Black Friday Madness

Holiday Shoppers Seek Out Deals On Black Friday

MORNING!  Many of you may be seeing this post late in the day because you are part of the CRAZINESS called Black Friday.  As I sit here snuggled at home enjoying the girls, I can’t help but think of past Black Friday mornings…

angry-kid

Black Friday has an array of memories….

The years Belinda and I camped out at Walmart to do holiday shopping for my best friend’s kids.  She couldn’t get there so we did the shopping and put it on layaway for her.  It was a game for us while others were getting crazy knocking each other over for what they thought was a GREAT deal.

Then there was the year the call came my Mom was in an accident on her way to work and was in the trauma unit at ACMC.  She was hit head on by someone headed to a Black Friday sale at Best Buy AND she was on her cell phone.  Our lives changed that day for several months as mom healed and we all thanked God he kept her safe.

The years Belinda came home from college and we headed out for “kid and me” time.  Not crazy early but just a day to see what deals we could find after the crazies headed home.

Then there was the year of late night shopping with the girls. It was fun scouring the shelves for great deals.  Trimming the Christmas tree like we did when Belinda was little on Thanksgiving weekend topped the events while we shared stories related to each of the holiday ornaments.

Memories of happy time and sad times but all are ones that I will cherish.  How are you spending YOUR Black Friday?  Shopping?  Resting? Working?  Visiting with family?  Share your favorite memories with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Happy Birthday Baby!

Belinda copyAt 7:57AM exactly 28 years ago my baby girl was born – Belinda Joan Heldreth Steinel.  I am sure she is cringing at me calling her my “baby” but she will always be my baby no matter how old she gets.

When I found out I was pregnant, there were a whirlwind of emotions. Belinda’s dad opted to leave us since he “wasn’t ready to be a dad”.  Was I ready to be a mom? Probably not.  This fun-loving, workaholic, partying women thought “I can do and have it all”.  Whatever “all is” right?  Reality quickly sunk in as I was banished to bed for most of my pregnancy.  I will admit I was a party girl – drugs, alcohol, late nights and not eating healthy all contributed to high blood pressure and being toxic during my pregnancy.

Life was a little, okay ALOT, crazy but I knew we would be okay.  I had family and friends who were there for me.  I searched high and low for a book on what a busy career woman could do when she became a single mom – YIKES!  There was no book, no script and most of my friends had never had a baby so tips were few and far between.

The morning Belinda arrived, I was due for a stress test because despite the doctor’s prediction, she was NOT early nor was she a preemie!  When I called the doctor to tell him I as in labor, he was like “I will see you for the stress test”. NO WAY!  Within an hour, the pain was unbearable so off Elsie and I went to the hospital.  We arrived at the hospital and admissions said “we need paperwork”. REALLY?  I was here and did it already.  I just want the pain to stop – NOW!  I was having contractions but the doctor said it was too early for pain meds.  By the time the doctor came back in it was too LATE for pain meds.  Yup, 100% natural labor along with a vow I would NEVER had another child.

belinda & me wedding

It was always “you and me kid”.  You were the reason I got clean during my addiction.  I picked and chose my battles while you were growing up.  Some things just weren’t worth it.  I was blessed.  You were basically a good kid.  A gymnast (thank you Edythe & Grams).  A field hockey player.  An All Star Cheerleader.  A hard working girl at the age of 16.  You always said “I never want to disappoint you” and I can say you never have.

Yes, I had tremendous support from my mom and the rest of the family.   But at the end of the day, it was “you and me kid” snuggled in our mobile home getting through life with the cats and Tinkerbell, the dog.

Do you remember the first time the realization hit you your “baby” was a grown up? Was it when they went to HS? How about when they got their first job? Or was it when they got their driver’s license?  Most will say, it was when they went off to college.  For me, the realization came as Rob and I walked her down the “aisle” to the waiting arms of her finance.  Yup.  It took that long – just one year ago.  I was not ready for the flood of emotion I would be hit with as we drove back to Jersey after the wedding.

2015-08-29 15.17.19

Belinda, you have grown into an amazing woman.  I have always been proud of you.  I love your giving heart.  I love your energy.  I love your self-confidence.  Yes, I even love your lack of tact when telling people how you “really” feel.  You have inspired others to reach for their dreams.  You have fought for those who could not fight for themselves. You have blazed a trail advocating as far as Capital Hill for the things you believe in.  You stand up for what you believe in even if it goes against the norm.

Our family has grown – Rob became your step-dad and Ashley your wife. And we are blessed to have them.  They love us for who we are – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Yes, mom is shedding a tear or two as I write this.  We are not physically together today but our hearts will be bound together forever.  I wish you a day filled with love and happiness.  I hope all of your dreams come true.   Happy Birthday Baby!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Last Minute Holiday Shopping

angel ornament

I am off enjoying the day with Belinda and family but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some words of wisdom to share with my readers….

This is for those ambitious people who can actually pull off a “crafty Christmas” in 36 hours.

As I reflect on the last year, my inner gremlins always want me to head to the “shoulda”, “coulda”, “woulda” kind of things.  You know what I mean, things like wanting to pay off debt but not getting very far, vowing not use credit cards and then you do or the big one this time of year is to not spend ALOT on Christmas gifts.  Everyone’s definition of “a lot” is different but a post on Dave Ramsey‘s site about Christmas on a Crafty Budget brought back so many memories….

Somewhere in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Christmas  and the desire to make sure Belinda had everything she wanted (but maybe did not need), I lost some of the meaning of Christmas.  Yes, I was one of those crazy moms who didn’t care that I went into debt.  I was a single mom and never wanted Belinda to feel like she was missing out on things.  Don’t get me wrong when she was younger, I used to make her clothes for special occassions including Halloween costumes.  The sewing machine was my friend.  It took up space in my dining room and when we moved to the trailer, I had an office.   A corner of the office for my consulting business and one for my sewing.  I miss those days.  Those were the days of the crafty Christmas….

Ever heard the expression “It’s the thought that counts”? I always felt like that was the polite way to say, “This gift stinks, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”  That was always my fear just before the person receiving the handmade gift opened their present.  Only to find out, the best gifts you can give are sentimental or have some thought attached to them, not a price tag.  Some of these were: table runners that are still used by family or the recipe file that contained all of recipes we loved that Grams made.

When I buy gifts now (non-Thirty One gifts that is) they are usually from a fellow crafter.  I love being able to share the amazing things that others create.  Add to my bucket list  – get back to sewing or at least making some things.

So, are you fretting about money or the lack of it and worried that you don’t have something for everyone on your list?  Are you getting sucked into the shopping frenzy, tempted to just “charge a little” this holiday season?  Why not try some of these ideas…

  • The gift of time is a great gift for that mom that never gets a break from the kids.  Or how about a set of new parents that could use a date night.  What about spending the day with YOUR mom or dad?  Special time of just hanging out together, enjoying each other’s company.
  • Homemade goodies are always well received especially by those who have little time to bake.  Why not bake a batch of cookies and drop them off to a friend, a neighbor or even that family member that you don’t know what to give them.

I was blessed this year to have a CASH Christmas as a result of my Thirty One business.  Of course, fewer gifts were bought since Belinda and Ashley just got married in August.  The best gift is that the girls are back in NJ for Christmas.  Gathering with family and extended family over the holidays will be the best gift of all.

Maybe you have already finished your shopping and are having buyers remorse.  Bless and release!!!! Now is never too late to start planning for next year.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday – 3 Ingredient Apple Cake

DSCN1001-2

TODAY is the day!  Belinda and Ashley are arriving in Phillie this morning.  I am on my way to the airport to pick them up.  So excited to have them home for Christmas.  It seems like forever since the wedding in August.

Thank you Made 2 B Creative for today’s recipe.

 

Ingredients

1 box Duncan Hines® Signature Spice Cake Mix
3 large eggs (beaten)
1 can Duncan Hines Comstock® Country Apple

Baking Instructions

In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix, eggs and pie filling.
Stir together until well mixed.
Bake in greased Bundt pan, 350 degrees for 35 minutes or test with toothpick for doneness.

I haven’t tried this but it sounds yummy!  I have to admit that I have horrible memories of using bundt pans in the past.  I am sure they are more advanced now!  I always made a mess!  LOL.

This is one of those cakes that can be used as a dessert or for brunch.  A perfect thing to have on hand when unexpected company drops by this holiday season.  How about serving it warm with some ice cream?

It travels well too if you pack it up in a Thirty One Family Fun Thermal.  Take the party anywhere with this thermal that’s perfect for picnics, tailgates or block parties. With new Leak Lock lining you can even fill it with ice and use it as a beverage bin. Easy to tote with a detachable shoulder strap. Approx. 9.5”H x 14”L x 10”D.

4946212A 4946212A_T1

If you try the recipe, let us know what you think.  Or if you have other SIMPLE recipes, share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Wedding Day Jitters

We are praying for nice weather today – the prediction was 85 degrees with only a 10% chance of rain.  So let’s see what happens – yes, this blog was written early.  I assure you that I will be back to my usual blog posts on Monday. But today, we are going to do some celebrating:

belinda & me wedding

This is Belinda and I at hubby and my wedding in 2011.  She was my Maid of Honor and she was awesome.  Of course, she always is but I guess I am kind of partial since she is my only child.

jen's wedding

Belinda was a bridesmaid in her best friend’s wedding.  Now Jen, the bride, is Belinda’s Matron of Honor.  I can’t believe that these two have been friends since they were 3 years old.  Yes, they met at Apple Acres and the rest is history.  When they became friends, our extended family grew to include the Loder clan and I was blessed to find my best friend too.  I am so glad that Steph and Bill are going to be joining us today in North Carolina for the festivities.

belinda and ashley

Fast forward to today and the happy couple.  It is the day that my baby – okay she is 27 so she isn’t a baby – gets married.  I can’t believe that it is really here.  It seems like we have been talking about it for months.  If you know Belinda, you know that is probably not the case.  She is very easy going and seldom worries about things kind of girl.  I, on the other hand, have been trying to make everything perfect.  The truth is – it doesn’t have to be.  It is a day of celebrating and that is what we are going to do.

If you are friends with me on Facebook, I apologize already for blowing up your newsfeed with pictures….Off to enjoy the celebrations.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!