Thursday, December 26, 2013

Deep Thoughts with Leslie Moon

I have enjoyed reading memories of Christmases gone by on fellow bloggers sites and tried to think of a fantastic memory that I could write about. Keeping up with the Joneses? Or the Barbs, Als or Chrises? Maybe. Nonetheless, I couldn't think of anything that would make a worthy post. Sure, I have good memories like when my brother and I got bikes, when dad would take us out back to chop down a cedar tree or the year my brother and I peeked and then meticulously retaped all the packages.  We always had wonderful Christmases but I just don't look back and think, wow, that year was a game changer!  So, instead, I have decided to share my thoughts over the last 24 hours. You're welcome. 

1. My family is weird, crazy and far from perfect but we love each other and we make it work!

2. Everyone needs an Aunt Betty. See, Aunt Betty is a crafting genius and has coined "craft time" as a family tradition. Yesterday, the kids (and some of the adults!) made these:
Excuse the crappy iphoneography, but they are key creatures! 

3. Great Scott, I need to go on a diet.

4. I'm so glad our family does Mexican food instead of the traditional dinner.  See I told you we are weird!

5. Oh crap, now I have to take the tree down and put it away.

6. I don't ever want to not shop for gifts for my kids again!  I had no idea how much I would miss watching them open their gifts.

7. In all of our blessings, abundance of food and warmth of our homes, I thought of those who didn't have all those things, the soldiers far from their families and those who have never considered the significance of Christmas and I felt sad. 

8. In addition to #7, I felt an extreme level of thankfulness wash over me. 

9. I missed my dad. I haven't seen him in over 11 years.  He lives all the way across the country. 

10. Wow, it came and went so quickly! 

Here they are with their "stockings" and a gift from Nana. 

Hope you all had a very Merry and blessed Christmas and enjoyed this installment of "Deep Thoughts."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fly the Coup

The other day I took some fruit and veggie scraps out to our chickens. They are kind of like pigs in that they will eat relatively anything.  

I dumped the scrap pan and latched the door to the laying house and went back inside.  Having been sick for a few days, I found my spot on the couch, curled up under a blanket and began taking in a Christmas movie. Hubs, being the wonderful man he is, came home to check on me (and find food) during lunch. I was surprised when he busted through the door and immediately noticed the look of concern on his face. Here was our conversation:

Him: Uh babe, did you know the chickens are all over the yard?
Me: NO!! I latched the door!

That was it. Short and sweet. I peeled my sick rear off the couch, put on some boots and headed outside to round up hens. Shockingly, the dogs didn't eat them. Once an animal gets a taste for chicken, you can't keep them out of the coup. I mean, that's what happened to me. Someone put a plate of hot wings in front of me and I have been a chicken eater since then!

We only found 3 of the 5 chickens.  Either there are a couple very happy, free birds out there or they made some wild animal a very nice dinner.  

Happiest Vacation on Earth??

The boy clearly thinks this is the happiest place on earth!  And yes, the girl is wearing a KC Royals shirt.  Ohh the abuse!
As previously stated, we decided as a family, in lieu of Christmas and birthday presents this year, we would just go on vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. The company I worked for offered great airline discounts for Southwest so I booked for round trip tickets. I was also able to purchase discount tickets to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure! Eat your heart out full price ticket vendors.  On top of my bargains, a close family friend allowed us to book her Timeshare resort for a fraction of the price of any other lodging options.  This was shaping up to be the BEST vacation ever! There was one catch with the airline; we had to fly standby. 

I did heavy research on flying standby before booking the tickets and talked to co-workers who had flown this way.  I heard all positive reviews!  We purposely picked the last week in September knowing that air traffic would be down due to school being back in session.  The only travelers we had to compete with were business flyers.  We followed all the rules.  We meticulously packed all liquids in 3oz containers, we arrived an hour early to go through security and we even followed the ridiculous business casual dress code only to find out the flight was completely full.  There had never, in the history of its opening, ever been a completely full flight (that I'm aware of anyway) out of Branson Regional airport. EVER.  Yet today, there was. The associate working the boarding counter informed us that she could get one of us to Dallas, but the rest would have to wait until the next day. Um, thanks, but no thanks.  The only reason for a full flight that I could think of is "One Hit Wonder Day."  There was no other explanation.

Hellbent on getting to Orlando and not ruining our vacation, we decided to drive.  We rushed home, grabbed the Garmin, some pillows and changed into appropriate road trip clothing and headed out.  We stopped in Troy, AL at 1 a.m. and paid $135 for 5 hours of sleep.  What a bargain.  Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we headed out at 6 a.m. only to find that we could have stayed five miles down the road at Americas Best Inn for $54.  Par for the course at this point!

After about 15 hours total in the car, the backseat looked like this:

The kids had all the essentials: Mt. Dew, sunglasses and Steak & Shake (you're welcome Steak & Shake for the free advertising). Three more hours went by and I started seeing signs on the interstate indicating that we were very close.  We arrived at the resort at 6 p.m. to a luxurious, clean, spacious room.  Thank goodness because if it had been a dump, I would have had a nervous breakdown right then and there! Since we had to drive we lost a day of theme park fun, but we took full advantage of four full days in a different park each day.  It was not the happiest place on earth 100% of the time.  There were tears, overpriced Minnie Mouse ears and rude tourists but all in all, I wouldn't trade our vacation for anything.  So, here it is in pictures, in no particular order:

Here we are being all touristy.  What you don't see is the lady I cropped out that had red on from head to toe.  She looked like a giant tomato. 
First ride: the trolley!  Oh the excitement on the boy's face.

Ralph & Vanellope
Star Trek 3D.  Girl child comes in peace.
We found the Delorean! 
Buzz Saw falls at Islands of Adventure.  Girl child loved this ride but was terrified of the Monorail at Magic Kingdom??
Eat my shorts children!
We came, we saw Mickey, we conquered, we went home. 

Best.vacation.ever!  There was one thing this vacation was not, and that was relaxing.  If you are looking for relaxation, Disney is NOT the place for you!  Much to my dismay, you also will not find a dollar menu.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hail Storm

First of all, I must thank my bloggy friend, Al Penwasser for giving me a shout out on his blog.  He is one of my favorite bloggers and Penwasser Place was the first blog I added back to my reading list when I re-emerged into the blogger community.  For my new followers and visitors, welcome!  Look around and stay as long as you like.  Perhaps even sign up to follow me as I write about my new life as a stay at home mom and assistant to my real estate tycoon (okay, that's a slight exaggeration) husband, life in an EXTREMELY rural area and whatever else might cross my mind. Now, back to the regularly scheduled programming...

I saw something terribly horrifying yesterday while me and the fam where out and about looking for some insulated overalls for boy child.

The day started out rather well. Hubs had closed on a large commercial deal and we were out of the house after 7 straight snow days.

It was a little drizzly and a lot cold outside so not prime weather conditions but you take the good with the bad. We had to drop Granny off for a DR appointment that would last three hours so we had some time to kill. 

First, we had a fine dining experience at Taco Bell. Then, we perused the game selection at GameStop. Third, we picked up photo cards (which I have yet to get in the mail) from Wally World. All the while in search of insulated overalls.  Our search landed us at a local farm supply store that carries all the nicest brands in country apparel. So, I decided to try on some jeans. Bear with me, we are almost to the scary part. 

I went into the dressing room with two pair of jeans with high hopes. As I was shimmying the first pair up I caught a glimpse of someone else's legs in the dressing room. These legs hadn't seen squats or lunges in quite some time and were suffering from serious hail damage. I wasn't sure how someone snuck in the dressing room with me as I had locked the door behind me. That's when I locked eyes with the mystery woman - ME! Those were MY legs!!! I had to look again just to make sure. People always told me that once I hit thirty, it was all downhill. I didn't interpret that to mean that I would have an insta case of cellulite! I was horrified at what that full length mirror revealed. At least at home none of the mirrors go below my waist.  Ignorance truly is bliss sometimes.
Perhaps this is how said hail damage happened to my legs??
I did the only reasonable thing to do. I went straight home and did a series of chair squats, sumo squats, lunges, doggie leg lifts, donkey kicks, hip raises and planks.  Today, I have had a hard time walking and standing after a long sit down. Some might say I overdid it, but I say pain equals progress!!  If regular ole exercise doesn't do the trick, I'm sure this will do the trick:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bah Humbug

For whatever reason, this holiday season (unintentional rhyme; poet and didn't know it? oh never mind.) has seemed more rushed than ever.  Guess how many Christmas gifts hubs and I have purchased???

Nope, the answer isn't zero this time; its two! We bought the boy child some PJ pants and the girl child a PJ set.  They are going to be stoked; it's what every kids longs to see under the Christmas tree.  Hey, at least it's not socks and underwear!  We took the kids to Disney World, which as it turns out, isn't the happiest place on earth at all times but I will post on that later. The trip was our big family Christmas gift and the kids agreed that they would be fine with just getting stocking stuffers from us.  So, since I'm not shopping for my kids, I haven't really been able to get into the buying spirit.  What's worse is, the weatherman is predicting our next winter storm to arrive on December 21 or 22.  Fabulous.  This can only mean one thing: the Christmas present shopping extravaganza marathon must take place THIS WEEKEND!  With the impending ice storm of doom being forecasted, I'm just going to go ahead and assume every other Tom, Dick and Harry will also be making a mad Christmas gift buying dash this weekend too.
Again, fabulous. On the bright side, we did decide to draw names for hub's side of the family which means I only have to buy one adult gift since my family doesn't really exchange adult gifts.  Score!  All this bah humbug attitude against buying gifts doesn't mean I'm not excited about Christmas.  It is my favorite holiday.  I'm just sour over the commercialism of it all (Halloween costumes and Christmas trees on the same aisle??), or maybe its the hundreds of spam emails clogging up my inbox or the fact that I can't convince my husband to hang lights up on the house.  Okay, enough negativity!  Here's the things I LOVE about Christmas (yeah, yeah, I know...another list!):
1.  Celebrating the birth of Jesus - the only reason for the season.  And, the freedom to do so.
2.  Family
3.  Food!
4.  Christmas vacation - the movie and the time the kids get off school!
5.  Christmas music and programs
6.  The way people come together to help one another - Angel Tree, food baskets, etc
7.  Silver Dollar City.  Some people call this the Disney World of the Midwest.  They are lying BUT at Christmas time, its beautiful.  Lights everywhere, Christmas plays, a giant Christmas tree (that rivals times square) with lights set to the tune of all the best Christmas carols and the light parade.  It's a tradition of ours to go every year at this time.  It helps that we get free tickets from our family that work there.
8.  Hot chocolate, cider and baking
9.  Christmas candy
10. Watching the faces of the children in our family light up when opening their gifts.  
See, I'm not a complete Grinch!!  Here's to wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!   

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Snow Days of Winter

Much like the dog days of summer, they are the long, winter days where the weather is unbearable enough to keep you indoors for much of the day.  Did I mention winter hasn't even officially began?  We are on snow day #5 here and the kids are starting to get restless.  However, we have had quite a lot of fun sledding until our clothes were soaked through, making snow ice cream, having snowball fights and riding the four wheeler.  We have also baked brownies, cupcakes and fudge and make pumpkin cheesecake and frozen peanut butter pie!  The seams of my pants are begging me to stop!  I was able to snap some great photos of my kids in a rare, deep, Arkansas snow.  This is the deepest snow we have had since either of them was born.  About 8 inches!

I'm tossing around the idea of opening my own studio after the first of the year.  I have always loved photography and can remember torturing my brother who is 9 years younger than me by setting up make shift backdrops and taking picture of him with my Minnie Mouse 35mm camera! I have a lot to learn still and some equipment to buy.  Anyway, that's another post.

Today is just over a month of my being a stay-at-home mom and I can't believe how fast time is going.  I had this delusion that I would have an infinite amount of time on my hands after quitting my full time job to complete the hundreds of pinned Pinterest projects I have on my boards; complete the small, unfinished projects around the house and grow my blog into such an internet sensation (not the Miley Cyrus type internet sensation; I'm not that desperate for publicity) that people wouldn't be able to function without reading my next post. Guess how many Pinterest projects I have done.

That's right folks, ZERO! As for my blog, it goes neglected most times even though I love it so! I catch myself longing to write a post while I'm loading the dishwasher or making my grocery list.  And for the blogs I love to read, well I think about them too and how I would love to leave my two cents worth of comments because I know how much I love when people leave their two cents on my blog!  Oh well, enough whining already.  I mean, I can't complain about more quality time with my children, the ability to have dinner ready when my sugar daddy waltzes through the door after a long day's work and the comfort in knowing that my future has a lot of options.  So, I will continue to work on time management and hang onto the hope that Skip the Sugar will become an internet sensation!!  Well, I'm off to pin more projects...