Monthly Archives: November 2009

It’s My Junk!

Warning: If toddler behaviour or references to private parts offends you, do not continue. ;)

Okay, so a couple days ago I tell Grayson to get ready for bed. This typically consists of his stripping naked, running around for a few minutes, and then reluctantly putting on a pull-up and pj’s. (Yes, he’s completely potty trained, but since I still haven’t bought a mattress cover we are playing it safe.) Well, this particular night, he was having an issue with a small piece of fuzz and curiosity about his anatomy.

Grayson: Mom, what’s this scratchy thing on my pee-pee? (pointing and trying to remove a piece of fuzz)
Me: Ask Dad…that’s his department.
Grayson: Dad, what’s this scratchy thing on my pee-pee?
Me to Greg: I think it’s a piece of fuzz…you need to help him. (Greg removes said piece of fuzz.)
Grayson: (still naked and now poking his ‘dangles’) What’s these things, Dad?
Greg: That’s part of your pee-pee, Son, quit poking them.
Grayson: (looking down, still poking) Oh, it’s just my junk. I need to take these off.
*From here on, Greg is incapable of conversation because of laughter…so I take over.*
Me: Quit Grayson! You can’t take those off…they’re important.
Grayson: It’s part of my body?
Me: Yes, leave them alone.
Grayson: Oh, it’s part of my junk. Okay. (now that that mystery is solved, he puts on his pull-up & pj’s and heads to bed)
(There was supposed to be a cute picture of him ‘thinking’ here, but blogger wouldn’t upload any picture for me…so just imagine an adorable blonde boy with big blue eyes looking up with his finger on his cheek…just thinking.)
Ahhh…the joys of having a boy. It sure is a different adventure than with my previous 3 girls, and I love it. We are always laughing and astounded by his cuteness. We are so blessed!

To-Do Tuesday

Totally didn’t realize today was Tuesday until just now…sheesh. It has been one of those weeks. Seems like we have been doing everything full speed for quite awhile now, and still have so much to accomplish! I had one kid home sick from school yesterday, had to deal with typical drama from ‘a certain someone’ last night, kids will be off school for the week starting tomorrow…lots of baking & crafts planned, oh, and I need sleep! LOL Bah, sleep…what’s that? Bring on the list!
1. Keep decluttering & organizing…I’m still on a roll! Woot!

2. Read – daily quiet time.
3. Not stress/freak out about stuff out of my control!
4. Successfully cook Thanksgiving dinner for me and my boys. (My first time ever to cook an actual whole turkey…maybe I should do a vlog on this?)
5. Wrap remaining Christmas presents & bust out the decorations.
6. Finish taping off at the church so we can start painting a totally sweet design in the kids area.
7. Not get mauled during Black Friday Sales.
8. Stick to menu plan for the week.
9. Go exploring in the garage for runaway items needed for Christmas & stuff to donate/trash/sell.
10. Work on getting blog transferred over…with the help of genius programmer hubby. (Really questioning if this is EVER going to happen.)

I ‘stole’ the following from Crazy Adventures in Parenting…the fearless leader of To-Do Tuesday. =)

Would you like to join us this week for To-Do Tuesday? Start with just a few things. Don’t over-do it your first couple of times. You’ll grow to become a list-a-holic later, start small now, though, k?
Just so you know, you can join us at anytime, it doesn’t have to be on Tuesdays – the list will go up every Tuesday for you to link to, but you can make your list and link to us at any point in the week!

Remember, with “To-Do Tuesday”, we’re attacking our to-do lists each week, blogging about our lists and what we’ve got going on, and sharing it with each other to help keep each other accountable. Everyone should come back here to link up in the MckLinky as the central “To-Do Tuesday Hub” so we can visit who’s participating and offer encouragement to each other throughout the week. Don’t forget to add the “To-Do Tuesday” button to your post, linking back to this post!

Let’s continue to cross items off our list as we go and help support each other in completing our lists! Don’t forget my useful HTML tutorial on how to effectively “cross-out” or √ “check off” your items on your to-do list!

Joining us? We’re using a new linky alternative called MckLinky! Please add your link below (to your To Do Tuesday post, and not the main page of your blog).

Holiday Recipes…YUM!

With Thanksgiving only a few days away, and Christmas in barely a month, I thought it would be the perfect time to share a few of my favorite holiday recipes. =) These are recipes I have found and used over the years. I have no idea where I found most of them…backs of packages, online, magazines, etc., but none are originally mine. Of course I do tweak most of them due to my own taste or need to substitute an ingredient…if I do this, I will make a note.

Buttery Soft Crescent Rolls (Bread Machine)

1/2 C warm water
1/2 C warm milk
1 egg
1/3 C butter, softened
1/3 C sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 (1/4 oz.) package active dry yeast
1/4 C butter, melted

1. Place ingredients into bread maker in order recommended by manufacturer: water, milk, egg, 1/3 cup butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast. Reserve additional butter (1/4 cup) for later.
2. Select dough/knead cycle and start. This cycle should mix dough and allow it to rise for 1 hour.
3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Brush with additional butter.
4. Cut into 16 pie shaped wedges. Roll wedges starting with wide end into crescent shapes.
5. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and allow to rise for an additional hour.
6. Bake for 10- 15 minutes at 375°F or until golden brown.

*NOTE* One thing I love about these is you can make them bigger if you would like to use them for sandwiches. My husband loves to take these for his lunch filled with cheese and lunchmeat. YUM! They also freeze well.

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Cranberry Mandarin Salad

1 (12 oz.) bag fresh cranberries
1 (15 oz.) can mandarin oranges
1 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. orange zest

1. In saucepan, place 3/4 bag of cranberries over med/high heat.
2. Add in liquid from mandarin oranges, grate in ginger & orange zest, add sugar.
3. When it starts to thicken, mash mixture until all berries are broken.
4. Add remainder of cranberries & cook until they start to crack.
5. Remove from heat, stir in mandarin oranges.
6. Chill and serve.
*NOTE* I have never used fresh ginger or orange zest. I use 1/2 tsp. ground ginger in place of 1 1/2 tsp of fresh, and I skip the orange zest all together. (I don’t have a zester.)
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Fluffy Pumpkin Pie

2 (3.4 oz.) boxes instant french vanilla pudding
1 1/3 C milk
1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp. pie spice
4 C Cool Whip
1 graham cracker crust

1. Add pudding to milk in bowl, and blend on low speed for 30 seconds.
2. Blend in pumpkin, spice and 2 cups Cool Whip.
3. Put in pie shell and chill for 4 hours.
4. Top with 2 C Cool Whip.

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Egg-less Eggnog
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
6 C cold milk
1 1/4 tsp rum flavored extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix w/ 2 C of milk, allow to chill for 5 minutes.
2. To the mix, stir in rum extract and nutmeg, then slowly mix in the remaining 4 C milk until the mixture is a thick but drinkable consistency.
3. Chill until ready to serve.
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(I can’t seem to find pictures of anything except the Cranberry Mandarin Salad, so I will be sure to take pictures of the other recipes this year and update this post!)
I will post more holiday recipes as I make them…I plan to make all the above recipes for Thanksgiving, so I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! =) Happy Thanksgiving!

Thrifty Thursday

Well, I haven’t posted about my thriftiness in awhile, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been saving money. ;) (It typically means I have forgotten to take pictures of my thrifty buys…) Over the past few weeks I have been grabbing Christmas presents almost every time I’ve gone shopping. Perusing Clearance aisles, or just looking for those red or orange Clearance tags has been a huge saver for me. I can’t list specifics here because my oldest likes to read my blog, but I can say on one item I bought for each of my kids I paid $10 each for an item that would have cost $23 each. I also took advantage of the special at Walmart a few weeks ago on the Xbox 360 Arcade Console. Greg has been asking for an Xbox 360 on every gift giving occasion for about 3 years now…Walmart finally had a deal I couldn’t pass up. They had the Xbox 360 Arcade Console + $100 Walmart Gift Card for $199, so essentially we paid $99 for the gaming system. He, of course, couldn’t wait until Christmas, and since I sent him to stand in line for his own present, he deserved to get it early.

I’ve also been ordering several photo gifts online using specials I’ve found and in most cases I’ve only had to pay shipping charges. Check Snapfish, Shutterfly, Kodak Gallery, W Photo & Vistaprint for great deals.
For my weekly Walgreen’s run, I got the following items for $15.46 after coupons and I received $9 in RR, and a RR type coupon for a free Clinical Strength Deodorant. (I did purchase some Christmas presents also, but can’t give specifics…)
Ricola $1 – .50 coupon = .50 + $1 RR = + .50 moneymaker.
Bic Soliel Razor Cartridges $5.99 – $2 coupon = 3.99 + $3 RR = .99
Always Infinity $5.29 – FREE coupon = FREE
Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant $7.99 – $2 coupon = 5.99 + RR coupon for FREE SCS Deodorant = 2/5.99 (I’ll get the free one next visit)
Scotch Magic Tape $1.99 – .50 coupon = $1.49
Gillette Deodorant $4.49 – $1 coupon = $3.49
Gillette Body Wash $4.99 – Buy Gillette Deodorant get FREE Body Wash = FREE
(I also received a $5 RR for spending over $20 on toys.)
Not a huge trip, but coupled with the savings on the Christmas presents, I would say it was a success. Feel free to link to your thrifty posts using the linky below, or post your thrifty tips in the comments section!

To-Do Tuesday

Okay…clean slate was maybe a little over ambitious…severely slimmed down ‘To-Do List’ is more like what actually occurred. I am still ‘Rockin’ & Rollin’ in the FlyLady wagon, and am sporting some crazy organizational skillz all of a sudden. It’s like an OCD maid has taken over my body…I’m totally loving it, as is my family…most of the time. Even though I was positive I’d have a clean slate to work with this week, I am pretty pleased with what I accomplished. I may not have knocked off as many items as I wanted, but I did ALOT not on the list. So…on to this week!
1. Keep decluttering & orgainizing…I’m on a roll!

2. Read – daily quiet time & finish grossly overdue library book.
3. Continue planning for Grayson’s & Kylie’s birthdays…almost finished with over a month to spare!
4. Work on a few straggling reviews, and post actual content on my blog.
5. Wrap Grayson’s Christmas presents if he takes a nap this week when he goes to bed.
6. Finish taping off at the church so we can start painting a totally sweet design in the kids area.
7. Take more ‘donate’ stuff to the thrift store!
8. Stick to menu plan for the week…
9. Go exploring in the garage for runaway items needed for Christmas & stuff to donate/trash/sell.
10. Work on getting blog transferred over…with the help of genius programmer hubby. (Really questioning if this is EVER going to happen.)

I ‘stole’ the following from Crazy Adventures in Parenting…the fearless leader of To-Do Tuesday. =)

Would you like to join us this week for To-Do Tuesday? Start with just a few things. Don’t over-do it your first couple of times. You’ll grow to become a list-a-holic later, start small now, though, k?
Just so you know, you can join us at anytime, it doesn’t have to be on Tuesdays – the list will go up every Tuesday for you to link to, but you can make your list and link to us at any point in the week!

Remember, with “To-Do Tuesday”, we’re attacking our to-do lists each week, blogging about our lists and what we’ve got going on, and sharing it with each other to help keep each other accountable. Everyone should come back here to link up in the MckLinky as the central “To-Do Tuesday Hub” so we can visit who’s participating and offer encouragement to each other throughout the week. Don’t forget to add the “To-Do Tuesday” button to your post, linking back to this post!

Let’s continue to cross items off our list as we go and help support each other in completing our lists! Don’t forget my useful HTML tutorial on how to effectively “cross-out” or √ “check off” your items on your to-do list!

Joining us? We’re using a new linky alternative called MckLinky! Please add your link below (to your To Do Tuesday post, and not the main page of your blog).

UnitedHealthcare Student Insurance *REVIEW*

Recently I was given the opportunity by MomSelect to write a review on UnitedHealthcare StudentResources. UHCSR is a division of UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company dedicated to student insurance programs for over 40 years. Because UHCSR focuses on students, they claim to have a better understanding of the unique needs of this age group. UnitedHealthcare StudentResources has earned parent confidence and a national reputation by offering only the finest, HIPAA-compliant student health plans. They offer several plans/supplements including Health Plan, 24-hour (injury only), At-school (injury only), Extended Dental, and Football. The health plan offers protection/coverage for injury AND sickness, 24/7/365, and is available to K12 students ages 5-18 (4-18 in TX). While the K12 Health Plan can provide a level of protection for uninsured children, it is also being purchased by many families who have high deductible employer coverage. If parents have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to meet their employer plan deductible, the K12 Health Plan can reimburse them for their children’s eligible medical expenses while they are working toward meeting their employer plan’s deductible.
Many (Over 2000), but not all public school systems/districts throughout the US participate with UHCSR to offer this plan. From small rural school districts to the largest in the nation such as Los Angeles Unified and Miami/Dade County. UHCSR has challenged national trends by INCREASING benefits while KEEPING the premium at 2008 levels. Designed to be affordable at $588 per policy year or $98 every two months. Parents can enroll their student at any point in the school year.
Personally, we wouldn’t use this insurance because our kids are covered under a state funded plan. I do believe this insurance is offered in our area (after doing some reading on their web site, I seem to remember the photo coming home on an application at the beginning of the year), but when I went to look up ‘Plans and Pricing’ I received the following error message:
I attempted to locate information regarding coverage, copays, prescription coverage, eligibility requirements, etc., but was unsuccessful. There are several different kinds of insurance offered to cater to your needs, but there aren’t really enough details on any to make a decision without directly contacting someone. (There may be more details available to someone who’s school doesn’t generate an error.) From what little information I was able to gather, the ‘Health Plan’ would be the one that we would need. If I remember correctly, over the past year, we have been to the ER twice with 2 different children. The first one has an exaggerated reaction to pain…she tends to pass out and convulse. It looks like a seizure, but after several tests including brain scans, they say it is not seizures. The other trip was an overreaction to poison ivy…poor kid said she didn’t want to go to school because she “looked like a monster”. Also, the 2 kids who made the trip to the ER also suffer from allergies and are on daily medication for that as well.
I really like the fact that they offer a Football plan, which is an additional plan that provides injury only coverage for High School Interscholastic Football. I have been hearing a lot about high school football injuries lately, and I feel that it is very important to take care of our students that participate in sports. Personally, I feel that if a player is injured during practice or a game, the school should cover any needed medical attention, but that’s just my opinion. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and choosing an insurance policy is a very important decision. There should be careful research and total understanding of policy coverage and limitations, so if you have questions about your current coverage or coverage on a policy you are looking into purchasing be sure to ask your agent!
Learning More and Enrolling: Go to https://www.k12studentinsurance.com Click on Plans & Pricing tab and enter school district name (or just a few letters) to find and select the child’s school. Click View Plan Materials to see the plan brochure, and review the Student Health Plan Coverage page regarding Student Injury and Sickness Benefits. When ready to enroll, click the Enroll Now button on the Plans & Pricing tab (or from the Home page). Complete some information about the child, select the Injury and Sickness plan, create an account, and make a payment by credit card or e-check.

Why being short stinks sometimes…

Here’s a couple more instances of why being short stinks sometimes.

1. When cleaning windows, I have to use a step stool…and after I thought all of my window cleaner’s floating molecules had settled, I looked up and got vinegar water mist in my eye…niiiiiice.
2. When attempting to put summer clothes away on the shelf in the closet, there was an avalanche. (I didn’t get a picture of the avalanche or aftermath, but here is what it looked like after I got a chair
rather than trying to balance on the edge of the toy box.)
And finally…
3. When this is what you see when you are cooking,
you are totally unaware that this even exists…
Eww. I am actually afraid to look on top of the fridge.

Hungry Hungry Hippos *REVIEW*

Grayson had received $10 to purchase something from the store. He was pretty excited about picking out his own surprise.
His lack of understanding about money was expected since he is only 2 1/2. At first he pointed excitedly exclaiming, ‘I want that!’ at every toy $30 . I eventually tired of pointing to the cheaper toys and asking ‘How about this one?’ to his obvious disappointment, so we moved on to the game aisle. His face lit up when he saw Hungry Hungry Hippos by Hasbro. He had seen commercials for this game, and was very excited to see it on the shelf. The original price was $15, but I happened to have a coupon for $4 off, so I was okay with chipping in $1 for him to be able to get it.
We purchased the game with high hopes based on my memories of hours of fun chomping marbles during my childhood…I was quite disappointed after we assembled and began to play. He, having no clue what the original was like, was beyond gleeful.

I’m not positive that my memory is totally correct, but I believe the original was quite a bit bigger, made of thicker/more durable plastic, the marbles were not made of plastic, and the launching and chomping mechanisms worked much smoother. When we played, my hippo kept getting stuck or his head wouldn’t pop up to ‘swallow’ the marble…it would just bump it across into the mouth of my competitor’s hippo.

The plastic marbles are too light and don’t go down into the scoring area as well as the older version, so the marbles occasionally sit in the throat area and then shoot back out into the playing field. We also had an issue with what we thought was a missing marble. It actually had become lodged up in the hippo’s neck where it was very difficult to remove, and I thought I would end up breaking the thing trying to get it dislodged.
We did end up losing a marble a couple days later, and thought we could just use a regular marble…nope. The launch shoot and throat are too narrow to use regular size marbles, so now we have to play with 19 rather than 20.

Overall, my son is very happy with his purchase, but if I had known how poor the performance of this game would be, I would not have purchased it. I’ll be keeping my eye out for an original version at our local thrift store.