Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Come out come out whoever you are....

So I was just noticing that the little ticker on the side of my blog jumped from 3390 two-days ago to over 3600. That means there have been over 200 visits to my blog in the past couple of days. I know I have many friends and family members who visit, but I wondered if there are some lurkers too, who never post comments.

So...I am curious. If you visit my blog regularly or have just stumbled upon it, please leave me a comment and let me know you are reading! If you have a blog address, let me know and I will start visiting your blogs too! I love the blogging world and have found that it is a great way to keep up with people's lives and meet new people!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark

Today we had the honor of having Their Royal Highness (TRH) The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark visit the Grand View Campus. We are one of two Colleges/Universities in the country that have a Danish heritage, so TRH decided to take a tour of the school on their 8-day visit to the United States.

Even though it was rainy and dreary out, it was amazing to see them in this once in a lifetime event!

The Danish and American Flag flying outside of the Humphrey Building


Danish father and son that came out just for the event


My oh so cool work study Amy - she was chosen to hold the door open for them as they came into the Humphrey Building.






The Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary Elizabeth






The Danish Secret Service - very cool!

Chef's Frugal Wife - Taco Pizza

As most of you know, Drew is a talented and amazing chef. And, well, we eat pretty well. Not only at the restaurant, but also at home. And if I put my mind to it, I can make a pretty mean meal. But at home we do not have an overabundant kitchen filled with anything you could possibly want for a tasty meal. It just isn't in our budget.

So, I have made a vow to myself and to my family that I would try a new recipe once a week that is delish, but won't break our wallets. I will post each week (hopefully) my creations and let you know where I got the supplies and how much everything cost. Even if it gives one person an idea for a delicious frugal dinner, I will be happy!

So here is my first attempt at being "Chef's Frugal Wife"

HOMEMADE TACO PIZZA

We enjoyed this Friday night and let me tell you it was AMAZING! Drew raved about it all weekend (always makes me feel good when he likes what I cook!) So enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

1 pkg pre-made pizza crust
*I bought it at Wal-Mart. You can get 2 crusts for $3.00. Save the 2nd one and make a regular pizza later in the week. It also come with pizza sauce.

1 jar of cheese conqueso dip
*Bought it at Aldi's for $1.49. Only used half

1 pound of ground beef
*It was on sale last week at Hy-Vee for $1.88. Stock up on these deals when you can and freeze it!

Taco Seasoning as desired
*You could buy the individual packets for $.89 a piece, OR you could buy the huge shaker of it at Wal-Mart for $3.50 and it will last you forever. We bought one a few months back and have used it at least 10-12 times. Definitely worth the money if you make Mexican food at home a lot!

1 pkg of shredded cheese
*Wal-Mart $1.79 and we didn't use all of it

2 Tomatoes

*Wal-Mart $.65

Half a head of lettuce
*Wal-Mart $.69

Onion (if preferred)

*Wal-Mart $.78

Nacho Cheese Totilla Chips
*Now you could use Doritos, but that would throw your frugalness out the window. I used the Nacho Cheese Chips from Aldi's. I think I like them better!! $.99

DIRECTIONS


Heat the oven to the specified time on the pizza crust package. I can't exactly remember the time.

Brown the hamburger as you would for tacos and then add the seasoning

Spread the conqueso over the crust

Spread Taco meat over pizza crust
*we had a little left over, so I put it in the fridge and Jules and I had nachos as a snack with it the next day.

Spread shredded cheese over the beef

Bake for 12 minutes (or as indicated on crust label)

HELPFUL HINT
Cut the pizza when it comes out of the oven. I made the mistake of trying to cut it once all the toppings were on. Not smart and a litte messy.

Dice the tomatoes, onions and cut the lettuce

Spread over top of pizza

Crumble up the chips while they are still in the bag and pour over pizza

Serve with taco sauce and enjoy!!




Friday, March 20, 2009

Grrr...

Drew is home tonight and after a yummy dinner (which I made by the way) of homemade taco pizza, we decided to head out for a drive and stop for some shakes on the way.

We thought we would just take my car since I needed gas and Drew likes to pump it for me whenever he can, so I don't have to do it!

Well while he was pumping gas (with the car off), I turned it on enough to roll my window down. When he got back into the car, it would'nt start. Wouldn't even turn over. Just clicked and then nothing. UGH!!! I hate car problems. I mean my car is only 3 years old, this shouldn't be happening!

We didn't know what to do. Do you think we really know anyone in the town that we live in? Nope. So I called Sue and Dad's to see if my dad was there to come and jump us. Sue answered and said that he was in Chicago with Morgan. Great. Thankfully she offered to come and jump us.

In the meantime we remembered that the handle for the release for my hood had broken off last fall and the only way to pop my hood is with a set of pliers. Which were not in my car, because my wonderful husband took my car today and cleaned and detailed it for me, so everything extra was out of my car.

No biggie, he would just run across the street to O'Rielly's and pick up a set of pliers there. He was no sooner crossing the street and they turned off the Open sign and locked the doors! Grrrr!!! So he came back over right as Sue was pulling in. THANKFULLY she had pliers in her car as her hood also has problems opening.

So Jules and I walk into Quik Trip to kill some time while they jump the car. When we came out Drew motioned us to come over. No dice. Apparently Sue's car battery terminals weren't clearly marked positive and negative, so they didn't want to chance it and put the jumper cables on the wrong posts. So Drew called his friend who lives on the South Side to see if he could come and jump us. He said he would be there in a little over a half hour. At this point I thought it was getting a little ridiculous, so I asked Drew if he could just ask the guy next to us getting gas if he would jump us. Well you should have seen this guy when Drew started walking over to him. He looked a little intimidated and I thought for sure he was going to say no, but Drew convinced him that we weren't crazy serial killers and he came over, jumped us and the car started right up. Thank you JESUS!

Sheesh what a stinkin' ordeal. Drew is afraid that my car has a short and that something shorted out when I rolled the window down when the car was turned off. So I guess no more of that. We are going to check it again in the morning and hopefully everything will be o.k.

So after all that, he just wanted to go home. Um, no....I made him take me right to McDonald's for those shakes. I needed it now more than ever. Have you had a shake at McD's lately? DELISH! Jules and I split a small Strawberry (my stomach can't handle more than a few drinks) and Drew got his yearly shamrock shake. Then we took our drive. It ended up being a nice night, but good grief! I HATE car issues!

Aunt La La

I haven't had a chance to post this yet, but one week ago today my sister Lauren (Aunt La La to Jules) packed everything up and moved to TEXAS.

I am actually taking it better than I thought I would, though part of me thinks she is just gone on a trip. So it probably won't really hit until she is gone for a month or so, but it has been a little weird not seeing her everyday.

While it will be hard not to have her around as much, I am excited for her and this new journey. I know that she will do great wherever she is and Texas is ALWAYS a nice place to visit - especially in the winter!!

Here are a couple of pics from her going away party 2 weeks ago....











I don't even know what to say....

Do you all remember this gift from Christmas?




And let's not forget the matching shoes....



I don't think she took this outfit off for a week after Christmas!

(In fact the dress was in the bag that went with her to Grandma and Grandpa Howard's this morning. She loves to wear it as much as possible!)

These gifts have started an obsession. CINDERELLA has taken over at our house in the form of a bright blue-eyed 2-year old. Along with Cinderella comes the other princesses. I don't even know what to say.

Before Julianna was born, I was adamant that there would be NO princesses in our house, she would never be referred to as a princess and there would DEFINITELY be no clothing, shoes, books etc of any sort that referred to cartoon characters, especially Disney princesses. Oh how it changed once she saw "The Little Mermaid". It opened the doors to everything else Disney. Then she got all of this for Christmas (there was a lot more, I just couldn't bare to take a picture of it all) and now we have "Cinderella" visiting our house on a weekly basis.

Some days she really thinks she is a princess and her name is Cinderella.

O.k., so I wasn’t going to post this, but I want to make clear how much Jules loves Cinderella. When she was in the hospital last month, Mary brought her a Cinderella crown set (let it be known, that Sarah – Mary’s mom purchased this. I have yet to buy anything Disney for Julianna). Anyway, in this crown set was a blinking crown with Cinderella’s face on it, earrings with her face on them, a ring with you guessed it…her face, some bracelets with her face dangling from them and a necklace. Now the necklace didn’t have her face on it, but it was made of fake pearls and a pendant that was cinderella’s shoe. The shoe had a button on it and when you pushed it, it said…… “Hello, I’m Cinderella.” So of course Jules just thought that was the greatest thing and wore it for most of the day. Don’t you know that every time a new Dr. came in to see her and asked her what her name was…..she would just push the button – “Hello, my name is Cinderella!” O.k. I will admit it was kind of cute. But she really didn’t want to tell them her real name. According to her it was “Cinderella”.

Well the obsession is getting even more out of hand. We have been talking about her birthday coming up and what we should do for it. A catalog of birthday party ideas came in the mail a little while back and Jules and I started flipping through it and this is what she saw…..



It was all over then. If we even mention her birthday coming up, she says “MY CINDERELLA BIRTHDAY!!!!” while she is jumping up and down and going crazy. S
When she talks to her Grandma Lili (Lori – my mom) she gets even more excited because she knows that Grandma will get excited with her and help her have the best birthday party ever.

So be prepared - in June you will see pictures of a Light Blue and Pink Cinderella fest. And if you have kids and read this blog – BEWARE – you will be invited for all of the princess fun!

I just keep telling myself that one day I will look at the pictures as a fond memory of my little “Cinderella” and how I will probably from time to time wish for these days back.

For right now, I am searching the internet – along with my mom – for the most awesome Cinderella party favors and accessories. So I guess I will be making my first Disney Princess purchase soon. :o)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Julsieism # 3

Drew had Sunday off, and we wanted to do something fun as a family. Mary suggested going to the Art Center to see the American Gothic paiting by Grant Wood.

Little did we know how packed it was going to be on a Sunday afternoon. After circling for a parking spot, we found one and headed in. We had to wait in line for about 15 minutes to see the painting. It was pretty cool and so neat to see all of the detail in person. After that we just wandered around the rest of the Art Center. I haven't been there since I was a kid and it was cool to see all of the new art work and the same things that were there when I was a kid.

Can I just say, that the Art Center is probably not the best place for a 2-year old. Jules was getting pretty antsy and was told a number of times by the "guards" to stop leaning in and touching things. And by things, I mean the wire (that is at her level) that protects you from touching the paintings. Not once did she touch any actual art, but they were on high-alert with us around. I think in one gallery we actually had someone follow us around. We didn't stay long for fear they would drag Jules out of there for acting too much like a 2-year old!

Anyway, as we were going through one gallery, Julianna starts saying:

Jules - "Hey, look, look!"

Drew - "What honey, what do you see?"

Jules (with her hand out to stop him) - "No, daddy, I am not talking to you, I am talking to Mary."

"Mary, look, look."

Mary - "What Jules?"

Jules (as she is laughing hysterically and pointing) - "Look Mary, that man is NAKED!"

She was looking at one of the sculptures (she spotted it as soon as we walked in) and was thinking it was hilarious that there was a naked man just standing there. All she could see was the backside (thank God) and we diverted her from the front, but she kept yelling, laughing and pointing "HE IS NAKED, THAT MAN IS NAKED!"

I tried not to laugh, but you know how it is when you aren't suppose to laugh - it just makes you want to laugh all the more. So I had to get myself and her out of there, or it was going to get out of control.

Ahhh, Julsie!

Julsieism # 2

On Saturday, I thought it would be fun to take the girls to the Carefree Patisserie in Valley Junction. This is the cutest and quaintest little cupcake shop. Our friend Annie is having her wedding cake made there and told us about it. They have 101 cupcake flavors and then sell cupcakes individually right out of the bakery. Once we found the place (the shop is very small) we went in to see what the days flavors were: Carrot Cake, Cherry Vanilla, Vanilla Malt, Nutty Kim, Lunchbox, Chocolate Guinness and a few others.

I told the girls they could each pick out one. Mary chose the Vanilla Malt, as did I and Julianna chose Cherry Vanilla - I think because it was pink and had a red cherry on it. We also got Drew the Chocolate Guinness and thought we would run it to work for him as an afternoon treat.

Since we hadn't had lunch yet, I told the girls that we couldn't eat them until we had some lunch. Well the whole way to Drew's work Julianna kept saying how she wanted that pink cupcake.

"I want that cupcake mommy, it will be so yummy!" "Please mommy, can I have that cupcake?" This went on forever. We dropped Drew his cupcake and then headed across the street to Applebee's for a quick lunch. The whole time Jules is talking about that cupcake. We finish lunch and I told the girls that once we got home, we would get our pj's back on, sit at the table with a glass of milk and dive into our cupcakes, then take naps! Again Jules was going on and on about how much she wanted that cupcake on the way home.

So we get home. I get the table ready with milk and cupcakes while the girls get their pj's back on. We sit at the table and Mary and I dive into our cupcakes (which were AMAZING by the way) and I look over at Julianna and ask her is she is going to eat her cupcake. Her response?.....

"No, I don't like cupcakes."

And she didn't touch that thing. It just sat there. I just started laughing because she said it so matter of fact. So I put it back in the cupcake box and Mary and I enjoyed it later. I mean, I couldn't let it go to waste and again it was AMAZING!

I really think Jules just wanted to look at the pretty pink cupcake and that was it. She just cracks me up sometimes!

Julesieisms

When you have a 2-year old, you know the things that start to come out of her mouth are too precious, funny and embarrassing not to be shared. Jules came up with a couple of doozies this weekend. So...everytime she says something that I think is blog worthy, I will post it as a "Julsieism". I have already re-posted the blog from Feb. 26th as Julsieism #1.

Enjoy!

Friday, March 6, 2009

My leg!

So this week I started my lymphedema treatment. We are hoping that after 3 weeks of treatment, the fluid that is in my leg will be gone and all of the issues I have been having will be relieved. So for right now.....this is what my leg looks like. I know! So attractive, I can barely keep Drew away from me right now! :o)





Thankfully, Courtney came by on Sunday to paint my toes, so I don't look too ridiculous in the lovely shoe I have to wear everyday. And THANKFULLY I haven't had too much trouble getting my pants to fit over my nice plump leg!

Oh Jules!

So I brought jules home from daycare on Wed. night and she was an absolute bear. Fussy and whiney and did not want to obey at all. Drew had put together her new car seat the night before and I when I came into the living room, this is what I found.....




She had just passed out in her new seat. She slept there for over 2 hours. I guess she didn't have a very long nap at daycare and was exhausted! I am posting this, becuase Jules NEVER likes to sleep. She would stay up until 2 every night if we let her. I can't think of one other time where she has just randomly passed out like this. I just went with it and enjoyed the 2 hours to myself. She had a little difficulty going to bed that night, but all in all she did fine. I am just hoping she will begin to be a girl that likes her nap and bedtime!!!

Grandma Howard!

It has been a busy week, so I am just now getting around to posting this. Last Friday was Grandma Howards 75th birthday. She is such a wonderful woman and you wouldn't think she as day over 50! She watches Julianna 2 days and week and can keep up with her more than I can!

Friday night our family went to the Machine Shed to celebrate with her. It was a great night and we had fun hanging out with everyone!















New Look!

I have never needed glasses before, but with my recent health issues, I decided to get my eyes checked. Sure enough I have a swollen optic nerve. My optomologust thinks this is caused by working at a computer all day. My eye is being strained from that. So I got glasses for while I am working on the computer, watching t.v. or reading. They came in last week and I think I like the new look. Drew sure does, though he always liked that kind of nerdy librarian look! :o)

I found a great deal and was able to get 2 pairs at a great price. As a girl who loves to accesorize, it is great to have a pair that will match whatever I wear!