Reflections of 2011

December 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Holidays & Special Events

This Has Been An Awesome Year!

I want to look back at some of the highlights of this year. Although I don’t really have an event or pictures for it, the biggest highlight has been that we are all healthy and happy.  To have ten members of your immediate family there can always be so many things that can happen.  Knock on wood, but we have all been safe and without any serious illnesses.  For that we are TRULY BLESSED!


I was asked to go to Disney World with Collective Bias and Murphy USA to attend their National Managers Meeting. They wanted some bloggers who could assist in teaching some of their managers the value of social media, namely Whrrl (which is unfortunately no longer available). I had an awesome time!


My two oldest boys graduated from Army boot camp. They both joined the National Guard and had just completed the toughest training they had ever experienced. They  both came through with flying colors and I was the proudest Mom ever! They went on to San Antonio where they went through training to become lab techs. Talk about basically a medical degree in 6 easy months! Wow…. this was intense. They graduated from there in August and are now serving 6 months in an internship working and learning and still taking tests at Fort Campbell, KY (until March 2012)

army graduation


I returned to Disney World, but this time with Disney Social Media Moms. ( Day 1 , Day 2, & Day 3 posts ) I had SO wanted to take the kids with me this year. I signed them up, but when it came down to actually getting the plane tickets, we just couldn’t spend the money.   I of course still had a wonderful time. We got to be a part of a Disney Wedding, oh the magic in a Disney wedding…




Gleek Retreat

This was my 2nd year attending Gleek Retreat. It was in Holland, MI. I was one of the speakers this year at this small conference.  Being in such a small group is really nice.  We had loads of fun (as always).  This picture was taking on a dinner cruise that we got to go on.

Joe gets Married

This was one of my two big shocks this year.  Joe and Fulton had only met about 3 months ago. She was going to be shipped to another location and they decided to get married. Turned out that they sent her back to San Antonio after just a week and they did get to spend some time together. But it has been very difficult for them as even then, they were both in their barricks and not able to be a couple unless they went off base on the weekends. Then she was shipped to Ft. Lee, VA and he went to Ft. Campbell, KY. They thought they would get to stay together, but because she is active and he is National Guard, the Army rule didn’t apply to them.  They won’t be able to be together until March when Joe graduates.

Tim’s Graduation

Tim graduated from HS this month. He had an awesome senior year and really poured it on with his grades this year. We had a small family graduation party at the house afterwards. This is a picture of my Dad (80 yrs young) and Tim.


Here is a video I made for his graduation party



Family Vacation

We stayed close by and got some great opportunities to review some fun places due to my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog.  The favorite for all of us was getting to do the Canopy Tour in Hocking Hills. Alex doesn’t look too happy in this picture, but it is because he didn’t want to lean out over the edge (we were high up here, although you can’t tell from this picture). The guide was making them do it to trust the their lines.

Here is a video I made of our canopy tour

Collective Bias Job

While we were at the Columbus Zoo, riding on the train I got a call from Courtney Velasquez.  She offered me a job working with Ted Rubin helping to manage a new division they named cbSocially.  I was in shock.  I had worked as a member of Social Fabric with CB for almost two years, but had been doing less with them lately and was trying to figure out where I was going to go from there. I was scared to get excited, fearing things were going to fall through.  I was jumping up and down in my head, but I think I came across as very subdued on the phone.  It has turned out to be nothing but absolutely wonderful!  I started off as a consultant and was officially employed by Collective Bias in September. Can’t imagine a better job! I get to work in social media with my “CB Family” from home.

Type A Parent Conference

This is the 3rd Type A conference I have been to.  I drove to NC with Debba from Girlfriendology. It was fun having someone to talk to on this trip. Getting to see all my social media friends is always great. We talk online, but getting to see each other in person is always fun. You can’t beat a real life hug!  Here I am with Kim from CraftyMamaof4 and Debba.


Bentonville, Arkansas

Visiting the corporate office of Collective Bias for the first time.  I got to be there for their official ribbon cutting of their new location (which they have already outgrown!)  I’m not in the picture, because I’m taking the picture, but the Mayor of Bentonville Bella Vista is there in the red tie. John Andrews and Amy Callahan are holding the scissors.


Joe & Fulton visit

I was glad to get to meet my new daughter in law for the first time. She and Joe were so cute together, and I’ve never seen my son happier.


I was so excited to go back to EVO conference which is in Utah! It is just so beautiful there! As I was riding up the ski lifts looking all around, I was determined to bring at least my husband next year, if not the kids too.  I’m working on it for 2012!


Blogher in LA

I loved the weather in LA and the non-hectic pace! I had never been to LA before and really enjoyed it.  I was photographer for CB for our big Cheap Sally party we helped sponsor.

I think this was the first time that I went to a conference and really didn’t attend much of the conference, or parties. I was working while I was there. I had been putting in bunches of hours 80-90 per week on my job with cbsocially helping to get it off the ground.  But I still had a great time!

Here I am with Courtney Velasquez and Kim Janocko from CB.


Drive my Dad to VA to see my Sister

I have become my Dad’s official chauffeur to see my sis. I took him last year and he talked about going this year before we had even left there last year! My brother came this year also and we all had an awesome time.


Dave and I celebrate our 5th Anniversary

We went to Colorado to celebrate. Dave had been stationed out there when he was in the service and has always talked about and loved Colorado Springs. I found an awesome cabin to rent not far from that. It was so beautiful. I didn’t think we would have any problem with the altitude, since I was fine in UT, but I didn’t consider that the difference between 6,000 feet and 9,000 feet would make that much difference. Well it did. We both had problems with headaches and not feeling well, even though we were downing the water. But other than that, it was a great few days.



I got to have most of my family home for Thanksgiving.  Drew (striped shirt) came home from Ft. Campbell and my other son John (blue shirt to my left) came home from Lexington KY.  Joe went to VA to spend time with Fulton, so they weren’t able to make it.

family picture 2011



I did get to have all my kids home, but not at the same time.  Joe came from Dec. 19 – 22. He then went to VA to see his wife since she was unable to go further than 250 miles away from base (she was out of leave time). Drew my other son in the military came in on the 22nd, just in time for Tim’s 19th birthday. So the group in the picture above was the group we had home for our Christmas.

We celebrated Christmas eve on Friday December 23rd and our Christmas morning on the 24th. Then the triplets and Dave’s Drew went to their mom’s and my three boys went to see their Dad who was in town. But we had an awesome time.

I’m excited for 2012, and pray that it can be as wonderful as this year has been.  I don’t want to take any of it for granted.  I pray for healthy, safety and wise decision making for my entire family. Lord willing, I’ll be recapping 2012 with just as much joy and happiness.




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Birthday – The Triplet’s 11th

December 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Holidays & Special Events

December is Birthday Month!

Do you know anyone who has a birthday near Christmas? We have five of our eight kids who have birthday’s in December.


Our two oldest living at home turned 18 & 19 this month, along with the triplets having their 11th birthday today.  They were 3 1/2 years old when I first met Dave. It’s been a joy getting to watch them grow up.

We don’t have them today on their birthday (one of the negatives of divorce, but if not for divorce Dave and the kids wouldn’t even be in my life… so I can’t say it is all bad! )  So we celebrated with them on Wednesday.

We took them to a Japanese restaurant.  We tried one for the first time (for the kids) for Dave’s birthday in October, but it was disappointing. We wanted them to see the kind of display you normally get at a nice Japanese restaurant.  We went to Genji’s in Reynoldsburg Ohio because we knew it wouldn’t disappoint. We were right!  Excellant food, excellant service, excellant show.

I didn’t take my good camera with me, but I got a few pictures from my camera phone while I was there.


They used their chopsticks with “training wheels” as they were told.

chopsticksThey are all good eaters (not like my boys) and enjoyed the food.  Alex got steak and looked over at us and said… “This is AWESOME!”


Zach was loving the food – they got the kids plates (since they were still 10 when we went on Wednesday they were still legal! lol)  He just got his new glasses this last weekend… looks great doesn’t he?

zachThe kids had a great time.  Of course they had the birthday celebration at the restaurant. They came out banging a drum and singing. They brought them a pineapple all decorated. Fun!

We then headed to the Aeropostal store so they could use their gift cards. They are finally big enough to fit into their clothes and they are thrilled!

Once we got home, we gave them their joint birthday gift.


A new laptop. Having triplets it can be interesting when they all three come home with the same projects due at the same time. They all want to use the computer at one time.  So this laptop will help to eliminate that stress. There will be a computer in the house that they can all be on one at the same time if necessary.

computerHappy Birthday kids… love ya!


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Weight Loss Plan Decision

December 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Health & Safety

I am not going to continue on the Nutrisystem Plan.

Why?  Am I crazy or what?  I might be, but I wanted to let you know what has been happening.

I went out of town again last week (and you know I always have trouble with that). But even before that I had been eating less and less of the Nutrisystem food.  Why?  I just didn’t like a lot of it. There are plenty of things that are good.  I highlighted those in my posts.  But even the things I first enjoyed I began to not like.

Do I think this plan works?  Yes I do, if you eat the food and stick with it I know you will lose your weight.  But I couldn’t in good faith continue the program when I haven’t even had any of it since I got back from my trip last week.

Am I gaining back some of the 12 pounds that I lost? I’m sure I am, I haven’t got back on the scale.  Is this a failure on my part? Sure is! Can’t say anything other than that.

What are my plans now?

I will need to get myself together and make myself exercise and get back on some kind of routine with what I am eating because I still have this weight to lose.

Would I suggest Nutrisystem to others?  I would tell them that there were things I didn’t like and some things I did like. That it might work for them as I know there are many people that it really helped.  It might also be because I was on Jenny Craig for a year in 2008 and compared a lot of the food to that.  I didn’t enjoy the food as well as the Jenny Craig food.  I missed the accountability of having to go and pick up the food (which was a pain I admit) and get weighted in.  Having food delivered to my door was really nice. But having to go and know that someone was going to weigh you in was even more powerful that taking a picture of the scales for you guys.

I was being sponsored for a four month period of time with Nutrisystem.  I am opting out after 11 weeks.  I feel bad for letting them down, letting you down, but I also can’t continue to write about something that I’m not using.



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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 50

Christmas Ornaments

Do you get new ones each year? Buy a special one for the kids or your family? Are they dated?

When the kids were young I used to get them each a new ornament each year. I wanted them to have something for their trees when they got older. So far, I still have most of them. lol I do think my two oldest have taken some of their ornaments the last few years to have on their own trees though.

Over the last several years I have just gotten a new “family” ornament. I used to find them at the craft shows and would have our names and year put on them. But the last couple years I’ve not been able to find someone who makes them when I go to the shows. This year and I think last I didn’t even go to any craft shows.

I’ve found a kiosk in a local mall that has really cute ones. As my family has grown (with four step children and now a daughter in law) it has become more difficult to find ornaments with enough spots for all of us.  I hate to say it, but I had to get what I’m sure is a “grandparents” ornament this year. But… with Dave having white hair and I wear the reading glasses… it worked. ugh

Here are a couple others we’ve had the last couple years.



2008- I just did the kids we had at home this year.

Link up to My Linky Party

I’d love for you to share your Christmas DIY projects, decorating and recipes,  but as always you can link up any organizing or cleaning or DIY post to my link party.

Organizing Mission Monday

You can find the link for my button on my top “Buttons” Tab.
1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or decorating
5) No sales pitches or web sites.
6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.
7) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list. If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple. If You Are On A Reader and Want to View All the Great Link Up’s on this post please Click Here.
This party will be open until December 25th, 2011

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Nutrisystem Week 8

December 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Reviews & Giveaways

I’m Stuck!

Can I say that I’ve been doing the whole program perfectly though?  Nope..  I’ll be honest, I can’t.

I haven’t been exercising for one. That is a big thing that would help me.

I also have not been eating only the Nutrisystem food.  I’ve been on a medication that has been nauseating me .. a lot.  You would think that in itself would be great for losing weight .. wouldn’t you?  I would say that probably 5 out of the 7 mornings I’ve not been able to eat any breakfast.  Then lunch time nothing looks good to me.  I’ve been eating crackers to help keep the nausea down.  Then on the days that I don’t take the medication I tend to eat more than I should.
Some of the days it makes no sense at all with as little as I’ve eaten that I haven’t dropped way down.

This week has been very steady. From 190-191 all week.


I wanted to show you one of the dinners that was really good.  Notice this is a full size plate and it looks really full.   It was the glazed turkey.  The gravy was good, veggies were soft and cooked well, spices seemed natural (not too many spices to cover up plainness).

Ok.. ready for the scale shot?  Please notice that I finally got the little bit of nail polish off toenails. I had a friend who said when she first saw one of those pics that she thought it was a new way to wear your polish when she glanced. lol

Last week: 190.5 … This week – No change.
Total lost 10 pounds

I’m not excited about the next couple weeks when it comes to losing weight. I LOVE all the Christmas goodies… I mean love it. My boys are already asking me when I’m going to make the 7-layer cookies, fudge, toffee and buckeyes.  I have 8 kids that are excited for these Christmas treats that are a tradition in our family. I’m not going to just say to them that we aren’t to have what you are looking forward to because I’m trying to lose weight. That is just selfish.  But it will be resisting.

Tonight is my first Christmas party, next week I’m traveling for business and going to two Christmas parties while there.

Wish me luck to be strong!

Want to lose weight and get healthy on Nutrisystem? Join today by calling 1-888-853-4689 or visiting

*I have been selected to participate in the Nutrisystem Nation blogger program. For four months, Nutrisystem will provide me with their meals at no charge for my review. I am not being compensated for my participation. 

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DiGiorno pizza Review

December 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Food, Reviews & Giveaways

(This post was originally posted on Chat with Sandy on 12/26/10)

Feeding Large Families Can Be Expensive

Digiorno pizza

With both of my older boys home we have been having meals with all ten of us.  I have been lucky in the sense that we have 8 children, but 3 of them don’t live with us anymore.  Mix that in with the fact that my 4 step children are only with us 1/2 the time, we don’t have that many meals with everyone home.

But for 2 weeks with them home from boot camp we have had and will be having many meals with everyone.  Finding meals that will feed all of us for not a boat load of money (and that are easy too) are pretty important.

I didn’t have any problem at all with doing a shop for Collective Bias for DiGiorno Pizza.

consumer queenOff to Walmart I went on December 23rd to do some shopping.
I checked Consumer Queen’s Data base to see if I could find a coupon. No luck on that one…poo.

bell ringerA sign of the holidays… isn’t it?  The store was really crowded.  I didn’t have any problems finding the frozen pizzas.  I was a little bummed that they didn’t have a vegetable pizza – that is my favorite. But I ended up getting a meat pizza, cheese and also a mushroom garlic. They cost $4.98 each.  Pretty good for a nice thick pizza like that don’t you think?

Dave had purchased a Red Baron pizza at Kroger the week before. It didn’t have nearly so many pepperoni’s and was much thinner. It wasn’t so good.  He told me that he was trying to decide between the DiGiorno and the Red Baron. I had to laugh because he had no idea I was going to be doing this shop for the DiGiorno the next week.  He picked the Red Baron because it was less expensive. He told me later he was sorry he did.

The pizza went over well.  I had several thoughts from my family.   Here they are:
1) “It was Great!”
2) “It was too doughy”
3) “The mushroom garlic was too garlicy”
4) “Make sure you get this again”
5) “I wish they had veggie”


I started out with 2 pizzas and 6 people.  My boys and Dave. Then Dave’s 4 kids came over and we popped in a 3rd one to cover us all.


Three self rising DiGiono pizza’s, 2 liters of pop and a bag of chips later, we had a lunch meal that fed us all.  The pizza’s cost $4.98 each, the 2 liters of pop cost $1.76 and the chips were $2.88.  Total cost of the meal:  $19.58 to feed 10 of us… for a total of $1.96 per person.  Pretty good!

family goofyHere is the whole gang… being goofy!  Thanks DiGiorno for the pizza!  lol

Disclosure:  Collective Bias compensated me for the pizza and shop. The pictures and the opinions are those of mine and my families.

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Nutrisystem Week 7

December 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Reviews & Giveaways

I’m a Yo-Yo

Up and down and up and down.  I feel like I go down, then have a day or two that I’m not as good, and back up the weight goes, then I spend the rest of the week trying to get it back off.


The thing is, when I have something that isn’t Nutrisystem, I usually try to still really try to limit it, much more than I would have previously at least.  So in a sense I still feel like I’m not being terrible.  So why does the weight go up and down SO much?

Last week I was 191 the day after Thanksgiving. I think that weekend with left overs was worse than actual Thanksgiving.  I went back up to 195.  I then worked the rest of the week to get back down to my weight today.


I feel a bit discouraged. Christmas is coming up and I know all the good stuff that is going to tempt me.  I need to get exercising, but have I done that in the last couple weeks.. nope. I know, I shouldn’t be complaining then should I. I just need to do it.

I’m considering doing a Zumba Gold class with a friend. I’ve wanted to try Zumba, but knew that I would feel like a fool. I don’t dance and never have been able to, but always wanted to.  But I’ve been too self conscious to try.  But this is a class for baby boomers, and the girl who is taking it says everyone feels uncomfortable, that is part of what makes it nice.

Hopefully next week I can get out of these 190’s!


Want to lose weight and get healthy on Nutrisystem? Join today by calling 1-888-853-4689 or visiting

*I have been selected to participate in the Nutrisystem Nation blogger program. For four months, Nutrisystem will provide me with their meals at no charge for my review. I am not being compensated for my participation.



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