Showing posts from December, 2009

New Year's Eve

I can't believe that 2009 has already gone. It just doesn't seem possible. I had so many BIG plans for this year. Some have come to fruition and some haven't.

The one's that have:
A half bath added in our finished basement.A major redo of our main (and only other) bath completed (the studs and the original cast iron tub are all that's left from before!).My sinus problem diagnosed, treated and finally taken care of through surgery.The one's that didn't:Finishing my PhD - I WILL finish it in 2010 (even if I have to follow a certain committee member around daily!)Cleaning out all the extra stuff in my house.Finishing off our hardwood floors and doors and getting new trim for our main floor.Finishing all the half-finished projects I have started that are lurking in my sewing/craft area. I've made progress on cleaning out the stuff and the projects and am determined to get those and the PhD done in 2010. John and I are going to take some time after the kids go…

Christmas Prep - Fall to Christmas Decorating

Okay, I've said I'd post this stuff for a while but, well, I've been too busy enjoying my family and Christmas and all that stuff!

I love, love, LOVE decorating for Christmas! I grew up with a Mom who literally decorated every room in the house except the ugly concrete utility room - even the laundry room got decorated! And it was a big deal. We had a special day for the Christmas Tree and the Nativity with music, cookies, cocoa and lots of exclaiming over the ornaments.
The rest of the house was no different - a couple boxes each Saturday starting after Thanksgiving. Exclaiming and excitement.
Since I'm in school and the kids are little, we don't do as much as my Mom did (plus I need a few more years to acquire all the "stuff" that she has!). I also try to make the transition from fall to winter fairly easy since I don't have much time. So what did we do?
Here's my sofa end tables:
Fall:Potpourri and cinnamon scented pine cones.

Christmas: Pine and Van…

Freezer and Pantry Inventory

Uff da! Mom and I inventoried my deep freeze downstairs and I inventoried my pantry, kitchen cupboards, and my fridge/freezer. Nothing really exciting, surprising or shocking except the Tupperware container full of rhubarb sauce with a sticker on it from 1995 that I inherited from my Aunt when she moved west. I think I stuck it in the freezer so that it wouldn't stink up my garbage until it was taken outside. And it got buried. More than once. (Note: my Aunt moved west in 2005, so she'd had it in HER freezer for 10 years first - I was just playing copycat! :) )

Possible Challenges?
26 10oz steaks from our 1/4 cow. What on earth was I thinking when I got that many?
7 sticks of unsalted butter, supposedly for baking, but I'm not sure.
4 1/2 lbs of Chicken Leg Quarters that need to be used somehow.
1 ham bone that I'd saved to make split pea with ham soup for my folks but didn't this time around (John doesn't like that so I can't make it for us) and I should…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 27th

Can you believe 2009 is almost gone? I'm having trouble with that! It's been an amazing year and I'm still struggling with finishing up a few things that we need to get done before the year ends (or rather, SHOULD get done before the year ends). Sigh.

Also, my folks head back home on Wednesday and I'm home all week this week. I love having them here and will definitely miss them! The kids usually start asking when they're coming back before they've been gone an hour. I like that! :)

So, what are we eating?

Here it is!

Brunch: Out
Dinner: Leftovers

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Out
Dinner: Baked Chicken, Rice, Steamed Green Beans, Fruit

Breakfast: Waffles with Fruit
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash, Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls, Fruit

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Sandwiches, Fruit
Dinner: Homemade Chicken Calzones, Lettuce Salad, Fruit

Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Bananas
Lunch: Gri…

Accepting the Challenge!

I was pleasantly surprised when I read Money Saving Mom this morning! I had been planning on doing an eating from the pantry month in January, so this fits right in with what Crystal is doing with Fish Mama from Life as Mom. I guess a lot of us have the same idea here this year and I'm excited to be able to join in!

So, what are my rules for my family? I don't have many...

The biggie:
$50 for the whole month! Yes, folks, that's $12.50 each week!

How? I went through my cupboards, fridge/freezer combo and pantry tonight and will go through the deep freeze tomorrow AM with the help of my Mom (who leaves for home on Wednesday). I have a list of what we have and will be planning meals from that. I have a preliminary plan for the whole month outlined and hope to have it completely filled out by January 1 so we can jump right in. I'm planning to buy milk, a bag of salad greens and fresh fruit each week. I'll also need to buy some fresh veggies occasionally and might go…

Almost there...

This paper is ALMOST done...

It been a tough one - one I'm not particularly happy with but will be soon.

Then I can relax - the presents are bought/made and wrapped (except for one that may end up being a birthday gift!), the cookies are made (thank you Grandma!), the tree up and decorated, and we even have snow.

I'm looking forward to about a week of Christmas movies, board games, reading for fun, and sewing for fun.

How about you? Are you ready for Christmas? Are you going to enjoy it like it is - whatever it is?

My other goal for today with this blog - post our Christmas preparations and a new "Favorite Things" entry about Christmas as well.

Hope you're enjoying the preparation as much as I am, even if this paper is taking a LONG time!

3 more days to go...

Well, actually in our house, 2 since everything starts on Christmas Eve at our place!

Thank heavens my folks are here! Mom doesn't mind making cookies or lefse and that's a really good thing.


I'm still writing this paper...and I will be this afternoon as well.

Life happens.
I have to roll with it!

At least I have a public library to hide away in...and a laptop to work on...and a flexible professor who will take this thing up through 4pm tomorrow (the 23rd!).
I'm thankful for all of that.. what more can I ask for?

Menu Plan Monday - Christmas Edition!

It's Christmas this week! Whoo hoo! Can I tell you how excited my kids are? We caught Missy trying to sneak presents yesterday...and the ornaments on the tree keep re-arranging themselves...and cookie sprinkles have turned into a food group... it's definitely Christmas at our house!

Here's what we're eating:

Brunch: Pancakes with Fruit
Dinner: Beef tacos, Fruit

Dinner: Spaghetti with Meatballs, Salad, Fruit

Dinner: Grilled Shrimp Kabobs with Veggies, Couscous, and Fruit

Dinner: Chicken Calzones, Salad, Fruit

Thursday (Christmas Eve!):
Dinner: Swedish Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Corn, Lefse, Fruit (Our Traditional

Friday (Christmas Day!):
Brunch: Baked Eggs, Hashed Brown Potatoes, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, Bacon, Fruit (This
is traditional too!)
Dinner: Steak, Steamed Broccoli, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Fruit, Lefse

Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Banana/Strawberry Smoothies
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Leftovers

Baking this Week: Gingerbread C…

Healthy Habits in 2010

I see so many people writing about losing weight, both in the blogosphere and in other media. Advertisements and programs like The Biggest Loser tout losing weight fast and in huge amounts and can easily make the rest of us feel like a failure when we can't produce results in kind.

I've never been what you would call 'thin' (thank you large bone physique!) but I've also only had a brief time when I could be called more than 'chubby'. Right now I'm between a good weight and 'chubby' - about 5lbs over what my personal ideal body weight is. For me this is the weight that keeps both myself and my doctors happy without having to either deprive myself of food that I enjoy or exercise like mad 7 days a week. It's also the weight where I keep my body fat percentage in a healthy range without going crazy. Yes, I currently need to lose 5-8 lbs to get there.

I have two chronic medical conditions - one that is effected by diet, exercise and, ultimatel…

A Day of Treats!

My folks are here visiting for Christmas and it has been a day of treats for me today!

First - John, Buddy, Missy and my folks all went to a pancake fundraiser for breakfast. My mom was going to stay home and we were going to go get coffee and then run errands, but Buddy decided he wasn't going to go without Grandma. So I had the house to myself AND got to sleep in an extra hour today! Boy, was that nice!

Second - my Mom bought groceries today! I spent a total of right about $12 for 2 packs of Kotex pads, 2 boxes of Ziplocs, and a tube of toothpaste at Walgreens. She bought the rest. That was really nice - including a few 'special' items we don't usually buy (i.e. junk food - like Fritos and Peppermint ice cream!).

Third - John and I get to go on an honest to goodness date tonight - Dinner out at a lovely restaurant. Where, we don't know yet exactly (we have it narrowed down to 2!) but I'm excited since it's been a while for us to just go out for dinner or any…

November Blessings

I realized I hadn't written about our November blessings yet! Here we are 10 days from Christmas - I've been slacking! :)

So what were the blessings in November? I need to wrack my brain, but here's what I remember:

Return of 2 overpaid funds. One was from dance class and one was a doctor bill, but it's always a nice surprise when they return the funds. Not to mention that the one from dance class was for a costume that hadn't been finalized yet. We will probably have to pay for a costume, but they wanted to refund the money until they knew how much it would actually cost - which is likely a lot less than what we had been initially charged.A black cardigan sweater for me. I mentioned in passing to my SIL that I'd love to buy a black cardigan sweater. She said not to buy one because she might have one that she didn't wear. I didn't think much of it, since she's a LOT thinner than I am (and about 13 years younger - ahem). The sweater fit perfectly…


I took today off so that I could work in the quiet and comfort of my own home and get my papers done for tomorrow. There's something lovely about sitting my kitchen table with candles burning, a hot cup of Chai latte, and my laptop and papers writing about things I'm interested in.

The problem?

I'm struggling.

I'm struggling with what to write.
I'm struggling with adequately supporting what I'm writing with appropriate literature.
I'm struggling with keeping myself on task.
I'm struggling with getting all the things done that I need to get done before tomorrow.
I'm struggling with this huge issue at church that keeps sneaking into my thoughts when I don't want it to be there or when I want to concentrate on something else.
I'm struggling with wrestling with my thoughts on all the things I've been sinfully neglecting this year - promises I haven't kept, things I need to do for my spiritual welfare and the welfare of my family, relationships I…


Okay, so I'm rushing around like the proverbial chicken with it's head cut off trying to get everything done before my folks get here on Thursday and my 2 big papers are due, also on Thursday. I'm feeling a bit like tearing my hair out right now. And this doesn't help...

Yesterday my washing machine was having a canary and decided that it wasn't going to spin the clothes efficiently - I ran it on spin FOUR times and the clothes were still sopping wet. Since that wasn't going so well, I thought I'd take the 10 minutes or so that it needs to spin yet one more time and sew the pinned-together quilt back onto one of two baby quilts I'd like to mail out tomorrow. And sew I did.

The clothes were still sopping wet.

So that took another hour to dry instead of the usual 20-30 minutes.

And I had pinned the layers in the wrong order on the quilt so the batting was on the outside back instead of in the middle where it should be.

So, I have to rip out the sewing that…

Menu Plan Monday: December 14th, 2009

This week my folks arrive on Thursday for their Christmas visit and we have the kids' Preschool Christmas Program on Friday. Plus, finals for me start on Thursday and both John's and my semester end next week! Whew! That means there's a lot going on! We have a freezer overflowing with a lot of beef and a little chicken, a couple of turkeys and a few other random things, so I'm trying to be creative and give us some variety too.

Breakfasts: Oatmeal or cinnamon toast with a banana unless otherwise stated.
Lunches: Leftovers or sandwiches with fruit unless otherwise stated.
Drinks: Milk, Water, 100% Cranberry-Pomegranate Juice, 100% Apple Juice, Homemade Lemonade, Black Coffee, Hot Tea, Hot Cider, or Chai Latte.
Snacks: Christmas Cookies (from a friend), Pretzels, Fruit

Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins with Fruit
Lunch: Crescent Rolls, Turkey, Cheese, Apples, Oranges, Chips and Salsa
Dinner: Baked Chicken, Steamed Green Beans and Rice

Dinner: Onion, Mushroom…

Goals Update

Reading back through my posts for November, I thought I should probably update my goals!

I'm doing better at getting to bed and getting up when I want to. I'm hitting about 4 out of 5 days during the work week, which I'm happy with. I'd like it to be all 5, but I can handle 4. :) Saturday and Sunday are easier because they're slower and we don't usually get up until 630/7am-ish. I'm also still getting stuff crossed off my to-do list: more than half of the stack of boxes left from moving in are gone (only 3 more to go - whoohoo!), I only have one 'catch-all basket' to clean out left (I had 3!), I cleaned out part of the furnace room, the office and our bedroom plus one of the two bookcases in the living room. I have a huge pile of stuff to sell on Craig's List. I've made progress on my partially done sewing list - I'll post pics as soon as things settle down a bit - which is always neat and makes me feel like I've really accomplished s…

BUSY with a Capital B!

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth or anything. I've just been super busy!

We were at my in-laws for Thanksgiving and had a FABULOUS time - everything went really well, both with the weather and the family. The kids always love swimming in the hotel pool and John's youngest 3 siblings love it too. We got to see almost everyone which was a treat too. My daughter and her cousin - the only other little girl in the family - got into more trouble than the 4 little boys combined (which is saying something). Fortunately, her cousin is only 2 and that limited what they could get into. I think in a year or two, though, we're really going to have to watch them!

Then we came back and both John and I dived into the last 3 weeks of the term at school, not to mention getting ready for Christmas and all that that brings. I have 2 projects, 3 papers and the final (God willing!) edit on my Written Exam to turn in by the 23rd, which is the end of finals week. I am hoping to…