Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

When I started this blog, my intention was to share things about my life that I thought may help others in one way or another. Even though I haven't posted in quite some time, it is always nice to know that there is a place to put down my thoughts. Today, my thoughts are about Mother's and my very short journey in my own motherhood.

As I think about my Mom, I can say that I am more grateful to her as a mother now that I am one myself. I imagine that I am not the only that feels this way. I find myself doing things that she did with Chad and I, saying things that she said to us, and all around just being the kind of Mom that she was and still is. She is a common sense kind of woman that didn't tolerate us being disrespectful or talking back. She dealt with our picky eating (even though Gabe is 100 times more picky then we were!). We made forts out of couch cushions and bed sheets. We danced to Bob Seger on a vinyl record player in the middle of the living room. She cheered us on at ball games and band concerts. She taught us affection and love. She told us that when things are bad, there is always someone out there that has it worse than we do, and we need not complain.

As a Grandma (or "Gram" as she calls herself), she is in the business of spoiling my son. She has not forgotten the times I would stand on a stool and "help" my Grandma with dishes..what really was going on is my Grandma sneaking me Pepsi..regular Pepsi..with REAL sugar..Lol! They say paybacks are a ...well, you know. She does me the courtesy of sneaking Gabe diet soda, and oreos, and hoho's, and pudding, and cheese get the picture. I used to protest, but I have learned to keep my mouth shut...just as she did while my Grandma filled me with sugar behind her back. Good times. :)

Now that I am a Mom, she encourages my decisions. She assures me that it will get better, and that it may even get worse before it gets better. She tells me that I am doing a good job. She lets me know when I did something wrong. She reminds me that making mistakes is par for the course, and everything is not my fault (she knows how hard I can be on myself..). She loves me, and walks me through every step of a road that she has traveled. And for that, I am eternally grateful. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love cookies. I haven't met many that I don't love; and as much as I love eating them, I love baking them even more. Gabe has been hitting one milestone after another, and it occured to me today that he has never really "helped" me bake. He loves to watch, but has never really done it. So I decided I would give it a try today. What fun we had!! He was so excited to help, and even more excited to eat the results! Lol :)

He had a lot of fun dumping the flour and other dry ingredients into the bowl, and turning the KithenAid on and off. When it came time to put in the chocolate chips, he would rather eat them then put them in the dough!

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (I use Land O Lakes)
1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Cream above ingedients together until smooth. (FYI- you can use all butter or all Crisco, or my Mom uses half Crisco and half margarine..whatever you like), then add:
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
 1 tsp baking soda
 Mix together and then add to butter mixture until smooth. Then add in one bag of chocolate chips. Roll into one-inch balls, and bake for 10-12 minutes (I do ten) at 375 degrees. YUMMY!  

A Cheap Meal

I am a sucker for Italian food, who knew?? Lol :) I was lucky enough to work for the Angello's at their family business for the better part of my late teens/early twenties. I learned a TON about food, and came to love just about everything they made. I have no idea how to make homemade ravioli, so I go with the bag stuff. As I started making this I realized what a cheap meal for a family of 4 this is (it makes 4 servings, I know I only have a family of three ;) ), and thought I would share, so the next time you find these things on sale, you can be thrifty and have a cheap delish, easy meal as well! :)

This stuff was on sale at Giant Eagle this past week:
Rosetto Raviloi - $3
Hunt's Pasta Sauce- $1.25
Ground Beef (this was on sale the week before) - $2.99/lb (extra lean)
Total: $7.24 ($1.81 per serving for a family of four)
Brown the ground beef, add the sauce, cook ravs to package directions!

Quick, easy, tasty and point friendly :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Who Doesn't Love a $30 Target Gift Card!?

Many of you know I am a follower of SistersShoppingOnAShoestring. I have had a few wonderful oppotunities over the past year to interact and get to know Sara and Lisa Steigerwald, and they are two amazing ladies! One of the best things about couponing is that you are able to help out more, and donate a boat load of items to people who would usually go without. They encourage couponers to have giving hearts, and to always leave something on the shelf for the person who comes next. If you have not been to one of their classes, I would encourage you to do so! They are so much fun, and you will not believe how much money you could be saving at the grocery store and on health and beauty products.

To celebrate having 3,000 Facebook followers, SistersShoppingOnAShoestring is giving away three $30 Target Gift Cards. To learn more about this giveaway please go to

A New Week..

What a week we had around here last week. It didn't go quite as I planned, but after all, that never seems to happen. I feel that this week can be better, and I am hoping to take what I learned and apply it.

The first week on WW was great, and I followed the plan just as I should have. However, I am finding it hard to maintain the tracking of every bite of food I put in my mouth. I am determined to do better at this week and I know it is very important for success.

Secondly, three words: hydration, hydration, hydration. The more I have thought about it, I have realized that before I started WW, I was drinking at least half of my calories away every day!! Just drinking them! That is just ridiculous, and I have found that the Crystal Light drink mixes are a life saver when I feel that I need something with a little flavor :)

Third, exercise. Last week it was pretty non-exsistent. I did buy Just Dance 2, and what a blast that is! By time I have played with Gabe all day, went grocery shopping, laundry, schoolwork and everything else, exersice does not seem to be a part of the equation. Once again, I know that it is important and really great for my body (and my heart), so tis week I will try harder to get it in.

I bought talapia for dinner tonight, can't wait to see if I can trick Gabe into eating it :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

End of the Week Miracle

We learn so much as we become mothers. I never realized that so much of it is trial and error. Your celebrate their successes, sometimes you cry when they cry, and sometimes you want to laugh when you really should be serious. Through illnesses, fevers, runny noses, hospital stays, rashes, hurt feelings, lost toys, mood swings, tears, laughter, fear and doubt we find a way to raise our children to the best of our ability. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we feel like we fail. But at the end of the day we are left with two big eyes, a set of chubby cheeks, and more love than you sometimes think can fit in your heart.

As many of you know, Gabe has become quite the picky eater. I know this is going to sound ridiculous but it really did seem to happen over night. He went from eating everything in sight to eating a few fruits, pizza, french fries, yogurt, milk and goldfish. That's it. This has went on for months now, and we have tried every which way we could think of to get him to eat.

It turns out that a little tough love is all that was needed to turn around my toddler. I thought I had done the tough love thing, but apparently I was giving in too soon. I thought 20 minutes was long enough for him to sit in his high chair and sob because he didn't want to eat what was for dinner, but I was wrong. I was starting to think that his defiance and attitude about not wanting to eat would never change, but again I was wrong.

Jeremy saved the day today. My husband is amazing, and proves it to me every day we are on earth together. I made spaghetti, a dish that Gabe used to love, but hasn't touched in months. We had fun with it, and encouraged him to pick it up with his fingers. At first, he wanted nothing to do with it, and even tried to give the plate back. But, Jeremy was persistent that he was going to eat, and gave the plate right back. Usually, Gabe and I go through the plate exchange up to 10 times in one meal. That's his way of saying, "umm..I'm not eating this". Jeremy decided to go back to the old food airplane trick, and Gabe finally took a bite! He quietly chewed, swallowed (which is a HUGE step in itself, before even if we could get it in his mouth, he would spit it out), looked up at me and said "Num Num, Num Num"!! He promptly started SHOVELING the spaghetti in! He ate the whole plate of pasta (and I gave him a rather generous serving).

I cried tears of joy at the dinner table tonight. As I sit and think about these past months, I always try to ask myself not "Why?", but "What?". "What" is God trying to teach from this experience? I think He knows that I needed help in the patience department, and I think He was trying to teach me patience for sure. I also think that He was showing Jeremy and I how strong our marriage is, because there were times when we did not agree with how this should be handled, but we always found a way to compromise and try a different way next time. I also think He was showing me that I must keep trying, even when I don't want to, and I'm tired, and I don't want to fight about food (or whatever it is). At the end of the day, we know what is best for Gabe, and we must keep trying to instill that into him every day.

So tonight, my friends, I didn't stick to my weight watchers plan very well this week, and even though I ate a lot of fruits and veggies, I also ate a lot of chocolate. But that doesn't matter to me tonight. Because tonight, even though in the timeline of Gabe's life him eating a plate of spaghetti is a small step, in the timeline of my life as a mother, this step feels huge.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Love Your Enemies?

I really want this blog to be overall lighthearted. I am a happy person, with more blessings in my life than I can count. But I read something tonight that made my blood bubble.

I really have a problem with people who use a religious platform to spew a message of hate and anger. God is love. He commands us to love one another, even when we don't want to. Jesus shows us time and time again His love for us, and how we should love eachother. I try to keep this in mind every day, I want to love completely.

I will not name this group, but many of you know who I am speaking of. Said "group" decided to protest at the 9- year old's funeral who was shot and killed in Arizona this past week. Why, you ask? Because she was Catholic.

Yes, this group, who claim to be Christians believe that "God poured out His wrath upon" this innocent girl because she is Catholic, and they want the world to know it.

As I read the article further, it seems that this group decided not to protest her funeral because instead, they were offered radio-time at a well known station in exchange for not protesting the funreal. They figure they can reach more ears over the radio waves.

Unreal. I am never ceased to be amazed at this group, as they also protest at military funerals.

As I sit here and think about it, I try very much to maintain a Christian perspective. However, I can say that I believe one of the most difficult things that Jesus tells us to do is to "love our enemies" .

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thank God it's Friday!

As many of you know, Jeremy works a swing shift. It is not the most ideal situation, but we deal with it the best we can. He works seven days in a row, and then had two days off, so his "weekends" usually fall during the week. Today, while it is Tuesday to most of you , it is Friday to us! :)

I am excited that he will have tomorrow off, because with all of the snow that is coming, I am hoping to break out Gabe's new snow suit and snow boots and take him outside for some Kodak moments! Pictures will be posted :)

As we hunker down for the snow that is coming, I feel like soup is in order. I made beef stew for dinner today (Yum!), but I am thinking that Cheeseburger Soup or my Mom was telling she made a really delish Chicken Tortilla soup yesterday. What is your favorite soup on cold winter days?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Making a Living..

After I left my job at COA, to be a stay-at-home Mom, I found myself feeling like I needed to "contribute" more financially to our household. Not at anyone's urging except my own, Jeremy is quite content with my role as a Mom and a wife. So I started to think, what am I good at?

I know that I love to bake. I know that I have always wanted my own business. Seems like a good fit. I have been so blessed with a business that I can run out of my home, with loyal customers, and a family that supports me. Even though at the end of the day, I really don't have the first clue about running a business. I've heard that you are suppose to write up a "business plan" with short and long term goals. Yeah, definitely didn't do that. I've heard you are suppose to charge a certain percentage over what your costs are. Nope, don't do that either. I charge what I would be willing to pay for my treats.

So, at the the end of the day, for someone with no plan, I'm really not doing half bad. However, there is this one small thing...

Who in their right mind thought it would be a good idea for the girl that should lose 100+ pounds to run a cookie business? Helllllooooo.....

I didn't do half bad over Christmas. I think I made so many I was almost sick of looking at them. Which puzzled me, because after working at Angello's for years, I still was never sick of pasta..Hmm.

However, tonight, I managed to eat three cookies before I really realized what I was doing. I did, however, stop myself from eating a dozen. So, even though I waivered a bit, it wasn't a total bust. I started to remember what it felt like to eat "mindlessly", I don't like that feeling. Another goal for this week is to try not to do that.

Sorry for the randomness, but I promised to share my successes and messes :) Goodnight.

Thoughts and Goals for the New Week..

This is my last week of vacation from school before spring semester begins. I am determined to make it productive, healthy and fun. I had a great start to the week yesterday when I weighed in, down 5 pounds on the scale! I love it when a plan comes together!
I have been thinking of a meal plan for this week, I think it will involve a lot of chicken.
I do know that I will need to make one more trip to the store to stock up on things before the snow comes. I don't think those four boxes of Cheerios is gonna cut it!
As the number on te scale goes down, so does the number of points I get every day. I already lost a point, and I kinda miss it! However, I don't miss the pounds..
I have a goal of getting Gabriel to try one new food this week. Even if he spits it out of his mouth.
Scratch the chicken, beef stew sounds better.
I've had 4 bills that need to mailed in my purse for 3 days now, why can I not remember to put them in a darn mailbox?
I'm gonna work on new cookie/gift basket ideas.  I think a trip to Flower Factory is in order..

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Life Is Full Of Choices..

Choices. We are faced with so many every day that we probably don't think twice about most of them. In evaluating my eatng habits, I soon realized what poor choices I have been making for myself. Did I really need to eat three Reese Trees in one sitting AND have ice cream before bed? Probably not.

I am using this blog partly to make me accountable for what I put in my mouth. I have done really good this week at hitting my daily points range for what I have eaten. On top of the daily points, I also get 40-some weekly points to distribute how I like, or to use all at once, or not at all. I wanted to go out for lunch, but without ruining my whole plan. I searched through the WW site....

What was a pleasant surprise?? Pizza Hut! One of my favorites!

I could easily swing two bread sticks and half of a personal pan meat lovers pizza and still have plenty of points for the rest of the day. Oh...but could I really only eat HALF of a personal pan pizza?

YES! I can and I did! AND I was full! I am starting to realize that I was doing a whole lot of "mindless" eating. Not really paying attention to what I was eating, how much, and eating well after my body was telling me that it had had enough.

I know that there will be highs and lows to this journey, but lunch today was most certainly a high! Not only can I eat what I normally eat, I can be smart about it! How empowering :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Chubba Wubba Bubba

Gabe is always in the kitchen (yes, I know, he MUST be my son , right?? :) ) . and when he saw me taking pictures of the food, he had to have his picture taken too! 

Back In Business Baby!

I can't believe it, but next month will be a year since I went to my first SistersShoppingOnAShoestring coupon class! I have to say, it was very eye opening and life changing! I coupon to the best of my ability and as much as my schedule allows. Unfortunately, with school and the holidays, my schedule didn't allow very much :( However, I am BACK to my coupon clipping ways, and it felt so nice to sit and clip my coupons and organize my binder today! My Dad was kind enough to come and sit with Gabe so I could go coupon shopping at Giant Eagle all by my lonesome, and oh how fun it was! Even though they were out of the 200 calorie Digornio pizzas that I had my heart set on for lunch tomorrow, I did score Cheerios for 50 cents, free paper towels, and some pretty cheap make up. Here's how it went:

Total: $87.27
Amount saved with GE card, coupons, and ECoupons: $51.82
Total Amount Spent: $35.45

Cheerios: $2 
-$0.75 Man Coupon (MC)
= $0.50 per box

Bounty Paper Towels: $1
-$1.00 any Bounty ECoupon

Wisk $4.99
=$2.99 per bottle

Bounce Dryer Bar: $4.79
-$2.00 ECoupon
-$1.50 MC

Snack Pack Pudding $1
-$0.60 /3
= $1.80 for 3

Cafe Steamers $2.50 / Egg Beaters $3
-$1/2 Cafe Steamers
-$0.35/1 Egg Beaters
=$6.30 for 3 & I received a $3 catalina

Loreal Face Powder $6.99
-$2/1 MC
-$2/1 ECoupon
= $2.99 each.

Dreamfeild Pasta $2
-$1/1 MC
=$1 each

Not to shabby for my first day back! :) Please click on the button to the right to check out SistersShoppingOnAShoestring website! They post the best deals, free samples, and coupons to help your couponing experience even easier!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

So Many Points, So Little Time...

As many of you know, I have recently joined Weight Watchers (WW). I find that the plan they recommend is about making healthier choices, and it's food you already have on hand, which is great for me. At WW they preach planning all of your meals, but let's face it, that is difficult to do. For example, today, I found myself with over 20 points nearing the end of the day, and really not feeling all that hungry. I decided on breakfast for dinner, because who can pass that up really?? This is what I came up with, and still had points to spare...

Yum!! Two eggs, bacon, 1/2 TBSP Mayo, and a half slice of american cheese on a bagel thin. Gabe even said "Num, Num. Num, Num". Not like he would eat it though! Oh well, that's a whole other post. Happy Eating!

Breakfast of Champions..

Over the years, I have tried breakfast many different ways. At heart, I am a plain Cheerios and milk kind of girl. Don't get me wrong though, I cannot pass up eggs, bacon, or sausage gravy and biscuits. However,  for the sake of healthy living, I have come across something very simple that is refreshing, filling and packed with nutrients. The Smoothie! Frozen fruit is much easier on the wallet this time of the year, and adds great texture.So, here's how it comes together:
About 6 frozen Strawberries
1 medium banana
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
About a 1 to 1 1/2 cups crushed ice

Put all ingredients in the blender, and viola! Of course, use any fruit you like..Strawberry and bananas are my favorite, but I had bananas and blueberries earlier in the week, and I have frozen mixed berries waiting in the fridge. Use your imagination!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Year..

I find that at the turn of a new year, there is much to be pondered from the years past. What can we change in this new year, how can we make it better, what can we do differently?

Here are a few things I have decided.

I refuse to "diet". I will, however, make better choices for myself and my family, change the way I prepare meals, and do everything in my power to make the number on the scale go down. Because quite frankly, this is no longer an issue of vanity, this is an issue of health. This is me, putting my size 10 foot DOWN! This is not a resolution, it is a life change.

I am assuming that I am not in this boat alone. As I find new ways to cook healthy meals, and learn how to bake in a healthier way as well, I will make an attempt to share those recipes here. Eventually, I hope to come up with sensible meal plans and suggestions for ways to avoid overeating, emotional eating, and how to make better choices when eating out.

What else am I learning? Being the Mom of a rambunctious two year old, I can honestly say that he teaches me something new every day. I am sure I will be sharing my "messes and sucesses" of motherhood as well. I have learned soo much from other mothers, and I hope that in sharing my experieinces I can help other Mom's too! :)

Also, I will share the awesome things that God does for me on a daily basis. Recently, He has led me to pursue my dreams of obtaining higher education. Last semster I enrolled at Liberty University, majoring in Psychology with a specialization in Christian Counseling. His will for my life, and the way He has guided me to get there has been amazing. It is my prayer that my love for Him shines through as you read this blog.

May God bless you richly.