Thursday, May 28, 2009

In the past year I have struggled with deciding what my talents are when it comes to writing. I know that I *want* to write, I know that I *can* write. I just don't know what on earth to write ABOUT. I want to write for kids, of all ages. I have hundreds of stories, poems, songs, novels and jokes rambling around in my brain.

Just recently I started writing down my stories and came up with a birthday idea. I always struggle with birthday gifts for my daughters; they have toys piled to the ceiling, drawers jammed full of clothes, various stuffed friends and all kinds of books, movies and music. Plus a huge assortment of family and friends to add to the collection when Christmas and birthdays roll around.

However, this next birthday will be a special one for Chloe. I am making her a book full of original stories and poems, I'll have it bound and spend some time making silly illustrations (since I am no artiste!). I sincerely hope she will keep it forever and look through it often to remember how much fun I have had making up stories and challenging her imagination.

I will give Alivia her book when she is five. I know I'll need that much time to work on another. Right now my goal is to have 10 short stories, 5 poems, a couple of songs and a longer story in each book.

This is a song I created for Chloe when she was a newborn. She nursed so frequently and we spent MANY a night in her bedroom, gently rocking in my rocking chair while she laid in my arms. She was so quiet and peaceful and she loved when I sang to her. I sang Hush Little Baby over and over so many times and realized how outdated it really was (horse and cart? mockingbird?) so I made up a fresh version.

Hush, little baby don't make a noise
Mama's gonna find you a bunch of boys.
And if that bunch of boys won't play
Mama's gonna buy you a bale of hay.
And if that bale of hay gets dry
Mama's gonna sing you a lullaby.
And if that lullaby sounds awful
Mama's gonna make you a blueberry waffle.
And if that blueberry waffle tastes bad
Mama's gonna buy you a big Leappad.
And if that big Leappad won't beep
Mama's gonna buy you a baby sheep.
And if that baby sheep has no wool
Mama will still think you are beau-ti-ful!

We still sing this everynight and both girls know all of the words. I haven't made one up for Alivia yet, because I didn't spend most of her babyhood rocking gently in a chair. I spent most of it rocking back and forth in the corner tearing my hair out whilst my ears bled!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Ten

Ten Things That Have Happened in the 9 Months Since I've Blogged:

1. Chloe turned four and Ali turned 2.

2. The Hubs and I became The Ex and I.

3. Got a car, a roommate (cousin), fell down the stairs at work, took an ambulance ride, did all the everyday Mommy stuff and fell in love with life.

4. I graduated college.

5. I started working at a high school that I hope to teach at within a few years.

6. I laughed, smiled, joked, giggled, appreciated and enjoyed. A lot.

7. I realized that my 4 1/2 year old is quite possible the most charming child in the world!

8. I realized my 2 1/2 year old is quite possible the most irresistable character in the world!

9. I read a lot of books, wrote a lot of stories, did some puzzles, read some blogs, caught up on know, geeky things.

10. I became very zen and realized how damn good life is!!!

I've missed everyone, I hope to make blogging a regular part of my week now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stretching Meals.....

I've always been intrigued by the thought of cooking once a week, and making enough meals to eat throughout the week.

I've tried it a few times, but my biggest concern is our lack of freezer space. I have a Rachael Ray cookbook that shows how you can use extra food from one meal and stretch it into several meals. I've tried her recipes, but her cooking is a bit too fancy for me. I messed around with a few recipes using affordable food that is easily found at the grocery store. The chicken pocket recipe is one I found on a blog, but I've tweaked it to fit our taste.

On the menu
Night One: Grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, brown rice
Night Two: Chicken Pockets, corn on the cob
Night Three: Chicken and fusilli, veggies, garlic bread

Grocery List:
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pound whole wheat fusilli pasta (or any pasta, really)
1 Package frozen broccoli
4 ears of corn
Brown rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
Sour cream
Mayo (These can be reduced fat/fat free/regular)
Cheddar cheese
1 garlic clove
1/4-1/2 onion
2 cans crescent rolls

Night One: Prep/cook time.....1 hour
-Grill all the chicken (start early!). You can do this on an actual grill, or on the stove top. Season with salt and pepper, and a dash of poultry seasoning, lemon pepper, or all purpose seasoning.
-Cook brown rice (this is only for one night, so make only what you will eat that night)
-Steam entire bag of broccoli

Refrigerate half of the broccoli and at least 3 of the chicken breasts.

Night Two: Prep/cook time.....40 minutes
-Chop reserved chicken
-Chop onion, mince garlic, and chop reserved broccoli
-Mix together the above with 1/3 cup mayo, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup cheddar, and 1 can cream of chicken soup
-Split your ears of corn in half and toss them in a pot of boiling water
-Roll out your crescent rolls on a baking stone (or sprayed cookie sheet) Pinch together seams, spread a scoop of filling on crescent roll, and fold over, again pinching seams and ends. You can make one large pocket, several medium sized pockets, or individual ones. Bake in preheated 350 oven for 15-20 minutes (check often!) until golden brown. You should have lots of mix left.
-Serve with half of the ears of corn

Refrigerate leftover mix and the rest of the corn.

Night Three: Prep/Cook time.....20 minutes
-Slice off corn from reserved cobs, add to reserved chicken mixture.
-Cook pasta according to directions, drain, return to pot.
-Add the chicken mixture, and a small splash of milk. Heat through and serve.
-For a side dish with this, you can do any veggie and garlic bread.

So yeah, it's a lot of poultry, but we like our "Kicken" around here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

But what do you EAT?

This question has been posed to me a few times since I've started couponing. When I boast about my great savings and how much I am bringing home, people often think it is just pure junk. Convenience, packaged food and snacks are often cheap, cheap, cheap. And the coupons issued in the Sunday papers are mostly for junky stuff. We do eat pretty healthy, but we just can't afford to eat ONLY pure/organic/healthful stuff. But I also don't want to fill our bodies with the cheap stuff (read: junk). So, what is more important.....eating healthy or saving money?

The answer (for my family anyway) is............BOTH! :)

If my focus is JUST on saving money, we eat too much junk. If my focus is JUST on eating healthy, I go over budget.

The solution is a good balance of healthy, pure foods, with a little bit of the sugary, fattening, delicious crap thrown in!

We eat lean meat (manager's special/bulk sales), tons of fresh produce, low fat dairy products, lots of water and milk, plenty of healthy snacks. We also eat unnaturally orange mac n' cheese a few times a month, chocolate every once in awhile, and last week we had ice cream for breakfast. (<----That's the cool part about being a grown up!)

So in my cupboards you will find a box of whole wheat pasta sitting next to a package of Keebler cookies. works. It really works for us. We're all happy with the fact that I can buy a whole cart full of groceries for $50. And The Hubs and I are using awesome products we've never used before. Name brand razors and shave gels, fancy shampoos and soaps. And our rears are wiped with the finest of TP. All purchased lovingly with a handful of coupons, a little planning, and just a few dollars.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Welcome to America!

So, you are thinking of coming to America? It's a magical place, really. No where else on Earth can you come to a country and become a millionaire practically overnight. You can achieve your dreams and feel free to express your ideas and thoughts.

You will find lush forests, towering sky scrapers, neatly mowed lawns in Suburbia, and warm, sandy beaches on the coast.

You will meet men and women of every color, race, ethnic background, and every moral and religious belief system. Men who love men, women who love women, and lots who love both.

You can watch child movie stars who make millions, reality TV shows about nothing, late night shows, true crime series, and any of the other programs on your 1200+ channel set.

You can drive through any town and see high flying American flags, hear the star spangled banner, vote at your local polling place, and lobby for the latest issue on the capitol steps.

I think you would be hard pressed to find a country that has this much diversity, this much freedom, this much opportunity.

Welcome to America! The land of hope!

And the land of despair.

This is America, the country where we don't give a damn about each other.

The country where a molested child is finally taken out of her home and placed into a foster home, where she is then molested.

This wonderful land of morbidly obese children, a McDonald's on every corner, and a school cafeteria that calls a packet of ketchup a 'vegetable'.

This fantastic country where babies are tossed out with the daily trash, women are raped in alleys, and a Mexican immigrant is beaten to death by rich white kids.

Welcome to America! The country where you can sue the coffee shop for making coffee that is too hot. And you can be sued over taking your neighbor's newspaper.

This is the place where the customer is always right (even when he is wrong) and customer service does not exist anymore. The place where you can pitch a fit about your burger because you ordered it without mustard; yet you can see a smudge of the yellow stuff on the bun.

This is the country where billion dollar executives live in the same zip code as homeless children.

If you come to America, please come see our crumbling schools, under paid and under appreciated teachers, and parents who won't send a pack of crayons to the classroom with their child.

On our buses you will find bullies. In our courtrooms you will find snakes. In our operating rooms you will find lawsuits waiting to happen.

This is the country where the sickly can't get health insurance. The rich can't get enough Botox.

If you decide to relocate to this amazing country, don't forget to visit Capitol Hill and say hello to a corrupt politician. Wave hi to that racist policeman over there, and don't forget to grab a donut at the overpriced coffee shop. And if that donut makes you sick? Sue!!!!

The United States...home of the pill pushing 8 year old, gang-banging 10 year old, and child-porn-watching 50 year old.

The place where we check out the daily Hollywood gossip and stalk every moment of a celebrity's life and relationships. And then make a TV show out of it.

This is the country where you can get married at a drive thru chapel, and you can get divorced a few minutes later.

This is the land of Give-Me-What-I-Deserve, and the land of I-Don't-Want-To-Lift-A-Finger.

Welcome to the place where we bitch and moan over how hard it is to make it these days. (As we drive to our 3 story houses in our gas-guzzling SUVs)

It's America. And out of all of the countries in the world, there is absolutely no place like it. If you decide to come, if you are willing to take the plunge, please be aware that you are in for a rough ride. The rewards are sweet, the injustices bitter, and the roller coaster is wild. Watch out for that good Samaritan though. It looks like he is extending his hand to help you up, but he is really trying to steal your watch.

Hope you enjoy your stay.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday Ten

Ten Reasons Why I Haven't Been Blogging Lately

1. Summer semester is over so we've been doing all kinds of summery things!
2. I have total blogger's block and can't think of one interesting thing to say.
3. Alivia is in the middle of a mid life crisis and can't figure out if she loves us or hates us.
4. The above mentioned child also is going through a sleep strike so I am tiiiiiiiiiiired.
5. My house is in disrepair from neglecting it during school, so I'ma catchin up!
6. I haven't been reading or commenting on other blogs, so I feel guilty posting on mine.
7. I have started reading for fun again; no more Biology books! But no more evening blog time.
8. I am starting to prepare for the busy fall semester AND Chloe going to school.
9. We are going on vacation in a week so I am getting ready.
10. DH has been working lots of overtime, so I hate getting on the computer when he is home.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Grocery Game-My New Binder.

Oh baby, I'm excited!!!!

With the school supply sales as of late, I found a great zippered binder on sale for $4.99. So I snatched it up and set to work organizing, clipping, sorting and putting together. And boy was it a fun way to spend 7 hours! It really was, couponing is my drug!

So, this is the front. I picked gray, a nice neutral color. I had it for only one day before little greasy fingers touched it. I think that is how they mark their territory. They just never know how many toddlers will come sniffing around their mom while she is shopping.

In the front I have a few little spots for scissors, extra paper clips, and a pen. I also have a zippered pocket where I keep my extra envelopes and other paraphernelia for my 'drug' habit.

Also in the front I have an expandable section. Here I have a pocket for my weekly list paper clipped to the specific coupons I need. A pocket for extra inserts, or store coupon books, and a final pocket for my calculator.

Then I used baseball card organizers, there are 9 pockets on each page, and I got a pack of ten of them for $2. I know they can be found cheaper, but I really wanted to get started. I still need to label my pockets. I have the similar categories as my previous binder, just a few extra. I split hair care/razors/body wash into male and female categories.

Then I have extra notebook paper for my lists.

In the very last section I have a coupon organizer for my food coupons. So many of these were large or irregular shaped, plus I just have so many, I didn't want to mess with the baseball card inserts. So I found this Q organizer at Target in the dollar section, so I set to work getting it organized. Not very many categories, but really it is very handy. My categories are fridge/frozen, meat, dairy/cheese, cereal, boxed and other.

Yay! I've already used it at the store a few times and I have noticed such a big difference in how easy it is to find things. No more flipping through pages and getting flustered at the checkout.