Same Blog-New Place

This is now my old blog address-I am now one of those Wordpress geeks and my blog now sits at . So, please visit me there and if you subscribe to it, you will be my new best friend and chocolate chip cookies will fall from the sky.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Start the new year out right

Next year, (which is next weekend!) I plan on doing some heavy marketing for my photography business. I already have some desk calendars to hand out, and now I want to make new business cards. The ONLY company I use for printing my cards is VistaPrint. I'm sure you've heard of them. EVERYONE knows about Vista Print. They are the best printing company to use if you are on a budget for marketing-ro, even if you aren't. They have expanded over the years to include lots of more products to their line, like calendars, tshirts, magnets and many other products. They always offer their 250 business cards for F.R.E.E. Yep. It's true!
Christmas may be over, but why not get yourself something nice like getting that one favorite Christmas photo on a card or tshirt? Or, start thinking about next Christmas early. It's never too early to start!
Right now they have a great special going on. Free shipping when you spend $30 or more! Hurry, this won't last long!

I need a fireplace

Whenever it starts snowing out here, I always think about how I wished I had a fireplace. How nice would it be to get warm by the fire on a cold winter's night? I know there are many different kinds of fireplaces, from old fashion wood burning to fireplaces that use gas logs.

I know that when we move, we are definately looking for a house with a fireplace, or installing one. When deciding on what kind of fireplaces, I am leaning towards gas logs. Hansen Wholesale carry R. H. Peterson Real Fyre Gas Logs, a great brand to consider.

Hansen Wholesale guarantees the lowest prices on ALL gas logs by R. H. Peterson. Hansen Wholesale were the first dealers to sell gas logs on the Internet-back in 1994! They are the best gas log experts!

Another great idea is to have an outdoor fireplace. A cold fall evening would be nice using outdoor gas logs in your gas fireplace!

Are you considering gas logs? Check out the Gas Log FAQs before making up your mind about fireplace gas logs.

Right now, Hansen Wholesale is offering a $75 additional discount plus No Sales Tax and FREE Shipping.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tis the season

As Christmas approaches in just a couple of days, I can finally say that I'm done with my shopping. Ok, not really. My step daughter isn't coming until after Christmas, so I will be finishing her present shopping the day after. (Please, no snow storms!)

As I sat back and gave thanks for the mound of presents under the tree, the usual seasonal anxiety started to set in. Do I have enough presents for the kids? Should I have bought that DS game? Will my husband like his gifts? Oh my gosh. Where are my keys? I NEED TO GO SHOPPING.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Download for a good cause

Do you get a lot of gift cards for Christmas? I do-it might be because I'm so hard to buy for. My kids are starting to get to a point where getting a gift card is so much easier as well. But, if you are like me, you probably have a tendency to lose them. Or, I forget the balance.

When I found out about SWAGG, I was totally thrilled. What is SWAGG?

SWAGG is a site that deals with the troublesome problem of how to deal with the overabundance of gift cards, loyalty & membership cards that clutter up your wallet or handbag. Now, they just launched a new app theat lets you can load all those gift cards, loyalty points, etc into your iPhone or Android mobile device!

SWAGG allows consumers to import more than 250 brands of gift cards and rewards cards and, unlike plastic cards, SWAGG permits consumers to view available balance and reward information on most of these cards. Additionally, consumers can use their mobile device to give, get and even exchange SWAGG GIFTS from participating merchant partners such as American Apparel Inc., The Wet Seal Inc., Crocs Inc., and Arden B. Through SWAGG, consumers can access the offers that matter most to them, connecting users with more than 3,000 retailers. Retailers benefit by acquiring new customers, increasing in-store business and retaining existing customers.

Right now, every download through the month of December = $1 donation from SWAGG to Stand Up 2 Cancer.

Download here.


For Apple and Droid Mobile Devices ONLY


US Residents Only

So, the next time you get a gift card for any holiday or occassion, remember that now it can only be a click away instead of taking up room in your wallet!

Friday, December 17, 2010

And it continues...

Okay, I lied. I'm still taking some photos. I had to do some Christmas photos of the grand babies.
Zach was so good for photos. At least for a bit.
He looked so grown up! And then he did this.

That little squirt.

Then, it was his little sister's turn.

She is such an angel!

She is always laughing.

I think it's because she knows she has an awesome Nana. She tired out quickly though, and fell asleep.

Don't you just want to pinch those chubby cheeks?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last minute shoots

I said that I wasn't going to do anymore photo shoots until after the holidays, but I some how am finding myself doing last minute shoots-including one that is scheduled for Sunday because some stubborn baby didn't want to come out of her mommy's tummy. Argh.

I did a different newborn shoot recently. This little boy was a bit older than usual newborn age that you do sleeping photos. He wasn't having anything to do with posing or sleeping for the first hour of the shoot. Mom was getting nervous and I think he sensed it.

Finally, after two hours, we got him to sleep and got some cute photos!

They brought really cute hats-I have to get me some.

I love the Santa hat.

Then, I did a mini shoot today with a little man that I've been photographing since he was a baby. He's one now, and still a little booger.

I had to have Emily help me get him to smile.

Love the Santa hat poses!

Next week, I'm on vacation from any shooting, editing, or anything to do with photography-REALLY.

Hard to buy for people-don't you love them?

I can't believe that this is about the last week to shop for Christmas! Are you done? I bet you are, unlike me. Between the weather and work, it's been hard to get it done. We even had another winter storm last night (and they didn't even cancel school!) So, that's another day I'm stuck at home. Thank goodness for online shopping!

One of my relatives is very hard to buy for. They seem to have everything they need! Must be nice. I've been racking my brains trying to figure out something, then I came across these awesome tv stands .

Love it!!!!!!!!

They have a faux fireplace built right in! They are so awesome-I may be behind the times, but I've never seen this type of tv stand. It like takes care of two "chores" at one time by acting as a tv stand and a fireplace. These probably would save space as well, and since they aren't real fireplaces, less mess too.

Okay, now I want one too. Anyone? Anyone? Helloooooo?????????

Anyway, this just might be the cool present this relative needs-who knows, maybe they will invite us over more often for dinner too!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pretty lights

I love to play with the the lighting on the Christmas tree.

Taking pictures, that is.

The bokeh the tree gives off is so pretty.

Okay, enough playing. Back to doing the dishes...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Make life a bit easier with the right stroller

As Zach's and Avrie's favorite "Nana", I always seem to have them. When we go shopping, I like to have a reliable stroller. When I found out about Mamas & Papas Lightweight strollers, I liked the look of them.

Mamas & Papas is new to the U.S. and have a neat Lightweight stroller collection. created a fleet of lightweight strollers that are perfect for situations where flexibility is paramount. All Mamas and Papas lightweight strollers also feature an over-the-shoulder carrying strap for when the stroller is folded and in transit.

This company has a new lightweight umbrella stroller - the chic new design-led baby brand from Great Britain.
My two favorites are these:
Here are some different types of their new strollers:

Trip – This stroller offers vented side panels and is the must-have getaway product.
Trek – Featuring a simple seat recline system, little ones have the option to nap while on the move.
Tour – Increased seat padding and a deeper recline will ensure comfort during longer journeys
Cruise – Perfect for everyday use, this stroller features a five-position recline, adjustable foot rest, easypeek canopy window and additional storage pockets.
Voyage – Features an integrated sun visor and sun canopy, quilted seat and removable toddler pillow and chest pads for extra comfort, this stroller is the highlight of the new Mamas & Papas lightweight stroller range.

These would make a great gift for that favorite Mama in your life! Or, make your shopping easier by taking your little one around in one of these babies. You can buy them online here .

Like Mamas & Papas on Facebook:
Follow Mamas & Papas on Twitter

I am writing this post for a chance to win one of five Mama & Papas strollers.

My little man's first haircut

With my persistance, my little grandbaby, Zach has been able to keep his adorable little curls-probably way past the time to keep them. These curls are his trademark. I totally adore them.

How cute, right?

After he turned two this year, his mom kept saying that it was time to cut those curls. Whaaaaaaat? No way. No how. Sorry. You. Ain't. Doing. It.

That should work, right? After all, kids listen to their parents, don't they? Respect thy elders?

Hmmm...well, I guess sometimes they don't always do what they are told.

Give the gift of coffee

I have to say, just about as much as I love chocolate, I love coffee as well. For all the many late hours I've been putting in, coffee has become my best friend.

I think that coffee would make the perfect gift for any coffee lover, and I have a few of them (coffee lovers) that I just might have to give them some as a special gift. If you are a coffee lover, you might want to check out the cool coffee products that you just might want to ask for Christmas yourself!

For example, have you seen those K-Cups and Coffee Pods they have now? I really want one of those types of coffee makers (hint, hint).

Or, maybe you'd like to do something for the gang at work and order some Office Coffee?

Another great idea is giving coffee Gift Baskets. I love gift baskets, but a COFFEE gift basket? HEAVEN!!!!!

So, make that coffee lover happy (and awake) with a gift of coffee this season! :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Homemade touches at my dinner party

(Guest post written by Ruth Hinton)

Even though it's going to be just friends and neighbors who are coming to our dinner party about a week before Christmas, I want it to feel like a down-home Christmas celebration without the sibling fighting and headache. I guess you could say like utopian down-home Christmas, if that makes any sense.
I've already been planning a whole lot and have really been trying to come up with some touches that are going to carry through my theme. Researching for that stuff online with our WirelessInternet is helping out a whole lot and I think that I may have so many ideas that I'm not going to be able to use all of them!One of the things that I'm doing as one of those extra special touches is making homemade place cards out of some vintage-y looking Christmas cards that people have sent me over the past couple of years. I thought it was a great way to actually use all of those that I'd been looking to repurpose anyway. I'm also really excited to break out my GrandmaÕs peach cobbler recipe too.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why I hate "I don't know"

Me: "What did you do at school today, Jordon?"

Jordon: "I don't know."


Me: "Emily, where did all the candy canes go?"

Emily: "I don't know. "


Me: "Jordon, do you have homework?"

Jordon: "I don't know."


Me: "Honey, what do you want for Christmas this year?"

Hubby: "I don't know."


Me: "Jess, do you have the $20 I loaned you last week?"

Jess: "I don't know."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Losing those extra pounds before the holidays

I have never really had to deal with weight loss issues. I've always been thin-sometimes, too thin. I lost the baby weight for both of my older children practically the day they were born.

The only really time that I kept some weight on was after giving birth to my youngest. I think it's because I wasn't on my feet as much when I was pregnant with her. I was a waitress and manager when before with the other kids.

I never thought about weight loss pills to lose that extra 5-10 pounds. I've heard that using weight loss pills can be an easy and fast way to lose that weight that you have been wanting to lose.

Some of the best weight loss pills are those that are safe and ones that are recommended by doctors. Do your research and find the brand that's best for you!

It's that time again

As you know, I like to dream once in awhile about remodeling the home and buying all new furniture. Every year, I hope that Santa will listen and a whole new furnished home will be waiting under the tree-or, at least the check to cover it.

This time, I was looking at what I would like in my kitchen. I've always been drawn to butcher block tables. I love the look of them and they just look beautiful! At the Butcher Block , they have many, many many cool butcher block style furniture and countertops.
Here are some of my favs.

A girl can dream, right?
They also have adirondack chairs, countertops and utility sinks
Here is the most awesome part-FREE SHIPPING! So, you won't have to worry about what it would cost to get one of these babies to your house.
So, if you are looking to do a little Xmas shopping for yourself, think about a new addition to your kitchen!

Gifts for the man

I don't know about you, but I have one of those hard-to-buy-for hubby. Yes, he likes electronics, but the kids would have to go without presents if I got him some expensive gadget. So, I will be scratching my head trying to figure out what to get him.

If you have a hubby that likes to build or fix stuff, then you are lucky because I know an inexpensive place to get some awesome tools!
Husky Tools is an online site that has tool kits at great prices. Heck, I could use some tools for myself at these prices. For instance, I could use one of these.

Or, one of these.

Husky 45-Piece Stubby Work Set - $14.97

What great prices! These can fit anyone's budget and make some guy (or woman) happy.

So, head on over and check them out!

"This post was my opinion and will be given a product from Husky Tools for review."

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving; Thanksgiving Specials

(Guest Blogger) Jasper Ramsey

Thanksgiving specials have always been a favorite of mine on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for me is a time for family, and with spending time with family comes watching Thanksgiving specials with family. Watching Thanksgiving specials on Direct TV package deals is a must this time of year.
'After singing "Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's House We Go".
Charlie Brown: Well, there's only one thing wrong with that.
Linus van Pelt: What's that, Charlie Brown?
Charlie Brown: My Grandmother lives in a condominium."
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving has been a favorite Thanksgiving special of mine since I was a little girl, and it still remains a favorite of mine and my families today.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is about when Peppermint Patty invites herself, and a group of her friends to Charlie Brown's house for a Thanksgiving celebration. Charlie Brown works with Linus, Snoopy, and Woodstock attempt to throw together a Thanksgiving celebration.
Some of the characters in A Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving includes the classic cast, Charlie Brown, Lucy van Pelt, Linus van Pelt, Sally Brown, and Woodstock. Also features in this movie is Franklin, Little Birdie, Marcie; and Patricia 'Peppermint Patty' Reichardt. This set of characters really help make this movie a Thanksgiving classic.
Thanksgiving specials have been around since I was a little girl, and will be around until my childrens children have children. Thanksgiving specials are loved among families, and have become a family tradition.


Our Thanksgiving weekend was anything but thankful-unless I considered feeling like I was dying and not actually dying, is something I should be thankful for.

That darn flu bug got me again. Right on Thanksgiving-well, the night before. That's not a good thing when you have a houseful of guests coming that evening. I didn't know what to do and didn't want to cancel since there wasn't time for anyone to make other arrangements, and I spent a fortune in food.

I was up most of the night fighting the aches and pains, and ate about a Christmas tree full of peppermint candy canes. I decided to just go ahead and still have the dinner and kept as far away from food as possible. I washed my hands so much that day and by dinner time, they were about raw!

I managed to put together a table setting that I thought was pretty- I looked far and wide for the centerpiece and spotted this one at Michaels. It spoke to me, telling me to please take it home-or, maybe the flu was already setting in, making me delusional. At any rate, I got it and love it.

And yes, there are plastic cups-I wanted to make clean up as easy as possible.

So, everyone came and I managed through it, eating jello while everyone else had turkey. I did save myself a plate and ate it the next day for lunch.

For those readers that have been around awhile, I did make it out the next morning for Black Friday shopping and to get my traditional globe from JcPenneys.

We thought at first that we didn't make it, because the doors we checked were all out, but someone got wind of a door that still had them. We ran there and got some of the few that were left.

That darn globe is the ONLY reason I get out of bed at 5:00am to go shopping.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Give a gift-or win one

A couple of weeks ago, Emily celebrated her sixth birthday. We threw a party for her, and it was alot of fun. She got a lot of cool things, like this cool camera.

Who knows, maybe she will be better than me!

With perfect timing, we were offered the chance to review a gift basket from Expressions Gift Factory! It came the day before her birthday, which was so cool!

I love when perfect timing happens.

Anyway, this company is a custom gift basket company, which is awesome because you can put together your own basket. I don't know how many times that I've seen baskets that have stuff in it that I didn't want.

Expressions Gift Factory is a new company that has four different basket themes to choose from; Cookie bouquet, Baby Lollipop bouquet, Candy bouquet and Bear in a Balloon. We picked the Cookie Bouquet.

You first choose your bucket design, which they have lots to pick from. Then, which bear. We picked the cheerleader bear-so cute! After that, you pick the cookie design.

So, if you know someone who is having a baby, birthday, sick, or just because, you can send them something nice and have fun doing it as well.

Now, here's the fun part:

One of you lucky readers get a chance to order one yourself!!!

Yep, thats right!!!

And you get $70 worth!!!

So, what's it take to win? I'm going to tell you, people...

Just visit their site and then come back and leave a comment telling me which one you would order if you won. That's all!

So, go on now and enter.

Oh, you want extra entries?


Follow me and leave another entry.

Tweet about it and leave another entry with link.

Have fun and I hope you win!!!

Contest ends 12/10

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in bloggerland!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One of the best days of the year is Thanksgiving

(Guest Blogger post)
Terrence Mcneil
The thing about visiting my family on Thanksgiving is that I can always count on being able to see them both on that day. I lead a very busy and sometimes hectic life so there are times when I can't do more than text them. However, there are certain holidays during the year that enable me to take time off from the craziness and spend quality time with them. I just set my security choice system and then head off for a day of fun and loving times.
I always go to my mother's house first due to the fact that she only lives a few miles away. She always invites me to dinner and I bring my fiancé as he is the love of my life. My family adores him and it makes men happy. We watch television there and talk about fun things, eat dinner, and usually leave early because she sleeps early. Then we head to my father's house in Wasilla about 40 miles from Anchorage. This is fun because the scenery in Wasilla is far superior to the scenery in Anchorage and there is actually more fun times to be had at my father's. Not only do we play games and have dinner, we also have a lot of fun just talking about things that are interesting. This tradition is one that I dearly love.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Getting Ready for Winter With Lots of Work Around the House

Guest Blogger, Omar Schwartz

Here in the Midwest, we know plenty of tricks to cut down costs over the winter. Word on the street is that it's supposed to come early this year, so my family spent last weekend getting the house ready. Last year we purchased a backup generator that turned out to be a life-saver when our power went out for nearly a week, so we wanted to make sure it was in working order for sure.
Once we determined that the generator would still work this year, we spent some time adding insulation to different areas of the house. We have an older house, so it's really easy for drafts to get in and lower the temperature. After adding insulation, we also installed a storm door in front of our front door, kitchen door, and the back door. This should help us to keep some of that cold out as well.
After finishing everything, we were able to tell the difference already as the temperatures outside started to drop but it stayed warm inside. My daughter cooked a great dinner for us while my husband and I watched some satellite television that we got after looking at this Satalite tv comparison, and then the whole family sat down together to eat. After we'd finished eating, we all even played a board game together while listening to Christmas music. We're excited now for the holidays to come!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Emily

Dear Emily,
I can't believe that another year has passed again! You are now six and such a big girl. Starting kindergarten this year has been such a big leap for both of us. I've had to learn to let go, and you had to learn how to survive without me.

You've grown up so much over the year and even though we didn't win any card contests this year, and no tv appearances, it's been a fun year anyway.

You also got to have your first kid party this year-and after that crazy night with 8 screaming little girls, probably your last. :)

I'm just kidding. You had fun at your birthday, though maybe too much fun, because you woke up during the night and threw up 8 times.

A helpful tip for next year - please don't get up at 6:30 am the day of your birthday party because you are so excited.

As I watched you play with your new little friends, I don't worry about you being liked at school- a big fear of mine since you can be a wee bit bossy. I will still worry though, about your story telling habit and what your teacher will tell me next, like the day that you told her that I had a baby over the weekend.

You've changed your likes and dislikes over the year. I just love the fact that you love art like I did when I was your age, though your dad disagrees that being an artist is a good choice. He is just worried you'll be a "starving artist" and be living at home until you are 30.

I have to disagree, and look forward to see how your talent develops. Of course, you also want to learn how to play the guitar and be the next Taylor Swift. You already look like her, so who knows!

In the meantime, have fun being who you are and enjoy your day. Oh yeah, and stay away from those little boys in your class that keep tickling you and following you around in the morning while we wait for school to start! Argh!

Happy Birthday!



Monday, November 15, 2010

Get that Christmas shopping started

I don't know about you, but I'm SO behind on getting started on Christmas shopping. I haven't had a chance to even start looking, and I H.A.T.E. going to busy stores to try to find the perfect gift.

Thank goodness for CSN Stores. I can sit in the comfort of my home and surf through their site to find the perfect gifts. I usually shop for household items through them, but I realized that I could get kid stuff too!
They carry toys, kids backpacks, bikes, and even doll houses. Way cool, huh? Jordon and Jessica are still undecided, but Emily has already given me her Christmas list-of course. She is into drawing and any art activities right now, so we want to get her something to do her art on.

I really like this:

She would love this too.

She wants a bike as well.

While I take a break from "shopping" for the kids, CSN Stores has decided to let me have a little early "Christmas" fun by reviewing something from their site. Woo-Hoo!

What? You want me to tell you what it is? Now, you know I can't do that. Check back in a couple of weeks to find out-you won't be sorry!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The littlest grand baby

Little Avrie...

Thank goodness she finally started laughing before I lost my voice!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Don't forget about me

October seemed to be a blur, as it flew by so fast. Tons of photo shoots. Wedding. Halloween. Gone.

With November here, I need to slow down. We have Emily's birthday coming up next week and then Thanksgiving and I really want to take the time to enjoy it. I love being busy, but at the same time, I hate to have life pass by so quickly. I mean, come on, next thing you know-BOOM! YOUR DEAD. Then, you are all like, how did THAT happen??

And hopefully, the blogging world can be forgiving because I haven't been around much. I know the commenting has been down on both parts and I look forward to hopefully seeing that change.

Thanks, for those who stuck around and those that come back. I will visit your blogs-I promise! I've got to get over this hump I'm stuck in with being too busy to write and then having a brain fart when I do have the opportunity.

Now, I'm going to start designing a new header since mine is sooooo old. Forgive me!

Friday, November 5, 2010

My favorite season

Guest post written by Barbara Mackenzie

It's always so nice when it gets cold this time of the year because I just love to dress up in layers and feel that cold bite of the cold air on my face when I walk outside of my door. But that's before it starts snowing.
However, the other day once I tried to turn on the heat it wasn't working. Now, even though I love dressing in layers outdoors, I don't want to in my own apartment. So I called Philadelphia sears HVAC and got them to come out and replace my system.
Okay, so I do like to bundle up sometimes inside, especially when IÕm reading a funny book or watching The Office. I just switched out all my summer clothes for my warm clothes in my closet and so now I feel like I officially am ready for winter. Even though how many times my mom has told me that I should get rid of half of the clothes that I have, but that's what I tell her a hall closet is for.

Monday, November 1, 2010

TGIM-Thats right, MONDAY!

I've never been more happy to see a Monday as I was today. After a long Saturday, and walking 5000 miles on Sunday, I literally fell in bed last night.

As usual, my work was cut out for me shooting a wedding on Saturday. Don't ever let anyone tell you that a wedding photographer charges too much. Ever. Or, point me in their direction and I'll kick their butt-when I'm not so tired.

I always get lucky by having a nice couple, but when you are "in charge" of a whole lot of people, it gets pretty hectic. I also had to deal with the pastor that had her "rules" for photographers. Something I wasn't prepared for. Every time I asked her a question, she would start her reply with, "Well, all the other photographers do this... "

I was to the point of smacking her in the back of the head if she said it one more time. Sorry lady, I guess I missed that photographer boat.

Oh, did I mention that the hubby was forced to take Emily trick-or-treating while I was at the wedding? I was just as nervous about that as well. I had shown him that morning how to do her makeup, though it was probably a lost cause.

He didn't do too bad with getting her ready, except he put the wrong shirt on under her princess costume and the blush was a bit too heavy. I was taking her on Sunday to the neighboring town, so I didn't care too much.

Zach was a dinosaur and I didn't get to see him in person with it on, but his mom sent a cute photo of him.

Anyway, I got through the wedding and made it home-though I WAS an hour and a half later then scheduled.

Here is the awesome couple, btw...

We had to shoot these after 6 pm, and at this time of the year, it starts to get dark around then. Thank God for prime lens!

The next day I got a break, because the family shoot I had scheduled for that morning got rescheduled by the family. I slept in to prepare myself for trick-or-treating that evening. Emily and I ended up going by ourselves and we got through the whole neighborhood in record time! I didn't even get lost, which I am notorious for (thank goodness for GPS on my phone).

Now, on to my next task- I think I heard the pitter patter of little mouse feet in the bedroom last night.