Monday, December 31, 2007
As I look back on this year one thing is very clear to me. I want to be home with him. I have mentioned this before in more than one post but having spent more than half of the first year of his life as a full time working mom I see how much I have missed. If I am lucky I might get to spend 2 hours with him after I get home from work before he goes to bed. During that time we have to feed him, bathe him, read to him and get in all our cuddle time. That is if I ignore the mail, cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, dinner, etc, etc until after he goes to bed.
I hate this. I know there were times during my maternity leave that I got a little stir crazy from being home all day but mostly that was when he was so tiny I didn't want to take him out in public for fear of him getting sick. Today we made a lovely trip to Target and I enjoyed being the Mom pushing my baby around in the basket stealing kisses while selecting 75% off wrapping paper. I enjoyed my time at home when I sat at the kitchen table drinking my coffee while he sat in his high chair eating cereal. I feel like I am missing out on so much and for what? A job that is ok but nothing spectacular? I don't love it, it is not my calling. It pays decently and provides insurance benefits that we need.
I am hoping 2008 will bring us a solution, such as a better job for my husband with better benefits. Perhaps someone with more courage would step out and trust God to take care of the details but I am just not quite that brave yet. Maybe 2008 will bring me courage. I also find myself itching to get pregnant again. I never thought I would be ready again so soon but who knows? I love the possibility that a new year brings. That is what New Year's is all about. I hope you all have a wonderful and happy New Year's Eve this evening!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I did enjoy my time away. I spent days hanging out with my family, mooching free meals off my parents, watching hours upon hours of Lost episodes with my Dad, and of course, playing with all of Bear's new toys. Luckily my mom bought him a toybox which is now busting at the seams. I am glad to be back home watching Netflix with my husband and waiting for all my shows to come back from the holidays. My DVR is all sad and barren. I need to take down my Christmas tree and reclaim my living room but I am too lazy. I have an ungodly number of Google reader posts to read through. Don't you people take holidays? Geez. I just wanted to stop by and say Hi so you would know I was still breathing. I'll check back with y'all later.
Friday, December 21, 2007
My sister is turning 30 today. Ah, the glory of being the younger sister. I IM'd her this morning to wish her a happy birthday and ask if she feels as old as she is. I'm so loving, I know.
Anyways, I have 26 minutes until I get freed from my work prison. I must busy myself now with emptying my coffee cup, closing my blinds, setting my away message, and jumping with glee.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I am just tired today and not motivated for anything but sleeping. Although I am looking forward to taking Bear to see my Mom and Grandma. The fact that it is 80 degrees and sunny isn't exactly screaming Christmas cheer at me either. The office has been slow all week and I know it will be dead tomorrow morning with it being a half day and all. I just need to get motivated. I have to do all the laundry tonight, packing, sorting Christmas gifts, preparing things for the dog, cooking dinner, and straightening the house. Oh and I need to stop and get gas tonight on my way to pick up Bear from daycare. I don't mind being busy, I usually thrive on it I hope I will snap out of it by this evening so I can get everything done. Wish me luck.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Then I took an ornament I picked up at Target.
I took a small red metal pail I picked up at Target for 1.00 and clipped the recipe for the Muddy Buddies to it with a Snowman clothespin I picked up at World Market.
Then I put it all together
For the lead teacher I added a $15.00 Target gift card.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
In church this Sunday we were reminded of our duty to take care of those in need. My religion does not believe that you will get into heaven by your good deeds alone but this does not mean that they are not worthy and necessary. Our little church is struggling financially right now. We are not meeting our basic budget for survival but as our preacher pointed out this does not mean the church should hold off in sponsoring causes just because they need money too.
Our pastor reminded us that we could have been born in a different country with completely different lives. That we could be the one living in a place where our children are starving to death daily and being tortured, murdered, or made into child soldiers just because of what latitude and longitude in which they were born. And furthermore, while we are suffering and starving there are nations standing idly by watching and complaining about Christmas shopping, too many leftovers, and what we are wearing to the company Christmas party.
After service we were given the opportunity to sponsor a Hope Child from an African country. You know the ones you see on TV that you can help for just a dollar a day. Our church was given 100 children available for sponsorship and when I left yesterday 28 had been taken including the 3 the pastor took. What really broke my heart was when I was flipping through all the cards with the children's names and information and trying to decide which one to adopt I thought about my own son. What if it was Bear's name and picture there on that card and someone tossed him aside looking for a cuter kid or a more needy kid? I'll admit. I am no Mother Theresa. Not even close. I have fast forwarded on the TiVo past the children with the sad eyes and the big bellies. I don't know if it was the video the church showed or the bible versus or maybe the fact that now I am a mother but it absolutely touched me. Made me feel like a complete jerk to tell you the truth.
As you are doing your shopping, wrapping your gifts or preparing Christmas goodies for your family I hope you too will pause for a moment and realize how incredibly blessed we are. And try for that moment not to take it for granted.
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
If you are interested in sponsoring a child you can get more information at World Vision. 87% of the money you donate goes directly to the child you sponsor. You can check them out on the Better Business Bureau site if you are concerned about their motives or legitimacy. They can even do monthly withdrawls from your bank account or credit card so you don't even have to bother writing a check. And for those of you who need a little more incentive, it is tax deductible. They have children available all over the world. And if you aren't ready for the commitment of sponsoring a child with a monthly contribution you can make a one time contribution. They have it available for you to donate to buy a goat, school supplies, clothes, etc for a family in need too. They even help children here in the US if you prefer to keep your giving a little closer to home. You can even donate as a Christmas gift or in memory of someone.
God bless you.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Flatlander Chili (from www.allrecipes.com)
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 cups canned red beans, drained and rinsed
Place ground beef in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
Add all ingredients to a large kettle. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
This makes a lot so I typically half the recipe. As a Texan I feel it is my duty to up the spices and add a chopped jalapeno or two but besides that this is a wonderful recipe. I serve it with Saltines and thick slices of sharp cheddar.
Tomato Basil Soup (as featured on www.allrecipes.com)
4 tomatoes - peeled, seeded and diced
4 cups tomato juice
14 leaves fresh basil
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste
Place tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves, and return the puree to the stock pot.
Place the pot over medium heat, and stir in the heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Do not boil.
I usually serve this with grilled cheese sandwiches. I make my grilled cheese with wheat bread buttered on the outside, thick slices of sharp cheddar, and garlic salt dusted on the buttered outside. Yum!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I'm trying to get a picture to put on a photo card for his 1st birthday invitations. I don't have any current pictures of him that are birthday invitation worthy. So tonight I chase him all over the house on my hands and knees to try to get ONE picture. And all I get is the back of his head and hysterical tears because Momma is trying to make me stay still.
I probably took 100 pictures and I am ready to pull my hair out. The reason I need the pictures now is that Walgreens is running a deal for 5.00 off photo cards through Saturday. Tomorrow and Saturday we have stuff going on but I'll try again. The worst thing is that my piece of crap digital camera ruins every potentially decent shot by taking so long to actually take the picture that I swear he has crossed the room before the shot is taken....
Time for a new camera..
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
So I pull up my online statments and start totaling. Of course the longer it takes to total the more certain he is that I have single handedly caused the financial demise of our family. I know I have gotten some incredible bargains this year but I have also bought for more people than before. Plus I have purchased things for my sister's December birthday, My Dad's January birthday, my twin nephews December birthdays, and Bear's January birthday. I added it all up and came up with actually less than I spent in previous years despite the increase in people.
Thanks to my friend Amazon and the supporting cast including Google, Deepdiscounts.com and many, many other websites with free shipping and no sales tax. This is the most I have ever purchased online and so far, knock on wood, everything has been delivered in one piece in a timely manner. And most importantly I never had to leave my couch. No malls, no crowds, no rude salespeople, no tired feet, and I still got some awesome deals. So thank you to the internet without which I might have had to pay sales tax, and shipping, and worst of all, FULL PRICE.
Monday, December 10, 2007
That being said, I don't feel it this year. I feel stressed and hectic and downright Grinch like. There are so many things going on and more stuff is popping up every day. They decided today at work that we need to have a potuck lunch to celebrate Christmas and planned it for this Thursday. 3 days from today so I need to make something for that. Then there is the Christmas Party for volunteers at church on Friday that I got the invitation to last week. For the church Christmas party I need to come up with 2 white elephant gifts. Then Saturday I have a baby shower for the same neighbor that did the cookie exchange last weekend so I need a gift for that. We were invited to an informal Christmas Party at one of my co-worker's houses Saturday night complete with another white elephant gift exchange. I declined that invitation. Then next week I need to get together all the Christmas gifts for Bear's teachers. I am making goodies for them. We are also adopting elderly people at a local nursing home through my work so I need to pick up gifts for that.
One thing that annoys me about the holidays is white elephant gift exchanges. I don't understand the point of bringing your junk you don't want to trade for other people's junk you don't want. Last year my husband ended up with a tuxedo thong and junk from someone's junk drawer at a white elephant gift exchange. I understand doing a little something but I would prefer a small real gift exchange or an ornament exchange.
I also wanted to adopt an angel from one of the angel trees around town. This is something I try to do each year. I like picking out a Barbie doll, clothes, toys and such for a child in need in our local area. But I've noticed something over the past few of years of doing this. The requested gifts for the kids are moving out of my price range. They deserve to have a wonderful and special Christmas but I have a hard time looking at requests that include laptops, Playstation IIs, Xboxs, etc. Every gift request I looked at was outside of the price range I would spend on any member of my family including my own child. So I ended up deciding to adopt an elderly person instead. Their lists include items like sneakers, pajamas, nail clippers, sweat pants, etc. Then I can buy them an assortment of items that they need and I feel they will appreciate it. Perhaps this is rude of me and maybe I am being a little judgemental but apparently my version of needy is a little different than other peoples. Apparently, I am not the only one who thinks this though because I found a news article saying the same thing.
I need to snap out of my Grinch like mood and get more into the holiday spirit. I think I need a reminder of what the season is really about. It seems to be lost in the shuffle of parties, presents, and decorations. We went last week to see the presentation called the Star of Bethlehem. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it as a way to refocus on what theChristmas season is really about. I think I will take some time tonight to visit with my bible and read the story of Christ's birth (Luke 2:1-21).
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Soft Molasses Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar, plus more for coating the dough
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground ginger
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups un-bleached all purpose flour
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the molasses while mixing at slow speed, then the baking soda, salt and spices. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Stir in the flour. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper) two baking sheets. Shape or scoop the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll them in granulated sugar and put them on prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. The center will look soft and puffy, which is ok. As long as the bottoms are set enough to lift part way off the cookie sheet without breaking, they're ready to come out of the oven. Cool the cookies on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to to cool completely. Yield 44 cookies.
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 11x7 inch baking dish. Beat 1/2 cup butter and the egg in medium bowl. Add cookie mix; beat until well blended. Gently stir in cereal. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the dough, set aside for later use. Press remaining dough onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes or until light brown.
Place remaining 1/4 cup butter, the carmels and heavy cream in sauepan. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until carmels are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour over crust. Drop reserve 1 1/2 cups dough by tablespoons evenly over carmel mixture. Do not spread the dough.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 2 hours in pan on wire rack. Cut into 32 bars to serve.
2 - 8 oz pkgs cream cheese
2 pkg refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c butter, melted
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar
Using a 9x13 baking pan, unroll one pkg of crescent rolls and line the bottom of the pan. Flatten mix together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and spread over crescent rolls. Unroll the other can of crescent rolls and place on top and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Andes Peppermint Crunch Icebox Cookies
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar firmly packed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups (10 oz) Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips
1/2 cup red decorator sugar
Combine butter and sugars in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well creamed. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well Combine flour , baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, beating at medium speed. Stir in Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Crunch. Cover and chill dough 1/2 hour.
Remove dough from refrigerator and divide dough evenly in two parts. Roll into 2 (12 inch) logs. Wrap in wax paper and freeze until firm.
Place red decorator sugar in a shallow plate. Unwrap frozen dough and roll in the sugar. Cover outside of roll evenly with sugar and then slice and 1/4 inch slices. Place slices on easy release foil lined cookie sheets. Bake cookies at 350 degrees 350 degrees for 11 to 13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cookies set for 2 minutes on cookie sheet and then remove to wire rack and cool completely.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Woman #2: Did you see the wild hog with the coyote in its mouth over at the store?
Woman #1: No I guess I missed that.
Woman #2: Yeah that one was ours, we didn't have room to put in the trailer.
Woman #1: Our whole living room in the log cabin is full of animals. I think the only thing we don't have yet is a skunk.
Hasbro Playskool Let's Play Together Go & Grow Giraffe (this will probably end up a birthday gift in January)
Badger Basket - Barrel Top Toy Chest, Cherry (my mom bought him this but I picked it out)
Small World Toys Sunshine Symphony (Got on sale at a discount store locally)
Laugh and Learn : Learning Toolbench (I got this for $17.90 the day after Thanksgiving)
My Mom, Grandma, and My Step-Mother in Law
Leigh Gray Purses - $35.00 will get you a purse, matching cell phone holder or Key FOB and a matching makeup bag. They are really cute in person too.
Father in Law
Band of Brothers DVD Boxed set . This is an awesome series. If you haven't seen it, you should.
My Husband (I'm not done shopping for him yet)
The Ghost Whisperer - First Season (I did some shopping around to find a better price, Deepdiscount.com is much cheaper than Amazon on this)
I also got him season 2 since his birthday is in January
My husband's nephew
My husband's niece
I also got some clothes for my nephews and a few other miscellaneous things. The prices on several of these items have gone up since I purchased them on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Hasbro Giraffe was an awesome deal on Amazon today that I couldn't pass up. It was 30.00 on sale at Toys R Us today but it was only 10.00 on Amazon today.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
I get on the phone and answer all the security questions and the guy tells me my account has been compromised and he has to cancel my card number and issue us new cards. He starts rattling off all these purchases asking if I made them. I think I did but who knows, I have been buying Christmas gifts all over the Internet and they have been hitting my credit card as they ship not in the order I purchased them. Now my online account is locked out online so I can't really log online and go through the transactions and compare my email receipts.
I really, really appreciate my credit card company's vigilance but I have a sneaking suspicion that the fraud alert was triggered by my husband calling to activate a card that was mailed a month ago and not being able to answer the security questions. It is an annoyance I am willing to live with but it is going to be inconvenient as I now have to change my information in a bunch of places and if it wasn't my husband that triggered the alert then I have to worry that someone got a hold of my information.
On another note, the daycare lady never contacted me today so I think she picked the other couple. Go figure.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
After extensively searching the Department of Family and Protective Services website and reading all the local child care provider's inspections and looking at things such as hours of operation, location, number of children, etc I found one that looked promising. This lady lives 5 minutes from us, only keeps 5 kids including her own, she didn't have any violations on her inspection which after reading some of the others, was a big deal. So I emailed her and she didn't have a spot open. But then she emailed me back the following day and said she said she had a spot opening up January 2nd and she was offering it to me first. I said great, when can I come meet you and check out the place? She said her first availability was Tuesday night (last night). I agreed to come by at 6pm last night with Bear and my husband. We met and saw the house and she gave us all the paperwork. We agreed that we would talk it over and let her know in the morning.
I wasn't 100% thrilled with everything but it was pretty good. She does take 2 weeks vacation during the year but we don't have to pay her for it. We just have to arrange for other daycare. She also takes 5 sick days per year, paid for by the parents (I have heard this from other parents too so I expected this), if the baby is sick or we take vacation we pay the full week (I currently only pay half a week for my daycare if he is out a week). She also has a 110.00 non-refundable registration fee which is a little higher than I paid for our current daycare. BUT on the plus side, he will be exposed to less germs, she reads with the kids, does sign language, talks Spanish to them, she is close to our house, and she charges 43.00 less per week than our current daycare which makes up for paying her sick leave and then some. So after much discussion last night my husband and I decided to try her out. So I emailed her as soon as I got to work and said we wanted the spot.
She emailed me this afternoon and indicated she was meeting with another set of parents tonight and she would let me know which one of us will get the spot. WHA? She told me last week that the spot was ours if we wanted it. I understand that she has a business to run and can't wait around on a maybe but I met her at her earliest convenience and gave her an answer the NEXT morning. Now all the negative things I overlooked last night are starting to crawl all over me. I am more than a little ticked that she didn't mention this last night. I didn't realize that we were competing for a spot. If she had said I need an answer today because I have another family I would have understood but that just completely caught me off guard today. I need to talk to my husband about it tonight and see if we want to wait and see with her or if we want to try something else.