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    November 2008
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T-day 2008

This installment is a day late….My internet was down… SO SHOOT ME ALREADY

Thanksgiving morning…..what are you missing….everyone forgets one thing no matter how minor..so what do? do you make do or do you go and get what you need because it is not Thanksgiving if you make do…me..onions…yeah…onions..how can that be…I always have onions. I love vidalia onions in about anything. So how is it that I have NONE…I guess there is a reason that the stores are open …it is for those of us (you know your one) that can’t make do. Imagine how much money the stores would make on the ones who can’t make do…they could hike prices and I would still pay for onions…

SO everything is in the oven or made or cooking…the house smells wonderful. While I love cooking, this whole day thing takes it out of ya. That is OK it is sooo worth it. I made Swedish Cardamom yeast (GOOGLE IT) rolls a few days early so they are ready to be warmed and I made the Pumpkin pie earlier this week too so it is ready to go. I have brined the Butterball 14.29 pound turkey and it is stuffed with fresh made and dried cornbread and french bread stuffing. YUM…The potato’s are mashed in a pan ready for a baking as are the sweet potato’s. The whiskey glazed carrots and plain ‘ole, boring buttered green beans are the last to be made. Dinner could very well be on the table by 3:00PM sharp…assuming that the turkey does not need more then 4.5 hours ish…As the Macy’s day parade plays in the den Spencer is doing some reading with his dad and watching the parade and Griffin is fluttering around here playing with various trucks he has parked in ‘garages’ all over the place. One day I will have to photograph all the ‘garages he has…it is amazing where he parks these things.

So while we wait I am thinking about what I am grateful/thankful for….

A warm happy, home
A loving family near and far
A strong confidence in my religious beliefs
A renewed hope for America
A birth mother in Russia and A birthmother here in the USA
A loving and everlasting marriage to my best friend
Being able to live in a place with four distinct seasons
Modern Medicine without which I would not be able to pull together Thanksgiving

And I am sure that there is a tremendous amount more but I will not bore you the reader.

Be proud of you
Be proud of your Country
Be happy..

Happy Thanksgiving


Holiday parties…

It is that time of year again when there are Holiday parties flying everywhere…when I was teaching there were always many, almost too many, parties to go to.  Now that I am no longer in the out of the home work force there is only one Holiday party for us.  Every year our neighbor throws a Christmas party early in the month of December for their friends and family and neighbors.  It is usually very fun and has been known to get, um…ah… a little saucy crazy…but a good time is had by all. I don’t usually dress up very different from every day…maybe jewelry and a little mascara..but this year I actually have a new sweater and turtle neck I am going to wear.   Most of the people are not ‘dressed’ so I have not worried about it much.

I enjoyed going to the parties when I was working but now and happy to go to just the one. Do you make the rounds…lots of partying??  No partying??  fancy dress or just come as you are? I was thinking about this party that I was more dressed up for Halloween this year then I will be for this party. I wore a formal gown to Halloween and to Christmas I will be wearing jeans…go figure…

Gift giving and party going…some people ALWAYS bring a gift for the hostess…I do occasionally..nothing too fancy but man my neighbor has raked in some really nice gifts in the past…so do you gift??  what do you give and how do you decide if you will gift or not.

I earned free weeks…

With the addition of Katie/Dustin playing the Grocery Game, I earned more free weeks. I will not be paying for my subscription until April 2009. That is five months of the great lists that the Grocery Game gives me. Thanks to those of you who have tried the game and found out that it REALLY DOES work…that you too can save a bucket load of cash on your groceries….and how about all the hot tips…man it is addictive…I have learned and found so much.. Now, if Katie doesn’t spend all her time in the hot tip area we would all be good.  *wink Wink* Seriously, thanks to all my grocery game pals…may you find the continued success there that I am. It is not to late to try it for a buck…four weeks of great weeks of grocery lists and at a buck you can not go wrong with the trial. If it is not for you your only out a BUCK!!

So what else is new… I have two more things to get for the boys for Christmas and my shopping really is D.O.N.E….I will not buy any more even if it is a great hot tip/super great price. One of the last things I have to get is a digital camera for Spencer. He is 7…I do not want to spend a lot of money on a digital camera for him.  I see that Circut city or best buy has one for $100 this weekend…a Nikon cool pix…that is a good deal…but I think I will stick with free, free you say, do tell…..I have the misfortune to take three medications daily and Richard takes two.  That is 5 scripts a month…when I fill them for the first time I fill at target..then the next month I transfer them to CVS where I use a transfer prescription coupon and get a $25 GC that is $125 a month for doing something I HAVE to do anyway…so why not do it where I can get money back.  The next month I transfer them to Walgreen’s for the same deal. After three refills my Doctor sees me and gives me a new script. The cycle starts over. It is a nice little $1500 extra money a year for doing something I already HAVE to do. So I guess my misfortune can be seen as not so unfortunate. OH so back to free….I did a little research into camera’s for beginners… it seems that Kodak makes a nice little digital for beginners..the C-713 Easyshare…hey, I learned on a kodak so no bad mouthing it….it just so happens that CVS carries this camera and it is on sale for $89.99… well now, won’t that will be a nice little freebie Christmas gift for my boy…earlier this year I got an SD cardthat I though would be for my camera…a kingston 4GB..but it was a SDHC and would not work in my camera…but it will work in Spencer’s…Oh and that 4GB SD card…$6.99 shipped brand new. So I am good to go.

I don’t know about you all but in this economy I am trying to do what I can to make my nearly worthless dollar worth a hair more…If I can lighten the load then I will….ya know the children don’t understand all of this economy stuff nor should they.  They just know that Christmas is coming and Santa will being gifts. I would like to be generous with those gifts but with the realization that it is not possible I want to do the next best thing and that is give them what I can. My boys have a strong grasp on what the real meaning of Christmas is all about and I will not deny them the side of the holiday that we all have enjoyed since we were children. I get as much out of them enjoying the day as they do enjoying it.

What do you think of this…

Read this on a forum today…all these stores are closing all together or closing quite a few stores…

I am not sure about all this…staggering..

Circuit City stores… most recent (? how many)

Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide are to be shuttered

Lane Bryant,, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine’s to close 150 store nationwide

Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January

Cache will close all stores

Talbots closing down all stores

J. Jill closing all stores

GAP closing 85 stores

Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January

Wickes Furniture closing down

Levitz closing down remaining stores

Bombay closing remaining stores

Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January.

Whitehall closing all stores

Piercing Pagoda closing all stores

Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.

Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick )

Macys to close 9 stores after January

Linens and Things closing all stores

Movie Gallery Closing all stores

Pacific Sunware closing stores

Pep Boys Closing 33 stores

Sprint/ Nextel closing 133 stores

JC Penney closing a number of stores after January

Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.

Wilson Leather closing down all stores

Sharper Image closing down all stores

K B Toys closing 356 stores

LOWES to close down some stores

Dillard’s to close some stores.

How about potluck….

too bad that is what your getting….

Let’s see where to begin…Veteran’s Day…

On October 31st….Halloween… Life Source was giving away two tickets to the Museum of Science and Industry if you donated blood…on Halloween…I know kinda funny…kinda creepy….but I donate blood on a regular basis so it was not to creepy for me…but I did joke with the phlebotomists there and made light talk about vampires to which we all shared a laugh.  So I donated my blood and happily went off with two free tickets to the Museum.  Fast forward Sunday the 9th…my mom arrived from Florida for a November visit just in time for snow flurries and cold…hehehe…we picked her up at the Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee and reminded her that we had plans for the Museum later in the week…did she need new shoes for all that walking…

Tuesday..Veteran’s day…bet you did not think I would get here did you…we pack a big snack and head off…cool dreary day but off we go. At the start of the trip we talk about what this day is and what it means to so many and to us.  Driving on the city’s near south side we all start talking about how it reminds us of our trips to Russia. It was dismal looking.  The scenery changes, soon we are in Hyde Park…home to our soon to be President, Barack Obama…. beautiful homes, manicured streets and helicopters flying over head.  I guess we were close but not to close, we did not see any secret service or blocked streets but we know he was “in town”.  So we get to the museum and have a great time…we see a ton of stuff but by no means everything. They are getting ready for the Christmas around the world event and while see get to see a lot of decorated trees we do not see the Russian tree. the boys had a blast. Spencer is slowly overcoming his fear of heights. He has a hard time by the glass half walls…but he is getting better…we go into the coal mine…it is original to the museum built in 1933…the boys love the experience. Sleepy people on the way home…quiet car…traffic…expected.

I have been a busy bee getting the Christmas shopping done.  I think that aside from a couple small purchases I am done. Just need to wrap.  Working the Grocery game has really helped me be able to get it dome with ease on the cheap and ALL in cash…There is an open forum at the GG that has had some great hot tips great for gift giving.  I was able to get the boys a Wii fit for $80.00.  They retail for $89.99. It is nearly unheard of to get it for even one penny less. I also got Spencer the night vision goggles that he has been asking for for about half price. I have been able to do 90% of my shopping on line with NO shipping NO taxes NO handeling…if it listed at $32.99 it was $32.99 delivered to me. SWEET…but the game has really helped me to stockpile away money (and groceries!) to be able to pay cash for it all..usually there is SOMETHING that I have to charge…not this year. By playing the game I have saved so much with groceries that I have more then enough extra money each week to get one or two gifts. For the first time in quite awhile…Richard and I might get each other a small gift!!! We are still undecided, it is not something we really feel we need to do. There will be Wii games and movies and books and inside and outside toys…it is going to be a nice morning.

Let’s see what else….

With the cold weather now here, the days seeming so short I am in a cooking and baking mood. Always on the hunt for some good things to make. A few years back I made a milk chocolate fudge that was better than to die for.  Since then I have not been able to recreate it…until now…there is a recipe, that I found on the GG forum, that I think will be really close…my SIL will be the judge…she and I have been trying to recreate it for years..never successful. I am also loving the Taste of home magizines and cook books and the Gooseberry Patch cook books. Give them a look see…there are some yummy dishes and treats. Then there is my favorite woman on the planet…PIONEER WOMAN—cooks…Ree Drummond…go to the site reas all the yummies and trya a few you too will be hooked.  She likes her butter…

We got a little sad news on our way to the Museum…we were gearing up to go see our Plymouth Michigan friends for a long weekend the beginning of December. It turns out that we won’t be going till after the new year calendar mismatches…but as soon as we can we will make the journey…we can not wait to see Anna, Kate, Ross and ‘mom and dad’.  I am sure that we will have a blast. After all we are crazy internet friends who have become real life friends…and Russian adoptions specialists. Well them more then us…

Soon to be discussed here at the blog…my HAIR…ugh. STAY TUNED

History and graciousness

Having grown up in a Democratic household, in a time where you would simply go and punch Democratic and vote for everyone Democratic and that was it…I have to say that there are some people who are, or would be, astounded, perhaps angered, at the party electing a black President.  I am not.  It is a great day for America. There have and will be many black Americans who have and will change out history.  I am just excited to be American (always have been) and be able to live and see history in the making and history changing.

I also am finding that listening to the Republican concession speech brought feelings of proud-ness. In America you can loose with grace and dignity. You can be a war hero and survivor and be proud of who you are and who you have become and where you will go.  You can support whom you see fit and tell others who traveled with you that it’s OK, we will work together.

The choices this year were not optimum. Choices had to be made, people had the responsibility to vote and did…in record numbers even though the choices were not optimum. It makes me proud to be and American…i I took a major leap in Patriotism after 9/11…I am taking another leap now lets keep the momentum going and work through the issues ahead…be supportive and receive support back. I see changes and I hope that they are all positive…

Turning four….

I know I am behind…I will catch up…for now..

Today is Griffin’s fourth birthday…most of you know I am the big birthday bash girl.  I love to throw parties for my boys. Last year and this year have been low key.  It makes me sad. The boys don’t seem to mind but I do.  I can not wait to be able to throw grand parties for them again…I hope you all VOTED…

Back to the birthday talk….some where in Glazov Russia there is a woman who may or may not realize or remember that today is our sons birthday…the day that changed her life and my life forever. I pray that she is healthy, content and safe, somehow having internal peace with the knowledge that her son is just great.

I remember Griff’s first birthday, when I stepped out on to the deck and yelled happy birthday to him, for him to hear all the way in Glazov, Russia. One month and 20 days later he was home forever with us.  That first birthday was celebrated here with a cake and singing and balloons and a night out at the movies. It was all without him and will be something I can not forget.  Today was a low key day really, he and I shoppd for his chocolate, chocolate frosted cake…and baloons, 4 dark blue and one green for Spencer, all his decision and choice. We met dad for lunch, again Griff’s choice, hot dogs and fries. He has asked for fish sticks french fries and mach and cheese for dinner…he is so easy to please. Afterwards, we will have neighbor/friends over for a brief celebration and gift opening. Spencer saved $20 this year and bought half of a Razor for his brother. He could not wait to give it to him so he got that on Sunday!! I assume you all know by now it is dark blue….he is a wiz on the thing…his sense of balance is beyond amazing for a child with inner ear issues.

Mommy and daddy got him a TAG I am really excited for him to start with it as he LOVES LOVES LOVES reading in any way shape or form. He is getting a radio/cd/tape player for Chrismas so he can do his read along books on his own in his room.  So I bet you wonder what 4 looks like on this boy….well here he is…