Monday, April 27, 2009

Hello Hello

I thought I would take a break from spending time with my dear husband, and post on my blog. I didn't realize that I hadn't posted since Thursday. Ooops!

If you've been following my twitter updates on the side of the page, you'll see that I strayed from my diet. I knew I was going to, but I didn't anticipate such a vile reaction from my body. After 12 days of eating nothing but healthy fruits, veggies and other healthy foods, my body did not take well to Pizza. So, it's back on the diet for me. I'm actually afraid to eat anything greasy for fear I will get sick all over again, lol. I'm glad my husband bought extra Alka Seltzer today.

It's been nice having my husband home again. He has only been home for a day, but we got to run some errands today, and get prepared somewhat for our trip to the Woodland Park Zoo on Friday. We had to buy a cooler, because Zoo food is way too expensive, and we are taking a picnic with us.

I think Thursday is the day we are clearing out our storage unit. We're going to save the money we spend on it each month and either put it into savings, or put our youngest daughter in preschool in the fall. We aren't too sure yet, so I guess it depends on our feelings about the school (we're going for a tour May 5th).

I was so excited today when we got home, because pasted on the door was a delivery notice from DHL. At first I couldn't figure out what the heck was being delivered, because the only other package we were expecting was my husbands new fridge for his truck. We checked the tracking information, and it was my CANADIAN PASSPORT!!!! OMG!!!! I sent it off on April 14th!!!! I was able to call the office in Seattle, and they will be re-delivering it tomorrow. This means all systems go for our trip to BC this summer to visit my mom!! Now I'm all set for 5 years, though if all goes as planned, I should have my US Citizenship sometime late 2010, and I won't have need for the Canadian one anymore. But for the time being, it is nice to have.

Well, it's almost dinner time and I need to go feed the kids the left over pizza I am too scared to eat. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs yesterday, so we have tons of food leftover.

Until later...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fat Smash Diet, Week 2/Phase 2

I made it! I actually did the whole 9 days of the Detox Phase!!! Can you believe it? I thought I was going to diet at certain times. I had a few rough days that were absolute torture.

A couple things I realized are that:

1. Always take a multi-vitamin
2. PowerAde is your best friend. Electrolytes are good.
3. Going to bed hungry will not kill you. I go to bed hungry almost every night. Yep, it sucks, but the pay off is great! I don't usually eat after dinner anymore, but if I do, it's some fruit or carrot sticks.


So, onto Phase 2 now.

In Phase two, you get to add a lot more "fun" foods. New things allowed are as follows:

1. 3-4 oz of Meat or Seafood. You can break it up into two servings, but must skip a meal in between. Nothing fried, only baked/broiled etc.

2. Instead of 4 egg whites, you can now substitute one whole boiled egg and have only 3 egg whites.

3. Milk is increased to 2.5 cups

4. You may have 1oz of cheese

5. Cold, unsweetened cereal is allowed at 1.5 cups per day

6. You can now add some coffee/tea/diet soda in limited amounts. Only two cans of diet soda (I've cut that out completely though, it doesn't suit me well right now), 1 10oz cup of coffee, or 3 cups of tea per day. If you want, you can have 1 cup of freshly squeezed fruit juice.


Phase 2/Foundation lasts for two weeks, and after that comes Phase 3/Construction lasting for 4 weeks.

Honestly, I am a bit nervous to be on Phase 2. I've done so well on Detox that I am afraid the weight will come pouring back on one my husband is home. It's kind of hard to cook completely separate meals that are diet friendly and "normal" food, so I am going to modify them as much as I can. I will be eating "non-allowed" foods, but will do so in smaller portions. I can still do fine for breakfast and snacks, it is mostly dinner and lunch I am worried about. I'll also be incorporating a lot more salads to our meals. Regardless, I am going to go back onto Phase 1/Detox after he leaves anyway, just to jump start the weight loss again. Then I will ease back into Phase 2 after I lose any weight I gained while he was home. Hopefully that won't happen, but I will do my best to prevent it.

I am wondering though that if this lull in my diet will boost my metabolism? I know that it is good to vary your caloric intake so your metabolism has to work harder, so maybe that will work. I'm averaging between 1500 - 1800 per day right now, but on days when I work out, I can burn off at least 500 calories of that. So some days I actually only take in 1000! Yikes!

Today I am treating myself to Subway. I am really looking forward to it! I will update on twitter later to tell you all how delicious it was. And yes, I will be eating a healthy Sub. My usual probably, a 6" club on honey oat bread, with loads of veggies on it. Yummy!

I almost forgot...

Fat Smash Diet, Week 1 Detox Phase weight loss:

Yes, that's right...I lost 11 lbs in 9 days. Yaay Me!!!! I'm so proud of myself. Even my kids said I looked thinner!!!!!

(I have to say, I was hoping I would see 12lbs today, but that's ok. 11lbs is still good, right?)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Should I Stay, Or Should I Go?

This is referring to my sponsored post, the one below this one. I did one tonight, but I am debating whether or not to continue with Pay Per Post. I did PPP last year for quite awhile, from April through October/November. I made a nice chunk of change, and was able to have some spending money. Now the amounts paid have been drastically reduced, from as low as $.50, with most ranging between $1 and $2. They used to be $5 and up. I had one post last year that I made almost $50 on!!! I got a lot of $20 ones too, but most of mine were between $5 and $10.

Now my dilemma is this: Do I "pimp" out my blog for posts again, or do I just post whenever I want, and not feel pressured to post like I did with PPP? Truthfully...I don't want to have to post multiple times a day to earn $3-6 per day, but I like having the money in my PayPal account. Granted, after a month, that really adds up, but, it is a lot of work. So, do I want to work that hard? not really! Am I being lazy? I'm very lucky to have a husband who makes enough money for me to stay home and have extra spending money, so I really don't have to do PPP, but I do like having the money and knowing I earned it myself.

I don't know, I think I'll have to sit on this one for awhile. What are your thoughts?

Web Hosting Geeks

*** Sponsored Post ***

I haven't done a sponsored Pay Per Post post in ages it seems. I think the last one I did was late last year!

Tonight while I was sitting around after the kids went to bed, I thought I would do a little research on webhosting. Actually, I have thought that it would be pretty neat to have my own site for this blog. I have been using Google's Blogger since I first started this blog back in the fall of 2006. I like that it is free, but I would like it even more if I was able to be a bit more creative with my blog.

This is where Web Hosting Geeks come in. I had a look around their site, and I think anyone could find a web hosting service that caters to their needs and interests.

Today being Earth Day, why not go green and use an Eco-Friendly Web Host to host your sit or your blog? Who knew you could go green online as well! Apparently the green web hosting services are given that title because they use alternative or renewable energy, plant trees, and recycle waste among other things.

I've been trying to be as green as we can, so to see an Eco-Friendly Web Host makes me pretty happy. As I have mentioned before, I've switched to reusable bags, we recycle as much as we can, and do a lot of other things as well to try and be Earth friendly.

I think I might have to check out some of the green web hosts if I ever do decide to break away from blogger. They're pretty cheap, and start at only $4.99 per month.

Do everyone a favor, and use Web Hosting Geeks to find yourself a green web hosting service, and on Earth Day no less!

***they also offer regular web hosting services***

Monday, April 20, 2009

Grocery Budget Update

I am so sorry, I completely forgot to update my Grocery Budget post for this month! Oops!

I've been tracking my grocery purchases for the last couple months, seeing what the kids and I have been eating, and trying to see if we can cut back at all. You can read last month's post here. Last month, from mid February to mid March, I spent about $750.00. We had a few birthdays to buy for, my husband was home, and we had other company come and visit. So our grocery spending was a LOT!

From mid March to mid April, I spent the same. Yikes! I really thought that we could cut out a lot of stuff. I've been buying healthier food, lots more produce and fruit now that it is getting warmer. I did include one Domino's Pizza delivery for $17.49 which was weeks ago. There was no other eating out.

My husband and I have come to the realization that we can't cut back anymore. Things here are so expensive! WA state just costs a fortune for everything. We have 4 kids who eat a lot, and one dog and two cats to provide for as well. We go through loads of produce, milk, and bread. I've cut it down as much as I can, and we use left overs as much as possible.

That being said, I won't be doing the grocery budget tracking anymore. I feel like it is kind of pointless to track what I am spending if it lands up being the same each month.

In other news, I am doing great on the Fat Smash Diet! I had a rough day on Saturday. My blood sugar was really low, and I had a headache almost all day. We figured out that I needed electrolytes, so I ran out to Target and got myself some Powerade ZERO. It has helped a ton! I also started taking a multi vitamin, and that has also helped a lot. I feel 100% better now that I have added those two things back into my diet.

I have had a few week moments where I just want to go out and pig out on Peanut M&Ms and Pizza, but then I realize I'll just screw myself up. I can have subway on Thursday, and when my husband comes home in a week, I can indulge just a little (I will be taking care to stay true to phase 2 as much as possible though).

I'm on day 7 now and I have finally noticed a change in my body. My belly has gone down/shrunk somewhat, and I have lost 9 pounds!!!! Only 21 more to go till July 16th! I'm very proud of myself!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fat Smash Diet, Week 1

If you have been reading, you'll know I started the Fat Smash Diet last Tuesday. Today is actually day 6 of Phase 1, but since each phase has a different amount of days, I figured I would update each Sunday.

I'm doing OK on the diet. I've had a few bad days where all I wanted to do was go out and order a greasy Pizza. Or like Friday night, drive over to Target and fill my cart up with bags of peanut M&Ms. I kept myself from doing it though!

I've had to develop a few things to keep my sanity. Technically, sugar free jell-o, and cold cereal, and granola bars, are NOT allowed on this diet. BUT...I've let myself have them. OK, the granola bars are "Fiber One" granola bars. They're low in fat, HIGH in fiber with a whopping 9 grams, and quite tasty. I let myself have one per day (I am out of them now, so I won't have anymore till Tuesday when I go grocery shopping). The sugar free jell-o isn't really a big deal. I don't have it every day, and if I do, I have a cup or two after the kids go to bed. In fact, I've only had it twice since Tuesday. The cereal is absolutely not allowed till phase 2, but yesterday I was doing so well, I decided I would treat myself to a 1 cup measured serving of my favorite cereal (Oatmeal Squares by Quaker). That won't happen again till Thursday, which will be day 1 of Phase 2.

Other than my little "indulgences", I have been doing great. I eat a ton of fruit and veggies. I actually like the taste of baby carrots! I can eat a huge salad without any problems. So I figure I am doing well. I hope so at least, because as of yesterday morning, I am down 7lbs!!

My body still has to get used to not snacking constantly though, and that is a challenge for me. The last few days though, I have noticed that I am not as hungry as I was at the beginning. I think that stomach of mine is finally starting to shrink! I had a lot of trouble with the diet at the beginning, because it's been that time of the month, if you know what I mean. Everyone knows it is harder to lose weight when you're on your period, so I am hoping that the weight will come off faster now that it's over. I still have 4 full days, including today, of Phase 1/Detox, so I am sure I will do OK. I'm going to do a final push these last few days and not even try to have my "snacks" if I can help it.

This diet is the hardest I have ever been on. But I am glad I am making myself do it. No one but myself can make me lose weight. I have to do this for me, so that I can feel better about myself, happier, more comfortable in my own skin.

I'll do another diet update sometime this week, if not before Sunday again.

Phase 1/Detox Day 5 Weigh In- Down 7lbs out of 30. 23 more to go.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Does Preschool Have To Cost A Fortune?

I've been going to a local mom's group for a few years now. I started going there actually when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, so it has been about 3.5 years now that I have attended. I really like getting together with the other moms, but I think I am ready for a change in our routine, and chances to get my daughter involved in other areas.

So Preschool has now become an option for us. My husband has been dead set against it because he thinks she only needs Pre-K, a year before she starts kindergarten. I, however, disagree. I am with her day in and day out, and she needs more interaction and stimulation than I can give her. I think I have him sold now though.

I've been calling local preschools in the area, and I am just astonished at the prices I have been quoted. One of the schools is just up the road from our house, literally a 1 minute drive with no traffic. I thought that would be perfect because it is so close, and the program is MWF from 9-12. Great breaks for her, and I can go to the gym during those times, run errands etc etc. The director quoted me a price of $100/WEEK!! Are you kidding me? Seriously? Since when we have $400 to pull out our butts to pay for preschool? I've already crossed that one off the list.

Our second option right now is a Co-Op Preschool about 5 minutes away. We have a tour set up for May 5th at 9AM. Now I am not sure exactly how I feel about a Co-Op, because generally, I don't like other people's kids. Yep, sorry, it's true! But I think if I only have to do it a few times a month, it isn't a big deal. This Co-Op says Parents must help 3 times a month, and you can go at the time your child is there. I think I can handle that, it is only for 2.5 hours.

The best thing...it is only $85 a month! Since we're getting rid of our Satellite, and our storage unit at the end of this month, we can definitely afford that. I hope it works out.

The days are Tuesday/Thursday from 9-11:30. I can still go to the gym those days if I wanted, if I wasn't helping in the class. I would be giving up my mom's group, but that is ok. I will miss my friends, but my daughter's needs are more important.

Back to my original question though, is why do preschools have to cost so much? Any ideas? When my middle daughter went to Pre-K, we only payed $75/month and she went MWF for 2-3 hours.

What do you pay for preschool?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Simple Chicken Parmesan and a Fat Smash Update

I'm on the "Fat Smash Diet" right now, so I wasn't able to eat what I made the kids for dinner. I had a nice HUGE green salad, tossed with some chopped up green pepper and tomato, as well as a touch of light ranch dressing. I also had 4 boiled egg whites (I boil the eggs, give the kids the yolks, and eat the whites myself), and a Yoplait Key Lime Pie yogurt. I'm still hungry.

This will get better, or so I've heard. My stomach just needs to get used to less food and then it will shrink. I've done it before, I can do it again. When I was 6 weeks into the diet last time, I remember I had no cravings whatsoever for "bad" food, so I know that this too shall pass.

I'm still hungry

I cheated just a *little* bit today. I had a Fiber One granola bar for an afternoon snack with my fruit. Yeah yeah, I know they're not allowed, but they aren't really that bad. It has 9 grams of fiber! I still came in way way under my calorie limit for the day, so all's good! I'll probably have a bowl of strawberries after the kids are in bed.

Tonight for dinner I made the kids this Simple Chicken Parmesan recipe I found on Allrecipes.com. It was a big hit with the kids, with the exception of a picky 3 year old who will eat only the chicken, and no sauce or cheese.


Simple Chicken Parmesan


INGREDIENTS

* 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese



DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip the chicken breast in egg and then breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Brown chicken on both sides and drain on a paper towel.
2. In an 11x7 inch baking dish evenly spread 1/2 of the tomatoes. Arrange chicken on sauce and top with remaining tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

I found it funny that there was no Parmesan in this recipe, so I added some myself. The kids said it was really good! It certainly smelled that way. I think I'll be making this when my husband comes home in two weeks so that I can try it too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Fat Smash Diet

I started the Fat Smash diet today.

My husband and I have done this in the past with great success. Actually, 3 years ago, I did it and lost 30lbs in 6 weeks!!! (along with exercising) I've decided that the portion control diet is not working for me, unfortunately. I really just need to do something about it, and this diet is the only thing that works for me. Sure, I'd love to nosh on the chocolate I have left over from Easter, but if I don't stop eating junk food, then I will never reach my goal weight. I wish I had forced myself to do this sooner.

With the fat smash diet you go through four different stages, 90 days in total. The first 9 days, which is what I am on, is called the "Induction phase". For 9 days I am allowed to eat the following:

2 servings of yogurt/day (I use yoplait whips, or yoplait light)
Unlimited fruits and veggies, with the exception of potatoes and avocado
2 cups of rice (brown preferably)-I buy the microwave packs when they're on sale
2 servings of milk (16oz)
4 egg whites
some condiments for salad, such as fat free dressing, a little olive oil etc.
1 serving of plain oatmeal (I don't have the book in front of me, but I am sure it's one cup cooked plain, or what my hubby and I do is have the instant Quaker Weight control oatmeal)

Yep, that's it. It sounds really restrictive, but it really isn't. I can eat a whole big garden salad with light ranch dressing for lunch, strawberries, an apple...whatever I want. I can make an egg white omelet for breakfast with some veggies thrown in too, maybe some green pepper and onions, and tomatoes. And I love yogurt, so that is actually like a treat to me. When I am done writing this, I am going to go eat a bowl of strawberries (yummy!!!).

Once the 1st nine days are up, you can start adding meat and some grains, nuts etc, back in your diet. You only get 3 oz of meat, which is basically one serving, per day. What I usually did was have a turkey or light ham sandwich on some really good bread. I love Orroweat's Double Fiber bread. In two slices there are 12g of fiber! Or if I didn't want a sandwich, I had rice instead. Or I had rice for lunch, and then a small serving of meat with dinner.

The purpose of Phase 1/Induction, is to actually rid your body of the cravings it has, and the need to consume sugar. Yes, it sucks, and it is incredibly hard, but it's necessary. Phase 2 is like going to banquet compared to Phase 1, so I will just plow through it, and deal with the misery. And at least I like fruit, right?

But for now at least, I am stuck eating what is on phase 1. I have to search for my book to get the skinny on Phase 2 (I think it is buried in my shed somewhere), and I will post about that on day 10 when I start phase 2, and again will post when each new phase starts. I also plan to do a daily log of what I eat, but I will condense it into one post, and will post that each weekend. Probably on Fridays, along with my weekly weight loss.

I did weigh myself this morning, and while I refuse to post that, I will say my goal is to lose about 30lbs by the time we go to Canada in mid July. If I keep to it, I know I can lose more, but I will be happy with that for now. If I lost 22lbs in 6 weeks, imagine what I can lose if I do it for 3 months!

I'm excited to lose weight! I need to and want to do this for myself!!

Wish me luck!

Carnivals and an Update

First off, a big thank you to my friend Mama Bear over at GottaLittleSpaceToFill for including my post An Iron Chef, I am not in this weeks edition of the Make It From Scratch Carnival.


In other news, I have decided to stop tracking my clothes spending. You'll see on my side bar that I track what I spend on clothing for the kids each month. Perhaps it is only me, but I don't want people to know what I spend, because some might think I spend too much, etc etc. I'm just about done shopping for the summer anyway, just need to get the kids some more shorts and a pair of sandals. My kids have just gone through some major growth spurts, and even when I thought I was done, I had to buy more because the beasts grew yet again. Our middle daughter has outgrown pants that I bought her in January. They now look like flood water pants on her. So anyway, I will be deleting that shortly.

In regards to the grocery budget, I have been keeping track of all grocery and household needs purchases each month, for two months. I go from the middle of one month to the middle of the other. This will be my last month tracking. I've become aware of what I spend our money on, and I think the budget tracking with that is done. I just don't see the need for it anymore. I'll have a post about that coming up in the next week, and tell you all about my mid march to mid April purchases.

Watch for a grocery post soon!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

An Iron Chef, I am not

But I sure can make some good dinosaur eggs!

I have just not had much luck in the kitchen lately. Frankly, I've been sucking ass! Last week it was the Three Cheese Baked Ziti (because my cheese had mold! grr!), and then today my Pea Soup just crapped out on me. I didn't do anything wrong either, but my peas decided to be extra liquidey, so we have Pea soup broth and ham. Not a nice tasty, chunky pea soup. *sigh*

The only thing that did work out well was the homemade Easter eggs I made with the kids. Originally I was going to make homemade Marshmallow eggs, but decided to make homemade Fondant eggs instead. They turned out ok, but if I could change anything, I would use a different extract for flavor, and not just plain vanilla.

I got the recipe for them on the "Baking" page of About.com. The kids and I tinted them green as follows, and then dipped them in chocolate. The chocolate pictures didn't turn out, so I'm sorry I can't show you what they looked like. I put the recipe at the bottom of the post.



And after we "shaped" them



As you can see, the kids and I have no concept as to what eggs look like! lol

I left them in the fridge overnight to firm up really well, and then this afternoon, we dipped them. I took about 1lb of melting chocolate, and one by one, gently dipped the bottom of each egg in the chocolate to coat it. Then we placed it on a cooling rack so the excess chocolate could drip off (the cooling rack was resting above a cookie sheet covered in wax paper). Then I took about a tablespoon of melted chocolate and spread/dripped it over each egg to cover the top.

The eggs looked really neat, and the kids loved them!



Ok, so I found ONE passable picture of the chocolate covered dinosaur eggs. If you want, you can decorate the tops with some melted, colored, chocolate as well. I didn't bother trying, because I didn't want to push my luck. Like I said above, I would use a different extract for flavor. I think if I make them again, orange would be a good one to try. Today I used vanilla, and I just wasn't very impressed with it. But at least the kids liked it, right?

Oh, and my tip to getting those eggs nice and green? It's my secret weapon: Wilton Leaf Green icing color. We don't use anything but Wilton gel food coloring now, nothing beats it.


Fondant Easter Eggs


Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
* 2 pounds plus 2 cups powdered sugar
* assorted food flavorings (vanilla, almond, lemon, maple or peppermint extract)
* 1 pound chocolate and/or vanilla-flavored candy coating
* several different tubes of decorator frosting

Preparation:
In a large bowl, beat margarine and salt until fluffy; gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, then 2 pounds powdered sugar until well blended. Divide into 4 equal portions. In medium bowls, tint each portion with a few drops food coloring; flavor each portion with 1/2 teaspoon desired flavoring. On a smooth surface, knead 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar into each portion until smooth. Shape into 4 or 6 eggs. Place on baking sheets; cover and chill until firm, about 4 hours or overnight. Insert a 2-pronged fork into the bottom of each chilled egg. Dip into warm candy coating; let excess coating drip off. Place on waxed paper lined baking sheets; let stand or chill until firm. Decorate as desired with frosting. Store covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If using vanilla flavored candy coating, you may need to dip twice.

*I only used half a pound of chocolate because I tossed half the dough. I didn't have the patience to do the whole recipe"


I just wanted to add: our pea soup thickened up quite nicely. Not as thick as I would have liked, but it was still delicious! I bet it will be perfect for lunch tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Man Comes For A Visit

We've been having a wonderful spring break, so I haven't been blogging very much.
So sorry if you have missed me!

Yesterday we were blessed with a visit from my Husband. He was in town delivering, and we planned to meet for lunch and do a bit of shopping, as well as a couple errands I needed to do.

He called me around 11AM and had me pick up some groceries for him from Safeway, and then the kids and I headed over to Pilot (a truck stop in the area) to pick him up and head out for lunch. We went to our favorite Chinese buffet/restaurant. He loves it because he can eat all the sushi and wasabi he wants, and myself because I love fried rice and General Tsao's Chicken. The older kids love Chinese too, with the exception of the baby who eats only fruit, pudding and ice cream. Though yesterday she did eat ONE piece of Sweet & Sour chicken, so we were quite happy. And even more adventurous, was our middle daughter who ate Kalamari! Though she didn't know what it was until after she had eaten it. She was a bit disgusted about the fact that she ate squid, but said it was yummy.

After our delicious lunch, we took a quick trip over to the mall where I purchased some much needed short sleeve tops for our kids. I thought I was done summer shopping and I was wrong. I still need to get them more shorts! Value village here we come. I hope to do that tomorrow. For some reason, I will buy shorts there, but I can't bring myself to buy shirts. The shirts there are almost always stained, stretched out, and gross looking.

After our trip to the mall, my husband sat in the van with the kids while I went into the FedEx/Kinko's store to send my passport application to my lawyer/guarantor to sign. Getting a Canadian passport is a pain in the arse! While he was in the van with the kids, my husband told me they heard our youngest daughter saying something funny. He didn't know what it was, until she said it louder..."You Dumb Asshole" LOL. He actually has the audio file from a Gene Wilder movie, and it is Gene Wilder saying that over and over again. I guess he had been playing that in the van while I was inside. It was quite funny.

With that, our day with him ended and we drove back to the truck stop. He will be home again in a few weeks, and we're all looking forward to it.

Tomorrow I am taking the kid to Chuck E. Cheese's as a surprise. I found coupons for 20 free tokens per kids, so I will buy a few extra and we'll have fun for an hour or so. Friday we have a doctor's appointment for two of them, and that night we'll be going to an Easter Egg Hunt at the YMCA. Saturday we'll be staying home, and I have a few treats up my sleeve that I will be making with the kids. I'll be sure to blog about them, so keep an eye out on sunday!!

*Just wondering, have you met any kids who ask for raw green pepper? I was chopping some up for our salad tonight, and the kids ate a ton of it. I should have bought more!*

*Today is also my niece, Katelyn's, 1st Birthday!! We haven't gotten to meet her yet since she lives in Minnesota, but we hope to one day! Happy Birthday Katelyn! your cousins and aunt and uncle can't wait to meet the newest member of the family!!*

Monday, April 06, 2009

A Good Start To Spring Break

Spring break started off with wonderful, gorgeous sunny weather. It's been around 70 here for the last few days, so I have been able to tackle a few chores outside that needed doing.

Saturday I was able to get the mower started, and mowed the entire lawn. That was a bit of a chore because the grass was so long from the winter. It took me awhile to get the mower started because it was completely empty of gas, about 20 pumps to prime it! I also sent the boy outside to be a pooper scooper, haha. I love the smell of freshly cut grass, the back yard smelled wonderful.

Yesterday I sent all the kids outside and we organized the shed. Well, let me say, I organized the shed and the kids just gawked at whatever I pulled out. They also rode their bikes, enjoyed a Popsicle, and played with the dog and dug in the dirt for worms. There is nothing better for a kid than to dig in the dirt.

My husband and I have a goal to get rid of our storage unit at the end of this month. We pay $63 a month for it, and we can't even remember what is in it. I did have our Christmas items in there, but those have been put in our shed now. I filled bags, a couple big bins and a few boxes of stuff to send to goodwill. I'll drop that off once the kids are back in school next week. We also made the decision to get rid of our old table. I love the table, it was the first piece of furniture we bought for ourselves when we were first married, but we don't have the room to store it. We seriously need to downsize, and cut the clutter, so I decided it will also go to goodwill once my husband comes home in a few weeks. At least we have the memories, right? It has certainly served us well the last 9 years, and I will miss it.

So, once the goodwill stuff is gone, he and I are going to go through the storage unit and purge purge purge. Our goal is to be able to fit what we want to keep, in the rest of our shed. So that means we have to get rid of tons of books, old clothes, paperwork, and who knows what else we have in there. But at least that will be one more bill we can re-delegate to the savings account, right?

It feels good to get rid of clutter.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Observations

Just some things I have noticed....

*A dog will whine to go out, yet will bark madly through the window to come right back in a minute later.

*When you get items ready to go to goodwill, and have them all stacked up by the door, your kids immmediately want to play with all their old toys again. My youngest has drug out her mega blocks and her fisher price baby carrier today. She hadn't played with them for months.

*When you tell your kid to shower, they immediately have to go poop. Every single time.

*You offer the kids an after school snack and they decide it isn't good enough, so they decide to starve and wait till dinner. What, carrots aren't good enough? You'll have it for snack at school, but not at home?

*Kids should not be given gas inducing beans at school. 'Nuff said.

*Kids will still fall for an april fools joke even if they know it's April Fool's day. Example: "Hey kids, we decided to cancel our trip to Canada this summer". Sadness ensues because they will miss Grandma. "But guess what?", "what mom?" " We're going to Disney Land instead". More questions asked and jumping up and down, and screaming with joy proceeds. Mommy says "guess what else?", "what!!!" "April fools!!! hahahahaha". Kids say "are we still going to disney land?"

*8 year old boys like to sing in the shower. They also like to tell you about their friends who have nose picking habits. Lovely.

*I am addicted to having the RSS feed APP on my iTouch. I can't live without it. Rest assured, even if I am not commenting on your blog, I am reading it via the feed. I check it multiple times a day, it is so handy!

*I can't not buy new slippers if they're on sale. I have about 5 pairs around here and just bought new ones for $1 yesterday.

*Even if a dog has an acre to run around with, once the gate is open he will be gone like a flash and not come back for hours.

*Wal*Mart is always, I repeat, ALWAYS, out of stock of something when I go grocery shopping. Yesterday it was my weight watchers 3 Cheese Ziti lunch, and animal crackers.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Just A Friendly PSA

Don't Forget To Take Your Allergy Meds!!!!

Lately I have been feeling "off". I wasn't quite sure what was wrong with me, but it was beginning to scare me. I felt like something was wrong with my heart and lungs. The symptoms are so hard to explain, but it felt like my heart was skipping a beat, and my lungs weren't working well. I couldn't breathe deep enough, and when I did, it hurt.

Today I explained my symptoms to my husband because I was scared. I didn't want anything to be wrong with me. Lets just say that I need to take my claritin daily. I can not miss it at all. I had to take it last year due to some BAD allergies, but didn't bother this year because I felt like it was just for my nasal allergies and those haven't been bothering me. Yet.

I was really really wrong though. My allergies have been making my lungs inflamed and probably really congested with mucus, which is why I felt a "thumping" in my chest...it was probably all that mucus moving around in there or a bubble of air or something. Either way, it was not a comfortable feeling.

I took the claritin this afternoon a few hours ago and I already feel a lot better. Not 100%, but a lot better.

Always take your allergy meds. Goodness knows what would have happened if I had continued to ignore it, I probably would have landed up in the hospital. We're going to look into having our air vents/ducts cleaned, because we feel that the dust accumulation is probably what is aggrivating my allergies. I never had it this bad before we moved here, and we have central air. I can't seem to get a handle on the dust in the house, so the dirty vents are most likely the culprit. We have a dog, and two cats, and I dust twice a week, but it still gets dusty. We rent, so who knows when they were last cleaned, since our landlord doesnt really pay attention to stuff like that.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Vegetable Beef Soup from Scratch

I don't know why, but I've got this black cloud above my head threatening to break open any time. I guess I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed today, but that happens sometimes. I'm going to exercise in a few minutes after my daughter is done watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and hopefully that will help clear that cloud away. I just didn't have the energy to go to the gym today.

Anyway, last night I made a yummy yummy dinner. Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup in the Crock Pot. I was a little hesitant, as I have never made soup in my crock pot. Ever. But it turned out delicious, and we loved it. We had left overs, so guess what is for dinner tonight? I accompanied it with a nice loaf of crusty bread that I made in my bread machine. Gone are the days of me making bread from scratch! My mom brought me my old bread machine when she came to visit last month. Hooray!

Vegetable Beef Soup

1lb stewing beef (my pkg was 1.25)
several peeled and sliced potatoes
2-3 peeled and sliced carrots
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can corn, undrained
1 can green beans (I used french cut since we don't like the other style), undrained
1 28oz can Crushed Tomatoes
2 pkgs/1 box of "Beefy Onion" Lipton soup mix
salt/pepper to taste

*I also added a few beef bouillon cubes as the dry soup just didn't add enough taste"

Just toss everything in your crock pot, along with enough water to fill to about 3/4s of the crock pot. Cook on high for the afternoon, and enjoy!

I made ours about 11:30 yesterday morning and it was ready by 5PM or so. I suppose it took longer because the beef was raw when I put it in. If you want, you can brown it a bit first, but it isn't necessary.