Welcome to the fabulous and sometimes insane life
of a working mother who is trying hard not to
let her whole existence be determined by her
cute little munchkins, yet continues to be drawn
in by the adorable and sometimes annoying tiny people!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Long Farewell...

The Sound of Music is one of my all time favorite movies, and now it is one of my girls' all time favorites. In fact, it is one that they have become obsessed with as of late. It is the movie of choice when we travel lately, and boy has there been some traveling lately.

We have visited our parents who live about an hour away from us several times this holiday season. In fact you could say that we have burned the road up between here and there because in a 2 week period we made the trip 3 times. Therefore we are frequently singing one of our favorite songs from The Sound of Music...So Long Farewell...During these travels we have celebrated four different Christmases. Luckily both of our parents are stilled married otherwise it could have been a lot worse.

Then we added to our travels with a cruise. Just us, no kids. And it was wonderful. To be able to get on a boat and not have to think about what we were going to do or where we were going to go or what we were going to eat was absolutely wonderful. Plus, I am a little fancy, so I really enjoyed being able to get dressed up every night.

We had a great time, but I was ready to get home. I missed my munchkins immensely. 5 nights was a little much. All I wanted to do was to get home and snuggle in my bed with the 3 of them and not sing that famous song again for a very long time.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stupendous Squash Casserole

This is my most requested casserole to bring to Christmas, Thanksgiving,and Easter gatherings. It is a twist on traditional squash casserole.

7-8 big squash (more if it is smaller)
1 cup light mayonnaise
1 can of cream of mushroom
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded parmigiana cheese
Garlic salt
Chicken buyon
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers (crushed)
1/4 cup butter

Slice squash and put in pot to steam with water and buyon cube. Steam for about 10 minutes. Drain squash thoroughly. I even use the pot to push the water out of the squash while it is in the strainer. In a big bowl mix together mayonnaise, cream of mushroom soup, both types of cheeses, and garlic salt to taste. Stir in squash and mix well. Then pour all into 9 x 13 greased pan. Sprinkled crushed Ritz crackers on top of casserole and then drizzle butter on top.Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

In All My Glory

So over the last few months I have put forth a valiant effort to lose weight. I have exercised every day most days, normally 5-6 days a week. I have eaten extremely very pretty healthy.

Then I kicked it up a notch when deciding to go on a cruise over Christmas break. I exercised longer and harder, and I really started being careful about what I ate. Both of these are extremely hard for me, because I hate to exercise and I love to eat: a lethal combination for any weight loss plan.

When I got serious about losing weight in September, I weighed 160. Yep! There I said it. I put it out there...on the Internet. I mean who are we hiding this from. Some of you will look at say, "Wow! I can't believe she had gotten that big!" While others will say, "Are you kidding me? Where you started is my goal weight. I would give my left boob to be that size!" Of course we must remember that we are all different sizes and all have different goals. (I vow to remember this statement the next time my ridiculously skinny sister-in-law starts complaining about how big she has gotten, again.)

Anyway, I wanted to give it one last push to the finish line this week, seeing as we leave on Sunday. I scoured the Internet for all kinds of ideas of how to lose weight quickly. I kepT coming across the concept of doing a "cleanse". I read all kinds of crazy stuff from cayenne pepper, to nothing but lemon water, to disgusting shakes, to just water. There was no way in H I was doing anything like that. Did I mention that I like food?

So I settled on a cleanse that I felt confident I could stick to: The Fruit and Vegetable Cleanse. It was pretty simple. You eat nothing but fruit and vegetables. All you want, but that is it. I could definitely do that.

Needless to say, when I left the grocery store last weekend I had a buggy full of fresh fruits and vegetables. When I got home, I stocked the fridge to the point that my husband complained about there not being any room (and we have 2 refrigerators). I started each day off with a berry smoothie. For lunch the first day I had salad, the next day watermelon and a tangerine, and the next day cucumbers, carrots, and kiwi. For supper I had a sweet potato, asparagus, and squash the first night, baked onion, zucchini, and broccoli the second night, and the next night...well I didn't make it that far.

By the end of the third day when I finished working out, I thought I was going to die. I had no energy and could barely walk. I needed protein. I needed fat. I needed energy. So I tried just nibbling on a little cheese but that opened the flood gates and one little piece turned into half a block. I mean it was inevitable. And after I found out that I had lost absolutely no weight, I was totally over this whole "cleanse" thing!Now granted, my stomach is now flatter than it has ever been.

So here I sit at 141 having lost 19 pounds in a few months. I am proud of myself. I am far from supermodel status and will still be striving to lose more weight after Christmas, but I think I look pretty hot. And I plan to weAR a bikini on my cruise with no shaMe. Just me In All My Glory.

Delicious and Nutritious

I have been making this smoothie for years but have just started drinking it again during my cleanse. It is so yummy, so I wanted to share.

1 bag of frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
2 bananas
1 cup orange juice

Put everything into the blender in order and blend until smooth. Add more OJ if it is too thick. I sometimes add kiwi or pineapple.

It is a great way to get in your fruits!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kindle Love

For my Mother's Day gift last year, I finally gave in and purchased a Kindle. I had been holding off because in my twisted mind I thought that buying a Kindle would indicate to the world that I was not a lover of books, which I am! I love to read! Love, love, love, love it! I love the smell of books, love the feel of books, and love the feeling of drifting away into another time, world, life.
But last year, I started having some issues with my vision. One of my eyes had a macular bulge (a-whole-nother blog) and my vision deteriorated to the point that it was hard to be able to read my beloved books. I started researching e-readers and found that I could adjust the font and enlarge it so that I could read it. So I gave in and purchased the Kindle with advertisements for $119 (of course now it is $79 after the release of the Kindle Fire).

I love it for so many reasons! I can adjust the font to whatever level I want in order to make it easier to read and not strain my poor, special eye. I always have a plethora of books at my fingertips. When a new book comes out, I can have it on my Kindle in less that 2 minutes. But the reason I love my Kindle the most, is the free books Amazon has. Why are they free? I don't know. Mostly, I think it is that they are self-published books by unknown authors and they are just trying to gain readers. Some of the free ones are the first book in a series and after you get hooked on the first books the others cost to buy. But normally they are no more than $;5.

I thought I would list some of my favorite books that I have read in the last 6 months. Most of these you will have never heard of because they are from self-published or unknown authors. But they are easy reads with great stories and are oh so good. In no particular order, here are a few of my favorites:
1. Ethereal (Celestra Series Book 1) by Addison Moore- This is the first in a series of (as of right now) 6. It is young adult fantasy. I read the first 4 in less than a week.
2. The Bride's Baby (Harlequin Romance)by Liz Fielding- I haven't read a Harlequin in a long time. I forgot what an easy read they are and how the stories are always good. This one is not nearly as trashy as some of those I have read previously. In fact, it is not trashy at all. Just a good story.
3. Making Waves: A Novel (Lake Manawa Summers) by Lorna Seilstad- This is young adult historical fiction. It is a great story of young love. I really enjoyed it and am looking for others like it.
4. Disaster Status (Mercy Hospital)by Candace Calvert- This was the first free book I read. It is a romance with a Christian undercurrent. It is a great story of love and faith.
5. One True Love by Barbara Freethy- A romance that begins with tragedy. This was hard
for me to read because I had a newborn at the time, but it is such a great read and proof of how true love can conquer all and is our greatest source of strength.
6. Sleight: Book One of the AVRA-K by Jennifer Sommersby- This is my favorite self-published book that I have read. I am eagerly awaiting the release of another book in this series. It is such an imaginative and suspenseful read. It is young adult fantasy and is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I can not wait until she releases another.
7. Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley- This was an entrancing story. It is a mixture of
historical fiction, realistic, and science fiction. I absolutely love The Outlander series and this book is very reminiscent of that series.
8. The Gifts (Vol 1 - The Gifts: Trilogy)by Patria Bunn-Rowe- This is another young adult fantasy. It is the first in a trilogy. I read all 3 in a week and at the end wished that the series would continue on.

There are many more books that I have discovered through my Kindle but my munchkins' and husband's patience for my morning blogging period is waning. So I must bring this entry to an end. The moral of this story: Don't hold out on getting an e-reader because you think it will indicate that you are snubbing books. To the contrary, it will make you the lover of many more books that you never would have discovered without it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Best Feelings in the World

The other day I made the statement, "Oooohh...this is the best feeling in the world." Get your mind out of the gutter. That was totally not what I was doing. Although, without a doubt, I have made the exact same proclamation in a totally different situation much to the satisfaction of my husband (pun definitely intended)!
No...what I was doing was using a Q-tip to clean my ear( I know, TMI). Now, for some people, this does not feel so good, but for me...it is ahhhmazing! I don't know why it feels so good, but it does. I have to make myself move on in the morning.
This led me to think about all of the things that feel Oh So Good!! So with the help of my Bunco group and others, I came up with the following list of The Best Feelings in the World. Have no fear! There is nothing sexual on this list. That would be for a totally different kind of blog.

Cleaning out your ear with a Q-Tip
Having someone play with your hair
A hot shower
Finally taking those heels off
Finally taking that bra off
Getting your back scratched
Getting into a bed that has just been made with clean sheets
A manicure or pedicure
When you are walking some where and that little, tiny, soft hand reaches up to grab yours
Napping on the beach
Getting to pee after you have been holding it for forever
A body slamming hug from a toddler
That first sip of a cold beer on the beach
Reaching that spot that itches oh so bad
Coffee in the morning
When you write that last check that pays off your car, house, etc.
When your skinny jeans finally zip back up
Dancing in the rain
The excitement of Christmas
The first bite of your favorite...meal, dessert, etc.
Coming home to a clean house that you did not have to clean
That first kiss
That nap after Thanksgiving lunch
A massage shoulders, back, foot...

What else can you think of? What are your Best Feelings in the World?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

These Boots are Made for...

So I am completely and totally addicted to www.polyvore.com It is like paper dolls for grownup girls! It is too much fun and I am quite sure I am wasting way too much time creating dream outfits. But I am thoroughly enjoying living in the dream world where I wear things like this!

My sister and I are even making a game out of it. We are going to pick one item that we both have to use and then see who can create the best outfit! We are thinking of it as a lot like Iron Chef America but with a great hat or a pair of red boots instead of lobster or pomegranates as the secret ingredients!

Monday, November 14, 2011

He Has Lost His Mind!

Last night I began the buying for Christmas. Now as someone who loves to shop, you would think this would be something I would enjoy. Alas, someone poisoned my happiness. This someone is the person who is always thinking about the funds. The someone who has created an Excel workbook including every small aspect of our family's financial life. The same someone who held off on proposing to me for 2 years (driving me to the point of insanity with guessing when he was going to pop the question) so that we could be "financially stable"!

Don't get me wrong! I appreciate him more than anyone, including himself, could ever know. Lord knows where we would be if I and my ADD self was in charge of our finances. I am quite sure our electricity would be frequently turned off and I would probably not be sitting here blogging because our Internet service bill would not have been paid. That being said, he is such a dadgum buzz killer when it comes to shopping!

I am pretty much in charge of the Christmas shopping. And when I say pretty much, I mean that I do it all with very little input from him. Yet, inevitably, he will have complaints about the amount of money that has been spent on Christmas. Of course, these complaints always seem to come after everything is wrapped and under the tree. And some have even come at the exact point that we are acting like little elves and helping "Uncle Bob" put out his gifts. At this point, we are tired, cranky, thinking about the long day ahead which will no doubt start extremely early, and trying our hardest to be quiet, and all his questioning does is cause me to slip into crazy psycho mode!

So in an effort to avoid the aforementioned drama, I decided to include him ahead of time. I mean its not fair that I am put in charge of making all of these decisions only to be scrutinized in the end like a tiny bug on the sidewalk being burned with the sun through a magnifying glass. He should have to be apart of these decisions, too!

Well...it did not go well. Everything I added to the list caused his jaw to start clinching and his breathing to speed up. Look its not my fault that our 7 year old is the only one we know without a Nintendo DSi and she asked for one. Its not my fault that the stupid things are $159 or that its cheaper to buy a bundle deal including the console, case, and 3 games for $189. Its not my fault that Santa (Uncle Bob) would never just bring her one thing.

I mean I did tell the girls about the e-mail I received from Santa asking if we would be willing to ask for only 3 gifts because due to the population explosion he was having difficulty getting gifts to all of the children in the world. Heck, 3 gifts was good enough for Jesus and that is all my children need,too. They were good with that. As long as one of those gifts is a Nintendo DSi.

So what is his solution to counteract the ridiculous amount of money we are having to spend on just one of our 3 children? We spend no money on the baby. Absolutely none! We go upstairs into the attic and pull clothes out of the 9 month box and wrap them up, and then find other toys that our children have forgotten about and put them out. That or go to the dollar section at Target, which I am quite sure does not contain items suitable for a 6 month old.

I swear he has lost his mind, and he is causing me to lose mine. Most wonderful time of the year....hmph... we'll see!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kicking It Up a Notch

With 5 weeks until we launch (see previous post), I feel the need to Kick It Up a Notch on the weight loss spectrum!

I have now lost over 15 pounds since I started on this weight loss trek at the end of August. The majority of it coming off in the last month, seeing as the first month was really more of a roller coaster ride of losing and gaining. It took me really getting serious and discovering Zumba for the pounds to start coming off and my body to start changing.

Now my arms are quite tone and have departed from the stage where my tricep flab shakes when I moving my arm. My stomach is actually hard in places, and I have depleted almost all of the cellulite on my thighs and bottom.

But there is still much to be done. Especially now that we have 35 days until we go on our cruise. On Tuesday, my dress arrived. When I say dress, it is with a tone of much reverence because it is the most expensive dress I have bought since getting married. It wasn't ridiculous but it was still much more than I would ever spend on an item of clothing.

I love it! It is sparkly and revealing and very, very sexy. It hugs all of my curves. My newly toned booty, my curvy tatas (which were bought just so ya know!), and my not so toned belly. The top part of my tummy is all tight and hard. However the baby making part appears to be resistant to all of the toning and crunching and slimming attempts. Plus it is causing the dress to lack about 1/2 an inch from zipping all the way up.

So after asking around, a friend of mine suggested getting a waist trimmer. It is a simple little device sold at your local Wal-Mart in the workout section. The one I bought was made by Gold's Gym. You warp it around your waist while you are working it out. It helps you remember to tighten your abs but most importantly it causes you to sweat out all of the water weight from that area.

I admit that I was skeptical. I mean come on how much difference can it make. I bought it Thursday afternoon and wore it during Zumba that night. When I was finished, I could feel the sweat pooling at my belly. It was so gross when I took it off. Sweat was dripping from me and the belt. I looked in the middle and it did in fact look flatter and when I weighed myself the next morning I had lost a pound in one day!

Since then I have used it every time I have worked out and my tummy continues to look more and more trim. Maybe this was the key to Kicking It Up a Notch. A belt and some serious carb and calorie watching and Zumba partying!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fashionably Four

I do up some birthday parties! I try not to go overboard but inevitably it happens anyway. It could be my obsessive personality that believes if you are going to do something you should go all out or go home.

Anyway, birthday parties have become a thorn in my husbands side. I plan and order and make and create and decorate for weeks before. He thinks I do to much and that it causes unnecessary stress. He just doesn't understand! Yes it is stressful, but I also love doing all of it.

This year we put on a Fashionably Four birthday party (I love alliterations!). It was perfect for my little DIVA!

We have a plethora of dress up clothes as does my sister-in-law who has two little girls. So we
set up a "dressing room" by lining every hangable item with dress up clothes.

In the living room, we set up stations. There was a station for getting your nails painted. There was a makeup station and a hair station. There was also a section for accessorizing, complete with boas, crowns, jewelry, and shoes.

After dressing and accessorizing, we had a fashion show complete with a runway that I made out of a folded up gymnastics math and covered with a black sheet. And the paparazzi went crazy over the new models we unleashed into the world.

We even had fashionable cupcakes and fruit.

The whole party was relatively easy. The Dollar Tree provided cheap accessories and I got Fancy Nancy gift boxes from Celebrate Express.Everyone also took home a crown and boa so they could be fancy and fashionable away from the runway. It was so much fun!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Scrumptious Shrimp Pasta

2 lbs shrimp (I use frozen from Sam's and just thaw it out)
1 box of linguine
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
8 oz sour cream (I use fat free)
1 cup mayonnaise (I use fat free)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
4 tablespoons sherry
1 cup shredded shredded cheese

Cook pasta following instruction on box. Place pasta in bottom of a 9x13 pan. Put shrimp on top of pasta. Mix everything but cheese in a bowl and pour over top of shrimp and spread it out. Cover with tinfoil and cook for 25 minutes at 350. Uncover and sprinkle cheese over top and back for another 5 minutes.

*Freezes well just prepare up to the point of putting in the oven and then cover and freeze.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stick a Needle in My Eye

So back in February I started seeing floaters in my left eye. At first, I wasn't really sure what they were. I thought that maybe there was dirt in my eye. Alas, that was not the case. My vision in my left eye began to deteriorate. Because I was pregnant, the doctors thought that maybe it was caused by the pregnancy.

After giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, my vision did not improve as it should have after all of the swelling receded. So I was sent to a specialist: one of the most renowned surgeons in the Southeast. And it turns out that I had a macular bulge, which is extremely rare for anyone under the age of 50.

So 6 weeks after giving birth, I went "under the knife" or the needle in this case and had surgery one my eye and enjoyed the best sleep I had had in 6 weeks (more if you count all of those sleepless nights before giving birth). However, it took a while to actually be able to see out of my eye again and even longer for the vision to return to somewhat normal.

The latest development occurred last week after I waited for over 2 hours in the waiting room. After waiting for so long, the doctor informed me that the drops I had been using since the surgery to reduce post-surgery swelling had not been working. The way to solve it: an injection into my EYEBALL!!! I about freaked out, but he assured me it would be no big deal. I beg to differ sticking a needle in my eye is a big deal (and not just when you break a promise).

But what was I to do? I agreed and really didn't feel anything. However, my eye started hurting and watering shortly after ruining a perfectly good trip to Target, and by the time I got home it was seriously scary looking. It was blood red. Not bloodshot, but it looked like blood had pooled in my eyeball.

Turns out he had nicked a blood vessel with the needle when he did the injection. It cause a hemorrhage in my eyeball, which is apparently just like a bruise. But you can see the blood because it is not covered by skin. It is supposed to go away in 2-3 weeks. In the mean time, I am stuck looking like a Halloween costume that hasn't been put up yet and should probably be on the 75% off rack. On a positive note, I am having a lot of fun freaking out my students.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where Did My Angel Go!

For the last 6 months my husband and I have counted ourselves lucky. We relished in the peacefulness of having a perfectly content baby. Now, I am not saying she never fusses or cries. She does. However, she only cries when she is hungry or when that dirty diaper has gone unnoticed. Whenever she starts to fuss, it is because she is tired of the bouncy seat or tired of the exer-saucer or tired of rolling around on the floor or just plain tired.

Now granted, she is by far not a perfect baby. She still does not sleep through the night. We haven't fed her at night since she was 10 weeks old but she still wakes up at least once wanting her pacifier. In fact, I would only need one hand and for that matter only a couple of fingers to count the number of times she has slept completely through the night.

My other 2 girls both slept through the night at 6 weeks. Of course the second one took forever to get on a schedule and whereas she slept through the night it took forever for her to actually go to sleep, and we finally had to "Ferberize" her, which was absolutely miserable but worked. Once it was done she was the happiest baby. That is until 1. My first child slept perfectly but was colicky and had a witching hour that lasted from 4-8 for the first 12 weeks. The only thing that made her happy was for me to dance around with her (needless, to say I lost a little weight). I guess you take the good with the bad. The oldest child has turned into the most easy going kid while the second one is all me: dramatic, dynamic, and drumming for attention.

But now this perfectly content baby has morphed into a perfectly pissed off baby. She does fine at the sitter's but when we get home nothing satisfies her: not the exer-saucer, not the bouncy seat, not the floor, not her bed, not even her pacifier! I have to carry her around the whole time. I feel as if I am going back in time to that witching hour with my first child. I thought we were past all of this. I thought the first eight weeks were the worst.

Now granted, she does have a runny nose. So I am sure she does not feel good. Bless her heart. She also is at that point where she is ready to give up the late afternoon nap but can't quite make it yet. Again, bless her heart. All of this makes her very, very, very unhappy. BLESS MY HEART!

So we are humidifying and suctioning and vapor rubbing on feet and feeding earlier and bathing earlier and going to bed earlier, but the transition is about to kill me. My husband received the following text from me while he was on the football field today, "I can't take much more of this...I MEAN IT!"

All I have to say is: Thank the Lord for older children who can bathe themselves.. Thank the Lord for a husband who leaves his job and comes home early. Thank the Lord for a sister-in-law who is watching all three children along with her own so that I can have a break tomorrow afternoon, even if it is at the doctor's office. And thank the Lord for Zoloft, because without that "sweet nectar of life" the question of Where did my angel go? would have sent me over the edge!

Friday, October 21, 2011

My How Times Have Changed

Tonight it is just me and the girls. My husband had an away football game, so I thought we would have a movie night. We had a pizza picnic in the middle of the living room and watched one of my favorite Halloween movies, Hocus Pocus. I found it in the Red Box rental thingy at Wal-Mart. I had not seen it anywhere in so long and I knew the girls would like it and they are enjoying it completely. They are thoroughly enamored with it.

What I had forgotten is how many curse words are in it. Bette Middler's "Damn, damn, double damn!" certainly through me for a loop. Not to mention Sarah Jessica Parker's endless sexual innuendos. And the countless discussions about the virgin who lit the black flame candle. I am just waiting for one of them to ask, "Mama, what is a virgin?" Now I am quite open with my children but that is one I am not quite ready for. I also was not quite prepared for how scared they were. When it was done they both just looked at me. I asked them if they didn't like it? They said it was so scary. Of course 2 minutes later, my youngest asked "Can we watch it again?"

You know this is like all of the great movies I enjoyed during my childhood. One of my favorite movies ever was The Goonies. I loved Mikey and Mouth and Chunk and Andy and the whole gang. I mean what a great adventure movie. My sister and I rented it almost every weekend from the only video store in town and took it home in a blue vinyl box (blue for PG). However, have you watched it lately? I mean, Chunk yells out "S--t" in the first 2 minutes of the movie and it is repeated many times a longs with many damns and a few hells thrown in for good measure. Then there is the dead body that keeps `popping up everywhere and the fact that escaped convicts are constantly trying to kill them.

And then there is my most favorite movie of all time, GREASE! It is so awesome and has the most amazing music. My sister and I had numerous musical numbers that we performed in our living room choreographed to the almost exact sequence of Sandy, Danny, the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds. But seriously, have you watched it since you crossed into adulthood. OMG! What was my mother thinking? First there's the whole sex thing, what with the Kenickie's "$0.75 insurance policy" aka condom that breaks. Rizzo possibly knocked up the whole time, and the constant making out.

Then there are the songs...the wonderful songs...the wonderful and, now I realize, dirty, dirty songs:

"You know that ain't shit when we'll be gettin' lots of tit in greased lightnin'"
"You know that I ain't braggin', she's a real p---y wagon - greased lightnin"
"As for you Troy Donahue, I know what you wanna do. You got your crust I'm no object of lust I'm just plain Sandra Dee"
"She swam by me, she got a cramp. He ran by me, got my suit damp"
" He got friendly, holding my hand. While she got friendly down in the sand."

I don't know if my mom didn't watch these movies with us, or if she just knew it all would go over our heads like it did. I know that if you don't make a big deal of things kids, normally, won't pick up on it. But it is so funny how now I will defintely think twice about watching some of my favorite childhood memories with my children. My how times have changed!