Monday, October 31, 2011

Every parent must read.... haha!

This is a silly post I guess. I always liked to read Calvin and Hobbes when I was younger. This past few months has been really busy at school and I haven't had much time for good reading. Of course, I still make time to read daily, even if it's just blogs or the newspaper, so during this busy time, I chose to take on some comic books- Calvin and Hobbes... classic.

I must say, this comic strip was always funny, but as a parent it took on a new spin. Love it. Recommend it as a light fun read. I wonder if E is going to be as crazy as Calvin. I can't wait to hear the things his beloved stuffed frog, Henry, comes up with! As a parent, enjoy any of the Calvin and Hobbes comic books. Get them from the library so you can afford your diapers, wipes, and other baby stuff- unless you coupon and get these things cheap!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Clean out and meal plan.

Most of you who read my blog know that I'm an avid couponer. I do whatever I can to get the best deal Well.... there's a problem with couponing... you can get more than what you need. It's easy to donate the extra stuff like toothbrushes, laundry detergent, toothpaste, soap, other nonperishables to charity. The problem... what do you do with all the perishables?? That's where I am this week. Hence, my meal plan was designed around whatever we had in our house and I did not allow myself to buy any frozen meals, fresh meats (aside from 1 rotisserie chicken for dinner tonight), nothing other than perishables or something I may need for a recipe (enchilada sauce mainly).
  Couponing is great, but just use caution as you can become a borderline hoarder...

Sunday: rotisserie chicken (cheat day since I didn't sleep much that night)
Monday: Celebrating my grandma's birthday
Tuesday: pot roast, carrots and mashed potatoes
Wednesday: chicken broccoli rabe pasta- take 2
Thursday: enchiladas with spanish rice and beans
Friday: Out
Saturday: a new recipe. Haven't decided which is what I'm going to choose. There are 2 in the running.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What was it You said?

I am always amazed by how God speaks to us. One day I'll write about how I came into my career as it is a truly amazing story. Today I want to write about this moment in my career and how God uses radio, people, almost anything to speak to us.

  I've been feeling so stressed out in my job. Being a special education teacher is not the easiest thing I've ever done. Every day I face challenges with student attention, behaviors (trying to learn how to treat others and be respectful/no bullying even at the high school leve), covering academic content, processing legal documents, grading, meetings... the list goes on. It starts to wear on you when you feel like just as you make a little headway, you take 18 steps back (slight exaggeration there). It also wears on you when you don't feel appreciated by staff or students for all you do (Note to self: this isn't about you so get over it!). I just wondered if I was making a difference in the lives of my students who really do not seem to care about anything we do.

   So lately I've been asking "Is this really what I'm supposed to do? Why this? I can't do it anymore." I've been so exhausted I have no energy for family of playing with my son. It's not like me. I'm not happy with what I'm doing because of the stress. I poured all this out and then I believe I received my response....

  First, on one of my commutes either to work or home from work (I can't remember- it's been that kind of week), I was flipping through radio stations. I usually go between talk radio, Christian talk radio and Christian music (sometimes country). As I was flipping, I heard the story of a woman who was contemplating suicide until she received a card in the mail. She read this lovely card and stated that to her, it was God telling her "Don't give up". Another woman came on and said the same thing. I started to notice a theme the more I listened. So, I said to myself, "Self, you believe this is where God wants you. Think about how it came to be. Don't give up. Don't give up. Don't give up." I decided to keep up and re-evaluate later.

   Yesterday, I was called into a meeting with a student of mine that I haven't seen daily in 2 years. I love this family dearly. They have been so encouraging and kind to me throughout my teaching career. When I walked in to the meeting, I was welcomed with a great big hello and grin from the student and a huge hug from his mom. I was sooo glad to see this family. It was what I needed to end the week. If nothing else had been said, I would have been good, knowing at I have at least been there for this family and done the best I could with their son.

   As the meeting progressed, we discussed how the student had been doing and his summer activities. I learned that he was able to participate in a program I referred them to over the summer. When asked how it all came to be, the mother looked at me and said, "It's because of Mrs. C". I didn't really realize what the program had done or the fact that just referring someone to something could have so great an impact on their lives. The student is getting a part time paid job because of the summer program, has a job coach, a girlfriend, is making great progress in his academic goals at the vocational school and just overall doing fantastic. When I heard all that had happened and that they THINK it was me who was behind it all, I felt good. "Yes, I'm doing what I should be doing and I have made a difference. God is using me, all is going to be okay." This moment is what I needed. It was my card that said "Don't give up".

   Now, I'm not saying this to boast of myself. Please don't think that. I'm saying that God is a great encourager. He uses the smallest voice to speak to us and tell us we're doing a good job and to keep up the good work.  Listen to His voice. You never know when you'll hear it.
Image via

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review: "A Long Walk to Water"

I love a good book. This one is a can't miss. I came across this book during a literacy conference and boy am I glad I eavesdropped... yes, I just admitted to it. Face it, we all do it- don't deny it!
   This book is found in the juvenile section, however, the topic is HEAVY. It's a book that tells the tale of Salva, one of the lost boys of the Sudan. This is his tumultuous journey to a new life in America. His isn't the only story portrayed in the book though. Linda Sue Park is telling 2 stories in 1 with this short novel. Nya is  a sweet girl in Aftica who walks for hours each day to get water for her family. The two tales come together in a beautiful ending that offers hope and encouragement, as well as a desire to help, in the end.
Image from: Readerkidz
   For avid readers, this will take just a few short hours out of your day, but you will be so thankful you took the time to read it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I spent Monday night with my family, mainly my grandma prior to her surgery. We had so much fun together. I was nominated to make banana nut muffins. While making these, my grandma didn't agree with how much I was filling the muffin cups, so of course, I resorted to her way- after all, she's been cooking longer than me and knows how she wants things done. I'm no one to argue with my lovely grandma.
  Well, she kicked me out of the kitchen to take care of E. She put the muffins in the oven and we forgot about them while enjoying our dinner and fellowship. When we remembered the muffins, she checked them and pressed on the tops to check doneness. She left a thumbprint in one of the muffins. I called it the thumbprint muffin.
  The end of the night came and I was given muffins to take home. I grabbed up the thumbprint muffin. This morning while praying for the doctors and my grandma, I remembered the thumbprint muffin (which I have yet to eat). I started to think of all the ways she has left her imprint in my life. I only hope to be half the grandma that she is!
The thumbprint of a very special person!
   Who are the people in your life that leave thumbprints? Pray for them, cherish them and the memories you have.   What kind of thumbprint are you leaving in the lives of people around you?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My fall window treatment

Confession: I do not have curtains in my kitchen. I have desperately needed them for 10 years... I just don't know what I want and I'm not happy with the kitchen. It hasn't been painted in 10 years. Did I just admit that??? Yikes... I will say, it's on the list for next summer! I think this is why I've chosen to go without window treatments. I'm not a fan of my kitchen even though most of my time seems spent there in the evening.

My mom gave me a container filled with fall goodies in it for decorating. I simply wanted to look at her fabric scraps to make a table runner, but it ended up so much more! (I love my mom!)

When I went through the box, there wasn't much I really wanted. I'm not a fan of fake leaf garland, but lil man was carrying it around loving it. On a whim, I decided to put it up over the sink window. This way, E could enjoy it without stringing it through the house and me having to clean it up constantly!

Here's how it looks. I must say, I think it's kind of cute and love the apples (those are real) on the bottom shelf next to it. Now, I really have to find some window treatments since I realized how much I loved having something pretty on the window!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Meal Plan 10/23-10/29

Last week, I wasn't feeling so great. We didn't get to eat a few of the meals I had planned, so they were bumped to this week.

Sunday; Chicken Tortilla Soup with Salad - doubled recipe since it's for our Browns gathering
Monday: Spaghetti and Salad and Garlic bread
Tuesday: Italian Sausage Sandwiches
Wednesday: Chicken in the crock pot, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots
Thursday: Chicken noodle soup OR chicken pot pies if I can find a recipe that is dairy free
Friday: Out
Saturday: Out for Halloween party... :)

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oh boots...

I'm in need of some new shoes. It seems like after pregnancy, my shoes aren't fitting right or maybe i flops for months upon months and my feet aren't liking confinement. When you stand on your feet 6 hours a day helping students, your feet just start to ache and you need to have a good shoe. So, I've been shoe shopping online while the little one naps.
   I saw Macy's is having a big sale this weekend. Now, those of you who know me, know I'm a deal finder. I don't believe in paying full price for anything... except... maybe... quite possibly... boots. I love them! I wish I had more and more outfits to wear with them (that would be appropriate in the professional setting- especially when you have to pay to be casual and that option is only 2 Fridays a month). 
  In my browsing I found the following loves... All pictures are from Macy's aside from my first love which is from Oooooo I do love boots!

Yes, I would get the red! I LOVE red shoes!

beautful neutral that I could wear to school! Low heel. hmm....

Cute casual boot. Not my fave, but definitely a cute boot!

I love this... cowgirl feel, love love...

Hello gorgeous! If you weren't close to $300, I would probably take you home. LOVE THIS BOOT!!! 

I may have to hop into Macy's today.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Me? On TV????

It's been a bit of a crazy week. My son had strep at the end of last week and I found out yesterday (Wednesday) that I too have strep! Yippeee!!!  I'm just thankful that God gave us medicine to help us heal.

   My week has been really busy with many things on the to do list at work (I'm still waiting for some to hit the "to done" list) that I forgot about a local news channel contacting me to interview me about Black Friday. Yep... Black Friday. Can you believe it's time to start thinking about it already?  When we discussed it over the phone, I understood that nothing would happen until I gave them the okay for filming on Thursday (today). In the chaos called my life, I didn't get back with them and totally forgot about it until.... are you ready???.... I get a call at 3:34 Thursday when I'm picking my son up from the sitter that the news channel is at my house!! Yes, they are there waiting for me- and they're filming!

  When she called to verify the address, I told the anchor that I wasn't home and it would be about 15 minutes. I also mentioned that I had strep and wasn't prepared. She didn't really mind and said she would wait for me. So, they waited and I drove as quickly as I legally could to get through 3 school zones and many stop lights to my house that didn't get picked up last night because I felt terrible. This was going to be GREAT!

   Anyway, I got home and immediately set the kiddo off and running to help mommy pick up, took the dogs outside and prayed they didn't run away or bark too loudly. Just as I was finishing up the tidying, there was a knock at the door and in they came- camera and host. I didn't have make up on - well, just foundation since I'm having an allergic reaction to something in one of my eyes- and I had major bags under my eyes from being ill and not getting rest. My dress had a stain (maybe from lunch????) on it that I didn't realize until we were interviewing! Oh boy. Great fun! Does it really matter when you are as charming as me???? I hope not!

   To top it off, there weren't really any great deals posted for Black Friday. :( I didn't even get to tell the principal, which I like to do before something like this so they are not off guard when they see one of their teachers on TV.

   I do enjoy seeing the host though as she loves my son. It went well and I think the interview part is what they'll use the most. I showed a site that allows you to sign up to get the ads delivered to your mailbox- but they already knew about that one.  This was my second filming with them and it will be my third interview. Although it wasn't ideal, it worked out just fine. I'm sure they will make it all work out and look great. They did a good job the last time. Now, I just have to wait until the airing... Not until November. What a wait! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Giving it a go

For a while I've wanted to try painting on a canvas. I bought the materials (canvas and paint brush kit) I needed and evaluated those I did. I sat and stared... and stared.... and stared.... you get the point. Then I developed a fear of failure at my first painting.

On a day when my son was sick, we were playing in the playroom. He asked if he could paint, so I let him use his fingerpaints and I decided to paint. I had to start somewhere and couldn't seem to come up with anything. Finally, I just started painting blue. I hated it. While I was painting blue, my son asked me to paint "boom booms" (fireworks). Thank you, E! At that point, I stopped the blue and just started painting what I thought could be fireworks.

I kind of liked the painting aside from the blue background on 1/3 of it. To try to even it out, I added blue between the blasts of other color.  Here's the end result:

For my first time painting, I kind of like it. I liked being able to be creative and sit and play with colors and lines and design on a canvas. Is it a Rembrandt? No. Did I expect it to be? Honest, no but I wanted it to be! Am I happy with it? Sure, but my son is happy with it and that's what matters.

Art is simply a way to express yourself. The result doesn't have to be perfect or even good. It just needs to be an outlet. Any piece of art you create: scrapbook page, painting, music, quilt, new dish/recipe, whatever, serves as a way to help you express yourself and enjoy the abilities God gave you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Spiced Fish Recipe

The other day I posted the Spiced Fish Recipe I found at Kowboy's Kitchen. I didn't list the recipe because I thought I linked it. Apparently, I'm human! Imagine that.

Here's the recipe:

6 fish fillets (we used tilapia)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sale
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp poultry seasoning
dash cayenne
3 Tbsp butter.

Heat the oven to 350. Place fish in a lightly greased baking dish (we spray it with Pam). Combine the spices and sprinkle over the fish. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake 20-25 minutes or until it flakes easily - but be sure to check the fish about 15 minutes in to make sure it isn't done.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Meal Plan...Ooohhh fall.... comfort foods!

This week, I'm indulging in some delicious fall comfort food. There is one new recipe I'm making. I found it through John's Journal. Can't wait to try it!

Monday: Cheesy vegetable soup with crusty bread.
Tuesday: pulled pork sandwiches (mmmmm)
Wednesday: Minestrone (new one from John's Journal)
Thursday: Italian Sausage sandwiches.
Friday: out
Saturday: Not sure. I'm going between a few ideas, but definitely apple crisp with vanilla ice cream and caramel topping for dessert. Isn't that all that matters sometimes???? :)
Photo credit here

Enjoy your week. Happy fall!

Yummy goodness wrapped in a crescent!

One day when we were hosting the Sunday football game, I realized I had some extra crescent rolls that I wasn't going to need. I decided to turn them into something fun and kind of sweet. So simple- and I'm sure many of you already do this, but if you haven't you should!

I unrolled the crescents on the baking pan.

Then I brushed them with melted butter (in our house it is vegan since lil guy is allergic to dairy).

After brushing them with butter, I poured on some cinnamon and sugar... mmmm...

Roll em up and brush with more butter and cinnamon sugar goodness...

Bake em at the temperature on the package...

Wahla!!! Fantastic yummy goodness wrapped up.

 Now, if you wanted, you could easily mix together some milk and powdered sugar to make a nice glaze to coat, but I was in a hurry and in a pinch. I didn't have time for this, besides we can't really eat it since lil one is allergic. We try to be considerate of that as much as possible.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Must try fish bake... scrumptious!

I know, I know, you're not huge on fish. Believe me, it's not my first choice, but the health benefits are worth it. So, I've been trying to cook fish for a while and haven't really ever been successful- until I found this recipe.

It is super easy. From start to finish it took me 25 minutes including the bake time of 23 minutes. I was hesitant but then I tasted the fish. Oh my! Fantastic! Scrumptious and delicious. Even my lil guy with dairy allergies was able to eat it and ate all of it from his plate... then worked on eating mine. :) Definite winner that will frequent our meal plan.

Doesn't look good here... and it's sideways, but it's great!

Sorry about the shadow.

Love seeing my little guy eat something other than chicken nuggets!
Oh, yes, I'm sure the butter isn't diet friendly, but we use Earth Balance vegan butter which I like to think is slightly better for you!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cute Copter Curtains.....

Remember the post Wednesday about the playroom? Those curtains are one of my favorite things in that room.
  I found the fabric while looking for fabric to make curtains from an online fabric shop where my cousin works. Since helicopters are one of my son's favorite things, when I saw the fabric, I had to order at least 4 yards of that fabric. Unfortunately, that quantity wasn't available. There was only 2 yards available. That's enough for one panel. I decided I would make it work.

To make the curtains: yes, I did sew. It was the most basic sewing anyone has ever done- even a newbie could do it.... shoot, I consider myself a newbie with sewing even though I've made many things in the past- usually quilts and a few teddy bears and skirts. 

I took the measurements of the window and of my fabric. I went to Jo-Ann's and bought some curtain backing using a coupon for half off. When I got home, I lined the backing with the helicopter fabric and trimmed the edges. I simply sewed it like I would a blanket or quilt along 3 edges. The bottom I left open and simply hemmed both pieces of fabric. In about half an hour, I had a curtain.

Close up of material that I love!!!!
I know your asking, "How did you hang it without the rod pocket?" That was easy courtesy of curtain clips and a cheap curtain rod. Altogether the entire thing cost me $20 (new rod rings and fabric). Great fun and I love it. My son loves to go play in the "helicopter attic". You can do this too! Trust me! If I can, you can!

So cute! I've got an idea for the junction box too. I'm working on the logistics.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Let's Play!!!

In our very old home (built in 1919) we have some really unique places. One of my son's favorite places is our finished attic. It consists of 2 rooms. One decent sized room and one smaller room. When lil guy was about a year, we changed the finished attic from a storage area to a playroom.

We had sooo much stuff in that room (I didn't take the before picture of that- it would be embarrassing- not hoarder level or anything just a lot of stuff). It took a while to clean it all out and find a new place for everything (probably a full day).

Found that great train table with underneath storage on Craigslist a while ago. $40 and came with track and trains.
  Since this was a tough time for us financially, we also had to come up with some solutions that were not going to cost too much. This project showed us that painting can be costly! The total project cost us $140 for both rooms. The smaller room was more expensive to paint as the trim is painted white and the peachy color (which was supposed to be more orange) took several coats of paint. The walls were soaking up paint like a sponge absorbs water. RIDICULOUS!

   I'm going to only focus on the playroom side of the room today as it's the only side that is truly finished. There are small projects on the other side that need to be completed so I can't say it's done.

Back to playing... Thanks to a dear friend, the chalkboard paint was free- left over from a previous project and no longer needed. Another dear friend heard I wanted yellow paint and she happened to have a gallon left over from her daughter's room. So that was free as well. We did need one more gallon of that paint (thank goodness for Home Depot paint codes!).
Our popular and regularly used chalkboard wall/creative corner.

My husband made built-in shelves and we decorated with simple wall decals, pictures from around the house and Everett's artwork. Altogether, this side of the attic cost us $65.

The built-in shelves my husband made. The ceiling curves here so that was a little tricky!

Reading area and art hanging area. The sink is weird but it works so we kept it. Great for painting day!

Curtains I made with remnant fabric... So cute. I love them.

Love my warning sign. The steps are steep and taller people (5' 8" & up) bump their heads regularly.

Close up of the sign. I hope you get it! My favorite thing I've done.

Close up of sink after putting away the painting materials.

Toys we were playing with....
Oh! Be sure to check out those super cute curtains I made...More on those in a later post!

Fall centerpiece.... :) Harvesting goodness.

Here is the new fall centerpiece on my table...

Everything is real. Either found at a pumpkin farm or on a hike.
Munchkin arranged the guords prior to me arranging them.

A different angle. I love all the different guords.
I would love to say it has stayed this way... but it hasn't. Little man likes to rearrange them regularly. The leaves were his flags one day and are now filling a glass pumpkin to add some color to it. And the runner, well that had to go. I just couldn't stand that I had to move it at dinner every night. Yes, I'm lazy.. I'm thinking I may get a doily or unique placemat for under it instead. 

That cute container is from the thrift store! Yippeeee!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Simple meal plan for 10/10

Simplicity is grand! That's what I'm headed for this week as I make my meal plans.

Sunday: Italian Sausage sandwiches and pierogies...
Monday: Spaghetti - haven't made it in a while.
Tuesday: fish bake with quinoa and veggies
Wednesday: minestrone from johnsjournal.
Thursday: chili (for that night and lunch on Friday)
Friday: out with mom
Saturday: leftovers

Hope you enjoy this next week of really great fall weather we're having!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall.... What a great time of year!

    As mentioned in yesterday's post, I simply find fall the be the best season of all. It's just glorious.
One of my favorite activities to do at the very beginning of fall- the festival to start fall for me- is attend the Yankee Peddler Festival. It's a great time of hiking and shopping for crafts while listening to music and smelling the fires and food cooking over an open flame. YUM!

    Yankee Peddler is a fall festival/craft show set during colonial times- so vendors and actors are dressed accordingly. There are great crafts to be found and all kinds of goodies. Take a look at some of the pics from this year's Yankee Peddler- coming next September to Clay's Park! :)

Looks soooo yummy!

I liked the pumpkins in this. :)


I fell in love with this wreath immediately... fell out of love when I saw the price tag. :(

Cute mushrooms made out of gourds.

Even cuter gourd pumpkins

Colonial living set up

I'm thinking they made turtle soup...

Vegans... I apologize, but this smellled soooo good.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I fall for Fall...

Fall…. The most glorious time of the year.
View of the field on our hiking trip.
Fall is my favorite time of year- by far. Don’t get me wrong, spring is nice for the idea of rebirth and warmer temperatures, getting outside to play more; however, fall just means time for family, comfort, caring and sharing. I just love fall.

Everything about this time of year is exciting: upcoming holidays, harvest, the beautiful colors all around from the changing leaves, to the beautiful fall flowers/blooms, bright pumpkins, decorative corn stalks and colorful indian corn and apples.

Leaves just starting to change... Beautiful!

Lots of colors found on our hiking spree.
  Then we have the textures of fall: nice warm cozy sweaters, boots, soft feeling all around contrasted against leather boots, bare trees, crunchy leaves.

Playing in the park on a beautiful fall day.
Don’t even get me going on the sounds and smells of fall- fires, apple crisp, apple pie, corn chowder, comfort food galore…. Mmmmmmmmm! leaves rustling while you walk through the woods, fires crackling…. Oh the beauty of fall.
This one was taken by my 2 year old with my old point and shoot. Pretty good for a toddler who had no help in using the camera. Yes, he figured it out by himself! My smart boy.

Choosing a pumpkin at a local pumpkin farm after a wagon ride to the field!
Yay for fall! 

Oh yeah... The pics aren't perfect as I am totally amateur with photography and do not have photoshop... Maybe one day!