Tuesday, September 29, 2009
What a way to start Monday....I wake up and both my arms are heavy and achy like when you do push ups until you have muscle failure. I thought maybe I had slept wrong, or quite possibly had a karate dream where I busted some Ninja moves on somebody. WRONG!
By the time I dropped the girls off at school and came home, I had a temperature of 102 and my arms and back hurt so bad that I was crying. If I'm crying in pain, you know this girl is hurtin'.
After having the "full-blown, knock you on your butt" flu 2 years ago, I didn't want to take any chances, so I went to the Urgent Care Clinic and got tested for the flu. You can guess what the result was....positively positive H1N1. I asked the doctor why my arms hurt so badly. I haven't had that achy, flu feeling anywhere but my arms and shoulders. He said it's the weirdest thing, most of the flu patients he's seen in the past 3 weeks have severe arm pain. He offered me a prescription for pain, and I laughed and said, "Nah, I don't need anything for pain. I'll just take ibuprofen."
Just like I was wrong about the Ninja dream, I was wrong about not needing anything for pain. I had a few of those crying spells yesterday. By 3:00, I called the office back, and the doctor got on the phone and said, "I knew you'd be calling me back for pain medicine. Everyone always does."
I got a prescription for Tamiflu and Percocet, and even though I still feel horrible, the arm pain is SOOOO much better. I'm going to go catch a quick nap before I have to go pick up the girls at school. Have a great day, and stay healthy!!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
When the snow comes and everyone is wearing jackets and mittens, most of the time they end up on all the doorknobs going into the rooms I mentioned, on the banister going upstairs, or on the back of the breakfast room chairs. Drives me bananas! I can't blame the 7 and under set of my family because it's extremely difficult to open the coat closet crammed with stuff and get a stool to get a hanger because the rod is so high. Then there's no where to put gloves, mittens, and hats except in a bin on the floor of the closet.
So my plan is to knock out that coat closet and 1/2 bath (we have another 1/2 bath 2 rooms away, so that's not an issue)and create a "mudroom" with cubbies, hooks and open, accessible storage. My other plan is to enclose the recessed desk and put a floor to ceiling pantry with doors that open out. This is the one I had in my house in Mississippi. It's not very deep, which I like.
I then plan on making the walk-in pantry into a "mail/computer" nook with a built-in desk. I'll still have to use the back part of the pantry for small appliances. Here's my crazy pantry now.
You may say, "Wow, that's a lot of space! Why would you want to give that up?" The answer is...every time I need something from the pantry, I have to walk past the built-in desk, around the corner, and into the pantry. The hard time comes during clean-up, particularly when making school lunches. I have to round up all the items and make several trips to the pantry, when I could take a few steps over to where the desk is now and put everything away quickly.
I also love the idea of having my mail and bill paying area behind closed doors. No matter how hard I try, my desk area is alway scattered with my calendar, school forms, and to-do lists. My back door is also the home of a bulletin board for invitations, etc. I'd like to have the bulletin board in my "office", and get rid of the visual clutter as we're rushing out the door.
So what do you guys think? Sound like a logistical nightmare, or practical plan? Any ideas you'd want to share? I'll try to post some pictures of the area soon. It's a stinkin' mess right now. Have a restful Sunday.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
- Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte- LOVE, LOVE these. I have to admit...I have at least 3 of these bad boys a week.
- Boots- As soon as the temperature starts dropping.....you're going to find me in boots. I love how boots can totally make an outfit. When it starts snowing here (don't want to let my mind go there), you'll find me in my boots we bought in Aspen. I love them because they have fur around the top, with fur pompoms on the zippers. Very diva-ish, and they get a few looks, but they make me feel pretty when it's so depressing outside.
- Spiced Apple Cider-There's a company called Aspen Mulling Spices that makes the best mixes. You just add apple juice to it. I usually keep some brewing all the time and sip on it all day. My favorite is "Cinnamon Orange Blend". DELICIOUS!!
- Big Chunky Cardigans-I love the time before it gets really cold. I like being able to throw on a cardigan, jeans and boots, and looking more "put together" than flip flops and sundresses.This cardigan can be found at Banana Republic.
- Soup and more soup- Fall is the time I find myself eating soup A LOT! I like to try new recipes from Epicurious.com or Foodnetwork.com. Last year, I tried a black bean soup with roasted pumpkin seeds. Sounds weird, but it was really good.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
- I have been married for 12 years. Can you believe it?? Sometimes it seems like only yesterday when we got married....I'm sure Doc Lancelot feels like it's been a lifetime;-)
- I love to shop, but I love saving money even more. I use Ebates, search for promotion codes, use coupons...whatever it takes to save money. I RARELY pay full price for clothing or things for the house.
- My hair is naturally a mousey brown, but I have the skin color of a redhead. I've tried to color it back brown several times and it looks horrible. And besides, I have the temper of a redhead....so there.
- I think sometimes that I'm "Rainman". To get myself motivated to clean the house or organize, I'll tell myself, "Just pick up, throw way, organize 20 (or some other random number)." Crazy, huh? Weird, most definitely. It works for me though.
- I had an interior design business for children when we lived in Mississippi. When Hurricane Katrina rocked our world, a lot of my business inventory was damaged, and I decided to close my business. I found pregnant women that lost their homes in the hurricane and designed their nurseries for them. I donated cribs, bedding, lamps, etc. and gave them clothing. I remember how excited I was to decorate my nursery when I was pregnant, and I can't imagine losing everything. These poor girls had NOTHING. They were so grateful, and I even keep in touch with one of the girls. She sends me pictures of her son and keeps me updated. They blessed me more than I could ever bless them.
- I would much rather have facials, massages, and mani/pedis than jewelry.
- I have an excellent "radar" when it comes to slimy or untrustworthy people. I can meet you and within a minute, tell if you have a good heart.
Monday, September 21, 2009
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 overripe bananas
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled. (I used vegan butter, and it turned out fine)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
- Optional: Confectioners' sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for a good 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream.
- Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to overly blend.
- Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.
- Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Don't get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; that's no mistake, it's typical.
- Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning. If the edges seem to be getting too brown, cover just the edges of the bread with foil.
- Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
- If desired, toast the slices of banana bread, dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve. (I didn't do this.)
Sunday, September 20, 2009
So anyway....lately, God has been 'wooing' me to get closer to Him. For the past few years, I've not sought to have a CLOSE, personal, daily relationship with God. I have lots of excuses.....moving, kids, hubby starting new job, etc. I could go on and on, but there really is no valid excuse.
Last week at church, the pastor's message really hit home. He gave a list of 6 "Symptoms" that your soul may be in trouble.
The pastor talked about Samson. We all remember Samson from Sunday school, right? The dude with the long hair that God gave super strength to defeat the enemies of God's people. Samson could keep his strength as long as he didn't cut his hair. So the strange part comes when Samson is deceived by someone he loves, Delilah. She cuts his hair, and Samson loses his strength.
In the words of the pastor, "The deception isn't the most troubling part of the story. What makes this story so troubling to me is that after Samson's hair was cut and his supernatural strength was lost--he was actually unaware of what had transpired inside. In Judges Chapter 16, verse 20. It reads like this, He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him...
Isn't that scary? Scary that you can lose track of your soul (and what's happening with it) and not know it. Samson thought his soul was fine. He didn't even 'feel' a change. He thought he could go out as before and conquer the enemies, and have the magnificent strength that God had given him before. He thought his standing with God was intact, but he was dead wrong.
We can get so wrapped up in religion, going to church, daily life, etc., that you lose touch with God.....and not even know it.
- Lack of Presence-when we are regularly devoid of any sense of God's closeness. There is a persistent kind of hopelessness. A spiritual numbness. There's an inability to feel good about oneself (without the aid of unhealthy props).
- Lack of Participation-when we negate the importance of engaging in growth environments (environments that feed the soul). It may sound simple, but when people stop showing up in environments that feed the soul, it's an indication that the soul is at risk. This makes sense. We all know how anorexia ravages the physical body; it would stand to reason that avoiding spiritual nutrition will starve the soul.
- Inconsistent Practices- when there is a noticeable disparity between words and actions. It is when there is a kind of duplicity that becomes normal. It is when people get "okay" with there being a gap between what they say they believe and how they ACTUALLY live. A great illustration of this is when you find yourself giving advice to your friend or to a child, and even as you're saying it you realize, "I don't even do that." This could be a sign that there is a soul issue that needs to be addressed.
- Empty Pursuits- when ego satisfaction and material gain are dominant priorities. A good way to think about this might be ask yourself the question- and do so as honestly as you can-when it comes to what I really want out of life, it is more important that I am seen as "somebody" in the world's eyes as opposed to being seen as "somebody" in God's eyes. Or, it is more important that I put a smile on my friend's face than that I put a smile on God's face.
- Spirit-less Peers-when our "inner circle" is filled with people who could care less about the soul. It is hard to have perspective on your own life, maybe you can gain some clarity about what is going on by just being candid about those who are in your inner circle. Are the people who are closest to you people that care deeply about soul matters? Or is it more obviously that your primary peers and closest friends are people who rarely attend to matters of the soul?
- Unfulfilling Play-when distractions and escapism become the primary means of relief. When a person continually searches for ways to make themselves happy. It may be living on Facebook or Twitter. It may be shopping or socializing. It may be drinking or doing drugs. It may be other unhealthy habits. Any of these things, when done is excess, keeps us from nourishing our soul.
The pastor went on to say, "Cell phones are wonderful devices. You can store phone numbers and addresses on them. You can have your calendar on them. You can even have a GPS device on your phone. But think about what happens when you lose your cell phone. Panic and anxiety sets in. You search under couch cushions, in your car, your retrace your steps, doing whatever possible to find it. You'll drive back to the restaurant, maybe even speeding to get there. Anything that is on your appointment book could wait while you find this important thing in your life. Would we do the same searching if our soul was misplaced? Would we look everywhere until we found the answers?"
Just something to think about. This message really touched me, especially the part about "unfulfilling play". I'm guilty of "playing" on the computer and loafing around, then saying, "I don't have time to study God's word." I'm not trying to convert anyone or make you feel guilty. This is just something I wanted to share, because it really got me to think about where my soul stands.
I'd like to give credit to our pastor, Pieter Van Waarde for the message above. I hope you all have a fabulous week!!!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
- Wake up at 6:20 a.m.
- Get lunches packed, kids ready and out the door by 7:30.
- Drop off at school at 7:50.
- Go home, make beds, clean breakfast dishes, etc.
- Go back to school at 11:00 to 1:00. I volunteer a couple of days a week.
- Come back home, eat lunch, and get dinner started.
- At 3:15, go pick Sassypants up and bring her home, get a snack, and work on reading/writing with her.
- Go back to school at 5:30, and pick up Bookworm from an after-school enrichment program.
- Come back home.
- Eat dinner and and while they're finishing homework, clean kitchen.
- Upstairs to pick out next day's school clothes.
- Bathe girls, help them brush teeth, stories, and bed.
- Collapse into a big ol' fat heap.
I've decided that I just have to scale back on things like working at the school. I also told Bookworm that she can only do the after-school program 1 day a week. It's more of a program for parents that work and need that extra time. It's a great program, but is it worth me driving to school 4 times a day? Umm, nope.
Do you moms feel like all you do is drive, drive, drive?
I want my girls to be involved in activities and they really love seeing me work at the school (at least for now), but there comes a point when your quality time with your family is depleted. The older I get, the more I feel my "sensors" come out and let me know when it's time to scale back. I'm finally realizing I can't do it all. None of us can. And it's okay to say "No, I can't do that. My family really needs me right now." I've found that I've never had a person that wants me to volunteer or work argue that point. I'm still working on the part where I need to take time for myself.
How do you juggle the challenges of your children's activities, work, church, etc.? Do you feel 'guilty' or like you've failed when you can't finish your day's "To Do" list?
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I'm always on the lookout for products and tips to help control the all the "paper vomit" that comes through our house. With the mass amounts of junk mail and all the school papers that come home with the girls....we're bombarded with 'secondary tree material'. It really is a constant battle, and I never win. I am always buying organizational office products, but the only thing that I have consistently used that works for ME (me, being the key word) is this Pendaflex folder.
I have 2 of these. One is labeled "Action", and the other is labeled "To File". I can go quickly through the mail or a stack of papers and whisk them in these folders.
Here's an example of what I do for the "Action" File:
1) Check mail. Bring it in the house and IMMEDIATELY categorize in the "Action" file. If I can't deal with mail right then, I leave it in the mail box. Otherwise, I'll pile it on my kitchen island and never see it again.
2) Categorize--As you can see I can quickly categorize anything that comes in within a few minutes. Here's how I use the individual categories:
- Banking/Financial-that's for any checks (cha-ching) or banking transactions that need to be addressed. I usually keep deposit slips in here.
- Errands- This is the place for drycleaning tickets, stuff to be mailed, etc.
Incoming- This is where I put the miscellaneous mail that I really don't have time to deal with at the moment.
- To Do/Decide-This is where I put things like permission slips for school, calls to make, and just my overall long term 'to do' list. I'll also put things like job quotes from the lawn guy in there to mull over later.
- To File- After I've paid a bill, I put the statements here. Any receipts, papers, etc. that need to be filed go here also.
- To Pay-All incoming bills go here. If there is a bill that I need to pay in person, I put it in the "Errands" slot.
This folder doesn't look like it will hold much, but it will stack HIGH! I can fit a lot in here, and the best part is there are those elastic bands on each corner and everything can stay snug inside. I take this with me to run errands and will even 'categorize' my mail while waiting in carpool line or while the girls are at swim lessons, etc.
My other folder is the "To File" folder. This file is for things that have already been completed from the "Action" file or items that come in and don't need attention and are ready to be filed.
The categories for this folder are:
- Banking/Financial- We now have 4 checking accounts (don't ask...it's crazy and works for us), a business loan, house loan, retirement accounts, and investment accounts. They all go in here to be separated later.
- Credit Cards- All credit card statements go here after they've been paid.
- Household-This is where all utility bills, household expenses and receipts, and basically anything to do with running the house gets filed.
- Taxes- This is where I file any donations, expenses, or statements, etc. that can be used for tax purposes.
- Personal/Medical- This is where I file any cards, notes, correspondence, etc. It could also be things like gym and pool memberships. Any health or dental insurance statements go in here.
- Miscellaneous-This is where I file things I don't know where in the heck they belong at the time like product manuals or a recipe I'm saving.
You may be asking, "Why are you filing stuff in here before you file it 'for real'?" The main reason is sheer volume. We have A LOT of stuff that comes through here. It is so much easier for me to quickly sort, then when I have time...work on one section at a time. I try to clean out my 'To File' folder once a week or every other week.
This is just a system that I've made up over the years. I know that it may seem complicated, but it's really quite easy and allows me to work on the "paper vomit" a little at a time. Best of all, it's portable and doesn't require baskets, file folders (initially), or a briefcase.
What works for you? Do you have any tips?
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I'll keep you updated with all the wonderful things I learn. Do you have any "I Love You" rituals that you do with your family?
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
I'm not sure what we'll end up doing today. We had planned on going to St. Louis to the zoo or down to the Lake of the Ozarks to the water park. It's just so blah out, and it's no fun to do either of those activities when it's cloudy and rainy. Maybe board games....
I'd like to tackle my closet today and put away some of my summer clothes, but I really want to enjoy some time with my family. I'm ready to pack away those white linen pants and bust out the fall clothes! Does the old fashion rule, "No white pants or shoes after Labor Day" still apply? I know I still follow it, with the exception of wool winter white pants. Or you could do like Rachel Bilson and say "Screw it!" and combine both. I like her outfit. Would you wear this?
Friday, September 4, 2009
This is a book I jokingly picked up at Barnes and Noble a couple of months ago. When I started flipping through the pages, I was secretly intrigued and quickly whisked the book to the checkout. After all, my 20 year high school reunion was coming up and I didn't want to look ....you know....old. I have to say, there are some great tips in the book. It's a quick read with lots of illustrations. So here are my 5 favorites:
1) "Nothing ages you like....dark lipstick." Ladies, the Vampira look is so harsh and besides, it always ends up on your teeth. Yuk. Look how much more youthful this woman looks with a peachy pink gloss.
2) "Nothing ages you like fake dragon-lady nails." Krupp says that if you insist on having artificial nails, "keep nails no longer than a quarter inch beyond your fingertips, which is to say, ever so slightly longer than your finger." She goes further to say that she loves "fun, outrageous nail polish colors", but saves them for her toes.
Here's a personal opinion.....so don't hate....but I think the 'liquid paper' air brushed tips are more aging than bright, trendy colors. I wore those to my wedding in 1997.....I repeat 1997. They were thick, got food caught under them and were just gross after week one.
I recently tried to get the acrylic overlays, because nail polish just won't stay on my natural nails. BIG MISTAKE.....huge white tips, thick as a quarter, and too long. So not much progress has been made on the fake nails, at least here where I live.
If you have artificial nails, and have any suggestions or tips (pardon the pun), let me know. Maybe there's an alternative to chunky iceberg nails.
Let's face it, as women we want to feel attractive and at times, sexy. But there comes a point, where trying too hard looks desperate. I heard a great saying, "Older ladies, don't try to compete physically with a 20 year old. Those bitches win everytime." In other words, nothing ages you like DESPERATION. When you show all the toys in the toy chest, you come off as desperate for attention, desperate for approval, and worst of all, just flat out desperate. Cue the Eagles' song, "Desperado".
3) "Nothing ages you like.....exposing too much skin or showing excessive cleavage.
The lovely Linda Hogan
4) "Nothing ages you like thick, heavy eyeliner and frosty eyeshadow." See picture above.
5) "Nothing ages you like Mom jeans." Throw them away right now. There are a bazillion jean companies out there that make jeans to flatter figures of every age AND size.
So what things do you think make women look older than their real age?
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Let's face it, I'm a big, fat phony around them. "Oh no, Sassypants. You can't have a corn dog. It has corn in it and remember dear....you're allergic."----as I sneak a bite when she leaves the room. "Now Bookworm, you must remember that that cereal has corn syrup in it, so eat this one."-----then I secretly make a bowl and hide it behind the cookbooks, and eat it while I'm packing lunches. I'm being dishonest and sneaky and I hate it. I feel like I'm one of those people on the show "Intervention" that has episodes of binging/purging. I am constantly hiding my eating habits. I've got a lot to work on, and am not buying anymore 'bad' foods.....I'm just going to finish up what we have ALREADY. Our little secret right?