Today began our family's Biggest Loser competition. We all weighed in this evening - there are 11 of us doing it. We each paid $10 to join, and then each week, everyone except the biggest loser of that week pays $1 to continue participating. We've also agreed that if we gain any weight instead of losing it, that we have to pay $1 per pound gained. Weigh-ins are every Sunday, leading up to the week of Thanksgiving. I'm glad that we've decided to do this again, because I need to get my butt back into some shape other than "round."
This coming week, I'll be doing some crafting/jewelry making and hoping for a phone call from school so I can start subbing again. Look for photos of my craft projects, and maybe some of our new home, which I'm finally getting decorated. I'm going to listen to the rain, edit some photos, then head to bed.
Weddings, showers, everyone having kids, school, work, summer...there ya go. That sums up the past 8 months I've been MIA.
I have been chewing on this the past few weeks...trying to decide if this was what I wanted to write about when I made my return to my blog. Is it going to bite me in the butt? Will I get a little bit of backlash from others...who cares. So, here goes everything...
My last post was in January and I had talked about doing some photography and supplementing my income that way. I haven't done much photography that has put money in the bank, but I have taken a TON of photos in recent months that enough people have said "You should start a business." Yeah...why not? I should just book up my calendar and start taking photos all the time and make a butt-load of money. Great idea! Awesome! right?
Have you noticed how EVERYBODY and their BROTHER is starting a photography business lately. That may be because they took a couple of nice photos and someone said to them "You should start a business" and they did. So, you got an expensive DSLR camera for Christmas, your birthday, anniversary, whatever...and you think you're a professional now, right?? Sure not! Just because you have this fancy camera and it has the capability to do super awesome things means you need to be a professional photographer. Let me think about that... Hmm, nope.
If everyone with a DSLR was an awesome photographer, there would be no photography industry. No one would be able to create a business, even if they were the best at what they did. Because there would be so much competition it wouldn't be worth it. They'd lose business left and right and never make a profit.
You have to have an "eye" for the art of photography, have your own style, be able to think on your feet, make your client comfortable and happy and actually know how your camera works. It's not just pointing the camera and pushing a button. You also need to continually evaluate your work, come up with fresh ideas, and be original with the images you're capturing.
And, all of the post editing in the world can't make up for a bad picture. People want GREAT images that have feeling and emotion. I don't want to look at a photo of a kid in their sports uniform sitting on a bridge. I don't get the feeling you're trying to convey...All I'm thinking is LAME! (sorry if you don't like my opinion)
What's my point? Well, I want to be good at what I do. I told Bobby today that all of this work that I'm doing now, taking photos for friends and family, not starting this business right now...it will help me out eventually, I hope. It will help me to build a portfolio, a small client base, and get a ton of experience that I need. The people who are awesome at what they do, have businesses and get paid, like photogs Michael Henninger, Jen McKen Photography, and Teri Enciso have YEARS of experience. (Make sure you check their work out, btw, you won't be disappointed)
Remember, I'm not trying to offend anyone, and to my friends who have suggested that I start a photography business, I hope this explains to you why I haven't done so.
Oh...don't forget to leave me a comment. I'd love to know your feelings on this subject.
At lot has happened since last January, but I don't really feel the need to recap all of it. If you know me, you know what we've been through this year.
I'm hoping that 2011 is the best year we've had in a long time. It can't be any worse than 2009 or 2010, or at least I hope so. My life is taking a new direction, with some new businesses developing. My jewelry is really taking off - I did a ton of business for Christmas and finally did my first craft show in November. I also sold a ton of my photo-names for Christmas - I think it was 24 total, and I have another one to do this month. I've also been asked to take some family portraits and maternity photos for family and friends. I'm not advertising the photography thing, really...I'm doing it more or less for the practice and hoping that eventually I will be able to make some money doing something I love.
On New Year's Eve, I took family photos for our cousin Jen, and I'm really happy with the way they turned out. They were really informal and outdoors, which is exactly what she wanted. These are some of my favorite photos from that day. They're such a cute family and their little guy has the bluest eyes! He was a little cranky, but we did what we could to keep him happy. Like I said, I'm just starting out, but I think these turned out pretty well, your constructive criticism is welcome, but please be nice. I'm hoping to do some maternity photos for my sister-in-law in the next month or so, but she hasn't given me an answer yet.
I'm considering attempting to do a 365 project, but I haven't made my final decision. Maybe I'll start it in February, we'll see.
That's it for now! I'm off to shower and head to the store for a few essentials! Take care
For whatever reason, the smell made me start to think about one of the last times I saw my dad. Back story: We were at my mom's and it was a beautiful sunny day sometime this past May. It wasn't the last time I saw him, but probably the time before that. Bobby and I went to the house to go swimming and my Aunt Karen and cousin Nova came to swim with us. We all swam and played in the pool and had lunch. We had brought some snacky things and a salad that I made for work the day before (for Memorial Day). Dad grilled some burgers and hot dogs and then he made some baked beans.
Well...that's what the fireplace smell reminded me of. The baked beans. The stupid, stupid, stupid baked beans. They were the WORST baked beans EVER!
Dad cooked a whole pound of ground beef then added a can of Bush's Maple and Bacon baked beans. If he had left them just like that, they would have been great. But no, Dad always had to "doctor things up." So, he tasted it and thought it needed something else, so he added some chocolate syrup (gross, I know). He still didn't like the way it was tasting so he added more things like ketchup and mustard, and finally he added MORE Maple Syrup. OhhhhhMG they were TERRIBLE! Normally, I don't eat baked beans...but because he worked so hard to make them, I had to try them. I did add some of the chopped onions that were meant for the hot dogs and more mustard..but nothing worked. They were just too sweet. Dad couldn't finish eating his and neither did anyone else...and yes, we all tried them. He took the bowl up to the fire pit and dumped them in an empty box from the cans of Miller Lite we were all drinking while we all laughed. He never burnt the box...he never had a chance.....so yes...the stupid baked beans made me cry today.
A month and a half later, Mom, Ben and I were burning things in the fire pit and there was the stupid box filled with the baked beans. Some of them were eaten, but not many...apparently the animals were pretty disgusted, too! Of course, I cried that day too.
Isn't it weird how certain smells can make you think of crazy things like that?? They trigger memories that get buried in our minds. As soon as the memory of the baked beans came to mind, the song Free Fallin' by Tom Petty came on the radio and that just made it worst. I cried the whole way home.
32 oz frozen hash browns
1 lb cooked ham cubed ( lean )
1 onion diced
1 green pepper diced
1 1/2 c shredded cheese ( Regular Cheese )
1 c skim milk
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
Divide potatoes, ham, veggies and cheese so you can create several layers of each in the crock pot. Start with the hash browns, then ham, onions peppers and last cheese. Repeat until you have several layers. Beat eggs, milk salt & pepper pour over layers in the crockpot cover and turn on low. Cook for 10-12 hours overnight.
This would be great for Christmas morning. My mother-in-law always makes some sort of breakfast casserole for breakfast on Christmas day, I think this would be something a little easier for her...or maybe I'll make it this year!
There was quite a bit of stuff on the list that I didn't get finished, and I didn't have anything planned for today, so I'm going to try to get it all done!
I put dinner in the Crockpot around noon. It's smelling so good already! The recipe is from that blog I wrote about last weekend A Year of Slow Cooking. Tonight we're having Bacon and Cheese Chicken. The sauce that gets poured over it is a combination of Ranch dressing and Teriyaki sauce. It sounds like such a strange combination, but I tried it when I mixed it up and it's actually pretty good! I didn't have any actual Teriyaki sauce, but I had a teriyaki marinade and it's just about the same thing. It'll be ready around 6:30. I can't wait! I think I'm going to make some white rice with it. I love rice...but Bobby doesn't like it so much. Oh well, we all have to do things we don't want to sometimes, so I'm hoping he'll eat it for me.
Bobby just took down the Christmas lights...in the rain. Silly I know, but it was his idea! I can cross that off my list now, too!
I'm going to bring the totes up for the ornaments and get started with the tree. UGH. The house is going to look so bare without the decorations. At least I'll still have my snowmen :)
Off I go!!
I got maybe 3 things finished. Ha ha. But, I've been working on it today, and I'm getting somewhere!
Here's the list.
*Put tree away
*Dust and Vacuum
*Organize basement storage areas...my seasonal decorations are EVERYWHERE! It's driving me crazy!
I guess I better get back to work! We're going to Donatello's for dinner with friends tonight! I can't wait! Have a great day!
May I introduce you to A YEAR OF SLOW COOKING. This woman, Stephanie O'Dea, dedicated 365 days of her life to finding a way to use her crockpot at home. She made something different in it EVERY DAY for a YEAR, deserts, appetizers, dinners, deserts, breakfasts, playdough, crayons, candles...you name it!! And well, she also wrote this book and was on Rachel Ray, too! After I spent about
I mostly followed Stephanie's recipe when I made it this time, except that instead of baby tomatoes I used the two small tomatoes that I had in the fridge from Taco night, I omitted the mushrooms (because I HATE cooked mushrooms), and added a little bit more of the italian sausage (because I had 3 left, and the recipe only called for 2). Bobby just put the rest of the box of bowties that I had in the pantry...which was probably twice as much as the recipe called for. I didn't have any mozzerella, so I garnished with freshly grated parmesan cheese, which was even better!!
Bobby and I really enjoyed it, though I think it had WAY too much pepperoni in it and needed even more pasta. My cousin Rachel, (who came to spend the night and went shopping with me and made me smile) liked it, but thought it was too spicy...must've been all the pepperoni. We all agreed that it was a little too greasy though...again, I think it was the pepperoni.
The next time I make it, I'll change it up just a little bit to make everyone happy. Less pepperoni for sure...the recipe calls for a whole cup, but I'd probably use only half a cup, and lots more pasta. Stephanie suggests 1/3 to 1/2 cup pasta...but I'm pretty sure Bobby said there was about 1 1/2 cups of pasta left in the box. I still think it needed more. Bobby said that adding some chicken to this would be good, too! This is definitely something that will be added to the menu again. It's a great winter soup, and my hubby actually ate vegetables! I'm so proud of him:) Your family and friends will probably enjoy this very much...especially if they like pizza, I suggest trying it! It didn't take very long to do all the prep, just cleaning and cutting the veggies and meats. After all that's done, just throw it in a crockpot and go on with your day!
- One vitamin, every day
- Planned meals for every day
- Cooked dinner twice, so far. (We went out to eat on Tuesday and Wednesday) It was semi-healthy...we had tacos last night with all fresh ingredients and no sour cream!
- Worked out using the Wii twice
- Took Melatonin every night, except last night...we stayed up really late for some reason
- Cleaned and Organized the Dining room and bathrooms, currently working on the Livingroom and kitchen (Bedrooms this weekend, hopefully)
- We had dinner with Bobby's family twice this week. Tuesday was his dad's 50th birthday, so we all got together for dinner. Wednesday night we all went to Benjamin's for dinner...I think it's been a year since we've been there, it was delicious as usual :) I also had a piece of Carrot Cake for my daddy. Anytime I would go there with my mom, she would order a piece of Carrot Cake to go and we would take it home for dad, or take it to 911 for him. So, I had a piece of it for him after dinner.
- I am blogging for the 1st time this week, but I should be able to update again over the weekend :)
- I didn't make any jewelry this week, but I have a couple of pieces that I have to make for friends.
- Save money?? I have to make some money before I can save it. Haha.
I'm going to go load the dish washer and change the sheets! Maybe we'll be snowed in for the weekend...I wouldn't mind that!
Have a great weekend!
These are both very important, and will help me improve my health, along with the exercising and eating better.
9. Go to Bed at a "Normal" Time Every Night
I've been having major sleeping issues...recently, I've been awake until 3 or 4 a.m. EEK! One night I think I was awake until 5. I don't know why, it's just that I'm never tired. Well, when I stay up late like that, then of course I sleep in too late the next day. It's a vicious cycle. I can't get up and go to work early, unless it's a day that I know I'm subbing and I plan ahead...I go to the office late on the days that I don't sub and that's not really working for me anymore. I should work all day, not from 11 til 5.
Solution: Every night at 9:30, I'm going to take my Melatonin, which helps me get sleepy. I'm going to get ready for bed before the 11 o'clock news starts, then either watch the news in bed or go to bed as soon as it's over. This should help me make sure that I get enough sleep and wake up rested for my day.
10. Take my Multi-Vitamin daily.
I have been really bad at remembering to take my vitamin the past few months. I started taking it again last Monday, and haven't missed a day yet. I know it hasn't been a whole week yet, but I'd say I'm headed in the right direction!
Solution: Keep the vitamin bottle on the bathroom counter so that I can see it and take one after I brush my teeth in the morning.
Okay, that should really do it this time for the goals. It's almost time to take my Melatonin!
Solution: I'm going to make sure that we get ourselves into a good habit of putting everything away when we're finished with it, and finding homes for things that don't have one yet. If that means buying more Rubbermaid totes, I will...and maybe I should buy some Rubbermaid stock shares, while I'm at it. I probably keep that company in business!
2. Keep a Clean House
This sort of goes with the first one, but is separate at the same time. I don't dust, vacuum, or clean the rest of the house often enough. I get home from both jobs and I'm absolutely exhausted. Once I sit down, I'm finished for the evening...I don't care if anything gets done. Terrible, I know, but imagine if you worked for 8 hours at one job, then went to another one for 4 or 5 hours, then had to come home and cook dinner, vacuum, dust, wash the dishes, do laundry, and clean the rest of the house after that. Maybe some of you do that already, or maybe you have husbands that actually help with that stuff, but that's not how my life works. I do it all on my own!
Solution: Pick one or two tasks to do a day and do them as soon as I get home.
3. Cook More/Eat Healthier
I don't cook dinner very often. Usually, I forget to put something out the night before, and then it's 6 and I don't know what to do, so I find something in the freezer(premade frozen meatballs) that's easy to cook, pop it in the microwave and make some pasta to go with it. Or, we both just reheat something that we find in the fridge. Half the time, I want something he doesn't, so we just make ourselves dinner...and that's usually at 7:30-8:00 at night. Sad, isn't it?? So, I'm going to start meal planning, whether Bobby likes it or not, and see how it works for me.
Solution: Menu plan for the week ideally on Sunday Night for the whole week. Be sure to include more fruit and veggies in our meals.
4. Work out more
I think I may have told you this already, but Bobby's parents got us a Wii and a Wii Fit, along with the Biggest Loser game, for Christmas. Well, we have it all set up in the living room, and we've been using it, but not regularly. With Noelle's wedding coming up in 5 months I can't put on any more weight, especially since my dress is already here! It would be great to have to have it taken in! Also, I would love to lose some more weight so that if and when I get pregnant, I'm not GINORMOUS! I don't want to be one of those women who you can't tell if they're pregnant or just plain fat. Hahaha
Solution: Work out a minimum of 3 days a week for 30 minutes using the Wii Fit or Biggest Loser game.
5. Save Money
I'm not too bad at this, really...but sometimes I walk into Michael's and go CRAZY! I'll buy more stuff to make jewelry, or other craft things, and I spend way more than I should. This usually happens when we go to WalMart, too. We go with a list, and then come home with way more than we intended and we spend a ton more than we should, for sure!
Solution: Go to Michael's only when necessary(That is, when I run out of something). Buy only the things we need while grocery shopping, and don't put anything extra in the cart. Oh, and we need to put a little bit of each pay check into our savings accounts. That might be harder for Bobby to do than me, but I'm going to make him!
6. Participate in a Craft Show
I have been selling a lot of jewelry as of lately, and making a lot of it for gifts, too. I would like to continue doing this, and try to get some stuff made so that I can participate in craft show this year. Penns Manor has one in November, and that's quite a long way from now, but I would really like to do it this year. Maybe I can find another one to do before that, so I can get the feel of it.
Solution: Make a couple of pieces of jewelry a month to reserve for a craft show. Get info on the craft show asap and save money to buy a stand. If I can't do the craft show, I'll have to sell them to friends or create an Etsy store.
7. Spend More Time With Family and Friends
This one is easy, but after 2009, I've realized how important this goal really is. I can always use more quality time with the important people in my life :)
Solution: Same as my goal...spend more time with my family and friends. haha.
Annnnd, my last goal:
8. UPDATE MY BLOG MORE OFTEN!
I know I haven't been so consistent with updating this thing...I'm either busy, or my day hasn't been that exciting to share with you.
Solution: Update at least twice a week, whether things have been exciting or not, so I can keep all of my readers (even though I don't think there are too many of them) happy :)
I think those are all realistic goals. Let's see how I do as the year progresses. Wish me luck!
To all of you returning to work and school tomorrow, try not to stress out over it too much, dress warmly, and be careful on those snowy roads! I know I'm not looking forward to it, but we have to do it sometime, right??
I've had several people ask me how I made it, so here are the simple directions on how to make it!
1. Tin Star
2. Pictures - Black and White looks best (You'll need 10)
4. 5 different pieces of Scrap booking paper
5. ModPodge or another decoupage glue. (I bought the Matte finish, but I think the glossy would have looked better)
6. A paint brush of some kind. I would suggest a small sponge brush
1.) Purchase a Tin star. I bought mine at Pat Catan's (discount craft store in Murrysville, PA). Each point was about 9 inches from the center. You can probably find them at a Michael's, JoAnn Fabrics, AC Moore, through LTDcommodities, and I know that the Trader Horn in Indiana sells them in many different sizes. I also found them here, in many different colors.
1.5.) (this is a suggestion, and not really a direction, so that's why it's 1.5) BHG.com suggests painting the star black, but I was smart and bought a black one!
2.) Print pictures! I actually printed about 20 pictures so that I could select the right picture to fit on each section. For my star, I used 4x6 pictures. But you may need to use 5x7, or another size depending on the size of your star! It's better to use pictures that aren't too close up on your subject...especially their face! Having a smaller image will make it fit in the section better. That way, you aren't cutting off someone's face. I took almost all of the pictures of Taryne that I used.
4.) Go through your pictures and see which ones will fit best on each point. Using your template, trace your pictures and cut them out.
5.) As I cut my pictures, I taped each one down to the place on the star that I wanted it to go. That way, I could keep track of each picture (especially because I would have probably lost them!)
6.) After all pictures are cut out, cut your paper pieces to fit onto the point where you've placed your pictures, and tape those on to make sure they fit. This was the worst part for me...because after I used the template to get the shape, I then had to match the angles of the pictures.
7.) Remove pieces from the star, and lay them out on your table just like they were on the star, for easy gluing.
8.) Going from the top point (mine had a hanging wire on the top, so I knew it was the top), put a thin layer of ModPodge down all over the point, and lay your photos and scrapbook paper down, one piece at a time. As you lay each picture down, put a thin layer of ModPodge on top of it. Continue doing this with the paper and the pictures, until you've covered the star.
9.) After all pictures and paper are glued down, allow the whole star to dry.10.) After the star has dried, put on another thin layer of ModPodge over the entire star. This will help hold everything together and put a nice finishing coat over everything.
11.) Allow it to dry one final time. Once dry, either wrap it up for your friend or family member, or...hang it on the wall!
(don't they just look yummy??)
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat together butter, the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and the 1/4 cup peanut butter with an electric mixer until combined. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Beat in as much of the dry ingredients as you can with mixer. Stir in remaining dry ingredients by hand with a wooden spoon. Form chocolate dough into 32 balls about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. Set aside.
3. For peanut butter filling, in a medium mixing bowl combine powdered sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup peanut butter until smooth. Shape mixture into 32 (3/4-inch) balls.
4. On a work surface, slightly flatten a chocolate dough ball and top with a peanut butter ball. Shape the chocolate dough over the peanut butter filling, completely covering the filling. Roll dough into a ball. Repeat with the remaining chocolate dough and peanut butter filling balls.
5. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
6. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 8 minutes or until they're just set and surface is slightly cracked. Let cookies stand for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool. Makes 32 cookies.
To Store: Place in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
There are a MILLION things that I could tell you about, but...I'm going to make it brief and tell you that we had a very nice Christmas. We ran around like crazy people and had a total of 7 family Christmas celebrations (all but two were on Christmas Day), plus our own, and we visited many friends and celebrated with them!
I'm not going to lie to you and say that the day was easy, because it wasn't. I tried VERY hard not to think about how hard the day was going to be, but there were times when I found myself crying and I couldn't control it. Going to my dad's mom's house was the worst, I think. My grandma and my aunts were crying when we got there, so that made it worse for mom and I. We enjoyed the rest of the day up to that point, especially watching Taryne open her gifts and get excited about everything.
I got lots of great things this year. Bobby's mom bought us a Wii and a Wii Fit/Balance Board, plus the Biggest Loser game, which is fun, but lots of hard work. She got me a few Snowbaby Wizard of Oz things for my collection, pj's, and some clothes. Noelle got me a really cute sweater with green, blue, grey, and red stripes. My mom got me lots of new clothes for school (that I picked out), a new bag to take to school with me, gloves/scarf/hat set, a couple of pieces to go with my willow tree nativity, plus a AAA membership! We got lots of money and gift cards from our grandparents and Ben got us a gift certificate for Tandor. Of course, Bobby got me my camera, which he gave me in October...and he got me some stuff that he put in my stocking. That's about it.
This was a crafty Christmas for me. I made lots of jewelry for people, and did a couple of other crafty things for Janelle and Bobby's cousin Jill. I participated in an ornament exchange and a cookie exchange this year, too! I tried to keep myself busy, thinking it would help with my Christmas spirit! I downloaded about 200 pictures to Facebook tonight...and I thought I should update you all on our crazy life!
I SWEAR that I'm going to post a few of my craft projects this weekend, because I've had several questions on how I made Janelle's gift.
We're off to bed! SOOO glad that there are 2 more days left of our vacation!
I decided that I would help mom clean, maybe put up her Christmas tree and help her decorate the rest of the house. I did put up our decorations at home last week, and it helped me get into the Christmas Spirit a litte bit.
Well, I dusted the living and dining rooms, took some plants upstairs, and helped mom take things down off the walls. Well, Bobby and Ben went upstairs and got the tree out of the attic and stood it up for us. Mom and I fluffed the branches and then went to get out all the ornaments and other decorations...aka snowmen! Mom has somewhere near 200 different snowmen. NONE of them are the same, and they vary in size from small 1/2 inch ornaments, to a guy that's over 5 feet tall that used to scare the crap out of my dad when he walked in the living room. It's like someone's standing there waiting to jump you!!
I decorated the WHOLE tree by myself, and it turned out lovely, if I do say so myself (I also decorated our tree at home by myself...Bobby put 1 ornament on the tree here). Things were going well while decorating...I got a little choked up while putting the ornaments on when I came across the ones that represented my dad...snowmen dressed like a fisherman, fireman, and golfer, and a golfball that I had bought him somewhere around 10 years ago.
I didn't cry though...until we got out the tote that had the stockings in it. There was dad's stocking, right on top. That did it. I lost it. Of course, mom did, too. We cried for a long time, and then we had to decide what to do. Put it up or don't put it up? It didn't seem right to just leave it in the tote. But how could we leave that empty stocking hang there???? Well, we did hang it up. We decided that we are going to put something in it...a cigar from the humidor we bought him for Father's Day. Did we make the right decision? I'm still not sure. I feel bad that my mom has to look at it every day...I just don't know. Even now, just thinking about that empty stocking, I'm getting teary eyed. I miss him so much.
Tonight, I'm going to finish decorating. I still have to put out the Nativity and decide what I'm going to do for a center piece on my dining room table! I also need to make the finishing touches on the ornaments I made for my ornament exchange.
I'll be taking pictures of the decorations the next few days to share with you! Have a great evening!
For Thanksgiving this year, we did something out of the ordinary. We went to my Aunt Becky's house (my mom's sister), which is near Harrisburg, instead of staying at home. It was a nice change of scenery. Bobby and I left at 2 on Wednesday and hit rush hour in Hbg and got to my aunt's at 6:30 (after checking into the hotel). We had pizza, hung out with Aunt B, Uncle Scott, and my cousins, Ashlee and Kelsey, until about Midnight. My mom and Ben got there somewhere around 11pm, because they both had to work!
Thursday was the day I was dreading, so much. I really thought it was going to be extremely difficult, just like I thought daddy's birthday was going to be super difficult, too. It wasn't though...for me, mom, or Ben. We got through it with no tears at all. We had a nice meal and visited with my mom's family and had a great day. After all the kids made stockings (that included me) Bobby and I went to Hershey Park with Kelsey and her boyfriend to go see the park lights and watch a cool show that was synchronized with music. It was pretty cool, and I got some neat pictures!
Friday, I went Black Friday shopping with the girls and Aunt B and had a great time. :) I got some good deals and even got myself a new purse! Bobby went to Cabela's in Hanover and he got us some new chairs for bonfires this coming summer! They recline and everything! So excited!
We left Aunt B's and went over to my Uncle Brian's (mom's brother) around 1:00 and stayed until about 3:30...which was MUCH later than we had planned to stay! When we got home, we had a bunch of friends come over, watched some football, talked, and played some games until about 1 am.
Saturday I got up early and went out to Bobby's cousin Jill's and made candy for Christmas with most of the women on his mom's side of the family. When we finished, I had to come home so we could go to Penn Hills for another Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt Karen's!
Dinner at Aunt Karen's went better than I had expected for everyone there, too. I was surprised by how very UN-emotional everyone was. I said to my mom it didn't seem like anyone was having too hard of a time because dad ALWAYS had to work on holiday's...so it was just like any other year. My mom and grandma seemed to agree with me, too. We stayed there until about 12:30, because we watched the Green Mile....one of my absolute FAVORITE movies, EVER :) oh yeah, and Nova, my GORGEOUS 9 year old cousin, fell asleep in my lap. It was great. She's such a sweetie pie!!
Sunday we hung out at home and watched the Steelers LOSE with JohnAllen. Even tho they lost, we had a fun evening and went to bed early...The boys had to get up and hunt super early.
Well, that's about all that happened Thanksgiving weekend. I'll post more again later. I've got lots of stuff to do this evening!
My momma is amazing. She's been through A LOT since last September when she lost her job for a VERY stuuuuuuupid reason. That's a long story and I'm sure she wouldn't really want me to tell you about it, either. She went back to work in December and has had 4 different jobs since then. She is now the assistant manager on the retail side at Cunningham Meats.
She has always encouraged me to do the things that I want to do, and even if we don't always see eye-to-eye, she'll back me up in whatever decisions I make for my life. Whenever someone asks me when I'm going to have a baby and she's around, she jumps in and replies for me, because she knows it's hard for me to talk about. She says that the babies will come when the time is right and she has never been pushy about it. She knows what's going on with my body and doesn't let anyone upset me when the talk of a baby comes up.
Mom has been so strong since we lost daddy. She hasn't given up. She gets out of bed every morning, goes to work, and continues on with her life. I know that there are days that she and I (and I'm sure that my brother and the rest of my dad's family probably feel this way too) would rather give up and just stay in bed and forget about life for a while...just let the grief win and cry forever...feeling so sorry for ourselves. But she won't do that, and because I know she is so strong and won't give up on her life, I can't either.
Tonight, Momma took me to Kittanning with her to have dinner with some of her friends that she used to work with at the Wal*Mart there. We went to The Villa...I'd never been there before, but it was a nice place! They have a cookie exchange every year (That reminds me...we're having a cookie exchange at the office in December...I'm making Peanut Butter Munchies. I'll share the recipe when I make the cookies..and post pictures) and have dinner together. Well, they didn't bake cookies this year, just exchanged recipes, talked, laughed, and ate. We had a nice time and the food was really good.
Thank you for being so strong for me, Momma. I love you forever and ever.
Wednesday was Veteran's Day, and I cannot tell you how thankful I am that I can live my life in freedom because of the great men and women who so freely serve our country. My dad was in the Navy, one uncle was in the Air Force, and one was in the Army. Bobby's grandfathers served in the Army and the Air Force, and a TON of his cousins have served in various branches of the military. We've both had many friends that have served our country, as well. I can't put into words how much I appreciate what our soldiers do for us every day.
This is something one of my friends posted as his status on facebook the other day. I really liked it. And it's so true, because our military fights to keep us free from the oppression of other countries and help to destroy terrorism!
It is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion. It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble. It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote. It is the veteran, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag.
Soooo...that catches me up through today, and I'll do today's shortly!
My butt was really dragging at school today. I don't know if it was because I was tired, but the kids were REALLY crazy. By lunch time I was so tense and I thought I might start shaking and pull my hair out by the end of the day! I struggled through the afternoon and got to recess. I was able to talk to another adult and find that I wasn't the only one who was having a problem with the kids being crazy. We assumed it was because they don't have school tomorrow and it was "Friday" to them. OHHH well, I made it through the day and I'm still alive and have ALL of my hair :)
After a day like that it's really hard to be thankful! And I was pondering on my drive home about what I might have to be thankful about. Just then, a turkey ran out into the road! I slowed down, knowing that the turkey would make it to the other side, if I went slow enough. Then...ANOTHER turkey jumped in front of my car. I had to slam on my breaks. It was then that I discovered what I it is that I'm thankful for today.
I haven't had the best of luck with my car...it's spent a lot of time in the shop. But...lately, it's been running pretty well! *knock on wood* When I had to slam on my breaks today so I wouldn't kill the turkey, I was glad that they work that well! Yes, I know I could have just killed the stupid turkey, but I would have cried the rest of the way home. So...that turkey flew out of the way, and I looked to my right and saw 4 more turkey on the other side of the road. As I drove away, the rest of the turkey walked across the road to their destination. I smiled and continued on my way home, thankful that I didn't kill any turkey today!
So with that, I must get going. We have very little food in the house and I have to figure out what to make for dinner. Hopefully I can pull something out of my rear-end. I think we have some meatballs in the freezer and some noodles. Guess I just figured out what I'm making for dinner tonight!
I still haven't found out what's going on with my body. And...I can't go to the doctor to find out because we don't have health insurance right now...that's another story for another day. Anyway, that means that we can't have kids of our own right now, but I can enjoy being around other people's children! Children are great. They can make you smile and laugh even on the darkest of days. They think simply, act kindly (most of the time), and try to please you in whatever they do. I think that's one of the reasons I love being at the elementary school so much. Most of those kids don't come in the mindset that they aren't going to do anything that you ask them because it doesn't matter. They're eager to learn and they actually want to do it!
My 4th graders were crazy today. They were excited to have me for class and they listened pretty well, but they were being a little more goofy than they would be if their teacher was actually there. It was alright tho, I love when they can make me laugh and smile.
Well...it's a Black and Gold Monday Night! The Steelers are playing the Broncos tonight at 8:30! I'm sooooo glad there's finally a game on. It's been over 2 weeks since they played because of the bye week. Last Sunday and yesterday were so strange without the game being on! That's alright tho! I'll take what I can get...even if I'll probably fall asleep and miss the end because I'm so tired!
Here we go Steelers, Here we go!!!
Today Bobby and I spent the day at home. While I really wanted to go to the zoo today, it was great to just stay at home and be alone with each other. We did a little rearranging in the living room to prepare for Christmas. We spent an hour and a half moving every piece of furniture around...and in the end, the only things that we really had to move were the couch and the TV. We basically just switched where the two things were and it made the room sooooo much bigger! Pictures later!
This week, I teach every day except Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday I will be teaching 4th grade and I'm really looking forward to it! For the most part, the kids are fantastic and I hope that they'll be good for me! Wednesday is Veteran's Day and the school is CLOSED! Thursday, I think I'm teaching art...which may change between now and then, which is fine! Friday I'll be in 1st grade! Yay!
On Wednesday, I'll be taking a Mental Health Day and relaxing. I don't get the chance to be home alone too much and I really need some alone time this week.
I've had such an emotional weekend. I still have this painful sad feeling in the pit of my stomach that won't go away...like the same empty feeling I did the week of the funeral. It's like he was here with me this week and left me again. It's so strange...whenever I have a bad, emotional day, my mom and brother do, too. And my mom says that my dad's sister, Karen feels the same way when we feel that way. Is that weird? Is it a coincidence? I really don't know, but I guess it's good to know that someone is feeling the same way I do when I feel so empty.
Well, it's time for bed! Gotta get up early!! Nighty night!
Yesterday was SOOOOOOO cold! It could have snowed had their been any nasty clouds in the sky. Today it's above 60 degrees and we have the front door open. All the cold makes me appreciate the warm weather, especially when it's unexpected!
We got all of the patio furniture put away for the year and put all of the other outdoor things put in the garage, too. Feels good to have everything taken care of. We won't have to do it when it's super cold, now! They are predicting a high of 66 tomorrow. I'm hoping that my dear husband will take me to the Pittsburgh Zoo tomorrow so we can use our tickets that we bought this summer and didn't have time to use. I'll let you know how that goes!
Oh and last night, we went to the movies to the A Christmas Carol in 3D...you know, the one that Jim Carrey played like 6 or 7 of the characters? It was good. The same old story, but the 3D made it a little more interesting. It made me really sad, tho...thinking about Christmas without my dad. I cried through most of the movie, unbeknownst to my in-laws...but poor Bobby knew I was crying the whole night. Ugh...sorry I'm so depressing...it's just so hard.
Well...the Penn State game should be starting here shortly. Have a good day!
I have been very, very sad today. I keep thinking of my dad and then the crying starts. I have so many good memories of him and keep seeing his face and hearing his voice.
I can't tell you how hard it is.
There are a few pictures of he and I together on our bookshelf and it's comforting to see his face everyday. But at the same time, knowing that's the only time I'll see him makes me so sad. I was daddy's little girl...and proud of it.
I met my best friend, Sara, when I was 5 years old. She lived down the street from me while I was growing up and we would play in the neighborhood. She went to a private school during elementary school, and we didn't meet up again until 7th grade in Junior high. We have been friends since. There aren't many people I know who have had their best friend nearly their entire life. Tonight, Bobby and I went to dinner with Sara and her husband, Tyson. We had a great night, and probably could have sat and talked all night. She's the best :)
Also, please pray for our soldiers at Fort Hood, in Texas after one of their own turned 2 hand guns on them, killing 12 and injuring 31 others. These men and women live their lives to protect us from foreign threats, they shouldn't have to protect themselves from their own brother. Bobby's cousin was stationed at Fort Hood for 4 years, this hits a little too close to home.
I'll be at school again tomorrow...aaaaannnnd everyday next week. I guess I better get to bed.
I'm off to make dinner and get some housework done. Hoping that I can tackle the mess on my dining room table! Hope you all have a wonderful evening!
With the current state of the economy, a lot of people are getting pay cuts, being laid off, or losing their jobs completely. I feel very fortunate that I am able to have two jobs to pay my bills. I know that I complain about my office job, A LOT, but my bosses are both fantastic! Just the simple fact that they are so flexible and allow me to sub and work there when I need to makes my life so much easier. I would hate to give up that job until I absolutely need to. It's great knowing that I can go to AmbCoach if I don't teach a couple days a week. I also know I have somewhere to work for the summer so I can keep a steady income!
Okay...that's it for day #2. Time to do today's post!
Last night we had dinner at Bob and Fran's to celebrate Jason's (that's Janelle's husband) birthday. We had delicious stuffed peppers and mashed potatoes. YUM! We also had yellow cake with cool whip/pudding icing, and chunked pineapple on top! DELICIOUSNESS! Aaaaannnndddd...that's about how exciting the day was! Haha.
This morning, my alarm went off at 6:30, just in case the school called. Well, as soon as my alarm went off (which is on my phone) my phone rang. It was Penns Manor. They needed me at the elementary school in the third grade. It wasn't a bad day...at first...but as the day went on, the kids got more crazy. I wound up being so upset with them at the end of the day that I was actually GLAD that the I was going to my other job. Haha. What a joke that was!
So yes, I did go to the Coach after school. I have to say, that most of the ladies there are fantastic. I do really love them, and they have become great friends over the past 3 years...BUT..some of them have such a lousy disposition on their lives. They're so miserable that they drag everyone else down! GRRRRR!!!!
That is going to be my motto for the week...no matter how bad the day is, the next day can't be any worse, can it? At least I hope not!
For those of you who have lost a loved one, is it better to be alone on holidays or with family? I would really like to hear what you have to say. Please tell me!
That's about it! It's 10 pm and I'm ready for bed. We'll see if the phone rings in the morning!
I have a TON of jewelry...it's accumulated over the years and I'm running out of room to store it all. My mom is having the same problem, and her birthday was on the 18th. I needed a gift for her and she needed somewhere to put her jewelry! So, I came up with a simple solution. I put some serious thinking into what I wanted to do.
I remembered being at May Mart this year and someone who was selling jewelry and had an old frame that she had painted and had covered plywood or something similar in fabric. Well...I thought that might be pretty easy, but didn't know where to find an old frame that would be big enough for my project. My friend, Julianne, said she's just using a simple bulletin board and pushpins to hang her jewelry on.
We're watching the Ghost Hunters Marathon on Syfy...they're showing the 5 scariest episodes and counting down until they do a live investigation at 1:00 am.
That's about it...pretty boring day! It's nice to stay at home together once in a while. We didn't have any visitors for trick-or-treat since we don't live in town. Hope you all had some visitors!
All week I taught and I went to my other job a few days as well. After spending the day with 500+ kids and having to constantly be on my toes I'm exhausted. I have to make sure that they aren't talking when they aren't supposed to, that they're keeping their hands to themselves, understanding what they're supposed to be doing, reading, doing independent work, spelling, math...singing, playing an instrument...which includes checking fingerings, the embouchure, how they're holding the instrument, if they know the name of the note, how long it needs to be played, are they resting...ugh! It's crazy! I love what I do, honestly, but my brain is engaged from the minute I walk in the door of the school until I walk back out to my car.
So when I get home, I'm drained. I am not ready to cook and clean when I get home. That housewife switch doesn't turn on. I feel like I'm letting my husband down because I don't cook dinner for him every night. I wait until the weekend to do laundry and some of my other housework. Does it make me a bad wife because I don't care if I do my wifey jobs everyday??
How do those of you who work balance all of those things? Does your husband help you? Mine doesn't very much. It makes it even harder to get things done when I do it all on my own! Suggestions? Help?! Please?!!??!
We're off to have dinner with Noelle and Derek! We're picking up pizza and heading to their place! Maybe I'll post something a little longer tonight! Bye!
So today we weighed in. I lost 4 lbs this week! Well, technically, I gained 2 last week, so I lost those 2 and then 2 this week...so far, I have lost 10 lbs! I'm so excited! Bobby lost a little more than 2 lbs this week, putting him at 12 lbs total! Not sure where everyone else stands, but we have all lost somewhere between 5 and 10 lbs! Yay!
So far, I am teaching Monday and Tuesday and in the office the rest of the week. I hope that they can find me one or two more days so I don't have to go to the Coach as much.
Oh yeah, and I got all my house work done between yesterday and today. I even ironed ALL my work clothes for the week and two sets of sheets because my husband threw them onto the bed in the spare bedroom when he took them out of the dryer, instead of folding them! So glad it's all done. Hopefully I can take it easy this week on house work! Just daily stuff! No big piles of laundry, I hope!!
Well, I told you I'd be quick! I'm off to bed! Nighty night!
So we didn't get home until about 1:00 am, and pretty much went straight to bed. I had been up since 6:30 and I was really tired when we got home. I slept until 1:00 this afternoon! That's 12 hours of sleep. I must have really needed it, because I NEVER do that!
Oh, and Yesterday, Noelle was in the ER. She had really bad pains in her lower back, and what she said were really bad menstrual cramps, too. They made her take a pregnancy test, which came back negative, so they sent her for a CT. They did the CT to see if she has kidney stones. They saw NOTHING in the CT, so the doctor wanted to send her home. Well, she's had ovarian cysts before and said the pain was similar to when she had them last time. The doctor wouldn't give her a pelvic exam and told her to go see her doctor. He had no idea what was wrong with her and was going to send her home without anything for pain. We talked to the nurse and she told the doctor that if he wasn't going to to do the pelvic exam that he MUST give her something for the pain. I was, and still am very mad at that doctor! He should have done so much more for her...especially since he has no idea what's wrong with her. He told her to come back if the pain got worse. Of course she was in a lot of pain while we were at the movie last night, so we made her take a pain pill while we were at the movie. At least it was so scary that everyone was screaming, or she would have fallen asleep.
It is a dark and dreary day here in Indiana and I'm home alone while Bobby's at a gun bash. I've got some sheets in the drier, towels in the washer, and I really should be doing some other cleaning, but I just don't feel like it! I would looooove to stay on the couch and watch TV all day, but I guess I should take advantage of the fact that I don't have to work today and get some things done! Not to mention that it's 5:15 and I should probably get in the shower.
I have to finish my mom's birthday present today or tomorrow, too! I am making her a jewelry board for all of her necklaces and bracelets. I'll have to post a picture of it once it's all finished. If it turns out nicely, I might make one for myself!
I think I'm also going to work on some jewelry today. I have been asked to make a few things for Christmas gifts and for some friends to wear to up coming events. I hope that I can create something that will make my friends happy :)
Well, I guess I should go get some stuff done! Have a wonderful evening!