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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Disguising a Turkey

Jonas is in Kindergarten and one of his recent projects was to disguise a turkey.  It was a fun project with the purpose of helping his turkey hide from the farmer so that he doesn't get eaten for Thanksgiving.  Jo could make his turkey into anything.  When I Googled some ideas I found some really great ones, like spider turkey, ninja turkey, spongebob turkey and so many more.  When Jo decided upon a triceratops I got a little scared.  I thought the ninja idea would have been much easier.  After looking around for a dino-turkey (we found one that was sort of what he wanted) we got to work cutting, folding, coloring and disguising.  I only hover to ensure fingers aren't cut off by scissors and when my help is requested.  He requested it a lot.  Normally he likes to do things on his own, so I happily obliged.  We had fun disguising his turkey!   

So, here's Jo's triceraturkey, a turkey that was probably not eaten on Thanksgiving day since he's so awesomely disguised.  

Do your children have any super fun projects that you look forward to? 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Here Comes Santa Claus

Every year we are fortunate to have a Christmas Eve visit from our very own Santa Claus who, with Mrs. Claus, get to ride the local fire truck up and down the streets of our tiny borough offering waves, candy canes for the kids and puppy treats for the furry friends (Mrs. Claus' second job is heading the local doggy rescue and she is very passionate about all pooches).  Just about every year I forget that it's happening, or I forget when it's happening so we were lucky to be home when I heard the sirens running up and down nearby streets.  We all rushed to get dressed and ran outside many times for false alarms.  Amara stood as lookout and shouted to us all when the truck turned down out street. 

The kids ran around up until they were about halfway down the block, then they sat and waited anxiously for Santa and his crew to arrive.  The elves know we have a 4th kid so they made sure to give us an extra candy cane for the moody one inside the house. 

We look forward to Santa's visit every year.  In the city I live, there are more holiday activities, like the tree lighting ceremony, New Years Eve celebration and more and while they are only about 1-2 miles from us, I like having them right outside my door.  What does your town do to celebrate the holidays? 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holidays with Starbucks: Share the Joy! A Review and a Giveaway

Starbucks goodies!
Happy Holidays!  My Christmas hasn't met the expectations that one with a family full of children might anticipate, due to the loss of my father after a battle with cancer.  I know I have to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for my kiddos and while it's been a struggle, I realize what a strong support system I have in my family and friends and without them- and copious amounts of coffee- I'm not sure I'd have left my bed much.  What's Christmas without a tree (at least we got it decorated by Christmas Eve), lights, holiday music and shopping for presents (something I didn't begin until Christmas Eve)?  Without moping any longer, I give you a review of good coffee and the chance to win some of your own. 

Holidays in my home are a bustling time of visiting family, drinking coffee, running to the store for last-minute things, eating cookies, forgetting to by regular groceries, visiting more family, drinking more coffee, going back to the store, ignoring the laundry build-up, avoiding piles of boxes of Christmas decorations until I have no other choice, watching others put up Christmas lights while I stand by being helpful (telling people there's a light out can be helpful)...all while listening to Christmas music, which I diligently avoid until about December 10th.  I get too angry at the world when it reminds me that two of my boys (my hubby Jason and my son Jonas) have to share their birthday with one of the biggest holidays and I don't have enough time or money to focus on all of them at once.  Probably sounds a lot like the holiday for many people.  

Thankfully, Starbucks and Modern Mom sensed my plight and blessed me with the opportunity to try a new holiday blend of Starbucks ground coffee.  I didn't have to run back to the store for coffee after all.  
I made some right away, with my favorite milk (shameless plug for Rutter's right here) in my Keurig.   

How did I make ground coffee in my Keurig, you ask?  With my handy-dandy reusable k-cup!  Close up so you can't see the clutter.

The Starbucks Holiday Blend- available at major grocery stores- is created with "vibrant Latin American and smooth Indonesian coffees.  It's balance of herbal and sweet maple notes pairs pairs beautifully with everything the holiday season has in store for you."  That's what Starbucks has to say about their coffee.  I have to say it's definitely smooth; it's not a strong coffee and does have a holiday flavor.  I prefer strong, smooth coffees and while this one is weaker than my normal choices I can fix that by adding extra when I brew it.  Without reading the description I honestly couldn't have told you what flavors were incorporated into this blend, but it's a relaxing taste (that's the best way to describe it!).  After knowing what's in it, I can smell a light maple scent.  I made sure to use only sugar and milk to be sure I didn't think I was drinking coffee but was actually drinking cigarette ashes (I never had cigarette ash flavored Starbucks but there have been quite a few others that really did taste like cigarette ashes so I wanted to be certain).  It was very good.  Good enough that I wanted to keep drinking beyond my normal two cups in the morning.  

I had it while stringing up the tree lights:
I'm so helpful.

While wrapping Christmas presents at 1am:
This was just the first one...

 And of course, I had lots of it while spending the holidays with my family.
Sorry for the blur.  I blame my camera's inability to work with movement.  So unfortunately you can't see the amazing breakfast that my in-laws make every Christmas morning for their family.
Merry Christmas!

And now for the news you've been waiting for:

Starbucks and Modern Mom also provided me with a bag of Holiday Blend ground coffee to give away to one of my readers.  I decided to keep the coffee because it's good, and sponsor a giveaway for a $15 gift card instead (with permission).  Then you can try the Holiday Blend yourself, or any other coffee or Starbucks product (but if you don't try something new I will think you're boring).  United States entries only.    

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Starbucks & Modern Mom supplied me with Starbucks Coffee Holiday Blend to help facilitate this review and giveaway.  I didn't want to share the giveaway coffee and was given the okay, so I am sponsoring the gift card giveaway myself.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions are expressly my own.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rest in Peace, Dad


My dad, Ronald Klineyoung, passed away this week.  Long, written novels are out of the question so for now, I'll share his obituary.  I only knew my dad as a man with mental illness but he was a lot more and I'm sad that I never knew the person he was before schizophrenia took over his mind and body.  

When I visited him for the first time after his diagnosis the first thing he said was, "When are you getting married, Al?".  4 weeks and many wonderful friends and family later Jason and I finally tied the knot.  For many reasons- budget being one of them- we had held off on this seemingly unimportant event.  I always said I'd do it when the time was right, or when I had to.  That time had come.  
August 11, 2013

He was diagnosed in July and made it until December.  He was 59.  I'm handling it well.  I think being able to prepare helped me some.  I keep forgetting to do things like ordering the kids' Christmas presents, doing the dishes and decorating the tree but I'm sure that will get better.  I'm just sad for what he didn't have.  Anyway, here's the obituary.      
YORK- Ronald E. Klineyoung, 59, passed away peacefully Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at Manor Care South following a courageous battle with cancer.
A celebration of life tribute service will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at Heffner Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Inc., 1551 Kenneth Rd., York with Pastor Richard B. Starr officiating. A visitation will be from 7-8 p.m. on Friday and 3-4 p.m. on Saturday, both at the funeral home.

He was born in York on March 28, 1954, the son of the late Earl L. and E. June. (Ball) Klineyoung.

Ron graduated in 1972 from William Penn Senior High School. During high school he participated in marching band, symphonic band and was Vice President of the Executive Cabinet of his class. He held various jobs over the years. His interest included writing and music. He enjoyed talking about politics, religion and his family, especially his daughter and grandchildren. Ron was a member of Oasis Club and NAMI. He was a good friend to many throughout his life.

Mr. Klineyoung is survived by his daughter, Alexandra Weaver and her husband, Jason of York; four grandchildren; and two sisters, Debra Klineyoung of Pittsburgh and Diane S. Markey and her husband, Bradley of York.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness), 140 Roosevelt Ave., Suite 200, York, PA 17404 or

His family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all those who have been involved in Ron’s care throughout the years.

NAMI, 140 Roosevelt Ave., Suite 200, York, PA 17404

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Always with the food on his face
My 3rd (out of 4) child, Jonas, can be a trouble maker.  He is also a comedian and pretty good at diffusing a tense situation. 
The other day I let him play on his big brother's desktop Minecraft account.  He apparently went to town, deleting or altering everything in every single world that Zach had created.  When Zachary got home he lost it.  He went completely berserk and all I could think was Geez, it's a flipping video game.  A hurricane didn't wipe out your REAL house and half of your family; a burglar didn't break into your REAL house and steal all of your REAL crap.  Just be grateful you have a stupid game to destroy your brain cells.  And you get to start from scratch!  What I said was, "Chill, dude."  
But even better than my relaxed response was Jonas walking out from behind my chair and saying, "Woah...things just got awkward in here."  Zachary didn't think it was funny when I laughed.  I thought it was hilarious.  I love hearing little kids saying big words.  
I guess he isn't so little anymore.  On December 9, Jonas became a humongous 6 year old.  He's grown like 4 inches in the last year.  Do boys always grow so fast?  I don't remember Zach hitting a major growth spurt until this year (at least 6 inches since Sept. 2012).  My daughter has only grown about 2 inches in the last 2 years.  Anyway, I already miss my little Jonas but I'm enjoying how well the new and improved Jonas is doing at school and how hard he works to be better every day.  He no longer wants to be a tree when he grows up, but he still wants to be able to make fire with his hands.  I'll enjoy his adorable young mind for as long as possible.                    

Saturday, November 16, 2013

First Day of School Happened a While Ago

And finally I'm getting around to acknowledging that fact.  7th grade, 3rd grade, Kindergarten (sniff) and preschool (3 year old class).  

It took a lot of work to get Zach's face (and not his neck) to look at the camera.  He even sort of smiled.  Success!!  Amara rarely fails to strike the right pose so her picture was easy enough.  Jonas got to meet his principal and learned that he can choose whether the principal is his pal.  He and Amara also graced me with some goofy photos.  Always gotta have those.  Henry had his own poses in mind and I willingly went along with them when he willingly smiled.  

 Did anyone else take a million years to share their first day photos?  At least I got them posted in the right calendar year.

York, PA Families: Christmas Magic 2013: A Festival of Lights at Rock...

York, PA Families: Christmas Magic 2013: A Festival of Lights at Rock...: Via: Rocky Ridge County Park kicks off the holi...

Our girl scout troop decorated a tree for this last year.  Cold fun!  We don't usually go because we like to keep our adventures below $30-ish for the whole family but I'd totally go if I just had one of my kiddos around. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I am alive, I am least healthy.  I just keep blogging in my head and then I forget to write it down.  That's what I get for thinking in the shower.  I'll be back eventually. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy birthday to me...happy birthday dear Alex...happy birthday to meeeee!  Okay, got that out of my system, for now.  My day was pretty borning but this evening my family took me out to one of my favorite restaurants, Fujihana, for dinner.  I love watching them cook and the food is fabulous.  I was super excited tonight because we got one of the guys that is entertaining as well.  I never get to go there because Jason doesn't like spending money on so little food.  Which is totally crazy because this has always been one of the places that I could take food home because I was too full to eat it all and I used to be able to eat a LOT.  
On the topic of eating a lot, I gained a lot of weight (about 15-20lbs) between July and November of 2012 and really wanted to lose it.  So I've been on an exercise/weight loss program since November 21, 2012.  That's almost 3 months...possibly the longest I've ever stuck with something that I had a choice in deciding whether to keep going on end it.  The good: I've worked out for 20-60 minutes 4-7 days/week since 11/21.  Usually 6 days and usually longer than 30 minutes.  My workouts vary- Hip Hop Abs, the elliptical machine, swimming, running the treadmill, walking, some Pinterest finds.  When the intensity is low I will do more than one activity, making sure to do something hard that day too.  
When I first started I quickly learned that I wouldn't lose any weight if I didn't start fixing my eating habits too.  So I stopped eating seconds and thirds at every meal, stopped eating crackers and soda and did some small alterations as well like only snacking on chips or cookies at parties.  I've significantly decreased my intake of pasta.  My meals are minimally processed.  I won't do low-fat foods or artifical sweeteners- bad stuff right there.  I'm eating well, working I should be losing weight, right? 
I have been taking weekly pictures, weighing and measuring myself almost daily.  Without a doubt I'm gaining muscle.  But I'm still the same weight, haven't lost many inches and the worst part...I'm still in the exact same size clothing!  Ugh. 

The rest of my birthday celebration will be simlarly laid back and I plan (hope) to get my way for the rest of the weekend.
So today, to say, "screw you" to my sucky progress I skipped the workout AND had dessert.  And I can't win, because now I'd really like to exercise.  But I really want to go to bed also.