Saturday, October 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Here's my second attempt at Menu Plan Monday. Last week was a little crazy, so I'm going to make another go at it. I'm actually going to use one of the recipes from week one since I have the ingredients on hand.

Rice Pilaf
Green Beans

Vegetarian Sandwiches*
Fresh Fruit

*making with filet instead of top sirloin
Baked Potatoes
Salad made from last night's veggies

Tortilla Chips with Salsa

Leftover Quesadillas
Chicken Tacos
Tortilla Chips with Salsa

*I'll post pics and details of our Vegetarian sandwiches. They are soooo yummy!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bye Dear Friend

I try not to write sad blog posts or make a big deal of personal issues, but right now there's no getting around it. You see, I have those lovely 2-3 week menstrual periods EVERY month, especially after having children. I feel so bad all the time and I'm just ready for it to stop. I was told a few years back that a hysterectomy was in my future, but at the time I thought, "I'm only 35. That's for old women." If this is TMI, I'd suggest moving on, because this is a crazy hormonal lady talking.

My day to day life is affected by this. I went to get Halloween candy at Wal-Mart and spent half the time in the bathroom with a WHOLE roll of paper towels. Yes, a whole roll. I keep a change of clothes with me most days because of this. I ALWAYS wear black pants or dark jeans. I feel soooo tired and feel like I can't give my family the best that I have. I've already had 2 C-sections, so I don't know why this is so scary to me.

I thought a lot yesterday about my reservations with having the surgery, and all you mothers out there can relate.....

~I don't want to give up the place where life started for my 2 girls~

~I don't want to give up the place where life ended
for my 2 other babies that I never got to hold and love~

~I don't want to give up the place where my girls grew and I could feel them move inside of me~

~I remember holding my tummy when I was pregnant, & thinking, "I'll never be this physically close to my babies like this again."~

~I'm so afraid that I will feel less of a woman.~

~Even though we're 99.99% sure we're through having children, that 0.01% to be able to change our minds in forever gone.

~I worry how I'm going to take care of my family when I do this and how is it going to inconvenience them.~

I know those reasons may seem silly or you may say, "If you feel this bad, and you know you're going to feel better, what are you waiting for?" I ask myself the same thing. Maybe it's my crazy hormones that makes me think these things....but the point is, I feel this way. Not even my family knows these feelings. My mother doesn't even know that this is going to happen (she has her own health issues right now).

So anyway....I just had to get this out. I'm sorry to be a Debbie Downer. If any of you have had similar experiences and have a tidbit of advice, please share. I'm grasping for anything right now. With much love.......

Monday, October 26, 2009

My New Best Friends.....

I'm getting home from one the of the best girls' trips of my life. I'm really a pooped little blogger and I want to share all the fun things we did, but.....I will update you tomorrow.

I cannot express in words how wonderful, sweet, and genuine those girls are. Anyone that has bad, preconceived notions of them is so wrong. I haven't laughed that much in a VERY long time.

As a wife and stay-at-home mom, I needed this trip to remind me that I am still fun, and have so much more to give than unloading the dishwasher and dropping kids off at school. All women need that connection with other women. We need to know that it's okay to take a break and just have fun. I am coming back from my trip a better wife and mother. My spirit has been renewed and my tank is full again to give back to myself and my family. I appreciate what I have and my family much more when I take care of "me". Not is a selfish way, but in a way that validates the best person I can be.

I can't wait to share more about my trip. Hugs and kisses to all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

This is my first "official" week of meal planning on my blog. I've done my own version of meal planning, but always fell off the boat. I'm hoping by posting my plans, that I will be more accountable and actually get into the habit every week. You know, like Jenny Craig and Valerie Bertinelli. If you put yourself out there, and say you're going to accomplish something, you gotta do it. BTW, she is looking fabulous! Totally off subject, but I'm sure Eddie Van Halen is kicking himself for letting her go!
*I've decided to not include weekends with Meal Plan Mondays.
Our schedule changes so much, that we usually just wing it.
*If you want any of the recipes I didn't provide links for, let me know and I'll post them.
Shrimp Salad
from "Come On In"-Jackson, MS Junior League Cookbook. pg.62
Fresh Fruit
Fresh Tomato Tart
from "Come On In"-Jackson, MS Junior League Cookbook, pg. 131
*I add 1 clove fresh garlic minced to the pie crust
*I use Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
Small Green Salad
Fresh Fruit
Rice Pilaf
Green Beans
*I use less soy and leave out lemons after marinating
Green Beans
Leftover Roast and Potatoes
Green Beans

Yay! I'm so excited about doing this! I'm leaving to go out of town on Friday, so I'm happy that I was able to think ahead and have Doc Lancelot and the girls some yummy leftovers while I'm gone.

I tried to also make things that could carry over to the next day. Like for Monday, I'll be chopping a lot of fresh vegetables, so I'll just have extra for the salad on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I'll have green beans...make extra, and we'll have those again with the pot roast on Thursday. You see a pattern doesn't have to be hard. I certainly plan on making 2 meals a week that I can use again the next night.

Once I get a few weekly menus under my belt, I'll be able to reuse them for another week. I'm going to print the menu along with the recipes, staple them together, and put in a file folder. On the sheets, I can write comments or needed changes.

If you want to know more about Menu Plan Mondays, click here. Also, if you want ideas for weekly menus, click here. Scroll down to all the links, and you'll find over 300 menus! Have a great week!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Cheese Eater?

As I said in my previous post, I plan on starting menu planning this week. I've got a cup of coffee, notebook and pen, and have been looking through all my favorite cookbooks. I'm looking online at Epicurious and Food Network. I'm even referencing back to the I'm an Organizing Junkie website to see the plans that other people are using. I'm going to do this. I really am!

As I was looking at recipes, I came across this recipe on the Gooseberry Patch website. It's The Great Pumpkin Cheese Ball. It's absolutely adorable, and I plan on making it soon.

photo source: Gooseberry Patch Blog

Isn't this the cutest thing ever?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dishing Out The Week

I've been trying to set some goals for myself. The main goal is to simplify my life and have a more organized, peaceful home for my family. One of the things I've found that helps my week go a little smoother is to plan my family's meals.

I've run across a lot of websites and blogs that have "Menu Mondays" where you plan your meals for the week on Sunday and present your list on Monday. I try to do my own informal version of "Menu Plan Mondays", but oftentimes my Sundays pass me by and I don't get around to making a written menu.

I guess I think I'll miraculously remember what I'm going to make and where the corresponding recipes are located. Then Monday rolls around, and I scurry around to slap together some semblance of a meal. My meal planning starts off behind of the game and I never catch up. I then make numerous trips to the grocery store throughout the week because of my lack of planning. You all know the song and dance, right?

Laura, the organizing guru at I'm an Organizing Junkie developed "Menu Plan Mondays". The site lets others share recipes and also get ideas and tips to make the process easier. Here's the link for getting started. If meal planning isn't your cup of tea, check out all the other wonderful ideas she has. There are also helpful sources for organizational tools. If you want to join me as I start, let me know!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award

I wanted to thank Caroline for nominating me for Kreative Blogger Award. Check out Caroline's blog here. She's such a cutie and I look forward to meeting her soon.

Here are the rules:
1.) Thank the person who gave this to you!
2.) Copy the logo and place it in your blog!
3.) Link the person who nominated you!
4.) Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.
5.) Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6.) Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7.) Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them!

So here are 7 things about me that you might find interesting or scare you.
  1. I was an only child until I was age 15.
  2. I seriously worry about the state of our country. I think about it everyday. I especially worry about the amount of national debt my children will be burdened with as adults.
  3. I hate yucky feet. Dried, cracked heels and long toenails gross me out. What's even worse...French manicured, artificial toenails. Did you know they have tips for your toenails? Me neither, until I saw a girl that had toenails that stuck out over her flip flops.
  4. I think you can tell someone's true character by the way they treat children, animals, the elderly, and people that work for them.
  5. I have to work really, really hard to be on time. I had a bad habit of being 5-10 minutes late anywhere I went, until someone I greatly respected said, "When you're habitually late, you're letting the person (s) waiting on you know that you have no respect for them or their time. You're basically saying, 'I'm think I'm more important than you, and you can wait on me.' " That's an eye-opening statement.
  6. If I were 5 years younger, I would seriously think about having another child. I think it would be neat to have a little boy. Oh well....I've got tomboys, and it's all I can do some days to keep up with them.
  7. I had a pet squirrel named Peanut when I was 5 years old. I fed him, played with him, etc. just like a cat, until my real cat, Mussy killed him.
I tag:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Big Cheese

To say I love cheese is an understatement. I have lots of neuroses about the way that I eat cheese. I can't eat a hamburger unless it's a "cheeseburger". If I eat a grilled cheese, it has to have 2 slices of cheese. I can't eat the crappy, from the box macaroni and cheese. It has to be the homemade, baked, oohy, gooey 4 cheese kind.

So when I found out I was allergic to dairy, yeasts and molds, my first thought was, "For the love of all that's good and pure in this cheese?" I have to admit....and don't tell my allergist....I haven't exactly given up cheese. It doesn't affect me like some of my other food allergies like soy and rice.

I started a bad late night eating habit a few years ago. It's called "Nighttime Triscuits and Cheese". Here are my arguments for why this is a *healthy* snack.....
  1. I eat the reduced fat version.
  2. The crackers have fiber, and the cheese has calcium.
  3. I do stop myself and eat only the suggested serving size on the box, which is 7 crackers.
  4. Are you buying my reason why I eat these EVERY night? Yeah, I thought so.

If you want to join me for my super-easy, Triscuit treat, here's how you make it--
  • Put the crackers on a small plate, then top with 1 slice of Kraft Deli Fresh Sharp Cheddar slices. I break the slice into smaller pieces to look like this. See--I have this down to a science.

  • Microwave 10-15 seconds, or until cheese is melted. You don't want to microwave it too long, or the crackers will be tough. This is some good stuff people. YUM!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Peel Baby Peel

Dearhearts, here's a continuation of the previous post, "What's in Your Medicine Cabinet?" So here's my nighttime skincare routine.
  • First, I use the Cellceuticals Extremely Gentle Skin Cleanser on my Clarisonic Pro skincare brush. I wait a few minutes after cleansing before proceeding. Many years ago, my dermatologist told me to wait a little while before putting on retinoids. It is supposed to allow the skin time to regain some of its natural moisture. I don't know how scientific this is, but I have noticed if I immediately apply retinoids, I have more flaking and dryness the next day.
  • I alternate between retinoids and a nighttime cream. During the harsh winters here, I find that I can't use a retinoid more than 4 days a week. So here's what I use:
  • I use the same products during the day, but I have no set system with what I use at night. I just try to 'listen' to my skin. My theory is at night , you "treat" problems and during the day you "protect" your skin from having problems. If my skin is feeling a little dry, I'll use CellGenesis Regenerative Skin Treatment. I would like to bathe in this stuff. It is so light, but so effective. By the way, I am not affiliated in any way with Cellceuticals. I'm just a girl spending money on skincare stuff, like most of you....and I'm telling you what works for me.
  • The retinoids I use are prescription strength. I use Tazorac brand gel 0.1%. Let me tell you, this is the "big guns". I had to work my way up to this strength over the course of a few months. It really helps with acne, but the main reason I use it is for anti-aging and collagen building. I also use Retin-A Micro Pump 0.4%. This is a much milder retinoid, and I tolerate this better in the winter.
  • After a vacation to the beach later this summer, I have LOTS of hyperpigmentation on my forehead. I'm having a really hard time getting rid of it, so I've started using Lustra Ultra with 4% hydroquinone and 3% retinol. I use this on my forehead and the other creams on the rest of my face and neck.
  • When I'm super tired, and really, really tempted to not wash my face before bed, I reach for these. Swipe, swipe, toss, and go to bed. No creams, just sweet dreams! he he
  • If I feel a monster brewing under the skin (a.k.a. the zit monster), I use this little trick to kill the bacteria and treat the pimple while I'm sleeping.
First I zap the blemish with the Thermaclear Acne Treatment Device. This is like the Zeno Acne Treatment device on steriods. It hurts like a mother and is startling, but it has saved the day for my skin a few times. Next, I put a dot of antibiotic ointment on the area, then cover it with a "dot bandaid". In the morning, I take the bandaid off, and start the morning routine all over again.
So that's it. Sounds complicated, but I've got it down to only a few minutes!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What's in Your Medicine Cabinet?

Come on now, I know you've all done it. You're at someone's house and go to the restroom. You're washing your hands and look up. There's a medicine cabinet so close you can smell the Secret deodorant. You say to yourself, "Hmm, just a quick peek." There's something very revealing about the contents of someone's medicine cabinet. Maybe they're depressed and take medication. Maybe they're 50 years old and still like Scooby Doo toothpaste. Maybe *GASP* they use Rogaine or a nicotine patch. Our deepest secrets can lie in our bathroom cabinets.

I think this video is hilarious. Mr. Snoopy Snooperson is going to take a peek inside someone's medicine cabinet. I'd love to pull this prank sometime. Seriously....I really want to do it at the next party or get together I have at my house.

I've had quite a few emails asking me what skincare products I use. I am so flattered by the sweet comments, but I have to tell's like a skin isn't that great up close. I have had several severe cases of acne that required Accutane, and still battle with breakouts. I think one blessing of having acne is the fact that I started taking good care of my skin at an early age. I have friends that had great skin in high school. They didn't have to worry about breakouts and having to cover up blemishes. They slept in their makeup, never wore sunscreen, and laid in tanning beds. I can tell a huge difference in their skin now from the years of neglect.

After I turned 30, I became a bit obsessed with skincare. I honestly think I've tried or read about every skincare line out there. If someone mentions a product, there's a good chance I'm familiar with it. By no means am I an skin still throws me for a loop every few years. I just choose to educate myself about the things I put on my skin.

Here are the products I'm CURRENTLY using. It'll probably change in a year, but I'm liking this combination now.

Here's my morning routine:
  1. Wash with Cellceuticals Extremely Gentle Skin Cleanser. I use the cleanser with my Clarisonic Pro skin care brush. If you haven't heard of Cellceuticals, it was developed by Dr. Garth Fisher, a world famous, and highly respected plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. I can make a prediction.....he will perform a "Mommy Makeover" on me one day to repair the damage a 10 lb., 12 oz. baby did to my body. That's another story all together. Cellceutical products are phenomenal and so gentle. This is the one cleanser that doesn't strip my skin or leave it feeling grimy.
  2. Next I use 4-5 drops of Skinceuticals Phloretin CF antioxidant drops. I wait several minutes before I apply the next step. There's lots of research to prove that topical antioxidants protect and repair skin by rebuilding collagen.
  3. Some people put their eye cream on last, but I like to let it start doing it's work before I put my makeup on. With my allergies, I have to be careful about what I put around my eyes, so I alternate between these 2 eye creams. I'll be honest, I have NEVER found anything to help with my dark circles. So if you have any suggestions, please share. I use Skinceuticals Eye Cream and Kinerase Intensive Eye Cream if I'm particularly dry.
  4. I just started using Skinmedica TNS Recovery Complex this week. So far, I'm liking it a lot. If you read the reviews on the link I posted, you'll see that people really saw improvement after using TNS. I remember seeing an article in a beauty magazine about this product a few years back. Jennifer Aniston and several other celebrities said in the article that they use TNS and swore by it. I made a mental note, but was put off by how expensive it was. Fortunately, I got a great deal and got my sneaky little hands on it. After a week, I can see a considerable lightening of the melasma on my forehead. I don't know that I'm going to be using this every day. I may alternate every other day. We'll see....
  5. Next I use the Cellceuticals Extreme Defense Lotion. I only use a 2-3 squirts of this on my face and neck. It's really light and just feels wonderful.
  6. Last, I use sunscreen...each and every day on my face, neck and décolletage if it's not covered with my blouse . Even when it's raining and in the winter. ALWAYS! The sunscreen I like that doesn't break me out and feel like I'm all greased up at the pool is Neostrata Daytime Protection Cream SPF 15. I love that it's fragrance free too. I use a higher SPF in the summer, but I like this lighter cream for winter.
This may sound complicated....but it is really quite quick. I have everything out like you see in the picture above. While the antioxidant is soaking in , I brush my teeth or get dressed, so it's not like I'm sitting around waiting. It all takes 5-7 minutes tops.

Tomorrow, I'll show you my nighttime skincare routine. What products do you love? Please share. As you can tell, I'm always willing to try new things so I can stick my toes in the "fountain of youth." Have a great day, and don't go snooping in medicine cabinets!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I Miss My Mississippi House (Part 2)

Thanks for all the sweet comments about my former house. So here's part 2---the upstairs.

Yep, we had a baby gate. 2 year old that had a broken leg makes you want one. Nuff said.

This is the landing coming up the stairs. I used this area as my "office" when I had my design business. I had simple muslin drapes over the bookshelves because I wanted a clean, simple look and the design books were too "busy" for me.
This was Bookworm's room. I chose pale blue, brown and gold for her room. I had muralists do the characters and finish on the ceiling. I did the stripes below the chair rail. I wish you could have seen the furniture in there. I had an antique French settee that I made into a headboard, and a chest that I painted with a harlequin design.

Now on to Sassypants' room. I did her room in pink and brown with gold accents. I loved her room so much. I had a HUGE antique iron daybed in her room along with her crib, a glider rocker, and an antique mirrored-top dressing table with a skirt.

Sassypants' walls were done in a "water-staining" paint technique. It was beautiful in person....these pictures don't do it justice. The paint was a mixture of cream, muted pink and taupe.

I designed the drapes out of really cheap, discontinued silk fabric. The panels are a deep chocolate brown, and the top part are actually "petals" made of silk. My seamstress thought I was nuts when I asked her to make these, and we had to redo the top a few times to get the proportions right....but I love these. In fact, I had these hemmed and we're using them in Sassypants' room at our current house.
Here's the chandelier. I'm still sick about leaving it with the house. I had it custom painted from a company I loved in Memphis, called Worlds' Away.

Here's a few close ups of the murals. I had some resin cherubs that I painted and hung from the ceiling with pink ribbon. I don't like "theme" rooms, but I guess I had an cherub theme going on in there.

I don't have great photos of our bedroom, so that's it. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Miss My Mississippi House (Part 1)

I'm finally getting over this yucky swine flu. It has really kicked my boo-tay. So on to better things, like blogging.....

As I was looking for a picture of my old kitchen cabinets to post
here, I realized how much I miss my house in Mississippi. It was a Georgian style house and was fabulous. We redid the kitchen 4 weeks before I gave birth to my Sassypants. Yes, I had a 2.5 year old and a newborn and no kitchen. Ambitious, yes....crazy, definitely!

So here's my old house. I saved the architect's drawings, because I want to create a version of this again one day.
Front of House
Formal Living Room

Here's my kitchen that I designed. (Sigh! I miss my kitchen). I had antique brick pavers from Chicago and Memphis for the floor. The island had an icemaker and 2 freezer drawers. The cabinets were painted and glazed by a wonderful faux finisher, Christina Fiorenza. I worked with her in Memphis. The pantry cabinets and built-in hutch were made of cypress.
I used copper plumbing pipe on the island.

I didn't use a tile backsplash over the range and above the counters because we found out we were moving while it was all getting done. Why spend more money when we're leaving?

So I decided to call on my good friend Donna Woods from Hattiesburg, MS to paint the area above the range. I had a lot of extra artists' paints and brushes and we did an even swap. I think I got the better end of the deal.
Closer shot of the mural.

Dining Room-We had already moved our furniture to Missouri

This was the room that sold the house. The library/family room. It had paneled walls made of pickled pine (say that fast 3 times). It had a built-in bar with an icemaker and a beautiful fireplace.

Off from this room was a sunroom that we used as a playroom. It was great because the girls had a place to play and we could shut the door when company came, and they didn't have to see all the toys.

The best part of the sunroom/playroom----the view of the pool.

Bathroom next to library. This bath also opened out to the pool.

Shower curtain--I had to have this made because the ceilings were so high in that room.

So you see now why I miss that house? It was wonderfully made. I haven't seen a house with that quality and detail that wasn't a million dollars. We got a great deal on that house because the lady who owned it was a patient of my father-in-law. He was doing some dental work on her and she said, "Do you know of anyone looking for a house? I'm moving to New Orleans." I was over there and had a contract (with no realtor) within 2 days. There are some things that I would change about that house, and we had some bad memories (Hurricane Katrina) there, but I LOVE my Mississippi house and miss it and my family and friends there dearly......

Tomorrow, I'll show you the upstairs and the girls' rooms.