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!