Thursday, May 31

question for you...

I'm juggling so many things right now - working from home, baby, getting the house in shape for possibly selling it, etc... and getting me in shape!

I work well when I have an incentive for motivation, but am having trouble coming up with incentives that also help my weightloss. My normal motivators include food, Starbucks, time off my pathetic exercise schedule, etc... Not very good for me. But I'm hesitating to use clothes as motivators, because I'm hoping to slim down, and don't want to stay this size for long.

Any thoughts? What do you use to motivate yourself?

Wednesday, May 30

updates

So we had Popcorn Chicken for dinner last night. BRILLIANT. I had never thought about doing chicken that way. It's straight-forward, you just cut the chicken into tiny pieces. I don't know who liked it better, Mister or I. Lucky him got to take the extras in his lunch today.

I have foccacia going in the bread machine now for tonight's paninis. I'm drooling over the thought of them. Carmelized onions, roast beef, dipping sauce, olive-oil-brushed-foccacia... We're eating well at our house tonight!

Yesterday was a day of contrasts. One dear friend called me from the hospital to tell me she was going to have her baby... and another friend was sobbing in my arms because she and her husband have been trying to have a baby for years without any luck. It's so hard to see people struggle with infertility when you know that there are millions of unwanted babies aborted each year. It doesn't quite seem fair, that the people who would just adore children don't necessarily get them... Then there's us. We got pregnant on our honeymoon without even trying to. (And we were proud to be virgins on our wedding night... so that just shows you how easily we conceived.) I can't imagine the heartache that must come along with infertility...

Lots of prayer intentions out there. But right now I'm waiting for news of Baby Shrimpy. He actually does have a name, but that was his in-utero-nickname... I crocheted him a stuffed shrimp that has a place of honor in his crib... he'll never live down the Shrimpy-ness. :o)

Tuesday, May 29

oh - swoon!

One of my favorite parts of being in Chicago-land this last weekend was a shopping excursion that the Mister, Peanut and I took to Woodfield Mall. This mall pretty much has everything you could ever want, under one roof. Living in the Midwest, you get used to shopping at just the stores in your local mall. But this one has EVERYTHING.

Including this fabulous store that I had wanted to visit forever, and swooned over when I was there. It hasn't made it to Central Illinois yet.

A Day in the Life of a Mama

Gosh. Life has just been crazy lately. And when I say crazy, I mean!

I've started a new job which is supposed to see me putting in 10-20 hours a week, but I'm struggling to get that in. It involves a lot of computer time, so after our exhausting but fulfilling yard sale a week ago, we took the money we earned and bought a fabulous used laptop, so now I at least feel cool while I'm working.

The biggest thing in our life right now is Peanut sitting up. It's so cute - she is still a little wobblybutt, though, but she thinks it's funny if she falls over. We were at Mister's parents house this last weekend, so she's a little fried from all the attention and lack of sleep... The in-laws actually weren't there - they left Saturday morning for a Hawaiian cruise, and we showed up a few hours later. While we missed seeing them, it gave us the freedom to spend time with other people, have relaxing evenings, etc... so it worked out very well. We spent all day Saturday in downtown Chicago, and had a special dinner at Roy's, which is a Hawaiian chain that we went to in Maui (on our honeymoon) and finally made it to for our anniversary dinner. (Along with our baby and brother-in-law, the priest that married us!)

Other than that, life is calm. Oh wait... NOPE! We've been having fun working on our house and yard, but suddenly there's a reason to do it. We're not sure yet, but we might be scrambling to get our house ready for the market, and moving this summer. It's a little crazy, not knowing yet, but there's a house that I have been in love with for a year. It's been on the market that long, and we started calling it "my house" last summer. I'd drive by it every couple of months to make sure it was still for sale, but there was no reason to consider buying it. Now, the price has dropped and it's been relisted with a realtor who will buy the house from the seller 3 months after it's listed - for a seriously reduced price. So if we can sneak in a low bid, but just higher than the realtor's price, right at the end of those 3 months, we may end up with my dream house.

It's HUGE. More than twice the square footage of our current house, with a 1/3 acre lot, a block away from a gorgeous park, in a quiet and established neighborhood. It needs a lot - a LOT - of cosmetic updates, but we don't think it needs too many real updates other than some wiring and a new front stoop. It's just beautiful on the outside, and the floor plan is to die for. But there's a lot of work. We'll see what happens, but my heart starts racing at the thought of actually getting to live in this house...

It looks like a house that Cary Grant or Greer Garson would have lived in. It's fabulous.

Menu Plan Monday / Tuesday

Hi! We were on vacation this weekend, so this menu plan is a day late. You know how last week was a "clean out the fridge / pantry" week? I made it without going to the grocery store, even for the 3 staples that I'd said I could! We used paper towels for the coffee filters, and made it without bananas and yogurt...

But today, it's imperative that I go to the store. We're out of bacon, coffee creamer, the three above-mentioned necessities, body wash, deodorant, etc. It's definitely time to shop!! So as soon as Peanut's recovered from her super-hyper weekend (she's sound asleep right now), we'll head off. Until then, I can plan my menu...

Menu Plan for Week of May 28:
Monday:
breakfast - eggs and croissants - with Mister's brother
lunch - lasagna, salad and Godiva - with Mister's siblings, etc.
dinner - chinese (It was frozen. It was easy.)

Tuesday:
breakfast - pineapple pancakes, the last of the bacon
lunch - leftovers for Mister, ?? for me
dinner - Popcorn Chicken, dipping sauces, whatever fresh veggies look good @ the store

Wednesday:
breakfast - scrambled eggs
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - French Dip Paninis, green salad

Thursday:
breakfast - oatmeal
lunch - sandwiches for Mister, lunch for me with friend
dinner - Foil Pack Taco Chicken Dinner (okay, okay, everybody seems to use this one, so I need to see what all the fuss is about!)

Friday:
breakfast - poached eggs on toast, bacon and fruit
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - Ginger Glazed Salmon, rice, broccoli

Saturday:
breakfast - cold cereal for me, frozen pancakes for Mister
lunch - we'll be doing tons of house / yard work, so we'll probably pick up something
dinner - not planning on cooking. I'll be tired. Pizza?

Sunday:
breakfast - omelets
lunch - grill out? We might stop by butchers on way home from church.
dinner - cheese & crackers, fruit, popcorn

Monday, May 21

Menu Plan Monday

So I'm not doing a regular menu plan this week. What I'm going to do is a little bit different - and a lot harder for me. What I'm going to do is make this a sticky post and add to it all week.

My Challenge: I am only allowed to use ingredients that are already in the house. I can go to the grocery store today for bananas, yogurt and coffee filters, since the Mister eats yogurt every day for lunch and we're out... and in this house, it would almost be considered a catastrophe of epic proportions if we ran out of either bananas or coffee filters.

So. I have a tiny pantry, a refrigerator and two freezers semi-stocked with food. What creative ways can I come up with to use what I have instead of buying more?

Menu Plan for Week of May 21:
Monday:
breakfast - leftover quiche and applesauce
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - chicken caesar salad (never had this last week)

Tuesday:
breakfast - oatmeal
lunch - leftover salad for Mister, sandwich for me
dinner - frozen fish, homemade mac-n-cheese (with Sargento's new chipotle cheddar... drool!!)

Wednesday:
breakfast - cinnamon raisin french toast
lunch - leftovers for Mister, at friends' house for me
dinner - wings & salad for Mister, wings & mac-n-cheese for me

Thursday:
breakfast - eggs
lunch - Mister went out with work people, I had mom-lunch-group
dinner - frozen pizza

Friday:
breakfast - oatmeal
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - brats / coleslaw

the craziness that is my life

So. Last week I didn't post much. Want to know why?

Wellll... you have your choice between the broken water heater and the yard sale. I know, I know, a broken water heater isn't THAT big of a deal, unless you want to wash dishes, take showers, DO DIAPER LAUNDRY, etc. When you cloth diaper your baby, a hot water heater is a big deal. The showers weren't so bad, since I'd fill the bathtub up halfway with cold water, and then boil water on the stove and pour it in until it reached a warm-enough-temperature... I felt like Laura Ingalls or something.

And then there was the yard sale. Gosh, they're a lot of work! We had three families selling stuff, three little girls selling lemonade and doughnuts, and as a result, I have NORMAL looking closets (no bulging anymore!) and $500 in cash! We're getting me a laptop with the money... how fun is that? It was a long day, I'm still a little tired, but I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Stay tuned for my challenge to myself for this week!

Wednesday, May 16

wfmw - put de lime in de coconut and mix it up togedduh


maltodextrin... monosodium glutamate... citric acid... lactic acid... dextrose... gum arabic... glycerol... blue 1... red 40... sodium diacetate... partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

if you're anything like me, you're not particularly excited about eating all of those ingredients (and more!) when you're sitting down to enjoy those AMAZING Tostitos chips with the Hint of Lime. but they're just soooo good. plain. with salsa. with queso. did i say plain? with a slice of avocado.

i have a solution, ladies!! for a heck of a lot cheaper, and really with very little fuss.

gather corn tortillas (i buy a 4 inch stack for $1.84), a lime, a salt shaker, a pizza pan or cookie sheet and a pizza cutter. you're ready to go. preheat your oven to about 350. roll the lime on the countertop for a minute to loosen the juices. slice off one end - just enough to expose some limey goodness. rub the exposed surface of the lime on as many tortillas as you like. if you stop getting lime juice, just slice off a little bit and you've got fresh juice! when your tortillas are shiny with the juice, salt 'em. slice them up with your pizza cutter. you can make chips by cutting wedges, you can just do strips, or you can do skinny strips for taco salad (we like those!). for added zing, lime up both sides.

put your pieces on your pizza pan / cookie sheet. i prefer my pizza pan because it has little holes in it, which allows me to skip the step of flipping them. put them in the oven for a few minutes - watching carefully. you'll want to experiment with how crispy you like them.

but that's it. they're so good hot - and really, they're very simple. i get chatty when writing recipes but the steps could have looked like this:

  • cut lime
  • rub on tortillas
  • salt
  • cut
  • place on sheet
  • bake
  • eat
that's not too daunting, is it? and they're cheap and WAAAY lower in fat and sodium and all that stuff.

Tuesday, May 15

not-so-bloody-mary

I love V8 juice. It seems to be one of those things where you either love it or you think drinking it is worse than eating dryer lint. However, it can get a bit thick-tasting after a while, you know? I usually add a squirt of lemon juice and a dash of pepper to it, which helps a lot.

But today I tried something new. I put about 7 oz of regular V8 in a glass, and then added about 1 oz of sparkling lime water (not sweetened - zero calories) to it. Stir, and enjoy. It's much fresher tasting than regular V8, and because it's slightly watered down, it goes down much smoother. Talk about an easy way to get a serving of veggies!

i feel like a dork

i just pulled up this blog to see what we're having for dinner tonight. :o)

tackle it tuesday


Ok. Today's list:

  • mail contract back to company for new WAHM job
  • work for 2 hours
  • reserve audiobook at library for Mister
  • prep grocery list / coupons
  • go to grocery store
  • go to liquor store to see if i can buy crates to store wine bottles
  • go to nursery to buy parsley and ground cover
  • organize Peanut's clothes to purge excess 0-6 month stuff
  • purge kitchen
  • purge hall closet
  • purge dining room
  • purge living room
  • purge office
  • purge linen closet
  • purge bedroom
  • bring all purged goodies to garage for yard sale this weekend
  • strip and make bed
  • shower
  • clean kitchen
  • maaaaybe organize the fabric (didn't do it from last week and Mister has started making jokes about the floor being padded in the office / sewing room due to all the stacks of fabric everywhere)
  • work on afghan during idol
  • watch american idol
  • vote a LOT (for JORDIN!)
  • feed and entertain Peanut

Update (1:30): Making lunch now. Made up a recipe. I might post it. I'm procrastinating. Big storms are coming through, so I may hold off on the errands. I have enough food to make dinner, breakfast and tomorrow's lunches, so I'm not in any rush to go to the store.

Sunday, May 13

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan for Week of May 13:
Monday:
breakfast - scrambled eggs, bacon and grapefruit
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - taco salad

Tuesday:
breakfast - oatmeal, grapefruit
lunch - taco salad leftovers
dinner - chinese (fried rice, egg rolls, etc)

Wednesday:
breakfast - salsa eggs, bacon, fruit
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - hamburgers and homemade rolls

Thursday:
breakfast - pancakes, bacon and fruit
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - pizza

Friday:
breakfast - poached eggs on toast, bacon and fruit
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - chicken caesar salad

Saturday:
breakfast - fried eggs
lunch - brats & pasta salad (Mister's cooking as I'm doing a yard sale...)
dinner - ??

Sunday:
breakfast - quiche and coffeecake
lunch - wings and man-food
dinner - cheese & crackers, fruit, popcorn

Friday, May 11

sheesh

Isn't it still early May? It's been in the mid-80s all week. I didn't mind too much, since Peanut and I just holed up in our house with the curtains drawn and the air conditioning on. But today I had to plant some of our gardens. And scrub the front door and scrape all the paint / caulk off the trim, as Mister's planning on painting it tomorrow. It should go from really dirty taupe to cranberry. Whoa. Big difference. And if the trim goes from really dirty taupe to a nice cream, then it'll be even better. Add a new mailbox to that, and *presto-change-o* you have an instant face-lift.

We'll see if it all gets done tomorrow! I may even post a picture. But not a before. That's too depressing. :o)

The gardens look nice, though. Last year I balked at planting petunias, since everyone in our town plants them. They do very well in this climate, and turn into lush cascades of flowers. But I wanted to be original. I had the coolest looking gardens, but Mister asked why we didn't do the "overflowing flowers" like everyone else has. Turns out he just thinks those are great. So this year, we have tons of petunias planted. Gotta make him happy! But I added even more lavendar to my gardens. I love lavendar. And I planted an herb garden in a funky pot on my deck. I'm excited - walk out the dining room and grab some sun-warmed herbs for summer cookin? ::swoon::

Okay. Peanut's stirring and I should go rinse down the front door one more time. Talk to you later!

Tuesday, May 8

tackle it tuesday

Sheesh. Today's list is a little long, but hey...

  • make another ring sling to send out
  • package and mail the sling
  • go shopping for quite a long list
  • email somebody about something
  • shower (hey when you've got a little one, it has to go on the list, otherwise it won't happen!)
  • re-organize my fabric stash (I bought more)
  • clean out basement closet (we're having a garage sale soon)
  • work on editing video for my sister-in-law
Edited: We're teething today. Meltdown Mania. My normally perfect child (no joke, you think I'm kidding!) has had a very rough day. I don't know if I'll get out to run my errands...

Edited Again: Here's a picture of the latest ring sling that got sent out:

Monday, May 7

everyday design

so my design is cool. not fabulous, but i like it. it's simplistic.

BUT. everyday mommy is giving away a design for mother's day. i'm swooning. she does GREAT work. that would make me feel a little more like a grownup blogger, and not the baby blogger that i really still am... :)

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan for Week of May 7:
Monday:
breakfast - salsa eggs, bacon and fruit
lunch - leftover brats and pasta salad
dinner - tuna mac and broccoli

Tuesday:
breakfast - choc. chip pancakes, bacon, grapefruit
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - grilled chicken and pasta

Wednesday:
breakfast - scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, bacon
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - fish tacos

Thursday:
breakfast - oatmeal and grapefruit
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - gyros, homemade pitas, cuke salad

Friday:
breakfast - poached eggs on toast, bacon and fruit
lunch - leftovers
dinner - taking Mister out to celebrate the completion of his MBA

Saturday:
breakfast - omelets and coffeecake
lunch - ??
dinner - ??

Sunday:
breakfast - muffins
lunch - Mister is taking me out for brunch!
dinner - cheese & crackers, fruit, popcorn

pina colada pancakes and what-not

Hey, y'all! Missed me? I didn't realize that it had been almost a week since I'd posted last. It's been a little crazy around here. I broke a toe last week by dropping a colander on it. I know, I know. Who drops a colander on their toes, and who has a heavy enough one to do any damage? ME! Then the car was in the shop for a couple of days. Some of my non-SAHM friends just shrugged that off saying, "well, you're home anyway, why would it matter if the car is in the shop?"

Oh, but it does matter. You can't do the weekly library run, the grocery store run, etc. Peanut had developed a horribly red bottom due to the detergent I was washing her cloth diapers in, and so I was stuck at home without a way to go get her new detergent, or even some Huggies to hold her over... And my toe was broken, so even if I hadn't left the stroller in the car when we took the car in, I still couldn't have walked to the grocery store with her.

But. The foot is much better. The car is back. It's a bright sunny day, and her bottom is healed. Life is back to stable.

Last week, I had listed pina colada pancakes in my meal plan, and had been asked for the recipe. I waited this long to respond because there's only one slight problem when people ask me for recipes. I don't use recipes if I'm cooking. If I'm baking, I do, unless it's something like apple crisp where it's very flexible. So. Here's my pina colada pancake non-recipe:

Pina Colada Pancakes
pancake mix - the add water only type
canned pineapple - either the crushed or the tidbits
coconut - either sweetened or unsweetened works
coconut extract
water

Dump an appropriate amount of pancake mix into a bowl. I like the add-water-only type because if I'm out of eggs and milk, I can still make pancakes. Toss in some canned pineapple. If I'm making these for just Mister and I, then I use 1/2 a can and save the rest for another day. Make sure you put that nice pineapple juice in there, too, as that adds a touch more sweetness. Toss in some coconut. How much? I like to have that extra texture in every bite, so I use a good bit. Drizzle in a few drops of coconut extract. Add water until it's all at the proper consistency. Fry 'em up on a griddle and enjoy with maple syrup.

See what I mean? That's an awful recipe to follow if you like to measure out the 1/8 teaspoon salt when recipes call for that. This is a family trend - my Nana (great-grandmother) used to give people recipes with a "glop" of this or a "gurgle of oil..." My mom's the same way, but at least she will take the time to figure out a recipe before giving it to someone. Good luck following it - they really are the best pancakes I make. My repetoire consists of banana nut, apple, blueberry, pumpkin, multi grain, banana chocolate chip (another favorite), pina colada.... um... those are the regulars, but Mister loooooves my pina colada pancakes!

Tuesday, May 1

AI - top 6 - Bon Jovi style

What a fun night! I was only able to see the middle four contestants as I was finishing dinner during Phil and changing Peanut during Melinda... but here's some thoughts, anyway!

Phil - “Blaze of Glory” - Hmm. The recap looked really good. Wish I'd seen it. I voted for him anyway - 'cause I think he's been getting better and better lately...

Jordin - “Livin’ On A Prayer” - The Diana Ross look was kickin'. I thought she did better than the judges thought, but then again, I'm a Jordin fan. :o) I've had it in my head for the rest of the night, so it must have been pretty good!

LaKisha - “This Ain’t A Love Song” - Dude. Did she kiss Simon? Whoa. Points for that! I thought she was good - but I didn't think she was as great as the judges thought. But the audience loved it, so hey, I think she comes across in person better than on TV - I've thought that before with her.

Blake - “You Give Love A Bad Name” - Jaw drop. SO COOL. Glad he busted out the originality - he needed that to stay in the game. He's been so bland the last few weeks, so this was a fun surprise. Way cool. I voted a LOT for him tonight.

Chris - “Wanted: Dead or Alive” - Eh. Okay. Ever since Simon said he sings nasally, he's been really good about singing normally, which is better... but I don't think he'll make it much further.

Melinda - “Have A Nice Day” - Missed it. But really? I'm sure she was fabulous.

Who should go? - Chris. Probably LaKisha.

Best of the night? - Blake. Hard to say who was next 'cause I missed two! ARGH! Must have dinner ready before 7:00 next week.

my "first" Mother's Day

I was pregnant with Peanut last Mother's Day, but this will be my very first get-to-snuggle-a-baby on Mother's Day experience...

And in honor of that, 5 minutes for Mom is hosting some freakishly awesome contests. Don't know what all is on the agenda, but the iPod? :swoon:

Really. It's all in honor of me. Or the 2-point-something billion other moms out there....

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