Thursday, March 31, 2011

Batter Up!

My wait is over...Today is the first official day for regular season  2011 Major League Baseball! Spring is officially here and summer is right around the corner....although you can't tell with the 2 inches of new snow on the ground and really cold temperatures.... but what matters is that baseball is BACK!!!! I ♥ baseball!!!!


So that is what my husband is thinking about....

Often times during the day, when we are sitting watching TV or eating dinner I will look at my husband and say "What are you thinking?" Nine times out of 10 he will answer nothing. Yeah sure...I really wanted to know what he was thinking and why he wouldn't be open and honest with me. I am sure some of you have the same problem.

As I was looking for a solution to my problem, I came across the book For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn.

This book was an eye-opener for me. When Bill says he isn't thinking about anything, he probably is not thinking about anything! (Completely different from when a woman says she isn't thinking about anything, because we usually are thinking about LOTS of things! LOL)

For Women Only offers 7 revelations about men that we probably knew deep down, but we are not practicing. These include: Men need respect, men are insecure, men are providers, men want more sex, men are visual, men are unromantic clods, and that men care about appearance. In all of these Feldhahn takes scientific research analysis and uncovers the most common insecurities in the average man. Most of these seem like common sense to me, however once I really read about how to build up my husband and accept these principles about him, I learned that many things that I had been doing may have actually been hurting my husband and that he just didn't know how to tell me.

For some this book may seem preachy, and may seem like Feldhahn is saying that women needs to be subservient to their husbands. I don't feel that is the case at all. I feel she offers a comprehensive guide to what my husband is thinking. I plan on implementing some of her theories. Just the day after I read, I found myself more aware of what I was saying to my husband and HOW I was saying it to him. I am trying to be more positive and to reinforce how I feel that he is a great father, husband, and provider!

The only drawback to the book was about the design. Feldhahn had ideas bulleted in the chapters that were exact copy and pastes of sentences that you had just read or were going to read. They were VERY distracting.

The message of the book was AWESOME and empowering to me as a wife. One thing I am trying to do to live each day better is to be a better wife to my husband and I feel after reading this book and implementing the tactics that I FINALLY have the tools to do that!

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eat Your Peas Faithfully

Eat Your Peas Faithfully: Simple Truths and Happy Insights! by Cheryl Karpen promises to be a 3-minute forever book. This means that while this is a rather quick read, the ideas and sentiments expressed throughout the book will be uplifting for the rest of your life, in other words, forever!

As I read through Eat Your Peas Faithfully, I found a message that I had forgotten. God loves us! He really loves us and wants us to do well in life. The little messages reminded me that God has a purpose for each of us and we should trust in Him and everything will be fine. These messages came across in affirmations and encouraging sayings with evidence given with Biblical passages. As I suffer from depression and anxiety, I found this to be the perfect book for me! It was so uplifting and just brought a smile to my face.

The illustrations by Sandy Fougner are beautifully intricate, yet simple and offer a sense of calm to the book. They go very well with the theme.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is depressed, anxious, or going through a rough time in their life! There is even a section in the front where you can write your name to give to your friend as a reminder that in life's difficulties you are just a call, text or email away to listen and to be a shoulder for your friend. I will be keeping this copy for myself, but I will be getting more copies for several of my friends who are going through some time times right now!

DISCLAIMER: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Responsibility...or lack thereof....


Not sure what is going on, but it seems like I am surrounded by non-responsible people these days.

This week we are on Spring break from the school that I work at. I am babysitting one of my after school care program kids this week during the day ( I will call her A). Supposed to be babysitting from 7:50-5:10 or so....

okay....so Monday her mom dropped her off at 7:55. Tuesday, her mom dropped her off at 8:15. Today it is 8:15 and she is still not here. (she got dropped off at 8:20). Her mom is supposed to be at work at 8 am. (Her mom works right down the street from my house.) I am shocked that her mom keeps her job. If I showed up to work late everyday then I would get reprimanded in some way. Her mom says she has a hard time waking A up....

Look you are the mom, YOU need to be responsible and get her up. If I have to be somewhere at a certain time, I make sure my kids are UP and AWAKE and ready to go on time. In this economy you can't be late for work. You have to be responsible (especially since the company you work for is looking to lay off 250 people next month!) I guess I just don't understand.....

Another example I have been dealing with is.... yesterday was my brother's birthday. He is the youngest of my 2 brothers. While at my parent's house last night to celebrate, my other brother came over with his wife and their 2 kids. He really gets on my nerves sometimes with his LACK of responsibility.

First some background: He got his girlfriend pregnant right out of high school. They were forced to get married by my father who told him to do what was right. He was supposed to be attending college classes at the local community college, which my parents paid for. Halfway through the quarter my parents get a letter saying that my brother flunked out because he NEVER attended a class.  They lived with my parents during this time and my mom was primary caregiver for Lacie (my niece). Then in the span of 6 months they lived in 3 different apartments getting evicted after not paying rent the 2nd month. He can't hold down a job because he doesn't like to take orders and he has failed at least one drug test. He and Frances (his wife) had another baby in June 2007. At 6 months old, Alex all of a sudden started having seizures. Alex was in the hospital for 2 weeks until they were able to get the seizures under control. During this time, my mom bought a trailer so they would have somewhere to live. Right now, Alex has been diagnosed with autism among other problems. My niece is in the special ed class for kindergarten and struggling. My brother is working for my dad (some of the time) because that is the only job he can keep. Frances doesn't seem to do anything but watch tv.  They can't keep up with their bills, yet they can use their tax refund to buy a flat screen tv for their bedroom.....etc. ...

Well yesterday, they announced that Frances is pregnant again. Look, I should be happy for them, but I just can't be. They are so friggin' irresponsible that it is not funny. They can't take care of the 2 kids they have; how are they going to take care of another one? I feel like I need to smack Joe up top the head and say "what the **** are you thinking?" My thinking is he ISN'T thinking..... Ugghh.....

I just needed to vent I think. I can't say that I am perfectly responsible all the time, however it seems like I am surrounded by irresponsible people left and right. How do I deal with them?

Wordless Wednesday

My sweet girl

My handsome son


Doing their favorite things..playing NickJr.com and messing with stuff on mommy's desk



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy birthday

Happy 11th birthday to  my little brother Josh! You are a great brother, a wonderful uncle and a fun young man. You have so many things going for you! We love you!

Mr. Cool

Josh and I in July 2009

Crazy little brother

Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu Plan


Well last week's menu plan was a complete FLOP!!!! We had so much going on, with me working extra hours, Bill working LONG hours and evening activities scheduled, etc. We did not eat out, except for Thursday when we went out to celebrate my mom's birthday but we didn't have to pay. Other than that we just kind of fended for ourselves. I am hoping to get back on track this week...

I am going to start planning lunches this week (for the kids) as well, as I will be babysitting a 3rd grade student from the school that I work at, from 8-5 every day. They are on spring break this week and I will be watching her. I will probably be watching her this summer as well!

So this week for LUNCH the kids will be eating:

Monday: hot dogs, watermelon, carrots (cooked and raw)
Tuesday: Macaroni and cheese, grapes
Wednesday: spaghettios, green beans
Thursday: pizza and fruit salad
Friday: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit

SNACKS will be: fruit, cheezits, granola bars, fruit snacks, baby carrots, graham crackers

For DINNER, we will be eating:

Monday: spaghetti, salad
Tuesday: chicken patties, peas and carrots, applesauce
Wednesday: Grilled cheese, chili, mixed veggies
Thursday: leftovers/ sandwiches
Friday: Beer battered fish, broccoli,
Saturday: Chicken, cheese and stuffing casserole, green beans
Sunday: ribs, julienne potatoes, corn



For more great menu ideas visit http://orgjunkie.com/

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weight Loss Update #12


WEEKLY WEIGH IN:

I have nothing to report as I won't be weighing in again until Easter morning.
I have gotten so depressed with seeing rising numbers on the scale and so focused on a number that I will be re-starting weigh-ins on Easter Sunday.
For Lent I have given up fast food and junk food, so I hope that will lead to a lower number on the scale.
I want to focus more on feeling better about myself and being healthier.
I have also started getting up early (before the kids) and exercising so I have no excuses.


This past week was okay diet wise. I went over my calories a couple of times, by 100 or so. I have been SO hungry this week. I also didn't stick to my menu plan and in fact felt diet fatigue because I just didn't want to eat fruits and veggies. I hit a wall diet wise. I did keep track of all calories though so that is a good thing. I haev hit the wall, but I am recommitted to eating better and am going to SMASH that wall.
Exercise wise, I did GREAT this week. I exercised 6 of the 7 days. I took Friday off because I was just too tired to get up. I did Wii Fit Plus for 5 days and 1 day of the Jillian Michaels' 30 Day shred dvd. I have been doing the step game on the Wii, while I catch up on some of my shows on the dvr and then after I do 30 minutes on that I run for 10 minutes. I am so NOT a runner, but it feels good to work and sweat. I hope to keep the momentum going this week!
Are you dieting? Exercising? Tell me how you are doing....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Philadelphia Cooking Creme review

Last week I received a coupon for a free container of the new Philadelphia Cream cheese cooking cremes from Kraft First Taste program. I also received a $1.50 off coupon as well. When I went grocery shopping, I used my free coupon to buy a Sante Fe blend Philadelphia cream cheese cooking creme. (I thought about buying 2 as they were on sale, but as you will see I was glad I did not)




Tonight for dinner I decided to make the recipe that was featured on the back of the package for chicken enchiladas.

The recipe was pretty easy to make...using chicken, onions, diced tomatoes, cheese and the cooking creme. Cook all that together, then spoon into tortillas, roll up, put more cooking creme on top, cover and bake for 20 minutes or so.


the filling for the enchiladas



ready to put into the oven


I served these with spanish rice for a Mexican fiesta dinner.

This was my plate. Since I am counting calories and fat, I figured this to be...
Chicken enchilada...324 calories 12g fat
Rice...230 calories 5g fat

My husband's review of this was: "It is good, but not spectacular. It is not as good as your homemade food." He felt it was kind of bland, like it was missing something. He added hot salsa on his and said that that was a little better.

My review: I did not care for this. I LOVE Mexican food, but this was just kind of blah for me. There was no real good flavor and in fact it left kind of a bad aftertaste. Like a bad cream cheese aftertaste. I only ate about 1/4 of my enchilada and that was it. The flavors of southwest and cream cheese just did not mix for me. The rice, which was a Steamfresh southwestern blend, on the other had was FABULOUS!!

I will say the cooking creme was easy to use. I just didn't like the flavor of it. That being said, I am not sure that I will try the other flavors. I may give my other coupon to one of my coworkers and see what she thinks.


Disclaimer: I received a free product coupon as a member of Kraft First Taste. All opinions are my own.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Letters of Intent

Foursons


Foursons has a great weekly feature that she runs, called Letters of Intent. In it, she invites readers to write their own letters of intent and to link them up to her post. This week I have decided to join in....

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Dear Mother Nature,

I am not sure who or what has made you mad. In the past week we have had temperatures in the 70s, a tornado warning with funnel clouds spotted, snow showers, rain, and more snow for tomorrow night. Can you please make up your mind?

Signed,
Not knowing whether to wear a coat when I leave or not.
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Dear Bill,

I am so proud of you. The News' senior showcase basketball all star games were great and you coordinated ALL of it. The night was a great night for the kids and their families. I know I don't tell you often enough how proud I am of you!

I love you!
Rachel

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To read more letters of Intent please visit Foursons.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cleaning the Bathroom

Next week, the school that I work for is on Spring break, so I am going to be deep cleaning, organizing, decluttering and spring cleaning my house. We rent this house and while it has it's upsides it is also hard to keep clean with the dust, etc. that accumulates. We are looking to move in a couple of months when our lease is up so I want to get a head start on decluttering and getting things ready for a big yard sale before we move. (less stuff= less we have to move!). So my plan is to spring clean the house room by room next week.

I got a head start this week as I deep cleaned my bathroom with some great SC Johnson products!  

I am a bzzagent, so I received what you see in the picture for free to use and to review. I received:

For cleaning my bathroom, I grabbed the Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet cleaning gel, the Glade plugins oil refill and the Scrubbing Bubbles Extend a clean foamer. 

The first thing I did was clean my toilet. I first took my Scrubbing Bubbles flushable wipes (that I LOVE!!!!) and wiped down the outside of the toilet and the toilet seat itself. Then I did a quick swipe of the inside with my toilet brush. After that I positioned  the Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet cleaning gel under the rim of our toilet and was done! I was excited to see if it worked, as we get a rim in our toilet and it is hard to keep it away. The Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel promises to:
  • prevent build up lime scale and toilet rings
  • eliminate odors as it cleans
  • last up to one week and leaves no residue

My verdict: It is super easy to apply! The gel is not overpowering in smell. And it works. It has been a week since I applied it and it is still there, and there is no toilet ring. My toilet looks as great as it did that day! I would definitely recommend this product!


After cleaning the toilet, I decided to tackle our bathtub. It is hard to tell when our bathtub gets dirty, as it is a cream color (which I hate). If you look closely you can tell that there is a bath ring from my kids' baths and that there is gunk and stuff on the edges of the tub, especially in the corners.




On the tub, I decided to use the Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foamer. I love that the foamer has a wide spray that covers more completely than a normal spray does. I have used Scrubbing Bubbles products in the past, but I have to say I think this is their best product yet! It was so easy to use and I just covered the tub, walls and crevices with it.
The foam seemed to work on impact and I did not have to scrub at all! A WIN-WIN in my book! The Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foamer promises to:
  • keep bathrooms cleaner for four days
  • goes to work on contact penetrating, dissolving and removing soap scum and reducing mildew stains
  • leaves behind a shine

My verdict: My bathtub sparkles! It is so clean. The soap scum and stuff in the corners is gone. The mildew in the one corner is reduced greatly! And I haven't noticed any soap scum in the last week! YAY!!!

After cleaning the toilet and the bathtub, I wiped down my sink, wiped off our mirror and swept the floor. The last step for me was to make the bathroom smell nice. So I plugged up my Glade crisp water scented oil refill and it SMELLED so GOOD in there! The scent from the oil refill was like the cherry on top for the clean bathroom. A week later the smell is still there, not too strong, just right!

I am so thrilled with the results of these products! They went above and beyond my expectations! I will DEFINITELY be using them again to clean the bathroom in the future!


Disclaimer: As a bzzagent, I received these products for free for review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu Plan


Here is this week's menu:

MONDAY:: Lasagna, salad
TUESDAY:: whatever you can find/ leftovers/ sandwiches
WEDNESDAY:: Manwich sandwiches, green beans, fruit
THURSDAY:: Chicken enchiladas, soutwestern veggies, chicken nuggets for the kiddos
FRIDAY:: Beer battered fish, , macaroni and cheese (for the kiddos)

SATURDAY:: Ribs in the crockpot, julienne potatoes, green beans
SUNDAY:: Chicken and cheese and stuffing casserole, broccoli, fruit salad

For more great menu ideas visit http://orgjunkie.com/

Weight Loss Update #11


WEEKLY WEIGH IN:

I have nothing to report as I won't be weighing in again until Easter morning.
I have gotten so depressed with seeing rising numbers on the scale and so focused on a number that I will be re-starting weigh-ins on Easter Sunday.
For Lent I have given up fast food and junk food, so I hope that will lead to a lower number on the scale.
I want to focus more on feeling better about myself and being healthier.
I have also started getting up early (before the kids) and exercising so I have no excuses.


I did really well last week with keeping in my calorie allotment and exercising 5 of the 7 days!!!! YAY!!!
I do want to find out the number on the scale but I am NOT weighing in as I am trying to focus on eating better and just being healthier. Honestly, I feel better after eating better and exercising. I had Pizza Hut pizza last weekend (I was watching my little brother and sister) and the next day I felt sluggish, bad, bloated, etc...
I hope this works.
I have been working out on the Wii Fit Plus. I try to do at least 30 minutes and at least 150 calories (according to the game). I have been aiming for more like 180-200 calories per 30-40 minutes!
I hope I can keep this up!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring



HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING!!!!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Letters of Intent

Foursons


Foursons has a great weekly feature that she runs, called Letters of Intent. In it, she invites readers to write their own letters of intent and to link them up to her post. This week I have decided to join in....

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Dear Relatives,

I don't understand how what my hubby put on facebook was offensive to you. This is what he put:

"Lots of people are saying they can't give to Japan's relief efforts because the economy's bad, or other recent tragedies etc. How about this: instead of that LAST beer you're having on St. Paddy's Day, put that $4 in your pocket, take it home, put it in an envelope and send it to some Japan relief charity. If a few million partiers do this, how many millions of $$$ can we raise? Repost and spread the word"

If this is offensive in any way to the Irish heritage please let me know how. I don't understand how this is offensive. He is basically just saying instead of overindulging, think of those who are in need. He could have used ANY holiday; it just so happens that this holiday falls this week. I am Irish and I am proud to be Irish. I am proud that Gram came over from Ireland and paved the way for our family. I DON'T have to drink green beer to celebrate. And if drinking green beer is a must for one to be considered Irish, well then I guess you can just reject me from the family. And Bill didn't say Not to drink at all, he just said instead of that LAST beer....

Maybe this type of attitude is why I don't come to many family reunions/ gatherings.

Tired of being criticized for not drinking beer all the time,
Rachel


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To read more letters of Intent please visit Foursons.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Couponchief.com Review

As you can tell if you have read my blog with any regularity I LOVE getting things in the mail and I love to get things for FREE or for a lot less than full-price. One of the ways that I do this is to use coupons whenever I can. Since we have moved to a smaller town, I have gotten more into the habit of buying things online for the best selection and from some of my favorite stores--- Target, Baby R Us, Best Buy, Toys R Us, just to name a few--as these store do not have a brick and mortar store here in town.

In the past I have gotten frustrated while searching online for a coupon code with the millions of sites that claim to have the best codes, only to have them be useless or having to pay for a code. Not worth it to me! That is why I was SO EXCITED to find the site couponchief.com!



Coupon Chief is the premier destination for coupons for thousands of online sites. Couponchief.com has over 50k coupons for over 15,000 stores, all in one place! This site allows you to look for coupons for pretty much anything...restaurants, clothing, toys, etc. And best of all (at least to me!) is that it is EASY to use!

They give you the code, you copy and paste it onto the retailers website to get your discount! Easy, peasy!



http://www.couponchief.com/

And there is more, Coupon Chief is committed to providing the best coupons available. They allow users to comment on, rate and validate coupon codes. Coupon Chief also likes to reward the consumer for using their site. They offer a Pays-2-Share program where you sign up, upload your coupons and when someone uses that coupon you get 2% of the sales via paypal or check. They also offer a Coupons-4-Causes option, which allows you to use their coupons to find savings and they will donate up to 20% to your favorite cause. Win, Win!

Coupon Chief is my premier destination for the best coupon codes online! I LOVE that they are all in ONE place! I love that I can help out my favorite causes just by using coupons!

Be sure to make Coupon Chief your FIRST and ONLY destination for the web's best discount coupons!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post from couponchief.com. I was paid for this post. All opinions are my own.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fun stuff in the mail....

This week my mailbox has been full of FUN stuff....I thought I would share with you some of what I have gotten...
The cleaning supplies and lipstick are part of bzz campaigns that I was selected to join for Bzzagent.com. Watch for more posts about these products coming up!

I got a coupon for a Free 20oz. diet coke from mycokerewards.com and a coupon for a FREE Philadelphia Cream Cheese cooking cream from Kraft First Taste. I have been wanting to try these :)

A new book from Booksneeze.com (see review coming in the next couple weeks!)

And LAST BUT NOT LEAST, I WON A GIVEAWAY!!!!




I received the following from Brooke Anna at Mommy Does:
An Elmer's craft pack which includes lot of glue sticks, a bottle of glue, glue dots, a x-acto knife and a
x-acto scissors. YAY! These will be perfect for crafts with Rebecca! YAHOO!! Thanks to Brooke Anna! Go visit her, her blog is awesome!

So that is the fun stuff I have received in the mail this week. Have you received anything fun?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Menu Plan


Here is this week's menu:

MONDAY:: Cheeseburger Macaroni, salad, green beans

TUESDAY:: Hot dogs, baked beans, cantaloupe

WEDNESDAY:: Pizza Roll-ups, carrots, fruit salad

THURSDAY:: HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!! Meatloaf, peas, julienne potatoes, rolls

FRIDAY:: Beer battered fish, brown rice, broccoli, macaroni and cheese (for the kiddos)

SATURDAY:: pizza/leftovers

SUNDAY:: Chicken and cheese and stuffing casserole, green beans, fruit salad

For more great menu ideas visit http://orgjunkie.com/

Weight Loss Update #10


WEEKLY WEIGH IN:

I have nothing to report as I won't be weighing in again until Easter morning.
I have gotten so depressed with seeing rising numbers on the scale and so focused on a number that I will be re-starting weigh-ins on Easter Sunday.
For Lent I have given up fast food and junk food, so I hope that will lead to a lower number on the scale.
I want to focus more on feeling better about myself and being healthier.
I have also started getting up early (before the kids) and exercising so I have no excuses.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Letters of Intent--March 11, 2011

Foursons


Foursons has a great weekly feature that she runs, called Letters of Intent. In it, she invites readers to write their own letters of intent and to link them up to her post. This week I have decided to join in....

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Dear citizens of Japan,

I am praying for you today after the horrible experiences you are going through. I cannot imagine what it is like to live through a tsunami or an earthquake. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Signed,
Praying in America
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Rebecca,

It seems like just yesterday you were learning to crawl and roll. I cannot believe that I registered you for pre-kindergarten this week. It is amazing what a bright, delightful and smart young lady you are growing into being. You are the light of our eyes. It will be hard to send you to pre-k next year everyday but I know you will LOVE it. Just don't grow up too fast, I don't want to have to help you register for college classes tomorrow.

Love,
Mommy
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To read more letters of Intent please visit Foursons.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: PLAIN WISDOM


Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud shares stories and recollections of life between two very different friends-- Cindy is a best-selling novelist who is immersed in the modern, technological world, while Miriam is an Old Order Amish woman who is immersed in the traditional Amish culture. Plain Wisdom offers insights to be shared from these women's lives and experiences through raising children, helping neighbors in need, weddings and other cultural ceremonies to day-to-day life. Although they live in what looks to be completely different lifestyles, readers will find that the women are very much alike with similar goals and attitudes of which they hope to achieve with the Grace and guidance from God.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up Plain Wisdom to read. What I found was a delightful, insightful read that really spoke to me. I could see myself in the lives of these two women. I could relate to the simplicity and complexity of the Old Order Amish lifestyle. I understood and symphathized with the frustration and complexity of modern English life. I gained an insight and appreciation for the Amish community as a whole and garnered more respect for them.

As an added bonus, Plain Wisdom also includes several Amish recipes scattered throughout the book that sound delicious. Many of these I may try including "Aunt Becky's Dinner Rolls," "Christmas Salad," and "Zucchini Pizza Casserole." These recipes are an added bonus to a great read that I would recommend to any woman.


DISCLAIMER: I received an advance copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Review: PUJOLS: MORE THAN THE GAME


Being a lifelong baseball fan, being married to a Sports newspaper editor, and being a Christian, I was excited to be able to read about one of the best baseball players of our time- Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals. Pujols: More Than the Game by Scott Lamb and Time Wellsworth chronicles the baseball career and the path to Christianity taken by Pujols. It highlights Pujols' upbringing in the Dominican Republic to playing in high school to one season of college baseball to being picked in the 14th round of the MLB draft to spending one season in the minors and finally to his first 10 seasons in the major leagues. Throughout it all Pujols, along with his wife Dee Dee hold true to the belief that God is behind every achievement that Pujols has and everything, the good and the challenging in their life.

While it was an inspirational read of a man who definitely holds to a God-centered life, the writing and inclusion of millions of stats was distracting. In my opinion there was way too much emphasis placed on statistics in this book and individual accolades of Pujols. While I understood more of why he is a great baseball player due to to these stats, I came away from reading this with no greater understanding of Pujols ' individuality. In actuality, while I commend his belief in his God-given abilities, I found the portrayal of him to be cocky and arrogant.

If you love baseball or the St. Louis Cardinals, you will probably enjoy this book. If you are looking for a story about the "everyday" life of a Christian baseball player I would recommend looking elsewhere.


DISCLAIMER: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Lent 2011


Today is Ash Wednesday. It is the first day of Lent for Christian faiths. Being a Catholic, Ash Wednesday is the beginning of a season where we focus on abstaining from things that we like or that are pleasurable for us. We can give up things that are not allowing us to live the best and the holy life that we are called to live. You do not have to be a Catholic or a member of Christianity to change your life by abstaining from vices in your life. I have given up many things in the past....I have given up the computer, chocolate, pop (many times), etc.
This year we are actually as a family going to be giving up something, and I will personally give up something. My life has been in such a distressed place. I am not living the life that I should. I am not taking care of myself, or my body as a temple of God. Therefore it is my hope that by giving up the things I am for Lent, I can live a more holy life that God wants me to live.

As a family, we are going to give up eating fast food. We have begun to rely on McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, etc. as our main lunch choices. This is extremely unhealthy for us both physically and financially. We are going to give up eating at fast food places as family.

As an individual, I am going to give up all snacking on junk food--chips, chocolate, cookies, etc. I am also going to give up weighing myself every week. I have gotten into a bad snacking habit and it needs to go. It is not healthy for me and by snacking I am basically saying I don't care for my body or my life. That attitude needs to change and I hope that by giving up all snacking on junk food that I will change my attitude toward my body. I also have gotten into a bad habit of hating the scale and getting depressed when I don't lose any weight. My hubby suggested that I weigh myself today and then wait and don't weigh myself again until Easter. I think I am going to do that. I need to just focus on why I want to lose weight and that is to get healthier and not to reach some magic number.

Do you celebrate the season of Lent? Are you giving up something for Lent?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Weight Loss Update #9 ( a little late)

This is a little late...I did weigh in on Sunday morning so these are my results from then....

WEEKLY WEIGH IN:

DATE: 03/06/2011

WEIGHT: 212 lbs.

DIFFERENCE FROM PREVIOUS WEEK:  +0.6 lbs.

I have to get back on track. This adding a half a pound each the last two weeks needs to stop.   
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Are you trying to lose weight? How are you doing?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday



I was lax last week with making a menu plan...and guess what happened?? Dinner decisions were made on the fly. We ate out for lunch a LOT and our diets just stank. I am hoping to get back on track this week. I have recommitted to my diet and hope to get a good week in.

On another note: I have also re-evaluated our food needs and I think I will be making our grocery budget $70 a week. I hope to get back into posting our grocery bills each week. I just needed to reevaluate and see where we were, so hopefully next week I will have a grocery shopping and menu plan post.

Here is this week's menu:

MONDAY:: Ham and turkey roll-ups, green beans, salad

TUESDAY:: Chicken patties, peas, cantaloupe

WEDNESDAY:: Baked fish, macaroni and cheese, applesauce, salad

THURSDAY:: Chili (from freezer), grilled cheese, carrots

FRIDAY:: Baked pasta and cheese, broccoli

SATURDAY:: baked chicken, stuffing, corn, green beans, rolls

SUNDAY:: pizza, leftovers

For more great menu ideas visit http://orgjunkie.com/

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March 2011 GOALS


I know I am late getting these goals up...I have had a hard February and just need to simplify life. So this month I am going to focus on diet and exercise. I will continue dealing with financial, etc. but my focus will be on my health. I am tired of being tired. I am tired of feeling anxious. I am tired of not having energy. I NEED to change. I WANT to change. So that being said, here are my March goals:

  • Menu Plan each week dinner, lunches, breakfasts and snacks.
  • Calorie Count each day...keep calories between 1400-1800 a day.
  • Exercise at least 20 minutes EVERY day
    • Monday through Friday get up BEFORE the kids (6:30) and do 20-30 minutes of exercise
    • Saturday and Sunday, exercise in the afternoon during Jacob's naptime.
  • For Lent, we as a family are giving up fast food (more info coming) and I am personally giving up all snack foods (chips, cookies, chocolate, etc.). Stick to this!
That is it! I am focusing on me this month and I NEED to do this!

February Goals update

February was a hard month for me. I didn't do very well on the exercise and losing weight part. I feel like my relationship with Bill was strained. It seems like the kids, Bill or I were sick ALL month. It just wasn't a good month. Here is a recap of what my goals were entering February and how they ended up....

PERSONAL GOALS:
  • Continue working on weight loss
    • To do this, exercise for 20+ minutes 6 days a week. Do either Wii Fit Plus workout or Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD. (I started this last month, now I just need to be more consistent with it. Didn't happen. Didn't exercise at all.
    • Calorie count! Keep calories under 2100 a day. I was eating upwards of 2700-3000 a day (head hung in shame!) mostly due to snacking and late night eating. Was doing okay for the first week then lost momentum and just stopped.
    • Drink at least 50 oz of water a day. I have been doing better on this, but there are days I get none. I DON'T want to get dehydrated! Fell back in the habit of drinking diet pop.
  • Read at least 2 books YES I DID THIS!!!
  • Have a date night with Bill  Didn't happen :(
  • Watch at least one movie...either "The Blind Side" or "The Last Song" I did watch The Last Song.
  • Try at least 1 new recipe this month I tried 2!
  • Limit the time that I am on the computer while the kids are awake. Didn't do very well on this.
FINANCIAL GOALS:
  • Try to keep grocery spending down to $60 or less a week.  I have been averaging more like $75 a week.
  • Keep household item spending (toilet paper, pads, diapers, etc.) to less than $50 for the month Was able to do this.
  • Do and File taxes before February 15. Filed most of them. I still have to file our community income tax and our old communitie's municipality tax.
  • Open ING saving account for irregular expenses (water, AAA, moving, and Rebecca tuition for the fall) COMPLETED!!!!
  • Write at least 5 companies a week for coupons. Ummm...I was supposed to do this???

OVERALL, THIS WAS JUST A BAD MONTH!!!!!! Must do better in March!

Friday, March 4, 2011

2011 Financial and Blog Goals: FEBRUARY UPDATE

On January 1, I set myself goals and resolutions that I would like to achieve this year. I know that this is something I want/ NEED to do this year. So each month I will review how I did that month and what improvements I can make for the following month.


FINANCIAL GOALS:

  • Make a budget and stick to it.
I started budgeting for irregular bills and expenses. Still working on tweaking it, but have started! :)
  • Continue to gain Mypoints, Rewards points through bank, Pinecone research money, and swagbucks to use toward gift cards to be used to buy gifts
Am doing this! Am doing Swagbucks most days and am trying to do Mypoints at least 3 times a week so the emails don't pile up!
  • Save and KEEP $1000 in the emergency fund---we have had to dip into this a couple times this year and I would love to see it STAY at $1000.
I opened an ING account and made our $1000 deposit in January. I did not touch it in February! Yay!
  • Continue to coupon and write letters for coupons (at least 5 a week)
I continue to coupon, but have not started writing companies for coupons.
  • Have 2 no (low) spend months---January and June 
  • Work on paying down the Discover Card bill
I was able to make a double payment to Discover in February. Hoping to do that more often.
  • Figure out a way to bring in more money by working from home---ideas I am throwing around are tutoring, copying family home movies to dvd, making and selling simple cakes, being a part of the farmers markets to sell homebaked goods....
I have started selling a few things on ebay. I am decluttering and making a yard sale pile. We will be moving at the end of May and I will have a yard sale before we move. I also have a proposal out for a parttime babysitting job for this summer.

BLOG GOALS:
  • To write on the blog 4-5x a week.
I think I have finally made blogging a habit! :) Have achieved!
  • Gain more readers--- I would like to have at least 80 readers by December 31, 201
    • to do this, I want to join at least 1 blog hop a week
I am up to 62 WONDERFUL, AWESOME Followers! Thank you so much!

So, some ups, some downs....but I think it is a great continuation! I want to keep the momentum going for Finances and Blogging for March!
~ How are you doing on your New Year's Goals and Resolutions?

2011 Personal and Family goals: FEBRUARY UPDATE

On January 1, I set myself goals and resolutions that I would like to achieve this year. I know that this is something I want/ NEED to do this year. So each month I will review how I did that month and what improvements I can make for the following month.

PERSONAL GOALS:


  • Lose 20 lbs. --- Right now I am at 218lbs :( and I would love to be below 200. I was at 199 on the day of our wedding (2005) and I would LOVE to be there again. I had so much more energy then. To do this I plan on:
    • exercising 20+ minutes a day Monday- Friday. During the winter, I will do this after the kids are in bed (9pm) and then shower before bed. When warmer weather comes, I will reevaluate this and see about doing more outside. I will begin by doing 20+ minutes on the Wii Fit.
    • I will work on drinking more water. I drink way too much soda and need to focus on getting healthier.
I have backslid on this goal. I am at 213lbs now. However, I didn't exercise for most of the month and eating was awful. I am going to work on my health as a focus for March so hopefully this will change.

  • Read 26+ books this year.--- One of the passions that I used to have was reading. I LOVE to read. Unfortunately with having 2 young kids and dealing with issues in life, this hobby has been put on the back burner. This year I want to reignite that passion by reading at least 2 books a month. I would love to do 1 a week, but I want to be realistic as well.
I read 2 adult books in February, so I reached my goal of 2 for the month! This brings my total read to 6.
  • To try out at least 1 new recipe a month.--- I have gotten into the habit of making the same things over and over, and while there is not a problem with that, I am growing tired of making and eating the same things. I also received 5 new cookbooks for Christmas so time to put them to good use.
I tried a couple of new recipes in February...I made tortillas rollups which we LOVED and I made a rice and chicken dish which we did not like at all!

FAMILY GOALS:
To better my relationships with Bill and with my children:
  • I would like to implement a date night at least 1x a month with Bill. This could be dinner out, movie out, movie in after the kids go to bed, getting chinese takeout and eating after the kids are in bed, etc. Right now we are averaging going out for our anniversary and maybe 1 other time a year and that is NOT good.
We did NOT have any date night time in February! :(
  • I want to be more patient with my kids. I tend to lose my patience quickly with Rebecca and need to work on becoming more patient with her. I may do this by making and planning activities to do with just her.
I am trying on this. Some days are better than others. Need to keep working at this!
  • To read for at least 10 minutes a day to Jacob and for at least 30 minutes with Rebecca. We are doing well reading to Rebecca; however we have been really slack about reading to Jacob. I will do this by beginning to read to Jacob before he goes to bed every night.
Again, I am trying. Some days have been much better than others. I have read to both kids probably 50% of the time this month. I NEED to increase that.
  • Make a schedule and stick to it to limit TV watching for the kids. Right now they watch way TOO much TV and it is beginning to show in their behavior.
We have started a morning and evening routine that has automatically eliminated some of the tv watching. Still need to make it less though.


So, some ups, some downs....I feel Bad about February and I just need to start fresh in March.

~ How are you doing on your New Year's Goals and Resolutions?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Letters of Intent--- March 4, 2011

Foursons


Foursons has a great weekly feature that she runs, called Letters of Intent. In it, she invites readers to write their own letters of intent and to link them up to her post. This week I have decided to join in....

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Dear Erin,

I am so sorry that you lost your mom unexpectedly this week. She was a truly wonderful lady. I will remember her welcoming me into your home in high school and helping me fix my dress the night of our senior prom. She will be so missed. If you need anything, please let me know ASAP!

Rachel
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Dear Bill,

I will not apologize for coming home at 10:45pm from a viewing for my friend's deceased mother. I will not apologize for not calling to let you know that I was supposedly running late. I will not apologize for being offended when you got upset because I was late in your eyes. I am NOT your 18 year old daughter who missed her curfew! I happen to be your 31 year old wife who needed to be there for a friend tonight at a funeral home that is 1 hour and 15 minutes away. If anything,  YOU should have planned better for the work that you had to do. Don't take your anger and frustration out on me!

Rachel

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Dear Mother Nature,

Remember my letter from last week. Well maybe you weren't listening. I asked you to please make up your mind about the weather. Well apparently you didn't because not only did we have more ice, more snow and freezing temperatures..you had to go and 2 days later give up very warm weather (60 degrees) for this time of year along with severe thunderstorms with torrential rain, flooding and tornado warnings. That is NOT OK. I hear that we are supposed to have more rain and flooding this weekend. Thanks so much. You know we have to deal with skyrocketing gas prices, skyrocketing grocery prices, a government that may shut down in 2 weeks, crazy world leaders, and other issues. We SHOULDN'T have to worry about the weather. Please, please, please make up your mind.

Rachel
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To read more letters of Intent please visit Foursons.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thoughts....


Things are just not going in a good direction. There are so many areas of my life that I feel discouraged in that it is not even funny....maybe if I get it out there in black and white then I will feel better about it.....

1. My weight....I have so fallen off the wagon on this diet. I feel like such a failure and I feel like I am depriving myself. Which is not the case at all. I just don't want to eat healthy stuff, when I would rather have chocolate, chocolate and MORE chocolate. I don't feel like drinking water--I have gotten back in the habit of drinking diet pop and sometimes regular. I haven't exercised in like 2 weeks. I just don't want to. I know I should. I know that it is for the better if I do, but I don't want to.

2. My depression---I think it has gotten worse in the last few weeks. I feel like I am in a rut big time!!!!! I find that I am going to bed earlier at night, but tossing and turning all  night long. Things are affecting me more than they really should. I am getting annoyed rather easily with Bill and the kids and then I feel guilty and bad.

3. Finances---I thought that I had a better position at the school that I am working at for next year, however I was told yesterday that that may not be the case and that they may actually go in another direction. urggg....Just frustrating.

4. One car--- I know many people/families survive with only one car. We have actually had only one car now for a little over a year. When Bill's died we couldn't afford to get another one and we said we would make due. It is frustrating trying to figure out logistics of only having one car. For example, I am trying to figure out when and how I can go to either the funeral home or the funeral for the mother of a good friend of mine without someone having to miss work or skipping a previous engagement that I have to be at. It is frustrating. Also tonight I had 2 light bulbs blow in the living room and we are out of light bulbs and I don't have the car to go to the store to get some. Granted it is my fault for not getting any at the store but still. I had to go scrounging around the house looking for some.

5. My hubby's work schedule---I LOVE that my hubby loves his job. However, during sports tournament times I NEVER get to see him and he HAS to have the car (see #4) to travel....

6. Miscellaneous--- I haven't made a menu plan for this week. I am letting my kids watch too much tv. I still have tax stuff to do and I think we will owe for municipality tax for our old city. I miss having girlfriends that live in town to do stuff with. I have too much STUFF in the house and I WANT it OUT!!!!!!

Okay so there is my whiny thoughts for the day.....I guess I should work on one at a time and go from there.