Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you are! I am very thankful for the big things in life: my family, our health, God, the freedom to homeschool, friends, my extended family, my church, and more!

But here are some random little things I am thankful for as well: cinnamon bread, my computer, warm electric blanket, two working vehicles, lipstick, books, my library card, coupons, pizza, scrapbooks, Cookie Cottage, homeschool catalogs, Facebook, my iPod, photos, vacations (big or small!), playing games with my kids, snuggles with Owen, hoodies, sunglasses, House Hunters, Sudoku, email, girls' nights out, and many, many more! What little things are you thankful for?

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Guy . . .

Fun little meme I picked up from Amy. This is all about my better half. :)

1. He’s sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?Depends on the season. :) Spring/summer - baseball. Fall/winter - football! And NCIS anytime.

2. You’re out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? Fat-free French

3. What’s one food he doesn’t like? Shrimp (a favorite of mine!)

4. You go out to the bar. What does he order? Coors Light. Or an Amaretto Sour.

5. Where did he go to high school? Oliver High School in Pittsburgh

6. What size shoe does he wear? 10?

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be? Steelers memorabilia

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? Ham

9. What would he eat every day if he could? Ham :) Ice cream.

10. What is his favorite cereal? Raisin Bran (with extra raisins he adds to the top)

11. What would he never wear? Brown and orange (Cleveland Browns' colors, you know!)

12. What is his favorite sports team? Pittsburgh Steelers & Pittsburgh Pirates

13. Who did he vote for? McCain

14. Who is his best friend? Me? (I think.)

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn’t do? Debate everything

16. How many states has he lived in? Three: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Indiana

17. What is his heritage? Italian/Slovakian

18. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what would it be? Cherry chocolate. But he'd really prefer a cherry pie.

19. Did he play sports in high school? Yes. Baseball. He was a catcher!

20. What could he spend hours doing? Watching sports

21. What’s something cool about him? He makes wise decisions. He is funny and very quick-witted. He can juggle. :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More Meal Planning

Mpm This week's meal plan:

Monday: Taco Ring
Tuesday: Baked Spaghetti
Wednesday: Chicken Stir-Fry
Thursday: Thanksgiving & all the extras at my gram's house!
Friday: Dinner at my mom's to celebrate my brother's birthday
Saturday: CORN night (Clean Out The Refrigerator, aka leftovers!)

It's a busy week, so I've planned some family favorites and easy things I can do from memory. Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy all of that yummy food!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Alphabet Tag!

Just a quick A to Z about me! And I'm tagging Kristy, Heather, Staci, Jenn, and Kelly to do the same! :)

A-Attached or Single: Attached

B-Best Friend: My Husband, no question!

C-Cake or Pie: Strawberry pie. Yum!

D-Day of Choice: Sunday (preferably in the fall!)

E-Essential Item: My computer

F-Favorite Color: Yellow

G-Greatest Accomplishment: Passing my ATC exam, having a strong marriage & great kids

H-Hometown: Fort Wayne

I-Indulgences: M&Ms

J-January or July: July (though I used to LOVE the winter!)

K-Kids: 1 girl and 2 boys

L-Life is incomplete without: God, my family

M-Marriage: One of my favorite things. :)

N-Number of Siblings: 1 (My brother is so lucky to have me!)

O-Oranges or Apples: Apples. I love Gala especially.

P-Phobias or fears: Thunderstorms, ants, going to the dentist

Q-Quotes: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it."

R-Reason to Smile: I'm healthy and so is my family.

S-Season: Fall

T-Tag Friends: Kristy, Heather, Staci, Jenn, and Kelly

U-Unknown facts about me: I hate it when my socks get wet. Ewww!

V-Very favorite store(s): Target, any bookstore

W-Worst habit: Snacking when I'm not hungry

X-X-ray or Ultra Sound: Ultrasound (because x-rays mean something is broken, and ultrasounds usually mean you're having a baby!) :)

Y-Your favorite food: Just one? Hmmm....I'll go with mashed potatoes right now. But tomorrow I may change my mind. Curly fries are another favorite!

Z-Zodiac: Scorpio (though I don't put any weight in zodiac signs!)

And thanks to everyone who voted in my poll about blog design. The results were about 65%/35% for keeping it the same. I have decided to keep my blog the same since it involves some work and the majority like it as is. Thanks for your opinions! :) I appreciated it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How the Other Half Lives

I *adore* learning about how other people live and how different people can be! (Maybe I should have been a sociologist?) I guess that is why I am drawn to reading blogs and watching television shows like "House Hunters," "Wife Swap," "Supernanny," and lots more!

My current fave is "House Hunters International." If you've never seen it (and you're missing out!!), each episode follows someone (a couple, family, single person, etc.) as they look for a new home in somewhere other than the U.S. They tour three homes and then decide which home to purchase. You get an insider's look at homes in other countries and they also tell you the price in U.S. dollars. Too fun! :) Everything from fancy homes, to country homes, to small city apartments.

Maybe I watch it too often, though, because today Riley asked if we could watch an episode for school. My answer? "Absolutely not, Riley. Not during school time! We need to get your work done!" "But mom," she replied, "we're studying France right now and maybe they will be looking for a home in France!" Ah, my sweet daughter! She gets an A+ today for logic! :) (Oh, and I did check; there is an episode coming up on Friday that looks at homes in Paris! Oh la la! We will definitely have to watch that one soon. I've been to France twice and love it there!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our Kids . . .

are really cute! And sweet. And good-hearted. I'm totally biased. :) I love 'em. I need to remind myself of that on the occasional difficult day. So, here's a sweet reminder of the littlest (but biggest!) loves of my life:

Riley: Kind, honest, a cheerleader, helps without being asked, silly, polite, quiet, loud, great student, loves to read, loves to do devotions with mommy(!), is beginning to actually understand football, my favorite daughter (as I tell her often!).

(Rocking out to Guitar Hero w/her new haircut)

Quinn: Huge-hearted, serious, awesome pray-er, great giggles, tries really hard to obey(!), wears his heart on his sleeve, loves to be around me (even when I'm upset with him!), big helper, loud, cute sly smiles.

Owen: ornery, strong-willed, lots of hugs & kisses, silly, likes to play, likes to climb, is working on talking more and saying "yesh" (yes), big cuddler, did I mention absolutely ornery?? Oh, and strong-willed? (Today was a great day with my kids! I wrote this a few days ago but was having trouble posting it with the pictures.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cold Nights = Warm Meals!

I'm participating in OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday now! (She has a great blog, btw!) I hope to do this on a more regular basis now that we are dining in more often. I meal plan just about every single week, but don't post it too often here. Here's our (dinner) plan for the week (main dish only):

Sunday: Kielbasa
Monday: Chicken Divan (Riley's favorite!)
Tuesday: One-Pot Salsa Beef Skillet (Brad's night to cook)
Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner! Waffles, bacon, applesauce, & OJ!
Thursday: Crockpot Ribs & Mashed Potatoes
Friday: Movie night & dinner at church (where we eat hot dogs and popcorn)
Saturday: Couples' Night In at our house - we will enjoy a potluck! Who knows what all we will have? :)

What are your plans for the week? We are planning lots of WARM meals as it is starting to get very, very cold here! Brrrr!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cooking In and Staying In

By now I'm sure you've noticed that the HappyGoMommy! family loves to eat out. We do! Everything from chain restaurants, to carryout, to local little restaurants. Well, we've decided to see if we can go without eating out (including carryout!) for an entire month! We are not doing this because we need to save the money (though that will be nice), but rather, to see if we can actually not eat in restaurants for a month! This was a family idea, and I'll report later on how we're doing...!

I picked up groceries today for the next week and decided to include some fast family foods that we normally don't do - prepackaged chicken fajitas, frozen pizzas, etc. - in addition to all of the ingredients for my homemade meals. My theory is that if I have a few super-quick and low-mess foods on hand,we will be less tempted to dine out! When I do cook (usually most nights a week), I usually prepare my meals from scratch or mostly-from-scratch, and I do complete meals (dinner, side, veggie, fruit, bread, etc.). My sweet husband has also decided to prepare dinner once per week to give me a night off. He loves trying new recipes as much as I do, which I really appreciate! :) We have lots of cookbooks and recipe magazines around our home!

Do you have any meals that are super-simple to do when you are crunched for time or not wanting to prepare a full meal? If so, I would love to hear about them or receive your recipes.

Of course, this doesn't include eating out at friends' or family's homes, so feel free to invite us over if you'd like!! :) I'm sure we would appreciate the change of scenery, not to mention the conversation and good company. :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

You Say It's Your Birthday . . .

Today was my birthday! Yay! I had a great day with my family and enjoyed the day. We usually take school off when it is anyone's birthday (in the family!), but we decided to still have school today and do our school work. The kids were great for school and we got a lot accomplished. We are currently studying Europe and spent today learning about Norway. After that, we met my parents and Brad for lunch at Casa's (a local Italian restaurant - yum!!). I received some nice presents from my family (thanks!).

My sweet husband surprised me by telling me to enjoy an afternoon out and he would take care of the kids (including gym class) and straightening up the house. Yay! I headed off for a relaxing afternoon of reading & browsing at Border's, followed by shopping at the mall (thanks for the shopping money, Addie!), and getting my driver's license renewed (oh for joy! At least it was a good photo day!).

After hanging out with my family at home later on and opening presents (thanks, babe!), the five of us headed out for dinner. Very good! The kids wanted to go out for ice cream afterwards, but because Owen was starting to get fussy, we simply came home and had homemade sundaes for dessert! Much easier! I also came home to hear my favorite niece and nephew singing for me on my answering machine - too cute! Finally, our family spent some time playing games (of my choice!) and we played until I won. :) Yes, it took several games!

Thanks to all for my birthday cards, facebook comments, and gifts! I am especially thankful for my friends & family!

Monday, November 3, 2008


Be sure to vote today! Not sure where you vote? Or the voting hours? Call your local Republican or Democratic headquarters. Then go vote. Need a ride? Give me a call and I'll take you (if you live in IN of course!). :) No matter what happens, this is a historical election for our great country. I'd tell you who to vote for (if you don't know by now!), but you need to make your own informed decision. Now, go VOTE!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Night

Here's how a routine Sunday evening (my favorite, btw!) goes around HappyGoMommy's house:
Dinner - usually homemade pizza by Brad - yum!

Straightening up the house - kids have to help, of course!

Playing games with the kids - usually dominoes, cards, or "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" (which we usually are!)

Baths & bedtime for the kiddos

And finally, our time! Brad and I enjoy some football and enjoy hanging out for the rest of the evening. :) A great time to relax at the end of a weekend. I am usually folding baskets upon baskets of laundry while we watch a game and catch up on our lives with each other.
I love routines - though I also enjoy change! - and Sunday afternoons and evenings are especially nice. I think I just like them because they're comfy. :) Happy Sunday!

A Book & A Blog

I read a great book this past week and thought I'd share about it. Scratch Beginnings was written by Adam Shephard and in it, he writes about searching for the "American Dream." It is a true story of his life in 2007. He starts out with just $25 and heads to a southern city to see if he can succeed. His measurable goals were clear: at the end of the experiment (one year), he wanted to live in a furnished apartment, have an operable car, have $2500 in cash, and be in a position where he can continue to improve his circumstances (by going to school or starting a business).

The book is written in a very casual style, and if you can get past the language that some of the people he meets along the way use, it is a great read! You get a behind-the-scenes look at shelter life, being homeless, and trying to find a job without an education or degree. I think it gives a good look into how some of the poor live. Although some people have complained that he could not know what it is like to be truly poor, because he is a white male, college graduate (though he did not rely on that), with no dependents.

If you have heard of - or read - Nickel and Dimed, this is his rebuttal to that book. In that book, Barbara Ehrenreich discusses how the pursual of the American Dream is hopeless. I recommend you read them both and make your own conclusions. :) Let me know if you do - or if you have already read them!

And about a blog - I know I have mentioned this site before, but because I like it so much, it gets another mention! :) Have you checked out The Simple Dollar yet? Trent runs a GREAT site and his advice is excellent. I appreciate all of his advice and am trying to incorporate more of his tips into my daily life. Check it out if get a chance & let me know what you think!