Moms The Word

May 26, 2007

Ron Paul For Peace

Filed under: Good Ideas, Politics, Ron Paul 2008 — mrslady @ 2:27 pm

I didn’t write a Frugal Friday for this week, but I have a very good reason.  If you want to see Frugal Friday tips from the past you can see them here.

The reason that I couldn’t write a Frugal Fridays post is because I have been expremely preoccupied with Ron Paul.  It is hard for me to write about anything or anyone else lately.  For those of you who did not happen to see my last post on Ron Paul he is a Congressman from Texas, and is currently running for the GOP presidential nomination.  He is running on a traditional Constitutional platform, believing in small government and large freedoms, and is the only presidential candidate on either side of the isle who will unequivically bring our troops home within his first month or so in office.  No deadlines, no expensive and long process, just bring them home.  For more on Ron Paul’s policies, visit his website here

.The reason that I have been thinking of him lately is because of the recent debate hosted on Fox News. In that debate, Ron Paul said that the federal government’s foriegn policies are partly to blame for 9-11, something the CIA and reports on Iraq have all recognized and labeled as “blowback”.  Of course, Rudy Guiliani got “flustered” [to say the least] and said that was the “most absurd” explaination for 9-11 that he had ever heard [presumably not having read CIA and other investigative reports of 9-11 and the “War on Terror”] and also saying that Dr.Paul blamed 9-11 on the American people, not the American Federal government’s policies as Ron Paul stated.  Of course, slanderers on all sides have been trying to shoot holes in the Ron Paul campaign by saying that he blamed 9-11 on the American people-a blatantly false interpretation of what was said-and yet, despite what others are saying/implying about Ron Paul his approval rating continues to soar over the competition, leading in some polls by double-digit margins over the next competitor, and having more YouTube subscribers than any other candidate Republican or Democrat.  His support can truely be recognized in the fact that directly after the debate involving the “showdown” between Guiliani and Ron Paul Congressman Paul recieved a flood of campaign donations, proving that there truely are people out there listening and loving what he says [besides my husband and I!].

However, I was still concerned that he would not be able to get in a main stream media rebuttal to the slander that was being laid against him.  [It’s no secret that Ron Paul has been “having trouble” getting air time.]  I was very worried-until yesterday.  Yesterday Ron Paul went on Bill Maher, and it gave him the opportunity.  I was concerned, Maher is notoriously liberal, but I was still hoping for the best.

What I got was better than the best.  Not only did Bill Maher blatantly endorse Ron Paul [Calling him “his hero, and saying that if more Americans were smarter they would be voting for Ron Paul], but he criticized Guiliani’s blantant ignorance of the facts regarding what lead up to 9-11.  Ron Paul came out shining and was not only able to set the record straight, but was met with wild applause from the largely liberal Maher crowd-who even chanted “Vote Ron Paul” as he exited the stage.

I have to tell you honestly-it brought tears to my eyes to see that much support for such a great and honorable man.  It was not only nice to see that he had proved his point, but that he was being supported for it.  It is not often that Americans get behind someone that I can align with ideologically, but to know that Ron Paul has that much support is truely awesome.

Don’t forget: If you support Ron Paul, register Republican and vote for him in the primaries!! To see footage from Ron Paul on Bill Maher [broadcast last night] you can go to YouTube, where you can also visit Ron Paul’s channel which now has more than 9,000 subscribers! 

Advertisements

May 22, 2007

Adventures in Pottyland *To Do About Tuesday*

Filed under: Good Ideas, To-Do about Tuesday — mrslady @ 1:41 pm

As of yet in my parenting experience, I consider myself to be successful.  My three year old son is extremely polite, a great learner and a generally happy and well behaved child.  Yes, I was definately giving myself and my husband a pat on the collective back for some excellent childrearing-in-progress.

But wait! Not so fast mommy!  What about potty training?

Never in my life have I been more frustrated with anyone or anything.  Someone once told me that potty training is like being pecked to death by a duck-slow and painful.  I am finding this to be a remarkably accurate account of the potty training experience, and I definately will admit that while I was pregnant and dreaming of my cute little cuddle bug it never crossed my mind that I would be cleaning his poo off of his carpet, walls, and hair [ew!] for several months of his life.

Alas, there I am.  I have been up to my eyeballs in bodily functions for longer than I care to think of, and nothing is more frustrating than your child soiling his way through EVERY PAIR OF PANTS HE OWNS in only one single day.  For those of you not potty training yet, that translates to roughly three loads of laundry, four baths [including tub cleaning], two “wipe downs”, three sheet/blanket/pillow (yes pillow!) changes, six carpet spot-cleanings, two toddler potty dumpings/cleanings, and five billion “Do you have to go potty?”s per day for an indeterminable amount of time.  It’s enough to make even the most patient and loving mommy think for one second that they should sell their child to the zoo-at least then he could poo wherever he’d like!

Fortunately, it does not go on forever-and you can remind yourself that someday the one who pees on your carpet will have smelly carpets of their own children’s making. Eventually [they tell me] children become successfully potty trained.  Rumor has it someday they will even wipe their own behinds.  In the mean time, what is a mommy (or daddy) to do?

*Ask around.  Everyone with children has had to potty train them at some point.  I recommend not only talking to people with adult children [your parents might have good tips!], but also people who are in the potty training trenches along with you.  Older parents might not remember what worked for them while potty training, unlike someone who is currently or has recently arm-wrestled their child into going on the potty.  You don’t have to use every suggestion, but when you’re at the end of your wits it’s nice to have some options that you don’t have to think of yourself.

*Talk to the Experts.  Talk to your pediatrician about what methods they recommend, or even what worked for their own children.  Pediatricians have hundreds of clients, so they are almost guaranteed to have good [medically sound] tips.

*Read up! Luckily for moms and dads who do not want to take their potty training toddler into public, you don’t have to go to the bookstore anymore if you don’t want to-online advice is just one Google away.  I like Dr.Green’s advice, and the advice on babycenter.com because they best align with my “no pressure” form of potty training.

*Vent.  Not to or on your child, but it’s definately worth talking about your frustrations.  Talk to your significant other (they’re in the same boat as you!), or to your friends and family.  While they may not like hearing about your child’s poo, they love and support you so they will fake it.  If your relatives get tired of all the potty talk, you can join online groups, like the ones on Myspace or Cafe Mom, which are not only a great place to vent, but can be an excellent place to pick up some more tips!

*Stay positive!  This is beneficial for not only your sanity, but also for your child.  If you stay upbeat and focused on the end goal [not having to clean poo off your refridgerator anymore], it will help you be more relaxed, which helps your child relax, which definately helps the whole potty training process.  Some tips I found about staying positive:

                             *Don’t listen to the Debbie Downers or the Competative Suzies.  So what if your nieghbor’s daughter was potty trained at birth? Your child will do it in their own time.

                             *Reward yourself (and your child) for successful pottying.  I personally don’t believe in candy as a reward, but use whatever works for your family.  We use stickers and/or later nap times as incentive for our son and will sometimes rent a movie or something for ourselves after a day of success.

                             *Take breaks.  Give yourself a couple minutes of down time to read an article (or a blog!) or paint your nails.  If your child potties in their pants in that five minutes, they were probably going to do it anyway. [Unless they tell you they need to go potty, in which case you jump out like a firefighter and rush them to the bathroom (as I’m sure you already do).]

Good luck, and whatever you do remember-someday this child will have to potty train their own child.  That’s a pleasant thought.

April 20, 2007

*Frugal Fridays* Savings

Filed under: Frugal Fridays, Good Ideas — mrslady @ 3:35 pm

One thing we have always had a big problem with is saving our money.  I think a lot of people (especially people like us who are already living on extremely tight  modest budgets) get a little intimidated when they think about saving.  It’s hard to imagine being able to save anything when you have to buy the day old bread just because it’s 30 cents cheaper.

That’s why pre-tax spending is so great.  A lot of jobs out there give you the option to put some money away into an account (like an IRA) before it even gets into your paycheck.  When you do that not only are you saving money for that rainy day you KNOW is coming some day, but you’re also putting the taxable amount of income on a lower level, which saves you some money wasted on taxes too.

Even saving a little can help.  We save $50 per paycheck in my husband’s IRA.  It doesn’t hurt us terribly (we can still eat and all), but it really adds up.  My husband gets two paychecks a month, when you put that in for 18 years (maybe you’re donating to a college fund?) then you have just saved $21,600!

Then consider this: even while working at the lowest of low jobs, I got a raise once a year of 50 cents.  An extra 50 cents an hour, working full time 40 hours, gives you an extra $80 per month, so if you save half of your raise wages then you’re saving a total of $140 dollars a month!

If you keep doing that-getting one 50 cent raise every year and putting another $40 a month into savings each time you do-then in a full 18 years you will have saved-get ready-$95,040!  (First year at $100, Year 18 at $780 per month after adding $40 to your monthly savings each time you get a 50 cent raise (I’m saying that happens once a year, but I know people who get those every 6 months!). That’s a lot of money to ME, and more than enough to put your kid into a decent college for a couple of years (right now at least).  Now imagine what you can do between when your child is in college and when you retire! (At least I can-that’s one of the lesser known ADVANTAGES of having your children when you are young.  I know that once my son goes to college I’ll have almost 30 years before I retire.  In case you’re wondering-30 years, upping your savings by 25 cents an hour every year (when you get a 50 cent raise an hour every year) you’re looking at a total savings of $244,800, not including any other investments you might make or if you decide to “double up” [save twice as much] once you hit 50 as is usually recommended.)

So the moral of this Frugal Friday is even the smallest drop in the bucket can someday make a title wave-and when we’re talking about money I wouldn’t mind swimming in it!

*For more Frugal Friday tips go to Biblical Womanhood*

April 7, 2007

In The Groove

Filed under: Blog Business, Family, Good Ideas, House and Home — mrslady @ 12:33 pm

As I’m sure you can tell, I had to change my blog look again, because every time I looked at my page there was something bothering me.  I couldn’t figure out what it was until I realized the print was so tiny I my brain was starting to hurt more than normal.  Maybe it was just me-I am kind of blind-but I had to fix it.  I think this layout looks nice, but we’ll see how it sits with me over the next couple of days.  Your input would be very appreciated seeing as how you deal with it too.  I wouldn’t want anyone to develop the squint eye trying to read my blog 🙂

In further adventures IRL, my lovely other half has ordered me to relax and do things that I want to do today.  I’ll admit it’s been a long time since I’ve even thought about what interests me…….the best I could come up with was going grocery shopping by myself.  Oh yes, that’s right-by myself like a grown up and everything. That means no screaming howler monkey curious toddler in the cart grabbing things off of the shelves and forcing me to buy them by throwing them on the ground or in other ways destroying them.  Who wants a jar of broken pickles?  Me either.  The twisted part is that it sounds so relaxing-I must be getting really boring.  Driving to the store blasting my music without worry of deafening my child, walking around the store without the worry that at any moment my child could be “done with shopping”.  [Grocery shopping with a toddler is like shopping with a dinner timer, but you can’t see the timer.  All of a sudden you just hear the “wwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh” and you know it’s all over.]  I’m so happy that I don’t have to do the “supermarket sweep” style of shopping-I’m going to lesiurely walk up and down every isle at least twice and actually bother to look at what I’m buying before I throw it in the cart.  I’m not going to leave the store until I make sure that I have not forgotten even the smallest and least significant item. 

I’m even taking a list.  I LOVE making my grocery list.  My new method is a fairly recent addition to my organizational arsonal (though others may have been doing it this way for years), but a lovely one if I do say so myself.  What I do is I write out the days until I next go grocery shopping (usually to coincide with payday) and then I make a meal plan for each day.  Then I look at the meal plan, go through my fridge and write down the things I need. This also helps if we’re especially budget conscious that week because then I can see what meals we can make with the things we already have.  It also prevents me from ending up with five bottles of vanilla and no butter (don’t laugh!  I’ve done it!).

And now-onward to my mommy safari 🙂

April 6, 2007

A Wedding You Can Afford *Frugal Fridays*

Filed under: Frugal Fridays, Good Ideas — mrslady @ 1:01 pm

As you probably noticed if you read about my excursion into real life I got married on March 31st.  We had to pay for it ourselves, and Lord knows we’re not a bizillionares, so naturally we did it the same way we do everything else-on a budget.

Our wedding cost  us exactly $229.06 including minister fees, wedding liscence, rings, something to wear, and batteries for our digital camera.  The key to our nice but severely-uh-“budgeted” wedding? 

E-L-O-P-E.

However I understand that not everyone can, and that even if they could a lot of people wouldn’t want to. Here are some things I found along the way that can help you can have a nice big wedding with out a nice big price tag.

*The Bridal Online Store has beautiful hand made wedding dresses custom fit just for you with prices ranging between $99-699 (plus S&H).  An added bonus?  You can, with just a little bit of planning, actually talk to the OWNER of this business directly (her name is Jill and she’s available between 8-11am EST).

*Having a wedding outdoors can be wonderful during the summertime (depending on the climate you’re in).  Also, it can save you a ton of money if you don’t plan on doing it at a church.  You can get married at a national park for FREE (unless it’s involving big set ups that require permits or you plan on camping there as well…).  You can look up National Parks in your area here, or Google “______ state parks” to find one that is run by your state.  I do recommend scouting them to make sure there is a good spot somewhere there, AND keeping in mind who you are inviting, what kind of seating they may need (can great grandma sit on a folding chair in the dirt for 30 minutes?), and if you are going to need any type of electronics (do you plan to play music?).

*Talk to your county courthouse to see if they can refer you to a minister-usually they can.  Also-retired ministers tend to charge a significantly less amount of money than practicing ones.

*Do you live close to a state line (we do!)?  If you do, it’s definately worth seeing how much it costs to get your liscence in that state instead of yours.  Some states require that if you get the liscence there you get married there, so keep that in mind, but I know for us we saved  $32 for crossing the state line to get married.

*Do your own flower arranging.  You can buy flowers themselves fairly inexpensively, and all you have to do is put them together.  It can get a little tricky though, so I recommend using some reasources.  Good ones I’ve found are this about article, this Lowes article, and this article at the gardener

In the end, if you are going to elope but have a slightly bigger budget (but not too huge, about $500-$2000) or want to elope it in style, I highly recommend using Let’s Run Off.  The tagline is “Elopments made easy” for a reason.  If we had a slightly bigger budget we would have used one of their adorable B&B recommendations.

There you have it-I hope it helps.  No reason to start married life $10K in debt right?  Whatever you do for your wedding, remember that it’s really all about you and your husband and what makes you happy in the end. Congratulations!

*for more Frugal Friday tips visit Biblical Womanhood*

March 16, 2007

$2 Birthday Cake*Frugal Fridays*

Filed under: Frugal Fridays, Good Ideas — mrslady @ 9:21 am

If you’re like me, you worry about how much things cost, but you feel bad when you worry about the price of things when it comes to your kids.  You want to get them the best, but you know there are some things your wallet just can’t take-like a $40 birthday cake for your toddler’s birthday.

The good news is you can make a yummy, nice looking birthday cake for really cheap.   You start with things that you have-eggs, food coloring, vegetable oil-and you can buy what you

need-in my case cake mix and frosting-from the dollar store.  I know, I know-but really, most things at the dollar store (providing they are not expired) taste just as good as anything else you might buy for several dollars more.

Okay, you say, you made the cake-now what?  Frosting.  And frosting is the best part-not to mention the most fun.

Make sure that your cake is all the way cooled off before you start to frost it so that your frosting doesn’t get goopy.  When I’m in a tight crunch I put the cake (still in the pan) in the freezer for about five minutes to cool it down.  Then, I flip the cake out of the pan so that the bottom is on the top and put it back in the freezer for another minute or two.  (You can make a cake easier to flip out of the pan by making a really good coating of butter/margerine in the cake pan and then dusting it with flour or pancake mix-you can use pancake mix for a lot of things!)

The bonus for flipping the cake over is that you can use the bottom of the cake as your frosting canvas and the bottom is flat, while the top may be rounded or have cracks in it.  Anyway, once your cake is cooled you can start to frost.  What I like to do is to put a big glop of frosting right in the middle of the cake and then spread it out to the sides.  If you use your frosting at room temperature instead of from the refridgerator, you can get your cake to look pretty evenly coated by doing it this way-and give it a smooth looking surface by lightly dragging a flat spatula over the top.

If you want to put a decorative scene on your cake, that’s where the food coloring comes in.  You will also need either pastery bags or zip lock bags.  (If you’re using zip lock bags, I recommend the small ones, however big ones are doable as well.)  All you have to do is cut diagnally on the very tip of one of the bottom corners of the zip lock.  I don’t recommend cutting more than just a tiny tiny bit, because the smaller the hole the more control you will have over the frosting.  When you make the cut you should end up with a triangle of plastic left over.

Decide on the design you want and think about the colors you’ll need to mix with your frosting to create the colors you want.  Once you make the colors you want put them into the zip lock or pastery bag then design away!

Here is the cake that I made my son for his 3rd birthday.  It is chocolate with cream cheese frosting.  With the supplies that I already had, I paid a TOTAL of two dollars for this cake:

0032.JPG

Not bad for $2, eh?

For more frugal tips visit Biblical Womanhood.

March 13, 2007

To Do About Tuesday

Filed under: Family, Good Ideas, To-Do about Tuesday — mrslady @ 6:30 pm

3 years and 10 months ago I did something great without even knowing it.  Something that would change my life forever in the best way possible.  I was going to have a baby! 

Today’s To Do is all about my baby turning 3! 

Happy Birthday Monkey!!!!!

003.JPG

As every mommy knows it is quite the To Do when your child celebrates a birthday.  If you’re anything like me, you want to document everything, because each birthday reminds you that they will never be that small again.  On my son’s first birthday, I started something that is now a tradition, and I wanted to share it with my bloggy friends because I think it is an excellent idea.  All traditions are excellent ideas in my book.

Every year I write my son a letter.   About anything-what’s happened in the past year, what I am thinking now that he is ____ years old, how much he’s grown up, all the things he accomplished-I just write.  I intend to give them to him when he gets married so that he can get ideas about starting a tradition of his own with his children, maybe even the same one.

This is my letter to my son on his third birthday. [Edited to remove the names and personal information of the guilty, innocent, and people in between.]

Dear Monkey,

Every time your birthday rolls around I am more and more amazed how much time has gone by.  Maybe that’s because you just keep getting older and bigger.  This year was a very long but rewarding year. 

Last year at this time we were having your second birthday party and you had just started feeding yourself (not because you couldn’t before but because you can be the very definition of obstinant) and this year you not only feed yourself but know your entire alphabet, count to ten, know almost any animal and what sound it makes, help me get you dressed, are in the process  of getting potty trained, love to read, speak in sentences often, know some colors, and draw quite beautifully for a three year old.  You are remarkably smart and talented, but I’ve always told you that haven’t I?

This year we relocated from our lovely home town to a place that I realize now you will probably consider your home town.  It’s a very strange thought to think that you will not grow up where your dad and I did-that you may not even see the place that you were born except a couple of times a year when we visit relatives.  While you are completely oblivious to the move, we are still adjusting, though I’m sure we’ll learn to like it here.  Your dad is now working for a great company, and that means that I finally get to stay home with you-we’re very excited about that these days.

When I think about your third birthday, it makes me think about when you were born-that seems long ago even now!  I am sure that I have told you many times, probably in your teenage years, about when you were born.  What I said was true though.  You were 20 3/4 inches long and only 7 pounds 14 ounces.  You were so tiny you had to wear premie clothes home from the hospital and fit between my elbow and my finger tips.  Of course I was in active labor 23 hours and 47 minutes and you had a 14.5 inch head-you’ll understand when you and your wife have children.  All you need to know is that means I love you very much.  I was so proud of you, and amazed by you, and loved you more than I could ever say and that feeling only gets stronger every day.

I realize that you are getting big.  You are already over half as tall as I am!  You are forming your own likes and dislikes, making your own habits, and becoming more independant every day.  I know now that you are three I will have to make sure I stop calling you “the baby” in public, because you truely aren’t a baby any more.

However, in my heart, you will always be my baby.  You have been since the day you were born, and you will be for the rest of my life.  I am so proud of you, and I love you very much.

With all my heart,

Your mom

March 11, 2007

Why do I Blog? Let Me Count the Reasons…

Filed under: Good Ideas — mrslady @ 12:06 am

Why do I blog?  The question was put to me by my lovely fellow mommy blogger Karen.  While I did post recently about social dysfunction as a catalyst for blogging I thought that it would be well worth while coming up with some other reasons I love it.  Well, really I am only going to count 5 reasons unless I suddenly have an epiphany of some sort and absolutely must put a sixth reason on here.  I don’t predict that coming up.  We’ll see…I could change my mind in the next five minutes (I have been known to change it that fast and faster!).

In no particular order:

5.  I love talking to other moms with children my age, but I don’t always like the moms that live around me.  (I know, shock!)  The truth is, I’m kind of afraid of my neighbor because I can always hear her yelling through my ceiling/her floor and she sounds kind of “intense” to say the least.  So I get the benefits of socializing without the pressure to get out of my pjs or listen to someone yell at me.

4.  Blogging is a good “time out” when I need it.  Sometimes I get so centered around my son that I don’t realize there is a giant stress knot building in my neck until I am practically paralyzed.  Not to mention that sometimes-only sometimes-I like to think about things that are not preschooler related.  I like to interact with people who’s favorite shows are NOT  Veggi Tales, Finding Nemo, Dora the Explorer, or Bob the Builder.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore my son in every way.  But when he is napping, or down for the night, somtimes I like to interact with adults as an “intermission” to all-day-all-the-time baby interaction.

3.  Hubby is gone on business, and I can’t sleep without him.  In my defense, I haven’t been adjusted to sleeping by myself since we got together 4 years, 4 months, and 4 days ago (but who’s counting?).  I can pass out from exhaustion (and I have!) but I just can’t bring myself to lay down, close my eyes, and go to sleep.  I usually can lay down, but once I try to close my eyes I get all these sad missing the hunny thoughts and I have to get up and do something.  Then I discovered that late-night television is BAD! You can only watch so many commercials for “the magic bullet food processor” before you you go nuts “in only three easy steps!”.

2.  Information.  It is absolutely CRAZY the amount of information you can get on blogs!  It’s great to be able to get information (like kitchen tips from WFMW at Rocks in my Dryer) and share information that I have (like yummy crock pot recipes, which seems to have gone over well).  I’m glad we mommies have a place to stick together and share all of our tips and secrets.  It makes it easier to live our day to day lives-and everyone knows what makes mommy happy makes EVERYONE happy.

1. Inspiration.  Almost every day, I find something in the bloggy world that makes me laugh, makes me cry, and makes me have the warm fuzzies.  I love hearing stories from other moms that make me understand my son better.  I also love getting tips from people who know more about subjects than I do.  I am not an expert on very many things!  For instance, my MIL’s blog which has opened up the ability for me to be “fashion concious” in even the vaguest and least effective of ways.  I love hearing from people who have something important to say, even if it’s “just” the best way to organize your pantry (which I think is a great tip to have in your arsenal!).  If everyone blogs about what they know, we can all get together with our “words from the wise” and get more done, more effectively, and get a great sense of community along with it.

I realize that the last two are very similar, but I think that they are slightly different-and that’s what counts! 

When I look at my responses though, it looks like it can all be boiled down to the fact that I am in need of adult interaction with other moms to give me tips and inspire me throughout the day.  I could have said that in one sentance.  I just did.   But then you wouldn’t have gotten to read this post.

*Thanks Karen for letting me know I can tag other people.  I would be interested in hearing from Amy H. and Jeana on this topic!

March 9, 2007

*Frugal Fridays* on Love (10 Dates under $20)

Filed under: Frugal Fridays, Good Ideas, Mommy and Daddy Stuff — mrslady @ 2:19 am

You know what is ESSENTIAL for parents?  Yes-feeding, clothing, teaching, and loving your children is very important.  And yes-working (at home and at a job) is also extremely important.  I mean essential for your day to day life as a family.  A good relationship with your other half.  I know personally, if it weren’t for him, I would have been committed long ago.

While talking through the bathroom door in the morning, secret rendezvous in the pantry after dinner, and falling asleep on the couch after the kids go to bed certainly have their endearing qualities wouldn’t it be nice to go on a date once in a while?  You know, be alone with eachother, just for a bit? 

It is nice.  But it can also get very expensive.  So what do a mom and dad on a budget do these days to entertain themselves? [For more *Frugal* tips go here]

Here are my suggestions for 10 dates under $20-not including babysitting costs, gas, etc.

GOING OUT IDEAS [for those who can get babysitters]

1. Do a Drive In!  Old fashioned, sit in your car, and watch a movie.  You can even kiss in the dark like the old days.  Depending on where you live, sometimes there will be special drive ins or “park-ins” where they play old movies on the sides of buildings during art weeks (they do this in bigger cities like Portland, Oregon) sometimes.  Or you can go here, where I found a pretty comprehensive list of drive in movie theaters all over the US.  They are usually about the same cost as regular theaters ($7-9), but you can bring your own snacks and the atmosphere is a lot nicer. 

2. Around the World in the food court.  Mall food courts are often over looked, but they can offer lots of different ethnicities of foods-from mexican to greek to thai.  We have done this a few times.  You can spend as much or as little as you want, but if you focus on the cheaper items you can usually get one snack item from each foriegn resturant.  (This is not as fun if you include places like Wendy’s or McDonalds).  You can even get adventurous and pick something with a wierd name without knowing what it is.  Even get dressed up, if you want.  It’s definately not for everyone, but if you have a “weird” personality, it could be for you!

3. Art Gallery Walks. This usually works out better in big cities (and for people that like art).  In  a lot of cities there is one area of town that attracts a lot of businesses where they display art (photo galleries, etc.).  Most of them (unless you’re talking the art museum) are free to walk in and out of-so you can get yourselves snacks too!

4. Painting in the Park. If you are not of the particularly crafty variety, you might not like this idea, but we happen to love it.  You can use the paint/drawing supplies you have at your house or you can go to The Dollar Store (woo-hoo! cheapness! though not stunning quality) and get some stand ins.  Then go to the park and take turns drawing things.  Things you see, or ideas you come up with.  Trust me, it sparks a lot of conversation.

5. City Tour.  Go to your nearest “down town” area.  Pick up all the brochures that they leave for tourists and then take a hike!  Walk around looking at all the historic stuff, art, and sights.  It’s amazing how much you don’t realize is there in your own near-by city!  Plus, some of the cheezy brochures are really fun to read.

STAYING IN IDEAS [for those who cannot get babysitters, or need a date that is basically free]

1. Chore-list poker.  Make a list of chores that you don’t like to do-we have done between 5 and 10.   Then play poker (or rummy, or go fish, or uno) and bet using your chore lists.  Stop when you think the lists get too overwhelming for one person to do.

2. Books and Ice Cream. If you don’t like/want Ice Cream (or are allergic) subsitute the fun food of your choice.  Buy/Pick a book that you have both been meaning to read and read it out loud together.

3. Dinner a la You.  Cook something together just for yourselves for dinner.  We’ve done: breakfast for dinner, fancy dinner (like steak), and picnic dinner (like ham sandwiches and chips).  Dress up your table with your nice place settings, and light some candles.  Cooking together is fun, eating together is romantic.

4. Play Getting to Know You games.  I’m sure at this point you already know eachother, but sometimes it’s fun to play these games just for kicks.  Besides, when you pass like ships through the night sometimes you miss a subtle change (like change of favorite colors, or favorite CDs).  You can play them by writing things down [pick one question and both of you write down your answers], you can play by just taking turns asking eachother questions, or you can play a boardgame like “The Newlywed Game” if you have it. 

5. Go to Bed Early. Sometimes, it’s been a long day and you don’t have a lot of energy.  I recommend (for winter) putting all of your blankets in the dryer and then going to bed early.  Sometimes we’ll turn on music and stay up and read books in bed.  It’s a little Leave it to Beaver, but we have fun.  Just being in bed is relaxing, and then we have time to read and/or talk over our days in a quiet setting.  Plus sometimes it’s nice to be in bed by 8:30.

I know not all of these will sound fun or exciting to everyone, but we have done all of these at one point or another and have really enjoyed them-I hope you do too!

Almost (but not quite) completely randomly, this is my favorite Bible verse about Love (and probably the most famous):

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

March 6, 2007

Busy Mom Meals *Works For Me Wednesdays*

Filed under: Family, Good Ideas, House and Home, WFMW — mrslady @ 9:43 pm

Every mom knows there are those days when you just don’t have time to put a meal together.  When kid #1 has ballet, kids #2 and 3 have Bible study, and the Hubby has work to do, you need something fast and easy that you don’t have to put a lot of work into.  My suggestion?  Crock pot meals.  I was recently gifted with a LOVELY slow cooker, courtesy of my F/MIL and it has been a quick, easy, and delicious meal helper for those uber-busy nights. [Not to mention, you can do them VERY inexpensively!  For more information on grocery shopping on a budget, see my Frugal Friday post about grocery shopping on a budget]

The main misconception about crock pot meals is that they are boring, and not very tasty or fancy.  Well, let me tell you there are THOUSANDS of different, interesting, even “fancy” meals you can make with your crock pot.  Take these for example:

CROCK POT CHICKEN CACCIATORE  

3-4 lbs boneless/skinless thighs and breasts
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 large red or green bell peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon each basil and oregano
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 8 oz can stewed tomatoes with chiles
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups burgundy wine
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling before serving

Place sliced onions on bottom of crock pot. Add chicken.Stir together remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.

Cook on low 7-9 hours or high 3-4 hours. Serve over pasta, with a salad on the side.

SWEET & SOUR CROCK POT PORK  

1 pound pork chops (diced into bite size pieces)
1 can tomato soup
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 can water
2-3 cups frozen broccoli

Cook pork in frying pan until browned on all sides. Add all ingredients to crock pot, including pork. Cook on low for 7-8 hrs or on high for 3-4 hours.Serve on a bed of rice.

Of course, there is always the “old faithful”-Crock Pot Roast:

CROCK POT ROAST  

3-5 lb. roast (beef)
1 onion
5 or 6 large carrots, peeled
4 or 5 potatoes
1/2 lb. fresh green beans (optional)
1 pkg. McCormick pot roast or beef stew seasoning
1 pkg. sazon
1/2 cup catchup
1 cup water
adobo, to taste
small can of diced tomatoes (optional)

Chop onion and place in bottom of crock pot. Sprinkle some flour on the onion. Add some butter (1-2 tablespoons) and sauté until soft. Then place roast on top of onion.Mix McCormick seasoning with water and pour over roast. Add catchup and Sazon. Stir.

Cover and leave on high. Cut up potatoes and carrots and add to pot.

Sprinkle adobo on to taste. Turn on low and cook for 6 or more hours.

The longer the better. This recipe is very tasty, you will be surprised.

Editors Note: If you don’t have seasoning packets on hand, use 1 beef bouillon or 1 1/2 teaspoons Minor’s beef base, 1/2 tsp each garlic and onion powder or 3-4 cloves minced garlic and one chopped onion. A bay leaf can also be added and removed before serving.

You can find more quick and yummy recipes for crock pot meals at these websites:

http://www.tastycrockpotrecipes.net/

http://crockpot.cdkitchen.com/recipes/

Also, for moms on a budget (like myself) the great thing about crock pot meals is that you can put pretty much anything in your cupboard in the pot and it will taste good.  Pretty much this equation:

Meat+Vegitables+Seasoning=YUMMY CROCK POT MEALS

Have fun, and enjoy your night off!!

(P.S. For more tips from WFMW, go to Rocks In My Dryer!)

(P.P.S. For more fun stuff from my blog, go to my latest update by clicking this link,  side bar topic thingy that captures your interest, or go to the main page where you can access everything!)

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.