Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hopeful...and It Feels Good!

After venting on here the other day, I am feeling better.  Maybe the new year has something to do with this welcome change.  It just feels good to know that a fresh year lies ahead of me.  Three hundred and sixty-five days are waiting to be explored, celebrated, and enjoyed. I know life will still have its difficult moments, but I need to remember to focus on the positive times.  I also need to look for the positive in the dark times and thank Jesus for the little glimpse of light.  2013 is going to be a good year because I am putting on my rose colored glasses.

Happy 2013!!

I hope 2013 is a fabulous year for everyone.  A year filled with wonderful family and friends, a job you enjoy, and enough money to take care of your needs.  I wish everyone a year they can be happy with.  :-)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Menu For 12/31 to 1/6

Monday, December 31~Appetizers (This is our traditional New Year's Eve menu...cocktail weenies, chips and cheese dip, and pickle bundles.)
Tuesday, January1~Polish Casserole and green beans
Wednesday, January 2~pot roast and mashed potatoes
Thursday, January 3~mustgoes
Friday, January 4~Meatloaf Muffins and corn
Saturday, January 5~scrambled eggs and bacon
Sunday, January 6~ steaks and Sweet-Sour Lettuce Salad

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Venting~Don't Mind Me

Oh goodness!  I don't even consider myself a blogger anymore, and I am sure I don't still have readers.  That is okay though.  I just need to vent and journal, and this seems like a good place to do just that.

Last March I took a job as a part-time teachers aide.  Loved it!  Made me realize that I wanted to be a teacher, so I started to apply at area schools.  None even called for an interview.  Taking 11 years off after college to raise your family doesn't look great on paper. Thankfully the school I was working at needed to hire a 2nd kindergarten teacher, and I was hired two weeks before the school year started.

Talk about a crazy time!  I had just gotten back from spending time with family in Ohio, and now I had two weeks to take a space and whip it into shape.  I vowed to make the room a fun and inviting place, and I think I did pretty good.  I mean we are talking kindergarten here.  Sometimes this is a child's first exposure to school, and you want it to be a good one.  Thankfully my mom and my kids were there to help me get the room ready.  

Getting the room ready was only the beginning of the journey though.  A teacher needs lesson plans, and I am kind of a crazy teacher.  I like to have two weeks worth of lesson plans prepared ahead of time.  Right now I have three weeks, and that makes me feel...safe, comfortable, prepared.  What all this means is I was spending a lot of time at work.  Usually I would get there by 7am and I would leave by 5pm.  Crazy days!

During this time my mom was really picking up my slack.  Jeff, my husband, works crazy hours running our fence company.  My mom was keeping the home clean, cooking some of the meals, and running the kids to and from most activities (dance, football, chorus, tumbling, piano, girl scouts-we are busy!).  I knew things would get better eventually.  I know enough teachers to know that the first year can be a bit rough, but you get it under control eventually.

Now, during this time let me just mention that my marriage was struggling.  Badly!  All marriages go threw ups and downs.  Don't let anyone tell you different.  The key is to work through the hard times.  I don't want to go into a ton of detail on our problems.  I will just say that I was feeling lonely, and I felt like I was living with a buddy/roommate.  We are still working on things, but I have hope that we will be fine.

Busy life, hectic job situation, marriage on the rocks...can life get any crazier?  Sure can!  In November, we got a call from our family in Ohio letting us know that my Aunt Cathy's cancer was back and had spread.  At this point it was considered terminal.  I believe they said without chemo she had about 2 months to live, but with chemo it could be up to 6 months.  

My Aunt Cathy is my mom's sister, as well as one of her best friends.  They are about 18 months apart and come from a large family.  As a child, our vacations were usually spent visiting my aunt and her family.  I knew my mom would want to go be with her sister, so before she could ask I worked it out with my friends.  My friend Danielle and her husband Bill make sure my kids get to the bus stop.  My friend Karen picks my kids up from school and watches them until about 4:30.  This means I have had to learn how to leave work by 4. Let's not forget my friend Carrie who picks up my oldest from chorus and takes her to Karen's house.  Praise Jesus for friends!

My mom left about a week before Thanksgiving.  It was definitely an adjustment for my kids.  My son would burst out crying for the first couple of days, but it did eventually get better.  It helps that he can call her whenever he wants to, and we have even Skyped with her.  Some of his emotional behavior also stems from the accident we witnessed.

It was the weekend after my mom left, and Jeff and I took the kids out for pizza and ice cream.  Jeff drove separate.  On our way home, we witnessed a horrible motorcycle accident.  Two motorcycles sped around us on the bridge, but the traffic ahead was at a standstill.  One of the motorcycles lost control, laid his bike down, and at that point it felt like he was flying towards us.  Later I realized this was because we were driving right towards him, but it all seemed so weird.  I told the kids to stay in the car, and I started running towards him.  I told a car nearby to call 911, since I didn't have my phone with me, and I knelt down and just started praying for him.  He was unconscious and bleeding, and I truly felt helpless.  Two nurses stopped and helped out, which made me feel better.  We were on a bridge, and traffic was really congested, so I helped another man try to get traffic moving.  Jeff drove by and looked a little freaked out until I assured him we were all fine.  Sadly, that man was not fine.  He never regained consciousness, and he died two weeks later.  I am waiting for the day that I can drive over that bridge and not think about him.    

So, as you can imagine, life got really crazy for me.  Sure, I was leaving work earlier, but only to get home to run the kids to and from activities, help with homework, and deal with bath and bedtime.  Who has time to clean?  Heck most days I don't have time to cook.  Let's not forget that this is a particularly busy time of year...holidays! 

I talk to my mom everyday, and I miss her so much.  We did almost everything together.  I am so glad that she can spend this time with her sister, but it is hard being without her.  It is also hard hearing how my aunt is doing.  Watching someone die, is not an easy thing to do.  Knowing that they are in pain is hard on them and their loved ones.  

I have to say that I feel guilty when I wish my mom was back at home.  I feel like that is the same as wishing my aunt were dead, and that is most definitely not the case.  If anything, I wish there was a cure for cancer.  I wish she had never gotten cancer.  I wish she could live for another 30 years.  

Well, that is all.  I just had to write down how crazy life has been.  I needed to vent about how cruddy things have been lately.  On a bright note, my children are learning to help out more, my hubby and I are working on our marriage, and I am continuing to learn how to be a good teacher.  It's not all bad, and I know that things will get better.  Life seems to cycle like that...bad, good, bad, good.  We need to be sure we really enjoy those good times!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our Menu For 1/9/12 Through 1/15/12

I am struggling with menu planning for two reasons...

1) I am in a rut! This happens from time to time. I feel like I use the same meals over and over (and over), which is okay for awhile, but it hits a point where I get bored.

2) I am trying to lose weight, and that makes planning a menu tricky. I don't want to be unrealistic while menu planning, because I won't stick with the plan. Also, it is easier for me to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch, so I can have a little room to play with at dinner.

Let's face it: menu planning can be quite tedious and difficult from time to time. This was that week for me.
Monday~Cheeseburger Soup with Beer Bread
Tuesday~Spaghetti and Sausage with Garlic Bread
Wednesday~Cinnamon Flapjacks and Bacon
Friday~Pot Roast with Mixed Vegetables (Carrots, Onions, and Cauliflower)
Saturday~Chicken Burgers with Green Beans
Sunday~BBQ Chicken Breast and Edamame

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Flu Season

Flu season is in full swing. Just ask my family. Jeffrey came home feeling ill on New Year's Eve...chills, vomiting, diarrhea. It then progressed to Josh, Meghan, Ali, my mom, and then myself. All in under a week. Whew! We are tuckered out, irritable, and ready to get out of this house!!

The kids were supposed to start back to school today, but I kept them home, since they were still stick yesterday. They are anxious to go back tomorrow. They are fighting with each other like crazy, and in all honesty, they are driving me batty. :-)

I suppose there is no way to fully avoid the flu, but there are steps you can take. I want to advise everyone to do so. Having just gone through a rough week, which sent one child to the emergency room, I want to prevent others from enduring something this icky! (Yes, icky is my technical term for this virus.)

So, here is my advice for everyone...

  • If you are sick, please stay home!! Try to spare others from suffering like you are.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you don't have a tissue handy, use the crook of your arm.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water...often!! If you aren't near soap and water, use the alcohol based hand sanitizer, but always go for good ol' soap and water first. Wash often...after going to the bathroom, before eating, etc.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, so that you don't spread germs.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people. I am not telling you not to help out sick people. If they need you to run to the store, do so, but make sure you leave the stuff outside their door. You don't need to actually come into contact with them to show them that you care.

So, good luck out there my friends. Protect yourself and others during this flu season. It's the right thing to do! :-)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Presents

Remember that silly post I wrote to Santa? Well, it was used to buy my Christmas presents. :-)

My mother got me the cool family tree that I wanted.

My husband got me some Daisy. He didn't get me the regular Daisy like I normally wear though. Instead, he got me the Daisy Eau So Fresh, which I adore. Smells great!
I made out pretty good! How about you? Do share! :-)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Our Menu For 1/2/12 Through 1/8/12

Monday~Chicken Cordon Bleu, Wild Rice, and Green Beans
Tuesday~Cheeseburger Soup and Beer Bread
Wednesday~Cinnamon Flapjacks and Bacon
Friday~Spaghetti with Italian Sausage and Garlic Bread
Saturday~Biscuits & Gravy (It's my son's 8th birthday, so he get's to choose what we eat. I love that he chooses something so yummy!!)
Sunday~Grilled Steaks with Veggies

Time To Reflect

At the end of every year, I like to reflect back and see what I could change. My own personal evaluation of how I have handled life. I try not to beat myself up over what I see. Instead, I note ways I could be better, and I resolve to work on these things.

I realize this means that I essentially set New Year's Resolutions, but I never call them that. "New Year's Resolution" has become kind of joke in our society. It shouldn't be that way, but it really does seem to be. So, I will simply say that I am making some 2011 reflections, which lead me to some 2012 goals. :-)

In 2011 I have worked on becoming a better parent. I still have work to do in this area though. So, in 2012 my goal is to work on disciplining my children more, out of love, of course. Too often I want to head in the other direction of whining, fighting, and sassiness, but I know that is not the right thing to do.

In 2011 I realized that I have become utterly unorganized. Seriously. I can't find things I should be able to locate. My calendar isn't as organized as it should be, so I don't know when kids have certain extra-curricular activities (like piano parties and birthday parties). This has to change. In 2012 my goal is to become a more organized me. One who puts things where they should be so that I can find them later, and one who writes everything on the calendar (even if I swear I would never forget such an event).

In 2011 I became obese. Okay, that is totally a lie. I allowed myself to become obese years before 2011. Probably more like 2006. However, the word obese really hit home in 2011. Just so you know, I really hate the "O" word. I might hate it even more than the "F" word, much to my mother's chagrin. Anyway, my body aches from carrying this weight, and I am tired and wore out because of the weight. So, in 2012 my goal is to work on taking off some of this weight. I know, I know. You are thinking that this is a typical "resolution." It really isn't my fault that a huge portion of our society is also obese and also makes this "resolution." I'm sticking with my goal! I even have an accountability partner set up. My friend, and old college roommate, asked me to pair up with her on her weight loss journey. We even started a facebook page called 'FLOW~Finally Losing Our Weight~Dawn & Tammy's Weight Loss Journey.' Look us up and like us!!

Do you usually set "resolutions," or are you like me and you set goals? If so, what have you decided to work on this year? Do share! :-)

Happy New Year!!

Hope everyone has a blessed 2012. May it be a year filled with health and happiness for all. :-)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins

1. Wait, wait I'm not ready for 2012 to start. It seems like the world was frantic over Y2K just yesterday, but that was actually over a decade ago. How can that be possible???

2. The 21st century is a little different than I expected. There aren't any flying cars on the market, and people don't walk around in shiny silver space suit type outfits.

3. In addition, I'm a bit disappointed that I don't have a robot to take care of all my needs. Where is my Rosie the Robot?.

4. One day at a time is the way we do it here! Any more than that and I get overwhelmed!

5. At the end of the year, I like to reflect on the past year and see what changes I want to make.

6. Taking a trip to Miami, Florida with my hubby is one of the things I'm looking forward to in 2012.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to taking Meghan to a birthday party and then working on cleaning my office, tomorrow my plans include working on my office some more and celebrating the New Year with my family and Sunday, I want to hopefully finish up that office and relax after church!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cards I've Made

This month I have attended two card making classes, and it has been great. Not only have I come home with 7 homemade cards, but I have also learned a few new techniques.

In the first class, I basically learned the basics of stamping, as well as a little bit about embossing. We made 4 Christmas cards. Check them out...

In the second class, I learned about coloring on glitter with Elizabeth Craft Design stickers. Super cool and very easy!! Check out how pretty it turns out...

Look at the dove! Isn't that gorgeous? I did that!

I'm really excited because there are two more classes in January. I am definitely going to do one of them because it will be teaching about working with Dreamweaver Stencils, which I have always wondered about. I'm still waiting to see what the second class is about. Can't wait! :-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins

1. Sleigh bells ring, they sound inviting. They draw me in, I wish I were riding, in a sleigh with my love, cuddled up like two doves, riding in a winter wonderland.

2. It's coming on Christmas, they're cutting down trees, decorating them with lights. Making life sparkle, giving it a shine.

3. You're a mean one Mr(s). Crabby Employee. You really are a grouch. You are as helpful as a traffic accident, as friendly as Scrooge, Mr(s). Crabby Employee.

4. Father Christmas please, oh please, bring me a new van. One with all the bells and whistles, and put the title in my hand.

5. Silent night, Beautiful night. All is calm, STOP! Where are the children? It's way too quiet around here. (lol When it get's quiet, you know they are up to something.)

6. All I want for Christmas is peace on Earth. I don't ask for much!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going to my hubby's work party, tomorrow my plans include attending my daughter's piano recital, stopping by my niece's birthday party, and possibly baking and decorating cookies with my son and Sunday, I want to go to church, relax, and attend a party for a friend! Busy, Busy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thursday Thirteen-Dear Santa

LinkDear Santa,

It's that time of year again. Time for me to tell you what I want for Christmas. I must also assure you that I have been good. Very, very good! Although, I bet you already know that. :-)

1. 2012 Honda Pilot~Let's face it, Santa, my 2006 Kia Sedona stinks. I made a poor choice, and I would love for you to right my wrong.

2. Ugg Adirondak II Boots~Santa, I'm not a huge Ugg fan, but these boots look warm and cozy. Can't you see me taking Cocoa for walks in the snow?

3. Marc Jacobs Daisy Gift Set~My other bottle is practically empty. Surely you don't want me to go around stinky, Santa!

4. A Working Fireplace~Ten years! That is how long we have lived in this home, Santa, and not once have we had a fire in our fireplace. Could you please check it to be sure it is safe and clean it out? Thanks! Look at the bright side, you won't burn your bottom. ;-)

5. A Mother's Necklace~Please note that my children's birthstones are diamond, garnet, and topaz. Thank you!

6. Hobby Lobby Gift Cards~Santa, this would be a huge help! I am on a card making kick lately, and Hobby Lobby seems to be getting a lot of my money.

7. Craft Room (Fully Stocked & Organized)~This would be my little piece of Heaven on Earth!

8. Metal Family Tree~Santa, don't you think this would look nice in my house?

9. Light Fixture Above Dining Room Table~I just really think it would be nice to see what we are eating. Of course, this will probably just make my kids refuse to eat even more, and I am certain I will hear "Ewwwww, disgusting!" more often.

10. Camera Lens~I need to be able to zoom in on the football field next year.

11. Comfy Shoes~Santa, have you also noticed that the older you get, the more your back hurts? I am convinced that shoes make all the difference. They need to be comfy with good arch supports.
12. Pajamas & Slippers~I love feeling cozy in my home during the winter, and I think long flannel jammies and soft slippers would do the trick.

13. Sapphire Earrings and Necklace~You know I could rock this look, Santa! Especially paired with those flannel pj's. ;-)

I will truly be grateful for whatever you bring, Santa. Especially if it is on this list. ;-) To show my appreciation, I will leave you an extra cookie this year. I'm nice like that.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Festively Fun Dinner

I love the holidays, and I enjoy embracing them in all kinds of ways. Tonight I embraced them by serving a festive, and tasty, dinner.

Take a look...

Did you see the package in the background? Christmas tree shaped pasta by Pastabilities!! Look closer...

So fun! It took my already tasty Chicken Macaroni Casserole to the next level. It really is the little things that make life enjoyable. :-)