Thank you for stopping by! Here you will find a variety of things as I post whatever happens to be going on in our home - recipes, crafts, homeschool, birthday parties, travels, meals in muffin tins and more! I'd love to know what you think so please feel free to leave comments!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yet another year has come and gone in my life. I've been sitting here, reflecting on this day that has passed and also this past year. For many people, edging closer to the big 4-0, as I am doing, becomes a bit of a depressing thing. I turned 38 today, so I really don't have much longer to go before I start the next decade of my life. I've been sitting here, trying to decide how I actually feel about it.

Honestly, I really don't even feel like I'm close to 40. I feel like I'm still a kid, waiting to be a real grownup. I wonder if I'll ever feel like a real grownup. I have all the responsibilities - bills, taxes, kids, husband. Is that what makes you a grownup? I'm not even sure this makes sense - looking at the calendar, I know I'm an almost 40 year old adult but, it just doesn't seem possible that so many years have passed. When did it all happen?

At this point, all this weirdness over how old I am might get confused as being upset or depressed about getting older. That's the funny thing. I'm not upset at all. When I start thinking back over the years, my regrets are so few and my joys are so bountiful that I can only think about what wonderful things there are to come. When I start thinking about all of the tomorrows to come, I can't help but think about my two precious babies (who are not really babies anymore) and my husband and all of the joys that they bring to my life. Don't get me wrong, it's not all rainbows and unicorns. There are definitely times that I feel like the kids are plucking at my last nerve and I'm going to pull out all of my hair as I am driven up the nearest wall. But no matter what, at the end of the day, when those sweet faces are looking up at me from their beds, all the craziness fades away and there is only joy. I just can't wait to see what the next day will bring with my awesome family. And it's not just my immediate family that brings happiness and joy into my life. It really is an awesome thing that I have my parents and my grandparents and my three brothers and their families in my life as well. I also have some of the most amazing friends in the world - both in real life and online.

When it comes down to it, I really can't be sad about getting older. I am surrounded by people that I love and who love me. I have more joy in my life than I ever could have imagined. I love my life and I wouldn't trade what I have for anything. I am at the beginning of another fantastic year. What could be sad about that?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Thoughts on Warm Delights

I decided to break out on of my yummy Betty Crocker Warm Delights as a little treat tonight. Hot Fudge Brownie. As I put it together, I glanced at the back of the package to see how long to microwave it and noticed the directions for putting the topping on after it was done baking. "Squeeze the topping pouch 10 times. Tear open and drizzle topping on the brownie." I kind of paraphrased the 2nd sentence but it was the 1st sentence that caught my attention. Squeeze the topping pouch 10 times. I immediately wondered how they came up with that number. Was it just a convenient round number? Is 10 the ideal number of times to squeeze hot fudge topping so that it flows easily out of the little foil pouch? From there, I couldn't help but imagine a Monty Python-esque scene where the people who are responsible for making up the directions were gathered and writing out the proper way to make a small microwave cake.

"Ten shall be the number of times thou shalt squeeze the topping pouch, no more, no less.Ten shall be the number of squeezes and the number of squeezes shall be ten. Eleven thou shalt not squeeze, nor shalt thou squeeze nine, excepting that thou then proceedest on to ten. Twelve is right out. Once the number ten, being the tenth number, be reached, then openest thou thy topping pouch and drizzleth on thy cake, which being quite yummy in my sight, shall be ingested."

Of course, then they decided upon the current set of directions that appears on the package. It would be more fun my way though. Yes, my mind tends to wander in these odd directions several times a day. I blame my husband. I don't think I had ever seen Monty Python in any form before I met him. I'm not certain whether I am better off for having been exposed to it or not. One thing I am sure of though: Those Betty Crocker Warm Delights sure do taste awesome!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

Today's Theme: ABC's/123's

We used both our ABC's and 123's to come up with this tin for lunch today.

Top Row: A is for Applesauce, B is for Bell Peppers, C is for Cantaloupe
Bottom Row: 1 Soy Joy Bar, 2 Hershey Kisses, 3 Peanut Butter Cracker Sandwiches

The tins were a big hit. Laural wanted to use her monkey chopsticks to eat her cantaloupe. I gave her chopsticks a couple days ago to eat her chow mein noodles and cantaloupe with and now, every time we have cantaloupe, she wants the chopsticks. She used the chopsticks for the peppers too. 

Laural loves eating with chopsticks!

Micah is such a messy little man!

New Fun! (Not so much, really)

Last night started a new & exciting activity in our house. Now, go back and read that first sentence and imagine a lot of sarcasm with it. At about 3 AM, I was still up, folding laundry and watching tv in my bedroom, when I suddenly hear movement and my daughter's voice in the hall. She was saying "I'm really dizzy! Oh my, I'm really dizzy!" over and over. She didn't sound upset or scared but almost giddy. I raced out to the hall because she didn't come into the bedroom and the stairs are between her room and mine. When I snapped on the light, she was already down the first flight and on her way down the second flight. I called to her to stop as I went down, but she didn't seem to hear me or understand me. When I caught up to her and grabbed her hand, it was then that she looked up at me. I asked what she was doing and she didn't have an answer. She looked a little confused. But I was not. She's a sleepwalker, just like her mama was. The funny thing is that I was just thinking earlier last night that I should probably bring the gate up at night just in case she got up at night and got confused. I guess I should have. Ahh, what fun. The worst part about last night was that once she woke up, she was awake. She didn't fall back to sleep until around 5:30 AM. Which means I didn't get to sleep until 5:30 AM. What a night!

In other news, we got word at about 4 PM today (45 minutes ago) that Amy is in labor and admitted to the hospital. We should have a new baby in the outside world by the end of the night! Very exciting! I'm looking forward to finding out if it's a girl or boy. They wanted to be surprised. I think they are hoping for a girl since they have two boys already. We will soon see!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Family Fun Friday Fail

Family Fun Friday didn't come to fruition this week. Steve got asked to come into work and since we really need the overtime pay, he couldn't say no. The kids and I had a typical evening. I made a simple dinner and we watched a little tv. Laural got into some trouble, so she earned herself an early bedtime. i have no idea where she got the water, but when I went in to check them while I was making dinner, she had water everywhere. The couch, he baby brother's head, her table, the stuffed animal she was brushing, the floor, my blanket. And Micah's pants were missing. For some reason, she seems to think he is one of her dolls that she can dress and undress. When I asked about the water, she totally lied to me about it. That is what earned her the early bedtime. She has become terrible with the lying lately. It's driving me crazy. It's to the point where she will lie to me even though I watched her do whatever it was - and she saw me watching her! Ugh! The boldness of a 4 year old. Yeesh!

Family Fun Friday!

I've decided to officially dub Fridays in our household Family Fun Fridays. I'm not sure what we will be doing yet. Laural can play some simpler board games with us but Micah is still a bit young for games. We will probably have a combination of things - maybe a couple of games, maybe a movie, maybe building crazy things with Legos and Mega Bloks. Who knows but whatever we do, I'll take some pics and post them later tonight. If anybody reads this and has a weekly family night, what do you do? If you have young children, how do you get them involved?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Muffin Tin Tuesday

Yep, I fell behind this week. Monday was busier than expected, so I decided to hold off our muffin tin meal until today. No theme this week, so we just had an ordinary lunch.

Top: Potato Chips (a rare treat in our house), Carrot Sticks, Cherry Crush Cup Yogurt
Bottom: Ranch Dip, Fish Sandwiches

Usually, Laural will just eat her fish cut into pieces and dips it in ketchup but this time, she insisted on having in a sandwich like I do. She only had one of them. I wasn't surprised.

For more on Muffin Tin Monday and to see what other moms have come up with, click on the button below.
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Here is this week's menu plan. Today is a busy day so it's sandwiches for dinner. Friday, we are going to have pizza while we have family game night. I think we will order out this week but next week, I think we might try a make your own pizza night. I don't know what kind of meal we will be having at the wedding but I do know I have been craving stir fry and oriental type dishes lately so I slated 2 nights this week for them!

Ham & Cheese Sandwiches
Carrot Sticks
Chips & Dip

Roast Beef
Mashed Potatoes

Sweet & Savory Lettuce Cups
Mandarin Oranges

Chicken Stir Fry


Dinner Out @ a Wedding

Big Chicken Salads

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Giant Eagle Sales & Matchups 1/14 - 1/20

I've decided to start posting some weekly sale & coupon matchups for Giant Eagle especially since a lot of the time, the subscription sites don't include internet printable coupons in their matchups. There are a couple of good freebies this week!

Starkist Tuna Pouches - 8 for $8 (must buy 8 otherwise they are 8 for $10)
- $1 off 1 MQ HERE = FREE

Quaker Quick or Old Fashioned Oats - 4 for $4 (must buy 4 otherwise they are 4 for $6)
- $1 off 1 MQ  HERE (FF) or HERE (IE) = FREE

Arnold Soft Bread - $1.49 ea.
- $.55 off 1 MQ (SS 11/8/09) = $0.39 ea.

Musselman's Healthy Picks or Totally Fruit 4pk - 10 for $10
- $.40 off 1 MQ HERE = $0.20 ea

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa - 10 for $10
- $.50 off 2 MQ (SS 1/10/09) = $0.50 ea
(This coupon wasn't in my inserts but is in the AFC database)

Giant Eagle Large Eggs - 5 for $5
(no coupon but a decent deal)

Betty Crocker Casserole Potatoes - 8 for $10
- $.35 off 1 MQ (GM 12/13/09) = $.55 ea

Bagel Bites - 5 for $10
- $1 off 1 HERE = $1 ea.
(I had to answer a short survey to get to the coupon)

Bar S Franks (excludes beef) - 4 for $5
- $1 off 2 HERE = $.75 ea

Stouffer's Entrees - 5 for $10
- $1 off 3 HERE - $1.66 ea
(This is a MQ from the Target website. It should be usable anywhere but some stores may refuse it because it has the Target logo on it.)

Del Monte Canned Fruit or Tomatoes - 10 for $10
- $1 off 4 HERE = $.75 ea

Toaster Strudel - 3 for $5 (must buy 3 otherwise 3 for $6)
- $1 off 1 HERE (FF) or HERE (IE) = $0.66 ea

More to come later but the baby just woke up and the cousins will be getting off the bus in a few minutes, so off I go.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday & Movie Time Monday

Today's theme was Back to School/Learning is Fun and I tried to stick to it as much as possible for a change.

Top Row: Pepper "Pens", Apples (for teacher) with caramel dip, Milk
Bottom Row: Alphabet Soup, Math Book PB&J, Swirled Yogurt "Ink"

Both kids really enjoyed it. Micah got to be his messy self while he ate. I don't know why, but with Micah, I've been much less willing to let him feed himself and make messes. I really need to let him loose more. He's actually pretty good at feeding himself, but he gets "into" his food way more than Laural ever did. And by "into" I mean that he ends up wearing it. LOL

Laural, Micah and Steve watched the Winnie the Pooh movie today for Movie Time Monday. I was busy with other stuff. I'm not so into the newer Winnie the Pooh anyhow.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

School Today

Today was a super easy day. Laural and I went over letter recognition in some unique ways. We also did some reading today with her Tag and then she answered questions about the stories. She did quite well with it. Micah did some building with his Mega Bloks. He is getting really good at building towers! We also sang ABC's. He won't try to sing along but after I sing it once, I pause a minute and then he will start to sing in his own little way. It's so neat to watch him learning things.

About a week ago, Micah started saying something new. Whenever you give him something, he will say "thank you." It's so sweet! He even seems to pause a moment for us to say "you're welcome." I love it! He still uses "e-yet" for many things, especially if he wants something you have, but he is really coming a long way with his speech.

I did a little sewing today. I found a cute pattern for a bat online and whipped one up today. Very cute! I made it to send to a friend, but I think I will definitely be making some for us too.


The top photo is my Project 365 pic for today as well.

In other news, I am getting ready to reformat my hard drive. The computer has been screwy for a little while now. I am starting the process of backing up all my data files this weekend. There's a lot on this computer. I am not looking forward to reinstalling my programs and copying data back onto the drive. No fun here. Bleh.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Project 365

I had planned to start this sooner - like the 1st day of the year, but my camera decided to take a little vacation and only returned to me yesterday. So, mine will be more like a Project 360, which kind of makes it sound like I am going to spin in a circle. I'm not. That fascination went out ages ago though my kids still love to spin until they make themselves crazy dizzy. But, I digress.

Project 365 is quite simple. Each day, you take a photo and post it on your blog and/or on one of the sites like Flikr that have a special pool just for this project. At the end of the year, you have a collection of little slices of every single day of the past 365 days. Pretty cool. Though I certainly do not want to hurry up time - my little ones are growing far too fast as it is - I can't wait to look back at my collection at the end of this year.

I'm not sure if I will be adding the photos to this blog or creating a new blog for this project. I'll make that decision after I've had some sleep.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I am a wee bit late in getting things posted today. It should be pretty easy to stick to the plan this week. No holidays, no running about except for Story Time on Tuesday and payday on Thursday. I might go out for a little couponing on Tuesday as well. But hopefully, it won't be enough to throw me off the schedule. Here is what will be on our table this week:

Stir Fry Chicken and Veggies over Rice

Pork Chops
Baked Potatoes

Chicken Enchilada Skillet
(3rd week trying to get this one in)

Fish Sandwiches
Fried Potatoes
Green Beans

Three Cheese Rotini
Garlic Bread

Homemade Mini Pizzas

Leftover Extravaganza

Muffin Tin and Movie Time Monday

We love Mondays in our house because we combine Muffin Tin Monday and Movie Time Monday. Today we viewed another Christmas gift movie - Up. Laural seemed to enjoy it. She loved the talking dog and the running "squirrel!" joke. I loved Kevin. There wasn't a theme for today's MTM, so I tried to tie our tin in to the movie (slightly), coming up with different types of transportation. Unfortunately, I didn't realize we were out of big marshmallows, so the hot air balloon didn't materialize. Here is what we ended up with.

Front Row: Mini Cars made with hot dog slices on pretzel sticks, wheat thin crackers and part of a Soy Joy bar; pink & green marshmallows (our balloons from Up)
Back Row: Apple Boats with a cheese sail on a Blue Yogurt Sea; extra hot dogs slices and pretzels; milk

Both kids got a kick out of their tins but Micah really amused me today. He is still a bit behind when it comes to everyday skills. He hasn't really mastered the concept of using a spoon yet, but today, he figured out that if he dipped a pretzel into his yogurt, he could easily suck the yogurt from the pretzel and dip again.  It was quite cute! Later, though he refused to actually eat the hot dogs, he had a fun time putting them on his fingers and then banging them together. He is too funny!


For more info and to see links to see more Muffin Tin Meals, click on the button below

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Yes, I know...

There are two things that are just not right about the new look of the blog. 1. Yes, I put a daisy theme on a blog that is called Dandelions in My Vase. 2. Yes, we are in the middle of a huge snow storm in Western PA, but I just felt like I needed something a little "spring-y" to cheer me up a little because like I said before, we are in the middle of a huge snow storm here. I've been looking for some new backgrounds for the blog and I'm not done yet. It may change in a few days - or by the end of the day. It depends on if I find something I like better.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back to Normal

Whatever that is! Seriously though, vacation time is over already. Local schools get back to the classrooms tomorrow and I guess that means so will we. My cousin's children will continue to get off the bus here and depending on various schedules, sometimes they will be picked up right off the bus and sometimes they will be hanging out with us for a couple hours.

With the start of the New Year, I have been thinking about resolutions. In the past, I have scoffed at the idea of making New Year's resolutions. But maybe this year, I will join the many people across the nation who make (and break) promises to better themselves with the beginning of a new year, with the difference being that I will not break my resolutions. At least I hope I won't. So, if I do make a resolution (or even a couple) what shall they be? First, I hope to be better organized - not only with my physical property but also with my time. I have so many projects between Laural's school and church and the library and my little home business that I really need to be better organized. I've been very slowly creeping toward a more organized life but I think I really need to start running head on toward it! Second, well, I'm not sure what the second will be - if there will be a second one. I will have to think about that a while. Then again, perhaps I will just blow off this whole resolution thing and just do what needs to be done. I guess we will just have to wait and see.


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