Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Freezer cooking

Spent the weekend stocking the freezer for this week 'cause it's going to be a busy one! Thankfully, Kyle helped with most of the prep.

Oh how I love that boy!

In the freezer this week:

Stuffed peppers
Beef stew
Chicken alfredo
Chicken fajitas
Hamburger patties
Dough for homemade pizza
Breakfast tacos

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend Sewing

I love, love, LOVE these little pants!
This free downloadable pattern comes from

They are PERFECT for Mary Grace!
I added the cuff at the bottom to be let out as she grows.

So stinkin' cute!

Next on my sewing "to-do" list are a couple of dresses with pantaloons.

Yes, I said pantaloons!

The fabric is holiday themed: a crazy red Valentine print
and a sweet and simple bunny print for Easter/Spring time.

This girl will never want for clothes!
I just wish my weekend was a little longer!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The many faces of John Paul...

I'm just going to come out and say it,

John Paul is three kinds of crazy!

Every week I find the most interesting pictures of him on my phone and iPad. I never know what I may find and I thought I'd share a little bit of the crazy with you:

Here's cyclops John:

X-ray John:

Swirly-face John:

John in thermal color:

Fat John:

And um, yeah, I don't have any words for this one:

I'm in for a good laugh when I check my photos,
John Paul always makes sure of that!

And sometimes I even find some that warm my heart!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mama & Mary Grace

Yeah, she might hate me when she's sixteen for that last one!

dimple butt ~ SQUEEE!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Danny-bird!

I can't believe you are already SEVEN!
We love you so much, happy birthday sweet boy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I used to make bento lunches all the time. It was such a nice little treat to open a pretty little boxed lunch during a long shift! I'm going back to bentos in an effort to control what I eat as well as how much. Here's what I packed for Monday's lunch:

On the right: Oatmeal with black berries and raspberries for breakfast.
Top: Ham sandwich with bell pepper strips and olives for lunch.
Front: Hummus with pita chips and cucumber slices for afternoon snack.

Preparing lunch the night before makes me really think about my choices and the bentos make the portion control easy. I'm really going to try losing some weight and getting off of my diabetes medication this year!
(And yeah, I said all of this last year! I lost 25 lbs....then got pregnant! I will NOT be doing that again this year!)

This "Lock and Lock" bento system comes with leak proof lids and a pretty little carrying case. Check it out on Amazon.com HERE.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Well I survived my first week at work!

Thankfully it was not very busy and I could stare at photos of Mary Grace on my phone and text Doug all day long (and trust me, 12 hours away from your baby is a loooong time!).
It got me through the day.
When I came home I couldn't wait to get showered and snuggled in the bed with my girl.

I was a little surprised when someone else joined us:

I was hoping that Mary Grace had been missing me, but as soon as I had her in my arms she was out like a light! It turns out that my little Danny had been missing me instead. He climbed right into our bed and talked and giggled as he told me all about the things I had missed. He gave me full reports on everybody - even Abby!

All I've been thinking about is leaving my new baby but I left my old babies, too. I never thought once that it might be difficult for little Danny. I have spent every day for the last three months with him and now I'm suddenly gone. Sure, he's old enough to know I have to work, but he's also still little enough to want his mama around to talk, laugh, or to make him a PB&J.
I thought it was just me that was making adjustments, but we are all making them it seems. These little hearts are fragile and they are only little for so long. Yes, I know we'll all adjust in time...but for now I'm snuggling these two up tight, stroking those soft red heads, and listening to them breathe as they sleep.

Right now it's all I can do.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

That face...

Those cheeks...

That smile...

That drool covered chin...

Those beautiful blue eyes...

Not to mention that downy red hair, the smell of her neck, and the warmth of her little body against mine.

How in the world am I supposed to leave her to go back to work?

Please say a prayer I can make it through the next three days.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I have shelves!

Yeah, it doesn't take much to make me happy!

Our laundry room is the "catch-all" in our home. It's right off the backyard, so the boys come in all dirty and drop their junk before coming into the house (most of the time!). This room also houses all our homeschooling curricula, which is a monster in and of itself! I begged Doug to build me some shelves, and this week he came through.

Here's the before pic as demolition and cleaning begin:

All nice and clean:

Three HUGE and sturdy shelves with storage underneath:

All finished with crisp white paint!
I pared down our curricula to only what would fit on the shelf. Now it is neat and orderly. I also wanted space to store my pantry hoard stockpile (just like the crazies on Extreme Couponing!). I'm going to get some pretty baskets for the top shelf and some bins for each one of the boys to store their crap in for underneath the the shelving unit.

Ahhh, order. I love organization!
I don't get it much with five kids in the house, but the laundry room is my domain and order WILL rule here...if only for today!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Off and running!

Today was Ryan's first day of college classes.
I tried to talk him into a "First Day of School" photo, you know the ones, but all I could get out of him was this:

He wouldn't admit it, but he was pretty nervous about this whole ordeal. So I spent most of the drive talking about my first day of college life, what to expect, how to navigate campus, and most importantly - where to find the S.U.B so he could get a hot lunch in between classes! I think I'll save the horror stories about some of my professors for another day.
I offered to walk him in to help him find his classes...and just for a split second he considered my offer. But in true Ryan fashion he ran off on his own into this new adventure.

My heart aches a little bit today, and I didn't think it would.
I am so happy to see him at this stage of his life and he's so excited about the future and all it's possibilities. He's getting ready to leave me and there's nothing I can do to stop it. I just can't help but think of him as five years old again singing, "Down By the Bay" and watching Barney on t.v.

17 years have passed in the blink of an eye.

Thank goodness when I got home there was another little one to snuggle. You can rest assure I will not be letting her grown up that fast!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Couponing Creamer Style

I've never really paid much attention to couponing. In my opinion they didn't really add up to much savings. Store brands of the same product usually are much cheaper than buying name brand with a coupon. Plus, most coupons are for processed foods which we try to avoid.

Then came along a little show on TLC called 'Extreme Couponing'.
I have to admit that I was quite intrigued at their savings! And while I will never purchase 250 cases of soda, I DO need other household items and would like to establish a small stockpile of commonly used items. So I thought I'd dive into the world of coupon clipping!

So this week I checked the CVS circular here in town and clippped coupons that coincided with their sales. I also tried to get items we needed that offered 'extra care bucks' (i.e. FREE MONEY or cash back to use at another visit). I had my plan of attack ready to go and made my purchases:

I was $1.28 from getting a ten dollar extra cash card because they were out of Ivory Soap and I didn't realize it until I got in the car to check my receipt!

Over all I was happy with the transaction:

I think next week I'm going to hone my couponing skills a little more when CVS puts their makeup on sale. If you'd like to save some $$$ at CVS, check out these videos by the Coupon Divas and visit their site at CouponDivas.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's just my little way of dealing with anxiety!

I go back to work in ten days!
I cannot go into all the anxiety and emotional turmoil that I'm feeling in regards to leaving my baby, so I'm channeling it into something productive: cooking.

I know Doug will be challenged trying to run the household with the newbie around. I'm hoping having some quick fix meals in the freezer will help lighten the load a little.

Last week I managed to stock the freezer with:

4 rounds of pizza dough
24 mini english muffin pizzas
1 chicken spaghetti casserole
4 lbs of taco meat
5 dozen green chili chicken tamales
2 quarts of pinto beans
20 twice baked potatoes
24 waffles

And this week I'm going to work on some casseroles. Pinterest has some great recipes, just type in "freezer meals" into the search engine.
I'm also adding a great little kitchen tip! Line your casserole dish with foil and freeze the casserole in the dish you will cook it in. When frozen, pop it out with the foil, wrap, and store in a large ziplock. When ready to cook, just put it back into the casserole dish and into the oven! This way you cut down on storage space AND clean up!

And don't worry, I have provided Mary Grace her own private stash of freezer meals!

Monday, January 2, 2012


Wishing you peace...

and joy...

in the new year!