Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dining room? Check! 9 more rooms to go before we can stick the FOR SALE BY OWNER sign in the yard - yahoo! Today we had the gutters cleaned and set up an appointment for carpet cleaning. I'm trying not to think about the money going out - since I'm an HGTV addict, I realize it is necessary in order for the money to come in. And, if anyone is actually reading this and looking at the picture - yes that is the same plant that was in the kitchen picture. Taking suggestions on what to put on the dining room table instead come Open House time. Ideas anyone??? (affordable ideas, that is).
ATTENTION Mothers of Pre-Teen Girls! Limited Too now has their swimsuits (most of them anyway) on sale for 40% off....which makes them the semi-reasonable price they should have been to begin with. I picked one up today for $24.50. Mom's happy....pre-teen's happy. Rare moment.
Cue Alice Cooper....."School's Out For Summer!" Yes...summer has begun and my 11-yr-old couldn't be happier! 6th grade was a rough year for of the worst teacher experiences she's ever had, compiled with her weakness for organization - ugh. She's so excited to be done with the school year and looking forward to a "fresh start" next year. And I'M looking forward to her being home!

She needs to earn a ton of money for a class trip to D.C. next that means manual labor at my ready - yeah!!! And since she's at that social age...already she's planning to go swimming this afternoon. This is fine...BUT...that means the play room needs to be cleaned BEFORE swimming. Wah-ha-ha-ha. =-)

Lauren will absolutely LOVE having her big sister at home now too. Here's to hot days, cold glasses of lemonade, swimming pools, friends and no school. Yeah, summer!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Getting our house ready to go on the market is hard work! The house is in great shape, but as with any house, it requires CLEANING (toddler for rent during this process, anyone?), as well as small projects here and there - changing a light fixture, replacing a bulb, touch-up paint, caulk, etc. nothing major. Today was a good day in that I finally got the kitchen clean enough to take a picture of it for the sheet that will eventually go in an info tube on our front lawn. Start the prayers now that I can get the house ready quickly and that it sells even faster! (Sigh)...I will miss this kitchen! Do you know how many crappy kitchens are out there? I've been spoiled with this one.
Lauren LOVES the water...not afraid of it at all. I can't keep her upright in the tub...she wants to "float." Plus I think she likes how things sound when her ears are underwater. Not bad for 21 months I say!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Finally, TiVo got it right! It made a suggestion that actually interested me! Today TiVo recorded the Rachael Ray Show...something I don't normally watch. Today's show provided tips for the perfect picnic basket. It gave a new twist on the fruit kabob and another easy-to-make & pack picnic idea. Thought I'd share. Thanks "Rach."

Frozen Fruit Sticks

Keeping these frozen until you're heading out keeps the fruit cold for your picnic.

1 cantaloupe peeled, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces1 honeydew peeled, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces1/2 watermelon, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into bite-size pieces1/4 bunch red grapes1/4 bunch green grapes1 package 10-inch wooden skewers

Thread fruit pieces onto wooden skewers in any order you like. Place in large re-sealable bags or plastic containers and pop them in the freezer until its time to pack your picnic basket.
Yields 12-16 skewers

Antipasto Sticks

1/2 pound plain or marinated bocconcini, bite-sized pieces of mozzarella, drained1/3 pound thickly cut, deli-sliced Genoa salami, chopped1 jar pepperoncini peppers1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (mix it up with yellow and red!)1 package 10-inch wooden skewers
Thread antipasto ingredients onto wooden skewers in any order you like. Pack in re-sealable containers and place in your picnic basket.
Yields Makes 12-16 skewers

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Great teacher gift idea (borrowed from What a great way to wish your favorite teachers a GREAT summer vacation?!

If you have a water stain on your white ceiling - here's a GREAT tip! Mix 1 part water with 1 part bleach in a spray bottle and spray it LIGHTLY on the stain. Do not get it too wet. Wait a few days - re-spray if necessary. VOILA! Stain gone!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

His lyrics and sweet voice can make me cry...AND he looks like this - I hate you Faith Hill. But seriously, did you hear his song on the ACM awards tonight? AMAZING, MOVING, BEAUTIFUL, WHERE DO I BUY IT?!@#
A month ago, my eleven-year-old participated in her first-ever vocal solo contest. She prepared a solo (In Italian - another first for her), practiced it for over a month (never in front of us though...too embarrassing!), and sang the piece before a judge. During the actual performance was the first time I had ever heard her sing her solo. It was BEAUTIFUL! I cried...I couldn't help it! I had no idea she could sing like that! At the end of the video below you'll see her reacting to my verklempt Mom moment. ha.

She earned a first-rating from the judge. Here is the performance:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day ROCKS! I woke up this morning to a baby that was awake in her crib - but lying there quietly - as if to not disturb her Mommy on Mother's Day. My pre-teen crawled out of bed and began making breakfast for the family. NICE! And if that weren't enough? I was presented with a Mother's Day card from every member of my family, including those not yet born.

Typical of me, I teared up reading all of the cards. The perfect Mother's Day.....but there's MORE! Next my husband (did I already mention that he is AWESOME?) hands me a gift card to

for: The Spa Pedicure - This therapeutic treatment will supply the nails and cuticles with minerals and trace elements, leaving the feet softened and smoothed. An exfoliation and invigorating massage relieves tired feet and legs from pain and improves their appearance.

And because he thought of everything...he bought a pedicure for Bailey, too!

AND...The Perfect Pregnancy Massage, gentle enough for baby -- No one knows the need for massage better than an expectant mother. Pamper yourself and baby with this gently effective treatment. You will love the relief from the back-ache, sore feet and other physical and emotional stresses of pregnancy. 60 minutes of massage!!!!

And like a true mother, I now feel guilty for this much of a gift...for an extravagence I probably don't deserve. But one thing is for certain - guilt or no guilt - I KNOW I am so blessed to have such a loving family that appreciates me most days...and not just one day out of the year. I am one blessed Mama!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Today was Ultrasound day. I was so worried about the baby's health. Maybe because there is so much hype once you hit the magic "35." Funny though - the day before I turned 35, there would have been no extra tests, no long ultrasound, etc. But now I'm the big 3-5 and yikes - lots of precautions! So today was ultrasound #2. The first was at my first appointment to help determine due date mostly. Today was in-depth. It was a 30-minute ultrasound where they looked closely at the brain, the spine, the kidneys, the neck, key bones, etc. At first glance, looks like we have a healthy one!

The thickness of the neck was not consistent with Down Syndrome, the spine appeared closed and correct, the kidneys were identified - looked good, the brain was there and no noted problems, the fluid was right-on, the growth of the baby was great...SHWEW! Because the baby is still small, they couldn't get a real close look at the heart, so I get to do that next month.

We also learned the baby's gender today. And what did we find out, you ask? Well, this "momoftwogirls" is having....a....

BOY!!!!!!! Yikes!...I can hardly believe it!!!! I have no idea what to do with one of those...Girls - I know...a boy? NO FRIGGIN' IDEA! But we are sooooo excited! So much for privacy, poor little guy - look for the little white arrow in the photo below...pointing at the...well...proof. The ultrasound tech said she was VERY sure it is a boy. I'm still in shock.

Below is a picture of his back/spine. His leg is up above...head to the far right. his...HIS! Sounds so strange to say! Oh my goodness! - I'm going to have a SON! A BOY! Wow...still surreal. Oh - and the smile on Mark's face - PRICELESS! I know he did not wish for a healthy boy any more than he wished for a healthy girl...but seeing the excitement and dreams come across his face - melted my heart. And I can't think of a better person to teach our little guy how to be a good man. Wow. God is so good.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A friend of mine recently had her second child. She shared with me her recent revelation - that life was never going to be as easy as it was when there was just one child. This is not what I want to hear. It scares me. Because days are already hard - enjoyable - but hard. I know that physical healing and sleep deprivation and hormonal imbalances all play in to what she's saying at this time....but I can't help scares me.

I need to be reassured that when this new baby comes, that it is going to be ok...that once again I am going to be amazed at my heart's ability to miraculously expand enough to love another child as immeasurabely much as I love my other two.

I know it will suck in the always matter how many you have already. Not getting enough sleep, everything hurting, hot flashes, well-intentioned visitors at inopportune times....the whole thing is hard. But when the dust settles...I want to know that it is going to be great. I need to know that my girls are going to embrace this new baby and that we are going to be able to leave the house and function like normal people...eventually.

Tomorrow is our ultrasound. I'm praying the baby is healthy! Maybe we'll get a good shot to determine gender...but mostly - I'm praying the baby is healthy....and that when he or she arrives - that life ISN'T worse than before...but better.
The following information borrowed from

Helps Us Save Our Ancient Forest! Second Rally and Petition Drive
Walker Johnston Park in Urbandale, Iowa 50322

Just West of Urbandale City Hall
TUESDAY MAY 8th, 5-9pm

Stanbrough Development and the City of Urbandale are planning to destroy the 27 acres of hills and trees of the 200+ year old mature Oak Savanna Forest, located at 142nd & Douglas. It is one of the last old-growth forests in the metro area!! Your action is the only chance to save this unique and precious Iowa resource.

The decision will be made at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 8, 7pm.

How can you help?
1) Copy this flyer / petition and give / send to everyone you know… doesn’t matter where they live!

2) Sign the bottom and gather as many signatures as possible (use back if too many)

3) Fax this petition to all of the following: City of Urbandale fax: 278-3905 Fax to Anyone Polk County Conservation Board fax: 323-5354 Who Might Care! KCCI News fax: 244-0202 WHO-TV News fax: 242-3796

4) CALL/EMAIL the City of Urbandale and ask them to save this forest as a city park! Phone: 278.3900

5) Meet us at 5pm Tuesday, May 8 at Walker Johnston Park just west of the Urbandale City Hall. Bring your family & friends, signs, musical instruments, cameras and refreshments. We will save this forest if you help the neighbors demonstrate.

6) Attend the Urbandale City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 8, 7pm.

Petition: We the undersigned respectfully demand that the City of Urbandale preserve this ancient forest as a Uniquely Urbandale city park. Any development will destroy this public resource! Name snail/email address Name snail/email address ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Monday, May 07, 2007

Friday night is my favorite! A) I don't have to cook (pizza night); B) Everyone is usually home together and relaxed for the first time all week; C) We aren't worried about our to-do list for the weekend yet; and D) MOVIE NIGHT!

This week I bought a take 'n bake pizza from Presto! Pizza on Merle Hay. If you haven't tried that place - you must. Then I buzzed down to Blockbuster and rented Charlotte's Web, Freedom Writers and DreamGirls. Charlotte's Web was tolerable...but it is hard to mess with a classic book like my fond memories of the cartoon-version I saw as a kid. Freedom Writers was good - but very trite. How many white girl working with inner-city youth to make a difference movies do we need to see?

But the best - BY FAR - was DreamGirls. Although some PG-13 Content, overall it was GREAT! Our toddler danced and sang throughout the whole thing, and our pre-teen loved it too. We appreciated that they kept it a "musical." Thumbs-Up on this one!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Green Meadows West Garage Sales - YEAH! I headed out before 8:30 a.m. this morning with toddler-in-tow to hit the huge neighborhood sales in Johnston. Here's the majority of what I found, along with what I paid. Don't ya just LOVE garage sales????

Little People town/road thingy...$5...included all the people...makes noises - CUTE!

Wooden peg-puzzle - 50 cents!

Soft books for the baby on the way...I bought three - 25 cents each.
Little People Dollhouse with 2 dolls and a bed - ONE DOLLAR!!!

Little People Talking Phone - 75 cents
2-pc. gingham summer outfit - ONE DOLLAR!

2-pce. Disney Princess outfit from the Disney Store - $3

Old Navy tank top - 5 cents, Shorts - $1

How cute is this?! 3-pcs - $5

Fall 2-pc. jumper dress - $2

Seasonal candle-holders - 50 cents each.

Fall/Halloween decorations - 50 cents each

Tealight candle holders - 50 cents each, total: $2.50

Christmas tree yard/garden stake/candle holder - 50 cents

I probably overpaid for this one - but I hope to use it for spools of ribbon/fiber I use for scrapbooking. Perhaps adhesive can hang from this too? - $10

gumball machine - $3