Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Friday, and Happy Birthday!!!

In honor of my dad's birthday today, I will leave you for the weekend with the words he often used to holler out to us when he was leaving the house: 

"Love one another!"  

(A smart man, too, because there was some sibling rivalry that often resided in our home.)

Jude's Baptism, Father's Day 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!  Enjoy your day!  We love you!    

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Recent Recipes

Jude and I found ourselves baking/cooking a lot this week.  Here are some of the things we have been cooking up...

1.  We had this chicken fajita recipe for dinner the other night.  (Can you say crock pot??)  It was very yummy.  Definitely being put on our dinner rotation.  

2.  With the warm temperatures we whipped up our first batch of the year of these earlier this week.

3.  Then we noticed the bananas weren't looking so great, so we doubled this recipe and made 1 big loaf of banana bread...that is already gone.  

4.  When the plague flu hit me and the flu meds made me sick, I couldn't even stomach my morning coffee.  (That's when you know you are sick!)  I still have a cup every few days, but have also been enjoying this smoothie on some mornings.

Have you tried any new recipes lately??

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Cleaner that Stinks...Literally.

I tried this homemade cleaner the other day after my older sister highly recommended it...and now I can only highly recommend it to you.  It was A-mazing!  

photo credit...I was too excited about this to stop and take my own.  
To make, heat 1/2 cup of vinegar in microwave for about 90 seconds.  Add 1/2 cup of regular dish soap.  (Any 1:1 ratio is fine.)  Pour into squirt bottle.  Spray anywhere you want to get rid of soap scum (I used this on my shower, including glass shower doors) and let sit for a few minutes.  Return and wipe down with a microfiber cloth (or I love using magic erasers).  Stand back and be amazed as your shower shines back at you.  I seriously kept going back to look in disbelief at the loveliness that was my clean shower.

Little elbow grease required...but you may need a nose plug as you work.  Worth it to me.

Here are some of my other favorite homemade cleaners:
Window Cleaner
Multi-purpose Cleaner
Laundry Detergent
Baby Wipes

Linking here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Calendar Decor

A few years ago we picked up a free religious art calendar at our parish.  It had some beautiful pictures in it and I saved a few of them hoping to frame them one day.

One of the pictures I saved was of St. Jude.  I thought it would be great to have framed in Jude's room.

I recently picked up a frame from Target with two 5x7 openings and cropped the picture from the calendar to fit on the one side.  

Then I printed out one of my favorite St. Jude quotes on card stock and added it on the other side:

"I encourage you to fight on for the faith which 
once and for all God has given to His people."
-Jude 1:3

It was inexpensive art for Jude's bedroom and he likes "sharing" his room with his patron saint.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

One of My Favorite Babysitters...

I will openly admit that I am guilty of using the TV as a babysitter for my 18 month-old.  But there are times during the day when I need to get something done and she needs to be distracted from me.

We found this DVD series at our library when Clare was a baby and all of our kids have loved them...and still do.  (Produced by Small Fry Productions.)  

They are 30 minute educational videos and instantly glue all 3 of my kids to the TV screen.  (Which also makes them perfect for long car trips.  They are something that will entertain the baby, and that the older kids are also fine watching.) 

So without further ado I highly recommend these DVDs!  The series includes: Colors, Shapes, Opposties, Letters, Numbers, Food Fun, Seasons, Animals, Sounds, and Head to Toe

Friday, March 23, 2012

Grandma B

with Clare, 2005

Tomorrow my paternal grandmother ("my dad's mom" as Jude would say) would have turned 89.  She passed away almost 6 years ago.

My grandma was a special lady, especially to her husband of 60 years, 9 children, and 28 grandchildren.  I hope to be the kind of grandmother she was when I have grandchildren of my own.  But right now I am thankful for the special memories I have of her.

All of her grandchildren remember her ritual hand washing performed anytime before a meal or snack was served.  Grandma would take you into the bathroom to wash your hands.  She filled the sink with warm sudsy water and would scrub your hands with a bar of Dove soap while you stood on the step stool.  It was practically a treat.  

My grandma always noticed the details.  If your picture was in the local paper, you could be guaranteed it would be hanging on her refrigerator the next time you stopped by.  (Most likely your name would be highlighted and your face circled.)  If you had a new haircut, it was the first thing she noticed and complimented.

Many times she would take you out for such small, yet important events...haircuts, buying a new dress for an uncle's wedding, shopping for a new winter coat.  (She always wanted one long enough to cover our rear ends...saying we would be warmer that way.)

My grandmother had a big heart and not just because it overflowed with love for her family and friends.  She always made you feel like you were especially loved.  There were many times someone would be sick with the flu or a cold, or even simply "just because" and she would drop by with a bag of goodies.  Food brought over usually including a molded jello with fruit inside.

She was a strong Irish woman.  My grandma raised 6 sons and I often find myself asking for her guidance when I loose patience with my one son.

My grandmother was deemed to have the "prettiest eyes" her senior year of high school.  My children were lucky to inherit that trait from her.

I know her eyes are smiling down on us today.  


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First Day of Spring

Reasons I'm glad spring is officially here (and hoping flu season is out):

6 ear infections
5th disease
4 stomach flus
3 diarrhea bugs
1 fever bug 
1 case of influenza
common colds
hacking coughs
runny noses

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March Madness


For the past couple of years my dad has organized a bracket tournament between my parents, my siblings, and their spouses.  So last week we received the official Bracketball 2012 email:

Everyone -- 
Your completed brackets need to be turned in (hard copy, or email version) by Thursday, March 15, 12 noon to be eligible for first prize.  (Rules: 1 point per win, irrespective of round.) 

The reigning champion is my brother-in-law Michael...and I believe he is currently in the lead this year.  This might just prove that my family has no athletic ability on or off the court!

But we do have a lot of fun playing!      

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Pair of Jeans

In my child-bearing years I have worn a wide range of sizes.  And I have learned not to get rid of certain clothes, especially jeans, because they will eventually fit again.

I really liked the way this particular pair of jeans fit me (especially the length), but the color was a bit dated/lacking/faded.  So I bought some "denim blue" Rit dye and hoped I wouldn't regret the outcome.    

  And I'm happy to say the end result turned out great...perfect for spring!

These jeans now remind me of some of the bright spring/summer 
colors popping up at Old Navy and Loft.  

Linking here

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Wreath

I love the wreath I made last year for St. Patrick's Day.  It's been hanging on our front door all month.

(To see how to make a yarn wreath with felt flowers click here.)

(To see how you can get custom apps delivered to your inbox click here.*) 

Happy Friday!

*Disclosure: I receive a small payment for new newsletter subscribers - thank you.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Q & A


What happens when you are trying to make your husband's birthday dinner on 
the day your 18 month-old has been diagnosed with a double ear infection.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Birthday to Ryan

31 Reasons We Love You:
(*answers are from all family members in no particular order*)

  1. You wrestle with me. 
  2. You play bad guys with me.
  3. You like ice cream.
  4. You taught me to swim.
  5. You let me watch Elmo on your phone.
  6. You are encouraging.
  7. You take me to school.
  8. We watch hockey together.
  9. You make us laugh.
  10. You let me play Angry Birds on your phone.
  11. You like pumpkin pie.
  12. You feed me fudge-striped cookies.  
  13. You like NASCAR.
  14. You're my best guy.
  15. You play "Hot Box" with us.
  16. You work at the office.
  17. You like Christmas.
  18. You like Christmas lights.
  19. You like press cookies.
  20. You let me sleep in on Sundays.
  21. You don't like chocolate, so there's more for me.  
  22. You are optimistic.  
  23. You take care of the yard.
  24. Your favorite color is green.
  25. You pull my teeth out.  
  26. You like the 4th of July...and fireworks. 
  27. You're a good sport.
  28. You're a good teammate. 
  29. You are an aggressive driver (ed. note: particularly thankful for this on 09/05/10). 
  30. You like baseball. 
  31. Because I do.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Weekend Baby Shower

On Saturday Clare and I went to a baby shower for one of Ryan's cousins.  

(Not bringing Ellen with me made the party much more relaxing.  Although it did feel odd not needing to bring a stash of diapers and a sippy cup with me!)  

Party room.  

Lovely ladies.

It's a Boy!

Corsages for everyone made by the grandmother-to-be.  

Lunch was delicious. 

Sweet desserts.  

Time for gifts!

Clare volunteered for trash duty.  
I think she really liked the front row seat/having something "important" to be noticed for.
And, yes, to her aunts...she is growing out her bangs.  

Can't wait to meet Baby C!

Psssst....Looking for new apps catered for you for your iphone, ipad, or andriod?  
Check out appSmitten here!

*Disclosure: I receive a small payment for new newsletter subscribers - thank you.*


Monday, March 12, 2012

My version of a "casserole."

Ryan is not a fan of casseroles.  I am a fan of them because you can make them ahead of time!  (Like when your 18 month old is napping!)  And it makes for a much less hectic "happy hour" around here!

I have out-smarted this dilemma in our house by making "wraps."  
(This is pretty much anything you can combine and roll up in a tortilla.)  

The other night I made this combination (while Ellen napped!).  
Mix together:
about 2 cups cooked chicken
about 1 cup of salsa
about 1 cup of shredded monterey jack cheese   

Put mixture into tortillas, roll up, and place in a greased 9x13 inch pan.  
Cover and put in refrigerator until "happy hour" hits.  Then bake at 350 for 20 minutes. 

Some of us like whole wheat tortillas, others do not!

Here's another combination we like:
1 pound ground turkey that has been cooked with taco seasoning according to packet directions
Shredded cheddar cheese
Place ground taco turkey meat into a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, roll up and place in greased 9x13 inch pan, cover with foil and back at 350 for 20 minutes. 

Easy...and a crowd pleaser!  

PS - Here's a neat way to find new apps that you may like for your iphone, ipad, or android...check out appSmitten here!
*Disclosure - I receive a small payment for new newsletter subscribers.*

 Linking here

Friday, March 9, 2012

Homemade Baby Wipes

My aunt told me about this recipe and a friend recently told me her family has also used a similar recipe.  

In a plastic container combine:
2 tablespoons of baby wash
1 tablespoon of baby oil
2 cups of water 

Using a knife, cut a roll of paper towels in half.  (I have yet to make a nice looking cut!)  

Place paper towels in the plastic container, place lid on, and flip upside down.  
The liquid will soak the paper towels.  

Flip back over and pull cardboard tube out.  Pull wipes up from the middle.  

A 3 pack of generic wipes (240 wipes) is $4.88.
Cost for these wipes (makes about 200) was $1.77.  
(I use thick Brawny paper towels for wipes and already had baby wash and baby oil on hand.) 

Cost per wipe is less than 1 cent.  :) 

Linking here.  

PS - Here's a neat way to find new apps that you may like for your iphone, ipad, or android...check out appSmitten here!
*Disclosure - I receive a small payment for new newsletter subscribers.*

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Not-So-Exciting Home Improvement...

Long story short, we were having some water issues in our basement and discovered the previous (who were also the original) homeowners never put any flashing in place when they added the deck onto the house.  They left that job for us to do...or for us to hire someone to do it for us!  (So thoughtful!)  So here's our most exciting home improvement project to date...

                         "Before"                                                                       "After"
Shamrocks c/o Clare :)

The "during" pictures are much more exciting...

Don't you love spending money on something that you really can't "show off?"  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sometimes the utensil drawer... very entertaining!  

(And I'm OK with that if it means I can make dinner in peace!)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Keeping Track of Meds

In the past few weeks, 4 out of the 5 members in our family have been on some type of prescription.  The two older kids both had ear infections that overlapped and started amoxicillin on different days.  I originally saw this idea here on pinterest and decided it was a good way for me to keep track of who had what prescription when.

Sometimes it's as easy as writing it a place I remember!  

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Bargain of the Year

During "Appendectomy 2011", while on one of my many Target scrip runs, I found green curtain panels that I thought would be perfect for our office.  They were $24.99 each.  

The only problem was that there was only one curtain panel at our Target and I needed 2.  I bought the one and thought I would snag a matching one on another Target trip.  But then every time I went to Target and checked, they didn't have any of that same green striped curtain that we liked.  

I finally decided to look for the curtain online....AND THEY WERE SOLD OUT!!!  I immediately called my Target store and asked if they had any in stock.  THEY DIDN'T!  They gave me 2 stores near-by that had them.  I called the one store and verified that they had one left, but was told that they could not hold it for me because it was now on clearance.  Between a napping 17 month-old and a kindergartener to pick up, I couldn't get to Target right away.  

When I finally got to Target around 7 PM that curtain was still there!  But now it was on clearance for $17!  And...there were actually TWO of my curtain panels there!  Since I'm crazy, I still had the receipt and packaging for the original curtain panel at home.  So, I bought the 2 curtains on clearance for $34 and returned the original $24.99 curtain the next day.

I'm loving finally having some window treatments!      

Thursday, March 1, 2012


The March wind roars
Like a lion in the sky,
And makes us shiver
As he passes by.
When winds are soft,
And the days are warm and clear,
Just like a gentle lamb,
Then spring is here.