Sunday, July 31, 2011


K. here, holding down the fort while B. is off on vacay.  I had all sorts of nice intentions for posting this weekend-I was going to update on the homemade preschool project, and do a cooking post (with pics!).  However, the reason for no posts, and the reason for my uncontrollable yawning, is because we helped my sister and her family move over the weekend.  They're now living just 2 buildings away from us.  It's a good thing that we all get along!  I'm very happy they're up here now.  It's a fresh start that they've needed for a while.

Anyhoo, the move gave me reason to be grateful for my wee stockpile, because they needed so many basics!  Paper towels, cleaning supplies, toothpaste, shampoo, trash bags, etc., etc.  I snuck in to their apartment Friday night (well, I didn't sneak, they gave us a key.) and stocked up their cabinets.  I put post it notes saying "Open Me!" all over the place, and apparently they had a great time the next day checking out all their loot.  I spent much of Saturday either watching all 5 kids (only 1 was mine!), or fetching things.  I fetched food, drinks, RCA gender converters, light bulbs, laundry, quarters for the was a long, sweaty day, but it was worth it.

While I was staggering around the apartment today in a sleep-deprivation haze, I realized I do have something besides cooking and kids to blog about-Christmas!  I know, I know, too soon.  But I realized this year that, by shopping early and watching sales, I could get most of my gifts on the cheap.  I'm going to try to take it a bit further, and try to plan ahead for all of it.  The cleaning, the cards, the cooking, everything.  Hopefully, assuming that my innate slacktitude doesn't kill my idea before it can take off, I'll be posting a comprehensive plan in the next couple of months, just in time for the holiday season.  But I do have two tips for early gift shopping.  First, for all the kids on your list, now is the time that Target starts to clearance out toys.  It varies from store to store, but it seems to be around the end of July.  I've picked up a few things that way-for example, a board game for $3.  But what if you want something a little offbeat to give as a gift?  Where do you go when the stores fail you?  Try Heartsy!  It's like Groupon for Etsy.  It gives you deep discounts on a wide range of products, including bath and body, jewelry, clothing, toys, home decor, and food.  I blogged a while back about a gorgeous necklace and some fabulous shower scrub I was given for my birthday, and they were from Etsy sellers that were featured on Heartsy.  Check them out, and sign up for their emails.  If you become a VIP member, you'll get even better discounts!

Hope you all had great weekends, and here's to a week of taking it easy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why Women Should Misbehave

This morning, I was going through my morning routine of email/coffee/Facebook, when I noticed something was going on with my lady friends.  A lot of them were expressing, in their own ways, that they need a break.  One talked about how tired she was, another about her children keeping her up late.  A mom was jokingly beating herself up about skipping chores for a few days, and posted pictures for proof.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that her 3 days of messy kitchen looked like mine does after cooking dinner for one night.  But one comment in particular stuck with me.  She's a fellow mom, and was responding to post of mine about how I can leave the room to get a drink of water, and come back to find vomit on the floor (true story).  She said, in what I imagine was with a tired smile and a hefty dose of gallows humor, "Isn't it nice being so blasted important to the rotating of the planet?"

I totally got what she meant.  As moms, we have a lot of things to juggle, and it can feel like it'll all fall apart if we disappear for a moment.  But I took it a step further.  I can't think of a woman who doesn't have a lot of responsibilities.  Jobs, homes, families, chores, pets, volunteering, errands, balancing that checkbook, friends...we all deal with it.  I'm not saying that men, in comparison, have it easy.  They don't.  But, speaking strictly for myself, I have a tendency to shelve my desire to take a break in order to let others have that break.  If my Dude wants to go out and have a beer at the HSH bar with his soccer buddies, I'm going to let him because he works hard, and his hard work is what lets me stay home with the Little Dude. I have a sister with a full-time management job and 4 kids.  If she needs me to babysit, I'm going to do it, because she probably needs a break worse than I do.  I love doing these things for others, but I tend to do it until I snap.  If I were to be proactive and build in some breaks for myself, I'd probably be so sweet and even tempered, people would wonder where the aliens took me.

While I am speaking for myself about my tendency to make myself last on the list, I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of women out there who would nod in agreement.  Maybe it's that stereotypical urge for women to nurture.  And that's why I'm here to encourage all of you women to start misbehaving!  I don't mean you have to go out and recreate the plot to "The Hangover" in one night (but if you do, please send pictures.  I'll post them.).  I mean to take a little time to be...irresponsible.  You can spend as much or as little as you like.  Do it when it works best for you.  Don't worry about your chores-trust me, those dishes will still be in the sink whenever you come back.

Ladies, find a way to indulge yourselves!  Soak in the tub with a bowl full of ice cream.  Go to the mall and shop, or even just window shop.  Go for a run, a walk, a swim.  Go to the library and tune in to your trashy side-get a Lady GaGa CD, borrow season 1 of Sex and the City (I'm such a Charlotte), find a bodice ripper and imagine Johnny Depp as the swashbuckling pirate captain that wins over the virtuous heroine.  If you have to wait until after the kids are in bed, or the dog is fed, or the husband/boyfriend is happily killing every zombie Left 4 Dead can throw at him.  Even just 20 minutes can do a world of good for you.

If you're really ambitious, try to set up a monthly date to get out of the house, either alone or with friends.  One of the best times I've ever had was in a room full of strange women.  I went to a local bookstore to see a presentation by Jill Connor Browne, the author of the "Sweet Potato Queen" books.  She is hysterical, knows how to live, and will happily teach you all she knows.  Almost all of the women there wore tiaras, or sashes, or their finest pageant gowns.  I fit right in, and I was probably the youngest by about 10 years.  But I came home so refreshed and happy, because I spent the evening in a room full of laughing people.  If you want to get together with friends, give it a theme!  Have a gaming night (B. and I are both part of a monthly euchre club, those ladies are awesomely fun!), a scrapbooking night, or a movie night.  Take turns brining snacks and drinks, so no one bears all the financial burden.  Start a book club.  Try a new restaurant every month.  There are so many options out there, you will find something that fits.  I promise.

No matter what you decide, start it now.  Plan ahead.  Go solo, go with a friend, go with a group.  Put that latest Candace Bushnell book on your reserve list at the library.  Get a box of wine (classy!) and a bag of peanut M&Ms, tell the kids they can't come out of their rooms unless they're on fire, and start putting yourself first for a change.  You deserve it.  And if you happen to be dining at a little Greek restaurant tomorrow night, and you see two women laughing a little too loudly, it'll just be me and an old friend, taking some time for ourselves.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Warning: Angst Ahead

I feel kind of bad posting this, because I had promised myself that the blog would be about the lighter things in my life.  But this has been kicking around in my head for most of today, and I'm hoping that, by putting it down in writing, I can exorcise a particularly ferocious demon.

I don't really go around sharing a lot about my ex.  My relationship with him was very tumultuous.  Hell, I'm going to tell the truth and shame the devil (to borrow a phrase from my granny)-it was abusive.  I'm still very reluctant to discuss the details, I've only ever been able to tell the Big Dude and B.  Part of my hesitation is because I feel very ashamed for allowing myself to stay put for so long, and part of it is fear of retaliation.  My ex and I have a distantly friendly relationship, and I'm sure that, if he were to see this, there would be lots of anger.  And while I still fear that anger, I also feel that, for my own sanity, I need to get this off my chest.  I'm tired of being afraid.

I'm also tired of the trust issues I have now.  It makes it very difficult for me to open up to people, even friends that I've known for years.  Unfortunately, my poor, tolerant BD often gets the brunt of my issues with this.  I call it my "sneaky hate spiral", as inspired by Allie at Hyperbole and a Half.  BD goes to the Crew games, and pre game activities, as his main social outlet.  I know exactly where he is, who he's with, and what he's doing.  He's never given me a reason to distrust him.  Logically, and emotionally, I know this.  But when he's gone, sometimes this little voice will pipe up in my mind, and tell me all about the horrible things he might be doing.  It frustrates me so badly, because it'll sometimes totally emotionally wreck me.  BD is so supportive and reassuring, but it's not fair to him to have to keep putting the pieces back together.  I've been trying so hard to move on from it, but every now and again, it comes back.  It happened today.  And I'm sure it'll happen again.  All I can do is keep fighting, and keep trying.

In many ways, I feel a lot stronger than my past.  I've overcome a lot of my fear and insecurity.  I'm in a place that's healthy and happy.  I feel mostly healed, but this one issue is the deepest scar of all.  And I think that was the cruelest thing that one partner can do to another in a relationship-destroy their ability to trust.  I'm glad that he made some necessary changes in his own life, and is in a healthy relationship of his own.  But it makes me angry that I let it happen to me.  I wish I could tell my ex what he did, rage at him for it, but I'm not sure it would matter now.  I wish I could tell the world what happened.  I know that there are people out there who knew us as a couple, and think that I just left my husband for whatever selfish reason.  But I can't let it rule me another minute.  One way or another, I'm going to overcome this last hurdle, and I'm going to be a kinder, more compassionate person for it.  And wherever I go in life from here, I'm going to kick ass.


PS-read the link up there, it's pretty funny.  This is a pretty serious post, and I'm incapable of being serious for too long.  :-)

Adventures in dog sitting and my meal plan for the week

Last week my friend was in a bind.  She was going out of town and her original dog sitter fell though four hours before she was supposed to leave.  So I offered to take the dogs for the weekend because I am a bit crazy.

Reasons why I don't need any dogs right now:

- dh is allergic to them
- ds1 is most likely allergic to them too
- I haven't lived with a dog in over 15 years
- If we got a dog, the newness would wear off quickly for the kids and I would be stuck doing everything for said dog

My friend has two dogs.  One is a larger dog who is so calm and quiet, the perfect house dog.  Then there is the small, hyper dog that barks at everything that breathes and is wild for you to show him attention.  The kids were thrilled that I offered to have them over for the weekend.  Dh was tickled to have them over as well because he really wants a dog but didn't know how his allergies would take it.  We both grew up having dogs and he really misses that.

One of the good things that happened was that the kids were so excited to have dogs around that they happily did all of the dog chores for me without complaint.  Plus I will admit it was very nice to have the dogs as companions around for the weekend.  The smaller dog was great entertainment as he ran around endlessly trying to get someone to play with him.  We gated him in the kitchen at night and when we were leaving and on Saturday he showed us that he could jump over the gate.  The dog has springs in his feet, he could jump so high.  He jumped over the gate every chance he could, so we had to double gate the kitchen to keep him in it.  He was also dead set on trying to escape every time the door opened.

All in all it was a very good weekend.  After it was all said and done dh's allergies were pretty bad so I still don't think a dog of our own is in the future.  Plus I was quite tired after taking care of them for four days and I don't miss having to take care of them constantly.

But it was very quiet yesterday in the house after we came back from dropping them off.  Almost too quiet.

On a different topic, I missed doing my meal plan for last week.

Monday - Skyline chili on potatoes with fresh green beans

Tuesday - Spaghetti with more green beans

Wednesday - Italian chicken and potatoes in the crockpot

Thursday - rotisserie chicken from Costco

Friday, Saturday and Sunday - up in the air right now.  


Sunday, July 24, 2011

It Ain't Starbucks, But...

So, a few days ago I was in a bind.  I seriously, desperately craved an iced coffee.  In case you hadn't noticed, it was (still is) wickedly hot out.  I'd tossed and turned the night before, and I was dragging.  And the Little Dude was full of more energy than I could muster.  Cold, non-carbonated caffeine seemed like the ideal solution.  But, alas, there was a flaw in my plan to get my hands on a frappuccino-my car has been out of commission.  So my options were slim-suck it up, or get creative.

So I made a base for iced coffee!  It's great on the rocks, chilled in a pitcher, or blended with ice.  And it was pretty simple!  I made 10 cups of coffee to start.  I used caramel flavored coffee, but you can use whatever you have on hand.  I made mine a bit stronger, since I planned to drink it over ice.  If you plan to blend it with ice, you'll definitely want it a bit stronger, to withstand the dilution.  I let it sit in the carafe for a while, until it was cool enough to pour into my plastic pitcher.  I then added about 3T of sweetened condensed milk to give it some creaminess.  Again, use what you have on hand-milk, half and half, that bottle of flavored creamer languishing in the back of the fridge-and just add it based on your personal tastes.  Then add some sweetener, use your favorite and sweeten to taste.  I used somewhere between 3T and a 1/4 c. of sugar.  Stir it all up, then either stick it in the fridge, or break out the ice.  You can also add flavored syrups if you want, garnish it with whipped cream, or whatever blows your skirt up.  Grab a straw, a fan, and enjoy a few minutes of cool indulgence!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Holy Crap, I Have A Preschool!

As you all know, I have a son.  I stay home with him.  Finding ways to entertain him is usually pretty easy.  I taught preschool for 10 years, so I have a decent stash of ideas to fall back on.  But, momma alone isn't always the best playmate.  The Little Dude has lots of cousins, but they all live just far enough away to make getting together on a regular basis kind of a pain.  Also, losing my job back in April meant that we are now working with a smaller budget.  So, how could I manage to stay home with LD, keep him happy, but still work?  Babysitting!

At first, the idea was to just bring in one child, LD's age, for 2-3 days a week.  We found a fit pretty quickly, and while my little guy has a bit of a love/hate relationship with our new friend, it's working well.  So well, in fact, that I'm looking for another child to watch.  3 children, in my opinion, isn't really a preschool.  But adding my sister's 4 daughters to the mix in the afternoons makes it a preschool!  My sis and her family are moving by us-as in, the same apartment complex.  We're all pretty excited about it.  Big Dude and the bro-in-law are totally brothers from different mothers, we all get along great.  However, the move, while necessary for them, will strap them financially.  Childcare for 4 kids is EXPENSIVE.  So I'm babysitting on the barter basis.

Since I'm adding 4 kids with no increase in income to offset it, I'm having to be very crafty and frugal about it.  But, since I'm coming from a teacher background, I have high expectations.  I want the best for the kids.  So, I did a little research.  There's so many blogs out there with DIY ideas!  I came away really inspired.  Next, I polled my friends on Facebook for ideas.  They really came through for me - Hayley suggested blanket tents, cooking projects, and the splash park at Bicentennial.  Bonnie of The Not So Modern Housewife gave me one that sounds awesome.  Open the dishwasher, dump some "ingredients" inside the lid, let junior mix it up and play, then shut the door and run the washer to clean it up!  BJ reminded me of sock puppets, Laura had some game ideas, as well as lunchtime fun like an indoor picnic or a pizza topping buffet.  Sabrina seriously educated me about educational games with beanbags, and music by Hap Palmer that kids can act out.  Connie reminded me about the simple joy of decorating a shoe box.  Her daughter, a former student of mine, used a shoebox to make a tzedakah box (a box used by children in the Jewish faith to save money for a charitable donation).  Aren't these ladies awesome?

The Big Dude (who may or may not realize that he agreed to help with a bit of this!) and I will be having a crafty weekend.  We're converting one side of our boy's train table into a chalk table.  I also hope to make a dual-sided felt board with play pieces, a geo board, and a light box.  I also have been working on some file folder games, and I have recipes ready for play-doh, bubble mixture, watercolor paints, and sidewalk paints.  A large plastic tub with a lid will become a simple sensory table.  I'm raiding the closet for dress up clothes, and the scrapbooking supplies for art materials.  Some shimmery material swatches are now being used for music and movement activities.  I could go on and on...but I do plan to post pictures and instructions for some of the bigger projects.  If you have kids/watch kids/teach kids, these could really be some great resources for you!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Confession, Cheap Care, and Clean Carpets

It's an early, rainy, blessedly cool morning here.  The Big Dude left for work, the Little Dude is still asleep, and it's just me, some coffee, the Cooking Channel (my new addiction-they have Julia and Nigella!), and the cat.  So I'm going to take advantage of the quiet to plan out some cooking for the week, and my grocery list.

I do a kind of modified stockpiling-I don't have the room, or the desire, to have a fully stocked basement to last me through the zombie apocalypse.  But I do like to know that I have a few jars of pasta sauce in the cabinet.  So my rules are that I have to have room to store it, and I have to keep it organized so I know exactly what I have at a glance.  The first rule was put into place when I first told the Big Dude I wanted to coupon and stock up on the cheap.  He was for it, but he's been exposed to TLC's Extreme Couponing, so he needed reassurance that I wouldn't set up shelving in our living room.  So food stays in the kitchen, and it's all hidden in cabinets.  Bathroom supplies are either under the sink, or on a shelf in the linen closet.  The closest I've come to "extreme" with the storage is putting Jeffrey's extra diapers and a couple of packs of TP under his crib.  There's a skirt to hide it, so no one can tell it's there.

Here's my confession-the second rule, keep it organized so I can see it all in a glance, came about because I confused several bottles of body wash for shampoo and conditioner.  Thinking that I only had a few bottles of body wash, and knowing that my goal was to stock us up for about 6 months, I bought more.  I now have 15 bottles of body wash, which was a bit beyond my goal.  It did make me feel kind of hoardish, but at least it's something we'll use, and it won't go bad in the meantime.  But lesson learned-know your contents!

In the course of stocking my various shower supplies, I realized that I hate how expensive face wash, masks, and scrubs are.  So I took to the internet for a cheap, natural solution.  And I learned that baking soda is my friend!  A simple face wash is 1 T. of honey and 1/2 T. of baking soda.  Mix, apply to damp skin.  The honey will both soothe and clean (it's antibacterial-who knew?), while the baking soda will exfoliate.  I wouldn't recommend making a large batch, I just mix it in the palm of my hand.  And if you want a moisturizing mask, combine 1 c. plain yogurt with 1/2 c. rolled (non-instant) oatmeal.  Apply to your face, leave on for 15 minutes, rinse.  No need to wash after, and it's safe for sensitive skin.

As far as body scrubs go, I'm super lazy and usually just rub in some baking soda straight.  But if you want a more spa-like treatment, combine 1/4 c. oil (olive is what I tried), 1/8 c. coarse brown sugar, and 1/8 c. salt (kosher works well).  You can add an essential oil if you wish, but take care to not let the essential oil get on your skin without it being combined in the scrub.  Trust me, you don't want a swollen, peeling face because you got it on your fingers then scratched your chin.  This could be made ahead and stored in a jar.  If you have a sunburn, eczema, or other skin issues, leave out the salt and use 1/4 c. of the brown sugar.

Finally-today's Groupon has me all excited.  It's carpet cleaning!  Two rooms, a child's room, and a hallway, cleaned and stain treated, for $47!  It's for the Columbus area only, but I'm totally getting this.  It would clean and stain treat my entire apartment!  It's good for purchase through Thursday, but don't let this one slip by.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Sunday Tradition

This will be another photograph-free post, I'm afraid.  My week got away from me again!  I agreed to watch B.'s kids, as well as my sister's 4 girls, and had a pretty busy schedule besides that.  And, to top it off, I spent today with some odd flu-like thing.  Appetizing to think about, right?

Being all queasy and chilly meant that our weekly trip to the North Market didn't get to happen.  My Dude, being the awesome guy that he is, did the market shopping by himself, brought me back egg salad on challah, and skipped soccer to stay home and make sure things stayed mellow.  Fortunately, my stomach settled down in time for me to take part in the other half of our Sunday tradition: the preparing and consuming of the steaks.

It's serious business at our house.  We get 2 filets from Bluescreek Farms (not only do they now know our order, they tend to prepare ours in advance and age them a little longer.  It's seriously good enough to cry over.), baking potatoes from the Greener Grocer, and stop whatever we're doing to sit down as a couple and eat.  It's the only night of the week that the Little Dude eats something different from us, and usually before we sit down.  It doesn't stop him from coming back to mooch bites of steak and potato, either.

Our potatoes are pretty basic-wash them, stab them full of holes, rub with olive oil, pat on some kosher salt, and wrap them in foil.  We bake them at 400 degrees for at least one hour.  At the one hour mark, we start the steak, and the potatoes come out when the steaks are done.

For the steak, we've found a method of cooking that seems pretty foolproof to us.  We let the steaks sit out to reach room temperature (we usually get them out and unwrap them when we put the potatoes in to bake.), and then season them with salt, pepper, and dill on both sides.  We then cook them in a hot, dry skillet on medium heat.  This part is important, either use an oven-safe skillet, or preheat a baking dish in the oven.  Cook the steaks for 3 minutes on each side-if they seem to be getting a little too done for your liking, lower the heat a bit.  After both sides have cooked, put them into the oven with the potatoes.  We like our steaks pretty rare, so we let them bake for 5 minutes.  If you want them cooked longer, add another minute or two to the oven time.  We also check for doneness by gently pushing the tops of the steaks.  Rare feels like pushing your cheek with a fingertip, medium feels like pushing the tip of your nose.  If you want your filets well-done...I'm not sure how to advise you, because I consider a well-done steak to be about equal to chewing on a leather wallet.  ;-)

Anyhoo, once the steaks are done, take them out of the oven and let them sit.  I sometimes put a small pat of butter on each one, and let it melt.  I think it gives a richer taste to the juices.  While the steaks are resting, get your potatoes out and drop them on the counter.  I mean that.  Drop them a few times.  Make sure you're dropping on different sides of the potato.  They'll be ridiculously soft, and any butter or sour cream you add will melt and get into all the nooks and crannies.  Top them as you wish-we like to use garlic butter, but whatever floats your boat!

These steaks will be juicy, flavorful, and out of this world good.  I promise.  Pair your steak and potato with some nice wine, a salad, some decadent dessert-it'll make any night special, and with a minimum amount of effort.  And, as one-half of a couple with a kid, it definitely helps to take a little time out during the week to focus on your significant other, and enjoy time together.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Last Weekend and a Restaurant Reveiw

We were quite busy last weekend at our house.  We had a t-ball game and swim meet Saturday morning followed by one of the grandma's taking the boys to her house overnight.  K and I met at Target and I got a few items needed around the house and gifts for upcoming birthdays.  On Sunday dh and I picked a color for our bedroom and got it mostly painted.

For Saturday evening dinner we stopped at the newest place for take-out by our house, Yerba Buena Latin Grill.  It's a mobile food cart that's home base is on North High Street at Glenmont Road in Clintonville.  I've wanted to go ever since I found out the owners also own El Arepazo here in Columbus.  

 Above is a beef Arepa, which is grilled corn meal topped with shredded beef, cheese, avacado, lettuce, tomato, onion and the yummy spicy El Arepazo sauce on top.  It tasted amazing.  Dh had the ceviche and sweet plaintains and while he liked them, he wants an arepa the next time we go.  If you find yourself in Columbus looking for some really good food it's well worth making the stop!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

At last!

The internet/phone/cable is really, truly fixed!  I'll probably be blogging like mad to make up for lost time, lol.  And speaking of blogs, how about B.'s post with her weekly menu?  I think she should post a couple of recipes, don't you?

Speaking of recipes, I took advantage of yesterday's storms cooling everything down and made some bread!  Now, I am totally a baking noob when it comes to bread.  I can make cookies and cakes from scratch without batting an eye, but bread scares me.  So I'm challenging myself this month and baking more.  I started simple, with an easy, no-fuss beer bread.  It was a pretty good ringer for the expensive-yet-tasty Simply Tasteful beer bread!  Just a word of advice-consider how strong the flavor of the beer you want to use will be.  I used a stronger ale this time, and Big Dude and I both thought that it was a bit strong for the bread.  Not that it stopped us from eating it, lol.  We decided to freeze the remaining bread and use it next time I make beef stew.  It's a thick, hearty bread that is ideal for soups, stews, and chili.

  • cups flour, sifted (can sift twice, if you wish).  Can use wheat or white, but do NOT use self-rising flour.
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 12 oz. can or bottle of beer, can be cold or room temperature.
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (can substitute with light olive oil)
Preheat oven to 375.  Mix all dry ingredients together, then add beer.  Mix until all ingredients are combined.  Dough will be a sticky ball.  Pour into greased loaf pan.  Pour melted butter over dough.  Bake for 45-60 minutes until done, crust will be crunchy.  Remove loaf from pan, allow to cool 15 minutes.  

If you prefer a softer crust, stir the butter into the dough instead of pouring it on top.  Also, if you want to try a non-alcoholic beverage instead of regular beer, make sure to add a packet of dry active yeast to the dry ingredients.  And play with your ingredients!  Add some cheddar, garlic, and italian seasonings.  Another suggestion is to use a pumpkin based ale, and to add some cinnamon and extra sugar for a sweet bread.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Planning

I am on a quest to get back on the losing weight and eating healthy wagon so I'm going to take a stab at weekly menu planning.  This summer I have slipped back into bad habits like not going to the gym and letting the kids talk me into getting fast food on the way home from their sports and other events.  So I went back to the gym yesterday and am aiming to go 6 days a week.  Yesterday I made an effort to chart my dinner meal plan for the week. 

Today - Crock pot Italian chicken and fresh veggies from my CSA

Tuesday - Chicken with tomato soup

Wednesday - Spinach and mozzarella ravioli with more fresh veggies

Thursday - Chili lime chicken burgers, mac and cheese and a vegetable

Friday - leftovers

Saturday - Bratwurst and green beans

Sunday - Tacos, beans, chips and salad


Saturday, July 9, 2011

One-Day Road Trip!

I know I had intended to make a post about local family fun, but since we're taking a trip to Dayton on Saturday to visit family, I thought I'd mention a couple of our favorite attractions in that area!  It's not a terrible drive (roughly 1.5 hours between Columbus and Dayton), and there are inexpensive things to do for all ages!

A personal favorite of mine is the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  The place is huge, there's all sorts of awesome planes (and what kid doesn't like planes?) to see and explore, and it's FREE!  There are areas devoted to the history of aviation, the different wars in which aircraft played a role, the space program, and the presidential planes.  Many of the planes are open to allow visitors to see the interior.  There's also a nice cafe and gift shop, and an IMAX theater.

Another place that's geared for kids is the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.  I used to nanny in my past life (lol), and the Boonshoft was a favorite destination of ours.  While there is an admission fee (8.50 adults, 7.50 kids 2-12 and seniors), it's not outrageous, and I think it's a good value for what they offer.  There are two levels, featuring an imaginative play area for younger kids, sections devoted to learning about topics like outer space, recycling, and the environment, a two-level climbing area, a treehouse for bird watching, and a zoo featuring animals native to Ohio.  If you have memberships to another science center or zoo, check and see if it offers reciprocal admission!

And, last but not least, is my absolute favorite thing about Dayton-the Dayton Celtic Festival, being held on July 29-31 this year.  It's their 10th anniversary this year, and it promises to be a showstopper!  Live bands, dancers, storytellers, a kids' play area, crafts, food, proper Irish beer-it's worth staying for a day, or for the whole weekend!  The festival itself is free, and you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks onto the premises.  If you do choose to buy your nosh, there are lots of vendors to choose from, and I've never found the prices to be too high.  Sadly, this is also the first year that I won't be able to attend, and I'm honestly depressed about it.  We'll be going to the Dublin Irish Festival the following weekend, but it won't be the same.

And for those of you who would rather stay home for your fun, don't forget that the Scioto Mile is having its grand opening this weekend!  WaterFire Columbus is also underway, and the Columbus Commons are celebrating their first summer with a full schedule of fun for all ages.  There's plenty of free fun close to home!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Just a quick update...

I want to apologize for the lack of posts this week-our internet connection keeps cutting out (along with the cable and the phone, grr), which makes it difficult for me to to get posts out, plus I've been busier than snot.  But the end is near, the internet will hopefully get fixed tonight!  My goal is to try to get a cooking post, a frugal tips post, and a local/family fun post out by Sunday night.  Wish me luck!

Also, the little dude decided to color on the couch, so I needed a drink or two (okay, three) to get over the shock last night.  I'm trying to live up to the 'vodka' part of our name.

B. has been working days this week, and is trying to cram everything else she has going into her evenings. But she is alive and well, and hopefully she'll be back to her usual routine next week!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Things I'm loving this week...

As inspired by B. and her pretty, peachy post, here’s today’s entry!  Forgive the picture quality-they were taken by someone with zero skill, using an iPhone. 
The Lord of the Rings trilogy

This was the event on Tuesday night that prompted me to abandon the blog to clean for the sitter.  When the LotR movies first came out, I was part of a group known as the Ohio Ring Council.  We were a nerdy lot, joined by a common love of dressing up as creatures with pointy ears.  The group lasted for many years, but eventually fell apart as life got in the way.  Just this past month, the films were re-released in their extended, director’s cut versions, for one night only.  So, for the past 3 weeks, old friends have been reuniting to watch and reminisce.  It brought the group back together, and breathed new life into old friendships.

Summery nail polish

My toes have been neglected for a shameful amount of time, but today they were scrubbed, buffed, lotioned, and polished in this pretty shade, just so I can wear my beloved flip-flops without shame.  And trust me, I had plenty of reasons to feel shame.  My feet are rather unlovely.  Also, has a printable coupon for $1 off a bottle of Sally Hansen polish-it’s a cheap way to treat yourself!

Goodies from Etsy

So, my sister is an awesome gift giver, and has blessed me with fantastic body scrub from Quintescentials (sadly, the shop is temporarily closed), this adorable family necklace with our names and birthstones from one9designs, and a series of British themed prints from papergangsterprints!  She knows me well…as long as I have something shiny, have soft skin, and have a picture of a police-call box to stare at (hello, TARDIS!), I’m a happy girl!


B. and I got to see our first of the year at the Crew game last Sunday, and with this being 4th of July weekend, there’s lots more to come!  Red, White, and Boom is tonight, but I’m not a sadist, so we’re skipping it in favor of smaller, local displays.  We’re looking at Groveport’s Saturday night, and maybe Clintonville or Westerville on Sunday.  It’ll be interesting to see how the Little Dude handles them!

Peach iced tea

This is probably a good time to mention that I am not being paid or compensated in any way for promoting these items.  I buy them out of pocket because I love them.  And I really, really love Revolution Tea!  Flavors are phenomenal, and I don’t get the sensation that I brewed something that was mixed with sawdust.  My absolute favorite, though, is to make iced tea with their Ginger Peach tea.  It’s not summer without it!  It’s a bit pricey, and I have to drive out of my way to buy it, but I do it because I love it.  And I just found out that, on their website, Ginger Peach is 20% off!