Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday's Meals (okay, so it's Tuesday)

I usually start the week off by sitting down, going through the fridge and planning out what we will be eating for the week. This week is obviously the end of the month because there are condiments and wine in the refrigerator. I know it's Tuesday but here is a week worth of meals meals!

Remember when you shop for groceries to write down what you're getting the ingredients for. Too many times I've come home and stared at a bottle of Worcestershire sauce and wondered why the heck I bought it.

Monday: Chicken Cacciatore with veggies
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thirds
pinch of pepper and salt
1 T. olive oil
1 large onion (red or white, you choose)
1 t. minced garlic
1 can roasted crushed tomatoes
1/2 Cup kalamata olives pitted

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook in oil in large skillet until golden and almost cooked through. While chicken cooks, slice onion. Remove chicken to plate.
Add onion to pan, sauté for three minutes. Add garlic, cook thirty seconds. Add tomatoes, olives and chicken. Cover and cook for four minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Tuesday: Karen's Chili
3lb hamburger
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 large can pork and beans
1 lg onion
1 sm can tomato paste
1 cup water
salt and pepper
sweet basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder (pinch)

Cook hamburger in skillet and drain. Add everything else to crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir occasionally. Serve with cheese, sour cream and crackers.

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can of mixed veggies
1 C. cubed cooked chicken
1 egg
1/2 C. milk
1 c. baking mix (bisquick)

Mix soup, veggies, chicken in pie plate. Mix Milk, eggs and baking mix and top chicken. Bake for 30 minutes at 400.

Thursday: Grilled Salmon and rice, veggie
Salmon marinade: 1/2 cup brown sugar, glug of olive oil, mined onion, mined garlic, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, dill. Put in bag and marinate all day. Grill Salmon on grill or broil in oven. Serve with wild brown rice and broccoli.

Friday: Maid Rites
1 1/2 lb. ground beef (lean)
1 can chicken broth
Minced onion
Buns
Salt/pepper

Brown beef with onion. Drain. Pour in chicken broth and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Serve with chips or French fries and fresh fruit.

Saturday/Sunday: Leftovers and deli sandwiches

One whole hand!

This crazy little baby is one whole hand today! Born five years ago after being two weeks late....yes, two weeks. I wanted to punch someone. He finally decided to make an appearance after 24 hours of labor. He was obviously very stubborned from the beginning.
He had an attitude and didn't sleep from the very beginning....nothing has really changed on that front either. I wouldn't have it any other way. I have been very blessed to have this amazing little boy in my life and to be his mother. He is such a joy, full of energy and always wanting to learn. He may be nude most of the time but who wants to have the restrictions of clothes anyways?
He has his first, "real" birthday party this weekend. He invited two of his good friends to come over for cake, pinata smashing and cheese pizza! After pumping them full of sugar we sent them home with their parents. Baylor got to have a camp out in the backyard with his dad....his exact words were, "This is the best day of my whole life." We really need to get this kid out more.
I was slightly relieved when he suggested that I sleep inside...in the air conditioning. Oh, I guess....twist my arm. We finally got to use our new fire pit to roast marshmallows and watch things burn (must be a total guy thing)
Here is the dragon cake that my mom and I made for Baylor. The dragon is made from sculpted rice crispy squares and covered in fondant. Those rocks are really chocolate and the eyes are marble....it was pretty sweet if I do say so myself. The cake was bright purple...because that's what the birthday boy requested! I'm thinking we may have set the bar pretty high for birthday cakes now.....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday photos: How to eat cake

1. Look super cute
2. Okay, so look extra super cute
3. Proceed to shovel into your mouth
4. Cake? What cake? THIS cake?
5. All done. Ready for slice number two.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Busy!

Hello dear blog followers, I am so sorry I haven't been able to enlighten you on many different levels this past week. I feel like I've let you down. I do have a few excuses though....here, let me list them....I'm good at lists.

1. Baylor started school (wahoo!) which means I have been dropping off, picking up and trying to remember permission slips, which shoes and underwear. Yes, underwear. Don't let your kid go to school commando.....I'm just sayin. So far so good with keeping the clothes on though....that is until he steps in the door and the clothes go a flyin'

2. Art up to my eyeballs. This is why professional artists have a studio and studio time. I have been very blessed to have about three window commissions on my plate and then an even bigger project coming soon. I was asked to paint a mural and use some of my windows in a teen room at a clinic in Hiawatha. I was very honored to be chosen, the other artists that have done rooms up there are pretty amazing! Very excited about this project!

3. Training. Triathlon number two is getting closer! The Trihawk is September and has significantly more hills than the last one. Thinking with some extra money from the art, I will buy padded bike shorts. My hiney will thanks me later.

4. Trying to achieve domestic goddess of the year award. Okay, so maybe not, but there is this little thing called housework that seems to be looming over my head....every minute of the day.

5. Birthday par-tay! Baylor turns five on the 31st but he's having his birthday party with his two bestest friends in the world this weekend. We were going to go to a movie, but it turns out that there are absolutely NO kids movies playing anywhere near here. So we're going to have a pizza party, hit some pinata and go crazy decorating some cupcakes here at home. It's his first, "official" invite a friend or two birthday party. Did I mention my baby is turning five? That's one whole hand, holy cow.

We have been doing some fun things to celebrate the end of summer and those activities include snorkeling in the bathtub (see photo above) hitting the pool with the cross country kids, taking the boys out to lunch at the Skillet cafe and as always trying to keep their clothes on. Tonight I have the windows open and I feel a slight crispness in the air! I love it! Fall is coming soon (my favorite season!) I can't wait! I hope you all have been well!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Man of the house

Brody here. Now that my older brother is away at school in the afternoon, I have to step up and be the man of the house. It's a hard job but I'm fairly certain I can get the job done....just after I finish watching this cartoon with my buddy Chloe.....
You know that I am at the ripe old age of Three (it is seriously hard to get three fingers up!) my intellect, vocabulary and attitude have shot through the roof. Especially the attitude......
Don't make me mad people. I have a job to do. I have food to eat.
Like I was saying.....I have food to eat. (check out this awesome sandwich in the shape of a sailboat, my mom rocks) I also have artwork to finish. Paper is for wussies.....it's all about the belly.
There are certain things that need to be done around here, like teaching the dog how to shake for instance. What could be more important than a warm greeting from a hound? Nothing. Okay, maybe a snack.

Did someone say snack?
My mom has been super busy with her art, so I've also taken it into my own hands to help with the cleaning. To get the sink really clean, you must sit inside of it. Although I've never seen my mom do this, I'm pretty sure this is the way it should be done.
The last thing on my list of things to do is water the tomatoes.......naked. Mom will be so proud. I'm not so sure about the neighbors though.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

School is cool

Today is Baylor Michael Speidel's first day of AK (Alternative Kindergarten) What is AK you ask? It's for the kiddos that have late summer birthdays and aren't ready for a full day of school yet. I am so happy about our decision to send him there, he will do great!

This photo took five minutes to shoot by the way....can we say attitude?
Sporting the new school outfit thanks to Grandma K!
We decided to walk to school. Brody decided to wear cowboy boots.
He will be a Lisbon Lion. Now we have an excuse to go to football games on Friday nights!
Here is his best girl friend Ellie, they will be terrorizing...er, I mean learning together in the same class.

We'll show them this photo at their wedding.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Truthful Tuesday

It's that time of week again.

Time for truthful Tuesday.

Nothing like telling the truth.

Really.

1. I get really annoyed when people drive slow in the fast lane. It's called fast lane for a reason people!

2. I am forcing myself to eat lots of green vegetables this week. I prefer my veggies in the form of V8 and anything green to be frosting.

3. My little boy starts AK tomorrow! I am so excited for him but I'm also a little sad to see him grow up so fast.

4. I noticed that the bottom of Brody's feet were dirty and thought he had gone outside but then realized that it was from the kitchen floor....which hadn't been mopped in a week. Nasty.

5. I haven't been quite as attentive to my children these past few weeks because I've been trying to get ready for two art shows.....and they still love me.

6. My husband thinks I don't listen very well. He's probably right.

7. I make lists for everything. I'm a dork like that.

8. Some days I just want to order pizza. Like today.

9. I wish I could make a living my just making art and someday wish to have my own studio. Today, the kitchen table will have to do.

10. I occasionally pick my nose. (I know you do too, don't lie)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Photos: The birthday boy


Look at this precious little baby....born 35 years ago today!! (sorry babe, your secret is out)
Happy Birthday Lonnie!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tough love

Lonnie got a birthday package in the mail today from his mother. Inside, carefully wrapped was one of his father's very worn bibles. We flipped through finding his writing and notes, highlighted verses and thoughts all over the pages. This note was one of my favorites. This is Lonnie's first birthday without being able to talk to his dad, but i'm sure he would have encouraged him with these exact words. Love sometimes must be tough! We miss you Mike.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

All I know about marriage, I learned in Kindergarten

All I know about marriage (which doesn't happen to be that much) I learned in Kindergarten.
(Celebrating seven years of marriage to my wonderful hubby....who might be filing for divorce after reading this....love you babe!)

1. Share.
While this is true in most part of life, it is particularly true in marriage, especially when it comes to things like the remote, chocolate candy bars and unloading the dishes. It only seems fair if we share the responsibility of the crappy chores, right? This rule does not apply when it comes to germs, boogies and the details of your last BM. (All you married peeps I'm sure have heard the phrase, "YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!! and if you haven't, you're lying)

2. Put things back where you found them.
Case in point. Toilet seats.

3. Don't take things that aren't yours.
Again with the chocolate candy bars. I hide those for a reason.

4. Say your sorry when you hurt someone.
As in all relationships, it's always best to apologize....for everything....even if you didn't do it...just cover your bases. I'm usually the one doing the apologizing!

5. When you go out, hold hands, check for traffic and stick together.
Men are especially fond of the sticking together part, trust me.

6. Naps make for happy people.
What the heck is a nap?

7. Sometimes you just have to laugh, dance, sing, paint and play.
We have the laugh, sing, paint and play part down....but judging by the moves I've seen, we're going to have to work on the dancing part.

8. Grammar and punctuation.
It's not a good idea to send your spouse and email in all capital letters. This might imply that you are screaming at the via the Internet. Example: COULD YOU PLEASE BRING HOME SOME MILK?! You might get your milk, but you also might get a slap in the face. Which brings me to my next point.....

9. Don't hit.
Just playing with you. We only hit each other for fun....sometimes....okay, I hit him all the time.

10. Clean up your own mess.
I can hear your eyes rolling from here. If I had a dollar for every time I said this......

11. Always let the girls win.
What? You didn't learn that in Kindergarten?

12. Keep it simple.
Another good rule of a happy marriage is to send the hubby to the store with a simple list. Things like milk, bread and bananas are examples of appropriate and simple things for him to retrieve. Examples of inappropriate and complex things that might send him over the edge: Cumin, Tofu or any product ending in an "ex" (Kotex, Playtex, you get my point)

13. Learn from your mistakes.
Sticking finger in outlet (bad idea) shaving off eyebrows (another bad idea...don't ask) Telling your husband how to cut the grass (yet another really bad idea) Believe me, you will make mistakes in marriage, but think of how much you will learn!

I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who puts up with me ,my strange sense of humor, my shortcomings and everything in between. Seven years, two kids, two dogs, one house and so many blessings we've lost count! Looking forward to the next fifty!!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Live like no one else

If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else

The line that scrolls across Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover. Both my husband and I have really been inspired by this debt free guru's words and advice. It has become a way of life for us and I can't begin to tell you how good it feels to pay off debt (minus our house, the only acceptable debt in our eyes)
We live in a culture that uses the love of money to solve all of their problems. Everywhere you look there are offers for buy now pay later or someone is trying to sell you something you can't afford. Even in college credit card companies lured naive students in by offering a beach towel and a free pen just for signing up for a credit card. Did you know that 80% of graduating college students have credit card debt even before they have a job? People are up to their eye balls in debt, they feel the need to spend...just look at our National debt!! Holy buckets.
We have taken some of Dave's advice, along with common sense and put together simple and (usually) painless rules for spending. We haven't been able to follow his plan to a T, but we're trying!

1. Stick to a budget (I am married to the budget Nazi, the holder of all receipts, the keeper of the books, this man knows about every penny spent...and if I try to keep some cash to myself...he sniffs it out....I kid you not) Our budget is pretty straight forward but we budget for every day spending such as groceries, gas, utilities along with unexpected spending such as a trip to the doctor or a package of new socks. If you know you only have, "x" amount of money to spend on groceries a month, it makes it very hard to over spend when you are at the store. It also teaches you to be more frugal with the things you have.

1.5 Pay with cash. Have envelopes with the budgeted amount of money for the expense. For example, if you budget $300 for groceries a month, you put $300 in the envelope. When it's gone, it's gone. No going to the bank and withdrawing more money. I have to say that we don't do this but we do know how much we have budgeted for certain things and when it's gone, it's gone.

2. Do not buy things you can't afford. Pretty much a no brainer.....I know it sounds simple, but for some people it's not. When you have a big purchase, such as a car, you save until you can pay for it in cash. If it means driving a clunker while you save for a newer car to avoid a car payment, then by all means...drive that clunker!

3. Be smart about purchases. Do you really need those top of the line shoes or expensive name brand diapers? Pack a lunch instead of going out to eat. If needed, cut out extra unnecessary monthly expenses (cell phones, Internet, cable t.v, etc) to help your debt snowball (I'll get to this in a second)

4. Create an emergency fund that is two month's salary. You never know when someone might lose a job, get hurt or something tragic can happen.

4.5 Credit card is for emergencies ONLY. You can still have one, but it's only for emergencies....and by emergencies I don't mean new jeans on sale. I'm talking toilet geyser, lots of stitches or smoking engine emergencies.

4.75 Plan for retirement and save. This is Lonnie's department.....I glaze over at the mention of the words 401k.

5. Use the debt snowball idea. You use any extra money (you say you don't have extra money, but it's there....it just might be painful to find) to pay off the smallest debt first or the one with the highest interest. Once you pay that one off you use what you were paying towards that debt plus the extra money to pay off the next. This process continues until you have paid off your debts!! (FEEEEELLLLSSS SOOOO GOOOOODDD!!)

When we first started this money makeover we didn't have any children, we were both working full time and we had about $35,000 in debt. This debt included three student loans, a car payment (don't do it!!!) and a little credit card debt. Seven years later we have managed to pay off almost ALL of that debt.....with ONE very modest income!! It can be done! It wasn't easy and believe me there were times when it was pretty painful, but in a few months we can call ourselves debt free. It might mean giving up vacations, shopping at fancy stores, buying new things or even driving one car for a little bit, but it's totally worth it. I have to admit that I love to spend but I love saving even more and I love paying off debt the best.
We try to teach out children good rules for spending, saving and giving and hope that they can grow up in a society that is deeply in debt and not be sucked in.

I hope that you check out Dave's book and really take it to heart. There is no debt that is too big that it can't be tackled and just think of the end result.....LATER you can live like no one else!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Seven year itch

This is just one reason why I married this sweet man almost seven years ago.


He's cute isn't he?


You can just see the love and sensitivity in his sleepy eyes.



Carefully cuddling his son's toy dinosaur as he peacefully slumbers.......



....oh wait.

Did I say sensitive?

Sure, if sensitivity is measured in the volume of the laughter coming out of his mouth when your son hits you in the eye with a meat hammer.

Awesome.


Still love him though!



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ode to Brody

I figured since I stole most of the post yesterday to brag about finishing my triathlon, I'd create a post solely to the most lovable yet destructive child you'll ever meet. This little man turned the big 3 yesterday and was in cloud nine all day because it was his, "berf-day"
You can usually find him covered in some sort of substance....here we have paint......
....then some shaving cream.....
Other substances have included: Vicks Vapo-Rub, shampoo, permanent marker, dog poo, sidewalk chalk, chocolate syrup and some unidentified goo.
We've tried to teach him from an early age that CUBS is a naughty word in our house, and of course dress him appropriately.
We've also tried to teach him the importance of getting enough fiber.

He has always tried hard to achieve his goals....like finding that toy at the bottom of the toy box.

Sometimes I can't remember what he was like when he was born.....

oh yes, hairy monkey. No, really. He looked like a hairy monkey. But the cutest hairy monkey in the world. You have to admit that most newborns resemble aliens or hairy monkeys their first hours of life.
We couldn't imagine life without him. He adds joy, humor and entertainment to every minute of our day. He loves to pay close attention to detail, build things and imitate his brother (which isn't always a good thing) I can't believe he's three already.

So happy berf-day little man.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I did it!

I did it! Completed my first triathlon and loved it! I can say that I am now addicted and will be seeking out local triathlons to compete in. I'm already looking for ways to improve my time. The swimming portion was the best for me, then the bike...which I thought I was cruising...until I kept getting passed. The run was so hot but I kept a steady pace and finished 4th in my age division. I now know what to train harder in and am looking forward to the Trihawk in September!!

Not to be outdone or overshadowed by the fact that I didn't die this weekend is Brody's golden birthday today! Here is finished Frank the combine cake from the movie Cars. It contains so much food coloring in it that you'll poo rainbow for a week. Brody was pleased as punch.
He was showered with gifts from everyone he loves the most! His favorites include the John Deere mower from Grandma Lila, the flashlight from Grandma Kris and Papa Steve and the Thomas train track from mom and dad. Oh yes, and a knuckle sandwich from Baylor.

Happy birthday to the sweetest, craziest and most destructive boy I know. You are such a blessing to our family and we love watching you grow, learn and love Jesus every day.