Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My diet begins

I'm on a mission to tone this tummy. I look like I've already given birth to twins. I guess I stored up a bit of winter weight to keep me happy and warm! I'd like to lose 10-15 lbs this summer and spend lots of time outdoors (with proper spf).

But my husband and I are finally doing some exercise. I'm out of classes and Junior League commitments are down for this summer so I've got lots of free time now. I'm looking forward to shedding winter weight and excess stuff! A little bit of homemade feng shui if you will ;)

DH has not made that easy with some really great restaurant visits lately but I plan to get my focus off the naughty carbs like rice, potatoes and pasta and back on the veggies and meats.

I'll be visiting some of my favorite low carb sites in the near future for inspiration:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our House Has Sold

Somebody else bought the dream...

But DH promises me that it just wasn't ours to have. So the hunt continues and we'll be apartment dwellers awhile longer. For better or worse we have one another and are looking forward to a great third year of marriage.

We had a special anniversary to Canada and enjoyed wine tasting and Dim Sum! We have so much fun together. We've made so many special memories in the 4 years we've known one another and I am looking forward to many more adventures together. I've been to 4/7 continents and I'm looking forward to crossing the other 3 off my list (which will probably happen before we have babies at this point!) and get DH to the 2 I've been to that he hasn't seen yet! We have some very busy and expensive trips ahead of us...

So much to see and do, so little time and money to experience it all...


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

By this time next month...

DH and I could be HOMEOWNERS!

We have been faithfully looking for the perfect first home during our 2 years of marriage. We have approx a 10% downpayment for our area. We found a house of the size we want, with a great yard, in a fabulous neighborhood, very close to work and play. We will continue to go and look at it a few times to guesstimate the houses' needs. It's very ugly as it's been neglected for some time. But it may be ours in a few weeks if we go ahead and put in an offer. We've asked friends and family to pray on it and are faithfully seeking the right answer. But we both felt this was a great value for our area!

Anybody interested in saying a prayer that it works out for the best and as God intended... thank you :)


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring is in the air...

The weather has been really lovely this week.

DH and I took a day trip up to the islands. It was a bit too cold to swim or do outdoor activities but the drive in the sunshine was worth it. And with gas under $2/gallon and dunkin donuts gift certificates it made for a reasonably priced day!

Lately I've been bombarded with baby thoughts and dreams. I read a book that said baby dreams often occur around ovulation and for me it was very true this month. However, I also think that rattling around the possibility of having a baby 20 hrs/day has something to do with it too ;) DH admitted he's very scared about lifestyle changes that will accompany a baby. I think he's still in the "wait and see" mindset. Unfortunately, waiting even 5 more years may jeopardize my chances of becoming pregnant without help and require us to consider adoption. Thus, I'd like to "try" sooner than later.

I've found I'm not a very good charter. It's not entirely my fault. As a shiftworker I sleep at all different times of the day and rarely keep the same schedule for more than a few days at a time. But after a year off of the hormones I feel like my body is finally doing some of what it's supposed to do (according to the books) and that I am starting to anticipate length of my cycles and probable ovulation times.

I've began collecting baby outfits on clearance and some small items. I'm looking to really do my best to buy ahead and think positive thoughts. I know DH is not a "baby person" but he does real well with elementary aged children. It's just hard to get him in the mood to make a baby when he looks at them and sees screaming, crying, poop... perhaps he'd feel differently if it was his own and it cooed at him a few times. I personally love (and have always loved) babies and enjoy them at work many days each week.

I feel very fulfilled to have a job that satisfies that need but there are definitely times when my brain and body demand more... I wish DH was more onboard with baby making so we could get started right away. But I'm practicing patience and trusting that God will place a strong desire in his heart once the time is right.

I hope everyone else is enjoying warmer spring weather in their areas as well!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring is here!

And my internet has returned! Hopefully it won't go down again although you can never tell when another snowstorm will pass you by...

DH and I are enjoying a new work schedule which has fewer hours at work and more time together. This semester we're both working hard in our classes as part time students but in the past few weeks we enjoyed a vacation together and we're enjoying some free time for dates, coffee outings and movies!

We've renewed our desire to save for a house and have decided to really get serious about buying a home in the next few years. We're not going to rush but we are going to keep our eyes open for the perfect place.

I'd like to say thank you to those who hosted contests in the January bloggy giveaway carnival. I won some really great prizes including books on finance and decorating, a goofy pirate hat, apple juice, a starter feeding kit, and some really great earrings! All have provided much enjoyment these past few weeks while my internet has been down :) Thank you again to all the fabulous carnival participants.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Unexpected Absence

Unfortunately our internet is down indefinitely...this sometimes happens in the winter months :(

Sigh... this means I'll be taking an unexpected blogging absence since I no longer have functional internet at home and will only be accessing computers a few days each week at work and school.

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of winter and look forward to getting back online in the spring when the freeze thaws here...


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Connecting with Family

It is interesting with me to learn how different families connect.

My family lives a few hours away and we stay in touch by phone and occasionally by email. There are a few older members of my family and we exchange cards and letters on a regular basis which is wonderful as well. Many of my coworkers either have children at home or nearby (or parents nearby if they're younger) and reconnect in person on a regular basis for dinner, game nights, and worship.

DH and I are struggling with what children will mean for our family of 2. We already feel a bit overwhelmed each holiday season struggling to see as many extended family members as possible. Where will we go for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day... what if we have to work? We're struggling with the idea of how to make our family a priority and still include the many extended relatives who will want to continue sharing holidays with us. With two full-time jobs the holidays have become a stressful time for us and we often feel as though we don't have a chance to celebrate our own traditions without them interfering with our family's desires.

One of our goals before children come into our family is to start setting more realistic holiday goals and perhaps inviting family to come share in traditions with us rather than feeling as though we need to accomodate six different households (divorced parents, grandparents, etc) every holiday season. We would also like to set up a few weekly family traditions with our children that we don't break so that our children can rely on solid time with us each week. We've talked about some ideas of things we can start implementing now (weekly Sunday night dinner, weekly church service at the same time, etc) to make this transition easier once children arrive.

In the meantime, we'll continue seeking ideas for how to handle large family holidays when family is scattered around the country...


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Too many directions...

The cartoon above is available at I recommend visiting there daily or as needed for a laugh! You can search for appropriate cartoons by keyword!

This week felt as if DH and I were being pulled in far too many directions. I do believe I've already overextended myself this semester. I've always been a "Type A" personality trying to achieve and feeling proud of my ability to juggle so many things at one time. But once our sleep schedule evolves into the occasional 2-3 hour nap every 16-20 hours it becomes time to reevaluate!

I had a meeting every night this week which pulled me away from home at night and a variety of appointments each morning as well. Perhaps the 6 credits of college courses in addition to full-time work and a community group commitment was a bit ambitious for one semester? Maybe this is a taste of parenting; A lack of sleep and free time coupled with fulfilling a series of non-negotiable responsibilities towards others. Fortunately DH and I are preparing for a few weeks of vacation next week. Sunshine, lazy days, and adventures in foreign lands lie ahead! We're looking forward to one more international trip away together before we start our journey to become parents and expand our family of two.

Lord give me the strength to conquer one more week. I have the feeling that a well-orchestrated break this semester will allow me to return and give my all to the final 10 weeks of the semester! Of course, given the economy and our desire to start a family this year, part of me regrets booking this vacation last spring!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Financial Checkup: ch-ch-ch-changes... to retirement planning

DH and I are really trying to stay faithful about all of the changes that may be in store for us in the coming years. It is hard to not try to plan every little detail and force things to happen for us. It's very frustrating because finances are such a challenge for us. I enjoy planning and organizing but given the state of the economy all is not going according to plan.

For now, we're continuing to put about a third of our income into retirement but will likely be reducing our contributions in an effort to have greater cash savings this year. We have enough for a small downpayment on a home now but would like to save more as this is the one financial area we have a bit of control over. Our retirement accounts sadly lost 50% of their value last year and it just doesn't seem like we're getting much out of them despite the fact that we put so much into them. We'll still put a great chunk away for retirement (10-15% of our income) but not as much as we have been.

Crystal/Moneysavingmom had a great post on finances this week. She and her husband are expecting their third child this spring and are currently saving to buy a house in cash. For us, in our area, that would mean saving more than a quarter million dollars for a small modest home. However, we have considered saving the money and then moving to a lower cost area of living so that we could do the same. She has great weekly post on deals, freebies and menu planning if anyone is interested in saving more/spending less!

So, my 2009 financial goals were to continue funding retirement accounts, to finish saving for a downpayment (goal: $2k/month), and to sell excess belongs in preparation for a move and put all of that into downpayment account. We will continue funding retirement at a slower rate. Currently we put $2000 in for January to the savings but we didn't sell any of our stuff. I'm hoping to get to that after our vacation (sometime in March) when the weather is better with a big yard sale. We can usually pull in over $100 with a yard sale and I'm hoping a few hundred more for big ticket items on craigslist. We're also both committed to working overtime starting this spring to try to save more money!


Saturday, January 31, 2009

My other job this week...

Apparently it was entering giveaways. I was up really late entering some of them!

But I had fun. Now I just hope I win a few of the things I really loved. Honestly, winning any 1 of the items that I had posted about on here would make me really happy. I hope that some of you were able to find some giveaways you enjoyed out there by visiting my blog and seeing them this week.

DH and I are hoping to attempt chicken broth again this week along with a richer creamier chicken stew recipe! We're trying to hang in there and stay warm so soups, stews and hot chocolate are the bulk of the menu lately. I'm also hoping to improve my cooking (I only have a handful of recipes that I make really well consistently) so that I can start to use more natural, whole foods and less white sugars, white pastas and white flour!

Alright, off to enjoy the weekend snow and cold.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

How about a gas card?

Over at she is giving away free gas cards! $20 gas cards. Yes, I know hurry over there (no driving needed- see you're saving gas already!), and sign up for updates from her site for easy entry!

Because really, even though gas prices have come down from last summer, we could all use $20 gas cards to help us get around!


Winner takes all...

Can you believe at that over $800 worth of goodies have gone unclaimed after prizes? Yes, it's true. Disney DVDs, earpods for your music moments, pediped shoes, a diaper cake...

Head over there before Friday to put your name in the hat! It's a great contest with a random collection of goodies that were never claimed from previous giveaways. I'm still in shock that some of these prizes never got dispensed. I guess life takes over sometimes...


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stylish and Safe...Recaro Car Seats

This Recaro Car Seat is being given away *yes, given away for free in your style and color choice* this week only on

This is what the coolbaby kid site had to say:

In business for over 100 years, they introduced the first sport seat becoming a well-recognized name in racing. Also responsible for the first vehicle seat with an integrated seatbelt, Recaro is the exclusive supplier for top models of Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini among others.

I love it cause it grows with your kid. And it's safe. AND it's made by someone who services luxury lines so you know this is grade A, top Choice carseat. Awesome right?

So head over and sign up...or once again, sign up and win it for me if you don't need it for yourself. I'd really appreciate it :)

Go big...

For your first giveaway!

At least that's the attitude over at confessions of a yummy mummy. She's got a super interesting story (yep, you gotta go read her blog to hear about her life- I'm not going to be the net gossip!) and over $200 worth of goodies in this basket including tgif gift certificate (yummy in our tummy! thanks mummy!), a dvd of serendipity (ok, not my fave romantic comedy but...), a box of godivas (mmmm, i'll eat those while watching the dvd and be in heaven anyway), a great camera strap so your neck doesnt get all scratched up and ya look chic, and $50 to Target. Oh yes, that alone has probably drawn nearly 500 of the 800 entries. But I want that restaurant certificate and the chocolates! YUM!

So, if I've got your interest in the blogger or the prize go to and check it out!


Pretty please...

With a cherry on top!

My favorite giveaway so far today is the hip hostess apron of your choice offered at

Check this apron that I've chosen out and tell me this isn't the super cutest thing? They also have kids aprons, demi aprons, and a variety of other ladies aprons should the cherry one not be your first choice too.

You know I've been learning to expand my ability to cook (as I've shared my attempts to master the basics here on my site) and I'm really hoping to win this for use in the kitchen when I'm baking so I don't get flour all over my clothes!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Carefree Strollin...

Another giveaway...well, yes, they're consuming my week everyone ;)

This time you can win a BumbleRide Stroller in a limited edition pattern called Bwana.

See the picture. How cute is that? This sounds like a great design. And the woman giving it away at is a nurse and wife like me. Now I just wanna be a mommy like her.

At least go put in a good word for me...ok...

Stay in Shape with baby on board

At they are giving away a new Kelty Stroller. She has a fantastic review of the Denver based company. She spoke with the owner!!! It's a very real company making real products for real parents. This isn't just a nameless International corporation piecing together products with potentially dangerous materials. It looks like a brand you can trust.

I entered because it is lightweight and portable. It's also not just a stroller, you can use it for exercise and jog off the pregnancy pounds. I'm really looking forward to doing healthy things like that with my baby. If you're interested, head over to the address above because the contest has been open for weeks already and is coming to an end soon!



Have you seen this movie yet?

We saw Facing The Giants and really enjoyed it. And it stars Kirk Cameron. C'mon, you totally crushed on him in Growing Pains too!!!!

It's all the rave on the net and I really want to see it. As a newlywed, marriage is really central to my life right now and I hear this one is really gripping and well made in addition to have a great message. I am trying to win one at this week in bloggy giveaways. If you haven't seen it yet I suggest you high tail it over there and check it out for yourself. Looks like it's going to be a hot contest with nearly 100 entries in the first day alone!


BubbleCakes Blankets Giveaway

It's day 2 of the bloggy giveaways and I'm awake entirely too late trying to enter. You know I've had babies on the brain lately and DH and I are planning to start trying for a baby!!!

Check out what else Frugal Mommy is giving away- these super cute blankets from Bubblecakes! I think the cowgirls and cowboys are the cutest things ever on the swaddling blankets. I'd love to bring my baby (babies?? ;) ) home in those!

Get over there now and sign up because the contests are only open a few more days... if baby blankets don't interest you then you can either
a) win them and give them to me
b) check thru bloggy carnival at to enter other contests for tasties like chocolate, cute purses, jewelry, makeup...

Gosh, I get back there and at some point I have to sleep so I can function tomorrow...


Monday, January 26, 2009

Bloggy Giveaways

Today I learned about bloggy giveaways at!

Frugal Mommy of 2 girls has a giveaway for an Italian feast this week! It features a full gourmet Italian meal for 4 people in the basket pictured here. It has pesto, toast, pasta, sauce, cookies and coffee! YUMMO!
Head over there in the next few days to get your own entry in. Sounds like a tasty dinner for me and DH and a couple of our choice if I win!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Baby Dipper Giveaway

If you've got a baby on the brain too, consider entering a giveaway over at The Dirty Shirt. Right now there is a "Baby Dipper Review and Giveaway" which has the coolest little bowl and spoon set. While it's charming for feeding an infant, it's necessary for a toddler.

WHY? It's designed so that toddlers, who are just learning to manipulate spoons and food, can have better control and actually get food onto their own utensils (and hopefully into their mouths!).

For more information on this product and the inventor checkout

It's cute and functional. I've entered to win one. What are you waiting for?

Still thinking about babies...

DH and I are still talking about trying for a baby this year. I'm nervous as I get older that it's going to take a while to stick. I'm nervous that as I get into my 30s the baby is predisposed to horrible conditions. I'm going to be a nervous nellie the entire 9 months. Who am I kidding???

MIL and I went virtual shopping together for several hours last night- baby outfits, baby nursery, maternity clothes. We didn't buy anything. We just went window shopping. I told her we haven't started trying yet (which is true) because I don't want her asking for a progress report each month ;)

This is one of the many cute goodies we found in our hours of research tonight. I think it's bad luck to plan a nursery and closet of clothes for a baby that doesn't exist yet. At least we haven't actually started shopping yet...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Monogram THIS!

Monogrammed Teacher at is celebrating 100 posts with a giveaway!

Head over to her blog today to win this cute monogrammed black tote! You can personalize the tote with your own monogram, font, and thread colors! It's super cute. I have about 3 tote styles in mind...
Contest ends Friday. Hurry over today and share some love!

Monday, January 19, 2009

What's in your cup?

One of my favorite drinks in the world is a cup of hot cocoa. Of course I love to try new things and lately I've been enjoying a sampler pack from Swiss Miss that we got as a gift for the holidays. There's lots of tasty new cocoa flavors to try and it warms me up on a cool day. I've been having a cup of that daily this month!

I also made that pumpkin soup last week and it turned out ok. It was too sweet for my preferences but DH really enjoyed it in a cup with his sandwiches this week to stay warm. I tried to upload some photos of the process but that's proving a bit too difficult with blogger... suffice it to say I'm pleased that I created something edible!

Warm beverages and soup in our cups really helps keep our heating costs lower in the winter too. It's amazing what 2 minutes in the microwave can do for your body!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

There's a baby on this brain

Lately I seem to be really hormonal. I want babies now. I have always loved children and have worked with them full-time since graduating college despite an initial college degree that had nothing to do with kids. I can't help it. I love kids. And I feel I really want to be a mother. We have reconsidered whether or not we are ready for children and whether we can support them. We fear we'll be sorry with our choice after its made and won't be able to take it back.

But I can't help but want them right now nonetheless. DH thinks we should wait one more year. I worry that if we don't start accepting them soon that they will never come. When will it be my time?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Until Jan 15th, download free financial advice...

For those who like Suze...

Oprah is offering a free copy of Suze's Orman's 2009 action plan for download on her website until January 15th. Just click the link below and instantly have access to this financial advice. I haven't read it yet but I'm adding it to my reading list this week!


Thursday, January 8, 2009


JCrew is having a great sale this week. Here's a peek at a few of my purchases:

Food Storage

Are we going into another depression?

Will there be enough food?

I found a new site through another blogger I read today.

It's called Fun with Food Storage. It has lots of practical tips about buying food you can store, how to store the food you bought, and how to use the food you bought to make practical, sensible meals. It has frequent blog posts, videos, and, for a limited time this week, A GIVEAWAY!

I've gotta get back over there and catch up on all that I've missed by not seeing it yet. But, be sure to stop by the site by clicking here if food storage interests you at all!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Chicken Soup Flopped

Where do I start?

DH and I attempted to make chicken stock. Recipe 1.1 from Martha. I don't need to tell you that I need more than a little help with learning how to cook.

Once we completed our basic stock we tried to convert it to a chicken soup. DH didn't feel the chickens were cooked enough after their bath stock. We didn't have a meat thermometer. So we put them in the crockpot to cook on low while we slept overnight. We burned them (reference picture above). I thought you couldn't overcook things on low in the crockpot?

We ended up with very bland soup and burned 5 lbs of cornish hens.
How did this happen? Did accidentally forgetting the bay leaf at the store really destroy the recipe?? What happened to that improvisational thing you cooks always do with ease and panache? I threw in some Mrs. Dash Italian seasoning... it had bay leaves...
Why can't I master even the most basic chicken soup with Martha's patient guidance.

Needless to say I put that pumpkin soup on standby for this week...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My 2009 Goals

I've made my goal list for the New Year and thought I'd share it here.

Feel free to email me or comment if you catch me forgetting my goals at some point :)

2009 goals
-Increase weekly quality time with husband from 1 date/week at present where we really try to connect with one another
-Enjoy an international vacation together this winter (we love to travel!)
-Celebrate our 2nd anniversary with a coastal trip later this spring
-Plan at least 1 trip to see each of our families in their respective states (parents, sisters, brother, extended family)
-Continue community work/leadership
-Further develop our spiritual knowledge
-Try blogging!
-Continue funding retirement accounts
-Finish saving for a downpayment (goal: $2k/month)
-Sell excess belongs in preparation for a move and put all of that into downpayment account
-Eat healthily and maintain weight limiting white sugar/flour
-Learn to cook 1-2 new meals/week
-Exercise 5 days/week
-Continue education (complete 18/24 credits necessary to graduate!)