Thursday, March 24, 2011

This weekend.....

I will be running to earn one of these:

(No Longer Orphans 5k Fund Run/Walk. Saturday @ 10:00 in Colfax. Come on, you know you want to be there!)

And I'll be getting all gussied-up and putting on my very best southern accent to see this:

My Grams is coming into town for six days of grandma/granddaughter time. I envision lots of laughs, some talks, too much of my favorite foods and an all-together excellent time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dear Shelle, DON'T FORGET...


Your daughter is now 21 months old and is growing and learning and changing so fast that it's hard to keep up. Remember this time. Seal it deep inside your memory so you always have it. This time is fleeting and so very, very precious.

Never forget:
-The way she awkwardly puts her rain boots on all by herself.
-Her sweet kisses and the way she says "aaah" when she gives hugs.
-How she gets so excited to see Dan in the evenings and can't wait until he comes through the door.
-The way Dan lights up, seeing her run towards him.
-Our big family hugs where all three of us snuggle together.
-The way Lana stands at the back door, having full-length conversations with the kitty.

-How she watches you get ready in the morning, insisting on lip gloss for her lips, then smacking them together. She also likes to put lotion on her face all by herself and comb her own hair.
-All the animal sounds she makes. Pheasant, buck and coyote seem to be her favorite.
-Our before-bed ritual of "crawling time." This is where you and Lana would get on all fours, crawl over to Dan for good-night kisses, then crawl down the hallway to her room for snuggles, prayers and night-night.
-Her sweet "aye la loo" makes you melt every single time. Never forget that.
-The way she lights up when you praise her for a job well done.
-How at a mere 21 months she's already sneaky. Remember the time she fooled you by stuffing her dinner in her pockets, and happily ate her dessert when you saw her tray was clean. Remember how you couldn't believe that your sweet girl pulled a fast one on you.
-How she works her tongue around 'banana' (na-banna) and 'blueberry' (blueblelly) and how it cracks you up.
-The way she hugs your legs in the kitchen when you're trying to make dinner. You sometimes think it's annoying, but one day you'll miss how all she wanted to do was be close to you.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Winner! Winner!

I went to and used their handy-dandy true random number generator.

And the winners are:

ruth said...
How incredibly exciting!!!! Congratulations on being published! The Chicken Soup for the Soul books are some of my very favorites. I'd love to win one.

H Love said...
You are FAMOUS Mama! So cool! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy...if only I knew one of the authors??? Oh...I's YOU!!

Woo Hoo! So happy for you! Congrats!

Thanks so much for playing everyone. Your comments made me smile and I appreciate every single one. Ruth and Harmony - Check your email box for a note from me!

Friday, March 11, 2011

An Announcement and a Giveaway!

So, I have an exciting thing to share.

No, it's not that.

Nope, not that either.

Again, it's not THAT.

Okay, so wanna know?

Last week, a box of shiny, new books were waiting for me when I got home.

See, aren't they pretty?

I was so excited because right there, on page 114 (in the section labelled Doubts and Insecurities) was a very familiar story. A story very close to my heart.

And there, two pages over, the name of the author.

To call myself excited to see my name in this book would be an understatement. I'm pretty much over the moon thrilled!

Now that the book is available in stores, I can officially give some away! (Okay, so I dunno who I'm fooling. I've already given away five copies. My Mom, mother-in-law and grandmothers all got copies two weeks ago. I just couldn't help myself!)

I'm giving away two copies of the new book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms, as well as some new-mom pamper-yourself spa supplies, perfect for a new mom or any mom who needs a good read and some relaxation. The book is full of funny, sad, inspirational and relatable stories. You'll laugh on one page and cry on another. The wide variety of experiences shared is really neat and every mom will certainly see shades of herself within the pages.

To enter, just leave me a comment. If I don't know you in my day-to-day life, please leave your email so I can contact you if you win. I'll randomly select two winners a week from today.

Good Luck!
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Snow Day! (and other stuff)

Last Tuesday we woke up to TONS of snow. Schools were closed, roads were a mess and we decided to play it safe and stay home. In the morning Dan spent over three hours shovelling the roof (over a foot of heavy, wet snow made him a bit nervous) and Lana and I played. We made a snowman and a throne for the little princess. We even started on a snow fort, but then Lana got cold and wet and we went inside and baked goodies.
Now, less than a week later, the snow is practically all gone.

Last Saturday the three of us drove down to Oregon for the day to see my Mom and grandparents and sister and her three kids. It was definitely a full house! But I think my Mom enjoyed it. Lana and the cousins sure had a great time.

An update on my Mom:
She's been home now for over a week after being in the hospital the entire month of February. Test results show that the virus is no longer active in her body, so she's on a lot fewer medications. Some memory is coming back and she can hold a pretty normal conversation. She'll be working with a neurologist and therapist to help her regain as much of her memory as possible. It appears that no two cases of viral encephalitis are the same, so it's still not known how much of her memory will come back as the brain swelling goes completely down. She does get frustrated because she knows there are things/people/places/events she's supposed to know and just doesn't. But for the most part she appears upbeat and optimistic and is definitely working hard to regain her memory. All your encouragement and prayers are very much appreciated.

I have something very cool to share later this week! There will be a giveaway to go along with it that I'm so excited for. Come back in a few days for more information : )
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Frugal February - FAIL

So, remember at the beginning of the month when I was all optimistic and idealistic and gung-ho about slashing February's grocery budget? Yeah, well, it didn't exactly go down like I had planned. I didn't realize it would be so dang hard to lower the amount we spend on groceries by 1/3. My goal was $200 for the month. The real amount for the month was $238.26. That's a difference of $38.26. Not that much in the whole scheme of things, but $38.26 more than I shot for. (Oh, and I also failed to make much progress on my Move MORE/Eat LESS January goal. I didn't move as much as I planned and I ate more than planned, resulting in minuscule weight loss. I guess it could be called my BIG FAT FEBRUARY FAIL.)

As I sit with the month's groceries receipts and meal plan, I see some glaring mistakes I made:

1. My meal plan wasn't good enough - I thought I did a great job of coming up with dinners for the week, and on workdays I really did. However, the weekends were a killer. Usually I make a big-ol pot-o-something on Saturday and we have the leftovers on Sunday and then remaining leftovers make an appearance in lunches the following week. I didn't do this very well in February and our weekend meals were hastily thrown-together, complete with runs to the grocery store for missing ingredients and consequently, more money spent.

2. I had a hard time letting go of some favorites - I'll admit it, I'm a fancy cheese snob. I eat a Laughing Cow cheese wedge with my veggies every day at lunch. Certainly not a necessity and I could have forgone the cheese for a month as a cost-cutting measure, but I didn't. We could have also downgraded to generic coffee creamer instead of the fancy-shmancy stuff, but we really like the fancy stuff, and consequently, spent more money.

3. I didn't shop sales as well as I'd intended - With impromptu visits to Oregon to see my mom and visiting family and cramming in some extra work, I was really pressed for time and I did not make it a priority to go through the grocery stores ads and match them with my coupons for maximum value. My 'big' weekly trip was to Winco, which usually has the cheapest prices, but I know I missed out on some sale items at Safeway.

Along with the failures, there were a few successes:

1. Crock-Pot Dinners - I love my slow cooker and use it often, but I really stepped up the crock-pot cooking. Crock-pot meals can be made inexpensively and are really good. Some of the favorites here include beef stew, garlic-lemon chicken thighs, sweet potato and corn medley, gumbo and chili. (Several of those recipes are available here.)

2. Fancy Breakfasts - Typically during the week Dan and Lana eat cereal and milk for breakfast. Sometimes I have cereal, but usually I eat a granola bar with my coffee as I drive to work. But on the weekends we like better breakfasts. I won a new cookbook from $5 Dinner Mom with some awesome breakfast recipes including pumpkin spice pancakes, one of my new favorites. It was fun trying out new breakfast recipes and adding to our repertoire.

I know that because I tried once and failed, I should not give up on my frugal quest. The motivational speaker in my head is telling me to try, try again and make March the month of success. Well, sorry, I'm not doing it. I went grocery shopping today and was relieved to spend my "regular" amount. I will revisit this issue again in a few months, but I have a different goal for March. I'll get to that in a couple days.

How are your New Year's Goals coming along? Any tips or successes to share with the fatigued?