Thursday, January 31, 2008

Changed Plans

How about the weather headed our way?! We actually cancelled our Bible Study due to travel advisories in effect for this evening and tomorrow - we really don't want highschoolers risking life and limb to be here. :) I'm thankful I had already done the cleaning downstairs - it just feels better. Even biology ended up being very low key due to half the class being sick (that means 1:)) - I only had one of the classes scheduled for today. So, today has turned out quite alot different than I planned. I'm kind of glad.

I called my office to see what the plan was for tomorrow only to learn that there are just a few patients scheduled and the other hygienist is willing to come in if the weather allows. I definitely thought that was great news! So, I'm home tomorrow!

This all combined into making my day much easier and tomorrow a pleasant surprise. Here's hoping that everyone will stay safe and enjoy a wonderful snow day at home - warm and relaxed. I think homemade soup and fresh hot bread for lunch will be the perfect meal!

Nap Anyone?

I'm having one of those challenging weeks where every time the boys aren't getting their way, they cry or scream. I don't care for either option, thanks. :) Not to mention they aren't listening and are irritating each other constantly. Someone please tell me this is a phase!!! This is one weary momma. :) They have both had runny noses for a couple of weeks - no fever and not many other symptoms but I'm sure it's effecting their attitude; it MUST be. This is fairly uncharacteristic - at least the all day long, they are 2 so... And all that is not to say we don't have bright spots - it just feels a little Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde. :)

In other news, one closet has been completely re-organized and is now much more effective storage. Our friends returned home from China last night with a beautiful little girl! We are looking forward to meeting her but know they need some time to recover! We haven't gotten on an airplane since coming home well over a year ago...:) And on an unrelated note, I'm on the downward swing of teaching homeschool biology. This is my final year. I will not teach again for a long time. I enjoy the kids (just 2 in each class this year - I seriously limited it!) and I love the material but it takes a lot of time to prepare and then there's the weekly time commitment. May 1, I'll be done!

All in all, I'm ready for a nap and it's only 8:40 and diet coke will have to suffice. I still have biology to prepare and teach, speech therapy for one, and Bible Study tonight - all here. I better get cleaning!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

U2 Date Night

Saturday night, my husband surprised me with tickets to U2 3-D at our local Imax. It had gotten great reviews from various sources and was a bit cheaper than a concert ticket. :) It was crazy! It was not as loud as a concert but it made you feel like you were kind of there and it was so fun seeing the performance and band up close. The music was, of course, wonderful with the exception of a couple of songs that were strange renditions of classics and a couple of songs that should have been included. :) And Bono's theology is way off as he essentially equates Jews, Jesus, and Muhammed but if you can get past that, it was an interesting and exciting experience! We had a blast!

U2 is one of my all time favorite bands! I love Joshua Tree and The Best of the 90s cds the most. I have dreamed of seeing them in concert but have never had the opportunity - maybe some day. This experience totally made me want to go to a concert and I definitely want to be in the mosh pit! I think their music is awesome and I appreciate the humanitarian work that Bono is involved in.

We finished our evening at P.F. Chang's - a restaurant that I love but usually forget about. :) It was so delicious and was a great way to end our date. If you are looking for something different and you are a U2 fan - go check it out!

Tag - You're It!

I was tagged by Karen and Paula to post 7 things about myself so I thought I better join in the fun. :) (Their blogs are both private so I won't link to them.)

The rules are to link the person who sent this to you and leave a comment on their blog so their readers can visit yours. Post the rules on your blog. Share 7 strange/weird facts about yourself. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, linking their blog. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1) I am deathly afraid of snakes - even plastic or rubber ones.
2) I said I would never be a dental hygienist and then applied for the program a mere 3-4 years later and have now been practicing for nearly 7 years. :)
3) I have a dream of going to culinary school and opening a small restaurant.
4) My husband and I started dating in June '01, got engaged in Nov., married in March '02 and moved to Florida in Aug.

5) I'm dreading turning 30 next year but told my husband I want a huge birthday party and Lasik. :)
6) I think chocolate should have it's own food group and be featured on the food pyramid with recommended daily servings.
7) I have plans to invent something so we can retire at 40 (well, 44 for my husband :))...I have no idea what. :)

I'm going to cheat a little and tag whoever wants to participate and share about themselves!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway!

**This Giveaway is now closed - thanks for entering! I will post the winners tomorrow!**
**UPDATED: When/if 300 entries are reached, I will add a 3rd winner who will also receive a cookbook!**

Hey Everyone! It's another bloggy giveaway week over at Rocks in My Dryer's Giveaway site! I had so much fun participating in October that I decided to give something away again!

I like to give something away that reflects what I enjoy and I love to cook, bake, and develop recipes. So...I had such a great response from giving away cookbooks last time that I will again be giving away cookbooks (exact ones yet to be determined). The giveaway will close Friday night and I will randomly draw 2 winners on Saturday, February 2 and notify the winners by e-mail as well as posting them here on the blog. I am going to limit this to U.S. or Canada due to shipping costs - if you live internationally and would like me to send it to someone here in the states or Canada, I am happy to do that.

To enter, please leave a comment telling me your favorite meal and make sure I have a way to contact you! Only one entry per person. Have fun!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Our Week in Meals...

Just wanted to give a brief report on the fish from last week - EXCELLENT! We loved it and I will definitely use the recipe again; it was very easy. The couscous was very good also - I made it into a pilaf with carrots and peas. The boys thought it was awesome!

One of my friends wrote a post about soup last week and I decided that we should have soup a couple of times this week. It's been cold and it's such a comforting food!

MONDAY: Lentil Tomato Soup, Salad, Bread
TUESDAY: Quesadillas, Chips & Salsa, Yogurt
WEDNESDAY: Whole Grain Waffles, Bacon, Fruit
THURSDAY: Beef & Black Bean Soup, Salad, Biscuits
FRIDAY: Out w/friends
SATURDAY: Pizza, Veggies, Jello Jigglers
SUNDAY: Leftovers

Andrew will have a busy week, so I'm keeping the menu simple. The two soups are new recipes for the week and both are done in the crockpot - my favorite! I'll put the bread in the bread machine for Monday. Saturday night will be a movie night - we haven't had one for awhile and with the busy week, we will be ready to relax as a family. Hope you have a wonderful week of cooking! And ss always, feel free to ask questions, leave suggestions, or tell what you are having this week! Check out for more menu plans.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I made some new cookies yesterday and was so pleased with how they turned out that I had to share. I wanted to use oatmeal, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips. So, I looked up an oatmeal cookie recipe and adapted it for my ingredients and then glazed the finished cookie with a cinnamon vanilla glaze. They were crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside - my favorite. Everyone at this house loved them!

I've not experimented very much with baking - mostly because I have not studied the science behind it enough to know what's required to make a recipe work. It's an area that I'd like to explore more. And I'm an awful food photographer (which is why you will almost never see pictures of what I make), so please pardon the glare. I'd like to improve...

I'm adding this recipe to my recipe blog here. It's definitely one I'll make again and perhaps experiment with less sugar etc. What's happening in your kitchen - any recent kitchen successes (new recipe, experiment, or just a great meal)? I truly love hearing about what other people are making!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bittersweet Change



The boys are so pleased with the change. They are so excited to go to bed in their new car beds and Patrick asks daily if he can sleep there. :) It was hard for me to see the cribs come down because it means I have to really face the fact that they are growing up but it's been great! I love to see them so independent and pleased. They have been excellent about not getting up and they are even learning to make their beds. So that's the big change around here. :)

Plane Ride

Calvin decided to take his teddy bear on a short flight today and was even teaching the bear how to be a pilot. He was very careful and they had a safe landing back at home. :)

Patrick thought it looked like so much fun that he decided to follow his big brother's example.

It was entirely too much fun!

Patrick wanted to make sure his bear had his own photo shoot.

New Beds

This is how the boys feel about their new beds...

...yep, they LOVE them!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kid Stuff

So potty training is going very well with one child and started even better with the other but he has since become very lazy and won't tell me; he also denies that he needs to go or that he has already gone in his pants. It's a little frustrating. I was going to try a recommended potty training method originally but since we were making such good progress, I thought we would give this a try. I may change my mind. :) Even with the frustration, they are not having very many accidents (even when we are out) but that's mostly because I keep reminding them to go - well, one of them has started telling me more.

They do use going potty as an excuse to get up from naps & bed, get out of time out, or leave church - I'm sure this is all common. We have not had any #2 accidents for which I am VERY grateful. Anyway, that's a potty training update. We have good days and bad days. I think I'll keep perserving with both though I'm tempted to give up on one child and try again in a month or so. We'll see. I think I need to have more rewards. :)

Lately, the boys have been loving dried fruits and nuts (especially raisins, cashews, & banana chips). It makes an easy and healthy snack! I usually buy them in bulk once or twice a year, so we always have them around. They also discovered that they love tomato soup - this is probably the 3rd or 4th time they have tried it but the first that they liked it and asked for seconds. Yay! Even though fries and cheese are requested at every meal, I'm thankful they are willing to try new things - it makes meal time so much easier. Oh and we do not eat fries and cheese at every meal. :)

I'm trying to do more crafts and coloring with them which they think is fun! They used markers and glue sticks today (not together) and thought they had arrived. They are doing lots of puzzles and I'm amazed at Calvin's ability to put them together - he will do them for 30 minutes at a time. Patrick has been demonstrating his counting skills though not always in the right order. :) 1,2,3 and 8,9, 10 are his favorite numbers. And both are quite interested in letters - we talk about them a lot!

Sometimes I find having 2 the same age a challenge. It's hard to keep them both interested in something or out of mischief or whatever. But it is also so much fun to watch them learn from each other and be challenged. I'm so glad they have each other and I can't imagine our lives without them!

Monday, January 21, 2008

MPM: Calling All Fish Recipes :)

Here's my plan for this week. We missed one meal last week that I was really looking forward to it's back on the list for Thursday. I'm always working towards healthier eating so I'm trying to incorporate fish at least once a week (any good recipe recommendations?), vegetarian at least once a week, and lots of veggies and fruit.

MONDAY - Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup, Carrot Sticks, Yogurt (just the kids and me)
TUESDAY - Balsmaic-Glazed Salmon, Couscous, Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower
WEDNESDAY - Southfork Chili, Cornbread, Mixed Green Salad w/vinaigrette
THURSDAY - Slow Cooker Italian Chicken, Green Beans w/olive oil & garlic, Fruit
FRIDAY - Spaghetti & Meatballs, Homemade Breadsticks, Mixed Green Salad
SATURDAY - Pizza, Veggies, Fruit Slices
SUNDAY - Eggs, Bacon, Yogurt (this may change)
Check out Laura's site for more menu plans. Have a great week and seriously, please share your fish secrets and best recipes!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Blogging with a Purpose

My blog friend, Barbie, very kindly awarded me the blogging with a purpose award. I have loved reading Barbie's blog since the moment I discovered it. We share a faith, both are adoptive moms and both have sons with clefts. She amazes me with her ability to manage her family of 7 and her wonderful photography skills. Her heart for the Lord is evident through her writing and life. So thanks, Barbie! I'm passing this on to 5 others that I have appreciated as they have blogged with a purpose.

Monica, of Shineagain, has been a wonderful friend over the years and I love reading her blog. She shares her life through anecdotes, scripture, and pictures and it is so fun to read. She has challenged me in my personal walk with the Lord and I consider her one of my mentors. She has 7 children and she is a wife, mother, homemaker, teacher, and nurse.

Stephanie, of Facts, Facets, Fancies, & Fairytales, is not only my sister but one my best friends. She is new to blogger world and I'm so glad she joined! She is a writer and her blog is one of her creative outlets for her writing. She is witty and writes stories, shares from her life, and notices things that many of us would miss.

Heather, of Blackberry Rambles, is a creative and artistic foodie. We share many interests that range from cooking to reading. Her blog is a refreshing read as she shares her recipes, food photos, cute kids, and artistic ventures. Her joy and peace amidst trials have been a challenge to me.

Amy, of Kevin & Amy's World, isn't afraid to address topics head-on and intermixes them with stories and pictures of her adorable daughters. She looks at issues in an intelligent and thoughtful way. And she has challenged me in my thinking!

Jenna, of The World of Jenna, is a first year theater professor. We used to work together at a living history museum and became reaquainted through blogging which is a very happy thing since we now live hundreds of miles apart! I love reading about her teaching, costuming, cute pets, and life. She is passionate about theater and gives her all to her students.

Award Rules (as passed on to me :)):

1. Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.
2. The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.
3. In their post about the award they need to link back to this original post.
4. Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site. The banner must remain linked to this site, Eric.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Today marks 2 years since the beginning of this blog. It has certainly evolved over the past two years. Andrew and I started it together and both contributed quite a bit in the beginning but with his busy schedule, it increasingly became *my* blog. He still has plans to start his own which will most likely focus on the environment and law. And he is, of course, welcome to chime in here at any time which is why he is still listed as a contributor - he is however, slightly intimidated by the direction the blog has taken. :) But he tells me that he is happy that I write.

The past two years have been full of change for us as we excitedly welcomed our two sons into the family, I went to very part-time work, and Andrew adjusted to a job with a law firm (leaving the very nice government hours behind). They have all been good and welcome changes. And they have been at least somewhat chronicled here and on the boys' blog.

This blog has been a sort of journal for me. Certainly I don't share my deepest thoughts like a "dear diary", but it has been a place for me to write the happenings of our life. I have watched myself on a bit of a journey of self-discovery. My posts have changed some and I've realized that I care passionately about things that I didn't know I did. Strange but true. It has been an interesting and helpful journey and I'm sure it will continue.

We started the boys' blog to specifically record their "birth" into our family. And we wanted to share our journey with others. We plan to eventually have it published in book form for them - complete with pictures. It is truly their story. They bring us so much joy and delight and I enjoy keeping it updated with pictures and anecdotes; it is definitely a journal. And I love being a mom!

One of the things I've really enjoyed about the above job changes has been increased time to devote to cooking and baking and menu planning. We are all happy about that! And from that love came my recipe blog. I've used it as a bit of a recipe "box" by posting some of my favorite recipes and I've also used it as a place to write and develop my own recipes.

And then I began an adoption blog - just to record my thoughts regarding adoption. It is the one I have spent the least time at - it hasn't even been upated since October. I do hope to write more there one of these days. I started it because I didn't want this blog to turn into a single focus blog and I was feeling compelled to write more on that topic. While I will still write about adoption here, it is just one of many things.

So you see, blogging has become a hugely creative outlet for me and it's a bit addictive (I have 4 blogs, afterall). And I've met amazing people here and renewed and deepened existing friendships. You may wonder how I find time to blog with two active boys - I do it while they play together, while they nap, or at night. Sometimes I write a few posts and then publish them when I'm ready. I enjoy it. And I hope my children will enjoy it some day, too.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Blog! Hope we celebrate many more! And thanks to all of you who take the time to read the rambling writings of a SAHM who loves the Lord, her husband, her boys, her family, her dog, adoption, cooking, baking, Costco, the environment, organization, Starbucks, fantasty football (which, by the way, I made it to the Superbowl this year!), and many other things...thanks for bearing with me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Teachable Moments

Hear my son, your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching; indeed they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.
Proverbs 1:8-9
I read this passage yesterday and was reminded and challenged. What an awesome responsibility we have as parents and for me, specifically, as a mom. I spend all day with our children and have such an opportunity to continually instill in them the truth of God's Word. It is truth that will last and I pray that it will have a lasting impact on our boys.

I'm reminded that I need to view each time of discipline as an opportunity to further train my children in righteousness. And to seize each teachable moment and use it for God's glory. This is the joyous and sometimes difficult calling God has given me as a mother. I'm humbled by such a serious responsibility.

It has been such a delight this year to hear our boys begin to form their own prayers and to learn the Psalms & songs we sing together as a family. My desire is that we continually build on that foundation. I love to see them excited to worship the Lord and joyjully joining in the congregational singing and prayers at church. It is truly the most rewarding part of being a mom. It's easy to focus on the areas that need improvement and miss the ways that Calvin & Patrick are growing and maturing.

I'm thankful for my parents' faithful instruction and correction during my growing up years. As we raise our children, I pray that we will glorify and honor God and I pray that my children will walk with the Lord all the days of their life.
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Coupon Organizing

Since I asked for ideas last week, I thought I would update with how I have organized my coupons. But first, both Heather and Monica sent me a link for Thrifty Florida Mom and I wanted to pass that on to you. She has coupon organizing tips - it's a little advanced for me but she has great ideas. Maybe one day...

Anyway, I already had one of the 2 in. coupon organizers but it wasn't working very well for me. I decided to try it again but this time, I put envelopes in (sm. letter sz.). Each envelope is labeled with what type of coupons are in it - for instance, dairy, cleaning supplies, medicines etc. If there are a few different types in one, then I labeled more than one on the outside. It helped me to break it down into much smaller categories. I will be buying one more coupon organizer and then I will put all the non-food coupons in one organizer and all the food coupons in the other. I will keep both with me when I shop.

At the front of the organizer, I put envelopes labeled by store (CVS, Meijer, Target etc.). I put the coupons that I plan to use at that store in the labeled envelope and if I add any coupons while shopping, I also stick them in there. It helps to keep them organized and ready to use - then I'm not holding them all at the end (which I've done).

It was so much easier searching for coupons for a few deals that I happened upon while shopping the other day. I just pulled the corresponding envelope out and looked for what I needed. I'm happy to report that I saved almost $10 at Meijer with just coupons on a fairly small trip last week not to mention the other $32 from the specials. It was worth it for me! I'm going to persevere for now and give it at least 3 months and then re-evaluate my system. Thanks again for all your tips!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Battle

I've been feeling a little frustrated lately with my seeming inability to keep things organized. I LOVE having a place for everything and having a neat, tidy, organized home. Somehow, I can never achieve it all at once. I have some theories... :)

Since Christmas, I've been struggling to regain some sense of order and I desperately need it! So Saturday I spent time putting things back in order in the pantry/laundry room - it looks much better again but it seems only a matter of time before it will be a mess again (it doesn't help that we usually come in that way when we get home). Today, I've spent time tidying (I'm glad to use that word!) our bedroom and thoroughly cleaning and organizing the boys' room - I'm not quite finished but getting there.

I started the boys' room right before we had the flu and haven't been able to get back to it - it involved cleaning out the closet, sorting clothes and toys, packing things up, and general pick-up. The cribs and changing table are coming down which is a little sad. They haven't tried to get out of their cribs (which is why we haven't done this sooner) and we really like the fact they can't get out, but they are ready for big beds. We have matching blue race car toddler beds which I scored at a garage sale this summer for $10 apiece. Any little boy's dream - they will be excited, let's just hope they sleep!

Do any of you feel frustrated with the constant organizing? It seems that as soon as I feel fairly organized, a birthday or Christmas or a new season comes and brings lots more "stuff" to find a place for - don't get me wrong, we are certainly grateful for these things. And I do get rid of things; I have toys, clothes, and other things that we take to Goodwill or have the VA pick up regularly. It's just a constant battle and sometimes I'm winning and sometimes I'm losing. Right now, I'm losing - it feels better when I'm winning. Maybe by the end of the week?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

MPM: 1/14-1/20

Well, it's time again to decide what's for dinner this week. We did pretty well last week but I didn't get all the new recipes made - oh well.

MONDAY - Oven Stew, Mixed Green Salad w/apples and walnuts & balsamic vinaigrette
TUESDAY - Other Plans
WEDNESDAY - Grilled Steaks (we didn't do this last week), Brussel Sprouts, Mashed Potatoes, Fruit Salad
THURSDAY- Slow Cooker Italian Style Chicken, Steamed Cauliflower & Broccoli, Fruit
FRIDAY - Curried Turkey Burgers, Oven Fries, Firecracker Slaw, Blueberry & Yogurt Parfaits
SATURDAY - Pizza, Apple Slices, Carrots & Celery, Chips
SUNDAY - Egg Casserole w/bacon, Bagels, Fruit Salad

This week, Thursday and Friday are new recipes - I'm especially excited to try the turkey burgers! Check out for more menu plans!

Friday, January 11, 2008

An Obsession

Lately, there has been a major obsession at our house. It is at the forefront of pretty much everything. It has invaded our lives and even turned us in to crazy parents. What, you ask, could possibly hold such sway? One word: Cars. Yes, that adorable Pixar movie has taken over our lives. From books, to dvd covers and inserts, to toys, to conversations, to pull-ups, to sippy cups...not to mention the movie; it's everywhere and the boys love it!
The movie is cute but I spent the day after Christmas searching for a Mater truck - unsuccessfully I might add. You see, Calvin received Mater and Patrick received Sally and well, Patrick was distraught and could not understand why he couldn't have Mater. We tried to explain but he just couldn't get it - thus the trip to the store. It wasn't that he didn't like Sally, it's just that he really, really, really likes Mater. I finally settled on Fred, the rusty car and he was satisfied. Thank goodness! One crazy parent search over after at least 3 stores.

Possibly Overheard at all hours of the day and night: Which one do you like? Whoa, look at that! (for the 112th time!) :) Mater! Doc! Lightening!

I suppose I should just be grateful that it's a cute and appropriate film. And I will admit, it is adorable to hear them talk about it and to see them identifying the different characters. But movie nights are getting a little, um, dull. I mean how many more times will we watch it?! We tried buying them a couple of new movies for Christmas but even that hasn't worked.

The beauty of it all, is that they laugh, point, and exclaim at the movie every time they see it as if it's the first time. So...I guess I can handle a few more Cars movie nights in order to allow my children the full enjoyment of their favorite characters in the whole world!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Thinking he is hot stuff in this big machine - totally in control.

Being a tease - he loves to laugh and joke with us! This picture pretty much sums it up!

Adoption & #3

Several people have asked about our next adoption since I've mentioned it a couple of times lately :) - we are in the research stage right now. We haven't signed with an agency and haven't decided on domestic or international adoption; we just know that we would like to start the process again this year and we may or may not say when these things are underway. We expect that it could take 1-2 years. We are so excited to see God's direction and to begin anticipating another little miracle! We have been so incredibly blessed by our sons and we know they will make great big brothers when the time is right.

As you can imagine (and know if you've known us very long), adoption is a passion for us. Andrew will be on the board of a local organization this year that not only facilitates adoptions but is also consciously seeking to encourage families who might not otherwise consider adoption to do so. We hope and pray that many children will find their forever home and family this year. We also pray that waiting families will soon be united with their children. And we pray that God will bring more adoptive families forward (of all sizes), who are willing to open their hearts and lives to children needing loving families. Adoption is such a blessing to these children – and to their future families! Adoption is not just for "people like us" who do not have biological children - it's so much more.

So that's the news from our family. God is good and has provided for our family in amazing ways to allow us to even begin the process again! We are so grateful!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Being his usual self - he is quite the ham and keeps us constantly laughing!
Sleeping with his Tiger looking on - I especially love the way his arms are above his head.

Pajama Day Misc.

I have officially declared this Pajama Day. This is the first day in a long time that no one is coming and we don't have to go anywhere. So, the kids are going to stay in their pjs - they LOVE them anyway.

The Christmas decorations are mostly down and the used-to-be-live tree is out. We are changing the storage system for all of the Christmas "stuff" so that will be a big (but very helpful) task. I think we will tackle it on Saturday.

Thank you for all the coupon tips etc. I think I'm going to combine a couple of the ideas and see if I can get them in to a useable and practical system.

I started pilates yesterday (just dvds at home) and I can really feel it today - it's been a long time since I've done it! I'm hoping to use my excercise ball in addition to the pilates and work at being more in shape this year. :) I had thoughts of running the mini but couldn't convince anyone that lives nearby to train with me and knew I wouldn't do it by myself. So, this is my alternate plan for the year.

Hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Cautiously Optimistic

So, I haven't really written much about potty training. It really should be resolution #10 - have my kids potty trained by Jan. 1, 2009. :) We've been working on it slowly and today I decided we would just *try* big boy underpants. I also decided that if it didn't go well, I wasn't going to be upset or disappointed, I was instead going to finish training the boys separately at another time.

Well, we had an accident free morning. Patrick was great about telling me and Calvin went when I told him to. :) I put them both down for naps about 15 minutes ago (in diapers) and they were a little sad to not wear their cool car and Thomas big boy pants. They both have speech therapy this afternoon so we will probably leave the diaper on so they can focus - not to mention that I let them run around in just their underwear and shirt this morning which probably wouldn't be such a great idea for company.

My main motivation for starting today is that I really, really don't want to buy another box of diapers and we are starting to get low and I'm stopping at Costco later. :) So, with the successful experiment, I will buy pull-ups instead of diapers- yay! I suppose it's a little premature to say we won't still need some diapers and I may be writing tomorrow or Thursday or next week or next month and admit that we have indeed regressed, but for now, I'm going to be optimistic!

I think they are ready - they have been going potty for months now. And I'm trying to be ready to locate every public restroom in the city and I'm increasing my supply of santizing wipes, gel, toilet seat covers, etc. :) Yeah, I might be a little paranoid. :)

**UPDATE: 1 accident each today by the time it was bedtime. Not too bad for a first day. We'll see how it goes tomorrow!**


Okay, I've had several friends (Catherine, Monica, and Amy) who have written about the awesome deals they have been able to get at CVS. So now it's my turn. :) I've been so impressed with their savings and I've been wanting to give it a real try - I did a little over Christmas and did well but I was also buying stocking stuffers etc.

Anyway, today was the day. I poured over the ad, moneysavingmom, and my coupons and came up with a general plan. And for the most part, it worked! I realized afterwards that I probably could have saved a little more and if I had done it in more than one transactions, I could have also done better but there were a lot of people and I was too tired to break it up. :)

The really great thing was that the L'Oreal products that were B1G1 had some in each category that had 75% off stickers and there were no exclusions posted. So, I was able to get them B1G1 (the clerk did go check the signs but he was super nice about it :)) and use coupons which made them free. Yay! I came home with 2 mascaras, 2 lipsticks, and 2 foundation/powders.

According to my receipt, I saved $103.48, I spent $17.65 out of pocket, I received $13.50 in ECBs and 3 extra care coupons. Yep, I'm on a high. :) I'm really happy that they are all things we will use! And that the total included at least one thing that wasn't on sale, no ECBs, etc. and a few other things that we just needed. I'm sold. It may not be a weekly visit but I'll definitely be going back!

Oh, and the sales clerk was impressed at the 8 printouts. :)

Monday, January 07, 2008


My brother popped the question and she said, "yes!" I'm so happy for them and so happy to have Ashley as part of the family. Best wishes guys!

This picture was taken last year at my sister's wedding.

Thank You

Last week, I received the first spontaneous, "thank you." It thrilled my heart since we have been working on manners for quite awhile and it has been a bit discouraging. The spontaneous 'thank yous' have continued and I feel there is hope for well-behaved, mannerly children...well, at least one. :) I leave you to guess which one. :)

Resoution #9... save my family more money by using coupons, CVS, and smarter shopping skills. We will be working harder at sticking to our budget. Money Saving Mom has really helped me to get a handle on how CVS works and ways to think through deals to get the best deal possible. I'm definitely not a pro and I'm still not planning on running to 3 different grocery stores a week (I simply don't have the time or energy) BUT I know I can do better.

Any suggestions for organizing coupons? This is one of my biggest problems. I've read a few ideas but they aren't realistic for me - I don't have a box full. :) I need a practical way to organize them so I know what I have and can use them effectively. It takes me forever to sort them and prepare for a shopping trip and then if I find a deal that I think I also have a coupon for...well, don't even get me started on how long it would take me to sort so it just doesn't happen.

We have vacation, conference, and preparing for a 3rd child (we haven't started the process yet, but hope to) among other things we hope for our family this year and this is one way I think I can help us increase our savings. So, all ideas are welcome for helping me save! I'm not so new to bargain shopping but I'm pretty new to food savings (at least consistent food savings). :) One of my other reasons for wanting to save is that we like good quality, some gourmet ingredients/food and I would still like to buy them; so, I especially want to cut back on the expenses of things that don't matter. Well anyway if you made it through that rambling post - congatulations. :)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

MPM: 1/6-1/13

Last week, our menu plan was just that - a plan. Instead we spent the week sick - the whole week. Not a single meal happened as planned. That's life. I'm optimistic that this week will be better. :) I have yet to go shopping - another thing that did not happen last week. But hopefully that will occur tomorrow. Anyway, here is the plan:

Monday: Baked Fish w/Pesto Presto Cilantro, Firecracker Slaw, Fruity Yogurt
Tuesday: Italian Oven Chicken, Baked Potato, Steamed Veggies (broccoli, peapods, & cauliflower), Orange & Apple fruit salad
Wednesday: Omelets w/Cucumber Cilantro Salsa, Steamed Asparagus, Fruit Salad
Thursday: Grilled Steak topped w/Garlicky Greens w/Ginger & Lemon, Salad w/Pears & Apples
Friday: Pan-Fried Fish w/Lime, Garlic, and Kale, Steamed Cauliflower, Apple & Celery Salad
Saturday: Orange Rosemary Chicken, Brussels Sprouts La’Orange, Cooked Beets, Mixed Green Salad w/vinagrette
Sunday: Scrambled Eggs, Turkey Sausage, Fruity Yogurt

For more menu plans, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie. And as always, feel free to check out my recipe blog, ask questions, give ideas, or whatever else... :)

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Just when I thought we were in the clear...I came down with the worst flu known to man. Okay, maybe that is a slight exaggeration but I think it might be the worst I've ever had. Evidently we've had two different types of flu at our house and this is what Andrew had on New Year's Day. Yuck. I'll pass on ever having it again - 5 hours of agony and then a fever all day today. I feel better but not well and still have the fever and headache. My husband is a dear and has been playing mommy and daddy and nurse today.

Calvin was adorable, he came in this evening and I reached over and covered his hand with mine and he kissed it - awww. :) Patrick said, 'Hi' and wanted to show me his mad keyboard skills. :) They both wanted me to read them some books and I obliged. Calvin blew me kisses on the way to bed. What sweeties - I've missed them today!

I'm praying we are done being sick for awhile. Then I can be on to more interesting blog subjects and maybe I can get the rest of my Christmas decorations down and my house cleaned...

I'm off but thanks for all of your kind comments about our room. I've seen alot more of it than I expected this week - I'm so glad it's done!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Reveal Details

Hope you are able to view the pictures of this major project below! We are thrilled with the results. Our goal was a place of peaceful retreat and we chose the colors based on what we liked and based on our year in Florida - we love the colors of the ocean and beach.

We are still waiting for our bed side tables (and then new lamps), our headboard and footboard, and one wall hanging (over the white chairs and bookcase). The furniture is supposed to arrive in the next couple of weeks - I can't wait! Oh and don't mind the box spring showing - we have a dust ruffle but can't put it on until the bed comes. :)

The bathroom and closet are close to being completed but we have had the flu this week and it seriously impeded our progress. :)

This room has to be my favorite that we've decorated. It was so fun watching our (well probably mostly mine but Andrew approved!) design ideas become reality and to create a space that is exactly what we wanted. It's a room that the whole family enjoys relaxing in - we've especially noticed that since we've been sick this week. :) Enjoy the brief tour of our newly found master retreat.

The Reveal

New Year's Resolutions

I don't usually make resolutions but this year, I decided that perhaps making them and then posting them would help keep me accountable (some are just ongoing things in my life):

1) Spend daily time in the Word (go through at least 4 Bible Study books).
2) Read 30 books (nothing compared to Catherine's 116 books in 2007!!!).
3) Excercise at least 2-3x/week.
4) Continue weekly menu planning and average at least 1 new recipe/week.
5) Start work on a family cookbook.
6) Get Kaz adoption pictures printed, organized, and in a scrapbook.
7) Start life books for Calvin & Patrick.
8) Learn to knit semi-proficiently.

Some things I'm hoping for in 2008:

1) Starting the adoption process for our 3rd little blessing.
2) Losing some weight (hopefully the exercise and menu planning will help!)
3) Increased organization!
4) A weekend (or two or three) away with Andrew.
5) A family vacation to a beachy place.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Christmas in Pictures

Christmas at the Zoo

Sheer delight at seeing all the trains!!!!
Totally the best part for the boys. :)

Wearing Mommy's hat. :)

Not a great picture but oh well.

Our New Year's Eve

Well, I had big plans for finishing some organizing and cleaning on this, the last day Andrew is home. But at 4:30a.m. I woke up to Andrew coming back to bed after being very sick. So needless to say, our day is not going as planned. Oh well, the boys and I have enjoyed putting together puzzzles and reading books - now they are playing with their cars on the floor of our room - Andrew is sleeping in the guest room at the other end of the upstairs. :)

We had a small, fun New Year's Eve party (at least until Andrew came down with the flu). We had 2 of my sisters and 1 of my brothers and their significant others. We played Trivial Pursuit, Dutch Blitz, & Play Station (for the guys), ate too much food, and watched the ball drop (poor Dick Clark - that was pretty bad).

I did all of the food. For those of you interested, here's the menu I came up with while standing in the store yesterday afternoon :): cocktail shrimp (they were buy 1 bag get 2 free!), queso, guacomole (well, Liz actually made this when she got to my house :)), and salsa with tortilla chips, bacon wrapped beef smokies, and honey fruit and nut brie w/crackers and bread cubes. I made chocolate fondue (I actually used white and dark swirled chips which made it not quite so rich) for our sweet and served it with angel food cake cubes, shortbread cookies, brownie bites, and strawberries.

We ususally do a bigger party but we have been so busy that I just wasn't up for it and this was the perfect way to ring in the new year. Who knows, it might even become a tradtition!

Christmas Highlights

Here are a few pictures from our Christmas...for more, check out the boys' blog.

The boys received cowboy hats and horses from G & G Falk - they were so excited! I have yet to get a good picture of them together with their hats & horses.
Opening Stockings - Lots of Surprises!
The biggest surprise was actually in the bottom of my stocking - rubies and white sapphires to design a ring with a fabulous jeweler here in town! So much for keeping it a small Christmas! Andrew and I were only exchanging stockings - I think he broke the rules even though it fit inside the stocking. :) I guess I'll let it slide. :) It's my Christmas and anniversary gift and I am super excited!

The boys still love Gerber puffs and we don't buy them anymore so these were a welcome treat!

The train table - they couldn't believe it was theirs! Very cute! They got busy playing right away and were thrilled to unwrap Thomas and Percy.

The sweet package from my boys to me with help from Daddy.

Experiencing the "magic" of Christmas together at my parents.