Monday, February 16, 2009

New blog...

Join me over at my new blog at ...

(now I'll see if I can figure out how to automatically send people there!)

Friday, February 13, 2009


I took the day off today to catch up on my house. We did a pretty good clean (with the exception of my room/bathroom) the Saturday before Logan's birthday party. But then I went on service and...well, let's just say that getting the laundry in the machine (most of it) was all I could do (besides cooking and getting the kids to school and picking them up from daycare)!

Started out at 9 AM cleaning the kids bathroom. It was a mess!...and can I tell you that I hate boys - especially boys who don't hit the toilet water when they are peeing? ...oh yeah and who don't empty the tub water when they take a bath with the babysitter? and who smear toothpaste all over the sink and counter top. Okay that took a while.

Next I went to my room. Now, my room is a MESS. I haven't cleaned it since before Thanksgiving so (believe me I will spare you pictures)...I started with going through my closet and my bureau drawers and taking out all of the (now) too big (YEAH!) clothes that I had accumulated over the last 2 years since I last was successful with weight watchers. There ended up being one GIANT - overfilled - stuffed to the gills garbage bag for me to bring to Good Will. It feels good to get rid of it. My closet was in complete disarray...really since this summer and all of the painting. The contractor had just moved everything into my closet and knocked everything onto the floor. You'll be happy to hear that I now can walk into the closet and actually pick out clothes.

Next I moved to all of the kids "junk" that has come into my room and removed all of my sheets, rotated my mattress and put new sheets on and washed and replaced my comforter. I then turned to my bathroom. Can I tell you how much I hate boys - especially boys who don't hit the toilet water when they are peeing? Okay...I'll spare you the details a second time! Also, we usually use my tub for baths and there was dried soap scum all over the floor and tub surround. I threw out two garbage bags full of dirty ripped kids clothes, random papers and dried out markers.

Meanwhile I came across a recipe for English Muffins and made 20 whole wheat English muffins.

Finally, I put a LOT and I mean a LOT of laundry on and started folding. It's 4:27 and I think I will have all but one load folded by the time I have to leave to go pick up the kids. And that is mainly my clothes, so I plan on having that done by the end of the day. I think I might have a clean room by the time I go to bed tonight.

We have a 3 day weekend because the school is off for President's Day and the daycare is taking it as a Teacher Education Day. We will do some cleaning each of the days to bring the house back into control. Saturday, we will go to a VCU Women's Basketball game.

Long time...

I have been lax about blogging. I have been "on-service" the last 14 days in a row and between getting the kids up for school, working all day...and rushing home to get them before 6PM...well, it has left me spent at the end of the day. Not to mention the multiple sick days for the kids (we are smack dab in the middle of a vomiting epidemic in Richmond!). Both of the boys got to spend at least one day in the last 2 weeks in my office...bothering me and my assistants.
...some developments
...we had Logan's Princess birthday party the weekend of the 24th. Twenty kids, 7 parents and lots of fun and food. I got my house cleaned just in time. The girls in attendance loved the dress up station, the make your own wand station, the Princes Playdoh - complete with sparkles to mix into the Pink and Purple colored home-made Doh. The boys liked the swords and swordfighting, the Pin the "S" on Superman game, the Pinata, and the Cannon ball fight. Everyone liked the chicken nuggest and tater tots and, of course, cake. (unfortunately, I was so busy making sure everyone was involved in some activity or other, I didn't get any pictures...), for Addison's party we went a little lower key. She LOVED getting presents and has told me each day for the last 4 days that it's "MY BIRT-DAY"...unfortunately, it isn't her birthday everyday. We went to Red Robin with Wendy and Pat and they sang to her and brought her a sundae...she told everyone the next day who asked her about her birthday..."I like ice cream!" I got this cool doll at Target (and it was on sale 50% off) - it is a doll who either laughs or crys. When you push it's belly it giggles. When you push the back, it cries and it's cheeks get red (running a temperature)...if you put a thermometer in it's mouth it stops crying (or if you put the pacifier in its mouth) has a medicine spoon and she makes slurping sounds and then her fever goes away! She loves the baby (and so do all of the other kids who have been playing doctor to her).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oh my god...Crockpot Yogurt

I started making yogurt in my crockpot in October when I saw a post on the web by my favorite website of the year last year - "A year of Crockpotting". It tasted pretty good, however, I just couldn't get it to "gel" enough. I was using skim milk and the website did say it was more difficult to get non-fat (as opposed to whole milk) to gel. The last 2 times I did it, I added some unflavored gelatin (as suggested in another website) and all I got was thin yogurt with glops of unflavored jello (UGG!) ----Until today!!! -- turns out I was adding the gelatin at the wrong time.

Seems like a big deal - right? for yogurt right? Well, with my trying to do the WeightWatchers thing, they want you to have two 8-ounce glasses of skim milk a day. I - AM - NOT a milk drinker but I do like to have yogurt on my cereal. Well, two of those cups of yogurt a day can be pretty expensive and ... 1/2 gallon of milk is (relatively) cheap.

Here's the secret recipe...

Totally Gelled Non-Fat Yogurt

  • 1/2 gallon of nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup of powdered non fat milk
  • 1 packet of unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 c non-fat yogurt (from the store - with active cultures - this acts as your starter)
  • (optional)
  • (1/2 cup of splenda baking sweetner)
  • (1 tablespoon of vanilla)
Directions: I used a 4 qt crock pot
  • Pour milk into crock pot and turn on low for 3 hours - 3 1/2 hours (this kills bad bacteria)
  • Stir in 1/2 cup of powdered non fat milk and sprinkle package of gelatin on top
  • Once it warms up the milk, stir several times during the heating process to distribute the gelatin
  • Turn off crock pot and allow it to cool for 3 hours (or to temp of 90 degrees)
  • After it is cooled, take out approximately 2 cups and put into a clean bowl and whisk in the yogurt starter and then add it back to the crockpot
  • Stir the mixture well
  • Cover the crockpot and then unplug it and cover the entire thing with a towel +/or a blanket to keep the cultures warm while they are working
  • Leave undisturbed for 12-14 hours
  • Once the 12-14 hours are up, uncover and be amazed!!!

Once you make it, you can put it into different containers. Save 1/2 cup to use as starter for you next batch! You can use the yogurt you make as starter about 6-7 times then it gets a little stale so you will have to buy another 1/2 cup yogurt at the store.

Shopping Trip

After spending way more than I wanted on all of the supplies on Logan's b'day party this weekend, I had a great shopping trip at Kroger's today.
Many of you know that I am a closet couponer and frugal wannabe. Anyway, I read about a couple pretty good deals at Kroger and so decided to go and finish up my stocking for the next two weeks since I will be working 14 days in a row and won't be able to go shopping. I had bought fruit and milk and some other staples over the past few days but needed some cheese for pizza and some lunch meat for the boys.
Kroger is having their annual super sale...for selected items (and you can mix and match) if you buy 10 you get $5 off. so, here is what we got.
  • 10 -Kraft 2% shredded cheese packages - on sale for $1.99 (- $0.50 each) and "surprise" there was a coupon machine right by them for $0.75 off each bag - so I got each bag for $0.74
  • 3 lunch meat for $2.99 (-$0.50 each)
  • 5 Armor Meatballs for $2.99 (-0.50 each)
  • 6 Tostino Pizza Rolls for $2.99 (-0.50 each) with a surprise coupon machine for $1.00 off 2
  • 6 Steamer vegetables for $1.99 (-0.50 each) with 2 $1.00 off one coupons and 2 $0.50 off of 2 coupons which were then doubled.

So, I spent $40.41 and based on sales prices and the deals, I saved $54.11.

I am excited about it! Now I hope my freezer doesn't die!!