Ariel’s Princess Day

A week ago today, we took our precious Ariel to see Disney Princesses on Ice. We took The Flash when he was about the same age and it was neat to see how both kids reacted to the experience in completely different ways.

Me & The Flash at Disney on Ice in 2009

When we took The Flash, he was thrilled to have our undivided attention. Ariel barely knew what to do with herself. She was thrilled to wear her princess dress, though.  I will say that by the time she had her cotton candy & snow cone she pretty much had the hang of it :).

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Yup, we went to Disney on Ice and we bought some of the ridiculously expensive Princess Swag.  And, of course, I’ve read articles like this and this and this.  And to that, I say this:

My little girl likes pink and spider man.

I really think that’s the best I can do.  Because of her brother she’s exposed to a lot of super heroes and ninjas, but all on her own, she likes pink & princesses, too.  I think she’s a fantastically eclectic mix of tom boy and girly girl all rolled into the most awesome almost-three year old girl I’ve ever seen.  I’m crazy about my little princess.

We do our best not to spoil our kids.  They can navigate a garage sale like nobody’s business and are no strangers to Goodwill and Once Upon a Child.  I love this about our family and have no desire to change whatsoever, but it’s nice to splash out every once in a while.  When we took The Flash, he got a toy, a snow cone and some cotton candy.  Oh, yeah, and the “audience participation” light.  Our family does a cash system where we put money into different categories each week.  (For the record, we’ve never Ramseyed–not that we think it’s wrong if you do, we just never have.  He didn’t invent cash. You: gasps. Us: WE KNOW!)  We had budgeted for this and treated our little princess to her heart’s desires for one special night.

If you’ve never been to Disney on Ice, please know that the prices are exorbitant.   Plan for this, budget for this, but for the love of Pete, do not complain about this.  Especially in front of your little princess.  You’re at Disney On Ice, for heaven’s sake.  For us, taking one child at at time and only going once every few years allows us to make a very special night of it for our little ones.  They are only little once.

Matt calls this pose “The Mommy.”

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This way, Daddy!

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Dragging Daddy over to the princess stand.

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Her lantern flashlight thing.  Look at that face.  Swoon.

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Her cotton candy came with a crown and stickers.  Being a girl is awesome.

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She’s pretty excited.

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The show we saw told the stories of  The Frog Princess, Cinderella and Tangled.  Tangled on ice is pretty incredible.  Ariel’s favorite princess is, well, Ariel, and The Little Mermaid skated for about 3 minutes of the 90 minute performance.  My Ariel didn’t care–she loved every second of those 3 minutes and never took her eyes off her favorite princess.  I know her time of loving princesses and wanting to go to Disney on Ice with Mommy and Daddy will be all too brief, but my plan is to follow her lead and enjoy it for the sweet, precious, and fleeting time that it is, not asking for more or less.

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Happy Princess Day, my sweet, sweet girl.

Weight Loss Wednesdays

Last week I promised to tell you about the last “key” to my weight loss.  It’s pretty simple: faith.  It sounds so simple and yet it’s so complex. I knew that The Bible was the best place to start but I never know where to start.  Now that I’m working on this Proverbs 31 thing, I think I’d have a better handle on it now, but this was back in June and I wasn’t where I am today.

Fortunately, I found a fantastic book that helped guide me though the process in a faith-based way.  Candace Cameron Bure, yup, DJ from Full House grew up, got married, became an awesome Christian, lost a ton of weight, kept it off, became a mom, started working on Make it or Break it, and wrote a book (maybe not in that order).   This book is full of tips, tricks, good solid weight loss advice, and best of all, is completely faith based.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Here are a couple of my favorite pieces of advice (paraphrased):

–Most people over eat.  When dieting, they replace delicious “bad food” with tasteless “good food.”  They say things like “I can eat all the carrots and celery I want.”  Why would you eat all the carrots and celery you want–you’re not breaking bad over-eating habits, you’re just replacing bad food with good food.  Eventually, you’ll given into your cravings and be right back where you started from?  Why eat all the carrots and celery that you “want?  Why not just eat all the carrots and celery that you need?

–Exercise and healthy eating should be a family affair.  This isn’t ground-breaking, but she’s got great advice on this topic.  She also shares practical advice for Christian working moms.

–God should be a part of your weight loss journey.  He’s your best chance for success.  Candace includes a ton of great scripture to enlighten, encourage, motivate and challenge you with your weight loss and maintenance.

So, if you have the means, go buy Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure–or check it out at your local library.  Mine had a copy and maybe yours will, too.

Mexican Lasagna

….she brings her food from afar. Proverbs 31: 14 (second half)

It’s Tasty Tuesday over at Beauty & Bedlam!  This meal is an excellent example of “everything in moderation.” I would eat it on a week when I knew we were going to be having “good” meals (where veggies are the main course) at least two times. It would also probably be the only time we eat red meat in a seven day period. But, hey, a girl’s gotta live, right?

For the record, I got this recipe from a card inside a package of Aztec Tortillas about 7 years ago.

Also, before we get to the actual recipe, I have some advice on how to “healthy this up” just a little–and, as you know, every little bit helps.

1) Whenever you buy anything in a can, buy the lowest sodium count possible. This may end up costing you a few pennies, but you’re making your own soap now, so you can totally afford it.

2) When you can’t find a low sodium option and you’re not buying something really specific (like chili beans), buy generic, for heaven’s sake. You are too old to be fooled by labels–so you only had one pair of Guess Jeans growing up, spending more money for name brand corn isn’t going to change that.

3) Use whole grain tortillas. While we’re on the subject, use whole grain everything–breads, pastas, tortillas, rolls, pizza crusts, etc. Get all the enriched white flour out of your house.

4) For the love of Pete, make sure you have a working can opener before you start this or any project that involves cans. Especially multiple cans.

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Ingredients:

1 package whole grain tortillas
1 pound ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 can tomato sauce
1 jar salsa (I didn’t have a whole jar, so I used half a jar and a can of Rotel)
16 oz cottage cheese
2 eggs (I feel like I only used one last time)
1 teaspoon oregano
Shredded cheese (to sprinkle on top)

Brown meat however you wish, I do it in the microwave.  Cook in skillet with taco seasoning & one (or maybe a little more) cup of water.  Let allllllllll the water cook out of the taco meat.  That’s the secret to great taco meat.  You’re welcome.

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While all that water is cooking out of the taco meat, combine cottage cheese, oregano and eggs and set aside.  Open all those cans/jars.  Hopefully this will take you less time than it took me.

When all the water has cooked out of the meat, dump in the tomato sauce, corn, and salsa.  Let that simmer for a while while you cut up the tortillas.

Grease a 13 x 9 pan.  Cut up the tortillas and cover the bottom of the pan (the tortillas are the “noodles” in this lasagna).  I’ve cut them up a bunch of different way, but this seems to work the best.  Don’t worry about the fact that they overlap in weird and unusual ways.  It will still cut up just fine.

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Pour about half of the meat mixture over the tortillas. Spread the cottage cheese over the meat.  Cover that with more cut up tortillas.  Cover that with the rest of the meat mixture.  Sprinkle with low fat cheese on the top.

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This recipe freezes like a dream.

You know your oven and your pan better than I do.  I cooked mine at 375 for about an hour, but mine was frozen.  If you cooked it right away, you’d need to cook it for a shorter time and maybe on a different temperature.  You be the judge.

I’d say this recipe makes around 8-10 servings.  I hope you like it–I love it.  I just think it’s so clever.  It’s definitely one of our family favorites!!

Happy Birthday, Nephew!

Dear Koko,

Three years ago today you did something no one else had ever done before: you made me an aunt.  Nana & Popsy made me a daughter, Uncle Matt made me a wife, The Flash made me a momma, but you, dear boy, you were the very first person in the whole world to be my nephew.  It’s a pretty big deal.

Uncle Matt & I are both the oldest kids in our families so it’s probably a good thing that we didn’t have nieces and nephews before we had children of our own.  We still try to spoil you a little because you’re our only nephew–we got TWO nieces in one week (one is your baby sister!) last year, but you’re holding your own as our only nephew.  That’s makes you one special little boy!

Your favorite thing when you come to my house is that I keep candy corn just for you.  I don’t know why you love it so much, but you’re constantly dragging me over to the counter where its kept and saying “Candy Corn??” with so much hope that it just melts my heart.  I always give in.  You are my nephew and at my house you can eat candy corn until you burst.  Don’t tell Mommy.

Me & you, we have a special song.  Lots of people have tried to steal it and call it their own (because it’s that awesome), but I wrote it just for you and we’ve sung it (nearly) every time we’ve been together since you were just a weensie baby and I had to sing it by myself.  Now we can sing it as a duet, and you especially love the “big finish.”  Tiny & I sing it, too, but you were the first person to ever get to sing the Auntie Bear song.

Oh, yeah.  You call me Auntie Bear.  It’s pretty much the best thing ever.

I cannot believe you’re three years old.  It seems like just yesterday your daddy was calling me and telling me that you were a boy and saying your sweet name (which, of course, I won’t use here) for the first time.  You have a very special name and it suits you so well.

I love you very much,

Auntie Bear

P.S. I really appreciate you being born 1-23-09.  It is very easy for me to remember it (get it, 1-2-3).  Just one more way you’re the best nephew ever.

Quad Update

If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, you remember that during my very first workout session, I pulled my left quad.  I truly believe it was Satan trying to discourage me.

The good news is that my quad is back to normal.  I told you Satan picked the wrong girl to mess with.

The bad news is that Satan wasn’t done with us.  The good news is that God provides for every need and has His hand on our family.

Tuesday morning went like this for our family:  I got up, worked out, and showered as usual.  While I was in the shower, the sink started bubbling.  I got out as quick as I could.

Matt immediately started dealing with the pipes (calling Roto Rooter, turning off the water, putting towels in the sink so when they spray it doesn’t get all over everything, opening up the thing outside so that they backed up into the yard, not the house, etc.).

I went upstairs to get dressed only to realize that the roof was leaking in our closet.  The water dripping was really warm because it was coming down through the light in our closet.

The toilet started over flowing (despite not having been flushed) so Matt asked me to go get some yuck towels to clean that up.  I went downstairs only to realize that something was dripping hard core over by the furnace.  I threw some towels over that, yelled for Matt to come check it out, and ran back upstairs.

When I came back upstairs, I noticed that the hole in the ceiling was leaking again, too.

I’m not making this stuff up, people.

Somehow through it all, we also managed to get the kids up, dressed and the three of us out the door by 7:10 am.  I’d also like the record to stated that neither Matt nor I lost our temper with each other or broke down despite the absolute insanity of that morning.  Matt stayed home, cleaned up the mess, waited on the plumber, and was generally awesome.  He also made dinner that night (back off, ladies, he’s MINE).

We know our pipes are old and clay and that they need to be replaced.  The pipes inside the house are fine, but the ones leading to the house are in bad shape.  This morning, they started bubbling again.

This is a huge blessing.

According to the weather reports, there’s a storm coming through tonight.  If they’d waited until tonight to start bubbling, we could have been in trouble.  This morning, however, it’s dry out (except for the ice) and the sun is shining.  We can get them fixed again.  It will be okay.  God is in control.

This blog is going well, folks.  I’m getting an awesome number of hits each day and people keep contacting me and saying these awesome things like “you’ve inspired me to read the bible more,” or “I’m ready to start a healthier lifestyle,” or “I can really see God moving in my life.”  Satan hates this and he’s going to continue attacking my quads, house and anything else he can think of because he doesn’t want us (any of us–and that includes you) to live and grow and thrive in God.

One way or another, these pipes are going to be okay and it will all work out.  I stayed home from church to wait for the plumber and (hopefully) their work will be covered by our 6-month warranty that we purchased Tuesday.  And no matter what, we’ll say, “Blessed be Your Name.”

Crazy-Ridiculous List of Things I want to Accomplish Today Because I’m Insane

Oh, the weather outside is weather! And it’s toasty warm in my house! And since we don’t really have any plans…..let’s not have idle hands, idle hands, idle hands!

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27

My “crazy ridiculous list of things I want to accomplish today because I’m insane” went over like gangbusters the other day–for me. Seeing that loooong list and watching myself tick things off kept my hands from being “idle.” I didn’t get everything on it done, but I accomplished a lot more than I would have with out it. And since it’s freezing out there today and The Flash has an ear infection (& Ariel is still running around in her skivvys) I thought it’d be a great day to get some projects done around the house to keep my hands from being “idle.”

Post this blog

–Write at least 2 blogs for next week

Make Potato Soup in the Croc Pot for lunch tomorrow

Go to Wal-Mart (I cry a little at this one. I don’t want to go!)

REALLY finish grading those papers this time

REALLY workout this time

(I think those were the only two things I didn’t get done on Wednesday)

Put the soap I made the other day into containers now that’s really done

–Cut off/sew up curtains for living room

–Put up new curtains in living room

–Use bottom of living room curtains to make curtains for dining room

–Put up new curtains in dining room

–Decide if I like new curtains in dining room

–Turn ginormous pants from the other day into skinnys

–Turn grey pants into skinny pants

–Fix broken dress

–Run elliptical machine

Clean up the play room

–Fold & put away laundry in the dryer

Put up art work the kids made the other day in the playroom

Watch movies/snuggle/wrestle/enjoy time with family

Make Matt look at cute things Rowdy does (mwah ha ha)

Conversations I had with Matt when typing this post:

Me: Can I say “gangbusters” in a post?
Matt: You want to know it’s orgin?
Me: Yeah, look that up.
Matt: (proceeds to look up, finds definition here)
Me: Oh, so it’s all one word. (fixes spelling)

Matt: (looks over at my computer screen) YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH THINGS TODAY?!
Me: Yeah.
Matt: I was hoping to lay around and do nothing.
Me: It’s just sewing and groceries and stuff.
Matt: (visibly relieved) Okay. (probably thinks this in his head: “Oh thank God. She can’t ask me to ask her sew. I’ll probably get to play a lot of Skyrim today. Score.”)

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Me: This has got to be better than watching TV together on a Saturday morning.
Matt: All of our minds are actively engaged in something.
Me: Yeah, this is good (goes back to blogging).

Crazy-Ridiculous List of Things I Want to Accomplish Today Because I’m Insane

The Flash is home today with a fever/cough. When a kid gets sick on Wednesdays, we split the day. Matt takes the first half and I take the second. Anyway, I’m home with my kiddos for the rest of the day and I have about a million things I want to accomplish. Here is that list in no particular order:

Post this blog.

Make the counter not look like this:

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Make & freeze Mexican Lasagna

Make & freeze regular lasagna

Work on some stuff for school (college)

–Grade those papers I’ve had in my bag since Friday

–Workout

Finish tomorrow’s blog post

Make hand soap

Possibly hang out with brother (didn’t happen, Ariel now has fever, too)

Finish blog plan for January

Call LA

Make dinner

Figure out something fun to do with kids (i.e. Pinterest)

Refill popcorn container

Get rid of left over Christmas cookie containers

Take down last Christmast tree (it’s little, sue me) and put away

Stay tuned today as I’ll be updating as I get things done.  I know you’re as excited about this as I am.

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