Here it is already. Another year come and almost gone. We're enjoying our night in with the boys. They've looked forward to the "party" tonight all week long. Of course the best part is they get to stay up until midnight.
I had orginally planned to make a turkey for dinner tonight but after a very busy day I was just plain tired and too lazy. We ended up with finger foods. I had found some fun plates, napkins, bowls, cups, & silverware on clearance earlier this week all together for less than $4! So that added to our party evening. I won a coupon for free Welch's Sparkling Juice on twitter so we'll be toasting with that at midnight!
Our menu of snacks included little smokies, shrimp, warm rolls, fresh pineapple, nuts, pretzels-Rold Gold tiny cheddar twists are so addicting, and key lime pie. I had the stuff for cheese and crackers but we were all too full. I'm sure we'll snack on those tomorrow.
Halfway through the evening we looked outside and it seems we are finally getting our first snowstorm of the season. So glad we are not out on the roads.
It looks pretty since we're in our nice warm house! Can't wait to see what we'll wake up to in the morning. Only an hour and a half left of the year so I'm going to go enjoy it with all my boys and welcome in 2012. We'll see if any of them are still awake. I'm talking about hubby too. :o)
Thought I'd share some of the fun gifts our boys got for Christmas. I love gifts that are fun and educational being the homeschool mom I am. Two of the boys got kits that they could really dig into. They are really a one time thing but they had so much fun with them.
This one you dig for shiny rocks.
This kit had pieces of dinosaur bones and then you put it together.
You want to make sure you have newspaper or do them outside because the sand can get a bit messy. The kits came with the little pick and hammer. They also came with goggles and little brushes so they could dust their treasures off carefully.
Our oldest boy got a Mythbusters science exploration kit. It has all kinds of experiments about the power of air pressure. He is having a great time with it and is already wanting to get the other kits they have that are about flight and water. Even though we're on our holiday break from homeschooling they don't realize they are getting in a little school work with their new gifts!
These gifts were given to our boys by a family member and I am not receiving any compensation for this. I just wanted to share how much they enjoyed these kits.
Hard to believe another Christmas season is over. Our youngest was sick so we had to cancel out on the family get together on Christmas Eve. We still had a very nice relaxing holiday at home. The boys have been busy playing with all their gifts. The sleeping bags and flying helicopters seem to be the some of their favorites. Although I think my husband should have asked Santa for a helicopter of his own! I hope you had a very nice holiday. I'm off to go enjoy more of the chaos of buzzing helicopters. You really have to watch out for the missile launchers that some of them have. :o)
I received this NYC Liquid Lipshine in my recent Holiday VoxBox from Influenster. I'm not normally a lipgloss kind of girl but I really liked this one. The shade they sent me was Nude York City and it's the perfect color for me. It has just the right amount of shine and color. It also has a really nice scent to it. The thing I really like is that you don't taste it like some lipglosses I've tried. A little goes a long way so you don't need much to have shiny soft lips!
Straight from the city that never sleeps, NYC New York Color offers products with uptown style at down-to-earth prices, from $.99 - $4.99. The energy, style and color of New York City shines through the wide range of shades, textures and innovative products. NYC always delivers the most on-trend products & shades hot off the runway!
A beauty-editor favorite is Liquid Lipshine ($2.49). It has pure pigments that created a 3-D gloss effect. Vitamin E provides shine and a moisturizing feel. The formula is non-sticky, super shiny & soft. Available in 10 on-trend shades from neutral nudes, to berries & fuchsias. Start shopping for NYC at these stores nearest you: Walmart, Target, Rite Aid, CVS, Family Dollar, Duane Reade, Kmart, HEB, and others. Visit newyorkcolor.com to check out all shades and fun products from New York Color!
* I received this NYC Liquid Lipshine from Influenster for free via their VoxBox program. Opinions are my own.
Tonight I treated myself to using the Montagne Jeunesse mask I received in my Holiday VoxBox from http://www.influenster.com/ I got the Strawberry Souffle. Sounds yummy right? Oh, it was fantastic from the start of opening the packet. The scent is absolutely wonderful. It felt so good going on too. The texture was just right.
The directions said to leave it on for 15-20 mins so I figured it would give me enough time to write out my bills. I tell you it did make paying bills not as bad as usual. I had the wonderful scent of strawberries to keep me calm and relaxed. My face felt so soft and hydrated after rinsing it off. It did not irritate my skin at all. I only used half the packet because I wanted to be able to enjoy the process again another day. I can't wait to pick up the other flavors they have at the store when I'm out again. Next time I may find something more relaxing to do like read a book while I'm enjoying my mask! :o)
Here is a little more info about their products and where you can find them. You can also visit their website http://www.montagnejeunesse.com/ . They are also on facebook and twitter.
Fun, pampering beauty treats
Whether you enjoy looking after your skin, being pampered, or indulging in some me-time, be it alone or with friends, you will absolutely enjoy one of these ‘Life Little Pleasures’… With a huge array to choose from, our face masques are packed with the most delicious natural ingredients and are bursting with luscious fragrances. Suitable for all different skin types, there is one to suit every mood and everybody!
Montagne Jeunesse beauty treats are free of parabens, vegetarian approved and never tested on animals. So treat yourself today to a masque that will hydrate, nourish and leave your skin cleansed, smooth and glowing. Available at ULTA Beauty, Walgreen’s, Claire’s, Walmart, Kroger, CVS Pharmacies and other retailers across the US, these masques are available in a variety of succulent flavours, including:
Cucumber Peel Off
Passion Peel Off
Dead Sea Mud
And many more!
Montagne Jeunesse… good for your skin, your wallet and the earth!
* I was given this product free to review in the Holiday VoxBox I received from Influenster. Opinions are my own.
Today was our Sunday school Christmas program. It's always a little chaotic before it starts but it turns out to be a nice program. I'm a preschool teacher so it's a little stressful. Some of the kids are so excited and others are just terrified. Usually a few end up not going up. Which I've learned it's best just to not force them and tell their parents next year will be easier.
Our oldest was one of the wisemen so he got the hard job of sitting on a bale of hay for the entire program. Two of the boys had pieces to say along with their songs and our other one just had a song to sing with his class. Of course the part the kids all look forward to is the candy bags at the end of the program!
We met with my hubby's side of the family afterwards. I had reserved the party room at Davanni's in Rogers. Perfect size for us and so nice not to have to worry about all the little ones wandering away. I had to order a hoagie since it's been awhile since I've eaten there. Many years ago when I worked we used to order it for take out every so often. If you haven't tried their hoagies you really need to! I had the chicken bacon honey mustard today. Yummy! The boys shared a pizza and hubby got a tuna melt hoagie. We had such a nice time visiting and didn't have to worry about clean up!
We also celebated 3 birthdays while there. Our youngest will be 7 tomorrow, one of our nieces will be 14 tomorrow and my sisterinlaw's mother who was visiting from Washington state has a birthday tomorrow too! I had make cupcakes for the party and of course we sang Happy Birthday to the 3 birthday peeps.
It was sure hard to believe it was Christmas program and December birthdays we were celebrating because it was 46 and sunny and no snow on the ground when we came out of the restaurant!
I took this photo of our backyard today, December 15th! Hard to believe we have more green grass now than we did back in September. The boys are really wanting some snow to play in. It's been too warm to flood the rink so that sits just waiting for colder temps. I, however, am not complaining. I don't like the cold and snow.
I received these press on nails in my recent Holiday VoxBox from Influenster. Now I have never used these type of nails before so I was a little unsure of what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised how easy they were to put on. The directions are on the packaging. Which, by the way, I love how they put the nails inside the bottle. Such a great idea! I picked out the nails that fit and lined them up and just peeled back the tabs and applied them to my nails. They also include a wipe that cleans your fingernails before you apply them. The color I got is called Space Cadet. They are so fun and wild! You can't really tell in the photos but they sparkle!
I wore the nails for 3 days. It took a little bit to get used to wearing them since I'm a newbie when it comes to press on nails. After I had them on for a few hours though I kind of forgot I had them on. Well, except when I saw the sparkle on my fingers! I think these would be great for a night out or weekend fun. I did take them off before I had to do some major baking and housework. I didn't want to get them stuck in bread dough. :o)
You can go to their website http://www.impressmanicure.com/ and find out more. They even have an app that lets you try on the different styles. Make sure you check them out! I'm sure you'd be the hit of your holiday party wearing any one of the styles! Here's a little more info below.
imPRESS Press-On Manicure
This changes everything!
Introducing imPress Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails, the revolutionary way to apply polish! Featuring advanced nail technology, you can get a salon-perfect manicure in seconds – simply peel off, press on, and you're done. There's no drying, a killer shine and a manicure that lasts up to a week! And, imPress is so easy to remove, you can change it up to match your mood as often as you want. Check out all 36 colors and patterns, including trendy brights, classic darks and animal prints. With imPress, your nails will always be your best accessory.
imPress Manicure retails for $5.99 for colors and $7.99 for patterns, and is available at CVS, Rite Aid, Duane Reade, KMart, Walgreens, Walmart and more. For a full list of online and in-store retailers, visitimPressManicure.com, where you can download an exclusive coupon and virtually try on all the colors and patterns!
* I received these free to test from Influenster in my Holiday VoxBox. Opinions are my own.
I haven't been to a mall for so long. Today a friend and I went to Northtown Mall in Blaine. I had some Victoria's Secret cards to use and it was the closest one. I used my 3 $10 off cards and got myself some much needed undies. It was so fun to pick out some girlie stuff! Then we found a couple of one of a kind stores to shop. Trend D Home was a mix of unique items for your home. Such a variety of items and really decent prices. I found the neatest basket there made out of heavy wire. I just fell in love with it. Everything in the store was 30% off. I just had to treat myself. It was only $7. This will be great on my table filled with apples or lemons or whatever fresh fruits are in season. I apologize for the scratched up coffee table.
We also found this cute store which I think was called Greetings and it had all kinds of knick knack stuff and lots of Minnesota items which I wish had known was there awhile ago when I was sending a few things to a friend in Norway. I also found the sweetest book there all about little boys. It's a great store if you need a gift for someone that has everything.
We also stopped by Bath and Body Works. You can't pass up that store! They had a sale going on buy 3 get 3 free and I of course had a coupon! $10 off a $30 purchase so I got 6 bottles of yummy smelling lotion for $23. After a little bit of shopping we decided we were hungry. Luckily I had a $5 gift card for Subway and so I used that for my lunch. We got in some exercise while walking the mall and had a nice girls outing for the day. And now I have gifts for me to put under the tree!
After all that shopping I was feeling lazy and it was such a dreary day. I just didn't know what to make for supper. I remembered I had a $10 gift card for Domino's so we ordered pizza for supper. We were a little disappointed though. It seems like their quality is not like it used to be. :o(
I figured since Christmas is less than 2 weeks away I had better start thinking about making some holiday treats! One of our favorites is cream cheese mints. These are so very good! My mom used to make them when I was younger. They were at all of our major life events- graduations, weddings, and baby showers. There were times when they were made just because we wanted some too!
These mints are so easy to make. They can be made ahead of time and keep very well in the freezer. In fact, we think it's the best way to eat them- straight out of the freezer. If not in the freezer then they do need to be refrigerated.
Today we only made 1 batch because I didn't realize I was almost out of mint extract. I normally double or triple the batch when I'm making them just because I like to share. I had a helper today so ours are not so uniform but they still taste yummy!
Cream Cheese Mints
2 oz cream cheese
1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp mint flavoring
sugar for coating
Mix ingredients well. Add food coloring if you would like. Roll into tiny balls and then roll in sugar to coat all sides. Use a fork to flatten gently. Store in a cool place. 1 batch makes approx 4 dozen.
I got my first VoxBox! I was just thrilled when I found out I was getting the Holiday VoxBox from Influenster! A friend of mine recently told me about Influenster so I signed up, answered a few surveys for different badges and just yesterday my first VoxBox arrived. You can find more about them at http://www.influenster.com/ If you like to try new products and share your opinions about them I highly recommend signing up!
I'll be sharing my opinions about the different products over the next few days as I try them out. So many fun things! Here's a photo to give you a sneak peek what I'll be trying out!
All of the contents in the box were provided to me free from Influenster.
Well, the package finally arrived this afternoon. It wasn't even for me but for the boys! Of course they were very happy about that. It was a T-shirt and 2 packages of Goldfish crackers that one of the boys had won from entering their activity time on the Goldfish website. The bags they included are of their new Wild White Cheddar flavor. Yummy! I have to say they are very good!
Today was one of those days that everything just didn't go according to plan. We have a lot of those days at our house but I'm so glad our boys can go with the flow. I don't know if it's cabin fever setting in already or what but everyone seemed to be a little bit grumpy today and just needed some extra space. So we had a short day of school work and then had some "home ec" time and cleaned up a bit. My oldest boy came up with an excellent idea. He told the younger 3 that whoever cleaned up the most and the fastest got to pick the dvd they would watch. My oldest is so helpful and is always doing a majority of the cleanup so he was the judge while the others cleaned. Wow, it was amazing how fast the living room got cleaned!
We had planned to go run errands tomorrow morning since the weather is to be warmer. That was changed when I got an automated phone call from Fedex early this evening saying a package is being delivered tomorrow and needs a signature. Well, I decided I might as well go run my errands tonight. Hubby was home so the boys were happy to not have to go along. I picked up my mom to get her out of the house for a bit. We both felt like we were bubble wrapped because we had so many layers on. It was rather chilly out. -2 winchill while we were out about 6pm.
We hit Cub Foods and Coborn's. They both have some great sales going on at the moment if you have their coupon books. I of course had to stock up on my Diet Coke that was on sale at Coborn's. They also had cream cheese on sale that I needed for my cream cheese mints I'm going to make early next week. I plan to share some photos and the recipe in next few days. Cub Foods had Sun Chips on sale for really cheap, 3 bags for $6. Also stocked up on chicken noodle soup since it was $.50 a can and I had some coupons too!
Both stores were really quiet so it was actually nice shopping tonight as opposed to the busy Saturday shopping scene. I suppose the cold kept a lot of people at home too! So it all worked out. I got my errands done. The house is mostly clean. Well, until morning when everyone is up again. Now to wonder what this package is I'm getting tomorrow. Hopefully it will be something exciting. I have no clue other than it's coming from New York and is 1 pound which is probably an envelope of some sort. Oh, the agony of having to wait!
Every Thursday evening I volunteer my time helping adults learn English. It's going on four years now that I've been going. Classes are held at a local college near where I live. Students come with a wide range of speaking abilities. Some have no knowledge of the language while others just need some improvement in grammar or their confidence. Some students are not even literate in their own language. Some students stay for a long time while others come and go quickly. It's always great to see them move on and go on into higher education or get a job they've been wanting after improving their skills. It really is bittersweet though because it's so sad when they are no longer in class. They become just like family.
Our students come from all over the world. Even though they come from different cultures they are similar in that they are here to improve their lives and that of their families. Some find friends in class. It's always great to see how happy they are when they've met someone that also speaks their language. Some teach others a few words in their language. If only the world could get along as well as our mixed group of students! It's always great too when people bring in food that is native to their country. You can't imagine the wonderful smells, textures, and rainbow of color!
When I was in high school I spent a summer in Venezuela living with a family. It was the absolute best experience of my life. When I got back I started seeking out the exchange students at my school. After knowing what it's like to be someplace where you don't speak the language well or know anyone I wanted to help out if I could. Some of them became lifelong friends. I decided after college I wanted to teach English in South America somewhere but I took a different turn in life and went to travel school instead of college. So this is as close to my dream as it gets. I'm not anywhere near South America but I am teaching English. I have met some of the most amazing people in class. They have such stories to tell, good and bad. They are such special people.
This is something that I enjoy and a way I can give back. There are so many different ways we can volunteer. I know some people like to be around animals so they volunteer at an animal shelter. A friend of mine helps by packing boxes to send to troops overseas. Maybe you enjoy being around elderly people or kids and could help at a nursing home or hospital. Some people help by delivering meals. I'm sure there is something out there you are good at and someone that would be grateful for your help!
If you're like me you've probably been eating Frito-Lay chips ever since you can remember. I'm a member of their Frito-Lay Fan Program because I love them so much. So you can imagine how excited I was yesterday when I got a package from them. Inside was a reusable tote with 3 full size bags of chips! The boys grabbed the Lay's Classic Potato Chips as soon as they saw them. It was snack time for them! I was so happy to see the Garden Salsa Sunchips. Sunchips are one of my favorite chips of all time. I love all flavors of them! They are one chip our whole family can agree on! The 3rd bag was Tostitos with a Hint of Lime-now these are good chips all on their own but they are really good when you dip them in homemade pico de gallo. I just chop up some tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, cilantro and add a little bit of salt. I add lime juice sometimes but when using the Hint of Lime chips you don't need to. Yummy! I had some earlier today and it was so good it almost made me think I was in some far off tropical place. Well, until I looked out the window and saw the snow. :o)
*Frito-Lay sent me these chips for free. I have eaten their chips for years and will continue to do so.
Hard to believe it's December already! I made a quick run to the big red store today for some milk and figured I better start using up some of my freebie coupons that expire at the end of the month. Since I had so many I thought it'd be a good idea to write all the prices down to help out the cashier who I'm sure would not be happy with my stack of coupons. So happy to see at the end of my trip I saved $44.57! My out of pocket was $46 but I had a few things that were non coupon stuff like milk and fruits and veggies and somehow a little Lego guy ended up in the cart because I had my youngest with me. :o) Not one of my best trips but still a good one since I came home with bags of free food!
One thing I always make sure is that I'm watching as they ring up my stuff. So glad I pay attention because it didn't take off my free 12 pack. It was a store promo but she had to look it up in the ad to make sure I bought the right thing. Sure enough I did so she took off the $3.66. Makes you wonder how many other people that has happened to and they didn't know about it. So I owe a thanks to my mom for teaching me to always pay attention.
I finally decided to test out the waters of blogging. I enjoy reading other blogs so thought why not try it out myself. Anything I post is my own opinion. I may have influence from my children or hubby at times but generally it's just me and my thoughts.
I'll give you a little background info about me. I grew up in Iowa and moved to Minnesota 16 years ago. My husband and I have been married almost 13 years and we have 4 boys. We are in our 7th year of homeschooling. I love it but it's a lot of work. It's not for everyone but it works for our family.
I enjoy reading, experimenting in the kitchen, and dream of traveling. I used to work in the travel industry before we had children. Someday I'd love to live near the ocean.
I am a coupon clipper and love to find great deals. I'm always looking for ways to save money just like everyone else!
Well, that's enough for today. I don't want to bore you with the first post. :o)