Thursday, July 31, 2008

Do you ever just get SOOO excited about a bargain you picked up at the store? Well today I really stuck it to Target, let me tell you. I am so excited I just had to take a picture of the bargains. (Toys are also clearanced but I refrained...despite THREE birthdays coming up). Here's the down-low....or is that low-down. I'm so horrible at little phrases like that. Anyway....

First up? Electrasol (aka "Finish") dishwasher detergent. Right next to the school supply aisles I found this beauty. A 2-pack of the gel tabs I love....that's 50 some loads of dishes. It was normally priced at $6.99, marked down to $4.88. I bought two 2-packs and used two coupons for $2.25 off, plus I had a Target coupon for $1 off. This made it $1.63 a pack because one of the packs actually rang up a dollar cheaper than marked (crazy! That NEVER happens to me!). Pretty far cry from the $6.99 they WERE priced at, don't ya think? woo-hoo!
Next up? Pampers "Easy Ups" (we still use these for the overnight hours). They were originally marked $19.99 for 50-some of them. It was clearanced for $9.99 (no idea why - don't care)...I used $4 in Pampers coupons and voila! 50-some pull-ups for about $6. Yee-ha! If they would have had more boxes I would have scooped them up - even at the $9.99 that would have been a bargain, but I only saw one box.
Next? Dial foam hand soap. I needed a new hand soap for the kitchen. The soap was priced at $1.97. I used a $1.00 off Target coupon and a 60-cent off manufacturer's coupon and BAM! The soap is mine for 37 cents!
And finally? All Small & Mighty laundry detergent. This isn't my brand of choice...but it works. It was priced at $3.79. I used a Target coupon for $1.50 off and then a manufacturer's coupon for $1 off. Total cost of the detergent? $1.29!
Don't get me total bill at Target was $76 and change (baby food, shaving stuff, face stuff, other diapers for Grant and an adorable pink tank w/guitars on it for Lauren)....but trust me...without bargains like this my total is ALWAYS $100 or more. The coupon-cutting, sorting, digging...all a pain in the butt....but on days like today - total payoff!!!
Life is messy.

Despite how it always seems like I'm cleaning and organizing, I have small children and that means life is messy. Here's what the back part of my living room really looks like when the kids are awake (notice the beating the vertical blinds are taking):

But it is all worth it to see the kids having so much fun...with the TV OFF (yeah!).

Not sure how this is going to work when it is time to show the house though. One step at a time I guess.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Today I painted the stairwell/ceiling/stairs to the basement. I've been dreading that job but now that it is done - what a difference and a huge relief. I painted it white (exciting, I know)...but it made a HUGE difference. It looks brighter, cleaner and ready to sell. Now we just need to pick up the new stair runner carpet, install it and then we can put a check mark next to that to-do item.

Bailey was a great help today as I worked off-and-on with house projects.

Lauren spent some time checking out Disney XD (please excuse the messy desk picture). She watched the entire Peter Pan movie and then played a few Cars games (Memory and a coloring game).

Then Bailey & I had our hair cut. Bailey's looks VERY cute (picture next post if she'll let me). Mine was just a trim - nothing to post about - trust me. After the kids were down for a nap, Bailey & I washed the basement stairs with bleach water (before I painted) and then watched H.S. Musical - Get In The Picture competition. (see? I LOVE her!)
Tomorrow I have a carpet guy coming to take measurements. I'm still hoping we can just do an allowance and not have to mess with it....but if the realtor says we need to replace it, then we will be ready. He gave me a window of between 9 and 11:30 (prime errand-running hours, since everyone is up and pleasant...after that and then we have to deal with lunch and naps). Oh well - guess I'm not getting out tomorrow.
We are getting closer! Hopefully we can get this puppy listed before the end of August. We'll see....stay tuned!
Life without Disney.....I can't imagine it...don't would be horrible. They have come to my rescue so many times - entertaining my kids with movies, games, activities, educational fun, music and more. And they are ALWAYS coming up something magical to raise the bar even more! Their latest is Disney XD (Xtreme Digital). They run Disney movies on ABC each Saturday Night (and didn't we all grow up just LOVING that?!)...well now if we miss the showing on Saturday Night....if you didn't TiVo it...or if you just need to see it while you are waiting for the mini van's oil change or your toddler's Dr. appointment, it is YOURS! FREE! (gee a laptop would come in handy...need to get on that!)

Disney is offering full-length movie streams to Web viewers following their original showing on Saturday night. Right now it is "Peter Pan." It looks like we might be to the end of this run (darn it) - so sorry I didn't learn about this/bring this info to you sooner! But if I know Disney, they'll be more Disney goodness to come on Disney XD in the near future!

Thanks so much to "More Than Enough" for giving me the heads up on this! She has provided the following instructions on her site:

Here's a walk-through of what to expect when you try this for the first time:
1. Click on this link:
2. Wait for "Disney XD" to load (the numbers will change to 100%)
3. Click on "The Wonderful World of Disney" small window on the left-hand side to see the schedule of movies playing on TV. The movies will play on the website for a full week starting sometime after the movie plays on TV.
4. The movie will start playing now, after about 1 minute of advertisements/promos.
5. You have the option to watch it full-screen (no ads).

Monday, July 28, 2008


Yesterday (7/27/08), Grant reached the ten-month mark. Wow. Over the last month he's gone from soft, cuddly, Mommy-adoring baby to a more independent (NO!), ACTIVE, loud, wild man (who still adores his Mommy - yeah).

He giggles and plays and antagonizes (if you can believe it) his big sister Lauren. He eats anything and everything, including non-food items. He has two more teeth through the gums. For those of you keeping track - that makes four teeth. Two up/two down.

We've begun telling him "NO!" and he totally gets it....but turns when you say it and gives you a devilish grin. Oh - what a stinker! He pulls to a stand, kneels, crawls like a mad man, bounces like nobody's business, pulls hair, kisses, hits, drops toys over the edge of his saucer and/or high chair ON PURPOSE, voices verbal complaints when he's unhappy, still takes a bottle 3-4 times a day, hates afternoon naps (Lord help me on this one!), and gets up way too early in the morning.

He still patty-cakes and claps but now also gives the baby kiss, waves and says "Bye-bye!" He also takes his hand and plays with his lips while making sound (not sure what that is called). He refuses the "so-big" trick so far...and isn't interested in walking - he'd rather get down and move FAST. He DOES walk around furniture though - usually across the couch. He loves batting a ball around the floor, loves dumping the toys out of baskets/bins...he doesn't play with them...just enjoys the loud and messy dumping out part. (great). It is funny to watch him turn from baby to BOY....and I mean all-boy. Loud, gutteral, physical, etc. Sterotypical, I know...but so true!
He's so different than the girls were....but also perfect in his own sweet way. The year is flying experience has told me to expect...but still it happens way too fast. I'm making every effort to just enjoy today and to look forward to what tomorrow brings. Grant - you make me soooooo happy and I'm so happy to be your Mommy.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

This morning Lauren asked me to "snip" her owie on her finger (usually means a hangnail or a fingernail that is too long...and by "snip" she means get the clippers). So, I the clippers and tried to find the "owie" she was talking about. I didn't see anything unusual, so I put the clippers under her nail (or so I thought) and gave it a squeeze. YIKES! Blood! I totally and completely cut into her skin! I have been the crappiest Mom the last two days. =-(

The worst part is that is her thumb-sucking now she's trying to suck her right thumb and twirl her hair with her left hand....and it isn't working out and she's miserable. Now I know she's going to be 3 and that it is probably time to break her of the thumb-sucking habit anyway....but this is just sad.
More home improvement projects scheduled for today. (sigh). Mark is going to work on fixing a wall-mounted air conditioner in the garage, I have painting I NEED to get to and we have to - HAVE to practice for song leading at church in the morning. I'm on my 2nd cup of Joe this morning and have showered and dressed....but still I just want to crawl back in bed. Darn! Not a good start to motivation!

I also HAVE to catch up with a few friends whom I've neglected (LISA!!!) - but I can't seem to find the time to even send an e-mail off.

Ok - off to start something - anything. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Last night I met up with a group of old friends....friends I made while interning in the PR/Marketing Dept. HERE WAAAAY back in 1991 (holy moley - that was 17 years ago! How is that even possible?). We had a delicious meal HERE. Wish it weren't clear the heck on the other side of town because that place is amazing.

Anyway, some of the people I met with last night have retired, some were also interns that went on to work there full-time and some have just moved on. I haven't seen most of them in years, yet I consider each one a dear friend.

I spent most of the day thinking of all the reasons I couldn't go. They included:
1. All of the house projects that aren't done.
2. All of the laundry that isn't done.
3. I could barely hold my eyes open by 5 p.m. - the kids, plus not much sleep, plus items 1 & 2 above WEAR ME OUT!
4. Bailey & Mark would have to miss their guitar lesson
5. And other random excuses.

Well, I talked myself into getting ready and going...and you know what? I wasn't 5 minutes down the road and I was already feeling energized. Now everyone knows that it makes sense to get out of the house now and then...away from the kids....but why is that so hard? No one is telling me I can't....but yet I feel like I shouldn't. What is wrong with me? I had an awesome time and want to do it again...hopefully next time I won't have an internal battle about whether or not I should go.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My awesome friend has a baking business....and believe me....she is AMAZING! (we often get her practice runs on wedding cakes, etc.). Anyway, I was looking at her Web site today and got to reminiscing about my own wedding cake. I remember we spent WAY too much on it...but it was delish! Or...I should say the sample cupcakes were delish because I don't think Mark & I ever actually ate a piece of our wedding cake. Sure, there was the obligatory feed each other a bit moment...but that doesn't count. HUNDREDS of dollars for this cake and corresponding sheet cakes to feed the masses....and I didn't get a single piece! (I didn't know my awesome wedding cake baker friend back then or I would have TOTALLY hired her to make our cake. She's a true artist...and very reasonable!)

Anyway - here is a picture of our wedding cake (married 12/4/04 - a Christmas-ey theme). You can't really see it in this picture - unless you click on it to blow it up - but there is a "W" on the front of the cake...I loved that. It was a white cake with a strawberry/cream layer....and it was the non-fondant icing...whatever that is called. Man - I should remember it more since it was so expensive!
Well, I've put off work-work for long enough and it must be done today. Actually I haven't put it off - I've just been waiting for more direction. Now I have it and I'm off to the races tracking down celebrity publicists so that hopefully I can get their client interested in a cover story. It isn't difficult work - but I need to carve out some time today to do that. (She says as Grant is climbing over the printer trying to push the power button on the computer. Agh - the joys of the "work-at-home" Mom).

I'm also hoping to find time today to do some touch-up painting in the dining room and basement. Last night I finished applying KILZ to the unfinished-ish room in the basement. What a difference a little white makes!

I also need to do some laundry, plan some meals, take Bailey to turn in cans (she can't wait - not) and find my kitchen counters (AGAIN!).

Sorry no pictures yet today - but thank you for reading til the end of the post! (who did...anyone?)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bailey rocks!

While watching the new H.S. Musical contest where they are looking for kids across the country to star in something H.S. Musical - or something like that....Bailey heard a song performed that she loved. She quickly printed a chord sheet and set off to her room to learn it. Within an hour she had it worked out! This time I asked her permission to record her...and she said YES!

I'm so proud of her - to be able to play guitar and sing will be something she can use throughout her life no matter what she does in the future career-wise. Her determination is amazing. This was the same determination that caused me to pull my hair out when she was 3....maybe it WILL pay off! =-) (hoping, as Lauren is the SAME WAY and fast approaching 3).

Anyway, here's my girl....singing "Leave the Pieces" by The Wreckers

Friday, July 18, 2008

Meet depression's first cousin, overwhelmed.

I'm pretty sure Overwhelmed is a very close relative to depression. I wonder if he needs a visit from Uncle Prozac? Probably not - I think he'd rather see Aunt Cleaning Lady, brother handyman and Grandma & Grandpa realtor and home stager stop by for a visit. That would probably do it.

In all seriousness, I'm just sick to death of getting the house ready. It seems other people just decide to list - then list. They stick a sign in their yard, sell and move on. We, on the other hand, although making significant progress/improvements....we just can't ever seem to get all the way there. It is frustrating and overwhelming.

Stay tuned - I'm praying we can get this thing listed before school starts...which, by the way....4 weeks away. It isn't because I hate this house - not at all! I'm just absolutely in a funk about not being able to "settle" anywhere. I've lived here going on 4 years....3/4 of which has been shuffling things from room to room or getting ready to sell. I just want to feel like I can LIVE in our home. If I buy something decorative - I want to know that it will stay there until I want to move it...not because we need to move it so it will show better. You get me? This isn't anyone's fault, this feeling I"m just is what it is. Anyway - enough whining - it's FRIDAY!

On my list today to contribute toward our goals:

* Re-hang stair rail to upstairs and reaffix light switch plates I took down when I painted
* Measure/Shop for new stair runner carpet for basement stairs
* Buy a ton of sponge brushes to repaint floor boards in the entire !#$^% house
* Mop laundry room floor (yeah, if the laundry will EVER be off the floor so I can mop that we even own a mop? Swiffer-ing counts, right?)
* Call carpet place for measuring/install estimate (its either that or an allowance and I think maybe replacing it would work more to our advantage - someday when we call a realtor we'll know I guess)
* And of course the usual....laundry, picking up toys, loading/unloading dishwasher, etc. And, as usual...I won't have time to do any of this because...well...have YOU tried to get anything done with a 2-yr-old and a 9-month old around?

Man - I'm annoying this morning, aren't I? Just ignore me and carry on.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Is there a full moon tonight? Seriously - the kids are WILD today! Before 9:30 a.m. Grant had yanked the cord attached to the video monitor, which made it fall from on top of my tall dresser, crash into the bathroom door, break the antenna off and put a hole in the door. (great - another spackle/paint job before we can list the house).

And Lauren? WILD WOMAN! She's just all sorts of activity this morning. She couldn't even sit still to eat her waffle (her favorite!). And when I dropped her off at school she told the teacher "I told my Mom my tummy hurts." (Great. She DID....but she is NOT sick...she is hungry because she couldn't sit still to eat her waffle!).

I think it is going to be a long day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tonight while working upstairs to put little kids to bed I heard a beautiful sound coming from downstairs. It was Bailey - learning a new song on her guitar - "Beautiful" by Bethany Dillon (I think). She doesn't have all the chords/strum patterns worked out yet - but absolutely beautiful if you ask her Mom. =-)

She would have died if I actually video-taped her, let alone "blogged" her, so I snuck the camera under a towel and recorded a movie to get the audio for you (scroll down for that). I know, I'm horrible....but I don't care. I love her and am so proud of her....and just so you know...and hopefully she will know someday....she is ALREADY "beautiful" to everyone around her - both inside AND out.
She DID let me take a still picture of her (resistant but eventually compliant).
So here it goes - hopefully it picked up the audio ok.

My in-laws were here last weekend for a short visit. They live 6+ hours away and we just don't see them THAT often. It was so nice to have them here and to watch them play with the kids. They brought me an early, early early b-day gift (5+ months early) but after opening it....SO glad they didn't wait 'til November to give it to me! I received the Quick Cooking sections of Taste of Home magazine 1999-2007. They are bound books - one per year. LOVE THEM! I made a new dish last night and again tonight. Both were a hit....and both took less than 30 min. from start to finish. I love these books because they are what I call "normal people ingredients." Kind of like a church cookbook with fewer casseroles. =-)

Last night we had this:

Corn Bread Chicken

1 package (8 1/2 oz) corn bread/muffin mix ( I used a box from Aldi)
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1 cup milk
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T. vegetable oil

In a large Ziploc, combine corn bread mix and salad dressing mix. Pour milk into a shallow bowl. Dip chicken in milk, then place in bag and shake to coat. In a alrge skillet over med-high heat, brown chicken in oil on both sides. Cook, uncovered, over med. heat for 6-7 min. per side or until juices run clear. Dee-lish!

Next time I'm going to try to bake it instead - a little healthier and hopefully equally yummy.

Next up - tonight's meal:

Mozzarella Beef Roll-Ups

1 lb. ground beef
1 med. green pepper, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 can (8 oz.) pizza sauce
28 slices pepperoni (I didn't use this many - and I quartered them for smaller pieces)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
6 flour tortillas (10 inches), warmed
6 pieces (1 oz. ea.) string cheese

In a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the pizza sauce, pepperoni and oregano.

Spoon about 1/2 cup beef mixture off-center on each tortilla; top with a piece of string cheese. Fold one side of ea. tortilla over filling and roll up from the opposite side. Place seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 10 min. or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Next time I'm going to try it w/ground turkey breast to healthy it up a bit.

Try 'em! You'll like it!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I finally fulfilled my Etsy craving. Here's what I ordered - one for Grant & one for Lauren. I've officially pimped their ride. =-)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Splish-Splash.....Fun in the pool

Sprinkler Fun...

Yesterday was soooooo HOT & HUMID!!! There was nothing that sounded better than to get wet. Here are the little kids enjoying the hot summer day. The big kid enjoyed her summer day at the movies w/friends...and then a sleepover.

First up - the sprinkler!! (Clearanced yesterday at Target for $5 & change)

Next - the pool!! (Not much of a selection left at Tar-jay....but I bought the cheapest one - $9.99. I hate to spend more than that because they never seem to survive for the next summer.)

After nap - the pool again. This time with Grant!
A FUN summer day!
Summer blooms found in my yard right now (all but the pink one - which a wascally wabbit completely devoured last night...grrrr.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm in the mood for a little sumpin' from Etsy....but I don't want to spend very much and I don't know what I want. Please point me toward some goodies on there! C''s isn't like you actually want to get any work done today be my virtual personal shopper today - it'll be fun!
I swear they wear pants sometimes!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Isn't it truly amazing that we survived childhood in the 70's/80's? There are the obvious examples of how our lives were at risk every day. First, there are the vehicle violations:
1. We used the entire back of a wagon like this (ours was light blue though) as our mobile playpen. No one was strapped in....there were no car seats....and we often crawled back and forth over the middle row of seats to retrieve a toy or escape a sibling who just wouldn't "stop touching me!"

2. Here we have a nice shot of a mid-70's rear windshield....aka bed-in-motion. We LAID on that little shelf thingy right in the rear window.....while the car was moving! Yeah - that was safe.

3. And if you were a farm kid like me - then you also had the danger of riding in...or should I say OUTSIDE of one of these - . Yes - either with the tailgate down...feet dangling off the back of the truck as we headed down the ROAD! Or...sitting on the wheel hump thingy. Super-safe! Another farm favorite? If I wasn't DRIVING it at the age of...oh...10....then I was standing NEXT to the driver as we drove over pot-holed gravel driveways or rough fields.

But you know what? Negligence in transportation is not where it ends! No, siree! Take a look at these other treachorous numbers from our childhood - can't you just recall the injuries?

1. Kiddie pool of death. Who had the brilliant idea to put wet, slippery children into the hardest/sharpest plastic known to man and then - oh, yeah....add a SLIDE? Man those pool edges hurt, didn't they?
2. Lawn darts - agh...a family reunion favorite. Nothing says fun like a sharp/pointy metal-tipped dart that you give to children to hurl across the yard at other children. How we survived without being gored is beyond me.

3. It is truly amazing that I ever grew up to be "The Mom of 'Em" after all of those boy-bike injuries. Yow-za! The pain! You know what I'm talkin' about, ladies.

4. Maybe this was a "boy" toy...but I had one....and I LOVED it! I especially loved that little puff of smoke with each pull of the trigger. Not TECHNICALLY fire...but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the safest toy option out there.

5. Maybe we didn't have all of the information back then - but still....was it REALLY a good idea to buy these for your kid? Ever?

6. And then there was the unsafe practice of allowing children to watch the dangerous duos of the era. Were our parents aware of the harm this could do? Had there been long-term testing done before exposing small children to such things as this: or this: or this: or these guys (yeah - so there's 3 of them...not a duo...but they illustrate my point beautifully just the same):

7. Let's not forget about all of the wonderfully nutritious snacks we grew up eating:

8. Kids in the 70's/early 80's rode their bikes on the dusk....probably with someone riding either on the handle bars or on the back....the only skull protection was our hair.

9. Our parents dropped us off at the public pool. They didn't need to WATCH us....that was the lifeguard's job.

10. Here's a good ' involving a hot oven. Beautiful!
11. And finally - we never EVER used any of the following products:

So - here we are - 20/30 years later....we made it. Please post a comment telling me some of YOUR 70's/80's dangerous toys/practices/etc.