Tuesday, July 31, 2012

If it is good for you... it must be expensive

I just got back from the grocery store.  I typically try to make one big monthly run to the store and then just go back for items that we constantly use up, bread, cheese, milk, etc...

That store run is usually a good chunk of change depending on how many new recipes I am trying or whether it involves getting a lot of meat.  (We bulk up on meat when it's on sale and try not to get it every time.)

Today was different. 

Tomorrow I am beginning a 24 day challenge to become healthier.  Even though I hope to lose some weight on the challenge, that is not my primary motivation.  I want to be a better, smarter eater.  Learn how to take my everyday foods and meals and make them healthier.  Eat less process foods and more whole grain goodness.  I am very excited about this and have been waiting all summer for just the right time.

Today I grabbed my list full of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grain/wheat products, and many other healthier options and headed out the door full of excitement.

I returned, still enthused about the challenge, but not so excited about the items in the grocery bags.

Apparently shopping for healthy food has a language a lot like apartment shopping. (Cozy studio = bed in bathtub)

"Whole Grain" = expensive

"All Natural" = not on sale

"Fresh" = a few more quarters

"Low Sodium" = not in the store brand

It amazes me that peanut butter that has NOTHING ELSE IN IT EXCEPT PEANUTS costs more than the peanut butter with other (yummy) ingredients.  Shouldn't the item with less in it cost less???

I know what all you "health-experts" are going to say...

"It's a choice of what MATTERS.  Put more money in to good, healthy food and less in to something else."


"Think of it in long term.  Healthy food now, less medical problems and costly prescriptions later."

Okay...you win.  I can spend a little more for whole grain bread and natural peanut butter and change my lifestyle so I am healthier in the long run. 

But when I look to my future and see a houseful of kids and trying to fix many peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, I'm struggling with how to make this a permanent habit not just for me, but for my kids (and hubby if he so chooses...) AND be able to afford it.  Because food prices aren't going to go down.  And coupons are made for processed meals and junk that we don't buy.

I know that making small changes will pay off big.  I just hope that my paycheck doesn't become small change...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mystery Destination: Omaha, NE!

Well, I am home from the 4th annual Mystery Weekend Trip.  My mom decided on the location of Omaha, Nebraska this year, and once again she did not disappoint. 

We arrived in Omaha by 1:00 in the afternoon and enjoyed a few hours of shopping before heading over to visit some family we have in town.  Our Great Aunt Karen and Uncle George.  Uncle George is my grandmother's brother.  We enjoyed spending the evening on their back patio enjoying pizza and cocktails. 

The weather was PERFECT!

No humidity, no extreme heat, and a COOL breeze. 

That is what summer's should be like.  Warm days and beautiful evenings. 

Not heat that's so extreme you don't want to go outside and it's still miserable at 11:00 at night! 

The cocktail was a yummy concoction of strawberry liquor, vodka, and orange juice. 

I had three.  Maybe four...

Saturday morning found us up and ready to go enjoy a beautiful morning at the famous Omaha Zoo. 

Wow!  What an amazing place to visit. 

Even though we felt like the only adults there without children. 

A few of our favorite stops at the zoo...

Yes...that's us climbing on the lions.  Yes, my mother told (asked firmly) a little kid to get off so we could take that picture.  :o)

We enjoyed dinner that night at a really cute little Italian restaurant "Vincenzos" and a walk around the Old Market area.  Another beautiful evening!

Sunday we made our way back to reality (and the stupid heat).  Sad for the trip to be over, but looking forward to being home.  Ethan did an amazing job with Jackie over the weekend, but I missed my little family.

We had a fantastic trip and mom already says she has a couple of options in mind.  Where might we head next?  Only she knows... 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mystery Weekend and My Weekend Away

I am a conflicting set of emotions today.

On one hand, I am SUPER EXCITED for the 4th annual Mystery Weekend that will begin in just under 24 hours.  :)

On the other hand, I am sad about leaving my little one for the ENTIRE WEEKEND for the first time. :(

Mystery weekend began four years ago when my wonderful mother decided that just us girls (my sister, her, and I) needed to get together every year for one weekend.  That turned in to her wanting to surprise us by not telling us the destination or special activities until we are on the road. 

This prompted many "oh pleeeease tell us," little tricks to try and get her to accidentally let it slip, and trying to pry the location out of our dad.  None of it worked.  (Not that we really wanted it to anyway...)

The first year found us heading south to Oklahoma City.  What an amazing trip!  We saw the OKC memorial, went on a "booze cruise" downtown, shopped, and enjoyed some wine tasting.  We all came home with a bottle of wine.

Year two was more of a local trip, but still one of my favorites.  Lawrence, Kansas.  We painted pottery, shopped, went bowling, and swam in the hotel pool.  So much fun!

Last year was BIG. We went all the way to Dayton, Ohio for my cousin's wedding.  We took a couple days to get there enjoying the shopping and a surprise stop at the Budweiser Clydesdale farm.  What an amazing trip. 

This year, we leave from Emporia at 8:00 AM for a short weekend away.  No idea where we are going!

I could have taken Jackie along with us on the trip.  I know mom and my sister would love to spend the weekend with her.  However, two reasons kept me from it. 

1.  I have tried taking her with me to go shopping.  Not much fun.  I have tried sleeping with her in the playpen in the same room.  Not much fun.  I have had to breastfeed her in public.  Not much fun.  I have had her in a restaurant while she was tired and screaming.  Not much fun.  (catching on to the theme here...)  I wanted to enjoy the weekend without having to worry about where and when and if baby would get a nap or fed. 

2.  Ethan only gets to see her in the evenings and on weekends while he's working during the week.  It's almost unfair to him to take her away on the weekend.  Plus he WANTS me to leave her with him for some special Ethan-Jacqueline bonding time.  I figure I might as well leave kids with  him as long as he wants me to.  (There may be a time where he's asking me to take one...or two...or three...along with me). 

I have no doubts about how great he will do with her by himself.  When I was debating whether or not to take her along, Ethan caring for her was never a factor.  It was always me, and how I would do emotionally being away from her for the entire weekend.  I'm going to miss that little face!

And we will find out how I do in T-minus 23 hours and 28 minutes...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Update: 15 Minutes of Clean

Thought I would report my first attempt at "15 minutes of clean"

After setting the microwave timer for 15 minutes I...
  • Loaded the dishwasher
  • picked up toys
  • straightened pillows on the couch
  • cleared off the kitchen table
  • put the rest of the groceries away (I only put away the cold stuff before feeding Jackie)
  • cleared on bathroom counter
  • Clorox wiped bathroom counter and toilet
  • opened drapes to let nice sunshine in bedroom
  • picked up floor of master bedroom
  • washed bottles. 

Now I'm rewarding myself with a little Facebook time and blogging my results before I get started on some laundry. (as long as Jackie will let me)

I think I'll need some kind of reward when I finish putting away laundry (my LEAST favorite job).

I'm thinking a nice cold berry smoothie...since I'm all out of wine :o)

This method could change my life!

Monday, July 23, 2012

15 Minutes of Clean

In my "housewife" dreams my bed is always made, I have folded the laundry as it came straight from the dryer, toilets never get a little ring around them, dishwasher is loaded and unloaded with ease, carpets vacuumed, counters wiped down, toys picked up, and everything is done quickly and often enough that I never have to do all of it at one time.  

Did I mention that this was dreaming...

Reality is so far from that. 

I have mentioned apologized to Ethan more than once, that he got the short end of the "wife stick" when it comes to cleaning.  I know how to do it, but motivation is so hard for me to find.  If I had a quarter for every time I've heard my mom say "If you'd just do it right away, it wouldn't be so hard or take you so long" I could hire a maid to clean the house.

I think my main problem is my attention span. 

Or lack thereof.

I get started on the bathroom and clean the sink, then I go unload the dishwasher, then make the bed, and start a load of laundry, then it's back to do the toilet, load the dishwasher, and so on...

It's not until I'm all done (hours later) that I finally feel like I accomplished anything.

And in comes Frugal Faye.

Frugal Fay is a friend of mine from high school.  She writes a very cool blog on being frugal, being a mom, and her everyday life as a wife and mother.  She is (in my opinion) the gold medalist of house wives. 

Today she posted a blog on the 12 ways she gets motivated to clean

Out of all the things I think to Google on the Internet throughout the day (baby development, dress shopping, eating healthy, making baby food, shoe shopping, etc...) "how to motivate yourself to clean" was not something I even considered.

Faye had many great ideas to motivate yourself to clean, but there was one of her methods that just seemed to make me think "hey, I can do that!"

Setting a timer for 15 minutes.  How much can I get done in 15 minutes? 

It's almost like competing with myself.  And I LOVE competition!

Then reward myself with something fun (another Frugal Faye tip). 

Now this is not a way to get the entire house clean, BUT if I can do a little each day, 15 minutes at a time, maybe I can eliminate those all-day marathons. 

Along with a few other tips from Faye! 

I might just end up a bronze medalist house-wife.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I am so frustrated with things that should work, that have no reason not to work, that aren't working!

It seems as though those things are constantly finding me right now.

Like our Netflix account.  We have it connected to our blueray player.  Internet it up and running, power is on, and for some reason when we go to get on Netflix we get this nice little Error message that pops up "Cannot connect to Netflix right now."

Then miraculously if we do actually get into Netflix and select a movie or TV show to watch we get this nice little message "Netflix cannot play this selection right now, please choose something else."  Ok...Fine.  So I try something else. 

Yep, you guessed it.  Same message.

Then there's my cell phone.  I am so fed up with T-mobile I want to scream.  First of all, our house doesn't get great service.  Ethan's phone works pretty good most of the time.  He has a smart phone.  I have just a regular text and call phone.  I don't need the Internet on my phone, or need to pay an extra 30$ just for Internet that I don't need to use. 

There is a spot down in our basement where I get the best service.  FULL BARS!!!  But for some reason people still can't hear me.  And that actually IF I can ever dial out.  Sometimes I have full bars and good signal (even 3G) and for some reason "Call Ended" is the only thing that happens when I try to call out.  WHY?!?!??!!  I have battery, I have service, WHY CAN"T I CALL OUT????

Two years can't go fast enough...

We pay for these things...they should work, but don't.  UGH!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


We all day dream.  Some of us dream about the future, some dream about the past. 

I am sure at one point or anther we have ALL dreamed of picking the perfect combination of numbers and hitting it big on the lottery.

No, I did not win.


It is on my "to-do" list.  I'll get around to it eventually.

Once I do win, you will be able to tell based on a few key changes.

~  I will delete my facebook page.  And the husband's.  No one needs that many "friends" after winning the lottery.

~ Our Church will get a sizable donation.

~ My and Ethan's parents will be taken care of for life.  My parents can both retire and travel from campsite to campsite.  E's will have a great time living in their "winter home" in Las Vegas.

~ I will become a stay-home mom and E will enroll in some photography classes.

~  The lot next to us will become ours with a very nice shop built on it to hold the husband's "toys," which will include his boat, truck, and new Dodge Charger and Challenger (heaven forbid I make him choose between the two...)

~  We will "summer" in the mountains in Colorado in beautiful little cabin next to a lake.  This will of course be located close to Denver so we can make good use of our Rockie's season tickets, and close to a great ski resort for winter trips.

~   Our kids will get a nice little trust fund that will be available for them to use when they turn 18.  It will NOT be enough to live on for the rest of their lives.  Use for college, down payment on a house, a new car.  Their choice, but they will still be responsible for their own lives. 

~  Our yard will get the well, sprinklers, and beautiful fescue sod which will be put down by some very nice paid workers.  The workers from "Magic Mike" will do just fine :o)

~  There will be a very nice vacation taken by the hubby and I to a beautiful tropical location. 

So if you start to notice any of these things, just assume that I finally played the lottery and got very lucky!

Oh to dream...

Random Chatter

 I started this yesterday and just now finished it... I got a little sidetracked

~  Jackie has found her "outside voice" and seems to prefer it to her "inside voice."  I swear her shrieking can be heard down the block.  Ethan says she gets her volume level from me.  It's funny because it's true...

~  I have decided that it is a good thing we moved in to our new house in December.  We didn't get to do much in the Christmas Gift category, but we got all the "moving in to a new home" expenses out of the way before getting to the summer "get your yard in shape" expenses came.  We have decided that it will be much more beneficial for us to pay for a well and sprinkler system than trying to run our very limited water pressure to run sprinklers for HOURS in order to grow some grass.  This coming thankfully after we have had a chance to build up our account some. 

~  I spend a week at the end of June working with my favorite group of history geeks in Hutchinson.  I have been a part of this group for two years now and we have one year left of all working together.  I know that my teaching has benefited from it and will miss it when it's over.

~  Because of the history geek group I mentioned above I get a nice little stipend.  That stipend comes in perfect time for me to do a little "me" shopping before school starts.  This year I'll be spending some of that on a healthy eating challenge I'm going to try (more on that later...) and school clothes! I may find something for little Jackie and the hubby also. :)

~  The 4th annual Mystery Weekend is coming up soon.  I can't wait to find out where we are going, and Ethan is looking forward to some serious Daddy-Baby bonding time :)

~  I am currently going on month 2 without using the oven.  While I love grilling as much as the next person, I love to cook and I start to crave things like lasagna, and pizza, and home-baked cookies.  With the way things seem to be going it could be end of September before I get to use my oven again. 

~  I love that Jackie has found her thumb to suck on.  She hasn't been a big fan of the pacifier and even when she did suck on it for a while it would always fall out.  I know that eventually down the road we will probably have to fight her on the sucking the thumb issue, but for now I'm going to enjoy the extra few hours of sleep it gets me!

~  Oreos should not be kept in our house in the summer.  I have very little will power against Oreos.  And ice cream...

~  Speaking of ice cream, Ethan and I plan on getting an ice cream maker for ourselves.  I want my mother-in-law's recipe for the best home made ice cream I have ever had.  That could be a dangerous but wonderful thing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

If Jackie could talk...

I have found probably the most challenging thing to raising a baby is that they can't talk.  And I know that I will be probably wishing for these days again when she's talking and talking and talking...  BUT when she's upset and I don't know why I would give anything for her to just be able to tell me what she's thinking.

So, if Jackie could talk, here's what I think she would say about her life these last few weeks.

~  I have mastered the skill of screaming as loud as I can in order to get anything I want.  Sometimes mom tries to do many things before she figures out what I want, but I eventually get it.  I hope this continues!

~  My dad makes silly faces and weird noises just to get me to smile.  Doesn't he realize that all I need is a good fart :)

~  In recent weeks I have discovered that if I swing my legs over I can actually end up on my tummy.  Interesting...

~  Not so interesting... being on my tummy.  Again screeching at the top of my lungs sends mom and dad over to turn me over to the correct side.  Sometimes I roll right back over just to have them come over again.  It's a fun game.

~  Mom finally stopped strapping my arms down at bedtime!  Ahhhh the freedom to MOVE.

~  Daddy knows how to hold me best.  He also can get me to fall asleep so easily when he pats me on my back.  I love spending time with daddy.

~  I heard daddy say the other day that he's going to have "Spoil Jackie" days and that we will get to go to Dairy Queen.  When that day finally comes I'm going to make sure he invites mom too!

~  I have FEET and TOES.  They are the coolest thing E.V.E.R.

~  Sometimes on a hot day mom will take me outside into this big blue thing filled with water.  It's fun to kick my legs. 

~  Daddy takes me to see my puppies, my real puppies.  They are big and their noses are wet.

~  I have something going on inside my mouth.  I have tons of spit and my mouth hurts. I try to make it feel better by pressing anything in my mouth and gnawing on it.  Sometimes that helps, but sometimes I need that purple stuff shot in my mouth before it stops hurting. 

~  Mom took me to see the doctor yesterday because I have been coughing more.  He was funny, but now mom tries to make me drink this pink stuff.  The doctor said that I would like it because it is bubble gum flavor.  Haha.  Jokes on him.  I don't know what bubble gum tastes like, but I do know that I don't like that pink stuff.  I spit as much of it out as I can!

~  Bath time is my favorite!

~  I met some of my cousins this week.  They are so much fun!  I just love it when so many people play with me. 

~  Another interesting thing this week.  Thumbs.  They fit just perfectly in my mouth and I love to suck on them when I am sleeping.  I might keep this up for a long time.

~  I still love my swing.  Mom doesn't let me sit in it as much as she used to.  Sometimes I hate change.

~  My favorite song is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

~  Once a week mom and dad take me to church.  I used to sleep through it, but I have found it is much more fun to talk through it.  Especially when no one else is talking.

~  Grandpas make the funniest noises! 

~  Grandmas actually know the words to the nursery rhymes.  Mom and dad just guess. 

~  I like to be naked.  I try to poop as much as I can just so mom will change my diaper and I get to be naked for a little while.

~  Mom and dad play music so I will dance with them.  I just watch them and hope they never do that in public when I get bigger.

~  I can't wait to crawl or walk.  I just want to MOVE!  As soon as I am strong enough I will be on the go Go GO!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Little Miss is 3+ months old.  Something within the last two weeks has changed.  I know she's gotten bigger, more aware of the things around her, learned to roll over, and found her feet.  Boy she loves those feet!  But something has changed that hasn't been for the better, for either of us.  Her sleeping habits.  I swear she slept better as a one-month-old than she does at three.  She would sleep 6+ hours wake up to eat and go right back to sleep.  Now I'm lucky if she sleeps 3 or 4 hours and MAYBE will go back to sleep...but not likely.  I thought babies were supposed to get better at sleeping as they got older...

Anyway...I have been painstakingly trying to figure out what might be the cause.  My husband knows this all too well.  I have been running through the different possibilities over and over each night as I lay awake in bed.  Each night I think I come to a different conclusion...


Too hot...

Rolling on her belly...

Not liking the swaddle...

Too much sleep during the day...

Not enough sleep during the day...

Hungry/growth spurt...

More aware of what's going on and not wanting to miss ANYTHING (even when there's nothing going on at 4 AM)...


It comes down to one very scary thing to me.  I have to get her out of that swaddle because no matter which one of the above options it is, that swaddle seems to be giving her fits.  I have been avoiding this because she slept SO GOOD for the longest time in her swaddle, and on a now rare good night when she sleeps 6+ hours in a row she is swaddled.  However, this cannot last.  She (and I) must eventually break free. 

Unfortunately breaking free is going to involve some nights that are worse.  But this HAS TO HAPPEN before school starts up again.  I can go on only a few hours of sleep when I don't have to go teach middle schoolers the next day. 

So, training starts tonight.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Two Down and Lifetime to go!

My parents met Ethan for the first time over the 4th of July holiday weekend.  They were up camping at Cheney Lake and Ethan and I had made plans to go out on his boat.  After spending the day out on the lake we went back to the campsite for dinner and s'mores.  I thought the first meeting went very well, considering this was the very first time I had ever introduced anyone to my parents.

I later came to find out that after that very first encounter my dad would go on to say "I'd pay for a wedding for that guy..."

Famous last words.

Dad did pay for a wedding for that guy.  (partially...we did help)

And here we are 4 years from that initial meeting and celebrating our 2nd year as husband and wife.

What a 2nd year it has been!

Sometimes I look back on this last year and all that has happened and think of how wonderfully blessed we are.  Everything we prayed for this year, God granted to us.  We sold one house and built another.  Packed, moved, and somewhere in all of that still found time to celebrate birthdays and holidays.

Throughout the Grace of God, three months ago we went from just being husband and wife to daddy and mommy.  Our roles in life are forever changed again, and I know that's why God put us together in the first place.  We had good lives on our own, but together we are able to live out His purpose for us.  Husband and Wife.  Mother and Father.

I am not so nieve to think that marriage will forever go as easily as these last two years has, but it is in the imperfections that we grow stronger together.  In the end the goal isn't 10 years, it isn't 20 or even 50.  It's a lifetime.