Saturday, June 30, 2007

I have dreams of a deck like this. Funny thing is..I"ve seen this gazebo-tent-type thing at Target...but never actually pictured it ON a deck. But I LOVE the way it creates a room-like atmosphere on the deck. Don't you just want to be out there? Drink a cup of coffee in the morning or lounge with close friends w/a glass of wine in the evening? I think this will have to go on the more than short-term goal list... (notice I didn't say LONG-term) - ha.

Sunday, July 1 - 1-4 p.m.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Rite of Passage...Bailey...age almost 12
Mowing the lawn for the first time.

Sunday, July 1 - 1-4 p.m.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We've come along way with shops at Jordan Creek Town Center...but we still don't have access to a lot of stores that the rest of the nation enjoys. I was searching for a store today....since their Web site doesn't allow me to shop (c'mon!)...and, as usual, here's the result...

No stores found within a 100 mile radius of 50322.

Today we joined my Stay-at-home-mom Meetup Group at the zoo. My prayers were answered with cooler/less-humid weather, so I was able to actually enjoy being outside with the girls. They have made some great improvements at our zoo....still a far-cry from a really great zoo....but getting better each year. Feeding the sheep and goats and visiting the giraffes were by far the highlight of the day for Lauren. When those animals would come close or eat from her hand she would let out just a belly laugh - so fun. Bailey & her friend Julia took a camel ride...but they were too cool to be witht he little kids, so I wasn't there to take pictures when they did that. (darn!). Here are some of the pictures I DID get today though.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Red, White and Brownie Fruit Pizza
Prep Time: 25 min ; Start to Finish: 2 hr 35 min
Makes: 12 servings Nutrition Information
Fresh berries--or any fresh fruit--and a creamy filling top a chocolaty crust made so easily with Pillsbury® refrigerated brownie batter.

2 rolls (16.5 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated traditional chocolate fudge brownie batter
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup apple jelly

1 . Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark, nonstick pan). Grease 12-inch pizza pan, or spray with cooking spray. Spread both rolls brownie batter evenly in bottom of pan to form crust.
2 . Bake 16 to 20 minutes. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
3 . In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Spread mixture over cooled crust. Arrange fruit over cream cheese. Stir jelly until smooth. Brush over fruit. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Cut into wedges. Store covered in refrigerator.
FINALLY! Under 100 days to go until this baby is born! Maybe it is the summer heat & humidity or maybe it is just my impatient nature....but it feels like this pregnancy has been going on now for years! ugh. I shouldn't be in a hurry though - we still have our house to sell so we can move into the new one before someone else snatches it up from under us...and then I still have to paint, buy some furniture, make a nursery for this son of mine. LOTS to do! And I can only seem to muster the energy to do something until 1 p.m....and then narcolepsy-like symptoms hit.

I'm so excited for this baby - but also so relieved it is my last. I'm not a glowing pregnant woman. I'm a whining, hot, uncomfortable, impatient pregnant type. Not fun for anyone I"m afraid.

But....only 99 days to go!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sharing her stickers with her baby brother...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

A little bedtime read...

Bowling for Soup - High School Never Ends

I love this song - and how true it is!

I envy the women that love their pregnant bodies.....I am NOT one of them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Toddler Book of the Week...
Where's My Teddy? by Jez Alborough

Here's what's for dinner tonight:

Hearty Italian Sandwiches
makes 8 servings

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 1/2 lbs. bulk Italian Sausage
2 large onions, chopped
2 large green peppers, chopped
2 large sweet red peppers, choppes
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
8 sandwich rolls

1. In skillet brown beef & sausage. Drain.
2. Place one-third onions and pepeprs in slow cooker. Top w/half of meat mixture. Repeat layers. Sprinkle w/salt & pepper.
3. Cover. Cook on low 6 hours or until vegetables are tender.
4. With a slotted spoon, serve about 1 cup mixture on each roll. Top w/cheese.

Note: For some extra flavor, add a spoonful of salsa to ea. roll efore topping w/cheese. I plan to put them open-faced on a baking sheet and toast them for a few minutes in the oven. mmm.

Recipe courtesy of Fix It and Forget About It Cookbook, Feasting with your slow cooker

I'm going to serve these with canteloupe.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day, Daddy! We are so lucky to have such a great man to call husband and father - you make us feel loved, safe, secure and happy. What more could a girl want?

Thursday, June 14, 2007
Sock It!
Try this tip from Heloise: "I like to put on old socks, spray a bit of cleaning fluid on them, and slide my feet along the baseboard, sticking my toes into corners to get at that hard-to-reach dust. It's good exercise - and the cleaning gets done."

Get real, Heloise! The only "fun" way to clean the floors is to hire someone else to do it!

It has ALWAYS been my opinion that The Des Moines Register needs some serious competition. I think it would improve the overall quality (and by quality I mean unbiased journalism that is relevant to readers) of the content. Today I called for classified ad rates for a SMALL for-sale-by-owner or Open House listing. Minimum cost? $150...and that's not statewide coverage. Bring on the competition!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Toddler Book Recommendation

THIRSTY BABY, by Catherine Ann Cullen

Cute story with sing-song rhyme tells the story of how every time the baby gets his drink, he finishes it with a "sip and a sup" - and still wants MORE! This is a great pick for a young toddler. Check it out at your local library!
We made an offer on a house last night...and it was accepted! Now we really need a buyer for our house...and a new house for the seller. Please if you know anyone looking for a well-maintained, under $200K, 3-bedroom home in a great neighborhood and school district...with a kick-butt kitchen, garage, deck and yard....please send em my way!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I spent over 30 minutes this morning digging for receipts I had set aside for returns at Kohl's and Target. I searched and searched...nothing. Finally I gave up, heading to Target with the one return I DID have a receipt for.

Except when I got there, turns out I had the wrong receipt. But I thankfully encountered a helpful sales associate who told me that if she swiped the debit card I paid with and then scan the item I was returning, they can tell in their system if I had purchased it w/in the last 90 days. So I could do my returns w/out the receipts! And credit it nicely back onto my debit card. Nice! ...but scary how intelligent their spend-tracking is! So, Target...if you know exactly what I'm buying - where are my diaper coupons then? Sheesh!
Darn you, Pillsbury! Why do you have to make things sound sooo good?
Quick Peanut Butter Cup-Brownie Cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 min ; Start to Finish: 1 hr 35 min
Makes: 10 cupcakes

Nutrition Information

Combine two classic treats--brownies and peanut butter cups--into a show-stopping dessert made easily with a roll of Pillsbury® brownie batter from the refrigerated section.

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated traditional chocolate fudge brownies

10 miniature chocolate-covered peanut butter cup candies, unwrapped

1 . Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 10 regular-size muffin cups.

2 . Divide brownie batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Press 1 candy into batter in each cup so half of candy shows above batter.
3 . Bake 23 to 28 minutes or until brownies are set. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 30 minutes before serving.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Confession.....I love celebrity gossip. (oh, the shame!). And one of my new favorite stops when I have a minute or two is

Check it'll be hooked in no time. But for the record...I also try to stay current on real news. =-)
My kids don't have access to a video iPod...but if they did I would so go here:

free Sesame Street downloads available on iTunes. Dr. office waiting rooms? Waiting to get the minivan's oil changed? Temper tantrum when you've just entered the grocery store? SOLVED! Lazy parenting? perhaps...but did I mention problem solved?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Attention scrappers! I have found the perfect method for storing and transporting fibers, brads, eyelets, tags and more small storage worthy items....for a FRACTION of the cost. And once again..the solution is found at the home improvement store.

Check this out! The Black & Decker Workmate series Small Parts Box. Now tell me this isn't perfect...and now...the price...around TEN BUCKS! Can you believe it?!@#

The holder box comes with carrying handle, but it works just as well on its side with the organizers facing out for easy retrieval:
Each organizer comes with twenty dividers, and you can divide the organizer into 29 compartments (you’ll need 22 dividers for that, though):

The holder has guide rails for each organizer, so they are not free stacked on top of each other:
Scrapbook with MS Word…
Jun 9th, 2007 by etceteraetcetera

paper piecing
Use clip art images as templates to create paper-pieced page accents (above). On the program menu, select Insert, then Picture and Clip Art to add an image to a document. Size the image by dragging your mouse at the corner. (Do not make your image larger than a standard 8 1/2 x 11 page for compatibility with standard printers.) Print a copy, cut it apart and use the pieces as templates when tracing on colored paper.

twisted text
Curve, twist, bend and loop text for titles using Word Art. Choose Insert, Picture, Word Art and select a style you like. Type your text and click OK to create the art. Use the tools on the Word Art toolbar to change its colors, bend it into shape, and then print it. Note: This technique works best with short titles or sentences. The effect does not work well on long paragraphs of journaling.

fill-in page titles
Print an outline of any font for a fill-in title with a few simple steps. First, choose the landscape paper orientation (under File, Page Setup) and type a page title. Next choose Format, Font to select the font style, then color and size you wish. Under the same menu, click Outline. Print the title and fill in letters with chalk, pens or other media for a custom effect.

watermark images
Use Word’s picture editing tool to enlarge and wash out an image ã for use as a page accent. Add your image to a Word document (Insert, Picture, Clip Art), select it and, from the Picture toolbar, choose Color, Washout (in some versions you’ll choose Image Control, Watermark instead). Use a single watermark image to accent a page, or repeat for a background.

download clip art images
Use the Microsoft Design Gallery online ( to expand your clip art collection. Find specific images by typing a keyword and selecting the type of image you want. Click any image displayed to see a larger-sized preview and click the “Search by Style” link to locate other images drawn in a similar style. On a PC, the clip art should download automatically. For Macintosh users, it can be a little more difficult. Use Office 2001 or later versions for successful downloading on a Mac.

custom journaling blocks
The tricky part about computer journaling can be making sure the text fits the amount of space you have on your page. Make a custom-sized journaling block to take out the guesswork. First draw a text box to fit the amount of space you have (Insert, Text Box, then click and drag to create it). Type your journaling inside the box. Increase the line spacing a little to get a less computer-generated look or to fill the box more evenly. To do this, highlight the text and choose Format, Font and click the Character Spacing tab. From the Spacing dropdown list, choose Expanded, then type in the number you wish to expand the text by.

wrap-around text frames
Make text wrap around a photo or other image with this technique. Draw four text boxes (Insert, Text Box) and position one on each side of the image around a space the size of your photo. Use Format, Text Direction to rotate the text in the two “side” boxes. Type text into each box so it wraps around the photo space. You may have to use your space bar or center the text in the box to get it to wrap evenly. Use the Fill Color and Line Color tools to color the boxes and, when printed, mount your photo in your text frame. A word of warning: some patience and practice is required for success with this more-complicated technique.

creating border collages
Create your own border art by scanning one or more photos or clip art images and adding them to a Word document. To import a photo or image of your own, it must first be saved on a disk or on your computer as a JPEG file.

Choose Insert, Picture, From File, then locate the image and click Insert. Size and crop images using the Picture toolbar tools, then overlap them to form a long strip to use as a page border. For 12 x 12 pages, create a custom paper size (File, Page Setup, then select paper size) before assembling your collage. Print using a sheet of light cardstock trimmed to fit your printer’s paper path. While most printers can handle longer 11 x 17 sheets, the width must be 8 1/2 inches or less.

create a calendar
Calendar pages are handy to record milestones for any age or to document of the events in a hectic month. Create one or more month-per-page calendars by downloading Word’s Calendar Wizard. Find this on the Microsoft Web site at You can also go to File, New, Other Documents, Calendar Wizard for more information. It’s simple to use and will create calendar pages for just about any time in the last (or next) hundred years. See below for an example.

handmade stickers
You’ll never be lost for stickers you love when you create them yourself in Word. Purchase sticker paper at craft or office supply stores from companies such as Avery, Epson or Fuji. It is also easy to find and purchase sticker paper online from a variety of sites (try or To make the stickers, choose Tools, Envelopes and Labels, Labels tab. Click Options to select your paper’s special code number and click OK, then New Document. Insert clip art to each sticker outline before printing them.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Well, we finally did it....the sign is now in the yard.

My friend, Cheryl is selling a riding lawn mower. $300/OBO. If you are interested, let me know and I'll pass you her contact info. Here's a pic of the mower.

If I include photos of the outside of the house, the yard, the exterior of the garage/workshop, the kitchen, the living room and the dining I need any other room photos on the For Sale By Owner information sheet for the info tube? I want people to have a reason to come inside to see more...but I'm not sure if I've included enough of what people want to know. Opinions? (scroll down for pics of the kitchen and dining room...I posted those at an earlier date).

Thursday, June 07, 2007

SHWEW! What a day! Today was carpet stretching/cleaning day...yet another step toward the for sale by owner sign in the front yard. The carpet guy arrived at 8:30 a.m. He has some sort of fancy machinery in his carpet-cleaning magic van that he runs into the house via hoses....fine...but today the humidity felt like 10,000 lbs. sitting on top of me...and because he needed the door open so his hoses could run into the living was pregnancy HELL today!

That, combined with Bailey & I trying to keep Lauren corraled in the basement and out of the carpet guy's way and OFF the clean carpet...ugh. We finally gave up and took her across the street to the neighbor's trampoline...she and Bailey had a BLAST!

When we returned, here's what we found....NO STAINS! Tomorrow night the furniture comes back inside. I highly recommend the carpet service we used. Commander Carpet Care ( They were professional, friendly, competent, helpful and the bill EXACTLY matched the quote we were given. Very reasonable.

Because we had to move virtually everything for the carpet cleaners, I had the computer unplugged all day. (WITHDRAWAL!!!) Not the best timing, considering I had just posted roughly 10 billion items on Craig's List ( just the day before. So already behind on replying to interested buyers.

But no time to hook up the computer, because off we go to Bailey's softball game...the first of many in the end of season tournament.

But after getting back online tonight and going through the 60+ emails I received today, I began reading today's posts from some of my favorite blogs. To my surprise, I found that I had won a $10 gift certificate to Heather Ann Designs ( And just for playing a fun baby-name-guessing game on my virtual friend's blog. Thanks, Heather!

Tomorrow brings an even busier day filled with more cleaning so I can get the final room pics I need for the house flyer. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

While searching Flickr for baby boy nursery decor ideas, I stumbled upon this picture.

Are they JOKING?! Now I'd like to believe that the name is at least pronounced differently than it appears...but does it really even matter? The poor baby's name is spelled to look like DEE-MON. I guess no matter what name we pick for our baby boy - or nor matter what color we paint his room...we come out winners.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I'm purging baby girl clothes this week. Lots and LOTS of adorable baby girl clothes! I'm posting them on the Des Moines Craig's List under baby check em out! I posted a bunch tonight - but there'll be more all week long. Everything from newborn up to 24 months. Lots of brand names, like Baby Gap, Children's Place, Carter's, Oshkosh, Tommy Hilfiger and more. Check it me purge so we can make room for BABY BOY CLOTHES!!!

Here's a sample of what I've posted so far...go check it out!