Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Old pictures from the old SD card

A few Saturdays ago, I was cleaning out some cupboards in the Love Shack, and found an old SD card. 

Which prompted this post.

And the promise of more to come.

It's more for my own nostalgia, you see....but you're welcome to enjoy them as well.

More pictures from when A was a baby....

This is the only 4 generation picture we have.
I treasure it.

Oops...this came through sideways, and I'm too lazy to figure out how to flip it (calling a spade a spade here...).  This is how we spent much of A's babyhood....he LOVED laying on people's chests.  He's a cuddler to the core.

Again, case in point with the cuddler.
Only I got smart and brought a pillow down to catch a few zzzz's myself. :)


I loved taking pictures of the messy baby mouth.
Here's A's showing me he's "so big"
after I congratulated him for feeding himself.

A LOVED to pretend to cook while I was in the kitchen.
Dear 25 year old A, yes, I am posting pictures of you in your diaper on my blog.  I changed those's my porrogative.  Love, Mom.


Outside in the snow.
A wasn't sure about snow until the following winter, but it was fun to watch Molly play around him.
Homegirl LOVED the snow.


This is our old house.
D bought it at 19 and rented out the upper level and basement.
When we got engaged, he kicked them out and began rennovations.
New siding, new roof, new windows, new bathrooms,
and lots and lots of paint.  :)

I miss that little house sometimes.


Right before we moved, D moved all his tools out of the garage.

We parked the van in there and took a picture just for posterity.  :)

I don't think I've parked in a garage since.
Such is the plight of the contractor's wife.

Ok, my trip down memory lane is over for today.

I need to get back to work.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Things

My brain is not functioning well enough to put together a comprehensive post today, so I'll go with randomness.  It seems to work for me.

1.  Things I should be doing instead of blogging: cuddling with Molly, audit reports, devotions, cleaning, dishes, running errands, doing educational things with C that would make me a "good mom".

2.  Things I would rather be doing than blogging:  sleeping in.

3.  Things I'm worried about:  Molly.  She's still under the weather.  We have a vet appt today at 2.  I'm hoping for two things: 1) whatever is ailing her is an easy fix and 2) the appointment, tests, and cure don't put us back to square one in saving for the house.

4.  Things I (sigh) about:  It's freezing in the basement where my office is.  I borrowed the space heater from D's office, and the only place to stick it is in the corner.  Which means that a quarter of my right butt cheek is HOT HOT HOT...the rest of me is still freezing.  Sigh. 

Sorry I talked about my butt cheek.

5.  Things I hope for:  a good outcome to the election- both today (our primary day here in MI) and in November, enough money to start the other side of the house, health, happiness and contentment for my boys, successful fundraising efforts for our school, high levels of productivity with work, a fun, active and fulfilling social life and a happy marriage.  Amen.

6.  Things I don't get:  people that pull out into traffic when there is CLEARLY not enough room to safely get in without someone else having to SLAM on their brakes, bus stops that are 50 feet apart when parents DRIVE the kids to the bus stop anyway(God forbid their kids walk the 100 feet to get to the bus stop), people that quickly turn in front of you only to go 10 mph BELOW the speed limit, people that drive with their cell phone in front of their face and take up 2 lanes, people that drive SLOW in the left lane.  I really have issues with people on the road, perhaps?

7.  Things I'm addicted to:  blogging, my family, texting, Downton Abbey, pintrest, back rubs, Cadbury mini eggs (which is why I'm NOT buying ANY).

8.  Things I need to more of:  exercise, eat fiber, fondue, devotions, time management, prayer, crafts.

9.  Things I would buy if money was no object:  A European trip, a hot flashy camera lens, a rediculous amount of trusses, framing lumber and shingles  :).

10.  Things I'm grateful for:   family, friends, decongestents, and you.

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Monday, February 27, 2012

Funny Monday

So, yesterday I took the boys to a symphony geared towards kids.

There was a bagpipe parade and everything.

The WHOLE time we were there, A was just counting down the time until we left so he could go watch the Daytona 500.  Sure, he laughed at a few jokes...but was mostly watching the clock on my cell phone.  (only to come home to a cancelled race- ha ha!)

C. was squirrely to say the least.  He kept asking me if "this was a place you can burp at?" 

Classy- class.

A. wanted a football birthday last December.  His official birthday party with grandparents was on Dec. 11.

The boys are allowed to pick out a Mylar balloon of their choice for their birthday party.  A. chose a football.  By the end of the party, the string had been broken off, and the balloon rose to the ceiling.

Where its been ever since.

It's actually making its way down the roof line.

For those of you keeping track:  December 11- Feb. 27....longest.floating.balloon.ever.

A Happy Birthday shout out to a friend of mine....(I'm not sure if they read this blog anymore...but just in case, I'm covering my bases. I tried calling today, but they didn't answer.  Fer shame.)

I'm off to make an early dinner for the family....D and I have a hot date tonight.

With our accountant.

Oh the joy.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I swear sometimes that if it weren't for 5QF (quite possibly the easiest blog meme on the web) that I wouldn't update for weeks sometimes.  It's just been a crazy busy crazy crazy week.  Did I mention crazy?!?!?

Anyway, the boys are off for a snow day.  Great that I'm still in my jammies sitting here at the keyboard.  Bad that my boys are already at each other's throats, and are in need of constant direction lately.  I'm gonna be a tired mama tonight!  Thank goodness basketball is cancelled.

On a separate note, D and I can't figure out of Molly is sick or just psycho.  We switched her food not long ago, and one morning while she was eating the fire alarm went off.  (Which FREAKS her out!!!) Now she won't eat.  We weren't sure if it was the cheap food or the Pavlovian response to the alarm, so I went out and spent a million dollars on a small bag of dog food, and she ate it once...and now won't touch it.  So, we've been mixing people food in with it to trick her into eating.  This morning, she ate around the  dog food to eat just the cheese...and 5 minutes later, it all came back up.  Sigh....I'm really worried about the old girl.

Ok...let's answer some questions, shall we?!?!?

1. What's your favorite way to spend down time (alone or with a significant other)?

I do love to spend time with D.  And I love to spend time by myself too.  But, since our time is just so crazy, and I'm the type of person that THRIVES on attention, I'd go with time with D.  The more time we get together, the more we're in tune to each other.

2. Are you the kind of person that wants things more as soon as you know you can't have it?

Oh......HECK YEAH!  You tell me I can't have something, and that's all I can think about.  Well, not really.  Depends on what it is.  When I first gave up gluten, I had a 30 day trial.  I literally had a COUNT DOWN on the calendar until I could enjoy the sticky gooeyness in my carbs.  Then I had it, got sick again...and now I'm off the sauce.

But last week, my friend, Michelle was without her cell phone and I was going NUTS!  Let's not talk about the fact that my crazy busy life kept me from texting her in the week prior to her cell-less time....I was going crazy not being able to text her.  But, she's back on the air...speaking of which...I think I'll text her now.

Ok, I'm back.  :)

3. If you were given $1000 to spend on yourself, what would you buy?

Oh gosh...I'd probably spend some money on new bedding and drapery for D and I, and then put the rest toward the house.  We're SOOOOOO close to having enough!!!

4. Do you ever go out to eat by yourself?

Not really.  I go out to eat as a social thing.  If I'm alone, I'd rather just grab something at home and save the calories for some friend fun.

5. What company would you want to do a blog review for?
Home Depot!  I could use it to get the rest of our home building stuff and review their delivery service, etc.  Trusses, framing lumber, windows, floor coverings, plumbing, electrical....oh yeah, baby!  Can you tell I have ONE thing on my mind lately?!?!  Kinda goes back to #2 maybe, huh?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Some of my favorites

There's a ton of random things floating through my head, and while none of them are enough to compile a full blog post on their own, I thought, "Why not combine them into one?!?!?"  So, here's a few of my favorite things at present time (in no particular order.)

1.  Progress.  In the right direction.  People working together, willing to help, all for a common goal. 

2.  Naps.  Early morning or afternoon.  A quick 20 minute nap can recharge me.

3.  Productive days.  These don't happen everyday.  (Apparently, I need to pace myself?)  But I LOVE looking back on a day and feeling like I've accomplished a lot.

4.  This song.  I heard it 3 times last weekend, and it reminded me of college years.  If you're a child of the 80's, I'm sure ANYTHING Sarah will remind you of college.  I love how calming it is and so ethereal.

5.  Just Dance 3.  I'm breaking a sweat, and pretending to be a dancing diva all while really being a clumsy oaf in my living room.  But I dig it.

6.  Crock pots.  I love having dinner ready and not having to do all the preparation during the witching hour.  I love my crock pot.  I asked for a new one a few years ago for Mother's Day.  D (smart guy) told me to research which one I wanted to go grab it (he knew I'd find the best deal).  Every time we b ring it somewhere, I always get compliments on it.  I love my crock pot.

7.  Soft skin.  It's winter in Michigan.  Our air is horribly dry.  So is my skin.  When I do have soft moisturized skin, I'm appreciative.

8.  Summer.  Looking forward to warmer temps when I sit here shivering....and planning trips and activities for the boys.  I love that we're creating memories.

9.  The love shack.  This could go back to Progress (#1), but it really needs its own number.  We're hoping to swing hammers this spring/ summer....a LONG awaited day for me.  D told me I get the first whack.  Then, I'm stepping out of the way in case any critters come running out when the rest of it comes down.

10.  My boys' school.  I'm still really pleased that we made the decision to enroll them where we did.  It has been the best atmosphere for them to grow and flourish in more ways than one.

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Monday. That's all I got.

Well, I do have more.  How about a list?

  • C. was invited to play with the kindergartners in the Junior Basketball League on Friday night.  He got a shirt and everything.  When he put it on, he puffed out his chest and had a look on his face that read "I.have.arrived."  It was so adorable.

  • D coaches A's team (as well as the other team since the other dads aren't interested in doing it, I guess?)....and every time I see him out there on the court, I swoon.  Yep....good dads are a turn on.

  • Saturdays spent at my parent's house are wonderfully relaxing.

  • I made a point to watch P Dub's cooking show on Saturday morning (thank you, mom and dad for having the good cable!).  I enjoyed it immensely.

  • On Saturday night, I was invited to a game night.  D opted to stay home with the boys, so I went solo to a couple function- and didn't know more than 10% of the guest list.  I was proud of my gumption for going.

  • On Saturday night, I had the most terrific time, and I met tons of new people.  There was one other husband there that came without his wife, so we were coupled up for a few games.  He was a great stand-in.  Although, I would have loved to introduce my hottie-boy to many of those people.

  • Sundays bible study was very convicting.  I wasn't prepared for that.  It really made (makes) me think.  I love it when God talks directly to your heart.  It's also very scary.

  • Small group yesterday!  I made Oreo pops to bid our pastor a fond farewell.  He's leaving us for Canada (eh) at the end of the month.  It was a small turn out, so we played Balderdash instead of studying the bible.  Turns out I'm not a very good liar....I tied for last place. 

  • The boys are off for President's Day today.  I still have a ton of work to get done, and I'm now on entertainment duty.  While I'd LOVE to play all day, it is our busy season at work....alas, some ignoring will have to happen.

  • And that's all I got.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Can you believe it's Friday already?!?!?  Man alive, these weeks are just flying by.

Sometimes this is a good thing- like when you're waiting for something exciting to come up....

....other times it's not so good- like when you have a TON of fundraisers happening this spring, and your preparations are already behind.  Sigh.
....and when you have work deadlines looming....not so good.
.... and when time is going by so fast you forget what day it is, and blow off plans with a friend because you thought the day was Tuesday....when it was really Wednesday.

ANYHOW.....let's answer some questions, shall we? 

1. What do you do when you are really upset to calm yourself down?

Depends on what I'm upset at.  If it's a person, I'll sometimes yell (yeah, not proud of that one...but hey, I'm being honest here).  If it's a situation, I'll walk off my anger....or sometimes I'll bake.

If I'm lucid enough, I try to channel all that energy into something constructive- like cleaning.

2. Do you go all out for V-day or is it just another day?

We're not "all-out" kind of people.  I snuck upstairs early that morning and put a card with Reese's hearts in D's lunchbox.  D came home and kicked me out of the kitchen after dinner so he and the boys could make some gf brownies in my heart-shaped cake tin.  We each wrote sweet words to each other in our cards....and that's enough for me.

A few years after we were married, I gave D a heart shaped frame with a picture of the two of us from our honeymoon.  I had it engraved with "My everyday valentine."

That's kind of how we look at it:  show love in little bits throughout the year, not just large displays one day of the year.  It's all about the little things, right?

3. Are you more or less productive when Hubs is away?

Well, considering that the hubs is only away for hunting season....or once in a blue moon when he has a job far away, I don't have much of a reference on this one.

BUT, he is the OCD one in our relationship.  I do alot during the day to make sure he's not twitching when he walks in the door at night.  So, when he's out for the weekend, I'll let things slide a bit.  I'll use paper plates, and let other dishes pile up for a day (before they drive me nuts).  I'll probably watch a little more TV (can we say chick flick?!?!) than normal and not worry about judgement for being lazy.

Last year I had a girl's night in, which made me more productive since I was preparing for/cleaning up from it.  In previous years, there have been circumstances beyond my control that have led to my being less productive....then other years, I haul out the paint brushes while he's away.  :) 

I guess I'm like a box of chocolates:  you never know what you're gonna get.

4. What is your favorite time of day and why?

Well, I'm certainly NOT a morning that's out.  :)

I'd have to go with after dinner.  D and I shoe the boys out of the kitchen to do homework or clean up, and we brew a pot of decaf coffee and just sit and chat for about 20 minutes.  No phones, no computers.  Just the 2 of us.  I love that reconnection everyday.

5. What is your go to karaoke song?

HA!  This question would assume I'm a karaoke girl....which I'm not really.  The last time I was at a karaoke bar, I was with people I worked with from Menards.  My friend, Judy, and I signed up to do a duet...and I got a call page (it was the 90's....don't judge) to leave before we could go on.  So she went solo.  We were going to sing "Whose bed have your boots been under" by Shania Twain.

Sorry Judy....but I'm glad you went solo on that one.  :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Things I love

In inspiration from yesterday and inspiration from this post, I keep thinking of all the things I love.  I'm blessed beyond here's a non-all-inclusive list of things I love (in no particular order):

Being a mom
sleeping in
true friendship
Dave  :)
staying up late
new car smell (the real one, not the imitation)
camp fires
soft serve ice cream
thank you's
letters in the mail
the look on my boy's faces when they accomplish something for the first time
my mom
my dad
great smelling shampoo
my brother
my nieces
warm cookies
a good workout
my nephews
immediate gratification
post-it notes
John Hughes films
Bob Evan's strawberry pie
blog comments
singers with gravelly voices
walks with Michelle
Easter morning
cute hair toys
my small group
my grandmother's pendant
date night
the perfect shade of lipstick
surprise love notes
full budget envelopes
fresh salads
reconnecting with old friends who moved away
answered prayers
D's siblings
decorating my house
after dinner conversations
meeting people with the same sense of humor I have
my camera
Justin Verlander
family vacations
D's parents
a good haircut
Christmas Day
fun dangly earrings
a good solid kiss
non-burny mouthwash
back rubs
coffee, coffee, coffee
Girls' Night Out
roller coasters
getting my work done so I can enjoy the evening
sweet potato fries with garlic aioli dip
finding the perfect running song
birthday parties
people with accents
Just Dance
fluffy towels
Sunday afternoon naps
road trips
inside jokes
colored roses
perfectly fitting jeans
Love Shack house plans :)
new adventures

Again, in no particular order.  :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Domesticity is bliss

Dave claims that he's never seen our blog.  He claims that he's never read it.

I tell him about the things I post,
and I promise not to "cross lines," etc,
but he claims that he's never read the blog.

I think he secretly reads it.
(BUSTED baby!  Love you tons!)

What tipped me off?

We spent the weekend together.

With the exception of my Saturday night plans, and his plowing all night on Friday...
we were together all blessed weekend.

And, of course, he made these plans to stay home all weekend after I wrote this post.

Either way, it was a perfectly "quiet" weekend.

And just because it wasn't all glitz and glamour doesn't mean it wasn't fantastic.'s the weekend in pictures:

1.  Breakfast with the husby.  Usually Saturdays we go our own ways.  He heads to breakfast-with-the-boys before work, and I mosey over to my parent's house for the day.  Due to the nasty roads, we stayed home and D missed the breakfast-boys because he was plowing.  Which meant he got to dine with us.  :)  Even though the boys still opted for cereal over bacon and eggs, they still really enjoyed having daddy home on a Saturday morning.

2.  I made some Valentine Treats.  I do enjoy baking.  And in accordance with my February Operation, I decided to make a Valentine Trail Mix out of left over popcorn from Souper Bowl (surprisingly enough NOT stale!), left over rice chex from Christmas (again, not stale!), and left over almond bark and red candy melts from Christmas.  I added some fresh peanuts and Valentine M&M's....and waalah:

Pink trail mix!

I stuck them in baggies and loaded them up for gifting:

And then...if that wasn't enough, I made a few dozen sugar cookies for C's Valentine's Party yesterday.

3.  D took a quick nap, and after he woke up, he offered to take the boys out and about with him for a few hours.  (again, reason to make me believe that he read that post).

I decided to start the clean out of the Love Shack.  (oh yeah, and I did about 8 loads of laundry)

I found old SD cards filled with precious pictures, and blogged a bit....

But in the end, I was successful at the clean out:

4.  While I was cleaning all the old boxes out, I found a bed tent that I originally purchased with A first moved into a big boy bed.  I thought that it would add some additional warmth to his bed during the winter months (since the Love Shack has no insulation, and his bed was on an outside wall).

For some reason, it never got assembled.

Until now.

My first instinct was to pitch it...but I didn't want to throw it away until the boys trashed had fun with it.

Even D had a good time in there:

The boys even slept in the tent that night.  Apparently, the tight quarters were a tad too much for my light sleeping, C....because he ended up heading into his own bed around midnight.

5.  Of course, when you work from home...there's always work to be done.  So Saturday and Sunday gave me some time to catch up.

6.  After D and the boys arrived home on Saturday, he decided that since the Love Shack was getting cleaned out, it was time to move his office over to the new house.

So we spent the next four hours moving computers, file cabinets, storage cabinets, etc. 
And set him up in his little dungeon.  :) 

It's nice because he's about 8 feet from me.  (my desk)
It's not so nice because he's about 8 feet from me.

At night, our TV's are now fighting for top volume rights. :)  At least I can shut his door.  hehe.

7.  Spa night.  The other blog I work for had our Christmas party a tad late in the season.  February kind of late....but hey....I think it was a splendid idea!  Since the blog has grown so much since I first started, there were 6 of us there.  (Including some of my favorite people!)  She brought in a masseuse and pedicures, lots of wine and some yummy goodies.

The masseuse seriously had me floating on a cloud when she was done with me.  After moving all day, I was tense and tight....she worked all my shoulder and neck muscles....hard.  She warned me to drink lots of water that night...which I did, but also drank LOTS of wine.  Ever since, my shoulders have felt bruised and so sore that I'm not letting anyone touch my shoulders!

But there was much laughter that I was crying, my side felt like it was about to split....and I got so dizzy because I couldn't stop laughing enough to breathe. (that's the best, isn't it?!?!?) 

Other than my sore shoulders....I also have a party on my toes to remind me of that fun fun night:

8.  I made the boys' Valentine's Cards.  I saw this idea on Pintrest, and thought it was easy enough.  So, thanks to Costco's cheap printing costs and Picasa's free download, the boys and I were able to finish these Valentine's Cards for really cheap.  And the boys loved them!

9.  Haircuts for the boys.  They were getting shaggy, and it needed to be done.  C actually complained that it was too "messy" so he asked for a really short cut.  This was the first time he'd ever asked for something I obliged. 

Before for C.
After for A

10.  And possibly the highlight of my weekend:  I took a nap.

C was a MESS on Sunday afternoon from a poor night sleep.  I told him to go lay on our bed for a bit, and after having issues settling down, I offered to cuddle with him.  Sure enough, he fell asleep quickly.  So, I thought I'd give myself 10 minutes to lay there to make sure he was fully asleep....and 90 minutes later, I opened my eyes!  All cozy and warm.  And well rested.
Oh, how I love cozy Sunday afternoon naps cuddled up with my favorite 4 year old.  I can't remember the last time I took a nap!

Top Ten {Tuesday}

So, while my weekend lacked glitz and was still the perfect weekend!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The multi-tasker

I've learned a few things as a of them is multi-tasking...

Right now, at this exact moment in time I am:

- blogging (duh, right?)
- on the phone with an insured
- drinking water
- stretching my back and sore shoulders (story on that later)
- chatting online with a dear old friend and laughing about old memories
- texting with two of my besties.  One about water consumption and the other about Valentine's Candy
- scratching two things off my to-do list
- adding three more things to my to-do list (sigh)
- baking bread (thanks, mom, for "lending" me your bread maker!!)
- telling C. that he can enjoy one more of his Valentine Treats
- writing up an audit report
- drying clothes
- planning dinner tonight
- placing a SCRIP order
- completing a deposit slip
- checking an email and responding to it.

Yep....That's what I did for the last 5 minutes.

You should see what I'm capable of when caffeinated!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Be still my heart.

My dearest husband took the boys out of the house for a few hours today.

I will love him forever just for that gift of silence in the house- even if for a few hours.

We're in the process of moving everything from the love shack into the addition.

I thought I'd take my quiet time to clean, purge, and organize.
(apparently, I'm not quite feeling like myself today.  hehe)

Anyway, in the midst of my purging, I found an old SD card.

I plugged it in, and ooooohhhhhhhhh, my heart melted.

It's from about 8 years ago- when digital was still "iffy" in my book, so I had BOTH the regular film and a digital camera in my bag.

So, I've seen many of these pictures before, but I didn't realize I still had them in digital form.

Bear with me as this will have to be a series of posts so I can get them posted.

Here's the most important ones:

A's birth.

Taking his footprints.
Our nurse's name was Lisa.
She is one of my favorite people.
22 1/2 hours of labor.  3 hours of pushing.
14 inch head....
she was there.
(you know....after I labored for 10 hours at home)

A. had long skinny feet.
He, himself, was long and skinny.
And cute.

(Feel free to focus on the sweetie pie in the middle. 
The mama is in rough shape- tired, exhausted, sweaty, and teary.)


His first weigh-in.
Lisa (the awesome nurse) was giving D ques of what to take pictures of.
I and unable to stand to take the picture.
Lisa was awesome.


Dear D,
Thank you for making my leg (knee?) and arm giant blurs in this picture. 
But the crying baby is cute.  :)


I love the next picture.
A was born close to midnight.
Which was kinda nice because I wouldn't have been ready for visitors right away.
And we got to chill in the labor room for a bit before getting shuttled down the hallway.
Lisa was checking A's heart rate often (normal since he came out running a low-grade fever).
Everyone dimmed the lights so we could just chill as a family for a bit.
It was quiet.
Those were my favorite first moments as a family.


My sweet niece, Emily came to visit the next day.
Other than the fact that I forgot my hair dryer and I'm looking like the Stay-Puft-Marshmallow-Woman,
this is one of my favorite pictures.
I also love that the camera didn't pick up the part of my eyeball that I ruptured
trying to push A out. (again....14 inch head).

Perhaps I can crop me out. 
It's an adorable pic of Emily and A.

My old-man-looking baby the morning of discharge.
He's looking a tad yellow-ish here...
but got worse the next day at home. :(

Still adorable though.

Ok, that's about all my ovaries can handle for one day.

More pics soon.  I promise.  :)

Friday, February 10, 2012


I'm trying something new today.  I've been in an exercise slump and I have felt fatigued and unable to focus during the day.  So....I'm trying this:  10 minute increments. 

I know, it's not anything revolutionary.  But it's new to me.  And it may pose issues for my February project if I'm at various levels of "sweaty" all day long....but I need to get moving.  And this is the best way I know to pull it into my crazy busy schedule. 

So far today, one increment down.  ( was 12 minutes).  I ran for 5 of them.  It felt good to get my muscles moving again.  I have some 10 minute solutions saved in my Netflix que too, so I'm looking forward to jumping into those as well. 

A promise to myself:  2 increments a day - NO MATTER WHAT.  3 is a bonus.

I see a little Love Shack Just Dance fun at lunch time today.  :)


Ok, onto the fun stuff.

1. How often do you shave your legs in the winter?

Once a week....Sunday mornings.  I'm a creature of habit.  :)

Summertime means more shaving, but in the winter?  Once a week is enough.  I need that extra insulation!

2. Valentine's Day cards for your spouse: funny or romantic?

I actually already have D's card.  I was at Meijer sans boys the other day and thought it was a good time to get one (the ability to read the card is key here....with kids= no reading). 

The romantic ones were sooooo sappy!  GAH!  Even the funny ones were on the sappy side.  I finally found one that suits us, though.  It was funny.  He'll get a kick out of it.

If I could find a romantic one that fit us, I'd probably get that as well....but they just don't fit.

3. What are you most looking forward to about spring?

Walking with Michelle!  It's a highlight of the week...and I burn calories.  I'm a fair-weather walker...which means (short of unexpected hail), I'm not out in the chilly elements.

Ohhhhh!  Here's another!

We're hoping to tear down the Love Shack this spring!  I know!  Exciting!  I'm actually hoping that by writing this on the blog, I'm not jinxing myself here......but we're hopeful that sledgehammers will swing sometime before June!  Whoot!

4. What's your favorite way to pamper yourself?

Haircut and highlight.  There's just something so wonderful about good hair.

5. Does your tax return go into savings or do you spend it instantly?
See #3, part 2.  :)  Love Shack, baby!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Operation: Waste not want not

I have come to the realization that we waste a lot of food. 

I purchase too much fresh produce, stuff on sale, stuff I "think" I'm going to cook with, etc.

And it either spoils or sits and sits and sits in my pantry or freezer.

And my freezer is full.

And my pantry is full.
(But still organized- THANK YOU, Stephenie!!!)

Mostly of stuff I use either occasionally....or not at all.

I've done a piss poor job at using up left overs and digging in the freezer to find stuff to cook with.

And that needs to change.

So, this month....

I'm cooking through the freezer and pantry.

I'm finding the miscellaneous stuff that I've stashed in the back corners,

and I'm going to cook with them.

I'm not sure if it will be good or tasty...I make no guarantees.

But, by golly, I'm not going to waste anything this month.

(and perhaps....just by chance....I MAY come in under the grocery budget for a change?) step one....

I repurposed a soup.

My husband made Cheesy Chicken soup for the SOUPER bowl party on Sunday.
(he actually was a runner up....yay!)

I found two pie crusts in the freezer from 2010.  (yeah....sometimes it's just nice to be gluten free)

I pulled out some old (rather freezer burned) mixed vegetables from the bottom drawer of the freezer, thickened the soup with corn starch...


Chicken Pot Pie.

Since the pie crust dough was old(er), it started the crack when I unrolled it.

So, I improvised and made a basket weave.
Fancy, I know.

To my surprise, dinner was a TOTAL success!

The boys ate all but a small corner of the pot pie, and D was excited to have some left overs.

I'm very excited about the way this is starting!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

This post is really for Michelle...but y'all are welcome to enjoy the soup too.

The other day (week?), I had the pleasure of reconnecting with a friend who was out of the country for far (far, far) too long.  :)  I was so excited to see her because she's a delightful person, and quickly becoming one of my favorite friends. 
And I'm not just sayin' that because I know she'll read this.  :)

Anyway, I had the pleasure of bringing dinner to her (really, I was just looking for an excuse to make a big pot of my favorite soup).  When she asked for the recipe, I wasn't surprised.

It's good soup.

My mom got the recipe from a friend.  Then I got it from her. 

Then I tweaked it to suit my own fancy.

Have I mentioned how much I love this soup?!?!?!

Here's my ingredient list:
  •  1 quart jar stewed tomatoes
  • 1.5 pounds of beef stew meat (these chunks can come rather large.  I usually cut them down a bit with my kitchen sheers)
  •  3 long sticks of carrots
  •  3 long stalks of celery 
  •  1 medium yellow onion
  •  1/2 cup quinoa (the original recipe called for rice.  I prefer quinoa)
not pictured. 1 box natural beef broth (or stock, or whatever you have in the cupboard)

Start by browning the stew meat in a large skillet.
While the beef is browning, I cut everything up into relatively large slices/ chunks.

Once the meat is browned, place all carrots, celery, onions and beef in a pot with beef broth.

I made this particular one in a crock pot.  Stove top works just as well. 
Either way, it needs to boil for a few hours.

The crock pot took 6 hours.  I left it on low while we went to church, and switched it to high after we returned. 
Once all the veggies have softened, add quinoa and stewed tomatoes.
Cover and let boil for another 20-30 minutes.

Here's my crockpot at the SOUPer Bowl party on Sunday.
I didn't win (sigh).
But, I was so HAPPY that there was a gf soup there that I could enjoy.

The beautiful thing about this soup is that you can throw just about anything in there and it will turn out well.  I usually make this soup when I'm trying to clean out the fridge- and I find celery that isn't as crisp as I'd like (in order to eat raw, that is). 
I've forgotten the tomatoes....still good. 
I've added mushrooms....still good.
I've topped it with cheese....really good.
I've added farro instead of quinoa.....still good.
I've used chicken stock instead of beef....still good.

It's just a good soup.  :)  Even better when shared with friends.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dear husband, here are some ideas for gifts for me...just in case you were wondering

My husband and I aren't big gift givers.

To each other, that is.

When I say this, I don't mean "not at all."  I just mean "not big on it."

For a few years, I've given him outdoor lights as Christmas gifts.  Romantic, I know.

(but they're really cool lights!)                  

It is just another testament to our relationship- not putting too much thought into worldly possessions, and not letting them define our relationship or who we are in general.

It's just not us.                                         


At the risk of talking out both sides of my mouth.... are fun.

So, since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and Mother's Day not far's a list of gifts I wouldn't think were a "waste."

1.  A massage.  I realize that I'm aiming pretty high on the gift-giving budget here, but I just had a (really TOO) short massage from Yolanda at my MOPS spa day.  She's a fantastic masseuse, and I'd LOVE to go for the full hour.  Within seconds of starting my massage the other day, she found significant sources of pain in my nerves.  I'd LOVE to go get them worked out.  (Honey?  She sent me an email....I can get 15% off!)

2.  A morning to sleep in.  No one to feed, no one arguing, no one who needs to be let out 5 times to pee before 8 am.  Just blissful sleep.

3.  Some piece of jewelry with both boys' birth stones on them.  Blue topaz and peridot go really well together.  However, since I'm crazy picky about how simple my jewelry is, I would have to have full design rights on this piece.  (Apparently, I can be high maintenance when the situation calls)

4.  Girls night out.  Many of them.  Lots of them.  No complaints about how many there are.

5.  A personal trainer.  Kinda like Jillian...but not as hard core.  Or maybe that hard core?  I need to get my butt back in gear.

6.  A car wash.  Our balmy winter and the dirt road we live on has left our white van a sorry shade of "dust."  She needs a good washin'. 

7.  An entire day in the house with no one else home.  Yes, that's considered a gift.  I would LOVE that.

8.  The morning commute to school.  Take it a few days a week for the next few weeks.  While I love our choice of elementary schools, the morning commute is really wearing on me...and I'd love a breather.

9.  A family weekend.  The whole weekend.  No obligations, no work.  We don't have to have "big plans" even.  I just want a family weekend- and not share my husband with anyone else (except our off-spring, of course).

10.              Hmmmmm....I can't think of anything else.  I'll have to end the list at 9.  :)

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Friday, February 3, 2012


1. What have you done recently that you are proud of?

I have trusted people.  Trust doesn't come easy to me, and trusting others is truly difficult.  In the past, trusting people has meant that I've been taken advantage of, disappointed and hurt.  Now...not so much.  The people that God has placed in my life are just seriously the best ever.

I have also not given up.  I'm seriously HOVERING right above a large weight loss goal.  I've been here before (a few times), and hit a plateau.....and given up.  Only to go soaring back up on the scale.  I've been hovering at this weight (give or take 1.3 pounds) for 4 weeks now.  By golly...this time I'm NOT giving up.  I WILL brake this plateau.  I've hung in here for 4 weeks....I'm going to see this through.  I'll beat this puppy.

2. What is your favorite way to work out? Or if you don't workout, what are you wanting to try?

I've recently discovered Just Dance games on the wii.  The third one is my favorite so far (Take on Me, anyone!?!?!?!?).  I totally kick up a sweat, and I don't even realize I've been exercising until 25 minutes into it.

I've also found that I've been missing running lately.  I liked the calorie burn I got from running.  I could really rack them up.  And that feeling of accomplishment by setting a goal and reaching was awesome.  So...perhaps I'll be carving out some running time in the near future sooner than later.  :)

3. If you knew you best friend was cheating on spouse would you tell?

I'd probably bring it to the best friend first and figure what in the world would make her do something like that.  Sitting by idly isn't really in my personality.

4. If you could afford a live-in maid or nanny, would you have one?

Not a live-in, no.  This life is my responsibility, and raising my children is my responsibility.  There's something to scrubbing your house clean.  Even though I HATE doing it, the satisfaction of maintaining your own property is a good thing.

Could I just have a part time babysitter available at my whim so I could go grocery shopping alone?  And someone to clean my floors.  That's all I need.

5. Do you stress out about birthdays (specifically the age) or do you enjoy them?

I have one way to look at birthdays:

It beats NOT having one.

I'm really realizing that some things just get better with age.  35 is a really, really, really fun age to be.

And, a bonus question from Scott: (Or something...)
Bonus: Lights off or on?


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Operation: Look cute... or at least cute-ish.

Way back when, I had a friend who LOVED her MOPS group.  As a matter of fact, that's ALL she would talk about.  To the point, I didn't ever want to join a MOPS group.

How much she was doing for them....
How much time it took....
How important her work was to the group....
Who "reported" to whom in the steering team...
 Who was stabbing whom in the back with spear-tongued words....
Who wasn't going "through her chain of command" to air grievances....

Blah blah blah.  A lot of stupid girly drama if you ask me.

But since you didn't...onward.

One day I was talking to my sister-in-law and she assured me that not all MOPS were like this.  That they are in the 1% of wierdo MOPS groups that functions on dysfunction.

And I talked to another friend who had a fantastic MOPS group.  She's never mentioned it I was surprised that she was a part of one.  But when I asked her for more information, she grinned, and beamed and spoke of it with love.  I wanted to be a part of that one.  And bonus:  it was just a few hundred feet down my road. 

Three years later, I'm loving my group.  The ladies there are fantastic, and I've made the most fantastic friends.  They are whole-hearted God-lovin' mama's and I consider myself just so fortunate to be around them.  These women have been there to encourage me in finding mysterious medical diagnoses, given me great advice when I struggle, and let me lean on them when days are bleak.  This is also the place I list the laughs.  And the wine.  Lots of laughs.  Lots of wine.

And iced coffee.  Today was spa day at our MOPS group.  Other meetings have been great, but this is my favorite day, by far.  This morning, I was made up with make up, massaged, waxed, parafined, and hair-did*.  (*totally a word).  Here's the end result: 

photo courtesy of C, so please excuse the darkness.  :)

You'll also note (or perhaps you can't cause the picture is too dark) that I'm wearing a gray t-shirt.  Rendering my eye color dark gray.  :) 

This photo was taken a few hours after spa day....
Good: the curls have had a bit to relax.  I was feeling awfully Shirley-esque this morning. 
Bad:  my eye make up has absorbed into my skin because she didn't use enough primer under it....highlighting my raccoon eyes.  It's a beautiful look, I know.

Anyway, while we were getting our hair done, my friend and I were talking about how we were falling into a slump with sweat/yoga pants, no make-up, no jewelry, no freaking cares about our appearance.  While this does free us up for some of the things that do matter in life, I do prefer to walk into a bank and have other customers think I'm a customer too....not a baglady begging for toppins.

So, my goal for the month of essentially not to look like a bag lady.  To wear the clothing that actually fits me (i.e. is NOT falling off or adds 20 pounds), wear make up a few days a week (can't push it now), and actually give a crap about looking nice once in a while.