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Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Picture is Worth...

a thousand words, many cans of red paint, several pieces of pipe and a ton of creativity.

In case you were wondering....GO UTES!

And THANKS Dad, for helping us stay so classy!

And yes, it has lights. And yes, we will turn them on when they win tonight!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our Big Reveal

I have waited so long for this post and it's finally time. Although many of you know part of the story, no one really knows the whole thing. And, SPOILER ALERT, the whole thing does not belong on the internet. So here's the reveal, at least the part I feel is necessary to share.

Several months ago it was made clear to me that things in my life were going off track. As much as I tried to control my life, and wish I could have, I just didn't have control over my life. At least not ultimate, supreme control I thought I wanted or needed. I mean really, who does? I sought advice from a few trusted people, you know who you are, and ultimately made some decisions.

I was preparing to go back to school and get my ASL license. And then another opportunity came our way. To make a long story short Andy is actually going back to school to finish his degree. We were offered a few opportunities that made it possible for this to happen. So to the universe, our employer, and those others who helped us make this change, THANK YOU.

Now you know all good things must come to an he was released as Scout Master. It was with mixed feelings that this happened (and no, I didn't get up and dance in church) and it was an extremely hard decision to make, which was kind of surprising.

I think we all have choices and it's not always about good or bad. Sometimes it's about good, better and best. What's the best choice for me (or us) in this situation? The last few years have taught me more than I'd ever want to blog about. Let's just leave it at, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Seems kind of a silly, simple thing, but it's a huge blessing to be at the same place at the same time, metaphorically speaking. So together we move onto a new phase of life, which we are hoping will lead to several new opportunities down the line. Ya' know what they say, "When people plan, God laughs." Well I am done tempting fate and am trying to be happy in the here and now.

So there's the "cat out of the bag." And here's to upward progression.

Be happy with what you have. Chances are you have it pretty good!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Birthday Wishes

So it's my birthday. I am a year older and possibly a little wiser. When I was little I remember asking my Mom what she wanted for her birthday, and she would always say, "I just want you guys to get along." It would have been easier to buy her Paris. As my kids grow I understand what she was saying. At this point in my life all the "things" I want are way above the kids allowance range. But what really matters to me is free. Do a kind act, say a kind word, serve each other. Doesn't cost a thing and can make a world of difference for everyone.

Now I don't want to sound selfish, so take this next part in context.

What I want this year:
1. I want my kids to let me go to the bathroom in peace.

2. I want them to listen the first time. If I can't get that, I want a recording of the 10 things I am constantly repeating so I don't have to say it; I can just push a button and BAM! there's my voice saying "wash your hands," "don't scream," "Yes, it's nap time," and "Please just set the table." It would be great if I could change the tone and volume of the recording, so my vocal chords aren't stressed.

3. I want one night where I don't have to get up to get someone something. Granted it's not always the kids;sometimes it's the phone, or a neighbor, or my husband. I just want one night of silence.

4. I want people to say what they mean, and mean what they say.  If you really offer something, don't let your words evaporate into "good intentions" when you're called upon.

What I am giving myself this year:
1. I will lock my bedroom and bathroom door to get some peace. I will ignore the pounding on the door by humming Maroon 5 songs out loud, to myself.

2. I will give myself one night each week without kids. This was one of my goals at the beginning of the year. Some weeks are better than others, but I may actually have to ask for help. Moms take back a piece of yourself by getting a little peace & quiet. You deserve it. We all know it. Just do it!

3. Tonight I may actually accomplish number 3. The world's best grandparents are taking my little darlings for a sleepover. THANK YOU. Telemarketers and door-to-door salespeople BEWARE! I want my 8-10 hours of peace!

So onto number 4, if you offered to help be prepared. I have lots to accomplish this year and may actually break down and take you up on it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What's For Dinner?? Chicken and Mushrooms

I made this for dinner by combining two recipes. Everyone ATE IT. I am shocked!

Chicken with Mushroom Gravy and Brown Rice

To cook the perfect brown rice go here. Super easy. Basically put your rice in a 8 x 8 Pyrex dish, turn on oven to 375 degrees. On the stove boil your water and 2 tsp. of vegetable oil. When water boils add 1/2 tsp. of salt and pour the water over the rice. Cover with 2 layers of tinfoil and bake at 375 deg. for 1 hour. When the hour is up take off the foil, wrap the pan with a kitchen towel for 5 min so the moisture from the foil doesn't drip back onto the rice and make it sticky. Then take off the towel and fluff the rice, let it sit for 5 more minutes and serve. The whole recipe is on the above link.

Chicken and Mushrooms

4-6 chicken breasts, marinated in Italian dressing
1 can canned mushrooms, or 1 c. fresh
2 packets of mushroom gravy

Brown the chicken in a frying pan.
Make gravy according to the directions and add to the pan
Add mushrooms
Let it cook together about 10-12 minutes, turning chicken once, until chicken is no longer pink inside

The gravy should thicken around the chicken to be gravy consistency, but if not, add 1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. of COLD water to make a liquid (so you can't see the cornstarch) and pour it into the pan to thicken.

I served this over the rice with green beans. It was awesome. Probably a lot healthier than the white rice with cream of mushroom soup many of us "enjoyed" as a kid.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Favorite Time of Year

My birthday has always been a double edged sword. Yes, I get presents and don't have to cook dinner that day, but the numbers keep getting bigger each year; and as a kid, every year my birthday came around, I knew back to school time was right around the corner.

I loved school as a kid. Growing up in a household full of school teachers has given me the appreciation for my education. Seriously the school supply aisle was heaven! Even today I get giddy about new pencils and crayons. (Note to self: call therapist). In any case as a mom of 4, yes 4!, in the public school system I am realllyyy excited for this year! We've had a great summer, lots of fun vacations and activities, but it's time to get back to reality.

And if I'm being honest, I love that back to school gets me into an organization mode where life is orderly and less least temporarily.

We are using the new Menu Board to organize our mealtime. It will eliminate the question "What's for Dinner?" and still has the flexibility of changing things around, since I often "don't feel like" what ever is on the menu at least once a week.

There are lots of back to school lunch and menu ideas on, and many other sites. Mixing up the routine may be just what your family needs.

I've also decided that if you don't like what's on your dinner plate, please feel free to have a pbj or cereal. I am done altering each meal so this kid or that kid will be happy. Pick off the mushrooms, pick out the peppers and eat your food!

Start now. Get them up when they will be getting up for school. You'll be so happy to not have to drag them out of bed that first few days of the new year. Also start going to bed early enough for 8-10 hours of sleep (for the kids, and it wouldn't hurt you either).

Have a night routine: make lunches, pick out clothes, pack backpacks, take showers, find shoes, etc. I promise your mornings may be early, but they will run more smoothly if you're prepared.

We also do weekly Family Meetings and share what each kid has going on that week: lessons, play dates, school work, activities, etc. We also include the parents' schedule so the kids know where we are too. You can use a basic computer printed calendar or a cheap dollar store planner for kids. This is a good way to show kids how to budget their time.

Back to school sales! If you aren't already sign up to shop online through or do it! These companies send you a check for shopping through their sites. For example: I had a Children's Place purchase. By logging onto ebates first, I got 10% back, of my purchase price. Once I logged onto ebates, I selected Children's Place and they linked me to the site. Then I shopped as normal, even used a discount code and paid on the CP website as I normally would. Then I got an email from ebates saying for shopping through them, they'd added $6.50 to my ebates account and I would receive a check at the next check distribution (which is every 3 months for them.). So on top of buying clothes on sale and using my discount code on the CP website, I also get $6.50 back from ebates. Make sense?

Kolh's big sale starts today, online and in store.
Children's Place has free shipping
Aeropostale has a great sale this week too.

Office Max, Staples and Target all have back to school supplies on sale. Don't forget to stock up on kleenex, glue sticks, Expo markers, Clorox wipes, etc. for your teachers.

Save it where you can.

Enjoy the rest of summer. We are going to local farmers markets, having a scavenger hunt and finishing up a couple of service projects. Whatever you do, make it memorable!