August 31, 2010

How to Stay Sane (perhaps I found the solution!)

I keep mentioning back to school but that is simply because my life will be on a schedule again.  Work 6-3:30, tutoring, homework, dinner, practice, blah blah blah.  Usually with this schedule, out goes the laundry, vacuuming, dishes, dinners, and everything that seemed orderly this summer.  FINALLY we are caught up on the laundry.  We have been sticking to our Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday laundry day routine.  And for the first time in years, it's working! wahoo!!  I am afraid that with the start of school, out will go what I strive for. Piece of mind. 
Perhaps I need to cut myself some slack.  With that, maybe I need to come up with ways that myself and my mental health will stay intact this year.  I don't want to spend my first minutes of every morning scrambling to find my other shoe, locating the butter in the packed fridge, and emptying the dishwasher so I have a clean water bottle for work.  I think about how I spent the previous year, and it boggles my mind that I didn't lose my cool. (well, totally lose my cool).  

Instead of a New Year's Resolution in January, I decided a New School Year's Resolution - since that is really how my year starts and stops.  

How I plan to keep a sane brain:
1. Connect with Others
        Time and time again, I say to myself "I should really call so-and-so", but I don't!  I would like to make it a point to contact one person a week and spend a fair amount of time chatting with them.
        I also would like to ACTUALLY mail out cards when I think of it - birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, thinking of you - I'm always LATE!

2.  Shake that Body! 

        I need to actually move my body this year.  I would like to go to the gym (I hate that forbidden word).  I would like to do yoga in the morning.  Now that we have a new member in our family, she needs a walk every morning and afternoon.  

  3. Stay with the program
        I've been mentioning our schedules - our cleaning calendar, our laundry days, our chore list.  No matter how busy we get, as a family we need to try to stick with what has been working. It also helps to plan our meals ahead of time, and ACTUALLY have the ingredients in the house! (gee what a concept).  Mr. doesn't really have a routine, or doesn't really believe in it (and I'll blame his childhood), but it's important to follow a schedule.  

4. Food on the brain
      This school year I am going to attempt to always bring my lunch and eat breakfast.  I am going to try to incorporate fresh veggies and fruits in my diet.  Any ideas for a healthy lunch??

There.  My four rules to live by.  Let's hope I stick with it!


August 30, 2010

Dream a little dream of laundry

Sometimes I spend hours (and hours) day dreaming about what our next house will look like. I can't help but stroll down the aisles of Home Depot and Lowes, picking out the colors of all our rooms (in the fictitious house).  

First of all, I would like to have a laundry room. A real laundry room.  I realize I am fortunate enough to just have a washer and dryer, but in the end - they are located in our drabby basement.  I want to be able to hang cutesy signs, paint bright colors, etc.  

This is from KevinandAmanda and the laundry room looks fabulous!  Not totally over done and just big enough to do your business.  Mr. loves the drawers next to the washer/dryer.  It looks neat and organized.  I also love love the color on the walls!

If we happened to have a whole room for a laundry room, rather than a hallway space, I believe we would have to have a ton of storage. To store what...I don't know! Laundry stuff :)  I love the locker baskets (maybe to store lost socks?).  I love the shutters on the inside of the house, and the adorable decorations on the counter top.   It may be hard to see, but there is bubble glass instead of regular cabinet fronts.  LOVE. It is sad that my dreams consist of fancy pants washers and dryers?

A girl can dream......and blog about it!


Give me an S-C-H-O-O-L!

Let's save on school shopping!  Who's excited?!

Went to Target today, and thought about setting up shop there permanently because I love the store so much.  I knew there was another reason why I am a teacher, and it starts with school shopping. The thought of looking for school supplies makes my heart flutter.  We set out on a quest to find pencil eraser tops and smencils.  And the smencils were for me. haha - I can't help it! When correcting students' papers, it would be great to sniff root beer or berries rather than high school smell. yuck. double yuck.

At Target, we searched high and low for lunch boxes.  I came across this one for me - and it seemed totally fitting because it is big enough to fit the oodles of tupperware I like to pack.  Ideally, if I could find a bento box that screams cutesy, I would jump on it.
Little didn't find a lunch box he liked, as going into 5th grade doesn't require having a "cute" lunchbox but a "tough" lunchbox.  He claimed he needs one that can bounce off his legs when he is swinging it by the handle.....okay. In the end, we settled on a plain green and black lunch box that had an inner "box" that either made the lunchpack hard or soft.  He was a happy camper!


Meal Plan Monday

It's that time! School time! And with that comes a lot of planning at home.  As the school year starts, our schedules get busy. Super busy. Therefore, Mr. and I decided that planning our meals weekly would cut down on the stress at night.  I am going to (hopefully!) stick with it this time around!  

This week is CHICKEN week (That is only because for some reason we have an obscene amount of boneless chicken in our freezer. It is taking up all the space, and there is no room for ice cream! gasp!)

This week's menu looks like this:

 Parmesan Broiled Tilapia  w green beans

Taco Night!!

These recipes aren't in any order - but atleast I know I have the ingredients for the meals!  Wait - there are seven days in a week, but why did I only plan five meals?  We always have SOME sort of leftovers - so one night a week is leftover night, which is a mishmosh of all foods.  On the 7th day, we more than likely will eat out or eat over our families' houses.  If not, we have "quick" food that we can throw together (sounds unpleasant and unhealthy but more than likely we will run late from practice or work ONE night).  Therefore, I plan only five!  

As a special treat for the first day of school, I plan on making Bark. This treat has many different names, but in my family we call it Bark because my Uncle Mark and Aunt Barb make it every year for vacation.  YUM!


August 29, 2010

Oh the Horror!

After crying my eyes out, and looking around my house in horror - I decided that maybe I shouldn't watch Hoarders again.  Every time I catch a minute of this show, I feel the need to purge.  Our unfinished basement holds all our useless treasures.  Yet it also functions as our laundry room.  In a perfect world, my laundry would have a real floor, real walls, and wouldn't be in a musty basement.  Till then, I must make due with what I have.
 After turning off the TV, I went downstairs and promptly made the basement look worse.  I threw everything that was organized on the shelves, on the floor. But - there is a method to my madness.  Does anyone else find when cleaning, or re-organizing, it seems to look worse before better?  I hope I am not alone.  if you are looking at the picture, I promise you there are walls and a floor somewhere.  And before I came downstairs and completely destroyed the space, everything seemed organized.  But after watching Hoarders - I felt I needed to redo everything. 

We recently redid Little's room, and had two extra short bookcases.  I wanted to move them in the basement, but didn't know where they would go.  Right now, all our holiday decor is stored under the stairs, and loads of extra things/garage sale items are in boxes all over the place.  I would prefer to use the bookshelves for the following:

Extra towels for the new member of our family (Princess, the dog)
Party Supplies (ribbons, party bags, etc)
Gifts (I ALWAYS have a gift lying around or two in case something comes up - housewarming etc)
tissue paper
Gift bags

I am not sure what else to do with the space so its more orderly....but I started bragging to my husband that my design (ummm.....what design??) will blow his mind.  I said it nice and slow too, to emphasize the blowing of the mind part.  Awesome. I have no plan at all.  And in less than ten minutes, I tore the basement up.  eeck! Now, the real question is - how long will it take me to put it back together?!

Sunday Funday

To wrap up our weekend, I included some pictures of a very special girl's birthday.  How fun!  

Mr. and Grace's faces make me laugh :)

Happy Birthday Emma! What a great way to end our weekend before school starts!  With family :)


August 12, 2010

Lucky...not so sure

Beach reading should be light-hearted, entertaining, and filled with gossip and witty remarks.  I often pick a book by its cover (so cliché), so if the title is catchy or the picture on the front pops – I take it off the shelf. 
            From the appearance of the novel, Lucky by Alice Sebold, the vibrant yellow cover with a picture of a rabbit’s tail made me think “lucky in love”.  As it turns out, it meant lucky to be alive.  The book details a memoir of the author’s rape during her college and the aftermath.  A heavy word, rape, settled with me while reading on the beach last week.  Not at all what I thought when I picked out the book from the library.  Perhaps, I should read the book jacket when searching for a light-hearted read.  However, this book was honest, heartbreaking, and showed the courage Alice had to stand up and face her rapist.  As I type this, I recall definite moments where I was crying, my shoulders shaking, while on-lookers probably wondered what I was doing in 98-degree weather in my beach chair.

            An except from the book:
“In the tunnel where I was raped, a tunnel that was once an underground entry to an amphitheater, a place where actors burst forth from underneath the seats of a crowd, a girl had been murdered and dismembered.  I was told this story by the police.  In comparison, they said, I was lucky.” 

I do not have a typical critique of the book, but just the thoughts that I can never imagine what she went through.  The majority of the book explained how this one night affected her, and what happened at the trial and all the events leading up to it.  She doesn’t use this book for therapy, or for her to relive this moment, but as a story to tell.  She does it well.  Alice Sebold captures her raw emotions, and details her journey to heal and move on with her life. 

Though this kind of trauma, an unknown trauma to many, is hard to understand and process, I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to read this accurate account of Alice Sebold’s openness on the subject.  


August 08, 2010

Chicken coop

A dear friend of my mine hangs out with some chicks named Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia. Chickens of course.  I admit it - I am super jealous. The moment he told me the names of his little friends, I knew I also must own chickens.   Why, you might ask? Well, you are not alone in asking.  When I told my husband - he wanted to know why I would possibly want to own four creatures that peck and eat grains. First, they are odd and interesting creatures. Secondly, lil baby chicks - adorable!  Not to mention fresh eggs would be a total perk each morning.
So for the past few weeks all I have talked about is owning my own little chicken coop filled with my own lil Golden Girls. After looking up information on habitats for chickens, who knew their homes could be so hip?!

Chicken Cribs located in California have an easy DIY kit that you can put together yourself.  It can accommodate four chickens (perfect for my Golden G names!).
This type of house keeps out OTHER animals and seems pretty easy to clean. Therefore, it is the most practical.  However, there are some pretty wacky coops out there!

This particular coop seems like a giant egg, and maybe that is the point? Not sure about that.  I am just not up for the ultra-mod types.   But in my coop searching, I found a whole website deticated to chicken coop plans - Called DIY Chicken Coop Plans (very straightforward with the name!).

My other favorite chicken coop is the Eglu - which apparently was the laughing stock of coops by farmers a few years ago.  But now it seems the popular choice!  It is also pretty reasonable and they have a bunch of different styles depending on your need/space.

The article in Sunset Magazine makes it seem so easy to own your own chickens.  It answers all the questions you might have, like whether or not it is legal, or how to have baby chicks or just eggs to eat.  However, in the end - I believe this is just another fantasy because I feel that owning chickens may make me a farmer.  And for that, I feel I need to improve on our garden.  Which means we need to better our compost pile.  I know my logic seems odd, but I feel without my compost pile and garden, I shouldn't have chickens.  Till then, I will just have to keep my fresh eggs and Golden girls to my dreams.


August 07, 2010

Football madness

When you hear the words Bake Sale, what comes to mind?  Hostess cupcakes wrapped in baggies?  Three oreos in a ziplock bag?  What is this world coming to!?  My interaction with a "booster parent" Thursday night went like this:
Super Cheerful Mom:  Hi there!  We are having our annual car wash and bake sale on Saturday! It should be super fun.  Everyone looooooooves to go!
Me: Oh. Unfortunately, we will be out of town at the shore. (darn! And just what I would rather do then go to the shore - help wash cars in the sweltering heat and eating crappy cookies)
 Super Cheerful Mom: What a bummer!  It is always such a good time.
Me (now feeling guilty): Well, I can definitely bake something and drop it off ahead of time.
Super Cheerful Mom: That would just perrrrfect!  (Then she whispers this) Now, don't go and trouble yourself.  Most of us just buy something at the store - and stick it in a baggie and easy peasy!  You don't have to do any of the work, and you still have stuff for the bake sale!!  fabulous!
Me (scratching my head in confusion): For the Bake sale, most people don't bake? hmmm.....ok! Well, I will see what I can whip up - but thanks for the advice!  
I then walk away not sure if my interaction with the football and cheerleading parents really just took place or not.  

Now, I am not trying to be condescending or rude towards these parents. I would like to be friendly with them, though clearly we differ in our definitions of a bake sale.  The mother WAS extremely polite and definitely tried to make me feel welcomed.  She also didn't want to "trouble" me with making or baking anything.  But she doesn't know me. At all. And if I am participating in a lame-o bake sale for the football, gosh darn it - I AM BAKING.

I decided that I would make football sugar cookies.  I iced them with brown thin icing, and then used white piping to make the lines and laces.  I was SO proud of my work.  We then individually wrapped them, and tied them with white curly ribbon.  Needless to say, when I dropped them off at the woman's house, she was speechless.  As I got back in my car and drove away, I brushed my shoulders off.  
Job well done.  And at least the bake sale with have one cookie actually home baked.  

Sugar Cookie Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.


August 06, 2010

Address me with your eyes

I have so many different address labels. Some with cats (yuck!), ducks, boats and frogs (why, I do not know).  Some labels have my correct name (what that is - who knows!), some with my maiden name mispelled, some with my married name, and some with a name I do not recognize.   One common trait amongst all of the labels is that they were free. My favorite F word!
After looking through websites, I found fabulous stamps that would get the job done.  I would be able to have the following: a correct name, correct address, and not have any crazy creatures that I am not fond of.  Etsy has a slew of address labels that I have fallen for.  

Clear stickers from tickledpinkpaper
My favorite!!!
So cute!!!
ModernArt Rubber Stamps


I think this may be one of my favorite simplest stamps!
from NoteTrunk

I can't stop looking through Etsy and finding all sorts of fun address stamps!!  This makes me want to toss all the free ones and get a stamp (or two!)


August 05, 2010


You should never, under any circumstance, look through food blogs when you forgot your lunch at home. I just keep thinking about what I could be eating, as I scroll through the flank steak, sausage rolls, and burger recipes.

Father's Day is approaching and I really would like to have my parents over for dinner - or at least for lunch.

I have the menu picked out, though it isn't really tailored to my dad, but more my mom. She would LOVE this menu.

I found Bruschetta Burgers. YUM!
Found on the Cooking Photographer, this recipe sounds so yummy.

I plan on using regular hamburgers, but then adding the topping below.
Bruschetta topping1 or 2 ripe tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
Palmful of chopped fresh basil
Palmful of chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4th cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 Tablespoon basil or regular olive oil
Salt & fresh cracked pepper

Mix all the ingredients together except salt. Add salt right before topping the burgers so the tomatoes don’t get watery. Set aside.

Sounds good?  Can't wait to find out!!!


A tisket a tasket put flowers in my basket

Currently my yard is in disrepair. There are bricks, stone dust piles, trailers, tall grass, and random flower pots spewed all over my lawn. We are attempting to "pretty" up the house, but in the process, the yard looks worse.
I purchased three hydrangea bushes (so pretty), an exotic lily plant, and lots of other nameless flower plants. I say nameless because my mom and I went out to buy flowers for my yard, and no plant (and I only could identify two types as hydrangea and lily) had a sticker or tag on it - and we just guessed and picked the brightest and best!  I can't wait till the hydrangea bushes are big enough where I can clip some flowers and put them in the center of our table.  
We are also trying to brick our driveway, as part of the driveway has only little pebbles.  This irritates my husband when we have to shovel snow - as pebbles go everywhere!  I am hoping that the projects do not take that long, and we stop looking like the abandoned house on the street!

Will post pictures when complete!