Thursday, December 30, 2010

and the baking continues

here's what i made for christmas:


Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
(and because I had a small pan, it ended up being pumpkin bars AND a pumpkin loaf)

Ingredients

Bars:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Icing:

  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.



Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a mixer, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.


Options:
You can also make the banana bread more fun with these add ins:
-1 to 2 tbsp Nutella spread before the dry ingredients
-A few handfuls of chocolate chips on top of the batter before you place it in the oven
-1/4 c chopped nuts (not my favorite thing at all)
-Larger banana chunks in the batter to give a few bites with some real banana pieces


Monday, December 20, 2010

cookies round 2

today was an awful day... snowy, cold, ick...
well, i found a bag of dark and mint chocolate chips in my cupboard and a tin of hershey's cocoa in the lazy susan and made ....

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 bag Nestle dark and mint chocolate chips (or cut up some Andes mints)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat well.
  3. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended.  Stir in chips or cut up mints.  Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 5 dozen cookies.
(or if you make them how i make them.... about a dozen HUGE monster cookies)


well, that was the adventure today.  enjoy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

tis the season to bake

this is the baking season.  it's cold out.  you drink a lot of hot chocolate, tea, and coffee.  you have filling stews and roasts and soups.  what better way to end dinner or compliment your beverage than with a baked treat?

i am notorious for making cookies (and good ones i've been told) and having josh yell at me for baking a ton.  so, granted these aren't recipes i've made up... they're still ones i've tweeked to be more delicious than the originals.

here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Nutella Chocolate Chunk Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 small jar of Nutella
3/4 bag chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (I just have a hand mixer so I just grab a separate bowl), cream the butter, the sugar and the brown sugar. Add the eggs and the vanilla until combined.

Gradually add the flour until the mixture is combined.

Then mix in the chocolate chunks and the Nutella – it should look kinda "marble-y".... I just use my hands to mix it... It is much easier than trying to use a spoon....

Roll into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 min and then cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 min and then on wire racks til completely cooled.
For smaller cookies only bake 5-7 min.



Peanut Butter Blossoms

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
24 mini Reeses, unwrapped
Mini cupcake wrappers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients, whisk and set aside.

Cream butter and peanut butter with sugars, then stir in egg, vanilla and milk, mixing until well-combined.
Combine dry and wet ingredients and mix until combined.

Put mini cupcake wrappers on cookie sheet. Roll dough into small balls and place into center of cupcake wrapper.  The ball shouldn't be too large...about the size of a pingpong ball maybe?
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until tops of cookies no longer look doughy and are beginning to turn golden brown. (This is a good time to unwrap your Reeses cups... this is TEDIOUS!)

Remove cookies from oven, and push an unwrapped mini Reeses into the center of each cookie. Let cool for a few minutes and move to wire rack to cool.  You might even need to put them on a plate and chill them in the refrigerator for a few hours or freeze for about 15 minutes.



that's all i have time for now... baby calls.  i will update with more cookie recipes soon.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

the gift of giving

My job is collecting food donations for the holidays.
I was going through my pantry to see if we had anything that we really dont need or use or had too much of and was astonished.  I felt so greedy.  Here there are, families EVERY DAY, needing assistance to feed themselves and their children, and we have a surplus of things and still complain that there's nothing to eat or go out to eat when we have perfectly good food at home. 
I found 16 items (4 containers of baby food, a box of rice cereal, 4 boxes of mac n cheese, 6 cans of soup, and a can of black beans) that we have brushed by in search of something "better" to eat.

What really struck me is that I remember growing up being poor.  There are theories I don't want to go into as to why I grew up that way.  I remember sharing a can of soup between 2 or 3 of us with tuna sandwiches for dinner, countless nights of mac n cheese.... and here I am, pretty greedy, hoarding food in my house when there are others going without.

I remember some of our Christmas gifts coming from the donation bin at church.  I remember being a little jerk and opening presents and being disappointed I didn't get what I wanted or only got 10 things... what a little jerk.

I think that's why I hate the holidays so much.  There is this constant "have to" that is placed on the head of everybody.  You "have to" spend X amount of dollars and buy X amount of gifts.

A guy I work with said that he wants to bring his daughter up in their family tradition of donating to Toys for Tots.  That inspired me. 
I don't want Audrey to be a brat or a little jerk.  I don't want her to be ungrateful or spoiled. 

So, it's been decided that we are going to make it a family habit to donate and give to others for Christmas.  When Audrey's old enough, I want us all to volunteer at a soup kitchen together.  I want her to realize that though we live a LOT more humbly than everyone we know (I'm not trying to sound braggy... we really are just very plain people... nothing matches in our house!), we have it a lot better than most.

I really encourage everyone to see how much they have and can do without and donate to others this holiday.  It really is unfair how selfish we are and don't even realize it. 

What really hit the chord in me was reading a page from a food bank in Los Angeles that said many infants and toddlers go without adequate nutrition.  That broke my heart.  I have a daughter and my biggest fear is not being able to provide food for her.  Thankfully we are able to, but what about those parents that can't.  How sad and awful they must feel.

So, here's a page where you can find local food banks in your area to donate.

This is the "season of giving" as those commercials with people buying tons of expensive crap so frankly puts it.... so, let's give.

attack of the virus

it seems our house has been hit. 

it all started with a cold. 
saturday 7am Audrey has a runny nose.
that turned into super runny nose by sunday.
monday 730am Josh's truck gets "sick" and breaks down.
then there's last nite....






7pm Audrey goes down for bedtime.
8pm Audrey is still awake babbling in her crib.
9pm Audrey makes a weird dry heaving/gagging noise
then came the computer.  out of NOWHERE, pop ups galore (i saw enough porn and viagra sites to scar me for life).  all my programs were infected.  spyware spyware spyware.  my norton account expired and would not renew for some reason.  still wont.  then audrey made the noise again.  we poked in on her but didnt turn on the light and again, she seemed just fine.
10 pm I am running sweeps and scans.  it detects a trojan virus.  quarantined it and still nothing works.



11pm I get a geeksquad guy online and pay him to fix it. 
12am Audrey again makes gagging noises which I attribute to her cold and try to get some sleep.
4am Audrey makes gagging noise again accompanied by whimpering.  I jump out of bed, go downstairs, turn on the light and..............

see my poor baby smiling, rolling around in dried and crusty puddles of vomit.  its on her pjs, on her teddy bear, her blanket, and it even went through the sheet onto the mattress protector. 

730am Josh leaves for work and I get the urge.... and now, 815 am and I think Audrey is napping (or at least resting quietly) and I am on the couch not feelin so hot.

dear reader, we have been hit.
we are under attack.  take cover take cover take cover!

Monday, December 6, 2010

when it rains it pours....

so today...
i had a bad feeling getting into josh's truck this morning.  his battery light was usually on and would spike all over the place (he has an electrical problem from long ago that just wont quit).  today, a bunch of other lights came on and i took off down the alley and into the road.  suddenly the radio went off.  trying to "conserve energy" i turned off the headlights but it was still kind of dark, so when i got to the next traffic light i put the headlights back on and POOF the car died.  i was at the intersection of N 26th and Penn which is NOT the best place to have a car die.  i have NEVER been in this situation before, so i started panicking and calling josh (who after 7 phone calls in a row wasn't answering) i sat there ready to cry.  people kept honking and just swerving around me.  finally these 2 older guys waved over to me and helped me get to the side of the road.  they didnt have cables so they couldn't give me a jump.  i sat there and called josh for another 5 minutes who still didnt answer.  since my house was merely 4 or 5 blocks away, i decided to put my boots back on and start walking home.  FINALLY josh called back and 10 minutes later, he and audrey showed up to drive me to work.  on the way to work i find out that our garage door broke.... again.  now the openers dont work and the whole door is off track. also,  i was 15 minutes late which counts against me, he had to miss work entirely to wait on the tow truck and for the repairs to get done. 
BUT, even tho i was panicked and grumpy and not the nicest person today, i got a big payment which put me halfway to my monthly goal.  5 minutes after that, josh texted me to say that the dudes at midas (that LOVE him because he is such a schmoozer) didnt charge him for the tow and were going to fudge the facts a little and only ended up charging him $131 for EVERYTHING!!!!!
what should have been an unaffordable $800 tow and repair job ended up being WAY less than that!
audrey cried A LOT the whole way home.  mostly cos she was tired and hungry i guess.  but after we got home and she ate, she was SO cute and SO funny!!!  my lil lady has such a vibrant and larger-than-life personality.  she went down pretty well and we got to eat chinese for dinner..... what a treat!

so all in all, today started off rough.... but, thanks to josh always telling me to look on the brighter side, i was able to help him AND myself stay on the upside of things. 

the motto for today: "THINGS COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE!"

honestly, the truck could have caught on fire, i could have GOTTEN fired, the repairs could have been more than we could have afforded, audrey could be REALLY sick, our garage could have collapsed, both our cars could have issues, we could have NO second car, etc etc etc.

so, see?  things could always be worse. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

2 pounds and I dont know how many inches....

My scale broke.  Well, ok the battery died and I dont know where oh where to get a replacement.  I honestly kept frantically looking and couldn't find one.  I think it was God's way of telling me to focus on what mattered and that was NOT my weight.  I had to quit on quite possibly the only diet that was working because it was making my milk supply PLUMMET.  Now sadly, my supply is such a mess that I have to supplement with 1-2 bottles of formula a day... and it looks like we're workin our way up to more.

ANYWAY... I went back to eating normally but applying principles of the diet to my daily life (which is what any good diet does- teaches good eating habits).  Basically the gist of it is to eat high fiber fruits and veggies, have starches in small quantities, fill up on lean proteins and veggies, and eat small meals often.  You'd be surprised how MUCH you can eat when it's GOOD FOR YOU FOOD!  Also, I am applying the concept of drinking a lot of water and not eating too much salt or eating past 8.  It really works!

All my old work pants fit.... everything but my old jeans!  My hips still need to shrink a little and my self definitely needs some toning (seriously I'm not being nitpicky... I really do).
Sunday I had weighed myself with a scale at the gym and I was 2 pounds away from my normal weight.  Prior to my scale breaking, I had 8 pounds to go.  That means without thinking about it, without intentionally TRYING, I  lost weight.

This definitely motivates me to keep going.  While I only have time to hit the gym maybe 2-3 times a week, I am trying to be smarter and keep working. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

of all the ways to be like momma

so, my child is basically a mix of josh and myself.  i get it.
i see it in her face and her body....
she has my eyes, josh's brow and forehead, my nose and lips, josh's ears, josh's long limbs and slenderness, my petite-ness, josh's goofiness, my silly faces, josh's observance, and unfortunately, my......

                         lack of patience!!!!

it's becoming so apparent lately.  audrey has hit this age where she wants to explore and learn and do new things and try things out on her own.  understandable. fine. ok. 

she desperately wants to walk.  she holds onto her crib or the table or her walker toy and does this lil groove to show her excitement.  she sits up and puts herself on her tummy and rolls around from place to place.  she scoots backwards.  she helps me put the spoon with food in her mouth.  she's learned to grab her lil puffs and ALMOST gets them in her mouth.  she has learned to push herself away from things and up off the floor.  she tries to sit up on her own and if we lay her down on her changing table for a diaper or a change of clothes .... holy hannah.

this is what has been happening.  any time she is just SO CLOSE but cant get it.... out come the whimpers and whines, screams, shrieks, cries, and flailing limbs.  she almost gets the puffs in her mouth, cant figure it out, so she gets flustered, gives up, and throws them on the floor.  she cant figure out how to put the spoon in her mouth on her own so if i let go of the spoon, she flails and throws it on the floor.  she cant figure out how to move forward on her tummy so she flails her limbs, whimpers, whines, and starts crying.  she wants to sit up and move around and constantly be DOING something or GOING somewhere (just like good ol grandpa barney and unfortunately ME), and if we have to put her in her carseat or on her changing table or put her in a position that is something other than what she wants right at that moment..... good golly cover your ears and hide your children.

i hate that this is what she gets the most from me.  she is a beautiful girl.  she is smiley and usually so happy.  i guess she is trying to do and be a lot more than she is able to right now and just like her dear ol momma HATES IT!  i get the same way.  if i cant figure something out right away, i instantly get pissed off, throw a fit and quit.  i admit it.  so childish but i do it. 

Lord grant me patience to teach my baby patience!  what a house we will be in if NO ONE has any patience!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

back to basics

i've gotten lazy.  i understand how a lot of people can do it.  you get up for work early, get ready for work, get the kid ready, go to work, get the kid from day care, go home, get the kid settled with dinner, grab yourself something quick, get the kid a bath and ready for bed, put the kid to bed, and finally, finally, finally, YOU yourself get a few minutes of quiet before it's time for you to go to bed.

where do you fit in time for exercise and taking care of yourself?
i used to just go for a quick run with audrey or take a walk but with the subzero temps (ok at least it FEELS that cold), and the ice covering the streets and paths, i am stuck in the house....

i wish josh wasn't so busy so that i could get some time for me to go to the gym... i'm hoping today or tomorrow to get a chance to go.  that is, if audrey behaves.... she's teething so she's been SO fussy lately... and gassy.... and i think she got josh's glorious reflux!

i have decided though once we get our finances and bills sorted that i am going to just make sure we have healthier things to eat, that i take TIME to cook, and that at least 3 days a week i get to the gym- even if it's just for a half hour or so.... but i MUST do it! 

i think i will be a better wifey and momma if i remember to take care of myself sometimes too.
yesterday josh watched audrey again so i could take a nap ( i couldn't sleep more than 20 min ), but at least there was that....

i'll be no good to anyone if im a tired, unhealthy grump!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

belly laughs

laughter is truly the best medicine.


i am a naturally stressed out person.  for as long as i can remember everyone tells me to relax and i have no idea how... honestly just no clue.  but try laughing for a minute.  you just feel lighter. 
that whole statement that it takes more muscles to frown than smile is so beyond true.  it hurts when my jaw's been clenched for an hour or so and im pouty, but it is so effortless to smile. 

well i've been having a rough weekend full of just cleaning, making baby food, and taking care of josh, pickle and audrey.  yes, josh is a grown man but i end up cooking dinner or cleaning up after dinner or having to remind him of something to do and it's just like one thing after the other with me.  so needless to say, my jaw's been clenched a lot this weekend and finally NOW i have a minute to myself to just sit without having to rush to complete another task.

well, during audrey's bath i decided the quickest way to get rid of the bubbles and get her out of the tub was to just scoop them up and splash them out (she was in her baby tub in the big tub since the kitchen was occupied with fresh dinner for our guests).  poor mommy was just in a hurry to get one more thing done that i was completely taken off guard when audrey started laughing as i splashed out the bubbles.  and not just her usual squeal and screech.... this was something i hadn't heard since she was about 4 or 5 months old - a full on belly laugh.  and it wasnt a fluke either.... she kept going and going with each splash.  she was so contented and amused by mommy violently splashing bubbles out of her tub and into the big tub that she had this deep giggly chuckle....
it was so cute that grouchy momma i was being couldn't hold it in and laughed SO hard that our guests came upstairs to see what i was laughing at.

being a mom is entirely exhausting and tiresome most days, but moments like those remind me just how rewarding it is above all else.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

TSA go away!

i know they think they are being safe, but where does it end?
daily there are more and more horror stories of TSA agents taking advantage of their positions and being highly unprofessional in their job duties.  on that same subject, who implemented these new procedures as necessary and not public humiliation and a violation of our rights?
I am no political activist, but ever since having audrey, i feel like i need to watch out for her and protect her, and the new standards of preflight screening seem a bit unnecessary.

the strip search xray machines pose a few questions in my mind off the bat:
- are they safe?  they havent been around long enough to test the repeat effects of the rays.
- are they ok for kids/elderly people?
- why do they have to be SO lifelike and graphic?  why does it have to be an actual physical naked photograph?
- if they are supposed to be deleted after they are looked at, why are these private photos surfacing on the internet?  isn't this just like porn?
- why are the measures so drastic if you decide that because of these and possibly some other very good reasons, that you would like to opt out and not subject yourself to a naked photograph and potentially harmful rays?

the new pat down procedures also pose a few questions in my mind:
- why are the tsa agents administering these security procedures not screened more harshly before they are given jobs?  why are the screening procedures to get on an airplane more rigid and harsh than getting a federal security job?  (we have convicted rapists and sex offenders giving men, women, and children grabby pat downs.)
- why are there no exceptions to the "either body image scan or molestation" pre flight screens?  if youre traveling with children or the elderly or vulnerable adults, why is the policy not a bit more flexible? 
- why do you have to stick fingers and hands into/on places that are PRIVATE???  i can see a pat down, but why the need to give me a breast exam and pretty much "wipe me" with your gloved hands?
- why do you have to extensively pat down a child?  what is my daughter hiding in her diaper besides poop and pee?  you might find the squash from last nite's dinner but that's about it.  if a child is screaming and frightened and crying and yelling "stop it!" at a tsa agent, why hasn't anyone seen that something is wrong?


when is this going to stop?  i have to take a flight in january with audrey and it's either subject both of us to harmful rays or subject both of us to a public grope-fest.  she is my daugther and i live to protect her and keep her safe from any asshole that would try to harm her or hurt her or get their jollies off by touching her.  i'd break every last bone in their body.  yet the government in the name of safety has turned into a pack of perverts.  where does it end?  what other rights and freedoms have to be taken away next?

Friday, November 19, 2010

winter hunger

no one seems to have an answer for why all of a sudden as the temperature drops and the sunlight lessens we become MORE hungry.  i'm sure there's some scientific reasoning or old wive's tale as to why, but it's nothing i know of.
and why is it that in the winter, we crave healthy things less and are drawn more towards salt, meat, baked goods, stews, and rich hot chocolate? 
in the summer i could LIVE off veggies, hummus, salad, and fruit.  my only weakness is iced coffee and the occasional ice cream treat.  once fall hits and the weather chills i want cookies, chilis, bread, casseroles, stews, rice, and potatoes. 
i mean, i understand the animals and why the squirrel that keeps trying to break through my upstairs window looks about as big as my cat- he's getting ready for winter, hibernation, and needs to stay warm outside. 
i live in a house with heat and have a lot of warm clothes (most of which fit).  so why is it that i can't stop EATING lately?  is it because i am drinking a ton of water to counteract the ridiculous amount of salt i've just consumed?  is it the coffee kicking my metabolism into overdrive and making me more hungry?  is it boredom since i can't go outside with audrey and take walks like i used to because it is 20 degrees out?
what is it?
whatever it is, it is killing my diet.  i had 5 pounds to go and now i think i have about 8.  i look like a darned balloon again.



and on this self loathing topic I AM MY WORST CRITIC!!!!  people at work tell me i look great after 8 months of having audrey out of me.  and what sucks worse is that i gained almost 60 pounds and like many, gaining weight is a cinch for me.... but losing it, there has always been my weakness.  if i were stupid and younger, i would revert back to my childhood and go back to starvation or crash diets of coffee and ice cubes and lettuce leaves with 4 hours of exercise attempted per day.  but this is reality- i have a full time job which allots me no time at all to get anything done and i have a baby.  josh works more than i do and stupider hours and has to teach jiu jitsu 4 days a week so it is fair to say that i have 2 full time jobs.  where do i get time to work out?  again, i am so hard on myself.
the great jean war is still going on as my old jeans still refuse to get past my hips.  i stare enviously at other women's bodies (especially those i know that have had kids already and are back to normal or THINNER) and wonder what the heck i'm doing wrong and why i cant just be thin again!


why is this even a big deal i wonder!  as long as we are all healthy it shouldn't matter but i guess because i was teased so much and liked so little for being heavy, i just want to be back to what i remember as a good size - but then i wonder if i am so mentally warped if any size will ever be good enough.

audrey's approaching 1 year old soon and if i am not back in my jeans by then, i might have a meltdown. 

so back to overeating.... i am making it my winter/holiday goal to CHILL OUT.... but so far, the past few days i have failed and failed miserably!  tomorrow's always another day, right?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

give me the simple life

Ella Fitzgerald - Give Me the Simple Life

I don't believe in frettin' and grievin';
Why mess around with strife'
I never was cut out to step and strut out.
Give me the simple life.
 

Some find it pleasant dining on pheasant.
Those things roll off my knife;
Just serve me tomatoes; and mashed potatoes;
Give me the simple life.

A cottage small is all I'm after,
Not one that's spacious and wide.
A house that rings with joy and laughter
and the ones you love inside.

Some like the high road, I like the low road,
Free from the care and strife.
Sounds corny and seedy, but yes, indeed-y;
Give me the simple life. 


Strangely enough, I love Ella Fitzgerald but never really knew of this song before....This has been on an episode of Family Guy that I've seen 100x or so and it was on again last nite and I just had to look up the words.

I am honestly very glad Josh live as humbly as we do.  If anyone knows us, our house isnt put together at ALL.  Our living room is near 90+ year old woodwork, yellow walls, a blueish gray recliner/rocker, an  olive green couch that is beat to hell, a tan ikea coffee table, and scattered toys.  There is a giant lamp on a bookshelf and a vaccuum and exercise ball in the next corner.  On one wall there is a map of the Nassau County bus line with photos I took in Northern Ireland and Dublin surrounding it.  On the opposite wall there is a photo of my grandma and grandpa's wedding day and underneath that there is a photo of the 42nd Ave subway entrance that I took in 12th grade.  We have no dining room table and have left that room for traffic and tatami's.  Audrey's room is yellow with pictures of kids we know and furniture that we received from friends or found in the garage.  Our upstairs is just a place for a bed and a tv and some clothes.  Our bathroom has no theme and nor does our kitchen.  But, we're happy.

The only things we splurge on are food.  We got our bigger (yeah it's just big-ger, not big) tv on craigslist and our bed was on clearance.  We like to eat.  We like to feed other people.  Most anyone who has been to our house knows how much Josh loves grilling (and even THAT thing we got on sale after Thanksgiving last year) and loves people coming over.

I'm glad that it takes little to keep me smiling.  Give me coffee and some cereal in the morning and I am the most content person (as long as Josh or Audrey dont disturb my 20 minutes of "me" time).  Give me a car that gets me to and from my job without breaking down, and I am happy.  Give me a job that pays me enough to take care of bills and things, and I'm happy.  Give me a responsible and trustworthy day care, and I am happy.  Give me smiles and laughs throughout the day, I am happier than a pig in mud.


I'm glad that I was given such a poor example as a kid.  I'm glad I was taught to live outside my means and be scraping to just get by.  I don't want that for myself.  I always vowed when I had a child that she would be my #1 priority always.  I always want to make sure she is clothed, fed, and taken care of before Josh or myself.   I'm also glad my dad was so hard on us too.  It was the whole "do it right or don't do it at all" kind of ethic.  I'm glad.  I might not have a great job but I put this attitude into everything I do.  At least I have THAT self fulfillment. 


I also like that I am a bill collector because it keeps me humble.  I can't complain about the minor things in life because I have a one up on so many people.  I have a job and a family and a support system and a house that is being paid for, bills that are not months behind....




So back to the song.... "sounds corny and cheesy but yes indeed-y, give me the simple life!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

ive always wondered

ive always wondered why people at work insist on taking personal calls in the bathroom and act like you are invading their privacy when you go in to "do your business."
ive always wondered how the person on the other end feels when they hear toilets flushing or someone passing gas.

i've always wondered why people are so selfish and cant see that by giving, you better everyone's situation.

i've always wondered why people with very large orders go through the drive-thru.

i've always wondered why bad things happen to good people.

i've always wondered why really inept people have jobs i am more than capable of doing but somehow can't get hired at.

i've always wondered why a job application will require experience in that field but most people are just starting out and have no experience.

i've always wondered how traffic starts.

i've always wondered why we cant just eat and eat and not get fat or have diseases.

i'm sure i'll wonder more but that was all for now.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the perils of the frosty white

i am not a winter fan.  God only knows why i left NY (the occasional winter hell-hole) to move to the great lands of MN that are wintery and cold for half the year.
BUT i did and here i am.
yesterday involved some non-stop flakes that were HEAVY.  very very HEAVY.  needless to say there are a few trees in our yard that have missing support branches that are scattered across my property.  there are worse things that could have happened..... i mean, it very well could have knocked our power out, but it didnt.
i have to say that the only thing i like about winter is the exercise.  last night i shoveled the stairs, the walkway, the sidewalk, the back walkway, the driveway (which is all grass and dirt) and part of the alley.  this morning i am still quite sore, but i feel GREAT actually.
another thing i love about winter is the ungodly amounts of coffee and hot chocolate i consume.  i have an excuse though- it's cold.

i hate driving in the snow/sleet/ice/frozen rain.  it's bad enough on a normal day with people acting like total buffoons, but with acclimate weather, people are more braindead.  i worry about someone spinning out of control and hitting my car and hurting audrey.  i would kill the person that harmed her.  i am not joking.  i would jump out of my car and go straight ax murderer on them... no joke.  see that ice scraper in my trunk?  :)

well, that's enough complaining.  my new car actually handled the nonsense quite well yesterday so i am a bit less afraid of driving in the snow. 
and my shoveling job is still in tact from yesterday which means that maybe, maybe, maybe, no more snow... for now.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

falling falling falling

im sick of snow falling.
im also sick of tree branches falling.

i am so angry we got robbed by a friend of ours.  you trust a friend who owns a landscaping business and then he steals your money and the harder you fight to get it back, the longer the wait.  i wish i would have gotten my money back to pay an honest person to trim our trees.  ugh!

we have like 7 trees on our property (well 3 of them are like 2 connected) and they are all very tall and branchy.  the snow outside is so heavy that they are bowing and falling under the weight.
i am TERRIFIED that there will be damage to our house or our neighbors' houses.  i dont want that.

it doesnt show any signs of stopping until tomorrow evening and i am WORRIED.
i also dont want anyone passing by to get hurt if something were to fall.

at least my car got in the garage and didnt get stuck.  one positive thing in the midst of this white hell.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the idiot police

lately i have been more and more afraid driving.
people are just.... well, idiots.

here are some occurances from this week alone (i am not exaggerating ANYTHING):
-i was trying to get onto hwy 100s to get to work and a fedex express truck was trying to race me and not let me on (there was a lot of early morning traffic) and i almost ran into the concrete where the lane ends.
-i was stuck behind a guy in a fancy car who was trying to drive, drink a redbull and text.  ne2edless to say he stopped short alot and i couldn't get around him.
-i had a truck do the "switchsignal" move... A TRUCK- switched lanes and signaled while switching lanes..... a TRUCK!!!
-i was trying to get from the left lane to the right lane to make my exit for work and got stuck behind the lane shifter.... the lane shifter that forgets he has a signal.  needless to say this jackass got off on my exit which has 2 lanes that he decided to drive down the middle of.... then he got off at the same stoplight as me and would NOT signal that he was turning or anything....just random brake lights here and there.
-the 4 way stop lady.... there was a guy who was going straight to the left of me, i needed to make a left hand turn and there was a lady across the way who was going to go straight.  i got to the stop sign just a hair before she did.  i should have thought that she would be braindead.  the guy who was going straight had the right of way so he went.  then i decided to make my turn and she decided to go straight.... just as i was turning she decided to lay on the horn for a good grip... she was just a blip in my rearview mirror and i could STILL hear the horn!
-then there's the usual "tailriders".... the "one second pause stoppers".... the "fly into oncoming traffic"-ers....the "slowman in the fast lane"-ers...


i feel like a seinfeld episode with all these nicknames.  but i get so nervous still when i drive.  i'm terrified someone will be so careless and hit me from behind or on the side where audrey sits...

i wish people would just wake UP and be CAREFUL.  some of us have some precious cargo on board!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

you think by now...

you think by now josh would have gotten it....
you can NOT have guys over and drink late anymore!  more importantly, you can NOT have guys over and drink late on a SUNDAY!!!  you and your guy friends can NOT be LOUD when it's late regardless of the day because AGAIN i get stuck with a cranky baby!

i get up for work at 530....
i have to pump, shower, get breakfast, get audrey up and fed, get her dressed and get out the door to work.
i do NOT have time to alter my schedule and cater it to a stranger being on the couch...

sometimes i just dont think guys THINK!  you have a KID and a "wife" that goes to bed early and gets up early.... NOT time for parties anymore.

i am so irritated right now.  they are being SO loud in the basement which is right under audrey's room so you can hear EVERYTHING!  she is having a hard time sleeping tonight as it is so i am getting even more irritated right now because i am worried she is going to wake up.

i want to screeeeaaaaam!!!!!!

guys out there, if your wife is pregnant and you like to drink and have people over, understand this:
YOU need to take a backseat once your kid is born, step up, and HELP!  stop thinking of YOU and what YOU like to do and HELP!

i feel so burdened right now and have i mentioned IRRITATED?
i have been alone all weekend because of people and jiu jitsu.... i get to take care of audrey while everyone else is out and about because she's been sick.  i didnt even WANT anyone over.....
and now, it's sunday and we work tomorrow so, WHY drink so much that someone can't drive home??

plus, the LOUD VOICES in the basement under my kid's room are driving me NUUUUUTS.

AAAARRRRRRGGGGG!!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

at the end of 7 months

i cant believe audrey will be 8 months next week!  it is insane how time has flown by.
the sad thing is, this almost ends our time of nursing together.  my supply has gotten BEYOND low and i dont have enough to send to day care for her.  so, we have started supplementing 1-2 bottles a day at day care ONLY with formula.  sucks cos i really didn't want to give her formula at all, but it is helping me get some milk stored up so it wont have to be an every day thing.  it is sad cos i think i will miss her nursing more than she will.  it's our snuggle time and i love when she looks up at me and just smiles her big toothless smile.  it is awesome though that she self weans.  she weaned herself off a nuk at like 3 months old and could really care less what she is being fed as long as she is fed it.  i like that she is so adventurous and likes to have new tastes and experiences.  im actually quite lucky to have such an adaptable baby - unless it's bedtime!  she needs her bath, her jammies, her books, and her bed ONLY.  sucks when we're out somewhere!  then it's meltdown city, population 1- audrey!

on another note, i realize how much moms do.  moms spend their time taking care of their children, worrying about their kids, keeping up the housework, and being exhausted.  dads work and have hobbies.... (at least in my world).  i cant even remember when i had a minute to get a hair cut or go to the dentist or doctor for my own self .....  i think working moms deserve an even bigger reward for getting everything above done and working 20-40 hours a week!  it is so hard! (that's what she said....)  i feel like when audrey needs mommy LESS, daddy will be a bit less hesitant to keep her for an afternoon for me.

im kind of thankful he chose to stay home with her monday when she was sick.  he even told me himself, "you don't really have time to do anything!  i thought i could nap when she napped but then there was just so much to do and just when i thought i could do stuff she woke up again..."

that was actually the biggest joy to hear of all things.  we had a nice conversation how exhausting it is to wait til she goes to bed at night to get stuff done or get up extra early on the weekends to get things done.. i just don't ever want her to think a clean house comes before a happy house.  she does like to watch me cook and plays with her measuring cups or in her exersaucer by herself but still....

life is so busy and is flying by so fast.  i'd rather memories than a clean house and gourmet eats... plus, when audrey can walk and explore more i am so sure she is gonna want to be outside with daddy on "the great cat hunt" and not inside with mommy all the time.....(they go chasing after our cat together and it is SO cute cos audrey goes "tuhhh tuhhh tuhhhh kuh kuh kuh" at the cat....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

a picture's worth a thousand words

so the guy that did my half sleeve books up REAL quick.  REAL quick.
so, i know a want a tattoo to honor audrey and just how awesome she is and how happy i am to have her but i am still at a LOSS for what to get.  since he books up so quickly, i already made appointments and have a consultation for dec 11.
soooo here's the ideas so far:
- a half sleeve of a page in our favorite book "Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants" of the momma monkey and baby monkey (since audrey is my little monkey)





-then there's the mommy giraffe/baby giraffe idea since her favorite toy is a giraffe named Sophie and she has a stuffed giraffe and a giraffe dress.... here are some pics i found









so, i guess- vote on your favorite idea or pic.  just remember, i have a very dark half sleeve on one side with some cherry blossoms.... i kinda want another half sleeve but dont wanna be too matchy matchy or too out there so it looks stupid.

post your votes in the comment spot below and HELP ME before december 11.

Monday, October 25, 2010

are you able to operate a motor vehicle? (a short quiz)

after nearly being in a ton of accidents due to the carelessness of others (honestly), i decided to make a quiz to see if you really CAN and SHOULD operate a motor vehicle....

1) Is your cell phone glued to at least one of your hands at all times?
2) Do you feel that turn signals are optional or should be used at the very last second?
3) Do you forget to turn on your head lights?
4) If there is inclement weather, do you drive below half of the posted speed limit?
5) While driving, if there are cars approaching from an oncoming ON ramp, do you speed up to make sure they don't get in front of you?
6) Do you STOP completely at a yellow light?
7) While at a green turn arrow, do you sit in your car organizing things on your front seat or space out or send a text?
8) Do you believe in multi-tasking and feel that you can put on make up, fix your hair, send texts or talk on the phone while driving?
9) Do you feel the need to stop and stare at every flashing light/police car/stalled vehicle/accident on the side of the road??
10) Is your car just so awesomely expensive and brand new that you have this sense of entitlement or an overprotective nature about you that you just can't seem to drive normally?





If you answered yes to any of these questions.... GIVE BACK YOUR LICENSE AND GET A STATE ID AND BUS PASS!
I am sick of driving near you people and having you share the road with me. 

the ever growing audrey

it would be unfair to say i love my daughter now more than i ever could. some days i feel like that though. 
lately audrey has just been TOO cute.  she is learning to hug, kiss, and cuddle.  at bed time she gets all snugly on my shoulder and falls asleep on me sometimes..... there are times she grabs my face and smiles and squeals, and then there are days she grabs my face and tries to give me a kiss.
she is so loving.  she LOVES to squeal and smile and shriek and laugh. 
of course this comes with the ever painful squeal that turns into a grunty whine that turns into tantrum crying.  but most often, audrey is a happy girl.
she's also started feeding herself.  she reaches out for the spoon and helps dip it in the bowl and bring it toward her mouth and feeds herself.  if we dont hold onto the spoon though, she does think the spoon itself is the food and is able to gag herself which is NOT fun.

she loves story time.  she hits the pages and smiles at the pictures.... she lays on me and cuddles me...
i honestly cant get enough of my little girl.

she may lack the "motor skills" of crawling, standing and rolling over, but she is such a smiley, happy, and social little girl that is CHATTY.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

dream a little dream...

i had a dream i fit into these size 4 pants i used to wear for work.
i woke up to find that my jeans still read size 8.
oh well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

the rambling mind of a momma

"There is a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that chronic emotional stress can be associated with heart disease and early death. ....It appears that the unrequited fight-or-flight reaction, if it occurs often enough and chronically enough, may be harmful.....  We also know that the surge in adrenaline caused by severe emotional stress causes the blood to clot more readily, increasing the risk of heart attacks."

i need to slow down.  honestly.  i have the creepiest of dreams, can't sleep, panic, my heart is just nonstop... there's so much to do and not enough hours in the day to do it.  i have learned to make audrey my priority and play with her first, but then im left with a train wreck of a house to conquer alone since josh has to work late a few nites a week... this is on top of me working 35 hours a week and shleping to and from day care.

i am so tired of having to be "on."  sometimes i just want to lay in bed, not get up, and not take care of anyone.... i feel frumpy and haggard, ive got bags under my eyes, and i really am thinking they need a coffee delivery service....

i worry though that my constant "go go go go" lifestyle that one day i might collapse for real.  xanax anyone?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

the frugal, bargain hunting, coupon loving mom

i love a good deal. 

"buy one get one free"
"half off"
"free"
"bargain bin"
"$1"
"10 for $10"
"clearance"
"temporary price reduction"
"sale price"

these are signs that rule my shopping experience!  plus, i am a coupon fiend.
i love when you register for baby stuff at target, they continuously send you great coupon deals.  i love free samples that send you coupons in the mail.  i love when the local grocery store sends out a monthly coupon booklet full of great stock up items and savings.

i figured i would share a bit of my newfound knowledge on having a family and having fun on a budget.
grocery shopping is a total pain in the butt.  everything is so expensive.  meat is not cheap (and we are a family of meat eaters), cereal isnt cheap, fruits and veggies aren't cheap... but i found some great ways to save without needing a costco membership (which is also handy by the way for some other things).

MEAT- occasionally they have family packs, discounted prices, and massive sales.  this is when i stock up - even if i dont need it right away.  we got a deep freezer just for this reason.  holidays are also a great time to stock up on meat. tons of things are on sale around the holidays.
FROZEN STUFF- i really don't eat a lot of frozen things just because i like fresh fruits and veggies BUT.... again we have a deep freezer for things like pizza (who doesn't just want a frozen pizza sometimes because it's quick and easy and cheaper than getting papa johns?), tator tots and juice.
a lot of times those cans of juice will be $1 each and while we aren't big juice drinkers, occasionally the craving hits and it's cheaper than a $3 bottle.
PANTRY ITEMS- my favorite time to stock up on these items is around holidays.  thanksgiving, christmas, and easter especially.  very BASIC BASIC things suddenly are CHEAP like butter, flour, sugar, stuffing mix, soups, stocks, chips, crackers.... i think i still have 2 boxes of stuffing that haven't expired yet because they were a dollar a box around christmas. 
baby food when it's on sale and i have coupons is a double savings for me!  my dear sweet audrey just eats and eats and eats... so, target occasionally will have jarred food and cereal on sale and gerber sends me coupons and i get target coupons, so when these items go on sale, i use the coupons and sale prices to save big!

a lot of savings come from having a watchful eye.  i don't buy halloween candy until right near halloween because it's cheaper then.  i get a lot of cleaning supplies and pens and stuff around the end of august when parents are out getting school supplies.  i pay attention to where i get the best deals and where i get USEFUL store coupons.  i learned the hard way that just because i have a coupon for it, doesnt mean i have to buy it....when i see things i know i will use eventually on sale, i have to remember a few key points:
- does it have a long shelf life?
- do i really need it right now?
-if i wait, will it get marked down any more or will it go back to normal price?

so, hope that helps.  i'm still learning how to budget with a josh, a baby, and a cat.  we all have our likes and dislikes and all need to eat and be clothed.  clothes are a whole other story... i'm still not that great with clothes shopping and staying on budget.... but at least with food and cleaning supplies, i'm getting there.

being a new mom is a total learning process....

Friday, October 8, 2010

i'm a regular ol' girlscout

i really really love baking.
i dont know why.  i just love making cookies and cakes and muffins and brownies and cupcakes and bars and breads (like pumpkin and banana).  i love figuring out new twists on old recipes and throwing odd ingredients in and seeing what happens.
i was thinking maybe i should start selling them.  i mean, i know i cant make like an "at home business" cos of permits and health code stuff (i'm totally clean by the way- in fact, i wash my hands TOO much- seriously), also tax write offs, but what about if for fun, i sell some of what i make?  what if someone back in NY wanted to buy some around the holidays or people i work with wanted me to bake goods for their family function?  i would do it!

here are some goodies i like to prepare:
-peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
-chocolate chip cookies
-banana bread
-pumpkin bread
-banana chocolate chip bread
-peanut butter cup cookies
-monkey cakes (banana nutella cupcakes with chocolate chips)
-coffee chocolate chip cookies
-nutella chocolate chip cookies
-apple crisp
-oreo cheesecake


here are some things i want to make:
-pumpkin pie
-pumpkin cheesecake
-carmel chocolate cupcakes
-gingerbread cakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting
-raspberry tartlets
-berry pie
-apple pie
-bread pudding
-toffee brownies
-coffee brownies
-lemon shortbread cookies
-carrot cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting


yeah, as you can see i can keep going.... so let me know if you want anything and i will figure out costs and shipping (if you're far away).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

thoughts to the sounds and snores....

I've been reflecting a lot on my youth lately.  I've been reflecting and regretting.
See, I was brought up from 13-20 to be a "born again Christian."  Of course a lot of that upbringing was of my own consciousness and volition but I regret a lot of what it made me.
I found some old emails I wrote in that time period and people I never really befriended in that time period that are actually quite amazing people.

This is what bothers me.  I missed out on a lot.  I'm not talking sex and drugs.  I'm talking about experiences, friendships, lessons learned.  I traded those things in for judgment, piety, and haughtiness.  What's worse, is that in the small circle of Christians that we called "family", there were cliques, circles, and "bad seeds."  How does that work?  How do you say to a member of your family, "Hey sorry but you're not quite as 'spiritual' as us so we cant associate with you."

It was my understanding that only God is to judge. Doesn't it say somewhere that "God will judge the living and the dead"?  It is also my understanding that Jesus hung out with prostitutes and sinners, the worst of the worst.  Yes he didn't partake in what they did, but he did spend time with them in the hopes of winning them over with good deeds and kindness.

I am in no way shape or form saying God doesn't exist.  That is exactly what I'm NOT going for here.  I don't regret being introduced to God.  I honestly feel like I am, in spite of a ton of crap lately, pretty lucky and blessed.  I have a beautiful baby girl, a house to call my own, a great boyfriend, and money to pay bills and feed myself, Josh, my cat, and my baby.  We have a great family and know some pretty amazing people and have done and accomplished some pretty amazing things.  What I am saying is that I regret letting a system of beliefs dictate my life in the way it did.  I think God wants us to be kind to others, to do good, and to love.  I honestly respect Buddhism a lot for its philosophies and teachings.  I feel like that is true Christianity- to find the opportunity to do good and be kind and to do it - and there is ALWAYS opportunity.  I don't think it is in my place to judge anyone else because I am human also and with being human comes flaws and shortcomings.  I don't think Christianity is meant to have "levels" and that someone is higher up than someone else and much closer to God than someone else.  Who are we to judge the heart and mind of an Almighty being?

This behavior caused me to ostracize members of my own family- blood relatives.  I don't want to bring my child up to behave or think that way.  I want her to embrace everyone, to have her own set of values and morals, to do good, be good, and think positively.  Maybe it's a pipe dream and I'm grasping at straws, but this is my hope.  I will talk to her about God but I wont force it upon her.  If she chooses at whatever age it may be to visit a church, I will take her, but I wont make it a mandate in her life.  I want her to be free to choose...free to think..... free to love whomever comes across her path.... and free to be whatever she is meant to be.  I wonder if not bound to the set of strict rules and guidelines I grew up under if I would be different.  Again, I am thankful for the morals instilled in me because I was kept out of a lot of terrible situations, but I was also robbed of some amazing opportunities, experiences and friendships because of how sternly and rigidly I was made to upkeep these ideals. 

Maybe I have offended some or many with these ramblings, but it is my hope to publicly make amends to the many that I offended, insulted, ostracized, shunned, and irritated with my barrage of bible quotes misused and taken out of context and my holier-than-thou attitude that kept me from being truly humble and real with myself and others.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10 things I wish people told me about pregnancy/childbirth/babyraising...

I'm a thinker and a list maker.  Here is the first of many....

10) Exercise while pregnant is NOT hazardous!!  I was told to be careful about exercising and people made me feel guilty for doing ANY!!!
9) Breastfeeding does NOT help you lose all the baby weight and give you the best body you've ever had.  In fact, many mom's I've talked to had to work REALLY hard to lose weight even while breastfeeding.
8) Most dads wont get involved with the child until they can actually DO something like smile, or hold a toy, or have an attention span.
7) You CAN and SHOULD try to put your baby on a schedule as early as possible.
6) It is OK to let the lil baby cry and NOT always rush to pick them up.
5) You will have to give up having a clean house.  Between toys and books and just having NO time, the house will get messy if you and your spouse work full time.
4) Coffee is your new best friend and saviour.
3) You just simply will NOT be prepared for the birth - nothing will ever be completely ALL ready.
2) You will never forget the birth of your baby.
1) You will never ever ever be able to love anyone as much as your child.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weird Dreams About Future Times....

I dont even mean future as in 2020 or something like that.  I mean future as in a few months from now future.

The other night i dreamed Audrey had 4 teeth and woke up to find no teeth and was all confused where her teeth went.  Last night I had a dream I made a beef stew and a vegetarian friend asked me for the recipe because I made the beef look just that good....

I am in a hurry for winter to come.  I get away with more in the winter... Josh doesn't mind that I bake so much (we have potlucks and it's the holidays), and I FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY get to go to Long Island to visit my family.

My cousin's kid is already 1, my niece that I never met yet is going to be 1, and my lil Jellybean (my other niece) is already over 2 years old....I don't even KNOW at this point how old my own Grandma is (in my mind the dear woman is still 60) and she even wants to meet my Audrey.  NO ONE in my own family has seen Audrey yet and she'll be 10 months the day that we go visit!

I don't really talk to anyone I was friends with growing up but I wonder if maybe they would want to see us too.  I mean, sometimes I think about what life would be like if i never left NY, but, I'm happy with my choices.... I don't think I would have been blessed with my dear baby Audrey if not for the way things turned out.

On the subject of baking (my mind has ADHD)- I'm really excited to try new things....
Some things this fall/winter are going to bring are:
-raspberry tartlets
-pumpkin pie
-apple pie
-nutella cookies (again)
-pb chocolate chip cookies (again)
-monkey cakes (round 2 - i almost got it!)
-mini cheesecakes
-beef and mushroom stew (round 2- i think i got it)
-chili
-jambalaya
-oven roasted chicken (i have a new idea and i am EXCITED to try it) with roasted veggies
-cake decorating (just somethin i wanna try)

SO, if you find yourself drooling and want me to make you some and live in another state or live nearby, I'm thinking about maybe selling some treats (after I get them right of course).... just don't tell the city of Minneapolis cos I think I might get fined!!  : P

Monday, September 27, 2010

... the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day (from hell)

It started with the alarm... I woke up to the horrible buzzing of my alarm with the red glaring numbers saying "5:45."  I had clothes to iron and I was NOT feeling like showering for work.
Then I weighed myself and due to my irresponsibility over the weekend, I was 2 pounds HEAVIER than last week. 
Then I got to work, and oh the cruel irony of debt collections- I get a friend a HUGE payment getting him to commission, a big payment I needed to stay on track to bonus fell through, and the absolute stupidity of politics and favoritism just got to the core of my soul.  Debt collections is, in itself a very political business.  In order to NOT look obvious, people are fake and "nice" and the rules apply to some, not all.  I am the some, not the "not all" and I guess I just expect everyone over the age of 16 to act with decency and honesty and integrity and unfortunately just because people are the age of an adult, they can still be selfish and human.
Anyway, then there was terrible traffic on the way home.  TERRIBLE traffic.  Then my car nearly ran out of gas on the way home from day care.  I went to pull into the Gas Stop on Penn & Lowry and everything looked fine.  There was a pump open and I could easily get to it without an issue and Audrey was still doing fine in the car and there was no sign of a screaming fit coming.... that is until the giant asshole in the fancy red Jaguar whipped in front of me and nearly hit my car... then while trying to get OUT of the way another dingbat opened his car door while I was just trying to leave.
I finally get home and my dear sweet Audrey was nothing but smiles, squeals, drool, and fun.  She had a great time with me and was well behaved and went to bed early enough where I could get some stuff done.
All in all it was a craptastic day and I am not looking forward to work tomorrow BUT, I always have that beautiful smile to come home to.  That's enough for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

to all those i work with who envy my getting off work early...

you all have no idea.  this is the first time i have gotten to sit down without a child on my lap or needing some attention.
my days are just so full and so busy.
i get up at 545, pump, shower, get dressed, get breakfast, get audrey up, feed audrey, get audrey breakfast, and get audrey dressed and out the door to be at day care by 8 and to work by 830 (on wed thurs and fri) or josh drops her off at day care when i have to be to work by 8.  i leave work at 4 only to sit in traffic for nearly a half hour, get my baby from day care, then go home to feed audrey, get audrey dinner, get her a bath, and have SOME play time and stories before i feed her again and it's bed time by 7 at the latest.  around 7 i get to finally sit down and eat something and then get everything ready for the next day (pack our lunch pail, pack audrey's bottles and food for day care, do dishes, clean up, and iron some clothes for the next day).  im usually done with everything around 815 or so and can finally BREATHE.
this is not including the fact that i would LOVE to exercise and study....
i feel so behind on everything.  i forget to pay bills, i forget to call family, our house gets dirty so fast....
i want to better our lives by studying to pass the state registration exam to get a better job with better insurance and better pay so we aren't living check to check with crappy hours...
i also want time for me.  i want to be able to get a haircut and a tattoo (whenever i get money for THAT), i want to go running and train bjj again.... i want a nap or a solid night's sleep.
yeah having a kid changes things.  life is crazy chaotic.  it needs 30 hours a day instead of 23:59.  we dont have family nearby to help watch audrey at the drop of a hat... i feel guilty sometimes having someone watch her because i feel like i dont spend nearly enough time with her as i should...
oh the dilema of an unbalanced life and the chaos of being a new momma.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

the power of sleep

it's amazing what a few extra hours of sleep or a nap can do.
this weekend, including friday, audrey just would NOT sleep.  she was fussy and crabby and grumpy a lot and simply no fun!

when she does sleep though, she is the cutest and most beautiful looking angel.  and when she wakes up, she is chatty and excited and all smiles!
i love putting audrey to bed.  i love when she snuggles on me or puts her head on my shoulder and buries her face into my shirt.  i even love hearing her little baby snores! 
i love that she actually goes to sleep now!  she puts herself down between 6 and 7 and wakes up 12 hours later excited to see her mommy again!
i have the most wonderful little baby in the whole world!

Monday, September 6, 2010

hungry-potamus

i love my little audrey but BOYYYY can that LITTLE girl eat BIG!
practically speaking, there was no way i could afford to feed her unless i started to make the food myself.
this lil contraption was a bit pricey but i HIGHLY recommend it.
if not for the beaba babycook i think i would be in the poor house buying all the little gerber tubs for audrey to eat at mealtime.  she is just SO hungry.
sometimes, she cries when i wipe off her bib and wipe off her face because she is STILL hungry.  she eats far more than i think is healthy or necessary sometimes but what can ya do but feed her?


the beaba babycook is kind of small for its price.  the basket holds about 1/2 of a potato where you would want it to hold the WHOLE potato to obviously get it all done at once.  it IS extremely easy to use.  the blender has 3 lines on it and the instructions show you which line to fill it to depending on what food you are making.  then you set it to the steam option, go away and get something done, come back and empty the contents into the water (unless youre making a potato... whole other story to make potatoes) and set it to the blend option.  you have to hold it on the blend option if you want a nice puree BUT it also gives you the option to finely chop.  you make your puree, put it in some ice cube trays, freeze it, AND you can even REHEAT in the babycook!  i use the microwave because it's faster but the machine does reheat food.

i spend about $25- $40 a month on food for audrey.  go figure she eats a tub at breakfast, 2 tubs at lunch and dinner.... that's 5 tubs a day or around $3 a day.  that's $21 a week... $84 a month!!!  yes, i'd say this product is well worth it!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A night full of nightmares

I don't know why it is but lately I have had such VIVID dreams.  Maybe it is due to my lack of sleep, maybe I am so overtired that when I do get to sleep, my mind goes nuts, maybe it is because I eat stuff too late, maybe it's from creepy commercials for movies or random stuff on tv, or maybe... it's something different all together.

Last night's was the worst!  I finally got some sleep, but around 5 I heard Audrey stirring in her sleep.  I finally fell back to sleep to one of the creepiest dreams ever.  What sucks the worst is that I knew I was dreaming but couldn't wake up. 

I was dreaming that I was in a movie.  For some reason, everyone had a bandanna.  It was on their neck or in their hair or in their hands or on their wrists.... just everyone had one.  Red, blue, and black.  In this "movie" I was playing a protester.  All of a sudden my palm started bleeding and everyone started shouting "STIGMATA!!" so I ran up to some man and asked if I could borrow his bandanna.  I wrapped up my hand with a red bandanna and walked off "the set".  All of a sudden I was in our friends Tyler and Virginia's house but in my dream it was mine and Josh's house.  We were in their living room when this little kid showed up at the door and couldn't talk.  He was lost but couldn't talk to us.  Instead of calling the police to report the missing child, Josh decided to keep him.  We then took Audrey and this mystery boy to our daycare lady Melisa's house for dinner only our friends Cecilia and Sarah were there too.  There was a chalkboard above their couch with drawings that incorporated Audrey and how she was part of the daycare kid crew.  Out of nowhere, the drawings vanished and no one wanted us there anymore so we left.  We went back home where I was going to put Audrey to bed.  This balloon that Aunt Karen brought over after she was born was tied to her crib (and some how still full of helium).  The balloon just started flailing around all crazy like their was a gust of wind or something.  I saw a shadow and felt a really evil presence in her room (for some reason there was no shade on her window so it was the glare of her light blasting into the darkness of the outside on her window behind me) and I tried to scream only nothing would come out.  The presence of evil just got stronger and stronger and I couldn't yell!  I wanted to have Josh come to help keep us safe from whatever was coming after Audrey and I but I couldn't yell.  Then the balloon mysteriously deflated and was lying on the ground.  The kid that Josh had decided to keep was gone again and I couldn't find Audrey.  I tried again to scream but I couldn't.  I just remember the light being on in her room, it glaring off of the bare window and there being shadows in the dark night through the window.  I just remember trying to scream, wanting some help and protection but there being nothing but this evil force coming after me.

And then I woke up.  Even now as I am typing this out again in the eerie silence of naptime, every little noise is making me jump.  It was so real and scary.  I have never been more thankful to be awake.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Memories, Nostalgia, and Radio

Can't believe summer's over.  When you're a little kid, you can't wait for summer and dread the end-of-summer chill signifying fall weather and school's return.  As an adult, working ALL the time, I don't share the same dread for fall and the same lust for summer weather.  In fact, I adore fall.  For one, I hate being super sweaty and overheated and secondly, I LOVE hoodies and mittens.  But, I hate the fact that I work inside all the time during the day, every day of the week.  I love the sunny days that have a sweet smell and crispness in the air.  I like tromping through piles of crunchy leaves or laying in a warm grassy field in the sun.  I want to be able to take Audrey for walks and enjoy some sweet vitamin D and fresh air.

It was nice to go to the fair with Josh tonight while our friend Nick watched Audrey.  We got a date, and we got to wear hoodies!!!  We even listened to old mix cd's I had made when I met him since all he listened to was stuff on 93 X and I only listen to the Current.  It was a nice drive home listening to the Decemberists and the Shins, Mason Jennings, and even some Brand New, goin back to my Long Island roots.  Gotta love Merrick!  Actually, brought back good memories listening to Brand New.  I remember Dane and Will, the smell of cigarettes and beer, everyone playing songs on the guitar and singing, and late night cab rides back to my dad's house since I didn't have a car.

I love the nostalgia music evokes. I can hear REALLY old bands that remind me of car rides with my dad back when I was a kid.  I wonder if Audrey will one day think my music is super lame just like I remember of my dad's taste.  Come on Pat Benetar and Fleetwood Mac, right?  I wonder if Audrey will hate the Eels, the Black Keys, Mos Def, Atmosphere, etc....  I wonder if she will have fond memories when she hears songs when she's older.

I wonder what other sights, smells and sounds will make her remember the fun times she had with her momma when she's older....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day one of many....

I decided I have too much on my mind and way too much to say to put in a facebook status or note so .... it was time to make a blog.
SO much has changed in my life in the past 5 1/2 months!
I have the most amazing little addition to my life, Audrey Sobrinha
and now chaos has ensued.  Josh and I have work full time, a house to take care of, a pet cat, this BEAUTIFUL little girl, AND we try to have outside hobbies and alone time.  Needless to say, EVERYTHING is slacking except the cat and the baby.
I also decided I want to do something with my life.  I am looking into becoming a certified nursing assistant.  This means more schooling and studying.... BUSIER.











I also miss jiu jitsu.  Just 2 years ago I was on a podium getting my first place medal for nationals.  I was in the best shape of my life, the smallest I've been since I was 16, and I was working toward something.  Now I feel trapped in a mundane cycle with no escape.  I have no time to get my body back to where I want it, no time for ME to explore things that I want to do and learn.  Josh works late two days a week so I take care of Audrey alone, then Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays are jiu jitsu days.  I just feel trapped into taking care of housework, workwork, and mommy work.  I want a haircut, and a massage and a few days to myself to go jogging and get some new clothes....
Josh said that whenever I want to go out, he'll take care of the baby, but we are always busy or he is always busy so there's never really any time for me.
That's why I'm hoping just to get a nursing job, work some overnights in a hospital and have some day time for ME.  There's my hope.
That's all for now from one tired, worn out mommy.