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~my thoughts about life~



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Randomness

I haven't felt well since Sunday, hence lack of posting around here.

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I am about halfway done with my Christmas shopping, which thrills me greatly.  I've accomplished 75% of it online so far.  I enjoy shopping, but I get frustrated when I go all the way to a store, park, and fight the crowds only to find that they're out of what I came for.  At least when they're out of something online, you can switch to a different retailer in a matter of seconds.  I'm expecting deliveries from three different stores today!  Hurrah for Black Friday shopping online!

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I am still couponing and still enthralled with the television show.  My stockpile is growing beautifully and I'm finishing under budget every week.  Hubby scored an awesome deal this week at work.  A woman was carrying a large stack of newspapers to the trash Monday morning.  Hubby stopped her and asked if he could take the coupons from those papers.  She didn't mind at all.  So they came up with a plan:  he'll take out her trash every Monday while keeping all the Sunday coupons!  Score for me!  I got a tube of toothpaste for free this week ($.50 for the remaining tubes I bought) and $.50 for Pantene shampoo and conditioner!  Boo-yah!

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Pandora Christmas station - two thumbs up from this blogger!

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I don't like to put up my tree or Christmas decorations until December.  The kids all know the first is tomorrow so they're really getting on me.  I love the decorations, but golly, it sure is a lot of work!

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I have at least three things scheduled every Saturday for the rest of the year.  On Monday, I am triple booked, all at the same time.  Ah, the hustle and bustle of the holidays!

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To answer a question from my last post, the awesome Black Friday item I scored for 70% off was a Disney Princess Carriage Playcenter.  It's one of the items I'm expecting to be delivered today.

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I went running over the weekend, which was the first time since September's marathon. Let's just say I got my tail whipped! I ran/walked 1.75 miles, with the walking almost exceeding the running. Son #1 had to show me up and run two complete miles. Brat.


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I am really excited about the Muppet Mania that is going on right now!  I was a huge fan of The Muppet Show when I was little.  I think it came on every Saturday night at 7:00.  We had to have our baths taken and our pajamas on if we wanted to watch it.  My mom would threaten all day Saturday, "If you're not good, you won't get to watch The Muppets tonight!"  It always worked!  I've been singing the chickens' version of "Forget You" for days now.

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We have a little bit of snow on the trees here.  It was in the mid 60s earlier this week so the snow is a change of pace.  This November was the nicest November I ever remember having.

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At Thanksgiving, I didn't tell you all how thankful I am that you read my rambling words nearly every day.  Without you, I would just be releasing my thoughts into the void.  It's so nice to have someone who listens.  Thanks.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stand By Me

I was home last night, lying on the couch just feeling blah.  Stand By Me, an old classic, came on TV.  Since I wasn't feeling too well, I laid there and watched the whole flick.  Every time I watch movies about writers, it makes me want to start a novel, a children's book, or whatever the main character is attempting to author.

The movie is about a boy and his three best friends.  It brought me back to my childhood and made me think of the people whom I would have considered to be in my "gang."  Do we still stand by one another?  I would say that my gang was most important to me from the ages of fourteen to sixteen.  Some of the guys even bought matching jackets from a popular teen clothing store.  The leader of our group had a black jacket and all the other guys got theirs in green.  A couple of the girls bought the same jacket in red and I wanted one more than anything.  My mom said I needed to let the guys have their thing and skip the matching jacket.  I was devastated.

Our leader is still around, married with a daughter, and his sister is here with two kids.  The person I considered to be my BFF got pregnant, married, and was left alone three weeks after the wedding.  One friend lives in Texas, another in Georgia, and two in Tennessee.  One girl moved away somewhere, and joined a folk band, of all things.

These people who were once my world are now scattered around the country.  Some of them I haven't spoken to in years.  I've seen some of them go through trials and devastation and have tried to stand by them.  A couple of them turned out to be exactly what I thought they'd be.

I look at my oldest son who is just beginning this stage in life.  Who will be his lifelong friends?  He doesn't seem to have that group yet like I had growing up.  Maybe it will come in time.  Who will he be- the leader, the nerd, the comic relief?  Above all, I just hope he makes the right decisions and chooses the right friends.  Who you hang out with can make you or break you in life.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thankful for Life

Sorry I've been M.I.A. the past couple days but I've been in a turkey coma. 
(For all my Seinfeld friends out there:
"What is that stuff in turkey that makes you sleepy?"
"Triptaphen!")

On Wednesday, my mom was off work and we spent most of the day cooking and preparing for Thanksgiving dinner.  We picked up lunch (at Chipotle) and brought it home to eat while we watched my Grandma.  Gram was a little extra difficult and attempted to sneak out of the house no less than 20 times.  It was the first time she was ever truly mean to me.  It's so sad...we have to drug her up just to keep her from running away.  After about three hours, she settled down to the point of actually sitting in a chair.  She would still ramble and talk nonsense, but I can handle that.

I also had two photo shoots on Wednesday.  One was with my brother and one with my cousin.  I was glad to get out and take some pictures since I hadn't taken any portraits in quite a while.  Both of them were overjoyed with the results, which made me very happy.  I really enjoyed photographing my fat, adorable, 4-month old nephew.  We propped him up in a chair and got him to offer the biggest smiles!  He looks like a little man and I just want to eat him up!

Thursday was a perfect family day.  The food was unreal and the desserts sent me into a stupor.  Gram was extremely well behaved, possibly because we had the meal at her house this year.  Sometimes she seems to do better when there are a lot of people around.

Thursday evening, Hubby had cabin fever (which he always gets if he's required to stay in one place longer than a couple hours.)  He wanted to go to Old Navy, just to get out of the house.  I obliged, but said we had to stop at CVS first.  They had so many great sales and freebies.  I don't take a day off, even on Thanksgiving.  I wish I could have gone to there earlier in the day.  A lot of the good deals were sold out.  I did pick up six items, which are things I use often, and only paid $.56.  Not too shabby!  I can always talk Hubby into going there with me because he gets great joy out of using the coupon machine.

Friday, I got some major Christmas shopping done, all from the comfort of my own home.  I love shopping while in pajamas!  My best deal was a toy for my niece.  The original price was $99 and I got it for $29!  I must admit that I'm not exactly sure what it is...I was just excited about scoring a deal that great!  She gets the gift of the year!

All of these activities left my home looking quite despicable.  I should get my rear in gear and get it cleaned up.  Well, maybe after a piece of pumpkin pie with extra Cool Whip!
How was your holiday?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Smelling Manly

Funny story- due to my new shopping habits, I am getting low on a few of our staple items.  I have been waiting for good sales to come so I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel on some things.  I am really picky about the kind of body lotion I use.  I don't like anything heavily floral scented but I don't like lotions that don't smell at all.  I have purchased so many different kinds of creams from Bath & Body Works, only to hate them once I begin using them.  I have a whole basket of mostly full lotion bottles.

One evening after my shower, I realized I was completely and totally out of my favorite B&BW lotion.  I mean, nothing even left in the lid.  So I opted for a backup bottle.  Hubby started gagging and told me I was never allowed to use that kind again.  Our bedroom smelled like cheap, old lady perfume.  I wanted to take another shower. 

The next day, I ran completely out of deodorant.  The plastic base was poking out and there was no product left around it.  I kept trying to get all I could out of the corners of the stick. 

My next shower, I still had not found any extra lotion or deodorant.  I was living in times of desperation.  To the bathroom vanity I went.  I pulled out Hubby's deodorant and gave it a sniff.  Hmmm...not bad.  I can use that, I thought.  One swipe across my delicate armpit and I was totally grossed out!  It goes on wet!  Ugh!  Now I had one wet, sticky armpit.  I had to balance the feeling out and smear the goopy stuff on the other side.  I walked around with my elbows sticking out, trying to get the deodorant to dry.  (It never did.)

Then I sat on the side of my bed and reached for my body lotion.  Ugh!  I am not using the nasty stuff from last time!  I again raided Hubby's stash.  He keeps a large bottle of manly-scented lotion on his dresser.  I smeared it all over, thankful that it was less potent than the flower garden stuff.  I was walking around my house smelling just like my husband.  It made me feel close to him but not in the way I wanted.

It's been a few days now and I'm still on the sticky deodorant and masculine lotion.  (Although, I did figure out that a sprinkle of baby powder after applying the deodorant works wonders!)  Fortunately, I'm getting a good deal on deodorant at CVS today so hopefully I won't attract any ladies with my manly smell.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Results, Part II

Congratulations to Starr, winner of the second round of Shutterfly giveaways!  Send me your email address and I'll tell you what to do!  I  hope all the winners enjoy making their free Shutterfly albums!  When you finish, send me an email letting me know what your theme was.  Have fun!

That's How I Know

Some might wonder, how do you know you're still in love with your husband after all those years?  I'll tell you how I know.  It's the laughter. 

I call him at work every morning after I drop the last kid off at school.  (He always answers the phone, "Hello, Beautiful.")  This morning, we got talking about the way he used to dress when we were first dating.  This was in 1992, just under two decades ago.  I was a frizzy haired, Express leather jacket wearing, penny loafers clad, preppy girl.  He was scheduled to pick me up for one of our first dates.  We'd been out a few times but were still in the beginning process of our courtship.  I prepped for an hour.  I'm sure my hair was extra tall that day.  If you can believe it, I actually remember what I wore.  I was lookin' fine by 90s standards!

This tall, skinny, guy arrived to pick me up.  He was wearing an old t-shirt, a pair of royal blue sweatpants that said BRONCOS down one leg, and dirty Asic Gel tennis shoes with horribly huge tongues sticking out.  I took one look at him and wondered, What have I gotten myself into?  I happily climbed into his '80-something, black Grand Am and rode to the mall.  (Yeah, we had a lot of dates at the mall.)  It was that very shopping trip that I talked him into purchasing a brand new, stylish pair of Nikes.  I had a hard time being seen with a guy who wore Asics and sweatpants.

Years later, we were still together and I confessed to him that I used to be embarrassed by the way he dressed in the early nineties.  By this time, he was wearing Ralph Lauren sweaters and Structure jeans.  I fixed him.  He agreed that he didn't know what he was thinking and it became a big joke to us.

Again this morning, we got talking about the Broncos sweatpants.  I recently found them, stashed away in a box, when I was cleaning out the basement.  I cared enough to hide them from him but apparently had enough memories of them that I couldn't throw them away.  We laughed and laughed while he made fun of himself.  He said if it wasn't for me, he would be one of those people who goes to the grocery store in his pajamas (he knows that's a pet peeve of mine).  I said, "Well, you showed up for our date in your pajamas!  You know you were in bed sleeping in those sweatpants while I was getting ready.  You rolled out of bed, put gel in your hair, and picked me up!"  I love how we can laugh together about the old times!

Am I the only one who was once embarrassed by their future spouse's appearance???

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Slacker Giveaway

I have one more Shutterfly album to give away!  Sorry if you missed the last giveaway...it came and went pretty quickly.  I wanted to draw winners right away to allow people as much time as possible to complete their albums. 

But there's good news!  You can still win!  I'm going to make this contest a little easier to enter.
1.  Just comment.  If you leave a comment, you're entered to win.  (Just once, please.)
2.  Follow this blog.  If you are a follower, leave a second comment for an extra entry.
3.  Follow me on Facebook.  After you do, leave a third comment for yet another entry.

I'm going to run this contest until 8:00 AM Monday morning.  So get on the ball and enter!  Have a great weekend and good luck!

The Results

Excellent news for all who entered yesterday's Shutterfly giveaway!  You all win!  Congrats to Linda, CarrieGirl, Maren, and Trishalyn!  That's what you get for being on the ball!  Send your email address to she_says_blog (at) yahoo (dot) com and I will let you know what you need to do! 

Also, I have one book left so perhaps I'll do one more giveaway for those who missed the last one.  Stay tuned!

Have a great weekend, winners!

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Very First Giveaway

I've never before hosted a giveaway on my blog.  That's because I've never had anything to give away!  Well, now I do! 

You all know I'm a huge Shutterfly fan!  I have several photo books and I just keep making more!  Gone are the days of putting snapshots into those big albums with the clear, crinkly protective covers.  I was such a procrastinator when it came to actually putting the photos in the albums.  I would print the pictures, they would sit in the envelope, and then I would end up sticking the envelope in a box.  I have a huge box in the basement of snapshots from when my boys were babies (The Pre-Digital Age).

Photo memory books make so much more sense!  They're beautiful and you can completely customize them.  I use mine to tell a story.  Did you know that Shutterfly has totally updated their photo book program?  If you use the Custom Path, you have complete creative control over how your page looks.  You can move this frame a little to the left, you can make this frame bigger and that one smaller.  I love it!  (I actually wonder if that was in response to the suggestion I sent them a year ago?!)

(By the way, I'm not getting paid for this post.  I just like these products so much!)

So here's my giveaway:
I am offering a FREE 7x9 Photo Book to not one, but FIVE PEOPLE!  How awesome is that?  The offer ends December 14th so you would need to get started on your album right away.  My suggestion- summer adventures!  Think of all the exciting things you did this summer, from 4th of July barbecues to day trips at the pool.  Put all those memories together in an album and you can relive your memories for years to come!  Or you can make an album as a Christmas gift for someone else.  Grandma would be thrilled!

The Giveaway starts immediately and ends tomorrow (Saturday) at 9:00 AM EST.  To qualify, you must be a follower of She Says.  Leave a comment here if you are.  You can get a bonus entry for following She Says on Facebook.  I will randomly pick five winners tomorrow.  Good luck!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Storing, Cleaning, and Pitching

With all this couponing and stockpiling that I'm doing, I need more storage space for the extra things I'm buying.  Hubby bought me a new shelf for the basement, which made my stockpile look so neat and organized!  Organization makes me very happy! 

The thing I dreaded the most was cleaning out my freezer.  Friends, it was BAAAD!  There was stuff in there older than Baby Girl.  Yeah, seriously.  I threw out 6 grocery bags full of nasty junk. 

I am embarrassed to admit that...what a waste!  Where I get taken is when grocery stores advertise a buy one, get one meat sale.  I will buy two roasts, two chickens, or two packages of pork chops.  I'll use one right away and freeze one.  The frozen package of meat will stay in my freezer until the next time I decide to clean it out.  I have got to stop doing that.

The grossest thing about cleaning out my freezer was this:


This is exactly how I found it in there.  It was half of a Mexican Spaghetti casserole that I don't even remember making.  "It freezes so well," everyone says.  Well, yeah, it freezes well, but then what do you do with it?  'Cause I'm surely not thawing it out and cooking it!  I'm adopting a new No Freezing Meat Policy.  Well, chicken is OK.  I will use that frozen.  I don't know why I have an issue with using any other meat once it was frozen.  Anyone else share that strange quirk?

The cool thing was that I googled "National clean out your freezer day." I missed it by one day! It was November 15th. I cleaned out my freezer yesterday, the 16th. What I read said that the date was set just before Thanksgiving to allow you to pack your freezer with extra food for the holidays. Clever.

So I urge you to celebrate this obscure holiday late and clean out your freezer.  You will feel better after you do.  Now, on to the refrigerator....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Today's Deals

I'm not a coffee drinker but I know most of people in the world are.  Here's a great deal I found today for all the Starbuck's addicts out there!

Celebrate the season together with someone – and something – you love at Starbucks. On November 17–20 from 2–5 p.m., when you buy one holiday beverage, you’ll get a second one free. Warm up with your choice of a Peppermint Mocha or new Skinny Peppermint Mocha, Caramel BrulĂ©e Latte, Gingerbread Latte or the longest-running holiday favorite, the Eggnog Latte.


 
Also, here's a code for 40% off one item at Lands' End and Free Shipping on orders over $50!  Just type in the Promotion Code: FROST and PIN: 9471.
 
 
I don't know where you are, but around here it's a perfect day to wear something warm and cozy from Lands' End while drinking a hot beverage from Starbuck's!  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Authentic People

I love answering questions about myself.  Is that vain?  I love filling out surveys too, which I've made very clear on this blog.  I think it has more to do with organized form filling-out rather than vanity.  Abigail is hosting a blog party that has an awesome list of questions to be answered.  I was so ready to answer the questions that I started at 7:30 AM, when I should have been getting my second grader up for school.  Maybe the few extra moments of sleep will make her even more beautiful.

Here are my answers to Abigail's Authentic People Blog Party Questions.  (By the way, Abigail is the daughter of one of my favorite bloggers, Lynette.  Lynette is one of the most real and honest people whose blog I read.  She has a whole bunch of beautiful kids and she takes amazing pictures.  Beautiful Abigail helps her out with photography.)

1} What's the nerdiest/geekiest/weirdest thing about you?
My obsession with forms kind of ranks up there, I guess.  I love coupons...that's pretty geeky.  I also claim to be an OCD Failure.  I love things neat, organized, lined up, and perfect.  But I'm always too busy or too lazy to get things exactly as I want them.

2} If you could live in a fictional universe from any book, movie, or television show, what would it be?
I would definitely live in Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show.  I love that small-town feeling where evenings are spent on the porch swing eating coffee cake while playing guitar and singing.  There would be so much less stress in life and less crime in the world if things were really like that.

3} Little or big, practical or frivolous, what is one of your favorite items in your house?
My dad is a woodworker and makes the most beautiful turned bowls from rare wood.  They're worth a fortune and are definitely among my most prized possessions.  I also must mention my Shutterfly albums, my red stock pot, and my camera.

4} Do you like animated movies? If so, what is your favorite?
Love 'em!  Beauty and the Beast is probably my all-time favorite.  I adore brunette princesses who have a love for the written word.

5} What is your favorite household chore?
Definitely vacuuming.  I don't mind it at all and I love the straight lines it leaves in the carpet.  (See, there's a bit more of that OCD creeping up on me.)

6} What's your favorite thing to get at Starbucks (or your favorite coffee shop)?
Tall, no water chai, extra hot.

7} What is your favorite pizza topping?
I used to always say pepperoni.  But lately, I've kind of been an extra cheese girl.  I guess it depends on where the pizza is from.

8} Waffles or pancakes?
Waffles.  No doubt. 

9} Do you like to play games? If so, what is your favorite?
Board games rock!!  On New Year's Day, my cousins get together and play games all day!  It's one of the best days of the year.  Not to toot my own horn, but I am a beast at Taboo.  Like, pretty much unbeatable.

10} Have you ever let anyone win a game?
My kids- sure.  Other adults- yeah, I think so.  Sometimes you just feel so bad for the other person because they're horrible.

11} Have you ever dyed your hair?
Nope, never.

12} Do you make your bed every morning?
Absolutely!  I hate getting back into an unmade bed.  Clean sheet night is something I greatly anticipate!

13} Picasso or Norman Rockwell?
Norman Rockwell.  Again, it kind of goes along with my Andy Griffith fetish.

14} Do you like carpet, tile, or hardwood floors?
I like them all.  My home is mostly hardwood.  I have one room of carpet.  I guess tile is my least favorite.

15} If you could put one thing in a safe under your bed, what would it be?
My wedding album.  I actually do have my wedding video in a fireproof safe.

16} What's your favorite condiment?
I'm not a big condiment user so I guess I'll say soy sauce.  I do love me some salty soy sauce!

17} Have you ever thrown up on someone (excluding when you were a child)?
I don't think so.  My mom said I never threw up as a kid and I know I've not done it as an adult.

18} What was the last thing that made you laugh?
My kids.  They are really funny!

19} Think fast...what's the first song that pops into your head?
Your Masterpiece has been stuck in my head all day.  It's one of the songs we're learning for our choir Christmas concert.  It's so beautiful!

It seems like there ought to be 20 questions.  Ending it at 19 is so daringly different!  I hope you'll join in the Blog Party!  And if you're visiting from there, welcome!  I hope you'll look around and stay a while!

Operation Christmas Child

We are doing something so cool around our house!  It's called Operation Christmas Child.  Maybe you've heard of this program before but it's new to me.  Our church brought in all these red and green shoe boxes and introduced the program to us. 

We chose four boxes, one for each kid.  Son #1 is making up his box for a 10-14 year old boy.  Son #2 is making his up for 2-4 year old boy.  Big Sis wants a 5-9 year old girl and we are choosing a 2-4 year old girl for Baby Girl.  Each kid will help pick out little toys and gifts for the child they are sending their box to.  We downloaded coloring pages that each of my kids will fill out and ship with their box.  It shows what state and country we are from and even has a place to paste a photo.  They will sign the paper with their name and address, in hopes that the child who receives the box can write back.  These boxes are being shipped all over the world!  When we paid for our boxes to be shipped, we printed out bar codes that will stick to the top of our boxes.  When they are delivered, we will receive an email telling us what country they went to!

I think it's the neatest thing and I am so glad we have the opportunity to take part.  It is our responsibility to help those who are not able to help themselves, whether it be in our community or across the world.

If you are interested in taking part, you can get more information here.  This is the target week for collecting all the boxes.  When I watched this video, I actually teared up when I saw the children who have received boxes.  They were screaming with delight over opening their packages!  What could bring more joy to your life?

I think this is a great charity!  Your donation is even tax deductible.  Consider helping out a disadvantaged child this year.  If not for the Grace of God, you could have been the one in their shoes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Randomness

A guy I graduated with was just elected as mayor of our city.  That makes me feel really old!  Mayors are supposed to be old guys with thinning hair.  I still feel like a kid.  If someone asked me what my first order of business as mayor would be, I would probably reply, "Uh.....I dunno!"

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I have lost my slippers.  I have three different pair and I've lost the right slipper of each set.  How could that be any more annoying?  It's slipper weather now and I'm unprepared.

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I get frustrated when I find a new blog I love and there's no "Follow" button to click. I only read blogs I can subscribe to through Blogger; I don't want to use multiple readers. So, what do you do when there's no Follow button?

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I got a new shelf that I will use for my grocery stockpile!  It's ridiculous how excited this chick can get over stockpiled groceries!  Toilet paper and brownie mixes are my biggest hoard thus far.

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My ex-boyfriend friended me through Facebook.  I haven't seen him in fifteen years.  He still looks really good.  Darn it.

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Confession:  I immediately changed my profile pic after I discovered the friend request.  The former picture was taken at the marathon and I did not look hot.  Plus, you could see my flabby tummy.  I put up a much more flattering picture instead. 

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Fire-roasted Chipotle Tostitos are really good.  I mean, like addicting good.

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I'm actually dreading starting my Christmas shopping.  That's odd for me...I usually really enjoy it.  It just seems overwhelming this year.  Hopefully I can bust out a lot of it online.  Do you subscribe to the whole Black Friday hype?

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Did I tell you that Son #2's iPod has been FOUND!  It's a Christmas miracle!  He owned it for a total of a week and a half before he lost it for two months.  His brother found it in their bookshelf, sandwiched between two books.  He ran downstairs and hugged me!  That's how important finding the lost iPod was to our family!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just a Little Bit of Funny

I don't normally post videos but this was the funnies thing I've seen in a long time!  It had my kids rolling on the floor!  Please follow with Interview With a 2-Year-Old.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Have Bad News

Ya'll are gonna kill me but I'm giving up on this diet thing.  I know, I know.  That's what everyone does after a couple weeks on a diet.  But I have some very convincing reasons why:

1.  It's hard.  I was working my tail off, only eating enough to keep a bird alive.  I still wasn't receiving good results.  I'm not willing to work that hard to lose a couple pounds.
2.  I am a bit overwhelmed with life right now.  I know dieting doesn't take a whole lot of time, but it's adding to my stress load.  I have to let go of something and this is what I've chosen to drop.
3.  The Holidays.  Hello!  Thanksgiving is a mere couple weeks away and Christmas is right after that.  I've already pretty much missed out on Halloween because I barely touched the Halloween candy.  I am not willing to be miserable through the holidays.
4.  I would rather work hard on the elliptical to stay at my current weight than to suffer through all this bad eating.  Sweets, chips, and descent-sized portions are way too important to me.

So, shun me if you want.  Leave rude comments telling me you're disappointed in me.  I can handle it.  In fact, I deserve it.  I'm not proud but at least my belly is full right now. 

I still would like to hear your results!  Don't do as I do.  Do not follow my bad influence.  Keep up the good work!  Every one of you was doing so much better than I was!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Phone Calls from Work

I mentioned to Hubby the other day how weird it would be if there were no such things as cell phones.  He works a long day, you've all heard me complain about it before.  He drives a big FedEx truck and his route is an hour away from the terminal.  He logs a lot of hours and drives a lot of miles.  The good thing about that is we get to talk a lot during the day.  When he's driving from town to town out there in the boonies, he usually calls me.  If I'm not busy, we get to chat for ten minutes at a time.

When he first began working for FedEx, which wasn't even FedEx at the time, there were no such things as cell phones.  Well, there were, but they came in a bag and had to plug into your car.  I think the phone calls were something like a bazillion dollars a minute and we were poor.  So he had a pager.  Yeah, he was that cool.  We came up with codes, as all of you 80s children like me did.  111 meant "Call me."  123 meant "I love you."  Of course, there was the universal 911 that meant "Drop whatever you're doing and rush to a pay phone!"  I'm not sure if I ever actually used that code.

Now that he's so far away during the day, those pay phone calls would have cost us a fortune.  Have you ever called long distance from a pay phone?  Probably not.  Do you even remember what long distance is?  We're so spoiled, aren't we?

Since we talk often, the conversations can become a little mundane.  Here's one from yesterday:

Hubby:  What's for dinner?
Me:  Roast beef.
Hubby:  (groan)
Me:  Why do you say that?
Hubby:  What is roast beef?
Me:  You like that.
Hubby:  I used to, but the last time you made it, it was ewww.
Me:  (offended) What?!  No it wasn't!
Hubby:  Oh, you mean roast beef with potatoes and carrots and stuff?
Me:  Yeah!
Hubby:  Oh, yeah, I like that.
Me:  Then what were you talking about that was gross?
Hubby:  I think that was meatloaf.
Me:  I've never made meatloaf in my entire life.
Hubby:  No, it wasn't yours.  It was from KFC.
Me:  Ewww, that does sound gross!
Hubby:  OK, I'll talk to ya later then.
Me:  OK, bye.

See...that's what I'd be missing out on if we were still in the pre-cell phone days.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monday, Monday

I need to tell you about my Monday.  It was an incredibly exhausting day, which is why I'm just now getting around to writing about it.

First of all, Monday is grocery shopping day.  I met up with my coupon friend right after we dropped the kids off at school.  I was kind enough to bring her an iced sugar cookie that I kept back from the church's bake sale Sunday.  (My kitchen was still a disaster from baking all day Saturday.)  At store #1, I spent $39.98 and saved $30.30.  Yay!  At store #2, I spent $67.76 and saved $49.42.  I'm getting this coupon thing down!

Baby Girl and I did not get home from shopping until 1:00.  We ate a quick lunch, she threw a quick fit, and I put her down for a quick nap.  She is still messed up from the time change so it was like she was taking a nap two hours late that day.  I then prepared for my evening.

That night, I instructed a group of 26 people in homemade pie baking.  I've done this before, maybe 3 times, but I still get nervous every time.  This was part of my teenage girls group, but with a twist.  Each girl brought her mom (or grandma) with her.  Only two girls didn't have a partner so I found each of them a sweet lady from the church to work with.  Dear Hubby spent his Saturday setting up the fellowship hall at church.  I stood in front of the room and demonstrated, while the mothers worked with their girls.  Each team of two made both an apple and a cherry pie.  They took them home to bake.

One of my friends, who was in the class, slapped my rear-end with a flour coated hand.  So I got her back.  This may be what raged the flour war.  It was mothers against daughters, friends against friends.  It made me feel more in-tune with what the Civil War was to America.  Well, not really, but it was fun nonetheless.  Then my right-hand man asked to have her picture taken with me.  Right before the shutter snapped, she picked up flour from my cutting board and threw it at my face.  Yeah, she's one of my best friends and now I can't remember exactly why.

Everyone had a blast and I was so happy we put this event together again this year.  My Facebook wall is lighting up with photos and thank-yous.  It took forever to clean up, but I had some good help.  As we were getting ready to leave the building, the security system began screaming at us.  Apparently, the system thought it was an hour later because of the time change.  We called the Pastor to let him know what we did and waited patiently on the police to arrive.  Somehow, the fire department ended up responding.  They just waved and smiled. 

It was an adventurous day and I slept really well that night.  In fact, Hubby said I was talking in my sleep all night long.  At one point, I patted him on the back and told him it was going to be OK.  I don't feel too bad because he talked in his sleep the night before.  He mumbles though so I can't remember what he says to tell him later.

And my pie- wowzers!  It was amazing!  Yeah, I know pie is not on my diet plan, but I don't even care.  You guys will forgive me come Saturday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Silly Girl

I've been losing track of all the cute things Baby Girl has done lately so I thought it was time to get some jotted down. 

She started a new game of "Catch, Mommy."  She starts two rooms away, which is the longest stretch of open space in our home.  Holding her lovely, dear puppy, she says, "Catch, Mommy" as she whips it into the air.  Of course, she's about twenty feet too far away and the puppy lands inches from her feet.   She scoops it up, moves forward and says, "Catch, Mommy!"  The game continues on this way until she's a foot in front of my face, which the puppy eventually slams into.  (This game is much more fun for her than it is for me.)

~~~~~

"Guess what?  I have a question to you!  I eat all my toast!"

~~~~~
While coloring...
Baby Girl:  Mommy...
Me:  What?
Baby Girl:  I'm pretty.
Me:  (chuckle) Yes, you are!

~~~~~

When she is frustrated at me, she calls me Sugar.  I don't think she realizes it's a term of affection.

Free eBooks!

There are two more free eBooks today!

The Funniest Cop Stories Ever by Tom Philbin.  It didn't get great reviews but it's not like you're wasting your money.  It's free!  If you don't like it, just quit reading it!

Cops are the people who see and hear it all. They work at one of the world's most dangerous jobs, but it's also one of the most entertaining. When their lives are at risk¿and even when they aren't¿cops encounter constant weirdness and stupidity in human behavior. The Funniest Cop Stories Ever collects the strangest, most amusing stories about stupid crooks, bungled crimes, and station-house banter. A true look at what life is like behind the badge, the tales in The Funniest Cop Stories Ever were collected by real-life ex-New York City policeman Scott Baker and coauthor Tom Philbin. Anecdotes are told by the real-life cops who experienced them and include:



A foot chase after a dwarf who karate-kicked his girlfriend's door and assaulted her while wearing a tuxedo and carrying a violin case.



A beggar who ended people's pay phone calls so he could demand their extra spare change.

A narcotics bust on a guy who claimed the crack cocaine¿and his pants¿didn't belong to him.

-AND-

Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need To Get Published Now by Sam Barry.  This one actually did get good reviews.  Since you guys are bloggers, you very possibly are interested in getting something published.  Maybe this is for you!

From the foreword by Maya Angelou:"[T]he joy they promise in their prose makes me glad that I and other writers have been willing to make good writing our aim, and even great writing our dream." "How do I get my book published?"Good question. Lucky for you, publishing insiders Sam Barry and Kathi Kamen Goldmark have laid out the blueprint for what you want--your book. From transforming an idea into a manuscript to finding an agent to working with an editor to marketing your book, BookPage's Author Enablers are here to assist you every step of the way. And they've brought some backup with original insight from literary superstars like Stephen King, Amy Tan, Rita Mae Brown, and more.It's everything you would ever want--and need--to know about the industry from the inside out.



Baking Up Some Goodness

I'm a featured blogger!  Jenna from Jenna's Journey is running a 12 Days of Goodies feature in preparation for Thanksgiving.  She has chosen my Pumpkin Cupcakes to showcase today!

Head on over there and check it out!  I am sure that the remaining Days of Goodies will be something to behold!

Sourdough Starter

Forever ago, I posted about my experiences with homemade sourdough bread.  I said I would provide you with the directions to make your own starter whenever I got it from the person who supplied me with my starter.  Well, she never gave me the directions.

I really enjoyed making my own bread and planned to experiment with sourdough pancakes and pretzels.  But then summer came.  Who in the world wants to heat up their oven and their entire house when it's 90 degrees outside?  I let the starter go.

Now that it's cold and rainy out once again, I'm craving the fresh taste of homemade bread.  So I decided to find directions for making your own starter online.  Viola!  I just love having the resource of the internet at my fingertips!  (You'll notice that the directions in this post vary slightly from the directions in my other post.  It made me realize, this is not science.  It doesn't really matter how you do it, just as long as you do it.  Don't stress over it; it's not as complicated as you think.)

So, sorry I'm so late, but here's how you begin your own sourdough starter:

Combine 1C warm water and 1C flour (any type).  A wide-mouthed, glass jar works best.  It's good if you can easily see what's going on in the container.  A disposable container, Tupperware, or old mayonnaise jar works too.  Do not use metal containers or utensils.

You need to feed the starter every 24 hours. 
  • First, throw half of it away.  I don't know why, but every site about sourdough starters says this.  So it must be important.  My friend removed half but didn't throw it away.  She kept it in a second container and fed it separately.  That's where I got my original starter from.  So I guess that's OK too. 
  • Add 1/2 C flour and 1/2 C warm water and mix. 
Your starter should sit at a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees.  You don't want to use an air-tight lid.  A cloth draped over the container will suffice.  I just left my lid lying on top of the jar, tilted to the side.  The starter will bubble and smell pleasantly sour (possibly like beer, they say).  It may puff up.  When it develops a bubbly froth, it's done. 

Move the starter to the refrigerator with a lid on it.  If the lid is air-tight, poke a hole in it.  At this point, the starter only needs to be fed once a week.  (You can read more about that in my other post.)  You do not have to be meticulous about feeding it.  Missing a day or two won't kill it.  Some people said they only fed theirs the day before they planned on using it.

I wouldn't recommend using a Mason jar.  The opening was too small and made adding the flour difficult.  I made a mess all over the sides of the jar.  Plus, the container was a bit too small.

Day 2:  I split the starter in half and added 1/2 C warm water and 1/2 C flour to each.  (If I'm going through all this work, I will be starting out with two loaves of bread.)  Here is what it looked like before I did anything to it.
One thing you may notice in your starter (as seen in this picture) is a yellowish liquid forming at the top of your jar.  This is called hooch.  It's fermentation and it's harmless.  If it disgusts you, you can pour it off.  You can also just mix it back in, which is what I do.  That's kind of what sourdough bread is about.  If the liquid is really off-colored or moldy looking, you need to toss out the starter and begin again.

The starter changed very slowly over the next several days.  I keep my house pretty cool so I think it may have taken longer.  One article I read said that they would never use starter that was less than a week old anyway.

After about 8 days, I determined that my starters were done enough.  They weren't really changing any more.  So I put one starter in the fridge with a dish cloth rubber banded around the top.  I immediately began mixing the other starter into a sponge.  I didn't use the recipe I posted the first time.  I tried the recipe from the same site where I got my starter ingredients.  It did not work.  The sponge did not rise at all so I threw it out.  The second recipe did not have yeast in it.  The site said that true sourdough bread does not have yeast...the fermentation should be enough to cause it to rise.  Well, I don't care if my bread is true sourdough or fake sourdough.  I just want it to rise and taste good. 

Despondent, I fed the starter and put it back in the fridge.  I contemplated starting over and dumping everything out.  But I had worked so hard!  I think I used an entire bag of flour making these two starters!  I decided to hold off a couple days and think about it.  Almost a week later, I decided to try baking bread again, this time using the first recipe I tried.  Success!  My house smelled fantastic and the bread turned out great!  So, the moral of my story is this:  use a recipe that has yeast in it!  Who cares if you're not an authentic sourdough baker- as long as it tastes good!

Also, one article I read said that the riper the starter, the paler in color your loaf will be.  That was absolutely true.  As you can see in the photo in my last post, my loaf was very brown in color.  This time, my starter ripened for a week and my loaf came out very pale.  It had a stronger sourdough smell and definitely a stronger sourdough taste.  I liked it even better than the bread I made in early Spring!

So, I'm passing off my trials and error to you, loyal blog readers!  I hope you give it a try.  The starter is time consuming but it's not really that much work.  Making your own bread is fun, inexpensive, and tasty!  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dear 18 Year Old Me

Emmy did a very interesting writing exercise on her blog.  She wrote a letter to the eighteen year old version of herself.  She gave herself good advice, said what to avoid, and what to do differently.  Some things were general, some very specific.  I wondered what I would tell myself so I decided to give it a try.

Dear 18 Year Old Me,

You just graduated and you couldn't be more excited to begin the next chapter of your life!  I know you're frustrated that you missed graduating with honors by one stipulation.  But don't worry, it really doesn't matter.  You got a scholarship to your first choice college.  The honors cords would have only made your white graduation gown look prettier.  You're not sure what you want to be your major in college but you'll end up making the right decision.  You want to eventually be a stay at home mom so Early Childhood Education is a good fit for you.  (You won't end up working long anyhow.)

You're in love!  Good choice, he ends up being a real winner!  The first few years of marriage will have its ups and downs.  You'll wonder what you're working for; your house is always a mess, you're always tired, you don't feel like cooking, and you have very little money.  But it gets much better, believe me!  You'll have a couple crappy jobs and people will treat you like dirt.  Don't worry about them.  You'll move on in life and never see them again.  Your family is who will always be there for you.

I know you want a big family and I'll let you in on a secret.  You get it.  But be patient with your children.  It's in your nature to yell and scream a lot.  Try not to.  Spending time with your children is more important than the TV, the phone, or the computer.  Help them learn.  You'll be thankful when you see how well they perform in school.  Teach them to love and respect one another.  Remember, children learn best by example.  Be a good one.

You will be let down by various people in your life.  There's no way to avoid this.  Friendships die.  You will shed some tears but don't let it impact you too greatly.  The people who matter most will be there when it really counts.  Again, your family is something you can always count on.

Be nice to Aunt Grace and Uncle Don.  Knowing your children is very important to them.  It won't hurt you to allow Aunt Grace to think you named your daughter after her.  When she passes away, you'll have good memories.  Uncle Don really wants to be close to the daughter you named after his favorite aunt.  Just go with it.

Don't waste away your life always looking to what you don't have.  The grass is always greener on the other side.  When you have no money and nothing to do, all you want to do is run around and have fun.  When you're older and more established, you would give anything to have a day to sit down and do nothing.  Enjoy each moment while you're living it.  Count your blessings and be thankful for what you have.  Don't waste your time being in competition with others.  Be who you are.  If someone doesn't like you because your house isn't decorated as cute as theirs or you don't wear name-brand clothes, forget about them.  Weigh your priorities and only focus on what's truly important in life.  Don't live to try to please other people.

Stand up straight and be confident in yourself.  Those are some of your biggest flaws.  You can and will accomplish a lot.  You will live a great life and experience so much happiness. 

Oh, three more things-
1.  When you're competing in the quizzing championships, go ahead and ring in on the very last question.  You know the answer.  Don't let your teammate beat you do it because he will freeze up, he won't know the answer, and your team will lose the championship.
2.  Don't take that recommendation for the florist for your wedding.  He's a joke and ends up making you a bouquet you totally hate.  Hire a real florist. 
3.  When in labor, you will be introduced to an intern anesthesiologist.  You won't be paying much attention because you will be in pain.  But stop and listen.  Say no when they tell you that this woman will be administering your spinal.  Refuse, and ask for a qualified doctor who knows what they're doing.  Otherwise, this intern will end up ruining your whole birth experience.  She will cause you great pain, you will vomit, and they will drug you into a state of semi-consciousness so that you don't even see your baby being born.

That's all.  Enjoy life.

Love,
Me

Time Change

How do you feel about the time change we must endure every six months?  I hate it.  Well, at least the "falling back" part.

Several good minutes of daylight are wasted while I'm still asleep.  It will be dark tonight by 6:00.  Hubby says he doesn't get to see his house in the daylight all winter long.  The darkness sends me into a minor depression of sorts.

Even though it's only an hour, it takes my body so long to adapt to the change.  Baby Girl woke up an hour early this morning and I didn't get my sweet, ten-minute break this morning between when the boys leave and when I must wake up Big Sis.

But because she was up, Baby Girl was the one assigned to waking up her sister.  It was really sweet to see her climb into her sister's bed, lovingly stroke her face, and push back her hair!  Then she gently uncovered her and told her to wake up.  It was precious!

I'd rather just stay on Daylight Savings Time all year round.  Anyone with me?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Weigh-In Saturday

I did so good this week.  And then I did so bad.

I weighed myself about halfway into the week and was pleased to see that I had lost another pound!  So I rewarded myself.  Dumb.  That's the bad habit I have to break.  I ate a miniature Hershey's bar leftover from Halloween.  Wednesday night, right before bed, I ate one of those Granola Thins that are so good but not low in fat.  Thursday night before bed, I ate a sugar cookie someone gave me.  What is wrong with me?  Those are the things that are keeping me from losing weight.  I work so hard all day long just to blow it right before bedtime.  Shame on me!

I'm pleased I had good results but I hope you guys had more willpower than I did!

Starting Weight- "112"
Week 3 Weight- "110 1/2"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Free eBook

Here's another deal for a free eBookA Simple Amish Christmas by Vanetta Chapman.  Enjoy!



Annie Weaver always planned to return home, but the 20-year old RN has lived in Philadelphia for three years now. As her time of rumschpringe is about to come to an abrupt end, bringing for Annie an overwhelming sense of loneliness. She returns home and finds herself face-to-face with a budding romance with an Amish farmer and Annie has several important choices to make.

Stirring Up the Past

I had a dream last night that I quit my job.  That's weird for two reasons.  #1, I don't have a job.  #2, I think that the "job" I quit in my dream was actually the last job I had, which I quit.

I quit working 13 years ago this December when I was five months pregnant with Son #1.  I worked with horrible, terrible people.  The thing that upsets me most about having this dream is that I apparently still allow these awful people to have a hold over me.  It's been 13 years and I'm ready to have freedom from them.

I am so not the kind of person who is quick to yell "discrimination."  Yet, I feel like I was discriminated against on this job.  I was young, thin (well, not for long, since I was pregnant), married, and white.  The two assistants were older,  African-American women who had been assistants for years and years.  This was my first full-time job in the school system and they were under me.   The other head teacher was a classic spinster.  Older, unmarried, overweight, unpretty, and bitter.  I told my fellow employees right away that I was pregnant because I was suffering from morning sickness.  The first thing Spinster said was, "Are you even three months yet?"  It was said in a degrading, snotty way.  "No," I replied.  "I just wanted you to know in case you see me bolt to the restroom."  The First Foot was apparently the wrong foot.

The assistants- they made my life a living hades.  They were lazy and wanted to spend their days chatting with one another.  Spinster, for some reason, allowed them to get away with that.  The two women took attendance in the morning, prepared the students' lunch (which means they took the packaged meals out of a hot box and set the milks on the table.)  Then they felt that they were done for the day.  That's two easy chores in a seven hour time period.

When they began hating me was when I asked my assistant to do something.  You would think there was lava raining from the sky.  She retaliated, got angry, and reported me to my supervisor.  Guys, I asked her to wipe another child's nose.  I would ask any of you to do that too.  I was occupied with another student and noticed someone's nose running toward their mouth.  She was standing there, doing nothing, so I asked if she would wipe the child's nose.  She huffed away, got a tissue, and brought it to me.  I had to stop what I was doing, track down the child, and clean his nose.

In my frustration, I vented to Spinster.  I didn't tell her who I was talking about; there were three other people in our classroom that day.  She told the assistant I was talking about her and they reported me together.  That was the day I realized I was in this on my own.

There were other small problems along the way but one major issue was the last straw for me.  The students took naps every day on cots.  That's when the teachers took lunch breaks (still in the classroom...no true breaks).  When the kids woke up, we stacked the cots and continued on with our day.  The other teacher and I were responsible for teaching the kids while the assistants again did nothing.  It only made sense that they were the ones to stack and clean the cots, since they had no other duties.  But the four of us always did it together. 

One day, a student had an accident while napping.  Since there were 31 other kids I was in charge of teaching, I didn't clean up the accident.  It wasn't my job.  The assistant told me that I needed to get down and clean up the pee.  She even brought me a wad of paper towels.  I politely told her that I would not be cleaning it up.  The other students were waiting for me and I needed to attend to them.  I was 5 months pregnant and getting down on the floor was getting more difficult.  I decided it was time to stand up for myself.  I continued on with my job while she stood behind the counter, talking about me.

The next day, the child who had the accident could not find his cot.  He walked around asking all the teachers where it was.  They shrugged and sent him to ask me, even though I was on my lunch break.  I sighed, put down my sandwich, and found his cot.  It was stacked against the wall.  I set it down and told him to lay on it.  My assistant went crazy.  The cot had not been cleaned since his accident yesterday.  Even though I was teaching and she was talking, she never cleaned it.  The teachers began harassing me.  I felt tears begin to well up.  Blame it on pregnancy hormones if you want but I wonder how I would have handled it even if I hadn't been pregnant.  I refused to cry in front of the students.  I went to the office phone and tried to call my supervisor.  This had to stop immediately.  She was not in but my former supervisor was.  I explained to her what was going on and how I wasn't able to cope.  I was physically sick from the abuse.  The day was nearly over and the students were leaving in a matter of minutes.  She told me to leave. 

Trying to follow procedure, I told Spinster and the two assistants that I was sick and was leaving.  My assistant turned to the other assistant and loudly said, "She's not sick."  They continued talking about me at a volume that the kids and I could all hear.  I walked out the door and never turned back.

I was reprimanded for leaving without the permission of my direct supervisor, who was not able to be reached.  I explained that I felt like I was going to vomit and needed to leave.  She didn't care.  Someone suggested that I seek the help of my union representative.  He was in an uproar about the situation but didn't actually do anything.  He told me to use all of the sick time I'd accumulated and call in sick every day.  That took me up to Christmas break and then I quit.

The thing that bothers me most about this entire situation is that I wonder if it was actually me who was difficult to get along with.  Should have I just done everything they ordered me to do, including their work?  Was I wrong to stand up for myself?  Am I the one who is hard to get along with?  Even though I don't have problems like this in other areas in my life, I've always wondered if the problem was me.  Throughout the years, I've seen people in public who I mistook for these former coworkers.  I immediately got a sense of panic and felt nauseous.  I think the diagnosis is that I was bullied.  Bullied as an adult. 

What helps me through it is to look at my life now.  I've never had to go to work a day since that happened.  These people are still working hard for a living.  I have a husband and four beautiful children.  I am happy.  I am content.  The only thing is that I still cannot let it go.  I don't know why it still has a hold over me and it angers me to realize that it does.  Hopefully time will heal all wounds.  I'm still waiting to be healed from this one.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Feeling Happy

Yesterday's post was such a downer (sorry about that) that I decided to make today's post
Things That Make Me Happy!
Can you see the big, cheesy smile on my face???
  • Beautiful Fall colors.
  • The fact that this is Thanksgiving month! It is my second favorite holiday! (Mmmm...turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie....ah, sheer bliss!)
  • Hubby asked if the "DG" on the side of my sunglasses stood for "Dang, Girl!"  I grinned like a teenager!
  • Son #1 was awarded with a $100 gift card to a grocery store at school!  I'll admit, the first thought into my mind was, That's a whole week's worth of groceries for the family!  Then I decided that it was his gift card, I was going to let him spend it however he wanted.  So, how do you think a 12-year old boy would decide to spend $100 at a grocery store?  Junk food!  About $40 into the trip (he kept track on a calculator), he started feeling guilty.  He kept telling me how he didn't feel right putting all that junk into the cart.  I was beaming!  He started picking up things like chicken noodle soup, cranberry pomegranate juice, and cider.  The purchase he was most proud of was porterhouse steaks!  The purchase I found most amusing was frozen garlic bread.  I loved seeing how thrifty he was.  He put back the Nutrigrain bars because he wasn't wasting $4.39 on that!  He opted for the generic brand instead.  Even though I was embarrassed to ring up all that junk food, I was quite proud of him.  He even bought a treat for his brother and each sister!
  • I accomplished a bunch of the little, tiny chores that clutter the back storage section of my brain.  It was nice to clean that area out...I hope I didn't miss any tasks that have fallen into the corners of my brain storage.  I seriously need a live-in maid to help me keep my brain clean.  It's really cluttered in there.
  • Watching Baby Girl play this.  It is seriously the best kids game we've ever had!
  • The $50 check I just got from filling out Knowledge Networks surveys!  That makes $80 so far for me ! (It all goes in my camera fund!)
  • Coupons.  Sorry, I had to say it.  But I got several good ones on November first.  My binder is oh-so-cute with artwork of a girl shopping on the front!
  • The fact that I don't have anything to do tonight.  I love stay-at-home nights.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Things Irritating Me Right Now

To keep up the spirit of grouchiness and stressfulness started in yesterday's post, I decided to tell you all the things that are irritating me right now.  I may have to edit it down a bit...I'm pretty crabby today!
  • The health insurance representative that called me at 7:14 AM this morning.  Kinda early, don't ya think?  She preceded to tell me in a snooty voice that she left me a message on Friday.  With the same attitude in check, I let her know that I heard her message and left one in response, also on Friday.  So, whatcha gonna do 'bout it now?  (No, I didn't say that last part.)
  • We have 4 light bulbs burned out in a 15' radius.  Both lights in the upstairs hallway, the closet light in the hallway, and Baby Girl's bedroom light at the end of the same hallway are all done for.  It made for a very dark evening upstairs last night.  But when I have a husband who is nine inches taller than I am, why should I do projects that are up that high???
  • The kids destroyed the basement again.
  • I couldn't sleep last night as I was sure I could hear a mouse running around, gnawing on something.  I got up this morning and moved all the furniture around.  There were no droppings to be found so hopefully that means I have no mouse.  I'm paranoid.
  • UTI
  • I dropped my phone and now the hinge is not opening properly.  Just in case you were wondering, it takes 329 times of dropping your phone before it's totally destroyed.  I'm on 328.  (And you wonder why I don't have an iPhone.  That's why.)
  • Cold weather
  • The fits that Baby Girl has suddenly started throwing again.  And I thought we were done with the Terrible Twos!
BUT- it's supposed to be a beautiful Fall day today so that helps me feel better.  I hope you all have a great day today!  Chase away the Crabbies!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Juggling

Lately, I've felt like I've been juggling too many balls and some of them are starting to get dropped.  There is so much in life that's important to me and there's nothing I want to give up.  I keep trying to find more hours in the day, which turns out to be impossible every single time.  I have so many interests and I want to try everything. 

This summer, I planted a garden.  It was my first time and it was a lot of work, but I wouldn't trade that for anything.  I canned my own salsa.  That took up nearly two days but I am so glad to have fresh, homemade salsa right now. 

I tried my hand at sourdough bread again and planned on posting about it.  I took pictures at every stage and made great notes.  It flopped.  That was a huge disappointment, as homemade sourdough is something I really want to do in life.  I must try again.

I love my blog.  I try to post at least every weekday.  Lately, I feel like I've been losing quality in my posts because I'm simply trying to get something on here every day.  Do you feel like my quality is lacking?  I don't want to give up blogging...it's a creative outlet that's just for Me.

Church activities.  There's way too many to name- from the sign language group I direct to the teenage girls group I'm in charge of.  Simply going to services and singing in the choir is a big commitment that a lot of people don't make.  These activities are things I certainly don't plan on giving up.

I recently started couponing, which a lot of people think is totally nuts.  I saved nearly a hundred dollars yesterday, which is something that comes in really handy for this non-working mother.  I think this is one of the projects that threatened to send me over the edge.  Still, I don't plan on giving it up.  I will simply try to manage better.  And I hope to get much quicker as time goes on.

Add to all that a husband, four kids, and a home that needs a lot of cleaning.  Those are the most important things to me in life.  I know some overwhelmed mothers end up walking away from all of that.  Not a chance.  I will drop anything and everything before I neglect my family.

My husband gets home from work every day between 7 and 7:30.  That's after leaving the house at 5:00 AM.  After we eat dinner, it's time for the kids to get ready for bed.  Also, starting in December, he's going to be picking up Saturdays until around noon.  I feel like we have no family time.  Weekends are spent getting everything done that we didn't find time for during the week.

After all this is said and done, what's left?  About five minutes.  That's my Me Time.  I'm not one of those women who goes out weekly for a Girls' Night Out.  I don't take a mental health break for a regular mani/pedi.  My Me Time consists of a half hour after everyone goes to bed.  The house is dark and quiet and the stress melts away.  In my flannel pajamas, I read blogs, watch TV, or occasionally read a magazine or book.  A half hour is all I need to wind down and drift happily into a sleep filled with frequent, odd dreams.

But I have dropped some balls.  I totally don't help out in PTA any more.  I feel horrible about that.  I used to be at the school for every event.  Now, my kids are spread out between two schools and I can't find time for either of them.  Taking Monkey Girl with me to meetings proves very difficult.  I did help run the Halloween party Friday but that was my first time helping out this year. 

I also haven't been on a run since the day of the race.  I've seen the results of that decision, which are extremely visible around my waistline.  Running, although so incredibly hard, was a bit more of Me Time.  Plus, I felt great when I did it.  But dark evenings and cold weather mixed with no babysitter makes finding running time impossible.  (I wish I had a treadmill!)

There are several messages I've posted on the board at the back of my mind, the one that I rarely access.  I'm supposed to find a recipe for a friend.  I'm supposed to work on the schedule for youth groups and share it with the other leaders.  I'm supposed to research and report all the unnecessary charges from our vacation that were caused due to our train being cancelled.  All these things were supposed to be already done.  There are a few other notes on that board that I can't quite make out.  See, that's what I get when I try to remember things.  I just can't.

What's the solution?
A.  Hope that God decides to stick a couple extra hours in each day
B.  Petition for an extra weekend day called Sunterday
C.  Give up some of my projects or hobbies
D.  Man up, manage my time differently, and refuse to accept stress, all while continuing to do everything I'm doing now

I choose D.  What do you do when you're feeling overwhelmed?  What things cause you to feel like you're about to drop all that you're trying to juggle?  If someone else is in this boat with me, maybe I'll feel less stressed knowing I'm not alone.