Friday, November 23, 2012


It's kind of weird not being close to family during the holidays.  For years we have lived within driving distance of sisters, brothers, parents and long time friends, so holidays were always busy with visits to family and friends.  I didn't realize how much I would miss that when we moved.  Even though it can get kind of chaotic having to juggle schedules to fit everyone in, the time we all spend together reminds me how blessed we are to have such good people in our lives. 

We had a real low key Thanksgiving this year.  The Youngest helped me cook and Big Brother and the Mr. played video games and kept the holiday programming rolling on the tube. 

In between cooking sessions, we decided we needed to get out into the sunshine, so we took a quick walk down by the river (everytime I say that, I think of Chris Farley) and found our favorite tree.  This is seriously the tree of every kid or photographer's dream.  It is huge and easily climbable and has a big flat base right in the middle where a kid could build a wicked fort.  it has lots of character and texture and limbs and one day I will get some really great photos there.  For today, you will have to deal with my crappy cellphone shots.

The weather was beautiful and uplifting and we had a great time finding things to add to our Holiday Centerpeice, which I will explain in the next post.  The Boy was ecstatic about his excellent find when he ran across "the perfect stick" while exploring the river banks. 

I swear, it doesn't matter where we go, the kid always has to have something in his hand which will allow him to poke, stab, swordfight, dig, whack or otherwise interact with whatever happens to be around him at any given moment.  I have to say, it is a pretty great stick.  Notice the nice natural handle with the claw-like hook on the end.  Sooo many things you could do with a claw hook like that! (Like accidentally gouging  your brother's eye out while trytrying to hook him by the neck...or something equally worrisome for a mother of active boys.) The stick now joins about 12 others in the corner of his room and in the trunk of the car, all waiting for their shots at being the weapon/tool of choice for the next adventure.
We got home just in time to find the turkey ready to remove from the oven.  It was a little underbrowned, but the meat was perfectly done so we decided to opt for moist turkey rather than brown turkey skin.  Nothing burned and I had no major incidents in the kitchen, so I considered the day a major win!  For which I was thankful.

The day after?  A little bit less successful.  Major sinus migraine made it hard to function.  I attribute my illness to lack of pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream.  My family wiped out our one pumpkin pie before I got a piece, the freaking horkers!  My fault for believing them when they said one would be enough this year.  At least we had lots of leftovers so I didn't have to cook today!  That made dealing with the headache so much easier.  And it was nice to just chill and look at all the Black Friday ads while dreaming about what I would buy with the 2.7 million dollar Visa card that the guy from Nigeria said in a very nice email he would send me since I was having so many issues trying to transfer my money from his Capital Sure Bank.  I'm pretty sure it will be here any day now, which means I shoud have less of a headache for Christmas. Those Capital Sure Bank guys sure know how to help a gal feel better! 

SodaStream House Party

It's been too long since I last posted!  I've kind of had writer's block.  Oh...and a job that took up a LOT of my time and energy.  But the job is gone, so now I have no excuses. 

The good news is I have more time to do fun things with my friends and my kids!  Like make and drink our own soda!

Last Saturday we hosted a SodaStream House Party.  We received the Source model and a bunch of flavors, along with the carbonation cartridge to make the fizz!  Set-up was simple and in a matter of about five minutes we were adding bubbles to everything from water to juice!
The boys and a few of their friends went first and had a great time making their own sodas and mixing and matching flavors. They tried really weird combos like rootbeer and lemon-lime.  Why?  Because their boys and they do weird things.  That rootbeer/lemon-lime combination?  Was disgusting.
Then the other moms and I all took our turns.  Our favorite flavor was Cranberry-Raspberry mixed with Lemonade.  It was light and bubbly and delicious and the SodaStream was so easy and fun to use!  All the moms agreed that the 1 liter bottles that come with the SodaStream are the perfect size.

One of my camera shy friends - photo by one of the other 5 camera shy friends!

Really bad picture of me giving a the photographer!

Here's a video of how it works, not sure you can see it all that well, but it will give you a general idea about how the SodaStream works. Ignore the ridiculous conversation taking place as I film and try to control mother my children.  Oh...and please turn your cell phones to vibrate so you don't disturb the other's that good.  You won't want to miss a second of this high quality video. 
So...we enjoyed just about everything the SodaStream has to offer.  The only negative thing I would bring up is that many of the flavors I received to try contain sucralose or Splenda.  I am not a fan of sucralose or Splenda.  But the good news is that SodaStream offers some all natural flavors that do not have the artificial sweetner, so I am looking forward to trying those.  I am a fan of sparkling juices though and I think that we can save a lot of money making our own sparkling cider and non-alcoholic mimosas using SodaStream!
The other great thing about SodaStream is that it is great on the environment.  Their reusable 1 liter bottles mean no more empty 2 liter bottles going in the garbage or ending up in landfills.   
SodaStream is definitely going to be put to good use in our home.  We already have plans to include it as part of my youngest son's b-day party and it makes an appearance every family movie night as well. 
I have three $20 rebate coupons left over from the party if anyone is thinking about buying one for Christmas.  Shoot me and email, I'll be happy to get the coupon to you via snail mail!
**Disclosure:  I was not compensated for this blog post.  I did receive a SodaStream kit from SodaStream and House Party to help facilitate this review.  My opinions are always honest and are my own.**