Thursday, January 30, 2014

Party Time!

This past Sunday we celebrated our little Elsie's 2nd Birthday.  Wow! Time sure flies!   The party was at Chuck E. Cheese, which I have to admit is  not my favorite place.  Too Loud.  Too Crazy.  Too Out-of-Control.   But it was fun to spend some time with Elsie and see her enjoy all the little rides and games.

Elsie and her beautiful Mom, Wendy

Playing air hockey with her Daddy

Noah manned the other end of the table

Matthew and Kenny looking a bit out of their element

Elsie anxiously awaiting tokens.  I'm pretty sure she just reached up and grabbed a handful because she just couldn't wait any longer!  She knew just what to do with them too!

Noah found a friend to play games with.

A great photo of Noah, Elsie and their Daddy

Daddy helps Elsie cut the cake.  The cake was decorated to resemble the colors of Minnie Mouse, Elsie's favorite character.

I made Elsie a stuffed bunny....she loved her!

She loved all the rides.  She had to stay on each ride at least three or four times.

She knows you're supposed to throw the balls and try to get them in the lion's mouth, but she couldn't quite make them reach.

There's more than one way to skin a cat.

It was so cute that she had to wave bye-bye as each ride started.

Happy Birthday my sweet grand baby!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Blizzard Blast!!!

Last year when I did the Spartan Race, my brother was really sad that he didn't get to do it with me.  So we found the "Blizzard Blast" and I offered to do it with him as a birthday present.  So here we were!

Always so  happy and energetic-looking before the race!

It was fun to people-watch while we waited for our heat to start

John was prepared to video the race, even though we brought along my Hubby - the official race photographer.

The race was held at the Four Oaks Country Club in Dracut, MA

Naturally the official race photographer couldn't get onto most parts of the course, but basically it was a 5K course up and down the hilly terrain of the golf course.  There weren't an awful lot of obstacles but walking up and down the hills in loose snow and boots was very tiring.   The obstacles we did encounter included walking long the tops of stone walls, 

using flying saucers to sled down a couple of hills, (fun!!), 
(wish we had photos or video of that!)

climbing over some walls:

Navigating some tires

Throwing marshmallows into paper cups....although John managed to get his to stick to the window!

As we neared the end of the race, we saw a sign saying "Good News - 1/4 mile until the end of the race."  "Bad News - it's the Christmas Tree Carry!" 

or in my case, the Christmas Tree Drag

And then throw it over the wall

Then through the tubes - once you got in there, there was no traction!

Finally climb a few snow hills

John is the King of the  Hill!

Some bling at the end

And adrenaline rush over......two tired people had some chili and chowder.

It was a fun and unusual way to spend my brother's birthday.  Next year I'll probably just give him chiropractor treatments!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Figuring out the best deal

I'm not much of a shopper, as you all know.  And when I do shop I like to try and get the best deal.   Once in a while I hit the jackpot, as I did with my new winter coat.

I've been shopping a lot at Kohl's, because they have good sales.  And since I gave in and got a Kohl's credit card (I don't like credit cards) they send me some pretty good coupons.  It's hard to get over the feeling that you have to use every coupon they send, so as not to "waste" money.    I do try and use the coupons only when I need something specific.

I needed a new winter coat, so I went to Kohl's right after Christmas with my coupon, the gift card I got for Christmas, and my Kohl's credit card.   I found the perfect coat.  (Although it's probably a size smaller than I should have gotten.  It's a bit tight, but I can pull the zipper up.  My philosophy is that I'll just be that much more excited next winter when the coat is loose because I've lost more weight.)

Anyway, the coat was $170, marked down for clearance (at the beginning of January!) 60%.   I then used my 15% coupon, and my $25 gift card, and the coat cost me $3.07.   I couldn't have been more delighted with the deal I had put together!   I didn't use the credit card, I just handed the girl the $3.07 in cash.

Now, my sister went to Kohl's armed with her coupons, credit card and gift cards, also determined to get the best deal.  When she got to the register, they wouldn't allow her to use the coupon because she wasn't going to use her credit card on the purchase.  I believe what happened was, I used a coupon from the newspaper that anyone can use.  She was trying to use a coupon that had been sent in the mail to be used only by people with the credit card.

She was so dispirited that she went home and ordered what she wanted online, where she could use her coupon and her gift cards.  A glitch in the system but it worked.   However, there was a pair of boots she'd seen in the store that she really wanted that they did not have online.

So she went back to the store determined to speak to them and get them to let her use the coupon.  She found out that if she used her credit card for even part of the purchase then she could use the coupon.  So here's what she did:

Yup, she used her coupon, her gift cards and charged 76 cents on her credit card.   Now THAT is savvy shopping!

Monday, January 20, 2014

What Weekend?

I had to work this Saturday.   I've actually been pretty lucky because I haven't had to work as many Saturdays as I used to.  They hired a woman who works every Saturday, so the other three of us switch off.  Now instead of at least every other Saturday  (although sometimes it was three out of four) I only work one Saturday a month, and sometimes two.

Still.....when I work a Saturday it feels like I have no weekend at all.  But as I am writing this post, I'm realizing I packed quite a lot into my short little weekend.

Friday night Hubby and I usually attend the Main Street Cafe Acoustic Open Mic in Groton.   We started going a couple of years ago, and boy, is it fun!   Always new and different talent, as well as the regulars who are there almost every week.  I've come to look forward to seeing these friends, laughing, talking, eating and listening to some amazing music.

We call the place TCPOE - The Coolest Place on Earth.......and it is.

As I said, Saturday morning I worked.  Saturday afternoon my daughter came over and we visited for a couple hours.  Always a pleasure.

Then it was time to get ready to go out to another favorite venue, The Bull Run in Shirley, MA.  A good friend was doing her CD release party.........and it was amazing.   Again we sat with wonderful friends, had some great food, and then sat back and were blown away by the fantastic show put on by Lee Villaire.

Sunday morning is always a pleasure......getting up earlier than Hubby and sitting with my cup of tea and my Sunday newspaper.  Made a nice omelet for us for breakfast.  Busted out the new puzzle I got Hubby for Christmas.

Then decided to pull out my cross-country skiis, which I haven't used in a couple years and take a few turns around the back yard.

After a marathon grocery shopping with Hubby, we went over to my brother's house for "The Big Game".....which unfortunately, our beloved New England Patriots lost.   But.....we had some wonderful food with my brother and his wife,  and great conversation.   As my brother said, "Now we can sit back and relax to watch the Superbowl, because we won't care who wins.  It'll be all about the food and the commercials".  That's finding the silver lining!

And finally, we came home and watch the movie Red 2.   (I give it a 6 out of 10, mostly because I couldn't follow what was going on sometimes)

And now it's Monday.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Marginal Way!

Hubby and I both love the beach.....and we both love to go in the off-season.   It's so much nicer without people there!   In the past few years, we've gone on New Year's Day. This year, it was quite frigid out on New Year's so we put off going until the weather "warmed up".   It was a balmy 45 degrees out, but we still knew enough to get bundled up!

The adventure started out right for Hubby since he's a little kid at heart!  The firetruck was squirting water up into the air!! whoohooo!!

The wave were huge......the spray created a couple of rainbows.

These crazy people were surfing! There were about 15 of them.

Love it when the waves hit the rocks

Most of the path was pretty clear.....we did have to navigate some icy spots.

And a little bit of this towards the end

A great way to spend the January Thaw!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I spent the day today getting ready for company.   And I really enjoyed it.  Sound silly?  It probably is......but I found that I look back to the days of "old" and I'm jealous.

I'm jealous of the time people seemed to used to have to enjoy each other's company.   When I was a little girl.......'lo those many years ago!.......Sundays were visiting days.  Stores were closed.  Moms had been home all week taking care of the house and chores and errands, so Sundays were not needed to run around like nuts and try and fit everything in while also holding down a full-time job.   So Sundays were for visiting.

I had one Grandmother who lived with us, so sometimes we'd stay home and visit with the children and grandchildren who came over to visit with her.  And sometimes we went to my other Grandmother's house for the afternoon.  No plans were phone calls.   It was simply understood that my Grandmother would be home, and willing to receive guests.  

We'd all pile out of the car anxious to see which other relatives would be there.  My Grandmother had seven children and 25 grandchildren, so chances were pretty good that there would be someone else there.   The grown-ups would situate themselves in the living room to chat, and the kids would go outside, or to the basement, or to the extra bedroom to play.

And that's how we spent a Sunday afternoon.   We had nowhere to go, nothing pressing to do and it was idyllic.  

By the time I was an adult with young children, things were changing.   My mother's was the last of the generation of "stay-at-home-Moms".    By the time I was an adult, the majority of women were working.   I stayed home when my children were young, but none of my neighbors did.  And then when my kids were in school, I worked - too busy on the weekends to spend Sunday afternoons hanging around at my Mother's house.

And a valuable thing was lost.  The ability to sit and just enjoy each other on a regular basis with no guilt for what we "should be doing".    And it makes me sad.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Random Thoughts

I was looking at the tally of how many blog posts I've done each year since I started blogging  (6 years!) and it's sad to see that the amount has gone down every year.   Another New Year's resolution?  Blog more.......we'll see how it goes.

*   Still working on the diet.   I'm slowly coming to realize that what everyone says is true.  It has to be a lifestyle change, not a diet.    Every time something special comes up (and there's usually something special going on every weekend!) I use it as an excuse to go off my diet.   I am working on changing my thinking and really trying to think about every single thing I put into my mouth and deciding if it's worth the calories.

*  They have a new grill out that apparently can tell what you're cooking and let's you know how long to cook things and when to turn them over, etc.   It brought up the subject of whether there will come a time when people's brains will no longer work.....when we will rely on technology to remember and do things for us.   Think about many of your family and friends' phone numbers do you know by heart?

*  It's that time of year when we have to make the decision whether we want our winter to be sedate or active.  Do we want to be couch potatoes or try and accomplish something?   Two years ago, we were couch potatoes, and after it was over I felt like we'd wasted about 3 months of our lives.  Last year, we did the living room remodel, and we killed ourselves for 4 months.   Maybe we'll try for a happy medium this year.

*  In that line of thought, I have 3 activities I can pursue this weekend.   1)  Work on a sewing project I have in mind.   2)  Practice on my pottery wheel  3)  Start ripping down the wallpaper in the upstairs hallway.  I wonder which project I'll work on?     Maybe I'll have time to fit in all three.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Holiday Finale

Our Holiday Partying did not end with Christmas Day.   In order to fit in all the revelry we wanted, we  had to extend the holiday season another week!

On the Saturday evening after Christmas we hosted Hubby's kids for a Christmas dinner.   Sadly, Kenny's fiance Matthew was traveling so he couldn't attend, but we were happy to have Kenny and Wendy, her husband Allan, and our two grandkids Noah and Elsie.

Our Holiday Meal was ham and Kenny's favorite mashed potatoes.

Noah checks out Kenny's gift

Hubby always enjoys playing Christmas songs

Noah got the biggest kick out of my musical snowmen.  He lined them all up and danced to them.  He even went back to them after he opened up his new Hess truck from Grampy!

Elsie insisted upon immediately putting on the new top Memere got for her.

Noah dancing some more

Elsie really liked the lights and ornaments on our tree.

Sunday brought the Patriot's game with dinner and visiting at my brother John's house.  Patriots won and they are off to the playoffs!!!

On New Year's Eve Hubby and I rarely go out.   It's usually sitting on the couch watching the ball drop.  This year we went out to eat at Texas Roadhouse  (thanks for the gift card Noah and Elsie) and then went to the movies......we saw "Saving Mr. Banks"  which was a very interesting story.  We were  home in time to be snug in our bed at midnight.

New Year's Day I did my usual taking down of the Christmas decorations (much to Hubby's chagrrin....he'd keep the tree up until Valentine's Day if I let him)  and I put the house back in order.

As a grand finale Hubby and I will be attending his work's "Winter Gathering" tonight at the Holiday Inn.   Open bar, dinner buffet, and discounted hotel room.    It'll be a nice relaxing and easy getaway for us!

And the holidays will finally be over.