Update Post – Highlights of 2014

Posted on January 13th, 2015 by Jean

Forgive me, friends! It was been six months since my last post. At that time, we had returned from a visit to beautiful Lake Powell. Although I’ve been quiet here, I post regularly to Instagram. Here are some of our 2014 highlights:

New ChicksJuly 26th – We bought new chicks, bringing our total to 22 hens! A couple of roosters made it into the mix (they are the golden chicks pictured), but we removed them once we figured that out. (Roosters have spurs and say, “Cockadoodle doo!”) We are reaping the benefits now with over a dozen fresh eggs per day. When clients and friends visit, they always leave with a carton of eggs.

Knotts Berry FarmJuly 30th – We visited Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. The Pony Express was operating this time, and we were thrilled to ride this unique “stand up & straddle a horse” coaster! I think Natalie caught a bug in her mouth though. Another giraffe followed us home, this one bigger & heavier than the one we bought at the San Diego Wild Animal Park in 2008. I tell ya, Tom LOVES giraffes.

ScoobySeptember 6th – We found a cute dog running ahead of our car in the Target parking lot. The kids said I had to rescue him, and who am I to argue? We posted his mug on facebook, and put up flyers, but he was unclaimed. A visit to the vet confirmed he had no chip, weighed 9 lbs, and hated shots so much he had to be muzzled! We named him Scooby after a contestant’s dog on America’s Got Talent.

Disneyland 2014September 28th – We paid a quick 1-day trip to Disneyland. Firsts this time were riding the Autopia cars, riding the Monorail, visiting Disney after dark,  and getting Natalie to go on the Peter Pan ride. Hoping by next trip, I can convince the girls and Tom to go into the Haunted Mansion! Disneyland was all decorated for Halloween with pumpkins everywhere. We tried to track down the elusive Jack Skellington “Zero Dog House” popcorn bucket to no avail. I did manage to find Tom a treat, Snow White’s poison apple. Bon Appétit!

Halloween 2014Halloween was fun. The girls dressed as a lil’ devil and a chess queen. We visited a private, gated community in our neighboring town as we live in a rural environment outside of city limits. The girls collected lots of treats and had so much fun ringing doorbells and exclaiming, “Trick or Treat!”

DiningOctober 7th – We dined with a client at a restaurant of their choice. The food was good, but our wait for food, even the appetizer, was 75 minutes. I made a point to Yelp! about our experience, mentioning the good and the bad. The restaurant owner’s husband then proceeded to contact me via email (against Yelp rules) leaving me with such an ill feeling. He said I “bashed” their business, and I should have discretely informed his wife of my feelings instead of putting it out there for public consumption. I had to block him since he wouldn’t stop sending me messages.

Shania TwainDecember 11th – Oh my gosh, we saw Shania Twain in Vegas! I’m not a huge fan, but surprisingly knew a lot of her songs. She is tiny and talented! She also walked through the audience taking selfies with people… I don’t even know how she remembered the lyrics while walking, smiling and posing. Her stage was incredible, enormous and vibrant. She entered the stage on a flying motorcycle and wearing a sequined body stocking. She danced and sang, and it was a fun night! Our friend & print-broker brought us. Before the show, we dined at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. Delicious food! I had the salmon, cooked perfectly, and a glass of white wine. No waiting for this decadent meal! We were greeted and served so well, we felt we were a priority. Bobby Flay is free to contact me via email about the review I left his restaurant on Yelp!

Christmas 2014Christmas was wonderful even though Santa’s secret stash was discovered in a closet under our staircase on Christmas Eve. The girls left the presents right where they found them, and Santa distributed them during the night. The gifts this year were heartfelt, toy accessories mainly to go with gaming systems and dolls the girls already own. For the first time, we exchanged gifts as a family. The girls bought me candles and a bathrobe. They bought Tom a giraffe statue and a horse head statue. We bought the girls comforters for their beds. We baked gingerbread cookies, and dined on steak, mashed potatoes and cheesy green beans.

Snow in our townOn New Year’s Eve, it snowed in our town marking the 1st time since 1977. Snow in the desert! Unbelievable. Magical! It wasn’t enough to build a snowman, but it was enough for hours of fun! The girls bundled up and played outside all day. Tom was delivering our magazines in the snow, a first. We all took so many photos, thinking the snow would stop and melt at any time.

Another highlight/lowlight of the year, although there is no photographic evidence, was being summoned to court by my neighbor. You may or may not remember the ongoing battle we’ve had with him. To sum it all up in a nutshell, the judge dismissed our neighbor’s request for a “restraining order” against me if I would agree to drop mine against him. So far, so good ::: knock on wood :::.

I wish you all a very Happy 2015! I hope not to stay away so long this time.

Be A Rock Star

Posted on December 30th, 2010 by Jean

How should I put this? Oh yeah. I’m a Rock Star! I racked my brain trying to decide on the perfect Christmas gift for my best friend. I was “this close” to sending her a bottle of red wine like last year, but none of the bottles spoke to me. I wanted something personal. Something that would knock her socks off.
The perfect gift ~ a hand-made Unofficial Glee(k) Calendar 2011. [1]

With help from Google Images and Shutterfly, I created a calendar a true Gleek, like my friend Joy, could love.
Shirtless Will Schuester graces January and August, so unfortunately Joy cannot display the calendar at work.

Her favorite month is July with scenes from The Rocky Horror Glee Show.
Her friends favor September with an Enquirer-like photo of Tina and Artie on vacation with “Ripped Old Man and Greasy Speedo Dude”.

The month of April reveals whether Coach Bieste is played by an actor or actress (spoiler alert!), and in December Joy and her husband can be cats like Rachel & Finn were in their 2010 calendar.

It’s not too late to be a Rock Star! Online calendar deals are popping up left & right. Personalize them with photos and details your friends will ooh and ahhh over. For ideas, here is Google Zeitgeist‘s Top Ten Most Popular People:
1. Justin Bieber
2. Lady Gaga
3. Kim Kardashian
4. Nicki Minaj
5. Miley Cyrus
6. Katy Perry
7. Lil Wayne
8. Taylor Swift
9. eminem
10. Megan Fox
Not into celebrities? How about Top Vacation Destinations. The Travel Channel lists 21 Mind Blowing Escapes, more than plenty to fill a 12-month calendar. Is your friend a Foodie? Feature photos of scrumptious dishes, desserts or cocktails. The possibilities are endless.

What photos would adorn your personalized calendar?

[1] JeanHasBeenShopping.com
(i) does not have actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material is infringing;
(ii) in the absence of such actual knowledge, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent; or
(iii) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material;
(B) does not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity.

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Posted on December 5th, 2010 by Jean

As far back as I can remember, my family has baked these Winter Gingerland Cookies. Mom found the original recipe in a newspaper during the 1960’s. The clipping is long gone, but her hand-written note remains.
I’m continuing this tradition with my daughters. They’re a great help in the kitchen, and enjoy themselves along the way. The secret is to keep it fun and lend a hand.
The kids can add the ingredients, roll the dough, cut out the cookies, and most importantly, decorate them! We buy Betty Crocker icing in tubes. The plastic, interchangeable tips are less than $3. at your local grocery store.
Press play when you’re ready to see how easy this recipe is, and rock out with Hip Hop Jingle Bells!

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day. Hot cookies cool on the stove while our kitten, Lucy, undecorates the tree.

Family enjoying cookies.

Oldest daughter draws a gingerbread man while youngest daughter continues to play with the dough.

• What traditional treat do you bake during the holidays?
• Do you have kittens in your tree?
• How do you prefer your Jingle Bells?


DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THIS COOKIE RECIPE compliments of JeanHasBeenShopping.com