Life is an adventure.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ringing in 2010!!

Well, the new year is quickly approaching and that can only mean one thing…time for the dreaded list of New Year’s Resolutions. This year I want to be more intentional about what I do and who I do it with. I want to spend more time at church and less time on myself. I want to have more dates with my husband. I want to have more game and movie night with my kids. I want to make time for more coffee dates in the middle of the day with my girlfriends. I want to fall madly and deeply in love with the people in my life, my husband and my kids. I want to write more and talk less. I want to work out and eat healthy instead of spending time talking about it. I want to try new recipes and not worry who’s going to complain about it. I want to yell at my kids less and have more patience with my husband. I want to pray more. I want to forget about what’s happened in the past, accept change and look forward to the future. I want to stop being bitter towards the people who seem to have the life I want to have and just make the life I really want for myself. I want to spend more time scrapbooking and less time buying scrapbook supplies. I want to spend more time drinking wine in front of the fireplace with my husband. I want to wake up every morning and be thankful for that day. I want to keep my kitchen clean, my scraproom organized and the office less cluttered. I want to meal plan and stick with it. I want to stop eating out so often. I want to be on the same page as my husband when it comes to disciplining the kids. I want to spend more time with my family. I want to learn to knit. I want to set some goals for my business and then make it happen. I want to learn how to use the grill. I want to meet more of my neighbors. I want to be happy.

I want to glorify God in all that do. And if I can do that I’ll be alright.

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Not much going on

When I was younger I tried keeping a journal. I would go to Walgreens and buy a beautiful notebook and special pen. I would date the page. The first line always went something like this..."I promise to journal every day. I promise to keep this journal up to date." The next entry was always a month or two later and the first line went something like this..."well, it's been awhile since I last wrote. I will promise from now on to journal everyday." Here I am, 20 years later saying the same things. Guess that old saying "some things never change" is true. I think about blogging every single day, but I'm afraid what I have to say is boring and unimaginative, juvenile.

Anyway, I downloaded the disc on my digital camera and found several weird pictures. I know my 5 year old had been playing with it and it was kind of fun seeing things through her eyes. Seems as though she chased the cats throughout the house. This is a picture of my "ugly cat" Lion Head jumping up onto the ottoman. I like this shot because you can see his crazy tail. Those of you who've had the pleasure of meeting Lion head know what I'm talking about.

There he is, the one and only, Lion Head. Isn't he cute. He's got a face only his momma would love. And his momma in this case would be my son. He's the only one who doesn't think Lion Head is weird looking. Even the vet thought he was the strangest cat she'd ever seen.

This is Dopey. We got our cats from a farm and they were already named. Dopey was one from a litter of 7. They were each named one of the seven dwarfs. Dopey stuck. We never even tried to change her name. My kids call her Dopes, which I find hysterical.

I remember when Hannah took this picture. She thought it was so funny. She ran into the office to show it to me but she was laughing so hard I couldn't understand. I guess it's something only a 5 year old can understand.

Today is October 1st and I don't have my meal planning done for the month, imagine that. I have it on my list of things to do tomorrow. I did find last month that having a plan made it much easier to navigate through the grocery store. If I had one wish I would wish that everyone in my family would eat everything I put on their plates and not complain. Forget a million dollars, I think that would only add more stress. My life would be complete if I could make anything for supper and have everyone eat it without complaints.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Menu Planning

Almost daily I obsess over what to make for dinner. Now that I have two kids in school that means I now have two lunches to obsess over every day. I came up with a system that, three days in, I absolutely love! Every month the school sends home a menu for the entire month. I had both kids pick out the lunches they wanted to eat from the school. Then I made a chart to keep track of lunches and suppers. (See my lovely chart above)
I took a loose leaf piece of paper, put the dates 1 - 30 down the left side and then made two columns. The first column is lunch and the second is supper. I wrote HOT on the days both kids wanted hot lunch. If Bryce wanted it and Hannah didn't I wrote HOT/whatever I wanted Hannah to have for lunch...PB&J with yogurt, for example. I reversed the order if Hannah wanted hot lunch and Bryce didn't.
I made a separate list of all of the dinners I know we all like and that I don't need to a recipe to make. Things like tuna and noodles, tacos, spaghetti, etc. I came up with something like 25 dinner ideas. I decided I wanted to try and incorporate about 10 new recipes a month, more or less depending on the month. So, I plugged the dinners I know how to make into my schedule on the right side of the sheet. I tried to put dinners like spaghetti on the menu the night before one of the kids wanted cold lunch. This way they can take left overs to school instead of ham and cheese or PB&J.
I also added in notes for nights when I won't be home. Luckily September is not as busy of a month during the evenings. The kids have swimming but we're home early enough to get dinner on the table. Hockey starts in October so I'll have more crock pot dinners listed then. I also made sure I added some things from the freezer that I already have set up.
Speaking of food in the freezer, I'd like to get some breakfast items in the freezer. I'm thinking of having a pancake, muffin and waffle day. I'll make huge batches and put them in the freezer for school mornings. Homemade is so much healthier than the alternative!
So that's my meal planning idea for this year. Hopefully I can stick to it. I would much rather take one hour in the beginning of the month to plan rather than taking several hours every week, which what I've done previously. It's not rocket science but meal planning can be a major decision making venture, at least it is for me.
I'm always looking for new tried and true, family friendly recipes. If you have any please share!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Day of School

Well it's official, my days as a stay at home mom have changed. Both of my kids are now full time students. Where does that leave me? I'm not sure. The day was a roller coaster of emotions for me. I woke up excited and happy for my kids. Within the house I was crying and lonely. I have to admit, I spent two hours doing nothing...just enjoying the quiet that had been vacant from my house for the last three months. It was nice. Then I submerged myself into planning for my MOPS group. Didn't I say I would not leave things to the last minute anymore? So much for that!! I spent two hours finalizing notes and agendas and announcements. Things that should've been done weeks ago. Maybe it was a good thing. It helped to take my mind off of missing my babies. I showered, ate lunch and out the door I went to setup for MOPS. Two hours later I was booking it through the grocery store to pick up last minute things and then I drove 75 mph back home so I wouldn't miss the kids getting off the bus on the first day.

Luckily I made it in time. I even had a minute to sit back and enjoy the last few minutes of quiet. Then I heard the stop and start of the bus and I stood in the middle of the yard waiting for the bus to drop off my bundles of joy. They hopped off the bus and acted like getting home was the last thing they wanted to do. I stood in the front yard with my arms open waiting for my babes to come running and jumping into my arms. Yeah, so didn't happen. Hannah did hug me and tell me she missed me, but Bryce barely acknowledged my existence.

So, we made it through the first day. Hannah later told me she had a great day and was so glad I signed her up for if I had a choice! Hannah is home now until Friday so the next couple of days will almost feel normal. My husband is scheduled for knee surgery on Friday so I will be too busy and worried for him to worry about my babies at school. Then no school on Monday. So, I'm guessing it will be next Tuesday before I'm able to fully enjoy the quiet house and my new place in this crazy life as stay at home mom to two full time students! Wonder what I'll find to do?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Special Ops Mission Week 1

I recently joined a website called Operation Fat Blaster looking for more motivation while I attempt to get rid of this weight. So far it's been very motivational. One of the things this website is offering is called Special Ops Mission. Each week the site owner is giving us a "mission" and once we complete it we go into a drawing for a prize. Since I love free stuff I thought I'd give this week's mission a try. So, what is the mission? To post about what hurdle/challenge we need to overcome in order to succeed. We were also asked to post a picture.
So, within a second of reading the mission I knew the answer. My biggest hurdle/challenge is ME! Yes, I love ice cream, fried chicken and pizza, but I also love spinach and chicken and fish and fruits and veggies and hummus. I don't mind eating healthy, in fact, I rather prefer it. So, the only thing standing in the way of me doing that is me! I could say it's the ice cream, but I ultimately make the decision to eat it.
The next part of my mission was to post a picture. I hate having my picture taken, so finding one of me is difficult. I started sifting through my pictures and found this one. I felt so good on this particular day. I just had a new haircut that I liked and I felt pretty. Then I had this picture taken and realized I didn't look as good as I thought, because I was still fat! This picture also came out really blurry. I thought it was rather ironic because most days I feel like I'm living a little blurry. Kinda like I'm not living each day to it's fullest potential. I struggle most days trying to figure out who I really am and who I want to be. Unfortunately, the only thing standing in the way of being me is me, well me being fat I guess.
So this completes my first Special Ops Mission. I hope that in the coming weeks and months the only thing standing in the way of me reaching my goal is NOTHING! I know with time I will learn to love myself right where I'm at and the space I do take up will get smaller.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back in the saddle again

Well, it's been a veerrryyyy long time since the last time I blogged. Shame on me. I think about blogging almost everyday, but seem to run out of time. I'm dedicated to making the time each day to blog a little something. A lot has happened since my last blog, but I won't bore you with all the details. Here are a few highlights, as I can remember them:

Last week the kids and I attended our churches version of VBS. Our church is over 30 mins. away so I agreed to help so I wasn't driving around for 3 hours spending money. Well, I got talked into teaching a class, Bugs and Butterflies. A lot of preperation went into teaching the class and in the end I'm so glad I did it. Monday afternoon I said I was never doing this again, but by Friday I was planning for next year. The kids were sooo tired! I have never seen my son as tired as he was at the end of the each day. They learned a lot about God and had fun doing it. I think we're all looking forward to next year.

We took our family vacation at the end of June. We rent a cabin up North and my dad and his wife join us. This year the boys went up for a few days and the girls hit Door County. We bought some cherries, took a trolley ride and enjoyed the scenery. The boys, however, had rain, wind and cold. The weather broke long enough for them to enjoy their fishing guide, which my step-mom and I bought our hubbys for Father's Day. They caught 300 bluegills and were in fish heaven.

I joined a 9 week Biggest Loser challenge right before vacation and lost 10lbs. Brent and I have joined another 9 week challenge together. We're finishing week two tonight. So far we've both lost 4lbs. I'm so excited to have lost this weight. I know I have a very long way to go, but this is the longest I have kept weight off since I was young. I'm still enjoying exercising, but I need to do it more often. I'm hoping once the kids are back in school I'll have more time. However, I'm trying not to let lack of time deter me from exercising. It's hard though. I recently joined a group online that I'm hoping will help to keep me accountable.

Speaking of losing weight, I want to start a weight loss blog, but I'm too lazy to start a new blog. Plus, I'm easily confused and I'm afraid if I have two blogs to manage I'll end up posting weight loss info here and family stuff on the other blog. So you'll be seeing some weight loss posts here as well...lucky you!

Emotionally I've been struggling a little bit. Mostly with feeling comfortable in my marriage. I'm holding on to the past and need to let go and let God. I had a total "God moment" yesterday. I've been spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to get my husband to change so that I no longer worry. I just haven't found the right words. So yesterday when I opened my email I found an email from Family Life. They are offering a free DVD about forgiveness if you send them a donation. Here is a little of the email: You'll learn the secret of releasing the offender from your courtroom to God's justice - How to follow Christ as a debt forgiver and hostage releaser - And it goes on from there. Those two things stuck out to me like a sore thumb. I am holding my husband in my courtroom...whew, that's a tough one to let go. Also, I feel like I'm holding my husband hostage as well as my emotions and the possibility of forgiving and letting go. Lots to work on but I want to do it, which will make it easier. I love it when things just fall into my lap like that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Seriously? Or seriously....

Have you ever noticed how many times a day you say "seriously"? Ok, maybe it's just me. Seriously? Is it? I don't think so. Take right now for example...I just pulled up my blog knowing it had been a looooong time since I last updated and realized it had been almost two months. Seriously?!!! Has it really been two months? I seriously said that outloud (ops, that one slipped out). Here's another example: I had to drive all the freaking way out to Darboy today, it's like going to another country or something, and on the way back I noticed something weird going on in the car in front of me. We're on an interstate going like 68 mph and this lady has her cat walking all over her back, from shoulder to shoulder. The lady could not keep her eyes on the road, there's no way! Seriously? You have your cat in the car? First off, cats don't like to dangle their heads out the window like a dog...they're cats! Secondly, what if the cat had to use the facilities? Cats can't be let out of the car to lift it's leg behind a tree. Seriously lady, if you want to ride around town with your animal in the car get a dog, it would be much safer for both you and me...seriously!

See what I mean? Both instances the use of the word seriously are totally appropriate.

I had some revelations today, wanna know what they were? I'm glad my husband shaved his mustache. My ex-husband once said he looked like a 70's porn star with that mustache. I had a hard time looking at it after that comment. So glad it's gone. I also realized that I am going out of town this weekend to see one of my best friends in the whole, wide, world and my laundry isn't done, the house is a mess and I have a full day planned tomorrow. Every time we have a road trip I swear that I will not leave everything until the last minute. Guess what? I've left everything to the last minute. Seriously!? Op, there it is again!!!

I'm so glad Spring is right around the corner. I'm tired of the cold and the snow and the yuck. However, driving past the closed snowmobile trails has made me a little bit sad. Seriously.

Monday, January 26, 2009


We've incorporated a new Chore Chart system at our house. The kids are really enjoying it and their beds are made every day! Yeah!! I plan to put together a post with pictures outlining what we're doing. Look for that in the days to come.

We had a very lazy, relaxing weekend. The kids were off from school on Friday. Bryce had a swimming birthday party at the Y in the afternoon. Then Bryce had hockey practice at 5:00. We hit our favorite fish fry and went to bed with full tummies.

Saturday was equally as relaxing. Bryce had hockey in the morning. We spent the rest of the day doing things we've been putting off. The bills got paid and the closet got clean. If I could sleep in that closet I would! It is now officially my favorite room in the house...because it's totally clean and simply organized! The kids played with dominoes all morning. We went to the Green Bay Gamblers game in the evening. We are turning into quite the hockey family! The Gamblers are 19 and 20 year old kids who aren't in college and haven't been picked up by anyone. I am amazed at how aggressive this team is! They are currently in first place in their division. They won Saturday's game 6-0. It was a late night but a great day!

Sunday we went to late church. We slept in which is a rarity at our house. Even Brent was in bed until after 6:00 am. We made it to church on time which is also a rarity! Pastor Mark was awesome! The way he preaches makes me want to be a believer! His words are so powerful and yet so normal. He's a regular guy living a regular life with a huge passion to spread the word of God. I am so thankful that we have found his preaching and his church. What a lifesaver for our marriage and our family! Praise God!

Hannah and I took a moment to snuggle in her new bed. It's not often enough that I get to sit with either one of my children and just have a conversation with them. So I said, "Hannah, what do you want to be when you grow up?" She was looking for the answer somewhere in her room. She finally says, "A painter." "Do you want to paint bedrooms or do you want to paint pictures?" I asked. "Bedrooms," she said while intently looking at her painted walls. Then she says, "I want to paint bedrooms when I'm 80." She's been referencing ages of when she'd like to accomplish things lately. 80, however is a new number. Her response has regularly been 61. "Hannah, you know Grandma Helen is 80, right?" I said, trying to get her to understand just how old 80 is. Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. "WHAT? I didn't know she was THAT old?!" Trying not to laugh I said, "So, do you still want to paint bedrooms when you're 80?" "No way!"

I am so gonna scrapbook that!

One more thing I've been pondering is the fact that I am not perfect nor will I ever be perfect. I have this nasty habit of comparing myself to people who are closer to perfection than I will ever be. This only makes me feel worse about myself. I am vowing to stop doing that, honestly. I am who I am and that's all I can ever be. I'll never be perfect, my house will never be perfect, my children, God love'em, will never be perfect. I have been blessed with a happy, healthy family, loving friends and the faith that I am perfect in God's eyes. I am happy with what I've got. I'm happy with who I'm becoming and I'm happy that even though I stress and worry about these crazy things that God still loves me! And that's a fact Jack! (name that movie....)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Great Grocery Debate

I admit I do not lead a healthy lifestyle. I never have. I come from a family where we were all overweight. My brother and my father both have diabetes and are overweight. My mother was heavy most of her life and was overweight when she died. I know the difference between healthy and not healthy foods but eating healthy is not something I'm used to. My kids eat chicken and fries and mac and cheese. I'm not ok with that, but that's the facts. So, when it comes time to plan a menu I panic. I want to have healthy options for all of us but I can't seem to figure out how to incorporate that into our daily routine without totally stressing out about it. I tend to go in one extreme or another. I either buy organic everything or everything is processed.

So today was grocery day. I woke up prepared to make a list of what to buy. I pulled out several cookbooks and started sifting through looking for the perfect recipes. I need to please both kids and my husband with one meal. Believe me, this is not an easy task. Either the kids won't touch it or my husband won't eat it. I'm not picky. I really do enjoy vegetables. I think my problem is coming up with something everyone will eat. I did buy lots of fruits and veggies and I am bound and determined to make everyone try everything this week.
So if you're reading this and you don't have this problem are you willing to share some advice? What do you cook for your family during the week? What kinds of things do you have on hand for your kids? I love being the domestic engineer of the family but this is the one part of my job I can't stand. I wish I had a personal chef.....

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 16, 2009

Well, January 16, 2009 has come and gone. I woke up a year older with a huge zit on my chin and school was cancelled. This has to be some kind of cruel joke, maybe I'm dreaming. I'm 35 now, do I really need more blemishes? I think not. Luckily the kids were good and we managed to schedule a playdate/MOPS meeting that kept the children busy for close to 4 hours. After the playdate we met Brent at the builder's office. We're trying to decide if we want to build again. I know we have got to be the craziest people alive. We have moved so much in the past 5 years you'd think moving again would be the furthest thing from our minds. But it's not. It's right there in the front of my mind every single day. Anyway, we spent 2 hours with the builders talking cabinets and flooring and spindles! I could feel the adrenaline rush as we walked into his office. We were surrounded by window samples, brick samples, doors and roof samples...I was very excited. All we have to do now is make an appointment to meet with the cabinet people and we'll know how much this house will set us back. Then we make the tough build or not to build. Lots to look forward to in the coming year.

I had planned on making the family sit through another round of hibachi at Nakashima's but decided at the last minute a steakhouse might be the better choice. Everyone was starving and I was afraid noodles, rice and shrimp just wasn't going to cut it. It turned out to be a good choice because my steak was rockin'! The kids told the waitress it was my birthday and she surprised me with a gigantic scoop of ice cream with whipped cream and hot fudge. The great birthday cake dibacle had not escaped our grasp this year (meaning the red velvet cake was not done yet) so the ice cream was the perfect ending. And I got to finish celebrating my birthday the next day once the cake was finished. I must say, this was the best cake to date! I've had green red velvet cake, I've had terribly dry red velvet cake and this year I had PERFECT red velvet cake. Thank you honey!

So, I'm 35 now. I guess it's time to start acting like an adult. But I don't WANNA!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy 2009

Wow, it's 2009. Time flies. I can clearly remember ringing in the year 2000 waiting for the Y2K explosion...that never came. My husband, at the time, and I had his family over to play cards and celebrate the new year together. We went downtown Davenport, IA to watch the huge fireworks display at midnight. It was very cool. It's a night I'll never forget. Thank goodness none of what everyone thought would happen actually happened. Now that we've reached 2009 that New Year's Eve of 1999 seems like it happened to me in an alternate life. My life is so far from where it was in 1999 I sometimes forget what life was like back then. And just like every year since then and before, I made the traditional New Year's resolutions. I'm sure the resolution consisted of two things, quit smoking and lose weight. 9 years later I'm still trying to lose weight but have fortunately kicked the smoking habit, for good. Once again I made some resolutions as 2009 began. #1 slow down. Life is wizzing by and I'm missing it because I'm too busy. I can only eliminate so many things on my schedule so #2 is to be more organized. I feel like I might have more time if my life was more organized. I have around 538 more resolutions, give or take, but I won't bore you with the details. Here's to a new year. Hopefully this year some of the money I lost in the stock market will come back and maybe some of the junk in my trunk will find it's way to another trunk.

So, to start the new year off right I have a recipe to share. I really love to cook. I do. I think I like it almost more than I like to scrapbook. I'm just better at the cut and paste. Anyway, this recipe is taken from Rachael Ray but I made a few changes. It's a great lunch or quick supper recipe. This was the first time I made it but I'm sure I'll make it again.

Taco Pockets
1 1/2lbs. ground sirloin
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
1t. chili powder
1t. ground cumin
a few dashes of hot sauce
2 scallions, white and green, chopped
salt and pepper
4 round tortillas
taco sauce
shredded cheddar
shredded lettuce
Place a large skillet over med-high heat. Coat the pan with EVOO.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground sirloin, jalapeno pepper, garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, onions, salt and pepper and hot sauce. Form the meat mixture into four patties. Cook the patties on the hot skillet until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 mins. on each side.

While the burger patties are cooking, turn a gas burner to high and blister the flour tortillas by passing them over the flame quickly. If you don't have a gas stove, place a dry skillet over high heat and lay the tortillas, one at a time, into the hot skillet, blistering them on both sides.

As the patties finish cooking, transfer them to the tortillas and top each with some taco sauce, shredded cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.

Fold the tortilla around the burger, enclosing it in a pocket. Cut each pocket open on a diagonal and serve. This makes the pocket. It's ingenius! Nothing drips and it turns a regular hamburger into something totally different!

I added a bit too much of the "dressing" and mine was a bit hard to eat. I also eliminated almost every ingredient because I was in a hurry and wanted to use what I had on hand. (This is another one of those 987 new year's resolutions I have going on.) What I had on hand was the sirloin and the Pampered Chef Chipotle Rub that just came in the mail!!! It was rockin' for sure! Even this guy liked it!!!!

I don't know what you think, but this face says, "I love it when you take my picture! Take more! More I say!!" Isn't that what you think this face says? No? Yeah, maybe not.