Monday, October 27, 2008

Blogging Bits

Here are a few mini-blogs for Monday -

#1 My husband whisked me away for a surprise weekend out of town. It was great - we headed down to my cousin's weekend home on Lake Sara in Effingham. Their home is set in a very wooded, serene, and quiet part of the lake and I was excited to have the chance to get away. An added bonus (well, maybe not bonus?!), Randy packed for me. On the way down there I asked him if he packed me any normal underwear....ha! When I went to put on my pajamas I noticed that he had packed a bra that I should probably throw away - it only has one hook, is really uncomfortable, and is frayed and he packed another bra that I haven't worn since before I had children. He packed only one pair of socks. Nothing he packed really matched, I swear he's color blind. Never the less, it was relaxing and nice to get away. We had some really nice dinners, had a chance to catch a movie, took a quiet walk together and through the whole weekend we didn't yet "no" or "stop that".

#2 Bad news, it just seems like we've received a fair share of bad news lately. A friend of ours is pregnant and they know already that the baby has a serious birth defect and it's going to be touch and go when the baby is delivered, another friend of ours just found out that their child has cancer, an uncle of Randy's might have cancer of the mouth, a friend of ours broke his back, neck, and possibly punctured a lung by falling out of his tree stand. I'm sending out prayers to all of these people that everything gets better, goes smoothly and that their normal life resumes.

#3 "I don't like the green stuff".....this is a quote from the movie "Mystic Pizza". I ordered lobster on Friday for our anniversary dinner and there was green stuff on it and I couldn't remember just what the green stuff was......if it was supposed to be enjoyed or scraped off - well, I ate it and it actually wasn't until half-way through that I realized what I was eating. I looked it up today and along with my yummy lobster and rum butter sauce I ate the lobsters liver and digestive system. BLECK! I survived, however, I will remember in the future - when I order lobster, order it without the green stuff. ha!

#4 My 10 lbs. that I would like to lose is slowly turning into 15/20 lbs., especially after this weekend of indulging in yummy lobster, movie popcorn, an entire bag of peanut M&M's, a huge stack of pancakes Saturday morning, and pizza last night. I got an iPod for my anniversary and have loaded on it all of my cardio music, above my office is a quarter mile track, I have no excuses on the exercise part.....I just need to do less indulging and more sweating! Especially with the holidays coming up.....ugh!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Anniversary To Me!

Today is my 10 year wedding anniversary and I have to admit, while it's not been an easy road - it's been totally worth it. I have a wonderful husband who is also a great father and we fit perfectly. Here is a run down of the years we have been married (also, as a side note, we've been technically together 16 years on December 12th).

1998 - fabulously fun wedding, great honeymoon to Mexico
1999 - supporting each other as I went back to school, began coaching basketball, and Randy and I both had career changes
2000 - fun trip to Florida for Spring Break, Randy graduated from Sheetmetal school, found out we were pregnant with our first child on Thanksgiving Day
2001 - put together a nursery together, went through a HOT summer with many electrical outages!, had Logan William on July 12th, career change for me and Randy returned to his previous employer
2002 - bought a new house, found out we were pregnant a second time, fun trip to Disney
2003 - prepared for the birth of our second baby, Noah John was born May 30th
2004 - I stopped working and started a daycare in our home, Logan was hospitalized with encephalitis
2005 - Rough year - I had major surgery, rough road trip with the two kids to Pennsylvania, we hit some difficult financial times, and Randy changed jobs
2006 - Much better year - Randy and I both took our health seriously and lost weight, we supported each other as we watched our good friends lose their child, Noah was hospitalized for a short while with a viral infection, and I returned to work full time
2007 - New truck for Randy, home windows, a new a/c unit and lots of updates in the attic, summer trip to Chicago, Logan started kindergarten, Noah hospitalized throughout October with appendicitis and a bacterial infection in his intestine, met a wonderful group of people that have quickly become great friends
2008 - More home patio in the backyard, Randy started playing softball again, lots of summer fun with baseball, cookouts, and tons of fun with our friends (Fun Day - bounce house/John's firework/Princess much fun!), both boys in school, Logan broke his arm, Logan needing glasses, and so much more I'm sure!

Nothing too exciting.....but it's mine and I'm content and happy and want nothing more or less. In between all of this has been laughter, anger, tears, heartbreak, sadness, joy, and love.....that's marriage - it's growing pains, compromise, and companionship. Randy is truly my best friend and we just balance each other out - once again, we are a perfect fit.

Love ya babe!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

And one more little person entered our world.....

On Tuesday I received the call that my friend Tracy was going in to labor. Something we have all been anticipating for the past 9 months. Through the day I would receive updates about her status and towards late in the afternoon it sounded like it was "go time".

Now I have never witnessed a live birth other than the ones I did - the first I was "zen-like" due to a combination of wonderful medications, the second I was screaming and irrational because it happened so quickly and I've blocked it out of my mind! ha! So I was extremely excited and honored when Tracy asked a few of her close friends to be a part of her labor and delivery......yet I was a little nervous - I just wanted everyone to be okay.

When I got there it was just Tracy and I for a little while and I got a chance to walk with her, figure out how she wanted me to help her through her contractions, and figured out that my role would be to take video once we were given the "cue" that it was okay to take pictures. I grabbed a quick bite and settled in with my super sized cappuccino as I thought we were in for a long night.

Tracy's contractions were on top of each other and when she was checked she was only at a 3....not where she wanted to be and all of us around her felt her disappointment because we know when we went through it, that a 3 was never good to be dilated at when you thought you had handled enough contractions to put you at a 10! She decided to get in the shower with her husband and let the warm water help her relax. After about 45 minutes and a very heated conversation with the mid-wife (that's when we knew Tracy was hurting; she is typically very kind) - she crawled back in bed and figured out how to breathe through her contractions.

After about 15 minutes of that she declared "my water broke"; the mid-wife checked her and said "call the nurses, I need a nurse" - Tracy's husband was at her head talking her through the pain, I gathered at her face and would relay to her what the mid-wife was telling her, Sarah and Jill were at her legs talking her through the pain and reminding her to breathe it out. Sarah and I were holding her leg up and she was told to grab her knee.....two big pushes and Geno John was brought into our world. He is teeny tiny - 5 lbs. 14 oz.; 18 inches long - some light colored hair and beautiful blue eyes. He latched on almost an hour after he was born and has been a feeding champion ever since.

Now it was all very surreal and we saw all of Tracy's glory that night and she asked me yesterday if when I look at her I see that and I don't. I see a woman who was surrounded by everyone that loves her most and she got through it with our help. She wasn't sure she could do it and she did - she did awesome. And little Geno came into this world surrounded by our smiles and our love and our cheers.

And on October 21st at 6:58 p.m. - one more little person entered our world and we are all better for it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Easy Recipe Time!

Okay, this is not my recipe, but it is one that I stole from another busy mommy blogger and I made it last night and it was it's worth sharing!


1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust
6-7 slices of bacon
1/2 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
5 eggs
1 cup skim milk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Press crust into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove, and reduce oven temperature to 375.

In a small skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1 Tbl of bacon fat drippings. Saute onion in bacon fat drippings for about 2 minutes; remove pan from heat. Crumble bacon and set aside.

Sprinkle half of the cheese over the bottom of the pie shell. Evently distribute bacon and onion over the cheese.

In a small bowl, beat eggs, milk and salt and pepper. Pour mixture over bacon and onion. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.

We had this with some fruit and Randy and I ate a small salad on the side. For fun I made everyone hot cocoa and it was a fun night! Minus a few "I don't like onions" comments, the boys ate it and I LOVED it!

This recipe will now be added to our rotation - and what I like about it is that I made this quickly while the boys were doing homework and while it was in the oven I cleaned the kitchen up. So after dinner the only thing I had to do was load our plates, cups, etc. into the dishwasher and I was able to relax the rest of the night. That's always a plus!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Update

What a weekend....

Friday night (yes, this is part of the weekend) - Bulls/Jazz game at the Assembly Hall for an exhibition game. On the way out of the driveway I realize that my tickets were not in my purse, after looking even closer, I was missing other essential items like my credentials to work the Illini football game on Saturday....someone picked these things up out of my purse. Luckily everything was replaceable and we were able to enjoy the Bulls/Jazz game with the kiddos.

Saturday - Eye appointment with the boys - Noah's was necessary because it's now a state law that kindergartners get an eye exam as a part of their physicals. I went ahead and scheduled Logan for good measure. Both boys are farsighted - Noah will eventually need glasses and Logan needs glasses ASAP.....waa! I feel so bad for him and he was very brave when picking out his frames and we talked about other people making fun of him. Here's a snippet of our conversation:

Me: "Buddy, if people make fun of you for wearing glasses, then they're dumb."
Logan: "Mommy, we don't call people dumb."
Me: "Well, anyone who makes fun of others is dumb, and I don't promote you calling people names, but in that case it's okay."
Logan: "Okay."

Saturday afternoon I had to go to work - I was excited to work my first night game with the Illini football team. I'm no longer excited about night games. Dealing with drunks irrational people all day wore me out. And afterwards we tailgated with some good friends, which was fun - but I was so exhausted yesterday that I literally laid around all day.

Sunday - Total relaxation; nothing planned until 5:00 p.m. - I took a shower, ate a good breakfast, and chilled out all day. At 5:00 p.m. we headed over to our friends house for our weekly "family dinner" (we have about 7 couples that take a Sunday and make dinner and we all go over and enjoy good food and good company) and celebrated our sweet Sophia's 3rd birthday. It was nice to spend quality time with our friends.

I'm back to work today and I'm completely exhausted, life is crazy with our boys, with work, getting ready for the holidays. Calgon!! ; )

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Making a list, checking it twice.....

I had to get groceries last night and with the economy in the state it is, it seems that it's becoming harder and harder to work within our budget - so I have become pretty good about planning, preparing, and executing.

I went through the ads from Sunday and figured out what items I needed to replenish (bread, milk, toilet paper...), and I made my menus based on what was on sale - it's going to be chicken and pork recipes for a few weeks!! I then go through the coupons I have and figure out what additional savings I can get from those.

I won't list everything I purchased, but I will list some of the best deals:

Walgreens - Crest Toothpaste - on sale $1.99, in store coupon $1 off, manufacturer $1 off
Total Cost = FREE

Walgreens - Kashi Cereal - on sale 2/$5, manufacturer coupons $1 off each box
Total Cost = 2/$3 or $1.50 a box

Meijer - Bananas - on sale $0.19/lb. - was $0.59/lb.
Total Cost = 3.02 lbs. - $0.57

Meijer - Tyson Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - on sale $4.99 - was $9.99
Total Cost = $4.99

Meier - Pork Loin $1.69/lb. - was $4.19/lb.
Total Cost = 4.36 lbs. - $7.37

Meijer - Seedless Grapes $0.88/lb., was $2.49/lb.
Total Cost = 2.36 lbs. - $2.08

County Market - Split Chicken Breast $0.88/lb.

County Market - Egg Noodles/Lasagna Noodles $0.77

County Market - 1% Milk 2/$5

County Market - Pancakes/Waffles $1

In the beginning I set a budget of $200.00 for groceries to get us through at least two weeks and in the end my total cost of everything was $182.67 and I saved $92.08 by shopping sales and using coupons.

The planning might be a little tedious, but in the end it's totally worth it. I'm finding ways to stretch our budget by planning menus around the sales, using store brand items if the savings is there, and I buy produce that is in season. Since apples are in season right now I plan on using that to my advantage and shopping the sales and making applesauce that my kids love to take in their lunches. The chicken I bought has the skin and bones and I am going to cook the chicken in a crock pot, shred it, then use the skin and bones to make chicken stock.

There are ways to stretch your budget and I envy the women who talk about going into the grocery store and coming out with two carts full and having only spent $3.75......I'm not quite there, but I look at my freezer that is now stocked full of meat (I split the chicken and the pork into smaller freezer bags and have enough for about 15 meals), our pantry has cereal, bread, canned goods, lunch items, and our refrigerator has cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt - all for under $200 - not too shabby.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pardon the interuption.......

Well, well, we meet again! I have found blogging to be a little bit of a problem (hence my last post was August 28th)! Finding time for a blog hasn't been an issue; finding topics that interest everyone has been my problem.

This morning as another possible topic popped into my head I had a realization; this is my blog and I'll post what I want to. So I am.

I am going to post a few snippets of blogs that I've considered in the last month and a half - if you like them - great, if not - I don't care - get your own blog! ha! ; )

#1 - I hate my husband in the morning.

I'm not totally a morning person; I like the quiet, I like to slowly wake myself up, I like my frickin' coffee first! My husband walks loud, turns on all the lights, talks loudly, tries to be funny, is always in a hurry and scurrying myself and the children about to "get in the car", and is constantly telling me what time it is. I hate him in the mornings. Here is what I would like to tell him:

"I know what time it is - I've been able to tell time since about the first grade."
"Your jokes are not funny and I'm not amused until I've digested my first cup of coffee."
"Yelling at us to get into the car is not going to make me tie my shoes any faster."
and finally
"I hate you in the mornings."

#2 - The economy sucks and I'm tired of political talk.

We all feel the pinch of the economy and it really stinks. I'm quite the bargain shopper and am not too proud to use coupons and shop sales - so I'm glad for that; but despite my frugal ways - we don't see our savings growing, we find ourselves telling the children "no" more often for those unnecessary things, we're cutting out lots of extra stuff, and we are stretching our budget as far as we can. I heard a quote yesterday that made total sense to me "Don't try and keep up with the Jones'; because the Jones' are broke" - isn't that the truth. Randy and I have never been ones to live our lives in the race to have the newest, biggest, best of anything.....thank goodness for that.

And with the election around the corner all of the pointing fingers, mud slinging, bashing going's nice to know that it will be over shortly and maybe a new person in office will bring some much needed relief to the economic crisis we are all facing.

#3 - Be happy with the weight you are at!

I'm embracing my body and loving my curves - sort of! I lost over 50 lbs. two years ago and gained about 20 of it back. I am still within a healthy weight range for my height; however I'm not totally happy with where I'm at and struggle with losing at least 10 lbs. - these same 10 lbs. have plagued me for about a year now.

In the past I had an eating disorder - it started in high school and I fought with it for many years, so I have to be really careful about not falling into that pattern again. I tried to as recently as a month ago - I convinced myself that if I could just get sick again for a little bit; I would shed those 10 lbs. and I would stop being sick. DUMB - so dumb! I wasn't a good mommy - I was in pain. I heard my promise to my good friend that "I will never do it again, I promise". And it wasn't worth it.

In the past it was worth it because I had nothing to lose except weight (or so I thought), in my 30's it's different - I have everything to lose. If I died because of the combination of diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, etc. - I would hurt my husband, my children, my family, and my friends. So I stopped and am embracing my weight, my size, my curves and if I take my time and really think about diet and exercise maybe I'll lose those 10 lbs., if not - it's okay.

And speaking of my size......I have vowed never to buy low rise jeans again - I am a mommy and have had two babies - my waist line looks 100% better in mid-rise (not quite mommy jeans) - no more muffin top - the mid-rise covers those side areas that hang over the low-rise and no more fear of my underwear hanging out if I bend over. I caught a glimpse of myself in my mid-rise this morning and I was very pleased - my shirt is tucked in, my waist line isn't hanging over and I look stream lined. If I were on "What Not To Wear" I think they would be pleased with my choice.

#4 - In the event of an emergency; remain calm.

Driving down a dark country road last night with my two children in the back my rear tire blew out and I began swerving all over the road. As a mother I wanted to remain calm; as the person driving the car I screamed like I had just seen a ghost. My two children were just as freaked out and my reaction did not help them I'm sure!

Luckily we knew the people that lived at the nearest house and with my cell phone I got a hold of Randy who came and put the small tire on and everything was fine. But I fear that my children will be forever scarred for life by the experience.

Thank goodness my husband went for the "Roadside Assistance" package on the tires and I was in and out of the tire place within an hour at no extra cost. Whew!

#5 - "Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat"

Holiday madness is upon us. Just as soon as stores get out their Halloween decorations out; they start putting up little Christmas aisles as well and it's just a reminder that we are approaching our deadlines for all of those things we promise our children through the year. I find myself saying in the store toy aisle "That's a nice toy honey, let's put that on your Christmas list and maybe Santa will bring that to you"; hoping that statement will get me out of the store without incident.

This Christmas I'm thinking of doing many homemade gifts to help keep down the cost of the holidays.....I know that our kindergarten teacher likes coffee and I found a great recipe for homemade lattes, those cookie mix jars are super simple to put together and decorate and I'm thinking of personalizing those for my dear friends, and my sister loves to workout and I'm thinking of putting together a little basket for her with a workout CD, personalized water bottle, etc.

However, I face a dilemma, what would I think if I received gifts like this - would I love them or think the person giving them to me was cheap? I think I would totally love them and my hope is that nobody thinks I'm cheap. What are your thoughts on this? And what other ideas might you have for inexpensive, homemade gifts.

Have a great week everyone!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

First week of school.....

I'm busy at work, busy at home, busy in this will be brief!

#1 Kids started school last week - on the third day my oldest son broke his arm on the playground - 'nuff said!

#2 I have found myself yelling "Brush your face and wash your teeth and let's go" on more than one morning in this past week.

#3 I just balanced my checkbook and there is a little breathing room in there.....just in time for gas prices to go up! woo hoo!

#4 I have yet to make time to compare coupons/sale ads to post for all of you....I'm working on it! Maybe this extended weekend will give me an opportunity to organize my life! HA! HA!

Have a great rest of the day....sorry this is all I had time for!



Friday, August 22, 2008

Fabulously Frugal Friday (and Saturday and Sunday!)

Here is a short list of fabulous things to do through the weekend that won't dig into your pocketbooks too deep. Enjoy!

#1 Urbana High School Gridiron & Fish Fry - Friday, August 22 - 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Urbana High School Football Stadium - Michigan & Race streets, Urbana, IL 61801
Price: Free Admission; Food & game prices vary

GRIDIRON '08 - Urbana High School Football season kick-off event!Freshman vs. Sophomore scrimmage at 6:30Varsity scrimmage at 7:45Menu: Fish sandwich, pork chop sandwich, cheeseburgers, walking tacos, lemon shake-ups, frozen treats, popcorn, fruit kabobs, puppy chow
Events: Football Toss, 3-Point Basketball shoot, Bag Toss, Face Painting

*All proceeds benefit Urbana High School Organizations*

#2 Sangamon River Music Festival, Mahomet - August 22 - August 23, Friday 5:30-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm

Location: Downtown Mainstreet, Mahomet, IL
Contact Info: 217-586-4456

FREE 2 day Music Concert (food, beverages, merchandise, & games have nominal cost)

Event Details:
Bring the kids, your lawn chairs, and join us and your neighbors for 2 days of great FREE music, a parade (incuding a pet parade), bicycle rodeo, kids games, arts and crafts, food (including the traditional American Legion Fish Fry Friday night), and our second annual beer tent. Friday August 22nd at 5:30pm the Sangamon River Music Festival kicks off with Blues Deacons jamming on the Mahomet Village bandstand. Pop Rocks takes over playing from 8pm until 10pm.Saturday August 23rd at 10am, the festival continues with a downtown parade. The parade finale shows off owners and their dogs guaranteed to be a hoot.

Immediately following the parade, the Village of Mahomet Police department will host a bicycle rodeo for Safe Routes to School at Sangamon Elementary School blacktop.Meanwhile at the village bandstand, the Brat Pack will rock out the Music festival starting at 11am. Fuedin' Hillbillies will follow. Next, the band, Live Karaoke will let you come up on stage to be a rock star yourself. The evening concludes with one of Champaign County's most beloved bands... Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets! This is one of the last remaining free music concerts in the state. Bring a lawnchair and enjoy some truly talented musical artists. There is something for the entire family!!!

#3 Urbana Sweetcorn Festival - August 22 - August 23 - 5:00 P.M. - 11:00 P.M. Friday & 11:00 A.M. - 11:00 P.M. Saturday

Location: Downtown UrbanaMain & Race Street, Urbana

Contact Info: 217-344-3872

Price: Free

Event Details:

The 33rd Urbana Sweetcorn Festival is taking place on August 22nd and 23rd in the heart of downtown and it promises to be even more exciting than last year’s! This annual event has become the largest festival in Champaign County, marking the official cap-off to summer. The main course: hot, steaming ears of sweetcorn! The festivities kick off on that Friday at 5:00 pm and will last until 11:00 pm that night as well as all day Saturday from 11:00 am until 11:00 pm.

Bring your family and friends, enjoy food, music, and more fun than you can handle. Activities range from a petting zoo and pony rides, to a rock climbing wall and paintball, as well as arts and crafts. The ever-popular Motor Muster will take place on Saturday from 10:30 am until 4:00 pm. This premier antique auto show is featuring a decade-by-decade of Buicks back to 1908. This year’s festival boasts a new addition! The Henry Ford Museum’s Ford Rouge Factory Tour will be offering a mini-tour of the actual factory and plenty of interactive features all bottled into one mobile 46-foot trailer that resembles the F-150 pick-up truck.

In addition to the attractions, there will be plenty of great food and merchandise from more than a hundred venders. This event will be offering live music such as blues, salsa, rock, and much more on three stages, with all three stages going live Friday and Saturday nights. So come August 22nd, make your way to downtown Urbana, grab some hot, delicious, buttery sweetcorn, and enjoy the festivities. It will have you saying, “How sweet it is!”

#4 The Great Giveaway - August 23 - 7:30am - 11:30am

Location: Philo Road Church of Christ, 2601 South Philo Road, Urbana

Phone: 217-344-1659

Event Details:
The Philo Road Church of Christ is hosting it's 23rd Annual Great Giveaway on Saturday, Aug. 23rd from 7:30am to 11:30am. Garage sale items will be given to the community FREE of charge. The church asks that you take only what you need and do not resell what you take. This will allow the church to serve as many people as possible. The community may donate to this effort from Thursday, Aug. 21st through Friday, Aug. 22nd from 8:30am to 6:00pm. We ask that all donated items be clean and/or in good working condition. For additional details contact the church at 217-344-1659.

#5 Champaign County YMCA Gymnastics & Tumbling Demo - August 23 - August 28

Days of Week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday

Location: Champaign County YMCA, Fitness and Family Center Gymnastics, 707 N Country Fair Drive, Champaign, IL

Phone: 217.239.2808

Event Details:

Who: Youth ages 12 months and upWhat: Come experience a “sample” class in gymnastics or tumbling FREE.When: August 23rd and August 25th – 28th (see below for times)

Where: Fitness and Family Center gymnastics area, contact Gymnastics Director, Julie Cross, at 217.239.2808

Why: Take part in demo classes that are FREE for kids and get a chance to register for Fall * Pre-registration is required however this is a FREE program. Register in person or online at
Saturday – August 23rd
9:00 – 9:20am Parent/Child Gymnastics ages 12 months – 3 years
9:20 – 9:40am Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
9:40 – 10:00am Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
10:00 – 10:30am Tumblebugs (Boys and Girls Tumbling 4-7 years)
10:30 – 11:00am Tumbling (Boys and Girls Tumbling 8 years and up)
11:00 – 11:30am Butterflies (Girls Gymnastics 5-7 years)
11:30 – 12:00pm Ladybugs (Girls Gymnastics 8 years and up)

Monday – August 25th
4:00 – 4:30pm Butterflies (Girls Gymnastics 5-7 years)
4:30 – 5:00pm Butterflies (Girls Gymnastics 5-7 years)
5:00 – 5:30pm Tumblebugs (Boys and Girls Tumbling 4-7 years)
5:30 – 6:00pm Tumblebugs (Boys and Girls Tumbling 4-7 years)
6:00 – 6:30pm Butterflies (Girls Gymnastics 5-7 years)
6:30 – 7:00pm Tumblebugs (Boys and Girls Tumbling 4-7 years)

Tuesday – August 26th
4:00 – 4:30pm Tumbling (Boys and Girls Tumbling 8 years and up)
4:30 – 5:00pm Cheer Tumble (Boys and Girls Tumbling 8-11 years)
5:00 – 5:30pm Ladybugs (Girls Gymnastics 8 years and up)
5:30 – 6:00pm Ladybugs (Girls Gymnastics 8 years and up)
6:00 – 6:30pm Cheer Tumble (Boys and Girls Tumbling 12+ years)
6:30 – 7:00pm Tumbling (Boys and Girls Tumbling 8 years and up)

Wednesday – August 27th
4:00 – 4:20pm Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
4:20 – 4:40pm Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
4:40 – 5:00pm Inchworms (Parent/Child Gymnastic 12-24 months)
5:00 – 5:20pm Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
5:20 – 5:40pm Caterpillars (Parent/Child Gymnastics 2 years)
5:40 – 6:00pm Fireflies (Boys and Girls Gymnastics 4-5 years)
6:00 – 6:20pm Grasshoppers (Parent/Child Gymnastics 3 years)

Thursday – August 28th
5:00 – 5:30pm Dragonflies (Boys Gymnastics 5-7 years)
5:30 – 6:00pm Yellow Jackets (Boys Gymnastics 8 years and up)
6:00 – 6:30pm Dragonflies (Boys Gymnastics 5-7 years)
6:30 – 7:00pm Butterflies (Girls Gymnastics 5-7 years)

#6 Cops For Kids - Caleb Roch Softball Fundraiser - August 24 - 1:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Location: Emmerson Dexter Field, Kenwood Road, Champaign
Contact Info: 217-637-6054

Event Details:

Come out Sunday afternoon August 24th from 1 - 5 pm to Emmerson Dexter Field in Champaign to help raise money for the Champaign Cops for Kids - Caleb Roch Fund. Caleb was a part of the Champaign Police department family and was killed in a motorcycle accident June 18th, 2008. There will be a softball game starting at 1:30 as well as food, drinks, raffle, 50/50, and lots of prizes. A new Kenmore gas grill, as well as a pair of tickets to a 2008 Cubs/Cardinals game at Wrigley will be auctioned during the event. Come out and help support a good cause. For more information call Sheila at 637-6054.

#7 Golden Apples In The Orchard - August 24 - 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Location: Curtis Orchard, 3902 S. Duncan, Champaign

Contact Info: 217-244-9110

Event Details:
Enjoy an afternoon of free music, refreshments and family activities at Golden Apple Central Illinois' "Golden Apples in the Orchard" event being held on Sunday, August 24 from 2-5 PM in Curtis Orchards at 3902 S. Duncan Road in Champaign. Meet the 2008 winners and nominate your favorite teacher for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching

#8 U of I YMCA Dump and Run Sale - August 23, August 24, August 25

Where: UI Stock Pavilion, 1402 W. Pennsylvania Ave., U
Saturday Aug 23, 2008 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday Aug 24, 2008 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Monday Aug 25, 2008 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Description:8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 23 ($2 admission); noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 24 (free admission); 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 25 ($3 bag sale). Everything free from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Aug. 25. Furniture, dishes, glassware, books, rugs, small appliances, computers, mirrors, clothing, office supplies, toiletries, bikes and more. Want to shop early. Volunteer. E-mail or call Becca Guyette at or 337-1500.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My prayers have been answered!

School officially started today - AMEN! I love my children and I miss them when I'm at work, and the lack of structure this summer made our evenings HELL! I tried my very best to structure their day with the babysitter, making up a chore list, giving them homework to work on, creating a calendar of things to do within our town......but it was summer and towards the end I gave up on all of that!

Some things I figured out this summer are.....

#1 It's wonderful when your children are all of age to participate in activities. This was the first summer that both of our boys were able to do t-ball/baseball, VBS, summer camps, etc. and it was awesome!

#2 My little community offered a ton of things this summer and I was happy to have my children participate. Many of the programs at the library were free, the VBS's offered at the various churches were free and awesome, and the summer camps were inexpensive - and really brought family together. My husband and I happily participated in the basketball camp with both of our sons and I must say.....I've still got game! ha!

#3 The jury is still out on having our children stay at home with a sitter during the summer. I thought it would be great to let them sleep in, play in the neighborhood with their friends, enjoy our home.....but it was really tough. Our sitter was great and took them to many, many things - but the kids got sick of each other, they didn't help keep the house picked up, they ate us out of house and home, they really didn't get outside and play, and there was a lot of TV watching and video game playing ALL DAY.

Okay....summer is over and school has started.....have I mentioned that already?

Both of our boys have been fighting a lot lately and I know that they are just tired of seeing each other every day - they're 23 months apart, so pretty close in age, and they have very different personalities. So last night you can imagine my surprise when my parents kept our youngest son because kindergarten doesn't start until Friday and both of the boys missed one another. THEY MISSED ONE ANOTHER!!!! I know that the moment they're in the house together again it will be back to the fighting and yelling that we've grown accustomed to, but for a mere moment - I felt their love for one another. A mom takes what she can get right?!

Well, tomorrow begins the full day of school for our oldest son - so I have to remember to pack his lunch tonight. For some reason he announced that he wants to take his lunch every day - I like to think that it's because I pack the best lunches.....but I have a feeling it's because he can eat a lot faster and get outside to the playground before the kids waiting in the hot lunch line. Grrr....I don't mind packing lunches, however, it's nice to have a little break from it now and then!

Friday is kindergarten for my baby.....and he is so ready. I'm not sad about it, lots of moms I have talked to are really having a tough time with I feel a little bad for saying that. But he's ready, we have the same teacher that our oldest son had and I love her, I love their school, I know he's going to love I'm okay with it. I don't want them to grow up too quickly, but I'm enjoying each new stage and yes, I loved having them as babies, but I really love watching them develop into their own individual self.

Well, for now, summer is over and our lives can return to normal.....until Christmas break at least! Amen!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fashionably Frugal Fridays

This is going to be a regular post for me - free or low-cost things that you can do over the weekend. Whether it be with your family or going out with friends. I'm all about being frugal, but I'm all about being fabulous it won't be your run of the mill stuff here!!! ; )

Everything I post will be within Champaign County, unless there is something worth driving too outside of this area.

1. Free Art Exhibit at Pages For All Ages, 1201 Savoy Plaza Lane, Savoy

Various dates from Friday, Aug 1, 2008, to Tuesday, Sep 30, 2008 - An art Exhibit of Photography by Larry Pegram and Paintings and Drawings by Michael Owen Thomas, Aug. 1through Sept. 30. Open during store hours. Free. For more information call 351-7243, or visit

2. Used Book Sale at St. Joseph Township Library, St. Joseph

The St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library announces its Summer Used Book Sale. The book sale will begin Monday, Aug. 4, and run until Aug. 28. Paperbacks are 25 cents, hardbacks are 50 cents, Magazines 10 cents. Audio books, CDs and videos, $1 each. Adult fiction, non-fiction, romance, biography, large print, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, adventure, horror and western, children's fiction and non-fiction. The sale will run during normal library hours: 3 to 8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 1 to 7 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. For information call 469-2159.

3. Ice Cream Social, Tolono Methodist Church, Tolono, Friday 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Tolono United Methodist Church's Annual Ice Cream Social. Donations will be taken at the door. Menu items include BBQ Sandwiches, Egg Salad Sandwiches, Hot Dogs, Cole Slaw, Chips, Desserts, Drinks and, of course, Ice Cream. The event is open to the public.

4. Homeless Animals Day, Saturday 7 a.m. - 12 p.m., Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana

Twelve animal welfare agencies from the Central Illinois Animal Welfare Coalition will host booths at Market at the Square, the weekly farmers' market held in Urbana. Agency representatives will be on hand to provide information detailing the services they provide and the type of animals that they help. If temperatures aren't too high, adoptable animals will also attend the event with the hope of making a connection with that special someone. Children can learn about pets through fun activities. The event is intended to raise awareness of the plight of homeless animals, and to spotlight the work that animal welfare agencies do to find those animals new homes.

5. Downtown Festival of Arts, Champaign, Saturday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Join us for the fifth year of this growing festival in the heart of Downtown Champaign. Explore the culinary and artistic flavors of the downtown community as you stroll the streets and view juried works by fine artists from both near and far. Take in the performing artists and musicians as you dine and help your children create their own fine creations in our Little Artist Tents. For more information call 398-2550, or visit

6. Music! Music!, Urbana Free Library, Saturday 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Performance and presentation by students from The University of Illinois as they showcase instruments such as the harp, cello, piano, flute and mbira (an instrument of Zimbabwe)! Children of all ages are invited to this free program. (Children 7 and yunger must be accompanied by an adult.) No registration. Call 367-4069 or visit

7. "In Field Fly", Frank Elliott Air Field, Rantoul, Saturday 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

An airplane will fly over the baseball field dropping hundreds of baseballs towards designated "dug-outs." The ball that lands in, or closest to each of the "dug-outs" will win a generous cash prize. There will be "cheeseburgers in paradise" and beverages. The Boat Drunks will perform from 5 to 9 p.m. All proceeds will go towards the tuition assistance fund at St. Malachy school. Everyone is invited to attend. Baseballs will be sold for $50 each. Admission to The Boat Drunks is $5, children 12 and under are free.

8. Parking Lot Party, Bunny's Tavern, 119 W. Water, Urbana, Saturday 7 p.m.-11 p.m.

Live music by Candy Foster and the Shades of Blue in the parking lot next to Bunny's tavern from 7 to 11 p.m. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy the music. No cover charge.

9. Lu & Denny's 48th Annual Bash, Route 45, Tolono, Saturday 4 p.m. - 1 a.m.

Food, music, and fun - Visions 'n Vibrations starting at 9 p.m. and keeping you dancing until 1 a.m. No cover charge.

10. Fighting Illini Fan Appreciation Day, Sunday 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

The University of Illinois football team will host is annual Fan Appreciation Day at Memorial Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 17 from 1-2:30 p.m. Along with Coach Zook and the more than 100 players that make up the football roster, the Fighting Illini volleyball team will be out to greet the Illini faithful. The event is free of charge and fans attending the event should enter the field through the Horseshoe on Kirby Ave.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Resources to help you make ends meet

My husband and I are both employed full-time, have manageable bills, limited debt, and are generally very careful with our expenses. However, we find ourself stretched each month financially and I can only imagine what it would be like to have a disability where you are unable to work, or working multiple jobs in order to make ends meet. Our economy has been declining so much and with the costs rising - life is tough to say the least.

I am pretty good about bargain shopping, clipping coupons and getting our groceries for less than what I budget for, and finding resources for others that are in serious need. With that, I would like to share my knowledge with you and hope that it helps you where you need it.

1. In several articles I have read about families struggling to make ends meet and how they were able to put food on their tables I have seen mentioned Angel Food Ministries This organization will provide you with several staple items for $30.00. You can add items to their basic list for about $20.00. Visit their website to see where you can locate this service in your area. The items they provide will help feed a family of 4 for about a week.

2. Coupons......oh how I love finding the best deal on everyday items that I use. Last week I bought Dawn dish detergent for $0.33 and Tide for $3.97.....both of these items are considered luxury items to me because I tend to use more inexpensive brands, however with sales and coupons combined I "treated" myself. I will begin posting a blog this week with coupons you can get out of the Sunday newspaper or online and compare them with items that are on sale locally. It helps to be organized and if I can do a lot of the foot work for you - I'm happy to!

3. Freebies.....I love, love, love getting freebies! I have two freebie websites that I look at atleast once a week - and I get free samples of hair stuff, snack foods, etc. and these samples have helped between shopping trips for things like shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

And I've received full size products for last night - I had received a coupon for a free box of Uncle Ben's Rice which I "bought" this weekend. I made a meal out of the cajun rice, sausage, green pepper, onion, can of diced tomatoes, and I made cheesy garlic biscuits and the cost of the meal broke down like this....

Sausage $1
1/2 green pepper $0.25
1/2 onion $0.25
Diced Tomatoes $0.44
Bisquick Biscuits $0.50

For our family it cost me $2.44 for this meal and there was a little left over for Randy to take for lunch today and I must was really good!!!

4. Freecycle This is a great little site I have found where people post things that they're getting rid of or a wish list of things that they need and everything is free. We had a computer desk, an old lawn mower, some patio furniture, and other big items that we wanted to get rid of and I posted them out there and within seconds they were all taken and within days they were out of our hands and into someone else's that could use them.

These are just a few of the many tips I am going to share with you. I hope that my savvy in saving money will help you during these tough times with our economy.

Have a wonderful day!


And so it begins.....

I'm a blogger, I blog, this is my blog. Last night I went for a run and while running I was thinking about what I could possibly offer to those that look at my blog. I'm a small town girl, I am a wife, mother, work full-time, and day to day my life isn't that exciting. I think a lot of us can find ourselves in that simple story.

As a wife and mother I think that I can provide you with stories that will help you find humor in our day to day life. And maybe we can help each other get through some of the tough transitions. One of which we are getting ready for, our baby is going to kindergarten.....whaa!

Because I run a household today's bleak economy I find myself clipping coupons, shopping sales, finding resources that will help us have a little breathing room after all the bills are paid. And I think that through my blog I will offer up some suggestions, tips, etc., that might help you in your current situation.

So, here I am - an Illinois Girl taking the first step in offering up my life so that you can see that you are not alone in the tough times, so that you can find humor in the normal day to day madness, and so that I can feel like I'm Carrie Bradshaw.....ha!