Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Should be, but I am not

I should be packing for our vacation. I should be finishing up the laundry. I should finish cleaning up the house, but instead I am visiting my favorite BLOGS as a lunch break...The chores will come after my 20 minutes of viewing is over! (And Yes, I did set a timer!)

So off I go to my FAVORITE blog....IHeart Organizing and well, she inspired me again...More because I love trying to make her ideas work in my world!  And when she recommends MORE organized people, well, my heart skips a beat!  Ideas keep my brain busy while I do the daily chores we all do.  Inspiration too! I have my idea book sitting in my pile for my carry on bag...I have a lot of "ideas" when we get home I need to get done!  Wait til you see the list I come up with!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


With the warmer temps of the past week, and the sun shining today, I started really changing some decor around the house and outside.  I NEED it to be spring. I need the sun. I need to NOT wear my UGGS daily.  Granted we are departing for the west on Thursday, where today it was 85, but still, I need constant warmth, not the teasers we get here!

So I started last week with some paper mache where the boys and I made eggs.  It was kind of fun for them, annoying for me since they were not doing it perfectly. I got over it.  Some turned out, some did not.  Live and learn right?  Then I decided they would go outside in our large pot on the front step. I then cut some straight branches from our hedge and white washed them.  Headed to HOBBY LOBBY Artificial Grass to hide the eggs in.  It turned out a lot better than I imagined, and will snap photo's tomorrow. (C was not enjoying the final moments of this project so I had to give up and will fluff it up tomorrow).

I will pull out the rest of the Easter / spring decor this week.  Eggs to hang from chandeliers, eggs to fill up vases etc.  At least there is a bit of spring right outside my front door to make me smile for the 5 more days of erratic weather.....Then I will be basking in the sun of Southern CA for 9 days.  That makes me happy....really happy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On the mend

While I am still recovering from the infection of last week and have sworn to M that I would not over do it, I have been tackling little projects that do not require too much of my time.   I saw this post on iheart organizing and knew this would be something I could tackle easily!

What a difference it made too!  WOW.  15 minutes, some elbow grease, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads, 8-Count Box and I have clean handles!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

I could not think of a title for this post..I tried....But with the events of the last week personally and throughout the world, I am at a loss.....

First off, I am getting better each day. I finally had some tests done and it appears for quite some time I have been dealing with a viral infection in my colon.  The Dr's said there is no way to know how I got it and how long I have had it, but the worst is over.  I am trying to get back to a normal routine, but after literally laying down for 5 days, that is somewhat difficult.  M kept up with some things, and others he did not.  Sure the laundry is CLEAN, but 7 loads lay on the floor of our bedroom for me to tackle (and at least 3 more for me tackle today!). Sure, the house is "man" clean, but definitely not to my daily standards.  Sure, the boys have been fed, but not in the same healthy way I would do it.  I have a lot to work on....I am grateful he was able to help in his own way no matter what.

Then there was the images I watched all day of Japan.  The devastation simply hurt my heart.  Back when I went to school in Europe I had made friends from Japan.  I lost touch with many of them after we moved back to the US and then Canada, but yesterday had me praying for their safety and hoping they are OK and out of harms way.  Through Facebook I have reconnected with many of them and somehow through the day they were able to post they were safe. My heart felt better, but the images still are hard to watch.  My constant prayers continue for them.

Today is also a day that I celebrate and grieve.  My brother and best friend would have been 35 today.  He died 14 years ago shortly after his 21st birthday from cancer.  I wish he was here to see my life and be a part of it.  His life was cut short by a terrible disease that hurts so many.  I miss him daily, I miss that he does not know my husband and my boys. I miss his voice. I miss his guidance and I miss him looking out for his big sister.  There was a bond between us that people could not understand. I still remember the words of my godmother at his funeral.  She said "You and him were connected so deeply.  Your lives started over in so many places and for long periods of time, you and he were each others only friends so you depended on each other.  That has been taken from you".  She was right then, and it is still correct now.  Today we will celebrate him with cupcakes at dinner time and I will tell my boys stories of their uncle.  They love to hear about him, almost as much as I love to talk about him.  My parents will celebrate, as they always have since losing their son, with my godparents.  They will do what they have now made a tradition out of...Open an amazing bottle of wine and toast my brother. They will all tell a story as well.  I am so grateful my parents are with the closest friends they have ever day. 

So I am getting back to normal with many things weighing heavy on my heart. I could just pass today by back on the couch, but that is not me. I need to be busy and productive. I will be that, to the best of my ability and pray hard for ease in the pain my heart is feeling today....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Hiatus

Hiatus is a word that I rarely use....I do not sit still well. I do not "turn" off my brain...E.V.E.R.....But, per doctor's orders, I need to.....

Let me explain, without giving out too much....

Monday evening I was doubled over in pain.  It caused me to stay close to the bathroom for 10 hours.  The next morning, the pain was worse as well as some symptoms occurred causing M to take me to the ER.  After an IV of rapid fluids and some tests I was sent home for more tests to be done later this week with other DR's.  He also said I need to stay put, relax and not stress....So, after much rest yesterday, I knew I needed to take a break, see what the tests result in and go from there. I am trying not to google my symptoms to make me more paranoid.

M and the boys have been amazing taking it easy on me.  M is keeping up with laundry, feeding the kids, bathing them, working on homework, and caring for me.  These are all my jobs so even they know I am sick when I cannot even try to help. 

I am blessed to be surrounded with good friends and family close by, as well as friends that are not close by but call / text / email to check in on me.  I am not crafting, organizing or thinking of new things to do. I am catching up on the DVR'd shows I never watch, I am reading magazines and books and trying hard to not be in pain. 

So, until my health is back to normal, nothing crafy or cooking will be coming for me....perhaps just words of wisdom in my boredom! :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Crafty Friday

This weekend I am making a craft for J's school.  I have had an overwhelming amount of teachers at J's school that want to participate in the Harlem Wizards event.  It is amazing! With that said we can only supply 5 teachers from his school for our team so I had to figure out how to get the kids involved and let them vote. 

After much thought I decided on a PENNIES FOR PLAYERS voting system.  I have been collecting milk jugs like a crazy woman (thanks neighbors!).  I have made up signs for each jug that will be glued onto one jug per staff member. The kids will get to bring money / change from home to vote for who they want to represent our school.  The teachers with the most amount of money will be on our team! 

Today I will be making the signs and laminating them.  I will *try* to remember to take photos' of the process. 

My idea could also work on kids!  J is saving his money right now for various "things" he wants before we leave on vacation!  He really wants a new DS game:
New Super Mario Bros. 
credit: Amazon.com
So with my left over milk jugs I will make him one too for his money.  Nightly we seem to count the money and he is up to $ 6.50.  Since we will go to Game Stop for this purchase, chances are he can get it used for less money.  M thinks we could help him, but I would like to see him earn as much as he can before stepping in to assist. I think this is a great learning experience for him!

My momentum of organizing has hit a stand still.  Sadly life is getting hectic before vacation time.  Since we are heading west to see my parents, we are trying to pack early and ship our clothes so we do not have to pay to check bags.  It is most difficult to pack for 3 weeks from now.  Even though I am not wearing shorts and t shirts these days, it seems to be a tough task.  It was easy to pack up the boys boxes, they have enough clothes for 10 children (opps!).  I on the other hand wear everything (ok, almost everything) in my closet.  To be without some tshirts and shirts for weeks at a time could make me feel like I really do have NOTHING TO WEAR!   

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I am up for a challenge!

So I recently found a new BLOG that I am really enjoying!  And she (Toni) has challenges to keep me to stay organized!  Are you game too???  


The new "Weekly" Challenge is finally here!!

You all rocked the 21 day challenge & we had almost 300 blogs participating! I pray that the new weekly challenge will surpass the last one.  We shall see! I have been anxiously awaiting to reveal my new blog challenge to you. It will start on Sunday, January 30th.  I will post an assignment every Sunday and we will have the entire week to complete it. 

A few examples of assignments will be:

Organizing your craft room
Creating a recipe binder
Organizing your bookshelves
Cleaning out (and organizing) the garage
Making a Home Management Binder  
 Menu planning
and LOTS more!

*I will be hosting guest bloggers to share some challenges! If you have a good system that works well & would like to host a challenge, please email me and let me know what your idea is?

Some weeks will be very simple and some may be more challenging.  The main goal of the challenge is getting our lives clean & organized and staying that way. We will be spring cleaning together & purging winter clothes together.  My hope is that our blogging group will function to inspire each other and help each other get our lives in order. 

How it works?

If you are participating in the weekly challenge, you will link up your "blog" for that week. Then everyone can visit each other and see how you are doing. You can post your progress daily, or whenever you get to it! You can share pictures or just blog about how your week is going, how the challenge is going, etc...  Hopefully we can all support each other by visiting and commenting on each others blogs, like we have with the 21 day challenge.

If you are ready to join the challenge...

Grab your button:

If you would like to join the BFOL "Weekly Challenges" here on my blog, you can sign up now.  You do NOT have to complete every weekly assignment.  Its here to help you and to guide you. The more assignements you complete, the more in control your life will feel! I want to involve everyone in the challenge. So if you have a weekly assignment idea, please share it in the comment area below.

The only requirement I have is:

*If you are joining, please grab a button and post about the challenge on your blog, so others can see and join in too! The more participation we have, the more inspired we will become.

I would love if you also tweeted & facebook'd about the challenge too... so others can find out and join in!  At the bottom of this post (right beside the word "comments"), there are share buttons you can click on that goes to facebook & twitter!

Happy cleaning & organizing!

Sign up to join the weekly challenge here...

*If you do not have a blog... you can put in your "name" and copy my blog address and paste it where you put the url.

Change of Plans

While our weekly meal plan says "Paninni's" for dinner this evening, I was just reading mel's kitchen cafe and saw today's recipes and decided I HAD TO HAVE IT...TONIGHT!  Yum-O!  Nothing says comfort food like a knock off Olive Garden recipe and my take on their famous bread sticks!

I love Mel's site.  Each day she has a new recipe to offer up.  I put them into my own categories: 1) MUST TRY NOW (like tonight's change of plans!) 2) Will try in the next meal plan rotation 3) Print it and we will see if we try it.  I am not crazy to think I can try every recipe but sometimes I print recipes to try, one day, maybe at the cottage or when friends and I get together to cook.

Now, even though I linked the recipe, I am posting in here so I have it online and easy to find until I print it out!

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

 I would say this recipe is right on the edge of just having enough sauce but not an overabundance, so if you like things on the saucier end of the spectrum, feel free to double that part of the recipe.

*Serves 4-6 (depending on if you are serving adults or kids)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
6 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup lowfat milk
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound fettuccine
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a shallow pie plate or similar dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Dip each chicken piece in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.

In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through (they’ll finish up in the oven). Don’t scoot the chicken around once you lay it in the hot oil! Let the oil work it’s magic to sear the crust on the chicken. If you get all antsy and try flipping too early and/or moving the chicken around the pan, the breading is lightly to fall off. Gently remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.

While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until al dente.

Also, wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in one tablespoon flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.

In a small liquid measure, whisk together the cornstarch and cream. Add the spinach, milk and cream mixture to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with half of the cheese sauce. Place some of the coated pasta on each plate. Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: adapted from More of America’s Most Wanted Recipes