This year for Valentine’s Day

I had a few Valentine’s Day projects this year. First I made baskets for Ade’s daycare teachers:

The hand sanitizer is because kids can be very gross. The lotion is stress relieving, and I know that if any of the other kids are anything like Ade they have plenty of stress! The little flower and chocolates are just because! I loved this little baskets, got them for $1 each at Target! Grand total came to $5 per person. Cute and simple, and here you can Pin It.

Next, I made Valentines for Ade’s eight playmates at daycare. I used this as a starting point for them. I couldn’t find the silicone heart molds ANYWHERE in town. Of course I did just look at 4 stores before finding this pan at WalMart:

Then I bought a huge box of crayons and separated out the pink/red/white ones and peeled off the paper wrappings. Broke them into pieces and placed in the pan. Set the oven for 250* and the timer for 15 min.


Fingers crossed that they wouldn’t stick and make a huge mess. They slipped right out and I had enough broken up crayons to make two extra hearts, just in case there is a kiddo that I missed by accident!

I cut out little circles and wrote “Happy Valentine’s Day for ‘Crayon’ Out Loud! Love, Adelyn” on each one and taped the crayon heart to the middle.

I love them! (Hopefully none of the other moms saw this pinterest post and made the exact same thing!) But seriously, you don’t give out candy to two year olds. Total after buying the pan, crayons, and cardstock these came up to $1.70 each. Not to bad! Best part is, that if she had a bigger class with all of the crayons I had I could have made a ton more! I would guess 30-50 depending on how much crayon bit you used for each one. If you make 50 it would be $0.34 each! If you like this idea then you should Pin It.

Last but not least was Bran’s present. I got the idea from Life. Design. And the Pursuit of Craftiness. She was selling these packages for Valentine’s Day presents. Her design is adorable, but I decided that I wanted to try and make it myself. Here is a picture of mine in Word.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, hopefully Bran will be too and not think it is really corny! Like this idea? Feel free to Pin It.

What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Did you make any of your presents?

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Why does unhealthy always taste so good?

You know what I mean? Don’t get me wrong, there are TONS of healthy meals that I love. But if I were to be honest with myself I would have to admit I am an addict. An addict to things like heavy whipping cream, sour cream, cream cheese, (are you seeing a cream pattern here?), mayo, and deep-fried deliciousness.

It’s a curse. But so good. Are you like me? Do you not mind using a little unhealthiness in your recipes every once in a while? Do you like meals that are quick prep and quick to the table?

Than I have a easy-peasy recipe for you that I recently stumbled upon via the interwebs:

Hellmann’s Parmesan Crusted Chicken (Bran calls it Lazy Day Chicken Parmesan)

1/2 cup Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise (So, I didn’t have Hellmann’s in the house, instead we use Kraft Mayo made from Olive Oil. This makes it healthy right? Can I get away with healthier prehaps? Please?)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs.)
4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Combine Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise with cheese in medium bowl. Arrange chicken on baking sheet. Evenly top with mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  3. Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

This is very moist, and even my daughter who is going through a aversion to meat phase right now loved it. So, you can’t beat easy and family pleasing right?

You know what makes this meal even easier? When your hubby makes it for you 🙂

Today I am Thankful…

To wake up before everyone else to a quiet, messy lived in home. To have the chance to sneak in and watch my baby girl sleep, crunched in half, butt in the air snuggling her favorite ‘Porper’ (stuffed puppy).

Then I walk down the hallway, which most of the time feels to narrow, but today instead of the narrow horrible paneling I focus instead on the hallway closet that has a rather large stockpile of food. I smile to myself remembering my husbands panic when our supplies fall below 3 months worth of food (in case of an emergency). Now I am thankful the head of my household’s passion lies in preparing his family for disasters instead of the million other hobbies he could have. I am thankful, because I know he prays every night to God to keep us safe, because he knows that he can only do so little and that he needs our Heavenly Fathers help.

I am thankful to have Sundays off this holiday season, because I didn’t last year. I am thankful for the opportunity to go be with my church family every week if we choose too. I am also thankful that God doesn’t care if I worship him in a formal church or with my family snuggled around me in bed reading the Bible to my daughter on Sunday morning. There are times that I feel closer to God outside of church, and for that I am extremely thankful.

I was sad this week about Thanksgiving because we are not going to be able to travel to Missouri to see my family there again this year. But, last year we were able to have Ade’s first Thanksgiving together, as a family of three and I will cherish that memory forever. This year, we are getting to spend it with Bran’s mom and step-dad, and I am thankful for that. I want Ade to remember Thanksgiving as a time to spend with loved ones, and not always the same ones because we are blessed to have lots and lots of loved ones. For that I am thankful.

This morning I logged onto Facebook to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and the first thing to catch my eye was a post from a friend about her less than a year old daughters trip to the emergency room last night. It took my breath away as I prayed for her and her little girl and with my sigh of relief that she was okay I was thankful. Not just that their scary moment was over, but that even though I am always worried for my daughter and her heart defect we have never had to rush her to the emergency room. For that, I am so very thankful.

Thinking about Ade and her heart condition my mood changes, because even though she is healthy we have been fighting with her medical bills. Nothing outrageous, but still cumbersome. Then I remember, that even with those that we are still paying on, we have paid off a considerable amount more. For the ability to keep paying our bills in such an uncertain time, I am thankful. For both of our jobs, I am thankful and for Bran’s opportunity to go back to school and finish his degree (and us to be able to afford it) I am thankful.

But most of all today I am thankful for Thanksgiving. Not because tomorrow is Black Friday, or because it is a day for me to be thankful, but because it is a day that reminds me that I should be thankful for EVERYthing, EVERYday.

 

I realize that a lot of people are using this quote, but I want you to really think about it and not brush it off because you have heard it before. It is a great reminder for all of us, for every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Marrying Kind

My husband has a female coworker who is always on the prowl for a man. She says she is ready for a family and kids, but she just needs the man. As I sit and listen to her stories about how she is trying to find this guy I can’t help but think she is going about it all wrong.

Granted, I married my high school sweetheart, so I could be way off base here.

But it just seems like she is trying too hard, in all the wrong directions, with the wrong kind of guys. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not think that all guys are scum. However, some are receptive to relationships and others are not (at least for the time being).

I think you know what I mean. It’s the difference between the guy who will call you and ask you on a date a week in advance and the guy who calls you 30 minutes before. The difference between a guy who will let you cry on his shoulder when your pet dies and the kind that bails at the first sign of tears. Most importantly, the difference between the guy who treats you like you are a person and the guy who treats you like you are a thing.

I guess the question for her is: How do you find that guy? I think she should be asking: How do you attract that guy?

Honestly, I don’t really know because I got lucky. But my husband has told me that he was attracted me because I was different. Because I was silent and confident (AKA shy) and because I wasn’t throwing myself at him. (His words not mine). He said that he could tell by the way I handled myself and talked to him and others that I had respect for myself.

Someday, I know I will need to tell Adelyn how to act around guys. Not because I want her to be a prude or think I should dictate everything she ever does, but because I know she will ask. Maybe not in a straight forward way, but she will. I think I will tell her this:

Make sure a guy is attracted to your smile, not how short your skirt is.
That he loves your eyes, not just your cleavage.
That he doesn’t have to wonder where your boundaries are, because you know them.
He needs to put effort into knowing you and you do too.
He should use the words beautiful, smart, and funny to describe you.
He won’t be perfect, but he will try to be around you.
And he will, eventually, be able to imagine a future with you because you will be the marrying kind.

Today is a special day!

It’s my Husbands BIRTHDAY!!

I think you can understand why I like this day in particular, since I of course love the fact that he was BORN!

Poor hubby, he doesn’t really get to celebrate today because he has to work until 10pm. Good thing we planned ahead of time however, and left AJ with her Mimi and headed out on a date this past Saturday to a comedy club and had a fabulous time!

I had been pondering how I would celebrate his birthday on my blog. I wanted it to be special, but I just couldn’t think of exactly what I wanted. So, I finally decided to tell you a little about him. Originally I planned to list the things I love about him and throw in some random facts about him, maybe even some funny memories. But instead, I’m going to tell you a quick story that kind of sums up what kind of guy he is. This happened last Saturday night, when we were on our way home from picking AJ up after our date.

Bran was driving down the road when we both notice hazard lights blinking up in the distance. As we got closer we a large white truck sitting in the ditch. That doesn’t look good, I think. When our headlights finally fully illuminate the truck we see that it has significant body damage.

Bran pulled to the side of the road, put the car in park, told me to stay in the car, as he hopped out locking the car behind him. He had seen what I hadn’t yet: a man laying in the ditch. He rushed over to him, thankfully he was conscious, and began to talk to him. Asking him what happened, asking him were he hurt, and telling him not to move (for fear that he could be severely injured). All the while, also asking him simple questions in an effort to calm him down.

While  he was checking on the man, obviously, 9-1-1 was called and an ambulance arrived on scene in what felt like a matter of seconds. Soon police cars were driving up and the whole scene was illuminated in flashing red and blue lights.

After speaking with the police and letting them know all that he knew (from what Bran heard it appeared that the man had fallen asleep at the wheel and rolled his truck into the ditch) he returned to the car. As he climbed back in and merged back into traffic he apologized to me saying, “I’m sorry I left you in the car, and that we will get home later, but I just couldn’t do nothing.”

And that is my husband. He can’t stand by and do nothing. He would give the shirt off his back to help someone who is in need. It’s not just how he was raised; it’s who he is. I don’t think he even takes time to consider not helping, he makes sure his family is safe and then jumps into action. He’s my modern-day superhero. (Yes, I know, that was corny 🙂 )

I realize that running into an accident scene isn’t everyone’s forte (Bran has received first response training as part of his training at his previous job) and that some people might say it was a bad idea. But to me, that isn’t the point. The point is that I have an amazing husband, who has a huge heart for people in need, and also loves his family dearly! What more could I ask for?

Happy Birthday Bran! I love you!

How I Met Your Father Pt. 5

Don’t read the ending if you aren’t caught up on Pt 1, 2, 3, & 4!

 

One night, my parent’s sat me down.

“Michele, we have exciting news.” Guarded curiosity.
“Dad has been offered a new job.” Okay, good for him, I guess.
“It’s in Kansas.” But we live in Indiana?
“And we are moving at the end of summer.”  ……

I had never been filled with so much grief. My life, my perfect teenage life, was over. I was being ripped away from the only life I knew. I was going to have to live my senior year, the year that is supposed to be the best, without the things that made up my life. I fell into a depression fast and hard. How was I supposed to say good-bye to everything, to everyone? In all honesty, those final days rushed by so quickly that only bits and pieces stand out. Everything is blurred by tears and anger.

And so we moved.

(As a bit of a side note, because I have mentioned her much more then I originally planned, I am happy to tell you that Ande and I were able to make amends before I moved. She wrote me a letter (she is an amazing writer) and we were able to forgive one another, hugging and crying in the middle of our school’s hallway.) Now, back to the story:  

I came to the new school not looking to make new friends. I was going to be there a year, what would I need friends there for? After all once I graduated, I would go back to Indiana for college. At least that was the plan.

I glided through fall semester in a fog. My parents, knowing how important drama was to me, had arranged for me to be a part of the new school’s fall musical; even though parts had already been casted.

It wasn’t the same, they didn’t have the same passion or discipline as my old theatre troupe and so once it ended I crawled back into myself and just focused on surviving until Christmas break.

Having noticed me falling deeper and deeper into a depression, for my Christmas present that year my parents bought me a plane ticket back to Indiana. I was beyond elated and so focused on getting to December that I didn’t notice much else around me.  In fact, I had a tendency to bury myself into an AP Chemistry book at every opportunity.

And that is how I was found one day in my new school’s library by a boy named Joey. He was very outgoing and plopped himself down in the chair right next to me oblivious to the fact that I was not only ignoring him but trying to make it very clear that I wanted him to leave me alone. After all, Taylor and I were going to make a long distance high school relationship work. (Please, don’t hurt yourself rolling your eyes people.) Turns out, he wasn’t there to hit on me, but instead to recruit me for this class I had never heard of called Forensics. He explained to me what forensics was about and how I would be able to perform a prepared monologue in front of judges. He really thought I would enjoy it since I was so into acting and not really impressed with the school’s drama program.

I wasn’t buying it.

Well, at least not until he told me that it would count as my speech credit, which meant I wouldn’t have to take speech. Okay, now I was convinced. So we headed to the counselors office to rearrange my Spring semester schedule. I had to make some sacrifices, most notable of which was dropping my advanced government class and switching to a ‘regular’ government class. I wasn’t super thrilled, but decided that it would be nice to have an easier class in my schedule (or at least that is what I told myself in order to make the schedule work). So Forensics took the place of Advanced Government during 5th period and just plain Government replaced my former 1st period speech class. I was now excited for the first time all semester for something that didn’t revolve around Christmas break.

The rest of the semester came and went without any other notable happenings and after almost missing my flight to Indiana I found myself sitting on a plane headed back to where I thought I had left my life. It was a good trip and I spent every waking moment with either friends or Taylor. To be honest, looking back I think I did a pretty good job of balancing between the two.

However, by the end of it I had to come to terms with something that had been nagging me the entire time. I was going to go back to Kansas and I was never going to see any of these people again. I’m so thankful that my parents allowed me to make that trip. Being able to go back, and see how life was continuing without me (and how my new life was starting to come together without them) allowed me the kind of closure I really needed. Despite this, Taylor and I would continue to pretend for about another month, but eventually we were forced to admit to each other what we had already come to terms with personally; we were over.

I returned from that trip defeated, exhausted but with a better outlook. I had come to the realization that it was okay for me to make my new life and enjoy it. Of course before that could happen I had to make it through my 1st period Government class.

Ugh! I was so bummed heading to that class. It wasn’t the class I wanted to be in, but I kept reminding myself it was necessary in order to hopefully be able to get acting back into my daily life.

So, I plopped down in the first chair I came to and once again buried myself into my AP Chemistry book and waited for class to start.

*POP*

What the heck just hit me in the face?

I look down and see a pen cap lying neatly in the crease of my book.

Where did this come from?

I picked it up and held it out in front of me curiously staring at it until something brought me out of my little world.

“Dude, you hit the new girl!!”

I looked up startled; someone had thrown this at me?

I scan the kids in front of me and spotted the culprit. He was smiling at me, a mischievous grin on his face and a sparkle in his eyes, daring me to retaliate.

And I did.

I married him.    

How I Met Your Father Pt 4

Are you just now joining the fun? Check out Pt. 1, 2, & 3.

 

Where were we? Oh, yeah. Taylor ended an e-mail with L.O.V.E

Was your response, ummmm what??

Because mine was. Actually, my response was nothing. I didn’t have the energy to deal with it and so I chalked it up to him being a good friend and went to bed. Or actually air mattress, that I shared with another girl, which had a wonderful tendency to be airless by morning.

The next few days went by in a blur. I spend most of my time with the native Puerto Ricans and very little time with my group. The day before we boarded the plane back, I finally e-mailed him a response. Something like this:

Taylor,

Thanks for thinking of me. It will be nice to be back home. This has been a great experience, and I would like to tell you about it. Hope to see you sometime before schools starts. Youth group perhaps?

Michele

Yeah, I’m awesome (NOT). Anyways, in the hopes of ending this series at some point in the near future, we are going to fast forward to fall homecoming junior year. (Trust me, you didn’t miss anything). A couple of days before Friday there was a group of us girls chatting about the upcoming game and dance that would follow. It’s the first big school sponsored social event of the year and we are all pretty excited.

Was it a big thing at your high school to wear the opposite colored jersey of one of the football players the day of a big game? Because it was at mine (which I think I touched on when I was talking about Jon). In fact it was so big that some girls didn’t really care whose jersey it was, as long as they got to wear one. Apparently it was some sort of competition for the guys too. I won’t even begin to pretend that I understand how that worked.

From my bunny trail I’m guessing you figured out what we were talking about: Who was wearing what jerseys. This hadn’t ever really been a dilemma for me. Not that I had a bunch of guys wanting me to wear their jerseys, quite the opposite I assure you, but because  I managed to always have a boyfriend on the football team (small town school = everyone played) during the fall. Jon = freshman (although he quit shortly after we broke up) and Josh = sophomore (yeah, you aren’t the only ones surprised he played).

This was my first high school football season without a jersey er, boyfriend. (Cue dramatic, life ending teen music). Really, however, it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. It would be nice to have a jersey, but I was pretty happy with where I was. I had been elected Junior Reporter, was in Beta Club,Thespian Society and Science Club (among others), and had been allowed to take an advanced class that was normally reserved for seniors only (why yes, it was a high level science class, how did you guess?).

Or maybe subconsciously I knew that I would get a random visit from Taylor later that evening, jersey in hand, mumbling something about how he was told that everyone needed to find someone to wear their jersey to show school spirit and what not.

Friday came around, I spent the afternoon setting up for homecoming and prepping for the dance with a girl friend, oh and being on cloud nine. That night at the dance we officially started dating. Everyone said they had seen it coming and talked about how they couldn’t believe it had taken us so long.

Except Ande.

And the rift between us grew. Apparently she had been holding out some hope of getting back together with him. Thankfully, that was quickly forgotten and each of us went on living our junior year in spite of each other. We were in drama together, because after all it was her and Josh that introduced me to it, and we were able to be civil, sometimes even friendly, but old wounds just never quite healed.

The rest of my life that year? Well, I thought it was perfect. I had a stable relationship again; similar to the one I had with Jon, I made new friends helping to plan senior prom; which was a huge success if you ask me and I played a part (although small) in every single production our theatre troupe put on, including the performance that we took to the State Championship. Drama had provided me not only with an outlet for stress but with a place that I could really start to come out of my shell. I couldn’t imagine living without acting, without my friends, without my little town, or without Taylor.

 Then my whole life came crashing down around me.

 

To be continued…

Heard in My house

To our friend’s dog who we are babysitting who was chewing on computer cords:

“NO!”  ::squirts her with spray bottle of water::

To AJ who is trying to climb up the living room lamp:

“NO! ::squirt:: Hey, it works on you too.”

— Bran