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Monday, November 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It's Weight Watchers time! And not just because we ate our weight in turkey this weekend! Before the weekend started Rick had said that he had a goal of how much weight he wanted to lose between Thanksgiving and Christmas. He has started to really snore at night, and thinks that weight gain might be the culprit. I don't really need to lose any weight, but eating healthier may keep me trimmed down so I can eat like a pig over Christmas break!! So our meal plan is keeping Weight Watchers points in mind

Monday ~ BBQ chicken and brown rice

Tuesday ~ Chicken tetrazzini

Wednesday ~ FFY

Thursday ~ Chicken fajitas

Friday ~ Salmon and veggies/Fish sticks for the kids

Saturday ~ Soup and grilled cheese

Sunday ~ Pizza bread and veggie pizza bread on whole wheat crust

Tumultuous Thanksgiving

There were certainly ups and downs to our Thanksgiving holiday. I actually had a full post completed, laying it all out, and ending in a large paragraph of frustrations. Not what you would expect for a Thanksgiving post!

However, one of the blogs I follow touched on this exact topic today. And I knew I couldn't post it.

I asked myself, "What good would it do? Who would it affect? Would any of those effects be positive?" In answering those questions I realized that posting it as is would be wrong. I've always been known to be completely transparent and real. But I have also been told at times that my blog only contains the good things about people in my life, who aren't all good. I've been told that my blog makes people in my life out to look like people they are not.

I'll be honest .. right now I am so angry at and so frustrated with and so disappointed in a small group of people in my life. And I want to spell it out! I want to call them out! I want the world to know what they have done and what they are doing!

But, I won't. I will just cry to and vent my frustrations to the Lord today (and the ears of my poor husband).

I agree with the Titus 2 ladies that we have to be mindful of the things we post. Don't think for a minute that just because I attempt to only post about the positive qualities of those in my life, that they don't have negative qualities too. But it's not my place to lay those out for the world to see. I will do my best, at all times, to put forth those I love, and even those I don't, in a positive light (even though my flesh really, really, really wants to let somebodies have it!)

So with that in mind, here is a recap of our weekend:

On Thanksgiving morning Rick and I and the two little ones drove the 4+ hours to my grandmother's to have Thanksgiving dinner with my dad and his side of the family. My mom, sister, niece and daughter were getting home from their cruise that night, and Dawson was spending Thanksgiving with his dad and that side of his family.

These are the only two pictures I took on Thanksgiving Day.

Eli and Brynne watching "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" at Grandma and Papa's

Eli and his Great Grandma Joan on Thanksgiving Day. He loves his grandmas.

Rick and I got up way before the crack of dawn on Black Friday and headed to the Walmart sale. We snagged a couple of the items on our list, although not what we ultimately went there for. We ate breakfast afterward, because the sun still wasn't up. Then we made a trip up to Kansas City to look around. Our eventual dream is to sell our house here in Oklahoma, for Rick to get a job in the Kansas City area, and for us to move up there closer to my family. We had a really nice day driving around from town to town just checking things out. We stayed in a hotel (alone!) that night, and I am sad to say that we were in our pjs and ready for bed by 6:30 p.m.! At 8:30 we just gave up and went to sleep! Yes, we are getting old! But it was so nice to go to bed without having to get everybody else ready for bed first. Thanks, mom!

After such a great day on Thanksgiving Day, and a fun day in the city, the turkey hit the fan on Saturday. Unfortunately the events affected many, many people, so our actual Thanksgiving dinner yesterday afternoon with my family had a huge cloud hanging over it. Because I was so looking forward to that time, I was so disappointed and, as Dawson put it, glum.

And today I am still a little glum. But, I am doing my best to remember that people are who they are, and will not be changed without a personal change of their own hearts. I cannot take that personal, nor can I be responsible for it. At some point people, all people, have to be held responsible for their own feelings, happiness and actions. There are natural consequences to behavior.

I have to just sit back and let those consequences occur. I don't have a choice.

In the meantime I will not be moved from what I know to be right, no matter who is upset about it.

But I will be sad at the reality of it all.

** Update: In response to an Anonymous (hateful toned) comment left for me that I have not been all positive in previous posts (I just love Anonymous comments), I would like to say this. I never said I have always been positive in all of my posts. I said I try. And I don't always succeed. If you remember in reading the beginning of this post, I actually had a pretty harsh one set to post. I was convicted by a post I read at Titus 2 this morning that made me revise it. I have never said I was perfect, by any stretch. Quite the contrary, I am a flawed woman. I'm just learning as I go. But I learned something today. Anonymous .. did you?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Help! I Need Off-White Socks and the Stores Are Closed!

Has that ever happened to you? Well, maybe you're not as anal about your socks matching as I am. But I have been in the predicament where my child had an off-white shirt and no socks to match. And I just can't bring myself to put white socks on them! (Sorry, it's a sickness!)

So, what do you do if you really, really, really need off-white socks and only have white?

Tea bags, I say!

Yes, you take your white socks (or other white clothing item) and dip them in a bowl of freshly prepared tea. You only have to leave them in there for a second.

Take them out, wring them, rise them in cold water, and wring them again.

Toss them in the washing machine and wash as normal.

And, voila, off-white socks!!

Someday you'll thank me.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

T-shirt Bandit Strikes Again!

Here's another Christmas shirt idea I nabbed from An Affair of the Heart. Now, this shirt is CUTE! (Keri, are you sure you don't want to stop back by for some zebra fabric??)

I have ordered her some zebra pants to wear with this. I can't wait!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rick Rocks ~ Because He Braved Black Friday!

Our little two each want a Nintendo DS for Christmas. I'll be honest. Santa doesn't spend a whole lot at the Taulman residence. In fact, I don't think he spends much more than he spent on me and my siblings when I was a kid!

So, something like a Nintendo DS is a high ticket item that results in very few gifts under the tree. That's why it's mucho important that I find one as cheap as possible!

Walmart released their Black Friday circular and the Nintendo DS is $98! Times two, that will save us about $60. So guess where Rick and I went today?? Yep, Walmart at 5:00 a.m.!!

Any man who will do this is worthy of Rockin' Husband status, don't you think?? So,

Rick Rocks ~ Because He Braved Black Friday!

** Update .. we were too late to snag the DS deals, even showing up at 5:00 a.m. But we got them ordered at regular price, and picked up several other cheapo items that we were in search of. All in all, not a bad day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful from A - Z

Katy Lin at The Great Adventure has been doing a daily post listing things she is thankful for, using all 26 letters of the alphabet. I wanted to join in, but put it in one post for you to read today. (I've been working on this all month! And doing this is not as easy as it seems!)

This has been a roller coaster kind of year. At the beginning of the year, when Rick made my calendar, he put a little inspirational phrase at the top that said, "Peace is MINE in 2009". It hasn't been a very peaceful year, I'm afraid! (In fact, I told him to put this phrase on my 2010 calendar: "Kick you in the shin in 2010!" I thought maybe some reverse psychology would work this year!)

Even though my year has not been overly peaceful, I still have had so many things for which to be thankful. In fact, as our LifeCoach has told us, "God cannot heal what has not been revealed."

So here is my list of things for which I am thankful this year ~ 2009:

A ~ Apples. Yes, I have been thankful for apples! My kids love them and I feel so good feeding them a nice, fresh, sliced apple for a snack instead of something sugary and fattening. I also learned how to make yummy homemade applesauce this year! I wish I had an apple tree!

B ~ Blogging. I have found a forum where I can express myself daily! I love to write and my blog has given me a place to do that in all of the crazy forms I love! I have also made some of the most amazing friends by blogging, and have received amazing support in the form of comments, e-mails and prayers this year. Without blogging, all of this in my poor head would have remained bottled up inside and I might have imploded.

C ~ Coffee. Seriously thank you Lord for deciding, in your infinite wisdom, that on the 3rd day you should create coffee bean plants! For that, you completely deserved that day off on the 7th day!

D ~ DVR. We very rarely watch television shows anymore in "real time". In fact, if we do someone inevitably says, "FF" (fast forward), when it comes to a commercial! DVR is especially helpful with a busy family! It allows me the opportunity to spend time with my kids during the evening without being annoyed that I'm missing a show. And it allows us to plan getting things done in the early evening, even though a show has already started, so we can sit down a little later together as a family and watch it. And it keeps us from being in 12 different rooms to watch 12 different things because we all have different things we want to watch. We watch things together, and then watch the other things at a different time. Best of all, Rick and I can sit down after the kids all go to bed and watch a show together, thus creating time just for us. It's a win-win all the way around (unless I go to watch something and realize that it hasn't recorded because the memory is full due to 76 recorded episodes of Hannah Montana and Tom and Jerry.)

E ~ Easter Sunday. Just one day's reminder through the year that Jesus paid the price for my daily sins so that someday I can rise as He did to live eternally with my Father. Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice and thank you, God, for loving me so much that you would allow your Son to endure such atrocities. I am loved!

F ~ Fathers. Both my earthly one and my heavenly one. I love my dad, Bill! He has always been the life of the party! And, he's such a softy under all that tough exterior! And, he is the best cook! And I love my Heavenly Father for always loving me unconditionally no matter what stupid things I do.

G ~ Good genes. I like the other kind of good jeans, too, but I'm talking about genes passed down from my parents. Thankfully, there are no real hereditary health issues in our family. And, we have been blessed with a good metabolism. Those things make keeping ourselves healthy as a family much easier. I really try not to take that for granted because I know so many people who struggle with health issues that are beyond their control, including weight issues that are hard to fight.

H ~ Hope. What always gets me through tough days is the hope of better days to come.

I ~ Individuality. I absolutely love the differences in my kids. I look at them and wonder what they will end up doing with their lives. And it's the things that others think are strange or not normal that I know will be the driving things that make my kids do great things as adults!

J ~ Jesus. My friend. When all other friends fail me, and they can't help but do it, Jesus is always there walking through the muck and mire with me. Heck, sometimes he even carries my heavy load so I don't have to. Without Him I would be so lonely.

K ~ Kids. My kids .. dear God I would be lost without them. I am so thankful that I have the privilege of being their mom. They teach me more about love and mercy and patience and humility that anyone else on this planet. Every gray hair I have on my head is 100% worth it. I am so proud of the people they are becoming, and I cannot wait to see what paths they take in their lives.

L ~ Legacy. We are in imperfect family. Can you believe it??? A lesson I have learned this year is that even imperfect families deserve to be loved for who they are, no matter what! And I have family members who have taught me that. There's my mom and dad who, even though they have imperfect parents, still take the time to do what's right by them even when they don't really feel like it. And there's my second cousin Charla (aka Sarge) who has her own elderly mother and elderly aunt (who are both in their mid-80's) living with her and working at her antique shop just to be a help to them in their last days. I am grateful for these examples in my family of how important we should remain to each other.

M ~ Mom
. My mom. I love her. We are so much alike that, at times, that can be a bad thing. Way independent, we are! But she has ingrained in me a love for my children and my home. She accepts me just how I am, but isn't afraid to interfere when she feels it's necessary. She has taught me that being anything but frugal is ridiculous. And she has taught me this year that people are who people are, and all I can do it accept that and love them anyway and just move on. Good lesson learned.

N ~ New Friends. Life changes and paths go in different directions sometimes. Old friends go different ways and new friends arrive. I am so extremely thankful for the new friends I have made this year! Many of you are women I have met in this crazy blogging world! Some of you I have met at my childrens' school. Each of you has given me fresh perspective on my life and where it's going. Thank you!

O ~ Old Friends. Then there are those friends who you haven't physically seen for many years. They read something on your blog and just know. And they have just the right words to say at just the right time. And, all of a sudden you feel safe. You know who you are. And you know how much I love you. What you don't know is that you have saved me this year, when things have been so hard. I have saved some of your words and I re-read them for encouragement often. You bless me!

P ~ Planning. I love to plan, be it parties, crafts, t-shirts, dinners, grocery lists, whatever. Planning has turned me around this fall. I have felt a little lost, a little useless. But this fall I have been working hard and have been distracted planning the fall craft party for Eli's class, planning all four kids' birthday parties, planning Christmas parties coming up, planning frugal meals and grocery lists out of necessity. I feel alive and useful! Tapping into the gifts God has given me has given me back some joy I had lost!

Q ~ Quiet. I am someone who needs lots of quiet! I seriously think I have over-stimulation issues, to light and noise and touch. I have been blessed to have at least two hours a day, each day, to myself where I can just sit in the quiet if I want to. And many days I do. Without it, I think I would go stark raving mad!

R ~ Rick Taulman. The love of my life. I don't want to live a day of my life without him in it. I look forward to our children being grown and living lives of their own so that we can just be together. I think he's sexy, and funny and the best father I've ever been around. With him I know that I am always loved. He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me!

S ~ Sisters. My blood sister, Kristen, and my sisters in Christ. Kristen and I didn't really care for each other until we got in our 30's. Even now we are completely different. But, our differences are what has made me open my eyes to some really important things this year. I am so proud of her and for what she has done in her life over the past 5 years or so. And for my sisters in Christ, my real sisters in Christ, thank you for praying for me and loving me and accepting me, no matter what.

T ~ Tim. My brother, and his little adorable wife Shawna. (Do you know that they have been sweethearts since junior high?) He lives his life in a way that is completely opposite of the way I live mine. But in visiting him, and being a part of his life for a few days, he taught me a valuable lesson this year. We can do things completely different and still both live a fulfilling life! Life worth living is the one where you do it your way, not the way everybody else thinks you should be doing it.

U ~ Unconditional Love. It's hard to find. But, it's there. I know that I am unconditionally loved by my God, my Husband, my Children, my Family and some dear friends. I don't need to search for it. It's here. I can be me, even with Satan tries to tell me I can't. When I look around and see who is still standing by my side, I know. And I do feel loved. It's taken a lot this year for me to really see that. But, I do!

V ~ Vacations! I love to go on vacation! Not only do I love the destinations (Bermuda, the Caribbean, Grand Tetons, Portland, Oregon, even St. Louis, Missouri, to name a few), but I love to experience those places with my vacation buddies. Sometimes it's Rick and I with the kids, occasionally it's with some friends or my mom and sometimes Rick and I get the pleasure of going on vacation alone. This summer Rick and I are taking a cruise through the Hawaiian islands. I. Can. Not. WAIT!!! Oh, Rick, I cannot wait!

W ~ Weight Watchers Point System. I'm not heavy and neither is Rick. But, at times we get, what I would like to call, "fleshy"! And as we have gotten older we feel the effects of our weight gains more prominently! The Weight Watchers Point System is something I did a few years ago to lose about 15 pounds. Rick has lost weight at times doing it too. What I love about it is that you are deprived nothing as long as you stay within your point goal. It's a healthy way to lose weight and we go back to it often.

X ~ Xerographic copier. Because it gives me purpose one afternoon a week. I love to help out my kids' teachers and their school, but I am just not the PTO type. Too cliquish and junior high for me. I do copies for all of the kindergarten teachers' lesson plans every week and I enjoy knowing that I am being helpful in some tangible way. Our teachers work so hard and put in so many hours that it saddens me to think about them having to stay after school to make their copies. That's time they should be spending with their own families.

Y ~ YMCA. I love going to classes at the Y. I don't like to get up at 5 a.m. to do it, but I am thankful it's there for me. And my body always thanks me for going!

Z ~ Zinc. In September of 2008 I started giving my two little ones a gummy immune boosting vitamin with zinc in it. Not coincidentally, I believe, my now 5 year old stopped having all of his respiratory illnesses and made it through the entire sick season with no more than a couple-day cold. Fluke? Well, we have been taking it for over a year and ne'er an illness from him (other than a reaction to his FluMist). My pediatrician told me about her research on the healing properties of zinc and to keep giving it to him! I have and I will for as long as they continue to make it in a form he can take. I am thankful for the geniouses out there who have determined what vitamin deficiencies we can have from our poor diets, and the environment, etc., so that we can supplement to stay healthy.

I hope that you have a blessed Thanksgiving and cling to those things for which you are Thankful! For me, it's family. Everything else is just extra.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kyndal's 15th Birthday (plus one week)

Kyndal's 15th birthday was one week ago today. (I can't believe I never posted this!)

Her birth went something like this:

I was in my third year of law school, and I was 10 days past my due date. My office was on the third floor of the law school and we had no elevator. We also lived an hour and a half away from the school. So, every day I was driving and climbing stairs and going to school and driving home. And I was making no progress! And I was getting miserable!

Finally my doctor decided/was convinced to induce me. So we drove up to Kansas City to the hospital at 6:00 p.m. on November 17th. I was not dilated at all and my cervix had not even begun to thin. So, they "gelled my cervix" and sent me to bed. I was to be induced the next morning. However, 20 minutes later I was in labor. I labored for about 10 hours, had my epidural, hit 5 centimeters and stalled. I was still having a "hot spot" pain, so they adjusted my epidural. I went from 5 to 10 centimeters in a very short period of time. In fact, we had just sent my parents to a hotel for the night and had to call them right back immediately. I thought I needed to go "number 2", but they realized that was no bowel movement I was fixin' to have!

I pushed for 25 minutes, and out she came.

Kyndal Jamison Suhr was born at 6:25 a.m. on Friday, November 18, 1994. She weighed 8 lbs 2 ozs. and was 21" long.

Exactly 15 years later I woke her up so she could get ready for school. She came straight downstairs to open her gifts. Nobody was awake. It was only her and me.

She got Justin Bieber concert tickets and Twilight Woods perfume and shower gel from Bath and Body Works.

Since she was leaving right after school to go with her dad to Missouri, to prepare for her cruise that weekend, I took her into town to get donuts before school.

She was only slightly embarrassed that I pulled out a candle and flame thrower in the middle of the donut shop. After a quick look around to make sure she didn't know anybody, she blew out her candle.

And other than for about 10 seconds while she picked up her suitcase after school, that's all I saw of her all day.

I hope she had a good birthday! I know she had a good birthday week! She gets back from her cruise with her grandma, aunt and cousin tomorrow.

We have missed her!

My Little Pilgrim

On top of all the crafting in Eli's class (see post before this one), Brynne's class was also having a Thanksgiving Feast.

Here she is in front of her class turkey ~

See her adorable turkey shirt !!

And here is her class at their feast, and what a yummy feast it was!

They had roasted turkey slices, rolls, homemade butter (that they made in class earlier in the day), grapes, cheese, carrots with ranch dressing, fritos, cookies, and pumpkin pudding with whipped topping.

They were so cute!!!

Thankful for the Gifts God Gave Me

I was given the opportunity to use one of the gifts God gave me this week (well, really for the past two months!).

I was asked by Eli's teacher if I would be willing to help organize a two-day fall craftapalooza for the three kindergarten classes on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving break.

Loving to plan things I said, "Sure!"

Then about a day later the first grade teachers heard about what we were planning to do and wanted to join in. So, Amy (a first grade mom and part-time pre-k teacher at the school) signed on to be the lead person for first grade.

At first it didn't seem like it was going to be a big deal. But, by the time we had two planning meetings and realized what it was going to take logistically to move five classes of kids (broken up into smaller groups) through eight crafts in two days ... I was scared!! We're talking about 115 kids! And we're talking about supplies for crafts for 115 kids!

Without Amy I would have drowned. She and I worked as a great team! Where I was weak, she was strong and where she was weak ... well who am I kidding ... she's not weak at anything! Thank you Amy for helping me make this a success!

We had just the right number of moms, and even a grandpa and third cousin, show up to help (thank you moms and gentlemen!). Without them it just would have been a disaster! There were some hiccups here and there. But, overall, I think it went well. And, I do believe the kids had a blast! I had several come up with big smiles talking about what they had done.

Here is Eli wearing his Thanksgiving crown he made ~

And here is a picture of all of the other crafts ~

They made pop bottle turkeys, fall canvas tote bags, thankful placemats, toilet paper pumpkins, popcorn balls, thanksgiving crowns (that Eli is modeling above) and beaded indian corn. They also got to have some outside play time.

Since it appeared to be a success, there's already talk about doing it again next year. And, guess what .. I'll have a first grader and a kindergartner. Guess who has been designated to head this up again! I have noted things that would definitely make it run more smoothly, and will implement those ideas. If we're not here next year, I'll just pass on the ideas to the next lucky mom!

Thank you Mrs. Sansone, and other teachers, for trusting me with such a big job. I hope your kiddos had fun!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving break !! You deserve it!

What a Kid! Wednesday ~ Eli

A couple of weekends ago I received this e-mail from a mom of a little girl who is in Eli's kindergarten class:

I just wanted to share the sweetest story with you. On Thursday my mom and I surprised L and joined her for lunch at school. Eli happened to be sitting across the table from us. Almost every time I have lunch with L they are sitting near each other so I get to chat with Eli (who is precious!). During the conversation my mom leaned down to L and quietly asked her if any of the boys were her boyfriends. She told her grandma, very matter of factly, that Eli was her boyfriend, then just smiled at him. I don't know if he heard what she said or not. That cafeteria is crazy loud sometimes. I told her that I thought Eli was a great choice! Later that evening at home I asked L why she wanted Eli to be her boyfriend and she said, "Because Mommy he is always nice to me, Eli is never mean."

I just had to tell you what a sweetheart of a little boy you have. He has definitely made an impression on L and that is not easily done.

I responded to this mom and told her that as parents we all tend to think our children are the sweetest and cutest. But, in Eli's case, he just might be. He really does not have one mean bone in his body. I don't know that I have ever seen him be mean, not even once, in his life. He is very thoughtful of other people's feelings (even his little sister) and is affectionate and sweet and is always smiling! We absolutely treasure him and are thrilled to know that others do too.

My sweetheart of a little boy, Eli ~ What a Kid!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today ~ November 24, 2009

Outside my window... the sun is starting to come up.

I am thinking... about how we ran out of raffia yesterday at our craft party and whether we have enough ribbon to tie to the top of our Indian Corn craft (I don't have time to buy more raffia!)

I am thankful ... that despite it's ups and downs, I have managed to create a stable life for myself and my kids over the last 10 years.

I am wearing... a cream colored long sleeved shirt, brown puffy vest, jeans, my brown moccasins, and my new cute little acorn necklace made from an actual acorn.

I am remembering... how difficult and lonely, at times, it is to be a teenager, and how I need to really dig deep to be supportive and understanding of mine who have different personalities than me.

I am creating... fun little holiday t-shirts for Brynne. Another one is in the works!

I am going... to absolutely enjoy this Thanksgiving weekend with my family and remember all I have to be thankful for.

I am reading... The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks (still).

I am hoping... that Kyndal is having a really great time on her cruise with my mom, sister and niece and that they have an uneventful trip home so we can see them on Thanksgiving Day.

On my mind... is my future and what I want to do with it.

From the learning rooms... We just need a break!

Pondering these words ... "Hey kids .. guess what time it is? ...... It's 9:00 and I'm looking at you ... so go to bed!" ~ From Futurama. It's a horrible show, but it was on in the living room and I overheard that line and it made me chuckle! I have always said I stop being a mommy at 9:00, so the kids better be in their beds where I don't see them again until morning!

From the kitchen... we're eating light and easy in preparations for the stuff-a-thon that will start first thing Thursday.

Around the house... it's still fall decorations for me. I absolutely refuse to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving is over!!

One of my favorite things... is driving the kids to school. I love driving there with my coffee (in the mornings) or a glass of ice water (in the afternoons). It's so relaxing. And the kids are always excited and happy and I love, love, love to see their sweet smiles when they get out of the car and walk into the school.They are so grown up and it almost makes me cry every day.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Today we finish up our two-day craft party for our school's kindergarten and first graders. Then I'm hoping to get away and get my nails done. Wednesday I am helping a friend make my turkey shirts for her two girls. Then on Thursday morning we're heading to mom and dad's for Thanksgiving weekend. We'll stuff ourselves 'till we're sick on Thursday. Then on Friday I'm making Rick go to Black Friday at 5:00 a.m. at Walmart to hopefully steal some deals (he's very excited ... not!) Then we're driving on up to Kansas City to scope things out and spend the night in a hotel without kids!! On Saturday we'll come back to mom and dad's and hang out there until Sunday when we'll make the trip back home.

From my picture journal.

My girls laying on the bare kitchen floor eating icing out of a tub with their fingers. And for no reason except they wanted to.

Get to know other special women at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

A couple of weeks ago I bought a 6 1/2 pound roast for $1.68 a pound. I was surprised at how much meat was there, so planned three meals out of it. We had a crockpot roast, potatoes and vegetables one night; beef kabobs with fresh veggies and brown rice another night; and crockpot french dip sandwiches last night.

Oh my gosh! Those meals were so good! My husband was thrilled and said last night what a good buy that roast was!

Look at these kabobs!

I just cut the roast into chunks and sprinkled them with homemade steak seasoning that I got from a recipe off (I don't have the link. I did it so long ago that I have a seasoning container full of it.) Then I loaded my skewers with the roast, squash, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. I threw them on the George Foreman and they were done in no time. Rick loved them!!

And this is what I did for the little kids so they would eat it. I've mentioned my tactics before. But, I just made some brown rice and cut up all of the vegetables in diced pieces with the meat and mixed it in. They ate it all. And they got veggies !! :)

Then last night I used the last of the roast to make Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches. To make the sandwiches I cooked the meat all afternoon in the crock pot with the beef broth I had saved from when I cooked the roast earlier in the week. The actual recipe is also on I can't link to it because I have it bookmarked in Safari (which is down) and I'm using Firefox right now. I tried to find it with a search and couldn't. Sorry! I do know it takes a 12 oz. bottle of beer (that actually totally adds to the flavor) and I added some minced garlic and extra beef broth made from bouillon. I also added about 3 tablespoons onion powder and some diced onions. After I took the meat out I sprinkled in salt to make it on the salty side. About an hour before we ate I took it out and sliced it and added it back to the broth. I took steak rolls, spread butter on them and sprinkled on garlic salt. I baked them at 350* for about 5 minutes and then broiled them. I loaded them with the meat and we dipped them in the homemade au jus. So good!!!

All three meals together were about $15.00 and over-the-top delicious!

Now on to this weeks menu (much less dramatic!!)

Monday ~ Soft tacos and homemade guacamole

Tuesday ~ Bacon egg and cheese biscuits (didn't get to this last week)

Wednesday ~ Cheeseburger macaroni

Thursday, Friday, Saturday ~ Turkey, dressing, dad's homemade noodles, lot of sides, a turkey sandwich or 5, bowls of heated up noodles, some noodles with dressing on the side, more turkey, definitely more noodles, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and some no bake cookies that I beg my mom to make.

Sunday ~ Frozen pizzas when we get home

I can already taste the noodles!!!

Head over to OrgJunkie for more menu ideas. I bet there's lots of tasty Thanksgiving treats there this week!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Copycat on the Loose!

I love to copy expensive crafting ideas. But there's a reason I don't go into business myself when I do it. Usually what I end up with is totally amateur and I begin to understand why the person I copied from charges so much for his or her creation!

At An Affair of the Heart yesterday I saw several adorable t-shirts for Brynne. But I absolutely refuse to pay $30+ for something I am certain I can do myself, even if it does end up looking a little amateur!

I immediately went to Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby last night and bought what I needed to make two of the super-cute holiday shirts I saw. I could have done them cheaper, had I been patient and waited for some sales. But I still managed to make one for about $10 and the other for about $15 or so.

And here they are ...

Brynne's going to wear this to her Thanksgiving Feast at school on Tuesday. The colors didn't show up near as vibrant as they are in person. It is so cute!

And here is a Christmas one!

Isn't it beautiful! At the bottom of the shirt is the hair clippie I made to match. I love the shimmer of the red ribbon against the crystals! She'll wear this one to one of her many Christmas functions.

I had so much fun doing these this morning! And, really, they look almost as good as the professional ones I saw yesterday. They look much more vibrant and pretty in person, but I just wanted to share them! I'm going to attempt the fuzzy zebra print Christmas tree next. It should be super-easy!

You Hold the Key to My Heart

I had such a relaxing and fun day at An Affair of the Heart yesterday (if you call being crammed shoulder to shoulder down isles of nicknacks and whatnot feeling like you are being herded like cattle relaxing and fun). And by the way, I do.

My girlfriend Deidre and I slowly roamed the isles, chit chatted and had a great morning without kids. Then we went to have some lunch together to get caught up on our lives. We had so much fun!

Unfortunately I found a few more items for myself than I found for Christmas gifts, which was my main reason for being there (buying Christmas gifts, that is). I did pick up a few odds and ends, but just didn't cross as many names off my list as I had planned. And I got a couple of great ideas for Thanksgiving t-shirts for Eli and Brynne and an adorable Christmas "Believe" t-shirt for Brynne. I'm planning to make these today, so I'll post them later today hopefully.

But I did buy one specific gift. Yeah, that's right, I put together this little number for the winner of my first ever Giveaway. (And I really want to keep it for myself!)

(No matter what I did I could not get this to post up and down.)

I just want to tell you thank you for taking the time to enter my Giveaway, but more importantly for the extremely kind words you left in my comments. During a difficult year, my blogging friends have been the source of a huge part of my strength. And my husband appreciates your support of me, too. I know that he has worried about the isolation I have created for myself over the past several months. But by reading your comments he saw that I really do have some great friends, probably some of the best I've ever had. And he said, "it warms my heart." I thought that was an appropriate response by him considering the gift I had just bought for the Giveaway. You need to know just how much you "warm my heart."

I hope that you will continue to read my blog and comment freely. I love to write, just to do it. But I also love to receive your comments! So please keep 'em comin'!!

So without further delay, the winner of my Giveaway is ...........

Tamara from Catching Up With The Conners. Yea Tamara!!

Tamara is my real life friend and co-blogger. In fact, I had the pleasure of inspiring Tamara to start her blog.

So, Tamara, let's meet for coffee and I'll get you your necklace! E-mail me!

(btw... Brynne only knows how to read sight words, so unless your name is a sight word, she couldn't read it when drawing the winner. The entries were shaken and stirred and the winner legitimately chosen by Brynne. But she did spend the rest of the morning drawing names and writing them in her spiral. So, now she may know how to read your name.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Giveaway ~ Last Day to Enter

I'm up bright and early to get ready to go to An Affair of the Heart. What does this mean for you? It means you may be the recipient of a great item from there if you go here to register today!

Today is the last day! I will be drawing the winner tomorrow.

But for now, I'm off to go shopping!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rick Rocks ~ Because He's a Nightowl

** Don't forget about my first-ever giveaway for a cool prize that I have no idea what is yet! Intrigued? Go here to register!

When we first started dating, I would stay up half the night to spend time with Rick. And then on those weekends that he stayed in Springfield at my house (at first he lived a little over and hour away, then it was about 2 1/2 hours after we got engaged), he would rise early with me to have coffee.

Yeah, we were totally duping each other.

I turn into a pumpkin by about 7:30 p.m. every night, and am in my pj's by 6:30 if I can get away with it. Many nights he gets the bed ready for this old grandma and tucks her in and then goes in and watches t.v., works, balances his checkbook, etc., etc., etc.

Rick, well let's just say that if I'm still drinking coffee at about 11:00 a.m. on a Saturday (when he's gotten up, if we have nothing going on that day) he'll stand in the kitchen and watch me drink it.

My point in all of this is to say, I'm as thrilled that he likes to stay up half the night as he is that I get up at the crack of dawn. And this is why.

I like to go to bed early, but will easily pop up with a scared or sick child in the middle of the night and will gladly get up with the first one out of bed in the morning, even if it's before daylight. Rick's not a morning person, so he loves that!

Rick gets his second wind every night at about 9:30 p.m. I've completely checked out by then. So, when we have teenager at a football game or movie or get together at some friend's house, he will happily go pick them up at whatever time they are done.

Like last Friday night. He and I were watching t.v., catching up on some DVR'd shows. Our oldest was at a football playoff game and then hanging out with some friends. I was down for the night. Somebody had to drive into town to pick her up. It's a given that Rick will be the one to do that ... not because I tell him to, but because he volunteers because he KNOWS I may not even be able to make it up that late to do it! If she was needing to be taken somewhere at 6:00 a.m., I'd be there! But I am so thankful that he does the night shift. This will especially come in handy when she is a little older and actually has a curfew later than 9:00 p.m.

Even when our babies were first born, I just couldn't do that treacherous 10 p.m. - midnight shift! So, I'd feed the baby just before 10:00 and he'd send me to bed and bounce that fussy one until it was time for the next feeding around midnight. By then I was good to go, ready to take the middle-of-the-night-through-early-morning shift. I was so grateful to him for taking care of them late at night. And I'm still just as grateful that he does it now that some of them are teenagers!

So, although this seems silly, Rick Rocks ~ Because He's a Nightowl!

See other rockin' husbands at Katy Lin's blog.