Happy New Year

I'm sitting here at my sister-in-law's house
getting ready to ring in the new year with some of my favorite people
thinking about how blessed I am
The beginning of 2010 is going to be...interesting.
Perhaps trying, perhaps miraculous. 
Either way, I'm excited for what the future holds
Ready to take it on. Finish what I've started
Make some changes.
Love more intensely 
Give more freely
Live life to the fullest
And always thank God for every blessing.



So much to do, so little time...

I have so many things to blog about...

But right now, I'm packing for Canada and won't be back til next week! Then, I'll be back with a vengeance!

Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!


Merry Christmas

Just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!

This Christmas has been the leanest I've ever experienced, and yet, I feel abundantly blessed and overwhelmed with love.

Can't wait to tell you about it....later.

Gotta get back to my loves.



The 100th

I finally made it to my 100th blog!!!

Now, it's been awhile since I've blogged. Partly cause I wanted to make sure my 100th blog was a good one, but mostly because this is the first breath I've taken this week...YAY for a break!!!

I was also waiting to write this post:

My dear friends in Chicago just had their first baby and didn't find out what they were having. Well, they had a perfectly beautiful baby boy, and I wanted to make them something special. I had seen this idea somewhere and thought it was the CUTEST thing, and just so happened to have all the materials to make it. So here it is: my homemade gift for some of my sweetest friends:

They're little onsies with a necktie pattern - how cute are they?!?! Seriously, I'm in love with them, and I wanted to make them something personal and unique, and I thought this was perfect. Now their little man will be even more of a stud.

I love the way they turned out, and they were so easy to make!!!

Okay, so maybe this wasn't the fascinating, cutting-edge post you'd expect for a 100th....but I'd still love to know what you think! =]


The Random Dozen

I was going to start this post off by saying I really have nothing exciting to talk about, but I love The Random Dozen series and have yet to participate! In actuality, I have a lot going on, some of it I can't talk about, and the rest you probably don't want to hear about. Either way - here it is. Random things you don't care to know about me, but are going to find out anyway:

1. Which physical trait do you now accept--maybe not love, but accept--and no longer feel extremely self-conscious about?

My hands. I have extremely masculine hands that I used to go to great lengths to hide. I never wear polish to draw attention to them, used to cover them up whenever possible. Now, I'm over it.

2. This week Meredith Baxter Birney, best known as the mom on the favorite 80s sitcom "Family Ties" came out of the closet, which led me to formulate this question: Who do you think is/was the best TV mom?

I love Debra Jo Rupp, or 'Kitty' from That 70's show. I fell in love with her when she played Alice on Friends, and she is hilarious in both roles. I love that she's sweet, is always cooking, but tries so hard to be a cool mom!

3. Do you speak any foreign languages? Are there any you'd like to learn?

I can speak Spanglish. That used to be Spanish when I took it in High School, but has evolved to Spanglish as my memory has gone...

4. Who is your personal hero?

Right now, I would have to say my husband. He has taken on an incredible amount of responsibility lately, has been working SO hard, and still manages to be a great dad, a wonderful husband, and a loyal friend. I can't say that about many people.

5. What is one holiday food that you find extremely difficult to resist over- indulging in?

Um, anything that is made by Grandma King. If she makes it, I wanna eat it. But sweets are particularly hard for me to resist, especially when they're in the form of chocolate chip cookies.

6. Tell me about a Christmas decoration that has special meaning or sentimental value.

All the ornaments on my tree from past students, I will treasure them forever.

7. How do you feel about snow?

I have a love/hate relationship with snow. I actually despise it about 90% of the time. I love the beauty of it, and I love playing in it with my kids (and sledding is a favorite), but I wish it would just come around when I want it to - which is hardly ever.

8. On average, how many hours of sleep do you get each night? Not that I'm jealous of any number over three or anything.

Probably about 5. This is why I nap so much. I can't function on 5 hours of sleep.

9. Tell me about your first crush.

Oh man. The first one I remember was Shawn Hamilton....and whenever I think of him, I think of how I got in BIG trouble for writing on the bleachers in black marker at recess 'I love Shawn Hamilton' and had to wash it out with soap and water....while the entire class watched. (Also one of my most embarrassing moments).

10. You're stuck in a room for 2 hours with only a chalkboard and chalk. What will you write/draw?

First, I would doodle. (I'm a doodle-er). Then, let's be honest....I'd probably make TO-DO lists. How lame am I?

11. Do you dress for the current temp or for the day's forecast?

Usually forecast. I am starting to smarten up and bring a sweater with me. I'm always cold.

12. Favorite Christmas movie is?

While You Were Sleeping (that counts right?). There is a great debate in our household about which is the better classic: Christmas Vacation or The Christmas Story....The hubs grew up watching Chevy Chase, and I grew up quoting lines about a red rider bb gun. We've yet to settle it.


The List

No, I don't mean the Christmas list (although, I could add a few of these to my Christmas list).

You know, "The List":


Now, since the hubs and I have met, our lists change constantly, but we both accept our lists (I approved his actually - it's just for fun, but he's got good taste!) I am very picky about my list, for whatever reason, so I have a hard time even choosing people for it. But let's be honest, there are a lot of yummy celebrities out there. You already know a few of my guilty pleasures from this post, but I'll add the rest to "The List."

1. Ryan Reynolds

My love for him was affirmed in 'The Proposal'. Sure, he's not the greatest actor in the world, but who cares when you have abs like that! I mean seriously, people. Sexy smile. Ridiculous body. Funny. Yes, please! =]

2. Daniel Craig

When I first found out they were replacing my beloved Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, I was appalled. I heart James Bond, and Pierce Brosnan was my favorite. But 'Casino Royale' very quickly changed my mind and instantly became one of my favorite movies of all time! This guy has some piercing blue eyes and a rockin' body for his age. And you know me and salt n pepper men!

3. John Krasinski

If you're an Office fan, you know that it's impossible not to love Jim. I developed a major crush on him the first season, and it stuck. I love his quirky look, his sense of humor, and believe it or not, I totally dig guys with big ears (I went through a whole Will Smith phase for that very reason). Oh, to be Pam for a day...

4. Matthew Morrison

Upon my recent obsession with Glee, I've discovered a teacher crush for Matthew Morrison. And I'm a sucker for a guy that can sing and dance. Wish he had been my teacher...

5. Matt Damon

Matt Damon is my classic choice. He's been a consistent on my list for years. I love his sexy smile. And the Bourne series is one of my favorites. But I think truly, it comes from the fact that Matt Damon reminds me a little of my hubs. (Especially in this picture). I need to do a side by side of them sometime...they could be brothers. Do I have good taste of what?!

6. Josh Duhamel

I remember watching 'Win a date with Tad Hamilton' and thinking "Who IS this guy?!?" Gorgeous. I can even look past his bad taste in women (Fergie, really? Is anything left on her face originally hers?!) All I can say is, I'd love to win a date with Josh Duhamel (cue cheesy music...)

There ya have it, my 'List'. For now anyway. I'll check back in 6 months and see if it's changed at all...

What about you? Who's on your list?!?


Mini makeover

A few days ago, I posted a little sketch I made and asked if anyone had any guesses as to what it was going to inspire. It looked like this:

Now, there were some good guesses. Most of you were right! I used it for a wall mural for a bedroom makeover in my room! I've been wanting to paint this mural on the wall for months. I saw something similar on a comforter set picture I saw at Target and thought, 'I can do that.' My room is pretty dull so I'm excited to have some interest added in there. I also seem to do all my painting projects when the hubs is out of town, cause he hates to paint....and he doesn't know I did this, so it'll be a surprise! (Unless he reads this blog while he's away - surprise honey!) Here's my bedroom BEFORE:

BTW, I have a terrible camera. Some day....but in the meantime, you'll just have to imagine these pictures with better lighting and clarity. Here's the design I came up with on the wall:

This is all that really came from the sketch...I free handed the rest to fill the space as I wanted it. Here it is after two coats of paint (which took forever, by the way!):

And here's the AFTER:

Again, the lighting is terrible, but you get the idea. I also have this cute green comforter set I got for a steal at Target a couple years ago that I put on the bed for accent. I really like it. And it cost me $5.

What do you think?


Christmas Cards

Finally designed and finished printing my Christmas cards....here's the end result:

And I paid a whopping $9.00!!! I ended up creating these adorable cards for free on Scrapblog.com, then importing it as a JPEG and just getting prints of them as regular pictures. Cheap and easy alternative to spending WAY too much on Christmas cards! Plus, if you sign up to Snapfish.com as a new customer (or really, a new email), you get 20 prints free!

My only complaint is that they're a little small...cause I got 4X6, which means the family picture itself is tiny. Next time I'll go for 5X7. Otherwise, I'm so happy with the way they turned out! =]


Weight Loss Wednesday

I will make this fairly short, if possible...as I have some GLEE to catch up on...

This whole weight-loss process has been feeling rather slow for me. It's the longest I've committed to a different lifestyle because I've determined that that's exactly what it's going to be - a lifestyle. But I was getting stuck in weights for weeks, and it was driving me crazy.

This week, I finally broke through a little bit. Just started counting calories a little more carefully, and working out at home when I couldn't get to the gym. Watching Biggest Loser every week keeps me motivated, I don't know what I am going to do after the finale next week! But, step by step, little by little, it's happening. As of this morning, my weight loss is:

x - 23 lbs.

Now, it took me a couple weeks to get those 3 lbs off from the last post. But in reality, 23 pounds in 3 months isn't too shabby, right?!? Someone confirm me here! I mean, it's better than nothing, that's for sure.

So, I keep on keepin' on...


The nightmare before Christmas

Twas the month before Christmas and all through the house
Nothing was going right, not even my spouse!
The stockings were hung by the TV with care,
Only to see them fall again and nearly make me swear!

The children were running all over the place,
A result of smoothie desserts from dinner replaced.
Mama in her cleaning wear, Faith with her reindeer antlers,
Were just settling in for a scene that rarely occurs.

When out from the living room there arose such a clatter
I ran from the kitchen to see what was the matter.
The fourth attempt at Christmas lights was alas no good
You'd throw a fit too, if you understood.

"Now Caleb, now Faith, now Veronica, see here!
My frustration is now becoming severe!
Nothing is working, and you're all in my way
This is turning out to be quite a crappy day."

So a break we all took, from the chaos and mess,
To tuck the kiddies in, and get away from the stress.
Then I quietly snuck in to finish the job,
As my head, from the stress, was beginning to throb.

And then, in a twinkling, I looked at what was done,
And the stress seemed to melt, the chaos seemed undone.
For before my eyes, a warm Christmas scene,
Just me and the decor, nothing between.

I sprang to grab the camera, to capture this feeling,
That this time of year provides: Comfort and healing.
Well worth it I think to myself with a sigh
"Merry to Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"


Sneak peak

This may look like just a scribble....
But it's a design idea I have for something fantastic I hope to have time to do this weekend!
Just thought I'd tease you with the rough sketch.
Any guesses on what it might be?!?


Life Lessons from the Bar

I always laugh at the reaction from people when they ask me where I work. 

Preschool teacher by day, bartender by night.

I realize it seems like a contradiction, but there are some days these two jobs go together pretty well. Like on days where I've had enough of 3-year-olds and need some adult interaction. Or on days where I can break through cold hearts/broken lives in the bar by telling a precious story about my preschoolers. Sometimes, I need both to balance out.

Last night was a particularly slow night @ the bar. Not much to do but clean every nook I could think of. And when I clean - watch out! - I think.

I was thinking that every now again, I let that place suck me in. If I let it, it can effect my attitude, my demeanor, and my language. There are a lot of days I don't want to be there. But then I remember the little lessons I never thought I'd learn from working in a bar:

1. God is everywhere
I've posted about this before, but it's amazing to me how God meets me in places I don't expect. Like the lives of broken people in a bar, pouring beer. Hearts are open and receptive, people are looking for something more...

2. Everyone is vulnerable
I had this false notion in my head that worldy people have made it in their minds that God is not for them and they've put this armor on against anything religious. That is simply not true. In most cases, I find that people believe but don't know how to transform their lives. They don't know where to start. They have baggage they think is too much for God. They are vulnerable, just like everyone else in the world.

3. Everyone hurts
I know a few people (regulars) that have a lot of money. I mean a lot. Like they could pay off my life debt and not blink an eye. As jealousy starts creeping in, it's always stopped with the understanding that their lives are broken too. Money most certainly does not buy happiness. Even people who seem to have everything hurt. And need.

4. Man is Good
I see a lot of evil working in a bar. A lot of infidelity, gossip, deceit, gambling, drugs, etc. But what I've learned is that underneath all that, people are innately good. People love. And give. And sacrifice. Some days, I see more good deeds passed through the bar than through the church.

5. A smile goes a long way
If I could measure this lesson in a tangible way, the evidence would be astounding. I can't count how many times a simple smile has eased someone's pain, made some feel welcomed, or has broken barriers. I've had people return as customers because of a smile. I could measure it from tips received because it helps, but it's so much more than that. This is true with so many things in life. When you approach a situation with a smile, it's hard to not have a different perspective on things.

Some days, I need these reminders. I'll take these life lessons with me wherever I go.

Thanksgiving 2009

Well, I've been MIA the last few days. Here's why:

This week, we spent American Thanksgiving in Canada. Beamsville, Ontario to be more exact. For the first time since April, we've finally been able to cross the border and coordinate time off to visit my in-laws for a few days. I figured it was only fair that we do it on our Thanksgiving since the hubs hasn't been home for a Thanksgiving in 7 years. Plus, my family was out-of-town anyway.

In honor of their American daughter-in-law and the fact that they didn't get to celebrate with us for their holiday, we were made a delicious Thanksgiving meal...mmm...

I didn't have a lot of internet time there, so I was saving my Thankful Thursday post, since it is the last one:

I am so thankful for:

*my husband's family - they're awesome
*delicious comfort food, even if it did set me back caloric intake for the week!
*the silly way Caleb says 'lasagna' (zanyanya) =]
*warm blankets
*late nights playing games with family/friends
*stolen kisses
*good-night voice mails from my kids
*second chances
*sweet tea
*sleeping in my own bed

I really did have a great Thanksgiving break. Get ready for this week, I fully intend on getting back in the swing of things: decorating for Christmas, updating my Weight loss Wednesdays, and some other random things on the menu. I know you can barely contain your excitement.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Fun with Scrapblog

Stumbled across an amazing website today.....Scrapblog.com!

I've been playing with this site all day.  A lot of it is free, so you can create almost anything...like my new blog header, if you haven't noticed! I'm finally getting around to sprucing up my blog, and this site has been the easiest help by far!

Anyway, here's a fun page I made with the rest of my family photos:

So cute, right?!?


Family photos

So, I've started thinking about Christmas cards, etc. and what we were going to do this year.
Then it occurred to me:

Our family hasn't taken a decent photo together since the Dude was born.

That realization made me very sad. Now, I still plan on taking some real family photos (not my sad attempt with our crappy camera), and I still plan on figuring out how to do some photo layouts (MckMama did a great tutorial on this, but I can't figure it out on my program).

So here are the last-minute-no-one-to-take-pictures-so-we-used-the-garbage-can-in-the-backyard family photos. Some them are decently cute!

The Princess and The Dude (I feel like that should be a title of a new movie!)

The ladies...

The fellas...

The Kings

There are more cute ones that I'll post later!!! =]


Hodge Podge Chili

I'm pretty proud of myself.

The other night, I attempted to make Chili, cause I had some pinto beans I had no idea how else to use them. I ended up just throwing a bunch of things together I had to use up in my kitchen. And you know what?!? I thought it was pretty good!

It was a little thick (the hubs did prefer so many beans - but really liked the flavor). This is the result of:

1 bag of Pinto Beans
2 lbs of lean ground meat
1 can of corn
1 can tomato soup
1 can Mexican stewed tomatoes
1 can Hunts original spaghetti sauce
Left over Meijer organic salsa
Left over Paul Newman's pinapple salsa
2 pack of chili mix
Chili powder
Salt & Pepper

I will definitely try it again....will less beans! It was YUMMY!
How's that for not being a very good cook?!?



Just found this and it made me smile. It's old...like from August, but I just came across it and thought I'd share since I didn't before. This is from the Children's Musical our church did this summer:

That's my little lady bug, Faith. Distracted much?!?! LOL, I love how she gave a little wave to one of the older girls behind her that she just loves...then just stared! This was just a practice run, she did get better each time! =]

Hope this brightened your day as much as it did mine. If watching little 2-3 year-olds sing doesn't melt your heart a little, something must be wrong with you. I'm just saying...


Thankful Thursdays

--The long weekend coming up next week (I totally need the break!)
--Getting to FINALLY see my in-laws for the holiday!!! (We haven't been to their house since April!)
--Watching my kids' faces light up when their daddy gets home.
--My church family - They totally ROCK!
--Nap time
--staying in to snuggle and watch tv with my man
--Sweet Tea

This week at preschool, we made 'Thankful Turkeys'. Each feather represented something the kids were thankful for. This was Faith's list:
-My Mommy
-My Daddy
-My Caleb
-Taco Bell


What are you thankful for?


Guilty pleasures

Everyone has em...

You know, those silly indulgences that you would never admit to anyone. You'd be mortified if anyone knew how much you loved it - either because you're way too old to love it, too young, or it's completely ridiculous:

I call them guilty pleasures.

Well, welcome to my dirty laundry. I'm airing it out. I've decided that I am secure enough as a woman that I can be at a place to admit these secrets loves of my life.

(Reading the following may force you to think less of me)

Guilty pleasure # 1:
Cheesy movies
Okay, I realize I am not alone on this one. Most woman would admit to liking the sappy romantic comedies/dramas. My favorite genre is action/suspense, but I will totally admit to loving girly movies. But I love the really cheesy ones. I tend to watch them by myself so I don't have to answer to anyone why I would possibly watch it: Like watching The Ice Princess. And loving it. And downloading the Ali & AJ song from it. Or 'A Cinderella Story' - Apparently, any Disney teenie-bopper movie, I'm all over it. Shhh....don't tell anyone.

Guilty pleasure # 2:
Zac Efron
Again, with the disney teenie-boppers! I admit it: I have a cougar crush on Zac Efron. It all started with my daughter's obsession with High School Musical. This kid is seriously a force of ridiculous talent. Adorable: CHECK. Actor: CHECK. Sings & Dances: DOUBLE CHECK. My daughter has good taste!

Guilty pleasure # 3:
Salt & Pepper
Hopefully, this will redeem myself from my previous guilty pleasure (or at least, balance it out)...but I love older guys who can rock salt & pepper hair. I totally think it's sexy. Like Pierce Brosnan.
Or George Clooney.

Something about an older man who knows who is, has a sense of maturity (even if we know it's a myth), and can get sexier every year.
And no, I do NOT mean Taylor Hicks, thankyouverymuch.

Guilty pleasure # 4:
Anyone who has read my blog knows I love Slurpees. But my love borders on obsession. I've cut way back recently in honor or reaching my goal of a healthier me, but there is a slurpee shaped hole in my stomach. And it aches. I could drink them non-stop. ALL DAY. It's a disease, really. I should seek help.

Guilty pleasure # 5:
Jordin Sparks, 'Battlefield'
I actually love all things Jordin Sparks. I think she is an incredible singer, a great role model, and has the most unbelievably beautiful skin. But, I've recently become addicted to her song 'Battlefield.' It's constantly stuck in my head. I crank it anytime I hear it on the radio. My kids know most of the words. I love the drive. I love the range. I love Jordin Sparks, and I don't care who knows it!

There you have it: my guilty pleasures. I warned you that you might think less of me...

What are your guilty pleasures?!?!? I'm dying to know!


Thankful Thursdays

I would like to give a disclaimer before this post:

Recently, I made fun of a friend for listening to Christmas music (in my opinion) way too early...and I was called a Scrooge. All in good fun, mind you, but I feel sad for Thanksgiving not getting it's proper respect as a holiday...people glaze over it with the insane pull of Christmas. Let me make something clear. I love Christmas. It's my favorite holiday. And I love Christmas music. But I love Thanksgiving and all that it represents.

Therefore, in the honor of Thanksgiving, I am dedicating my Thursdays in November to Thankful Thursdays, thanks to the inspiration of another blogger. I get caught up in my own life so often, it's good to take a minute and remember all the things I have to be thankful for.....like:

- having a job (ok, 2 jobs. Ok, 4 jobs between Jer and I...do whatcha gotta do)
- my beautiful (and hilarious) children
- supper club Thursdays
- laughter
- how sexy my husband looks all dressed up
- watching my preschoolers' lights go on when they learn a concept
- the accomplished feeling of running 10K. All. By. Myself.
- the way Caleb says 'noodle' (noonul)
- Faith singing along to 'Party in the USA'
- accomplishing a goal for myself. And no one else.
- scrapbooking
- family and friends

I could go on and on....but I'll save some for next week. Thanks, God, for all these things. You rock.

Weight Loss Wednesday

I haven't updated with Weight Loss Wednesday in quite awhile. Partly because of time and my insane life right now. And partly because for the last month, I've been stuck.

I didn't lose any weight for a month.

It was very discouraging. Mostly because I am still overall so much healthier than I ever was before. I'm still trying to watch what I eat, make better choices, eat more often with smaller meals...you know, all the things you're supposed to do lose weight.

No luck.

I said earlier that my goal was to feel comfortable in my own skin. I wanted a more balanced life, and that weight loss was to be a great bonus. But truth is, I want the weight loss. I want to fit in my old clothes. I want to feel 'skinny'. But, why can't I have both a healthy life AND weight loss?

So, I had to re-gear. Let's be honest, crazy schedule, stress, Halloween candy (ok, ok, I admit it) = plateau of weight loss. I had to kick myself again to get back on track. Here's my update from the last goals:

1. Eat breakfast within the first 30 minutes of waking up.
I'm actually pretty good about this one, only because I have a schedule every morning and because I am up so early. I get up. Take a vitamin with a huge glass of water. Eat breakfast. If I don't get to it, I drink a protein shake on my way to work.

2. Run at least 3X a week to prepare for a 10K race
This has been almost impossible. 3 days a week have been really hard to achieve. HOWEVER, I realized I'm capable of a lot more than I gave myself credit for, because even with 1 day a week, I've met my mark of 10K today - running. Non-stop. This may not seem like much, but I've never run that much. EVER. I'm pretty stoked. Especially since I found out this week I will not be in town the day of the race, so I've achieved the goal all on my own. YAY ME!

3. Cook/eat more meals at home.
This has actually happened by default. I've been forced to this cause I'm broke. HA! Probably a good thing though. I don't really prefer to cook (I do love to bake, but when is that ever healthy?!?) so it's really an effort. But it's happening.

4. Go to bed at a decent hour when possible.
With the exception of tonight as I stay up late to blog, I've been to bed before midnight every night this week. That's huge for me. But I didn't do it consciously....I blame old age! So, goal achieved again by default! =]

So, with the tough month I had of no weight loss (and I do realize that I've built a lot of muscle running), I only have one goal this time:

1. Lose 15 pounds by Christmas.

EEK! I really have to watch out for holiday food, stress, etc. if I want to do that. But what I am coming to realize is that I can only cheat myself. I am the only one getting in the way of my goal. I decided on this goal last week, and I've already broke through my plateau, losing 3 lbs. this week, which puts me at:

X - 20 lbs!

Phew. I feel good again. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. =]


Fall Happenings

Just uploading some photos for Facebook today from October, thought I'd share. We had a very busy, but fun month! =] Here are the highlights:

My teacher's assistant, Randi, and I dressed as Tigger and Pooh for our preschool Halloween party - I know, cute right? And props to Faith for taking a decent photo!

We decided to bring our bikes to the park one beautiful fall day. They don't get to ride much at home and Caleb hasn't taken his bike out of the basement. They were excited to say the least.

Faith brought her scooter. This kid scooted almost 2 miles around the park!

Faith sitting proudly in front of our carved pumpkins.

My cuties. They love each other. Really.

Looking forward to an eventful November....


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