Thursday, April 27, 2006

Not-so-Good Day

Yesterday was I day I'd rather not repeat. It started out uneventful. I dropped Tati off at her friend Isabel's house for a before school playdate. Tati just looooooooooovvves Isabel! She tells me this all the time. Then I took a detour to stop by Josh & Stephanie's house under construction. Great house guys! Looks nice from the outside. I get home and promptly locked Sienna in the car. With my keys in the ignition. And the spare key in my purse laying on the passenger seat. Yep, locked her in. At least she was safe, right? Lots of panicking on my part. Had to call the Boone County Sheriff to get her out. Of course they don't carry slim-jims any more due to legal hassles. They outsource the slim-jimming to someone else. What is with all the outsourcing these days? The Village of Capron outsources their permit issuing as well. Doesn't anyone actually do their own work anymore? Wish I could outsource my cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, etc.

Next part I don't want to repeat is the Battle of the Vegetables. For those who don't have toddlers/preschoolers, let me tell you, it can get ugly. There was gnashing of teeth on both ends. There was crying & complaining. I finally got Tati to put her one piece of carrot and one tiny piece of broccoli in her mouth and chew 'em up. But she couldn't swallow. She was grossing herself out. She gagged. Then she vomited her entire dinner onto herself and the floor. I was so mad. Mad. Mad. Mad. They're only vegetables. Not worms or bugs or anything truly gross. I took a breather outside. I will have to come up with a different vegetable eating tactic. I think we're going to try to focus on one vegetable at a time. We've got a lot to choose from too since the only vegetable she'll eat is corn. (French fries don't count!) Anywho, I came across a great blog for moms of young people. You must check it out. There are links at the top right to the different categories of posts as well as some other family links further down.

Any vegetable eating suggestions welcome. Leave me a comment. Oh, and just so you know, first thing I did after Sienna was released from the car was to put the spare key back in the junk drawer where it belongs.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Family Life

Since my internet was knocked out for the weekend, I've been unable to post anything. Then Sunday, I tried to post but I didn't think it worked--apparently it did. We have been spending A LOT of time outside. Sienna is the family dirtball: she goes straight for the rake and her little patch of soil. Tatiana never liked even the thought of getting all dirty, let alone to go and do it. I can't wait to start picking out some plants and making the yard look pretty. Well, it doesn't look too bad now, but it definitely could use some work. I just received a used patio bench, chair, and table, which I will be working on "updating" in the next few weeks. You know, spray paint, new chair pads, etc.

Here's a photo of the family from Easter: starting from the bottom left is my grandma with Tatiana, me with Sienna, my mom in the upper left, my brother Justin and my Aunt Gigi. It was a lovely day to get together. We ate so much though, both Rick & I had a stomache that night. We could hardly sleep!!

I have been doing some research online to start a homemaking notebook. I want to include things like copies of my grocery list, copies of important documents, cleaning lists, and the like. I have found some places with free downloadable forms which I'm planning on using. You can read about the notebook here and here. I also recently came across these websites about being a better homemaker. Check them out for yourself if you have time: choosing home and Christian homemaking. I can't wait to start including more homemaking goodies and links in my blog. Anyone have any homemaking sites they want to share? Leave me a comment!

this is only a test

testing 1, 2, 3...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Perfect Hard-boiled Eggs

As it turns out, perfectly hard-boiled eggs aren't even boiled at all!

Place eggs in pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally while heating to help yolks settle into the middle of the egg (for deviled eggs). When water comes to a rolling boil, turn heat off & cover. Let sit for 12 minutes. Drain and put in bowl of ice water, until cooled. Peel. Eggs will have brightly colored yellow yolks and should be perfectly cooked.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Tati: I made a picture of a hero. Wanna see it?
me: Yeah.
Tati: It's a picture of you.
me: *gulp*

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Culinary Tip #3

The "Scoop"
Invest in several size muffin scoops, as they have many different uses. Using "scoops" will help your baked items have uniformity, meaning they will be done baking at the same time & will look prettier since they'll all be the same size. Buy a scoop with a sturdy mechanism for turning out your dough. I *love* the brand OXO. They make superb kitchen products. You can buy them at Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond. I'm sure a Linens 'N Things carry them as well. The small scoops can be used for little cookies, portioning mini-muffin batter, and making meatballs. I have a medium sized scoop that I use for cookies all the time. It makes a good sized cookie. I also use it for ice cream, portioning cupcakes & muffins, and for making uniform pancakes. I suppose you could also use it for scooping mashed potatoes or cole-slaw like some cafes do, although I've never tried it myself.

Domestic Diva Tip #1

Cleaning the Microwave
To prevent splatters in the first place, it's best to try and cover anything with the potential for messiness. The inevitable splatter, though, manages somehow to occur. I've spent years scrubbing, spraying Fantastik, using kitchen wipes, etc. NO MORE! I've heard this technique mentioned but never tried it. Put a half of a lemon cut side up in a bowl filled with a little bit of water (about half-way up the lemon) and microwave for 5 minutes. Most of the splatters will just wipe away with a paper towel. Yep, it's that simple. Or if you're like dear friend {M}, you could just buy a new microwave when it gets beyond cleaning!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

{Living Mindfully}

If you believe Easter is all about the image at left, you are sadly mistaken. I was disappointed to listen to a friend of a friend talk all about her Easter plans. Coloring eggs. Filling baskets. Chocolate Bunnies. No mention of Jesus in there. I guess even if she had mentioned church, that really may not mean anything as many people are Easter/Christmas church-goers. I have tried to live mindfully this last week & really stay focused on what Easter is all about. Last night as I was putting Sienna to bed, after laying her in the crib, I stepped on and crushed a plastic egg. I was *instantly* struck with the thought that in the same way I crushed this egg beneath my foot, Jesus' body was broken for me. It was such a graphic and appropriate reminder! Then today while driving home from some family festivities, I thought of Him and Easter when listening to the lyrics of a song:

It's all about you, Jesus. And all this is for You, for Your glory and Your fame. It's not about me, as if You should do things my way. You alone are God and I surrender, to Your way. Jesus ~ Lover of my soul, all consuming fire is in Your gaze. Jesus ~ I want You to know, I will follow You for all my days. For no one else in history is like You and history itself belongs to You....

Isn't that really what Easter is all about? It's not about the Easter bunny. It's not about the basket. It's not about the fancy dresses or the big meal or even the church service. It's all about Jesus.
It's so much easier to just live a robotic life, not to think critically about what we watch, what we read, about our choices. So much easier not to live mindfully of the world around us. Easier, but not better. It was Robert Frost in a famous poem who said, "Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by." When we live conciously, we live a much better and fuller life. I hope that I can live everyday in light of Easter and the hope that He has given me.

Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.
1. The Road Not Taken
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

May you chose the road that leads to eternity, the one that is less traveled by. It really will make all the difference.

{Easter Basket}

So here's an Easter basket full of blogging goodies for those faithful readers out there. It's been awhile since I posted any layouts so here's a two-fer. This first one "Boobers" was one I had in my head for awhile & just stems from a desire to preserve Sienna's nickname. The journaling reads:

We named her Sienna Jade. I used to love calling her "bubbly, bubbly baby". Somehow it got shortened to "boobers". And the name just stuck.

t's hard to tell from the picture, but there's a frame of sewing machine stitching around the picture of Sienna. The little journaling circles are stitched as well. I just love this picture of Sienna. It's just so her. Classic Sienna face!

This layout, "Cousins", was made after a recent visit by the Sweigert girls. There is more machine stitching along the top of the patterned paper. The journaling reads:

I remember when Ashley was just a baby. I remember when Jessica took her first steps. And here they are now. Teenagers. With my children. Playing and laughing and holding and caring the same way I did with them. One minute I am buzzing Diana's apartment doorbell and
I hear Ashley's feet running to greet me and the next minute I am altering her prom dress. Makes me want to hold Tatiana and Sienna tight. My girls. My 4 girls.

I had so much fun doing this one. It's so springy too. Just puts me in a good mood looking at it!!
Last weekend the girls had some Spring activities with Grandpa Rich & Grandma Renee. We had a chilly egg hunt outside which the kids enjoyed, although I think the chocolate eating afterwards was probably more enjoyable. I did have a plan to color Easter eggs this year. I even bought the egg-dyeing kit and 2 dozen eggs. I just never got around to it. Ran out of energy. I think it's been Rick's work schedule taking a toll this last week. Just don't have the oomph to do all the things I wanted to do this week. Rick did have Friday off which was nice. We went to Noodles & Co. for dinner and then to Harvest in Crystal Lake for a Good Friday service. They showed clips of Passion of the Christ, which I've seen before, but yet I still almost threw-up watching it. It was a good reminder of what Christ went through for us.

Yesterday we were blessed to have a visit from Grandma Ania. We went to lunch at Panera & went for a short visit to Babcia's house. Tatiana loved having her Grandma here. Ania rode in the back seat next to her everywhere we went. Grandma also bought the girls some things at Target including a new Care Bear, a Dora rolling suitcase and a Little Tikes picnic table. Tatiana was happy with her new purchases. That was on top of all the goodies she got from her Babcia!! Thanks guys!!

More later.........

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Blogger Challenge

Random Challenge of the day:
Let's name some celebrity crushes. Who did you like as a kid, who did you like as a teenager, who do you like now?

Um, I can't really say I had any celebrity crushes as a kid, but as a teenager, it was Jason Priestly {Brandon Walsh on Beverly Hills 90210}. I used to have a huge poster of him on the back of bedroom door. I'd plant a kiss or blow him one at least once a day. Yep, I'm embarrassed now. My face is feeling flushed. Anywho...which celebrity do I like now? I still like Tom Cruise despite all his bad publicity & am a huge Michael Vartan fan {Alias, Never Been Kissed}. I can't leave out Matt Damon or Matthew Fox either. So now a little bit more about me has been demystified.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tati Talk

So many of the things Tatiana says are noteworthy {and chuckleworthy} for that matter, I thought I'd preserve them for posterity. And maybe I'll make a layout about them at some point.

1. She says "handy-downs" instead of "hand-me-downs". She got the term from Cheaper by the Dozen 2, although she doesn't know what it means. I keep telling her that we'll get her some at a garage sale. It's kinda the same thing, right??So if anyone out there has some summer clothes sized 5/6, this girl really wants handy-downs!!!

2. Not so much something she said, but something she did. So, I'm teaching her how to use my phone in case of emergencies & normally I have to bribe her to even talk on the phone. Well this morning, while I was indisposed, she called my Dad by arrowing down to my recent calls and hitting send. I think she thought she was calling her dad. When my dad answered, she used her good manners and said, "I'm sorry. I must have the wrong number." and hung up {I'm so proud!} So she tried again. My dad realized the situation at hand and told her who he was. She said, "OOOHH." and started up a conversation. I came into the room at the point where she announced, "Your dad called again." Nice try kid.

Hope you had a chuckle or two. Or three.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Garden Goodie

I purchased a bunch of garden goodies at Target the other day. Tatiana and I each got a pair of garden gloves and I bought an extra pair for my mom when she comes over to live vicariously through my yard--or for my grandma or mother-in-law or anyone one else who's got a green thumb and wants to lend a hand. Tatiana picked out her own: pink checked ones with a butterfly on each hand. I also got a three-prong hand claw thingy which is not pictured. Since today was just gorgeous, I spontaneously went to the Super WM and let Tati pick out a plant of her own. She also picked out her own flower pot and watering can. I thought it would be a good experience for her to take care of her own plant. It's called Kalanchoe, unfortunately it requires little water so hopefully she won't drown it to death. I am looking forward to picking out some annuals for the yard, but am waiting for some grandmotherly guidance before doing so. Aren't grandmas the best???? {well most of them are}

After having a home made waffle dinner, the girls and I went for a walk up and down our street--actually *I* was the only one who walked, Tatiana rode her bike and Sienna rode in the stroller. My Tatiana is just so stinkin' friendly. She always greets the other parents coming and going from preschool and is willing to speak to any stranger & will most likely end up inviting them over for a visit or a sleepover. The sad thing is how put off some people often feel by a friendly child wanting to make conversation. Can you not just take 30 seconds out of your day to enjoy some simple kindness from a sweet 4 year old?? Is that too much to ask? If you're reading this and a child approaches you someday at the park/grocery store/bank/Target, please, please, please just give them a minute or two of your attention. You'll make their day. Trust me.

P. S. To the old man who struck up a conversation with my girls while waiting at the Deli: Thank you. Thank you for your kindness.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Egg Bread

This is a very simple, yummy bread machine white bread. It makes great toast too. Enjoy!

Egg Bread
1 c. slightly warmed milk
1 egg
1 T. softened butter
3/4 t. salt

3 c. bread flour (or all-purpose if that's what you have on hand)
2 T. sugar
1 t. yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine in order listed. Select basic or white bread setting. I usually select "medium crust", if you have that option. I select 1 1/2 pound loaf. That's it. So simple.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Couch Bound

Sienna has had the stomach flu for the last two days, so I have been couch bound. I spent the entire day {well most of it} laying on the couch with Sienna, changing positions with her, trying to make her comfortable. I did manage to take Tatiana to preschool and get to WM for some Pedialyte. After much debate this evening Rick & I decided to take her to Immediate Care and then on the way there decided to just wait it out. Dontcha just love the complexities of parenting?? I am trying a week's work of menus from my link on the right at Menus4Moms. Tonights dish was awesome!! I did a tiny bit of tweaking, but it could definitely be considered restaurant quality food. More later.....

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Blogger Challenge


Share how you got started in scrapbooking. I became more interested in scrapbooking after the birth of my first child. I thought it would be a great way to preserve all the memories. I never imagined it would take on a life of its own and become the therapeutic creative outlet that it has.

How long have you been doing it? I actually *started* after Rick & I got married, but more actively about 4 1/2 years ago.

Do you scrap differently now than when you first started? YES!! I didn't really use a lot of embellisments when I first started. Just paper. I also didn't know anything about the use of color and design. I wasn't that great of a photographer either. Everything has changed. Not only do I enjoy looking at all the memories I've preserved, but I also enjoy seeing how my creative process has evolved.

What's changed for you? Anything? I spend a lot more time (and money) scrapbooking now, than when I first started. I've learned so much about this craft and about myself. I plan on doing a Book of Me, something I probably never would've considered when I first started. I didn't ever imagine making money doing something I so enjoy doing. I couldn't have pictured having my very own scrap space (albeit humble). What else has changed? My style, my photography, my journaling--but not my purpose!

Share the circumstances, the people involved - in getting you hooked to this awesome creative outlet! A lady from church gave me a CM album as a bridal shower gift. I was thinking, "Gee. Thanks. What am I going to do with this thing?" Little did I know.....

Friday, April 07, 2006


I went to my Babcia's house on Tuesday and preserved a little bit of history. I took the girls and Babcia outside for a photo shoot (whether they wanted to or not)! It was a beautiful sunny day & I just kept clicking away. Tatiana's favorite place to be is outside & one of Babcia's favorite things to do is work on her plants, so I thought it fitting. Tatiana walked Daisy around the driveway for awhile--actually I think she was the one that was walked. She also sat on her trike and let Daisy pull her around. What a
great dog! When Babcia was really sick last week, Daisy came into her bedroom (which she never does) and would not leave Babcia's side. Every time Babcia got up to go do something, Daisy would follow her to make sure nothing bad happened. I think that dog was worried. Again, what a great dog.

Here's another pictu
re from our visit. Taken by my budding photographer daughter. Kinda touches me that she's interested in some of the things I'm interested in. She's taken several really great photos since the time she was 3 years old.

I've been realizing this last week how much work keeping up with a blog really is. Especially where the uploading/resizing of pictures is involved. I mean, does anybody even read this thing?? Hello out there? Anybody listening? Bueller...Bueller...Bueller.....

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Blogger Challenge

Challenge: You find/win/are given/inherit $100,000. Make a list and itemize exactly what you would do with the money.

1. Remodel kitchen: new cabinets, new SS appliances, tile floor & backsplash, paint, beadboard ceiling, granite/natural stone countertops, accessories: $10,000

2. Purchase small SUV, slightly used: $15,000

3. Plan a 10-year anniversary trip to Europe. 2-week tour including Paris & Italy: $12,000

4. Pay down mortgage & then refinance: $40,000

5. Buy new furniture like living room set & dining room set: $4,000

6. Finish basement: $5,000

7. Open savings account: $10,000

8. Rick & I each get $2k to spend however we wish: $4,000

Grand total: $100,000
Some fun stuff, some practical stuff. I guess that would describe Rick & I as well....

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Blogger Challenge

Use your blog to write about YOUR HOPES AND WISHES for YOU. No one else. Not your kids. Not your better half. Not friends and family. But your hopes and wishes for YOU and you alone.

What are they?
Do you have any?

What are YOUR hopes and wishes? YOUR dreams? Elaborate as you wish. Remember, this one is all about YOU.
You matter. How you feel counts. What your deepest dreams, passions are.
Write them down. Get specific. Imagine.

I have been thinking about the answer to this question all day. I can sum up my hopes and wishes for myself in three simple words: Live life fully.
Fully Christian. Fully mother. Fully wife. Fully woman.
Be my best at everything I do. My best--not the best. I want to really enjoy life. Enjoy the journey. I want to really pour myself into all the things that I've been called too. It's not enough for me just to be a stay-at-home mom. I want to have fun with my kids, give them opportunities for enjoyable experiences, really get to know them, their gifts/talents/love languages. It is not enough for me to be a homemaker. I want to be a domestic diva, to have a organized, welcoming, unchaotic, nicely decorated haven. I want to challenge myself with my faith--to understand what being a Christian is really all about and to fully experience the depth and breadth and life of being a child of God. I want to discover my passions. It's not enough for me just to scrapbook. I want to be a life artist, to develop my skills, and perfect my craft. Live life fully.

Don't get me wrong. There are lots of things I'd like to do, but they could still all be categorized as living life fully. I hope to visit Paris someday. If I never had the chance, I know I'd regret it. I would love to have my own successful business, most likely something food related, not just a business, but an experience. I wouldn't mind getting my bachelor's degree, but I realized a long time ago that an education as an end really isn't worth anything and that corporate-ladder climbing for ego's sake is extremely shallow.

What about you? Are you being your best at the things you've been called to? If not, what's stopping you? Life live fully.

Culinary Tip #2

Although it sounds very basic, this tip is crucial. Make sure you have all your ingredients for a recipe before starting your culinary endeavor. Be sure to double check those things that you're pretty sure you have on hand--it couldn't hurt. I learned this lesson the hard way about 1 week ago. Not fun.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Blogger Challenge

Women are powerful creatures. We all have powerful, inspiring women in our lives.
Here's the challenge:

What are some things that YOU have learned from other women/creative women in your life? Make your own list.
What have you learned from these women in your life? What have they taught you?

1. The world keeps on turning even when we're hurting. This is something my mom told me after a break-up with a high school boyfriend & I've carried it with me ever since. Although it seems cruel, life goes on. It just plain does.

2. There is great reward in gardening. Something I picked up from the world's most wonderful Babcia. If through our genes, she passed on even 1/4 of the green thumb she has, I will be grateful. Every time I touch the earth, I will think of her.

3. Mentors are priceless. My dear friend Linda has always had inspiring/compassionate/challenging words for every situation. We've had times of singing, times of weeping, times of laughing, times of silliness. I am eternally grateful for her.

4. Family is so comforting. Thank you Skyra for teaching me this. I really believe that blood made us family, but God made us friends. There is something so comforting having you around.

I really wish I had more highly creative women in my life. People who are inspired to be life artists as I am. Maybe I will have to just make some creative converts.

Culinary Tip #1

Know what a good flavor compliment to chocolate is? Coffee!! Mocha anyone? When making a chocolatey recipe, substitute any liquid called for with coffee, espresso or kahlua. Some local supermarkets carry instant espresso powder which you could add to your chocolate recipe for a boost of flavor. Today Tatiana and I baked brownies. We took a simple boxed brownie mixed from Aldi and substituted the water for instant espresso plus added a half bag of gourmet chocolate chips. An inexpensive way to go from cheap to gourmet!


This was a weekend full of F-U-N! Saturday we dropped off the kiddos so they could have sleepovers & so Rick and I could go on a date with Matt & Skyra. Before we met them, I spent some time with my old family at Noodles & Co. It was a good visit and nice to catch up with my old team. If you go to the Noodles website there is a little icon in the corner to sign up for a Noodlegram!! Just do it. If you've never eaten there or love to eat there, here's your chance for free food. What could be better than that. Right before meeting the Dudleys, Rick & I hung out at Border's where I picked up this:I am so enjoying reading it. It seems like a really worthwhile purchase. It's very informative and the layouts are amazing. If you're into scrapbooking, you should pick one up for yourself. After that We went to Plum Garden to meet Matt & Sky and had a very nice dinner (although I wish we would've ordered the Double Dragon too). We went back to their place for a game of cards. I have not laughed that much in a really really long time. It was great. I gave Skyra this: Just something girly to keep her little trinkets in. Thanks for the great night guys!!!! Sunday morning I painted Sienna's room. I *love, love, love* the color I picked, but unfortunately I did not do as good of a job as I would've liked. I guess that sometimes happens with lighter colors. I will basically have to do a second coat as soon as time allows. I had a nice long visit with Babcia too. I think she really enjoyed the company. Fast forward to today, Monday. Back to life. Back to reality. The house is a mess. I had to fall back into the school routine since spring break is over. Got some catching up to do & I'm so tired. The good news is that today is a *great* mail day. Not only did I get the pictures I ordered online at the Kodak Gallery, but I also got my order from Tie One On. Lookie see: Anywho, hope everyone had some fun this weekend too. And if you're married, please, set some time aside for just you and the hubby to have some fun by going out without the kids. You won't regret it.