Sunday, November 30, 2008

last day of NaBloPoMo


Today's the last day of my 30 days of thanks... there's SOOOO much I'm thankful for, 30 days doesn't really do it justice. But today, I am thankful that I've actually made myself write about it for a month. It brings alot to the surface... things that we sometimes take for granted :).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

day 29



I'm thankful that our family has had several days "off' together.... the house is decorated, both boys had a blast decorating the trees. Now, it feels a little more like the holidays.

Friday, November 28, 2008

day 28


Today I'm thankful for surprise blessings. That's about all I can say today...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

day 27


I'm thankful for the time with my family today. We had a special Thanksgiving meal at our house with our little family of 4... we've already done 'big Thanksgiving' so today it was just us, and during our special meal we all said things we were thankful for.
~Happy Thanksgiving~

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordful Wednesday - I am grateful

I love the format that Cocoa used, so I'm following her lead...


A few things I am grateful for...


I am grateful for having kids who are sick with colds... because there are many parents out there with kids who are sick with much worse then colds and their children may never be healed while here on earth.

A jobFont size, I'm grateful that as of now, both my husband and I are employed. We're very grateful for that.
Memories of my brother and stepmom. They've both passed on recently, and I'm thankful to have wonderful memories of the both of them to warm my heart during the holidays.

Grateful that I'm able to stay home with my children, for now. I've been fortunate enough to work from home, and it's been a blessing in disguise.
Running in the leaves with my kids at the park. We don't have alot of trees in our yard, really only one that produced some leaves to play in... but it is a blast to let go of my responsibilities and just run and lay in leaves with the kids.
A husband who's alive. There are many widows and widowers this holiday season. I'm so very aware of how quickly that I could have been a widow.
Twinkle twinkle little star, and Are You Sleeping Brother John... both of which the toddler sings to mommy, daddy and his brother everynight before bed while I hold him in my lap in the rocker in his room...
E. I'm grateful for big E. Soon after marrying my hubby, big E moved in with us permanently. His biological mother has her own agenda, and has not called or written in over 4 years. Big E has taught me alot about parenting and myself. I'm a better person for being his mom.
Friends. Both near and far... old friends and new friends...although I may not get to see my dearest friends as often as I like because of distance, I am grateful to be able to talk with them weekly on the Internet, or by email or phone.
Unusual circumstances. It's a joke between my husband and I that we almost always find ourselves in unusual circumstances... his heart attack that happened in a doctors office taking a stress test (all he went in for was shortness of breath after helping a friend move!), some situations with big E's biological mother, family circumstances in general, my strange auto-immune issues, pregnancy only 4 months after his heart surgery (unplanned, and what a blessing), and many many more little things that have grown us as people, parents and partners in life.
Living in the USA. Even with the state of the economy, the uncertainty of where we'll go as a nation financially.... we're sooooo fortunate to have our freedom, the luxuries we have are plentiful in spite of all that this nation is going through. Many days I forget how lucky we are. Today I read about a family in Haiti, who survive off of 100.00 a YEAR, who can't afford to send their kids to school for an education which costs roughly 250.00 per year, who's children work in trade for food, and clothing. Who's mother has died from the toll of starvation and childbirth, her body wasn't healthy. We are BLESSED to have each other, the freedom we have, this life we live.

overnight

I realize that my last 4-5 posts are about the family being sick... so smack me for being a whiner.


I had to post this photo... isn't it amazing what 10 hours of not wiping his face did for his skin? This is how he looks every morning lately (since being sick)... and this post is how he looks by 5pm each day.


I am GLOBBING Aquaphor on him every 30-45 min, and still he looks like a clown by the end of the day. I used the steroid creme on his face this morning, we'll see how that goes...


I promise, my next post will not be about snot, colds, toddler rashes or cold remedy products....this has been a record for our family though :).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

blugh funk

I'm not in the mood to post alot. I'm in a "blugh" funk. My family is sick, and I could be the next to catch this bug. I keep having a scratchy throat feeling, and a runny nose is lingering. I'm hoping that my superwoman cape will again protect me from the ick.


So... the only think I'll post tonight is this pitiful picture of my youngest's face after 3 days of snotting, wiping, and snotting some more. Only parents of toddlers can appreciate how many times I've mentioned snot recently. The doctor said that the excessive wiping and the constant drippy nose is what's causing this rash. It almost looks like a burn, it's fiery red and just looks miserable. Oddly, he doesn't complain about it at all.

Saturday when we went to the ped's office they mentioned possibly giving him a steroid creme for it. It seems to be almost 100% better each morning, then each night it looks like it's on FIRE. He has always seemed to have sensitive skin, and this is just putting ME over the edge! He seems fine, doesn't complain about it... but it looks horrendous. So they called in a steroid creme tonight after I called them and emailed this picture... I read everything and when I picked up the prescription it says ingredients include alcohol, some kind of acid...and the known side effects include burning, itching, stinging. Something about the ingredients and the known side effects really bug me. Why can't it be simple? UGH, his face is pitiful. Aquaphor and hydrocortizone may be our best friends for a WHILE....that's what the doctor initially told us to use. I can't stand the thought of putting something on his skin that will make it burn while it looks like this already.

I just want him to have THIS HAPPY little face!! His face IS happy, it just looks miserable :(.

any other suggestions? I'm interested in anything helpful!
Minus the toddler's nighttime face rash....I'm thankful that the family is on the mend!

Monday, November 24, 2008

day 24

I'm thankful for having a warm cozy home, a nice bed to sleep in, and food for our family. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for these things daily... but when I see homeless families in the cold of winter, during this time of year - it really makes me grateful for what we do have.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

day 23

I'm thankful that the boys both slept through the night comfortably even though they're sick.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

double yucky

So - the toddler has a double ear infection, sinus infection and very sensitive skin that is quite irritated on his face from the snotfest. He's never had an ear infection and he's almost 3, so I know we're fortunate. There were many times I took him in during teething because I thought he had ear infections and it always turned out that it was teething instead. I'm glad we went on in this morning and caught it before it got much worse over the weekend.

We're home, 1 doctor visit and 2 prescriptions later.... he's trying to nap now. It's been an interesting morning. We've also invested some more in sanitizing gel since we were close to being out. I had to go ahead and wash my superwoman cape, it had snot, tears, and dum dum drool on it from the doctors office....

I'm off to the kitchen to prepare the rest of Thanksgiving... I've managed to get the Yummy Candid Yams, and the Banana Pudding thrown together... now onto my mashed potatoes and devilled eggs!

I'm thankful that we found out about the double ear infection before it got too miserable for him.

here we go again

So - the official count as of this morning is....

Oldest has consistent pesky raspy cough and still a bit of a stuffy nose....he did manage to rest well thanks to Delsym and a cool mist humidifier. He seems to be himself outside of the frustration of coughing all the time.

Youngest (who knows not how to blow his nose) has a completely clogged nose, swollen face, swollen top lip, very red skin under his nose from constantly rubbing at the drip.... he did sleep all night, thanks to Vaporub on his feet and shirt (weird isn't it?), pediacare gentle vapors, and his Thomas the tank engine cool mist humidifier. This along with a small dose of Benadryl and Tylenol. We're seeing the pediatrician this morning just to see if there's anything I can do for the nasal congestion, yesterday he soaked 3 shirts from open mouth breathing and drooling everywhere because he can't breath at all through his nose.

Husband.... wow. He has a significantly sore throat, which without fail will escalate into a severe sinus infection. He had a run of this about 2 months ago and the doctor went ahead and gave 2 prescriptions... one for then, and one for later this winter. It's funny how that doctor knows this is reoccurring in him.

I'm officially fully invested in Kleenex company for the winter. Yesterday I ran across some decorative boxes that have Wall-E on them :) The little one was super excited! That was his first (and only so far) theatre movie, so along with the tissues, this week we bought the movie when it was on sale on release day! Both boys loved Wall-E, and I have to say I enjoyed it too, it was MY first theatre movie in over 2 years!

For now, I'm back off to snotsville and sometime today I must prepare Thanksgiving for the family gathering today. We're having my husband's parents over late this afternoon for our big celebration with them.

Keep your fingers crossed that my superwoman cape protects me from this yuck fest.

Friday, November 21, 2008

noses, farquads, and coffee

stuffy noses
So - it's 430pm and I getting ready to go out and purchase a bit more stock in Kleenex. My 10 year old is in Stage 2 of the cruds. He has graduated from snotty yet fully clogged nose, and stuffy head to Stage 2 constantly drippy nose and coughing uncontrollably. The toddler is clearly in Stage 1 and since he can't really "blow" his nose I'm thinking he could be stuck in stage one for a couple of days.
farquads
The boys came in and rather then their usual chaos and playtime together, the toddler asked for Shrek.... so they're watching Shrek in the picture below while sharing a beanbag and some Ritz crackers. Shortly after this picture, there was a beanbag war. We only have one. They don't both fit on it that great.... So I find myself assigning beanbag 'turn taking' privileges now. ARGH!


Occasionally I have to remind our 10 year old that it's not cute to have our toddler learn the name of ALL of the characters, I'm thinking it wouldn't go over so well if our tot decided to blurt out "Farquad" at random in the 2's and 3's church class I teach on Sunday nights. I'm 99.9% sure that the 10 year old has no idea WHY Farquad wouldn't be a great idea... but he thinks the name is funny in either case.

coffee
I've been drinking more coffee then usual lately, I had a single pod maker and was beginning to wear it out. One of my friends told me about this promo so I ordered this nifty coffee maker w/ 2 coffee packs for $14.95 including shipping. There's no obligation once you join and get the free gift and 2 initial packs of coffee (all for 14.95) you can then cancel anytime and keep the free gift. (99.99 value coffee maker). I actually like their light roast, so I may order a couple more packs and then cancel my membership. I'm thinking tonight may be a half a pot of coffee kind of night... I have to work at home, and I'm pretty darn sure that I'll be up and down with the toddler who can't blow his nose well.
I'm thankful for Kleenex... that's what kind of day I'm having... one where I'm thankful for Kleenex.

sharing

Of all the things I ask my kids to share..... this is the last one. It's almost unavoidable all together. We've been very fortunate with both boys, the little one has only had a sickness that required antibiotics once in just under 3 years, and our oldest has not had antibiotics in OVER three years (seems unreal now that I think of it). We've been VERY fortunate, considering our oldest does go to public school. I guess we're due our share of the cruds now!

So today, the little one is snotting, sneezing, coughing and overall not himself today.His poor nose is all red, and his face is all splotchy from rubbing it constantly. Blugh, holiday colds suck.

Just spoke to the hubby - and his throat is sore.... so it seems like this is a family affair.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

warning

What you're about to see is on the " no-no " list for kids.... but we were supervising, and he was having a total blast. It's freezing outside, and we decided to let him be a monkey tonight under our watchful eyes and a huge pillow landing pad.
I'm sure we're going to be reminded we allowed it.......
I'm sure it will come back to bite us in the rear.....
But you only live once, right?
video
I'm thankful for moments like this one.

ummmm, that's big.



Went by Hardee's today, first time in FOREVER.... I'm not a fast food snob, but I've never really preferred Hardees. Less grilled choices, and overall just more greasy. Anyhow - it was where we were, and the toddler wanted his usual afternoon commute snack. I realized I failed to pack it and found myself right beside Hardees and figured I'll get some fries. I ordered a small fry for him, a small lemonade for his brother, and a small Dr. Pepper for me. Can I just say that oh my gawd.... I've never seen such a large "small fry" in my life! That's insane! No wonder we're getting fatter as a nation. Hardees is handing out LARGE fries and calling it a small... and the drink was easily a 20oz cup and they were SMALLS!!!
Looking in on the employees of this particular establishment, it seemed that they ALL fit the obesity charts by a long shot. The man behind the counter making drinks couldn't walk behind the woman at the window because there was no room. There was plenty of room for say 3 average sized people. I'm not picking on them, but does anyone else see this as a growing problem?? No pun intended. Purely coincidental that two large people were working when I rolled through, and I'm not trying to start a rant about large people. I love large people, I just wish that people knew what that does to their bodies, hearts, etc. I don't wish what my husband and my father went through on anyone - heart surgery should be avoided, healthy living and eating should be a given.
I'm in no way a perfectly fit mommy and I am sporting a bit of a muffin top, but no one in my house is carrying around a santa belly, no one in my house is eating large fries and those thick burgers on a regular basis. What's horrible is I DO know people who do that more then once a week. Food is so overrated, and I learned that while watching my husband almost die from heart disease. We eat to live, not live to eat. This is particularly on my mind since the holiday season brings on lots of comfort foods and we love them all. We enjoy them, in moderation and with alot of modification to the recipes. We substitute alot of ingredients and end up with the same yummy treat but try to make it as healthy as possible. Both of our kids inherit a heart disease gene from both of our families, so we have an obligation to them to have the healthy choices at home. You may spot us at Chic Fil A once or twice a month, and McDonalds and Sonic too.... like I said, we're not fast food snobs, but we do tend to chose the less of all evils on the menus and I'm proud to say that even though some of the burger commercials make my hubby's mouth water he hasn't had a red meat burger cross his lips in 3 years.
I was completely shocked at the portion sizes today. Just completely, WOW. Maybe I should get out of my little glass box more often and I wouldn't be so surprised. I'm wondering how many of those burgers Paris Hilton actually eats anyway????? HMMMMM

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

nosey



Following up with my post from earlier today...
I'm thankful for BreathRite Strips for Kids, Vicks Vapo Rub , Humidifiers, decongestant nasal sprays, and tissues. These are just a few of our sponsors tonight.

it's official


With the winter weather blast, we have our first victim of the infamous sinus/cold infection. Yipee. No doctors visits yet, we save those for really crappy days, days with high fevers or dehydration or such.... no fevers, just really fun nose activity and some headaches. I'm pretty sure this will be passed around. The germs are here, they're around long before the actual infection sets in, they're somewhere in my house lurking and I hope that we don't all get it!
Off to mix bleach water and grab the Lysol.... Off to turn on the humidifiers....Off to grab the eucalyptus bath soaps...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

looking the part

I have a business meeting tomorrow for most of the day, this isn't important to anyone but me and the businesses that I work for I suppose but here's where I found myself in a dilemma...

I USED to dress for business most days... this is before I took off my chino's and blouses and traded them in for worn out cozy jeans, sweat pants *gasp*, yoga pants, and leisure suits. 99.9% of all of my work (from home) is conducted in super casual mommy gear. When I go to school functions, I throw on some regular khaki's and a v-neck and that's about as dressy as it gets for me.

I USED to be a slimmer me and have plenty of that size in dress pants in my closet... this is before I managed to find nearly every pound of my pregnancy weight I lost. I'm not going to paint a faux picture here, I'm sporting a mini-muffin top, a bit of a jelly belly, a jiggly giggly mummy tummy, if you will. It's not a huge deal, I'm not *overweight* by my doctors standards in fact I'm within my average weight for my height. This is weird for me because I have never weighed the average except when pregnant. Family and friends know that this is a new chapter in my book.

So I rummaged through my business clothes from days of yore, and found that I had slim pickins, nothing winter worthy in blouses and tops, and it's COLD all of the sudden in our little part of the world! So tonight after dinner I ran out to hunt for something that would work. I managed to come across some great deals, thank goodness for holiday sales! How sad is it that it's come to this? My wardrobe consists of various styles of cotton tees in a rainbow of colors, a few casual dress shirts, and I actually had to wipe down my heels (gag - hate heels) because they've been collecting dust on the shoe rack since my brother's funeral.

All I have to say is that while I'm thankful for working from home, dressing super comfy and casual at my leisure, I do sometimes find myself missing those days in the office.... then things like today's running around getting clothes de-wrinkled and laid out for the next day and making sure the shoes match, reminds me why I used to get up so darn early just to get ready. Getting dressed up to look the part, which is somewhat redundant since I now do the exact same work from the comfort of my couch, bed, kitchen table, dining room, or kids rooms while they play. I am the same capable person either way. I have a high respect for all of my mom friends and family who go to an office each day, I know that someday I may return to the office myself. I'm thankful for where I am now in my life, I'm glad to be able to be at home and work, it seems to fit me for now... unlike most of my nicer clothes.

day 18


I'm thankful for my coffee pods.... I know that is a really pathetic thing, but it's 21 degrees tonight.... and for the part of the country I live in - that's frappin cold for early November!! I'm keeping warm with my java... I work from home and work most often at night so coffee is in my hand right now. Hubby doesn't drink it, so coffee pods give me 2 cups per pod in my brewer... just right for tonight. I only buy pods when they're on sale(they're a ripoff really), otherwise I use a regular coffee blend.... but man they come in handy when I have them!

a nifty freebie

Here's a nifty freebie tip I ran across over at Freebies4Mom. Go to the Kodak Gallery and get a $10.00 credit toward free photo cards. The sets run as low as 4.99 so you could end up with 20 for free!! The only catch, is to pay shipping. I understand that you can pick them up at a local store like CVS for around $1.49 though. Just go to the site here, create an account, and enter coupon code TRYUS3 sometime before Dec. 31 and you will have a $10 credit towards photo cards to use (must use credit during current session). What great timing on this freebie right here at the holidays!

brrr....

It's cold outside, I think tonight's low is 23. That's such a change from the almost 80 degree days we had about a week ago. I think winter is finally starting to knock on our doors!! We didn't get much outside time, with the morning fiasco that kept us in the car for almost 4 hours I'll post about that when I'm done steaming and the shortened days from the time change.... so the toddler was a live wire tonight. He, just like his mommy, was disappointed about not having much outdoor time. While that isn't always the case, and we do plan to play outside all bundled up for a bit each day (even if it's cold), I'd love to have some fun options for the toddler that bring the outdoors in, so to speak.

Anyone have some fun indoor activities that seem 'outdoor'ish?

Monday, November 17, 2008

lying around here...

Parading the Elephant
Ok - so I'm going to talk about the elephant in the house.... Even the best of the best parents are faced with it, if they're honest. I often catch myself posting only about the pretty in child rearing, the pretty in life. I’ve had some great support among some mommys on forums I belong too locally, and we've sought out advice from various family members, talked directly to my parents, my husband's talked to his. But in the end, we're really forming a plan that fits our value system.


So what's the big deal??
Lying, and it's absolutely a big deal to us. I've written this post at least 10 times when frustrated, and deleted it - only to feel better after getting my words out. I've not posted it, because I've wondered if it was some sort of invasion of my child's privacy, am I a bad mom for being open about something like this? But if I only journal about the accomplishments, I'd create the scene that our parenting is without flaw and that it's a cakewalk. Do other parents have perfect kids, or are they just less inclined to talk about the less attractive part of parenting? I've ran across some blogs that I treasure that share intimate details of their journey in parenting. I blog mostly as a daily journal - so to be honest with myself would be to post the good, bad and the ugly. I post so that I can go back to a particular day and reflect, and doing so allows me to see what's changed. I've had my blogs from previous years printed and binded - it's nice to have a keepsake like this that shows growth!


Parenting 101 - the adolescent years
Even with our best efforts, our eldest has been lying to us occasionally about the obvious, things that we can easily check on and find the truth for ourselves. Most of the time, it's because he wants to avoid more work or avoid the hassle of what the outcome of the truth means. So what are we to do? We know all kids do it at one point or another, and to one extreme or another. We can't ignore it, because that isn't how we show our love, we'd be enablers. We can't make it the sole focus of our life, because that would not leave any positive to shine through. We can't spend day and night trying to make sure that everything he says is the truth, that would be exhausting and pointless. We are doing what we can to reinforce how important honesty is.


Raising my hand - I have questions...
What drives someone to lie? Will we ever know WHY? Even the most Christian of Christians have lied. I have alot of questions, and I know they'll never be answered. What's changed? Why this all of the sudden? Medical professionals will tell me that this is "normal" what in the H&$# is NORMAL about lying?? for his age, my parents tell me that while I went through it for a little while, the boys seemed more inclined to do it. Maybe it was because I saw their consequences and didn't really want them for myself. I get no real answers to my pondering. I get anything from scientific to biblical reasons for lying, but I will never know what goes on in his head that drives him to lie. I could ask, but would I get the truth?


Being Grounded
We grounded him, and at the same time we've got ourselves better grounded. It's important to us that our boys know that they can come to us and be honest about things and we're not going to judge them. I guess his being grounded is more of a motivational tool for him, and our getting ourselves better grounded is an important part of stepping up our game. We are raising each boy to be an individual, to be original, and to understand that we all make mistakes. It's not always easy to enforce this in kids, the big picture isn't as clear to a 10 year old child as it is for his parents. The big picture for us is that the price our children pay for dishonesty NOW is much less then it will be later, and we really want them to learn from mistakes.


From Elephants to Horses

It’s a new week and we’re done beating that dead horse. Our expectations are clear, we’ve put it out on the table that this nasty habit is unwelcome and we’re not going to stand for it. So far, for this week, we’ve had a great start! There’s no sense in going on and on. We’ve wiped the slate clean. We have two terrific boys, both who are growing up and going through huge developmental changes at the same time! We have no words for how proud we are to be these boys parents, even when it means they do the wrong thing…. After all, that’s what we’re here for, to guide them in the right direction. Sometimes when things like this come along, it makes me realize how large our responsibility really is - and we must keep our sights on the bigger picture. I'm thankful for the horse, even though it's dead... It's made us feel like better parents, because we didn't ignore it and we're dealing with it head on.

I’m wondering… what do you do when your boy/girl lies to you??

a relief

My friend is out of the danger zone. Here's her last post about the fires in the LA area. I'm so thankful that she and her family are safe. They're very dear to my heart, and I couldn't imagine anything more for them to face right now. Thanks to anyone who kept them close in thought and prayer.
Written by my friend: We are all clear from the fires! There is still ash floating in the air because the wind picked up today and is blowing it all around. Thanks to everyone for the support and thoughts that were sent our way during this time.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

it sounded like gunfire...

I swear, it sounded just like that... but turns out....
It was acorns, shells, rocks and chapstick.
In my dryer.
Why? I have boys, that's why.
I'm thankful for our boys... and their acorns, shells, rocks and chapstick and whatever else fits in their pockets.

late afternoon update...

My friend in Brea, CA who lives near the fires (see earlier posts today) added another update recently by blogpost.... I'm so glad to hear from her every chance I get, but today it's been extra nice to keep in close contact with her to know that she and her family are safe from this disaster.

Written by my friend: As of this afternoon, we are still safe. The winds didn't reappear much today, making it easier to obtain control over the fires. When the wind did blow today, it blew north, taking the fire to Diamond Bar, CA. Diamond Bar is directly north of us and they are issuing mandatory evacuations for certain areas. And the latest wind to blow through is coming off the ocean and that is blowing the fires west, which takes the fires away from us. We will leave the cars packed until tomorrow. With the winds blowing this erratically, we don't want to assume anything. WE HAVE BEEN SO BLESSED. Please keep the people who have lose their homes in your thoughts and prayers, as this must be devastating.

comfort food tonight...


mmmmm.....homemade potato soup and cornbread!!


I used a recipe that was found online and modified it to more like my mom makes it... I'm guessing that potato soup is likely the easiest of soups to make, but I love to complicate things. So I took 3 recipes (including moms) and made one my own...I don't want it tooo thick, or tooo runny - I like it just right. So I made a bit of a roux, and used some half and half...


BassAckwards Mom's Potato Soup (makes 6-8 servings)


4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk of celery chopped (optional)
1 container chicken stock
1.5 tablespoons of flour
6oz evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter/margarine (your choice, fat or fat free)
6oz half and half
salt
pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley

cook: boil potatoes and onions in chicken stock, if the chicken stock doesn't cover the potatoes in the pot, then add water to cover. Once the potatoes and onions are tender, in a small sauce pan, add butter and allow to melt, mix in evaporated milk and flour, whisk until thickens and then add to the potatoes. After adding roux, add in half and half, season to taste and add parsley. Let stand for 10 min to thicken. We found that after 10 min, it got thicker then we preferred and we just added a little (about 1/2 cup) regular milk (1%) to thin it out just a bit.


It was YUMMY!!! I love potato soup, you can add cheese, or bacon to add a little more flavor! We rarely eat these types of yummys, but when we do it is a treat!!!
***keeping it healthy(ier) ..... I didn't point out our families' fat intake in the recipe above because it's obvious to those who know us, husband had heart surgery and we're determined not to repeat history - we're conservatives when it comes to fat... but there could be more then one person (someone emailed me) who may wonder if this recipe (or any recipe I post) tastes good with less fat ... We use Fat Free half/half, fat free evap. milk, fat free butter - and it was scrumptious. While the flour and white potatoes are not the best for those watching their weight, this is still a yummy low-fat soup to indulge on with a few cut corners. We use turkey bacon if we use it... and 2% or fat free cheese to top it off.

fire update

My friend just posted another update publically so with her permission I've added another bit of what she wrote about the situation in Brea, CA. She mentioned they're still on alert for evac., and the city is still under voluntary evac. orders. Below is a photos she took this morning around 6am at her house.
Written by my friend, around 530am.....

Our poor city is burning. Last night before we went to bed, we were under a voluntary evacuation. Also, at that time, the winds had died down so the smoke smell had cut back. However, the Santa Ana winds picked back up about 3/4 this morning and when -husband- took the dog out, he said it was much more concentrated. He came in coughing from taking the dog out. The mandatory evacuations are creeping closer to us but haven't reached us yet. We have our cars packed and are ready to go should we have to leave. It's amazing how, if you had to go through your house and take only the things you absolutely needed, it could be a car's worth of belongings.

my friend is safe for now

One of my very best friends, along with her husband and 2 year old daughter, is on alert for evacuation in the city she lives in -Brea, CA. I'm thankful she's safe with her family for now.... The fires are nearing her home, and she posted a couple of pictures publicly last night showing how close the smoke/fires were to her. We spoke as late as 1230am last night (930pm for her) and their plans were to get a little sleep after having packed evacuation boxes as well as putting their valuables in a fireproof safe. I'm so nervous for her, and waiting on a new update. ***As I type this, she updated me. The winds have died down some, they're still under voluntary evac. and the fires are still headed in their direction. Below are some pictures from her house yesterday late afternoon as well as a bit of what she posted lastnight. Above: The RED ZONE is located just north of her.... you can see the city of BREA where she lives is under the RED ZONE in this photo that I snagged from the LA Fires update site. Last updated early morning.
Above and below -photos taken by my friend at her home.

Written by my friend about the local fires: Ash is falling down the way snowflakes do in the winter. Very lazy like as they make their journey to the ground. Sometimes there are large chunks of black ash and some of it is smaller pieces of gray. People are walking around wearing hospital masks over their noses and mouths. Which I found, while I was out filling up our car, is a good idea because your throat and chest get sore quickly from breathing in the smoky air. The highway exit we take to get to our house has been closed because the fire has made such dense smoke that you can't see well. There are large clouds of smoke looming nearby from the Yorba Linda fires. We will keep our fingers crossed that we won't have to evacuate.
We are keeping the people who have lost their homes in our prayers.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

day 15

I'm thankful that my family and friends are safe. Up to 5 tornados tore through where my niece, nephew, brother, step-siblings and their children, and many dear friends still live. These storms happened in Wilson and Johnston counties, neighboring counties to where I was born and raised. I remember a similar outbreak of tornados from my childhood and we were so fortunately spared, and so vividly I remember seeing houses that had been blown apart and they looked like toothpicks lying everywhere. The storms from Friday night were EF2 and EF3 tornados that happened around 3am, when most people had no warning.

Friday, November 14, 2008

flashback Friday

Here's my flashback....Go over to Courtney's blog to see other flashbacks!
The first picture is of my mom, dad, brothers, and my maternal grandparents (both of whom passed away long ago).... I'm not in the picture because I'm still growing!! That happens to be the ONLY photo I have of my mom pregnant w/ me!! For a long time, my parents joked with me that I was adopted, and because I never had photo proof... I actually believed them from time to time. HA.
The rest of the photos are of me and my brothers, evolving. Now one is missing, forever. My parents made it a point to have us stand together for lots of occasions. These are just a few of the photos I have. I now see why that was so important to them, and I do the same with our children. These memories are a treasure, I do remember taking each photo... well, minus the one that I'm not in of course.


“Memories are the treasures that we keep locked deep within the storehouse of our souls, to keep our hearts warm when we are lonely.” ~Becky Aligada

Day 14 - I'm thankful for photographs.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Candied Sweet Potatoes

It's another recipe swap over at LifeasMom's blog!! This week's swap is Thanksgiving Veggies :). This is my favorite sweet, fat, overloaded calorie Thanksgiving special veggie. It's a family favorite at our house.

3-4 Medium Sweet Potatoes

1 cup white sugar

1 cup lt. brown sugar

2 Tablespoons of flour

1 cup cold water

1 stick margarine (we do use fat free on this one - but what does that really prove with the sugars????)

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Boil potatoes in peeling until tender. Peel, slice and place in a casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients in one medium sauce pan, bring to a slow boil. Pour over potatoes and bake about 30 minutes at 350degrees, sauce will thicken some. I always like to add about 10 jumbo marshmellows at the end and toss the oven on low broil to brown the tops of them a bit, then serve.

These are super yummy re-heated the next day... because everyone knows Thanksgiving means leftovers in most cases!!
Day 13 - I'm thankful for the ability to connect with other moms through the blogworld and mom forums. It's nice to have a look into the windows of other peoples lives from time to time. It keeps me grounded in many ways, and also is a nice way to get great ideas on crafts, yummy recipes, and get support in general!

bookworms




I've been milking 2 books, finished them off today finally! It seemed like for a while I could burn through books rather quick, but lately I've put them aside and been spending time doing other things. I realize now that I depend on a little reading time each day to defrag my brain, even if it's just 10-15 min in the carpool line waiting on big E to get out of school while the little one sings or looks at a book in the car.

Big E has read 5 books in the last 9 days. Most are for fun, and a couple are for school assignments and projects. He's finished Moby Dick, The Journey to the Center of the Earth (both that gma sent him, nice hardback copies!) The View from Saturday, and Sign of the Beaver (both for a literacy class at school that he joined) and a book that surprised me... Alice in Wonderland! He's been getting alot of books about airplanes, WWII crafts, submarines, scooters and motorcycles, boats, and buildings. It was nice to see him venture out to several childhood classics for his personal reading. He reads in the car anytime we go anywhere, something I can't really do - it makes me dizzy, I usually read at long stoplights, heavy traffic, or carpool lines. The literacy class challenges them with books, projects, and activities that are sometimes week-long projects. He really seems to enjoy being in the class, and we're excited that he has found something else that he really loves about school!

The little one is following his big brother's cue, his favorite reads this week are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, All the Ways I love you, and Hop on Pop. If he sees big brother reading, he grabs a book and does the same, sitting in the back seat of the car both boys will have their heads in books most every time we're together. Sometimes he'll sing his story to us. When he wants me to read Twinkle Twinkle, he brings it and runs to me singing the tune to Are you Sleeping Brother John. We have a special way to sing that one when we come across it in the book, and since it's repetitive, he likes to do one line and I do the other...It's nice to have bookworms in the house!!

Day 13- I'm thankful for simple moments like the one in the picture above... two boys, reading.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

day 12



I may post something other then thankfulness eventually.... but for now:




Today I'm thankful for my recent lucky streak! This one is a self-centered thankful post... I scored myself another mom giveaway giftcard recently (the first was from my SIL!) and it was another Starbucks giftcard. So - I'm all hopped up on a Grande Mocha Latte right now and gearing up to work well into the night on reports, claims, and other chaos with my job... all from the comfort of my bed.

day 11



I'm thankful for the men and women who have served, and do serve this country.




Monday, November 10, 2008

useless info

It's Monday.... so here I go w/ useless garb.

  1. Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.
  2. The sentence "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter in the English language.
  3. TYPEWRITER, is the longest word that can be made using the letters on only one row of the keyboard.
  4. American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class.
  5. "I am." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
  6. No president of the United States was an only child.
  7. One ragweed plant can release as many as one billion grains of pollen! (this is my worst enemy each year)
  8. The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds!
  9. A hippo can open its mouth wide enough to fit a 4 foot tall child inside!
  10. More Monopoly money is printed in a year, than real money printed throughout the world.

day 10

I have several posts that I've started today... but I'm really not in the mood to polish them up and post them right now....


Today I'm thankful for Advil.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

weekend wrapup

We ventured back out to the lake today for a look at the trees changing again. They're so pretty over the waterfront. You can see the colors increasing in today's photo as compared to last week's photos. The boys had a blast playing on the slides together. I thought this was such a sweet photo, big brother helping little brother with his shoe.... so sweet.
After some downtime at home for us all, we had planned to see this event and have a visual history lesson with the kids while enjoying a great show.


Every aviation site and forum I looked at had 4pm as the show time for the main attraction, so we planned to go home from the lake and lunch, let the little one nap, the rest of us relax, then arrive 15-20 min prior to start time. BLUGH, they started early. We arrived and could see the show from the road, it was interesting and the planes were flying low, and we'd have loved to have seen it from the airport viewing area... but it was OVER by 4pm!! We were all bummed, the kids were both so excited about it too. Argh. Just another reason I title my blog BassAckwards - HA!


We did manage to enjoy the day, even though that didn't go as planned. I'm thankful that the boys were understanding, things in life don't always go as planned and although today was a 'fun event' it still made me feel good that our oldest was understanding even though disappointed.

get snuggie

Our little one sleeps a wearable blanket with feet like this one, he kicks and squirms all of his blankets off so we figured why not use one of these for a little while longer? It's pretty neat because it has holes for his feet so he's not trapped... gosh, who'd have known someone would come up with something similar for adults???
I get a kick out of infomercials. Check it out, and even you can get "snuggie". I laughed so hard at the commercial... for some reason it's hilarious to me to see the grown ups try to look cool in the adult version of what my 2 year old wears. I'm betting that someone likes the idea.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

jumping in

We spent the day outdoors again. We've been fortunate to have several beautiful weekends in a row! The colors are so bold on the trees that still have leaves.

What a difference a day made... all of our leaves fell off the tree in the front yard. The little one loved jumping into the pile! Our camera battery went dead just as he started to cut loose in the leaves, so we'll have to take more today.


At the end of the day, we went to watch airplanes at the overlook. It was nice to watch the sun set across the colorful trees. The little one likes to get out of the car and romp around with his daddy, while big E and I stay in the car where it's warm.
Big E stopped for a quick photo..... he's a silly kid.

I'm thankful for crunchy leaves to play in.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Special Invitation


Today we were invited to a special presentation by big E's school.. the entire 4th and 5th grade presented a wonderful compilation of songs in honor of Election week, the title of the presentation was "America is My Home". We were very proud for big E, he participated in this entire event and absolutely did a wonderful job! They sang 7 songs total, this was the shortest video and under the 100MB limit to post on blogger. I'll post the rest to our smugmug site. We were quite delighted to see the 4th/5th graders sing songs that included every presidents name (Rap of the Presidents), as well as the Fifty Nifty United States. Each song had choreography, it was a nice way to spend our morning!

After each song, the audience of K5, 1st graders, and parents/family clapped. Little J was so proud of his big brother that he yelled "good job EZA!!!" I think that everyone in the room could feel the pride that little J had for big E!! The K5 students were sitting on the floor in front of the group doing the presentation, and little J went to sit and join them for each song. He loved watching his big brother sing just as much as we did!

In the video below, bit E is in the front row, left side, wearing Navy w/ White stripe shirt. Just look for the really white, really blonde boy... that one is ours ;).

video
I'm thankful for such a wonderful moment with our family today, the joy in watching big E sing and perform, seeing the excitement it brought for little J and overall feeling 100% proud to be an American while watching this show. Really an amazing presentation.

video

flashback Friday

Ok, so after looking at the boys pumpkin carving photos - I couldn't help but want to post this flashback Friday entry... I know I posted a Halloween one already, but I couldn't resist! I LOVED carving pumpkins with my dad. Mom gutted the pumpkin, dad carved it with our help (until my older brothers were too "cool" to carve pumpkins). I called my mom this year during our pumpkin carving to remind her that I still think that pumpkin guts are sticky and slimy and smell really bad.
Those were good times.
To this day, my dad totes around toothpicks.... note the toothpick in his mouth while carving. If you ask him - it helps him concentrate ;).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Santa's Early


What?!$%^!! I just heard on the news that Santa is coming to a nearby mall starting TOMORROW for photos!!!
What is with Santa???? Doesn't he need to stay home and eat turkey on Thanksgiving to get plump?
Oh well, our oldest boy doesn't believe in the fat guy, and the youngest could care less either way at his age. We usually do get pictures done for novelty sake. At our home, we celebrate more the true meaning of Christmas - but we do have fun with it too, it's how I grew up. We have special traditions with decorating the tree, doing crafts, etc.
As a child, I remember getting a picture made with ole St. Nick each year, and I cried as a kid! He scared me! Never once did I believe that Santa or getting gifts was the meaning of Christmas. My parents did a bang up job of keeping us grounded all while letting us enjoy the fun and have special traditions too. Some of my favorite childhood memories with my brothers are during the holidays. They kept the excitement level high for me, since I was the youngest. Holidays were so special when I was growing up. It meant gatherings, good food, and lots of fun w/ my brothers, cousins and Aunts/Uncles. My memories are not the material gifts, not even as a child, they're of the priceless gift of time together. I just can't believe the holidays are so close!!!

On a more random topic:
I'm thankful for the falling gas prices! There's a gas station nearby that is below 2.00!!

my frugalness part I

I'm frugal, more frugal then I ever thought I'd be! My mom's super proud, she used to tell me 'you'll understand some day' when I would roll my eyes at her for clipping coupons or seeking out the best deal. I used to think of being frugal as being cheap - but it's really being sensible, no matter how big or little your income is. How smart is it to pay more, when you could be paying less all along? My friend Julie has even recommended that we get some trendy shirts made about how it's cool to be frugal.

Anyway - this week I followed MoneySavingMom's advice and headed over to Walmart after printing off some of the e-coupons as well as looking through ones I'd clipped already. I left with 4 bags of goodies that retailed for just under 40.00, and I paid 18.47. One of those goodies was a clearance Thomas the Tank Engine toy for the little guy (5.99). Some other items included a small bag of Iams cat food (had a free coupon!), Pillsbury Cinnamon Cinnabon Rolls (free coupon!), Goody's Ouchless bands (.19 after savings!) and many more deals just like that.

So - this weekend it's triple coupons up to .99 cent at Harris Teeter and Bloom stores, Friday-Sunday. I've calculated in the past 3 months that using coupons, sales ads, and finding in store specials - we've saved almost 400.00 in shopping savings alone (groceries, toys for Christmas, bedding, cleaning supplies). That's a good bit!!! It gives us more to put in the dining out budget when we save on the necessities. Lowes Foods recently had triple coupons, and SuperKmart had triple coupons up to $2.00 last week. I left there with 1 months supply of cleaning items, cat litter, bottled waters, non-perishables, toiletries - and paid nearly nothing after coupon savings. I generally don't buy things just because I have a coupon for them, unless it's what we regularly use OR if I'm going to get it for nearly free.

Call me silly - but the way I see it, if the manufacturers are providing ways for us to cut corners... these days with prices going no where but up, we really can't afford to pass them up! I even get over 50% of our organic foods for less, I write the manufacturers (Full Circle, etc) a quick email from the contact us link on their sites and request coupons or free product trials and they almost always deliver. After writing them once, I become a regular on their mailing list and receive coupons by mail directly from them almost monthly.

A friend of mine suggested once that I join a company where you do free product testing, I did and we've received lots of goodies for FREE (no strings, only brief feedback is required) as well as lots of coupons and samples. The coupons and samples are yours to keep and either pass out to other people, or use for yourself... again - no strings. One of the products we received 100% free to keep, was a 250.00 all in one remote control . There are a few other word of mouth product sites that I've joined, but I've yet to see alot of product testing. Once I do - I'll share those too. The good thing about the ones I have joined, is almost all of them like you to do a survey so that they fit the product testing to your likes/interests in food/electronics/etc. Most people that I've told about this think it takes up alot of my time, but I seriously spend maybe 15-20 min one time a week. And I get rewarded with lots of freebies and fun stuff to try! Someone's getting stuff for free, someone's gets to test products for free, so I figure - why not me?

random: getting down with being frugal

I'm frugal, more frugal then I ever thought I'd be! My mom's super proud, she used to tell me 'you'll understand some day' when I would roll my eyes at her for clipping coupons or seeking out the best deal. I used to think of being frugal as being cheap - but it's really being sensible, no matter how big or little your income is. How smart is it to pay more, when you could be paying less all along? My friend Julie has even recommended that we get some trendy shirts made about how it's cool to be frugal.

Anyway - this week I followed MoneySavingMom's advice and headed over to Walmart after printing off some of the e-coupons as well as looking through ones I'd clipped already. I left with 4 bags of goodies that retailed for just under 40.00, and I paid 18.47. One of those goodies was a clearance Thomas the Tank Engine toy for the little guy (5.99). Some other items included a small bag of Iams cat food (had a free coupon!), Pillsbury Cinnamon Cinnabon Rolls (free coupon!), Goody's Ouchless bands (.19 after savings!) and many more deals just like that.

So - this weekend it's triple coupons up to .99 cent at Harris Teeter and Bloom stores, Friday-Sunday. I've calculated in the past 3 months that using coupons, sales ads, and finding in store specials - we've saved almost 400.00 in shopping savings alone (groceries, toys for Christmas, bedding, cleaning supplies). That's a good bit!!! It gives us more to put in the dining out budget when we save on the necessities. Lowes Foods recently had triple coupons, and SuperKmart had triple coupons up to $2.00 last week. I left there with 1 months supply of cleaning items, cat litter, bottled waters, non-perishables, toiletries - and paid nearly nothing after coupon savings. I generally don't buy things just because I have a coupon for them, unless it's what we regularly use OR if I'm going to get it for nearly free.

Call me silly - but the way I see it, if the manufacturers are providing ways for us to cut corners... these days with prices going no where but up, we really can't afford to pass them up! I even get over 50% of our organic foods for less, I write the manufacturers (Full Circle, etc) a quick email from the contact us link on their sites and request coupons or free product trials and they almost always deliver. After writing them once, I become a regular on their mailing list and receive coupons by mail directly from them almost monthly.

A friend of mine suggested once that I join a company where you do free product testing, I did and we've received lots of goodies for FREE (no strings, only brief feedback is required) as well as lots of coupons and samples. The coupons and samples are yours to keep and either pass out to other people, or use for yourself... again - no strings. One of the products we received 100% free to keep, was a 250.00 all in one remote control . There are a few other word of mouth product sites that I've joined, but I've yet to see alot of product testing. Once I do - I'll share those too. The good thing about the ones I have joined, is almost all of them like you to do a survey so that they fit the product testing to your likes/interests in food/electronics/etc. Most people that I've told about this think it takes up alot of my time, but I seriously spend maybe 15-20 min one time a week. And I get rewarded with lots of freebies and fun stuff to try! Someone's getting stuff for free, someone's gets to test products for free, so I figure - why not me?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

useless info Wednesday edition

I didn't post this on Monday, so I thought I'd go ahead and post it today....
Facts:
  1. 111,111,111 multiplied by 111,111,111 equals 12,345,678,987,654,321
  2. 7% of Americans think Elvis is alive.
  3. 13 people a year are killed by vending machines falling on them.
  4. The average child laughs 400 times a day. The average adult laughs 9 times a day.
  5. There are 132 rooms in the White House.
  6. "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry's ashes (in a lipstick-sized container) orbited the earth for six years. The journey ended in 1997 when they burnt up during re-entry into earth's atmosphere. {{dad - that one was for you}}
  7. A cow has four stomachs!
  8. A piece of paper cannot be folded on itself more than seven times. Try it!
  9. OLD LAW still on the books: In Tucson, Arizona, it is illegal for women to wear pants!
  10. A nanometer is the length that your thumbnail grows in one second.


I'm thankful that the elections are over. I'm interested to see where this will take us.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy 11th Birthday "doodlebug"
My niece turns 11 today!! Oh if only my brother (her dad) could see her now, growing up into such a lovely young lady. She told me today that she got some lip gloss and blush for her birthday since she's getting older, and we giggled and talked about 'girl stuff'. She's growing too fast. My heart is so happy to know she's growing up, but it's also so sad that my brother's not here to enjoy it.

I'm thankful that she still smiles and laughs. It means the world to me to hear her giggle over the phone.

a toss up


Came across this news clip today watching CNN. Couldn't resist, I had to share. What a way to vote, huh? I will just simply share the link - not my opinion.


Click here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

good job


Today big E is out of school. Teacher workday for our school district. I am pleasantly surprised by how this public school handles report cards. They do not give them to the students to bring home on their own, instead they call the parents on a workday to go over them in detail and then send them home later that week for signing. It was very personal, as personal as public schooling can be in my opinion.

Sometimes I think that public schools tend to focus on just 'getting the grade' at the moment - but long term learning should be the focus. We've been encouraging understanding math rather then pushing for perfection in memorizing and spitting out math facts. We've been insisting he take his time in reading for comprehension, rather then speed reading to grab facts in order to pass a test. Reading to learn, reading for fun, reading for vocabulary building skills.

Thankfully, big E's teacher is on the same page of teaching to learn, rather then teaching to get through the curriculum that is required. She told me today that she loves that he challenges her with questions and that he thinks outside of the box. I'm excited for him, he's really come a long way from hating school to loving it now.... from arguing about having to read all the way to reading 2-3 novels a week just because he wants too.

Just last week we were on our way home from school and we saw a motor scooter go by at a stoplight and big E says to me "did you know that paratroopers in WWII used Vespas?".... not only was I surprised, but I wanted to know when/where he studied about that! He didn't... on his own he picked up a book about scooters, read it and remembered facts from it. This was a book read for fun, not for any tests, not for any assignment, just a book he wanted to read! I learned alot about scooters from him. I was so excited that he'd read and learned from it that I came home and wiki'd WWII Vespas to find out more for myself....

So, big E made the A/B honor roll. Way to go big E! There are more and more days lately where he challenges us at home with questions, wanting to know facts about history or asking how something works in the world (especially with the election lately); then there are days that he goes on and on about something of interest to him. I'm not above saying that there have been a few times in the past few weeks that I can officially say "I am NOT smarter then a 5th grader".

30 days of thanks...Day 3 - I'm thankful for grasshotter moments and for the proud feeling I get when a teacher tells me that our child's eagerness helps her to strive to be the best teacher she can be.