Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cookie madness

Today was the first annual playgroup cookie exchange. And it didn't disappoint!

I came home with 10 dozen cookies in 5 varieties. The baking was pretty easy. It took me 2 hours to make 13.5 dozen cookies (not counting the first batch I burned). The hard part will be letting all those cookies walk out the door as Christmas presents for friends and neighbors.

I made a peanut butter cookie with a hershey kiss on top - a classic cookie if you ask me. My recipe should have made 12 dozen, but I ended up with way more! In the past I've tended to make my cookies too big and come up short on my count, so I think I was being overly cautious and made them a little too small.

My tummy is happy I have extra, but I know my hips are gonna be pissed.

P.S. Sorry no pictures; our expert photographer was absent today on account of her lil guy being sick. Missed ya Nata-Leigh!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stickers - Reward or Bribe?

I'm not sure what the big deal is about stickers, but every kid seems to like them. Except for Sergio. He eats them.

Hailey is no exception to the mass of kids who love 'em. She started showing interest in them within the last few months, but now she's obsessed with them. So, now I've figured out how to use that obsession to my advantage.

So now I ask: Stickers - reward or bribe? You decide...

My reward system started when I was trying to encourage Hailey to eat a meal without crazy antics such as rubbing the food in her hair or throwing it on the floor. I wouldn't tell her she was going to get a sticker for eating well; I just gave her one at the end of the meal and told her how happy I was that she'd eaten well.

I know that's no big deal, but my dilemma started when she caught a cold recently and I wanted to squirt saline spray into her nose. Normally this is a two person job: RJ holds her hands down and her head still and I do the squirting. And all the while Hailey screams and kicks.

I decided to try and offer a sticker instead of go through all of the drama involved in holding her still. And it worked! She sat completely still while I squirted the saline and held out her hand promptly after to accept her sticker reward.

So, what do you think? Is this an act of bribery or just a reward for a job well done?

Be honest...I can take it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Easy treats

I've been perusing a lot of blogs recently. Clearly I'm addicted.

Anywho. A lot of blogs are sharing recipes for holiday eat & treats. I'd like to share this one with everyone because it is so good and so easy. Emphasis on easy.

I'll say right up front that is not my recipe; my very "Martha-esque" sister, Lori, made it for a cookie exchange.

Rolo Pretzels

Rold Gold round pretzels
walnuts (optional)
wax paper

Place a sheet of wax
paper on a cookie sheet. Place pretzels on cookie
sheet. Insert a Rolo in
the center of each pretzel. Place a walnut on top (if
using). Bake at 250
degrees for 5 or so minutes - just until the chocolate gets
soft enough to
conform to the pretzel.

And voila! You have a delicious homemade, easy treat! Enjoy!

Hook, line & sinker

Yes, I am one of the millions of fans hooked on the Twilight series. And yes, I did feel a bit embarrassed by that, but I'm so totally over it. These are great books! I highly recommend them to anyone who likes a good edge-of-your-seat-thriller book.

If you're thinking about starting the series because of my glowing recommendation, remember one thing: NOTHING will get done around your house. No cooking, cleaning, watching tv, blogging or sleeping! Husbands have been known to object.

I just finished the third book (there are four books, which you probably know unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months) and I so desperately want to run out and buy the fourth book right now. But I can't...the kiddies are sleeping. Would it be wrong to wake them up and take them to Target on a book shopping adventure? He-he.

Naw, I'm not that crazy. Why wake a perfectly good sleeping baby?

Friday, December 5, 2008

O Christmas Tree

Hailey and I put our Christmas tree up last weekend. We have the Anti-Christmas Tree: an easy to assemble pre-lit one, so it takes me all of 10 minutes to get it set up and lit.

And once it was lit, the "oohs" and "ahhs" came pouring out of Hailey. I let her hang the first ornament, which is a plastic Elmo one. She refers to Elmo as "La La", so every time she sees him on the tree she points enthusiastically and says "La La". So cute!

We toyed with the idea of no ornaments on the bottom half of the tree, but instead we put all plastic ones on the bottom. She's been good about not touching them (too much)!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Snow day

Yesterday was a great day in the Chicago area if you love snow. And I long as I don't have to drive in it or shovel it. RJ loves the snow even more than I do, so he was happily elected for snow removal duty years ago. And since I work from home, I get to skip the driving in it part most of the time.

As soon as RJ got home from work yesterday, Hailey asked him (okay, I asked for her) to take her outside and try out her new snow gear. It turns out she loves the snow too!

Hailey and her Daddy played outside in the snow for about 45 minutes. RJ tried to bring her in a few times, but she kept saying "no". So they kept on playing!

Luckily her winter gear turned out to be good quality...her fingers were a bit cold, but everything else was toasty warm.

I look forward to the day when Hailey & I can share a cup of hot cocoa after a snowball fight!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Don't worry...I'm alive

Shame on me! I haven't posted in a bit, but in my defense I get so busy around the holidays. As does everyone, I'm sure, so it's not really a good excuse.

My Thanksgiving weekend was fabulous! My sister Lori hosted Thanksgiving this year. Her and her hubby made turkey and prime rib (yum!) And Hailey had her first sleepover at Aunt Lori's!

Amanda and I went shopping on Black Friday. We got started at JCPenney at 4 a.m. and shopped until about 9 a.m. Wal-mart was the craziest store...we even lost each other for about 20 minutes or so. But, it was all worth it because my shopping is 98% done and we got some great deals.

My dear little Sparky had to go to the vet yesterday and she's now on anti-biotics and cortizone from an infection. Last week she got away from me when I was letting her outside and tried to attack a dog 10 times her size in the backyard. Needless to say that wasn't a smart move on her part. She got bit on the back, the ear, and on her muzzle.

I wish I could say that will teach her to mess with bigger dogs, but she's been doing this ever since I can remember. She's almost 11 now. I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I drizzled!

Tonight is my first function with the Mothers & More club of the Oswego area. It's a Mom's night in - no kids allowed - woo hoo!

The theme of this Mom's night in is "unfinished project" & cookie exchange. Each person attending is to bring a project-in-progress such as a scrapbook, Christmas cards (it's still early for that - at least for me!), etc. I am bringing Hailey's first year scrapbook, which I have been neglecting for the last 18 months. The cookie exchange is optional, but seeing as this is my first function, I thought it best to participate 100%.

And because I want to make a good first impression, I decided to turn to the recipe pro in my family - my sister Lori. She gave me a recipe for Oreo Truffle Balls. I'd never had them before, but just the sound of them made my mouth water.

You can use any type of Oreo cookie and any type of semi-sweet morsels you choose. I made 2 different batches. The first is a peanut butter oreo ball dipped in peanut-butter chocolate. The second is a mint oreo dipped in milk chocolate with a white chocolate drizzle. This is a super-easy gourmet-like dessert!

Here's what the picture of the recipe looks like:

And here's what my finished product looks like:Not bad, huh? Clearly my photography skills need work, but the drizzle looks pretty good!

And just to make sure I was sharing a superb dessert with my new gals pals, RJ and I did a little taste test after dinner last night. His fav is the mint and mine is the peanut butter. And yes, they are as heavenly as they sound!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Princess and the pee

I'm sure lots of you know my dear hubby, RJ, is very into woodworking. He mostly makes furniture for people for gifts. Anyway, he subscribes to a few magazines about woodworking and one of his favorites is simply called "Wood". When he gets his Wood magazine, he pages through it and tags the projects he find interesting. That way when he feels like making something, he can simply flip through the tags in his archived mags (he has 2 hanging cabinets in his workshop dedicated to magazine storage) and easily find projects. Very organized!

(Ok, ok, I promise I'm getting to the story soon here. Just hang with me...)

Before the magazines end up in the archive cabinet, they are usually strewn around the house. Some are in the bathroom, some on the end table, but one unlucky magazine (a.k.a. issue 187, Oct./Nov. 2008), which was already read and tagged, happened to be on the floor the other night. Believe me, I know this issue well now.

Most moms know the best way to cure a diaper rash is by letting the little rugrat run around for 5 or so minutes without a diaper (and therefore without pants) each day. (I know, stick with me a little longer.....)

Our little Hailey happened to have a bit of diaper chafing on the very night that issue 187 found itself on the floor. Issue 187 was tucked half under the couch right where RJ was sitting when diaperless Hailey approached her Daddy with a book in hand. She stood attentively by the couch looking at the pictures in the book as Daddy read to her.

Not long before the book began, we heard a strange noise. I'm sure you all know where this is going now. I looked across the room and saw Hailey tinkling right then and there with one foot anchored on poor issue 187. Besides issue 187, the couch, rug and floor we also hit.

We kept the tone calm being careful not to scare Hailey or convey to her that she was "bad" (I hear kids can get a complex about going to the bathroom if their parents scold them for having accidents. I mean, it's not really an accident when you're not potty trained. It's just doing your thing...totally not her fault).

Soon after this Hailey went to bed. RJ was at first upset about the fate of issue 187, which ended up in the garbage. It just couldn't be salvaged. I assured him I would order him a new issue. He countered with the fact he had already taken the time to go through the mag and tag all of his projects. I offered to put on rubber gloves and go through the mag and write down all of his tagged page numbers (for some reason I felt responsible for issue 187's fate). Luckily he declined.

The good news: Wood magazine is sending us a replacement for issue 187 free of charge. I think the customer service lady got a kick out my story of how issue 187 became "damaged".

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Photo Tag

I was tagged by Nata-Leigh (A texan in illinois) to post the 6th picture in my 6th photo folder. Anyone who reads this is it!

This is a photo from the summer of 2006. Many of you know RJ and I used to have a boat (2 boats actually, but that's a long story. Actually is a long but funny story. I'd be happy to share as long as you have about a half hour to listen!)
This is a picture of us on our 2nd boat out at Starved Rock State Park. It was a sweet boat...a Wellcraft 19' bow rider with a 4.7 liter, 190 hp motor. We could get it up to about 50 mph on the Illinois River! Although I never liked going that fast - I'm such a whimp! Actually I didn't even like driving the boat, so RJ always had to drive. I don't think he minded though! He gets nervous when I drive the car!
Unfortunately we had to sell the boat last summer because owning a boat is expensive and we really had to tighten our budget so I could stay home with Hailey. Besides the $300/month boat payment, it cost us $70/month for storage, $250 each year for winterizing, and over $100 in gas for the boat and the pickup truck each time we took it out.
Anyway, there's no doubt in my mind that we made the right decision to sell the boat. Staying home with Hailey is great. I could not imagine leaving her to go to work and not seeing her for 8+ hours a day. It's also great for Hailey. She is so smart and I have to attribute that to all the time she spends with me reading books and playing interactively. I'm not trying to toot my own horn; I just love my job!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Last night was like most nights....I fell asleep in bed watching TV at about 9:30. Which means I didn't get to see the final election result before I drifted off to dreamland. I dreamed McCain won the election, so as soon as I woke up I turned the TV on find it was all a bad dream. *sigh*

I'm sorry I've been off the radar the last week or so, but it's been busy around here! Not that anyone is all that interested in the play by play, but this is how my last week went:

Wednesday: Playgroup and Halloween party for the little ones at Brandy's. It was great!

Thursday: Cleaned my house so I wouldn't feel guilty being out of the house almost all day Friday.

Friday: Attempted to trick-or-treat early in the day at Geneva Commons with Amanda and her kids. Unfortunately it was a bust. We drove a half an hour to get there for only 2 pieces of candy and 2 stickers. Woo-hoo! (insert sarcasm here)

Saturday: Went to a chili party in Rockford. It was great, but we didn't get home until about 9:30pm. Hailey slept for only 20 minutes or so of the hour and a half drive home and cried for the rest! Yikes!

Sunday: Went out for breakfast - pumpkin pancakes and waffles - yum! The rest of the day we dealt with a very crabby Hailey due to time change and staying up late.

Monday & Tuesday: Recuperated from previous 5 days.

So here I am! Hailey is still not herself yet, but who is? It's pitch black out at 5:30pm and I'm ready for bed by 8!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Cost of Bitty Baby doll: $50
Hailey putting the baby "night-night" for the first time: Priceless!

Yesterday I was working downstairs in our playroom/office/guest bedroom (talk about a multi-purpose room...phew! P.S. I know I still owe a post dedicated to pics of this room) and Hailey was playing with her Bitty Baby doll on the floor.

Many of you who know Hailey well know that she loves this damn doll to bits! My sister Lori got it as a present for Hailey for her Christening over a year ago and she plays with it every day! The photo off to the left is Hailey and her baby (age 4 months).

Anywho. Back to the story. Hailey was playing with her baby when all of a sudden she came up to me talking in her cutest baby voice. It went kind of like this:

Hailey: Nigh-nigh (translation: night-night)

Me: What's the matter sweetie? Are you sleepy? Do you want to go night-night? (Keep in mind it was only 9am).

Hailey: (silence...stares at me blankly)

Then she looked over at her baby lying on the floor and walked over by her and again said "nigh-nigh". To my surprise the baby was lying on the floor on her back with her little crochet hat covering her face! Hailey had laid her down to sleep! My heart melted...I'm such a sap!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall is Fabulous

Fall has to be my favorite season. Yes, I love the warm weather of spring and summer. But, there's something refreshing about turning off the air conditioning and opening the windows, wearing sweaters instead of tank tops and leaving humidity behind.

I especially look forward to our trip to Kuiper's Pumpkin Farm each year. It's been a tradition to go for my nephew Tommy's birthday every year for the last 5 or so years. And now that I have a child of my own to enjoy the farm, it's even more fun! We went last week Sunday when RJ's mom was in town for the weekend.
Last year RJ held Hailey up in front of the "How Tall This Fall" sign. We told ourselves this was going to be our fall tradition. So we did the same this year. Look how big she's gotten!
Other fall traditions include carving a pumkin (how original, right!?), which we did yesterday. Actually we carved one and used gourds and mini-pumpkins to make a silly face on another. Note the blonde wig, which is a leftover from a previous Halloween costume of mine. Don't ask.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I was tagged by Kareer Woman, so here goes:

Where is your cell phone? In Hailey's diaper bag
Where is your significant other? Work
Your hair color? Brown
Your mother? Linda
Your father? Dennis
Your favorite thing? Nap time (for the baby...not me)
Your dream last night? Don't remember
Your dream/goal? Actually, I'm living it. Having Hailey was my dream.
Your hobby? Scrapbooking
Your fear? Having to go back to work and leave Hailey in daycare
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Home with 2 kids
Where were you last night? At home relaxing after a long (but good) weekend
What you’re not?
One of your wish-list items? New car with a third row. I'm always surprised at how much room a little baby takes up.
Where you grew up? Rolling Meadows, IL
Last thing you did? Ordered photos from my mother in laws visit this weekend
What are you wearing? Long sleeve shirt and jeans. Brrrrrrrr
Your TV? Off
Your pet? Miniature Pinscher and Toy Fox Terrier
Your computer? HP....aka Piece of shit
Your mood? Happy
Missing someone? Yes
Your car? Equinox
Something you’re not wearing? Socks
Favorite store? Marshall's
Your summer? too short
Love someone? Of course...many
Your favorite color? Pink
When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday
Last time you cried? I can't remember....that's a good thing, right?

This is lame, but I only read three blogs. And two of them have been tagged already.
I'm tagging:
A Texan in Illinois

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When all else fails...

RJ asked a friend of his (Matt) to come over and help him move my HUGE armoire desk into our newly finished basement. Anyone who's been in our basement knows that you take three stairs down and then the stairway makes a 90 degree turn.

Well, after 20 minutes of trying to make that turn (and about a thousand variations on "let's turn it this way" and "you turn this way and I'll turn that way") the guys decided the situation called for desperate measures. Like the kind of desperate that involves a saw.

Yep, you heard right...a saw! They sawed my desk in half! Granted I did say something like "do whatever is necessary to get this beast in the basement", but come on...saw it in half?!!

But it all worked out! The guys got it in the basement. Not in one piece, but they still made it happen. RJ put the desk back together with metal brackets and installed pieces of moulding to hide the cuts on the outside.

The most upsetting part was an "easy task" (aren't they all?) ended up taking three hours!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Warning: motherhood is messy!

Seriously, no one warned me how messy having a kid was going to be. I mean, I knew that kids could make messes, but no one told me that my kid was going to:

  1. squirt poop on me during a diaper change (yes, that really happened)

  2. vomit on me occassionally

  3. get food everywhere (including inside the diaper, in the hair, in the eyelashes) on a daily basis

  4. spill anything and everything on the floor (including throwing mac & cheese on the dog's back)

  5. require me to suck boogies out of her nose when she's sick (the added bonus is picking the dried ones off her face after she wakes up)

Oh, well. I LOVE my job anyway! I wouldn't trade all of those messes for anything in the world as long as it means I get to be with my wonderful little daughter every single day.

I guess it just means I should invest in paper towels and soap!

Sorry if I grossed anyone out. I'm sure all you Mommies know exactly what I'm talking about. And to all you future Mommies: consider yourself warned!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Politically speaking

This Presidential election is really the first one I've felt passionately about. The last two elections I voted for Bush (I know, I know, but stick with me. I do have a reason for admitting to that). But that wasn't necessarily because I wanted Bush to be President. It was because I really didn't want the other candidate to be President (especially John Kerry).

This year is different because I feel Obama will make a great President. And after watching the VP debate last night, I see Biden in a whole new light. Anyone who is thinking about voting for John McCain needs to remember this: he's as old as dirt. Which means Palin would become President if (God forbid) something were to happen to the old geezer. That SCARES ME! After watching her last night, I'm not sure she has more than 10 thoughts in her head. If I hear the word 'Maverick' one more time I may just scream.

Anywho, I'm not usually one to debate politics. But like I said, this election year is different. Our country is in a mess. We have to make sure we elect the right person to clean it up. I honestly think if McCain is elected it will just be an extension of Bush's Presidency. Our country cannot handle another 4 years of what he's put us through.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Why I'm voting for Obama

Jay Leno showed a clip of a very funny speech by John McCain last week. McCain stumbled over his words so badly that I rewound it and watched it over about six times (thanks to Tivo...bless his little computer chip heart).

Anywho, I needed a laugh today so I looked up the video on YouTube. I just had to share, so watch this very short 8-second video:

And this is why I'm voting for Obama. Enough said?!?

Friday, September 26, 2008

He's how big?!

Four things in my life I'm truly thankful for:

  1. my beautiful, perfect daughter
  2. my loving & faithful husband
  3. my wonderful family & in-laws
  4. not having to give birth to a baby over 10 pounds!!

On Wednesday my best friend, Amanda, of 8+ years gave birth to a beautiful (and huge) baby boy. Eric Daniel Gonzalez tipped the scales at 10 pounds, 3 ounces! Amanda was in labor for over 16 hours and gave birth naturally because the epidural didn't work (and how does that even happen?!? Those doctors have some 'splaining to do!). Needless to say I have a newfound respect for the woman!

Welcome to world, little guy!

Other large babies of note: ME! I was 10 pounds, 6 ounces! Sorry, Mom!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Have you ever been this tired?

So day before yesterday was a pretty normal day. The kids (Hailey and Sergio, of course) played at home in the morning. We sat down for lunch at about noon. As it happens most days, I was done eating long before they were. So I decided to unload the dishwasher while they finished up.
Before long I hear a funny noise coming from the table. I look up only to find Sergio snoring! Poor little guy was so tired he fell asleep right there in front of his Mickey Mouse shaped cheese!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Congrats to my big sister on her new arrival!

I recently got word from my big sister Lisa that something she's been working on for months has finally arrived! I know what all of you are thinking...but it's not a baby! It's a book!

Lisa has created a wonderfully artistic masterpiece called The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real. To quote my sister, the book is "...a visual, results-oriented, step-by-step method of business development for creatives from all walks of life who want to turn their passions into viable business opportunities". The book is chock full of inspiring images from my sister as well as other creative geniuses.

Lisa will launch the book October 2nd in Portland, Oregon at a big art show.

The book's release date is November 1st, but is now available for pre-order on Amazon. You can also check out the website Lisa has created for the book.

Congratulations, Sister! I'm so very proud of you!

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

A New Place to Play

Many of you know that RJ is finishing half of our basement as a play room for Hailey. Well I'm happy to say it's almost done! He has a few touch up areas to mud and then it's time for the primer.

We've decided to make the theme of the room "Under the Sea". We're ordering this ocean scene for our window well and we're going to hang little fish and a scuba diver on fishing line from the window well cover. I chose a light grayish-blue color for the wall paint. I'd like to paint some fish on plain canvas using stencils, but I'm not sure where to get large stencils like that. Anyone have any ideas?

Hopefully the room will be play-ready by the next time I host Hailey's playdate.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Littlest Bears Fans

Earlier this month Hailey and her BFF Lexi (Danny and Mandi Gonzalez's little girl) strolled to the park in their new pink Bears jerseys.

Hailey has worn hers every game day to support her favorite NFL team. And so what if she's slept through every game so far and hasn't even seen a single play this season? She's a fan because Mommy is a fan!

Go Bears!!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Here goes nothin'

I've never blogged before, but I've always wanted to give it a try. People always seem so interesting and witty in their blogs; I guess my fear is I'll be neither. Oh well. Here goes nothin'....

I was so inspired by my friend Nata-Leigh's blog that I decided to start my own right after reading hers for the first time. I promise I'll try and keep up with this (I know I haven't done so well with the blog on my website). But if I slip a little it's probably because I'm super busy chasing after two 15 month old toddlers all week, working my web design gig with my big sis (Lisa), and keeping my house tidy and my family fed. Whew! I'm feeling tired just thinking about all of it!

Anyway if you decide to read my blog...great! If not I understand. I just hope it won't be too boring!