Monday, December 1, 2008

I wanted to Wonder Contest giveaway


My girl is doing it again over at Stretching a Buck !! Just in time for Christmas she is giving away a custom hairbow holder. These items are so cute that you may just start wearing hairbows again!!




You will be glad that you did !!

Movie reviews

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the media that try to attack us and our children. Movie reviewers get on my last nerve. ( It could be that my 9 month old got me up at 6:15 this morning and I am just grumpy) If the movie reviewer raves about a movie... chances are good that I will not like it. If they hate it I am probably rolling on the floor laughing my tushy off.

I will never ever forget my college film class. I took it thinking it would be an easy A. I however got the shock of my life when it was one of the hardest classes in my life. I found out that there is so much symbolism and hidden meanings in the movie that I will never look at movies the same way. Now every time I watch a movie I think, "I wonder what the use of water means?" :) ha ha ha

Anywho, maybe I am getting older ( I would like to think that I am getting wiser) but I am so sick of movies these days. First of all there hasn't been a movie that I have been on my head to see in so long. Second, I am sick sick sick of movie makers putting in unnecessary language and scenes that do not add to the movie at all. Don't get me wrong... I am not a prude. I can handle bad words and yes -shock- I know that people do the horizontal polka. I am talking about movies that seem to want to shock you. Enough already !!

This leads me to the reason of this post. I have found an amazing site that reviews fairly every new movie that comes out. It's by Plugged In and it reviews music, books, TV shows and yes movies. It is connected to focus on the family which is founded by Dr. Dobson. ( LOVE HIM!!! ) It breaks down movies by synopsis, positive elements, spiritual content, sexual content, violent content, crude or profane language, drug or alcohol content, other negative content, and a conclusion. And get this.... its a fair review. They don't tell you weather the movie is a good one or not they just break it down for you so that you as a parent can decide whether to let your kids view it or not. They don't bash movies which is nice. They do however shed a light on movies before you waste almost $9.00!

Check it out.. its a great website!

http://www.pluggedinonline.com/

Monday, November 24, 2008

Being Thankful


Many people are having a hard time being thankful these days. After all the economy, jobs and in general things are... well stinky. The present situation aside, I feel so thankful that I am bursting at the seams. Not for the material things in my life ( although I feel truly blessed for the great job my husband has and our manageable house payment these days.)

What I am truly thankful for this year cannot be bought. ( Although many people often do try to buy these things much to their chagrin) So here are just a few things that I am thankful for.

A warm cozy house that is filled with children's laughter.

A husband who makes our children a priority in his life.

My babies who are healthy

My daughters dimples, especially the right hand side that is so deep I could fall into it!

My son doing his "strong-man" impression then collapsing in a fit of giggles
The way the babies smell after a bath


Having an hour to myself in the morning before the kids get up

Being in love with a man more than the day I married him.

The excitement that the holidays bring to our home through our children.

Ending each day by snuggling with both babies on the couch.

My personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Reading the same book to my toddler 876 times in the last week. :)

Being able to put healthy food on our table when so many others are struggling.

Asking my husband to get... um.. personal products and he doesn't even flinch.. now that's a man!!

The traditions that my family have... BTW Charlie brown's thanksgiving is coming on Tuesday! Woohoo!

The way little arms feel when they wrap around my legs


What more could I possibly ask for!! What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Picnic in November.. brrrr

It is cold here.... I mean freeze your tushy off cold. I just hate to get the kids out in this weather. Don't get me wrong I hate getting them out in the cold but that is not the real reason. The real mom answer is that by the time I wrestle winter coats, gloves and mittens on my squirmy ones I am too tired to go anywhere.

I was blessed with kids that get cabin fever. It started with my son as a baby and now his sister is following suit. Somehow I got the children that have to get out and see people. They are ... um .... well we will call it social. I went to odd lots today and my son was just waiting for someone to come into our isle so he would talk their ear off. There is not a shy bone in either of their little bodies.

So when it is cold like this I have to get creative to occupy my little rugrats. I discovered our indoor picnics about a two months ago on a rainy day and they love it so much I thought I would share!

To keep things fun and different about twice a month, on a bad day, we will have an inside picnic. I am the eat at the table at the designated time type mom so this is super fun for them! We take a blanket and spread it on the living room floor and watch a snoopy holiday video or something else special. We spread out our food ( even the little one in her travel high chair) and sit indian style and munch away happily. We all laugh and have a great time. Sometimes you just need a little change in routine to keep your sanity... ya know?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My lack of blogging

A friend asked me the other night why I haven't been blogging. I hung my head in shame and searched for an explanation, not quite realizing myself why I had not been plugged into my blog. Then it hit me like a lego thrown by a two year old....

I wasn't blogging about mothering because I was mothering!

I was up past midnight and then the next day sewing an "authentic" Indian costume ( complete with wig) for a eight month old. I put on a Halloween party for four, yes I said four, two year olds and their mothers and siblings. Then I got the flu followed by my husband and infant. I won't mention all the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and trying to get my toddler to library story time and some play dates.

I choose to watch my 2 year old play in a pile of freshly raked leaves and try to help my 8 month old to start to army crawl. I even tried to squeeze in some quiet time with my hubby.

I could feel my guilt start to slowly melt away. I was mothering.... I was taking a moment because me and my family needed one. Just one more lesson for me to learn on this journey. Sometimes we let something go that we love to do something for the ones that we love. The kids will grow up and go away and my hubby will buy a boat and go fishing alot :) I will have plenty of time to blog, read, and take walks. I will only have one opportunity to see my baby princess crawl for the first time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Family Traditions

We are BIG into family traditions. These are things that we have been doing since I have been little and want to carry them into my children's lives. Fall is a great kick off to some of these traditions. I guess they mean so much to us because we can depend on these things. The economy, gas prices and jobs are not so predictable. Traditions however, especially ones that cost very little money, can be something that we as children always knew would be there! I also think that these are the things that you really remember about childhood.


We have a pumpkin picking day with my family. We listen to blue grass, go through hay mazes and pick the perfect pumpkin with my mom, sister and her family and whoever else can make it. Then there is the pumpkin carving day. We all ( and I mean everyone in my family) get together have some great food, mulled cider and then all carve our pumpkins. The night is finished with lighting the pumpkins and exclaiming that they all look so good that its impossible to pick the best one.


There seems to be traditions for Christmas, Easter, fourth of July and every other holiday I can think of. I don't think there has to be a reason for traditions however. Every Friday night my family has pizza. Its more than food though. Every Friday night is family night. We either do a movie or just spend time together. (I can't wait till we can play games as a family.) Even before we had kids my hubby and I would always have date night on Fridays. Its something that we all look forward to and I think is important.



One of my favorite traditions growing up was waiting for the cartoon specials to come on tv. Charlie Brown is my all time favorite! I am so excited that I can now share this with my son who is almost 3. Its coming on tv tonight!!! Of course he has no idea but I cannot wait for him to see it. We are planning to fix a big bowl of popcorn, put the baby to bed and snuggle on the couch. Can you tell I am sooo excited!


What are some of your favorite traditions?

Menu Plan Monday



Hey girls! This week is a little weird with Trick or treat one night and hubby working so nothing stellar. Hope you guys are having something yummy!!

Monday: Chick-fil-a ... got a coupon at Library story time for a free kids meal.. woo hoo!

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken, Salad, Roasted carrots

Wednesday: Spaghetti, garlic bread and salad

Thursday: Eating at a friends house

Friday: Trick or treat- eating chili at aunt;s house

Saturday: Frozen pizza, salad

Sunday: Baked pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans

For more great menu plan Mondays make sure you check out orgjunkie.com

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Great halloween costume ideas #.. I forget

A desperate housewife

No offense ladies.... I am a stay at home mama so you know this is no slam. I dressed as a housewife before I knew what it meant to be truly desperate to escape to the grocery store... or just get a shower :)

Flannel pajamas, fuzzy slippers, and an old fuzzy robe. Curlers in hair, cold cream on your face and carry a coffee mug...... free costume!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Works for me Wednesday- using leftover meats


I am revisiting this from an earlier post. Times are tough and I don't know about you but I hate to see ANYTHING go to waste these days. I also get my little prince to eat some veggies!


I made homemade fried rice! It was easy and delicious and got my little guy to eat veggies and protein. He loved it! I thought I would share.... Either use a little butter or the oil of your choice in a large pan. ( We are Paula Deen lovers over here so you know we use butter :) )


You can then saute a chopped onion or leave it out depending on your little one. - Mine loves the taste of onion but I know not all rugrats do! After the onion or in place of add two eggs and stir until they are firmly scrambled.


Then add a 1/2 bag of frozen peas and carrots and stir until veggies are warm. While the veggies are cooking, prepare whole grain minute rice.


Add the cooked rice to the veggie mixture and stir. Add (or don't add) your leftover meat cubed. Finally add low sodium soy sauce to taste.


The kids seem to love the rice so much they don't realize that they are also eating veggies and protein... woohoo!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A spooky tale


I thought it was time for a real life Halloween tale......

I have been getting up now multiple times a night for about eight months now. Her highness, the princess baby, demands my presence for nursing and binky reapplication. This is spooky in its self but what is even more bone chilling is what I see during these nighttime hours.

As I sit in my rocking chair nursing her, I notice that something catches my eye. The first time it was a BIG FAT (I am sure hairy too ) spider. Making its way across my daughters floor like it was taking a stroll in the park. He wasn't even in that big of a hurry!

I freaked out. I let out a scream and lifted my legs in case it decided to change coarse and attack. This of course woke the princess baby sending her into hysterics that took 45 minutes to calm down.

Since then I have seen a parade of creepy crawlers taking walks in my daughters room. It makes me wonder how many bugs come out at night while I am sleeping. I heard a statistic one time about how many bugs we eat while we sleep and now I think it may be true. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKK!!!

The most recent encounter was particularly bone chilling. I saw this creature that had to have 116 legs. It was booking too, making a bee line to my rocking chair. I felt my breath catch in my throat. This thing that was making its way to us was freaky. My mind started to race to think what I could do or how I could make my escape...... panic. I didn't want to wake the baby...... I decided to pick up one of my daughters baskets and slam in on top of the assailant, pushing down until I was sure that it was trapped.

I left it there all night long and all the next day because my husband was at work and I wasn't looking at that thing. When he got home I told him of the attack and he went in to remove the vile creature. He went in equipped with a trash bag as I cowered in the door behind him ready to make a break for it.....he slowly lifted the basket as I got ready for the multi legged to bolt and I saw.....................................

nothing.

IT GOT AWAY ! My belief is that it was so strong it simply lifted the basket off of its back and kept going on his way. I am sure its somewhere planning its revenge on me. So now when I nurse I am vigilant. I keep my eyes open, careful not to nod off. The enemy can smell weakness after all!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


We have been doing really well sticking to our meal plan after getting back from NY. Last week I got both buy one get one free pork chop loins and roast so we will be using these this week. The weather is getting colder so I am choosing heavier filling meals. Yum! Happy eating ladies!

For more great menu plans check out http://orgjunkie.com/

Monday- Italian pot roast over noodles with beer bread (recipe to follow)

Tuesday- Leftover night / Breakfast for dinner

Wednesday- Grilled marinated chicken, roasted carrots and salad

Thursday- Beef vegetable soup, cheddar biscuits

Friday- Pizza Night!

Saturday- Spaghetti and meat sauce, salad and garlic bread

Sunday- Breaded pork chops, green beans, mashed potatoes

Italian pot roast with noodles
1 2 to 2 1/2 lb beef chuck pot roast
1 Tbs cooking oil

2 Medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs quick cooking tapioca

1 14 1/2 oz can Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 6 ounce can Italian style tomato paste
1 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp pepper
1 bay leaf

4 cups hot cooked noodles


Trim fat from pot roast. If necessary, cut roast to fit into the crock pot. In a large skillet brown roast on all sides in hot oil.
Meanwhile place carrots, celery, onions and garlic in crock pot. Sprinkle tapioca over veggies. Place meat atop pf veggies.
In a bowl combine undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, salt, pepper and bay leaf: pour over the meat.
Cover and cook on low heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high setting for 4 or 5 hours. Discard bay leaf. Skim off fat. Serve over hot cooked noodles.

Great halloween costume #5

A lightning bug

This is so cute and pretty easy to do! A white or grey sweatsuit. Then add a pair of store bought wings. For the lightning bug tail you will need those break and shake glow sticks. Get some iridescent see through material at the fabric store.

Link together pipe cleaners or clear tubing found at the craft store or Hardware store. You want to make a large X with them laying flat on the floor. Attach them at the center where they meet. Then take all four ends and connect them with wire or tape. This will give you a bubble like tail in which you want to stretch the iridescent fabric over. Make sure that you leave a hold in the opening in which the light sticks can be placed.

When attaching tail, simply pin the tail onto the back of the sweatpants with large safety pins. ( Tail will droop but that's ok... it looks "real" ) Put sweatshirt over pins so it cannot be seen.

You may even want to add some antennas to the top of your child's head and apply some iridescent makeup around your cheeks...

Great halloween costume #4


This one comes from Marcy as well...

A bunch of grapes.

Grab a purple or green sweatsuit and then start applying the grapes! You can either get material and fill them with stuffing or you can blow up balloons and attach them. You can always fashion a stem for a hat. Great idea Marcy!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Progress report

So I have had a little set back.

1.) I have been very good about getting out once a week without children to do something for me. It has been really good for me, last night I even let hubby put the babies to bed.... wow!

2.) I have been drinking water but not as much as I would like. I need to add a couple glasses but overall I am feeling better about the water intake.

3.) I need to do better about stopping eating when I am full but Rome wasn't built in day people... he he he he

My setback has come in the fact that I have found out that I have hyperthyroid. While they are testing me to see if it is permanent or not I have been told not to exercise at all or do anything strenuous. GREAT. Oh well I can post other goals for myself....

so here it is for the week. PORTION CONTROL. I have found that I eat what is on my plate. ( Which is weird b/c my mom never made me be a clean plater) If I put a bunch on my plate I eat it... all. Last night I was in a hurry so I put a little bit of everything on my plate and you know what? I ate it and was satisfied. So I have decided that I would start to work on my portion controls...

How have you ladies been doing?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Great Halloween costume #3


I thought this costume was awesome! Very unique!! This is from Marcy

My best friend and I made porta john costumes one year. I think we used refrigerator boxes (or something similar) and painted them to look EXACTLY like the local porta john company (red with black roofs)...We even got decals from the local company to put on the doors (I think my friend's uncle worked for them). One of us was "Males" and the other "Females".


Too cute! Thanks Marcy... keep the great ideas coming girls!

Been OOT- Back from NY!




So we decided to visit hubbys father and his wife in NY. We had so much fun! They have about 51 acres of rolling hills, beautiful changing trees, apple orchards and horsies to feed. My son had so much fun he didn't know what to do with himself.


We got him some "chore boots" ( which are black rubber boots from wal-mart) and he would head to the orchard to pick apples for the horses each morning. The horses got to know him and would lovingly nuzzle him in the morning in which he would reply " dey spit on me mama". We also spent our time going on hay rides, visiting pumkinville and going to festivals. It was an awesome visit!


Of course it wouldn't be a trip away without a child getting sick. My 7 month old had decided that it would be the perfect time to get her first ear infection and spike a fever of 104. Talk about a worn out mama. I spent my nights praying and reciting " this too shall pass" :)


Anywho... I am glad to be back, glad my kids are back in a routine and feeling better and glad to be getting the mountain of laundry done.....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A great halloween costume idea #2

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Thanks ladies for all the great costume ideas!! There are some creative mamas out there!

This one is from Marjie...... thanks girl!

A walking tornado

Paint your face and hands silver/grey. Wear a grey sweat suit or leotard. Then use silver tulle and wind from head to toe. ( I would think that depending on size of child you can use a hula hoop or wire to make a round top) Stick small trees, houses, cars and animals throughout the tulle.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Works for me Wednesday - A coupon tip.

I love cutting coupons and using them. What I do not love is having a big wad of coupons in my sweaty hands at the store or trying to go through my coupon organizer looking for the right coupons.


So I reorganized. I set up my coupon holder in order of the isles. I go to mostly the same store each week so it was easy to do. ( Most stores are set up in the same way in general so it should work in any store)


I started with produce and filed all coupons that I would use in that front section. Then came personal care items, paper products, cleaning products, canned goods, baking goods, dry goods, frozen foods, dairy and breads. Can I tell you how much time and more importantly hassle this has saved me. Now I don't have to fish out all the coupons out before I go to the store! I just cruise to the isle and open to that section in my coupon organizer. This of course... works for me!

For more helpful hints check out http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/

Great Halloween costume idea #1

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I am a planner. I used to do it for living and now I do it for sanity :) So it came to no ones surprise when I knew what both of my kids were dressing as for halloween... in June. I am also one of those mama's that comes up with my own costumes. Its my moms fault really. We could never be anything normal and cool..... it had to be unique and original. Now that I look back I can see how cool it really was. So now I am ---scream--- morphing into my mother in this way.

I was a cowgirl when I was 2. A warm brown suede pant complete with fringe on the side and matching vest. I am soooooo excited that my son will wear m cowboy outfit as well. My grandmother kept it all these years tucked away in her keepsake chest for such an occasion. So naturally my six month old shall be an Indian. ( I am making this costume- many prayers needed :) )

This brings me to this particular post. I am always searching for creative ideas for my kids. I thought I would post some original ideas that I got from my past days of dressing up and some that I got from my friends. I will try to do one every week until halloween. If you have any ideas of your own email me at everythingmom@live.com.

So here is the first one.

Bag of groceries:

I wish that I could find the picture of me when I was this. I got so many compliments that year that I began to think that maybe my mom was half way cool.... then I got to middle school and of course that was over.

We went to the grocery store and got two paper bags. My mom then cut out two leg holes in the bottom. I wore a beige leotard and pantyhose but boys could wear black or white sweats?

We then saved boxes of granola bars, raisins, oatmeal canister etc for a month. Anything that we had used and were ready to throw away we would save. After putting my leg into the cut holes the bag came to my bust line. We then stuffed newspaper into the bottom of the bag and then strategically placed the empty boxes on the top. ( This gives the illusion like the bag is full without the heaviness

My southern mama finished the look with a big bow in my hair, lipstick and heels. ( At least I know where my love for all things heels comes from :) )

(You could always find a a box or other household item and make a hat out of it. )

Friday, September 26, 2008

Odd Lots

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I love Odd Lots! I even signed up to get the early bird flyer through my e-mail. I received it today for deals effective Sunday.

I was so excited about some of the deals I found.

I have been looking for a 15' flat screen tv for my mother in laws new kitchen. Odd lots has one with a built in DVD player for $199. This is WAY cheaper than I have ever found anywhere else! I went and asked if I could buy one today even though they were not out yet and they obliged!! I am so excited to mark yet another person off the Christmas list... yipee skippee!!! ( My husbands brother is going in on it with us )

Anywho,..... while I was looking I noticed some other deals.

Disney Princess merchandise: They have Disney wigs, makeup, costumes, shoes, phones, laptops and big girl bedding. This is some primo stuff! I was wishing that my little one was older b/c I would have cleaned up. The wigs really caught my eye. They were so nice and were only $6!

Dora: They had lots and lots of Dora. Figurines, games, cell phones, and so many other things. You name it they had it!

Martha Stewart Crafts: I am not sure if you have seen this but Martha is making craft kits for all sort holidays and celebrations. They have these kits at Odd Lots at a marked down price. I was impressed with what I saw. It was a good thing... he he he he

Halloween costumes: Again I was surprised at the makeup, costumes and accessories that they had. They had lots of toddler costumes too!

Happy Shopping ladies!

A great deal

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I am one of those people who won't pay full price for clothes. I just can't bring myself to do it. It could be that I am in love with stores like TJ Maxx and Marshals that has Ralph Lauren, Tommy, Gap and Carters along with many others for cheap prices. Sure you have to do some digging but you can find some stellar deals.

So you can imagine when I found an awesome sweater that felt and looked like Cashmere. Guess where? WALMART! Guess how much? $13. I am so excited to find such a high quality sweater that fits so well for so cheap. It is the GEORGE brand. I tried it on and you would not believe how flattering it is. My husband thought I paid a hefty price for it because it looked so good.

Its funny because I hardly buy myself clothes at all. I am so focused on getting my kids clothes that I rarely look for myself. For $13 though I found an awesome sweater that looks great and makes me feel attractive.... woohoo!!

A couple of coupon codes

I received a e-mail from Victoria's secret offering me a TODAY only coupon code. Its good for 25% off any single clothing item. I have always LOVED Victoria secret clothing..... it wears well and lasts forever! I have had my eye on a top that was a little too expensive and now I am going to get it.

The coupon code is TAKE25. Their web site is http://www.victoriassecret.com/

I also received a coupon code from colorful images which is where I get all my address labels. They have so much variety that its crazy!! They are offering buy one pack of address labels get one 50% off. Since the address labels are about $8 you can get everyday labels and special Christmas ones as well!

Their code is ENRPAJT and their website is http://www.colorfulimages.com/~Christmas~Address+Labels.html?emailcode=ENRPAJT&source=email

I am not affiliated with either of these companies and am getting nothing from this :) Just thought I would share a good deal!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Progress Report

So I have not been doing so great on drinking my eight glasses of water a day :( I really need to work on that one! As far as my getting out once a week, I accomplished that !! WOHOO! I got a babysitter and went to a girlfriends tastefully simple party for a glorious two hours. What a difference it makes!

So here are my two goals this week....

Body: Continue to try to drink eight glasses of water a day. Stop eating when I am full!!
( Why is this so hard? I know I am full but it tastes really good or I think its a special occasion so its suddenly ok to stuff myself. Anybody know the answer to this one b/c I would love to know why I do this......)

Mind: Continue to get out once a week by myself! MAKE TIME spend some alone time everyday with God. For me this means maybe getting up a little early or cutting my shower short. I notice that the few quiet minutes in the morning spent reading my devotional and praying sets my day right. I need to make the effort to do this. No excuses. This means even if I need to let my kids play by themselves for ten minutes while I sit at the kitchen table.


How did you do ladies?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What is your thing?

You know ladies.... the thing that you have to do to make yourself sane. For some people its getting the best deals, for others its having that couple cups of coffee in the morning. I have figured out that mine is getting ready for the day.

In my pursuit for order and saneness, I have discovered a few things. The first is that if I don't get a shower first thing in the morning, followed by hair, clothes and makeup, I feel awful! I end up feeling like the day is dragging by or that things are not getting done... blah. The other is that I have to straighten up my house before the day begins. Please don't misunderstand me.... I know its going to get trashed with toys and junk from the day. I however feel like I can face the day clothed and house clean.

Its not normal but its my thing. I think its a form of control. When things are getting crazy its something that I can control in my little part of life. For my girlfriends its something else. I have one that is all about finances. To not know where her money is at all times and exactly how it is being spent sends her over the edge. Another girlfriend is all about education. She needs to make loose lesson plans of things she wants her kids to learn or she feels lazy. One of my best girlfriends just needs a few minutes alone in the morning with her coffee to feel up to facing the day of leggos and barbies.

This has brought me to the conclusion that we all have our own thing that we are passionate about. What is your thing?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A more healthy ( and trimmer? ) me!

I went to the OB yesterday for various reasons. One of the main reasons was because I have been having too many blue days. I was a little worried that I would start listing "the dark place" as my place of address. I didn't think I have post partum, since the first four months after the birth of my daughter was totally fine. ( Sleep deprived but fine. )

The OB asked what has been going on and what has changed in my life. I couldn't really think of anything specific. After talking however I realized that my daughter had started solids and her breastfeeding had been reduced somewhat. My OB explained that when you breastfeed you are very low on estrogen. When there are changes in your breastfeeding, your estrogen kind of comes surging back. This can create havoc on your mental and emotional state.

I have been dwelling on what I could do to make some differences in how I feel. I know that part of the crummy way I am feeling is that I am so far from my pre baby shape that its not even funny. The kicker is that I am only two pounds away from pre baby weight but my shape is TOTALLY different.

It would be so easy to come up with all these grand rules and plans to start feeling better. I could say I was going to exercise everyday, eat only healthy organic food and plan to go on a date with my hubby once a week. I however am not that delusional... yet :) I realize that I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. Then I will just feel like I failed and be worse off then before.

So I am going to take one step at a time..... I am going to introduce small things each week in hopes that I will slowly change my lifestyle. My prayer is that these small changes will add up to big changes for me. A better self perspective, slimmer figure maybe? and a happier mama. And everyone knows that when mama isn't happy, no ones happy!!!

So I have decided to expose this raw nerve to you ladies. It is hard for me to admit that I am not handling things well but your prayers mean more to me than any image that I wish to convey. Us mamas are in this together. We all have our kids and the fierce love that it creates in common. I feel like I owe it to my children to be the best mama that I can be. So I figure if I put it on line I will be held accountable to what I have promised to do...... so here goes.

I told you my changes would be small! My goals this week is to:

BODY- Drink more water! I drink no water and I think I eat more due to dehydration. I am going to try to drink 8 glasses a day.

MIND- I need to get out by myself once this week. NO kids and no doing a household chore during my time. This has to be totally something that I enjoy. It doesn't have to be a money spender. It could be a long walk in the park to pray and enjoy the quiet....

So wish me luck and if you feel compelled you could join me :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


My hubby is working alot of overtime this week so not too many fancy or complex recipes. The Hungarian stew however is one of my favorites! Serve it over mashed potatoes or egg noodles and your family will come running!! Perfect for the fall weather :) Enjoy!

Monday: Breakfast for dinner ( eggs, bacon, toast )
Tuesday: Shrimp and sun dried tomato pasta, garlic bread
Wednesday: Hungarian stew ( recipe follows) , cheddar biscuits
Thursday: Grilled Cheese, soup
Friday: Pizza Night!!
Saturday: Pot roast with carrots and red skin potatoes, green beans and homemade bread
Sunday: Fish, Mac and cheese


Hungarian stew

1/4 cup butter or veggie oil
1-2 med onions, chopped
1 1/2 lb stewing beef, cubed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp marjoram
2 carrots, scraped and cut in 2" pieces
2 stalks celery, cut in 1" pieces
1 green pepper, cut up in 1" pieces
1-2 tomatoes, cut up
3/4 cup sour cream, for serving ( optional)

Heat butter, saute onions until soft and golden. Add beef, stir, then other ingredients. Add 1/2 cup water, cover, reduce heat and simmer about 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add water if needed. Taste for seasoning, cook until tender. This may take up to 2 hours. I add a couple beef bullion cubers for added flavor, if needed. Serve with noodles or potatoes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Great end of summer cake recipe

My father is Spanish. I am not sure when his people came over from Spain but I do know that I was raised with homemade tortillas and yummy pepper steak. Once in a while we all get together for some loud talking and great food. We are having one of our dinners tonight and I was assigned dessert. I am not a big fan of flan so I choose a margarita cake.

I have made the cake before and its delicious!! Very moist. It does have alcohol in the cake but the alcohol bakes out as the cake bakes. I have also made this with non alcoholic margarita mix and it tastes very similar .... so enjoy ladies!

Margarita Cake

1 18.25 ounce package Orange or lemon cake mix
1 3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup veggie oil
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tequila
2 Tbs triple sec~~ instead of tequila and triple sec, you can use a premade margarita mix

Glaze

1 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbs tequila
2 Tbs triple sec
2 Tbs lime juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour ( or use a spray like I do :) ) a 10 inch bundt pan.

In a large bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, water, lemon juice, 1/4 cup tequila and 2 Tbs triple sec. Beat for 2 minutes.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven to 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; remove to rack and pour while still warm.

To make glaze: in small bowl combine confectioners sugar with 1 Tbs tequila, 2 Tbs triple sec and 2 Tbs lime juice. Mix until smooth.

~~~~ Remember the lighter the pan the longer it takes to cook.
~~~~ I squeeze fresh lime and lemon juice and it really makes it extra yummy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kiss my face Giveaway!



My friend Marcy over at http://www.stretchingabuckblog.com/ is having an awesome giveaway on her blog. Kiss My Face has sent her all sorts of yummy goodies to give away. They are all natural and makes tons of kids products. ( Mamas can really appreciate that ! ) Just go to her site and leave a comment and you are entered!
To add to her "awesomeness" she also gives you a coupon code to save 30%... WOOHOO!!!

Good luck girls!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sometimes all you need is less

I am talking hair here..... I decided to snip my long locks. About 12 inches. It went from below my bra line to just below my ears. I just needed something different and more importantly easier to style and maintain. So I made the jump :)

The hairstylist told me that I was going to have so much more energy with so much less hair and I looked at her like she was crazy !!! It didn't take m long however to realize that she was right. I now have about 30 extra minutes a day without all the straightening and flat ironing. It gives me a jump on my day, lets me get ready and read my daily devotional before my kids get up. In return I don't feel rushed, can spend more time with them at the beginning of the day and overall just feel more organized.

This made me start thinking about how else I can simplify my life! What can I "cut" out of my life so that its a more richer existence? So here is what I came up with.....

Cut out the clutter in my basement. We are talking no small task here ladies..... its a jungle down there. I have thrown everything I don't know what to do with down those stairs. There could be a small colony of trolls living beneath my stairs. And to top it all off its a finished basement. That is so much wasted space! Not to mention it is draining my wallet. I can't find my craft products when I go to make something and so I buy more. Only to find the exact same product a couple weeks later..... That is not even mentioning that we will have more space for a play room, small office and a home theater room. With all that extra room we won't feel the pressure to move soon. ( That is a whole lot of savings there !! )

So wish me luck girls.... I will need it.

yes I know I am a slacker

I have not opened my computer for about a week now..... I feel guilty about it. The truth is that I have been super busy with my family and friends. You know how I love fall so I have been busy baking, decorating and spending time with the kiddos.......
The baby got sick, I have been trying to get her to take naps in her crib and my parents are getting a divorce ( drama, drama, drama).... is that enough with the excuses? I am really really going to try to be better....

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

no way!

Ok.... I know that in the world of fashion everything comes back around. Flare jeans, leggings with dresses and now vests. I however, have to draw the line at what I saw yesterday.. ... I thought I was seeing things! Are you ready girls?


STIRRUP PANTS.... WHAT?!?!?!?! I'm sorry ... I never thought I would see the day when stirrup pants are back! Should we wear them with our scrunch socks of varying colors? Come on....

I know this is a goofy blog... I am just feeling old because I refuse to wear clothes because they are "cool". I have done the stirrup pants and I don't want to go back... anyone else with me?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Make your own wreath- cheap!


I LOVE FALL !!! Yipee!!! I decorate my house for fall on September 1st. I just love the scents and looks of fall. (Forget that it is a balmy 89 degrees out :) ) The fall wreath that I made about five years ago was getting old so I decided to make a new one. I waited till all the fall picks and swags were on sale at Hobby Lobby and made my move.

I just grabbed a grapevine wreath, one swag (That I cut into three different pieces), about four picks of berries and fruit etc. and wahlah! Guess how much girls.... about $10.00! You can't beat that....

What do you do to make your home all fall like?

Did you know?

I spent some time talking to a younger cousin who is working part time at the goodwill store. I was very surprised to find out that everything returned to Target is sent to goodwill... no questions asked! My cousin said NICE furniture comes in there all the time from people who just put it together wrong. He said they get clothes, stereo equipment, furniture... mostly anything that someone doesn't like and decided to return.

I need to start checking it out in that case b/c I love me some Target!

I'm back!!

Sorry guys- I have been spending some time with my family. Hubby had five solid days off and we were doing some fun stuff together! I am glad to be back though... woohoo!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Discount stores- infant / toddler shoes







I love stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I think that you can save a ton of money. I found my daughter 2 pairs of Carters lounge pants that were $17 for the pair for a mere $6. That is better than any coupon that you can use!



Then I just discovered the infant and toddler shoe section. You mamas know that infants outgrow shoes within months. The cheap shoes you can buy are at least $10! The preferable ones such as pedipeds are so expensive!!


So you know I was excited to find so many infant shoes that looked just like pedi peds! Soft soled and some of them in leather for ... are you ready girls? $4.99... woohoo!!!! I showed my girlfriend and she swore they were pedi peds!! Here are three pair that I got my daughter... after all a girls gotta have a variety of shoes to choose from :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Nothing big this week girls. My hubby caught some walleye so we'll be having that this week.. yum! The recipe at the bottom is new so I can't say if its a keeper or not but it sounds good! Happy eating!

Monday: Fresh Walleye, pierogies, green beans

Tuesday: Ham, mashed potatoes, Salad

Wednesday: Steak stir-fry, rice and egg rolls

Thursday: Chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice

Friday: Pizza Night!

Saturday: Asian pork chops, fried rice, grilled asparagus

Sunday: The big show chicken sandwiches ( recipe below) baked fries

The big show chicken sandwiches

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

6 thick slices hickory smoke bacon

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 Tbs chili powder

1/4 Tsp ground cumin

1/4 Tsp granulated garlic`

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

6 whole grain buns, cheese, sliced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Grease a roasting rack and place in the pan. Wrap each chicken breast with bacon. Combine sugar and seasonings in a bowl. Sprinkle mixture over chicken. Place on prepared rack. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut chicken into slices and arrange on bun.

Eating out just got cheaper!

My Hubby just got a link in his e-mail that tells you where kids can eat free in your area by zip code. I checked it out and it looks like a really good resource.

We go out to dinner about once a week. I can't tell you how many times we look with despair at our child's plate. It usually has one bite out of the grilled cheese, five fries and two green beans gone. Now all I have to feel guilty about is eating what he doesn't! ( Somehow I feel compelled to clean his plate too but that's another post )

Check it out!

http://www.kidsmealdeals.com/content/view/38/78/

A hairy situation

When I was a working girl ( not the old fashioned kind of course! ) I went to a really expensive salon. I worked, had some extra spending money and wanted the latest style so I didn't mind spending alot on my hair. Oh have times have changed. I really cannot afford a $200 cut and weave every 8 - 10 weeks.

So I started talking to my girlfriends. I needed to find a stylist that knew what she was doing ( I have had orange hair before, I know the drama it causes ) had experience but was cheap. My girlfriend that used to work at the foo foo salon told me of a girl that worked there for years but recently left to be closer to home.

What I found was that I could get the same cut, weave and style but I saved $120. That is quite a bit of savings!! Add it up over the course of a year and its a whole lot!! I can't believe that I ever paid the amount of money that I used to pay!! I guess it pays to listen to your girlfriends!!!

To add to my joy of saving money, I just got a call from a research company asking if I would do a focus group. They are going to pay me $75 for 2 hours of taste testing!!! GOD IS SO GOOD!!! This month has been tight for us and I wondering how I could manage to stretch out my hair appointment a few more weeks ( Hats and big sunglasses can get you so far but dark roots are dark roots.. ya know what I mean ? )

I think often times as mama's we put our self last in mostly everything. It kind of makes you feel special to go and spend a couple hours getting your hair done, reading and maybe sipping a mocha. Now I don't have to go broke doing it... woohoo!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Great Christmas gift




I got this at JoAnn's fabric a while ago. I love that I can put several pics in a beautiful large frame. I just saw it again and I realized that it would make an awesome gift for my grandmother. Its $99 but I wait until they run one of their 50% off one item coupon and it takes it down to $50!! You could always go in with a sibling to lower the cost further but just thought I would share on this great deal!! ( You know how I Christmas shop early... I'm a freak.. I know :) )

Thursday, August 21, 2008

OOps

Did anyone notice that I did Works for me Wednesday on Tuesday? See.... this is what happens when you have babies. I think you lose a little brain matter with each one :) he he he

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thats not my child

I just got back from a play date with my sons best friend. I use that term lightly because all they are is mean to one another. I always set out with high hopes of getting to actually finish a sentence without saying " Don't yell at him" ( While straining my voice- hmmm that gets the message across!)

My sweet adorable boy somehow morphs into a crazed toddler as soon as he steps in the door of his "friend". I try really hard to think if we stopped at any stop signs or traffic lights. Maybe his pod person came creeping in during a stop while I was distracted. Maybe he became temporally insane because he acts like he has lost his mind. Do you think that he could be allergic to the air at his friends and is just having a bad reaction? :)

What seems to bother me the most is he acts like we don't discipline him. Like the rules at his house is to run around like a wild child who has been raised on some island without adults. When in reality is that we do have rules and we expect him to follow them. He does most the time. He is such a joy to be around... at home. What is it about other children that make our kids act like crazy people? My girlfriend is very sympathetic because she has been where I am before but I still feel bad.

It gets to the point where I just want to tell them to duke it out. To work it out themselves because they will have to anyway. I mean we have to step in to avoid hitting or pushing but with toys they are on their own. Doesn't it seem like some days we just say " no, don't drill your sisters head , or get your hand out of the trash" a thousand times.

When I explain to a loved one that he normally doesn't act like this unless he is sick or overly tired, they smile a weak smile. They look at me like " Yeah right... the poor woman is delusional. Too much breastfeeding... has sucked her brain right out" I am going to start taking videotape how my dear sweet boy acts like at home so I can prove that he is a very sweet child with guidelines and structure. I am sounding like he misbehaves all the time while we are out and he doesn't. Most the time he is very well behaved and sweet as pie. Its just been a rough day with my boy so I am venting.

I am still going with the pod person theory. Makes sense to me.

Works for me Wednesday - Saving space in a nursery

When I was planning our nursery I was trying to get the room to not feel so cluttered. We choose the smaller room to have our nursery so I was already trying to figure out how to put everything in its place. I got this great idea from a parade of homes so I thought.. why not? I love the way it has turned out! It saves space and is attractive so it works for us!

I decided to take the doors off of the closet and make the area into a cozy changing nook. I got a ridiculously cheap tension shower rod and some discount curtains at Target. We painted the inside of the closet the same color of the room and hung some star and moon touch lights. ( They are soft and give off a soft glow while changing diapers. No bright light to wake up baby! ) We kept the storage up above the changing table and keep baskets of clean sheets, diapers and extra wipes.

We then were blessed enough to receive a changing table from our sister in law. We took off the bottom part that housed a shelf so it was just a changing table. Out came another shower rod so we could hang baby clothes beneath the changing table. Here is a pic:

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For more helpful hints check out http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/

Monday, August 18, 2008

Waste of ingrediants (Daddys recipe of the week)

I hate when a recipe calls for an ingredient that I usually don't use and its only sold in bulk. I hate it even more when I have to throw out ingredients that has gone bad b/c I didn't use it ! So in order to curb this, I have started to try to do recipes that calls for the same ingredients so nothing goes to waste.

This week I realized that one my recipe's called for fresh parsley. Unfortunately fresh parsley is only sold in a big bunch. Since I have already shared one recipe with fresh parsley this week, I thought I would share my other one :) Happy Cooking.

This recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa - I love her recipes. This one is great because its a fresh veggie.

Roasted Carrots

12 Carrots
3 Tbs good olive oil
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
If the carrots are think cut them lengthwise, if not then leave them whole. Slice the carrots diagonally into 1 1/2 inch thick slices. ( The carrots will get smaller as they bake so make the slices big) Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet in one layer and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
Toss the carrots with parsley, season to taste and serve.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

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This week is not too exciting. Alot of chicken because I got a great sale on Tyson chicken at Kroger :) Nothing new to us this week. But some great recipes!

Monday: Grilled lemon chicken, Chicken noodles, broccoli and crescent rolls

Tuesday: Grilled steaks, Roasted red potatoes with bacon and cheese ( recipe included), salad

Wednesday: Ham, mashed potatoes and green beans

Thursday: Herbed chicken tenderloin mignons ( Recipe included), baked carrots, salad

Friday: Cheeseburgers, fries

Saturday: Pizza night!

Sunday: Basil Parmesan chicken and pasta, salad and garlic bread


Herbed Chicken ( or turkey) tenderloin mignons

6 slices of bacon
2 fresh turkey or chicken tenderloins ( about 3/4 lb each ) ** I use two chicken breast and cut them in half**
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves

Heat Grill. Cook Bacon in medium skillet over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until bacon begins to brown but is not crisp. ( Bacon needs to be pliable to wrap around turkey or chicken ) Drain on paper towels.

Cut each turkey tenderloin or chicken into four pieces. Wrap 1 partially cooked bacon slice around each piece of meat; secure with toothpicks. Brush both sides with olive oil; sprinkle with pepper and thyme.

When ready to grill, place bacon wrapped meat on the grill over medium heat. Cook 12- 15 minutes or until the center is no longer pink.Remove tooth picks before serving.


Roasted red potatoes with bacon and cheese

1/2 cup Kraft light ranch reduced fat dressing
1/2 cup Kraft 2% milk shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Oscar Meyer real bacon bits
2 lb small red potatoes, quartered
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dressing, cheese and bacon bits in large bowl. Add potatoes; toss lightly.

Spoon into lightly greased 13x9 inch baking dish; cover with foil

Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil; bake an additional 15 min or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with parsley.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

No princes here!

I read this article when my son was little about how a mom was raising her boys. She said that in frustration one day she informed them that she wasn't raising princes. I gave a little chuckle and quickly forgot about the article.

This week that article came floating back to the front of my subconscious. I was asking my two year old to please pick up his play food off the kitchen floor. He replied with a sly smile and said " Mama clean it" Uh nooooooooooooo. I decided that my little prince needed to be de-throned.

I usually just pick up after him because 1.) its easier and quicker 2.) It gets done correctly. I have decided though that I need to start giving him some responsibility. I don;t want to wake up and have 16 year old that expects me to be his live in maid. I have a darling husband who cooks, cleans and just generally pitches in. This was hugely attractive when we were dating and very helpful when I had my babies. I know that if I teach my little man slowly to be self sufficient than it will only benefit any future wife. ( He's never getting married but you know... hypothetically)

I know what your thinking... a two year old really? That's what I thought too. So we are taking baby steps.

1.) I am asking him to pick up his own messes as long as its not too overwhelming. If it is overwhelming I will help him but not do it on my own.

2.) I am very specific on my requests. I will ask him to put his cars in his blue bucket.

3.) He now has a chore.

His chores are just little things that I have made accessible to him. He now sets his place at the table. I got a basket that has some construction trucks on it and filled it with his plates, forks and spoons. At dinner time he gets to pick his own plate, fork and he sets it at his place at the table. It makes him feel important to get to pick his own plate and I think its teaches him that he needs to help at dinnertime.

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I am hoping that these few small steps lead to a man who can take care of himself. So to his future wife out there... you can just thank me later :)

Hello my name is Susan...

and I am addicted to cleaning products. I admit I have a serious problem. Every time a commercial comes on t.v. for a new "helpful" tool my eyes glaze over and I get a goofy smile. Its like they know what I need to make my life easier. My family is aware of my problem. My husband tries to turn the channel or redirect me in the stores but I am too far gone. He tries to convince me that I don't need anymore but somehow I always end up with one in my car.

They really do save me time and effort though. I should have named my daughter swiffer because I am their #1 fan. Have you seen the swiffer with the awesome cloth and the vacuum? It sweeps and sucks up all the dirt at one time. Bye bye broom and pan! If someone calls to say that they are stopping by in a few minutes I can whip it out and clean my hardwood floor in a matter of minutes. I also really love the swiffer flicker ( I think that's what its called ) Its for your carpet. I can pick up all the stuff that my loving family drags in off the carpet without dragging the vacuum out every day. It saves so much time! And I love my hubby to death but my runner up man has to be Mr. Clean. What a man! The ready mop and tub scrubber is such a great invention and saves me sanity on my most dreaded chore. The bathroom- YUCK!

Of course there is the expense of refills..... but who can put a price on time right? I can use the time to cut coupons... :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Great Summer recipee

I just made this last night and its awesome!! You can also use grilled chicken but we used shrimp. ( My son loves it and it was on sale! ) Its also so healthy since its all veggies that are fresh and its grilled. ( Zucchini, shrimp and stir fry sauce are all on sale at Krogers this week! ) Hope you enjoy it!

A few things:
**This recipe calls for a grill basket. I just saw disposable ones at Kroger that was a $1.
**Keep a grocery bag on your counter and put all your trash as you cook in it. There is alot of veggie scraps and this way you won't be running to the trashcan a hundred times!

1Tbs oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 lb fresh sea scallops, chicken or shrimp ( A 31- 40 bag of shrimp is on sale for $6.99 this week! )
1 Small zucchini, sliced ( Also on sale this week for .99 a lb )
1/4 lb ( about 1 cup) fresh snow pea pods
1/2 small onion, cut into thin strips
1/2 small red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 Tbs of stir fry sauce ( Or make your own- Recipe to follow)

Heat Grill. Spray grill basket with nonstick cooking spray. In shallow bowl,combine oil, salt and pepper; mix well. Add all remaining ingredients except stir fry sauce; toss to coat. Place in basket.

When ready to grill, place grill basket on gas grill over medium heat. Cook 13- 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender crisp and meat is cooked through. Shake grill basket once or twice to mix veggies and meat.

Place stir fry sauce in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 20 - 30 seconds or until warm. Add veggies and meat; toss to coat!

Stir fry sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBS of dry sherry ( You can find this in a little bottle in spice isle )
1 1/2 tsp of cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
Add either
2 slices of fresh ginger and fresh garlic to taste
BUT I just add some powdered ginger and some minced garlic from the little jar b/c who the heck has time to look for fresh ginger!

Showdown with the Paci

I haven't been blogging much.... partly b/c we have been on vacation but a big part of it is that I am getting no sleep! My precious daughter was the best infant. She slept like a champ..... took a binkie but still slept. Until about 3 1/2 months. Then every time ( and I mean every time) it feel out of her mouth she woke up. I am talking every hour on the hour. If we "plug" her back up she goes right back to sleep then she is fine. Until the next hour. I am at my breaking point!!!!

I don't want to take away the one thing that she loves and gives her comfort but I don't want to be in the funny farm either!! I feel like we are both not getting the sleep that we need and its driving me crazy. My pediatrician told me to make sure that we are putting her down every night awake so that she knows how to put her self to sleep. This is all fine and good except that she goes to bed with the binkie and so in the middle of the night she can't recreate that. I just don't know what to do!!

All I do know is that I am exhausted. I just don't have the energy that I need for the rest of my family and I know that Mia is not getting the sleep that she needs. So tonight I think we will have to do tough love....Please pray for me! Any suggestions what has worked for you would also be appreciated!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A laundry tip

I am not sure why I am so obsessed with laundry lately. My friend and I were talking about something that we both do that helps us so much, so I thought I would share.

I have made it sort of a rule... well more like a wish.... that when the laundry comes out of the dryer it is immediately folded or hung. That way when it is brought up it can immediately be put away. It sounds so simple but you would be amazed how much time it saves you.

I don;t know about you but I hate having baskets of wrinkly clothes to fold, sort and then put away. It makes me not even want to do laundry!

I'm back !!!

We are finally back from our trip to Lake Erie. I am so surprised what a good time that we all had! Not that I expected to have a bad time..... its just my expectations were not that high for a vacation with a toddler and infant. What I found though was that we badly needed the week away to relax and reconnect as a family.

One of my hubbys officers owns a beach house on the lake. I was thinking cottage. What we got was a gorgeous fully stocked home. We are talking flat screen tv on the wall, hard wood floors and a gorgeous wrap around deck. I felt so blessed to have such a wonderful place to go that was so reasonable.

I won't bore you with a thousand details but I will share with you some interesting things.

The first thing that we discovered is that after weeks of talking about the beach, our two year old doesn't like the feel of sand. Talk about anti-climatic. He was so excited about the beach only to have nothing to do with the water or walking on the sand. So out comes the beach towels. He sat all day on that thing and just played with his toys and sand buckets. He loved scooping the sand so he was entertained but we just thought he would go crazy...... not so much.

The second thing is that we went to a drive through an animal park. Can I just say that my husband had more fun than our toddler. My infant decided that this was the time to start screaming to the top of her lungs. I didn't want the animals getting agitated and trying to eat us or the car. So I pulled a Brittney Spears. We were only going about 2 miles an hour and stopped most the time so I thought it would be ok. ( I felt like a big trash ball just the same ) My husband started out with all the windows down and feeding the animals carrots by hand. When the buffalo.. yes I said buffalo.... started to get inside our car he kept the windows rolled up most the time. One thing you have to know about me is that I laugh like an idiot when I get nervous. So here I am holding my 6 month old, laughing hysterically while my hubby is throwing carrots out windows like a madman. My two year old is taking it all in with mild amusement and wonderment until an animal stuck their head in his window and then he started shrieking like his head was on fire. Which of course made me go into hysterics and tinkle a little. Which as a result made my infant start crying again. Good times.

It was a blast though and it was wonderful for my hubby and I. We relaxed. I didn't make any lists, have to return fifty calls or deal with family drama. It really made us realize how important it is to get away and reconnect as a family. It doesn't have to be expensive or complex. My son is still talking about the zebra and giraffes. I hope to share some pics later when I can find the camera :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Guilty pleasures

I really try to be selective in most things that I watch. I have learned that the things I let in my mind stay there. I would rather put lovely things there than some junk from a horror movie. These things have a way of scaring you when your alone and hear a noise. I always think " why did I watch that junk? "

That being said I have found myself watching a total nonsense show. You know the type of show that is a train wreck. Its so horrific but you can't look away. I normally would be too embarrassed to admit this but talking to my girlfriends I found out that they too have their guilty pleasure shows as well. So here it goes....

Hello. My name is Susan and I am addicted to "Jo and Slade; date my ex" Its crazy. There is no redeeming quality to this show that is not shallow, pathetic and void of morals. I will blame it on the fever that I had. It affected my mind. All the same I found myself programming my DVR to tape upcoming episodes. Let me drag my girlfriends into my embarrassment too. If I am going down so are they..... their shows include but are not limited to....
Rock of Love, the Tori and Dean show, Denise Richards show, Big Brother, The Real World, and The Hills.

Maybe its because when we became married with children our drama was limited to a problem with the backyardigans DVD. I am not sure but I thought admitting I have a problem is the first step. :) What is your guilty pleasure?

Daddy's recipe of the week

Ok I admit I am a total slacker this week..... its not exactly a recipe its more a product that my darling husband brought home.

Cinnamon chips. They sell them in the chocolate chip section. They are little chips but they taste like cinnamon. They make everything better!!! I have used them in cookie recipes forever. ( They really jazz up oatmeal raisin cookies !! )

When my hubby wanted to use them I raised my eyebrows. He then however put them in some pancake mix and made the best pancakes I have ever had in my life. So I thought I would pass it on. Its definitely worth a try!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Its official... I'm getting old

I am starting to recognize that some of the things I enjoy in life has drastically changed in the last couple of years...


The first thing is that I have started to do crossword puzzles. he he he I am giggling b/c I used to read Cosmo, looking for some sultry love advice and how to get a man. Now I have a man.... actually I have two but one of them has to wear a diaper and throws fits. ( I won't say which one ) Anywho.... Gone are the Cosmo days and now are the crossword days. Its as much as keeping my mind sharp after countless rounds of the wheels on the bus as fun. I actually look forward to long car rides b/c I may get to do 2 puzzles. Woohoo!!

I am not the only one. One of my best friends recently confided that she is really into sudoku. She said she really gets into it ... I least I know I am not alone. When I went to go get my latest crossword puzzle book, the young teenybopper sales clerk told me that her grandmother really liked them too. That makes me feel better.

Another thing that I have noticed is that one of my favorite things to do is read the Sunday paper over a cup of coffee before church. ( Actually the cartoons and sales ads... enjoyable all the same to me ) I remember wondering why in the world would anyone enjoy reading the paper and -blek- drinking coffee..... Boy how times have changed.

No menu plan Monday this week

Sorry girls. With my entire house having the flu, and us heading to the lake this week I am just not cooking. I mean I'm feeding my children :) I'm just not cooking.... I will be better next week :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The easiest cookie recipee you will ever see !

This is such a good cookie its hard not to pass on!

The best and easiest peanut butter cookie ever!

1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar

Opt. As many chocolate chips you need to get through your day :)


Combine ingredients and bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 for 12 minutes. Let stand on sheet for 2 minutes and then remove to wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

Mamas need a kind word too!

In my opinion mothering is the most important job in the world! I mean our job is to raise another (or multiple) human beings to be good, moral, kind people. How we raise these little creatures affect how they will parent one day or how they will treat their spouse. Talk about pressure!

That is why I think we get so burnt out so often as mamas. In a job outside of the home at least we get performance evaluations. We get told that we are meeting or even exceeding our goals. We receive raises and pats on the back. From our babies we get spit up on, poo'd on and now we tinkle when we sneeze or laugh too hard. :)

I am only speaking for myself here but a kind word from our spouse, mother or friend can renew your energy and inspire you. Save the flowers and gifts. I just want to hear that I am a good mama and that my hubby thinks I am doing a good job. I guess its because I value my job so much that I care how I am doing. I don't mean to sound whiny. I am pretty confident in the choices that I am making. I just think that some little words from someone that I care about can really make my day!

I have been relying on my hubby to make these comments but we all know that men do not think along the same lines as women. When I mentioned this to him the other day, he looked at me with a blank stare. He said I was good mom and did a great job so what's there to say? DUH! Recently a friend of mine made the comment that I did a good job with my kids and it made me feel so good! It just reminded me that I need to tell my friends more that I understand when they are having a bad day and that they are doing a good job. As Martha would say ... Its a good thing...... he he he

No sick days for mama !!

Remember the days of being sick and single? You would lay on the couch, drugged by some good cold medication. In your haze you would watch the Price Is Right, I dream of Jeannie re-runs, and nature programs. Drifting in and out of sleep you would shuffle to the potty and to the kitchen only to declare yourself too sick to cook. After a hot bath you would get into bed before it was dark out and have that good NyQuil sleep.

Boy oh boy how times have changed. I have had the flu for a couple of days now but somehow moms are expected to keep on doing everything they usually do. The kids still have to eat, get diapers changed and entertained. Add a sick infant with the same thing that wants to nurse all the time and a toddler who is jealous of all the attention his sister is getting........ ahhhhhhhhhh! My hubby took most the slack yesterday- thank the Lord! Today however I am on my own.

I guess I am kind of complaining.... I just think that moms need sick days.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Great healthy side dish for Summer

Everyone in my family loved this! Its easy, delicious and quick. Plan to grow zucchini and peppers in your garden next year and it will be practically free :)
Grill baskets are awesome and you don't have one they are all on clearance right now. I got mine at Kroger.


4 Zucchini cut diagonally into 1/2- inch- thick slices

3 each: red and yellow peppers, cut into 1/2- inch- wide strips

1/4 cup zesty Italian dressing

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat grill to medium heat. Place veggies in grill basket.

Grill 10 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally. Place in large bowl.

Add dressing: toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 8 servings.

Healthy eating!

Cheap girls night out!

I have been surprised when I visit my mailbox lately. With this economy I guess that restaurants are really hurting because I have been getting free food coupons. PF Changs, which is one of my favorite Asian restaurants, just opened up a more reasonable quick Asian bistro. They sent one free entree cards to myself and alot of my friends. Then my girlfriend called and said that she and her girlfriend had received a $25 gift card to a very fancy smancy restaurant.

I know that the restaurants are smart in doing this. They send one free entree per household thinking that you will bring the whole family. You spend more money, get to taste their food and hopefully come back. Now with the fancy restaurant... well lets just say that $25 would be about 20 % of your bill.

My girlfriends and have decided to use these cards for a great girlfriends night out..... for no more than the gas it takes to get there! We all get together and meet at the restaurant that has sent out the card and enjoy a much needed moms night out. The only thing you have to pay for is your beverage.

Tonight the girlfriends are going to meet at the fancy restaurant at 7:00 for a decadent dessert. No bibs, spit up, cutting up little bites of foods or laughing at toots. WOOHOO!!

Cute idea for kids rooms

When moving my son to his "big boy" room, I was trying to find a creative way to decorate his room. I had found this great bedroom set at T.J. Maxx. It was a bedspread, sheet, fitted sheet, pillow cases and sham for $20. It was emergency vehicles and had this road winding through the police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks.

So hubby, son and my big pregnant belly and went to Lowe's. We went there to buy paint and we found some pretty cool stuff ! Did you know that they have chalkboard paint, whiteboard paint and magnetic paint? The possibilities are overwhelming!!! You could paint a square, oval or rectangle of anyone of these paints and put a colorful frame around it ! Or you could paint a large square where your children study and you now have an instant chalkboard.

What I choose to do is to paint a little road going around my entire sons room to match the one on his comforter. My hubby taped it off and painted two coats of magnetic paint. He then painted the bottom red and the road a dark grey. The finishing touch was a little sponge with some yellow paint and you have a road.

I could not find any car magnets that were not bulky so I decided I would make my own. I found those 3D scrap booking stickers in cars, motorcycles and tractors. ( I also found cute stop signs, lights and cautions) I used the magnetic sheets and cut the magnets around the shapes of the cars and signs. My friend later found emergency vehicle and construction truck magnets at Target for $2.50.

My son can now play with cars along his magnetic road and we even hang special pictures of loved ones or his artwork in his room! When he gets older we can simply paint one more coat of grey to cover the yellow slashes and he has a scarlet and grey room. ( Go Ohio Sate Buckeyes!!! ) He can then use the magnetic paint to show concert tickets and whatever else I can't stand. :)


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Works for me Wednesday -How to keep your clothes from shrinking

I don't know about you but I can't stand it when my darling helpful husband does laundry. I know women who swear they would love if their husbands did laundry. I agree with them in theory.

In actuality what I get is a load of laundry that contains the following. A couple white fuzzy towels, a navy blue towel, a pair of nice khaki slacks, a red polo shirt, my linen skirt, a very shrinkable black baby doll top and a rag that I used to clean the oven. Can you hear me growling from where you are??

What I get from my hubby's good efforts is alot of shrunken clothes. I find the dryer does more damage than the washer does. I can't put all of the blame on my husband. I get in a hurry to get laundry done and forget that I have non dryables in the washer. I don't have to tell you ladies that money spent to re buy clothing is frustrating!!

What I have come up with is a way to hopefully save clothes and money. I went to a craft store and bought flat magnet squares that you can cut as needed. I then took my label maker and made a big fat label that said "NON DRYABLE ITEM". (You can just write it on some neon or colorful paper if you don't want to use a label maker or need to get someones attention. :) ) I then attach the label to the sticky side of the magnet sheet and wah lah!

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After I throw a load in the wash with a non dryable item I will put my magnet over the lid. It has saved me so much frustration! I have asked my husband to only wash his clothes so that has also saved me some hassle. If he goes to throw a load in the wash and sees the magnet he slowly backs away from the washer..... and this works for me!



For more helpful hints check out http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/

What can happen to you in 79 days??

Our pastor has been doing sermons on vintage values. Its all about how we need to go back to values the way they used to be. In our marriages, parenting, community etc. He has always used coca cola as an example.

Coke introduced a new "improved" coke several years back. ( I remember but I was young) It took them a total of 79 days to realize that the better formula, the one that worked the best, was the original formula.

This Sunday he wrapped up the series by doing something really cool! We all had a blank envelope and a piece of paper that said " What do I want to change in 79 days?" He asked us to really think about something we not only wanted to change but really needed to change in our lives. He said that it may be that we needed heal a riff in a long standing feud or to finally own up to some things we have been neglecting.

He then asked us to put down what we wanted to work on and then seal the envelope and address it to our self. The leadership team would pray for these things for 79 days and then mail them back to us. We in return were to pray about it and really work on those goals.

He then had everyone come up to the front of the church and get a bottle of coke. He asked that we all keep our bottle of coke where we could see it everyday to remind us of those things we needed to change in our life. More than that we could remember what we could accomplish in just 79 days!

I am sharing this b/c that one bottle of coke on my counter has been a powerful reminder of the things I am working on. As mothers we have a thousand things going on and can lose sight of our personal goals or needs. Its easy to help everyone else with their problems but just as important to work on us.

What can you change in 79 days???

The love of a mother

It never ceases to amaze me how pure and intense a mothers love is. I sometimes look at my child and just tear up for no apparent reason. Even when I am mad at the little booger, I still have to bite my tongue from smiling. I know that these times are fleeting and that this too shall pass. It is truly a miracle that after your newborn has kept you up all night, you are thrilled to see them smile up at you the next morning. It is a total pure love.

I once heard someone say that when you have a child, your heart is now outside of your body. I now totally get that. If I think my child's feelings are hurt, I actually ache. Don't even get me started about thinking someone abusing my child in way, shape or form.

I have been having one of those days today. Both kids are sick, men are beating on my roof and little men are pounding away in my head. If this was any job I would be ready to quit. Its sheer love that keeps me coming back for more.... can I get an amen? :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Daddy's recipee of the week

I am so blessed to have a phenomenal husband whom I adore. His mama (and three sisters) raised him right. He helps me with cooking, cleaning and does all the dishes at our house. It doesn't hurt that he saves people for a living and looks great in a firemans outfit :) he he he

His cooking is AWESOME! I thought I would feature one of his recipes per week.

For the first week I am going to share his angel hair pasta with shrimp recipe. It sounds expensive but I usually wait until Shrimp goes on sale by the bag and it is really reasonable. This dish is very light...perfect for summertime. My two year old loves it!

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

1 lb angel hair pasta
Kosher salt, to taste
6 TBS of butter ( can use unsalted)
2 TBS of minced garlic
24 shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/2 cup cut sun-dried tomatoes.
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
Ground white pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Dried red chili flakes (optional)
Grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, but still firm to bite.

Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, shrimp and sun dried tomatoes. Saute one minute. Add stock and wine. Season with salt and pepper. When shrimp are cooked through, add the hot, cooked angel hair pasta and toss thoroughly. Add extra virgin olive oil and chopped parsley. Add chili flakes or Parmesan cheese as desired. Serve immediately.

Hairbow holder- cheap cheap cheap!!

I have really been into making little girls hair bows. I think its because my daughter is the only girl in the extended family out of nine boys. She was born with quite alot of hair but sadly, has lost almost all of it. Now I believe bald is beautiful :) but I am sick and tired of people asking me if she is a boy or a girl. ( BTW- I think she has very girly features but I just try to smile and be understanding.. grrrrrr )

So I have been making stretchy bands with these big Sarah Jessica Parker hair bows that clip on. I am getting tired of them piling up on the shelf so I decided to make a hair bow holder.

It was so easy to make, cute and CHEAP!! You can make it under $5 and makes an awesome personalized gift.

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All I did was get a wood plaque from a craft store. I then used some craft paint that I had around the house for the base color. I also grabbed some cute wooden accents and some ribbon from the same craft store. ( I can also make some hair bows with the ribbon ) Some super glue later and I had my cute bow holder. Even though it was all so cheap to purchase, I saved even more with the coupon from the Sunday paper to Michaels or JoAnnes.

Happy Crafting!

Christmas in July

I know that I am a crazy.... but I have started to Christmas shop already. At first it sounded crazy even to me but you would not believe the deals that I have gotten!

I have 2 kids, 14 nieces and nephews, a husband, and 14 other people to buy for. ( This does not include little gifts for my kids friends) So this year I rolled up my sleeves and decided that I would not only start early but also try to get the best deals possible. Since I have so many nephews and nieces to buy for I have decided that our budget for each child would be a measly $10. I took a deep breath and jumped in and you would not believe what I have found !!

First I discovered that MANY stores are marking down their toys right now. A sales clerk told me it was to get the new fall toys in. (My friends and I have also noticed that toys seem to suddenly get marked up in the fall and then go back down after Christmas. ) I also really concentrate on the ads in the Sunday paper. For example, I wanted to get my son a play dough kit that I have not found cheaper than $10. I found a add last week that had their play dough 25% off. It may not seem like much but it really adds up after a while.


I went to Target and found a HUGE Nerf iron man gun with a giant target that was over $20 and I got it for $9.00.

I also got a pair of power ranger walkie talkies that was also over $20 and got those for $9 as well.

For the girls, I got a strawberry shortcake pony doll that was over $10 for $6.

I also found a make your own body shimmer kit for a mere $3 in the clearance isle.

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I won't bore you with any more details but I can tell you that I have not gone over my budget and I am totally done shopping for 12 people!