12 Years of Us – Our Anniversary

Hubby and I have been married twelve years!!! TWELVE YEARS!!! Even more amazing, I haven’t killed him!

There have been…

tears

laughter

fights

shouts

joys

disappointments

heartaches

lulls

embarrassments

jubilations

celebrations

revelations

despair

hope

enlightenment

love

…and through it all we are still together. There may be times I want to beat him with a cast iron skillet, but I do love him. I love our family.

I love where we started, where we began, our journey, our right now, and what we have yet to discover. I pray that we can help each other get though it all.

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Our Family (2)

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Fruit Couscous

After my debacle with the fruit on the outside of the pancakes and the chicken and fruit kabobs, you would think I would have learned my lesson right? WRONG. I am just as stubborn as Dinosaur, but my stubbornness doesn’t allow me to give up, just get more creative.

I had to try the fruit in his food somehow. My thinking was if I cut up the strawberries and blueberries and added them to the garlic and onion couscous he would LOVE it. To accompany the couscous, I thinly sliced homemade chicken cutlets.

 

I should have cut them smaller, but I was in a rush.

Doesn’t that look so yummy?

So here is what was presented to Dinosaur. Did he eat it? Did he refuse?

Scroll down to see

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He ate it up like mad… after the first bite he politely asked for barbecue sauce, he sure does love a variety of tastes all mixed together. Just look at him stuffing that couscous into his mouth. I was so relieved and am saving this recipe.

How did I make this?
I used boxed garlic couscous (yes…boxed and it was the store brand too…LOL)
and added olive oil, more garlic, curry, ginger, and diced onions.
Once cooked, I added the diced strawberries and blueberries and mixed it in the pot.

Fall Shoes

I had to buy more shoes for my Dinosaur for the fall. I didn’t like the selection at Sears, but did find two Joe Boxer slip-ons for 12.00 each and a pair of converse sneakers for $15. Not a great price, but still a lot better than $45-$55 a pair.

He was so happy to try on the shoes and walk up and down the aisles seeing how they fit. It is so amazing watching him growing into a boy and become more independent. I miss my baby, but love the boy he is becoming.

Yesterday, he slept over my parent’s house. He had such a great time with them and will becoming back later on today. I am so glad my parents gets to spend time with their only grandchild. Having a child, being a mom, is a miracle I still can’t believe I get to experience. I am blessed that I get to watch my parents be grandparents.

How does this tie into buying shoes??? Well, as simple as it is, it is one I never thought I would be able to enjoy while we were grieving for six years. Buying him shoes, as furstrating as it can be at times, is still a miracle. It’s still a wondrous joy, a blessing that I get t experience. It is someitn I will NEVER take for granted. Buying shoes is an ordinary experience that is brings me extraordinary joy.

Crosses

Today is another beautiful Sunday. I messed up the times of Mass in the church hall and pulled into an empty parking lot for 7:30 when mass starts at 8:00. My beautiful and wonderful son made this mistake easy for me. We drove to the gas station and he happily ran into the store to help me buy a paper. He was smiling and soon got the attendant to tgell him a joke.

Man “Why did the skeleton cross the road?”
Son proceeded to answer but I explain to him the rules of the joke
Man after a laugh  “He needed to find his body.”
Son “yes, he needed to be a little boy like me.”

This got another laugh out of the man and made me smile. A simple mistake brought us to that store and spread my son’s happiness and joy to someone else.

Dinosaur watching TV as I got ready for church. Doesn’t he look so cute?

Today at church a new priest in our church and was welcomed wonderfully. He was nervous during his sermon though, and I felt for him. In time he will master his sermon and soon his words will flow with as much ease has does his faith. He brought together the Gospel with his sermon at the end and it made me smile. He explained that you can’t help people bear their crosses if you can’t bear your own. You can’t say you have faith and not show you have faith.

Living a life full of faith can be challenging at times.There are MANY people out there who want to challenge your faith and prove you wrong. There are times in our lives that will test our beliefs. If you hold onto your faith and live a faithFULL life, the rewards of a faithFULL life are amazing.

It makes me think of the saying “The grass is always on the other side.” Perhaps the grass is greener because it is filled with such love and faith. Instead of trying to figure out how to “out do” your neighbors, focus on your living your best life. Soon you will see that the grass has become green, but it won’t matter because your wonderful life is the new focus.

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I am totally behind in my cleaning schedule…totally honesty here. Dinosaur is spending the day and night at his La La and Pop Pop’s house. I feel a little guilty but also know he is going to have a great time. I just hope he sleeps through the night. So today and tomorrow morning I am catching up on my cleaning schedule.

Raising a Good Man

While out at dinner recently it was suggested that I baby or coddle my son too much. While I find that ridiculous, I also feel bad for their kids-were they given ENOUGH attention? I can NEVER give my son enough hugs or kisses. I will never stop explaining things to my son or teaching him. There is nothing wrong with preparing him for something that I know will scare him. Giving him expectations and support will help him grow into a respectful, loving husband and father. In the past I would have been snarky back, now I just smile, thank them for their opinion and continue as I am.

He may be a wild, energetic, determined dinosaur, but he is also loving and sweet. He cares about others’ feelings and always tells us how much he loves us. I know extra hugs and kisses will lead him in that right direction.

Here he is playing with his dinosaurs in the kitchen because he wanted to watch me make breakfast. Then he proceeded to tell me…

Dino: “I’m gonna be big like daddy, with tattoos all over my body.” (Daddy only has two NY Yankee tattoos on his upper arms.)
Mommy: Oh really. I bet you will look so cool, but you have to wait till your eighteen and use your own money for the tattoos.
Dino: Okay, I be big like daddy with tattoos

Yes, I would totally let him get tattoos once he is eighteen, though I would try to persuade him to wait till he’s thirty. So much changes from eighteen to thirty and he may feel differently about a tattoo on his body, but then again he may love what he has. Hopefully, I will have taught him to be happy and love himself, and make good choices. Never judge a book by it’s cover. Never judge a person by what they look like, believe or who they love.

I NEVER want him to value opinions that come from people with evil or hurtful intentions. I want him to value the opinions of those people who have his best intentions at heart and love him. I can honestly say there are just a handful of people whose opinions I value. While I may not always agree with them, I value them because they are important to me and my soul. They know who they are and YES, Dinosaur is one of them. I will listen to others as they may have great advice too, but don’t rely on them as I do my special people. These people are my confidants and supporters; and understand who I really am.

You know who your true supporters are…when you are at your lowest, they embrace and love you…not complain, judge, offer advice or tell their stories. They are just there for you.

The other day is a perfect example of what I am teaching Dinosaur. I walked him up to the park, right near our home. It was empty now that kids are in school. He was having a blast playing with mommy and showing off all his skills. Then a mom, and her personal trainer I guess, came over with her son. The boy, I will call Peter, came running over to play too. His mother and personal trainer stayed near the picnic tables about twenty feet away and exercised while I was left to watch her son.

This is the face of a HAPPY and LOVING boy.

My sweet boy was having a blast, but Peter was bossy and loud. He kept telling my son which steering wheel to use and when to go down the slide. Dinosaur, just having fun, went along with it. After only two minutes, the mother came over and said he had to leave, obviously for more exercises in the next place they had to walk to. She pleaded with her son and begged him, but he refused to move. He wanted to have fun for a while, not just for two minutes.

So she gave in to him, without a thank you to me for watching her son, and went off for more exercises. I continued to watch as Peter got my son to call me a stinky monster (and not in a cute way, in a bratty way) and then started to push him. My son gently pushed Peter’s hands away and continue to play.

But when he did it again I nicely, but firmly told him “No pushing.”
Peter looked at me and stuck his tongue at me.
I sternly looked at him and said, “Do not stick your tongue out at me.”
He looked shocked that someone told him what to do. But he listened and stopped touching my son, but the stinky monster insults continued. 

After another twenty minutes his mother came back over, and pleaded with him to leave and he just ignored her. Dinosaur was in shock, now I know he is NOT perfect, but he knows when mommy means business. She threatened to go up and get him about ten times, but they were empty threats and he knew it. I thought I would help her out and told Dino to say goodbye to the boy. My sweet guy kissed and hugged him goodbye. The boy was taken aback, but still did not listen.

Then Dinosaur started acting out and ran past me, I gently held onto him and looked into his eyes. He listened to my calm, but strict words. I told him that I am his mommy and he needs to listen to me. If he can’t listen, then I would take him out of the playground. He nodded and listened, I could see the mom just staring at us wishing her son would listen. As my guy walked to the swings, Peter went down the slide and his mom caught him.

Dinosaur said “Goodbye. See you later.”
Peter responded with “Goodbye stinky boy.” and some other mean words. His mother barely reprimanded him in a rush to get to her next destination. She walked off letting her son know it was okay to insult someone.
My sweet son, said “Okay, bye boy, See you tomorrow.”

I think I am doing a great job as a mom, hugs and kisses only make him a
better boy and one day a better man.
The type of man that will sit next to his child and prepare them for the large fire that will appear as the chef cooks food. He will reassure his child that he/she is safe and nothing will happen to them, but it’s okay to be scared. The type of man that will always tell his child how proud he is of them when they do the right thing in a bad situation or just for being a great kid. The type of man that will model for his child how to be a good person. The type of man that will be the same person the other six days when he is not at church.

Pierogie Lasagna

After seeing this fabulous dinner, that I now call pierogie lasagna, on There’s Just One Mommy, I had to try it. When I can get a recipe, turn it into a delicious dairy-free one, I’m a happy mom. She has great ideas and wonderful posts, you won’t be disappointed. PLUS now I have another recipe I can add to the list under “ground beef”. A mom should have lots of recipes for different foods, right?

Dairy Free Version:
INGREDIENTS:
Two boxes of Mrs T’s Potato and Onion Pierogies
olive oil
raw chopped meat
spice mix
pasta sauce
shredded soy cheese

DIRECTIONS:
Layer pierogies on pan
coat with olive oil
crumble raw chopped meat on top
Cover with a jar of your favorite pasta sauce
Sprinkle on soy cheese, or rice cheese if you prefer
bake in the oven at 300 degrees for half and hour

It came out so good, so tasty, so perfect. I made hubby try a bite before he headed off to work and he liked it. I didn’t use all the pierogies, I have three left which I will use for breakfast tomorrow. Perhaps defrost, chop up and make into a cheeseless omelet. Sounds good to me!

Just look at how yummy that looks…I couldn’t wait to eat it.

Dinosaur devoured it! He loved every bite of his lasagna, which made me happy.

I also wanted to share that my son has claimed a shot glass as his personal cup. That is apple juice and water in the cup, just in case you are wondering. It’s the perfect size for him to sip, without gulping too much. I may have to buy some more cheap ones. Whatever works to get them to eat, right?

I also mentioned my spice mix in my list of ingredients. On a recent post The Busy Mom’s Diet did a tutorial on a time saving spice mix and I wanted to slap myself at how simple of an idea that was, I have been adding separate spices to my meals for how many years now? Go check out her other tutorials, you will love them. Anyway, I made my own. Of course I took a picture after I used almost the entire mix. I have to make more, but love the concept. In mine, I added: garlic and onion powder,  curry, all spice, parsley, oregano, chives, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Don’t ask how much of each, I just threw in whatever I felt like, each time the mix will differ. You should know by now I kind of follow recipes and improvise as I go along.

I am doing good with my cleaning schedule. How about you? How behind are you…if at all? Or are you ahead of the game and able to enjoy the clean?

Tiny Bathroom UPDATE

Last week I posted about our tiny bathroom and asked for some ideas, and I got great ones. My mom found a four pocket organizer for the door, which works perfectly. I use it to store all my personal products, makeup and hair accessories.  

I ripped off the sink skirt, it was being pulled by Dinosaur’s feet each time he washed his hands. Instead I used a big basket to store all my hand towels and washcloths. I put it on top of a metal shelf so the basket doesn’t get wet in case of a flood and to keep my hairdryer under the basket. Even with a messy hubby and Dinosaur the towels don’t get wet, which makes me happy. Cool right? I’m a genius.

Then I gave hubby the space above our only cabinet, over our toilet. He has two fabric boxes to store all his razors, and other manly items that are an eye sore for the bathroom, LOL

Across from the toilet is a shelf my father put up. It holds decorative washcloths, air freshener, and disinfectant wipes. The decorative hand towels are right below it. I wanted to get a picture of my shower liner with the pockets, but it was hard to get a good picture in such a small space.

Our body towels have always been in the two lower drawers of this wicker basket. The top draw was for the wash cloths and towels, but now hides all of Balboa’s leashes, extra toys and accessories. The top two shelves are our “junk drawer” of sorts. Since we don’t have space in the kitchen, this seemed like the best spot. We do have a cordless phone, but need this phone if we lose power; we still have a land line. The basket does cut into the doorway of our bedroom, but now we are used to that. The shiny object in both photos is just Balboa’s reflective collar, glad to know it works, LOL.

(see Mom…three days later and it’s still looking great!)

What do you all think? Did I do a good job? What would you have done differently?

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CLEANING SCHEDULE

Daily:
run washing machine if full
put away dried clothes
clean up disaster areas from Hurricane Dinosaur

Thursday:
dust all furniture

30th
declutter and organize

What’s your cleaning agenda today?
You can find me on  pinterest   facebook   twitter

Mommy’s Meatballs and Apple Crisp

So after my dealings with the rancid meat and smelly pizza dough, I had to purchase them again. After that set back, I was able to make meatballs with pasta and sauce, (I make my own meatballs now, for financial and health reasons) and meatball pizza pockets, meatball sandwiches.

Meatballs:
ground beef
diced zucchini
diced onions
diced garlic
1 egg
milk (I used almond milk)
bread crumbs

Mix together and make into small meatballs. I place them in my cast iron skillet and then cook at 300 degrees for twenty minutes. Once my electric oven is heated up, the food cooks VERY fast, I learned this lesson after a meal was over-cooked. Then place meatballs in sauce and simmer for about ten minutes, to allow sauce to soak into meatballs.

With all the extra meatballs, I was able to make meatball and broccoli pizza pockets (original recipe here) . This time I made the pizza pockets and used pancake mix instead of flour. I’ve been calling them calzones, old habits die hard. We also had lots of meatball sandwiches. I even used some meatballs for my omelets with salsa. Sound gross? Hey, got to use every last bit of food, right?

Quick apple crisp

1 apple, cut into slices
dry pancake mix, mixed with butter (I used non-dairy butter)
cinnamon or other spices of your choice

mix all together and place in cast iron skillet at 250 degrees for twenty minutes, they still have a little crunch. Then top with your favorite ice cream. I used Trader Joe’s chocolate cherry soy ice cream.

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CLEANING SCHEDULE

Daily:
run washing machine if full
put away dried clothes
clean up disaster areas from Hurricane Dinosaur

Tuesday:
clean bathroom

28th
clean fridge and microwave (hate doing this)

What’s your cleaning agenda today?

You can find me on  pinterest   facebook   twitter

All out of flour

So after seeing the Healthy Pizza Pocket tutorial on The Busy Mom’s Diet Blog I had to try it.

Healthy Pizza Pocket

Now, if you haven’t realized already, I make up my own rules when cooking and try things on the fly. I don’t really follow recipes exactly and like to experiment. I find that when I do that my dinners turn out much better.

For starters, hubby was late and kind of messed me up, I wanted us to do this as a family. So I was doing this in a rush while watching Dinosaur climb on the couch and swiffer pole.

I didn’t use whole wheat dough, I have bad reactions to whole so we used the dreaded white dough, LOL. I didn’t have any flour, I thought we did, but we didn’t. Without flour, a rolling pin was useless. But that is okay, we can improvise and figure it out. That’s the fun part. I want my son, even though he wasn’t helping this time, to know that cooking is fun. We are not supposed to be perfect and orderly, messy is good. Cooking should be fun, NOT a chore.

I used my sauce and homemade meatballs (with zucchini chunks). I have to sneak veggies in anyway I can. I also used soy cheddar cheese and totally forgot about the eggs. I will post about my meatballs on one of the Tuesday posts in the future.

I will now be moving Healthy Pizza Pockets  from my “Recipes to try” list on Pinterest to “Recipes I Tried and Loved

Super messy, using just olive oil and sauce. I think I over did it on the sauce, oooops.
On the pan they looked horrific, I was worried they were going to be too thick and doughy. Next time I am going to bake them on the iron cast skillet.

On the plate they looked really good. The soy cheese was spilling out and the dough was red from sauce.
That first bite was magical, but the real test was Dinosaur. He totally approved and would not put the pizza pocket down in between bites.
He ate an ENTIRE pizza pocket. He is one messy, but sated dinosaur.

 Do you like to follow recipes exactly as they are written? 
Or do you prefer to experiment as you go?

I also wanted to share my stove with you. It’s an electric stove and I spent ten years cooking on a gas one. I have to say electric heats up faster and cooks quicker, so it took some getting used to.

As I have stated in previous posts, we live in a small apartment and ALL of the appliances are outdated, but still work. That is what happens when you rent. How old is my stove? Well, I’m not sure, but here are some pics to show you how old it is.

If you can’t see from that pic, how about this one? The timer and clock doesn’t work, I use my phone to time how long foods are baking/boiling. Yes, there is a pocket knife on the stove, that is our letter opener. We open our mail right away and throw useless information in the garbage. It’s not a perfect plan and we sometimes forget, but it works for the most part.
Do you have updated appliances? 
Or do you love your outdated appliances and all their quirks?

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Daily: run washing machine if full, put away clothes, clean up kitchen
Tuesday: clean the bathroom 
7th: wash bathmats
What’s your cleaning agenda today? 
  

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One, Two, Velcro my Shoe…

I got all these shoes at Sears for Dinosaur for only $36.33 when I brought him to the mall, or as he says I tricked him. It’s not my best savings, but some stores sell ONE pair of shoes for $45 to $50 and I never understood that. I shop at Sears for shoes, since they seem to be the best price and the variety and quality of shoes are great.
They keep trying to get me to sign up for their rewards, but I did that before with my phone number and each time I went back I didn’t have any points. I got fed up with their incompetence and don’t give my phone number. I just wanted the shoes and that’s it.
  
The two flip flops were originally $5.99 each, but they were on sale for $3.99 each.

The car’s sandals were originally $22.99 but on sale for $14.99
The brown sandals were originally $17.98 on sale for $14.99
‘Here’s the receipt to prove how much I paid for the shoes. Did I get any for myself, NOPE. I’m a typical mom and always put my kid first. Though I do NEED to paper myself a bit more.
Original Price: $52.95
Sale Price: $36.33
Savings: $16.62

Not my best savings, but damn good if you ask me.


What’s the cheapest price you paid for shoes? Do you shop for your kids more than yourself?