Friday, January 30, 2009

Aloha Friday



Visit Kailani at An Island Life for more Aloha Friday posts.

What free or very affordable activities do you do with your children?

My answer:

We have memberships to the zoo and museum. We head to the park every time it is warm enough. We go to the library once a week. Also the Denver Metro area has SCFD free days at all the cultural places funded by the tax. I try to check those out but have not been as good lately.

I love fun, free, kid activities so let me in on your secrets!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Thousand Words Thursday



Colorado, one word, amazing!

Hats off to our wedding photographer Ross Greiner of Ross Greiner Photography
Our pictures turned out amazing and while we have the Copyright I still feel he needs credit for all the great shots he captured. Thanks Ross!

This picture even looks more amazing full screen on our laptop. Sorry Blogger but you don't do it justice!


Check out Jen at Cheaper Than Therapy for more A Thousand Words Thursday posts.










Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Grocery Store Nicey

Since Catherine @ Evolving Mommy posted about a grocery store meany last week I thought I would share my grocery store nicey story.

Tuesday is my shopping day. I have found the Grocery Game works best for me and my schedule if I clip coupons Sunday, print the list and match coupons Monday, menu plan and finalize the list Tuesday. This is my perfect scenario so usually it all tries to get crammed between dropping off the big kids at school and FiFi at kindergarten as well as shopping in a 3 hour window. Sometimes I go with Baby Boy alone after we drop off FiFi but it depends upon the day.

With my mom going to the hospital yesterday my routine was thrown off and my stress level was through the roof. She was discharged this morning and is doing better. We are going to visit her this evening and make dinner for her so that should be nice.

I left the hospital around 7pm last night. The drive took me over an hour (annoying)! Of course our fridge was EMPTY and the great sales were ending at midnight last night. I was halfway done with meal planning/coupon matching and no matter how tired I was I had to go.

I made it to the store at 10pm, which to start is past my bedtime, and with the stress of yesterday I am still amazed that I was able to focus on the task at hand. I busted out my list and was determined to get this shopping done and get home quickly! Imagine my surprise when I see no checker and the stupid self-check lanes only open. I have been in the store less than 5 minutes and begin cursing under my breath about how I don't want to freaking check myself out. I make it to the meat department where I was stocking up on ground beef and pork roast. Besides having to side step the stockers, the meat prices already reflect tomorrow's price ie. not on sale. I stock up anyways and make sure I see what they ring up for. I make it through the store ok and I will have to say despite my exhausted stupor the store is quite peaceful without many other customers.

I begrudgingly head to the self-check already looking for the person in charge to let them know I am going to need help. I have rain checks to cash in and 5 rain checks to get today (since I was shopping at 10pm) plus I don't know if my meat will ring up right and I have a ton of produce. At this point I am so tired I can barely function and I am not amused with the prospect of having to touch screen and weigh every item of produce.

But who comes to my rescue...the grocery store nicey! The manager grabs my buggy and insists to check me out at a regular lane. I practically praise this man since I am exhausted and have all the rain checks, coupons, etc. The other checker who was working the U-Scan even came and bagged my groceries. The manager did not seem the least bit annoyed about all my rain checks and coupons and even told me I really know how to save money! I told him I try to save at least 50% and he promptly looked at my receipt and said 47%, pretty good since you save $100+ dollars.

Isn't it nice when something as simple as excellent customer service makes your day. I will say I shop King Soopers (Kroger) because it is convenient and with double coupons and sales I save a lot of money but really it is because of their high level of customer service and helpful attitudes that keep bringing me back. This is not the first time someone has went out of their way to help me there.

So boo for the grocery store meanies and bring on the grocery store nice-ies.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MIA

Sorry for being MIA today. With the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival going on I was hoping to get on, read some blogs, comment, and of course enter to win more free stuff.

Unfortunately I got a call this morning that they were taking my mom to the hospital via ambulance. I had to call hubby to come home, call Baby Boy's mom to tell her hubby was now in charge, etc. and drive the hour to be with her. Luckily she is going to be fine. They admitted her overnight, mainly for observation, and unless something changes she should be going home tomorrow.

So no real post today. I still have to go to the grocery store tonight (YUCK) but check out my giveaway for a Mary Kay MK Signature Lipstick and if you haven't entered to win, please do!

I hope tomorrow will be a calmer day!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Giveaway has ended! Bloggy Giveaways Carnival / Announcing the Re-launch of my Mary Kay Business

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR ENTRIES! I WILL BE POSTING A WINNER LATER THIS EVENING!

This is a big day for me!















First this is my first ever giveaway!
















I am participating the the Bloggy Giveaways quarterly carnival. What a great way to enter for a bunch of fabulous items plus get to read some new blogs.


Hi, to everyone from the carnival that is new to my blog. Check out my about me and some of my older posts and you will see what I am about. I like to post a variety of things from pictures, to recipes, to daily parenting struggles, to thoughts. I hope you enjoy my blog. I really enjoy writing it!



Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button













Last but not least I am re-launching my Mary Kay business www.marykay.com/michelle.brown








I am a Senior Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics. I have been with Mary Kay for 3 1/2 years but have not being doing much with it the past 3 years. What can I say, life got busy! What motivated me to get started again is my kids want to go to Disney and there are some awesome vacation deals out there right now. I could not think of a better way to earn some extra money, get some personal satisfaction/success, and more "me" time spent with other busy, brilliant women who would love a facial and a makeover. WIN, WIN situation!
















If you don't know much about Mary Kay is they have an amazing skincare system that I use faithfully as well as cutting edge color cosmetics. Mary Kay is more affordable than department store brands and most items last 4-6 months, some as long as a year depending upon use. The company backs all their products 100% so if you ever want to return or exchange something no questions asked, no downside to me, the company picks it up. My website is filled with information or feel free to email me if you have any questions or want more information. Being a consultant is also an amazing way to earn extra money, connect with other women, and gain the confidence and success you deserve. Mary Kay also pays its consultants better than any other direct sales company I have heard of and has an amazing mentoring/training program.
















As part of my re-launch I have set a goal of giving 30 women facials in the next 30 days and holding 10 classes (called a Power Start). Please ask me how I am doing and keep me on track. To celebrate the end of my Power Start I will also being holding a giveaway for Timewise Firming Eye Cream, an amazing rich eye cream that I love! Stay tuned, this giveaway will begin at the end of February.










The Details




I love details so here they are:








The Product









You are entering to win one MK Signature Lipstick from my inventory. I will email the winner a list of what I have in stock as well as a short color description. You can choose from the description or look at the exact shade on my website. I currently have 7 different lipstick shades in stock from a variety of color families so there should be something everyone would love!









First Entry





Visit my Mary Kay website: www.marykay.com/michelle.brown and let me know what product you would love to try. Please leave a comment with your email address and the product name. This must be done before any other entries. Don't worry I won't spam you I just need your email to notify you if you are the winner.










Additional Entries





1. Purchase something from my Mary Kay website and I will give you 5 extra entries. Please leave a separate comment.





2. Follow my blog. Current followers also get another entry. Please leave a separate comment.





3. Blog about my giveaway and link to my blog. Please leave a separate comment.





4. Tweet about this giveaway with a link to my blog on Twitter (brennbug), post a status update or bulletin board posting about this giveaway with a link to my blog on Myspace (http://www.myspace.com.brennbug/) , or post on Facebook about this giveaway and link to my blog (find me on Facebook via my email comichelle [at] hotmail [dot] com) and leave a separate comment.

You can obtain up to 10 separate entries!








Fine Print





1. The giveaway ends at midnight MST on Saturday, January 31, 2009.





2. Winner will be drawn using random.org





3. I will email the winner who will have 48 hours to contact me to claim their prize. If the first winner does not contact me within 48 hours I will draw another winner.





4. If your comment does not follow the instructions to enter it will be deleted





5. I will only ship to the U.S.






Good luck!



Sunday, January 25, 2009

Crunchy Breakfast Tacos

I found another yummy recipe in my 29 Minutes to Dinner cookbook by Pampered Chef.

While this is a meatless and allegedly breakfast item I have made it twice for my family for dinner and it was a huge hit. It also only takes about 15 minutes to prepare and the mix of flavors are delicious!

Tacos
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tomato
8 hard taco shells
1 cup shredded mexican cheese (or I used sharp cheddar because that's what I had and it still tasted yummy)
6 eggs (I used 7 for our family of 5)
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp butter
3/4 cup prepared green chili salsa (salsa verde), divided 1/4 and 1/2 cup.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Chop cilantro and dice tomatoes.
3. Line up tacos in baking dish side by side; fill with half the cheese (or enough to just fill the bottom of each taco). Bake for 5-6 minutes or until cheese melts.
4. As taco shells bake, whisk eggs and water together. Place butter in pan over medium heat 1-3 minutes or until foamy. Add eggs; cook and stir 2-3 minutes until eggs begin to set. Add 1/4 cup green chili salsa; cook 1-2 minutes or until eggs are completely set (don't over cook).
5. To serve, spoon eggs, cheese, cilantro, tomatoes, and desired amount of green chili salsa into taco shells.

Yummy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

On My Mind...

I was going to participate in Aloha Friday but since I have other stuff on my mind I better blog about that stuff.



Max graduated in December. Before that he was looking for jobs but since then the job hunt has intensified greatly. He has a job as an intern, doing contract work (ie. no benefits for half the pay), but he is greatly underpaid, we are in need of benefits, and some level of job security.



His job hunt has taken him around the country even though he would prefer to stay in Colorado. I am all for moving with some conditions, ie. the place we move can't suck, but other than that I have lived in Colorado for almost 20 years now and I am ready to experience life somewhere else and have an "adventure."



So as you all know the economy has tanked, leaving many people unemployed, and getting laid off. Max is very smart, has an engineering degree, 6 years Naval nuclear experience, and 2 years shipyard experience as an engineering technician, so he should be able to find something. The job hunt is not going as well as he expected. I suppose it never does for recent graduates.



He was offered a job in Colorado in August that would've started in January but he turned it down. It was in Eagle County, outside of Vail, which is crazy expensive to live. The salary was less than average, the relocation was barely anything, and the health insurance sucked. We were better off with his "half-salary" here in Denver paying low rent then moving up there and never being able to afford anything.



He has had two interviews with a company in Honolulu and was under the impression they were going to be making him an offer at the end of last week but we are still waiting to hear so who knows if that will pan out.



My thoughts about living in Hawaii are mixed. First off, Hawaii is beautiful, the lifestyle is more laid back, and did I say it is paradise. It would be completely different, an adventure, and probably fun. I can picture taking the kids to the beach several times a week. Negatively the cost of living is also quite expensive, the schools are not outstanding, you would be somewhat isolated (it isn't that easy for people to come visit you), moving is expensive and complicated. We would have to sell a lot of our stuff, which is fine because a lot of our stuff isn't that nice, but when you put an ocean between you and where you want to be it gets complicated, cars, stuff, everything.



This week my husband reconnected with one of his Navy friends who does recruiting at a company in Columbia, Maryland (outside Baltimore). His friend said he could make him an offer or fly him out to check things out. Max is flying out a week from Sunday for two days. I am almost certain they will make him an offer and from what he friend said the salary is $5,000-$15,000 more than the average he was expecting at an entry level job. Howard county looks beautiful and has some of the best schools in the country. Negatively I am almost certain we cannot afford to live in Howard county and would have to live in Baltimore county, either in a Southwest suburb or within the city limits of Baltimore. Finding a neighborhood that is family friendly, with good schools is really important to me. If he takes this job the prospects of finding the best place to live in the area is already overwhelming to me. Neither one of us has been there before and Max's friend recommended some areas to look but he doesn't have kids. Other negatives is it is a few thousand dollars to move across the country and almost all our family is in Colorado or further west (CA). It does look like a nice place to live, the offer would come quick, and Max would have a job and benefits right away. In this economy it does not seem like a good idea to wait around for another opportunity because it could be many months away.



The other leads are not as promising. Max considered going back into the Navy as an officer teaching Power School in Charleston, SC. The pay is moderate but the health coverage can't be beat. SC has beaches and I think it would be OK to live there. Max has lived there before and he didn't like it much. He said it is really humid and hot. There are bugs the size of birds and alligators block the roads (on the naval base at least). It would be a lot different. We know a couple people there. The girls biological mom is there and we are not so keen on sharing them since she has done none of their raising to this point. The cost of living is affordable and we could probably buy a pretty nice house we could afford. Max would have teaching experience but no "real" engineering experience. Once he got out he would have 10 years towards his military retirement and it would be tempting to stay in but that would mean he would be on a boat and out to sea a lot and I don't want him to be gone all the time. I don't think this will even pan out before the other two offers come through.



He also got a call from a recruiter offering a great salary if we want to live in the middle of nowhere an hour Southwest of Fayetteville, NC. I looked up the town of 2,000 people and I think I will pass. I lived in the LA, California area (big), a town of about 100,000 in Colorado where I grew up, and now we live in a city of 300,000, the third largest city in Colorado. I am not a small town girl, sorry. I don't want to live downtown in a big metropolis with kids either but I am a suburbs girl.



So ladies, any thoughts, opinions, suggestions, tips. I would especially like to hear from you if you have either moved cross country with kids or you have lived or know someone who has lived in the Balitmore/Columbia, MD area or the Honolulu area. Tell me what you like, love, dislike, hate, about the places, where are the best schools, where are the best places to live with kids. My husband's commute is a consideration too. I don't want him to be miserable! The Honolulu job is in the area of Honolulu Bay. The Baltimore/Columbia job is in Columbia.



THANKS! THANKS! THANKS! Thanks for listening and thanks for your feedback!

More Awards...How Fun!

Noah's Mommy at Project Mommyhood gave me this wonderful award:




Since I recently received this award I won't bore you with more interesting facts about myself but here is the link to the original post if you want to learn somethings about me.

Thanks again Noah's Mommy!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Thousand Words Thursday

Cheaper Than Therapy


Max and I bicylced across the Golden Gate Bridge in December 2007. This was our point of view from the beginning of the bridge. San Francisco has some amazing sites and I love my pictures from that trip.




Check out Jen at Cheaper Than Therapy for more A Thousand Words Thursday Posts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day in History

It still amazes me that within some of our lifetimes and most certainly our parents lifetimes racial segregation still occurred in America. 45 years after the passage of The Civil Rights Act an African American was sworn in today as the 44th President of the United States of America. This was certainly a day for the history books. The fact that this was possible makes me proud to be an American. I am looking forward to some of the "change" coming our way.

I will note that my husband (the Libertarian, former Republican) sent me a text message at 12:30 P.M. today that read "Obama has been president for over 2 hours and I'm still poor and uninsured, change my ass." Hilarious I know but I think his expectations are a little too high. I will settle for change over the next 4 years.

If you missed the speech or just want to watch it again here is a link to the page on CNN with the speech.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I got an award!

Thanks to Gina at Namaste By Day for this fabulous award!



The rules of this award include listing 7 random things about yourself and passing it onto 7 honest bloggers.

About me:

1. I used to be a banker then a paralegal in my former life (before I was a stay-at-home mommy).

2. I love to scrapbook.

3. I love to read but don't get to do it enough.

4. I was born in California and lived there until I was in 2nd grade.

5. I have never traveled outside the United States but would love to.

6. I voted for Barack Obama.

7. Once my kids are older being a politician would be my dream job, you know U.S. Senator would be an ok start.

8. My bachelor's degree is in Political Science.

9. I skied a bunch when I lived in California and then not again until 3 years ago when I met my husband. Now I love it!

10. I hate being cold (why do I live in Colorado?)

Now the award goes to:

1. Corrine at 4 Kids, no dog, and living the American Dream!

2. Rose and Jill at Delightfully Inappropriate

3. Meredith at 24 hours is never enough

4. Ali at Home of the Lazy Dog

5. April at DeltaKids

6. Mom of One

7. The Incoherent Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mom

Wedding dress shopping with my sister




The last two days I have been wedding dress shopping with my sister. Weddings are fun business and I was excited when she said she wanted to go look. Yesterday we went to the local bridal shop in our hometown where I got my dress and two of my friends have also got their dresses in the past few years. They are nice, and have designer dresses that are beautiful but not outrageously priced. The first dress she put on was AMAZING! I loved it, my mom loved it, she loved it! I thought she should've bought it yesterday. She wanted to look at David's Bridal just to make sure. So this is the first dress from yesterday.






Not the best picture of my sister but the dress looks amazing! Doesn't hurt anything that she is a size 2!





This is an up close picture of her next favorite dress. They are completely different dresses. The first is lightweight, flowy, more modern, and more simple. The second is more princess-like, beaded, and poofy. The second dress is what I would've pictured my sister in originally but the first one looks so amazing on her. I am convinced she will buy it.


So ladies, what was your own wedding dress shopping experience? Was it the first one you tried on? Once you tried it on did you know it was the one? Was it what you thought you would want looking at pictures or completely different?

Friday, January 16, 2009

You know you are addicted to blogging when...

So I finally went to the doctor today after feeling bad on and off for 6 plus weeks. I know, I probably should've went sooner but I have definitely felt much sicker many more times and everyone time I thought ok it has been 4 or 5 or 6 days of feeling crappy I would start to feel better for 2 or 3 days. My energy level never came back but I wrote that off as something else and went about my merry little life.

So being a little sick for a long time gets old after awhile. While speaking to my BFF yesterday she mentioned I may have a chronic sinus infection that I can't kick. LIGHTBULB! So I check out WebMD, my internet source to diagnosing myself and my kids (I know a bad habit but I usually just look information up to decide whether a trip to the doctor is necessary). Sounds like a sinus infection. Better drag my happy (or unhappy at this point) ass to the doctor's office. Don't worry I can entertain a cranky Baby Boy who woke up at 4am this morning and my 6 year old at the doctor office. The stroller worked well and while he signed that he was done (done in the stroller) before the doctor came in the visit was relatively quick. So sinus infection it is and $6 amoxicillin from the Target pharmacy is the cure. Wow, this was so easy! If I don't feel better by Monday he said to call and we will try a different antibiotic.

So if you are still with me at this point you are probably wondering why I am telling you my whole sick story because while I should be resting I cannot put the stinking computer down. Ladies I will have to admit it, I am addicted to blogging (and to Facebook and Moms Bloggers Club and other fun websites I have recently found).

So what made you realize you were addicted?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Thousand Words Thursday

Cheaper Than Therapy





Thanks to Jen for doing A Thousand Words Thursday. I am feeling kind of "blah" today and nothing brilliant was coming to mind.


I love this picture of B. It was taken in Hermosa Beach, CA near my aunt's house in August 2006.






Wednesday, January 14, 2009

FiFi's Birthday Recap

FiFi celebrated her 6th birthday on Saturday. Birthdays in our house have somehow morphed into multi day events. I don't know how it happened but it does.

FiFi with her cupcake cake

It all started with the school birthday celebration on Friday. Of course being the good mom I am I made her treats to bring to share with her class and volunteered to come into her class to help with the festivities. I was not sure how I was going to manage to get Baby Boy in his stroller and hold the cupcake cake while entering the locked school, signing in, and making it back to FiFi's class. This is why I decided to enlist the help of my very responsible 3rd grader, B. I asked B to meet me up front at 1:25pm so I could first wheel Baby Boy in and then go back for the cupcakes. It was a brilliant plan. FiFi's class loved the cupcakes and I even got to read with a couple kids who needed help and staple books for the teacher. Baby Boy played with the kids and ate snacks in his stroller and was very well behaved. Thank goodness!



FiFi birthday round one



Round two began on her actual birthday, Saturday. We had arranged for a party at the local indoor pool that included swimming, pizza, churros, and of course, cupcake cake round two, prettier, and even more decorated. She had a blast, all the kids had a blast, and I vowed to never have a party there again! It is not that I hate having fun but after an hour or so it is miserable for the parents. It is HOT in there and there is not ventilation so unless you are in the pool you begin to feel like you might pass out. That coupled with the high noise level and hyper birthday kids makes for a cranky mom. I told B he can have a sleepover with a couple friends. I hope that is less stressful. Maybe not though.

FiFi birthday cake round two


Max's grandmother has been in a nursing home since September. Prior to that we did weekly family dinners at her house. Now we do birthday/holiday celebrations in the reserved room at the nursing home. It was good to see her and everyone. At this point Max thinks I am a professional cake/cupcake cake maker and should go into business for myself. I am not so sure.




FiFi birthday cake round three

Overall FiFi had a wonderful birthday and got way too many nice presents. Lucky for mom I don't have to do this again until May!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Super Mashers with Chicken and Green Chili Hash

Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats is one of my favorite cookbooks. Especially for an inexperienced cook like me her meals are flavorful and easy. This is one of me and my family's absolute favorite meals. It takes some practice to get it down to 30 minutes and to perfect the flavor. If your kids don't like a little spicy, save this for a day you are cooking for adults. That all said, my kids love it!






Here is my modified version:






Ingredients:


4 large starchy potatoes, such as Idaho Coarse salt

3 tablespoons or so EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

4 garlic cloves, chopped

4 scallions, chopped

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips

1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced

1 Serrano pepper, seeded and sliced into little pieces (you can also use 2 Anaheim or Poblano chilies instead)

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

a few squeezes of lime juice (1-3 tsp)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 - 1/2 cup milk (depending upon how soft you like the potatoes)

1 sack (10 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup prepared green chili salsa (salsa verde)


Steps:


Peel the taters and cut them into small chunks. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, add salt to season, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.


In a small pot over medium-low heat, add about 1 tablespoon of the EVOO, just eyeball it. Add the butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the garlic. Saute the garlic 1 to 2 minutes, then add the scallions and remove the pan from the heat. Reserve.


Heat large non-stick skillet over high to medium high (my stove gets too hot at high, it burns the chicken) heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Don't be shy the pepper and salt will add flavor. Heat 1 tablespoon of the EVVO (once around the pan). The oil will smoke - don't freak out, just add the meat and start searing it up. Brown the strips on all sides. Add the rest of the oil. Add the peppers, chilies, and onions. Season with salt and pepper, then toss them around, searing the edges, for 3-5 minutes. Keep everything moving around like stir-fry. Add more oil as needed, a little bit at a time. Turn off the heat, add the lime juice, stir in the salsa. Remove from heat.


Drain the potatoes, then return them to the hot pot to evaporate some of the water content. Add the reserved garlic and scallion mixture to the potatoes along with the sour cream and start smashing away with a masher. Add the milk to get the potatoes to the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.


Pile up a serving of potatoes on each plate, topped with cheese, and pile chicken and veggie mix on time.


Delicious!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Quick Brag

I know they say it is never good to brag but when it is about your kids it is ok, right?



I am lucky, all three of my kids are above grade level, like school, and school comes easy for them. I haven't gotten an update on my 2nd grader lately but FiFi reads at an almost end of first grade level and seems to do well at math too.



B has been crazy into reading for the last month. Today he came home with a 100% on his math test and 100% on a reading comprehension (CSAP prep type) test. Awesome! Then he shows me his STAR test, a reading level test that they take several times throughout the year to assess their reading level with comprehension. His test today said he reads at a DRA level 9.4 or equivalent to an average 9th grader after the fourth month of school. Crazy! I knew he was smart but I didn't think he was reading at a 9th grade level! The kid is only 8!



Now if I can only keep him interested in school throughout middle school and high school I will be set!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I found a great way to ignore, I mean take a break from my kids

I know I may be one of the last people in America to get an ipod but I got this adorable pink shuffle from my wonderful sister for Christmas. Thanks Andrea!



I got an older version for Valentine's Day last year but my kids didn't take long to break it. They ran into the ipod as it was plugged into the laptop charging and cracked the outer case. It kind of worked after that but would shut off for no reason 5-15 minutes into using it. Not much fun to try to listen to a broken ipod.



My sister filled my new ipod up with 250 great songs from her huge music collection and I was ready to go. A few days ago I put on my ipod, reminded my kids that if they needed me they would have to come get my attention not just scream my name from whatever room they were in, and proceeded to fold laundry while I jammed to some music. I love it! My 6 year old didn't seem to get the I can't hear you with ear phones in thing because she tried to talk to me 3 different times. I finally gave her a demonstration by trying to talk to her while she had it on and she got it!



It's not that I enjoy ignoring my kids but they are almost 6, 8, and 8, and don't need constant supervision. Usually while I am doing something like folding laundry I can still hear them yelling, fighting, arguing, whatever, but now with my lovely ipod all I can hear is the music! Brilliant! I think it must have been a mother who invented it! OK, I know there are other great uses for the ipod but I love the blocking out the background noise function.



Last night while settling into bed I put on my ipod while I looked through my two new Victoria Secret catalogs. My husband thought I was trying to tune him out. Not really but the music is relaxing.



I will have to say since becoming a stay-at-home mom in August I have not had a lot of time that is just for me. Not that I had a lot of me time before but between being the maid, cook, chauffeur, mom, and wife there is not a lot of alone time. I love that I can sit back and listen to music without being interrupted (in theory) even if for 20 minutes a day, and do something for me.



Maybe that is why I love blogging so much! Something for me not for the kids, the husband, or the house. Amazing!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sometimes a bad day does not always turn out bad

Last night I got less than 7 hours of sleep. I know to some of you sleep-deprived new mommies that sounds like a lot but I function so much better on 9-10 hours of sleep.



I get my butt out of bed and into the shower. While I am drying my hair Baby Boy arrives. I should not be surprised because it is 7:05am and he is scheduled to arrive at 7:00am. I always hope I can squeeze one last thing in before he arrives but it never happens.



Then I begin the process of hustling my kids out the door. The older two eat hot breakfast at school which begins promptly at 7:25am. This means we should leave by 7:15am or 7:20am at the latest. They have been getting to school at 7:30am lately and I really trying to show them the value of being prompt. (BTW I am ALWAYS late but hope my kids can avoid this fate).



Out to the car to squeeze the 4 kids into my Honda Accord. Buckling Baby Boy and then FiFi into her booster is a process and our garage is very tight! Then B is almost in tears because his Harry Potter book is inside, I almost cave and let him make us 2 minutes later when Wyn announces she left her school books inside too. I draw the line, "no books, no time, everyone stop unbuckling, and let's go." Now I have a pouty 8 year old which is always a good start to the day. We try to run a tight ship around here and if you can't be responsible for your own book you can do without for 7 hours until I pick you up.



Somehow I manage to get the older two to school before breakfast is over (and the trash barrels to the street too) and I am looking forward to my less chaotic morning with Baby Boy and FiFi. FiFi asks for a refill of her drink. I tell her to switch to water. So what do I see her doing, pouring a glass of milk. My kids listen so well. So I ask her in a calm but somewhat firm voice what she is doing? She bursts into a crying temper tantrum. Oh Lord, it isn't even 8am, I can tell today is going to be fabulous. I send FiFi to her room until she is done crying because at almost 6 years old I don't tolerate crying as a form of communication. At least Baby Boy didn't throw his breakfast at me :-)



I am happy to say the rest of my day has been somewhat uneventful. FiFi and Baby Boy ate lunch well. We got FiFi off to school on time (rare). Now Baby Boy is down for a nap. I hope the afternoon continues to be calm. We are headed to get B a haircut after school and once Baby Boy gets picked up B and FiFi have their physicals/check ups with their doctor. They shouldn't involve shots and should be relatively uneventful so I am hoping for a good rest of the day.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Love Saving Money!

I love saving money! I always have. I always will.







Today at the Grocery store I got 3 free items.



I also got the two bottles of Suave mousse for 27 cents each and the Loreal Kids Shampoo for 91 cents.








In addition I got 7 items for 99 cents or $1.00.


At the end of the day I spent $67.71 for our family of five including stocking up on several things like laundry detergent and toiletry items. I saved 54% off my order and saved $77.69. I love it!






So what is my secret? I clip coupons and use The Grocery Game http://www.thegrocerygame.com/ If you have never heard of it go check it out! How it works: advertised, and unadvertised specials are matched up with coupons to get out the best deal. Sales trends are also tracked so that you only buy items at the rock-bottom lowest price. When items are at their lowest price you stock up so you never pay full price again! All it takes is clipping coupons, a little time, and organization. It is really easy. Everything is on the list and color-coded. The first few weeks are the hardest because you are just beginning to compile your coupon stockpile and getting used to the grocery game format. The first few weeks it took me about 1 1/2 hours extra per week. I still saved 45% plus so it was well worth it. Now that I am used to it only takes me about half hour extra per week. Since I am so used to King Soopers, and the layout of the store it takes me less than 45 minutes to do my weekly shopping.




The Grocery Game has a 4 week trial for $1 so you have time to decide if you want to continue. If you want to join, click Join The Grocery Game, and enter your zip code. If you do sign up please enter my email comichelle51@hotmail.com in the who referred you section. You won't regret it! If you join and have any questions please feel free to email me. I happy to help everyone save some money!

Two Awards in Two Days!

Thanks for all the bloggy love!

Gina @ Namaste By Day gave me this beautiful award:


THE LEMONADE AWARD


ONCE YOU'VE BEEN AWARDED, THE RULES ARE:
1. Thank the person who was so thoughtful for giving you this award by linking their blog to this post.
2. Put the logo on your blog or post.
3. Nominate 10 blogs which show great attitude/gratitude. I ran out of time so my award goes to 5 blogs not 10.
4. Link your nominee to your post.
5. Comment them to tell them about the award they've won.

And the award goes to:

1. April @ Deltakids

2. Amy @ Thoughts From the Mrs.

3. Jen @ Cheaper than Therapy

4. McMommy @ The McMommy Chronicles

5. Kristen @ We are THAT Family

Congrats! I think all your blogs are great!

I promise a non-award blog post later today but for now I am off to the grocery store to save some money!

Monday, January 5, 2009

My First Blog Award

I received this lovely "One Lovely Blog Award" from Catherine @ Evolving Mommy


Thanks Catherine! I think your blog is lovely and since you are one of my best friends I think you are lovely too!

I have found some great blogs that I follow. Too many to count but in keeping with Catherine's start I am going to give the award to two of my favorite blogs:

Jen @ Buried With Children writes a great blog. Even with 1 year old triplets and a 4 year old (maybe Hayden is still 3 sorry Jen) she still finds time to write almost everyday and to comment on other blogs (like mine). Her blog is lovely!

Sissy @ My Kids Might Be Martians They Have Not Come In Peace Sissy also writes a great blog. She is hilarious and witty and says all the things about her kids they we all are thinking about our kids but may not say.

The rules are to link back to the person who gave the award to you and pass it on to at least 2 new people.

Congrats to Jen and Sissy! I think your blogs are lovely!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I Love OxiClean

I am hooked on OxiClean!

Thursday was a pretty warm Colorado day so my three kids and the new neighbor boy head out back to the trampoline. I am very upset when I go to check on them and realize they are all tromping around the backyard in their socks. To make matters worse FiFi is wearing a beautiful pair of pink, sparkly, pants that were brand new and now the bottom of the legs and the butt area are covered in mud. FiFi seems to have bad luck with adorable pink pants because my BFF Michelle got her a pair for her birthday last year which she wore no more than 3 times before managing to get red permanent marker all over them I could never get out.

I hope they are not ruined but luckily mud is usually easier to get out than permanent marker.

So Friday I bust out the Oxi and the Spray and Wash and pray the pants will come clean. To my surprise when I pull them out of the washer they are perfectly clean.

I love OxiClean!

If you haven't tried it! It is worth the money, especially on messy kids clothes. As my BFF Michelle has been telling me for years 1/4 - 1/2 scoop Oxi in each load coupled with Spray and Wash sprayed directly on stains works wonders. I stock up on both items at Costco and get them both for a good value.

So that is my tidbit of knowledge for the day. I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bedtime, mom do we really have to sleep?

FiFi and Wyn got a Nintendo DS for Christmas. Of course this was a big hit and they have wanted to play them non-stop since they got them. I might be a mean mom but I really limit the time my kids get to play video games, watch TV, and play computer. I don't have anything against electronics but my kids would do it non-stop so I encourage them to use their imagination, play outside, read, you know the good stuff.

So I tuck in all three kids into bed around 9:00pm last night. They have gotten into this bad habit over Christmas break of staying up late. I didn't mind at first but they have to go back to school in two days. On school nights we get ready for bed at 7:30pm and they are tucked by 8:00pm. I was feeling good about getting everyone into bed by 9:00pm when I go downstairs to put a load of laundry in (the laundry room is between B and Wyn's rooms) and I suspect neither one of them is sleeping. Wyn is sitting in the dark playing her DS. Stinking kid! I take the DS upstairs and tell her she can have it back in the morning. B is much quieter but he has hidden his book light under his pillow and is reading away at Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Stinking kid too but I also love reading!

B has been on this reading craze. Since December 15th he has read 4, four hundred or so page books and is working on his 5th. I can hardly believe it! He is 8 years old and breezes through a 400 page Harry Potter book in 3-4 days. If your kids love reading his class has also really liked the Mysterious Benedict Society book and the sequel. I haven't read them but they kept him hooked.

So the moral of the story is while reading is awesome bedtime is bedtime. Sorry kids!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A day all to myself

Can you imagine a day all to yourself? What would you do?

My kids went to my mom's house last night, an hour away, to spend the night. Today she is decorating cookies with them and taking them to a movie and since my husband's work is halfway between here and there he is picking them up after work.

So I have a WHOLE day to myself. When does this really happen?

So what have I done so far? Not much and I love it! I slept in until 10:00am. I never can sleep this long but I have a lingering cold and 11 hours of sleep did me good! I talked to my mom on the phone, talked to my BFF on the phone, without being interrupted by kids (on my end at least). I blogged, read blogs, and joined the Mom Bloggers Club. I watched some T.V. and made an appointment to get my eyebrows waxed at 4pm.

So now that is almost 1pm I think I may shower, run to Sunflower Farmers Market, which I tried to do Wednesday but did not happen, take my car to the car wash, and maybe shop for FiFi birthday presents since her birthday is a week from Saturday.

Baby Boy is out of town until Wednesday and my house is pretty clean. I still have one load of dishes, and probably 6 loads of laundry but I am feeling pretty good about the state of our house. We even managed to clean out the garage enough yesterday so I can park inside. What a novel idea, I know!

Funny thing is last night Max says, "The house is pretty clean, you don't have Baby Boy for 5 days, and our kids are gone today, what are you going to do with yourself?" Don't worry hon, I will find something to do!

I have wanted to re-paint the inside of our house for a couple months so with any luck I can at least get started if not finished with that before Baby Boy gets back. My kids go back to school Monday, and drumline, and gymnastics, and basketball, and I work at my job at church Sunday and Monday, so we will see. For now I am enjoying my lazy, relaxing morning! It is just what the doctor ordered!

I joined the Mom Bloggers Club today

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking back on 2008

As the first day of 2009 comes to a close I want to take a look back at 2008. This past year held many memorable events for our family.



The biggest event was our wedding on May 24, 2008. It was a beautiful, memorable day, which brought our family together. Married life is wonderful. Here are some pictures from the big day:






The kids







We were so lucky to have our ceremony in the beautiful Colorado mountains. The weather was amazing!



We took an amazing honeymoon to Maui, Hawaii for 8 days, 7 nights. I had been when I was a teenager but it was so wonderful. I can't wait to go back!





The road to Hana




I also took a mommies trip to California over Labor Day weekend with my BFF Michelle. It was her birthday, I surprised her, and we both loved the little getaway. We kept it low key, stayed with my grandma, and spent most of the time laying on the beach, but it was so wonderful. Are you beginning to see a theme? I love to travel and wish I could do it more!





Michelle and I at the Hermosa Beach pier. For anyone who has been there wouldn't you love to live in one of the houses along the Strand?





Also significantly life changing, I quit my full-time job at a law firm in downtown Denver to stay home with my kids full-time this past August. I love being home with them. I love baby boy and all the kids at church. I can honestly say I am 110% happier. I still have laundry and dishes to dig out from under but at least now I have my sanity!


My husband graduated with his Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering on December 13th. He did it 75% of the time as a full-time single dad to the two girls, finished his 138 credit degree (18 credits more than my political science degree) in exactly 4 years, with honors, and passed the EIT exam (the first step to being a Professional Engineer with the state of Colorado). Have I mentioned he is one of the smartest people I know? He rocks!



My kids also did lots of memorable things:



B was chosen for the Gifted and Talented/Advanced class of 3/4 graders at his school.



All three kids have awesome teachers this year.



The girls played soccer and kicked butt again this year!



B played basketball and had a blast.



The three kids took swim lessons this summer and Wyn and B swim well now!



We took a weekend trip/job interview for Max to the Eagle County. We swam in the hot springs pool and stayed in the historic Hotel Denver. It was a blast!



FiFi learned to ride a bike without training wheels.



FiFi started kindergarten (how much easier this is with your third child than your first).



We also celebrated kids birthdays, many holidays, and wonderful day trips to the zoo, to the park, to the amusement park, the water park, the museum, the skating rink, and much, much, more.



When I look back at 2008, I know I will ultimately remember it as the year Max and I were married but it was a year of much, much more, and it was wonderful year. I hope 2009 brings me and my family much peace, joy, and love and wish the same for your families.