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?