Monday, April 12, 2010

The Perfect Book Idea...

Jenny McCarthy had a great idea when she wrote "Belly Laughs". It was wonderful to read a book on pregnancy that I could relate to when I was pregnant with Bug.

When I was pregnant with Bubs and found out that my brother and his wife were expecting their first, I was ready with the advice to my brother. "Never tell her she's crying over nothing," was one of the first tidbits I had for him. I can't remember them all now, but there were quite a few things that should never be said to a pregnant woman, especially the one carrying your child!

Now, I have the sequel to that book, "101 Things to NEVER Say to the Mother of Your Children".  The idea for this comes from both Hubs' flubs as well as things I've heard other moms share in disbelief.  Here are a couple to get it started:

  • "You get time to be yourself every night.  You put the kids to bed and then you're up for a couple of hours by yourself."  Men, if you're reading this, spending time alone probably isn't what your wife wants. She's more than likely hoping for some free time without children in tow. And just because our friends have kids that our kids play with doesn't mean we always want it to be a family affair!
  • "Why didn't you get _____ done, you were home all day?" Please, please, please, do NOT say this to a stay at home mom! As a full-time work outside of the home mom, I can tell you, staying at home is FAR more stressful! Any woman who is strong enough to stay home with the kids and keep the house in any sort of order is strong enough to knock you down!
So, what would you add to this list?

Coming to a Crossroads

Like many marriages out there, I feel like we're currently sitting at a crossroads. I know I'm not at a point of wanting to walk out, and Hubs says he isn't, but I know that our marriage isn't as loving, friendly, or respectful as it should be. I don't want to raise our children feeling the tension I felt growing up.

My sister-in-law recommended "The Love Dare" and "Fireproof" to me. At first, I rolled my eyes a bit, but I've decided now is the time to give it a chance. I watched the movie on my own and I'm hoping to get Hubs to watch it with me. Unfortunately, I saw far too many things in the movie that mirrored our marriage. Between that and "the God factor" I'm not sure how Hubs will react to it.

The only thing I'm certain of is that I can not wait to start. If I do, I worry that I will reach a breaking point where I don't even want to read the book or do the dares. I really do want this to work. I want to enjoy my time with Hubs, I want him to enjoy his time with me.

I would love to hear from anyone who has done the dare, especially if your spouse wasn't "on board" with it. How did you get through? Did it help your marriage? How do you feel about your spouse now?

It's All About Something Deeper

This is the revelation I had yesterday. Lately, my blog has been filled with things I want to change about myself. My body, my outward image, the state of my house, and how we live, all of them need to change. I have been asked if I have a poor self-image since I appear unhappy with everything.  Honestly, I'm don't have a bad self-image, I like to think I have a pretty realistic one.  On the other hand, how would I feel about my life if I wasn't battling depression? Would I have the issues I have without the depression?

I am not in any way, shape, or form trying to blame depression for the problems I have. I know that these are the results of my own action or inaction.  I know that when I'm depressed, it's hard to eat right. Knowing that, I also know that I am capable of plowing through it.  (I'm not saying this about every personal with any sort of mental health issue, I'm saying it for myself from experience) I choose to stuff my face with everything that tastes good to me because I momentarily feel better.

When I'm in a "low" time, it feels like everything I have is going into taking care of the kids, and sometimes I really feel like I've done a crappy job of that.  It's like their basic needs are met, but nothing more.  Why?  I really wish I could be more engaged with them, but it's hard. I can't explain it, but it's like there are times I feel like I don't deserve them.

So, back to last night... As I cleaned my bedroom, disgusted by how bad it has gotten, I realized that it's another symptom of my depression rolling downhill. I have no energy for much of anything, so the concept of cleaning falls down on the priority list. And suddenly, I'm filling half of our dumpster with crap that is broken or we don't need (but it's not in any condition to pass on).

I figure I'm never going to impress anyone, so why go out of my way to look good?  I already have a husband, so it's not like I'm single and on the market. I have a job and I'm not looking for a new one, so it's not like I need to impress anyone there either. The funny thing? I've felt more alive since I started consciously picking out outfits for the next day, not letting my hair air dry, and putting on a little make up.

Exercising has really helped me start to come out of the haze I was in. I proved to myself that I can make it through the workouts and I can force myself to press start on days when I don't want to. So now, I'm still going to make a point to exercise daily, but I need to prioritize. If my exercising winds up being a walk to the park with my family, I'm going to be okay with that. I still want to finish the 30 Day Shred, but I need to make sure I'm not putting off more important things for it. And dragging bag after bag from my apartment to the car or dumpster should count as exercise since there are 2 flights of stairs, right?

Blogging and making bloggy friends has taught me that it's okay to be vulnerable. When you put yourself out there, it can be scary, but it can show you how NOT alone you are. I think that's something important right now.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Battling Clutter From Another Angle

The other night, I came across a post about reinventing yourself on Adrian's Crazy Life. From the word go, she started to hit the nail on the head when it came to me! Yes, my house is a cluttered disaster.  To use an acronym from Flylady, who I don't listen to nearly as much as I should, I live in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome).  I nearly panic at the thought of company, even my great friend who desperately needs a place to get away from time to time!

I decided to listen to Adrian and I picked up some mascara and eye shadow yesterday.  The funny thing is, I really do feel better today.  I don't see the tired eyes and frizzy hair when I look in the mirror.  Since I was putting on some make up, I couldn't exactly let my hair air dry. I'm going to try doing this every day, even when I am just putting on a bandanna (my solution to having to cover my hair but hating to wear ball caps). Last night, I even imagined myself finding some cute earrings that I could wear to work since my hair isn't visible.

The strangest thing is that last night, I stayed up until 2am starting to declutter my bedroom.  I don't want to admit how bad it is in there, but it's BAD!  I started with my dresser.  I don't even like going in there because I hate so many articles of clothing.  The drawers were essentially a mass grave for clothes I would never wear.  So why hold on to them?

I grabbed two garbage bags, one for donation and the other for things that I can't even stand to donate (old bras, underwear, haggard shirts that no one would wear).  After that, I started on my "walk-in closet" known as the bedroom floor.  Yes, I'm a slob who had clothes all over the floor.  I'm still working on it, but already, my room is a more peaceful place.  All of the clothes I've gathered so far will be on their way to a new home via Freecycle in about an hour.  How awesome is it to help someone else out, get rid of clutter and not have to leave home??

All of this because I made the decision that I want to start looking better! It's true, when you start getting a piece of your life in order, the others start to make more sense!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Coat of Paint for my Blog

When I started my blog, I couldn't find a stock theme that I fell in love with. So, as a reward for spending less money on soda (almost none) I took the leap and sent a design request to Kelsey of Kreated by Kelsey

I'm beyond in love with the way my blog looks now!  She did a great job and she was very understanding when I couldn't wrap my head around whether or not I wanted anything changed. I chose a bad time (for me) to order a design and some people would have gotten upset, but not Kelsey!

If you're in the market for a custom look, I definitely recommend her!

Friday, April 9, 2010

My First Giveaway!

In honor of my hometown Badgers skating for the NCAA championship tomorrow, UBP 2010, and my impending blog redesign, I've decided it's time for a giveaway! 

How do you decide what to do as a giveaway? Since I'm still relatively new, I don't have emails flooding my inbox begging me to review products (which, by the way, I'd be more than happy to do!) and I don't have a business of my own to give things away from, I looked to a friend.

Sarah from Bow Beauties is one of my dearest friends. We were in a youth orchestra together as kids, wound up working for the same formalwear store as young adults, and then she met her Prince Charming and moved about as far away from here as she could!  Really, it's not as bad as it sounds, but dang it, Portland is just so far from Wisconsin!

One lucky winner is going to receive a pair of 2 color Korker bows in whatever colors you think your little girl just has to have!

To gain your first entry, visit Bow Beauties and leave a comment telling me what your favorite product is on their site.

Please be sure to leave your email address in comments so I can contact you when you win!
For additional entries (please comment for each entry):
  1. Follow my blog
  2. Join the Bow Beauties Facebook Page.
  3. Follow me on Twitter @madareamama (don't forget to tweet about this giveaway to all of your friends!)
  4. Write a blog post about this giveaway and leave a link to the post for 2 extra entries.
Contest will be open until the evening of April 14th.  At that time, I will choose a random winner and email the winner to find out their color choices. If the winner doesn't respond in 48 hours, I will choose a new winner.

Jillian Has Many Talents!

(Day 7 total, workout day 5)

Tonight, I needed a bit more "low key" workout because we got home late, so I threw in my new "Yoga Meltdown" DVD.  Yes, it says "meltdown", the cover claims you can lose up to 5 pounds per week, and it has Jillian's face on the cover.  You would think this would be enough warning that there was a beating coming my way, but NOOOO, I figured it'd be a bit easier on me as well as quieter for the sleeping teen below me.

Well, I'm sure it was quiet for him.  As for me, I cursed at Jillian Michaels more during this DVD than I did the first time I put in "30 Day Shred". I also was drenched in sweat, surprising for a yoga workout! 

For a beginner, this workout is a bit brutal.  You'll definitely get a workout, but if you're not used to working out or you're not familiar with yoga poses, you will probably struggle.   Well, I hope you do, otherwise it's just me, and that'd make me cry!  If you're not used to yoga, I definitely think it would be beneficial to watch it before starting so you have some clue of what you're doing.  I found it hard to keep an eye on the screen and do the poses correctly.

I am going to take a couple of days off from Shred so I can get used to this, then I will probably combine the two, alternating days. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 6

Seriously??  Can I really be up to Day 6 already?  Okay, so in "workout" days I'm on day 4, but I'm trying to see what I achieve in both 30 calendar days and 30 workouts, so Day 6 sounds much better!

I realized tonight why some people curse Jillian from day one.  I didn't have weights until tonight!  Who knew what a difference two pounds in each hand could make. 

Like always, I was imagining that I would fall over dead about minute 8 tonight. But tonight, by the start of the 2nd circuit, I was getting into it.  I think it's partly because I loathe push-ups and you get to punch (air) in the 2nd circuit.

By the end, I was dripping sweat tonight.  I didn't cheat out, I gave it everything I had and then some.

As for soda/water intake, maybe we should go there!  After about 3 hours of sleep last night, I was pouring whatever caffeine I could find down my throat today. Unfortunately, that wound up being a 20 ounce bottle and 2 (or was it 3?) cans of Mt Dew.  On the flip side, I am just finishing up my gallon of water and may drink one more quart before bed.

Let's Get This Party Started!! UBP '10

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

UBP time has to be one of my favorite times of year in the blogosphere! In past years, I've made some great friends while partying from blog to blog, I hope to do so again this year!

So, a little about me... (have you ever noticed how hard writing about yourself can be? Am I alone?) Well, I'm Heather, a 32 year old mom of...

Bubs who will be one in May


Bug who will be five in July.
(at least someone can rock this shirt... I swear, it's huge on her and goes way past her knees! It's an adult XL)

You'll also see me refer to Hubs, that's the other half.  It seemed to go well with Bubs since they share a first name. Besides the crazy bunch in our little apartment, I work with a friend from high school. We have a catering company/food cart operation as well as a new venture, Baking Magic for Kids, where we help small groups that support ill children and their families organize fundraisers.

Recently, I realized how unhappy I was with my life.  I decided it was time for changes.  You can read about some of those changes here. In addition to trying to be kinder to our health and the Earth, I recently started 30 Day Shred from Jillian Michaels and I'm blogging about it to stay motivated.  It really sucks to have to tell the world when I miss a day (or two in this first week) but it has helped me try to avoid missing days.

I hope you'll stay a while!  If you like what you see, be sure to comment and I'll be sure to visit you to return the love!  Happy partying!

Prizes I'm in love with:
Well, I really want the grand prize, so just email me and I'll give you my address!  You can't do that?  Well then...

US Only
39- Be My Guest Certificate
43- Get Out! and Frugal Foodie books

77, 69, 64, 62

47- Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
17- $200 Apple Gift Card
18- 3 Book set
39- Paypal Transfer

My Ugly Truth

This is me.  All 238.2 pounds of me.  Do I like putting that number out here for the world to see?  Not a chance! But I'm hoping that by putting it out there, I will have a bit more accountability for sticking with my changes in food choices, switching to water instead of soda, and working out.

I have never been thin.  Well, I did own one dress that was a size 14 that fit for about a week, but that's as small as I've ever been as an adult. I don't know that I ever will BE thin, it's something most people in our family never achieve.  All I know is I never want to look like this again.

I can remember being "the fat kid" growing up.  It sucked. A LOT! Now, my daughter is almost five years old, going off to kindergarten in the fall.  If I don't do something to change my habits, I'm not doing anything to change hers, and there is a good chance she will suffer the same bullying I faced as a child.  Almost 30 years later, I still carry those scars with me. I want her to look back and have happy memories of growing up, not negative feelings about her classmates because of the names she was called and the fact that she was never accepted.

Not only do I not want her to be "the fat kid", I really don't want to be "the fat mom".  Kids suck sometimes. A child with overweight parents still gets teased because of how their family looks. So, with five months to go before her first day of school, I started my journey.  I don't expect to be done in that time, but I hope to feel better.

Oh, and the shirt I'm wearing, I am beyond ticked that it doesn't fit!  Seriously, I want to scream at myself for it! I started reading Bake & Destroy after Natalie was a judge on "Cupcake Wars" on Food Network.  I LOVE the name of her blog and she has some awesome goodies for sale!  When she posted that she was down to the last red shirt, I emailed her and scooped it up. Imagine the roller coaster of it coming in the mail and then trying it on only to see it look like this!  I WILL be able to wear this shirt to work by the end of the summer.  I hope to wear it much earlier, but as long as I can wear it, I'll be happy!

Mother Nature is a Vile Woman!

Last week, it was over 80 degrees.  Earlier this week, it was almost 70.  Today, the high will be 42.  Add on top of that two rainy days followed by a night of snow, and work today is BRUTAL! 

For those who don't know, I operate a lunch time food cart. We're night quite as dedicated as the Postal Service, we don't operate in lightning, but we do operate in all other conditions.  Today, I have on a long sleeve shirt, my UW sweatshirt (go Badgers hockey!), and Crocs.  Why Crocs?  Because with everything that happened last night, I was too tired to dig out my boots this morning.  Luckily, I parked my car right in front of the cart (which I'm watching like a hawk to avoid the evil parking enforcement cop who I think watches for meters to turn red so she can race to them.  (I stand corrected, it's apparently an equally eager male parking cop) Because I have my car and it's directly in front of me, I was able to steal Bubs' blanket and wrap my feet in it.

Like a kid in school, I see the clock and I'm counting the minutes until my release from this frigid hell.  Somewhere, there is a cup of coffee with my name on it.  And tonight, I'm thinking I will splurge on a six pack (which will probably wind up being used primarily for brats) and curling up with a good movie.  On second thought, I have to get my backside back on track and keep my date with Jillian.  Damn her!

Yes, I'm Angry!

Last night, I called Hubs to let him know they were calling for snow.  He was going to a friend's house after work and was going to have a 40 mile commute home. Imagine my surprise when I woke up at 4am and he wasn't home!

So, after getting Bubs settled down (come on, you think I was up at 4am without a wake up call???) I called Hubs. He was about 4 miles from home and let me know to be careful on the side roads coming home.  He then tells me I need to check his head when he gets home because he's pretty sure that he was knocked out "for a bit" when he went off the road!!

My first thought was how much more serious this could have been.  He could have called me from the hospital.  I could have had a police officer contact me. He could have still been on the side of the road when I called him.  But he wasn't.  And that's when anger started settling in.

I'm angry that he didn't come home earlier, before the roads got slick.  It's not like it was a shocker that it was coming.  I'm angry that he was out so late because he watches Bubs during the day and because of this, I'm probably going to wind up taking Bubs in to work with me. Not like I plan on Hubs watching him on 2 hours of sleep. I'm angry that he feels somewhat invincible driving on slick roads because he learned to drive in Minnesota. I'm angry that he doesn't feel I have any right to be angry about any of these things, starting with this could have been so much worse

So, here I sit at 4:30 in the morning, trying to work through my feelings.  I'm not a morning person, I'd much rather be curled in my bed with one or both of my men sleeping next to me. And worse, I feel like a total bitch because I haven't gotten past it. I feel like a horrible wife because I didn't react "like I should have". Oy, it's going to be a long day!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 5

Crap, my routine got screwed up and now I'm sitting at 60% success!  We wound up having a playdate tonight that went WAY later than I had hoped. And I found out this morning that my downstairs neighbor's son sleeps in the front room, directly over where I workout.  So, I'm not going to run the risk of waking him, I will simply use this opportunity to see if I can switch to morning workouts.

One thing I need to remember is that yes, I want to exercise and I want to get in shape, but I need to keep priorities straight.  Today, a friend was in dire need of a shoulder to cry on and all of our kids are stir crazy from the rain we've had this week.  I did feel guilty as my kids' normal bedtime approached and we were still there, but Bubs fell asleep in my arms and the older kids were watching a movie. I was there for my friend when she needed me. As long as I still make being more active a priority, I will be better off.  I can NOT allow my desire to do 30 Day Shred to consume me to the point where I'm not a person I want to be.  I'd much rather be fat and a good friend than skinny and viewed as the woman who won't miss a workout no matter who needs some time.

On the positive side, my water intake was GREAT today!  And my eating wasn't nearly as bad as it could be seeing as I stared at pie, cupcakes, cookies, and all sorts of other good treats most of the day!

Some People Have Pets, I Have This...

This is my latest pet project, one I'm more and more proud of with each day that passes.  Much like a pet, it requires love and attention daily.  If I don't tend to my "collection", I'm not sure what would happen, maybe nothing, maybe something disastrous, but I know it's worth nurturing.

Over the past few weeks, I've become a little freakish about what we're eating. Thanks to an evil discovery involving a loaf of MONTH old bread with no mold, baking our own healthy, preservative free bread became an obsession.

After the success of my wheat bread (with the only complaint being that it needed more honey which I used the last of on the bread) I wanted to branch out.  Next was hot cross buns for Good Friday breakfast, followed by wheat dinner rolls and Amish white bread on Easter. Still not satisfied with my knowledge, I started researching sourdough starters.

There is a site called Sourdough Home that is a fountain of knowledge for creating sourdough. Hoping to be a "sourdough purist", I followed Mike's way of starting a sourdough starter, the measuring cup in my picture.  Four days later, it's doing great!

Being a worrywart, I also found a starter that used yeast (which I call my cheater starter) shown in the bowl in the middle.  This starter is also doing quite well and will be ready to use soon. 

These two have completely different smells at this stage of the game because the "cheater" was started with yeast while the other was simply started with flour and water.  It will be interesting to make a batch of each to taste the difference!  I'm hoping to do that sometime next week and will definitely post my results. 

On the left is a bag filled with Amish Friendship starter.  I can remember my mom receiving bags of starter and making some wonderful fruity breads with them.  I'm hoping to do the same and I have friends waiting for their share of it as soon as it's ready.

So, my friends have dogs and cats, I have my various containers of starter. Every night, I uncover them, feed them, and give them a vigorous stir to make sure they  have enough air to grow properly.  I'm still slightly worried that one of these times they will grow out of their containers and I'll have a dripping mess, but hopefully I'm doing a good job of watching them and I will move them to bigger containers as needed.

And Now It's Time For...

Being a blogger, I love reading blogs almost as much as writing mine. That being said, I hate going to a blog and seeing that the only thing going on is blog hops and memes.  Don't get me wrong, I love blog hopping as much as the next blogger gal, but I don't want to get to know you through special features alone!

Yes, it's a good way to get your visits up, but is it a good way to develop a relationship with others?  It is, in moderation. If you have witty post-its on Tuesday or wonderful pictures on Wednesday, I guarantee I am going to go searching for more.  If all I find is a forced series of memes, I will close the window.

So please, don't force it to be time for anything. Allow it to be time for social functions if you so choose.  Otherwise, do what you started the blog for.  If you started it as a way to show pictures, let me see what you've got.  If you started it to rant about your family, I think we can all relate.  Take a minute to get back to basics and maybe turn off your stat counter for a while!


Wordless Wednesday - Just ONE, please?!


Some days, this is the best you can ask for!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 4

You know the wonderful thing about kids? They make wonderful excuses to NOT exercise!  Oops, Bug made a huge mess on the floor, can't work out tonight!  The good thing about having a goal?  I was able to push past it, pick up the mess, and make my date with Jillian!

Today was my 3rd workout in 4 days.  I still struggled a bit with the push ups and the crunches hurt like no one's business, but I made it through!  Sure, minutes five through about ten seemed like hours, but after that, I pushed through knowing that it'd be over soon enough. I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow and I've decided that this is a good nightly routine.  Get the kids in bed, relax for a few, workout, blog, shower, and go to bed.

I took my "before" picture today and will post that later this week.  I almost feel bad because the shirt I'm wearing is from a completely amazing blogger.  I wanted the shirt for a long time and finally ordered it when she said she had one left.  Imagine the let down when I got it and it was too small!  I even bought a bandana that would rock with it since I often wear them when I'm working.  It's okay, give me a month and I'll be posting pics in that same outfit, but won't be ashamed to wear it outside!

Post-It Note Tuesday #2

30 Day Shred - Day 3

This counts only as day 3 because I'm trying to see what changes happen in 30 consecutive days. I have an issue with my ribs that flares up from time to time.  Last night was one of those times.  When it flares up I'm nearly doubled over in pain, not something that's conducive to working out, especially with Jillian leading!

Today, I'm feeling better and I'm actually looking forward to working out after the kids are in bed. 

I will not feel guilty, for guilt leads to quitting. I will stay focused on my goal and hope that the "off days" are few and far between!

Monday, April 5, 2010

And We Have a CSA!!!

Today is an awesomely geeky exciting day! We are signed up for a CSA for the summer!  Not only that, but in exchange for working at the farm each week, I will earn our share rather than having to pay for it.

Being on a limited budget, buying a CSA share for the summer was out of reach.  Maybe this year I will be able to save up in case working for it is too much on top of the kids, home work, and work work.  But for now, there was no way to find hundreds of extra dollars!

Bug and I went out to the farm after work and school. I think we both learned a lot! She got to see where eggs come from and that they look just the same as the ones we get in a box at the store. She even helped gather until the basket got too heavy for her!  Next, we got to pick some spinach (who knew spinach can grow year round in WI given the right conditions) and weeds. Bug got a lesson in using a "farm voice" from the owners. Next, the adults continued weeding and we sent her to feed the goats. I thought for sure she would freak out, but not only did she feed the goats, she also made the horses happy by feeding them carrots!

Now, we're both dirty and tired, but excited for what the summer holds for us!  I really need to shake her of the totally unreasonable fear I used to have that farm fresh wouldn't hold the same quality as store bought. I think we got part of it out of her today.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

30 Day Shred - Day 2

No, I didn't weenie out and only do half of the workout tonight, I just don't feel like doing .5 every night!

Who in the world decided entering a relationship with Jillian Michaels on Easter weekend was a good idea?  Oh yeah, that was me!  Seriously, I worked out last night and ate Easter breakfast at church.  I tried to control my portions, but I have no clue what was in half of the stuff I ate and as good as it tasted (and given the fact that it was made by church ladies) I can't imagine it was healthy! 

As if that wasn't bad enough, I then ate Easter dinner with Hubs and the kids.  Stupid me, I put enough on my plate to feed me and Bubs.  Guess who decided he wasn't particularly hungry.  Guess who had a clean plate when she finished the meal.

I'm not sure if putting bread in the oven immediately before putting 30 Day Shred in the DVD player was a wise move or an insanely stupid one.  On the one hand, I knew that the bread would be done about the same time as my workout.  On the other hand, it was tempting to stop the DVD so I could check my bread.  Not only that, but guess who started all of this after 8pm, so I can't even enjoy a piece of my handiwork!

So, I made it through the workout.  Cinderella committed suicide (our Christmas tree topper that's on the entertainment center now) because of jumping jacks, but I made it.  I won't say it was easier, only because my body aches from making it do stuff other than watching TV or surfing the internet (okay, not quite that bad, but still...).  Eight more days and I'll see about moving up to level 2.  We'll see...

In other news, I'm sitting at about 100 ounces of water for the day.  For someone who used to drink NO water, that's pretty good!  Not only that, but when I didn't have my water bottle (thanks, Bug) and wasn't constantly sipping, I realized how thirsty I was.  I've gotten over the missing water bottle in favor of a big plastic glass.  For now, it'll have to do!

Food Week Wrap-up

I didn't get a chance to blog quite as much as I had hoped about trying to change our food habits, but with any luck, I'll keep working on it and find some time.  That way, years from now, I can come back and see how far I've come!

I'll call this week a 50/50 draw.  I didn't do as well as I hoped, but I did cook more than I used to and when I did, I didn't pull out a Hamburger Helper once, a bad habit I've gotten into over the past decade.

One night, we had pizza.  This is the ultimate cheap meal for us because Hubs manages a pizza place.  I had to pick Bubs up from him at work and he made pizza since it adds about 40 miles total to my drive.  The good thing, I know exactly what they use because I used to work for the same company.

Another night, I wound up getting the dreaded arches.  I forgot my keys and forgot to get them from Hubs when he dropped Bubs off to me, so I added over an hour to my evening commute (I was close to home when I realized what I had done).  It was easier to drive thru than to deal with late bedtime.  The interesting thing, I HATED IT!  Seriously, how did I live off such crap for so long?

Thursday, we had limited time because we had church.  I consciously chose to drive thru a different place that had a bit healthier (but still not healthy) options.  I even hated that!  I'm starting to like cooking at home, controlling how things are seasoned, etc.

And today, Hubs' good intentions are falling just a touch flat.  He's not as into (read, not at all) reading labels as I am.  He picked up a "ham" for dinner tonight since we didn't have a family feast at lunch.  It's a "ham and water product" with up to 35% weight in added products.  WOWZERS!!!  I'm not bringing it up to him right this minute because I know it will sour the evening, but dang!  To balance that out, we're having fresh carrots, mashed potatoes, and homemade wheat dinner rolls.

Even though my choices weren't as great as I would like, I think it's a success because the times I faltered taught me a valuable lesson.

Oh, and for a bonus point, I've almost totally converted from soda to water!  We were huge soda lovers, but it's not healthy in so many ways.  I still can't get Hubs on board to change his ways, but I can control what I drink.  And now that I'm not drinking it, Bug is asking for water more than anything else!  Double score!

Getting to Know You #2

Thanks again to Keely at Mann Land 5 for hosting a great weekend blog hop! I'm looking forward to hopping around on this Easter Sunday to meet other bloggers.  Leave me a comment and I'll be sure to check out your blog.

1. Showers or baths?
Showers, no question about it!  I'm weird about most bath tubs, so it's just not relaxing for me.  Someday, I hope to have a house with a tub that hasn't been used by anyone but me and my family and hopefully I will be able to enjoy soaking with a good book!

2. Do you have any crazy urges?
Depends on what you consider a crazy urge. I get sudden, sporadic urges to clean, mostly if I'm anxious or angry.

3. What is one thing we don't know about you?
Hmmm, just one? How about a HUGE shameful admission?  I still have my Christmas tree up!  It's not that I'm a Christmas fanatic, it's more that I was raised by one and there were some things that stayed up year round so it's not odd to me.  I'm thinking today may be the day it has to come down!

4. it or hate it?
A little of both.  Once I'm in the swing of doing it, I love it.  Right now (just starting out) it's still a chore.  Hopefully once the energy level and strength increase I will forget the loathing.

5. Do you think you have a good body image?
Yes and no.  I'm comfortable in my own skin, I just wish there was less of it.  I don't want to be "skinny", I just want to be healthy.  My goal is to get down to a size 12 so I can't shop at Lane Bryant anymore.  I love them, but how great would it be to walk past knowing everything there is too big?

6. Flour or corn tortillas?
Depends on what they're being used for.  Most of the time, we use flour, but I'm trying to switch to corn.

7. How do you celebrate Easter?
We used to go about an hour north of home to celebrate with our huge extended family. Then it was just my grandparents, their kids and us grandkids. This year, we aren't getting together with the family, I think we're going to start claiming this holiday for "just us" and watch movies, eat popcorn, and have a nice dinner tonight.

8. Hard boiled Easter eggs or plastic eggs?
Plastic for hunting, when we do it. Didn't boil eggs this year because I'm the only one who eats them.
Looking for something to do today?  Want to get to know other bloggers?  Be sure to stop by Mann Land 5 and sign in to the McLinky!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Easter Grinch

Here I sit, at 11:30 on the night before Easter, uncertain whether the Easter Bunny will pay our home a visit or not.  If I had my way, I don't think he would, but the hubs is at a movie with a friend and mentioned going to pick up Easter Bunny treats when they're done.  He was going based on what I had said earlier, before I had a revelation, so it's not like a battle between the parents.

You see, Hubs isn't a religious person.  This wasn't an issue in the past and it's not a huge issue now, but I've changed and grown recently.  He doesn't see an issue with the Easter Bunny or Santa, but I'm developing one.

Why is it that when we celebrate the two most important holidays in the Christian faith, we also play a game with our children where we lead them to believe that mythical creatures are going to pay a visit to them and bring them things?  As adults, we all know that the day will come when they no longer believe in the big man and the bunny, so why do we go down that road at all?

And if we lead them to believe that Easter Bunny and Santa are real and they later learn they aren't, isn't it possible that that may lead them to question whether Jesus is real?  I know it may be a stretch, but if you think about it, why are we lying to them about the existence of certain people at the exact time we should be teaching them about the reality and importance of Him?

It'll be interesting to see if Hubs comes hopping in with baskets for the kids in the middle of the night.

30 Day Shred - Day 1.5

Yesterday, I decided to pick up Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred based on the rave reviews and successes my "mommy group" girls have been posting on FB.  I was actually looking for a bathroom scale (which I never found) and saw that the DVD was on sale.

Last night, after Bubs was asleep and Bug was in the bath, I threw the DVD in.  About seven agonizing minutes in, a friend feverishly texting me and Bug screaming to get out of the bath forced (okay, allowed) my finger to hit the stop button.  I seriously wondered what I was doing trying to go from 0 to 60 in a split second after the warm up and the first circuit.

Tonight, I changed into exercise clothes, said a prayer (no, really, I prayed for the strength to get through it!), and hit start.  After the first circuit, I wanted to quit and "try again tomorrow" but I plowed through.  After the second circuit, I was getting tired, but kept on trucking because I knew it would be over soon.  By the end of the third, I was damned proud of myself.  I DID IT!  All my 240ish pounds made it through!

Yes, I just admitted it.  I have WAY more than the 18 pounds it seems like most of the internet is trying to lose.  Like I said, I never did find that scale, so I can't give a starting weight or know exactly where I'm at.  For now, I'll say that I'm in a "tight 18W" jeans.  I'll take a pic in my jeans that started fitting right before I got pregnant with Bubs and post it soon, along with the t-shirt that motivated me to get down to business about my weight loss.  Hopefully, they'll both fit better in a month! 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Such an Exciting Meal!!

This may be my favorite meal of the week.  Are you ready???  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!!! 

Why is this my favorite meal?  Because the peanut butter is all natural.  Seriously, the only ingredient in this stuff is peanuts, nothing else.  At first, I wasn't sure I was going to like it.  Do you have any clue how little peanut taste is in most commercial peanut butters?

The next reason it's my favorite meal... Homemade strawberry jam.  Last summer, Bug and I went strawberry picking for the first time and I made a bunch of freezer jam.  With as much of a hit as it's been over the winter and into spring, I think I'll be making MUCH more of it this year!

And the final reason this is my favorite meal... Homemade bread!  I know I posted about making wheat bread earlier this week, but this is the first "meal" we've used it for.  Most of the bread has been eaten solo, as a snack.

Who knew that something as simple as a PBJ could make me smile so much?!  I am just totally in love with the fact that I made a meal that is mostly homemade and contains no words I can't pronounce in the ingredient list!

Friday Follow

Friday Follow

What the heck, Bug is at her Nana's this morning, the house is quiet, and I'm enjoying coffee.  That sounds like the perfect time to join Friday Follow and find some new blogs!

If you got to my blog from the follow, thanks for stopping by!  I can't wait to check out the new blogs today!  If you didn't get here from the Friday Follow McLinky, click on the picture and you'll be taken to the McLinky and you can find some new blogs too!

(please excuse any part of this post that seems as if it was written by my four year old.  I've only had one cup of coffee and it's a SMALL cup today!)

Five Questions Friday #1

1. Do you sing out loud in the car when you're driving?
Yep.  And occasionally, I dance too!  There are some songs you can't help but sing to and the car is the perfect place!  I also enjoy putting on kids music and singing loudly with Bug.

2. What would you never be caught doing?
Hmmm, that's a hard one!  Does wearing a two piece swimsuit count?  And actually, that's not true either because they now make some very conservative ones for plus sizes that are great for those of us who aren't a uniform size on top and bottom.  But a two piece that shows skin, NEVER!!!

3. Will you go #2 in a public restroom?
I try not to, but I have IBS, so sometimes it becomes a necessity.

4. Have you ever broken a bone?
Just a thumb from sledding.  I've been told I have very strong bones, so I guess that's a good thing!

5. Do you prefer cooking or baking?
Not sure.  I truly enjoy both.  I think it depends on my mood a bit.  Right now, I'm in more of a baking mood, but sometimes baking seems to take more effort and attention than I have!

Please check out Mama M's blog and see how others answered these questions.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Post-It Note Tuesday #1

Who doesn't love Post-it Notes??  Well, at least the virtual kind creates no waste! 

100 Mile Challenge

Thanks to this post on Suburban Saving Mom's website, I found out about the 100 mile challenge.  Reading the post, I had to laugh because I have used the "I live in Wisconsin" excuse for not doing more to eat locally.  I'm not saying it is an excuse for Amy, only that it was for me.

Seriously, I live in Wisconsin, it's not the best environment for many things that we love to eat. How could I do something as responsible as try to find local options and adapt my diet to fit the foods I find?

Well, apparently it can be done and I'm looking forward to finding great places to get our food from.  What I can't get locally, I will do my best to buy from smaller, local stores so I'm at least supporting our local economy rather than lining someone else's pockets.

Homemade Wheat Bread

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

In my "former life", cheap was good and quick was even better.  I'm not saying healthy, I'm just saying it reduced my stress level to spend as little as possible at the grocery store and have to put in as little effort as possible.

Last month, we bought a loaf of bread from one of the big box stores.  It was probably about $1 for the loaf.  Well, when we got home, it didn't get put in the bread box, it was put on my junk counter.  When I found it a couple of weeks ago, I didn't think twice, I put it in the bread box.  Then, there wasn't much need for bread for a while, until last week, when Bug wanted toast for breakfast. 

When I saw the sell by date, I was horrified that the bread was so old!  The date was around Valentine's Day.  When I saw that the bread had no mold and was only slightly hard, I just about freaked out.  I don't even want to think of how much they have to put into the bread to get it to last that long! 

As silly as it may seem, bread became a priority on the "healthier options" list.  I picked up a bag of Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour last weekend when I was at the grocery store.  The back of the bag had a recipe for bread, so I used that recipe and made sure I had all of the ingredients. 

Another shocker, there isn't much difference in color between all-purpose flour and unbleached all-purpose flour.  If they're that similar, why purchase the bleached option?  Seriously, if anyone has an answer for that, I'd love to know!

Last night, after throwing dinner in the oven, I started mixing my first batch of bread.  I was terrified!  Bread is something that seems like it needs a lot of care and practice to do well.  After the first rise, I was sure I had messed it up, but I kept trudging through.  I formed my two loaves, put them in their pans, and covered them to rise again.  This time, I felt more confident as I had a better idea of the starting point of my loaves.

They seemed to get dark quickly and I got scared again.  What if my bread was inedible? What if I only thought it had risen long enough? What if...

It did take about 3 hours from start to finish but it was amazing!!!  As soon as it cooled enough to touch, I cut it and buttered a piece as a snack for myself.  Had I not shown some restraint, I easily could have eaten the whole loaf!

The funny thing is, I spent about $6 stocking my pantry with items I didn't have.  At the very least, I have enough left for one more batch, which would bring the cost down to about $1.50 per loaf.  So, to save 50 cents and some time, I've been buying tasteless bread filled with everything unhealthy for my family.  That really doesn't seem like I saved much at all!  From now on, I will set aside a little bit of my weekends to bake bread for my family to eat during the week.  If we have leftovers, I will use it to make French toast or something equally yummy so it doesn't go to waste!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Delayed or Just Laid Back?

When do you start to worry about your child's development?  On one hand, Bub has always been an incredibly laid back baby and it's easy to chalk everything up to lack of desire.  On the other hand, he's almost 11 months old, not crawling, not pulling up on anything, won't drink from a cup, isn't talking, and I'm probably forgetting something.

As much as I'm trying to stay relaxed, it's hard to not get worried.  What if he's NOT just a laid back little boy and I wait to get him help?  We live in such a world of early intervention, should I err on the side of caution and bring it up?

Then, I remind myself that numerous people have told me it's not unusual for younger siblings to do things later and I feel like a dolt for worrying.

This mommy business isn't as easy as Hollywood would have us believe!  Any moms out there have any sage advice one way or the other?

Kid Friendly Frugal Food

Kid-friendly food makes my life easy.  Frugal food is a near necessity.  To get both of those and have it be a healthy option is no longer impossible.  I will admit, I spent too many years feeding my daughter crap.  It's a sad reality that mac and cheese and hot dogs are so much more affordable that a home cooked meal, but that's not what this post is about...

As I've mentioned before, I recently purchased the Deen Brothers "Take it Easy" cookbook and I'm working my way through all of the recipes.  This was the first recipe I tried, and if the kid factor is any indication, this is a book well worth the price!

I am posting my slightly varied version of their recipe, found on page 105.

Creamy Spicy Sausage Pasta
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup Newman's Own tomato sauce (I used the roasted garlic)
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • salt and pepper (don't let the 4 year old help with the pepper!)
  • 1 pound rigatoni
Cook the sausage, then add cream and tomato sauce.  Simmer until slightly thickened.  Add peas and cook until peas are hot.  Boil pasta according to directions and add to sausage and sauce mixture.  Serve with grated parmesan on top.

With using salt, pepper, and parmesan that I already had on hand, I was able to make this meal for 5.97 and it easily could have fed 6 people.  My husband, one of the biggest eaters I know asked why I made so much, and he only saw what was left after I had some and after Bug had 2 little bowls.

As for the kid factor, after screaming that she was going to hate dinner the entire 30 mile drive home from town, she decided to try it.  When I was feeding her brother, she "snuck" in to the kitchen to get a little more.  She asked for more after that and I gave it to her, but she didn't eat it.  Not only that, but she has turned to the picture in the cookbook several times since we made it last week and asked for it again!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Getting to Know You #1

This week, I decided to join the Getting to Know You meme hosted by Keely at Mann Land 5. It's a great way to get to know other bloggers and memes have helped me find some amazing blogs I wouldn't have found otherwise.

1 - Why did you start blogging?
I started my first blog in 2006 as a way to find myself.  The previous year, I had gotten married and had my first child, which made me feel like I no longer had my own identity.  I was no longer Heather, I was now Rick's wife and Bug's mom.  Writing is something I have always been passionate about, so blogging seemed to be a great outlet to journal.
My current blog was started just a week ago.  The old one didn't "fit" anymore and, to be quite honest, I felt like it had a very negative vibe to it.  I don't want to be negative anymore, I want to focus on the positive and move forward in life.
2 - Who's the one blog friend that you would want to meet most in "real life"?
It wasn't until recently that I became active in the blogging community, so I don't "know" many people yet, but I would love to meet Pam from Troop Petrie.

3 - Why are you always concerned with losing that "extra 10 pounds" when chances are your husband/boyfriend/friends tell you that you look just fine the way you are?
Look, just because my husband doesn't mind seeing my body the way it is, that doesn't mean I don't mind!  For me, it's way beyond "that extra 10".  I want to lose weight to be HEALTHY, not to look smokin' hot for my husband, although that would be an added bonus!  As for friends, I don't think many friends would tell you that you were still chunky if you've been working hard to look good!

4 - What's the one thing you wish guys could understand about you?
Just because I'm not "super girly" doesn't mean I don't like to get dressed up and look fabulous every once in a while!

5 - Tattoos. How many do you have and how many are visible when you wear your "everyday" clothes?
I have one that is only visible when I wear a skirt or shorts.  I want to get more, but good tats aren't cheap!

6 - What was the best year of your life and why?
2005, by far!  My dad got remarried to my amazing step-mom, I got married, we had our first child, and my brother got married to his high school sweetheart.  How much better could a year get??

7 - Name three things you would do if you were a man for one day.
Honestly, I'm not sure!  I don't think there's much I don't do now that I would if I was a man for a day.
8 - What's your alcoholic drink of choice that usually raises a few eyebrows?
I don't drink much anymore, but just once, I would love to have a Bloody Mary morning around the hotel pool during a family vacation.  I can remember my entire extended family going to weddings and the adults would drink have a bloody mary to "wake up" while the kids swam before checking out.  These days, that would definitely raise an eyebrow or ten, but it's a wonderful memory I have from my childhood.  It wasn't about getting drunk, it was about a once in a while indulgence and spending time together.

Deen Brothers - Take It Easy

Some cookbooks offer a scrumptious meal on the cover to entice the reader.  Ballantine Books made a great choice with a different image to draw the wannabe cook in.  Seriously, what could be better than the Deen Brothers making a delicious dish as a way to get a cookbook noticed?

Since a family can't live on cupcakes alone, I decided a "real" cookbook would be good to work my way through at the same time I'm working through the cupcake book.  I chose "The Deen Bros. Take it Easy", a book that promises quick and affordable meals.  As a full time work outside the home mom helping to raise two little ones, quick and affordable are essential!

I'm going to be posting our family's reaction to different dishes as I go and occasionally posting recipes that are a huge hit with Bug and the oh-so-picky husband.

500 Cupcakes

So, I recently decided to start baking my way through this book. The thing about a book that promises so many different recipes is that it's nearly impossible for all of them to be perfect.  Unfortunately, I found this out on my first recipe.

I promised myself that I was not going to change any of the recipes on the first attempt even though I rarely follow a recipe to the letter.  I need a baseline for the recipes so I can make adjustments as necessary.

I'm now questioning if I will follow that rule through the rest of the book.  I felt the Carrot Cupcake recipe was flawed, but went ahead with it. It seemed like it was lacking moisture and short on spice.  I was right.  It was so far from what I wanted that I'm going to take this batch (unfrosted) to church for fellowship.  Honestly, they're not bad, they just seem closer to a muffin than a cupcake.  This afternoon, I will try the recipe again with the changes I wanted to make and the changes my husband, my official taster and critic, wanted made.  Hopefully, this will result in something I can be proud of.  If it turns out, I will post the recipe and pictures later tonight!

Laundry Week Comes to an End

For the past week, I've focused on doing laundry responsibly. First, I didn't put a load of laundry in the washer unless I knew I could put it into the dryer when it was done.  Thanks to an article on My Child's View, I also did not do laundry if I knew I would be sleeping or gone while it dried. This did make it more difficult since I'm out of the house so much during the week, but for safety, it makes sense.  This week, I didn't have to re-wash anything!

Next, when I ran out of soap, I made my own eco-friendly and frugal soap from a recipe I found online. I was skeptical at first, but I'm totally in love with our new laundry soap!  Also, I have been finding ways to use some of the supplies I bought around the house, reducing our consumption of chemical cleaners!

I also found a great tip for cutting drying time.  Again, I was skeptical but tried to stay open-minded. I now have a funky dyed towel that sits on top of my dryer, waiting to be thrown into every load.  It's been a lifesaver given my new rules on drying when I'm not able to keep an eye on the dryer.

I will admit that I wasn't the best about folding this week.  I was so focused on getting the laundry washed and dried that I would pile everything on my bed and then into a basket when my good intentions of folding after the kids were in bed fell through.  The good news is that even that turned into a positive! 

Most nights, my husband works late and I am sleeping by the time he gets home.  Last night, after we enjoyed "The Blind Side" for an in-home date night, I asked if he would help me.  I wasn't expecting him to since there are some things that he needed to take care of but he did.  As silly as it sounds, we had some great reconnecting over that mountain of dry clothes.

All in all, I mark this week a success!  I'm going to continue working on making this change permanent, and in the coming week, I am going to add home cooking every night to my list.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cut Drying Time

As much as I would love to have a sparkly new dryer with all the bells and whistles, it's not in the budget right now.  That means I'm stuck using my old dryer, which normally takes at least two cycles to dry clothes.

The other night, I read an article that suggested putting a dry towel in with the wet laundry as a way to cut drying time.  I honestly didn't think this would work, after all, it's one dry towel. 

Reluctantly, I found a nice, fluffy towel and threw it in with Bubs' diapers.  These always take about a cycle and a half to dry, even using the "sensor dry" setting.  Usually, the prefolds and pocket outers are dry at the end of the cycle, but the fitteds and pocket inserts are still damp. Much to my surprise, with one dryer cycle that was shorter than it usually is, every diaper in the load was dry!

Figuring this wasn't enough of a challenge for that hard working towel, I washed a load of nothing but jeans.  The nemesis of my dryer, my plus-sized jeans along with hubby's cargo jeans with all of their extra pockets.  ONE CYCLE!!! 

Looks like I can no longer use my excessively long drying time as an excuse for not doing laundry!  It also means that I won't have musty clothes if I don't remember to reset the dryer because I no longer have to reset it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent Experiment

Not only did I get two loads of laundry done last night and came home this afternoon to an empty washer (this is big for me), I remembered my list and picked up supplies to make my own homemade laundry detergent.  The original recipe can be found here, but I did tweak it based on different articles I read online.

My recipe:
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1/2 cup Washing Soda (instead of baking soda, it's supposed to work better)
  • 1 bar of Dr Bronner's Magic Soap (I used the Tea Tree Orange)
The first mistake I made was using the big tub I'm used to pouring powder detergent into.  I had the image in my head that I was making a huge concoction when this is the end result:
I grated the bar of soap using the medium set of holes on a box grater.  I did swing by the dollar store and pick up a grater that will only be used for soap just to be safe.  Once that was done, all that was left to do was add the washing soda and Borax.  Before using, I gave the container a shake (the small container) to make sure nothing had separated and settled.

I have issues with measuring spoons, so I grabbed a spare 1/4 cup scoop and filled it less than half way.  The original recipe calls for 1-2 tablespoons depending on the size of the load and the grunge factor.  I was sure it wasn't going to work, but this is trial and error, right?

This is what happens when a 4 year old Bug tries to do a "science project" while mom is taking care of her brother.  1 cup of water mixed with 2 kool-aid packets, promptly spilled on the floor and wiped up by taking her pants off to clean the floor.  And then hidden so mom won't get mad.  With more than a little doubt, I threw these into the wash to test my homemade laundry soap.  This is what came out:

I couldn't remember exactly where the stain was, but I know it was all over one side of the pants and the waistband.  As you can see, it came out!  This is definitely going to be my detergent from now on!  I'm going to keep track of how many loads I get out of this batch in my sidebar and I will figure out the cost per load when everything is gone.

Paid so far:
Borax: 3.19
Washing Soda: 2.49
Dr. Bronner's soap: 3.29

I barely touched the first two ingredients, so it'll be a while before I need them again. So far, I've spent 8.97.  That's less than I would have spent buying detergent for a few weeks and I have supplies left over!  I'm going to like this experiment!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fluff the Bum!

Cloth diapers can be about as confusing if you just go to a website and start looking at them.  Even once you think you have it figured out, it's possible to walk into the store and feel completely LOST!  Ask how I know, I dare you!

The Eco-Cheap Mom is hosting an event in April that I wish had been around last year at this time!  Fluff the Bum promises to be an event dedicated to teaching parents about the different cloth diapers.  Not only that, but she's doing daily giveaways, every weekday in April.  Looking at the sponsors list, this is sure to be an all-out fluff fest!

Whether it's an eco thing or a cheap thing, cloth diapers have gotten a bum wrap over the years.  Check out Fluff the Bum to get rid of any negative thoughts you have about cloth and maybe give it a try!  Seriously, you've seen me talk about how bad I am at laundry and ours have lasted almost a year!

Green Laundry?

So, I'm over half way into my week of focusing on laundry.  The good news is I've only forgotten one load in the washer.  The bad news?  Rather than forget laundry in the washer, I've apparently decided to ignore its existence.

That's not entirely true and I have a good excuse reason for not doing laundry.  I'm out of soap and have procrastinated on finding a better option that won't make my husband break out or make the checkbook cry!

If only I had done a search sooner, maybe I wouldn't be trying to find a solution in a hurry because I'm out of clean pants for work tomorrow morning!  The first site I found may become a new best friend.  They have a fairly simple, straight forward recipe for homemade laundry detergent!  I am going to try this tonight and pray that my clothes come out clean!

If anyone has any other suggestions, I would love to hear them!  Just remember, I'm trying to save money while being more conscious of my decisions.  I don't claim to be an expert, in fact, I'm the exact opposite.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Thank you to the Captain at Our Imperfect Life for a wonderful meme!  I guess I just did my first "thank you", LOL!

  1. Thank you to Mel for being a wonderful friend.  I feel like we've grown so much together since we met and I look forward to raising our kids together (and, of course, the marriage of our children down the road).
  2. Thank you to my father for pushing me to get out of the house for a couple of hours after Bubs was born.  I am still reaping the benefits of that advice!
  3. Thank you to my daughter for showing me what being a true Christian is!
  4. Thank you to all of my customers for supporting our hopes and dreams!
  5. Thank you to my ex-husband.  I truly mean that!  Without you and your actions, I wouldn't be where I am today, the mother of two wonderful children with a man who loves me!
  6. Thank you to my former bosses.  Good and bad.
Head on over to Our Imperfect Life to see who else is thankful!

We've All Heard it Before

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
Jeremiah 29:11-12

How many times have we all heard this passage paraphrased from others in our lives?  How many times have we rolled our eyes when we heard all about the "big plans" that God has for us?

If you had told me a year ago that by walking in to help with props for a local theater production I would be meeting two of the greatest friends in Jesus that a girl could ask for, I'd have told you that you were off your rocker!

If you had told me six months ago that I would be inviting random strangers to church, I'd have laughed in your face.  I had never, in almost 32 years of life invited someone to church or "cold called" about my faith!

If you had told me as recently as a month ago that I would be starting the company that we have started, I wouldn't have believed it for a minute.

It wasn't until I learned to let go of what I thought the "right path" for me was and opened my heart to hear the path my Savior wanted me to take that things started to fall into place.

The woman who was merely a neighbor to my dad a year ago is now my sister in Christ.  We formed a bond based on a love of theater while creating some amazing props for "The King & I".  We danced the Macarena during "Getting to Know You" every night, almost trying to get the cast to crack up on stage.  It wasn't until about a month ago that we sat in a bar and the conversation turned to church.  Two weeks ago, her family attended my son's baptism.  Last week, we sat and enjoyed coffee while our children attended Sunday School.  We look forward to sitting together again this Sunday and we have made plans for next week as well.  We are not only attending church together, we are getting involved in our church together!

I was also lucky enough to meet a brother in Christ at the same time.  While we haven't had many discussions about our beliefs and we attend different churches, he is my brother.  Tonight, I will pray for him as he recovers from an illness just as I know he would for me. 

Next Friday, our three families will get together for a late breakfast before heading to the Good Friday service together.  I know in my heart that this will become a tradition for us as Jesus has led us to one another.

This is only one of many scenes on the path God has had for me since before I was born.  I only wish it hadn't taken me 32 years to find the road because it truly is a wonderful trip!

Monday, March 22, 2010

What in the World Have I done??

So, my partner and I have started a company working to organize fundraisers for groups that help children and families.  You can read about our inaugural event here.  The good news is, we're preparing an awesome event for a great group.  The bad news is, we have no income until the event, and even then, it's not a guaranteed number. 

To help with the day to day operations, we've started selling cupcakes.  When we started testing, I told my partner I would dye my hair HOT PINK if we could sell 500 boxes in the first 30 days.  Seemed like a great goal, the reward is something I would never have the courage to do without incentive. 

So, today was the first day of sales.  That means that we have until April 22nd to sell 500 boxes of cupcakes.  April 24th is my fifth wedding anniversary and I've been planning for us to have a "real" anniversary celebration for the first time ever.  Now, if we succeed, I will be convincing my husband to take me to a fancy dinner with hot pink hair!  Sure, I could wait until after, but that's not what was agreed upon!

Dear Lord, please let the hubby have a good sense of humor about this one!  And yes, I am totally hoping we succeed!