Christmas 2011

We ate, we opened, we played, we laughed, we bitched, we moaned, we drank, and we be merry.  Typical family gathering.

{1}  Christmas love from family & friends.
{2}  Favorite candle around the holidays.
{3}  Fully adorned Christmas tree.

The Thursday night before Christmas involved our little family Christmas celebration: opening gifts, cruising around looking at Christmas lights and out for dinner.

Christmas Eve: church, a Mexican Christmas feast (because that's what every Irish Catholic family should be eating on complaints here), gift opening, lots of pictures and an intense game of Rummy (in which my mom won...typical).

Looks like a couple of little girls who are going to get into a lot of trouble!

Quinn's first Christmas and our first Christmas as a family of three.

Wait, how'd that get in there? And where is Superman??

On Christmas Day, we spent the morning hanging out at home and then headed over to my Grandma M's for lunch and socializing with my dad's side of the family.  Quinn definitely felt the love as she was being passed around.  My favorite photo of the day is of my grandma and two of her great grandchildren (Quinn & Raegan).  The expression on her face is priceless.

Christmas night was spent with my mom's side of the family eating, hanging out, poking fun at each other and of course opening gifts.

We played another intense game of Rummy later that evening.  I didn't win that one either (pretty sure my cocky, littlest brother did though.  I shall knock him down to size some day and show him whose the Rummy bitch!  I kid.  Sort of.).  We left during another game in which my brother Pat was playing.  He cheats at everything.

All in all a pretty great Christmas.

This post was brought to you by:

Stop yelling at me.

Daddy Is Screwed

B: {walking around the house, room to room} "....24, 25, 26....."

R: "Are you walking around the house counting my shoes?"

B: "Yep."

R: "Don't forget to add in the two I bought today."

B: "Already did.  Where are your summer shoes?"

R: " Under the bed.  You might want to start down here.  HAHAHA."  {Evil laugh and pointing towards the end of the bed where I have neatly lined up 5 or 6 pairs of wedges alongside a container filled with shoes.}

Time passes.  Counting continues.

B: "Rachel, you have at least 65 pairs of shoes in this house."

R: "Well in my defense a lot of those are from before I was pregnant and became a mom.  While 5 inch heels are fun to wear, they're not the most practical shoes to cart a baby around in."

R:  "Why don't you walk around the house and count Quinn's shoes?"

B:  {Big, deep sigh}  "I don't want to.  Daddy is screwed."

You're right.  Sometimes it just sucks being a girl!

I'm In A Funny Mood Today

I am in a better mood today than I have been in long while.

Maybe it's because Christmas is this weekend.

Maybe because I have approximately 9 hours of work left this week, a three day week next week and a three day week the following week.

Yep, that's probably it.

Need a mood booster?

We Met Santa & A Little Pre-Christmas Fun

On Friday night, we headed over to our local legion.  Santa just happened to be stopping by so we thought this was a good chance for Quinn to meet the big guy for the first time. 

As you can see, Quinn could have given two shits about him.  She was more entertained by the tree sitting to Santa's right (or the cold beer can daddy let her chew on).  At least she didn't scream bloody murder.

I can definitely see why a lot of the little kiddos didn't want to sit on Santa and were running away scared.  He was just slightly creepy.


Christmas is less than a week away which means I have less than a week to finish making goodies, to finish Quinn's Christmas headband and to finish buying, making and wrapping gifts.  Plus going to look at Christmas lights on top of working Monday through Thursday this week and fitting a little running in there.  It looks to be a pretty busy week.
I'm the best procrastinator.  Seriously, I could make a career out of it (and being late...thankfully my ass is always attached).

Anywhoodle, I've seen this a little bit in the blogosphere and thought I would do it.  It's fun and you should know all of this about me, right?  After all, Christmas is one of my favorites.

1.      Eggnog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate always.  Anything that is a drink with the word egg in it, makes me want to vom-nasty all over.

2.      Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
Santa always wraps his presents.

3.      Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Colored.  We don't discriminate.

4.      Do you hang mistletoe?
No.  I don't linger around mistletoe either. 

5.      When do you put your decorations up?
It depends on how motivated I am.  This year, it was the weekend after Thanksgiving.  It's always after Thanksgiving.  That is a rule that should never be broken.  One holiday at a time peeps!

6.      What is your favorite holiday dish?
I don't know that I have a favorite dish.  I like all the sweets that are available around Christmas.  My family always makes green bean casserole or broccoli casserole at every gathering so this might be my favorite.

7.      Favorite holiday memory as a child?
When we were younger, my parents used to pack all five of us kids into the mini and drive around to check out Christmas lights.  There was a farm out in the country all decked out in lights and decorations that my parents knew the owners of, so we would always go out there and play around.

My mom is obsessed with Christmas.  I say obsessed because after Thanksgiving, almost everything around the house is taken down and put away and a Christmas decoration goes in it's place.  Seriously, Christmas vomits all over their house.  I love it though and wish I had the motivation to do the same.

8.     When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I think I was around 8 and my sister told me.

9.      Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
We always have Christmas with my parents, brothers and sister and their significant others on Christmas Eve.  We go to Christmas Eve mass, eat dinner and open presents.  We then proceed to play a game (Scene It, Family Feud, etc.) which always turns into someone getting pissed and a lot of yelling.

10.   How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Like this:
You decorate it and then you add something real, real cute underneath.


11.    Snow! Love it or dread it?
Love it when it's falling and new.  Hate it when it's melting and slushy.

12.   Can you ice skate?
That's like asking if I can wipe my own butt.  Of course I can!

13.   Do you remember your favorite gift?
I received Aladdin and Jasmine Barbie's from Santa one year.  That is the present that I remember most.  Now, we always get cash and a gift card from my parents which is always a favorite.

14.   What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Spending time with family. 

15.    What is your favorite holiday dessert?
I love making Caramel Corn around the Holidays.  In fact, I made a big batch tonight.

16.   What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I love to drive around and look at lights.  I also love to make Christmas goodies. 
We have a work party during the day each year (in fact we have 2).  I love that we get to have fun while on the clock instead of doing it on a weekend.

17.    What tops your tree?
A gold star.

18.   Which do you prefer: giving or receiving?
Receiving.  I know it's selfish but most of the time when I give, the person I'm giving to already knows what they're getting because they asked for it.  The only people I went out on a limb for was my parents, hubs parents and Quinn's godparents.  I did one DIY project as a gift so hopefully this person enjoys it.

19.   Candy canes: yuck or yum?
Yum!  My favorite growing up were the fruity ones.  I don't put candy canes on the tree because I would be the only person eating them.  I let Quinn lick on one and she seemed to enjoy it.

20.  Favorite Christmas movie?
There are so many to choose from!  White Christmas is the best classic Christmas movie hands down.  I also like Miracle on 34th Street (newer version), Home Alone, Elf, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and Polar Express.

21.   Saddest Christmas song?
Oh Holy Night always brings tears to my eyes.  I think it's only because you have to have a bad ass voice to sing it and the high notes get to me.  It's safe to say you'll never want to be around me when I try to hit these.

22.    What’s your favorite Christmas song?
I love "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" and "Oh Holy Night"!  But my favorite non-classics are "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey, "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" by Nsync and "Christmas Time" by Christina Aguilera.

Book Club: The Lucky One & The Hunger Games

When U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman half-buried in the dirt during his third tour of duty in Iraq, his first instinct is to toss it aside. Instead, he brings it back to the base for someone to claim, but when no one does, he finds himself always carrying the photo in his pocket. Soon Thibault experiences a sudden streak of luck—winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat that kills two of his closest buddies. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph—his lucky charm.
Back home in Colorado, Thibault can’t seem to get the photo—and the woman in it—out of his mind. Believing that she somehow holds the key to his destiny, he sets out on a journey across the country to find her, never expecting the strong but vulnerable woman he encounters in Hampton, North Carolina—Elizabeth, a divorced mother with a young son—to be the girl he’s been waiting his whole life to meet. Caught off guard by the attraction he feels, Thibault keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate and all-consuming love affair, the secret he is keeping will soon threaten to tear them apart—destroying not only their love, but also their lives.

A few weeks ago, I read The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks.  I'm a huge Nicholas Sparks fan.  I own every single book that he has written (thanks to my mom and Double Day).  I love how his books are captivating but not deep.  They flow well and are super easy and quick to read.  While this book was much the same as all his books, it was more than predictable.  There was only one part that I didn't see coming which was the very end.  But I won't give it away.  This is probably one of the books I have like the least by Mr. Sparks.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

I decided to read this book because it has gotten so many good reviews.  People love this series and rave on how it's so good.  While it was good, it wasn't great.  It was sort of predictable but still suspensful enough to enjoy.  Obviously, they left the book off to where I'll have to go to the next to read to find out what happens but I'm not that excited about it.  I'm sort of excited to see the movie though.

Also, I've seen the trailor for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and am so, so exicted to see this movie!  It makes me want to read the book again! 

Advocare: What Can It Do For You?

Hi everyone!  If you've arrived here from Mrs. Monologues, welcome and I do hope you stick around!  If you've been around here for awhile, thank you and keep on reading!
Would you like to know how I lost all my baby weight plus a little more?

Let me introduce you to Advocare.

What is Advocare?
Advocare is a nutrition company specializing in health and wellness, weight management, vibrant energy, and sports performance. 

There are five lines of products that Advocare offers: trim, active, well, performance elite and definite difference.
How was I introduced?
My friend Ashley and her husband Mark actually introduced me to the Advocare world about a year and a half ago and I'm so glad they did. 

Products I love:
Once introduced to the products and after testing out a few samples, I immediately fell in love with Spark, the energy drink among many other products (the one that's being given away over at Mrs. Monologues.  Go Enter!). 

I loved the feeling I got when I drank Spark.  I loved the energy and the fact that I didn't get jittery.  I loved how easy it was to concentrate at the task at hand or the edge in my performance I received from the product.  I loved everything about it and still do. 

I take Spark on a bi-daily basis.  Once in the morning to wake up and always before any of my workouts.  I love this product because it contains nutrients that you can't get from coffee or soda with minimal calories per serving.  It works for me and can work for you too!

Another product I take on a daily basis is the Catalyst.  Catalyst is a amino acid dietary supplement.  "Catalyst™ Amino Acid Supplement is a blend of essential branched-chain amino acids and L-glutamine that supplies your body with muscle-building components and sustains your muscles during exercise and reduced calorie intake.  Whether you're trying to lose weight or gain muscle, Catalyst helps repair and protect muscles.  Other amino acids in Catalyst like L-arginine, taurine and betaine help fuel and maintain your muscles to support endurance and strength.  Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, Catalyst helps you retain muscle and reduce fat for a more toned and better defined look."

Most of the time, I do the same workouts, hitting the same groups of muscles.  After time and repetition, workouts can start to damage muscles and using Catalyst is a way to protect them and sustain.

Another group of products that many people have done are part of the 24 day challenge

The challenge is broken up into two parts, a 10 day cleanse and 14 day max pack.  After the ten day cleanse, a person should have a higher level of energy and a smaller waistline.  Then they will do a 14 day Max Pack toning and metabolic enhancing regimen.  People who have completed this challenge look and feel like new and improved self.  I have seen the before and afters and the results do not lie.  They look amazing!

Here is one of my best friends, Ashley (the one who introduced me to this awesome company!).  She completed the challenge and her results are absolutely remarkable!  She lost a total of 20 pounds and 29 inches!

Ashley before:

Ashley after:

Awesome Ash!!  Her husband's results are amazing as well!

The reason that I love these products so much is because they are filled with so many nutrients that are really good for you.  I am feeling the best that I have ever felt and am in the best shape of my life thanks to Advocare products and a workout regimen, five months after having my little girl. 

Not only do I love the products, but being a distributor, I earn a 20% discount off all products.  So, if anything the distributorship pays for itself and then some.  By becoming an advisor, you could earn up to a 40% discount on the products.  Plus, by selling the products, not only are you promoting something good, you can earn extra money doing so.  Some people have even quit their day job because they have been so successful in owning their own business! 

What can Advocare do for you?
Lead you on a path to good health. 
Shrink your waistline.
Give you an edge.
Better performance.
Create and own your own business.
Discount on all the products.
So much more!!
Please check out my website for more details and to view the assortment of products Advocare has to offer!  There really is something here for you!

Want to try Advocare Spark for free?  Run over to Mrs. Monologues place where I am giving away a packet of Advocare (14 servings).  Flavor is up to the winner.

Why wait?! Choose Advocare today.  It could literally change your life!

5 months

approximately 14 pounds.

Clothes size:
3-6 mos but still wears some 0-3 months clothes
Formula (approximately 6 oz per feeding)
rice mixed with formula and apple juice.


rolling over
holding hands
reading stories (especially Snow White and Twas the Night Before Christmas)
her jumperoo
riding in her stroller
playing with her feet
beating up her dog
the television
being awesome

tummy time
when mom leaves the room
plain rice
the Iowa State Cyclones & Chicago Bears

Happy 5 months sweet baby girl!


What is perfection?

Is it a number, a rating, a feeling?
Is it a place, an event, a trip?
Maybe it's a person?
Is it love, a relationship or marriage?
Is it a quality, trait or feature of excellence?
Perhaps, it's a state of being?
Is it a body or parts of a body?
Does it mean being perfect?
Does it mean being skinny?
Is it a destination?
Is it the end?
Is it worth striving for?
Is it an accomplishment?
If two people have different ideas of perfect, is there such a thing?

I am a mom and a wife.
I make plenty of mistakes.
Say and do the wrong things at the wrong time.
I have many flaws.
I do my best but always try for better.
I will never have the best body but I'll work to be healthy.
I am defined by my values, my goals, my aspirations, not by the way I look.
I am human.

I'm here to try to be a positive model of a what a woman should be for my daughter.
To teach her right from wrong.
To teach her that being a certain shape, size, look, a certain whatever, doesn't matter.
It's what is inside that counts.
It's her character that will get her further in life.
That having a sense of humor is a better quality than having a pretty face.
That it's not okay to imitate or duplicate, but to be original.
To cherish individuality instead falling into the group.
To not drink the kool-aid.
That every person is beautiful and there is no such thing as being perfect.

I am not perfect.
I am me. 
Being the best that I can be.

Check Out My Hardware

Yesterday, I ran the Run for Red benefitting the Gateway Area American Red Cross.  Not only was I excited to run my first 5K of the year but knowing it was going for a great cause made it that much better. 

The race had 130 participants registered and 70 volunteers.  They were able to raise $4300 to support the American Red Cross as well as save 27 lives as a result of the blood drive held that day. 

First off, my experience with competitive races is pretty non-existant.  I ran a 4 mile race a few years ago and the race packet included a bib and cotton shirt and nothing else.  At the end of the race, the food and drinks were pretty sparse so I was completely amazed at everything this 5K had to offer.

I picked up my race packet on Friday night.  I received a reusable bag with a very nice run long-sleeved race shirt (had the feel of Under Armor but not probably as warm or as nice), some information sheets including the race route, a gift-card which by the way isn't a true gift card (deceiving!) and my race bib. 

Race day it was around 37-39 degrees (or so said my car thermometer).  The wind was okay - not as bad as it had been around here last weekend and throughout the week - but there was still a bit of a breeze. 

As far as the course went, we basically ran through a residential neighborhood twice.  One small loop for about 1.25 miles (my guess) and a bigger loop for the rest. 

My goal was to run under 25 minutes.  Based on the times I had been running during "training", I thought this was highly attainable.  The only split I heard was 7:38 at mile one. 

Two thumbs up for not winning!

I ending up making my goal with 23 seconds to spare.  I came across the finish at 24:37.9 which was a 7:57/mile pace.  I was the 33rd person across the finish line, the 9th woman and placed 4th overall in my age division (20-29).  I even came home some hardware - a bronze medal.  OH YEAH!

At the finish line there was loads of foods (fruit, granola bars, pretzels, doughnuts, bagels, etc), water, and even an energy drink sample.  They also gave away lined bags which were pretty fancy.   I grabbed what I could, got my medal and we headed over to Pizza Slut so I could feed my face with pizza and Mountain Dew.  I don't know, I heard that's what your supposed to do post race - load up on carbs and fat after you spent 25 hard minutes working breakfast off.

Overall, I was impressed with everything.

I signed up for a 5 mile run on Thanksgiving morning.  I'm hoping for great weather and 8 minute miles. 

Moral of this story is that you can have a baby and 5 months later be race ready.  I'm proof so if I can do it so can you!  Now go lace up those sneakers and run.

The cutest way to show off the hardware.

I got this really brilliant idea that I would work off my Pizza Slut by doing No Trouble Zones last night. I know, over achiever.  Today I feel like I rode a horse. Not smart, not smart.

Shrimp Casserole

By now, you can tell that I am a lover of casseroles.  Anything you can throw in a pan, put in the oven and call it dinner, works for me.

Nothing makes me happier than using shrimp in a recipe.  I absolutely love shrimp...and casseroles.  The number of casseroles or recipes for that matter, that contain seafood are lacking.  Maybe I'm not looking for them or the ones that I do find, don't seem appeasing to the taste buds.  When I found this recipe, it looked too good to pass up. 

It made so much in leftovers that I had something everyday for lunch the following week.  Let me tell you it got better with every passing day.  For those of you who do not enjoy seafood, I'm sure chicken would make a good substitute.

Shrimpy Casserole

  • 2 lbs. shrimp, cleaned, peeled, & deveined
  • 16 oz. jar of salsa
  • 9 oz. angel hair pasta
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cup half & half
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (or Colby Jack mixture).

  1. Cook pasta and drain.
  2. In seperate bowl combine eggs, half & half, yogurt, feta cheese, 1/2 cup Mont. Jack cheese, parsley, basil and oregano.  Mix until well blended.  Set aside.
  3. Start layering:  cover the bottom of the pan with pasta (about 1/2), add salsa layer, put half the shrimp over the salsa and top with moneterrey jack cheese.  Then add rest of pasta and the remainder of shrimp. 
  4. Cover this with the egg mixture. 
  5. Add a final layer of Monterrey Jack cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. 
  7. Enjoy!
***Note:  The original recipe called for 1/3 c. fresh parsely.  I never have fresh any spice/herb around, so I guesstimated and came up with about 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons.  Of course, you can add to taste.  I also didn't have any half and half on hand, so I substituted melted butter mixed with whole milk (4 - 1/2 tsp plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup...of course, I had to do this 1.5 times to get to 1 1/2 C. as the recipe calls for.  I actually think I did 4 tbsp instead of 4 - 1/2 tsp...oops!).  I also didn't have Swiss cheese on hand so I just added more Monterrey Jack cheese and I used shredded cheese not grated.  Use what you have.

Also, if you like spice, you can always add a little red pepper to taste.

Eff, Marry, Kill vol.2

Because it was so much fun the first go round, let's do it again! This time I'm featuring this year's "Sexiest Man Alive" and a couple of past winners. Right here is some serious eye candy (and you're welcome).

Are you done drooling? Seriously, wipe your mouth. You gotta little...right there, no there...there you go. Wow, these are some fine lookin' fellas!

Let me just say that this was such a difficult decision. Can you blame me? Just look at them, again, for the umpteenth time. Oh my! 

So, I would eff Bradley Cooper because really, who wouldn't? 

I would have to marry Ryan Reynolds even though I know we'd end up divorced because I don't think he's really marriage material. He's a pretty face I wouldn't mind waking up to every day. Plus, I would probably cheat on him with Bradley...duh! 

I'm saddened to say that I would have to do off with Hugh. He would make great husband but Ryan and Bradley are more my style and I just couldn't kill either of them.

What do you all think?

Oh and p.s. I still love my husband! I asked him the first time I participated in this who he would eff, marry and kill between Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler...what do you think he chose?


Exercise Log - October

I'm hoping that by sharing my workouts each month, some one will look at this and find the motivation to start a regimen of their own.  I know for me, looking at my fitness board on Pinterest is enough motivation to get the Twinkie out of my hand and my ass on a treadmill any day.

10/1: Jillian Michaels (JM) Ripped in 30 - Week 1
10/2: OFF
10/3: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/4: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/5: OFF
10/6: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/7: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/8: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/9: OFF
10/10: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/11: FLU
10/12: FLU
10/13: softball @ group outing
10/14: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/15: OFF
10/16: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2
10/17: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/18: OFF
10/19: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/20: OFF
10/21: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/22: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/23: OFF
10/24: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/25: OFF
10/26: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/27: JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3
10/28: JM Yoga Meltdown - Level 2 & Ran 2.45 miles.
10/29: OFF
10/30: Yoga Meltdown - Level 1 & Ran 3.93 miles.
10/31: OFF

Reflection: I took a lot of days off this month.  Some were justifiable in that I was battling the flu or a cold.  However, I think I got bored with doing JM Ripped DVD series and instead of doing something different for the day, I just didn't work out.  Towards the end of the month, I started running and getting back into Yoga to switch it up.  Switching it up is good for the mind and body.  This month, I watched my calories a bit more and tried eating healthier (except on Halloween where I may have overindulged in chocolate).  My biggest weakness is still Mountain Dew.

P.S.  JM Ripped in 30 - Week 4 is nothing to mess with.  I was shaking through each circuit.  When the workout was complete, my muscles were still shaking.  It's funny that I workout pretty regularly, but one workout can still make me feel completely out of shape.

P.P.S.  I have less than one week until the Run for Red 5K.  My goal is under 25 minutes but I will still be happy with under 30 minutes, pending the weather.

Workin' it out as best as I can,

A Family Mess

Want to see a mess?  Come over to my house any day of the week and check out my kitchen table.  Clutter...everywhere. 

Want to see an even bigger mess?  Come over and check out the layer of makeup film that has taken up residence on my bathroom counter.  How I manage to consistently get makeup all over the place, is still a mystery to me.

To me, these are everyday, take little to clean up type of messes and clearly I'm a lover of mess.

When I think of real messes, it's not the everyday messes I'm faced with, it's the messes my mom was unfortunately had to deal with on a regular basis with my sister, brothers and I.  These types of messes are messy then and funny now. 

See, my mom keeps a tight, clean ship.  Always has, always will.  So messes to her is like not working out and not being awesome to Richard just doesn't happen. 

If you were a member of my family, you would remember these little gems and laugh, whereas my mom probably still cringes at the thought of them.

Like the time, my sister in a fit of rage, slammed a gallon of milk onto our kitchen table.  The milk jug burst and milk flew everywhere...and I mean everywhere.  Who knows what my sister was so mad about, it definitely had something to do with my mom, but nonetheless it lead to my sister on her hands and knees mopping up her big old mess (and then my mom probably mopping and fixing her clean up later).

Or the time my sister decided to pour the dog food into the doggie food container, only to pour the entire contents of the bag everywhere else but the container.  Somewhere, there is a picture to prove this.

Or the time my younger brother shat all over my cute little Fisher Price table.  That pretty little yellow and orange Fisher Price picnic table that I received on one of my very special birthdays (which was probably more of a fiasco than a mess).  He took a crap which oozed out of his tiny little shorts onto my pretty little perfect table.  I freaked out and attempted to clean it up - probably with my hands.   But I think the bigger mess was the clean-up of those tiny little shorts on my moms part.  By the way, my parents still have the picnic table (20ish years later) but don't worry, there are no poop remnants.

How about the time my older brother crapped his pants in the chicken coop?  I'm sure that was a big old mess for mom and her washer.  (He also threw a rock through a television!)

Or the times, I, as a little girl, sat and played to my little hearts content in the middle of a mud puddle.  Probably a messy nightmare to most any mom.

Or all of the times we were told to hose down before we could even step foot through the door...everyday!  I guess there's a whole slew of messes kids can get into when living on the farm.

Just a bunch of messy kids creating a bunch of messy messes for a mom to clean up (isn't that their job?).

Being a new mom myself, I look forward to not only clean up the messes of my children but also creating messes with them.  There will be many, I can count on that.  Things are not meant to be perfect and a mess here and there is good for the soul.  Isn't it known that the bigger the mess, the more fun you're having!

See, messes equate to cuteness too!  I would probably kiss that sweet little mouth, even with all that rice on it.  Isn't having an infant just one big mess as it is?

How many times can each of us go back and say, wow, that was messy and just laugh about it.  Isn't it the messes that make the best memories?

Here's to a mess or two in your near future,

I received information about Clorox’s Bleach It Away campaign and am sharing my messy moment for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls. To learn more about the messy moment program, check out  Sharing your story on the Clorox fan page gets you entered for the chance to win $25,000 and daily prizes, and you can grab a coupon for Clorox® Regular Bleach.

'Tis The Season

Greetings from Iowa! 

Here we are experiencing our first snow fall of the season. 

It's a beautiful combination of rain, sleet and snow with some heavy wind to go with.

Beautiful, scenic, picturesque, isn't it?! 

This was the perfect view out of my windshield on my drive to work this morning.

Now, don't be too jealous.

An Italian Feast

This afternoon, Quinn and I went on our first run with the jogging stroller and let me tell you, that thing is god's gift directly to me. He really wanted me to have it. Not only can I get my run in, it also puts Quinn to out cold you can't even touch her or say her name and she'll wake up type of out. I think a bomb could have been dropped and she wouldn't have twitched.

I ended up doing 4.22 miles, .22 more than coach told me to. I felt really good except for the last part where I had to run up a slight hill into the wind.

We also watched the NYC Marathon on t.v. today and I just couldn't imagine running let alone, training for that type of event but it definitely serves as motivation for me.

On to dinner...

I don't typically make dinner ahead of time because I really don't think that far in advance unless I have something I really need to make.  But today was a little different. 

Instead of catching up on Real Housewives of somewhere or surfing the Facebox, I used morning nap time to actually make dinner.  Smart thinking because come 6 o'clock, Quinn is in a terrible mood which means bedtime is within the hour and I'd have to wait until bedtime to even think about starting dinner. 

So, alas, I fixed dinner and refrigerated it until it needed to be thrown in the oven, well the spaghetti anyways.  The knots are super easy to make so I just waited and made those while the spaghetti cooked part way.
Baked Spaghetti

  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large jar spaghetti sauce (26.5 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 c. chopped onions
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (to taste)
  • French Fried Onions (small can)
Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package.  Drain and set aside.  Brown ground beef, drain excess grease.  Add spaghetti sauce to skillet with meat and heat.  Combine onions and butter, cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until soft.  Add cream cheese and milk to onion and butter mixture, stir well.  Using a 10 x 6 dish, assemble ingredients in following order:  thin layer of meat mixture on bottom of casserole dish, spaghetti, cream cheese/onion mixture, remaining meat sauce and Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Top with French Fried onions and continue baking 5 more minutes.

Parmesan Knots

  • 1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/4 c. canola oil (or olive if that is what you have on hand)
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

Roll each biscuit into 12 inch rope and tie into a knot, tucking the ends under.  Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown.  In large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (oil, parm cheese, garlic powder, oregano and parsley).  Brush the warm knots with mixture.  Yields 10 knots.

**Note:  I used a 16 ounce can which was 8 biscuits.  I cut each in half, rolled it out and knotted which yielded 16 knots.