Sunday, November 30, 2008

off to a great start

I can't believe it is almost Monday-AGAIN! I can't believe it is December! So far, it is off to a great start. I LOVE December! We had a great weekend. There is so much going on & so much more still to do. Here's what we've been up to.

As many of you know, i LOVE black Friday! The only downer about black Friday is that I miss having my sister Amber to shop with. One of these years will be able to shop black Friday sales together again. I love to shop & score the awesome deals. I ended up getting home from our Thanksgiving dinner with my family & I decided that I wasn't tired-those dang Diet Cokes. i decided to scrapbook. I was on a roll so i decided to stay up & not go to bed. I scrapbooked till 4 am & then brushed my teeth, got my clothes on & headed out the door. I hit Wal*Mart first. i don't ever remember it being so crazy. I didn't even make it through half of the store. Still found deals & stood in line for 45 minutes to pay for my stuff. It was INSANE. After my Wal*Mart experience, i only hit a few more stores & then headed home. I was home by 9am & didn't get a nap till 4 pm.

John had the entire week off. We love when he's home.

Our lights are up on the house- LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Christmas lights!

Our Christmas tree is not up. Kind of bummed about that. i need it as part of my decorations for the Christmas party @ church next weekend. It will have to wait.

I am up to my elbows in glitter, glue, angel wings, & halos-Fun times. only 12 more sets of wings & halos to make for the Nativity pageant.

Have I mentioned that I am so excited that it is December. i love this season & all of the magic it holds.

Loving all the Christmas music...need to decide what Christmas album I will be adding to my collection this year. Any suggestions?

I made my very first turkey tonight. we have been married for 12 years & I have never made a turkey. Can you believe that? I even made homemade gravy. Tanner kept saying "My compliments to the chef". Silly boy.

My Christmas cards are addressed & ready to be mailed. i need to type up our family newsletter & then I can send them. It feels good to have that checked off my list.

We had our family night tonight. We talked about the things we can do for each other & our friends to help bring the Christmas spirit into our hearts & home this season. We made a tree out of cardstock & punched out some circles for ornaments. When we do something nice, we get to add an ornament to our tree. The boys were excited & i am pretty sure i will have to make a few trees to hold those ornaments this season.

After a two week break, the boys will head back to school tomorrow! I am ready & so are they!

I think it is time for a fun give away! We haven't done one in a while. Leave a comment telling me what your favorite thing about December is & my boys will draw the lucky winner on Wednesday.

Have a happy Monday & enjoy your December.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy thanksgiving from our family to yours!

We hope everyone had a safe turkey holiday, surrounded by those you love. We spent the afternoon with my family in the Bay Area. 41 of us, enjoyed turkey dinner @ my parents house.

{ I hope someone else has this photo too-mine is blurry. Poor AShley got suckered into taking our family photo with everyones camera}

It was great to have all of my siblings in one place this holiday...thankful for each one of them & my parents!

Lots of food, lots of family, lots of laughs, & lots of dishes to wash-LOL!

A few things I am thankful for today:-
- a good hubby who took his wife to see TWILIGHT yesterday because she wanted to see it again :)!
- healthy, active boys
- boys who will still humor their mother/aunt & wear a silly hat for a photo opp..

- my home
- black Friday sales that start @ 5 am tomorrow...woot-woot!
- my family (all 41 of them today)
- christmas music, holiday tunes officially started tonight @ our house.
- memories
- yummy food

- the Christmas holiday that is fast approaching

Enjoy the rest of your November! Make it fabulous!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I have been making these babies all night! I am in charge(along with my sister, Amber)of bringing desserts & Sodas to our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow! We are also making a few to give to our neighbors. Quick story. I made these for our neighbors the 1st Thanksgiving after they had moved into the neighborhood. I saw the wife of this family a few days later & she told me that she loved the pumpkin roll so much that she had eaten the entire thing herself. When her husband had inquired as to where the rest of the pumpkin roll was, she told him that she had to throw it away because the ants had gotten to it! He bought the story & we laughed. I made them two rolls the next year-LOL!

I pulled this recipe on of All last year. I was too embarrassed to call my friend Michelle & ask for the recipe AGAIN. I could not keep track of the recipe that she has shared with me several years in a row :). I think this one is very similar to hers. it has become a family favorite.

Pumpkin Roll
3 eggs
1 c. white sugar
2/3 c. solid pack pumpkin puree
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 c. chopped pecans
confectioner's sugar for dusting

1(8oz.) pkg. cream cheese
4 tbsp. butter
1 c. confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
confectioner's sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10 x 15 in. jellyroll pan.

2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on high for 5 minutes. Gradually mix in pumpkin & lemon juice. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger; stir into the pumpkin mixture. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle pecans over the top of batter.

3. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the center springs back when touched. Loosen edges with a knife. Turn out on two dish towels that have been dusted with confectioner's sugar. Roll up cake using towels and let cool for about 20 minutes.

4. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, 1 c. confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Unroll pumpkin cake when cool, spread with filling, and roll up. Place pumpkin roll on a long sheet of waxed paper and dust with confectioner's sugar. Wrap cake in waxed paper and twist ends of waxed paper like a candy wrapper. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled; before slicing, dust with confectioner's sugar.

Here are a few adjustments I make to the recipe!
* I leave out the lemon juice & pecans(some family members do not like nuts).
* Instead of rolling cake in dish towels, you can use aluminium foil. Grease foil & dust with flour. Works great!

Enjoy! Happy turkey day to each one of you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

sneak peek

I just received the disk with all of our new 2008 family photos on it! I am so happy! Chris & Liz Harder worked their magic again this year. They are awesome to work with! I was a little nervous about our photos this year. Brody would not hold still & was only happy when we let him hold a stick-LOL!. I always hold my breath...hope & pray that everyone is smiling & looking @ the camera. without further ado...this is what we got this year!

Now I just need to narrow down my favorite family photo(we got about 60 photos to pick from) & have it printed for our Christmas cards!

Monday, November 24, 2008

weekend get away

Our little family had the opportunity to escape to beautiful Lake Tahoe for the weekend. Our fabulous friends, the Solano's, had an extra condo open up & offered it to our family. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We enjoyed 4 days, 3 nights up @ North Star. Our boys were a little bummed that there was NO SNOW but in the same breath, they were happy to be wearing shorts. Yes, it is November & my boys are still wearing shorts any chance they get.

While in Tahoe, we enjoyed: movies, the gorgeous weather,

ice skating,

roasting s'mores @ night down @ the rink,

Rubicon pizza

& garlic bread sticks, endless hours of tackle football(mom watched & cheered them on), Kings beach,

spending time with the Soalno's & Laprays,

chocolate crackles by the dozen, college footabll on the TV, bungee/trampoline jumping,

& the Jacuzzi tub,

{are my boys going to kill me some day for posting this photo?}

going to bed late & getting to sleep in a little, & spending time with good friends.

Between our 3 families, we had 12 children total in tow. 9 boys & 3 girls! Whew, that is a bunch of kids :)!!!

It was a great little escape/vacation for our family! It sure is nice to be home but we are already missing it!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twilight review

I went, I saw! I know my Twilight post/review is a few days late. I went & saw the movie with a few of the girls from Green Tangerines. It started at midnight & I didn't get home until 2:45 am. Shouldn't have had that Diet Coke @ midnight:). It took me another hour to fall asleep & then i was up bright & early so I could start packing & getting my family ready for our weekend in Tahoe.

I am seeing reports & reviews claiming that the movie was CHEESY. While i do agree that there were some pretty corny lines/scenes, I will say that I really liked the movie. I do think that one needs to have read the book before seeing the movie. i felt like some of the scenes weren't developed really well in the movie as in the book. Stephenie Myer did a wonderful job describing characters, scenes & the setting! I know it must be hard to cram a 500 page book into 1 hour & 45 minute movie. I was really nervous about the actors casted for Bella & Edward's characters. After seeing the movie, i thought Bella was perfect & Edward grew on me...I like him. I will be adding this DVD to my collection when it comes out! I wonder how long I will have to wait for the next movie to come out...hopefully not too long!

Did you see the movie? What did YOU think of it?
**Kelly was the only one with the camera, i will add photos as soon as i get them from her.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Are you going to see this?

I am seeing the 12:04 am showing of TWILIGHT tonight...I guess it will technically be tomorrow morning. I can't wait!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

One of those days...

You just know it is going to be ONE OF THOSE DAYS when it's 9 am & your 18 month old has already been up for 4 hours. By 9am, Brody boy had managed to dump out an entire box of cereal onto the kitchen floor. Then he dumped a just opened Diet Coke all over my counter (you know it's been a morning if I have cracked open a DC by 9 am:). Then to top off the morning, he got into my scrapbook room & proceeded to wipe a green Ranger ink pad ALL over his face & my scrapbook page that was in progress.

Boy what a morning we had!!! I won't even enlighten you with the rest of my/our day! I will tell you that i am totally exhausted & feeling like my plate is very all aspects of my life!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Savings for the week

Thanks to Laina & her deals, I scored big today! With the combination of Walgreen's sale items, Sunday coupons, and a few register rewards, my grand total for all items pictured below was $13 & some change. I saved $63.00. Here's what I purchased:
- 6 boxes of cereal
- 2 bottles of Clorox
- 1 bottle of Clorox wipes(Free)
- 2 jars of Skippy PB
- 3 boxes of Kleenex
- 2 cans of Ajax
- 4 bags of Chex sweet/salty mix
- 4 bottles of shampoo
- 3 cans of the crunchy fried onions(can you smell the green bean casserole?)
- Arm & Hammer deodorizer
- 1 box of hair color for men (Free! I actually made money on this deal, $10.00 to be exact & no, it is not for John-LOL)

Then i hit Target. For $3 & some change, I purchased 8 cans of Del Monte vegetables & two boxes of Au Gratin potatoes. I got my veggies for .25 cents a can-WOW! I purchased one box of potatoes for .39 cents & paid .79 cents for the 2nd box. Not bad.

Have you tried any of the little assignments on Laina's site? How did you do?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another busy week/weekend @ our house!
Here we go:

-Carter enjoyed his pizza party with his soccer team. John was the coach again this year. The team had another undefeated season. They boys played so well!They really got it this season & played their positions. I finished 13 soccer albums (one for each boy) just in time for the party! Here is a glimpse of what they looked like. i used clear acrylic for the front & back covers & bound them with 1 in. rings. That way, they can add more photos if they want too. I kept them pretty simple this year & let the photos be the focus.

-Tanner & I drove to Fairfield yesterday for his soccer game. His team tied 3-3. Tanner scored a goal & played so well. We missed you Gram...Mom & Dad said you were @ the Stanford game. Tanner was bummed that we didn't get to visit with you.

-My newest obsession(like i need one more) is Face Book. Do you use Face Book? If so, let me know & I'll add you as a friend. It has been a blast receiving emails from friends from the past. Some of them have been friends of mine since grade school. So much fun!

- I woke up on Saturday morning(@ 5 am) to an electric toothbrush in my face. Yes it was even on. Mr. Brody has learned to crawl out of his crib this week & I guess he wanted to brush his teeth-LOL-UGH! Needless to say, it scared the daylights out of me. Can we we say baby gate????

- TWILIGHT is only 5 days away! I am going to see it with the girls from green tangerines! I can't wait. I hope it lives up to the book & all the hype.

-Starting tomorrow, my boys are on vacation from school for 2 weeks. Yes, you read that right...two whole weeks. i am going to have to plan some fun day-cations.

-We are so proud of Tanner. He enjoyed a breakfast @ school on Friday morning. He was recognized for his straight A's. This boy makes me proud. He tries so hard to do his best. Way to GOOOOOOO Tan-Man!

Looking forward to a new week. Hope you have a Happy Monday!

Friday, November 14, 2008

18 months old

Can you believe it? My baby is 18 months old today! Tanner reminded me that he is not officially 18 months old until 11:32 pm tonight-LOL!

Here are some of his stats/milestones @ 18 months:

- he weighs about 30 lbs..
- he doesn't walk anymore...he runs
- can mimic almost every word you say to him!
- he calls his favorite blankie his "BABY", so sweet!
- he still LOVES bananas & that is one of the cutest sounding words he says.
- still has 8 teeth, we are wondering when the others will appear
- he will fold his arms & bow his head when we say prayers.
- he can say AMEN!
- doesn't nap much...he has learned how to crawl out of his crib this week.
- When he gives you a hug, it is a cute little bear hug with arms totally wrapped around your neck.
- still screaming-uuugghhhhhh!
- he officially gets to attend nursery this Sunday-YEAH!!!!
- loves Go-Gurts, pasta, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, & fruit
- he loves to steal his brothers spots on the couch if they get up to get something. it is pretty funny. He darts for the spot as soon as they move.

We love this little boy so much! Grateful for his place in our family!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Q and A

I have had some emails and blog posts regarding my coupon shopping. I am in no way, shape, or form a professional. In fact, I am still a beginner. I thought I would post a few tips that were/are helpful to ensure that you are saving the max amount possible.

1. Where are you finding your coupons
Cut out every single coupon out of your local Sunday paper. You may not think it is something you will ever buy. It is usually those very same items that will save you the most or you may even get them for free.

EXAMPLE: I had 4 coupons for $3.OO OFF a Solei BIC razor & 4 coupons for $3.00 off the refills for this same razor. Longs has this razor on sale this week for $3.99 & you even get a rebate on one razor/refill for. I was able to purchase something that regularly costs $4.00 for .99 cents with my $3.00 off coupons. I go through razors like crazy & they will be perfect stocking stuffers for my Mom...ssshhhhh don't tell her!

I am also finding a ton of coupons on items we already purchase on the Internet. If you have more than one computer in you home...the more coupons you can print...the more money you will save.

2. What if i don't get the Sunday paper?
if you have friends & family who receive the paper, ask for their coupons. I have a few friends who save them for me every week. In turn,
I will drop of items that I scored a good deal on or received for free. Just a little thank you for saving their coupons for me.

3. Where do you shop?
Right now i am shopping mostly Wal*Mart Target & Walgreens. I have never been a Walgreen's shopper. Before coupons, I went to Walgreen's for prescriptions & 99% of the time, I was going thru their drive thru. Since moving here 5 years ago, we have always shopped @ Wal*Mart. I did a big shopping trip last night & saved an extra $20.00 on top of their already low prices.

4. Scour the Walgreen's weekly ad. You can combine their in store coupons with your coupons from your Sunday paper or the Internet...thus allowing you to save a ton of money.

5. Check Laina's site daily. She posts almost daily. She posts deals of the week, money makers, freebies & other wonderful tips/tricks. If something is a store special, she usually will find an Internet coupon to use & will link you right to it. Print them as soon as you see she has posted something new. They sometimes disappear. The manufactures will pull after so many have been printed. I can't say it enough...she is amazing. Spend some time on her site going thru past scenarios. It will give you a feel for how things can be purchased for very little.

6. How do you organize your coupons after cutting them out of the paper?
ORGANIZE-ORGANIZE-ORGANIZE!!! Your coupons can quickly take over your counter tops-just ask my hubby! I encourage you to find a system that works for you & keep on top of it. I currently have 4 coupon organizers. They are on the smaller side. I have them labeled on the outside: FOOD, HOUSEHOLD, CAN FOOD, TOILETRIES. I purchased my coupon organizers @ the Dollar Tree. For you local girls, they are on an end cap by registers. They were on the very bottom shelf. i had to dig behind product to find them. Inside each organizer, i made little labels that are very general but specific enough for me to feel organized.

Example: In my household organizer, my tabs read: Dish soap,laundry products,paper products(TP, tissue, paper towels), cleaning products, medicine, batteries, etc...

7. I have found that since i am still a newbie at this, i can NOT coupon shop with my children in tow. Bless my little Garrett's heart. He is constantly rearranging my piles that i have so neatly organized in my cart. I try to organize as I go so I can move through the check out @ a speedy pace.

I love the idea of stocking my pantry, saving money & getting items for free. With four growing boys... I have to! Some of you have asked me where I am storing everything. I don't have a ton of extra cupboard space. It all goes in our cupboards or the pantry. When I score a super deal on items and we have way more than we need, i will then share it with friends or it goes in the stock pile for the food drive at the boys school. The school is donating it to one of our local food banks. Local food banks will welcome your donations any time.
I hope this was helpful! please let know if you have any other questions.

Tag of Two's

My fabulous friend, Steph, tagged me with this quick list of questions.

So, here goes:

Two names you go by:
Besides Raimi
1. M-O-M
2. Raim's

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. Jeans
2. black long sleeved t-shirt

Two things you want right now:
1. new computer
2. a NAP would be fabulous!

Two things you did last night:

1. attended Carter's soccer party-FUN!
2. a large shopping trip @ Wal*Mart w/out kids-need I say more-LOL!

Two things you ate today:

1. Yoplait yogurt
2. crackers

Two favorite drinks:
As of today:
1. Starbucks Carmel Apple Spice Drink-YUMMY!
2. Water

I am tagging Brandi, Katie, Barb, Patti, & Camie

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

lunch with grandma & grandpa

The boys school held an eat lunch with your grandparents day today! I am very grateful & thankful to my parents who drove some 130 miles each way to eat lunch with my boys! They were able to take grandma & grandpa into the Library to check out the Scholastic book fair where they each scored a new book!

Then they headed to the cafeteria where they enjoyed sandwiches from Togo's & Subway. My boys could not have been more excited to have grandma & grandpa there. They each enjoyed lunch with grandma & grandpa, one on one.

My parents were able to meet Tanner & Carter's teachers too. Tanner's teacher announced to my parents that Tanner had made the honor roll(results had just been released that morning @ school) with straight A's. They found out before I even did. That was exciting for them. Feeling grateful today that my parents could/were willing to drive 2.5 hours for a 30 minute lunch with their grand boys. Thanks for making my boys day! We love you!

latest haul

I came down with what i think was the 24 hour flu bug yesterday. I tried to go to work but ended up leaving early! A HUGE shout out to Kinsey & her willingness to jump in & take over my Monday Night Make & Take. I went home & jumped into to bed. It is a rare day when I am in bed before midnight. I did not get up till 8:30 am this morning & it is now 1 in the morning & I can't sleep...hence the blog post. I will tell you that the only positive thing about being sick is that i have lost another 3 lbs.. No desire to eat = 28 lbs. lost!

I have been having fun with Laina's shopping tips & super deals.

This is what I scored this weekend.

With the combination of Safeway's 48 hour sale & some coupons, i purchased 8 boxes of Quaker oatmeal for $5.36. I saved $33.76. That is 86%...woot woot! The regular price for one box is $4.89. Now, you are probably wondering who in the world is going to eat so much oatmeal. The answer is ME! Just kidding, we are keeping four boxes & the other four are going to school for the food drive that will benefit a local food bank. SCORE!

This was my haul tonight.

Here is what i got:
2 bottles of laundry soap
2 pkgs. of TP
2 bottles of Clorox wipes
2 bags of Nestle Choc. chips
2 cans of Glade air freshener
1 can of baking powder
1 can of corn starch
4 cans of Progresso soup
2 jars of Jiffy PB
3 cans of Betty Crocker frosting
2 boxes of hot chocolate

I stopped @ Walgreen's on my way home from work. My total, before coupons was $87.00. After my coupons were scanned in, I owed the cashier a total of...drum roll please...$18.97. I was stoked. A few of my freebies tonight were the Clorox wipes & the baking powder & corn starch. I purchased those two bottles of laundry soap for a whopping $2.99. Laina really does make it simple to save money! I am sure my hubby & family think i am a nerd. They get the phone calls as i am walking out of stores with my latest haul. I think it may be my new hobby!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

random tidbits

We enjoyed a busy, crazy week. i thought i would highlight our experiences/happenings random style.

first & for most, i am very happy that Prop 8 passed. On the other hand, I am very sad & disappointed with those who think it is okay to vandalize our church buildings. Somebody thought it was okay to spray paint no on prop 8 with red paint on our building & the sidewalks. Enough is enough, this is so not acceptable & it makes me so sad. Again, tolerance is a two way street.

I was so excited when my total gas bill(filling up a Chevy Tahoe)was $59.53 on Friday. WOOT-WOOT! Need i say more?

I was able to attend Carter's harvest party. They had a Thanksgiving feast. I will have to post photos later. The room mom even made them cute pilgrim & indian hats to wear. So cute & festive. they enjoyed a full turkey meal and arts & kind of party.

As of last Friday, my 12 week Race to a Waist challenge ended. While i was not the 1st place loser, i did manage to lose 25 lbs. i am extremely happy about that. i came in 6th place out of the 25 women who registered...not bad. We are going to start up another challenge in jan.. I will keep you posted just in case any of you want to join in on the fun!

One of my favorite friends in the whole wide world came to visit me on friday night. Michelle came up & we attended Scrappy Hour @ Green Tangerines. it was so much fun to have her here. i sure do miss her & wish we lived closer. I am trying to convince her that they need to buy the house that is for sale next door. That would be awesome.

We had our family photos taken on saturday. i am praying that there is one decent shot of everyone. i need a Christmas card photo. Brody did not want to hold still & Garrett was flashing one CHEESE-EY SMILE the entire time. Fingers are crossed. We finished our shoot just in time...It started to pour rain.

Soccer Saturday was fabulous. Tanner's team won 6 to 0. Tanner scored two of those goals & I even caught one of them on film. I love this shot. That is Tanner, #14. I love how he is off the ground celebrating & that you can see the ball in the goal. So exciting.

Carter's team won 2 to 0. Carter scored a goal. john was so impressed with his team. He said they played awesome & were playing their positions & passing the ball. Carter is in the white jersey in the photo below! Thanks to Regine for the awesome photos.

I have been busy making little scrapbooks for Carter's soccer team. 8 down, 5 to go. John will hand them out along with the boys trophies @ the team party on the 12th. I will post pictures once they are complete.

I had a very productive planning meeting for our church Christmas party tonight. we are buckling down & planning the festivities for our Nativity pageant and dessert bar. it should be a fun evening. I have a great committee & I am thankful for their help!

I am off to work on Soccer albums. Stayed tuned for my coupon post tomorrow. i scored a major deal this weekend. Don't forget to check out Laina's site. She is posting deals everyday...perfect for all of the upcoming holidays & baking.

Have a happy Monday!