Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday, Monday....

It's just another manic Monday here.....wish it were Sunday....cause' that's my fun  I don't have to run day.....It's just another manic Monday......

Where does time go?  I honestly thought I had posted in here since last Wednesday, but I guess not!  Life just keeps getting in the way!


We had a nice weekend.  It was birthday party time and it was crazy.  The girls had a great time at their Hula Girl party.  We hula-hooped, limbo-ed, played pass the coconut and more.  And even if Momma didn't get the hula girl cakes made in time and we had to have store bought cakes (thank goodness Easter is so close and there were premade cakes with "tropical" looking flowers on them at 10 pm the night before the party!), it was still a good time.  All the kids had fun and my girls picked up some really nice presents.

On the fitness front, I kind of slacked off with all the party business going on.  We had family in and I just didn't get any free time to walk/run/exercise.  So I've got to pick back up today.  I started day 1 of running.  I downloaded a podcast for the Couch to 5K program and used that to keep track of time.  60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking.  I managed to get in 3 miles today in under 27 minutes.  Not too shabby - although I had to wonder what people driving down the road thought of my running - I must be quite a sight!

So anyhow...another week of craziness here....just the way we like it!
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Running in Heels....Aiming for a Tiara

So I mentioned that I've been walking during the day and was feeling the urge to run.  I've been reading some running blogs and some fitness blogs and some foodie blogs (my faves!) along wtih teh usual craft and family ones I read.  I saw some posts about the Disney Princess Half Marathon with pictures and I was totally entranced!  It was as if my fairy godmother sprinkled some magic dust and my eyes were filled with the awesome-ness of running or even walking in this race!

So now I'm inspired.  I've been taking about 2.5 mile walks during my lunch breaks and averaging somewhere between a 13 and 14 minute mile.  To walk/run the half marathon you need to be able to keep to a 16 minute mile pace.  At the rate I'm going, that shouldn't be too hard.  But 13 miles is a long way!

So I'm going to start training.  I have a couple friends that are up for the challenge as well, so I'm hoping we can keep each other motivated and going.....hopefully all the way to the finish line in FLORIDA next March!!  After all, how can you see this and not want one with all your heart?

And so my training begins.......

I've been walking already, as I mentioned above.  And starting today, I'm beginning the Couch to 5K program.  Since I'm not a runner it looks like a great program to get started....slow and steady.  The Disney Princess Half Marathon is a year away, so that gives me plenty of time to get there.  And honestly, I'd be happy doing a walk/run of it.  Just as long as I finish!

So off I go....dreaming of running in heels and earning that tiara!
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Here Chick, Chick, Chick....

Today I'm writing about chickens.  More specifically, our chickens.  I love our chickens.  They are social, they give us eggs and meat.  And they're kinda cute.

And this is coming from a girl who HATES birds.  And I do mean HATE.

We started keeping chickens about three years ago.  We started with a small flock of Rhode Island Reds.  They were very happy with us.  We raised them up from young chicks.  They were just about to start laying eggs.......then the dogs got into them.  That was not a fun day, let me tell you.

We added a new batch of hens to our one lone survivior of the dog attack and waited out another egg-less winter.  Every day the wee things went out to the coop to check for eggs.  Every day all winter long, they were disappointed.  Then we started getting some warm, sunny winter days.  The kids were so excited on the first sunny warmish late winter day when we got our first egg.  They were even more excited the next day when we got a green egg - just in time for Dr. Suess's birthday!

We're now entering into our third spring with chickens.  Last fall we got rid of some of our older chickens and picked up a bunch of pullets.  We waited out the winter, watching them grow, fighting off owls and hawks (and losing about 6 of them to the predators), and now it's spring again!  Imagine our suprise that out of about 30 pullets, we ended up with 15 roosters! 

This spring was the first time that Thing #4 really got to enjoy the suprise and delight of the season's first egg.  She walked out to the coop with me and just about screamed when she saw the "eggie" there!  The brightness shining in her eyes was just melting a Momma's heart.  Then when she dropped said "eggie" a few minutes later and the overwhelming sadness there just about made it break.  Poor baby!

So this week, DH is taking our 15 roosters to a farmer we know and trading them out for some hens.  We're hoping for a good batch to add to our flock.  We did keep 3 of the roosters.  Big Red, our youngster from last year is the new dominent rooster.  We also kept Chicken Little, the first chicken we hatched out of our incubator last year (and a suprise rooster at that!).  And one cute little speckled guy that's a cross between a Barred Rock and something else (maybe a leghorn?).  We do need to find a new name for that guy though, because I think I saw murder in his eyes when Thing #1 called him Mr. Speckles.  I guess he wants a more dignified rooster name!

I love our "girls" and their men.  The kids enjoy running around with them in the yard and sometimes chasing them.  We love the eggs we get (in fact, I'm eyeing up some new egg recipes to try this year) and the meat they provide keeps us in poultry all winter long.  Not to mention that the eggs and meat taste so much better than store-bought stuff!

Yay for chickens!
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dinner Tonight

Tonight's dinner is White Bean Chicken Chili.  I got this recipe from a good friend and it's super-fantastic!!  I'll try to get a picture of it to put up here (and see if DH thinks I've totally lost it taking photos of the food now!)

White Bean Chicken Chili (soooo YUMMY!)

*1 lb or so of cooked chicken meat (I use breasts - baked with chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper; then shredded)
*48 oz jar great northern beans, undrained
*16 oz mild thick and chunky salsa (for more heat, use medium salsa)
*1 can low-sodium, reduced fat chicken broth (I usually use chicken stock instead)
*2 tsp cumin
*8 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, cubed
*1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, finely minced (for more heat, leave in the seeds)
I throw it all together in a crock pot and let it cook all day on low. You can also put it in a dutch oven or stock pot and make it in 10-15 mins. on the stove top. If you do this, add the cheese at the end.
We top this with sour cream and shredded cheese and serve with either corn chips or pita chips.  It's super filling, fast, warm and soooo yummy!
**I'm linking this up to the Nourishing Gourmet's Pennywise Platter for 3/11/10**
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Little Girls' Hair

Little girls' hair drives me crazy!!  My wee things have hair that never seems to do what I want it to, not to mention the fact that I' m not the best braider or hair-doer in the world.  In the hair-world experience my hair is not fine and when you put it somewhere, it stays there.  It's heavy and thick and well, it just stays put.  My girls' hair is so fine and it just goes everywhere.  It's pretty thick, but light and fine and it blows every which way.

Now I've pretty gotten down the ways to do piggies and ponys and I can even so a simple basic braid.  But anything fanicer than that and I'm lost!  And I so want my wee thingies to have super cute hair!!  Super cute hair looks so much better with the outfits I make them and put them in than just regular ole' piggies!!

And then I ran across this blog: Princess Hairstyles.  What an amazing find!!!  This mom has directions and pictures to all kinds of fantastic hairstyles.  Some a bit more advanced than I, but still...something to work towards.  Check out some of these pictures:

See what I mean - totally cute!!  You've got to check her out!!
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The Laundry Limbo

Is there anyone in the world who hates laundry as much as I do?  I mean, seriously, I loathe laundry!!!  It's not the washing and drying of it that bothers me - those are easy.  But the folding and putting away....only to be taken out and worn and thrown on the floor and washed again and again and again.  It never ends.  And don't get me started on sorting and folding socks!

I've been really trying to take a look at how I do our laundry and trying to find a system that works for me.  With six people in the house and two little boys who seem to have more laundry than the rest of us combined (I mean really, do they NEED to wear three pairs of underwear and shirts in one day?)  I feel like I'm drowning. 

Ideally, I would do the boys one day, the girls one day and then the hubs and I one day.  Add one day for sheets and towels and we're all set.  I would wash, dry, fold right out of the dryer or off the line and put them away (or fight with the kids and the hubs to put them away themselves).  But it just never happens that way.  I get going on this routine and then suddenly something happens and needs to be washed for an emergency.  Or we're out of the house on a certain night and I get behind.  Or I get it washed and dried, but then it sits in the basket in front fo the dryer forever.  Or it might even get folded and then sit on the couch for days, waiting for someone to put it away.

Once summer starts, and I'm off work for a few months, it does get easier.  I'm usually line drying by then and everything gets done and folded and my one day at a time system works better as I'm home all day.  But for now.....I'm seriously drowning!

How do you handle the laundry limbo?  I'm in need of some serious ideas!
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shamrock Shakes

I'll admit it.....while I'm mostly into healthy food and really only eat fast food if I'm travelling or whatnot, I am totally, throughly in love with McDonald's Shamrock Shakes.  I have to have one every March (or two or three or four).  I think it stems back to fourth grade when our principal took a group of kids from my class to his daughter's school to do a poem presentation and we stopped at McD's and had Shamrock Shakes.  *laugh*  When I was pregnant I totally craved them.......and I have to admit, I get a little bit excited when I pull through a drive-though so my husband can pick up a "snack" and see them on the menu.

I mean really, what's not to love about that cold, green, minty goodness?

(well besides all the calories and the junk that I don't even want to think about being in there!)

But guess what I came across today?????

A Homemade Shamrock Shake Recipe!!!!!!

I am so totally excited!!!  Look at this picture, it will totally make your taste buds start watering:

Here's the recipe (the orginal can be found at: Craving Comfort)
I would think that you could even make it "low-fat" by using reduced fat ice cream and milk or using rice milk and rice dream ice "cream".

Dana's "I don't need no stinkin McDonalds!" Shamrock Shake


2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 - 1/2 Teaspoon Mint extract
9 drops green food coloring
Optional pretty stuff

chocolate syrup
whipped cream
green sugar


Blend all ingredients together until smooth and yummy.
Drizzle some chocolate syrup around your glass.
Pour Shamrock Shake into the glass.
Top with whipped cream and green sugar.


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Overalls Apron

How cute is this????

I can totally see Thing #4 and Thing #1 wearing one of these.  For that matter, Things #2 and #3 might as well, if I made them "manly" enough.  *laugh* 

I adore aprons.  I wear them all the time at home.  I have about three for the kitchen right now, one for crafting and one for gardening.  But I keep adding to my apron stash.  For some reason, wearing an apron makes me feel all homemakery and just seems to make my work go faster and everything I do look better.  It's all in my head, right?  But it's true!

Kari over at U Create has a link to a tutorial for these cute little overall aprons.  I've added them to my about you?

In fact....I've got a pair of overalls myself that I never wear anymore....hmmmmm......maybe a Momma-size overall apron is in order?!
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Fitness Frenzy

So I've decided to really push up my fitness/weight loss/inches loss goals and plans and push forward with them and force myself into meeting these goals.  I'm not overweight or unhealthy or whatever, but I'm not liking how my clothes fit or how I feel.  Plus, with the weird health symptoms I've been having the last 6+ months, I'd rather take the bull by the horns now so if something pops up, I can better deal with it.

So I joined a fitness challenge on the newsgroup I belong to.  I'm part of a team and we work together on mini-challenges to earn points.  Hopefully, it will give me some motivation.

I've also started walking during my lunch/prep times.  Yesterday I did 3.5 miles.  I was walking about a 12-14 minute mile, so my heartrate went up as well.  It felt good to be out moving and in the sunshine.  And I've seriously considered running.  Now, understand - I hate running.  I've never been a runner - I'm a dancer, not a runner.  But being outside and walking hard, makes me want to run.  Weird?  Maybe I'll look into a 5K or something for later in the year.  I've walked them before, but never actually run one. Today my goal is to walk 2 miles during lunch - if the rain holds out, that is.

I take a fitness class at the gym, called a fitness buffet.  It's hard!  But I feel sore and fantastic afterward.  And we always do neat circut activities.  Last week it was Bosu balls, the week before it was hula hoops and stability balls.  It's a  fun class and a great workout.  I can tell a difference in my strength after just a few weeks in.

Then I try to get to the gym at least 2 other nights a week, but usually it's just one night.  I walk the treadmill for about 30 minutes and then do the eliptical for 15 and then do a circut of the weight machines.

And I haven't dropped any weight.  The weight honestly doesn't bother me, it the inches.  I've picked up the signature "Mommy tummy" or "muffin top" and I hate it.  Since Thing #4 stopped nursing last fall, I've gained weight and my tummy hangs out.  My clothes don't fit right.  I know I need to look at what I'm eating and that will help, but I love food!  *laugh*

I started keeping track of my fitness calorie burnage and my calorie intake this week on  It's helping me see what I'm taking in too much of and what I need to increase.  I'm also making a concentrated effort to not eat after 8 pm and to take in more fiber and drink more water.

My husband asked me why I was doing all this.  He said I look great and shouldn't worry about it.  I'm getting older, blah blah blah.  But I told him that I don't feel good.  I want my clothes to fit better.  I want to sleep better.  I want to have some muscle defininition again.  So he's supportive of it because he understands why, but I don't think he likes all the time I'm spending on it!  *laugh*  I'm glad he likes me the way I am, but I don't.

Anyway...long story short....I'll hopefully be updating my fitness/weight loss/inches loss profiles here.  I'm going to try to keep up with what I'm eating and any weight or inches loss.  If you're on the same track...I'd love to follow along and support each other!
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's Birthday Party Time Again....

....and that means that Momma is in major birthday party planning mode!!

I love, love, love planning parties.  In fact, if I could do any job other than the one I do now (teaching) I would be a party planner.  I love all aspects of the party planning, from figuring out a budget to planning a theme to creating items to go with the theme or shopping for them to making the food to the actual day of the party and pulling it all off! Kids birthday parties are my specialty, but I love to plan baby showers, wedding showers, anniversary parties, superbowl parties, bonfires.....pretty much any kind of party you can think of!

So Thing #1 is getting ready to celebrate her 7th birthday at the end of March and Thing #4 turns 2 this weekend (I can't believe my baby is so old already!).  As with last year, we decided to do a combined birthday and invite both family and friends.  Makes things a bit easier.

Well, Thing #1 decided at first that she wanted a Magic Treehouse party.  Have you seen these books?  They are totally fantastic and my kids are enthralled with them.  So anyhow, I was like, okay.  But then I was stumped...I mean, really what could we do?

So Thing #1 and I sat down and talked about it and decided to have a Hula Girl party instead.  Much better, to Momma's mind....I can think of a TON of fun things to do!

Right now we have invted 14 of Thing #1's friends from school and about the same number of family and friends.  I made Hawaiian shirt invites using flowered scrapbook paper. The party will last about 4 hours and include lunch.  The kids will play games, have lunch and dessert, do a craft and open gifts.

 We will be doing these games: hula hoop relay, the limbo, pin the flower on the hula girl and pass the coconut (hot potato, hawaiian style).  Thing #1 also wants to do musical chairs.  If we have enough time, we could throw a potato sack race in there (only named something Hula-Girl-ish, of course!)

I usually do a craft at the party, so we'll make tissue paper flowers (and I need to find something for the boys as well, not sure they'll like the flower project).

 I have sunglasses and beach balls for party favors, along with some dried tropical fruit.  I'll probably make the favor bags out of white paper lunch sacks, decorated with flowers and the kids' names cut out with my Cricut machine.  I'll make some of the decorations this way also.

Lunch will consist of a tray of lunchmeat for sandwhiches and various breads/wraps for those.  Probably ham, turkey and bologna.  I'll have some PB&J on hand as well for any picky eaters.  Then we'll have some chips and a salad.  I'll have fruit and cheese kabobs and a veggie tray.  Also I want to make a fruit rainbow, using muticolored fruits (strawberries, melons, pinapple, green grapes, blueberries, purple grapes and mini marshmallows for the clouds).  For drinks we'll have some tropical juices.

We'll have cake and sherbert for dessert.  I'm thinking each girl with have a separate cake.  I found a couple of amazing cakes at Coolest Birthday Cakes.  I'm thinking something along this line for Thing #1:

Or like this for Thing #4:

I could go on and on and on and on.  I have so many more ideas....and so little time!!!
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Spring Cleaning Bug

With all the sunshine and fresh air and somewhat warmer temps, the spring cleaning bug has hit me hard!  If you follow my other blog Destination-Organization, you'll see that I started with some heavy duty cleaning and decluttering back at the beginning of the year.  Of course, you'll notice that I keep up with that blog about as well as this one as well!  But in the last week or so it's hit me even harder....guess I should update that other blog with some news!

Anyway, this week I decided to take on the refridgerator.  What a mess!  Back in January, I tackled the top of the fridge - it had become a catch-all for anything and everything.  There were things up there that I didn't even know we ever had!  And the dust!!  Yikes!  Also, I had cleaned out behind the fridge about three weeks ago or so when I was painting in the kitchen.  We dusted out underneath and vaccummed out the coils and such.  Even just that made a difference.  But from the front and inside....well, it was still pretty scary!

So I started by taking down everyting that was attached to the outside.  Then I took some cleaner and scrubbed down the sides and front.  It always amazes me what sticky things get stuck on the doors.  And all those gooey little fingerprints - well, with four wee things running around, it's bound to happen.  So that was step one.  After that, I went through all the papers, business cards, pieces of scrap paper, school papers and notes, pictures and such that had been pinned to the fridge and sorted and tossed and filed.  Then I put up the ones I wanted or needed to keep on there.  On the side by the door was all our school schedules (we do have three to keep up with, you know!) and phone numbers and important notes.  On the side by the stove, I tried to keep everything off as much as possible - too easy for stove splatter to reach it.  The only thing left on there now is my baggie of Campbell's labels and box tops, which seems to take forever to fill since we don't buy a lot of items with those things.  But I still like to save them for the kids' school.  And on the front is any pictures of the kids and family I wanted to keep up.  Also the school lunch menu and "Smiley Face" or "Starred" papers that come home from school.  Recipts go there as well, until I'm done with them.  And anything that needs urgent attention.  It looks so much cleaner and neater now.

Then came the inside!  UCK!

I started with the freezer side as it wasn't quite as bad.  I took everything out shelf by shelf and wiped the sides down.  The shelves themselves are wire racks instead of solid shelves, so that helps a bit.  I wiped them down as well and actually washed a couple that had something sticking to them (I don't even want to think about how that happened!)  Then I reorganzied as I went.  It's still full and crazy busy looking, but at least I know what is in there now and where it's at!

The refridgerator side was much worse.  I did the same process, with taking each shelf out and washing it down.  It appears that there was dried blood on the top shelf from when we defrosted some meat or another.  Ick!  The veggie and meat drawers were pretty bad as well.  A few mystery foods stored at the back, two bags of spoiled, mushy veggies in the bottom of the drawer and one jar of moldy applesauce.  But overall, not too bad.  The worst part was scrubbing down the walls and shelves.

I did run out of time and I still need to clean the grill at the bottom of the front, but it looks and feels and smells so much better!  Somehow, having a clean fridge makes me want to cook and bake more!

Next up....the pantry.....there was a mystery smell coming from there last night!  UGH!

***Linking up to The Nourishing Groumet's Spring Cleaning Carnival***
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spring is in the air....or is it?

So it's March already!  Amazing!  And in our neck of the woods, March definitly came in like a lamb.  It's been sunshiney and somewhat warm.  The snow is melting and mud puddles are growing.  And while it's still a bit chilly/damp and looks kind of muddy and mucky, I have to say I love this time of year!

I'm starting to plan out our garden again.  I can't wait to get my hands into dirt and start growing!  We're adding more footage to the garden again, so more plants and space to grow them.  I'm looking forward to seeing how our strawberries overwintered and whether the blueberry bushes will take off this year.  And we should get asparagus this year!  I've been drooling over seed catalogs the past few weeks and am getting ready to put in an order.  Of course, we can't plant for another three months or so (our last frost is around mid-May, zone 5), but one can plan and dream for a lot longer than that!

I also can't wait for it to be a wee bit warmer so I can start hanging out the clothes to dry.  Generally speaking, I do this from mid-March through mid-October.  If weather allows, even longer.  I love the smell of clothes fresh off the line.  And I love watching my wee things running down the rows of fresh washed laundry, playing.  If I had my way (and our basement was a bit drier), I'd hang things out year round.  Let them freeze on the line and then hang them in the basement to thaw and dry.  Imagine how fresh they would be!  Ahhhh!

Our chickens started laying again last week.  Thing #4 was so excited to have a fresh "eggie" that she held it and dropped it all over the floor and then started to cry.  Poor baby!  Some people have chickens that lay year round, but we started with a fresh batch in the fall as ours were getting old.  And we don't keep a light on them in the winter.  So the kids are so excited to run home after school and check for eggs now!  I'm looking forward to having more eggs than I know what to do with.  I love fresh, brown eggs - those white eggs from the store all winter just don't cut it!

The kids are ready to start jumping in puddles.  Ah, heck - so am I.  *laugh*  Maybe once it warms up into the 40's at least......

And I can't wait for it to warm up enough that I can open up all the windows of the house and air it out.  Get rid of that stale winter air.  Start some spring cleaning....continue with the decluttering and deep cleaning.  Finish painting the kitchen, wok on renovating the bathroom.....and probably a ton more projects that will come up!

Spring means a fresh clean start.  Spring means warmer air and mud puddles.  Spring means fresh eggs, veggies and air.  Spring means sunshine.  Spring is one of my favorite seasons.

I'm sure the sunshine won't continue forever.  I mean, it is only the beginning of March and I do live in Michigan.  But I'll take it when I can get it and live it to the fullest!

Just call me......Spring Dreamin'
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Intentional Living vs. Intentional Blogging

Well, I may be trying to be more intentional in life, but apparently that hasn't transended into my blogging!    I apologize for my lack of posting for the past couple of weeks.  Work has been crazy and the kids have been crazy and well, really, I've just been spending more time away from the computer and more time with the family.  It's been nice. 

So anyhoo.....I'll be serial posting tonight.  I have a few thouhts to put down on the page.  But first...time to run Thing #1 to dance class and a stop at the Dollar Store to look for some Luau Birthday Party supplies.  I'll be back later tonight with all kinds of goodies!
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