Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I'm sorry for the change of appearance and any other difficulties you may have had using my site this past week or so.  I am in the process of moving the site and encountering some issues.  If anyone has seen a really great tutorial for moving the blog with troubleshooting I would love to see it.

In addition to my changes, Google Friend Connect will no longer be a working widget as Google is trying to move everyone over to Google+.  I am trying to get that set up as well, but for now, please like me on Facebook to continue following along.  I hope you will continue to come along as we continue to grow.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Home

Jolly Green Mommy has moved.  Please continue to visit us here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Small Fry!

Wow!  How the time flys!  Small Fry is 1 year old today.

Small Fry - 1 Day Old

On his birthday, I thought I would tell you about the day Small Fry decided to come on out to join our family.

Before I begin, let me tell you a little about the day Sprout was born.  I woke around 2 a.m. feeling pain, and realized I was having contractions.  They were still far enough apart that I was able to lie down between them.  I woke Jolly Green Daddy around 5 a.m. when I could no longer track how far apart my contractions were.  He was not a lot of help, as he fell back to sleep.

I think I woke him again around 7 to help me time my contractions, this time he stayed up.  I showered and went downstairs for a bit.  JGD thought it would be a good idea for him to get a bagel as he wasn't sure when he would eat again.  So at around 9:30 he went to Einstein's.  No, he will NEVER live that one down.

We then went to the hospital around 10:30 when my contractions were about 5 minutes apart.  Where they made me check in at the desk (and yes I was having contractions).  Then I was sent to triage before taken a Labor and Recovery Room.  The nurse came in to check on me and realized from the monitor that I was having a contraction.  She was surprised, as she hadn't realized it until she looked at the machine.  Shortly after that, I was given some medicine for the pain.  This made me really loopy and I felt like I was flying over the bed.  They then gave me an epidural.  I felt NOTHING from the waist down.

Sprout decided to join us at 7:00 p.m. after a short period of pushing.  That didn't take long, but it took at least another 4 hours for the epidural to wear off and for me to get back to Sprout.

Sprout - 1 or 2 days old

I tell you this story because Small Fry's birth was NOTHING like that!

The day Small Fry was born, I had plans to pick my mom up from the airport in the afternoon.  She was flying in to help us and take care for Sprout when as I was scheduled to be induced the next morning.  Well, like his sister he decided not to wait (which I'm totally okay with, didn't really want to be induced anyway).  I woke around 6 a.m. feeling the same pains I had been feeling every morning that week.  They had been gas pains and were relieved in the normal way and showering.  I took a shower to relieve the pain and realized that these were not the same as I had been having earlier in the week and that they were coming and easing.

I used my iPhone to time my contractions (I learned!) and realized that my contractions were less that 4 minutes apart.  I woke JGD at 7:00.  He called a friend to come take care of Sprout.  I tried to get my stuff together (no my bag wasn't packed) and had a really tough time doing much.  My contractions were getting stronger.  I looked at JGD and said this was nothing like last time.  Then told him that I wanted drugs.  Meanwhile, I was wondering how I would get through the check in process and triage at the hospital the way I was feeling.  We tried to get Sprout as far away from me as possible, as I was not as I didn't want her to see or hear me.

A little after 7:30, my water broke and I realized that Small Fry was in a hurry to join us.  I called for JGD, who looked at me and then told me he was calling 911.  (Now, he is a firefighter and a paramedic.  They only call 911 for extreme situations!)  I thought that he had a good idea.  He then told me not to push.  I did my best.  Our friend was told to take my car and Sprout and head to her house, we would call them later.  They left just as the ambulance showed up.

As we live in the city my husband volunteers in, he knew the crew who came to help me.  The one medic on the crew look at me, saw that I was crowning and said that I had to be moved to the bed.  All I could think about was the mess that would make.  Couldn't I just stay on the bathroom floor?  They let me stay on the floor.  Small Fry was delivered in our bathroom at 7:57.  Now that is just under 2 hours from when I woke with labor pains.  My OB had told me that he thought I would go fast this time, but this was a little faster than he thought.

I was then taken to the hospital where we were labeled "Dirty," having delivered outside the hospital.  Then I was checked out by the OB on call and waited for a room upstairs.  When they took my upstairs to my room, I sat on the bed for all of 30 seconds before going to sit on the couch.  The nurse was a little surprised.  All of the nurses on the floor would come in to my room and make comments about being the one who delivered at home.  Even the woman who helped with the forms for his birth certificate and social security number had heard.  (Small Fry's birth certificate does say that he was delivered at home).  The pediatrician came in making jokes.  My normally very jovial OB was very serious when he came to check on me.  He likes things to according to plan, and obviously my little guy had other ideas.

That is the story of Small Fry's birth.  This is one that will live on forever.  Sorry, little guy!

Small Fry 11+ months

No matter how came to join us, we are very happy to have him here.  Happy birthday, Small Fry!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Aloha Friday

A couple weeks ago, I took Jolly Green Daddy, Sprout and Small Fry to a local farm to pick tomatoes and strawberries.  We had a lot of fun, and then we had Homemade Strawberry Preserves and Roasted Tomato Sauce.

My question is:
Do you enjoy going to Pick Your Own Farms?  What do you like to pick?
I have picked strawberries, tomatoes, blueberries, apples, peaches and pumpkins.  I love going to You Pick It Farms.

Thank you for joining me for Aloha Friday.  Feel free to join in the fun at An Island Life.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Once a Month Shopping

This month I thought I would try out Once a Month Shopping.  At the beginning of the month, I planned out the meals that we will be eating this month and planned out my shopping for the month as well.  My hope was that I would be able to do the bulk of my shopping at the beginning of the month and therefore use my budget better.  I know that I will need to go back to the store for foods that perish faster, like milk.  I also knew that I would be able to supplement my menu with the produce that I would be getting from the organic buying club.

To give you a feel for what I did.  I will recap my shopping trips thus far this month.

I started at Publix.  Here I bought many of the basics I knew I would need for the month.  I bought some frozen fish, canned tomatoes and artichokes, some pasta, eggs, salsa and canola oil.  I spent $70.12 (saving $20.02).

After Publix, I went to Whole Foods.  I went while the kids were napping on a Monday afternoon.  I was shocked at how busy it was.  I tried to go shopping, but when I was about to lose my mind and hadn't passed the produce section yet, I knew that this was not the time to attempt this shop.

From there, I went to Winn Dixie to pick up a couple items that I didn't get earlier, but knew we would need before I could get to Whole Foods.  There I spent $7.88 on milk, spinach and orange juice.

The next morning, I went to Whole Foods early and felt much better when I walked into the store.  Here I bought cheese, milk, rice, beans, a lot of veggie broth (10 containers, on sale with $1 off coupons), some produce, oats and quinoa in bulk, and some cereal (that I plan to use in recipes for other things).  I spent $164.84 (saving $22.45).  If I wasn't looking for organic dairy and grains, etc., I probably could have spent less.  However, with how I choose to feed my family I was happy with this.

So my major shopping for the month was at $242.84. This left me with 40% of my grocery budget left for the month.

We'll see how the rest of the month goes...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Let's Go Giants

The Super Bowl make me happy.  Since I was little I remember looking forward to the Super Bowl.  Even when I had no idea who was playing, I was still excited to sit down and watch.  Even if at some ages I just wanted to know who was going to win the "Bud Bowl."

We never had any big parties, and I don't really remember going to any, but this was the game to watch every year, and I was going to watch.  I was raised a Giants fan.  Being that I grew up closer to New York than to Boston we tended to be more interested in the New York teams, and I followed the trend.  I remember when I was 10 or 11.  I had to give a "speech" about my hero.  I think it was a week or two after the Super Bowl and I chose Jeff Hostetler as my hero.  He hadn't been their QB for long and against the odds he led the Giants to win the Super Bowl!  I hope I can say the same of Eli Manning tomorrow!

As I got older, I've become more and more interested in football.  Including the football elimination pool, I partook in with my husband, mother and uncles.  (I'm almost ready to forgive the Giants for knocking me out...).  The war in this house is which team the kids will like.  Sprout seems to be a Dolphan, though she knows Mommy's team is the Giants and will cheer them on too.  I'm now working on Small Fry.

The last time the Giants were in the Super Bowl (hmmm... against New England who had not yet lost a game), I was pregnant with Sprout.  I remember saying that if I had been further along in pregnancy, I might have delivered that night with all the jumping, yelling and elevated blood pressure.  Now, she will watch some of the game with us this year.  Hopefully, they will do us proud!

Go Giants!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Happy 93rd Birthday!

The above picture was taken when I was younger than Small Fry. 
A couple days ago I wrote about what I wished I could have said.  Today I can tell you what I did say.  I called my grandfather to wish him a happy birthday today.  Today was his 93rd birthday.  He is the proud father of 3, proud grandfather of 5, and great-grandfather to 3.  He worked as an accountant for many years.  Even upon retiring to Florida, he continued to work and volunteer his services.  He did this both for his community as at his synagogue where he has been an active member since moving to Florida 15 plus years ago

Last April, he was honored with a select group of men throughout the county, as Man of the Year for synagogue.  This was a great celebration as we had almost the entire family together to celebrate.

These pictures were taken at this celebration.  The first is my grandparents dancing with Sprout.  The second shows you how clearly they love each other 68 years into their marriage.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Let's Talk Budget

January Budget Recap

Well, as a whole, I feel better about our spending last month than I have in a while.  I think the fact that we were tracking our spending on an almost daily basis really helped.  I can tell you when I slacked at my record keeping at the end of the month, things did not go quite as well.  But I'm going to take that as a learning experience and make sure that I am better about tracking our spending.

The grocery and food budget had to be adjusted.  There was just no way that I could keep within the $400 budget for everything.  So it was adjusted to $400 for groceries and $150 for eating out.  As I have said that I need to be honest with myself, I will be honest with you too.  We spent $472 on groceries and $165 on eating out last month.  As I said before I feel better about our spending, but it's still not perfect.  I would like to stay more in budget so that we have more money to put into savings.  If we keep working at it, I think we'll do better.

What did I learn last month?

If I'm debating if we are going to use something or might need it in the future, it's not worth getting.  As someone told me "A deal is only a deal if you're going to use it."  I think I spent too much time and money convincing myself that we would use something and realizing later that we aren't going to.

I need to have a plan and know what I'm doing or dinner becomes a much bigger deal.  It also means that if I don't feel well, Jolly Green Daddy can help me out and make a meal.  I have a meal plan for the month and am hoping that it will help me out.

It is important to keep track of spending.  It is the only way to make sure we're spending wisely.

If one shopping strategy isn't working try another one.  I'm giving Once a Month Shopping a try this month.

February's Budget

As I mentioned above I had to amend the Grocery and Food Budget.  For February we have $400 to spend on groceries and $150 to spend on eating out.  Small Fry turns 1 this month and I'm hoping not to go over budget even with having a small family get together.  I do have a separate area of the budget set aside for birthdays and gifts, so some of the spending will come from there too.

I will post the details of these trips later, but for now, here is how our budget is looking.  Remember, that my plan for this month is to do the bulk of the shopping at the beginning of the month with small supplemental shops for dairy and produce later on.

Starting Amount $400

  • Publix Trip 2/1: $70.12
  • Winn Dixie 2/1: $7.88
  • Whole Foods 2/1: $164.84
  • Whole Foods 2/3: $22.94
  • Target 2/3: $8.41

Remaining Budget: $125.81

Friday, February 3, 2012

Aloha Friday

Yesterday afternoon, I flushed the toilet in our most used bathroom to find that it was draining very sluggishly.  It was gurgling and wasn't filling right too.  Ugh!  Time to get the plunger.  No change.  I poured a gallon of very hot water down the drain.  It drained, but didn't help.  Then I used baking soda and vinegar (that stuff is amazing), still nothing!  Uh Oh!

This was the final blow for this toilet and off we went to a big box store to get a new one.  We had replaced the toilet in our master bath with an American Standard Cadet 3 Right Height Elongated toilet.  It had been recommended to my parents by their plumber, so we went with that one.  Jolly Green Daddy and I installed it on our own and knew we could do it again.  So when we went to get our new one we were looking for the same toilet.  We found the same toilet and it's "brother" with a dual flush.
Picture from American Standard

So we brought home our new dual flush toilet and waited for the kids to go to bed.  We were getting ready to install our new toilet.  We took out the old one and found that the flange that the new one was going to be attached to was broken.  It looks like when they redid our tile floor they broke it!  And just did what they could to make work.  Grrrrr...

Looks like another trip to the hardware store.  JGD comes back with a new flange and a repair kit.  When we look at what we have in the floor, we finally decide that it is time to call a plumber.  Ugh!  So now we are waiting for a plumber to come and fix our flange and install our new toilet.  And Sprout is wondering why the potty is in the backyard.

So my question is, what do you do around the house and what do you call/hire someone to do for you?
As I discussed above, I do most of the minor plumbing in the house and electrical.  When it comes to rewiring, repiping, flooring and other complicated tasks, I call someone.

Thank you for joining me for Aloha Friday.  Feel free to join in the fun at An Island Life.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Meal Plan - February

Or at least sane!

I did my meal plan a little differently this month.  In the past I was doing 1 week at a time and hoping that I would be able to get the grocery store to get what we need.  If I didn't (which was not uncommon), I was left to come up with something else, which often left me stressed out.

This month I decided to try to do a Monthly Meal Plan and do 1 big food shop at the beginning of the month.  I know there will be smaller shops to fill in other items we need (dairy, produce), but I'm hoping that this makes everything else easier and helps us to stick to our budget better, but that's for a different post.

The other difference with our meal plan, is that I made a list of meals that I will make depending on our mood and needs at the time.  I didn't want to give everything a set day because for some reason that also stresses me out.  I did try to assign things to a specific week so that it won't be too much of the same thing all the time.

** Are items that I need to prepare ahead of time.
^^ Will post a recipe.

Week 1:

Waffles (freezer)
Muffins - strawberry
Leftover Quiche

Caprese Grilled Cheese
On Your Own (kids have PB & J or cream cheese and Jelly on crackers)
Broccoli and Cheese Muffins

Stuffed Peppers
Beef Kabab/Tuna Steak, rice and brussels sprouts
Tilapia, creamed kale and potatoes
Spinach and Feta Quiche (This was for a night when Jolly Green Daddy is not home) ^^
Meltdown night (Yes I had a mini meltdown as I prepared for the month, and we went out for Mexican.  That's another post entirely.)
Pizza Roll Up
Chicken???/Veggie Pot Pie  (Depends if Jolly Green Daddy wants to go to Kosher Market to pick out meat.  Doesn't really make sense for me to go on my own.)

Week 2:

Baked Oatmeal
Mini Quiche **
Granola **
English Muffins **

(Jolly Green Daddy will not be home for most lunches this week, making it a little easier for me)
Chicken Salad (JGD is responsible for this)
Macaroni and Cheese
Broccoli and Cheese Muffins (from last week)
Pizza Muffins **
Peanut Butter/Cream Cheese and Jelly
Quinoa Cakes

Super Bowl!  Go Giants! - Mexican Egg Rolls and Spinach Artichoke Pull Apart/Stuffed Bread
Bobby Dean's Oven Fried Chicken/Gardein
Beef Stew??/Mushroom Barley Soup, rolls**
Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi
Veggie Something (depends on what we get from the Buying Club)
Quinoa Spinach/Broccoli Bake (JGD will not be home for this one) **

Week 3:

Mini Quiche/Frittatas
Granola **
English Muffins **
Mini Quiche **
Quinoa Pancakes

Southwestern Rice Cakes
Tuna Melts
Pizza Muffins **
Peanut Butter/Cream Cheese and Jelly

Veggie Dumpling Soup, Crusty bread and salad
Cod, Rice, veggie
Polenta Cakes (When JGD is not home.)
Lo Mein/Soba (maybe add chicken)
Ravioli or Tortellini
Chicken Piccata/Chickpea Piccata

Week 4
Small Fry turns 1!

Granola **
Dutch Baby
Cranberry/Blueberry Breakfast Cake
English Muffins **
Muffins **

Macaroni and Cheese
Pesto Pasta Salad
Caprese Tart
Chinese Chicken Salad
Peanut Butter/Cream Cheese and Jelly

Burrito/Fajita Bowls ^^
Salmon Fish Sticks
Cottage Cheese Pancakes (JGD won't be home.) or maybe something I can make ahead
Lasagna (either crock pot or made ahead)
Chicken Drumsticks

Will make 2 loaves of sandwich bread each Week
Make challah or some other kind of special bread
Granola Bars **
Always searching for more healthy snacks
Ice Cream
Pretzel Bites

There may be some changes and adaptations for we get from our Organic Buying Club.

This will be linked up at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Happy Birthday!

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday.  I wish that I could drop by and bring her a cake to celebrate.  I would love to bring her grandchildren by to visit her.  Even a phone call would be lovely.  Doing any of these things would be wonderful, but I can't.  Sadly, she left us 4 years ago.  5 and a half years ago she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  While we had more time to spend with her than most with her diagnosis.  My children never met their grandmother and she never had the chance to meet them.

Addition:  I'm sorry for the downer of a post.  I just felt the need to talk about her today.  Sadly, she is not spoken about enough around the house.  And normally it's by me.  I wish that my husband would talk about her more and tell the kids, mostly Sprout right now, about his mom.  She was a great person (as was his father) and I think it's important that they know about her.  There is only so much I can tell them about her, but I do my best.  He has no problem keeping "stuff" from her house, but doesn't really talk about the memories or tell the kids stories about things they did.  I keep hoping that as they get older that will change.  We'll see.  Again, I'm sorry for the down post...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dinner at our House

While, I would love to invite you all to share a meal at our house, I know that really isn't possible.  I did want to tell you more about how we eat.  It might help when trying to understand our Meal Plans or why I have a tough time staying in budget the way I do.

We have a kosher home.  This means that we do not eat pork, bacon, sausage, shellfish or any other fish that don't have scales.  In fact we just learned that catfish isn't kosher because it doesn't have scales.  It also means that we do not mix milk and meat.  Yup, that's right no cheeseburgers for us.  We buy special meat from one of our local Kosher markets.  It's actually less to get it there than the supermarket.  Winn Dixie doesn't carry any Kosher meat, Publix is 8.99/lb for chicken breast and I don't remember Whole Foods' price, but you can just imagine...  This does limit the amount of meat eaten in our home.
Kosher Symbol

The other limit to the amount of meat eaten here is that the main cook, me, doesn't eat meat.  I'm a vegetarian.  Well, I guess, I'm technically a pescitarian.  I eat fish, but nothing with legs.  It used to be that my husband would eat meat when we went out.  He believes in keeping "Americanized Kosher."  The meat at the restaurants doesn't have to be Kosher, but he won't eat anything that is outright not Kosher (ie pork or a cheeseburger).  Since we are trying to limit how often we go out, I am trying to serve more meat to appease Jolly Green Daddy's inner carnivore.  It also helps that our local Kosher Market had a living social deal.  We got 2 certificates each for $20 worth of food for $10.  That means $80 of food (mostly meat) for $40, and being that we bought the certificates a couple months ago, it's not coming out of my current budget.  Anyway, I digress...

I am trying to break my meat and potato husband of this desire and broaden his horizons.  The organic buying club we belong to has helped a lot.  This has helped us to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables than ever before.  Which works well because Jolly Green Daddy is not a fan of frozen veggies.  He grew up on canned and if it's not fresh that is what he prefers.  Being that the salt content is through the roof on these and, oh yeah, the green beans are brown, I won't buy them, serve them, go near them.  I volunteer to coordinate my local group every other week, which means that I get my food for my time.  This is a great help to our budget!

I am trying to serve my family as much whole food as possible and get rid of the processed foods.  I have finally been able to make a tuna casserole without the cream of mushroom soup that my family  Jolly Green Daddy will eat.  This was the hardest for me to master.  We do still have some Annie's Organic Macaroni and Cheese in the pantry, though I'm not sure if I'm buying any more after we finish what we have.  And there is some Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese in the freezer for JGD.  I am also trying to lessen my processed soy.  I know that there is a lot of debate over soy and its benefits or harm.  I'm not going to get into that here.  I'm just going to say that I am trying to lessen the amount of meat substitutes I eat.  I am eating Tofu and we do have Soy Milk in the house (mostly for use with meat meals or making bread).

We are also wondering if we might want to try some other diet changes to see that can improve our general health (Sorry, Mom!).  But for now (at least through Small Fry's birthday) we will stick with our regular diet and decide what we want to do come March.  I'm also leery to change my children's diets without talking with their pediatrician or a nutritionist to make sure that I really am doing what is best for them.

I bake most of the bread we eat, and am trying to make whatever I can.  I have made some strawberry preserves and tomato sauce for fruit that we picked at a local farm.

I think that about sums things up.  I hope that helps you to understand why we do what we do around here.

Anyone else have a house like this, either Kosher or mixed diets?  I'd love to hear what you do.


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