Friday, October 31, 2008

Work Sucks

Well readers I didn't plan on being away from writing so long. I know a week really isn't all that long but it feels like longer. However this is one of the busiest seasons for my company and this week my schedule has been crazy. Next week isn't looking any better. So I do appologize for my absence and hopefully will have time on Sunday morning to write. I hope everyone has a wonderfully happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Just Thinking

Sunday used to be the day for thoughtful reflection both at looking back at the previous week as well as looking ahead to the next weeks tasks. Since having children and working so much though my Sundays have often been filled with all the household chores that I haven't the time or energy for during the week. My thoughts are most often...what's for dinner? should I go to the store now or after the kids go to bed?, and will I ever get this laundry done? I rarely have the opportunity to just sit and think anymore.

However, last night before I went to bed I read an article in Real Simple that stuck with me. Being the early riser that my daughter has the habit of making me be I was able to think a bit over the first cup of coffee for the morning.

The article was about what people's hopes were for the United States. As I read through the responses I was struck by the vast differences in what people where hoping for in the near and not so near future of our nation. It ranged from the personal "I want my husband home safe from Iraq", to the profound "I want a world without hate". It got me thinking about the world that my children are looking to inherit and what I personally was doing to make it a better place.

I will be the first to admit (and I have many supporters of this fact) that I am not a perfect person in any aspect of my life. I am sometime judgemental, selfish, and stubborn. Thankfully these personality traits are small and don't often show themselves. However they are there and I think can often stand in my way of being a better person. The world as it is right now is not the one that I had dreamed I would be raising my children in and at one point almost prevented me from having my beautiful babies.

I want to be the best person I can be and there are things that I need to do to make that happen. I want to volunteer more, give back more, live a greener life, and teach my children to be better people.

My hope for our great nation is that we regain a sense of community and through that community we rebuild or devastated cities and towns. We once again have reasons to be patriotic (don't blast me I love my country I just don't like it right now). We move in common directions to becoming greener, live well without unnecessary extravagance, give back to those who need it, and offer hands up instead of hand outs. I want to know my neighbors as well as I know my online friends. I want my children to give of themselves willingly because it is just a part of them without regret. I want my children to help change the world by being less selfish, judgemental, and stubborn.

These are my thoughts on this quiet (so far) Sunday morning.

What are your thoughts and hopes for the future of the US and our world? I would love to hear them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Website Thursday

In these economically challenging times often one of the first budget cut is charitable giving. Some days it's hard enough to pay your bills let alone give money away no matter how worthy the cause. There are however ways to donate that require no financial commitment or even require you to do little more than surf the net as you have always done.

Google one of the largest search engines currently in use and has formed EcoSearch a internet search engine with a cause. EcoSearch donates money for each search that is done from their homepage to non-profits that are dedicated to supporting and improving the environment. The list of the charities that they contribute to as well as their mission is here. They claim that if one million people search twice a day, $15 million dollars will go to green initiatives in a year.

Doing a quick search on EcoSearch verses Google's home search leads to identical results.

So why not switch over and save the environment one search at a time.

Where's My Tattoo?

So on one of the rare moments that hubby and I actually have the opportunity to lay in bed and talk my son decides to join us. Hilarity then ensues. I was laying on my stomach and had a loose fitting shirt on (this description is to give you the situation) and my son, who loves to jump, jumps on my back. Normally this would just end up being a game of "ride the mommy horse" and he would laugh and giggle saying giddy-up but on this particular night he took particular interest in my tattoo that is on my back between my shoulder blades.

He first was startled when he saw it which was odd because he has seen it before but tonight he really noticed it and traced it with his fingers. He is currently learning shapes and the conversation went something like this:

Son: You have a circle mommy!

Me: Yes I's my tattoo.

Son: Tattoooooo?

Me: Yes, Do you want to see Daddy's Tattoo?

Son: Yep

I push up my hubby's shirt sleeve where he has a Celtic sun tattooed.

Son: Daddy has a circle too.

Me: Yes he does.

My son then starts to inspect he's arms and tummy.

Son: Hey where's my tattoo?

Me: Honey, you don't have one it's only for bigger people.

He then gets down off the bed and goes into his play room and returns with his box of crayons. Selecting a blue crayon (his favorite color) he starts to draw on himself all the while saying he wants a blue tattoo. Thank goodness crayons won't really draw on skin. After much laughter on the part of his father and I we finally distracted him enough to draw his "tattoo" on a piece of paper.

I'm not sure where his sudden interest came from but it provided us with a great deal of laughter for the evening.

If you have tattoos have you're children found them interesting? How did you talk to them about them? I'd love to know.

I love Wednesdays

When I was younger you would never have caught me enjoying a lazy day at home. I there was always something to do or I was rushing off to someplace. At one point in my youth (I was 18) I was working three jobs just to stay busy. Now that I'm older and have my little munchkins to look after I want nothing more than to spend the day just relaxing with them at the house. Don't get me wrong I still like to go and do things with my little ones but I work so dang much at the moment just to get the pleasure of watching them play at home is a luxury for me. That's why I love Wednesdays. It is my one day off during the week that I try not to schedule anything to do and usually let the chores slide for the day. I let the kids sleep in and let my son watch all his favorite cartoons. They get to make a mess and I don't make a fuss. It's just a wonderful opportunity for them to be kids and for me to get to observe them without the stresses of work or household responsibilities to be in the back of my mind.

It's days like this that my longing to be able to stay home with them permanently is felt most intensely because as much as the days bring me joy they are tempered with sadness in the knowledge that it ends.

It is such an unusual feeling for me because after my son was born I went back to work without much issue and worked long hours, holidays and weekends just as I do now. I think that the urge to stay home started to enter into my unconscious when my son turned three. Now that he is old enough to really communicate with me and his personality is really starting to develop I want to be the one that molds him into the wonderful young man that I know he will be one day. I can't do that working 50+ hours a week. So this thought coupled with the fact that I have grown weary of the retail world (I've worked retail on and off since I was 15) has driven my desire to be a sahm.

However, money is always a factor in these decisions and until I can financial leave my job I will continue to look forward to my mid-week escape into the eyes of my children.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Planning for the Unexpected

When you are living paycheck to paycheck it is often easy to overlook a necessary part of your budget process that will prove to be a major stress reducer. This often overlook step is to pay yourself first. Having a savings account or secondary checking account has really set my mind at ease over the last few months as unexpected bills have occurred. I used to look at an unexpected expense as the end of the world complete with cursing, screaming, and head pounding. This was all in effort to try to figure out what to do as well as where we were going to get the money. We had even on occasion done the unspeakable and turned to cash advance places. These places charge nearly 300% interest and inevitably lead to larger financial problems. Now with proper planning I no longer have to patch the wall when something unexpected happens.

The first part of the process though is figuring out how much you can reasonably save each week/month and still be able to pay all of your bills and expenses. This amount may only be $10 a week or it maybe $100 it will vary depending on your situation. Once the amount is set you need to make sure the money gets there every time without fail. Theory is wonderful but without action it's just a lazy idea that really doesn't mean much.

This is also a wonderful way to save up for large expenses. For instance right now we are saving for Christmas. I actually have a separate "gift" account just for this that has been a blessing. I put a set amount in the account each week and as my gift needs dictate or as I find sale items I can simply purchase them without effecting my budget in any way. I don't have to worry about how I'm going to afford Christmas this year or next year I just know the money will be there when I need it.

All in all creating a savings account to pay yourself first has been one of our biggest financial wins. This is also helping us to move towards our goal of me being a sahm because we will have the savings in place. As the budget becomes smaller having a back-up for unexpected events will put my mind at ease.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chicken Corn Casserole

This is one of my all time favorite cheap filling recipes. I took a recipe for scalloped corn and tweaked it a bit to make it more of a meal rather than a simple side dish. This is one my family always loves and helps to stretch my budget dollars just a little further. This is also great for potlucks because it holds up well without really needing to be kept warm. I hope you enjoy it.


  1. Beat eggs slightly.
  2. Add sour cream, butter and corn.
  3. Fold in dry Jiffy corn mix.
  4. Add in Chicken and Cheese
  5. Put in baking disk (square shallow dishes work better).
  6. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes.
  7. Check center with knife. If it come out clean it's done.

If you have any questions let me know. I'd love to know what you think.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

She Colors My Day

I love companies that give back to the world in some significant way. I am a person that will often either stop shopping somewhere or begin shopping somewhere because of what how they give back to the community and world in which they live and work. That said I had to share this link with you for some wonderful work that Philosophy is doing.

The founder of the Philosophy company teamed up with Amy Grant and has created the site She Colors My Day . The site is a beautiful dedication to woman and their daughters. A song sung by Amy Grant and created by Cristina Carlino and her friend Stuart Mathis is featured on the site. The site is dedicated to raising money to fund woman's cancer research. The cool thing is that by creating a wonderful slide show to the song (that you can email to your friends) a $1.00 will be donated to the research fund. Philosophy has also created a line of bath products and a sketch book where a 100% of the proceeds go to the research fund. I will warn you though...grab your tissues it's a moving song and beautiful tribute to the bond between a mother and daughter.

If more companies were as socially minded as Philosophy imagine what we could accomplish.

It's in the Genes

So I know of the mother's curse "I hope you have a child just like you" and I also know that my mom had it pretty easy with me. So I thought what the heck if I have kids like me it will be a breeze. What I didn't know is some of my more unflattering traits that didn't really show themselves until adulthood could become so pronounced in my young children that I would both laugh and cry when I began to notice.

I think this may be put into overdrive with the fact that my husband shares similar traits. The particular trait in question is being so stubborn on wanting to accomplish something that she will continue to struggle even when defeat is eminent. I know that infants and toddlers have a stubborn side and it is completely normal. However, I know some of you moms out there know what I'm talking about. When it feels like what's happening goes above what you thought was normal. To make things more interesting my son was a very easy baby. He was easy going and so far has made it into toddler hood without making me want to pull my hair out. My daughter is giving me grey hair at seven months!

Every day it is a complete power struggle between the two of us. Now before you go off your rockers and say she's a baby there shouldn't be a struggle let me explain. It's a struggle in the sense that she has a lot of endurance and could cry for more than an hour without giving up the fight. (let me just say two hour car ride...very tired baby that refused to go to sleep....non-stop crying regardless of the many stops, bottle, change, and binky insertions that happened) For the most part she is a happy playful baby that loves attention however in the moments that she needs to do something that isn't part of her plan well let me just say I think I've spotted horns. It has led to many sleepless nights and days where I feel like I'm the worst mom ever because she won't stop crying. It also has me left with an awful sense of dread of the not to distant teenage years where raging hormones sends even the most docile little girl into fits of she-devilness.

Then there are those quite moments where she lies sleeping like an angel and I stop and think of how much of my temperament she has and I laugh quietly to myself. I may not have a child that is like I was as a child but she certainly is like me now. The fierce determination to accomplish something no matter what is every bit of me in her.

One day we will look back at these days and laugh just as my mother and I do now but until then I laugh and some days cry as she tests both her limits and mine.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Website Thursday

Fall is one of the busiest times of year for families with children with after school activities, holiday gatherings, and special projects it would be easy to forget something. Well I happened to find a wonderful FREE site that helps you keep track of all your many to do lists in one place. The Cozi family calender and planner is a great tool to help keep you on top of things. It allows you to create color coded calenders for each member of your family, grocery lists, event reminders, and even a family journal with pictures. One of the most amazing features of this online planner is that it will allow you to send text message reminders to your cell phone for FREE! If you are in the market for a family calender and are technology inclined I highly recommend the Cozi Family Calender.

Let me know what you think or if you are already using this great resource leave me your thoughts.

Habit Forming

I have a tendency to be a creature of habit and like routines in order to make my days as smooth as possible. I can hear you laughing. When it comes to my children I'm more of a go with the flow simply because I don't have a choice every day is unpredictable depending on how they wake up in the morning. However, with the things that I can have more control over I enjoy having a plan and keeping to it the best I can.

So my thoughts are to have a couple of days each week where the post would serve a particular purpose and not simply be my aimless musings of whatever happened to be on my mind that day. I am also thinking that as the reader you can come to expect certain things from my blog and will let you know that I'm committed to updating on a regular basis. My proposed schedule is as follows:

Sunday: New Recipe
Tuesday: Frugal Living
Thursdays: New and Interesting Website (anything from shopping to family resources)
Saturday: Products (either those that I think are interesting and I want to try or those that I have tried)

Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays I will leave to my random writings about my crazy life as a mom and my journey to becoming a stay at home mom.

What do you think? Anything else you think I should wax poetic about? Drop me a comment to voice your opinion. I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to have more money while making less.

A huge part of the process of me becoming a sahm is to be able to live on less money. This ladies and gentlemen is no easy task. I have always prided myself on being a bargain shopper and have done very well with not paying full price for much of what we own. However, the bargain deals add up and overtime you don't realize that those $3.00 clearance shirts are costing you $300 a year. You also don't realize that you now have more clothes that you need and the kids could go a month without wearing the same thing twice. This is where my problem lies. It's not that I ever spend a lot of money on any one thing it's that a little money on a lot of things adds up without you ever realizing it ever happened.

So begins my journey on the budget baby steps. My husband and have started out by taking Dave Ramsey's course called Financial Peace. (Thankfully it was offered through his work and is being reimbursed. ) This course on money management is more or less a kick in the pants. It helps you to do what you knew you should be doing all along. He has devised a plan to help you get out of debt and win with money. It was just what we needed. You can check out Dave's plan and classes at

I would like to start a series of posts that will highlight all of the trials and errors of my family's journey to a more financially sound future. I will give you the tips, tricks, websites, and other pearls of knowledge that I found to help with budgeting, cutting costs, and saving money. I will not be quoting any of Dave Ramsey's methods or philosophy but I will mention things that I have put in place that are working.

The first step that has really helped my family recover from overspending is to make sure every dollar that comes in each month has a name. What I mean by that is to make sure that you know where each dollar is going at the beginning of the month. This way there are fewer questions as to where you spent money and less chance of you overdrawing your account or scrambling to pay the light bill when it is due. This has also help my husband and I communicate more effectively about money. We each have an equal say where the money goes and we take into account date night, special outing with kids, repairs or upgrades to the house or cars, and dinning out. This has helped reduce my stress tremendously as well as help us look at where we could reduce unnecessary costs. It really is like giving yourself a raise without having to deal with asking a boss.

I hope highlighting my wins and losses will help you see that even for a notorious over spender /shopper like myself it is possibly to reduce costs and make dreams come true.

If you have any special things that you do to help your family save money or use the money you have better please share them with me I would love to have more input.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Recipe Sunday

Part of the frustration with being a working mom is having enough time in the day to find meals for the family that everyone will like. So I thought I would post a new recipe each Sunday that is easy to make and tasty. I will admit that not every recipe will be low fat but with minor adjustments you can make everyone lower fat than the posted ingredients. I'm going to start off with one of my favorite go to recipes for comfort food. It also makes great leftovers and warms up well. I tend to double the recipe and then freeze half for a later date.



  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook ziti according to package. Drain.
  3. Cook italian sausage along with garlic and onion until browned. Drain. Return sausage mixture to pan. Add in spaghetti sauce, sugar, and spices. Stir.
  4. Combine sour cream and cottage cheese.
  5. Grease 13x9 with cooking spray.
  6. Layer in the pan 1/2 of noodles, 1/2 of sauce, all of the provolone, all of the sour cream/cottage cheese mixture, 2nd 1/2 of noodles, 2nd half of sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
  7. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes or until heated through and cheeses are melted.

I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sleep is nothing but a dream

Sleep is something that I have never taken for granted. It's a luxury for me and so often I am lacking it that my body doesn't know how to react when I actually do get a full night. I have managed thus far in my life with caffeine and naps whenever possible but I think after 15 years of pseudo sleep my brain is revolting.

A little background information: I was a sleep walker when I was a small child and could often be found standing at the end of some one's bed staring blankly at them until they woke up. It often disturbed my Grandmother especially when she asked me about it the next morning and I swore she was making it up. My teen years were fairly normal for sleep until I hit 18 and found myself in a new bed in college. While the sleepwalking stopped the dreams began. Dreams so vivid that I thought some part of them must have been real. Most of them were fantastical like something out of a sci-fi movie. On top of the very vivid dreams I am an extremely light sleeper and often wake three or more times a night. Just to add to the excitement I married a man that has night terrors and often sleep walks himself. I know I must like the torture.

So when I had children I thought to my self, "Lack of sleep, waking up every two hours, piece of cake". It was too for the first couple of months but my beautiful daughter is now seven and a half months old and has never slept through the night. She is still waking up every four hours for a six ounce bottle. Now before you send me oodles of advice let me just say letting her cry it out is not an option that I am willing to do. If she was simply taking two ounces and fall back asleep I would tend to agree but she is not. She will drink down six ounces and slowly fall back asleep after the bottle is finished. She eats well throughout the day and it doesn't seem to matter if she eats a little or a lot before bed and we have a good routine before bedtime. She falls asleep fine but just doesn't seem to stay asleep. I've talked to other mom's and the doctor and all say she will grow out of the phase but until then my sleepless nights continue.

I wonder if Sleepless in Michigan would be as big of a hit as Sleepless in Seattle. I don't look a thing like Meg Ryan and my husband isn't Tom Hanks but I think we could make it work. So until my sleep is restless due to my own brain wanderings coffee is my best friend and under-eye concealer is more of a badge of honor than a simple cosmetic.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Beginning

I'm not sure when I woke up and decided that I wanted to stay at home with my kids because it seems like I've always felt this way. However, I know that's not the case.

When I was younger I spent all my energy on getting into college so that I could pursue my dream of being a nurse. A dream that started to consume me at the age of eight. I took the accelerated classes, volunteered at all of the local blood drives, and made sure that I was at the top of my class. I went to college with big dreams and hopes of becoming the best nurse I could possibly be, but dreams change. I fell in love with non-profits and became disillusioned with health care after four years working in the hospital and local nursing homes. I decided in my last semester of college that health care was not the road I wanted to go down despite my continued love of the field.

Fast forward ten years and two kids later and I work as a retail manager. While it pays the bills I'm miserable. I don't have a passion for what I do and don't see the value in my paycheck anymore.

I spend over 50 hours away from my family each week and feel guilty for every minute. My children know my best friend better than they know me because she sees them more. While I'm grateful for the fact that she takes care of them; it's not me. I thought I could be content working and being a mom but I was wrong. I agonize each day I'm gone and long to spend the days with them. To teach them how to be the best people that they can. I long for the normality of an era that has gone where my husband works and I can give my family the type of home that I think they deserve.

I respect those woman who do work and love it and I respect those woman that work because they have to provide for their families. I'm just choosing a different path and one that I never thought I would want let alone long for in my life.

This blog is going to be the journal for my journey into the life of a stay at home mom. I'm going to share with you my struggles, successes, things that make me think, things that make life easier or more interesting. I'll share with you movie reviews, product reviews, yummy recipes (I love to cook), and all the normal things that make mommyhood interesting. I have two adorable little cherubs that I will be sharing with you, Spencer who is three and Chloe that will be a year old at the end of February.

I am still currently working but the plan is to be at home after the first of the year. I will be posting at least once a week up till then.

I look forward to hearing from you. I hope you enjoy hearing my journeys.