Friday, February 29, 2008

The Plunge

We are closer than ever to taking the minivan plunge. I've been fighting it. I adamantly declared I would not drive a minivan just SUVs. Well, practicality and soaring gas prices have silenced my declarations. But truthfully, it's taken me a couple years to be okay with this.

My friends who drive minivans tell me that I will love it; I'm beginning to think they might be right. I lift my 30+ pound kids in and out of the Jeep and my back complains and we freeze in the cold air. And I am looking forward to some of the features - especially the dvd player that we hope to find in whatever model we choose.

The front runner is the Honda Odyssey. We love Hondas and this van seems to be popular for good reasons. We are hoping to find a reasonably priced '04 or newer Odyssey. My preferred colors are dark blue or maroon but almost any color is fine except one - you can guess which one.

I'm resigned but with my resignation is excitement. It's always fun to have a "new" vehicle and it's something that we need. Stay tuned for minivan updates. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I don't watch Oprah very often but happened to today and I'm intrigued. Are you familiar with the Freegan lifestyle? The first half of her show was about it. I had never heard of this way of life. It's an environmentally friendly lifestyle that flies in the face of consumerism and materialism. Seriously, I kind of want to try it.

This way of life promotes not only frugality but also decreasing waste. They get things out of dumpsters! Those interviewed mostly get food and products from dumpsters outside grocery stores or retail stores. I was amazed at the quality products that were tossed because of expiration date, damage, bruises etc. One lady interviewed said that a dozen eggs will be thrown away because one is broken. The same lady told about how she found 100-1 lb. bags of coffee beans in a dumpster. The packages were intact but they had expired. As she pointed out - do roasted coffee beans actually expire? And even my mom has commented that companies are forced to put expiration dates on products that don't expire or certainly have a longer shelf life than listed.

The people interviewed are not doing it because they are poor. It seems that it's not uncommon for it to be quite the contrary - in fact, one couple represented are employed as a doctor and engineer. They are working to pay off their mortgage and they donate a fair amount. It seems that freegans choose that lifestyle because they want to avoid the materialism that is so prevelant in our society and conserve the environment. It was mentioned several times about how much waste is generated throughout our country.

It sounds gross to eat things out of a dumpster but it seemed that they were careful to only take things that were still packaged without punctures, still sealed, etc., cleaned fruits & vegetables very well (not necessarily in packages), and were conscious to not endanger themselves. [Side note: After reading the NY times article below, maybe this doesn't fully apply - some found 1/2 eaten jars of peanut butter that they were happy about it.] While it seems the movement may stem from the Vegan lifestyle, I noticed that the people interviewed today had dairy products and didn't necessarily follow a vegan diet.

It totally makes me want to just try it one time to see how it works. The freegans certainly did not seem to be lacking in good quality food and their basic needs were met. Their cost of living is low (they did note that they spend a little per month on what they cannot find). I was amazed at their dedication to this lifestyle. Those interviewed today were humble, simple-living people that are living out their values. As with any movement, there are extremes and some of those are definitely reflected in the article below. And it does sound like there can be legal ramifications if your city or state does not allow dumpster digging or if you are trespassing, of course.

Anyway, as I stated at the beginning, I'm intrigued. It was an interesting program and an interesting idea. Andrew and I are constantly discussing sustainable living - architecture, food, etc. and this certainly relates to those concepts although it is probably a little extreme for us. :) For further information, here are some websites that focus on this way of life: Freegan Kitchen,, and a NY Times article.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I was out of chicken and didn't make it to the grocery store today...I was given some wasn't bad. :) I marinated it in soy sauce, honey, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, and pepper then stir-fried it with red pepper and pea pods. It was surprisingly well received by the family. Having grown up pretty much hating it, this was a positive step. I have no plans of buying it or planning it in to our menus unless it's free :) but it's nice to know that it's not so horrible. And can even be relatively tasty.

My brother, Elliot has been trying to convince me that it's actually very good and that you can even grill it - I'll admit, I've had my doubts. :) And I'm not there yet - I still prefer meat in my stir-fry but I may be coming around. I think the key was the marinade.

Anyone else like/use tofu? How do you prepare it?

Monday, February 25, 2008


I've been meaning to write a brief review of Juno. Andrew and I saw it on our weekend away and thoroughly enjoyed it. We were disappointed last night that it wasn't awarded more at the Oscars but pleased that it had been nominated.

As adoptive parents, I'm sure we saw this movie through different eyes than the average viewer. We not only appreciated the pro-adoption message but were deeply touched and challenged.

Juno is a highschool student who fools around with a friend and ends up pregnant. She plans to have an abortion but cannot go through with it after a comment by a classmate who is protesting outside of the local abortion clinic. She tells her father and stepmother; they are surprisingly supportive and while they ask if she has considered abortion, they accept that she has chosen an adoption plan and abortion is not mentioned again. While Juno's view of life could be considered flip and she is certainly very cavalier in her communication, I found it refreshing that despite the challenges, she stuck with her pro-life plan.

We felt for the potential adoptive parents. The meeting between Juno and them was a bit heart wrenching for us to watch. We saw (and felt) the desperation that Jennifer Garner's character was clearly trying to hide. She glossed over the unintentionally insensitive remarks made by Juno but we felt every single one of them.

Our hearts overflowed when the baby was placed in his new mother's arms. We could feel those emotions, too. I think tears brimmed both of our eyes. The beautiful gift Juno gave to this mother was incredible. Juno had no idea how much she had blessed this woman who longed to be a mother.

Ellen Page is brilliant as Juno. Allison Janney plays her stepmother and has a fierce love for her stepdaughter who she totally sees as her own child. Juno's dad (J.K. Simmons) is an involved dad and even volunteers (or rather insists) to meet any potential adoptive families with her. You also see the developing romance between Juno and the birthfather (Michael Cera) towards the end of the movie.

All in all, a wonderful film! Exceptional acting and a skillfully crafted script. We came away feeling a little emotionally drained but we couldn't stop talking about it! Being adoptive parents and adoption advocates, we found it encouraging that the film has been so well received!

As a HUGE caveat, it is NOT for all audiences. It has a lot of language, sexual situations and conversations, and adult themes. We were disappointed in the amount of language and crude elements. If you watch it, please be aware that we do not endorse all aspects of the film.

**EDITED: Check out the comments section for some excellent and true points by Loraena.**

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's Dinner Time!

Last week was another bad week for the menu. :( That's just the way of it sometimes. Andrew made it home only 2 times for dinner. I'm going to make a new menu anyway. :) The stir-fry and egg rolls are carried over from last week.

I got a great deal on Gorgonzola Cheese (which I also happen to love!) so I'm going to hopefully develop a pasta sauce with it. If it's successful, I'll post the recipe on my recipe blog.

MONDAY: Lentil Soup, Bread, Fruit Salad
TUESDAY: Chicken & Pea Pod Stir-fry, Brown Rice, Egg Rolls
WEDNESDAY: Leftovers (Andrew will be here with the kiddos)
THURSDAY: Chicken Linguine w/Gorgonzola Sauce, Green Beans
FRIDAY: Pizza, Veggies, Chips or Pretzels, Sliced Fruit
SATURDAY: Tuna Helper (we will be leaving the boys with a sitter :)), Peas, Applesauce
SUNDAY: Oven Stew, Salad, Fruit, Bread or Rolls, White Chocolate Cranberry Bread Pudding

Orgjunkie has many more menu plans - check them out!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Andrew was helping with a move today so...I took the boys to the Children's Museum which wasn't the best idea since it was packed. :) They had a good time anyway (I spent the time feeling paranoid that I was going to lose one of them!). Then we headed to my parent's house where the boys took a nap and I, very uncharacteristically, played video games with my brothers. The Wii rocks - it was only my second time playing it! It was a lot of fun even though I definitely wasn't very good. We also played Nintendo 64 Mario Kart - loved it and I even won against two very experienced brothers. I really had a great time!

Tonight, we played The Farming Game with Liz and Luke (sister & brother-in-law). It's similar to The Construction Game but I think we all agree that we like some of the nuances of the latter better. Both take 2-3 hours to play. :) We enjoy games so much! My family and especially extended family is a gaming family - always finding obscure, new games to introduce to the rest of the group (there are many of us). It creates such a fun atmosphere!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Game Time

A Friday Afternoon With Playdoh

The boys had a great time playing with playdoh this afternoon. They are finally "getting it" which was really fun. We all made lots of different characters - Patrick's characters were named Trixie and Bill (he was quite adamant about the latter after many name suggestions).

Quick Food

I have quite openly confessed that I am a cookbook addict. I can't seem to get enough of them. I read them like you would read fiction. And I pour over the pictures. Anyway, I have yet to purchase the book that I mentioned last week (they didn't have it at the store I visited) but nevertheless, I found another book to tell you about in the mean time.

I recently (as in less than a week ago) purchased this book at Half Price Books for $2 (retail is $16.95). I'm impressed. I haven't tried the recipes yet, but they look wonderful! It's divided into method of cooking - grill, pot, pan, wok etc. The recipes look very gourmet but fairly easy and encompass a variety of cuisines. It does occasionally use some unusual ingredients but overall, it looks pretty normal and you could probably substitute something for the less known ingredients. :) Another great feature is that every recipe is accompanied by a picture which I find not only helpful but appetizing and inspirational.

I think it was a $2 well spent; a good cookbook to add to my ever growing collection. I'm looking forward to trying some of the recipes - especially the Asian dishes since that is one of our favorite cuisines. So hurry to Half Price if you want to take advantage of this good deal. They had several copies on tables near the clearance section at the one where my sisters work.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

10 Must-Haves

I'm admittedly a keeper of many, many seasonings, herbs, and spices. I just might need them some day, although their potency will be long gone by then. :) I do turn to several seasonings time and time again. Here are my top 10 spice cupboard must-haves:

1) Pure Vanilla Extract (I do not use imitation or flavoring and probably never will)
2) Cinnamon (I buy a nice quality cinnamon in bulk - so good!)
3) Chili Powder
4) Cumin
5) Rosemary (I use fresh from my herb garden when it's in season and dried the rest of the year)
6) Sea Salt (or a natural salt - not the box from the store)
7) Peppercorns (I like to fresh grind pretty much all of the pepper in recipes)
8) Italian Seasoning
9) Basil or Lemon Basil (this is a new favorite - I use it fresh whenever possible but keep dried on hand)
10) Dill (I really love this for potatoes and cold salads like chicken salad etc.)

I could add several more like parsley, ginger, nutmeg, oregano, curry, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt... But the above are ones I consistently use. One thing you will not find me using very much (if ever) is anise - I'm just not a fan and never have been. :) Other than that, the sky is pretty much the limit on seasonings!

The right spices really enhance food - I love to throw a little extra in a recipe or add something not listed. You might be suprised by the new flavor - hopefully in a good way! I'll share my top 10 pantry must-haves another time. What do you have to have in your spice cupboard?

Have a wonderful Thursday - this is making me want to cook but alas, we have a meeting tonight at dinner time so no cooking. :( And another change to the ever-changing menu plan - oh well, it's just that, a plan.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rockin' It Out

Lately, the boys have been thoroughly enjoying their musical instruments! They have formed a rock band - I'm the shaker (as in bells etc.). They sing, dance, and play their instruments. It's adorable! Patrick is the lead and tells us all what to do. Calvin is the enthusiastic one of the group as he shows us new moves all the time.

I took these pictures a couple of weeks ago - they were not very happy that I was taking hindered my ability to perform with the band. :)

The Furniture Saga

Ugh. That pretty much sums up how we are feeling right now. Our bed was delivered last week and we LOVE it! You may remember that we bought this set but only saw one piece displayed since it was a discontinued set, so everything is a bit of a surprise. :)

Anyway, we've been waiting for at least 12 weeks for our nightstands - 1 drawer with a shelf underneath. We were assured that they would be able to get them for us... Well, the store called yesterday and said they arrived but they were the wrong stain and they couldn't get another set because they aren't making them anymore. He went on to say that the good news was that he has the 3-drawer nightstands that he can deliver right away and even though they are more expensive he will give them to us for the price we paid. (Wow, that was a run-on:)) Sounds nice, right? Not to us, the money wasn't the issue - we wanted the shelf. We both love to read and wanted a place to put the books we are currently reading. We chose the nightstands based on functionality for us. I'm thinking someone needs to strip and re-stain those nightstands.

We have two options, take the nighstands that aren't really what we want but match the set we have or shop around and try to find a close enough match to our set with the design we need. I'm inclined to go with the first because I fairly certain we won't be able to match the stain close enough if we buy something else. I think we have put enough money into a bedroom suite that we hope lasts for years that I don't want to feel disappointed that it doesn't match. I think we will adapt to the 3-drawer and just designate one drawer for our current reading selection.

It's frustrating. We've waited longer than we were told and we were promised products that aren't going to be delivered. Andrew is calling the store today to at least register our unhappiness with this turn of events and maybe work out another arrangement - we'll see. We both find it slightly amusing that the salesman is trying to act like we are getting a good deal, even a better deal by getting the 3 drawer. And it's hard for us to imagine that there are not two nightstands in a cherry finish somewhere in a warehouse - anywhere. Ah, the saga continues...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ear Infection

Yep, it's an ear infection. I didn't even consider that! He hasn't complained about his ear at all and had tubes placed last August - not because of ear infections but because of hearing. Anyway, one of the tubes came out of place but is still in his ear - in the canal instead of the drum. The doctor said his ear looks pretty bad and prescribed antibiotics. I'm definitely hoping that this will kick it and that all the symptoms are related to the infection or inconsequential. His fever is down this morning but we will alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen if it starts rising so high again.

He isn't eating anything, just drinking lots of fluids. We are going to have a low key day and keep him hydrated and resting. Poor baby. I'm glad I took him in - his ear drum probably would have ruptured before I realized it was an ear infection!

We haven't been to the doctor since the boys' 2 year old check-ups in August - right before Calvin's surgery. Most everyone knows us at the doctor's office and they were absolutely amazed at how good he looks and how grown-up he is. I beamed with pride and agreed. We are blessed, so blessed. Which is why I become a mama bear when my kids are sick or hurting, I want to protect them, make them well, make them feel safe and loved...I can't imagine life without them.

*The picture was NOT taken today - he definitely doesn't feel that good. He is cuddled up next to me watching Ratatouille - he didn't get to finish it before the doctor. :)

The Doctor

We are headed to the doctor this morning. We could only keep Calvin's fever down throughout the night by giving him Tylenol every 4 hours - by that time, it had spiked high again. He has added lethargy, coughing, and sneezing to his symptoms. He wanted to watch Ratatouille this morning so he's doing that while I get ready for the doctor. They gave me an appointment in an hour. Andrew will stay home (and work) with Patrick who feels great this morning and is making Calvin crazy! :) I think it's the flu but want to be sure.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Work and Mysterious Illness

I filled in for one of our hygienists whose grandaughter was born today. I enjoyed the day - the patients, having lunch with my husband (we work 2 blocks apart), and visiting with my co-workers (I rarely see some of them these days with my very limited hours). It's been a long time since I worked most of a full day. It was nice but I was glad to see my boys!

I went to pick up the kids who had spent the afternoon at Nana's house and Calvin felt warm. My mom said he had been drinking a lot of water and hadn't taken a very long nap. We took his temp and it was over 103. We stayed a little longer and I took it again and it was over 104! The strange thing was that he was acting completely normal. The other times he has had high fevers, he has been lethargic and flushed but he did not exhibit these or any other symptoms. I brought him home and gave him Tylenol which brought his fever down significantly but did not take it away. He watched a movie (in an attempt to encourage quieter activity) and played, ate dinner, and went to bed. I'm thinking he may have other symptoms tomorrow but hopefully he'll be okay - he is coughing just a little.

Patrick is fine and really, you wouldn't know Calvin is even sick. Sadly, we had to cancel a play date for tomorrow that we were really looking forward to and I'm thinking we will also have to cancel speech therapy but we'll see. There has been so much going around that I'm guessing he just picked up a virus. It's always hard for me to see my kids sick. I wish I could just take it away!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Several days last week didn't go as planned, so several things will be carried over. :)
MONDAY - Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup (Andrew won't be home)
TUESDAY - Spaghetti, Steamed Broccoli, Bread
WEDNESDAY - Chicken Stir-fry, Rice, Egg Rolls
THURSDAY - Fish w/Orange Sauce, Couscous Pilaf, Green Beans
FRIDAY - Pizza, Apples, Pretzels
SATURDAY - Take-out
SUNDAY - French Toast, Bacon, Fruit Salad
This fish is the only new recipes this week...well, I'm planning to make the egg rolls from scratch. We'll see. We enjoyed our at-home Valentine's dinner - Goat cheese flat bread w/balsamic greens, filet mignon, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed asparagus, and heart-shaped caramel machiato cheescake, for our movie snack, we had chocolate covered strawberries and champagne. Nothing low-fat in any of that but it was great! :)
Anyway, check out Laura's site for many more menu plans!

A Meme

Loraena tagged me for this meme late last week and I've been meaning to do it all week; so, I decided that in my decidedly sleepless state, I would work on it. One of our kids has been awake and up off and on for 4 hours now and on top of already having trouble sleeping, I've pretty much given up. It's 3:30 in the morning. I'm frustrated to say the least...mostly I feel frustrated that we are awake. We need rest. Oh well.

1.Were you named after anyone? My middle name is Marie which is also my mom’s middle name – we also shared the same initials until I married. If God chooses to give us a daughter, her middle name will most likely be Marie and her first name start with an ‘A.’
2. When was the last time you cried? I’m not much of a “cryer” but it was probably not too long ago.
3. Do you like your handwriting? It’s okay.
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Smoked Turkey
5. Do you have kids? I have 2! Calvin & Patrick
6. If you were another person would you be friends with you? I hope so. :)
7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? I suppose some…I try not to very much.
8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes.
9. Would you bungee jump? NO!!!
10. What is your favorite cereal? Honey Bunches of Oats or Total
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Usually no.
12. Do you think you are strong? Not particularly.
13. What is your favorite ice cream? Edy’s French Silk or Breyer’s Vanilla Bean.
14. What is the first thing you notice about people? Their smile – what can I say, I’m a hygienist. :)
15. Red or pink? I love both!
16. What is the thing that you like least about yourself? I too easily read into things and pass judgement.
17. Who do you miss the most? This is a hard one – I miss my friends that have moved away but I also really miss the people we met in Kazakhstan.
19. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? I was wearing jeans and black heels - now I'm in pjs.
20. Have you ever re-gifted? Yes.
21. What are you listening to right now? Nothing at the moment.
22. If you were a crayon what colour would you be? I would be pink.
23. Favorite smells? Coffee and fresh-baked cookies.
24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My sister, Liz.
25. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes. We’ve never met in person but have many things in common according to our blogs. :)
26. Favorite sports to watch? Football - mostly the Colts!
30. Favorite food? I’m a foodie so picking a favorite is pretty much impossible. I’m a big fan of chocolate and icecream and Chinese food.
31. Scary movies or happy endings? I’m definitely a happy endings girl!
32. Last movie you watched? Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
33. What color shirt are you wearing? White.
34. Summer or winter? Summer - I would love to live in a warm climate all year long!
35. Hugs or kisses? Definitely hugs with people other than my boys and husband - I'm not a very outwardly affectionate person (except with the aforementioned).
36. Favorite dessert? Cheesecake, Pie or Ice cream.
39. What book are you reading now? Suite Francaise and Poisonwood Bible – I’m enjoying both so far.
40. What is on your mousepad? It’s a map, I think – I mostly use the laptop which doesn’t need a mousepad.
41. What did you watch on TV last night? Nothing. We watched a movie (see above :)).
42. Favorite sound? My kids singing, praying, and laughing.
43. Rolling stones or Beatles? Beatles.
44. What is the furthest you have been from home? Kazakhstan
45. Do you have a special talent? I enjoy cooking, baking, entertaining, and playing the piano – not sure about the special talent part. :)
46. Where were you born? Indianapolis, IN

This is totally weird but several numbers are missing - I'm leaving it as is since I went back several tags and it's been that way. It seriously messes with my sense of order, though :) - I'm slightly OCD. Okay, I tag Jenna, Paula, and Jennifer T.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Party Pictures

We had a wonderful time! I set up four stations: Valentine bag making, coloring, pizza creating, and cookie decorating. The moms pitched in and helped run the different areas. For the kids' lunch, they had heart-shaped pizzas and jello jigglers, grapes, veggies & dip, and alphabet pretzels as well as pink and red cupcakes (strawberry and red velvet).

All of the kids brought Valentines for each other and my boys have loved looking at them and carrying them around. There were 18 kids including the babies. It was a full but happy house. It warms my heart to see the boys enjoying their friends (I think it's adorable they have friends!). Enjoy!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm the happy (and surprised!) recipient of 2 dozen rosebuds from my boys (delivered yesterday) and a gorgeous arrangment from the love of my life (delivered today). They look so pretty - I'm a girly girl, I guess, because I LOVE flowers!

We had such a great time at the party yesterday! It was so fun watching the kids interact and participate in the different activities. I'll post pictures later (or tomorrow). I was so glad that so many of the boys' friends were able to come and I enjoyed visiting with my friends (also known as the moms) :), too.

Today is full, I'm teaching 2 classes, both boys have speech therapy and we have Bible Study tonight. We are taking it easy this morning in preparation for the busyness. :) Oh and our new bed (headboard, footboard etc.) is being delivered today, finally! We are still waiting on the nightstands - it's been 3 months, I think they should give a partial rebate for the wait.

I haven't forgotten about the meme that Loraena tagged me to do or the other things I plan to post, I just haven't had time, yet! Hope you are all enjoying your Valetine's Day! Enjoy plenty of chocolate today! :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Husband, My Hero

It's midnight and I'm not in bed, yet. Hopefully soon. My husband came home and rescued me from my tough day and from my self-pity. Actually, he ran errands for me, picked up one of the kids, and came home ready to do whatever needed done. He is THE BEST!

We will have nearly 30 people (babies, children, moms, and a couple of grandmas) tomorrow for the boys' party which is why today's fiasco was all the more stressful. I've been busily preparing for over a week but it still seems like the day before is crunch time. The boys are looking forward to their Valentine Party, though and I really am, too! I am also looking forward to taking a nap afterwards. :)

Anyway, thanks for all your kind comments and reminders. We are off to catch a few zzz's. I am very thankful to be sleeping some better.

A Good Cry

I'm having one of those days where I just want to crawl under the covers and cry. I spent over 2 hours driving in horrible weather and bad traffic to something only to learn it had been cancelled. It was time I didn't have and I had hesitated to even venture out. I had a message at home telling me that it was cancelled but we were already gone for the day by the time it had been left. Trying to make the best of it, I headed back towards home and stopped at a grocery store only to discover that they no longer carry the main thing I went for which was not only frustrating but has added to my list of things to do. It's been a beyond bad day in the midst of an already full and challenging week. I'm fighting back the tears and hoping the rest of the day will improve.

Monday, February 11, 2008


We have started what is shaping up to be a very hectic week so posting may be sporadic but I'll be back at some point!

I have an exciting new book to buy and review courtesy of a friend. It's a book for foodies or foodie wannabes and it looks great! :) I'm going to check out the bookstore where my sisters work to see if they have a copy.

Some things coming up when I have time to return...a meme, a movie review, and my favorite ingredients or seasonings. I'm also considering a new weekly feature - orginal recipe day. We'll see.

Hope you all had a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dinner at Our House

It's Valentine's Week! Last year, we put the boys to bed and had dinner and a movie at home. It was a wonderful change of tradition and so enjoyable that we are repeating it this year! And though we don't typically make a big deal of this holiday, I decided to have a little Valentine's Party for the boys' friends on Wednesday. We are all looking forward to it! We will decorate cookies, exchange Valentines, and make individual pizzas. It will be a full week with our many commitments, so I've tried to keep the menu simple. I think everything can be to the table in about 30-45 minutes every night (with the exception of the rolls on Friday).

MONDAY - Taco Soup, Tortilla Chips, Applesauce
TUESDAY - Tandori Chickens Tender w/Peanut Dipping Sauce, Steamed Broccoli, Grapes
WEDNESDAY - White Fish w/Orange Sauce, Wild Rice, Green Beans
THURSDAY - Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup
FRIDAY - (Our Valentine's Dinner) Steak, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Asparagus, Homemade Rolls, & Caramel Machiato Cheesecake (I'll probably do a couple of appetizers since we will be eating so late - Honey Fruit & Nut Brie & Goat Cheese Flatbread w/ Balsamic Greens)
SATURDAY - Spaghetti w/meat sauce, Garlic bread, Salad or Out w/Family
SUNDAY - Bagel Egg Sandwiches, Fruit Salad, Oven Fries

Have a wonderful week! Check out for more menu plans.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I'm a Believer!

If you haven't checked out, you should! I've saved nearly $300 at CVS since Jan. 1 on things that our family uses and have paid very little out of pocket. I'm also a convert to coupons - I've probably saved another $200 just by using coupons at the drugstore and grocery store. It's taken me some time to get the routines down and coupons sorted but it is totally worth it and I'm getting much faster! It's been a great way to start the year off and I look forward to saving more. I love that it's frugality that doesn't compromise on quality or products!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Night Plans

My sister and brother in-law are coming over tonight. We are planning a laid back breakfast for supper meal (homemade waffles, eggs, bacon, yogurt w/blueberries, coffee, and juice) - we pretty much love breakfast food. :) After we put the boys down, it will be board game time! The Construction Game and Farming Game are on the agenda which will take us at least 4 hours...totally fun! It's a great way to spend a Friday night!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

My Cuties

I took some pictures of the boys today to have prints (various sizes and wallets) made for Andrew, grandparents, aunts & uncles, and whoever else (just send me a note or leave a comment). :) I'll pick them up later - hope they turned out! One was all smiles and the other was tough to get even a half smile out of - you can decide which was which. Here are a couple of the many we took.
This is a crazy picture but they seemed to be getting along all right. :)

Calvin looks a little hesitant but overall this was one of my favorites - getting both of them to smile is pretty much impossible.

2 Boys & A Dog

Getting the 3 of them to even remotely pose for a picture proved quite challenging. This was the best I could do and this was with bribing all three. :)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Exhaustion has set in. I haven't been sleeping very well this week which is always a sad turn of events - it happens every couple of months and quite frankly, I despise it. I used to be one of those people that fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow, now I lie awake pondering life's great mysteries or simply praying for sleep. It is not helped by the fact that one of my children seems to have some of the same issues and therefore wakes up at least every other night during the night. On particularly bad nights (like last night) he ends up in bed with us. And while he's one of the sweetest little guys during the night and loves to cuddle, rub our faces, and sleep right next to us, it definitely keeps me awake or only lightly sleeping. Thankfully the sleeping with us doesn't happen very often and Andrew definitely does his fair share of getting up with him, too.

So tonight, I'm praying for a good night of rest. I need the refreshment. I need the energy for the remainder of this week. The short naps I've gotten during their naps just aren't cutting it. :)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

No Pictures Lately

I haven't taken any pictures lately - I'll try to remedy that tomorrow. The boys are busy with their cars and train table all the time! :) We were at Target yesterday and I happened upon toddler bed sheets and pillowcases with Mater and Lightening (of Pixar Cars). I had a gift card from Christmas that I decided to use for the adorable sheets that made my children exceedingly happy! They also had clearance Cars shirts - so a couple of those found their way into our cart, too.

They were so excited and could not stop talking about Cars. It's so fun to see them identify the characters. Yes, the obsession end in sight. They have, however, agreed to a few other movies on our occasional movie night. We are thankful for that!

Say what?

Lest the stuffed animals feel left out, you may have to talk to them on the phone if you call Calvin or Patrick. Evidently Tiger, Dog, Elephant, Giraffe, Turtle, and Dinosaur think it's only right. Fairness for all...well, I did draw the line at the blanket talking. :)

The Chances

How is it that I managed to get not one but two bum carts in wally world this morning? What are the odds? I quickly went back and switched out the 1st one and then realized the 2nd one was even worse. It was so bad, that I begged a sales lady to trade me carts back in the craft section. I transferred the boys and our few things out of our cart and moved all of her stuff to the bad cart. I thanked her profusely and went on my way feeling ever so grateful and ever so aware of the benefits of a good shopping cart.

Monday, February 04, 2008

R & R

First, hooray for the GIANTS! I was so pleased (and surprised) that they beat New England! Go Manning brothers! :)

Andrew and I enjoyed our last-minute weekend away. We stayed downtown at the Hyatt (thanks to We had been thinking about a getaway since October and this weekend worked out for my parents to watch the boys - we were so grateful! The boys were able to mostly keep their routine, go to church, etc. and they had been begging Papa to play with the train table.

We enjoyed a relaxing couple of days with no schedule and very little responsibility. We needed it. We rested, talked, shopped, talked, ate, slept, get the idea. :) We found cute clothes for next year for the boys at Children's Place. They were on clearance for 50% off the lowest price and I had a 20% off coupon so pretty inexpensive and great quality clothes! Not much shopping for ourselves really - isn't that the way of it?! :)

We really enjoyed seeing the movie Juno - I'll write more on that another day. We ate lots of great food and I appreciated the cooking break. On Saturday, we took advantage of Auntie Anne's free pretzel day - yum! They were so good!

So, it was a wonderful, refreshing, much-needed weekend away. It was the first time since bringing the boys home (Oct. '06) that we have been away. They did great but I missed them so much! :)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

MPM: 2/4-2/10

Last week, I ended up changing several things as dictated by who was home, leftovers, and what needed to be used. :) We had sloppy joes instead of the black bean soup because I had buns that were in need of eating. And my husband and I are currently enjoying a weekend trip so the kids are eating whatever my parents are feeding them (and I did this menu plan on Friday :)). :) We loved the lentil tomato stew - I garnished it with a little fresh grated Asiago cheese. This week, I'm carrying over a couple of meals and planning a couple of new recipes.

MONDAY: Pizza, Veggies, Apple slices
TUESDAY: Balsamic-Glazed Salmon, Quinoa & Cucumber Salad, Green Beans
WEDNESDAY: Beef & Black Bean Soup, Salad, Biscuits
THURSDAY: Dinner w/friends - I'm bringing dessert. Perhaps this or this or this or maybe my own creation - any ideas?
FRIDAY: Whole Grain Waffles, Fried Eggs, Fruit
SATURDAY: Tandori Chicken Tenders w/Peanut Dipping Sauce, Peas, Yogurt w/blueberries
SUNDAY: Peach Stuffed French Toast Casserole, Bacon, Juice
Evening (take to church pitch-in) - Cookies, Chips & Salsa, Celery w/pb

I think I might also try Mocha-Chip Meringues for a light dessert this week. We don't really do much dessert around here so this will be a treat! I've added several new recipes to my recipe blog - feel free to check them out. And as always, visit Laura's site for more menu plans.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway Winners!

Wow! What an overwhelming response to cookbooks - definitely people after my own heart. :) You can never have enough cookbooks! I wish I could give one to everyone who took the time to sign up and tell their favorite meal! But alas, there are only 3 winners. I used a random number generator to choose the winners.

So without further ado, these 3 ladies will be receiving a cookbook in the mail!
Terra - favorite meal is quesadillas with a side of rice
Ashley - favorite meals :) are Autumn Chowder, mexican food, and indian chicken
Michelle - favorite meal is Divine Italian Pie

Congratulations, Happy Cooking!

I've contacted all 3 winners via e-mail but if for some reason, any of them do not respond within 48 hours, I will draw another winner!

Thanks for joining in the blog fun! And don't be surprised if I contact some of you for recipes! There were some great meal ideas!

Friday, February 01, 2008

What Weather?

Well, the weather did not quite cooperate or rather the meteorologist got it wrong. Sadly, Andrew is headed into work. Oh well. The good part is that I still get to stay home. And I still may make fresh bread and soup - it just sounds yummy. I'm off to enjoy the day with my boys! We'll stay inside due to the previously mentioned runny noses and little bit of coughs. Tonight, we are having dinner with friends at Olive Garden - we are really looking forward to it!