Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Millie

It has been scheduled.....the last moments that I will spend with my dog Millie.....I'm so heartbroken. Here is our story.

One Sunday in March 1998, my then fiance Randy and I got into a fight - over what, I don't know...who knows - what did we have to fight about before children? Back then when we would get into a fight I would go for a drive, I don't do that now because it would require loading up the kids, probably have to stop at McDonald's for a snack, and I would have to listen to them fight over what they wanted to listen to on the not as relaxing as it once was! ha!

Anyway, I went for a drive and ended up at the local humane society. I wandered through the rooms looking at the animals and they were all barking, jumping, and saying "look at me, look at me" - very heartbreaking. I turned a corner in one room and there was this silky white dog with a little bit of black and brown on her face just sitting in the middle of her cage with her head cocked to the side as if she was saying "Hello". My heart melted, I could tell right away that she was a sweet dog and when I read her information she was a year and 3 months, good with kids, other dogs, etc., and was given up because she wouldn't hunt? Well, I didn't need a hunting I took her for a walk, played with her for a bit, and fell in love.

We had a Great Dane at the time and before they would let me adopt her, we had to do a meet and greet with the two dogs. Our Great Dane was not easy to get along with and I worried that she wouldn't get along with this dog, amazingly enough she did. The two of them would grow to be great buddies and would play for hours together.

This dogs name at the shelter was Millie and I just liked it, so I kept it for her. I can't imagine her as anything else but Millie. She is an English Setter mix and has been a wonderful addition to our whole family.

When my grandmother was alive, I would take Millie over there and my grandma would just pet her and love her - Millie is very gentle. In the 11 years we have had her, she's never bared her teeth, growled, or anything along those lines.

My mom, who is not a pet person, loves Millie, and so does my dad. They just think she's the perfect dog. We had to live with them for a few days between selling/buying our first and second homes and I would come home to find Millie down at the lake with my dad - both of them just as happy as could be!

When the children were born, she never bothered their toys or them for that matter. She would quietly sit in the room with me while I fed them, as they got older she would wait under their highchairs knowing that they would eventually drop something for her.

In the past few years, Millie has slowed down, and the past 6 months - her health has been getting worse and worse. This fall she had a seizure in front of my husband and we thought she had died, we changed her food, I even cooked for her for awhile.....but she's had others since then. She is unable to control her bowels anymore, and I know it embarrasses her. She's having difficulty getting up and down the two little steps it takes for her to go outside. And now that she's 12, the veterinarians are telling us, there's not much that can be done for her.

We are trying to prepare the children for this, I read them the Rainbow Bridge story last night and could barely make it through without sobbing. I told them that we are going to write stories about her and draw pictures for her. And we will pick out a memorial for her to put in our yard, maybe a little bench or something to put in the garden where she would shake and whimper every time she saw a bunny or a squirrel.

Little did I know that almost 11 years ago I would meet the sweetest, most lovable dog in the world and that she would save me more than I saved her. I thank God everyday for the blessings in my life, and that includes Millie, and always will.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What are you giving up?

I am Catholic and yesterday being Ash Wednesday kicked off the Lenten Celebration that will continue for 40 days until Easter. During that time we try to focus on sacrifices and without getting too religious and sparking debate, we give up something during that time. Well, I can't decide what to give up and Ash Wednesday has passed.

My children said they would give up candy....I doubt that will actually happen given they have a birthday party this weekend and several others during the 40 days. I read yesterday where Amy at issued a no-spend challenge for her and her family during the month of February and others have joined. This means - outside of food, gas, and utilities - no spending. No new clothes, no eating out, no impulse purchases at the grocery store, no birthday gifts, no nothing.....she is using her own resources to fill these "voids" - handmade gifts, homemade "take out" food, etc. I jumped on the bandwagon for this thinking that I could totally give up extra spending for Lent.....then I jumped off.

Is it fear? If so, what am I afraid of? I don't spend extra really, well, not all the time, but I am already very frugal - could I just make "Watching my spending even closer" my sacrifice versus "No extra spending" - it seems so final, so rigid, so not possible! How about I could give up spending any money on extra stuff Monday thru Thursday?

I don't know what I'm giving up yet, I'm hoping at some point during the 40 days I will figure it out.....I know I have the option of doing more of something - and there again I struggle because don't I do enough already?

As a side note....I didn't spend any money yesterday AND I went to the mall on my lunch hour and walked out of Victoria's Secret with a new pair of underwear and a small thing of lotion.....I had coupons for both and I practically skipped to the car because I was so excited! The sales lady did her very best to sell me a bra to go with the underwear, but even with my $10 off coupon, the bra was $19.50 and I couldn't justify it....I'm happy with my Wal-Mart Hanes Her Way Bras at $9! ha!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Week 2 - $75 Week Grocery Challenge

Okay....I am in week 2 of the $75 Week Grocery Challenge and here are the results for this week!

Dozen & a half Eggs $2.00

Total - $2.13

County Market -
Cinnamon Chex $2.99
Trix (the result of having a little one with me!) $2.79
Fiber One Shredded Wheat $2.50
4 28 oz. cans Hunts Tomatoes $3.96
3 15 oz. cans generic Tomatoes w/ chiles $1.98
2 45 oz. containers Ragu Pasta Sauce $3.92 w/ store coupon
Can of Beef Gravy $0.99
Juicy Juice Grape Juice (again...little one!) $3.29
HomeLife 8-roll Paper Towels $4.99
1.81 lbs. Grapes $1.79
1 donut (again, never take children shopping with you) $0.68
2 gallons skim milk $3.98
3 8oz. Borden Shredded Cheese $6.00

Cinnamon Chex Coupon -$0.75
Fiber One Coupon -$0.75

Total - $39.01

Frozen Strawberries $2.39
Frozen Mangoes $1.69
20 Yoplait Yogurts $10.00
Cascade Dishwashing Detergent $3.59
Popsicles $2.50
Clearance Valentine's Frog Candy (for Easter baskets) $0.98
Yoplait Yogurt Coupons -$2.00
Cascade Coupon -$1.00

Total - $18.61

So, with $15.25 remaining in my budget and all of the stuff I was able to get last week during my first week of the challenge - I don't think I will have to use the rest. I am stocked up on all of the essentials for a little while and surprisingly, I am finding that by being organized, planning out menus, and going in with a list - I am not wondering down each aisle thinking "Do we need that?", "Did I just use the last of that?", and I'm not over buying.

Good luck with your shopping!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Munchies

My co-worker Sheryl always brings me the neatest cookbooks to look through and this morning was no exception, she brought me Taste of Home Casseroles, Slow Cooker & Soups to look through. All of my great buys last week on meat has left me with menu planning and I didn't do any of that this weekend - so her timing was perfect!

There are some great main dish recipes that are in this, but for a change I thought I would share with you a side dish recipe.....because aren't we always looking for a good side dish?

This one is simple, easy, and can be done in the crock pot! Enjoy!

Creamed Corn

2 pkg. frozen corn (one 16 ounces and one 10 ounces)
1 pkg. cream cheese (8 ounces), softened and cubed
1/4 c. butter, cubed
1 Tb. sugar
1 tsp. salt

In a 3 qt. slow cooker coated with cooking spray, combine all ingredients. cover and cook on low for 3 to 3-1/2 hours or until cheese is melted and corn is tender. Stir just before serving.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The mystery of the pants

Last night when we got home there were two pair of pants sitting by our front door. They are too small for Logan, but Noah will grow into them quicker than I want him to - so I put them on the shelf with the other "attic bound" clothes. No note, no phone call, no ideas.....but this is all a part of living in a small town.

I live in a community of about 3,000 people, I have family in this town, friends that I've known my whole life, and acquaintances that I know more about than I care to. And finding gifts on your front porch is something that is not uncommon here - you find clothes like I did last night, one time I found a big garbage bag of Barney VHS tapes because someone knew that Noah loved Barney and their child must have grown out of them, you will find tomatoes, corn, beans, etc. when gardens are overflowing with veggies, people look out for your kids, your pets, your house when you are out of town, and there is a real sense of community here.

I cannot imagine living in a city where I don't know my neighbors, everyone feels like a stranger, and the buildings around you seem bigger than the sky. Where I live there are corn fields, soccer/football/baseball fields, I can see my work from my kitchen window and it's a little over 10 miles building is reaallly big!, the tallest thing in my town is a grain bin in the middle of town and you hardly recognize it's there until it's harvest time and you can hear it running all hours of the day. I think it's so funny to try and give my friends directions in this town....the friends that have only lived here for two years or so, I say things like "Do you know where the old grade school was" or "Take a left at the corner by Smith's old house" - they have no idea what or who I'm talking about! ha!

We don't have a Starbucks on every corner, there are more taverns than I care to admit, there is one stop light, and the one thing that would make this town perfect is if someone would open up a hardware store again because it's inconvenient to go "to town" just to buy nails. What this town has to offer isn't convenience, it's community - and that's what I love the most. Now, I won't break into John Cougar Mellencamp's "Small Town" or anything, but the lyrics are very fitting for how I feel about my town.

And just think - two pair of mysterious pants made me think about all of this! ha! Have a great weekend!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Weekend Recipe

I found a fun recipe that I am going to try tonight and I think it will be fun for the boys to help me with it. Although, like Nicole at Here's The Diehl, I do find that cooking with the children never turns out like you imagine it would! But, I keep trying! ha!

I happen to have ground beef, Grands biscuits, taco seasoning, sour cream, and salsa on hand. I will make a run to the store for some shredded cheese...I still have $1.02 left in my $75 Weekly Grocery Budget and a coupon, so maybe I will be able to stay under the $75!


1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 package (1.25 oz) taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup water
1 can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded lettuce, if desired
1/2 cup chopped tomato, if desired
1/2 cup sour cream, if desired
1/2 cup salsa, if desired


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Brown ground beef in large skillet over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.

2. Add taco seasoning mix and water; mix well. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 10 minutes or until ground beef mixture is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, spray outside bottom and sides of 8 muffin tins cups lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Roll or pat each biscuit to form 4 1/2-inch round. Place rounds over outside of sprayed cups; press to fit over bottom and part way down sides of cups. Place cups, upside down, in ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

4. Bake at 375°F. for 14 to 16 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove pan from oven. Carefully remove biscuit cups from muffin tins. Place biscuit cups, right side up, in same baking pan and spoon beef mixture evenly into each cup.

5. Top with cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and salsa.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Random bits of life

#1 As a follow up to my "$75.00 weekly challenge" post - I finished my grocery shopping for this week and here are the results - I had $7.93 remaining in my $75.00 weekly budget and spent the following today:

$3.02 @ Schnuck's - 10 lbs. potatoes
$1.86 @ County Market - 2 boxes County Market Brand Mac & Cheese $0.29 per box
3.83 lbs. bananas for $0.33/lb.
$2.03 @ Walgreen's - 2 Yes To Carrots Lip Balms (-$4.00 Coupons)
Container Buffalo Wild Wing Pringles $0.45

This brings my total grocery expenses to $73.98 leaving me $1.02 in my budget to carry over to next week. My purchases at Walgreen's today were more of a luxury thing - I had the coupons for the lip balm and they were on sale, and then I'm a little stressed right now and reached out for the comfort food (i.e., salty chips) - however, they were on clearance for $0.45, and that my friends is cheap therapy!

So, pat me on the back for today....let's hope I can continue doing so well every week!

#2 I mentioned stress, well, now that I've eaten an entire container of Pringles....I think I have the strength to tell you. (Yes, judge me all you want, I ate the whole thing - as if you've never done that!) Our elderly dog Millie is sick again. We have gone through this several times with her and we have reached a decision that is so unbelievably difficult for me. I thought I had blogged about her before....apparently not. Well, Millie is our 12 year old dog that we got from the Humane Society. She spent her first year and three months with another family and then we found her and saved her and she has been the absolute best dog ever....even though she runs away a lot (she's a hunting dog, she can't help it!). Anyway, she has had arthritis issues, seizures, hearing loss, and now she is losing control of her bowels. I will post more about her at another time....right now it's just too hard.

#3 I have to figure out how to make our mornings less challenging....Logan was whining when he woke up, Noah was great, Logan ate his scrambled eggs without a peep, Noah threw a fit because they had the wrong kind of cheese....GRRR! I refuse to give up my preference on making them a healthy breakfast to start their day.

That's all I needed to get off my chest for the moment....hope your day is going well!


The Poopy Teach and Tell Project

My oldest son Logan has to do a two minute speech every Thursday in his first grade class. Toys, games, and other items of the sort a strictly have to teach your classmates something or relay some kind of educational information about something or somewhere.

This of course falls onto my shoulders. I have searched the internet far and wide for practical projects that my son could demonstrate in class and it's actually been quite fun - we've learned that Logan can make his own peanut butter sandwich, peel an orange, make his own microwave popcorn in a brown lunch bag, tie his shoes, make some fun green goo, etc. Well I had in my hands a recipe for edible playdough on Tuesday night and since Wednesday night is busy with religion class and this week an Illini game - Tuesday night is typically our night to create and/or practice our teach and tell - so I sat both boys down at the table armed with the ingredients -

Peanut Butter
Cocoa Powder
Milk Powder

There is a recipe that you could follow, but I just improvised given I didn't have as much of the stuff as it called for. We made do with what we had. You can also give the children nuts, raisins, dried fruit, etc. to make faces or other creations with your "dough".

I gave the children rolling pins, ice cream scoops, cookie cutters and for about 20 minutes they just played, laughed, snacked a little, etc. (BTW - this stuff is really yummy - my husband declined a taste test though.)

After the children were done, I took the empty peanut butter jar and put the "dough" in it and labeled it with Logan's name. I then looked at it looked like poop in a jar. I did not take a picture of it, but I guarantee you would agree with me. Logan and I got a good giggle out of this and I said "I can't send this with looks like poop in a jar!" - so I squeezed this out of the jar, which made us giggle even harder, and placed it in a Glad container thinking that it would look better in that.

I put together copies of the recipe for Logan to hand out to his class and sent him to school today with his Edible Playdough, a.k.a. The Poopy Teach and Tell, and I just know that during the course of his speech, he will tell everyone that it looks like poop. The joys of being the mother to boys - a girl would think it's gross, boys think it's funny!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mothering Boys

On a blog that I read every day....I have been placed under her "Oh boys" section and it got me thinking about mothering boys and what a challenge it is for me. So, I decided to blog about it because if you are a blogger, you know that this is therapy, cheap therapy!

When we were blessed with our first little boy, I was thrilled, I tried to teach him to be compassionate and thoughtful, but I also can be found teaching him how to dribble between his legs and how to hold a bat because I am kind of a tomboy - I like to think of myself as well rounded as a mother.

When we were blessed with a second pregnancy I seemed to fall into the mindset of everyone around us "Oh, it's a girl", "You are having a girl"......I went as far as buying lots of girls clothes and all of the little frilly things that go with it, but in the back of my mind, I wasn't sure about mothering a little girl. We went for the sonogram to reveal the sex of the baby and when she said it was a boy, I felt a little relieved - I knew boys, I had gone through almost two years raising a little boy, and it was familiar to me.

Now with both of my boys having grown to the ages of 7 and 5, I find that each day is a new challenge and our children are completely opposite of one another - so that alone poses a challenge in itself! Our oldest son, Logan, is emotional, caring, compassionate, thoughtful, shy and although he can be quite stubborn, he is a very sweet boy. Our youngest son, Noah, is very spirited, social, smart, comedic, and again, a bit stubborn, but very sweet. They clash a lot, but Logan is always watching out for Noah and Noah is always finding that when he's scared that his "bubby" is one of the first people he looks for. I have to keep reminding myself that my sister and I had a love/hate relationship when we were younger and today we are the best of friends - I hope the same for my children.

Like I said - there are challenges every day with the boys, although I have said they are not as emotional as girls, they do have their moments. They are emotional, spirited, complex, and some times they are just flat out confusing! But I know that despite the bad days when I feel like I've failed as a mother (we've all had those days), I know that I'm blessed because I get to raise to boys and hopefully can raise them to be good men. I just realized that I have said "I" and "Me" a lot - but my husband of course has been totally involved in rearing the children and has taught them a lot, but this post is about mothering! ; ) I just wanted to point out that my partner in all of this has been awesome!

So yesterday morning after an emotional morning with our oldest, I explained to them on the way to school that God gives us challenges and it's our job to figure out how to handle them. And there isn't anything that he gives us that he doesn't think we can't handle. And that there is a lesson in everything and what I had learned from our morning was that Logan only likes banana bread when it is in the form of a mini muffin and prefers to eat a more mature version of yogurt - not the one with Diego on it, he would prefer SpongeBob. After I dropped them off I felt like my words had flown over their heads and landed in someone else's car - but I had done my best to teach them.

When I picked the children up from their after school program Noah told me that one of his friends had choked him on the bus ride after school and that he had to push him to in order to save himself. We talked about it a little bit and Noah said "Mommy, I didn't want to push him, but I knew that God was challenging me and knew that I could handle it" - so it did land. Some times as a mother, or as a parent in general, our lessons may not have an immediate return or result - but in time you will see what your children have learned from you.

I know that I am blessed to be a mother to boys, it's a challenge that I know I have the ability to handle. I look forward to each stage in their lives and being a part of each moment. And I can't wait to see what kind of men that they grow up to be.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

$75.00 a week challenge

Okay, I am challenging myself.......I am setting my grocery budget for my family of 4 to $75.00 a week. In the past the weekly grocery shopping was double that, if not more - I tend to have my grandmothers mentality on this "you must be able to feed an army at a moments notice" - so our pantry/fridge/freezer is always full. Well, I've been inspired by so many to plan, be resourceful, and to make the most out of every morsel you have - so I've set this goal for myself and am really excited!

Like I have said in the past, I aspire to be one of those women that goes into the grocery store, loads the cart up with $200 worth of groceries and ends up paying $1.54. So I bought a binder and have transformed myself into one of those just makes me giggle because it excites me - organizing, saving money, couponing, etc. excites me! Oh my! ha! ha! But hey, I'm saving money, feeding my family, and am being if that's ridiculous, then so be it!

I don't have pictures of anything because I'm having technical difficulties with my camera - there is a memory card trapped in there with some great pictures, so I'm working on it! But here is a running total of my purchases for my inagural week of my $75 Challenge - just use your imagination to visualize the items! ha! ha!

Suave Mousse $1.34
Dr. Pepper 2 ltr. $1..25
5.76 lbs. Split Chicken Breast $5.70
7.42 lbs. Pork Roast $7.35

Suave Product Coupon -$3.00
Free 2-liter Dr. Pepper -$1.59
(I'm not sure why, but the store gave me the value of the coupon vs. the actual cost of the product?)
Total w/ tax: $11.36

2 Prairie Farms Orange Juice (1/2 gallon) $2.00
2 Prairie Farms Chocolate Milk (Pint)$2.00
3 New York Garlic Bread Sticks $4.98

3 New York Garlic Bread Coupons -$1.50
Total w/ tax: $7.59

2 Pillsbury Valentine's Ready to Bake Sugar Cookies $2.00
2 Starkist Tuna Pouches $1.86
2 Starkist Flavored Tuna Pouches $3.04

Coupon for Pillsbury Cookies -$0.75
4 Coupons for Starkist Tuna -$4.00
Total w/ tax: $2.22

Cascade Rinse Agent $3.74
2 lbs. Ground Beef $3.82
4 Chuck Roast Steaks $3.76
2.5 lb. Bottom Round Roast $4.79
4.44 lbs. Fuji Apples $4.44
Fresh Mushrooms $1.00
Fresh Broccoli $1.00
Crate of Tangerines $4.00
2 Quaker Rice Cake Tortillas $2.00
2 lbs. Baby Carrots $2.00
Green Giant Frozen Creamed Spinach $1.00
Green Giant Broccoli w/ Butter Sauce $1.00
Dog Rawhide $4.23
2 Meijer Brand Sandwich Bags $2.00
2 Meijer Brand Snack Bags $2.00
2 Gallons Meijer 2% Milk $4.00
4 Loaves Aunt Millie's Bread $5.00
2 Pkg. Angel Soft Toilet Paper $2.00

Green Giant Broccoli w/ Butter Sauce -$1.00
(Buy 10, Get 11th item free)
Coupon Green Giant Frozen Vegetables -$0.50
Coupon Green Giant Frozen Vegetables -$0.50
Coupon Quaker Rice Cake Tortillas -$0.50
Coupon Quaker Rice Cake Tortillas -$1.00
Coupon Cascade Rinse Agent -$3.74
Total w/ tax: $45.90

With $7.93 remaining, I still have to buy a 10 lb. bag of potatoes for $2.49 from Schnucks and bananas from County Market that are on sale for $0.39/lb. So overall, for my first week, I think I've done great! I am using supplies on hand of pasta, rice, etc. and as those things run out I will include them on future shopping trips. Hopefully I can stay on track as doing this will help me to meet other financial goals I have set for myself this year.

Take a good look at yourself

Right now I'm still sick and it's frustrating me.....I can't function when I'm sick, I don't have time to be sick.....but I'm sick! Grrr! It's more of a sinus/head cold combo now - the strep throat is gone and it's morphed into this - I'm dealing!

However, in my Dayquil/Green Tea/Amoxicillin fog, I have been taking a good hard look at my "goals" for the year and just seeing where I'm at in all of this. You have to check in with yourself every once in awhile and make sure you are on the right track - so that's what I've been doing.

#1 Pay off debt - I'm doing really well here, I have budgeted a little extra each month to go towards debt and it's paying off....ha! Literally paying off! I don't use credit cards, I am frugal with groceries, etc., I watch our money closely and one of our hurdles will be tackled at the end of this month it's working! We didn't create our debt overnight, so unfortunately, it won't be taken care of overnight - it will take some time, but there is a plan in place and I can see the end of it all - so that's definitely a step in the right direction!

#2 Lose weight/Exercise more - I have been able to lose weight since the holidays because I've been exercising more. I had every intention of running a marathon in April - I was cutting it close by having only 12-weeks to train and since I've been sick, I haven't run at all - so I'm thinking that I will only be able to run the half-marathon in April and will possibly attempt the Chicago marathon in October.....working in athletics means the Fall is a busy time with football, so I will have to check my schedule to see if it's possible. So I feel like I'm on track with this one - I'm hoping to lose a little more before the summer - I want to feel comfortable in my shorts/bathing suit/tank tops.

#3 Go green - I am proud to say that I've been doing well in this area. I've introduced organic foods into our husband wants to know what the difference is! ha! I have changed our soaps, lotions, and hair care products to more natural ones and have in fact noticed less itching in my scalp and my skin feels really good. I have made our laundry detergent and it works really well, no complaints from the hubby, and it's cheap! I am finding alternatives to harsh chemicals in our cleaning products and our house still smells nice! These are small changes, but they are something! Next task is to start getting serious about recycling!

#4 Be frugal - This kind of goes with #1 and #3......but it's more than just being smart with our money and finding alternatives to things in the store - it's figuring out how to plan your meals around what is on sale, whether or not your coupons will give you the best deal, and teaching your children and yourself that you are surrounding with resources that provide you with a good life without spending money every day. I have found beauty tips using household goods, craft ideas for my children by recycling toilet paper rolls, paper bags, etc., again, making my own household cleaners, and I am not as wasteful with things.

For instance, when we have apples that are starting to go soft - I know that nobody will eat them, so I peel them up, throw them in the crock pot with a little sugar and cinnamon and make applesauce that everyone likes. I make my own chicken stock with the split chicken breasts that are on sale for usually $0.99/lb. - and I use this in soups, stews, etc. I use our crock pot a lot - last night I stretched out a steak that would have barely fed the 4 of us at dinner - I put it in the crock pot with a can of baked beans, a cup of rice, a little water, some roasted red peppers, barbecue sauce, and some seasonings - it shredded up and we rolled it in tortillas. There was enough for dinner and lunches today for my husband and I.

I'm definitely learning how to be frugal and I really wish that I would have been practicing these things all along.....but it's better late than never right?

So take a good look at yourself today and your goals. Change things up if you need to and make sure you are on the right track. The security guard in our office said something to me yesterday morning that perked me up a little and made me giggle.....and I will say it to you today - "We are all in our places with fresh, shining faces" - happy Tuesday!


Friday, February 13, 2009

I am finally sick....blah!

I've had several friends lately with flu, strep, colds, etc. - and I've been a little full of myself thinking that it would eventually catch up with me. Well, the dull headache and scratchy throat that plagued me all day yesterday because more intense as the night wore on and I began having a deep cough and low-grade fevers.

So, a day off of work today, a trip to convenient care, and lots of rest for the weekend. Sorry honey, no kisses for you!

I am headed to 7:21 p.m. on a Friday night - not that I'm complaining! ha! ha!

Have a wonderful weekend and I hope you have a very Happy Valentine's Day!

Love - Angela

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How not to use coupons

That's right - I said "HOW NOT TO USE COUPONS". I am a smart person, but every now and then I do dumb I am admitting that to you right now. Here are my top 3 coupon mistakes.....learn from them!

#1 Make sure that you understand when Walgreens says it will give you $6.00 back when you buy a certain brand of razors and you have to buy 3, you should buy them all separately and not together. Not even if you are in a hurry and trying to run errands in a 45 minute time frame. Rather than getting $18.00 total, you will only get $6.00....DUH?!

#2 Make sure that the brand of jelly that is on sale matches the brand of jelly on your coupon. This will save you minor embarrassment at the checkout counter with 25 impatient people standing behind you.

#3 Make sure that you really look at the dates of the sales in the stores.....two of the stores in my hour typically run a special sale Thursday - Saturday and this week they changed it up on me and ran the special sale on Friday only....thus I was standing in line today trying to buy 4 of the sale items that don't go on sale until tomorrow. Again, embarrassing!

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And I survived another Monday......

Mondays are just crazy.....the kids go back to school, my husband and I head off to work, I have a laundry list of "to do's" for the week, speaking of laundry - there's laundry, dinners, lunches to pack, bills to pay, homework to do, blah, blah, blah. Well, I survived - we all did - and next Monday there is no school, so we won't have to survive another one for a little bit! ha!

The one light in my hula dancing. My beautiful friend Jill is super talented and has been hula dancing since she was 7 years old. She has formed a dance group between some of my other beautiful and talented friends and we get together every Monday night and perfect our routine. Last night I think we were all a little goofy and we were just cracking each other up! The camaraderie and laughter was much needed to close out a hectic day.

You know, there was a time when my kids were little and I felt so consumed by babies, diapers, feedings, working outside of the home, etc. - and I felt like I didn't have any good friends to lean on. I had my sister of course, thank goodness, but it's nice to have some good girl friends to lean on, be silly with, and just to know that there are people out there who relate to your situation. In the last year and a half I have met some of the most wonderful people and the great thing is that our husbands and children enjoy spending time together too! How lucky!

So I am holding up my coffee toast this morning to good family, good friends, and surviving another Monday! Cheers!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend Recap

Friday night/Saturday morning - RASCAL FLATTS! woo hoo! I was able to go to the Rascal Flatts concert on Friday night with some of my favorite people. It was a great time and Jessica Simpson opened for them.....UM, if she is overweight/fat/obese - then our countries standards for weight needs to change ASAP! She is great looking and put on a good show! Rascal Flatts, well, they were just okay......JUST KIDDING - the rocked and put on an AMAZING show! Totally worth the money for floor seats!

Afterwards I chauffeured my friends around so they could drink and have a good time and we ended up staying out until 3:00 a.m. - we were talking, being silly, dancing on bars....all completely innocent! ha! ha! I happily delivered them safely home and never once regretted losing a few hours of sleep to make more memories with my girls!

Saturday.....aah, a lazy day! Noah got a chance to go to a friends house and spend the day - he just really enjoys getting to do stuff like this because he's seen his older brother do this and wants so badly to grow up. Randy and Logan ran some errands, got their hair cut, etc., and I relaxed and did some things around the house. I made a big batch of soup and we just relaxed and kicked back in the evening. It was great! I didn't ever take a nap like I thought I would, but I did get to lay around a bit and enjoy the quiet.

Sunday - what a beautiful day! I was supposed to get 10 miles in, well, I did 5 miles - there was a little incident with "black ice" and I slipped and hurt my back, so I cut my run in half - but TOTALLY loved running outside - I definitely run faster outside and the fresh air was great! So I got that done, sent Randy to the Illini game, sent the boys outside, continued to do a few things around the house, then we had a birthday party to go to with our friends - kind of our first "Sunday dinner" of the year.

It was a great weekend, but I definitely feel like I was hit by a truck due to the lack of sleep on Friday! But again, it was worth it! ; )

Hope you have a great week!


P.S. My favorite quote from the weekend: in response to Noah going to his friend Abel's house on Saturday I said "Now all we need is someone named Cain and Moses to stop by" - ha! ha! I crack myself up!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rascall Flatts, Jessica Simpson, 6 good friends, and a pair of red high heels.......

'nuff said! I'm looking forward to going to the concert tonight with some of my good friends, listening to some great music from our FLOOR SEATS, wearing my hot new top and my red high heels, and taking a break from the stresses of life.

After that - it's typical weekend stuff, laundry, vacuuming, get the boys' hair cut, take Noah to a play day, church, gathering with friends for a birthday celebration, Illini game.....but for tonight - for a few hours, I'm going to let my hair down and kick up my heels a bit!

Have a wonderful weekend and send prayers my way that I survive my 10 mile run on will be my longest in the training so far! EEK!



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Running Update

Okay, for those of you that don't know already....I'm training for a marathon in April. I'm a jogger, not fanatical at all, but this has been a goal of mine for some time - so I'm doing it!

Last night was my long run for the week - 6 miles - and not being a fanatic of running and not loving the treadmill training right now, I start to talk myself out of it during the run because I get tired or because I feel like I need to be doing laundry or something. At 1.5 miles I started thinking of the things I could be doing, at 3 miles I started thinking "this is where I would be if I were only training for the half-marathon, maybe I should do that instead", at 4 miles I thought "I'll just stop at 4.5 miles - that's good enough right?", at 4.5 miles I thought "Geez, I only have a mile and a half to go - finish it up slacker!", and at 6 miles I put my hands up and did a victory dance, then I realized on race day, I would have 20.2 more miles to go. HA! HA!

I am still at a 13 minute mile, that's been the consistent time for me and honestly I don't think that's bad at all! I'm doing sprints and rest periods in between my jogging trying to build up my endurance. And I downloaded a workout through NikeFit from Jean Benoit - it's 30 minutes of music and her talking to you to check your form, etc. and it really forces you to pick up the pace a bit and pay attention to what you're doing. I am supposed to do a 10 mile timed run on Sunday and am hoping that the weather cooperates and that I can do it outside vs. on the treadmill, I don't love running on the treadmill and am anxious to see if I do better outside.

My husband asked me last night "Why again do you want to run a marathon?" - and I simply replied "Because I can", at least I think I can. I do have Lupus and it does affect my joints, in addition to that I have a degenerative disk disease in my lower spine, for a few years all of my doctors and physical therapists told me that I wouldn't run anymore - something I had grown fond of in the summer of 2006. Then in September/October of 2008 I went through physical therapy through a spine clinic and the therapist showed me how to correct any back pains and how to hold myself differently when I walked. He also said "I don't see why you can't run" and with that simple statement I started to feel the itch to hit the road again. The marathon seemed to be motivation for me to actually start up again.

I know it's going to be tough and I continue to try and talk myself out of it.....because I don't LOVE it yet, because of the cold weather, I'm on a treadmill in my house where the kids can come to me to tie their shoes, or to fix a broken game controller, Randy can bring me the phone when someone calls, and I hear the laundry calling me. I know once I hit the road and feel the gravel under each step, breathe in the fresh air, and see the open road in front of me - I am going to love it. I have outside courses mapped out already and the first sign of warmth - I'll lace up my shoes and hit the road.

Happy running!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Yawn.....I'm tired!

You know, I just love having lots of fun stuff on the calendar, but it simply doesn't leave much time for sleep!

Friday night was our night to hang out at home and I did get some things done....but that was it!

Saturday started off with a bang - a birthday party for my youngest sons classmate Daisy. Two hours with 15 - 20 five year olds....WHEW! I had to run a few errands after that, eat lunch with the boys and Randy, then Randy and I had to get ready for a fund raiser for our high school Post-Prom. We had that function for 4 hours and then it didn't stop from husband was having a great time and didn't want to go home, so we headed to a local bar where it seemed like everyone had the same idea we did. It was lots of fun and for my husband, it was a little too much fun....he got a little tipsy! ha! He was funny and borderline obnoxious, so we headed home, where he proceeded to get sick....serves him right for not eating when I told him too! ha!

I was up taking care of my husband until 2:30 a.m., then my oldest son woke up because he had wet the bed - so I was changing sheets and cleaning that up, then when I finally laid down - Randy started to get sick again, UGH!!! I don't know how much sleep I got, but according to the dark circles under my eyes still wasn't much! I'm glad Randy had fun, he rarely over drinks like he did, and I'm glad that I could serve as his designated driver - he got home safely and that is very important! According to him he is never drinking again! ha! ha! (We've all been there honey and I'm not going to hold you to your words! ha!)

Sunday was fun....Randy had lots of guy things to do and I had a fun day planned with my boys. First thing on my list was a hike with our black lab, Lucy. With the winter cold, I feel like she doesn't get enough exercise as she needs, so the warmer weather gave me an opportunity to get her out and get some miles on my running schedule. It was fun and I know she enjoyed it!

Next on our list....ILLINI BASKETBALL! I was able to get two extra tickets to the game and took both the boys and my mom - the win was ugly, but the second half was very exciting and the boys got to see Michael Jordan, which is always fun. One day we will actually meet him - we've seen him about 6 times now - and pretty close up at the United Center game - I just keep holding out for the opportunity to finally introduce ourselves and snap a picture. Overall, super fun and despite the crowded entrance and exit - the boys had a good time and so did my mom!

Final thing on our schedule....SUPERBOWL PARTY! Since all of our guys were hanging together - my girls and I decided to have a party with us and the kids. The game was on, but I don't think we watched any of it - instead we refereed the children and ate TONS! ha! It was great to hang out with them and the kids always have fun together.

We headed home around 7:00 p.m. for a light dinner...apparently my kids didn't eat at the party...only me! ha! ha! So a quick soup and grilled cheese dinner it was! Then showers, a story about Abraham Lincoln, and then bedtime. I should have gone to bed then, but at the party, the girls and I had talked about scary movies and then scary real life I couldn't go to sleep until Randy was I finally got to sleep around 11:00 p.m.

WHEW! What a weekend! And Monday was just as crazy -- hectic morning, busy day at work, home for dinner, homework, and I had to get 3 miles in, shower, read the boys a little bit from Tales of Desperaux, Hula dancing from 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., get home and clean the kitchen a little more (my husband tries, but never fully cleans like I like it!), laundry (OH THE LAUNDRY), and finally sleep.

I often wonder before children, what I did with my time? I wouldn't change it for the world, but I would like to have a few more hours to do some much needed things like laundry and sleep! ha!

Hope you are having a wonderful week....don't forget to take time for yourself!