Monday, September 03, 2012

Preview of My Week to Come...Big Changes

As I sit on the couch I stare at my phone contemplating and planning my roller coaster week ahead.

Today includes a possible play date at the park if it doesn't rain.  Maybe some grilled hot dogs.  I'll also be helping the hubby pack for his flight back to Carolina early tomorrow. I'm prepared to be overcome once again with utter sorrow and the comforting of two school age children.

Tuesday will bring daddy's flight sway from us.  It also brings summer to a final end as the kids start school Wednesday. There will be the checking of book bags. The planning and packing of lunches. Lots of tears as we will be missing daddy and have mixed emotions about the first day of school. Hopefully bedtime won't be dramatic but I fear that's a given at this point.

Wednesday I won't be ready to let go. I will be sobbing on the walk home where I will continue to pack up our house for the big move.  After school will be filled with first day of school tales, snacks, dinner, showers abs cuddles.  Once the kids go to bed I'll decide if I should put my feet up or continue packing.

Thursday will be the second day of school and more packing. I'll tuck the kids into bed at night and then pack my bag for an early flight out of Newark.

Friday by 9 I'll be in Carolina with the hubby looking at houses until Sunday afternoon before flying back to my kids.  I'm so glad my parents will be able to take care if my kids while I'm gone for the weekend.

Lots of change going on here. More than my internal anxiety can handle most days but I keep tapping it down.  Hope I can keep it under control and get through the coming weeks of uncertainty and upheaval.

One step at a time....

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Still Kicking

H-e-l-l-o out there!  I'm still alive and kicking I'm happy to say.

I had big plans to blog about all sorts of fun stuff this summer but life happened. Unfortunately a lot of those things were not on our fun summer fun list but we've been attempting to roll with the punches.

If you follow my Twitter feed (@TheJugglingAct) then you know some of what's been going on.

Quick synopsis:

Celebrated end of school

Some fun playdates

Over hot start to summer vacation

Hearing evaluation

Cooking Camp

CSA at local farm

Mother in law from hell visit

Camping trip

Disasterous trip to Phillips

Lots of severe storm warnings

Tornado warning

Hubby's interview down south

Subsequent job offer & acceptance

Figuring out how to relocate possibly including my parents

Trip to visit my brother

And so much more...

I'm burned out mentally, emotionally and physically.  I'm going to try to enjoy the next week and a half before school starts again. Hubby flies out to start his new lib Monday.  I can't begin to figure this whole mess out.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

CSA Week 6 Share and What is a CSA

CSA for those of you who don't know stands for Community Shared Agriculture. I just heard of this wonderful farming concept in the past year.

I couldn't wait to try it out since our garden failed miserably last year. Bonus is organic produce.

Here's how my CSA works.  Our CSA is a nonprofit educational farm. It is run by a head farmer and 3 intern farmers. The farm offers educational programs to preschools and elementary schools along with summer camp.  My daughter LOVED Cooking camp.  A few times during the summer there are movie nights at the farm (free) where you can purchase homemade pizza made in their outdoor (built by hand) oven with fresh farm products. They also hold free classes on canning and other informational things. This year they even started offering an outdoor  yoga class.  How cool is that...communing with nature while you exercise?! Love it!

Our CSA offers whole shares and half shares. You purchase the size that best fits your needs.  I chose a half share that my family splits with my parents. This is our first year so I wanted to start small. This is also my second year growing my own garden. I wanted "veggie backup" in case it tanks again.

The first month (June) we received a variety of greens...salad mix, left lettuce, kale and Swiss chard to name a few. We're now getting zucchini, cucumbers and beans. Yum!  Soon we'll be getting peppers and tomatoes too. Double yum! Growing season here runs June through  November so we have plenty months left of fresh veggies.

This weeks CSA (only partially pictured as I gave my parents their portion already):

Kohlrabi (A first for us)
Parsley
Chard
Red Torpedo Onions
Red Leaf Lettuce
Beans
Beets (Little Bee loves these raw!)
Cucumbers

If you're looking to buy local a CSA is a great addition to your food shopping. I love the variety it offers. My kids are trying new things as are my husband and I. It's a wonderful winning situation.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Patriotic Berry Parfait

This recipe is simple but delicious.  Your kids can even make it themselves!

Ingredients:

Vanilla or plain yogurt (my kids prefer vanilla)
Mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
Granola

Directions:

Layer yogurt, granola and berries. Repeat.  It's that easy!  Use parfait cups or clear glasses for presentation.  If using frozen berries partially unthaw first following the directions on the bag.

My kids are inhaling these as I type.


Friday, June 08, 2012

What Do You Do When Things Get Bad? What Do You Do??


How do you respond to a text that reads:  Don't want you to worry when you come home and I'm not there. Somethings not right so I'm at the doctors right now.

How do you respond when he says, the doctor thinks its this and showed me a picture but its not nearly as bad, I think he's wrong. 

What do you do when the next day he breaks down scared and lost. 

What do you do when he says you should've seen the look in the doctor's eyes when I showed him what's wrong.

What do you do when he shifts uncomfortably constantly because the symptoms are worse.  Now there's sharp pain and tightness in his legs, stomach and other areas.  He can't sleep.  He stresses over getting to work.  Doesn't want to go to the ER because the pain is too much.

What do you do when he's broken down crying, ready to give in and give up?

*****
I FIGHT!  I TRY TO STAY STRONG.  I HOLD HIM. I LISTEN.  I PUSH.  I REMIND HIM OF ALL HE HAS. I CRY WITH HIM. I HOLD HIS HAND.  I'M JUST THERE.  I REFUSE TO GIVE UP OR GIVE IN.  I SHOW HIM I WILL ALWAYS BE HERE. I'LL BE HIS STRENGTH IN TROUBLED TIMES. I WILL HOLD ON AND LOVE HIM UNCONDITIONALLY.
*****

I sob inside and pray to God for strength, understanding, compassion, healing and more.

As of now, we have no answers. Hopefully he'll have tests done today and maybe get some meds. 

We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary a few weeks ago. We went away as a family for a wonderful quick getaway over Memorial Day. Yesterday was Little Bee's 8th Birthday.  My stepdaughter graduates high school tomorrow. Goalieboy turns 10 at the end of July.  All I want is my husband healthy.   Please dear God, answer my prayers. We need him. He's our glue, our rock.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bacon Cheddar Mashed Potatoes #KernelSeasons



I was so excited when Kernel Seasons approached me again to help with the launch of their 3 new flavors: Bacon Cheddar, Buffalo Wing and Pizza.  Not only was I excited but the kids couldn't wait to try what I was making. 

I decided to use the Bacon Cheddar seasoning in my trusty mashed potato recipe I use from Allrecipes.com with a few simple tweaks.  My kids gobbled these up and asked for seconds.  My husband said they were amazing.  Enough said.  The delicious taste of bacon and cheddar without out all the calories.  Definitely a win in my book.


Ingredients:




  • 6 Red Potatoes, washed and cubed
  • 1/2  cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup margarine/butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 capful of Kernel Seasons Bacon and Cheddar seasoning



Washed potatoes.  I don't peel them because I like the texture and additional nutritional value the skins add.



Directions:

  • Place cubed potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook 20-25 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.  This means that the potatoes slide off the fork when pierced.




  • Drain well and put potatoes back into warm pot.
  • Add warm milk, sour cream, salt, pepper, butter and bacon cheddar seasoning.




  • Mash well (incorporating all ingredients) until light and fluffy.




I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine did!


P.S. I have another recipe I will be posting using Kernel Seasons Pizza Seasoning in the next few days.  Stay Tuned!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Berry French Toast Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 loaf Italian bread cubed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flavored creamer (I used Irish Cream)
  • 3/4 cup  milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 8 oz package cream cheese softened
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup rinsed blueberries
  • 1 cup hulled and quatered strawberries
Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat 3 eggs into cream and milk.  Mix in cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. 
  • Pour egg mixture over bread and set aside.

  • Mix sugar into cream cheese until smooth.
  • Spray 8x8 pan with nonstick spray.
  • Fill bottom of pan with 2/3rds of bread mixture.
  • Top with 1/2 the berries.




  • Dollop cream cheese over berries.





  • Top with remining bread and finish off with remaining berries.




  • Bake for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes checking for doneness.




***Changes I would make next time would be to use the whole loaf of bread so I have more bread mixture to cover the top.  I will probably up the eggs to 4 and the milk combo to 1 1/2 cups when I add more bread.  I would also double the cream cheese mixture.  No complaints about the original finished product though.  The kids inhaled it!





Thursday, May 10, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

It's always hard when faced with a tough decision.

This past week I've had one of those lying  heavily on my mind. With everything else going on its been tough to give it the time it needs to fully weigh the pros and cons. The impact it may have in a positive or negative way on my family.

My father's sister passed away last week. I spent Sunday and Monday out of town attending the memorial and spending time with my cousin.  My mom's mom has been in the hospital for over two weeks now.  She has been getting worse instead of better. Now, my mom's sister is also in the hospital.  May has not been a good month for my family.

So the decision I needed to make had to wait. I put it off. I attempted to ignore it. All I received in return were sleepless nights with everything worrying me and weighing me down. My anxiety levels have  been up and panic attacks on the horizon.

Today I researched and asked in depth, detailed questions about the choices I had to make. The deadline was approaching fast.

This evening I am confident in the decision I finally made. There was not necessarily a right or wrong choice. However, there was a lot of grey area and opportunity for negative future impact.  I decided for my families sake to chose the option that was a guarantee.

Who knows what the future may bring but at least this way I know where I'm going and what I need to do to make it work.

Now I pray there will be no regrets. I'm 90% certain there won't be. Now to focus on the positive, move forward and make things happen.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Homework Time

Why yes....that's an ice pack on my back.  I'm hot and sweaty. And my baby is waiting patiently for me to play with her once I finish my homework.
 
Oh, and yes it looks like a tornado hit after I get home from school.


Sunday, May 06, 2012

A lot on My Mind


I'm having trouble sleeping tonight. Many things are zooming around my head and I can't make it stop.

Maybe if I blog about it I'll finally sleep.

Here goes:

1. As of tomorrow night my grandma will have been in the hospital for 2 weeks. She slipped and fell while getting into bed. My cousins convinced her to go to the hospital and she's still there.

The swelling and pain from the fall have made it difficult for her to walk. She's in her 80's. They also discovered she has a kidney infection and other problems.

To make matters worse claims of neglect were made by some family members against others that she was living with. Family drama ensued and Facebook was a disgusting free-for-all for some. I was appalled.

This has all weighed heavily especially since my family (including my parents) don't live close by. It's sad. My mom comes from a big family and 90% still live in the vicinity.

2. My Aunt passed away Monday.  My cousin called me up in tears. She didn't know who else to call. My Aunt has bern distant from everyone for years. That made it hard for my younger cousin to make and keep family connections. I found her on Facebook a few years ago and we've kept in touch ever since. Unfortunately she's also estranged from her older brother.

So, I've tried to support her the best I can from 5 hours away. It's been a mess planning my aunt's memorial.  She was cremated within days. We tracked down her brother. He's across the country and can't get the funds together to come. That's creating problems because he wants his sister to wait indefinitely on the memorial.

She's finally decided to go ahead and have it without his blessing. I'm leaving in about 6 hours to drive the 5 hours there with my dad. I need to be there for her. I think we'll be the only relatives and that's just heart wrenching. I won't let her down.

And finally,

3.  My workers comp lawyer called Friday with a settlement offer. Larger than the previous one from two weeks ago.

I don't know what to do. If I take it then my case is closed and I get no more medical.

If I keep it open hypothetically I can get bi-weekly payments as long as I'm working and make under $312/week.

I'm only 37 (38 in July).  Is it worth it to settle?  It's about the equivalent of 8/9 years of my bi-weekly payments.   I'm only working part time (approximately 20 hours/week) at $8/hour.  Is it worth it?!

I've spent the last 3 hours on google trying to find the right answer. My lawyer says I should. But he'd also be getting about $30,000 from the settlement.  I have no answer.

My heart says if I take the money I have to carefully budget it.  Can I do that properly is the question. If I don't take the settlement will something effect my payments down the line? 

I hate the uncertainty of it all. Do I go with the lawyer or my gut?  I have to decide by Tuesday. I just don't know.

And that my dear readers is why I'm still awake at 3 a.m.

***Please forgive me if everything isn't clear and coherent. I'm beyond exhausted and stressed. Thank you for taking the time to read.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bloglovin

Just added Bloglovin to my site. Follow my blog with Bloglovin
 
 
***And enjoy this fun Blog Hop too!***
 
 
 

Sweet Tooth Confessions

Confession time.  I have a major sweet tooth.  Some days I seem only to be craving sweets to eat.  Not good at all. I confess my sweet tooth needs to go away.  Far away!

I'm slowly working my family towards  healthier eating habits. We're all healthy and where we need to be as far as weight is concerned. However, I know processed food is not good for our bodies and I'm trying to make a change. I don't think we'll ever be 100% whole foods though that would be great.  I'm willing to make changes while also being realistic. Things like this don't happen overnight.

That being said...my sweet tooth (teeth in reality, every dingle dang one of them) is holding me back.  My cravings definitely cycle and its not always around "that time of the month".  The last week has been sugar central for me.  Not good at all.

My husband will tell you that while I'm not the best cook (thanks honey) I am a good at making desserts, treats and yummy snacks. He says its my talent.  Some are healthy. Most, not so much.

Here are my sweet downfalls:

Anything with chocolate and peanut butter.  Enough said.

Brownies...Full fledge MAJOR addiction people!!

Chocolate chip cookies....Warm and melts out of the oven.

Twizzlers....Funny thing is I don't crave them until I've had one.  Ugh. 

Sponge Candy....It's a Buffalo thing. I had my dad bring back four (don't judge) containers when he visited my brother in February.  I've been really good. I have two tubs left.  Hoping for more in June.

On a positive note, most of the sweets I eat are homemade.  So its not processed and I can control fat and sugar content.  I just have to work on controlling those things.

What foods are your downfall?

Ummm....hubby brought home a big package of Twizzlers and they're calling me.  Excuse me while I run away from them and my sweet tooth cravings!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guilty Pleasure Popcorn

Pop popcorn. Liberally shake Kernel Seasons Kettle Corn flavor onto it.  Add a few handfuls of mini chocolate chips. Drizzle on caramel syrup/sauce. Drizzle on chocolate syrup.

Sit back.  Put your feet up. Relax and E-N-J-O-Y.

Mmmmmmmm!!!

How do you dress up an ordinary snack and make it into a guilty pleasure?


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A Day at the Cavern

A fun day out with the family.










Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: And Then There Were None

Last Spring we had to make the tough decision of cutting down a dying maple tree in our backyard.

Unfortunately we had to cut down our "twin" maples just a few weeks ago. It breaks my heart. Tgry were starting to lean to much towards the house after all of last years rain plus the hurricane in late August.  We could tell they were dying.  These trees were very old and we loved them very much.

My kids cried. Now our small backyard has no shade for them to play in on hot summer days.

I won't miss the "helicopters" flying off in the Spring or all the leaves falling off in Autumn. But nevertheless, I'll miss those trees and mourn them.


Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from my family to yours!

As always, the holidays to me mean spending time with loved ones and making special memories that will last a lifetime.


Friday, April 06, 2012

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs in the Rice Cooker

                              



Making the perfect hard boiled egg just got easier if you own a rice cooker. Yes, you read that right. Rice Cooker = Perfect Egg.  No broken eggs, leaky egg whites, grey tinged yolks. No more guess work. Perfect egg. Every. Time.





Step 1.  Fill bottom of rice cooker with 1 cup water.

Step 2.  Place steamer basket insert on top. Place eggs inside. Sitting the eggs up on end versus on their side will center the yolk (if you're making deviled eggs) and give you space for more eggs.


Step 3.  Place cover on rice cooker and turn it on. Set timer for 20 minutes.

Step 4.  Remove eggs from rice cooker using tongs. They are very hot. Place in an ice bath to cool. Eat immediately or place in fridge for up to a week.






                              
 Enjoy!  My kids sure do!  We'll be making a dozen tonight and coloring them for Easter.




                               

Thursday, April 05, 2012

That Kinda Morning

So my morning has gone something like this:

3:30 a.m. …Hubby's alarm goes off

3:35 a.m. …Hubby's alarm goes off

3:45 a.m. …Alarm again

3:50 a.m. … Alarm last time (so glad I'm off work this week).

3:50-4:00 a.m. …Hear muffled rummaging through bedroom closet and in bathroom.
4:00 a.m. …Poor, tired hubby has left for work.

4:30 a.m. …Drag self to bathroom and then back to bed.

5:00 a.m. … Hear annoying cat scratching at a bedroom door. After verify that the regular culprit is at the bottom of my bed I investigate. I don't see him so back to bed . Weird but I'm too tired to think about it.

5:15 a.m. … More scratching. Now I'm getting pissy because I'm exhausted and it sounds like he's scratching the arm of the couch in the living room. I head downstairs. See him sitting there looking innocent  and scold him. Drag myself back upstairs.

5:25 a.m. … Scratching, again. Now I'm beyond ticked. Why do cats have to scratch things?  Why my couch in particular?!  Stalk downstairs. Grab dreaded lavender smelling "anti-scratch" spray and spray both sofa and love seat arms. Make mental note to buy packing tape (stick on couch and deters scratching).

5:29 a.m. …Stalk back upstairs unsatisfied knowing it's not over. Just a small battle won.

5:50 a.m. …Scratching sound is back. I lay there and actually think it through this time.  Definitely a cat. Scratching at a door. Hmmmm...maybe to get out of a room instead of in like I assumed close to an hour before.

But wait, both cats are accounted for. Thinking. We have 2 more cats but they like to sleep in the basement at night. One is a serious recluse, afraid of her own shadow. She rarely comes up and doesn't stay for long. Maybe she snuck up and found her way upstairs into a bedroom and got closed in at bedtime.

5:54 a.m. …Listening carefully. Nothing. I decide to check Little Bee's room. Makes the most sense as its the closest to the stairs. I crack the door and Mittens runs through it like her tail's on fire and the devil's nipping at her heels.

Mystery solved.

6:06 a.m.…Meowing from basement. Obviously Molly now wants up to be with the other cats. Stomp downstairs. Let Molly in. Mittens flies downstairs to hide once again.

Dang I'm tired.  I give up on sleep. I hop on Twitter for a bit. Read through my RSS reader. Go online and comment on a Scary Mommy post.

6:30 a.m. …Give in and go downstairs and make coffee. Mittens is scratching at the basement door to come in again. Heck, maybe she want to be social finally. Well, as long as we don't get too close. Ha!

7:00 a.m. …Kids are up. Well one kid. Time to start this day. Last day of school before Spring Break. Bring it!!

***Btw...Don't judge me as the scary cat lady. The two we just got last month were my parents two cats. My mom hounded my dad to find them another home. After 6 months with no luck he was going to (well actually did) take them to the animal shelter. We couldn't bare to see that happen. My older cat is their mom. It broke our hearts. That's a whole other post. So, we took them in and hope to find them a loving home together with someone we trust. Until then, I guess I'm an honorary (temporary) member of the cat lady club.

7:26 a.m. …Goalieboy finally made it into the shower after procrastinating for over 20 minutes. Ugh!  If only he'd taken one last night. He begged, pleaded and promised to take one in the morning. I guess this was my payback for bring nice. I seem to get that a lot around here. Do you?

Tell me I'm not the only one having one of "those kind of" mornings? Do you have a story you'd like to share? Feel free to comment here or write a post about it and link back here.

Chat with you soon.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Girl Scout Bear

Build A Bear Workshop is helping the Girl Scouts Celebrate their 100th year. They are offering a limited edition bear and Girl Scout uniforms.

My daughter's troop had a special party there to celebrate. This is her bear, Lizzy. The pink sweater is a castoff from another stuffed animal. She claimed Lizzy was cold.Isn't she adorable?!

I love Build A Bear!  The employees are so friendly and great with kids!  We can't wait to go back and pick Lizzy up some cute outfits.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Refreshing and Easy Breakfast

This is what I've been eating for breakfast almost every morning for the last few weeks.  It's quick, easy, nutritious and delicious.

Just layer yogurt (vanilla is my choice), cut up strawberries and granola. Can't get much simpler than that.  Enjoy!



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Crockpot Corned Beef

My family loves corned beef.  All of them!!  Amazing, especially since Little Bee is not much of a meat eater.

I always make it in the crockpot because it's quick and easy. I love that I can throw it together and walk away from it the rest of the day. Nothing like preparing a meal you don't have to babysit.

Ingredients:

• Corned beef brisket with spice packet (tried flat cut this year and loved it!!)

•  1 medium onion cut into wedges

•  4 potatoes

•  3 garlic cloves minced

•  1 bay leaf

•  1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

•  1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Directions:

1.  Remove brisket from package and throughly rinse with cold water, then place in crockpot .

2.  Place remaining ingredients on and around brisket (excluding potatoes unless you like them cooked that way). 

3.  Fill crockpot with enough water to cover brisket.

4.  Wrap potatoes individually in foil and place on top of brisket. 

5.  Cook 1 hour in high and 6 on low or 8-9 hours on low.  Remove bay leaf before serving.

*** Cook in a 5-7 qt crockpot. Serves 4 with leftovers. Yum!

*** Potatoes can be cut into quartered and placed under brisket. The same with carrots. We don't like veggies cooked in the crockpot that way so I make foil packets.

*** Cabbage can be cut into wedges and added to the pot the last hour of cook time. 

Enjoy and Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Easy Peasy Cherry Cobbler

This is seriously the easiest cherry cobbler to make. It has just four ingredients.  Ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now.  It's the perfect recipe when baking with kids. Give it a try today!

Ingredients:

•1/2 box white cake mix (approximately 1 1/4 cup)

•1/4 cup butter

•1 cup milk

•1 can cherry pie filling

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2.  Place 1/4 cup butter in 8x8 baking pan and put inside oven to melt.

3.  Mix cake mix and milk together until smooth.

4.  Pour batter over melted butter in pan.

5.  Pour pie filling over batter being sure it is spread out over top. Do not mix.

6.  Bake 45 minutes or until top in golden brown and cherry filling is bubbly. 

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

My family devoured the whole pan tonight!  They are already asking when I'll be making it again.  It's also very customizeable. Just think of different pie fillings and different cake flavors. Plus you could double the ingredients and use a 9x13 pan.

Hope your family enjoys this easy dessert as much as mine!!


Saturday, March 03, 2012

What I Learned This Week


Here's a few things I learned this week:

1.  Check the settings on the washer before doing a load of laundry. Realized as I put my second load in that somehow the load size was set on medium. Here's hoping the large load in the dryer is fully clean.

2.  Pin a note to forgetful child so she remembers to bring home the small containers you put in her lunch box during the week. My dear daughter saved  5 mini ones in her desk from snack this past week. Thankfully they finally made it home and were empty. It could've bern a very stinky mess.

3.  Getting a new movie from Redbox or DVD Express can keep your children occupied and not fighting for a couple hours. Even better when the movie (Hugo) they thought was going to be stupid and boring entrances them to silence 5 minutes in.

4.  School districts ten miles apart can and will handle inclement weather differently. The school I work in closed due to an impending snow storm (started about 10 a.m.).  My kids school district finally called early dismissal at 9:50. They dismiss high school first, then middle school and last elementary (based on school start times).  So my kids were released into a mess. The roads hadn't been plowed or anything. Thankfully we live 3 blocks from school.  The district and town need to do a better job (releasing and plowing).

Life always keeps you guessing. The learning is on going. You adjust and keep moving forward.

What did you learn this week?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Finally Some Snow!

 
 
Snow!!!
 
 












We've barely had any snow since #snowtober and I can say I'm very happy about that.  The weather gurus have been going back and forth on how much snow/rain this system would drop here.  At last check we have about 3 inches.  It's suppose to change to over to sleet and freezing rain just in time for the evening commute.  Hoping the hubby can make it home from work.  His commute is usually an hour.

Most of the school around us either closed or announced early dismissal before 9 a.m.  Our school district waited until almost 10.  My kids were not realeased from school until noon when the snow was falling rapidly and the roads were not plowed or salted.  The roads by the school were slick and messy at pick up.  I'm so glad my kids are not bussers. They are home safe and sound and enjoying all the snow out back now that lunch and homework are done.  Oh to be a kid again!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Our Family is Growing

Yes indeed, our family is growing. Well, has actually already grown.
Meet our two newest additions...Mitsy and Matthew!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Mom Jobs (aka The Things We Do For Our Kids)

Here's a (partial) list of jobs moms do, day in and day out, from birth to the teenage years and beyond.

-  Butt Wiper
-  Nose Blower
-  Boo Boo Kisser
-  Tear Dryer
-  Housekeeper & Maid
-  Cook
-  Dish Washer
-  Teacher
-  Homework Helper
-  Dispute Manager/Peacekeeper
-  Entertainer (Movies, Books, Games  Etc)
-  Chauffeur
-  Stylist (Hair & Clothes)
-  ATM/Money Maker
-  Cheerleader
-  Negotiator
-  Event Coordinator/Social Calendar
-  Alarm Clock
-  Nurse
-  Problem Solver
- Advice Giver
-  Listener

Where do we pick up our paycheck?

These jobs change and evolve as children get older.  Many stay around way past their expiration.  It's a tiring, often thankless job but someone needs to do it.

I'm happy and proud to be a mom.  Though through it all though there are definitely days I question it and my abilities.  I wouldn't change it for anything. My children mean the world to me. 

What mom jobs would you add?  What ones do you enjoy and which ones could you totally do without?

I LOVE bring my kids biggest cheerleader whether it be on the sidelines of a sport/ activity or in school. Being their chauffeur and maid, not so much.

Just Because

My husband brought these and a pizza home last night just because. How sweet is that?!  Granted, I had already made dinner but its the thought that counts. We'll have the pizza tonight before going to a hockey game. And flowers...always appreciated!


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Sweet Dreams (Wordless Wednesday)

Little Bee went to bed tonight with a sore tummy. Glad she was able to finally fall asleep. Hoping she has sweet dreams and feels better in the morning. 

Love my (not so) baby girl.


Monday, February 06, 2012

Tax Time is a Time Suck (and the Inner Circle of Hell)


Like good americans, my husband and I, called our local H&R Block and scheduled a time to come in and do our taxes.

When I was single I use to do my own State and Federal taxes. For the most part it was easy. The federal rarely gave me a problem . The state a minor nightmare, but bearable.

Once my husband and I got married we started using a tax service because at the time we both had worked in 2 states and he had several W-4 forms.  It was easier and saved me from pulling out my hair.

Today hubby called at 1:30 and made a 5:15 appointment. We showed up, kids in tow at 5:10. The kids were prepared. They brought stuff to keep them busy. They knew the consequences if they didn't behave appropriately. 5:15 came and went, as did 5:45 and 6:00. The kids were being patient playing Uno and getting along. At 6:10 hubby said we would leave at 6:15 if we weren't seen. I was beyond annoyed.  Don't schedule an appointment if you can't actually see the person/people close to that time. The preparer came out at 6:13, in the nick of time.

You would think I would be grateful but I was annoyed. No apology was made. He actually had the gall to ask us if we had an easy return. Then when we told him no he turned to the other person waiting ( one that came in only 10 minutes before he came out) and asked her the same question. I saw red. Thank goodness she said no too. He actually said, oh I would taken care of you really quick first. Wth?!!!  Very unprofessional.

I'm done. I've had it.  I plan on calling tomorrow and speaking with the branch manager. That is poor customer service and unacceptable. I've worked the majority of my working life in customer service and I would never have handled a situation that way. We will not be using H&R Block next year.

And those  well behaved, patient kids are now crazy bored and getting under mine and each others skin.   I've officially lost my patience. 

****Oh, and to top it off we filed an injurd spouse form last year.  We received the federal monies but never the state. We signed and paid for both forms. When we inquired about we got no answer. He'll be asking his boss about it tomorrow .  What a joke.

H&R Block and tax time is what I imagine hell to be.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Bear Sitting is a Big Responsibility

My daughter has asked me to watch her "baby", Jason, while she showers. She's left me a list of things to do. I need to feed him a snack,  cuddle him and put him down for a nap.  So glad she trusts me to take care of her precious bundle. She's a good mommy.  I'm proud of her.

Do your children mother their special babies or animals?


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Loaded Baked Potato Soup


I found this recipe on www.crockingirls.com. I tweaked it slightly and it was a hit with my whole family.


Loaded Baked Potato Soup




Ingredients:

★8 mediun potatoes, peeled and cubed (I usually leave the skin on potatoes.  Less work for me and more nutritious).

★1/2  onion, diced

★1 32 ounce (4 cups) container of chicken broth


★3 garlic cloves, minced

★1/4 cup butter

★Salt to taste Pepper to taste

★1 cup cream or 1 cup 1/2 and 1/2 cream.

★1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Garnish: chives, sour cream, bacon, and cheese


Directions:

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT  cream/ half and half and cheese in a large slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours (potatoes should be tender).

Mash potatoes until coarsely chopped and soup is slightly thickened. If you like a really think soup (like my husband does) add potato flakes a little at a time until desired thickness is reached).

Stir in cream and cheese. Garnish with toppings.

*** You can add chopped ham (at the beginning for a complete meal.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Thankful Friday

My work Friday came earlier this week on Wednesday. I spent yesterday doing loads of laundry (wash, dry, fold and put away), sweeping, mopping, vacuuming and baking yummy bread (white and banana).  Today I relaxed and spent a chunk of the day on Pinterest.  Dang it can be addicting!

Things I'm thankful for this week:

*  Most importantly for my family. My husband and kids are my world.

*  Having two days off from work this week!  I got to take the kids to school. I miss doing that. I was able to catch up on things around the house. Much easier when no ones home.

*  It was nice to enjoy a quiet breakfast after taking the kids to school.  I really enjoyed not rushing through it. The strawberries and blueberries, along with my homemade banana bread were divine if I do say so myself.

*  Continuing to teach my son important study habits. He hates to do it but his (our) hard work pays off. He received a 93 on his science test. So proud!

*  Knowing that you can go back home. Our old rink reopened under new ownership at the end of  last year. They're not 100% operational yet but they have put together a rec youth league. We took my son to play there last week since he didn't have a game. It was nice being back. It's not the same but it will always feel like home. He got to see some of his old teammates and we got to catch up with the parents. We're going to go back again this Saturday and next. Home sweet home. Can't beat it.

*  Doctor appointments booked over the next few weeks. Goalieboy is having his heating aides adjusted. He's lost about 10 decibels of hearing and only hears we'll when his aides are turned up to 3 instead of 2. Both kids will be seeing the eye doctor. Looking into how much of a problem Goalieboy is having with tracking. It may be effecting his learning so more testing might need to be done.  Both kids will definitely continue to be in glasses.

Hoping we make it through next month without any major bills. We're dead broke right now. Can't wait to get our taxes done and we have some tax money to throw at our bills.

Stay focused on the positives and work through negatives.  That's my motto right now.  How was your week?

Slow Cooker Pizza

Slow Cooker Pizza






This recipe is super easy and my kids loved it! 


Ingredients:

1.  Pizza Dough (I purchase ready made from the grocery store)
2.  Olive Oil
3.  Choice of toppings

Directions:

1.  Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.

2.  Stretch/roll out dough to roughly the size of the bottom of your crock (slightly more).  I'm lazy.  I stretch it a
      bit and then put it in the crock and then stretch it along the bottom and up the sides a bit.

3.  Drizzle with olive oil.

4.  At this point I generously shake some parmesan cheese on top (love the taste and texture) and then I
     added peperoni.

5.  Put a kitchen towel or a few folded paper towels under the lid to collect moisture.

6.  Crock on high for 2-4 hours.  Check at 2.  I checked at 2 and a half and a corner of mine was over
     done.  If your crock heats unevenly you may want to turn it and hour in to get even cooking.  I wish
     I had remembered to do that.

7.  5 minutes before I'm ready to pull it out sprinkle with mozzarella cheese (Mmmmm!).

I haven't attempted to add sauce to the top of the pizza before crocking.  I'm going to try it soon. I set out pizza or marinara sauce for the kids to dip their pieces in.  I'm also going to try it with black olives next time.  Can't wait!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter Has Arrived!

Winter has finally really arrived!  I'm not counting the freakish storm in October that caused so many problems.

The kids were so excited to go outside and play.  The only thing that would've made them happier was if it had happened during the week and they would've gotten a snow day.

They bundled up in warm winter coats, snow pants, gloves, hats and scarves.  Excitement sparked the air. 

Too bad my camera phone only uploads grainy pictures that don't do the moment justice.




First stop was the shed in our backyard where the sleds and stuff are stored.























The kids took turns sledding down our driveway.  It's a nice little hill that makes it perfect for sledding.
The kids also raced down it together.  Laughing all the way.



Snow angels are a must!  My daughter loves making them.  My son of course had to play hockey in the snow.  He even got grandpa in the act.  Grandpa stood at the top of the drive and played goalie, keeping the puck out of the street. Both were having a great time.  I loved seeing the pure childlike joy on both their faces.

The atmosphere of pure joy and abandon is priceless and intoxicating.  I felt like a kid again, laughing with them.  My daughter would take the sled up the top of the driveway and have me push her hard.  She would giggle going down and squeal at the bottom and demand again!

It was such a good day.  The kids are now inside enjoying hot chocolate and playing in the "fort" I made them.  The simple things are the best and most fun!