Friday, April 23, 2010

10 Days and Counting!

I’ve officially made it one third of the way through the 30 Day Fitness Challenge.  10 days done!

The thing that keeps me going isn’t that my friend is doing it with me (or rather, I’m doing it with her), but that if I miss a day, I have to go back to day 1.  That’s what’s making me stick with this challenge. 

I’ve been walking around our neighborhood with Jack in his stroller, but once I walked in a mall and another time or two I did a Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds video.  Boy, that woman is perky!  Tonight, I did the video while Jack was playing in the room.  It was fun to Walk (Around Jack) Away the Pounds. I didn’t kick him or step on him once!

If you’re doing this challenge, or if you’d like some tips for exercise and healthy living, check out Heather’s Tip of the Day during the challenge.  It’s simple stuff like staying hydrated, stretching (which I never seem to remember to do), and getting good sleep.  She’s really doing a great job of encouraging us through this challenge.

So, that wasn’t interesting to most of you, but I thought I’d share anyway!  As a reward for reading this far, here are some pictures of my cute little painted Buddha from yesterday.  He likes to paint himself rather than the paper.  We’re working on that.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mommy Retreat Recap

This past weekend was what every Mommy needs.  It was a chance for great friends to get together, taking a break from their families.  It’s not that we don’t love our families or that we wanted to shirk our responsibilities.  It’s that we needed a recharge.  In order to be the best Mommy for your family, sometimes you need to step away from them.  And boy did it work for me!   Here is a ‘brief’ recap of this weekend.

First, let’s just say the cabin was A.DOR.A.BLE!  It was just the right size for the five of us.  It had a comfy couch and a gas fireplace.  (Jen almost singed her eyebrows off trying to get it started – and the darn thing didn’t stay on!)


One of the best things about this cabin in the woods was that it had a HOT TUB!  I’m not a huge hot tub fan, because it’s usually too hot for me to enjoy.  Since we all agreed that it’s no fun to be too hot in a hot tub, we worked with the temperature to get it just right for the four of us (one is pregnant, so she didn’t get to get in).  I think we all could have stayed in that thing the entire weekend.  At just about every hour of the day, you could find at least one person in the hot tub.  It was super relaxing!


Most of the weekend can be summed up with two words: Reading and Laughing.  We could have gone hiking in a beautiful area of South East Ohio, but instead, we chose to stay in and relax.  We brought a TON of books to read and some games to play.  As I looked around from time to time, I noticed how relaxed our visiting  was.  At one point, two people would be deep in conversation, while the other three were playing board games.  Then the dynamics would completely change and one person may be in the hot tub by herself while three or four others were enjoying reading or talking together.  It’s hard to explain, but it was definitely wonderful to experience.  At no time did anyone feel ‘left out’ or pressured to do what they didn’t want to do.  (Except one time when I made Heather and Nichole play Scattergories and they didn’t want to!)

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While we were blissfully sleeping through the night, and sleeping in as late as we wanted (which turned out to be 7:30 am), we were visited by a friendly, hungry little mouse.  The zip-top bag our blueberry muffins were stored in was gnawed through, and one muffin was missing a considerable amount of  its muffin top.  I think we had a happy, fat mouse (probably hyped up on sugar overload) as our 6th cabin guest.  Luckily we never saw it!

The highlight of the whole weekend (besides the many hours spent in the hot tub) was Saturday night.  We decided to play Jenga; Truth or Dare, minus the Jenga part.  Without going into much detail, let’s just say that we all must have lost 10 pounds laughing so hard (I wish!).  Brooms were slow danced with, pregnant bellies were raspberried, and songs were sung at the top of our lungs.  It was a riot. 


The best part may have been when I drove into the driveway, and my husband and son were there to greet me.  You could see the excitement in Jack’s face as he pointed and shouted at his Mama.  Rick looked more handsome than ever, even though I’m pretty sure he didn’t manage to get a shower all weekend.  (That’s a skill that takes months to perfect.)  I was glad to be home.

I highly recommend a Mommy Retreat to any and all mommies.  Every mommy needs a break from her kids and husband.  It makes us love them that much more!


*Thanks to Heather for letting me ‘steal’ all her photos.  I left my camera at home with the bebe and daddy and wouldn’t you know, no pictures were taken all weekend!  I could have taken mine after all! 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Liver - It’s What’s for Dinner…or not

While we were visiting my in-laws over the Easter Weekend, my mother-in-law and I got to talking about her favorite cookbook.  She used this cookbook all through her three children’s childhood, and it was always her favorite “go-to” cookbook.  It was a Le Leche League cookbook from 1972 (I think I got that date right).  You could tell it was a very loved book. 

She told me about one of her kid’s favorite dinners – Liver Slivers.  I’ve never had liver, and I had planned to go through life never trying it.  But, since she said her kids loved it, and one of those kids is now my husband, I thought I should try it.  Here’s your warning….liver isn’t pretty in photographs.  It looks like…well..liver.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

First you sauté some onion in butter.  So far, so good!  Rick remembers the onion being cut into small pieces, and for kids that’s probably better.


Then you cut the liver into slivers.  Yeah, that’s gross. The box of liver that I bought said to keep the liver frozen when preparing it.  I understand why.  Liver isn’t very fun to cut when it’s not frozen.


Next you coat the liver slivers in flour.  I added salt and pepper to the flour.  (I wrote down the recipe that weekend, but now I can’t find it, so I’m going off of memory here).  Sauté the liver in butter as well.  I believe it takes a very short time to cook.  Maybe 2 minutes total.  I remember there was a warning about not overcooking it.  I probably overcooked it.


While all the sautéing is happening, cook some egg noodles.  Notice I used elbow macaroni.  That’s all I had.  Use whatever makes your skirt fly up – PW.  After the noodles are cooked, throw them in the pan to crisp up.  My noodles never crisped up, and I’m not sure what I did wrong.  But they did pick up the flavors of the pan and get all brown and tasty.  I probably needed to let them sit much longer than I did. 


Then, I threw everything back in the pan to get it all incorporated and warmed up again. I thought the meal looked pretty appealing.  I have to say that the slivers of liver looked kind of tasty.  I love sautéed onions, and you can’t go wrong with pasta, so I had high hopes for this dish!


When I presented it to my family, my husbands eyes lit up.  He was reliving his childhood.  He was a happy diner.  My son, however, looked at it with a little less enthusiasm. 


“Umm….Mom? Do you expect me to eat THAT? Are you crazy, woman?”


The verdict: Rick LOVED it.  He went back for more and just raved about how good it was.  He said it was better than he remembered(to my mother-in-law’s credit, that was a long time ago, and I’m sure his memory is starting to fail him). Jack and I, however, were less than thrilled with it. Jack wouldn’t touch it, and he’s generally not a picky eater at all. I ate my serving, but didn’t go back for more.  It wasn’t horrible, but the liver taste is strong, and I’m not sure you can change that.  Rick just happens to like liver.  I’m not a huge fan. 

I will be making it at least one more time though.  The box had 4 liver ‘steaks’ in it, and we’ve only used two so far.  Can’t waste money!  So, who’s coming for dinner next time I make Liver Slivers?  Anyone? Anyone?  Beuhler?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cloth Napkin “Tutorial”

I’m pretty sure I’m the last person on earth that should post a tutorial for sewing anything.   But if you’re a non-sewer like me, who just happened to get a new toy this week, you need something on which to practice your mad sewing skillz! 

So, here we go!

I bought a yard of off-white cotton fabric that felt good to the touch.  I don’t know how absorbent it will be, but it felt like it would make a good napkin.  I’m very scientific about this.

When I got it home, my sister reminded me to wash it before I sew it.  I’m not sure you have to do this for napkins, but I did it anyway. 

Then I cut it. It took me almost an hour to cut one yard of fabric into 9, 12 inch square pieces.  Really.  It took me that long.  DSC03165

I then spent another half hour pressing seams on one napkin.  I even made mitered  the corners.  I followed these directions, but let me tell you, unless you’re making fancy Christmas napkins, don’t bother with all this pressing nonsense.  Really, you’re just going to smoosh them on your face and get them all dirty.  Do they have to be fancy?  I think not.

When you come to your senses, and decide just to sew the edges to prevent falling apart, this project takes no time at all!  And, the best part, is you get to practice your straight lines.  36 times!  You’d think after 36 straight line attempts, I would be great at straight lines.  On the contrary.  I think I got worse as I went along!  And I can’t figure out why the fabric stands still at the beginning of almost every line I do, creating a blob of stitching that messes the whole thing up.


After the seams/edges were done, I popped them back in the washer and dryer to ‘rough up’ the edges.  The edges (I hope) will get all feathery soft and cool looking (in my opinion) after a few washes I’m sure.  They look very rustic. 


And let me tell you.  If I can do this, you can do this.  Unless you don’t have a sewing machine.  I’m sure it’s physically possible to handsew 9 napkins, but who really wants to?

We’re on our way to a cheaper lifestyle!  I’m not going to have to buy as many paper products now (we’re also using less paper towels and more kitchen towels).  Oh, and we’re probably doing good for the environment too -  Going green, yadda, yadda, yadda.  We’re all about saving money in this family!

Friday, April 16, 2010


I’m going away for the weekend!  I’m very happy about this.  I’m very sad about this. 

5 of us Mommies are going to a cabin in the woods for 48 hours.  We are leaving behind our responsibilities and mini-vans.  We are leaving behind the whining and constant need for attention.  We are leaving behind our messy kitchens, dishes, and toy rooms/areas.  We are leaving behind getting up once or twice a night and waking at 6:30 am on a Saturday morning. 

This weekend can’t last long enough!!!!

But then again…..

5 of us Mommies are going to a cabin in the woods for 48  hours.  We are leaving behind our families and homes.  We are leaving behind the giggles, squeals of delight, and constant entertainment.  We are leaving behind the hugs, smiles, and kisses.  We are leaving behind snuggling in bed with our families.  We are leaving behind those dimples!

This weekend can’t go fast enough!!!!!

This will be my first time sleeping away from my family.  I am anxious to get away with the girls and reconnect with old friends, but I’m also sad about leaving my guys behind to fend for themselves.  (and by fending for themselves, I mean eating the meals I’ve cooked for them and enjoying the clean house I’m leaving for them)

Let’s pray that we all survive! 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yard Work

My husband has been working out in the yard almost every day since the weather has turned nice.  He loves getting his hands dirty and working outside.  This year, he has a helper!  Jack absolutely loves being outside.  Especially when his daddy is working in the yard.  He has become quite the little helper. 

Here he is making sure Daddy is doing it right.  He’s like a mini contractor…


But he likes to get involved as much as he can and get his hands dirty too…


Another day he decided to be a self-starter.  He decided the soil needed hammered.  Doesn’t it always?


I’d like to mention that he has eaten pollen.  Is that okay?  He sticks his fingers in the flower, then in his mouth.  He doesn’t seem to mind the taste, but his Mommy yelling, “NO, NO JACK!” is getting on his nerves.


The best part about having a little helper are the impromptu hugs you get while you’re working.  Life doesn’t get much better than this!


I do love Springtime! 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Two Days and Going Strong!

It’s not much, but I’ve started the 30-day fitness challenge and have completed 2 days so far.  Woo-hoo!  I’ve walked around the neighborhood with Jack in the stroller for two afternoons. 

Like I said, it’s not much, but at least it’s something!  The thing about this challenge that’s getting me is that if you miss one day, you have to start your 30 day count back at one.  You must do 5 days in a row, and if you miss one day, even if it’s the 28th day, you must start back on day one.  I don’t want to do that!!  So, I’m hoping I’ll make it 5 days in a row for 6 weeks.  I’m always starting exercise, but never sticking with it. 

I’m planning to take Jack to the park tonight while Daddy stays home to do his taxes.  Then it’ll be THREE DAYS!  I can do this!!!!

(I wonder if cleaning my kitchen for a half an hour counts?  It’s PRETTY MESSY!)

*I’m going to link this up to the challenge –if we get a linky set up- so that others can see who’s with them on this challenge.

A Travel Cloth Diaper Bag

Last weekend we went to visit my in-laws for Easter.  They hadn’t seen Jack for a few months, and we wanted to visit my father-in-law’s church one last time before he retires.  We were staying for two nights and three days.  That’s not a very long vacation, but to a mama who uses cloth diapers, it is long enough to induce a mild panic attack.  I don’t have a travel size wet bag to keep my diapers in.  All I have is a big plastic diaper pail and a small tote that holds 3 or 4 diapers.  Three days is usually how many days we go before needing to wash the diapers, so I knew we’d be using more than just  a few diapers this weekend. 

Up to the last minute, I had planned to bring our big diaper pail, and just cart it home with us in the back of the van.  It would be inconvenient, but I couldn’t think of anything else.  Then, when we were almost walking out the door, I saw this insulated grocery bag hanging on the door handle.  I thought it just might be the perfect travel diaper bag!

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It’s insulated, so it shouldn’t leak if a diaper is too wet, and it has a zipper, so it should lock in the stink for the most part. 

I have to report that it worked GREAT!  I used one for the clean diapers and one for the used diapers.  The zipper did an excellent job of keeping the stink in, and there was no leaking at any time!  I did have to dunk some diapers in the toilet, which I usually don’t have to do, because we have a diaper sprayer, but overall, this was a pleasant travel experience with our diapers!  I don’t know if the bag is washable, so I just took a Clorox Wipe to the inside when we got home.  I’m not going to ever use this particular bag for groceries, but I may use it again for this purpose.

(My husband was happy I didn’t have to go buy a new bag!)

I’m linking this post up to What Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family.  If you’re looking for other fun tips, check out her blog today and search through the tons of tips linked up by other bloggers!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My New Toy

Look what I just bought!!  It's an early Mother’s Day gift to myself.  It’s a middle-of-the-road Singer sewing machine.  Not their cheapest, and not their fanciest.  I was surprise to hear that Singer isn’t the same as it used to be .  I thought they were a reliable brand, but it seems that they have gone down in dependability department.  But, it’s what we can afford, so it’s what I got!


First, let me explain to you how NOT crafty I am.  And, while I’m at it, let me explain how VERY crafty the people around me are. 

Not Crafty Me – I can’t sew, can’t crochet, can’t knit, can’t scrapbook, can’t decorate (rooms or desserts), can’t draw, can’t come up with a creative idea to save my life.

Very Crafty Friends – Can quilt, knit, crochet, spin and dye wool, sew, make jewelry (and that’s all ONE person so far…my SISTER!), decorate, garden, needlepoint, scrapbook, draw…the list is endless really.

In my life I’ve tried to find my ‘thing’.  My sister’s thing was quilting for a long time.  Now it’s making yarn and knitting.  My friend Beth’s thing is crocheting.  She crochets everyone blankets.  One of my favorites to snuggle up in on the sofa is a Beth Blanket.  My Friend Heather *kinda* scrapbooks and paints pottery.  She scrapbooked her two daughters’ first five years.  I have friends who decorate cakes masterfully, bake delicious desserts, and can decorate a room beautifully without batting an eye. 

I have to confess that I sometimes become jealous of these friends and their talents.  Since at least high school age, I have tried to find my niche.  I’ve tried needlepoint, crocheting, quilting, scrapbooking, and baking just to name a few.  I’ve figured out that I’m not a ‘stick-with-it” kind of gal.  I usually start something, find that I’m not great at it (which no one is at first except my sister), and stop trying.  It’s probably saved me a lot of money now that I think of it! I haven’t invested in a lot of supplies for anything, so I don’t have a lot of wasted materials.

You might say that my niche is meal planning and cooking regular meals (dinners only for now) for my family.  But that doesn’t feel very creative to me, so I’m still looking for something else.  I’m still looking for something to spark my creativity –if I have any!

Recently  I’ve been wanting to start sewing.  Nothing major.  Maybe just some cloth napkins, a curtain here or there, and an apron for my friend.  This past Christmas I found three or four ideas for gifts that I wanted to make for my family, but I couldn’t do them without a sewing machine.  I’m excited to see what I can actually create with this new sewing machine.  Maybe this could become a creative outlet for me.  Of course, I need to learn how to sew a straight line first.  That will come with time, right?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Fitness Challenge!

Not MY challenge, but I wanted to let you know about it.

My friend, who recently started a blog, has issued a 30-day fitness challenge.  I am currently THINKING about taking up this challenge, but haven’t actually committed to it yet.  ( I just read about it 5 minutes ago!) 

I thought you might be interested in trying it out for yourself.  She’d love to have encouragement and stories of how other women are doing with their challenge.  It’s on your own time table, so you can start today, tomorrow, or next week.  Whenever. 

I hope you at least check out the info.  It’s short, quick, and easy to start.  I’ll let you know if I ever go from thinking about it to doing it. 


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