Monday, June 30, 2008

A Little Update, Amidst The Sweltering Heat

I haven't had much to write lately, we've been pretty busy!

The kids start Karate and Swimming lessons tomorrow night, and they are all excited! I started back at the gym today, and man, I felt awesome! I hadn't been in two weeks and I felt so empowered once I started rockin' on that elliptical machine.

My husband is coming home on the 10th, so I have started to get the house ready for him. He always likes it to be a certain way (meaning clean! LOL), so I need to get that taken care of. We're excited to see him, as he hasn't been home since the beginning of may.

And the baby's potty training...it is going really well! Still having a few accidents, but she is doing well with recognizing the urge to go. Not good with #2 yet, but we've only been doing this since Friday, so I did not expect her to do it overnight. She is staying dry most of the time, and rarely has a pee accident either. Naps are ok for staying dry, and I wake her up at midnight too. Sometimes she wakes up wet, but night time training is quite hard to master. She only wears regular cotton panties during the day, and at night time, or naps (or when we're out), thick cotton training pants and a vinyl/plastic cover.

And I have to share, a good friend of mine passed her American Citizenship test! Yaay Heather!!! She has her ceremony on Monday. I will be applying for my citizenship in two years, as I have to have my green card for 2 years and 9 months before I can apply.

Till next time!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Potty Training Round 2

I posted in May I think, about how I was attempting to PT our youngest. She turned 2 on March 7th. Though PTing went "OK" last time, she had a relapse and I decided to go back to diapers for a couple months.

So yesterday I decided to try again. I will admit, I did NOT want to do it, but my hubby insisted. And truth be told, we did argue about it. Potty training is one of the most challenging tasks for me as a mom, I strongly dislike it.

Yesterday she did not have one accident, and went pee on her "big girl potty" four times, and even stayed dry while we were out and ran errands. I put her to bed in thick training pants and a "plastic pants" (a vinyl cover) just because I wanted to go cold turkey on diapers. She was wet when I woke her up at midnight, but I changed her back into dry panties and she went pee for me. But then this morning, she was wet again. *sigh* We really did go cold turkey on diapers, she hasn't worn one in two days now, well, she woke up in one yesterday.

Today she refused to go pee, and peed during her nap. I was pretty downtrodden actually, because PTing has gone so much easier with our other kids. During her afternoon nap, she did #2 in her panties. I was thinking, what the heck...why so good yesterday, and not today? I changed her again.

Then just while I was making dinner...

"mommy, I go pee in my potty". She TOLD me she had to go pee!!! And she went too!!! Hooray!!! This is fantastic!

I am a little nervous about this all because I am going back to the gym on monday morning, and they like the kids to be in pull ups, and I refuse to do that. All they are, are glorified diapers. And we have a busy week ahead of us, so hopefully she will adapt ok. I plan on taking her potty seat with us everywhere we go.

Wish us luck!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Expert Collision Repair

San Francisco is a nightmare for driving, or so I have heard. I am sure there are tons of accidents there, with all the winding roads and steep hills. Actually, when I see those roads, I get scared! I would rather avoid it all together, so if we ever go on vacation there, my hubby will be doing the driving.

If you are in an accident there, be sure to visit auto body san francisco for all your car repair needs. Don't take chances and go with someone who doesn't know what they are doing, choose an Expert!

There are three Collision Repair Experts in the San Francisco Area, all run by F. Lofrano & Son. They will return your vehicle to pre-accident condition!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Absentminded Me

Just an apology to my readers for not posting much lately. I have been feeling a little under the weather this week, and with the kids home for summer vacation, I don't get a lot of alone time. That really helps add to my general "under the weather-ness".

Saturday I am planning on taking the kids strawberry picking. I am not sure how much we will get, but I plan to freeze some and also make some jam! I am looking forward to that, it will be my first time making jam. If all goes well, I shall blog about it. Look for a post!

Christmas In June

Yes, I know that technically the phrase is "Christmas in July", but just for today it will be "Christmas in June".

Do you like to get an early start on Christmas shopping? I do. I already have a few gifts picked out for my kids, and I have a list of ideas already. Kids are easy to shop for though; my hubby however, well, he is difficult to shop for. But I had a great idea for a gift, and thought a nice comfy chair would be a cool gift to get him.

I checked out HOME THEATRE SEATING at Spacify.com because they have some really interesting, modern pieces of furniture. They are a little too pricey for us right now, but one day perhaps! A girl can dream, right?

This was my favorite piece:


It is large, looks comfortable, and is stylish as well.

Check out Spacify if you are in the market for a unique, one of a kind gift for Christmas this year!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

MeMeMeMe!

Actually, Meme! lol

Mama Bear, over at I've Gotta Little Space To Fill has tagged me for a meme.

The rules are simple:

1. Take a photo of your desk or work space.
2. Do not clean up said area before taking photo.
3. Describe what is in your work space.
4. Tag 3 other bloggers to participate by commenting on their blog with an invite!



Be prepared to shield your eyes! It is awful. She wants me to share my desk space.

*insert ominous music here*

Seriously, it is that bad. I've been very very messy lately.

Are you ready?




There are so many things on there!

On the top you can see some Pepsi bottle caps with points, Gymboree Receipts with Gymbucks, a lighter from the last time I bar-b-qued, extra gum, a toothbrush and a few other odds and ends. Also showing is my nice, fantastic monitor and to the left of it, my 3 in 1 printer/scanner/copier (with Internet coupons on it).

On the bottom, starting from the right we see. A glass of water, sticky notes, a comb, pink recipe box with paper in it, a can of compressed air, electrical tape that I will be using tomorrow. Then we have some packing tape, two different pairs of Gymboree hair curlies, Avon hand lotion, my cell phone, my Avon notebook, my digital camera, my camera bag. Then comes my detangling comb (keep it there because otherwise we'll lose it), Duracell batteries, a bag of skittles, Bath and Body Works foot cream, a Stanley measuring tape, desitin diaper cream, some Avon books, a pencil sharpener, empty disks. Behind all that mess is a "to file" messy bin, and to the right of that is my bills, which are organized, and currently, all paid. Obviously there are a few odds and ends that I can't see, or else I can't be bothered to post every single piece of paper.

In the keyboard area, I have the obvious mouse and keyboard. Beside is another Avon book and some receipts I need to file. The tower is to the left of the desk.

So now that you have seen my disgusting mess, don't be ashamed of me. LOL

I have to take 3 other bloggers, but I don't have time to do that right now, so...I shall opt out this time. Sorry Mama Bear! The blogs I read though, a lot of them aren't into this sort of thing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Treat On A Hot Day

I just wanted to share this video of our oldest fur baby, Braddock. He is an 82lb pure-bred Black Lab, and he is 5 years old. We've had him since he was 12 weeks old!

Make It From Scratch Carnival

Hello dear readers...

I only have a minute to type this, as I have to run some errands today, but I wanted to give a big thank you to Julie at ChezArtz for including my post about savory beef roast in this weeks edition of the make it from scratch carnival!!

I'll fix the links and add more later!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Don't Want To Wear Old Lady Glasses

That is a real legitimate excuse to not get Lasik eye surgery, right? After you have the surgery, you have to wear huge dark glasses to protect your eyes, and to ensure you do not need repeat surgery.

To be completely honest though, the thought of having Lasik eye surgery scares the crap out of me! It gives me the heebie jeebies! Yeah, you get "sedated", and it is not painful at all, but the thought of having a laser pointed at and in my eye, is not my idea of fun. I'd be scared I would blink, even with the equipment they use to keep my eyes open! It just all reminds me of a scene from A Clockwork Orange, yikes.

I know that Lasik is very successful though, and my hubby has actually been planning on getting it in February 2009. He has been researching it, and has no fears, no excuses, nothing like me. He looks forward to it actually, because he has worn glasses for years. And anyone can get Lasik eye surgery, even my cousin, who is a Pilot in northern Canada. Over 12 million people have had the surgery with great results too.

If you are looking for a good, reputable Doctor in California, head over to Lasik in Silicon Valley or Lasik Walnut Creek. This group of Doctors has offices in San Francisco, San Jose, Walnut Creek, and Santa Rosa. They offer some great financing options as well. One of their Doctors, Jay Bansal, MD, was even selected as one of “America’s Top Ophthalmologists” by Consumer’s Research Council of America, and is a VISX Star Surgeon (awarded to top 100 Laser Eye Surgeons by VISX Inc.).

"Senior LaserVue Lasik doctors have been certified by the nonprofit USAEyes.org Lasik patient advocacy. LaserVue surgeons have performed more than 25,000 procedures"

Do yourself a favor, and stop being a chicken like me! Go get Lasik so I can make fun of you for wearing big dark glasses!

Breaking Away From "Wal Mart"

I had a pretty disastrous trip to Wal Mart a couple weeks ago.

Where we used to live, our Wal Mart was great. Not too busy, everything in stock, and tidy. Now that we live in a new city, I get to experience a new Wal Mart. With a new store comes a hoard of bad experiences. Imagine a super Wal Mart twice as big as what you are used to, and it has to service thousands of people in a large metro area, including two LARGE military bases. So you can imagine that it is very messy sometimes, and every time you go, something will be out of stock.

I live 20 minutes away with good traffic, on a bad day it could take me up to a half hour to get home, so I can't run to Wal Mart for every little thing like I used to be able to do. The last time I was there, the two most important things I needed were out of stock and they didn't know when they would have them again. Cat food and Cat litter. If you have a pet, you know you can't just switch things up on them because something is out of stock. So what was I to do? I had to go to Pet Smart and get some there.

I am so flippin' tired of that crap. So we decided to break away from Wal Mart. It has been a little difficult, but not too bad. I actually buy all of my non-grocery items at Target now, which I prefer to Wal Mart anyway. I go to a different grocery store, and just yesterday went to The Grocery Outlet (they didnt have everything I needed, but I can get all the canned stuff we need, bread, some dairy, dry goods, most beef and chicken, and snacks). The Grocery outlet is right by Wal Mart, but I don't mind driving there because they are CHEAP, cheaper than Wal Mart! And I have two Safeway's within 5 minutes of my house, so I shop there for stuff that I need in between large grocery trips, or items I can not find at The Grocery Outlet (such as certain brands I refuse to stray from, like Jif PB, or some of the meat and dairy I can't find elsewhere).

And on the weekend I did even more. I shopped at the Farmers Market for produce. Yeah, it is a bit more expensive than some grocery stores. I spent $10 on apples, $10on cherries, and $13 on pears, and $5 on some awesome, kick-ass, fresh salsa. I don't normally buy cherries, because they are so expensive and just a treat for us. The farmers market prices are comparable to Safeway "not on sale".

Yeah, I do a bit more shopping, but I prefer it this way.

I hate Wal Mart. Not saying I won't ever shop there again, I do like their cheap prices on certain items. I might buy toys there for X-mas, or maybe not. Probably not. I'd like to say I won't ever shop there again unless I am desperate and have no other option. And it is better to support the small businesses at the farmers market anyway.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

We'll Build A House One Day

My hubby and I sold our house a few months ago and decided to rent again. We do miss owning a home, but we have thought about building instead of buying when we finally own our own home again. I always "dream" about what I would like to put in there, and one of the items is wood flooring throughout most of the house, except the bathrooms and kids rooms obviously.

Heart pine is gorgeous wood flooring! Their website offers reclaimed antique heart pine flooring. It is absolutely stunning! They also have cabinetry as well, which is equally gorgeous.

One of the photos on their website shows re-claimed pine beams. They say that the beams were reclaimed from barns and textile mills built prior to 1900. How amazing is that? I would love to have some of that in my house.

Our solid beams often still have the circular saw marks from when they were originally milled or the hand hewn chop marks left by an axe


I am not sure of the cost to install this flooring, or the beams in your home, but you can call their customer service line at 1-800-826-8117 for free samples and pricing information.

If you have never seen flooring like this, go check out the website now. I promise you, you will be blown away by the flooring. It truly is stunning. They do an amazing job re-finishing all their products.

PPP Update

A friend of mine from Germany said she didn't understand my blog, and asked for a description of it. lol. I guess it is a bit confusing for some people who don't understand why I write normally most of the time, and then have sponsored posts by PPP. I explained to her that I get paid for some of my blogging, which helps me make some spending money.

So if you see a PPP post, don't forget that I also do my regular scheduled posts, just scroll down the page a bit.

Great Deals On DC Skate Shoes

I'm sure you have all heard of the DC Shoe company. They make some really cool, affordable skate shoes. You can find them in Men's, Women's and Kids sizes.

If you are looking to buy some, head over to Buy Skate Shoes, which is a great website to shop with if you are looking for some cool shoes like DC Skate Shoes. Right now they are offering free FedEx ground shipping if you spend over $79.00. The longest it will take to get your order is 7 days, and that is only if you live in Hawaii. That seems pretty fast to me, as I have had to wait a long time with certain other companies. And who can turn down free shipping?

Their website offers more than shoes though; they have clothes, accessories, and skateboards as well. They are also a secure, verified website, and offer "life help" on business days.

Head on over if you want to score a "sick" deal on some back to school shoes!

Spiders!

I found this "little" guy on my deck last night, hiding in a folded up gardening glove. He was about as big as a quarter, if not a bit bigger. ewwwwwww.

Does anyone know how to ID him/her? I can't figure out what kind it is. It sure was gross though!!




I didn't kill it, it ran away between some slats on the deck before I could squash it. lol I really didnt care to kill it anyway.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Farmers Market Photos

Western, WA. Featuring in-season Bing Cherries and locally grown Radishes












Here is the link to my photos. The older gentleman I took photos of was such a character. He looked like he had lived such a fulfilling life! My favorite pictures are the ones with the Ranier and Bing cherries.

Enjoy!!

My Photo Gallery

A Series of Unfortunate Events

This is how my day started today.

First off, I had insomnia, so I wasn't able to fall asleep till almost 2AM! I had to get up at 7:30 because we had plans today to go to the Farmers Market in our city. I could barely crawl out of bed this morning.

After breakfast I get the kids dressed and ready to go, but we couldn't find the baby's shoes or coat. They have been lost in the abyss of the girls' room. I should post pictures, it would make you all sick to your stomach to look at it.

Anyway, after finding replacements, we head out the door and I got the kids in the van. But wait...

1. I forgot my directions
2. I forgot the package I had to send
3. The dog got out and I had to get him back in the yard

So I had to go back into the house/yard three times before we finally left. We finally got out the driveway and put the pkg in the mail box, but forgot to put the arrow up. So we had to turn around for that. We FINALLY got on the road, got onto the freeway and I took the exit I was supposed to take, and when I get to the turn I was supposed to make to get onto the road for the market, it was closed for a bike race.

No biggy, right? I just turn left instead of right, and follow the road hoping for a place to turn around. I keep following the road, and by this time, have no idea where I am, because I have not really explored my city very well. Then the area started to look really familiar. "Hmmm" I thought to myself, "what is going on here?". I landed up right beside the Safeway that is 5 minutes down the road from my house. I drove in a big huge circle.

"OK, no big deal, we can get right back on the freeway, and take a different exit that will be easier to figure out", I thought. I got on the freeway and was so engrossed in where I was going, I took the exit to the mall instead.

"hmmppf" I thought again. Good thing I can get to downtown and the farmers market from the west side of town, and know my way around that area, so we proceeded to head over there.

I FINALLY got to the farmers market, and realized I had no change for parking. sigh. Found a parking spot, ran to the store inside and asked the proprietor if she could make change for me. Well, it turns out that parking is free on Saturdays, and she said I smelled good! lol Yaay!

Free parking, and we were right across the street from the farmers market.

We enjoyed our time at the farmers market (more about that later) and proceeded to head home. I forgot that the main road was closed, and had to turn around. again.

I found a road I recognized and turned around, and just followed it into nowhere knowing that somehow I would come to a freeway exit. I did find one, after a few minutes, and took the one to my area of town.

or so I thought.

I landed up driving in a heavily forested area for about 5 minutes or so and was so confused, didn't have a clue as to where I was. And then I started to see some familiar surroundings again. I was thinking, "what the heck is going on with me today?". I was at the YMCA that I work out at all the time. This road I had taken from downtown apparently goes to the YMCA, and I didn't know that. Yaay! I was less than 5 minutes from home.

We headed to Safeway first though, because we needed a few more things, and then came home. So far everything has been ok, but what a crazy morning we had!

But, on the plus side, I have found not one, but TWO ways to get downtown without using the freeway. Hooray for me for being resourceful!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Win Free Pizza

Can you imagine how nice it would be to have one dinner a week that you didn't have to worry about? Not having to cook, and just pulling something out of the freezer and popping it into the oven? You can focus on your significant other, and not have to slave over a hot stove all day just to prepare a delicious meal!

Does it sound too good to be true? Well, it doesn't have to! If you enter the free pizza for a year Ristorante Contest, it will be a possibility. Dr. Oetker is offering the opportunity to win free pizza for a year with the Ristorante.ca site re-launch, but you better hurry and enter because the contest ends on June 27Th, 2008.

Dr. Oetker's website also has an option to sign up for their monthly newsletter, which send lots of neat tips. One of the newsletter features is 12-Minutes to Romance, which gives ideas for you and your significant other to bring romance back to the dinner table and also cook up a night of romance.

Ristorante pizza is available at select stores across Canada, such as IGA, Shoppers Drug Mart, and The Real Canadian Superstore. If you go to Dr. Oetker's website, you can also sign up to get coupons for Ristorante Pizza through Save.ca

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The End of Days

Yes, you guessed it...summer vacation is upon us. Today is the first official day of summer vacation.

You mean I actually have to have my kids 24/7? ugh! LOL just kidding. I enjoy summer vacation sometimes because it means less craziness for us. I am enrolling the kids in swimming lessons, and our son still has his Karate, and I am still going to TRY go to the gym 3 times a week if I can. That sounds busy, but it won't be so bad because we won't have the morning and afternoon rush of going to/coming from school. And bedtimes aren't as strict either.

I guess we should just camp out at the YMCA, it would make things a whole lot easier.

I also have plans to go pick strawberries with the kids, and I am actually considering canning my own jam this year. *gasp* Once my hubby comes home in a month, we'll be doing several day trips. One will be to see Mt St. Helens!!! He was just an itty-bitty when it blew up, and I was still cooking. lol We're all looking forward to it, the kids especially. And I think we'll hit up my friend for visits to her house, they live close to a river that is perfect for swimming.

Wish me luck for the next 3 months or so, I'm going to need it or I will go grey!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Carnival Time

A big thank you to Kate over at Our Red House for including my post Broccoli Chicken Casserole in this weeks edition of Make It From Scratch.

Thanks!!!

Look What We Bought!



I just ordered it from Amazon. Pretty excited because we have absolutely NO shade in our yard, so this will be quite nice during the summer.
I hate being in the heat, so this will be nice for me to sit under too while the kids are outside playing. Yaay!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!

That is always what I seem to be saying to my carpet. With four kids, two adult cats, and one large eighty pound Black Lab, my carpet takes a beating. There is constantly traffic in and out of the house, so the carpet needs to be taken care of regularly. Our pets shed as well too, and I hate to see pet hair laying around, so I vacuum a lot.

I have to admit though, I have not always been this diligent with keeping clean. The kitchen floor is what I hate to clean the most though, and our dog gives the floor regular baths with his tongue. He is our canine vacuum and mop, all rolled into one. That is how I like to save energy by not cleaning. Why should I mop when the dog does it for me, right?


Just kidding!!!

Now-a-days, it is wise to be as energy-efficient and earth friendly as you can. One company that is striving to be more energy-efficient is Dirt DevilThey have developed a new cordless vacuum that is the first cordless vac to receive Energy Star Approval! The new AccuCharge Stick Vac and Hand Vac use 70% less energy!!

5238dd240x180public

I have actually been looking for a vacuum that is a bit easier to use, instead of hauling out my regular one. It does the work I need it too, but it is so bulky, and I like how the AccuCharge Stick Vac is so inconspicuous. It also looks easy to use and maneuver around tight places. I really like the fact that it is energy efficient though, it helps me to save on our bills, and does good for the Earth!

I think I'll be looking for this soon!

Sponsored by Dirt Devil AccuCharge

Savory Beef Roast with Tatoes and Carrots

Mmmm...I made this for dinner today. Delicious! It is easy, and a favorite. One of my favorite things to make, especially since the left-overs are better the second day!

Start off with a standard 3-4 pound beef roast and don't be picky about the cut, because it will get tender while cooking. Make sure you have a large roasting pan for this too.

In a separate bowl, combine one package of beef stew seasoning and some water to make a slightly runny paste, and pour/spread over the roast. Cook at 350 for about an hour or so.

About 15 minutes before the hour is up, start prepping your veggies. I don't measure with this, I just use as much as I want and make sure the roasting pan does not overflow. Peel your taters and quarter them, placing in a large bowl. Also add as many carrots as you like (I cheat and use baby carrots, lol) as well. Next comes the onion. Chop up a large onion, and mix it in with the potatoes and carrots.

Place your veggie mix around the roast in the pan at the one hour mark. Make sure there is an even assortment of veggies, and not all the carrots or onions are stuck to the bottom. Right now I like to add a few dashes of salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Cover again, and cook till the roast is done. I find it usually takes between two and three hours total.

I know this recipe is not exact, but that is because I don't measure or worry about time. I like my potatoes well done, and the carrots a little crunchy, but not soggy and flavor-less.

Usually the day after we have enough left-overs to make a good beef stew. If I make that tomorrow, I'll post the recipe for that too. Though now-a-days, my kids have been eating more, especially the boy (this kid is almost 7.5 and eats more than me sometimes!), and we have not always had enough left over for stew. If that happens, we usually make roast beef sandwiches. Nothing tastes better than cold roast beef and ketchup!

Enjoy!!



Sorry, I forgot to get a picture of the finished product, but it was fantastic!!!

if you haven't noticed, I am trying a new angle. Since I need to cook more, I figured I may as well add it to my blog. Also, it gives me something to write about!

Friday, June 13, 2008

What A Crazy Day

Yesterday was such a crazy day!

I started off going to the gym for an hour, then had to come home and shower and then get my middle daughter from the bus stop. We ate a quick lunch, and then headed to the park for a playdates with some friends and their kids for a couple hours. Then was a quick stop to Rite-Aid for some birthday and father's day cards. After that, we had to be home for the twins by 3:45, and get my son ready for Karate. The girls also all took a shower b/c I knew we'd be home late. My middle daughter had an end of the year Kindergarten program at 7pm, so she had to get ready for that. While my son was at karate, I did all the girls hair for the program. I also put them all in matching dresses, lol. They looked so cute! My son had to take a change of clothes, and change at McDonalds before we ate, because I didnt want him at the program in his Gii. So off to the school we went after Karate and eating at McDisgusting, and the program was awesome!!! All the kids were so cute, and I loved the songs they sang. And we got home at 8pm. Then had to deal with a cranky 7 year old girl. very cranky. But at least they were all in bed by 9, which is still too late, but we all needed to wind down.

At least today is less crazy. I have a "Popsicles With Pop" event with my daughter, since Sunday is Father's Day and my hubby can't be home. They have popsicles with dad and sing a few songs, and I didn't want her to be the only kid there without a dad, so mommy will go. lol My son had a karate test scheduled for tonight, but I decided he wasn't ready and thought he could test again in a few months once he has practiced some more.

Tomorrow I am planning to have the computer off all day so I can just get caught up on stuff around the house, so if you see a post from me on here, give me a smack!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Broccoli Chicken Casserole

Last night I made Broccoli Chicken Casserole, which I have been meaning to make for awhile, but never got around to it. Overall, I'd say it is a good freezer meal, to make ahead, or in a pinch on a busy day. The recipe is not the best. My kids liked it, and it was flavorful, but not my favorite. However, you might like it, so don't take my review to heart until you have tried it yourself. I am a pretty picky eater though, and I felt it was missing that "special something".

Broccoli Chicken Casserole

INGREDIENTS
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 pound broccoli florets, cooked
2 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup milk (I use fat free)
2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 box dry stuffing mix


DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).


Boil chicken until tender and shred or cut into bite size pieces. Meanwhile, steam broccoli until crisp but tender.
In a small bowl mix together the soup and milk. Set aside.
In a 9x13 inch baking dish layer the chicken, broccoli, soup mixture, and cheese. Sprinkle dry stuffing mix over the top and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30
minutes








And the finished product:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday



To be completely honest, I have had a tough time thinking up something of this weeks edition of Works For Me Wednesday.

I did think of something though, a couple things.

1. Buying school supplies. Yes, everyone does it. But I actually stock up for the whole year. When crayola crayons are only 10-20 cents a box, I spend about 10.00 and get as many as I can. The kids need them for school obviously, but my kids go through so so many crayons that I need to buy this many. In fact, we're running out and I don't have enough to last the summer, so I will have to get more before school starts.

2. Shopping for Xmas gifts early. I usually start shopping around september, sometimes earlier, depending on the deals I can find. Though I think this year I will probably wait for black friday since I can shop online. I already have a couple gifts lined up though, and definitely have ideas in my head. Plus, our son is so easy to buy for, he only wants Legos and books. lol

Thanks for reading!!

Carnival of The Cats

I was participating in a carnival of cats, but the host got sick and I did not know. Someone else has hosted it, so a big thank you to Robyn over at Carnival of The Cats for including my post Zeusy, Our Fluffernutter in this edition of the Carnival of The Cats

A Lightbulb Went Off

Well, I have thought of something interesting to write about...it will be showing up soon, in the next couple days I hope.

Keep a look out!

It may involve history or religion...

I changed my mind, as I have lost my inspiration. lol i'll think of something soon dear readers, so please give me ideas!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I need a theme

This blog is all over the place with what I post, and I was thinking that it would be good to have a set theme for it. At least something I can fall back on and write about when I have nothing else to write about.

MamaBear has suggested a few ideas to me, but no offense to her, none have really spoken to me. It is pretty obvious I am not much into the recipe and cooking angle. Perhaps I should try baking? I like to bake. And I don't like to share about finances that much, since my hubby and I keep that to ourselves, with regards to how much he makes and our debt to income ratio etc.

If anyone has any good ideas, please let me know, because I am open for any! If you can't tell, this blog has really frustrated me because even though I have tried to increase my traffic, I have not been able to do so sucessfully, even though I have followed a lot of the steps necessary.

Please, do leave comments because I love input.

Carnival Time

A big big thank you to Maria, over at Life on Both Sides of the Pond for including my post Cheddar Cabbage Casserole in this weeks edition of the Make it From Scratch Carnival.

Enjoy the recipe, it is very tasty!!!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Journey Lite Lap-Band Surgery

JourneyLite has a great website that can help address all of your weight-loss and lap band surgery concerns. Journey lite also offers a "all-in-one" approach to weight loss surgery; they take you through each step of the process from deciding if the surgery is right for you, helping you find a surgeon and also going through the whole insurance process. They will help you complete your goals!

Clicking on lap-band ventura will bring you to the JourneyLite website, where you can see all their avaiable seminars in the Ventura, CA area. There are actually four in the next month, so be sure to sign up for one if you have any questions.

I shopped for ME today!

I figured it was time to buy myself some items. I've focused on the kids' clothes for so long that I never buy myself anything. So today I headed out and got a few nice things, and also got something "pretty" for when my hubby comes home. hehe.

I need to focus on myself more than the kids sometimes I think, but I think that happens to all women. Being a mother sometimes encompasses your whole life that you can forget who YOU are, and what your needs are.

Is anyone else guilty of this? Instead of buying your kid a cute outfit, why not spend it on yourself!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Lap-Band Surgery

If you have all been keeping up with my blog lately, you know I have been working out quite regularly and have lost about 7lbs so far, in about three weeks. I have contemplated having Lap-Band surgery before, but have never really pursued it, due to fears about the surgery itself.

Thankfully, weight-loss surgery is not as invasive as it has been in years past. Now the lap band doctors are able to perform the surgery laparoscopically, and as an out-patient basis. That being said, you are able to return home the same day usually and recover in the comfort of your own home. And if for some reason you decide that lap-band is not for you, it is completely reversible.

If you still have questions, you can usually attend a free seminar in your hometown. I have seen them advertised quite often in the newspapers, or on TV etc. They are very informative, and offer answers to all your questions.

What Is On Your iPod?

I've been wondering about this for awhile, what kind of songs do other people put on their iPods?

I just bought mine a few weeks ago, and have about 50 songs on it so far. I'll just come out and say it, and admit that I have a few embarrassing 80's songs on it. "Wake me up before you Go-go" by Wham!, and "Jump (For My Love)" by The Pointer Sisters. I also listen to the top 20 on XM all the time, so my play list includes quite a few songs from there as well. My favorite song right now is "Viva La Vida" by Cold Play, I saw it on the iTunes commercial and fell in love with it.

What about you?

Sunner Clothing

Have you heard of the clothing line "Sunner"? Susan Denner Lee is an up and coming designer who hails from Australia. She has worked for famous designers such as Donna Karan and Helmut Lang.

Having a passion for designing beautiful pieces of clothing, she decided to design her own clothing line, which she aptly named "Sunner". The pieces are chic, "flowy" and easy to wear. Not to mention cute! They look perfect for easy summer wear.

Her clothing can be found online at many stores, including http://shopbluegenes.com. If you shop at BlueGenes, be sure to use
"BLUE15" at checkout to recieve 15% off.

Look at this cute top, it is one of my favorites:


I would love to buy that, and that is a lot coming from me, because I am not really into mainstream designers.




That Used To Be Mine?

Yesterday as I was picking up my son from his friend's house, I drove by our old house that we sold a couple months ago. Our old house is right down the street from my son's friend's house.

The house looks awful.

The beautiful bay window we had, that had a window seat, is now filled entirely with ugly, ugly potted plants. They looked fake too. There were other ugly plants strewed throughout the front of the house, inside and out, and an ugly lamp in the front room.

The grass was brown and long on the upper front yard (it was tiered in some places), and hadn't been mowed since I last did it. late last fall.

The garage was filled with so much crap you couldn't see the window at the back.

On the side of the house, there was so much extra garbage and a ratty old truck.

It looked like trash. I can safely say that I did a much better job at keeping up that house than these people do, and even I thought I struggled at times.

It was a good feeling to see someone else's belongings in there, which made it feel less like my home and more like someone else's.

And for that, it feels no longer like it is my house. I have closure. Finally.




ok, maybe I still miss it a little bit, but it doesn't feel like home anymore.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Cooking Meme

I've been tagged by MamaBear over at I've Gotta Little Space To Fill for a cooking meme.

The rules for Memes:

1. Answer the questions.
2. Link to the person who tagged you in your post.
3. Tag at least 3 other bloggers.
4. Let them know you've tagged them by commenting on their blog with an invite to participate.


When was the most recent time you were burned?

Oh gosh, this was bad!!! I think it was last fall, I know it was before I had my Green Card interview. August I think. My Hubby was making his famous spaghetti, and had decided to do the sauce in the crockpot that day. Well, I was stirring it and somehow my left forearm touched the crock and gave me a nasty 4" long burn on my arm. It was really bad, so I won't go into the details, but I wore gauze and antibiotic cream etc for quite awhile. I am now left with a nice 2.5" long scar on my arm. One of the most painful things ever. But at least it is faded and not too noticeable.

Can you cook?

Yes. If I want to put the time and effort into it, I am a spectacular chef. I can make many wonderful dishes, but just don't bother. lol

If yes, name your 3 specialties:

We are simple folk, and I don't do much fancy stuff in this house.

1. Roast Chicken, which turns into homemade chicken noodle soup
2. Beef Roast, which turns into a hearty beef stew
3. Tator tot casserole

If yes, do you like to cook?

No.

If no, do you want to be able to cook?

Sometimes yes, but I think what I want more is the DESIRE to cook, and to get enjoyment out of cooking

What color is your kitchen?

Since I rent, a boring old white. Cabinets are oak and the floor is crappy, cheap linoleum. In the house we just sold, it was a nice beige and sage green.

In my dream kitchen, I'll be having black and white checker tile flooring, custom oak cabinets with pull out pantry drawers like in the kitchen in my old house, lazy susans etc. I'd like blue to be the main color, but not sure how that would work out with b/w tiles, so we'll have to see.

Do you bake?

Yeah!

If so, name your three specialities:

1. Rollo Cookies
2. Oatmeal no-bakes
3. Peanut butter fudge

If yes, do you like to bake?

Yes, I do really enjoy baking, especially at Christmas time.

If no, do you want to bake?

N/A

What color is your apron?

Red

I'm tagging Simple Mommy, Karen at 33 for a moment, and Denise at Ordinary Grace

My Day Today

Today I had the opportunity to participate in a "Family Fest" at a local school, during which I had an Avon table in the vendors area. I landed up making $82 today, not too bad. Plus I had 4 orders totally about $100. Yaay!!! I treated myself to gourmet garlic and cheese fries...YUMMY! And bought myself a necklace, so I landed up with $62.00 total.

Yesterday I actually opened up my own personal checking account so I can keep track of my Avon expenditures and earnings without choking up our joint checking account. I am quite pleased with my progress today, I think I did really well. Even though I did not make a fortune, I reached a lot of potential customers and I am sure that will generate more sales. Yaay for me!!

Today was a nice, kid-free day for me. I was able to farm off all the kids to various friends of mine and theirs, and got 8.5 hours by myself! The three older kids were not happy to see mommy, they wanted to stay at their friends longer. lol. But my baby was happy to see me at least, and informed me that she saw "sheeps" (my friend who watched her has 6 sheep), and that she liked playing with her daughter. While I am writing this, and my pizza is cooking for dinner, she just said to my eldest "I tell mommy!". Apparently the 7.5 year old and the 2 year old are bickering. lol

I am going to have a nice relaxing evening and try to fold some laundry, which I am terribly behind on.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Multiple Posting Day

Please don't forget to read my posts from earlier this day, I had some good ones in there!

Renting Vs. Owning

Weight Loss Update

Mom I'm Bored!!


Thanks everyone! I'd hate to think I wrote all that and no one read it ;o)

Mom! I'm Bored!!!



Welcome to this weeks edition of What Works For Me Wednesday, hosted by Shannon over at Rocks In My Dryer. This week's edition is titled "Mom! I'm Bored", as summer vacation is upon us. Well, not all of us yet! My three kids' last day is June 17th, but then they also don't start school till after labor day.

This year will be our 2nd official summer vacation, as my two older kids are just ending first grade. I don't remember what we did last year, but this year I have plenty of ideas to keep them occupied.

1. harass the new next door neighbours so we can use their pool! LOL and yes, it does work, we've used it already ;o)

2) banishing them to outside to ride their bikes, play in the yard, play with the neighbour kids!

3) We'll be enrolling them in swimming lessons at the end of this month, and my son is also in Karate twice a week, so when he does that at the YMCA, the girls and I play in the Adventure zone for an hour. I'll also be working out as well during the summer at the YMCA, so they'll have stuff to do while I am there as well. Plus there is family swim. Ugh, does this mean I have to get my fat butt in a bathing suit? I'm scared! LOL

4) Day trips with Daddy. Once my hubby comes home, we'll be going on several day trips around the area. It is too expensive to go anywhere else, so we're sticking close to the house.

5) And of course the usual, color a picture! it seems to work well with my kids, as they are really into crafts and art.
Do you have any good ideas to beat summer boredom?

please don't forget to scroll down my blog, I wrote a few interesting things today and would hate for them to get missed in the hubub.

Luxury Watches For Less

I am not a big jewelry person, I just find that necklaces always get tangled in my long hair, and I can't be bothered with bracelets. I do however, always wear a watch, every day. My dear hubby bought me one almost 5 years ago that I am in love with. I don't have a picture of it, but it is yellow gold and white gold, and just the prettiest watch ever. I actually feel naked without it. It is a women's Couture Sports watch by Klaus Kobec.

I have never owned a luxury watch though, so I like to "window-shop" sometimes. I came across a website called The Watchery that has really nice Jewelry Watches. They offer many brands including Bvlgari, Cartier, Gucci (just to name a few of the brands I recognized), and also have Breitling watches.

I found this ladies watch that I love. I am not a big "fussy" person, so I don't like a lot of frilly things, but this is nice and simple, and perfect for my tastes.



The Watchery has great deals right now! The watch I picked is only $695 on their site, with a list price of$1,195.00. What a great deal! If you purchase that watch, you can get either a free watch that is worth up to $350 MSRP, or choose from a selection of other watches at a savings of 80% off the MSRP. They are also part of the BBB Online Reliability Program, and PayPal verified.

Check out The Watchery if you are looking for a great deal on a Luxury Watch!


Renting Vs. Owning A Home, And The Impact On Our Finances

I wrote quite awhile ago about Renting Vs. Owning your own home.
To update, we put our house on the market mid to late january, had a buyer with our first showing, and finally closed late April. We've been renting since the beginning of March though, as we decided to vacate our house while we had the time. We have now lived in our rental for three months, and have been paying rent for four months.

Renting has it's ups and downs to be honest. My dishwasher just broke, and all I had to do was call the property management office and they took care of it. Now it's fixed! With our house, we had a European dishwasher that was broken, and we didnt even bother to fix it because the service fee alone for a company that could fix it was $125.00. And we just didn't have the money. My rental is being fixed up outside, painted, new trim etc. We have a fence too. Unfortunately, we didn't have the money for any of that when we owned our home. I guess a downside to renting is that it just isn't ours. I can't really see too many "downs" to renting right now to be honest with you.

So, the impact on our finances...

Our mortage payment, with taxes, and insurance included was $1863.00 a month. Ouch! Our rent here is $1025.00. We also do not have a water bill anymore, as we're on a well, so that has saved us $50.00 a month. Just with those factors, we're saving $888.00 a month!!

We did splurge and enroll at the YMCA, which costs us $77.50. That brings us to $810.00 a month saved.

Our middle child is no longer in pre-k, so I am saving money on that, but I also use the money from her pre-k to go to childcare at the YMCA for the baby when I work out. So that balances itself out.

We've also added internet costs, as we purchased a much needed computer with our tax returns. My hubby also has internet for his lap top, so both internet costs are around $100.00 a month, bringing us down to $710.00 a month saved. However, our home internet bill will go up another $20 in a few months, but that doesn't bother me at all. So we're saving around $700 a month, give or take a few bucks.

Now, we have not started a savings account yet, as we're waiting for the summer miles for my hubby to start rolling in. That has just started happening, so I will be doing that shortly.

We don't have a lot of debt, just our van, and two small credit cards. Our credit card balances are less than $1500 together and our van is around $11,800.00. I always pay more than the minimum of the credit cards, and we just pay the van as it is, the payment due each month.

We still hope to purchase another home, but it probably won't be here. We plan to move out of state to somewhere cheaper. And probably not for at least 3-5 years. We want to have a nice sizeable downpayment for a nice sizeable house on some property.

And don't forget, I have posted a few times today, so don't forget to read those as well. I updated on my weight loss!

Abracadabra!

Do you like magic? I've always been pretty skeptical, but I found this pretty neat site today that made me think twice. Wizmagic.co.uk is a really neat magic site that sells all sorts of magic tricks, and even has demo videos.

Check out this video: Exploding Lightbulb Magic Trick. It shows a guy holding a light bulb and he instructs you to concentrate on the light bulb, and then magically the light bulb explodes as he is holding it! The magic trick is really neat! If you do this in front of your friends, it will amaze them! Maybe even make their jaws drop! Best of all, you can perform the trick over and over again, as many times as you like.

Right now the website is selling the trick for 26.99 gbp (British pounds), and comes with everything you need except the light bulb. I might get this for my son for Christmas, it really seems like a cool gift to get, and he likes magic too.

Weight Loss Update

I weighed myself this morning and I am down 7lbs. And I said before that I have been exercising for a whole month, but I realized that my first official exercise day, when I really started to put effort into it after my hubby left, was May 12th. It is June 3d today, so I think that is pretty darn good! I have 4 months exactly till my cousin's wedding.

Today I did a half hour (33 min) on the elliptical machine, plus a half hour of strength and resistance/weigh training.

Yaay Me!!!

So can I reach my goal of 50lbs by that day? I have 43 more to go!

Need Money For College?

These days College and University have gotten really expensive, so it pays to look around for alternative funding options.

That is why College Scholarships is a great place to look for Scholarships that are available to you.
Scholarships.com is a great, free website that offers a comprehensive scholarship search, with individual results tailored to you! They have been around since 1998, and are the "largest independent online resource for free college scholarship searches and financial aid information. Our mission is to assist students in obtaining college scholarships and to help them and their parents explore the many available scholarship opportunities."

If you have a child going into College this fall, or you are going yourself, check out the website. You never know, you might actually qualify for a scholarship!

Monday, June 02, 2008

All Things Organic

A big thanks to FocusOrganic.com for including my post Organic Makeup in this weeks edition of All Things Eco Blog Carnival Volume 2

this is carnival #2 for me, so I am still learning all the "carnival" ropes.

Zeusy, Our FlufferNutter

Here are some pictures of our Zeusy. We love him to bits. We do have another cat, Hades, and a dog...Braddock, but Zeus is the funny one (Hades likes to keep to himself and hides all day). He loves to lay on his back with his paws folded. He is a pure-bred Maine Coone, and one year old. Maine Coones can take up to 5 years to mature, so he will get a lot bigger than this.

please excuse the quality of the photos, they were taken on my cell phone.






What kind of pets do you have? I love cats. Zeus and Hades were my birthday presents last year. Braddock was my birthday present for my 23d birthday. Notice a trend? lol I hope I don't end up with a fish this year.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Writers Block

I am sorry I haven't written since friday! Frankly, I've had a writers block. Really, I haven't had a clue as to what I should write. So I thought I would share some facts about me. Some of you may know them already, and some might not.

1) My hubby and I met on the internet and have been married almost 9 years

2) I LOVE sour soothers candy. Every time my sis comes down from Canada, I have her bring me a huge bag

3) I am a purse fanatic. I love to buy new ones all the time.

6) I have only lived by myself for a whole 4 months in my life.

7) My feet grew with my last two pregnancies. I now wear a women's size 11. ACK!!! But I am also 5'9" tall, so I don't have clown feet. lol.

8) My 7 year old son wears a men's size 5.5/6 shoe. He is only 3 sizes smaller than me (i wear a men's 9), and about 55" tall or so.

9) I spend entirely too much time online when I should be folding laundry

10) Cooking is not my forte, though I do it because I have to. But I LOVE to bake.

11) I love to read. Too many books to list, but I am an avid book reader.

12) I also dislike gardening. Plants in pots are about all I can handle.

13) I am counting down the days till the next Futurama movie, The Beast With A Billion Backs, comes out. My hubby is buying it for me for my birthday if I don't get it beforehand. I probably will though. The kids and I are crazy about Futurama.

14) I don't "love" the summer. I LOVE the fall. The cool crisp air, the leaves falling.

15) Christmas is my favorite "season". LOVE it. After that comes Halloween. I usually start to buy christmas gifts in september. I've already started to stockpile gift ideas for my kids.

16) I am shamelessly addicted to buying Gymboree clothes for my youngest daughter. Sometimes for the older kids, but I don't like how they fit them as well, so I buy for them mostly from The Children's Place. I just make sure my kids look presentable at all times.

17) A pet peeve of mine is when I see parents out with kids who look dirty and un-kempt. How much work is it to brush their hair and wipe their faces, and make sure they have on clean clothes?

18) Another pet peeve is seeing kid with pacifiers who are older than a year.

19) I have to have Diet Caffeine Free Pepsi in the house.

20) I have no regrets that I didn't finish college/university. I enjoy being a stay at home mom and I am forever thankful to my hubby for working hard enough so that I can stay home and not worry about having to find a job.

21) I love the smell of the pacific ocean. I have lived within an hour of it (sometimes less than 5 minutes) all my life except for a year in Germany and half a year in Alberta.

What are some interesting things about you? any pet peeves you have? things you can't live without?