October 30, 2008

Channeling Martha Stewart and Roseanne Barr Simultaneously

I made yogurt! The two containers on the left are made with apricots, the pink stuff in the middle is mixed berries and bananas and the small one on the right is a little cup of plain I plan to use as a starter for my next batch!

Here's 2YO eating yogurt, but not the yogurt I made! Little weasel won't touch MY yogurt! She would, however, hold that spoon in her mouth as long as it took to take the picture without being asked.

12YO went to school as an angel today. It's funny...yesterday, she came home and told us that a boy at school said something to her. Am I a bad mom for thinking it's funny? He's her age, no older than 12. He told her she must "work at Subway, because she just gave him a FIVE DOLLAR FOOTLONG!" I just laughted out loud as I typed it. I gotta give that kid some props for creativity. Sorry, but I do! What I'm the most proud of is how 12YO handled it, though. She just walked away. She didn't take it too personally. She came right home and told us, which is always important. She didn't insult or aggravate him, which I totally would have done at her age! I just have to remind myself that she's in junior high now and she will be exposed to all sorts of people, their comments, and bad behavior in general. And she came out of this one like a champ.
If she handles the rest of her life this way, she'll be just fine.

Oh! And here's my homemade chicken broth. IN THE CROCK POT, of course! I'm pretty proud of me. I used to burn Kool-Aid, now I can make my own chicken broth! WOW. I even used a bit of it last night to make a chicken pot pie. But not in the crock pot. I had both crock pots working on my chicken broth and yogurt. This was the first time I realized that I might actually need MORE THAN TWO crock pots.
It's a sickness, I tell ya!
My chicken pot pie came out REALLY GOOD. 5YO (who is usually my picky eater) ate two big helpings of it. Then, she asked me if I could make this for breakfast and lunch too! We ate the entire 13X9 pan full of it. Next time, I think I'll try to make individual little pies for everyone. It wouldn't be any more complicated, just a few more dishes to do. I used the leftover chicken from my rotisserie-style chicken and a bad of frozen mixed veggies. I made my own soup base from my chicken broth, flour and milk. I've come to realize that I actually like to cook, I just hate measuring things. So, I just dumped stuff in until it looked and tasted right. I just mixed up some heart-healthy Bisquick and milk for the bread topping. I even sprinkled a little shredded cheddar cheese before I poured the topping on. It. Was. AWESOME.
Here's my yogurt before I mixed in the fruit. It actually tasted like plain yogurt, which I actually sort of like! I can eat it with fruit and need no sugar at all. I used to eat a half of a honeydew melon for breakfast and fill it full of nonfat plain yogurt. Mmmm.....
I woke up with a horrible headache this morning. However, that didn't stop me from spending three and a half solid hours in the kitchen. And no, I haven't started dinner yet! I need to get as much done as I can, as I have to check 5YO and 12YO out of school a few minutes early to get them to the dentist. After that, 12YO has to rush back to a school dance and she has cheer practice after that, which I have to be there for. LONG DAY.
I married a man that leaves his socks all over the place. You too? Good, then I'm not alone! However, he just pointed out to me this morning that it may not always be him. He told me that he saw Lily carry a pair of his socks down the hall and drop them in the middle of the living room. THAT'S RIGHT...HE'S BLAMING THE DOG NOW! Even if she is the one bringing them to the living room, where is she getting them from? The hamper in the hallway and his dresser drawers are the only places his socks should really be, and Lily can reach neither of those. She's also been known to steal the girls' socks and take them out into the backyard, but those weren't where they belonged to begin with either! Hmmmm...I'm noticing a pattern in my family....
Well, I'm off to start the race! Have a great one!

October 29, 2008

Okay..so I know I saw a Tuesday around here somewhere...where did it go?

Let's just say that my Tuesday was sort of a blur.
By the way, that picture up there is what you should be having for dinner this week. I must agree with the CrockPot Lady when she says that it " felt exactly like eating a bowl full of Fall." David kept telling me that it smelled like potpourri. And he kept eating it, even though he had some dental work done yesterday that might have made eating rice and sausage a tad bit uncomfortable. But, that didn't stop him from eating two big bowls of it. He liked it, I think.
I'm actually starting to think that this might be a good side dish for Thanksgiving. But, we already have so many side dishes at Thanksgiving and I don't see us giving up on any of them. My mom and I go crazy on Thanksgiving with the food! We go overboard, but that's okay. Because, the only thing that's better than Thanksgiving Day is THANKSGIVING LEFTOVERS!!! Mmmmm....
David had a dentist appointment yesterday and I had to go to the doctor. The doctor I was sent to for my knees is now sending me to a doctor to look at my spine. They say the numbness doesn't seem like it could be caused by my previously broken pelvis. So, I get to see ANOTHER DOCTOR that makes me feel silly for being there when his waiting room is full of elderly people in walkers and people who have been in horrific car accidents and such. You know, the people who REALLY NEED TO BE THERE. They still say that my symptoms are not your run-of-the-mill 'CLUMSY,' but nothing is clear right now.
Between appointments and cheer practice and putting dinner together, I barely had any time to relax. By the time we were home and ate dinner, I was ready to pass out. We went to bed at 10:00, although I think I heard David channel-surfing for at least another hour or so. We got a DVR for the living room and the digital cable box that was there was moved into our room. David now has WAY more channels to surf through and is in hog heaven. Luckily, he's on vacation this week and can keep odd hours. I hope he gets it out of his system this week because he's no fun when he has to work with very little sleep. Who is, though?
I have a huge mess to clean up around here. We were gone all day and most of the evening and it really shows. We make more of a mess on our way out and back in that if we'd stayed here all day. Plus, I think I want to try to make THIS today. Wish me luck! It's sort of a long process and I'm hoping that I have time to do it all if I start it soon enough. But first, I have some major cleaning to do in my kitchen! Other than the yogurt, I think it's 'leftover night.' YIPEEEEE!!! I love leftover nights!
Have a great day!

October 27, 2008

It's bound to be a light blogging week...

...because my husband is on vacation this week!
We have doctor appointments, dentist appointments, and Halloween festivities to prepare for. He always tries to take Halloween week off since he doesn't get off early enough to trick-or-treat with the kids otherwise! This way, he also gets to attend the class parties and the costume parade and all of that. Plus, 12YO has a dance this week and David loves to imply that he might chaperone the dance. Of course, he talks about being there wearing nothing but a wife beater, some ripped shorts and a five o'clock shadow....
Let's just say that 12YO isn't really open to that idea!
I am making THIS for dinner tonight, so I'd better get it going huh? I plan to make THIS with the remaining carcass and some veggies tonight. I'm so excited! How sad is that? I'm thrilled to be able to say that I can make my own chicken broth!
I need to get out more.
I have an idea for another hat I want to make. It's holiday-themed, and I'll just leave it at that. Well, I'm off to make dinner and get ready to take 2YO to the library...

October 25, 2008

Anyone hungry for cake?

This is my latest creation: The Birthday Cake Hat, from Itty Bitty Hats.
I absolutely love this book! The patterns are mostly simple yet so stinking adorable! I know a little girl that will be turning 1 this year and this hat is going to her. I was amazed at how quickly this thing flew off the needles! The toughest part for me was crocheting the icing. I haven't really crocheted in years and I was never that good to begin with. Fortunately, the icing doesn't have to be completely perfect for it to look adorable. But now, my crochet muscles are sore! Yes, there are crochet muscles. Didn't you know? There are certain muscles you use to knit, purl, crochet, and even to use my ball winder!
We have our last football game tonight. HOORAY!!! I would just like my Saturdays back please. Thank you.
Have a wonderful weekend!

October 22, 2008

A 2YOism for ya...

David is home today, an surprise day off! We've been busier than usual. Keeping 2YO's pants dry is a full time job on its own!

Speaking of 2YO....

I was putting on my makeup in my bathroom, getting ready to pick 5YO up from school. 2YO was doing that repetitive two-year-old annoying thing, opening and closing my bathroom door, over and over and over.

I sternly told her to stop.

She kept going.

I turned around (because it's next to impossible to put on mascara when the door mere inches behind you is opening and closing repetitively!) and swatted her on the back of her hand as I was saying 'STOP' one last time.

No tears, no arguments. Instead, she looks at her hand, looks up at me and says, "I'm going to go stand over here now." She steps a few feet in the opposite direction and stands up on a step stool.

After a few seconds, I notice that she's really studying me. She looks me in the eye and says, "Mom, your don't like kids" in the most matter-of-fact tone I'd ever heard her use.

Then she went about her day, as if all the mysteries of the world had just been solved.

October 21, 2008

What's your secret?

Do you even have a secret? What keeps you going?

I've been thinking a lot lately about all the woes, triumphs, details that go into doing what I do. I mean, not that what I do is anything magnificent or unique by any stretch of the imagination, but just getting by seems to take quite a bit of planning and elbow grease these days. How do you do it?

I've perused the web and found so many blogs of people who seem to have it all figured out. But do they? The ones who brag about their clean homes and genius children and their blissful marriages and inventive ways to make money...are they for real? If so, they need to stop bragging and start sharing their secrets. PRONTO!

I'm still not sold on the idea of 'having it all.' Everything comes at the cost of something else. Didn't we all take high school economics and learn that "There's no such thing as a free lunch?" (Actually, that's the only thing I remember about that semester. Really.) I mean, I know from my own experience that the days where my house stays cleaner are the same days that my children go ignored...or they're somewhere else entirely!

Ironically, while in the midst of typing this, I was folding clothes, refilling sippy cups of milk and juice for 2YO, preheating the oven to bake up a little batch of muffins and I ended up melting a whole loaf of bread (okay, the plastic bag the bread was in, not the bread) and almost setting a loaf of French bread on fire.) This appears to be one of those days where multi-tasking may not really be my strong suit!

I'm starting to feel like I have a few things figured out. And, as I'm getting the hang of things, something happens to make me land flat on my ass. Just a reminder that I will never have it all figured out, and maybe I probably shouldn't. I, for one, don't want the responsibility of having all the answers. Do you?

So, what makes you tick? What do you live for? Don't say 'MY KIDS'...please! While that is certainly an honorable notion, you cannot place that much responsibility on them. It's not fair. The source of your happiness cannot be them and them alone. That's too much pressure for someone who may have just gotten the hang of tying their own shoes or is trying to conquer long division.

I look at the Faith Hill video up there and I want so much to believe that her life is perfect. Married to a hot, successful guy...CHECK! Amazing career, with bountiful amounts of cash at her disposal...CHECK! Gorgeous....CHECK! Beautiful kids....CHECK! But, I have to remind myself that she is a woman who is married to a man. So basically, they probably argue about him not changing the toilet paper roll and her not helping with the yard work enough just like the rest of us. And if not, then it's something else. We all have our own thoughts and opinions and agendas, which usually leads to the 'problems' part of any relationship as well. It's not that we don't love each other, we just get in each other's way a lot.

Wow. When I started coming up with this idea of what to write about, I had it going in an entirely different direction! Yeah...I should umm....like, take pills for that or something!

So, if you have a secret...please share! I'm off to live the dream....or take a shower, whichever seems more plausible at the time.

October 20, 2008

Pizza Soup, Knitting, and Discount Shopping

I made this hat in a hurry the other day.

A teacher at 12YO's school had a baby and they were putting together a gift basket to give her. Yeah, it's a girl! Since we are on this quest to save money and all, making something for the baby seemed to be a bit better for us. I enlisted the help of my mom for this. The first hat was knitted last week. Then, we found out we had a little more time to get things in.

My mom put this blanket, burp cloth and bib together and crocheted around the edges of them. Those were always some of my favorite kinds of receiving blankets when my kids were little. I made the hat.

This is the smallest yarn I've used to make a hat. I actually went a lot more quickly than I had expected it to.

I was going to place a pom pon at the top, but I really suck at making those. My mom helped me with one (and she's really good at making them!) but my suckiness rubbed off on that one too. It started falling apart in big clumps, which is really the last thing you want to put on a baby right? I think the top turned out pretty cute anyway!

Like my model? My kids' heads are all too big to model baby hats, so their dolls will have to do. This one's head is just a bit smaller than that of a newborn. It should work out perfectly, I think. The garter stitch border even folds up nicely if the hat is too long.
Ohmygosh! The smell in my kitchen is driving me NUTS!!! I'm making Pizza Soup for dinner and it honestly smells like there is a pizza baking in my kitchen right now! Pizza makes me crave other junk foods, too. This jumpstarts a downward spiral into bad eating and big butt land. I don't like to go there too often, but sometimes it's sort of worth it!
We played hookey from the library...AGAIN. I guess I'm just getting so burned-out on cheer stuff that I want to hide in my cave the rest of the time. Then again, the weather is cooling down a bit too. It makes me want to hibernate.
I went shopping again yesterday for our weekly groceries. The one thing I know (and I cannot stress this enough!) is that the rest of the family simply cannot go along! I take so much cash in my wallet and use my cell phone as a calculator as I go along. I weigh the produce and simply round up to the nearest pound. I also don't deduct for coupons, not that I really get to use many of them anyway! It's always a pleasant surprise to get the the checkout and see that their total is two to four dollars less than mine. I got out of there for about $108.00. Not bad for a week's worth of food to feed five (or six or seven or eight) people for the week. Yeah, we sometimes have extras!
I've sort of turned into the 'Snack Nazi' when the kids get home from school. Produce is so much cheaper than chips and crackers, not to mention better for them. When they used to snack on Goldfish Crackers and chips and things, they can now choose from apples, bananas and grapes. They don't seem to mind that much and the Cheez-Its are actually lasting an entire week now. I still give them chips and crackers in their lunches, so I haven't totally entered the dark side yet!
And, the produce is actually all getting used now! When we had goats, I never really worried about wasting food. I didn't even need a garbage disposal because I had goats. Goats would be fun to have again. They make great lawn mowers.
I am doing pretty well on my budget nonetheless. Another thing I have learned that is crucial to sticking to a budget is to PLAN YOUR MEALS. I cannot stress this enough! I used to be the queen of stocking up on good deals, even if we would rarely use the things that I'd buy. I was also addicted to buying things in bulk. I honestly think that, somewhere in the back of my mind, if I bought enough stuff I'd never have to go shopping again.
Yeah....like THAT'S ever gonna happen!
My small pantry was always bursting at the seams with stuff...lots of stuff. It was hard to find anything in there or to looks like there was any method to all the madness! My fridge was almost as bad. Now, I'm shopping efficiently. It's a new concept for me, but I'm really trying to stick to it. I really like being able to find things in my pantry. It all fits in there now, yet my pantry is no larger than it was before! MAGIC, I tell you!
I just buy what I'll need for the week. I did break my own rule when it came to chicken broth yesterday. I'm finding that stuff is so great to have on hand...and the price was temporarily reduced. I cannot get chicken broth that cheap, so I bought TWO cartons of it instead of ONE. See? Even then it's not like I bought a whole CASE!!! And I just might used both cartons this week, you never know!
The one thing I would like to cut back on is CHEESE. You would think that we are a family of rats for all the cheese we go through! I must have spent almost 25 bucks on JUST CHEESE! We have string cheese, sliced cheese, and cheddar and mozzarella for cooking. And string cheese is like a drug to 2YO. I already had to cut her off today after her second one.
Well, this clutter around my desk is not going to clean itself. Trust me, I know this from experience! I might not clean it, but it definitely won't clean itself! Just because dinner is already done, that doesn't mean that I'm done working too. I put dinner together at 8:00 this morning for crying out loud!
Have a wonderful week!

October 17, 2008

You're so cute! Now, go away.

I find myself saying that to my kids on occasion.
I am trying to really potty train 2YO. However, I'm too chicken to go totally cold turkey. Sooooo, I bought some of these OLD SKOOL training pants! I hope they work...she's already peed in one pair and didn't like how it felt. I am just so sick of buying Pull-Ups!!!
As I'm typing this, I just told my dog that she was so cute...but to go away too! See? I am an equal-opportunity ignorer!!! Sometimes I just get tired of being the one who is climbed on and whined at all day.
I am on the verge of turning into a bad-ass when it comes to getting this house straightened up...we'll see how well THAT pans out! Well, these kids are making more of a mess out of what is already pretty messy. I need to crack that whip and start growling at them before I get lost in all the mess!

October 16, 2008

Believe it or not, I actually have his permission to blog about this!

Have you had a really good chuckle lately? I always think I have, then I see or hear something that really tickles my funny bone to the point where I can't breathe. That, my friends, is some funny stuff!
I'm sure you've read (unless this is your first time here and, if so, WELCOME!) that I've had a real love for TACO SOUP as of lately. Well, I have. In the past month or so, I've made it three times. Even though I'm following the same recipe and using the same ingredients, some 'side effects,' if you will, seem to worsen with each batch. You might remember the last time I made this soup. I mentioned in little snippet toward the end about all the awful noises that were coming out of my family all night long. Well, this time it was even worse! It became so bad that, after his second night of eating Taco Soup for dinner, David was looking for the Gas-X!
Well, since I'm the mom and I seem to be the only one in this house that knows how to find things and replace the toilet paper (which has nothing to do with this story at all, I just like to throw that in whenever I can!) he knew he would have to wait for me to get it for him. Being somewhat resourceful, he thought he'd found something on his own. I had no idea that he'd grabbed something on his own and had forgotten to find him the Gas-X as he left for work.
About 20 minutes later, he called me. He was almost at work, but he had to share something with me. Something that left me in tears. He'd found some 'gas relief' stuff on his own. When he read me the name of it, it didn't quite ring a bell. At first. Then, he read me all the claims the product makes. First of all, there's a big yellow star on the front of the bottle that says 'GAS RELIEF!' on it. That's probably what caught his attention first. Along the top, it says, 'Freshens Breath*Relieves Gas*Tastes Great.' The description under the name of this product says
'Chewable Breath and Gas Relief Tablets.'
Sounds like something a lot of us could use, right?
Only one little line on the whole bottle told David that he should not take these tablets:
GUARANTEE: Treat your dog to Breath-eze daily for one week. If, after seven days, you do not notice an improvement, send the unused portion and sales reciept to St. Jon for a full refund.
Most of you who have known me awhile remember our dog Hogan. Hogan was a reeeeeeally old Boxer....and he had the gas and bad breath to prove it! I had bought that bottle of 'Breath-Eze' for him, hoping it would help. It might have, but he wouldn't touch them. I ended up trying to give him one tablet and then throwing it away after he showed no interest in it. The bottle just got shoved in a drawer or clutter basket or something...until yesterday.
I really miss my Hogan, but I don't miss that smell! Old dogs are usually sort of smelly anyway, but old BOXERS just might be the smelliest! Well, it's between them and old HUSBANDS.....
By the way, I found him the Gas-X and life has returned to normal once again.

October 15, 2008

Who taught that boy manners?

Let me start by telling you that I don't find good manners to be the most important thing. I've known many people who have the best manners I've seen. So good, in fact, that they are able to hide their bitter, negative personalities behind those manners. I'd rather have someone show me goodness with their actions rather than their way with words.

That being said, I am not okay with blatant rudeness.

My cell phone rang yesterday. I didn't recognize the number, but that doesn't always mean that I don't know who's calling. Here's how it went down:


"Is Maria there?"

"No. I'm sorry, I think you have the wrong number."

"OH. We'll then WHO IS THIS???"

"I don't think that really matters, now does it? This is my phone number and I'm not Maria."

He hangs up.

Now, I know I've called my share of wrong numbers. Whether I misdialed the number or called the wrong person, it has happened to me and I'm sure it will happen again. Mistakes happen. Never, in all my years of making phone calls, have I EVER demanded to know the name of the person I was talking to AFTER I found out that I had the wrong number. NEVER!

Now, who on earth taught him manners? Is society, as a whole, just getting to be more and more rude? How bad can it possibly get?

October 13, 2008

Time and Money. Am I missing anything else?

Ummm....yeah.....discipline. Although, time and money seem to be at their all-time low around here.

And we're not alone.

Somedays, patience is also in short supply, but time and money always seem to be what I have the absolute least of.

I must admit, I have gotten to be way more creative and even a bit more responsible when it comes to a lot of things around here. But, it still doesn't seem to be enough. We are not buying a bunch of unnecessary things anymore. But this house has a looooong way to go before it can be considered remotely efficient.

Dinner is now planned and executed in a timely manner, which is huge for me. It's so freeing to know that I don't have to worry about what to make for dinner, I just have to start it on time. Most of the time, it isn't a problem. If I don't start a crock pot dinner in time, I always have a backup plan.

I think my biggest problem is just that I'm not an organized or overly-controlling person. I don't like to argue and I'd rather step over someone's toys or shoes than either pick them up myself or make a federal case out of it. And my family knows this all too well. Part of me just thinks that maybe there is more to life than a clean, organized home. The other part of me thinks I'm just making excuses.

Boy, am I full of crap or what?

I just think that there is something different about the way my brain works versus someone who is scheduled and disciplined. I'm not saying it's better or worse, just different. I'm so easily distracted by ANYTHING (even other projects when I'm cleaning) that I never seem to get anything done. And I know this about myself, so the mere thought of starting a new project is already overwhelming because I'm pretty sure it's something I won't finish. At least, not in this lifetime!

I guess I'm a 'thinker' and not a 'doer.' I can complicate the simplest task to the point where it may seem impossible. It's much easier to just skip it and stay calm, you know? The good part of that (from how I see things, anyhow) is my ability to be pretty flexible. My slight attention span makes distractions from other people easier to handle. And, let's be realistic here; I probably wasn't going to finish whatever I was doing anyway!

I basically think I need someone to follow me around to keep me focused. Or I need something in pill form! I can be busy all day long and have nothing to show for it. At least I can actually FINISH the occasional blog, you know?

Just like I'm about to finish thi-----


It's all just sort of getting away from me....

I must have blinked.

That's the only way to really explain how things have been happening around here. It's gotta be all the blinking...

I blinked and it went from Thursday to Monday and I haven't blogged in between.

I blinked and it became much colder here. We went from using the a/c to using the heater in a week's time.

We had two birthday parties, a football game and my usual shopping trip to keep us busy this weekend. I planned my menu for the week which, by the way, saves so much time and creative effort when it comes to cooking dinner every night. I shopped from my list and our house is stocked up for the week. I was only able to use one coupon for Italian Sausage on this trip, but at least it's something I'll actually use. Most of the coupons I cut are for 'just in case.' I spent $26.00 at Target getting dishwashing detergent, toilet paper and snacks for 5YO's kindergarten class. At least $15.00 of that was the snacks!!! I'm just glad it's only once a month or so, but I'll try to adjust my money so I don't have to take it out of the usual grocery fund.

At the grocery store, I spent $101.02. That's not too bad, considering I bought cereal and four gallons of milk and all the stuff to make lunches and dinners for 5 people for the next week. We are having ground beef in two dinners, ground turkey in one and chicken in the rest. And meat is not cheap! PB&J sandwiches will just not do for my family, they like ham and cheese and turkey and cheese sandwiches in their lunches. I always save 30 cents on each shopping trip by using the resusable bags from their store, so that helps too.

Once I got home, I unloaded the car and started to put everything away. I pulled the two loaves of bread out of the bags and set them on the counter in the kitchen while I put the rest of the stuff away. We already had a full loaf in the house and the two new ones were to go straight to the freezer. I walked d0wn the hall to put the toilet paper away and came back to find Lily sitting on the kitchen floor and staring up at the counter. STUPID SOCCER was on the counter EATING MY BREAD!!! I've never seen a cat so crazy about bread before. He's definitely a carb-lover!

He used to just attack our bread at night. So, we started keeping it in the toaster oven or the microwave instead of out on the kitchen counter. Now, he is getting bolder and makes his move in broad daylight, sort of like an experienced serial killer or a really hungry coyote.

What am I to do with such a stupid cat??? Nothing is sacred and he is quick. He just tears right through the bag and starts devouring the bread. I had to throw a good chunk of bread away after pulling it all apart to see what he had gotten to. That bread wasn't even on the counter five minutes before his attack. I think he was planning it all along.

Stupd cat.

I think I might say that too often around here....

Well, I am off to organize. My neighbor called one of the donation places to pick up a bunch of stuff from her house and she told them that I had a pickup too. I do have some stuff together, but there is a lot more to be gone through. We are skipping the library for the second week in a row because there is just too much to do around here and I don't need any more distractions.


But a nap sure does sound good too, you know? I think 2YO agrees with me, as she's settling in the floor with her 'nigh-night' and starting to kick her leg, which she does when she's falling asleep. David and 5YO do the same thing when they're falling asleep. I swear, if those two could have a 5 o'clock shadow by 10:00 a.m. and pee standing up they would BE DAVID. I just hope they never eat as much as he does, because I can only afford to feed ONE David on our current budget!

Yeah, I'm going to move into another room before 'Max and Ruby' makes me homocidal. Seriously.

October 9, 2008

What do YOU do with an hour?

I have almost exactly an hour before I have to feed these kids and get them ready for cheer practice.
Sooooo, the million dollar question is: What will I do with this hour? I'm almost done with all the laundry and everything that has been washed has also been put away. I could definitely clean a bathroom or two. That always needs to be done around here. My desk still looks like a craft store threw up all around it, but that would take way more than an hour to organize.
When you really think about it, an hour is really not all that much time now, is it?
I could write a blog and actually take the time to think about what I'm saying. I could read my favorite blogs that I haven't been able to keep up with lately as much as I'd like to.
I could knit. I have so much knitting to do before Christmas, but even more excuses as to why I can't at that moment. I just wish I had more uninterrupted time, I guess.
Another way I could possibly spend my time (which is now half of what it was before!) is to sit here and ponder the best way to spend time. Spending time pondering.
And honestly, pondering is probably the thing I'll do with most of this hour. Whatever is left, anyway!
In other news, what about the whole 'Cheryl Burke is fat' thing? I mean, she's definitely not tall, so it doesn't take much of a weight gain to be noticed. But FAT? Come on, people! She has a thick, athletic build. And have you seen her dance? Anyone who can move like that is NOT fat in my book, I don't care how much they weigh!
Really, with all the crap going on in the world right now, THIS is what people are worried about???
CHERYL, sweetie....KEEP ON DANCING and don't let those jerks slow you down! They are just looking for someone else to gripe about. Next week, it will be someone else. Just continue to be a good example for my girls, as you always have been.
Okay, my hour is officially gone. I typed this and settled a few squabbles amongst the kids. And that's all, folks!

October 7, 2008

A Letter to My Enemies

Dear Clothing Designers,

Let me start off by thanking you for the things you have done right, jeans-related anyway. The whole 'boot-cut minimizing the appearance of the size of one's butt' thing....LOVE THAT. Lowering the rise of jeans to also help with said appearance.....ANOTHER GOOD THING. However, I believe you have taken the concept a bit too far now.

I have three kids. I think I'm speaking for a lot of people here when I say that things aren't exactly where they should (or used to) be. Things on me need a bit more support and camoflauge than ever before. And I believe it's only going to go downhill from here.

I am very tired of always worrying about what I am showing the world when I bend over or squat down in public. I am also tired of being able to see things on other women that were not meant to be seen in public. Maybe they do mean to show the world their thong underwear and/or their buttcrack.....I mean, they have to at least feel a breeze or something, dontcha think? Maybe they just don't care. Whether I'm in the grocery store and have a child's shoe to tie or I drop my keys and have to pick them up, I am tired of using one hand to perform the task while the other hand is feeling the back of my waistband, making sure that there isn't anything exposed that shouldn't be.

You see, I know you guys made the rise on jeans even lower for a reason. That can be flattering. But somehow, most of you failed to make the shirts a bit longer. You must know that long, fitted shirts tend to also flatter one's figure by lengthening the torso. You have to know that! Longer shirts also make a girl feel more comfortable wearing those low-rise jeans that seem to be all you can find in the stores these days. So, the combination of things in my closet almost always results in the exposure of my saddlebags, muffin top, or underwear of choice that day.

There must be a change. And soon.

Now, I don't expect the jeans to go back to the 'MomJeans' from the past. Frankly, we never need to go that far back and I really hope that we never have to see that again. Those were horrible! They made the small butts look big and the bit butts look even bigger! All I'm asking for is just another inch or two...enough to cover my buttcrack in any position I might find myself, thankyouverymuch. I need to cover my lovehandles and muffin tops so that they don't runneth over, you know? I think the rest of the world would thank you, too.

Don't make me beg. More importantly, don't make me kneel down on my knees or any other part of me. Chances are you'd see more than you bargained for in the transition. I think the only time I've ever not been completely bothered by the low rise jeans exposure was when the lady sitting on the ground in front of us and she had a tattoo. A tattoo with lots of words. I must admit that David and I both struggled to try to read the words on the tramp stamp on the lady wearing the low-rise jeans and sitting on the ground in front of us. Low-rise jeans and sitting on the ground do not go well together! I'm not sure if it was more difficult for David and I to figure out the last few words on the bottom (though we were thankful we couldn't actually see any more!) or to not make it obvious that we were trying to see down the pants of a stranger.

HEY....DON'T JUDGE ME! It was something to read, and reading is always a good thing, right?
So, designer people, I hereby refuse to buy any more jeans that are so low that all heaven and earth can see my glory. You'd better get crackin'! (And I wasn't even trying to be 'punny' here, I promise!) I think a lot of people are waiting for them.
Leann I Am
P.S. If you happen upon a design that makes my butt look like it did when I was 17, you'll have a customer for life!

October 6, 2008

Adventures in Discount Shopping

This is just a weird Monday.
2YO went to bed at 11:30 last night. She just wasn't tired and stayed up until David and I went to bed. (I blame the late nap!) She was up by 7:00 this morning, on her own. 5YO fell asleep at around 4:00 yesterday afternoon and woke up this morning at 6:15. I guess she needed her sleep or something!
Well, 5YO woke up in a great mood and 2YO was cranky again by about 10:00 a.m. This would normally be the day that I take 2YO to the library for storytime, but she was beyond unreasonable by the time we should have been leaving. So, 2YO went down for a nap. And, I felt a little strange. I can't remember the last Monday that we missed storytime, unless it was a holiday. Lots of holidays seem to fall on Mondays.
I had decided to stay home and get a bunch of things done while 2YO napped. I accomplished reheating some leftover lasagna and stuffing my face. Then, I made another one of THESE BAD BOYS and gave myself a stomach ache. I soooo have to get these carbs back out of my diet!
I had breakfast with a good friend yesterday that I don't see nearly enough and I went grocery shopping. Alone. I must say that that may very well be one of the most important parts of shopping on a budget: Leave the kids at home! I don't buy a lot of extra things when shopping with the kids. I don't care if they ask.....I am usually the queen of 'NO!' But, I find myself not thinking too carefully about what I put in my cart. I'm better at the beginning of my trip. But, by the end of the shopping trip, I'm trying to toss things in as quickly as I can on my way to the register. The kids are getting cranky/hungry/tired/bored by then and I just need to be done with it. This is when I buy things I don't really need or things that I could have gotten a better deal on had I just read all the prices to compare.
Bottom line: Kids make shopping cost more than it needs to!
That same rule can apply when shopping with husbands too, you know. I always buy more when David is shopping with me. I've already made my list and he makes suggestions as we go along. And our bill almost doubles in the process!
This is also the second week of actual, honest-to-goodness meal planning. I sit down before I go shopping and fill out my calendar for the week with meals to make each night. Then, I make my shopping list according to the meal plan and nothing goes to waste. I even plan for a 'leftover night' every few nights to make sure that everything gets eaten up. As I was planning my meals for the week on Saturday night (I know...does it GET more exciting than that?) David tossed out the idea of tostadas for dinner. I loooooove suggestions and am really finding that the actual work involved in cooking doesn't stress me out nearly as much as the actual process of planning the meals. Soooo, we are having tostadas for dinner on Wednesday and I'm delighted with the fact that I know somebody is actually looking forward to my cooking!
They should be grateful....I used to burn Kool-Aid!
I ended up buying the ingredients to make lasagna, tostadas, cream cheese chicken and shepherd's pie. I also bought lots of cereal for breakfast (we're big cereal eaters here!) and eggs AND all the fixins for lunches for the week. I spent $104.00 and came away with quite a bit of stuff. I wasn't able to used ONE SINGLE COUPON on this trip, but I did save 30 cents for using 5 of their reusable bags. The bags were 88 cents each and I think they've pretty much already paid for themselves. Those reusable bags are awesome and I seem to be a real sucker for them. I think I own them from almost every store I could possibly shop at. I my trunk is full of folding chairs and too many of those reusable shopping bags in an array of colors and sizes. I had a hard time remembering to bring them into the store at first, but now it's pretty much become a habit. And, 30 cents is 30 cents. I need to remember that many little savings amounts can add up to a big one.
I think, no I KNOW that the most I've been able to use coupons was actually at Target. I *HEART* TARGET! I bought a jumbo pack of Pull-Ups that was on sale for $10.00 and I used a $2.00 coupon. That was the best I've been able to save. I bought a few other things at Target with coupons, including a box of Cheez-Its. I saved a whole dollar, which made the Cheez-Its only end up costing $1.54. And we can definitely put away some Cheez-Its in this house!
Another thing we can put away is kettle corn. We had a bag of it last night and it didn't last long. David likes to call it 'puffy crack.' It really is, because every handful just makes you want 3 more! There is nothing like kettle corn from those little stands. The microwave stuff just doesn't come CLOSE!
Well, we have cheer practice and I have a meal plan to stick to!

October 3, 2008

A Friday Challenge, of sorts....

2YO and Lily snuggle up with an old comforter and watch tv this morning. I think they like the cooler weather too!
GOOD FRIDAY MORNING! I have so much to do today that I certainly won't get it all done. So, instead of making a list that I know I cannot possibly stick to, I will most likely spend my day bargaining with myself as to what's more important and get way less done than I actually could have in the process.
I know...it doesn't make much sense to me, either!
I'm not grocery shopping until Sunday, so I have a little more time to plan my menu for the week. This weather is finally cooling down. YAY!!! However, my sinuses are not the least bit happy about the windy change in weather. It's nice to not have to run the A/C, though! I'm looking forward to smaller energy bills and being able to take my time getting the 'cold stuff' home from the grocery store.
It's the little things, you know?
I'm looking for input, alright? I would like to challenge you to share with the BEST coupon website or methods you have for saving money. What's the best you've done on your grocery bill? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? I am a total coupon newbie here! I have clipped a bunch that I would probably use, but I really need to know more tips as to how to get the most bang for my buck.
So, what's your secret? How do you make things stretch? Do any stores actually do 'double coupons' anymore? I used to see all sorts of deals that people used to get at Vons...but I don't hear as much about them and their coupons lately.
So in the next few days, I'd like to challenge to show me the best way to save. I'm sure there are tons of savvy shoppers out there.....
Ummm....hello? Is anyone out there?

October 2, 2008


Could somebody PLEEEEEASE pull this monkey off my back?
I've just been home for a little while now. I worked in 5YO's classroom this morning and brought 2YO home just in time to throw dinner in the crock pot and make myself some lunch.
Lunch wasn't so bad, really. I took a couple of corn tortillas, a couple slices of cheese and some lunch meat and heated them up in the toaster over. I then squirted mustard on them and ate them like tacos, or quesadillas or whatever. They were really good, but something was 'missing.' I was not completely satisfied.
Maybe it's that headache in the front left quadrant of my skull. Maybe it's the weather change. Whatever the case, my body is telling me to keep eating.
I decided on some chips and salsa. After all, there are far worse snacks than chips and salsa! Once the salsa was gone, I kept eating chips. I made quite a noticable dent in the already oversized bag of chips.
And I still want more. Not more chips, really, but more something. I would really love to make another one of THESE, but I'm not sure that I should. I've had a slight headache ever since my last encounter with the thigh-expanding, migraine-inducing slices of heaven. Maybe I should just have some honey....or nothing. Nothing would be good, but not nearly as good as that chocolate cake.
But I can't stand the thought of my headache getting bad again or, even worse yet, getting a migraine. Last week's migraine kicked my butt. I just can't do that again.....not that I have much of a choice sometimes.
I KNOW! I think I'll just finish that last load of laundry and work on my socks for a bit. I'm almost ready to turn the heel! I've finished some of my Christmas knitting already, but I really need to evaluate what else I really want to knit for Christmas and make sure I actually give myself enough time to do it.
2YO is adjusting well to staying with my friend and her kids while I work in 5YO's classroom. She cried when I left, but only for a few seconds. She was a perfect child the rest of the time. At least, that's what my friend says.
I'm rambling. I feel like I'm about to hit my wall really soon. I should be trying to nap while 2YO is napping. She reeeeeally needed a nap today! We have cheer practice later and I don't want her to be any crankier than she needs to be. Then again, I guess I don't need to be any more cranky either!

October 1, 2008

Life is like a plate of nachos...

...not every single chip can be covered with cheese!
I'm on a mission to get things done today. Okay, so it's sort of a half-assed mission since I'm sitting here and haven't gotten much done. Laundry is in progress (when is it not?) and dinner is in the crockpot. Well, most of dinner. We're having THIS tonight. Since we don't have cheer practice, I thought it would be nice for the girls to have something fun to eat without being hurried to do so!
Have you seen those ads (maybe here, definitely elsewhere) for 'Free Printable Chore Charts?' I clicked on one the other night (not my ad, someone else's....clicking on my own would be WRONG! But you can click as much as you like, if something grabs your attention!) and signed us up. Oddly enough, another mom at cheer practice last night just told me that she had signed up on the same site and loves it. I didn't spend much time there the first time, so I had to go back today and check it out again. There are so many great things for the kids to do there! And, checking off that they did their chores can actually result in points earned toward games and little things they can 'buy' on the site. It's sort of like Webkinz, but they have to earn the right to be there. That's awesome!
So, the site is called Handipoints and it seems to be a great idea! The parents control everything and kids can log in with their own passwords to check on their points and play the games and such. Such a great reward for a job well done! I have designed and printed out chore charts for all three of my kids. I'm not sure if I'll make one up for B5YO...she likes to help out around here even less than my OWN kids! Besides, she won't be around on evenings and weekends, which is when they will mostly get the chance to reap their rewards.
5YO just got home from school and I've started explaining the system to her. She's rushing around to complete chores in order to get stickers. (I've decided to put stickers on their chore chart for the things they complete and transfer it all over to the site at the end of the week.) So far, this seems to be a success. I'll keep you posted, though. We never stay THAT excited about ANYTHING for THAT LONG. (Okay, so I'm the flakiest of us all!)
My dryer just buzzed really loud, which means it's done. Shortly after we bought our dryer, we found one at another store for ten dollars less....and the only thing different on it was that you could control that annoying buzzer. So it would have been BETTER for LESS. Story of my life...
Dinner already smells good and it won't be ready for another three hours! 5YO just asked me if she can get rid of stuff in her room. Ummmm.....HELL YEAH!!!!! Does she need me to rent her a dumpster? Because I'll do it....