Thursday, July 31, 2008


32 weeks with Rachael!
My big guy at 4 1/2!

There's just something about a little guy in his cloth diaper that just makes for a cute photo!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Ummm, yeah!

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's a giveaway!

It's time for me to participate in my first giveaway!! I'm so excited!

The bracelet you see to the left is what is up for grabs!

Here are my rules:
* Visit my Etsy shop and tell me which of my items is your favorite.
* Come back here and leave a comment on this post (ONLY this post) telling me what your favorite piece is and leave a way for me to contact you.
* Comments will be closed at 9:00pm MDT on Thursday, July 31.
* The winner will be announced on Saturday morning and contacted via the contact info. left in the comment. (EDIT: If you do not have a blogger account, please type your blog or email address at the bottom of your comment, I've received a couple of comments that I cannot access the blog/email address for - so to make sure your entry counts, please, please type out the address)
* The winner will have until 9:00pm MDT on Sunday, August 3 to claim their prize, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

As an added bonus, I am offering free shipping on all orders placed by 9:00 pm MDT Sunday, August 3. See my announcement on my Etsy shop to learn how to get the free shipping when you order.

For more chances to win tons of amazing prizes, visit the blog carnival host site.


Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - July 28

It's been a few weeks since I've actually posted my menu plan. Due to the heat and horrendously, crazy, busy schedule we had for July, I just had to jot it down and hope I could manage to stick to it....

We are now starting our first week of being back to a normal routine and schedule (t-ball and swim lessons are now finished), so I've had a chance this evening to sit down and come up with a hot weather friendly menu - w/o a grill :-(
Also, I don't usually plan lunches because Michael takes the leftovers and then I just whip up something simple and kid-friendly for the boys and I, BUT I went a little crazy back in May when I planted my lettuce and now I have an overabundance of the stuff!!! So, I'm going to list some of my lunches - for accountability purposes - so I make sure to take full advantage of my 'free' and organic lettuce and the health benefits of eating leafy greens.

Lunch - egg salad sandwiches (using up some eggs)
Dinner - Chicken nachos with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and salsa
Lunch - Veggie wraps with a variation of this cream cheese spread
Dinner - Baked tilapia, quinoa and steamed veggies (then off to the Farmer's Market!)
Lunch - leftovers from dinner Tuesday if there are enough, otherwise, probably a basic salad
Lunch - winging it here - maybe I'll get something yummy at the farmer's market to inspire me
Dinner - Philly steak sandwiches (grilled steak and grilled peppers/onions with mozzarella cheese)
Lunch - again, I'm going to wing it
Dinner - Chicken enchiladas (making extra to have for lunch on Saturday)
Lunch - leftover chicken enchiladas
Dinner - Tacos with seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese
Lunch - Salad with chicken
Dinner - Whole wheat pasta with stewed tomatoes
Be sure to visit Laura's site to see more wonderful menus for this week!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hooray for the Commissary!

I'm not usually a huge fan of the Commissary, they tend to have higher prices than my local Walmart, it is typically CROWDED (even on days that are no where near payday) and I do like the convenience of Super Walmart and not having to go 2 separate places to buy home goods, etc. However, today's trip to the Commissary may have converted me totally!

I went at the worst possible time, mid-day on a Saturday..... duh! and it was super crowded, which is pretty much what I expected. Being so crowded (you know, the having-to-wait-for-several-customers-to-move-down-an-aisle-just-so-you-can-get-your-cart-onto-the-aisle, kind of crowding) makes me a little frazzled by the end of my shopping trip (I only do major shopping 2x per month, so it takes me up to 2 hours each trip). Especially, when I'm actually trying to research prices and compare coupons, etc. while I'm getting what's on my list.

So, by the time I got to the cashier (and put my 4 separate orders on the belt - 3 WIC checks and my regular purchases) my brain was fried.... The cashier was super patient with having to check out 4 different orders for me and that was a relief because the cashier's at Walmart always seem in a hurry and there's always someone in line behind you making me feel rushed. At the Commissary, they don't even call the next person up until you are finished - you just wait in a long, winding line until it's your turn! The bagger was wonderful and packed all my reusable bags properly and efficiently and then when she ran out of those, honored my request for paper! And the baggers only work for tips!

Ok, back to my brain being fried..... I realized as the bagger was walking with me out to the van that I still had all my coupons (but I had remembered to make change for the bagger while the cashier's drawer was open)........... GAH! Once we got all the bags loaded, I sat in the van and called customer service admitting that it was my fault for forgetting. Guess what? The lady I spoke with said "just bring in your receipt and all your coupons and we'll verify them." Whoa! So, back into the store I went! At customer service a different lady took my receipt and coupons (and me) over to a register and scanned my receipt and then each coupon to verify that the coupon was valid for that receipt and gave me $11.05 back in CASH even though I'd paid with a credit card!!

I think I am now in love with the Commissary because, even if you're a big dork like me, you can still get your coupons honored and not have to suffer an $11.05 mistake.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Super Sample Sunday #8

I had a decent week this week. Here's what I got:
* Pantene Brunette Expressions
* Dove Pro Age moisturizer and a coupon
* Home Made Simple coupon booklet with TONS of great coupons
* Above Rubies Magazine
* Coupon from Babies R Us to get a free $10 gift card if I create a registry with them
* Domino Magazine (this one isn't completely free - the subscription was purchased for super cheap using our United Mileage account and we got triple miles for the purchase, so it was definitely worth it - we're working toward Michael not having to pay for his next trip to visit his dad in Australia!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rachael's room

I thought I'd give you all an update on my to do list for Rachael's room:

* Put up curtain rod - done
* Sew crib skirt (will be the above fabric) - done
* Sew bumper pad (will be coordinating teal/aqua from print above) - done
* Sew curtains (will be chocolate, with coordinating purple valance and will use the print for the tabs and tie-backs) - done
* Cover the lamp shade (I have several scraps of coordinating colors and will use whichever one is big enough) - done
* Make some wall art (using this very cool idea) - done - I decided on the memo board instead
* Get baby announcements as ready as possible - put together with name info, etc. - so that all I have to do after she's born is fill in the date, time, weight, length, etc. - started
* Make a wall hanging with her first and middle names and meanings, biblical references, etc. - done
* Get box of clothes from friend and wash and put away - done

Now, here are the photos of the fruits of my labor!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Another bonus to sleeping with the windows open (and living across from a wooded area) is waking up to your house smelling like SKUNK....... freshly sprayed, no less!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I need your help

For those of you who subscribe to my blog (I know there are several of you according to feedburner....) or those of you who read my blog but never leave comments, now is the time. I really need some advice.

Here's the dilemma:

We live in a new house and they are still building on the street (they have completed 9 houses since the winter...) which we knew when we moved in. They've actually been a lot less intrusive than I thought they would be - other than having to call the sales office to complain that work vehicles kept blocking my driveway and I couldn't get in or out several times w/o having to go find someone to move a vehicle. The only other problem I have is that the construction company dumps their dumpsters ALL 6-7 OF THEM at an unheard of hour. This morning it was 5:50, did you hear me 5:50am, and it's usually TWICE a week..... and there are 3 dumpsters directly across the street from our house. Because it's hot and we have been sleeping with the windows open, this means I am startled awake by this awful noise and the kids have also woken up every time and they will not go back to sleep. The latest they have ever dumped the dumpsters is 6:15.....

My question for anyone who is reading is, am I just being ridiculous or is this just too early. It's not like we are in a corporate parking lot, this is a residential street and most of the people I know aren't up at that hour (especially children). I would like as many opinions on this as possible, because the sales office down the street opens at 10:00 and I'm planning on going over there later.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 7/14/08

Ahhhh, it's so hot (you can read my post from yesterday about that), that I just haven't been up to cooking much at all in the last few weeks. Mind you, we've not been eating out, but we have been eating lots of foods that can be eaten cold. We've eaten tons of salad, a couple crock pot meals (less heat involved), smoothies, sandwiches and anything else that doesn't require heating the house or standing over a hot stove. On a few cooler days I've made pizzas (on french bread), spaghetti and some other similarly simple dishes.

Menu planning eludes me at this point (which is really not good for the budget or my daily sanity) but I really just haven't felt up to planning anything because the weather is really dictating what we're eating (and the fact that hubby will NOT eat anything hot if he's hot). Salads are a great go-to meal for us right now and I have an abundance of lettuce ready (I'm finishing up a store bought spring mix and have already given some of our fresh lettuce to our neighbor) and we're having fresh tomatoes every few days, also!

This week also starts a new schedule for us with Michael going to school two evenings and playing softball one evening (softball will be finished in two weeks, thankfully) and he typically has to leave the house a little after 5. Jacob has swim lessons from 4:30-5:00 on the same days Michael goes to school so I'm not home to get Michael's dinner ready and usually just leave him a salad or sandwich in the fridge.....

I'm going to the farmer's market tomorrow to load up on tons more fresh produce and we'll just wing it for this week.

Here's what I can prepare if I need to make a hot meal:
* Whole chicken for the crock pot with veggies
* Spaghetti
* Ham with veggies or rice
* Chicken enchiladas

Be sure to hop on over to Laura's site for more weekly meal plans

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's HOT.

Have I mentioned before that we do not have central a/c....... Not that we really need it, but there have been just a few days where I've longed for it.

Colorado Springs has a very dry and mild summer climate, thus, negating the need for central air in most homes. Builders do not include a/c as a part of the regular plan/contract, etc. If you want a/c (in a new home), you either have to contract it in pre-closing or you pay to have it put in later. The builder's price was exhorbitant, so we opted to leave it off and decide after our first summer in the house, if we really needed it or not. The consensus so far, in mid-July, is that no, we don't need it. However, Thursday I was quite sure I might just die from sweating (seriously, I think I drank about 2 gallons of ICE COLD water that day)! I looked at the thermostat in the late afternoon (for the central heat we do have) and it read 88° - the temp outside was 95°!! Typically, I lean toward the cold side , but 88° in my house is, well, HOT.

In reality, it's not nearly that hot every day. We average mid to upper 80's most of the time and we've been fortunate to have cloud cover many afternoons, which means the house doesn't get nearly as hot as it would otherwise. The good thing about a new house is that it is insulated very well and this floor plan in particular gets really nice circulation, due to the placement of the windows. The downfall is that we face east, so we get full afternoon sun on the back of the house, which has the most windows and most frequently used rooms (kitchen, dining room, play room and the kids' rooms).

So, over the past 2 years we've come up with some ideas to help us keep cool on the hottest days (none of these include leaving the house to seek out air conditioning or pools, etc...... that's a whole different post!!!) and make the nights more tolerable on those miserably hot days and I thought I'd share them with you:

* Take a cool shower before bed and I do NOT blow dry my hair. I start out my shower warm and then gradually get it as cold as I can possibly stand before I get out.
* If it's suppose to be sunny all day, we do not open any windows, blinds or curtains until around 6:00 pm. Then we open them all to get as much circulation thru the house as possible until bed. If it isn't going to rain during the night we leave our window and the baby's window open (for cross-breeze) and close all the downstairs windows (for safety). Keeping the bedroom doors open during the night helps A LOT because of the cross-breeze.
* We have an oscillating stand fan in the living room (purchased for around $30) and it sits in front of the window to circulate the air it pulls in.
* We have small desktop type fans in the bedrooms and we point them directly at us/kids.
* We dress our kids in diaper/underwear and shorts only at night. No shirts and remove the comforters/blankets from the bed.
* Keep a water bottle with mostly ice and a little water in it on the bedside table and have a sip if we wake up hot.
* Last summer, we also purchased something called a 'swamp cooler' here, better known as an air cooler. It's portable and you fill the basin with 1/2 ice and 1/2 cold water and then it runs a fan over the mixture and blows the air into the room. It has several different speed options, an oscillating fan and will run for about 10 hours before it needs to be refilled. It beeps really loudly when it's low (so I don't have to worry about remembering). If you live in a dry climate, it works wonders, however, if you have high humidity, I wouldn't recommend it because it just makes it more humid. We love it!
* I suppose turning off the computers/printers, etc. would probably help, too, but I just never think to do this....

~ Here's another tidbit I picked up in a magazine article. The fastest way to cool your body off is to cool your blood. Dip your hands in ice water making sure to submerge your wrists as well (veins near the surface), which will in-turn cool your blood a little, thus cooling your entire body off a bit as your blood circulates. Keep your hands in the cold water as long as you can stand for maximum benefit.

What about you, what do you do to keep your house and family members relatively cool?

Super Sample Sunday #7

I had a pretty good week this week. Here's what I got:

* Multigrain Cheerios
* Billy Graham Book "The Holy Spirit"
* Omega Fishies (I actually got these in an order of vitamins, etc. from
* Ziploc big bags - 1 XL and 1XXL with TONS of coupons
* Coupon for free Country Bobs BBQ sauce
* Coupon from Target for a free $20 gift card if I create a baby registry (you have to print the registry and take it and the gift card to customer service to get the $20 gift card..... so easy for a free $20)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cow appreciation day at Chick-Fil-A

Today was cow appreciation day at Chick-Fil-A. If you dressed like a cow, you got free food! The only rules/regulations were if you were 'cowed' from head to toe you got a free meal of your choosing and if you were only 'cowed' on a part of your body (ie. cow mask or hooves and gloves, etc.) you got a free entree of your choice.

I thought it out earlier in the week after Michael told me that he had to attend
a work function until approx. 9pm tonight. So, I decided this would be something fun that the kids and I could do to kill the time and maybe give Jacob a few fun memories! I decided to use black construction paper to cut out spots to be taped all over their bodies and found an idea for a mask here.

Oh, and Michael informed me that a friend/co-worker needed me to watch her daughter this evening while they were at this event. So, I cleared the trip to Chick-Fil-A with her mom and she joined us in our fun.

While Jacob was at summer camp this morning, Eli and I worked on putting the masks together and Eli colored his while I made "A's". After Jacob got home from summer camp and had his nap, he colored in his. I then punched holes in the sides and fitted them to their heads with pipe cleaners rather than using craft sticks for them to hold.

I had to wait until we got to the mall to tape all the spots on everyone because they wouldn't stick well enough to make the trip..... Eli tore all of his spots off before we ever even got in the mall and he wouldhave nothing to do with putting that mask on his face, therefore, I have no photos of him 'cowed-up'!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Super Sample Sunday #6

Not much this week.... I got an Earthbound Farm tote bag and an Aveeno night creme sample, both products came with the coupons you see. I do love the tote though. I am in love with reusable shopping bags and Michael appreciates only having to make 1-2 trips from the van after one of my grocery trips!

I didn't post my samples last week, but I got 2 magazines: Parent & Child and American Baby.

Check out The Thrifty Soaper for what everyone else is getting!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What were you doing at 2:30 this morning?

I was getting myself and Eli dressed for a trip to the ER..... Let me just say now that I am totally over croup. Did you hear me? Totally.over.croup. This poor child has had croup more times than any child should have to deal with it. He doesn't just get a mild case of it, he gets it bad. He had it the first time when he was about 11 months old and in the 13 months since then he's probably had it 15 times to some degree or another. Most of the time though, it's really bad.

He had a bit of a runny nose on Thursday (and that's usually all the warning we get) and about midnight Thursday night he started the tell-tale barking cough. UGH. I gave him some juice, propped him up on his pillows and prayed it was just a fluke. Nope. He very quickly got much worse. So, off to the steamy bathroom we went. Did I mention that it's about a gazillion degrees out and we don't have a/c, yeah, and we're going to steam up the bathroom with the shower running full hot, oh, and I'm 28 weeks pregnant and hot enough anyway...... The things we do for our kids! 10 minutes in the steamy bathroom did nothing but make me feel like passing out and Eli cry because he was hot. So, we went back to bed and I prayed some more.

After more coughing and gasping I remembered the dr. gave me a nebulizer a couple of months ago!!! However, I didn't have any saline solution for it so I just used the Albuterol asthma medicine in it. Really, we were just looking for cool mist (croup is typically more common in the winter and we just bundle up and go sit out on the porch for a while to get the cold air in the trachea) and short of actually climbing in the freezer, there is NO cool air right now. The nebulizer helped quite a bit and he was able to get back to sleep around 4:00 - but still got up at the normal 6:30.

He was OK (not great - but OK) during the day Friday so I had hoped he would be ok last night, too. WRONG. He was worse and the steamy shower and nebulizer didn't help at all the the poor kid just couldn't sleep. Soooo, we got ready and went to the ER for a steroid shot (to calm the inflamation in his trachea and larynx). I really didn't want to go to the ER with it being a holiday and all. I figured it would be full of all the stupid ridiculous people who had injured themselves while setting off illegal fireworks, so I was pleasantly surprised when we were the only ones there when I arrived. They saw Eli immediately, gave him his shot and we were on our way home within a half hour of arriving (and I got saline solutin for the nebulizer for future use)! All total, we were only gone an hour and 20 minutes (that includes 20ish minutes of drive time each way)......

I got him back in bed a little after 4:00 and he slept until 7. Thankfully, after I stripped his bed because somehow he'd wet his bed and his shorts and his pullup was totally full even though I'd changed him while he was up..... Michael was gracious enough to let me go back to bed (because I felt very ill, dizzy, woozy, etc. from lack of sleep) and I slept until nearly TEN O'CLOCK!!! Yay, for great hubbies!

He has felt much better today and been able to breathe better and had less runny nose and cough. He's been asleep for about 2 hours now and I haven't heard a peep out of him. Praying that he'll rest peacefully for the remainder of the night.

Whew, that ended up being a long story.....

Friday, July 4, 2008

Garden update and my first harvest!

My first harvest from my Colorado garden is a pretty Roma tomato. It's hard to tell in the photo, but it's about 2.5 inches tall and just looks oh so yummy! I'm going to partake of this beauty with my lunch tomorrow and I think that even if it's the most disgusting tomato I've ever eaten, it will still be wonderful - because I grew it myself!!

This is not in my garden yet because it is actually a science lesson of Jacob's (learning about seeds and what they need to grow, etc.). We took 4 dried beans (red beans) and soaked them for a while then 'planted' them in mason jars squished up against the side of the jar with a wet paper towel and napkin to hold them in place. That was nearly 2 weeks ago and this is the only survivor, but it's a hearty one! It will go in the ground in the next few days!

This is a full view of the garden. The left row is all tomatoes. Starting from the back: Roma, Cherry, Early Girl x 2. The very front Early Girl bit the dust (or so I thought) and then I noticed about a week ago there is new growth coming up from the root.... The next row is 2 jalapeno's in the back and 2 strawberries. I'm not sure what happened to the strawberries, maybe they're just waiting to come back next year. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. The third row is a green bell pepper and cilantro, the other spots were never filled because I couldn't figure out what else I wanted - the bean plant from the mason jar will go in one of the spots. The far right row is a variety of lettuces, in the front is Romaine and the back portion has a mesclun (spring mix).

Close up of the 2 jalapeno's

Close up of the Roma with another tomato ready for picking tomorrow!

I also have this Celebrity tomato in a pot. It was started before the garden was even an idea in my head. I think it has 2 on it so far and several more blooms!

Close up of the cherry. Just a quick estimate in looking at it this evening and I think it has about 15-20 tomatoes growing on it already. It's a cherry, so they grow in clusters of 4-6! The first of those will be ready for harvesting in about 2 weeks! I can't wait!

Here's the Early Girl that didn't nearly die! No fruit yet, just a few blooms!

This is mostly Romaine lettuce with a few misc. others mixed in that got scattered over when I was originally sowing the seed.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My clean garage

BEFORE: We bought this house and moved in during early October last year. We moved in on a Friday and then Michael had to leave on Monday for a 2 week TDY, so there was a lot of stuff that just got dumped in the garage until it was warm enough to take care of. Well, warm enough is finally here! Last weekend we finally tackled the mess that just seemed to keep piling up. (My van is parked to the left of all the mess....)

AFTER #1: Target had these metal shelving units on sale for $30 this week. We found them in the Sunday ad and just knew they were perfect for our needs. Now we have all of our small items, chemicals, toys camping gear, etc. on the shelves rather than scattered about. My van is now parked a little more in the middle and....

AFTER #2: all of the other stuff with wheels is on that side of the garage (lawnmower, strollers, bikes).
I love it. It's so nice and neat, and if you know me, you know nice and neat is what I'm all about!!