December 8, 2016

Busy Life, Busy Wife

It's safe to say I've been busy, unlike other members of my household.  Remember how your mother taught you that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all? I'm living and breathing that every day right now. I may chew my own tongue off before the year is through.

I've had some health issues pop up lately which I'm sure are in part due to stress.  So that's been "fun" and depressing. Age is probably playing a role as well and it's hard facing the fact that my mind and body don't agree with that number.  I've started focusing more on eating better and taking some supplements (omega-3 fish oil and a probiotic) and I'm hoping they help in more ways than one.

As an outlet, about a month ago I started going to a cycling/spin class one day a week.  It's pretty intense so I think one day is enough. Plus, I find if you do the same thing over and over, boredom sets in and you stop doing it.  So one class a week for now is better than no class, right?

Christmas is right around the corner, as you know.  My shopping is complete, but I'm still waiting on the delivery of two more boxes.  I attempted to purchase the new Nintendo NES Classic console but since complete idiots were in charge of that release, it doesn't look like that purchase will happen.  So we'll wait it out.  It's definitely not worth more than the price tag.  Scalp away, eBayers!  To anyone paying over the $60 price tag just to have it under your tree on Christmas morning? You're a bigger idiot!


November 11, 2016

And After...

Well now ... it's been an interesting few days!  I stayed up until about 11pm on election night and it was clear it wasn't going to be called any time soon. So I went to bed and slept peacefully all night. I  woke up in the morning and saw a note in the bathroom saying "President F*cking Trump!!!"  I said "Thank God" out loud, breathed a sigh of relief, and smiled big.  I have real hope President Trump will bring real change to Washington.

Where to start:

I do believe the American people spoke loud on election day. I won't say clear though.  Keep in mind this does not mean I am a a racist or any other word that has been used to describe "The Right" this past week. I'm not Right; I'm not Left. I'm somewhere in the middle, leaning right? My wants are fairly simple:

1.  I want to know who we are letting into this country. If we can't figure out how to properly complete a background check, then nope, sorry, we can't let them in.  I've heard lots of talk about how people are researching how to become a Canadian citizen and that it's not any easy task - that is what we need to do. Sadly, the world is a mess due to the fault of many and until our government can get some control over it, I think we need to be extremely cautious.

2.  Sensible gun control. I don't want to hear any talk of trying to take away or limit an American's citizen's right to bear arms.  Because we all know criminals follow the rules!  Hello Chicago?!

3.  Term limits on members of Congress.  Washington is a mess due to the same old people getting nothing done.

4.  Our national debt is staggering and I have no solution for that. Someone much smarter than me will hopefully offer up some ways to decrease it.

These protests against Trump's election have to stop.  The protesters look like nothing more than two-year olds having a temper tantrum. Can you imagine - IMAGINE - if Trump supporters were doing that right now? The hypocrisy of it all is not lost on me. Grow up. Stop hiding in your safe place. Go to school. Go to work. Put on your big girl/boy pants and carry on. I'm fairly certain you will be thanking President Trump one day.




November 8, 2016

November 8, 2016 aka BEFORE

Today feels like doomsday to me and I guess in a lot of ways it is to most of America.  I'm not going to discuss politics here because quite frankly it won't change anyone's mind with this election so it isn't worth my time. Suffice it to say:  #imnotwithher 

This may become a time we refer to life as Life Before and Life After ... like after 9/11. 

Yesterday I actually shut off the TV for the entire day. If I saw one more political ad I was going to either shoot myself or shoot the TV. Enough. The repeated rampant ads one after another from every candidate, locally and nationally, did nothing more than piss me off.  Is anyone in the media listening?!? WE ARE DONE.

In other news, my 12 year old fractured his left elbow a little over a week ago. In doing so, he learned that he can't fly so jumping off a swing probably isn't a wise thing to do.  With that, he effectively ended his soccer season because I don't think he'll be cleared to play before the last game is played on the 22nd.  


October 26, 2016

Update on Me

I have another "thing" to add to the list of things about my body that are changing with age - possibly allergic reactions to food that have come out of no where.

Twice now, immediately after eating popcorn my face flushed and was radiating heat for HOURS. Episode one was from popcorn popped at a local candy store store in the city. Episode two was from popcorn at a movie theater.  I seem to be okay with corn itself so maybe it's what the popcorn was popped in?

Now add almonds to the list. The last two mornings I've had cheerios for breakfast - no problem there. But this morning I had a handful of almonds about an hour after eating the cereal and within a few minutes - flushed hot face. What the ???  Almonds are not new to my diet and I've been eating them pretty consistently so why all of a sudden?!?

Am I crazy?  Guess it's time for a doctor's appointment. Meanwhile, I'll be avoiding popcorn (so odd) and almonds.




October 14, 2016

Facebook Vacation

Oh, Internet ... I can't take any more of this. November 9th can't come soon enough.  Regardless of what "side" you are on this election year, it's terrible. SO terrible.  The number of people I've seen fighting with friends and family and strangers is overwhelming. It's stupid and pointless.  Name one time anyone changed their opinion after you had a political argument with them. You can't because it has never happened.

The media is making it worse. It's like high school on steroids.  Go ahead, attack Trump for all his womanizing ways. Bill is no different. WHO CARES. Seriously. It doesn't matter. It's all a smoke screen to distract the public from the important issues. You dig deep enough into anyone's background and you will find questionable things they have done. They are rich and they are politicians so that equals sketchy in my book. Not one of them - ever - has shown to be anything different.

My two cents:

I'm worried about this country and who is the best person to actually create change. I think Hilary would put her own daughter in jail to save her own neck and will be an Obama 2.0 and that scares the shit out of me.  I think Trump is a lose cannon and flies by the seat of his pants and that scares the shit out of me.

I'm leaning toward Trump ONLY because he wants to close our borders and I think that is one of our greatest threats right now. I'm tired of hearing from the other side about how it's not an issue - it is.  You want to come to this country, come legally. Pay taxes. Contribute. No more free rides!




October 7, 2016

Twelve

So my Boo turned twelve years old this week. It's say to say he's officially a tween, given  how the school year is going so far.  He's doing fine, I guess, but adjusting to Middle School (7th Grade) and having 7 teachers has been a bit rough.  He's lost his lunchbox, accidentally threw out lunch money, lost pencils and pens by the dozens already to the point I'm considering duct-taping them to his arm, forgot to bring home homework, forgot to complete a Spanish assignment, and the list goes on.  I'm utterly floored he hasn't lost his gym clothes yet!  Boys, right?  God I hope so lol

In honor of his computer obsession, I made this Control-Alt-Delete Birthday Cake:



He laughed when he saw it!

Happy Birthday, Boo!


September 27, 2016

The Second Opinion Matters

Earlier this year, a dermatologist from DermOne treating Bud for acne recommended a biopsy on three suspicious moles on his body - two on his back, one on his chest. This seemed a little unusual for a 14 year old but nonetheless we agreed because skin cancer isn't a joke.  One mole on his back came back "funny" and she recommended having it removed (using a pediatric plastic surgeon) since it re-pigmented.  Meanwhile, the office we were going to merged with another business and the dermatologist we were seeing was transferred. It was all very weird. We were increasingly frustrated with her care as it was (since we weren't seeing any improvement with the acne after 9 months of visits ) so I scheduled him an appointment with a new dermatologist.

We saw the new dermatologist last week and what an eye-opening experience that turned out to be.  In short, we learned the dermatologist we were seeing is a NURSE PRACTIONER, and in my opinion, parading as a doctor.  I don't recall ever being told she wasn't a MD but looking at her credentials on the first pathology report, it's right there in black and white.  So I feel like I failed and didn't do enough homework before choosing DermOne but I also feel duped! The only thing she did right was catch the suspicious mole that needs to be removed.

Everything makes sense now. The fake dermatologist said we needed to go to a pediatric plastic surgeon because she could not do the excision. I was told she could not not do the excision because he was under the age of 18, which baffled me since I considered her a dermatologist capable of treating my son. But that's not the reason, the reason is because she is not a doctor!!

The new dermatologist ran a second pathology report on the suspicious mole and it does need to be removed. But surgery and anesthesia isn't required. In fact, the new dermatologist told me it would be considered malpractice for him do it as a surgery because it isn't medically necessary! Malpractice!!  What if god forbid something happened to my son while he was under anesthesia for a procedure he didn't need??

The lesson learned here? Stay clear of DermOne (or whatever they call themselves now) and any other chain-store dermatologist, regardless of their convenient locations. And when your brain tells you to "get a second opinion"!? Don't hesitate. Get the second opinion. I'm so glad we did.


September 9, 2016

How to Fail at Meal Planning

In the interest of honesty, I failed m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-y with the meal plan for this week - I only made the Chicken Teriyaki on Monday.  The start of school literally kicked my ass. It is not getting easier as they get older! Between football practices, soccer practices til 8:30, school starting, impetigo on the football team, school supply shopping, a vet appointment for the Big One, work - something had to give and it was dinner.  One night I grabbed 4 McDonald's cheeseburgers from my starving 11 year old. He ate 2 before soccer practice and 2 after. I just won Mother of the Year - not!  Just keeping it real over here.

The good news is I have meals for the weekend and we will not eat out, so help me God.

I have no plan for next week yet. I need a long weekend to refocus!

Wine. It's the only answer.


September 2, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk of 9/4

The first day of school FINALLY arrives this week!

Meal 1: Chicken Teriyaki*

Meal 2: Sloppy Joes

Meal 3: Ravioli

Meal 4: Breakfast for Dinner

*This is a crockpot meal:

1 lb chicken, sliced
1 c chicken broth/stock
1/2 c teriyaki sauce

1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1 T sesame seeds
2 T cornstarch

Place chicken in bottom of crockpot. Whisk remaining ingredients (except cornstarch) in a separate bowl and then pour over chicken.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours.  When chicken is cooked, stir in cornstarch, mixing well. Continue cooking until sauce thickens.  Serve over rice.


September 1, 2016

Don't Blink

Yesterday I spent the morning helping my soon-to-be freshman navigate his new high school. Then I spent the afternoon helping my soon-to-be 7th grader navigate his new middle school.

Too much growing up in one day. Too much!

While I'm anxious for them to get back to a normal routine this whole high school thing is killing me quietly.  I just can't believe it's here so soon. In some ways it feels like I was just in high school myself but in other ways it feels like a lifetime ago. It's very trippy and I don't use drugs lol  The harsh reality is I graduated from high school 25 years ago. I'm officially that old person to a teenager. I've also started wearing reading glasses and today my hair is in a bun.  I wonder when I can start cashing in on some senior discounts?! HA!


August 26, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk of 8/28

Meal 1: Chicken Ranch Tacos - - Recipe!

Meal 2: Macaroni & Beef

Meal 3: Grilled Tilapia

Meal 4: BLT's




August 19, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk of 8/21

I'm on top of it this week! Trying two new recipes this week, links below:

Meal 1: One Pot Shrimp Pasta - - Recipe!


Meal 2:  Kalua Pork - - Recipe!

Meal 3: Hoagies from Jimmy Johns


Meal 4: Breakfast for Dinner 

August 18, 2016

Not a Food Post!

I had a revelation this past weekend while visiting a dear friend in North Carolina.  I've been enjoying a pretty peaceful home life and do you know why that is?  It's because I do not have a teenage girl in my home.  Obviously I was a teenager at one point and I know I talked a lot but there is something so different about a teenage girl these days.  Has anyone done a study on this? Can we blame the internet and social media?!

She talked non-stop about every little thing that crossed her mind. Stuff that didn't even make sense. At one point Boo looked at me pleading with his eyes to make her be quiet for 5 minutes. My poor friend says it's constant chatter all. the. time.  I only took one bottle of wine with me. It wasn't enough!

For all the people who ever said to me "you should have a 3rd baby so you'll have a girl" (so absurd!) or "aren't you sad you don't have a daughter?"

Umm, NOPE.

I'm good. I'm perfectly happy with all my men and my pets!


August 12, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk of 8/14

Meal 1:  Meat sauce/pasta

Meal 2:  Homemade Chicken Fingers/fries

Meal 3:  Homemade Pizza

Meal 4:  Hamburgers

(this week is called I-give-up-I'm-tired-of-planning-dinner-week)




August 5, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk of 8/7

My apologies for skipping last week. I'm fairly certain it doesn't matter!

Meal 1:  Pork Chops

Meal 2:  Ckn Stir Fry

Meal 3:  Breakfast for Dinner

Meal 4:  Hoagies from Jimmy Johns


August 3, 2016

Vacation Plans

My son's football schedule has derailed any good vacation plans for this summer, much to the dismay of my other son.  This is the summer of separate vacations for our family.  My husband took a golf trip to VA a few weeks ago with 11 other guys.  I am taking a long weekend road trip to NC to visit a dear friend soon and Boo is coming too. He said, "I need to get out of this house. Please take me too."  Okay then. If an almost 12 year old boy is willing to take a 6-7 hour car ride, he must really want to get out of the house!

As I get older and the kids are much easier to transport, my desire to travel has increased ten-fold.  My husband doesn't exactly share the same feelings, given much of what goes on in the world these days. You have to be mindful of your destinations, of course, but I truly believe travel is still a must! We've decided to take another family cruise in early 2017. The cruise is booked and airfare purchased. We're heading on a western Caribbean route on-board another Norwegian cruise ship. I am so excited!! The boys will miss a few days of school but I don't care. I won't ever get back this time with them and before I know it, Bud will be 18 and (hopefully) off to college.

The best part is that cruise won't be the only cruise I'm taking next year!  I'm also going on a Girl's Cruise with 3 friends to the Bahamas. It's a long weekend cruise and we plan to be drinking, eating, and sunning ourselves the entire time. Probably in that order!

2016 has been pretty quiet and low key but 2017 should be fabulous!


July 27, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk of 7/25 (late, of course)

Sorry ... I was very distracted last week.

Meal 1:  Grilled Steak

Meal 2:  Macaroni & Beef

Meal 3:  Creamy Chicken Parm

Meal 4:  BLT's

Also, since my teenager is picky and never eats enough, I've been frying up some "copycat" Chick-fil-a each week to make quick & easy sandwiches with or to just cut it to dip.  He's loving it and I'm loving that he's eating.



July 26, 2016

My Zoe is Gone

In May 2000 I set out determined to bring home a kitten. Our wedding was about four months away and we were finally settling into our first home (although we did it old school - I wasn't living there yet) but to me, a house isn't a home without a cat.  I went to a local animal orphanage that day to adopt a kitten.

I spotted her very quickly - this shy little thing with beautiful coloring and a stripe on her nose. She was definitely the one!  But the rules! I was naive and didn't realize all the rules involved with adopting a homeless kitten so I couldn't take her home with me that day.  The next morning I went back before the doors opened with everything I needed in order to give this kitten a home, crossing my fingers she was still there.

She was.  And she's lived with me every since. She was my first baby.

In April she celebrated her 'Sweet 16' and was doing well, despite her age and the health issues that inevitably arise.  Last Thursday night she took a sudden turn for the worse and I knew it was time.

Zoe was a shy cat who only liked her people. She would only drink water from a fountain. She shed like crazy and loved to brushed. She was afraid of ceiling fans and loud noises of any kind. She spent her life indoors, sunbathing through windows any chance she got.  She didn't like dogs but tolerated their curious sniffing at time. Many didn't realize she still existed in our home but I knew she was there, always waiting for me.

I will forever miss her sweet face.
 Rest in Peace, Zoe
My Zoebear
My Carebear
April 15, 2000 - July 22, 2016


July 15, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk of 7/17

I've totally lost track on what week it is so I'll just start using what I probably should have been using all along - the actual "week of" date.  As always, my meal plans start on Sunday. 

My Husband returns home today so my week long break from cooking dinner officially comes to an end. Yes, I'm sad. Here's what I've got lined up:

Meal 1: Meat sauce/pasta

Meal 2: Pork Chops

Meal 3: BBQ Chicken, grilled

Meal 4: Chicken steak sandwiches

July 13, 2016

A Week Off

I have no meal plan to post for this week because my Husband is away on a golf trip. So in honor of that and the fact that my boys would prefer to eat whatever they can find at 11pm, I'm taking a vacation from cooking dinner this week. It feels really good to fix myself what I want when I want it which basically means I'll be eating some version of mexican food all week long. 

I also took two days off from work to play taxi driver to drive the teenager to and from football practice. 

Yesterday I baked lemon bars and I will eat the entire 8x8 dish by myself because no one in my house appreciates lemon anything.

Yesterday I watched two DVR'd shows and a Lifetime movie - uninterrupted.  It was awesome. And speaking of TV shows, if you aren't watching UnREAL, you are missing out! LOVE this show!


July 5, 2016

Unplanned Silence

My lack of posting wasn't planned. It just kind of happened.  Call it a side effect of my mid-life crisis. And it seemed almost pointless to only post a meal plan each week because really, who cares.  

For anyone that does care, here's the current week meal plan:

Meal 1: Hamburgers/macaroni salad

Meal 2: Shrimp Scampi 

Meal 3: Bourbon Chicken (which has been on the meal several times but for one reason or another, we've yet to eat it!)

Meal 4:  BLT's

Within the past month, I watched my youngest child walk out of an elementary school for the very last time. I watched my (young) sister-in-law graduate from high school. I traveled to Maryland to help celebrate my godson's high school graduation as well. I hosted yet another family get together over Father's Day weekend (I'm burned out doing these dinners).

I wish there was a pause button. Life is flying by too fast. I'm stuck in the monotony of doing the same thing day after day. And I really and truly hate it. My husband and I have had a few conversations about this but it really doesn't help.  I know what I need to do but I don't have the courage to do it.

For now I will savor the few long weekends I have planned for this summer. We have no real vacation planned because of the football schedule. I'm looking forward to a solo road trip to NC in August to visit my oldest and dearest friend.

'Til next time.


June 10, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 24

Meal 1:  New recipe (posting soon)! Summer Spaghetti

Meal 2:  Pork Chops

Meal 3:  Chicken Sandwiches

Meal 4:  Breakfast for dinner


June 7, 2016

Lacrosse 2016 Out

I had been posting about my son's lacrosse team and how they were undefeated. I'm not sure where I left off. They did complete the season at 14-0 (with 2 forfeits). Two playoff wins later, they made it to the championship game that was played this past Saturday night.  

I'm still not sure if I can talk about what happened. It was devastating to watch as a parent, given how they played all season long.  A number of things went wrong:

1.  We were out-coached. There's no denying that. The team we played against was very prepared. As soon as the game started, it was clear they came to beat the unbeaten team.  And even after watching what was going on, our coaching staff did very little to alter the game plan.

2.  Our goalie. God bless him. He has a very tough job but has done so well this season and had several shut outs.  He wears glasses with lenses that are supposed to change with the amount of light. Playing on a turf field (we're used to grass) and under the lights, his glasses failed.  He couldn't see the ball.  This happened one other time (but we managed to win) and his parents thought they had corrected the problem...

3.  The referees.  The games was called one-sided. I know a lot of people say that but it's true.  They had only 1 penalty called the entire game. These are 14 and 15 year old boys playing a rough sport. C'mon.  We had penalties called on us 10 times.

At one point we were down 6-1 but came back and tied it. We even took the lead. In the end, time ran out. We lost 13-11.  The boys were heartbroken. It was so very hard.

They had an amazing season and it would be a shame to hang it all on one final game but it just wasn't meant to be.


Meal Plan - Wk 23 (late)

Sorry...

Meal 1:  Homemade meat sauce & pasta

Meal 2: Chicken Stir Fry

Meal 3: Baked Tilapia

Meal 4: BLTs


May 27, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 22

with Memorial Day weekend mixed in ...

We'll be hosting a BBQ at out house so hamburgers & hot dogs and all the sides will be happening on Sunday, the 29th.

Meal 1: BBQ Chicken

Meal 2: Macaroni & Beef

Meal 3: Creamy Chicken Parm - skillet sauce. Boo loves this simple dinner.

Meal 4: Steak sandwiches


May 26, 2016

The Garden ~ 2016

The garden is looking good!  I started from seeds this year and planted them in egg shells in mid-April and kept them on a window sill and somehow, even with two nosy homewreckers, they managed to survive.  I only had one egg out of twelve (a squash plant) that didn't make it. It only got one stem/bloom and it wasn't growing like the others so I didn't bother to plant it.

'Round here, it's best to wait until after Mother's Day before you put any plants in the ground. That proved to be wise due to the very cold spring we had. I was warmer in February then it was in April/early May.  I finally got all the plants in the ground about two weeks ago and planted another row of green bean seeds.  I carefully broke apart the egg shells before planting and added the crushed egg shells to the dirt for extra fertilization.

There is nothing like fresh green beans from the garden. This is the third year I have grown them and each year I plant more and more plants. They seem to do really well in our garden and 3 out of 4 of us love to eat them!

My cucumbers are usually amazing (last years batch was a disappointment - not sure what went wrong) but that seems to happen from time-to-time.  I haven't planted squash before but given how the plants look, I am hopeful.

I've had such bad luck with tomatoes I didn't bother to plant any this year.  They just don't like to grow in my backyard. I've tried everything and have failed every single time.  So I gave up and will just stalk local farm stands for fresh Jersey tomatoes.

The bottom two pictures show how things looked as of last night:





May 25, 2016

They Did It!

My son's 15A lacrosse team (all 8th grade boys) pulled off an undefeated season with 12 wins and 2 forfeits, which technically means their record was 14-0! It has been a fabulous season and something they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Tomorrow night they play in the 1st round of the playoff tournament taking on the 8th placed team.  They should win of course, but at this point everyone is out to get us and every team can have a bad night, even an undefeated team.  So we're hoping for a hard fought game, that they don't let up, and play as a team.

When the season ends, it will be bittersweet. Many of them have been playing together for years and many of them will part ways and head to different high schools in the fall.


Wish them luck!


May 20, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 21

Back on board ...

Meal 1: Grilled Steak

Meal 2: Homemade Chicken Fingers

Meal 3: Tilapia

Meal 4: Penne w. Vodka Sauce & Sausage

May 17, 2016

Meal Planning & Catching Up

So while I fell off the wagon updating the blog, I have still been meal planning. We follow it for the most part but as the spring sports are winding down, we are busy and a family dinner time doesn't always happen. It definitely helps to have a meal ready to prepare on the fly.

Here's what I have planned for the current week:

Meal 1: Pork Chops

Meal 2: Shrimp Scampi

Meal 3: Bourbon Chicken - skillet sauce

Meal 4: Hamburgers

I can hardly believe Memorial Day is right around the corner and it still feels like winter most days.  We've been busy getting the yard, fence, and patio ready for the summer months. With the threat of frost pretty much over, I was finally able to get my garden planted this past weekend (more on that soon!)

We have one more (very) busy weekend of sports and then playoffs begin for the lacrosse team next week - Bud's team is currently sitting at 11-0 for the season. It's very exciting for them to finish their 8th grade year this way!


May 3, 2016

Bothered

I've been in a funk lately. A lot of things have me on edge and very aggravated. It's probably a mid-life crisis of sorts and I'm not considering doing anything drastic but have decided something has to change.

My job is the root of it. I've been doing the same job for a very long time and I'm bored and tired of the office bullshit and career goals I'm supposed to have.  My current career goal is to retire. I stay for the pension, the benefits, and the time off.  Starting over somewhere new sounds like more work than I'm willing to put forth at this stage of the game.  I made all these career choices when I was 18 years old and I'm essentially backed into a corner unless I go back to school to be trained to do something else. Or I can go work at Target.

My interests have changed over the years, as they often do as you age. I'm not longer interested in my job. I'm just not. And I don't see how anything is going to change that.

The Husband told me I looked miserable standing alone at my son's lacrosse game on Friday night. Thanks, Caption Obvious. I am miserable. I had a really long week and a 3 hour total traffic-filled commute that day and I didn't feel like being social. What did you do today? Oh, that's right. You're retired and do nothing all. damn. day. everyday.

This brings us to my other problem:  My Husband. He retired from the police force at the ripe old age of 43 last summer. And he's done nothing since, unless you count posting on Facebook and watching Fox News as doing something. His job was stressful of course and his sleeping was all messed up from working nights for so many years.  I gave him time, plenty of time to work all that out and I didn't nag him at all. However, his help around the house is sporadic and almost never done unless I leave a note.  I know he's a male but he's also 43 years old and we've been married for almost 16 years - I shouldn't have to leave a fucking note. No one leaves me a note to get stuff done. 

I have become very resentful of his lack of effort and his lack of concern over our finances. Yes, we have talked about it (but it's been a while since the last conversation) and I'm always told "a job is coming" but it isn't coming fast enough for me.  We have one son who is entering HS in the fall, will be driving before we know it, and then college with a second son trailing right behind ... and he's just content to sit on the couch all day and watch TV.

An ugly fight is coming and it will not be pretty.

I was intermittently watching one of my favorite movies last night while I was coloring my hair (because for some reason the amount of gray hair on my head has increased ten fold in the past year - can't imagine why that would be!) and cleaning the 2nd floor at the same time and a line from the movie has stayed with me once again:

"I'd rather do nothing and be happy then do something I don't love"


April 29, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 18

Meal 1: Chicken Divan

Meal 2: Homemade meat sauce/pasta

Meal 3: Homemade Chicken Fingers

Meal 4: Hot Dogs

April 22, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 17

Meal 1: Grilled Steak

Meal 2: Creamy Ckn Parm - skillet sauce

Meal 3: Macaroni & Beef

Meal 4: Hamburgers




April 21, 2016

Not a Meal Plan Update!

I apologize for the boring blog, if anyone happens to care.  Life has been busy at home now that spring sports are in full swing.  I really enjoy watching my boys play and I'm going to miss it when I no longer have to take anyone to practice or a game.

Bud's lacrosse team hasn't found any competition yet this season as they are currently undefeated at 4-0.  They are beating each opponent about 15-3 at every game.  This weekend they are participating in a tournament with some PA club teams so they will probably get a dose of reality but league-wise, they are doing fantastic!

Boo's soccer team is doing well too. I think they are 2-1-1 with one game canceled due to weather which will be played at a later date. We just had fall soccer tryouts with the new birth year rules in place so we'll see how that all flushes out.  I know a few boys on his team have tried out for area club teams and we're not club team people so we don't be going that route.  Because he has to change teams once again, he's a bit bummed and unsure if wants to continue playing.  So we'll see.

The basement is coming along slowly.  The TVs have been hung and the bar area flooring is almost complete (as of last night).  I found the perfect console tables for under the TVs.  More on them soon.  My Husband is itching to hang some things on the walls but I've begged him to wait until he decides on some glass cabinets he'd like to purchase for his (MANY) car models.  I'm still trying to remember that the space is actually finished now and we can enjoy it!!


April 15, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 16

Happy Tax Day! Time is running out to get them filed if you haven't already.

I would like a pat on the back for continuing to meal plan and following through while dealing with a c.r.a.z.y lacrosse schedule and a 14 year old son at the same time.

Meal 1: Pork Chops

Meal 2: Baked Stuffed Shells

Meal 3:  Breakfast for Dinner

Meal 4:  Steak sandwiches


April 12, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 15

Sorry... late is my middle name lately.

Meal 1: Shrimp Alfredo

Meal 2: Marinated Baked Ckn


Meal 3: Salisbury Steak Meatballs - made this last night. Got a thumbs up from The Husband. Link below.

Meal 4: BLT's ... I'm trying to will warmer weather to The NJ.

YUM:
Salisbury Steak Meatballs

Enjoy!




April 5, 2016

Basement: Post Construction Part 1

Now that the basement is "done", here comes the fun part:  painting, carpet, and all the finishing touches.  It will be awhile before we are completely done with it but that's okay because the space is usable now regardless!

We have a neighbor friend who has been in and out of work so we paid him and two helpers to paint it. 


Now I won't lie ... the paint came up a little darker than I was expecting but whatever, it's painted. We're not re-painting it! 

A few days after it was painted, the carpet was installed and the furniture arrived - on the same day. We're lucky that worked out in our favor. 


We LOVE the couches (4 reclining seats in all and it was a STEAL price-wise from The Dump!) and the carpet is nice too but the paint should have been a shade or two lighter to fully compliment the area.  Once we start to decorate, add the bar area flooring and the bar, it will all come together and be just fine.

We added the 60 inch TV this weekend so The Husband is very happy. Once it was hung on the wall and he sat in the perfect spot on the new couch, I leaned in to kiss him and said, "so, I'll see you for Christmas?!"


April 1, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 14


Meal 1:  London Broil

Meal 2:  Baked Tilapia

Meal 3:  Pasta & meatballs

Meal 4:  Ckn Fingers & fries




March 29, 2016

Basement - Construction Done!

I'm a bit overdue giving a basement update.  It's "done" and ready for paint and carpet, pending the final inspection today. My Husband is being held hostage all day today waiting for 3 different township inspectors to give the all clear.  We don't expect any problems. Everything looks really, really good.

It's crazy to think they actually only spent a total of 5 days at my house completing this renovation. It's also some what crazy that it took almost 2 months of scheduling different crews and inspections along they way to get it done but I won't complain. They showed up when they were supposed to show up and were respectful to our home while they were in the house.  Pretty much each crew was scared to death of our dogs (LOL)!

So, if you're looking for a good, reasonably priced company to renovate your basement (they also do  kitchens and bathrooms) I highly recommend The Basic Basement Company! 

March 25, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 13

First things first:  Happy Birthday to me! - - > I'm 29 (again).

(Easter is on Sunday)

Meal 1:  Ham

Meal 2:  Chicken Divan - pin ... I know. Last minute substitution last week to make Brisket!

Meal 3:  Easter leftovers

Meal 4:  Oven Baked Cheeseburger Sliders


March 18, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 12

Meal 1:  Chicken Divan - pin

Meal 2:  Tortellini Bake - pin

Meal 3:  Breakfast for Dinner

Meal 4:  Steak sandwiches




March 16, 2016

The Best Macaroni & Beef

This is my version of Macaroni and Beef and it's really good and very simple.  It's a one-pot dish that's a perfect weeknight or Saturday-night-in meal. I've included this on my meal plans quite a few times but I don't think I ever shared my recipe!

What you'll need:

1 lb ground beef, cooked & drained
1 can stewed tomatoes w/ onions, celery, & green peppers
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced green pepper (optional)
Salt/pepper/garlic to taste


What to do:

Brown the ground beef, adding salt/pepper/garlic to your taste. While the beef is cooking, puree the stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce together.  When the beef is done, drain it well.  Add the sauce, elbow macaroni, green pepper (if adding), and water.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Once it's reached a boiling point, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Continue cooking for 8-10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


March 15, 2016

Slow Cooker Pork Loin

As part of my planned meals for this week, I made the Slow Cooker Pork Loin last night and it was so good I wanted to share the recipe today!  I followed the recipe exactly. There's no need to change a thing.  And yes, the resulting gravy is gooooood.

I got this in the crockpot a little late (around noon) and cooked it on high for 2 hours and then on low for about 2.5 hours. It was ready to eat by 4:30pm (so 7-8 hours on low may be a bit too long if you start with non-frozen meat. Keep that in mind!)

Slow Cooker Pork Loin

Go forth and cook this!



March 11, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 11

Meal 1:  London Broil

Meal 2:  Macaroni & Beef

Meal 3:  Slow-cooker Pork Loin - pin

Meal 4:  Hot dogs


March 10, 2016

Brookies aka Brownie Cookies

I have a love/hate relationship with making brownies. Some of the from-scratch recipes are just okay and the box mixes aren't what they used to be, although Ghirardelli's brownies are probably the best box mix on the market and they are worth the extra money.  My problem with brownies is getting them to cook evenly and getting them out of the pan without making a mess.  Lining the pan with tin foil helps some.  You'd think I was an amateur baker but I'm not.

My solution to the brownie crisis lately has been making them in cookie form. It really is the best thing ever for portion control and ease of serving. I made them recently for a family gathering and they got a thumbs up from everyone!

They bake up kind of like a chocolate crinkle cookie but they taste like a brownie. You can even sprinkle them with some powdered sugar to make them look fancy.

All you need:

1 box of your preferred brownie mix - I recommend Ghirardelli's Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

1/4 cup flour

1/4  cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

(optional - add in 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, nuts, PB chips, whatever you like)

You can use a mixer to bring the dough together but it's a little stiff. With a little muscle, you can do this with a spatula and/or use your hands to knead it well.  Drop by the teaspoon onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for 9 minutes max.

Do not over bake. You want them soft and chewy!



Dare you to eat just one!



March 4, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 10

Meal 1:  Lasagna Rolls

Meal 2:  Beef Bowl w. rice

Meal 3:  Breakfast for Dinner

Meal 4:  Homemade Ckn Fingers/fries


March 1, 2016

Basement: Day 4

The basement people are almost done.  They came back yesterday and sanded. It took them 3 hours. It's hard to believe they were only in my house a total of 4 days so far! There is one more inspection (I think) and then they come to install the lights, outlets, covers, doors and trim.

We're currently on the hunt for an interior painter. We've decided not to do it ourselves lol  We'd rather focus on the finishing work. My Husband will be building the bar and we'll likely match the counter top on the half wall too.  I have a few ideas on what to use thanks to Pinterest but we'll have to see on what we can agree.

The floor will be carpeted for ease and warmth. And I'm considering a no-shoe policy for the basement but I'm not sure it would be followed but I guess I can try!



February 28, 2016

14

My firstborn son turns 14 years old today. It's blowing my mind how fast time goes by. When I was a kid, a school day lasted forever and Christmas always seemed like it was years away instead of just weeks or months.  But somehow when you have a kid of your own, the fast-forward button is pressed and time just disappears.

I think the easiest time to raise a child is from the ages of 6-10. It's all pretty easy during those years. School, food, sleep, baths and love is all they really require. After age 10 though, they really start to have an opinion on things, a social life, and activities/sports become more important. Once the teen years hit, moodiness sets in and they think they know all the things.

I don't think of his birthday the same way anymore. Now I think of it in terms of how many years we have left with him under our roof.  The end is in site. It will be here before I know it and it's making me sad, deep down.  There's a giant invisible countdown clock over his head and we only have this much time left to do the theoretical "this" before everything changes. 

However, I will set all of those feelings aside and celebrate my kid. I'm starting to see glimpses of the adult he will become a midst the moody teen aura.  He's a good kid, does well in school and sports, and loves his mother.


February 26, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 9

With my oldest son's birthday this weekend, I'm cooking a big family dinner on Sunday (BBQ chicken, baked mac & cheese, broccoli casserole, & coleslaw)  so I reserve the right to not follow the meal plan next week if I so choose!

Meal 1:  Meatballs/pasta

Meal 2:  Shrimp Scampi

Meal 3:  London Broil

Meal 4:  Grilled Cheese/soup

Meal 5:  Leftovers/sandwiches


February 22, 2016

Basement Update

The fire inspection failure was an easy fix for the contractor and the inspector came right back out to check everything again and it passed. The electrical passed too so we're good to go!

Drywall will be delivered today and they start hanging it tomorrow!

Here's comes the dust .... lol

February 20, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 8

What I wouldn't do for a personal chef ...

Meal 1:  Salmon... yeah, never made 2ish weeks ago?!

Meal 2:  Creamy Ckn Parm (skillet sauce)

Meal 3:  Breakfast for Dinner

Meal 4:  Hamburgers

Meal 5:  Leftovers/sandwiches



February 19, 2016

One!

I don't know if I'm eloquent enough to describe how much our lives have been enriched by the addition of Kimber this past year.  Sure, we already had Gunner and we love him just as much ... but there's something about Kimber, her playfulness, her expressions and mannerisms that are just different and for those reasons she has changed all of us, even Gunner, for the better.

She's still very much a puppy in many ways (I wish she'd stop chasing my cats!) but this time around we're more patient. We laugh more at her antics and we have completely spoiled both of them rotten. We embrace the fur.

We've tentatively retired the crate and so far, so good ....

She's very lean and wicked fast like a torpedo when she runs and easily beats Gunner to chase a ball. She's nearly invisible in the dark and I recently purchased a flashing LED collar for her to wear when we walk at night. We love her so.

Happy 1st Birthday, Kimber!


We love you!



February 16, 2016

Brain Dump

There's no other way to title this post so here it comes:

~  We hosted a dinner for my MIL on Super Bowl Sunday. We did our best to make it about her and not the game. I think we succeeded. However, prior to her birthday I wanted to buy a nice Hallmark birthday card.  I didn't want anything flashy or extra stuff on it... I didn't want it to sing... just a nice card that expressed our love and appreciation for her.  When I flipped the card over to check the price, I almost had a heart attack. $6.99 FOR A CARD.  Hallmark has lost their damn minds!  $7 for a card she'll read and likely throw away a few days later.  I put the card back and made a special trip to Dollar Tree for a perfectly appropriate and reasonable priced greeting card.

Hallmark take note:  I will not ever pay $7 for a greeting card!!

~  The first basement inspection did not go well. The Fire Inspector failed us for a "fire hazard" under the stairs ... this is not really our problem, per se, but the contractor will need to fix (and then have it reinspected) before we can proceed with the drywall. What a pain.  Still waiting on the electrical inspection. Fingers crossed that passes!

~  The soccer emails are starting to fly.  With all the changes to US youth soccer and which will be implemented as of the upcoming Fall 2016 season, Boo will have to move up and play in his birth year (he's currently playing "down" because he can).  The only good thing about this change is that he will be playing with his most of his classmates once again.  But many kids are having to make the decision to play "town" soccer or club soccer. Apparently you can't do both.  It's all so confusing to me. We play for fun and to keep him active.  I'm so very glad we aren't (and will never be) in the "club" scene.  

~  We had a meeting with my Bud's middle school guidance counselor to discuss high school and his future.  The whole "future thing" throws me since he's still my baby ... lol  He has no idea what he wants to do and that's just fine by me.  I'm not sure he should have these answers yet anyway - he's 13! The goal at this point is to get him "set up" to attend college. We'll worry about the details later.  I liked his counselor so that's a plus. I guess it's a shame we didn't "need" her until to now!


February 12, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 7


Meal 1:  Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Meal 2:  Ckn/Potatoes/Green bean Bake

Meal 3:  Stuffed Shells

Meal 4:  Sloppy Joes

Meal 5:  Leftovers/sandwiches

February 11, 2016

Basement: Day 2

It's hard to believe but today is technically only the second day someone is coming to work on the basement, since the framing was completed last week in one day!  The electric is being run today and I'm thinking this has to be a two-day job, right?!

After the electric is complete, we must pass two inspections from our township: one for the framing and the other for the electric.  Once we pass, the drywall crew will be scheduled to complete their part of the renovation. So after today, we're at the mercy of the township inspectors on how fast the rest of the renovation will proceed. If all goes well, I can see the renovation (minus the painting and flooring) being completed by end of this month!

Might be time to take a field trip to Home Depot (and elsewhere) for flooring options.


February 10, 2016

A Quick Ski Trip to Camelback

Boo and I just returned from a two-day trip to Camelback Lodge and Mountain. We had a really nice time.  I'm a big fan of mid-week ski trips because I hate skiing on crowded slopes!  You pay enough to ski ... I want to ski, not stand in long lift lines and dodge people while skiing down the mountain.

The Husband and The Teenager were invited to go of course, but both declined.  My Husband has a bad back (so skiing is not a wise idea) and The Teenager didn't want to miss school. Yep. You read that right.  He went skiing for the first time last year and we thought he really like it but he's now claiming otherwise.  Fine by me. This can be my thing with Boo.

We stayed for one night at the new Camelback Lodge. It's really large and quite impressive when you pull in to the Lodge.  We checked in early around 1pm (although our room wasn't quite ready) and were fitted with arm bands that would be our room key.  We were told we'd receive a text when the room was ready and we could go straight to our room.  The text came about 3pm but we were busy skiing!

I gave Boo the choice of visiting the water park or skiing ... how dumb of me. He choose skiing, of course!  On the lower floor, there's a place where you can sign all the waivers and pay for rentals and your lift tickets.  I was able to pay for the rentals and lift tickets for both days all at once - saved so much time.  All we had to do was arrive at the rental location and hand them a pre-printed ticket and we were good to go! It was all very easy. A very convenient shuttle bus drove us right to the main lodge.

We skied until about 8 o'clock the first night. Boy were we tired ... lol  Even the allure of a water park wasn't enough temptation to leave our room once we finally got there!

The next morning we were a bit slow to get moving but we were on the slopes by 11am. We decided to have breakfast at the Hemispheres (main) Restaurant at the Lodge out of convenience only.  It's a buffet that's open for breakfast and dinner daily.  The food and selections were plentiful (for breakfast).  The donuts and muffins were really good. But the price is ridiculous. $15.99 for adults, $9.99 for kids. Drinks are NOT included in that price. Really?!  I don't know one kid under the age of 12 that eats $10 worth of breakfast food.  In my opinion, it should be $11.99 for adults and $5.99 for kids.  So, I suppose this is my one "complaint" about the new Camelback Lodge.

Our plan on Day 2 was to ski until about 3pm, hit the water park, grab some dinner and then head home. But Boo decided he just wanted to ski until his legs gave out so that's what we did. We skied until about 2:30, grabbed a late lunch at the Trails End Bar & Grille (highly recommend this place over the Pocono Family Eatery) and then went back out to ski until 5pm.  At 5, we were both exhausted but we definitely got our money's worth out of skiing!

We had a bit of an issue with the shuttle bus trying to get back to the Lodge (where my car was parked). It didn't seem to be running as frequently as it was on Monday so we gave up and walked back. It's not a terrible walk - only about 10 minutes. Since we weren't carrying equipment it wasn't a big deal.

All in all, we had a great time and we'd go back without hesitation but would skip eating at Hemispheres all together.



This is the view from the Lobby overlooking the water park ...





February 8, 2016

Basement: Day 1

So the good news:  They said the guys would arrive around 8am last Thursday to get the project started. They showed up at 7:45. That's what mama likes! Prompt workers!

Now for the bad news:  After they were all there, The Husband went into the basement to go over the general layout with the Framing Supervisor and for some reason the 1/2 wall we wanted wasn't on his plan.  So we pulled our paperwork and it was also not on the plan. WTF!  It was discussed at length because it negated the need to enclose the only exposed pillar we have in the basement!  After a few phone calls and many denials from the Sales Rep that this was ever part of the plan, The Husband let him have it.  It was now after 10am and the promised Project Manager wasn't on site to deal with the issue.  After a few more phone calls, they are adding the 1/2 wall for an agreed upon price of $310 (at first they said it would cost an additional $900 FOR A HALF WALL and we told them no flipping way!)

It's never easy, is it? And they wonder why people hate contractors!

I'm hopeful this will be the only hiccup and that the renovation will proceed smoothly from here on out.  Once the framing is done, it's pretty easy from that point forward so let's hope.  I don't want my Husband to finish the big bottle of Grey Goose on the first day!

Here are the obligatory "before" pictures:

February 5, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 6

It's a little light this week due to the ski trip.  The ones at home can fend for themselves!

Meal 1: BBQ chicken

Meal 2: Pork Chops

Meal 3: Hot dogs

Meal 4: not my problem!

Meal 5: not my problem!

: )

February 3, 2016

Day 1 - Tomorrow!

The basement renovation officially starts tomorrow! Delaying the start by a week was a blessing in disguise. All the snow has melted since winter has basically disappeared yet again.

We had a close call with my FIL but he is home now and on the mend. It's taking some time to make him understand he isn't 25 years old anymore and he must pay attention to his health if he wants to be around to see his grandchildren graduate from high school. Many men are very stubborn when it comes to needing to see a doctor. It's frustrating.

Next week I'm going on a short ski trip with my 11 year old, just the two of us. Let's hope the weather holds and there is snow on the mountain! I'm looking forward to a little time off from work and some one-on-one time with him.  Be aware that The Husband and the almost 14 year old have chosen not to go. Their loss!

January 29, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 5


Meal 1: London Broil

Meal 2: Macaroni & Beef  (I know this was just on the meal plan but due to poor grocery list management, I didn't have the stewed tomatoes I use to make it!)

Meal 3:  Baked Chicken - trying new recipe. Will post.

Meal 4:  Grilled cheese/soup

Meal 5:  Leftovers/sandwiches


January 27, 2016

Vanilla Confetti Ice Cream Bread

I'm late to the game with this recipe that's been floating around the internet for some time. But hey, that's me.  I was very skeptical that this would even work. To my surprise, it did!

It was recommended to use a high quality full-fat ice cream so I chose Haagen Dazs. Bonus - it was on sale!  I used vanilla simply because the idea of mixing in mini chocolate chips and jimmies was highly appealing to me.

You literally just mix the (almost) a pint of softened ice cream and 1 1/2 cups of self-rising flour and them mix in any toppings you choose. Spread in a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  During that time, an awesome reaction happens in the oven and you're left with ice cream bread cake?!



The cake itself is pretty dense but moist. It's sweet but not sweet at the same time. It's really weird but in a good way.  I did end up frosting my ice cream bread with some (canned) chocolate frosting - made it even better.

I also bought a pint of chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream. So that will be happening soon! One baked item in my house at a time, please!


January 26, 2016

Slight Detour

Well, that was a fun snow storm.  I guess it's either 50 degrees and raining or 30 degrees and we get 20 inches of snow. Can't we land somewhere in the middle?!

Moving on ...

We've delayed the basement renovation by a week. The new start date is February 4th. My FIL is having some serious health issues and is being admitted into the hospital today and The Husband can't handle both at this time.

So while that's a bummer, it's a blessing too because the snow really messed things up and we weren't able to completely empty our basement this past weekend as planned.  The only "rush" is in my head because I want this project to get underway. It will happen. I just need to be patient.


January 22, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 4

We're bracing for a major dumping of snow so I'm bracing for the reality that I'll be trapped in my house all weekend.  It's not such a bad thing, I guess. It's a convenient thing that last weekend Showtime had a free channel promotion running and I recorded a TON of movies on the DVR! I'm also looking forward to Kimber's first snow. (I know, I'm weird.)   Since she is an all black shepherd, she will photograph brilliantly against the white snow! 

I plan to do some baking this weekend and have the ingredients needed to make Ice Cream Bread in two different flavors. I'm very curious to give this a try.

- - - - - - - - - 

Meal 1:  Homemade meat sauce & pasta

Meal 2:  Copycat Chick-Fil-A chicken fingers & fries

Meal 3:  Salmon ... this meal will finish up the last of our salmon catch from Lake Ontario. I'm a bit sad about this.

Meal 4:  Meatloaf & mashed potatoes

Meal 5:  Leftovers/sandwiches

January 20, 2016

Start Date Scheduled!

The basement renovation process is full steam ahead.  One week from today the framers arrive to get this project started.

WE ARE SO EXCITED!

Over the weekend we got rid of the last of the toys (except for one small toybox filled with some Hess trucks & Nerf guns), rolled up the last carpet, and jammed whatever was left into what will be the storage area of the basement. The good news is we still have plenty of room in that area!

We do have a nice pile of trash that will be heading to the curb this week.  The only thing left to remove from the basement is a couch, a small-ish entertainment center, a TV and the Xbox.  The TV and Xbox will have a temporary home in the living room. The entertainment center is destined for the trash and we're going to try to sell the couch on Craigslist.

The Bowflex though ... is an issue. We're hoping we can convince them to work around it. We will move it around as necessary. I hope they don't make us take it apart!


January 19, 2016

Scary Snowman

Over the weekend we got a very small amount of snow. You know, the good kind of snow. The snow that only sticks to the grass and requires no shoveling! One family in my neighborhood managed to make a snowman on their front lawn and my puppy lost her shit.

In her defense, it is her first winter and it was dark outside when she encountered the frozen creature. I only wish I had my phone with me to record what happened because it. was. funny.

German Shepherds are smart dogs. Mine notice everything and also notice when things are in certain places that weren't there before.  For Gunner first Christmas, he barked and growled at the Baby Jesus manger scene. All those plastic figured on the lawn were very threatening to him! 

So we're doing a normal nightly walk routine and as we're approaching the frozen not-supposed-to- be-there thing, the creeping-walk and growling starts. Gunner quickly realizes all is okay but not Kimber.  Her hair goes up and she's barking ferociously.  And I'm laughing.  I touched the snowman trying to ensure her it was okay but she kept pulling me in the other direction.  She wanted nothing to do with the frozen guy.

The next day we took the same route and the snowman was still there. She didn't bark this time (probably because it was day time) but she wouldn't go near the snowman either.  We're supposed to be getting a major snow storm this weekend and I'm thinking we need to build a snowman on our front lawn and see what happens!

January 15, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 3


Meal 1: Mac & Beef

Meal 2: Sesame Chicken Stir Fry

Meal 3: Hamburgers

Meal 4: Leftovers/sandwiches/fend for yourself ... soup! I'll be making a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup on MLK day since I'm off from work.

Meal 5: Take Out


January 13, 2016

Permit Approved!

The second hurdle in the basement renovation is complete - the permit has been approved without issue! Woo hooo!  I suppose it helps when you let professionals do the job. 

The timing couldn't be better either because yesterday we  had a plumber at the house moving the one pipe over about 2 feet to make the finished ceiling flow better. It was an easy job and took two hours to complete.

So now that is complete and the permit is approved we can schedule a start date!

I'm very excited to get this project underway!


January 8, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 2

Just a reminder ... my meal plans start on Sunday and I don't necessarily cook the meals in this order.  It's simply a guideline of planned meals for the week. I decide which meal will be best cooked on which night depending on our schedule. 

However, Meal 5 is almost always a Friday.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Meal 1: Steak

Meal 2: Stuffed Shells

Meal 3: Breakfast for dinner - might be eggs or pancakes/waffles + bacon

Meal 4: Sandwiches/leftovers/fend for yourself

Meal 5: Take out

January 7, 2016

Renovation Time!

I don't think I mentioned this! Big news!

Not long before Christmas we finally decided to bite the bullet and contact some contractors to get our basement finished. We've had the money for some time but were dragging our feet for no good reason. I was finally able to convince The Husband that a finished basement is the only way our teenager will invite his friends over to the house and since he's currently in 8th grade and high school will come later this year, it's time.

We had grand plans of contacting three contractors but after we met with the first company, we decided we would not do any better price-wise. They are an established company and more or less guarantee the work will be completed in 4-6 weeks from the start date. SOLD!

We've been busy readying the basement for this process and we're still waiting on the township to issue the permits. We hope that work will start later this month and be finished right around our teen's 14th birthday (with any luck).

I am very excited to know that soon all of The Husband's car models will finally live in the basement forevermore. It will most definitely be a man cave and I'm fine with that. Just leave the upper floors to me and the dogs! Ha!

I will of course document the process in pictures. It's so nice to know someone else will be doing all of the hard work!  (We will paint and do the flooring ourselves) 

I've been waiting a very, very long time to have a finished basement and 2016 will finally be the year it gets done!



January 6, 2016

Meal Plan ~ Wk 1 (a little late)

New Year, new numbering lol  Will I make it to #52?!


Meal 1: Salmon / Hamburger Helper for the 11yr old

Meal 2: Pork Chops

Meal 3: Creamy Parm Chicken (skillet sauce)

Meal 4: Leftovers/sandwiches/fend for yourself

Meal 5: Take Out

January 5, 2016

Alive & Well to Start 2016

Never fear, I'm still here.  I enjoyed my time off immensely.  It was the right mix of busy and lazy with extra lazy on the side.  I watched many movies while curled up with my dogs and a blanket on the couch. It was heavenly. However, I think I gained 5lbs during the course of the holiday season so I'll have to do something about that!

We visited NYC for a long day, which included a visit to the 9/11 Museum and Times Square.  The 9/11 Museum is a beautiful tribute (do go whenever you can) and Times Square & surrounding area is just insane. I've never seen so many people before in all of my life and I work in Philadelphia!  We planned on going to the Empire State building too but it was overcast and foggy that day so it wasn't worth spending the money.  Because of that change, we didn't plan our visit so well so we were kind of scrambling (on the city streets) for something else to do/see.  But there were so. many. people. it was overwhelming!  We stumbled upon Guy Fieri's restaurant and the menu looked good (and there was no wait) so we rushed in to get away from all the people and enjoy a meal while sitting down.


That right there is a delicious burger topped with lettuce, tomato, and Macaroni and Cheese .... so, so good!  The garlic-Parmesan fries were really good too.  I may have gained the 5lbs from this burger alone but it was worth every single bite. We walked over 10,000 steps that day. I earned that burger!

Later in the week I also enjoyed leisurely lunches with my mom, a friend from high school, and then my college friend and her family came up from Maryland for the day.  It was fun catching up with all of them.

We spent New Year's Eve at my SIL's house having breakfast for (a late) dinner, drinking chocolate martinis, and playing games until it was time to watch the ball drop. We've been doing this family tradition for about 5 years now. It's a nice way to wrap up all the crazy of Christmas time.

The doggies were thoroughly spoiled while I was home so I'm sure they are missing me today. We did have one unplanned vet trip - I found a pretty deep gash on Gunner's back one night which required 4 staples to close it!  We aren't sure how or even when it happened but our best guess is it happened in the backyard while chasing Kimber. She likes to hide from him and we think he got himself temporarily stuck somehow (probably under a patio steps) and hurt himself on the way out. Never dull moment with pets!

I bought a new camera (don't laugh) during my Christmas shopping outings. I know most use their cell phone for photos these days but in my opinion, a cell phone doesn't always cut it.  So I have lots of pictures to share from Christmas as well as from NYC.  The only downfall to that is finding the cord and uploading them to my computer!  

I hope you enjoyed your holidays in whatever manner you may celebrate them and that 2016 is off to a good start!