30 October 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday!

1. Andy got a decent picture of Alex in her ComfyJoey. She was in it with Daddy! I never thought my hubby would wear a sling, but if it makes baby girl happy, I guess he'll do it!

2. I splurged on another carrier. I got this one at Target for $15. Alex loved being at school today for the Halloween parade and seeing all of the kids!
Isn't she the cutest pink leopard?

3. My little Mario, I mean Michael, is doing so well on his potty training! He literally only had a couple of accidents this week, and woke up dry 3 out of 5 mornings this week!

4. This is our Meyer lemon tree. After spending the summer outside, it has come in for the next 9 months, I mean winter. We have a ton of lemons this year (15-20), and it is already budding. Going to have to pull out my lemon recipes!

5. We began working on our annual Christmas ornament this week. All I can say is that it is a tree, and it is VERY cute!

6. Tomorrow is the last day of the soccer season. Our games were cancelled last week because of the mud. I am waiting to hear about tomorrow. I haven't gone to the last few because it has been too cold for the baby. I may try to bundle her tomorrow so I can see the boys play.

7. I feel like the end of the year is coming too quickly. I can't believe that we are almost at November. Once Halloween is over, we are entering my favorite time of year with the holidays. I am hoping to finish Christmas shopping in the next couple of weeks so I can enjoy Advent and all of the holidays.

Check out more over at Jen's.

29 October 2009

Recipe Swap Thursday!

Looking for a new recipe? It is that time again! Let's swap recipes-just grab the code from my sidebar and add it to your post. Then come back and leave the link to your post in the comments section here.

My friend, Lisa, has been sending me some great recipes lately. After the baby was born, she surprised me with my favorite soup so, I thought I would share the recipe. By the way, it is a healthier version of the original and super yummy! Enjoy!

Broccoli Soup

4c chicken or vegetable broth
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c chopped carrots
1 tbsp dried onion (or 1/4 c fresh onion)
3 c frozen or fresh broccoli, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can evaporated skim milk
2 tbsp corn starch
1/2 c low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

Drizzle olive oil into pan over medium burner. Saute garlic, carrot and onion until soft. Add broth and broccoli. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, or until broccoli is soft. Puree soup in blender (or use immersion blender in pot) to desired smoothness. Mix can of evap. milk and corn starch, then slowly stir into the soup while stirring. Bring mixture up toward a boil until thickened, then turn back down to med-low. Stir while sprinkling cheese into soup.

Now, it's your turn! Share a recipe-I am really looking for some new ideas, aren't you?

28 October 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Michael has turned into a big boy overnight! He has totally embraced potty training. He had only 2 accidents on Monday and none on Tuesday. That includes through a nap and overnight! I am so excited I can barely stand it!

26 October 2009

On this Monday...

Although I am very tired, I am starting to see a very dim light in the potty training tunnel. On Saturday, I had to attend a Forensics meeting. During the 6 hours I was gone (longest I'd been apart from the baby and I missed her!), my dear sweet husband decided that he was going to kick potty training into high gear (so much for ignoring the situation for now). I came home to Michael in underwear and pants, his having had several accidents, and Andy being frustrated.

I spent much of the rest of the afternoon listening to Andy's frustration and trying to figure out how to handle this. The rest of the afternoon went pretty much as the morning had with Michael having an accident shortly after going to the bathroom. The pull-up went on at bedtime, and we left it on the burner for the next day.

Add to this that everyone is in various stages of illness. I think Andy may have flu and several of us have sniffles (not Alex, though, thank God!). On Sunday, I woke up to Andy being really sick and my being on my own to care for the 4 kids and Michael's potty training. I put a pull-up on him for Mass because I was not going to deal with it. After that I took all of the boys to swimming lessons. When we got home, I decided to give something a try the my sister-in-law used to do. I let him go bare bottomed. We did this once before with great success until Michael found the pull-ups and that was the end of that.

Soon after he was au naturale, I realized that he could not go like this because he was literally rolling all over the furniture! Gross! So, I tweaked the situation. I put him in just underwear. I did not expect success seeing as he did this the day before with pants over them and had at least a dozen accidents.

Well, my dear sweet boy is just in underwear, and he has not had an accident! He is dry and clean, and going to the potty (with reminders, but he is going none-the-less). I have tied rewards to his being dry and clean. If he is dry when he goes to the potty, he gets a candy and a sticker. If he is dry and goes #2 on the potty he gets 2 candies.

I know we have a long way to go, but on this Monday, I have hope!

Random Dozen

Frizzy over at Heaven's gift posted this meme, and I thought I'd play along. Let me know if you answer these, so i can see your answers too!

1. Candy corn: Your thoughts ?
Not so much. I can eat one or two, but it is way too sweet!

2. Briefly, what was the first conversation you ever had with your spouse? (or best friend, if you're not married.) (Or someone significant, like your librarian.)

On the day Andy and I met, I spent a lot of the day telling him how I loved my single life, and how I wasn't really looking for a relationship. We were engaged 3 months later!

3. Could you ever become a vegetarian?
I do love vegetables, so I probably could, but at some point I would miss meat!

4. Have you ever dressed up your pet in a costume?
We have fish, so that's a no.

5. Name something about childhood that you miss (like Clark Bars, Teaberry Gum, Malibu Barbie, cracking fake eggs on people's heads with your fist and "It's the Great Pumpkin" airing only once a year).
I miss the singing/dance contests I used to have with my siblings and cousins.
I do believe it is why I loved to perform in plays in high school.

6. Have you ever won a trophy? If not, what do you deserve a trophy for?
I won trophies with my team in volleyball and softball in grade school, as well as
medals in Forensics in high school.
Can't think of anything I deserve a trophy for currently-maybe most sleep deprived (Jamie may fight me for that one though!).

7. When do you think is the appropriate time to begin playing Christmas music each year?
I would say the day after Thanksgiving.

8. What's your favorite board game?
I have a few. I have great memories of playing Scrabble as a family growing up.
I can't wait to do that when my kids are older.
Right now, my favorite board games to play as a family are Monopoly and Blokus.

9. How do you feel about surprises (receiving, not giving)?

I love them! It was really hard for me when I married into Andy's family
because there were no surprises. Often I knew ahead of time
what they were giving me for Christmas. Now, they know that I like to
be surprised. Andy is great at surprising me. On the flip side, he hates
surprises (no 40th surprise party for him this year!).

10. Is it easy for you to say "I'm sorry?"
I have been told before that I say it too much, including times when it isn't my fault!

11. What is your favorite candle scent?
Cinnamon, pumpkin spice and ginger are all my favorites. I love to have them burning this time of year.

12. October is traditionally "open house" time in public schools. If you had a literal open house in your home (like a reception) what light snacks would you serve visitors and what would you show them (as in art projects, graded papers) that would uniquely represent you?
I would serve things like taco dip and cold veggie pizza because they are favorites of mine.
More likely, I would not have an open house, but have a dinner party where I cooked a full meal which would definitely be something Italian like pasta with sauce made with meatballs sausage and beef (YUM!).
I would show them pictures of the kids because they are my shining stars!

23 October 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday!

1. Fall is in full swing around here. My boys love raking and jumping in the leaves!

2. Our favorite frozen custard stand carried my new favorite this week-RED VELVET CAKE Custard. The custard is chocolate, and it has ribbons of cream cheese frosting in it. Here, Michael is wearing eating it!

3. Michael is becoming quite the big brother, don't you think?

4. I am so thankful for my blogging friends who left such great comments since last night's post. I have to remember to pray through this time. As an addendum, I was unable to nurse Alex, so I am extra worried about her getting the H1N1. As of this morning, Andy has a sore throat and Drew is stuffy. No fevers or anything else thus far. Just going to pray, tie a knot and hang on!
5. To Corinne-thanks for quoting part of Hail, Holy Queen. That really is my favorite prayer. Maybe I need to just keep saying it?
6. I will be done scoring SATs on Sunday. Then I am going to get some projects going. I have my Pay-it-Forwards to finish, and I want to make hats for the boys for winter. Also, Allison posted a pattern for making mittens out of old sweaters. I am thinking of trying this!
7. Baby Alex turned 6 weeks old yesterday. Here is her weekly photo:

Check out more quick takes at Jen's!

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22 October 2009

What a week!

I am so glad this week is almost over. I have been trying to keep what I call my post-partum meltdown at bay, and it happened tonight. I feel so much better!

What's been on my mind? What hasn't been! This week was a crazy one in particular as I was juggling my evening teaching job and my every once in a while essay scoring for SAT. I had decided to take Monday off of teaching so I could score as I make twice as much on SAT than I do teaching. The next day I found out that our attendance policy has changed at work. I'm not in trouble or anything, but they have tightened it down a lot. I also had to attend my first team meeting with my new lead teacher. I am just so bitter about not getting the position. Work has just been very overwhelming this week.

I am also in sleep deprived mode. Alex is doing great, but I haven't found the groove with her at night yet. I need to feed her right before bed because when I do, it means feeding her only once in the middle of the night. I haven't been doing that, and it has been twice during the night. After I am done writing this, I am going to feed her and go to sleep myself.

Michael has been a struggle lately. He is so good with Alex, but I think that he is feeling insecure. We have really great days the 3 of us. I love nothing better than sitting down to feed Alex, and Michael climbing into my lap as well. He can be such a sweetheart, and he can also be such a stinker! He is very smart which now has me questioning the decision not to send him to school. Actually, we wouldn't have sent him because of his behavior and, ahem, potty training issues. I am just frustrated right now. When he goes to his gymnastics class, he is good as gold for the teacher. Then we go out somewhere like the grocery store, and I am constantly correcting him. And the potty training? If I weren't so tired, oh, who am I kidding? I am at a complete loss!

Finally, I am really stressing out about H1N1. I tend to be a little OCD. I used to really freak out about the kids getting sick-until they had rotovirus a few years ago. Since then, I have had a pretty laid-back attitude. Until this whole H1N1 thing. I know the media is really going all out about this. It's just the fact that I have a newborn, and I am so scared that she is going to get it. We had thought for sure that we would get the vaccine. Now, we think we won't. We were supposed to go next week, but we are hearing there are not enough shots. In the end, I don't think the shot would help as H1N1 seems to be running rampant in the city already. Several schools are closed because they have 30-40% of their population out (our school is at about 10% right now). Even if we could get the shot, I think it is too late.

So, the meltdown I mentioned? I came out of my room where I had scored 3 hours straight (except for when Alex was fussing-not that she EVER does that!), and I cried, and got all of this off my chest to my wonderful husband. If you have an extra prayer, please just pray that I can have some inner peace.

Recipe Swap Thursday!

It's that time again! Time to share your favorite recipes so we can all start cooking something different!
Go ahead and grab the code from the sidebar, to link me up to you , and leave the link to your post in the comments section so we can see what you are sharing!
For Alex's Baptism on Sunday, I served roast beef and gravy, so I thought I would share that.
Roast Beef and Gravy
1 beef roast
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1/2 stick of butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Place roast in pan, and sprinkle with onion soup. Dot top with butter. Pour about an inch of water into the bottom of the pan (drizzle some of the water over the onion soup to moisten). Cook in 325 degree oven for 3 hours. Take out roast and let rest for 10 minutes. In the meantime, heat the drippings in the pan (and water) to boiling and stir in the cream of mushroom soup. If gravy does not seem thick enough, you can thicken it with cornstarch mixed in cold water (directions on the cornstarch box). Slice roast and return to gravy. Cook for an additional 1-2 hours.
This was my Mom's method for making roast, and I have found that it makes the meat very tender.
So, what recipe are you sharing today?

21 October 2009

Now you can see it!

I finally finished the baby blanket that I made for Shawna's baby, Maggie. She got it in the mail yesterday, and you can see pictures of Maggie with it here.
Now I need to move on to some other projects. I want to make hats for the boys before snow flies-thank goodness they dont take long!

19 October 2009

Welcome to the Church, Alexandra Marie!

The actual moment of her baptism.
God is good!

My sister and brother-in-law are Alex's Godparents.

Our family of 6!
I like saying that!

Changing Alex out of her gown before we returned home.
She's cute, don't you think?
I'm not biased or anything!

16 October 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday!

Here we go again! You can read more Quick Takes over at Jennifer's.

1. Sweet Alexandra turned 5 weeks yesterday! She is being baptized on Sunday. Please keep her in your prayers. Here are some new pictures!

2. I am feeling really overwhelmed today! There is so much to do to get everything ready for Sunday. Please pray for peace for me that I can calmly get everything done. As soon as I am done with this post, it is time to set to work. I just need to get these thoughts out.

3. I had a really upsetting email this morning. I can't say more than that because I was accused of turning things into blog fodder (oops, I just did, didn't I?). I am going to let it go now because I feel like it is Satan trying to get under my skin as we prepare for Sunday. I had something similar happen on the eve of being induced with Alex. So, I am going to pray through it and let it go.

4. I am thankful for my friend, Lisa. I wish you all could know her-she is that great! Suffice it to say, she always has a moment when I need to talk through things.

5. Does anyone know how long joint issues can last post pregnancy? I have tendonitis normally, but it is horrible during pregnancy, and it is continuing now. I crocheted for about an hour last night, and the entire time, my hand was numb and I had shooting pain. A couple of summers ago, I saw a chiropractor for this, as well as my TMJ and some hip pain (sounds like I am falling apart!), and she was fabulous. Unfortunately, our insurance does not cover chiropractic.

6. Speaking of crocheting, I finished my gift for Shawna's sweet Maggie! I am going to mail it today, and will post pictures as soon as I know Shawna has it. If you are on Ravelry, the pictures will be up there shortly. Email me for my username if you are on Ravelry and want to see it.

7. Yesterday, my Recipe Swap had a giveaway! The winner of this cookbook is Herd Momma! I will be getting it out later today

15 October 2009

Recipe Swap Thursday-with a Giveaway!

With the holidays coming up, I thought I would share one of my family's favorites. We call it Maggie's Jello, named after one of my nieces. When she was a toddler, my Mom had made this for Easter. Maggie refused to eat much that year, but after everyone had left the table, she climbed up, sat right in the middle and ate this to her heart's content. Now, we make this every holiday not only because it is a family favorite, but also to remember my Mom.

Maggie’s Jello

1 C boiling water
1 – 3 oz lime jello
1 – 8 oz cream cheese
¼ C sugar
3 T orange juice
3 T lime Juice
1 C heavy cream, whipped OR 1 - 12 oz Cool Whip

Add water to jello. Dissolve. In a bowl, blend cream cheese and sugar. Add jello and juices. Chill until slightly thickened. Fold in whipped cream. Chill until set.

Now, it's your turn! Have a recipe you want to share? Leave your link in the comments below so we can all check it out! If you participate this week, I will enter you in a drawing for a cookbook to be announced tomorrow. Just leave your link in the comments by 11:59 Central Time tonight.
Don't forget to add the button from the sidebar of my blog!

14 October 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

This little girl is going to be baptized on Sunday!

10 October 2009

And then there was a sling...

When I had my first baby (Peter), a lot of people asked if I was going to have some sort of sling or carrier. I swore up and down that I never would! I was always nervous that the baby would somehow fall out. Things change over time!

When I found out I was pregnant this time, I was really worried about handling a new baby and Michael. At 4, he is my busiest child thus far. I started doing a lot of research. I knew I wanted a pouch because rings and straps make me fearful the baby will fall out. I finally settled on a ComfyJoey.

I ordered it a couple of months before Alex was born. Before I talk about the pouch itself, I have to say how wonderful the customer service was. Ayesha emailed me before and after I got it, and she double checked measurements, etc, to make sure I had the right size.

When Alex was born, it took me about a week before I used it. Quite honestly, it was on my dresser and I had forgotten about it. Then, on that fateful first day of soccer, I used it. It was love at first wearing! She settled in and slept through not one but 2 games. The next morning, I thought to myself, why not try it for Mass? Again, it was fabulous!

Since then, I have been using it for all kinds of outings. On Saturday, I had another realization. I needed to get some cleaning done, and Alex was fussing. I wondered if I really could do it with her in the sling. Guess what? I was able to vacuum quite easily, and get some other tasks done, including working at the computer (being able to type with both hands!).

I love my ComfyJoey. Not sure why I waited so long!

And the winners are:

First, I'd like to say that I have pictures of the picking, but they are on my camera and I have no idea how to get them off! So, with that being said, I will announce the winners!

The winner of the book, Our Lady of Kibeho, is Sarah-Kala!

The winner of the towels is Herd Momma!

I have both of your addresses, so I will get those out to you ASAP!

Thanks to everyone for playing, and thank you again for reading the ramblings here!

09 October 2009

Don't forget!

Your need to enter my 500th post giveaway by 11:59 central time tonight!

08 October 2009

4 weeks old!

Recipe Swap Thursday

I made a blog button for our Recipe Swap! It is a work in progress, but please feel free to take the code from the sidebar and include it in your post. Also, please leave the link to your recipe in the comment section and so everyone can check you out!

Before I post my recipe, did you check out my post from yesterday? I'm having a giveaway in honor of my 500th post! Make sure you go over and enter before 11:59 PM CST on Friday!

OK, here is my recipe-it is a favorite!

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cooked and cubed
2 packages Uncle Ben's Original Long Grain and Wild Rice
1/4 C butter
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 C sour cream
Cook rice according to package directions. Saute mushrooms in butter. Stir together chicken, rice, mushrooms, soup and sour cream. Bake at 350 in a covered casserole for 1 hour.

Remember that participating this week earns you an entry in my giveaway! Just leave a link to your post in the comment section!

07 October 2009

500th Post Giveaway!

I cannot believe that I am writing my 500th post! Who knew I had so much to say, and that you'd stick around to read it?

In honor of this momentous occasion, I am giving away two things!

The first:

a set of fall kitchen towels and a notepad.

The second:

Our Lady of Kibeho by Immaculee Iligibagiza. I posted a long time ago about her first book, Left to Tell. In honor of the month of the Blessed Mother, as well as today's feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I thought it appropriate to give away something related to Mary. This book tells the story of Our Lady's apparition in Africa which foretold the Rwandan Holocaust (it was Vatican approved after 2 decades of investigation).
So, here are the way to earn entries (Yes, more than one entry is possible!):
1. Leave a comment saying which prize you'd prefer to win (whomever I pick first will get their first choice of prize).
2. Follow my blog (if you already do follow me, leave that in your comment and you'll get a second entry).
3. Participate in Recipe Swap Thursday for another entry!
You need to enter by 11:59 PM on Friday, and I will pick the winner on Saturday morning. Good luck everyone, and thanks for coming with me on the journey!

02 October 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday!

This is my first time participating, but I feel like I have a lot of little things to say, so I thought I'd give it a try!

1. I started teaching again last night. I know-only 3 weeks after baby! I only would have gotten one more week, and with hours being so low and having the recent pay-cut, I figured I could handle it. I taught 2 hours last night from the comfort of my bedroom. The only downside? I missed my baby girl very much!

2. Speaking of work, I received an email asking that I apply to be a math content writer! I am hoping that this is the window God is opening for me after not getting the Lead Teacher position. Please say a prayer for this one as it would be a good move within the company. I have to write a math lesson to submit with my resume. It's on linear equations-UGH!

3. You know the saying that when God sends a baby, he sends a loaf of bread? I always have looked for the mega loaf with every baby. When Alexandra was born, I kind of decided that there wouldn't be one what with my pay cut and Andy's wage freeze. I decided to be content with the fact that I could still stay at home with my kids, and teach in the evenings online. What I have realized is that God has sent us many mini-loaves this time of which I am very grateful!

4. I really dropped the ball with Recipe Swap Thursday! I am so sleep deprived, that I totally forgot. I felt really bad about it. I am going to pre-post next week.

5. I have also dropped the ball on the gift for Shawna's baby, Maggie. Really, Shawna, it's almost done!

6. I had to run up to school this morning with Drew's baptism pictures for religion class today. I am forgetting a lot lately, and not liking it. I know I need to cut myself a break. Alex is only 3 weeks, but I don't like feeling so disorganized.

7. Speaking of 3 weeks old, here is my little Alexandra:

School pictures

This is Peter, my fourth grader. He is 9, and is such a sweet boy!
He is a great example to his brothers!

Drew is now in 1st grade. He is 6, and again, a great big brother!

01 October 2009

Recipe Swap Thursday

I dropped the ball this week! Andy went back to work, and I have been running like a crazy woman! I have no recipe this week, but a couple of friends have contributed. I will try to get back in the swing of things next week!

Aussie Therese