Sunday, September 30, 2007

Meaningful Moments Monday

I am starting a new section on my blog- Meaningful Moments Monday. If anybody would like to join in please leave a posting with a link to your site, or just leave a posting with your meaningful story or picture. If it takes off I'll try to get fancy and figure out how to make a button and have the URL listing you see at all those other very sophisticated sites. And if it doesn't sound like fun to anyone else that is a okay with me:)

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take...

But the moments that take your breath away.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Can't Keep a Good Man Down

My husband must be the most stubborn man alive. I say that with love and affection, but a little irritation as well. He had his surgery Thursday, yesterday we removed all the bandages and today I found him mowing the lawn when we returned from the mall. Granted, it is a riding lawn mower, but our terrain is bumpy and hilly.

This is how our conversation went before we left this morning.

Hubby "I'm going to mow the grass today."

Me: "I don't think that's a good idea. Your Mom or I can do it."

Hubby: "I can do it. All I have to do is sit."

Me: (knowing how stubborn he is) "Okay, fine. But wait until I get back so I can help."

Hubby: "Alright, I'll wait."

Now about this time I figure all I have to do is come up with some project that will keep him busy, but in a sitting position when I get home and the mowing will be forgotten. Good, problem solved. So we call on the way home from the mall to see about bringing him lunch and guess what, he doesn't answer his cell or home phone. His mom tries, I try a little later. At this point I have images of my husband laying helpless somewhere knee gaping open and bleeding to death.

We race home. Baby screaming in backseat because I didn't stop to nurse her before heading home. I was too afraid I might find my husband in the front yard with the lawn mower laying on top of him, with no one around to hear his screams of help.

And as I speed down the hill and our house comes into sight there he is on his mower tooling around the side of the house, all in one piece, no blood.

I decide to ignore him until he comes into the house, head hanging, waiting for an earful from me.

"All I can say is that you took another 5 years off my life as I envisioned every terrible thing that could have happened to you. At this rate you will be left to explain the facts of life to our girls on your own and help them with all their wedding plans because I won't be around!"

I watched as all the color drained from his face as that thought sank in. Humph, that scared him more than the threat of a total knee replacement. I couldn't help but feel a tinge of satisfaction.

Now maybe he'll slow down...yeah right!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Saving Pennies

We love to find pennies. My girls can spot them in the parking lot at ten paces. "Look Mom, I found a penny", they shout out gleefully and then usually follow it up with a little dance. Isn't it great that small children can appreciate the value of even a penny!
I hate to admit this, but before I was frugal when I would come across pennies in my drawers I would throw them away. Or instead of lean over and pick up the penny on my floor I would let my vacuum suck it up! I know, I know how could I. To give myself some credit if it was a nickel or a quarter I absolutely would keep it. Anyway, don't you worry I have changed my ways. We now understand the value of mere pennies in this household.
We have a glass milk jar and we have deemed it our loose change bank. Anytime we find loose change we drop it in our jar. The girls love to scour the car and sofa cushions for treasures. And yes, all those pennies people carelessly drop out of their pockets in parking lots, sidewalks and such are true finds for my little ones.
Now when we want a special treat, like going for a coke or ice cream, we go get our "milk money" and count out our pennies (and the odd nickels, dimes, and quarters that find their way in). I heard of a man who saved his loose change for twenty years and was able to use it to take his wife to Hawaii for a second honeymoon!
So my tip is to save your change, who knows where it might take you:)
For more frugal tips head over to

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The "Potholes" Of Life

I woke up very early this a.m. and took hubby in for his knee surgery. He has never had surgery before and I guess I was more anxious about it than him, but I shouldn't have been. The admitting nurse took his blood pressure and it was 95/60, cool as a cucumber. The nurse had to ask him if all was well when she finished with the IV because he hadn't flinched or made a sound. Tough guy:)

The doctor removed the loose bodies arthroscopically, but really had to work the larger 1/2 inch pieces of dead bone and cartilage out, yikes! There was a small tear on the meniscus that he mended, which we thought might have been there. But then the doctor said he had what he called a pothole on the weight bearing portion of his knee. Most likely some old injury that has left him with a large area of dead cartilage and bone, creating a "pothole" in his knee. This little injury will keep him on crutches for 10 days and in a brace.

And how did hubby take all this...he wants to go back to work tomorrow. I had to force him to sit down when we got home and relax. He came out of the operating room ready to go, bright eyed and bushy-tailed. I am never that lucky. I always want to sleep for a week!

Anyway, I hope none of you see me on the news as the crazy woman who tied her husband to the couch, but that may be what it takes to make him rest!

Monday, September 24, 2007

How do you like it?

I get asked a lot how I like living out in the "country". I say "country" because we are in a neighborhood, it's just that our houses are at least 1 to 10 acres apart and our house borders ranch land on two sides. But it is very different the neighborhood we lived in before. Just like anything, there are good things and bad things. I know you are dying to know them so I thought I'd make a list.

Pro: I can stroll outside in my pajamas to get my newspaper in the mornings without risk of being seen.

Con: I may step on one of numerous prickly plants if I forget to put my shoes on.

Pro: Kids can run and scream and play at all times of the day without disturbing any neighbors.

Con: I'm not within shouting distance of help.

Pro: I can go all day without seeing or talking to another soul.

Con: I go all day without seeing or talking to another soul.

Pro: I can come and go undetected by anyone.

Con: I miss the greetings of the neighborhood children as I pull into my driveway.

Pro: Lots of wildlife to watch.

Con: I walk outside on constant alert not wanting to step on snakes, tarantulas, rats, etc.

Pro: No cockroaches.

Con: Just centipedes, scorpions, mice, and the occasional snake.

Pro: Lots of hills for sledding.

Con: Lots of hills for mowing.

Pro: Can leave the windows open at night and not hear one car, train, or plane.

Con: Can lie in bed and wonder what exactly is making that strange howling noise outside my window.

All of this aside, I must say the things I miss the most are our old friends, the knowledge that at anytime I could step outside and probably run into a neighbor. We would chat about what we were cooking for dinner while our kids would play in the yard. I knew if I had an emergency I was surrounded by people who could and would help and it would only take minutes to get that help.
So to that question "How do you like it?"...I reply, "It's wonderful, but it wasn't so bad before either."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Frugal Friday

I'm not extremely frugal by nature so I take all the help I can get. My mother-in-law sent me a link to this site that has lots of good ideas. One I have tried is shopping in my own kitchen cabinet and freezer. I have enough food to make dinner for at least a week, even though I thought at first glance I needed to go to the grocery. She has lots of neat tips on shopping at home first, before you go spend money needlessly. Just wanted to pass along this find.

Happy Frugal Friday and for more tips check out

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Not My Momma's Cooking

Cooking is a passion in my family. Growing up we spent time in the kitchen as a family. We sang, we laughed, we ate! Eating good food was an experience we all enjoyed, we savored the moment. I remember when I was about 13 and my Dad was in the middle of transitioning into a new job so he was home for several weeks that he made eggplant Parmesan. I don't mean a dish of it, I mean a kitchen full of it. My mom and him had gone to the farmer's market and bought tons of fresh eggplant, made their own sauce and covered every inch of available counter space with dishes of eggplant Parmesan. I got in from school and the house was filled with the incredible aromas of garlic and tomatoes. Yum!

My grandmother, Nano, was also in the middle of planning or making the next meal. Cooking took all day, from before sun-up to late evening. Everything was fresh and homemade. I don't remember too many canned goods in my childhood except for the ones we canned ourselves. Vegetables were frozen or fresh and the only meat that came ready to eat was the tuna fish my mom and sister loved to eat for lunch (the mere smell of tuna fish grossed me out when I was little).

Two things that you'd never find in my parent's kitchen---crockpot and pressure cooker. That is why I've had such a hard time with both of these appliances in my kitchen. But times have changed and I have decided the crockpot is my new best friend. I leave the pressure cooker to my husband who makes a wonderful chili and also beans using this method. With Little One I never know what frenzied state we may be in at supper time so I've learned to throw dinner and the crockpot during morning downtime and waalaa hubby walks into the door to a dinner that's ready to go. I've made peace with my decision to take some short cuts in my cooking in order to preserve my sanity, or what's left. My compromise is that we will cook as a family on the weekends and holidays. I will plan those gourmet meals for times when someone can entertain Little One for me.

The challenge right now is finding healthy crockpot meals that don't use so many canned items that tend to be high in sodium etc. I've found a few sites that offer some good recipes in this area and am beginning to experiment with them. I'm also, now, a huge fan of Sandra Lee's semi-homemade on the food channel. It lets you cook without completely giving up everything to pre-made, pre-cooked foods.

My two oldest have decided to star in their own cooking show. We taped their first session this weekend and they had a blast. I need to hurry up and edit it to put on my blog, so be looking for the Divas in Training Cooking show!! They have told friends they have their own show on the Internet so I better get on the ball:)

So I guess I'll pass on some new traditions to my girls in the kitchen, along with the old way of doing things, and that's okay.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Eating Out

Eating out is a treat, it can also be expensive! But we all need to let someone else do the cooking every once in awhile so here are some things my family does to make eating out more affordable.

- Coupons...of course this is a great way to save dollars. Don't forget to check out the coupons in the back of the phone book!

-Find out which restaurants have Kids Eat Free. Lots of restaurants offer this on certain days of the week. I went to a sit down Mexican food place with my two girls and the three of us ate for 8.00 including tip! Plus, we had left-overs:)

-Think of sharing an entree with your hubby. We love to go to the Olive Garden- all-you-can- eat salad, bread sticks and then we share an entree.

-A good way to watch your weight is to eat only half your entree and take the rest home for another meal--two meals out of one!

-Drink water. It's amazing to me that they can charge up to 2.00 in places for iced tea!

-If you like Chinese food try the Lo Mien noodles. It is cheap and those noodles seem to multiply. One entree has feed my family.

-Try carry out. This way no tip and no drinks to pay for plus you can make a salad or something to help stretch the meal.

-Ask friends where they like to eat that is cheap. We found a little Italian restaurant this way. The woman who owns the place is Italian and the food is amazing. For the four of us we get two salads to split, hubby and I share a gourmet pizza, and each kiddo gets a meal with drinks for under 20.00. You can spend that much at the Whataburger drive-through!!! We also found a quaint French Bakery. Loaves of bread are 1.40, pastries under 2.00 and you can get croissant sandwiches for 2.40 and that includes tax:)

For more frugal tips head over to

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday

My first child was bald for the first 6 months of her life, completely! Which wouldn't have been so bad but she developed cradle crap, whoops, I mean cradle cap. If you haven't encountered it consider yourself lucky. It is sticky, yellowish stuff that adheres to your babies head as if it were applied with Gorilla Glue:) I tried everything to get rid of it, from special shampoos to scrubbing with a soft brush. Nothing could make it disappear. Em wore a lot of hats because I didn't want anyone to accuse me of not bathing my child. Anyway, someone finally told me to warm up a little olive oil and rub on baby's scalp right before bath time. Then rinse during bath and guess what it took that icky stuff right off. Just repeat as needed!

For more great tips head over to Rocks in my Dryer.

Who's that knocking at my door?

I have a new friend. He usually drops by in the morning. The first time he knocked at my door I was alone, having just put Little One down for a nap. Living out where we do we don't get many unexpected visitors so I must admit I was a little alarmed the first time he showed up. But now as we've gotten to know each other, I enjoy his visits. In fact, he always puts a smile on my face. Even though our front door is mostly glass I don't have to look out to know he has come for a visit. His knock identifies him immediately. Tap, Tap...tap, tap, tap. It's his secret knock. I call him George. Now, I'm not sure if that is his given name, because he's never told me that. But I call him George because he's sort of a curious fellow and reminds me a lot of the little monkey that goes by that name. He's a big help around the yard. He gets rid of any snakes that may wander too close to the house and his mere presence scares away any mice that may be lurking around. I know you may be wondering what my husband thinks about my daytime visitor. Don't worry, he's not jealous of George at all. In fact, the first time he came to visit I immediately got on the phone to tell him about my unexpected visitor. Even though George can be shy I was able to snap this picture of him to share with you.

Greater Roadrunner (a.k.a. George)

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Hint of Fall

There is definitely a hint of fall in the air here. Yesterday it never made it out of the 60's and today promises to be the same way. It's overcast and cool, I love it! To celebrate I'm making a big pot of potato soup. I'm going to put it in my crockpot, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yesterday the girls started faith formation for the year. Em will be studying to receive her sacraments. I pretty sure at this church she will receive both First Communion and Confirmation. I am not a big fan of this, but it has sort of become the new tradition. As Catholics we take certain faith steps throughout our life starting with Baptism. This usually happens as an infant is officially welcomed into the church. Then in 2nd grade children prepare and receive the Eucharist, the Body of Christ and go to Reconciliation. When I was a child we didn't receive Confirmation until we were in the eighth grade. Confirmation is when you accept for yourself the commitment your parents started when you were baptized into the Catholic church. This is why it is difficult for me to imagine my second grader making this decision at seven. I found this article which I believe does a much better job at explaining the sacraments than I can. Regardless, this is an exciting step she is taking in her faith and I look forward to watching her as she continues on her faith journey.

Soph attends the Good Shepherd Atrium for her faith formation. We had this at the day school I worked at. I love it!! It is very hands on and everything is scaled down to their age. They even have their own altar, podium etc. that is their size. Small children in church are sometimes overwhelmed when they look up and see how big everything is compared to themselves. This program allows children to learn about their faith on their level, in all aspects! Both girls seemed to have a really good first class.

Scott's MRI showed foreign bodies floating in his knee so he will be having surgery at the end of the month. Please keep him in your prayers. He has been suffering with this for about a month and I know he hates being slowed down by it. Well, it hasn't slowed him down that much because he refuses to let it, so now I just worry he'll injure it worse or mess up his other knee!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Saving Money On Produce and Veggies

Okay, so many of you already do this, but for those of you that don't here's my tip for Frugal Friday.

When buying fresh produce only buy what is in season. It will be cheaper and taste better. Even though we can buy strawberries year round their in season for most of the country is during late spring and early summer.

Don't shy away from buying in large quantities, it can be cheaper this way at wholesale clubs. Just take home and freeze what you are not going to use. Right now my garden is overflowing with tomatoes and I don't have the time to make and can my sauces so I simply put whole tomatoes on a cookie sheet and freeze. When they are frozen I stick in a baggie and throw back in freezer. All you have to do is run under water and the skin will rub right off when your ready to use. Peaches work this way as well!

If you have a farmer's market check them out. This is a great way to get organics at a cheaper price and support your local farmers.

For more great frugal tips head over to

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday

It's a special edition of Works For Me Wednesday in which we are supposed to share some of our favorite name brands. I was going to do a post on this very subject, because I can be a brand snob. I'm getting better, but here are a few things around here that we don't settle for generic.

Charmin or Cottonelle toilet paper, it's just softer!

If you read my earlier post you already know my feelings about chocolate. Ever since my parents took me to the Hershey's Chocolate Factory in PA I've been hooked on chocolate. Here's some of my favorite brands, but it all depends on what you're using the chocolate for. Look for future posts explaining this and with some yummy recipes.

And for children's clothing I love Gymboree. Wait until it's on sale and it's not that expensive and you can wash it and wash it and it will hold up. So far three generation of girls have worn their clothes and my kids are tough on their outfits, but this brand holds up!

Last, diapers. Either Pampers or Huggies. They fit my girls the best, least amount of leakage, and don't irritate my girl's skin.

For more brands check out Rocks in my Dryer!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Campfire Cookout

We have enjoyed a fun and fairly relaxing Labor Day weekend. We decided to celebrate by having a campfire cookout Saturday night. Nothing fancy, just hot dogs, chips, and our favorite S'mores.

I'm in charge of packing up the picnic basket and lugging it all the way to the side of our house, while my husband starts a little fire. Hubby did the shopping for the S'mores and the kids were excited to see that he found not only regular marshmallows, but chocolate ones as well. I'm excited to see that he has gotten two kinds of chocolate; semi-sweet and dark. Around here we take our chocolate seriously and splurge a little by buying the more expensive kind. There are just some things in life you can not cut corners on!

Em and Soph love cooking their own hot dogs over the fire. I always appoint myself safety manager and manage to tell the girls at least fifty times, "Be careful of the fire", "Don't forget there's a fire", "Don't step in the fire". I know that after I say this twice they tune me out, but it makes me feel better to constantly repeat myself:)

The girls always ask us to tell them camping stories and luckily hubby was an Eagle Scout and has plenty to share. Even though I was a Girl Scout I never did overnight camps and my family's idea of camping out was sleeping at the Holiday Inn.

We watched as the first stars of the evening appeared and considered ourselves lucky to be able to spend this time together as a family.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

I've been tagged!

My friend Connie tagged me to tell you all 5 things about myself you don't know. So let's see...

1. I have started working out with a personal trainer.

2. I lived with my piano teacher and her family (two sweet little girls) my senior year of high school because my Dad was transferred the summer before school started.

3. I've been known to eat more cookie dough than actual cookies, especially if they are chocolate chip.

4. I've been known to make chocolate chip cookies just so I can eat the cookie dough!!

5. And finally.... I'm pregnant (again)!!!

Just kidding, sorry I couldnt resist, but for my real number 5 I've been known to pull some practical jokes, really!

Okay, I'm fairly new to the blogging community but I'm going to tag some a new friend: