Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Things 421-462

421. reading all night and sleeping all morning
422. wrapping yourself in a blanket in front of a fireplace
423. music in the air
424. accepting a compliment
425. Frank Lloyd Wright designs
426. fried bologna sandwiches
427. dreaming of going home.
428. sugar wafers
429. cucumber sandwiches
430. pencil boxes
431. being able to hula-hoop
432. perfect baked potatoes
433. eating alone
434. a Crayola beginners set
435. Texas toast
436. standing up for yourself
437. accomplished musicians
438. magic tricks
439. Highlights childrens magazine
440. senior proms
441. volunteering at a soup kitchen
442. knowing where all your books are
443. Fonzie from Happy Days
444. apple butter
445. fireworks over a lake
446. bebop tunes
447. reaching out to people
448. piglets
449. unexpected phone calls
450. creme brulee
451. railroad stations
452. skinny Christmas trees
453. being glad you have each other
454. Ellery Queen mysteries
455. a romantic holiday with one special person
456. most popular US main dish being fried chicken
457. soaking in the tub reading a good book
458. spiral staircases
459. grandmothers
460. taco dinners
461. someone holding a sign with your name meeting you at the airport
462. Meeting my son for the very first time!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

65 in 365 Month 11 Update

This will be a list of 65 things I want to accomplish in the next 365 days. (No, I didn't come up with this idea myself, I borrowed it from this Foster Mama, along with some of her items.) I'll update the list once a month (that's the first thing on the list). Completed items are in italics.

1. Update the 65 in 365 once a month (11/12)
2. Come up with 65 goals for the year (65/65)
3. Complete Sophie's baby album
4. Complete 2009 annual album
5. Attend average of 5 StrollerStrides classes a month (28/60)
6. Girls Night Out (or Mom's Night Out) at least 4 times
7. Go to the movies at least 6 times
8. Finish reading 2 non-fiction books
9. Read 4 fiction books (1/4) (The Help)
10. Payoff law school loan
11. Try 26 new recipes
12. Make our wills
13. Participate in a fun run with Paul and Sophie
14. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night; complete after 30 days
15. Have at least one fresh fruit each day; complete after 30 days (0/30)
16. Take at least one picture of Sophie every other day; complete after 60 days
17. Get back to pre-pregnancy weight
18. Come up with a system for backing up digital photos
19. Cooking lessons
20. Make bed everyday; complete after 30 days
21. Have date night once a month (7/12) (03/13, 04/10, 05/28, 06/10, 07/17, 08/27, 09/17)
22. Build a snowman
23. Join a moms group
24. Set up a cleaning schedule and follow it; complete after 3 months
25. Have lawn guys come on a regular basis
26. Take Wrangler to Kady the groomer 4 times (3/4) (March, June, Sept.)
27. Purchase a jogging stroller for Paul to use
28. Put items in JBF Consignment sales, 2 sales each sales season (3/4) (Feb., Mar., Oct.)
29. Make and stick to a weekly menu and grocery list; complete after 5 weeks
30. Decorate the tabletop tree for each holiday or season (snowflakes, hearts, green and gold beads, eggs, flowers, red and blue stars, Christmas)
31. Update a blog everyday or at least average one new post each day (304/365)
32. Go on a scrapbooking retreat
33. Attend a scrapbooking crop every other month
34. Complete 150 scrapbook pages
35. Sign Sophie up for swim lessons
36. Attend one playgroup event each month
37. Take Sophie to a library storytime/event each month (6/12) (02/01, 02/25, 04/13, 06/14, 06/29, 10/14)
38. Attend a local Chinese New Year event
39. Have teeth cleaned twice a year (1/2) (Mar.)
40. Have Sophie’s picture taken with the Easter Bunny
41. Take Sophie to see a fireworks display
42. Update the framed photos of extended family members
43. Attend Living Last Supper at church
44. Plan Sophie’s first birthday party
45. Take Sophie to visit another state
46. Take Sophie trick-or-treating in the neighborhood
47. Decorate outside for Christmas
48. Create our own family Thanksgiving tradition (have Grandpa come over the day after to help with Christmas decorations)
49. Take Sophie to the zoo (May)
50. Establish Family Night/Day twice a month (not including MIC Meals); complete after 4 months
51. Frame and hang Sophie’s first year photos
52. Furniture for China child
53. Update Sophie’s wedding dress photo
54. Get a family portrait done
55. Daily devotional, complete after 30 days (0/30)
56. Create a list of happy things, one for each day (over 1000) we’ve been waiting for MIC (300/328)
57. Complete new adoption visa paperwork
58. Open a savings account for Sophie
59. Clean out and organize pantry
60. Attend at least 3 plays and/or musicals (2/3)(Wicked, Shadowlands)
61. Purchase fire extinguishers for the house
62. Get personalized tags for the pets (3/6)
63. Clean out flowerbed in backyard
64. Buy new couches
65. Make a new list of 65

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Wedding Dress Story

My friend Texan Mama is doing a Link Up where we tell about our wedding dresses. Although I don't have any digital pics from when we got married 6 years ago or a scanner, I do have pictures of the dress. This idea was also borrowed. I am going to take a picture of my daughter wearing my wedding dress each year (hopefully on our anniversary). Here is the first when she was just 3 days old:



And here she is a year later:





This is not your traditional wedding dress (I'm not even sure it was considered a wedding dress). No train, just a straight skirt with a crossover top, but it did have some beadwork on the front. It was cream-colored (white looks terrible on me). I went back to my wedding album and found the actual receipt for the dress...total with tax just under $200. The crazy part is the the shoes and undergarments (you know the strapless bra with that extra that keeps your tummy held in nice and tight), those cost just as much as the dress.


For those who may not know me well, this wasn't my first wedding and thus not my first wedding dress. But I was somewhat consistent. My first wedding was bigger and more formal but I was still a frugal dress-buyer. I believe that first dress cost less than $300, and I bought the shoes at Payless. And in case you like the idea and dressing your daughter in your wedding dress, here's what you can do for your son...have him wear one of your husbands white button downs, reminiscent of the tux shirt the hubby probably wore for the wedding.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Things 351-420

351. youth group dances
352. holiday music all year long
353. homemade pear butter
354. smell of baby powder
355. a sweet tooth
356. electric toothbrushes
357. rock sugar for hot tea
358. fried pickles
359. taking a cooking class together
360. baking your own bread
361. Texas wildflowers along the highway
362. family time
363. East Texas Piney Woods
364. backgammon sets
365. someone who wants to take you dancing
366. library storytime
367. leaving notes on cars
368. toasting marshmallows
369. crayons for kids at restaurants
370. starting a collection
371. comparing your fortune with your dinner partners
372. stocking stuffers
373. Nerf guns
374. leg warmers
375. pulling your ears as you slurp spaghetti
376. lazily drifting on a raft on a lake
377. monkey bars on the playground
378. turning off all the lights except the Christmas tree
379. rearranging the furniture
380. heaters in the bathrooms
381. a big bag of Hershey's kisses
382. tire swings
383. hummingbirds
384. rollerskating
385. laughing till you cry
386. ice carvings
387. sleepy dogs
388. gingerbread
389. Silly Putty
390. food debris under the high chair after a feeding
391. Hula Hoops
392. searching cookbooks looking for something new for dinner
393. rereading a good book
394. cheese quesadillas with bacon
395. banana milkshakes
396. singing in the shower
397. floor plans
398. earthquakes that are exciting but don't do damage
399. moving to a new house
400. hauling out photo albums from high school
401. "painting" with water
402. babysitting
403. a three-day weekend
404. hymn-sings at church
405. fireflies
406. pasta salad
407. creating a scrapbook
408. trains
409. fried chicken
410. making believe you're somewhere else, in a different era, or role
411. homemade lemonade
412. framed marriage certificates
413. putting things back where they were found
414. remembering a birthday
415. brown-sugar toast
416. great mashed potatoes
417. cotton candy
418. living alone
419. Tex-Mex food
420. the summer Olympics

Monday, November 1, 2010

65 in 365 Month 10 Update

This will be a list of 65 things I want to accomplish in the next 365 days. (No, I didn't come up with this idea myself, I borrowed it from this Foster Mama, along with some of her items.) I'll update the list once a month (that's the first thing on the list). Completed items are in italics.

1. Update the 65 in 365 once a month (10/12)
2. Come up with 65 goals for the year (65/65)
3. Complete Sophie's baby album
4. Complete 2009 annual album
5. Attend average of 5 StrollerStrides classes a month (28/60)
6. Girls Night Out (or Mom's Night Out) at least 4 times (6/4) (02/27, 03/17, 03/25, 06/30, 07/15, 10/14)
7. Go to the movies at least 6 times (7/6) (Avatar, Kickass, Date Night ,Iron Man 2, Karate Kid, The Switch, Step Up 3D)

8. Finish reading 2 non-fiction books (3/2) (Home, Baby Signs, 101 Things To Do Before You Turn 40,5 Practices of Fruitful Congregations)
9. Read 4 fiction books (1/4) (The Help)
10. Payoff law school loan
11. Try 26 new recipes (29/26)

12. Make our wills
13. Participate in a fun run with Paul and Sophie
14. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night; complete after 30 days (0/30)
15. Have at least one fresh fruit each day; complete after 30 days (0/30)
16. Take at least one picture of Sophie every other day; complete after 60 days
17. Get back to pre-pregnancy weight
18. Come up with a system for backing up digital photos
19. Cooking lessons (09/17)
20. Make bed everyday; complete after 30 days, will restart counter when I miss a day (30/30) (April)

21. Have date night once a month (7/12) (03/13, 04/10, 05/28, 06/10, 07/17, 08/27, 09/17)
22. Build a snowman (02/11)
23. Join a moms group (Jan.)
24. Set up a cleaning schedule and follow it; complete after 3 months (3/3)
25. Have lawn guys come on a regular basis
26. Take Wrangler to Kady the groomer 4 times (3/4) (March, June, Sept.)
27. Purchase a jogging stroller for Paul to use
28. Put items in JBF Consignment sales, 2 sales each sales season (3/4) (Feb., Mar., Oct.)
29. Make and stick to a weekly menu and grocery list; complete after 5 weeks (5/5)
30. Decorate the tabletop tree for each holiday or season (snowflakes, hearts, green and gold beads, eggs, flowers, red and blue stars, apples, Halloween, fall leaves, Christmas)
31. Update a blog everyday or at least average one new post each day (304/365)
32. Go on a scrapbooking retreat (Jan)
33. Attend a scrapbooking crop every other month (7/6) (02/19, 04/16, 04/30, 05/01, 08/20, 09/11, 10/15)
34. Complete 150 scrapbook pages (150/150)
35. Sign Sophie up for swim lessons (Mar.)
36. Attend one playgroup event each month (17/12) (01/28, 02/09, 03/02, 03/04, 03/17, 04/22, 5/28,06/03, 06/14, 06/21, 07/02, 07/07, 07/30, 08/09, 08/27, 10/07, 10/08)
37. Take Sophie to a library storytime/event each month (6/12) (02/01, 02/25, 04/13, 06/14, 06/29, 10/14)
38. Attend a local Chinese New Year event
39. Have teeth cleaned twice a year (1/2) (Mar.)
40. Have Sophie’s picture taken with the Easter Bunny
41. Take Sophie to see a fireworks display (July)

42. Update the framed photos of extended family members
43. Attend Living Last Supper at church
44. Plan Sophie’s first birthday party
45. Take Sophie to visit another state
46. Take Sophie trick-or-treating in the neighborhood
47. Decorate outside for Christmas
48. Create our own family Thanksgiving tradition
49. Take Sophie to the zoo (May)
50. Establish Family Night/Day twice a month (not including MIC Meals); complete after 4 months (16/4) (05/31 Joe Pool Lake,5/16 Dragonboat Festival,4/3 Easter Eggs, 3/13 Stockyards, 4/18 Balloon Festival, 3/6 Swim Pics Shop Dinner, 06/12 Devon’s, 06/27 Olenjack’s, 07/03 Crow Museum, 07/05 Splash Pad, 07/17 VBS Picnic, 07/31 Zoo, 08/28 Becky’s party, 09/04 zoo, 09/26 Fall Fest, 10/16 Uptown Village)
51. Frame and hang Sophie’s first year photos
52. Furniture for China child
53. Update Sophie’s wedding dress photo
54. Get a family portrait done (Oct)
55. Daily devotional, complete after 30 days (0/30)
56. Create a list of happy things, one for each day (over 1000) we’ve been waiting for MIC (300/328)
57. Complete new adoption visa paperwork
58. Open a savings account for Sophie (August)
59. Clean out and organize pantry
60. Attend at least 3 plays and/or musicals (2/3)(Wicked, Shadowlands)
61. Purchase fire extinguishers for the house
62. Get personalized tags for the pets (3/6)
63. Clean out flowerbed in backyard
64. Buy new couches (May)

65. Make a new list of 65

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pot Stickers

This is an accomplishment, just not mine. Paul wanted to make us homemade Chinese food today (since it is the 11th), so he pulled out our new cookbook and he made pot stickers.





Looks yummy!


Sophie seemed to like them!









Logan's Room

We finally got the mattress for Logan's bed (and the trundle too). Here's his bed. I think Paul wants to sleep there tonight. He never had Star Wars sheets when he was little.


His dresser.

And toy/book shelf.



I ordered his night stand today as well. We want to get some Star Wars posters for the wall, and maybe a small shelf for the wall (like Sophie has) to hold some of the knick knacks. He also needs a trashcan and clothes hamper. Oh, yes, Jill, we also got him a Star Wars backpack!

65 in 365 Month 9 Update

This will be a list of 65 things I want to accomplish in the next 365 days. (No, I didn't come up with this idea myself, I borrowed it from this Foster Mama, along with some of her items.) I'll update the list once a month (that's the first thing on the list). Completed items are in italics.
1. Update the 65 in 365 once a month (9/12)
2. Come up with 65 goals for the year (65/65)
3. Complete Sophie's baby album
4. Complete 2009 annual album
5. Attend average of 5 StrollerStrides classes a month (28/60)
6. Girls Night Out (or Mom's Night Out) at least 4 times (4/4) (02/27, 03/17, 03/25, 06/30, 07/15)
7. Go to the movies at least 6 times (7/6) (Avatar, Kickass, Date Night ,Iron Man 2, Karate Kid, The Switch, Step Up 3D)
8. Finish reading 2 non-fiction books (3/2) (Home, Baby Signs, 101 Things To Do Before You Turn 40)
9. Read 4 fiction books (1/4) (The Help)
10. Payoff law school loan
11. Try 26 new recipes (28/26)
12. Make our wills
13. Participate in a fun run with Paul and Sophie
14. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night; complete after 30 days (30/30)
15. Have at least one fresh fruit each day; complete after 30 days (0/30)
16. Take at least one picture of Sophie every other day; complete after 60 days (0/30)
17. Get back to pre-pregnancy weight
18. Come up with a system for backing up digital photos
19. Cooking lessons (09/17)
20. Make bed everyday; complete after 30 days, will restart counter when I miss a day (30/30) (April)
21. Have date night once a month (7/12) (03/13, 04/10 or 17, 05/28, 06/10, 07/17, 08/27, 09/17)
22. Build a snowman (02/11)
23. Join a moms group (Jan.)
24. Set up a cleaning schedule and follow it; complete after 3 months (3/3)
25. Have lawn guys come on a regular basis
26. Take Wrangler to Kady the groomer 4 times (3/4) (March, June, Sept.)
27. Purchase a jogging stroller for Paul to use
28. Put items in JBF Consignment sales, 2 sales each sales season (3/4) (Feb., Mar., Oct.)
29. Make and stick to a weekly menu and grocery list; complete after 5 weeks (5/5)
30. Decorate the tabletop tree for each holiday or season (snowflakes, hearts, green and gold beads, eggs, flowers, red and blue stars, apples, Halloween, fall leaves, Christmas)
31. Update a blog everyday or at least average one new post each day (273/365)
32. Go on a scrapbooking retreat (Jan)
33. Attend a scrapbooking crop every other month (6/6) (02/19, 04/16, 04/30, 05/01, 08/20, 09/11)
34. Complete 150 scrapbook pages (149/150)
35. Sign Sophie up for swim lessons (Mar.)
36. Attend one playgroup event each month (15/12) (01/28, 02/09, 03/02, 03/04, 03/17, 04/22, 5/28,06/03, 06/14, 06/21, 07/02, 07/07, 07/30, 08/09, 08/27)
37. Take Sophie to a library storytime/event each month (5/12) (02/01, 02/25, 04/13, 06/14, 06/29)
38. Attend a local Chinese New Year event
39. Have teeth cleaned twice a year (1/2) (Mar.)
40. Have Sophie’s picture taken with the Easter Bunny
41. Take Sophie to see a fireworks display (July)
42. Update the framed photos of extended family members
43. Attend Living Last Supper at church
44. Plan Sophie’s first birthday party
45. Take Sophie to visit another state
46. Take Sophie trick-or-treating in the neighborhood
47. Decorate outside for Christmas
48. Create our own family Thanksgiving tradition
49. Take Sophie to the zoo (May)
50. Establish Family Night/Day twice a month (not including MIC Meals); complete after 4 months (4/4) (05/31 Joe Pool Lake,5/16 Dragonboat Festival,4/3 Easter Eggs, 3/13 Stockyards, 4/18 Balloon Festival, 3/6 Swim Pics Shop Dinner, 06/12 Devon’s, 06/27 Olenjack’s, 07/03 Crow Museum, 07/05 Splash Pad, 07/17 VBS Picnic, 07/31 Zoo, 08/28 Becky’s party, 09/04 zoo, 09/26 Fall Fest)
51. Frame and hang Sophie’s first year photos
52. Furniture for China child
53. Update Sophie’s wedding dress photo
54. Get a family portrait done
55. Daily devotional, complete after 30 days (0/30)
56. Create a list of happy things, one for each day (over 1000) we’ve been waiting for MIC (300/328)
57. Complete new adoption visa paperwork
58. Open a savings account for Sophie (August)
59. Clean out and organize pantry
60. Attend at least 3 plays and/or musicals (2/3)(Wicked, Shadowlands)
61. Purchase fire extinguishers for the house
62. Get personalized tags for the pets (3/6)
63. Clean out flowerbed in backyard
64. Buy new couches (May)
65. Make a new list of 65

Monday, October 4, 2010

EMM: Support Neighborhood Watch

The first action item for this week is "Get to know your neighbors." Ha, ha! I don't particularly like the neighborhood we live in and we will probably move in the next year or so. I am hoping our new home will be in a neighborhood I like better. We do typically have someone watch our home when we are gone (either someone is staying in our place or someone is coming by everyday to feed the pets). We did install motion-sensored lights in our backyard (of course they aren't working right now). We also have an alarm system. And then there is Wrangler...he wouldn't necessarily do much damage to intruders but at least we'd know there was one.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

EMM: Rideshare

Okay this one is really hard. I know all the benefits of carpooling, but I just don't feel comfortable with this. If I worked at a big company, I might be able to do it, but with my job (and the 10 people I work with) it's not going to happen. Here is what I can do along the same lines. I try to group my errands together by location so that I save time as well as miles. I also try to do as much at any one location (it's why I shop Walmart so much, I can get groceries, pet food, household goods, picture frames, clothes, etc. all in one trip). But it works for other things too. We have a really nice outdoor mall that I can go to and hit the pet store, bookstore, craft store, and eat lunch.

I did think about if Paul could rideshare (assuming we found someone), but honestly, I'd prefer he didn't rideshare. I want Paul to be able to leave if there were some sort of emergency and if he wasn't the driver that day then he couldn't just jump in the car and come home. I'm sure before kids I wouldn't have even thought about this.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Never Ever Will Do & Don't Really Apply

Okay, so I'm finally finishing up this post I started about the book 101 Things To Do Before You Turn 40.  You can read the first part here.

Don’t Apply:
1. Quit your book club.  I never joined a book club, although I thought about it.
2. Bridge the baby chasm.  This one has to do with how to maintain friendships with women who have babies and you don't.  I have the kid now so it doesn't apply.
3. Drop $50 on a bottle of wine.  I hate the way wine tastes.  Of course maybe I'd like a $50 wine better, but so not worth my money to find out.
4. Dump the Gap.  Okay, I guess this one could apply, problem is Gap is one of the few places that has jeans that fit me and look good.  I have actually tried to purchase new clothes more often in the last few years.  I am not into fashion or style and my wardrobe certainly reflects that.  I've always hated shopping mainly because they never have my size.  There's nothing more defeating that seeing cute clothes but not finding them in your size!
5. Quit smoking.  I'd have to smoke first in order to quit.
6. Think outside the box.  I had to go back and look this one up. I forgot what it was about.  It means get your hair professionally colored instead of just using those grocery store boxes to cover your gray.  Luckily for me I don't have much gray and the few strands I do have, I make my mom yank them when she cuts my hair.  (She's been a hairdresser all my life, and I never have to explain what I want done.)

Never Ever:
1. Eat the worm.  Ok, first, not much of a drinker so I'd never get to the bottom of the bottle.  Second, ewwwww!  That's just gross.  By the way, never watched Fear Factor or Survival, mostly because of things like this.
2. Go somewhere that makes people scratch their heads.
3. Ride a roller coaster.  I've ridden roller coasters (back in my high school days), but that's kind of the books point.  You should do it now that you are older.  My philosophy is that I don't have to do things I don't want to BECAUSE I'm older.  I rode the rides when I was young mainly to stop the teasing from friends.  Now I "just say no!"
4. Scuba dive.  I get claustrophobic, wear glasses, and don't really swim (I swim enough not to drown, but I prefer laying on a raft, just drifting).  I like the idea of scuba diving, seeing the coral and fish, but I just don't see me ever actually doing it.
5. Go to Paris.  Okay, this might happen, but since I don't really like traveling and there are so many places in the States to see, this one is probably way, way , way far down the list.  Besides, our trip to China to get Logan will probably tide me over for a while.
6. Pierce something other than your ear. Honestly, I'm surprised I actually pierced my ears.  Of course, it took several tries before I finally did it.  (I was 7 years old at the time.)  As I like to say, I don't typically get a flu shot (now only for my daughter)and that could save my life, so why would I ever get stuck with a needle for fun.  This is also the same reasoning I use against tattoos.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Books, Books, & More Books

I packed up some books to take to Half Price Books.  I have about 5 boxes consisting of 3 different (and complete sets).  Sophie helped me carry them to from the shelf to the table...what a helper!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

EMM: Create, Support, Appreciate Art

I t seems crazy to me that art, music, and even PE classes are being removed from schools. Well, not removed completely but certainly spending less time in those classes. I definitely understand that academics are important but there is research showing that participation in art and music can actually increase test scores. And as far as PE classes, all you have to do is look around to know that less physical activity is just WRONG.


One of the great things about my job is that I get to see kids creating art all the time. I even get to help out and make stuff too. Obviously, younger children are exposed to more art-like projects since they can't "read, write or 'rithmitic" yet. Art is as regular to a preschool curriculum as snack and naptime!


I think I am fairly creative, but not so much artistic. Thankfully, art is completely subjective (at least that's my belief). I can make whatever I want. I can also view lots of different types of art and always find something I love.

Here are some pictures of things I've created.







And a couple from museums we've taken Sophie to.




Monday, September 20, 2010

Show Us Your Life: Living Room

Kelly's Korner has started doing her Show Us Your Life blog event every Friday after taking a break this summer. She is going to do house tours with the living room to start off. Here is a picture of our living room just after we got the new couches in May. I took this picture for the adoption stuff we had to send after we got the information about Logan.

To the left across from the sofa is the entertainment center with our television, DVD's and scrapbooks. The dining table is behind the sofa and the kitchen is to the right. I love the new furniture, but I'm not sure what we are going to do with the Christmas tree. Normally, it would go where the overstuffed chair is. The chair may have to be relocated during Christmas, or maybe we can just move out a side table. We'll just have to play around with it when the time comes.

EMM: Donate Books

You should definitely go to the Every Monday Matters website to see all the statistics for today. But this is the one that just broke my heart: There is only 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children in low-income neighborhoods compared to 13 books per child in middle-income neighborhoods. I can't even keep up with all the books Sophie and Logan have. So to think there are children with none is just terrible.

Of course the fact that Sophie has so many will actually make it hard to choose ones to donate, but we will find some kids books as well as some of my own. I also have a gift card for Half Price Books that we can use to buy some books to donate. Now where to donate? I'll need to call around and see who needs to replenish their stash.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chinese Cooking Class

I gave Paul a gift certificate to Central Market Cooking School for Fathers Day. He loves to watch Iron Chef and is always saying how he should have been a chef. We let the in-laws watch Sophie for the night and enjoyed a great evening learning some Chinese cooking. The woman who taught is was so wonderful and the recipes were really simple. Everyone got a chance to make potstickers. Then we drew for the remaining 3 dishes so that we all got an opportunity to make something first hand. I did beef with broccoli and Paul's was shrimp with lobster sauce. I think it's funny that there wasn't actually any lobster in that dish but mine had oyster extract in it. For dessert we had almond cookies and green tea ice cream. The almond cookies reminded me of snickerdoodles and I just love green tea ice cream.

We purchased the book and one of the best things about it is how she has a list of the different ingredients along with a picture of what it is. That is so helpful when you are wandering around the Asian market with no idea what it is you are supposed to be getting.


The author/teacher Dorothy Huang was gracious enough to sign our books for us. Paul had her sign it to Logan. As she said, "Not even 4 years old and has his first cookbook!"



Monday, September 13, 2010

EMM: Party With a Purpose

After last week's voting one, I figured this one was about political parties...but nope. Instead it is suggesting that instead of gifts you have gift-givers make donations to a charity instead. It gives the following steps:
1. Choose a charity.
2.. Decide on the party occasion (birthday, wedding, anniversary).
3. Let guests know how to make the donations.

We actually did part of this for Sophie's first birthday. Because we invited the entire preschool, I didn't expect the give give her a gift. Instead I suggested they could bring something to donate to the preschool. I think it worked out very well. And the all the classes got something new for the students.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Celebrate! Dallas

What is Celebrate! Dallas?
11 hours
4 feet of table space
400 page layout ideas

All of which resulted in 28 pages completed. This is my 4 time to attend a Celebrate event and I had a great time. My sister was able to join me this time (along with her mother-in-law and a friend). I always enjoy looking at the page layout ideas they have on display, especially when I get stuck on a page while I'm there.

The girls making memories...Sarah, April, Kelly, and Brandelyn.



Monday, September 6, 2010

EMM: Register to Vote

This one was really easy. I'm already registered...oh, wait, there's more. Not only should you be registered but you should also actually vote. I'll be honest, I don't vote much. I have voted in the presidential elections, but the local and state stuff not so much. I'm sure my much more politically minded husband would be appalled, but it all just gets so overwhelming, trying to figure out which candidate is which and what they each believe and stand for. Add to that trying to sort out which beliefs will actually have any bearing on the job the candidate is running for and I'm done before I've even started. But I do agree everyone should register to vote and then vote for something!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

65 in 365 Month 8 Update

This will be a list of 65 things I want to accomplish in the next 365 days. (No, I didn't come up with this idea myself, I borrowed it from this Foster Mama, along with some of her items.) I'll update the list once a month (that's the first thing on the list). Completed items are in italics.
1. Update the 65 in 365 once a month (8/12)
2. Come up with 65 goals for the year (65/65)
3. Complete Sophie's baby album
4. Complete 2009 annual album
5. Attend average of 5 StrollerStrides classes a month (28/60)
6. Girls Night Out (or Mom's Night Out) at least 4 times
7. Go to the movies at least 6 times
8. Finish reading 2 non-fiction books
9. Read 4 fiction books (1/4)
10. Payoff law school loan
11. Try 26 new recipes (19/26)
12. Make our wills
13. Participate in a fun run with Paul and Sophie
14. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night; complete after 30 days (0/30)
15. Have at least one fresh fruit each day; complete after 30 days (0/30)
16. Take at least one picture of Sophie every other day; complete after 60 days (0/30)
17. Get back to pre-pregnancy weight
18. Come up with a system for backing up digital photos
19. Cooking lessons
20. Make bed everyday; complete after 30 days, will restart counter when I miss a day
21. Have date night once a month (6/12)
22. Build a snowman
23. Join a moms group
24. Set up a cleaning schedule and follow it; complete after 3 months (2/3)
25. Have lawn guys come on a regular basis
26. Take Wrangler to Kady the groomer 4 times (2/4)
27. Purchase a jogging stroller for Paul to use
28. Put items in JBF Consignment sales, 2 sales each sales season (2/4)
29. Make and stick to a weekly menu and grocery list; complete after 5 weeks
30. Decorate the tabletop tree for each holiday or season (snowflakes, hearts, green and gold beads, eggs, flowers, red and blue stars, apples, Halloween, fall leaves, Christmas)
31. Update a blog everyday or at least average one new post each day (243/365)
32. Go on a scrapbooking retreat
33. Attend a scrapbooking crop every other month (5/6)
34. Complete 150 scrapbook pages (66/150)
35. Sign Sophie up for swim lessons
36. Attend one playgroup event each month
37. Take Sophie to a library storytime/event each month (5/12)
38. Attend a local Chinese New Year event
39. Have teeth cleaned twice a year (1/2)
40. Have Sophie’s picture taken with the Easter Bunny
41. Take Sophie to see a fireworks display
42. Update the framed photos of extended family members
43. Attend Living Last Supper at church
44. Plan Sophie’s first birthday party
45. Take Sophie to visit another state
46. Take Sophie trick-or-treating in the neighborhood
47. Decorate outside for Christmas
48. Create our own family Thanksgiving tradition
49. Take Sophie to the zoo

50. Establish Family Night/Day twice a month (not including MIC Meals); complete after 4 months
51. Frame and hang Sophie’s first year photos
52. Furniture for China child
53. Update Sophie’s wedding dress photo
54. Get a family portrait done
55. Daily devotional, complete after 30 days (0/30)
56. Create a list of happy things, one for each day (over 1000) we’ve been waiting for MIC (300/328)
57. Complete new adoption visa paperwork
58. Open a savings account for Sophie
59. Clean out and organize pantry
60. Attend at least 3 plays and/or musicals (2/3)(Wicked, Shadowlands)
61. Purchase fire extinguishers for the house
62. Get personalized tags for the pets (3/6)
63. Clean out flowerbed in backyard
64. Buy new couches
65. Make a new list of 65

Monday, August 30, 2010

EMM: Change Your Bulbs

Today is all about saving energy. As the daughter of a man who's worked more than a quarter of a century for the power and light company, I should be great at this. I definitely remember hearing "Turn out the light!" growing up. And it must be a part of my subconscious since I say it to Paul all the time too. Of course now there's more to it, you can switch out your regular light bulbs for the more energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) ones. That's the action for the day, pretty simple really. And that's just what I did. I purchased a pack of 4 and replaced the bulbs in the office ceiling fan. Not only should I save money on my electric bill and purchase fewer bulbs, but also prevent the release of carbon dioxide (apparently a good thing).



I did a quick inventory and will continue to replace those bulbs I can I the old ones burn out. We have 3 ceiling fans and a couple of lamps that I know I'll be replacing. We also have about 8 fixtures that have glass globes that I'm not sure the CFL's will work with but will try. Unfortunately, our dining areas, entry, bathrooms, kitchen and master closet all use specialty bulbs, so I won;t be able to replace everything but 15 for sure and probably some of those globes too. Not bad for something so easy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Done! Tagging

So I finally completed this task. I needed to get everything ready for this huge consignment sale that we have here. This always takes me a little longer because our home printer doesn't print the tags clear enough so I have to print them elsewhere. I have about 100 items I'm putting in the sale (I tagged about 20 more but they were summer clothes). Of course, this task is really never completed because Sophie outgrows her clothes constantly.



The crazy thing about the consignment sale is that I get most of Sophie's clothes at the sale...and consequently a lot of those same clothes are getting tagged to go back into the sale. One good thing though is that there are 2 different sales and whatever doesn't sell at the first one is ready for the second a month later. One tag, 2 sales. Done and done!

Done! Sophie's Wall

Before she could stand we had this over her crib.



Once she could stand, we moved it over to where the rocking chair was. My mom fixed a quilt that matches her bedding so it could be hung on the wall, but I am still worried that she will be able to pull it down, so until she gets out of the crib (or we have taller ceilings), I've decided to just put these vinyl letters on the wall.






I know it's really hard to see them in these pictures (and in person too). They aren't as big as the package's picture, but for now it will be okay.

Happy Birthday, Becky!



We went to the church tonight to celebrate the nativity of the church's Administrative Assistant. Her son (the guitar player in the picture) is part of the band and so she asked them to be the entertainment for the night. We had a great dinner of barbeque and then got to hear the great music. Sophie loved the sausage for dinner. I was hoping she'd dance for Becky but she got distracted by her lemonade.

Monday, August 23, 2010

EMM: Protect Yourself

This week the book looks at protecting yourself with Internet security. There are some common sense things regarding your passwords and such. We all know the tips to keep passwords from being hacked. Personally, I have a hard time with this because I have a hard time remember multiple passwords. Of course with websites requiring increased measures (i.e. longer passwords that include a number, letter, and symbol) I'm having to change passwords I've had for ages anyway, so I might as well create different ones for different sites. Below are some other tips to keep in mind to protect yourself:

  • Don't use automatic log-in features.
  • Utilize anti-virus software and a firewall.
  • Log off the Internet and turn off your computer when you are done.
  • Don't open emails from people you don't know.

So, now go change a password or 2!

Monday, August 16, 2010

EMM: Help the Hungry

Before we had Sophie, Paul and I helped out at a local shelter a few times. Our church provides and serves meals several times a year. Now that she is here (and too young to volunteer), we can still help by providing sack lunches. I know that the next scheduled time is already covered by our youth group but I will contact the coordinator and set up something for the next time.

I've also been trying to watch how much I buy at the grocery store. There are times when I am too ambitious about how much I'll need for the week and I end up throwing out food that has gone bad.

How can you help feed the hungry?

Monday, August 9, 2010

EMM: Write a Letter

Last week we got rid of junk mail and this week we are sending mail to a military hero. You can send something to a soldier you know or ask friends, co-workers, or chaplains to help you find one. The website offers some suggestions for what to include in your letter. It also has links to sites that will connect you with soldiers. I used the Let's Say Thanks site to send a printed postcard. It's not quite the personal touch you'd think, but I am going to have Sophie help me create a card to send later this week. My mom's group is also setting up an event to put together care packages for those overseas. Regardless of how you may feel about the military actions that are currently occurring, those serving deserve our respect and appreciation.

Done! Sophie's Money







We went today to open a savings account for Sophie. She had some money from her birthday, plus some piggy banks that are almost full.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Already Done & Still To Do

Here are some of the things that I have already done and some that I could still do.
(From the book 101 Things To Do Before Turning 40)

Done:
1. Take your parents out to dinner.
2. Date a 25-year-old, one last time. I've dated younger men and older ones, too. Of course, the last man I dated was 3 and a half years younger (and I married him).
3. Karaoke. I've done this a few times, but it definitely isn't my favorite thing to do.
4. Yell at someone. The idea is that you get to really express your anger to someone who won't admit their mistakes. Okay, maybe I haven't really done this. I'll to get that one done in the next few years.
5. Payoff credit card debt. This one has been done more than once. Now I leave most of the finances to Paul, but I did finally get the school loan paid off.
6. Control the future of your face. (AKA accept that your face will start looking it's age.)
7. Redistribute the wealth. As I've gotten older, how much I tip has changed. I truly appreciate good service and have no problem rewarding it. We have one particular pizza delivery guy who is very nice and polite, always acknowledges the dog, and is just so pleasant. I love when he is working and he gets tipped accordingly. We've also found that we feel a little guilty about the mess Sophie makes at restaurant, consequently Paul tips more out of that guilt.
8. Smell good. Paul and his mom make it easy for me to smell good, I just have to remember to use the perfume.
9. Unsubscribe. I've rarely had magazine subscriptions and never more than 2 at a time so this one almost doesn't apply. But I like the idea the author has of using magazines as a special treat, i.e. only buying them for trips or as rewards for accomplishing something.
10. Supply your own power. This one is about being technologically savvy. I don't think I know much about computers and such, but when it comes down to it, I really do. Of course, if you are just comparing me with Paul, I'd always come out ahead. He still can't figure out how to Tivo a show!
11. Sculpt yourself. This isn't about major cosmetic surgery, but more about the things we can somewhat easily change (weight-loss, muscle-tone, etc.). I'm not athletic or physically fit, I've just been blessed most of my life. But let's be honest, pregnancy and age changes a body, and no "body" is perfect. I recognized that mine was going to change drastically with the years if I didn't do something. So I started walking and then joined the StrollerStrides class. It's not much and I certainly don't push myself as hard as I could but I hope it will keep things in check for a while longer.
12. Teach a class.
13. Have a kid if you want one.
14. Say NO. This is one that I do in cycles. I'll add to my plate for a bit then start purging things off. I'm in the purging stage right now.
15. Ride a Harley. I'm not sure I ever actually rode a Harley but since my first husband raced motorcycles, I've ridden my share of motorcycles. I think back on those days and can't believe I ever did those crazy things.
16. Take a stand. One of the author's suggestions is to write a letter to the editor. This was also an assignment in one of my college English classes. I was one of the few that actually got their letter in the paper. Oh, and my stand...pro-choice.
17. Master a mass-transit system, but know how to hail a taxi. This was one of the most anxiety-ridden times when I moved to Chicago. We spent weeks going places together using the subway and bus lines, but then I knew Jeff wasn't always going to be with me so I set out to do it alone (with him tailing me from several yards and one subway car behind). The next day I did it all by myself. Taxis in foreign countries still make me nervous though.
18. Cut someone loose. I've had to do this and unfortunately I've been the one cut loose too.
19. Enact a 2-drink maximum. Let's face it I'm a lightweight.
20. Strain your brain. This is one we should continue to do all the time. It's about doing things that keep our brains sharp. Paul and I will play the occasional Scrabble game and his family loves to do sudoku puzzles when they get together.
21. Play poker. I'm not necessarily good, but I can play. What beats a straight?
22. Go fishing. I grew up on the lake so we fished all the time. After college, I lived with my grandma on the lake and got to spend some time fishing again. I'm a catch and release gal (not a catch it, kill it and eat it one), but these days I'd just as soon forgo the fishing pole and just lay on the dock.
23. Fill up your jewelry box. The author takes offense at having someone else choose your jewelry as she sees jewelry as being very personal. I don't agree. I have a lot of jewelry, a mix of stuff I bought, gifts from others, and pieces I inherited. In all honesty, I rarely wear much of it, and have to make a very concerted and conscious effort to put on something different.
24. Kiss the frogs. As I alluded to above, I've dated a lot of people. I rarely turned down a first date, because I figured you just never knew how someone might turn out and I'd give them the benefit of the doubt. But that doesn't mean I went on lots of second or third dates. No point in wasting more than one night on a guy who wasn't ever going to be the one.
25. Sign each book you read. I actually suggested this to my mom before I saw it in this book. She and I end up swapping books so much that we couldn't remember which ones we'd already read, so we started signing them. The author suggests signing them as an act of immortality and a way to be an active participant. I find that a little silly, but she also believes every book should have more than one home in it's lifetime. As I've started purging more, I like that sentiment, so she;s not completely crazy.
26. Show gratitude. I've always tried to write thank you notes, mostly for presents and gifts. This is one thing Sophie will be doing as well as she grows up.
27. Ask a friend for help. After the divorce, I asked for help a lot. During the fertility phase, I asked for help a lot. And now with motherhood, I continue to ask for help.
28. Play matchmaker. Poor Brian, Paul and I have set him up twice to no avail. Thankfully, he didn't blame us (or if he did he didn't show it) and now he has a wonderful wife he found all on his own (with the help of his sister I believe).
29. Take a mental health day. I plead the fifth.
30. Discover your superpower. Not exactly sure what my superpower is but I know I have it!
31. Go to a movie alone. Having worked at a movie theater, I used to do this a lot. The author is right...getting to sit wherever you want and not share your popcorn is great.
32. Root, root, root. As in root for a team. I'm not much of a sports fan, but I don't mind watching as long as I have someone to root for. That's why Fantasy Football sucks, no clear person or team to root for while watching a game.
33. Be a boss. This one implies that you will supervise people at some point and wants you to be the kind of boss you want to be. I hope my teachers think I am a good boss.
34. Purge. I did so much of this when I was pregnant, and I continue doing it periodically.
35. Host.
36. Document your life. I'm a scrapbooker (and now also a blogger), so this one is covered.
37. Charm your way into or out of something. Apparently, I have this ability without really trying. At least on the maintenance-type men that I have to come out to the house sometimes.
38. Figure out what you want to be when you grow up. I have a great job (most of the time) and it allows me to work and be a mostly stay-at-home mommy.
39. Colorize. I do tend to stick to neutral colors, especially when it comes to wardrobe, but I will typically add in some color now and then. And we just bought brand new RED couches. That's a lot of color in the living room.
40. Never show up empty-handed.
41. Bring something back to life. This could be refinishing something or a little less literal, like adopting a shelter animal. We've done that. The black boys as we call them, were rescue kittens that I bottle-fed from the day they were about 2 weeks old.
42. Retreat.
43. Be your own Schneider. Having been single for so long, I learned to manage on my own to so me degree. Of course, my dad is always on call to help.
44. Lose gracefully. This one's easy because I'm not really competitive.
45. Boycott February 14. Not sure I would do this now that I'm married, but as a single woman, I certainly did.
46. Give something back.
47. Throw out any T-shirts with logos on them. I actually had my old t-shirts turned into a quilt several years ago. My mom did the same for Paul too.
48. Ride in a limo.
49. Divorce your hairstylist or at least cheat. Okay, this one's hard because my mom cuts my hair. But when I lived in Chicago, I decided I couldn't wait for her next visit and went to a salon. Hated it, absolutely HATED it!
50. Hang up your binoculars. As in, no more concerts in huge arenas where you can't see the band. I'm not much of a concert-goer, but when I go I prefer to spend the bucks and get good seats. If I can't see anything I might as well just listen on the IPod.
51. Let the spirit move you. I can always tell when I haven't been paying attention in church, something is just missing.
52. Have a male friend.
53. Ditch your college furniture. I've even started ditching the starter marriage furniture.
54. Take the long way home. And see your hometown through the eyes of a tourist.
55. Learn to tango. I had a boyfriend way back when who signed us up for swing lessons. We were the youngest people in the class (by about 2 generations) but we had so much fun.
56. Name something. Sophie Rose, I love you!
57. Lose the snooze. When I was single, I rarely used the snooze button, now I have to listen to about 30 minutes worth of snooze because of Paul. So annoying!
58. Do something romantically cheesy.


Ongoing:
1. Admit to everything.
2. Confront bullies, racists, and homophobes.
3. Accentuate the positive.
4. Build a nest egg.
5. Rent the classics.
6. Stop the tchotchkes.
7. Put a lid on it.
8. Accept that forty is the new thirty.
9. Make a new friend each year.

Still To Do:
1. Get someone else to love your favorite movie.
2. Drive cross-country. The idea of this sounds like fun, but I'm not so sure about the execution!
3. Sleep under the stars. I guess we've done this, but it was at my sister's place so not really a true camping experience.
4. Reunite.
5. Give a really great toast. I'm not sure I've ever even had the opportunity to give a toast. I may have to create my own opportunity.
6. Drive a car that costs more than $50k. You don't have to buy it, just lease it for the day.
7. Surprise someone. This one would be hard. I'm not a good event organizer and the added pressure of keeping it under wraps just might make this one impossible.
8. Instead of a stage name, pick a stage age. I am sure there will come a time when I will lie about my age to at least one person.
9. Buy a piece of real art. I would much rather put photos on my walls, but Paul likes artwork too, so we will probably do this at some point.
10. Serve on a jury. As a former law student, I have always wanted to be on a jury. And I have NEVER gotten the notice. Everyone around me has (including my mom here in Texas and she doesn't even live here anymore).
11. Musically upgrade.
12. Expose the wizard. As in go behind the scenes of a TV show or movie. I think this would be great, of course, I would probably get really star-struck. I did do some stage managing for a community theater and it changed how I watched plays and musicals after that.
13. Throw an Oscar party. I have always wanted to do this. Of course, it's probably much better in my head than it would be in real life.
14. Break your own record. The only record I can think that I've ever broken was when I ate the whole medium pizza when I was pregnant. Not the record I really want to break, so I'll try for a new one.
15. Take a sabbatical. How great would it be to have a job that actually let you do this?
16. Habla sie Francais? Or in our case learn some Chinese before we go there and get Logan.
17. Play an instrument. I was one of those kids that hated to practice and parents never forced me to. I took lessons for both the guitar and flute during my childhood. I really wish that I'd stuck with it, but the author suggests it's never too late, so it might still happen for me.

Books I've Read


I had 2 books that I've been working on and finally finished this week. The first was a Baby Signs book I borrowed from a friend probably 6-9 months ago. I finally finished reading it and hope to actually apply some of the principles now that Sophie has started using a few signs.


The other book is one my dad gave me for my birthday several years ago when I was still single, called 101 Things To Do Before You Turn 40. It's geared toward single women, but can still apply to married ones with or without kids. I've probably picked it a dozen or more times and randomly selected one of the things, but now I've actually read it cover to cover. There are some things I had already done, others that really don't apply to me, some that I would never ever even contemplate doing, and some that I might still do. I'll post about each category separately.

Done! MIC Boxes

We opened the last of the MIC boxes tonight. Sophie has really enjoyed unwrapping the presents. I can't wait until Christmas...she will have a blast. I now have all this room in the top of my closet. What can I put up there? Oh, yeah, all the stuff that I'm having to take out of the guest room.



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Done! 3 Items


I meant to get pictures for each of the items but forgot until after the fact. This bookcase was in our office (along with 3 more just like it). We are having to rearrange things to get Logan's room set up so I needed to move a bookcase out in order to move a TV in. Paul and I went through the books, pulling 3 boxes to take to Half Price Books. Paul also went through a couple of shelves of computer stuff and donated some stuff to the church garage sale. Once I got the shelf cleared, Paul moved it to the garage. We took the books to Half-Price Books and the donations to church. Check, check, check! Three things Done!

Monday, August 2, 2010

EMM: Get Rid of Junk Mail

The stats this week are just crazy:



  • 44% of junk mail is discarded without being opened, yet we will spend 8 months opening junk mail in our lifetime (I think that is probably double for me since Paul doesn't open any of the mail.)

  • 100 million trees are needed to produce the annual paper supply for all that junk mail


So what can we do about all this paper?

  • Ask that your name not be rented or sold anytime you enter a contest, purchase anything, and return a warranty card.

  • Contact the customer service department for any companies that are sending the junk mail.

  • Remove your name from national mailing lists (check the EMM website for links).

So how much paper can you stop from entering your house?

Done! August

One of the blogs I read occasionally is doing something special this month. I thought I would join her since I have so much I'd like to get done before preschool starts. Check out her post to see how it all starts. She even has a printable checklist you can download. She is planning on posting daily about the different projects on her list, but I don't think I'll do that. I'll just update periodically, sometimes with before/after pictures. I'll add my own list tomorrow, if you want to check back to see what I am doing this month.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

65 in 365 Month 7 Update

This will be a list of 65 things I want to accomplish in the next 365 days. (No, I didn't come up with this idea myself, I borrowed it from this Foster Mama, along with some of her items.) I'll update the list once a month (that's the first thing on the list). Completed items are in italics.
1. Update the 65 in 365 once a month (6/12)
2. Come up with 65 goals for the year (65/65)
3. Complete Sophie's baby album
4. Complete 2009 annual album
5. Attend average of 5 StrollerStrides classes a month (25/60)
6. Girls Night Out (or Mom's Night Out) at least 4 times (4/4) (02/27, 03/17, 03/25, 06/30, 07/15)
7. Go to the movies at least 6 times (4/6) (Avatar, Kickass, Date Night ,Iron Man 2, Karate Kid)
8. Finish reading 2 non-fiction books (1/2) (Home)
9. Read 4 fiction books (1/4) (The Help)
10. Payoff law school loan
11. Try 26 new recipes (10/26)
12. Make our wills
13. Participate in a fun run with Paul and Sophie
14. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night; complete after 30 days (0/30)
15. Have at least one fresh fruit each day; complete after 30 days (0/30)
16. Take at least one picture of Sophie every other day; complete after 60 days (0/30)
17. Get back to pre-pregnancy weight
18. Come up with a system for backing up digital photos
19. Cooking lessons
20. Make bed everyday; complete after 30 days, will restart counter when I miss a day (30/30) (April)
21. Have date night once a month (5/12) (03/13, 04/10 or 17, 05/28, 06/10, 07/17)
22. Build a snowman (02/11)
23. Join a moms group (Jan.)
24. Set up a cleaning schedule and follow it; complete after 3 months (1/3)
25. Have lawn guys come on a regular basis
26. Take Wrangler to Kady the groomer 4 times (2/4) (March, June)
27. Purchase a jogging stroller for Paul to use
28. Put items in JBF Consignment sales, 2 sales each sales season (2/4) (Feb., Mar.)
29. Make and stick to a weekly menu and grocery list; complete after 5 weeks (2/5)
30. Decorate the tabletop tree for each holiday or season (snowflakes, hearts, green and gold beads, eggs, flowers, red and blue stars, apples, Halloween, fall leaves, Christmas)
31. Update a blog everyday or at least average one new post each day (208/365)
32. Go on a scrapbooking retreat (Jan)
33. Attend a scrapbooking crop every other month (4/6) (02/19, 04/16, 04/30, 05/01)
34. Complete 150 scrapbook pages (66/150)
35. Sign Sophie up for swim lessons (Mar.)
36. Attend one playgroup event each month (10/12) (01/28, 02/09, 03/02, 03/04, 03/17, 04/22, 5/28,06/03, 06/14, 06/21, 07/02, 07/07, 07/30)
37. Take Sophie to a library storytime/event each month (5/12) (02/01, 02/25, 04/13, 06/14, 06/29)
38. Attend a local Chinese New Year event
39. Have teeth cleaned twice a year (1/2) (Mar.)
40. Have Sophie’s picture taken with the Easter Bunny
41. Take Sophie to see a fireworks display (July)
42. Update the framed photos of extended family members
43. Attend Living Last Supper at church
44. Plan Sophie’s first birthday party
45. Take Sophie to visit another state
46. Take Sophie trick-or-treating in the neighborhood
47. Decorate outside for Christmas
48. Create our own family Thanksgiving tradition
49. Take Sophie to the zoo (May)
50. Establish Family Night/Day twice a month (not including MIC Meals); complete after 4 months (4/4) (05/31 Joe Pool Lake,5/16 Dragonboat Festival,4/3 Easter Eggs, 3/13 Stockyards, 4/18 Balloon Festival, 3/6 Swim Pics Shop Dinner, 06/12 Devon’s, 06/27 Olenjack’s, 07/03 Crow Museum, 07/05 Splash Pad, 07/17 VBS Picnic, 07/31 Zoo)
51. Frame and hang Sophie’s first year photos
52. Furniture for China child
53. Update Sophie’s wedding dress photo
54. Get a family portrait done
55. Daily devotional, complete after 30 days (0/30)
56. Create a list of happy things, one for each day (over 1000) we’ve been waiting for MIC (300/328)
57. Complete new adoption visa paperwork
58. Open a savings account for Sophie
59. Clean out and organize pantry
60. Attend at least 3 plays and/or musicals (2/3)(Wicked, Shadowlands)
61. Purchase fire extinguishers for the house
62. Get personalized tags for the pets (3/6)
63. Clean out flowerbed in backyard
64. Buy new couches (May)
65. Make a new list of 65

Done! List

This is my list for August. I'm sure I'll be able to come up with 3 more items to fill the whole page. The last item is to complete my list for work (but I'm not sharing that one here). I'll keep you posted on how I'm doing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Moms' Night Out

So my mom's group had a game night scheduled for tonight. I had it on the calendar but since I was out-of-town last week, I hadn't really thought about it until last night. When I mentioned it to Paul he said he was probably going to have to work late. He says that often, then comes home at a normal time. So I went through the day thinking I might get to go. I spoke to Paul this afternoon and he said he would be working late, so now I'm not going. At 6:30 he calls from the road on his way home. I have time to make it to the game night. I get dressed, pull some chips and salsa from the pantry, write down directions, and get dinner started. By the time he gets home, I just don't feel like making the trek out there. It just far enough to not be a quick trip and it's not an area I'm familiar with so it will seem even further. I got a lot done while Sophie took her nap but there are a couple of things I planned on doing after sh e went to bed. So I asked Paul if I could just go up to Starbucks and read for a bit (all by myself). He agreed, so we ate dinner, then he played with Sophie and put her to bed while I had an Extra Coffee Caramel Frappucino and read a couple of chapters.

I know I would have had a good time if I'd met up with the other girls, but I think the alone time was just as rewarding. Thank you, Paul, for the night out!

EMM: Eat Healthy

This one is pretty self-explanatory. We all know what it means to eat healthy (or at least healthier). The website did have a link for a menu planner that might be helpful for some. Because I don't struggle with my weight, it actually makes it more difficult to motivate myself to eat better. But now that I have Sophie watching everything I put in my mouth and wanting the same thing in hers, I have really started to be more intentional. So here are some things I'm working on specifically:


  • Eat more veggies.

  • Potatoes are not a vegetable.

  • Eat fresh fruit everyday.

  • Desserts are a special treat. (This will be the toughest one.)

  • Drink more water.



They have some tips that I don't agree with, such as, limiting snacking. I think eating smaller portions more often is better. They also suggest developing a routine and eating at similar times each day. That's usually good, but I think a lot of people end up eating just because it's mealtime even if they aren't really hungry. They also have specific ideas as to what should be included in a meal, i.e. dinner has to be a meat, 2 veggies, a salad, and dessert. Maybe not, maybe you have a meatless dinner, as long as you are getting your nutritional requirements.


They have a tip that I almost always follow: eat smaller portions. I also try to leave something on my plate. I know, for some of you that completely goes against your mom-given guilt (I know starving children in Africa and where's the happy plate). Even if it's just the last bite, over time that's a lot of food that isn't going in. Obviously, if you are eating 100% healthy then it wouldn't matter, but who's doing that all the time anyway!

Monday, July 19, 2010

EMM: Prepare for an Emergency

No one wants to think we will be involved in some sort of natural (or unnatural) disaster, but you just have to turn on the news and know that it really could happen to you. The EMM website has links for several of these to help you. Check out the site to make sure you're prepared, too.



  1. Family communication plan

  2. Emergency contact phone number

  3. Designate meeting locations

  4. Create emergency supply kit

  5. Don't forget about the pets

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Date Night Dancing

After a week of VBS, I knew I was going to need some fun adult-time. I set it up for Sophie to spend some time with Grandma and Grandad, and told Paul to figure out a fun night out. He found our newest favorite band The Space Rockers was playing at a club downtown. We met some friends for dinner then headed over. We had a great time. Of course, we aren't as young as we used to be. I was done by midnight! Thanks so much to my great husband for planning everything.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Accomplishment for July




I've been wanting to get something on the wall to put Sophie's artwork and stuff. I've seen some really cool, but really expensive corkboard systems. So instead I found these small, unframed cork panels (4 to a package for about $12). They are put on the wall with little foamy sticker things. Then I used coordinating scrapbook paper on each panel, using tacks and pushpins. The paper I used came with some diecuts that I used as labels for the art and too frame a picture of Sophie at the art table.

Monday, July 12, 2010

EMM: AMBER Alerts

Today's action includes signing up to receive AMBER Alerts on your cell phone and also downloading the ticker to your computer. Of course the real action is to pay attention to those alerts when you see or hear them.

So I have the alerts on my cell phone now. I you should also see the ticker on the blog, too. I hope everyone takes a few minutes to do this as well. See you next Monday!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

EMM: Turn Off Your TV

So this week's Every Monday Matters is actually going to be Every Wednesday Matters. Honestly, with Monday being a holiday and Paul being home, I didn't even think about it, and yesterday we were stuck in the house all day waiting on a delivery so I knew I wouldn't get far with the whole turning the TV off thing. So, here we are on Wednesday with the TV turned off. Of course, I can't completely control this since Paul lives here too. But I can certainly try to limit it as much as possible. I have been trying to be more selective about what is on when Sophie is around. I've also tried to multi-task as I'm watching television. I see TV as a form of entertainment. It's also how I "decompress" at the end of the day. I'm sure there is research out there that would contradict the benefits I see in watching TV but I'm going with what I think for now.



We do have a TV in the bedroom because I like to watch movies in bed, and we needed 2 locations for watching stuff. (It also nice if you are sick and staying in bed all day.) But I don't plan on letting Sophie have a television in her room. There will always be at least 2 televisions so if she wants to watch something different she will have that option, it will just be in our control. I've also tried to turn the TV off during meal times. I've actually been attempting this for years.



One of the other things the book suggests is making a list of things to do instead of watching television and then do them. Their website even had a link to sign-up for tips to be sent to you. Today's tip is to go to a coffee shop with your family or even by yourself. We didn't end up at Starbucks tonight, but we did drive around the neighborhood trying to get Sophie to sleep.

I didn't watch any television today, but that was helped by the fact that I went into the office for 3 hours, then took Sophie out for dinner before meeting a couple of the childcare workers for training. I also had some more work to do once I got home. So although I didn't watch TV, I did spend more time on the computer than normal. Paul also didn't get to watch much. He worked late, then did everything he could to get Sophie to bed

I think I need to try this one on a day when I don't have a bazillion other things already scheduled and see how I do.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

65 in 365 Month 6 Update

This will be a list of 65 things I want to accomplish in the next 365 days. (No, I didn't come up with this idea myself, I borrowed it from this Foster Mama, along with some of her items.) I'll update the list once a month (that's the first thing on the list). Completed items are in italics.

1. Update the 65 in 365 once a month (6/12)
2. Come up with 65 goals for the year (65/65)
3. Complete Sophie's baby album
4. Complete 2009 annual album
5. Attend average of 5 StrollerStrides classes a month (22/60)
6. Girls Night Out (or Mom's Night Out) at least 4 times (4/4)
7. Go to the movies at least 6 times (4/6)
8. Finish reading 2 non-fiction books (1/2)
9. Read 4 fiction books (1/4)
10. Payoff law school loan
11. Try 26 new recipes (5/26)
12. Make our wills
13. Participate in a fun run with Paul and Sophie
14. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night; complete after 30 days (0/30)
15. Have at least one fresh fruit each day; complete after 30 days (3/30)
16. Take at least one picture of Sophie every other day; complete after 60 days (0/30)
17. Get back to pre-pregnancy weight
18. Come up with a system for backing up digital photos
19. Cooking lessons
20. Make bed everyday; complete after 30 days (30/30)
21. Have date night once a month (4/12)
22. Build a snowman
23. Join a moms group
24. Set up a cleaning schedule and follow it; complete after 3 months (0/3)
25. Have lawn guys come on a regular basis
26. Take Wrangler to Kady the groomer 4 times (2/4)
27. Purchase a jogging stroller for Paul to use
28. Put items in JBF Consignment sales, 2 sales each sales season (2/4)
29. Make and stick to a weekly menu and grocery list; complete after 5 weeks (1/5)
30. Decorate the tabletop tree for each holiday or season (snowflakes, hearts, green and gold beads, eggs, flowers, red and blue stars, apples, Halloween, fall leaves, Christmas)
31. Update a blog everyday or at least average one new post each day (165/365)
32. Go on a scrapbooking retreat
33. Attend a scrapbooking crop every other month (4/6)
34. Complete 150 scrapbook pages (66/150)
35. Sign Sophie up for swim lessons
36. Attend one playgroup event each month (10/12)
37. Take Sophie to a library storytime/event each month (5/12)
38. Attend a local Chinese New Year event
39. Have teeth cleaned twice a year (1/2)
40. Have Sophie’s picture taken with the Easter Bunny
41. Take Sophie to see a fireworks display
42. Update the framed photos of extended family members
43. Attend Living Last Supper at church
44. Plan Sophie’s first birthday party
45. Take Sophie to visit another state
46. Take Sophie trick-or-treating in the neighborhood
47. Decorate outside for Christmas
48. Create our own family Thanksgiving tradition
49. Take Sophie to the zoo
50. Establish Family Night/Day twice a month (not including MIC Meals); complete after 4 months (4/4)
51. Frame and hang Sophie’s first year photos
52. Furniture for China child
53. Update Sophie’s wedding dress photo
54. Get a family portrait done
55. Daily devotional, complete after 30 days (0/30)
56. Create a list of happy things, one for each day (over 1000) we’ve been waiting for MIC
57. Complete new adoption visa paperwork
58. Open a savings account for Sophie
59. Clean out and organize pantry
60. Attend at least 3 plays and/or musicals (2/3)
61. Purchase fire extinguishers for the house
62. Get personalized tags for the pets (3/6)
63. Clean out flowerbed in backyard
64. Buy new couches
65. Make a new list of 65

Monday, June 28, 2010

EMM: What Matters Most

The first Monday has you make a list of those things that matter most to you.
  1. Family
  2. Pets
  3. Friends
  4. Faith
  5. Health
  6. Happiness
  7. Career

Then it has you create a list of how you spend you time each week.

  1. sleep-8 hours/day
  2. work (during school-year)-25 hours/week
  3. strollerstrides-1 hour/week
  4. church (not working)-1 hour/week
  5. time with Paul & Sophie together-1 hour/day
  6. household chores (just a guess)-2 hours/day
  7. TV-4 hours/day (probably a little less since I don't watch commercials)

Then it wants you to rearrange your schedule and eliminate optional activities so you can spend more time on What Matters. So here is my list of ways I can "create" more time for the important stuff.

  • Obviously, watch less television. I just need to be "choosier" about what I Tivo.
  • I can watch the shows while doing other things, like cooking, cleaning or computer.
  • Make sure my time at work is being utilized efficiently. This may require getting help with Sophie since I seem to get so much less done when she is in the office with me. Or maybe there is some stuff I can do from home during her nap time.
  • Clean a little at a time. This is something I try to do. I don't feel too bad letting Sophie play in the kitchen while I spend a few minutes cleaning the microwave, toaster and dishwasher. But having to set aside a few hours to do all the cleaning is another story. There's a lot I can do in those few spare moments when Sophie doesn't need my complete attention.

The last action is "Don't Waste Time." Well, duh, does anyone really set out to waste time on purpose?!? My take on this is to utilize your time you don't control better. My nook can come in handy for this since it makes it so easy to read while you are waiting for your oil to be changed. I could also find ideas for little activities to do with Sophie while we wait in line at the post office or for a meeting to start. I can also use any down time like that to just think of more ways to achieve that happiness that is on my What Matters Most list, or maybe spend a few minutes on my faith.

I'm going to try to track my time this week and see how I really use it. Should be interesting!

Logan's room

We went and ordered Logan's furniture today. I let Paul have final say but he still chose Pottery Barn Kids. (My favorite place!) We did look at Rooms To Go, but PBK was having a sale and we ended up spending less. After we chose Logan, I went ahead and ordered the Star Wars bedding, so it's sitting in the closet. This is what we got.


Here is the bed we chose, with a trundle so Logan is all set for sleepovers with his cousins.






This is the dresser, and we got everything in the darker stain.
They are thinking it will be delivered this week, so we won't have time to paint the room before it comes, but my Dad can handle that. Now we just need to choose paint!



Sunday, June 27, 2010

Every Monday Matters (EMM)

My mom gave me a book for my birthday called Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference. It's a guidebook providing a process for getting you involved. They have a website you can check out here. It has 52 different activities that are ways to make a difference. I'm going to try to work my way through the book and use this blog to track my progress. I may also be able to pass on some useful information that others can take advantage of and make their own differences.

Happy Things 301-350

301. splash parks


302. So You Think You Can Dance


303. big, huge, ginormous pieces of modern art

304. chocolate milk

305. adding a symbol to your signature

306. the fragrance of cookies baking

307. flashlights that work

308. doing something every year so that it becomes a tradition

309. flying kites
310. not holding your tummy in
311. singing all the hymns in church
312. fondue
313. brownies with no nuts
314. apples and cheese cubes
315. Easter bunnies
316. Chicago deep-dish pizza
317. twirling a baton
318. the purr of a kitten
319. the smell of aerosol hair spray
320. one perfect Rose
321. talking to the television
322. nightclubs
323. magic shows
324. homemade lasagna
325. going someplace you've never been
326. falling asleep on someone's lap
327. preschool drawings
328. handmade Christmas ornaments
329. Dunkin' Donuts
330. strawberries and powdered sugar
331. eggnog
332. buying yourself a toy
333. flying kites
334. leaving fresh cookies for Santa
335. diapers and baby food
336. Rice Crispie Treats
337. bad dining hall meals
338. the UP of Michigan
339. the midnight hungries
340. dressing up for no reason
341. all you can eat soup salad and bread sticks
342. slinkies
343. liking the people you work with
344. playing Clue
345. Homecoming games
346. Coke with lime
347. someone who says you are beautiful
348. finding the good magazines in the doctor's waiting room
349. ventriloquists' dummies
350. popcorn at the movies