Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Baby Girl...

First Christmas - 4 months old
Today I brought the kids to school, as usual. We parked the car and walked to the school with their friends... like always. But today when I bent down to kiss Phoebe good-bye for the day, I had to say "Good luck, babe. I hope you do well on your exam. I love you!"

Yes, my baby girl has her first final exam today. It's on religion... they go to a Catholic School. I'm pretty sure she knows the material, but this weekend, when we were studying for it, she was saying she didn't know any of the sacraments or pretty much any of the other things either... grrr! 

I can't believe my baby girl is taking a FINAL today!!! 

2 yrs old and playing in her favorite rocker
When did kids start growing up so fast?? Why do people keep telling me that my kids won't be ready for the MCAS in high school because they are in Catholic School now... do their kids take freaking finals?? She's got more later too!

Oh well, so this is what I've been thinking about all morning... well, except for my run! I am moving the running back over to my other blog though. I feel like this one should stay just family, crafts, recipes, and random thoughts... is that cool?

Almost 3 and she did her own make-up to look "just like mommy"

Here's my baby girl "all grown up"
1st grade - Orphan in Annie Jr.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Run #1... Done!

So this was our first run! It was a total of 2.91miles, which I'm pretty bummed about because I thought for sure it was at LEAST 3miles :(  Oh well, at least we started on our goal of 100 miles in 99 days!

That means that we have 97.1 more miles to complete in the next 98 days. It's definitely doable and we're looking forward to it. Many of our friends have said  that they'd be interested in doing the challenge, and even participating in the 5K we are going to toss together on Labor Day weekend. I hope that this helps motivate you to get up and get going!

Let me know how your workouts are going? Today was an early morning - 7am with a temperature of about 70 degrees F with serious mugginess and sun!  This is NOT going to get me down... that would be just another excuse, right??

Have a great day with your family!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The 99/100 Challenge!

Anyone up for a challenge?? Actually, in terms of challenges, this one is rather small.

There are 99 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and in that time me and Elizabeth will be running 100 miles. Yeah, yeah, yeah... I'm sure all you runners out there are thinking this is a pathetically small distance to complete in 99 days, right? Well, not for us! It works out to be a little more than a mile a day... 7.14miles per week actually. However, when you factor in jobs, kids, vacations, dogs, and well... just about anything else; getting out to run everyday is tough. I know, I feel better when I run and I know I like the results of toning my body, BUT seriously, it's just EASIER to do nothing!!

So we are going to be posting about our runs, distances, epiphanies (ummm... yeah), and maybe a little whining... but we're hoping that you might join us! So grab the link at top and post this challenge on your blog. In the end, we will be wrapping it all up Labor Day weekend with a 5K for our family and friends to help benefit a local food pantry... more details to come :)

I will set up a sidebar so we can all keep track of each others' progress, because seriously, isn't a lot more of a challenge/motivation when you aren't doing it alone??

Now, for those of you still hesitant about this challenge... you don't have to RUN! Heck, get the kids involved and walk to the park everyday. Break out the roller blades, scooters, or bikes. The idea is to get moving and you never know, maybe your friends have been looking for a reason to get up and going as well.

Good luck and let me know when you decide to join the challenge! We're starting tomorrow at 7am... who's in?!?

Beginning to Feel Like Summer

This week I was able to mow the rest of my lawn and tame the ever growing raspberry bush we have in the yard. I know comparatively speaking, we have a small lot here in the city, but it's a lot for someone who has never actually had to take care of any land.

I planted some seeds in a starter kit a few weeks ago and today we are going to relocate them to the yard! YAY!! I am also going to do the daunting task of cleaning the grill. I am dreading it :(  Downstairs used it to cook all winter and it's pretty caked on at this point... bummer! I am marinating some chicken and veggies and they WILL be cooked on the grill... so it needs to be done.

I need to find stuff for the yard for the kiddos too. I want to get rid of the sandbox because they are really getting too big for it and would LOVE to put in a swingset, but the cost is ridiculous. Actually, I've also been trying to find one without the stupid seesaw thingy. You might as well call them a concussion waiting to happen! I've never seen a kid get whacked with a swing or mauled by a kid sliding down a slide, but ALWAYS see at least one get taken out by the stupid seesaw. Not cool!!

Side note... Payton just came out with a dress she wore yesterday...

Me: No, you can't wear that. You wore it yesterday.
Payton: But Daddy didn't put it in the hamper so it's not dirty.
Me: It is dirty. You wore it all day. Go find something else to wear.
Payton: It's not fair.
Me: Hey... Oh forget it.
Payton: What??
Me: Forget it.
Payton: What?!?!
Me: I said forget it. I was gonna say something, but I changed my mind.
Payton: Mommy, how can you change your mind about saying something???
Me: Seriously, go get dressed!!

When did she get so grown up?? She pays attention to everything and misses nothing. I am so screwed!!

Ok - Headed outside again :)  Yay... I love this weather!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


"Regret the things you don't do, not the things you do"

I have no idea who said it. I have to be honest, I read it on someone's Facebook status last week, but I can't get it out of my head.

I have a problem where I can remember a LOT of things that I've done wrong in my life. When I've said something that hurt someone's feelings. When I've done something that should NOT have been done. I wish that I had the time to make a list that would cover all of my regrets and say I'm sorry to all of the people that I've hurt. I think there was a show about it, right? Earl something or other... I should Google it, but I'm not in the mood.

I've said some really stupid shit in my day. I've been downright mean... why?? I don't know. Most of the time, I can say it was defensive. I have a way of lashing back with some pretty fucked up stuff... I guess it's a perk of growing up with 3 brothers. I couldn't fight but I could talk.

I apologize for the language tonight. I'm stressed. I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I'm a little scared. I just want some time off... I think I need some time off. I need money... I need a way to make more money that is. I'm leaving it in God's hands right now.

I know that might sound corny to people. Hell, a while back I would have read that and called the person who wrote it an idiot. I don't mean that I'm going to sit back and do nothing, but instead, I'm going to do the best I can. I'm going to continue to do the "right thing". I'm going to continue to try to improve myself, my family, my community. I'm going to continue to pray. I'm going to continue to believe that I can make a difference, that I can help create change, that I am showing my girls to never give up.

I'm stressed.

I want to go for a run.

I want to eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's Late Night Snack Ice Cream!

I want to go to sleep.

What the hell is my problem??

I keep looking at my Positivity bracelet. I love this thing.

Sadly, in the past few weeks, it's been my ground. You know when people are trying to break a habit so they wear a rubber band on their wrist and snap it when they get an urge or something... well, it's like that. When I start to get upset, frustrated, or even scared. I look at it and it grounds me. I don't know why. I think it just reminds me that things can always be worse.

I am so blessed. I mean, seriously blessed! I think I'm going to go lay on the couch and think about my blessings...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Belly Ache

Apparently my stomach pain was a little more severe than I had expected. Seriously, I thought it was acid reflux or heart burn at first, then figured it must be an ulcer... NO! It's my freaking Gallbladder :(

So quick anatomy lesson via Health Central... this is what it's supposed to look like. I think that the fact that the damn organ is green, is pretty gross to begin with, but add the bile and acid and YUCK!!

Then this is what mine probably looks like...
Yes, those stupid little stones make it more disgusting!
I've been having pain on and off for a while now. The absolute worst was the weekend of my birthday. We did go out for Mexican, drinking, dancing and then followed it with breakfast at 1:30am, but I didn't know I was a ticking time bomb. 

I had the worst pain ever with some other symptoms... basically not fun!

Figured it was acid reflux, went to bed. 

A few "attacks" later and I finally decided I had to go to the doctor's to get meds for my "ulcer". Yup, I self-diagnosed myself. I thought I was good. Went in and talked to her and she said it could be a bunch of stuff... one of them was an ulcer. I held onto that!! 

Two days ago I got to go for some tests to determine the "exact" issue. I had an upper abdominal ultrasound and an abdominal x-ray to check for gallstones. 

Today I got the call... I need to meet with a surgeon to get my gallbladder removed. I have several stones and a thickening of the wall. Uh oh... that doesn't sound very good. BUT it gets worse! 

Apparently, if it continues the way it's been going I could potentially get an infection, that could potentially spread to my other organs and I could potentially become septic. Now, there are a lot of potentiallys there, but the whole septic thing could lead to death, so I think maybe I should avoid the potential for that, huh?

BUT - silver lining!!
 I was told there are 2-3 days of downtime for recovery... SCORE! OK... so I admit, I've been a little overwhelmed lately. Actually, the other day I thought I was going to get hit by a car and for a minute... or even less... I thought "If I get hurt, maybe I'll be able to sleep in tomorrow". 

I know, it's a sick thought, and I wouldn't ever really want to get hit by car, BUT I would LOVE to sleep in... lmao. My hubby works so hard and there are a lot of weekends where I get to sleep in on Saturday, but not lately. Things have been too crazy. The school year is almost over and we are both looking forward to some down time with the kiddos.

Right now though... I need to get them out of the tub. hehe. They've been in there for almost an hour! Ahh.... I love bathtime :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lazy Sunday Recipes

I've been kind of a slacker when it comes to blogging lately, I know. BUT I have a good excuse... the PTO kicked butt this year. The teachers were all impressed with Father-Daughter Dance and Health Fair/Smile Mile that were new to the calendar this year and continued to be thankful for the Teacher Appreciation Week that has become tradition. It's been a great year, working with a great group of people :)

Anyway, it's DONE! We made it... our last meeting of the year is tomorrow and that's when we start planning for next year! Yay :) OK - so that's my big excuse. Now it's time for me to make up for lost time by sharing some awesome recipes that are also pretty healthy, surprisingly cheap, AND super easy!

I had to stock up on ground turkey the other day because it was only $3.29 for the 1.3lb packages of 93% lean ground turkey. Seriously, it's usually closer to $5 so I grabbed 2 pks. Today I started my cooking spree with a Shepard's Pie influence. I know that everyone has a different take on Shepard's Pie, but what I grew up with was ground beef topped with corn and then mashed potatoes. I loved it! But since I've been experimenting in the kitchen so much, I've mixed it up a little.

Lean Mean Shepard's Pie

1 1/2ish lbs of Ground Turkey 93% lean (I wouldn't go lower than 85%)
1 package of the frozen broccoli and cheese sauce
6 servings of instant potatoes
5 cloves of garlic
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chicken stock (you can use water)
salt and pepper to taste
onion powder to taste (or minced onion) 
extra virgin olive oil
egg white

Throw 3 of the cloves of garlic into a pan that has a cover with a little drizzle of EVOO over low heat. Brown all sides. When it's done browning, shut off the heat and cover for approx 5 mins.

In the meantime, mince the other 2 cloves (I press em) and put them into a skillet with a little drizzle of EVOO until golden and fragrant. Toss in the ground turkey with some salt, pepper, onion powder. Cook over medium high heat until browned. Drain any grease. Add the can of cream of chicken soup and the 1/2 cup of stock or water. Cook until thickened.

Microwave the broccoli and cheese sauce as directed on the package. Make the potatoes as directed and stir in the garlic that you had roasted. Either press it into a paste or use a garlic press to break it up into the mixture. Layer the turkey mixture, followed by the broccoli, topped with the garlic mashed potatoes. Coat with egg white.

Now cook it until golden brown, toss in the fridge for tomorrow, or freeze it for later! Super easy.

Easy Lasagna (made Two 4serving containers)

1 1/2 lbs of ground turkey
3 cloves of garlic
16oz bag of cheese ravioli (cheese and spinach would be awesome too!)
1 can Hunts Italian Sausage Spaghetti Sauce (or your favorite)
italian seasoning
mozzarella cheese

Drizzle some EVOO in a pan with the pressed garlic cloves. Heat over low-medium heat until browned. Add the ground turkey and bring the heat to medium high. Cook until browned. Add the Spaghetti Sauce until heated. While the meat is browning, boil the water for the ravioli and cook it approx half the time suggested. Drain the water and toss with a drizzle of EVOO just so they don't stick together.

Put a little bit of the sauce on the bottom of the container and evenly distribute some cheese ravioli.

Then top with some sauce and a little of the mozzarella cheese.

Repeat the layer of ravioli, layer of sauce and layer of cheese until you run out of supplies OR room in your container. 
I used microwavable containers so that these can be last minute dinners for the week. They cook up in about 8-10 from the fridge and 15-20minutes from the freezer. If I had wanted to eat them right away, I would have just put the cover on for about 5mins because the sauce can cook the ravioli and melt the cheese the rest of the way without a problem.

Another favorite of ours for dinner, that I didn't make is a Pizza Bubble-Up Casserole. I think I posted about it a while ago, but don't feel like trying to find it again. Here is the recipe:

Pizza Bubble-Up Casserole

1lb  lean ground beef or turkey
2 t. onion powder or 1 onion, chopped
16 oz. spaghetti sauce
1/2 t. dried basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. Italian seasoning 
Veggie Toppings (mushrooms, peppers, olives, any of your favorites – BE CREATIVE) 
Turkey Pepperoni or ground sausage - whatever you like!!
15 oz. refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (dice these up - I cut them into 6 or 8)
1 1/4 c. part skim milk mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 F. In skillet, brown the meat over medium high heat, seasoning with the italian seasoning, onion, salt, pepper, basil, and garlic. Add toppings and diced biscuit pieces and stir gently until completely coated. Pour mixture into a 9x13" greased casserole dish. Bake for 25mins. Top with the shredded cheese and bake an additional 10mins, until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5mins before serving.

Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Caps
4 Portabella Mushroom Caps – stems removed
1/2 cup Balsamic vinaigrette with olive oil or Balsamic vinegar
½ cup fresh spinach
½ cup diced sundried tomatoes
½ cup diced roasted red peppers
½ cup feta cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Marinate the portabella caps in the balsamic vinaigrette for at least 2hours. This can be done up to 24 hrs before preparing.

Place caps on a lightly greased baking pan tops down. Layer spinach, tomatoes, peppers, and feta cheese. Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Salt and pepper for seasoning.

Place in 350 degree oven for 25 mins.

** These can be placed in foil packets and prepared on the grill.
12 mins at 400 deg.

** Use the small Bella Caps instead and you have a super easy
 appetizer anyone would love!!

Well, I hope that you enjoy some of these... I know we do :) I promise to posting more frequently again too! Stop by and check it out.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Health Fair!! It's Almost here!!

I decided to join the PTO this year.

It doesn't seem like a big deal, right? Well, I have this little problem where I think I "can do it all". I mean, the very first meeting I went to I volunteered for the Dance Committee AND I volunteered to be the Head of the Health Fair Committee; how hard could it be? I love health fairs. I have a career in health. I know a lot of people and vendors personally, or through my hubby. Piece of cake - NOT!

So it's been 6 months since that first meeting and the Health Fair is this weekend. YAY!!

We had a logo contest in February and several entries were really good, but one literally blew our socks off. We didn't even have to vote. When we saw it, we knew! Logo - Done!

Then we started pulling together vendors and instructors for demos. Oh did, I forget to mention our highlight?? Yes, we are even holding a Smile Mile Event... with medals for the kiddos. How cool is that?? The even COOLER part... we found a place that was able to put the logo on the medal. hehe. Sorry, I get giddy when I see them. They aren't etched, but the stickers on them rock! I think the kids are going to be excited.

Actually, this morning, I was able to go into several of the classrooms and I was telling them about the event. I said "Every little kid who finishes the race gets a medal!". One of the little boys raised his hand excitedly saying "A medal?? Like a real champion?!" I said, "Yes, like a champion! Because everyone who finishes it is a champion". They were ecstatic!

Anyway, the event is almost here... I'm excited. I don't sleep anymore. I might have an ulcer... but it's so going to be worth it! Check out our poster. How cool is that, huh?? Wish me luck! Maybe I'll see you there?