Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wellness Wednesday - A Day in the Hospital

Ah well - I suppose I was due.

Saturday morning, I just wasn't feeling right. I was feeling a lot of pressure among other things that just left me uncomfortable. I called the on-call doctor at the hospital who said I was probably fine, but to come in anyway.

I went in through the ER but was quickly whisked up to Labor and Delivery when they could see I was having trouble standing.

Can I just say - that from this point on - I have never had a more torturous experience??!! I've always been satisfied with Forbes Hospital. They delivered Hannah and took out my appendix. Neither procedure was easy on my body - but I was fine.

THIS VISIT WAS TORTURE!

I am NOT a fan of residents. I know they have to do what they have to do - but please don't practice on me! One procedure left me with two bite marks in my arm because it was so painful. I don't like to think of myself as a wimp, or someone with low pain tolerance - but this was just awful.

After registering 4 contractions at 5 minutes apart and confirming that I was dehydrated - the nurses insisted on IV fluids. This was so frustrating! For the last 2 or 3 days I had be MEASURING my water to make sure I was drinking AT LEAST 8 glasses a day!

Well, the first nurse tried twice to start the IV line with no success. Blood everywhere. 4 MORE PEOPLE TRIED. JAMMING WRIGGLING AND GIVING ME THE PLAY-by-PLAY about how they were hitting valves and such. I wanted to puke. Finally they had to call anesthesia in to run the stupid line.

I'm scarred.

Once the contractions slowed and the IV was in - they let me go home waiting to confirm test results that preliminarily indicate that I also have an infection as well. Emma was fine the whole time - spunkily moving herself off the monitor constantly.

I came home  very depressed, feeling tortured and bummed at a beautiful Saturday with my family wasted - and even more irritated that our Red Box movie was going to be a day late. Blah.

Glad baby is healthy and staying put for now - but I am subsequently now nervous about labor and delivery - which I was not before!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Just Do It!

How many times do you sit around and say to yourself...

I have to remember to do __________.

I can't forget to pay the ____________bill.

I can never remember to _______________.

Instead of writing yourself notes, making to-do lists, or simply TRYING to remember, when you think of that "thing," get up and DO IT! Right now.

You might be tired, you might be in the middle of something, but just go get it done. It makes such a huge difference especially when it's something you can do very quickly. If you do things right away - you won't forget to do it and your mind will be so much less bogged down.

So...JUST DO IT!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Money Monday - When you get discouraged.

Money is overwhelming, frustrating and discouraging at times.

When, on your journey to financial freedom, you're feeling like you're never going to "arrive" and maybe even like quitting - let me remind you of a few things.

Every step forward is one closer to your goal. BABY STEPS.

The freedom that comes with a lack of debt is worth a difficult journey to get there.

It's always easier to get yourself INTO a mess than it is to get OUT.

Work hard now, be rich later! Be stupid now, PAY PAY PAY FOREVER!

Focus on mini goals instead of the end goal.

Look how far you've come, not how far you have to go.

You can do this!!!!!!!

It's great being debt free and all. I know we're doing pretty well building our emergency fund and saving to pay cash for cars, but I'm sick of paying for car repairs and inching our way to our goals. I want to buy maternity clothes, stuff for the nursery, artwork for my house and furniture for my bedroom. The attic floor needs put in and the siding is STILL damaged from the snow in February. I'm feeling discouraged because there's just not enough money to all of this stuff right now AND buy a new car. Within the next year we need to come up with at least $9,000 and that just seems like a huge goal with a new baby on the way in 9 weeks! So, as you can see, I need some encouragement myself.

Does the discouragement make it worth it to me to go out and finance a car?

Nope.

That answer will always be the same.

So, that said, we might as well suck it up, look how far we've come, and keep plugging away!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - No Quitting!

It's amazing to me, as I read Nehemiah, how nothing stopped him. He went into Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. The government officials were not happy in the least with him. He had been told he had no authority to come in and do what he was doing. But his response was always - "God is with me." and "The God of Heaven will help us succeed." (Nehemiah 2:20)

It's so interesting how quickly we quit, forget about God, or assume he's abandoned us. Look what Nehemiah faced - ultimately death, but he knew God was with him, so he plugged away. Was he afraid? I'm sure. But, when you have the God of the universe on your side and you BELIEVE it, I suppose you make it through.

Today's encouragement: No quitting!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Scrumptious Saturday

Some of you have been asking for the pizza dough recipe that I've been using. It's quick and easy and I've adapted it to make my own "hot pockets" for the freezer for lunches.

This is the straight up pizza dough recipe. Please note that I use half white and half wheat flour.

If I am making pockets - I make the dough and then keep cutting the dough in half until I have around 30 little golf ball sized balls.

I roll them in my hands and flatten them out on the table with my rolling pin. I put 1 teaspoon of filling in the dough. If you put more in, you will be sorry! It overflows and doesn't seal properly.

Then I fold the dough over, pinch it shut and use the back of a fork to seal the edges.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

FILLING:
Whatever you want!

Pick a meat, a veggie and a binder - with seasonings to your liking.

I've done:

roasting chicken, broccoli and a light cheese/light ranch dressing mixture to bind
pepperoni, spinach, sauce and mozzarella
turkey, broccoli and cheddar/light sour cream to bind

The options for fillings are endless. Just prepare and have slightly cooled before you roll out your dough.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Family Friday - Stuff to do this Weekend.

FREE American Girl Doll Event at Michael's Craft stores from 10am to 2pm.  Check your local store to see if they are participating.

Locally - Harvest Festival - Saturday, September 25 11am-5pm
Carpenter Log House (Pierson Run Rd - Boyce Park - Plum)

Entertainments
Crafters
Re-enactors
Scarecrow Making
Chidren's Games
Food

Thankful Thursday

I haven't posted in a week or so. Things have just been pretty busy I guess - but I am very thankful this week for many things....

Hannah is FINALLY starting to adjust to Kindergarten! For the most part, this week she's been back to her old self with the exception of yesterday. She was asleep by 7pm! I think we're going to need to figure out some sort of adjustment regarding Wednesday night church - because she's losing over 2 hours of sleep that night. The options are - she doesn't go OR I go down to Nexus to set up earlier in the day and give her a nap after school. We'll try both and see what happens.

I'm in the 10 week countdown! I've always told pregnant people - wait until you get to the 10 week countdown - it goes fast (until the last 2 weeks that is!!) Woo hoo!

I'm thankful I'm back into reading my Bible. I'm still on my journey from reading the Bible from start to finish and this morning I made it to Esther!

I'm thankful God still loves me when I'm stupid...because I just realized it's not Thursday - It's Friday.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Racing mind keep you up at night?

If you're like me, the second I lay down to go to sleep, my mind starts racing.

I need to remember this at the grocery store....
Hannah's library book needs turned in on Friday...
I have to take something out of the freezer in the morning for dinner...

Sound familiar?

Keep a post-it note pad and a pen beside your bed. When your mind starts racing, jot down what you need to remember and leave it for the morning. This has helped me to relax on many occasions! Happy rest time!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Money Monday - Little Budget Busters

For this Monday - I want to look at some things that nickel and dime your budget away, leaving you asking, "Where did it all go?" at the end of the month. Here are a few that come to mind this morning.


Purchasing coffee out each morning - I know a lot of people like their morning cup of coffee from [insert favorite cafe here], but you spend so much more money than you would if you made your coffee at home! If you're a Starbucks/Dunkin' Donuts fan - even consider purchasing their brand to make in your own coffee pot!

MONEY MATTERS: Here's what coffee's costing you and how much you can save by dripping your own. Data received from Financial Edge.



Leaving Lights On - We're having such a hard time with this since we've moved. There are light switches and lamps everywhere. There are no overhead lights, so we need to make a conscious effort to shut off the lamps. There are always lights on! Pay attention to how much light you need and switch them off when you leave the room! Consider purchasing the lower wattage fluorescent lights.

MONEY MATTERS: You can save 10%-20% on your energy costs simply but turning off lights.

Not planning ahead (errands/trips/purchases) - If you plan ahead, you can save a ton of money on plane tickets, clothing, gifts, and gas. By knowing at the beginning of the money/day/year what you need to be prepared for - you can plan by looking for sales, deals and coupons.

Something as simple as running your daily errands can cost you more money than necessary. If you know what needs done in a day - plan your route so that you're not backtracking or forgetting what needs done - so you have to make extra trips. Try to do all your errands in one day (even if you're tired and don't feel like it!) You'll be glad it's done and your car will use MUCH less gas!

Letting the water run while brushing your teeth You can save up to 8 GALLONS of water a day by shutting of the water when brushing your teeth! 


Skipping the meal planning/shopping list/coupons Now - I've been lazy more recently, but if you don't plan for your meals,  you spend A LOT more money. 


MONEY MATTERS: By scanning sale ads, meal planning, digging for coupons and checking my cupboards so I don't make double purchases - I'd say I save at lease $80 a month. Now when we were hard core and paying off all our debt, our grocery budget was $150-$200 per month for the 3 of us and less than $40 a month was spent on eating out. I don't go THAT crazy now, but our grocery budget (including toiletries, paper products and cleaning supplies) is at about $300 a month which still isn't bad. 


Buying school lunches  At $2 a day that's $40 a month per child for your kid to eat CRAP - but that's another story. Making your own lunches can be very quick if you plan ahead with freezer cooking, much healthier and definitely cheaper!


Interest and Fees
Overdraft fees, parking tickets, interest payments, and NSF fees are all a result of poor planning. Budget, know what's in your checking account and work hard to have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses to avoid these fees.

MONEY MATTERS: According to a study produced by Dartmouth College it is reported that the "average cost of annual fees for a share draft account at a bank was $183.14. Of those fees three-fourths of them came from NSF/Overdraft fees."

So in the end, walk away with this. The little things do matter. They can add up to a lot of cash that leaves  you wondering why there is so much month left at the end of the money. Small changes add up to big ones that may just help you get started on your road to financial freedom.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - It's pretty simple.

I'm still reading through the Bible and working my way through 2 Chronicles. I'm almost on to Ezra!

I know it's the Old Testament and things have changed under the New Testament, but sometimes I'm just fascinated by the stupidity of some of the ancestors of David who reigned as kings during this time - and how it's applicable to today. Maybe hindsight is 20/20, but come on.

It's totally clear that when these guys followed God and tried to please Him, He blessed them....and when they didn't...he didn't. It's this total back and forth game they play where success abounds when these people align themselves with God, and destruction ensues when they try to do their own thing.

Uh...sound familiar?

This is totally how we live our lives today! It's not that our lives are perfect when we follow Jesus - but the puzzle pieces certainly fit together much better!

I leave you with this:

Proverbs 8:32 And so my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Family Friday - Discipline - For Myself?

It's been a difficult two weeks. I never anticipated the struggle that we would have with Hannah starting Kindergarten. She's always been an independent and well-behaved kid and I was sure she'd move into the change seamlessly. Although, things weren't as bad as they could have been, I simply wasn't prepared.

The transition into Kindergarten has meant adapting to very long days, earlier bedtimes, and frustrations and anxieties surrounding both of those things. Simply put - she was tired and she missed her parents.

I put funny notes in her lunch box and a picture of the family in her folder - but still I was noticing a pattern. Every morning, Hannah would throw a tantrum about something - a two-year-old tantrum. It instantly sent me into anger-mode. I just don't tolerate her fits over her shoes, or the back of her shirt feeling "weird" when she sits in her car seat. Everything was a battle. Then I'd yell at her and she would cry and the morning would be a disaster. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SWEET LITTLE GIRL??!!??!?

Then came homework time. We just...clash. I'm guessing it's because we're so much alike. Matt told me to let him manage homework time, but I refuse to dump it in his lap because I can't get control of my relationship and communication with my daughter. I went to school to become a teacher for goodness sake!

After days of fighting over scissors techniques - I feel like I'm starting to make progress.

Notice I said "I" and not "she."

I believe that there are times when we, as parents need to discipline ourselves. This has been extremely difficult for me - and all I can say is that I'm making progress.

In the mornings, I've come to ANTICIPATE Hannah picking a fight about SOMETHING right before it's time to leave for school. Instead of getting angry - I remind myself that this is coming from anxiety. I purposely change the tone of my voice to a kind one and give her a hug. It's amazing how much smoother the morning goes when I'm prepared for her attitude. It's quickly dissipated and things are fine.

During homework time (which is right after school) I have learned to WALK AWAY unless she needs my help. She doesn't do well when I hover. When she becomes angry - I CONSCIOUSLY LOWER MY VOICE and ask her if she's frustrated and if I can help. Then I'll check her work at the end. 


Asking "ARE YOU FEELING FRUSTRATED?" seems to immediately validate her feelings and relax her.

Lastly, I HAVE TO REMIND MYSELF to COMPLIMENT GOOD WORK AND BEHAVIOR. I think I've heard that for every criticism, there should be 7 praises. I need to do better with that.


After a day or two, I feel like we're finally making progress and our days aren't ending with both of us in tears!


So - it's a little twist today. Think about disciplining YOURSELF to get better behavior from your kids. Sometimes I think we can encourage bad behavior by how we respond!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

Today I am thankful for last night!

We had our kickoff Junior High Service to start of the school year and it was AWESOME!

54 students in grades 6-8 came out for meet with Jesus and have a great time. I always leave Nexus recharged by their energy and passion. It was amazing to see the fantastic group of senior highers and volunteer staff loving on Junior Highers and praying over them. It truly makes me feel like I'm part of something worthwhile and important.

After a difficult day, I ended the night with my heart filled up - thankful to be able to make relationships with students and help to show them a path that will save them from so much heartache during their teenage years and for the rest of their lives.

For that and many other things - I am thankful today.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wellness Wednesday - Update

You know -  I'm so consumed with the new baby, that I never talk about my eyes anymore.

That's because - thankfully - there's nothing to talk about!

I had an eye doctor visit today with my favorite specialist and everything is fantastic. I had to confess that I only use one of the 3 drops I'm supposed to be putting in my eyes because I don't feel like it does anything!

The first lady I saw (who checks my stats and vision) gave me a bit of a hard time about it and put in my chart "NOT FOLLOWING DOCTOR'S RECOMMENDATIONS."

Yikes!

So, I told my doc I really wasn't using them because I didn't think I needed them and he said to go ahead and stop them because my eyes look great...So there, lady.

Other than that - I'm feeling pretty darn fantastic and looking forward to seeing my junior highers again tonight. I'm nervous about the stress that Wednesdays will bring now that Hannah is in school full time. She really needs her sleep! It's just a busy day - but I know we'll adjust.

Hope you're all feeling mighty healthy today! I gotta run to pick up my baby and get a move on with this evening!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Left Over Hair Conditioner

Okay, let me just say I think this post is kind of silly. I have leftover hair conditioner and I'm too cheap to throw it away - but don't care to use it on my hair. So, I'm looking for other things to do with it, so it doesn't go to waste. If you have any ideas that are better than the ones I've found - please comment.

If you're wondering what to do with what's left in the bottle, here are some ideas.

  • Make a detangler spray - Mix a couple tablespoons of conditioner and fill up a spray bottle with water and voila!
  • Eye make up remover - Eh, I don't like this idea. I think Vasaline works very well and seems so much safer. I wouldn't do this.
  • Use it as a UPC label remover on merchandise.
  • Use after you clean paintbrushes to keep them pliable. After washing, apply conditioner and let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing. 
  • Use it to remove fake tattoos.
  • Use instead of shaving gel.
  • Rinsing pantyhose with conditioner supposedly gets rid of static cling.
I don't know that I'll keep that bottle of conditioner long enough to try all this stuff, but there are some good ideas for alternative uses. I just hate waste!

Babo Botanicals - Berry Primrose Instantly Smooth Detangler 8 oz (Google Affiliate Ad)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Money Monday - CHEAP home renovation.

I hope you're all enjoying your holiday Monday! I took a couple days off from blogging and really enjoyed spending a long weekend with my family after the first week of school. But, it's Monday morning at about 6:30am and I'm back to the grind, albeit enjoying the quietness of early morning.

I have been able to exercise and spend time reading my Bible already this morning, and I feel well!

If you are friends with me on facebook, you have no doubt, been seeing my excitement in our progress in little Miss Emma's bedroom. We removed carpet in 2 of our bedrooms when we moved into the house, but never managed to refinished the fairly beat up floors. Everyone told us it was a time consuming and expensive job.

Then, one of our friends mentioned that our floors didn't look stained and it seemed like they just might need a light sanding a clear coat of polyurethane. Well, that's the idea we investigated for Baby Emma's room. We aren't tackling the other bedrooms yet because it's a toxic job and the rooms are full of furniture!

None the less - I am excited to show you the finished project which (because it was a smallish room) took a minimal amount of labor and get this....$20!!!!!! That's why this is a Money Monday post, because I'm shocked at the outcome for such a cheap price and little hassle.

Here are the before and after photos:
I can't tell you how excited I am! Now I want to do the other floors!

Happy Labor Day everyone! (I'm giving Matt the day off  :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Family Friday - FINALLY

Today's Family Friday will express my excitement that my brother Ricky and his wife Doreen are flying on a one way trip from Houston to Pittsburgh this Saturday! They are moving back here for good! I believe it's been 3 years since Ricky has moved down there (2 since Doreen joined him when they were married.)

I'm sure Houston and Johnson Space Center will miss him, but Hannah wants her uncle (and his "moon boots") here. While skyping, Uncle Ricky pretends to wear moon boots that make him float around the screen and Hannah thinks it's hilarious. She's certain that they will run out of batteries by the time he gets home.

Aunt Doreen always picks out the best dresses totally suited to Hannah's taste. She knows just how to love on her neice(s) and nephews!

So, gushing aside, I'm glad to have my family close by and hope they won't get sick of us too quickly.

WELCOME BACK RICKY AND DOREEN!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

27 weeks Finished - 3RD AND FINAL TRIMESTER!!!!

I'm feeling huge, but thankful that things are still going well with little Baby Emma. She loves when Hannah talks to her and always goes nuts when she hears her voice! 




First day of school.

This was all I got of the first full day of school. I should have taken pictures of the half day we went with her the day before. 

Here, she was irritated that I was taking pictures and milking some sympathy hugs out of her daddy! That said, she loves going to school and has been coming out of her bedroom in the mornings completely dressed. 

What more could I ask for!?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wellness Wednesday - Vaccinations

As our little bambinos head back to school, doctor well-visits ensue.

Since Hannah has a late birthday (she just turned 5 last week), she goes literally right before school starts and every year I think about vaccinations.

When she was an infant, I AGONIZED over vaccinations. Is the MMR going to give her autism? What if she gets sick as a result of the vaccine? I felt like I couldn't win - which in turn helped me to understand delayed vaccinations and those that are spread out.

Each year when this time comes around, I reevaluate my feelings on the necessity of yearly vaccinations and flu shots. Even with all of the "natural" tones my life has been taking over the last couple of years, as of right now, I'm settling comfortably with "pro-vaccine" status.

Why?

Well, I guess my response is, why not? Don't reply to this post with a list of "why nots" PLEASE. I have done a lot of digging and feel educated in the somewhat rare side effects of vaccines and have decided that, for my family  the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks. 


Some childhood diseases that were once eradicated, seem to be popping up again due to the number of individuals foregoing vaccines for them. The argument that "my child will not get a disease because it's long gone" can't be used. It's "long gone" because we're vaccinating!


Even the flu vaccine, which many people skip, can be beneficial. Why would I put my daughter through fever, chills, and missed school days if I don't have to? Now, don't get me wrong - I really worried about the swine flu vaccine and chose not to get it for anyone in my family. I was adamant that they weren't going to test a new drug on the people I love! But, most of these vaccines have been around for ages and have been well-studied.


One vaccine that does concern me is the chicken pox vaccine - as I heard one can lose his immunity to it over the years, putting people at risk for shingles - which is so much worse than childhood chicken pox. This bothers me. 


On the flip side, I worry about little baby Emma who can't get a flu vaccine and worry about children who have never been vaccinated coming in contact with her - if that should ever happen.


So, I'm settling on vaccinations. I do have concerns, but at this point have decided to move forward. 


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