Such a girl scout

Always planning ahead. Christmas cards are a big undertaking every year. I believe in hand written, hand addressed cards with personalized messages Retro Tree Pictures, Images and Photosto my loved ones. This means starting early to get them out on time.  And that means I need your help.  When my Blackberry died I lost some addresses.  And during the year people move.  My address book needs updating. So, if you’d like to be on my Christmas card list, please shoot me an email at heyshanny at gmail dot com with your current address.  You’ll get a fun Christmas card and a cute pic of the pugs.  Plus a whole lotta Christmas spirit and cheer from me!   And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love fun mail!

Behind the scenes

Me riding around on the mart cart! Y’all are so sweet about this picture, thank you! Not bad for a self portrait, huh? What you can’t tell is that I’m wearing Christmas Jammies in this picture. 0015_11650_mm There they are.  Quite festive, no?  I wore them all day Christmas.  CSP came into our bedroom right after I pulled on the pants and stopped short in horror.

Really?  You’re kidding right?

What?  It’s Christmas!  I’m being festive.

That’s one word for it.  You look like you escaped from a mental institution!

Later as we were about to leave the house I asked him…

Do I look ok?

No.

Nice.  Ok, so do I look ok minus the clothes.

I’m sorry.  I can’t see past it.  It’s blinding.

Yeah, I’m married to the king of Christmas cheer! 😀

Oh, and…it was so fun being in the store all alone.  Just the 2 of us.  CSP said he was gonna go in the next day and pull the security tapes so he could see a crazy woman in her pajamas riding around in the mart cart!  At least I didn’t run into anything! 😀

Christmas Day Recap

Christmas day I woke up at the Craaaack and started cooking. I had crock pot mac and cheese to make and cookies to bake. Christmas Eve day I had baked beer bread and lemon squares. I called over to Sara’s house to talk to her and the boys to see if Santa had come. He had! They were happily playing with their goodies.  After a while I went upstairs and dragged CSP out of bed.  We got ready and hit the road for Papa & Gigi’s house.  As soon as we got through the door Christmas Mayhem began!  First there were stockings to open.  CSP gets Anti Monkey Butt powder in his stocking! lol Then a flurry of wrapping paper as everyone opened their gifts.  Joey gets a magnifying glass Momo likes her new jacketJoey shows off his new toyPapa is so excited about his new hatThen it was time to eat.  After we ate we settled in to watch Mamma Mia, much to the dismay of the boys.  They disappeared pretty quickly to take naps and play outside.  Too quickly it was time to go!  CSP is a manager for a grocery store and we had to stop by the store on the way home to do a refrigeration check.  They have to make sure the coolers/freezers didn’t die while the store was closed.  CSP let me ride the mart cart around the store while he checked everything out. CSP let me ride around on the mart cart while he did his refrigeration check at work on Christmas So fun! Me riding around on the mart cart! I’ve never ridden one before.  When I had my knee surgery CSP wouldn’t let me.  He was worried I’d take out a display or something!   We were in and out the store pretty quickly, then made our way home.  The pugs were happy to see us after a long day.  We were so tired and were in bed, asleep by 8:30pm! More pics here.

Christmas Eve Re-cap

In-laws' Christmas tree Christmas Eve after CSP got home from work we loaded up our presents in the car and headed out for his parents’ house. The first picture is his parents’ ginormous tree- so pretty! Marsha & Larry were there too (our honorary aunt and uncle). We all had dinner (their traditional oyster stew) then opened presents. Note- I hate oysters and I hate oyster stew. So our tradition is to stop by Jack in the Box on the way to his parents’ house every Christmas Eve we spend with them. Then I can just take a couple sips and pass my bowl over to CSP! We had fun opening our presents. CSP got some new shades. CSP sports new shades for Christmas Next thing you know it was midnight! Time to go. We didn’t get home until almost 1 am! I could barely sleep knowing I was going to have to be up again at 7am to finish cooking for Christmas day!

Funniest Christmas card EVER

My aunt Marcia (wife of my Uncle Kevin who cut off his thumb a couple years ago) always sends the most beautiful Christmas cards.  She hand draws gorgeous Winter scenes.  Cardinals in pine trees, poinsettias, etc.  So when my card came in the mail this week I couldn’t wait to see what she came up with this year.  I opened the envelope, pulled out the card and almost spit my drink right out!  I’ve never laughed out loud just by looking at a Christmas card before!  Check it out… Continue reading

No tree for me!

We’ve decided not to put up our big tree this year.  Zoe is still too much of a puppy and is into EVERYTHING.  She’s still a big chewer too.  So, to avoid a huge Christmas tree disaster I’m just gonna put up the little pink tree and the little silver tree- both elevated out of reach.  I’m going to miss our big tree.  Not having the big tree for a background is going to make me have to get a little more creative when it comes to the pugs’ Christmas photo shoot.  Hmmm…

Apply directly where it hurts

So, with all those trip report posts, 2 weeks of my life have flown by and not been blogged about.  THE HORROR!  What have I been up to?  Well, I put away all the Halloween decorations, put out all the Thanksgiving decorations, then put away the Thanksgiving decorations.  All in 2 weeks time.  I really should have just skipped the Thanksgiving decorations.  We’re having Thanksgiving at CSP’s parents’ house this year so I wanted a blank slate for when we got home so I could dive right in to Christmas decorating.  So excited about that.  I did some damage at Hobby Lobby’s after Christmas sale last year and I can’t wait to put up all the new stuff.

Momo came into town so I hung out all day with her and Gigi on Saturday.  We went to see a movie so we stopped in to the Dollar Store for snacks before the movie.  It was so hot in there I thought we’d die.  We made it to the movie theatre and it was sweltering in there too!  Then I had an idea.  I have Activ-On in my purs for my arthritic knees.  It makes them feel cool and tingly.  So I thought, I’ll rub that on my forehead and it will cool me down!  I’m a genius!  So I rubbed it on my forehead and passed it to my mom. 09-02-2008nh_09activongam2fem8s1 Gigi went all out and rubbed that stuff all over her forehead, her arms, the works.  Two minutes later and we were ON FIRE.  Apparently if you apply that stuff in a hot movie theatre your skin will burst into flames.  It was like molten lava was eating its way into my brain!  So now we’re really miserable, writhing around like a couple of worms on a sidewalk.  Poor Momo in the middle wishing she had stayed at school so she wouldn’t have been stuck with 2 menthol smelling sweaty crazy women!

Shopping strategies

So Carrie asked in the comments: You’ll have to tell us more about your online shopping…Do you have any favorite Web sites? What were some of the gifts that were big hits?

I can’t stand mall shopping. I do enjoy mall browsing with a couple of girlfriends with no goal purchase in mind. That’s different. But fighting through a crowd of stressed out people, standing in long, hot lines? Possibly not finding what I came for? No thank you.

So first I make a gift list. I do this around July/August for Christmas. I list everyone we have to buy for (it’s a short list, thankfully). And I list some gift ideas. If I have people on my list who have similar tastes then I’ll buy in multiples.

My List for Christmas 2007:

Morgan- Crocs Mary Janes (red), purse

Jake & Joey- walkie talkies, umbrellas (luckily they are still young enough that we can still buy in 2s for them)

Papa & Gigi: Pampered Chef stir fry skillet pan (and surprise gift I’ll blog about later)

Jon’s parents: Pampered Chef stir fry skillet pan, greeting card organizer

Marsha & Larry: greeting card organizer, something else???

So, the greeting card organizers I found last summer while shopping at AC Moore for totally unrelated things. I got them for just $5 each and they were stocked full with cards and envelopes. I had given one to my Mom a few years earlier and she loved it. I love mine. Marsha & MIL are busy women so I knew they could use them. So I picked them up.

Also, both Gigi & MIL had commented that they loved our Pampered Chef stir fry skillet. PhotobucketSo I talked to my PC lady and asked her if she could hook me up. Those pans retail for $115 but I had gotten mine for 60% off after hosting a party a year ago. We certainly couldn’t afford to pay retail for them. So my PC lady promised me that if she had any hosts who did not want to take advantage of their half price items that she would order me the pan. And there you go! A $115 pan for $57.50 and I didn’t have to even leave my house to get them!

Now the rest of the stuff I got online. I always start my shopping at Upromise.com. That way a % of what I spend goes into LingLing’s & Morgan’s college funds. Plus, they often have coupon codes for Upromise clients. I do a search for the item I’m looking for on upromise, but I also do one on google. Then once I find the store that carries the item I need, I go to Shopper’s Resource and type in the name of the store. A list of coupon codes will come up. That way I can either save money, or get free shipping, or even get free samples.

During all this a catalog came in the mail from a store I’d never heard of, The Paragon. I flipped through (never toss out an unread catalog) and stumbled upon the perfect gift for wine lovers Marsha & Larry. PhotobucketWhew. They are hard to buy for. That was a big hit. They loved it. We also knew we wanted to get them this cool wine chiller I’d seen in a catalog in the fall. It’s called the Nice Ice and you basically make an ice mold for your wine. Photobucket You can add color and flowers etc to the ice. Very cool. But the place where I first found it was Chiasso (who I LOVE) but they were charging $38. I knew I could find it cheaper. And finally I did. I found it here for $14.99! Plus free shipping! Woohoo!

For Jake & Joey’s presents I had to search a little harder. Seems like kids’ walkie talkies aren’t very durable according to online reviews. So I went more traditional with those. I was going to paint growth charts for the boys, but with everything else going on I just didn’t have time. Then Jake told me he wanted an umbrella. So that solved that problem. I searched for kids’ umbrellas and man were they pricey. Until I found these umbrellas.Photobucket At Journeys Kidz. Jake loves the umbrella we gave him $10 each, plus I found matching $5 wallets. Both nephews taken care of for Christmas for just under $50. And since I found coupon codes on Shopper’s Resource I didn’t pay any shipping. Woot!

Morgan had already said once to my Mom that she wanted some red shoes. And she always likes my Crocs. So I knew getting her the red Alice Mary Janes would be a no brainer. She also wanted a new purse. I knew that Journeys sold both purses and shoes so I went to their site and lucked out. I found the shoesPhotobucket, plus 2 purses and a tote bag for super cheap in their clearance section. They were all a big hit. I got her this plaid bag Photobucketfor just $9.99, this bag in silver metallic for only $19.99, and this reversible tote for $9.99. Again, free shipping, they included a bunch of stickers, AND I found a coupon code for like 25% off. I know I wouldn’t have found all that variety at those prices at the store in the mall. Momo was thrilled and squealed as she opened each box. Momo loves the purse we gave her By the end of the night she had already planned outfits incorporating each item. It was awesome.

Jon and I don’t exchange gifts since we’re saving for the adoption. And Sara/Marc & Jon/I don’t exchange either. We all figure that we already have so much stuff. Plus, Christmas is more about the kids anyway.

So that’s how I did all of my Christmas shopping in about 4 hours (total) online & stayed within my budget.

Burning rubber

As I mentioned in my last post, my nephews Jake (almost 5) and Joey (almost 3) received a set of those battery powered trucks. Joey is still a little too small to operate his so he rides around with Jake at the wheel. Jake & Joey in Jake's new truck! It was the cutest thing ever, seeing this little demo. The two of them tooling around the front yard while the sun was setting singing Jingle Bells at the top of their lungs. Riding off into the sunset! It was so sweet my teeth hurt.Jake & Joey having the best time riding in their new truck! I went over there yesterday after Jake called and asked did I want to see him drive his new “shruck”. Jake is even a good backer upper, better than me! I took Harry Potter & the order of the Phoenix with me. We all cuddled up on the sofa after dinner to watch it. Luckily the boys fell asleep within minutes, cause Harry was a little dark. And he’s growing up hot. Man, that makes me feel a little creepy to say!