Saturday, June 26, 2010


For the past past week or two, I haven't been blogging much.  I seem to have been in another world.  And honestly, I'm not sure I can tell you where.  I think my brain has been so obsessed with Sprout's 2nd birthday, can't believe she's going to be 2 next week.  My parent's visit (yea!).  Our crazy mixed up life.  Keeping up with Sprout and just trying to keep up with life in general.

I had all of these ideas and objectives about what I wanted to do over the past few weeks, and I feel like I have accomplished very little.  Even with Sprout, I have had ideas as to what I wanted to do with her, and for the most part it just hasn't happened.

The other day, while I was doing laundry, Sprout came into the laundry room (where her supplies are stored) and pulled out the paint and a tray to put it in.  It was almost time for bed, so I told her that we would paint the next day and put the paint on the counter.  Then next morning, she was sitting next to me on the couch, while I was talking on the phone.  I looked at her to find that she had opened the paint, and had a little in the tray (thankfully not all over my couch).  Man, did I feel oblivious!!!  I got her set up at her easel with the paint she picked out.  As she painted, I thought about the fact that this wasn't an activity I picked for a tot tray, or an art project I planned out, but that my daughter was having a great time.  Isn't that what it's all about???

The other thing we've been doing a lot recently is Preschool Time Online.  Sprout really enjoys this as she works on letters, numbers, shapes, computer skills, etc with all of her Disney friends.  I love watching her as gets something.  It amazes me how she picks up on the things.  She pointed at the letters on The B Book  and said "B-O-O-K."  I know she didn't really spell a word, but I loved listening!!
The B Book (Bright and Early Books)

We've also been trying to get outside, but with the crazy hot weather we have here, it hasn't been much.

Though this isn't a typical Tot School week for us, I am going to link up with Tot School, as this is what we have been up to recently.  I will try to do a post of the other activities we've done when I have a chance.

Tot School

Monday, June 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - 6/14

I was going to post this yesterday, but last night I realized my original plan needed some rethinking.  I had planned to make Veggie Pot Pie for dinner Sunday night, but after being outside for a very limited about of time, I realized that when it's 90 degrees out, veggie pot pie doesn't sound all that great.

This is a kosher meal plan for me and my family.  This means that there will be some meat for JGD and Sprout, but there will always be a vegetarian (or fish) alternative for me.  We try to eat as naturally and organically as we can.  This is limited some by budget, but we're doing the best we can.

*** means that we have no tried this recipe yet, but I will try to give you a review later in the week or in next week's MPM post.  I know I owe you a couple from last week.  I'll try to get to them for you.

Monday - Drumsticks (if they defrost in time) for JGD, still not sure what I'm eating
Tuesday - Pioneer Woman's Pasta Primavera
Wednesday - Lo Mein (chicken for JGD and Sprout and Tofu for me)
Thursday - Falafel (didn't make it last week)
Friday - Chicken

Recap of last week
Monday - Rachael Ray's Fettuccini Alfredo *** & Caprese Salad. 
Didn't make the caprese salad, and wasn't a fan of this recipe.  Maybe it was the pre-grated cheese I got at the grocery store.

Tuesday - Tilapia (probably picata), broccoli and angel hair (salad?)

This is an old standby that I haven't made in a while.  I will say a bigger pan would have been good, and I need to work on that whole sauce concept.

Wednesday - Skirt Steak ***, portobello mushrooms, tofu?, carrots (salad?)

Turns out JGD wasn't home this night so I didn't make meat.  Sprout and I had veggie fried rice.

Thursday - Falafel ***, pita bread ***, hummus, tahini

The skirt steak had been marinating from the day before so we at that instead.  I used lemon juice instead of lime as that's what we had.  JGD said it was good.  My mom told me I totally changed the recipe.  I'll have to do it the right way next time.  I also did sweet potatoes, onions and green beans on the grill.  Yummy!

Friday - Honey Glazed Chicken Dump ***, Gardein, Green Beans, Challah 

I did make chicken, but forgot I had planned this recipe.  We'll do this one this week.  I made a Rachael Ray recipe instead.  This is a good one to make for us because the sauce is made separate so it's not hard to do real and "fake" meat.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Become a Savvy Shopper in 12 Weeks - Week 1


At the beginning of this week, I joined in the Coupon Teacher's Become a Savvy Shopper in 12 Weeks online class.  She did give us assignments for everyday this week, but seeing as how she listed them all in one post, I thought I would post my "homework" in one post as well.

Monday - Set a budget.

This is definitely a very hard assignment for me.  I know what I spent on groceries last time I shopped, which was 2 weeks ago (since JGD was out of town).  I knew that I wanted to be lower than that.  Though I was really happy when I saved $30-something.

This week I had a number in my mind and was hoping to stay under it, but I went over by $20.  When I looked at receipt to see what I could have done differently, I couldn't really come up with anything.  I felt really defeated, and wasn't sure how I was going to fix it in the future. 

Then I got an email from the woman who heads up the Organic Buying Club I help coordinate for asking me if I wanted to go to weekly coordinating instead of biweekly.  After debating the time this would entail, and if we would be able to eat the food, I went back to this week's receipt and added up my dollar amount for produce which was $20 - $30.  Between taking part in the No Dining Out In June Challenge and trying to make a dent in our grocery budget, I decided to go for it!  Hopefully, that will help.

Tuesday - Choose a coupon organization method.  Be sure to check out Become a Savvy Shopper in 12 Weeks for more information.

Well this I did quite some time ago.  I use the Couponizer.

Wednesday - Set up your organization method.

Thursday - Make a space for the stockpile.  

Well, I guess I still need to do this.  I'm working on clearing the cabinets in the master bath so we can use those for stockpiling toiletries.  Paper goods are going to go down in the laundry room, and food goes in the pantry.

1.  Biggest newspaper circulation in the area.  -  Well we already get the one paper.  It is suggested that I get 1 for every person in the house.  I am having a tough time with this one because I don't want to waste a newspaper by buying or subscribing to a paper we're not going to read.  I feel like it's a waste.  Though it will go in the recycling bag later, I'm still a little iffy on this one.

2.  Frugal blogger that covers my area stores.  There are several.  
The Prudent Patron
Frugal Follies

I Heart Publix

Looks like we survived week 1.

Aloha Friday #3?

Hmmm... it's been another busy week around here, and I have been making many resolutions to try to improve... well everything.  Yes, I know I beat myself up too much, but I'm working on it.

I have so many questions for the blogosphere right now, I am having a tough time choosing one.  In a post earlier this week, I mentioned that my family went from a 1 income family to a no income family (in December).  Well, as of this week, we have a part time income (I think), so maybe it was just time for us to be honest with the cosmos so that we can change direction.

Okay so my question for this week...  Do you budget?  And if so, do you have any tips for someone who is just getting started in the world of formal budgeting (and working with someone who doesn't understand the meaning of the word)?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - 6/7

This is a kosher meal plan for me and my family.  This means that there will be some meat for JGD and Sprout, but there will always be a vegetarian (or fish) alternative for me.  We try to eat as naturally and organically as we can.  This is limited some by budget, but we're doing the best we can.

*** means that we have no tried this recipe yet, but I will try to give you a review later in the week or in next week's MPM post.  I know I owe you a couple from last week.  I'll try to get to them for you.

Monday - Rachael Ray's Fettuccini Alfredo *** & Caprese Salad.

Tuesday - Tilapia (probably picata), broccoli and angel hair (salad?)

Wednesday - Skirt Steak ***, portobello mushrooms, tofu?, carrots (salad?)

Thursday - Falafel ***, pita bread ***, hummus, tahini

Friday - Honey Glazed Chicken Dump ***, Gardein, Green Beans, Challah 

To see what other people are planning for this week go to Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What's going on with Tot School??? and life in general

You may have noticed over the past few weeks, well maybe the past month we have been slacking on Tot School.  This is definitely my fault.  We went to visit my parents, and I've had a tough time getting back into the "swing of things."  Part of this is I am trying to focus on so many things right now, that I haven't really had a chance to work on the curriculum I was creating for Sprout.

(We are now going to pause for a Blogger identification break.)

I haven't mentioned any of this before, but I'm feeling the need to share, so bear with me.  In December JGD lost his job.  So we've been coping with the fact that our originally 2 income household, which dropped to 1 when Sprout was born is now.... um.... in trouble...  JGD has been working very hard to find a job, and I have been working very hard to figure out how I can help.  I've decided that I will be opening an Etsy shop where I will sell crocheted products.  Here are some of the blankets I have made.

I am currently working on a basket weave pattern for Sprout and I will upload pictures of that when I'm done.  I think my plan for right now is to load pictures of the blankets I have completed and make them to order.  Based on my time right now, I think this is best way.  If you have any suggestion I would love to hear them. 

In addition to that, I am working on creating and sticking to a budget.  This has included couponing and meal planning.  I am currently, really into one man's story of living on $1 a day.  He has shown me that if he can find food and other products to donate while living on $1 a day, then I can get some products to donate to the local shelters and food banks.

I am also trying to decide if I can work from home, and what I can do that will fit into our lifestyle.  It's important to me that anything I take on not interfere with my time with Sprout.

I will say that on the plus side of this JGD has finally been given the push to really pursue the career that he has wanted since graduating college and receiving his Masters.  This will probably mean a move for us, which I wouldn't mind (I think) as it would probably move us closer to my family.  I'd love to be in driving distance to my parents and brother.  I feel very far removed from them down here.  Especially, considering that JGD isn't all that close to his family, who does live here.

Anyway... thanks for listening to my babble...

(Now back to our regularly schedule program.)

I think I've decided to use established "curriculums" and enhance them when I can.  Several months ago I downloaded ABC Home Preschool - Age 2.  So that is what we'll be using, with addition and enhancements from other areas.  It is a 9 month program, but I may extend it seeing as how we are starting in June.  We'll see how Sprout does as we go along.

The first month is working on A, B and C and 0, 1, 2 and 3, transportation, and general good health practices.  I will continue to give a guideline of these activities on the side.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Aloha Friday

I really like the idea of Aloha Friday.  Not only does it give me the chance to check out new and different blogs, but I get to "converse" with other adults.  Thank you to Kailani for creating this great meme.

A couple posts ago, I talk about my great plans for this week.  Well, so far I have accomplished none of them.  I really do want to accomplish something, but at the same time when Sprout takes a nap, it is far more appealing to take a seat and have some "me time."  I really do want to help get my house organized (I accept that I am part of the reason it's not). 

My question to you this week, is what do you to get organized??

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What are you doing this week?

I ask because all all of a sudden I have big plans for this week.  Though none of them all that fun.  I shipped JGD off to Las Vegas for a conference this week.  And wondered when will I get to go to a conference???  I think that SAHM's should have conferences.  Do they, and I don't know about it???

So for the next week this is my four legged "man of the house".  Don't let the sleepy face fool you, he is actually very protective!

So anyway my plans for this week are to try to get the house in order while JGD is away.
  • Clean the outside refrigerator (This would be from when the breaker got turned off and everything spoiled.  I will admit sadly that we haven't want to approach it, and it had sat untouched for a while.  Which is both an energy and wallet drain.)
    • While I'm already in the garage, I should probably work on straightening the garage as best I can.  This will be a major trick, since I think half of my mother-in-laws 4 bedroom house currently resides in my garage.
  • Clean out the kitchen so Sprout will not be able to dump stuff off the tables and counters anymore.  Wouldn't it be great if the counters were actually clear???
    • I guess that would include trying to straighten out the "tupperware" cabinet.  Ugh.
  • Actually put the childsafe lock on the drawer in the master bath.
    • If I'm already in there, I should probably clean out the cabinets under the sinks so that they are ready for stockpiling.
  • Put away everything in the study that we took out when we were "cleaning" the closet.
    • Which means that I need to clean out the filing cabinet too.
  • Make a pillowcase just for Sprout.  Who knew it would be so hard to find a just a pillowcase for a child?  I have a plan, the question is can I execute it?
  • Clean up the laundry room, and downstair bathroom cabinet.  Again looking for room to stockpile.  The laundry room is also where I store everything for Tot School.  Looks like that needs some looking at.
  • Straighten up the living room.  While it looks like a furniture showroom due to the very different couches that currently reside there.
  • Try to set up a chore schedule that meets our needs. 
    • Including a laundry schedule.
  • Try to create a daily schedule for Sprout and I that includes exercise, Tot School and outside time.
I would love to hear any suggestions anyone has because I am trying to overcome the Messies and get organized.  As I love to say I am the most anal disorganized person I know.  My files are color coded, but no one said there's actually anything in them :-).

Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

I was trying to find the right words to say thank you to everyone who has made any kind of sacrifice to support our country.

I would like to thank all of the vet's, military spouses, and families of those we have lost who fought to protect our country (my Papa included).

In my typical mindset, a Disney short came to mind. It's from 1943, so it's a WWII reference, and worth watching through the end if you haven't seen it before.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - 5/31


I took the last couple of weeks of from official Menu Plan Monday.  I did plan things out, but we went to go visit my family, and I didn't feel like posting it when we eating away from home more than at home.

This is a Kosher meal plan, with vegetarian meals and meat meal with a veggie equivalent.  As I mentioned before we are part of any awesome organic buying club.  This is our week and we are getting a great selection of goodies.  I'm looking forward to the asparagus, which is coming at a good time.  JGD will be away for some of the week and doesn't like them.  (I won't tell you what he says they look like.)

So here are our plans for this week:  There are some new recipes that I haven't tried before (***).  I will have to let you know how they go after we try them out.


  • Hamburgers
  • Mushroom Burgers *** (Handy that mushrooms were on sale this week!)
  • Oven fries or potato salad
  • ???




  • American Chop Suey with fake meat (again planning a lazy night)
  • Broccoli


  • Something with eggplant, maybe moussaka with fake ground beef ***


  • Maybe some kind of orzo, spinach, feta concoction (something like this.)***


  • Breakfast for dinner?
To see what other people have planned for this week go to I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Night 1 (Aloha Friday)

I was going to wait to post this until I found the cord for the camera, but I just have to share.

I woke up this morning to my little one babbling in her crib (as she does every morning).  But this morning was different.  Soon after I woke up, I heard a "thud" and then crying.

Yup, you guessed it... she escaped.  I knew it was coming, but I was hoping that she was happy enough just hanging out and reading books in her crib, that my little monkey might opt to stay in her crib.  Alas, she did not make this choice.

After her escape, we decided to convert her crib to the toddler bed.  Come to realize we didn't buy the toddler rails because I would love to move her into a double bed (but I'm not buying one right now).  So she is in a daybed, surrounded on 3 sides.

We survived nap, and when I heard her chatting and went to get her I was greeted at the door.  She was clearly ready to go.

Now, I am sitting here trying to pretend that I am not listening obsessively to the monitor to try to figure out if she is getting out of bed.

After seeing a few blogs linked up to Aloha Friday I decided to join in.  So my question to you is, what did you do to help ease this transition for you or your child?

An Island Life

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dear Mama Bird

Dear Mama Bird,

I know that you are just protecting your babies.  I understand that, really I do.  I would do anything to protect mine.

But can we come to a compromise?  We will leave you and your babies alone if you stop attacking us.

I know that nature doesn't understand the laws of man.  Hey, sometimes I don't understand them either, but we need to co-exist.  You and your babies will be safe, if you let me and my family come and go as we please.


Jolly Green Mommy

Now, does anyone know how to translate this into little black bird???  No, seriously any suggestions on how to take care of this?  By the time I tried calling Audubon today they were closed and they don't open until Tuesday.

Tot School - If you give a Tot a book...

Tot School
Sprout is 22 months old

This week we focused on Laura Numeroff's books, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Pig a Pancake Big Book.  These are two of my favorite books for little ones.  As we were reading these, I kept thinking about all the activities we will be able to do for these when Sprout gets older.  I love how the same book can be applied to kids of different ages, and they all get something different out of it.  I know that it will be great in the future.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give...)If You Give a Pig a Pancake Big Book (If You Give...)

Tot Trays

This Tot Trays we did this week were:
  • If You Give a... File Folder Game
  • Playdough
  • Stickers 
Again, this week there were more activities out, but Sprout wasn't all that interest.  Ironically, she had been trying to get at her Tot Trays whenever we walked past that room, but when it was actually time she decided she would rather be doing other things.


I guess it's time to actually put this in the garage and not just out of the family room.

But she did play with her new file folder game a little.  I think mommy liked it a lot more than she did.

Of course, she loved playing with stickers again.  This seems to have become a new favorite.

I was shocked when she pulled out the playdough this week and actually wanted to use it.  Usually, this one just sits on the shelf and she ignores it for the week.

She also thought it was fun when I was showing her how to roll the playdough into snakes and balls.  This is what she did with the balls.  I thought it was pretty creative.


This week I thought we would make pancakes and cookies to go along with our books.  One morning I thought we would make pancakes, and asked Sprout to help.  She decided it was more fun carrying on with her current activity.

But she did enjoy eating them.

I spent the rest of the week trying to find the time to make cookies.  As it turned out we made them one night toward the end of the week after dinner.  I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of the actual process, as I was a little too hands on.  Here is Sprout checking out the cookies in the over making sure everything is okay.

And of course she loved eating these too.  JGD took these pictures, as I was trying to make sure that my couch didn't get smudged.  (I know using her chair at the table would have been a good idea, but for the amount of time it took her to eat the cookie, it would have been more time getting in and out!)
We also made a pig and a mouse to go along with our books this week.  (These should be our stART craft for the week, but so far I haven't gotten around to the separate post).

For the pig, I cut out a red circle (I didn't have any pink construction paper, and Sprout picked red) for the head and a smaller circle for the snout.  Then I cut out a couple ears and gave Sprout the googly eyes.

I was so impressed with where she placed everything.
Until... the ears.  This is when I had the "bad mommy moment" of taking them off and asking her to put them on again.  And sure enough she put them back in the same spot.  "So there, Mommy!"

When we made the mouse, we used a sheet that I had printed off a while ago from First School.  We just did the head.  Somehow, I accidentally printed off two.  So I cut one out myself, and let Sprout work on one.
These scissors are still tough for Sprout to use.  I think I'm going to get her these (Melissa & Doug Educational Toy ChildSafe Scissor Set) instead.

I glued the pink part of the ear on to the grey to make it a little more toddler friendly.  Sprout did the rest.

And even though I didn't get a picture before she dismantled the whole thing, it looked a lot like her pig!

Practical Play
We decided to take a family field trip to a local landscaping place that also have a U-Pick it area.  This was a lot of fun for us.  (Well, so I heard, JGD took Sprout, while I picked some things for dinner.)

We were greeted by:
Then we found

Then it was time to go pick some food.  They had:
Red Chard
Bell peppers
We also picked some spinach, but that's not that interesting to look at.  They had eggplants, blueberries, onions, lettuce, and a whole bunch more.  And this is the end of the season for us!  (Backwards, I know!)

Sprout's Books
I've been meaning to put these in a post for a couple weeks.  These have become Sprout's go to books.

She loves her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Look and Find book.  She is now at the point where she understands what she is supposed to do and will point to the object/character in the box and then find them in the picture!
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (First Look and Find)

She also loves her Little Einsteins Animal Alphabet book.  "Eo!"  She loves look at this book.  She is getting really into letters (even though we haven't really worked with them), so she loves looking through this book. 
Animal Alphabet (Disney Little Einsteins)

This week she got a set of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse mini board books in a carrying box, and loves her "Gickey" books.  She carries them all over the house.  I think she likes taking them out and putting them back in more than reading them right now, but she does let us read them every once in a while.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Next Week

Next week is kind of up in the air right now, as I have just realized it is going to be a really crazy week or two.  We'll see what we can get done.

Hope you all had a great week!  To see what other Tots were up to this week go to 1+1+1=1.  

To see what other stART projects people did this week.  Go to A Mommy's Adventure.


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