Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shut the **BLEEPING** TV off!

Don't you remember when there were only 7 channels on the television?
And you had to have "rabbit ears" or an atenna on top of your set?
AND, sometimes when you couldn't get great receiption, your dad would tell you to go get some aluminum foil so he could put it on those rabbit ears in hopes that the picture would come in better?
{this was back when I had a pet dinosaur! and children walked to school...even when it rained!} LOL
Now we have 100's of stations on television...why have just one ESPN channel when 10 are better??? really?
Now days, if you want to have television, you have to have cable or satellite or some form of service where you pay in order to view programs on that box with pictures...no more rabbit ears required.
Up until 4 months ago, we too had some sort of paid television service. I didn't mind the princes watching programs...in fact I really enjoyed Disney channel and Nick {for the most part}...it wasn't until one day I heard almost a yelling conversation taking place on a program and every, other word was being bleeped out.
I was busily doing whatever it was that I was doing and in the familyroom, I could hear the BLEEPING becoming increasingly more repeated to where you couldn't even hear anything that the person was actually saying!
After my initial investigation...I discovered that in was a program {I can't remember the name} on an MTV station...where aparently, BLEEPING was common place.
This was my first experience with this sort of program...so trying to be the level headed mom...I walked into the room...watched for a few minutes and then turned to my zombiefied princes who were glued - eyes glazed - to the tv and said "if I hear more than 2 BLEEPS in a row, and you don't turn it...I will disconnect the tv."
I don't think they for one moment thought that I would actually do it...
but I stuck to my word...
because it didn't even take the rest of that week before I heard the BLEEPING BLEEP BLEEP on the BLEEPING BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP again!
So our nice cable guy, came out the very next day and removed all the lovely little cable boxes and took them and the television clickers with him.
Fast forward 4 months...
I like the fact that I don't hear the BLEEPING anymore...
I like that yesterday I caught my 15 year old READING a book in the familyroom instead of watching some BLEEPING program...
I like the fact that as a family we have sat down and had movie nights again ~ haven't done that in a while...
I do however miss McDreamy!
Not sure how much longer I'll be able to go without the paid television service...
We have, however become more aware of the types of shows that the princes were watching and IF we do get some sort of service back, there will be rules and time limits heavily inforced...
On the other hand...I am enjoying the BLEEPING silence.
next hill to climb...youtube! one battle at a time!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Man Cave...BEFORE & AFTER


Being in our new little cottage for a little over a month now...
When we couldn't find a place for stuff, it kinda got put out in the garage {aka the man cave}
This didn't set too well with my hunny...because afterall ~ it is "his" space and it was being invaded by STUFF
My hunny loves organization {just another reason I love him} and it was driving him crazy to have his domain so unorganized!
He made appointments with the entire family to make sure no one had anything going on Saturday so we could all help with this huge undertaking.
I personally was just hoping to finally find the box of pots and pans {if I haven't already said this...we still haven't been able to find the box that contains all the cookware ~ had to go buy a pot and a pan until we can find "the" box}
10 hours later...it went from the horder look to organized!
All the shelves up, lights hung, big boy toys in their places...
But sadly...no box of cookware to be found!
I really hope that when we take the Christmas boxes out of the rafters ~ there we will find the "box"!
All that is left is some scrapbook stuff {which he lovingly reminded me that is my "stuff"} to go through ~ thinking a garage sale is in order to minimize it all! lol
Grateful for my hunny and his OCD ways!
Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Gift of Time, the Menu Board & What's For Dinner? {Wednesday}


Some of you may remember my little Menu White Board tutorial that I did a while back...I love that little thing. It sits on my counter and I often get comments on it like today.
On my little Menu board I generally have one of two lists on there. 1) the 12 meals that I always have ingredients for OR 2) the weekly dinner menu. Right now I have this week's dinner menu up there because with our very hectic schedules lately, it's nice to know that I don't have to think about what to make for dinner...it's already planned.
And being an extremely busy mom, photographer, volunteer, you name it - my hunny gave me a gift a few months back...the gift of help and time! I love him for lots of reasons, but he gets extra brownie points for this...this gift comes twice a month for about 3 hours a day and is a sweet lady named Shirley...she really is the sweetest lady and she helps me with some of the cleaning around the cottage...I am so grateful to my hunny and my cleaning friend Shirley for the gift of time and help!
Anyway, today Shirley was here and she commented on the Menu Board and said what a clever idea...to plan out and write down what the dinner schedule is for the week.
I explained to her that it helps me to stay organized and that I never really have to hear, "What's for Dinner?" because they know to look at the board.
The Menu Board, like Shirley, really was another gift of time in my book...being and staying organized always is it seems...
So with that...What's For Dinner? It was my yummy spaghetti and garlic bread. I don't mean to boast...lol...but it really is yummers. Last week at our mid-week Youth Group at church, one of my Young Women (that's where I serve, is with the Young Women) came up to me and told me she was "craving" my spaghetti...and that she thought that I should make some very soon and bring it in on a Wednesday night! LOL
Two very special ingredients are what makes my spaghetti extra good...Bacon & a Lawry's Spaghetti Sauce seasoning packet!
So here's the full recipe:
Sauce -
1 lb lean ground beef OR italian sausage (browned and crumbled)
about 1/4 lb of bacon (cut into small pieces and throw in with meat as you are browing it)
1 lrg jar of spaghetti sauce (any brand, any flavoring)
1 pkg Larwy's spaghetti sauce seasoning packet

Brown meat and bacon together until meat is fully cooked. Pour off any excess grease. Pour shaghetti sauce into pan. Open seasoning pkt and pour into spaghetti sauce jar. Add about 1/4 cup water to jar. Replace lid on jar and shake. Pour seasoning into the pan with meat and sauce and stir completely. Place over warm heat until bubbly.

Add 1 lb cooked spaghetti noodles to the sauce and stir til noodles are completely covered with sauce.

*Option* sometimes I will add shredded cheddar cheese to the sauce...just for a twist.
Serve with warm galic bread.
Also, you can double the recipe and split it to freeze 1/2 for another night's dinner to save some time.
I hope you can try this...and find a way to give yourself the gift of time
enjoy

Feeling My {Age}

I was reminded at three points today how old I really am.
Just to put it out there...I'm {42 years old}.
Dang! It sounds so old because as an 18 year old "girl" graduating from high school...my mom was 38 and having her 20 year reunion from high school...and she was soooooooooo old to me! LOL
But really, I don't feel like I should be 42...do I?
#1 prince is a senior in high school...I know this...and I'm coming to terms with the fact that in less than a year, my baby will be off to college and then in just over a year will serve a mission for our church. How is this possible?
I remember just like it was yesterday, my perfect, brand new baby boy in my arms...and a friend, who was also a new mommy, saying something like ~ I calculated when my baby will graduate high school...yada yada
It made me think and I too calculated the year that my precious little prince would matriculate ~ 2011...hahaha I thought to myself...that's just so far away!
After school today...he handed me his "senior packet"! The information on cap and gown and tassel...class ring...graduation announcements...I got that ringing in my ears where you can't really hear anything clearly for a few minutes as all the images in this senior packet were swirling around in my head...reminded me of his first day of kindergarten...I can't even go there right now...
Today my very good friend Natalie and her precious girls, texted and asked if the boys and I wanted to go get some frozen yogurt. At the time, #2 & #3 princes and I were going to start our workout...but I said yes because I wanted to put off the insanity for just a little while longer.
We had a great time!
Just hanging out, talking, eating some yummy frozen goodness and being together.
Natalie and I have known each other since we were 12 so we go way back...and during our conversation she says, isn't our 25th high school reunion coming up? I kinda choked a little...and then got that ringing in my ears again...25 years...25 years...the words kept resounding in my head. There's no way! We just had our 20th! I know because I helped plan it! I calculated the numbers...she's right ~ 2011 - 1986 = 25 years!
We finished our yogurt and came back to our little cottage to continue our wonderful time with our friends...
Once the girls were gone...I couldn't put the workout off any longer. I knew that if I didn't do it, then I would be upset at myself in the morning! And the princes were ready to go!
Let me just say...Shaun T, the guy who came up with this workout is INSANE...and I tried with everything I had to do the entire thing...but I had to modify most of the moves about 20 mins in.
As I worked out, I had flashback memories of a workout video {yes I said video as in VHS!} that my grammy used to do. It was a Richard Simmons workout where the little old ladies used a chair and they would sit and stretch...I would watch my grammy and giggle as she would bend and stretch...and she was a whole whoppin' 50 years old at the time probably! Can't you just see Richard in those stripped short shorts and that curly brown afro hair of his...LOL I can just hear him!
Once the workout was finished...and the three of us were gasping for air and sucking down the water...I slowly drug myself over to my chair and asked...no panted desperately for someone to bring me an IB800 and water...
and here I sit...because my body is too sore to even move...
I hear the bathtub beckoning me...to rest my old aching muscles...
I think I may shuffle my way down the hall and see if I can move.
Not feeling sorry for myself by any means...
I just have to come to grips with the fact that I'm getting older...
But I don't have to succom to being OLD...
My mother would always tell me{and I'm sure you've heard it a million times}
"You're only as old as you feel"
Up until today...I was feeling like I was 30 something...
Now...about 100...lol
After a good long soak in a nice hot tub and a good nights sleep...hopefully 42 again...and honestly that's just fine by me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What's that smell? {really?}

That little 3 word statement can go one of two ways...
It could be...
"ooooooo yum! What's that smell? Is that {cookies} {brownies} {banana bread}?" take your pick on the yummy smell of your choice.
It could be...
"oh mom is that Pumpkin Bread?" only for them to be disappointed to find out that it's my Pumpkin Spice Sentsy waxie thingie burning...LOL bahahahaha and then a "Dang it!" follows that with disappointment on their face. So then I feel obligated to make brownies or some other baked yummy!
OR it could be like today!
Some of you know that we moved...not far...same village ~ just 3 blocks over, but we have had a few issues at the new cottage. So the garage isn't quite put together yet and the outside fridge is not where I can easliy access it {my hunny says after todays turn of event, it will all be put together this Saturday}...
Anyway, I get ahead of myself...
So my hunny needed to put something out in the outside fridge and he took out a bowl that was taking up space and put it on the kitchen counter...not looking at what the contents of that bowl was.
After running my Monday morning errands, I return to the cottage 4 hours later and about pass out as I walk through the door..."What's that smell!" That's not the good scenario! After a little investigation...I discover the science experiment in the bowl that came from the outside fridge sitting on the kitchen counter. {really?}
GROSS! So the Goddess went to work...plugged in all the Sentsy waxie thingies with warm Mochadoodle sents in them all...held my breath...rinsed out the bowl...poured an entire box of baking soda on the bowl, sink and down the garbage disposal....I held it together only gagging a couple times!
Fast forward two hours...#4 prince walks through the door...and he exclaims "What's that smell??? Brownies?"
LOL looks like I'll be making brownies later!

Weekend {Wrap-up} - wedding, football, family & friends


What a crazy, busy, wonderful past few days!
Starting Thursday...it always gets super busy around here...
But this weekend was extra busy ~ cuz I was going non-stop!
It definately was a picture taking weekend!
Went to football game for #2 & #3 boy on Thursday...took 204 pictures
Wedding on Friday {amazing couple}...took 665 pictures
Action Photography Saturday for pee-wee football...took 540 pictures
Family Pictures of a good friend's kiddos on Sunday...took 153 pictures
Add that all up = 1,562 pictures taken!
We even got in a little grocery shopping that was desperately needed since mom was too busy during the week...lol ~ gotta get prepared for the week ahead!
I'm so blessed to be able to do what I {love}, {love} what I do and be able to be around people I care about the most!
Hope you have an amazing week...enjoy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fit or {Insanity}...

A little over a year ago, I was about 80lbs heavier than I am right now. I won't bore you with all the details of how I did it ~ leave it to being said, I didn't have surgery...It was strict dieting, exercise, drinking more water than fish do and believing that I could get healthy and stay healthy. After all, I'm not getting any younger!
Fast forward a year to now. I feel great! Can fit into a size of clothes that I haven't been in, in almost 20 years...but now I have the bye-bye arms and floppy butt and thighs! So not pretty!
I know after a while of doing the same types of exercise and diet, your body tends to get used to it and stop progressing. Having boys, {4} of them to be exact, we have alot of weightlifting things around here and I have my eliptical thingie...but lifting weights just isn't my cup of tea ~ I want to continue to lose weight but also firm up the flop ~ not become a body builder!
The boys kept talking about the P90x thing but you don't just purchase the program, you have to have all the {toys} that go along with it...I am so into simple! I don't want a bunch a crud-ola to have to use...honestly, it's just more stuff for me to trip on as I'm trying to exercise. Ya...that's a pretty picture!
Anyway...I digress...so then #3 boy says something about some kind of insane workout ~ later he explained that, that's the name "Insanity Workout". I thought is was kind of a funny name for a workout and how bad could it really be???

After doing a little reading about the workout, we determined that it sounded pretty good and would try it...The part I liked was that it was a 60 day program and they had each day planned for you and what you were supposed to do. Great!
I ordered it, and we anxiously awaited it's arrival! Yesterday before leaving for a photo shoot our package arrived! YEAH! I opened the box and took out the reading material.
As I read, words kept popping out at me, like "check with your physician before starting this program!" Oh Crud! What have I gotten myself into??? But I wasn't going to back down! #3 boy was so excited to do this and he was my cheerleader today, saying "Come on mom...you can do it!" He was so excited to start he could barely contain himself! First thing we did was the fitness test which determines how out of shape you really are! And although I did ok on some of them, my form was awful! #3 boy is super in shape but was sweating like crazy. {I have to say as a proud mommy though, he did better than one of the guys that's on the video!} I walk 4 miles at least 4 days a week and don't think I've ever sweat so much in my entire life!
Monday starts the real butt kicking. Oh boy! I can't wait! {dripping with sarcasam!} But I am so determined to give this everything I have...even if it's not perfect! I will keep you posted as to how I'm progressing.
Cross your fingers...let the butt kicking begin!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

{Austria?} Isn't that a continent?


That is what one of my boys {one who will remain un-named for fear of embarrassment and harrassment} said when I told them where our foreign exchange students were coming from this year. Ahh our public education system at work! LOL
So for those who don't know me very well...
Other than being a mom, wife, photographer, scrapbooker, crafter, volunteer extrodinaire...I am also a Program Leader in the summer for a foreign exchange homestay program. Just a mere 28 days of our summer but it seems like a lifetime of memories are created in that short span of time.
Sometimes, we get several countries ~ like in the summer of 2009 ~ we had Spain, Russia, France and Germany. And in our own cottage we had 3 students stay with us from 3 of those countries.
Well this past summer, only 1 country was chosen to come to our little village ~ and that was Austria! And from Austria ~ 11 students PLUS we got 2 bonus students from Slovania {which we found out is a neighboring country to Austria} and 1 chaperone would be coming to stay. Each of the students had host families that they stayed with in our little village and the chaperone {Andrea} stayed with us at our little cottage.
I don't know what it was about these kids...but I poured over each one of their applications ~ I was like that new mommy pregnant for the first time ~ planning out everything perfectly for the arrival of that precious little bundle of joy! It really was similar...I could hardly wait for their arrival ~ I planned trips and outings and all the fun things they would do for the short month they would be here with me. I knew them even before they arrived ~ I knew their names...I knew what they looked like...I knew their interests...where they came from...I was leaving no stone unturned!
So the day of their arrival came...on the bus drive to the airport I could hardly contain myself. As I waited at the gate for them to come up through the customs terminal...I could finally see them! I started calling out their names with eagerness, waving my hands in the air and grabbing each one of them up in a big mama hug! {I even got reprimanded by an airport security guard for stepping over "the line" a few times ~ LOL} I shocked them all {because they told me later}...but a few of them thought who is this crazy nice lady hugging me??? They were shocked and happy to know that I knew their names. It made them feel more comfortable right away.
I took litterally 1000's of pictures of their trip to California...documented everything for them and their families to see back home in Austria & Slovania. I only got a few eye rolls by the end...but they all said that they liked it ~ and it made me so happy to do it for them.
Over the course of the next few weeks...each one of those 13 young people, became like family to us.
At our beach party farewell...they gave me a beautiful charm bracelet ~ one of the charms said "mom". And they made me a beautiful card that I want to share with you what they wrote:
"There are so many things we would like to thank you for but honestly there isn't enough space to write them all down. Since our arrival and throughout the whole time here you've bee a caring mother to us all. You treated us as if we were your own children. Whenever a problem occured you knew exactly how to solve it. You've been working 24/7 to make our experiences unforgettable and genuinely unique. Frankly, there are no words that can express how grateful we are. So all we can say is DANKE! We {Heart} U MOM and we will miss you. Your children from Austria & Slovania p.s. thanks for the pictures and the memories"
I have the card on my desk and I like to read the last line ~ we {heart} U MOM and we will miss you. Your children from Austria & Slovania...and you know what is so awesome??? I get to talk to most all of my Austrian & Slovanian children {some almost daily} more often through social networking...so even with the 9 hour difference I can instantly say hi to one of my sweet girls...like I did a minute ago before she got ready for school...
I'm so blessed to have {4} terrific and amazing sons...and grateful for the opportunities this life has afforded me to open our cottage to some other pretty amazing young people from around the world...
So if you're interested in what kept me busy for a better part of the summer and away from blogging...check out my personal Facebook page and take a peek at the photo albums {there are plenty to see} and you will get to know 13 + 1 of Austria (and Slovania)'s finest young people.

What's For Dinner {Wednesday}...

Wednesday is THE all-time busiest day of our week for several reasons I won't bore you with...suffice it to say ~ once our feet hit the floor in the morning we are all on the run until very late in the evening!
So I've been trying something new around our little cottage...and wanted to share it with you. Each Wednesday {hopefully} I will bring you an easy recipe that you can make for your family too.
One really cool thing that I've been doing was inspired by those places like "Dream Dinners" where you go spend a couple hours and make 6 meals...bring them home and stick them in your freezer...Well I don't have that kind of time or money to spend, so what I've done is started doubling some of the dishes that I make and created two ~ stuck one in the freezer to be used on another day. It's also nice when a friend or neighbor is in need of a dinner brought in ~ just grab one out of your freezer ~ heat it up in the oven and voila! Like you'd been slaving away all day!
The first recipe I'd like to share with you is my family's all time favorite casserole. It's super easy to make this one and double it!


Curry Chicken Casserole
3-4 large Chicken Breasts (cooked and shredded or cubed)
3 cups cooked rice (for a quick alternative ~ use Minute Rice ~ just follow directions on box)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup Milk
1 cup Mayonaise
1-2 Tblspn Mild Curry Powder


In a 13 x 9 pan, layer rice on the bottom. Mix together the cooked (shredded or cubed) chicken, Cream of Chicken Soup, Milk, Mayonaise and Curry Powder. Pour chicken mixture over the rice, spreading out evenly. Bake uncovered in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 20 to 25 minutes until casserole starts to turn a toasty yellow-ie brown on top.
***Healthy Alternative Alert*** Add a green veggie to the chicken mixture before baking casserole. I have used green beans, brocolli and asparagus in the past. Disguise those veggies every chance I get!

Again, this is super easy to double and split into to 13x9 pans {I suggest getting a few of the disposable, re-useable kind for the ones you stick into the freezer ~ the kind that come with lids} - one to eat and one to freeze.
enjoy...

My {4} Princes...School Pictures 2010


Here's the 2010 School Picture debut for the boys: Michael is a senior; Korey a junior; Logan a ladies man ~ I mean a sophmore; and my baby Trevor who isn't a baby anymore, is in 8th grade! Just a blink of an eye...that's all it took and they all grew up!

Soon enough they will leave home, serve missions, go to college, have jobs and start families of their own...but for now they are still here with me and I am cherishing every moment of everyday that I have with these wonderful young men...

sorry I got a little misty there for a moment...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

If Mr. Doolitte says it's so...then you know it's right!



On our way to Mutual tonight I took the opportunity to talk to Trevor and Michael about their days at school. Trevor, not being for a shortage of words these days, tells Michael and I excitedly about something his science teacher, Mr. Doolittle told them today about gravity.

Trevor..."Mom! Mr. Doolittle told us that if you opened up a Pringles can in space and let the chips fly out in space ~ in 3000 years they'll all smush together and create their own gravitational pull!"

Michael..."Like creating it's own Earth???"

Trevor..."YA! A Pringles Planet!"

Mom..."And Mr. Doolittle is old enough to have been around 3000 years to do the experiment himself?"

Trevor..."He is pretty old ya know and knows alot of stuff."

LOL I'm sure Mr. Doolittle is younger than I am...but I'm pretty sure Trevor thinks that I had a pet dinosaur when I was younger too!

My 15 minutes of Fame {really???}


Making Memories Blog gave me my 15 minutes of fame today.
I made this cute little Destination Travel book and they liked it so much, they made me their Guest Desinger this week...

So go check me out! LOL bahahahahahaha!
It really is a cute little book!
And the paper and stickers and stuff was fun to work with

enjoy...

Halloween in Wonderland Tag Garland



I thought I would share this cute little Halloween Tag Garland I made.
I used Graphic45 "Halloween in Wonderland" line of paper, my Bags, Tags, Boxes and More - Cricut Cartridge to cut out the tags and some ribbon (it's not a project unless there's ribbon!)

I ended up teaching this as a class at the Stampin' Post in Old Town Temecula ~ oh what fun! I now have it hanging in my family sitting room on my fireplace mantel...

I'm not much for decorating for Halloween (although I'm not opposed to it) just getting myself psyched up for Christmas!

enjoy...

Hello Blog World...sorry I've been gone so long

Well hello!
did you miss me???
I really didn't fall off the face of the earth!
Promise ~
But I did move...
had a crazy hectic summer
and now I'm back!
I've missed crafting and blogging!
So I will start posting on a more regular basis!
I have so much to tell you!!!