Thursday, September 30, 2010

Micah - One Year Photos

These photos are long overdue, but I have finally got my slovenly butt moving to share them with you.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to choose only a handful from 91 super adorable photos?  Thanks to Jenn Van Wyk Photography, I had way too many great shots to try to sort through to pick just a few highlights to share with you here on the blog.  Jenn and I have been friends for a few years now (has it really been five years, Jenn??) and it's been really thrilling to watch her launch her photography business into something really special.  If you're in the greater Madison area and are looking for a photographer (wedding, portrait, seniors, etc.) with great talent at a reasonable price, check out her website.  Or maybe you'd just like to read about her quirky dog, her obsession with all things Apple, or how her hubs wears flip-flops in the dead of winter.  In that case, to the blog with you!  Either way, stop by and give her my love, ok?

On with the cuteness that is my (one year old) baby boy!

And there are only 86 more for me to choose from!  How the heck am I going to pick prints to order?  Oh such troubles I have. 

And don't even get me started on those blue eyes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Isaiah's Star Wars Video

Every once in a while, Isaiah will ask to watch a "Star Wars video" on the computer.  Usually I just do a quick YouTube search and find a couple to view, but when I found this one today, even I wanted to watch it again! 

So even if you've never seen Star Wars before (oh the horror!!), here's a quick synopsis......Lego style.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Project Life Tuesday - September Week Four

Welcome once again to Project Life Tuesday! I am taking a photo every day in 2010 and putting them together in an album to create a unique keepsake of this year for our family. Be sure to check in on what others are doing with their project over at The Mom Creative!


Sunday, September 19th - (Evan's pic from China)   Photo of an outdoor seafood restaurant that is absolutely huge.  We went there for dinner one night, but didn’t stay after we saw the raw seafood outside with flies on it.  It’s a pretty cool concept and very popular.  There were tons of cars were driving in as we were leaving.


Monday, September 20th - I'm not crazy about how the angle of this photo makes me look chubby, but I was crazy excited to pick up my boys from their Grandma's house after living my myself for 5 days!  I was so happy to see my babies again!


Tuesday, September 21st - I wish you could hear what Isaiah was saying as he used his socks for hand puppets.  He would drop his voice really low and ask, "Hewwo.  I Isaiah.  What yer name?"  So cute!


Wednesday, September 22nd - Micah is going to be Buzz Lightyear for Halloween.  Today he tried on the costume that his big brother wore only last year....when Micah was 7 weeks old.  It fit perfectly.  Yikes.


Thursday, September 23rd - Someday Micah will be so embarassed that I took this photo, but right now I think it's one of the most adorable things ever!


Friday, September 24th -  That ridiculously loud toy Micah got for his birthday is a huge hit!  Yet another toy whose permanent home is the playroom in the basement.

Saturday, September 25th - I stopped at Walgreens and found this Batman mask and cape on the clearance rack for $5 so I couldn't resist the urge to snag them for Isaiah.  His face lit up and he wore them the whole day, making random superhero poses and proclaiming, "I Batman!"


Thanks for looking and enjoy your week!  See you back here again next Tuesday.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Today I am home sick.  No, not "homesick," but I am at home feeling ill.  I had a fever come on really quickly last night and I rapidly progressed to feeling horrible.  Sore and swollen throat, cough, aches, fever, nausea, all the good stuff.  I went to bed at 9:30.  This morning, after Evan left to bring the kids to the babysitter, I went back to bed until 10:00 am.  I never do that. 

Today I am taking our car in to get the brakes fixed.  It's making a nasty metal on metal grinding sound.  Thank goodness for our "Car Repairs/Maitenance" budget envelope or I would be hyperventilating right now.

Today my darling neighbor offered to pick me up from said repair shop so I'm not stuck there hacking and feeling crappy in a waiting room the whole day.  Isn't she awesome?

Today I am using a rolled up Mary Kay brochure to swat flies.

Today I have a pork roast in the crock pot with brown sugar, salsa, and Pepsi.  It was a recipe I found on one of my couponing blogs and I decided to try it.  Only the recipe called for Coke, but I didn't have any.  I used Pepsi.  This might be my biggest mistake next to actually attempting this recipe.  Only time will tell on this one.

And because every good blog post needs a photo:

What are you up to today?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Superhero Halloween!

We're on a big superhero kick in this house.  Whenever Isaiah watches The Incredibles or sees a superhero on TV, he assumes what I like to call "the stance" and sings his little superhero theme song before quickly demonstrating his karate chop or high kick skills.  He runs around the house with a dish towel tied around his neck, claiming to be Superman.  He crashes his toy helicopter and as the little Batman figure comes crashing to the ground, he will holler "Batman fall!  Copter crash!!" 

Still, neither Superman nor Batman would be the one to capture his imagination and fascination for Halloween this year.  When given the choice, my boy whole-heartedly decided he had to be....


I can't wait to see how cute he's going to look with those muscles and that adorable mask!

As for Micah....he fits into the Buzz Lightyear costume that Isaiah wore last year

Micah was 7 weeks old at the time.  It fits him now.

Lord have mercy.

What are your kids going to be for Halloween this year?  How about you?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wine & Food Lovers Rejoice!

One Kings Lane has wonderful deals today for the wine & food lover on your gift list (or for yourself!)

There are free coasters, bowls, serving utensils, and much more after your $15 credit for signing up!

Here's what is tempting me from today's offerings:

This picnic cooler for two would be just perfect for a trip to American Players Theatre.  With the $15 sign-up credit you get for signing up with One Kings Lane, this ultra-chic gift would be only $24!
An even better score would be this wine bottle carrier tote (for 2 wine bottles) for FREE!
I am also really digging this collapsible cooler that holds 6 wine bottles, 12 beer bottles, or an entire 24 pack of cans!  This would make a wonderful gift (seriously tempted here....) and would set you back only $10 for a new One Kings Lane sign-up!

And this's just beautiful! 
And finally, I think this would make a wonderful gift for anyone who spends any amount of time in the kitchen.  I have a butcher block in my kitchen and I just LOVE it.  This one would be only $4 after your $15 credit!  (Laelia Chop Block by Core Bamboo)

Seriously, you can do some serious damage on your shopping list on One Kings Lane again today.  And with a $15 credit to start you off, how can you go wrong??

I picked up a little something for us plus two gifts today!  Wahoo!!

$100 to Picaboo for only $25!

Just popping in real quick to let you know that the Picaboo Groupon is back!  Check under Pittsburgh to find the $100 to Picaboo for $25 deal.  This is a great company for making quality photo books and you really can't beat this deal!  Click here to score yours!

Debt Sucks So We're Not Doing That Anymore!

So how's that Total Money Makeover thing coming along?

I'm so glad you asked!  It's been a while since an update in this department, so I figure we're about due for one.  If you'll recall, we started this whole crazy idea back on May 1st, when we decided we were through with debt once and for all and were going to do something about it.  Evan and I both read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and agreed that this simple plan was our best shot at taking control of our finances. 

The first thing we did was to get a $1000 emergency fund.  I can't trust myself to have that money in an account at the bank where I could easily click the mouse a couple times and use it, so we stashed the cash away somewhere safe. 

Next, we established a budget for the first time in our lives.  We use this Excel spreadsheet from Enemy of Debt with a couple slight modifications and it has worked very well for us.  You can download it for free from his website if you are interested.  We also made a list of our non-mortgage debt from smallest balance up to the highest and focused in on paying them off, one by one.

Shortly after accepting this challenge, we had a huge garage sale and applied every single dollar of profit toward paying off our first credit card!
That was a fun day for me!

Since chopping up that first credit card, we have stayed energized and kept things going!  Here are some of the things that we have discovered work really well:

  • Have a standing budget "date" every week - We do our budget every Sunday night after the kids go to bed.  At that time, we enter any bills that got paid that week into our spreadsheet, add up any receipts that didn't come out of our envelopes, and disperse cash into our envelopes for the following week.  At first, this was an unpleasant and time-consuming process, but we've gotten much better at it!

  • Use CASH and an envelope system - It certainly helps that I work at a job where I get paid in cash, but I highly recommend you use cash even if you're a direct deposit person.  It keeps you honest.  Anyway, we budget a certain amount of money for several different categories (Pet Supplies, Groceries & Baby stuff, Car Insurance, House Maintenance, Scrapbooking/Photos, etc).  Every Sunday night, we put cash into each corresponding envelope and enter it on our spreadsheet.  For example, if your monthly car insurance budget is $80, we put $20 every week into the envelope.  When the bill comes due, you've got the money you need all ready to go!  We lump the grocery, restaurant, baby, health & beauty, and cleaning money all into one envelope and I carry it with me at all times.  When the money is gone, STOP SPENDING

  • Get excited about your victories - I was so psyched when we paid off that first credit card.  I was even more pumped when we paid off the second!  We are only one more payment away from being rid of Evan's student loan and that only gets me more excited to keep going and attack our next credit card.  With every balance gone, get that much more energized about going after the next one.  It's fun!  We're trying to come up with something creative for our next credit card destruction photo.  Any ideas??

Wow, this post is starting to get quite a bit longer than I expected, so we'll call it quits here.  Overall, we're doing pretty well on our TMMO and are making progress.  Living on a budget is getting easier all the time and it's actually more manageable than I expected.  I look forward to sharing our next destroyed debt with you!

Any questions?  Suggestions? 

To follow our Total Money Makeover journey from the start click here!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Harry Potter Trailer!!

I am so jazzed!!!

I'm thinking November 20th might have to be our next date night.  Who wants to babysit???

Book Review: Columbine by Dave Cullen

I was a sophomore in high school when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris laid siege to Columbine High School in Colorado.  I remember coming home from school that day and being transfixed by the media coverage and the atmosphere of my high school would never be the same.  We were scared and confused.  I think what scared me, and most parents, the most was that there was no way to know if that could have just as easily have been our high school and our students who were under attack.  The murders at Columbine captured the nation's attention like nothing we had ever seen, but we were being fed a lot of misinformation.  It has taken ten years, but journalist Dave Cullen has produced an impressive compilation of the true story of Columbine, down to minute-by-minute details, background into the killers' psyche, and the mishandling of information and resources by the local law enforcement agencies.....

To read my review of Columbine by Dave Cullen in its entirety, visit The Book Nook Club!  (P.S.  The author left a comment on my review!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Great Gift Deals at One Kings Lane!

I just found One Kings Lane today and I'm so glad I did!!  When you sign up for the first time (for FREE) you get a $15 credit applied to your account so you can score some of these awesome deals for cheap, cheap, cheap or maybe even free!! 

I jumped on this laptop case by Built:
It only ended up costing me $17.95 after my $15 credit was applied and I paid for shipping.  I'll take it!  There are some other really super cute laptop cases and other electronic cases in this section, but they're selling out fast!

Like this one for $1 after your $15 credit:

This one would be only $4 before shipping:
Or this set of 4 USB protectors would be FREE!!
There are also some really cute eco-friendly water bottles on sale today as part of the daily deals that would be free after your $15 sign-on credit!  I like this one:
There are new deals every day, so if you're looking for a great discount site that offers high-end products at a fraction of the cost, check out One Kings Lane.  Or, even if you just want to get in on today's deals for a particular item (like I did for the laptop case), hurry over before the item you want is gone!  (Just please use my link so I get the referral credit....did I mention that part??)  :)

UPDATE:  After I placed my order, a friend alerted me to the fact that the laptop case I had picked would be too small for my computer!  Oh no!  Panic and flushed cheeks quickly struck me, but I hopped right on the phone to customer service and a very polite woman took good care of me.  We changed my order from the black case to this sassy red laptop sleeve:
It's even cheaper than my first order and will fit my laptop.  Happy Dance!!


I was in the library at the high school on Monday, getting the computers set up for a class I had coming in to do a standardized test.  All of a sudden, a student sitting behind me asked me a question:

"Were you at the Justin Moore concert?"

Of course, the concert to which she is referring was Star Fest, back at the end of May.  Yup....I was there. 

"Yup, that was me!" I replied back quickly.  There was a slight flicker in her eye as she continued to look at me, wondering if I was going to say anything else.  Suddenly I understood why she was looking at me so funny and I added,

"And I'm 27 years old so I had every right to be doing anything you may have witnessed me doing."

A knowing smirk immediately struck her face.

If you want to know what I was up to that night, you can read about it here.  It frightens me a little that a student who I don't even know personally would recognize me after five months and two haircuts.  Maybe I had a little more fun than even I remember!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Project Life Tuesday - September Week Three

Welcome once again to Project Life Tuesday! I am taking a photo every day in 2010 and putting them together in an album to create a unique keepsake of this year for our family. Be sure to check in on what others are doing with their project over at The Mom Creative!

Sunday, September 12th - Micah's first birthday party was a huge success!  I love his face here as he looks to me to see what this thing is in front of him.   Turns out, he likes cake.

Monday, September 13th - Today was Micah's 12 month checkup and he has finally dropped below the 100th percentile for weight....he's down to the 98th percentile!  Yikes.


Tuesday, September 14th - My little model worked it like a pro at his one year photo shoot.  Thank you once again to Jenn Van Wyk for taking photos for us, despite the mosquitos the size of sparrows!


Wednesday, September 15th - I went a little wild with Photoshop on this one, but I love how happy Isaiah was to be sitting on his Grandpa's tractor.


Thursday, September 16th - These pumpkin spice cookies are one of the new temptations at the restaurant I work at.  This is why it's hard for me to keep the weight off!


Friday, September 17th - I had three books on my hold list come in to the library, so I decided to hurry up and finish the current book I'm reading (the top one).  You can read my review of In This Way I Was Saved at The Book Nook Club.  (Thanks for the photo idea, Delane!)


Saturday, September 18th - With Evan in China and the boys off at their Grandma's house, this is how I spent my time when I got home from work....watching my Badgers, hanging out on Tweet Deck, and drinking a Diet Cherry Pepsi.  Love it!


Have a wonderful week!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review: In This Way I Was Saved by Brian DeLeeuw

I was scared to read this book. The description on the back cover coupled with a disturbing child-like drawing that was included with my copy of the novel left me feeling very uneasy and downright frightened to read it. Nevertheless, I mustered up my courage and opened it up. Surprisingly, I found I did not want to put it down.....

To read my review in its entirety, visit The Book Nook Club!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Micah's Birthday Party

The way I see it, the first birthday is kind of a big deal.  There's the traditional cake smashing (we'll get to that later), the excitement of seeing your baby as not-so-much a baby anymore, and you still have a shot at getting to open up some super cute clothes before you end up needing to ask for things like sneakers, socks, and undies.  I tend to throw a larger scale shindig for my kids' first birthday and then scale it back a bit for their following ones.  Of course, now that Isaiah actually has friends his own age, all that might be thrown out the window.  I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

No theme or anything for Micah's party, just a good excuse to get together, trash a playroom, and have cake.
This playroom certainly earned its polka dots today!  And thanks again to everyone who actually cleaned it up before you came upstairs!  I went down there after the party was over, expecting to find it looking like a twister had hit, but everything was so neat and tidy.  My people rock.

Micah wasn't entirely sure at first what this thing was I was holding out to him, but I love how this photo almost looks like he's saying, "This Mommy?  Can I eat this??"

To which I would respond, "Sure, baby.  Dig in!"

And dig in he did.

In fact, the dye in the frosting was so strong, the skin on his nose and cheeks were tinted for the rest of the day!

The comment I got on this photo when I put it on Facebook was, "Micah - 1 Cake - 0"  Love it!  Isaiah looks so happy and proud of his brother, doesn't he?  Oh and take a second to notice Micah's bib.  Practically spotless.  Now look at his face.  Honestly, child!

Speaking of happy kids check out Isaiah at the head of the table here.  The look on his face, the Packers jerseys, the juice boxes.  This is just pure, unadulterated bliss right here. 

And this?  Well, this is me saying to my aunt, "This toy looks LOUD."  Of course, that toy is the one the boys immediately had to bust out of the box the second the cars all pulled out of the driveway.  It is, in fact, very loud.  They love it.

All in all, it was a very successful party.  Great turnout, lots of rugrats running around everywhere, and a good time was had by all.  Now we get to do it all again in November!  :)

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