Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yet another milestone...

Today our baby girl had her 4 year pictures taken. This was the last chance to take her in and have those cute photos taken with several poses, maybe an outfit change and WAY TOO MANY choices in the end! This fall she will be going to preschool and from then on will be treated to those ever popular school pictures. So, this morning, I curled her hair, put her in a nice little outfit and off we went to Portrait Innovations. I had never been there before, but had heard about them from friends. So, after our experience today, I am putting a little plug in for them. Check out their website at and see if they have a location near you. I had an excellent experience, and got all my photos 15 minutes after I had finally decided which ones to order, as well as a CD of every single photo that was shot. I plan to take all 3 of the kids in there soon since they haven't had a professional photo taken since our church directory was done over 3 years ago! So, here a few of my favorites from today!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 Things You May Not Know About Me

I have been tagged to do this activity several times and recently have seen it on my sister-in-law's blog and another blog I read as well. So, here is my take on 25 things....

1. I have played the piano since I was 5.
2. I do not have any brothers, only 2 sisters, but I do have awesome brothers-in-law.
3. I used to cross-stitch, but it's not a priority right now...maybe someday.
4. I broke 2 previous engagements and finally married the 3rd guy who proposed! We'll be married 10 years in March!
5. I became an aunt at the age of 5. Now I am a great-aunt, 5x over!
6. I love white chocolate Lindt Lindor truffles!
7. I pray in the shower.
8. I didn't like being pregnant.
9. I was a cheerleader in high school and LOVED it!
10. I was an RA in college and LOVED that too!
11. I have a huge crush on John Travolta.
12. I am not very good at video games.
13. I met my husband on the computer...through an instant message on AOL.
14. I knew "Ashton Kutcher" back when he was still Chris Kutcher.
15. I love to talk on the phone!
16. I love to get flowers, but not on birthdays or holidays, instead when I least expect it!
17. I read the newspaper every day, front to back.
18. When I was little I won a huge, bigger than life size, stuffed kangaroo from the nursing home where my Great-Grandma was living. I no longer have it though.
19. I have never ever smoked a cigarette or done any sort of drug and don't plan to.
20. I lived in Wisconsin for 6 months, otherwise I have lived my whole life in Iowa.
21. I LOVE a bargain!
22. I used to be a social worker, but have been a stay-at-home mom for almost 9 years now and have no idea what I am going to do with the rest of my life.
23. I LOVE the older Disney movies: Mary Poppins, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo, Pinocchio, etc.
24. I get grossed out watching people (even my kids) brush their teeth.
25. I would secretly love to be a nurse or something in the medical field, but I know I couldn't handle the blood and other secretions! :(

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 4

From the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza.
Action Steps:
1. Develop a family communication plan by selecting a person outside your local area for your family to call in case of emergency
2. Make sure everyone in the family knows the phone number and has coins or a phone card to contact the family member. Cell phones can get jammed due to high call volume during disasters.
3. Designate a primary and secondary meeting location.
4. Create an emergency supply kit with a 3-day supply of basic items such as:
fresh water, food, first aid, towelettes, garbage bags, flashlight with extra batteries, local maps, a whistle, dust masks, tools, a can opener, cash. Check and rotate supplies every 6 months.
Here in Iowa, over the last few years, we have had a major winter ice storm where some people lost power for over a week, our home for only 2 days thankfully. We have also had a major flood and a tornado that destroyed businesses and homes belonging to hundreds of people. Yet, I really do not have an emergency kit. I do have a lot of items in this list that I keep on hand and keep extras of, but I don't necessarily have them stored in a tub or a specific area of our home. So, I am really thinking I need to do this and soon! We also live near a nuclear plant and after September 11th, my husband and I talked about the evacuation plan if anything happened there. Now we live in a different town and I frankly have no idea where we are supposed to go. Plus, since my husband works in a different town, our evacuations would be to separate areas. I hate to admit that we have no plan in place for this kind of situation. We need to discuss this and look in the phone book for what route we are to take. If anything, this has been a reminder for me to plan for a disaster to make sure our family is safe and taken care of.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Book and Face Space

I remember hearing about Facebook and My Space and thinking that it was just for high school kids...another way for them to stay in contact besides constant texting. Then one day I got an email from my cousin Angela asking me to join Facebook. I was bored that day, so I thought, why not? Angela is 40+ and if she is on Facebook, then why can't I. Since joining Facebook, I have been able to be in more frequent contact with family, share messages and info with my MOPS girlfriends, and reconnect with friends from high school and college. I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I do. It can be very easy to get sucked in and find yourself still there hours later. Today I got a "friend request" from a name that I didn't recognize and so I did a little investigating to see if I could figure out who it was. This is what I love about Facebook, all that reconnecting. It happened to be a great friend from college that I had lost contact with, but still thought of often. Since she had married, I didn't recognize her last name. Just hearing from these friends from long ago brings back memories of late nights studying and ordering pizza from Domino's, cafeteria food, sharing a bathroom with 3 other girls, and a very memorable trip to Chicago. So, I am grateful for the Facebooks and My Space's and for all those long lost friends who care to look me up. Here's to old and new friends!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


This Christmas I made journals for our boys. I had seen an idea in a magazine about writing notes back and forth to eachother and placing them in their own mailboxes. I liked the idea but didn't want the space of mailboxes sitting in the house. I had made a journal in a craft at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers and realized I could do that for the boys. So, I went to Michaels and found some great scrapbook paper and mod podge and then to Target and bought 2 plain Composition Notebooks. I also cut out words and phrases from magazines according to their personalities. I wrote to the boys first, explaining that this was a way to communicate with anyone in the family by writing or drawing a picture and then placing the journal on their pillow. Then the person can write back and place it on their pillow. The boys were very curious about this process and so far we have exchanged 3 or 4 notes. Some have been pictures of cars drawn by the boys, others have been notes of appreciation from me for helping out with something. I look forward to filling up these books and making new ones and then years from now, getting them out and going through them with the boys.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Triple Chocolate Cookies

I treated myself to a Page-A-Day calendar called The Cookie Calendar. Each day there is a new cookie recipe to try. Since I love to bake, I thought this would be fun! The first one that I tried from the calendar are the Triple Chocolate Cookies and they are taken from the book 500 Cookies. I made them for book club and they were a hit and wanted to share them with you!

Triple Chocolate Cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture and mix until almost blended. Add the chips and mix. Scoop the dough onto a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for 5-7 days. It makes approximately 30 cookes.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Matters: Week 3

From the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Way to Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
What if it was your child?
Action Steps:
1. Pay attention to Amber Alert signs on the freeway or TV.
2. Sign up to receive Amber Alert text messaging on your cell phone.
3. Download the Amber Alert ticker onto your computer.
4. If you see or receive an Amber alert, don't take it lightly. The perpetrator may be closer than you think.
So, I went to and clicked on wireless alerts. I signed up to receive text messages. You are able to choose 5 zip codes to receive alerts from. If a city has more than 1 zip code, you only have to put in one code for that whole city. So, think about the zip codes you want to use. It took me a total of 5 minutes to sign up for this. I never even knew this was an option. I hope I don't ever receive one, but if it was my child, I would sure want everyone to be looking for my child as well as the abductor knowing that we are on their path! So, take 5 minutes today and sign up!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Weekend!

This weekend we were allowed some time away from our children. Every couple needs that a few times a year I think. So, Friday afternoon we made the 1 hour and 45 minute trip up to my parents, dropped the kids off and headed back home. We stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up food for dinner. We took all our ingredients over to Pat's sisters and enjoyed a delicious meal of steak and chicken fajitas, guacamole, black beans, spanish rice and brownies. We had some great conversation and played a couple rounds of Whoonu and then headed back home to an empty house! Saturday we slept in and found one of our favorite movies on TV, The Truman Show and watched it all the way through. We then headed to the local outlet mall, came back home, had left over guacamole, I painted my fingernails and toenails and watched The Bucket List. Then it was time to get ready for our big night. My husbands office has an annual banquet every year. We dress up in formal attire, have adult beverages, adult conversation and excellent entertainment. I had a delicious meal of lobster and beef and for dessert, chocolate cake with raspberry ice cream. The entertainment for the evening was a hilarious comedian, The Midnight Swinger, who you can read about at He will appear on the Letterman show on February 22, 2009. We enjoyed listening to him make fun of Iowa weather and laughed until tears came to our eyes!

While we were having fun, the kids were having fun as well. While at Grandpa and Grandma's they make homemade ice cream, play board games non stop, stay up late and sleep in. Also, today they are looking forward to going sledding with their Uncle. So, while we may have needed some time away, I think the kids did too. We get back together feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and I am ready to be a mom again!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The week of snow and cold!

This week started Sunday night with my middle child running a high fever! Monday he continued to run the fever and started throwing up. School also got out early that day for a snow storm. Then we had a late start on Tuesday and took my son to the Dr (he had strep throat). Wednesday there was no school due to another snow storm. Now today there was no school due to the severe cold. Our thermometer showed -27 degrees this morning. So, after just letting the kids play and wear out the batteries on the Leapster I decided to get more creative. Here are some photos of the snow outside our home and the kids painting their masterpieces.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring for weather, but what I do know is that the kids are going to Grandpa and Grandma's for the weekend! It will be a well-deserved kid free weekend! I can't wait!

I also bundled up and walked down our street to get our mail. Brrrr! The only part exposed were my eyes and they were burning from the cold! The fun part is that in the mail were magazine! YAY! I LOVE magazines. I love that you can flip through, read front to back, or just look at the pictures. I receive too many magazines and sometimes it takes a couple of months for me to get through them, but I always do. Today I received one of my favorites...Hallmark Magazine. I can't wait to suggle up this afternoon with a cup of coffee and go through it. This is one that I ususally read front to back!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

List of 100 Things

I found this list on I found it interesting and thought I would share it with you. If you would like to participate, just copy the list and bold the items that you have done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept in an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (solar)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Going through this list reminded me of things I hadn't thought about for awhile. I also noticed there are some numbers missing, so it isn't exactly 100 things, but still kind of neat to think of what you have done and maybe some ideas of things you still want to do!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The winner is..........

Thank you for signing up for my first ever giveaway. I assigned everyone a number by putting all the comments in one area and just numbering them down the row. Here is what the random integer picked for a number

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:4
Timestamp: 2009-01-13 20:52:13 UTC

Number 4 is tmfrank22, so I will send you an email and send your book out right away once I receive your address!
Thanks so much for reading and entering. Who knows, I may do this again!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Matters: Week 2

from the book...Every Monday Matters 52 Way to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza.


Action Steps:

1. Turn off your TV today.
2. Designate certain TV-free times throughout the week to reduce viewing hours.
3. Remove TVs from bedroom, kitchen, etc.
4. Make a list of activities to do beside watching TV
5. Avoid using TV as a reward...this only increases its power.
6. Be more selective about programming
Ok, nothing like starting right off with a big time-waster already! I do try to have the TV off especially during the day when NOTHING is on anyway. I play music or just enjoy the quiet. We try to have the TV off during meal time, but need to do better about adding more times to just shut it off! I don't have a TV in my kitchen, but I do in my bedroom. I know that my husband won't allow that to be removed...that is a battle I just won't win and am not willing to fight. But, non of the kids have TVs in their room. I don't use TV as a reward and I have been much more selective in my programming. I try not to just sit and stare at the TV just because it is on. So, I am working on it and I am hoping to notice a difference in my kids TV viewing as well!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Baby is 4!

Today our baby turned four years old. It is hard for me to believe four years have gone by. She is my miracle baby as I talked about in a previous post in November. I dreamed of having a girl, and she is all I ever dreamed of and more. Yesterday we had a great day of celebrating with family and today we celebrated by going to church and then just hanging out at home together. We gave her a beautiful long nightgown (reminds me of Laura Ingalls) as you see in the photo above. She was also very excited about her Leapster 2. This way she can play video games just like her big brothers. Then tonight she picked our movie, "Sleeping Beauty" along with popcorn, brownies and ice cream! A well balanced meal wouldn't you say? Even though she loves her mommy, she is definately a daddy's girl and as much as I hate to admit it, will always choose her daddy first. She loves music and can frequently be found singing and dancing along to one of her CD's. I am just so proud of my little girl and am looking forward to watching her grow up into a beautiful young woman...just not anytime soon!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How Will I Make A Difference?

I have thought about what I want to accomplish this year and how I can make a difference. I have focused a lot on myself because I believe that if I feel happy, then I am more likely to make a difference to others because of my attitude. So, here goes...

1. Pray more often...I have found to really enjoy that quiet time with the Lord and need it to bring calm into my life.
2. Yell less...I am a yeller and I hate I want to really focus on taking a breath and not reacting with yelling.
3. Keep my house in better order...staying on top of the house cleaning so it doesn't get so overwhelming for me and thus reduces my stress level.
4. Planning avoid the dreaded 5PM panic of what's for supper and again reducing my stress level.
5. Make more 1 on 1 time for each child...this time with my kids will be gone before I know it and I want to have more of that time with each one, talking and doing something they enjoy!
6. Make more time with Pat...our couple time seems to take a back seat right seems we get a sitter more for meetings than for us to actually spend time together. Ridiculous!
7. Read more...I love to read. I need to turn off the TV and read...more than just my book club book, but books that I want to read. I would like to read at least 2 books a month!
8. Learn how to knit...I have wanted to do this for a long time and I really want to try to find time for that this year.
9. Work on my relationships with my sisters...this is a hard one for me, and it has to be a 2 way street, but I am very sad about the state of our relationships and want to make an effort to improve them, at least from my end. I can't control what they do with that effort. I just need to feel I have tried my best.
10. Workout...I want to get into better shape. Who doesn't? I enjoy Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home program and I have a great pilates DVD. So, until spring arrives...this is my plan. To interchange these DVD's throughout the week and hopefully drop 1 size and feel better physically and emotionally!

Ten things...none of them too difficult...All of them will take planning and effort on my part. So, along with these 10 items and the Monday Matters program...I should be glowing with happiness and stress free by the end of 2009! I hope so! Let's make it happen!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 1

Time is a non-renewable resource. Once it's used up, you can't get it back. Time spent on what matters most is never a waste of time.

Action Steps:
1. Stop and Think...then make a list of what matters most to you.
2. Create a list...of how you currently spend your time each week.
3. Organize...your list of weekly activities and identify required vs optional ones (time wasters)
4. Rearrange...your schedule or reduce the optional activities so you can spend time doing WHAT MATTERS MOST.
5. Don't waste time.

Ok, so for me...I know I waste a lot of time during the day. I can get sucked into the internet...checking emails, reading blogs, being on facebook, etc. So, I know I need to limit that time. I also sleep later than I should. I have always been someone who liked to sleep I could get up earlier and find more time in my day instantly. I also waste time in the evening watching TV. I really try to limit the shows I watch...but I do have my favorites. I need to stop the watching of shows I watch just because I am avoiding doing something else.

1. My husband
2. My kids
3. My family
4. My friends
5. My faith
6. My happiness
7. My community

So, from that list I can then focus on what I want to accomplish this year. So, I am going to work on that today and hope to post it tomorrow. Be sure to look at the previous post and leave a comment to win your own copy of this book!

Mondays Matter and a GIVEAWAY!

Today I am starting a new feature titled "Mondays Matter". I am going to be featuring ideas from a book I recently purchased. I will also be giving away a copy of that book to one of you! So, read on.....

This book is published by a fabulous website called Simple Truths I receive their newsletter and find it well worth my time to read through or watch a short video clip. This is what they have to say about the book...

It all started with a piece of trash...
Matthew Emerzian, a successful music industry executive in Los Angeles, was walking back to his office with a co-worker one afternoon in 2004 when he stopped to pick up a plastic fountain drink cover from the sidewalk and put it in a nearby garbage bin.
“My co-worker quickly asked me what I was doing,” Emerzian recalled. “I explained what I thought to be the obvious, but apparently I was wrong.” To the co-worker, litter simple belonged to the litterer, not to the population as a whole.
“I explained to him that litter and pollution are everyone's problem not just the person who couldn't find the trash can for their cup lid. He profoundly responded with 'Dude, you're weird.'”
Emerzian, now 38, walked back to his office both angry and sad.
“I couldn't believe that someone could remove themselves so far from the greater good of our world.”
Matt began to think, 'what if everyone in the country picked up one piece of litter on the same day.' Or 10 pieces! The math was easy, yet so powerful. He then began to think of a few other easy things that 300 million Americans could do to make a difference.
From this, a great idea was born. He called his friend, Kelly Bozza, and told her that he wanted to write a book about how all of us can make a difference with our lives. Within a week, they had over 100 items on their list and were ready to start writing.
Their book, titled
Every Monday Matters...52 Ways to Make a Difference, has sold 120,000 copies. It is both powerful and thought-provoking. The ideas are simple - small acts that collectively add up to an enormous impact for the greater good. It's 144 pages with lots of illustrations - chocked full of big ideas.

Doesn't this book just sound fabulous?! I am so excited to share it with you. Every Monday I will share one of their 52 ideas and let you know what I or my family is doing to make a difference. I realize I probably won't be able to accomplish all 52 ideas, but the point is to MAKE A DIFFERENCE and that is what I am hoping to do. Won't you make a difference with me?

So, now the best part....YOU CAN WIN YOUR OWN COPY! As a side note...I am not doing this as a favor to Simple Truths, or because they gave me a free product...I am doing this on my own to be a part of MAKING A DIFFERENCE. I will also add a reusable shopping bag with the book. Shamelessly, the bag will have my husband's company on it! :) So, just leave a comment WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS by Monday, January 12 at 11:59 PM. I will pick one winner through and let the winner know via email. If I don't hear back from the winner by the next Monday, I will choose another winner.

I look forward to sharing this experience with you! Let me know what you are doing to make a difference!