Saturday, September 10, 2011

It has been a minute!

Today starts a new year for me.  In the late sixties, two people decided to get together and I was the result.  So yesterday I celebrated one of the 40's birthdays and today I am starting fresh.  I guess the best part of having a birthday is getting a fresh start.

I have tried this blogging thing for a while, and I have decided I really do not know what I am doing.  There are millions of blogs out there, I kind of question what on earth do I have to offer anyone that is new.  I mean I do not create my own recipes (my husband can whip up a meal from whatever we have, but I have to have directions), I am not an extremely organized person (even though I read every organizing blog I can find).  I am not a creative thinker.   I am very aspie (for those who do not know that is Aspergers Syndrome) I can not tell you that I have it, but I can tell you that I have at least three relatives that do.  I would think some of my personality traits would lead me to believe that I am at least somewhat affected by the disorder.
I am not anything special, I am not particularly humorous.  I do not stand out in a crowd.  I am not one for doing something for recognition, if I put my time and effort into I generally do it for just the sheer enjoyment.

So what can I possibly post about that can be of any interest to anyone else but me?  Good question.  I mean I have had readers who have been to this blog, so someone is reading, but I am guessing they are just here for the meal plans (which I have been doing, just not posting) but other than that, does anyone really care what I have to say?  I am just curious.  I will look at any comments and see if anyone is interested.  So I want to know.....what do you want to read about?  What interests you?

Tell me :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gee, isn't this supposed to be gone?

Yes I believe that I said I was moving my blog (that no one reads by the way) to word press, but you see I just haven't gotten around to it.  I have accomplished quite a bit of things over the past week, but have not bothered to share it with all of my loyal readers.
My husband kicked me out today and told me to go do something that I wanted to do..... then he posed a very pointed question.....
"Do you know how to do that? I mean, I don't want you to go run errands and do things you need to do, go do something you want to do.".  Well I sat down at the kitchen table, looked at my coupons and gift certificates that I had, thought of the things I needed to do:

  1. pick up a rental violin for my daughter who is starting orchestra
  2. pick up new jeans for my oldest girl who just seems to keep growing
  3. get laundry detergent at Target, since none of my grocery stores seem to stock it anymore
  4. figure out what to make for dinner and pick it up
  5. go by and pick up printer ink
  6. oh and pick up popsicles for the sick one
So as I hung out waiting for the new yogurt shop to open up (because that was the thing I was going to do....) I decided to just forget it.  I went to Publix, bought a couple of things and took my sushi outside to eat it ALONE.

Now I probably only spent 10 minutes on me, but it was really nice for my husband to offer.  I do enjoy running errands, taking care of my family, etc.  I honestly wish I could find a hobby, but I like toying around on my computer, and I like taking care of my family, I should probably spend more time with my kids before they aren't kids anymore.......right now they are all on their computers, or ds's or xboxes and really don't want to have anything to do with me.

I think I will be participating in the SPARK Thursdays over at House Honcho.  I have bought plenty of books that I would like to do for the kids to read one day.  I am also going to start working on a memory jar to give all the grandparents so we can find out about their life.  That is my goal for September.  We will see how that works out.....

Anyway enough rambling.....I am off to peruse my google reader to check on the blogs I follow :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Looks like I will be moving.....

I am contenplating moving this blog from here to its own domain and onto wordpress.  I am "playing with it" right now to see if I want to bother.  This is a personal blog, with very few readers but it is a wonderful outlet for me.  I am going to create a professional blog / webpage on my domain but do not know if it will be worth it to me to move this.  The only thing I can say is that I could organize my recipes better and actually have a space to put them.  But then again most of the stuff I use I "borrow" from much better sites.  My kids laughed at me the other night when I was trying to measure out how much butter goes in Kraft Mac n Cheese.  You see I follow receipes to a T.  That way if they stink it is not my  So, if anyone reads this post, what do you think?  Where do you like to blog best?

It's a showdown.....Word Press Vs. Blogger!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

No more Sunday Confessionals

Life can change in an instance and sometimes it will never change.  I have discovered there is a lot more to me than I gave myself credit for.  For me I have been content and have decided it is time to shake things up for me a bit.  I think that everyone has midlife crisis (I am pretty mid, I must say) but more important studies show that you will change your profession more than three times in your life.  I have already changed twice.....what is once more, you know.  Don't wait until tomorrow to start living your life.  I have found something that I think I can do, realistically and enjoy myself doing it.  I must say I love Blogging, but I have found it hard to find the time or to open myself up as much as I should.  You know there is a difference between personal and private.  There will be more personal things going on on this blog.  I am a proud mom (my most important job) but I wear many hats, and now one more.  I am scared, excited and energized all at the same time.  Come join me on my journey!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Family Fun

Sometimes your family has to divide and conquer to have fun.  Today we split in two groups.  The older kids took off with my husband to enjoy all the city had to offer.  I, however decided to stay close to home, do some grocery shopping, purchasing a new router (boring) and such.  I spent the first few hours of Saturday cleaning house, now we can all relax tomorrow and watch the race.  It should be a great day!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday - Featured site of the week - Evernote

I discovered this a while back, but over the past couple of weeks I have had plenty of time to play with it.  I LOVE IT!
It is just like one note, which I loved, but I could never get it to sync right and since I had the 2007 version I couldn't update it on the go.  Evernote solves it all!

I have an android phone, an ipad, and a laptop.  It has a version for each of my devices as well as a web based application and a desktop version for my PC.  I can sync this anywhere.  I can also share my notebooks with anyone I choose.  They can edit the notebooks or be granted read only access (with Premium membership).
Most people will be just fine with the regular free account, but since I use it for work as well I find the file attachments feature (any type with premium, pdf's and photos are allowed with free) invaluable.

Want to find out about it watch a great video here:

I have already started a Christmas notebook so when I see something I can take a picture and add a note (directly from my phone) and there is no guessing or trying to remember.  This is one of the best organizational tools that i have seen in a LONG time.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

School starts Monday!

I created a menu to write my blog posts from, but honestly, sometimes I am not in the mood to write about what is on the menu.  Sometimes I do not feel like writing at all.

I promised my husband that I would not write specifics about my family.  So for the most part this blog has stayed pretty innocuous.  I have thought about writing about the struggles that my family has to maintain balance and sanity.  But for now I will just keep this kind of general.....This weekend I am working on a couple of things:
A. Relaxing, school starts on Monday and I need to be mentally and physically ready.
B.  Getting my ducks in a row.  I have four kids that I need to have on a schedule and things ready for the new school year.

So how do I do that?  Here you go:
First of all, our "chores" have changed because we have less time to get them done.  I have used program after program on my android and my ipad.  I still keep going back and forth to find a great option.  I had been using but then I decided that I can't copy and paste an entire list to that.  So I am still working on which program I will use, but for now it will be home routines.  I downloaded this app over six months ago and even though I love my android because it is on me all of the time and I do not use my ipad as much, this is still hands down the best program I have found to manage my lists and my kids list.  I can email them to the kids and I can also get them to copy and paste the entire list in their home routines in just two steps.

Next thing is meal planning.  I have been using Plan To Eat for over a year now.  While I like it, I disliked the fact that I could not import recipes from blogs.  They have worked on it and it is better but still not great in my opinion.  It is time to renew my membership.  $40.00 is a big chunk for me, so I am wondering if I will renew or not.  I am going to do a test trial with Big Oven again.  I downloaded that program a few years ago.  Even though it is not as pretty as plan to eat, it is significantly cheaper.  I am also looking at Allrecipes.  I would really like to have nutritional information.  Big Oven automatically calculates the nutritional information.  Probably the only thing I really don't like about Plan to Eat.  Still thinking about this one.

I have established google calendars for all of the kids.  At the beginning of the week I print out a calendar for each one of them so they know what they have to do each week.  Then I put the information on the large calendar in the kitchen.  We have a wonderful calendar that I purchase each year from More Times Moms.  They have great customer service.  One year they changed where they put the holes for the calendar and I called them, they refunded my purchase price.  This will be the fourth year I have purchased a calendar from them.  I love it!

Ok so that is what I have started so far, I will finish up the laundry this weekend and will be ready to start school on Monday!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monday Menu Plan - Whoops

Well, I have had a rough week, health issues and other things have kept me from blogging.  But I was so excited about my new plan that I wasn't worried, BUT......
When I downloaded the new menu plan this week I realized my family wouldn't eat a single meal on the plan.  I started with the Publix meal plan on Wednesday and I said, nope nothing on there, so I will wait for the Kroger plan on Sunday, and it was very similar (which tells me at this point I won't need both).  So there I was on Sunday with no plan.... :(

So we have been winging it....

Monday - Spaghetti, Texas Toast

Tuesday - BBQ Chicken, Beans, Mac n Cheese and Garden Salad

Wednesday - Stuffed Shells with Sauce, Caesar Salad

Thursday - Slow Cooker Dump and Go Cheesy Chicken, Rice and Green Beans

Friday - Pizza Night

Saturday - Taco Twist Bake, Salad

Sunday - A1 Pork Chops, Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes

Find this plan over on

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday - Featured site of the Week

Blogging is supposed to be a release for me.  This week has been less than stellar for me in some ways and really good in other ways.

I have been conducting a little experiment this week with  So far so good.  The dish I made the last night was another big hit.  So not only is it easy to follow but it is also good.

So here is my break down so far:

Easy to read and follow recipes (the entire weeks recipes are on one page!)
So far everyone likes everything on the menu
It made my shopping trip quick and easy
You can search on the internet for a coupon code to get a discount on your meal plan!

The portions are not big enough for my family, so I have to adjust
Condiments are not included in the shopping list and some of the things they consider condiments I would not (i.e. hamburger buns)
I have to substitute healthier items (low sodium broths and soups, etc), I know that they do this to keep the price down, so I choose to use the more expensive item to be a bit healthier.

All in all I really like this site.  Because I have two stores I shop at I now have 14 meals to choose from for my family, the shopping lists are ready to go, I just take my coupon binder and hit the road!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday - Random Acts of Kindness / Gratitude

Well I am trying to get back into a rhythm again.  I am not sure I can get back to blogging every day but I will try.   My husband asked me what would make me happy.  I said, I wasn't aware that I was unhappy.  I feel that I am generally content.  Sure would I like to have more money and not be in debt, you bet.  Could I stand to lose some weight and get healthier, absolutely!  But that is not my primary focus.  I would have to say for now my family is.  Now when my kids are gone and grown, who knows, my tastes and goals may change.

We are working on changing our world a little at a time.  My children are each picking a project that we will engage in as a family.  Each child picks one month.  Last month we worked on the tornado relief in Joplin.  We have friends and family there so it was an obvious choice that was close to our hearts. Our daughter spearheaded a drive at her school and then took the supplies to Joplin.  This month our son has chosen to help package meals for delivery to terminally ill patients.  Next week we will load up in our van and set out to package meals for three hours.  He picked it on his own.  Next month another son wants to help our local animal shelter out by getting donations from his classroom.  We have to run that by the school administration but I am sure that they will allow it.  Even if he just gets his friends to participate and bring in old towels it will help a few dogs that otherwise would not have any bedding.  We also found a great doggie biscuit recipe that we will make at home.

As I have mentioned before I love the site Pebble Tossers.  They log in and they look for their own project.  We talk about it and then we schedule it.  It creates a ripple, hopefully our children will continue to carry this on long after they move out.

So how are YOU going to create a small ripple today?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Meal Plan E-mealz, my new experiment - First Meal Review and Meal Plan

Well, I gave you a pretty good run down of how I thought would work for me.  We ended up waiting until everyone was home to make the Orange Ginger Chicken.  It was a huge hit!  Now one of the best things about their program is that the recipes, the menu plan and the grocery list are on only two pages.  Yes there is a lot of pre-packaged foods (for instance the potatoes) but you can always substitute for fresh.  (Just remember the cost will most likely rise).  So for the first night I cooked six chicken breasts (I used both packages).  I had two left over.  I will use those in a salad this week.  But here is the best part, Next time I make this I will be making four packages and putting them in the freezer to marinate.  Everyone ate, even my kid that hates grilled chicken.  I had left over green beans so they will go into a shoepeg casserole at the end of the week.  But I did call the potatoes correctly, I had one small serving left over and my daughter has called those for breakfast.

So my first meal score - A+

Now I have just downloaded the new Kroger shopping list for this week and printed it out with the current Publix meal plan.  Since I had just done a meat run at Sam's, I do not have to buy as much meat for this week.  I did check out the prices on the sheets and found there are somethings that I can get cheaper at Kroger (from the Publix lists) and vice versa.  So I have highlighted what I need from each list and I will venture out today to try my luck.  Overall I am excited about this.  I got the menu plan done and the shopping list completed in about 15 minutes.  Normally it takes me at least an hour.  Now not everything that I have on here if from their list and I am not posting recipes.  I had substitutions because of things I had already purchased and since this is an effort to save money, I am going to use them. :)

I am ready for my week!

Here is the Plan -
Monday - Pork Chops, Mac n Cheese (because I have some in the pantry, not on menu) Beans
Tuesday - Teryaki Burgers, Baked potatoes, Corn
Wednesday - Pot Roast and Vegetables
Thursday - Tortellini Carbona, Salad, Garlic Bread
Friday - Bahamian Tuna, Shoepeg Corn Casserole,  Rolls
Saturday - Steak Salad, Rolls
Sunday - Quiche

As usual find this over at-
This week Menu Plan Monday is being hosted by Finding Joy in My Kitchen

Saturday, July 16, 2011

E-mealz, my new experiment

Ok so I am always trying to find new ways to help myself out, save money and do good things for my family.

I was looking at new blogs on the web and I found one that I just LOVE.  It is Zenhabits.  Now that led me to reading back stories which led me to  Now I have looked at another blog I love $5 dinners.  But lets be honest.  She couldn't feed my family on $5.00 a meal.  I have two teenagers and two tweens and my husband and myself.  While I love the concept I just knew it wouldn't work for us.  But she does do a meal plan that she posts each week with a grocery list and it is FREE!  I love her ideas so please go check it out.  

So back to e-mealz.......  It is a pay service for a very reasonable price.  It is only 15.00 for three months for each meal plan that is only $1.25 a week for each plan but I am not sure this is going to work either.....

I signed up the other night and I signed up for the Kroger and the Publix 4-6 editions.  Now we have six people in our family, and I have a Kroger that is very close but I do like to go to Publix.  They have been sending me $5.00 off coupons each week for two months and I just love the fresh sushi and their egg salad.  So as a treat I like to go there at least once a month.

So these ladies at E-mealz are going to feed my family dinner for an entire week for under $100.00.....well lets see.

Since I started in the middle of the week I decided to pick one meal to feed my family of four tonight (two of them are with my ex).  I picked one meal and decided to see just how that would pan out at the store.

I picked Orange Ginger Chicken.  Now I will not give you the recipe but I will tell you what is in it.
They suggested 1.5 lbs of boneless chicken breasts they are on sale at Kroger this week for 1.99 a pound.  They were 4.34 and 4.94 a package.  One package of chicken will feed my family of four (that is three breasts) so I can't just use 3.00 worth of chicken.  Last week they were not on sale so I always get extra when they are one sale to keep.
Next item was minced fresh ginger one small piece, they said it should have cost me .50, the smallest piece they had was .85.

It listed 1 tub prepared mashed potatoes as a side, first off my Kroger didn't have the brand they suggested but they did have the Kroger one on sale but not for the same price.  Now generally I buy the powdered Idaho potatoes or make it from scratch but this time I thought, I will just play along.  No dice, the tub is so small, even though it says five servings, it will not do here, so I had to buy two.  Lastly they said green beans, which were on sale as well.

Ok so here is the tricky, this meal plan does not include the price of staples........

Staples for this meal:
Orange Juice (which is NOT a staple in my house, I never buy it)
Garlic (which is a staple but at 4.00 every time you buy should count)
Rice Vinegar and Sesame Oil(which I happen to have because my mother visited last month and told me to buy it)
Soy Sauce (Ok I buy that in bulk)

So here is your break down:
Item                         E-mealz price                         My price
Chicken                        3.00                                        4.34
Ginger                            .50                                        .85
Mashed Potatoes            1.49                                       5.00 (two tubs 2.50 each)
Beans                            1.20                                       1.20
Orange Juice                      0                                       1.99
Garlic                                 0                                       3.99
                                     $6.19                                   $17.37

Hmmmm, this is not looking so good for me.  But I am going to try it for a whole week.  Now understand my family situation is different, we have different kids on different nights, but there are so many blended families out there that it should be a norm at this point.  

I love their concept, I like their menus (my family will never eat the fish but hey...), so I am going to challenge myself to stick to their menu next week (I will do 50% at Kroger and 50% at Publix) and we will see how it turns out.  I am excited to try it. :)


Friday, July 15, 2011

Is it Thursday already? Ok Since I didn't post it yesterday, now it is FRIDAY!

Well, I wanted to get back to blogging, but the week has escaped me again. This week has been filled with work, a yearly mammogram the 3rd delivery of a refrigerator in two weeks, the air going out and generally a normal week.

Down south we used to say that it was so hot, but now it seems that heat has swept across the country. Our heat indexes have been over 100, and yes we know we should expect heat, but it has been brutal over the past few weeks.

So the weather is giving us a break today, a high of 83.  So I am going to try and have a productive day in the office without AC.  We will see.

An update on my goals from the other day.......Thanks to Life As Mom for reminding me I can start a new year anytime.
1.  I have not kept a good food diary.  I have tried on my phone, I have tried on paper, just can't seem to get that down.  Either I do not have the phone with me or the paper with me when I am eating, or I just can't commit.  Can't really figure that one out yet.

2.  I have not exercised.  Terrible I know, but I have vacuumed the entire house.  Vacuuming here is not easy.  We have two dogs who shed and several birds (one that is very messy).  I am guessing I haven't felt that great due to the heat, but I also think I probably had a touch of something this week.

3.  I did make the music mix.  I love my android.  My music sits on my hip.  I get tons of work down around the house, but just haven't made it on the bike. :(*

4.  Taking time for me- I have done pretty good on that front.  Here I am at 6:29 taking time out.  I played my favorite little ipad game (pocket frogs) and I feel pretty relaxed.  I carry alot of stress with me, some self imposed........

So 2 out of 4, I guess that is not so bad.  I think I will still have the same goals (minus the music) for next week.  I will add one more......getting my Household notebook finished.

1.  Food Diary
2.  Exercise 15 minutes a day (changing this to M-W-F-SU) Four times a week should start me out on my goal :)
3.  Finish up Household notebook (I am still deciding HOW to set this up, either digitally or in my notebook.) And I know that a Household Notebook is an ever changing thing.  I just need to decide HOW I am going to do it :)

So there you go.  This weekend I am looking at new meal planning services.  While I love my subscription I still like to look at other options out there.

Have a great Friday!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Plan

Well I usually take Sunday's to plan out my week.  Get a little cleaning done around the house and generally just relax.  So I have been really enjoying myself today.  I went out to a wonderful brunch and tomorrow I start on my road to wellness.

Simple goals:
You have to start with simple goals.  Before I know what I have to change about my diet, I need to know what I am eating.  I know I have a menu plan, but I am a grazer.  And then there is portion control (or lack of it).  So right now I am as heavy as I have ever been in my life.  (well beside when I was pregnant) so it is time to shape up.  I have the tools now I just need to use them.  I try to use  I mean how silly is this...... I have access on my android phone, my ipad and my computer, yet I can't even enter in how much water I drink per day or how much I weigh.  Simple goal number 1:  write down how much water I drink and what I eat for five days.

Next, I do NOT exercise.  There were some sites that used to count housework as exercise.  Maybe there is a reason that spark people does not.  It is inconsistent and varied.  So next simple goal.  15 minutes of exercise a day.  I have a wii (with an exercise program) and I have pay per view that has free exercise videos.  I also have a stationery bike and a treadmill.  Certainly I can start small.  So scheduling that 15 mintues is a must.

Small goal number 3.  Make a playlist of music that is 15 minutes long that will get me moving.  I will do two different ones so I don't listen to the same thing everyday.

Finally smalll goal number 4.  Really take 15 more minutes a day just for me. Seems simple enough, but I never afford myself that luxury.  Not that it is not given in my house, just that I do not take it.

After I follow these small goals for a week I need to decide on my next action plan.  I have a few resources that I will be looking at this week so I can start following something.

Flylady - Body Clutter (I have the book and the companion journal), I am trying to find some others to do this with......they also have a daily sheet to make it easier....

I also have Ellie Krieger's Small Changes Big Results book, I joined her website before but is was expensive in my opinion.

Spark people

Oh decisions decisions!
1.  Log my foods and water for one week
2.  Exercise for 15 mintues a day
3.  Make a playlist for exercise time
4.  Take 15 minutes for me.

Menu Plan Monday - been nearly a month!

Well I am well behind on menu planning.  Summer is a crazy time.  Kids are here, not here, all kinds of crazy stuff going on.  I am going back to my regular way of posting.  It is not Monday but I am going to go ahead and post for the week.

Dinner - Beef Brisket (adapted from Paula Dean's Receipe) We added additional Garlic Powder and Cavendars seasoning.

Beer Can Chicken

Tacos / Taco Salad

Tuesday -
Classic BLT Sandwich
Pasta Salad

Wednesday - Chicken Marsala

Thursday -

Friday - Pizza Night

Saturday -
Green Bean Casserole

Sunday -
Twice Baked Potatoes
BBQ Ribs
Mac n cheese

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday - Taking care of Myself

This blog has suffered from my lack attention. I have been focused on other issues in my life recently and have been overwhelmed with trying to keep up with it all.
So I have been taking care of myself. I cleaned my house more than I had been able o in the past. I hung pictures, I have lived here for five years and although we have hung some things together I never took initiative to just do it on my own.

So I am hoping to settle back into a regular routine. With school getting out and part of the family being gone and the other part being on vacation. I am finding some sort of peace. And I intend to keep it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday - Site of the Week

We have been working on the relief effort in Joplin.  So I am going to share this website.  If you would like to help this is the place to go.

There will be need for months.  I have been to this city many times and it is a lovely place.  I spent a week there for vacation last year.  We just walked around town, ate at cool diners and just took a break from the hectic life we have.

Joplin will rebuild!

Tuesday - Gratitude / Random Acts of Kindness

Well today is a bit of a rant. I sat and worked really hard to gather coupons to go the the store and get all of the greatly reduced items so I could send them to the Tornado victims, but they were gone.  I have been watching extreme couponing and I get so mad when they clear the shelf.  I mean you will never be able to use 115 boxes of pain reliever.  And to buy things you don't need because they make you money seems selfish to me.  I wanted to score a big deal.  I blood monitor so I could send it to someone who really needed it, and they were all gone.  I can't afford to do a ton of stuff but I would have liked to have gotten more for my money so I could have sent it to the tornado victims.  I ended up with very little.  I would have done better by just going to Dollar Tree.  I did get two things free, but I only bought one of each of the items.  I didn't have multiple coupons or split my order up twelve different times.  I know that they are trying to save money for their family and basically spend nothing for groceries,but they have to buy newspapers, so this "free" stuff can't possibly be true.  Where do these stacks and stacks of coupons come from? 
Why can't they just leave some things for the rest of us to buy?  Why clean the shelves when you can't possibly use them.....

Monday, May 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Hi everyone, Happy Memorial Day.  My father served in the military many years ago.  My husband's family has a long history of service.  I am very thankful for all they have done for my country.  I am able to blog and exsist because they fought for us.

My menu plan may change this week.  Part of my family is helping with Tornado relief and I am not sure when they are coming back.  So I am only planning for part of my family.  Trying things that I think the ones who are out of town may not like. 

Please run over to Meal Plan Monday at Orgjunkie.  I find lots of ideas from all of these wonderful people. :)

Monday - Memorial Day - Dinner with Family

Tuesday - Captain Crunch Chicken, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes

Wednesday - Left overs

Thursday - Crockpot Beef and Peppers

Friday - Taco Twist Bake

Saturday - Blackberry BBQ Dump Chicken, salad, kraft Mac n Cheese

Sunday - Melt in Your Mouth Meatloaf, Green Bean Casserole, Rosemary Potatoes

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Confessional

Well this is the last time I will be using this header.  I have recently discovered that it is being used on another site.  I do not intentionally take things from others so even though I like my Sunday Confessional I will find another name.

I am sitting and watching the Joplin Memorial Service on CNN.  My confession....I miss my husband terribly.  He is there providing aid for those devestated by this tornado.  Friends and family homes have been leveled and some have nothing left.  A friend fit everything that could be salvaged from her house in her trunk. 

My confession:  It kills me not to be with my husband right now, but I have other kids who are coming home and I have responsibilites here. 

Stay Strong Joplin!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday - Family Fun

Today part of my family is in Missouri helping with the Tornado clean up, I am at home and the others are having their visitation time with their other parents.  So todays family fun is basically me sitting by myself.  I am trying to get motivated to do something but it has been such an exhausting week.  I have laundry that has piled up and a hundred things that I need to get done to the house.  But I am thinking I need to take some time off.  We have been just going and going and going non stop since Sunday.  School ended yesterday as well, so it has been really busy here.  So I think I will have a nice long shower and relax a little today.  Maybe take myself out to lunch.  The possibilities are endless.  I hope everyone enjoys their day, and those who are in the midst of cleaning up, I hope that they are able to recover absolutely everything they can.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday - Supposed to be Taking Care of Me.

I am not sure how many people see my blog.  I look at the stats and I know that this blog is not visited very often.  I know part of that is because I am not a big promoter.  I started this blog simply so I would take a few minutes each day to write down some thoughts.  I thought if I put it out there to people it would hold me more accountable.  Some times it did, other times, well I just couldn't do it.

For the last week my air conditioner has been out.  Now normally not a big deal but it has been in the 90's here this week.  We still have the air conditioner downstairs, but there is nothing where we sleep.  That in itself would have probably given me a wonderful excuse to be gripy and in a possible bad mood.  But as I realized Sunday night that there was an air conditioning issue we also started getting text messages from facebook from our friends.  Their entire town was gone.  In the blink of an eye their lives were forever changed.  Suddenly the air conditioner didn't seem like a big deal anymore.

 photo from:
 We rallied and raised items, contacted churches, groups, anyone that we thought could help us.  My daughter had already been involved with a tornado relief drive at her school to help those affected in our area last month, she switched gears and she went gang busters.  She did announcements at her school (She had a wonderful school counselor who helped her facilitate this), she went on the evening news and she spread her story.  We got calls from all over and they brought things.  We rented a uhaul trailer, collected donations and then off they went.

I haven't been really active on the blog lately.  I am not a writer by trade and my life sometimes seems beyond hectic, but I do try.  My family is re-evaluating several things in our life, and this is something I have to do.  Our diet is hit or miss, and sometimes we are passing ships.  Time is precious, so are your loved ones. 

If you do read this I beg you to help.  It doesn't have to be monetarily, you can donate old clothes, you can give blood, you can volunteer your time.  This can be a great family activity.  Getting everyone involved can bring your family closer.  Anything and everything helps, even if you can't help those who have been affected by the tornadoes you can still help locally.  Three people lost their lives in the Atlanta area last night.  Sometimes we have to help in our own backyard.  There are always ways and places to help.

Giving to others gives great joy to the soul. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Potato Bar
Tuesday - Taco Twist Bake
Wednesday - TBD
Thursday - Ultimate Creamy Beef Stroganoff
Friday - Dinner Out
Saturday - Rueben Sandwiches
Sunday - TBD

We do not have our kids for most of the week and since it is a REALLY busy week at work I am not going to stress myself out with trying to plan everything.  We have award cermonies this week and the last day of school so it is a strange week.  I am looking forward to having more time next week since the kids will be here to help.

Have a great week everyone!

Please check out the links at!  It helps me plan my menus when I have no idea what to do :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday - Random Acts of Kindness / Gratitude

I understand how a small pebble can start a ripple.  I mentioned that I was going to have my children pick a service project for the family to participate in each month.  I sent a copy of the Pebble Tosser newsletter to my older children and one of my daughters ran with it. She approached her school administrators and is now helping organize a collection relief effort for the Tornado victims in our area.  When she went to school we were talking about a completely different project, by the time she got there, she had changed her mind and apparently was very passionate about Tornado Relief. 
I was in the car yesterday when I heard an ad for Kaiser Permanente.  Even the insurance companies are trying to get people to do good deeds.  It honestly does make some one feel good to do things for others.
Here is a link for Pebble Tossers again.  I hope to involve my children while they are young, so hopefully when they are adults they carry this on!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I am putting up the calendar again.  Since I am a day late and it is in Agenda mode, you will have to look back to get Monday's.  But just know it is a family recipe and it is not online (sorry).

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday confessional

Today, for the first time I am flogging from my Android.  Now I am a typist not really a tester but since we are outside I thought I would give it a try. My confession for the week.....can't really think of anything in particular, except right now I would love to be sitting on the couch, but it is a pretty day and my husband is pruning the roses and we are about to put in a plant he bought for me.  We have been on the hunt for a Carolina Sweet shrub.  I had one in my yard as a child and he searched and brought it home yesterday. 
He is a real sweetie :)
Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday - Family Fun

Well, it is Saturday.  Another long spring week has come to a close.  This is the first weekend it has been just the two of us.  We left this morning and ventured into the world.  We ate, we shopped and we just rode around and enjoyed the day.  I have such a good time with my husband, doing pretty much ordinary things.  We got home after our trip (yep exciting things like Staples, Grocery and Target) we came home and worked on our pond. (Our pond is in the picture below, although it was not taken today)  My wonderful husband is now cooking 1/2 chickens for our dinner.  It is one of the things he cooks that I just love.  It is one of my favorites.

PHOTO CREDIT: My Husband Please do not lift
Have a happy Saturday!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thursday - Site of the Week (well now that Blogger is back up!)

I honestly have not had time to go to the grocery store this week much less surf the web for fun things. I think according to google reader, I have 116 unread blog entries and that was after I marked everything as read a few days ago.

I have been spending a lot of time looking at coupon sites lately. I was looking at coupon mom and liked the idea of using free coupons for charity items. So I took the two coupons from this past Sundays paper that are supposed to be free and I am planning to go to the store tomorrow and get these free items and start a box for a shelter program.

Then I started checking other blogs and websites, and I found something interesting.....people are really angry about these extreme couponers. I just switched over to a binder from my little coupon caddy on Mother's Day. I still haven't entered all of my coupons into my coupon program on the ipad, nor have I organized them all. It has been a REALLY busy week. I only clip coupons on things we use. I do not get extreme amounts of items (even though there are six of us) because I do not have anywhere to put it (I mean I could put it in the basement, but then I will forget and what is the point of that......)I do not want my child to have 4000 rolls of toilet paper under his bed, and I have no desire to have a shelf of canned goods in my bedroom. My bedroom has enough clutter in it without adding food.

So I expect to save around 100.00 a month through my watching sales and clipping coupons. I do it while I watch tv. I do not go out of my way to empty the shelf (ok last week gatorade was on sale and I bought 15, but they had tons!). I am glad they have found a way to spend very little money on groceries, but how many papers do they have to buy? How many hours do they take out of their day to do this? Right now this is something I enjoy, if it becomes too much like work then I will find it more trouble than it is worth.

There are two sites that I went to this week that I found interesting.... I visited this site several years ago and decided that the way she did couponing was not for me. I think I might be changing my mind. Not for my family but to use for charity. She has great lists and it seemed a bit confusing to me at first but I downloaded her ebooks and it became a bit clearer. Now I have a section for cut coupons in my binder and full circulars.

The next web site I visited was I ended up on her site because of the charity ideas. She does a great job on her blog showing you pictures of what she does. She was on extreme couponing but I did not see that episode.

Finally, I love facebook, I can catch up in just a few mintues on most of the blogs that I subscribe to in my reader and I get to see what my friends are up to. So I saw a post this morning from for the food drive this weekend. I will be cleaning out my pantry either tomorrow night or Saturday morning and getting rid of all those things that are still in date but my family won't touch. It will feel good to declutter my pantry while helping others in the process.

Well I hope that this week starts winding down for us, and all of you too!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday - Gratitude

I have missed my menu plan Monday post because I have not done one this week.  So today is gratitude.  I am grateful that things are shaping up and I am starting to feel less stress.  School will be out in a matter of weeks and I will be spending a lot of time working from home so I can supervise the kids.  It can be stressful but we are going to try and make plans.

  I have assigned each child a month that they will be in charge of selecting the family community service project.  We will be starting this in June.  Wish us luck!

It is important to teach our children about giving back, they never know when they might be in the position of being the recipient of some else's kindness.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday Confessional

It is Mother's Day.  I have been very lax lately about writing in my blog.  Life has gotten really busy and I have to slow down and keep up with the goals I set for myself earlier this year.  I decided that today I am going to do the thing that I have been doing for a while.  My confession..... I have been very lazy.

I sit and spend lots of time planning menus.  And then unfortunately I have not been very good at following through on some goals I set out for myself this year.  This blog, being one of them. 

I am going to TRY to spend this week focusing on follow through.  At work, and at home.  Since it is Mother's Day, I am just writing a short note.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday - Taking Care of Me (sort of)

It has been a weird couple of weeks for our household. Spring break, getting back into the swing of things, state testing for all the kiddos and just a very hectic schedule at work. 

About two weeks ago I got a new phone.  An android.  Now I have been a fan of google for a long time.  I use google apps, google health, love their new recipe search and probably a million other things (like  So I have been trying to figure out what works best for me, apps on my ipad or apps on my android.  Now I have an OLD ipad (yes I got it in September and it is already outdated) and it does not have a camera.  Most of the grocery list programs have those new scanners which I love and hate.  Even with my phone it is near impossible to get it to scan something.  I do not have 20 minutes to put mac and cheese into my phone.  Still all in all it is a nice feature.  I have an app on my ipad that I love for my coupons, but lets face it, the ipad is big and sometimes it is nice to carry it on your hip.  So I have downloaded every free list and grocery program that I have come across so far for my andriod.

So, this weekend is mother's day.  I am going to organize my coupons, write on my blog and relax.  Just take care of myself a little.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Monday - Menu Plan Monday

I thought I would try a new way to post my menu.  When I try to post it from the program I use it gives me all kinds of errors.  Please let me know how you like this.  You should be able to get to the links from this calendar.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Toilet Paper Rant

Super Toilet Paper Roll
Here it is.  I have not been on my blog in almost two weeks.  An event affected me greatly and then life just rolled right over me.  My husband brought up the fact that this is one of the ways I hold myself accountable, but I haven't been, have I?

So I know it is Thursday, and I should be featuring the site of the week.  The only site I have been on this week is for work, no one wants to hear about that.  I mean it is a fantastic site, but alas, it is boring.  So I decided to start up with toilet paper.

Toilet paper.  We only use one kind in our house.  Charmin Extra Soft. That has not changed in years.  What has changed is the size of the rolls.

So I now have to go to the store to buy more toilet paper even though I have a huge package at home. You see, I can't fit it in my toilet paper holder in the bathroom (it is the silver canister on the bottom) and it will not even fit in my roll. It does fit downstairs and in the kids bath, but today I had to just hold my toilet paper. Very weird to say the least.

I tried to start a price book. To compare prices on things I buy the most. But the toilet paper confused me. I mean I only buy one kind but there are sooooo many different variation on roll size. I looked it up on the web and it just amazed me. You don't know how much you are spending on toilet paper because you have no idea what you are buying. Today I went to Sam's and got family rolls. Now I have bought mega rolls, giant rolls, regular rolls, but never family rolls.

At this point I believe they keep changing this just to confuse us.

Now I have spent more time pondering the size of toilet paper rolls, and oddly enough most people may not care. (Honestly neither did I until I couldn't fit it on my dispenser). So why all this rambling over toilet paper?

Because I can! Happy Friday everyone!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Whew.....what is today?

I had a big meeting first thing Monday, I had tried to do my menu planning on Sunday, and I had a good start until my husband and I talked and we decided to chuck what we have and have something different. At the beginning of the week we had one birthday, one of the other parents was sick over the weekend so we had extra kids we weren't counting on. It was just one of those time periods when a menu plan was probably key. We had a difficult week at work, I had two educational meetings for one of the kids and doctor appointments, just life's craziness showing it's ugly head. The sad part about it is that I can't even remember what we ate this week. One good thing that came out of my lack of planning was I got to take my ladies out to dinner last night. I am not really a spontanious person, but my husband suggested I take them out. They were shocked to say the least. It was nice. Tomorrow we are going to have a nice Easter dinner since we will not all be together on Sunday.

Happy Easter everyone. I will see you Monday with a new meal plan!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday - Whatever Wednesday

Ok today did not start off like I thought it would.  I killed my blender.  Yes an unfortunate household accident that involved a smoothie and an electrical short.  By the time I realized that a small current of electricity was going through my body it was too late, my blender was dead.  Lucky for me I had a handheld blender that came to the rescue.  Even though 2 cups of apple juice made friends with my counter, my children started their day with delicious smoothies.   

And then my day went on.......

I came home early from work to finish working from home......nope, my Internet was down.  (Internet was fine router was killed in the recent storm) After an hour of reconfiguring and restarting the network in our home was back up.  Then we move to my brand new phone.  The wonderful Evo 4g from sprint.  Can I tell you how many cuss words I used in a 30 minute period?  No since it was well into the hundreds I should probably keep that to myself.  I purchased the phone on Friday and now it has a mind of its own and we do NOT agree.  So I am waiting for my fabulous sprint representative to be at work tomorrow at noon to replace this malfunctioning piece of dung for one that actually works. 

My daughter informed me today that her friends' (twins) father passed away on Monday and she would like to go to his funeral tomorrow to support her friends.  Now coming from a 13 year old that is very mature.  We spent our evening shopping for clothing for her to wear tomorrow.  So even though my day started out with a shock and continued with everything electrical that I touched breaking, I should not complain.  There is a wonderful family that lost a wonderful man.  A great provider, a loving husband and an outstanding father.  My petty complaints have no room to be voiced when such a great tragedy has occurred. 

I am sitting here with my daughter looking over my shoulder as I type this (first time for everything) and I must admit that anything that I went through today pales in comparison.  I am thankful for each day I am given and each time I can check in on this blog.  Who knows what each day holds.  So live each day like it were your last. 

Love like you have never loved before.  Be kind to those who need it the most.  Put your own problems in perspective.

(A daisy, a gift from my husband and children last year)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday - Gratitude, April 12, 2011

In early 2003 I lost a dear friend of mine.  She was a wonderful person and she was 47 years old and died of a heart attack.  She had a husband and two boys.  She was happy.  She worked way too much (that is where we met) but she enjoyed her time with her family and she really enjoyed her work.  Shortly after she died I started to re-evaluate my life.  In doing so I picked up a book called Simple Abundance.  It has an entry for each day.  You can start the book on any particular day and start reading about her journey.  She talks about gratitude, focus, self nurturing and various other topics.  Some of the essays really didn't fit me but it was ok for me, it gave me a starting point.  A few years later, I made my future husband a gratitude journal, so he could write things down that made him happy.  It turned out he really didn't use that, he loved the gift but it just wasn't the format he needed.  I have searched for several different formats.  I have decided that it is up to each person what works for them.  For my young daughter I found a diary for her ipad.  She can write whatever she wants and add pictures.  Sometimes she uses it as a diary, but most of the time she just put thing that makes her happy. 

I just purchased a package of ebooks.  In that collection was a book called Gratitude Journal.  You can print it out and write in there.  It is $5.99 but if you like this format it might be a good one for you.  If you like Ipad or Ipod you can get search for gratitude or you can just get a free journal on ipad or ipod.  You can go buy a calendar at the dollar store or even just use a cheap note pad. 

I do not think it matters what form you use to write down what you are thankful or grateful for, I just think it is important to record it.  We are working on our geneology right now.  My husband's grandmother passed away a while back, but a couple of years before she did he interviewed her and asked her all kinds of questions.  He is very grateful that he has those now.  So wouldn't it be great if later in life your children and grandchildren found the things that YOU were truely grateful for.  What a wonderful gift, for them to know a part of you!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monday - Menu Plan Monday

Drum roll please.....just kidding.  You are not going to believe this.  I didn't cook at all this past week.  So the entire plan was scrapped.  Our kids were out of town and my hubby decided that we would take it easy this week.

This week, everyone is back so we will be eating at home this week.  On Monday we will be going to celebrate our oldest daughters birthday.

Monday:  Out to Dinner

Tuesday:  Tater Tot Casserole

Wedneday:  Eric Ripert's Carbonara / Salad

Thursday Paprika Chicken with Sour Cream Sauce

Friday:  Crockpot Blue Cheese and Steak Roll Ups / baked potato

Saturday:  Tuna Noodle Casserole

Sunday:  Shepherd's Pie

Breakfast Selections this week:
Cinamon Rolls
Baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal
Asparagus, Candian Bacon and Cheese Fritata
Morning Rise and Dine Cups

Please visit all of these wonderful recipes.  Many are directing you to new blogs for you to enjoy. 
Run over to for other great meal plans!

Saturday - Family Fun

I am late on my Saturday post because of all of the fun I had yesterday.  My husband and I took the top off the jeep and we went driving.  We took a trip up to Athens with a couple of friends and visited a nursery.  Thyme After Thyme was a great place tucked away in a small southern town right outside the University of Georgia.  We picked up a few things but the place was great.  If you have a second jump over to their site and enjoy the natural beauty.  We spent out day just driving around and enjoying nature.  He got a little sunburned  but we had a blast.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday - Taking Care of Me - April 8, 2011

Today is my first daughter's birthday.  She turned 13.  It is so odd to think that 13 years ago I was holding that precious girl in my arms.  She is not here with me today.  It is the first time that I have not seen her on her birthday.  But she is getting older and she chose to go out of town on her birthday.  She is having a great time in California and even though I miss her terribly I know this is what she wanted.  So my mother is visiting me.  She came down to help me catch up on some paperwork that I just couldn't handle on my own.  We have just ordered out for dinner and we are enjoying just talking and catching up.  My husband is hanging out with us and we are having a good time.  Sometimes just spending time with the ones you love can provide you with comfort. :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday - Featured Site of the Week - Pebble Tossers

I have been trying in vain to find volunteer opportunities in my community for my children.  I have been to and other sites.  But when it comes to finding opportunities for the kids they are slim.  I kept searching and came across an article on the internet on Field Trips with Sue.  This pointed me to Pebble Tossers.  Finally what I had been looking for.  Some of the things on there are suggestions but they have the contact info for each place.  You can search by cause or by organization.  You can "get matched" it will ask you questions and it will provide you with a large list of suitable activities.  It ranges from Casserole Maker, to Doggie Biscuit maker, to Vision Buddy Guides for field trips for the Blind.  I think I will have fun looking at this site with my kids.  It also lets you print out a planning guide for your group of family to help organize your project.  This is a WONDERFUL site.  I am so excited to explore it with my kids when they get home.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday - Whatever Wednesday - April 6, 2011

This weeks Whatever entry is my favorite Ipad/Ipod app.  I have been addicted to this little game for a while now.  We have six people in our house, so we have a large variety of apps on our devices.  My son introduced me to this little app and then he stopped playing it.  I then recruted a friend to play it with me.  We have now worked our way up in the levels.  It is a free app that is really fun to play.  I even have my mother in law playing it.  Check it out on Itunes.

Pocket Frogs

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday - Gratitude April 5, 2011

Today is Tuesday. I am in my comfy bed, lying next to my sleeping hubby. I have been waiting to hear from my ladies. They are on vacation with their dad. Every time they get on a plane I am a nervous wreck. Today was a particularly long flight, so I stayed at work a little longer today, tried to keep busy, just to keep my mind off the flight. My ladies just arrived and they are very excited. I am grateful that they made it safely. I am glad they have the opportunity to go some place new for spring break and that I get to have some mommy and daddy time so we can refresh and recharge so when all of our kids come home next week we can enjoy all the stories they all get to share about their trips!