Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Let's get an early start....

Can you believe we're on the cusp of a new year already? YIKERS! Seems like just yesterday we were celebrating 2009.... where does the time go???

Anywho - I've been thinking about my resolutions for this new year and have decided to try something new. Being that I'm NEVER able to follow through on my resolutions (let's be honest here peep's... does ANYONE follow through???) I'm going to pretend that it's already Dec. 31, 2010.... weird, I know.

Here is my list of things that I will be able to say I accomplished at the end of 2010...

1. I have lost 20 pounds
2. I have quit soda altogether
3. We FINALLY finished painting the interior of our home... (this has been an ongoing project for over 4 years.... you can stop laughing now...)
4. I tried seafood (I have a weird seafood phobia.... just typing that out has me almost "enjoying" a panic attack... it's rather bizarre...)
5. I no longer spend just because I can... I have been able to put more into savings rather than into junk we don't need.

I figure that over the next 365 days (actually 367 if I include tomorrow and Thursday...) I can totally accomplish all 5 of these things... they can't be "that" hard, right?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sad news....

Last night we received the news that Jake's preschool teacher passed away quite unexpectedly in the morning. Please pray for her family - her husband and two daughters (one is in 6th grade, the other in 8th). This is going to be an incredibly tough time of year for them both now and probably for a LONG time after.

She was a great teacher - just this past Thursday she put together a little Christmas pageant type of thing for the preschool class to do (not easy when they're all in the 3 year old range). It was such a joy to watch. We then enjoyed cookies and milk with her in the kids classrooms. I'm thankful that we had that time as families with her.... if only we knew then that it would be our last time to fellowship with her until we all get to heaven.

Thank you Mrs. Lueckel for being a wonderful teacher and example for our little Jake...

Our first snowman.... for this year at least....

Gotta love winter in OH.... building one snowman takes ALL the snow in the yard. :) Kind of sad looking... isn't he? We'll have to perfect our craft in the coming months....

Look who turned 4!!!!

Over the weekend the "chud" turned 4 - MY SWEET BABY! I can't believe that he's already 4... seems like just yesterday we were cuddling and rocking him. CRAZY!

We celebrated with family on Saturday - braving the local Chuck E Cheese. This has become a sort of tradition for our family... not sure if we're 100% on board with it... but the kids insist. THANKFULLY we beat the crowd and had the place almost to ourselves for the first hour.

On Sunday we were planning to see the Wildlights at the zoo with Grandpa and Grandma from MI. But.... I got sick. YUCK! Actually... the kids have been dealing with the cough gunk for several days - so our plans changed. We ordered pizza and played games. Perfect. Not too exciting... but heck... he's only 4. I know that in a few more years it isn't going to be this easy to get away with not really doing much of anything.

I wasn't going to include a picture of his "party" cake... but had to. The Chud LOVES Blue's Clue's. We watch it far too often - sometimes I think both Joe and Steve are my bff's. :) Our cake decorator lady at the local grocery store is WONDERFUL. She did a Scooby Doo a few months ago and now this.... *sigh*.... I wish I had an ounce of artistic talent.

All in all - good times. Now he's 4 and darn proud to tell anyone who asks (even those that don't....). Until next year....

Monday, December 7, 2009

I got my box!!!!

I decided to join up with the great "CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT SWAP" put together by Joanna for all of us to enjoy. I mailed my box out to Nicole in sunny (or maybe not so sunny today) CA in mid-November. As soon as it was off... I promptly forgot about it.

So on Saturday when our lovely postal person came to the door carrying a box... I had quite the surprise!

What fun treats!!! :) I unofficially collect snowmen so I LOVED these!! 4 sparkly ornaments, a bright red snowman ornament, and hot chocolate (one of my favs) in a snowman mug! PERFECT!!!!

Isn't it the little things in life...? :)

SO thank you Joanna for putting this together... and thank you Nicole of all the special treats (I hope you liked yours... including the candy cane shot glass)!

the WRONG kind of cardio workout....

Saturday, the kids had the "great" idea of heading to the zoo for the WILDLIGHTS show. For the whole month of December, our local zoo decks the place out with literally MILLIONS of Christmas lights. It's really quite awesome... wish I could do it in my yard :).

Of course... the place is CRAZY busy. Getting dark.... getting busier.

Half the group (we met up with my sister-in-law and her family) went to see the bats, while 4 of us waited outside. Ian and his cousin decided to dink around in some bushes... having fun, being silly... until... Ian disappeared. Literally... disappeared.

Hello PANIC!

My nephew looks at me and says "he went that way" and points a general direction.


Is he hiding in the bushes, is he trying to play on the now closed play park, did he decide to join the other's with the bats? no.....


He is literally NO WHERE TO BE SEEN! Trying to keep a calm head, I go one direction and my sister-in-law the other... making a giant loop around the play area (yes... which is still closed). He's no where to be found. FINALLY the rest of the group comes out (seemed like at least an hour... was more like 10 minutes) and starts to help.

So after calling security... wiping away daughter's tears ("we're NEVER going to see Ian again!!!"), TRYING to keep a level head... Aunt Mindy found him. He was curled up in the fetal position under a table. FREAKED OUT. Apparently he didn't see us so decided to go and look for us (not that we had moved... even an inch... we were by a warming drum with a fire burning in it...) then realized he was lost. THANKFULLY he new to stay put... sort of.

I'm glad he was okay... but holy smackers... my poor heart. Thought I was going to have a heart attack. He of course is fine now.... (see picture below... he recovered) but I'm still a bit freaked out about the whole thing. I looked away for .2 seconds... and he was gone. I'm thanking the LORD today that some crazy person didn't swipe him... oh mylanta... just thinking about it practically gives me a panic attack.

Anywho - hug your little one's today!! :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jolly eh??......

Let me preface this post with sharing with everyone that I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

I love that it's a time to celebrate Christ's birth with friends and family...
I love that I can bake and bake and bake and no one really complains...
I love that I can spend hours thinking of the perfect gift...
I love driving around experiencing all the lights that others want to share...
I love reminding my kids that it's nice to do things for other people...

yeah... I could go on... but I won't... because...

the stress of "being" Santa is FINALLY getting to me. Seriously... he's SO highly over-rated. I keep hoping that the kids will finally "get it" that there is no REAL Santa... sad, sad day.

Here's my issue - this year, we'll be buying stuff for the kids just to buy. There isn't any one fabulous thing that each of them have asked for (except for the American Girl doll... for the daughter who NEVER plays with dolls... seems rather pointless). Another stuffed doggie, a digital Littlest Pet Shop... more junk.

We celebrated Christmas with my family over Thanksgiving... (yes it was kind of CRAZY!) and already the kids are "bored" with their toys (sorry mom and dad if you're reading this... just being honest). How can they go from THRILLED to BLAH in a matter of less than a week?

Our small group adopted a family in our church to buy some gifts for... I've had so much fun with this! I think giving to others is sincerely under-rated... it's a great thing! :) BUT - is it sad that I feel giving to my own is over-rated.

Maybe I need to eat some of those Christmas cheer cookies....

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Have you seen these? They are BRILLIANT! They're called Hexibugs... and they've kept my 3 year old busy for HOURS. Who would've thought?

They're little "bugs" with rubber legs. They vibrate - which makes them move and crawl all over. Ian bought a hexibug habitat with some $$ he had saved... which makes them even MORE fun. Gives them a place to run around in circles with different paths to take. SO COOL! We're thinking of purchasing a few more sets so we can make the habitat bigger and MORE fun.

Seriously - if you have a little boy (or girl... Reese loves them too) who needs to be easily entertained (by someone other than mom... or dad).... you should totally get these!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sunny Eggo... Here we COME! (almost...)

So about 3 years ago, A and I went to San Diego for the first time. It was love at first visit. We've tried to get back every year since then (it REALLY helps when he has a conference...) and we're leaving in less than two weeks!!! YEAH!!! I'm already planning in my mind what to pack... sad, isn't it?

This year we're using part of this trip to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We'll be staying in La Jolla (LOVE the sea lions)... can anyone recommend some great restaurants? After that, we'll be down by the gaslamp district. I'll be by myself most of the days downtown - any suggestions of what I should do?

This week and a half needs to go quick... A has been CRAZY busy at work, the kids are always complaining, and I'm just plain weary. I look forward to having some peace and quiet. Just being able to watch the waves... water has always been VERY soothing to my soul. Being in central OH doesn't present too many soothing water visits.

So - if you read my blog and have any brilliant suggestions for what to do this trip.... please let me know! :) We did the zoo last year... so we'd like to try something different!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Christmas Ornament Swap.... SOON!!!

I LOVE Christmas... so when I saw Joanna's so fun idea (check her really fun blog out here), I HAD to share it with everyone!

Who doesn't love to find interesting and fun Christmas ornaments? Who doesn't love to share them with friends? I personally do... I could spend HOURS walking the rows, and rows, and rows, and rows, and rows, and rows.... of ornaments at Hobby Lobby right now. BLISS!

Anyway - starting October 12 and running through October 26, you can sign up at Joanna's site to be part of this fun swap. The details will soon be available... so check it out next week!

I would LOVE to have all my friends join this... ONLY because I would LOVE to see what each person sends and receives. :)

You can click on the link on the left... yup... over there... see it? It's Christmasy, isn't it? Hmmmm... I might just have to leave it up for a LONG time (yes... I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas).

Happy almost Holiday season everyone!

(yes... I'm a total dork today. It's been a LONG week and it's only Wednesday. Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred workout has shredded my brain and has me walking like I'm 90. Our house is all stairs... so I'm fried. back to normal, boring posts later....).... :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Giveaways Galore....

In honor of her 28th birthday, Crystal at Money Saving Mom is having a huge giveaway fest! You TOTALLY need to check it out. Her site is amazing anyway... so let today be your introduction. Seriously... you HAVE to check it out... go now.... stop reading this.... run... click.... save.... :)

Apple pie, apple crisp, apple butter, apple sauce....

The kids didn't have school last Friday so I decided it would be the PERFECT day to pick apples... for the third time. Yeah... don't laugh. It's all about a good variety right?? They only have certain kinds at certain times... never all of them at once. I really do have a method to my madness...

He would pick the only branch with NO apples on it for me to take a picture of him with. What a goober.... :)

These two were ALL over the place.... half the time I couldn't find them. Notice the green apples on one side (Golden Delicious...a fav at our house) and the red (JonaMac's) on the other? That would be the variety I'm speaking of...

Not sure why (maybe because she's a GIRL), but the need to "strike a pose" pops up just about everywhere these days. Watch out TYRA!!!

Speaking of poses... he does this in almost EVERY picture we take. Not sure why... maybe because he's a part of my madness? Must admit... it's a great looking apple though...

Every year when we go apple picking I try to get ONE really good shot of all 3 kids. Mind you... we've picked three times, this is my third try. Still don't like it. Not sure what's up with Miss Things wacky smile. Might have to try again at the pumpkin patch next weekend. Good times. By Christmas card time, they'll be primed and ready to go!

So... now that we've picked over 100lbs of apples... anyone want some sauce, pie, crisp? YUM!!!!

Brotherly love???.....

Some days my boys just can't seem to get along. Which I assume is TOTALLY normal... but things have taken a turn for the worse....

Posters taped to their doors. Yeah - nice. See how each one drew a picture of their brother, then crossed it out. In other words "YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED IN MY ROOM EVER AGAIN!!!!!".

Feel the love.....


Monday, September 14, 2009


I have always been a HUGE believer in the power of prayer. Sometimes it takes little (or HUGE) reminders though of how powerful and utterly AMAZING our God is....

A few months ago, my mom shared with me the story of Heidi. She's a wife and mother... of 5 kids! They range in age from late teens down to 2 years old. A very BUSY mom!

She was diagnosed with cancer and given 6 months to live. Devastating.

People started to pray... to pray for a miracle. Sometimes seems silly... but God can do some pretty amazing things.

Last week she had a dream. It was the day before her next doctor's appt. She dreamt of a man... dressed in a white doctor's jacket, khaki pants, a blue with with large swirls and small crosses on it. He said, "You're fine". Interesting considering all the treatments and tests she had been given and was going through.

The following day she went to her appt. Guess who walks in... the doctor... wearing a white doctor's coat, khaki pants, and a blue tie with large swirls and small crosses on it. Guess what he said.... "You're fine - the cancer is gone." As in no sign of the cancer... anywhere.

This gives me goosebumps - I had tears in my eyes. God is amazing. I know there are SO many who don't believe out there in this world... but this just confirms it to me. God is still working - he is amazing - he IS.

Yup... I'm pretty amazed today.....


Amber over at "AE FILIKINS" has declared our topic to be.... FALL SHOWS for this week. Just in time too as they are FINALLY starting. Don't know about everyone else, but tv this summer has been PURE MISERY! So here is my list... so far.... :)....

I LOVE watching the Biggest Loser. I find it to be inspiring and motivating. Holy smokes... if these people can workout like crazy people, so can I. I think Jillian Michael's is brilliant (Bob too... ). It starts up again tomorrow night... so y'all will know what I'm doing from 8-10pm :). Eating ice cream and cookies while watching the Biggest Loser....

LOST isn't back until next year (AHHHHH!) but I already can't wait. It's the last season and they have a TON of questions to answer for all of us Losties. I'm going to be crushed when it's finally DONE. It's been a fascinating show...

Another show I thought of after adding my pics (it's SUCH a Monday!) is Lie to Me. It was new last year... and REALLY good. It's a show that both husband and I can watch together and enjoy (which is really rare these days...). I often wonder if the things they say show a person to be lying are for real... if they are, it's even MORE interesting. You should totally check it out.

That's my line- up for now. Nothing too major, I'm trying to watch less tv. Of course that all changes when it gets dark at 3 in the afternoon and the high temp for the day is 0. :)

What are YOUR favorite shows to watch this fall? Join us here....

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

What are your plans.......

So what are your BIG plans for this weekend? Anything exciting to send summer off with a BANG??

I have quite the list of things to get done...

1. Crown molding in our master bedroom - it's been painted and ready for molding (or is it moudling??) for quite some time... as in months. It will be WONDERFUL to finally finish the master bedroom project. I might even spring for curtains... WOOHOO!

2. FInish staining the deck. I'm about half way done... so not too much more. It's crazy time consuming though... rail piece by rail piece. Next time we're getting iron rails :)....

3. Paint great room (Kelli, stop laughing...). This has been an ongoing project for over a year... more like a year and a half. We have a HUGE high wall and I can't reach the whole thing with our ladders. So, half of it is painted, the other half is still the original contractor color. Pathetic. We need to either rent a HUGE ladder or find someone who has one we can borrow. Not to thrilled with having to climb so high (I don't like to wobble) but it REALLY needs to be done soon! It's starting to annoy me.

4. Serious purge of stuff and taking it to Goodwill. I have 2 bags already in the car (yes, they've been there for almost 2 months... oops!) and a couple more about ready to go.

I'm sure there are other things that need to be done (clean carpet, paint master bath, change out huge crap mirror in master...) but we'll see. Not sure if we'll have time :). Thankfully the CHUD starts preschool next week (WOO HOO - all 3 kids in school!!!) so I'll have a couple hour on Tuesday and Thursday's to do my "projects".

Do you have any BIG things to tackle??

Speaking of tackle - GO BUCKEYES!!! First game this Saturday against NAVY.... SO FUN!! :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Free cheesecake anyone????

How totally scrumptious does this cheesecake look? It's from Cheesecake Factory and it's called Stephanie's Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake - and a slice can be yours... FOR FREE!!!!

Cheesecake Factory is doing a nationwide stamp out hunger sort of thing. You bring in 2 cans of soup - you get a free slice of cheesecake. You have to be within the first 500 to donate... and it's only coming to select cities.

Want more info...? Go here.....

YUM!! THANKS MONEY SAVING MOM for this heads up....! WHAT??? You haven't visited Money Saving Mom's website... she's incredible.... you HAVE to check it out!! I'll make it easy... click on the dollar signs.... $$$$$.

Cheers!! :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Confession....

I have been very convicted lately about budgeting our monthly everything :). The confession part - I have NO CLUE HOW TO! Seriously - I've tried to keep track of spending... but I forget to about 4 days in. I've gone through all of our monthly bills, divided them by 12... and now I have a lovely set of averages. I "know" how much I want to spend on different things (groceries, back to school stuff, gifts) but I rarely stick to my set amount.

So today, I decided to try something new with the grocery portion. I bought a gift card. Sounds dumb, eh? But - this could work! I figured that it's September 1, I could buy a gift card for the WHOLE month of grocery shopping. Used cash... not credit for those wondering :). When the gift card is at $0.... I'm done getting groceries for the month. We'll have to live off what we have (I can hear the kids panicking already....). Our basement holds the "Schwadmart" - my stash of extra stuff, so we wouldn't be starving. We might not have bread... but we'll have 10 packages of Betty Crocker cookie mix!

I'm determined to cut back spending (this is VERY hard for me... I LOVE a good bargain!) on "stuff"... so we can save more for our future (college, retirement...).

On a side note - I've started canning... and LOVE it! Seriously... it's SO easy. EVERYONE should try it! We're going to pick apples this weekend (YEAH!!! I'm SO EXCITED) so we'll have some yummy applesauce soon :). Just thought I'd share...

Anywho - what do YOU do to make sure you're not overspending? Any tips for a budget incapable person??

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I heard "the chud" playing with water in the bathroom today... NEVER a good thing. He came out and told me he had brushed his teeth... ALWAYS a good thing... sort of. I went in to inspect and this is what I found...

Don't you just love his brushstrokes? How he used the "paint" to make such intricate designs? GENIUS!! :)

Then I realized how neon PINK this toothpaste is... EWWW! It's so not natural!

Ignoring the gunk on my drain of the sink (we have REALLY hard water... it tends to bulk up) can you see how PINK this is?? WOWZERS... grab your shades... the stuff is blinding. My poor boys...

Friday, August 21, 2009


This is coming to Columbus in September... I'm already SO excited to go! Crazy, eh? Usually I HATE (and it's a pretty serious distaste) craft fairs... but this one is CALLING MY NAME!!! So, if you live in the Columbus, OH area and aren't busy Sept 18, 19, or 20... let me know! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What does your home say about you??

Today while making daughter's bed (clean sheet day - WOOHOO!) I was listening to one of our local radio stations. They asked the question - when people walk into your house, what impression are they left with? What does your home say about you - and who you are... what you're about? Of course... this got me thinking.

The only thing that REALLY stood out in my brain about my home - is that I am far from perfect. I would LOVE to have a perfect "show" home... no toys laying around, shoes always in the right place, etc.... but hello reality. Harsh as it can be sometimes.

My home is a work in progress - literally. Walls painted as high as I can reach, walls ready for crown moulding, other odds n ends unfinished. We have a few cobwebs, crumbs on the floor, stains on the carpet. Nails holes that need to be filled. I tend to start things then NEVER finish them :).... not really, but it can take a while.

What I want people to "get" from my home - I love life as crazy as it can be sometimes. People are more important than things. My family is MAJOR important, but in all honesty, my faith is more important. I hate stuff... less is more.

This whole thought process has made me realize that I have a few things to work on.

How about you gals out there in "blogland"... what does your home say about YOU??

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Just had to share....

This is what rolled in about an hour AFTER the fishing trip....

Kind of glad they made it home when they did!

"Little Nemo" FL fishing trip!

One of the cool things about the rental company we use while in FL is the amenities they offer. Free golf, food, video rental... and this year a free adult/child fishing trip. FUN! The kids went with dad... on a 3 hour tour... (you HAVE to sing that part!).

Can you see how excited they are (HA HA HA).....

Each kid had a chance to "drive" the boat. Always a fun experience... they thought it was totally cool. (Sorry about the weird colors... I've been experimenting with the camera and forgot to change it back before they left....)

Apparently "I" didn't care too much about the actual fishing part... just the fish in the cooler. He was totally fascinated with them...

So can you tell how exhausted "I" is at this point... poor kid! "R" would have stayed out for HOURS if she could.

All in all, they had a really good time. They saw dolphins (which I didn't get to see ANY of - and i LOVE LOVE LOVE dolphins!) and dad thinks he saw a shark. Another one of the dad's thought so too - which means it MUST'VE been a shark :). I said it was probably a tuna.

Good times!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Trash to Treasure Tuesday...

I've been wanting to share this "trash to treasure" for a while now... but never take the time to do it. So today... I'm jumping in to this new "realm" of fun!

We found two of these chairs in the trash - literally. Dragged them home. Looked at their ugliness for FAR too long before FINALLY being inspired to try something.

After sanding, priming, spray painting (my NEW bff!!), and picking out some cute fabric... here is the finished product...

Not super exciting... but a HUGE difference. Now I'm not totally embarrassed to have these in our house. :) I just need to find a few more chairs so I can have a full set....

Our Florida Vacation in pics... part one....

We had SO much fun on our trip south... we didn't get to go last year, so this year was EXTRA special. It was WONDERFUL not having to worry about diapers, bottles, naps... all that "fun" stuff. Basically all we did was hit the beach in the morning... then pool... the rest/lunch... then beach... then pool... the crash into bed! We had waves most days... which the kids really had fun playing in. Thank the Lord for cheapie wave boards from the cheesy tourist outlet stores. Best $5 we spent the whole trip! The older two kids and dad went on a fishing boat excursion... more to come on that later....

He spent HOURS looking for shells in the water... but only found bits and pieces... but... we had to save them all and bring them home!

Watch for him on the pro-circuit some day....

Off to "surf" again... by the time we left, she could FINALLY do it without help :)!

This was his house for the morning... I made about 5 million trips back and forth to the water trying to fill it up for him. Not worth the effort... even for the 2 minutes it was sort of full...

A very proud moment... riding the wave all on her OWN!

I'll have more pics to come soon. Right now it's lunch time and I'm STARVING. The joys of hitting the gym for the first time in a week and a half. UGH! Talk about painful!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Organization help.... PLEASE!

I know SO many of you here in "blogland" are organized to the max. I need your help... DESPERATELY! The kids just got home from school and I am SO overwhelmed with the task of keeping 2 kids stuff straight in my head. Whether it be homework or snack info... or just basic stuff that they bring home - what's YOUR trick? I'd hate to be the mom that NEVER gets her act together... but I kind of feel panicky that it might happen this year.


*sniff sniff*

We've only been home for 2 days (not even technically) and already the kids are back-to-school! WOW! My babies are getting so big!! A kindergardener and a second grader. Breaks my heart... but I LOVE the little people they're growing up to be.

I didn't even cry when "red" walked right into his K classroom without hanging on to my leg (MIRACLE!!). He found his name at his table right away, sat right down, and was ready to get to work. "R" didn't have as easy of a time... her BFF isn't in her class this year. We knew last week already, but decided not to traumatize her with the news. Rather - we told her to wait and see on the first day. No tears thankfully, but I could tell she was really bummed.

Now it's just "J" and mom... I wonder what kind of trouble the two of us can get into today? Hobby Lobby anyone??? :)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Leavin... on a jet plane....

Okay... maybe not a jet plane... but none-the-less... it's VACATION TIME!!! WAHOO!!! This is where we're heading....

Our very favorite place for a family vacation - Destin, FL. We didn't get to go last year due to some insurance issues that at up a decent chunk of savings change, but this year it totally worked out to go! YEAH!! Our van is packed and totally ready to go... the kids are BOUNCING off the walls while waiting for daddy... and I'm on the computer. Some things never change vacation or not :). We have no plans for while we're down south... we hate plans while on vacation. Just the beach and the pool... maybe a dolphin watch ride... we'll see.

When we get back - the kids start school. Like the day after we get back (GREAT planning on my part!). PRAISE THE LORD the kids start school.... they're bored and I'm going nuts TRYING to entertain them. It's the teachers turn!!

I'll post pics once we return!