Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What's for Dinner Wednesday

Since we have TONS of apples from apple picking this past weekend I was looking for something to do with them. I only ended up using one but it made the pork chops oh-so-yummy!

Tonight's dinner was Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops with microwaved baked potatoes, canned corn and salad on the side.

I placed my pork chops in a single layer in a glass baking dishing then liberally sprinkled brown sugar over them. While the oven was preheating, I sliced the apples. I then placed 4 small slices of apples on each pork chop and sprinkled with cinnamon. I then put a bit more brown sugar on top... we like brown sugar.

I baked the pork chops for about 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. With 15 minutes left, I washed the potatoes and poked holes for ventilation. No one wants potato guts all over the inside of their microwave. Place potatoes on a microwave safe plate and rub with olive oil and sea salt. Bake 2 1/2 minutes per potato or according to your microwave directions.

While the potatoes are nuking, put the corn in a pot and heat to desired temp. Take this time to set your table too... or yell at the kids... or check facebook... or even better, to read my blog ;) Everything should finish up right about the same time. Transfer everything to the table and enjoy!

The pork chops were delicious! Not too sweet and just the right amount of flavoring to not need any dipping sauces or ketchup. Only one of my kids used ketchup, one ate only a few bites because she didn't like it... but everyone else ate it as it was made and I heard no complaints. The apples seemed to have just a bit too much cinnamon but were yummy none-the-less. You could pair this with green beans or another green veggie of your choosing... all but one of us likes salad so that is usually the green vegetable of choice in our house.

*I wish I would have taken a picture before dinner was devoured. My kids ate like they hadn't eaten in days HA!*

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Time Travel Tuesday (Post 2)

September 29th 1999

10 years ago I went in to take my second driving test. I had high hopes. I would not make the same mistake I made last week. My aunt Tammy took me again so I could drive her car. My mom's car wouldn't pass the inspection so thankfully we knew someone whose car would.

I got in the car less nervous than I was the week before. After all, I already did this once and I now knew what NOT to do. HA! I hated not being able to have the radio on. It made the drive seem so awkward.

I took the driving test according to the directions given by the rent-a-cop (that's what I called her last week, right?!) and was very pleased. I didn't speed. I used my blinkers. And I most definitely did NOT pull out into traffic. It helped that traffic was much lighter today than it was last week. I think the traffic gods were on my side.

We got back to the station and I awaited my results. Much to my dismay and to my aunt's, I failed! Again! What went wrong?! Apparently I "ran a stop sign." I put that in quotations because the way the stop sign is makes it a trick "question" for anyone that has never taken a driver's education class and running a stop sign is automatic failure. So since I did not come to a complete stop 6ft before the intersection where the stop sign is posted, I failed. Nice.

Was I ever going to get my driver's license? It was looking pretty dim.

Time Travel Tuesday

September 29th 2004

Today was my due date 5 years ago. It was also John's report date to Fort Stewart, GA. Since Kadie was only 2 weeks old we let Daddy go on without us and find us a place to live.

It was just me, the baby, a 2yr old and a 3yr old. My sister moved in to help me out and it was a great setup. The kids love her to death and she is a neat freak so I knew my house would get cleaned at least every once in awhile LoL

John and I weren't exactly having the best time before he left and I almost didn't want to move to Georgia with him since he was deploying in January. Part of me wishes we would have just stuck around in Toledo and not had to move twice in a year (we ended up moving back in September 2005), but I know it was for the best. I firmly believe that if we hadn't had those couple of months together before he deployed that we would not have lasted this long. I do not think I could have gone through a 12 month deployment with three kids while fighting with my husband. I am strong but not that strong! HA!

Five years ago, had you asked me where I would be today I would probably have told you I didn't know... or divorced. Ask me again today and I still may not have a clue but divorce would never cross my mind.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stockpile Saturday

I was extremely busy Thursday, so I missed Thrifty Thursday... then I was driving to Ohio with Adam & Sara yesterday so I missed Fun Photo Friday AGAIN (not to mention I don't really have any pics with me to share... but I will improvise) and now today is a soccer day but I am out of town so I have to miss soccer again (last week was due to our yard sale).

Thrifty Thursday:
I went to a mom's coupon night at a friend's house followed by the Grey's Anatomy season premiere. I learned a bit while I was there.

I am already using baseball card inserts to organize my coupons but another good idea is the paper size inserts to hold coupons related to specific stores... not the manufacturer's coupons. That way you don't have to go through your mass amount of coupons to find the ones for a specific store.

You also want to find coupons online. There are two that I learned about while there. The first is SwagBucks. You go there and download the toolbar for your computer and anytime you want to go to a website type it in there. It is like a bonus to Googling. An offer will sometimes pop up when you type your search word or phrase and you will get SwagBucks that you can add up to purchase things. For instance, a Wii game is only 118 SwagBucks or you can save your bucks for something bigger/better. I have not done this yet but a friend has and she just purchased some cute pony tail holders for her daughter with her SwagBucks. The second is I am not quite sure how it works but I know you have to buy the coupons. I know... why would I want to PAY for a coupon! Doesn't that defeat the purpose? Well no... it doesn't. You are still saving way more than you are spending especially when you can get things for free or close to free from using the coupons you buy. What internet sites help you save money?

Fun Photo Friday:
I was going to post a video of Kadie scoring her first soccer goal but the computer is being weird and won't copy and paste what I want. So instead, I am going to post some random phone pics I took.

And for Saturday:
I have a wedding to go to! My cousin is getting married for the second time today and I am looking forward to actually getting to attend this one! Now to get off here and get ready for the day :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's for Dinner Wednesday

I took a HUGE roast out of the freezer the other day that needed cooked up so that is what we are having for dinner tonight.

A yummy roast with carrots and peeled potatoes, add some corn on the cob on the side and then ghettofy it with some ramen noodles. HA!

At the bottom of the crockpot I have got a small bag of baby carrots. That was all I had in the fridge. Remember, I took out the roast and hadn't cooked it yet... there's the reason. Well that, and I didn't have any potatoes. I had a friend bring me a few potatoes this morning and peeled and cut those to throw in the bottom of the crockpot with the carrots.

Then I rubbed some garlic and seasoned salt on the roast and placed it on top of the veggies. Covered that in one can of cream of mushroom and one can of cream of chicken followed by a can of water. I usually throw in some onion soup mix but I didn't have any. Set the crockpot low and it has been cooking ever since.

Now to get the rest of dinner finished up. Gotta throw in the corn on the cob and hope it turns out just as perfect as the last time. Probably not since the last time it was fresh from the grocery store and this time it has been sitting in my fridge. Oh well... one can hope right. And the ramen is so Lexi has a little something extra besides a side salad to go with her roast. She is so damn picky.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Time Travel Tuesday

September 22nd 1999

10 years ago, to the day... I was going to take my driver's license test for the first time. My aunt Tammy let me use her car and she waited with me while I took both the writing and the driving portions of the test. I had not taken any driver's education classes and my mom didn't let me practice that much. I felt ready... a little nervous, but ready.

I flew through the written test and passed with flying colors. Ok, I may have gotten a couple wrong but some of those questions are worded weird. I know you know what I am talking about. None-the-less, I passed that portion.

Next was the driving portion. The part where I had to drive the car with a rent-a-cop passenger grading my driving. I was only slightly nervous. I had several people telling me not to wait too long to pull out onto Heatherdowns and definitely not to pull out too quickly. This was the only part of the driving test that had me nervous.

It was the middle of the afternoon and traffic on Heatherdowns was crazy. I sat there in the driver's seat waiting and waiting and waiting some more for a clearing where I could pull out. Turning left there at anytime was a challenge. I saw a clearing and I went for it. Apparently the rent-a-cop did NOT. She grabbed a hold of the steering wheel and made me stop in the turn lane in the middle of the 4 lane road. I wanted to smack her. What the hell?! She was thinking the same about me and she actually said, "What the hell?!" I guess I scared the crap out of her but in my defense... there was plenty of room to pull out. I couldn't wait forever for NO cars AT ALL.

I finished the test, more nervous than I had started and I wasn't sure what would happen. She didn't say more than necessary to me the entire time I was driving and even as we got back to the station she still looked as white as a ghost.

Needless to say, I failed. Apparently "pulling out into traffic" is an automatic failure. Wish she would have just let me stop there and not waste everyone's time while I finished the remainder of the driving test. I could come back in a week to retake the driving portion.

So there I was, 18 going on 19 and still did not have my driver's license. I mean, up until then I didn't need it. I had a boyfriend to drive me around and friends close by if need be. Now I didn't have that... I needed to find a new job, my mom was moving and I had graduated high school. I was in a bind.

Stay tuned for next week's addition to see how my retest goes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Movie Review Monday

I know... I missed Fun Photo Friday and Soccer Saturdays. I can be such a bad blogger sometimes. In my defense though... my computer is in the shop, so finding photos to post proves to be a little more difficult. Not in possible, just more of a hassle. I also was not home the majority of the day on Friday so I was not online very much. We had a yardsale at a friend's house so we were there from 630am til about 230pm. After that is pretty much a blur... I was tired LoL Then on Saturday we had the yardsale again so I missed soccer and was only home for a couple of hours... just enough time to take a shower, do my makeup and dry and straighten my hair before going out with a friend to a bachelorette party. Which was a blast! So I wasn't just sitting around the house, twiddling my thumbs and ignoring my blog. Now since you came here for a movie review and NOT a long excuse as to why I am such a bad blogger, I will get to it.

What did I watch recently? Well recently I have watched the first two discs of the one and only season of the television series Kidnapped. LOVE that show! Cannot wait to see how it ends. I have watched 10 episodes and there is one more disc. I wish it would have lasted more than one season back in 2006 but maybe the end didn't leave much room for continuing... I don't know yet. The kids watched Disney Nature Earth but they didn't care for it much and John thought it was too "National Geographic" which I am assuming was the point but seeing the previews my kids and John all wanted to watch it. Sadly, it disappointed them. Then last night, John watched Hellboy II. I was so tired I couldn't stay up to watch it... but the 10 minutes I did see were pretty good. I guess I just reviewed three movies without actually reviewing movies the way I usually do. Too funny. Anyway, here are a few "normal" movie reviews.

Hancock: Will Smith plays an unlikely superhero. He has super powers, uses them to help people, but leaves more pricey damages than anyone like Superman or Batman. Funny, suspenseful and just an all around great movie. There is a bit of bad language but I would let my kids watch the movie since we watch all the other "superhero" movies.

Mamma Mia: A corny musical about a girl that is getting married and wants her father to walk her down the aisle. Only problem is she doesn't know who her father is... and neither does her mother. It could be one of three men so she sends invites "from her mother" to the three estranged lovers to attend her wedding in hopes of finding out which one is her real dad. Funny, romantic, cute and no doubt a movie your hubby will grown about watching :p

Twilight: I have not read the books and I wanted to see what all the hype was about so I added this to my Netflix queue. If you have been living under a rock, and do not know what Twilight is about... I will be kind enough to tell you. A teenage girl goes to live with her dad in a strange town. She starts to fall for a fellow classmate and learns his secret... he is a vampire. A love story, not a vampire story. The first time John saw it, he didn't like it... but he likes movies like Blade and did not realize this was a romantic drama... not a vampire movie. I liked it... I didn't love it but I would buy it and watch it again. Jacob (7) loved it, Kadie (5) was scared and Lexi (8) had no opinion. I think she thought it was alright. We have a new friend named Bella and when my older kids found out they said, "Like in that movie?!" Yup, like in Twilight LoL Oh, and for the record... I am not on Team Edward. I do not think he is hot. ;)

New in Town: Cheesy chick flick with Renee Zellweger. A Miami business exec. volunteers to go to Minnesota to revamp a factory. Adjusting to small town life is difficult and pleasant all at the same time. She finds herself caring for these people and their small town company. It wasn't great but it didn't suck either. I gave it three stars on Netflix.

Pineapple Express: A process server witnesses a murder and has to outwit a high powered pot dealer and his cop girlfriend. Hilarious and bloody. Every other word is fuck. Drugs, profanity, violence. Not one for the kids to watch even though it grabbed my three year old's attention and would not let go. We had assumed he would fall asleep since it was after 10 but he seemed to like the movie more than he wanted to sleep. 4 out of 5 stars for being absolutely hilarious.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

Everyone likes to go out to dinner every once in awhile... but who wants to pay the ridiculous prices?! Have you seen what kids meals are running these days?! There are several options for eating out with your family that will save you money.

1. Look for kids eat free (or cheap) deals. There is a website called MyKidsEatFree where you can search for participating restaurants in your area. Just go to that website, click on search at the top of the screen, select your state and city then click on search. It will tell you what days the kids eat free (or cheap) at what restaurants. Be sure to call them first to make sure the information is accurate before dragging your kids there only to find out they no longer participate.

2. Go to and buy discounted gift certificates for select restaurants in your area. You can get a $25 gift certificate for only $10. Most have a restriction of spending $35 or more before you can use it but a family of 5 could easily spend that much. If you were to spend exactly $35 you would actually only be spending $20 for your whole dinner... the $10 for the gift certificate and then the extra $10 you had to spend over the gift certificate amount. Just go to here, enter your zipcode and click on search. You can search anywhere between 1 and 30 miles from the center of your zipcode and then choose your gift certificates. They are then saved to your account within 24-48 hours and you can print them from your account page.

3. Try a buffet. A lot of buffets offer a variety for the whole family and varied prices for adults and children. Most places allow under 3 to eat for free and children are often cheaper than adults. If you go for a late lunch/early dinner you know everyone will be hungry and get your money's worth ;) Having dessert included with your meal price makes it all that much better.

4. $5 pizzas! Many pizza places are now offering medium pizzas at only $5. They may not be AS good as the larger more expensive pizzas but the kids love them and the money you save makes it worth it. Little Caesar's has hot and ready cheese and pepperoni pizzas. Some locations offer sausage hot and ready as well. They are also LARGE pizzas instead of the medium you would get elsewhere. For our family of 7 we can spend less than $16 and feed us all. That is 2 large pizzas, an order of crazy bread and a 2 liter of pop (so take out the pop and it is even cheaper!).

5. Go when they are running specials or check your paper for coupons. Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Applebee's often put $2-$4 coupons in the Sunday paper. Olive Garden has a soup, Salad and breadstick deal for only $7. You get unlimited of all 3 but their kids meals are rather pricey. If they are young enough you can usually get away with letting them eat some of your salad and breadsticks without having to pay for them. They are also offering their endless pasta right now. All you can eat pasta is only $8.95 and you also get the salad and breadsticks. Red Lobster currently has their endless shrimp going on. All you can eat shrimp for only $15.99 which includes a salad, rolls and I believe two sides of your choice. Not a bad deal. I also saw that Applebee's is running a special currently... for $20 you get 1 appetizer and 2 entrees. Also not a bad deal.

So be sure to look around, or even call around and inquire on specials or kid nights before choosing where to eat out next time. Might save you some money... or on the other hand, it might make you spend more money going out to eat knowing how cheap it can be ;)

Kids Eat Free/Cheap in the Quad Cities (Verified):
*The Machine Shed $0.99 on Tuesdays
*IHOP Free Every Night from 4pm-10pm (1 per adult meal) <- this may have ended already
*Hooters Free Sundays
*Steak n Shake Free Saturdays & Sundays (1 for every $8 spent, including the kids meals)

Kids Eat Free/Cheap in the Quad Cities (Not Verified):
*Applebee's $0.99 Wednesdays after 4pm
*Bennigan's Free Tuesdays after 4pm
*Buffalo Wild Wings $0.99 Wednesdays
*Denny's Free Tuesdays & Sundays 4pm-10pm(2 per adult meal)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What's for Dinner Wednesday

That is a good question!

Once again, I forgot to take anything out for dinner. That is not to say I didn't already think about it... I am just forgetful. Sorry to ruin any image of perfection I may have imposed upon you, my loyal readers. I am, in fact, not perfect. Surprise, surprise!

Anyway... so since I have failed to take anything out for dinner I have decided to go the easy, yet yummy route. Breakfast for dinner! I mean, who doesn't love having breakfast for dinner. It won't be anything elaborate like eggs benedict or strawberry crepes but it is sure to please my wild and crazy bunch.

Pancakes or waffles, is now the question of the day.

Pancakes are easy and quick. I can make them whatever shape my kids so desire. In the past I have done snowmen, Mickey Mouse, bunnies, clovers and even letters for their first day back to school. They love it. I can even color the batter with food coloring to make it even more fun. Lots of times we throw in chocolate chips and cover the pancakes with powdered sugar. Not exactly the healthiest dinner (or breakfast for that matter) but they are oh-so-yummy!

Waffles, on the other hand, are my preference. They are easy but take a bit longer to make in the waffle iron that only delivers two waffles at a time. Not that I am complaining, cause I love my waffle iron but waiting 5 minutes or more for two waffles is a bit, well, time consuming. I also don't do all the fun things with my waffles. They are just cooked and served then topped with butter and syrup. Just the way everyone loves them. I could throw in some food coloring to mix it up a bit too I suppose but generally we just go with the plain ol' waffle color.

I would throw in some bacon or scrambled eggs to go with our waffles or pancakes but this mom has some grocery shopping to do. Another reason pancakes or waffles is the way to go for tonight's dinner. My shopping list keeps growing and growing... we need lettuce, eggs, butter... oh crap! No butter for our pancakes or waffles.... at least we have syrup, right?!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Time Travel Tuesday

The day is September 15th 2004. My doctor has agreed to induce me at 38 weeks because John has to report to Fort Stewart, GA by my due date.

Other than John leaving there was another reason I wanted induced. My first pregnancy ended in a stillbirth and one of the causes was a placental insufficiency. My previous doctor insisted on inducing me for my next two pregnancies to avoid anything happening to the placenta. He was a great doctor. Very patient friendly and made you feel comfortable even when something was wrong. I was sad to have him move away and me have to find a new doctor... a new doctor that was not as patient friendly.

So my new doctor did not think my medical reason was an actual medical reason and refused to induce me. When I told him about John leaving he responded with, "Well now that is a good reason to induce." Huh? What? Ok, well at least I am getting my wish. Can't complain too much.

So here I am... at Flower Hospital at 9am in the morning. Why he didn't have me come in the night before like my previous two births was beyond me. He had me start on pitocin, to kick start labor. I was hoping for a round of cervadil to soften my cervix but I never asked. I should have but I didn't. The last time I delivered with just cervadil... it put me into labor so I didn't need any pitocin. But this time around it was like a kick in my uterus.

Contractions started almost immediately and persisted strong and close together all day. I should have taken a hint from my labor about my third child's personality. Stubborn is putting it mildly. This went on for over 12 hours and it was not very pleasant. I can see why some people hate being induced. My view on it would only change slightly.

At 940pm my beautiful, stubborn little girl was born. Weighing in at 6lbs 15oz, the same as her big sister with no cleft lip or cleft palate (her older brother was born with both). She had red hair, just like the other two... they get that from their grandma.

Now, 5 years later, almost to the hour we celebrate the birth of that little girl. That little girl that is turning into a big girl. She started Kindergarten this year with only having 2 months of preschool under her belt. They assured me at her morning school that she was not as shy and reserved as she acted when I dropped her off and picked her up. I am hoping being in a classroom setting will help her overcome that obstacle.

5 years old and finishing up her 1st month of school and thinking she runs this house. Our little tomboy-princess. Happy 5th Birthday, Kaydence BreAnne!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Movie Review Monday

Wow! It has been forever since I have reviewed a movie and do I have some movies to review. As you probably know, we have Netflix and on top of that we like to buy movies. Some of our recent purchases have been Space Buddies, 17 Again, Hancock and Hannah Montana: The Movie. Just yesterday I bought a couple older movies like The Karate Kid and Kicking & Screaming. From Netflix we have watched Mamma Mia, Space Chimps, Fireproof, Fly Me to the Moon, Twilight, Another Cinderella Story, New in Town, Race to Witch Mountain, I Love You Man, Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium and Watchmen. Like I said, WOW!

I won't overwhelm you with all of these reviews in one day... I'll be sure to spread them out. So for today I am going to review some of the family friendly movies. These movies are great for the entire family... from 2 through 99. Of course if you don't allow your kids to watch movies with more mature themes (like love stories and high school scenarios) then you might want to preview them yourself before allowing them to watch them.

17 Again - Zac Efron plays a young version of Matthew Perry in this romantic & dramatic comedy. Typical high school/family movie. Mike blows off basketball to be with his high school sweetheart but when things start to go downhill he wishes he could have done it differently. In a twist of fate he finds himself "17 again" and having his chance to change the future. Will he follow his dreams of being a basketball star or will he remember why he made that decision in the first place? Loved Zac Efron, loved the movie! It has a little something for everyone. A little cheesy at times but who doesn't like a little cheese sometimes ;)

Hannah Montana: The Movie - Based on Miley Cyrus's life as Hannah Montana. Miley finds herself wrapped up in her fantasy persona and her dad worries that she might be heading down the wrong path. The family takes a trip back to Tennessee where Miley has to think about what she really wants. Great movie, great story, great acting! Loved the music and the dancing and the comedy. The whole family loved this one, even Sara (my 2 yr old). A must see! A must buy! And you MUST learn the Hoedown Throwdown :)

Another Cinderella Story - A cheesy sequel to A Cinderella Story with Selena Gomez playing the role of "Cinderella." In this version, Selena Gomez' character is an aspiring dancer that cannot get away to do follow her dreams because of her stepmom and stepsisters. When she loses her Ipod at a dance the mystery guy she was dancing with sets out to find her. Silly antics, mean girls, and a happy ending make this a cute and fun family movie.

Race to Witch Mountain - Having never seen the first one I was unbiased when we watched this one. Two aliens find their way to planet Earth in hopes of saving their home planet and Earth from being invaded. With the help of a local cabby, played by Dwayne Johnson, they manage to stay one step ahead of the government and a killing machine sent after them. The two aliens hope to find an experiment and take it back to their planet before it is too late to save either one. The kids absolutely LOVED this movie. They watched it several times before sending it back and even my 2yr old was quiet the entire movie.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium - This was on John's Netflix queue and we were not disappointed. Mr. Magorium is a really old man that owns a magical toy shop but when he realized he won't live forever he starts to make plans for leaving the store. Strange things begin to happen (stranger than the magic that is the store itself) and it is up to three completely different people to come together and save the store. We all loved this movie too. My kids are begging me to buy it but I just haven't yet. Not one to be missed.

**All reviews are my own personal opinion and are not put here to endorse any movie or company. I am also not to be held responsible for you losing two precious hours of your time if I say you should watch something and you end up not liking it. Watch the movies I review at your own risk***

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fun Photos

I forgot yesterday, due to the holiday so I will post some soccer pictures to go with today's Soccer Saturday! I only got pictures of Adam & Kadie because all the games were going on at the same time. So I hope you enjoy!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Here is a video of Kadie scoring too!

Soccer Saturdays!

I am all about the alliteration but as cheesy as it is, you know you like it! LoL

The kids have soccer on Saturdays until the 2nd week in October. They are loving it. I am not too impressed with the Y soccer but nothing too terrible that we can't finish out the season. We are thinking of trying another program next year though. I signed up Lexi and Jacob as expected but I also signed Kadie and Adam up too!

Lexi is playing on an all girls team and she loves it. She was the only one to score for their team last week and they won! This week they didn't but that's ok... you can't win them all. She plays hard and in all positions. Although, I do not think she has played goalie yet, but she has no real desire to either. Not sure if I will be able to get her to play softball like her mom and aunt, but oh well. She loves soccer and I won't force her to do anything she doesn't want to (except cleaning her room, you know, the important stuff LoL)

Jacob is on a co-ed team, although there are only a few girls. For some reason they have all girl teams but not all boy teams. Not that big of a deal, I guess... at least he doesn't seem to mind. This past week at soccer practice the coach's son pushed Jacob when they were running all because Jacob was getting in front of him (this kid's name is Jacob too). I had Jacob tell the coach and he just says, "Well we all need to keep our hands to ourselves." NICE! One of the reasons I am not fond of this league. One bad apple, you know. Jacob played goalie last week but I am not sure he liked it too much. He is a runner. He runs hard and wherever the ball is, you can bet he isn't far behind. Their team won this week... 1-0!

Kadie and Adam just started last week and I decided to stay home (had to wait for our furniture anyway) so that Kadie wouldn't cling to me. She still refused to play and I thought it would be just as hard this week with me there. Luckily, I was wrong and I did not waste my $35 signing her up. Both her and Adam played, and played hard. Kadie scored twice for their team! I almost missed the first one and I think I got the second one on video. She had so much fun that I do not think she will have any issues continuing the season. Adam was beat by the end of the game, sitting out the last 5 minutes. It was hot out there. He didn't score this time, but John tells me he did last week! I can see him being a star soccer player. He is the youngest and smallest on the team and one of the few that plays the whole time, gets up after being knocked down, doesn't push or fight with anyone and is all over that ball.

We are into week 2 for the younger two and week 3 for the older two. The season seems to be going quick and I don't think anyone is looking forward to it ending. But with the end of soccer comes the beginning of scouts for Jacob and gymnastics for Lexi. Might sign Kadie and Adam up for that too. We will see. So far, haven't signed Sara up for anything but she isn't quite 3 yet and having 4 other kids doesn't really allow me to do any Mommy & Me programs.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Looking Back

September 11th 2001:

Lexi wasn't even 8mths old yet. I was a part time working woman, full time college student and trying to be the best mom I could be. It was a day I didn't have classes but I had to work. John was in class that day. I believe he dropped Lexi off at his grandparents while we both went about our business.

I was working at Video Connection at the time. I loved working there (for the most part). We were able to rent movies for free, and even take them home before they were released as long as they were back in time to put on the shelves. Sunday papers were a plenty so come Monday morning (or closing time Sunday) we could take one home with us saving that buck fifty. Being college students and parents we needed to save where we could.

I opened the store at 9am with no knowledge of what was happening just two states away. Customers came in to pick up the latest movies and while I went nonchalantly about my business one customer asked if I knew what was going on. I didn't so he said to turn on the tv. I shut off the promo video and changed to a local channel to see what was happening.

I do not recall how I felt. Scared, I think. Wondering if something like that would happen where we were. I remembering seeing the traffic outside and thinking it wasn't much different than any other morning but thinking back I sense there was panic among those out there that knew.

I kept the news on as long as I can as they kept reshowing the images of the planes hitting the towers. I remember them saying that they weren't sure at first what they were and then astounded as they realized they were large passenger planes. I cannot even begin to imagine what the people in the airports and near NYC were feeling that day. It hurts those of us that saw it on television a tremendous amount... the fear being that close probably would have swallowed me alive.

Customers kept coming in... steadily. My mind couldn't focus as I was constantly looking up at the tv. Several customers asked what movie I was playing because sometimes we would throw in a movie to keep from going insane from the dumb promotional video we were supposed to be showing. Sadly, it was not a movie. It was hard telling them that. Some people were taken aback... some said nothing while others didn't really believe me. They were just going about their day as they always had and then to find out this tragedy had occurred. I wonder what was going through their heads at that moment. Did they have family or friends in NYC, on one of the planes? Were they in denial, thinking this couldn't possibly be happening? Were they wanting to run out and grab their kids from school or run to their spouse or parents? Or were they callous and not caring?

John finally showed up after classes were cancelled at the University of Toledo. He read a magazine while I tended to customers. Then all hell almost broke loose. A "higher up" walked in. He wasn't a manager or even a district manager but he was close enough... and he was an ass. Didn't matter the day or what had happened. I think he would have went to work instead of his own grandma's funeral if given the choice. He was just a plain jerk. Not that I wasn't in the wrong for having John behind the counter with me (he wasn't near the cash register, just leaning on the counter reading his magazine) but to tell me to turn off the news, was just heartless. Maybe he didn't know what was happening... he had asked why the promo movie wasn't on, I told him because I turned the news on to see what was going on... but I prefer to think he just didn't care. Now I usually give people the benefit of the doubt, but I'd have bet everything I had that he knew and was just being his usual self.

I put the promo video on for awhile until I knew he was gone and not coming back, then I turned the news back on. He could get me fired but I didn't care... it would eventually come down to me quitting anyway. I never was much for sticking around a job very long. Must be my undiagnosed ADD ;)

I don't remember anything else from that day but those few hours that morning. I don't remember leaving work... I don't remember picking Lexi up... I don't remember where we went or who we saw or what we watched. I just remember where I was when the world seemed to be crumbling.

Following the September 11th attacks, Hollywood released several movies. Some felt it was tacky making money off something like this but there are plenty of historical movies out there and no one is complaining about those... probably because they didn't live through them. Who didn't like Titanic, or Pearl Harbor?! I personally wanted to see any movie related to 9/11 that I could. Not that I am a sick and twisted person... it was just a way to feel more apart of what happened than what I witnessed on the news. We got to go inside the plane that passengers were able to take down in a field in United 93... and we got to see what rescue personnel and families personally afflicted by this tragedy were going through in World Trade Center. It makes your heart cry and smile all at the same time. Happy tears, sad tears, you ache from joy and ache from sorrow. A whirlwind of emotions and you feel more connected than ever before.

I remember when I was watching United 93 and being on the edge of my seat. Such suspense and drama that you almost forget it really happened. Hoping with every bone in your body that they somehow make it out alive. Kind of like watching Titanic and thinking, "Turn harder, you can miss it! Come on! You can do it this time!" but you know they won't miss it. You know what happens yet you pull for the happy ending every time.

I couldn't get John to watch World Trade Center with me when I had it from Netflix. He just doesn't feel the same as me. I guess I can understand. Not everyone feels the same way about what happened that day and what would happen in the coming years. I mean, here we are today... September 11th 2009 and we are STILL in Iraq. Now, I don't care if we went there under misguided notions or whatever. The fact of the matter is, we are there. My husband, your husband, your brother, your son, your friends or even YOU have had to go to the Middle East because of what happened 8 years ago today. Had that not happened we would not be there. So for some of you, many of you, watching the events unfold is not something you care to do. Maybe I have some deep seated issues for wanting to watch these movies... I don't deny I am a bit "loco en la cabeza" but still, those are the movies I like to watch. I like to hope for a happy ending even though I know it won't happen... that's life, huh?

So, today I sit here thinking about what happened 8 years ago. Never forgetting that freedom is NEVER free.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

I like saving money... I mean, who doesn't but I have never been very good at couponing. Since moving to Iowa and joining a new playgroup though, I have learned just a couple new tricks.

First of all... you need to be organized. Clipping coupons and throwing them in a coupon pouch isn't really helping. I tried that once. I never knew what coupons I had and most of them were irrelevant. They were for things I wasn't going to buy and they irritated me when they were $0.55 because then Kroger wouldn't double them. To get started up again, I am going to need a binder that I keep in my car with all my coupons organized nicely, easy to flip through and only for the products I am going to buy.

Second... others may look at you funny or even call it cheating, but if you see a coupon TAKE IT! Sometimes there are coupons inside what you are buying and if it can be opened easily you can take advantage of that coupon right then and there. Ever see a box of cereal with a coupon on it but that is the only one. Probably because the "Coupon Fairy" took the rest ;)

Third... buy what you have coupons for only when the item is on sale unless you really need it. This will often save you so much money and you won't be kicking yourself for buying it last week when it is now on sale. I found myself not getting a couple clearance items today because I thought, "Well, I might have a coupon at home for that." If I don't have a coupon and when I go back they are gone, I guess I didn't really need it anyway. Saving me money too... just in another way :)

Fourth... start a coupon group for sharing/exchanging coupons. Having someone to do it with you will help you to stay in the coupon frame of mind. It has already helped me. I paid under $2 for three candles and a refill pack at Target just by having a friend that knows all these little tips and tricks.

There are a lot more tips and tricks and that is what Thrifty Thursday is going to be for. If I find a great deal, I will post it then. If I run into some more ideas/techniques for being thrifty, I will post them here. I have even learned that being thrifty can also coincide with being green. Instead of always buying sandwich baggies for $2.50, buy a reusable sandwich container for the same price (or cheaper) that will last you longer and reduce waste. It's a win, win!

I hope you enjoy the new addition to my blog and feel free to share your thrifty tips. Also, don't forget to check out the Prudent Shopping blog! That girl can find you some great, even free, deals!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What's For Dinner Wednesday

A couple weeks ago I was browsing the Target frozen food section for clearance deals and found some yummy looking pizza-like appetizers. Sundried tomato and sausage on flatbread, you cannot tell me that doesn't sound good! 50% off for 12 of them making them less than $3 for the box. How could I pass that up? So I bought two.

Since I failed to take anything out for tonight's dinner, I decided that would be it. Upon taking them out of the box I realized how tiny they actually were, so it was a good thing I bought two boxes. 10 minutes later we had 24 mini "pizzas" that I paired with a side salad and corn on the cob. It was a super yummy, super easy and super cheap dinner.

Without counting the cost of the minimal amount of cheese, dressing and croutons put on the salad... our meal, that fed all 7 of us, cost roughly $8.66. I am convinced that is some kind of record... if not, at least it is for us :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

3 Months Is Entirely Too Long....

Hello, Hello, Echo, Echo... Is anyone out there?!

3 months and 3 days ago was my last blog post. I was stuck in a rut, trying to pack for an upcoming move and just not feeling much like writing. So much to say but not really wanting to put it out there. Stressed beyond belief but not wanting to bring everyone else down with me. Misery loves company but I was content to just wallow in my own self pity for awhile.

I am back now and I have lots to say.

We are moved into our house in Davenport, IA now. I have lot of new friends within my new playgroup. My kids are settling into their new school and are playing soccer for the Y. John seems to like his job and so far the weather has been great. I will get back to that weather thing in a couple months when my toes are about to fall off and my nose is as red as Rudolph's LoL

For now though, I just wanted to let you all know I am back. Blogging with discipline has taken a front burner and I want to write... something, anything. It is in my blood and without the outlet I went just a little crazy ;)