directional pattern on the material, I even had to do the whole cut in the middle of the diaper to flip the pattern, so the front and back will both be upright. You can see the line in the bottom picture where the material flips over. 
I have been working on sewing encased elastic instead of sewing it on to the serged edge, so that was a bit fun with the way that the CRP has you doing elastic. I did have to rip a few stitches out and redo them, but luckily I noticed the problem pretty quick and was only having to rip like ten or so stitches.

So, now you have seen the pieces of this total cuteness separate, now for them finished and together:
I love it!
Of course this diaper wouldn't have been possible either if I had not gotten my snap pliers yesterday either. I used neon yellow caps because I think they are just too cute on the Peanuts material.

Do you have any really cute sets with your diapers matching some piece of clothing? Have you made any diapers that you find just too cute? I would love to hear about it!

Until Next time... Happy Diapering!

Dec 16, 2010

Oh Happy Almost Fulffy Mail!

Today was a good day for me mail wise. Not only did I get my package from Amazon so that I basically have all my gifts in the house, but I also got my almost fluffy package from KAM Snaps! A while back I had ordered some plastic snaps from them at a great price and I thought that the pliers I had would work for them. I was wrong. So, I have been left with some great mixed bags of snaps for diaper making, but unable to use them.

Then my mom saw a cute little Peanuts shirt at Walmart and bought it for LJ. It is a picture of the kids all standing around the Christmas tree at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Well, that made me want so badly to make him a diaper with material that I have with the same picture (that whole story is another post to come soon). I needed to be able to put snaps on my diaper! I get the KAMsnaps newsletters via email and the most recent one mentioned their second quality pliers available for a great deal. How perfect is this timing! I talked to Hubby about maybe buying a set of pliers and the snaps that I could get with it, and with the splitting of the bill with my business partner, I went ahead and ordered it. Well, that was Saturday and I had a nice little envelope waiting for me when the mail lady came. I was so happy I ripped into that package like there was a million bucks in it.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear but some awesome pliers and 14 bags of snaps!

I love that this is second quality(so cheaper) but only for a very minor cosmetic flaw (the hinge looks rusty). Because of that, I was able to get all of the snaps at right! They even threw in the small baggies with some of their oh so cute engraved caps!

Now I can go nuts putting snaps on my diapers that previously I have resigned myself to using Snappis with or just not using. I love Snappis, but there are some fabrics that just don't work well with them.
Oh let the snapping begin!

Until Next Time... Happy Diapering!

Dec 11, 2010

do I have enough?

The time is winding down before I get to meet my little Baby C. As you may have read in my 32 week update, the doctor thinks she might actually get closer to 8 pounds, unlike her brother who was born at 6.3 pounds. I had been figuring I would probably have another small baby and making the fitteds in small newborn sizes (some of which fit up to like 7 pounds).

Well, the news of this baby maybe being bigger, had me freaking out a bit. What if the diapers I have made for Baby C don't fit her ever?! What if she is born too big for them? Some of them are just so cute, I would hate if she never had a chance to wear it. The picture at right is one of my favorite ones that I made for her as it ties closed but has the snap down front for her cord and is a cute pink stripe fleece outer. The tie is a pink ribbon I found lying around my sewing room that looked too cute when next to the diaper. :) So, yesterday I found a bunch of sites on different ways to make prefolds at home and some good size charts for the various prefold sizes and ages.

So, now I come to you, fellow cloth mamas! Help me know if the stash I have is good enough (ie big enough) for Baby C's starting stash.

Baby C's stash right now.
Okay, so right now I have an XS AIO (mommy made), 12 Small pockets, 1 OS pocket, 2 OS fitteds, 3 small fitteds, 5 newborn (small) fitteds, 3 newborn prefolds (mommy made yesterday and today), and five covers (1 OS, 3 small, 1 XS). 
I am hoping for maybe a few diapers in Baby C's Christmas gifts, but I am not holding my breathe as they would all need to be bought online and not all our family does online shopping. I am hoping to make a few more prefolds to use as they are quick and it would build my stash quickly. I just want to make sure I have what I would need to cloth diaper my child full time. I don't want to use disposables if I don't need to. I hate that I can't CD full time with LJ, but I am also hoping that soon he will be potty trained. Then his OS diapers can become Baby C's diapers, too. 

Do I have enough diapers to at least start a full time cloth routine possibly while even in the hospital? What style of diaper do you like best for CDing a newborn?

Until next time....Can you help this Momma Out?!

Dec 10, 2010

Cloth Diaper Blog - Blog Hop

cloth diapering blog hop

I recently joined a nice little blog hop called the Cloth Blog - Blog Hop. The above button will take you to Fitteds and Pockets and Snappis, oh my!
This blog hop is for any blog that ever posts about cloth diapers. You can stop by each blog in the hop and follow if you would like, but you don't have to. I know that I always love finding new blogs that love to talk cloth too. I hope you enjoy checking out the blog hop!

Take Time to Share: Traditions

I have wanted to participate in more of these weeks of Taking Time to Share our Christmas Traditions, but of course life has gotten the better of me. Plus there were a couple weeks when I just could not think of anything to write about. This week though, I want to sit back and share some of our Christmas traditions. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to share some of your traditions!
1. Each Christmas Eve my father's family all get together under one roof to celebrate Christmas together. This used to be at my grandparent's house, but now we rotate between the kids' houses since it is too much for my grandfather to do on his own. Sometimes this is the only time each year that we are able to see some of this side of the family. Things start mid afternoon and run into the evening hours. We eat, play, unwrap gifts and just enjoy the company of family. It has been great to watch as we all grow up and now the grandkids have kids so my grandfather can watch his great-grandchildren grow and play even for a little while.
This picture is of my grandfather with LJ at LJ's first Christmas, 2008.

 2. Fudge! Yes, remember that recipe I posted a few weeks back? Well, that is another family tradition that will continue for years to come. Each year my mom has to make it, and each year I help. Now my little sister helps as well. We make a night of it along with celebrating my dad's birthday which is Dec. 22nd. When my mom can no longer make the fudge, I know that my sister and I will make it with our families and pass it out as part of our gifts each year.

3. New for one that I have become a part of. Each year Hubby's Dad's side of the family get together the Sunday after Christmas to celebrate as a family (to lessen all the running around to families that always happens on Christmas day). We all get together and of course eat and exchange gifts. But, you don't just open the gifts willy nilly. We go in order from youngest to oldest around the room opening our presents. It is sort of nice because you can watch each person open a gift and you don't miss things like you can when everyone is opening gifts at the same time.
The picture to the Left is LJ sitting with his Uncle Jim last year and reading a new book.

4. Advent Calendars. As I was growing up, we had a very cute cloth advent calendar. It had a scene of Santa and Mrs. Claus in their house with a nice fire going. Below that were the days in December leading up to Christmas. Each was a pouch where a little mouse would go. Every year my sister and I took turns each day moving that mouse. Some years we would count down from 24 to 1, others, we would go up. This year we are doing the manger scene with LJ as a sort of Advent Calendar and I have up the one I had as a child. I am hoping that some years we will make a calendar as a family. I will just have to wait and see.

I can't wait to see what this year brings for my LJ. Last year he was getting in to Christmas for opening presents and things like that. This year we are starting to teach him more of why we have Christmas to begin with. I don't know what new traditions we may start as LJ grows and Baby C joins our family. I look forward to this time of year as it was always my favorite and filled with wonder.

What are some of your family traditions for this time of year?  I would love hear about them!

Until next time... Happy living!

Dec 8, 2010

32 Week Update - 8 Pound Baby!?

Hello again all! Today marks 32 weeks gestation for me. Only 8 weeks left. I am happy about that. This pregnancy has been completely different from my first one and it has not been easy, but I do not want to dwell on the negative right now.
Today I had my doctor's appointment. All went pretty well. I was apparently very calm as my BP was only 100/70. Oh my. :) So far I have gained about 16-17 pounds. I know it isn't a ton, but that is just less that I have to try to lose after she is born.
I was talking to my doctor about size and such because I can tell my belly is bigger and everything. Well, I was shocked by what she told me. LJ was 6.3 at birth. Apparently, by the size of my belly at the moment and I guess her gut, my doctor tonight felt that Baby C could be close to 8 pounds at birth! I know plenty of women have had 8 pound babies, but giving birth to LJ at 6.3 was about what I was hoping for again this time around.
I am also hoping that if the birth is any longer than LJ's, that I have enough time to get some kind of assistance through it.
Overall, I am pretty content with where things are right now, though I do wish it wasn't as difficult to move around, but that is par for pregnancy at times. The end product is all worth it.
I don't have a picture, but let's just say, the belly is bigger than the last picture. I think Thanksgiving had something to do with it too. :)

Until next time ladies (and gents)... Happy Living!

Dec 7, 2010

Season of Advent - Day 10

I know that I have not been blogging about our Advent activities each day, but we are doing our best to prepare our hearts for the celebration of our Savior's birth. Each night LJ and Hubby get together to pick out what image we are going to add to our manger scene that is this year's "advent calendar." LJ is always so excited to put up the stickers that he wants to put them all up at one time. Every night he asks to do more, but we have to tell him we will put up another picture the next night.
Our Manger scene so far
It has taken us a bit of time to find the time to decorate our house more for the Christmas season, but yesterday I brought in our boxes of decorations so they would be here when I was in the mood to decorate for Christmas, and that ended up being today. We did some of our indoor decorating last night, but it mostly consisted of putting garland up our banister and some garland on our mantel (with an added string of colored lights). I was happy that we were also able to put up our stockings. It did make me realize though, that we never did get a really nice stocking for LJ as we had a feeling my mother-in-law may make one for him. She may make one yet, but we are going to go out this weekend to buy two cute stockings (might as well prepare for Baby C's first Christmas while we are at it) and then I am going to customize them myself to make them special. 
Today I wanted to do more decorating around the house, so I put up more of our decorations on the mantel, and I am surprising Hubby by having the tree up and already strung with lights when he gets home. LJ doesn't know about the tree either, so when he wakes from his nap, he will be so surprised! My hope is that tonight we can prepare our house by putting ornaments on our tree as a family. 
Here are some pictures of more of our decorations.

How are you preparing your hearts and homes during this Advent Season? I would love to read your comments!

Until next time... Happy Prepartions!

Dec 6, 2010

I've been featured!

Last week the Kickernappies blog let it be known that they were looking for guest bloggers. Well, of course I responded. It helps that I love my knickernappies diapers. I got some Ideas from Julie over at Knickernappies and began writing my post. It ended up long, as many of my posts do, but I attribute this to my writing background. :)
Anyway, today my blog post is on their blog. I ended up writing about the start of my cloth diapering journey and how I have become addicted to cloth. If you want to learn how to become a cloth diapering addict, head on over to the Knickernappies blog and read my guest post!

Dec 3, 2010

Win an Ergo at Luvs Jurn3

As you have probably been able to tell, I am beginning to enter a lot more giveaways lately seeing if I can win any diapers for Baby C like I did for LJ when I first began to use cloth with him. Well, today Luvs Jurn3 posted a giveaway I sure hope I win. She reviewed an ErgoBaby carrier. I have been dreaming of getting one of these, but we just can't buy one new.The giveaway ends on 12/16, so you have some time to head over and enter yourself. Good luck ladies (and any gents who read and want to enter too)!

If you cannot click on the link above here is the address for you to copy and paste:

Dec 1, 2010

Free Fluff - 29 Days of Christmas

There is a great blog out there called 29 Diapers. It is all about cloth and helping explain all that comes with being a cloth family. Today is day 6 of a great little event they are having called 29 days of Christmas. Each day they are having a new giveaway open just for that day. So each day you have a chance at winning some great fluff! Who doesn't love new fluff, especially around the holidays!? So, head on over to http://www.29diapers.com and check out their 29 days of Christmas.

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