Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm Looking for some Suggestions

No, this is not my son!!

Alexander has been fully potty trained for about 8 months now but every time he goes pee pee either Bill or I go with him and help him out. I was telling Bill the other night that we have to start teaching Xander to aim because pretty soon he'll be in school and I don't think the teachers will help him! Well, we have absolutely no idea how the heck we're supposed to do this so I am asking you! Does anyone out there have any suggestions for us on how to teach a not quite 3 year old how to aim? I have no experience with boys and I'm feeling a little out of my element here!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Frugal Recipe Swap

Gayle at The Grocery Cart Challenge is doing a low cost recipe swap today so I started thinking about what low cost meals I make and here's what I came up with:

Sheperd's Pie
*This recipe is great for using up leftover mashed potatoes and is a fantastic winter dish*

4 large potatoes peeled and cubed
1 tbsp. butter - for making mashed potatoes but you can make however you like
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small onion chopped
1 lb. ground beef
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. ketchup OR 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce (we prefer with worcestershire sauce)
3/4 beef broth
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add potatoes. cook however you like for mashed potatoes. Drain, mash, season with salt and pepper if you like and set aside.

Heat oil in large frying pan. add onion and cook until clear. Add ground beed and cook until well browned. pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Mix in ketchup/worcestershire sauce, garlic and beef broth and bring to a boil. Add frozen mixed vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes.

Spread ground beef mixture in an even layer in a 2 quart casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese if you'd like.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until potato crust is golden brown. Serve with warm crusty bread or garlic bread.

Oh how we LOVE our Superheroes!

Lately the kids have been crazy about Superheroes. It doesn't matter who it is, as long as it's a superhero they are good to go. Alexander got a set of Superheroes for Christmas and that made it all the better. They run around the house pretending to be Batman and Supergirl or Spiderman and the Phoenix and they have a blast. They have Superman capes that they use to fly arond the house in too. This morning before school they were Spiderman and The Hulk and they were saving each other from falling off of a building - which happened to be my headboard.

Hannah and Xander also like Superhero catchphrases. So far they like "Hulk Smash" and Up, up and away" and they are anxious to learn more. Normally they go to daddy for this type of information because mommy's pretty clueless in this area, but I do know a few! After Alexander and I dropped Hannah off at school this morning Xander was playing with some of his "guys" as he likes to call them, and he was giving them catchphrases which was really cute! I noticed that one of the "guys" was The Thing from the Fantastic 4 and I happen to know that The Thing always says "It's Clobberin' Time" so I tried to tell him this. He thought that it was the most hillarious thing he'd ever heard and didn't believe me. He was convinced that The Thing says "Puppy Power" like Scrappy Doo. BTW, my kids also like Scooby.

The Thing

After about twenty minutes of trying to convince him I gave up. Of course after I walked away I heard him saying "It's Clobberin' Time" but I guess he just didn't want to give mom the satisfaction of knowing that I wasn't as uncool about Superheroes as I thought. Either way I think that I'll let Bill teach them about Superheroes in the future!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Hannah the Soccer Star and Alexander's Favorite Pastime

Well, I was going to tell you all about Hannah's soccer game and then I was going to tell you about Alexander's new favorite thing to do (which is changing his clothes BTW) but Bill beat me to it. If you'd like to read about it and see some cute and embarassing pictures just click here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What a Crazy Weekend!!

Although it was a pretty laid back weekend for us, it felt a little crazy to me and I'm sure that the negative temperatures didn't help!

After getting out of school on Friday, Hannah had her first playdate with a school friend. It was a last minute thing that happened as we were leaving school but Hannah wanted to go so off we went. After following Hailey's (Hannah's friend) mom back to her house and giving her my cell phone number and reconfirming our home number and what time to come back I headed over to my SIL's house to pick up Alexander - earlier that morning my MIL was on her way to watch my twin niece and nephew and was kind enough to take Xander with her so that I could go to the gym.

Anyway, after settling in Xander and I were just about to start lunch when the phone rings. It's Hailey's mom telling me that Hannah wants to come home because their dog scared her. I put lunch back in the fridge and run to pick up Hannah who has luckily stopped crying by the time we get there. She is afraid of the dog now and wants to come home but does not want to leave Hailey. After talking it over we decide that Hailey is going to come back to our house with us to finish their playdate. Back home we go to finish playing. The girls had a good time and played really well with Alexander, which I was really surprised at. Normally when friends are over Hannah complains that Alexander is in the way and tries to keep him away from whatever is going on. I was able to finish cleaning the house while the kids played so I was happy.

After Hailey left Hannah was bummed because she was "bored" but Xander managed to lift her spirits with a round of "Can't Catch Me". At 3:30 we had to get ready to take Hannah to dance so that gave me something more to do. Getting Hannah ready for dance is always a chore because I have to chase her around the house to get her into her leotard and tights. After chasing her I get to chase Xander around to get him into shoes and a coat so I'm usually frazzled and ready to snap by the time we leave. Fortunately Hannah puts on her own shoes and coat or I probably would lose it!

Alexander missed his afternoon nap so he ended up falling asleep on the way home from dance. He woke up enough to walk in the house and crawl up on the couch to go back to sleep. Bill went to the gym after work so Hannah and I had some time to kill before dinner. Since dinner didn't have to be done right away I decided that we'd have pizza. Hannah helped me make the dough (she likes to help measure things and dump them in the bowl) and we set it aside to let the yeast do it's thing. We had some leftover pizza sauce that Bill had made last time we had pizza so I pulled it out of the freezer to thaw and then we just hung out. Bill got home just in time to help us put together out pizzas. After dinner Bill and I watched a movie while the kids played a computer game. After putting the kids to sleep I crawled into bed and was almost instantly asleep.

Saturday morning after breakfast I was getting ready to go to the gym when I discovered a small lake in one of the cabinets underneath one of the bathroom sinks. A few weeks back I called Bill at work because the cabinet was leaking and I had no idea of why especially since there were no pipes in the area of the leak. When he got home that night he checked everything but didn't find anything wrong so we just figured that it was condensation and we left it alone and it didn't leak anymore so we sort of forgot about it. Well, it wasn't condensation!! We had to pull everything out of the cabinet and soak up the water so that we could see what the heck as going on. All the while I'm wonder who I've upset and what type of curse they've put on me because this is the second leak we've had in the house in two weeks. The first leak was the kitchen sink faucet that had to be replaced ( it might have been fixable but Bill broke the whole nozzle off while trying to get a washer out so the whole thing had to go). The bathroom leak turned out to be the cold water valve so for now there is a bucket under the sink because there is NO WAY that Bill is trying to replace that now that it's -20 outside!!!

I did not end up making it to the gym (which I'm really not crying about) but I did run out to Walmart (how I hate that place!!) and the new grocery store that just opened. Later on in the afternoon we had to go to Hannah's last soccer game of the season. She didn't score any goals this time but she tried really hard and she had fun and she even got a medal!! This post is long enough so I'll post pictures of her game tomorrow. After the game we went to Culver's (Hannah's favorite restaurant) for a celebration dinner and ice cream. We ended our night by watching Ratatouille before heading to bed.

We did not leave the house today. My parents came by to visit after breakfast this morning and brought chocolate doughnuts and the most fabulous cinnamon raisin bread from Weber's bakery that I've ever had! The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Bill and I watched another movie and the kids played nice all day. We played some games together and had a family coloring circle (Hannah set us all up in a circle each with a coloring book and dumped the crayons in the middle so that we could all share). Dinner was all leftovers so I didn't even have to make a real dinner, just heat everything up! Bill built a fire in the fireplace this morning and kept it going all day because it was really cold in the front room and the kids stayed away from it the whole day. I was really surprised that we didn't have to keep reminding them to stay away but I guess that's just another sign of how big they are getting. It was a good day - but I'm beat! I can't wait to put the kids to bed so that I can go pass out myself!! I'm glad that all of our weekends don't feel this way!

And BTW, why is it that my post are always so long!?!?! Geez, I think I'm going to start warning people to go to the bathroom, get a drink and get cozy before reading my posts!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Finally a Breakthrough!

You will be happy to hear that I am getting back on track. I have been to the gym several times and am back to cooking and cleaning (for the most part)!! I guess I just needed a more powerful personal kick in the butt and your encouraging words, so thank you!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Boy is Ready to Go!!

Just a little background information here: The other day while looking around online I discovered that backpacks were on sale at the Disney Store online and decided to pick up the kids bags for next year. Hannah will be in kindergarten and will be in school all day so she happily picked out a Tinkerbell backpack and matching lunch bag and Alexander will be in 3 year preschool and he picked a Buzz Lightyear bag.

Anyway, Alexander has wanted to go to school since Hannah started in August. At least three times a week he'd ask me if he could go to school and I'd have to tell him that he was too little this year but he could go next year. He'd get a little sad at that point and has even been reduced to tears a few times but eventually he'd forget about it for a while. I ended up enrolling him in a park district class that he really enjoyed. We even called it school so that he'd feel like a "Big Boy". It is two days a week for an hour and I stay with him and he has been fine with it - at least until now. Now that he's got a backpack he wants "TO GO TO HANNAH'S SCHOOL"!! All day he tells me how he wants to go to Hannah's school and how he has a backpack now. It has been really cute until this morning when we were getting ready to take Hannah to school. After putting on his coat he ran and grabbed his backpack and yelled "I ready for school Mama!!". He even brought his bag in the car and tried to get out and go into the building when we got there. It was the cutest and the saddest thing that he's ever done!! I didn't know if I should laugh or cry!! Either way, I hope that he's this willing to go to school next August!

"Modeling" his new bag for Mom

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Sometimes if I talk about what's "wrong" with me it helps me to work through the "problem" so here goes: Lately I have been totally unmotivated to do anything and I'm SO not exaggerating! I don't want to cook, clean, workout - NOTHING. I also don't want to just sit around doing nothing so I'm a little bit frustrated with myself and I don't know how to break this vicious circle that I've somehow gotten into.

I never make New Year's resolutions - or at least I don't make resolutions out loud. In my head I tell myself that I am going to try to do better with the things that I normally do. For example, I tell myself that I am going to do a better job of keeping the house neat. This usually works for me for a while but it doesn't normally last for too long. I am the type of person that has to have a firm talk with myself several times a year to get my act together. I've never been a highly motivated person - ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you the same. I have always been the laid back, go with the flow type of person (even though it's always driven my mom insane) and I'm okay with that but I always did what I had to do when it needed to be done. But now I just can't seem to find my "groove".

I want to do so much this year, like get the family to eat healthier and lose 10-15 pounds, and this "blahness" (that's a Melissa-ism in case you were wondering) is really discouraging me. I'm hoping that this will end soon, like as soon as I post this! If anyone out there has any suggestions on how to shake this - please let me know!! At this point I'll try just about anything!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Pancakes for Dinner!?!?

The other night I had a taste for pancakes for dinner so I asked my sweetie to whip some up for us. FYI, Bill is the pancake maker in the house. We used to take turns making breakfast on the weekends (mostly pancakes) but since Bill has to watch his sodium intake because of his high blood pressure, he makes them fron scratch (because the box stuff has an insane amount of salt!!) and I've never paid attention to how he makes them. Besides, he likes to cook every once in a while!

Anyway, when we told the kids what was for dinner they got really excited. It then occured to me that they'd never had breakfast for dinner and I was shocked! I remember having eggs and cereal and other breakfast foods for dinner - not quite all the time but often enough to remember it - and I thought it was the greatest!! How dare I make my kids eat dinner food at dinner, what a bad mommy I am!!!

The best part was that because the kids thought it was so cool they ate all of the pancakes and sausage (my contribution to dinner) that we put in front of them. My kids NEVER finish their dinner. We usually have to bribe and threaten them and finally compromise with them to finish half of what's on their plates. I think I'm on to something with this Breakfast for Dinner thing. I think we're going to try it again to see how it goes!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

I know, I know wrong holiday but the kids decided that they wanted to put on their halloween costumes yesterday and who can say no to such cute kids!!?!?

Happy New Year everyone!! I hope that you all had a safe and fun night and stayed out of the crazy weather, unlike us. We went to a friends' house to ring in the New Year like we do every year. originally this tradition started as a Christmas party but since December is such a hectic month it turned into a New Years gathering in 2002. And, what started out as a huge party of about 50 kids and adults with tons of food and gifts is now down to just 18 (9 adults & 9 kids) getting together for the sake of being together. It's nice because all of our kids are right about the same age and they all play so nicely together. AND the family whose house we were at just got a Wii from Santa!

For those of you that have never had the pleasure of playing a Wii game, let me tell you - It's fun!! The kids had a ball playing baseball, boxing, bowling and golf against eachother for a while but then the men took over and dominated the tv for the rest of the night. I will admit I did play two bowling games myself but the men were a little greedy with those controllers!

All of the kids made it to midnight and were still going strong at 2:00am, at which time we decided it was time to pack up and head home. We probably would have stayed later but Alexander was exhausted and refused to sleep. The poor little guy was wandering around in his jammies while dragging his blankie just looking for a place to get comfy. He finally passed out on the couch right after Bill came in from starting the car. Hannah, who normally has a meltdown at the mention of saying "goodbye" was very agreeable and there wasn't a single tear shed when we walked out the door. She was sound asleep within the first three blocks. After carrying in the sleeping kids I put on my own jammies and I'm pretty sure that I was asleep before my head actually hit the pillow.

It was a nice night that was spent with good friends and the three people that I love the most. I know that before long the kids will be too cool to hang out with their parents and will prefer to spend their time with their friends instead of us so I am enjoying every minute I can with them. I will always remember Hannah's excited midnight hugs and kisses and Xander's sleepy "Hapee Newyee Mama" murmured from his head on my shoulder. Who could have asked for a better night?

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