30 May 2009

Holy Cow, Water Wings And Yummy Food Things!

Summer is here and our family loves the pool. I cannot wait to start house shopping - I want to find the perfect outdoor area and pool. Who really cares about the house, anyway? [ :P ]

We have one slight problem though... Nic thinks he can swim. I am serious when I say that. He can move his arms, he kicks his legs; he understands the process. What he doesn't get is that HE CANNOT FLOAT. I try to place my hand under his tummy, and he says "Mommy, No!"

I need to go get him another pair of floaties [I left the other ones at my aunts house]... that should solve our "problem." Right? Perhaps we have a future Olympic Swimmer on our hands. He's barely two and a half, people!

Have I mentioned how much I love summer? I really, really do!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Uh-0h! I am abt to talk abt food again! lol... But seriously, I am enjoying our healthy cooking very much. It's been fun to find great tasting, and healthy things to make for the family.

Tonight we had sandwiches; Roast Beef and Turkey [lettuce, tomato, olives, mustard, and light mayo]. On the side, we had Cucumber & Lemon salad [not pictured] and Strawberries with Yogurt. It was the perfect light, summer meal [if I do say so myself].

[ooh. just spellchecked. listed, i know how to spell about... i just abbreviate it. so, when you see abt, please know i meant to spell it that way!]

27 May 2009

Cool Pic

My grandparents just left for Michigan, to visit my uncle. They will be there for two weeks.

I guess it's been super rainy there [not that us Arizonians know what rain is]... and I guess where there is rain, there is fog.
They sent a few pictures over - one I just love:

There were a few other pictures... one of a barely visible light house and another of a sandy beach. I've never been to Michigan; to be honest I am jealous of everyone who lives outside of the south west. I wish we could move... my parents wouldn't be too pleased about that. Maybe later, when the kids are grown.

Must Study

I have my first exam of my masters program tomorrow night.


In between now and then, I also have two full days of work, 3 kids, 1 husband, 1 dog, a few meals to make, some work outs to fit in, and... What was I thinking?

Well, first things first - off to take Nic to daycare. That will allow me some space and peace to get to work, allowing me to try to carve out some time today to work on my class notes.

Wish me luck!

26 May 2009

I Swear this isn't a Food Blog

I am just having a [blast!] finding healthy things to make [or mostly healthy, anyway].

I think I am off of my menu plan, just switched the days around a little.

Tonight I made cheeseburgers and Pasta Salad.

Yes... that's spinach, onions, thyme, and garlic. See all that deliciousness?

And here was the final plating! The pasta salad was made of that Wacky Veggie Pasta, Fat Free Italian [Kraft] and olives. Sprinkled a little Parmesan on the burger and the pasta, and viola! Dinner!
We are about to go pick up Marcos now... once we get home, Isa and I are headed to the gym and then a quick dip in the pool.
Have I mentioned how much I love summer?

25 May 2009

Happy Memorial Day [and other things]

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend [and day].
Ours was quiet... two of my nephews came over for a swim. I made a delicious dinner, Isa and I worked out, and then daddy [Junior] finally got home at 9pm.

I am sad that our weekend is over - I really enjoy spending time with the kids [and family]. Tomorrow is our first *real* day of me being home with the kids during the summer. I hope they allow me to get some uninterrupted time in for work. Not too much to ask, is it?

I watched the season premier of John & Kate plus 8. Wow. It was sad. They really aren't together. They couldn't even stand looking at each other. While I hope I am wrong, I don't know if that marriage will be saved. It's a shame. It looks like their heads are somewhat in the right place; the kids!

P.S. Just in case; Team Kate!

Recipe: Roasted Chicken Breast & Veggies

Tonight's dinner was a success. The kids loved it!

The above picture is of Isabe's plate.

I used boneless/skinless chicken breast and covered it in garlic, salt, and chicken rub and roasted it in a shallow pan in the oven for 50 minutes. The inside was just moist enough!

For the roasted veggies, I used some Olive Oil on a cookie sheet and cut up Turnips, Zucchini, a Gold potato, a Yam [or Sweet Potato, I am not really sure], onions and garlic. That was roasted for 40 minutes.

And for our salad; a little Romain, some cheese, olives, and cucumbers - score! We used a low fat Italian Romano Basil Vinaigrette.

I couldn't finish my plate... it was very filling and very tasty!

Later on, for desert, we will have a few spoonfuls of strawberry yogurt with slices of strawberry mixed in!

The Spice is Right!

Come on dowwwn! You are invited to share your Spice stories with me [and anyone else reading].

I use Garlic, Salt, Pepper, and sometimes Parsley. And that's [it!].

I need ideas - what spice[s] do you use & when? I did go out and buy some Rosemary, Thyme, more Garlic [love it!] I want to spice up our kitchen... I am trading fat for spices.

Do you have any other suggestions? Are there rules [i.e. no Thyme with Chicken, silly!]?

I look forward to hearing from you!

24 May 2009

Turkey Sausage with Veggies & Pasta Recipe

As I mentioned in my meal plan, today was Turkey Italian Sausage with Veggies & Pasta.

I used a little Olive Oil in two frying pans.

In the first one, I chopped up:
2 Garlic cloves
1 Zucchini
1 Yellow Squash
7 Mushrooms
1 small Green Pepper
A Pinch of Thyme
A Pinch of Rosemary
Salt & Pepper

In the second one:
5 Turkey Sweet Italian Sausage Links [160 calories per link!] cut into slices.

In a pot, I boiled water for the Rigatoni Pasta.

Once the veggies and sausage were both done, I mixed them together. Once the pasta was al dente, I drained it, and then added a little olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Finally, I gently mixed everything together. It made two bowls full, so plenty for me and the kids, and for Junior when he gets home from work tonight, and leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Along with the meal, I added bowel of fruit [the kids loved it!] - Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Blueberries and Strawberries.

Here are some pics!

Papi, We're Killing the Kids! [Part One: Donut Tantrums]

By posting my meal plan earlier, I kind of put the cart before the horse [doesn't work real well].

Do you remember that show on TLC, Honey, we're killing the kids? I thought it was terrific. It showed families [parents, mainly] how their eating and non-exercising habits were causing issues for their children, now and in the future. Since I don't call Junior honey much, I am going with Papi.

I cannot tell you how many times we have gotten take out, sat around our table, and stuffed our mouths until all the food was gone. I would look around at my children's faces almost hidden among the cans of soda and fast food wrappers. What the heck were we doing?

My "oh crap" moment was a few days ago when I had brought home, as a treat, Dunkin Donuts. It wasn't the first time, so I wasn't exactly surprised when Nic had a donut tantrum on my living room floor because I wouldn't give him a 5th donut hole. He's two. He doesn't need any, let alone 5.

The more I thought of it - the more I realized "this isn't right!" I decided to scrap the sugar and a majority of processed foods from our diet. Thankfully, my kids love fruit and most veggies. We were doing this to the kids, they weren't doing it to themselves. They ate what I bought.

I have real health concerns for Nic. When he was born three months premature, we swore we were going to do things different with him; from discipline to the kinds of food he ate. I am starting to see a [very!] active 2 year old. Sometimes I see him spazz out - probably because of a sugar high. I do not want to see him have behavior problems, my older two never had them.

I want Nic to eat healthfully and not to freak out in excitement every time he sees a donut or a piece of cake.

This is going to be a six week challenge for our family; I will post a follow-up each week. Next week, I will be focusing on my daughter Isabel and the reasons why giving up sugar would be awesome for her.

Today is day one of sugar free in our house. So far, so good!

Wahoo... It's Snowing!

Well, snowflaking. I am due for a snowflake sometime next week of $4165.00 [yeah!]. This will pay off 2 bills; Our personal loan [$2800] and Kay Jewelers [$1100]. Doesn't seem like a lot, but the minimum for both of those bills together is $380 a month [!]

Our monthly snowball is getting bigger! Love it! I am due for a few more snowflakes this summer [July has a 5th paycheck for us & tuition reimbursement]. I sincerely believe we will be debt free [except for the car and student loans] by December [including old medical bills]. Our snowball will be about $1500 a month come September... we will be throwing snowballs at Honda and the Student Loans [take that, you interest chargers]. I think we will be house shopping before we know it!

In a related, but sad note: I just found out three of my family members will be losing their houses. :( It's horrible; a position I never want to be in. I am just so glad my cousin turned me on to Dave Ramsey. At first, I thought it was a very religious program - it isn't [or it doesn't have to be]. I love the baby steps... and following them has been great for us.

Well, off to start dinner!

Meal Plan Sunday & Calves

I did our grocery shopping yesterday [on budget!]... I spent $40 at the Sunflower Farms market (produce) and $66 at the grocery store. I only went down one aisle... needed beans! :) For everything else, I shopped the perimeter.

Here is our meal plan for the week:

Sunday: Turkey Italian Sausage with Veggies and Pasta - No sauce [other than Garlic and EVOO].

Monday: Tuna Roles [tuna salad with light mayo, celery, relish, mustard and EVOO wrapped in Boston Lettuce]

Tuesday: Chicken Breasts and Roasted Veggies [turnips, onions, sweet potatoes, bell pepper]

Wednesday: Pineapple Chicken, Sweet Potato Skins & Black Beans

Thursday: Cheeseburgers [no bun] & Low Fat Pasta Salad [fat free italian] with Olives

Friday: Grilled BBQ Chicken, Corn on the Cob, and Pinto Beans

While at the grocery store, I avoided SUGAR! No chips, no cookies, no ice cream, no nothing.

Instead, the kids will snack on Strawberry Yogurt, Cottage Cheese with Fruit, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Strawberries, Celery with Peanut Butter... Yummy!

[no. these are not my calves. mine are pasty white. and thick. grr.]

So... in regard to my calves - they hurt like the dickens. Well, they are very tight, which translates to pain for me! lol... We did our three mile walk yesterday morning [the weather was wonderful; a few sprinkles here and there] I want to say, this was our third week doing this... and I love it. I did, however, forget to wear socks and now have some lovely blisters. Silly me.

Overall, I am feeling [great!] today. I feel like I can really start to get my family to eat healthfully, and take some time for myself to exercise. I deserve it!

P.S. No report card for Alex yet... I am on pins & needles. [!]

21 May 2009

Report Cards

So, today was the last day of school and Isabel brought her report card home for me to review.
She earned 4 B's, 3 As and a C in Math. [math was not my favorite either]

I am very proud of her. Next year we are going to work towards Honor Role!! I made sure to let her know how proud I was.

Alex's report card will be mailed to me. I hope it's not too bad...

20 May 2009

Counting Down the Hours

The kids are due home from school any minute; a longer day than normal. Tomorrow is their last day of school. I cannot believe the school year is over and summer is upon us.

I just read a new post over at Clover Lane about preparing for summer. I am quite envious that Sarah has a game plan. Quite simply, I do not.

As my "About Us" suggests, we live in Arizona. Most outdoor things have to be done extremely early or after dark. I need to get on the ball and start brainstorming some ideas to keep the kids busy this summer. I would really like to cut out T.V. and computer time.

I know we will do Library Monday's for sure... but that's all I got.

Do you have any ideas you'd like to share with me? As a reminder, the kids are 13, 10, and 2.
Oh, and I do have to put some hours in for the bank [I keep forgetting, while I work from home, I am not a stay-at-home mom. darn].

19 May 2009

EEKS! Budget ReDo

While it comes as a shock, secretly I am pleased:

With my new title, I am going from Exempt to Non-Exempt [overtime eligible]. I know I won't be securing any overtime - but there is something else that will change...

I will now be paid every other Friday [instead of 2x a month].

What does this mean, you ask? Well... gosh darn it, I am going to have to re-do the budget. [love it!] I am also going to have to watch, very carefully, our automatic payments. [eh.]

So, starting soon [wonder how my pay will be affected for May], our household will receive a paycheck every Friday [snowballs!!] My paychecks, because there will be more, will be a bit smaller...so I will have to wait and see what number I will be working with before I can make up my budget in ink [as if!].

401Ks & Penion Plans [I sound like an old fart; nothing against old farts!]

I checked our balances today [kinda like jumping on the scale; you never know what number you will see].

I am pleased to announce each of our 401Ks have more than doubled since January.
Of course, in January, they were at an all time low.

With my company recently being acquired, my new momma company has opened an Pension account for me. In 3 paychecks [ a month and a half ], I already have $267 in there. I have been with the company for more than 3 years, so I am 100% vested! It's so much fun watching that number grow and to know that, in the future, I will have at least .79 cents a month to live off of. At least.

Gee, I am excited about Glee!

Have you seen the previews for the new Fox Comedy/Musical, Glee?
If you haven't...where have you been hiding? I can't get the theme song out of my head [or the vision of Randy Jackson in black spandex. maybe he wasn't in this particular video, but still. shudders.]

You have to watch the extended version to get a good idea of what the show is going to do for you. I, myself, am very excited.

Here is the link: http://www.fox.com/fod/play.php?sh=glee&ep=1240592077706

The sneak peak airs tonight on Fox - the show doesn't officially start until the fall [tease. meanie. yeah, i'm talking to you, Fox!]

This Young House

I mentioned in a previous post I had a blog I wanted to share.
Now, there has been quite a few blogs that touched me [not that way, pervert. is that even possible? never mind] over the past year or so. There are some very talented bloggers out there in Blogville. One couple, Sherry & John, have done a fantastic job documenting their wedding, the renovation and decoration of their house, and the day-t0-day things we all deal with. Their blog is titled This Young House. I spent hours, based on another bloggers recommendation, reading every blog post - I was [and still am] hooked.

Here is the web address: http://www.thisyounghouse.com/


18 May 2009

Want to see something cute? [Not a real post]

Just wanted to add a few pics.

Meet Alex, Isabel, and Nic....

Famous First Post

I am addicted to blogs. You will find proof of this on the my sidebar [over there --> to the right].
I will be adding more of my favorite reads as I go - but it takes time, and since I am trying to sneak blogging in between work projects and school - show me a little patience, will ya? ;)

I have blogged before -- many times. However, I get bored easily. I can't tell you how many blogs I've deleted. Never really found my voice. So, I decided to just be me. I promise I will try to post to this blog at least 3 or 4 times a week. Once we reach our first goal of becoming debt free and we start looking for our first home, I am sure the post count will double.

I have a favorite blog I want to share with you in my next post. Until then, hasta luego!

01 May 2009

Blog Roll

Bower Power
Clover Lane
Cookie Mondays
Domestically Challenged
Imma Momma
Just beachy
Just Organize Yourself
Made With Love And Glue...
My Charming Kids
The Lettered Cottage
The Vintage Housewife
Young House Love

Updated: July 12, 2009

All About Us

Marcos & I have been married for almost 15 years (December 16). We were high school sweethearts (he may say I stalked him, hmmmph). We have three terrific kids (more about them below). Marcos works for a Satelite company and I work for a bank. I am in school now working towards my MBA. We keep pretty busy!!

Alex is 13.

He is too cool for words [and will confirm this if asked].

He likes video games and the computer.

He likes playing basketball.

He will not be allowed to have a girlfriend until he is 30 [what?!]

He likes riding his BMX bike.

He is a [FANSTASTIC] big brother.

Isabel is 10.

She is a at that age [enough said?]

She is a beautiful girl.

She has a fantastic sense of humor.

She can have an attitude at times [no idea where she gets it from. none.

She plays softball [and is DARN! good]

She loves to read to her little brother.

She is artistic.

She wants to be a painter some day and wants me to be her cashier.

She says she's going to live with us forever.

Nic is 2 and a half.

He was born 3 months premature.

He's perfect.

He has the most beautiful eyes [such expression].

He is the most funniest little guy I have ever met.

He prefers to go to Papa's house instead of school [and tells me so every morning].

He [LOVES!] chocolate chip pancakes.

He wears his Lightening McQueen and Tow-Mater slippers [everywhere].

He is a Cars freak.

He has made all of us [our parents included] fall hopelessly and madly in love with him.

Savings Update

Updated: July 11, 2009

EmerFund: $238
ING - House: $55.60
ING - Son #1: $24.21
ING - Daughter: $19.17
ING - Son #2: $4.12
ING - Disney (2011): $6.15
ING - Hawaii (2014): $6.15
ING - New Car: $4.00
ING - School: $4.00
ING - IRA (me): $12.32
ING - IRA (dh): $12.32
Keep the Change: $5.71

Note: Just so you know, on our current plan - we aren't really socking away the dough. That comes once the debt is paid off. We plan on stashing cash December and on.