Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Miracle...

I just wanted to share some heartwarming news about parents of a beautiful 18 month old baby girl who were both diagnosed with late stage cancers in February 2011 but received some amazing news just a few days ago!!

I read about their story in February after they appeared on the Today show and could not even begin to imagine what life would be like given the long journey ahead they were facing.  I am SO SO happy for them and the wonderful news they received...and just in time for Christmas..how perfect!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday funnies...

First, I want to thank everyone for all of their sweet comments and reassurance yesterday about Addie's Santa gifts...I know it may seem silly and trivial but it's nice to know that we're "in the ballpark" with everyone else.   

So, it's Friday and I like to keep things light on Fridays so I thought I'd post some of the funny things I've been coming across on Pinterest as of late...

oommppaa loompa...i die.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dear Santa, I need your help...

The hubs and I have gone back and forth on what to get Addie from Santa.  Last year, we did a few things and filled her stocking with goodies (no worries, the grandparents made up for what we lacked) but decided that setting additional money aside in her college fund was more important (boring, i know).  So, we put the bulk of her "santa gifts" in a college fund and still had trouble finding space for all of the other lovely gifts she received.  This year is slightly different...she doesn't get Santa but she I do feel like she understands "new toys" and she LOVES new things...preferably, shiny...loud...and big.  The hubs wouldn't let me buy her a Ferarri so she'll have to settle for this trike we decided to purchase instead:
She also tends to gravitate towards the Mega Bloks at Little Gym...so we decided she needed her own set for home: 
I also scooped up some Melissa & Doug puzzles for her:
But, thats it.  Lame?!  I'm torn...should I buy more...looking at what we've got doesn't seem like much (sure, there will be clothes and books in addition to the above) but at her age I don't know what else she'd want.  Space is a major issue in our house and with a plan to put our house on the market next spring I'm trying to manage the extras.  So...I'm curious...what is everyone else doing??!!  I'd love to hear what you're giving...or what you're thinking in terms of Christmas gifts this year...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

From our home to yours...

Virtual holiday wishes from our family to yours...A huge thanks to Lis for her beautiful photography above!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's not to like...

PhotobucketBacon...cheese...biscuits...and more cheese...I mean, really?!  All baked together for some breakfast yumminess...oh, and yep, its easy too (but you already knew that because otherwise you wouldn't find me here blogging about it).  While we spent our week in the Outer Banks we planned out everything we were going to eat so we knew what we needed to bring down and while this was my first time trying this recipe (thank you, Pinterest - you can find it here)...I had no worries...because seriously, how could all of that together be bad?!  So...here's the scoop on how to make your own:

* 1 can of refrigerated biscuits
* 1 cup of mozzarella cheese (shredded or 6 slices)
* 1 cup of crumbled bacon
* 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
* 2 tablespoons of butter
* Medium oven-safe skillet (cast iron will probably work best but I used stainless and it worked fine)

And then....
* Preheat oven to 350 F
* Grease your skillet with the butter
* Place the biscuits in the bottom of the skillet
* Top the biscuits with the mozzarella, then the bacon, and finally the cheddar cheese
* Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and biscuits are cooked through
* Serve warm and enjoy!

Don't tell Santa...but, this might be our Christmas morning breakfast.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Modest Mondays...its in the plan

Meal planning is wonderful for a multitude of reasons...but money saving is a big one of those.  One of the first things I realized when I started to scrutinize where our money was going every month was that we were spending entirely too much on dining out and impromptu grocery trips.

I *try* to do meal planning every week...honestly, if I didn't we'd either be dining out or eating bologna sandwiches every night (i kid...i can't even remember the last time i had bologna).  I get flustered when I get home and realize we don't have a game plan for dinner...which is no good for anyone in my house.  So...to help resolve that issue I set a menu at the beginning of the week and do my grocery shopping around that.  I look at the sale ads (even though we do the bulk of our grocery shopping at the beloved Trader Joes and they don't do sale ads...they give you the bottom line price from the get go:)), check our cabinets, and talk to the hubs about what we haven't had in awhile and if there is anything in particular he might be jonesing for...oh, and of course I check out what's on Pinterest.  I try to buy single ingredients that I can use in multiple meals...especially with fresh herbs in the winter (during the summer I can get those jokers from the garden which is a major reason why I love having a garden).  Basil and cilantro cost more than a gallon of gas these days and that's saying a lot...SO, I generally make sure that if I have one dish I'm using it in I can find something else to incorporate it in (behold the power of Pinterest...you can search for this stuff y'all!).  And even simple things like fresh french bread with spaghetti one night and that same bread as croutons for the next night's salad.  Black beans are another favorite of mine...they work well in chili, on top of a salad, or in a burrito..but you usually don't use a whole can at once and I hate to waste stuff so I just incorporate it in to a few things.  We keep the plan flexible at our house so that if we just aren't feeling what we've got slated for that particular night we can switch it with something later in the week.  That being said, I also try to plan around what will make a lot of leftovers (behold the power of casseroles and crock pot meals) and what's just good for one night (fried fish just isn't as good the second time around) and alternate those out so that we have leftovers to take for lunch...more savings there because then you don't have to dine out for lunch or fork over extra cash at the store for lunch stuff.  I'm not much of a couponer...I'm pretty ashamed to admit it but I haven't been able to devote the week in and week out time it requires to build up a stash that's well organized so I can take full advantage...but I hear that that makes this whole meal planning business even better.  And...if you're looking for some super cute ideas on how to do organize your meal planning...mine is usually on the back of a legal pad...check out Pinterest...I've seen a ton of cute stuff dedicated to ways to make meal planning mindless and even a little fun!

I'd love to hear from y'all on how you do it in your house or other ways you save money on the food part of the monthly spend...I'm always looking for ideas to do this better!!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

almost wordless wednesday...scary santa style



but, really...can you blame her?!  She doesn't remember last year so she has no idea that this man dressed in a red suit will be bringing her presents under her tree christmas morning.  So for now...he's just someone that lost track of the days somewhere along the line and doesn't realize that halloween was over almost 2 months ago.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Don't tell my husband...but, I have a list!!!


The hubs and I have a long standing tradition of agreeing to not buy each other Christmas gifts.  Instead, we pool our money we would have spent in addition to any we receive as gifts and buy a joint gift that we both can enjoy.  So..whenever he asks (because he still does;)) I simply say..."uumm, nothing I really want."  But, we all have a list and so I thought I'd join in with Becky over at "From Mrs. to Mama" and Aly at "Analyze This" for the "Show Me Christmas" link-up and share my secret little list.

Hunter Boots
I've never owned a pair of rain boots and up until recently haven't really been interested but I'm pretty sure I *need* these Hunter boots.  Ooohh...and those cute pink wellies that are lapping over the top..I *need* those too...because I live in Va Beach and we get ssooo much snow (insert sarcasm here) that surely these would make the perfect snow boots too.

Shark Steam Mop
Imagine the horror if my hubs actually gifted me a cleaning device for Christmas...ha!  I don't really get wrapped up in that type of stuff but I've seriously been eying the Shark steam mops for some time.  I've heard awesome things about them and my house is entirely hard wood, tile, and laminate flooring...the broom and sponge mop are getting old (cue the swiffer commercial...)

Williams-Sonoma place setting
Our current everyday place setting is nearing the 10 year mark...and although they've held up remarkably well...I've been dying to get my hands on my very own crisp and clean Williams-Sonoma place setting for everyday use.  Boring...I know, but these little things make my day...yep, I'm simple.

Clothes from Ann Taylor LOFT
Lets see...its been almost 2 years since I've REALLY shopped for myself.  As soon as I knew I was going to be welcoming a baby girl into my life its been much more fun to shop for her.  Plus...with all of the added body weight...shoes and handbags are really all I can enjoy shopping for.  BUT, I am in serious need of a wardrobe overhaul...and I'm pretty sure those that see me on the regular are sick of my "standard uniform" that they ALWAYS see me in.
And last but certainly not least....

A WHITE CHRISTMAS...a girl can dream right?!?!
the view from our front door
And it is possible...see the pic above is from the crazy snowstorm we had the day after Christmas last year (yep, 14 inches of snow in good ole' VB)....see, I do NEED those Hunter Boots!

I'd love to hear what you guys are wishing for...so, head over and link-up with the girls above or go check out what everyone else is wishing for...maybe you can find some ideas for those "hard to shop for" people on your list....you know, the type that always respond with "uumm, nothing i really want."

Addie's 14 month update


Monday, December 5, 2011

Modest Mondays

Anyone else feel like their wee one is constantly growing out of clothes you've just bought?!  There are so many things that Addie only wore once or sadly never even got to wear at all...just sitting in her closet with the tags still on.  I LOVE clothes...and shopping...which means I'm often tempted to buy lots and lots for Addie.  I'm constantly reminding myself of what she needs and what I need to pass on!  That being said, I do try to keep my impulse shopping to a minimum to keep those $$$s in check.  So, here are a few things I've found that seem to keep things a bit more reasonable:

1. Shop CLEARANCE - Well, duh?!  But, I never leave Target or any of my other favorite stores without at least perusing the sale racks to see if I can find something for a deal.  I am ALWAYS looking at least 2 sizes ahead and I just keep a drawer in Addie's room where I stow away all of her bigger stuff.

2.  eBay - I've found some wonderful deals on smocked, specialty items, and even "lot" purchases of Carters sleepers on eBay over the last year or so.  Its very easy to get caught up in bidding wars so my approach is simple - I bid the max amount I'm willing to pay and I don't check back until the auction is over.  Kids grow so fast but I'm always impressed with the condition of these clothes!  Also, as a side note - always check what the seller is charging for shipping - sometimes the price looks awesome until you realize the seller is charging you a hefty fee for shipping.

3. Consignment stores - I've done a bit of consignment sale shopping in my day and am pretty picky about the ones I will actually visit.  There is actually only one in my area that I will buy from for Addie because the others are cluttered and make me claustrophobic.  But, I've found some AMAZING deals at this little consignment shop and highly recommend checking any out that are in your area.

4. Zulily and other deal sites - If you're looking for smocking or other specialty clothing deals (generally at least 50% off), you should check Zulily on the regular.  And, if you use Ebates (which is awesome because you earn cash back on all of your online shopping and its FREE) you can earn 3.5% cash back on your Zulily purchase, which makes it even cheaper (or at least almost covers shipping:))  My only issue with Zulily is sssllllooowww shipping times...be prepared to wait 2 weeks or more to get your items.

5.  BJs, Sams, Costco - I find the best deals on Carters, which is my choice for Addie's play clothes and sleepers, at these warehouse clubs.  I can almost always count on getting these items for $3-4 cheaper than the best deal on the Carters website or in their stores (unless of course its on the clearance rack).  The standard price for sleepers and clothing sets is generally in the $6.99 - $7.99 range which I think is a great deal on this stuff and its the same items they are selling in their stores - its not even last season's stuff!

And here are a few others that I've never actually used but have heard wonderful things about:

6. Facebook - I'm actually not on Facebook...it's the only social media outlet I have not yet indulged in but there are some awesome deals on monogrammed items on the Monogram {Re}play page and I know lots of boutiques and specialty clothing stores will run facebook auctions to sell clothes quickly and for super cheap!

7. ThredUP - This is actually an online community where you sell and buy kids clothing in bulk.  You post a box of clothes (10 or more items) and when another mom in the community purchases it, you receive $10 and the buyer pays for shipping.  When you purchase a box, you pay $10.95 for shipping and $9 for the box.  So, basically if you're selling as many boxes as you're buying, you are only paying for shipping to receive a box of clothes.  For me, I haven't joined as I am holding on to the large majority of Addie's stuff in anticipation of more children down the road but this would be awesome if you aren't planning to hold on to your kiddos clothes.

And don't forget the blog sales;)

I'd love to hear of anything else you guys are doing to save money in this department..feel free to share in the comments below!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Blog Sale link-up - "M" monogram, "Addie" monogram, and other little girl's stuff!

I've been thinking about selling some ofAddie's monogram stuff for some time now and with Christmas coming up, I could certainly use some extra $$$.  So...I'm linking up with Kelli's Korner monogram blog sale link-up to post some of Addie's monogrammed, boutique, and never-worn items!!  If you're interested, leave me a comment with your contact info and I'll send you a paypal invoice or feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  Happy Shopping:)


Monogram "M" items:
I think I've sold everything I can bear to part with but as Addie grows - I'll be posting more here:)  You can always send me an email if you're specifically interested in "M" mongrammed items for a little girl and I'll let you know as I add things (theworkaholicmomma@gmail.com)

"Addie" monogram items:
Monag 12 months pumpkin shirt
Monag 12 months Turkey shirt
Holiday Items:
Petit Ami 3M Smocked Stocking Dress w/ matching bloomers
Baby Gap shoes 3-6 months
Other cute girl's stuff:
Carters new with tags - 9 months - Dark grey polka dot dress

Baby GAP 6-12 months grey tulle

Janie and Jack tie back halter dress - 6-12months

 I will probably be adding more later so please check back!!! I'll remove items as they are sold and I have received payment:)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Paradise found...

Last week was a special one...I turned the big 3-0 and we spent the week in the Outer Banks with my family doing a whole lot of eating and relaxing...oh, and I spent alot of time watching for wild horses.  As a child, we didn't get the chance as a family to get away very often but I clearly remember spending Thanksgiving in the Outer Banks one year with my family and some close family friends.  To say I've never forgotten it or that it was special would be an understatement.  My love for the Outer Banks runs deep but with SO much development in the last 10 years that place is starting to look a little foreign and over-grown to me.  So, we mixed things up and decided to stay in the 4x4 only area - meaning simply, there are no roads - just beach and houses dotted along the way.  Peace and queit are a plenty and this just so happens to be a part of the Outer Banks where the wild horses, known as "Bankers" (or "dog dog dog" as Addie liked to call them - I have to wonder if she marveled at how much bigger these dogs were then hers at home) also like to freely roam.  Seeing one was important to me...something about their beauty and freedom strikes a cord in my heart.  As luck would have it...I saw plenty and on a daily basis nonetheless.  While visiting down there I spent some time reading about these horses and their history - I found it insanely interesting that these horses are actually considered "feral horses" by the US Wildlife and Fisheries Department as they are believed to be descendants of domesticated Spanish horses that were either unloaded to lighten ships as they passed by the very dangerous North Carolina coastline (home to many many shipwrecks over our history) or swam to shore after a ship had wrecked and learned to live on the land.  As they are not native to the Outer Banks, they are considered to be a nusiance because they are not a part of the established ecosystem.  While there are laws in place and not-for-profit groups that exist solely to protect these beautiful animals, they do control their population numbers by birth control and various adoption progams.  I know I'm a geek but I couldn't help but do a little research to learn their history and how they survive.  If you're ever in the Outer Banks, I highly recommend taking a tour or a drive up to "where the road ends" in Corolla to see these amazing animals.

I know Thanksgiving has come and gone but this trip just reminded me how much I really have to be thankful for in so many different ways...and...to only be 2 hours away from paradise might just be utopia.  Here's the play-by-play of our trip:

Good morning sunshine - our first sunrise
Waiting for DaDa to arrive Monday night - beach driving in the dark = sketch
horse sighting about 300 feet from our rental house 
crossing the road - the grass is always greener on the other side
"up close and personal" - horses along our fence line
"red sky at night - sailor's delight"
our house for the week at sunset
the most amazing sunset I've ever seen
Happy Turkey Day
breathing in the salty air
right after my bro told me he didn't want his picture taken and my momma
Addie and the boys
My dad's best pose - and my super embarrassed brother
our short trip up the beach to the NC/VA state line
kickin' it in the high chair - because its vacation and that's what we do
where I enjoyed my morning coffee
oohhh the food...i must have gained 10 pounds but it tasted SO good
running on the beach
looking for shells
and success
our last sunset...until next time