Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Happy New Year everyone! kiss kiss hug hug

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Two days ago my baby turned one. How can that be? Where did the time go? He is the most magnificent baby on the planet, ever. He makes me want to have more and not have more all at the same time. He loves blueberries and gives the best hugs you'll ever get. I love that bald head and the callouses on his knees from crawling so much. I can't believe how big he is, didn't I just bring him home all wrapped up in a punkin' seat yesterday? Wow, this is what true love feels like.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

gift wrapping

The kids and I have been wrapping gifts for about an hour. You should see what a great job they are doing. Parker really likes tape so his gifts are almost all tape, no paper. My friends who know me and how, I like to do these kinds of things myself, know this is a real step out of the box for me! I am letting it go (it being - perfection) this time, because otherwise, things won't get done. How did I get so far behind?!

Just a little tip to share:
As you are wrapping your gifts, put them into categories so you can deliver them easier. I put my gifts for the kids and Paul (and anyone else joining us on Christmas morning) under the tree of course. Gifts for family in another area (usually large shopping bags for easy transport) and work and neighbor gifts together in their own space. For instance, we will be seeing my side of the family after Christmas day, having our celebration later, so I have all the gifts for them in one bag ready to go. I have other gifts for some other family friends we will see late on Christmas day in a big shopping bag in my bedroom so they won't get mixed in with the things from Santa. It saves me a lot of trouble on Christmas morning when the kids are digging in. Paul was really glad to have all his gifts in a big box to take to work, it fit in his trunk and made it much easier. Our neighbor gifts were baked goods that we delivered this morning so that was easy.

Again, if I don't blog for a bit...

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

only 4 days left

Oh my goodness, can it really be Dec. 21st? Holy cow! I have so much to do, when did time start moving so fast? I am so excited to see my kids on Christmas morning, they are going to be going crazy. Do you remember those days when you were awake at 5 AM counting the minutes until you were allowed to go check under the tree? I really hope Santa comes through with the Mac so I can post some photos here. I am also hoping for a camera bag that will hold my camera and my extra zoom lens, hey, not only the kids have wish lists!

On another note, does anyone else find chocolate things looking at them all day? I just started baking for us and I feel like I am swimming in sweets. I am hoping to log in some extra treadmill time to counteract them, totally dreading the weigh in for December. The kids love baking (I do too) so I am doing it for them, I plan on delivering some goods to my neighbors tomorrow. I have to get this stuff out of the house and out of my sight.

In case I don't get to blog in the next few days...

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Some things I am thinking about today...

Sad stuff:

So sad that one of our Bengals, Chris Henry, died today. I was sincerely hoping he was on his way to a solid recovery. I am praying for his family which includes three small children. What a tragic loss of someone who was trying to turn his life around. Life is precious and fragile.

Silly stuff:

Full plastic bottles of Ragu spaghetti sauce do not bounce, but they do make pretty splatter paint picures on the wall if you drop them.

I need to paint my nails more often. I did last night for my husband's work holiday party. My kids are totally facinated and can't stop looking at them. I sort of like them too, my poor hands get all dried and cracked in the winter so it is kind of shocking to see them not covered in band aids. They are however, already chipped from making cupcakes and wrapping presents for hubby's work friends. Oh well.

Nice stuff:

I always give my mailman goodies at Christmas. He is so sweet and he seems to really enjoy his job I have seen him at the grocery before and he said, "I know you, you are _____" and he rattled off my address. Like he knew me based on my house, so cute. Anyway, I gave him his treats early since I had them made and today he was delivering a huge box to us and he was just gushing about the treats. Saying how good they were, what a nice surprise, etc. Giving really does make me feel better. Tomorrow I am taking some to the dry cleaners, the ladies that work there love my kids and they truly go above and beyond to get Paul's stuff clean. Believe me, that is quite a challenge most days so I am excited to give them some sweets too.

My hubby sent me this altered photo from his I-phone today. How sweet he is to take time out of his busy day to send me a little something. Hey, how is it that he has time to do that but I am running around like a maniac!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

watchin' my weight Wednesday

In the last six days we have been to three parties and eaten dinner out once. So, four out of six days was not "normal" for me. I am a creature of habit and routine, so these kinds of events really throw me off. "Counting" my food points is still a very important part of my Weight Watchers journey. I rely on knowing exactly how much food I can eat every day, it makes me feel in control and I don't get down on myself for indulging, as long as it fits in my plan. Finger foods, appetizers, cookies, and restaurant portions are big food stressors for me so the past few days I have had some anxiety. To compensate, I have been doing a little more running on my treadmill (instead of walking) and eating vegetarian lunches (salads, steamed or sauteed veggies) and avoiding sweets and snacks if at all possible. I am hoping to weigh in next week for the month of December. Whether I am up or down (or the same) will be interesting but I am not going to get myself all upset, they don't call it "Lifetime" member for nothing!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


We are taking the kids to see Santa tonight. I am trying to focus on the magic of this time of year that is all around me: visiting Santa, making wish lists that actually come true, spending time with my family, eyes lighting up, the whole nine yards. I can't believe "it" will be here in 10 days. Holy cow! I am stressed just thinking about it, so much I want to do, so much I have to do. I am so excited to see my kids on Christmas morning, I think they are going to lose their minds, seriously, they have been pretty good, so I predict that Santa will be generous. Now I am off to get ready to visit the Big Guy, gotta make sure my camera is ready!

Monday, December 14, 2009

my computer is sleepin' with the fishes

Hi, I am back, sort of. Our computer died. Seriously. Dead. Caput. Finito. Cement shoes, the whole nine yards. Bad news. I swear, I live Murphy's Law. Doesn't it just make sense that my computer died the same time I was trying to get all my final Christmas stuff ordered? And Santa knows we want/need a new computer so it makes even more sense that it died last week. Oh well, my wonderful mommy has passed on her old laptop, which is now my new laptop. I am trying to learn how to use it, I feel like a giant typing on a fairy's keyboard and the whole "no mouse" thing is throwing me off. I am soooooo not a techie person. I don't know when I will get some pictures on here (I know that is everyone's favorite part of blogs) probably not until Santa brings us our new Mac. In the meantime, I'll be here.

Onto a better subject...

I have a new obsession, besides Mad Men, Martha Stewart, and counting Weight Watchers points, it's Celestial Seasonings Holiday Tea, the gingerbread spice flavor. OMG! It is the best stuff I have ever drank, well besides Diet Dr. Pepper and margaritas. But seriously. I am trying to drink more tea and less DDP and I stumbled upon this at the grocery and now I am hooked. I went to the grocery last night at 10:00 PM hoping to find some, stinkin' Krogers doesn't carry it. I have issues with Kroger, but now I am really grumpy with them. So I am going to go to the Celestial Seasonings website and order a case before it is all gone. You've got to try it. So yummy. (here in Cincinati- Meijer has the holiday teas :) )

My weekly menu:
  • spaghetti and salads
  • baked tilapia and potatoes (chicken nuggets for the kids- you think they eat tilapia?!)
  • chicken wraps
  • office Christmas party food- red alert! ruining my figure as I think about all those finger foods!
  • shredded bbq pork sandwiches
  • homemade pizzas

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

fa la la la la

Just sharing a few holiday photos...
This house is in a neighborhood by ours, we love it. These people have about 700 light up things in their yard for Christmas. It is unreal. I swear they should be on that HGTV show about over-the-top holiday displays. My photo doesn't do it justice but you get the idea. (this is their back yard)
All our stockings hung by the chimney with care. I keep thinking I want to get matching stockings or make some cute ones, but the kids like to see the same ones each year.
This is my favorite mini tree. It is sparkly green with little red felt balls I made. Again, my photo doesn't show its true loveliness.
Our Elf on the Shelf, Buddy (named after the Buddy in the movie), he is so magical. If you don't have one, you need to get one. My kids totally know he is reporting their behavior, good and bad, to Santa every day.
One of our wreaths, this one gets blown all to heck because our house sits on a hill and the wind whips like crazy. It sounds like burglars are trying to get in at night, it bangs and clangs. I'd like to get a prettier one but considering it sometimes is laying on the grass from getting blown off, I'll stick with this one.

I'm pretty much done decorating around here. I still have a couple trees I might get out and decorate if I have the time/energy. Ha ha ha, right now I am thinking it won't happen. Just letting perfection go, enjoying what I have done to this point. Now let the baking/card making/wrapping begin!

Monday, December 7, 2009

movie recommendation

Go see "The Blind Side." It is such a great movie, I went with my hubby on Saturday and I just keep thinking about it. I hope Sandra gets nominated (and wins) for her performance, she was great.

my weekly menu:
  • umm, not sure, just found out hubby will be gone almost every night this week, so I'll probably be flying by the seat of my pants
  • for sure: baked salmon and sweet potato crunch (a new Weight Watchers recipe)

I have to go work on my Christmas cards, I want to get them mailed this week... just a little behind.

Friday, December 4, 2009


All is well with the world:

  • finished grocery shopping
  • finished ironing
  • watched Rudolph with the kids last night
  • house is kinda cleanish, but in a little disarray b/c of decorating for Christmas
  • found a really cool thing I want to get for my mom, the hardest person on the planet to buy for
  • my aunt is taking presents to my Alabama family for Christmas and their birthdays, thanks Desi, now I don't have to schlep it all to the post office :)
  • I resisted the urge to buy candy at the grocery check out
  • going on a date with hubby tomorrow (he chose Sandra Bullock movie- his favorite girl besides me of course, I wanted New Moon)
  • we're putting up our Christmas trees tomorrow- I just love looking at all those old ornaments
  • I am taking the kids to buy their Hallmark ornaments tonight
  • Best of all.... I JUST GOT TWO TICKETS TO SEE MICHAEL BUBLE (in March) AND I AM SOOOOOOO..... EXCITED, YES, I AM YELLING, WOO HOO I guess that will make up for having to watch my hubby drool over Sandra tomorrow ;)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

ooey gooey

Um, don't try to melt chocolate chips on a TLC granola bar by putting the whole thing in the microwave for 20 seconds. It just turns into an ooey gooey mess, it's yummy, but messy. Don't ask, bad day, needed chocolate.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

watchin' my weight Wednesday

I keep this little basket of goodies on my counter all the time (except when we are having a house showing!). It contains my 3 month journal where I track everything, my points calculator (which I also keep in my purse for shopping days), a pen, and my pocket guide and food companion that holds all the points values for foods. Now this is specific to my weight loss program (Weight Watchers) but I think any thing you need to help you in your healthy lifestyle should be front and center. I think if you need a menu plan, a motivating picture, the food guide pyramid, Jillian and Bob from "The Biggest Loser", whatever is the key for you, don't hide it. Keep it visible and unforgettable. I keep my scale and measuring cups and spoons handy. I keep cookbooks and recipes within arms reach. Out of sight is definitely out of mind for me. This might be particularly helpful this time of year. Just because Santa is fat and jolly doesn't mean we all have to be as well, fat that is.

P.S. Doesn't everything look better in a Longaberger basket?!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December scrapbook

I have a little project to share that I am really excited about. It's a December scrapbook. I plan on taking pictures of the holiday happenings around our house every day until Santa comes. I will document the pictures and forever preserve them in a scrapbook. Sounds easy enough. I dug around in my scrapbooking stash, ah come on girls, you know you've got one too! I found this album from way back, it was a wedding gift from Pottery Barn, no joke! I got out my Christmas scrapping supplies, I keep them all in this pink box and went to work. It took me about an hour and a half to gather and compile and assemble.
I used a page kit (from Hobby Lobby) to put patterned paper on each page. The first and last pages will not be a two page spread, just a single page (can't find refill pages for a 8 year old scrapbook!). There are just enough pages for 25 layouts, how convenient!
I basically just cut up the paper and put it randomly on the pages. I plan on adding photos and other stuff (receipts, tickets, lists, drawings, whatever) as I go.

Here is the title on the front. I like the mirrored front of the album, that made me choose this retro-looking page kit. This is a sticker mounted on green paper, simple, I like it.

Then I made 25 tags (one for each day until Christmas- all using scrap patterned paper and black number stickers) and gathered a bunch of premade journaling squares and tags. The journaling pieces are not all matchy matchy, some are cream, some are white, some have red, some have green. I figured it was more important to document the story instead of match.

It is my plan to journal as I take the photos (on the journaling tags or papers) and then print photos, when Walgreens has a sale of course, and I think it will be easy to stick everything down. I wrote myself a note to take pictures every day and hung it to the fridge. I am excited to see this album. I do not think I'll have it done before Christmas but I think it will come together quickly afterwards. I am excited to have this documentation saved for years to come, especially when the kids are older and they can see what we did, where we went, etc. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out. I cannot take credit for this idea on my own. I saw it on Ali Edwards' Blog for the past couple years, you should check hers out, way better than mine. She is a professional scrapbooker and her stuff is awesome.

Monday, November 30, 2009

glad to be home

Whew, isn't Thanksgiving supposed to be relaxing? What a whirlwind: packing, traveling, driving, eating, lugging suitcases, doing dishes, honestly, I am sort of glad it's over. I hate to admit it but I like routine, order, the same 'ole thing every day. Who am I kidding, now is the craziest time of the year, but at least I'm at home and ready to go. We got our Christmas tree yesterday and plan to decorate it this weekend, that means I'll be decking my halls for the next week or so. I'm not sure how much I'll do since our house is still on the market and it probably won't "show" well with all my Christmas schmag all over the place. I do however plan on purging a whole bunch of decorations as I unpack them all. I couldn't do/didn't want to do this last year since I was preggers, now I am excited to see how much stuff I really don't want/need. I've got my Goodwill box all ready to go...

my weekly menu:
  • chicken and rice cheesey bake (I'll sneak some veggies in here too)
  • lasagna and salad
  • chili and biscuits
  • chili spaghetti (using leftovers)
  • ?- hubby is gone twice this week so I'll be wingin' it at least once
stuff I want to do this week:
  • order some presents online
  • decorate the Christmas tree
  • address envelopes for Christmas cards
  • get my hair trimmed
  • weigh in at Weight Watchers (Monday evening)
  • finalize Christmas shopping list
  • plan holiday menu
  • iron (it's been a couple weeks)
  • date night with hubby (Saturday)
  • begin Christmas scrapbook (photos and journaling)

Monday, November 23, 2009

gobble gobble

Hi All,
I am taking the week off to craft, cook, clean, travel, watch tv, get well (double ear infections!), organize my coupons/shopping lists, and eat of course. Have a wonderfully happy Thanksgiving.

What are you thankful for?
I am thankful for:
the obvious:
my husband
my children
friends and family
our pets
our home
our health
resources that make our lives better/easier (money, computers, phones, etc.)
health insurance
working vehicles
all those service men/women fighting for us around the world
now for the fun stuff:
makeup-especially under eye concealer and mascara
Weight Watchers
funny tv shows- The Office
good tv shows- Mad Men
the library
Walmart and Target
Diet Dr. Pepper
pictures of my kids when they were tiny
Longaberger baskets
Swiffer products
music by Sting, Michael Buble, Dave Matthews Band, and The Black Eyed Peas
John Travolta movies
cards/letters in the mail
drive thru anything
my treadmill
UK basketball season has started and they are rockin'
Converse shoes
living within a mile of a horse farm and a dairy farm- love seeing those guys every day
putting my kids to bed at 8:00
Burt Bee's chapstick
my children's laughter and hugs

Thursday, November 19, 2009

thinking about friends

Thinking about my friends far and near, and some I have never met...

Lately, I have been listening to some of my old CDs and I still can't believe how a song can instantly transport me back in time. I am reminiscing about high school, college, those first few years of teaching, basically my carefree youth. I am loving all the memories but then reality hits... wrinkles, dirty diapers, bills to pay, you know the rest. It even prompted me to join Facebook, something I never thought I would do. I've heard all the horror stories about people becoming addicted to finding friends and losing countless hours to this new hobby. I will say I have enjoyed looking at people's pictures and although I haven't made any official "friend" requests, I do find it comforting to see my old buddies with kids and spouses. Makes me feel kind of normal, less alone, part of a group, sounds like high school all over again!

This photo is for Kristin: thanks for telling me about the sale at Michaels on the scrapbooking supplies I have been wanting... aren't you so glad I already used some!? (I added my title after the picture, oops!)
This one is for Becca: you are not alone in the messy desk category. See mine, there is only one teeny spot in which I can do anything. It's stuff like this that keeps me up at night. I swear I have visions of spools of ribbon rolling off onto the floor and disappearing forever. You can even see there is a mess under my desk, where my feet go! I have some serious work to do this weekend. Oh my goodness, this is giving me hives just looking at it.
So, hello friends, have a great weekend.

trying new things

I am a virgin no longer.
Oh, get your head out of the gutter, I've got three kids for goodness sake!

I had my first sushi yesterday. I have wanted to try some for years but finding a good sushi place in Cincinnati doesn't vibe with the kids who want nuggets and pizza and the hubby who wants wings and ribs. So I found myself at Jungle Jim's, a foodie's paradise, and they had samples sitting out. I thought, what the hey? I tried it and by george I loved it. I mean, I didn't get too crazy, just veggies, organic brown rice, soy and wasabi sauce, seems pretty basic. Now, I am in love. I figured I would like it, me being the veggie lover I am. I'm not sure how adventurous I will get, eating raw fish does raise the ick factor a bit, we'll see. I bought a little pack and had it for lunch today. Yummo! And, the best part, I got to eat six pieces of my healthy veggie sushi and it was only 2 points! For you fellow weight watchers out there, you will agree this is a rockin' good food.

Check out Jungle Jim's if you're ever in the Fairfield, Ohio area.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

watchin' my weight Wednesday

In my quest to maintain "lifetime" status as a Weight Watcher. I admit I weigh myself every day. I know some people would say that is unnecessary but it's all part of the ritual for me. I find that checking in with myself every day forces me to be more accountable for my actions. I do not weigh in during "female monthly time" that is just depressing and I get really mad at the number on the scale even though I know it is due to hormones and retaining water. I also take measurements (frequently, not daily) and this has helped me to feel really good about weight loss and maintenance. The best part of monitoring my weight is being able to shop for jeans. I took the tags off a new pair of jeans I bought and taped them to my closet mirror. The visual reminder of the new size of my jeans is the best motivator I have found yet. I think we all have to find what works for us and stick with it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

hoo hoo

Real owls are scary. You all know I have a slight bird phobia that has existed forever, it has only waned a teensy bit since becoming a bird mommy. I still have to get up with Tanner several times a night, I have never been one of those lucky ladies whose children sleep through the night at six weeks old, mine like to have me visit them until they are about six years old. Oh well, sleep is overrated. Lately I have been rocking the Tan-man in his room trying to get him back to sleep and I have been hearing real live owls hooting (is that what it is called) to each other. And let me tell you people, it is spooky! It doesn't sound at all like "hoo hoo" what you hear on Scooby Doo or even scary movies, it sounds like, "hoo-ooo, ooooh-ooh" oh, you get the picture. To make it even scarier, I think their nest is right outside Tanner's room in the tree by our house. Our house is built on old farm land and there are a lot of big trees in the neighborhood. I think they have nests in the two big trees by our neighbors for sure, we have seen them (using binoculars) sitting on the tree tops right at dusk. Now that the leaves have fallen, there is this big mass of leaves and stuff in our little pear tree by the house and when those guys hoot, it sounds like they are in the same room with me. So creepy. Shivers and chills. I keep having visions of letting my little pug out to go poo and this big silent owl sweeping in and snatching him up, could that happen? I also worry it will somehow get in our attic and therefore in our house, aren't phobias just the darndest things? Do owls fly south for the winter? I can probably draw them a map with sidewalk chalk or something. Now that I have heard them, I lay awake at night and listen for them, imagining all kinds of scooping up scenarios. Ahh!

Monday, November 16, 2009

medicine area and my weekly menu

In reference to a few weeks ago...
Here is my straighted/stocked medicine area:

I am a big believer in using what I (you) have so no fancy baskets or containers. I used some that were in the basement. I think they are leftovers from my hundreds of shoes days. One box is for adult medicine, one is for kids, one is for thermometers, we have several kinds, don't ask! They are not usually this overflowing, doesn't really reflect my "organizing mommy status", but Walgreens had a BOGO sale and I stocked up on pain/fever relievers since Parker was infected with some kind of flu (probably H1N1). By golly, I am prepared! You will also notice that I have my extra vitamins in here, I always stock up when there is a BOGO sale at CVS or Walgreens. Anyway, you get the idea...

Now here is the next shelf which houses my stock pile of personal care products.
One drawer is for deodrant and razors. One is for toothpaste and toothbrushes. The last one is for first aid (band aids and first aid ointment). Along the sides is where I put shaving cream, hair products and my yearly supply of contacts. The top of the drawers is where I put bar soap, tooth flosser thingys, and small tissue packs. You can't tell from these pictures but this closet is a weird shape. It is not a boxy closet, it has angled sides and those dumb wire shelves (things always fall through!). It makes organizing difficult, I know, shock and awe! Can you believe I said that?! So that is why I have to put the square things in the middle and odd shapes on the sides where I can cram them in. I mean place them neatly, ahem. The good thing about this closet being small and somewhat unusable, it forces me to purge regularly and does not allow me to overbuy.

My menu for this week:
  • chicken enchiladas
  • crock pot chili and hot dogs
  • baked fish and sweet potato casserole
  • Vegetarian quiche and sausage (for the kids!) with biscuits
  • Tacos and taco salads
All menus subject to last minute changes when hubby calls to say he won't be home until late and kids won't eat what I fix, therefore, we have chicken nuggets for kids and salad for me! ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Time to take the kids for their dental check ups, hopefully we will be cavity free.

I got these cute buckets at The Container Store (OMG, it was my first time there and I about had a heart attack, that place ROCKS! I seriously could have spent thousands of dollars and the whole day there.). I got one for each child to keep his/her toothbrush and paste. They are not dishwasher safe, unfortunately, Parker's is kind of free formed warped now after I ran it through one time, oh well, it still works. And notice the cute fingertip towel. I have been buying these when I see them for each season/holiday and it is a great incentive to get the kids to wash their hands after they do their business. Parker helped me pick out new ones for Christmas, he is ready to use them right now! We have found them at Target, Meijer, and Walmart. They are really cheap, about $2 per towel.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

to do

Things I want to do today:
  • go to the library
  • make pumpkin bread
  • finish 3 loads of laundry (and put away)
  • watch a "Martha Stewart" I have DVR-ed
  • begin cutting paper for Christmas cards
  • maybe begin a new scrapbooking project
  • order stuff online- crafts for Thanksgiving break (keeping kids entertained!)
  • upload some photos to order when there is a print sale
  • make my grocery list/organize coupons for that trip
  • run on my treadmill
  • watch "The Office" (maybe do this while on treadmill)
  • vacuum downstairs
  • go to the dry cleaners

Things I probably will do today:
  • about half that list

It's good to have goals isn't it? Even if some of them are unattainable.

Seriously, it seems like my "to do" lists get longer and longer every day. Does anyone else feel that way? I try to balance have to dos with want to dos and honestly, I sometimes just get exhausted and overwhelmed. I mean, whew, already!

Update: I got about half these things done, didn't get to watch my shows or begin Christmas cards, or order online goodies,teething baby made these impossible. Did get to watch the new Housewives of Orange County... sometimes plans change.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

watchin' my weight Wednesday

Just about any healthy lifestyle plan (such as Weight Watchers- my favorite!) advocates eating lots of fruits and veggies. This has never been a problem for me, I love all vegetables, I always have. I can remember going out to eat with my Grandma when I was a teen and she would always say, "aren't you going to get any meat?" Nope, just a salad, thanks! Seriously, I had to re-evaluate my veggie eating when I joined WW, no more melted cheese or regular ranch dressing (actually I still have them, just the right amounts). One of the things I did to help me in this quest to healthier living was to buy this little mini cutting boards.
I had a big cutting board that I have used before. When I started eating veggies for almost every meal and snacks, I got annoyed quickly with washing it several times a day. Now I just grab a clean one and get to choppin'. It makes it easier to get those veggies ready for eating. I also use these in chopping things for Tanner since he is eating pretty much everything. These are just the right size for a small drawer so they're easily accessible. Just one more thing to make this journey easier and better for me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grayman & wrapping station

I don't think I have ever talked about Grayman very much. The camera scared him so he wouldn't stop moving, hence the fuzzy photo. He is our parrot, actually he is Paul's parrot that I "adopted" upon marriage. I was very anti-bird before I met Paul and I almost didn't go on a second date with him when I found out he had a bird. I was worried he'd be one of those weirdos that sat and watched tv with a parrot on his shoulder like a pirate or something. Thank goodness he isn't like that. So now I am a bird mommy. I clean up after him, his breed is the messiest of all birds, seriously. He throws his food all over the floor and he takes a "bath" in his water bowl just about every day giving me more to mop up. I feed him, pet him, hold him, buy him toys, and put up with his constant talking and squawking. He talks to me all the time, in fact when he is at the bird sitter before trips, I kind of miss him. He speaks in my voice and Paul's, mostly mine. He giggles like Zoe, he says "woo" when I turn the music on, he starts squeaking as soon as the sun comes up, kind of like a chicken. He says "bye bye" when I get the keys ready, he makes a pop can opening sound when I get one out of the fridge. He yells at the dog (again, in my voice), he calls for me if I go upstairs. He says "go Buckeyes" and "go Wildcats" and sometimes he just screams. He says lots of words and makes countless sounds, I once made a list and stopped when I got to 100. Repairmen get freaked out because he can mimic cell phone rings and beeps. He makes a ringing phone noise when I talk on the phone, most people tell me I can "get my other phone" when I am talking to them. He got outside before we were married and we spent three days looking for him, hanging posters around the neighborhood, we found him and he had learned to caw like a crow, hanging with the wrong crowd you know. His wings are regularly clipped now, no more nights out with the boys for him. So he's my companion, my alarm clock, my buddy, for the next 50 years or so. Truly amazing since I seriously had a bird phobia before I met him.

Now on to some organizing stuff....
I have envisioned a gift wrapping area for-like-ever! Right along side my giant scrapbooking/crafting room with built in cabinets and shelves and giant counters in which to spread out. OK, reality, I have a desk and some shelves for my hobbies and this tv armoire. This used to be the tv where the kids watched movies. Now we do not have a VCR or a DVD player for this tv so the drawers were stuffed with stuff and it just bugged me. They had videos and some other junk in them (see my cookbook holder- what the f? how did that get there?) I moved the DVDs and put the videos in the Goodwill box... (those are Tanner fingers, just itching to "help" me)

And now I have this! Nothing fancy, just basic stuff in one place. I used to have to run to the basement for wrapping supplies and then work at my desk since I like to add bows, ribbon, tags, etc. Now I am super excited to have it all in the same area. Why didn't I do that sooner? I have tags, ribbon, small gift bags and tissue paper in this drawer, in baskets and boxes I already had. The other drawer holds gift bags (not pictured, just boring). It forced me to purge my gift bag collection, a much needed task and I was able to take stock of what I needed to get for the upcoming Christmas wrapping season. By the way, rolls of wrapping paper are hidden in the corner by my scrapbooking shelves, no one will even know they are there. I don't keep a lot of these so I don't mind putting them there. Ahh, bliss, everything in a container and ready to go, I just love it!

Monday, November 9, 2009

my Monday menu and free/almost free day

Usually, I hate to go to the mailbox. It seems like I only get bills, credit card statements, solicitations for credit cards (I swear, Capital One must kill a billion trees every year!), and other yucky stuff. Today I got these things instead making for a happy free day: coupons from Kroger for stuff I actually buy (including a free Dole salad kit!), a Dell coupon for $70, $10 rebates from Kelloggs and L.L. Bean, and a recipe book I sent away for using UPC codes. These things made it nice to actually open the mail for a change.

Other things that made this a good free/almost free day:
  1. I trimmed Parker's hair myself (saving $20), just around the ears and back where it grows like crazy.
  2. I got free tags and wrapping paper when I bought some at Walgreens (BOGO this week). savings= approximately $5.00
  3. My family had a fancy dinner last night (OK so that makes it a freebie for yesterday, but who cares!?), we ate by candlelight in our formal dining room. The grownups even drank wine! Wow, I highly suggest this activity. We had a leisurely dinner and everyone was relaxed, without the hassle of going out. approximate savings= $50.00
  4. I vaccumed my van out and restocked it with snacks and supplies (like hand sanitizer). This activity always makes me feel good, no matter what. I love a clean car almost as much as I love a spa day. not sure of savings, since I have never had my car "detailed"
  5. Speaking of spa days, I plan on giving myself a "free" pedicure tonight, after the kiddos go to bed. $40.00 savings
I just love free things, they just make me happy!

Here are my menu plans for this week:
  • Grilled chicken wraps and strawberries
  • Italian sausage and white beans stew with biscuits
  • Stuffed peppers and salads with oranges and pomegranates
  • Homemade mini pizzas with salads
  • Leftover buffet
I'm not sure how these will play out since my hubby is gone, again, and he has to attend two sports banquets this week thus making him not be home until late. Depending on the kids' moods (and mine of course) all menus are subject to change!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside

Brr! We had our first true frost this morning. You know I am a winter-hater but I do admit, crazy hats are my favorite. I love this one. Someday Tanner will probably hate me for putting it on him, but I feel it is my God-given right as a mom to torture my kids. They deserve it after nine months of pregnancy, years of sleep-deprivation, forcing me to clean up their stomach flu messes at 3 AM, wiping boogers with my sleeves, stretch marks, you know all that "joy of motherhood" stuff.

**I tried to post this yesterday (Friday) but my computer was having PMS or something, sorry for the delay**

Thursday, November 5, 2009

medicine area clean up

The spreading of flu(s) germs has me thinking of a task that I hadn't done in a while. I cleaned out our medicine area. (We keep our meds in the tiny linen closet in our bathroom, that way I know it is locked and secure from my kids.) I threw out expired stuff, I didn't have a lot since I usually do this once every six months or so. I took stock of what we needed and bought replacements. We needed pain and fever relievers for kids and baby and allergy stuff for the grown ups. I feel better knowing we are prepared in case we get another outbreak. I thought I'd remind you just in case you get busy with holiday preparations and forget, that's when I always get sick. I'll try to post a picture later, although it is pretty boring!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

watchin' my weight Wednesday

I thought I could occasionally share a Weight Watcher tip that has worked for me over these last seven months. I think most everyone agrees that being healthy is a top priority. Weight Watchers is the healthiest plan I have ever found/used and I am not a paid endorser, just sharing what has worked for me. Although I am looking forward to starting my training to be a meeting receptionist very soon :)

Drinking Water
Almost all diets/eating/health plans call for drinking water, at least 6-8 (8oz.) glasses. At first this was hard for me. I tried filling the water bottle and drinking three a day, that way I knew I got the right amount. But at night I was chugging water that I forgot to drink during the day, and after three kids, the old bladder couldn't take that. So I started drinking a big glass first thing in the morning, my body needs it after all that sleep I get (ha ha ha). I drink a glass before bedtime. I always drink a big glass with each meal. I measured my glasses and found that I was surpassing the 6-8 recommended amount but I felt so good, I figured I must need it. Spreading it out with meals, makes it easier to drink, instead of all at once. (Our drinking glasses are big tumbler sized.) I still drink Diet Dr. Pepper and hot peppermint tea too. So I am basically floating around all day, but honestly, I feel really good and my skin is really clear. I think from all that water. Maybe this is something that might help you in your health and wellness quest.

Monday, November 2, 2009

trick or treat

Can't get all of them to look at the camera at once but...
Happy (belated) Halloween!
Daphne (from Scooby Doo)
Charlie Brown (Paul insisted we draw on his head- I protested vehemently)
Pirate Parker

this week's menu:
enchilada casserole and corn
spaghetti and salads
chicken wraps and berries
deli sandwiches and vegetable soup
hot italian sub sandwiches and chips and fruit

Some of these are from last week, Parker has been battling some kind of flu so it's been all helter skelter around here. Our doctor will not test for H1N1 but I am assuming that is what he had since that is all that is spreading around. Poor boy, I am glad he is starting to feel better. Now I have to be on the lookout for him to relapse (a symptom of H1N1) and pray that no one else here gets it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


10 months today

How can it be that my little monkey is 10 months old already? He ate his first fruit loop yesterday (Zoe gave it to him), he stood by himself three times yesterday (he is on the fast track to walking!), he waves to every truck, car, or vehicle that goes by, he says "mama", he giggles all the time, he is a stinker- always grabbing the nightlights even though I tell him not to, he's tall (the size of a 2 year old), he gives hugs to his brother and sister, he stole my heart...a long time ago.

Monday, October 26, 2009

two projects & my Monday menu

bonsai table: before (Parker luuuuved helping me sand this table before painting)
lamp: beforebonsai table: after (in our study- someday I hope to get a big cushy chair for here)
lamp: after (sorry bad picture quality)I just love on some painting projects, especially small ones. My hubby is a total science guy who loves all things critter, including plants. He has a particular affinity for bonsai trees, I think it is silly, because most of the ones he buys end up dying. But I tend to indulge him, they are usually cheaper than the boat he forever talks about getting. One he got last winter requires warmer weather so we have been on the hunt for a table to rest his little tree. I found this one at the thrift store for.... $8.99! Woo! Some black paint and new drawer pulls and voila! The same can of paint also restyled this lamp. I did the same thing for my side of the bed a while ago and I finally found a lamp that is a close match to the one I did before. Now we have "matching" lamps. Actually the shades are the same, the bases are slightly different. The lamp cost a whopping.....$2.99. Double Woo! It is such a joy to finish some little things around the house that don't involve Tide or paper towels (I'm referring to cleaning, in case you didn't get that.)

Here is my menu for this week:
  • rigatoni bake and red pepper olive focaccia bread
  • red beans and rice and sausage
  • enchilada casserole
  • shrimp fettuchini Alfredo and salads
  • vegetable soup and deli sandwiches
  • leftover buffet
I am not sure what days I am making what dish, hubby has conferences at school and their soccer team just keeps winning (which means he has to go to more games) so it might be kind of crazy. Some meals might have to carry over for next week but that just means less planning later!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

think about this Thursday

Think about this...

The next time you have a party and order pizzas, make sure to check each pizza box before throwing it in the trash (can you believe they don't recycle pizza boxes!?). I frantically had to search all eight of our boxes for my awesome Pampered Chef pizza cutter. I was making pancakes and everyone knows pizza cutters are the best for cutting pancakes. My cutter had been misplaced in one of the boxes from Parker's party. Thank goodness trash had not been taken out to the curb yet. I am telling you, I would have been a not-too-happy mommy if it had been thrown out. Just a little FYI.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday menu

One of the things I do to help budgeting/organizing is to make a weekly menu. I generally plan according to the activities we have scheduled but inevitably something must be changed. I make my menu usually on Thursdays as I grocery shop on Fridays. One of my favorite blog writers shares her menu planning every Monday on her site

I’m an Organizing Junkie » My passion is organizing, join me as I attempt to get others hooked along with me!

She has many followers who also share their menus. I like to read what everyone else is having, sometimes it prompts me to get out of a rut and try something new. By the way, Organizing Junkie has lots of great tips for organizing on the cheap. She doesn't always have the coolest, matching baskets from Ikea or Target, in fact she loves the dollar store. She is worth checking out. I love her no nonsense, get 'er done approach.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my menu for the week: (didn't include Sat/Sun since they have already passed)

Monday: spaghetti and salad
Tuesday: breakfast for dinner (probably pancakes-don't tell my family it's Fiber One pancake mix!) and berries
Wednesday: take out- dance class night and meeting with new realtor
Thursday: veggie/chicken nuggets/wings salads (my excuse to get everyone to eat salads!) and fruit, gotta have a quick dinner because this is school conference night
Friday: lasagna and salad or steamed veggies

OK, so I don't usually have pasta twice in one week but the kids are requesting spaghetti and I already had the ricotta cheese for the lasagna, see what I mean, things get changed. I also write my menus on a monthly calendar page so I can see what we have had recently. Sometimes I'll think "didn't we just eat this?" and it makes it easy to check. I just download a free blank calendar page, print it out, and stick it in my coupon binder which is where I keep all my grocery stuff.

Friday, October 16, 2009

total cuteness

Tanner carries this yo-yo around all the time. It has a teeny little ring on it to hold and he hooks his finger in it and drags it as he crawls everywhere. When we give it to him it is like Christmas morning everytime, he goes crazy bouncing and laughing, like, woohoo, look what I got! It is Parker's yo-yo and Tanner will throw a huge fit if he cannot hold it. Weird. Parker is so far pretty nice about letting him hold it, I would normally think Parker would be P-Oed about having to share such a prized possession.

I know I say, "there is nothing cuter than..." all the time, but seriously, is there anything cuter than a baby in overalls?!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

kitchen update

Here is our update on our kitchen. I painted the walls half white and half brown and my hubby trimmed out with chair rail and wainscoting squares. We have the same squares in our foyer and up the stairs and the upstairs hall and I have been wanting to add them to the kitchen for a while. We also added them in the hallway there on the left. While this was not a huge project it was time consuming. I started painting when the kids went to bed and on the last night we did the woodworking. It took about a week, using that white glossy paint took many coats. I love the color, we had boring builder beige before, yuck! I love wood trim too so I love this little update. We are hoping potential buyers love it too because we don't have granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, oh well. As I have said before, I wish I would have done it sooner because it really does look nice and I got nothing from procrastinating. My next project is to paint Parker's room and the dining room, I hope to do the same paint and wood treatment in there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I seriously cannot get this boy to stop clowning around for a decent picture of him! Urgh!

Yesterday my little man turned four. Sniff sniff, I am so sad that he has reached this milestone. It seems so big but I know it is still so young. We were talking about him being such a "big boy" and he said, "don't worry mommy, I am still your little buddy." I feel a really strong bond with him because when he was an infant, my husband broke his wrist and was not able to hold him for almost a year. Consequently, we had major together time. He thinks he is so grown up but I know secretly he likes to cuddle like a baby and tells me he loves me all the time, when no one is listening of course! He is a major ball boy/superhero/daredevil/lover of all things creepy. I am excited to have his celebration this weekend, all he wanted was for his friends to come over and play ball with him. He has requested pizza and cake for the menu. Gotta love him. Happy Birthday PJ.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Happy Fall Y'all!

It is full force fall around here and honestly I hate it. I hate cold weather and snow and all the icky-ness of slushy driving, oh wait that's winter, close enough. I do hate wearing coats and being cold. I do however, love the colors of fall and fall festivities. Pumpkin getting, carving, trick or treating, pulling the jeans out of the back of my closet, making chili and drinking cider, all those thing I love, cold, not so much. This weekend is my favorite day(s) of the year, the annual Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville, Ohio. My absolute most favorite, better than Christmas, day is the day I get to go scour antique shops and craft booths amid sauerkraut foods (including cheesecake and pizza!). I am hoping I get to go. I haven't been able to go for two years because it has been Parker's birthday so keep your fingers crossed for me. How many weight watchers points do you think a sauerkraut sundae is? Hmm, gotta research that one. Anyway, I hope everyone is enjoying fall in their neck of the woods.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Just do it people

Whew! I am exhausted. Not because my stinker-pot baby won't sleep through the night or because my almost 4 year old stinker-pot boy got up six (!) times last night. I've been a painting maniac. After the babes are in bed, I crack open the paint cans and crank up the radio and go crazy until midnight or so. I painted one and a half bathrooms and our kitchen and a hallway and our decorative niche in the last two weeks or so. (I promise to post some pics soon, really not all that exciting, mostly shades of brown) I am also waiting on my handy-man, ahem, hubby, to do a little trim work for me. I have these high hopes of making our house look better for potential buyers but as I observe on all those HGTV shows, now that things are being painted and updated, I kind of don't want to leave! Just kidding, we are still going to try to move to be closer to my hubby's new job but in the meantime I plan on fully enjoying my newly "redecorated" home. It just stinks that I didn't do all this sooner. I have always envisioned these changes I am making, but between babies, new jobs, kids, blah blah blah, I just never got around to it. So I guess what I am sayin' to you is, just do it already! Quit procrastinating and get 'er done! Now if I could only figure out a way to paint Parker's room while he is sleeping...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

kid's art cabinet

Just a little reorg project for me...
This is our art cabinet. It holds the "everyday" supplies I let the kids use for crafts and art. I have "special" supplies that are housed in a closet too, that only get pulled out for those times when they are about to kill each other and I need a really effective distraction. I pray my neighbors don't read this post because I seriously swiped this cabinet from their trash a few years ago. I began painting it white and my hubby helped me finish it, hence the doors and inside are not all the way painted, anyway... This thing gets pretty trashed regularly so I have been wanting to rework it for a while. I finished about two weeks ago and took the pictures and everything but I just forgot to blog it. One of my gal pals recently shared her craft cabinet redo and it reminded me to do the same (thanks Sarah!). It always amazes me how relieved I feel after some sorting, labeling, and purging. And did I mention, the kids love it!? It's been two weeks and I have not had to slam the doors shut or scream about the mess spilling all over the floor. Here it is before, not too terrible, just a little crammed... geez I really need to paint that other door!
After. I used paper trays, plastic drawers, the same milk crate and a magazine holder. Oh, and those cool hooks that stick on for their clipboards.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Yesterday was the first day I wore shoes that were not flip flops and I have about 10 blisters on my heels! Ouch! I guess that means summer is over, sniff sniff. Goodbye sunshine, steamy days, flower beds full of color, swimming pools, mosquitoes, and shorts. I'll miss you. I am so not a winter girl.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I can't stop saying "cute"

Although I threaten to call the gypsies to come and pick them up, I don't ever do it, that is sell my kids to random strangers. They are still alive and kickin' (and screamin' for that matter), here are the most recent photos I have taken. It has taken me a while to post some new pictures because my computer is behaving very wonky, it has been an all day (no joke) process to get these puppies on here. But it is so worth it, are my kids just the cutest? Well, not as cute as your own of course.Here is my princess, Zoe, all of her big girl self, full of attitude and sweetness all at the same time. She is loving first grade and reading everything she can get her hands on.
Don't even get me started on this lil' stinker, he is in a class all by himself, I love him so much it hurts, sometimes literally ;) Parker is the sports guy through and through. I chose not to enroll him in preschool but in sports activities instead. While I wish for a "break" sometimes I am loving watching him excell in what he truly loves.
And look at this cutie pie... he is a heart melter/breaker already. I love that bald head and he has the cutest Elvis smile you've ever seen. I've read that the baby of the family is a charmer by nature, boy is that true. He is trying to "cruise" around the furniture and he scoot/crawls everywhere. I hate it that he is growing up so fast. He is wearing 18 months to 24 months size clothes, yikes! (He's only 8 months.)

On this day, he waved to the school bus as it stopped to let Zoe off. How cute is that?!

it really works

You know how you hear (or read) tips or shortcuts and you think, "that probably doesn't work!" Well here are two that I have tested and can say they do work!

underarm stains on white shirts:
I mixed a paste of warm water and Oxyclean and applied it to my hubby's $90 (! ridiculous, I agree) white dress shirt. I let it set for about 30 minutes then washed it in warm water with my regular detergent. The stains are gone. Honestly. I was so glad that we didn't have to throw this one out. I can't tell you how many times I watched that infomercial, haven't we all?

exercising while playing:
OK, I love to exercise. I love running (even if my bladder doesn't cooperate- dang three pregnancies!) and pumping iron in the gym but I have barely had time to do so lately. So I have been trying to get my exercising points in through some non-traditional ways. I have been playing with Parker a lot since Zoe is back to school all day. He is a sports nut so playing with him involves balls of some kind usually. Two days ago we played tennis for so long my arm hurts, no joke! Yesterday it was kicking the soccer ball. This morning my (ahem) glutes hurt so bad I can hardly sit down. All these sore muscles must me I was working them out. Yeah me!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

right now

Right now: I am watching my baby scoot (not crawl) all over the floor, heading for the dog's cage. My 3 3/4 year old is climbing on the computer table also heading for the dog cage, I suspect he is getting ready to jump on top of it. I am waiting for the table repair man to come because my dog got up on my prized kitchen table to eat food left there and he scratched the heck out of it, grrr! Coupons are printing. Paint in the powder room is drying. Dryer is drying our clothes. My dog just peed on the carpet (do I really love him? Gawd he is bugging me!). My tummy is growling, need my afternoon Fiber One bar. Zoe will be home soon, and then dance lessons will begin. A butterfly just flew past the window. Just a relaxing kind of day around here, for a while anyway...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Phone picture:
just eaten a blue jolly rancher
running through the neighbor's sprinkler
soaking wet
made his hair a faux hawk
waiting for big sister to get off the bus
throwing acorns in the tree for squirrels
this is Parker- almost 4 years old