Names have been changed to protect the innocent...and my husband...and me...but not the dog. His name is Dexter.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas From Our Chaos To Yours!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Favorite-Holiday Lights

This week, for the first time, our little family went to see the lights on Temple Square. In order to have the "full" experience, we took the train down.
Photo By Lolly
Photo By Babs

Favorite quotes from the night.....

Lolly, upon arriving at our destination, said, "Are we in South America now?"
Um, not quite.

On the train ride home Babs said, "Are we in space?"
Nope, not there either.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Recipe Swap Wednesday?

Yep it's Wednesday. Nope, I don't have a recipe. I'm working on a serious case of cooking/baking inferiority. A few weeks ago we were going to dinner at a good friends house and I was in charge of bringing a vegetable. Sounds simple, right? While we were at the store, I just about had a panic attack in the middle of the produce section because I just couldn't figure out what to take.

So today I am recipe-less. But tomorrow, if I can get my act together, I will have pictures from Temple Square. And my girls are WAY cuter than any dang recipe. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Lolly Is 5

My little Lolly girl turned 5 recently. There's nothing like a birthday to remind you of how fast the time flies by. **sigh**

Anyway, even though we don't really do much for holidays around here (ha ha) we go all out for birthdays. It's now a week long celebration. First of all the birthday girl gets to choose the dinners for the week before her birthday. I got that idea from the lovely Jessica of Duck Duck Cow. Lolly's choices included Chinese food, homemade Mac & Cheese, pizza and her favorite, Tomato Soup. From a can. Because I am an AWESOME cook.

We had her Princesses & Pirates birthday party a couple of days before her actual birthday. I was not kidding when I said her celebration lasted a week.

**Warning! I don't know what the deal is with all these pictures! They look fine on our computer, then we upload and they have lines and other issues. I can't figure it out! If anyone has figured it out PLEASE help me out!**

Some of the princesses at the party. The two youngest princesses opted out of this particular picture.
First we had a little craft action.
Then some Pin the Crown on the Princess.
Even CG got in on the action.
We had an ice cream buffet. Big Hit!
A little treasure hunt.
And then we were done. For that day....

Her actual birthday started out with the much anticipated Present Opening. Before getting our hair done, even.
Then off to preschool with cupcakes in hand. No pictures for that. You're welcome.

After school was a big event. The trip to Build A Bear Workshop compliments of Papa and Grandma Van.

Baby's First Build A Bear
Then to a play place. To play. And eat outrageously expensive pizza.
Home again to the Princess Birthday Cake.
Then off to bed for everyone. Especially the Mama.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tip Tuesday-The Gift of Giving

Yes, I know it's Wednesday, not Tuesday. Moving on.....

Today's tip is about giving. Honestly, I think there really is a lot of giving this time of year. But I do find that most of my giving energies are focused on my family. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I too get sucked into the "did I get them enough" mentality that is encouraged this time of year. And, really, I don't want it to be that way. I want to teach my girls that the best gift they can ever receive comes from giving. But they are still so young and that's a complex lesson to learn. Some adults still haven't learned it. I try my best to talk about what we can do to give, but talking about it and doing it are two totally different things.

Each year we usually set a certain amount that we want to spend and buy toys to donate to Toys for Tots. Last year, I was that crazy lady bawling at the front of our local Walmart as I put toys into the bin. This year we hadn't really talked about it, but last week as CG and I were walking into Walmart (again) I noticed a tree by the front door/customer service area. I walked up to it and saw that it was covered in paper ornaments. Each ornament on the tree had the information of a child in need....age, gender and Christmas request. So we decided to pick one and do it that night while we were there....sans children, thanks to CG's mom.

The ornament we picked said "1 year old girl, blankets". And my heart broke. How is it possible that in this great nation of ours there is a little girl that doesn't have enough blankets? It's a disgrace. And of course, I started crying. Because that is what I do. And I do it again every time I think about that little girl that I will never meet.

We bought her two blankets and a baby doll to snuggle. It was less than $15 and took maybe 5 minutes of our time. That's all. There are very few of us who can't spare a few dollars and minutes to help out the less fortunate. All we did was walk into the store, pick an ornament, fulfill a very simple request and drop it off on our way out. Now there is one less Christmas wish on that tree that needs to be filled. And we are one tiny step closer to the true meaning of Christmas.

**I've entered this post into a little writing contest over at the Service Soap Box which is a great place where ladies are using their Blog Force for good and not evil. So, head on over and see how you can do some good instead of, ya know, evil.**

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Home Tour-MMB Style

The fine ladies over at Mormon Mommy Blogs are hosting a virtual holiday home tour and I have decided to play along.

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, I was an interior designer. Well, that's what my college degree tells me I can do anyway. And I loved to decorate fancy shmancy glittery trees. Beautiful trees that scream "do not touch!". Don't get me wrong....I still have an appreciation for those trees. But at this point in my life it's not a very realistic way of decorating. Unless I want to spend the entire Christmas season saying "don't touch the tree!". And who wants to do that?!

Our tree that we have now....I love it. It's beautiful. In all its random, homemade ornament, lopsided, bunchy, imperfect, kid friendly glory. Because it's ours. Many of the ornaments on our tree have been made by my girls, with hopefully many more to come. There are also a few ornaments that I have made and some treasures from when CG and I were children.

And the best part about our tree? Our girls decorate it.
And they are so very proud of their masterpiece.

Yes, there is that OCD part of my personality that wants every ornament, candy cane and bow to be perfectly spaced around that tree. But I have not rearranged it. Because they worked so hard to make our tree beautiful. And it is! Because of them.
And something sappy to share with you now. This is an ornament that gets hung up every year no matter what.
It was given to me by one of the hospital volunteers when I was in the hospital with pneumonia when Lolly was just a baby. I put it up to remind me of how very truly blessed I am. I'm blessed with a wonderful husband, children, family, friends, and so much more. And it's also a reminder to me to do something for someone else. Whoever made that simple heart didn't have to make it....they volunteered their time and talents and what they did brightened my day and continues to brighten my Christmas each year. A simple act of kindness is really all it takes. But it's so easy to get caught up in the craziness of Christmas and forget the true meaning of Christmas. That ornament is a reminder to myself to keep it simple.

We have other holiday decorating traditions, but, honestly, Blogger isn't playing well with my pictures tonight so I'll stop here. But stay tuned for more pictures. So, until next time.....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Had A Dream

It was totally random and slightly disturbing so the obvious thing to do is to share it with all of your. Spreading the love, so to speak.

In my dream I started out at home with my little family and was needing to get out of the house a bit. For some reason, I decided to go to a blog-type party that I had heard about but was not actually invited to. Because I'm a party crasher at heart, I guess. Watch out Washington D.C.

So, I finally get there and it's at a camp in the mountains with cabins, etc. There was a blogger that was in town and she was holding a conference kind of thing. Anyway, I don't actually know this blogger so I'm not going to tell you who she is because that takes blog stalking just a little too far for me.

When I got to the party, there were hundreds of bloggers there. Hundreds and hundreds. And everyone was friends. Even the ones who didn't know each other beforehand, instantly became friends. And everyone was really nice to each other.

Here's the really fun part. Even though everyone was friends, no one would be my friend. Hundreds of people, all with at least one thing in common...and still I was a loner. Everyone was nice, but no one would be my friend. It was lots of fun.

Isn't that a great dream? I knew you'd be glad that I shared. Anyone care to interpret?

And for a completely unrelated random fact, I read once that if you dream that your teeth are falling out, becoming soft or breaking off it means that you've actually said something that you regret and your subconscious is still obsessing over it. learn something new everyday! You've also learned that I'm neurotic and have crazy dreams.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Day Late and Probably A Dollar Short

I originally had this post planned for yesterday. But thing leads to another and you find yourself at the end of a long day totally exhausted and unable to type/speak a coherent sentence. Of course, better late than never right?! So! I present to you my Post of Thanksgiving. On December 1st. I know, I know...stop laughing.

It seems to me that around the Blogosphere and Facebook Land that many people are listing one thing each day that they are grateful for. I thought this was a great idea but lack the ability to post on either Facebook or my blog every single day. Instead, I'm going to post my 30 things that I'm grateful for all in one post in order to make it easier for YOU to return at any time to review my gratitude. And the posting issue previously mention. ahem. Let's just hope that I can actually make it to number 30 before falling asleep. And that you can make it to 30 before clicking on to the next, more interesting blog.

  1. CG-of course
  2. My Lolly
  3. My Babs
  4. Dexter ;o)
  5. Family
  6. Friends-real life and virtual life...there is a distinct possibility that I have more virtual friends that real ones. Sad. Anyway...
  7. Our computer-I'm totally laying in bed while typing this. Or is it "lying in bed"?
  8. Books
  9. Art projects with my girls
  10. Cleaning products to clean them up
  11. Bubble baths
  12. Hot showers
  13. Nail polish
  14. Painting my girls nails.....before and after, not necessarily during
  15. Birthdays
  16. Holidays
  17. Warm blankets
  18. Socks, especially the kind with decorations
  19. Shoes....LOVE shoes
  20. Pictures
  21.'s nice to have a tiny connection to others, even when feeling isolated
  22. Office supplies....I've always had a love for them
  23. Art supplies-crayons, markers, pencils, paint, pretty paper, sparkly things, etc.
  24. My sewing machine
  25. CG's wonderful job that provides for us so well
  26. Health Insurance
  27. Family dinner every night
  28. Story time
  29. Did I mention CG, Lolly & Babs? They get a second mention....
  30. Comments. Because I need a lot of positive reinforcement ;o)
Whew! We made it. And hopefully we're all still awake. On the bright side, I've been so very, very blessed that my list could go on and on and on. And on the even brighter side, I won't. At least not today.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a Goodnight!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tip Tuesday-More Rhyming Fun

After dinner rhyming conversation.....

CG: Okay, Lolly, what rhymes with floor?
Lolly: Whore!, how about door? or seashore?, okay....

Clearly she won that round.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Stomach Flu

The stomach flu has hit the Chaos household. My poor little Lolly. She was finally able to go a full hour and a half before throwing up again, so I think that's, ya know, a good sign. And she's been such a good sport. But me? Not so much. I will be sanitizing everything that doesn't move. And probably the stuff the does. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Completely Random Post

Because I don't know how to make any of this into a coherent, flowing post. But at least there will be bullet points.
  • I'm sick. AGAIN! Not terribly sick, but terribly annoying seeing as I was only able to go about 2 weeks before getting sick again.
  • I'm so glad it's Friday. It's my favorite day of the week.
  • Tonight I'm going with my SIL to see New Moon. Watch for me...I'll be one of the few people over 30.
  • Although, technically I'm not that far over 30 since my 31st birthday isn't until next month.
  • Most of my Christmas shopping is done.
  • None of my Christmas making is done.
  • I always fill the top rack of my dishwasher faster than the bottom rack, but feel guilty running a partially full dishwasher.
  • CG's car has broken down 3 times in 10 days. We're still waiting to hear the verdict of this trip to the car doctor, as we call him.
  • I'm glad we have a mechanic we can trust. If you want one too, let me know and I'll send you the info.
  • Babs just handed me a colored pencil with a boogie on top. When I asked her why she did that, she told me it was because she didn't like that boogie. Okay then.
  • I need to go change Babs diaper before we go pick up Lolly from school.
  • Thursday is my laundry day. My laundry is still not done.
  • And......

    Happy Friday Everyone! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Plan Toys Activity Bus

A few months ago, I was contacted by an online community known as Ebeanstalk. They are a website that focuses on toys that are educational and recommended by toy experts....and the real toy experts, moms.

We received a toy from Plan Toys to try out and review. My girls were overjoyed to find that a package had arrived in the mail for them. And they were even more excited when we opened the box and found this!

This toy is geared toward preschool aged children 3 and up. But I have to say that both of my girls have loved playing with the Activity Bus. It's especially fun considering their ages, 2 &4, because they both have such an interest in school. This toy has provided them with the opportunity for pretend play that increases their anticipation of going to school.

The school bus "drives" but can pull over at any time, open up and become an instant classroom. It comes with two people, 3 desks so there's room for new students, a chalk board/map and some books.
This toy has provided my girls with hours of entertainment and was even deemed cool enough for preschool show and tell by Lolly. It also was thoroughly enjoyed by the other kids in her class.

There are many things about Plan Toys that I admire.
  • They are an environmentally conscious company
  • They use non-chemically treated rubber wood for their toys
  • Their toys encourage creative play
  • And there are no batteries to make noise & need to be replaced!
So, if you're looking for some great, environmentally responsible toys that also provide hours of creative play, then head on over to Plan Toys. You won't be sorry!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recipe Swap Wednesday-Scrambled Hamburger

This is a recipe that I had a lot growing up. I've changed it a little bit to suit our needs, but it's a yummy, easy recipe that can be thrown together quickly.

Scrambled Hamburger
1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1 onion, diced
2 packets brown gravy mix
2 1/2 cups water

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, chopping it into small pieces. Drain the excess grease and add the chopped onion. I usually let the onion cook about half way and then add brown gravy packets and 2 1/2 cups water. Then I let it simmer and thicken while I finish cooking the rest of the meal.

I serve it over rice. Since I completely lack the ability to cook non-instant rice, I usually put the rice on to cook in the rice cooker before starting the scrambled hamburger. It's also yummy served over mashed potatoes.

This is such an easy recipe, anyone can make it. No, really, anyone can make it. Try it! You'll like it! (10 points to the first person to tell me where that comes from.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tip Tuesday-Artsy Fartsy

We do a lot of projects around here. Specifically art projects. Beautiful art projects that cannot just be recycled but need to be displayed for all to enjoy. And, frankly, my refrigerator is only so large. And magnets get moved around easily. So then we expanded onto high cupboard doors. Then the pantry door. And the front door. And so my house was wallpapered in art. Which is lovely, but slightly overwhelming, visually speaking.

So! Last week I did this....(it's better in person, but you get the idea)
All it takes is some yarn and push pins, which you probably already have. You could also class it up a little and use ribbon or twine or pretty much anything your creative heart can come up with. Hang a line up in your kids bedroom and you're gifted with a beautiful art gallery every time you walk into their room. Plus! They get to choose what gets hung up and when something else comes downs because there is only so much room. They are in complete control....with you working it behind the scenes. But whatever.

It took me about 10 minutes, but the improvement has been immeasurable. Not only are there uncovered surfaces in our house, but Lolly and Babs are so proud of their new art display.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Favorite-Table for 4

Saturday night dinner at our house.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Giveaways Galore!

I love giveaways. They're just so fun. There's the suspense of entering, the waiting and hoping you win. And then, when you actually do's so exciting! There's just something wonderful about getting a package in the mail that doesn't come with a bill of some sort. To spread the love, I'm going to share a few giveaways with you.

Jill, of Jill's Words, is hosting a fabulous giveaway. You can enter to win either a beautiful pair of earrings OR a decorative frame. Go HERE to enter.

And Camille, of Make It Work Mom, is hosting a Smorgasbord of Giveaways. She's giving away cupcakes, an apron, doTERRA essential oils, a coloring wallet, a Lucky Mommy necklace and a gift certificate to a cute Etsy shop. A smorgasbord indeed! So head on over HERE to get in on the giveaway action.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

If you need a visit from Santa....

And, let's face it, you know you do.
Go Here. He's the best.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tip Tuesday-Secret To My Success Part #123

I have discovered the secret to getting a family to church on time and today I'm going to share it with you.

Mommy being too sick to go to church, but not too sick to get girls ready.

It worked out perfectly really. I got the girls ready while CG got himself ready. I didn't have to worry about the disgusting mess that I was because I was staying home to recover from...well, the last 3 weeks, frankly. It wouldn't have been a good idea for me to go church when I was still possibly contagious being in the nursery and all. Oh, and I still felt pretty craptastic.

They got to church on time, maybe a little early even. Hair was done, teeth were brushed, accessories were abundant. A complete success.

Next week? No promises.....but lots of trial and failure. ;o)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009!

Our trick or treat-ers getting ready to go. The first time (and last) that I didn't get to go.
Complete with shoes on the wrong feet. Don't worry...CG switched them before they left the drive way.
Leaving Daddy in the dust!
Our front door decoration....yes, we were the most popular house in the 'hood. You don't need scary or ghoulish things to scare kids. Swine flu sends them running pretty fast.
And in case you're still wondering what CG's costume was....he was a Super Visor!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween. And Happy Daylight Savings Time!
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