A mothers love is forever.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sew what?!

I need a hobby. That's what I've decided lately anyway. I find that my time when the girls are napping is the main time when I snack and since I'd like to lose weight, not snacking would be for the best. However, without something to keep my hands busy, snacks are calling! So lately I've been wanting to sew. I've never really been in to sewing. I did a few small projects along the way but I never really got in to it before but I want to now. I'm starting to think of things I can make for the girls and I'm getting excited! If I could make them fleece pants or pj's, etc... aprons, or whatever but I have to start somewhere. So, last summer at our downtown craft fair I saw crayon holders. You can design them to hold a set of 8, 16, 24 or whatever number you'd like. I went with 18... not sure why! So, last night I went ahead and did a trial run through and it took me about 30 minutes to do. I came up with several ways to change it for the better so today, during naps, I went ahead and made another one! And, here are the results... 

This is when you fold it up for travel. Cute right?

So what do you think? Be honest! Any ideas for improvement? I have all sorts of ideas.
Any suggestions on another fun, small project? I'd love to hear about it!

Here it is laid out, the flap keeps the crayons from falling out.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pillbury Pizza Things.


I call them that because that was what they were. They were good. The girls ate them, we ate them too but they were tedious to prepare and not very filling....

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Pizza sauce
Mozz. Shredded Cheese
Mini Pepperoni

Unwrap the crescent rolls and flatten with a rolling pin. On top of one of the triangles, add toppings as desired. Place another triangle over top of the toppings, and squish the sides all together so the toppings won't fall out. One package makes 4.

Bake in the oven on 375 for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown.

I would only make this again if I were using it as a snack for the girls. Not my favorite recipe... Gonna have to look for a better one next time... maybe this week!?! I'd like to try the Chicken Salsa Lettuce Wraps next!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Today I read a very sad post. A fellow adoptive first, then bio mom wrote about her long time friend who called her out of the blue. When returning her call, she heard the most terrible news, her friends husband of only 2.5 yrs had died. He was young. Heartattack.

About two months ago, another fellow blogger, Rebekah posted about her friend, Vee who also lost her very young husband. They had two young children and she was (still is) pregnant with their third. Heartattack.

Aaron and I are a good match. I used to think so more when we were dating then I do now. Mostly because we argue over really, really dumb little things. Things that honestly do not matter in life. Our biggest argument stems from money. Like I said, things that DO NOT matter. But, lately, after reading Vee's blog, and now hearing about yet another very young man dying. I cannot help but be thankful. I cannot help but take off my hypothetical glasses and rip out the rose colored ones. The past week Aaron has had a flu bug of sorts. He was out of commission, literally laying on our bedroom floor crying, for two days. I did not let him come out. I didn't want me or the girls to get sick. So I did it all alone. I had the girls during my normal daytime and then in the evenings I bathed, fed, dressed, read to, brushed teeth, said prayers and got them down all by myself. (Ok, mom helped me both nights so I could also take care of Aaron). But, after mom left, or I left her house, I came home and was virtually alone. It was sad. It was hard. The girls missed him. So did I.

So, even if Aaron and I argue, even if he drives me endlessly crazy about the budget, I love him. My girls love him. He is their daddy. He is my husband. And today I am thankful. Very greatful for his love. For his presence. For his committment to our family. In my heart I pray for those who's husbands have died and I remember why I married Aaron. And I tell myself that I will cherish the time I have with him. No matter.

For we never know how much time we have. Ever.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Do you have a household budget? How did you come up with it? Are you organized with it? Stick to it? What's the secret?

We have a budget. When we started into adoption and saw the high cost of it, we knew we needed to buckle down, so to speak. Then, once the girls came (surprise... you're gonna have TWO in diapers), and I decided to stay home, it only made sense. We started out by sitting down and really examining what we spend on things that are monthly expenses. Groceries, diapers, cable, phone, cells, gas, electric, etc. Then, whatever was left, we divided into other things like savings for the girls and finally, our montly "fun" money. I say fun in quotes because Aaron wants things like household cleaners and needed baby supplies to be in that same category. I guess that makes some sense because they were unaccounted for items. This also has to include any meals out, gifts for birthdays, anniversarys, holidays, mail, stamps, anything. Anything not already budgeted for.

So, we have this x amount that we have for those miscellaneous items. Most Every month since we started budgeting, we have gone over. We got a bit of a reprieve once when the girls went off formula to Vit D milk. But about that same time, they started eating more fruits and veggies so that money basically went there. Then, last November, YAY, Holly potty trained so the diaper budget cut drastically! However, for some reason, there doesn't seem to be any difference. I've even started using coupons. I'm not a psycho couponer (although I envy those who have the time and patience for that) but it saves on average $10-40 per shopping experience. I rarely buy anything large without a coupon. I love coupons. Anyway, even with all of the seemingly good movement toward extra cashflow, it doesn't seem to help.

I guess what I'm asking is, do you budget and if so, how do you do it? Any tricks to the trade? Any suggestions? This is our biggest fight in our home. If we didn't have a budget, I wouldn't peg Aaron as the enemy. I've heard lots of people have been blogging about Dave Ramsey but I have no idea who he is. Do you record your spendings? Do you sit down once, twice, three times a month to discuss it? Do you blame each other? Any help would be great.

I'd say we've tried lots...
  • Writing it on a wipe board in the kitchen
  • Documenting in Excel
  • Transferring x money for extra items into a cash card each month so we can't go over
  • Breaking down the x money into smaller categories
This is just for keeping track of it. Currently we have two envelopes on the fridge for receipts. One for the x money and one for the budgeted items. Then we go in at the end of the month to see where we are and sometimes earlier in the month. Right now, we are over budget by about $100. We are supposed to go on a date this weekend for dinner and a movie. Monday I have an appointment for Hannah's 18 month pictures (three weeks behind schedule). So, what do we do? Where do we go from here? Any ideas would be great!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When you thought I wasn't looking...

I stole this from another blog, it was too good to pass up!

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed there is a God I could always talk to.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it's all right to cry.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I saw that you cared and I wanted to be
everything that I could be.
~author unknown

Tonight I am saying a prayer that my girls see the good things I do when I don't think they are looking. And, that they remember the good, and not always the bad.

JoJo Designs

I bought the girls some new bedding (check it out here) for Christmas and it's absolutely adorable. I wanted to share with you that the company who made it is awesome! Holly's pillow sham has a cute little lion face on it and the material was beginning (already) to pull away from the stitching. I emailed the company last night and already today I have an email letting me know that a replacement sham was being sent to me in the next 2-3 days!! Wonderful! If you are ever in need of some new kid bedding (infant, toddler, twin & up) then I highly recommend JoJoDesigns!! Very cute stuff!! Several different sites are selling this line now... I got mine at beyondbedding.com.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My job.

I'm a nurse.

For those of you who don't know me personally, I went to school to get my bachelors in nursing. I worked as a pediatric nurse for five years at Mo.tt Child.rens Hospital near us in A.nn Arb.or. I loved it. It was rewarding and fun and the group of women were great! I KNEW then that there was no way I would ever be a stay-at-home-mom. I couldn't imagine it. I loved my job. I loved the kids. I was a busy lady and no baby was ever going to stop me from doing my calling.


I'm a stay-at-home-mom.

As many of you know, or have guessed, I am staying home with my girls. When Holly was born, I used FMLA to take 10 weeks off. They didn't recognize (as many workplaces do not) ado.ption as a life changing, time off event without using FMLA. I have to argue that while I did not have surgery, it was a HUGE change and the 6 weeks off would have helped immensely! Anyway, I remember during that time going CRAZY. It was wintertime and I had a tiny baby. She was just 5lbs14oz at birth so I kept her home much of the time. I was so worried about germs. But what was frustrating was I had waited a long time to take my baby to Target with me. Or to walk her at the mall, or the library, or take her out to dinner a gazillion times! I wanted to do that all SO badly. I also knew that once the weather had thawed, I would have precious little time with just Holly before doing these things I'd waited for would prove more difficult. (Going anywhere with two infants is a challenge at best). So I wanted to work. And eventually, I went back. It was actually not hard for me because I worked evenings. My aunt would watch Holly for about 1-2 hours from when I left for work to when Aaron came home. It was good. Aaron would take care of the evening and although I missed that, I was glad he was able to have that time.

Then June came along and I was more swollen than a sponge so my midwife finally wrote me for time off. About a week later, Hannah entered the picture! I haven't gone back to work since. I thought I would miss it. I thought I would go stir crazy. I thought I wanted to be a working mom. And then, I had kids.

We are fortunate enough that right now, I do not have to work in order to supplement our income. That doesn't mean that we don't have the usual arguments about money because we do. So we talked, and talked. And talked about the pro's and con's of daycare. We decided that it was best I stay home with the girls. And, I am so glad that we did. I cannot imagine what life would be like. Funny to think that two years ago I couldn't wait to get to work and now I couldn't imagine going.

Regardless of it all, I am SO thankful to be where I am today. I get to see and experience so many things. I am seeing them through the most fun, beautiful two little sets of eyes! I know that I am fortunate. I know that my position at home is looked at in so many ways. I know what people think a stay-at-home-mom does. And I know the truth about what she does. She stays busy. She doesn't get paid overtime. She doesn't get new clothes. Doesn't eat out all the time. Doesn't spend her days reading her book, lazing around. A sahm gets used to the tear/snot/poo stained clothes and in the end....

It is ALL worth it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Aunt Tara

Today is my sisters birthday so to celebrate, the girls and I made cupcakes!! When I told them that it was Aunt Tara's birthday, Holly said, "let's have ice cream!" I said, "ok, want to?" and
 she proclaimed: "GOOD IDEA!"... so silly!

Holly really loves to bake! Her smile tells it all!
Hannah was helping by playing with the cupcake holders but um... thought eating them was a good idea!
Really getting into the yummies!

Good Idea Holly! Yummy!

11 Lessons...

A friend of mine had this link on her fac.ebook page and I thought it was pretty cute so I wanted to share. I especially like Lesson 1 these days... because as our diaper budget has decreased, our grocery budget has only sky-rocketed! But, my girls love blueberries! Coming in at a strong second for me is lesson 7 and finally, lesson 11!! Enjoy...

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? To find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Beef and Rice Taco Casserole

1 lb lean ground beef, browned
1 can Campbells condensed Tomato soup
1 cup salsa (recommend medium for taste)
1/2 cup white minute rice UNcooked
1/2 cup milk
shredded chedder cheese
tostito chips
Preheat oven to 400.

1. Brown beef. (could add taco seasoning for extra flavor)
2. Mix beef, tomato soup, uncooked rice, milk and salsa together. Place into 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Cover with foil.
3. Bake on 400 for 25 mins.
4. Remove, stir, sprinkle cheese on top and chips along the edge. Enjoy!

We ate it with forks AND with chips... you can do either!
Let me know if any of you try it... and how you like it!! Hannah loved it, Holly is pickier!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beef and Rice Taco Casserole

So I tried my very first recipe for 2011. That's 1/24 for my goal. It was good, but not great. I'll change a few things the next time I make it. It was VERY simple to make and that I likey!

I also worked out today! So today, I'm doing well with my resolutions... are you?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas in Pictures!

The girls new kitchen from Uncle George, Aunt Tara & boys!

Christmas morning, Santa's stash!

The girls on Christmas Morning!

The night before Christmas...

Loving her new tricycle...

Mommy & girls listening to the pre-recorded book made by us!

Daddy showing the girls their new book.

Christmas afternoon at my sisters house!

Holly loves Hannah's tricycle, but not so much her bike. We've got to work on that :)

Opening presents Christmas day at Aunt Tara's house...

The gifts/tree @ Aunt Tara's house

Opening gifts @ Uncle Nick/Aunt Gretchen's (Aaron's side of the family)


Last year I made a list of resolutions. Here's my chance to see how I did....
This was my list....
1. Blog at least once a month. Didn't happen, missed June & September :(
2. Begin exercising at least 2-3 times per week at 30-60 minutes. Just joined Jazzercise in late October... better late than never! It's 60 mins and I'm going 2-3 times per week!
3. Distribute girls pictures monthly. Was doing better but I still have 15 mo/2yr/xmas pics in an envelope.
4. Eat better. More fruits. More veggies. Less candy/chocolate/pizza. Still working on this.
5. Take time once every two weeks for a nice bath, and toenail polish. Nope.
6. Go on a date with my husband at least once per month. Didn't do this either :(
7. Research daycare options. Ha. Didn't go back to work... does this count?!
8. Research new job opportunities... just in case. Nope.
9. F.B. less  Nope.
10. Scrapbook the girls first years. Still not started on this...
11. Read a book a month.
12. Smile more. Frown less.
13. Argue less with my dh. Always striving for this one.
14. Slow down. Trying hard still....
15. Start using the Wii a bit more. Not even once did I turn it on.
16. Make sure my family knows how much they are loved, cared for, and appreciated. Hope they know!
Wow, 2/16... not good. The funny thing is that some of these are still things on my list. Resolutions shouldn't just be made at the beginning of a year, I think they should be going on all the time. Ways to improve ourselves continually. So here are my 2011 Resolutions for continual improvement...
1. Choose healthier foods.
2. Snack less.
3. Try new recipes twice a month.
4. Research pre-schools.
5. Take time for yourself at least every two weeks for a relaxing bath.
6. Blog at least 3 times per month.
7. Exercise at least 2-3 times per week.
8. Play, really play, with my girls more.
Seem pretty straight forward to me. I'm sure I can do better this year than last...