12.30.2011

Did I even Raise my Children this Year with all that Blogging?

It’s time to say goodbye to 2011.  I’m also ending my freshman year as a first-time blogger.  As I go through my 2011 portfolio, I cannot believe that I have written 187 blog posts.  It will be one year in a few days since I wrote my very first blog post after a daunting trip to Food Lion with my two children.



There are a couple of things I need to tell you that have changed since that first post.  I do like to write to reduce stress, but I have found that I enjoy writing for your comments even more.  I love to hear from you, so I guess my writing, “I don’t care if I’m the only reader,” really doesn’t hold true one year later.

Just like a TV show pilot, some of my earlier posts make me cringe.  Just like a fine wine, I think my posts have become better with time.  I’ve become more comfortable in my space, and the posts seem more entertaining and enjoyable. 

Through blogging, I’ve also made some great connections and some great friendships. I know that may sound unusual to people who prefer making friends the old-fashioned way and not through social media.  But it’s a fact.  I feel blessed to have met so many other bloggers, and nonbloggers who read my blog.  To you, I say thank you. You keep me motivated to continue this quest.  And to think, one year ago I didn’t tweet or own a smartphone.  Santa made sure I was mobile in 2012.

I decided to take some time, look back over some old posts, and pick some of my favorites. 

I’ve shared a lot in 2011 on this blog.  I have featured many luxury hotels and terrific restaurants, and shared some scrumptious recipes. I also gave you a glimpse of my life as a parent. 

My 2011 Favorite Posts

Parenting/Humor/Recipes
Pirate Princess in the City, January 2011: This is a very early post about sibling rivalry and sharing.  Truthfully, it’s the biggest issue I deal with as a parent today.

Call Me, Nincompoop!, January 2011:  This post was written on a whim.  I love it because it shows you how easily a mom can get sidetracked in a day’s work.

 Is Everyday Like a Monday? May 2011:: This is a little Southern tale about how two kids can certainly mess up a leisurely Saturday morning.

Packing a Boden Swimsuit and Much More in my Pool Bag,June 2011:  I really hate the summer season.  I really do.

The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, September 2011: This post is for all those parents who keep losing things.

Grocery FlyerMeal: Maple-Mustard Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples, September2011: This recipe is good, but I think the story is even better.

 

Growing Older, November 2011. This is probably my favorite post of the entire year because I let my guard down and spoke from the heart.

Turn the Never Ending To-Do List Into Done, November2011: This is a feel-good post that I hope inspires us all.

That Goes on the Back of the Tree Plus Cook Our SouthernTree Trimming Meal:  December 2011:  I think this is a funny story, and it shows that one truly grows in a relationship and as she ages.  Also, the recipe I share in this post is an absolute family favorite.

Travel and Leisure Posts
It was Already on My List, April 2011:  In April, I wrote a lot about the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  I even worked with the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., to plan a royalwedding here in North Carolina for my blog.  This post on the Goring Hotel is a favorite travel post of mine.  Kate Middleton stayed at the Goring Hotel the night before the wedding, but I tell you the truth when I say the hotel was on my “list” long before that wedding.

Buckle Up: You’re Road Trippin’ with the Hines, May 2011:  I like this post because I love Beaufort, N.C., and as the kids age, I would like to take this blog into more of a travel direction. You may also like One Wedding and A Fort. 

$60 and One Excruciating Car Ride Home Later: Is ItWorth It to Take Children on Day Trips? October 2011: I think the title of this post says it all, but it also shows you what fun we did have on our outing.  Yes, I do think it’s worth it.

A Funny Thing Happened in Durham, August 2011: I like this post because I think the story is funny. Some may call it disappointing, but we find that laughter is the best medicine for disappointment. 

I’m Dreaming of a Filet and a French Chardonnay, December2011: I love to eat, and I had a great time with this post.  

It really is hard to pinpoint some favorites. 

Here’s to many more posts in 2012.  And remember...

 Happy New Year!






12.27.2011

Moving on to Birthday Candles

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.  Our holiday has been picture perfect, and a lot of fun for my children.

We still have our tree up in our family room, but now we're getting out the birthday candles. That is, if we can find them among the after-Christmas clutter.  

My birthday is today, and my son will be six at the end of the week.  I used to dislike having my birthday so close to Christmas, but after many, many years, I've come to realize that it's a special time of year to celebrate a birthday.  Everyone is usually relaxed and still a little merry.  Also, you can buy whatever you didn't get under the tree for Christmas.  It's not so bad after all.

Baby Diva learned to sing "Happy Birthday!"for her preschool Christmas performance.   She nor my son will be winning X-Factor anytime soon, but they gave us an impromptu performance on Christmas before bed.  We are still the proud parents nonetheless.  And I bet that the sweet little kiss on the cheek was purely for the camera.  You be the judge.


So in-between taking down the Christmas tree, and eating a bite of birthday cake this week, I wish you a happy new year.  




12.23.2011

Have a Holly, Jolly, Busy Christmas

I know the calendar says that December has 31 days in the month, but, honestly, it feels much shorter.  It’s true.  December is the most wonderful time of year, but it’s also the busiest.  There’s just so much to do.

I feel as if the month zips by. As a child, I guess it seems so slow until Christmas day, but as a parent, I feel as if Christmas comes in a blink of an eye.  Do you?

Who has time for laundry when there’s baking, shopping, and Christmas card addressing?

Christmas Card 2011

There’s holiday decorating, tree-trimming, and lots of light untangling that will cause you some stressing.

There are tree lightings, Santa, school programs, and festivals to see.  Presents certainly don’t wrap themselves, nor do those pesky little elves move without some help.  Oh, where could our elf, Jolly, be?  By golly, Jolly is never in the same place twice or else our kids would yelp.

Our Elf on the Shelf, Jolly.  He just sits. He never does anything  naughty.

Yes, there’s no déjà vu for an elf.  That would be naughty and not nice.  For we all know that the darn elf just doesn’t sit on the shelf.

I’m sure you have not one, but four, holiday parties to attend because no one seems to host parties any other time of the year.  That’s just not the trend.

Christmas party number one.  I wore the same outfit to all four parties so
that all the photos would be alike.  Ha! Ha! Ha!
Let’s not forget there are holiday meals to plan and lots of snacking. There’s a stocking to fill, and Santa needs cookies and milk, still.  And for some, there may even be some packing.

Christmas Eve comes and goes.  There’s the unwrapping of bows and lots of “Ohhs!”

Can it really be over?  And another year is here? Where did the month go? Gee, I wish time in December would be a little slow.  But we’ll always have a holly, jolly, busy Christmas every year.

I wish your family a Merry Christmas!  The time to do so is here. 

Thanks for being with me all year. It's been a pleasure, and I've made some memories and friends that I certainly will treasure. 

Now go, and have fun with your family!  I'll be back here in a week or so.

Ho! Ho! Ho!




12.21.2011

Parenting Tale: Holiday Decorating and Turkey/Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe

Boy, I’ve come a long way through the years.  Every Christmas, my husband brings up the tale of our huge holiday spat on our first Christmas together.  We were having a lovely time trimming our tree with my roommate, Mitch.   However, all of the sudden, I arose with a clatter when my husband placed a Disney ornament with three Dalmatian puppies sitting on a heart in the center of the Christmas tree.


I gasped.

“That goes on the back of the tree!”

Yes, I did.  I was not backing down.  That ornament just would not do in the front of the tree.

As we argued over the placement of the ornament, Christmas started looking more like the 4th of July rather than the joyful holiday that it is supposed to be.  I think my new boyfriend may have even left my condo with his box of ornaments in his hands, and went home to his condo across the street. 

I’m not proud of that moment now, but I was a woman sans kids and my tree, well, my tree always had been decorated with a theme.  You know the kind — the ones like those you see in a floral shop or department store. 

That’s right! The fru-fru kind.

One year, my tree was decorated in crystal topped with a gold bow.  Another year, I added some purple glass ornaments to the mix.  Some may even call me the crazy cat lady due to my huge collection of cat ornaments through the years. 

Before you go and call me a Disney-hater, you must know I had nothing against Disney. In my mind, his ornament belonged on a cutesy tree or a Disney-themed tree.  It did not go well with gold bows, crystal angels and cats.

No! No! No!

Honestly, I don’t remember now where that ornament ended up that year, but one thing is for sure: By the next year, it was front and center on our Christmas tree.

The Disney dalmations are front and center every year, and we’ve added some other favorites right next to it.  We hang handmade snowflakes, handprint-Christmas trees, and other preschool-made gems in the front.




We have even added Mickey Mouse and a tiara to the mix, too.

I’ve since lost my gold bows, and each year, there are fewer and fewer expensive crystal ornaments on our tree.  I wouldn’t have it any other way now.  Our tree is priceless.

We still pull out some of my treasured, breakable favorites, though. However, we make sure they are up high.  And believe it or not, they go on the back of the tree.

I don’t mind one bit. 
  
Our friend, Mitch, still comes to help trim our tree.  I’ve decided it’s more fun to let others do the work, and while they argue where the ornaments go, I whip us up a tree-trimming dinner.

My friend, Mitch, helps to trim our tree every year. 
For several years now, I’ve made the southern casserole, Chicken Tetrazzini.  It’s easy!  It’s good! And with red pimientos and green peppers as two of the ingredients, it even looks like Christmas.

Leigh's Southern Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini


Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts or three boneless thighs (1 baked chicken cut-up)
I poach my chicken, and use boneless chicken to save time of taking it off the bone.
8 oz angel hair or spaghetti cooked in chicken broth
1/2 green pepper, cut up
1 small jar pimento
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
2 cups of grated cheese
Buttered bread crumbs on top

Mix all ingredients together except cheese, and place in lightly greased baking dish.  Cover with 2 cups of grated cheese.  Top with buttered bread crumbs.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Even though my Chicken Tetrazzini is far from Italian, I did pair it with a simple Mushroom, Parmesan Arugula Salad this year.

You’ve probably got your Christmas tree up already, but these recipes will also work well for taking your tree down, too.  

Our family:
Mr. Cool (age 6 next week) and Baby Diva, (2)
Oh, I dread that!  It’s just not as fun as trimming the tree.

Our 2011 Tree

Merry Christmas!





12.19.2011

Holiday Green with House Envy

There's something about the holidays that make you a little crazy.  Oh, it's a wonderful time, don't get me wrong, but the month is so busy that I sometimes just want to hide in my bedroom and be a little lazy.  Better yet, I would love to be at a resort with not a care in the world.  Santa can find you anywhere, right? 

It's wonderful to see your friends during the holidays, but it's really hard to cram in visits with 32 of them when there are only 23 days in the month.  No one wants to get together after Dec. 24. 

Something has happened to my bathroom scale, too. It's displaying a much higher number than it did three days ago.  Really? Do 400 cocktail meatballs make that much of a difference?  I swear, I only had five brownies on Friday, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday. 






I've truly been running all over town. So what if it’s been in my car?  Just getting in and out of the car should burn some calories.  It's just not right. 

My shopping list is complete except for my CVS run.  My child asked for Scotch tape.  Why?  I don't know. Apparently, Scotch tape is a necessity for the house.  I really only use it at Christmas.  Not sure why it's needed the other 364 days of the year, but my son must need it.  He's told Santa and every other person that we know that he wants Scotch tape for Christmas.  You should see the looks we get with that request.  "Come on, lady! Buy the child some Scotch tape right now.  Don't wait for Santa to bring it." 

My shopping is done.  My wrapping is not.  I'm too busy spatting about holiday gathering times with the family to get anything done.  Yes, December makes me mean, and my hormones do the talking for me.  In a click of an email, my name automatically goes on the naughty list.  

I also get something that I call "Holiday House Envy."  I just have a bunch of lit tree branches in a basket on my porch because my husband no longer wants to hassle with outdoor lighting.  It started when we had children.  Too time consuming! He also cut his finger one year on a bulb, and it just went downhill from there.  I guess I could attempt to do it myself, but it’s a lot easier just to complain about it and put branches in a basket.  

Think how hard these people worked on their decor. 



Beautiful home in the Oakwood neighborhood of Raleigh, NC.

I'm envious.

North Carolina's Governor did pretty well with her decorating, too.

The Governor's Mansion in Raleigh, NC. 

Some people just make their homes gorgeous during the holidays.

Well, this is about the best I can do.



From my house to yours, Merry Christmas!

I have a few more posts in my stocking this week so I'll talk to you soon.




12.16.2011

Learning the Lesson of Giving One Hot Cocoa at a Time

As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our children that Christmas is about more than just presents.  It’s also about giving, reaching out, and helping others in need.  Sure, teaching him to give is easy, but teaching him why some people need help isn’t as simple, especially, when your own child has pajamas, a coat, food, and a warm bed to sleep in every night.  Unfortunately, some children are not as lucky.  It’s hard for my five-year-old to comprehend that another child may not have these necessities.  These things, as well as holiday presents, are always there for him in his home. 

On Saturday, two of my son’s friends from his school sold hot cocoa in their neighborhood to raise money to provide Christmas presents and groceries for homeless children in the Raleigh area.  I saw this as a perfect opportunity to drive home the lesson about the true meaning of Christmas, and to also teach a little lesson in journalism, too.  The rest of this story is by my son, who I refer to as Mr. Cool on this blog because he is rarely without his infamous sunglasses.

Holiday Guest Post by "Mr. Cool Hines", age 5. 


Meet Kate.  She's in my class at school.




Jack, her twin brother, is in another kindergarten class at our school, but we play together on the playground. 




They were selling hot chocolate in order to help kids in our area who really need our help.  The money that Jack and Kate raised will buy Christmas presents and groceries for children who don't have homes. 




Some of my other friends from school came, too.  Jack and Kate sold hot chocolate for two hours.  It was really good, too.  I'm happy that I could help support their cause.  My mom tells me that my donation will help other kids have a merry Christmas, too.




Back to you, Mom!


I think the kids enjoyed selling the hot chocolate, but they also got in some great playtime, and left their mom and dad with their hot cocoa stand in-between customers.   This deed was a great way for these parents to teach a wonderful message to their children.  All proceeds from the hot cocoa fundraiser will benefit the Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network.  This organization accepts donations all year, and also has a list of material needs on its wish list.  It's touching to see all the services that they provide to families. 


Have a great weekend, and I'll talk to you next week.  Don't forget to join me on Facebook or Twitter, if you haven't done so already.   I also offer e-mail subscriptions to my posts.  I'm going to reduce my posts over the holidays, but I will still be around on those social media sites.   Also, my giveaway for a Mascot Children's book will end on Sunday.   We will be selecting five winners! 




12.14.2011

Wednesday's Wish We Were Here: Disney's Kidani Village {Guest Post}

A little elf told me that Santa loves Walt Disney World, and that he's been known to leave many  families a very magical gift under the Christmas tree. Wouldn't that be fun to find on Christmas morning?


I've stayed at the Walt Disney World Swan during the holidays, and Disney's Beach Club Resort in the spring, which I featured this year on the blog.   It will be awhile before we make the trip again so I was delighted to learn that fellow blogger,  Melissa, from Filling Our Bucket, was traveling to Disney over Thanksgiving, and was staying at one of the Deluxe Resorts on property.  I asked this busy, full-time working mom, who lives in Rhode Island to take lots of photos of the resort, and write a guest post for us on her experience there.   It thrills me that she said, "Of course!"  You are going to love what she has in store for us today as she takes us inside Kidani Village within Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village
by Melissa from Filling Our Bucket

My  family enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday in Walt Disney World. This was a first visit for my son, as well as a first visit for my husband! There are so many resort choices in Walt Disney World; from the stately beauty of the Grand Floridian to the hip and cool Pop Century Resort, there are experiences for all tastes and for all wallets.
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Taken from our Magical Express bus as we arrived!
As Disney Vacation Club members, we own shares in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Kidani Village.

Kidani Village is a Disney Vacation Club exclusive resort that consists of villa style rooms. Room sizes include a studio with a kitchenette, and one, two and three bedroom villas with full kitchens, living rooms and dining areas.

For our vacation, we traveled with my parents as well, so we stayed in a two bedroom villa.

Upon entering Kidani Village, guests are welcomed home with dramatic high ceilings, and a wall of windows looking out onto the savannah. On our vacation, it was like Christmas had already arrived as the entire resort had already decked the halls!

There is also dramatic detail in the chandelier and other lighted elements throughout the lobby.

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Kidani Village, and the main lodge - Jambo House, consists of low and long buildings. They are no more than 4 stories high but are incredibly long. Our walk from the lobby of the resort to our villa was probably a good 5 - 8 minutes, give or take how tired we were! But the walk was worth it when we arrived in our room.

Here is a photo tour:

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second bedroom, 2 queen beds
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second bedroom, bathroom
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THIRD bathroom off foyer
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one half of full kitchen
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living room
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other half of living room
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master bath
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carving on king bed headboard

And the view? Well, that wasn't bad either!

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On a daily basis, it was normal for us to wake up to giraffes, zebras, and that cattle of which I cannot remember the name. We also saw ostriches, and a few other interesting birds.

Disney's Animal Kingdom resort includes 3 on site full service restaurants. Two are located in Jambo House - Jiko and Boma. We went to Boma the first evening that we were in Walt Disney World and it was incredible. Highly, highly recommended. The third restaurant, Sanaa, is located in Kidani Village.

Jambo House is the main building at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, and where most guests will stay. I have stayed here on one occasion and the details of the rooms are the same as those of our villa. The rooms are basically the equivalent of the second bedroom and bath in the photos above. Jambo House, however, has a much more dramatic lobby area.

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Both Kidani Village and Jambo House have beautiful pools and guests of Kidani Village may pool hop over to Jambo House. There is also a quick service restaurant located in Jambo House called The Mara. Here you will find fairly standard quick service fare served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some offerings do have an African twist to fit the theme of the resort.

Kidani Village has a small gift shop and convenience store for guests. Because all villas have a kitchenette or full kitchen, many guests take advantage and save a little money by cooking meals in their villa. At the shop you can find everything from bread and peanut butter to frozen meals. It is a little convenience that goes a long way.

In Jambo House, there is a larger gift shop called Zawadi Marketplace. Here you can find standard Walt Disney World souvenirs as well as several African gifts such as jewelry and musical instruments.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is truly a magical place to stay during a Walt Disney World vacation. We can't wait to return!!

Want to Stay Here:
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Kidani Village is a Disney Vacation Club resort. Cash value for villas within Kidani Village and Jambo house range from $305 to $1720 per night dependent on villa type and time of stay.  Due to the nature and wildlife at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, the resort is located a good distance from the theme parks, and it is suggested that guests allow 30 minutes to reach their destination within the park. 
 
I am not affiliated with Walt Disney World in any way, and all opinions within this review are 100% my own.

Melissa's post definitely wants me to visit this resort in the future.  I think it would be fascinating to see those animals outside your window.  I thank Melissa for letting us be part of her vacation.






12.12.2011

Bowling with a Wuf and a Ram { Plus Giveaway}

It’s no secret that I do some crazy things.

Like dressing up my daughter in her brother’s N.C. State hand-me-downs and trying to get her to say, “Go Wolfpack.”


Won’t I ever learn that toddlers have minds of their own?

And don’t worry, Carolina fans; I will have this book about Rameses under our tree. It is my alma-mater, after all.

.

But the Rameses book is popular and sells out a lot.  I haven’t got my hands on a copy yet.  

In fact, all Mascot books are a hot item year-round, but especially during the holidays.  Everyone wants their favorite team’s sweatshirt and a Mascot book under the tree.  I know I do for my kids.

Guess what? I’ve got a great surprise for you just in time for you to cheer on your favorite teams in this year’s bowl games.  I’ve teamed up with Mascot Books to give my readers a chance to win one book featuring their favorite team’s mascot from the children’s books for college.  I’m going to give FIVE readers this opportunity. Mascot Books has all the teams in stock that are going to bowl games this year except Oklahoma State.  Unfortunately, Pistol Pete and his journey around the campus of Oklahoma State are currently sold out.  Also, your team doesn’t have to be going to a bowl to win.  If you win, you can choose any team in Mascot Books’ original collegiate section.

Clemson will be playing in the Discover Orange Bowl.  Kind of fitting based on their colors.


Big Al is going to New Orleans for the AllState BCS National Championship Game.  He'll  meet up with Mike from LSU.



What happens if there is not a book about your favorite team?  Well, I suggest you write your own version and have Mascot Books publish it.  Mascot Books is always looking for new authors, and your book doesn’t have to be about mascots, either.  It just needs to be a children’s book.  If you are an aspiring author, Mascot Books will help you edit, illustrate, publish, and sell your book through their children’s book self-publishing program

Remember earlier when I said it was no secret that I do crazy things?  Well, my son and I were sitting around the table one night creating a story about a zucchini in the yellow, polka-dotted bikini and all the crazy characters she could meet along the way.  Who knows?  Maybe you’ll see our story come to life one day with the help of  Mascot Books. 

In the meantime, I’m going to say “Go Pack!” and “Go Tar Heels!”  Good luck with your bowl games. 

Can't wait to win until the 19th to find out if you won my giveaway?  Want a mascot book it in time for Christmas?  Get it now with 25% off all collegiate books using the discount code, "holiday."

I’m trying Rafflecopter to run this giveaway because they do everything for you, including selecting a winner at random draw.  I have lots of shopping to do so I need all the outside help I can get right now.   All you have to do is enter a comment on the blog, tell me your favorite team (because I'm nosy like that) then go back to the Rafflecopter box, and hit "I did this".  It will tell you what to do so that it can enter you in the drawing.   All the other options in the box are additional entries and are not required for the drawing.  Good luck, and I’ll announce five winners by Monday, December 19.  If you don't want to enter the contest, but still want to leave a comment then you do not have to do the steps in the Rafflecopter box, but I do hope you consider joining me on Facebook or Twitter






12.09.2011

A Little Tarheel Holiday Cheer

I want to end this week by sharing something with you that makes me smile.






Each one of these holiday cards has a little story.  Hopefully, a very merry one. The tiny footprints are real.


These adorable Baby Prints cards are designed by Karen Thaxton, a nurse who works in the Newborn Critical Care Center at N. C. Children's Hospital  All of the tiny hand and foot prints on these cards are the actual size of the babies who donated them.


All proceeds from these Kids Cards are used to fund novel and unique programs aimed at enriching the lives of pediatric patients and their families at the North Carolina Children's Hospital in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  This card called "Rejoice" is beautiful, and is the artwork of a pediatric patient.


These children have such talent.  I pray that they are now well, and are at home with their families this holiday.   A child from Raleigh,who is the exact same age as my son, designed this special Christmas tree.   I  get a lump in my throat when I think about it because I feel so blessed that my children are currently healthy.


Since its inception in 1985, Kids Cards has funded such programs as: camperships for burn victims, bilingual education materials, special car seats for children in full body casts; and memory book supplies for neonatal and pediatric intensive care units.

Take a moment to browse through the wonderful card collection this year, and learn more about this wonderful program.  Cards can be ordered online. They can also be purchased regionally at Harris Teeter, and other retail outlets.   There are so many beautiful ones that it is hard to have a favorite, but I love this one.



Have a wonderful weekend! Hope you are getting your holiday shopping complete.  I still have more to do because it seems that I am a last-minute gal. 








12.07.2011

Tinsel on a Christmas Tree Can Hang Longer Than Parents Can at Night

Not too long ago, my husband and I had a date night at a romantic and delicious Northern Italian café in North Raleigh.


Our sitter knocked on our door at 6 p.m. and helped get the kids their dinner. We left at 7 p.m. to travel to the other side of town to make our 7:30 p.m. dinner reservation. The kids were happy, and we were happy. 


We were as merry as this shiny, tinsel Christmas tree when we drove out of the driveway. 




We could finally have a nice dinner alone without any whining, or telling our son to eat over his plate or sit up in his chair.  We could have a conversation and perhaps ignite some romance.
It was a great scenario. 
So what’s the problem?
We are tired, old, middle-aged parents with small children.  That’s the problem!
After a glass or two of Chianti, we became so tired that all we wanted to do was lay our heads down in our veal parmigiana.  I honestly think I drifted off five minutes before entering our subdivision.  Good thing I wasn’t driving.
Look at us.  We look happy, but worn out. 

I'm only showing you this horrible photo to prove my point.   Our heart is saying, "Go have fun!", but our
head is saying, "Check, please! Let's call it a night."

Like most parents, we had a busy day that started with our oldest child tapping us on the shoulder at 7:30 am.  My husband did yard work while I entertained the kids the rest of the day, with a few errands also thrown in the mix.  We basically went non-stop until the sitter came.
After that last bite of dessert at 10 p.m., we knew we were just half an hour or so away from our dream of crawling into our king-sized bed on our separate sides and snoozing until we got that dreaded tap on the shoulder the next morning.
We had a lovely time and great dinner, but I honestly think daytime TV dramas are on to something with their “love in the afternoon” theme.
Personally, I think we need a lunch date when we are still refreshed and still have the energy to enjoy each other’s company.  A romantic lunch date would give us an active break from the kids while they are up and all of us are still full of life. 
Yeah, that is starting to be more appealing than going out when they are in bed, and our sitter gets to do what we enjoy best: sitting on the couch and watching TV in quiet. That’s the best part of our day.
Yep, this may be middle age talking.  I did have my last child at 40.  Or perhaps it is just being a parent, and age isn’t a factor.  
Regardless, I’ve given it some thought. A daytime date sounds like a good plan, or if not a lunchtime date, then perhaps a 5:30 p.m. dinner with the senior citizens timed so that we come home just as soon as the last child is asleep. 
Now that’s amore!  Are you with me? 






Linking up with Shell today. 








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