Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You Capture Virgin

I've never done this before so let's go really slowly. I'm participating in the lovely Beth's You Capture. When she's not Folding Laundry, she's taking amazing pictures and challenging bloggers to do the same. Which just happens to be a New Years' resolution of mine, figured it would be easier than losing the 200 lbs I need to lose. So sit back, grab a smoke, no wait, you resolved to quit (again)

This week's challenge: YOUR HOLIDAY

These are straight out of the camera and it's a Sony Cybershot W230 point and shoot, that I'm just not sure I'm crazy about yet. I have a few days to decide if I want to keep it or return it. The Canon never had such yellow pictures, I need to work on that.

Our Christmas

Our Little Santa Baby

The Jumperoo. Best baby gadget EVER!

If you look closely, you can see the excitement on
TOF's face as he opens his new hockey game.

In keeping with the hockey theme, B-Y-F-U-G-L-I-E-N.

GlitterGurl, New Man and Parker

Augie Dawgs and Durwood

A better shot of Parker

Ink Man

Not taken by me, but a rare "good" picture of me and Whynot.
Well except for that bit of spit up on Whynot's shirt, the baby's not his.


Click here to see what everyone else captured.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Chicks Swulls

Brace yourselves, what you are about to read may come as a shock to you.

As a grandmother, I am much more permissive with TOF than I was with my own two children. (Insert gasps of horror here)

When GlitterGurl and her big brother were growing up, sugar filled breakfasts were taboo in our home. Even when it came to our weekly Sunday ritual of Country Donuts, they were required to eat a nice, hot, healthy bowl of oatmeal, before sharing ONE chocolate sprinkle donut.

I like to think of myself as a pioneer of such things as fruit smoothies, grated carrots in the spaghetti sauce, frozen mini bagels, applesauce in the brownie mix and Nutella on rice cakes. My kids were eating that and liking it WAY before it became chic. Cold cereal choices were pretty much limited to Cheerios, Cheerios and sometimes Cheerios.

Fast forward to late 2006. TOF is ready for finger food. Mema heads off to the grocery store and buys a super sized box of CHEERIOS. Excellent first choice, with only 1 gm of sugar per serving. Supposedly, babies can't choke on them because of the hole in the center. I never tested this method when he was very small, as I broke them in half before serving them. Cheerios were a big hit! But then this Mema got bored with that choice and soon I discovered some lovely little puffy fruit and veggie snacks in the baby food aisle that cost about 200 times what the Cheerios did. So what does any thrifty Mema do? Much to Auntie GlitterGurl's dismay, she wanders back to the cereal aisle to reevaluate the choices there.

Then I got busted. I had inadvertently left the Cocoa Puffs and Chicks Swulls (Trix Swirls for those of you not familiar with preschool vocabulary) on the counter and GlitterGurl had a fit. "We never got to eat this when we were little!!" "I see who your favorite is."

So I said to her:

Did you know that ready-to-eat cereal eaters consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber than non-cereal eaters? Cereals also deliver important vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients, making cereal a top source of key nutrients in children´s diets.

Other cereal benefits:

  • Ready-to-eat cereals, including presweetened cereals, account for only 5% of sugar in children´s diets.
  • Ready-to-eat cereal is the No. 1 source of whole grains in a child´s diet today.
  • More frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights and lower Body Mass Index measures.
  • Studies also demonstrate the benefits of eating breakfast. A 1998 study showed that children who eat breakfast tend to perform better at school. Compared to children who skip breakfast, children who eat breakfast score higher on tests, are less likely to miss class or be tardy, have fewer reported discipline problems, and make fewer trips to the office.

    For more information about kids and cereals, please visit Cereal Health and Wellness.

    Right now if you visit here you will find a $1 off coupon for one of four General Mills cereals.

    Oh sure, they're not steel cut, organic oats, but they are a healthier choice than they were in the past. Recently, General Mills announced a commitment to further reduce sugar in cereals advertised to kids under 12 to single digit grams of sugar per serving. So GlitterGurl, go ahead and enjoy some Cocoa Puffs or Trix Swirls now.

    Thank you to MyBlogSpark and General Mills for generously providing me with the coupons for their cereal and also for the wealth of information at their website. I was not compensated monetarily for this post and the above post is a true experience and was not influenced by any source.

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    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Baking Cookies with Mema

    If I ever offer you some homemade cookies you might want to just politely decline.

    Kolaczki are a favorite here on The Avenue, however they are SO much work and face it, I'm lazy. So when my friend Laura sent a recipe for Split Seconds I was all over the easiness.

    Split Seconds
    2/3 cup sugar
    3/4 cup margarine or butter softened
    2 teaspoons vanilla

    1 egg

    2 cups all purpose flour or unbleached flour

    1/2 teaspoon baking powder

    1/2 cup red jelly or preserves

    Heat oven to 350 degrees
    In large bowl, beat sugar and margarine until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla and egg. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Stir in flour and baking powder; mix well. Divide dough into four equal parts . On slightly floured surface, shape each part into 12x 3/4 inch roll. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Using the handle of a wooden spoon or finger, make a depression about 1/2 inch wide and 1/4 inch deep, lengthwise down the center of the roll. Fill each with 2 tablespoons of the jelly. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool slightly; cut diagonally into bars. Cool on wire racks. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

    This recipe sounded similar to the kolaczki recipe and was going to save a ton of time by not cutting out little squares and dotting with filling then pinching closed. Yeah, well unfortunately something went wrong in my little kitchen and the dough was all crumbly instead of doughy. So I added some plain yogurt and that did the trick, it just needed a little more moisture. We're good. I rolled them, filled them with raspberry filling and baked.

    Cooled and cut my cookies look like this

    They're very tasty, but something is missing. Oh yeah, the powdered sugar! Well when you don't bake often and you reach for the powdered sugar in the way, way back of the top shelf

    if the package looks like this, it's best to toss that sucker right into the trash!

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    Monday, December 21, 2009

    I Puffy Heart UPrinting

    Congrats to jocelyn who said:

    I'd like to enter! I'd put some of my photography on here, and send them as thank-you notes for Christmas gifts, as well as notes to my friends.
    Thanks UPrinting.com!

    Back in October Uprinting sent me some postcards and stickers that I absolutely love! I used the postcards as a Christmas gift for TOF's Preschool teacher.

    Wait, let me just show you.....

    Are these cute or what? I bought some envelopes to match and wrapped them up in a beautiful gold lame ribbon and voila, a very thoughtful and practical gift. These postcards are made of heavy weight card stock and are full color on both sides. TOF's teacher loves them!

    No clue why this picture is sideways, I uploaded it THREE times and gave up, sorry, just cock your head. I should have scanned the stickers, but I was in a hurry to get them wrapped and just snapped a picture instead. I made these stickers for TOF's bus driver, they say, "I'm a SUPER rider on Ms. Julie's bus." Huge hit with the kiddos on the bus. They love their stickers!

    I highly recommend UPrinting for all your printing needs and I'm really excited about hosting another giveaway.

    Giveaway Prize: 100 Postcards
    Size: 4x6
    Paper: 14pt Cardstock Gloss
    Printing: Full color both sides

    Winner must pay for shipping.

    To enter, please leave me a comment telling me how you would use your postcards. Be sure to leave an email address so that I can contact you should you win.

    For extra entries please leave a separate comment for each:

    Follow my blog or remind me if you already do.
    Follow me on Twitter and please leave your Twitter id.
    Tweet this giveaway.
    Sponsor me for Blogher10.

    This contest ends on Wednesday December 30th. The winner will be notified by email and must respond no later than Jan 4th.

    In adherence with the FTC ruling on Blogger Reviews and Sponsored Postings, I am fully disclosing that I will be receiving 100 Postcards from UPrinting.com for hosting this giveaway.

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    Saturday, December 19, 2009

    Santa Claus

    Dis is da bomb!!!

    Santa can talk to your kiddos live from the PNP Communication Center. That's Portable North Pole, for those scratching your heads.

    For the second year in a row, they’re bringing Santa closer to you! Send someone you care about a personalized video message from Santa Claus himself using the PNP console, a technological breakthrough that makes real-time communication with the North Pole possible!

    I made one for TOF and I can't wait to hear all about how much enjoyed it. Now I'm off to make one for GlitterGurl and her little dog too.

    If you've got little ones they are gonna love this. Get going, make one for each of them, it's FREE.

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    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Pennies from Heaven

    Today I found a penny,
    Just laying on the ground.
    But it's not just a penny,
    This little coin I've found.
    Found pennies come from heaven.
    That's what my Grandpa told me.
    He said Angels toss them down.
    Oh, how I loved that story.
    He said when an Angel misses you,
    They toss a penny down,
    Sometimes just to cheer you up,
    To make a smile out of your frown.
    So don't pass by that penny
    When you're feeling blue;
    It may be a Penny from Heaven
    That an Angel's tossed to you.

    Whenever I find a penny laying on the ground I'm reminded of that poem and I think of my dad or my mother in law, Millie, smiling down at me to help me through my day. The other day I had one of those moments, but it wasn't a penny I had found. My friendly Fed Ex driver delivered a package. It could have been empty for all I cared, just the fact that I received a package made me deliriously giddy. What can I say I'm a cheap date. Well in this package was Tony Bennett's A Swingin' Christmas CD.

    A huge smile spread across my face and I thought of my MIL who passed away 5 1/2 years ago from lymphoma. With the help of One 2 One Network and Columbia Records, my mother in law managed to send a little sunshine my way.

    My mother in law loved Tony Bennett and several years before she passed away we had the pleasure of seeing him perform at the Jewel of J-Town, The Rialto Square Theater. Millie was dressed up to the nines in her mink coat and high heels. We both had a wonderful time listening to Tony croon his ever popular jazz tunes.

    I miss you Millie and I promise I'm taking good care of those little boys who look so much like your Anthony. Keep sending those pennies. Love you!

    Thank you so much One 2 One Network for that Penny from Heaven, I'm looking forward to whatever you have in store for 2010.

    I was not paid for this endorsement,
    I did receive the above mentioned CD from One 2 One Network.
    The blog post was solely my idea.

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    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    More Crafting With TOF

    Teacher gifts...I was always stumped. Ornaments, mugs, all that stuff that says #1 teacher, just how much of it is really needed and/or wanted by a teacher? But this year, TOF's 1st year of preschool, we are giving fabulously clever and oh so creative and practical teacher gifts! and a bus driver gift and because I'm like that, even a gift for the other Grandma.

    These were super easy to make, fairly inexpensive and with a little help from a big person your preschooler can make these and I promise the recipient will ooh and ahh.

    You'll need some supplies, so haul your make a quick run to Walmart or Target to pick up some:

    and some

    and lots of

    Here's where the big person's help comes in. Using the Goo Gone, remove labels from the Purell, then rinse and dry the bottles thoroughly. I did this the night before and it took a little time and patience to get all the glue off. You might want to do that also, as we all know how patient children are.

    Now you're ready to get creative. I encouraged TOF to use the larger stickers first and apply them towards the center and then fill in with the smaller stickers. I helped with the personalization as he is not a stellar speller as of yet.

    The finished projects

    There you have it, and in this cold and flu season who can't use a little hand sanitizer. But don't let your creativity stop there, you could just as easily do this with hand soap dispensers, dish washing liquid, lotions, the possibilities are endless.

    Have fun, we did!

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    Monday, December 14, 2009

    The Nester Christmas Tour of Homes

    Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

    I was going to share my tree today anyway, since I finally put it up and imagine my surprise this morning, when in my Google Reader were a gajillion participants in Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes. So in true Megryansmom fashion, I jumped on the band wagon. Enjoy my humble tree and then go check out some amazing decorators.

    Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Christmas Tree
    Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
    Make a Smilebox slideshow

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    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    The Avenue Christmas Tree

    It was supposed to be a happy time, but it wasn't. Megryansmom was really pissed. It was almost Christmas and NOTHING was going right. Whynot didn't want to help bake the Christmas cookies. Presents needed to be bought, money was tight. The kids were complaining. The grand kids were fussy.

    Megryansmom was beside herself with anger. "I CAN'T believe it! I've got a million things to do, no one wants to help me and I don't even have a Christmas tree! What am I going to do?"

    Just then a Little Angel opened the front door and stepped in from the snowy night, dragging a Christmas tree.

    He says: "Yo, Megryansmom, where do you want me to stick the Christmas Tree this year???"

    And thus the tradition of an Angel perched atop the Christmas tree on The Avenue came to pass. . . . .

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    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Crafting With TOF

    Ok, so I am a horrible slacker. I know it, Santa knows it and I'm probably gettin nuttin fer Christmas. Winter brings out the worst in me, I have no motivation! None, nada, zip, zilch. It's cold! Like really cold! Not your 'oh I live in Florida and it's 40 degrees today' cold. Real. Cold. Trust me.

    Today is what? Like December 10th? My confession is, the tree is not up yet. Told you, I'm a horrible slacker. I fake it well don't I? You all thought 'wow that Megryansmom, she really has it all together.' In truth, I don't, because today is the 11th. I don't even know the date! I do know it's Friday, which is an improvement, because on Wednesday I thought it was Thursday and I was all excited about Friday, which was really Thursday and then I was like, aw man that sucks. And I know none of this has anything to do with Crafting With TOF, but I think on top of being a slacker I have a little ADD going on. Look something shiny!

    Now onto the crafting. With TOF gone for preschool Monday through Friday from 8ish to 11:30ish, (and did I mention he rides a bus!) we don't have as much time as we used to have for crafting. Yesterday we managed to squeeze in a quick and cute project.


    Some construction paper, a little glue

    More construction paper

    Let's see what you made TOF!

    That's better, silly boy.

    Sunday when Mommy and Daddy are at the Christmas Party we're going to make some special Teacher gifts. Be sure to come back and check it out.

    To all my Jewish friends.....Happy Hanukkah

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    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    I Have the BEST Secret Santa Evah!

    Lookie what the UPS man left for me!

    Just have peek at all the goodies

    I'm calling my guy Grissom to analyze the DNA
    on this card and the handwriting too.
    I'm going to get the bottom of this Secret Santa business.

    Love the gift wrap! I suck at wrapping.
    Apologies in advance to my gift recipient.
    Ohhh I know, I'll just say TOF wrapped it for me :)

    No matter how hard I try,
    this is what my wrapped packages look like :(

    This is my Secret Santa gift
    two seconds after I read the card.
    I wasted no time getting to the goods.

    Glubs! Tomorrow I'm going to need these.
    Tonight the temps are going to dip and dip and dip.
    Then the dreaded white crap will start to fall.


    Something to keep my heart warm
    until Spring Training!
    I think it's like 93 days!

    Love love love ornaments!
    This is an inspiration to put up the tree.

    And more chocolate!
    In my book you really can't
    go wrong with chocolate.

    Thanks Secret Santa,
    no matter what the other bloggers say,
    YOU are the Best Secret Santa!

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    Friday, November 27, 2009

    Black Friday

    It's almost 10 am and no I have NOT been out shopping for 5 hours. What I should have done was trekked to the gym and worked out for five hours. Maybe that would have put a dent in the calories I consumed yesterday. Instead, I chose to sleep in on my day off. A. DAY. OFF. All to myself. Whynot has to work today, could explain why GM is in so much financial trouble. But eh, chop chop dear, off to work you go. I have my warm fuzzy robe, nice hot coffee and a DVR full of programs to watch. Ugh and the dreaded laundry! So no Black Friday shopping for me.

    Besides, I really feel that Christmas has become too commercialized. I'll give all of you a minute now to hit that big red X up top before I go all Ebenezer Scrooge on you. Have a great day, thanks for stopping by. Mwhhha, loveyou.

    Anybody left? Because I have a Frugal Surprise for those that stayed behind. Anybody?

    This year I am doing Christmas on the cheap, again. I don't have a very large gift list and those that get presents will get a small, inexpensive and yet thoughtful gift from me. Back in June or July I bought several gifts for my little friends on Disney.com, as well as t-shirts for myself, all for under $100. That takes care of NINE gifts and ME! I frequent garage sales all summer and before you go all ewwwww on me, the stuff I buy is often NWT (new with tags) and ALWAYS in excellent condition. Plus I can always manage to get a few gag gifts at garage sales, something to fit in with an inside joke or two, here on The Avenue. Whynot and I don't exchange extravagant gifts, we don't need anything and when we do, we just go buy it. I'm OK with that. (But honey if you're reading, a little sumtin sumtin sparkly is always appreciated.) So I'm all set with Christmas shopping.

    I am always browsing the internet for great deals and today I stumbled upon Restaurant.com's Feed It Forward.

    Feed It Forward™ provides you the opportunity to help give away up to $30 million in free restaurant gift certificates - over 30 days - and allow you to treat friends, family, and colleagues - anyone deserving - to savings on a great meal out. Best of all, it's FREE to Give and FREE to Receive.

    Give a free $10 Restaurant.com Gift Certificate to 30 different people, every day until Christmas. Simply choose whom to give to and Restaurant.com will take care of the rest.

    Since you can't give one to yourself, leave me your email in a comment and I'll hook TEN readers up with a free $10 gift certificate.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I was not paid for this post, I didn't even receive a free gift certificate. I did this out of the goodness in my heart, because yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus.

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