Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Well, we have another rainy, windy day here in Arcade, NY. I plan to actually go work in my studio for a while today. I need to make Nick's new pajama pants smaller. Brad got them for him for Christmas and they are size 14 and he wears an 8. LOL Nick wants to wear them so badly and has been teasing me to fix them since Christmas. Rachel is taking the boys to see "Bedtime Stories" this afternoon, so that might just be a good time to work.

I heard from Steven this morning and he has been working for a temp agency and work has been hit and miss. He got on a construction job today that will last till at least March, so he was happy about that. He hopes to go back and work at camp this summer.

I will be so glad when all the Christmas goodies are gone. Steve, Rachel and I are going to start dieting after the 1st of the year. We can't decide whether to do South Beach or Weight Watchers. I was thinking maybe a combination of the both of them. We had very good success with South Beach a few years ago and I had compiled a whole notebook of recipes and many were so good. We have asked ourselves why we stopped eating that way when we liked the food so much. All we can come up with is stupidity. Anyway, we need to see if we can even afford Weight Watchers. They are offering free registration so that will help. I was thinking we could count points and eat a lot of the South Beach recipes. Which ever we do we just need to stick to it!! :o)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Quiet Sunday

It was so windy here today. The sun did shine for a little while, but it was definitely a gloomy type day. We got caught up on our chores and got the house back to normal and watched movies with the kids. Oh, and I made an awesome soup using the left over ham. It had potatoes, ham, left over corn, onion, milk and velveeta cheese. It was really good and perfect for a yucky weather day.

Rachel had to drive to Buffalo and work at Old Navy today. She said the wind was actually worse this morning than it was tonight. Reid and his friends attended the Bills vs. Patriots game in Buffalo. He is home safe and sound...we checked. I can't imagine it was too enjoyable in the windy weather, especially when the Bills didn't even score at all. :o(

One more week and the kids will be back in school. We found out that Bradly's bus will be arriving at 6:40 a.m. Ugh It ought to be interesting getting him out the door at that hour. He has been in the hospital and this is his first experience in 5th grade. I am hoping he is welcomed by the other kids and fits right in. At least I have convinced my hubby to take turns with me getting him up and off to school every day. :o)

Christmas is Over!

Well, I don't know how everyone else feels, but I am pooped and as much as I loved the holidays and spending some wonderful time with my family, I am glad it is over. It was a wonderful Christmas despite the changes and those loved ones who were missing. My husband was awesome!! He did most of the cooking and even did the dishes after our holiday ham dinner today.
We loved having Megan and Scott and their two dogs come Friday night and stay until this evening.
By the time the kids went to bed I have to admit to some frayed nerve endings..LOL Tomorrow is a whole new day and I look forward to some quality time with them. Rachel has been a good help too over the holidays. She is so good with Nick and handles him well, which is a huge help. The boys did great over the holidays. Today was the toughest, but they were really wound up and the adults were exhausted..not a good combination..LOL I look forward to getting back to writing daily and keeping everyone up to date with our crazy life. :o)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Well, our company just left and the boys will be going to bed soon. Nicholas is so excited about Santa coming. He woke me up this morning asking if we could make some cookies so we could leave cookies and milk out for Santa. Tonight he has already gotten a plate and put the two cookies on it. He is really cute. Bradly has been so sweet about not ruining it for Nick. Brad is loving being home and it seems great to have them both home. The girls got moved. What a circus that was, but it is done. We are watching them for 5 days next week while the dad works, so we will get to see them.

Rachel is off to the neighbors to play "Guitar Hero", and Reid is on his way home, but he called and has a flat tire. It figures! He is waiting for roadside assistance since it is slushy, windy and raining. He just texted Steve and said the tow truck just arrived. Rachel and Reid will be playing Santa and bringing up all the gifts that are wrapped in the basement and putting them under the tree. Our backs would never hold up to toting bags of gifts up the stairs. I will put the stockings together as I have everything wrapped already. Christopher will be joining us tomorrow also. Reid will go pick him up late in the morning and he will stay for dinner. We were glad that he called and asked if he could come. Of course we welcomed him. We tried to get him to come for Thanksgiving, but he wouldn't, so this is a nice surprise.

I would like to wish anyone reading this a very merry Christmas! Enjoy your family. :o)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Almost Ready

Well, tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Christmas seems to have some so much quicker this year. I have everything wrapped except the white chocolate cashew bark that I still need to make for my son-in-law and a couple of gift cards we have yet to buy. It struck me tonight however that we still have a bag of stocking stuffers to wrap. We had Christmas with the girls tonight as they are moving tomorrow. They loved their presents and Brad and Nick handled them opening their gifts very well. They handed out the gifts, although they each opened a present from the girls, so that did help. It is going to be sad to see them leave and I will worry, but they are in God's hands and I do trust him.

Bradly was discharged from the hospital today, and we are all glad about that. It seems nice to have the boys both home. Hopefully we never need to go that route again. I talked to Steven and his box of presents arrived today, but his box of goodies (fudge, cookies ect) did not. The goodies were sent a day earlier than the gifts, so he is getting nervous. I hope the goodie box arrives tomorrow. Reid is driving home from college Wed. evening as he has to work until 6pm. They are calling for nasty weather, so we are praying he gets home before it hits.

Tomorrow we are going to get the lasagna made for Christmas dinner. We will have tossed salad and dinner rolls with it. Making the lasagna the day before allows the flavors to really blend though and makes Christmas day so much easier. Scott and Megan will be here on Sat. to have Christmas, so we are making a ham and mashed potatoes and gravy dinner for them. We will have my mom and dad and Ernie (my husband's brother) that day also. It promises to be a busy week, but an enjoyable one. Love to spend time with my family. So glad the kids did have school today. :o)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow, Snow and More Snow

We are due to get up t0 2 more feet of snow by morning accompanied by lots of wind. I am assuming the kids will be having another snow day tomorrow....they are hoping!! I got the apron made for Rachel today and still have one more thing to make before Christmas. Steve made some banana bread as we had some bananas we were going to lose if we didn't do something with them. I made a small batch of Mexican wedding cake cookies with a maraschino in the middle. Steve actually faced the weather and went out and grilled steaks for dinner. We had raw fried potatoes and green beans as well as brussel sprouts (one of my favorites). This is short as it is already midnight and I may actually have to get up and get kids off to school, although I really doubt it. :o)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Feels Like Sunday

It has been a strange few days. Yesterday seemed like Saturday all day, probably because the kids had a snow day from school. Today has felt like Sunday all day, and then I remember it is Saturday and I feel so happy that the weekend isn't really over. Tomorrow is Sunday again and you all know what that means...right?? It is my day to sleep in and Steve gets up with the kids. :o)

We had the nicest day at my parents house today. One of my sweetypie nieces, Liz, comes up every year for a Christmas dinner with my parents. and we always go too. Her boyfriend, Tony, is really nice and Nicholas adores him. Tony went down and played ping pong with him and then they rough housed a bit and then played big, Lego blocks together. Of course, Nick made a gun out of his and shot Tony a few times. LOL Liz brought her nephew/Godson who is a little over a month old. Nick loved him to pieces and of course Rachel thought he was adorable. We all did!! It was nice to hold such a tiny baby again. He was unbelievably alert and sweet.

Well, it is almost bedtime for the kids. The girls spent part of the day with their father and arrived home about 7:30 pm. They will be moving back with him after living with us over a year and a half. It is going to be so hard on all of us. They are moving on Christmas Eve day, Dec. 24th. Bradly is being discharged from C.P.C. on Dec. 23rd, so we are going to celebrate him being home and have Christmas with the girls Tues. night. It will be nice to have Brad home again and have our family back together again permanently. Now I am going to play a game I love on line called "Wordscape". It is relaxing and I just thought of it the other day and loaded it onto the new computer. I used to play alot before starting my Etsy businesses, but haven't had the time in months and months, so I am enjoying it. :o)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Very Nice Day

I have to say that today was just so enjoyable. I got the laundry room straightened and actually put away the bread making machine, which sat on the counter next to the washing machine, away in the cupboard. We haven't used it in a long time, but didn't want to get rid of it, so now it is out of the way, but it is there when we want it. Anyway, I put away the clutter that had collected on that counter and cleaned it good. Wow, what lot of room that gave me. I put containers of fudge and choc. covered pretzels out there and it is so much better than sitting on my kitchen counters. I put lots of clothes away and reclaimed the laundry room..LOL

Steve made his mom's white peanut butter fudge recipe that is his brothers favorite. Now that his mom is gone, Steve makes some every year. It turned out really good, and is cut and put away. My hubby made a great dinner consisting of french toast, sausage and scrambled eggs. Mmmm...it was so good. I did the dishes and Rachel played a game with the kids. We watched a movie, and just had a really enjoyable day. Tomorrow, we go to my mom's to have a Christmas dinner with my neice, Liz, and her boyfriend, Tony. I love getting to see Liz, but I can't help but remember how nice it was in years past when all my brothers, sisters-in-laws and neices and nephew all got together to have a Christmas celebration. At the time it was kind of crazy and tiring, but looking back, it was really nice. How come it seems we don't appreciate what we have until we don't have it any more. That is one thing I hope I can get through to my kids...enjoy the place you are at and the loved ones in your life. :o)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Wrapping is Done

Whew...I was starting to think I would never finish all the gift wrapping, but alas, I finished today. At least I am done until the rest of the gifts are delivered. LOL We still have all the stocking stuffers to wrap, but I don't worry about that, as I can squeeze that in between other jobs.

I sold another one of my owl bags today. This is the first time I was asked to gift wrap an item. The purse was for a little girl out in Wisconsin. I think I have sold 6 owl purses now and have 2 left. That is a pattern I created quite some time ago, and I guess after the holidays I had better get some more made (might as well be optimistic).

They are calling for a really bad snow storm tonight after midnight. They think another will hit us Sunday and then one on Christmas Eve. Of course that worries me as Reid has to work until 6 pm at Walmart where he works in Brockport, then he will be making the 1 1/2 hour drive home. I am hoping they are wrong about that storm. Time will tell. :o)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pleasantly Surprised

I assumed that I really wouldn't have any sales in either shop this week or next week due to Christmas being so close. I was very pleasantly surprised when I got an order for my last mans chef apron this week as well as a child's apron. I sent one of my tattoo bags to Scotland, which was very cool. I have felt very good that I have used some of the money I made that is in my paypal account, and bought many of our Christmas gifts with it. I also did some trading with a couple of people which helped us all out. Almost everyone is getting something homemade from etsy this year. I can't wait for Christmas to see what everyone thinks of their gifts. :o)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Have to Share Another Recipe :o)

Well, we got lots of wrapping done today, but we are far from done. When we stopped wrapping I took a break and then I tackled making "Chocolate chip cookie dough truffles". I almost forgot about them. I made them for the first time last year and everyone loved them. This year I made a double batch thinking how great it would be not to run out. What I wasn't thinking about was how long it would take to roll a double batch into balls and then dip them all in melted chocolate. Ugh, I thought I would never be done, but alas I am done and they are all put away in tins. I thought I would share this recipe as it is actually quite easy and very well liked. As long as I had the table covered with truffles, I decided to do my Christmas pretzels too. I use the small knots and lay them as close together as possible on waxed paper. I then use a fork and drizzle white, red and green melted chocolate wafers back and forth until they all have some of each color. After that, I just let it harden, break them apart and store in a ziplock bag. These make a great treat to send to school for the kids school party....not too much sweet, but enough to enjoy that great taste of salty and sweet together. :o)


1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 teas. vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional..I do not use)
1 1/2 lbs. chocolate wafers

1) In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy
2) Add the flour, milk and vanilla; mix well
3) Stir in chocolate chips and nuts
4) Shape into 1 inch balls; place on wax paper lined baking sheets
5) Loosely cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours until firm
6) Melt choc. wafers in a double boiler or microwave, stirring often until smooth
7) Dip balls in coating; place back on the waxed paper lined cookie sheets.
8) Refrigerate until firm, about 15 min. (I just let them set up on the table)
9) If desired drizzle the tops with more melted chocolate (I drizzle with white choc.)
10) Store int he refrigerator

Makes about 66 depending on how much you nibble while making them..LOL

Monday, December 15, 2008

Found a New Recipe

I thought I would blog early today since we have a busy day ahead of us. We accomplished all the baking and candy making that we intended to over the weekend. It feels really good to have so much done. Now if only all those presents were wrapped...LOL We have not wrapped a thing yet, and we need to wrap, pack and ship our son in Texas a box of Christmas gifts and a box of samples of all the goodies we have made. He is really missing the cookies and fudge. Anyway, that is on our agenda for today. Don't you know that the day we have to ship these things, plus and order for a bag that needs to ship to Scotland, they said on the news last night is the busiest shipping day at the post office. That figures...the lines will be long I am sure. Anyway, I wanted to share this new recipe we found this year. We have always made thumbprint cookies for Christmas, but they were such a pain to make. You had to roll the ball, roll the balls in egg white, roll the balls in nuts, imprint them and put the jelly in and bake. Whew..what a pain. We found a recipe that is way easier and the taste is out of this world. Here it is. :o)


1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teas. almond extract
2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

1/2 cup confectionary sugar
3/4 teas. almond extract
1 teas. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and white sugar until smooth. Mix in 1/2 teas. almond extract. Mix in flour until dough comes together. Roll 1 1/2 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Make a small hole in center of each ball, using your thumb and finger and fill the hole with preserves. Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until just lightly browned. Let cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet. Ina medium bowl, mix together the confectionary sugar, 3/4 teas. almond extract, and milk until smooth. Drizzle lightly over warm cookies. Makes about 30 cookies.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Try Making this Recipe

This is such a simple recipe and your kids can easily help make them. This is probably the number one holiday favorite at our house. The trick is keeping everyone out of them so we have some left for Christmas. My family has had this recipe about 40 years because my brother made them in second grade and brought home the recipe. They are his favorite candy to this day!! Leave me some feedback if you try making them.

Peanut Butter Balls

1/4 cup confectionery sugar
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup peanut butter

Mix confectionery sugar and chocolate chips together. Add the sweetened condensed milk and then the peanut butter. Mix very well.

Shape into 1" balls and place on waxed paper. Let candy set a bit and then store in an air tight container with waxed paper between the layers. Store in refrigerator.

*****OPTIONAL.... I always drizzle melted chocolate wafers over balls while they are still on the waxed paper just to make them look fancier. The original recipe did not do this.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Love Saturday Night

Sunday morning is the one morning each week that I get to sleep in. I get up during the week and on Saturday with the kids and Steve gets up on Sunday mornings. It is wonderful and I look forward to it. By the time I get up, the kids have had their meds, eaten breakfast, and the coffee is made. I love to get a cup of coffee and look at the new Target ad. Funny how we get certain routines in our lives.

We all thought our oldest daughter was going to have to have surgery today and were quite relieved when it turned out she didn't need it after all. I appreciate so much the way our family rallies around and you know you can count on them to pray and be there for us. We have a wonderful family and I appreciate them so much...I think sometimes I just don't tell the people I love enough, how much they mean to me. Sounds like a good thing to work on during the new year.

On another note, we got some Christmas baking done today. It was nice because Rachel was here and she pitched in and helped too. We made peanut butter balls, thumbprint cookies, Scottish shortbread, and more penuche fudge (as the other got eaten). Steve also got cream cheese sugar cookies mixed up and ready to bake tomorrow. This is a new recipe this year and they are awesome. We also used a new thumbprint recipe and it is even better than the old one. Maybe tomorrow I will share these great recipes. :o)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Friday is Coming!!

Oh yeah, tomorrow is Friday, and that will mean I survived having two extra kids for two days. They are actually very nice kids, but the boy is a handful. He likes LOTS of attention and get very loud and a bit obnoxious trying to get it. I got a phone call this morning to see if I could keep them for the weekend too.....I had to say no to that because my guys have enough problems getting along and to throw 2 more in the mix for the weekend...no way. I have gotten smarter in my old age and have learned to say "No" when I need to. Best to maintain my sanity..LOL

I finished my other monkey purse today. I got the idea to use a pair of earrings Rachel bought quite a while ago and only wore 1 or 2 pair off the card, and I gave the monkey pierced ears. I think it looks really cute, but then I am prejudice. I am psyched because I had been admiring a couple of bracelets in someones shop. I noticed she had marked some of my things as favorites, so I wrote and asked her if she would like to trade. She was really glad to, so I am trading for two really pretty bracelets for myself. :o)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Wow, we told D.S.S. that we would do a respite for another foster family for two days. Oh my goodness. The kids are 11 year old twins..boy and girl. The boy might make me crazy by Friday. LOL He is sweet, but quite loud and obnoxious. I have a whole new respect for this other foster family, that is for sure.

I finally finished my first furry monkey purse. I designed the pattern months ago, and finally have gotten around to making one. I have a darker brown one all cut out and embroidered and just need to sew it. Hopefully I will get that one made tomorrow. We have to take our foster daughters for counseling tomorrow, but hopefully after that. :o)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Two Sales Today

I was starting to get a bit nervous because I had not had a sale in a few days.....then boom I got an order for a ballerina bag and a little while later I sold a childrens art/chef apron. Those sales sure lifted my spirits. I loved the three ballerina bags I had made and wondered why they weren't selling, so that felt nice. :o) I really like these little aprons I have listed, and this morning I was trying to think of a way to promote them. I decided to offer free U.S. and Canadian shipping on all aprons, both adult and childrens from Dec. 9th-Dec.14th. I don't know if the sale of this apron was based on that promotion, but I will take it. It would be really cool if buyers would leave a note under "note to seller", and tell me how they found my shop. It would be nice to know which methods of publicity are the ones working. LOL I really LOVE having these two etsy stores and I think it has been good for me.

I am working on two really cute monkey purses. I had some fabric that is perfect...kind of furry. I had drawn up a design quite a while ago, and this is the first chance I have had to try it out. I hope they turn out as cute as I think they are going to be. As soon as I get them listed I will put a pic here on my blog for all to see. :o)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Won't Be The Same

We just hung the stockings we will need this year for Christmas, and I think that really made me realize how different Christmas is going to be this year. Last year we needed 9 stockings and this year we need 4. That is really kind of depressing because it means we will have 5 less loved ones to spend this special holiday with. Megan and Scott will be having Christmas with Scott's family in Canada, and Steven is living in Texas and can't afford to come home. Our two foster daughters, Megan and Joyce will be going to live with their dad on Dec. 24th. Don't know yet about Chris, but I doubt very much he will choose to be with us either.

On a happier note, we got some Christmas shopping done today. I do love shopping at Target. At least we pretty much know what we are getting everyone, so that is a big thing. We got our tree decorated yesterday and it looked nice except for the dark spot in the middle where the lights died. We bought more today, so that is ok. Our two cats must have had quite a rowdy time last night, because there were ornaments on the floor this morning and sadly, the ornament Steve has had that belonged to his Grandma, and is older than he is, was broken all over the floor. He was sad over that to be sure. The tree skirt was in a bunch out from under the tree and had to be all arranged again. The cats have both been scolded and have promised to behave better tonight..LOL

My hubby is busy baking the cutouts that got mixed up on Sat., and we just didn't have the time to finish until today. We have planned and easy supper consisting of pancakes and eggs and possibly sausage (not sure we have any). The kids love that and so do we actually...plus it is pretty simple. :o)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Relaxing Sunday

Wow, we got quite a bit of snow overnight, and it is blowing. I told the kids that if it had been a school day, they probably would have had a snow day. Actually it is a great day to decorate the tree and the rest of the house as well as baking some Christmas cookies.

One of the blogs I follow is a culinary one and they had the most awesome sounding cheesecake bars listed today. We are quite fond of cheesecake at our house, so I think I am going to try these. Here is the link if you care to take a look. http://desertculinary.blogspot.com/2008/12/white-chocolate-raspberry-cheesecake.html

So anyway, I think today is a great day to just relax and do some fun things with kids. I need to go check out my monkey fabric as someone e-mailed me about making one in an adult size. They had seen the child sized one I have listed. I don't think I have enough fabric left, but I will check and see. :o)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Goodies for the Christmas Season

Our daughter and her hubby are here from their home in Canada, and they were talking about fudge and how much they love it. They have gone to the craft show for a bit, so I decided to make them some Penuche fudge. Our whole family loves it and it is so easy and fool proof, that I thought I should share it. You can have it all finished and cooling in about 15 minutes as long as your walnuts are already chopped. So here is the recipe. If anyone tries it, let me know how you like it. It is just as good or better than the kind you cook on the stove and have to use a candy thermometer. So here it is.

Penuche Fudge

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
2/3 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk (NOT EVAPORATED)
1 1/2 teas. vanilla

1) Spread the walnuts in a glass pie plate and microwave uncovered on high for 6 or 7 min. stirring three times, until lightly toasted.

2) Line an 8"x8" square pan with tin foil (bottom and up the sides) and lightly spray with Pam or something like it.

3) In a 2 1/2 or 3 quart microwave safe glass bowl melt the butter in the microwave.

4) Remove from the microwave and stir in the milk and brown sugar until well blended and microwave uncovered on high for 7-9 minutes and is a med. caramel color. Stir at least 4 times while it is cooking.

5) Remove from microwave and beat with an electric mixer for 3-4 min.

6) Add the toasted walnuts and beat for another minute until the mixture is shining.

7) Pour into tinfoil lined pan and spread evenly.

8) Let cool and lift it out of the pan, removing the tinfoil and cut into pieces.

I store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Friday, December 5, 2008

No More Stress

Yup, the stress is off. All my stuff is at the craft show which opens Sat. from 9 am till 4pm. Rachel and her best friend Amanda will be sitting there all day for me, so now I can just relax and not feel like I have to be sewing and getting more things made. The girls are excited about running my table and I am excited to have them do it. LOL I think all the spots were taken so it should be a really good show. I had a huge piece of Christmas fabric to cover the two tables I rented, but when we got there, the tables were in an "L" shape. A very nice women helped us figure how to do the corner so I wouldn't have to cut the fabric. It actually worked out quite nicely. Now the girls just need to set the things out tomorrow morning. We didn't dare set our stuff out for fear of something getting stolen. Our table is the first one right by the door when you walk in, which is an awesome spot. That means we will be the last table they see on the way out. This is good because I always check out everything, and then go back and buy. Tomorrow I will let you know if it was a success or a flop. Either way, it only cost $15 for the two tables so it was worth it. :o)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hashbrown Potato Casserole

I just e-mailed this recipe to my oldest daughter as she requested. I got to thinking it would be a great recipe to share, especially with the holidays fast approaching. My mom makes this every year for the family Christmas dinner she hosts either right before or right after Christmas. She serves it with chicken cor. don .bleu and green bean casserole. It is always a hit. For this reason, my children call it Christmas casserole, but believe me, it is good any time of year. Give it a try and me know what you think. :o)


1 - 2 lb. frozen hashbrown potatoes or shredded

3/4 stick butter

2 cups sour cream

small amount dehydrated onion

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 can cream of chicken soup (cream of mushroom works too)

1 teas. salt

1/2 teas. black pepper

Mix together and place into a greased 9x13 pan


2 cups crushed corn flakes
3/4 stick of butter, melted

Mix and spread over potato mixture and bake uncovered and bake at 350 degrees about an hour..

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Not much time

Well, I just don't seem to have enough time in the day. I have been working hard getting things made for the craft show this weekend. There are so many things I would like to have done. On top of that, this is the busy time for my business with people doing their Christmas shopping. So, when you don't see a post on here, or at least much of one, you will know I am just too busy. LOL

Steve and I are usually pretty much done Christmas shopping by now and we are no where near that. We don't even have our tree up yet and that usually goes up the weekend after Thanksgiving. Once we get through this weekend, hopefully we can get on track.

I wanted to wish my sister-in-law good luck today as I believe she took her pharmacy assistant exam. I would be willing to bet that she aced it. :o)

Monday, December 1, 2008


As a parent, no matter how old your children get, you wish you could spare them the sorrow and pains that come in life. When you are in the middle of the sadness, you forget that these are the times that help us all grow in our christian faith and these times help us to become more compassionate to others.

Our daughter and son-in-law lost the baby Megan was carrying this weekend. I wish there was a way to take their pain and disappointment from them, but it isn't possible. The important thing is for them to know that their family and friends love them and support them. They don't have to go through this time alone and we are all here for them. :o)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Craft Show

On Friday of this week we will be going to set up for a Christmas craft show in Franklinville, NY. I haven't done a craft show in years and I guess I am a little nervous. I will go and help get the tables all set up, but Rachel and her best friend, Amanda are going to be there from 9 am to 4 pm on Sat. to do the selling. There is so much more I wanted to have done for it, but there is only so much time, and of course the calendar for this week is really full. I figured that what I was meant to have done, I would have done and that is that. Now, that should mean I would quit worrying...right? Ha ha, I will worry until it is over, that is just me.

I did list three new things tonight in my holiday and gift shop (www.ArelelDesigns2.etsy.com), and I am still trying to get that mosaic up and running. If you check the background of my Twitter page, http://twitter.com/ArelelDesigns you will find that I did figure out how to make one photo into tiny little tiles. It is enough to make you dizzy..LOL At least it is a step in the right direction. When I finally figure it out, it will probably be really simple. :o)


I just spent close to two hours setting up a mosaic on flickr. It took me awhile to figure out how to download pictures to Flickr and then upload them into my mosaic, but I finally figured it out. After I completed it, the next step was to save it to my computer....I could not figure out how to make that part work. Needless to say, I am very frustrated. I guess the best thing is to go to bed and call Megan tomorrow :o) She is my computer fixer upper. I am suposed to be able to load the mosaic onto my twitter page. If any of my readers have an idea that might help, PLEASE lety me know. LOL

I did list three new items tonight between my two shops, plus I sold my hamburger apron this afternoon. That was great. Anyway, I am so tired and it is almost 1 am, so I best say goodnight. :o)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Black Friday Experience

Well, when we saw the great price that Walmart was selling a 42 inch flat screen t.v. for on Black Friday, we decided to break down and buy one....our gift to each other for Christmas. Our daughters left here at 6 am to start the hunt for great bargains. We were going to order our t.v. on line after Rachel called us from Walmart to tell us she was able to get us one of the t.v. stands we would need for this tv. Rachel thought she had the right stand, so Steve went ahead and ordered our tv only to discover they were out of them (of course). Rachel found out she had the wrong stand anyway...this one was almost $100 more, and they were out of the sale one (of course). So we figured we just weren't meant to have one of these t.v.s.

Steve was really bummed out about not getting the television (you know how guys are with their toys), so he called Walmart in Warsaw. They did still have some of the $94 t.v. stands but were out of the 42 inch t.v. (that I wanted) and the 32 inch(Steve thought would be better for our livingroom). My hubby then decided to call Radio Shack and see if they had either size left from the sale they were running. They were out also. They said they had a 37 inch but it was over $800. So, that was rather discouraging. Steve then had a brainstorm. I didn't even know they made a 37 inch t.v., and he hadn't thought about it. He checked and the Walmart in Warsaw had a roll back on a 37 inch and they actually had one in stock, and they still had a stand. Needless to say, Steve and Bradly took off for the 40 minute drive to Warsaw and came home with a new t.v. and stand. The cool thing is, it is the perfect size for our living room. I think the 42 inch would have been a bit big and the 32 inch would have been a bit small. It turned out to be a great compromise and we are both happy. A good Black Friday was had by both of us. :o)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day is Over

Ugh....I wonder if everyone is in misery caused by eating too many Thanksgiving goodies. Our dinner was really great, but as usual we ate too much...sat around complaining about how awful we felt and then proceeded to partake of pie and cake..LOL It was really nice to spend the day with our family and friends. I really missed our three sons that were unable to be with us and our son in-law. Hopefully next year we can all be together for the holidays. It was a good day for remembering all of our blessings . Sometimes we seem to focus on what we don't have, rather than what we do have, and it seems nice to get re- focussed .

I have been busy getting my two Etsy shops geared up for this busy shopping weekend. I am having free shipping in both of my shops on orders of $10.00 or more before shipping. This sale will be from midnight Nov. 27th until midnight Dec. 1st EST. I am offering the free shipping to U.S. and Canadian customers. I am hoping the free shipping will generate some sales, but time will tell. All of you that go out shopping to the malls and stores on Black Friday...Good Luck!! Our daughters are heading out very early in the morning. The benefit of this is that if I need something that is on sale, they can get it for me. :o)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Snow, snow and more snow!!

Part of the thrill of living in western NY in the winter is never knowing when you are going to get dumped on with a ton of snow. All around us, they often get very little snow compared to us. Our one daughter goes to college in Buffalo and she is home for the holiday. She could not believe how much snow we had. They didn't have hardly anything and she is less than an hour away. We got a lot more snow today on top of the foot we already had. I had to change an appointment from morning till afternoon today due to the weather. By the time the roads looked ok here, it was almost 12:30. We got halfway to our appointment and drove right into horrible weather conditions. We made it to our destination, and were relieved that the roads were so much better driving back...that is until we were about 15 min. from home. We drove right into some very bad driving conditions. We saw a bad accident and were just so thankful to make it back home in one peace.

I am so blessed that while we were off at our appointment, my hubby was home getting a cake and pies and dinner rolls ready for Thanksgiving dinner. I need to make stuffing tomorrow, but I would say we are in good shape for our holiday dinner where we will be hosting dinner to 12 friends and family. It will be so nice to all be together....that is what it is all about...enjoying each other and being thanksful. :o)

Next Christmas

My youngest daughter and my hubby and I were talking about how different next Christmas is going to be. Megan and Scott will be having their baby in June and we will have our first grand baby to shop and make things for. We are all very excited about the new addition to our family. I think Megan will just be happy when she is done feeling sick, so she can enjoy her pregnancy. Anyway, the baby should be six months old by then and really a lot of fun. I have a feeling Grandpa and Grandma will be making many more treks to Canada . :o) It is funny sometimes how fast time goes. It doesn't seem like all that long ago that we were having our babies, and now one of them is having a baby. When the kids were little it felt like they would always be little and we would always be tired, and then we blinked and they were grown. I have to say that we are proud of the people they have become, and Steve and I have truly been blessed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Making a List and Checking it Twice

Steve and I finally did an inventory of all the Christmas gifts we have bought and what we still need to buy. We now have our notebook ready with each child's name and what we have gotten them and what is ordered. We will also add what we have yet to buy. This system works great for us as long as we can manage to hide the notebook from all the kids. So far it has not been a problem. Since we have 4 birth children, 3 adopted children and two foster children, we would be lost without our list. The kids are all required to make us a Christmas wish list. I must say that the kids are a bit behind on that this year. We normally go through their lists and cross off the definite "nos", (like those large ticket items that are not in the budget), and determine from the remaining items what we will buy them. I remember the Christmas that my three brothers and I all requested new snowmobiles. We each got one, they were about 8" long and made of plastic. My parents had a good laugh over that one. Anyway, we always have a few things that we think they need that is not on their lists..LOL

This Christmas is going to be a bit hard since Steven, who is in Texas will not be home, and Megan and Scott are holding Christmas at their house for Scott's family. I think it is great that they are hosting and making a nice day for everyone, but I miss my kids when the aren't with us. It is a mothers right...LOL

Sunday, November 23, 2008

You know it is a Good Day When......

You know it was a good day when you get a new bag ready to list in your etsy store and still have time to watch a really good movie. "Journey to the Center of the Earth" was actually very good and quite entertaining. I didn't think I would like it, but I LOVED it. The whole family felt that way. We actually just finished watching it for the second time. It has lots of action and even the few scarier scenes with the dinosaurs and the fish with the huge teeth didn't scare our 7 year old who is becomes afraid very easily. He really liked it too.

Now, about the new camo bag I made today. My youngest foster daughter outgrew a cute skirt from "Old Navy", that we had gotten her last winter. It was just too cute to go into the bag for the second hand store, so I created what I think is a really cute bag. You can check it out at this addy
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=17725067 It is a nice feeling when you can take something no one can wear anymore and make it into something useful again.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

In the Cleaning out Mode

It amazes me how I can go along for months and not really think a lot about the clothes the kids have outgrown, or the items floating around the house that belong elsewhere. It seems that with the changing of the seasons I get motivated to sort and toss and hand down . I had just such a day. I cleaned and sorted the laundry room, coat closet and the kids dressers and closets. As with the day we cleaned our desk, I ended up with a huge black garbage bag full of old sneakers, shoes, sandels ect. Our youngest son who is 7 is always trying to fit his feet into one of the numerous pair of sneakers that are a size too small. He gets mad because they don't fit. It doesn't help that he has sensory issues anyway. So, I tossed three or four pair of those too small sneakers away without him seeing. He won't miss them...out of sight, out of mind!! I also ended up with a huge bag of clothes to take to the second hand store. It is such cool store because as I take over a bag at a time containing clothes the kids have outgrown, they go through the bag at their convenience, and tally up what they feel they are worth. When we go there the next time, they give us clothing shop dollars and we can turn around and spend them on the things our kids need or save them up until we do need something. I guess we haven't needed much lately because we have over $100 worth of store dollars. The great thing is that when I want to get rid of the clothes that don't fit or we don't use, I have a place to do that, and when we need a few things for the kids, we have store dollars on hand to do that. I think it is a wonderful tradeoff. So, the summer coats and shoes are packed up and moved to the basement till Spring. The winter coats have been brought up and washed and are now hanging neatly in the closet with the winter boots lined up underneath. It seems so nice to have that job done and to have that part of the house so clean and neat and tidy.

Well, now that that work is done, I can spend some time in my studio sewing. I guess that is my reward for working hard this morning!! :o) We definately have to clean our ceiling fans before Thanksgiving though. Wow, where does all that dust come from..LOL Actually, I think that is a good job for my hubby's "Honey Do List".

Friday, November 21, 2008

Leftovers Can Be Great!!

Usually one night a week we have a smorgasbord for dinner. We have left overs from the two or three nights before. The kids like it and we do to...no cooking and not much cleanup, plus we aren't being wasteful. I am not a fond lover of leftovers myself. I have to say that my hubby created an awesome casserole from last nights dinner and you could have sworn it was a totally fresh meal. We had creamed chicken and biscuits last night. He made the gravy thinner rather than thick. Tonight, he mixed about a cup of Minute Rice into the gravy which besides the chicken, had carrots, celery, onion and tender tiny frozen peas. He added some shredded cheddar cheese to the gravy. This mixture went into a sprayed casserole dish. Steve put some cheddar cheese and some buttered breadcrumbs over the top and baked it till heated through and rice was soft. It was awesome, and like eating a whole new meal.

Bradly came through his surgery fine. He ended up getting a tube in one ear as the other ear and tube were fine. Hopefully this will take care of his ear trouble. Today was the last day of school for 9 days, so hopefully I come through it with my sanity. LOL

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Etsy Shop Sales

Business has been pretty steadily improving. Last night someone bought three matching "Tattoo"pieces. This lady said that she was actually looking to Christmas shop for her sister-in-law and ended up buying herself some Christmas presents..LOL Sounds like fun to me.

I got three little children's art/chef aprons done and listed today. I think they are cute. Talked Nick into modeling them for me to take pics. He wasn't too thrilled, but ended up enjoying it. I have more all cut out, but not sure where I can get a little girl to model the girl aprons.

I discovered another place on line to sell handmade items. It is called "Artfire". I had never heard of it. I have Megan checking it out for me as she can decipher info. way better than I can. It sounded promising, but time will tell.

Guess I am out of steam tonight. It has been a long day, and tomorrow we need to be in Williamsville early as Bradly is having tubes put in his ears. We will bring him home for the weekend when he is discharged. Then I have a whole week of no school to look forward to..UGH. The highlight of that is not having to get up at 6:30 am. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised and thingfs will go well. :o)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Found a Great New Family Recipe

Does it ever seem like you eat the same meals week after week? It just gets increasingly difficult sometimes to come up with something new and different, especially when you have picky kids. Well, the other day, while cleaning our desk, I found a Kraft magazine called, "Food and Family". There were some really delicious looking food dishes in it. I noticed a recipe for a taco bake, and knowing our kids love tacos, Steve and I decided to try it for dinner last night. Actually my husband is the one that made it as he does most of the cooking. He has been so supportive of me and my business, and has taken over many household jobs so that I am free to work. He is really a honey!! :o) Anyway, I wanted to share the recipe with my readers and urge you to try this recipe. Steve said it was really easy and only bakes a short time. I even loved it, and I don't usually care for salsa.
The only thing we will do different next time is throw the salsa in the blender first so the kids don't have to pick out tomato pieces. It was a huge hit!! Give it a try and let me know what you think. My family decided it was a KEEPER!!


Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total 35 minutes

1 pkg. (14 oz.) Kraft Delux Macaroni and Cheese Dinner
1 LB. ground beef
1 pkg. Taco Bell taco seasoning mix
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups Kraft shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup Taco Bell thick and chunky salsa

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare mac and cheese dinner as directed on the package. While macaroni is cooking, brown meat, drain, and add taco seasoning mix and water to meat; simmer 5 minutes.

Stir sour cream into the prepared mac and cheese. Spoon half of the dinner mix into a sprayed 8 " square or 9" round baking dish. Top with meat and spread evenly over the mac and cheese. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over the meat. Spread the remaining mac and cheese mixture over the cheese and cover.

Bake covered for 15 minutes. Remove the cover and top with salsa and remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. **We used extra cheese**. Bake uncovered and additional 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each

Jazz it up: For extra crunch, prepare and bake as directed and top with 1/2 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips along with the salsa and the cheese.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Keeping in touch

After talking on the phone with my sister-in-law for over 2 hours tonight, I am pondering on why I don't do better at keeping in touch with those I love. I do pretty well keeping up with my grown children, but life gets so busy that I don't keep in touch with my extended family like I should. The thing that is really cool is that the people that really love you are happy to hear from you no matter how long has gone by. Talking and laughing with those you love and care about is almost therapeutic. I laughed a lot during the course of our conversation tonight and really enjoyed myself. I am feeling great...what a nice way to end the day. :o)
This is short tonight but I need to get to bed. We have a meeting at the school at 9:30 am tomorrow for Nick. I hope it goes better than the one we had two weeks ago. Nick is doing better at home for the most part, but he is not doing well at school. The Dr. is going to try him on medication for his ADHD again and see if that helps him focus and counteract his sleepiness.
Oh, and one more thing. Today is the day I get to tell everyone that our oldest daughter and son-in-law are making us grandparents. We were sworn to secrecy for a few weeks and we were bursting to tell everyone. Megan is due in June. It is so exciting!! I will have to talk more about that another day. we will know more after her Dr. appointment tomorrow. Yippee :o)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why do we save so much junk??

I have always been a person who hates clutter. I like things in their place and neat and tidy. I am the one who sorts the mail because others (namely my hubby) seem to just stack up junk mail instead of tossing it in the circular file. My children have always accused me of throwing out their stuff. That has been true when they continued to leave their stuff laying around after being asked many times to put them away. I just assumed they didn't want it. I did by mistake throw away a check for $200 once while I was hoeing out. Thankfully my hubby realized it was missing and called me at work and we figured out what I had done. I have also been guilty of putting things in a "safe" place, and then having trouble remembering where that was. I must say though, that my fetish for tidiness has given my children an out of always blaming mom when they have lost things. One such instance has been when my oldest daughter needed a book from my youngest daughters college library. The book has disappeared and I got the blame for it, when in fact, I haven't even seen it. It is quite convenient to blame mom. It cost $45 to pay for the book. I hope she finds it, but I am not the guilty party this time, no matter what my gal says. I imagine we will have to agree to disagree on that point. :o) She is such an awesome daughter in so many ways, I guess I best not complain too much. LOL
The reason I got on the subject of junk is because, as I stated yesterday, we bought a new computer. We decided to totally empty our desk, and sort through the junk. Oh my goodness, we could not believe how much we had to throw away. We ended up with at least 2 black garbage bags full of trash, not to mention all the stuff that had accumulated on or around the desk that didn't even belong there. We put all of that in better places, and wow, it looks so nice now. I now have my shipping scale on the desk which is so convenient. Before when I was packing up items from my shop to ship, I had to go to a different room to weigh, another room to gather various things I needed for my business. Now it is all right at my finger tips and neat and tidy too. :o) There is even room for the hard drive (which is small) to sit on the desk. So, back to my original question!! "Why do we save so much junk"? After all of this, I bet in 6 months or so we need to do it again. LOL

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Computer

Well, we finally had to break down and purchase a new computer. We bought an ACER on the advice of our daughter, Megan. I think I am going to like it, but it is just such a pain to get all your stuff on it. We had to scramble and try an remember user names and passwords. LOL This monitor is a 19 inch and much bigger than our last one, plus it is a flat screen which is awesome. Our two cats will hate the new monitor because they loved to sit on top of the old one as it was warm. Another awesome feature is the size of the hard drive. It is small enough to sit on the desk next to the monitor. I hated trying to get the SD card for the camera into the hard drive appropriate slot. I use it alot as I am often taking pics and listing new items in my Etsy store. Now it is right in front of me and so easy. :o)
I did absolutely no sewing today. We spent the day sorting all the junk on our desk and hoeing it out. We still are not finished, but it is going to be great when we are done.
We have 2 to 3 inches of snow and they are calling for up to 8 inches by tomorrow. All I can say is they better not close school. LOL I love my children, but I am ready for some quiet time. It was a long weekend. I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving week when they have the whole week off from school. :o)
Time to watch a little tv with my honey.

Bradly's Birthday

Bradly turned 11 today. It is hard to believe he is that old. He was only 4 when he came to us in foster care. He has so many problems, but he does have such a generous heart. Sometimes I can't help but wonder what he would have been like if he had been born into a family that did not abuse him, neglect him and hurt his spirit. It is so sad what some people do to their children and many of them had a bad childhood too. Time to stop the cycle.

I got a few new bags finished and listed tonight. My mom and I placed a bid on Alchemy which is on Etsy. My mom had to knit 6 pair of mittens for potatoes. This nice women is doing a sculpture and needed these mittens, which are 3 1/2 inches long...brown with red tips. We have all chuckled about mittens for potatoes, but I think Mom enjoyed doing it. She got them all finished and is now working on an order for a pair of womens pink mittens. She has sold quite a few pair of mittens.

Well, I am off to bed. Tomorrow is my day to sleep in, so I always stay up late on Sat. nights. LOL They are calling for snow here starting overnight and then heavier accumulations starting Sunday night into Monday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

November is Half Over Already

I was thinking today about how fast the days are going by. It doesn't seem possible that it is already the middle of November. I am in no way ready for Thanksgiving or the kids having a week off from school that week. Of course our school is holding Parent Teacher Conferences that week also. We happened to be watching "The Rachel Ray Show" the other day and she made this turkey and stuffing meatloaf that looked delicious. Steve went on line and found the recipe. I thought I would share it. She also made sour cream and onion mashed potatoes and cider gravy. I am including the recipes for those. If anyone tries these recipes please share what you thought of it.

2 apples, peeled and cut into small dice
1 TBSP. lemon juice
2 pounds ground all-white meat turkey (or mix of dark and light)
3 to 4 ribs of celery, finely chopped
1 med. onion, finely chopped
1 TBSP. poultry seasoning
1 large egg
Salt and black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups stuffing mix

Mix all ingredients together and form into a loaf on a parchment paper covered baking
sheet. Drizzle 1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil over the top and bake at 350 degrees untill done (about an hour).


3 pounds (about 6) potatoes, peeled and chopped. Cook in water till done and drain well.
add: 1 1/2 cups sour cream and 6 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped
season with salt and pepper


Make a rue with 4 TBSP butter and 4 TBSP white flour. Stir in 2 cups apple cider and 2 cups chicken broth. Stir well with a whisk and bring to a boil to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over turkey loaf and the potatoes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What a day!

My day started nice and early today. My hubby and I had to take three of our kids for appointments. What would a trip to Springville be without a shopping stop at Walmart? The girls needed winter boots and Nick conived us out of a pair of slippers which he did need. He came home and put them on and refused to go out again with his Dad because he was wearing his slippers...LOL

I did manage to go down to my studio and get some sewing done. I bought this awesome Alexander Henry fabric a while ago and hadn't decided what to make with it. It is blue with apples and pears, so I decided to try it with a new pattern I had for a drawstring purse. I did get it half done and it is really cute. I will post a pic when it is finished.

I sold one of my owl purses yesterday...it was actually my personal favorite of the six I made. I got that packed up and shipped out today. It has been a fairly busy week with my shops and getting orders. I sure hope that keeps up. :o)

We cheated last night by having eggs and toast for dinner. Tonight we cheated really bad and had cereal. LOL Of course we had a big lunch at the Chinese Buffet, so we didn't need much. My brother Joe and sister-in-law Denise are the ones that turned us on to Chinese food. We went out with them and they taught us what was good. Up until then we had no clue what to order.
My personal favorite is the green beans. They are so crunchy and yummy. I also like the black peeper chicken with rice and sweet and sour chicken. That is about all I get. My tastes change every so often. I used to love lo-mein and now I don't really care for it.

We are going to watch Grey's Anatomy. Thankfully we are doing the DVR thing so we can watch it at our convenience. I have to say that the DVR is a wonderful invention. There are so many shows I might have to miss. One new show that Steve and I both enjoy is "The Mentalist". It is really good, so we DVR it and watch it after "NCIS".

Time to tip back in my chair and put my feet up. Tomorrow will be here too fast.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just a Few Thoughts About Having an Online Business

First of all, I just have to say I am really excited to have figured out how to set up a blog all by myself. Please bare with me as I get the wrinkles ironed out and figure out what I am really doing. LOL
Opening a store on Etsy was a truly wonderful experience for me. When I first decided I wanted to make and sell handbags and accessories, my oldest daughter, Megan, had just discovered Etsy. Her excitement was contagious. I began sewing like a crazy women and she started learning more about Etsy. Megan set up my shop and took pics and did my listings. I could never have done it without her. Megan taught my hubby how to list items so when she wasn't here he could keep up with my listings. I have learned to do most everything myself now and it is very liberating as well as exciting. I still have to call Megan for advice on occassion, but I am getting there. It has all been a great adventure. I even had to open a second shop when my first shop started accumulating items, that although they were great, were not bags, purses, wallets or messenger bags. I decided to open "Arelel Designs Holiday and Gift Shop". I carry things like Christmas tree skirts and stockings as well as ornaments. I have barbeque aprons for men, as well as tooth fairy pillows for the kiddies and knitted mittens and dish cloths. You will also find destash items such as patterns, lace and various odds and ends. Much to my delight, that shop has taken off now also.
For those of you that create and sell your creations, you already know what a thrill it is when people start buying from you. It isn't just the money, although that is great, it is the idea that I could actually make something that someone else would want to buy. It is exhilarating !!!
Well, I guess this is long enough or my first post. Anyone care to give me some feedback, I would love it.

My Etsy Shop