Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Explanations necessary

So, I'm sure many of you noticed a big slump in my posting starting the first week of November. I said I was busy, blah blah. Well, that was only partly true. You see, I have a big mouth. I have an extremely hard time keeping secrets. And I had a big secret in need of keeping.

Now Christmas is over and the secret is out, so it's time to explain myself.

Rewind to Halloween. After an evening of trick or treating with T and Monkey, I finally plopped my exhausted body into bed. T and I started talking about our day and for some reason, a calender image for the month of October popped into my head. I began mentally counting weeks and realized something was missing from my week. So the following morning, I pulled the spare EPT out of the closet.

Sure enough, positive - immediately.

So there you have it, my dear readers. I am 13 weeks pregnant today. We managed to keep it a secret for 2 months!

Our parents were obviously ecstatic. I think my Dad's response was my favorite, though. Monkey is a moving target and he was trying to read her shirt. "I'm.... going.... to.... be.... a..... big..... sister. Really?? REALLY?!?!" My Mom already had an idea it was coming (how I kept morning sickness from her for 2 weeks while she was with us in November is beyond me).

I've decided I'm having a boy just because of the morning sickness. I wasn't sick a day for Monkey. Not so this time. For the record, I was convinced Monkey was a boy until about 2 weeks before I had her when I found out she was breech - then I had my doubts because up until that point, my entire pregnancy had been the same as my Mom's for me was. Breech baby just cinched it! We'll see how good I am at guessing this time.....(Stubborn from the womb is what my Mom likes to say about me - I think we'll be able to say the same of Monkey).

For ease of typing, I will be saying he and him. We will not be finding out if we're having a boy or a girl, though. This is one of life's greatest surprises! So remember that when you see me talking about him.

For the purpose of blogging, I'll be calling him New Bean for the time being (I called Monkey "Bean" while I was pregnant for her).

I'll probably be a little quiet for a few more weeks. I need to clean up from the holiday's, I'm fighting first trimester fatigue (hopefully over with very soon!), and it's the year end at work so I have W-2's to prepare and paperwork to get together for the accountant.

If I don't manage to log on again this week, have a very Happy New Year! And be safe if you're out partying on New Year's Eve!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas.

I seriously have 2 quick seconds of computer time.

We've had a really fun, lazy day, just the 3 of us. It was very different from the Christmas celebrations we are used to (running from family to family).

So, if anything good came of T being on call and forcing us to remain south for the holiday, the kicking back and enjoying of the day was worth it.

I'll be off for a few days but wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What are you reading?

Queenie, over at The Queen's Blog, wants to know what we're reading.

I decided to make a post about it instead of leaving a comment because otherwise I'd be tempted to post about how horrible my morning has been so far (and it's only 9AM). I'm trying to move on and get festive, so let's talk about a book instead of the oil truck that cut me off and nearly made me go off the road on my drive to work this morning. Or instead of being locked out of the office because the frigid temperatures caused the lock in the door to be frozen. Yup. Let's discuss a book instead.

T borrowed this book from our good friend J a few months ago. When I read, I get sucked in and need to read from cover to cover as quickly as possible. T, on the other hand, takes his time. He can read a chapter, put the book down for 2 months, and has no problems picking it back up and continuing this pattern until he finishes. I've been eying it on his nightstand since he put it there. While he gave Monkey her bath last night, I decided to start it.

My Dad is a logger. He gets to sit in a machine during the day now, but when we were kids, he was out there cutting by hand. On days like today, with the extremely cold temperatures (the weather man said 20-30 below up north with the wind chill), I'm very thankful he DOES get to stay in his machine now (I'm also hoping he stays in it all day to stay out of that cold). And I remember how hard he used to work to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies back then (not that he doesn't work hard now - it's just not nearly as physically taxing).

I'm drawn to stories about the old days. The simpler times are obviously a huge draw for me. But I especially enjoy when they include logging stories. I have an extreme appreciation for hard work of these men. I love reading of the old logging camps and just getting a glimpse into how things used to be.

I have only gotten through all of the prefacing and prologues (there's a lot of reading right there), but I think I'm going to like the read.

We take turns doing bath time, alternating between us each day, so it may take me some time to finish, which is very out of the norm for me. I've been hanging out with T far too long.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pretending to be snow bound.

Weather forecasts are telling us to expect our first Nor'easter today. It's now 12:30 in the afternoon and we haven't seen any snowflakes yet. We've decided to pretend we're stuck home because of snow just the same.

T has been baking cookies for his Christmas party at work tomorrow. Monkey and I finished wrapping gifts (minus hers because I won't let her "help" wrap her own gifts). And we're all still in our jammies.

Now we're just waiting for the snow to fly before putting in Polar Express!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday baking

Monkey loves helping Mommy in the kitchen. Thanks to my nice new kitchen chairs (I bought a set of 2 as a present to me and my parents gave me an early Christmas gift and had another set of 2 shipped to me), she can help every day (the old chairs were from the 70's and were on wheels - not exactly safe to let a toddler stand on - and these look so much nicer, too!).

We decided to attack a batch of Snickerdoodles yesterday. By we, I obviously mean me. If you don't know what a Snickerdoodle is, let me try to explain. They are a cookie, similar in taste to a sugar cookie. However, you roll them in a cinnamon sugar mixture before baking. This makes the exterior sugary and crusty - and the inside remains moist and chewy. I only make them during the Christmas season even though they are my favorite cookie.

I let Monkey help pour flour and sugar into the mixing bowl. Then, when I turned around to wash my hands, this is what I found:

She had already gotten a glob of cookie dough into her mouth and decided she liked it enough to reach for more. That's my girl with the sweet tooth!

So, we set the dough in the fridge to chill. It remains there until I have time to bake it this afternoon. If you leave to chill more than the recommended hour, be sure to cover the dough well so it doesn't dry out.

Yesterday, I promised to share the recipe. I don't know the history of it because it has been in my Mom's recipe box for as long as I can remember. If I had to guess, I'd say it came from my Great Aunt Violet's recipes because she was great with baking.

1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbs. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix butter, shortening 1 1/2 cup sugar and eggs. Blend in flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt. Chill for 1 hour. Mix 2 tbs. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon together. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.

I also mentioned an Amish Friendship Bread in need of baking. I was given the batter by one of T's coworkers along with three instruction choices. I chose this one because it didn't require my doing any dishes after mixing it every day (squeeze the bag? I can do that!).

This is how T entertains Monkey while I'm trying to get in and out of our hot oven without her underfoot. Unfortunately, it caused more clawing at my leg than anything. Yes, I'd have been scared of that, too.

Sorry ladies. I snatched him up already. You can't have him. hehe

Back to the bread. I've seen Friendship Bread numerous times before but had never been given one (I usually said thanks but no thanks to anyone offering). It was supremely easy. A child could easily do it on their own (they obviously need reading abilities - or an adult to read the instructions for them, of course).

I toasted a couple of slices for breakfast. It tasted like cinnamon toast!

I'll definitely be making it again.

Holiday shopping

So, I really am an idiot. Or, the weather just really messed things up for me last week, in regards to my scheduling. Pick which you will.

Monkey and I ventured out after her nap yesterday afternoon. I had a last minute gift to pick up at TJMaxx. Man, I love that store. I could meander through the home goods for hours. Alas, we got there at 3:30PM on the Friday before Christmas. Hello? Jodi? Did you leave your brain at home?? No meandering. Find gift, wait in a moderately long line (it wasn't as bad as I expected by looking at the parking lot!), quickly pay and run to the end of the parking lot to hurriedly get Monkey back into the car and out of the biting cold. All in all, it took 20 minutes, thanks to the lovely lady whom let me ahead of her and her full cart in the checkout line because I only had one item and "stores are difficult enough with a little one." (I did question her reason for saying it because Monkey wasn't being an issue. She was standing there, quietly holding my hand and looking at the things they line the checkout line with to try to suck you in to spend more money.)

I then took Monkey on her first trip to Toys R Us. Now I know my brain REALLY isn't working because the Toys R Us in Bangor is in the mall area. We're now talking 4:00 PM on the Friday before Christmas. I spent 45 minutes there, really to just let Monkey play a little. I also spent a bit more money than I was planning, but I wanted Monkey to have a few fun things to open on Christmas morning (we bought a portable DVD player for "her" for the car for our long trips up north - yes, it's really for us and our sanity as she gets more impatient with the ride).

Now I'm 100% finished shopping. All I need to do to finish is wrap. I hate wrapping. Rest assured, I'll probably be finishing at midnight on Christmas Eve (OK - no, I won't. T will badger me into it by then).

I am very much looking forward to Christmas morning, even if we're forced to stay home this year because of T's work schedule (he's on call for Christmas Eve until 7:00 AM on December 26). I'm sad we won't be spending Christmas with the rest of our family. Monkey's enthusiasm will make up for it, I'm sure.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The list is dwindling!

Monday, I asked what you have left to do to prepare for Christmas.

I've since crossed T's stocking stuffers off my list.
Monkey and I go to town every Friday afternoon. Today, we're going to Toys R Us so I can cross her and my nephew off the list as well.

I'm hoping to get some wrapping done while Monkey watches Sesame Street this morning, but I doubt that will happen. I'll have to wait until nap time.

We're making Snickerdoodles today. These are my absolute favorite "holiday" cookie.

I also have an Amish "friendship" bread given to me by one of T's coworkers that needs baking today. I have no idea who to give the other 3 starter batches to. Anyone interested? I'd hate to end up tossing it, and I really have no need for THAT many batches (that turns into a lot of bread after it gets split and split and split and split!).

On that note, it's time to get my cookie dough made so I can put it in the fridge to cool so it's ready when we're ready to bake.

Pictures and a recipe to follow (probably tomorrow).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A second attempt

After a failed attempt yesterday, I'm going to try again to go finish Christmas shopping for T today. I just have a couple things I want to pick up for him, but they require me to actually go into the store to get them. That proved impossible yesterday, after the show ran longer than I expected and then dealing with the roads. Monkey was long overdue for a nap at this point.

Unfortunately, when I made the decision yesterday to hold off another day, I had forgotten about Monkey's 18 month check up this morning. It's right before lunch time. By the time I feed her lunch, it's going to be nap time. So she'll be getting a late nap again today. I don't know if my Mommy nerves can handle it (she's like me - she needs her sleep if you don't want cranky!). So I'll have to play it by ear and decide how she's feeling after her shots.

I'm running out of time! But, I refuse to let Christmas stress me out this year. I have wanted nothing more than to enjoy the season with my family and to enjoy looking at everything through Monkey's eyes.

So far, I think I'm doing a pretty good job of it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sesame Street Live

What a blast we had! The kids loved it, and my nephew (C) even got to high five Burt!

I also have to say Monkey and C are very well behaved kids. Yes, Monkey has her days, but she really is so well behaved in public. It never ceases to amaze me, especially after watching them tear through my house this morning (Now I'm wondering what I'm doing spending nap time on the computer when I really should be tidying up the house.). There were a couple of toddlers sitting behind us and they were just screeching and antsy. And what is my toddler doing? Sitting on her Gram's lap, eating Goldfish and staring at the stage.

I really had reservations at first about bringing her. It also bothered me some that my Mom was making a 4 hour drive to attend with us. I'm very glad we went.

If you're wondering where the pictures are, yell at my camera. I'll upload a couple later, but at the moment, the camera isn't being read by the USB connection. And I'm too lazy to go into my cold basement to put the card into the photo printer to upload from there.

So stay tuned!***
***After fighting with my cords, I finally got a couple pictures up. My Mom has more so I'll have to wait for her to share them with me. Which means, I'll have to steal them when I go up next.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday.

I must never ever ever chop onions with my glasses on.

It will be worth the effort to go plaster my contacts to my eyeballs.

You might ask why?

Well, I decided to make French Onion Soup for dinner last night. Poor Monkey witnessed her mother bawling for absolutely no reason (not that she's ever seen me really cry before).

There was no stopping the tears. They just poured down my face. And she looked a little worried (not to mention quite insulted she wasn't sitting on the stove helping me stir the raw onions again, like last time).

So I'll just chalk it up to another lesson learned.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What do you have left to do?

An online forum I belong to was posed a good question today.

With only 10 days left until Christmas, what do you have left to do to prepare?

I have a very short to do list (for once in my life):

T's stocking still needs stuffing
Monkey's stocking needs a few things, too.
We need a trip to Toys R Us this weekend to finish shopping for Monkey and my nephew.
We have to finish wrapping gifts. T put a great dent in the pile last night.

Otherwise, I just have to enjoy the rest of the season.

Monkey and I are going to make cookies this week. And this weekend for T's potluck party at work on Monday.
My office Christmas party is Saturday night.
And I just want to enjoy my family.

So what do you have left to do?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Outdoor Christmas decor

Ok, so it's really winter decor with a little sparkle for fun.

We also went out for a walk in the woods behind our house.

So what if there's snow on the slide? It still slides!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

We saw the big red jolly guy!

We avoided a long line, we avoided an insane fee for a picture and we got Mrs. Clause and an elf too!

Alas, Monkey was scared of them and I had to be included in the picture. Well, not really scared. Just shy, which is normal when she's first meeting someone. Given time, she warms up to anyone. But, she didn't really have time to get accustomed to the faces so didn't get to be her normally friendly self.

If you didn't already know it, it's pretty darn cold outside! Look at that little red nose!

And, I didn't get to avoid the mall after all. T needed to get oil for his chainsaw. He needs to be able to clean up the mess in the back yard this weekend and the chainsaw is a Craftsman, so we needed to go to Sears. While there, we picked up Monkey's Christmas portraits we had done at JCPenny's. Let's just say I was very very VERY glad to get out of the mall. It was packed solid - which is WAY too many people for me in one place. As we were pulling back onto the I-95, we could see the traffic on the Stillwater Exit backed up almost to the highway. Insane, no?

I'm one happy lady to be back home. Now I need to put in a little extra time for work before getting ready for another hockey game. The walk from the parking lot into the Alfond Arena is going to feel really long tonight in this frigid air!

For the rest of you mall haters:

This is my public service announcement to you.

Thank you to my good friend T for the heads up. She understands my extreme loathing of the mall. I was complaining to her one day about how we'd have to brave the mall for Monkey's sake this Christmas season because every child needs the opportunity to sit on Santa's lap!

Not only does T take amazing care of my daughter when we need a sitter, she takes good care of me.

We're taking Monkey here this afternoon. Will she sit on Santa's lap? Who knows. But we're giving her the chance to at least see the big guy! Not only do we avoid the mall but we get a FREE photo opportunity! And we can fit in a little bit of window shopping downtown while we're at it. We haven't been able to spend much time down there and T (my husband - not my friend) and I do love the ambiance of Downtown Bangor.

And I've come to the realization that I need a better nickname for my good friend T. It could get confusing with all the T's in my life. HA

The Ice Storm of '08

While I realize it was extremely minor compared to the storm of 98, it was an ice storm nonetheless.

We were lucky and didn't have a loss of power at all, but we did have some damage on our property. And T was forced to climb onto the roof at 11 PM last night when we got home to empty the gutters because they were plugged and frozen.

I tried to post these yesterday, but my Internet was down all day long. So, here are a few pictures I managed to get hanging out of the windows in my house (it was pouring! I couldn't bring Monkey outside to get them).
And now it's firewood:

This tree doesn't want to die. We think the original damage/misshaping happened in 98. The tree is shaped funny. And lost quite a few more big branches over the course of the morning.

This one doesn't look like it broke. It just kissed the ground but may have survived.

So, Monkey and I finally ventured out around 4. The side road near our house wasn't plowed and hadn't been touched in hours, so there was quite a mess in the road. This picture was my attempt at getting proof of the IDIOT riding a pedal bike down the road! Unplowed icy mess in the dark! MORON!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Introducing the new me.

Here they are!

Please don't mind the wet hair and lack of makeup. I just got out of the shower and this is much better than the fresh out of bed look I was sporting earlier. You can also see the hair cut I got on Friday, albeit unfixed.

Now I just need to get used to wearing glasses again. They're making me a little dizzy because I'm not used to having to look through these 2 little lenses anymore after 5 or 6 years of having the lenses directly on my eyeballs.

We had a very successful morning of shopping. We just need to pick up one more thing for T and stuff his stocking (we both hit our patience limit after 2 1/2 hours at the mall and so I said "to heck with the stocking!"). I should be wrapping gifts while Monkey naps, but farting on the net is so much more fun sometimes!

We also had our first ever restaurant trip alone, just Monkey and I. We really don't get out all that much, you see. So at 18 months old, we finally did it. We went to Ruby Tuesday's while waiting to pick up my glasses. We had each a bowl of broccoli and cheese soup (LOVE) and she shared my salad from the salad bar. It went better than I expected, she made a minimal mess and she ate really well considering she was in public and is usually too busy flirting to eat.

All in all, a productive day!

The owner of a new face

It's the end of the year. The last month to spend your Flex accounts.

We over calculated how much money we'd need for the year, so now we're looking at losing money if we don't spend it now!

T has been after me for months to go get myself new eye wear. I've had the same pair of frames for over 7 years now. The prescription hasn't been updated since I bought them. After a canoeing/drinking mishap about 6 years ago where I lost my prescription sunglasses in the Fish River, I got myself set up with contacts. And I've worn my glasses once since then (during my c-section because they make you take your contacts out).

So Monkey and I are on a mission today. We're going to find some new glasses for me. With me home so often now, I'd wear contacts that much less, too (which will save us money in the long run because I'll be buying them less often).

Also on our mission list today: fill Daddy's stocking. Unfortunately, I'm still at a loss as to what to stuff it with! I'm sure I'll figure it out once we get to the *gasp* MALL.

For those of you that don't know - I hate the mall. We're leaving early enough to hopefully avoid crowds because they tend to push me over the edge.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday decorating

I subscribe to a few magazines. In the art of being frugal, my Mom and I gift subscriptions to each other for special prices as well (I got a special deal to add a gift subscription to my Martha Stewart Living subscription, so send Mom one - she does the same for me with Country Living).

I don't have a lot of time to read them, but I do enjoy thumbing through them looking at ideas on how to decorate our home - and not just for the holidays.

When T and I first moved in together 6 1/2 years ago, our apartment was quickly overtaken by piles of my magazines. I couldn't bear to part with them because of the fantastic ideas held in their pages! T was annoyed at them, and I wasn't very fond of seeing the stacks either. So I devised a plan. I bought myself a big binder, sat down with a beer and started ripping apart my magazines, keeping anything that inspired me in any way or form. I put them in the binder, divided by room. And now I recycle my mangled magazines.

My favorite magazines to receive are the holiday ones. These are actually very difficult for me to rip up because most of the time, they inspire me from cover to cover.

One holiday decoration I have yet to invest in are stockings to hang on our non-existent mantle. I haven't found the right ones yet. I want them to be something special that survive the years. And I want us to all have matching ones, so until I know our family is complete, I don't want to buy any because I know I wouldn't be able to find one more later if we would need it. So I wait. And I look.

Country Home has a picture in this months issue (seen below) of stockings I have fallen in love with. The only thing I would want differently is to have our names on them. So I either need to learn how to knit stockings with lettering, or I need to find someone who can make them for me.

As for this year, I'll be buying Monkey a cheap stocking so we have something to fill for her (T & I already have cheap stockings from when we first moved in together).

And I'll continue to stare at these stockings and dream of someday having a mantle to hang them on.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The holiday season is upon us!

Last week was extremely busy for our household. We decided on Sunday we would make the long drive north for Thanksgiving after all. We had originally been planning on staying home and keeping it low key, just the three of us. So I spent every spare moment I had getting my work done so we'd be able to leave on Thursday (hence, no blogging). And once we were in the north country, every minute is always filled.

I snuck in a hair appointment on Friday and scheduled another for the Saturday after Christmas, in hopes of being able to squeeze one last cut in before April (our next expected trip north after Christmas).

I put out three of my Mom's five (six? seven? eight?) bins of Holiday decorations. She enjoys doing it, but I'm a bit psychotic about it and LOVE doing it. So I left her the tree stuff and did everything else. ha ha

I also got to visit with all of my grandparents a little, albeit quickly. I hadn't seen my Dad's parents since the 25th Anniversary party I threw in August for my parents and 2 sets of aunts and uncles. Unfortunately, with Monkey's nap, our timing was awful because they were leaving for church. But 15 minutes was better than none at all. Hopefully we'll have time to stop in again on our short Christmas trip.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We celebrated with T's family Saturday night at his parents house. My mother-in-law hosts Thanksgiving every year. Monkey enjoyed playing with all of her little cousins (and T's aunts and uncles were loving have all sorts of little kids running around again now that T and his cousins are all adults).

We arrived back home yesterday. Our brother-in-law was nice enough to run out to our house for us to turn up the furnace to warm the house before we got home. We keep our thermostat for the oil tank at 55 degrees. BRRRR. Instead of the layers we normally wear when we arrive home, our house was nice and toasty.

T brought up my Christmas and Winter bins yesterday. I only have three, but they're packed extremely full. I did get one put out last night. Monkey and I will hopefully get another finished today. She and I will take a ride out to a tree farm a few miles from our house later this week to pick up a plain wreath for our front door. And next Sunday, we'll take a family trip to a tree farm to cut our tree. We're having our annual Christmas party this Saturday. I feel a little odd not having our tree for it, but the longer we wait to get it, the better. I know I'll be picking it up off the floor a few times with Monkey this year. There is not a doubt in my mind that she'll pull the whole thing down. No breakable decorations for me this year (I need to find another way to display the beautiful hand made Santa heads a friend gave me - made by her Dad).

We'll also have to get outdoors later this week to make the outside of our house festive, too. I'm in need of greenery this year. I've always managed to use clippings from a tree that had fallen, but we've had no tree mishaps this year. I don't like cutting from live trees for my decorating.

I'll be taking lots of pictures later. When I say psychotic, I do mean it. I put little touches in every room of our house.

On that note, Monkey is playing with the bead strings. I think she's ready to put some more decorations out. It's time to light my Christmas scented candle, find some Christmas music on the radio and teach my daughter how to be psychotic about the season, too!

Dancing in the living room is required, of course (though that is normal on a regular basis in our house).

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm a wussy

I'm currently sitting in my basement office in front of my brand new space heater.

Yes, I'm all about saving money and cutting back on electricity and all that jazz.

After working for about seven hours down here on Saturday morning I declared I could not, and would not, go through another winter working without a space heater. I had on long johns, wool socks and three shirts and still froze my big rump.

It might actually be a little cozy down here this year. That makes me extremely happy.

We'll see how happy I am when I get my next electric bill.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cold weather goals update:

I haven't updated my goals in a couple of weeks.

I haven't touched my scarf in that time. It has been sitting on T's dresser all of this time (to keep the needles out of Monkey's reach as I haven't designated an area to knitting storage yet).

I can finally see my desktop. I still have a few things to organize and deal with, but the worst part of the desk area has been dealt with. I taught someone Quickbooks one on one last week for a little extra spending money, so Monkey and I are going to hit up TJMaxx this week to find some office organization tools. I need to get a few more things off the desk and they need to go on the wall. I want room on the desk to work. I do have a few ideas but have lacked the time to implement. It is coming, though!

My shredder, however, can not keep up with me. I've been adding to the stack of shreddable materials. I keep overheating the shredder and by the time it cools enough to use it, I've moved on (or Monkey has awaken).

I'm also hoping I can finally get back into scrapbooking now there is room on my desk. I almost started my wedding album yesterday (finally - after 3 1/2 years, right?), but Monkey woke from her nap and T was outside changing the tires on the car, so I put the album right back away. It was the first time it came out of the "wedding" box in 2 years (the wedding box being a pretty storage box I have with all sorts of things to put into the scrapbook, like an invitation, a program, etc). Not to mention I never did finish my pregnancy book or ever get started on Monkey's "First Year" book.

I started working on a cross stitch last week. It's a scarecrow and I'm stitching him onto a piece of burlap. I think he'll be cute framed with an orange mat. He'll obviously be way out of season by the time I finish him, but I'll have him for next year!

I've also been shopping around for my bedroom re-do. By shopping I do mean online window shopping. I also found a lovely wall hanging at Target that would go perfect above the bed. And, again, I've got some extra funds from my side work to go purchase it this week. The side work I do really is worth it for all I get to do around the house. I may have to be patient to wait for the next funds to arrive (they usually are gone as fast as they get here), but my house will thank me when I'm done.

Progress has been made!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tales of the road

For some reason, the only time Monkey will recite animal sounds for me is when we're alone in the car.

Last night, on our way to town, I was drilling her like I normally do.

"Monkey, what does a cow say?"

"mrrrr" (that's her cow sound)

"What does a doggy say?"


"What does a kitty say?"


"And what does Gram say when something is yucky?"

"Blech blech"

While my Mom was here last weekend, Monkey was opening a tube of butt cream with her mouth. Gram made barfy sounds at her, telling her it was yucky. They continued making these sounds at eachother until Gram left on Monday.

For the record, I really didn't expect an answer. And I can't believe she remembered.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sesame Street

While listening to the radio at work last Tuesday, I heard a discussion about a show coming to Bangor next month. Sesame Street Live: When Elmo Grows Up. The fact that it's Sesame Street was enough, but Elmo being the center of the show? After a discussion with T, it was decided I couldn't NOT bring Monkey.

Gram was with us while we were discussing it and I said "How about you come down with C [my nephew] and we'll take the kids together?" Turns out, she was game.

I just purchased 4 tickets for the Wednesday morning show and I am extremely excited. I actually feel like a dork. I can't wait to see Monkey's face when she sees the characters "in real life" - especially her beloved Elmo!

What fun things are you doing with your little ones this season?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Giveaway at Living Senses

So, I've managed to fall behind with blog reading thanks to the chaos of the past week (blog posting as well, obviously). I swear, I'm trying to catch up!

Thanks to the heads up I just received this morning, I was able to get in on the giveaway over at Living Senses.

Check out the link for details!

Some of you might want to strangle me

I've got the Christmas bug. Badly. It's taken all of the strength I have to not start pulling out my plastic totes and tubs full of Christmas decorations.

So I'll share a couple fall pictures one more time to try to keep myself from being one of "those" people.

Raking is such tough work. I need a break.

A family of scarecrows. I shudder at the thought of when I took them apart. A mouse decided to start a nest in the Jodi scarecrow. UGH. (This would be the day after we found a HUGE nest in T's snowmobile and saw about 10 jump out. That really gives me the chills!)

It's difficult to not want to jump to the next season now. It's been dreary all week.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A new addition to our home

Monkey and I took Gram away from the hospital for an hour yesterday. She's been spending pretty much the entire time there for the past week with my Grandmother D. We took a small excursion to Target to find going home sweat pants for D (much more comfy than jeans for a 4 hour drive after being in the hospital so long, right?). I should mention D isn't leaving the hospital just yet - we're just trying to be prepared.

While at Target, we meandered into the baby department. And look what we found!

We don't have a large bathroom, so finding floor space for an actual potty would be a pain. I'm not opposed to buying one, but I figured we'll try this way first.

Monkey has a supreme love of Elmo. I'm hoping this will help make it more fun for her, making her want to use it.

Here's to hoping!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quick update

So, it was a crazy week last week. Normally, I spend naptime catching up on the internet (blogging, e-mailing, updating my checkbook, etc). Last week, I was spending naptimes attempting to nap as well. My cold wasn't all too bad, but I had a horrible cough which kept me up ALL.NIGHT.LONG. So I was pretty run down last week.

Thursday, my Grandma D had surgery. We spent the day at the hospital (Monkey is such a patient child - she spent the entire day with no complaints). She's recovering well, but I'm sure she'll be very happy to be able to go home. Since she had her surgery here in town, my mom is staying with us for the duration so she can be at the hospital every day. Aunt B has the fun task of wrangling Pepere, so they went back home on Friday. I'm sure she'll be pretty happy to see everyone home too! Pepere can be a handful now!!

T worked all weekend so he only went in for noon today. Monkey's nap schedule is all messed up as well. So we still haven't done our groceries for the week. PS - I failed last week. I spent $45 at the grocery store. However, $15 was milk and yogurt. So I didn't go over too badly. It was still a fail, though.

I also have no updates for the cold weather projects. I think I've knit a total of 3 whole rows in the past week on my scarf. I haven't attacked anything else, either. We've been spending too much time getting Monkey and myself over our cold and a bunch of time at the hospital in between. And, of course, working.

Hopefully I have a chance to post our grocery total for the week later. Again, with Monkey on a different nap schedule, that ship may have sailed for today.

With that, I'm off to take a much desired shower. Working the morning at home makes it difficult to shower at a decent time of day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Long cold weekend

Not that I would have had time to really do any posting this weekend, but we haven't had Internet since Saturday for some reason. This happens every time there is a time change and it drives me insane.

My in-laws were here for the weekend. They stayed with Monkey Saturday night while T & I went to the hockey game. I've got to say, the team is starting to show some promise! They won both games this weekend. They were outplayed Friday night, but coach made a few changes on Saturday and they worked well together!

It was pretty darn cold out this weekend. We played outside a bit, but it was just a tad too cold to stay out for long stretches, thanks to the wind.

T spent some time Saturday moving his "toys" around. We have two sheds (he needed the second because we don't have a garage). So by moving his toys around, I mean he put his summer things away (motorcycle, lawn mower) and pulled out the winter things (snowmobile, snow blower). He found a HUGE mouse nest under the cab of the snowmobile. After he drove it out of the shed, you could see all of the mice trying to come out to run away. I saw five, but T said there were more. YUCK. But I'd much prefer them in the sled than in the house!

We're all sick. I've been fighting a small cold since last week (I don't know what's wrong with me - I'm hardly ever sick and this is the third time in a month!). Over the weekend, it blew into full blown misery. T started it Friday. And yesterday, Monkey started. She's been walking around with tissues and blowing her nose every other minute (yes, at 17 months old, she blows her nose like a pro). I'm going to prop one side of her mattress today so her head is slightly elevated. I think she'll sleep a bit better tonight (I was up quite a bit with her last night - that's not going to help me get over it, either!).

I'm just updating the checkbook now and Monkey and I will quickly shower so we can head to town and do our groceries for the week. I'll update later to see how I do on the spending!

Have a great day!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!


Yes, her wings will be tied on better tonight. And hopefully, she'll be in the mood for her antennae again. She's been wearing them for weeks, so I don't know why she doesn't like them on her head all of a sudden.

And in the time it took for me to upload this picture and type out this post, she's managed to break one of T's airlocks for his wine (shhh.. I haven't had time to break this news to him yet). And spit pink spit at me. She had a quarter of a crayon in her mouth.

It's going to be a FUN day!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Weekly cold weather goals update:

It's that time of the week again!

So, last week, I was down 2 pounds on my 10 pound goal. I didn't report it because I wanted to make sure it was really gone and not just a fluctuation. It is officially gone.

I'm still working on scarf number 2. I was about a quarter of the way done, but unraveled half of that because I saw something that was annoying the crap out of me. If I had left it, it would have annoyed me every time I put the scarf on! What fun is that?

I finished the sewing portion of Monkey's costume yesterday. I'm not sharing pictures until the wings are done and she's got it on (stay tuned tomorrow)!

While the sewing machine was out, I took the opportunity to finish one of those tons of miscellaneous projects pushed aside for summer! This is a hanging quilt (currently draped over my sofa). It is going to be hanging over Monkey's bed. The pockets are for putting small stuffed animals into. And the flower in the center is the same I embroidered onto the curtains I made for her room last year.

My in-laws are arriving tomorrow. I should hopefully have all of my work done for the week because I would like to take advantage of giving them some Memere/Pepere time with Monkey on Saturday morning. Mommy wants to hide in the basement and knock off two more small paint projects that were pushed aside for the summer (T is going hunting, so he won't be any help).

And there is, of course, the cheap meals project. So far, so good!

I must now get back to work. Naps aren't long enough so I need to take advantage of them.

Hope you have a productive day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm a bad blogger

I know. I'm falling behind.

I've been really productive, though. I'll give you my update tomorrow.

For now, this is just to say I'm alive. Just working hard and trying to keep afloat.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cheap menu for the week:

Monkey and I did our grocery shopping for the week this morning. We also finally picked up that new shredder I needed since I was unable to get there Friday, but that's another story.

Another successful week!

I did spend $35 at the grocery store, but $17.50 of that is going into the pantry (or freezer, in the case of the ground beef).

I estimated the costs of meats (for instance, the ground beef cost I divided by 4 because I'll get 4 meals out of it). I also estimated my broccoli cost because I haven't bought it yet. It's on sale for $1.29/lb at the other grocery I use, so I'll pick some up on my way home from the office tomorrow.

My grand total for meals is $22.93.

I am thinking of picking up a roasting chicken for Saturday night. My in-laws are coming down for the weekend and the chickens are $0.99 a pound (I don't remember which grocery store that is, but I saw it in the flyer). I'll use freezer vegetables and salad to round out the meal, so that should run less than $5 as well.

T & I did have a little bit of an argument this morning about potatoes. You see, 5 pound bags of potatoes were on sale at Hannaford for $1.25 each last week. When I asked him if I should get a few, he said "Oh no. We've got a ton of potatoes downstairs!" I don't know what made me look this morning, but I checked. And sure enough, we were out just a week after having "a ton." I could have gotten twice as many potatoes for the cost of the 10 lb bag I bought today, so that perturbed me some. I think he's finally understanding my planning ahead, though. And as annoying as my constant planning is, it's saving us money in the long run.

Some of you may be saying "It's just $2.50."

Pennies add up to dollars, my friends.

And on THAT note, it's time to go save Monkey from her crib.

There may be some hope yet.

After spending a wonderful evening and enjoying a yummy deep fried turkey at T&M's, T and I headed off to the Alfond for the second game of the weekend.

Saturday's game was not nearly as horrid as Friday's. The team actually showed some spunk. And the freshman goalie, Darling, looks like he may have some potential. Though they did end up losing the game 2-1, I wasn't nearly as disappointed.

We got home pretty late that night. Monkey had just fallen asleep when we got back to pick her up at 10 (I swear, she normally goes to bed at 8). T & I finally fell into bed around midnight. And I was dreading Monkey's 6:30 AM wake up call. I got a nice surprise. She woke up around 6, but T just plopped her into bed between us (expecting to get another 30 minutes). She slept until 8:15 Sunday morning! Mommy was extremely appreciative of the full night of sleep.

Sunday was a windy, rainy, dreary day. We spent the entire day hiding out inside, aside from a quick trip to town to pick up the Jeep (we picked up T at work on Friday night and forgot to go get the Jeep after the game that night... Oops). I got half of Monkey's costume finished (I just need to stuff it and stitch it all together - and then attempt wings). And T bottled his first batch of homemade wine! We now have 30 bottles of Shiraz (SHISAZ!) in our basement. Maybe I shouldn't announce that before my mom comes to visit. HA HA

And on that note, Monkey is getting restless waiting for me to go shower. We need to go do our groceries for the week. It's looking like yet another cheap week!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oh no!

The Black Bears got CREAMED last night. They are a young team and not in top form. And unfortunately, Dave Wilson just isn't head goalie material.

This doesn't bode well for the rest of the season.

In good news, Monkey didn't shed a single tear when we left her at T&M's last night. She ate like a little piglet with them (she hasn't been eating well this week, so this made me happy).

And when we picked her up at 9:45, she was still awake, sitting on M's lap in her jammies, wearing her boots and watching Milo & Otis. She immediately wriggled out of his lap and ran to me to give me the biggest hug ever!

We're having dinner at their house tonight before leaving Monkey while we go to another hockey game. I'm hoping to finish working early enough today to make something to bring for dessert. I'm craving whoopie pies - specifically, reverse whoopie pies (vanilla cakes with chocolate frosting).

How ambitious am I today? And I should probably concentrate on cleaning before baking.. so maybe I should find something a bit more simple to make. Like no bake fudge. lol

Friday, October 24, 2008

And the fun begins...

When T & I first moved to Bangor together, we treated ourselves to watching the University of Maine men's hockey team a couple of times a winter. After we bought the house, we stopped going out on weekends, stopped taking off for days at a time, and stopped going for long rides to nowhere on the weekend. So we decided to treat ourselves to season tickets.

When Monkey came along, we decided that was one thing we weren't going to cut out of our lives. Yes, it's a big chunk of change, but it averages out to about $40 a weekend over the winter months. We don't go out otherwise, so it's still cheaper than if we were to go out (or take in) dinner.

A couple weeks ago was the Blue/White game. It's the team playing against each other - really just a great way for the fans to meet the team. T and I missed it because we were up north for his Uncle's funeral. We gave the tickets to our friends, T & M. Tonight, we give them our Monkey instead. As you can see from the picture, hockey bores her. OK, not really - but we don't want to bring her to all of the games. And T & M love having her (so they say... HA).

Tonight is the season opener at the Alfond. It's looking like this is going to be a building year (as was last year), but we'll still enjoy getting out for a few hours alone.

And where else can I yell freely without being looked at like a loon?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cold weather goals - Weekly update:

I've done it! I finished my scarf. I tried to get Monkey to model it for us, but this is the best picture I could get. It will have to do! It's going to be interesting this winter... she constantly pulls off her bonnet. And the minute I put the scarf on her, she was trying to pull it over her head.

I'll be starting a new scarf tonight during Thursday night tv night. I bought 2 different shades of blue wool blend because I need a scarf with team colors for hockey! (Go Blue!)

I've also complete my first goal. I got all of my recipes written down on cards - and I even went so far as to organize them. At this very moment, I'm in the process of cutting card stock to make dividers to replace the temporary ones I hastily wrote out at 10 o'clock last night. My recipe "box" is a basket I got for about $3 at JoAnn Fabrics a few years ago. I put the lettering on the front. I wish I'd known at the time my kitchen was going to be yellow and red because I wouldn't have used blue ribbon. Maybe I'll get around to changing that out too...

As for my office organization/completion project, I'm at a small stand still. It is official. I killed the shredder. So I'll be picking up a new one today at either Walmart or Target. A shredder is a must have for a home office, so I'm ok spending the $25ish on it. Especially if it means I get rid of the stack of shredding currently residing on my office floor.

That's it for this week. I'm hoping to get a sewing project done over the weekend (part of finishing my many small miscellaneous projects put on hold for the summer goal). It's a hockey weekend, so late nights and early mornings may lead to lazy Jodi, though.

I hope you're all enjoying the CRISP fall weather!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This day is dragging

And I need a few moments to stop thinking because my brain has turned to mush.

So I'm taking this opportunity to steal a couple pictures T posted on Myspace from this weekend.

Our fun in the leaves. By Jodi:

And I'm breaking my own rule to share one of my favorite timer family self portraits. This is from our trip up north over Labor Day weekend, at the top of Hedgehog Mountain (T must have been bored today - he added a bunch of new pictures).


I put in my menu yesterday that Sunday's chicken was free.

My mother asked me if I stopped on the side of the road and picked up a chicken from someone's yard. Uh, no. A coworker friend of T's borrowed our turkey fryer to boil his chickens. It makes it easier to pluck them, he says. As a thank you, he gave us a chicken. So that's what I mean by "free chicken." HA HA

Also, I'm quite annoyed with Kmart. My diapers should have been cheaper but they would only take one coupon from me. I still got them cheaper than normal, but knowing I could have had them even cheaper annoys me. I wish I had had the presence of mind to just tell them to keep them.

Back to my menu. I said Saturday would be take out or leftovers. Saturday will actually be pizza night this week. I forgot that we have a hockey game Friday. Friday night hockey games mean we meet T at the hospital and have dinner in the cafeteria (they have good food there, so there's no complaining here!) before bringing Monkey to our friend's house and us heading to the Alfond Arena.

And on that note, it's time to get to work for the day. I want to put in a long day today so I have less work and less hours to put in later this week. I'm hoping for another fantastic weekend next weekend, so the less I have to work, the more time I have with the family!

Have a great day!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cheap shopping and cheap meals, again!

Monkey and I spent our morning shopping. I spent breakfast time scouring the sales fliers and my clipped coupons. In order to be quick and efficient, I got out my sticky notes. I made a list for each store on a single note and then folded the coupons for that store into the note. To be even more anal, I put them in order of first stop to last so all I'd have to do is grab from the top of the stack and go.

I spent $220 stocking up and on my weekly groceries. My stocking up means I have some things that will last me a few weeks (cheeses) or a few months (Kleenex and diapers), depending on what it is. (You SHOULD be able to click on the image and have a bigger one open up for a better look).

Let me talk about some great savings I found.

Rite Aid: Jumbo packs of Huggies are 3 for $33. Apply for the rebate and get $10 back. I was also able to use 3-$1 off coupons (1 per pack). The size 3s came out to 16 cents a diaper.

Kmart: 2 Mega boxes of Huggies are $21.99 a piece (normal). Buy 2 packs and get an instant $5 off. They only let me use 1 manufacturer's coupon for $1.50 off. Size 3s came out to 18 cents a diaper. If you have other things you need to purchase also, their flyer has a coupon on the back for $5 off a $50 purchase (before coupons and sales). The diapers alone put me pretty close, so I got a few other things we needed there to get the extra $5 off (and one less stop to make elsewhere).

Hannaford: They are having a 125 special to celebrate 125 years. My broccoli crowns were $1.25/lb. I also bought 4 small blocks of Kraft cheddar cheese for $1.25 each. I don't need them this week, but they'll keep long enough for me to use them one night (I'm thinking broccoli and cheddar soup on Sunday, actually...). I also got a family pack of country style pork ribs for $1.25/lb. I'm going to package it into 2 or 3 smaller packages and freeze them.

Walgreens: Buy 1 pack of Oscar Meyer bacon at $5.99 and get 1 free. I'm using 1 this week in a clam chowder (and possibly on our pizza) and freezing the other.

I think I did a pretty good job. We have at least 2 months worth of diapers (but probably closer to 3). I saved $41.75 in all (not to mention the price difference for the ribs and deli meat that don't show up on the receipts)!

Now for my weekly dinners. After last week, I was extremely determined to keep my dinner menu to under $25 - and I'm including Sunday this week (Saturday will either be a take out treat or leftovers). Some pantry items I have included, if I remember the price I paid. Others I have not included (such as items that get us through a couple of weeks, like mushrooms). And our sandwiches include the full cost of the meat, avocado and tomato, though we have enough that it won't all be used just that night.

I've done it again. For under $20, I'm feeding my family for the week.

I think I need to add to my cold weather goals: Keep weekly meal costs under $25. So far, I'm doing well! ha ha

I wanted to share fall photos today, but Monkey has awaken from her nap so it's time to log off for the day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just a quick update

to say, yes, I'm ok.

I didn't even get hungover. HA!

We've been enjoying the wonderful weather and playing outdoors as much as possible. Monkey is currently taking a nap, so I'm attempting a quick glue gun project (I don't use it when she's around because I know she'd manage to get her hands on it).

I'll be posting pictures tomorrow!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend. :-)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another rough day

Things were actually much better than I anticipated with Pepere today. Even being in a strange environment, he knew who I was. Even more surprising was he knew who Monkey was. Though there were a few perverted jokes (it was one of THOSE days), he knew where we were and it seemed like he had an idea why we were there.

Even with Pepere having a good day, it was still a rough day.

I really don't want to get into it (I don't know if it would be appreciated because it's not my private details I'd be sharing), but prayers and good thoughts would be appreciated.

And now, because gotomypc.com isn't connecting to my work computer, I'm going to forget trying to work at the moment and I'm going to drink myself into oblivion for the evening. Sometimes a good sloppy drunk and a good cry make everything look better - or at least manageable.

Feel bad for T while you're sending those prayers. Sloppy Jodi isn't his favorite... unless he gets to take advantage of me.. ha ha.

Mommy's little helper

I will be adding pictures later today, after I've worked all morning, run a few errands, gone to my grandma D's appointment, rushed home for the oil man to check and fill the tank and Monkey is taking her nap. I don't have a busy day ahead of me or anything, really.

It was an overcast, cool and rainy day yesterday. Perfect soup weather, so my menu worked out very well indeed.

Monkey is a "needy" child. She likes to be held. This makes cooking and doing dishes very difficult. I've started sitting her up on the counter so she can watch what I'm doing. She's happier, I'm not getting stressed out by a child yanking on my leg and things just go much more smoothly. So when it came time to start chopping onions last night, it was just easier to plop her up on the stove while I worked (the burners were still all turned off at this point, obviously - I put her on my hip once I turned it on).

As I gathered what I needed for my soup, Monkey amused herself in the container of spoons, whisks and spatulas. By the time I was chopping onions, she was stirring away at the raw onions in my pot.

She decided she enjoys Mommy's food so much that whatever it is Mommy's doing in that pot must be good, so she grabbed a fistful of raw onions and shoved the entire thing in her mouth.
After taking one bite into it, she promptly spit it all out into her hand and dropped it back into the pot.

At this time, I'd like to reassure any of my readers whom have eaten in my home in the past (or will be eating in my home in the future): THIS IS NOT NORMAL ACTIVITY IN MY KITCHEN!

I didn't bother trying to take her slobbered on onions out seeing as it is just the three of us eating the soup. And I'll be sure to not let Monkey help when I'm having people over for dinner.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cold weather goals - update:

So, I know I only posted my goals this week, but I have been working on them for a few weeks now.

Here's my update as of this morning.

1) My scarf is 1/2 way finished. This doesn't count towards my 2 projects, though. It's for learning, first. It is turning out well. At the beginning, there are a lot of loose stitches and a few areas where you see a big loose spot, but 1/2 way through what I have done, I got into my groove. I can hide the bad spot by flipping that end over my shoulder when I wear it. HA. I want to make a bonnet (beanie - winter hat - whatever it is you call it - it's a bonnet in my neck of the woods) with ear flaps. And I'm undecided on what my second "real" project will be. Who knows. I MAY attempt a sweater, seeing as I am a sweater whore (I've finally pared it down to 1 drawer full of sweaters that I love and wear always.... my dresser used to be filled with just sweaters in the winter. lol).

2) My loose recipes are also 1/2 way finished. I ran out of index cards this morning, so I'll pick some up this weekend when I'm in town. This is an easy enough project that I should be able to have it done within a few weeks, if I don't procrastinate.

3) I've been working on organizing the office. My first goal in here is to go through all of the paper clutter we've amassed over the years. I'm sorting through and keeping the last bank/credit card statement for that year and any papers for our income taxes. Everything else needs to be shredded. Unfortunately, I broke my shredder yesterday (and I didn't even make it through 1 year worth of shredding!). So I'm on a temporary stand still there as well. I'll probably just stack everything I want shredded next to the shredder in the meantime so that I can continue with the sorting.

Procrastination is a huge problem of mine. It always has been. This is how I will be holding myself accountable. So look for weekly updates. And yell at me if I'm not getting things done.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How I fed my family for less than $20 this week

Every weekend, I sit down with all of the sales fliers and my stack of cut out coupons (I only cut out coupons for products we already use). And I attempt to plan a menu with these tools to keep our grocery costs down. The past few weeks, I haven't been able to find the time to plan ahead.

Some things just can't always be planned out, I guess.

Below is a spreadsheet of the basics for my meals. I've obviously not accounted for pantry items, but I did include key meal items that I had previously purchased.

What I am getting out of these food items:

Monday: Sausage and squash pasta
Tuesday: Steak, mashed potatoes and baked buttercup squash
Wednesday: Crock pot pork roast (with potatoes, carrots and celery)
Thursday: Homemade french onion soup
Friday: Pizza night

There is enough of all meals that we have leftovers for lunches.

I wonder how many times I can have cheap accidents like this...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This one's for the boys

In honor of this week's moose hunt and my male readers, I'm going to share T's moose hunt story.

2005 was a big year for us. Huge. Our nephew was born in June, we were planning a wedding/honeymoon and T got drawn in the moose lottery. You know the song "Wake me up when September Ends" by Green Day? That was my theme for the year, except I was singing October in place of September.

So after the big event in September and our wonderful week away in Maui (you only get one honeymoon, my friends. We never travel so he wanted to do it big. Big we did.), T started planning his hunt.

T was lucky. He was drawn to hunt the zone he wanted. Our good friend J happens to have a family farm in said zone, with lots of land to hunt. They were only able to scout on Saturday and Sunday, but they knew one was around.

On Monday, October 9, 2006, T and his buddies were off bright and early. I can't share all of the story here because, to be honest, my eyes tend to glaze over when I hear it so I don't even know all of the details.

First thing in the morning, T got the big one. He called me immediately to tell me and I could hear the excitement in his voice. It was around 800 lbs (again - the details escape me and I don't know how to read that scale).

They were the second ones in at the tagging station that morning. Being on our friends farm had its perks. For one, they didn't need to manually drag it to a vehicle. *Enter J with a tractor*

So, T may have lost out on a week worth of fun in the woods, but he got his moose. We currently have the rack in our basement, waiting for me to find a place to hang it.

We didn't have to buy any beef for quite a few months. He kept our freezer stocked and our tummies full.

Cold weather goals - Part deux:

T asked last night if I had posted on my "online journal" yesterday. This got us to discussing my goals for the winter months.

And I realized I'm missing a few things.

8) Tame the chaos that is my recipes. We rip out and printout recipes that catch our attention in magazines or online. These all get stuffed into a folder that sits atop my refrigerator. It's a hideous mess. I want them all transferred to index cards and filed away in my recipe box. (I've been working on this very slowly but surely - I put a pretty big dent last week, but there's still a long way to go).

9) Start paying attention to my appearance! I've fallen into such a rut with the letting my hair grow out and wearing jammies all day. Where did I learn this? Surely not from my perfectly groomed mother. What am I teaching Monkey with this? I'm not saying I have to get all dolled up every day. But, no more jammies all day long. There's nothing wrong with dressing myself nicer (clean jeans and clean t-shirt do apply!). And why can't I put on a little blush? Really? I feel loads better about myself when I take the short amount of time it takes to put myself together in the morning. (Husbands - if your wife is obviously taking the time to fix herself up - complement her if you think she looks nice! *remembering getting all dolled up for a wedding this weekend to be told by everyone BUT my husband that I looked great* Hint hint, T!). This does involve bringing Monkey into the shower with me every day. C'est la vie!

10) Don't get caught up in all the little things. I need to remember to enjoy my family.
This is what is truly important. Everything else is just fluff. :-)

What are your goals for this winter?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cold weather goals:

I was thinking this morning about everything I want to accomplish this winter. We got pretty much our entire summer list taken care of (minus installing a new floor because we can't find anything we agree on).

We had a pretty hefty list for the summer. And, sad as it is, my list for the winter is just as hefty.

1) Learn how to knit. Complete more than 1 project - successfully. I've already bought my first set of needles and 2 skeins of cotton yarn. I'm working on a scarf for my first project. It is a great way to practice and get a feel for it. The scarf looks pretty good for a first attempt! (Stitch N Bitch is helping me refresh myself. I "learned" how to knit years and years ago but I was never able to master it. I'm already doing better than before.)

2) Learn how to make cheese - specifically, mozzarella and cream.

3) Stop buying bread. There's absolutely no need for it. I can cook. I can bake. Hop to, woman!This means 2 loaves a week in our house.

4) Lose the 5 lbs that I gained after we stopped nursing. Lose an additional 5. Snowshoeing will help this!

5) Finish all of the small, miscellaneous projects I have started that have been sitting idle all summer (paint and put up shelf and finish hanging pocket quilt for Monkey's room; paint our bedroom; etc).

6) I have 2 paint projects I REALLY want to tackle. First is the stairway to the basement. I've already purchased the paint. Second is our kitchen cabinets. See, back when we first bought the house, T felt it necessary to stick his nose into the paint color decision making process. Jodi learned quickly that was a BAD BAD BAD idea. Now I have a wonderful shade of warm sunshine on my kitchen/living room walls... with a deeper shade of puke looking yellow on my cabinets. They need to be re-done. Cream. (For the record - T has since learned to just let me do my thing. Why would I chose an ugly color for our home? Don't pressure me and don't rush me. I'll find the right color. And then I'll make it all come together. Stand back and watch a master at work.)

7) This is a doozy. We started to finish our basement the winter I was pregnant. We had to move the "office" downstairs so we'd have an open bedroom for Monkey and still have a guest room for when our parents/family/friends come down to visit. The new room in the basement is still not finished. We had painted top to bottom but T never finished the trim on the walls (he put tongue and groove cedar the entire bottom half all the way around but didn't trim it out). And it has started to become a storage room again, which is what it was originally. No dice. I've started hanging art and organizing, but I still have a long way to go.

All in all, it doesn't LOOK too terrible. But when I read between the lines I'm yelling in my head "HOW WILL I DO THIS ALL??"

One thing at a time.

Besides, for those that know me, you know very well that I'll end up adding to this list 30 times over before the snow melts.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Great deal on winter garb

Living in Maine, winter outwear is very important. Especially if you enjoy the outdoors at all.

Being the kind of family that enjoys outdoor activities, we need to have warm gear. T and I have amassed what we need for ourselves over the years already. Monkey, on the other hand, will need to be outfitted annually for a few (many) years.

Being cheap (frugal?) as I am, I can't see spending $100 to dress her for the winter. Yes, winter lasts 1/2 the year here, but she's only going to use this stuff once and it will never fit her again.

What's a Mom to do?

Enter LL Bean.

Yes, I realize some of my readers (TRO?) aren't huge LL Bean fans. But I do enjoy my perks with them. You see, years ago, I signed up for an LL Bean Visa. For every purchase I make on my credit card, I earn Bean dollars. And any purchase I make at LL Bean with said card, I get free shipping and free monogramming (they even have free return shipping now! YAY).

Monkey may hate me for this in a few years when she has any fashion sense and looks back at the pictures from this winter, but I scored a FULL snow suit for $17.15.


I bought a jacket on clearance for $29.95 and ski pants on clearance for $14.95. Enter my $30 worth of Bean dollars and free shipping = $17.15 after tax.

It's a little floral for my taste and I'll probably groan each and every time I put her in it, but at that price, we'll deal. And hopefully our next child is a girl because if we have a boy, he's going to look ridiculous! (I'm joking.. kind of...)


Those "you must type in these letters" system to verify you're a human posting and not a computer spamming?

Tell me you know what I mean.

I hate them.

WHY do they need to be all swirly and have patterns in the letters? Some of us have bad eyesight! Those swirly things hurt my eyes (and my head) so freaking bad.

There's my morning mini-rant brought to you by lack of coffee and the need for stronger contacts. Again.

*going to check the coffee pot*

Friday, October 10, 2008

Home Remodeling for CHEAP

I'm cheap.

Yes, that's right. And I have no problem admitting it. I'm cheap.

I have this grand delusion in my head that we'll some day move back to Fort Kent. Pipe dreams don't cost anything, so I'll keep dreaming them (I told you, I'm cheap!).

If we're ever going to sell our house (or if I'm going to be happy with how it looks if I'm living here for the rest of my life), we need to do some upgrades.

Our house was built in 1975 as part of a small subdivision. Thank goodness subdivisions then included a bit more land and a bit more privacy from the neighbors. The 2nd owners put all new windows, siding and decks in 1997 (I know this because the invoices for these things were given to us when we purchased). The people we purchased the house from only did cosmetic work as they only owned the place for 2 years.

Then we came along.

This is our house when we bought it.

Cute enough, right? It was affordable and it had potential (and my goodness I've lost a lot of weight since that picture!).

We didn't do much before moving in. We painted the ceilings, our bedroom and cleaned from top to bottom. That fall, we had to replace the roof. We shopped around and purchased all of the supplies, rented a dumpster and had a Roofing Party. Our father's, 2 of my uncles and one of T's best friends all came down to give us a hand (I hope I'm not forgetting anyone - it's been a few years!). My dad and T ripped off the old roofing on Friday. By noon on Saturday, they were over half done. My mom and aunt helped me keep a supply of food available and I made a feast for that night as a thank you. They all knew what they were doing and it was MUCH cheaper than hiring a contractor.

After going through our first winter here, we knew what had to be done next. The doors were original to the house and they were drafty. We spent months doing our research and shopping around again before making our purchase. Money well spent. We no longer have a draft and they look really nice! We hired a self-employed carpenter to install - and T helped him to help cut down on time/man power.

Before (check out the old front door):

We didn't do anything to the exterior of our home last summer. We had our hands full just learning how to be parents so we didn't take on any extra curricular activities.

This year was probably the biggest year yet. It was the least expensive and had the biggest impact.

I convinced T we needed to change the shutter and deck colors. Apparently, after 10 years together, he still doesn't know me very well. He immediately poo-pooed the project because it would be too expensive. Silly husband thought I wanted to actually replace the shutters. That would have been a hefty price tag because every window in our house has shutters.

Replace? No way.


My father has a paint sprayer. So we borrowed it and T went to work (he wouldn't trust me with a paint project of this magnitude, of course).

After 1 can of primer, 1 1/2 gallons of paint for the shutters and 2 gallons of paint for the decks, our house looks completely, 100% like a different house. (And the man now agrees with me that it was a fantastic idea - he needs to learn to not doubt me! ha) I also took some of my "play" money and replaced the exterior lights.

I present to you, our new house:

A cozy look for less than $200.

Now if I could tame the flower beds....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Potty Training

When is the right time to potty train? As with everything else, I figure I'll follow my gut and I'll just know when the time is right.

In preparation, I've made a game in the bathroom. Every time the toilet gets flushed, we wave bye bye. Monkey now does this unprompted and even says "buh" while waving (she does this with bath water, too..). Every night before her bath, I sit her on the toilet after taking her diaper off. I ask if she wants to make a pee-pee and flush even though she doesn't do anything. I really just want her to be used to it and not scared of the big toilet when the time does come.

T and I started fooling around a few months ago. I noticed Monkey had a stinky diaper so I turned to T with my finger on my nose and said "Not it!" We've been jokingly doing this to one another ever since.

I started to wonder if the time is getting close. Monkey has started to come to us when she has a dirty diaper - a few times with a clean diaper in tow.

Guess what our darling daughter started to do this week!?! After taking a particularly messy poop, she turned to me smiling with her finger on her nose! And this is her new way of asking to be changed. Every wet fart (she was still getting over that stomach bug and had quite a few) and every poop she's had since, she's turned to me with a big grin and her finger on her nose.

Local Good Eats

I need to be more on top of things with the bread in our house. Actually, no. I need T to tell me when he's almost out of bread. He's a toast eater. Daily for breakfast and many times before bed as a snack. When we first moved in together, I'd wake up to find crumbs had magically appeared overnight, as well (midnight snacks).

This morning, Monkey and I had only 1 slice of bread so I needed to think about what to make for breakfast. I'm not a big egg eater and I'd made some yesterday for the 2 of us, so there was no way I was having eggs again today. I think we only have 1 left in the fridge right now, anyways.

After scratching my head for a minute trying to figure out something both Monkey and I would enjoy, I had a Mommy Ah-HA moment. I pulled out the ploye mix and made up a batch.

I get asked "What is a ploye?" by my non-County friends. A ploye is a cross between a crepe and a pancake. You can top it any way you like. Growing up, my favorite way was to butter it and sprinkle (OK - at that age it was slather) it with brown sugar. This morning we put peanut butter and home made strawberry jam (the only jam you'll now find in this house - store bought makes us wrinkle our noses now because we've spoiled ourselves).

The ploye mix we buy is from Bouchard Family Farms, a farm in Fort Kent (support our local farmers!). Luckily for us, our grocery store in Bangor carries it so it's not one of those things we need to stock up on when we're visiting up north (coffee, anyone?). Their products are also available online.
So when you need a substitute for bread, or just want to try something new, try a ploye!
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