Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Rain


We've had a really cool summer in Pittsburgh this year. I'm not complaining.

Lately we've been seeing a lot of thunderstorms. I'm thankful for them today. I enjoy a good thunderstorm every now and then. Often my family and I will sit on the front porch with blankets and books and watch the rain. It's nice family time to spend together.

I'm also thankful that we're finally getting some landscaping done. The picture above was taken while we were digging up the yard and it started raining. Hannah quickly got her gear together! 

I'll take rain any day if it means I get to look at this sweet little girl!

Family Friday

We had some nice family time together Wednesday night.

We got our coupons for free KFC grilled chicken meals so we met Matt at work and got three of them for $0. Nice...but I must say, I know why we don't eat like that all the time. Ick. It was greasy and just didn't sit well at all. It CAN'T be good for you...AND it had the stinking skin on it! How is THAT healthy?? Oh well, I digress.

Anyhow, then Hannah and I went to "The Bob and Larry Store" a.k.a The Family Christian Store while Matt ran to Home Depot. Then we came home and just basically sat around.

I like days like this :)

Tonight I'll be going to a Tastefully Simple party so I won't get to spend the evening with my family, but it should be a good time.

Tomorrow we're getting two and a half tons of landscaping rock dumped into our driveway. Should be a good time for Matt and I moving all of that. BLAH. 

I really wish I took before pictures!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wellness Wednesday

Well, my grandfather is not well for this Wellness Wednesday. 

He's back at Shadyside hospital. His breathing just seems to be getting worse. The heart doctor says it's the cancer in his lungs causing it while the lung specialist says it's the lack of heart function that's causing the breathing issues.

Whatever the case, it's sad and frustrating on a number of levels. 

They need to do an aggressive form of chemo to shrink the tumor and his heart may not be strong enough to handle the chemo. BLASTED CANCER. It is literally of the devil.

I hope this is just my pessimism and that there is a way to fix this. I do love my grandfather.

**Update: Apparently half of his right lung is filled with fluid caused by the cancer. Tomorrow they are draining the fluid and hopefully starting chemo. Please pray for him. I don't want him to suffer through this**

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Spiritual Sunday

I love the book of Hebrews. It definitely one of my favorites. I guess I just feel like it explains Jesus and why he did what he did for us.

I read it when I need a reminder of how big God's love is - Lately - I need that reminder.

I read this verse last Wednesday morning when I had a lot on my mind and couldn't sleep. It just made me feel a little less "small" in God's eyes.

Hebrews 2 (msg)

14-15Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it's logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil's hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.

 16-18It's obvious, of course, that he didn't go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That's why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people's sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday - My bread


I had to post a picture of my homemade bread...It looks so good - and it was. This weekend I read an article that said you can make enough dough to make 8 loaves of bread and keep them in the fridge for WEEKS! I'm scared to try it, but it definitely worth looking into.

And, since I've got white bread mastered, I'm going to try my hand at wheat! Maybe half white and half wheat at first. I know you're all on the edge of your set, so I'll be sure to keep you posted.


Have a Scrumptious Saturday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Family Friday - Girls Weekend!

It's my mom's 50th birthday on the 27th of this month...(sorry mom, I let the cat out of the bag with your age!)

My sister and I want to celebrate with her by taking her to Seven Springs for a girls weekend!

We're going up today and getting 1 hour Swedish Massages, good food, Jazz, shopping, and some good old fashioned GIRL TIME!

I'm so excited!!

I love you mom! Happy Birthday!

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for cable! 

We've been watching television nonstop since Sunday...Even Hannah really wants to become a junkie, but we're TRYING to hold her back!

Gosh, when you've NEVER had cable, it's like eating chocolate for the first time! 

I'm sure the excitement will calm down, but for now - I love me some Food Network!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Transporting Cookies with Icing

Iced Funfetti Cookies are a hit in my neck of the woods, but trying to stack iced cookies is always a mess! 

But I had an idea today! Actually, I might have to give Matt this credit because I saw him packing his lunch like this.

Make your sugar cookies half-dollar-sized, put a generous amount of icing on the FLAT part of one cookie and sandwich it together with the flat part of another cookie and THERE YOU GO! You can stack your little sandwich cookies with no problems!

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Repurposing Furniture


I have this hutch that I really love, but I've been trying to condense things in the house lately and I don't like having to walk across the dining room to get a plate or a glass - or put them  away for that matter.

Matt's mom gave me a really go idea that I could use it for books instead of dinnerware.

Having a small house, it's really fun to think about how I can repurpose things to make them new again and more efficient. If you think about it, I'm sure you could find extra space somewhere. I'm focusing on using vertical space in this house - mainly because it's my only option!

So, here it is!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Pappap Carl

My mom's dad is really awesome.

He's going to be 81 next month and he rocks. I miss my grandma like crazy. She was awesome, but the silver lining in losing her 7 years ago, is getting to know my grandfather better. 

He's got a girlfriend, plays bocce, goes places like Cancun and Atlantic City, has a STINKING SWEET three tiered garden. People WISH they knew what he knows about stuff. 

He drives a sporty black car and he adores his family. He makes the best spaghetti, macaroni cake, spinach patties, and roast chicken (just to name a few)...if you like garlic that is!

When we were kids he used to take us to Dairy Queen in his bumpy yellow truck for Star Kisses...Is that what they were called? They had Dennis the Menace on them.

This man is a BEAST! 

...and he's in the hospital. GRRR. About 15 years ago he had heart bypass surgery and those don't last forever. He also has Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It's in remission as far as we know, but he's been struggling with some health stuff, and they're not totally sure what's going on. 

Whatever it is, I love this guy. I wish you all could know him. I wish I knew him better. I pray he gets well quick. This guy does NOT like to be tied down.

Here's a picture of Pappap Carl and Hannah at the hospital. She wanted to climb into his hospital bed and watch TV with my "pap." It made his day and was so sweet.







Oh, and one last thing I'm thankful for...


WE'RE DEBT FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!


Oh, and wait...one more thing...I'm thankful for Matt. Today is also the 10th anniversary of our first date...Maybe I'll blog about that tomorrow... :) Good day!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wellness Wednesday - Calcium

I've mentioned before that Hannah can't handle dairy or too much protein because it bothers her stomach.

So she drinks almond milk that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D and takes a multivitamin. I was stunned to realize that her multi does NOT have calcium in it. That concerns me!

Calcium is important for healthy teeth and bones. I've always been a milk fanatic and I believe that's why I have very healthy teeth and have never broken a bone! It's good for you. 

But, now I'm worried about my daughter. I bought some Activia yogurt and I'm going to see if she can tolerate it in moderation. I hesitate to buy a calcium supplement in fear that it'll constipate her.

A child ages 4-8 should have 800mg per day.

Adults should have 1000mg per day.

An 8oz glass of milk has about 30% of an adults daily requirement of calcium.

If your child doesn't like milk, here are some other foods that are high in calcium.

Fortified OJ
Salmon
Fortified Cereals
Spinach
Tofu
Corn and Flour Tortillas
Broccoli
Bread

Take care of yourself! Calcium is important!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Document your life :)

I love to scrapbook - even though I'm eternally one year behind. 

I also love to video tape Hannah and then watch the old clips now and then.

Last week Hannah went to Vacation Bible School at Redeemer Lutheran Church/School with her friend Kylie. THEY HAD A BLAST.

On Friday, the kids put on a presentation for the parents. I LOVED IT - and so did Hannah.

Here's a poor quality clip from my cell phone, taping the TV, but I find it hilarious. Listen closely and you can here little Hannah screaming the song with gusto!


video

So, make sure you keeping your memories alive in a journal, scrapbook, or camera. You'll be glad you did later...and so will you children's children's children.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Money Monday

It's a big week! This coming Thursday Matt and I will make the final payment on our last school loan and our last debt besides our mortgage!

At midnight on Wednesday night, I'll put the last $1563 toward that beast of a loan and jump for joy and the freedom! We're going to try to call Dave Ramsey to scream "WE'RE DEBT FRE
EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" on the radio - only because we're huge dorks.

Shortly after that we will pay for our Disney hotel room and buy plane tickets....AHHHH! I'm so stinking excited!

Anyhow - I thought one little incident might last week might mess up our debt freedom, but it didn't...On Thursday night at worship rehearsal, I was arm wrestling a student (don't ask). With my free hand I was squeezing the table SO HARD that I bent my platinum engagement ring RIGHT INTO MY FINGER!

I didn't realize it happened until I was almost home and it felt weird. I struggled to get the ring off and and once I did, my knuckle was bruised and swollen. I wanted to cry. I took the ring down on Saturday to our jeweler down at the Clark Building on Liberty Ave. (Banner & Banner). I wouldn't buy diamonds ANYWHERE else and I wouldn't let anyone else touch my ring. They pounded my ring out, cleaned it, and buffed it FOR FREE. I almost cried when I saw it, after telling the miracle worker how much I loved her (I wish I was joking about that.)

So, while she was working her magic, I decided to check out the anniversary bands. I've been checking them out for a LOOOONG time because I want I diamond band to go between my engagement and wedding bands. It's really hard to find one because I have a three stone engagement ring and I'm picky. I want it to fit perfectly and look like and punch of sparkly diamonds I look at my hand to admire it.

Oooh, I FOUND IT!!!!!! I FOUND THE RING! The one they have I plan to take one of the diamonds out so it fits widthwise with my engagement ring BUT I FOUND IT! 

Now, let me just say - I'm a plain girl. Low maintenance. Not very girly. Not much make up...no fancy clothes...pony tail - you get the picture. But when it comes to diamonds, I'm a snob. Holy cow I love them. My eyes took me right to the top of line anniversary bands. Top quality diamonds. I'm a sucker. This beast is going to set us back about $2000 (She's calling with the final price Tuesday.)

Who knows when I'll actually see the thing on my finger, but I found it, and it's mine...Now I just need to start saving - after vacation and my finished basement...maybe next year??

Spiritual Sunday - The Golden Rule

Do you consider yourself a nice person.

Maybe this sounds silly, but I don't consider that one of the strengths that comes easily to me. Here's a very short devotional on the topic of being nice. Not my words, but they are my prayers.


Colossians 3:12 NASB So those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

For Christian believers, kindness is not an option, it is a commandment. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus declares, "In everything, therefore, reat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law of the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12 NASB.) Jesus did say, "In some things, treat people as you wish to be treated." And, He did not say, "From time to time, treat others with kindness." Christ said that we should treat others as we wish to be treated in EVERYTHING. This of course, is a tall order indeed, but as Christians, we are commanded to do our best.

Today as you consider all the things that Christ has done in your life, honor Him by following His commandment and obeying the Golden Rule. He expects no less, and he deserves no less. 

Some thoughts on the Golden Rule

Do all the good things you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as you can.  - John Wesley

When you extent hospitality to others, you're not trying to impress people; you're trying to reflect God to them. - Max Lucado


Prayer:
Help me, lord, to see the needs of those around me. Today let me spread kind words of thanksgiving and celebration in honor of Your Son. Today, let forgiveness rule my heart. And every day, Lord, let my love for Christ be reflected through deeds of kindmess for those who need the healing touch of the Master's hand. - Amen.

Prayers and Promises for Women - Brighton Books

Scrumptious Saturday - Zucchini Mozzarella Patties

THESE ARE AWESOME!!!!!!! I think next time I might use cheddar but, you gotta try them!
I halved the recipe but still used two eggs.

As always I got this recipe from recipezaar.com

MAKE SURE YOU SQUEEZE ALL THE WATER FROM THE ZUCCHINI!! I placed the shredded zucchini in a clean dish towel and squeeze it over the sink. Worked very well!





Ingredients

Directions



  1. 1
    Hand squeeze out as much of the moisture in the zucchini as possible (this is important!).



  2. 2
    Place the zucchini in a large bowl.



  3. 3
    Add in all remaining ingredients except oil.



  4. 4
    Mix well to combine and adjust seasoning salt and black pepper to taste.



  5. 5
    Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.



  6. 6
    Drop the zucchini mixture by heaping tablespoons into hot oil and fry on both sides until golden brown.




Friday, July 10, 2009

Family Friday - Tough Questions

Family is so important to me. When I look at what God has blessed me with, I'm overwhelmed. 

It's not so easy being a mom. It's my favorite job and sometimes the one I feel least equipped for and successful at!

This year we've had to explain death to Hannah. She knows people who have died, and although we've always been open about things with her, she's becoming old enough to think about things and ask questions.

I've always been afraid of death, and now I'm noticing that some of my fear is almost superstitious - which bothers me. 

So, after thinking about it, we feel that the best way to approach Hannah with this subject is simply by being straight forward and age appropriate. I've tried to keep things light when she asks questions, because, as always, she will react however my mood appears to her. She feeds off of me and that's very difficult.

By approaching things this way, inevitably questions follow. Deep questions like, "Who has to die?" ...as she proceeds to list her (and my) loved ones and herself. "Does everyone get buried?" She relates all these questions to people she knows and loves the most and herself. She asks if the families of those who have died are still sad. 

All of the questions cut me deep to the core. We were in the car the other day when she brought up the subject and began asking questions and I could feel the grip on the steering wheel tighten. I could hear the squeak of the leather under my white knuckles as I responded in the same tone I would if she asked why the sky was blue. So difficult. I don't want to think about that stuff!

But, I'm glad she's asking the questions. I'm glad she can think about things and process. I'm glad she's coming to me with her thoughts on the subject. I don't want her to be afraid of death so I want to talk openly about it. I do fear over burdening a young little girl with too much, but she'll never think it's something to be afraid of unless I instill in her that it's something to fear - which means I'm having to learn to come to grips with my own anxieties. I refuse to let my lack of faith stand in the way of connecting my daughter to Jesus Christ who brings life not death!

Family is amazing, but parenting is not all fun and games. I'm hoping to build the foundation now with my 3 year old that lets her know when she's a teenager and a grown woman that she can always come to mom with hard questions.

I just have to make sure that she doesn't know that I'm vomiting in my mouth a little each time she brings up something new! :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thankful Thursday!!


I'm writing this on Sunday night July 5 - so hopefully it's not outdated when I say:

I'M THANKFUL THAT THE FIREWORKS TENT IS OVER! 

As much as I loved hanging out and being around students, it's hard work, and that tops the list today!

But seriously, I must say, I'm thankful that, so far, my 3 year old doesn't hold grudges. Sometimes I'm just a crappy parent. I snap at her and yell at her and feel like garbage. 

Matt and I were at Max and Erma's on Sunday and there was a father who was walking behind his kid (maybe 8 years old?) and all you could hear was the father yelling "GET MOVING SMART A**" as he shoves his kid into the street. 

I looked at Matt and told him I get down on myself when I occasionally find myself parenting in a way that is condescending and not in a way that is teaching my child how to be the best she can be. This type of parenting comes when I'm exhausted, lax on consistency, and not engaging my child enough in a positive way.

When I look at parents who take it to the level this father did, it makes me want to vomit.

Anyhow, on these days when I feel like this, I sit down with my little munchkin and tell her I'm sorry for not being nice and for being too hard on her. Inevitably every time she gives me a hug and tells me she loves me. THAT's unconditional love.


Hannah has been loving to play with her Bitty Baby lately. She loves to dress up exactly the same as her doll! Notice they're even both wearing pink stretch pants.

She often turns on baby lullaby music on the stereo in the play room and rocks her baby as I still do with her! She'll be quiet for a while and this is what I see when I go to check on her!
I'm thankful for this little girl.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wellness Wednesday - A healthy breakfast

I may have blogged about this before, but not since I completed this item on my to-do list.

My wonderful husband is always exhausted during his work day. He will never take the time to sit and eat a healthy breakfast in the morning because he'd rather sleep those minutes away and run out the door with a Poptart or granola bar. He won't even do a bowl of cereal (he hates my Kashi anyway) or oatmeal. 

(As I talk about a healthy breakfast, it's 11:30 at night and I just had to pause to eat a mini cupcake - Hey no one's perfect!)

So, I decided he needed some protein for breakfast and something MUCH more substantial than a little 100 calorie sugar laden chocolate chip Quaker granola bar in the morning! So, I had the WONDERFUL idea of making and freezing breakfast sandwiches so all he'd have to do is pull one out of the freezer, toss it in the microwave and be out the door with his hearty, healthy breakfast!

I wasn't sure how the details would work but I decided to try it. 

I bought:
6 whole wheat English muffins
6 eggs
6 slices of cheese
deli ham

I scrambled and seasoned the eggs, and while they were cooking I assembled the sandwiches. Once the eggs were cooled I added them, wrapped the sandwich in a napkin, tossed it into a sandwich bag and then a large tupperware container. This went into the freezer. 

When Matt gets up he pulls the sandwich out, tosses it in the microwave in the napkin for one minute on half power I believe, and he's out the door, napkin is already attached! 

He said they were awesome!! 

Now that I know this is doable, we're going to slowly make some changes to see if they're tolerable. These were Matt's ideas!

instead of 6 eggs - 3 eggs/the other half egg substitute or whites
instead of ham - canadian bacon (he's not really a fan). I just don't think turkey bacon will freeze well.
cheese - half a slice per sandwich 

You can imagine how these changes would cut calories but still have the same great taste. I didn't want to start off with this for fear that the whole thing would be a bust, but now that I know it works with the good stuff, we can start cutting the fat. This really saves time in the morning and only took me a half hour at most to do all six sandwiches. He has noticed a difference in his energy level throughout the day!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. People who eat it, weigh less!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Read a Book

Are you a reader?

Do you HATE reading?

Are you a magazine/newspaper person?

Well, I've always been a reader. When I was a kid, I read everything I could get my hands on! 

As adults we often lose track of things we love as a child. There's no time to sit and get lost in a book, is there? And now, the stuff we're "supposed" to read includes titles like "Financial Peace," "The Life You've Always Wanted," and my personal favorite, "Who Moved My Cheese?"

No wonder people say they hate reading. Not that these books aren't awesome and best sellers, but they're surely not going to bring you into the exciting realm of another world! Since the Twilight series, I feel like I kid again...I could just read all the time. Sometimes I have to put some space between the books I read because my family would never be able to interact with me!

I recently read "The Host." Stephenie Meyer is the same author of the Twilight series and though very different, this book is equally engaging. I'm wondering what will be my next adventure.

We all know that reading to kids is imperative for academic success, creative play and many other things, but what about us old farts? 

According to Focus on the Family, research shows that people who read frequently are:

Write and concentrate better

See subtleties easier

Are more likely to be successful and fulfilled in their adult life

Have multiple interests in a variety of subjects

Are more empathetic toward people's feelings

Are more flexible and open to new ideas

These are just to name a few of course!

Does anyone have any suggestions on new books to read?? I'm looking!

TODAY'S TIP: READ SOMETHING FUN!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Money Monday

12 days folks! 12 days until we are DEBT FREE! I can't wait.

I just called and scheduled our 1 hour Swedish Massage at Seven Springs for my mom and sister for my mom's 50th birthday girls weekend!!! DELIGHTFUL!

The fireworks tent is finally over. I think when it's all said and done, we'll make about $4000 dollars for the new student facility. We didn't do as well as last year, but we still did well.

I'm tired!!! 

I was already feeling like a bad parent BEFORE the fireworks tent...and now that my daughter's spent about 100 hours there the last 2 weeks, I REALLY feel like a bad parent.

Tell me I'm not the only one overcome with anxiousness and the feeling that nothing is in my control, everything is falling apart, and what I do try to handle turns to mush! Anyone EVER feel like that??

She's going to VBS for the week and I'm hoping that's a GOOD thing for her and not something she's too worn out to do. 

She was a real trooper! She took naps there, played, ate, lived and BREATHED the tent! She loved it when her friends came up to play too! This morning, when we started packing things up, she was almost in tears hoarding her favorite fireworks behind the register!

Now look at this picture and tell me she's not hard core, sleeping crammed under a table of fireworks on a cot. People would shop right over her head, kids would be loud and trains would blast through the area! Love this kid! She's unfazed! 
I'm overly exhausted, insecure, drained and emotional. I'm day dreaming of my vacation to Disney which seems so far away! Hoping we can stay on budget this month!! Gotta pay for that room in August!! (THANK YOU ROB AND JILL - our awesome friends who are helping us plan our vacation and get a SWEET deal!)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth

If you're in the Pittsburgh Area and need sparklers and PA legal fireworks. 

Stop by our Fireworks Tent in Harmaville in the Exxon parking lot right off Rt. 28. We'll be there all day and some of tomorrow!

Profits support our new student facility across from Riverview High School!

Happy 4th!

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