Friday, April 30, 2010

Radium Girls!


We are one week away from the opening of our show!!  Of course, that means that the next week of my life is going to be jam-packed with rehearsals, costume adjustments, sound and light design, badgering encouraging parents to come volunteer at the performances, and cheering on my insanely talented cast of rockstars.  I have been so fortunate to be a part of this show and I must admit I enjoy directing a show almost as much as performing in one!  Someday I will do that again, but that's a post for another day.


Anyway, here's my plug for Radium Girls!  Playing at the River Arts Center in Prairie du Sac, this historical 1920s drama about health, wealth, and responsibility features a cast of extremely talented young people from Sauk Prairie High School.  Shows are Friday, May 7th and Saturday, May 8th at 7:00 pm and Sunday, May 9th at 2:00 pm.  Tickets are just $5 and are available at the door.

(And in case you're wondering....yes, they will be in costumes!  I just took these photos during a non-costume rehearsal.  The set is going to get fixed too.  I hope.) 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"But Mom! All the Cool Blogs are Doing It!"

I owe you all an apology.  There you sit at your computer (or on your Blackberry or iPhone or whatever other super-cool mobile device I cannot afford to own) reading the posts I painstakingly compose.  You smirk at my off-color quips, glace at yet another photo I have shared of the kiddos, and perhaps even click a link or two if you're bored or waiting to get on a plane or something.  For this, I thank you.  But it sure would be nice to offer you something more. 

I would love to be able to give you something.  I read a lot of blogs every day and, since I am a sucker for free stuff, I love it when my faves do giveaways of one thing or another.  I enter a lot, but win few.  In fact, I have only won once, but it was a circle cutter for scrapbooking which I was super-excited about.  Never mind that I won it after I had already spent my hard-earned, pre-Total Money Makeover money on a circle cutter.  That's not the point.

The point is that I won a cool item just for reading the blog.  I wish I could do that for you.  Now, there are some blogs that seem to go a bit overboard and are reviewing and giving away stuff literally all the time.  I take issue with all swag and no content, but that's not what I'm talking about.  It just would be nice to be able to host a giveaway every now and again to reward you for your loyalty and to celebrate that you put up with my rambling. 

Like now, for instance.  I'm rambling.

Sorry.  I need to figure out how to give away stuff.  That's all.  Thank you.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Evan says "Ni Hao!"

As I mentioned in yesterday's Project Life post, this has not been a particularly fun trip for Evan so far.  It's basically been a lot of mundane office work.  In fact, he spent about 13 hours in his hotel room on Sunday, just working on a single spreadsheet.  Fun stuff.  Mostly just to get me off his back about taking some photos, he took a walk on Sunday afternoon to give himself a break from his spreadsheet marathon and take some pictures. 

There was a park right next to Evan's hotel that he could see from the window of his room, so he made that his destination.


He has noticed that landscaping is a big deal in China.  Most every city he visits clearly puts a lot into making their parks and even their streets look as nice as possible. 




Is this guy giving me the finger?


Wait....nope.  False alarm!

Apparantly the theme of Evan's little outing was "Taking Photos of People Who are Taking Photos or Getting Their Photo Taken."


I have a feeling the "real" photographer was just out of frame in these.  Or perhaps people just dress much differently for a visit to the park than I am used to.  That's possible too, I suppose.

Evan said he noticed a LOT of people pointing at him and whispering amongst themselves.  As it turns out, they don't see a big white dude strolling through their park every day.  Go figure!  A couple students even ventured so far as to holler, "Allo!  How yoo doo-ing?"  I would have loved to see that. 

One week down, only one a half more to go!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm in Love

So tonight Isaiah climbed up next to me on the couch.  He put his head on my shoulder for a moment, then looked up at me, kissed me on the cheek and said, "Lub you Momma."

There are no words for how amazing that moment was.

Project Life Tuesday - April Week Four

Welcome to another installment of Project Life!  I look forward to Tuesdays every week because I just love to see what memories others are capturing through this project.  Click on the button if you'd like to do just that!

Sunday, April 18th - Striped polo shirt with striped pajama pants.  Seems like a perfectly acceptable outfit for a Sunday evening to me!

Monday, April 19th - Both my boys playing together.  They were giggling their little heads off and I was in Mommy heaven.

Tuesday, April 20th - It's not easy to unload the dishwasher when Isaiah decides he wants to pull a chair up to the sink and "wash."  He ends up flinging water everywhere, but I love how this photo is so representative of our daily life.  On a day like today, when Daddy isn't here, it's nice to have a taste of normal.

Wednesday, April 21st - I know I said last week that I needed to try to focus more on Micah this week.  But how could I resist choosing this one for the photo of the day?  It is a perfect picture of what Isaiah is like and I am madly in love with it....and him.

Thursday, April 22nd - We're at that stage where diaper changes are difficult because Micah insists on wiggling around like crazy and trying to chew on his toes!

Friday, April 23rd - I brought the boys to their grandparents' house today where they'll stay for the weekend while I'm at work.  They were surrounded by toys within about 10 minutes of being in the door!

Saturday, April 24th - I woke up this morning to empty beds.  I had to turn on the radio while I got ready for work because it was just too quiet!

Sorry I don't have any interesting photos from China to show you from this week.  Evan says things have been pretty boring over there, but I insisted that he still take some pictures for me.  Hopefully he will get around to sending me a couple next week! 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Baby Food - "See-in-the-Dark" Puree

Annabel Karmel calls this recipe the "See-in-the-Dark Puree" because it is jam packed with carrots that are treasure troves of Vitamin A and the boost of orange juice throws some Vitamin C in the mix. 

See-in-the-dark Puree
  • 1 small onion, diced (I only did half an onion to avoid it being too overpowering)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1/4 cup orange juice

Saute the in onion in the butter until softened.  Add the carrots and saute for 3 to 4 minutes.  Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
Add the orange juice and puree!

THE VERDICT - At first taste, Micah wasn't loving it.  I think I introduced it a bit too early though.  We back-tracked a bit and got him used to to just plain carrots first.  Once he had developed a taste for those, I tried this one again with big success!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Night Fever

A Saturday night all to myself?  No husband.  Just me and the dog.  What to do?  Scrapbook?  Relaxing bath?  Chick flick and a bottle of wine?

Oh, I took advantage alright.  After spending about 2 and a half hours making baby food, I really got crazy.

I swept and mopped my kitchen and dining room while listening to the Dave Ramsey Show online. 

Then I attacked Micah's room!

I emptied out his closet, vacuumed it, and sorted out all the piles of stuff.  I've already found lots that will end up in my garage sale in a couple weeks....

...including these beauties.  In the name of declaring war on our debt, my wedding dress and a bridesmaid dress are up for sale!

So, what did you do on your Saturday night?  Get as wild and crazy as I did?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Throwing Micah a Bone

When my last week of Project Life photos was finished, I realized I had a pretty Isaiah-heavy week.  I really wanted to make sure Micah made a stronger showing this week.  I'm not going to spoil the surprise for Tuesday by leaking my photos here, but I will tell you that so far there's a lot of Isaiah again.  Take Wednesday, for example.  I was taking adorable photos of Micah after dinner.  Darling photos.  Cuteness oozed out of him like the filling in a jelly donut (yumm....donuts).  And then Isaiah did something.  And I took a photo of it.  And the photo of the day was chosen.  I tried, really I did.  But it just so happened that the one photo I took of Isaiah was so out of the world amazing that I had no choice but to make it the POTD.  So, not to let them go to waste, here is a sampling of the photos I snapped of my Micah Mo before his brother went and stole his spotlight.





That, my friends is a scrapbook layout just waiting to happen.

You'll have to wait until Tuesday to see Isaiah's show-stealing photo though.  How's that for a cliffhanger?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Crimson Crustacean Revisited?

Sacrifices need to be made here.  I understand completely that if we are going to make this whole Total Money Makeover thing work, it is absolutely essential that I get a summer job to replace (and hopefully exceed) my substitute teaching income.  Considering that my availability is Monday thru Friday from the butt crack of dawn until 3:00 pm and my skills include teaching writing and bringing people food, it is pretty clear I need to find myself a second waitressing job for the summer.  It just so happens that I live about an hour away from a massive tourist town, Wisconsin Dells.  Throngs of people flock here every year to experience the waterparks, roller-coasters, and to see the rivers and hills if they come from an area that doesn't have those things.  The good news is that all those tourists need to eat.  Yay for me and finding a summer job!

Here's the problem.  I interviewed for a job on Wednesday at Cracker Barrel.  I nailed the interview, hit it out of the park.  The other manager was on an important company call at the time, so I wasn't able to be informed as to whether or not I had earned a second interview, but I'm already conflicted about how I feel about this job. 

I've worked in a corporate restaurant before.  I won't come right out and say the name, but let's call it the Crimson Crustacean.  There were rules, lots of rules.  Rules about how your hair could look, how your nails could look, and about the specific style of pants you wore.  We had pre-shift meetings called "Crustacean Talks."  (At the restaurant I worked at previously, they were "Learning Celebrations."  See the pattern here?)  They told you what to say at a table and not much room was left over for individual personality.  There were trainers, shift managers, store managers, general managers, district managers, and beyond.  I felt like poor Peter Gibbons in "Office Space" with 8 bosses asking what was up with his TPS reports.

Actually, "Office Space" is a perfect metaphor for my job.  Remember Joanna's manager at Chotchkie's?  That was my manager at Crimson Crustacean, only mine looked like more of a troll.  I'm dead serious.

I made great money at Crimson Crustacean, but I hated my job.  I still remember asking Evan to hit me in the face with a tack hammer so I wouldn't have to go to work.  A lot of the servers I worked with were wonderful and I am still friends with a handful.  I just couldn't deal with all the baggage working for a corporate restaurant came with and now I'm facing the decision of re-entering that world again after 4 years of working at a casual, family-owned restaurant where my individual personality is celebrated rather than discouraged.  Even at the first interview, the manager rattled off all the regulations they enforce - earring style and size, where the creases should be in the apron and pants, how many rings are allowed (one on each hand), acceptable hairstyles, "server absolutes," the fabric the shirt must be made from, etc.  I could feel the corporate noose tightening already and I hadn't even been hired yet.

Can I really suck it up and suffer through another round of Chotchkie-like hell?  Even if it is just for the summer?  Is it worth it?  Or do I roll the dice and turn down the job if it is offered to me and keep looking for something a little more my style?  Offer your sage widsom, please. 

P.S.  If you recall how Joanna finally quit her job at Chotchkie's in the movie.....well, I wanted to do that several times.  I don't really like talking about my flair, either.

Planting Trees with Daddy

Obviously Evan is in China right now, so these aren't super-current videos.  They're from last Saturday when Isaiah got to "help" Daddy plant his new birthday trees.  But, in honor of Earth Day, I figured they were appropriate to share today.

Isn't he such a big dude??

UPDATE: By the way, I do have China news to report.  After 34 hours of traveling, Evan is safe and sound in Yuhaun.  I think it's safe to say that he'd rather not do that again for quite some time!  I'll update again when I know more!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

$5 Money-Maker from Walgreens

Talk about a good deal!  This goes beyond saving money, people.  I just earned a $5.00 profit by shopping at Walgreens!  Here's how it works:

The Nature's Bounty D-1000 vitamins are on special at Walgreens for $5.00 this week (until Saturday!) and you also get hooked up with a $5.00 Register Reward with purchase.  (please excuse the crappy phone photo)
This is already a good deal because you're getting the vitamins for FREE....but it gets even better!!  Here's how you can turn this into a $5 money-maker:

1.  Go to Nature Bounty Rewards and register for an account.
2.  Enter the following codes....

2099 -18576402

51135 -18576402

27602 -18576402

17139 -18576402

2386 -18576402

2532 -18576402
3.  This will add 600 points to your account.
4.  Click on "Redeem my Points Now" and make sure you're on a computer that supports the coupon printing program and you have your printer hooked up, turned on, and ready to go.
5.  Select the $5.00 coupon at the bottom
6.  Print the coupon!
Next, head on over to Walgreeens and buy the D-1000 vitamins using your online coupon.  Price: FREE!  Then the nice clerk will hand you your $5.00 Register Rewards coupon to use on your next purchase, just like this one I got this morning:

PROFIT $5.00!!!  SCORE!

Why are you still here??!!  Hop on this, people.  The sale only runs until Saturday and a little birdie told me you can use the back button on your browser to print the coupon more than once!

You can thank me later.  As for me, I'm thanking Smart Couponing for alerting me to this deal!

Grandma's Car

The last time Evan went to China, I did this
to his car.  It was an unfortunate incident involving our mailbox, a radio playing far too loud, and a particularly exciting shipment of prints from Snapfish.  I felt like such a fool for doing something so stupid.  Anyway, over Evan's birthday weekend, his parents came over and took Evan's car back to Waupun to get the scratch fixed.  And the engine repair.  And the brakes.  Oy.  

In the meantime, the in-laws left their Mountaineer behind for us to use while our car was being fixed.  Isaiah was over-the-moon that we got to drive "Grandma's car!"  He announced to the babysitter when we pulled in the driveway that Monday morning, "Grandma's car!"  He climbs up into his carseat, looks around and announces "Big!"  Driving down the highway, he expresses his belief that this SUV thing is "Fun!"  

I have used a ride in Grandma's car as a way of getting him out of bed in the morning.  I have used a ride in Grandma's car to pull him out of a "No I won't put my socks and shoes on so we can leave and Mommy can get to work on time" tantrum. 

We're going to miss Grandma's car. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Here I Go Again on My Own

Like that hair band reference in the title?  Nice, huh?

View Larger Map

Evan left for China again today.  Poor thing has a 14 hour flight ahead of him before landing in Shanghai and then he has to endure a 6 hour layover before the next flight to Wenzhou and then comes the drive to Yuhuan.  He won't finally reach his destination that he'll be staying at for a few days until it is 11:00 am tomorrow (our time)!!  Horrible.
I think this day is always the worst of his trips.  There's just this sense of foreboding that the entire length of the absence is still stretching out in front of you, taunting you with its thereness.  Pretty sure "thereness" is not a word, but I'm going with it anyway.  The boys and I have a few days to spend together before they get to have their first lengthly absence from Mommy that doesn't involve a hospital stay.  Up to this point, the only time I have been apart from either of my children has been while in the hospital - giving birth to Micah and my gallbladder surgery.  And now they're going to spend the entire weekend at their Grandma and Grandpa's house!  I realize this is going to be harder on me than it will be on them, but I'm freaking out a bit all the same.  It will be a good warm-up to prepare me for the last leg of this trip, when the boys will spend an entire week at my mom and dad's! 

Oy vey.  Can I say that?  Is it kosher for me to say that? 

I have no idea what I'm talking about.  I get weird when Evan's gone.  Weirder than usual, that is.

So, what do you do when you've got some serious alone adult time on your hands?  Read a book, scrapbook, watch a good movie, finger paint?  I need to plan ahead here, people.

Oh wait.  I have a garage sale to plan for, closets to clean out, baby food to make and stock, a computer hard drive to sort through & defrag, photos to sort, a kitchen to scrub, windows to clean, and a play to direct. 

Never mind.  I'm set.

Project Life Tuesday - April Week Three

We started our week with Evan's birthday then started to prepare for the next China trip.  The good news about that is that we should have some more photos from the other side of the planet for next week's Project Life!  In the meantime, be sure to check out Jessica's blog via the button below for more Project Life.

Sunday, April 11th - Evan's 29th birthday!  I wasn't able to get a decent photo of the birthday boy today , but we spent a good portion of the afternoon outside grilling.  My flower bed is in full bloom and I am just thrilled with how good it looks! (There was a pretty good one of Evan with his birthday cake on last week's Project Life post.)

Monday, April 12th - We're supposed to be trying to get Micah to drink from a sippy cup already.  So far, we've succeeded in adding another teething toy to his stash.

Tuesday, April 13th - Hello lover.

Wednesday, April 14th - We were playing outside when Isaiah decided to crawl into one of our bushes and hide.  His arms got all scratched to heck, but he had a blast.  Oh, and he took advantage of the privacy in there and filled his diaper.  Awesome.

Thursday, April 15th - I brought the boys along with me to our costume fittings for the play and Isaiah, ever the socialite, he was more than willing to share his enthusiasm for "Yeehaw!" with my cast.

Friday, April 16th - I've finally started the process of figuring out what's up with the joint pain I have been having for a while and I have to wear a wrist brace for work now.  Isaiah got a hold of it and it's much cuter on him than on me!

Saturday, April 17th - Nothing pleases Isaiah  more than to be able to help Daddy with a project.  Today he got to help him plant a couple new trees in the yard!

Hmmm....kind of an Isaiah-heavy week.  Note to self: more photos of Micah next week!  Oh, and photos of China.  Got it.  Stay tuned!

Monday, April 19, 2010

FREE Nursing Cover!

If you are going to be in need of a baby shower gift at any time in the near future or if you're pregnant (or nursing) and would like to score a wicked deal on a nursing cover, you should really check out this amazing offer.  Udder Covers (yup, that's the real name) is offering a FREE nursing cover right now!  Just go to the website, add the nursing cover of your choice to your shopping cart, and enter code BABIESONLINE and all you'll pay is $9.95 for shipping.  This is an absolute steal for this item.

I've ordered two of these for baby gifts for people!  Let me know if you use this freebie and which pattern you chose.  I really like the Jones pattern, but the Laila would be so pretty if the baby is a girl.  I think it is so pretty!

Baby Food - Squash, Carrots and Peas

A very simple, nutritious recipe!

Squash, Carrots and Peas
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped butternut squash
  • 3 medium to large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

Put the chopped squash and carrots in a saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the frozen peas and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Puree in a food processor with as much of the cooking liquid as needed to acquire a smooth consistency.

And here's the yield! Wrap your ice cube trays nice and tight in plastic wrap, label, and freeze.

Carrots are baby food gold.  They are packed with Vitamin A and improve night vision and their sweet taste are easily accepted by Baby.

THE VERDICT - Micah really likes this recipe.  The squash makes it very smooth and the peas add a nice dose of greens to the mix.  I hope you give this one a try because it's a pretty solid recipe. 

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