Sunday, January 29, 2012

Flying With Fly Lady

I admit that I struggle with housework. It seems that every time I start something, I get interrupted by a kid, a dog or a husband. Feeling like I never really get to finish anything can be pretty discouraging but I struggled to find a way to fix it. Then I joined Fly Lady. The premise behind Fly Lady is genious, the encouragement is wonderful as is the non judgemental approach. And it works! Essentially the premise is to take things one step at a time, start with something small and work your way up and not to spend so much time on something that you get overwhelmed and give up.

I know to some people that sounds really simple and obvious. Other people will be wondering how that really helps you. Well, let's use my experience as an example. The first thing Fly Lady says to do is shine your sink. I know what you're thinking, but stay with me. So, even though I doubted shining my sink would really make a big difference I set out to do it anyway. In order to shine the sink, I had to empty it. So, the dishes got done. Then I shined the sink. And looking at my sparkling clean sink I realized that I couldn't have a shining sink and not as shiney counter tops. So, my counters got cleaned off and scrubbed as well. And you can't have sparkling counters and a sink without making your floors sparkle as well right? It's a chain reaction. And once I deep cleaned it all and got into a routine the upkeep is much faster and easier. So, I carried the same chain reaction concept into the master bedroom. I made the bed and went from there.

When you start with Fly Lady, there's a guide that tells you a new thing to do for the first 30 days. As you read it, you're going to have doubts about whether it really makes a difference. Stick with it anyway. It does help. There's lots of helpful information, tips, advice etc on the Fly Lady websie as well. To sign up visit

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Life Lately

Hello readers. I know one of my resolutions was to get better at this blogging thing and I know I've kinda sucked at it so far. Not that I'm making excuses, but I do have some excuses. I caught the flu. Seriously. And it sucked. It essentially put me out of commission for nearly a week. Once I recovered, my house needed some serious recovery as well.

Then, my three year old needed some serious dental work. Apparently he has soft enamel which makes him very susceptible to cavities. Also, at 18 months he fell and damaged his front teeth. A previous dentist told us she had fixed them. She hadn't. Upon x-ray his new, and wonderful, dentist announced the teeth were abscessed and shot. So, my baby boy had to have his front teeth taken out. The dentist will be putting in false teeth so he won't be without front teeth for years, thankfully. I'm proud to say that my boy handled it all like a champ.  I have to brag that his new dentist said he's one of the best patients she has ever seen. I have to brag because his old dentist swore up and down he wouldn't hold still for a procedure and wanted to put him under general anesthesia. I'm so so so glad we switched dentists.

My daughter was diagnosed with a heart murmur this past week. Apparently they are very common in children but it's still scary for a parent to hear. We took her to a cardiologist but will be getting a second opinion as neither my husband or I were impressed with or confident in the doctor she saw or his staff. And our daughter hated them and screamed, flailed and fought the entire time leaving us to doubt the dr's office really got an accurate assessment of her at all. At this point it's believed to be an innocent murmur, thankfully, but as I said we'll be getting  a second opinion to make sure. Some people might think we're being too picky or too critical or whatever. But they can shove it. I'm not going to blindly trust a doctor that I don't feel confident in, especially not when it comes to my kid and a vital organ. Plus, with a strong family history of heart problems, it's just smart to make sure.

My 4 year old is healthy, growing and will soon be turning 5. Eek! He's excitedly planning his birthday party and is already excited about going to school this fall. He's been working hard to learn the ABC's and numbers and loves to show off his newly discovered knowledge. He has started asking  me how to spell everything. There's the end of  me spelling things I don't want him to understand. *sigh* They grow too fast.

We also got a new dog. The boys decided her name should be Jesse like the cowgirl from Toy Story. She's 4 months old and is an AKC registered German Shepherd, my dream dog. I had planned to go through a rescue or animal shelter and was under the impression that we were indeed on our way to the shelter when my husband made a detour and returned to the car with Jesse. He's a sneaky one and had the whole thing planned for days. But I must say it feels like Jesse is made for us. She's super sweet and smart and follows me everywhere. And she and the kids are head over heels for each other. The baby quickly learned the pup's name and now runs through the house calling 'Je-tee! Je-tee!'. German Shepherds are big active dogs so we were obviously concerned that she get enough exercise. We shouldn't have worried. She and the kids love to chase each other through the house and Jesse is almost always the first one to need a nap. Exercise will not be a problem for this pup. :-) 

On My Own

Guest post written by Jeramy Sparks

What’s better than getting your first job? Getting your first place by yourself! And what makes getting your first place better; having your landlord include all of the utilities in your rent, even direct TV. Now to understand my excitement, you must know where I’m moving from and what my other options were. Because my parents are divorced and neither one of them could afford to send me to college, I had to take out student loans and do it all on my own. To be able to get my degree as cheap as possible, I was forced to live on campus all 4 years of college. That’s right, I was 1 of maybe 5 seniors still living on campus. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but I was also a RA, which means I get to answer all the questions that the clueless freshmen could possibly think of and break up more parties than I can even count. After graduation, I could either find my own place, move in with my mom or move in with my dad. Seeing as how my mom is dating an extremely overbearing, arrogant man whom she just so happened to have moved into her house 2 weeks ago, I decided that living with her was not going to work. And after breaking up all those parties, moving in with an alcoholic father seemed less than ideal too. So, here I am, all out on my own!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Turkey Bacon Egg & Cheese Muffins

While surfing Pintrest I stumbled across several different versions of a bacon and egg cup. It sounded yummy but none of them quite fit my family's needs/tastes. So, I made my own. 

You need:

2 cups of Bisquick
1 cup of milk
6 slices of cooked turkey bacon
7 eggs
1 cup of shredded cheese

Mix the Bisquick and milk. You may have to tweak the amounts until it reaches the consistency of biscuit dough. Prepare a 12 count muffin pan with liners, making sure to spray the liners. Place about 1 tablespoon of dough in each cup and press down. Break turkey bacon into 4 pieces and place 2 pieces in each cup. Press turkey bacon down into the dough a bit. In a bowl, whisk the 7 eggs as though you are making scrambled eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the egg mixture among the 12 muffin cups. Drop 1 tablespoon of biscuit dough on top of the cups. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Eggs On A Stick

I'm frequently searching for new and/or creative ways to make food that my picky son and everyone else will eat. This morning I came up with the idea to combine string cheese and eggs. It's so simple, yet the kids loved it. All you do is prepare eggs as though you are making an omelet, throwing in whatever toppings you like. Halfway through cooking, place one string cheese stick in the middle of the eggs. When the eggs are done, the cheese stick will not be fully melted. Wrap the edges of the eggs around the cheese stick like you would fold an enchilada and serve. Kids get cheesy surprise inside their eggs. :-)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Movie Review: "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark"

We rented "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" yesterday. I was so excited because I had heard that it's so scary and such a good movie. It wasn't. The movie is about a couple who are restoring an old mansion. the man's daughter comes to live with them and they discover an unknown and boarded over basement. The girl, as kids will do, becomes curious and ventures into the basement alone to explore. She ends up opening the gateway for creepy gnome crossed with rat looking creatures to escape and terrorize her. The creatures don't like the light and attack in the dark. Sounds ok right? The premise is decent but the movie just failed to hold my attention. There was a bit of a creepy factor but nothing that's going to make me nervous about venturing into a dark room alone. All in all, if you're a real fan of scary movies, you won't be impressed.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Journey To A Healthier Me

I mentioned that one of my goals for 2012 is to get my jiggly wiggly self in shape. That includes dropping a few pounds. Now, I'm not a huge person and I don't have a specific goal weight in mind. How I feel is more important than an actual number. I'm going about this in the way that has worked well for me in the past and a way I know I can stick to with a little determination.

First, I've gotta get moving. I've chosen to do Zumba as my main workout for now. It's a fun dance based workout for those who aren't familiar with it. I love to dance so it's a great choice for me. I purchased Zumba 2 for Wii which allows me a lot of flexibility. I can just pop it in and shake it around my living room whenever I have time. There's no trying to find the time to go to the gym. I can also choose the length and intensity of the workout. This way I can start slowly at a pace I can keep up with so I don't get discouraged. Once I have that mastered, I can move up. And, if I have trouble with a move and look a little silly, well there are no judgemental strangers around to see. :-)

In addition to my main workout, I dance around the house all the time. I dance in the kitchen while cooking. I dance around my bedroom while I get ready. I grab the kids and we have a mini dance party in the living room. Whenever and wherever I can. Having some great music on hand makes this much easier and more fun.

Obviously all the dancing in the world isn't going to benefit me if I'm stuffing myself like a pig all the time. But, I don't do diets. The only diet I have ever been able to stick to for more than a short span was the Gestational Diabetes diet and that one I HAD to stick to. Fear for your unborn children is a great motivator. Aside from that, I'm not a dieter. I find most diet plans to be too restrictive which makes the temptation to cave harder to resist. My will power sucks sometimes.

I personally believe that moderation is key. I try my best to make healthier food choices but I don't deny myself somethig I really want either. For example, last night at dinner the sides were homemade mac & cheese and a veggie mix. Instead of denying myself the mac & cheese (as if that would happen) I took a smaller portion of that and a larger portion of the veggies. Not so hard right? If we go to our favorite pizza buffet, it's not so hard to replace a slice or two with a salad. Making changes like that are much easier for me than sticking to some strict diet plan that leaves me feeling unsatisfied. When it comes to desserts and sweets, although I do enjoy them, they aren't something I eat every day, I can't. But, if I get a craving for a cupcake, I'm going to have A cupcake. If I want a brownie, I will have A brownie. Allowing myself to have these things in moderation makes it easy for me not to go overboard and eat enough sweets to feed a small village.

* Disclaimer*  Obviously, this is just what I know works for me. I'm in no way an expert nor am I attempting to give anyone else advice.*

Now, are you ready for some brutal honesty? That's right, a woman is about to reveal her actual weight. I currently weigh in at 139 lbs at 5'5".  As I said, not huge. But also not in shape. I'm going to post pics of my current body shape and that's taking a lot of nerve for me. So be nice!

So, now that you've all seen my before pics, I have to work really hard so I can show you some amazing after pics, right? Wish me luck!

My Resolutions

Tis that time of year folks. You know, when we sit down and think of a few resolutions that sound good when we say them aloud but that we usually don't stick to past day 2. But this year will be different for me. Yeah, yeah, everyone says that. But I mean it. I'm determined to stick to them this year. They're not impossible goals, which I think is the key. Of course people are going to give up easily on unrealistic  resolutions. But, this year I have very realistic goals. Want to hear them? I thought you might.

1. Get in shape. Yes, losing weight and getting is shape is probably the most common resolution there is. But, it's also important. I'm determined to see it through this year. I didn't focus much on losing the baby weight last year because I was nursing a new infant and her health and nutrition was more important than me dropping the lbs quickly. But, she's 1 now and although she's still going strong with nursing, she's also eating solid foods so I am no longer her sole source of nutrition. Which makes me feel safer about losing weight.

2. Be a better blogger. I enjoy blogging, it's a great outlet. I just need to get better about it.

3. Practice and become a better photographer. I have a deep passion for photography and I'm determined to get as good at it as I possibly can.


See? Easily attainable goals right? And if I even think about giving up, well I'll just have to remember this post as I plan on keeping you all updated on how they're all going. I wouldn't want to embarrass myself  disappoint everyone by not meeting my goals. ;-)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Now that I have time to breathe

December was a crazy busy month for me. My daughter got sick from bad mousaka at a restaurant we won't be returning to. Then she turned one and we had people in for her party. Then all three kids caught a stomach virus which put a stop to the world for a few days. Then there was the holiday rush, decorating,  buying, wrapping, baking, preparing for guests. And then our guests arrived and we were very fortunate to spend nearly a week with two very special people whom we love dearly.  Then they left and the next day more guests arrived.  Actually they're still here but leaving later today. So, as I said, crazy. And my poor blog got neglected. But, things should slow down now and I'm making it a resolution to get better about this blogging business.