Monday, November 08, 2010

Rhys, get your head out of the toilet.

Well. That ranks right up there on the list of things I never thought I'd hear myself say. What things have you said to your kids that you never would have thought would come out of your mouth?

I can't believe it's been a month since I've written. Seems like I'm either too busy, or too tired to write, or I just don't feel like I have anything worth preserving for posterity. I guess things have happened that might be worth mentioning, I just can't think of them right now.

Monday, October 04, 2010

What are they teaching our kids at school?!

At Julian's school, I know they talk a lot about nutrition and healthy food choices. They talk about go foods (things you can eat pretty much all the time), slow foods (things you can eat in moderation), and whoa foods (things you should eat very occasionally or sparingly). In theory, I'm good with this. I try to teach my kids how to choose wisely when they're eating, that fruits and vegetables are good and important for us to eat, and that it's not good for them to live on junk food or drink soda every single day. I want them to be strong and healthy, and I know a good diet is an important part of that. (I use the word "diet" here in the sense of what they eat, not in the sense of a restricted calorie eating plan. You shouldn't have to worry about that kind of diet when your oldest is just 8.)

But I wonder if perhaps this message isn't being taken a little bit too far at too young of an age. Julian has gotten very interested with looking at labels to see how much fat and sugar and calories something has, almost to the point of obsession. He seems to equate "sugar-free" and "zero calories" and "fat-free" with "healthy", not realizing that artificial sweeteners and whatever's put into the food to add flavor when the fat is taken out aren't necessarily any better for you than sugars and fats in moderation. (And not realizing that your body needs a certain amount of good fats to function properly.)

Take today, for instance. We went to the grocery store to get prescriptions filled, and while we waited, we picked up a few odds and ends. We were looking at the canned fruit, and I went to get a can of pears (something Julian normally likes, and something we're introducing to Rhys). Julian latched onto the can that said "made with Splenda" on the label, saying that he liked that one. I said no, let's get one made with pear juice, one that doesn't use artificial sweeteners. He just about threw a tantrum over those pears, insisting that the ones with Splenda were better because they had less sugar. I said, so you'd rather have one that uses fake sugar over one that uses the actual juice from the pear? He persisted in saying he would, because it has less calories. Later on, he saw a "sugar-free" label on something else and made a comment that that means it's healthy. Um, no, that doesn't necessarily follow. I'm trying to teach him that it's OK to eat things made with real sugar and real butter, just in moderation. If you want a cookie, have one made with real sugar instead of six that are sugar-free. If you want butter on your toast, have a little. I don't want him obsessing over calories and body image - not ever, and certainly not at 8 years old.

I know there are probably kids who hear the same things he hears at school and don't get the least bit hung up on it, and don't take to reading labels fanatically, but he's mine, and he is hung up on it, and he's the one I have to worry about. I may have to check to see just exactly what they're learning on this topic. Promoting good nutrition and offering healthier school lunches is one thing. Pushing some kind of agenda in the guise of good nutrition, if that's what's happening, would be something else entirely.

Living in God's will

We're having a revival at church this week. The evangelist speaking is Rick Coram. Let me tell you, when he brings the Word of God, it is BROUGHT. I've been there working in the a/v booth the past two nights, and God can definitely use him to get someone's attention.

Sunday night's sermon was great - the topic was "Do You Live In A Strong House?" I may talk more about that later, but tonight, I want to talk a little bit about tonight's message.

Brother Rick preached on Jonah 1:1-3. Y'all may remember the story of Jonah from Sunday school, how he didn't do what God asked and ended up being swallowed by a fish and staying there for 3 days and 3 nights. The point of tonight's message was that if you aren't living in God's will, it's going to be a rough go for you.

I thought about this particularly in relation to my job. I've done a whole bunch of whining about not liking my job, wanting a new job, and so on and so forth. Last week God really smacked me upside the head about it. I whined and complained and wondered why God hadn't opened any doors for me to get out of this place where I've been so miserable, and He hit me right between the eyes: Lisa, you're there because that's where I want you right now. So I had to apologize to God for being such a whiny pants, and for letting the fact that I didn't like where I was and didn't want to be there keep me from doing my absolute best (because if I'm completely honest with myself, I haven't been doing my best). So, hearing tonight's message confirmed for me that things have been miserable for so long there because I've been doing what Jonah did - running from God, telling Him, "no, I don't want to do this, give me something else to do instead". It also confirmed for me that right now, yes, here IS exactly where He wants me, and when He's ready for me to be somewhere else, He'll make it so. Until then, it's up to me to do the best job I can and to be thankful that I know I'm in good hands, even if it's not where I'd choose to be if it were left totally up to me.

As our associate pastor says, "All the time God is good, and God is good all the time." He is, for a fact. I may still grumble about my job from time to time (don't we all?), but the whining will be reduced to a bare minimum. I'm thankful that, in this at least, I'm living right where God wants me to be - in His will.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cooking with kefir!

We decided a little while ago to get some kefir grains and make our own kefir at home. It's got probiotic benefits, and we figured making it would be more cost-effective than continuing to buy it, or yogurt, at the store. Apparently our little grains like their environment, because they're thriving! Our kefir runneth over, more than we can reasonably drink (Brian and I like it, but we haven't yet convinced Julian that kefir is good and he should give it a try). So Brian thought he'd look for some recipes.

Tonight we had kefir flat bread. The kefir is the only leavening agent in the bread. It turned out wonderfully! It had a very slight tang to it as compared to regular yeast bread. But the dough rose nicely, and our little flat breads baked up hot and slightly puffy and oh, so good. We made pizzas out of a couple of them for Julian since he wasn't crazy about the sausage, onions and peppers we were having. Tasty good bread, and we can experiment with all sorts of different herbs in it, too!

We've also found recipes for kefir pancakes (they're supposed to freeze well) and kefir cornbread. Pretty much any recipe that calls for buttermilk, you can substitute kefir, or so I understand. I'll post more about the different recipes as we give them a try.

We started our grains with a cup of milk, and the first batch or two was thin and very tangy. As we've gone on, our grains have grown, and we're now using three cups of milk a day to make the kefir, and could probably use four. Pretty soon, we may have grains enough to share!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Home, for once

It's a Monday morning, and I'm enjoying the quiet of my little house. I took today off. J has an appointment, and it made more sense logistically for me to stay home than to try to go in to work and then leave and pick him up for that. So we slept a little later this morning - Brian and I got up around 6:45, the boys got up around 7:00. I took Julian to school and Rhys to daycare, and now I'm home for a bit. I wish every morning could be like this. I wish I had known before I committed myself to the rat race how much it would mean to me to be able to stay home with my children and be there for them like my mom was for me.

Anyway, I've now got some time on my hands. Things on the agenda: work out, finish baking that batch of breakfast monster cookies, pick up the disaster that is our living room floor (I'll be so glad when Rhys is past the "path of destruction" phase!), boil some eggs for tuna salad (today's lunch), figure out what to make for dinner. Things I really want to do: take a nice long nap. But if I do that, nothing else will get done. Decisions, decisions....

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

So it wasn't back to the rat race after all

Well, I didn't have to jump back into the daily grind today. Little Bit started running a fever yesterday and had a head full of goopy green snot, so I stayed home and took him to the doctor. Bless his little punkin head, he's got another sinus infection. I'll be glad when we can have him tested for allergies. Until then, it's been recommended that we try Zyrtec, so we'll see if that can help keep him cleared up more often than not.

I don't think I'm cut out to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, at least not while I've got one younger than school-age. That probably sounds funny, as I expect that's when a lot of women would love to stay home, when their babies are small. I love this age (although I will be glad when he gets past the stage where he thinks pulling things off of shelves is the height of entertainment), don't get me wrong, but I think our daycare does a much better job of providing educational opportunities and helping Little Bit learn to socialize than I could if it were left solely up to me. I would love to be able to stay home when both my kids are in school, though. I could volunteer for things at their schools, be here when they get in, and have dinner ready at a sensible hour more often than not (unlike now). Today I picked J up from school. By the time Brian got home, he was finished with his homework, and dinner was indeed well underway. Little Bit was a howling clingy fussy mess, but that's attributable to him not getting much sleep last night and not getting a good nap today (thank you, cough and congestion!). There's something to be said for being a domestic goddess. Sadly, I think my opportunities to do that will be few and far between, and I don't think it will ever work out to be a long-term thing for me.

And tomorrow it really is back to the daily grind. *sigh* Would that it could be otherwise, but it can't, so I guess I'll go off to my job and be thankful for it.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Too bad it can't be like this every day.

Brian and I were both off today for Labor Day, and of course there was no school, so we were all home. It was a pretty nice weekend. Yesterday I made chocolate cake. The day started off rough - Thing Two woke up early and didn't sleep well the rest of the night. I ended up sitting up in the rocking chair with him for about two hours before he finally decided he was awake, and this was after Brian spent about an hour trying to get him back to sleep. But he finally crashed and took a three-hour nap. Brian and I worked on rearranging the living room while he slept, and J played video games. This afternoon we went to Half Price Books and out for frozen custard, and when we got home, I baked some bread (OK, I didn't do it all from scratch, I used the bread machine, but it still beats the heck out of store-bought bread.) There were a couple of rough patches - tired boys get grumpy, and Thing Two conked his head on a table at church yesterday and gave himself a good goose egg - but overall, it was a nice, fairly relaxing weekend.

I wish it could be like this all the time. I wish that tomorrow didn't bring with it an early alarm going off, and a leap back into the rat race. I wish I could be home every day, doing for my family instead of doing for some company's bottom line. Yeah, I know, I do for them by working and providing. But it's not the same as being here, making sure we have clean clothes and hot meals and a welcoming home to come back to every evening. Sadly, though, unless we win the lotto or come into a big inheritance someday, I don't see that ever happening. So, I'll try to make the best of the relaxing moments at home that I do have.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Does the chaos ever stop?

Brian and I were talking a couple of days ago about whether other people live like we do, does everyone feel like their lives are chaos, like it never ever stops or gets better, like it's always something going wrong. I hate that my kids are prisoners of my schedule. I hate that I get up at the crack of dawn to get ready and drag my kids out of bed before the sun is up. I hate that I get home so late every day that any extra-curricular activities are nearly impossible, either because they start too early or because J is so worn out by that time of day that he can't cope. I hate that it feels like we're constantly rushing - rushing to get out the door to work or school, rushing to throw dinner together so we can eat before 8:00 at night (because you know all my grand ideas about prepping ahead of time never work out like I think they might), rushing to cram in dinner and bath and bedtime for the boys before it's ridiculously late, trying to find time on a weeknight to do something that's fun and not work work work for everyone, trying to find "me" time (hard to do when I get up at 5:15, get home at 5:45, and the evening is all things for kids and house and it's knocking on 10:00 by the time I get them both settled, so it's not like that leaves a lot of time before I'm getting up for work again).

Is it just us? Is everyone else as together as I imagine they are? I just can't figure out any way to make things run more smoothly.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Little Bit's first haircut

He's fifteen months old now, almost sixteen (can you believe?!) and we figured it was time for his first haircut. He did pretty well - better than his brother, that's for sure. LOL A few pictures:

So many thoughts, so little time

It seems like I always think of things to blog about, but never manage to actually sit down and write.

For instance, the other day as I was walking to the bus, I saw a slender woman in high heels taking little mincing steps, and I thought she rather reminded me of one of those snooty little dogs that take tiny steps and sort of hold their noses up in the air. Then I thought, so what kind of dog would I be? I think I'd be a St. Bernard - big and fluffy, not necessarily the most beautiful one in the bunch, but reliable and handy to have around in a crisis. :)

What kind of dog would you be?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Workout updates

Saturday's workout:

Turkish get-ups - four per side

Short bridges - three sets of six

Today's workout:

12 one-arm swings with the left arm (x 15 pounds = 180 total pounds lifted)

12 one-arm swings with the right arm (x 15 pounds = 180 total pounds lifted)

13 DARC's (swings switching from the left arm to the right, so 24 alternating one-arm swings x 15 pounds = 360 total pounds lifted)

This workout's total: 750 pounds in 50 swings

Grand total: 3630 pounds in 242 swings

I'm discovering that getting up early consistently can be a challenge when your kids wake up during the night! Rhys has been working on a molar, and for a few days there, he was up a couple of times a night. There was no way I was dragging myself out of bed early on those mornings - sleep took priority over working out. But the tooth seems to have worked its way in, and for now, he's back to sleeping all night. So I'm back to the workouts on a regular basis!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy eighth birthday, sweet boy!

I'm a day late posting - I just didn't get a chance to sit down and blog yesterday. But eight years ago yesterday, Super J came into the world and changed my life forever. I love you, J - on your birth day, the one who got the gift was me, and you were that gift.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Workout review

Yesterday's workout:

11 one-arm swings with the left arm (x 15 pounds = 165 total pounds lifted)

11 one-arm swings with the right arm (x 15 pounds = 165 total pounds lifted)

11 DARC's (swings switching from the left arm to the right, so 22 alternating one-arm swings x 15 pounds = 330 total pounds lifted)

This workout's total: 660 pounds in 44 swings

Grand total: 2160 pounds in 144 swings - hooray, I've lifted over a ton!

Today's workout:

Turkish get-ups - three per side

Short bridges - three sets of five

It may not be very intense, but I'm doing my best to be consistent! I'm not losing weight or inches just yet, but I do notice a little difference in the way I feel. We went to Hawaiian Falls yesterday, as we've done so many times this summer, and I felt like it was a bit easier to walk around the park. That's progress!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Consistency trumps intensity - I'm working on that

Brian found a saying somewhere: "Consistency trumps intensity", and it's true. I'm trying to make that my motto and be consistent with my exercise, even if to some, it wouldn't seem like much of a workout.

Wednesday's workout:

8 one-arm swings with the left arm (x 15 pounds = 120 total pounds lifted)

8 one-arm swings with the right arm (x 15 pounds = 120 total pounds lifted)

8 DARC's (swings switching from the left arm to the right, so 16 alternating one-arm swings x 15 pounds = 240 total pounds lifted)

This workout's total: 480 pounds in 32 swings

Grand total: 1500 pounds in 100 swings

Thursday's workout:

Turkish get-ups - three per side

Short bridges - three sets of four (this is supposed to help strengthen your core muscles and is supposed to help with/help ward off back problems)

Brian and I have a deal - if I get up early to do my workout, he'll get up early to fix me a glass of chocolate milk when I'm done.

And today was a rest day, woo hoo! Tomorrow it's back to swings again.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Quick post

I'm not sure anyone reads anymore, so I may be talking to myself. LOL

Lots on my mind, but the home computer is whacked out AGAIN. Makes job searching a challenge. Can anyone recommend good antivirus/antispyware/firewall software that isn't too expensive?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Enter the kettlebell, again

I said some time ago that I was going to start working out with my kettlebell. I didn't really follow through on that. But now I'm starting again. Brian found this workout:

The woman in the article lost 100 pounds in a year with the workout listed. I'm not sure my schedule allows for me to follow as strict a diet as she did, but I'm going to do the workout and eat sensibly (not much soda, cut back on sugars and processed foods, eat more fruits and veggies and whole grains), and see where I end up in a year.

I like numbers, so I'm keeping track of how much weight I lift with my workouts. Here's what I've done so far. I use a 15-pound kettlebell right now.

First workout

7 one-arm swings with the left arm (x 15 pounds = 105 total pounds lifted)

7 one-arm swings with the right arm (x 15 pounds = 105 total pounds lifted)

7 DARC's (swings switching from the left arm to the right, so 14 alternating one-arm swings x 15 pounds = 210 total pounds lifted)

Workout total: 420 pounds in 28 swings. Brian has been keeping track of his numbers this way for his kettlebell workout, and when you see the sheer amount of weight lifted in a relatively short time, it's impressive. I like impressive numbers, so that's my motivation - that and the before and after pics of the woman who used this workout successfully. I like playing with weights, and it helps that Brian is doing something similar.

Last night's workout

10 one-arm swings with the left arm (x 15 pounds = 150 total pounds lifted)

10 one-arm swings with the right arm (x 15 pounds = 150 total pounds lifted)

10 DARC's (swings switching from the left arm to the right, so 20 alternating one-arm swings x 15 pounds = 300 total pounds lifted)

Tonight's total: 600 pounds in 40 swings

Grand total: 1020 pounds in 68 swings

I'll have to post some "before" pictures soon (I haven't really lost a lot of weight after two workouts!).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The new house

So did I mention we've moved? We got tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop with the old house and the mortgage, so we found a nice little house to rent.

That pic was taken back when we got a little unexpected spring snow.

Bonuses to the new house:

~Smaller, so our utility bills are lower
~Zoned for a different elementary school, one that should be better with Julian's ADHD
~A fenced back yard!
~Closer to daycare, closer to work for me, and not too much farther for Brian
~Closer to church
~The ice cream man comes through our neighborhood
~Within walking distance of a park with a good playground

Downsides to the new house:

~Smaller, so we're REALLY having to get rid of a lot of stuff. We've been making many a trip to Goodwill and Manna House to donate things. We're still moving some things from the old house, and we're going to be getting rid of some of the things we brought, thinking we'd keep, because we just don't have the room for them. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, it's just a challenge for me - I am the queen of stuff, especially kitchen stuff.

One thing I do know: Moving is a pain. Moving with two kids is a bigger pain. Moving piecemeal with two kids is an even bigger pain still. Next time we move, it will all be packed and sorted and ready to go on the truck, even if we're just going ten miles across town like we did this time.

We're hopeful that this will be a good move for us, though. I'd like to see us here at least three years, so that Julian can finish out his elementary years in the same school, and Rhys won't have started elementary yet. But that remains to be seen. For now, we're all moved out and trying to wind things up with the old house. Personally, I'm looking forward to having a weekend where nothing major has to be cleaned, packed, or moved!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

So much to write about, I really don't know where to start!

Lots has been going on since I really took time to blog last. I'll think of things I'd like to talk about during the day (while I'm at work and can't get to my blog), but by the time I get home, either I forget or I'm just too tired to make the effort. That's pretty sad!

Speaking of work, let's start there. I'm not real happy at my current job - it's a field I've landed in due to career choices that seemed like good ideas at the time, and it's not where I think I want to be. I work in an industry that's been dinged a lot by the federal government lately, and that's kind of scary, because who knows what "interventions" they may decide on in the future and how that might affect jobs. There continue to be murmurings that more layoffs may be possible, and we're told that we really need to step it up (this when we've already taken on a lot more responsibility from other departments within the company, we're working short-handed, and we're learning several different new systems at the same time). I'm already stressed, both by work and by things going on in my life outside of work, and this just adds to it. I'm the main breadwinner for our family (my husband is working full-time, loves his job, but I make more) and I carry the insurance for our boys, so it's not like I can just chuck it if I can't take it anymore.

I'm not averse to changing directions entirely - I'm considering several things I think I could do and be good at. The thing is, they all seem to require more education, and our budget just doesn't have an extra few thousand dollars in it for me to throw at education. I've got a law degree, but I'm not cut out to practice law, and I've been out of the practice of law so long, I'm not sure I'd even get a second glance for any "traditional" legal position.

I would love, love, love something where I can work from home, have more flexibility with my family. There was a time in my life when I thought I'd never get married, never have kids. Now I have a wonderful family, and it's killing me that I can't do for them like I wish I could. It kills me to not be able to be there for my kids like my mom was for me. My older son was sick earlier this year, and had to stay home for several days. I had to tell him that no, I wouldn't be the one staying home with him because I had to go to work, I didn't have time to take off, dad will be home with you. I can't stand missing field trips and parties and volunteer opportunities at school. And I'll have to go through it all again with my younger son as he gets older unless something changes in a big way.

It doesn't help that my mom stayed home after they adopted me and kept an immaculate house and put hot meals on the table every day in addition to being there for most everything I did. I'm doing good if I get breakfast at all, and if it's a good day, there will be Pop-Tarts in the house so my older son can eat one in the car on the way to school. And logically I know that with me working full-time, I can't do all that she did. I just hate it that the situation is such that I'll probably never have the chance to do for my family like she did for hers.

I hate my schedule. I hate that most days I have to wake my kids up before the sun is up to get them to where they need to be. I hate that by the time I get home, my baby is getting tired and cranky, and it's a challenge to get dinner and bath in before he's a raging grump. And some nights it takes so long to get dinner on the table that he's screaming all the way through it while we try to bolt down our meals so that we can take care of him.

I'm not cut out for corporate America. I don't give a rat's patoot about dressing up in a suit for work and wearing heels and moving up the ladder, having a schmancy job with a schmancy title and a big corner office. Do. Not. Care. I want to have a job that gives me some flexibility in my schedule, pays me enough to meet my family's needs, and where I occasionally hear that yes, I am doing a good job instead of just hearing about all the things I do wrong. I honestly don't even care if there's room for advancement, as long as it's something I can stick with for the long term (and if it gives me flexibility for family, I think I could stick with most anything). If I could go back in time, I'd tell my college-age self to steer clear of law school, stick it out with a science major or go into computers, and maybe have a shot at doing something I enjoy that might be a little more flexible.

It feels like I'm missing out on the most important things in my life, the most important people in my life, and I feel powerless to stop it or change it or make it better. I hate that.

I pray about this. Daily. Hourly. All the time. I'm sure I've made choices in life (choices in my education, my career) where I didn't truly seek God's will or didn't pay attention when He told me which way I should go, and I've ended up here as the result of some of those choices. I'm just praying that I haven't gotten myself into a position where God is going to leave me for a while, and if I am meant to be here even longer, I hope it's not God's way of telling me, "See, you should have talked to Me first, you didn't, and so now I'm just going to let you stew for a while." If God wants me elsewhere, I'm praying that He'll open a door and soon. If it means I need more education/certification, I'm glad to do it if He'll provide the resources, because I sure can't dig out money for any education on my own, not with what I have now. If it means I just need to wait until the right opportunity comes along, then I need the stamina to bear up here, especially on days like today where it feels well nigh unbearable. I know we may never know God's reasons for doing things one way or the other, but I sure wish I knew why He's kept me here for nearly six years now, and I wish I had an inkling of how much longer He might keep me here, and for what purpose. It might make those unbearable days a little bit easier.

If you, dear reader, could spare a prayer, I'd appreciate it. If God wants me to stay where I am (which He's clearly wanted for the last six years, as I'm sure there are days, weeks and months where I stayed only by His grace), then He needs to give me strength to do my job to the best of my abilities, and if He wants me somewhere else, He needs to open a door and point me toward it and work that all out.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Body image, blessings and God's love

I've had a lot of things going on in my life the past few years that haven't been exactly fun to deal with, and some days it's really easy for me to get down and to forget to count my blessings. So....

There was a discussion about body image on a board I frequent. One poster made the point that a healthy body image is one where we honor God foremost, eating right and exercising, but not to excess.

And this got me to thinking. I'm certainly nowhere near my ideal weight. I've tried more weight loss plans than I care to think about, and there's no nice way around it, I'm fat. When I started thinking about the body image discussion, I thought, wow, I'm really not doing a good job of honoring God by the way I take care of my body.

And that got me around to the blessing part. I'm not perfect, not by a long shot. I don't always succeed at honoring God in all areas of my life. My dress size will attest to that. And yet, in spite of my imperfections, He loves me so much that He sent His son to die on a cross and give me the gift of eternal life.

For God so loved the world (that includes me! Lisa!) that He sent His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. --John 3:16

Even with all the messy things this world can throw at me, I am blessed indeed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's a start

I mentioned that we finally got an official diagnosis for J. He's been diagnosed with ADHD (hyperactive and inattentive), dysgraphia, and delays in motor skills. I knew he struggled too much with handwriting for there not to be something there. I felt like the evaluation was very thorough, and gave us a lot of recommendations for school and for home.

We had our 504 meeting with the school this morning. Some of the accommodations, the teacher has already been doing, simply because she realized J needed them. I thought it went pretty well, although they aren't doing anything to address the dysgraphia - we're going to have to look outside the school system for occupational therapy for that. I see now why some parents who have kids with any kind of special need decide to homeschool their children. This just consumes your thoughts, and I know I find myself thinking that I don't want to be at work dealing with things to make someone else happy, I want to be doing something to help my child.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Back online, finally!

Wow, a lot has happened since I last posted! Our home computer died, and we finally have a new one up and running. We've moved to a new house. We've gotten the results of J's evaluation. Rhys is *this close* to walking - all he needs to do is let go and take off. I'll have more updates later, now that we've got internet access at home again!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ultimate Crockpot Roast

This is from a cookbook from Our Ultimate Home, a message board I was on several years ago (now defunct, sadly). It got rave reviews on the boards, and when I made it for my family last week, they gave it rave reviews, too!

1 roast (I used an arm roast - you can probably go with whatever's on sale)
1 packet Italian dressing mix
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 packet brown gravy mix
1/2 cup water

Place the roast in the crockpot. Sprinkle the dry packet ingredients over the roast. Pour 1/2 cup water over the top of the roast. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Next time, I think I'll add some potatoes, carrots and onions to make it a one-pot meal. And we found out that the leftovers make really good hash. Brian cooked some frozen potatoes o'brien and onions until the potatoes were mostly done, added some eggs, and when the eggs were about halfway done, added some chopped-up roast. Talk about a good breakfast! So it's two yummy meals in one.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday, February 15 - 28

I'll be back later to dress it up with graphics and recipe links and whatnot, but I wanted to get my menu plan posted - I've been slacking dreadfully! Julian had a lot of input into the menu, so I'm hoping this cuts down on the "but I don't LIKE that, I don't WANT to eat that" that I've been hearing lately.

Monday, 2/15 – Hamburgers, tater tots or chips, fruit

Tuesday, 2/16 – Pizza from Mr. Jim’s

Wednesday, 2/17 – Ultimate Crockpot Roast, Cracker Barrel Green Beans (Recipezaar)

Thursday, 2/18 – Breakfast for dinner! Waffles, bacon, fruit

Friday, 2/19 – MaMa’s Supper Club Tilapia Parmesan, broccoli slaw, Lemon Rice

Saturday, 2/20 – Pork chops, scalloped potatoes, Baked Zucchini

Sunday, 2/21 – Pasta with marinara sauce (or meat sauce), salad, garlic toast

Monday, 2/22 – Meatballs with sauce, salad

Tuesday, 2/23 – Fajitas, chips and salsa

Wednesday, 2/24 – Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes (Recipezaar), sweet potato fries

Thursday, 2/25 – “If you can find it, you can eat it!”

Friday, 2/26 – Grilled steak, Balsamic Glazed Baby Carrots (Recipezaar), Crash Potatoes

Saturday, 2/27 – Dinner out!

Sunday, 2/28 – ??? I’m out of ideas and out of steam!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I had my end-of-year review at work yesterday. In the past, my review has often been a thing of stomach-churning dread, something to be feared, and I know there are times I was hanging on by the skin of my teeth or less. But for whatever reason, my manager didn't just give up on me. He found ways to keep me there, and now that I've settled into another role, it's working. This was the best review I've ever had, and he told me it was a nice change from some of the previous conversations we've had. That made me feel really good. :) So, maybe I am where I'm meant to be, at least for now.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Please vote for Little Miss Hannah's video

Little Miss Hannah - Our Fight against Gaucher's Disease

Of all the posts of mine that I'd hope might be picked up by BlogHer, this tops the list. Please feel free to share it on other blogs, message boards, anywhere it might be seen. Hannah is the daughter of my friends Carrie and Robert. She's not quite two years old, and has been diagnosed with Gaucher's disease, type 2 or 3, a rare genetic metabolic disease that is fatal unless a cure can be found.

Carrie has made a video about Hannah - it's part of the Extraordinary Measures movie quilt:

The winner gets a $10,000 research gift for the charity of their choice. The winner is chosen at random, but the more votes the video gets, the more ...chances it has to be pulled (sort of equate it to a raffle ticket for each vote). If Hannah's video wins, the money will go to continue much-needed research into her condition.

People can vote every day until February 5th. Would you vote? Would you help spread the word and get others to vote? Every little bit helps. Thank you!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

I'm saving this for future reference

Project 52: Date Nights

I like the idea of having a date night every week, but like Simply Modern Mom, we're not exactly flush with cash, and babysitters are hard to come by when your family all lives out of town. So I'm going to follow along - I'm looking forward to seeing what ideas she and her husband come up with for free or inexpensive at-home date nights, and trying out some ideas myself.

Monday, January 04, 2010

A handy little something for those of you who are handy

If you're like me, and married to a man who likes to putter around the house and fix things up, check out these specials and coupons from Harbor Freight. They've got really good prices to start with, and you can save a little more with these current offers. If you aren't sure where to find a Harbor Freight nearby, you can use their store locator.

It looks like all of the coupons are good until January 29, so that's plenty of time to shop!

A little bit of relief

So today I got in touch with the guy we've been working with on the mortgage restructuring. He needed some more information from us, and said he's pretty sure the lender will be willing to work with us. Praise God, what an answer to prayer! Brian and I have talked, and we're going to make good use of whatever time this gets for us to really work on cleaning up the house, fixing things up, decluttering in a major way, and getting it ready to sell. We figure we'll be better off selling out of this one, getting out from under the huge mortgage we face now, and buying something a little older, a little smaller, a little more cost-efficient (9- and 10-foot ceilings look pretty, but they are a huge energy suck when you're trying to cool off in a Texas summer - and for someone as short as). We can use whatever equity is left in this one to put toward a new house, and then get a smaller, more manageable mortgage, at least some of the cost of which we'll likely be able to offset by the savings on utilities. I've already started looking at houses for sale, just to see what's out there. If we can find a nice older house in the town where we now live, with a good-sized yard, that's been well-maintained, I'll be happy. I'd prefer it to be in the district for J's current elementary school, but going back to his old school would be OK, too. It will all work out, even if I'm not sure right this minute exactly how it will be accomplished. I reckon that's God's department, not mine.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Something we need to check out

Dave Ramsey's name seems to keep coming up - in conversation, in blogs I'm reading, everywhere. Brian and I think we need to check his ideas out. I don't know if it will help in our current mess, but if nothing else, it could be a help going forward.