Friday, March 30, 2007

The potty-chair saga continues... After spending 15 minutes in the potty-chair aisle at Target this morning, I finally decided on one. AND it was on sale. However, after bringing it home and taking it out of the is going back to the store. Here is what NOT to buy: Evenflo Magic Potty Trainer PLUS (see picture below). All of the pieces that can be removed fell off very easily, with no way to really secure them in place (floor grippers, the boy shield, the bio-degradable liners, the height adjustment ring). The magic part of the potty - the music and "atta-girl" sayings....didn't work! Of course I only discovered that after I hunted and hunted for the teeniest Phillip's screwdriver I could find so I could open the battery case and install 3 new batteries. No good! This is a dud...and not just because one element didn't work. So, back to the potty-chair drawing board we go. I had settled on the Bjorn potty...but when I got to the store - they didn't have it! I wonder if it is an online-only item?
Oh - and I also saw a Dora potty at the ALMOST got me...but after closer examination, it was cheap and little and didn't convert to the big-girl potty. Plus - do you REALLY think a little girl is going to "go" on Dora? No way! Maybe Swiper...but not Dora! =-)
I don't think anyone would argue that the toll of war is huge. Just HOW huge is hard to comprehend if you aren't directly affected. I don't pretend to know exactly which strategy is best for our military, but this can't be it...can it? Stay and fight? Pull out the troops? I don't know. But I DO know that there is a whole generation of young Americans being torn apart by the tragedy called WAR.

I have a friend who teaches at a military base. The MAJORITY of children at that school have a parent (or two) who have been deployed at least once during their lifetime. These children are growing up without their parents. Some are fortunate enough to have them return. But at what cost?

I support our troops. I am grateful for the men and women willing to serve on my behalf. I can't fathom the sacrifices they make. But no matter your stance on Iraq - I can't imagine anyone NOT hoping and PRAYING for the day that they can all come home.

I saw this clip on The Today Show this morning. I don't care which side of the political coin you sit on....this is heart-wrenching. God be with our nation.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Well, the time has is time to buy a potty chair. I have gone to buy one on at least three different occasions and have not come home with one. So, perhaps it is denial that my baby is growing up and ready to potty-train, maybe it is that I don't want to start such a demanding task just yet, or maybe it is because there are too many choices when it comes to a toddler toilet! You can buy one that plays music, one that sounds like a flush, one that fits on the big toilet....OVERWHELMING! So, please tell me which potty chair you have used and if you like it or not? This is one (bjorn) that looked good to me - simple, but good...but then I read it is too small. (Sigh). What to do!

I am 14 weeks pregnant. I have on two different occasions in those 14 weeks, taken Tylenol PM...just one pill each time (the dose is 2 pills). I was under the impression that Tylenol products were OK to take. Then today a girlfriend of mine said her dr. said NO. So I called my OB/GYN and they said not to take it. So I am....worrying....that I've somehow cased some sort of defect in my unborn child. =-(
Bailey tried to get a hug and kiss from her baby sister and then realized she needed a diaper change. She said, "Eew...she smells like poop and dirt."

Glad to see she has fond memories of daycare.
Every day when Bailey gets home from school, she has a snack and I ask her about her day. My favorite part is when I ask about the drama of the day....because, afterall, it IS middle school, so there is guaranteed drama on a daily basis.

Yesterday she said the drama of the day was huge. She said several boys were suspended. I asked what grade they were in and she said 6th. When I asked what they were doing to get suspended, her response was...

They were "depantsing" each other. When I inquired further, turns out they were pulling each other's pants down, just as boys might run around stealing hats or giving each other wedgies.

All I could think was....future frat boys!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Faux-Hawk?? For the love of God, please don't vote for this poor kid. C'mon! I feel so sorry for him! It's like popular kids deceiving an unpopular, perhaps special kid feel as if he is really part of their clic. It is insensitive, mean and just wrong. He isn't good - send him home with a shred of dignity.
My favorites? (Based on whether I would actually buy their entire album)
Today I received the weekly junk mail packet, which usually goes straight to the circular file without a second glance. For some reason, I was feeling like I needed to give those poor advertisers my attention. Afterall, maybe there was something in there that I could use? A coupon for something necessary or if not necessary, than fun? WRONG! I threw away every stinkin' page of that thing. However, had I not taken the time to read the ads, I would have missed this shocking news:

IHOP now has the dine-in or carry-out option, called IHOP 'n Go Carry Out.

MMMMM..carrying out eggs over-easy and pancakes...yeah....that'll make it home in an edible condition - NOT! Give me a break! Now seriously, WHAT would you order from IHOP that you'd want to sit in styrofoam and then trek across the town to eat at home? Or maybe I'm judging a little too harshly based on that time I saw a waitress stick her finger in someone's food and taste it...and THEN come around the corner to SERVE IT!!! EEEEW! Never, and I mean NEVER sit where you can see things happening behind-the-scenes. You don't want that information - trust me.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Have you ever just had a streak where you can't effectively communicate with the people you love? Where everything you say is misinterpreted or makes the person mad? How do you cope? How do you fix this? I'm going out of my mind.
Today my husband had an eye doctor appointment. Not just a regular eye doc, but one that shoots flourescent dye into your veins and takes really cool pictures of your eyeball. Sounds cool....but we've been there once every six months for...I dunno....a million years? What a racket...feels like the same game the chiropractors have going on. You should be cured in....3,582 visits. Whatever. Anyway, as I'm sitting there, watching the other patients, playing a game where I guess what eye ailment they've got goin' on (usually they are tragically going blind and must search for a new way to live life to its fullest), and studying the other miserable designated drivers - completely understanding their painful boredom, I realized the following:

* Being a designated driver sucks. Whether you are sober Sally, or carting your husband's dilated eyes home from a dr. appt., nothing fun about it.

* There is absolutely no reason a dr. appt. where surgery is not involved should take 3 hours. That's just should pay me for the visit.

* There is not a single pop or snack machine available to the public in that office building. Coffee that was made at 7:30 a.m. this morning when it is now 2:30 p.m....and a public water fountain - not good enough.

* Reading material doesn't help in these situations...because after 2 chapters, now I"m tired...and there is absolutely nowhere to lie down.

Next time (6 months from now, of course), I'm going to do some research ahead of time. I'm going to look up new, exciting eye diseases...that'll help with my game. And I"m packing a pop and snacks. Or better yet? I'm dropping him off, heading to the mall and he can call me when he's done.

Being a designated driver sucks.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

It's Recipe Time again! =-) Today it was hot outside..and I NEVER feel like cooking when it is hot outside (ok - nor do I when it is cold out - but it is a serious problem when it is warm). So, here's a light, cool, EASY meal for those hot nights.

Tuna Tortellini Pasta Salad

1 - 20 oz. pkg. of 3-cheese Tortellini prepared according to pkg. directions and then cooled. (I used the Hy-Vee bag of cheese tortellini - not sure if it was 20 oz. or not - but our family of 4 had tons left over).

1/2 lb. green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces, cooked and cooled. (Yeah - so I didn't have many frozen green beans, so I used what I had, PLUS some frozen mixed veggies I had. I think peas or whatever would be fine in this recipe...but go with the frozen stuff - not canned).

4 green onions, sliced (I left this out).

2 cans solid white tuna in water, drained (I went with one big can)

1 lg. tomato, diced

3/4 C. ripe black olives, sliced (I didn't have these - but they would be good in this recipe if you like olives)

3/4 C. mayo (I used Miracle Whip)

3 T. Balsamic Vinegar

3/4 tsp. celery salt (I left this out too)

Mix it all together and chill. Although it is a pasta has tuna in it, therefore I count it as a meal. I served it with grilled cheese because I knew Mark & Bailey would complain if they only had a salad on their plate.
My husband and I saw a movie last night - a REAL movie in a REAL theater. =-) We saw Wild Hogs and laughed out-loud A LOT! Now, I know the critics have given it one star...but honestly - everyone was laughing all around us. And we aren't THAT easily entertained in Iowa. I say if you are in the mood for a good laugh - go see it.
82 degrees!!! In March!!! In Iowa!!! Woo-Hoo!!! Yipee!!! The whole family enjoyed the fantastic weather. Well, maybe not Dad and Bailey, who were busy raking and picking up sticks....but the little one had a ball, and so did Mom (who also took her turn raking and picking up sticks, thank you very much).
Lauren doesn't have a lot of clothes appropriate for this weather yet - so her "outfit" is sort of a hodge-podge. She didn't care though - this kid is DEFINITELY an outdoor-type. First, she spent a good 30 minutes on her swing. We really need to get her a real swingset...I don't think the baby swing is going to cut it this year. Then she found the landscaping rocks - and she had a BALL! Picking up rocks, piling them somewhere else, getting mud on her hands and then bringing them to me as if to say, "Do something about this ucky, woman." She did NOT like it when we came inside to clean up.

I can tell already this is going to be an every-night-bath-needed-spring and summer.

Here are a few snapshots from this afternoon. Sorry I didn't get any of the yard workers. Bailey might make me take a shot of her blister though. ha.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My husband and I purchased $50 worth of gift certificates from Hessen Haus for $25 (101 4th Ave., Des Moines) at

Tonight we decided to have a date-night and cash in on Des Moines’ German cuisine. What we were surprised to find was an experience we might want to share with the kids in-tow. Granted, the Hessen Haus IS a “bar,” it was also much, MUCH more than that. In fact, as we entered the front door, we saw at least two families dining with young children. I immediately noticed that high chairs were available.

We headed clear to the back of the restaurant to the non-smoking section. This section is not really separated from the other section, so if there ARE smokers around, you would be exposed. However, we were early diners arriving around 5:30 p.m. (seems the families with kids had the same idea) and the restaurant was not smoky at all. In fact it wasn’t until around 6:45-7-ish that it started to feel more like night life. I feel confident that for lunch or an early dinner families would be in the clear.

Other things I noticed that made me consider this venue for a family outing?

* It is literally a hop, skip and a jump from the new, AMAZING Science Center, making it a handy stop after a family day of fun at SCI.

* The parking ramp for the Science Center is right there, too, providing for hassle-free parking for the family minivan.

* Children’s menus full of kid-friendly American food, including Hamburger/Cheeseburger, Grilled Cheese, Corn Dog Bites and Chicken Tenders. Leave the ‘kraut to the grown-ups, this place has grilled cheese, milk and the like for the kids.

* Beverages for kids include Coke products, Iced Tea, Lemonade and good ole MILK! Did I mention the plastic cups with lids????

* The children’s menus were paper (good for pre-dinner drawing/coloring), and offered German-themed activities, like the Black Forest maze. Cute.

* Prices are VERY reasonable. The most expensive thing on the kid’s menu is $4.20. Everything else is $3.95.

* A very unique and cultural experience for the whole family.

Where they fell short:

* No changing table in the restroom. I’ll cut them some slack though, since it IS also a “bar.” But fyi – owners? There is totally room for a fold-down changing table in there. Install one! And don’t forget the Men’s room, either. That would be absolutely wunderbar!

* A REAL non-smoking section would be nice.

Husband trying to quit smoking + Hormones-kickin' in Preg-o Wife = T.E.N.S.I.O.N.!!!!
1. My pants won't even come close to buttoning, but maternity pants look stupid.
2. You can't wear sweatpants if you want to take your husband out for a nice b-day dinner.
3. Breastfeeding two babies has left me with a situation - and I can't believe people actually use bandaids to remedy it -- do they really do that? or was that a 70's solution?
4. The restaurant we are going to has things on the menu like "in raisin sauce" "served with pickled cabbage" or "sauerkraut". HURL!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Well, the traveling was totally worth the hassle. We had a WONDERFUL time visiting family. The girls spent quality time with my grandparents, my aunt & uncle, and my Dad. It really warms my heart to see my children experience many of the same happy memories that I was so blessed to experience. I watched them play with toys that generations have dug through and enjoyed. I witnessed my Grandpa read to my daughter in the same loving manner he used to read to me. I am SO happy that my girls get to experience this kind of love, and so overwhelmed with emotion that I get to feel it all over again, too. Here are some photo highlights from the trip:

Friday, March 16, 2007

I don't like traveling. I like my destinations, but I hate the PROCESS of traveling. It is bad enough when you travel alone, but throw an 18-month old and a pre-teen into the mix and you have a recipe for the opposite of fun.

First, there is the packing - BLUK! And since we aren't just visiting ONE house overnight - I've packed separate bags to hopefully make the in and out process easier (we'll see). And it is March in the Midwest, which means we have to pack for weather conditions in the 70's OR the 20's. Layering, I guess.

And then there are all the baby goods....the pack 'n play, a booster chair, diapers, wipes, sippy cups, bibs, toys, etc. And then my pre-teen will want to pack 6 books instead of one, 12 outfits instead of 4....ugh...I have a migraine already.

Did I mention the laundry? Of course I wasn't caught up with laundry, so I've been doing load after load since yesterday just so we can pack. And then there is the laundry we'll have when we return.

My husband is staying behind for this trip, he has to work next week. But since the kids have Spring Break, and once softball season starts we won't be able to go anywhere - I thought we should take advantage of this time and visit family.

Ok - back to packing - AAGH.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mark, while watching American Idol results show tonight...

* "Oh, just SIT DOWN, Paula."
* "Diana's a little 'pitchy' tonight."
* "Sanjaya is prettier than Haley."
* "WHAT?!@# You have GOT to be kidding me!" (when Sanjaya was NOT sent home...AGAIN!)

Bailey, while watching American Idol tonight...

* "Chris is SOO the best."
* "What the heck?" (When Sanjaya was NOT sent home..AGAIN!)

It's a........BABY!!! Baby #3 is on the way! After more secret-keeping than I can handle (over 2 months worth) - we finally had our Dr. appointment today and learned that we are approx. 11 weeks along and in the Dr.'s words..."everything looks perfect." YEAH! We are all thrilled and can't wait to meet this little one. He or she is estimated to be due 10/4/07. Stay tuned for more news on this little peanut. And for those of you that think this image looks like nothing? There is a dotted line running the entire length of the baby's body. It's head is facing down and to the left. Nothing more exciting than seeing your baby's flicker of a heartbeat on that ultrasound screen. It is truly moving and SHWEW! What a relief! We gladly accept your continued prayers though for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Usually I agree with Simon - but just for the record, here are my top picks based on tonight's performances:

And my prediction of who is going home (or should have gone home weeks ago):

What I learned today....

NOT a good idea to put a Toddler down for a nap in just a diaper. WAY too removable.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mark put this shelving unit together for me yesterday. I spent two hours organizing and loading it to its max today. I need more shelves! That area to the left of the shelves - that's all Christmas!! If it didn't involve moving all of that stuff again, I'd consider painting the laundry area of the basement....but then again - no.

The white countertop thingy that used to be next to the washing machine I moved into the "someday scrapbook room." I am hoping to use this as a workspace once I find a nice stool with a chair back or bar-height stool with a back - whatever they are called. I'd like to find one at a garage sale because I don't want to pay $70 or more for it. The lavendar/blue dresser on the right is an old dresser of Bailey's that I picked up at a garage sale for $40 and painted. It now holds craft supplies, material, gifts and other crafty stuff. The black thingy in the front is a cabinet that holds our internet stuff. I can't really move that because of the lack-of-outlets situation in the basement (grr.)

Anyway - this is what the future scrapbooking workspace looks like:

And finally, here is a picture of the current "cabinets" that I am going to tear out and put up a work table against that wall. That way I'll have two work stations. Here's dreaming anyway.

I'm the first to admit I've become a little fashion clueless over the years. I'm ashamed of this. Anyway - I bought these flats last week - and I love them - but my jeans are too long for wearing is it still in-style to roll your jeans? Not the 80's roll...but the big cuff? Please tell me this is still ok. And if not - what is the alternative besides skinny jeans?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Check it OUT!!!
SPRING IS ALMOST HERE!!!! Last night we set the clocks ahead - yeah - more daylight!!! And today I think we hit 65 degrees...or close to it anyway! It was beautiful outside. But there is a downside to this mood-lifter.

Every Spring I get the itch to redo everything. Rearrange furniture, repaint rooms, change my purse to a "spring purse," change the bedding to "spring bedding," basically just give myself, the house and everything in it a facelift. Financially, this can't happen...but I can pick and choose a few things to change. And the things I can't? Well they are going on my garage sale must-find list (like a high-backed bar chair for my someday I swear it'll be a scrapbook room).

I bought a new purse today at Target. ($18.99) It has me in a very springy mood.

And here is the Duvet I want from Wal-Mart. I think it is a pretty good deal, considering it comes with 2 shams AND it is machine-washable...AND any color should go with it.

The other thing I am consistent about each year when the weather turns warm is this. I wish we didn't have a dog. We were lazy in the bitter cold and just let her out in the back yard to do her business. Well, now that the snow is melting - I swear there are more "piles" than there is grass....and I HATE that. Lauren is old enough this year to play in the yard - so it HAS to be picked up thoroughly. So I have laid down the law that from now on, when Sadie needs to go out...she gets a leash on her and we WALK HER....on the sidewalk...and pick up her stuff out NO MORE IN THE YARD!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I found another recipe on that I want to try this week. I'm incorporating it into my meal planning this week for "breakfast night." I also noticed that you can take the recipe and print off a shopping list right from the Web site. Sweet! And if you make up some of this to quickly heat in the morning on your way to work - think how much money you'll save! I hope this one is as good as the other Pillsbury recipe I tried recently (see Super Easy Chicken Pot Pie in a previous post - yum!)
Easy Breakfast Pizza
Prep Time: 30 min
Makes: 8 servings
Nutrition Information

1 (13.8-oz.) can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Pizza Crust
8 eggs
1/4 cup half-and-half or milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 (8-oz.) container chive, vegetable or regular cream cheese
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked
Green onions, if desired

1 . Heat oven to 425°F. Grease 12-inch pizza pan. Unroll dough; place in greased pan. Starting at center, press out dough with hands to edge of pan. Bake at 425°F. for 6 to 7 minutes or until crust begins to brown.
2 . Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper; beat well. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add egg mixture; cook and stir until thoroughly cooked but still moist. Remove from heat.
3 . Remove partially baked crust from oven. Spoon cooked egg mixture over crust. Drop cream cheese by teaspoonfuls over eggs. Arrange bacon in spoke fashion on top of pizza.
4 . Return to oven; bake an additional 8 to 12 minutes or until toppings are thoroughly heated and crust is deep golden brown. Garnish with green onions.
At what age do you only offer your kids what you made for the meal - no exceptions - no substitutes...this is what Mom made and if you don't want to eat it - that is your choice - but no alternatives? We started the morning off with blueberry yogurt. Lauren only ate a few bites and grew disinterested. I offered her a breakfast yogurt bar - again - a bite or two but not really interested. So, I figured she wasn't hungry.

An hour or so later I showered and fixed myself 2 pieces of toast with raspberry jelly. As soon as Lauren saw that, she started to say "Yummy!" and "Please!" So I gave her a piece. Wrong? Not sure - but the pictures are worth any mistake I may have made.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Change of plans for Saturday dinner....this looks too good and too easy to pass up:

(update - it is Sat...and here is what it looks like: Super Easy Chicken Pot Pie
**recipe from
Prep Time: 15 min ; Start to Finish: 55 min
Makes: 6 servings Nutrition Information

1 box (15 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
1 can (18.6 oz) Progresso® Rich & Hearty chicken pot pie style soup
2 cups Green Giant® frozen mixed vegetables (from 1-lb bag), thawed, drained
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 . Heat oven to 425°F. Make pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie using 9-inch glass pie pan.
2 . In medium saucepan, heat soup, thawed vegetables and flour until warm. Spoon into crust-lined pan. Top with second crust; seal edge and flute. Cut slits in several places in top crust.
3 . Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. After 15 minutes of baking, cover edge of crust with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cut into wedges.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Feelin' a little crafty today - thought I'd share. You can print your own SUPER EASY handprint Easter chick at

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My Mom (Grandma Peggy) is a knitting maniac! Look at the latest cute outfit she whipped up for Lauren!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Confession - We spend too much money on groceries. This is mostly because I am horrible at meal-planning and we make too many meal decisions as a family at the last minute. This means we usually don't have the ingredients and so we are running to the store at the last minute. This is not only more expensive, but time-consuming!

So, in effort to tighten the pursestrings in the grocery category and to hopefully use up some pantry goods, I am going to really start planning least dinner. Baby steps.

I thought I'd post our first-week's attempt at this in case you want to join the bandwagon.

Sunday: Tacos
(Supply list: taco shells, hamburger, seasoning, lettuce, cheese, tomato, sour cream)

Monday: BBQ Pizza (See recipe in previous post)
(Supply list: BBQ chicken, pork or beef - the kind that you can buy in a tub, pizza crust (ready-made), cheese, onion)

Tuesday: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup (I've got book club - so Dad is on his own. I think he can handle this one)

Wednesday: Omelets, Bacon, Toast (Yes, breakfast for dinner - why not?)

Thursday: Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing (see for the recipe...and lots of other good ideas on this Web site, too!)

Friday: At our house - Friday night is frozen pizza night. Yeah! Easy!!

Saturday: Hamburger/Rice Casserole served with corn and peaches (contact me if you want the recipe - easy and good...all you need is hamburger, cream of mushroom soup, cream of celery soup, rice...that's pretty much it!)

I hope I can stick to this!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Bbq Pork Pizza
submitted by Krista B.

Makes: 6 servings
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice a medium size sweet onion into thin slices.
Separate slices into rings. Heat a medium-size nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion rings and cook 3 minutes to soften slightly.
Meanwhile, heat one container (18 oz) fully cooked BBQ shredded pork in microwave as pacage directs for 2 minutes. Lay one fully cooked whole wheat pizza crust on a pizza pan. Spread with softened onions, BBQ pork and top with one cup shredded cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sliced jalapeno peppers, if desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, or until pork is heated through and cheese is melted. Cut into wedges and serve.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I SWEAR to you this is an ACTUAL toy that is FOR SALE at places that sell toys!! Wrong on so many levels.

This very special Barbie doll is accompanied by her pet dog Tanner. Tanner is soft and fuzzy, and his mouth, ears, head and tail move — just like a real dog. Tanner comes with a dog bone and chew toys, and you can open his mouth to "feed" him dog biscuits. When Tanner has to go to the bathroom, Barbie doll cleans up with her special magnetic scooper and trash can.
Tanner dog has movable mouth, ears, head and tail
Comes with doggie biscuits and a pooper scooper
Dress decision for Easter:
The other dress I couldn't put back - so it is for 18-month-pictures:

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Dinner During A Blizzard Warning

Thank you, Stacy for this AMAZING and EASY recipe that was perfect to warm-up with on this INSANE IOWA BLIZZARD! (I've slightly altered this recipe because I"m too lazy to get up and get the piece of paper it is written on.)

2 cans of Chicken Broth
4 Cups of Frozen Hashbrowns or Simply Potatoes (refrigerator section)
1/4 C. Minced Onion (I'd use less)
1/4 C. shaved carrots (or sliced - whatever you prefer)
dash of seasoned salt
dash of pepper
1 8 0z. pkg. cream cheese

1. Bring everything but cream cheese to a boil
2. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes
3. Cube cream cheese and add to soup
4. Stir frequently until cream cheese melts

Great with sourdough bread! YUM!