Friday, October 29, 2010

our niche

When we built this house I was so excited to have this little niche (a cutout in the drywall) to decorate. I had visions of each season changing it out with something so cute. My big tall hubby said we should just get a big oriental vase (say "vaaz" like he did!) and forget it. Well fast forward 6 years and you will find I do change the decor every so often but it is too shallow for a really nice vase so I use a blue one intended for umbrellas most of the time with this metal grate thingy. I also painted it a brown inside the niche so it would stand out from the boring builder beige.

Well, I was scouring all my blog ladies' blogs last week when I was supposed to be doing something else I am sure, and I found this gal who made a cute fall picture using scrapbooking supplies and a frame she bought at a thrift store. Well boy, do I have those! Yeehaw, I got busy.

I wish I could remember her blog/original post. I'd love to share her work, waaaaay better than mine. (I found her through mad mouse clicking all over the place, sorry I don't have a credit for you.)

I thought mine was a teeny bit dorky when I was done. Her's was way country-er and cuter and rustic-er. I was like, hmm, should I just trash it? I didn't buy anything new so it wouldn't be a total loss...

But then, I decided to use some of my extra fall decorations that I didn't put anywhere else to go use...

Ta Da!

I think as a whole, all together, it looks less dorky. Maybe? Oh well, it looks seasonal and festive so I guess I'll keep it. Red and green stuff will be replacing it soon enough!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


My chair and ottoman are done!

Woo hoo!

I love how they turned out.

My chair man (as I now call him affectionately) says I have "great taste." AND he said my house was the prettiest house he'd been in for a long time. I think I love him. :)

You might remember these were supposed to be in my living room (not our study) but they just fit the colors and match the drapes (I made!) so well, I felt like this was a better home. Now if I can just find some time to enjoy all this new seating...

Am I the only mom who doesn't sit down all day?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

watchin' my weight Wednesday

Yesterday I was putting on my most favorite jeans. The perfect faded blue, hole in the knee, bootcut (I know "skinny" is in, but I am part greek and I have the butt to prove it!), just the right length jeans. And I was in tears, because I had to do the tug and squat. You know, tug a little and squat to get them up over my big greek mama booty. I was so bummed. I mean, seriously, who wants to dig out their favorite jeans from the summer storage only to find them almost too tight to get up over her thighs!? **sigh** I was bound and determined to wear them because by golly when I wore them last year I had to wear a belt for heaven's sake!

Then I got to thinking about my Wednesday posts about watching my weight. It seems like all I do is complain, moan, groan, and be downright grumpy about it. Hmm, not good for all those nice blog friends who read hoping for inspiration. I mean don't we all get bummed out about gaining a couple (or more) pounds? It stinks, let's not try to say it's anything but stinky, pure and simple.

I was writing down my latest meal in my food tracker (again, sorry if you are not an official Weight Watcher, this is a food journal, simply) and it has these inspirational quotes and thoughts each day, my quote for the day said, "celebrate all you have done so far to reach your goal." Wowzers! That hit me like a ton of donuts! Maybe a change in my attitude is what I need to get this weight loss party started?

Here is my food tracker and food guides with points in them and my weight tracker, right on my kitchen counter, no escaping the weight watching journey (paci is not mine by the way, buy hey, maybe that would be good for keeping me from BLTing?!)

So I thought, you know what, I am going to celebrate today! All the stuff in my life that I see, do, use, and think about to keep me on my weight watching journey.

Sorry, no pictures have been staged, so they are not the best...

Here I go, "Celebrate" by Kool in the Gang is playing in my mind right now...

my dungeonous workout area in the basement, I use it all the time and I don't even care that it is a dungeon, I pretend I am Rocky in the movie where he had to fight the big Russian and he had to carry big logs and climb mountains, he didn't have a fancy gym and he was the winner!
dumbells- I have these stashed so I can grab them for my walks around my neighborhood, my neighbors probably think I am a nut, but I don't care, I also have a set in our tv cabinet for dvd or Fit-tv workouts with Gilad
my three pairs of running shoes- one for treadmill, one for outside and one for walking (this pair doesn't have enough support left for running, they are too old) I love Adidas! They have discontinued my favorite pair of shoes, grr. Makes me so mad.
My workout bag for the Ymca. I don't have a picture of my spinning or bootcamp class, my classmates would probably not like that very much. I am super proud of myself for sticking with them every week. I have only missed spinning twice in 10 months! Once because we were on vacation and once because big tall hubby was gone and I can't leave the kids home alone at 5:30 AM! Yay me! (He goes Y-ing on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I get to go on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I know I could technically go every day but I hate putting my kids in the child care -yuck! And I like to get my workouts done early.)

My stash of veggies. (don't know why the photo is sideways?) I have yet to meet a veggie I don't like and eating them every day has been a direct result of Weight Watchers.

My Weight Watchers points calculator. Me and this guy are best buddies. At the grocery, I pull him out when trying to decide which cracker or cheese (or whatever) to buy. Probably the best WW tool I have. (except for meetings)

My drawers of work out clothes, yes, I have a lot. Man are they messy! Usually they look really good but this crazy fall weather is making it hard for me to find what I want to wear when it is freezing at 5:30 AM but I am sweating when I am done.
Probably my biggest celebratory thing: reaching my goal and working for Weight Watchers. I hope to do it full time someday as a leader. Probably when my munchkins are a bit older.

I know there are tons more things that I do everyday to help me stay healthy. These are just a few. It makes me feel good to see them all in one place. I think maybe a change in attitude is just what I needed. So I am taking action and stopping the pity party for myself! Woo! Yay me!

Kool & The Gang - Celebration

This was supposed to be in with my Wednesday post...

Watch and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Student of the month

I am proud to say, Zoe is student of the month for her class at school. Woo! She was super excited. I really wasn't sure she'd get it this year. I have noticed so many time teachers select students for different reasons like maybe a particular student had a rough time and then was doing better, he/she gets selected. Or a student who kind of needs an ego boost will be selected. I know there are a million more reasons (I was a teacher ya know!) and everyone who gets selected is deserving, and those who don't get selected are as well (I honestly think they should do it by the week, that way everyone gets a turn at some point and some will get it more than once... anyway...).

Zoe is such a great student. She does anything a teacher would ask her to do, including coloring in the same direction on an art project no matter how much she didn't want to (yes, this has happened to her!). She uses good manners and helps others. This year she has stayed inside for recess a bunch of times because one of her classmates is handicapped in a wheelchair and can't maneuver the playground. My sweet girl stays inside and plays board games and colors with her so she has someone to play with. Zoe tries so hard to do her best, the poor girl loses sleep over school projects sometimes. Yikes! She loves school so much, she never says she is bored or wants to stay home. Girls like her make teaching a breeze, I remember them fondly. :)

So, yes, I am bragging on her. She deserves it. Way to go babe!

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Fall Y'all

These guys worked so hard raking leaves into a "big" pile to jump in... I was cracking up the whole time because our trees are still so young and teeny, there weren't many leaves to rake.

So it's fall here. Obviously. I just hate admitting it. Really hate it. Anyone who knows me, has to remember that I hate cold weather. Loathe it. Can't stand it. Count the days until summer. Cry when I put my flip flops away... sigh. I swear one of these days I am going to move to the beach. I'll probably be way too old to enjoy it, at least too old to wear a bikini properly, but someday!

Things to do this week:
  • finish Parker's thank you cards
  • take stock and organize my gift area
  • store all the clothes Tanner has outgrown
  • sort Z & P's school pics (to give to family/friends)
  • change the shelf liner under my sink cabinet (so icky!)
  • change my purse to a more fall-ish one
  • get my desk cleaned off so I can scrap!

My menus for this week:
  • sub sandwiches
  • lasagna and salad
  • chili and baked potato bar
  • pasta with veggies and olive oil and salads
  • BBQ pork sandwiches

OK, so there are some repeats from last week. I did not get nearly enough crossed off my list of things last week and my menu sometimes gets thrown out the window when big tall hubby has meetings he forgot to tell me about thus forcing me to make the kids mac and cheese and chicken nuggets! (organic of course, have you seen how they make regular chicken nuggets?! eww!)

And I would like to add, my diva Zoe had a solo in her school musical on Friday. She did so awesome! (No, I am not exaggerating just cos I am her mama!) And the kicker is, she never told any of us that she was going to do it. I asked her a million times if she knew all the songs and lines and stuff and she told me she did. It was such a surprise. I was shocked and my pride meter was through the roof!

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

sorry, painted pumpkin, yummy smells

please ignore my bad hair (I am trying to grow out my sides so I can get Keira Knightly's new bob, love it) and dark circles, I am smiling, see

OK, so yesterday I was a total grump, sorry. I was checking some of the other blogs I read and apparently bunches of you were doing a "keeping it real" post. Well, I guess I don't feel too bad about my own griping and complaining, I just didn't do it as well as they all did. Anyway, I am over it now, mostly ;) .

Here are the improved painted pumpkin pictures. What a difference sunlight makes! I am trying to think of something I can do for Christmas, along these same lines, I love it so much.

And quite by accident, I discovered that

this plus

this equals

a yummy smelling house!

How, you ask did I discover this?

Does this answer that question?

watchin' my weight Wednesday

**this is a "woe is me" post, if you don't want to read, please don't you won't hurt my feelings!**

Ok, ever have one of those days? I am having one.

my boys are sick (snot everywhere)

my house is trashed, company coming tomorrow

CVS ran out of their advertised cereal on special I wanted and I do not want to make another trip, don't they know how annoying it is to drag kids there?! Don't want to repeat it.

I left my Weight Watcher's record book at the center, so now I have to drag my kids back there to get it (I bent down to tie my shoes and wrangle Tanner off the scale and I forgot it)

I weighed in .8 higher than last month, so frustrating, :(

I forgot Parker's backpack when I took him to school so he is furious with me

My dog has been eating my neighbors "compost" and he is having accidents because he is not supposed to eat people food at all (they just throw their food scraps in a pile by their deck, it is not truly a compost pile, so gross, my dog runs over there every time he is out and it is driving me crazy)

So forgive me for not posting about any weight watching tips this week. I am super frustrated and hoping the next few days go by quickly so I can get back to some normalcy.

I do plan on some extra running tonight, stress relief and hopefully burning some calories...

I promise I won't be grumpy tomorrow!

Monday, October 18, 2010

party pics

Pictures from Parker's skateboard party:
I had all the kids pose with this backdrop and we made skater posters to take home. (I printed out their pics real quick for them to use.)
The only picture of him with his cake.

Showcasing his ABC scrapbook- this one is a basic one, no frills but it does show him from birth to five years old. I was channeling my friend Sarah by using cardboard for signs. I thought they looked kind of "tough" like a skateboard guy.
He played with his new Scooby house late into the night and every moment since his party. I think he likes it! Yes he is sitting on the counter, no I don't know how he got there.

OK, so most of my party pictures are lamer than ever. This was a hellacious party. No kidding. I had it planned to the tee. I was all set. AND then reality. Everyone was just coming and going, people coming late, people leaving early, mostly our family. And it just made it impossible to have a smooth, flowing party. I was so frustrated. I wanted to cry almost the whole time. I really was angry trying to accommodate everyone, introduce people, make sure everyone had food and drinks, when I really just wanted to make it fun for Parker. I think I did an ok job of not letting my feelings show but boy was I pissed. (My friend Kristin who was also having her birthday on the same day, was the only person I told my frustrations to, like she needed that on her birthday!) I usually anticipate chaos for parties but this one was the kicker. Oh well, I hope Parker doesn't remember the craziness, just the fun. **sigh**

skateboard cake

This is how I made Parker's skateboard cake for his birthday on Saturday.
When he requested a skateboard cake, I said, "sure buddy." But inside, I was thinking, "oh shi*! What am I the Ace of Cakes?!"

I started with a regular 13x9 sheet cake.
I cut off the corners to round it out. (I kept Parker's real skateboard on the counter for inspiration.) If you don't do this waxed paper trick when you ice a cake, you will from now on. I learned from the almighty Martha to put pieces of wax paper under the cake and when you are done icing it, slide them out. Your cake plate is clean. It works. I really want one of those spinning cake icing things she has too, but that's another story.
Parker wanted blue icing. Sorry to all the guests who ended up with blue teeth.
I added flames to make it look tough, skatebording-guyish.
Some fondant letters, this is the part where my cakes go awry. I can't do the pretty cursive icing so I tried this. Not sure I like these either.
Some donuts for wheels. And done.
By the way, my sweet, big tall hubby said, "cool car cake" when he saw it in the fridge before the party. Thanks babe, you really know how to make a gal feel good about her cake decorating skills.

Things to do this week:
put away all party supplies
clean house from party
sort/organize/ figure out what I need from my gift stash area
help Parker write his thank you notes

My menus for this week:
white bean stew
lasagna with salad
chicken chili with homemade bread
some kind of tortellini dish (got the tort, just not sure what to do with it yet)
leftover pizza (from Parker's party)

I will post a couple more party pics tomorrow. It was an absolute crazed party (for me anyway) so I didn't get very many good ones.

Have a great night everyone.

Friday, October 15, 2010

proud of myself

Lookie what I made!

This cute monogrammed pumpkin sits on my foyer cabinet. I totally swiped the idea from a blogger who stole it from an Etsy person. I honestly do not know where I first saw it. I have tried to find it but I can't seem to locate the original person who designed this. Sorry to whoever out there came up with this, I wish I could remember who you are. I obviously loved your idea. Mine pales in comparison to the original...

I used white spray paint to cover a fake pumpkin. Then I free-handed the "w" with a small paint brush and added some polka dots and ribbon. I love how it turned out.

I will try to take a better picture of it and post later. I finished this really late and I was so excited I just took a picture with barely any light.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 11, 2010

hangers and clips

Be prepared. (Is that a boy or girl scout rule? Oh well, I guess it doesn't matter.)
Sometimes I forget to share my organization tips. Maybe I need a new blog name? There are so many other fun things to discuss...

Last weekend, Zoe had a Brownie outing. It was on Saturday, the same day as my boot camp class I just started taking. I was a little worried that coming home from my class, getting everyone fed, clothed, etc. would make us frazzled and forget something. Friday night, I got her vest, $, permission slip and added a note to wear tennies and bring a water bottle. I clipped all this to the hanger and put it in our laundry room. There is no way we will miss this stuff, since we have to walk through here to get to the car. I found this a worthy tip to share.

I use the hanger and clip method a lot. I clip things (like notes or permission slips) to Zoe's dance leotard. Clip things to back packs. Clip things to lunch bags, my purse, I have even clipped things to my coat. There is nothing I hate worse than leaving the house and realizing the thing I needed is sitting on the counter because I was too hectic when leaving and forgot it.

Just a funny, when I was a teacher, I encouraged parents to safety pin folded notes to their children so I would be sure to get them. Most of them obliged and I usually received all my parent notes. :) I also pinned notes to the kids to go home, only if they were really important. (I taught kindergarten and first grade, so lost things were a big problem, and no, the kids were not embarrassed, they were proud to take notes home, the notes were all bad!)

My buddy is 5 today

Today is Parker's birthday.
He is five. It is killing me. I have been a crying mess for days. Not sure why. He is super proud of himself. He loves being able to tell everyone he is "a whole hand." I am having a hard time adjusting to him growing up and maturing.
He is super smart, intuitive, funny, athletic, silly, and sweet all at the same time.
Don't you love those silly bands, he wanted to wear them for his stair picture.
I hate it that he is growing up so fast. Please slow down!
I made him this shirt while watching "Glee" and "Dancing with the Stars." He thought it was "cool" and he wants to wear it for his party on Saturday.
Here is a close up, I wanted it to look kind of rough, not perfect, but cute, like a 5 year old little boy. If you remember, most of my projects are kind of rough, not perfect so this one turned out like I hoped.
I always take a picture of the kids on the steps the day of their birthday. These are usually the opening pages of their scrapbooks. I love this one of the boys. It is breaking my heart. Someday they are going to be huge, drinking gallons of milk at a time, talking in deep voices, playing sports and wrestling each other over the remote. Whew, makes me so glad they are young and little right now.

Watchin' My Weight Wednesday

I want to honor Parker's birthday today so no official weight watching post. I do however want to correct myself, I gave you the wrong day for "Thintervention". It is on Mondays at 10 on Bravo. I think I said it was on Tuesdays. This week was so good. They did a dance workout with the Pussycat Dolls choreographer. I love dancing, this would be a dream come true workout for me. I am still holding out for Dancing with the Stars to call me. Kind of a sympathy invitation since I am by far not a star, I think 8 weeks of dancing for hours a day would be a glorious way to get in shape. You can find more Thintervention info here.

Sauerkraut Festival

The second weekend in October is my absolute favorite time of the year. No kidding, I look forward to it every year, more than Christmas, my birthday, 4th of July, all of the other special days in the year. A small town, not far from us, Waynesville, Ohio is transformed into a crafters/antiquers/eaters' paradise. The town hosts the Sauerkraut festival. Over 400,000 people cluster around booths on Main Street looking at homemade crafts and foods made from sauerkraut, including, pizza, brownies, sundaes (my favorite), nachos, brats, pies, sauerkraut balls, cabbage rolls, cookies, to name a few.

I know it sounds crazy but it is my heaven. Lining this street are some of the best antique stores around (with the exception of the Springfield, Ohio antique flea market, also not far away). I am like a maniac. I never know where to look first, the crafts, the antiques, the food. It doesn't help that I love sauerkraut, weird huh? I always get a sauerkraut sundae which is german potatoes layered with kraut, cheese, sour cream and an olive, it looks like an ice cream sundae. So yummy. I have a hard time not getting one of everything.

I usually go with my best buddy and some other gals from college but I couldn't this year because it was homecoming week at hubby's school, and he was crazy busy. I have basically been a school widow for the past seven days. On Sunday I was being all "woe is me, someone is eating a sauerkraut sunday right now as we speak" and my husband said, "let's go."

Now like I said, this is typically a girls' day only, and definitely no kids. I mean 400,000 people on one street!!!! How do you manage a stroller in all those people? I didn't get to go last year (what, the shock and horror, don't even get me started!) and I was really missing it so by golly we went. The kids were not happy. "Mooo-oom, we don't like sauerkraut!" I told them I did and we were going. We stopped and got them happy meals to eat on the way which made them forgive me a little bit.
Hubby carried little man which took care of my stroller worries but did make our browsing/shopping/eating time a little rushed. It was also deathly hot, no shade so long-term shopping was not permitted. Hubby kept us moving. But I didn't care, I was blissfully happy. The sights, the smells, the sounds of a polka band, were a perfect recipe for a great day.
I missed going with my gal pals, we've been going together for years. Something about all those crafts and goodies with the girls is just so much fun. I am so happy we went as a family, I needed that sundae! It was really sweet of hubby to offer to go, I know he was exhausted after all the homecoming bru-ha-ha. I hope next year, I can make it with the girls. They are much more patient with me when I want to dig in dusty corners of every shop looking for the perfect trinket to take home. Just a note, I didn't buy any crafted items. I bought a flower frog and I am going to make something really cute to put in it.

I was so excited, I forgot to take more pictures. I had these high hopes of posting my sundae here, but since it was my Christmas morning, I kind of forgot.

Here is the link to the Sauerkraut Festival info page. If you are in southwest Ohio next October, be sure to check it out.

Monday stuff

This picture is for my friend, Kristin, my crust turned out great! Thanks for the consultation.
This was my first ever home-made pizza crust. I have baked just about everything (except a souffle, way too scared to try that) but I always bought premade crusts. Kristin had us over for dinner a couple weeks ago and she made her own crust using wheat flour and my kids loved it. Zoe was particularly impressed with Kristin's kneading and rolling techniques. Well, by golly, I thought, I want them scarfing up my homemade pizza too! After texting Kristin through the grocery store, I felt confident to make my own. I am happy to declare that everyone loved it. (Hubby even had some the next day- he didn't get to eat with us that night- and he said it was so yummy and I have to make it every time.) I thought it was delish too. Just the perfect combination of crispy crust and soft middle. Yes, I put pepperoni on my piece only and no, I did not put any veggies on it, the kids said they would not eat it if I put onions on there. So I made myself and giant salad and cut my piece in half, hubby enjoyed the other half. I used the recipe off the Fleishman's pizza crust packet. Super easy and cheap!

Here is Kristin's blog.

Things to do this week:
  • clean the outside of my kitchen cabinets
  • get everything ready for Parker's fifth birthday party (Saturday)

my menus for the week:
  • baked chimichangas
  • pork and sauerkraut with biscuits
  • chili spaghetti
  • white beans and sausage
  • broccoli frittata

Friday, October 8, 2010

sugar cookies

What is it about fall that makes me want to bake like a maniac? I have made cookies like crazy lately (maybe that is contributing to my frustrating weight problems?!). Sugar cookies arealways a hit around here. They are eaten within a couple days. I swear it takes longer to make them then it does to enjoy them. They are a lot of effort!

The mixing, the chilling, the flour, the rolling, the squabbling over cutters, the cooling before icing...Jeez! I usually get really grumpy when we make these because you know the process is sooooooooo long. And the kids want to help. And I don't like it when things get messy. And I can never get them to turn out cute enough. And you get the idea.

Tanner waits patiently for a bite...

I have a lot of cookie cutters, does this make me a cookie cutter hoarder?
Do I need help from those people who come and organize your stuff?
I promise I did not buy all of these. I have received many of them as gifts... probably because I make cookies for everyone for lots of occasions (remember, I think bakery bribery is perfectly acceptable!)
This guy was super, over-the-top, excited to be making these with me, even better since Zoe was at school and she wasn't here to tell him how to do it (his words, not mine!) Boy, was she mad when she got home and saw the cookies. It went something like this, "mooo-ooooom, why didn't I get to make cookies too?" (total whiny voice)
So you local gals (and those who have moved :) ) will know about Sugarcraft. It's a store for bakers in town. They have a great website too. I have gone there for years (to get more cookie cutters and other supplies, they have everything, no joke) and I have never had the people who work there be anything but nice to me. Until yesterday. (My friends who have gone all swear that the workers there are super grumpy and mean.) I was asking the cashier if they offered classes or knew of any on decorating cookies with the perfect edges, making dams, different icings, all that stuff that Martha does on her show too quick for me to learn. And the lady was SO RUDE. She said, "we don't do that anymore. (Insert mean sarcastic tone) Just get one of these DVDs." And she kind of flung her hand in the direction of a shelf of DVDs. Now let me say, I had the boys with me and they were being very well behaved, seriously, and there was no one else in the store. What the heck was her problem? I just kind of smiled and said, something like, "oh, I guess that's what sprinkles are for." And left.

Was she being rude or am I just over-reacting? Either way. I will probably go back even though, it was a bad experience because I just can't help myself. I love good kitchen stuff and I love baking. You can go here to check out their stuff, no rude tones online!
See, sprinkles make everything pretty.

Here is the recipe we used, not my regular Martha one, this one makes fewer than the other recipe I use, I only wanted to make a couple dozen. Her other recipe makes a TON.

Two other things I am thinking about:

  • I feel like I live at the grocery part time. Do you think they could set up a cot and a crate (or a cute Longaberger) to put my stuff in by the water fountain? I am there all the time...

  • Groceries are way too expensive. And yes, I think the people of New York are doing the right thing by not allowing people to use food stamps on soft drinks. That makes me mad that people would buy that stuff with their government money... grr.

  • I was watching "Bridget Jones' Diary" the other day while I was on my treadmill. It was the scene where she had to get freaky with Hugh Grant (love him!) and she had on her big granny panties that sucked in her belly. I noticed that Renee Z (can't remember how to spell her name!) was not even chubby. She looked so cute, not like the normal anorexic, tiny skeletal actress we are so used to. And I remember reading that book and picturing a much heavier girl. Hollywood is warped. Just sayin'.

OK, so that was three (kind of four) things, but who's counting.

Have a nice weekend!