Monday, November 30, 2009

The Gift Game

If it is one thing I can't stand, it's a child who plows through gifts one after another without stopping to appreciate the gift. Luckily, I discovered "the gift game" and plan on prepping my little guy for the Christmas and birthday gifts he will soon be receiving...BTW his birthday is on Christmas, so there will be a lot of gifts from a lot of people!

A mom in Rockford MI gave me this idea, and it is fairly simple. Gather a couple of used gift bags (we always save them) and tell your child(ren) that you are going to play the "gift game!" Everyone playing gets to "shop" for another person playing by going around the house and placing an item in the bag. You'll want to make sure that your kiddos understand that they don't get to keep the gift, it is just a game.

When the shopping is done, the gifts are exchanged. The first rule is that the receiver MUST say thank you when given the gift. Once they open the gift, the receiver must then come up with a compliment about the item. Depending on the item, your child may have to be creative and might need a little help at first. Once the gifts are exchanged, feel free to go shopping again!

I LOVE this idea! I get so annoyed when children are not polite when getting a gift, but then I realized no one is probably teaching them how to be polite! That will no longer be an excuse in my household! Jonathan and I will be playing this game today!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"30 Days of Thankfulness" Day 30:

Wow! I did it! I truly am thankful for the insight I have gained on doing this little task. It has shed light on all of the wonderful blessings I have in my life and as helped me bring back the basics to the holiday. So often, I get caught up in preparing for Christmas that Thanksgiving gets a little over looked. Not this year...I have celebrated it for 30 days! Happy Thanksgiving!

"30 Days of Thankfulness" Day 29:

I am thankful that I have Thanksgiving Day off from work. So many of my radio buddies will be working tomorrow, but I am one of the lucky ones!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"30 Days of Thankfulness"

Day 28: I am thankful that my husband got up at 5am to make me breakfast this morning! I usually just grab a cereal bar, but I had to go in today to get my glucose test done, and was only allowed to eat protein. I usually do not allow myself enough time to make a full blown breakfast because it is just too darn early, and to be honest, eating a lot that early makes me feel icky. But, my husband realized that I would starve to death if I didn't eat something, so he got up and made me some boiled eggs that I could take with me! LOVE HIM!!!!

Day 27: I am thankful for my sisters, who are the greatest friends I'll ever have! We might not always agree or even get along, for that matter, but when it comes down to it, our bond will never be broken and we always have each other's back! Love you, Gail, Kelly, and Penny!

Day 26: I am thankful for my parents! Don't ask me how they ever did it. Raising four daughters in our society to be ladies, with a sense of morals with pretty decent heads on their shoulders! Not to mention, on the smallest of budgets. I swear my mother is the most frugal woman on the planet and my father would have done just about anything to make sure he was providing for his family, even in the hardest of economies. I always thought we we were so rich as a child. After all, we always had everything we wanted and Dad was always driving a new car...a perk of being a car salesman. It never occurred to me that those cars were never really ours until I was in my teens! LOVE YOU SO MUCH Byron and Sally!

Day 25: I am thankful that Jon and I have settled on a color for our kitchen cabinets and are still married! I swear for a brief moment in the Lowe's checkout line, we became Jon and Amy plus 1 and a half! I don't think I have ever spoke to my husband in such an irritated tone--in front of strangers no doubt! We seriously have gone through about 7 different colors of green in order to get the right shade! Jon should really have been ready to kill me, since he was the one painting and I kept saying, "that just isn't it." Although, he must have agreed with me, because we kept schlepping to store to store to buy more paint! Finally, we have decided on a color called "on the beach." Which you would assume is the color of sand, right? Wrong--it's a greenish beige!

Day 24: I am thankful that I can still act like a child with my son! Today Jonathan and I went to get our hair cut together and it was raining. When we came out of the salon, Jonathan asked if he could splash in the puddles. My first reaction was to tell him NO! After all, he would get all wet and could possibly get sick. Then I realized that I was being one of "those" mothers and told myself to let go....and did we ever!

Day 23: I am thankful for a comfortable, warm, and loving home! It might not be the biggest house on the block, or in the richest neighborhood, or even in the best school district (by some people's standards). is ours! And it is full of love and we are always warm and always have food on the table!

Day 22: I am thankful that my sore throat is easing, but not so thankful for the doctor's diagnosis of sciatica. I have heard of pregnant women complain about sciatica before, but I never really got it until now...OUCH!

Day 21: To quote Jonathan: "I am thankful for our new baby!" Jonathan's preschool has been talking about things they are thankful for and I am glad that his soon-to-arrive baby brother made the list! Apples, plants, and animals also made his list. No mention of Mommy or Daddy, though!

Day 20: I am thankful that I have legs! Even though my left leg and hip seem to be killing me, I know that am blessed to have the use of both my legs and don't even want to thank about the possibility of ever losing that ability.

Day 19: I am thankful that I booked a spa and made a few sales at my Beauti Control booth! I have been trying to concentrate on my business lately, in the hopes of turning to it full-time when the baby is born, so I bought a table at a local craft fair. While I didn't see as many people attend the fair as I would have liked, I did get the experience and a decent starting point!

Day 18: I am thankful for this great November weather! It seems as if in years past, we have had snow on the ground at least once by now. I'll take this sunshine any day!

Day 17: I am thankful for a loving, supportive, good-looking, and all around wonderful husband! I truly feel as if I have hit the jackpot. Marrying my husband was by far the greatest decision I have ever made. I swear there isn't anything this man wouldn't do for me. He spoils me with his care and is the best father any woman could ask for her children! I am so blessed that Jon is the head of our household! Love you babe! (okay, now I am tearing up, shouldn't do this preggo!)

Day 16: I am thankful that my son has such loving grandparents! My husband's parents really dote on their eldest grandson...something that I sometimes get a little concerned over, since my parents have a lot more grandchildren to dote over. I am so thankful, though that Jonathan is making great memories with his grandparents. Some of my favorite memories of my childhood include my grandparents and I am so glad that Jonathan will have those memories too. What a special relationship they have, and it is something I could never provide for him.

Day 15: I am thankful for Veterans! Happy Veteran's Day!

Day 14: I am thankful that I my neighbors do NOT burn their leaves! It seems as if everyone else is doing that this year. I guess the county stopped their pick up service, and since we live on the city/county line, I have been smelling a lot of disgusting smells. Thank heavens it is not waifing through my house and into my curtains, sheets, linens....

Day 13: I am thankful for a great weekend! My parents, in-laws, and eldest sister/husband, came to visit me and take me out to dinner for my birthday. I have to admit that turning 35 has been a little hard on me, and their visit really cheered me up. They all appeased me by going to a Mexican restaurant that I recently discovered, even though the majority of them do not like it. Since Jon and I spent our first year of marriage in New Mexico, however, we fell in love with authentic Mexican cuisine. To my surprise, and I'm sure theirs, they all really liked it. We will most definitely be going there again!

Day 12: I am thankful for the laughter at lunch with my husband and son! We did a little shopping and decided to go to Sonic for lunch. Jonathan was thrilled at the idea of sitting in the car and having a girl on roller skates bring him his meal...not to mention he got to unbuckle his seat belt and eat in the car! I ordered a chili cheese dog (pregnant lady, leave me alone!) and for some reason, I had managed to move the hot dog farther up the bun. When I noticed this strange phenomenon, I turned to Jon, extremely concerned that someone had messed with my hot dog! It never occurred to me that I had done it! Boy did we have a good laugh at that one!!

Day 11: I am thankful for all of the birthday wishes! Believe me, this birthday has been hard to swallow. I just keep thinking, you can't be THAT old, you are pregnant!

Day 10: I am thankful for the thoughtfulness of my sister-in-law! Every year around my birthday, I get an exciting package in the mail addressed from Chicago. I know it's my birthday present from Christy and her family. It really means a lot to know that she thinks about me in advance to ship me a gift to make sure I have it on my birthday, even though she is unable to hand it to me in person! Not to mention...she buys really great gifts!

Day 9: I am thankful for a bright, funny, and caring son! Jonathan can make me laugh out loud and amaze me at is knowledge in almost the same breath. What a wonderful person I get to call mine!

Day 8: I am thankful for my friend and former co-worker, Darren! I the radio business, you rarely find someone so thoughtful and moral! Darren is truly a gem! I first met him and his radio partner, Tim, after coming off maternity leave for having Jonathan. Tim, by the way, is also a wonderful man! The three of us had a blast doing a morning show together in Grand Rapids, Mi on Thunder 94.5. The memories I made with them are some of the fondest of my career to date. For the last two years, however, as we have been living and working in different states, Darren has been e-mailing me a skit on a daily basis in which he impersonates Regis Philbin. He does this out of the kindness of his heart, for no pay. Darren and Tim recently lost their radio gig in Kansas City, so I thought that was the end of my "Regis segment." I guess I really misjudged my friend. Even though he is unemployed and no longer has a show to call his own, he has continued to e-mail me my segment from his home computer. Now that is what you call a true professional who loves what he does and a great friend! I pray that these two find a new radio home soon!

Day 7: I am thankful for country music! As long as I can remember, I have loved country music. I don't know why I was drawn to it, but it almost feels as if it is a part of me. I remember wanting to be a singer growing up. Something I tried very hard to be good at, but let's face talent is best suited for an occasional night out at a Karaoke bar. I always told my mother though, that someday I would be heard on the radio. I never would have guessed then that I would be heard talking, NOT singing!

Monday, November 2, 2009

"30 Days of Thankfulness" Day 6:

I am thankful to be one of God's children!

"30 Days of Thankfulness" Days 4 and 5

The weekend has gotten away from me, so I am combining my posts today. Funny since my post on Friday was all about loving the weekend's non-schedule feeling...obviously only a FEELING!

Day 4: I am thankful for my husband! While there are many reasons I am thankful for my wonderful husband, today I am thankful that he is using his "fall break" to work in our kitchen. We have been thinking about updating for awhile now. We are trying to do it as cheaply as we can, so it is a little challenging--particularly for Jon because he is doing all of the labor. We purchased a used dishwasher, which is an upgrade believe it or not, and are planning to resurface our cabinet fronts and paint them. That is after moving them around a bit. I'll update with some pictures when we get a little further along in the process....I have given my loving husband a deadline of December 1st. That way I can get the house ready for Christmas!

Day 5: I am thankful for my health!

With sooo many people getting the H1N1 virus, how could I NOT be thankful for being healthy? My sister is getting over pneumonia and now her daughter is running a 103 temperature! I have another sister who is having problems with her wrist popping out of socket and her kids have had the sniffles too! Jonathan had a low grade fever on Friday, but luckily it went down on its own in a few hours. Just enough to get me in a slight panic...thankfully it turned into nothing! Growing a baby is a lot of work and a lot of worry comes with it! I'm going to keep obsessively wash my hands, take my vitamins, and eat my broccoli!

Friday, October 30, 2009

"30 Days of Thankfulness" Day 3:

I am thankful for Fridays!

Unlike any other day in the week, there is a certain energy in a Friday. The thought of the end of a work week is something I relish in, but I really love my job, so it is odd to think I just can't stand another day at work. There is an excitement though that you just can't ignore in a Friday. I know that my mood lightens and I always have a great time at work on a fact I think some of my best shows happen on a Friday, simply because I am in such a good mood. It also helps that I usually get free food on Friday's at work too, but I'm getting away from my point.

I am sure that energy comes more from the fact that I get to spend more time with my family at the arrival of a weekend. Friday nights used to consist of going out on the town, but these days it means the commitment of the week is ending and the clock gets back to "me" time, or "our" time. I also like the feeling of thinking of all the possible things I COULD do if I wanted to, even if it really means a night on the couch with a good (or bad) movie with husband and bowl of popcorn made on the stove.

The arrival of the weekend means that my husband is home from work, I am home from work, and Jonathan has no demands of preschool. There is something to be said for the soul when you have no commitments! I look forward to sleeping in on Saturday mornings--a HUGE deal because sleeping in usually means 7 or 8 am! For me, the weekend means time to recharge and relax, even if I am still busy doing house cleaning, home improvements, or family birthday parties, it just doesn't feel the same as the schedule of the regular week.

So tonight, in my pregnancy heartburn stupor, I will lift my glass of milk and give a toast to Friday!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"30 Days of Thankfulness" Day 2:

Today I am thankful for the time I got to spend with my parents and husband at the College Football Hall of Fame's luncheon series with special guest Jerry Rice. It was held at the Palais Royale and we had a wonderful lunch and the opportunity to meet Mr. Rice. My husband was so excited to be able to get an autographed football from such an NFL legend. He is a huge football fan, so to be able to see the delight in his eyes was truly something wonderful.

I am a big Raiders fan, so my hubby got a black ball and a silver pen for him to sign the ball with...thankful that my husband thought of me in his "big moment."

It was also a treat for me to be able to introduce my father to Jerry Rice. I don't believe my dad has met anyone famous before, something that I have had the opportunity to do because I am lucky enough to work in the media, and sometimes take for granted. He was quite impressed with Jerry's handshake and joked as we walked away that he tried to squeeze his hand as hard as he could! Quite funny to hear a 74-year-old man say that about a pro football player!

While I had purchased tickets to this event for my mother for her 70th birthday, she opted to not meet Jerry Rice. I think her nerves got the best of her. She was so excited to hear him speak, though and is a big football fan, so I know she enjoyed herself.

After the luncheon, we picked up Jonathan from daycare and we all went on a fall color tour. While most of the leaves have fallen from the trees already, it was a great way to spend time together and see some beautiful countryside. We found a pig farm were baby pigs were roaming a field with their mommies and Jonathan thought that was the coolest thing! I thought the baby pigs were adorable too!

So, today was a good day and I have a LOT to be thankful for!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"30 Days of Thankfulness"

I have been inspired by some of my high school classmates that came up with a great idea on Facebook....posting something they are thankful for in their status update at least once a day starting today until Thanksgiving. I thought I would join them, not only on Facebook, but here on "The Ranch."

So, today I am thankful for those Facebook friends who came up with the idea! Thanks Andrea, Arlene, and Christy! So glad that we can keep up to date so many years after high school and so many miles apart!

Feel free to join me by posting what you are thankful for in the comments!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Well, well, well...

My goodness it has been a long time since I have posted something new. That's because a lot of "new" things have been happening around the red ranch. I am expecting my second child! The first few months of my pregnancy were very hard on me. I was sick as a dog! I even had to take Zofran to get through the morning sickness.

Just yesterday, however, I found out that I am having another boy! While Jonathan was hoping for a baby sister (and Mommy and Daddy would have liked that too) he was so cute when he found out it was a boy. He simply said, "Well, I wanted a girl, but..." and then he shrugged his shoulders. So grow up for 4-years-old! He is going to make a great big brother!

I, myself, feel guilty for feeling disappointed. It isn't that I am not happy that I am having a boy, I am just sad that I am not having a girl. I was fantasizing about buying baby dolls, cute little dress, and future shopping trips to buy a prom dress...then someday a wedding dress.

I truly know what a blessing this little boy is, however. It took it a long time and a lot of trouble to get pregnant with him...and I cried when I saw his little hands and feet in the ultrasound picture. It is amazing that at only 9oz, I could clearly see his heart beating, stomach working, and his little boy parts!

Perhaps since I know this is more than likely our last child, I am mourning the loss of ever having a little girl...I'm going to say that's okay. By February 21st, I'll be ready to love up on my baby boy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Turkey Potato Meal

I am all about throwing something in the crock pot and letting that wonderful machine do its magic and cook me and my family a meal with no fuss! I cannot stand cooking things first before the hit the crock pot, however, so this recipe is perfect for truly throwing and going!

1lb. ground turkey

5 cups raw potatoes, sliced

1 onion, chopped

1/2 tsp. salt

dash black pepper

one can cut green beans, undrained

one can cream of mushroom soup

Crumble the uncooked ground turkey into the slow cooker. Add potatoes, onions, salt and pepper. Add the beans and pour soup over the top. Cover and cook on high 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

It doesn't look the prettiest...but me and my boys lapped this up! I also like that this meal has a rather "home hearty" feeling to it, but it is actually rather healthy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Sweetest Bouquet!

This has to be the sweetest bouquet of flowers I have ever received! My son was outside playing yesterday when he came in with these lilacs from the yard. He said that one bunch was for me and that one bunch was for him. Since he picked them right at the end of the flowers, there really wasn't a stem to put them in water...but I worked my mommy magic and filled these vases VERY full, so that the flowers could sit on top of the openings. The tall one is Mommy's and the little one is Jonathan's! And I thought Mother's Day wasn't until Sunday....

Update On "Green" Paint promised, here is an update on my "greenly" painted living room. When we purchased our house two years ago, this pale yellow color was everywhere. It was really just starting to look like dirty walls to me, so it was time to get rid of the old owners' taste and insert mine. (because my husband really doesn't have a say when it comes to these sort of matters, lovingly.)

It started by removing a bench they had used to cover up an old brick planter...which we didn't realize was there until we took out the bench. Luckily, my husband didn't listen to my advice on that one, because I told him to take a sledge hammer to it. He very neatly cut holes to remove the bench out of the way of our front door and saved his wrist!

Then painting began! I chose a color called "Flatland" from Dutch Boy's line, but used the Pittsburgh environmentally friendly line of paint. This color went on most of the walls in the living area...

I chose a lighter green to paint the farthest wall of the room that leads into our dining area called "Basketweave." I plan to extend that color into the dining area too...eventually. Here is the final product!

I love these shelves from Ikea...they cost a whopping $12 a piece! The rest of the items on the shelf was either a gift (the wonderful frame given to me by my mother-in-law) or from my garage sale addiction. OH...and the bench has been replaced by my favorite spot of the glider!

This is the hallway that was painted "Basketweave." I love my new more modern living room! And I was friendly to the environment!

Stay tuned to see what I plan to do with the bricks that were torn out.....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Go Red Luncheon

Today I am going red! I am attending the Michiana Go Red For Women Luncheon. I am very excited that the keynote speaker is the First Lady of Indiana, Cheri Daniels. Over 250 women will be attending and getting valuable information on how to live heart healthy. The American Heart Association, of course, puts on the event, and there will be many booths for women to browse and learn how to prevent heart disease.

They are also fundraising in a fun way...with "purse" alities. They are purses filled with different items to bid on. Very cute!

Check back and I'll post some more information after the event!

Here are some facts from the AHA website:

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) ranks first among all disease categories in hospital discharges for women.

Nearly 37 percent of all female deaths in America occur from CVD, which includes coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

CVD is a particularly important problem among minority women. The death rate due to CVD is substantially higher in black women than in white women.

In 2005, CVD claimed the lives of 454,613 females; cancer (all forms combined) 268,890.

In 2005, coronary heart disease claimed the lives of 213,572 females compared with 41,116 lives from breast cancer and 67,894 from lung cancer.

At age 40 and older, 23 percent of women compared with 18 percent of men will die within one year after a heart attack.

Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability; an estimated 15 percent to 30 percent of stroke survivors are permanently disabled.

Misperceptions still exist that CVD is not a real problem for women.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More Earth Day News

Disney is releasing its new film titled "Earth" today! The movie follows three sets of animal families for the course of a year and is the first film in Disney's nature series. The film follows polar bears, African elephants, and humpback whales. If you make sure you see the film in its opening week, Disney plans to plant a tree in Brazil for every ticket sold!

I know that my little animal lover will enjoy seeing this, so it is on our list!

Earth Friendly Painting

Happy Earth Day!

I have to admit, that I am not ga ga over going green....but I have been very conscience of my environment and for years have been doing things that now seem to be "chic." Like recycling, for instance and replacing my light bulbs with more friendly versions of the typical light bulb(even though I really don't care for the light they give off.)

I recently repainted my living room and decided to go with an environmentally friendly paint, but was a little leery on whether or not it would really be good paint. I am now ga ga over Pittsburgh Paint!

I purchased this paint at Menard's and went with their "pure performance" line. It was on sale and they were offering a rebate, which made my environmental journey a little easier on my fact it ended up being cheaper than most of the other paint lines. I used the "egg shell" type of paint vs. flat or glossy and am so happy with that choice! It has a little shine too it, but doesn't not glare when the sun comes shining through my wall of windows.

What I love the most about this paint is that it is low odor!!!! I can't stand having the house smell like paint for days when doing a painting project...and I love that paint is an easy way to update a look of any room, so I tend to paint often. I didn't even really smell a paint odor. There was a slight smell...but not an obnoxious odor at all!

I will definitely use Pittsburgh Paint's pure performance line again, and would recommend it to anyone....even those that are not so ga ga over going green...which, by the way, is the color I decided to paint. Pictures are on the way!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Break?

My husband is a teacher and was on Spring Break this week, so we thought it was a good opportunity for him and our son to have some quality time together...but we didn't expect to wake up to a good couple of inches of snow on Monday morning.....but when life gives you snow, you make a snowman!

And since we are at it...might as well take time out to make a snow angel!

I hope he remembers this when he gets older!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Broccoli Turkey Casserole

I had some leftover turkey breast and wanted to try something different, and this casserole turned out wonderfully! The whole family enjoyed it and I will definitely be making this again!

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup bell pepper

1/4 cup green onions

1 TB butter or margarine

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 1/2 cups chopped turkey

1 pk of frozen broccoli cuts

1 cup cooked wild or long grain rice (I used long grain)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup milk

In a large skillet, cook carrot, bell pepper, and green onions in hot margarine until a crispy tender. Remove from heat and stir in soup, broccoli, turkey
rice, moz cheese, and milk. Transfer to a a 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with extra moz cheese.

Bake, covered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then uncover the dish and bake for another 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

You could also use chicken instead of a rotisserie chicken from the deli, and you could replace broccoli with artichoke. Since it is hard enough to get my crew to eat broccoli...I will have to use artichoke when the folks come over!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My very own pot of gold! Since I am a busy momma on a schedule...and budget..I whipped up these cookies to share at Jonathan's preschool by using premade cookie dough. Using my coupons, I was able to purchase the dough at a discount. I had stockpiled some icing, so I simply added some green food coloring to add to the tops and then sprinkled on some green sugar I had left over from Christmas. I then placed my little treasures in a gold container, ready for little ones to hunt and find! It only took me about a half-an-hour to complete this project from beginning to end!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sleep Tight!

This week, I have been implementing the "sleep rules" after learning about them from Amy Clark on last week. Jonathan had always been a great sleeper...until he went into a "big boy" bed about a year ago. The constant drinks of water, potty breaks, and ONE more stories have been driving me crazy, and sometimes can last over an hour! It was time for my 4-year-old to go to bed, stay there, and GO TO SLEEP! Dr. Weissbluth was Amy's guest last week on her podcast and I learned a lot! I guess I really knew it all...but I need the easy steps to put it all together. Here are the four simple rules that I tell Jonathan at bed time:

1. Stay in bed
2. Close your eyes
3. Stay very quiet
4. Go to sleep

The good Dr. suggests making a poster of these rules with your child so that your child can see them and feel like a part in the rule making. Since Jonathan cannot read and I cannot draw...I opted to skip this step. The Dr. also suggests giving your child a reward immediately in the morning after following all of the sleep rules.

MOST importantly is the silent return! I have seen this on the Nanny, but I have been horrible at doing it. It only took ONE time for me not to talk to my son when he wandered out of bed the first night and gently put him back in bed. Of course, it helped that I explained to him beforehand that mommy was not going to talk to him if he got out of bed...which I think he was checking to see if I was going to follow through. This time, I did!

The week as been great, so far! Jonathan really likes the rules and likes the small rewards he has been getting surprised with when he wakes up. Since I am already at work when he gets up in the morning, the little notes from me congratulating him on a good job have been holding the most value to him. A hot wheel was also a big hit.

Let's hope he can keep it up when the rewards stop!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bring It On!

I am sooooo ready for warmer weather! Unfortunately, it will be awhile before I can put the ole swimsuit on and head to the outdoor pool....but LUCKILY, there are some great water parks that are very kid friendly for these lasting winter months! As you can see, Jonathan loves going to the water park...and I love the muggy humid air that envelops the place. We went to two separate water parks last winter, and have our date scheduled for this year in late March....which will be a practice run for our Myrtle Beach vacation planned for June...I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Century Center Loves Us!

I came across this picture on the Century Center's website today and thought I'd put it up here. They love Cat Country 99.9 too!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Making Heart People

I have been substitute teaching at my son's preschool/daycare and yesterday I had so much fun making Valentine heart people with a bunch of 4-year-olds! We made them to hang from the ceiling in the infants' classroom because the babies love looking at the bigger kid's artwork.

I invite you to take time to do this simple craft that we have all done in the past with your children...I had a blast!

All you have to do is cut out hearts for the body and face and strips of paper for the arms and legs. Fold the strips to create accordion limbs, draw on a face and there you go!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Truth of a Child

Last night, Jonathan and I were sitting in the car waiting for Daddy to return from inside the grocery store...a perfect opportunity to people watch. I noticed this very trim woman carrying a gallon of milk in one hand and about four grocery bags in another. I thought to myself that she must work out a lot to be able to carry that much across the parking lot like that. Then she beeped open her pretty white Lexus SUV....and a tingle of jealousy ran through me. So, I mumbled out loud, "I want to be skinny and drive a Lexus." Then, from the back of my mini-van I hear two words uttered from my four-year-old...."Too late."

I guess that ship HAS sailed.....south.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Snow Ice Cream!

When you're given a ton of snow, make snow ice cream! To be honest, I had never heard of snow ice cream until one of the teachers at Jonathan's school said something about the never ending snowfall here in Michiana being perfect for making snow ice cream. Since she is from Texas, she was astounding that we had never had snow ice that made me determined to dive into my Midwestern roots and make some snow ice cream!
Since there was more snow in the forecast last night, I put out a bowl to collect the snow--as opposed to scooping up snow from the yard that I wasn't sure what had "explored" it already.

When I got up this morning, I transferred the snow to a freezer bag and stuck in the freezer for when Jonathan got home from preschool.

After researching snow ice cream, I found this recipe...

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 tea vanilla

4 to 5 cups of snow

Mix the milk, sugar, and vanilla together in a bowl, then slowly add the snow and stir until it is the consistency of ice cream. Eat or freeze!

Well...I have to say that our ice cream turned out more like ice milk...but it didn't stop us from eating it!

I only had skim milk on hand, so I think that made a difference in the consistency. When doing this again, I would also use less sugar...I think a 1/4 cup of sugar would be enough and I think I will use more of a heavy cream.

Since we have more snow in the forecast, I'll have plenty of chances to make more snow ice cream!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hot Chocolate For A Cold Day!

Baby, it's cold outside!

Check that, baby, it's FREEZING outside! What better way to warm up than with a cup of hot chocolate? Here are some recipes!

Creamy Hot Cocoa
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup half-and-half cream

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

Want to make a mix you can store? Here you go!

2 c. nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. Hershey's cocoa
1/2 c. powdered non-dairy creamer

Mix in large bowl combine all ingredients; blend well. Store tightly in covered container (16 servings). Single serving: Combine 1/4 cup mix to 3/4 cup boiling water.

Or....if you want an easy fix, I prefer Swiss Miss chocolate packets. Drop in an Andes candy on top (or some Andes baking chips) and let it melt....mmmmmmm

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wii Wii All The Way Home

Okay, today at work I sat listening to what might as well be a conversation in Russian....the guys in the office were talking about Wii. I have been trying to avoid the video games in our household as long as I can. Jonathan just turned 4 and I am not quite ready to open the can of worms....because I know he will probably be one of those guys in the office that are talking in Russian to some other "old fashioned" mother in his office. While I will admit, Wii does seem to be a more family friendly game that at least gets you moving, but I am afraid of the "addiction." I have never been in love, or even like with video games however, so maybe I am just living on an island unaware of the social injustice I am causing my four-year-old to endure--but to be honest with you, I am also afraid I will never have another conversation with my husband again if we were to break down and join the Wii world.

I even caused a stink this Christmas when my sister wanted to buy my son a Leapster. I gently suggested that there are plenty of other toys that I am sure he would enjoy more...then all heck broke loose. But it's "educational" she kept saying over and over, as if I was going to change my mind. I don't know about you, but I cannot stand it when other people's children come to my home and cannot take eyes off their hand-held "video games." I can see how these tools would be useful when traveling or if you are going to some one's home that you know will not have things for kids to do i.e. great-grandma's house. I just feel that Jonathan is too young yet. I know that my son has plenty of years ahead of him to play video games and whatever else I can only imagine will develop in his for the time being, I am going to allow him to enjoy just being 4 and whatever his imagination can think up! What do you think? Am I crazy?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Tree That Lasts Forever

I am sad to say that I have yet to take down my Christmas tree. It is such a daunting task. It is not filled with the excitement of gearing up for holiday cheer, but rather the dread of digging out all the boxes again to put it all away, then hauling them back to their storage spot....which really means throwing them in the part of the basement no one is allowed to lurk into. It just reminds me how unorganized I am. I guess that should be my New Year's resolution--to be more organized. I was able (with the help of my husband...okay he spearheaded the whole thing and I helped) to get Jonathan's closet organized. With all of the Christmas/Birthday gifts the kid got from every living relative, we were all busting at the seams! So, when my Container Store catalog came, we took it to Lowe's and bought a comparable version of a great closet system. With a couple of Rubbermaid tubs for all the dinos, cars, and various small part toys boys like to play with, it has really turned out nicely. It was also A LOT cheaper than the Container Store version.

Here's a picture:

Original price: $550
What we paid: $190...nice.

If only I had a big closet I could just move my fully decorated tree to and leave it there until next year!