Thursday, December 20, 2007

Beating the post office rush

I'm never a big fan of frequenting the post office but I especially like to avoid it this time of year. Considering I haven't yet mailed my Christmas cards, I was dreading just making the stop to get stamps from the machine. HOWEVER - I recently discovered one of the local gas stations now has a postal counter and there is rarely, if ever, a line.

I'm such a sap

There are certain songs that "get" to me and there's one playing right now during the Christmas season that makes me ball my eyes out each and every time I hear it on the radio. I think it's called "Christmas Shoes" and if you've heard it, you probably know which song I'm talking about. So, if you see a crazy woman driving down the street crying, you can probably guess what is playing on the radio.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Holidays



This past Saturday, we went to Rich's company Christmas party. It's a fun evening but this year was even more meaningful to me because I have changed so much n my appearance. Last year at this time, I was praying that I had something in my closet that not only fit me, but would actually look half-way decent. This year, the only thing I had to worry about was whether my strapless bra would stay up the entire evening (which it did!)

Funny things happen though when you lose a lot of weight. People don't recognize you. Rich called me this morning to let me know that several people at the party didn't come up to us because they thought Rich was there with "another woman". While I am almost "half the woman" I used to be, I can assure them that it is still me.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Apparently bigger is NOT better


Last night, we had our Ladies' Christmas Candlelight Tea at church. I volunteered to hostess a table this year. After much thought, I went with a Gingerbread Candyland theme. As a "take-home" gift, I baked and decorated individual gingerbread men for my table guests. Of course, when you are trying to make 10 "perfect" men, you are bound to have some failures in between. Thus, I had a few with misshapen body parts or missing limbs. Still, even the leftovers are fair game for my family. Ian was extremely excited to see the gingerbread men last night when he came home from school and wanted one for his dessert. Since I was at the tea last night, I did not see him before he went to bed so this morning he informed me that the next time I make gingerbread cookies, I need to make them smaller as the current cookies were just "too big" and made his tummy ache (even though the size didn't stop him from eating the whole thing).

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .

at least at our house! Over the long weekend, we got out the stockings, went and chopped down a tree and today Kyra and I set up our Little People Nativity set.

I have to say, preparing for Christmas without having to think about unpacking boxes sure does change one's perspective!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Getting there!




Another six weeks has passed and I am now at then end of weight loss cycle number five. I am now within 3 pounds of the "high end" of my ideal body weight for my fram size though I want to get to the lower end of that scale. Thus, today I am starting on cycle number six. Not the easiest thing to do the week of Thanksgiving, but you can't stop progress.

Oh, and sorry about the x-ray vision on the flash. I swear in regular lighting this shirt is not see-through! (but then again, you can all see my "uplift" from Nordstroms!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bring it on, Winter!

Today is really the first day I have to acknowledge that perhaps winter is finally coming to northeast Wisconsin. The temperature in the car read 39 degrees shortly before noon today so I doubt it will be getting much warmer. I even saw a flurry or two in the air this morning. But, one thing that makes me incredibly happy despite the colkd and thoughts of snow is the fact that Starbucks has brought out their holiday drinks and my favorite from last season, the gingerbread latte, is not only back, but available in a sugar free version!

So today Kyra and I stopped in for my morning protein "snack". Hey, it may be coffee, but it's made with milk! I was almost, but not quite yet, ready to hear some Christmas carols in the background.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's the sweetest time of the year!

As I was bumbling my way through the grocery store yesterday after my morning workout, my day started off on a high note. There, in the middle of the produce section was a pallet of one of my favorite fruits: CLEMENTINES!!! I just love this time of year where these sweet little fruits appear in their little crates. It takes me back to my days in Strasbourg where we'd go to the market and buy a crate and snack on them all day long. And I don't know why, but the first ones of the season are always just so sweet!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dr. Phil's Test - I'm a 40

My friend Lisa sent this to me. I'm not a huge Dr. Phil fan, but I found it interesting.

Below is Dr. Phil's test. (Dr. Phil scored 55; he did this test on Oprah - she got a 38.) Some folks pay a lot of money to find this stuff out!

Read on, this is very interesting!

Don't be overly sensitive! The following is pretty accurate and it only takes 2 minutes. Take this test for yourself and send it to your friends.

The person who sent it placed her score in the e-mail subject box. Please do the same before forwarding to your friends (send it back to the person who sent it to you.) Don't peek, but begin the test as you scroll down and answer.

Answers are for who you are now --- not who you were in the past. Have pen or pencil and paper ready.


This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept. at many of the major corporations today. It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and prospective employees. It's only 10 Simple questions, so grab a pencil and paper, keeping track of your letter answers to each question.


Make sure to change the subject of the e-mail to read YOUR total. When you are finished, forward this to friends/family, and also send it to the person who sent this to you. Make sure to put YOUR score in the subject box.


Ready??

Begin.


1. When do you feel your best?
a) in the morning
b) during the afternoon & and early evening
c) late at night

2. You usually walk...
a) fairly fast, with long steps
b) fairly fast, with little steps
c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face d) less fast, head down
e) very slowly

3. When talking to people you.. .
a) stand with your arms folded
b) have your hands clasped
c) have one or both your hands on your hips
d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with.. .
a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b) your legs crossed
c) your legs stretched out or straight
d) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with...
a) big appreciated laugh
b) a laugh, but not a loud one
c) a quiet chuckle
d) a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering you.. .
a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted...
a) welcome the break
b) feel extremely irritated
c) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most?
a) Red or orange
b) black
c) yellow or light blue
d) green
e) dark blue or purple
f) white
g) brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are. ..
a) stretched out on your back
b) stretched out face down on your stomach
c) on your side, slightly curled
d) with your head on one arm
e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...
a) falling
b) fighting or struggling
c) searching for something or somebody
d) flying or floating
e) you usually have dreamless sleep
f) your dreams are always pleasant

POINTS:
1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 ( c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1
Now add up the total number of points.

OVER 60 POINTS : Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS : Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS : Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS : Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every an gle and the n, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS : People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some peopl e think you' re boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren't.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I feel so uplifted

So I got back late last night from the LM Crop and it was just as much fun if not more than last year. But, my title does not speak to the fun of the weekend past! I speak of my Nordstroms bra fitting experience.

Thanks to the recommendations of so many, I took the plunge and made an appointment for this weekend. I walked away with three incredible bras. Who knew undergarments could be so much fun!

Monday, October 29, 2007

To panic or not to panic?

That is the question, isn't it? Back in January, I re-upped for another annual crop with the wonderful women at Lifetime Moments. At the time, it seemed so far off that there was no way I wasn't going to be prepared. In fact, I even joked that one could feasibly get pregnant, deliver and still make it to the crop (and one person almost actually succeeded in that feat).

So, here we are, three days before the big event. Am I packed? Heavens no! Do I know what I am going to be working on? Of course not! All I know is that as of Wednesday evening, I am turning in my Mommy card for four days of nothing but good friends and good times! Why should I panic?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Another game of tag!

One of my fellow LMers (Mandi) has tagged me. (For those of you who have been living under a rock, LM is pretty much my "home" on the WWW). Anyhow, here are the rules:

1-Link to your tagger (see above), and also post these rules on your blog. They are right here!

2-Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.


3-Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

4- Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, here are my 7 facts:

1. I am having a professional bra fitting next week and I am ecstatic about it!
2. I have never seen The Sound of Music (either the movie or the play)
3. Is anyone else bothered that Dora the Explorer's and Go! Diego! Go!'s mothers let them roam through jungles by themselves?
4. I once saw Tiffany in concert.
5. I do not have a "proven" pelvis (and my OB told me so!)
6. I cannot transfer wet sweaters to the dryer by myself.
7. I always wanted to be a nurse until I realized I could not stand the sight of blood.

Now, I am going to tag: Angie, JenniB, Stephanie, Arlyn, and Susan

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Shopping funnies

I don't like to go shopping with Kyra. I feel like I am constantly asking Rich if he minds if I go out shopping by myself. He usually doesn't care (other than the fact that I am spending his money), but I still feel a little guilt because I am "technically" able to work shopping into my weekly routine.

So, today, Kyra and I headed to the mall to do some shopping. She was actually rather well-behaved for the first part of the morning. She even earned herself a cookie from Mrs. Fields (more so as a bribe so I could do my Old Navy shopping in peace).

Kyra has actually been pretty good recently about shopping outside of her stroller. She will stay right by my side and doesn't really tear up a store because she knows that is a one-way ticket to stroller imprisonment. So, after said cookie was finished, she wanted to "go shoppin'" at Old Navy. We were in the sportswear/sleepwear department and the next thing I see is Kyra with a pair of black lace panties over her head saying "look mommy, pretty Kyra!"

And Rich wonders why I don't like to shop with her during the week!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A good alternative to Halloween candy temptation

Every store now mocks me as I walk in with huge displays of Halloween candy. In the past, I have a horrible downfall for Smarties and would like to avoid letting those evil rolls of melt-in-your-mouth sugary goodness enter my home. Well, here's one great idea I found at Target and Wal-Mart: mini tubs of playdough! You can get anywhere from 20-25 tubs in a package for around $4 a package. This is a great alternative for those who have a lot of young trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood. And thankfully, I don't like the taste of playdough!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

So memorable I can still taste it!

I was just responding to a question of the day at Lifetime Moments about what my favorite type of cake was. Actually, I can do without the "cake" portion of cake - just give me a good buttercream frosting and I will be in sugar-shock heaven. But there I go on a tangent again.

Anyhow, the question got me thinnking back to the days of my *ahem* youth and the best darn cake of all time - the banana cake with buttercream frosting from Patty Cake Bakery in Griffith, Indiana. Words cannot describe exactly how yummy the buttercream frosting was on this cake. It is making my mouth water just thinking about it.

Sadly, Patty Cake went out of business years ago along with my hopes and dreams of ever obtaining the recipe of this much beloved frosting and cake. I guess it's just as well - my hips don't need it!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Another update



Wow. I got to the end of my 4th cycle in my plan. Overall, I have lost 62 pounds to date which is approximately 10 pounds a month. This cycle was my "lowest" in terms of overall percentage weight loss though. I think as I get closer to my yet-to-be-determined goal weight, it will get trickier to lose it more rapidly. Anyhow, this is me today and I am happy with her. And, in case you were curious, this is
me six weeks ago.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

When did my vocabulary change?

I called Ian to dinner the other day and I realized that during my childhood, it was already referred to as supper. What's more, when I was growing up, coke and other carbonated drinks were "pop"; I now refer to them as "soda". When did I change these things and why?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Getting to know you

I finally took the plunge! I got myself a laptop which will be in my scrapbook room (thereby allowing me to finally unpack my Silhouette. I think I actually overheard Rich squealing with glee over the fact that he no longer has to share a computer with me (except of course, when I need to actually print something).

Of course, having a new computer, it's like starting from square one getting all of my favorites and my address book up to speed. Yes, I know there's probably an easy way to do all of this, but it took me all afternoon yesterday to get the wireless set up - Rome was not built in a day!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Do you remember?

Yesterday we got a catalog in the mail from an educational toy place. I flipped through it marking several pages for cool gift ideas, but it really made me think back to one of the most joyous annual days of my childhood - the arrival of the Sears Wishbook! Oh, how we would fight over that catalog! Page after page of toys and gizmos so we could start making our lists. Today's catalogs just pale in comparison!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dr. Bunson Honeydew!



HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RICH! I LOVE YOU!

Beaker

Monday, September 24, 2007

Menu Plan Monday



Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. This week is still pretty hectic, but should be a little better than last week.

Monday: Roast Chicken
Tuesday: dinner out
Wednesday: Thai Shrimp Salad
Thursday: Teriyaki Chicken and Mushrooms (leaving on from last week since I didn't get to it)
Friday Bacon Bit Burgers with Steak House Smothered Onions
Saturday: TBD
Sunday: Grilled Sirloin

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What does this say about me?


I am 71% loser. What about you? Click here to find out!


I linked to this one from Ginger's blog. Probably true, but the questions weren't really giving a lot of choices

Creepy weird but still funny



Thanks to Angie at Many Little Blessings for the link.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The return of Menu Plan Monday



It's definitely been a while since I participated in or contributed to anything for Menu Plan Monday. In fact, it's been so long that Laura at
I'm an Organizing Junkie changed her Menu Plan Monday picture. Alas, it's time for me to get back with the program even if this isn't a week where I plan to be doing much of any cooking.

Monday: Roast Chicken
Tuesday: Grilled Shrimp & Zucchini Salad
Wednesday: I'm going to do my darndest to not cook
Thursday: Teriyaki Chicken and Mushrooms
Friday: Dinner out
Saturday: TBD
Sunday: Bears on Sunday Night Football - probably wings or something

So, not highly original, but still a plan nonetheless!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Can it really be fall?

I was talking to my brother this morning and he asked me if the leaves were changing up here yet. I honestly hadn't bothered to look recently. So, today when Kyra and I were headed back from the park, I just glanced up at the trees by the river and noticed that some red is starting to appear at the tops of the trees. This being our first full autumn here, I can't wait to see how the color progresses.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Another day, another pair or broken glasses

Yep, got the call from school this afternoon. Ian broke his glasses taking off his sweatshirt. On the other hand, I think he broke his personal record for keeping a pair of glasses intact. Looks like we'll be headed to Eye Mart this weekend.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tim Gunn - I need your help!


A lot of you probably already know that I am a reality show junkie. What is it about these train wrecks that I am so compelled to watch them? Alas, I digress. My newest venture into reality TV is Tim Gunn's Guide to Style. I love Tim from his days on Project Runway. He's just so cool and you know he just tells it like it is. I keep telling Rich that I need Tim to come to my closet for a makeover - but somehow I don't see that happening.

Anyhow, now that I have lost a "bit" of weight, I really need some new clothes that don't make me look like a frumpy school marm. At the same time, I still have some more weight to lose, so I don't want to go overboard. However, I'm still in my "overweight, plus size" mindset and so I'm having trouble picturing what would even come close to looking decent on me. The other problem is that when I do actually find something I like, my practical nature takes over. I don't think I can bring myself to pay $40-$50 for a shirt that may be out of style by say, next week.

So, if anyone has any connection whatsoever to Tim, please send him my way. Otherwise, I'll continue my quest.

Friday, September 7, 2007

That's one way to wake up!

So I have been going on my morning walks since May and it's a routine I have perversely come to enjoy. Actually, it's 50-60 minutes that I have all to myself even if I have to get up at the crack of dawn to do it.

Anyhow, in all this time of doing my morning walks, I've only been rained out once which is a pretty amazing record. This morning I woke up to discover it had rained during the night, but aside from being a little windy, it wasn't raining so I headed out. I made it about a mile and a half when I felt a drop or two but determined it was the trees spitting on me. About 5 minutes later, I was caught in a torrential downpour!

I turned around and went home where Rich had a towel waiting for me. All in all, it wasn't that bad, but now my shoes need some major drying out!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Nice Matters Award


I was nominated for a Nice Matters award by Angie at Many Little Blessings

Here is what the Nice Matters Award is all about: “This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded please pass on to seven others whom you feel are deserving of this award."

Here are my seven:

Jen B. at Tellin' It On The Mountain

Mandi M. at Living in Creative Harmony

Arlyn at My Wordz (I know Angie nominated you too, but you are so deserving!)

Stephanie at Finding My Way

Susan B. at My life . . . in runon sentences

Jenni B at A Work In Progress

and of course,

Angie at Many Little Blessings

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back to school


Today is Ian's first day back to school. He was so excited to be going back. It was quite different taking him for the first day this year. I was amazed how few parents actually came to see their children off on the first day. Of course, Ian was excited because he has moved over to the "big kids" side being that he is now a THIRD GRADER!

(ETA: someone just pointed out to me that the school name is actually spelled wrong on the sign! Oops! LOL!)

Friday, August 31, 2007

The most awesome walking song ever

My iPod is truly an ecclectic mix but I've never been one to listen to just one type of music. Rich got me my iPod mini a couple of years ago for mother's day. It's pretty close to capacity, but I don't think I'd want a bigger one because then it's just overwhelming how many songs are on it. Anyhow, when I updated my iPod the last time, I threw on a few of some of the kids' songs on there because they are quite catchy. Anyhow, today as I was walking, I heard one of my all-time favorites (taking me back to when I had this album on vinyl): Cookie Monster's "Me Lost Me Cookie at the Disco". It might not be "American Pie" but it sure put a smile on my face and a spring in my step

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Less of Me (again)


with vacation and getting back into the routine. I completely forgot to post my end of phase 3 picture. And just for your frame of reference, here's my picture from the end of phase 2

Friday, August 17, 2007

And now for a totally random website . . .

Thanks to Vern! at LM for this one:

U.S. Name Generator

Check it out! I got 4 different names using given name/nickname and my current and maiden names.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The cows did it!

Today we went back to Madison to visit some old friends. On the drive home tonight, I chose the backroads because I like driving up the lake. Of course, being the dairy state, there are quite a few cows and well, on a hot day, cows stink! The kids and I had a few laughs about it being "stinky" and the typical 8-year old boy bathroom humor.

We got home around 8:15 and when I pulled Kyra out of the car seat, I could definitely tell she needed a diaper change. When I asked her if she made stinky, she looked at me with that cute smile and curly head of hair and said "cows!" I've never laughed so hard!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Is this really appropriate?

Since I have been on my weight loss journey, I have become a "walker" in the early mornings. I really like it even though I have to get up at the crack of dawn to do it. I have a set "route" that I take but I alterante the direction I take each day (mostly due to the fact that there is a nasty hill and I can't imagine going up that sucker every day!)

Anyhow, I will get to my point. When I walk, I stay on the public streets/sidewalks. Tonight, as I was driving back from dinner with the kids, we passed the local cemetery and lo and behold, there are two women POWER WALKING through the cemetery! It just really bothered me. While I realize that there are paved pathways throughout, I hardly find it appropriate to speed walk through the final resting places of so many. Does this strike you as an odd place to exercise?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happiness is . . .

a 4 hour nap! Sadly I was not the napper, but I did benefit from Kyra's long snooze this afternoon especially since she hardly napped at all yesterday.

Anyhow, today I managed to go though all of my drawers/laundry baskets deciding whether to keep or pitch. I filled two large trash bags with "too big" clothes and I am caught up on laundry (to the extent one can ever be caught up).

With that now behind me, I'm looking forward to being able to spend a little quality time with my paper and adhesive this weekend.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A nice way to start the day

I have to admit, when I got the crazy idea to get up and walk before the kids were up and going, I didn't know how long it would last. Then, I missed a couple of days last week because Rich went out of town and I found that even though I didn't have to get up, I got up anyway and kind of missed those 45 minutes of quiet time.

Anyhow, it was very humid here yesterday. In fact, when they showed our city on the map on the "dew point" index, ours was the only city in the area in the "oppressive" category. This morning though, it wasn't too bad, but you could tell it was still humid - so humid, that if you looked up in the clouds as you were heading east toward the lake, there was the tiniest sliver of a rainbow. It really energized me and made me give thanks to God for allowing me the opportunity to start another great day!

Friday, August 3, 2007

For your infomation . . .

Last night, Ian suffered a baseball "injury." Basically, during his first at-bat he hit a ball but instead of using the bat, the ball hit his right thumb - OUCH! Actually, he was a brave little guy, shook it off and finished his at-bat. It wasn't until he was off the field that he broke down. By then, the nail bed was a lovely shade of blue-violet, so since he conveniently injured himself before the walk-in clinic closed, I took him over there. After x-rays, it was determined there were no broken bones, but the nail did need to be "drained." Ian wasn't thrilled about the idea but we convinced him it would be better for his videogame playing. However, he informed the doctor "For your information, I do not like to see blood." I guess you had to be there, but it was the most hysterical thing I have ever heard!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sure is quiet around here!

Wow! Has it really been over two weeks since I last posted on my blog? I guess that's just the way summer goes. Actually, I have been keeping pretty busy running Ian around and I've been spending more time in my scrapbooking room than on the computer. Throw in a trip back to visit family at the beginning of the month and, well, July pretty much flew by without me really knowing it.

Anyhow, it hasn't just been quiet on this blog, it is quiet in my house right now. Rich left this morning for his annual trip to the IFT conference. This year it is in Chicago so at least he didn't have to travel very far to get there. He left this morning with a couple of co-workers.

Even stranger though is that Ian is away at Cub Scout camp. This is the first time he has ever gone away somewhere longer than one evening without a family member being present. Though he is only 40 minutes away, I am a very nervous Mom and tons of things are rushing through my head. I know he is in very capable hands though and right about now, they are probably gathered around the campfire roasting marshmellows and having a blast. One of the chaperones has a camera with him and has been insructed to take as many pictures as he humanly can.

So, it is just Kyra and I for the next couple of days. Am I that boring that she was already looking for her Daddy tonight? Probably not, but routine is routine. As for me, now that she is in bed, I'm going to sit back and enjoy the relative peace and quiet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tasty Tuesday - Crispy Pecan Chicken Cutlets



Welcome to Tasty Tuesday hosted by Angie.

CRISPY PECAN CHICKEN CUTLETS

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg white
3/4 c finely chopped pecans
3 T flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp peppr
1 T butter
1 T oil

Flatten chicken to 1/4" thickness. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat egg whites. In another combine pecans,flour, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in egg then coat. In a large skillet, brown chickent in butter and oil 4-6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Back to the plan

Today I am starting Round #3 of Lean for Life. Hopefully, my results will continue as I am liking going down in sizes every six weeks. I was just sorting through some old clothes this morning and I have the next set of "goal" pants lined up and ready to go!

Menu Plan Monday



Well, after a few weeks "off", I am returning to Menu Plan Monday because I realize how much these help me plan my week. Things just got so hectic in the weeks before our trip that I got away from them (and thus probably made my life even more hectic).

Monday: 40 Clove Garlic Chicken
Tuesday: Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloins
Wednesday: Italian Turkey Sausage
Thursday: Garlic & Herb Tilapia
Friday: Chicken Burgers
Saturday: Teriyaki Shrimp & Pineapple Ka-bobs
Sunday: TBD

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Even a little more less of me


Well, I am photoshop challenged. I had originally wanted to post a picture of me at the end of my last cycle next to this one so you could see the progress. Thanks to God and a lot of hard work, I am now down another 18 pounds for a grand total of 34 since beginning back in April. I am now in yet another smaller size and am determined to get into the next smaller pair of jeans in my pile. When we get back from our family trip, I am going to be packing up my "too big" jeans and saying goodbye to them. I'd really love to have a bonfire, but I think I'll just take the tax deduction and send them over to Goodwill.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

All Mixed Up

I don't know how I have gotten so off base with what day it is this week. Last night, I was at work and I thought "Shoot! I forgot to set up the DVR for Top Chef" (which in the grand scheme of things isn't such a big deal considering it's repeated approximately 42 times during the week). So, I came home and figured I could watch the west coast feed only to turn on Bravo and find a different show on. Oh, yeah - it's only Tuesday.

So today I am in a panic because I haven't begun packing anything for our trip back home and here it is Thursday already. Yep, I'm just speeding this week ahead too fast.

Perhaps my brain will finally get it in gear, but somehow, I have a feeling I'll be thinking tomorrow is Friday.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tasty Tuesday - Strawberry Banana Sorbet



Welcome to Tasty Tuesday hosted by Angie.

On my plan, I am fairly limited in what "sweet" stuff I can have. Usually, I have to resort to a serving of sugar free jello. Otherwise, fruit has to suffice for my "dessert". Anyhow, I was flipping through the latest issue of Woman's Day Magazine and I found this tasty treat which really is technically just fruit in a different form, but when you want a healthy alternative to ice cream, this does the trick.

STRAWBERRY BANANA SORBET

2 medium bananas
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 T water
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

Slice bananas into 1" chuncks. Place in a pan lined with wax paper along with strawberries and freeze 1.5 - 2 hours. Combine frozen fruit, water and lemon juice in a food processor/blender and blend until smooth. Serve right away or freeze up to 2 weeks. Makes approximately 2 cups.

***Note: I used a blender but it would definitely work better with a food processor. If using a blender, maybe only freeze the fruit for a lesser amount of time. I also poured the sorbet into individual Ziploc take-a-long containers for the perfect individual serving.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

He survived skateboard camp . . .

. . . but the skooter did him in!

Ian had a 3-day skateboard camp this past week. I was really nervous about it, but I figured I would rather him learn from someone that knows what they are doing. It took place at the skateboarding park here in town. There was a park nearby so Kyra and I spent some time there after we finished running our errands. Once I got over the cringing every time he crashed (and believe me, there were quite a few of those), I was fine. He actually does pretty well for not having skateboarded a whole lot.

Anyhow, the whole point of this missive is that yesterday we went out on our evening walk. Ian likes to ride his skooter around the block and have us time him. Anyhow, it got to be a long time and he didn't come back around so Rich headed one diretion and I continued in the other when I heard it - I knew it was him from around the block. He had a nasty spill and had skinned up his knee pretty badly. By the time I got around with Kyra, the neighbor across the street had already sat him down and put ice and a bandage on it.

It just figures that he can go up and down quarter pipes with nary a scratch, but a bump in the sidewalk will do him in!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Finishing up Round 2

For those of you who may have been following my weight loss progress, I am now in the "maintenance phase" of my second round of Lean for Life. I am actually glad to be on the maintenance portion because the last week I have hit a plateau which I know I will break (in fact, I had as of this morning). I'm going to do one extra week of maintenance this time around because we will be visiting family after the initial 2 weeks of maintenance and since the first week of this plan is usually the most crucial to get started on a good foot, I don't want to do it while I'm away. So far, since beginning the plan back in April, I have lost just over 30 pounds and am down about 3 sizes. Thanks for letting me share!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Little Known Facts About Me

Here's a fun little game of tag given to me by my friend Lisa(and if you look at her blog, you will probably see some very OLD pictures of me from our days at Manchester)

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No, my dad just liked the name
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Last Saturday
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING yes
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? roast beef
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? two
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I think so
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM ALOT? who, me? NEVER!
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? given the chance, yes.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Golden Grahams
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? no (I'm not a very good example to Ian, am I?)
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? not really
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Butter Pecan
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? eyes
15. RED OR PINK? Red
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? my voice
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? my mom
18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? lime green cros
19. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? a kiwi
20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Ian playing Sonic the Hedgehog
21. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? teal
22. FAVORITE SMELLS? cake batter
23. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Rich
24. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Yes
25. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? football
26. HAIR COLOR? dishwater brown
27. EYE COLOR? blue
28. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? yes
29. FAVORITE FOOD? hamburger
30. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? happy endings
31. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Cars
32. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? magenta
33. SUMMER OR WINTER? neither - fall
34. HUGS OR KISSES? kisses
35. FAVORITE DESSERT? banana cake with buttercream frosting
36. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? We shall see who's reading =)
37. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND not sure
38. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING: Ordinary Mom, Extrodinary God
39. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I use a laser mouse, no mousepad required
40. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? Top Chef
41. FAVORITE SOUND? my kids laughing
42. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles
43. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Krakow, Poland
44. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I can inhale jello
45. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Hammond, IN
46. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK? All

I now tag Angie, Stephanie, Arlyn and Susan.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I've been remiss in my blogging

Sheesh! Has it really been than long since I updated my blog? Last week really threw us for a loop, but things are getting back to "normal" and I'll be able to resume my regular blogging activity.

Tasty Tuesday - Red Lobster Biscuits



Welcome to Tasty Tuesday hosted by Angie.

Since Rich is in the flavor industry, he could probably tell you all of the flavors that make up the irresistable Red Lobster Biscuit. These have changed over time but here is a recipe that takes you back to the "good old days" when there actually WAS cheese in those biscuits!

RED LOBSTER BISCUITS

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 c milk
1 cup grated cheddar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 T dried parsley

Beat Bisquick, milk, and cheddar. Drop by heaping tabelspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bak 10 minutes at 450. Mix butter with garlic powder and parsley. Brush over tops of hot biscuits.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A sad day

Last week I posted about Ian's classmate Matthew and his battle with brain cancer. Unfortunately, Matthew lost his battle late last night and passed peacefully in his sleep. Even being secure in my faith and knowing that he is with the Lord now, I still struggle with why he has been taken. I pray for his whole family that they may find peace during what is a time when no words can adequately capture their grief.

Rest in peace, brave little scout.

Tasty Tuesday - Italian Chicken Breasts



Welcome to Tasty Tuesday hosted by Angie.

Italian Chicken Breasts

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 envelope good seasons Italian dressing mix
1/2 c parmasan cheese

In a shallow bowl, combine dressing mix and parmasan cheese. Rinse chicken breasts under water and coat with cheese mixture. Place breasts on a greased baking dish (or PC stoneware - no greasing required if well-seasoned). Sprinkle remaining mixture evenly over tops of chicken breasts. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until juices run clear.

This is a favorite in our family and it is fairly low-carb too!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Menu Plan Monday



Wow! Is it really Monday again? I have a couple of "returning" items this week because we had one dinner out (unplanned) last week and then a certain 20-month old took my cookbook and hid it. So, here's the plan for the week:

Monday: Sirloin steak patties (market day)
Tuesday: Italian fish fillets (halibut or tilapia - whatever is in the freezer)
Wednesday: Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Thursday: Chicken w/scallion Lime Sauce
Friday: Citrus scallops
Saturday: Bacon Bit Burgers with Smothered Onions
Sunday: Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Kind of makes me wonder

Today I went in finally to get a haircut and summer highlights. I really hate finding a new hairdresser, but I have been going to the same guy now since December and I decided it was time to trust him with something more than a cut and my hair really needed a highlight to blend in the grey hairs that seem to be creeping their way in (albeit slowly thankfully).

Anyhow, Michael is really awesome at what he does, but today his hair was a very odd shade of orange. It was like he had tried to go for red highlights and something went terribly amiss. However, he is not the only stylist I have had to have what I would call "bad hair." Maybe it is because they spend too much time trying new "techniques" on each other, but you would think they would want to be a walking "advertisement" for their services.

Oh well, at least my hair turned out well. I dare say it is probably one of the best highlight jobs I have ever gotten.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Another Contest - Free Netflix!

Another week, another contest from Five Minutes for Mom. This time, 5 lucky winners will receive a six-month subscription to Netflix. Have fun and good luck!

Slow Cooker Thursday - Hobo Meatball Stew



HOBO MEATBALL STEW

My picky 8 year old eats this (including the veggies)!

1 pound ground beef (or turkey would probably work)
1-1/2 tsp of seasoning salt (divided)
1/2 tsp pepper (divided)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 medium carrots, cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp dried basil

In a bowl, combine beef, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper; mix well. Shape into 1" balls. In a skillet over medium heat, brown meatballs on all sides; drain. Place potatoes, carrots and onion in slow cooker; top with meatballs. Combine the ketchup, water vinegar, basil and remaining salt and pepper. Pour over meatballs. Cook on high in slow cooker 4-5 hours.

(I think the next time I make this I would double the meat mixture because there seemed to be way more veggies leftover than meat. I might also try to make it with store brand frozen meatballs)

A hard way to start the morning

When we move here, Ian got involved right away in his new cub scout den. It was in this den that he met Matthew E. Unfortunately, Matthew had just gone through a bout with brain cancer and was in remission; however, that remission was short-lived and the cancer returned with a vengeance two months ago. We just received word yesterday that Matthew is not expected to last much longer and the family is receiving hospice care. Because everyone at school knows Matthew, they let the kids know how he is doing. This morning, Ian curled up on my lap and said, "Mommy, Matthew isn't doing very well. They said there is a 90% chance that he is going to die today." It took everything I had to explain to him that this wasn't the end for Matthew and that he would soon be able to spend the rest of his days with Jesus without pain or illness. At the same time, my heart is breaking, not only for my son who is going to experience such a loss at such a young age, but mainly for Matthew and his family. I am trying to focus on what is unseen and that God is calling Matthew home, but I have been crying all morning. If you can, please say a prayer for Matthew and his family during this difficult time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A good problem to have, I guess

So I am now in week #3 of this weight loss cycle. I got out the goal pants yesterday and I can say that while I can get them over my hips AND even buttoned and zippered, I still have about a week or two before I would consider being at "goal". That being said, I am now at a point where my current size is now a little too "big" but the next "goal" size isn't comfortable yet. Makes one kind of wish for "half" sizes.

Another "What Was I Thinking?" Moment


I recently purchased an activity table for Kyra to play with while we are spending time outside. First of all, let me say this thing is very nice and the umbrella is perfect to keep little heads shaded from the sun. Anyhow, I am not one to be very keen on sand, so instead of sand, I bought a couple of bags of pinto beans and filled the "dry" side with them. Then I put in a pitcher or two of water. Yeah, I know, that was brilliant. Kyra and her pal Mallory quickly made "bean soup" this morning while having a blast playing with her new toy. I'm just glad it wasn't anything "too" messy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tasty Tuesday - Crescent Chicken Bundles



Welcome to Tasty Tuesday hosted by Angie.

CRESCENT CHICKENT BUNDLES

1 package cream cheese
2 T margarine, melted
2 T minced chives (or I use Tastefully Simple Spinach & Herb Mix)
2 T milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3-4 cups cooked, cubed chicken
2 tubes crescent rolls

Beat cream cheese, margarine, chives, milk, salt and pepper together. Add cooked chicken. Unroll crescent rolls ino 8 rectangles. Press perforations together. Spoon in 1/2 c mixture and bring corners of crescent rolls together and seal. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 until golden brown.

This recipe is super and a favorite here in our house. Also, it freezes beautifully and is a great meal to take to new moms because all you have to do is pop them in the oven.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Menu Plan Monday



Well, what do you know? I stuck to the menu plan again for the most part last week. I must admit I am no organizing junkie, but just doing these meal plans every week helps me tremendously. Here is this week's plan:

Monday: Roast Italian Chicken
Tuesday: Moo Shu Pork (I realize the recipe is for shrimp, but I have a lot of leftove tenderloin, so I am just substituting)
Wednesday: Sirloin Steaks & green beans
Thursday: Mustard glazed tilapia
Friday: Chicken with scallion lime sauce
Saturday: Oriental Sesame Chicken
Sunday: potluck

Sunday, June 3, 2007

She soooo needs a nap

Kyra is beyond tired at this point. She spent two services at church today on account that I was at a meeting for Summer Serve for Children's ministry. Of course, she was only in her crib for 30 minutes when she was woken up by some sort of noise and has been crabby and fighting it ever since. It's not that I am opposed to her skipping a nap every once in a while, it's just that she is soooooo crabby right now!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Confirming our local "celebrity" status



Yes, we are on the cover of the free family news insert. If I hadn't been in the paper already twice this month, this would be cute, but I know I am really going to take some teasing on this one!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Slow Cooker Thursday - Souper Roast Beef



In my blogging travels, Menu Planning Monday led me to Diary of a SAHM and Sandra hosts Slow Cooker Thursday each week. In fact, this is the site where I found 40 Clove Garlic Chicken. So, here is my contribution for this week:

SOUPER ROAST BEEF
2 large onions, sliced 1/4" thick
1/4 c. butter
1 bottom round roast 3-4 pounds
5 c. water
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 garlic clove

Saute onions in butter until tender and put in crock pot. Place roast over onions. Mix remaining ingedients and pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or until tender. Let stand for 15 minutes and slice. Serve on hard crusty rolls with a side of the juices for dipping.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A "little" accomplishment

When I was pregnant with Kyra, I got to that point in pregnancy where my rings were just getting a little too tight so I inevitably took them off and Rich put them away for safe keeping. Of course, after Kyra was born, they wouldn't go back on and I didn't want to have them re-sized to a larger size considering I had just had them made smaller about a year earlier. Well, tonight Rich was downstairs putzing around and I saw my rings so I decided "what the heck" and tried it. Guess what? I can wear my wedding ring again!!! It's another small victory for me!

Only because I am waiting . . .

Yesterday I received an automated phone call from UPS telling me that I was getting a package that I would need to personally sign for - it's my new camera. Of course, the window they gave me was between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Gotta love a window like that. So, Kyra and I have been camping out in anticipation. In the ideal world, he will be here before Kyra wakes up from her nap, but somehow, I'm not counting on that. Of course, if I drove down the street to get a gallon of milk, THAT is the exact moment he would show up!

Tackle It Tuesday - Late edition

Tackle It Tuesday Meme


How could I have forgotten Tackle It Tuesday? Really, I didn't - I just never got around to it. Anyhow, I made up for it this morning by going through Ian's drawers and weeding out the too small clothes to donate to Goodwill and creating a pile of clothes for him to try on to see if they still fit. Only my skinny child can still have several pairs of 3T shorts that STILL FIT!!! (and they don't look like "short shorts" either.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My new appreciation of hi-def TV

The blessed moment has arrived! We are now the proud owners of a 46" LCD flat screen TV which (with a few obstacles) was mounted on the wall above our fireplace last week. To say that Rich has been in techno-geek heaven is putting it mildly. My husband, who typically turns into a pumpkin after 10:00 at the latest, was up past midnight playing with remote controls, manuals and various wiring scenarios.

We rented Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire on Friday night to test it out. I must admit, I can see where this TV is going to be worth the investment; however, it was not until Saturday evening when I truly began to appreciate the wonders of HD. You see, with the DirecTV HD package, there is a special HD movie channel and on Saturday evening they were showing Top Gun. Rich asked me if I was truly going to watch it considering I can probably still recite it from memory. I told him, I was going to watch it up until my "favorite" scene and he had not a clue what it was. I told him that every girl who remembers anything about Top Gun would have to rank the sand volleyball scene as one of the most beautiful moments in film. And in hi-def, the sand volleyball scene has never looked so good!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tasty Tuesday - Crockpot 40 Clove Garlic Chicken



I'm getting an early jump on Tasty Tuesday at Many Little Blessings because I don't know what time I will be able to get online tomorrow (and you need to go post a recipe too because Angie gives away prizes!). I got today's recipe ironically as a part of blogging Menu Plan Mondays. I noticed this Crockpot 40 Clove Garlic Chicken popping up on many a meal plans. I figured, if there were that many people fixing this, it had to be good! I got this recipe from Susanne at Living to Tell The Story. Since we are low carbing it, we opted not to make the gravy. I used a 4 pound chicken and cooked it for approximately 7 hours on low and the chicken literally fell off the bone! And don't let the 40 cloves of garlic discourage you from trying this recipe! The flavor was very mild. And to boot, both Ian and Kyra had seconds!!!! (a major miracle in this house!)

CROCKPOT 40 CLOVE GARLIC CHICKEN

-1 large broiler/fryer whole chicken (as big as your crock will fit)
-thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley
-salt
-fresh ground pepper
-40 cloves UNPEELED garlic
-2 stalks celery, washed and cut into 3 inch pieces
-baguette or french bread slices, toasted

Place the celery slices on the bottom of the crock. Season the chicken in and out with salt, pepper, and generously with the herbs. Place on top of the celery. Place the cloves all around and on top of the chicken. Cover and cook on low 8 hours.

Remove chicken and celery to serving platter. Remove garlic to small bowl.

GRAVY

-1/4 cup cream
-2 - 3 tablespoons cornstarch
-salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Skim the fat off the liquid in the crockpot. Turn to high. Add the cream. Mix cornstarch with a small amount of water until smooth and add to liquid. Stir, cover and heat until thickened. You can pour some on the chicken and put the rest in a gravy boat. We served it with noodles.

The roasted garlic can be squished out of it's skins onto the toasted bread.

I need to just get over it

Yesterday, we drove back to Sun Prairie for a Memorial Day weekend BBQ with some great friends. The weather couldn't have been more perfect and the kids had a blast playing outside all day. The food was amazing (as usual) and the drinks were oh-so-refreshing. Our friends Steve & Brenda sure do know how to put on a great party!

On the way home, we decided to drive by our "old" house. I had a beautiful perennial garden at that house and I hemmed and hawed whether to take some of the plants with me - including my peony bushes. Alas, I opted to leave it there for the new owner to enjoy. We also had a beautiful arbor and white picket fence covered with a beautiful vine as well as several rose bushes that bloomed for most of the summer. Now, I fully realize that once we signed the papers, what this woman chose to do with the house was her perogative; HOWEVER, what I saw just made me physically ill! All of my beautiful perennials are gone! No trace. They've been yanked out, cut down, etc. To see that arbor and fence "naked" just cut through me. I know it's not my house anymore, but I really took pride in that garden and it just breaks my heart that I didn't do more to "rescue" those plants.

Menu Plan Monday



What do you know? I actually pretty much stuck to a meal plan last week and now I have to think about what will be on the menu this week! Here goes:

Monday: Crockpot 40 Clove Garlic Chicken
Tuesday: Turkey Burgers
Wednesday: Garlic Halibut
Thursday: Teriyaki Chicken & Mushrooms
Friday: Soy and Sesame Pork
Saturday: Beef & Veggie Kabobs
Sunday: (some sort of roast - depends what is on sale this week =) )

Friday, May 25, 2007

Contest time again!


Yes, it's me back with yet another contest for you moms of girls! Again Five Minutes for Moms has found another great website to point me toward: Tutu Fantasy. Ok, so Rich will think I have totally gone off the deep end if I go right out and buy one, but they certainly are beautiful! So, if you head over to Five Minutes for Mom, you can enter to win one for the little girl in your life.

Hmmm, I wonder if they come in adult sizes?

Fabulous Finds Friday


About two months ago, I hosted a Pampered Chef catalog show. One of the items I got was the Salad Chopper. These things are amazing! They make such short work of chopping up romaine lettuce! Another amazing use is to chop up chicken for chicken salad. If you are looking for a new handy kitchen tool, I would highly recommend finding your nearest Pampered Chef consultant and getting your hands on a pair. If you don't know a consultant, I know two very great gals who could help you OR my friend Angie is hosting a show at the beginning of June.

Just wanted to share!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Friends know when friends need Diet Coke



It's another beautiful day here so after our errands this morning, Kyra and I decided to hit a local park before coming home for naptime. I called my friend Jen to see if she and her daughter Mallory would like to meet us. She wasn't there, so I left a message but didn't know if she would make it.

They did, indeed, come to the park and Jen was bearing two bottles of Diet Coke. She just "gets it" when it comes to our shared need for a Diet Coke fix. It was a great mommy moment to share!

Soon it will be mine!


Ever since my viewing screen went out on my beloved Canon Powershot G3 (two weeks after the extended warrantee ended, mind you), I've been increasingly frustrated with its performance. However, with two mortgages to pay, a new camera was not in my immediate future.

After the sale of the house in Sun Prairie, Rich told me to start researching cameras and he would get one for me for Mothers Day. Boy! What a task this has been! I've gone from "what I thought I wanted" to "something completely different" and then I just couldn't make up my mind. After a lot of careful research, I decided that I would like to see the Canon Powershot G7 - easier said than done! It seems that no one or their brother carries this camera. It is a special order only. Call me crazy, but if I am going to invest $500+ in a camera, I would like to hold, feel, fondle, etc. to make sure I am in love with it before I make the true leap of faith.

Last Sunday, we ended up traveling to the northern burbs of Milwaukee to make one last attempt to find the ellusive G7 and went to Ritz Camera where I discovered the Olympus SP-550 UltraZoom. To tell you the truth, I was a little hesitant when I saw it was an Olympus, but after playing with it for a good 45 minutes (thank goodness there was a Thomas train table in the store to keep both Ian and Kyra occupied), I was amazed by how much was packed into this camera. I've been completely happy with the 4MP on my Canon, but this one is 7.4MP with an INCREDIBLE 18x optical zoom. Because I'm not at the point where an SLR is practical for my usage, this is the perfect fit for me. I just placed the order this afternoon, so hopefully it will be here soon!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tasty Tuesday



Here is my first entry for Tasty Tuesday on Angie's blog. I'm always up for some new recipes. Here's mine for today:

Bacon Bit Burgers with Steak House Smothered Onions

6 bacon slices chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
6 T EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
2 onions, 1/4 finely chopped, 1-3/4 thinly sliced
1.5 pounds ground sirloin
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
1 T grill seasoning (I used McCormick Montreal Steak Seasonin)
1/4 c plus 1T steak sauce

Add bacon and a drizzle of EOO to the hot skillet and cook until crisp (4-5 minutes). Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and drain off all but 1 T of fat from the skillet. Return the pan to medium low heat and add the finely chopped onions to sweat out in the remaining fat (2-3 minutes).

Preheat a second medium nonstick skillet with 2 T of the EVOO over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add all the thinly sliced onions and top them with a plate that can fit inside the skillet. Top the plate with a heavy can and smother the onions for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lift the plate with ongs; it will be hot!

Place beef in a bowl and top with Worcestershire, hot sauce and grill seasoning.

Remove the chopped onions to the plate with the bacon to cool. Turn off the heat and reserve the pan. Once the onions are cool, add them and the bacon to the ground sirloin and combine well. Score the meat into 4 even sections and form 4 large patties. Add 1 T of EVOO to the skillet and reheat it over medium high heat. Add the burgers and cook for 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, 6 minutes on each side for medium well.

Stir steak sauce into the smothered oninons and top burgers with onions.

Serve on Kaiser rolls. Enjoy!

Less of Me


As promised, here is a picture Rich took yesterday of me after completion of my first cycle of Lean for Life.

Tackle It Tuesday - The Guest Room Edition

Tackle It Tuesday Meme


Tonight, my friend Tracy is coming to be our first houseguest since we moved here. Now, our house does "technically" speaking have a guest bedroom, but I use it as my scrapbook room 99.9% of the time. Thus, I today's tackle means I have to get the room ready for Tracy. Of course, Tracy is a fellow scrapbooker, so she is just as excited to be sleeping amidst all of the scrapbooking goodies. Anyhow, here is a "before":


(There is really a bed under all of that)


(creative genius thrives on clutter)

And here are the "After"





And for those of you who ever wondered what every became of my infamous ribbon organization tackle, here is what I finally came up with as a solution.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another "I'm officially old" moment

This morning, I was getting Ian's breakfast ready while he was sitting at the island in our kitchen. He ran out of vitamins last week, so I just picked up a bottle of Flinstones sour gummy vitamins on one of my trips to Wal-Mart. I think his last bottle was Curious George and the time before that was Spiderman. Anyhow, he looks at the vitamin and then says "What is this?" and I told him it was his vitamin which subsequently got me the "duh" look. He asked me who it was and I told him it was Fred Flinstone to which he replied "who's that?" And I had to think about it but then I realized he probably never has seen the Flinstones. I see some Boomerang in our future!

A New Pair of "Goal" Pants

So, yesterday we finished up our first cycle of Lean for Life. I even managed to lose 3 more pounds during my two weeks of maintenance bringing my total weight loss for the phase to 18 pounds.

Today we begin the cycle again. The first part of this plan is always a little difficult to tackle because it's three straight days of nothing but protein. Strangely, I am not really hungry when doing this, but it does leave a little to be desired in terms of meal variety. I mean, there's not too many ways to pretty up a chunk of meat on a plate. But, this is what "kick starts" the plan into action and who I am I to judge when I get such good results.

Each time I begin a new cycle, I review how the last cycle went and if I met any goals. Well, of course I met the weight loss goal, but I also now fit into a pair of pants that I haven't worn in probably about six months. So, I now am going to dig through my closet and find a new pair of "goal" pants. This will be another size down from my former "goal" pants. I am also going to make a conscious effort to exercise more. I figure I lost weight the last cycle with some exercise, but not nearly what I should have been doing to really keep my "furnace" burning. So, this morning, I woke up at 6:15 and went for a 30 minute brisk walk. I was amazed at how much ground I covered when I'm not stopping every two feet to look at a dandelion or pinecone (though I do very much enjoy my walks with Kyra). We'll see how I do in the next 4-6 weeks. If I get the chance, I'll have Rich take a picture of me in my "old" jeans.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Menu Plan Monday



Hmmm, I really didn't do very well sticking to my menu planning last week, but I was treated to a dinner out by one of Rich's co-workers and then we had a banquet at church on Thursday that I had forgotten about. So, I'm just keeping one of the dishes from last week (alas, BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza will have to wait until the next "maintenance" phase):

Monday (Protein Day #1): Grilled Chicken (Cub Scout BBQ, bring your own meat)
Tuesday (Protein Day #2): Mesquite Roasted Chicken
Wednesday (Protein Day #3): Sirloin Steak Patties (Market Day)
Thursday: Cilantro Lime Halibut w/green beans
Friday: Italian Turkey Breasts w/snow peas
Saturday: Pork chops w/mushrooms
Sunday: Ka-bobs (BBQ at friends house)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Yum! Asian Chicken Slaw

Ok, so it might not be true "Asian" cuisine, but I went to a BBQ tonight and made a rather tasty recipe: Asian Chicken Slaw. I am not usually a big fan of coleslaw, but this one really looked interesting on paper and I was even more pleased with the end result. It makes a huge bowl too.

1 bag (10 oz.) broccoli slaw (I used a bag with brocolli***, carrots and red cabbage; I found it pre-bagged in the produce department)
2 cups shredded red cabbage
3 scallions, chopped
2 cups diced chicken breasts
6 oz. slivered almonds
7 oz. sunflower seeds
2 packages Oriental flavor ramen noodles
1 cup oil (I used canola)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup splenda (you can also use sugar, but for us low carb folk, splenda worked really well)

Toast almonds at 350 for 15 minutes; set aside. Mix together dressing - oil, vinegar, sugar/splenda and seasoning packets from ramen noodles. In a large bowl, combine broccoli slaw, cabbage, chicken, scallions, toasted almonds and sunflower seeds. Crumble up raw ramen noodles and stir into salad. Mix salad and dressing together.

My preparation hints/notes:

I mixed up the dressing about two hours before I even put the slaw together to let the flavors blend (you just have to shake it up periodically because it will separate).

When I combined the slaw and the dressing, it probably was in the fridge about 2 hours before serving and the slaw was still very crunchy.

*** Angie: if you are reading this, yes, I did put broccoli in a recipe and did not subsequently die!

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's Date Night!!!!



Ok, I am so excited! It's time for Rich and I to finally have another date night!!! Our last date night was in February, so needless to say, it's been a while. We have the babysitter lined up and then we are off to our favorite steakhouse, Prime Quarter. We like going there because we get to grill our own steaks and have conversations without being interupted every 20 seconds with a fascinating fact about a specific Pokemon or cutting up food into small pieces (though for fun I may try cutting Rich's steak for him and making choo-choo train noises).

We are also going shopping for our new TV and a camera for me. I just can't wait until he gets home from work! Hopefully today will fly by!

Who doesn't need a few bandages every now and then?

The gals at
5 Minutes for Mom are at it again. This time, the prize is a year's supply of Nexcare bandages. Now, I am not sure what qualifies as a year's supply of bandages, but they want to make sure that they have you "covered" so the prize is 45 boxes!!!! Just think of the scrapbook pages you could create if your little ones get ahold of all the boxes and cover themselves like a mummy! All you need to do is go enter and post a link on your blog!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I guess I'm not as quirky as I "think" I am

I got this one from Wendy, who got it from Beshka

Your Quirk Factor: 42%

You're a pretty quirky person, but you're just normal enough to hide it.
Congratulations - you've fooled other people into thinking you're just like them!

Now I know what it feels like to be stalked by the papparazzi!

Ok, that's probably a big overstatement, but since appearing last week on the front page of the newspaper, I have been interviewed by a TV station (a little blurb about why I love my mom) and it actually aired (unbeknownst to me) and now a reporter is coming to the house next week to take pictures about a story on moving with kids. So, if you hear about any high-speed chases through this town, it's just me trying to escape the onslaught of fans!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Prayer Request

My friend Angie is having some tests performed. Hopefully, it is nothing serious, but it's a problem that hasn't gone away and I know she's scared and I just want her to know I'm there for her and I will be praying her through.

Tackle Me Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme


Ok, so maybe it's the fact that yesterday at this time it was 85 degrees and sunny and today it is 63, rainy and dropping quickly, but I just can't seem to get motivated to do anything today.

I did, however, finish this layout which I began on Sunday:



so it is something tackled (at least technically speaking).

Monday, May 14, 2007

Not all soy nuts are created equal

One of the protein snacks that I periodically munch on is soy nuts. Granted, they aren't peanuts, but they satisfy that crunchy, salty craving I sometimes get. We ran out of the brand that we had been using over the weekend, so I was at Fleet Farm (yes, I have turned "Wisconsin") and picked up one of their bulk bags. I don't quite understand exactly how soy nuts can vary from brand to brand, but these are definitely not going to make their way back into my cart again.

Meal Plan Monday



Last week, I did fairly well with my meal plan. I stuck with it every day except for Wednesday which I had forgotten that I had an eye appointment and Ian had baseball practice. This week is also a little different. It is the last week of our "Maintenance Phase" before we hit the plan again starting on Monday. As a result, we are going to "splurge" a little bit towards the end of the week and have a couple of evenings out. So, here we go:

Monday (Protein Day): Honey Mustard Pork Medallions
Tuesday: Crock Pot Roast Beef
Wednesday: BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza
Thursday: Cilantro Lime Halibut
Friday: Dinner out
Saturday: BBQ at friends house
Sunday: FREE DAY

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Daddy does it (again!)

Well, if you remember last week, Daddy managed to pull off an upset win in our Amazing Race contest.

Fast forward one week to the Survivor finale. Guess who won? You got it! Ian hasn't seen the episode yet as he won an all-expenses paid weekend in his room for some school issues, but we did record it so when he begins earning privileges back, he can see it. Of course, he'll be upset I'm sure, but it's a good lesson for him. I, on the other hand, do not mind Daddy winning this one because I had Earl in the Lifetime Moments Survivor swap game and won $115 in gift certificates! Add this to the box of Fruity Cheerios I won from Five Minutes for Mom and I am on a roll!

Friday, May 11, 2007

My head is shrinking

Last night I went into the office to catch up on a couple of tapes. I was getting mildly annoyed because my earphones kept falling out. I haven't really had much of a problem with this in the past. Upon further examination, I realized that my head size must also be decreasing because of the weight loss - not a bad problem to have, but it will be frustrating until I get a new pair of ear phones!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I'm having one of "those days"

UGH! I'm just having one of those days where, to the best of my efforts, I keep screwing things up. The first thing I did this morning was erase a memory card that I hadn't transferred over yet! Luckily it was only a 256 card and not a 1GB, but still, it hurt!

Then I went to Ian's school for "special friend day" (which was really grandparents day) and it made me a little sad that I was there instead. It's times like this where being away from family really its me.

Alas, the sun is out and I know that things can only go up from here, but thanks for letting me share a "down" moment.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

She's front page news!

Look at Kyra!

Tackle It Tuesday - Revisited

Tackle It Tuesday Meme


Remember last month when I attempted to tackle my ribbon and failed miserably? Well, I have a new idea and so I am going to revisit this one today. Hopefully, I will come back with a picture!

Monday, May 7, 2007

I made it through!

Yesterday was the last day of my 4-week weight loss cycle with . I now am beginning two weeks of "metabolic adjustment" which basically means gradually getting my body used to my new weight. Which through four weeks, I have lost approximately 15 pounds (not knowing what my true "start weight" was because I didn't actually go buy a scale until two days into it). Since this isn't my first time on this plan (the first time was pre-Kyra), I knew it would work but I still get amazed at seeing the numbers drop so quickly. In fact, I have a couple pairs of jeans that I can no longer wear. I've still got quite a journey to go to get back to my pre-baby weight, but at least it's a start and I'm determined to maintain my focus!

Meal Plan Monday



It's time for another week of meal planning.

Monday (protein day): Italian Turkey
Tuesday: Bacon Bit Burgers with Steak House Smothered Onions
Wednesday: Pecan Pork Tenderloins
Thursday: Thai Chicken in Lettuce Cups
Friday: Scallop Stir Fry
Saturday: Steak Kabobs
Sunday: TBA