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.

Crazy-Ridiculous List of Things I Want to Accomplish Because I’m Home with a Sick Kid

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

Well, The Flash made it all the way to my awesome babysitter’s house before vomiting all over the porch.  The good news is that she was totally cool about it.  I ran over to school and put some lesson plans together so that my kids at school would have good stuff to do today and even managed to get  a sub for today (thanks to the ladies in the office, my student teacher, my awesome babysitter and whoever my sub is for today for helping me out at school today).

So I’m home today and while I’ll be spending most of my time caring for my sick boy, I can probably squeeze in some crazy-ridiculousness.  Here’s what I’d like to accomplish today:

–Wash all of The Flash’s clothes from today, coat included (yuck)

Finish off the laundry from the weekend now that the pipes seem to be working (yea!)

–Put away all the clean clothes

Put away the dishes in the sink

Make cherry limeade

Keep Vomity McVomiterson out of the cherry limeade (it’s red and stains everything) So far so good.

Make vitamin water for The Flash

Make Jello

Keep Ariel entertained and away from The Flash This involved me bringing in the water table and filling it up in the kitchen.  But hey, people, desperate times call for desperate measures.

–Run 40 minutes on elliptical machine

–Work on some stuff for Master’s Classes

Make freezer enchiladas

–Deal with the giant (I swear, it’s growing) pile of papers on my table.

This list may be a little ambitious, seeing as it’s taken me almost an hour to write it and I’ve been interrupted many, many times by my little guy.  Taking care of him (and his stinky sister) is definitely at the top of my list today!

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.

It’s a Big Day for Funny Women

……and she laughs at the time to come. Proverbs 31: 25 (second half)

I know it’s the State of the Union tonight and I should be focused on the state of our country and educational system, but folks, I’m so excited about something else that happened today that I just can’t be very politically minded.

Last year, Matt & I had a blog called Til DVD Do Us Part. It was funny, it was awesome, it didn’t take, blah bubity blah blah blah. Whatever. I’m over it. We still love movies. We watch as much as we can and read Entertainment Weekly, well, weekly. Today the Academy Award nominations for the best movies in 2011 was released, and ladies, holds your heads up high because we did GOOD.

Bridesmaids received TWO nominations. I know, girls, I’m excited about it, too. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo received nods for writing and Melissa McCarthy was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. This is huge, ladies (and gentlemen, if you’re out there), HUGE. I know that there are those of you who will say that this movie is crass and inappropriate, and you’re right. It is. But the thing is, guys, there’s a real person on the other side of this blog. Yes, I’m growing in Christ and taking you all on that journey with me, but I still like funny movies–and I thought Bridesmaids was hilarious.

Funny movies don’t get Oscar nominations–they just don’t. In my more cynical moods, I say things like “you’re not suicidal after watching a movie, it can’t possibly be an Oscar contender.” On a more mature day, I say that comedy is not appreciated by the Academy.

I love things that are funny and clever and well done (except steak, don’t over cook my steak) and I am THRILLED to see a movie that was almost entirely made up of women, from the cast to the crew receive an Oscar nomination, and we got that in The Help, girls–which also received it’s fair share of Oscar nominations. But, girls, girls, can we take a moment and bask in the fact that brilliant, funny, awesome ladies received nominations for their work today??

Today was a great day for comedy. A really great day.

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In a rush for time, I just snapped a picture of two of the bridesmaids dresses I’ve had the pleasure of wearing :).

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.

Week 3 Update

As you can read here, this week has been pretty much insanity. Here’s how I did:

Sunday: Made bed, rested

Monday: Made bed (MLK Jr. Day), 40 minutes on elliptical machine

Tuesday: Made bed (I really did), worked out with Biggest Loser

Wednesday: Made bed, worked out with Biggest Loser

Thursday: Made bed, did not work out. Decided extra half hour of sleep was more important

Friday: Did not make bed, worked out to make up for not working out Thursday

Saturday: Made bed, worked out with Biggest Loser, 40 minutes on elliptical machine to make up for Friday

Despite the pipes, the leaky roof, the furnace (did I not mention the furnace? apparently something’s wrong with the humidifier–someone’s coming tomorrow to work on it) the pipes again, it really wasn’t a bad week at all. And I have to say, working out and then running on the elliptical machine made me feel AWESOME. We’ve also been hanging out with some pretty awesome people lately and that’s making me really, really happy.

Now for the obligatory awkward photos. These had better be worth it when this is all over:

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FINALLY, I managed to get Rowdy in the background of one of my pictures. He’s always running around while I’m snapping these and I finally managed to catch him. He’s the small blur in the background.

Update on goals from last week:

Make freeze-ahead Cavatini Two of them!
Get up earlier than the rest of the family tomorrow, even though I have it off.This was another one of those “Just barely” moments, but I’m still counting on it.
Clean up Ariel’s room. And get it to stay that way for more than 5 minutes.I don’t think it stayed that way for long, but it’s better.
–LAUNDRY!…………well, you need pipes to do that, so……………

Goals for this week:

–Laundry
–Make February Menu
–Make February Blog Plan
–Make something yummy for student teacher’s last day
–Deal with all that paper (mail, etc) I’ve been avoiding

And because you’re such AWESOME readers, I leave you with this picture of Ariel’s first tea party with, well, Ariel.

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