Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Comes To An End

It seems like this year went in a blur.  I know, everyone says that every year, but there's something about getting older that makes it more real.  My babies growing up, my hair growing whiter, my waistline growing in the wrong direction...well, at least I can work on some of those items.  One thing I can say with a big smile on my face:  I did it.  I blogged everyday this month.  I didn't think I'd do it, because I couldn't figure out what I would blog about.  In the end I decided to use my blog for what I'd originally intended it, which was a daily diary.  I would write about what went on during my day, and if it was a boring day I would write that.  Instead, I found that there was plenty to write about.  Life isn't all that boring ya'll!  There are always funny stories, mini-adventures and minor mishaps to write about, even on the quietest days.  I think I'm gonna enjoy looking back at what was going on during December 2014.

After my daughter had returned the Bare Minerals Starter Kit I'd bought her and gotten her store credit, she wondered about what she would get with the $45 left on the card (she had purchased a brush but Ulta was out of stock on almost everything because of the Christmas rush).  This morning as I was waking up and thinking about it being the last day of the year, I remembered I had reward points with Ulta which I could redeem for a $3 credit.  I know it isn't much, but they expire today (hence why I remembered them today).  I told my daughter she was welcome to use them since I wasn't going to be ordering anything from Ulta today and I didn't want the points to go to waste.  (She'd had points too, but she used them the day she bought the brush).  My daughter then went online and for the next 3 hours looked over and tried to decide what she wanted to purchase.  My daughter is a very intelligent young lady, but she doesn't do well with options.  She will second-guess herself and go back and forth trying to make a decision.  She called me over several times to look at this or find out about that.  I think by the end she was mentally exhausted, but she finally came up with a shopping bag with $58 worth of products.  As she went through the checkout process, she came to the payment section and keyed in the number on the card the store had given her.  It asked for a pin number.  We looked all over the card but there was none.  She hadn't been given one at the store either.  We both checked the website looking for where this infamous pin number was found, but to no avail.  Finally, I called Ulta's customer service number that was on the card.  It was a wrong number :P.  So I looked up the number on the website and called.  Finally I got through to a customer service rep, who explained that store credits cannot be used for online orders.  Gee, thanks for telling me.  Three hours of searching gone down the drain, along with my $3 worth of points.  Oh well.  Ce la vie.

For the last day of the year I went with a traditional meal:  roast pork.  Or as my son calls it, roast beast (a la Grinch).  It spent 3 1/2 hours in the oven.  I hope that the whole house smelled delicious.  I don't know because I woke up with a stuffed up nose.  Allergy season, ugh!!  I know several people have been complaining about the same thing.  It's not supposed to be this hot and muggy at the end of December.  It throws everything off.  The whole day was cloudy and gloomy, too.  No rain, just clouds and gloom.  It's like I'm not really in Florida.  This isn't what Florida is supposed to look like.   Anyway, getting back to the pork; let me just say the taste was off the charts!  It took me back to my childhood.  Yeah, that good.  We had the pork with white rice, pinto beans, and french fries, because I forgot to make salad or anything else.  That's what allergies do to me.  They mess up my brain.

I decided that, even though we weren't going anywhere or doing anything special, I would still fix myself up.  I showered and washed my hair, did my makeup using the Dazzle colors from my Bare Minerals kit, and blow dried my hair.  It turned out beautiful!  Why is it my hair always looks best when I have nowhere to go?!  I used the eye primer from Bare Minerals that I'd used Christmas Eve, the Gold Nugget one, but this time I used a teeny tiny amount.  It was about the size of a pinhead.  The amount was perfect.  It went on like a golden bronze color all over my lid and above the crease.  Once again I realized that when it comes to Bare Minerals, less is more.  I did a smokey eye but not a very dark one.  Getting older means smoked out eye makeup looks aging.  Along with the gold nugget, which can be used as a primer and an eye color, I used Tantalize which is sort of a charcoal brown colored powder eyeshadow.  I put it on the lid and blended it up just above the crease, then used it as a liner on my bottom lashes.  I lined my top lashes with the black eyeliner that came with the Dazzle kit.  It looks gorgeous!  I've always liked bold eye colors, but I find I'm more drawn to neutrals now.  This color is a cross between a neutral and a bold look, and I'm quite pleased with it.  I will remember 2014 as the year I was introduced to Bare Minerals and fell in love with makeup all over again.

We're staying up late to await the arrival of the new year.  We couldn't go to sleep if we wanted to; our backyard neighbor is doing some really loud fireworks in their yard.  Poor Molly is scared to death with all the noise :-(.  I guess it's not a bad thing.  I can stay up watching past episodes of the Tonight Show - that Jimmy Fallon is a funny guy!  I watched the episode with Carrie Underwood where she sang her newest hit, Something In The Water.  The lyrics to that song really touched my heart!  She's an amazing singer with incredible talent and a heart for Jesus.

That's gonna be it for 2014.  God bless our nation, my family, my friends, and you, whoever and wherever you are.  Jesus loves you.  Have a safe, happy, and blessed New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tackling Tuesdays

I'm kinda wondering what's going on.  It's December 30.  This is supposed to be the dead of winter.  Just last month we had cool temperatures, enough to only open the windows halfway in the middle of the day so that all the cold air wouldn't come inside the house.  That was in the fall.  Why is it now that it's winter our temps are so high?!  It's 82 degrees outside!!  Something just ain't right.

After my simple breakfast of cereal and toast, I decided it was time to work on the donate pile.  I've had clothes ready for donation for months, and I have been putting off going through it and dropping it off at the Goodwill.  Seeing as today is December 30 I figured I couldn't keep putting it off any longer.  I gathered up the pile and separated it on my bed.  There was a lot of clothes.  Then I went through my boy's closets.  There was a whole lot of clothes.  Then I went through shoes.  I'm not buying anymore shoes.  This is ridiculous.  Going through my clothes reminds me that: 1 - I am a very blessed woman, and 2 - I need to stop misspending my blessing.  I mean, I do try to spend wisely, but there's times when I miss the mark.  Like, why did I buy those cream colored shoes when I have a pair already that work perfectly fine?  I got them at Payless because they were reduced to $10, that's why.  I thought I was getting a bargain so I bought them.  Truth be told, they've never been outside my house.  I would put them on, be ready to leave, and I'd go change them because they squeak.  I'm not even kidding, they sound like a pair of worn out old shoes and they are brand new.  I added clothes to the pile that no longer fit me and they are like new as well, but at least I got some use out of them.  I have to pay better attention to what is a bargain; spending $10 on a pair of shoes that I'm never gonna wear isn't saving money.  All in all I filled 3 kitchen trash bags with clothes and a large box with shoes.  My daughter also packed 2 bags full of clothes and accessories into the car.  We are all done donating for the year.

I took fish out for lunch but my youngest son invited us to have sushi.  For some reason he has been on this "I want to try sushi again" kick.  We had it once before at a buffet style place for R's birthday and he didn't care for it.  For some reason the soy sauce that was on the table was making him sick.  He was wheezing and having an allergic reaction to it.  I use soy sauce for cooking and he's never had a problem with it, but the one at this particular restaurant irritated his bronchial passages.  That was almost 3 years ago, and he didn't want sushi again for a long time, but now something peaked his interest and he's been begging to have sushi for weeks.  We went to the same buffet style restaurant because for $11.95 you can have all the sushi you can eat, and let's be honest, you won't find deals like that anywhere, plus the food is prepared right in front of you so you know it was just made and not sitting there for who knows how long.  I confess I didn't expect he would eat any of it.  I figured he'd try one or two pieces and decide he still didn't like it.  He proved me wrong.  That boy ate a bunch of different rolls, and even had sashimi!  I guess my baby boy is growing up.  These are things he never would have eaten before, but not only was he willing to try them, he was open-minded about trying new things and really enjoyed his meal.  We all did.  It was really good.

After lunch we drove to the outlet mall, where my son purchased his first longboard.  He convinced his sister to take him with the sushi meal :-).  The longboard is made of bamboo, is very sturdy and a nice design.  He was so thrilled to finally have his longboard that he has been wanting for months.  He's even happier that he still has money left over after spending $200 on it.  Yeah, I didn't realize those things were so expensive.  Glad he paid for it out of his money!

I went ahead and made the fish for dinner.  It was kind of weird; I typically don't cook late in the day.  We eat leftovers from lunch or something quick like a sandwich, but I wasn't going to let that fish go to waste.  Afterwards we took Molly out for a walk.  She's been limping lately, and we aren't sure if the problem is her hip or her leg.  American bulldogs need lots of exercise or they can have hip problems.  Taking Molly out is a mission.  She is a powerful 70 pounds of muscle, and she can yank a person's arms off.  I have my own issues with arthritis; walking her causes my joints to ache because of all her pulling and sudden stops.  No one else likes walking her for the same reason.  Today my daughter decided we'd all go out, so out we went.  Molly could not be more excited.  She loves going out and exploring, but she pulls so hard on her leash she starts wheezing, which gets her tuckered out fast.  Good thing too: it was humid out, so none of us wanted to be out there longer than we had to!  We did enjoy seeing the houses with all their Christmas lights.  Might as well take advantage of it, since the lights will be going down soon.

I'm gonna clean up the kitchen now, then take a shower and hop into bed.  I think I might read tonight, or watch something on TV.  Not quite sure yet.  I hope everyone has a pleasant evening.  Good night ya'll.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday Musings

A new day, a new week.  A year ending and a new one beginning within days.  Change is in the air.  Some good, some not so pleasant...

I was so tired last night, I don't even remember what all I posted.  I'll probably go back and re-read it to see if there's any grammatical errors.  I'm somewhat of a grammar Nazi; I hate it when the English language gets butchered.  I want my blog to be as error free as possible.  I know that doesn't always happen - I've gone back and seen things misspelled and kicked myself for it.  But at least I try to do justice to my blog by writing properly.

One thing I didn't mention last night was my children's great-grandmother.  Great-grandma Maria is my children's great grandmother on their father's mother's side.  They have known her all their lives, and she babysat my two older kids when they were little tykes.  Despite health issues in the past, including colon cancer, she has rallied and come off her sickbed multiple times.  She is made of some sturdy material!  About a year and a half ago, her eldest daughter experienced complications during open heart surgery, and unexpectedly passed away.  She was in her mid 70's, not a young woman but to a mother she was still her child.  Grandma Maria's health began to steadily decline after that.  I think the heartache of losing her daughter was more devastating than any illness, including cancer.  Since April we have watched her deteriorate from an active, alert woman to a bed-ridden shadow of who she was.  I cannot express how sad it is to see her in this condition after knowing her for over 27 years as a strong, independent, caring human being.  She has always put the needs of others before her own, and she's been a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and even great-great-grandmother.  Grandma Maria lives with her daughter and granddaughter, the cousin who came over to visit last night.  I asked how she was doing, and we were told that the priest had been called.  Grandma Maria has been a devout Catholic all her life, but it wasn't about religion with her.  She cares about people, and about serving.  What an awesome example of Christ she has been to her entire family!  At 94 years of age she is the family matriarch, having lost her husband 25 years ago.  We know the Lord will be taking her home soon, and it will be a bittersweet time for us.  She is so frail, so sick, that it pains everyone to see her suffer, but saying goodbye is a hard pill to swallow.  My prayer is simply that the Lord would take her in her sleep so she and her loved ones caring for her don't have to suffer further.  She has always tried to honor God with her life, and I know He will honor her integrity as well.

On to my day...I spent the morning cleaning the family room and dining room.  Our dog Molly spends a lot of time in the family room on the rug, or at the back door waiting to be let out, so that area gets filled with dog hair and drool.  I tried to get my Dyson vacuum cleaner fixed but I can't figure out what is wrong with it.  I'm gonna end up having to take it to get repaired.  I used our smaller vacuum but it takes longer because it isn't as powerful.  After cleaning up I started cooking for today:  baked ziti, french bread and a salad.  I have plenty of lettuce in the yard, so once the baked ziti was out of the oven I went out and cut off some lettuce leaves.  I brought them into the kitchen and threw them in the sink to wash.  As I was pulling the leaves apart, what should hop out of the sink (almost on my hand) but a little frog.  It was obviously hiding in the lettuce leaves looking for bugs.  I let out a scream, not because I'm afraid of frogs but because it caught me by surprise!  My boys jumped up to see what had caused the ruckus.  They just laughed, then R got a glass and picked it up off the kitchen back splash and took it outside.  I'm glad, because I didn't want it to stay inside the house.  Poor little critter would have died.

After lunch I took my son E to the bank to cash out his coin bank that he got from his dad for his birthday.  According to his dad there was about $180 that he had collected.  My son had a few coins that he added to it, and I gave him a few as well.  As we put them in the machine and watched the total go up, my son was getting more and more excited, hoping it would get up to $200.  Actually, the total came up to $223.45.  He said his face hurt from smiling so much.  This will be the money he uses to get the longboard he's been wanting.

Another gift my son got for his birthday was a new Nerf gun.  This one is a Zombie type, I guess for hunting them.  My son has a collection of Nerf guns, which he forgets he has until he gets a new one.  Then he and his brother start sneaking up on each other and everyone else, shooting them with Nerf guns.  Which is proof that men are just boys in big bodies.

I got some more floor cleaning done before it was time for dinner.  After I ate I proceeded to give myself a manicure with the new nail polishes my cousin gave me for my birthday.  The package says they're nail lacquers so they should last longer than regular polish.  We'll have to wait and see.  They are a set, one mauve/taupe kind of color called May Flowers, one vibrant baby pink called Gorgeous Gerbera and one rose gold top coat with glitter.  I used the mauve/taupe color on all but my ring fingers; on those I used the baby pink and put the glittery top coat on top.  It looks really cute and girly, maybe a bit too youthful but who cares?  They say you're as young as you feel, and I feel like I'm still in my 30's.  Most days.  Some of the time.  Okay maybe closer to my 40's but still, that's younger than I am now.

Other than that it's been a slow kinda day.  I watched a few videos on youtube, and I'm gonna take a shower now.  Maybe I'll watch a movie afterwards, now that my son has let the television alone for a while.  That poor TV is getting some usage now that there's a Wii U attached to it ;-).  God bless and good night.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Last Sunday of the Year

Ever have a lazy day?  One where you just hang around and don't do anything but rest and get waited on the entire day?  Yeah, me neither.

I was kind of running slow this morning.  My nose was stuffy, my throat was kind of sore, and my sinuses were somewhat inflamed.  What is it about Sundays that I wake up feeling under the weather?  Speaking of which, what is up with our weather?!  Ours has been in the 80's.  I'm not even kidding.  It is winter and our temperatures get into the low 80's in the afternoon.  The humidity comes and goes, but just the other night the fog was so intense my son says he couldn't see 5 feet in front of him when he was driving home from work.  Thank The Lord he got home safe!  I think the weather has affected my allergies, because I don't feel sick like I'm getting a cold.  Whenever I cough it's because my throat feels dry or irritated, and I wake up with post nasal drip (which I HATE!).  I'm hoping we get some cooler weather in the next few days to counteract all these allergens, but gauging by the forecasts it doesn't look like that's gonna happen anytime soon.

So anyway, my morning started out sluggish.  I showered, washed my hair, then went into the kitchen to get something to eat.  Once again this week we weren't having our regular Sunday school class, instead it would be one combined class.  Again I knew I would miss it, because I wasn't feeling up to being in a large room full of people and me with my drippy nose.  I took my time getting ready, and I looked really nice if I do say so myself.  I put on my new skirt with the tank top, then went into my closet to see what I would put over it.  First off, I put on a light sweater in black that my daughter gave me because she doesn't like wearing it anymore.  I thought it looked nice, except that it's kind of long.  I asked her what she thought, and she shook her head no.  So I went back and pulled out a white sweater with green polka-dots that matched the skirt.  Again my daughter responded in the negative.  So I pulled out a short sleeved jacket that I normally wear with its matching navy blue skirt.  The blue of the jacket matched the blue of the skirt.  I figured she wouldn't like that one either but I didn't know what else to try.  The minute she saw me she said, "That's the one!"  It was my least favorite look, in my opinion, but she convinced me it looked nice so I went with it.  For makeup I did the same look I had yesterday.  I used my Pretty Wild kit from Bare Minerals which has matte eye colors in lavender and moss green, but I perked it up by using an eye primer with some shimmer to it.  It livened up the look a little without being overpowered in glitter.  I also used a new eyeliner pencil in brown, one of their Round The Clock liners.  It went on smooth as butter, and it was so velvety!  I couldn't believe how pretty it looked.  My hair also looked nice, though I knew what would happen the minute I walked out the door:  frizz city.  I put some anti-frizz serum when I styled it, and hoped for the best.

Pastor Ray continued last week's sermon on The Original Christmas based on Luke 2:10-14.  He was on fire preaching The Word today!  Whenever I hear him preach, I am challenged to give God my very best.  That's what His Word should do for all of us - give us a desire to do more and be more like Him.  Even though I didn't feel great health-wise, spiritually I felt renewed.  I had thought about staying home because I wasn't feeling my best, but I'm glad I didn't.  His Word revives me.

When I got home I felt like I wanted to eat something comforting.  I threw a frozen pizza in the oven for E and made myself a bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon.  That there is comfort food for me.  It warms my tummy and makes my heart smile.  Something that simple can make me feel like new.

My daughter got home early from her church.  She works at the church so she usually stays later, but the youth group didn't meet today because of the Christmas/New Year holiday, so she was able to leave earlier.  After lunch we went to Ulta to get credit for the starter kit I gave her for her birthday.  I had ordered the set online, so before leaving the house I got the packing list from the shipment and printed off the invoice so that I wouldn't have any trouble getting the credit.  Ahead of us was a lady who was trying to get credit for a cream she'd purchased, apparently she felt the price was wrong or something, but she had no receipt.  She left in a huff because they could not give her credit without the receipt.  I was kind of wondering if they'd give me a hard time too, but not at all.  When I told the lady I wanted credit because I'd ordered the wrong color and showed her my paperwork, she smiled and said, "That's everything I need."  They offered to credit my card or issue a store credit, and my daughter opted for the store credit, which was fine by me because that way she could get what she wanted and I wouldn't have to keep tabs of how much I owed her.  She quickly went through the store, but we found very little.  Turns out they were sold out on a lot of items because of Christmas, and are waiting for a stock shipment to be delivered tomorrow.  My daughter was looking for some makeup brushes but all she found was one.  Since she has the store credit I'm not concerned; she can buy something another day, or she can place an order online.

From there we went to the mall.  Her dad gave her a beautiful Michael Kors purse for her birthday, but the style isn't what she would have picked out for herself.  It's a sort of messenger bag with a drawstring at the top.  The problem is, the drawstring doesn't open completely, so it's hard to get anything inside the bag.  She wanted to see if there was any bag she could exchange it for that would work a little better.  I parked where we always park, next to Sears.  I totally forgot that Macy's is on the extreme other end of the mall :P.  That's how often I shop there (which is never).  We went to take a look at the bags to see what was available.  I was taken aback; these purses are ridiculously priced!  I mean seriously, the cheapest bag we found cost $198 ya'll!!  Her dad had some sort of coupon because he only paid $157 for the bag he got her (it has a return label that they scan and it shows the price that was paid).  Still - $157?!  It's not like the bag is gold plated!  We looked at other bags but none were in her price range, so she decided she would make this bag work.  Can't say I blame her.

Later on my kid's cousin came over with the kids, bearing gifts.  This cousin is actually my children's second cousin, and I've known her since she was 4 years old.  Now she's a mom of 3, and I got to babysit her kids over the summer.  The kids brought me a belated birthday gift, pink nail polish in a pretty set.  They also brought me electronic Yatzee, which I thought was cool since I'd taught them to play the old style Yatzee over.  We played tons of board games when I was sitting them and they learned so much, especially about good sportsmanship.  We had a nice visit, even though it went on till pretty late.

It's almost midnight now, and I'm ready to hit the sack.  Lord willing I'll post more about our visit with family.  For now, all I can say is, good night.  

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Another Birthday Celebration

I think every mom remembers the day her babies were born.  God made it easy for me; He gave me 2 sweet children who share a birthday so my memories would be even more delightful.

Today my daughter A turns 25, and my son E turns 15.  I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that my baby is halfway through his teenage years, and my daughter has lived a quarter of a century.  Then again, I can't believe I've lived over half a century, but let's not focus on that.  Both of them were Christmas presents, but they are not twins.  They came 10 years apart.  I worried when my daughter was growing up that she would resent having to share her birthday with her brother, but she never did.  Her brother would tell the world the story of how he and his sister have the same birthday, so it was never an issue with him either.  I'm so glad; I didn't want my kids to be mad about having to share their birthday, and they've always been so mature and loving about it.  I really do have great kids.

I was in the dining room enjoying a cup of coffee when my son woke up.  There were birthday presents waiting for him on the kitchen counter, but he wouldn't open them until his sister and brother got up.  My daughter didn't take very long to follow.  She was a little less patient than her younger brother - she wanted to tear into her presents right away!  I had to issue a disclaimer before she opened my gift to her:  after we'd visited Ulta and I saw what makeup products she really liked, I went ahead and placed an order for them for her birthday.  I got her the Naked Eyeshadow Palette by Urban Decay and the Starter Kit by Bare Minerals in medium beige.  That was back in November.  In December, her dad took her to the mall so she could pick out her Christmas gifts because he didn't know what to get her.  He likes shopping at Macy's; she doesn't care for the clothes there, but she did know they have makeup, so she went to the Sephora section, where she asked her dad to get her the Naked 2 Basics palette.  She also got the consultant to color match her for Bare Minerals powder foundation, and asked her dad to get that for her, too.  The color the consultant matched her with was golden medium.  Her dad immediately complied, and she brought the products home for me to wrap for her.  I kept my cool and wrapped her gifts, knowing full well she would want to exchange whatever I'd gotten her that were duplicates.  The eyeshadow palette I'd bought her wasn't the same one but it was similar enough that I figured she wouldn't want it, and the Bare Minerals starter kit was definitely the wrong color so she wouldn't want to keep that either.  I thought about going to the store and exchanging it myself, but I started second guessing what she would want and if she would want to keep part of her present, so I left it alone.  I figured she could decide what she would keep and what she would exchange.  I told her as much before letting her open up her gift.  The gift bag contained several different items.  I'd gotten her some lip pencils/lip stains that came in the cutest dark purple clutch.  The colors are just what she likes, neutrals and reds.  She also found an Urban Decay eye lid primer and eye liner pencil which she loved.  Then she opened the box with the Naked palette.  Her smile went from big to gynormous.  She wanted that palette and had intended to get it for herself; now she didn't have to because Mama had gotten it for her.  Score!  Then she opened the Starter Kit.  We both agreed, there was no reason to keep it.  The products were either wrong, or she already had purchased them herself.  I told her she could take it to Ulta for an exchange, and she immediately started planning what she could get.  She also asked if we could go to the Bare Minerals store that we have locally, and I told her that we could, which made her even happier.  I felt so much better after that.

My son then opened his present from his sister:  a book with all kinds of trivia about his favorite show, Doctor Who.  He loved it!  Then he opened Mom's gift.  From the moment he knew his dad had bought him the Wii U for Christmas, all he kept asking for was the new Super Smash Brothers game.  Of course I was going to get it for him, but I also got him a Pacman game, and I wrapped both of them together, so when he picked up the package it didn't feel like a video game, it felt like a book.  He opened it and just about exploded when he saw he got the game he wanted so badly.  When R woke up he opened his gift: a set of pins based on the Pokemon video games.  What was funny, was that R put them inside a box of crackers and wrapped the box, so when E opened it he wondered why his brother was giving him crackers for his birthday!  Once he realized it couldn't be crackers, he found the pins and was absolutely surprised and excited!  His sister opened her present from R next.  It was a video game called Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box.  She likes those sorts of solving games so it was perfect.

Their dad had called the day before inviting the whole family to breakfast.  He called bright and early to wish them a happy birthday and ask where they wanted to go.  Living in the South, the answer to that is easy:  Cracker Barrel.  I don't know of any other place in our area that makes down home Southern cooking in a casual country environment.  My daughter hung up and we started getting ready.  I wasn't enthused about going, but I'll do anything for my kids, so I got dressed and was putting on my makeup when my daughter said, "Dad just called; he's already at the restaurant waiting for us, and he says it's packed."  We had to quickly get ready so we could be there and try to find parking which he said took him forever to find.  As soon as we drove up into the parking lot, two cars pulled out.  No waiting for us!  Better yet, I parked the car, we got out, and my son got a call from his dad:  they'd just seated him.  He waited 40 minutes for the table, we waited nothing.  God's gift to my children!  We sat down and their dad gave them their presents:  A got a lovely pen and a Michael Kors bag, and E got new headphones and a coin bank with over $180 in it.  They both loved their gifts!  We were so glad that the service was fast and the food delicious - we were starving!  We had a really nice, relaxing time, for which I'm very grateful.

Once we got out of the restaurant, we went to the mall for our Bare Minerals excursion.  Our Bare Minerals store is in an outlet mall that's fairly large, so the boys could go look at stuff while the girls looked at makeup.  My son E is wanting to get a longboard so his brother took him to see some.  A and I went into the Bare Minerals store and had a field day!  They were having an incredible sale!  I'm not even joking, I got stuff so cheap I'm still pinching myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming!

The first item we saw when we walked in was the Hot List.

The original price on this kit was $49, and it had been reduced to $24.50.  At half price this was a good deal.

The 5-in-1 eyeshadow primer alone costs $18.  This kit brought a bronzer, eyeshadow duo, highlighter and lipstick as well.  I was thinking about it when the sales clerk said that everything on the tables in the aisle were 50% off the last sticker price.  I was like, Excuse Me?!  That meant all these products were just $12.25!  She said yes, and I immediately grabbed one and told my daughter she needed to do the same!  I then proceeded to go kind of nuts.

The Eye Color Trio contains two high shine eyeshadows and a small eyeliner.  The eyeshadows are on sale on the website for $9.50 each.  I got this set for $9.75.

The Finishing Touches kit brings a mini mascara, mini lip gloss and mini hydrating mineral veil.  I paid $4.75.  I've been wanting a hydrating mineral veil, and the rest is just bonus.  But the best was the last item I got.

This deluxe size original foundation is twice the size of a regular jar of product.  The regular size is $27.  The deluxe is normally $39.50, but they had it for $29.50.  My main intention for going to the Bare Minerals store was to get foundation, because the one I have is getting low (it was a small trial size).  I could get the regular size for $27, or pay $2.50 more and get double the amount, which should easily last me a year.  The decision was simple - I had to have this foundation!  Everything else I got was icing on the cake, and I couldn't be happier!  I have to admit, there were more things in my basket that I eventually put back because I realized I was getting carried away.  I'm thoroughly pleased with my purchases, though.  I think I got some great items at dirt cheap prices!

From there my daughter wanted to go to Old Navy, which was right by where the boys were.  Since it was her birthday I said okay, though I'm honestly not a huge fan of Old Navy.  I've found a couple of things there but most of the clothes are, in my opinion, a bit too young for me.  That quickly changed when I saw the cutest plaid pencil skirt in hunter green and dark blue, reduced from $29 to $17.  I also found a tank top that matched the green perfectly, for $3.99.  I tried the skirt on and couldn't believe how perfectly it fit - you'd have thought I was the model they used for it!  I can't wait to wear my new outfit tomorrow for church!

We came home after that because E wanted to have some time with his best friend CS.  CS is IV's son, and the boys have been close buddies for a couple of years.  My son wanted to play Super Smash Brothers with his best friend more than anything else on his birthday, so we got home as quick as we could so they could have some time together.  They laughed so much, I couldn't help but laugh with them, even though I don't have any idea what they were laughing about!  While they had their fun, my daughter played with all her new goodies and I folded and put away laundry.  Afterwards A, R and myself played the Logo Game.  It's a funny sort of trivia game and I knew R would enjoy it.

My daughter wanted to go to Ulta today to get her starter kit exchanged, but by the time we realized it, it was almost 6:00 and we hadn't even had dinner yet.  We decided to leave it for tomorrow and went to pick up dinner, and each got to pick what they wanted:  A wanted Chipotle and E wanted KFC.  I had Chipotle as well; I like their bowls.  The meat was spicy and the food was filling.  I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast so I was pretty hungry!

I think that's enough excitement for today.  I'm gonna get my makeup off and get my face exfoliated, then I'm gonna spend the rest of the night with my precious gifts, my kiddos.  I am so thankful to God each and every day for giving me such wonderful children.  I know I'm truly blessed.  Good night everyone.

Friday, December 26, 2014

364 More Days Till Next Christmas

Is it too early to start the countdown again?  I love Christmas, and it feels to me like this Christmas season was shorter than usual.  I guess it's because Thanksgiving was later.  Anyway, I still have my tree lit because it's too pretty to keep it in the dark.

And speaking of dark, I woke up to a gloomy day.  Looked like even the sky was sad that Christmas is over.  (But we don't need to stop celebrating Jesus.  We can celebrate His coming every single day of the year).  The day started in the mid 60's and cloudy, with a chance of rain in the air.  The cold weather we experienced in November has calmed, and our days have been pretty mild, though this week it's been warmer than usual. I sat down with my bowl of cereal and coffee, and my mountain of pills.  (Well, not really a mountain, more like a small hill.  There are no mountains in Florida ;-)). I take One A Day Vitamins for Women because they have iron, which I need because I tend to become anemic very easily.  I've tried taking just iron but it causes severe pains in my kidneys and legs.  I do eat pretty healthy and make sure I get iron from foods, but apparently it isn't enough, or my body doesn't absorb enough.  If I have too much iron it's bad, and if I don't have enough it's also bad.  My doctor recommended taking the iron with a vitamin supplement, and that seems to be working well for me.  I also take 2 Omega-3 pills per my eye doctor's instructions.  I suffer from dry eyes, which is why I wear glasses and not contact lenses.  I tried contacts for years but my eyes ended up burning by the end of the day and no amount of eye drops would sooth them.  Turns out it's because of the dry eyes.  I can take prescription meds, or I can take omega-3 fatty acids.  My eye doctor explained that dry eyes is caused by insufficient oil in the eyes.  Omega-3's replace the oils that are missing.  Taking Omega-3 has helped greatly, though I'm sure if I took more it would be even better.  Honestly, I forget to take one at night.  I also take additional vitamin C per my doctor's instructions.  The multi-vitamin I take contains vitamin C, but I take 500 mg more because I'm prone to bronchitis whenever I get a cold, which leads to asthma and could lead to pneumonia.  To help boost my immune system I take the extra vitamin C, and it really has helped me a lot.  The last pill I take is Allegra for my allergies.  I've tried other maintenance medicine but for me and my family Allegra works better than any of the others.  E was on prescription medication for his allergies, and it didn't work as well as Allegra which is an otc medication.  That's not to say the other medicines aren't good; each person's body and metabolism are different, and what works for me may not work for everyone.  I had tried Claritin, Zyrtec, and some others, with disappointing results.  A friend who has severe allergies recommended Allegra because it works so well for her.  I'm thankful to God that she did; it has worked wonders for my family.  My advise to anyone would be, find what works for you.  Your needs are not the same as everyone else's.  We are individuals.  No "one size fits all".

My kids all slept in today, giving me a chance to do some clean-up.  Blog clean-up.  I was "following" some 57 blogs, many of which were inactive for 2 or more years.  I decided I wanted to start fresh.  There are some blogs I follow and enjoy reading whenever there's a post to be read.  I've kept those, and stop following the rest.  No offense to anyone, but if you're not blogging then there's no reason to follow, right?    

The kids were on their own for lunch.  That's because my best friend IV invited me to Ruby Tuesdays to celebrate her getting a new job.  She's been working through an agency for the past year and a half while she looked for permanent work.  She's a pharmacist with plenty of experience, but thanks to Obamacare she lost her job at Walgreens and has been job hunting ever since.  Pharmacy costs have gone up because of the government healthcare and many have lost jobs; the entire department where she was working was either let go or relocated.  It has been really difficult for her, especially because she has health issues; IV suffers from multiple sclerosis and can't be on her feet for extended periods of time.  This new job calls for lots of phone work which she can do sitting down, and that's a great blessing.  I'm glad we were able to have some girl time, talking, thanking God for His goodness, brainstorming ways to help the youth in our church, and looking for ways in which we can serve our great and wonderful God.  I currently serve in children's ministry, but IV has served in youth ministry a few times.  She wants to be more involved now that financial woes have caused us to lose our youth pastor.  It takes a lot of work, but our kids are worth the effort.

When I got home I started munching on the chocolate cookies my neighbor dropped off yesterday.  Ya'll, I need to get a grip, otherwise I'm gonna gain back the 5 pounds I worked so hard to lose, and then some!

Today was also laundry day.  I usually do a load on Thursdays, but not when Thursday is also Christmas Day.  We all need a break sometimes, and holidays are not for washing clothes.  Two large loads, one dark and one lights.  How do four people dirty so much clothing?!

One of the games the Wii U consoles the boys got for Christmas brought was NintendoLand.  My oldest son was showing it to me.  It's like a giant Nintendo amusement park, and every attraction is a game.  He asked if I wanted to play one of the games.  I gave him "the look".  He knows perfectly well I'm terrible at video games.  As a matter of fact, the only times my kids have asked me to play a video game is when they want a laugh, because that's how bad I play.  R insisted it would be easy enough that even I could play.  Hmm, yeah, okay.  He had me play Yoshi's Fruit Cart.  I actually did pretty good; I got 429 points.  Considering he got 445 on his first try, I would say that was a success.  I gotta say, I'm quite impressed with my new-found abilities.

I gotta be honest.  The rest of the day I pretty much vegged.  I wasn't feeling like my usual self today; the ladies will understand what I mean :P.  My daughter picked up Dominos pizza for dinner (yuck, one of my least favorites) and I watched some videos while soothing my back with a heating pad.  After my shower I tidied up the kitchen.  Once I'm done with this post I'm gonna put some clothes in the dryer, then just veg some more.  Tomorrow is a very important day:  my two youngest babies will be celebrating their birthdays, and I need to be feeling my best.  So, good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite.  God bless.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry CHRISTmas!!

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Galatians 4:4-5

The day is finally here, and what a lovely day it is.  Weather in the low 70's, overcast and breezy but not rainy, a tad humid but not too bad.  I love living in Florida!

Despite having gone to bed at almost 2 am, I was awake at 6:30.  Granted, I napped on and off from 11:30 till 1 am, but I think my body is on a clock that can't be adjusted.  I didn't mind, though; who can be upset about waking up early Christmas morning?!  I got washed up, then woke my little monkey up.  I laughed at the fact that it was 7 am and he was still asleep.  When I asked him why he was so different from other kids that wake up early, he shot up and said, "That's right, it's Christmas!"  His siblings were already up so we got started opening presents right away.  I definitely wanted to do this before their dad showed up.  Christmas is something I don't want to share with him, at least not right now.  Their father cares too much about the financial aspect of a gift; a present that isn't expensive is not a good present.  I'm very different.  I look for things that I know people will enjoy, regardless of the price.  If I find a nice shirt for my son and it only costs $7.00, I will still get it because it's something I know my son will like or that he needs.  His dad would be appalled at wearing something worth so little.  It takes all the fun and joy out of exchanging gifts if someone is constantly asking, "How much did that cost?" or "What did you pay for that?"  Even stores matter to him.  He won't wear something from Kohl's because his clothes have to come from Macy's or JC Penney.  I don't want my gifts to be looked down on, or my kids thinking their gifts aren't good enough.  So we opened our presents and enjoyed seeing what we all got.  My oldest son R got us all these really cute pillows that look like books.  He gave E a Treasure Island pillow, his sister got Alice In Wonderland, and I got my favorite book since I was a teenager, Sherlock Holmes.  It was such a cool gift!  He also gave me a cookbook, Ree Drummond's A Year Of Holidays, with all kinds of holiday recipes.  She is a favorite of mine, so I could not be happier!  I got 2 DVD's from my daughter, Annie Claus Is Coming To Town which is a super cute (sappy) Christmas movie that I totally love, and a collection of Disney's Herbie movies.  My youngest son gave me another movie I've been wanting for a while, Mom's Night Out on blu-ray.  It is one of the funniest movies I've seen, I highly recommend it!  Of course there was all the makeup I got from Bare Escentuals that I didn't have to pay for, which made for an even brighter Christmas!  My kids also liked their gifts, which was a combination of video games, board games and clothes.  Then I went to the kitchen to start making breakfast while they called their dad to come open presents as well.  As I made buttermilk pancakes and crispy bacon, my kids opened some very nice gifts from their father:  each of the boys got a Wii U console with games, and my daughter got clothes and makeup that she really wanted.  When it came to them giving him his gifts, it was clear what his favorite was.  R bought his dad a high-end pillow, made with Egyptian cotton, hypoallergenic, original price of $80 that he scored on Cyber Monday for $25.  A got him some Nautica perfume which he liked as well.  As for the facial products, he didn't seem impressed.  I don't think he realized what these products cost, but I didn't make a big deal about it.  It's Christmas, and I wanted to enjoy the day, not be upset by people I can't change.

After that I spent a whole lot of time getting the house back in order.  I make sure we have a couple of trash bags to throw away all the discarded wrapping paper, but I always keep the boxes, bags, gift tags and tissue paper.  Reduce-reuse-recycle!  I don't recycle the wrapping paper because it's hard to reuse once it's been cut and taped and the kids rip into it, but I keep everything else.  The tissue paper is the trickiest, making sure it's folded properly and not torn.  I filled up a bag with reusable tissue, then packed everything away in the closet.  There was plenty more to pick up and put away, too.  My son E was overwhelmed with the amount of clothes he got:  there were 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of sweatpants, and 11 new shirts in different styles and colors.  You must understand, my son likes to wear the same 3 or 4 shirts ALL THE TIME.  It drives me nuts!  He has a closet full of shirts that he doesn't wear because either they don't fit him the way he likes, or don't fit him at all, or they have some kind of design he doesn't like.  His dad had bought him lots of Ecko Limited t-shirts but he doesn't like the bold designs on them.  This time all the shirts are plain round or v-neck tees, but it was so many he was sure he'd never get to wear any of them.  His older brother had a talk with him, and told him it was important that he make the effort to wear them, otherwise he would appear ungrateful.  He gave in and put on a dark grey shirt which looked really nice.  I'm hoping that once he gets used to the idea of having lots of nice clothes he won't feel like they're taking over his closet.  I did go in and pulled a bunch of shirts that he doesn't wear to take to Goodwill.  Once I'd done that the closet appeared empty, making it seem like there weren't that many new clothes after all.  I don't know if he's fully convinced; my son is a creature of habit, and new things don't fall into his habitual behavior.  As I told my daughter, he definitely isn't a girl.  Girls would love nothing more than to receive a boatload of clothes for Christmas!

I started lunch just after noon.  The turkey was done from the day before; all that was needed was some mashed potatoes and green beans.  My best friend IV stopped by as I was cooking, and brought a Christmas present for us:  tickets for Winter Jam next month, and tickets to see Chris Tomlin in February.  I know she spent way too much money on these and I told her so, but she loves going to concerts and loves for me to go too.  I've told her I can pay for my own tickets but she goes ahead and buys them before I have a chance to get them myself.  I'm gonna have to figure out a way to stop this; I don't want her to get into a financial bind because she's being too generous with her money.  I got her a simpler but much appreciated gift:  the newest Tim Hawkins DVD.  Tim Hawkins is the funniest comedian I've ever listened to, and because he's a Christian my whole family can listen and not worry about him saying anything crass, inappropriate or vulgar.  It's family friendly laughs, and I don't think anyone can resist a good laugh!  After lunch all I could hear throughout the whole house was my son E playing Wonderful 101 on his new Wii U.  His brother had set both up before going over to visit his best friend since high school.  Today is not only Christmas, it's his best friend's birthday, which makes the visit extra special.  

Another neighbor stopped by and brought us a tin of Belgian chocolate covered wafers and cookies.  Oh my word, these cookies are SOOO delicious!  I'm afraid I'm gonna put on the 5 pounds I've struggled so hard to lose!

I cleaned up the kitchen, then sat down to watch Annie Claus Comes To Town.  I love sweet, romantic movies, and if they revolve around Christmas I love them even more!  Afterwards my kids wanted to play with their board games.  Even though it was just A and E because R had gone out, we still had fun playing The Logo Board Game and Say Anything.  I always get my kids board games for Christmas because we are board game lovers.  Board games, card games, word games, you name it, we play it.  What we won't do is play for money.  We compete fairly (no cheating allowed in my house), and we challenge each other.  Most importantly, we keep it fun.  

I've showered and moisturized, and now I'm going to relax with my new cookbook, researching new recipes that I want to try.  It's been a wonderful day, a day we celebrate because Jesus came to this earth over 2,000 years ago with the purpose of restoring our relationship with God.  Yes, my kids got me some nice gifts, and they are very happy with the presents they received, but ultimately the greatest gift of all is salvation through Jesus Christ.  I can live without anything, but I cannot live without Jesus.  We worship Him and praise Him, and we celebrate this momentous occasion, His birth.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas as well.  Good night now.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Day Before Christmas!

No more counting down days - it's hours away!  This month has been a whirlwind of activities and preparation, and now the big day is almost here!  I can feel the excitement in the air!

My day started off differently than I'd anticipated.  Which doesn't surprise me anymore.  I've come to accept the fact that I'm not really in control (though it hasn't yet stopped me from trying).  Last night one of my sweet neighbors sent over a flan, a dessert that I absolutely love, and hers is especially yummy.  After dinner I had me a nice slice.  It was all creamy goodness as always.  I went to sleep at 11:00.  At 2:00 I was awake and feeling sick to my stomach.  How is it I forgot that I'm lactose intolerant?!  It's not like those issues go away with the holidays!  I was awake for about an hour feeling nauseous, then dozed off and dreamed about being nauseous.  I wanted to sleep in but that wasn't going to be possible.  My cousin called last night and asked if I would watch her kids till 10:00 am so she could go to a doctor's appointment.  She was dropping the kids off around 8:00 so I had to be up before they got here.  That was my first indication that the planned schedule was not going to go as planned.

I got up, got dressed, and started breakfast.  The kids got here as I was starting to watch a new video Shelbey put up.  I hadn't had my breakfast, and neither had they.  Good thing their mom brought them cereal because one of the kids has severe allergies, and all 3 of them are picky eaters.  She said she'd be back by 10:00 but I doubted that very much.  Even on Christmas Eve, when everyone should want to go home early, doctors never get you out on time.  I was right.  She picked them up closer to noon.  To top it off, two of the kids have colds, and the youngest (he's 5) was coughing up a lung and complaining of a headache.  He really wanted to play, especially since I'd given him his belated birthday present, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle golf game, but he just didn't feel well.  His sister (she's 8) was also coughing quite a bit.  The middle child (he's 7) is the one with the allergies.  I thought he would be calm today since he'd taken his allergy medicine in the morning, but instead he was more active and cranky than usual.  I'd told them I had a lot of things to do but they demand lots of attention.  I tidied up the one bathroom and that was about all I could do, other than preparing the stuffing for the turkey.  By the time they left I was exhausted, and there was still plenty to get done.

I managed to get the turkey into the oven at 12:40.  I use the Alton Brown method:  brine the turkey the night before, then roast in the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes (he does 500 degrees but that'll smoke up the house), then reduce to 325 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.  That would give me time to get myself ready for church.  Lunch was leftover stuffing and Tyson chicken tenders for me and my youngest son.  Both my older kids were at work; my daughter would be leaving directly from the office to the church service so neither would be home for lunch.  Something quick and simple was our best bet.

After lunch I showered and washed my hair.  I decided to do my makeup first, then blow dry and style my hair.  I'd just gotten my primer on when I heard something slam against the front door and Molly go berserk barking.  Who in the world was knocking that hard on the door?!  I went to see what was going on, and spotted a FedEx truck outside my door.  I wondered if it could be...but no, that wasn't possible.  It couldn't be my package from Bare Escentuals, because FedEx had already informed me yesterday that they didn't have the package.  "Surely it must be something R ordered," I thought.  I opened the door and the package was right in front.  I could not believe it.  It was my Bare Escentuals order.  The order I'd called about just the day before.  The package that FedEx supposedly never picked up.  The order that was cancelled and the charge reversed on my credit card, that was being duplicated at that very moment.  I opened the box to verify that I wasn't going crazy.  I wasn't.  My order was there, complete.  I immediately got on the phone and called Bare Escentuals to let them know my package had arrived and not to ship out the duplicate order, as it wasn't needed.  I asked for the lady I'd spoken to yesterday, but she's on another floor, so another lady asked if she could be of assistance.  I explained the whole situation to her, made it clear the error was on FedEx's part and not Bare Escentuals, and that they needn't ship out the second order.  There was a short pause, then the woman thanked me profusely for my honesty in letting them know that I had in fact received the first order.  I hadn't really thought about it, but FedEx never got a signature for the package they'd just delivered.  There was no proof the package had been received.  Of course that was something I couldn't do; I may be able to fool FedEx or Bare Escentuals, but I can't fool Jesus, and He's the one I answer to.  The woman put me on hold to figure out what could be done; she came back twice to let me know she was working on it.  Then she passed me through to the woman who had helped me yesterday.  When I told her that my package had arrived and that FedEx must have not scanned it (probably in the chaos of holiday shipments), she again thanked me for my honesty, told me she was so happy my order had arrived in time for Christmas, and since I had been so honest and patient through the whole thing, I was not going to be charged for the order.  Say What?!?!  This order totaled $116!  I had to ask again because I thought for sure I'd heard the wrong thing.  No no, there was no mistake.  Once the order was credited in their system it couldn't be rebilled, so this was their gift to me.  I was absolutely floored!  I proceeded to gush, not gonna lie, about their excellent customer service, their professionalism, and what a joy it was to deal with such an efficient company.  She was all gratitude and kindness.  I love the Bare Minerals line, the product is amazing, and after this experience I can say they have a customer for life!  Half the items in the package were products my daughter had ordered, and the other half were mine.  I got two gift bags out, separated and packed the products, then labeled each From: Bare Escentuals.  My daughter and I are both so thrilled to get this last minute Christmas gift!  I know it was a mix-up, but it wasn't Bare Escentuals mistake.  They had every right to bill me for the products, yet chose not to.  I know God had a hand in this, that this is a gift He is sending me, and my gratitude knows no bounds.  What a Christmas to remember!

Church service was beautiful.  Pastor Bob did a great job explaining the true Christmas story (with all the glory but none of the glam), and we rejoiced in seeing several people come forward on this special day to receive Christ as their Savior.  It never ceases to move me and bring tears to my eyes, knowing these people have made the best and most important decision of their lives, to follow Jesus and live for Him.  The service started at 5:00; it was so weird going in while it was still light outside, then coming out after service was done and it was dark.  It was pouring rain too.  It had been humid out when we first got there, but once the rain started the humidity shot up.  When I got home, I looked like I'd stuck my finger in an electric socket.  Ugh, frizzy hair!  I had to fix it as soon as I got home or else it would look like a something the cat coughed up for the rest of the week.   We're supposed to be getting more rain tomorrow as well.  Good thing we stay indoors for Christmas!

It was almost 7:00 when we got home, and E said his dad would be picking him up between 7 and 8, so I sliced up the turkey and got some stuffing for us to eat (since we were all starving).  The turkey turned out delicious.  Thanks again Alton Brown!  We watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special while we ate and talked; it was very relaxing.  E got a call from his dad, who was running late and wouldn't pick him up till 9.  So we started watching videos on youtube of "alternate" movie endings.  They were hilarious!  Finally his dad came to get him.  This is the sad part for me; we used to have big family Christmases, but that ended when J and I separated.  To be honest, I don't miss the gatherings.  Well, I should say, I don't miss what they've become.  When my older kids were little, getting the whole family together for Christmas was lots of fun.  There were a bunch of little kids, and we played games or watched movies or listened to music and danced.  We thoroughly enjoyed Christmas Eve and Christmas.  Then Christmas became a time of complaining.  My m-i-l is especially negative about anything and everything.  There never seemed to be anything good to say about anyone.  You could almost feel the joy being sucked out of the room.  I would try to change the subject but to no avail; I'd eventually end up in another part of the house watching television or chatting with someone, which got me the title of "anti-social" because I didn't want to join in on the complaint wagon.  That part of family Christmas I don't miss.  Having my son leave with his dad and not having him with me on Christmas Eve, that part I don't like.  But I understand that he wants to spend some time with his cousins (even though I know he would love staying home just as much).  My older kids don't go with their dad.  It's awkward for them to be around the family knowing they accept J's girlfriend.  These past 3 years have been difficult in that sense.  I am thankful to God that He has seen me through all the holidays and heartaches, and that He has given me peace. 

It's close to 11:00 now, and my internet is acting up. My son R is in his way home, and my youngest won't be here for a while. Besides, there'll be plenty to post about tomorrow! Good night, God bless, and Merry Christmas to all. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2 More Days - Happy Christmas Adam!

That's right, Christmas Adam.  You know, Adam came before Eve?  I'll let ya'll think about that for a minute.

I have a cute stuffed snowman on my bed, dressed up in overalls with a bag on his arm filled with snowballs that count down the days till Christmas.  Only I lost the last snowball, the one that has 2 on one side and 1 on the other.  Here he has been counting down the days since December 1st and he can't finish his job.  What a bummer.

Last night I downloaded a new app, Errands.  It's a to-do list to help me keep track of what needs to get done on a daily basis.  I had Any.Do for a while but it wasn't working properly.  Half the time it wouldn't let me put anything in that was too far in advance, it wouldn't repeat tasks, and sometimes would erase stuff.  I'm liking Errands so far, but since I just started using it yesterday I can't give it a proper review.  I'll see how I feel about it a week from now.  I was going through Facebook before going to sleep, and saw that Bare Escentuals has a contest/sweepstakes type deal going on, where someone can win free product, up to $575 worth.  I tried over and over to sign up but I guess there were too many people on the site, so I went in this morning and registered.  I told my daughter about it and she said, "Sign me up too!" so I did.

My day started with my trusty crock pot.  I knew I had outdoor work to do today, so I planned on jambalaya that I could set and forget.  It was in the pot cooking by 8:20 am.  I had my breakfast, 2 slices of bacon and some leftover cornbread with my coffee, then I made the brine for the turkey.  I decided to make a good sized turkey for Christmas Eve dinner that would carry over to Christmas Day because, who wants to be stuck in the kitchen on Christmas?  I like making a big breakfast on Christmas morning, pancakes or waffles, sausages, bacon, the works.  But I don't want to have to be in the kitchen roasting a turkey and making all the fixin's too.  I want to be able to sit back and watch The Christmas Story and Miracle on 34th Street and all the other classic Christmas movies with my kids.  Though I suspect they'll be busy with all their new goodies to be bothered with anything else.

So, lunch in the crock pot, brine on the stove, I got to work in the yard.  I haven't mowed the lawn in about a month.  It's been dry so there hasn't been a whole lot of growth, but the grass was starting to look messy and in need of a good trim.  In the summer, when the heat and humidity are at their highest, it will easily take me 90 minutes to mow the front and back yards.  Today, with the air so dry and a cool breeze blowing, it took an hour.  Instead of coming inside red as a tomato and drenched in sweat, I was covered in dirt that blew up from the ground, and I was pretty dry.  It was nice not having to fight with the lawn mower because the ground was soggy from the rain and humidity.  While I was at work in the front yard my neighbor's little girl came over and gave me the cutest Christmas card with a picture of herself inside.  She's 4 years old now, and just as sweet as they come.  Her grandma told me she was making out her Christmas cards and the little one told her, "Grandma, don't forget the neighbor!"  God bless her, she is a real doll.

Once I was done I came inside and showered.  There was still plenty that could be done, but my nose was not having it.  I take Allegra daily, and it has kept my allergies well under control, but even maintenance medicine can get overwhelmed when there are that many weeds and dryness in the air.  I figured I'd better play it safe and come back inside the house before a severe allergy attack came on.  As it was I was sneezing quite a bit.  My body was trying to get rid of all the allergens.

Yesterday I mentioned that I baked an orange streusel loaf for my daughter's coworkers.  She works at the church office where she attends church.  There is one other girl that works in the office, and all the rest are men.  Nine of them.  She says they attacked the cake.  I can't lie, it made me smile from ear to ear.  I am extremely gratified knowing I put some joy in their tummies ;-).

After my shower I had lunch, then vegged out for awhile.  I watched some videos on youtube, then my daughter and I watched The Biggest Loser on Hulu.  While I was having lunch, a package arrived for my son R from Think Geek.  He loves all the wacky stuff they sell.  When my daughter and I sat down to watch The Biggest Loser, we noticed a new present under the tree.  We were pretty intrigued; who was this for?  I got up to read what it said on the wrapping, and we both laughed:  "To R From R.  No, I don't have to justify buying myself a Christmas present."  My daughter and I both agreed that was a great idea, and we should do the same when our Bare Escentuals order came in.  I went to check the tracking number to see when it would be arriving.  I had received an email last Thursday stating it was shipping that day, but FedEx only showed that a label had been created.  I decided to call and find out if the error was at FedEx or at Bare Escentuals.  Let me just say, they have the nicest customer service people I have spoken to in a long time.  They were polite, helpful, and looking for ways to help me as best as they could, considering the shipping warehouse is not at the same location as their offices.  The lady thought it was very strange that I hadn't received this order, especially when a second order that I'd placed after this one had already been received.  She asked if I would be willing to call FedEx and find out if they had the package.  I agreed, and called FedEx.  Total contrast!  The customer service rep at FedEx literally yawned in my ear as she asked me my name.  How unprofessional is that?!  It annoys me when customer service reps are not at the top of their game.  So many people out of work would love that job!  Appreciate what you have!!  *Rant over*  The woman told me that they'd never received the package from the shipper, so I called Bare Escentuals back.  This time I was told that the label had been created but for some reason the package had not shipped.  Since I placed the order before the deadline I was guaranteed delivery by Christmas (I placed the order on 12/15, and I believe the deadline was either 12/16 or 12/18).  The woman promised to look into it, and have someone call me about having it shipped to receive by the 25th.  Within 20 minutes she called back, but unfortunately she didn't have good news.  She isn't all together sure if the package was picked up by FedEx and not scanned, or if it never got picked up.  The offices are in San Francisco, and the shipping warehouse is in Ohio.  The warehouse had already closed for the day so she couldn't contact them, and there was no way they could ship Wednesday and still receive the order on Christmas because FedEx is closed.  So we are looking at Friday or Saturday delivery, IF there isn't any weather problems.  I could have gotten mad, but what would that do?  It wouldn't get my order here any faster.  I told the girl we'd manage, and that it was alright, and she was so apologetic and grateful that I was being so understanding.

I've put the turkey in the brine and tidied up the kitchen.  My son R is at work, and my daughter A is at the Christmas Eve Eve church service.  There will be another service tomorrow which I plan to attend with my son E.  She has to attend both because of work.  To be perfectly honest, I have done nothing productive after calling Bare Escentuals.  I pretty much just lay around the house.  So really, there's nothing else to tell.  Tomorrow is a new day, an exciting and fun day, and we're all looking forward to it.  Good night and pleasant dreams.

Monday, December 22, 2014

3 Days Left

Last night I went to bed at 10:30 to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas DVD which is an all-time favorite.  I dozed off through most of it.  I finally gave in, turned the television off and went to sleep at 11:30.  At 1:00 am my son E wakes me up because he has a nosebleed.  No biggie, I thought, kids have them.  I told him to pinch his nose and it would stop.  After all, he's almost 15 years old, not a baby.  Within minutes I hear him in the bathroom saying, "Mom, it won't stop!  Ugh, what is this?!"  So I got up to see what was happening.  There was blood everywhere - on his clothes, on the floor, in the sink, on a hundred tissue papers.  It was a lot of blood, and he was freaking out, which only made the bleeding worse.  When I looked up at him I could see the blood gushing from his nose and I knew I had to take action.  I got a clean tissue and had him lie down, since he said he was feeling woozy.  I then pinched his nose myself.  He wasn't really pinching the part of the nose that was bleeding; he was holding his nostrils shut, so whenever he would let go all the blood would come rushing down.  I got him to calm down and kept the pressure on his nose for a good two minutes.  When he said he couldn't taste blood in his mouth anymore, I had him get washed up.  As he went back to bed it started up again, but not as heavy.  I pinched his nose again for another 2 minutes, and that time it did stop.  All along I kept telling him not to worry, calm down, everything was okay (though I was concerned seeing him in that state), and he would tell me he was fine.  Once the bleeding had stopped he admitted that he was pretty worked up and the amount of blood had scared him.  He asked that we pray, and I prayed for him to be healed and get rest.  He lay down and, even though he was still a bit worked up and headachy, went right to sleep.  Mama, on the other hand, was awake for another hour checking on him and making sure he wasn't bleeding anymore.  He woke up fine, praise the Lord.

So after that overnight adventure, I woke up at 7:00 in the morning because, when you're a morning person like me, there is no sleeping in.  I checked my little monkey and he was sleeping soundly, no more bleeding.  I went to the kitchen to make breakfast and realized I'd forgotten to take out the ground beef for today's chili.  I reminded myself repeatedly that I had to take the ground beef out, but I still forgot.  I put it in a pan with warm water to defrost, shaking my head at myself the whole time.  I kept breakfast simple today, cereal and toast.  I had decided yesterday that today I would update my iPhone to the newest version.  I still had version 7.1 on my phone because my daughter had insisted that upgrading my 4S would not be a good choice.  When I read all that the upgrade would fix I showed it to her and she agreed that I should update.  I had tried to back up my phone first, but my computer was so bogged down with unnecessary files that it wouldn't even recognize the phone connected to it.  That's when my son R cleaned up my computer and took all the junk out, making it super fast and efficient again.  At 8:30 am I plugged the phone into the computer to back up.  It couldn't; one of the files that my son disabled was needed to recognize my phone.  Thankfully my daughter was awake; she knows more iPhone stuff than I do.  She fixed the disabled file and the back up got done.  Then we tried to update.  Well, that wasn't happening because I didn't have enough space on my phone, so I had to start deleting stuff.  Ugh!  All in all, it took 2 1/2 hours to update, but at least that's one thing I can knock off my to-do list.  

After taking care of the phone, I got to work around the house.  I had all the laundry to fold and put away.  Right after that it was time to make lunch.  Along with the black bean and beef chili we had white rice and cornbread.  We all love chili, so I make a big pot, enough for lunch and dinner.  At least that's my goal.  We ran out of rice and chili, and there's less than half of the cornbread left.  I can't complain about no leftovers ;-).  While I ate lunch I watched a really old version of The Christmas Carol.  This one is with Reginald Owens.  It's in black and white.  While it isn't faithful to the actual book it's still a classic as far as I'm concerned, and it's one of those movies that I have to watch every Christmas season.

Then after lunch I ran to Winn-Dixie to buy a couple of things I needed to finish making cupcakes.  I thought I had vanilla pudding in the house, but it turns out all I had was chocolate.  I'd also run out of frosting, and you can't decorate cupcakes right without frosting.  So I ran over to the store, and for some reason I felt the need to go check the meat department for ground beef.  Good thing I did - I scored 2 packages of about a pound and a quarter each for under $3.00 per pound.  It's the meat that has to be sold or thrown out because of the sell-by date.  There's nothing wrong with the meat, but government regulations and all, they either get it sold or get rid of it.  I was so glad that God pushed me over to see that bargain - we never have enough ground beef in my house!

I baked 2 orange streusel loaves, one for my next door neighbors who are an older couple, and the other for my daughter's coworkers at the church office.  Then I baked chocolate cupcakes because, who doesn't love chocolate cupcakes ya'll?!  I was pleasantly surprised that I got 27 cupcakes out of the one batter I made.  It meant I could get 3 plates with 8 cupcakes each, and one left over for each of my kiddos.  It also meant I was able to take cupcakes to 9 homes with just 3 boxes of cake mix.  My son R had to work so once again it was A and E going to the neighbors with the goodies.  The first neighbors we went to see have lived here just over a year, and I have to admit I'd never met them.  I saw the wife recently going to her mailbox and saw that she was expecting.  So I knew a chocolate confection would be welcome :-).  Come to find out she'd had the baby just last week, a gorgeous little boy.  They're a young couple with another little boy who is about 3 years old.  They were so grateful and so nice!  We then went to the folks next door to them, who I've seen from afar but have never spoken to.  The husband was very surprised but also very thankful.  The third house was a little more intimidating.  The folks have lived there since we've been here, but they've always kept to themselves.  They have a daughter who is handicapped and in a wheelchair.  When we got to the door the husband seemed a bit bothered, like we were coming to ask for something or complain.  I think out of everyone we visited, he was the most surprised that we were bringing a gift.  He didn't even know where we lived, and they are literally two doors down from us.  It made me sad to think that we've lived here so many years and yet we don't know our neighbors, but at the same time I'm so glad that we showed kindness to those we don't know.  It was quite an eye-opener for me about how our culture has changed.  People used to be so much friendlier towards their neighbors, but now everyone is either too busy to be bothered or too distrusting.  I hope our neighbors will be more willing to reach out to one another with this small gesture.

My daughter has encouraged her little brother to work out on her Wii Fit.  I think it's good for him.  We haven't gone out this week, partly because A and I weren't feeling well, and partly because it's been so warm out.  E went to the park with his friend yesterday but he was home all day today, so Wii Fit it is.  Whatever works to keep him moving.

It's early still but all I'm gonna do now is shower and maybe watch a movie or something.  That's it for today (at least I hope it is; don't need another episode like last night).  The day is approaching - is everyone excited? :D  Yeah, me too!  Good night.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Countdown Continues...4 More Days

It's the last Sunday before Christmas.  A day of worship, reflection, relaxation...well, maybe not that last one.

Since I gave myself a manicure last night I couldn't do my hair, so I woke up early to get that done.  Early meaning 7:30 am.  Which for me isn't early, since I'm usually up by 6:30 - 7:00.  But it's Sunday, and I haven't been feeling my best.  Truth is, I woke up at 6:30 but didn't get out of bed till 7:30.  I showered and washed my hair, then went to the kitchen to get breakfast done.  All Sunday school classes were cancelled, and there was gonna be one big class at 9:45 am, which meant I had plenty of time, I guessed.  I was feeling slow this morning, and I noticed I was coughing a lot, but not the kind of cough like when you have a cold.  Coughing like when you're short of breath.  I sat down to eat my Eggo waffle, wheat toast with apple butter, sausages and coffee, while I watched Shelbey's latest video.  When I was done it was already 8:30 am and I hadn't dried my hair, done my makeup or finished getting dressed.  I woke my youngest son up and went to finish getting ready.  The coughing and shortness of breath continued, till I knew I wasn't going to get very far without my inhaler.  I don't suffer from severe asthma, but whenever I get a cold I have to be careful because it will quickly develop into bronchitis.  After I use the inhaler I get the shakes, which meant I had to kind of wait a bit before I could go out and drive to church, so we didn't go to Sunday school.  I think it's better that way; no reason for me to be spreading my undesirable germs.

I decided that, even if I didn't feel my best, I should look my best, and festive as well.  I wore a white button down blouse with a gold colored shimmery tank underneath, and a bright red skirt.  The skirt and tank top matched my manicure :-).  I did my eye makeup using the Dazzle set that I got this week, and added a gold toned eye primer.  It turned out really nice!  When I got to church I saw that I wasn't the only one who had decided to dress for the holiday - at least 85% of the women had on red tops, skirts or dresses.  We looked like we were part of a performance!   We sang Christmas songs, then Pastor taught on Luke 2:8-11, on the angels announcing the birth of Christ.  He explained that the original Christmas message was one of "good tidings of great joy".  It had nothing to do with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, money, stress, family feuds, or any of the negativity that is so prominent in today's Christmas celebrations.  It was about having great joy because God sent the greatest gift of all, His Son Jesus.  It's not to say that giving gifts and having family meals is wrong; we have just misplaced our priority.  We were challenged to focus on the joy of the season this year, even with the few days before Christmas that are left.  It was such an inspiring sermon.  A great way to start Christmas week.

I was feeling a bit better by the time I got home.  Not great, but better.  Well enough to start my baking right after lunch.  Each year I give my neighbors baked goods for Christmas.  Whether it's cake or cookies, they know to expect something from me.  Problem is, I've started late this year because of homeschooling.  I meant to start right after my birthday; that was a week ago.  I decided my best bet to get everything done in a short amount of time would be cupcakes.  I use Duncan Hines cake mixes, and I can get 24 cupcakes from one package.  I would be able to get cupcakes to all my neighbors who have kids with just a couple of packages.  I went with confetti and devil's food flavors because kids love sprinkles and chocolate, and because the only frostings I have are vanilla with sprinkles and chocolate.  That made my choices a bit limited.

I also did laundry.  My oldest son is off today but he works the next three days, so I figured I'd get all his uniforms cleaned today and not have to think about it.  My daughter will be working at the church this week but not tutoring.  The tutoring school has the same schedule as public school, so when public school is out she is off, except in the summer when there's summer school.  She is so happy to have some time off!  My youngest son hasn't finished his PE assignment, but since it isn't really due until January 18, and he has so much of it done already, I'm not concerned.  I may have him do it next week if he's bored, or maybe the beginning of this week.  I'll play it by ear.  Thursday is Christmas and Saturday is his birthday so I can't bog him down with schoolwork on those days.  Goodness, what kind of mother would I be if I did?!

I remembered I had promised pictures of the products I'd received from Bare Escentuals.  So I got out my trusty Canon, set up my makeup, started taking pictures...and the battery on my camera died :P.  I did get a few pictures so I'll give a little recap of these items.  I probably will wait until my other order arrives and do the rest then.

This is my Delight and Dazzle set.  I didn't keep the box; I should have, at least till I'd taken the pictures, but I was trying to get the house cleaned up for the party and I didn't want stray boxes lying around.  On the right is the Delight set, with peach tones appropriate for daytime.  On the left is the Dazzle set with darker evening colors.  The Dazzle set eyeshadow is called Tantalize and it's a charcoal brown color.  I used it in the outer corner of my eye and it is really pretty.  I've used both sets and like both looks, though I think I'm partial to Dazzle.

The Pretty Wild set is stunning.  I think it's appropriate for both day or night, but probably nighttime more.  The box looks like a book.  When you open it up... has the makeup and a little tutorial.  The eyeshadows are both matte; one is lavender and the other is a mossy green shade.  You wouldn't think these colors would look good together but they absolutely do!  The blush is a highly pigmented pink - a little goes a long way.  The mascara is blue-black.  I have to be honest, I was not impressed with the mascara.  I don't know if it's the blue hue or if maybe the mascara is dry, but I didn't like the way it looked.  The lip gloss, on the other hand, is my favorite part of this set.  It's like a cranberry color that is so beautiful!  I kept this one in the box because the box is really cute.  I was also trying to show off my manicure - unique, huh?

The last kit I was able to get a picture of before the battery on my camera died was the Complexion Superstars.  This set is worth way more than the $22 I paid for it.

The box is silver on the outside and hot pink on the inside, but that's not what's important.  It's why everything is still in the box, because the box is pretty ;-).  What's great is what's inside.  There's a Warmth (bronzer) in medium, which for Warmth is a good size since you only need a little to get a fabulous color.  Then there's Golden Gate, a warm apricot blush which I haven't tried yet.  There's Clear Radiance, a pink highlighter/luminizer with a pink undertone.  Last there are 2 mineral veils, one original and one Illuminating which has some shimmer to it.  I already have the original mineral veil, which is a finishing powder, and since I love it I'm only too glad to have extra.  I tried the Illuminating mineral veil, and it gives a hint of luminosity, not anything overpowering which is good.  Of all the things in this set I think I like Warmth the best.  Oh, it also brings a mini flawless face brush; I already have one but these brushes are great so having an extra one is a bonus.  I use my other mini flawless face brush for under-eye concealing.  I feel like it works better than using a small concealer brush.  My concealer brush is great too, but for under my eyes I like a slightly larger brush.

Okay, back to cupcake delivery.  I was able to get 50 cupcakes from the two cake mixes.  I separated them by 8 per house which meant I'd have enough for 6 of my neighbors, and one cupcake each for my son E and my daughter.  I went to my usual neighbors who were thrilled to get baked goods.  Then we went to the house on the corner.  The folks there moved in this year.  I've seen the husband many times; he has done an incredible job fixing up the house.  The wife I've seen from afar a couple of times.  I told my kids I wanted to take cupcakes to them.  They were a little wary; after all, we don't really know them.  But like I told them, we didn't know our other neighbors at first either.  We had to make the effort to meet them.  The wife came to the door and was so surprised - she was expecting company and met with us instead!  The look on her face spoke volumes.  She was so grateful for us bringing a gift and wishing them Merry Christmas.  Like I told my kids, it used to be common and normal to visit new neighbors and welcome them into the neighborhood, but it doesn't happen as often anymore.  I'm glad God moved in my heart to bring them some Christmas cheer.

I'm gonna sleep well tonight knowing that I brought a smile to the faces of my neighbors.  I thank God for them; we are blessed to live in a great neighborhood with such nice people.  I'm also gonna fall asleep with the Frozen soundtrack running through my head thanks to my daughter ;-).  Good night ya'll.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's Just 5 Days Till Christmas...

...and all through the house, no more creatures were stirring, 'cause they left last night at 11:00 after having a great time of food and fellowship.  I'm so grateful to God for the wonderful people He has placed in our lives.

Yesterday when I left off I was leaving to get pizzas.  I picked them up quickly - it was Little Caesar's pizza, and we'd called ahead to let them know we needed 3 pepperoni and 2 cheese pizzas.  My daughter had picked up her birthday cake, an exquisite creation by a lady at church whom we call the Real Cake Boss.  It was a square cake made to look like a Christmas present, covered in white frosting with a snowflake design, and a green velvet ribbon made of fondant.  The cake itself was red velvet with a cookie dough filling and covered in a chocolate ganache.  It was truly a piece of art.   Along with that there was the Christmas bark and reindeer chow (think Chex Mix but covered in powdered and peppermint sugar), a hot buffalo chicken dip with tortilla chips, and a hot chocolate bar.   It was 7:00, the guests were to arrive at 7:30, and we were ready for them.

My daughter was starting to get nervous when a few people called or texted saying they weren't going to be able to make it, or might not get here till late.  Thankfully people started arriving at 7:40 and we had a steady flow of folks coming in till 9:00.  Everyone went absolutely bonkers over her buffalo chicken dip!  I kind of laughed at the fact that everyone was congregated around the crock pot sneaking more and more of it!  Her friend bought a huge tray of sugar cookies shaped like snowflakes that were beautiful as well as delicious.  Everyone loved the idea of the hot chocolate bar, even though we associate hot chocolate with cold weather, and our weather the last 3 days has been anything but cold.  Our temps have gotten close to the 80 degree mark, and while the humidity has still been low, the sky has been cloudless and the sun makes the day feel nice and toasty.  Still, it was so yummy, and who can resist hot chocolate at Christmastime?  A few even went back for seconds!  My daughter had planned on having food, cake, and board games, but everyone was chatting and laughing, and before we knew it folks were leaving because it was 11:00 at night.  Many of her friends are couples with young children, and Mama and Daddy had to go home.  Everyone had a really good time, and I'm so thankful that they showered my little girl with love and affection.  God was glorified as we thanked Him for her life and her example in the lives of others.

So, on to today.  I got up feeling more tired than usual.  I figured it was because we went to bed so late, after having to clean up and put things away.  My son R left for work, A went to get her hair cut, and I had a small breakfast.  I needed to get ready for grocery shopping day, and I wasn't looking forward to it.  It's 5 days till Christmas, and I knew Walmart would most likely be a mad house.  I hate crowded stores, and I felt drained just thinking about it.  A got back before I was ready and volunteered to go with me, which was good because I didn't feel like going alone.  E stayed at home; he hates shopping anytime, even if it's for himself.  We went to Walmart and yes, it was pretty packed.  Since I had my list we went down the aisles getting everything we needed.  We were almost done - I just needed to get my shampoo and some ice cream, which I always leave for last so it doesn't melt in the shopping cart.  A told me she needed to use the rest room, so I went to get my shampoo.  I was looking for a specific one, the Argan Oil and Shea Butter shampoo by OGX which doesn't contain sulfates.  I like that fact, because sulfates tend to dull colored hair.  This one is especially good for hair that gets straightened a lot because it's hydrating.  Well, of course they only had the conditioner, which I didn't need :P.  I settled instead for the Moroccan Argan Creme shampoo which is similar, and I was about to head on over to the ice cream, when my daughter called me on my cell phone.  "Come over to aisle 20 quick, there's no one on line!"  I was ready to run everyone over just to get there!  One gentleman was ahead of me with 2 items, that was it.  At Walmart during Christmas, that's unheard of!  My daughter went to get the ice cream and we got out of there in no time.  God certainly favored me because He knew I wanted to be there as much as I could ever want a toothache!

From there we headed to Costco to pick up a few things and to get gas.  I was shocked to see gas prices have gone down to $2.39/gallon.  I can't remember when it was that low!  It was costing me an average of $55 to fill up my tank; today I paid less that $40.  Praise The Lord!!  Costco was also packed to the gills, but they always have plenty of workers helping folks so we didn't take very long.  I still had to go to Publix for the turkey, but we decided to go home and eat first.  I felt weak, and since all I'd eaten for breakfast were 2 slices of wheat toast with apple butter I thought for sure I was just hungry.  We came home and I ate a couple of slices of cheese pizza from last night, but I still felt tired.  My head was also hurting a bit.  It was hurting at Walmart but I'd imagined it was from being in the packed store, except I was sneezing more than usual.  I finally had to accept that I'm coming down with something.  My throat is kind of scratchy, my sinuses are a bit inflamed, and of course my daughter is feeling the same way.  Whether she picked it up at her tutoring job and brought it home, or someone from the party last night did, we can't say.  All I know is, I've gotta bump up my vitamin C intake because no one wants to be sick Christmas week.

While I was getting my lunch, my daughter suggested we watch a Christmas movie.  Her suggestion:  Elf.  Now I'll be the first to tell you, I don't care for Will Farrell as an actor.  I find his roles to be either corny or downright stupid.  But I have to admit, Elf really is a cute movie.  Maybe because it's a Christmas flick, and that's my favorite movie genre.  I was only too happy to accept her suggestion, and sit down for a while before continuing with my day.

There was one thing left to do before I left for Publix, and that was wash all the bedding.  My daughter helped me get all the dirty bedding off and all the new bedding on all the beds, and I threw that in the wash before leaving.  A wanted to go with me again, so we went and picked up a 13 pound turkey, some cake mixes and hummus that was on sale.  My daughter went ahead and paid for it (yay!), so my total food bill for this week's shopping trips was $311.01.  That doesn't include yesterday's pizzas, since that was a gift to my daughter.  I try to stay around $300 for my food bill every 2 weeks, but since I went under budget during my last shopping trip I feel like I did pretty good.  It also helps that my gas bill was lower than usual.  All in all a good shopping trip.

Dinner tonight:  yep, you got it, leftover pizza.  I'm really not feeling my best, and I had no desire to be in the kitchen making anything.  Thankfully my kids can eat pizza 24/7/365 and not get tired of it.  I did my mani-pedi today, which I desperately needed.  Keeping with the Christmas theme, I did my nails in a bright candy-apple red, except for my ring fingers which are gold with some shimmer.  I feel like my nails look festive!  It was also exfoliation day, and I was really excited to get my face super cleaned so I could use my new Bare Minerals products.  I did use them yesterday; I'm not gonna lie, I couldn't wait.  The eye reviver isn't an eye cream, it's an eye powder that gets patted under the eye to brighten.  It can be used at any time of the day, but since it's a small tube I decided I'd only use it with my evening routine.  The glow pads really do give my face a healthy glow.  I used one before the extra firming neck cream, which I also used on my face.  After using these products last night I wondered if my face would be greasy in the morning, since the extra firming neck cream is pretty thick.  I was very pleasantly surprised to see that my skin looked firmer and the lines on my forehead seemed to have disappeared!  That's why I was so excited to use these skin treatments again on my exfoliated skin.  Oh!  I have to mention that I got more samples of the Active Cell Renewal Night Serum.  This stuff is fabulous!  I put it on under my moisturizer at night and in the morning my face feels so soft.  I'm glad they sent the samples, because the actual serum is $50 for 1 fl. oz.  While I'm sure many could argue it's worth the price, I just can't be spending that kind of money right now.

My son got home from work at 6:30, changed out of his work clothes and headed out the door again.  My daughter is at her 2nd job's Christmas party.  My youngest son is in the shower getting ready for bed, and I think I'll be headed in that direction too.  I took my vitamin C, and I think what my body needs now is rest.  I'll be praying I don't get sick.  I had bronchitis just last September, and I don't want that to happen again.  The countdown continues!  Good night.