Monday, December 23, 2013

A Major Prize!!!

Remember when we created this masterpiece?

Guess who won the grand prize! BOOM!

A big thank you to all of the creative readers who took one look at our candy Helga and said to themselves, "Nope! That's perfection in sugar form. I'm not even going to attempt to top it." 

Duff was really impressed guys - direct quote from the email! I've been smiling like a total goob ever since I found out I won. Do you remember what the grand prize is? A YEAR'S SUPPLY OF CANDY! Yessssss!

I have no idea when the candy will come, but I promise that there'll be plenty of pictures of that epic moment when the time comes. And, yes, I will share!

P.S. the diva is not impressed by her newfound fame...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Vacation

{This post is brought to you by Netflix}

Clark sits in his place of honor atop the mantle

I'm officially on Christmas vacation until January 2, 2014! This, kids, this is what makes it the most wonderful time of the year! Sure - gifts, family, baby Jesus, etc etc etc, but really it's all about the break from work!

Do I have a million things that I still need to finish now that I'm on vacation? Yes. Duh! But... why start immediately? If I get it all done ahead of time, we have to skip that whole family friendly screaming hissy fit where I say things like "If I want it done right, I have to do it myself so can you just keep these 3 occupied!" and "Well guys, I'd love to make you a sandwich, but Mommy's in the middle of a nervous breakdown right now!"

Day one of vacation, all the kids wanted to do was play outside!

As a reminder, we live in Missouri and this is what it looks like in Missouri right now:

Menacing ice daggars on a child-sized picnic table? Deep. 
All 3 kids have just gotten over a gross bout of coughing/feverish/throwing up, so Bad Cop Mom laid down the law and temporarily broke their little hearts. The same hearts that were soothed a short time later when I pulled out the fleece blankets, popped 4 bowls of popcorn, poured fizzy mugs of rootbeer before firing up the AppleTV and our Netflix Kids app.  

My kids absolutely love all of the Buddies movies and since they're on Netflix Kids, we can watch all of them any time we want - Air Buddies, Space Buddies, Spooky Buddies, and of course Santa Buddies. We watched Santa Buddies and The Search For Santa Paws.

A few friends joined us as well...

Yep, I'm the sucker mama who buys any movie that comes with a toy...
After our puppy fix, we tuned in for a sneak preview of the new Netflix original series, Turbo FAST. Turbo FAST picks up where the DreamWorks film left off, following Turbo the snail and the rest of his FAST (Fast Action Stunt Team) friends on their racing adventures.

The girls, here's a shocker, loved Burn - "da pink one, Mommy!". Mommy's more of a Smooth Move fan, herself though.

Turbo FAST will hit the Netflix screen on Decemeber 24 but you can watch the trailer now by clicking here. Just in time for your holiday drive over the river and through the woods. Charge your tablets, laptops, and cell phones parents because nobody wants to hear 3 hours worth of "Are we there yet?" 

And for those of you who are traveling sans children this year (lucky bastards), this is the perfect opportunity to binge watch a series you've been meaning to check out - 
  • House of Cards - Are Chris and I the only ones who are Team Doug? Doug is a BAMF. Yes, I abbreviated because my 8 year old occasionally reads my posts. New season premiers on Valentine's Day, so you have just a few weeks to wrap your mind around everything that happened in Season 1.
  • The Killing - Holder, yo! Every time a season ends, I feel a little empty inside. Thankfully, Netflix is bringing it back for a 4th and final season in 2014. Maybe season 4 will find Holer and Linden as more than popo partners? "Dial 1-900-Linden...." Watch it!
  • Lost - Don't tell me you don't like Lost because we both know that NOBODY can resist Lost. Sure, we all hate Kate but you get Sawyer to make up for her skankery and that's worth it. Trust me. 
  • Scandal - We've recently started watching this each night before we go to bed. It's kind of like a little mini date and it's wonderful. I want to be as lovely as Olivia Pope one day... one day when I'm no longer responsible for dressing 3 small children and I can wear white with confidence...
Or get yourself into the spirit with one of my favorite holiday movies - 
  • White Christmas - The epitome of Christmas perfection. The finale rendition of White Christmas brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. It's beautiful.
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - You can relate. We can all relate.
  • Love Actually - Go ahead and try not to fall in love with Hugh Grant. Resistance is futile!
Happy watching and safe travels to those of you making holiday journeys in the next few days!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Leftovers

On Fridays, this mama doesn't cook because we have a fridge full of leftovers. Sometimes last night's meal tastes just as good as the first serving, other times, you just can't bear yourself to choke it down again.

And then? Someone might just suprise you and ask if you have anything left in the dish from 3 days ago. We always do and I'd be glad to share if you're hungry.

Friends, I'm not going to beat around the bush - life's been pretty damn overwhelming lately: 

  • Christmas - planning for Santa's early visit on Sunday, Mia's school party, company party at work, Christmas Eve with the fam, December 25 BOOM!
  • Christmas shopping - so.many.presents
  • Christmas candy - I can't stop eating it... 
  • Christmas cards - Why do I buy these every year and never buy stamps? Because I'm irresponsible.
  • Work - Audit and I'm STILL not allowed to wear sweats when it's cold!
  • Weather - Again, it's friggin cold! You'd think I'd be used to this by now. It's only been 30 years of Midwestern winters, but alas, I hold out hope for a tropical winter instead.
  • Being married to Chris Palis - Lord...
  • Potty training Miles - I've resigned to the fact that he'll NEVER poop in the toilet. 
  • Laundry - The amount of dirty clothes in this house? Insane. We got a new washer recently and it's SOOOO complicated! Figuring out all of the buttons is like programing a space shuttle for NASA!
The blog though? That's the main thing I've neglected. I've sat down to write 3 times in the last week and a half and can't seem to finish! I blame all of the fudge I've consumed - sugar makes me crazy...

Thankfully, it seems that while I've put Baby in the corner, the Johnny Castles of the internetz refuse to let her stay there!

Here are just a few little treats just waiting for all of my friends to enjoy:

The kind folks at Gemperle Farms are giving you the chance to win up to $300 in Amazon gift cards! For your chance to win:
  1. Go to the Gemperle Farms YouTube Page and watch their selection of educational and kid friendly videos, then be sure to FAVORITE and COMMENT on the videos that you've watched. 
  2. Send an email to SUSANGEMPERLEABDO (at) with your name, the number of favorites and comments you left on the Gemperle videos, and your YouTube username for verification purposes. The subject line of your email should read: MOMMY BLOGGER CONTEST
Each comment and favorite will get you an entry into the drawing for a $100, $200, or $300 gift card! This contest ends tonight (sorry for the short notice) so enter NOW! Winners will be announced on December 16, 2013.

Alert! Alert! 

I love when things are fabulous and you don't have to pay a subscription fee to share them with the people you love!

Holiday shopping stresses me out. You guys already know that, though. The giving makes the stress totally worth it in the end, but what if I told you that it was possible to automatically donate to your favorite charity just by doing a little holiday shopping?

Now through December 24, J.Jill will donate 5% of the proceeds from your purchase to the charity of your choice via Plan G! PlanG offers over 1 million charities to choose from, and let's all remember to help others this holiday season.

For more information on the J.Jill/PlanG Holiday Giving promo, please visit the

(and um... I wear a size 10 boot... subtleties are for patient people...)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Totally Traditional Helga

You guys, look at Helga...

I might be a tad bit biased, but I think she's completely adorable in her Christmas sweater. Sure she hates the sweater, but it's my job as her human to make sure she's warm. So, Christmas sweater it is!

Recently, the fam and I were invited to enter Airheads Candy's "Non-Traditional Holiday Contest" - judged by Chef Duff Goldman of Ace of Cakes fame - for a chance to win (drumroll please.......) A YEAR'S SUPPLY OF AIRHEADS! 

"Hi, my name is Jen and I love candy more than I love my 3 children..."

Juuuust kidding! I do love candy a whole butt-load, but my kids are a 1/2 notch above the sugar. WHEN THEY'RE BEHAVING!

Naturally, if we have candy in this house, it's here for a very short time because nom nom nom. That being said, Granny and I made a trip to the local Sam's Club on Sunday and picked up a bulk box of Airheads bars for our project. Then we came home and hid that bad boy in a spot the kids couldn't reach!

(FYI a big kid box of Airheads runs about $10 at Sam's and you get 90 bars. It's a pretty sweet deal. Oh, snap! Pun!)

We decided that Helga, queen of the dramatic miniature Dachshunds, would be our inspiration for the contest. Obviously we had no choice, guys. One look at what Mar describes as "dowes sad puppy eyes" and she had us convinced that she was the ultimate muse. Her likeness must be created using delicious fruit candy as the medium.

We happened to have a half busted (this is why we can't have nice things) Dachshund figurine, and the rules state that you only have to use one piece of Airheads candy for your entry. The bust was black though and that just wouldn't do our brown puppy justice.

Brown = green, red, orange, and purple Airheads melted together
To start off, we melted green, red, orange, and purple Airheads together in a large stock pot before spreading it onto wax paper and rolling it with a rolling pin. A few key points to remember: stir that stuff like crazy or it will burn, and yes, it sticks to EVERYTHING!

Thank you for rolling, Granny!
Tearing bits of the newly brown Airhead apart, we molded the candy onto our wiener dog until she was covered. Then we added blue, red, and green Airheads - cut with a pizza cutter - to the torso to create a dog sweater.

Notice the texture in  the ears? It's because Helga's a long-haired
Dachshund. And because smoothing candy is a tricky process!
Once our form was completely covered, we used the white Mystery flavor Airheads to make eyes with little green pupils and a red Airhead for the puppy tongue!

I'd love to say that the kiddos helped on this, but really, all they did is get all hopped up on sugar and run circles around the kitchen! Chris and Granny worked really hard on the brown while I did the sweater. To be honest, this wasn't the simplest project but we had a freaking blast doing it! So. Much. Laughter.

The one person in House Palis who wasn't enthusiastic about the end result?

She's an unappreciative little thing, isn't she?!

Oh, and guess who else is invited to enter the contest? You, ya lucky S.O.B. so head on over to the Airheads Candy Facebook page and upload your entry photo anytime between now and December 16.