Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Itch to Pitch---Week 3

Life doesn't always go as planned. I had a list of things I wanted to get to last week but life took over.
Tuesday--Chris came home from work sick.

Wednesday---I had my 3 hour glucose test at the hospital and was gone half the day. The other half I wasn't feeling all that great. And BTW, I do NOT have gestational diabetes! : )

Thursday--I had such plans for this day. Chris took ALL the kids to CJ's baseball practice in the morning to give me time to do something around the house that I wanted to get to but couldn't because of the kids. I was so excited. And then.....about 15 minutes after he left, I walked a couple of times up and down the stairs and I started with my heart racing, palpitations and shortness of breath. I was so upset. I had work I wanted to get done : ( Needless to say, when you have a resting heart rate of about 130, you can't get much done. I called Chris to let him know what was going on. He told me to go and put my feet up and rest. I did for about an hour and then went to take a shower. Zachary had a dentist appointment because something was wrong with his gums and I wasn't sure what. To my surprise, Chris stopped home while I was in the shower and decided he was going to take Zachary and the other kids (minus CJ, who was still at practice) to the dentist. This turned into Chris not only taking them to the dentist but to the library too. What a good dad. All this to say, I didn't get much done besides "normal" stuff because of the cardiac issue.

Friday--Spent the afternoon bringing Zachary to an oral surgeon (dentist wasn't sure what was wrong with his gum), bank, Target to pick up Zachary's prescription, post office and then home for Zachary's baseball game.

Saturday---Spent morning cleaning and ALL afternoon working on budget/menu planning/ grocery list. Then 3 1/2 hours grocery shopping (after a quick stop at Kohl's). Didn't get home until around 10:30 pm, helped unload groceries and then collapsed on the couch.

Sunday----Saturday's adventure kicked my fibromyalgia into high gear. I was in awful pain throughout my body all night. It settled down enough for me to sleep for few hours after I took some Tylenol (at 3:30 in the morning). Tried pushing through all day. I started on the black hole (ie: my bedroom). I threw away a trash bag worth of papers, magazines and plan old junk that had made its way to my room. I have a bunch of piles organized on my floor right now for me to find a permanent home for.

Jessica (who's 8), was a big help. She did this for me

She turned this.....

Into this : )

She then helped my mom reorganized my cupboards that have the dishes in them.

CJ and Zachary did yard clean-up. They spent more than an hour back there. They even washed out the trash barrels.

So far, I have one thing posted on Ebay. More to come.

This weeks goals are alot like last week:
1. Bathroom closest clean out.
2. List atleast 5 more things on Ebay.
3. Finish bedroom.
4. Hallway closet

Head on over to The Happy Housewife for more Itch to Pitch. Come on and join in!!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bargin Meal of the Week

This is my first Bargain Meal of the Week !!! With our ever growing family and a budget out of control, I have been trying think of meals for dinner that are 1- Healthy 2- Filling and 3- Economical. While browsing the blog-world, I noticed that prices in other parts of the country are much lower than here in good-old Massachusetts. In general, I do not think our local grocery stores have that great of sales. Every once in a while you can find a deal....so you have to get it while you can!!!

This week Shaw's Supermarket has boneless chicken breast on sale for $1.99 a pound and pasta for $0.88. I will have to admit, I buy most of my frozen veggies at Target because they are cheaper.

Here's the breakdown for our meal. This was for 8 of us: Me, Chris, my mother, CJ (15 y.o. boy who can eat as much as the father), a 10, 8, 7 and 2 y.o.

Shaw's Boneless skinless chicken breast 1.5 pounds @ $1.99 lb = $2.99
Shaw's Pasta, 1.5 boxes @ $0.88 each = $1.32
Target Broccoli, frozen cut-up 1 bag = $1.50 (I think)
Olive oil, garlic and black pepper to taste.

Cut up chicken into bite size pieces. Cover bottom of frying pan with olive oil, add chicken, garlic and black pepper. Cook through. Add frozen broccoli and more olive oil. Don't forget, the oil and garlic is the sauce for pasta. While this is cooking, cook your choice of pasta according to directions. When pasta is done, drain, put on plates and top with chicken and broccoli mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese (if you wish). Enjoy!!!

As a comparison, one of my favorite local restaurants that Chris and I go to on date night has this exact meal (which I usually get when I go) for $12.99---that's for one person!!!

Grand total for my meal, a family of 8= $ 5.81. That is $0.73 a person!!!! The kids all asked for this one again. And BTW, I doubt I will be getting this anymore when we go out.

A big thanks to my sister Glenda for giving me the recipe for this meal : )

Cloth Diaper Give-Away...Oh, I HOPE I win : )

Rhen at Yes, They are All Mine is doing a great give-away for all you expecting mamas out there. 2 FREE cloth diapers w/ liners. I would LOVE to win this!!! I have been wanting to try cloth for our new little one coming in September, but I am afraid to make that financial commitment. I have heard, though, that cloth diapers have come a long way in easy and durability and I heard in the long run they can save you a TON of $$$. So, I have my fingers crossed that I win this one.

Menu Monday---Week of June 29th

My budget has been extremely out of control lately. I feel instead of me controlling my money, my money has been controlling me. I decided to change this. Friday I worked on the budget. It is looking pretty good. Some things might need to be changed but all in all, I believe it is workable.

One of the biggest areas I believe the money is just being eaten up (figuratively and literally) is groceries. Not being prepared for meals and therefore too many stops to the grocery store really does and up!!!

So Saturday, I spent most of the afternoon working on preparing a menu for the next too weeks---breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Then I spent 3 1/2 hours, and 3 different store grocery shopping with my oldest, CJ. I am at the point that pushing a carriage full of groceries for 7 to 8 people (mom is staying with us this week) is too much for me. Chris also did 3 stores for me on his own. He hit the meat market and Stop and Shop on his way home from work Saturday to pick up sale items. On his way home Sunday, he went to BJ's to get a handful of bulk items I needed. CJ and I hit Wal-mart, Target and Shaw's. The majority of my shopping is actually done at Wal-mart. Target is right across the street from Wal-mart and I pick up a few items there that Wal-mart either runs out of or doesn't carry. At Shaw's I picked up some sale items and a few fruits and veggies. I have a HUGE farmer's market order coming in on Thursday so I only wanted to get F & V to last me until then.

So without further ado----My Menu (which is, of course, is subject to change : )

Monday--(B)Bagels with catalope, (L) Pasta Fazole, (D) not sure yet

Tuesday--(B)Waffles (frozen), (L) PB & J sandwich, (D) Fajitas with rice

Wednesday--(B)LaMuffins, (L) Chicken patty sandwiches w/ fries, (D), American Chop Suey

Thursday--(B) Oven Omelet , (L) Dad's Choice, (D) Homemade Pizza---this will be my first attempt at this.

Friday--(B)Blueberry muffins, (L) Mac and Cheese, (D) Chorico and Fries

Saturday--(B) Pancakes, (L) English Muffin Pizzas, (D) Grill. Steak (chicken for me), corn-on-cob, watermelon, chips, potato salad and 4th of July cupcakes---yummy.

Sunday--(B) Cereal (recovering from the night before), (L) OYO (own-your-own) lunch, (D) Chicken Pastina (new recipe)

I have a long list of snacks available to the kids over the next 2 weeks:
yogurt, yogurt smoothies, fruit (usually their morning snack), cheese and crackers, fruit grain bars, popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, granola bars, brownies (Emily LOVES making these with me), chips w/ salsa, pudding, popcorn, and mixed nuts

That about sums it up.

Head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for more Monday Menu Plans.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Itch to Pitch---Week 2

Another week-----yaaaahhh!!! I love participating in this because it gives me a goal and incentive to get things done : )

This past week I finished up the old school room. Everything was organized into piles. Just one problem.....where to put it all! Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you are orgazing one area it leads to other areas needing to be done to make room? That is what has happened. I have a bedroom and hallway closet that are in desperate need of some TLC (hopefully next week). Until then, Chris stacked all my crates neatly into the boys closet.

Old Schoolroom...orgazing into piles.

School stuff was brought upstairs and put away in the new school room.
On Thursday, when I was out, Chris and the boys washed the walls and rug. CJ took apart the boys' bunk bed and moved it into their new room.

Zachary and Alex's "new" bedroom
Our "baby" goal this month was to have the boys into their new room. Goal met!!!!

Over the weekend I tackled something I have been putting off for months.......
Going through Jessie and Emily's clothes.

Another small pile of clothes.

Boy did it feel good to get this done!! I ended up with 3 bags of clothes to give to goodwill, 1 bag that had Jessie's old comforter set, a small bag of clothes to give to someone I know who is having a girl and 1 tote full of dresses I want to pass down to Emily someday.

When going through all this, I had to keep my emotions out. I could have spent all day thinking about each "special" outfit of Emily's I picked up. I also had to remind myself that I am having a boy and chances are I will not be having another girl someday. I thought about the happy mother who comes across these outfit and gets to dress her little girl in them.

Now for some goals for this upcoming week.
1. My bathroom closet
2. List some curriculum that I need to "Pitch" on Ebay (I have 3 milk crates full)
3. My bedroom (this is a never ending problem for me). Specifically in my bedroom, I want to clean off my chest of draws and the huge pile of books, papers, toys that have made its way to my room (my room is the catch-all for the rest of the house).

Head on over to The Happy Housewife for more Itch to Pitch. Come on and join in!!!! : )

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Week 26 Update

26 Weeks!! YEAH!!!!
As you can see, I am really getting there.

I went this past Wednesday for blood work. Not so good. 1st off, I failed the one hour glucose test (can't say I am surprised). I am now going to the hospital on Wednesday to do the 3 hour glucose tolerance test. I have had trouble throughout the pregnancy with low blood sugar. The last couple of weeks I have been suspecting that I am going too high after eating. I checked my glucose Wednesday myself before and after. Before the test I had dropped to 77 (80-120 in normal). As soon as the phlebotomist drew my blood after the one hour test I checked my level and I got 175 (one hour after they don't want to see it higher than 140. The blood they drew came out as 158). One hour after that (now 2 hours after I drank that horrible stuff) I was already down to 82. I feel like a ping-pong ball. I can feel my levels going up and down and it doesn't feel that great : (

Wednesday's blood work also showed that I am still anemic. In fact, my level dropped from the last time, even though I have been taking a multivitamin AND iron pill. I was 11.1 around 18 weeks, now I am 9.7. I am now taking 2 iron pills plus the multivitamin.

I have been feeling tired lately. I just thought it was because I have been not sleeping well. The last two weeks I have been having episodes of dizziness and a couple of time where I have had a fast heart rate again and out of breath. I just thought "part of pregnancy".

Surprising though, I am getting more done now than I have in a long time. I just keep pushing myself. I figure the little fairies aren't going to get the house ready for baby ; )

With all that is going on, it might also be surprising to know that I am enjoying being pregnant, wouldn't trade this for anything and I would do it again. I have taken better control of my stress level too.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


100 Days until My Due Date!!!!

13 Things I Would Like to do This Summer

1. Get ready for baby.

2. Roger Williams Zoo

3. Colt State Park

4. Play mini-golf

5. Cape Cod

6. Go camping for 2 nights/3 days

7. Have a extended family cook-out. -----hint-hint Sissy : )

8. Clean out EVERY closet in this house

9. Read through my summer book list

10. Organize and do actually lesson plans for school

11. Go to the drive-in to see a movie (the closest one is about an hour away)

12. Go to farmer market on a regular basis

13. RELAX!!!! : )-

Head on over to Happy to be @ Home to view other Thursday Thirteens.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

I love finding recipes on the web....either through other's blogs or Allrecipe.com. At first it was getting very messy trying to keep track of them. That was, until I came up with this idea

I have all the recipes I have collected over the last year are in a binder. The binder is separated into categories: Breads and doughs, Appetizers, Main dishes, Sides, Salads and Desserts.

To protect my recipes while I cook, I put each in a page protector. Then I can just wipe it off when I am done cooking (I will admit, I am a very messy cook).

This has made life much easier for our family, especially since my husband does a good amount of the cooking also. This works for us!!!!

Head on over to We Are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I’ve got the Itch to Pitch Challenge--Week 1

Over at The Happy Housewife, Toni has issued a summer challenge----to clean, declutter and organize our homes. Since I wanted to do this before the baby came I was thrilled to join in. Basically, each week pick one area of your home you want to work on, take before and after pictures and work on it throughout the week. Then every Monday Toni will be posting a link to her site. What a great way to have accountability.

I don't know what has happened to my house over the last 5 months...it's a disaster!!! Actually embarrassing. Honestly, most rooms have a mess in them. Last weekend CJ did an AWESOME job going through his room and cleaning it out. Doesn't that say something when a teenage boy's room is the cleanest in the house: )-

So this week, we tackled 2 rooms and one "hot" area. I saw "we" because I had the kids joined in. I figured they did a fantastic job messing it, they should help in the cleaning. First up----the family room. I wish I had pictures but my batteries on my camera died. So I guess I will have to tell you what they did.

CJ moved a mattress and bed frame out (it is temporary being stored in the end of a hallway (we will be finding a place for it eventually). Clothes that needed to folded were moved out and put into the living room. Jessie and Alex worked on them.

Zachary cleaned out the entertainment center, wiped it down with cleaner and took all the movies out and put them in their correct case. Jessie took ALL the books off the bookcase (Alex and Zachary both helped her at different times, however, she did the majority of the work on this one.), dusted it and re-organized the books . All the toys down there were sorted, broken ones thrown away and organized into there correct bin.

The couches were vacuumed out. They then washed all the walls and the baseboard heater. Chris then moved the tv up to the main floor into the living room. The room was then rearranged. It makes the room look HUGE! What a difference a day makes. Yesterday morning I could hardly walk through the room without worrying about tripping over something and now......lets just say the kids did a mama proud.

When Chris got home from work he got busy right away washing rugs with the rug cleaner. He helped the kids finish up the family room by directing them on what to do.

While this was all going on, I was cleaning out the old school room. I am still not done in there. My goal is to be done by Wednesday so we can wash the walls and rugs on Wednesday.

Also this week, I went through all the school book we had. I put the books we are using and the books for the upcoming school year on the shelves in the new school room. Next, I put all the books to sell in 3 milk crates. I have one milk crate left with book we will use someday in the future. Alot of old papers and books (ie: dot-to-dot books and old coloring books) were thrown out.

I would say we had a successful week. This upcoming week we will be working on finishing up the old schoolroom and going through Emily, Jessie, Alex and Zachary's clothes. I should have pictures to show for this one because I am going out today and buying some ; )

Friday, June 12, 2009

When Are We Going to be Done.....

This has been one wacky kind of school year. It started off pretty good the first 2 months. Then November came. That starts a busy 7 weeks for us. Starting November 15-January 1st we celebrate 3 birthdays and 3 major holidays. It seems like every week there is something. Because of this, we have be taking this time of year off or doing a much lighter load.

Every January we take the week of our anniversary off from school because Chris always takes the week off for vacation (Chris and I usually go away for 2 days). However, this past January Chris had surgery on his nose for a devated septum. Poor guy was miserable. Surgery was on a Tuesday---I found out was pregnant 3 days later on Friday and morning sickness started a week and a half later. There were many days during my first 16 weeks of pregnancy that I couldn't make it off the couch because I felt so horrible. This made for a very tough time homeschooling.

During those 10 weeks of extreme morning sickness, I was happy with the kids just being quiet and not killing each other. The kids did try working in their books independently but that came back to haunt us in the end (more about that in a little bit). Chris would try to work with them on his days off or when he got home from work but there is only so much time in a day. He was usually spending his home time taking care of me, the kids and the house. He cooked, cleaned, ran errands....basically he took over my job (which I will forever be grateful).

Like I said, the kids did try to do work independently, however, when I was finally feeling better I went back and started correcting the work they did during that time. Oh the horror. Have you ever tried correcting 10 weeks worth of school for multiply kids!!! Needless to say, concepts were missed or not understood, they got sloppy with their work and all in all, I had a mess to clean up. In some of the books, we had to actually go back and start back where we were before I got sick.

So now here it is, the middle of June and where does that leave us......BEHIND!! There are some subjects we really didn't even touch this year, like bible, art, music, history or science (the kids did get some science this year though. They had science once a week in co-op, so maybe 20 classes for the whole year). I am not even talking about THOSE subjects. I am talking about them behind in phonics, reading, math, spelling and grammar.....you know, the 3 R's.

I have been trying to figure out what to do about it and the summer. At first, I was going to do school until June 26th. But I can't justify taking the whole summer off when they took A LOT of time off January-April. Then I thought of just taking July off. But you know what I find, when my kids don't have something constructive to do, they get into more trouble!! So I think (maybe) that I have an alternative. I think we will be schooling through the summer (gasp) on Monday, Tuesday and Fridays. We will take Wednesday and Thursday off since they are Chris' days off plus the weekend. This is of course subject to change and at any time I could change my mind. CJ needs to do school atleast 4 days a week this summer----it really should be 5.

For the 3 elementary age kids they will be working on the 3 R's. I am starting to see progress and I don't want to lose steam now. We are getting into a flow with me sitting at my desk and helping one child at a time. During this time, I help with math lessons, check to make sure they understand a grammar concept and listen to them read outloud to me. The others sit in the other room working on their working independently. Of course there is always room for improvement and I am hoping to have a real schedule up soon for this. If everyone cooperates and does what they are suppose to do, we can be done in 2 hours (or less). I think that leaves plenty of time for them to have summer fun : )

CJ will be working on Algebra (still), Bible and History. Sports and co-op took up a great deal of time this past school year and now we need to play catch-up. I suspect we will be doing algebra the whole summer but the other 2 subjects he doesn't have too much more to do and I keep encouraging him to do extra in those subjects to get them done faster. Still, with those 3 subjects we are only talking about a few hours of school a day and he could easily be done before noon.

With 9 weeks until I want to start the new school year (my goal is August 17th), I am hoping this schedule will give us the needed push we need to catch up.

In the near future I am hoping to do a few other posts regarding the upcoming school year and decision we have made (like curriculum choices and why we won't be doing co-op again).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quick Dr. Update--Week 24

Went to the doctor's today and saw the midwife.
Wt gain for the month---2 pounds. Total--12 pounds : )
BP---118/64. I was shocked! I thought for sure with all my stress it would be elevated.

Talking about stress, the midwife said I need to chill out. She agreed with Chris that all the stress I am under is not good. She said when Chris wants me to go up to my room and relax to just do it. She did mention how stress can cause pre-term labor. That was all I needed to hear.

So as selfish as I feel, I am going to put myself first. No correction, I am going to put baby Nicholas first. I will do what I need to do----or should I say---I will NOT be doing certain things, like trying to help everyone fix their problems. I am going to be the queen that I am, relax, and enjoy the rest of this pregnancy (even if it means not answering the phone for the next 15 weeks.)

On a happier note, she said Nicholas' heart rate sounded nice and strong and I was measuring good. I am going next week on Wednesday for the (dreaded) glucose tolerance test (yuck). My next appointment in July 6th.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Be Still......

Psalm 46:10
Be Still and know that I am God
As I mentioned Saturday, I have been feeling physically better than I have in a long time. Emotionally....well that is a different story. I have been feeling like I am carrying the weight of others on me. I want to help. I want to fix things. I want to be whatever people need from me. Unfortunately, this is at the expensive of myself (and baby Nicholas).

I was such an emotional wreck that Chris called out of work today. He knew I was at my breaking point last night. Have you ever gotten that bad? It's awful.
Today was a refreshing day. First off, I slept until.....are you ready for this.....10:30!!!!! I guess I should put this a little in perspective. I haven't been sleeping well.....AT ALL. I am usually up, wide awake from anywhere between 2-4 hours, every night. I can't remember the last time I slept through I whole night (minus bathroom trips). Even before I got pregnant I didn't sleep well due to fibromyalgia. Last night was no different. I went to bed at 11 pm, woke up at 1 am and didn't get back to sleep until after 4:30. I was woken up by the phone at 6 am. I was going to stay up but Chris encouraged me to go back to bed (or should I say the comfy couch we have in our living room). I did, and actually got into a great sleep. At one point, I popped my eyes open long enough to see him walk by me to go downstairs to the family room with the milk, cereal and bowls.

When I finally woke up I was SHOCKED when I woke up and found it was 10:30 am!!! Part of me felt guilty...but you know what....I felt refreshed!!! What a great feeling. The day was spent with Chris taking care of the kids fully. I just chilled out. Chris even took all the kids to get his coffee at noon time and spoiled me with take-out from Friendly's. I was not allowed to take any phone calls (until an emergency one came in. He took the message but I did call my sister to let her know what was going).

I feel so blessed to have my husband. I called him my gatekeeper today, protecting my fragile emotional state. He was not going to let any outside influences get to me. He wanted me to focus on me today (boy is that tough). To know someone loves me that much to put my needs well above his is unbelievable.
Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

What a great example Chris was of this today. He showed the children how it is his job to protect his wife, love her unconditionally and put her needs above his own.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

24 Weeks!!!

Time is just flying by. I can't believe I am 24 weeks now. May seemed like a blur.

Excuse the hair. I just got out of the shower this morning when I took this.

I am feeling the best physically I have since finding out I was pregnant (iron pills are a great thing!!!). I am still very emotional. God has been working in some areas of my life too. I am trying not to take on the problems of the world but instead to focus on God, myself and my family. Not always an easy task. I like to be there for people and try to fix things (probably why I became a nurse). But it has been taking its toll on me. I have not been very peaceful during this pregnancy and I came to the conclusion that, that is going to change. Chris has been really after me about this and it's about time I listen.

Lots of reorganizing going on around the house. Chris has finished painting the "new" schoolroom and I have been working the last few days going through ALL my school books. I know the direction I want to go for the next school year. It is a matter of now seeing what I have and ordering the new stuff.

Chris put together the bassinet this week.

This wasn't the original plan but I opened the box up and pulled everything out to see if it came with a mattress. Since I had it out he figured he would put it together. It is now in our bedroom. Putting it together brought the growing belly to a realization-----there is going to be a baby here soon!!! : )

On Wednesday, Chris, Zachary and Alex all got to feel baby Nicholas kick. I have been feeling him kick for 8 weeks now, but the kicks are getting stronger and this was the first time they could be felt from the outside so clearly.

Well that is what's new on the baby front. I go to the doctor's on Wednesday for my belly check.