Thursday, January 29, 2009

Moon and Stars for everyone

Vic told me today that she loves the sun but the moon and stars make her so happy. She wanted to go to the store to buy some for everyone to be happy. I thought it was so sweet and definitely put a smile on my face. I figured I would share my happiness with you all.

Moon and Stars for everyone!

Lies and friendship

The other day I was hanging out with a friend of mine. We were chatting and catching up on several things when she mentioned something to me that got me thinking. Her daughter and another little girl were very close and playing together all the time. The moms had started becoming really good friends too. They are no longer friends though because the other little girl has a really big issue with lying. So much so that her own little girl was starting to act out too. Apparently every time this little girl would leave her house the other mom would end up calling about a situation that was said to have happened. My friend would explain the real situation yet the lies told by the little girl would win out in the end.

It really got me thinking. These two families were becoming very close. Now they are more distant than ever. Is it really that hard to phathom that your child possibly has an issue? Are we as mothers sometimes too blinded by our adoration for our children to really look and see the potential flaws. Our friends are there for us to help us get through times like this. I absolutely understand our maternal instincts to defend and protect our children. I desperately want to believe that when my kids leave my sight they are perfect little angels. I try to teach them to be polite and respectful to everyone. I adore them but I also realize they are far from perfect. I would want to know if my child has an issue like this. Heading off the problem immediately is the best way I believe to stop it dead in its tracks.

I just think it is very unfortunate that these two little girls who were becoming the best of friends are now separated by lies. I guess I wish that I could better understand it. Could it be that we feel we are letting our children down by believing they are capable of lies and manipulation? Perhaps somehow we are failing them as mother? Maybe we are afraid that if we look too hard we might see that it really comes from an example set by us? Whatever the reason, it got me thinking more about my kids and how I am raising them. I am by far not a perfect mother and there is plenty of room for improvement. I just hope I am doing a good enough job at giving them the tools they need to grow up happy and healthy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Get Fit Wednesday - Salads!

This week I have decided to add a lot more salads to my meal plan. I wanted to try new dressings and expand my horizons beyond the same old ranch dressing. I am extremely picky when it comes to dressings. I have tried many in the past and always been disappointed. My brother came to visit during the summer and he bought some of the new Kraft dressings when he was here. Me being the skeptic I am, I said I would try it but was sure I would not like it. I was surprised at how good it really was. It had really great flavor and it was fat free! I will be honest I thought it was just a fluke and have not purchased any more of them. This week when I decided to eat more salad I looked at all my options and decided I would give them another shot. I got the light balsamic vinegar one and I love it. It only has 25 calories too which makes it even more awesome. I recommend this one for sure. It has a really great flavor.

I was not as good with the Wii fit and exercising this week. I know, shame one me. I definitely need to get myself on a better schedule. I need one that is fool proof when it comes to following it. I still feel like I am on track with things but I know I can do more. I am just so bad at managing my time. I know if I could just get a routine going I would be fit in no time. LOL Either way I am still working all of this out and sharing what I learn.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sisters Forever!

Sisterly love is such an awesome thing. I have one sister and she is one of my best friends. We were not always as close as we are now but I would not trade her for anything. Having 3 girls of my own I can only hope they share that same bond that I do with my sister. My sister and I have lived far apart for many years now. We have talked about her moving here to live near me but to be honest I felt it just would never happen. There were a lot of obstacles in the way. Ones that just seemed so impossible to overcome. I was truly convinced it would take nothing short of a miracle. I am a Texas girl living in Colorado and starting to get homesick. Just when I was planning my next trip home for a visit I got the best news ever. Someone was looking out for us in our quest to reconnect. My sister let me know she was finally making the leap and heading this way. I was excited but still not too sure it would actually happen. Here I sit just 3 days away from her arrival still trying to wrap my head around the fact that this is finally going to happen. I am so excited I swear I am going to explode. She has had a tough time and I look forward to being able to help her make a new start.

Sisterhood is such a strong bond. I came across a phrase that sums it up perfectly.

"Sisters by chance, Friends by choice"

Monday, January 26, 2009

Recipe Monday - Turkey Meatball Subs

My hubby and I love to have sandwich night and this last week we wanted to try something different. We have a game night and making sandwiches just seems easier than making a big meal. This week he came up with the idea for Turkey Meatball Subs. I sat back and wrote down the recipe and waited with my mouth watering. This one is definitely a keeper.

Here is what you need:

1 lb ground turkey
1 lb turkey italian sausage
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp thyme
1 Tbsp oregano
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 jar spaghetti/marinara sauce
1 package 2% Low Fat Mozzarella cheese

In a large bowl mix all ingredients except sauce and cheese. Roll meat mixture into 2 inch round balls. Add a little olive oil to a heated skillet and brown meatballs. Put them in a baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Heat sauce in a separate pan. Once meatballs are ready put a few of them inside any type of bread you wish. We used a soft yummy hoagie roll. Then you just top with some cheese.

The one in the picture seems huge but it was my hubby's serving. I actually took a couple of the meatballs and sliced them and put them in my roll. It made it so much easier to eat but was so very yummy. This will make 12 or more meatballs depending on the size you do. I put the remaining ones in the freezer for another day. Also, if you do not like jar sauce you can easily take some tomato sauce and some chopped tomatoes with italian seasoning and just heat.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Get Fit Wednesday!

I am trying so very hard to stick to the resolutions I set for myself this year. When I made them I thought long and hard about what they would be. I wanted to be sucessful at them for once. The organizational part is coming along nicely. I have reduced the clutter in my house by a LOT. I also said I would try a new recipe each week. I have resolved to try a new one or take one of my favorites and see how I can make it healthier without losing the flavor.

As part of my healthy eating I am also trying to add some exercise to my life. This week the hubby and I sat down and figured out a plan we think will work for us. Here is what we came up with:

No more junk food
No more soda (even diet)
Eat Veggies with every meal
Cook healthier meals
Eat smaller meals more often (5-6 times a day)
Wii Fit once a day

It is simple really. The hardest part for me is the junk food. To be honest I am really a junk food junkie. I feed my kids 100 times better than I feed myself. I would never let them eat all the things I eat. I want both of my kids to be able to eat what we are eating and feel like they are getting all the nutrients necessary. I have substituted tea and water for soda. I still have my 1 cup of coffee in the morning because it is what I enjoy. A big thing for me is actually eating the 5-6 small meals a day. I get so busy sometimes I do not stop and think about feeding myself. I think that simple change is going to make a significant difference.

We started all this cold turkey on Monday and so far it has been working out really well. Since we started I have actually lost 2.4 lbs. That is such an awesome motivation to keep going. Here is the meal plan I have come up with for myself for this week:

Breakfast - Slim Fast Optima Shake
AM Snack - Fruit and Yogurt
Lunch - Chicken Salad in a whole wheat pita pocket
PM Snack - Carrots
Dinner - Healthy meat, veggie and side dish
Late snack - Pistacio nuts (if hungry)
Plenty of tea and water throughout the day to drink
No eating at all after 8pm

I figured each Wednesday I would update my successes here and track all my progress. We wanted to do something that of course was a life style change and not a diet. I refuse to get all crazy and deprive myself of everything in life. I just want to be healthier for myself and of course my family. I will have to cross my fingers and hope I lose weight along the way. If not, I will tweak things along the way.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

The girls and I sit here on this very historic day watching the coverage on TV. My girls are still too young to fully understand but I am doing my best to explain to them the importance of this day in history. One day we will look back and be proud that we were a part of this event. I pray this is the first day to a better us. A day where we come together as Americans and work together to build a better world for our children. Our economy is in complete turmoil and many families are struggling. My family is no exception as we too have been touched by hard times and are struggling every day. I pray that Barack Obama has what it takes to turn things around for the better. A nation watches and waits for greatness and I hope we are not disappointed. I am very excited to be a part of it and I cannot wait to see how things will unfold.

God Bless

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Recipe Monday - Chicken Salad

I have been craving some chicken salad and this week I experimented with a recipe. It turned out very yummy. I had the little one help me put it all together and she loved it and ate it all like a champ. Here is the recipe I came up with:

1 Rotisserie Chicken
2 Stalks Celery chopped
1/2 Onion (I used red)
1/2 Bell Pepper (I used red)
2-3 Tbsp Mayo (I used light)

I took all the chicken off the bone. I chopped it into chunks and put it in a medium size bowl and added the celery. I took the onion and bell pepper and put them into my magic bullet food processor and turned them into a puree. I added the puree and the mayo to the bowl and mixed it all together. I added it a little at a time until I had the desired flavor and consistency. I am not a fan of chunks of peppers and onions but I love the flavor. This worked out perfectly for me and I still had the crunch from the celery. If you wanted to jazz things up just a bit more you could add some chopped apples to the mix. It may not sound like it but they add a really great flavor.


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Sunday, January 18, 2009

We're getting organized

This task is so long overdue it is just not even funny. It drives me crazy and I feel like everything around here is so out of place. The clutter is horrible and I have complained about it long enough. I have tried and tried to get rid of the clutter and nothing has worked. I feel like I am always cleaning and it is never really clean. Granted, I have two little ones running around so there is no shortage of mess going on here. Well I have finally reached my limit and I am more determined than ever that the crap just has to go and we need to get more organized.

That said, I have thought a lot about it over the last several weeks. This task is part of my new years resolutions and this is one I am sticking to no matter what. I did a survey of my house and determined what areas were bugging me the most. Then once those were identified I came up with a solution to each one. Here is what I came up with so far:

The Kids - I am always picking up after my kids. So much so that I was convinced my carpet was meant to have the toy scattered look. I decided that there was no way they could play with ALL these toys at the same time. So, in the morning I let my oldest pick 4 toys she wants to play with. Each time she wants a different toy she knows she has put one away. This allows her to play with all the toys she wants but she puts them away and that keeps the mess to a minimum.

The Clutter - I went at the clutter really in two different ways. I had a lot of papers that were just getting in the way. The key to dealing with these was to create a simple filing system. I sat on the floor one evening and sorted everything and filed it all away. The next part of dealing with the clutter was to find a place for everything. I walked around for several days just looking at stuff saying "everything in its place". That mindset was amazing for me because I realized that all the things that were driving me crazy were the items that did not have a place. Either that or they were not in their place for whatever reason. I fixed all that and now I just make sure I put everything back in its place. My life is well on its way to clutter free.

Organization - A little extra organization never hurt anyone. Above I said that everything has a place and this really goes hand in hand with the clutter. Some things though really need a new place. I had a ton of stuff in my kitchen cabinets and drawers that just did not belong there. These are not really my clutter items because they are not out for people to see. These are more my misplaced items. For instance, I have a packing tape dispenser in there. It takes up almost the entire darn drawer. I am not sure what I was thinking. Well now it has a new home in its own place out in my garage. There were so many things I did not use on a regular basis. So, I got several plastic storage containers and some labels. I grouped things together, added a label and put them in their place. This way I can still easily find things but they are not taking up space that is much needed for other things.

Clean as you go - This is definitely a challenge for me. I do not necessarily have a big house but I have 3 levels and a total of 4 bathrooms. My biggest issue here was I had one set of cleaning supplies. I decided to get the necessary supplies for each area. This way I cannot make the excuse that the supplies are downstairs so I will do it later. Now I clean as I go and this keeps me from having to set aside hours each week to take on many of these tasks. When we use the shower, tub or toilet it gets a quick clean afterwards. If you dirty a dish put it in the dishwasher right away. A big thing for me is cleaning the dishes after dinner and getting it done right away.

This is what has been in the works at my house. For the first time I really feel like I have a plan that will help a lot. Hopefully it is enough to keep me from going completely and totally insane. This is a constant struggle for a lot of us. I hope there is something in here that will help you out.

What are your thoughts? What favorite organizations tips do you have?

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Recipe Monday - Hoppin John

This one is definitely a new favorite in my house. I made it for new years day and it went over much better than I even expected. My husband loved it so much he begged me to make it again. So, this week I made it again and the success was even bigger. Typically I think it is more of a new years recipe because of the black eyed peas but honestly it would be good any time in the winter when it is cold and you need a warm up. Here it is:

1 package andouille sausage
1 Bell Pepper
1 Medium Onion
3-4 Stalks of Celery
1 Large Clove Garlic
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Cup Beer
2-3 Cups Chicken Stock
1 tsp Cajun Seasoning
1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Thyme
2 15oz Cans Black Eyed Peas
Salt and Pepper
Cooked rice

Heat a large Dutch Oven pan on medium high with about 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil. Add bell pepper, onion and celery and cook until onion is translucent. Add sausage and cook a couple of minutes or until browned. Add garlic and stir frequently to keep the garlic from burning. Add beer and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Make sure you have enough liquid to adequately cover the ingredients. If you need more feel free to add either more beer or stock. Add cajun seasoning, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. You can adjust the cajun seasoning depending on how spicy you would like it. Last drain the black eyed peas and add them to the pot. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about and hour to hour and a half stirring occassionally. Serve it over cooked rice and enjoy. The second time we made it we added a couple of shakes of Tobasco to our bowls for a bit more heat.


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Sharing the love between two girls

Without a doubt having one child is so much easier because you can focus all your attention on the one. I knew when I got pregnant with my second that it was going to be a struggle to divide my attention between the two. It is really hard for me having the older one that wants so much attention now and the younger one who needs so much of it right now. I do my best but the struggle is constant every single day. My oldest has already staked a claim to all of the toys in the house. She decided at Christmas that her toys were hers and her sisters toys were hers as well. She did tell me she would share though. It really did not come as too much of a surprise although I was hoping she would find her sisters toys boring. It is exactly the opposite as soon as her sister touches one it becomes the most important toy in the house.

Today the one thing happened though that I just did not see coming. I have always been one for pet names for my kids and it is usually a different one each time. A lot of the time they just pop in my head and out of my mouth without another thought. I do have my favorites and use them on a regular basis. Earlier the itty bitty was fussing while I prepared her food and my response to her was "Hang on sugar butt I am getting it". My oldest flipped her head around and gave me a look like I would when she is acting up. She immediately informed me that she was my "sugar butt" and her sister was not. I was floored and completely taken aback. She had not said anything like that before and I will be honest I was stunned. I quickly reassured her that they were both my little "sugar butts" and followed it with a right, left, center (kisses on each cheek and smack on the lips)and a squeeze hug.

I absolutely adore them both. I am sure there is so much more of this to come and I will take each event as I am faced with it. All I can do is love with all my heart and hope they realize just how precious they are to me. They bring me so much joy and happiness. I waited so long to be a Mom and I have said it many times before . . . I am so blessed they chose me to be their Mommy.

Anyone else have the same issue as me? How have you dealt with it? I would love to hear comments from others on this.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mompreneurs Go Public

I have always wanted to take Giliena's Italian Charms and European Beads on the road. This last Saturday several of the ladies from hosted their very first open house and market place. I have been a member there for a while now and when this opportunity came up I knew I had to be a part of it. These ladies are all so wonderful and meeting them all face to face was awesome. It is always great to put a face to a name. Checking out each persons products was also great fun for me. There are so many great things out there that people are selling. The 9news team was out there filming the event and the exposure for everyone was awesome. I hope that we are able to do more of these as this one was a lot of fun for me.

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Baby Signing Update

It is so awesome to have your hard work finally pay off. I have been working so hard at teaching my itty bitty to sign. Several weeks ago when she woke up from a nap she was signing "eat" for me. I was so excited that we were finally there. I took her downstairs for lunch and she signed "eat" the whole time. I was so impressed and very proud of her. Well then she decided it was a one day thing only. I tried and tried to get her to do it again and she was so very stubborn. I was happy we were on the right track and I knew she was understanding me so I figured I would take what I could get. A couple of days ago I was feeding her and I asked her if she wanted more. Out of the blue she started signing "more" for me. Still thrilled I just figured she would do it for that meal and then stop again. It has been a couple of days now and every time you ask her to say "more" she will sign it. I am so excited and ready to move on to much more stuff. One thing I remember with my oldest is that once she started it was followed by a flood of communication. I think we are so close to that so I am ready to take it to the next level. It is truly such an amazing feeling to know that you and your infant can actually communicate. I cannot wait for more.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is it safe to vaccinate our kids?

As parents we are faced with so many decisions when it comes to our children. Whether or not to vaccinate is a huge decision and an extremely important one. With my oldest, I really did not think much about it and she got her vaccinations as scheduled. There was no controversy at the time. At least not one that I was really aware of. When I was pregnant with my youngest there was a lot more publicity surrounding the topic. I came across a lot more people choosing not to vaccinate for various reasons. Naturally I became concerned and wondered if I had done the right thing and whether I should do things differently this time.

I of course did my research and came to the personal decision that vaccinating was the right thing to do. I spoke with my kids doctor about it a lot. I really love the way he approached it with me. He did not immediately jump on a soap box and preach to me about the importance of getting my kids vaccinated. He talked to me like I was a human being with a brain and the ability to make an educated decision on my own. I was a little worried about how he would react but that was very short lived. He made a very valid point in that there are potential adverse reactions to most medications that we use to treat and/or protect us. He treated a patient at one point that became severely disabled from a reaction caused by ibuprofen. These vaccines do make a difference and save lives. To this date, I have not seen anything concrete that proves them to be unsafe or a bad decision for whatever reason. Nothing that changes my mind at least. Our doctor has practiced in a country where he has actually treated some of these diseases like polio. That speaks volumes to me because I absolutely trust him to keep the best interest of my kids as his main objective. Does the risk of my daughter having a reaction to the vaccine really outweigh the risk of her contracting a disease which is potentially deadly? My personal answer is, no. I have made the decision to slow down the schedule of vaccinations. I hate watching my baby get shots, period. Watching her get 4 or 5 at one time just seems to be too much at once.

I definitely respect the decision made by every parent out there and I hope that my opinion will be respected as well. It is hard to be a parent and making these types of decisions is never taken lightly. I write this for many reasons actually. None of them are to preach or to try and change the minds of others. The biggest reason is because I have seen the topic come up a few times and it got me thinking again. I have come across a couple of debates and without a doubt people are very passionate about the subject. It is with good reason too. In the end we all have the same goal of keeping our kids safe. They are precious and wonderful and we desperately want to keep them out of harms way. I would love to hear thoughts and feedback from others on this. I do ask that you please be respectful when posting your comments though.

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Monday, January 5, 2009

New Recipe Monday - Wilted Salad

I decided this year I was going to try a new recipe each week. I am going to look for healthier ones or even ways to make my old favorites a bit healthier. I figured it would be awesome to share them along the way. So, every Monday I will share a recipe from the week with you guys.

This week I made a wilted salad. I used a romained lettuce so it was not as wilted as it would be using something else. The recipe I made is as follows:

1 bunch Romaine Lettuce chopped
1/2 Red Onion sliced thin
5-6 slices of Bacon
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Sugar

Add chopped romaine, onion, vinegar and sugar to a large bowl and mix. Chop bacon into small pieces and cook completely. Spoon cooked bacon over the salad using some of the drippings. Mix well and enjoy. Feel free to adjust the vinegar and sugar to taste. I start with what I have here and sometimes need to add a little more along the way.

I actually took this dish and made it with turkey bacon. I added a little olive oil to the pan to help with the drippings needed. You could also subsitute the sugar for splenda.


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Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Resolutions?

It is a new year and often a time when we sit down and take inventory. We think about all the ways we can change our lives, even just a little, for the upcoming new year. Do these resolutions really work? Do people really make them and follow them to a better life? Typically I do not bother to make them because I figure I will work at them for a few days and then move on. This year though I have done a major inventory of areas I am lacking. That led me to believe I am in desperate need of a life overhaul and resolutions might be in order. Here are just a few things on my list:

1. Get Organized - I need to get more organized with both my personal and business stuff. It is a mess and finding something that is needed is next to impossible. I plan to take one area of the house a week and focus on getting that organized.

2. More Family Time - We need to spend more time doing family stuff. During the days I need to spend more time with the kiddos doing stuff that is fun. We need to get out more and explore things available to us.

3. Go Green - As I have stated before I try to do my part but I am far from perfect. I plan to update stuff around the house as I can to make it more efficient. Plus I plan to do a lot more with things I can recycle. Once I add a few extra containers this should be simple and make a huge difference.

4. Eat Healthier - This is not just for me even though I would love to lose some extra baggage. I want to introduce my kids to better food choices that they can carry with them throughout their lives. This will be hard because to be honest I am a junk food junkie. I hate to take time to fix myself breakfast and lunch so instead I just snack throughout the day. I am giving up a lot of things to get them out of my system. Soda will be the first to go. I am not even going to substitute right now with diet soda. Instead it will be more water, tea and juice. Also, I plan to find a new healthy recipe each week and try it out.

I am a lot more determined so hopefully I will be able to stick to my guns and get things done. I hope you all have a wonderful new year and accomplish all your goals. What are some of your resolutions?
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