Monday, December 2, 2013

Rationalizing what's worth the $$

Back in November I went to the Food & Wine Show in Cleveland with Heather and Marla.  It was SO much fun.... a well spent day off with friends.

While we were there, Marla & Heather planned to purchase a pan from a vendor that they purchased a pan from the previous year.  They claim it is "the best pan ever" and they use it EVERYDAY.  When we approached the vendor, we got what we expected .... the sales pitch to purchase the entire set.  I don't really remember what the original set was but by the time he was finished I think there were 7 pans in total ... plus some plastic utensils.  We was pushing all three of us to purchase the set.

Now to the point of this entry - the price for the set of pans was $700.00, which when you break it down by the number of pans isn't bad.  I needed new pans and Justin and I had been talking about buying a new set.  I had trouble rationalize spending $700.00 on pots & pans....even though it's something I would use everyday. It seemed like a lot of money to spend on pots & pans and before the holidays.  I struggled with the decision to purchase them or not.

Now, like I said earlier, Marla & Heather attested that they were great pans and they used the one they purchased last year everyday ... and Marla spends about 4 hours a day in her kitchen cooking (God love ya Marla) ... so if I was going to take a recommendation from anyone is would be them.  

The funny thing is, I would have no hesitation spending $700.00 in the Coach store or at one of my favorite clothing stores purchasing material items.  I also spent close to that on other stuff at the food show that I really didn't need.  I find myself coming back to this internal struggle I had with myself thinking - why did I need to talk myself into this purchase??

After calling Justin for his opinion - which was if they would make me happy then buy them :-) I purchased the set of pans ..... and boy am I glad I did!!  I have had a few different pan sets over the years and this set is by far the best!  I use the pans everyday ... and I don't need to put them in the dishwasher.  They wipe clean no matter what I make.  I made grits for Justin for breakfast and they wiped right out of the pan.  With my old pots and pans I would have had to soak the pan for days to get them off the bottom.  Oh and water boils in them in no time - it's amazing!!

I would like to thank Heather and Marla for going to that booth.  Not only do the pots and pans make my clean up easier and faster, I enjoy cooking more with them.  I had such a great time at the show - we will have to do it again next year!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  

Live ~ Laugh ~ Love


Monday, November 4, 2013


When did Halloween go from being 1 day to an entire week?  Three class treats (I didn't even think to take one for story-time) and trick-or-treat ..... I was exhausted!!

The little ones do not dress up for school, however they do have a Harvest Party that they can take a treat for.  Even though they don't dress up for school, Cloe's dance class had a costume party on Tuesday, Blake dressed up for story-time on Wednesday and Halloween was Thursday.  They had their fill of Halloween.

Even though I was exhausted, I had a good time making the treats for the kids.  They helped me with some of them, and we had a blast.

Blake was Mario and Cloe was Princess Ariel.  I felt so bad, why does it always rain on trick-or-treat?  Two years in a row it has been miserable.  The kids didn't mind at first, but once we were soaked ... it was time to go inside.  They got plenty of candy so I guess it was a good excuse to call it  quits.

Tuesday for dance class I made Hello Kitty rice crispy treats.  They didn't turn out the way I wanted but everyone like them.  I called them Hello Kitty Ghosts!

For Blake's school party on Thursday I made Bat Pops ... this was a bigger project then  I thought.  After making the cake you had to crumple it up and mix it with icing.  Then roll the balls, pinch the ears, and freeze.  After 20 minutes, drip them in chocolate (that was TOO thick so I had to spread it out) and put the eyes on with icing and a toothpick.  The kids loved them.  I wrapped them in individual bags and tied them with orange ribbon. 


Finally, Friday I made Hello Kitty cupcakes for Cloe to take as her class treat.  Now, I have to confess ... I bought the cupcakes themselves.  I ran out of time and didn't get them made.  I did take the pumpkin rings off (saved them for next years treats!) and put the Hello Kitty wrapper & toppers on.  I also wrapped them in individual bags with orange ribbon.

Last week of very busy .... but we had a lot of fun!  I am glad Halloween only comes once a year!  Now I have to starting thinking about Christmas!!

Whether you went trick-or-treating, passed out candy, or didn't do anything ... I hope everyone had a great Halloween. 

Wishes for a good week this week to come.

Live | Laugh | Love

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Library

How long has it been since you have been to the library?  Actually gone in, sat down, looked for a book?  Before a few weeks ago it had been YEARS since I had been to the library.  I think the last time was when Elijah was Cloe's age and I took him to the summer reading program at the East Palestine Library.

Several weeks ago, the fall storytime program started for the 3-4 year olds at the library in town.  It's on Wednesday from 10:00 to 10:50, so I thought it would be nice for Blake since he is home with me and Justin on Wednesday and Cloe is in school.  I forgot how much I loved the library.  It's very inspiring to be surrounded by so much knowledge in one place.  This 50 minutes is mine to sit in a QUIET place and do whatever I feel like.  I can work if I need to, I can read a magazine or a book, I can blog or surf the web or just sit in a comfy chair with my eyes closed and enjoy the peach and quiet!!  Sometimes there are intersting people to talk to (or listen to ... the old men talking about politics each week) like the lady that came in this morning to take a break from her walk.  She sat down with a cup of coffee and a couple magizines to rest and will then finish her walk.

I have found Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. to be one of my favorite times of the week.  It gives that little break and inspiration I need to get over the hump and finish the week.  

If you find yourself needing a quiet retreat, visit your local library for an hour!  You will be glad you did.

Live, Laugh, Love!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Great Fall Recipe

Happy Fall Everyone:

Here is a quick, easy and yummy fall recipe that I made a few weeks ago.  It was a big hit with the entire family.... the kids even ate it.  Elijah doesn't like meatloaf and admitted it was good!!

It took a little longer to cook in my oven, so you may need to adjust the cooking time.

If you make it, let me know how it went.  There is also a bonus Apple FYI ... and a recipe for pork chops with apples & onion at the bottom.  I haven't made that recipe yet but I am planning too next week.  If you make them first, let me know your thoughts.

Hope all is well with everyone - it's almost the weekend!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Eat At Chili's .... it's a good cause

I wasn't aware Chili's did this and I think it's FANTASTIC!  This flyer came home from preschool with Blake & Cloe.

I know we will be eating there on Monday!

Feel Free to pass along to any of your friends & family.

Have a great weekend.


Monday, September 16, 2013

What are the best X to use to make Y?

I often wonder, what is the best type of something to use when trying to make whatever it is I'm making.  Did that make any sense, haha!

Well what I mean is, what is the best:

* APPLE to use to make applesauce?  

* POTATO to use to make mashed potatoes (one of Justin's favorites and I don't make very often)

*FISH to use when making fish tacos ... one of my favorites!  
I have an outstanding recipe that uses Mahi Mahi but because I live in such a metropolis I can't find it very easily so I tried tilapia once and it just wasn't the same.  Now the funny thing is the lady at the "meat counter" told me that tilapia was what you wanted to use... it was good but it just wasn't what I was looking for!

What else takes a specific type of something to make a dish really good??  Any recommendations?

I am going to test some different apples, potatoes and fish over the next week so I will let you know my opinion.  I would LOVE yours!

Happy Fall!!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

My babies aren't babies anymore!

This has been a hard week, and this morning the hardest.  I had to come to the realization that my babies are not babies anymore.  Cloe & Blake started school this week - Cloe yesterday and Blake today.  They were both so excited, and the more Cloe cheered "pre-k" the more I had to hold back the tears.

Cloe isn't really in pre-k, she just thinks she is, ha!  She goes to school MWF from 8:30 to 11:00 but stays after school in the childcare program till 2ish then goes on TTH in the child care program.  This way I don't have to run her to Joni's and she gets to attend the pre-k class on TTH mornings ... which she LOVES! The pre-k kids go everyday from 8:30 to 3:00.  She's there the same amount of time, she just can't be in that class because you have to turn 5 before the end of December.

Blake goes on TTH from 8:30 to 11:00 but is also staying till 2ish to save me the running.  I think this is going to be a great schedule for all of us.  We can pick them up at around 2:15 p.m. then head to the high school to pick up Elijah at 2:30... round trip 1 hour. 

Blake will go to the babysitter (Joni) on M&F which will be good so he can play with his friend Joey (as long as he's there) and have sometime without Cloe ... he follows her everywhere and she can get a little bossy.  I want them to be their own individual selves but it's so hard when they are so close in age, and do EVERYTHING together!

I think they are both as equally excited to take a lunch box and eat lunch at school as they are about school itself.  It's amazing how such little things make little people happy.  This is something we forget as we grow older.  Although I have been sad this week, it's been so much fun watching them be SO excited about school.  I have the opposite end of the spectrum with Elijah as he hates school and is grumpy every morning as he gets ready to go!  I remember laughing when it was just me an Elijah thinking that I would never have other children and if I did I would be on the "college / kindergarten schedule".  Elijah will start his senior year when Blake goes to kindergarten.  OMG I will be a MESS that day!! I may have to take that day as PTO just to do something for me to help me get through it, hahaha!  I have two years to prepare myself!

I guess this is a new chapter in my life?  I can say for the first time in a long time, my domestic side - the little one that I have - has really come out not traveling as much.  It's a little scary for me but I am willing to see where it takes me. 

Best wishes to everyone for happiness, love & laughter the rest of the week and this weekend.

Here are the kiddos' ... each on their first day of school.

Elijah - first day of sophomore year.  I got to the school and realized I didn't take his picture.  When I said "oh shoot I forgot to take your picture" he replied with "really mom??  Do you still have to do that?"  He laughed when I took his picture in the car ... and was probably mortified when I took his picture from the car with the window down as he was walking into the school and his friends were watching, hahaha!!

photo.JPGOne of these days I will figure out how to upload pictures to this blog the right way!

 photo.JPGShe is a girlie girl for sure!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Going LEAN!!

OK, so I have come to the realization that I have too much SHIT!!  I don't just mean stuff that I have accumulated over the years but just stuff in general.  It makes me sick to think of the money I have wasted in my adult life of unnecessary purchases - clothes, electronics (I have more phone covers, chargers & gadgets than you can even imagine possible) purses, bags, make-up, lotions and potions .... I could continue the list.  And for what??  Seriously - what is the purpose??

I'm not sure exactly what made me finally realize this - I think it's because I hardly travel anymore and being at home makes me realize all the clutter we have everywhere. I look around every day and it drives me crazy how cluttered everything is.  Granted we do need more living space, 5 people and 2 big dogs in a 1000 square foot 6 room house is a bit cozy no matter how much stuff you have.  But still, even if we had 3000 square feet, we have to much unnecessary stuff.

I have also come to realize that I don't need all the material bullshit I have .... don't get me wrong I love my Coach bags, but it's time to depart with MANY of them and about 1/2 the clothes I have.  I am setting a GOAL that between now and the end of the year I will go through each room in the house - including the basement and my storage unit (that I have had since I moved in with Justin full of furniture  from my old house) and CLEAN OUT!  I am not purchasing anything NEW until I have done this.

If anyone is in need on anything, let me know - I probably have it!  I am going to take some stuff to a reseller because it's good stuff that I could get some money back for and some I am going to donate.  If anyone knows an organization that could benefit or needs anything specific let me know. 



Monday, August 26, 2013

The Fall Routine Begins!

Today is a day I love and hate .... the first day of school!  I love it because it means I have the morning to myself till Justin gets home for lunch.  It also gives me a since of normal and makes me get back into a routine. 

The canfield fair is this week which we all love ... but that means I have to really watch what I eat this week and make sure to get my workouts in (which I am already behind on this morning, ugh) because I can not resist fair food!!

I hate it because it means the end of summer.  Every spring I have all these good intentions and thoughts of what summer is going to be like then school starts and I think to myself "OMG it went so fast and I didn't do x,y or z"!  It seems the older I get the faster it goes.  Does everyone feel that way or is it just me? 

I also need to come up with a better morning routine.  The next two weeks are not bad, but once Cloe and Blake start school it's going to be a little more difficult.  Elijah has to be at school around 7:30 - we leave the house by 7:20 a.m. - and the little ones do not start until 8:30 - Cloe will go MWF and Blake will go TTH.  It's such a pain to get them up and ready before taking Elijah, but if I don't then I have to come back home, unload them, get them fed and ready and back out the door in about 30 minutes (i need 30 minutes drive time back home from the high school then to their school) ... they don't start for two weeks so it's easy now, I can load them up in their PJ's and drop them off at the sitters after I drop Elijah off at school.

Any suggestions on morning routines or easy, quick and HEALTHY breakfast ideas? 

Hope everyone is doing well.  Here is a picture of the kids from our vacation last week.  It was nice to get a way and watch the kids have fun and giggle.  I can't believe how fast they are all growing up.


Monday, July 22, 2013

I forgot Leah ...

I would NEVE forget Leah .... I hit publish too soon....  Hey girl, we need to get together too.  Let me know your schedule ( I have no idea what you are up to these days) and we'll see if we can get together.

If you are still running ... maybe we could plan a 5k for the fall (once I get to that point).

Miss you!

It's been TOO long ....

1. Since I posted anything
2.  Since I saw my friends
3.  Since I slept (REALLY) slept
4.  Since I could check off a GOAL as ACHIEVED!
5.  Since I just RELAXED!

SO, with that said:

1.  Here is a new posted - and I'm on a roll today and feeling FANTASTIC!  Although I went back to bed when Justin left this morning, I have laundry going - I unloaded and ran the dishwasher (it's ready to be unloaded and loaded up again (I swear between laundry and dishes, wth!! ha) - I made the kids pancakes (which were terrible because they came from a water only mix, yuck - will NEVER buy those again then took the kids to the sitter - stopped at the health food store - the farm market & the grocery store (yes I'm suppose to be working but my motivation to work on Monday mornings is something I need to work on).  When I'm finished with this post I am going to go for my run (week 2 of "Cough to 5K".... I completed all three workouts last week and if I am successful this week I am going to buy a new pair of running shoes).  Then I am going to have lunch with Justin and do some work this afternoon.  I already have dinner planned for the week so I am all set.

2.  OK - honestly I know we are all spread out but it's terrible that I can't see my friends more than once a year (Marla we are getting worse instead of better).  So, here goes:
Jeannie & Hannah - i saw you guys on the street in Salem  ... you guys look GREAT! 

Angie - Cloe would like to have a play date with Aubry so I thought if Amanda was still off, you and I could take a day off and plan a day with the little ones.  I would love to see Brayden and Cloe, Aubry and Blake could play.  Maybe we could go swimming at your moms or mine.  I'm going to send you and Amanda a message on FB so let me know if we can make this work.

Lauren - I can't wait to hang out at the sales meeting.  Can we stop at the outlets and have lunch like we did a couple years ago on the drive from Boston to Maine?  We can discuss next year plans during our drive :-)

Marla - I'm sending you an e-mail after this with dates I can get together.  I agree, we both need a get together WITHOUT kids.

Demetria - I can't remember how far you live from San Diego but I am going to be there in October.  If it's at all possible, let's get together for  dinner or coffee.

Tammy - I'm such a jerk I have not sent you a thank you for the GREAT Picture Frame!  I LOVE IT... I put our wedding picture in it and have it in the living room.  That was SO thoughtful of you.

Anyone else reading this blog that I have not talked to in FOREVER ..... please reach out!

3.  Not sure about this one but I am going to try new supplements from the health food store for pain and other issues to see if that helps at all.  I am also starting a new sleep hygiene routine to see if that helps.

4.  It's time to focus on my goals!  I'm setting smaller more realistic ones that has "rewards" when achieved.  I have a couple with BIG rewards but they are more long time goals.

5.  I'm taking Wednesday off and we are going to Idlewild with the kids and my parents.  Not that it will be relaxing, I'm not even taking my work phone.  I am going to start a new night routine to get the kids ready for fall and in that routine (and my sleep hygiene routine) there is time at night for ME to just relax and read .... Reading more is a big goal of mine.

Sorry for the long blog - I am in a funny mood today and I hope it continues.

Happy thoughts to a good week everyone!


Monday, April 29, 2013

"Spring is the time of plans & projects" - Leo Tolstoy

Besides the rain - which is ok in moderation - I love spring.  For me, it's the season of planning.  I am SO ready for summer & have several projects that I would really like to see through this year. 

My main "project" this summer is a garden.  I think I am already behind the game getting it going but that is my goal for this week - planning it all out. 

What spring projects do you have in the works?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Body Revolution - Workout 1

Two words - HOLY SHIT!  It is only 30 minutes but it kicked my ass.  I am SO out of shape it's not even funny.

But - I DID IT! 

Day 1 down .... 3 more to go this week (it's a 12 week program)!

Monday, April 15, 2013

What's for dinner tonight???

That is a question that typically comes up at 5:30 p.m. when everyone is home and hungry.  The meat is frozen, we are out of xyz .... the list goes on.  One thing I have incorporated into our week - to help reduce this situation - is a dry erase board on the refrigerator where I write what we will have for dinner - well at least the meat or main dish so I can get meat out of the freezer and make sure I have all the ingredients for a specific recipe.  I update the board on Saturdays either before going to Weight Watchers or when I get home - depending on when I go to the grocery store. 

I bought this at staples (it was like $5.00) and is part of the Martha Stewart collection so it was an inexpensive way to help plan ahead - a concept I am trying to incorporate into my everyday!

I also indicate when we have evening activities or when I am out of town everyone knows the schedule, however because we all live in the real world, schedules change and things come up so sometimes we have to make changes, however this has helped plan the week a little better and reduce the stress of "What's for dinner tonight" as well as plan healthy meals.  I am trying to change the way we eat - meals and snacks - to keep the entire family healthy and teach the kids healthy habits. 

The line at the top is to split the day with lunch and dinner.  Justin is usually home in time to eat lunch at home - and Cloe is home on Tuesdays & Thursdays for lunch (unless I am traveling or she goes to Joni's to play with her friend Aubry on Thursday afternoons) so I am going to start planning what's for lunch as well as dinner. 

How do you organize your week so it goes as smooth as possible?

It's Monday - have a great week everyone!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Holiday gift snacks

You all know I call myself the most non-domestic female ever!!  While that is true, one thing I am oddly good at - and really enjoy - is coming up with cute, unique ideas for the kids holiday school treats.  I have always loved putting together the school treat - regardless if it was for Elijah's birthday, valentines day, Easter, etc....  I admit when I was the head room mom for Elijah I went a little overboard with the class party and take home treats :-)  (that's when I was traveling A LOT and I over compensated for my guilt) but the kids loved it!

Now that Cloe is in preschool, I have been reminded how much fun I have putting the classroom treats together.   I thought I would share the Easter treat I made for Cloe's class on Tuesday.  They were super easy, inexpensive and the kids loved them (I took them to the babysitters yesterday and they had a blast making and eating them).

 This was on the front of the bag.  I typed it on the computer and cut it out with jagged edged scissors.  Then I just taped it to the front of a Ziploc sandwich bag.
Inside the sandwich bag, you put one of your favorite colored Peep! (we used pink for the girls and blue for the boys), one grahmn cracker broken in half and a mini Hersey bar.  We could find mini Hersey bars so I put in two mini Hersey bars - worked just the same!

If you have an upcoming party and need any ideas, let me know - I'm happy to share what I have done in the past or help come up with a new idea. If you have any cute, unique treats you have made and want to share, feel free to comment and send them along.

Have a great weekend everyone.
Happy Easter,

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Keeping up on current events

Any suggestions??  I feel like I never know what's going on in the world - how do you keep up?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Self Care

As women - busy women - I think we all forget how important personal care is to help keep us motivated and feeling good.  I have been trying to focus on this more this year (you know the whole 40 thing) and while I am on the right track, I need to prioritize one very important aspect of personal health.

Personal care is more than getting your hair and nails done so you look good.  It's physical care, emotional care and mental care.  I am trying to prioritize exercise it's not working out very well.  I have been successful in losing weight - and I'm down one size :-) - I think my weight loss would be more successful if I stick to my exercise schedule.  The hardest part of personal care for me is the emotional / mental aspect.  Today is a perfect examples, I am so distracted by everything and I can't focus on what I need to get done  - TGIF!! 

Does anyone have any emotional / mental care suggestions they would like to share?  Lauren, what is the Oprah radio show you were telling me about?

I want to give a quick shout out to Marla who celebrates her 10 year anniversary today - Congrats!!  I can't wait to see you tomorrow and help celebrate you and Mike.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


How as a busy mom, spouse, women in general do you stay motivated and focused with all the distractions of everyday life?

I start out the week so motivated - if you read my blog on Monday this week was no different.  I haven't totally lost my motivation but my weeks seem to have a similar theme to them lately and I need to break the cycle.  The beginning of the week I am super motivated and focused.  By Wednesday I can see a noticeable difference in motivation and by Thursday and Friday I just want the week to be over.

I have tried to set boundaries for myself to keep focused however so many things intrude on those boundaries.  This pattern is exhausting - I'm so exhausted when I go to bed but then I wake up every hour or two (either because my children need something - last night they BOTH wet the bed, Cloe was my fault but Blake leaked through is 12 hour diaper .... seriously how does that happen) or because my mind won't shut down and let me sleep. When I do finally fall asleep when I wake up I have NO energy and feel like I have been hit by a truck.

So, my initial question .... how do you stay motivated and focused with all the distractions of everyday life?

Monday, March 4, 2013

New Routines

I started back to weight watchers a few months ago, and while my weight loss as been a little slower than I had hoped it would.  I am proud of my accomplishments - I have lost 12 pounds - but I had hoped to be a little further along by now.  One reason I'm not - and I take full responsibility for it - is my lack of exercise.  I try to schedule it into my calendar but it always seems to be the first thing that gets pushed when something else comes up.  I have also realized that I prioritize everything but myself and that has got to STOP.  I am determined to hit my goal this time (I never hit it the last time I joined weight watchers).  and become a lifetime member of weight watchers. 

One thing I have realized when I turned 40 is that I have really let time take over our lives and I have let it.  It's easier to grab dunkin donuts in the morning on the way to school, go through McDonald's before or after the basketball games for dinner rather than sitting down and eating a cooked dinner.  Well this has also STOPPED as of today.

I have planned dinners for the week - and wrote the on the board I bought for the refrigerator and I am going to STICK to them.  Elijah made a smoothie this morning - with yogurt, fresh strawberries & banana - and shared it with Cloe & Blake. 

I am not traveling this week - and while I have several projects to kick off - my schedule is very open because HIMSS is this week and I am not there.  It feels very weird for me professionally because I have not been at a HIMSS or MGMA (except when I was out with the kids) in 6 years.  It's very strange not being there but I am going to use this week to get organized at home and put some new - healthier routines in place for my family. 

What routines do you have that make getting out the door in the morning or dinner time easier?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

40 has come and gone

As you all know I turned 40 last month.  One of my BFF's Marla was sort of right - she told me the three days leading up to 40 are much harder than the day after.  My actual birthday and the next couple of days were not that bad - I really didn't even realize it was my birthday.  Where the sort of comes in is now that it's been a few weeks it's starting to hit me a little more each day.  I really don't want to start out 2013 is a frumpy rut! 

Justin took me to St. Peters urgh for my birthday weekend - the weather was so nice and it was so nice to be somewhere where there is stuff to do!  We went to an outdoor market (called the Saturday morning market) and it was so cool.  They had live music, food, crafts, jewrley, and all sorts of all natural / organic products.  It was so refreshing and it put me in such a good mood.  Then we return to reality .... shitty Ohio and the bullshit of everyday life. 

Ok enough of being a little negative (more like venting) .... While we were in St. Petersburgh we bought three trees and had them shipped home.  We bought a banana tree, and avacado tree and a plam tree.  We actually bought two palm trees - one for us and one for Justin's mom.  The one we is called a pony tail palm and is not very big right now.  The problem is going to be me keeping them alive, ha!  The banana tree and alvacado tree need compost - I have never had a compost pile before.  I'm going to do research but if anyone had any ideas or informaiton PLEASE send them along. 

Also - I am on a mission to start recycling.  Everytime I start everything piles up and I end up putting it out for the garbage.  Any tips / tricks for successful recycling?

Hope everyone is having a happy new year!