September 29, 2011

Days 28 & 29–The Wall Hit Me

I know it seems a little ridiculous to have complaints on the last few days of this challenge – but I think if nothing else bothers you in a month like this where you’ve sworn off spending, then the total inconvenience of it will seek you out and hit you in the head.  Translation to that babble = if you don’t hit the wall, the wall will hit you. 

I’ve come across no less than 547 reasons to break the challenge this week alone.  It has been a DOOSEY.  There are so many moments of inconvenience.  The three nights when AB couldn’t make it home for dinner, and the kids and I were floundering trying to come up with yet another meal that mommy can’t burn.  That’s me hitting the wall.  Then we drive by a Taco Bell and the kids start hollering “Taco Bell!  Taco Bell!  Take us to Taco Bell!” and that’s when the wall hits you.  Oh yes.  It does.

Or like this morning when I had fasted for over twelve hours for some blood work – and immediately after leaving the doctors office, I am overcome with the need to eat anything – I don’t  care – crackers!  Whatever!  I’m slightly woosie and need some food.  That’s me hitting the wall, because I would have normally thought nothing of grabbing a quick bite through a drive-through.  But passing about twelve fast food /starbucks/donut joints on the way home?  That was the wall hitting me

Tomorrow is the last day and maybe I’m being a big baby, but I am SO GLAD.  I’m not saying we didn’t learn anything – because, I’m here to tell ya – you can’t go through this and not get anything out of it.  That’s for darn sure.  But I am saying, it was certainly an exercise in showing me how impractical our lives have become.  Oh no, I understand that we think we’re being practical most of the time with all our spending decisions.  I think I’m being practical when I swing through a drive-through.  But the reality is, when you stop spending frivolously, when you start using what you already have, when you start improvising, and when you start making use of the resources available to you – that’s when you realize how impractical everything else really is.  When your family is back around the table every night.  When your fun involves trips to the library, parks, playdates with friends, and picnic lunches.  When you find yourself inviting a friend over for breakfast instead of meeting somewhere – thus opening the door and your home to a more intimate and engaging environment.  When….when…when…

We’ve lost a lot in the name of convenience.  I don’t even think we realize how much.

But I’m not gonna be preaching that sermon today.  Because I am after all a creature of my environment and I am, as I said, SO GLAD it’s over.  If for nothing else than the farewell to any guilt I might have felt cheating on you.  Because each of you held me accountable.  And I could not see myself writing to tell you that I blew it.  That we gave in and killed it.  Instead I get to tell you that we made it and we finished strong.

Day 28 Menu

Breakfast: Cerealllllll. 

Lunch:  Pizza for me and my girl!  (It’s not delivery…it’s DiGornio)


Dinner:  Anton made pork chops, green beans, and homemade pasta.  Yes.  Pasta.  I wanted to sit with the entire bowl, in a corner, and growl at anyone who approached me.  It was that good.


Day 29 Menu – no pics…so sorry

Breakfast:   Cereal for the kids.  Are you even reading at this point? Snooore.

Lunch:  I had a coupon for a free chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A.  Hit the SPOT!

Dinner:  Rushed night after a fun trip to the library  = mac n cheese

Tomorrow we visit OUR FINAL DAY!  And since I have dinner plans with girlfriends (don’t worry, no cost involved) – the pics will be minimal – but oh…I can smell the freedom now!

This pic I’m just sharing because the world needs to know about my daughter’s deep affinity for BONES. Chicken…on the bone. Steak…on the bone. Pork Chops…on the bone. Whatever. She get’s ridiculously excited to gnaw on a bone. And girlfriend can clean it up, too! A girl after her Daddy’s heart…no doubt about it.

Here’s an article I caught about cutting back on food expense!

September 27, 2011

Day 27 and Proof

I’m going to skip right over the editorial and go to the accountability part – why?  Because there are only three days left.  3 days.  And I want you to know right now that these are the toughest of the challenge.  Why?  Because you feel like you already did the “hard part”.  You feel like you sacrificed.  You feel like you made it this far and proved your point…so why not…say, have that coffee.  Why not, say….have that drive-through burger or whatever. 

Well, it’s the longest three days of my life.  I’m telling you now.

Today was saved by the fact that we invited ourselves over to a friends for dinner, and it was delicious and a great distraction…

Day 27 Menu

Breakfast:  Cereal.  I’ve run out of my stock of waffles and pancakes.  Toast is just ok.  And I’m not in the mood to make a big huge breakfast, like AB does so well.  So, cereal it was.  And likely will be again tomorrow.

Lunch:  I was home alone and once again, did you hear the heavens part and the angels sing while I dined alone at my table?  You didn’t?  Well they were…parted and singing and stuff.  And I enjoyed a turkey sammie with a crunchy dill pickle.  So yum…

Dinner:  And yes, our outing – which was to Val’s and she cooked for us.  Which was homemade meatloaf (oh my gaw, so good), mashed potatoes, broccoli, peach slices...  It made it so easy to finish off Day 27.  Even though my children were way too tired, way too early – thus making it so we had to skedaddle way too soon…we still had a great time and enjoyed ourselves.  Sometimes just a different scene is all you need…Thanks V – we loves ya!


Onto the proof.


That I have the cutest daughter in the whole. wide. world.

Yes, I do.

As you were.

Oh!  Oh!  And Happy Anniversary to my awesome little brother 
and his wonderful wifey who are celebrating 2 years of marriage today! 
We love you both sooooo much!


September 26, 2011

Day 25 & 26….the heat is on

30-Days of Nothing Challenge

Here we are friends.  Staring down the final four days of the September 30 Days of Nothing Challenge!  In some ways, I can’t believe how fast the month flew by.  Truly!  In other ways though, I have experienced a lot of double-takes on my own impulses.  My spending impulses.  In some cases, I’ve been sad at how instinctively the need to eat out, or buy this or that has come up.  In others, I’ve been flat out mad that I got us into this mess in the first place.  I mean, who says to themselves “you can’t spend your own money for a month”?  Not very many.  But these people did….(have you stopped in to encourage them?)

And actually, many of you have – but just haven't blogged about it.

And for what it’s worth, we did

It has not always been easy, but I’m proud to say that we completely stuck to it.  Outside of a couple runs to my “other love” Chipotle – courtesy my friend Mr. Greg, we’ve stayed the course.  We can truly say that we just did. not. spend.  No dining out.  No coffee runs.  No extras.  No Halloween costume that I really wanted to get Quint today that was 25% off and the only one left in his size…..(breathe)….none of that.  Not once.  And I think that’s pretty spectacular by today's standards.

Day 25 Menu

Breakfast: Eggs in a Hole, courtesy Pioneer Woman.  Fun, huh?  The kids LOVE it…


Nevermind the eggs…look at that bacon….mmmmmmm.  AB truly does make the best bacon.  It’s a fact.

Lunch:  We had leftovers.  We were all home, and enjoying our day of rest.  So we just pulled a bunch of stuff out of the fridge and went to it.  Sometimes, those are the best lunches…lots of good memories of doing that when I was a kid with my parents on a Sunday afternoon after church. 

Dinner:  The prettiest Tri-Trip you’ve ever seen.  No, seriously…My Aunt J wants me to ship Anton off to her when he’s done cooking for us.  Hmmm, might be hard to part with him after this meal!


Also?  I had never had collard greens.  Just the name, “collard”, didn’t appeal.  You know?  Which is really lame of me, it turns out, because AB made them with some chopped onion and jalapeno (just enough heat to make them insanely good) and they were almost the best part of the meal.  And that’s saying a lot when you’re up against the tri-trip…so delicious – nice one, Honey!


Day 26 Menu – Today was a blah day – both in food, life, etc.  Quint was at school, AB had to work both jobs, and we had Awana tonight.  So all in all – no pics, and a fairly boring menu.  On the other hand…it’s all about accountability, so you get to read it anyway.  Tantalizing, no?

Breakfast:  Cereal.  Woohoooooo.

Lunch:  Keira and I had sandwiches, which were quite tasty.  But I do love a good sandwich.  As long as the bread is super fresh.  Right, Mom?

Dinner:  Whole chicken, fresh fruit, sliced French bread with butter.  It was very good – but we were in much to big of a hurry to capture pics

Meanwhile, I have to share that as we were cleaning up dinner Sunday night (which we all do together), AB put on some music and the kids got silly…and before we knew it, we were all dancing around.  Which was hilarious enough in itself (and honestly, some of the moments in our little family that I cherish deeply) – but Quint took it up a notch when he disappeared to his room and returned as DJ Snazzy Diddy Q Flav-o-Flav….

That’s a clip-on tie people…so ya’ll bettah’ recognize….shoot…

I love this boy beyond description.

September 25, 2011

Days 23 & 24

Sorry – I don’t like doing that.  Where I don’t post for a couple days and then I’m struggling to remember what we ate…

The truth is, I’ve had a struggle this week with feeling bad – which I’ve already shared, so no boring re-cap of that. 

Suffice it to say – waiting anxiously for the “on the mend” part…{UGH...STINK..OVER IT}.

So, without much fan-fare of any kind – here is the menu for the past two days (Friday/Saturday).

Day 23 Menu

Breakfast: Cereal, cereal, cereal.  And I’m starting to decide that if the milk is not really, really cold – it’s not so bueno. 

Lunch:  Keira and I had mac-n-cheese and fresh raspberries.  Which was all wonderful and cheesy and yummy…until Miss KJ decided to have a COLOSSAL meltdown over whoeverknowswhat and couldn’t calm down and one meltdown led to a worse meltdown and so we called it.  Food went cold.  Lunch’s untimely time of death = 12:36pm.  Oh well.  Early nap-time never hurt anyone.

Dinner:  AB created a tangy Italian number of veggies, chicken, rigatoni, and Italian dressing.  Yum!  You know you want some!  It was delish!!


Day 24 Menu

Breakfast:  Waffles and sausage.  MMMMmmmm. 

Lunch:  Well, lunch was a bust – because we were still full from Breakfast.  So it was a very light scattering of some things we had in the fridge.  Some soup, some yogurt, some cheese. 

Dinner:  For dinner I made a homemade chili.  This is the super easiest/delicious chili recipe ever…takes 20 minutes TOTAL to have on the table, ready to eat.  Your amount may vary depending on the size of your family.  We had a lot of leftovers with this portion.


Brown ground beef (1lb) and a half chopped onion. *I seasoned my beef with salt, pepper, and fresh garlic*
Add the following, stirring/mixing as you go:
1 large can of diced tomatoes in sauce
1 regular size can of tomato sauce
1 regular size can of drained kidney beans (dark)
1 regular size can of chili beans (not drained)
*You can add whatever kind of beans you like – these are my preference*
Add 1 packet Chili Seasoning and mix all together thoroughly. * I use Lawry’s, but any brand will work.*
Let this simmer together on low for about 10 minutes to heat and server with a sprinkle of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream

Now I’m in arrears on my posting – but with good excuse.  I owe you for today later!

Could we be down to five more days?

Can I confess I have another challenge brewing?  You’ll have to wait until I get my thoughts together on that one, but it’s a doosey…Oh la la…

September 23, 2011

Day 22


30 Days of Sickness.  That's what I should have called this September challenge.  UGH!  This right ear being all full of gunk and feeling like it’s got a long piece of cotton in it?  For the birds.  That’s what.  It’s starting to make me feel a little nutty.  That is, more so than the usual brand of nutty I've got going on.  OVER IT.  Come on steroids…do your thang.  Please.  Amen.

Second, or “B” or “also”….I’m tired of this challenge.  There I said it.  Because I really, really wanted to take some time today and go through the drive-through at Starbucks, run in to the local kids consignment store to browse for Halloween Costumes, & make a quick trip to the Dollar store.  None of which happened, because I don’t want to suffer the guilt/shame/buyers remorse that would come from cheating with only 7 days to go.  But man…some days I SOOOOO want to throw it in. 

Day 22 Menu:

Breakfast:  Pillsbury Croissant Rolls.  Ten minutes.  Little bit of strawberry preserves on top.  Bada-bang.  Loved every single bite. 


So did little man. Soft, buttery, and melt in your mouth!
Yes, he's wearing sun-glasses on his head at 7:36 in the morning.
He's THAT cool.
And yes, that is Mater in his place of honor.


Lunch:  Kids had bento for school.  I know it probably seems boring compared to some of the bento creations I’ve seen out there
– but my kids think it’s the cat’s meooooooow. 


Me?  Oh, I just happened to let Greg from Chipotle take me out to lunch again. 
You know me…the usual…my little bowl of dreams…mmmmmmmmmm


Dinner:  Sirloin, artichokes with a lemon/garlic mayo dipping sauce, and baby red roasted potatoes.  
YUM.  I love it when AB is home…sigh…..


And that’s all I’ve got for today – but you can go read more about how the challenge is going for all these lovely families:

Oh, and this little tidbit:  I love my mother.  Just thought I’d share.  (love you mama!)

September 21, 2011

Day 21 – Let’s build a boat…

So it’s uneventful when you’re not spending money.  And there’s not much to talk about when you’re living the life of a recluse to avoid the temptation.  Which is all true, except we have been spending money.  But not on what you might think.  Prescriptions, doctor visits, more prescriptions…more doctor visits.  Not in that order.  But I don’t feel like fixing it.  You get the gist.  While we should have money sitting pretty – we don’t.  So I can sum it up like this; good thing it was 30-Days of Nothing, because it would have been anyway.  Sigh…makes me feel a bit defeated. 

Quint and I have been sick for a couple weeks.  He went to the doc first, and they found he had a pretty bad double ear infection.  But almost ten days of meds, and he’s not better – in fact, the left ear started draining this morning.  Double sigh…the life of a baby who had perforated ear drums.  Some things they just can’t treat in an orphanage with such limited resources.  I thank God they did what they could for him – but he has struggled with this since infancy.  I hate to see him hurting.  Today we switched him to a more powerful anti-biotic and some ear drops.  Meanwhile, mama is right behind him…ear infections and swelling so bad in my ear canal that it was as if someone was holding my head under water.  MISERY, I tell you.  MISERY.  So three meds later, including the dreaded steroid (I loathe the side affects…grrr) and I’m on the mend.  Ears are still iffie – but I can tell there’s been improvement. 

We’re anxious to get Quint some long-awaited surgery that he needs to make his life BETTER.  His tonsils and adenoids need to come out.  His tonsils are HUGE.  Meanwhile, he needs tubes in his ears.  Glad so many have had been through this, because we’ve received lots of support and great information.  Hoping for an October surgery and really praying to see some great results for him.  What a trooper he is – two bouts of severe croup this year alone, constant runny nose and drainage, back to back ear infections, and way too much pain for one little guy to have to deal with.  All with a smile {most of the time"}.  He’s amazing!

Ok, so let’s talk food for today…

Wednesday Menu – Day 21

Breakfast:  Cinnamon Rolls – Pillsbury.  But oh sooo “we were late to school” good…

Lunch:  Keira had a spiffy lunch.  Vegetable soup, raspberries, and cheese cubes.  She ate it all too! 

Either way, I want to eat her cheeks.  Don’t you?

Don’t feel bad for me – I had prosciutto on a fresh roll with Havarti cheese.  Not too shabby, eh?

Ok DETOUR – seriously…how wrongly addictive are these?  Seriously.  Tell it to my hips, cuz’ my mouth ain’t listening.  Bah.  I mean it.  There’s something in them.  I think crack.  The street kind.  The kind that’s all messed up and really bad, but it makes you do crazy things to have it.  Not that I’m speaking from any experience.  I’m just relating.  Or trying to.  Seriously though?  Someone send help.  S.O.S.  I might eat the whole bag before the kids get any.  Because I caught a certain little twosome of kids trying to sneak into that bag tonight and steal some of these little friends of mine…and it was not pretty.  I blame it on the crack.  They wanted them.  They were after them.  I was in a panic.  I found a new hiding place and distracted them with a bag of chocolate.  Or something.  You must think I’m terrible.  An addicted terrible person.

But guess what?  Jimmy cracked corn and…I don't care.  That is all.

{We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false!}

Moving on…

Dinner: Let’s build a Pizza Boat, shall we?  I know, once again – I’m cooking.  Disregard that part.  I did clarify that I will cook under duress.  Doesn’t mean it has to taste awful (though sometimes it does…).  Anton had to work tonight, so this recipe comes to you courtesy my fabo-o sister-in-law, Lisa.  She’s the cat’s meow and has tons of awesome recipes up her sleeve.  Another chip off the ol’ cooking block that is my husband’s family. 

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Take a gander at these easy ingredients, all of which I had on hand.  Pepperoni, ground beef (you could use sausage), chopped onion, cheese,  loaf of French bread, marinara sauce (you could use Pizza sauce, but I’m emptying my pantry)  The ground beef was 1lb and pre-cooked by my lovely husband, and stored frozen in a Ziplock.  Bless him.  I just put it a pan with the onion for a quick warm-up, seasoned it, and prest-o-change-o….meat for my boat.


Mix all the ingredients together.  Be it known here, you can make any combo you like.  Peppers, mushrooms, ham, pineapple, whatever.  Again, just using what I had on hand.  Even though the recipe says to add the cheese later, I added some now.  It’s cheese, people.  It needed to join in.  It needed to be in the mix.  It was calling to me.  
BTW - I didn’t use the whole jar of sauce – you can use as much or as little as you like. 


Cut just the top off of the bread, leaving a “boat”. 

Scoop out the bread inside

Put the bread boat on a cookie sheet, on top of a large piece of foil (so you can easily wrap it after filling)

IMG_6422        IMG_6431

Now the recipe says you can cut up the bread you just scooped out, and add to your mix.
But I don’t think I would do that again, because I’m not a fan of “wet” bread or bread soaked in anything. 
Still, it does cut down on waste and is a good filler.

Fill your bread boat with the mixture and add cheese to the top


Place the bread top back on, wrap the whole thing with foil, and slide into the oven for about 35 minutes.


When the timer “dings” – open, gasp…drool…and ENJOY!

You're welcome. 

9 more days, but who’s counting?

September 20, 2011

Days 19 and 20 - Next week already?

I was looking at the calendar.  Just glaring glancing.  Merely obsessing checking in on where we were.  I was presently surprised and happy to realize that even though I’ve been too busy to really care (cough, *much) – the challenge ends next week.  In a way, I’m sad.  It’s been fun posting almost daily and having something to look forward to.  It’s been so great to read your e-mails and comments and to follow those of you that are playing along.  It’s been really good for us in many ways, of which I’m sure I’ll regale to you in some way to winded post.  I’m feeling really blessed by the process.  How about you?

So yes, ten days left.  I almost can’t believe it.  It has been MUCH, MUCH easier this time around – compared to 2009.  Not gonna lie – that was a beating!  I don’t know what’s so different – except for maybe that I have two little kids in the tantrum phase and never leave the house to avoid TMC.  Total Meltdown Central.  There’s that.  Hmmm…

The menu for the last couple days is a bit boring – but I’ll share because it’s how I roll.


Breakfast: Waffles with strawberries.  Wanna see that beauty again?  Why, yes…I have it right here


Lunch:  It was just Keira and I, and we ate whatever we found.   Can’t even remember now.  Sandwiches?  I don’t know…

Dinner:  Tilapia in a lemon butter sauce, fresh Zucchini and Squash with garlic and onion, and Mushroom Rice.  Before you praise the man…lo and behold….the woman made it.  Yes.  Yes, she did.



Breakfast: Egg scramble, sausage, pancakes.  What?  Isn’t that what you have every morning?  I know.  I need Jillian Michaels.


Lunch:  Well, first of all – I was by myself.  Can we just take a moment there?  Doesn’t happen very often, people.  I had a turkey sandwich.  Wanna see that lovely again too?  Twist my arm.  And you can think of me, sitting there at my dining room table in complete silence eating all the goodness that was my sandwich.  It was a beautiful moment.


Dinner:  Well…it was a rough one.  AB wasn’t here.  And I know, you now have the “Tilapia” meal as evidence that I lie like a rug.  But let’s just clarify: I don’t enjoy cooking.  I will only do it if I have to or have nothing else to feed the kids.  I’m just not into it at all.  AB on the other hand – loves it.  Wants me only as a sous chef when we’re both home at dinner time.  Loves creating.  You’ve seen his work.  You know I don’t lie.  But I digress.  Where were we?  Oh yes.  The boy had ham sandwich and fresh fruit – because it’s what he wanted.  Keira and I had leftover spaghetti and fresh fruit.  Because it was all that was left in the way of pre-made.  No pics.  So sorry…not interesting enough…

Meanwhile, last night was Quint’s first official night at Awana – Cubbies.  Can I tell you a secret?  I love this little man so much it makes my heart hurt.  He and I have had our share of issues, but he is light and love in my heart.  That’s a post that ‘s brewing.  But seriously, tell me he’s not ornery as the dickens and charming as he can be!?!

Hello, son! Can you smile for Mommy in your brand new Cubbies Vest?

You cutie!

Oh, is that your funny face? I love it!

Wait! Where are you going?

Only 56 more pictures? Please?

Oh you’re really leaving. You little stinker!

Sorry, did I mention ten more days?  10.  Who’s with me?