Sunday, February 28, 2010

Are you ready for March?





I am certainly ready to usher out February 2010. Thank goodness it's not a leap year. I am not sure if I could take one more February day this year. Hopefully March will prove to be the 'lucky' month the leprechauns speaks about.




Update on the church retreat. It ended up not being so bad: Mass was shorter than normal (good thing with 30 + kids in attendance), we were seated with one of LM's very good friends and her family, the activities were pretty interactive and LM was one of the first to get to go to confession so we were out of there by 2. She did her confession 'face to face' which she thought was neat. Whatever makes her want to go again, I say. She did ask tonight why she had to go to CCD tomorrow since she was at church yesterday for 'like 7 hours'.


My husband is in a bit of a funk since the USA hockey team only won a silver medal today @ the Olympics. My take on it is that silver is pretty darn good. Second best in the world?


I'll take that..

Friday, February 26, 2010

'You've worked so hard'...

Tomorrow LM has her first reconciliation (confession) at church. We are to arrive at 7:45 to sign in then go to mass at 8:30. After mass there is a 'family retreat' until about 1, then confessions begin at 1:30. LM is having a fit about it. So is my husband for that matter.

I said to her this morning, 'you have worked so hard to get to this point' (in her CCD classes). And she says ' I've worked so hard just to get up and go to church at 7 in the morning on a Saturday!'

My husband is whining about having to go to church for 5 hours. I have tried to explain to him that mass is only an hour & the rest of the time will be spent at the retreat and might possibly be interesting. 'I didn't have to do this when I had my first reconciliation.'

Oh boy. And I thought I only had one child.

Don't think I haven't considered hopping in the car this afternoon, heading to Vegas and letting LM and her dad figure it out.

Wonder what they would do...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ultimate Recipe Swap...





Lunch. Making lunches exciting is always a challenge. One thing that thrills LM is homemade mac and cheese in a thermos.


Here's my recipe. You can adjust the amounts of cheese to your taste. It's really a very forgiving recipe. Same with the noodles - we like the elbow noodles but you could use anything (this makes it a frugal recipe too since you can just use what's in your pantry.)


1 box whole wheat elbow macaroni

1 lb (or so) sharp cheddar cheese,shredded

1/4 cup of milk

10 ritz crackers, crushed

pepper, to taste

paprika, to taste


Boil macaroni until it's al dente (since you will be putting it in the oven it doesn't have to be boiled more). Rinse macaroni. Using a 9" square baker: put a layer of macaroni on the bottom of the pan, pour about a third of the milk over the macaroni, sprinkle with cheese. Repeat this twice. Top the mac 'n cheese with the crushed ritz, pepper & paprika (mix those together).


Bake @ 350 degrees for about 30 min or until cheese is bubbly.


If you don't have ritz crackers, I have used goldfish & cheezits in the past. Like I said it's a very forgiving recipe and always tastes good.


I usually make this for dinner and then use the leftovers for lunch. For a larger family it could be made the night before specifically for lunches. It freezes well, too.
Head on over to Life as Mom and see what others are cooking up for lunch.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sea World, here I come...

Thanks to all of you who responded to my post about letting LM go to Sea World. After much thought and discussion I have decided to let her go BUT I will be going as well. My husband & I would feel better being in San Diego, just in case. I won't stalk the troop but I will be close by. There are a couple of other parents who I am sure will be doing the same thing. I have never been to San Diego so I am sure I will have a lovely time. I hear they have a nice Nordstrom there so you'll know where to find me. Of course, the leader may change her mind & let us join in if other parents will be in town as well.

I think it's nice that she wants the girls to explore things on their own without mom or dad hovering but there's plenty of time for that. The day will come when they won't want us around and I dread that. So, I'd like to enjoy this time while I can, when the kids want to have us around and show us things from their perspective.

Thanks again for all the advice!!

The last one to the party...

Am I the last one to hear of these guys? I have recently discovered the Zac Brown Band. Love them! The singer has such a distinct voice. Kind of Jimmy Buffet-ish. Or do you remember Sister Hazel? A voice kind of like that - just really distinct.

Even if you're not a total country fan (like me) you might like them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Too much...




The past week has been just too much. Really busy, lots going on here. Some of it good, some not so much. In less than a week I have found out that two friends have passed away.


One was a friend, T, from high school. He was the nicest guy, every one's friend. I never remember him being anything but kind to anyone and he was always fun to be around. A bunch of us had recently reconnected on facebook. He married his high school sweetheart and they were still married, with 2 daughters and a grand daughter. I am not sure how he died although I know he had been in the hospital for a few days and died there. His service was this past Thursday and I am sad to have missed it but it was on the east coast and it just wasn't possible to attend. A group of friends did go and enjoyed catching up with each other but wished that T could have been with them. I found a certain amount of irony in the fact that he died on Valentine's Day, this man who married his high school sweetheart - a love story for the ages.


The other friend, J, was the ex-husband of a very good and old friend, D. D and I have known each other for almost 40 years (can that be possible??) J was another one of those guys, just all around nice. They had been divorced for a few years and unfortunately D was estranged from her parents due to things she had done (the kind of stuff you can't make up) in the family business. They have 3 kids, 2 lived with D, 1 with J. It saddens me that his last years were spent in turmoil (although at 50 who would have thought they would be his last years). J had a heart attack.


I am still trying to process all of this. I cannot fathom losing my husband. I cannot imagine having to pick up the pieces and put on a 'face' for my daughter all while mourning the loss of my partner. Due to the young ages of these men it just hits too close to home. I know as we get older these things will happen more often than they should. I have been truly blessed and fortunate to have had to deal with death so infrequently up until the past few years.


As I try to understand all of this I do know that I will be more appreciative to those around me, be kinder in word, thought and deed and make sure that everyone knows I care. An extra kiss and hug to those I love won't hurt either.


The bitterest tears shed over graves are for the words left unsaid

and deeds left undone.

~Harriet Beecher Stowe


Sunday, February 21, 2010

No time...



I have had no time for blogging since the little lady pictured above came to stay with us. Yes, we are the proud owners (or babysitters, I am not sure which yet) of a Ms Pac Man machine. My husband's friend dropped it off on Friday & he knows it's my very favorite game from back in the day so he wanted us to have it (how nice). I am not sure if we'll have it forever or just until he has room for it. Speaking of room, there's not a lot here for it either but we'll make do. I am in the progress of a clean sweep of the play room in order to be able to move around comfortably.



So if I am not around writing spectacular posts (ha) or commenting on your spectacular posts you'll know why. And for the next week I may also be watching the Olympics. It's funny that I am a 'summer person' but prefer watching the winter Olympics so much more than the summer. Maybe it's my inner figure skater trying to get out...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What would you do?

LM's Brownie troop is planning a trip to Sea World this summer. Sounds fun, right?

Well this morning I get an email from the leader that it is a 'girls only' trip - no parents allowed. She said it is time for them to spread their wings (they are 7 & 8 year olds). There will be 3 leaders (adult) with the girls. There are nine girls so the adult to girl ratio is not in question. I have been planning on going all along (I am not a leader) because it is about a 5 hour trip and they will be gone 2 nights. I figured I would just get a room in the same hotel and let LM stay with her troop but I would be there 'just in case'.

So, before I talk to the leader (who is a friend whom I totally trust) and come off sounding like a a crazy, over protective mother I wanted to see what you other moms out there thought.

I'll be waiting to hear from you...

Monday, February 15, 2010

'We didn't have no internet...




but man I never will forget

the way the moonlight shined upon her hair.

All Summer Long

~Kid Rock


Our internet has been working sporadically for about a week and TOTALLY down since Thursday. Thursday. Thankfully we were out of town on Sat and Sun so it didn't seem quite so painful. After hours on the phone and/or hold with our provider it FINALLY got fixed this afternoon. Happy Day. I never realize how dependent I am on the internet until it goes out. (Like when LM asks the definition of a word and says, 'I'll google it' and I have to say 'No, let me introduce you to this - it's called a dictionary. It should be your friend.')


While I feel lost not being able to do my banking on line, pay my bills on line, check the weather, make reservations, check my email or read blogs (most importantly) when our internet is down at the same time I feel such a lightness knowing that I just can't do it and those things will have to wait, and I'll have to pull out the checkbook and stamps and pay the bills the old fashioned way. No lure of the internet to keep me from reading or playing.


Last night we had fireworks (our town hosts some sort of pyrotechnics thing each year on President's weekend.). LM decided she wanted to watch them, so she got her little camp chair and a blanket out and sat in the driveway watching them. I was finishing cleaning up after dinner so I didn't go out right away. She looked so cute sitting there with her blanket in the dark. I got my chair out and sat next to her under the same blanket. I am probably the only person I know who doesn't really like watching fire works. A few are okay but after awhile I'm done.


Today there was no school so after an hour on the phone with the internet folks we headed out to pick up LM's girl scout cookies. We sorted them and they are ready for delivery - that's the part I don't like. But hopefully they'll all be delivered and paid for by Thursday. Then it's time for the cookie booths. OK,that's really the part I dislike. But everyone loves girl scout cookies and the girls are so cute so it's pretty easy to sell them. I have signed up to help three times at the cookie booth. There's some reward for that at the end of the line, I am sure of it.


I hate to mention our weather as so many of you are digging out of the snow. It has been beautiful here for about a week. LM has been outside most of the day which I love for so many reasons. It's like 'summertime in Northern Michigan' .

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Booking It...

I am joining Life as Mom in her quest to read more in 2010. Check out her post today. She just finished reading "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey, which I also highly recommend.

I just finished 'Mommywood' by Tori Spelling. Very funny, easy and entertaining. About her life as a new mom. Lots of stuff we can all relate to. No literary genius here, just lots of fun.
I just started 'The Difference: How Anyone Can Prosper in Even the Toughest Times'. It is my second go around with this one. I enjoyed it the first time and sure I will the 2nd, too. Jean Chatzky is a great money writer. She can also be seen on the 'Today' show. (So I hear, I don't watch Today as I watch GMA and Mellody Hobson is their oh, so Fabulous financial contributor.)

I hope to read more this year. I'd like to think I am off to a pretty decent start...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Valentine...

I have set out a few Valentine's decorations this year. First, behind my kitchen sink I have this little counter which gives me space for some decoration. I dug up this frame that we got as a wedding gift and thought it would look nice with something Valentine-y. So I hunted through my scrapbook stuff and found the paper and chipboard numbers (painted pink). I cut out the love and heart with my cricut. I thought it turned out cute. The copper 'love' cookie cutters come out every year although I have yet to use them as cookie cutters.
On the dining room table I place the red vase (that I 'borrowed' from my sister) next to the red stones (Pier one) & clear hearts (Terri's village). The chalkboard plate I made after spotting this in the Pottery Barn Catalog. I bought the plate at Kmart for $3.75 and painted the center with chalkboard paint and I think I have a decent replica - and I saved oddles of money!

I'm linking up to Do it yourself day @ A Soft Place to Land. Check it out!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Make your home a haven - Chores...

I am joining Monica today for Make your home a haven. This week she was spotlighting chores and planning. Planning out your day the night before. Of course, it's a brilliant idea and not so hard to implement if you think about it.

I have never been much of a list maker. Other than a grocery list, I haven't done it. Until a year or so ago. I don't know if I am getting older and just need a reminder or if I just have so much going on. I used to remember EVERYTHING - no calendar needed - I would remember where to be on what day. Of course, I was younger then and didn't have a busy child to take to and fro. That's all changed so that meant I needed to change too. So I got a planner a couple of years ago and just recently started using the calendar in my cell phone to keep track of things as well.

The chore list seemed like the next logical thing to do since I was getting behind in my housework. The problem was that I was making my list in the morning. Mornings here usually start out quickly. Most days I don't have much quiet time before everyone gets going. My husband leaves for work at 6:30 so I have to get up earlier than that to have that time. It works great in the summer, when it's light out but this time of year I usually sleep until the alarm goes off and then some.

Monica's idea of making the list at night was a great one and I have to say that I was pretty productive this week. Perfect? No. But I got quite a bit done just by knowing that it's what I needed to do. Not everything got marked off the list and will carry over until the upcoming week (I do VERY little on the weekends since I am home all day during the week and that's when I do my housework. Other than making the beds and cleaning up the kitchen everything but emergencies can wait until Monday).

Next week will be pretty busy for me and I am counting on my nightly planning to keep me on track

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Have you heard...

...that this cutie is going to have his own design show starting in the Fall?
I say, why wait until then...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Who's Tiffany?"


LM got her ears pierced back in December. She wore the starter earrings for a month or so and then my dad got her another pair of 14k gold earrings. She also got some sterling silver earrings for Christmas from a friend. She asked to wear those the other day and since they were sterling we said okay. Well, this afternoon she asked to clean her ears and I noticed one of the earrings looked like it was pushed into the hole and it was a little red. After much drama my husband got the earring out and the ear was infected. The earring itself looked like the post was pitted or something. So we're not sure if the earrings really weren't sterling or if she just can't wear sterling.

Jokingly I said to her, 'it looks like it's Tiffany for you from now on."

My husband shot me the stink eye. LM said, "Who's Tiffany?"

Oh, I have a long way to go with her. :)

She has just been full of funny tonight. She has a friend in her class named Sam (a girl). I asked her if the little girl that meets Sam after class each day is her sister.

LM: "I don't know if they are sisters. They don't get along alot so I think they are sisters. Well, I think they're really cousins. Kind of a cross between sisters and cousins. "

OF COURSE they are.

Then I asked her if she would fight with her sister if she had one.

LM: "I would only want a sister if it was a baby brother."

Hmmm...

You couldn't make this stuff up...

WOW. Did any one see Andrew Young on Good Morning America today? His story is uttering amazing, something I don't think you could make up if you tried. Definitely one of those 'truth is stranger than fiction' deals. Yikes.

Young is the former John Edwards aide who originally said that Rielle Hunter's baby was his. He was also on GMA yesterday and when George Stephanopoulos said Young would be on today with his wife I figured I thought Young was someone he wasn't. I mean, what wife would allow his husband to go along with that charade? Apparently, Young's wife (she originally said no but later changed her mind). Edwards was Young's boss you see and they needed the income and health insurance. Apparently Young was well paid and they liked it. I try not to judge and I think the Young's seemed like nice enough folks so I'll keep it at that. What would you do if your husband came home and asked you this? I'd like to think I would say 'NO' and figure out a way to make ends meet without that job. I am pretty sure I would do that. Yes, that's what I would do. He'd be delivering pizzas if he needed to in order not to work under those conditions. I would be surprised if anyone I know would go along with that request. What kind of person would even ASK that of someone? Just a dirty rotten scoundrel, I think

I haven't decided if I want to read the book or not. Part of me is really intrigued and part of me thinks it is just smut and I should stay away from it.

Like I said, I don't think you could make this stuff up...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Angels...

I was so thrilled this morning when I opened my email and saw one that my dad had forwarded from a friend.

This couple had a baby a few years ago who only lived for 2 days (I don't remember all the details). As you can imagine, it was devastating for them, their families and friends.

Fast forward 3 1/2 years: Yesterday they brought home their new baby boy. A young woman selflessly chose them to be the parents of this little baby. He was born on Sunday and is most precious. They had about 10 hours notice but they were beyond ready for his arrival.

I am so excited for them, I can hardly stand it. I called my husband a while ago to let him know and I could barely hold back the tears of happiness when I was telling him. I can't wait to go shopping to pick out something perfect for this sweet boy.

...I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us from somewhere up above
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love
~Alabama

Monday, February 1, 2010

Menu planning...



One thing I am trying to do better this year is menu planning. I do it pretty casually, I'd say. Monday morning I write down on a sheet of paper what I plan on cooking that week based on what I have in the house. Kind of backwards really (unless the goal is to eat from the pantry like we did in January). Then if I am missing something I will run to the store. I usually shop once a week and then sometimes need one more run to the store for milk & other perishables. I would LOVE to be one of those people who goes to the grocery store once ever 2 weeks. Do any of you go to the grocery every 2 weeks? I'd love to hear any tips on how to do that consistently. I am sure it's pretty easy to do but I find myself heading back out because I have forgotten something (even with a list I forget at least one thing).


We were at a party on Saturday night and some of us ladies were talking about grocery shopping (who would have thought that this would be our topic of conversation at a party way back when). The hostess told us how she does it: On Saturday or Sunday she sits down and makes a list of what she wants to cook for the upcoming week. Then she makes a list of what she needs to prepare these meals. Then she makes a list of what she needs to buy that week and puts everything on her list in the order of her grocery store ( I do that, too.) Monday morning she heads out to shop. Sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? So I think I'll give that a whirl and see what happens.


This week I have planned the following:


  • Monday- tri tip sandwiches (meat left over from Sunday), veggie platter, chips, pudding

  • Tuesday-Meatloaf, mashed potatoes (potatoes 68 cents for a 5 lb bag!), veggies

  • Wednesday-Spaghetti with Bratwurst (leftover Bratwurst from last week), salad

  • Thursday-sandwiches from Subway - hockey night

  • Friday-Breakfast (one of my favorites)-eggs, sausage, fruit, whole wheat toast

  • Saturday-Quesadillas, salad

  • Sunday- Super Bowl (Go Colts!) - something casual which my husband will decide but hasn't done yet.

Other than having to get some fresh fruit & veg later in the week and the super bowl food I have everything I need to this week's menu.