Monday, December 28, 2009
I will be researching places that these items can be donated, if you are interested. For now, I can guarantee that any church or parish will be accepting items throughout the year. Remember this is a problem that families are dealing with every single day, not just the holidays!
For more information about what my "Fill the Pantry Challenge" is, check out my post.
I wish you all a Healthy, Happy, Safe, and Satisfying New Year!!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I found an awesome website that has a TON of games you can print out... Christmas Games A to Z. You have to actually subscribe, but for $19.95 I had access to at least 50 holiday games... quizzes, puzzles, BINGO... you name it! They even have the answer keys - very important!
We did the games and had prizes, but we also had an old fashioned Yankee Swap. I don't know about you, but I actually included the rules in the invitation so that people knew what they were in for. Apparently, there are many versions of the game and many are EXTREMELY cut throat. I don't think that's very appropriate during the season of "good will". Anyway, we did the games, the swap, the food... oh yummy food!!
Finally, we divided the cookies... mmm mmm mmm! I forgot to take a picture of the tablescape with all of the batches of cookies, but trust me when I say they all looked great!! They tasted even yummier too!!
Happy Holidays Everyone... and maybe with the help of the economy more people will be settling in with the old traditions of visiting, playing games, and potlucking it! One can only hope, right?!?
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I also remember that every year we went on our camping trip. It was 4th of july weekend and we would pack our stuff and head up to Sharon, VT. The boys were all there for each other, but I got to bring a friend. I think that whole trip would cost us about $150 for gas and food. It wasn't the type of camping trip that you camped at night and visited the stores and parks in the area during the day. We played in the White River, swimming, rafting, catching Crawfish, trying to fish. We would cook the crawfish and eat them with dinner. Usually hot dogs cooked on a stick, but sometimes even the occasional trout. These are the times that I remember so well.
I think that I always "knew" that we were never going to go to Disney, although, like most kids, I probably asked. It didn't really matter though, as long as we went camping. We all had bikes and for christmas each year, we all each got that 1 BIG thing. One year it was a TV. One year a stereo. My friends would laugh and tell me that my parents were secretly preparing to kick us out... one year we actually got dishes and pans. hehe. Hey, we asked for them!
So, I don't know what happened, but I started getting to the point, where if I could have it, I got it. I wanted a simple desk for our computer. Ok... actually, I went to the store to look at desks so maybe I could make one, but what happened?? I bought this big armoire that hides everything when not in use, blah blah blah...
Got the Wii, got the Playstation, got the cameras, got the mp3 player... got it all.
I started volunteering at the kids school this year. I went every Thursday and Friday for 6 weeks to sort nonperishables for families in need. Each week I hoped that more stuff would come in. I thought... "How are these kids going to eat breakfast if people don't bring in cereal??" or "What are these families going to do with 15 cans of chicken soup?". Then each of the kids classes picked a charity to help. Payton's class shopped for a family. We were going to be giving them the only gifts they were going to get this year. Phoebe's class collected new baby clothes for new or due mommies.
I started coming home and seeing all this "stuff" around. Is it strange that all of a sudden I don't care? I actually sold the Wii because we haven't used it in quite some time. Chef Hubby is selling his paintball gun and PS2. I've started cleaning out the basement more aggressively, thinking, "If we had a fire, would I even know that I lost this item?". I don't know what happened that made me change my views, but I wish that it would rub off on some people. I hope that I can instill this in my children.
I've already told them that this weekend is time for the annual, clean out the toy bins. It's when they go through their games and toys and decide which ones that no longer use or want. They are given to the charities in the area "for boys and girls who have no toys". They are actually very good at this activity.
I'm trying to bring back that feeling of "enough". I wish you and your families "enough" this holiday! Merry Christmas!!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Today I made Chocolate Coconut bars for the cookie swap and they rocked!! But now I have to think of something to make for the cookie swap at my house next weekend... I can't do the same thing, some of the same people are coming. LOL!!
So, I have some ideas, but I was wondering what some people crave for the holidays? Any cookie or bar suggestions that I should make??
Hoping that everyone is having a healthy and happy holiday season so far!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I have to admit, like most, I lose focus and don't really think about the many many families who go without unless there is a can drive, or a specific purpose to raise awareness, BUT... I am going to change that! Do you know that in New Bedford, MA there are more than 546 homeless families?!? That's right... not people... FAMILIES! This is based on the New Bedford Public Schools' figures. Let's pretend the average family is a family of 4...
Now, I know these figures are just estimates, but this is a HUGE problem!! A problem that is not going to be helped by supplying a family with a box of food that will barely last a week. So this is my challenge...
- Find a box, or a tote, or a spot in a closet or room that you can use to "stock".
- Put aside at least $1 a week to "Stock the Pantry"
- Now, each week use that $1 to buy an item of food (nonperishable) or if Peanut Butter is on sale, or you make a purchase greater than the $1... keep it to $4 dollars a month (more if you can afford it)
- If you have kids, give them the dollar and tell them they have to find something they like to put in the box. Let them take ownership of the box!! Get them involved!! If you have 2 kids, give them each a dollar or alot $2 a month to each box... whatever!
- Pretend that you are stocking up for a week, for a family of 4... what would you want to eat?
OR... you can have a special piggy bank that you can place $1 a week. This is money you can donate to help these programs; to allow them to purchase the food items that are still need at the end of the collection (i.e. Mayonnaise for the tuna and turkey, peanut butter is the every meal food, tomato sauce for a great multipurpose item)
Challenge your friends, your family, your coworkers!! This is a problem that these families are struggling with every single day. Maybe in the process in making my children aware and making the community more aware, we can help ease it a little. Why not ask your dentist, pediatrician, or real estate agent, etc to place a box for a collection? If you want to participate but are concerned about not being able to deliver the items, do it!
Remember, hunger isn't a religious, or racial, or political issue... it can effect anyone! It effects the young and the old. Please, don't decide not to help because it is a parish or place of worship that is collecting the items. These are the places that care for our community! They care for the people and families that so desperately need it.
*** I know that there are state funded programs, etc, but these are not working. The numbers continue to rise. The only way to start fixing problems is for everyone to come together and start with their neighborhoods, their communities, their local charities... we need to fix it!! Thank you for your help!!!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I've gotten almost all of my shopping done which means that now I have time to second guess every single purchase I made. Does anyone else do this?? I mean seriously, my kids are 3 and 5 and I'm thinking... "I hope they like the toys". These are the kids that fought viciously yesterday over a leave! Yes, a leave... well, actually some sort of bean thing that looks like a really big black green bean. I called it the music leave. lol
Anyway, Chef Hubby and I decided that from now on Christmas is not going to be a living room FULL of "stuff". We picked one big thing that they both will share, then a couple little things, an outfit to wear christmas day, and the ever important, Christmas Eve PJs. The Pj tradition we stole from one of aunts... but we cherish it.
So I am going to try to get the housework and work work done before Friday so that we can put up the christmas tree this weekend. I can't wait for the tree to go up. I was also going to start with the "Elf on a Shelf" this year, because I thought it was an awesome concept, but we will probably be doing our own version since the cute little guy with activity book is $30!!
Anyway... Merry Bah Humbug to all!!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Here we are loading them up on nonperishable foods that are loaded with salt and preservatives and virtually no nutritional value, right? So I decided to try to find alternative recipes for these items... so far, I've gotten quite a bunch
Country Chicken Chowder (Chicken Noodle Soup)
Cinnamon Snack Mix (Ramen Noodles)
Tuna Pot Pie (Tuna)
Pizza Casserole (Ravioli)
...just to name a few!! BUT I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions. I know that I haven't been keeping up with this blog and a bunch of my followers are gone, but if you could do me a favor and spread the word, that would be great! I am looking for quick, easy, family friendly, CHEAP meals you can use nonperishable foods to make.
Some other items that are in excess are pastas, tomato products, canned veggies, gravies, cake mixes... MAC n CHEESE... got it? So any recipes that you can offer would be great.
To make it worth your time and trouble, I will be doing a give away!! I have some small Pampered Chef items that I can throw together as incentive for a random drawing. Please send the recipes by November 14th so I have time to get them together for a booklet I want to put together for the families.
Thank you sooo much for your help!! Happy Holidays!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So far, I've spent some mornings working out, shopping, going on playdates with my mommy friends, minus my own little ones (that's very weird, might I add), slept in, and tried like crazy to get some work done. Can I just tell you how NOT motivated I am to get the chores done.
Lately, I've been very stressed. I drop the kids off at school, get them settled into their classrooms, and head out, hoping that they will be taken care of. Seriously, that should be a no brainer since they are currently enrolled in a Catholic school down the street, right?!! Well, not so much...
2 days into Kindergarten and Phoebe came home announcing that a boy kissed her ("on the cheek, so it's ok mommy"). She couldn't remember his name, but they were going to get married and then have 3 babies!! WTF? So then she made him a card and he didn't want it. Now she doesn't want to go to school anymore... ugh!
Payton is in school in pull-ups right now because she's still quite strongwilled and I'm not ready to bring in 3 sets of clothes everyday. Actually, in school she's been doing great! She comes home dry almost aways, but it's entirely different on the weekends. Anyone got any suggestions? She is absolutely smitten with her teacher... it's so cute. It's hard to get her to walk instead of run when we get to the hallway that leads to her classroom.
My mom is also keeping me on my toes. As I write this, I'm awaiting the call that lets me know she's recovering nicely after being a kidney donor this morning. She decided that she was going to do it in the end of March and immediately quit smoking after over 40yrs. The recipient is a 25 yr old son of one of her coworkers. To say that emotions are high right now is putting it mildly.
Anyway, I am hoping to start posting more regularly again. Wish me luck!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Well, today we went to a shopping plaza and Phoebe was with me while I exchanged my running shoes and Payton went with Chef Hubby to Best Buy. I had bought a pair a few weeks ago and wore them once - they HURT!! WTF... running shoes aren't supposed to hurt! They should feel like you are running on a cloud... anyway, sorry...
So we exchanged them and started walking over to Best Buy. We passed a Claire's and I asked if she wanted her ears pierced and she said "Yes". OMG!! So being the type of mom that doesn't like to leave my children unprepared, I said "Are you sure? You know it's gonna hurt"
Phoebe: "Not too much though"
Mommy: "But it's going to hurt, are you really sure you still want them?"
Ok, so we enter the store and I find an employee to find out the info. I asked if they can both get done at the same time - get it over with, right?? Of course, one of the guns is broken so today that isnt possible! UGH... so back to the kid...
Mommy: "OK, Phoebe, they have to do one at a time. We are getting both today. So, it's going to hurt, but we aren't leaving until both get done. Are you still sure you want them?"
Phoebe: "Uh huh"
Deep Breath... ok, so we head over to the ear piercing area. She picks out her pair (pink daisy 14kt earrings - what happened to the plain studs or birth stones?!?! Man, kids have options these days!!) We put her in the chair and I let her hold the "hug bear". The girl comes over and I prep Phoebe some more...
Mommy: "OK, so its gonna hurt, but not a lot. Kinda like when we go to the doctors - OK?"
Phoebe: "Yeah, mommy. It's only gonna hurt a little"
So then this little girl comes over and tries showing her the magnetic earrings. They are butterflies. Now Phoebe wants the butterflies. Part of me was hoping she'd settle for the butterflies, but no she wants the real deal.
The girl marks the ears, and places the stud in the gun... Pop - done! She looks ok... no tears, no fuss... she seems happy!! YAY!! Maybe it only hurts a little - cool! Then she proceeds to clean and rotate the earring and check the backing... all before doing the other ear - WTF?!!
Guess what - it started to hurt! Of course!! So I reminded Phoebe that she needed to get the other ear done... that was our deal. I had to hold her :o( She cried. She stopped crying though, when the girl gave her a lollipop... ok, so I didn't hate her anymore. Then she wanted ice cream. So we found Daddy and Payton and headed over to the Verizon store, who was celebrating their 1yr anniversary. It couldn't have been easier... they had ice cream, frisbees, snacks, etc - FREE!! The kids were psyched! Payton wants earrings now, but mommy needs to recover from the trauma... my little girl has earrings.
Wow... and she's starting kindergarten in only 6 weeks. I've never been the type of mom to be sad when my kids hit milestones, but I think I might be changing. Oh man... wish me luck!
Friday, June 26, 2009
I mean, it's so simple! Everyone loves to make cards and seriously, it doesn't seem like the holidays without getting at least one card a day, right?! So I started thinking about when my hubby's grandmother would get her meals delivered each day from the local "Meals on Wheels" and how nice it would have been for her to receive a special holiday card from someone. So, I talked with Chef Hubby and asked him to use his connections to find out how many homes these meals get delivered to locally and I'm going to start making cards... now!
I know I won't be able to make them all myself, so I'm going to try to enlist some friends and maybe even ask the neighborhood association to help. So maybe we can help bring that holiday spirit to some of our locals. Maybe you will be inspired to do this in your area, or something else, who knows. Let me know if you have any other ideas that I can use to pull together the community! For now though, I have a LOT of cards to make... lol :o)
I know it's a little early, but "Happy Holidays" just the same
Thursday, June 18, 2009
We left about 5:30pm and the kids, who had been with my grandparents all day so I could get everything done, were wiped out. 3 mins into our trip and our plans were already gone. The kids were asleep in the back seat and we hit BK instead of the sit down meal we had planned.
I had packed a box full of toys, crayons, coloring books, and all of the kids DVDs. We had the portable DVD players secured to the front seats, Henry's father had gotten the kids fold down travel desks that were dry erase, and we had snacks and drinks on hand... we were ready - I thought.
About an hour into our 25ish hr trip and Phoebe started vomitting... great for the first time in her life, she was car sick. Of course! This happened twice and I'm sure that the people in the hotel we stopped behind to clean her up, and change thought we were insane, but you do what you gotta do, right? I bought her some "sea bands" and she was fine for the rest of the trip. Oh, if you haven't heard of these - they rock!! They are accupressure wrist bands that help with motion sickness and they are incredible.
Anyway, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel for lunch and grabbed audio books... they are super cheap and helped get us through more than 5 hrs of the trip. By about 1200 miles I got really frustrated and started complaining... yes, me, not the kids. Although Payton had asked to go home several times. Phoebe was content watching Barbie's Swan Lake the entire trip (ok, not the entire trip... I turned off the tvs while they were sleeping both nights and during the day for a while) but for pretty much the entire time the tv was on. So much for bringing every movie they had, right?
Well, we made it and now we are trying to figure out our plan for the day. We checked into our hotel and then checked out as soon as we woke up because it was disgusting!! Now we're staying at my brother's house. We got to meet my niece and she is absolutely adorable!! Pics to come later.
Chef Hubby made us dinner last night with items he picked up at the local farmer's market...
Grilled Pork Chops with a Peach and Rhubarb sauce
Sweet Potato Fries
and for dessert I picked up some Butter Pecan cookies - OMG!! They were amazing! Gonna buy some more on Saturday for our trip home. Anyway, thats our trip so far, but I'll be sure to keep you posted :o)
Sunday, May 10, 2009
We the willing
Led by the unknowing
Are doing the impossible
For the ungrateful.
We have done so much
For so long
With so little.
We are now qualified
To do anything
Friday, May 1, 2009
I started doing my tracking for Weight Watchers again this week and that seemed to help me a lot, as crazy as it seems. It actually helps me start to feel in control again. I worked out 3 times this week, but it was hard, not a worked out but didn't break a sweat... I did the elliptical, I jogged, and I worked out with my trainer, William. He's awesome. He reminds me a lot of the athletes I worked with while I was still working at the college level. He's a good kid - Sorry William... it's true. He keeps me motivated and he really pushes me during our sessions.
It's during those sessions that I don't have to worry about anything else but getting the set done. I don't have to worry about trying to get shows, or how to pay for the school my kids just got into, or what to make for dinner, or how many friggin loads of clothes I have to do when I get home. I go to the gym and I'm there for me. I've been working out with a trainer for 56 sessions now and I am the exact same weight as I started?!
I would work out and then I come home and eat... whatever the hell I wanted. WHY!? I worked for more than 2 yrs to lose over 60lbs and once I got into my size 10 jeans, I stopped. I don't know why. It wasn't really planned. I just got comfortable. So now, I decided that I need to find some control. I need to get things done... my poor husband has been looking at an almost done bathroom for more than 2 yrs now! Sorry babe! He actually put a hault on all projects. I am not allowed to start any new projects or demolitions until the molding and painting and everything is finally done. Can't really say I blame him.
My mom thinks that I'm afraid to finish these things. She thinks that I won't know what to work on after I finally reach my weight goal, finish my bathroom, etc. I've been working so long to get somewhere that maybe she's right... what will I focus on then? Well, this week I decided that I'm going to give it a try. I'm going to finish what I started. I'm going to show my girls that when you make a commitment you have to follow through.
I'm going to actually take some pressure off my shoulders and let myself focus on something else. I think that I could really be a great business person once I get my feet under me. I know I can finish the 5k I signed up for in October. I want to be involved in my kids school when they start in September. I need to pull it all together.
Summer is going to be here soon and I don't want to miss it. I'm so afraid that I'm going to fill the days with projects and chores and stupid shit, like I always do and miss those amazing times with my little girls and absolutely amazing husband. I'm committing myself... now watch and see what happens!!
I can't wait to see either....
Thursday, April 16, 2009
We originally started making the Jiffy Mix muffins, then when she had a hot dog phase, I made some corn dogs using the corn muffin mix and cut up a hot dog and dropped it in. It was a super easy, no dip, no stick, corn dog!!
You can also have the kids help make triangle fried eggs... even omelets! Seriously, does it get any better for a little kid than to be able to make themselves muffins and an omelet for breakfast? Or you can make grilled cheese, with the crusts sealed like the encrustables.
I'm sure there are tons more options out there, if you really put your mind to it! I don't know about you, but I think I might be pulling the old sandwich maker out for breakfast tomorrow. I'm sure that Phoebe is going to asking for this every morning, after she starts making herself goodies :o)
Actually, I might try making some brownies or "sandwich-cakes" in it tonight, to see if it works. They should all come out with the crusts that everyone loves, in little triangles, that all kids eat, and probably super moist... I'll let you know :o)
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Anyway, I'm doing better now, but still not able to move the way I should. It's all good. Like I tell my athletes, as long as we are continually improving, I think we're in the clear.
Aside from that, I've taken up a new "career". I became an Independent Consultant for the Pampered Chef! My husband and I had a show way back in 2002 and instantly fell in love with the products. We even went to a recruiting show way back in the day, but decided that it wasn't a good option for us at that point. Well, every now and again we would get a call to see how things were going and to check to see if we would like to chat about the possibility of becoming a consultant. It never seemed to be the right time.
Well, we got a call back in January and I decided to set up a meeting. I've been trying to decide "what to do when I grow up", if you know what I mean. Right now, I'm a full time mommy and part time Certified Athletic Trainer. Next year the kids should be heading off to school and I don't know what I'm going to do. How can I be a "full time" mom when the kids aren't even going to be around? That's the kind of pressure I put on myself...
So, my options... 1. Try to go full time at work? 2. Continue staying at home, become the best housewife, ever! Go to the gym, etc... and then make myself feel bad because I'm not "bringing much to the table" financially OR 3. Join the Pampered Chef, make my own schedule, earn some money, free products, and some time away from the kids... guilt free!! YAY!
So, I decided to sign up. In my first two weeks, I fulfilled all my "responsibilities" for the company (they give you 90 days to do 4 shows or sell $1250 in products). I did it in 15 days!! hehe. Anyway, I made back all of my money, earned more than $800 in free products, and can't wait for my next show!! AND all the recipes I have to try to make, I can use for dinner for my family and they are tax deductible because they are actually a training tool! Can it get any better?!?!
A lot of people have been trying to drill me lately though, because of the economy. The funny thing is, with these products and recipes, the economy is actually helping me! People can't afford to eat out as much, so they are buying quality tools and cookbooks to make it easier to get in and out of the kitchen fast!! These products are great for that!!
I'm sorry if this sounds like a commercial, I just can't believe I waited this long to actually take advantage of it!! Anyway, if you want to see what the products are, or are interested in the company, feel free to check out my website... www.pamperedchef.biz/teescooking. If you really like it, you can even place an order - super easy!
Anyway, that's what I've been up to! Hope that everyone else is having
Monday, March 2, 2009
Sorry about the mix up. Hey you never know, maybe you'll like the other one too! lmao :o)
Monday, February 16, 2009
So the whole cookie thing kind of turned into us buying some preformed sugar cookies that you place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. They had bunnies and chicks on them... and well, they were cheap and easy and the kids wanted them!! So instead of pics of those, I figured I would let Phoebe share a song with you...
Hope that made your day!!!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
This was the seating display that my maid of honor painted for us. It was so cool, I have to say. We had decided that each table would be a country, so she made us a map. The bride's room was the "Maiden's Den", dance floor was "Dancing Waters", and the entrance was the "Kingdom of Entree". It was really neat! We still have it!
This was the wedding party. The groomsmen all wore tuxedos at the church, then changed. All of the swords are actually Henry's. We were going to display them someday, then we had kids... someday just hasn't happened yet.
This is our cake. I love, love, love, love this cake!! It was as delicious as it was stunning! Each stone and tree was made individually with sugar. The rope bridge was authentic and the castle towers were perfect. I actually came across the amazing talent who created this on the web. She was just starting out on her own and she did not disappoint. Unfortunately, upon finding the picture, I tried googling her to say "hi" and once again thank her for her amazing work, and she seems to have stepped away. Well, wedding cake wonders will be missed! Thank you, Dottie!
Well, that was my little tour down memory lane. I hope you enjoyed it! I will be back soon with some more updates. I promise!