O Christmas Tree

Christmas is my favorite holiday!  I love everything about it, from the smells, to the music, to well, everything!  I love it, love it, love it!  One tradition that my mom passed down to me is putting up the Christmas tree and the ornaments that have been bought and passed down.  We have always put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving.  We play Christmas music, put the tree up with the ornaments that have stories behind them, add the bow and top it off with a great big bow.

Every ornament we have has a story.  i have some of the ones that came from the tree I grew up with.  for example the bulb that has the year I was born, all of the ones with my name on them, I even have the ones that were Santa and Mrs Clause that they used to make.  I think it is so fun to find new ornaments for the tree.  We always get the boys new ones from the beach, it was something my mom did.  Both boys have a pretty good start for their age.

I also enjoy finding ones that represent something that we love or what we're into.  I found this one for my little artist.

Like I said, each ornament has a story.  I hope that my boys love this tradition because they are going to have one heck of a start when they have families and trees of their own.
If you don't have up yours, maybe this will inspire you .  Have a joyful day and enjoy!

Love, BJ



My name is Barry; I am a husband, father, and an avid outdoorsman. My Mandays are spent outside. I love the outdoors and I strive to pass along my love and respect for the outdoors to my son, Sam,  whom I share some of my Mandays with. My post will hopefully help you be more prepared for your next Manday adventure, or at least give you some gift ideas for the outdoor enthusiast on your list.
I am neither a survival expert nor a genius. However, I was a boy scout, and “always be prepared” are words to live by. We all do our best to prevent any accidents from happening, but how much do we prepare for them. I am a free-spirited individual with great urges to get into the outdoors. Normally I pack up my stuff and head out for a day of hunting, fishing, or just hiking around. Until recently I saw no faults in my spontaneous adventuring. Recent events have changed my attitude.
I realized that my family would have no idea where I was going or what I was doing . My actions were not spontaneous, they were reckless. It dawned on me that all of the stuff I carry around in my attack-pack to prepare me for anything,  would be of minimal assistance should I become injured in the wild. This is especially true if I had no cell phone service, or if I left the dang thing on charge in my Jeep. My family would not know were I was, and I would have no way to reach emergency services. I would be up a creek with out a paddle and my rescuers would be searching for a needle in a haystack.
I owe it to my loved ones to give them as much information about what I am doing and where I am going. Just the basic who, what, when, where and why would suffice.  I might even go the extra mile and give them the names of the people that I am going with and their phone numbers, or if I am heading out alone, the phone numbers of people that are familiar with the area that I would be in. I often overlook this important aspect of being prepared. Trust me, I won’t from now on. In the future when I am out enjoying my Mandays, my loved ones will no where I am and they will be prepared should they not be able to reach me or if I do not make it home by a decent hour. Armed with this valuable information they can alert emergency services that I am missing and let them know where to look for me.
I am confident that if my general location is known the contents of my attack-pack would be more than enough for me to survive until I was rescued and maybe even aid my rescuers in finding me. What is an attack-pack; it is a beefed up messenger bag that I feel naked without. There are tons of companies making these bags, such as UTG, 5.11 and Maxpedition, and more and more men taking advantage of their usefulness. Women, your little secret is out! Purses are the best way to cram everything you need into a neat little mobile package. What do I keep in my bag you might ask? It really depends on what I will be doing that day. Here is a basic list of what I stow away for a normal Manday  trust me any of these items would make for a great gift idea for your outdoors individual on your Christmas list.
-At least 50ft of para cord (I use it to make zipper pulls that can be unraveled to use the full length)
-Lighters (Even if you don’t smoke)
-Fire starters (I use a great flint and steel made by Light my Fire, and a ziplock bag of dryer lint)
-Headlamp (Princeton Tec makes an awesome 4mode lamp with an automatic SOS beacon)
-A good Knife ( My knife of choice is a Spyderco Endura, it is rugged and affordable)
-Flashlights (At least 2, I choose Surefire and carry their E2D and their Back Up)
-A reliable handgun and an extra magazine (You can not go wrong with Smith and Wesson)
-A spare pair of glasses or extra contact lenses
-A couple days worth of any meds that you take on a daily basis
-Emergency blanket
- 1 ltr water bottle
-Energy bars, raisins, granola, Trail Mix
-Small notebook and pen
-Handheld GPS (I love my Garmin E-Trex)
This is a small cross section of what I normally throw into my bag before I head out. They are things that will keep me safe, comfortable and help me be found. I carry a lot of signal options; the SOS headlamp, super bright flashlights, whistles and my trusty Smith & Wesson M&P.  If your rescuers can not see you, make sure that they hear you. A series of 3 gunshots or whistle blasts will indicate a distress call and they can be heard for a very long distance.  A signal fire is also a great way to make your location known. A steady stream of smoke coming out of a canopy of trees is a good way to get noticed. A fire also does wonders for morale. Follow safe fire practices in doing so.
I hope that this post has made you think about being prepared or at least gave you some gift ideas for that hard to shop for person on your list. I will talk to you again soon; be safe and play outside.


Turkey Day

I started writing this on Tuesday when all was sane and normal, but then God opened the gates and wreaked havoc down upon us.  They say God doesn't give you more than you can handle, but he is testing my family with all he's got.  We had two deaths within eight hours of each other, and a severely broken femur, that has a big story behind it. To give you a glimpse, my uncle was hunting, fell and broke his leg, didn't have his cell phone and had to scoot himself for 2 hours, far enough down the mountain that a passer-by saw and called for help.  It has been one heck of a week, plus I woke up in the middle of the night with the flu, UGH!  We did make our Thanksgiving dinner, but it was between a lot of tears, a trip to find my uncle in the woods and taking one little rug rat off the steps SEVERAL times!

Feeding our family is like feeding an army.  We make enough food on Thanksgiving to last us until Christmas!  We don't just have the traditional food like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc.

Being from a big Italian family, our meals are just as big.  We have the basics, though there is nothing basic about it, with the works, plus broccoli casserole, corn casserole, brussel sprouts, lima bean salad, dressing harvard beets and so on.  Tomorrow I will include some pictures, being that we haven't eaten yet, I don't have the pictures to show.

It does take hours and hours to make the meal.  We get up early on Thanksgiving morning and put the turkey in, watch the parade, watch football, eat and nap, many years we went to the movies just for nothing better to do, but it was better than watching football!

I hope this finds you surrounded by your loved ones, giving thanks for your gifts.  Cherish your blessings, eat a lot, have fun and get your sleep.  Christmas will be here before you know it!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Love, BJ



I am thankful for a lot of things.  Truthfully,  I am more than thankful for these things and I realized it right before I wrote this.  First and foremost, my family, and when I say family, I don't mean just my husband, sons, mom, dad, aunts, uncles, first cousins and in-laws.  I mean all of my cousins, great-aunts, great-uncles, and my closest friends that I consider family.  My family might not be as close as they used to be when the original brothers and sisters were here, but I know we all still love each other.  I have realized that life is to short not to cherish each moment we have with our loved ones because you never know when it might be taken away. 

I am thankful for the soldiers that risk their lives everyday for our safety.

For the house over my head and all that fills it, including the food in it.  Especially knowing that there are children out there, here in the United States that only get a hot meal at school.

I am thankful for my husband who has a job that gives us the opportunity to let me be a stay-at-home mom.

And, I am thankful to have a place to write and share all of my experiences with people who enjoy reading it.  Thank you for coming back everyday and being who you are.  Live life to its fullest and be thankful for what you have.

Have a blessed day!  Love, BJ


The World from 3 feet

I thought today would be a great day to share some of the pictures I get when Da Freakout gets ahold of my camera.  Usually I don't even realize he has it until I load the pictures on my computer, and there they are, pictures from 3 feet. 
It's me, Da Freakout!

                                                             This is Daddy with Aunt Neena
                                                         Aunt April and Uncle Rich

                                                           Uncle Bobby and Me

                                                                      Aunt Rachel and Brother

                                                       Nunny and Daddy

 Karlee and Me
Cool feet
Up close and personal
This is Da Freakout!  Pictures all by him!  He loves my camera, maybe Santa could get him his own, and we could see his perspective on everything around him.  You can see he loves taking pictures of himself, and he has gotten really good at it.  I hope you enjoyed.  You never know what you will see. He always puts a smile on my face, I love seeing the world through his eyes.  Have a great day!

Love, BJ


Everything….Plus the Kitchen Sink

How many of you go on vacation for a week or just out of town for the weekend and drive your own car or truck? 
            How much do you pack?
 Well, of course it will depend on the size of your family and how long you’re gone.  If you’re a guy and riding solo for the weekend, you probably can pack everything you need into a backpack.  If you bring along a significant other, you’re probably looking at 2 – 3 suitcases.  Add two young children to the equation and you’ll need to bring, well…. you get the idea.
For me, it feels like I bring the whole house.  Sometimes I wish the house had wheels so I could pull it and not get so frustrated when I have to pack the vehicle.  Maybe I just need to buy a nice motorhome.  Well, I guess the frustration for me stems from the obscene amount of crap we pack.  We need to pack for a family of 4, not 12.  I figure 1 suitcase per person should fit in the bed of my Ford F-150 with no issue.
4 suitcases plus a bag of shoes, toys, a stroller (that never gets used), my hunting or fishing gear (depending on the season), an air mattress etc. etc.  It seems like it never ends.  It took me a few years to realize my Ford F-150 is for 1 child,  a Ford F-250 is for 2 children and so on.  Man, do I need an upgrade.
Packing is like playing Tetris to me.  I fit all of the pieces strategically together until the bed of the truck is full.  I walk inside and……………… BAM, more bags by the door. 
“You have got to be kiddin me” I mumble under my breath, “What is this bag for?”
“Presents!!” my wife exclaims with a smile.
Presents, Ha, I think next year everyone will get gift cards, easier to pack and I won’t even notice them.  Now since the truck bed is full, I curse my way out the door with more bags and cram them in the backseat.  I always think and say to myself this won’t happen again.  How naive. 
Well off to pack the truck for Thanksgiving break.  We’ll be gone for about 7 days.  No seriously, that is what I am going to do.  I’ll probably need to bring a trailer this time.

I just hope the kitchen sink fits!




I wasn't planning on writing anything today, but I thought I might show you how we spend a typical Saturday morning. We get ready and have our breakfast at Waffle House with the best waitress in the world, Racita, really, she is amazing, Tracy is really good too.  We don't eat there every Saturday morning, but several.  After making breakfast everyday, I get tired of making it, and it tastes better when I don't have to make it.
Racita with the boys
                                                                 Tracy and Racita

After Waffle House, we usually spend an hour or so at Walmart getting groceries, but since we were in good shape there, the boys and I went to the Clintonville Farmers market, you can check it out here.  Today the alpaca farmers brought their animals so the boys checked them out.
Aren't they cute?
We never fail to wear out favorite college sports team colors.
In Buckeye country, these are the wrong colors to wear, but that's okay, we stay by our team and our colors!!

When we need to do some shopping, we love to go to Easton, it's pretty amazing.  When it's cold outside, you really have to bundle up!
Most of all we just like spending time chillaxing, as Da Freakout calls it,
and spending time with each other.  You never know what day will be your last, so slow down and enjoy what you have, while you have it.
When your life flashes before your eyes, make sure you've got plenty to watch.- Author unknown
Have a GREAT weekend and we'll see you for Manday Monday!!!

Love, BJ


Manday Mondays

I had this great idea to dedicate Mondays to all the men out there.  My wonderful husband Steve

                                                               and creative cousin Barry

agreed to be the bloggers one day a week.  So ladies, pass the laptop over to the man in your life and let them enjoy!  Why should we be the only ones to get to vedge in front of the computer?  I gave the guys free rein on Mondays, and between the two of them, they know a little bit about a lot of things.  From flying airplanes to hunting, fishing, and sports, just to name a few.  I really have no idea what they'll write about, but I hope this brings a ton of followers to the site, men and women.  I feel that a site should be able to make everyone happy and find what they need instead of going to multiple places.  I love all sorts of things and know a lot about several things, but some things I just leave to the men.  Don't get me wrong, women are strong beings and can do just about anything a man can, but sometimes, it just nice to have them around.

So ladies and gentlemen, get ready for Mandays, we are in for a treat!

Love, BJ


Lists, lists, and more lists!

I don't know about others, but I am a list maker!  I love lists, sometimes the more, the better.  That sounds sick, I know, but I can't help it.  If I don't write it down, sure enough, I'm going to forget what I need.  I was just telling my husband the other day that I thought I might be getting early onset of Alzheimer's, that could be from watching to much Grey's Anatomy, but who knows, I forget stuff often.

 I have so many lists, it's really not funny.  From ones I write down like the grocery and to do list, to ones I have stored on my computer for summer vacation, the meal planner/grocery and packing list.  Yes, I have a meal planner for the beach, with two accompanying that are called, "To buy before the beach, and to buy at the beach."  And of course, the 3 page packing list!  If I don't write it down, I would be lost.

When we travel to see our families, I write down everything that we bring.  What's bad is I haven't quite gotten down bringing the list with me to remember to bring back everything.  It never fails something always gets left behind. When I don't make my list, I forget important things like the boys bathwash, which sounds like no big deal, but the oldest is allergic to most soaps, so I have to bring scent free.  I guess it could be worse, at least I can go to the nearest Walmart and get that, if I forget his medicine, I would be up a creek!

My newest to do list I have written on an old, full length mirror.  I use a dry erase marker so when I accomplish each task, it can be erased.  This is one of my better ideas.  I write the long-term things I need to do down on it so I can't lose it.  Not that I lose a lot of things, or should I say misplace, but I can't lose or misplace the mirror.  It is such an easy idea!  Here is a picture, just to get an idea.

 I was thinking about getting another one for Da Freakout.  He loves looking at himself and writing.  We go through a lot of paper with him, and I thought a mirror might cut down on that.  He has started working on his lists also.  I can't imagine where he learned that.

Now I'm going to turn to you and ask what type of list do you have?  Do you have any creative ideas for your lists?  Would you be willing to share them with us?

Lists are my friends.  Maybe one day I'll get one of those fancy phones that I can keep all of my lists in one place, instead of scattered a little bit of everywhere.  Hint, hint!  

Have a great day, and we'll see you tomorrow!

Love, BJ



For all of you that have never run a day in your life, I was one of you.  I hated running! That's why I never played soccer and quit basketball, it was just not something I enjoyed.  Two years after my oldest was born, I decided that enough was enough.  I had gained a bunch of weight and nothing was working to take those extra pounds off.  I have struggled for years to stay at a weight that made me happy, and I have the stretch marks to show I tried, but DIETS DON'T WORK! 

So, as my New Year's Resolution for 2008, I decided I was going to become a runner.  For all of you that's never done it, the first step is to commit to it, once you've done that, you are on your way.  My next step was figuring out how to go about running, and what I needed.  I went to my local running store and they told me what shoe would fit my foot best.  Your shoes are the most important thing you need, besides stretching, this is one of the best things about it, it's not that expensive, all you need are your shoes.  Once I had my shoes, I found a running schedule.  It tells you if you want to run a 5K, 10K, 1/2 or full marathon, how to go about it.  There are a couple of websites to check out. Front Runner, Runner's WorldCool Running, just to name a few.

Three months from beginning, I was running a 5K, 3.1 miles, in 30 minutes, and I was down 20 lbs.  It felt great!  I continued that until I got pregnant with my second child in January of 2009.  I continued to walk during that pregnancy at 1.5 for 30 minutes, and continued to feel great.  I was in much better health and had an easy delivery.  I still gained weight, but it came off pretty easily.

I am now working on a 10K for New Year's and am going to begin training for a 1/2 marathon as my 2011 resolution.  Don't get me wrong, there are days I struggle with myself and don't want to do it.  Some days I don't , and take a break, and others I work through it.  All and all, I'm proud of myself because I am the only one that can do the work and I'm working to make myself look and feel better.  I will keep you all posted on the progress and hope to hear your stories.  Maybe you can join me doing OUR first 1/2 marathon together!

Love, BJ


Let me introduce myself

Hi, I'm new here, my name is Bobbi.  I'm a little nervous, but aren't we all with anything new?  I feel like it's the first day of school, correction, the first day of preschool, when you don't know anyone and your in uncharted water. 
Well, to introduce myself, I'm a stay-at-home mom of two handsome boys and a wonderful husband.
I have a masters degree in Children's Literature and love books, from picture books to Young Adult literature.  I enjoy cooking, cleaning, scrapbooking, photography, running, camping, playing sports, and with my kids.  I taught one year of kindergarten, three years of eighth grade English and Literature and was a substitute.  I also coached middle school volleyball, softball  and high school swimming.

I grew up in a small town in West Virginia, in a big Italian family with two caring parents.  I did all kinds of things growing up.  I played softball, volleyball and basketball.  I fished with my dad including baiting my own hook and taking off my fish, usually catching the biggest one, and that's no fish tale.  We went camping all the time, which I love to do with my boys now.

My parents were hard working and provided me with what I needed.  I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and playing with my three cousins, they are like my brothers and sister; they are the closest thing I have, and love them to death.  I have pretty wonderful aunts and uncles too, they are like parents to me.
I have a great mother-in-law, and yes, I mean that.  I couldn't have asked for a better one.  We actually go camping with her and her boyfriend in their RV every summer.  You know you love someone and get along with them in those types of close quarters.  My sister-in-law is pretty great too.
My mom is amazing, she has always been the best mom!  I have always told her everything, and she has always been here for me.  I hope to have the same relationship with my kids.
I love, love, love my husband, he is my best friend!  We have the best time together.  We have a relationship I would say is equal.  he helps with anything I need and then some, and I'm there for him.  I can't imagine life without him.
I hope this gives a little insight as to who I am.  I have a lot to say and being that I only talk to kids all day, I love to talk!  I hope you decide to follow me and see what I have in store.  This blog is going to be a plethora of information.  I alone won't be contributing to this blog.  Mondays will be all about the men, but you'll have to come back to read more.  There are going to be fun loving stories, craft ideas, tips and things about our everyday lives.  I would also like to hear from you all, what you want to hear, and what you have to say.  Leave comments!!! 
So on that note, have a wonderful day and I hope to see you back here tomorrow, and tell your friends to come too!

Love, BJ


Tomorrow, tomorrow, can't wait for tomorrow, it's only a day away!!!

Ok peeps, tomorrow is the day you'll be reading my first blog. I'm so excited, I can't wait! Hope to see you all back here tomorrow!

Love, BJ