Monday, August 27, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday #15

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Wow - it's been a while since I've done a tackle! Well, not actually that long, but it's been a while since I posted one.

I have a couple for today.

The first one doesn't look like much, but it really was a lot of work. It's this:

This large stack of boxes represents a few hours of work. What's inside them? A bunch of stuff going into a yard sale next weekend. Everything in there has been priced and is ready to go. The little pile of "junk" you see right beside them is more stuff I came across and was too tired to deal with. I still have quite a bit more stuff I need to go through. My friend is having a sale, and I'm putting my stuff with hers and a few other people. Hopefully I can make a little extra cash!

And for the second tackle. I can't believe how bad I let this closet get. I've shown this before, but it was much worse this time. It is the "catch all" closet. It holds lots of books, scrapbooking things, boxes and packing materials, odds and ends - just lots of things that don't have a home anywhere else. Here are the befores. I'm warning you, this is NOT pretty!!!

The bottom

The middle

The very top

I got rid of some things and moved the rest around. I moved things I don't need as often to the very top shelf. My phone books were up there before, and I had a difficult time getting to them. Now they are much more accessible, and the best thing - I'm not worrying anymore about things falling on me when I open the door!

And the Afters:

The Bottom: (Please ignore the awful floor - we never finished the inside of the closet when we put hardwoods down!)

The middle:

The top:

Much better!!!!

For more tackles, be sure to visit 5 Minutes For Mom!

It's Another Giveaway!!

Seems like everyone is giving something away these days! Maybe I didn't win that big screen tv, but that's ok. It may not be electronic, but I'd like to win this.

This is such a pretty and stylish bag, and I'd love to have it to carry the load of stuff I have to take when going just about anywhere with a toddler!
Musings of a Housewife is giving this great bag away. But please, don't go check it out, because you know you don't want this bag. And if you enter to win, it lessens my chances!

Of course I'm kidding - sort of! Go check it out, and if you really, really want it, go ahead and enter to win. I promise I'll TRY not to be mad at you if you win instead of me! :0)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Menu Plan Monday #14

I've been so busy the past couple weeks, and done so little blogging, that I've not posted my menu. Trying to get back to "normal" again, so here's this week's plan!

Monday - Meatball Sandwiches

Tuesday - Fajitas

Wednesday - Tuna Patties ~ Mac & Cheese

Thursday - Sandwiches

Friday - Breakfast for Dinner

Saturday - Cheesy Chicken ~ Rice ~ Green Beans

Sunday - Grilled Pork Chops & Veggies

For more menu ideas, be sure to visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Finally...Some Pictures!

OK, so obviously I didn't make it back on Tuesday with the pictures I mentioned. But I'm back now! I still probably won't be posting every day for another week or two - until I get my website completely finished, but I hope to at least be around more than I have the past couple weeks. I was hoping to have it all done by now, but I put so many hours in, that I really needed a break from it to catch up on other things around here. So, it's time to get back to it and get it completed now.

Last Saturday, Jon and Kelly came over for a visit. (Jon is Chip's cousin.) The guys went to the driving range to hit some golf balls, (or maybe they played tennis? I don't remember what they ended up doing for sure!) and us girls did a little scrapbooking. Then we ordered pizza and hung out.

This was kind of a special day, as Jon and Kelly agreed to be Godparents for the kids, and we were thrilled that they said yes - and without any hesitation! We had been praying about this, and they really felt like the perfect fit. Of course we pray we will be here to see our kids grow up, but it sure feels good to have this in place! They are so awesome, and have the same values we do, they love our kids, and the kids love them!

I totally forgot to take pictures when they were here the last time, and would have this time, but Kelly brought her camera and she remembered. So I pulled mine out and snapped a few too.

Ruthi LOVED it when Jon was willing to play dress up with the jewelry with her. And I must say, they looked pretty cute!

CJ had gone outside to play just before we pulled out the cameras, but we did get him back in to get in a couple before Jon and Kelly left.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Re-entering the (blog) Land of the Living!!

Yes - I'm still alive! And I'm beginning to float again. The past two weeks have been very busy, and I think my head is finally above water. I see the light at the end of the tunnel!!!

This will be a quick post, as there are many things on today's to do list. Hopefully I'll be back later with a Tackle it Tuesday, as well as sharing some pictures from the weekend.

My website is getting closer and closer. I had no idea it was going to be so much work! I've actually had to take myself completely away from it for the past three or four days so I wouldn't totally burn myself out. I just keep hitting little snags - things I thought I had finished and figured out, and then discovered something that needed to be changed. It can be quite frustrating! So I took a break to keep from going mad. And I worked on my house for a bit. I'm finding it a little difficult balancing it all! But I know in the end it will be worth it. Soon this part of it will be behind me, and I can get back to some normalcy - whatever that is!

We are in the second week of school, and all is going well so far. That is another thing I've had to add back to juggling! Thankfully, CJ is at the age where he does the majority of his work independently, so it's not too bad.

I miss my blogging friends! I've tried to stop by a few places and comment, and even if I haven't commented, I've probably been checking in. Hopefully I'll get back to that "schedule" soon too!

One last thing - Trista at the Pumkin Patch is having an end of the summer blog party. I was supposed to mention this last week for her, but I just didn't have a chance to log on to blogger! (Sorry Trista!) Be sure to go by and check it out if you haven't already. And she's giving something away. Actually, not only she is, but several of the others who are linked up are too - so go join the fun and enter to win something free!!!!

Alright - gotta run. Told you this would be short! (For ME, anyway! LOL) See you all soon!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tasty Thursday #15 (on Friday!)

Hosted by Trista at The Pumkin Patch.

No, I don't have my days mixed up. I know it's Friday - almost Saturday, and I'm late for posting this. However, I've been super busy - between being at the church 4 nights this week doing registration for basketball and working every spare second on my business website, I haven't had much time for posting. But it's cookie edition this week, and I really wanted to share my favorite cookie recipe...even if it's late!

First of all, I need to tell you - I can cook or bake pretty much anything...except cookies. For YEARS I've tried to make good cookies. But for some unexplained reason, I had been unsuccessful.

But that all changed last year. A wonderful lady named Candy, who makes cookies and cakes for a living, posted her recipe for chocolate chip cookies on my favorite message board. Several gals made them and kept reporting back that they were totally awesome. So I thought I'd give it a shot - what do I have to lose, right?

Oh my sweet merciful heavens!!! Guess what?


I am NOT kidding - these were the best chocolate chip cookies I think I had ever tasted. And the true test? My husband LOVED them! He couldn't believe I had actually made them...from scratch!

They were so good that I made about 80 dozen of them last year to give out at Christmas to family and friends. I hope they liked them too!

This makes a very nice and chewy cookie - my favorite. My friend wasn't as crazy about them, because she likes a crunchier cookie. For me - the chewier the better - as long as they are actually done. These are fantastic.

So now on to the recipe!!


2 1/4 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 cup butter, softened (NOT MARGARINE!)
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C white sugar
1 (3.4 oz) pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 C chocolate chips
1 C nuts (optional)

Oven 350. Sift together flour and baking soda, set aside.

Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture, Finally stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cooies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 mintues in the preheated oven.

Make sure you get real butter and let it sit out at room temperature to soften. Don't microwave it - you don't want it to be melted!

Oh - and just before I went to make all these cookies last year, my mixer burned out. I discovered I could mix the entire batch by hand with my wooden spoon. And honestly, I don't know if I'll ever bother actually using my mixer for these!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Heat is On...

...Tell me can you feel it, tell me can you feel it!!!

Are you singing now? That song will be stuck in my head the rest of the day...and with good reason!

I just checked the temperature for our city and it's 97 degrees with a "feels like" 104! That's HOT! They say these are the dog days of summer. I never really understood exactly what it means, but apparently it has something to do with just how hot it is. And if it means scorching, almost unbearable to breathe - then the dog days are definitely here!

I opened my door at 10:30 this morning and was smacked in the face with a wave of heat. It literally took my breath. I couldn't believe it was so hot already!

Our summer has actually been quite pleasant until now, so I can't complain too much. It could have been like this for the past couple of months. Hopefully only 4 more weeks and things will begin to cool down.

I feel so bad for the kids that started back to school this week in this horrid heat. I'm so thankful CJ doesn't have to sit in a hot classroom all day!

Speaking of school, I finally got CJ's books ordered today. It feels good to have that done! And tomorrow I will be signing him up for a Science class that he will take on Friday's. I think it will be really good for him, as he will be able to get all the hands-on stuff and labs, which are really difficult to do at home for one child! Plus it will give him a change of scenery once a week, and I think he will be very happy about that!

I may be a bit scarce over the next few weeks, especially with reading and commenting on other blogs. I have a ton of stuff I'm working on, including on working on my business website and getting the ins and outs of it figured out. This is probably going to be a very consuming task, and I still have all the 'regular' stuff like housework and such plus school stuff starting next week. So, if you don't see me around, I haven't forgotten you, I'm just quite busy. Hopefully I'll have a handle on everything in a few weeks and can get back to my regularly scheduled blog reading!

That's all for now - this is night 2 of Basketball registration/evaluations and I've gotta get outta here to work on that. I wish that didn't mean I have to walk out in the heat to get to my car!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Menu Plan Monday #13

I'm really loving not cooking with my oven - the house is much cooler! So I'm not planning to use it for as long as possible - until the weather is cooler again!!

Last week I tried the Lasagna Sandwiches and they were quite good. Although, I really didn't think they tasted that much like lasagna, it didn't matter because they were good!

We had a couple things come up, so I have a couple carryover meals this week. And I need to keep things really simple, as four nights this week we will be at the church for Upward basketball registration/evaluations, and we will have to eat early.

Monday - Better-Than-Arby's Roast Beef Sandwiches ~ Tater Tots

Tuesday - Rotisserie Chicken ~ Turnip Greens ~ Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday - Hot Dogs

Thursday - Tacos

Friday - Philly Cheese steak Sandwiches

Saturday - Zesty Pork Chops and Grilled Vegetables ~ Grilled New Potatoes

Sunday - Leftovers

For more menu ideas, be sure to visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Friday, August 03, 2007

I Hate Flies

I really do. I don't just hate them.

I detest them.

I despise them.

I abhor them.

I LOATHE them!!!

Did I make that clear?

I don't understand their purpose AT.All. I mean really, they don't have one, do they? They don't eat other insects, they don't help with anything. They really have no purpose.

And they really are not welcome in my house.

So why is it, EVERY TIME my door opens, one or two more just invite themselves in and take up residence?

If anything was going to drive me totally insane, it would probably be flies. And I was almost to that point last night.

About 8 had gotten in yesterday, and I was about to go over the edge! I had had enough. I was out for blood....or at least fly guts! I really need to get a fly swatter, but I only think about it when I see those buggers in my house and want them out. I never remember when I'm actually at the store!

So last night I had had ENOUGH! And I was swatting at them with a dishtowel. I managed to get a couple of them - they were probably the weak ones. But the others continued to elude me.

I finally decided to lure them to me, and await their arrival, equipped with my weapon - Simple Green. (Not only a wonderful cleaning product, but an excellent fly killer!) I turned off all the lights in the house - except for the one over my kitchen sink. I knew the light would attract them, and it was only a matter of time.

Soon, they were flittering around the light. And that's when I attacked - I caught them off guard. I beamed my death ray sprayed my Simple Green at them. Oh, they tried to keep going, but it was just too powerful. They began to crash and burn. And then...annihilation! Good by you nasty flies! And good riddance!

This morning I discovered one lone fly still hanging around. I guess he had somehow managed to avert the battle last night. But he was in a very weak state and was an easy target.

Alright now, as much as I'd love to fill my evenings with covert operations because it's so very exciting, I'd really like to know of an easier way to rid myself of these pests. I'm sure I can find better ways to spend my time - you know, like cleaning house reading blogs and such.

So, my question is - do you have a sure fire way of getting rid of flies? And not fly paper - I can't stand the thought of that sticky stuff hanging in my kitchen with flies stuck to it - YUCK!
So do you have any other solutions? With kids in and out all day, it is unreasonable to think my door will stay closed, so they are bound to get in. But is there and EASY way to get rid of them? Please save me from going nuts by offering some brilliant advice!!

And speaking of advice, be sure to visit Lori for Advice Forum Friday!!! It's a new carnival she's beginning today!
Here's what she says:

How many times have you been stumped, by your child's behavior, or a household task, or the attitude of the guy at the phone company? And you just want to ask some advice. And maybe you posted it on your blog, but only one or two people saw it or offered any advice. I think Advice Forum Friday can help!

So, if you have a question, be sure to post about it and jump on over to her place to sign the Mr. Linky and then sit back and wait for the advice to pour in! (And more details are on her blog.)

And if you are one of those who are overflowing with advice to give, then run on over there and visit the participants and bestow on them your incredible knowledge!!! Come on, you know you want to!
And you can start with me - PLEASE present me with a magic solution for my fly problem!!!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tasty Thursday #14

Hosted by Trista at The Pumkin Patch.

Lori asked me for my Carbonara recipe a couple weeks ago and I just haven't taken the time to sit down and type it up. So I decided I'd post it for today's TT especially for you Lori!

I actually can't find my recipe and had to make it the last time from memory. And, this isn't actually MY recipe. One of the guys Chip works with at the station is Italian, and this is his recipe. Chip learned to make it from him, got us hooked on it, and taught me to make it. It is soooooo yummy!

All the measurements are not exact. This was not a "written down" recipe. Chip listed the ingredients and knew in what order to do what. I have followed along. Some of the measurements are approximate, you may need to experiment to get it the way you like. And I apologize if the recipe doesn't sound "polished". I am writing it the way I cook it!


1 lb. bacon
1 lb. Rigatoni pasta
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
White wine - 1/2 - 1/3 cup
4 Egg yolks
Fresh Parsley - 1/3 - 1/2 bunch, chopped
Parmesan cheese - a couple good handfuls (We actually use the Kraft shredded Parmesan, Romano and Asiago, from the dairy case, next to the other parmesan)
Crushed red pepper flakes - to taste

Place pot of water on stove and bring to a boil as you are working. Once it reaches a boil, add pasta and cook until just tender. Drain. (I try to time the pasta to be done at the same time the sauce is ready.)

Chop the bacon and fry until crispy. Finely chop parsley. Place egg yolks in a bowl. Add about 1 cup of slightly warm water to eggs and stir until smooth. Set aside. (The warm water tempers the eggs so they won't scramble when you add them to you pan.) When bacon is crispy, drain almost all the grease. (leave about a tablespoon or so.) Add garlic and pepper to bacon and cook over medium heat for a couple minutes. (I add just a pinch for flavor, Ruthi can't eat it hot. We add extra to our plates before we eat it.) Reduce heat to medium-low and add wine. This will deglaze and slightly cool the pan. Let simmer for just a minute (stirring) and then add egg/water mixture. Stir constantly for a minute or so. Reduce heat to low. Add parsley, stir another minute or so. Add cheese and stir constantly until cheese is melted.

Pour over drained pasta and stir well.

You could also add some grilled chicken to this, but we find it quite filling as is. We serve it with a salad and bread. This is one of our favorite meals!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I was Lost!!

Sort of....but not really.

OK, a little while ago my husband was out and about and he called me. He asked me if I had gotten up yet. (I was asleep when he left the house.) I said yes, and he told me to look at the camera. I thought to myself, "Great - he's taken some unflattering pictures of me while I was sleeping."

But before I had time to turn the camera on and take a peek, he told me what had transpired before he left this morning.

Sometime during the night, Ruthi woke up crying, and I decided to just lie down on the couch with her.

This morning, when Chip got up, he couldn't find me. He checked all the rooms - and no me! He noticed the back door was unlocked, so he thought maybe I had gone outside for something. He asked CJ if he knew where I was. He said, "She's on the couch." Chip told him I wasn't there. But then he went to look again. This is what he found:

That's me...right there on the couch.

Do you see me? No? Look a little closer!

Here's a better shot:

Do you see me now?

Here's one more:

I can't imagine why he didn't see me when he first came through there! LOL!

Ruthi really had me buried. And I was sleeping so good! So the tune of 10 AM! Lest you forget, I am a night owl...and though I went to bed "early" last night (midnight), it was still a while before I was able to fall asleep. So I enjoyed sleeping until 10, and apparently, so did Ruthi!

I thought it was pretty funny. And even funnier that he thought to grab the camera and take pictures!
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