Friday, May 30, 2008

Frugal Friday - gas tip

It's Frugal Friday again and I actually have a tip this week!!

In this never ending gas price saga, I have found a couple of ways to get the best price in my area!

1 - Gas Buddy can help you locate the stations in your area that have the right price for you. Just click on your state and type in your zip code!
2 - I find that my local Sam's Club (about 1 mile from my house) is usually the cheapest but it's not always listed on gasbuddy.

On Monday when I filled up my van, Sam's was $.14 cheaper than the gas station just up the street.

The only downside to Sam's is if you're not a member you can't purchase gas there. But, in reality the membership is $40/year and I bet you save that much on gas in no time (I'm saving between $1.75 and $2.00 at each fill up - roughly every 8 days).

So, if you have a Sam's Club with a gas station near you, it's probably worth looking into their prices and comparing them with where you regularly purchase gas to see if they have a better deal.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In which chaos ensues...

First - I love my kids dearly and cherish the time I am privileged to be with them every day since I don't work outside the home. This post is in no way meant to convey anger, disrespect or make it seem as though I don't appreciate them. I'm just venting.

I've had one of "THOSE" afternoons/evenings.

The earlier part of the day was normal - went to the gym, came home and the kids played while I showered, then it was lunch and naps...

After naps it all began to slide downhill. We went to the Commissary to order Eli's birthday cake (of which he can't eat because he's still off gluten and dairy - but he's back on eggs and soy with no reaction so I'm dreading what the culprit might be....that's a different post though) for his party on Saturday. I also bought a gluten free chocolate cake mix while we were there. Then we got Jacob's hair cut at the Barber shop on base and Eli started collapsing as we were leaving.

Eli got a lollipop because Jacob got a hair cut - because it's just not fair for Jacob to get one for being a good boy during the haircut and Eli to not get one. I figure one lollipop every 4-5 weeks won't hurt anyone! When his lollipop was down to a little nub I took it away and OH.MY.GOODNESS he totally went bonkers. SCREAMING. And I don't mean just a little crying. If he hadn't been strapped in his carseat he would have been on the ground flailing about and hitting at things (this anger issue is also a whole post in itself) screaming the whole time.

I let him carry on for a bit - because, really, what can he do while he's strapped in the carseat? We got home and to distract him I sent them out in the back yard to play. AAAAHHHH Bliss!

30 minutes outside is the limit w/o sunscreen right now since we've just started spending time in the sun. So I had 30 minutes of peace (watching out the window while checking my email!) and they came in and I put on a movie because that helps them sit still and cool down (we don't have a/c in our house). This was super good timing on my part because just as the movie started I got a phone call from a Dr. that I had been expecting for 2 days. Nothing serious - just some things I wanted to discuss about my pre-natal care. I spent 45 minutes on the phone with this dr. and apparently that was about 10 minutes too long for Eli.... because he started SCREAMING again. Sheesh.

While I was on the phone the sales guy from the builder/sales office (we live in a new house and subdivision and they are still building/selling new houses on our street) comes to my door and wants to show some potential buyers our model (theirs isn't quite finished and they can't quite grasp the concept of what the kitchen will look like when it's completed). This showing thing has been previously arranged on a you-call-me-when-you-need-to-show basis (because we get a $40 restaurant gift card everytime we let them take a peek!!!) and he tried to call but because I was on this important call I didn't answer the other line - and my garage happened to be open so he knew I was home! Needless to say, I let them in for the free restaurant gift card WHILE I WAS STILL ON THE PHONE!! I'm tacky, I know. Thankfully, they stayed less than 5 minutes! Whew.

Oh yeah, and Michael called 3 times while I was on the phone!

Finally get off the phone, and get Eli calmed down and think about getting dinner started.... thank goodness for menu plans and thawed meat! I always let the kids help me in the kitchen (when it's not something that has potential to splatter hot grease on them, etc.) and Eli was standing at his normal post (a chair pulled up to the counter) and he was goofing off so I told him if he wasn't still and careful I would 'lock' (just a gate) him in the other room..... He kept it up and eventually fell out of the chair onto the kitchen floor and I just about blew a gasket. Banished him to the other room and the SCREAMING commenced again. He screamed while I was browning the meat, heating the taco shells, cutting the veggies and seasoning the meat and was still screaming when Michael walked in the door from work.

Welcome home honey! I hate when he comes home to a screaming/fussy child, but sometimes there's just nothing I can do to calm him down - regardless of the distractions or other tactics I use. I told Michael that it had been about 2 hours of utter chaos and I felt very frazzled and like my head wasn't on straight and I couldn't think. I hate feeling like that, glad it doesn't happen very often.

The screaming fits continued thru dinner. We even went and walked around the mall for a little while afterward to just keep us from going insane until bedtime. Side note - don't think for a second we didn't try every other trick in the book first to get him into a better mood..... The mall didn't really work either, so we came home and pretty quickly got him into bed. I think he was just really tired because he never made a sound after Michael put him in bed and he usually kicks the wall, sings, talks to himself, etc. just his way of winding down.

Tomorrow is a new day. "22 -The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By His mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. 23 - Great is His Faithfulness; His mercies afresh each day." Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My new garden, and how it came to be!

Let me just start off by saying that I have an AMAZING husband!! He's wonderful!!

This is how our space started out. Don't let the photo fool you, it's pretty large, 7.5' x 10'. And yes those are rocks, gazillions of them. They actually ended up being deeper than I originally thought. They were probably about 4" deep. And moving them included shoveling, scooping (the kids helped a little as you can see) and then pulling the undermat back with rocks still on top, to get them all out of the space. We estimate to have moved around 3,000 POUNDS of rocks.

This is Michael picking out the remaining stragglers. I actually did most of that part since he did all the shoveling, etc. (the heavy lifting). These first two photos were from Sunday and it was seemingly very hot. Probably only about 80, but we were in the direct sun for several hours, so it seemed much hotter than it really was.

Monday, we went to Home Depot and decided how we would 'wall it off'. We decided on 2x12's for economic reasons and we didn't need rock edges or anything because we're the only ones going to see it, so basically we just needed funcionality. The far edge is actually screwed into the posts for our fence, the side and the close edge are held in place by large garden stakes. Monday and Tuesday also brought us much cooler temperatures and mostly overcast skies, making for a much more pleasant working experience!

Then began the filling. This took much more fill than I anticipated and because we have no way to get a load of dirt (no truck) and it would also be very hard to get a wheelbarrow back there if we did have loose dirt (the other side of our house, where the gate is, looks just like the before of this garden project - TONS of rocks and that makes rolling a wheelbarrow very difficult) we bought the dirt by the bag - which is more expensive, but was really the only option we had. We bought a total of 40 bags of top soil and garden compost - coming to a grand total of just under 1300 POUNDS of dirt that Michael carried by the bag (2 at a time) from the driveway, all the way around the house to the back...... Yay for strong men!!! We also then backfilled around the edging with some of the rocks we moved out of the way, thus giving the edging stability on both sides.

And today while the kids were napping, I got out there and got everything in the ground. Here's what we have:
* Marigolds at both ends of every row (for bug repellant...)
* The row closest to the house is 3 varieties of tomatoes
* The next row is 2 jalapeno's and 2 strawberries
* The 3rd row is 1 green bell pepper, 1 cilantro and 2 empty spaces
*The last row (closest to the fence) is lettuce seed sown directly into the ground and a few seedling transplants from a pot I had already planted with lettuce.

It's a basket carnival!

I've been inspired to show you some of my organization tactics and of my never ending love of baskets and plastic totes.... Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie is hosting this wonderful basket carnival, so hop on over there to check out many other wonderful uses for baskets and totes.

This is the play room. I have all of the toys contained to these totes/buckets. The four pullouts all have specific items in them and the boys know what goes in each one (including Eli!). So, when it's time to put the toys away each evening, everything goes in its proper place!

The bottom container here houses all of my gift wrapping supplies (bags, paper, tissue paper, etc.) It's on rollers and is suppose to fit under a bed, but I haven't found a bed it will actually fit under... The two green baskets have all of the kids' art/craft supplies in them. All the items in this photo are kept in the closet above the crawl space (easily accessible) - I just pulled them out for the photo.

These are all of my stamping and card making supplies.

My sewing supplies. The bottom tote has all of my fabric, batting, poly-fill, etc. The two smaller ones have all of my spools of ribbon (and a few baggies of misc. ribbon scraps), neatly organized by color, I might add!!

Lastly, we have all of my jewelry making and business supplies. Along with completed jewelry in the 'real' basket on the end.

Can you tell I love these little plain colored baskets with the holes in them?

Oh, and this post does not include the eleventy billion clear plastic, 58 quart totes of kid clothes and baby items that are in my crawl space. I'm not about to try to pry the lid off the crawl space to go down there in my current condition (preggers), so you'll just have to imagine it!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

What a wonderful weekend

We had a wonderful weekend, I hope all of you enjoyed yourselves as well.

Since today (Monday) was a holiday - Memorial Day, Michael also got a 'down day' on Friday - his squadron got that day off as well. So we actually had a 4 day weekend. Normally, we would have taken that opportunity to drive over to Oklahoma (appx. 700 miles) to see Michael's mom so the kids could have some grandma-time, but with gas prices the way they are it would have cost us $300 on gas alone. That doesn't include food or anything else we might do while we're visiting, so an Oklahoma trip was absolutely out of the question.....

Here's what we did instead:

* Friday morning we took my van in for brakes, then did a little piddling around. We came home and ate lunch and then the boys and I took naps (Michael was doing some school work during this time). I had the good fortune of being able to nap for TRHEE hours!! What a wonderful husband I have!

*Saturday morning we piddled around the house for a little while and then decided to head to the zoo for a little while - zoo memberships are great!!! We got to see the wonderful new exhibit that opened this weekend called "Rocky Mountain wildlife", it's all about the local wildlife, including mountain lions, moose, porcupines and many other native Coloradoans! We came home and the boys and Michael had naps and I went out on a trek to replace the security blanket we lost while at the zoo..... Eli was none too happy to realize it was gone - so Walmart came to the rescue (which is great because it had to be a very specific 'feel' - he has a thing for satin and chenille.....)!!!

* Sunday morning I put a chicken in the crockpot so we could do whatever in the afternoon and I wouldn't have to worry about coming home and getting dinner ready. Then we headed to church. After church was lunch and naps for the boys. During this time I finally refined my idea for a garden space in our yard. I've been watching the yard to see which area gets the most sunlight hours and finally scoped it all out. So after naps we headed to Home Depot to get some remaining plants, etc. and then came home to start the work - the process of this garden will be a separate post because you HAVE to see the before and afters - again, I have an amazing and very strong husband!!

* Monday morning I had the pleasure (thanks again to that wonderful husband of mine) of sleeping in until 9:30! It is very rare that I sleep past 6:15 since Eli has decided he'd rather be an early riser these days, so it was such a treat. And Michael had even planned to cut the grass first thing, but decided to let me sleep in instead. I got up and took over child duty so he could go out and do the grass and then we picked up where we left off on the gardening. And it was a very full day of gardening, but a very productive day. All I have left is to get the plants in the ground tomorrow!!!

Tell me about your holiday weekend. Any fun trips? Or are you as impacted by the gas prices as we are?

Today was also Eli's 2nd birthday - although we aren't celebrating until Saturday because of it falling on a holiday. That will also be a separate post.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cloth diapering - part 3

The final installment in my series of our cloth diapering with a toddler journey. You can read part 1 and part 2 to catch up, if you like.

As I said in my last post, I am enjoying this new phase of life. If only Eli would decide that he thinks feeling wet is yucky, then we might be on the road to potty training, but alas, he just really doesn't care at this point. He's going to be one of those kids that really, truly won't potty train until he's ready. I don't even bother right now. Seriously, he'll be 2 on Monday and has ZERO interest, so I'm not forcing the issue. I was hoping he'd be potty trained before the baby arrives in September (he'll be 27 mo. then) because Jacob was completely trained before Eli was born (Jacob was 28 mo. when Eli was born).... oh well.

I recently found some used Mother-ease one size diapers on Craigslist for super cheap, so I went and got them. Let me tell you, I cannot express how much I love them. I mostly use them (with my Bummis covers) for outings or when he's going to be in the nursery at church or in child care at the gym. Because he weighs 33 1/2 lbs (as of last week's checkup), he is on the largest setting but he can afford to grow a tad and they'll still fit!

He still wears prefolds with covers sometimes at home, but the Mother-ease diapers are wonderful! I use a homemade insert in all the diapers. The photo above is the Mother-ease diaper with my insert and it's sitting on top of the velcro Bummis cover.

The WAHM pocket diapers I bought online are also a breeze. She includes a 3 layer micro terry insert with each of her diapers and was gracious enough to send me one extra insert at no extra charge! I love them too! I only have 2 of them though so they are reserved for nighttime use. We've only had one nighttime leak with them so far. But since I only have two of them, I use a disposable on the off night if I haven't washed diapers in 3 days.

Walmart finds

I went to Walmart for a few items we needed tonight and I ALWAYS have my coupon organizer with me so since I was alone, I thought I'd check out every single health and beauty coupon I had that is expiring next week.
Here's what I got:
* 2 Huggies Clean Team wipes -$1.64 each with a $3/2 Q (total $.28)
* Lady Speed Stick - $1.77 with a $1 Q (total $.77)
* Crest toothpaste - $1.66 with a $.50 Q (total $1.16)
* Gillette Series travel size shave gel - $.97 with a $.55 Q (total $.42)
* Degree for Women travel size deoderant - $.97 with a $1.00 Q (total +$.03)
* Gold Bond travel size lotion - $.97 with a $1.00 Q (total +$.03)
Out of pocket spent $2.57
Walmart also had Strawberries on sale for $1.98 per container and red seedless grapes for $1.98/lb. So I also got those items.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 5/19/08

Last week I totally neglected to post my menus.... I had it, just never posted it. OOPS. I contribute this forgetfullness to having two children to care for AND being pregnant because every woman knows that you lose every single brain cell while you are pregnant!! This is not the only thing I've forgotten this week.....

This week's menu has been scouted carefully. I spent 2 hours at the library on Thursday evening reading many books on feeding my 'possibly' allergic Eli. Now that I have all my ducks in a row we have officially undertaken the elimination diet. Here are the things we are removing for 2-3 weeks - eggs, dairy, gluten, soy. The sad part is that his birthday party falls in this time period so I will be making him some special cupcakes and everyone else will have a storebought cake. Also, I don't normally cook on the weekends but due to the elimination diet and my frugal post, we are foregoing eating out for a while.

* Monday: Homemade pizza with spelt crust and rice cheese on Eli's portion.
* Tuesday: Eggs and toast for everyone except Eli - he will have either gluten/dairy free waffles or some other breakfast-ish item
* Wednesday: Spaghetti made with brown rice pasta, homemade yeast rolls (recipe from one of the library books)
* Thursday: Creole red beans and rice
* Friday: Baked chicken, potato salad (none for Eli because I use eggs and mayo in it) and steamed corn on the cob
* Saturday: Tacos with homemade tortillas (recipe from one of the library books)
* Sunday: Leftovers

I would have linked you to the recipes for the spelt pizza crust and the red beans and rice but recipezaar is down (has been for the last few days) and I can't get to the recipes. I hope I can get to them when I need them OR hopefully I wrote them down in my recipe box already!!!

Remember to hop on over to Laura's site for more wonderful menu plans for this week!

Super Sample Sunday #2

Here are my week's free samples that I got in the mail:

* Huggies Goodnights shorts
* 2 Crest Glide floss samples
* Ocean Spray cranberry cookbook
* Sun Crystals sample and $1.50 off coupon
* Aquafresh toothpaste
* Tide liquid
* Clinique Happy purse size perfume

Walgreens deals - May 18

This week's ad wasn't all that great, but I did get a couple of things that we needed that were a good deal.

* Sunsilk shampoo and conditioner - Buy 2 Get 1 Free and I had a $1.00 off coupon (total $7.58)
* Kleenex - $1.29 per box regular - Walgreens coupon for $.89 per box (total $2.67)
* Clean & Clear - $4.49 with $1.00 Walgreens coupon ($3.39)

Total with tax: $14.83
Used RR of $10.00
Total paid out of pocket: $4.83

Friday, May 16, 2008

Frugal Friday

I am posting for the first time on Frugal Friday because I actually have something to share this week!

With the cost of groceries and gas rising to unheard of prices, I've found that our budget is suffering. Staying within my budget for groceries has been somewhat challenging, but I've been learning the art of 'couponing' and combining all the wonderful offers with sales to get items we typically use for free or very close to it.

BUT I cannot do much about the gas expense. I have 2 kids and taking our very limited public transportation is not doable. Driving less is also not doable at this point.

We live on a single military income - if you're a military family you know what that's like. It's very little money, but up until now we've been making it work with a little money allotted to 'fun' each month. We are even managing to pay down our debt. However, with gas prices the way they are, I'm finding it difficult to pay the same amount toward our debt because we are now spending approx. $250 per month on gas.........

So, my solution is NO 'fun' that costs money for at least a month. Right now we only have $100 per month allocated to 'fun', but that's $100 I can put toward debt since I'm having to reduce the amount I can put toward debt during this gas price struggle.

We still have our small personal allowances we have agreed upon to do with whatever we like, but our actual budget for eating out, etc. will be added to debt for the next month - maybe longer.

Basically, my frugal tip for the day is don't spend any more money than is absolutely necessary to survive for a while and see how much you can save.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Electric kettle, how do I love thee....

Let me count the ways!

I LOVE my electric kettle. I never had a kettle until we went to Australia visiting Michael's family over Christmas and everyone there uses a kettle. They all drink hot tea and instant coffee all the time (all day long) and every household has an electric kettle. Not the old-school-take-forever-to-heat-on-the-stove type. No one drinks freshly brewed coffee, they all drink instant!

While we were there, we decided that we too needed an electric kettle because I could think of several other uses for it (other than tea and coffee). And it boils water (up to 60oz) in a snap!

Super Target came through. They had 3 different ones to choose from. We chose a middle of the road model and it was about $30. Totally worth every penny. I use it on a daily basis.

Here are just a few things I can think of that I do with it:

* Hot Tea
* Instant Coffee
* Fresh brewed iced tea
* Boiling water for stove top sauces (making them faster to cook)
* Boiling water for pasta (boiling it in the pot takes SO long), just fill the kettle, turn it on and turn on the eye on your stove and heat your pot while the water is heating that way your pouring the boiling water into a hot pot
* Boiling water for things like ramen noodles (boil the water, then pour over the noodles and let sit for about 3-5 min.) also works the same for bread stuffing
* Warming water to warm up your dishwater that's gone cold (instead of wasting water by running it until it gets hot - just heat it in the kettle)

That's my kitchen tip for today! If you don't have a kettle, I highly suggest investing in one if you can afford it. Visit Tammy's site for more wonderful kitchen tips.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The T-shirt thief

Friday evening we went with a group of friends to our local AAA baseball team's (the Sky Sox) military appreciation game. Active duty (including spouse and children get free tickets). Our friend didn't get our tickets early enough in the week and we got suck with tickets for the grass - which is from third base to the outfield wall on the left field side of the field. This wasn't a bad place to be sitting. We all brought our blankets and had an area where the kids (there were 6) could play without bothering others!

If you've ever been to AAA a baseball game, you know that sometimes between innings they play these silly games with either the entire crowd or just a few select people. Well, we were doing this see-which-side-of-the-field-can-yell-the-loudest type game to get t-shirts thrown into our side of the crowd. Our side won and they began throwing t-shirts up into the crowd. One came right to us and landed right in the middle of our blankets and as the kids were all scrambling and tripping over each other to try to get to it this man from a few blankets over runs up and just swipes it right off our blanket (he even had to reach over one of the kids). At that point Jacob had been the closest to the shirt and as he was going for it this man just stole it right out from under him......... SHOCK. And all the other people around us saw what happened and you could hear them talking about how awful it was.

Michael got up, but sat back down (I think he needed to calm down a little before he confronted the guy). By this time, Jacob had started bawling, he was sobbing horribly saying things like "that man took my shirt" and "That was mine, I want it back" all while sobbing VERY loudly. Michael finally said something to the guy "hey man, he's only 4" and "that was pretty rude" and "nice lesson you're teaching to your kids sitting there with you".... UGH.

I guess his conscience (or maybe the fact that so many people saw and heard what was going on) got to him and he sent his 7/8ish year old daughter to return the shirt. I can't believe he'd send his daughter to return that, but then again, I guess people like that can't stand up and admit their mistakes. Jacob was totally happy to get the shirt and said thank you to the girl and everything!

A few minutes passed and Michael went over and shook the guys hand and said something to him - I don't know what because he was too far away, but it all turned out ok in the end. I'm sad that Jacob had to learn how people can really be in such a rough way. It broke my heart to not be able to do anything about it, but I'm glad it all worked out.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Walgreens deals - May 11

Wow! That's what I have to say! I finally accomplished my goal of spending ZERO on my Walgreens trek!

Here's what I got for this week:

* 2 Cottonelle flushable wipes - on sale 2/$4 and I had a RR coupon for $2.00/2 (total $2)
* All free and clear [small one - 20oz.] - $2.99 with Q for $1.00/1 (total $1.99)
* Pert Plus - $3.49 with Q for $.99 and $2.50 rebate (total FREE)
* Schick Intuition Razor - $9.49 with Walgreens Q for $3 and MFG Q for $4 (total $2.49)
* Oral B Crossaction Toothbrush - $4.49 with full rebate (total FREE)

I used RR of $10
Out of pocket spent: $5.27
Total spent after rebates received in June: profit of $1.73


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cloth diapering - part 2

A few weeks ago I posted about switching Eli (and the new baby) to cloth diapers and told you I would provide an update once we had things figured out and had a few weeks to get adjusted. So, this is my official update!

I love it! It has taken Eli a little bit to adjust, but now he's doing great. I tried several different folds before I found the one that worked best and was most comfortable for him. I actually fold the prefold down a little (inward) in the back and then use a homemade flannel insert/doubler for leak protection, use a Snappi to secure and then cover with a Bummis Super Brite waterproof cover. I also include a flushable liner in every diaper - unless Eli has already pooped for the day. This catches the poop and then I just dump the liner in the toilet and flush and there's no swishing the diaper in the toilet to get the poop off!!!!

I dry pail my diapers until it's time to wash. I wash every 2-3 days because my pail is a little small (it's just the one I was already using for disposables) and only holds about 10-12 diapers with inserts and a couple of covers. Eli is currently going thru 5-6 diapers a day so I can get away with washing on the 3rd day before my pail starts overflowing and the lid won't close!

We have had very few leaks (except for nighttime - more on that in a minute). Even though all of the cloth diapering issues were discussed with Michael before we decided to do it, he is not as comfortable with it as he thought he would be, so if Michael is home with the boys, he puts Eli in disposables - I'm ok with that!
Nighttime is a completely different story. He can leak thru everything - even if we limit his fluids in the evening. He leaks thru cloth and disposables alike. Though he doesn't leak thru the disposables as often, it's still a few times a week on average..... ugh. So, I ordered 2 All-In-One cloth diapers from a work-at-home-mom on the internet. They come with a very thick, absorbant doubler/insert and are the pocket type, meaning I can stuff more into them if necessary. We are going to try these starting tonight - they're in the wash right now. I guess I'll get back to you again soon and let you know how we've been doing with nighttime.

An ultrasound! But a very long day.

I didn't have time to blog about this because by the time we got home last night I was too exhausted.

Yesterday was a super busy day for us. And add into the fun that Eli is sleep depriving himself and won't sleep enough so he's been mostly miserable for the last few days....

We woke up around 6 and I got showered and ready and the boy I take to school arrived around 7:45 and we left a few minutes later to take him to school. Then we headed to Sam's to get gas (for those of you with Sam's memberships - the one close to me usually has gas for about $.15 cheaper than the local gas stations!!). After getting gas we headed on to the dentist.

Both kids had checkups today - for Eli this was his first. Jacob is a champ at the dentist and never fusses or anything. Eli did reasonably well for his age. They had to call me back to sit with him once the x-rays were complete. He sat on my lap and once the hygienist gave him the sucky-straw-thing to do his own suctioning, he was fine. Both kids got a clean bill of tooth-health and we're scheduled to go back in 6 months.

We were there for an hour and 15 min. so once we got home it was time for me to get lunch ready while the kids played.

After lunch it was time for naps, at which time Eli decided he was only going to sleep for 1:05 and he needs 2:30 to be non-miserable. So, the afternoon was already starting out bad because we had another appointment to get to.

Snacks were served and we left at 2:50 for my appointment. I have these little bumps in the skin under my eyes and the OB had no clue what they were - the only suggestion he had was clogged tear ducts (but after research on the internet I determined that was NOT what they were as I had none of the other symptoms associated with this). Turns out I have clogged oil glands under my eyes and the only treatment is hot compresses on the area to dissolve the oil and make it drain out. This is apparently a result of the extra oil my body is producing with this pregnancy (even though I never had these in my other 2 pregnancies...) Anyway, there's nothing seriously wrong with my eyes.

Back home for about 1/2 hour, then Michael gets home and I have to leave to go get the babysitter (she doesn't drive yet, however, she is 17). Get home and Michael has fed the kids dinner - YAY! so we leave for my ultrasound.

This did not go as planned for me. The baby is perfectly healthy but we could not get a good shot of the gender..... UGH. I rolled on my side, I sat up and then laid back down and I poked on the little one. This child had it's legs closed so tightly it was ridiculous. Best guess is girl, but I'll never convince myself to buy anything unless I know for sure. So...... we'll probably pay for an ultrasound at one of the local "ultrasound places" just to satisfy our curiosity. However, my guess all along has been girl for several reasons - including the fact that my pregnancies with the boys were almost identical and this one has been very different for me and I think there is some truth to the old wives tales about heart rate.

Since we had a babysitter (who didn't have a curfew), we took some time to have a little mini-date last night after the ultrasound. We went to Carino's for dinner and took our time and enjoyed each other's company!

Must go - it is yet again time to get breakfast ready and take Jacob and friends to school.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 5/5/08

After a couple of weeks of Michael being gone, we are definitely glad to have him back! I'm also glad to get back into the regular routine of things and was very happy to go grocery shopping last night (after 3 weeks of only trips for fresh fruits and absolute necessities)!

This week's (and next week's) menu was planned a few days ago so I could make my huge shopping list for yesterday. We were also out of most staples, lunch foods and snacks for the kids, so it was a big one.
I'm also embarking on the wheat free and dairy free diet for Eli's elimination diet. In case you don't remember, we're trying to find out what he's intolerant to and what's causing his severe eczema and asthma.

Here's the menu for this week:
* Monday - Chicken enchiladas - Eli's will be made with corn tortillas and rice cheese (making a double batch - taking half to take to a friend who's husband just got out of the hospital)
* Tuesday - Soft tacos with seasoned ground beef and lots of trimmings (soft corn tortillas and rice cheese for Eli)
* Wednesday - Leftovers or takeout for Michael and I - I have an ultrasound at 6:45 pm!!! - We'll fix the kids and the sitter something quick before we head out. (Trivia tidbit - Did you know that when you have an ultrasound on a military instillation, you are NOT allowed to bring your children unless they are the patient.............ugh)
* Thursday - Homemade chicken parmesean (recipe below) (I will use regular milk and bread crumbs made from wheat and Eli will just eat the pasta and sauce and if he wants chicken, I have some grilled chicken strips in the freezer)
* Friday - green salad with grilled chicken breast strips
* Saturday - I have a church function that will last until around 4:30 - so Michael and the kids will be on their own or we'll go out for a quick bite when I get home
* Sunday - Mother's Day - I think I'll take the day off!!!!
Chicken parmesean recipe (note - this recipe is created by me and it's just an eyeball-it kind of preparation - though there probably is a recipe out there somewhere that you could get exact measurements/amounts for - I don't have them):
Here's what you need:
* 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts; * grated parmesean; * 1-2 cups italian seasoned bread crumbs (plain bread crumbs with italian seasoning mixed in work fine also); * 1 egg; * 1ish cup milk; * oil for sauteeing chicken; * pasta (whatever kind you like - I'm using brown rice twists this time); * 1 can of healthy marinara or homemade
Here's the how-to:
* Start the water for your pasta now
* Slice 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half lengthwise
* Wrap loosely in plastic wrap (basically just put it under and then fold it over the top - no need to close it up or anything) and pound evenly to appx. 1/4" thickness.
* Set up your egg wash (I blend my milk and egg in the blender for a quick and well-blended wash) in a shalow bowl
* Pour bread crumbs into shalow bowl
* Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet (NOTE - if your pan is too hot, the breading on the chicken will burn before the chicken is cooked thru)
* Dunk the chicken in the egg wash, then coat both sides with bread crumbs, gently shake excess off and lay in hot skillet, sautee about 8-9 minutes on each side
* Once all the chicken is in the pan, your pasta water should be boiling.
* Season pasta water and place pasta in.
* Once pasta is fork-tender, drain and set aside
* When chicken is cooked, I just turn the heat down very low and add my marinara directly to the skillet covering the chicken breasts, all the marinara needs is to heat thru
* I serve one chicken breast (topped with just a little marinara and grated parmesean) and then a little pasta with marinara on the side.
Remember to hop on over to I'm An Organizing Junkie for more wonderful menu plans and lots of great recipe ideas!

Super Sample Sunday

I've joined in the Thrifty Soaper's Super Sample Sunday postings. I've been signing up for free samples and coupons online recently and have finally started to received some of them in the mail.

This is a photo of what I've receive this week.
Here are the items:
2 Hallmark cards
John Freida Frizz Ease samples
"Captured by Grace" book

You should go check out her blog if you're interested in learning the art of 'couponing' (did I just make up that word!?) or if you're interested in learning how and where to get tons of free samples and coupons for things we really use.